The SFFaudio Podcast #493 – READALONG: Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

October 1, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #493 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer talk about the Tau Zero by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, a storylet, a novelette, a novella, To Outlive Eternity, the title is a “SPOILER!” for the novel’s premise, the revised title, surprises, how it ends, keeping it hard SF, suddenly a fantasy, its not Earth, dragons, genetics, some resonance with Genesis, keeping it plausible, as hard as he could possibly make it, cosmic background radiation, relativistic speeds, Bussard ramjets, overestimating interstellar hydrogen, beyond the boundaries of the universe, great detail, world building loving detail, faster and faster, no big crunch, dark matter/dark energy, sadder and darker, a disaster book, 2.5-3 hours in, the narrator, the singing of the poetry, a conspiratorial voice, a slow start, accelerating, the format mirrors the speed of the ship, we’re on a planet – the end, starting 10 years into the novel, “they were doomed to roam space for all eternity” – people didn’t care about spoilers in 1967, what am I doing when they’re not doing disaster stuff, the other element of SF, is all of this about birth control?, the consequences of the pill, Catholic boys, ethics of relationships, were it written today…, not equal representation, is Jesse unfair to today’s science fiction?, dealing with this a lot, jealousy, relationships, conversations about who is sleeping with who, the subplot about a lady getting pregnant, sexual revolution, new when he wrote it, novel for the people then, a colonization program, something that Heinlein has dealt with, Larry Niven, psychology, feels like a Frederik Pohl novel, sensory deprivation, secrets, gotta fill those pages somehow, a back seat to step up, the characters are so bad, 25 men 25 women, 10 is too many, as Scott thinks about the book, things happening to the ship, the lives of the people on board, a few eye rolling things, 50 years ago, and even the women would be able to do this, we gotta have a party, these are human needs, a lot of that was uninteresting, it didn’t ring true, told from the wrong point of view, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, a similar setup, a murder mystery, told from the A.I.’s POV, a reason to care, Swedes in space, hanging out at cafes, a whole novel, Sweden’s going to become the Roman Empire, a major figure in science fiction, the way Anderson goes after Scandinavian stuff in there, Roger Zelazny, Irish mythology, fear not Paul, Iceland, how this world was developing, the history of the Roman Empire, Dominic Flandry, The Psychotechnic League, world government, space traders in space, two future histories, Baen Books, what kind of Poul Anderson you want, Lenora Christine, a prison biography, Denmark, resonance for the plot, a poem, Aniara by Harry Martinson

Aniara is an effort to “[mediate] between science and poetry, between the wish to understand and the difficulty to comprehend.” Martinson translates scientific imagery into the poem: for example, the “curved space” from Einstein’s general theory of relativity is likely an inspiration for Martinson’s description of the cosmos as “a bowl of glass.” Martinson also said he was influenced by Paul Dirac.

he’s influenced by stuff, sagas, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Planet Stories, Boat Of A Million Years, 1970, nominated fro a Hugo, Ringworld, vestigial, aliens, you don’t say “I love characters”, you like his aliens and his scale of ideas, a big idea at its core, reproductive freedom, Hal Clement, Robert Silverberg, William Tucker, a new audiobook, exploring Poul Anderson, Bronson Pinchot, The Broken Sword, Flandry stories, connecting with Anderson, The High Crusade, along the same lines, Writers Of The Future Volume 23, (2007), Primetime by Douglas Texter, a time machine that can only go forward in time, watching history pass, 10 minutes long, 1955, Flight To Forever, forward to the future, helping a star empire out, The Accidental Time by Joe Haldeman, done twice, our tau is approaching zero, maybe the whole purpose of the novel: meaning, thinking about people back on Earth, how there’s no meaning to anything, they’re journey on the spaceship is of no value in itself, commuter bus value, keeping your regular goals in order, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, travel for work vs. travel for tourism, newness, the journey was the point of it, the Paris Metro, did you feel this in the book?, the existential angst people are suffering from, the boring opening scene, a celebrity at the cafe, underdeveloped?, looking at our own lives, headed toward that goal, lonely at the goal’s end, after this I’ll do that, on to the next thing, what our purpose is, a shift, a lot to explore there, a breakthrough of some kind, hobbies, fighting with foils, what with the dragons there now…, meaning in progeny, passing all this knowledge down, a religious book, a whole abortion debate, seven months pregnant, the problem of resources, an actual debate, earwax and toenails, recycling, a discussion about resources and meaning, unlimited births, how people in regular life find meaning, Scott has kids and found meaning, there’s something going on, an epic time scale, the end is rushing towards us, an act of faith, too short for Scott?, a philosophical novel, what is meaning?, what is purpose?, the prefect setting to explore that, removing the things we all assume, “libertarian” is a slur, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, neoliberalism, neoconservationism, women can sleep with who they want, with only 50 people how could you not be communist?, no room to be libertarian, more rightward drifting over time, hard to imagine a libertarian generation starship, a generation starship that orbits one star, this concept of libertarianism is nearly confined to the United States, a scandophile?, the rude American, who is funding this spaceship?, the cultural dominant country, the international crew, dragon bone work, their new world, a premonition about standing on a hill, that which is spread out before you, a man stood with his woman, cinnamon, iodine, and horses, poetic beautiful, the ending is the best part of the book, the existential worries just disappear, it’s gone for the reader, sleeping too much, what is the purpose of existence?, you can’t just watch old movies – that’s no way to live, heavy metals, we’re not saying were not going to not have nuclear war, a new beginning is all you need to get rid of that existential god, “here you go, bud”, one of the amazing things about the Fallout games, Fallout 3 and 4, and New Vegas, that sense of a new beginning, a sense of freedom, an invisible wall, I can go any direction, I have my own fate in my own hands and I can see ahead of me, being presented with the New Earth, you can’t recapture that except by playing another game, why the ending works really well.

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 015

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 pages 28 an 29

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 39

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #282 – READALONG: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

September 15, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #282 – Jesse, Tamahome, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Davis discuss Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

Talked about on today’s show:
a recent novel, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, a long novel, a genderless society, an absence of vocabulary, a politics-biology-language fusion, a light space opera, a murder mystery, a multi-body perspective, foreshadowing a sequel, confusing historical allusions, empire, imagination, personal story, dialogic, magnetic fiction in space, a puppet-like main character, mysterious actions, an unsatisfactory explanation, slave women, a fight for emancipation, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, auxiliaries, the story of Spartacus, Roman family bonding, Jane Austen, dystopia, slaves into servants, expected violence, Roman colonization, a distinct approach to human ethics, the Old Testament, old-fashioned faith, short stories, key words, views of reality, spiritual progress, omnipotent deities, reconstructed ancient religions, J.R.R Tolkien, Lieutenant Ahn, Hindu deities, tea, Jo Walton, coffee, Japanese morality, Shintoism, Horrible Histories, Scholastic books, Frank Herbert, religious engineering, Hellstrom’s Hive by Frank Herbert, government religion, Dune by Frank Herbert.

Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie WORD CLOUD

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Lion in Chains by Angus Trim and Mark Teppo

June 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Lion in ChainsThe Lion in Chains (A ForeWorld SideQuest #3)
By Angus Trim and Mark Teppo; Read by Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: November 2012
[UNABRIDGED] – 2 hours

Themes: / Mongoliad / Roman Empire / King Richard / crusades /

Publisher summary:

Many were displeased with the “peace” King Richard of England brokered in the Holy Land, and his return from the Crusades wasn’t greeted with cheers, but rather shackles. Now a “guest” of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Lion-Hearted is being held for an exorbitant ransom…so much money that it seems unlikely that the silver will make its way from Britain to Germany. For converging on the caravan are a number of groups with very different motives: French troops who want the silver to continue their war with the English, mercenaries intent on causing chaos, English longbowmen looking to protect their country’s future, and Shield-Brethren hoping to ensure King Richard’s freedom. With a surprising cast of characters, The Lion in Chains is a Foreworld SideQuest that illuminates a decisive moment in European history in an unexpected way, revealing another secret in the long-reaching narrative of the Shield-Brethren.

Note: This book is available individually (as I listened to it) or as a part of the book SideQuest Adventures No. 1, which includes this story, The Beast of Calatrava: A Foreworld Sidequest, and The Shield-Maiden: A Foreworld SideQuest.

This story is a “sidequest” in the Foreworld Saga, basically a side story to the main-line books intended to give readers more information on certain characters in the Mongoliad series. The events in this book are well before the events in The Mongoliad: Book One and provide some background on Ferrenantus, one of the Knights Brethren who features prominently in the main Foreworld books as the leader of the Knights Brethren involved in defeating the Kahn of Kahns. The events in this book may actually form some of the basis for a flashback Ferrenantus has in Katabasis.

Set in the late 1100’s, The Lion in Chains tells the story of Richard the Lionheart’s capture by then Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. There is tension between England and the Holy Roman Empire, and even some of King Richard’s subjects are frustrated with his peace deal with Saladin. Henry VI comes to the great fortune of having King Richard more or less fall into his lap, so he captures him and holds him for a large ransom. There is a game of chess going on, though, and Henry VI has plans to get the ransom through unofficial channels, though Richard expects this and maneuvers to stop the trickery. King Richard uses his “serving man,” Ferrenantus, and Maria, a woman sent to Richard by his wife, to thwart Henry’s plans.

Through the course of the rather short story, we meet not only Ferrentantus and Maria, but also Rutgar, another Knight Brethren who is in The Mongoliad, and Robin Hood and his band of men. There is humor, there are a couple battles/skirmishes, and of course, there is intrigue in the story. All in all, the short tale gives us a glimpse into what made Ferrenantus the character he was in the main Foreworld books and a bit of fan service with the Robin Hood aspect of the story. This book wouldn’t stand well on its own, but having read the main books in the Foreworld Saga, it was an entertaining diversion for an afternoon (well, part of an afternoon–after all, it WAS only 2 hours long).

Luke Daniels’ narration was a welcome return after the disappointing narration of the 5th book, Siege Perilous. His reading made it easy to listen to and pulled me into the world. Even his female voices weren’t over-the-top but still made it obvious who was speaking. With most of the other books in the series narrated by him, it felt “normal” and somewhat comforting to have him read this one, too.

In the end, it was a cute story that provided some interesting background to the main Foreworld story line. I definitely recommend this book to those who have read the other books in the Foreworld Saga, and possibly to others who might be interested but would like to “sample” the work and world before diving in headlong.

Posted by terpkristin.

Commentary: SFFaudio needs more Audio Drama

September 5, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

SFFaudio MetaPetri Salin of the Tricrepicephalus blog seems to think we’re doing good work – and I have to agree. There’s never been a better time to be an audio fan. But his comments aren’t all praise. For instance, he thinks we’re a little short in the audio drama department (he keeps mentioning it). And, I guess I have to give him credit for spotting that too. We do lean a little more towards audiobooks than AD. Part of that is because personally I tend to listen in high noise environments – while shopping, in the car with the roof out, while riding a lawnmower – places where the subtleties of the art might be injured. Audio drama just doesn’t work as well under those conditions. I also tend to listen to audio drama and radio drama when I’m at home, especially in the evening or at bedtime. I treat audio drama, especially the downloaded stuff, as a treat, something I need not make notes about. Hence the less reviewage of it here.

So, given those limitations, I’ll try to add a bit more AD to the mix over the coming months. For now I’ll drop a few names of productions and podcasts I’ve been listening to lately…

BBC Audio - Venus In Copper - based on the novel by Lindsey DavisFALCO, or more specifically, Falco – Poseidon’s Gold – BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Drama (2009)
I’m about half way through this, the latest adaptation of Lindsey Davis’ series of novels centering on the life of “private informer” Marcus Didius Falco (private investigator) Circa 72 A.D.. It’s a terrific show, as are they all, with stunning production values, top notch acting and a real different narrative voice (lots of voice over giving us what Falco is thinking). I’m a big fan of anything to do with history, and this period of the Roman Empire is full of plenty of intrigue. Anton Lesser, the star of the production is someone I’d like to follow the career of. He’s that good.

Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter – Broken Sea Audio Productions (2007 – 2009)
I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed this show properly, and I doubt I ever will. That is a shame because I really do enjoy it. It’s exactly what you would think given the title. Basically it’s a bastardized cross between Indiana Jones and The Call Of Cthulhu role playing game. It won’t make you think any deep thoughts, but it certainly hits the sweet spot between adventurous fun and historical drama. They’ve done four complete serials so far. I wouldn’t cry too hard if they never do another, but I’d certainly be up for another just the same.

Vanishing Point CBC Radio (1980s)
I’ve been listening to a lot of these lately, many of them are absolutely not to my taste. They do however feature stellar production, and make use of many excellent actors. This means that when they do hit a solid story, it usually turns out pretty damn well. I’ll post a bigger story on this series at some point as I’ve made a ton of notes on most of the episodes I’ve listened to.

And, I also did do a big post, just the other day, on the BBC World Service adaptation of Pontypool.

One series that I plan to start listening to sometime soon is…

Cold Blood – BBC Radio 7 (January 2005)
This was done by Simon Bovey, the same guy who wrote Slipstream, which I thought was absolutely smashing. BBC Radio 7 describes Cold Blood as “[a] Chilling drama set in 2015 at an Antarctic research station” and apparently listeners have loved it too saying:

‘The writing and acting is marvellous….a sumptuous production!’

Sounds good hey?

My friend Julie Davis, of Forgotten Classics, recently suggested I try out a couple new mystery series…

The Teahouse Detective BBC Radio 4 (1998 – 2000)
Based on the stories of Baroness Orczy, dramatised by Michael Butt.

Colvil and Soames BBC Radio 4 (1996 – 1998)
Mysteries investigated by intelligence officers Henry Colvil and Alex Soames.

I’ve now gotten both of these via Radio Downloader. Now I just have to make time to listen to them.

Another BBC series that’s piqued my interest is Saturday Night Theatre. Someone over on RadioArchive.cc has been posting a few of these up as torrents and everything I’ve heard from it has been excellent. Bill Hollweg’s raves about The Tale Of The Knight, The Witch And The Dragon, for instance, prompted a post on it, and I know a lot of folks loved that one.

I also mentioned the BBC radio adaptation of Tiger Tiger, based on the novel Alfred Bester on a recent podcast. Similar-wise, I’ve recently got my mitts on Saturday Night Theatre’s version of Arthur C. Clarke’s 1961 novel A Fall Of Moondust (it’s available in a 2 CD set from BBC Audio) and I’m really looking forward to hearing that.

Blake's 7 - Point Of No Return and Eye Of The MachineOn the commercial front there’s been a couple reviews that I’ve done of the new Blake’s 7 series |HERE| and |HERE|. Those come with our highest recommendation, the “SFFaudio Essential” designation.

Similarily, I’ve got another highly recommended series for you:

Audible.com - Bradbury 13 - A Sound Of Thunder Audible.com is now offering the ever elusive and highly sought after so called “BRADBURY 13” produced in the early 1980s by Brigham Young University.

Who cares about Mormon Audio Drama?

Well my friends, even if you’re no latter day saint, you really should!

See the Mormon church loves AUDIO DRAMA. Just ask Orson Scott Card.

As a consequence of doing so much of it Mormons do it very well. And thus the BRADBURY 13 is arguably the best audio drama ever produced in the United States Of America.

The series is based on 13 unconnected short stories by Ray Bradbury. They are full 3-D sound productions, with quality acting, and ultra-rich soundscapes. 12 of the 13 had been made available in the 1990s on cassettes (email me if you want to buy these – I’ve still got some left) but now, finally, all 13 are available in a modern digital format. This, combined with the fact that Audible.com’s new “Audible Enhanced Audio” format is in STEREO! This means that many audio drama fans are going to be extremely happy.

There are a couple of other things I can recommend for fans of Audio Drama who still find us wanting.

1. Listen to our podcast. Scott and I listen to more than we review. A lot of that is audio drama – we talk about it, and many other things, on the podcast.

2. Make some recommendations yourself. I don’t mean just drop the names of these shows, I mean really tell us what you’re listening to and why you like it, or don’t like it. Post it up as a comment, write it up on your own blog, or send me an email.

So, that’s what on my audio drama plate. What audio dramas are you folks listening to?

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of A Hero Of The Empire By Robert Silverberg

April 21, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - A Hero of the Empire by Robert SilverbergA Hero Of The Empire
By Robert Silverberg; Read by George Guidall
Audio Download [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audible
Published: November 2000 – No Longer Available
ISBN: 0375417982
Themes: Science Fiction / Alternate History / Roman Empire / Islam /

A Hero Of The Empire is one of Robert Silverberg’s “Roma Eterna” stories, set in alternate history world where the Roman Empire never fell. A homosexual Roman nobleman is sent in punishment to a remote corner of the Empire – the Arabian city we know as Mecca. The time is 600 years after the reign of the Emperor Augustus – by this time the Empire has expanded to include the entire Arabian Peninsula. Written in the style of a letter to a dear friend, this novella is a fascinating examination of both Roman and Islamic history. George Guidall’s excellent reading infuses every word of this novella with his unique vocal magic. Audible’s recording is good, and even includes appropriate music, but the sound has been degraded by heavy compression – it sounds digitized. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Audible.com has pulled A Hero Of The Empire from its catalogue and it is no longer available by itself. This was one of the best science fiction audio downloads ever available. And its disappearance from Audible.com makes me want to download and listen to all their titles immediately, for fear that they too will disappear!

NOTE: A Hero Of The Empire is no longer available singly, but is available as a portion of “Audible Exclusive Sci-Fi, Volume 1”.