Free Audiobooks for a Summer Roadtrip

SFFaudio Online Audio

Free Listens BlogAccording to the Triple-A, over 31 million Americans will travel by road this Memorial Day weekend. If you’re one of those, you might want to bring along an audiobook or two to keep you company on the Interstate. Long drives are a great time to take in an audiobook, but also require a specific type of book. The plot has to be exciting enough to hold your interest on boring stretches of the Interstate, but simple enough that you can still pay attention to the traffic. Since you’ll be spending most of your money on gas, you might want to save your vacation budget by going with a free downloadable audiobook. I’ve come up with 5 recommendations for free road trip Science Fiction and Fantasy audiobooks:

* Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell – This novel, published by Podiobooks, tells the story of Ishmael, a new crewmember on a space freighter. The story and gentle didactic tone reminded me of classic adolescent science fiction like Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein.

* Trunk & Disorderly by Charles Stross – Stross reads his own work here in a novellette made available by Subterrannean Press. The story is a hilarious re-imagining of the Wooster and Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse, but set in a futuristic universe. Not recommended for children.

* The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle – In probably the greatest Sherlock Holmes novel, Holmes and Watson confront a demonic hellhound threatening the life of their client. John Telfer performs a marvelous array of British accents in this excellent recording. Project Gutenberg provides two duplicate copies of the files: one at 11 kHz and a higher-quality version at 22 kHz.

* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Even if you or your children have the movie memorized, the original book is worth a listen. J. Hall narrates the book in this LibriVox offering with a pleasant American accent that would be at home on NPR.

* Red Panda Adventures by Decoder Ring Theatre – Okay, so this one’s not technically an audiobook. The folks at Decoder Ring Theater produce an excellent show in old-time radio style about the adventures of a pair of wisecracking masked heroes. Download several episodes to fit the length of your trip.

Posted by Seth (Listener of the Free Listens blog)

LibriVox: Tales Of Terror And Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

SFFaudio Online Audio

With Halloween still months away its kind of surprising to see this collection of short stories available now. But just think, with 12 complete short stories you could listen to just one a week and it’d be Halloween soon enough. I’m not a very big fan of multiple readers serially recording a chapter or two at a time, but that isn’t the case here, this is a short story collection, each individual story has just one reader, which is perfect!

LibriVox audiobook - Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan DoyleTales Of Terror And Mystery
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Read by various readers
12 zipped MP3 Files or podcast – 7 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 1, 2007
“Though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his detective stories, he also wrote other short stories which are masterpieces of mystery and suspense. In some of the stories in Tales of Terror and Mystery, a suppressed uneasiness gradually builds up and evolves into sheer terror. In others, the story line unexpectedly changes and comes to a horrific conclusion. Sit back in the comfort of your armchair and let yourself be transported to the strange but compelling world created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox offers Horror Story Anthology with Lovecraft PLUS MORE

SFFaudio Online Audio

Mark Nelson, has written in to announce that LibriVox‘s first Horror Anthology audiobook is complete! The impressive collection features public domain Horror stories by William F. Harvey, Charles Dickens, Edwin Lester Arnold, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Hans Anderson and H.P. Lovecraft. Of the 10 stories there are four are by H.P. Lovecraft! Narration of the ten tales is by 6 different narrators. Stories vary in length from 7 minutes to over an hour.

LibriVox Horror Audiobook Collection -  Horror Story Collection 001Horror Story Collection 001
Various authors; Various narrators
1 Zipped File of MP3s – Approx. 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 20th 2007

Individual stories:

The Beast With Five Fingers
By William F. Harvey; Read by Mark Nelson
1 |MP3| -Approx. 1 Hour 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Captain Murder (From The Uncommercial Traveller, Chapter 15, Nurse’s Tales)
By Charles Dickens; Read by Beth Peat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Doom That Came To Sarnath
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by: Glen Hallstrom
1 |MP3| Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Dreadful Night

By Edwin Lester Arnold; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Japanned Box
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Read by “mrbush77”
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Mark Of The Beast
By Rudyard Kipling; Read by: William Coon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Mother And The Dead Child
By Hans Anderson; Read by “mrbush77”
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by “actualwolf”
1 |MP3| – Approx. 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Terrible Old Man
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Glen Hallstrom
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Tomb
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Glen Hallstrom
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Review of The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audio Drama - The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan DoyleThe Lost World
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, performed by a full cast
2 Cassettes, 2 CDs, Approx. 2 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 1997
ISBN: 7671401800 (cassettes), 9780671577209 (CDs)
Themes: / Science fiction / Adventure / Exploration / Dinosaurs / Lost Civilizations / Archeology /

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is known as the creator and writer of that most famous sleuth, Sherlock Homes. Doyle was somewhat resentful of that character’s phenomenal success as it overshadowed all his other writings. His most popular and enduring work that did not feature Sherlock Homes is The Lost World, the story of Professor Challenger and his team of explorers that go to the Amazon jungle and find a primeval plateau inhabited by dinosaurs and ape-men.

Alien Voices was formed in 1996 by Star Trek alumni Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie with writer-producer Nat Segaloff. These are full cast adaptations with sound effects and music. The Lost World was released as the third Alien Voices title after The Time Machine and Journey to the Center of the Earth. They recorded this release in front of a live audience during the Grand Slam’s Star Trek convention in 1997. The production values are great with terrific sound and a talented cast.

I’ve never read the original work by Doyle, so I won’t speak on the adaptation’s faithfulness. I did look over the text enough to know that the character of Professor Summerlee was switched from male to female for this adaptation. This was a wise move that added a dimension that was not in the original work. Professor Summerlee is played by Roxann Dawson and is strong-willed and independent. Which is as it should be, and Prof. Summerlee stands out as the most interesting character in the cast. Unfortunately, this is one of the few elements that seem fresh and interesting.

My main contention with this adaptation is that it moves too slowly in the beginning. Nearly the first third of the story takes place in London as Professor Challenger gathers his crew for the expedition. This story is an old one. Although as I mentioned I haven’t read the book, I am familiar with the story. We know there are dinosaurs coming, and yet we have to wade through the lengthy backstory. The narrative follows a straight chronological order. A better approach, while still being a faithful adaptation, would be starting the story in the Lost World with some heavy action. The backstory could then be filled with flashbacks in more episodic doses. One of the characters, Malone, is a newspaper reporter that goes on the expedition as a correspondent. The reporter sends dispatches to the newspaper. This narrative device could have been easily utilized to encompass these expositorial flashbacks. So despite a great performance by cast and crew, this versions pacing and lack of surprises makes it a tiring listen.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase Wins Audiobook of the Year

SFFaudio News

Science Fiction Audio Drama - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Tertiary PhaseThis just in – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase was named the Audiobook of the Year by the Audio Publisher’s Association at this weekend’s Audie Awards! Congratulations to adapter/director Dirk Maggs and everyone involved with it. It’s fantastic to see a science fiction audio drama win this award. See the SFFaudio review of this title here.

In a tough Science Fiction category, the winner was Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan. Find the SFFaudio review here.

Genre winners in other categories:

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library

Children’s Titles for Ages 8+
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, read by Patricia Conolly, Recorded Books

Solo Narration – Female
Davina Porter for A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Audio Drama
The Sherlock Holmes Theatre by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, performed by a cast, produced by Yuri Rasovsky, Blackstone Audio
ed – OK, this may not technically be a genre title, but most SF fans like Holmes, and Yuri Rasovsky has genre ties, including the excellent 2000X series.

Achievement in Production
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, performed by a cast, Focus on the Family

Not a bad genre showing! Find the complete list of winners and nominees at Unfortunately, the website is a little cryptic as of this writing – to see the winners and nominees, you’ve got to download a 6Mb PDF file that is titled “The Audies Sampler”. If I can find a clean HTML list, I’ll let you know.