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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
Audio Publishers
audible.com
Atlanta Radio Theater Company
Books on Tape
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

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, read by Richard Ferrone, published by Recorded Books, Inc., unabridged
Red Mars Ah... hard science fiction at its finest. This work by Kim Stanley Robinson won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1993. It is a book packed tight with ideas so wide in range that it will leave you thinking for weeks afterward.

Red Mars is a realistic story of mankind's colonization of Mars. One hundred of the world's finest, after making it through the selection process and the subsequent trials in Antarctica, make the journey to Mars in a ship designed not to return to Earth. The story of the months-long trip is detailed in the novel, with crew members working on diverse projects needed for the success of their colony from the moment of launch. Even the meticulous selection process doesn't keep dissention from the ranks as members of the crew question their plans in many ways. Why should we live the way they tell us? some ask. We are on our own now, and will live the way we want to live. We have a chance to remake society... And thus begins the odyssey as the Hundred build a new society; first on their ship and then on Mars itself.

Recorded Books did an excellent job with this one. Richard Ferrone is a reader well-matched with the material. His energetic and smooth reading kept this listener rapt until the end. More on Recorded Books, Inc. below in the Notes section.

A Walk in the Sun by Geoffrey A. Landis, read by Amy Bruce, published by Infinivox, 52 minutes
A Walk in the Sun This excellent story by Geoffrey A. Landis involves a female astronaut who survives a crash landing on the moon. She's told that rescue is 30 days away at best. The only way her spacesuit will continue to provide her with air is to keep its solar panels in the sun...

This audio was produced by the folks at Infinivox, which provides unabridged audio versions of contemporary science fiction stories. Amy Bruce's reading fits the story well. The occasional music distracts from the story a bit, but overall the reading works very well. An excellent story, very well performed.

Notes

I've tried three companies that rent audiobooks via the mail. Recorded Books is the finest of the bunch, not only because of their selection, but also because of the attention they pay in selecting great readers. They recognize that even the finest novel ever written would make a terrible audiobook given the wrong reader.

From Recorded Books, I've tried several selections, and have found them all of excellent quality. The readers are well selected and the performances are consistent throughout. Their catalogue is huge and ever growing. In the SF world, here's a small sample of their offerings, all unabridged and available for rental:
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (Excellent reader... he even sings the tunes!)
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (also Green Mars and Blue Mars)
On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony (and others in the Incarnations of Immortality series)
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Sundiver by David Brin (upcoming; Startide Rising)
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear

And many more...

Renting these audiobooks is a very cost-effective and hassle-free way to get your hands on some great science fiction and fantasy. It works like this: after selecting and ordering your selection, the company sends you the cassettes or CDs. The box they come in is already addressed and postage paid for the return trip -- after the thirty day rental period, you simply put the materials back in the box and drop them in the nearest mail.

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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