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Vox: SF For Your Ears
by Scott Danielson

Other Vox: SF For Your Ears Columns

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

Ruby 1: The Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe, created and written by Tom Lopez, music by Tim Clark, ZBS, running time approx. 3 hours.

Ruby 1: The Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe This is hands down the most unique and interesting audio I've ever experienced. Ruby is a "Galactic Gumshoe" and in her own words, she's "a good one". The story takes place in the 21st century on a planet called Summa Nulla ("the high point of nothing"). Ruby witnesses a bizarre shooting -- a Slimey (a genetically engineered assassin) cuts down a Frankie (an android) that was dressed up to look like Ruby. Ruby then offs the Slimey and saves the android (named Angel Lips). This all occurs within the first four minutes, and the pace never slackens.

Ruby originally hit the airwaves in 1981 on National Public Radio. It was produced in three-minute segments to be played during drive time. In other words, every three minutes, you're on a new episode. The effect is wonderful. Tom Lopez made Ruby fast-paced, and it demands your attention. With Tim Clark's music, each episode is like a three-minute musical track. Very cool. The android twins are the best example of this, their enhanced speech woven with music. Their episodes are mesmerizing -- I enjoyed them several times.

The dialogue is snappy, funny, and very well-written. All of the sound effects, music, and excellent vocal performances by every single participant make this an experience not to be missed. It's totally unique and great fun.

Star Trek Gateways: What Lay Beyond by Diane Carey, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Robert Greenberger, and Susan Wright, Read by David Kaye, Running time approx. 4 hours.

Star Trek Gateways Gateways is a mini-series set in the Star Trek universe in all its incarnations (excepting the current Enterprise series). It is an interesting collaboration... each of the six authors listed wrote a novel set in a particular part of Star Trek. Then, in the seventh volume, all six novels are concluded in six separate stories. This audio is an abridgement of that seventh volume.

Expertly performed by David Kaye, each story is preceded by a summary of the story up to that moment. It starts with a story of Captain Kirk, then continues with stories of Commander Nick Keller (of the USS Challenger -- near the TOS timeline), Captain Kathryn Janeway of Voyager, Colonel Kira Nerys of Deep Space Nine, Captains Calhoun and Shelby of the New Frontier series, and, lastly, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of The Next Generation.

The premise of the stories was very interesting; the Iconians (a race appearing in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation) have turned on a series of Gateways, which are basically a galaxy-wide transporter system. This causes much havoc, and each main character is presented with is or her own particular problem to handle.

Of the six stories, I particularly enjoyed Peter David's New Frontiers entry, with Captain MacKenzie Calhoun and his wife Captain Elizabeth Shelby. This one reminded me a bit of the audio version of his excellent Star Trek novel Q-Squared in the way it jumped around in time, but it is as effective here as is was there. I also enjoyed Keith R.A. Candido's Deep Space Nine story starring Kira Nerys, and Robert Greenberger's Next Generation story capped the series very nicely, with Captain Picard saving the day once again. All the stories were short (six of them in four hours) and I found myself wishing more from some, and less from others.

David Kaye performed admirably (he does a very nice Jean-Luc Picard). The production quality was excellent as it always is from Simon and Schuster Audioworks, and the best of the stories made it very worthwhile.

Bradamant: The Iron Tempest by Ron Miller, full-cast unabridged audio theatre, produced and directed by Jim Cline, featuring Kathy Garver as Bradamant (and others) and narrated by Sonny Franks, Timberwolf Press, 16 hours

Bradamant: The Iron Tempest "Orlando Furioso" is a 16th century poem penned by the Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto. In it can be found Lady Bradamant, a maiden knight who performs feats of bravery in search of Roggero, her lost lover. Ron Miller has adapted that story here, in an adventurous, amusing, and enjoyable tale.

The performance is a cross between an audio book and an audio drama. The narrator (Sonny Franks) performs the book, with dialogue provided by several different actors. The narrator is more present here than in other audio dramas I've heard, and the result is very effective and very easy to follow.

Sonny Franks is a very capable narrator. He kept my interest throughout and held the story together nicely. I also enjoyed Kathy Garver's Lady Bradamant and Lynn Mathis' Roggero, among others.

There are monsters. There are gods. There is chivalry, magic, and romance. Beyond the obvious comparison to Xena, the story reminded me much of The Princess Bride and in its humorous tone. Overall, I enjoyed it very much.


Tom Lopez and ZBS are up to their sixth Ruby series now. The latest is Ruby 6: The Illusionati.

Also from Timberwolf Press is the science fiction tale "A Small Percentage" by Jim Cline.

Next up in the Star Trek audio universe is Volume 2 of Greg Cox's story of Khan, Star Trek The Eugenic Wars #2: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh.

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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