Review of The Sky People by S.M. Stirling

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Sky People by S.M. StirlingThe Sky People
By S.M. Stirling; Read by Todd McLaren
1 MP3-CD or 9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 140015345X (MP3-CD), 9781400103454 (CDs)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / Adventure / Venus / Dinosaurs / Neanderthals / Airships / Cold War / Pulp /

CRACK!

He swayed back against the recoil and worked the bolt with a quick flick of his first three fingers. A body exploded out of the patch of tall grass he’d aimed at. It was a biped, about his own size and covered in yellow-green feathers except for a crest of crimson plumes that snapped out in reflex as the lizard body writhed in death. The jump put it a good twelve feet into the air; a good deal of its length was the powerful digitigrade legs, both with a great sickle-shaped claw held up against the hock. That flashed out in equally automatic reflex as the vicious predator struck out in one last attempt to disembowel whatever had hurt it. A steam-engine hiss escaped the long fanged mouth, scarlet-purple within, and a spray of blood came with it from the lungs shredded by the powerful expanding bullet.

“Raptor pack!” Marc shouted to the herdsman.

The Sky People fits into that alternate history sub-genre of SF but not in the usual way. Generally, alternate history tales follow the events of the real world with one event changed in the past that creates a different outcome and changes history from that point forward. This may be the South winning the Civil War or Mary, Queen of Scots, becoming the Queen of England. The departing point for this novel took place approximately 200 million years ago. But it didn’t occur so much on our own planet but on Venus and Mars. This means this alternate Earth’s history doesn’t change until the U.S. and Soviet Union start exploring interplanetary space.

The prologue features the landing of an American rocket ship on Venus in 1962. The planet’s surface appears as a lush jungle – then running into view of the film camera is an exotic and beautiful scantily fur-clad female with her clan’s people.

The novel proper then begins 22 years later in 1988. The Cold War has changed from an arms race into a competitive interplanetary space race to explore and stake their claims on Venus and Mars. Marc Vitrac, a citizen of Jamestown, the U.S.-Commonwealth scientific colony, welcomes the newly arrived rocket passengers. Their mode of transportation from the landing site to Jamestown is on the back of dinosaurs through the jungle lushness of Venus.

Meanwhile, on the nearby Venusian continent, the Soviet bloc has set up their own scientific outpost. When one of their shuttle crash lands in the relative vicinity of Jamestown, a rescue party is put together to search for survivors. They travel via airship, and it does not fair well against the natural hostile environment. What’s more, there is a saboteur among the blimp’s crew.

The story grows more intriguing as Marc Vitrac and the stranded party of the airship meet with a clan of primitive humans. The two parties join forces to face off against a tribe of armed Neanderthals!

As you might imagine, this novel reads as a love letter to the early pulp master, Edgar Rice Burroughs. But it’s no mere pastiche of the creator of Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and most pertinently, Carson of Venus. Stirling uses hard science justifications for his world building. And there’s also more of an emphasis on cultural diversity that you’d expect from a novel written in the 21st century. Sterling is a capable writer, whether it is a turning of a phrase or a description of lush imagery, he’s able to handle it all without getting too far from the gloriously pulpy action. Burroughs is often mentioned in the book as being a major influence on the many of the denizens of the scientific colony.

What exactly happened those 200 million years ago isn’t exactly clear. Why is the planet’s evolution so closely tied to that of Earth’s? The reigning hypothesis in The Sky People is that aliens seeded the planets nearest Earth. There are mysteries here that are to be answered over the length of the trilogy.

Todd McLaren handles the dialects deftly without overemphasizing the accents. Some novels are well-suited to be adapted to audiobook, as if they were written for that treatment. The Sky People is one of these, it makes an ideal audiobook. The large ranch of characters with multi-cultural backgrounds enables Todd McLaren to apply his talent for dialect and keeping the listening experience fresh and varied. Sterling also writes with sounds effects—meaning, he literally writes “Unnnngg-OOOK!” for a bellowing dinosaur, so it’s like the story has the sound effects built in, which McLaren gets to vocalize.

The Sky People is a rare pleasure—well-written, thrill-ride excitement, fun characters, lush settings, and all wrapped-up in a wonderful vocal performance. This is the first novel in a projected trilogy. I sincerely hope that Tantor Audio, with the talents of Todd McLaren, publishes the complete series.

Review of The Shadow Killer by Matthew Scott Hansen

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Shadow   Killer by Matthew Scott HansenThe Shadow Killer
By Matthew Scott Hansen; Read by William Dufris
2 MP3 CDs or 12 CDs; Approx. 15 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 1400153255 (MP3-CDs); 9781400103256 (CDs)
Themes: / Horror / Sasquatch / Paranormal / Indigene / Monster / Mystery / Mythical Creature /

At first I thought to myself. Bigfoot? Really? It just seemed like the sort of thing you might find in the B-movie isle at Blockbuster. In a way, yes, it is, but not in that cheap, cheesy sort of way, where you feel like you’re just a little dirtier, just a little dumber just for watching. No, The Shadow Killer by Matthew Scott Hansen is a novel that takes all the known clichés from this sort of monster/disaster stories and hones in on the razor sharp edges of them. He does this while still keeping the book compulsively fun.

You know how Bigfoot always seems like a really tall guy in a monkey suit? Well, this is not that kind of Bigfoot story. The luxury of Bigfoot in written form, is that Bigfoot can be as big as the author wants him to be. In fact, there is much of the book spent avoiding the specifics of the actual size, allowing the reader/listener to come up with their own idea of how big it is.

This sasquatch is an angry one. The beginning of the story tells of how his tribe, clan, family, kin have been wiped out and killed by a forest fire. He is the lone survivor and is set off on a mission of revenge towards “The Keepers of Fire”, who just turn out to be us humans. He starts wreaking havoc and slowly builds up to a terrorizing rampage. But, since the existence of Bigfoot has never been proven, it’s not exactly easy to catch him, or even figure out what exactly is going on.

This edge-of-your-seat thriller centers around an ensemble cast who each have varying degrees of faith in the actual existence of this giant. There is a retired software engineer, whose life has been in shambles since he actually encountered a different Bigfoot three years prior, while on vacation. No one believed him, of course, and he has been obsessed ever since. There’s a Sheriff’s Detective who gets assigned to the investigation of all the strange occurrences and missing people in the area. There is even a bloodthirsty TV reporter who has aspirations towards the big time, and she too latches on to the story, willing to do anything to get higher ratings. Last, there’s my favorite character; Ben, aging Indian, who has been having dreams about being chased by this enormous beast. He seems to be connected to this animal and begins searching for it, not knowing exactly what will happen when he finds it. The story seems like a bunch of people being eaten and terrorized for the first several chapters, until Ben is introduced. He’s instantly likeable.

The story is relentless. Once it gets going, it does not let up, and while a few of the characters of this book are still standing in the end, no one gets out with out a few battle wounds, both physically and emotionally. These people get run through the wringer and you go through the wringer with them. As the reader, you start to wonder how much more of this they can take. The writing and descriptions of these scenes are of laser intensity. You know within just a few words of meeting a character whether you are going to like that character or hate them, and once you do like or hate a character the rest of the tale only strengthens your feelings in that direction.

For me, the most enjoyable part of listening to this book was the narration by William Dufris. He is a master of capturing the emotion and feeling of a moment, and in such a way that it really plays out in your mind. Where some narrators might perform a little bit, putting some feeling in to the character’s dialogue and descriptions, Dufris turns his reading in to a tour de force.

This book has numerous characters, all with different voices and attitudes. He can make you laugh, cry, cringe and feel out of breath, all with a few simple inflections to his voice. Female characters somehow sound like real women, and there is not one ounce of discomfort or sense of overacting. Dufris does the reading so well, that you forget that you are actually listening to one man doing all of this by himself. All the while making it seem like it is the simplest of actions. Just like most masters of their craft, William Dufris makes his vocation, audiobook narration, look easy.

All in all, this audio book is a highly entertaining listen. Its got a little bit of everything. But, be warned this is adult material. There are verbose detailed sexual situations and gore that place very interesting pictures in your head. Including one scene of murder where the animal can sense that the woman he is killing is “ready to mate”. What follows after, is one of the few times I have ever felt queasy about what I was listening to. That scene is very well written and extremely vivid, but still discomforting. When you think it’s as bad as it is going to get for this woman, it gets even worse, and I’ll just leave it at that.

So, if you have a strong stomach, like a monster story with great characters and a great narrator, this audio book does what I feel audio books should do for the listener; it won’t let you stop listening to it. In the 15 hours I spent listening to this novel, I never felt bored and my sense of dread and fear for the characters was omnipresent. Maybe, by the time you finish listening, you’ll believe in Bigfoot too.

Review of The World Set Free by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells Month

Science Fiction Audiobook - The World Set Free by H.G. WellsThe World Set Free
By H.G. Wells; Read by Shelly Frasier
1 MP3-CD or 6 CDs – Approx. 6.5 Hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: 2002
ISBN: 1400150108 (MP3-CD); 1400100100(CDs)
/ Science Fiction / Atomic Power / Atomic Bombs / War / Utopia / Politics / Futurism / Prophecy / World State /

“Never before in the history of warfare had there been a continuing explosive; indeed, up to the middle of the twentieth century the only explosives known were combustibles whose explosiveness was due entirely to their instantaneousness; and these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them.”

The Father of Science Fiction first works are still among our classics. With excellent treatments of alien invasion (The War of the Worlds), space travel (First Men in the Moon), proto-genetic manipulation (The Island of Dr. Moreau), and of course time travel (The Time Machine). In his first decade of a writer he had written these classics as well as The Invisible Man, and The Food of the Gods, as many classic short stories.

Wells continued his writing career for another 40 years. Always remaining a popular author. So what happened to all these books he wrote? What happened to this iconoclast of SF? Why were his later works seldom reprinted and so hard to find? In his day, books like Tono-Bungay and Ann Veronica were huge critical and commercial successes. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and other public domain sites, his more obscure works are now obtainable. Much of his later work does not qualify as SF. But there are a number of his novels that deal with prophecies and future utopias and do qualify as SF.

The World Set Free was one of those future visions. Written and published upon the cusp of World War I, the novel proves that Wells had a gift for prophecy, although many of the details played out in a different way. In the novel the World War would not occur till 1956.

The main impetus of the novel is the advent of atomic power, both as a bomb and as a power source. The atomic bomb has many similarities to the actual bombs, including decaying radiation. Wells’ portrait of a World War would lead to numerous atomic bombs destroying civilization.

Wells had hoped from the ashes of a World War that nationalism would dissolve and a new world state would evolve. He portrays the World War in a horrific way. For one who saw the war as a way to a new world order, he does not handle the horrors of war with kid gloves.

Wells uses a narrative device that this book is written from a far utopian future. And from this far future perspective, it tells of the dark days of the war and then of the end of countries and the beginning of the world state. The tone is scholarly and leaves the listener/reader distanced from the characters.

I believe Wells started to see himself as an educator to the masses. That through his writing, both fiction and non-fiction, he could change the world. Sounds like a maniacal delusion, but he was an extremely popular writer. He was the equivalent to a rock star in terms of cultural popularity, but with the intellectual clout of an author. Unfortunately this didactic charge, he placed on himself, put storytelling subordinate to the message. Despite these flaws, the novel is filled with many thought provoking ideas.

Shelly Frasier narrates the novel. After an introduction, in which she speaks with an American accent, she switches to an English accent for the text of the novel. After getting use to this change, I found her accent and characterization quite good and she turns in a solid performance.

Recent Arrivals – Bujold, Card, Wells and Haggard

Science Fiction Audiobook Recent Arrivals

The Blackstone titles are new releases. The Tantor titles are backlist titles that we requested.

Science Fiction Audiobook - Memory by Lois McMaster BujoldMemory
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
MP3 Disc or 12 CDs, Approx. 14.5 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433201158(MP3 disc); 9781433201141(CDs)

From the back cover:
Dying is easy. Coming back to life is hard. At least that’s what Miles Vorkosigan thinks, and he should know, having done both once already.
Thanks to his quick-thinking staff and incredible artistry from a medical specialist, Miles’s first death won’t be his last. But it does take some recovery, a fact he has been reluctant to admit. When he makes the mistake of returning too soon to military duty, he finds himself summoned home to face the Barrayaran security chief, Simon Illyan. But Miles’s worst nightmares about Simon Illyan are nothing compared to Illyan’s own nightmares. Under suspicion himself, Miles must seek out the answers to Ilyan’s nightmares or see the inevitable destruction of Imperial Security and, with it, the Empire.

Science Fiction Audiobook - Seventh Son by Orson Scott CardSeventh Son: Tales of Alvin Maker, Book 1
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Scott Brick and others
MP3 Disc or 8 CDs, Approx. 9 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433200960(MP3 disc); 9781433200953(CDs)

From the back cover:
From the author of the award-winning Ender’s Game comes the unforgettable story of young Alvin Maker, the seventh son of a seventh son.

Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with power, but he must learn to use his gift wisely. Dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

Science Fiction Audiobook - The World Set Free by H.G. WellsThe World Set Free
By H.G. Wells; Read by Shelly Frasier
MP3 Disc or 6 CDs, Approx. 6.5 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: 2002
ISBN: 1400150108 (MP3 disc); 1400100100(CDs)

From the back cover:
In this thought-provoking masterpiece, H.G. Wells predicts the inventions that will inadvertently lead to mass destruction, forcing the world to “start over”. You will see many similarities between H.G. Wells’ new world and today’s world due to the recent technological revolution. This stimulating novel will leave you wondering if and when the remaining predictions will come to pass!

Science Fiction Audiobook - Eric Brighteyes by H. Rider HaggardEric Brighteyes
By H. Rider Haggard; Read by Shelly Frasier
MP3 Disc or 9 CDs, Approx. 11 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: 2001
ISBN: 1400150280 (MP3 disc); 1400100283(CDs)

From the back cover:
This deftly crafted Viking tale depicts the terror, tragedy and vanity of life. The ill fated lovers, Eric and “Gudruda the Fair”, fall victim to the jealous Swanhild’s sorcery. Eric and his ‘thrall’ must overcome treachery, bloodthirsty foes, the open sea and blizzards as he battles to win his beloved Gudruda. Will the star-crossed lovers triumph over the fate of the Norns and the spite of Swanhild?

Tantor Audio offers several Exciting new titles for Spring & Summer 2007

SFFaudio News

Audiobook Publisher - Tantor AudioTantor Audio has some very exciting Speculative Fiction titles on the horizon! First up, there is a simultaneous release of a new Harry Turtledove Alternate History novel, quite far out is the new Richard K. Morgan audiobook (o0f which we have absolutely no plot info) AND best of all there are THREE Isaac Asimov Mystery/Science Fiction classics coming! There are even more titles too!!!

Beyond the Gap
By Harry Turtledove; Read by William Dufris
12 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: February 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400103827 (CD), 1400153824 (MP3-CD)
“In this promising first of a new saga, alternate-history maven Turtledove (Ruled Britannia) depicts a Bronze Age society in transition. A growing gap in the glacier that has formed the Raumsdalian Empire’s northern border for millennia allows Count Hamnet Thyssen and Trasamund the jarl, of the nomadic Northern Bizogot, to become the empire’s Lewis and Clark. They and their entourage, which inconveniently includes Hamnet’s unfaithful ex-wife, Gudrid, depart the empire’s capital city, Nidaris, to explore what lies beyond the glacier and search for the fabled Golden Shrine. On the way, a formidable and attractive (if unbathed) Bizogot shaman, Liv, joins the expedition—and Hamnet under the animal hides. If the Raumsdalians and Bizogots don’t always get along, their culture clash is nothing compared to the threat they face on the other side of the glacier: the Rulers, a tribe of imperious, mammoth-riding warriors. A vivid setting and strong characterization bode well for future installments.”

Ascent
By Jed Mercurio; Read by Todd McLaren
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 Hours 30 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: March 2007
ISBN: 1400103681 (CD), 1400153689 (MP3-CD)
Yeremin, a Soviet MiG pilot, rises from the privation of a Stalingrad orphanage to the heights of the cosmonaut corps. During the Korean War, as a member of an elite squadron, he shoots down the most American fighter jets—a feat that should make him a national hero, but because the Soviets’ involvement in the war is secret, Yeremin’s victories go unreported. When he is recalled from obscurity to join the race to the Moon, he realizes it is his chance for immortality.

Caves Of Steel
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: May 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104211 (CD), 1400154219 (MP3-CD)
A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Baley and his Spacer superiors, who mistrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot—and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

The Society Of S
By Susan Hubbard; Read by Joyce Bean
8 Audio CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: May 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104262 (CDs), 140015426X (MP3-CD)
Ariella Montero is seeking the true identities of her mother and father—and of herself. She’s been taught literature, philosophy, science, and history, but she knows almost nothing about the real world and its complexities. Her world is one wherein ghosts and vampires commune with humans; where Edgar Allan Poe and Jack Kerouac are role models; where every time a puzzle seems solved, its last piece changes the entire picture.

The Naked Sun
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June 2007 (?)
ISBN: 140010422X (CD), 1400154227 (MP3-CD)
A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots—unthinkable under the laws of Robotics—or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

The Robots Of Dawn
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
13 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – 15 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: July 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104238 (CD), 1400154235 (MP3-CD)
A puzzling case of roboticide sends New York Detective Elijah Baley on an intense search for a murderer. Armed with his own instincts, his quirky logic, and the immutable Three Laws of Robotics, Baley is determined to solve the case. But can anything prepare a simple Earthman for the psychological complexities of a world where a beautiful woman can easily have fallen in love with an all-too-human robot?

Thirteen
By Richard K. Morgan; Read by Simon Vance
22 CDs or 3 MP3-CDs -Approx. 27 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: July 2007 (�)
ISBN: 1400104319 (CDs), 1400154316 (MP3-CDs)

New Year? New Releases!

Audiobook New Releases

Audio Renaissance starts a bold new series, and at 30 hours long so will you be…

Audio Renaissance - Off Armageddon Reef by David WeberOff Armageddon Reef
By David Weber; Read by Oliver Wyman
25 CDs – 30 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 1427200653
Humanity pushed its way to the stars—and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they’ve built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.

What’s next for Michael Crichton? Yes…

Harper Audio - Next by Michael CrichtonNext
By Michael Crichton; Read by Dylan Baker
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: November 2006
ISBN: 006087306X
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction—is it worse than the disease?The audiobook also includes an interview with Crichton!

Written by a 15 year old, who sold it to the movies! Now here’s the true test of his success, the audiobook…

Random House Audio - Eragon by Christopher PaoliniEragon
By Christopher Paolini; Read by Gerard Doyle
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: October 2006
ISBN: 0739330942
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

Now this sounds very, very interesting…

Tantor Media - The Sky People by S.M. StirlingThe Sky People
By S.M. Stirling; Read by Todd McLaren
12 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – 15 hours[UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 1400103452 (CDs), 1400153458 (MP3-CDs)
The first of a series of alternate-history tales based on a brashly entertaining premise: that in the 1960s, Russian and American space probes to Mars and Venus revealed not the arid worlds of our reality, but the colorful Mars and Venus of old pulp Science Fiction adventure. In The Sky People, it’s 1988, the Cold War is still raging, and Marc Vitrac has been assigned to Jamestown, the US Commonwealth base on Venus, near the great Venusian city of Kartahown. But all is not well. There is also a Russian base on Venus. Outside the bases is a wilderness swarming with sabertooths and dinosaurs—and lost races of people who seem to be human. An even greater mystery than lost races awaits Marc—as well as a danger that may well threaten the entire human race.

It is always a good day when you see a new Infinivox title…

Audiobook - The Chief Designer by Andy DuncanThe Chief Designer
By Andy Duncan; Read by Jared Doreck
2 CDs – 132 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1884612547
An Alternate history novella that won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. This story, an alternate history masterpiece, as told from the point of view of Korolev, the “Chief” who managed the most crucial years of the secret Soviet space program, and his assistant and eventual successor, Aksyonov. The story spans from World War II, when Korolev was released from a prison camp to design rockets, to 1997 and the Mir space station.

Long promised and now released…

Dandelion Wine by Ray BradburyDandelion Wine
By Ray Bradbury; FULL CAST
MP3-CD, Cassettes or CDs -[RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Colonial Radio Theatre / Blackstone Audio
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 9780786173501 (MP3-CD), 978-0786147144 (Cassettes), 9780786165827 (CDs)
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole world that lies beyond. It is a pair of new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather’s renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley bell on a hazy afternoon.

Blackstone continues their release of Heinlein classics! this time with narration by Spider Robinson…

Blackstone Audio - Rocket Ship Galileo Rocket Ship Galileo
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Spider Robinson
Cassettes, CDs or MP3-CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: January 2007

Ross Jenkins, Art Mueller, and Morris Abrams are not your average high-schools students. While other kids are cruising around in their cars or playing ball, this trio, known as the Galileo Club, is experimenting with rocket fuels, preparing for their future education at technical colleges. Art’s uncle, the nuclear physicist Dr. Donald Cargraves, offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to construct and crew a rocket that will take them to the moon. Cargraves believes their combined ingenuity and enthusiasm can actually make this dream come true. But there are those who don’t share their dream and who will stop at nothing to keep their rocket grounded.

Plug plug! I’m reliably informed this novel will be complete very shortly, download the first 2/3rds immediately and for free thanks to podiobooks.com…

Badge Of Infamy
By Lester del Rey; Read by Steven H. Wilson
15 MP3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: December 2006 – January 2007
Status: In Progress
Daniel Feldman was a doctor once. He made the mistake of saving a friend’s life in violation of Medical Lobby rules. Now, he’s a pariah, shunned by all, forbidden to touch another patient. But things are more loose on Mars. There, Doc Feldman is welcomed by the colonists, even as he’s hunted by the authorities. But, when he discovers a Martian plague may soon wipe out humanity on two planets, the authorities begin hunting him for a different reason altogether.

Already reviewed, but a new release nonetheless – is it the first audiobook created on a dare (?)…

Librivox Audiobook - The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose FarmerThe Green Odyssey
By Philip Jose Farmer; Read by Mark Nelson
10 MP3s or 10 OGG Vorbis files – 6 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 2006
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Alan Green is a space traveler stranded on a barbaric planet. He’s been taken as a slave and made a consort to an insipid and smelly queen. His slave-wife, though beautiful and smart, nags him constantly. He’s given up hope of ever returning to Earth when he hears of two astronauts who have been captured in a kingdom on the other side of the planet, and sets out on an action-packed journey on a ship sailing across vast grasslands on rolling pin-like wheels in a desperate scheme to save them and return home.

posted by Jesse Willis