BBC Radio 4: a caveman comedy and

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4Our U.K. radio spotter, Roy, has pointed out a couple of recent BBC broadcasts that are still available for your listening pleasure.

BBC R4 Monday 1st June 11:30-12:00 Newfangle episode 1/6.
Radio Times says:

“Sitcom set among a tribe of proto-humans. Newfangle is bottom of the heap – despised by his mother, savaged by Alf on a daily basis and ignored by Snaggle, his favourite female. But Newfangle is a hominid with big ideas. In this opening episode he invents language, which he hopes will transform his situation, only to find words have a way of being twisted to unpleasant uses”.

BBC R4 Tuesday 2nd June 14:15-15:00 Afternoon Play: On Ego
Says the Radio Times:

“Alex believes people and emotions are just a bunch of neurons and uses a teleportation device to prove it. When the machine malfunctions, & his wife falls ill, he is forced to question his beliefs. A Sci- Fi drama from writer Mick Gordon and neuropsychologist Paul Broks”.

These are still be available via ‘listen again’ – or even better via Radio Downloader!

[Thanks Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Forgotten Classics: The Wonder Stick by Stanton A. Coblentz

SFFaudio Online Audio

Forgotten ClassicsI was cheering up a young friend of mine by showing her video of Weird Al’s White and Nerdy the other day. It worked. Afterward, in explaining who Weird Al was, I described the character he played in the movie UHF. I said:

“He’s a sort of guy everybody thinks is a loser – incredibly passionate about his interests. In other words, he’s a nerd like me.”

My young friend then sez: “You know you’re a loser?” and then she laughed.

It was funny.

After the convulsions died down, I said: “I know that some people think of me that way.”

I explained that I know I’m a nerd. That I wear the nerd badge with pride. I like, and always have liked Weird Al and the whole ’embrace your inner nerd’ mentality he exemplifies. Which brings me to The Wonder Stick:

Julie D., of Forgotten Classics podcast (and a contributor to SFFaudio), has just wrapped up the final installment of her wonderful reading of The Wonder Stick by Stanton A. Coblentz. It was Coblentz’s first novel. You can kind of tell it his first novel, much of the dialogue is rather simplistic, especially with crowds of cavemen speaking like a Greek chorus (but then again, cavemen probably weren’t super eloquent). I get the sense that kids will really dig this adventure. Had I read it, when Julie had (in junior high school or high school), I’d have probably have enjoyed it even more than I did.

The Wonder Stick is the story of Ru, a young caveman who’s an outsider. Ru is scorned by his community despite his superior intellect, insight and cunning. In the end Ru triumphs, and gets the respect he so rightly deserves. It’s really the story of the original triumph of the nerds.

What The Wonder Stick doesn’t quite have is the modern ethos of the nerds (it is also absent from the W&N video), namely: We don’t need the respect of the non-nerds. We have our own community. So, to my young friend, and to all you nerds, I highly recommend downloading…

Forgotten Classics presents… Stanton A. Coblentz’s The Wonder StickThe Wonder Stick
By Stanton A. Coblentz; Read by Julie D.
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Forgotten Classics
Podcast: May – September 2008
A prehistorical science fiction novel that does everything but invent the wheel. The “wonder-stick” of the title, is a real invention which provided an unparalleled quantum leap in human technology.

|MP3| Chapters 1 – 2 |MP3| Chapters 3 – 5
|MP3| Chapters 6 – 7 |MP3| Chapters 8 – 10
|MP3| Chapters 11 – 12 |MP3| Chapters 13 -15
|MP3| Chapter 16 |MP3| Chapters 17
|MP3| Chapters 18 – 19 |MP3| Chapters 20 – 21
|MP3| Chapters 22 – 24 |MP3| Chapter 25 – 26 & Conclusion

and then watching…

Posted by Jesse Willis

Forgotten Classics presents… Stanton A. Coblentz’s The Wonder Stick

SFFaudio Online Audio

Forgotten ClassicsJulie D. is the proprietor of Forgotten Classics; it’s one of my favorite podcasts. And that is rather strange thing to say as Julie and I really don’t seem to have much in common. She’s Catholic, has a big family, a husband, and kids in high school and university. She’s into knitting (or at least knitting podcasts) and cookbooks. Many of her blog posts and podcasts talk about what I’d call the pleasures of ‘hearth’ and ‘home.’ None of that’s really my bag, not at all. But on the other hand she’s into podcasts, SF and has an abiding love of old books. All that shows in every single podcast. Julie reads her “Forgotten Classics” with warmth, confidence and clarity. It’s always a pleasure to receive one of her podcasts in my podcatcher. Part of this is her passion for the books themselves, another part of it is that all the books she reads from have been ones unfamiliar to me – I like to be surprised. Her latest project is one just such, namely Stanton A. Coblentz’s first novel The Wonder Stick. I first read a Coblentz story in the Blackstone Audio collection called A Galaxy Trilogy (Volume I). That novel came from the tail end of Coblentz’s carreer. Julie’s recorded chapters 1 and 2 of The Wonder Stick, Coblentz’s first book, and I’m eager to hear the rest of it. Check it and Forgotten Classics out…

Forgotten Classics presents… Stanton A. Coblentz’s The Wonder StickThe Wonder Stick
By Stanton A. Coblentz; Read by Julie D.
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Forgotten Classics
Podcast: May 2008 – ????
Variously described around the net as “a cave-man story” and “a prehistorical” my attention was piqued when I realized this was an out and out Science Fiction story, that “wonder-stick” of the title, it performs what could playfully be called the original spooky action at a distance.

Have a listen to the Forgotten Classics promo |MP3| and then subscribe for the podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Dream-Time by Henry Treece

SFFaudio Review

The Dream-Time by Henry TreeceThe Dream-Time
By Henry Treece; Read by Tim Bentinck
2 Cassettes – Approx. 2 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Chivers Audio Books
Published: 1987
ISBN: 0745185894
Themes: / Science Fiction / Young Adult / Prehistorical / Art / Language / Magic /

“The Dream-time is a story of people in the very early morning of humanity, when they were not really used to being people at all, and so everything had a strangeness about it, and nothing was quite certain; not even that the spring would come again next year. They were so near the beginning that they can have had only the fewest and simplest of words with which to talk to each other and share their thoughts and feelings and ideas. And yet we know, from the things to do with their religion and way of life that they left behind them, and from Stone Age people who are alive today, such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari, that they had all kinds of complicated thoughts and fears and longings in their heads and hearts.”
-Postscript to The Dream-Time written by Rosemary Sutcliffe

At the dawn of human existence a young boy named Crookleg has mastery over a new kind of magic. His people, deeply superstitious, curse him for they fear his magic will harm the barley crop and the community. But Crookleg finds himself not agreeing with their opinions. His magic, the ability to make pictures of animals eventually finds him cast out. When he ventures into the dangerous lands beyond his home he finds danger, a new name, starvation and eventually family.

First published in 1967 The Dream Time was the last novel written by Henry Treece, a specialist in historical fiction. I first encountered Treece in the early 1980s after hearing the entirety The Lord Of The Rings. My uncle, looking for another book to read to me, produced a slim boxed trilogy of paperbacks that were themselves thinner than just The Fellowship Of The Ring alone. But as my uncle read me the story I soon learned that what Treece lacked in wordiness he made up for in craft. Treece was a poet, a surrealist of prose and had a gift for maximizing the value of words by careful selection and placement. Hearing Treece’s Viking Trilogy it felt as deep as The Lord Of The Rings – no small feat. To be fair though The Dream Time isn’t very long at all. At just two hours it feels only just longer than a short novel. The world Treece describes in The Dream Time is one full of primitive beliefs. Its inhabitants have an ultra-limited technology, none can write, little metal exists and communication with neighboring tribes is as dodgy as communicating with animals. The Dream-Time feels as universal and surreal as one can imagine for a history based book. One blogger described the way Treece writes as “Romantic Surreal dreamshock … [Treece’s characters] were human too, he suggests; they understood things differently but their ideas seemed as valid to them as ours seem valid to us.” – and that is a good way to describe it. Narrator Tim Bentinck gives a sympathetic reading, even the villains in The Dream-Time understandable. If you want an artful living breathing history (or in this case prehistory) look to Treece.

Posted by Jesse Willis