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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

Hour 25 --
Hour 25 Hour 25 is a fabulous show featuring interviews with science fiction authors and figures from the world of science. It is hosted by Warren James, who I find to be an excellent interviewer. Some of Hour 25's most recent science fiction guests: Robert J. Sawyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Peter F. Hamilton, Laurel K. Hamilton, Kevin J. Anderson, and Brian Herbert. From the world of science: Barnaby Wainfan (aeronautical engineer extraordinaire), Christopher Kraft (author of Flight: My Life in Mission Control), and a very interesting conversation with Dr. Brian Marsden (with a fascinating audio statement by Dr. Stephen Hawking).

The show is currently broadcast exclusively over the internet. Shows are recorded and then uploaded to the website where folks can listen at any time. Warren James reports that Hour 25 has regular listeners from every continent except Antarctica tuning in each week.

The Hour 25 web site is a gold mine of information. The archives on the site go back to September 8, 2000 (an interview with Poul Anderson), and each show has its own page. These pages are packed with data relevant to the interview, containing everything from the guest's web site to other interviews of that person on the internet to links about things that came up during the interview. This data alone is very much worth the visit.

The show's host, Warren James, is a voracious reader. He never goes anywhere without a book. "I even go so far as to only buy cargo pants so that I'll always have a big pocket to drop my current book into," he says. He is strongly technophilic and does some writing himself -- you can find a novella of his in Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars Volume 8 called "Slowboat Nightmare".

This expertise translates into excellent interviews. James is always well-prepared, and the interviews I've found to be invariably interesting. "A good interview," says James, "is not a fixed set of questions and answers, but a conversation." He takes great pride in the show, and finds one of the best rewards is in having the author tell him that they talked about things that they had never talked about in other interviews.

Hard at work behind the scenes is Suzanne E. Gibson, the show's producer and editor. James says, "She spends 10-20 hours per show doing a meticulous edit that not only cleans up the "ums", "ers", "ahs", and false starts, but also tweaks the volume of individual stretches of the recording so we can get a clean audio stream that will convert cleanly." This effort results in a sound quality that is the best I've heard on the internet for a show of this type.

To this quality add the excellent content, and a listener can't go wrong. If you haven't heard Hour 25, I urge you to try it out.

I-SCI-FI Live on Thursdays at 9pm Eastern time at

I-SCI-FI is a very recent addition to the internet. Hosted by longtime fan Rex (Captain T'Rex) Rouviere, this is a weekly call-in show by and for fans primarily of media science fiction (television and movies), but doesn't hesitate to take the discussion into literary territory, if the caller desires.

Rex (along with his cohorts Jedi Joe, Darth Helmet, and Vic) do a good job keeping things moving. The shows are lively, often funny, always fun. The best way to participate is to get online when the show is live (Thursday nights at 9pm Eastern time) and click the Connections link. Click the "Listen Live" link to listen, and then click into the chat room to join several listeners as the show goes on.

The mission of the show, says Rex, is "to give the fans a voice and outlet to the 'powers that be' in science fiction media". The folks who run the show are fans who enjoy talking to fans. He says further, "We are building a community, where people who enjoy sci-fi can come together to share their feelings without fear of retribution and without being singled out as weird. Because we all love Sci-Fi. It's the only positive media form out there."

Each show has an overriding topic. Some of the past shows' topics (available on the website for listening at any time): "Is Sci-Fi good for children?" "Why do you enjoy Sci-Fi?" "What is your favorite movie/television show and why?" The topics generally serve as platforms for discussion, which is allowed to veer off in nearly any direction, controlled by the hosts.

I-SCI-FI is a mini weekly media con on the internet, and is a lot of fun.

SciFiAudio --
SciFiAudio SciFiAudio is something else altogether. First, they publish a quarterly audio anthology series called Frequency. Second, they offer free audio clips of author readings (most recently Robert J. Sawyer reading from Hominids and China Mieville reading from The Scar). Third, audio stories are available for download in MP3 format for an average of $1 per story. They are becoming a comprehensive site for those interested in science fiction audio.

Frequency embodies a concept whose time has come. The goal of this anthology series is to bring out new SF, fantasy, and horror stories in a quarterly audio format. You can currently get them from their website, and also from a dozen bookstores across the US. I've listened to several of the stories and I can say that the audio quality is first-rate. Some of the authors in the first three installments include Justina Robson, Jerry Oltion, Cory Doctorow, Bud Sparhawk, Kurt Roth, and Stanley Schmidt. These are first-rate stories given first-rate audio treatment.

Frequency also has a special Hugo edition from 2000 (includes Michael Swanwick, Terry Bisson, and Mike Resnick among others) and on September 1st will release a special Hugo Nominee 2002 edition, which contains "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" by Michael Swanwick, "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" by Mike Resnick, "Spaceships" by Michael Burstein, and "Bones of the Earth" by Ursula K. Le Guin. The next regular edition of Frequency (the fourth) will appear around Halloween.

Jeremy Bloom, editor of and the Frequency series, reports, "the site will have many of the Frequency stories available, as well as recent and classic fiction from some of the best authors in the field. There will be a mix of our own productions and licensed material from other companies and producers."

Early September also brings a standalone audio from SciFiAudio, David Gerrold's "The Martian Child". Bloom promises more classic stories from some of the top writers in the field in the near future.

The Fifth Sorceress by Robert Newcomb Read by Simon Jones, Random House Audio, Abridged, 6 hours
The Fifth Sorceress This book is being touted as "The Epic Fantasy of the Year". Indeed the book follows the pattern of the fat fantasy sub-genre; there's magic with very interesting rules, there are some good guys, there are some bad guys (and ladies in this case), and there's a confrontation... it's all here, and it's very interestingly done.

Most notably different in this novel are the Sorceresses. They are the evil ones of the story. They form a coven, complete only when there are five. This book was unique in my experience for it's portrayal of these thoroughly evil and interesting females. This book doesn't pull its punches -- it contains some very cruel, very violent (sometimes sexually violent) scenes. The story did capture me... more than once I found myself taking another lap around the block rather than stop listening.

Simon Jones, the reader, is known to audio listeners for his work in the BBC Radio version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This book was of such a different tone that I had no problem at all separating his voice from that comedy. He performed the different characters very well, and he enhanced the story in many ways. I hope they stick with him in further volumes. Hey, this is fat fantasy... how could there NOT be more volumes? By the way, for those interested... this book does not suffer the flaw of so many fat fantasies. It does not just stop -- there is plenty of resolution, with a hint of more to come.

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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