Stage play of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother in San Francisco

SFFaudio News

Little Brother stage play photo by Jay Yamada

An upcoming episode of The SFFaudio Podcast will be a discussion of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|. The audiobook is available from Random House Audio (not through audible).

I reviewed it back in 2008 but in listening to it again it seems even more relevant today than it was then.

And while we’re on the subject this stage play adaptation, it opened last week in San Fransisco, looks really terrific!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – READALONG: Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #110 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis about the Audible Frontiers audiobook Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s virtual velvet lounge (has a jazz band), Dream Park, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Rudnicki, Scott ranked it 3/5 stars on GoodReads.com, zombies, cargo cult, murder mystery, World Of Warcraft, LARPing, the wikipedia entry for Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, Seventh Victim by Robert Sheckley, Dungeons And Dragons, The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park is much more interesting than DisneyWorld, Niven novels have robotic personal interactions, misogyny, The Mote In God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne |READ OUR REVIEW|, the murder provides a plot, California, holographic technology, H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Griffin, “The South Seas Treasure Game”, cementing relationships through gaming, Zork, “open mailbox”, Infocom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Baldur’s Gate, Tolkien-derived adventure play, the least interesting part of Dungeons & Dragons is the mechanics, too many players (characters), Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game), pen and paper RPGs can be incredibly immersive, consensual hallucination, William Gibson, Community‘s spoof of Dungeons and Dragons, The IT Crowd, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, avoid the “Dunwich Building”, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, RPG mechanics can get in the way of RPG storytelling, reality game shows, The Amazing Race, 1980s Dungeons & Dragons hysteria, Mazes And Monsters, comic book hysteria, video game hysteria, StarCraftas a lifestyle, The Guild, the Afterword of Dream Park is missing from the audiobook, Papua New Guinea, Inuit mythology, Mars, has time been kind to Dream Park?, Audible Frontiers, “this is weakest Larry Niven book I’ve ever read”, The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III by William Dear, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, psychopath, the problem of psychopathy, parental responsibility, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Minority Report, gesture control, the Spruce Goose, The Aviator, Martin Scorsese, WWII, HBO’s The Pacific, World War II in HD, the Battle of Saipan, HBO’s Band Of Brothers, Australia, Chicago, Museum Of Science And Industry, submarines, San Francisco, Get Lamp, Helvetica (a documentary on a font), Futura, Gothic doesn’t look gothic in Helvetica, narrators are like the fonts of audiobooks,

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven And Steve Barnes

ACE BOOKS - TPB - Dream Park by Larry Niven

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven - Interior Illustrations

Steve Barnes Signature in DREAM PARK

Dream Park Spine

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer

SFFaudio Review

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Loving Dead by Amelia BeamerThe Loving Dead
By Amelia Beamer; Read by Emily Durante
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: July 2010
ISBN: 9781441868343 (cd), 9781441868367 (mp3-cd)
Themes: / Horror / Zombies / Sex / Airships / Humor / San Fransisco / California /

Kate and Michael, twenty-something housemates working at the same Trader Joe’s supermarket, are thoroughly screwed when people start turning into zombies at their house party in the Oakland hills. The zombie plague is a sexually transmitted disease, turning its victims into shambling, horny, voracious killers. Thrust into extremes by the unfolding tragedy, Kate and Michael are forced to confront the decisions they’ve made, and their fears of commitment, while trying to stay alive. Michael convinces Kate to meet him in the one place in the Bay Area that’s likely to be safe and secure from the zombie hordes: Alcatraz. But can they stay human long enough?

Beamer creates scenes, and cuts adequately between them, but when confronted by the surrealistic circumstances she provides (like being trapped in a Zeppelin bathroom with two lesbian zombies) her characters seem more like emotional marionettes, than like real people. It’s almost as if Beamer was actually role-playing a series of improvised scenarios, rather than plotting it out like a novel. When one of the characters discovers that these zombies respond to the crack of a whip, for example, Kate downloads an “Indiana Jones App” to her iPhone and subdues them with it. Clever? Sure. Novelistic? Notsomuch. Thus the tension of a zombie confrontation – will she or won’t she be able to get 3G service high above Oakland – isn’t very satisfying.

Shortly after this audiobook arrived I listened to it’s author, Amelia Beamer, being interviewed on the SFSignal Podcast #006. She talked about how she found the relentlessness of zombies almost endearing. It was a neat idea. And then she said she intended it to be a romantic comedy with zombies. And that was enough to put it in my bathroom audiobook stack. So, for the last week or so I’ve been brushing and flossing my teeth to this novel. I didn’t go in expecting much other than zombies and loving and a few laughs. It has the first two. The loving is actually sex and the zombies are less dead and rotting than they are contagious and sex crazed. If you did a count you’d probably find as many individuated zombies as there are sex scenes. Come to think of it there were probably about just as many tattoos as there were sex scenes and zombies. Where this novel really doesn’t fulfill it’s promise is in the humor department. I didn’t laugh, or smile, or even smirk. Thinking about it, it wasn’t that there were jokes and they weren’t funny, but rather I that the humor was supposed to come from the absurd situational specifics and the slacker/poser cast’s bumbling their way through it all. It has relationships, and people thinking about their relationships, and it has some zombies but I didn’t find it funny.

Getting into specifics now – there’s something odd going on with the meta-Americanness, or rather some subset of it, within the novel’s characters and setting. Even though both Kate and Michael both pretty quickly recognize the infected as zombies, Beamer’s characters seem highly reticent to kill them. Instead they far prefer restraining their wrists, sitting on them – any form of bondage – as in, tie them up or tie them down. Yeah … well … okay. So, I have to think that, in combination with the whips, and the sex and all the tattoos, that taken as a whole this is not so much a zombie novel as a kind of contemporary fiction novel, set in a slacker BDSM San Fransisco subculture, with some zombie additions. Maybe that’s what I signed up for, but I was wrong to do so.

At first I liked some of the references to local stores and products. This is something that is done far too little in most fiction, as far as I’m concerned. It’s one of the things I like most about William Gibson’s prose, he has a reverence to specifics. But as it all went on in The Loving Dead, and as the characters repeatedly reminded each other that they’d read Max Brooks (World War Z |READ OUR REVIEW|), worked at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, it seemed like it wasn’t so much fun – instead it became increasingly clear that it was what was on their minds all the time. It seemed like the real zombies in this audiobook were the characters, living their quiet lives of desperate consumption, performing a narrative for themselves and expressing it in text messages. If I believed in a soul I’d call it a soul-numbing audiobook.

On the final disc we get a flash cut to ten years after the zombie apocalypse first hits. It’s an interesting experiment, to take a doomsday scenario way down the road and see what life is like in the aftermath. One of the redeeming features, of David Moody’s otherwise lackluster Hater |READ OUR REVIEW|, is also in The Loving Dead too. The author takes one significant aspect of a premise to it’s logical and (hopefully inevitable) conclusion. As such, it has some novelty value if only for that. For some true vanilla zombie goodness I’ll get back to reading Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

Narrator Emily Durante, a new voice to my ears, is a good reader, I can see that, even despite my not loving The Loving Dead, she provided a steady voice to a patchy and punctuated narrative.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #062

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #062 – Scott and Jesse talk to author Kelli Stanley about her novel City Of Dragons!

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul Bishop (of the Bish’s Beat blog), TinEye.com reverse image search, the San Francisco Public Library, eBay, Evernote, scrivner, Zotero (a firefox add-on), ABEbooks.com, comics, Treasure Island (California), Chesterfield cigarettes, hardboiled vs. noir, Roman noir, Raymond Chandler, Nox Dormienda by Kelli Stanley, Mystery Readers Journal, “the protagonist is fucked on page one”, James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Oedipus is noir, Blood On The Moon, noir western, Robert Wise, Deadly Pleasures Magazine, reviewed to death, cozy fiction, why the A-Team is a terrible scourge (it’s anti-noir), torture-porn, Paul Verhoeven, Reefer Madness, apologists for Robert E. Howard, Ashoka (emperor of India), Plutarch, 1940s, Hays office, Baby Face (1933), the history of fuck, HBO’s The Pacific, the wikipedia entry for “Fuck”, 17th century, enlightenment/restoration era sex toys, “the only words that are truly vile are the ones that are used to hurt and ridicule others”, femme fatale, editing, Minotaur books, the City Of Dragons paperbook, point of view as a camera, William Gibson, Tantor Media, the audiobook version of City Of Dragons, historical female private detectives, the perverse incentive of the California divorce laws, Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch, 1939 World’s Fair, High-Octane Stories From The Hottest Thriller Authors edited by Lee Child, WWII, a fan of the Spanish Civil War, Irish fascists vs. the IRA, Father Charles Coughlin and the Christian Front movement, communism, cynicism, Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Sacramento Street in San Francisco, Sino-Japanese War, the Rape of Nanking, Quiet, Please, marketing a book is up to the author, Decoder Ring Theatre’s Black Jack Justice, KelliStanley.com.

38 appropriate uses of the English language’s most iconic curse:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: City Of Dragons by Kelli Stanley

Aural Noir: Recent Arrivals

Here’s a first for SFFaudio, a recent arrival that is neither an audiobook nor an audio drama!

I won this gorgeous hardcover paperbook courtesy of a contest run by Paul Bishop of Bish’s Beat blog. He even went to the trouble of wrapping the dust jacket in a Brodart fold on book jacket cover. Sweet! Thanks Bish!

City Of Dragons by Kelli Stanley

City Of Dragons
By Kelli Stanley
352 Pages [HARDCOVER]
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: February 2010
ISBN: 9780312603601
February, 1940. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, fireworks explode as the city celebrates Chinese New Year with a Rice Bowl Party, a three day-and-night carnival designed to raise money and support for China war relief. Miranda Corbie is a 33-year-old private investigator who stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up. The cops acquiesce. All Miranda wants is justice–whatever it costs. From Chinatown tenements, to a tattered tailor’s shop in Little Osaka, to a high-class bordello draped in Southern Gothic, she shakes down the city–her city–seeking the truth. An outstanding series debut.

Audiobook fans interested in this lovely looking book will have to wait just a bit longer (until April 2010) for the Tantor Media unabridged audiobook version of City Of Dragons as read by Cynthia Holloway. I may do this as a readalong if I can get a review copy.

Who else wants to join me?

Posted by Jesse Willis