The Agony Column Features Nick Mamatas and David Levine from SF in SF

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Agony Column The Agony Column has a couple of new recordings from the recent SF in SF:

Nick Mamatas reading |MP3|

David Levine reading |MP3|

Terry Bisson, Nick Mamatas, and David Levine panel discussion |MP3|

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Posted by Charles Tan

Review of The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th CenturyThe Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century
By various; Read by various
4 Cassettes – 6 Hours [Unabridged]
Publisher: Dove Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 0787116807
Themes: / Science Fiction / Magical Realism / Aliens / Time Travel / Parallel Worlds / Space Travel / Mutation / Nuclear Winter /

What would a long time SF fan consider a collection called The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century when none of the stories would make his top ten list, and some aren’t even SF? In this case, I consider it a very good collection of stories. If anything, this seems a collection of well-read and written, but randomly chosen, speculative fiction stories.

Clearly intended to present a wide variety of “Science Fiction,” this audio-anthology has neither theme nor consistency but it doesn’t need them. The stories, with only two exceptions, are quite entertaining. They are all extremely well read, my quibble with a poor attempt at an accent notwithstanding, ranging from Harlan Ellison’s wonderfully passionate reading of his story to Nana Visitor’s aesthetically perfect interpretation of “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”

Each story is briefly commented on below.

“Jeffty Is Five”
By Harlan Ellison; Read by Harlan Ellison
Reality is distorted around a boy who doesn’t age. This is Magical Realism, not SF, but an amazing story nonetheless. Ellison’s response to the bitter cynicism of modernity will tear at the core of your soul unless A) you’re very young or B) you don’t have a soul. The best story in the collection.

By John W. Campbell; Read by Richard McGonagle
A good early SF story but not quite great. It feels a bit to much like Wells’ The Time Machine, but it entertaining enough. A retelling of a time traveler’s visit to the twilight of humanity.

“The Ones Who Walk Away Fom Omelas”
By Ursula K. Le Guin; Read by Nana Visitor
Virtually everyone knows this Fantasy, again not SF, story. It has all the strengths and weakness of Le Guin’s writing, amazing authorial voice and great storytelling, but a strong tendency to be overly didactic to the point of sanctimoniousness. Still as with most of her stories, the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses.

“Bears Discover Fire”
By Terry Bisson; Read by Arte Johnson
Bears start using fire in an otherwise normal Kentucky. This Magical Realism, not an SF. This story was the only one that bored me. It also had my only, relatively minor, reading complaint. The reader’s Kentucky accent is a bit off and sounds a bit condescending.

“The Crystal Spheres”
By David Brin; Read by Alexander Siddig
A very interesting, though highly implausible, story about a universe in which all stars are encircled by invisible, impenetrable, crystal spheres.

“That Only a Mother”
By Judith Merril; Read by Terry Farrell
Due to radiation poisoning, a baby is born mentally gifted but physically impaired. A disturbing, unpleasant story that is only marginally SF.

By Eric Frank Russell; Read by James A. Watson
Wonderful over-the-top humor. This story of a spaceship facing an inspection while missing an offog, an item no one knows what is, is a gem.

By Greg Bear; Read by Melissa Manchester.
A boy can see into the the fourth physical dimension and a scientist helps him play music for the beings there. Interesting enough, but forgettable.

“The Nine Billion Names of God”
By Arthur C. Clarke; Read by Alexander Siddig
Tibetan monks have a computer print out all the names possible names of God with the intent of fulfilling the purpose of creation. Good enough but not even Clarke’s best short story.

“Huddling Place”
By Clifford D. Simak; Read by David Ackroyd
In a future with robots and space travel agoraphobia has become a serious threat. This story would have been just acceptable filler except for the fact that in this story from 1944, Simak predicts the internet, though he describes it in terms of a television with knobs.

“Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Diner”
By Lawrence Watt Evans; Read by Wil Wheaton
A fun, interesting take on the the idea of parallel universes. Certainly an enjoyable story.

“Fermi And Frost”
By Frederik Pohl; Read by Denise Crosby
Icelanders face the prospects of nuclear winter in the post-apocalyptic tale. A good downbeat story to balance some of the lighthearted stories.

Conclusion: This is a very good anthology. It definitely isn’t a collection of the best stories, but it may be the best collection of stories available. Highly recommended.

I started reviewing this collection on the expectation that it was out of print and I would have to recommend Amazon or eBay as a source of a used cassette copy. So imagine my surprise when a mere day after finishing it, I hear an ad for it on Pseudopod. So, it is easily available for those interested.

Posted by David Tackett

More Jay Lake and Susan Palwick at The Agony Column

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Agony Column The Agony Column has more SF-related recordings featuring Jay Lake and Susan Palwick:

Susan Palwick interview |MP3|

Susan Palwick reading |MP3|

Jay Lake interview |MP3|

Jay Lake reading |MP3|

SF in SF Panel with Terry Bisson, Susan Palwick, and Jay Lake |MP3|

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Posted by Charles Tan

The Agony Column Features Pat Murphy and Carol Emshwiller

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Agony Column The Agony Column has a couple of readings from SF in SF:

Pat Murphy (untitled) |MP3|

Carol Emshwiller (“Whoever”) |MP3|

Panel discussion with Terry Bisson, Pat Murphy, and Carol Emshwiller |MP3|

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Posted by Charles Tan

StarShipSofa features Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson and MORE

SFFaudio Online Audio

Star Ship SofaThe StarShipSofa Audio Science Fiction Magazine, delivers another blast in the world of it’s Aural Delights and hits her stride with a great edition.

Main Fiction: Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson

Winner of:

• 1991 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

• 1990 Nebula Award for Best Short Story

• 1991 Asimov’s Reader’s Award

• 1991 The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award

• 1991 Locus Award

• 1991 SF Chronicle Award

I was driving with my brother, the preacher, and my nephew, the preacher’s son, on I-65 just north of Bowling Green when we got a flat. It was Sunday night and we had been to visit Mother at the Home. We were in my car. The flat caused what you might call knowing groans since, as the old-fashioned one in my family (so they tell me), I fix my own tires, and my brother is always telling me to get radials and quit buying old tires.

Article: Steampunk by Amy Sturgis 10:57

Flash Fiction: The Cootie Box by Paul Di Filippo 07:25

Article: DRM Issues by Cory Doctorow 52:00

Fiction: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (30mins preview) 60:00

Music: Automaton by XJ3 01.12

Promo: Steampod 91:00

Narrators: Paul Gaggegi and Jim Campanella

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Posted by Tony C. Smith

SF in SF Panel with Terry Bisson, Tim Pratt, and Jeffrey Ford

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Agony Column The Agony Column has uploaded the latest SF in SF panel with Terry Bisson, Tim Pratt, and Jeffrey Ford. |MP3|

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Posted by Charles Tan