Review of Bernardo’s House by James Patrick Kelly

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Bernardo's House by James Patrick KellyBernardo’s House
By James Patrick Kelly; Read By James Patrick Kelly
FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD (link to jimkelly.net) – 1 Hour (26.97 MB) [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: www.jimkelly.net
Published: April 2004
Themes: Science Fiction / Post Apocalypse / Robots / Artificial Intelligence / Sexuality / Fairy Tales /

“Once on time,” said the girl, “Louise lives in that castle. Louise’s Mom dies, don’t say where her Dad goes. So Louise stuck with spang bitch taking care of her. That Louise castle got no door, only windows high and high. Now Louise got most hair.” Fly spread her arms wide. “Hair big as trees. When spang bitch want in, she call Louise. ‘Louise, Louise, let down buzzy hair.’ Then spang bitch climb it up.”

In the future women will come in all shapes and sizes but men will still be pigs. This is especially true about a philandering homewrecker named Bernardo. Bernardo left 3 years ago, leaving poor Louise alone with no one to talk to… until a young girl named “Fly” arrived. James Patrick Kelly’s hilarious stories never fail to bring a smile to my face and “Bernardo’s House” is no exception. Kelly tends to write very funny personal stories, charged with human and sometimes alien emotions – his recurring themes include biological problems and ethical dilemmas. Kelly also has a great fondness for inventing new words; he is in fact a raving neologist. But all these traits are completely in service to his stories, and in the case of “Bernardo’s House”, the comedic situation and the main character’s apprehension of it is truly tempered by our own baggage that we bring to the experience, turning a story that starts out as fluff into a bittersweet morality tale. “Bernardo’s House” was first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2003 issue, and at this writing is a finalist for the Hugo Award.

Sound quality and production values are excellent. Kelly is a real performer! He infuses his reading with a bouncy upbeat tone that makes the funny scenes even funnier. But the very best part about “Bernardo’s House” is that its available for FREE! Kelly only asks that if you enjoyed hearing this tale you consider making a donation to his PayPal account, donations encourage future recordings so it’s a real positive feedback loop!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Asimov Science Fiction Tales

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Science Fiction Tales by Isaac AsimovAsimov Science Fiction Tales
By Isaac Asimov; Read by Isaac Asimov
2 Cassettes – 117 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: 1985 – Out Of Print
ISBN: 0807234184
Themes: / Science Fiction / Poetry / Storytelling / Artificial Intelligence / Robots / Mathematics / Parallel Worlds /

Written and read by Isaac Asimov, Asimov Science Fiction Tales is a collection of four short stories and one poem, all from Asimov’s golden era, the 1950s. Though cover art is non-existent, the audiobook comes packaged in a heavy duty vinyl case that is extremely durable. This two cassette production from Listening Library is a repackaged selection of tales written and read by Asimov from the 1975 collection entitled Science Fiction Favorties: Isaac Asimov (ISBN 0807229288), which includes at least five other stories that are not included here.

Listening to Asimov Science Fiction Tales is like spending some quality time with the man himself. Asimov’s reading is informal. He introduces and comments on each of the tales both before and after the reading, placing them in context and revealing their origins. His comments are insightful and sometimes quite humourous. The stories themselves are some of his best, featuring familiar Asimov themes, some serious, others funny, all great listening.

Stories Included:
Introduction – Asimov extemperaneously expounds on the wonderfulness of good old fashioned reading.

I Just Make Them Up, See – A infamous Asimov limerick, this one attempts to answer the question “Where do you get the ideas for your stories?” It’s a silly poem and but it left me smiling.

Someday – The first of two stories in this collection that deals with “lost arts”. In a society that has forgotten the written word, two young boys upgrade an antique automated audiobook machine called a “bard” – giving it a new vocabulary so that it can tell modern stories. This is one of Asimov’s most perfectly constructed stories, a real winner.

The Feeling of Power – A far future society that has become completely dependent upon computers rediscovers the lost art of doing math by hand. Very clever and well concieved, this story has more to say about our own society than it did about the time in which it was written.

Satisfaction Guaranteed – Housewife Claire Belmont is startled to find her husband’s most recent aquistion, a human looking robot named “Tony”, is the latest gimmick in the ceaseless battle to keep up with the Joneses.

Living Space – The discovery of easy access to parallel universe Earths, ones where life never evolved, means that the ever expanding human population of the future needn’t worry about running out of living space. In fact, every family can have a whole planet to themselves! But some unforseen consequences of this discovery have got a few of the new homeowners worried. This is one of the best executed science fiction short stories ever written. Its premise entails a non-obvious problem that becomes clear only near the end of the tale. Highly recommended.

Review of The Twilight Zone No. 1 – The Mighty Casey by Rod Serling

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Twilight Zone No 1The Twilight Zone No. 1 – The Mighty Casey
By Rod Serling; Read by Fritz Weaver
1 cassette – 75 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 1992 – Out Of Print
ISBN: 1559946598
Themes: / Fantasy / Baseball / Robots / Humor /

Submitted for your approval…

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is revived for audio in the form of unabridged short stories by Rod Serling. All the stories in this series were previously adapted for the original Twilight Zone television series. This is the first in a series of six single cassette adaptations read by stars of the original series. In this case, Fritz Weaver spins the tale of “The Mighty Casey”, an almost mythical player for that near-mythical sport of baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers were down in the dumps until tryouts turned up a talented left hander with a pitch like nobody’s business. Casey, the pitcher “with an exceptional left hand”, inspires the tired old players to new glory. They become the team to beat. Everything was swell until Casey gets beaned by a ball. A doctor is summoned and pronounces that Casey is alright, but then the doctor has trouble finding a pulse. It’s soon discovered that Casey is actually a robot and as such does not have a heart!

When thinking of baseball, most people probably associate the name Casey with the Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s 1888 poem “Casey At The Bat”. It’s clear to me that Rod Serling tapped into it for inspiration. “The Mighty Casey” is a very funny story. The dialogue is humorous and the situation is funny too, but it also has a lot of pathos. The story is entertaining but also has that most important of Twilight Zone elements, a twist with a satisfying ending. Fritz Weaver has great fun playing the characters, especially Mouth McGarry, the comic manager of the Dodgers, a character full of deep anxiety and deeper ignorance. This is pretty light material for The Twilight Zone, which often deals with the darker elements of the Human condition. Presented like an actual episode of the television series, there’s the haunting Twilight Zone music and an introduction just like Serling used to make. I actually listened to the tale twice, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Overall its a very good start to the series.

Posted by Jesse Willis