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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

American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Unabridged, 20 hours, performed by George Guidall, Harper Audio

American Gods America is not a good country for gods, according to a character from Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Yet there are many of them... not only the ones that immigrants brought with them from every country in the world, but also the new ones; gods of the computer and television and others.

Shadow is a man who is looking forward to the end of a three-year residency in prison. He wants nothing more than to return to his life, but this is not in the cards for him. A few days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in a car accident. Immediately after, he meets Wednesday, a grifter who offers Shadow a job. Having nothing left to lose, Shadow accepts. Thus begins Shadow's odyssey across America, meeting gods and cultural heroes, both old and new.

I could compare Neil Gaiman to Harlan Ellison and his intense imagery, or Clive Barker and his outré plots or Roger Zelazny and his dealings with the gods. This mythology is unique in my experience, though, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

To the excellent writing, add George Guidall's brilliant performance. The production quality is excellent, and Guidall is one of the finest performers in the business. The combination made this the best audio I've heard this year.

(NOTE: American Gods was #2 on SF Site's Best Books of 2001 list.)

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster, Abridged, 6 hours, performed by Alexander Adams, Random House Audio

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm Just hearing the Star Wars theme at the beginning of this audio makes my pulse quicken. In 1977, when the first Star Wars movie was released, I was 9 years old, and back then I thought it was a beautiful thing. In fact, I still do.

Along with most folks like me, I greeted The Phantom Menace with much anticipation. I was both delighted and disappointed with the film; the look was unparalleled, the feel was definitely Star Wars, but there was just no depth to it. Even so, I look forward to the next installment. Star Wars seems to be a thing hardwired in my psyche. If George Lucas makes it, I will go.

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm is a novel set right before the events in the upcoming Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Obi-wan Kenobi (and his Padawan learner Anakin, now a teen) and a new Jedi character named Luminara Unduli (and her Padawan learner, Barriss Offee) are dispatched to a planet called Ansion, where a feud must be resolved between the two indigenous species. If they fail, Ansion may withdraw, starting a chain reaction of secessions that could cripple the Republic.

The story is quick-paced and enjoyable. Alexander Adams is a fine reader, deftly bringing to life the Star Wars world. His narration, tastefully enhanced with Star Wars sound and music, drew me right in. Overall, I found it a very entertaining production.

Not to be missed is a scene where the two Jedi and their apprentices are asked to prove that they not only have ability, but also "inner essence". The four, led by Barriss Offee, take turns demonstrating the existence of their souls. The scene was picturesque and beautiful, and is the scene that I will remember when recalling this audiobook.

2000x: By His Bootstraps by Robert A. Heinlein, Hollywood Theater of the Ear, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Approx. 40 minutes in length

Beyond 2000 I've also been listening to the Beyond 2000 series of audio dramas from Audible.com (much more on them next month...). Last year, I listed 2000x's production of 'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman among my favorite audios of all time. This one is just as excellent.

By His Bootstraps is a classic story written by Robert A. Heinlein and originally published in 1941. It is a story of time travel that continually folds back upon itself, over and over, until it's amazing conclusion.

Richard Dreyfuss turns in a wonderful performance that makes this show an entertaining and wonderful gem that I will listen to again and again.

NOTES

Fahrenheit 451 Also received this month from Harper Audio is Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It's unabridged and read by Bradbury himself, which makes this a special treatment of this classic novel of censorship.

Copyright © 2002 Scott Danielson

Scott discovered the world of SF audio years ago, when he spent hours a day in his car. His commute has since shortened considerably, but his love for audio remains. By trade, he's an electrical engineer. Aside from reading and writing science fiction, his hobbies include community theater, where he can often be found behind the soundboard or (much less often) on the stage.


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