The Pulp Reader’s project and some audio drama picks

SFFaudio News

The Pulp ReaderThe Pulp Reader blog is an ongoing experiment in “computer generated audio books.” Sez the webmaster (Shonokin):

I read a lot. I also drive a lot, stuck in long commutes every day. There’s a way for a reader and a commuter to do both at the same time. And for me that is through audiobooks. But alas, most of the books I’d like to listen to are not available anywhere, so what to do? Make my own and that’s mostly what this is about. I create Text To Speech (TTS) audiobooks for my daily commute. Since I make them, I might as well share them. So here we are!

Shonokin places the files on Archive.org and then links to them on his/her blog. Shonokin started this project in 2006. And coincidently in 2006 I had a similar problem myself. There were a lot of ebooks out there that weren’t being turned into audiobooks. But with me being a hater of the robot voice I came up with the SFFaudio Challenges |First|Second|Third|Fourth| to solve my dilemma instead.

What Shonokin and I can both agree on, I’m betting, is that audio drama is not best done not by robots* – but by people – real people! Not those damned thieving “Silicon Americans” that Shonokin is employing.

Anyway, here are Shonokin’s thoughts on some recent human done shows that he/she has been listening to:

First off, there’s my love hate relationship with Wormwood, an excellent supernatural detective mystery. The acting is mostly good, the stories are sharp and exciting and the incidental music and sounds effects are great. My only complaint is that it is mixed very poorly. In situations such as driving in a car or surrounded by other ambient noise, you may find you have to fiddle with the volume knob of your radio or mp3 player to alternately listen to quiet dialog and back off on sudden crashing loud jabs of sound. Quite unpleasant aurally, but the stories are good enough to keep me going, annoyed as I am.

Also, the latest seasons of Black Jack Justice and Red Panda have started, which are a joy all the way around. Red Panda is a fun detective pulp with sprinkles of scifi/fantasy and comic book hero action. Black Jack Justice is a hard-boiled detective comedy. Both are great fun but written and played in very different styles.

And then there is also McLevy, an audio drama from the BBC which airs weekly on their iplayer. I find this to be a very fascinating series and have put together a mini webpage about him. In short, James McLevy was a real detective in 1800’s Edinburgh. He wrote several memoirs about his exploits which were very popular. There’s some speculation that aside from the obvious homages to his teacher, Doctor Joseph Bell, that Arthur Conan Doyle may have gleaned some bits of inspiration for Sherlock Holmes from McLevy’s memoirs.

I was fascinated by stumbling across the existence of McLevy but have not found an ultimate website or font of information about him, which is why I put this together. Please visit McLevy The Edinburgh Detective to find out more.

[via The Pulp Reader blog]

*with apologies to Robotz Of The Company for slander.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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2 thoughts to “The Pulp Reader’s project and some audio drama picks”

  1. Thanks for the shout out Jesse. Just so you know, in general conversation I point people to SFFAudio all the time. Was just over at escape-suspense.com talking about your heads up on the new Three Skeleton Key.

    I should make a link to you. In fact I’ll do that now.

    And yes! Human read books will always be more enjoyable than TTS. Well, some readings at librivox might make that a tougher question, but in general, yes.

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