The SFFaudio Podcast #008


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #008 – here there be podcasts – we’ve adorned ourselves in too much gold, now we can’t move! So join us on our 8th show, where we’re always etymologically correct.

Scott: Oh ya right. I just forgot something man. Uh, before we dock, I think we ought to discuss the bonus situation.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: We think… we think we deserve full shares.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: Pass the cornbread.

Topics discussed include:, METAtropolis, Jay Lake, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Mr. Spaceship, Philip K. Dick, Stefan Rudnicki, Wonder Audio, Anne McCaffrey, The Ship Who Sang, Michael Hogan, Battlestar Galactica, 18th Century Spain, Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and sometimes Idaho), Detroit, “Turking”, The Turk (the chess playing automaton), alternative economy, Kandyse McClure, infodump, shared world, Brandon Sanderson, hard fantasy, Elantris, Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away, manna, unicorns, dragons, Dungeons & Dragons, Mistborn, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Writing Excuses Podcast, Howard Tayler,, Dan Wells, The Dark Knight, Aural Noir, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach, Mike Hammer, Full Cast Audio, Red Planet, Robert A. Heinlein, Bruce Coville, Mars, Heinlein’s Future History sequence, the Red Planet TV miniseries, Princess Academy, Shannon Hale, Blackstone Audio, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick Volume 1, and Volume 2, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, David Farland, Runelords, Collected Public Domain Works Of H.P. Lovecraft,, October, Ray Bradbury, “Autumn ennui”, AUTHOR PAGES, LEIGH BRACKETT, FREDERIC BROWN, JAMES PATRICK KELLY, BBC7,, Beam Me Up Podcast, MACK REYNOLDS, Robert Sheckley, Religulous, Constantine’s Sword, The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction: The Definitive illustrated Guide edited by David Pringle, space opera, planetary romance, Julie D., Forgotten Classics podcast, The Wonder Stick, time travel, alien intrusions, metal powers, Slan, The Demolished Man, comedic SF, aliens, artificial intelligence, “cosmic collisions”, Deep Impact, cyborgs, dinosaurs, the dying Earth, Gene Wolfe, elixir of life, immortality, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, genetic engineering, nuclear war, overpopulation, parallel worlds, robots, androids, Joanna Russ, Ben Bova, space travel, suspended animation, teleportation, transcendence = the Singularity ?, Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke, religion, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Monica Hughes, Crisis On Conshelf Ten, Hard SF, cyberpunk, psychology, New Wave, lost races, military SF, science fantasy, shared worlds, steampunk.

Posted by Jesse Willis

A Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou: Such Is Fate by Arsen Darnay

SFFaudio Online Audio

A Bite of Stars, a Slug of Time, and Thou - a Resonance FM podcastA Bite of Stars, A Slug of Time, and Thou, that terrific radio show on Resonance FM presents another terrific story, this one from the September-October 1974 issue of “Worlds of If” magazine. On the podcast Magnus Anderson joins the Slug Lords to talk about Arsen Darnay’s short story, “Such Is Fate” – which is a strong SF story that really isn’t very SF at all, but which is really quite good nonetheless.

Such is Fate by Arsen DarnayEpisode 12 – Such Is Fate
By Arsen Darnay; Read by Elisha Sessions
Podcast – 60 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: A Bite Of Stars, A Slug Of Time, And Thou
Podcast: September 30th, 2008
A gypsy, a sailor, and a tank of liquefied gas all combine to retell an oft told tale.

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Beyond The Aquila Rift by Alastair Reynolds

SFFaudio Review

Beyond the Aquila RiftBeyond the Aquila Rift
By Alastair Reynolds; Read by Tom Dheere
1 CD – 72 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: Feb 22, 2008
ISBN: 9781884612770
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Travel / Suspended Animation /

Beyond the Aquila Rift. It’s shorthand for the trip no one ever hopes to make by accident. The one that will screw up the rest of your life, the one that creates the ghosts you see haunting the shadows of company bars across the whole Bubble. Men and women ripped out of time, cut adrift from families and lovers by an accident of an alien technology we use but rarely comprehend.

Fiction editors. I don’t know much about how they work and I don’t much care to. More than anything in an editor, I want a gatekeeper who consistently picks stories that I like. Thinking about who that might be, I always bring one name to mind: Isaac Asimov. If Asimov liked the story then I usually did too. But Asimov is dead. If it’s new stuff today, it has to be one guy very few readers have heard of. His name is Allan Kaster. Kaster edits an ongoing anthology (released one tale at a time) entitled Great Science Fiction stories. Nowhere on the package of any Infinivox title does it say “Allan Kaster, Editor”, but he’s definitely the guy making this series live up to it’s title. I can’t remember a single Infinivox production that left me cold. They often leave me confused, frightened, hurt, awed, satisfied, or unsatisfied (but not in the wrong way). Mostly though they leave me thinking: “Please, sir, can I have another?”

Beyond The Aquila Rift is another little known novelette deserving the title “Great Science Fiction.” I say this because this story got me thinking thoughts about the nature of reality that not even Philip K. Dick couldn’t conjure. Most tales that deal with “what is reality?” type scenarios come up with a weak endorsement of something I’ll call “real reality.” Sometimes they end in another way, one more noir than mainstream. This one has it both ways and I like that. The ambivalence is itself novel, and makes the story work. This isn’t the best of Infinivox’s Great Science Fiction Stories, but it is a worthy listen. Thanks Allan!

Narrator Tom Dheere, another in Infinivox’s stable of previously unknown narrators, delivers this reading straight. It is a good reading. This is 72 minutes of thought provoking modern SF. Have a listen to a sample |MP3|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New FREE AUDIOBOOK: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Colors Of Space

SFFaudio Online Audio

A new LibriVox title has piqued our interest. It’s Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1963 novel The Colors Of Space. Sadly, this is not the ideal audio version of it as it has multiple readers – who seem to have randomly chosen their chapters. I think the ethos of LibriVox is absolutely wonderful, but the output, especially in cases like this seems more geared towards project completion and narrator convenience rather than listener preference. That said, the audiobook is 100% free and very easily downloadable either by a Zipped Folder full of MP3s, singly in individual file of MP3 or OGG Vorbis formats and by the podcast feed (including a one click iTunes subscription).

LibriVox audiobook - The Colors Of Space by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Colors Of Space
By Marion Zimmer Bradley; Read by various readers
15 zipped MP3 Files or podcast – 5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 29th 2007
Bart Steele, a Space Academy graduate, has the potential to gain the secret of an alien “warp drive”, a super-fast technology for interstellar travel. He’ll have to get some surgery, and spy upon an alien race to do it but he’s . lucky because by a bit of genetic quirk Bart can see a wider optical range than ordinary humans. Still, countless human spies have already failed to gain the secret.

You can get the entire novel in podcast form, via this handy url:

Review of Volitar: Murder, Mystery, Mayhem Music

Volitar: Murder, Mystery, Mayhem
Music by Andrew Engstrom; Dramatic scenes performed by a full cast
1 Music CD with dramatized connecting scenes – 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2002
UPC: 803680208120
Themes: / Music / Science Fiction / Experimental / Mystery / Suspended Animation / Aliens /

“Well according to the Navi-computer we’re right on target Mr. Braiden. We should be landing on Volitar in oh…. a quick year and a half.”

The year is 2117. Mining moon owner Trevor Braiden, along with planetary geologist Dr. Desiree Lear, return to Volitar in search of a new mining site. Just hours after their arrival a bomb blast rips through the mining compound leaving Trevor bewildered from the loss of his best friend. Someone is trying to him, but why?

Tracks included:
1. Blast-off
2. Deep Freeze
3. Soul Searching
4. Landing
5. Gateway Theatre
6. Faces
7. The Secret
8. Just One Look
9. Machine Shop
10. Nightmare
11. Laser Research
12. The Fire of Section 17
13. Dead
14. Mourning
15. Desiree For Dessert
16. Free

Volitar’s creator, Andrew Engstrom, wrote this concept album as a hybrid between science fiction audio drama and straight rock music CD. He personally wrote and played multiple instruments in all of the songs, sang in others, co-wrote the dramatic storyline and even performed the lead character’s role. I’m of two minds on this one, I liked the idea, though I admit to not being a devotee of the concept album, but I didn’t come away from it thoroughly convinced. The dramatic elements are probably most to blame here. Unfortunately Engstrom came up with a milieu and some characters but the story isn’t quite finished. What little of it I could follow didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and each of the eight dramatic scenes that it is composed of seemed to be written only as introduction to the following song. One example of this is where our characters go into a seedy bar, where an alien rock group is just taking the stage. Before the band starts to play one of the characters asks another to dance. – Cue the music track. – After that song finishes, they tell each other how much they enjoyed the dance they just had and ask to dance again…

While I really and truly appreciated the enthusiasm and the follow through in production of the CD and fit and finish of the packaging, the content itself left me bewildered. The voice acting was only fair and for some scenes the actors sounded like they were simply reading their lines straight off the page. And though the album was recorded between 1998 and 2002, the music felt very 1985, with lots of heavy metal riffs and indecipherable or inaudible lyrics. Not my favorite. But then my tastes in music may not be yours; several other reviewers have noted how much they enjoyed the music. Musically it may work well for you. As far as the fiction goes … I like to be able to follow the story. And I couldn’t here. BUT, taking it in as a serious attempt at SF, that should be followable may have been a mistake on my part.

Becky Jo Engstrom, who plays one of the characters, noted in an exclusive audio interview available with the bonus eBook CD “The Making of Volitar,” that they planned the CD as an homage to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and the ‘B-movie’ influences of their youth. So, if before you insert the CD and hit play, you tell yourself, ‘this is light entertainment, just music with dramatic scenes’ and not ‘dramatic scenes with music’, you may have a heck of a lot of fun with it! As an aside, special mention should go to artist, Bud Curtis (, who’s responsible for the CD’s digital imagery in the fold out packaging; he’s done a terrific job! I found the bonus eBook quite interesting too, well presented and chock full of production details. Andrew Engstrom and his team seem like really cool people and I look forward to their follow up album tentatively titled “Volitar: War In Ganthros.”

Posted by Jesse Willis