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Vox: SF For Your Ears
by Scott Danielson

Other Vox: SF For Your Ears Columns

Blackstone Audio
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre
Radio Repertory Company of America
Soundings by Jeff Green
Yuri Rasovsky
ZBS
Audio Drama
OTR Plot Spot
BEYOND 2000
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre
Giant Steps: An Apocalyptic Comedy for the World Wide Web
Mark Time Award
Seeing Ear Theater
Wollcott and Sheridan
Audio Publishers
audible.com
Audio Realms
Atlanta Radio Theater Company
Books on Tape
Defiance Audio
Infinivox
Fantastic Audio
Full Cast Audio Books
Paperback Digital
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
Podcasting
Podcast Alley
The Dragon Page
Podiobooks
Escape Pod
Claybourne
SF Site Podcast Reviews
Rev-Up Review
Reel Reviews Radio
Other
Radio Station: subspaceXmission
ReelBooks
The Teaching Company
Timeship Studio
Voyage's Multimedia Project

A lot of people are trying their hand at audiobook production. Microphones for computers are cheap, fiction is abundant, and the internet has matured enough to make a small audiobook publisher's catalogue available to a large number of people. As you can imagine, a lot of these small press audiobook publishers do not produce professional quality work. Here are three "small presses" that produce top-notch audiobooks.

AUDIO REALMS

Elric of Melniboné I was simply blown away by the first Audio Realms title I heard. It was Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, read by Jeffrey West with a Dramatic Introduction read by Michael Moorcock, Unabridged. "Dramatic introduction" means that the part Moorcock read was the intro to the novel, not an author's intro where they talk about the book.

The audiobook reminded me that I need to be very careful with absolutes. In the past I've said that I dislike unabridged audio with music and sound in the background, but here one is that does it so perfectly that I have to amend my statement. Adding music and sound to unabridged audiobooks is a very common mistake that amateurs make, because listeners generally do not want them in unabridged audio. A dramatic reading is what is desired -- leave the music and sound effects for audio drama. In Elric of Melniboné, though, the music was carefully placed and changes with the mood of the text. It becomes an extremely effective soundtrack for the book. The sound level never allowed the music to become distracting, and it had the same effect on me as a soundtrack in a movie -- it increased my emotional involvement. The audio sounded as good in the car as it did my headphones.

Jeffrey West did a wonderful job reading this novel. He's a fine reader, without question, and I can't help but to think that an epic (though relatively short) piece like this posed some challenges for him. He was first-rate, as was the entire production.

Audio Realms has several other titles, including H.P. Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror and Call of the Cthulhu and a collection of horror stories by C.J. Henderson called Misery and Pity. Check them out!

PAPERBACK DIGITAL

Reflex Paperback Digital is producing excellent work. Some of their Unabridged science fiction titles are: 1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis, Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint, Reflex by Stephen Gould, and Survival: Species Imperative #1 by Julie E. Czerneda.

Most of their audiobooks are performed by Christine Marshall and William Dufris, who have turned in great performance after great performance. The two narrators tell the stories seamlessly in well-edited dual narration, and the production quality is excellent.

Paperback Digital's audiobooks are all published in MP3 format. You can purchase these titles on MP3-CD (a format which can handle an entire unabridged novel on one CD), or they can be downloaded directly and immediately off their site. The increasing popularity of MP3 players and MP3-CD players makes me believe that the whole audiobook industry will move in this direction, and Paperback Digital is paving the way.

Paperback Digital has also published numerous remastered Old-Time Radio shows in MP3 format, and their site sells downloadable audiobooks from other publishers as well.

INFINIVOX

Great Science Fiction Stories Infinivox is, without question, the best producer of short science fiction audiobooks out there. They've been producing a line called Great Science Fiction Stories, which is notable first for the eclectic excellence of the stories themselves, and second for quality of the audio. Some of their finest titles include the hard science fiction story "A Walk in the Sun" by Geoffrey Landis and the soft science fiction of Connie Willis' "Cibola".

Infinivox has four new releases this month:
"The Territory" by Bradley Denton
"Antibodies" by Charles Stross
"A Colder War" by Charles Stross
"Lobsters" by Charles Stross

All three of these audio publishers are well worth your attention.

Copyright © 2005 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 control engineer for a manufacturing plant. 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. Scott can also be found at SFFAudio.


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