Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category
I told myself today is the day I have to get back to blogging so here I am. Don’t you love when you got a lot of open projects and you’re being pulled in a million directions? Actually it’s not that bad. I’m not whining, honest. But I tend to let the blogging go by the wayside and concentrate on other stuff. But no more. At least I hope. Since I haven’t done an update in awhile I’ve got a lot of newsy things and share with you about what Wonder eBooks have been up to. But that would take one massive blog entry. So instead I’ll tell about what I’m about to work on.
SFFaudio.com does an annual challenge for every day people (yes, like you) to create an audiobook. SFFaudio’s editor, Jesse Willis, asked me if I had any stories that I could send his way. I was happy to oblige. So as soon I publish this I’m going to get them ready. The stories will be available in EPUB and PDF formats. Here are the titles:
Defense Mech by Ray Bradbury (from The Lost Bradbury: Forgotten Tales by Ray Bradbury)
The Green Girl by Jack Williamson
Daughters of Earth by Judith Merrill (From the Shrine of Temptation and Other Stories)
See You at the Morgue by Lawrence Blochman
One of my favorite audiobook narrators, William Coon, has struck out on his own with a new Philip K. Dick collection called The Defenders and Other Stories. He also has a new website that looks eloquent and is called Eloquent Voice. William has some other titles by Henry James and Anton Chekhov. And he let me know that coming soon he’s has a collection of Robert Silverberg stories that he’s narrating. I’ll be for sure checking that out.
William has read several titles for my company, Wonder Audiobooks. Here’s a page of his work he’s done for Wonder Audio.
Wonder Publishing Group is marching onward and upward with an impressive list of authors and titles for this week’s new releases: Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, Jack Vance, William Tenn, Ray Bradbury, Leigh Brackett, and Day Keene. Are you kidding me? That’s a galaxy of stars 😉
New Audiobook Releases:
Available at Audible
Two vintage stories from the 1950s by science-fiction Grand Master Jack Vance, who wrote stories of adventure, detection, horror, and humor.
What the Critics Say:
“‘Worlds of Origin’: A mystery novel and a fine example of Vance’s trademark imagination with worlds and customs of alien origin. No less than a dozen wholly unique Vance worlds come to light during Magnus Ridolphs’ inquiry into the mysterious death of a man on a space-station retreat. ‘The Men Return’: [A] completely alien earth where our universal rule of cause and effect no longer has any meaning and only the insane flourish in the new dynamics.” (Amazon reviewer “Coriolous”)
Available at Audible
Taylor felt life was pretty good. Sure, living in an underground bunker developing more sophisticated weapons to bomb the Soviets was less than ideal. But he had a pretty wife, and he was safe from the radioactive poisoned environment that existed above ground. The leadies, sophisticated robot servants, could inform them of the devastating destruction, the bombed out cities, and the further Soviet attacks. But it was a strange fact that the latest leadie to return to the bunker showed no sign of radioactivity. Strange enough for Taylor to be ordered above ground in a lead-lined suit to investigate. That Taylor didn’t want to go, wasn’t really an option!
Available at Audible
A flight to a lost world of Antarctica. Garin Featherstone has been sent to explore a mysterious blue haze that was spotted in the polar region. There he discovers a lost civilization and a strange environment of vivid green lands, crimson tree trunks, and golden rivers. He must save Thrala of the light against the lizard men.
This is Andre Norton’s first professional published story from 1947. Even the Grand Dame of science fiction had to have her first sale. And she shows her strengths in her first fantastic adventure story.
New eBook Releases
Wry, brilliant stories from the late William Tenn. Stories of irony, poignancy, humor and satire. Vampires, time travel and paradoxes, government projects, war, and the battle of the sexes. Stories included are: VENUS IS A MAN’S WORLD, OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, NULL-P, BROOKLYN PROJECT, SHE ONLY GOES OUT AT NIGHT, PROJECT HUSH, ME MYSELF AND I, and RICARDO’S VIRUS. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia ranked Tenn as “one of the genre’s very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction.”
Hugh Starke, space-rat and convict, was being pursued by spacecraft into the unknown parts of Venus. He had just pulled off the largest lone wolf heist in the history of that planet. But now it looked like he was going to pay the ultimate price for his misdeeds. But fate had a strange twist on Starke’s life when he woke up in a different body. A body that was strong and powerful. In a body of a Venusian barbarian named Conan. But was Starke anything more than a puppet in this new body? For he soon found out the strings were being pulled by the beautiful, but terrible, Rann. For Rann was like the siren, Lorelei, and it was Hugh-Starke-called-Conan that would have to fight her or be lured to his doom!
Read about the making of the cover, Lorelei of the Red Mist, in this previous Brain Plucker posting.
Ferron was big, tough and ruthless–he’d break your arm as soon as look at you. He had the morals of a tomcat and the instincts of a rattlesnake. But Ferron was sitting pretty. In New York City he had Lydia –a gorgeous redhead who loved him to distraction. Upstate he had Amy–lovely, virginal and wealthy; she could hardly wait till they were married. In the trunk of his battered car he had one hundred thousand dollars. –And he had literally gotten away with murder! Ferron was very lucky. Then his world started to come apart at the seams with shattering suddenness …
As part of the SFFaudio Challenge, Wonder eBooks offered up the digital text to H.B. Fyfe’s novel, D-99. And I’m happy to report that Jerry Pyle lent his voice talent skills in creating the audiobook. I haven’t listened to it in it’s entirety yet, but Jerry does a very good job of it. The novel is available at LibriVox.org.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Drood by Dan Simmons
My name is Wilkie Collins, and my guess, since I plan to delay the publication of this document for at least a century and a quarter beyond the date of my demise, is that you do not recognize my name. Some say that I am a gambling man and those that say so are correct, so my wager with you, Dear Reader, would be that you have neither read nor heard of any of my books or plays. Perhaps you British or American peoples a hundred and twenty-five or so years in my future do not speak English at all. Perhaps you dress like Hottentots, live in gas-lighted caves, travel around in balloons, and communicate by telegraphed thoughts unhindered by any spoken or written language.
Even so, I would wager my current fortune, such as it is, and all future royalties from my plays and novels, such as they may be, on the fact that you do remember the name and books and plays and invented characters of my friend and former collaborator, a certain Charles Dickens.
So this true story shall be about my friend (or at least about the man who was once my friend) Charles Dickens and about the Staplehurst accident that took away his peace of mind, his health, and, some might whisper, his sanity. This true story will be about Charles Dickens’s final five years and about his growing obsession during that time with a man—if man he was—named Drood, as well as with murder, death, corpses, crypts, mesmerism, opium, ghosts, and the streets and alleys of that black-biled lower bowel of London that the writer always called “my Babylon” or “the Great Oven.” In this manuscript (which, as I have explained—for legal reasons as well as for reasons of honour—I intend to seal away from all eyes for more than one hundred years after his death and my own), I shall answer the question which perhaps no one else alive in our time knew to ask—“Did the famous and loveable and honourable Charles Dickens plot to murder an innocent person and dissolve away his flesh in a pit of caustic lime and secretly inter what was left of him, mere bones and a skull, in the crypt of an ancient cathedral that was an important part of Dickens’s own childhood? And did Dickens then scheme to scatter the poor victim’s spectacles, rings, stickpins, shirt studs, and pocket watch in the River Thames? And if so, or even if Dickens only dreamed he did these things, what part did a very real phantom named Drood have in the onset of such madness?”
And thus begins the novel, Drood. Of course many of you will know that Wilkie Collins is not forgotten in our own time. Collins is most famous and is best known as the author of The Moonstone and The Women in White. He was also a close friend and collaborator with the venerable Charles Dickens. Wilkie Collins was called a “sensational novelist” in his day. His most famous novel, The Moonstone, is often cited as the first private detective mystery. Collins was afflicted with a painful arthritic condition that was called “rheumatic gout” in his day. To reduce his pains he used great quantities of laudanum that was a popular medicinal drug that is derived from opium. And in this book he uses great quantities of opium.
Drood is a dark, sensational Victorian novel, purportedly written this year by Dan Simmons. But you’d be excused in thinking that this is a mere pretense of the publisher. Because in the reading of the novel , the verisimilitude in the telling of the bizarre events, the use of quirky characters, the language and verbosity of the book, and the authors asides to the reader, all ring true with the Victorian Age.
The book is a little hard to classify to my mind beyond calling it a historical novel. It’s similar in type to the movie Amadeus. All the outlying historical facts are known and presented accurately in the story. But the fictional tale built around what presumable the historians never knew. A plausible, if sensational tale, that is only slightly more fantastic (which is pretty fantastic) than Charles Dickens’s own biography.
The story proper starts with Charles Dickens’ experience with a horrendous train accident infamously known as “the Staplehurst Rail Crash”. A train carrying the aged Dickens with his young and secret mistress, Ellen Ternan, crashes while traveling over a bridge. There are many casualties and Dickens help the many injured as best he could until more help arrived. These are the sensational but known biographical details that make the story so rich.
Dickens recounts the story to Collins. But he tells of a mysterious stranger named Drood, who was also aboard the train. Drood is dressed in an opera cape and has a mutilated visage. Drood is running to the accident victims to help, but to Dickens’s eyes is acting more like some kind of psychic vampire than as a rescuer. Dickens recruits Collins to find Drood and explore the mystery surrounding him. Much laudanum and opium is taken by Collins throughout the book, the reader is left traveling a path of ambiguity of what is reality and what is drug-induced.
At times the character of Wilkie Collins is sympathetic, and I found myself hoping that he would win out against his fears and addictions. Other times I found him to be deliciously despicable. That’s all part of the fun. Listening to the voice of this unreliable character and trying to decide what is true and was is his paranoid drug-induced fantasy. And the book kept me guessing to the end.
I listened to the unabridged 30 hour version of this audiobook read by John Lee. The only way to read a Victorian novel is with a great reader like John Lee. He gives rich performance. Lee dialects covers the gamut of the different strata of London’s 19th century society. Highly recommended.
I just did a quick write up at Goodreads on Eric Larson’s newest book, Thunderstruck.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Not quite as good as Larson’s previous book, The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. This used a similar format, which is an alternating duo biography. The inventor of the wireless telegraphy, Guglielmo Marconi is half the focus of the book. The other half is on the mild-mannered murderer, Hawley Crippen. And how the two stories ultimately overlap. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to true crime books. I usually avoid the genre as being the subject of debased and vile human beings. (Strangely this qualm doesn’t bother me in fiction.) The two Eric Larson books that I’ve read mixes the debased human nature of true crime with the uplifting story of human triumph, in this case Guglielmo Marconi. Although in this book it’s a technological triumph. After listening to the audiobook, I’m impressed at the technical accomplishment and persistents of Marconi, but he doesn’t sound like the kind of guy you’d want to be buddy with. On the other hand Crippen, probable was.
From the publisher’s description:
A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush”
In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.
Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners, scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed, and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect crime.
Somebody asked me how many titles did we have in the Noir Masters series, published by Wonder Publishing Group. And my answer was I didn’t know. You see, my business websites are woefully lacking at this time. I’m looking to hire someone to propagate them with all the titles we have out. Anyways this posting will get me to at least see how many titles in the Noir Masters I have.
And the audiobooks can be found at Audible.
eBook Short Stories:
So I guess I’ve got 22 Noir Masters titles. Yahoo!
Not only is Spider Robinson an excellent writer, he’s also an excellent reader. He’s done professional audiobooks for Blackstone Audio. I’ve listened to a number of them, and he’s really good (Stardance is excellent!). He’s also reads some awesome stories for his podcast, Spider on the Web.
On his lastest podcast he reads a classic story by Theodore Sturgeon, A Saucer Of Loneliness, as well as a Sturgeon title I’m not familiar with called Suicide.
Theodore Sturgeon is best know for his excellent novel More Than Human. Stylistically, he is arguable the best SF writer of the Golden Age. In fact, I’d readily accept that argument.
The great old time radio show X Minus 1 also did a dramatization of A Saucer of Loneliness. [
Spider Robinson also reads Sturgeon’s Slow Sculpture in a previous podcast episode. [
Spider also plays a lot of music on the podcast. His tastes have some overlap with my own, and I like most of it. Plus, he’s budds with David Crosby which is way, way cool!
One of the greatest websites, if not the best (IMHO), just posted a rave review of The Fabulous Clipjoint by Fredric Brown. For those who don’t know, I’m the publisher of Wonder Audio (as well as Wonder eBooks and Wonder Publishing Group). The review comes from my bud, Jesse Willis at SFFaudio.com. Here’s an excerpt:
…this is a truly awesome audiobook. I will stake my reputation on you loving it. If you’re twice as apt to like an old crime novel as a new one, then you’re three times as apt to love The Fabulous Clipjoint. The mystery is not hard to follow, the story is told in first person, but conversely it was devilishly hard to solve. I pride myself on being an excellent armchair detective, but I was happily baffled right up til the big reveal. That’s really saying something. William Coon sounds like a wise teenager. But then whenever he’s tasked with another character’s voice he switches: Falsetto, gruff, kindly, Coon does them all. Highly recommended.
You can get it today at: Audible.com/Wonderaudio
And the review designated the title with the accolade–SFFaudio Essential.
The 2004 Hugo Award short story is available free from Harper Audio. A Study in Emerald is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche pulverized with the Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. The title is in reference to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story A Study in Scarlet. I listened to this story earlier this year and I’m still thinking about it. I have to admit to feeling dumb because I didn’t get the full implication to the ending until I read the wikipedia page on A Study in Emerald. But don’t read the page until you listen to the story. So maybe you can miss the ending implication and feel dumb like me
A Study In Emerald (from Fragile Things)
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: September 2006
And if you’re interested in a free audiobook of the original Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, you can get it at LibriVox.
Or how about watching the movie! (Gee… this internet thingy is great.)
(via: Internet Archive)