BBC4 & Stephen Fry – In The Beginning Was The Nerd

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4RadioArchive.ccI’ve been enjoying quite a lot of Stephen Fry on television lately. He’s been following in the footsteps of Douglas Adams in the recent series Last Chance To See, doing an autobiographical examination of a fascinating disorder in Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive and criss-crossing the USA in Stephen Fry in America. But the programme that I’ll draw your attention to is a very nice hour long documentary that aired on BBC Radio 4 a couple weeks back. I picked it up through, and I recommend you do the same.

Fry brings quite a bit to the show, delving back into computer history, talking about Alan Turing (and how that connects to where the Apple company’s logo came from), sliding tangentially into Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Karel Čapek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops and plenty more besides. The “Y2K disaster” seems more and more relevant these days, not because of the disaster itsel (which didn’t happen) but rather because the fixity of poorly informed media opinion is more and more likely despite our increasing ability to digitally record and rehash our poor predictions. We just don’t do it – except with programmes like this!

Stephen FryStephen Fry – In The Beginning Was The Nerd
By Stephen Fry
1 Broadcast – Approx. 56 Minutes [DOCUMENTARY]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: October 5, 2009
The Western world, with a few notable exceptions, poured billions of dollars into electronic pesticides to defeat the Y2K bug. Only to find that for the most part it could have been defeated by turning the systems off then on again. So, why the silence when the bug didn’t bite? The answer’s in the programme. Politicians, experts and businessmen all profited in status or cash from the threat. In the media – to paraphrase the crime reporters – it bled so it led. In the USA, government brazenly claimed victory for its defeat. In reality, the enemy was almost totally imaginary. But it’s useless blaming the great and the good. It was inevitable. We’d been told repeatedly that this brilliant new technology would change the world. Then we were told it could all stop on the stroke of one spookily special midnight. We were the newly addicted, suddenly faced with the prospect that our supply was fatally endangered. There was only one thing we could do. Panic. Then spend millions fixing it. Sorry, that’s two things.

Here’s a 15 minute selection from the doc:

You can pick up the rest, via torrent, from

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #039


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #039 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Fred Greenhalgh of Final Rune Productions (and the Radio Drama Revival podcast) to talk about the twin arts of radio drama and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
Modern radio drama, The Sonic Society podcast, Roger Gregg, William Dufris, H.P. Lovecraft, Halloween, horror, The Grist Mill, Dark Passenger by Fred Greenhalgh, Willamette Radio Workshop, zombies, The Drabblecast podcast, Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, WMPG, Maine, equipment for recording, Zoom Q3, Zoom H2, software for editing audio, Audacity, Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro), Pro Tools, The Most Dangerous Game, Three Skeleton Key, Infidel by Roger Gregg, “field recording” audio drama, Marantz PMD660, the growth of amateur audio drama,, Mad Horse Theatre Company, Waiting For A Window by Fred Greenhalgh, 2008 Ogle Awards, Wireless Theatre Company, The Grimm Of Stoddesden Hall, folklore, mythology, Medusa On The Beach, New Orleans, fantasy, Day Of The Dead by Fred Greenhalgh, the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Robert Jordan, Final Fantasy, German audio drama (“Hörspiel”), the freakonomics of audio drama (dubbing drives interest in audio drama), the Torchwood radio dramas, Lux Radio Theatre, Academy Award Theatre, will radio drama revive?, what’s wrong with terrestrial radio?, what’s wrong with satellite radio?, Sirius Channel #163, radio drama in decline?, CBC mothballing radio drama, Colonial Radio Theatre, turning radio drama into cartoons, The Anne Manx series, Anne Manx animated (on YouTube), Radio Repertory Company of America, Decoder Ring Theatre’s The Red Panda Adventures, machinima, Creepshow, Wormwood, is the month of October for radio drama?, or is it just Halloween?, The War Of The Worlds, Simon Jones, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (radio drama), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Adventures Of Sexton Blake, Dirk Maggs, stream of consciousness, post modern audio drama, Yuri Rasovsky‘s The Cabinet Of Dr. Calagari, Tom Lopez (aka Meatball Fulton), The Cabinet Of Dr. Fritz, Cellphone Theatre,,’s new stereo format, Bradbury 13, 90 Second Cellphone Chillin’ Theatre, Blackstone Audio’s The Maltese Falcon, narration in audio drama, Rogue Male, storytelling and medium, First Blood,

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC: Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer COMPLETED

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio - Between The Covers podcastCanada’s book reading radio show, Between The Covers, has just finished adding all 25 parts of Robert J. Sawyer‘s novel Rollback to its podcast.

For my own listening pleasure I’ve gone through and stripped out all the intros and extros so as to make it into one big clean audiobook file.

You can, and probably should, do the same to your own files if you’re planning to listen to this audiobook straight through. Here’s my suggestion:

Downloading the files from the feed (or HERE), dragging them into Audacity (a free digital audio editor) one at a time and snip-off the first and last 30 seconds (or so from) from each file. Then plop the resulting (shortened) MP3 files into another piece of software called MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter. Export as one big M4B and drag into itunes under as a single new playlist. The above may seem slightly complicated (at least the first time around) but it’s not really that tough and it will improve your enjoyment of the audiobook.

Alternatively, I think Julie from Forgotten Classics has figured out a similar (or reverse) system using iTunes 9. That might work. But myself I like the idea that I can drag a single DRM-free file into Skype and send it out immediately to a friend (who uses iTunes) and have it show up in the right category, ready for bookmarked listening.

So, get downloading from the feed people! And hurry it up, because those files will only be there for a limited time – and that’s your only option at this point, at least until some thoughtful person (cleverer than me in the ways of torrent assemblage) puts a tracker for the novel up on website. CBC should really be doing it actually, but that’s probably expecting a little to much at this point.

CBC Between The Covers - Rollback by Robert J. SawyerRollback
By Robert J. Sawyer; Read by Alessandro Juliani
25 MP3s via Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: CBC / Between The Covers
Podcast: September 7 – October 9, 2009
It’s 2009. Sarah Halifax decodes the first radio transmission from aliens. Thirty-eight years later a second message is received and Sarah – now 87 – may have the key to deciphering this one too …if she lives long enough. What would you do differently if you suddenly had another 60 or 70 yrs of life? Hugo and Nebula award-winner Robert Sawyer explores ethics on both the human and cosmic scale in this novel about becoming young again.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBCRIBE|

[Thanks to Heather Brown for making this happen at CBC!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. CBC is still sitting on it’s J. Michael Straczynski radio drama series. I protest this inaction! Do something with it CBC!

BBC Radio 7: Planet B

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7Planet BPlanet B is a Science Fiction radio drama series first broadcast on BBC Radio 7 in March 2009. It follows the journey of John Armstrong (played by Gunnar Cauthery) through the virtual world of a futuristic game. In an effort to find his girlfriend Lioba Fielding (Donnla Hughes) he becomes entangled in an array of strange scenarios, teleporting from each adventure to the next with his companion Medley (Lizzy Watts) while being watched by an antivirus programme called Cerberus (Chris Pavlo). The series was created by Sam Hoyle, Jessica Dromgoole and Matthew Broughton with James Robinson and ran for ten episodes. It was BBC 7’s biggest ever commission for an original drama series. A second series is currently in production and is scheduled to be broadcast in late November 2009.

So that’s what wikipedia sez about Planet B

Here’s what my friend Julie sez about Planet B:

“An amazing show.

Hopefully if you subscribe now then you can get the first couple of episodes. If not, I’ll send them to you. So very, very good …”

Thanks Julie. Because of your recommendation I am currently downloading the torrent from I don’t know how I missed the original podcast feed for the show!

Here’s the description of each episode:

Episode 1 Golden Moments – Approx. 29 Minutes
Opening episode of Radio 7’s new major science fiction series set in a virtual universe of infinite possibility. John is shocked to discover that he is attending his girlfriend Lioba’s funeral, again. Unsure whether it’s a dream, a drug induced hallucination, or – as his Auntie Cherry tells him – the grief, he tries to make sense of the fact that there’s no body in her coffin.

Episode 2 New Boy – Approx. 28 Minutes
John and Medley learn to cope in the brutal environment of a nostalgic school world, where only bullies win.

Episode 3 Freak Show – Approx. 28 Minutes
Searching for Lioba, John finds himself in Freak Show, where celebrity is all. Will he find Lioba, or is this world a trap?

Episode 4 New Rome – Approx. 28 Minutes
John and Medley are transported to New Rome, a world of orgies and circuses, where the slaves are rebelling against the cruelty of the human controlled avatars.

Episode 5 Smart Money – Approx. 29 Minutes
John and Medley are pitched into the frantic world of buying low and selling high, unaware that they’re playing for his life.

Episode 6 The Wild Gang – Approx. 29 Minutes
Chuck Flint’s gang rule by gun law in Wild West World, where John finds himself in the role of Sheriff.

Episode 7 Catharsis – Approx. 27 Minutes
John is the captain of a space battleship in a world that’s so real he’s forgotten who he is. Can Medley make him remember?

Episode 8 Retreat – Approx. 28 Minutes
John and Medley find themselves in a strange religious retreat. Is it a cult or will they find real enlightenment here?

Episode 9 The Fast Track – Approx. 29 Minutes
Still stuck in a virtual world, it’s John’s last chance to save Lioba; can he work out how to navigate a path through Planet B?

Episode 10 Death’s Door – Approx. 29 Minutes
John and Lioba leave Planet B, and agree to meet in the real world, but can they ever really escape?

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC7: Brian Aldiss Presents: Imposter by Philip K. Dick

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7BBC Radio 7 has just started a new 5 part series, a “new commission” called Brian Aldiss Presents. The idea is that for five weekends “the UK’s master of the genre” will personally select and introduce a Science Fiction short story for our listening pleasure.

Great idea sez me!

BBC iPlayerAldiss’ first selection is already theoretically available for listening over on the BBC website (using the BBC iPlayer):

Radio Downloader… is definitely subscribable via Radio Downloader…and will likely be showing up on in mere moments.

And that selection is…

BBC Radio 7 - Brian Aldiss Presents - Imposter by Philip K. DickBrian Aldiss Presents – Imposter
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Peter Marinker
1 Broadcast – Approx. 15 Minutes [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Saturday September 19th, 2009 @ 6.30pm and 00.30am
Spence Olham is confronted by a colleague and accused of being an android impostor designed to sabotage Earth’s defences. The impostor’s ship was damaged and has crashed just outside the city. The android is supposed to detonate a planet destroying bomb on the utterance of a deadly code phrase. Olham must escape and prove his innocence, providing he is actually Spence Olham. First published in Astounding magazine’s June 1953 issue.

BBC iPlayer users can listen by clicking the “lower quality version.” This production has some sound effects/music.

Posted by Jesse Willis Chillers – Four Tales Of Terror: Campbell, Ellison, Shepard, Delany

SFFaudio Online Audio

RadioArchive.ccSomeone in the forums asked for, and received, a re-seeding of Chillers – Four Tales of Terror. If there’s an anthology that showcases the power of radio drama, this is it! Chillers was an utterly fantastic 4 episode series of stories adapted by Mike Walker. All four plays were based on excellent Science Fiction and Horror tales. The series was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between January 24th 2002 and February 14th 2002. Here are the details.

Chillers Four Tales Of TerrorChillers – Four Tales of Terror
Dramatized by Mike Walker; Performed by full casts
4 x 30 Minute Programs – Approx. 2 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Jan. – Feb. 2002

“Who Goes There?”
Based on story by John W. Campbell; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Penned under the name Don A. Stuart, the novelette that this play was based on was first published in the August 1938 issue of Astounding Stories.
An alien being is found frozen in the ice of Antarctica. When it is thawed, it awakens, to become a threat to the small base camp. In fact, it’s a threat to all life on earth, as it can change shape and absorb the life and bodies of every living thing it comes in contact with.

“I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream”
Based on story by Harlan Ellison; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
The Hugo Award winning short story this play was based on first appeared in the March 1968 issue of Worlds Of If.
This is a tale of five people kept alive by AM, a computer that came alive, waged war and won against mankind. It’s hatred of mankind is so profound, that it kept these five alive only to torture them.

“Delta Sly Honey”
Based on story by Lucius Shepard; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
First appeared in a 1987 anthology entitled In the Field of Fire, which was a collection of SF and Fantasy stories dealing with Vietnam.
Taking place in the Vietnam War era, this is the story of a Southern country boy who exorcises his demons making late night broadcasts to phantom military units. Then, one answers.

Based on story by Samuel R. Delany; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
First published in Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine‘s October, 1967 issue.
This is the story of an injured man and a girl who seeks death to free her from the pain that comes from her telepathic ability. Their common bond is a pop musician who offers peace to both.

Visit |HERE| to download the torrent.

Posted by Jesse Willis