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Vox: SF For Your Ears
by Scott Danielson

Other Vox: SF For Your Ears Columns

Audio Drama
BEYOND 2000
Giant Steps: An Apocalyptic Comedy for the World Wide Web
Mark Time Award
Seeing Ear Theater
Wollcott and Sheridan
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audible.com
Atlanta Radio Theater Company
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Defiance Audio
Infinivox
Fantastic Audio
Full Cast Audio Books
The Reader's Chair
Recorded Books, LLC
SciFiAudio
Star Trek Novels/Audio
Star Wars Novels/Audio
Timberwolf Press
ZBS
SF Talk Radio
Book Crazy Radio
Cosmic Landscapes
The Dragon Page
Hour 25
I-SCI-FI
RadioSciFi
Reality Break - a science fiction talk show
Sci Fi Overdrive
SF On the Radio
Other
ReelBooks
The Teaching Company
Timeship Studio
Voyage's Multimedia Project

My Favourite SF Audios of All Time

What follows is a list of my favourite science fiction or fantasy audios. I don't need to explain the difficulty of compiling such a list! The audios presented here are those that I consider indispensable. Two in the list are hard to find, but the others are available. I've noted this in the commentary -- if anyone out there knows where to find these, please contact me at scott@sffaudio.com.

Here's the list, in chronological order:

Orson Welles War of the Worlds, Mercury Theatre of the Air, starring Orson Welles, 1938
If you haven't heard this piece of history, find it and listen. It was originally broadcast on October 30, 1938, and due to it's style of presentation caused quite a panic. Newscasters break in on "scheduled programming" to tell H.G. Wells' story of alien invasion. The monologue by Orson Welles at the end of the broadcast is not to be missed.

Green Hills of Earth/Gentlemen Be Seated, Caedmon, read by Leonard Nimoy, 1977
This is one of the first SF audios I ever came across, and is currently difficult to find. It's classic Heinlein brilliantly read by Leonard Nimoy. Green Hills of Earth tells the story of Rhysling, a balladeer who lost his sight in a space accident. Gentlemen, Be Seated portrays a reporter who looks for a story on the moon, and finds one. (Others to look for from this same period: Ray Bradbury's Usher II, also read by Leonard Nimoy; and Arthur C. Clarke reading his The Star and Transit of Earth.)

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, BBC Radio, starring Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, 1978
If you've never been exposed to this gem of science fiction comedy (or even if you have!), this is the place to experience it. This is the original incarnation of Hitchhiker's Guide, presented on BBC radio in 1978. This one is also hard-to-find. Don't forget your towel as you leave the Earth with the very confused Arthur Dent and the "nicely inconspicuous" Ford Prefect. Listen to them and all the other wild characters as they were originally heard. Thank you, Mr. Adams.

Falling Free Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Reader's Chair, read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan, 1996
This unabridged performance of Lois McMaster Bujold's Nebula-winning novel is simply excellent. This is how it's done. Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan perform the novel together in a fashion that is perfectly matched to Bujold's writing, and is a pleasure to hear. A company genetically engineers a new race of humans, a race uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labour. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.

Legends The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin, Harper Audio, read by Frank Muller, 1999
This can be found in audio Volume 4 of the Robert Silverberg edited Legends. For those unfamiliar, Legends is a book in which Silverberg collected several short novels by fantasy writers set in the universes they created. I highly recommend the entire book. Harper released all of these stories, unabridged, in four audio volumes. Along with a Pern story by Anne McCaffrey and a Riftwar Saga story by Raymond E. Feist, the fourth volume contains a reading of The Hedge Knight, a story by George R.R. Martin set in the same world as his incomparable A Song of Ice and Fire series. Frank Muller, one of the best readers in the business, performs the story. And what a story it is -- we follow the travels of Dunc, a squire to an aged hedge knight. When this hedge knight dies in the middle of nowhere, Dunc takes on the role of knight himself and gets into trouble during a tourney filled with the kind of characters that we've grown to expect from the pen of Mr. Martin. Fantastic stuff.

Beyond 2000: "Repent, Harlequin," said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, starring Robin Williams, 2000
I am currently making my way through the Beyond 2000 series, which I missed on their original airing on National Public Radio between April 2000 and April 2001. The series are radio adaptations of many classic science fiction stories presented to us by Harlan Ellison and Yuri Rasovsky. All the ones I've heard so far in this series are excellent, but this version of "Repent, Harlequin," said the Ticktockman is my current favourite of the bunch -- an instant classic presentation of a classic. Robin Williams plays the Harlequin, Mr. Ellison himself does the narrating. Need I say more? These shows can be downloaded (for a modest fee) and played on your computer or audio device at Audible.com.

There you have it! Good listening!

Please feel free to send your own list my way; I'd love to see it!

NEWS from the world of SF Audio

- The Reader's Chair, audio publisher of most of Lois McMaster Bujold's works, has announced that they are re-releasing all their titles in MP3-CD format. The immediate benefits: 12+ hours of audio on one CD and lower cost. Check them out at www.readerschair.com.

Have something you'd like to see here? Contact me at scott@sffaudio.com.

Copyright © 2001 Scott Danielson

Scott discovered the world of SF audio years ago, when he spent two hours a day in his car. His commute has since shortened considerably, but his love for audio remains.


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