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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

Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny, read by the Author Americana Audiobooks, Abridged, 3hrs
Nine Princes in Amber Roger Zelazny published Nine Princes in Amber, his first Amber novel, in 1970. It was the first of five books, now called The First Chronicles of Amber. I read those five books every few years -- the urge to revisit Corwin and his family unstoppable.

The story opens when Corwin, the main character of the First Chronicles, wakes up in a hospital room without his memory. He was in an automobile accident, but can't recall any details. He follows clues that eventually lead to his siblings, the Princes and Princesses of Amber, the one true world. All other worlds, including the one we live in, are merely shadows of Amber, and as such Amber is very much worth fighting for, and the siblings do, in these excellent stories.

Roger Zelazny reads the book himself. Sunset Productions out of Santa Fe originally published it in 1992, three years before his death. Americana Publishing (winner of a 2001 Audie Award for Best New Publisher) acquired the rights to Zelazny's recordings and are re-releasing all ten of the Amber books (the First and Second Chronicles). The books are abridged and riddled with sound effects throughout. The sounds are in the background, behind Zelazny's voice, and at times they pulled me right out of the narrative. The narrator's voice is often changed -- echoing for some reason while in a library, and lowered in pitch when he's underwater -- why do that? Both Star Trek and Star Wars audiobooks effectively use sound behind the narrator, but I felt that this book used them too often and the sound level of the effects was too high.

Zelazny is a good reader. His voice is low and gravelly -- not a voice like I've heard narrate other audiobooks. But it works very well -- he obviously knows the material and performs it with clarity. Nine Princes in Amber is a fabulous book -- one of Zelazny's best -- and the story does come through in this recording.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, dramatized and directed by Paul McCusker and starring a Full Cast Focus on the Family Audio Theatre, Audio Drama, 149 minutes
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis wrote the Narnia series in the early 50s. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was not the first written, but it is the first chronologically in the series. Focus on the Family has taken Lewis' story and dramatized it for radio. The result is a complete success -- Focus on the Family's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is first-rate professional audio drama, well-acted and well-produced.

A short description of the story: four children find themselves in a very large house, after having been sent there to avoid the bombing of London during World War II. In the house is a wardrobe filled with fur coats -- Lucy is the first child to walk into the wardrobe, past the fur coats, and into Narnia, a whole other world which includes fawns, and to complete the book's title, Aslan the lion, and the White Witch.

The Narnia books can be enjoyed on different levels. One may enjoy the story as a fantasy adventure, or one can listen for Lewis' Christian allegory, which is sprinkled generously throughout. Either way, this is a fabulous audio drama. Highly recommended.

Focus on the Family Radio Theatre has produced all seven of the Narnia books as radio drama. The productions are: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle. Their production of The Silver Chair won an Audie award earlier this year for Achievement in Production.

For Collectors

dhAudio was the last incarnation of the company that was previously called Durkin Hayes Audio. The company is now out of business, which is an incredible shame, since nearly everything I've seen (er... heard) from them has been of excellent quality. In the year 2000, the company released 5 audio anthologies. dhAudio's readers are excellent, and the production quality among the best there is. Out there somewhere are these five:

The Reel Stuff Edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg
An anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories that have been adapted into film: Contains "Johnny Mnemonic" by William Gibson, "Amanda and the Alien" by Robert Silverberg, "Mimic" by Donald A. Wollheim, "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick, "Nightflyers" by George R.R. Martin, "Air Raid" by John Varley, and "Sandkings" by George R.R. Martin.

Civil War Fantastic Civil War Fantastic Edited by Martin H. Greenberg
An anthology of Civil War alternate history stories. Contains: "A Place to Stand" by William H. Keith, Jr., "The Last Full Measure" by David Bischoff, "Hex'em John" by James H. Cobb, "Gettysburg Dreams" by Brendan DuBois, "Ghosts of Honor" by Denise Little, "Boot Hill" by Catherine Asaro and Mike Resnick, "The Three Cigars" by Robert Sheckley, "The Federal Spy and Miz Julia" by Karen Haber, "Images" by Josepha Sherman, "The Pluck of O'Reilly" Gary Alan Ruse, "Across Hickman's Bridge to Home" by R. Davis, "Stew" by Donald J. Bingle, "Surviving the Elephant" by Lisa Silverthorne, "The General's Bane" by Mike and Sheila Gilbert, "Loose Upon the Earth a Daemon" by Tom Waggoner, "News from the Long Mountains" by Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy Snyder, "Martial" by Nancy Springer, and "Burial Detail" by Thomas Penny.

Black Cats and Broken Mirrors Black Cats and Broken Mirrors Edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers
An anthology of original tales that ask the question: What if superstitions came true? (um... aren't they?) Contains: "How It All Began" by Esther M. Freisner, "Whirlwinds" by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, "Front-Page McGuffin and the Greatest Story Never Told" by Peter Crowther, "Caretaking" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Frogged" by Nancy Springer, "Dead Tired" by R. Davis, "Step on the Crack" by Michelle Sagara West, "Shards of Glass" by Kristin Schwengel, "The Song of a Gift Horse", Dean Wesley Smith, "Auspicious Stars" by Jane M. Lindskold, "Something Blue" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, "Crossroads" by Genevieve Gorman, "The Pennymen" by Charles de Lint, and "Thirteen Ways to Water" by Bruce Holland Rogers.

Battle Magic Battle Magic Edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff
An anthology of fantasy stories in which magic is summoned during battle. Contains: "Warlord" by Michelle West, "Hell's Bane" by Jane Lindskold, "The Miracle of Salamis" by Lois Tilton, "The Jewel and the Demon" by Lisanne Norma, "Alaric's Gift" by Mickey Zucker Reichert, "The Fatal Wager" by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, "Ten for the Devil" by Charles de Lint, "Battle Magic™ for Morons" by John DeChancie, "A Matter of Honor" by Josepha Sherman, "Principles of Warfare" by John Helfers, and "The Strangeness of the Day, " by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Warrior Princesses edited by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Martin H. Greenberg
"Wonderful stories of warrior princesses rescuing themselves." Contains: "Common Ground" by John Helfers, "My Princess" by Elizabeth Moon, "Hunger" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Three-Edged Choice" by Ru Emerson, "The Sword of Undeath" by Felicia Dale, "Twelve-Steppe Program" by Esther M. Friesner, "Strays" by Megan Lindholm, "The Jewel of Locaria" by Jacey Bedford, "One Tree Hill" by R. Davis, "Golden Years" by Lea M. Day, "Become a Warrior" by Jane Yolen, "Debriefing The Warrior/Princess" by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, "She Wants Things" by Bruce Holland Rogers, "The Road to Vengeance" by Mickey Zucker Reichert, "The Little Landmaid" by Sarah Young, "Pestilence" by Michael Scott, and "Boudicca" by Morgan Llywelyn.

Copyright © 2003 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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