Review of Here Today …Gone to Tomorrow edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Here Today ... Gone TomorrowHere Today …Gone Tomorrow (Asimov’s All Time Favorite Time Travel Stories)
Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg; Read by various
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dercum Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 1556562586 [out of print]
Themes: /Science Fiction /Time travel /Anthology /

Stories: “Try and Change the Past” by Fritz Leiber, read by Bill Fantini; “A Loint of Paw” by Isaac Asimov, read by Bill Fantini; “The Long Remembering” by Poul Anderson, read by Nelson Runger; “There Is A Wolf In My Time Machine” by Larry Niven, read by Bill Fantini; “The Light Of Other Days” by Bob Shaw, read by Nelson Runger; “The Kings Wishes” by Robert Sheckley, read by Nelson Runger; “The Little Black Bag” by C.M. Kornbluth, read by Ann Wilcox.

Old school. That’s what this collection of time travel stories is, with all the blessings and baggage that implies. The stories concern mainly white men, with women appearing mostly as henpecking baffles for their claustrophobic concerns, and, in general, the voices presenting the stories are brusque and hairy-chested, like those from a third grade filmstrip on pool safety (and if that simile has any resonance for you, then I think you appreciate what I mean by “old school”). A female voice does narrate C.M. Kornbluth’s “The Little Black Bag”, but the story is so piquant with elitism and misogyny, it might as well be read by a Victorian-era Harvard College president.

The cover claims the stories were hand selected by Isaac Asimov from his own personal library, and the photo shows the great one with his trademark facial fur and engaging grin in front of a tall shelf packed with his own works.* Happily, his own works do appear in this collection, but only in the delightful – a word to describe almost anything Asimov uttered aloud – introduction he delivers himself, and the brief, forgettable story “A Loint Of Paw” which he does not.

The list of authors is impressive. The stories, however, while enjoyable, are neither essential nor groundbreaking. The best of them, and the only one to offer even a glimpse of the wistful ache that is the primary motivation for the idea of time travel, is Bob Shaw’s “The Light Of Other Days.” I was caught off guard after the relatively bland intellectual exercises of the forgoing stories because this one starts out looking similarly simple and heartless, yet builds to a subtle and profoundly moving finish.

As a whole, this is a decent collection, but not one I’d risk any injury rushing out to acquire. If it falls in your lap, or if you are a rabid fan of old school SF, I’d give it a listen. Otherwise, I think you could easily find something more satisfying to fill your ears with.

[editor’s note – the cover depicted above does not match Kurt’s description. Kurt’s scan of his copy of this audiobook was not available at the time of this post]

Posted by Kurt Dietz

StarShipSofa Podcast covers James Tripree Jr.

SFFaudio Online Audio

Starship Sofa PodcastStarshipSofa , the terrific U.K. podcast that specializes in Science Fiction authors has one heck of a show there. The hosts, Tony and Ciaran, have an especially crackin’ show this week, one that I am truly chuffed to tell you about. On offer today is a show on James Tiptree Jr. (AKA Alice Sheldon), a writer who lived a very extraordinary life. As the boys say, she “blazed across the Science Fiction skies” with her short stories of the 1970s. And stay tuned for her shocking ending!

Download the show direct |MP3| or subscribe to the feed:

And don’t forget to revisit their earlier subjects:

Show # 1: Classic Author: Alfred Bester |MP3|
Show # 2: Classic Author: John Brunner |MP3|
Show # 3: Classic Author: Algis Budrys |MP3|
Show # 4: Classic Author: Cordwainer Smith |MP3|
Show # 5: Classic Author: Stanislaw Lem |MP3|
Show # 6: Classic Film: Dark Star |MP3|
Show # 7: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 1) |MP3|
Show # 8: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 2) |MP3|
Show # 9: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 3) |MP3|
Show # 10: Classic Film: Capricorn One |MP3|
Show # 11: Classic Author: Henry Kuttner |MP3|
Show # 12: Classic Author: Robert Silverberg |MP3|
Show # 13: Classic Author: Joe Haldeman |MP3|
Show # 14: Classic Author: L. Ron Hubbard |MP3|
Show # 15: Classic Author: Harlan Ellison |MP3|
Show # 16: Classic Author: Douglas Adams (Part 1) |MP3|
Show # 17: Classic Author: Douglas Adams (Part 2) |MP3|
Show # 18: Classic Author: Robert Sheckley |MP3|
Show # 19: Classic Author: Roger Zelazny |MP3|
Show # 20: Classic Author: Iian M. Banks |MP3|
Show # 21: Classic Author: Ursula K. LeGuin |MP3|
Show # 22: Christmas Special Part 1 |MP3| & 2 |MP3|
Show # 23: Email Show |MP3|

Project Gutenberg has UNABRIDGED Robert Sheckley!

Online Audio

Great gods! Project Gutenberg has a complete reading of a Robert Sheckley novellete, Bad Medicine! This gem was first published under the Sheckley pseudonym “Finn O’Donnevan” appearing in Galaxy Magazine’s July 1956 issue. The name “Finn O’Donnevan” was used because Galaxy already had another short story in that same issue by Sheckley and the magazines worried about such things back then. Bad Medicine is a prototypical Sheckleyian story and that’s really saying something. The man wrote more than 400 stories in all! His work is tinged with dark, absurdist humor, and I enjoy the heck out of it. I don’t know who does this reading, but its good enough for FREE! You’ll love it…

Online Audiobook - Bad Medicine by Robert SheckleyBad Medicine
By Robert Sheckley; Read by ???
1 MP3 File – 35 Minutes 38 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Gutenberg.org
Published: 2005
“On May 2, 2103, Elwood Caswell walked rapidly down Broadway with a loaded revolver hidden in his coat pocket. He didn’t want to use the weapon, but feared he might anyhow. This was a justifiable assumption, for Caswell was a homicidal maniac.”

A FREE Philip K. Dick Audiobook Kicks Off A New Audiobook Company

Online Audio

Online Audio - Wonder AudiobooksWonder Audiobooks is the BRAND NEW audiobook company owned by the SFFaudio reviewer known as The Time Traveler. To promote his new site and his upcoming first release Wonder Audio has released a free audiobook! In the past other companies have given away audiobooks as promotions as well, but I’ve never seen a better title by a better author given away for free for such a promotion – this one is truly a stunner folks, a previously unrecorded Philip K. Dick story, Dick’s first published short story in fact, complete, unabridged and read by a professional narrator in a studio setting … best of all it is 100% FREE! This is truly an SFFaudio listener’s dream come true!

Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. DickBeyond Lies The Wub
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Mac Kelly
1 MP3 File – 17 Minutes 40 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Published: June 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Aliens / Colonialism / Interplanetary Travel /Mars /

The arrogant Captain Franco and his crew of earthmen land on Mars to take on provisions – there they purchase a half ton pig-like creature called a “wub.” They think it a meat animal but when Franco starts to discuss exactly how to butcher the creature the Wub protests! The Wub is not as intellectually starved as it at first appears – indeed the classics, especially Homer’s Odyssey are of special interest to the wub – which makes it doubly ironic that the humans aboard Franco’s ship didn’t remember about what the dread goddess Circe did to Odysseus’ poor crew…

Folks, Beyond Lies The Wub will be just one story in an exclusive short fiction collection called Among The Aliens coming soon from Wonder Audiobooks. Other stories included in the collection will be:

Green Patches by Isaac Asimov
Lover When You’re Near Me by Richard Matheson
Anthropological Notes by Murray Leinster
Arena by Fredric Brown
The Monsters by Robert Sheckley
The Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum
The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick
The Wind People by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Captains Mate by Evelyn E. Smith
The Devil On Salvation Bluff by Jack Vance

All these and an as yet unnamed short story by Alfred Bester will come in a 6 CD set!

WOO HOO!

by Jesse

Introducing The Time Traveler Show Podcast

SFFaudio News

Podcast - The Time Traveler ShowThe Time Traveler Show is a new podcast that will appear from the mists of time every other week. Each show will contain a complete unabridged short story and an interview.

“The emphasis of the show,” says the mysterious Time Traveler, “is on the nexus of Speculative Fiction and Audio. We’ll be interviewing not only authors of the genre but the audiobook professionals who are producing some of the most interesting audiobooks and sound dramas in the industry.” The podcast will reintroduce a new generation of listeners to many classic science fiction stories from the 1930’s through the 1960’s.

The podcast can be found at www.timetravelershow.com, or by searching for “Time Traveler Show” at iTunes.

The first installment consists of an interview with Matthew Wayne Selznick and the story “Warm” by Robert Sheckley read by Matthew.

Robert Sheckley? Yeah, baby! This one is going on my subscribe list immediately.

Review of Hollywood Fantasies: Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Hollywood FantasiesHollywood Fantasies – Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town
By Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Ed Gorman, John Jakes, David Morrell, Michael Reaves, David Schow, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg and Henry Slesar; Read by Susan Anspach, David Birney, Harlan Ellison, Jamie Farr, Laini Kazan, Steve Kmetko, Harley Jane Kozak, Favid Madden and John Rubinstein
4 cassettes – Approx 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dove Audio
Published: 1997 – hardcopy out of print (available for download at Audible)
ISBN: 0787109460
Themes: Fantasy / Hollywood / Movies / Television / Westerns / Witchcraft / Virtual Reality / Magic /

Learn the truth behind the mask of Hollywood in these ten bizarre tales of dreams and dream weavers, movies and movie-makers, by some of the most respected fantasy writers of our time.

This disappointing collection has a few redeeming tales, but few must-listen gems. The majority of the stories feel like filler – many feature tacked on twist endings that are less than stellar. Apparently Harlan Ellison’s reading of his own story, “Laugh Track,” has been modified in the performance – with the addition of a few lines here and there – if anybody’s gonna mess with a story it best be the author. The cover art is utilitarian but colorful, packaging for this audiobook is however very poor, most examples of these 4 cassette plastic cases with cardboard covers have become unbound as the glue holding the two together was not up to its task. Another minor annoyance, the mislabeling of cassette 4, Ed Gorman’s story “Gunslinger” is said to run through all of side 7 and onto 8, when it is the reverse. “Dead Image” starts on side 7 and runs through all of side 8.

Stories Included:

“The Never-Ending Western Movie” by Robert Sheckley
Jamie Farr’s gruff cowboy voice successfully narrates this 1976 short story, which posits an alternate world in which the old-fashioned movie serial westerns and reality television have merged. This is hard enough on the actors, who now have to do their own stunts, but when the prop guns fire real bullets acting scared isn’t too tough.

“One For The Horrors” by David Schow
A run-down movie theater shows prints of lost movie masterpieces like The Man Who Would Be King starring Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable? The only thing that could top that is what’s playing tomorrow night! This one really is fantasy! Strictly for film connoisseurs – it held my interest but could have exited the stage a little more interestingly. Author David Schow must have done some fascinatingly fun research for this one. Reader Steve Kmetko works some magic of his own in the theater of the ear.

“The Man Who Wanted To Be In The Movies” by John Jakes
George wants to be in movies, so he visits his local licensed witch to cast a spell that’ll do the job. Harley Jane Kozak, the narrator, is fine – but the story itself is absolutely pointless and uninteresting.

“Laugh Track” by Harlan Ellison
Have you ever wondered where the laugh tracks from television sitcoms come from? Meet Wally Modisett, the Phantom Sweetener. Originally appearing in “Weird Tales” Magazine in 1984, this overly lengthy tale is almost made up for in part by Ellison’s enthusiastic performance, told in first person.

“Reality Unlimited’ by Robert Silverberg
Virtual Reality movies. Neat idea, but that’s all it is, the idea is there but the story is M.I.A.. When this tale was written in 1957 it might have had some point to it, today it’s barely a curiosity. A disappointing story by the usually reliable Silverberg. But on the other hand Susan Anspach reading of it was fine.

“The Movie People” by Robert Bloch
Movie extras have been in Hollywood films since the silent era, but just because they have no lines doesn’t mean we can’t read between them. Adequate and with a modicum of originality this tale would have benefited from a few more drafts before publication – it wanted to be a better story. John Rubenstein takes his time with the telling – a laconic voice that doesn’t detract from the story.

“Werewind” by Michael Reaves
A serial killer and a lonely howling wind may be connected. The only question is how. Marginally listenable, Michael Reaves’ story isn’t predictable, but neither is it comprehensible. It feels like a refugee from a Danielle Steele novelization of A Nightmare on Elm Street – and that doesn’t make any sense to me either! David Madden’s reading is far better than this short deserves.

“The Movie Makers” by Henry Slesar
Henry Slesar’s ode to 1950’s science fiction b-movies succeeds – in disappointing the same way those bad movies do – minus the cheesy special visual effect. The twist ending is also predictable. Lainie Kazan’s serviceable reading is adequate to the story’s requirements – though consider the predominant male characterization a female narrator is a questionable choice.

“Gunslinger” by Ed Gorman
In the early Twentieth century cowboys were heading away from the range and towards Hollywood, where they’d take on roles in the burgeoning western film frenzy. One man however is has a score to settle with one of these cowboys turned film actors, and its gonna be real bullets that’ll fly. “Gunslinger is illogically placed in this collection – it is not fantasy. It is set in Hollywood, but isn’t particularly fanciful. David Birney doesn’t have much to do here, but neither does he fail to achieve what’s required – to tell the story.

“Dead Image” by David Morrell
A thinly veiled tale about movie rebel James Dean, that asks the question: If Dean had a second chance at life would he do things any different? This very interesting tale depends upon a listener’s knowledge of James Dean’s life and death – also neat was the appearance of a Dennis Hopper type. Morrell’s tale isn’t likely to be turned into a film itself, but it’s full of neat ruminations on destiny and fame. Jamie Farr’s deep voice makes a second, and very welcome, appearance in this collection. He’s becoming one of my favorite celebrity narrators.

Posted by Jesse Willis