BMW Audiobooks Releases A Twilight Zone-ish Product Placement Podcast

SFFaudio Online Audio

Put on your seat-belt and prepare for highs, lows and plenty of twists and turns. BMW, in conjunction with Random House, brings you BMW Audio Books, a unique series of specially-commissioned short stories showcasing the work of some of the finest contemporary writing talent. Each gripping audio book is yours to download for free. Listen to them on your MP3 player, your laptop or ideally, in the car. So sit back, hit play and enjoy the ride.

BMW does Audiobooks! That’s right, Bavarian Motor Works, the German guys who make cars, have released a batch of excellent podcast short stories (in English). This is a promotion like their BMW Films promotion from a few years back. Solid name authors have been hired to create short stories with a specific model of BMW automobile at the center of the action. I’ve listened to all four of the released stories and I’ve liked each, only one is speculative fiction related, it’s a story in the tradition of The Twilight Zone – well written and well read. The BMW product placement is blatant and oddly pornographic, it makes you feel dirty, but kind of in a good way.

The only Speculative Fiction story runs about an hour and was written exclusively for BMW Audiobooks. It can only be found in audio format, and hasn’t been released as a hard copy anywhere else. This is download only folks. Here’s the complete skinny…

Master Of The Storm
By James Flint; Read by Forbes Masson
1 MP3 File – Approx. 60 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: BMW Audiobooks
Podcast: 02/28/2006
“You”? are the central character in James Flint’s Master Of The Storm, a gripping tale of new business success followed by familiar encounters – all too familiar. And just when you think you are out of the storm, you find yourself pulled deeper and deeper into the mystery which seemingly has no exit.”

If you find yourself enthralled by this tale, there are three others, I classify as “crime fiction” – details for which can be found on SFFaudio’s sister site, by the way, does for Mystery, Crime and Noir Audio what SFFaudio does for Science Fiction and Fantasy Audio.

Now how to get it, you can download Master Of The Storm directly from the BMW-Audiobooks website (but a free registration is required) or you can just do a search on iTunes using the search term “BMW.”

Spec Fic Podcast Heads-up: Variant Frequencies

Online Audio

Variant Frequencies PodcastVariant Frequencies is a podcast that bounds the entire spectrum of genre fiction, but they give special emphasis to the fantastic. With a dozen shows under its variably sized belt we can say that Variant Frequencies is well worth checking out. You’ll find elements of Gothic horror, space adventure, dark fantasy and the “reality-bending vibes of The Twilight Zone” all available free of charge. You can subscribe to the show by pasting either the MP3 or the M4a feeds into your podcatcher…

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Review of The Twilight Zone No. 1 – The Mighty Casey by Rod Serling

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Twilight Zone No 1The Twilight Zone No. 1 – The Mighty Casey
By Rod Serling; Read by Fritz Weaver
1 cassette – 75 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 1992 – Out Of Print
ISBN: 1559946598
Themes: / Fantasy / Baseball / Robots / Humor /

Submitted for your approval…

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone is revived for audio in the form of unabridged short stories by Rod Serling. All the stories in this series were previously adapted for the original Twilight Zone television series. This is the first in a series of six single cassette adaptations read by stars of the original series. In this case, Fritz Weaver spins the tale of “The Mighty Casey”, an almost mythical player for that near-mythical sport of baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers were down in the dumps until tryouts turned up a talented left hander with a pitch like nobody’s business. Casey, the pitcher “with an exceptional left hand”, inspires the tired old players to new glory. They become the team to beat. Everything was swell until Casey gets beaned by a ball. A doctor is summoned and pronounces that Casey is alright, but then the doctor has trouble finding a pulse. It’s soon discovered that Casey is actually a robot and as such does not have a heart!

When thinking of baseball, most people probably associate the name Casey with the Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s 1888 poem “Casey At The Bat”. It’s clear to me that Rod Serling tapped into it for inspiration. “The Mighty Casey” is a very funny story. The dialogue is humorous and the situation is funny too, but it also has a lot of pathos. The story is entertaining but also has that most important of Twilight Zone elements, a twist with a satisfying ending. Fritz Weaver has great fun playing the characters, especially Mouth McGarry, the comic manager of the Dodgers, a character full of deep anxiety and deeper ignorance. This is pretty light material for The Twilight Zone, which often deals with the darker elements of the Human condition. Presented like an actual episode of the television series, there’s the haunting Twilight Zone music and an introduction just like Serling used to make. I actually listened to the tale twice, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Overall its a very good start to the series.

Posted by Jesse Willis