The SFFaudio Podcast #008

Podcast

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:
42Blips.com, 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, SchlockMercenary.com, 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, LibriVox.org, October, Ray Bradbury, “Autumn ennui”, AUTHOR PAGES, LEIGH BRACKETT, FREDERIC BROWN, JAMES PATRICK KELLY, BBC7, RadioArchive.cc, 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

Steven Gould short story Shade @ Tor.com

SFFaudio Online Audio

Tor.comTor.com has a new Steven Gould short story set in his Jumper universe. Whatever you thought of the movie (I rate it as a solid meh+ myself), the first two novels are very solid reads. The second, Reflex |READ OUR REVIEW|, was available in audio previously, the first, still hasn’t been audiobooked. Get yourself hooked by trying a little taste for free…


Tor.com Audiobook - Shade by Steven GouldShade
By Steven Gould; Read by Steven Gould ?
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tor.com
Published: August 2008

[via Dragon Page Cover To Cover]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Where’s My Jetpack? by Daniel H. Wilson

 SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Where's My Jetpack? by Daniel H. Wilson, PhDWhere’s My Jetpack?: A Guide To The Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived
By Daniel H. Wilson, PhD; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
1 MP3-CD – 3.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Sample: Click here
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 078617160X
Themes: / Science Fiction / Non-fiction / Technology / Teleportation /

The future is now. And we are not impressed. The future was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown man could wear a velvet spandex unitard and not be laughed at. Our beloved scientist may be building the future, but some key pieces are missing. Where are the ray guns, the flying cars, and the hoverboards that we expected? We can’t wait another minute for the future to arrive. The time has come to hold the Golden Age of science fiction accountable for its fantastic promises.

Finally, someone has come to take the Golden Age of science fiction to task for all that crap they told us would happen. Who is the hero that’s going to demand our cool stuff? None other than Daniel H. Wilson, PhD, that’s who. That’s right. The guy who saved us from all those robots in his previous book – How to Survive a Robot Uprising. (SFFaudio Review here – we’re on the ball with all this surviving stuff.)

Just like in How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Wilson takes real science facts and gives them to us in a way that will make you laugh out loud. For example, what about those jetpacks we were promised? (Wilson calls the jetpack the “Holy Grail of classic science fiction technology.”) In this book, we find out that Wendell Moore finished the Bell Rocket Belt in 1961. It was basically a rocket mounted to a backpack. He tested it himself. Yes, he strapped a rocket to his belt, and turned it on. We learn exactly how it worked, hydrogen peroxide fuel and all. It produced 300 lbs of thrust – just enough to get a grown man off the ground. The downside? It could only hold 30 seconds worth of fuel. Shockingly, none of the rocket pack pilots died. Wilson then laments the lack of serious innovation in the rocket pack industry since then. “If Wendell Moore could see the state of jetpacks today,” says Wilson, “he would be doing barrel rolls in his grave.”

Jetpacks are just the tip of the rocket. Orbital hotels, robot servants, space elevators, teleportation – it’s all in there.

Stefan Rudnicki delivers another quality narration. One of Wilson’s goals with both of his books was to take the material so seriously that absurdity shows through. Rudnicki understood this, and provided narration to match. Funny stuff.

To hear from the author himself about Where’s My Jetpack?, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, robotics in general, and future projects, check out his interview on the Talking Robots podcast, July 5, 2007 edition. Here’s the direct link to the MP3.

Review of Travel by Wire by Arthur C. Clarke

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Travel by Wire by Arthur C. ClarkeTravel By Wire
By Arthur C. Clarke; Read by David Zinn
11 minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Teleportation / Humor /

Arthur C. Clarke’s early stories all seem to reflect some shade of his particularly British sense of humor – something which is almost completely absent from his later work. It is as if he was a “playful writer” in his youth and then a “serious writer” later on. This one is particularly playful, and has some good science fiction content too. Also nice is a brief introduction to the story written by Clarke, taken from the The Best Of Arthur C. Clarke 1937-1955. This story, Clarke’s first, was originally published in “Amateur Science Fiction Stories” magazine in December 1937. Reader David Zinn doesn’t sport an English accent but his reading is otherwise
appropriate. Available, for free, on the excellent AssistiveMedia.org website.

REALAUDIO LINK:
http://www.assistivemedia.org/amrams/TravelByWire.ram

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Reflex by Steven Gould

Science Fiction Audiobook - Reflex by Stephen GouldReflex
By Steven Gould; Read by Christine Marshall and William Dufris
1 MP3-CD – 14 Hours 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Paperback Digital
Published: 2004
ISBN: 1584390042
Themes: / Science Fiction / Operant Conditioning /
Teleporation / Espionage / Marriage /

Davy thinks he’s alone…but what if he isn’t? When Davy was a young teen, he discovered that he was capable of teleportation. At first, it was only when he was terrified and in horrible danger. Later, he learned to control his ability and went to work for a secret government agency. Now, a mysterious group of people has taken Davy captive. They don’t want to hire him, and they don’t have any hope of appealing to him to help them. What they want is to own him. They want to use his abilities for their own purposes, whether Davy agrees to it or not. And so they set about brainwashing him and conditioning him, and they have found a way to keep a teleport captive. But there’s one thing that they don’t know. No one knows it, not even Davy. The secret is that experiencing teleportation, over and over again, can teach a person how to do it. Davy’s wife Millie is the only person on Earth who has teleported nearly as often as he has. She discovered her new talent the same way Davy did — in mortal danger, facing imminent death, she suddenly found herself in her own apartment. Now, if she can learn to control this ability, and fast, she may be able to rescue Davy.

Standalone novels are almost becoming a thing of the past in science fiction these days. So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that Reflex was the second novel in a series. But what did surprise me was that there was twelve year gap between them! I haven’t read the first novel, Jumper, but based on this solid adventure science fiction novel, I’m betting I’d love it too. Apparently it is classified as a YA (a Young Adult novel), which is interesting as Reflex has some fairly gritty adult situations.

As I started listening to Reflex I wasn’t at all sure this was a science fiction novel. The method of teleportation used seemed to involve no science, it was some sort of innate ability – one that would logically have to defy the laws of physics – so I was thinking this would have to be a fantasy novel. Except this was the only “magic” in the story and as I would come to realize there was another more interesting scientific fiction that was very plausible and amazingly original! The plot as mentioned in the teaser above involves the capture of a teleporter. What was so original here is the way that capture is maintained. Now I don’t want to give too much away but I’ll give you a hint, think of The Manchurian Candidate but instead of brainwashing, think B.F. Skinner.

This is a really good novel. Not only is the writing clear and clean, but also the characters are genuinely compelling and the situation original. Husband and wife Davy and Millie are thoughtful sympathetic characters who could be quite jaded given their knowledge of what’s going on, but they choose not to be. I found myself genuinely rooting for them. There’s actually a nice theme about the bonds of marriage in here too, it isn’t often in science fiction we meet married characters who both play a major role in the plot and it was refreshing to hear that perspective.

The villains in Reflex are suitably villainous, and have realistic motivations for their villainy. The novel is set in our contemporary time, with many references to current events, but because most of the characters are the equivalent of the jet-set of our era their access to the high-tech toys is a little better than ours. The action never flags and the cat and mouse games are intense and engaging. The more I think about it the more I am impressed with Reflex.

Christine Marshall plays all the female characters, and reads the chapters from Millie’s perspective. William Dufris plays all the male characters and reads all the chapters from Davy’s perspective. Together they interweave the story synergistically giving a vital energy to the text. This is another bang-up job by this energetic narrating tag team. I hope Paperback Digital keeps sending them stuff to read.

Sound quality as usual from Paperback Digital’s line of MP3-CDs is wonderful. These are high bit-rate tracks, spaced approx ten minutes apart. And PD uses a light introductory music at the beginning of the audiobook. It’s great! I’ve mentioned it in a previous review but I’ve just got to do it again, Paperback Digital has really got some cool original cover art. Jason B. Parker has done six covers so far – if he does another six my personal Paperback Digital collection will have to grow by six too. You can also take a peek at the original sketches done for the PD covers on Jason’s website.

Reflex is also available via download from both Fictionwise.com and the Paperback Digital website.

The hardcopy, the MP3-CD, comes in DVD style cases with insert paper cover and the CD-Rom comes with disc art. Downloads are slightly less expensive but nearly as easy to load onto an MP3 player.

If you’re feeling spontaneous check out Reflex. And if you like it as much as I did let me know.

Posted by Jesse Willis