The SFFaudio Podcast #262 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.
Talked about on today’s show: We help Jesse clear off his desk by discussing books in paper (dead trees and rags), “like e-books but thicker”; Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan, second in the Lady Trent series, gorgeously illustrated, Darwin meets dragons; why are illustrations dying out, even in e-books?; Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan features good illustrations; The Raven’s Shadow, third in Elspeth Cooper’s Wild Hunt series; how many print pages in an hour of audio?; more from L.E. Modesitt Jr’s Imager series; John C. Wright’s The Judge of Ages, with allusions to Cordwainer Smith; The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, smarter steampunk?; a tangent on translating page to screen; Tam likes more fantasy in his fantasy; a tangent on Game of Thrones; a tangent on Citizen Brick and the expiration of the LEGO patent; The Revolutions by Felix Gilman; science fiction was once planetary romance; The Prestige; Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year vol. 8 edited by Jonathan Strahan, now published by Solaris, featuring a lot of great stories; and we finally reach audiobooks!; The Scottish Fairy Book, Volume 1; the timeless quality of folktales; Classics Lesson of the Day: Ovid’s a boy, Sappho’s a girl; Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear; we try to puzzle out what a stele is; we praise Bear’s interview on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy; Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered isn’t romance “because fifty-year-olds never have romance”; Without a Summer, third in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series, expertly narrated by the author; Dreamwalker by C.S. Friedman doesn’t seem to be your run-of-the-mill urban fantasy (suburban fantasy?); Indexing by Seanan McGuire, urban fantasy with a postmodern twist; mimetic incursion and Jorge Luis Borges’s Averroes’s Search; Night Broken by Patricia Briggs, eighth in her Mercy Thompson series; a tangent on midriff tattoos and names for tattoos on other parts of the body; Jenny has created a new genre, Scientific Near Future Thrillers!; in the future, iPods will be merged into our eyebrows; science and technology don’t evolve quite how we expect; Neil Gaiman discusses the influence of Ballard and other classic SF writers on the Coode Street Podcast; Sleep Donation by Karen Russell; Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux; Boswell is Samuel Johnson’s biographer; Afterparty by Daryl Gregory is blowing up on Goodreads; pre- and post-apocalyptic fiction–no actual apocalypse this time; The End is Nigh, first in the Apocalypse Triptych edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey; the tech gremlins didn’t want us to discuss Dust, the third in Hugh Howey’s Silo series; Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor; The Forever Watch by David Ramirez, Jesse thinks the protagonist has too many jobs; “pause resister”, WTF?; Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, already reviewed here at SFFaudio; we struggle to define Pentecostal; religious opposition to the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass; Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s The Edge of Tomorrow (originally entitled All You Need Is Kill), Groundhog Day meets Fullmetal Jacket, film adaptation features Tom Cruise; Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer, a hardboiled detective story on Mars; Noggin by John Corey Whaley; Decoded by Mai Jia; Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones is a refresh of The Arabian Nights; Frank Herbert’s Direct Descent is about a library planet; novella is the best length for SF; Night Ride and Other Journeys by Charles Beaumont, a “writer’s writer” who wrote for The Twilight Zone; Christopher Moore’s The Serpent of Venice is an irreverent Shakespeare/Poe mashup.
SFFaudio Podcast #137, out today, it is a discussion of A Princess Of Mars. If you’d like to prepare, we’ve got the perfect audiobook version for you to check out. It’s narrated David Stifel, of Marsbooks.libsyn.com. David is actually reading all of the public domain Barsoom books, under the collected title of “The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs“, and in the process he’s become something of a Burroughs expert. I think you’ll be mightily impressed by the first audiobook because we sure were!
A Princess Of Mars
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by David Stifel
16 Podcast Episodes – Approx. 8 Hours 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: May 2011 – July 2011 John Carter, a veteran American Civil War, goes to Arizona at the war’s end. But when he runs afoul of the Apaches he attempts to evade their pursuit by hiding in a strange cave. The cave has strange properties though as Carter finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars! There, Carter discovers that he possess incredible strength, which he uses to escape imprisonment from a fierce tribe of Green Martians. The aliens soon capture the beautiful Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium and Carter’s mission becomes clear. He’ll need to free himself, his newly found love and save the entire planet from a coming doom.
Source: Librivox | (14 zipped mp3s) Length: 7 hr, 26 min Reader:Mark Nelson The book: While prospecting for gold in the Wild West, John Carter, formerly of the Confederate Army, is attacked by a band of hostile Apaches. He escapes into a cave, but finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars. On Mars, or as the natives call it, “Barsoom”, he finds several races of intelligent Martians, including the giant six-limbed Tharks and beautiful Dejah Thoris, a princess of the human-like red-skinned Martians.
John Carter’s Barsoom adventures are frankly preposterous, even for Burroughs’ day when people thought there might really be canals on Mars. However, the story has a momentum that propels it too fast to allow the reader to reflect on the inconsistencies of the plot or of the world Burroughs created. The constant cliffhangers and mild titillation gave the book great popularity among several generations of readers, including a number of science fiction writers who cited it as an important early influence. This book is a old-fashioned treat.
The reader: Mark Nelson has a deep, strong voice that sounds like an old school news announcer. His cadence is slow and repetitive, but he changes his inflection enough to keep the reading interesting. He does some light voices, not straying too far from his natural voice into campiness. The recording setup he uses has very little background noise and is clear. Nelson is a reader worth seeking out in other books.
If there’s one public domain novel I don’t mind seeing endless re-releases and re-recordings of it’s this one…
The Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Jeff Daniels
CDs – Approx. 3 Hours 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: May 25, 2010
Sample |MP3| Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild was written in 1903, but Buck’s gripping adventure makes for a thrilling listen on audio more than 100 years after it was first published. This gripping story follows the adventures of the loyal dog Buck, who is stolen from his comfortable family home and forced into the harsh life of an Alaskan sled dog. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey that ends with his becoming the legendary leader of a wolf pack.
Now this should be interesting…
Wolf: The Lives of Jack London
By James L. Haley; Read by Bronson Pinchot
10 CDs or 1 Mp3-CD – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: May 25, 2010
ISBN: 9781441758965 (cd), 9781441758972 (mp3-cd) Jack London was born a working-class, fatherless San Franciscan in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling west coast—by and by playing the role of hobo, sailor, and oyster pirate. From his vantage point at the margins of Gilded Age America, he witnessed such iniquity and abuses that he became a life long socialist and advocate for reform. His adventures in the American wilderness and underworld informed his fiction, and his writing came to captivate the nation as it defined his era. Within his own short lifetime, London became the most popular, and bestselling, author of his generation. By adulthood he had matured into the iconic American author of such still-universally loved books as The Call Of The Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf, but in spite of his success, he was at war with himself. The highest-paid writer in America, he was constantly broke. Famous as he was for conjuring the brutality of nature in story after story and novel after novel, upon the actual deaths of his favorite animals he would dissolve into helpless tears. Sick, angry, and disillusioned, after a short, breathless life, he passed away at age forty, but he left behind him a glorious literary legacy. Award-winning author James L. Haley explores the forgotten Jack London—a man bristling with ideas, whose passion for social justice roared until the day he died. In Wolf, Haley returns Jack London to his proper place in the American pantheon, resurrecting the author of White Fang in his full fire and glory.
Made by makers…
Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World
By Mark Frauenfelder; Read by Kirby Heyborne
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 07, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117819 (cd), 9781400167814 (mp3-cd) From his unique vantage point as editor in chief of Make magazine, the hub of the newly invigorated do-it-yourself (DIY) movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes listeners on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY. The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal-powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR. DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects, such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.
Frauenfelder reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating “alpha makers” leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights. Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.
I always bet on the man with the bigger mustache…
Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin—the Eastern Front, 1941-1945
By John Mosier; Read by Michael Prichard
10 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 12.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 15, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117369 (cd), 9781400167364 (mp3-cd) John Mosier presents a revisionist retelling of the war on the Eastern Front. Although the Eastern Front was the biggest and most important theater in World War II, it is not well known in the United States, as no American troops participated in the fighting. Yet historians agree that this is where the decisive battles of the war were fought. The conventional wisdom about the Eastern Front is that Hitler was mad to think he could defeat the USSR because of its vast size and population, and that the Battle of Stalingrad marked the turning point of the war. Neither statement is accurate, says Mosier; Hitler came very close to winning outright. Mosier’s history of the Eastern Front will generate considerable controversy both because of his unconventional arguments and because he criticizes historians who have accepted Soviet facts and interpretations. Mosier argues that Soviet accounts are utterly untrustworthy and that accounts relying on them are fantasies. Deathride argues that the war in the East was Hitler’s to lose, that Stalin was in grave jeopardy from the outset of the war, and that it was the Allied victories in North Africa and consequent threat to Italy that forced Hitler to change his plans and saved Stalin from near-certain defeat. Stalin’s only real triumph was in creating a legend of victory.
We’ve talked about it on the podcast, and here it is…
By Alastair Reynolds; Read by John Lee
15 Audio CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 19.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publisher: June 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117116(cd), 9781400167111 (mp3-cd) Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different—and rigidly enforced—level of technology. Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon’s world is wrenched apart one more time. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint’s base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon’s own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police but by the very nature of reality—and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.
Death Cloud is the first in a series of novels in which Sherlock Holmes is re-imagined as “a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager”…
Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud
By Andrew Lane; Read by Dan Stevens
3 CDs – Approx. 3 Hours [ABRIDGED?]
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Audio
Published: June 2010
ISBN: 9780230745124 The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent…
I get the sense that Rastignac The Devil is a satire, using the furniture of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. But I feel really embarrassed about not knowing what is going on, sub-textually, in this interesting, but baffling, novella by Philip José Farmer. Is it all an allegorical satire of some event in 17th century France?
A couple of other notes. Mike Resnick’s Starship series has a character named “Slick.” Slick is an alien with a sentient symbiotic skin (called a “gorib”). Rastignac The Devil has aliens and humans with just such a similar concept – very cool! Gregg Margarite, the narrator, does a very good job with the abundance of French words.
Anyway, like I said, I liked the story, thought it was weirdly cool, but don’t feel like I’ve understood it at all. Could someone fill me in?
Rastignac The Devil
By Philip José Farmer; Read by Gregg Margarite 2 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 1 Hour 59 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: March 19, 2010 Here is high fidelity fiction at Philip José Farmer’s story-telling best. It’s a vibrant, distractingly different tale of three centuries into the future. And as you read you’ll have a vague, uneasy feeling that it’s all taking place somewhere in the unexplored parts of the universe, even today. From Fantastic Universe May 1954.