Review of Tears of the Tin God

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Tears of the Tin God by T. Ray GordonTears Of The Tin God
By T. Ray Gordon; Narrated by Richard Sellers and a Full Cast
1 CD – 80 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2007
UPC: 701376158028
Themes: / Science fiction / Alien Artifact / Space travel /

If I were allowed only two words to review this audio drama, I would choose these: Harmless junk. But if I had to shave my word count, I wouldn’t know where to cut. Tears Of The Tin God is not a terrible audio drama. The sound and sound effects are fine, but the script is plagued by over-explanation of the familiar (as in: “…she frowned, making a face…”), juxtaposed with under-explanation of the novel. A few of the science fictional ideas are unconvincing, and the ending feels rushed and emotionally unsatisfying. Still, the enthusiastic production and the short running time make it kinda likable.

The plot is provocative, if not stunningly original: Seven future astronauts have been sent across space to investigate some immense alien artifacts on a planet called Borne 7. Upon landing on the surface of the largest artifact, one of the astronauts is ingested by it, becoming an integral part of a being with god-like power and knowledge. But are its intentions good or evil, alien or human?

The same concept is explored by Michael Crichton, sans space suits, in his novel Sphere. That one isn’t great, either, but it is superior to this one in the quality of its prose, the depth of its explanations, and the delicious thrill of its sustained tension. Tears Of The Tin God won’t take years off your life, but it kills an hour you might miss later.

Posted by Kurt Dietz

Recent Arrivals

Science Fiction Audiobook Recent Arrivals

Science Fiction Audiobook - Inhumanity Quest by T. Ray GordonInhumanity Quest
By T. Ray Gordon; Read by Richard Sellers
1 CD – 72 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2005
UPC: 701376151425
Described as: “[An] audio book audio drama/science fiction/adventure. In the distant future a war for the survival of humanity rages. The enemy is powerful and ruthless and will stop at nothing to ensure mankinds extermination.”

Horror Audiobook - Jeffrey Combs Read H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West Re-AnimatorJeffrey Combs Read H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West Re-Animator
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Jeffrey Combs
1 CD – 72 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Published: 1999
UPC: 619981033428
Described as: “‘The Herbert West-Reanimator’ serial was six gruesome tales inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and was a group of stories Lovecraft considered to be his ‘poorest work – stuff done to order for a vulgar magazine, and written down to the herd’s level.’ Contrary to Lovecraft’s opinion of his own work, Re-animator is a very enjoyable macabre tale filled with suspense and dread.”

Audiobook - Infidel by Roger GreggInfidel
By Roger Gregg; Performed by a Full Cast
2 CDs – 72 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Crazy Dog Audio Theatre
Published: 2006
UPC: 69232098568
Described as: “Infidel takes place in the early 13th century during the Fifth Crusade. In the context of the factual history of the Crusade, Infidel tells the fictional story of brothers Hugh and Philip of Beauvais, and Omar, the youngest son of the sultan and to whom Hugh becomes a tutor and unlikely friend.” *Given the historical setting this may not strictly fit into the fantasy category but Crazy Dog does audio drama right. It should be fun.

Danse Macabre - An Anita Lake, Vampire Hunter NovelDanse Macabre – An Anita Lake, Vampire Hunter Novel
By Laurell K. Hamilton; Read by Cynthia Holloway
18 CDs – Approx. 21 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1596008687
Described as: “These days, Anita Blake is less interested in vampire politics than in an ancient, ordinary dread she shares with women down the ages: she may be pregnant. And, if she is, whether the father is a vampire, a werewolf, or someone else entirely, he knows perfectly well that being a Federal Marshal known for raising the dead and being a vampire executioner, is no way to bring up a baby. “

Armageddon's Children by Terry BrooksArmageddon’s Children
By Terry Brooks; Read by Dick Hill
12 CDs – Approx. 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1423322568
Described as: “[A] gripping chronicle of a once-familiar world now spun shockingly out of control, in which an extraordinary few struggle to salvage hope in the face of terrifying chaos. Logan Tom is doomed to remember the past and determined to rescue the future. Far behind him lies a boyhood cut violently short by his family’s slaughter, when the forces of madness and hate swept our world after decadent excesses led to civilization’s downfall. Somewhere ahead of him rests the only chance to beat back the minions of evil that are systematically killing and enslaving the last remnants of humanity. Navigating the scarred and poisoned landscape that once was America and guided by a powerful talisman, Logan has sworn an oath to seek out a remarkable being born of magic, possessed of untold abilities, and destined to lead the final fight against darkness.”

Review of Strawberry Automatic by T. Ray Gordon

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Strawberry Automatic by T. Ray GordonStrawberry Automatic
By T. Ray Gordon, Full Cast Production by Richard Sellers
1 CD – 78 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Androids / Terraforming Mars /

The Automatics are androids, and trained fighting machines. When they fought for their own rights, they were, of course, declared non-personal non grata and the ones that could left Earth for other parts of the Solar System colonies. Strawberry Automatic is tall with flaming red hair, beautiful and deadly as they come. On Mars there is a company running the terraforming operation. Naturally someone wants to speed up the process using illegal nukes, and someone else wants to stop them.

I say “of course” and “naturally” because as I listened to this CD I had no trouble keeping slightly ahead of the story line. I kept thinking “This is a 1950s sci-fi story.” On his CD sales website, producer and narrator Richard Sellers says that T. Ray Gordon wrote 72 original manuscripts during the 1950s, which have never been published until now. So I was right. And as seems to be the cliché with pulp and radio writers, he was alcoholic and killed himself in 1961.

As a story Strawberry Automatic is a fairly good sci-fi adventure. As a script it relies too much on narration, some of which could have been written into dialogue or eliminated to keep the story moving faster. This might have made the script longer, though, and it appears they had decided to keep it to one CD. The production values are high, as the producer works as a voiceover artist and knows his trade. He also narrates the story. The acting is quite good, and it shows that Sellers knows his community of good performers. They just need someone to help them develop the script a bit before moving on.

The production values and the fact that it was not a story that had ever been produced before garnered it an Honorable Mention for the 10th Annual Mark Time Awards for Science Fiction Audio this year. Click here for more info.

The first of Gordon’s stories made for audio by Apex Audio Theatre, Inhumanity Quest, was also produced by Richard Sellers, and it shares many of the qualities mentioned here regarding the story, the production quality, and the performances.

I liked the production a little better the second time I heard it, as I could listen a bit more critically. It is well done. But I don’t know if I could listen to 72 of this kind of tale.