LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Stories Collection #005

SFFaudio Online Audio

The “Short Science Fiction Collections” from LibriVox are FREE and FUN! Here’s the latest, which includes mostly new stories (a couple of stories previously recorded by other narrators). My recommended listens from this collection include: Summit, Crossroads Of Destiny and A Matter Of Magnitude. Also, listen to The Untouchable and Quiet, Please, if only for the voice of new narrator Jerome Lawson. Lawson is trying and achieving distinctive voices for each character – it’s not polished to perfection yet, but he’s really got something there. Lawson also has great sound set-up too. I’d like to hear more of his work in the next collection – or in novella or novel length work. And, thanks to all the narrators and the administrators at LibriVox for these! We appreciate it folks!

LibriVox Short Science Fiction Stories Collection #005Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 005
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3s or Podcast – Approx. 5.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
“Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science or technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories, originally published between 1931 and 1962, that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.”

Stories included:

LibriVox - 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 2BR02B
By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; Read by Hoosemon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
In the not so distant future an over-populated planet requires that every birth be balanced by a death. When Edward K. Whelig, Jr.’s wife births triplets he needs to find three people willing to enter a local suicide booth and give him the receipt…

The Burning Bridge by Poul AndersonThe Burning Bridge
By Poul Anderson; Read by Alex C. Telander
1 |MP3| – Approx. 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
Usually there are two “reasons” why something is done; the reason why it needs to be done, and, quite separate, the reason people want to do it. The foul-up starts when the reason-for-wanting is satisfied … and the need remains! This story was first published in Astounding Science Fiction magazine’s January 1960 issue.
*From Worlds of If, January 1962.

By Alan E. Nourse; Read by RK Wilcox
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
Not a strange-looking man, Morgan thought. Rather ordinary, in fact. A plain face, nose a little too long, fingers a little too dainty, a suit that doesn’t quite seem to fit, but all in all, a perfectly ordinary looking man. *First published in 1963 in “The Counterfeit Man -More Science Fiction Stories”.

Crossroads of Destiny by H. Beam PiperCrossroads of Destiny
By H. Beam Piper; Read by Alex C. Telander
1 |MP3| – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
No wonder he’d been so interested in the talk of whether our people accepted these theories! *First published in the July 1959 issue of Fantastic Universe Science Fiction magazine.

Egocentric Orbit by John CoryEgocentric Orbit
By John Cory; Read by Elanor
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
It took a long time for human beings to accept that our little piece of meteoric rubble wasn’t the exact and absolute center of the Universe. It does appear that way, doesn’t it? It may not take so long for a spaceman to learn … First published in Astounding Science Fiction’s May 1960 issue.

A Matter Of Magnitude
By Al Sevcik; Read by RK Wilcox
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
When you’re commanding a spaceship over a mile long, and armed to the teeth, you don’t exactly expect to be told to get the hell out … *First published in the pages of Amazing Science Fiction Stories, January 1960.

Quiet, Please
By Kevin Scott; Read by Jerome Lawsen
1 |MP3| Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
Groverzb knew what he wanted—peace and quiet. He was willing to scream his head off for it!
*First published in Worlds of If magazine’s November 1961 issue.

The Untouchable by Stephen A. Kallis, Jr.The Untouchable
By Stephen A. Kallis, Jr.; Read by Jerome Lawsen
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
“You can see it—you can watch it—but mustn’t touch!” And what could possibly be more frustrating … when you need, most violently, to get your hands on it for just one second… *From Analog magazine’s December 1960 issue.

Summit by Mack ReynoldsSummit
By Mack Reynolds; Read by RK Wilcox
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
Almost anything, if it goes on long enough, can be reduced to, first a Routine, and then, to a Tradition. And at the point it is, obviously, Necessary. *First published in Astounding Science Fiction’s February, 1960 issue.

The Yillian Way
By Keith Laumer; Read by John Larmour
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 2008
The ceremonious protocol of the Yills was impressive, colorful—and, in the long run, deadly!

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Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of A War Of Gifts – An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - A War of Gifts by Orson Scott CardA War of Gifts – An Ender Story
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki
2 CDs – Approx. 2.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781593976316
Themes: / Science Fiction / Psychology / Christmas /

“The children come from many nations and many religions; and while they are being trained for war, religious conflict between them is not on the curriculum. But Dink Meeker, one of the older students, doesn’t see it that way. He thinks that giving gifts isn’t exactly a religious observation, and on Sinterklaaus Day he tucks a present into another student’s shoe. The War over Santa Claus will force everyone to make a choice.”

A War of Gifts is a Christmas story set on a space station near Earth. There, Zeck Morgan, an intelligent boy with a phenomenally retentive memory, sits as an unwanted draftee into a school for generals. His parents and he, are deeply religious, but since the students there come from every nation and religion on Earth no religious observance is allowed. So when two Dutch boys find a way to celebrate Sinterklaas Day Zeck maps out a plan to get himself home.

Set in “battle school” of Orson Scott Card’s famous Ender’s Game novel, and concordant with the events of that book we learn of a new student who has more than one reason not to want to be there. First, Zeck is a pacifist, second he’s deeply religious. Both of these things are absolutely anathema in battle school. There’s plenty of rumination, and plenty of issues too, many of which will make people squirm to hear. Card does no preaching, but its clear he understands it. Which makes the novelette all the more interesting. Now I’ve read and heard several reviews about this novelette that were pretty negative (Sci-Fi Weekly, Beam Me Up, The reviewers complained either that it was a ‘cheap way to cash in’ or that it ‘wasn’t up to Card’s usual writing standards’. Some also attributed a kind of religious bias towards Christianity too. I think that most of this criticism is uncharitable. That said, A War Of Gifts will not set a new high standard for Card or for Science Fiction. But it wasn’t intended to either. It is a modest story, well written and like all of the recent “Ender tales” about Ender’s Game it is primarily about the minor characters. A War Of Gifts isn’t an independent story. You really must have read and enjoyed Ender’s Game to appreciate it, and then you must also realize that these character stories are all psychological stories – stories of the people in a science fiction world and not about the science fiction world itself. What card does is take a complex person and decode them into psychologically understandability. He does it with a humane and unjaded eye. If you come at it without a lot of preconceptions I think you can quite enjoy it – as I most certainly did.

Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki trade off reading chapters and points of view in a narrative dance that is both seamless and elegant. As Card himself says…

“The ideal presentation of any book of mine is to have excellent actors perform in an audio only format.”

And that’s what has happened here. This two CD set is small and will fit into the stocking of most any kid who’s a fan of Ender’s Game, be that kid atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or even Christian. Because as the kids at battle school say, Christmas is a national holiday, not a religious one.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Dark Pods – Two Audiostories


Here are a couple of dark treats before the holiday spirit consumes us all. Not for younger listeners!

From Escape Pod,
“Me and My Shadow” by Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Unauthorized Autobiographies and Other Curiosities, 1984.

Of course, even if we had met before, they couldn’t recognize me now. I know. I’ve spent almost three years trying to find out who I was before I got Erased — but along with what they did to my brain, they gave me a new face and wiped my fingerprints clean. I’m a brand new man: two years, eleven months, and seventeen days old. I am (fanfare and trumpets, please!) William Jordan. Not a real catchy name, I’ll admit, but it’s the only one I’ve got these days.

A dark story about a personality better left buried.

Available in [mp3] format hereYou can subscribe to the podcast feed via this url:

From Pseudopod,
“Finding Allison” by Glen Krish
Read by Alasdair Stuart

Disarming and cruel. Two words could sum up Allison’s smile, and that’s all he had left of her. Her smile hid right behind his eyes, pushing at his brain like a tumor — that angled, curt, and thick-lipped smile. Even the day before she left, they seemed collectively twined together, a seamless mass of flesh, two shadows of one body. Now he was alone with a gun in his lap.

Another dark story about personality, but in a very different way.
Available in [mp3] format here You can subscribe to the podcast feed via this url:

Posted by David Tackett

2 John Kessel Audiobooks FREE on his website

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s a sweet find! John Kessel who’s story of A Clean Escape premiered on the new Masters Of Science Fiction anthology TV series a couple of Saturdays ago has made the original tale available to be heard as a regular audiobook reading on his website. Kessel, with help from friend, and fellow SF writer, James Patrick Kelly, has recorded his most adapted story and posted it for our listening pleasure. It was first published in 1985 in the pages of Asimov’s Science Fiction. Also available from Kessel is his short story, Some Like It Cold, which first appeared a 1994 issue of Omni. Grab the details for each below…

A Clean EscapeA Clean Escape
By John Kessel; Read by John Kessel
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: John Kessel’s website
Published: August 2007
A psychiatrist deals with a patient who seems to have lost his memory of the last twenty-four years. Or has he?

A Clean EscapeSome Like It Cold
By John Kessel; Read by John Kessel
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: John Kessel’s website
Published: August 2007
A time traveling talent scout from the future visits 1962 in search of his next recruit. But is she ready to come?

Review of Posing As People: Three Stories, Three Plays by Orson Scott Card

Science Fiction Audio - Posing as People by Orson Scott CardPosing As People: Three Stories, Three Plays
By Orson Scott Card, Scott Brick, Emily Janice Card, and Aaron Johnson
Performed by 3 FULL CASTS and Various Readers
Limited Edition Hardcover with 4 CDs – 4.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1596060158
Themes: / Science Fiction / Love / Time Travel / Psychology / Aliens / Artificial Intelligence /

“Clap Hands and Sing” shows us a lonely — but rich and powerful — old man who has only one wish before he dies: To go back in time and take an opportunity for love that he once let slip by. But what will it do to the young girl who used to love him?

“Lifeloop” pretends to be reality TV twenty-four hours a day. In fact, they’re really actors. But when your character is you, without any break, how exactly do you have a “real” life? And how can a fellow actor tell you that he loves you, when that’s what the script also calls for him to say?

“Sepulchre of Songs” is about a heartbreakingly lovely girl who lost her arms and legs many years ago, and now yearns to be free, not just of the rest home where she lives, but of her body. So is the alien being who wants to trade places with her real or the product of her own imagination? And can her therapist’s growing love for her keep her from fleeing — either into space or the dark recesses of her own mind?

Three Orson Scott Card short science fiction stories and three one-act adaptations of the same comprise the bulk of this limited edition (only 750 were published) hardcover book and audio CD set. Posing As People: Three Stories, Three Plays was released in the wake of the 2004 premiere of the stage play of the same name. Everything found on the four Compact Discs can be found in the paper book – minus the actual aural performances. The paper book also includes a foreword by Card, an introduction to the play “Clap Hands And Sing” by author Scott Brick, an afterword to play “Life Loop” by author Aaron Johnston, an afterword to the play “A Sephulcre of Songs” by author Emily Janice Card, and three afterwords, one for each of the original short stories, by Orson Scott Card.

The CDs of course are the heart of our real interest here at SFFAUDIO. On the CDs, first come the three plays, all multi-actor performances with sound effects – basically exactly what you would have experienced were you sitting in the theater in Los Angeles with your eyes closed. Following the three plays are the original three short stories as read by one individual reader each.

I think the plays all fail to deliver as audio drama. This is not due to any adaptational problems of the play’s adaptors, rather I think it was a mistake not to make the plays video DVDs. Each play was specifically adapted for the stage – and not constructed to work on their own as audio dramas. For instance – there is very little sense of place in the audio of the plays – but there is a great sense of place in the audiobooks that the plays are based on. By simply recording the audio they’ve cut off that sense of space. Thus I think they don’t work on their own as audio dramas. On the other hand, if you saw the original plays in Los Angeles these might adequately allow you to revisit the performances.

All three adaptations, or what I experienced of them, are very well performed and the sound effects are used to good effect but the true power of the stories doesn’t materialize without the visual component. Contrarywise, the readings of the original short stories all work perfectly. The original text is very evocative visually, and provide a emotional richness lacking in the soundtrack to the three plays. That said, some work better than others. “Lifeloop” is the best of the three plays as it the most talky of the dramatizations. Of the unabridge short story readings “A Sephulcre Of Songs” works best, narrator Robert Forster reads with a poignant sadness that is truly heart-rending. The only drawback is there is a slight hiss in this particular recording.

The Plays:
“Clap Hands And Sing”
By Scott Brick, based on the Short story by Orson Scott Card; Directed by Orson Scott Card
Lawyer 1 — Eric Artell
Lawyer 2 — Sara Ellis
Sportscaster — Lara Schwartzberg
Lucy Host — Sara Ellis
Ronco Pitchperson — Victoria Von Roth
News Anchor — Kelly Lohman
Charlie — Stefan Rudnicki
Jock — Scott Brick
Rachel Carpenter — Emily Janice Card
Mrs. Carpenter — Victoria Von Roth

By Aaron Johnston, based on the Short story by Orson Scott Card; Directed by Orson Scott Card
Aaron Handully — Lara Schwartzberg
Felice — Kelly Lohman
Hamilton — Eric Artell
Truiff — Victoria Von Roth
Technician — Scott Brick

“A Sepulchre Of Songs”
By Emily Janice Card, based on the Short story by Orson Scott Card; Directed by Orson Scott Card
Therapist — Kirby Heyborne
April — Kelly Lohman
Elaine — Emily Janice Card
Doug — Eric Artell
Wallace — Stefan Rudnicki
Becky — Lara Schwartzberg

The Stories:
“Clap Hands And Sing”
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Scott Brick

By Orson Scott Card; Read by Emily Janice Card

“A Sepulchre Of Songs”
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Robert Forster

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Inside Man by H.L. Gold

Science Fiction - Inside Man by H.L. GoldInside Man
By H.L. Gold; Read by William Mills, Sam Gartner and
Roxanne Mills
1 MP3 File – Approx. 32 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Renaissance E Books / REB Audio
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Humor / Empathy / Telepathy / Psychology / Domesticity /

Why would Lester Shay need anything new to occupy his mind? He is a newlywed of just 3 months! But, when you can’t shut out the pained emotions and feelings of the machines with which you live, even a passionate young bride isn’t quite enough!

First published in the October 1965 issue of Galaxy magazine, the 15th Anniversary issue, Inside Man garner a Nebula nomination for best science fiction short story of the year. But despite the nomination this is, by no means, a classic of the genre. Horace Gold was a far better editor than he was a writer. Despite the caveats this is a well produced multiple voice reading of the exact sort of story that appeared in Galaxy magazine under Gold’s editorial reign. Funny and original. And though hearing the mid-twentieth century values voiced today seem at best rather quaint, this short story still yields an interesting twist. The readers’ voices are clear and this a relatively straightforward and professional production. The highlight for me though is actually the three minute biographical and historical introduction to the story written by Jean Marie Stine. It is always a good idea to place an older story in its context. But I must say the spacey music that accompanies the introduction doesn’t actually improve it. Inside Man is available now as a high quality MP3 through

Posted by Jesse Willis