Here are the New Releases for September – a fine l…

Here are the New Releases for September – a fine looking bunch of audiobooks, I must say…

Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Lenny Henry
Harper Audio, Unabridged
The sequel to American Gods – can’t wait!

Dragonflight
By Anne McCaffrey; Read by Dick Hill
Brilliance Audio, Unabridged
This is a mass market re-release of this title, now available on CD and MP3-CD

The Road to Dune
By Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson
Read by Scott Brick
Audio Renaissance, Unabridged
Click here for the SFFAudio Review!

Speaker for the Dead
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Various
Audio Renaissance, Unabridged
Click here for the SFFAudio Review!

Star Wars: The Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen
By Troy Denning; Read by Jonathan Davis
Random House Audio, Abridged

The Warrior’s Apprentice
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
Blackstone Audio, Unabridged
Available on cassette, CD, and MP3-CD
This is the second Vorkosigan novel released by Blackstone.

Thud!
By Terry Pratchett; Read by Stephen Briggs
Harper Audio, Unabridged
The latest Discworld novel.

Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction

SFFaudio Online Audio

I just stumbled across a very nice resource – Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction is a television show based in Arlington, VA. They have interviewed a number of science fiction authors, and they have archives going back to 2003 so you can listen to (or watch – each interview is available in MP3 audio format or compressed video format) at your leisure.

The following interviews are currently available: Orson Scott Card, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Wrede, Elizabeth Massie, Laura Anne Gilman, Susanna Clarke, Jasper Fforde, China Miéville, Cortney Skinner, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Tamora Pierce, Nalo Hopkinson, Jack Williamson, Terry Pratchett, Karl Kofoed, Margaret Weis, Laurell K. Hamilton, Garth Nix, Roger MacBride Allen, Donna Andrews, Catherine Asaro, Robert Jordan, Will Ludwigsen, and Mindy Klasky.

Click here for their archives!

Here are the New Releases for this month: The Con…

New Releases

Here are the New Releases for this month:

The Consciousness Plague
By Paul Levinson, Read by Mark Shanahan
ISBN: 1593160380
Abridged
Listen and Live Audio
Scott: This is an 8 hour abridgement… Amazon shows that the book is 340 pages long, so it’s almost all here.

Dead as a Doornail
A Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery
By Charlaine Harris, Read by Johanna Parker
ISBN: 1419337300
Recorded Books

Empire of the East
By Fred Saberhagen, Read by Raymond Todd
Unabridged
ISBN: 078134976
Blackstone Audio
Scott: This one’s on my TBR shelf… Saberhagen is a writer I haven’t read (or heard).

The Historian
By Elizabeth Kostova, Read by Rosalyn Landor and Jim Ward
Unabridged
ISBN: 1594830363
Time Warner Audiobooks

Pendragon Book 3: The Never War
By D.J. MacHale, Read by William Dufris
ISBN: 1597372510
Brilliance Audio

Pendragon Book 4: The Reality Bug
By D.J. MacHale, Read by William Dufris
ISBN 1597372596
Brilliance Audio

Tolkien’s Ordinary Virtues
By Mark Eddy Smith, Read by Simon Vance
Unabridged
ISBN: 0786178299
Blackstone Audio
Scott: This one caught my eye – it’s a kind of “Life Lessons from Lord of the Rings”

Velocity
By Dean Koontz, Read by Michael Hayden
Unabridged
ISBN: 0739315552
Random House Audio

The Vor Game
By Lois McMaster Bujold, Read by Grover Gardner
Unabridged
ISBN: 0786177330
Blackstone Audio
Scott: Blackstone will be releasing several of Bujold’s Vorkosigan novels – this is the first!

Wee Free Men
By Terry Pratchett, Read by Stephen Briggs
ISBN: 0060785985
Harper Audio

In the podcasting world, here’s some of the titles that have been published:

Escape Pod
“In His Footsteps” by Paul E. Martens, Read by Stephen Eley
“Oasis” by Greg van Eekhout, Read by Stephen Eley
“Snow Day” by Jennifer Pelland, Read by Deborah Green
“Strange Girlfriend” by Scott Janssens, Read by Stephen Eley

Podiobooks continues their serials of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana by Tee Morris & Lisa Lee, The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey, and Earthcore by Scott Sigler.

Other new developments – Timberwolf Press is now offering some of their titles for sale at Paperback Digital, which has also branched out into eBooks.

Here are the New Releases for December! AUDIO R…

New Releases

Here are the New Releases for December!

AUDIO RENAISSANCE

The Dragon Reborn, Book Three of The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

Unabridged

The Shadow Rising, Book Four of The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

Unabridged

I’ve listened to Book 2 of this massive (and massively popular) epic fantasy. I enjoyed it, but not so much that I would be eager for all ten (currently) volumes. I do know that Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did a wonderful job with the material, and can be expected to do so again.

Jesse:

Absolutely, Michael Kramer is a truly excellent reader.

Crystal City, Book Six of Alvin Maker

By Orson Scott Card, Read by Stefan Rudnicki, M.E. Willis, and cast

Unabridged

Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

By Orson Scott Card, Read by Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, and cast

Unabridged

Ah, Orson Scott Card. Audio Renaissance is re-releasing some of Fantastic Audio’s old titles, and this version of Ender’s Game is one of the most heard in my collection. I read Crystal City in print and enjoyed it, so the place your bets that the audio is going to be good too, since it’s in the safe hands of Stefan Rudnicki and cast.

Jesse:

That 20th anniversary one may actually make me read an Orson Scott Card novel. I like his short stories but I somehow never read Ender’s Game back in the 1980s.

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BLACKSTONE AUDIO

Citizen of the Galaxy

By Robert A. Heinlein, Read by Lloyd James

Click here for a sample

Unabridged

Who is this Heinlein guy, anyway? :)

Jesse:

Blackstone has made my wish come true! Lloyd James is the definitive voice of Heinlein on Audio and Citizen of the Galaxy is one of Heinlein’s best juvenile novels (juvenile as in starring a teenager not juvenile as in peurile)and the story concept is so fresh and new as to be singularily unreproduced to this day. I remember enjoying the heck out of it when I read it in paperback I expect it will be as good if not better on audio. The original cover art on this one looks amazing too by the way. This will surely be among the best audiobooks released in 2005. Thanks so much Blackstone!

Magic Time: Angelfire

By Marc Scott Zicree and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Read by a full cast

Click here for a sample

Unabridged

This is volume 2 of a new fantasy series that I don’t have a full grasp on yet. I just starting listening to this volume last night, and am hoping it makes sense without hearing volume one, which is also available from Blackstone Audio.

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BOOKS ON TAPE

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury, Read by Scott Brick

Unabridged

Fahrenheit 451 read by Scott Brick? Gotta get my hands on a copy of that. Books on Tape is still going through come changes over there – their website says that they won’t be resuming comsumer sales until January 3rd, 2005. I checked Audible.com for this title and it wasn’t there.

Jesse:

I believe BOT has released this title previously with a different narrator but I copuld be wrong. I think this Scott Brick version probably become the definitive edition. I thought that Harper Audio’s version from a couple of years ago, with Ray Bradbury narrating would be it, but I was disappointed in Bradbury’s reading. He’s an excellent author, and 451 is his most enduring novel but his performance didnt

enhance it at all. Scott Brick may bring a freshness that Bradbury couldnt muster.

The Runes of the Earth

By Stephen R. Donaldson, Read by Scott Brick

Unabridged

The return of Thomas Covenant! I have not read any of Stephen Donaldson’s books, so I can’t say anything there, but Scott Brick is a top narrator.

Jesse:

Nice title! Donaldson is almost as merciless with his tortured characters as is George R.R. Martin but I wish they’d release the original novel in the series first. I hate starting in the middle.

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CRAZY DOG AUDIO THEATRE

Diabolic Playhouse

By Roger Gregg, Performed by a full cast

Audio Drama

Roger Gregg and all the lunatics at Crazy Dog Audio Theatre have released a very nice looking MP3-CD containing all 6 episodes of their Diabolic Playhouse drama series, which broadcast on Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 earlier this year. The product is available at their site (based in Ireland) or at the ZBS website if you’re in the USA.

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HARPER AUDIO

The Wee Free Men

By Terry Pratchett, Read by Stephen Briggs

Unabridged

Another Discworld novel from Terry Pratchett!

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PAPERBACK DIGITAL

Reflex

By Steven Gould, Read by Christine Marshall and William Dufris

Unabridged

Nightmares on Congress Street – Part 4

By Rocky Coast Radio Theatre

Audio drama

Paperback Digital cruises along, with two more new releases. Their products are available for download on their own site or on Fictionwise. Hardcopies are available at Amazon.com or at Paperback Digital itself.

Jesse:

I’ve never heard of Gould nor his novel but with the Marshall and Dufris team working together it might be worth a blind buy.

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RECORDED BOOKS

State of Fear

By Michael Crichton, Read by George Wilson

Unabridged

Michael Crichton has stirring up some scientific controversy with this one. If I understand correctly, the environmentalists in this one are the bad guys.

Jesse:

I’ve liked Crichton’s early work, but have been tuning out since Jurassic Park.

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Happy Holidays, everyone! And thanks for reading SFFAudio.

Review of Monstrous Regiment By Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment by Terry PratchettMonstrous Regiment
By Terry Pratchett; read by Stephen Briggs
8 Cassettes – 12 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2003
ISBN: 060569964
Themes: / Fantasy / Series / Humor / War / Soldiers / Feminist /

God is an extremely uneven writer, but when He’s good, nobody can touch Him.
– John William Gardner

Okay, so Terry Pratchett is not God. But he does share the Deity’s gift of inconsistent greatness. He is, at least, a genius of English prose, not content simply to write funny stories, but daring to tweak the nose of our language and showcase its penchant for both the sublime and the silly. If your ears have been trampled lately by elephantine sentences that flatten entire stories beneath them, then you should treat yourself to some Pratchett. His exquisitely chosen details and extended comic riffs will cleanse your literary palette like a chilled Riesling.
Monstrous Regiment, set in Pratchett’s private universe known as the Diskworld, is a harmless novel about war, sort of. Actually, it’s about soldiers, and about soldiers who don’t actually get much war on them, which is fortunate, because Pratchett’s humor is nowhere near dark enough to handle the strikingly unfunny hell of war. There are some touching moments, and some very funny details (like his adroit comparison of war and a large city), but they don’t add up to a great novel.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is cute enough. It concerns a girl named Polly Perks from the war-happy country of Borogravia who manages to sign herself up, against religious edict, in the armed services. Polly is a plucky and likeable heroine; her Sergeant Jackrum is irascible yet equally likeable; and her vampire, troll, Igor, and human fellow soldiers are a somewhat quirky, mysterious, yet unsurprisingly likeable bunch. Add to this a silly Lieutenant and a couple familiar characters like William DeWord and Sgt. Vimes, and you have the makings of a harmless jape that pokes fun at young men, military officers, greedy countries with pretensions to benevolence, ridiculous religious fundamentalism, and people who think with their socks. But this book is too lightweight to be much more than an amusing diversion. The Borogravians are let off too lightly for the savage devastation of their own country, the deaths that occur have little impact on anyone, and the theme of female empowerment seems diluted by excessive application. What’s more, the entire structure of the story seems slightly off-balance: The climax is anemic, and the denouement protracted.

On the audio side, however, this book is a joy. Stephen Briggs is billed on the cover as a disturbingly devoted Pratchett fan, which nearly frightened me off. But have no fear, the man can read well, too. His voice conjures the entire cast of Monty Python as well as some note-perfect monster stereotypes, and he nimbly handles Pratchett’s playful prose, both in the small turns of phrase that pepper the story throughout and in the occasional extended verbal set pieces. He gives these inspired moments the space they deserve, like old Aunt Audrey waving her arms to clear a room before performing her world-famous flying back flip off the china cabinet.

All in all, this is an amusing but sub-par work from a master of humorous fantasy. If you’ve never read Pratchett before, I recommend dropping a brick on your little toe for punishment, and then picking up The Colour of Magic, Guards! Guards!, or The Thief of Time. You can save this one for later, when you still want to laugh and think, but not so hard.

Posted by Kurt Dietz