One of the earliest detectives in history, or at least the history of literature, is Zadig. Zadig is the main character of Voltaire’s philosophical novel Zadig; Or The Book Of Fate – An Oriental History. I stumbled across it’s existence while reading an old issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in which one chapter was featured under the title The Dog And The Horse. The brief editorial introduction, and some further researches on my own, assert that Zadig in this chapter may have been the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s C. August Dupin!
I can sort of see it too, for The Dog And The Horse shows a kind of giant first step in an evolutionary process of the detective – seeing his marriage turn sour Zadig turns to the study of nature for his joy. A kind of passionate interest in the world is necessary for both the scientific detective and the more Sherlockian sort of detective.
The story is damn funny too.
The Dog And The Horse
By Voltaire; Read by Lucy Burgoyne
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: January 31, 2008
First published in 1747.
Talked about on today’s show:
the upside-down dog cover, Jesse doesn’t like the cover, Eric finds hidden meaning in the cover, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is it mainstream or a mystery or YA?, Asperger’s or autism?, what is it like to be inside another person’s head?, generates tolerance, Elaine’s post on TED Talk: Elif Şafak on The Politics Of fiction, neurotypical characters, extraordinary abilities and extraordinary deficits, Constituting Christopher: Disability Theory And Mark Haddon’s by Vivienne Muller, Scott loves lists, the reader is ahead of the narrator, unreliable narrators, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, mystery vs. family drama, Oedipus, “Sophocles not Freud”, Christopher Robin, (Winnie The Pooh), “there is something naively wonderful going on”, information vs. meaning, who did it? vs. why did it get done?, moving from what to why, Eric found the book joyful and uplifting, at the end?, abusive vs. human vs. murderous, PETA would not be pleased, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, Occam’s Razor, “now I know what box they fit into”, Cinderella, the Grimm Brothers, Jesse loves the infodumps, the asides are a highlight, where is Siobhan?, the Recorded Books audiobook version has a great narrator (Jeff Woodman), prime numbered chapters, are the pictures necessary?, Orion (the hunter in the sky), the most common word in the book is ‘and’, “he’s adding things up”, “this is a very true book”, “lies expand infinitely in all directions”, what Science Fiction and mystery look for, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, prime numbers are like life, rationalism vs. empiricism, Christopher yearns for uniqueness, right triangles, the appendix (is not in the audiobook), the brown cow joke, unreliable narrator, Conan Doyle’s beliefs, information vs. understanding, Harriet The Spy, dude don’t stab people, “a tag cloud of the novel”, Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “Repent Harlequin!”, Said The Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, sense of wonder, Toby the rat (Algernon), Uncle Toby, The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, the poet “does not number the streaks of the tulip 18th century”, The History of Rasselas by Samuel Johnson, Candide by Voltaire, books inside books, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, Jo Walton’s Among Others, the third season of Star Trek, art making reference to itself, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Star Trek‘s third season, Spectre Of The Gun, “we just need the skeleton to tell the story”, “most of the protagonists in Science Fiction novels don’t read Science Fiction”, Jenny’s review of Ready Player One, The Emperor Of Mars by Allen_Steele (audio link), standing the test of time, Jesse’s extended metaphor about winnowed books washing up on beaches 100 years later, Eric is reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, propaganda melodrama, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, Light In August by William Faulkner, the humanizing influence, comparing The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time with The Speed Of Dark, the novel’s form shapes the novel market, Jesse thinks series hurt readers, wondering what’s going to happen next vs. what idea is being explored, the value of series, the train trip, the maths exam, “the walls are brown”, in Science Fiction metaphors are real, clarified butter and clarified mother, the word “murder”, Julie Davis’s reading of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Carrot Juice Is Murder by Arrogant Worms, the fairy tale that is Sherlock Holmes, is the father good?, a clarified father, Jesse was tricked into reading this book, Jenny likes Margaret Atwood’s trilogy, “get ‘im Jenny”, Oryx And Crake, H.G. Wells didn’t need any sequels!, sequel is as sequel does, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Godfather, the market rules, the world building is the point (for series and authors), Agatha Christie, The Tyranny Of The “Talented” Reader, The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan, has Neuromancer by William Gibson passed it’s prime? (tune in next week to find out), Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Jesse looks to books to deliver on ideas (not to make time pass).
The SFFaudio Podcast #123 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, Matthew Sanborn Smith (Hairy Mango), and Jenny (Reading Envy) talk about audiobooks, recent arrivals and new releases.
Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s recent arrivals, The Magician King by Lev Grossman, a gritty Harry Potter?, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher has a new narrator John Glover (not Crispin Glover), Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs, the Crossroads film, We’re Alive — A Story Of Survival zombie audiodrama, originally a podcast, The Walking Dead comic, Terry Goodkind’s The Omen Machine, long sentences on the cover, Mango version?, The Keeper Of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, the scandanavian thriller genre, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, we make an exception for noir, straight science fiction, Poul Anderson’s Genesis, singularity?, the cover, several Joe Ledger stories (like Patient Zero) by Jonathan Maberry, it’s like evil corporations and terrorism, he adapted The Wolfman (2010) movie, Ghost Road Blues, something for October, Blackstone interview with Maberry and Gardner, two by Abaton Radio Theater, Cat Wife, Baby, radio scripter Arch Oboler, Tam could use a radiodrama, L. Ron Hubbard’s Greed, yellow peril, dramatized kind of like Graphicaudio, Dianetics, Kevin Hearne’s Hexed, they begin with ‘H’, Witchy Woman (song), an adult The Lightning Thief, Lost Voices by Sarah Porter, mermaids, where’s the older mermaids?, sirens, werewolves, Out Of The Waters by David Drake is not military science fiction, the periodic table series, Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos, read by the author, it’s YA, (41:38) Matt tells us about Grant Morrison’s Supergods, it’s a autobiography/comic book history, All-Star Superman comic, narrator John Lee swears well, Grant experimented with everything, Voltaire, does the audio need pictures?, We3, artist Frank Quitely, New X-Men, Dan DiDio on the DC Comics relaunch, Jenny doesn’t read comics (but she reads graphic novels), superheroes don’t stay dead, Criminal comic, the George R.R. Martin effect, The Boys comic satirizes superheroes, (52:18) Jenny is listening to James Joyce’s Ulysses (wow), The Testament Of Jesse Lamb by Jane Rogers, kind of a prequel to Children Of Men, not on audio yet, the Man Booker prize longlist, Ulysses radiodrama, listening for 24 hours in a row, Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein (our next readalong), The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi exclusively on Audible, (one of narrator Scott Brick’s favorites) glossary of terms in The Quantum Thief, made-up terms, The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, fictional thief character Arsène Lupin (oh yeah, Lupin III is an anime), differentiating the voices of characters, how to win a Hugo, Blackstone new releases, The Holloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, animated movie version, Bronson Pinchot is the narrator, Balky, Beverly Hills Cop, Robert Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, reddish substance, Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, it’s the old legit cyberpunk, Nancy Kress’s Beggars In Spain, Ghost In The Wires (non-fiction) by super hacker Kevin Mitnick, Mitnick on Triangulation, (1:09:00) Audible new releases,The Moon Maze Game: A Dream Park Novel by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, it’s about the 80’s, Return To 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Barlow and Skidmore, Jules Verne, John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, it’s new-wave-y, paranormal romance filter, Downward To Earth by Robert Silverberg, sounds like John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, T. C. McCarthy’s Germline, McCarthy’s Big Idea on Scalzi, The Mandel Files by Peter F. Hamilton (when’s the audiobook coming?), Noir by Richard Matheson, the upcoming film Real Steel, fighting robots, The Twilight Zone, it’s heart wrenching like the last Harry Potter movie, Wheat Belly (diet book), Jenny’s gluten-free brownies, self-help audiobooks, Eckhart Tolle books, the word “healthy”.
Talked about on today’s show: Blackstone Audiobooks audiobook edition of Mindswap by Robert Sheckley, The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley, Rick Jackson’s Wonder Audio version of The Status Civilization, Marvin, existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger, Mars, swapping minds vs. swapping bodies, xenophiles, “metaphoric deformation”, one of the greatest scenes of comedy ever in a novel, mind vs. body, mind vs. brain, consciousnesses and memories, Mindswap is “a subversive ontological satire,” Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, extracting sunlight from a cucumber, “theory of searches”, existentialism for a Science Fiction audience, Voltaire’s Candide, Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, balance is superfluous, “contemplation is the most direct form of involvement (and so it is avoided by everyone)”, Bertrand Russell, New York, solipsism, cognitive dissonance, Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Chekhov’s gun, comedic soliloquies, speaking with a lisp, the twisted world, the interventionist fallacy, the authorial sting, “the ripe greenness of her ovipositors”, Luke defends the honour of the name Kathy, Marvin The Paranoid Android vs. Marvin The Martian, Roland Barthes, absurdity is funny, a pseudo-Gulliver’s Travels, the mechanics of the humor, Gregg’s top five written objects, Laputa, “the pinnacle of satire”, A Modest Proposal, “everything is bullshit”, Dr. Jeykll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (our next readalong), Dracula, Lair Of The White Worm, Ken Russell, Gothic, On The Buses, Africa, “Africa? Where do you mean in Africa?”, Namibia vs. South Africa, Kilimanjaro vs. Everest, a set can’t be a member of itself, “it’s all a big giant steaming pile of absurdity” vs. “the glory and excitement of being alive”, monsignors vs. bishops, “you’re just not in our target market”, “I don’t believe what someone believes has to be true or not”, spiritual experiences vs. explanations of them, there’s a helmet for that (spiritual experiences), the charismatic formula, true vs. honest, Luke’s blog post on spiritual experiences and atheism, Thomas Aquinas, “truth is relative”, Gregg has big sets!, Julie is completely talk-able, Margaret Atwood history denier, the Apollo missions, making stupid easier, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a great aggregator , Glenn Beck’s snakedance, smart people are making the universe complex, “the enemy of nuance” vs. “the enemy of history”, rejecting reality, why they argued with Jefferson, their totally alienable, “this is why I watch 30 Rock“, Kids In The Hall, you have the potential of niche markets, ‘the United States is the greatest country in the world (with the greatest failures and great achievements)’, nobody cares about Africa (or South America), not knowing the Prime Minister of Canada vs. not knowing the Governor of Guam, Peter F. Hamilton’s latest book, a bunch of fun loving existentialists, Sheckley’s short stories, City by Clifford D. Simak (it has conflict), Sheckley at his best is Voltaire and soda (or Voltaire and tonic), Flannery O’Connor, the keyword game, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, art and craft are the same thing, craftsmen aren’t artists, I Hate Music, “I’m NOT tone deaf!”, Charlie Parker, iTunes=music, mp3=music, “it’s like I’m gay and I’m the only one”, This Is Your Brain On Music, Gregg is too emphatic (?), “I – do not – sound – like – William Shatner.”, Weird Al Yankovic, “my guitar is the best girlfriend I ever had.”
Gray Morrow‘s illustrations of Mindswap from the June 1965 of Galaxy:
My name is Gregg Margarite and I make free audio books for LibriVox.org. As a member of LibriVox I have decided to pick my Five Free Favorites from the LibriVox Catalog, which as of this writing contains about 2,400 free audio books, including over 300 short SF recordings and dozens of novels and novellas.
To me everything is connected to everything else. That may make it easier to understand a quantum field, but it’s a hindrance to defining classifications. So when it comes time to identify Science Fiction and Fantasy I tend to have a wide view. That having been said here are…
1. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
By Edwin A. Abbott; Read by Ruth Golding 9 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 12th 2008 This story from 1884 is a wonderful satire and a great introduction to dimensional math. A sphere convinces a square of the existence of up. But will the hierarchy of the two dimensional society accept it? The 2D world is an analog of Victorian society but there are plenty of timeless parallels that continue to resonate today. Read by Ruth Golding who’s intimate, warm delivery is as comforting as a nice cup of tea… with a dash of brandy. Ruth has made over 500 recordings for LibriVox.
2. Badge Of Infamy By Lester del Rey; Read by Steven H. Wilson 15 Zipped MP3 files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: January 17, 2007 Political lobbyists band together and take over the world swelling the size of government (a ludicrous idea eh?). Our physician protagonist violates his duties by providing emergency services outside the system and escapes to Mars where he can practice medicine without a license. There he discovers something that threatens not only the lobbyists but all of humanity. Read by Steven H. Wilson with a crisp natural style.
3. Penguin Island
By Anatole France; Read by Michael Sirois 62 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 9 Hours 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 30, 2007 This satirical fantasy from 1908 involves an aged priest with poor eyesight who mistakes a flock of penguins for a congregation. His baptism gives them souls which naturally compel them to form a civilization. Will they handle their problems as we have? Read by Michael Sirois with a robust melodic tone that carries you along with the story.
4. The Green Odyssey By Philip Jose Farmer; Read by Mark Nelson
10 zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 17, 2006 A slave among barbarians longs to return to Earth. Presently he learns of two Earth astronauts held captive in a far off kingdom and sets off to rescue them so they can rescue him. But first he must reach them and therein hangs a tale. Read quite professionally by Mark Nelson who is responsible for a many of the best Science Fiction novels in the LibriVox catalog.
5. Candide (LibriVox version #2)
By Voltaire; Read by Ted Delorme 31 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: January 31, 2007
While Voltaire’s “Micromegas” can rightly be referred to as Science Fiction, I believe this story qualifies as fantasy since it deals with the best of all possible worlds. Join Candide and his girlfriend Cunegonde as they learn how to interpret their adventures through the eyes of their sanguine teacher Dr. Pangloss. Read by Ted Delorme a LibriVox veteran who narrates with a smooth, friendly voice that makes modern listeners at ease with a text written 250 years ago.
Here comes Volume #6 in the Short SF Stories Collection series – all public domain, all 100% FREE, from the folks at LibriVox…
Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 006
By various; Read by various Zipped MP3 Files, Podcast or individual MP3s – Approx. 4 Hours 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 25, 2008 Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science and technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories, originally published between 1752 and 1962. Those published after 1922 entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.
And here are the individual stories with my own notes on some…
By Peter Baily; Read by RK Wilcox
1 |MP3| – Approx. 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
From the pages of Astounding Science Fiction magazine’s February 1959 issue. A tale about, aliens and space travel, told in a curious recorded epistolary form (and its set atop Mount Everest). Strange, but kind of familiar, worth listening to, but not likely to be at all memorable.
…After a Few Words…
By Randall Garrett; Read by Alex Becker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First published in Analog magazine’s October 1962 issue – with the LibriVox team identifying the author, “Seaton McKettrig,” as actually Randall Garrett using one of his many pseudonyms. A few off-pronunciations aren’t enough to mar this solid reading. A historical tale – that really isn’t.
The Diamond Maker
By H.G. Wells; Read by Jerome Lawsen
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
A canvas sack full of several hundred pounds worth of diamonds, proffered on a London bridge for a paltry £100. It sounds like a con, at the very least a deal too good to be true. But the owner of the diamonds has a tale of woe to explain why he is selling them at such a cut-rate price. This one reminds me of Wells’ The Crystal Egg. Narrator, Jerome Lawsen, has a nice setup, the recording on this one is very clean.
By John Cory; Read by Perry Clayton
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED] It took a long time for human beings to accept that our little piece of meteoric rubble wasn’t the exact and absolute center of the Universe. It does appear that way, doesn’t it? It may not take so long for a spaceman to learn … First published in Astounding Science Fiction’s May 1960 issue. This is the second version of this story to be recorded by LibriVox.
Flight From Tomorrow
By H. Beam Piper; Read by Jerome Lawsen
1 |MP3| – Approx. 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First published in the unwieldy titled “‘Future’ combined with ‘Science Fiction Stories’” magazine’s September/October 1950 issue. This one’s a novelette, an out-in-out time travel tale, that though a bit predictable, and certainly very period, has a certain vintage charm. Jerome Lawsen, reads it well.
In The Year 2889
By Jules Verne; Read by James Christopher
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First published in 1889, and credited to Jules Verne, it was actually written by Michel Verne, Jules Verne’s son. But then just to confuse matters more it was published under Jules Verne’s name correctly a year later when the senior Verne re-wrote it (and changed the title to In The Year 2890). In any case, this tale is set a mere one thousand years in the future.
The Measure of a Man
By Randall Garrett; Read by D.E. Wittkower
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED] “What is desirable is not always necessary, while that which is necessary may be most undesirable. Perhaps the measure of a man is the ability to tell one from the other … and act on it.” From the April 1960 of John W. Campbell’s Astounding Science Fiction magazine.
By Voltaire; Read by Annoying Twit
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
An 18th century tale (first published in 1752), Micromegas is significant in the pre-history of SF. Earth is visited by a pair of alien visitors, one from a planet circling Sirius and the other from the planet Saturn! This reading is also significant as it was recorded using a £1800 microphone!
The Sky Trap
By Frank Belknap Long; Read by Dr Special
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
From Comet magazine’s July 1941 issue (the same issue that has Leigh Brackett’s A World Is Born – which is also available HERE). This is Dr. Special’s first recording for LibriVox. He reads it very well, even though there are a lot of lines like… “Good God Dave, do you suppose something has happened to space?”
By Jack Douglas; Read by Lance
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
From the Amazing Science Fiction Stories magazine’s April 1959 issue (which had an amazing cover).