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Under Siege
George R.R. Martin
Infinivox, 92 minutes

Under Siege
George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin was born in 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Northwestern University, graduating with degrees in journalism. Martin refused active service: instead he served with VISTA, in Cook County, Illinois. In addition to his writing credits, Martin has served as Story Editor for Twilight Zone, and as Executive Story Consultant, Producer and Co-Supervising Producer for Beauty and the Beast, both on CBS. He also was Executive Producer for Doorways on CBS. At 21, he made his first pro sale to the magazine, Galaxy. Actively involved in SFWA, Martin now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

George R.R. Martin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
Infinivox Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mark Shainblum

This is an interesting audio project which, unfortunately, starts out with several strikes against it:

"Under Siege," George R.R. Martin's excellent short story -- originally published in Omni in 1985 -- has been rendered totally anachronistic by the passage of one short decade. It's set in a post-nuclear holocaust world, as a desperate group of American time travelers attempt to undo the effects of the war by preventing the creation of the Soviet Union. Science fiction isn't necessarily about prediction, and a good story should always remain a good story, but there's no question that the collapse of the Soviet Union will affect the reader's willing suspension of disbelief whether he wants it to or not.
Infinivox clearly had no idea how to package this audiobook. The cover art on the cassette-holder is amateurish and ugly, while the back-cover text is graphically messy and confusing. There are so many good underemployed science fiction artists out there that there's no excuse for putting out something that looks this bad. (A quick trip to the Infinivox website proves that many -- though not all -- of their audiobooks do in fact have competent cover art).
The first few minutes of the audio-reading are shaky. The theme music and imprint announcement are almost as amateurish as the packaging; and reader Pat Bottino struggles with the material for several minutes before slipping into a groove.

Martin is an excellent science fiction writer, and "Under Siege" is a taut psychological drama about a man trying to decide whether he has the right to change history. As a history buff, I also found the historical content of this story fascinating. If it sounds like I'm griping about trivia, it's only because I really enjoyed this production once I got past these hurdles. By the time I flipped the cassette onto Side Two, I was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the story. It's not entirely clear that a potential listener who had to pay good money for this cassette would actually have gotten that far.

Infinivox, your heart's in the right place. All you need is a good art director!

Copyright © 1998 by Mark Shainblum

Mark Shainblum is the co-editor of Arrowdreams: An Anthology Of Alternate Canadas (Nuage Editions, 1997), the first anthology of Canadian alternate history. A veteran of the comic book field, Mark co-created the 1980's Canadian superhero Northguard and currently writes the Canadian political parody series Angloman, both in the form of a paperback book series and as a weekly comic strip in the Montreal Gazette. He lives in Montreal with his computer, his slippers and a motley collection of books.

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