Review of Singularity by Bill DeSmedt

Podibook Review

Podcast - The SingularitySingularity
By Bill DeSmedt; Read by Bill DeSmedt
47 MP3 Files – 20 Hours 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Tunguska Event / Black Holes / Time Travel / Near Future/ Cloak & Dagger / Quantum Physics / Soviet Union /

June 30th, 1908 – In the remote Tunguska region of Siberia, the most violent cosmic collision in recorded history flattened ancient forests over an area half the size of Rhode Island. Yet after a hundred years of international scientific research the cause of this impact remains a mystery.

Several people told me Singularity was worth listening to. But of course I figured they we’re probably wrong, I’m not easy to please. But because it was FREE I told myself to give it a chance. I have to say I was astounded! After a longish introduction, more of a history lesson, the real story takes off. And boy, does it! Like a Nelson DeMille novel with Saturn V booster strapped to it! This is incisive Hard SF set in a near future with plenty of action, some very cool ideas and even a bit of romance. The plot orbits around the mystery of the 1908 Tunguska Event. The action intertwines cloak and dagger with quantum physics in a tidal dance. I’m no physics major, but the scientific explanations were clear and compelling. You know a story’s good when you end up looking up some of the ideas. The tale is fleshed out through a large cast of central characters: Jonathan Knox, a consultant to elite government agencies, is the engaging lead protagonist. Knox has a knack with finding patterns in giant fields of data – a trait attributable to a voyage his mind went on once. Marianna Bonaventure, his soon to be lover, is a federal government agent on the trail of a missing materials scientist. Physicist Jack Adler is on the same trail as Knox and Marianna, but he doesn’t know it yet. Together, and apart they are in a race that may have been predetermined as unwinnable before it started, only the laws of causality know. Opposing them is a set of rationally motivated villains – with the weight of an multi-billion dollar corporate empire behind them. Leading them is, Arkady Grigoriyevich, who spends most of his time aboard a converted mega-yacht, that is now a floating laboratory. DeSmedt packs about a dozen terrific SF ideas into his tale. Also included in the podcast feed is an informative question and answer bonus MP3 file with the author himself. I am eagerly awaiting the follow-up novel, cleverly titled, Duality.

I tend to enjoy audiobooks narrated by authors, as they know exactly when and where to pause, what words to accentuate and how to pronounce the character names. But DeSmedt was not a perfect narrator, in fact at the start he sounded nervous. I was worried, but gradually as the chapters flowed the anxiety faded, and by the end I he was reading like a professional. Maybe his female voices need a bit more practice, but I swear, all those Russian accents were perfect.

I downloaded Singularity from for free, but when I did I could only get the first half of the novel. It was being released piecemeal, chapter by chapter, as podcasts. I have heard many people enjoy this delivery style; and it probably works for serial adventures or short story collections but I don’t like it for novels. I quickly listened to the first 20 chapters of the book in quick succession only to then have to wait for a whole month to finish it. Next time I visit I’ll be making sure the serialization is completed before starting another novel. Another issue, selecting the next podcast once a chapter was finished was a real bitch. I drive a standard transmission automobile and my iPod is stuck into a faraway cigarette lighter. Every time a chapter of Singularity ended I would be made to reach over to rip my iPod out of the transmitter/charger and then hold on to it and the steering wheel while trying to navigate the menu to figure out which chapter was next. The podcasts delivery system would have been far better if I could have started and the ended the story in the same file, in other words what I needed was one big podcast, the novel in one file.

Review of Taken Liberty by Steven H. Wilson

SFFaudio Review

Taken LibertyTaken Liberty – A Tale From The Artiber Chronicles
By Steven H. Wilson; Read by Steven H. Wilson
Podcast Novel – Approx. 8 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Published: September 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Drama / Action / Slavery /

“I don’t believe you’ve convinced me of her crime.”
“She posed as a human!”
Atal raised an eyebrow. “Is that a crime?”

So begins the intriguing, sad, yet hopeful and inspiring story of a girl who only wanted her freedom. This is the story of Aer’La, a Varthan Feral raised strictly to be a sexual slave. She escapes, and, dying her blue skin and posing as a human, becomes a high-ranking officer on board one of the most esteemed ships in the Confederate Navy- the Arbiter. Only after a routine medical check-up is the truth of what she is discovered. It is ultimately reported to authorities, and then to the media. Aer’La then has no choice but to tell her story to her Captain, Jan Atal. It then becomes a clash of doing what is right, vs. doing what the law states. Aer’La also learns who her allies and her enemies are, as well as a few life lessons about trust and friendship.

Taken Liberty is a tale of truth, friendship, comradery, love, loss, and above all the right to be free. It covers so many genres, you tend to forget that you’re listening to Science Fiction. This is a very key thing for me to say here, because I am not the biggest Science Fiction fan. I know, I know, yet here I am writing reviews for SFFaudio. Let’s just say I’m… picky.

Steven Wilson also does an excellent job with the reading. He gives each character a unique voice, and thanks to his voice acting background, it pays off. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Wilson. The well-driven plot causes you to feel yourself being sucked into the tension of the situation, and really questioning how this poor girl will remain free, instead of being returned to a life of slavery.

If you are a fan of Prometheus Radio Theatre and their Arbiter Chronicles, you will enjoy this book because it goes more in-depth into the characters you know all ready. If you have never heard of the Arbiter Chronicles before, you will still enjoy this book. The story remains separate enough that you are still able to connect and follow the characters and the story without feeling lost. As a matter of fact, my bet will be if you listen to this podiobook, you will want to move on to hear more about the Arbiter and its crew- which can be found via podcast at

If a “semi” Science Fiction fan is impressed and enjoyed this podiobook, imagine what a huge science-fiction fan will think!

Singularity Podcast CONCLUDES Halloween!

Podcast - The SingularityBill DeSmedt, author of the podiobook Singularity, has recorded the final episode of his podcast, a Question and Answer show, hosted by Paul Fisher. The episode will go live tommorow, Halloween! I’ve been listening to the novel and have been blown away by the awesomeness. The ranking has this audiobook rated at 5 out of 5 stars with more than 60 votes! If you like science, Science Fiction, action, and surprises ’round every curve, click on over to, sign up and subscribe, you won’t be sorry.

Nina Kimberly The Merciless by Christiana Ellis: COMPLETED


Christiana Ellis, who I was lucky enough to meet at WorldCon 2006, has now completed her podcast novel Nina Kimberly The Merciless. It is the comedic adventure story of a teenage barbarian princess faced with the task of dispensing with an obnoxious royal suitor. I haven’t finished listening yet, I’m still laughing and snorting my way through her topsy turvy adventure world, but it is fair to say that Nina comes off like Robert E. Howard’s Conan as channeled through Joss Whedon’s Buffy, with an added dash of Arrested Development. Ellis knows how to exploit fantasy’s well-trod paths for comic effect. If you’d been waiting for it to complete before starting now you can!

Nina Kimberly The MercilessNina Kimberly The Merciless
By Christiana Ellis; Read by Christiana Ellis
24 Chapters + 1 Question Show – [UNABRIDGED]
Completed: September 2006

New Podiobook by Paul S. Jenkins: The Plitone Revisionist

Podcast Novel - The Plitone RevisionistPaul S. Jenkins, of The Rev-Up Review podcast fame, has created a Science Fiction podcast novel andthe first five episodes are available now at It’s called The Plitone Revisionist. Here’s the description…

Will Captain Paola Mackie, independent space courier, thrown out of her home ten years previously, escape the unsavory clutches of the man who thinks she can lead him to the notorious Revisionist mothership secretly orbiting within the Lutrana system and plotting to destabilize its economy, its culture, its very way of life?

Will Paola be reconciled with her estranged and aged father before it’s too late for him to pass on his onerous legacy to her? And will she finally get it together with Nantuke Orlis, the Revisionist President’s enigmatic scout?

The Plitone Revisionist is a fast-paced, sexy science-fiction thriller that will keep you enthralled to the end — and beyond.

It sounds cool! Way to go Paul!

posted by Jesse Willis

Bill DeSmedt’s Singularity

Podcast - The SingularityI got the honor of meeting Bill DeSmedt author of the podiobook Singularity, at WorldCon! Bill just wrote in and said: “I promised to get back to you once I’d gotten the schedule for the final few episodes of the Singularity podcast worked out. The final ‘episode’ of the podcast will be a Q&A session with the author (me), hosted by Paul Fisher. Questions must be submitted before Oct 28th, and the best one wins an autographed copy of Singularity.” Thanks Bill!

Here’s the schedule:

Episode 41 (Ch 40: Project Report) — 09/25 (Monday)
Episode 42 (Ch 41: The Singularity) — 09/30 (Saturday)
Episode 43 (Ch 42: A Stitch in Time) — 10/05 (Thursday)
Episode 44 (Ch 43: Le Mot Juste) — 10/10 (Tuesday)
Episode 45 (Ch 44: Last Row on the Chessboard) — 10/15 (Sunday)
Episode 46 (Ch 45: Mopping up) — 10/20 (Friday)
Episode 47 (Epilog: The Bridge) — 10/25 (Wednesday)
Q&A Episode — 10/31 (Tuesday)

And you can check out Paul Fischer’s new MP3 promo for Singularity HERE!

posted by Jesse Willis