Upcoming Audiobook – Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

SFFaudio News

Here’s an upcoming audiobook from Uglies and Pretties author Scott Westerfeld. I’m thinking that this book will be really cool – it has airships. AIRSHIPS!

Simon And Schuster - Leviathan by Scott WesterfeldLeviathan
By Scott Westerfeld; Read by Alan Cumming
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 6, 2009
ISBN: 0743583884
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

And check out these Keith Thompson illustrations from the paperbook edition:

Leviathan Illustrations

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Diane … The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent Cooper

SFFaudio Review

Diane … The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent CooperDiane … The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent Cooper
By Mark Frost and David Lynch (uncredited); Performed by Kyle MacLachlan
1 Cassette – 43 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio
Published: 1990
ISBN: 067173573X
Themes: / Mystery / Fantasy / Horror / Murder / Crime /

Re-experience the mystery of Twin Peaks in an all new way. The Cooper Tapes. The private world of Special Agent Dale Cooper, previously reserved for one woman…Diane, including notes and stories never revealed on television. From the man in the black suit, Twin Peaks, in his own words.

Diane … The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent Cooper is a collection of 39 audio excerpts from the TV series of Agent Cooper recording notes into his voice activated micro mac recorder. All the selections are addressed to “Diane” (presumably his assistant). This is not an audiobook, instead it is more of a quasi-audio drama. If you’ve seen the television series, you’ve heard most of this already.

I distinctly remember purchasing this television tie-in production in the fall of 1990. Twin Peaks-mania was at its peak. I had caught the show’s dynamite first season during the summer re-runs. Series star Kyle MacLachlan had just hosted Saturday Night Live and the first Gulf War was gearing up – (which due to the endless war news update preemptions helped to ultimately doom the show). I suspect it will be very difficult for those who haven’t seen the Twin Peaks television series to follow the story in Diane … The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent Cooper – but even if they can, they’ll still be left unsatisfied. There is no ultimate resolution in this single cassette, even if there was to be some in the final episode of the second season. The tape’s story follows FBI special agent Dale Cooper from about 24 hours before the events of the pilot episode to the first episode of the second season. Included are many recordings done on screen and a few recorded specifically for this quasi-audio drama.

In performing the production Kyle MacLachlan is his charismatic self. Anything this guy touches from the Paul Atredies role in the film version of Dune, to the lead in the undersung The Trigger Effect, to his role on Desperate Housewives, I’m up for it. Production wise the new material is fairly well matched to the original soundtrack clips: Ambient noise, wind, road noise, crickets and varied distance from the microphone. Only rarely is another voice heard (notables include Michael Ontkean and Kimmy Robertson). The cassette opens and closes with Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting musical score for the series. This piece of ephemera is littler more than a curiosity, but I quite like it.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

Aural Noir: Review

This review was originally posted on Monday, November 14, 2005 on our now merged AuralNoir.com site.

Simon & Schuster Audio - The Colorado Kid by Stephen KingThe Colorado Kid
By Stephen King; Read by Jeffrey DeMunn
4 CDs – 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0743550404
Themes: / Mystery / Hard Case Crime / Murder / Reporters / Newspaper / Maine /

In brief, Stephen King’s latest novel is a good one, though I don’t feel it fits well into the Hard Case Crime mold. Details? Here they are:

Two old newspaper men, both approaching retirement, tell a female intern the story of a man who was found dead on the coast of the Maine island on which they live. They reveal clue after clue that they had put together along with a forensics graduate student that worked with police back when it happened. And that’s… pretty much it. No grisly private eyes, no grifters, and no real danger for the main characters, which is why I think the book is a strange fit for the Hard Case Crime line of novels.

Still, this is a short Stephen King novel reminiscent of an earlier King short novel called “The Body”, on which the film Stand by Me was based. There is much going on here between the characters. The old men are approaching retirement and are sharing their years of investigative reporting experience to the intern. The intern is eager to be accepted. The story of the investigation, the clues, the forensics – all extremely interesting in King’s hands, even though “action” is not a word that I’d use to describe it. The novel is filled with the depth of character that Stephen King is famous for, and I enjoyed it even though it was not quite what I expected.

Jeffrey DeMunn is the perfect choice to read The Colorado Kid. He read one of King’s earlier novels – Dreamcatcher – and also starred in what was easily the best Stephen King miniseries – Storm of the Century, where he got to use his excellent Maine accent. He used that accent in this reading, too, and as the island and its inhabitants are characters in themselves, DeMunn’s added authenticity was welcome and very effective. It is a gem of a performance.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Star Trek: Captain’s Glory by Shatner with Reeves-Stevens

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek: Captain's Glory by William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-StevensStar Trek: Captain’s Glory
By William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Read by William Shatner
3 CD’s – 3 hours – [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 0743539621
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / Space Travel / Aliens /

40 years of Star Trek. In the last year I’ve heard quite a bit about that, and it really is amazing when you sit down and think about it. In 40 years, there have been five television series, ten movies, and hundreds of novels, and even though the last series was cancelled, the franchise still has a very strong fan base. Truly something. Why is it so popular? To me, the answer is simple, and threefold. First, it was the first television show I ever watched that spoke to me about bigger issues. Sure, it wasn’t always lofty, it wasn’t always touching. But sometimes it was, and I liked it. Second, it was optimistic. It presented a future where many of the daily troubles we deal with are ancient history. And third, despite the optimistic future, the characters were people, even if they were aliens. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are still amongst my favorite all-time characters, even after all the fiction (science or not) I’ve consumed since discovering the series back in the 70’s.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are all in Captain’s Glory, the latest Shatner/Reeves-Stevens collaborative Star Trek novel. Like most of the previous Star Trek Simon and Schuster Audio titles, this one is abridged, and presented with sound effects and music. William Shatner narrates, and does a fine job with it. Of course, he performs Kirk to perfection. Since Kirk is the main character, that works out real nice, but the novel is populated with characters from all the incarnations of Star Trek on the screen (except for Enterprise) and don’t expect good impersonations. Janeway, Picard, Riker, Troi, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and others are all here.

The authors do a good job using characters that should be there in the timeline. The story takes place after Star Trek: Nemesis, but at the same time on a timeline that belongs to these novels alone. Scotty was moved forward in time in a TNG episode, and Kirk was in a movie. (Listen to Shatner’s The Return to find out how and why Kirk is still alive…) Spock is long-lived and appeared in a TNG episode, as did McCoy, even though he was quite old. This novel refers often to events that occurred not only on the screen, but also in previous novels in the ongoing series.

The story is classic Star Trek material. An entity with incredible power cruises through the galaxy, causing all kinds of havoc. Warp engines are failing all over the quadrant as the entity does its thing. Then Kirk and friends get involved. When his son is taken (see previous books), all bets are off as Kirk’s actions to get him back pit him not only against the entity, but against Starfleet and Picard.

The abridgement is quite well-done. I had no problem following any of it, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I felt that this was the best of the Shatner novels, with the exception of The Return. It was good fun.

Wow. I just wrote an entire review of a Star Trek novel without mentioning how much I hope the next movie isn’t a prequel. Maybe next time.


  • SFFaudio’s very own Star Trek page – if it’s Star Trek, and on audio, you can find it here.
  • Simon and Schuster’s Star Trek page – an informative page on the hundreds of Star Trek novels published by Simon and Schuster

    Posted by Scott D. Danielson

  • Review of Alien Voices: The Time Machine

    Science Fiction Audiobook Review

    Science Fiction Audiobook - Alien Voices - H.G. Wells' The Time MachineH. G. Wells’ The Time Machine
    By H. G. Wells, performed by a full cast
    2 Cassettes, 2 CDs, Approx. 2 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Published: 1997
    ISBN: 0671575538 (cassettes), 0671575546 (CDs)
    Themes: / Science fiction / Time Travel / Evolution / Future /

    When a time traveler seeks a better world 802,000 years in the future, his optimism is shaken when he discovers that the human race has turned upon itself in a primal display of horror.

    For their first adaptation, Alien Voices choose one of the most important stories ever written in SF. And with Leonard Nimoy as the time traveler and John DeLancie as the narrating friend of the time traveler, we’re among the pantheon of SF deities.

    This adaptation is very faithful to the original story. A gentleman of the late 19th century invents a time machine. Over a dinner conversation with colleagues he explains that time is the fourth dimension. At their next dinner engagement he comes in bedraggled and tells them the amazing tale of his journey in time. The story he tells is of the year 802,000. He meets a gentle race called the Eloi. A Garden of Eden of sorts, but the Eloi are as simple as small children, but without their curiosity or enthusiasm. Another threatening race live in subterranean tunnels. They are the Morlocks and feed upon the innocent Eloi. After befriending a female Eloi, named Weena, and losing her during a battle with the Morlocks, the time traveler returns home to tell his tale to his colleagues.

    The dramatization is well produced. Nice original music and crackling sound effects. But one effect was totally distracting and detracting to the story. The Eloi all spoke with this strange chorusing effect to their vocals. It reminded one of an alien or telepath, certainly not the sound of a child-like being described in the story. It’s as if their voice boxes bifurcated into a strange mutated form. This destroys the illusion that they are simple child-like.

    Much of the time is spent with the time traveler reciting his adventure in long monologues of his future adventure. And although this is faithful to the book and Leonard Nimoy’s voice is golden, it does not take advantage of a cast recording and is more reminiscent of a traditional audiobook for long stretches at a time.

    Recent Arrivals

    SFFaudio New Arrivals

    Just back from Worldcon! We’ll report on that later, but first, here’s what came in when we were gone:

    Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. AndersonHunters of Dune
    By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson; Read by Scott Brick
    16 CDs – 20.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
    Publisher: Audio Renaissance
    Published: 2006
    ISBN: 1593979754

    Star Trek - Captain's Glory by William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-StevensStar Trek: Captain’s Glory
    By William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
    Read by William Shatner
    3 CDs – 3 hours – [ABRIDGED]
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
    Published: 2006
    ISBN: 0743539621

    Foundation - The Encyclopaedists by Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov’s Foundation Series: Book I Part II: The Encyclopedists
    By Isaac Asimov; Performed by Jim Gallant
    2 CDs – 2 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
    Publisher: Ziggurat Productions
    Published: 2006

    Posted by Scott D. Danielson