The Green Hills of Earth By Robert A. Heinlein
The Green Hills of Earth
By Robert A. Heinlein
Read by Tom Weiner
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Approx. 6.5 Hours
Some say that there was a simpler time when the year 1984 was in the distant future and the year 2000 was the stuff good sci-fi could speculate about. Maybe this was an innocent time and the exploration of worlds within our solar system would become a priority before the mythical year 2000, or maybe this was just the perfect time to write science-fiction. Either way Robert A. Heinlein was one of the masters of sci-fi that took the genre seriously. Heinlein’s stories not only gave the reader some fun reading but he also wrote stories that seemed very probable without getting too technical, and always seemed to have something more to say about humanity.
The Green Hills of Earth is a collection of some of Heinlein’s short stories that dwell on social aspects of the future. From the idea of women working alongside men, to the use of indentured servitude with focus on slavery and slave masters on plantations of Venus. Heinlein takes a look at human sociology through some fun to read sci-fi stories. Even with the title story, human social interaction is explored through a blind folksinger deadheading his way across the universe writing his swan song, “The Green Hills of Earth.”
Tom Weiner’s vocal aptitude is put to the test on this collection of short stories with many characters, attitudes and storylines. And put simply he passed that test. His vocalizations really make the different characters and situations stand out.
If you are up for some classic science-fiction writing and go out and grab this audio book and meet one of the masters of sci-fi.
Labels: audiobook, book review, books, robert a. heinlein, sci-fi, Science-Fiction, the green hills of earth
posted by Gil T. @ 9:53 PM
Danger in the Dark By L. Ron Hubbard
Danger in the Dark
By L. Ron Hubbard
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Remember the old Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines? You know the ones that featured short stories written by great sci-fi authors. This audiobook was like going back to those old pulps and reliving the golden age of sci-fi. This audiobook contains 3 short stories written by L. Ron Hubbard that are as diverse in subject matter as they are fun to listen to.
The production is a multicast performance complete with music and sound effects and featuring the actress Karen Black. The other voices are R.F Dailey, Christina Huntington, Jim Meskimen, Gino Montesinos, Noelle North, and Josh R. Thompson. All the voices throughout the stories in this audiobook along with the music and sound effects create an aura about this production that makes it easy to get lost in the simple and fun stories.
The main story is the title story, “Danger in the Dark.” It tells the tale of Billy Newman, who strikes gold and buys an island in the Philippines. He gets the island at a bargain price and later finds out why. The natives all fall ill and crops begin to fail and the tribal chiefs blame Billy for angering the god Tadamona. Tadamona is a 75 foot god that runs the island and unless Billy can come up with stronger “magic” he will destroy the island.
The next story is a fun fantasy called “The Room.” A small town veterinarian goes missing. The last time he was seen was entering his room. This room is one that was his exclusively and no one was to clean, ever. After his disappearance, the veterinarian’s nephew inherits the room to find that things are not as they seem in this room.
The third story, "He Didn't Like Cats," is a morality tale along the lines of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart.” A man, who as the title says, doesn’t like cats, comes across the cat and gives it a quick kick. The cat falls into the street and is run over by a vehicle. Before it dies it howls in pain to the point that it almost sounds human. The ordeal shakes the man up a bit and is haunted by the cat through the rest of the night.
These are some great sci-fi/fantasy stories from the late 30s to the early 40s and the production on this audiobook make this an entertaining listen.
Listen to the audio review below.Click here to get the MP3 podcast file from sfsite.com
Labels: book review, books, danger in the dark, fantasy, golden age, he didn't like cats, l. ron hubbard, mp3, podcast, sci-fi, Science-Fiction, the room
posted by Gil T. @ 8:51 PM
Team of Rivals:The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Narrated by Suzanne Toren
Produced by Recorded Books
Wow, talk about an undertaking, "Team of Rivals" is not only an in depth study but an entertaining book as well. Doris Kearns Goodwin takes you on a trip back to a dark time in American History and sheds light on what the inner workings of not only a great American President and his cabinet but also on the feeling of a nation.
I first heard of this book when President Obama referenced “Team of Rivals” during his campaign for the presidency. I then had a couple of listeners to my radio show call up and tell me I HAD to read this book. The main reason I was told was that the parallels between Obama and Lincoln are uncanny. My first thought was, "What do a Republican president, Lincoln, and a Democrat President have in common?" Well quite a bit really. Obama has pretty much declared Lincoln his mentor.
Abraham Lincoln made the decision to bring into his cabinet all of his chief opponents for the Republican nomination, insisting the country needed the strongest minds available. Barack Obama is emulating his hero is this respect and he put in Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Joe Biden as vice president. On the eve of the Civil War, one of Lincoln's first acts as president-elect was to appoint William Seward secretary of state and build a "team of rivals" that would preserve the nation and free it from the curse of slavery. Just like Hillary Clinton, Seward was bitterly disappointed that the presidency had been snatched from him by an upstart lawyer, but the two men soon became great allies.
I think the best aspect of this book, however, is the information about the goings on and the politics involved with the American Civil War. The reader/listener gets a great education on all aspects of that war.
The book is somewhat told in a story form starting with Lincoln's early life establishing himself as a lawyer all the way through to his assassination and then a bit of follow up with the cabinet members after. The information, gathered from many sources, includes many letters between key characters which gives this book more of a personal touch. That makes it actually an interesting and fun read. (or in my case listen) She made it a point to change inflection when reading actual quotes so there was clear moments of when a source was being referred to.
I never go for abridged versions of audiobooks, when I can help it, and the reader in this audiobook had her work cut out for her. The printed hardcover runs 900+ pages and this cd version contained 36 cds, so, yes it took time but I feel rewarded for having listened to the life of this great American.
Labels: abraham lincoln, barack obama, civil war, doris kearns goodwin, lincoln, obama, president, presidential campaign, team of rivals
posted by Gil T. @ 9:01 PM
"My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding" A Collection of short stories edited by P.N. Elrod
"My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding"
A Collection of short stories edited by P.N. Elrod
published by St. Martins (2006)
It's been a while since I've posted a review, so let me explain, it's not due to slacking off. Quite the contrary actually, first of all I've decided to tackle the gigantic tome that which is "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book is 994 pages and the audiobook is 36 cds. I went for the audiobook version thinking it would be easier. I could never settle for an abridged book so I dove head first. I'm not regretting it but it does take time, but the book is worth it as you will read in a future review. I did manage to squeeze in another book in between times listening to "...Rivals." I'm glad it was a collection of short stories in retrospect.
The main reason I picked this book up to read is that it contained a short story by Jim Butcher that adds to the adventures of my favorite wizard, Chicago's own Harry Dresden. With the new book in the Dresden files series not yet released I had to absorb all the dresden I could find. So, while being treated to a very nice Dresden short story, I also got to read some pretty entertaining/interesting short stories from authors I might have missed before. And speaking of missing, as with all collections of short stories some are hits and some are misses in this book, but the misses are not really far off the mark, just not my cup of meat.
All the stories in this book, as you could guess from the title, deal with weddings and what happens when different supernatural forces come into play.
So let's break it down story by story;
"Spellbound" by L.A. Banks
Known for her vampire huntress series of books L.A. Banks writes something a little different here. I was actually a little let down not by the story but that I was expecting a vampire story. The story follows the modern day Hatfield and McCoys. The feuding still goes on but Banks throws in an extra aspect to the showdown in that they are spell casters to boot. So the feud now involves some magic, hoodoo and other charms, but 2 young college students, a representative of each family, want to get married, to do so they spells must stop. But they don't, and through a little bit of fun and a little bit of nastiness can love survive?
"Something Borrowed" by Jim Butcher
For a complete review on this story click on the following linkhttp://www.gilwilson.com/blog/2009/01/something-borrowed-short-story-from.html
"Dead Man's Chest" by Rachel Caine
Best known for her "Weather Warden" and "Morganville Vampires" series Rachel Caine tackles the wedding theme by adding in some dead pirates. (oops a spoiler). With some humor and even a little romance grab a bottle of rum and have fun with this story.
"All Shook Up" by P.N. Elrod
Again I was let down with the subject matter but I do have to say that this was a fun read. You see, I really like vampire stories and knowing P.N. Elrod is famous for vampire stories I expected them but what is in this story is not vampires. Okay so I got over that and read on, and had some fun. This wedding is being catered by a woman who can see the future, and the bride and groom (a famous wrestler and a famous model) have a bleak future. However the wedding singer has powers of his own. In what at first seems like an Elvis comes back from the dead story, comes the story of an Elvis impersonator...er, um tribute artist..that can change the future when love is involved. This one is fun and hey if you are prone to emotional outbursts keep the tissues handy.
"The Wedding of Wylda Serene" by Esther M. Friesner
Not knowing what to expect here, I was ready for some entertainment, but this one just didn't grab me. This is a story about a wedding that is crashed by some Greek Gods. I just could not sink myself into this one.
"Charmed by the Moon" by Lori Handeland
Like Jim Butcher, Lori Handeland writes a short story for this collection that is within the realm of one of her existing series. From Her "...Moon" series we join Jessie McQuade and Will Cadotte as they are about to get married. Jessie is a werewolf hunter of sorts and Will is a shaman. Jessie discovers someone may have enchanted them to fall in love with each other and only wanting to be married if it is TRUE love and not a spell, Jessie and Will seek the truth.
"Tacky" by Charlaine Harris
Harris is another author writing within the realm of an existing series. This story comes from the Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire) Series. So finally I get a vampire story. This time a female vampire wants to marry a male werewolf. In this series the idea is that vampires have revealed themselves to the world and are treated differently by the government. But werewolves are still a secret. Also Vampires cannot marry outside their vampire race. So radicals will do everthing they can to stop this wedding to keep the human race pure. Oh and also the werewolves and vampires are supposed to hate each other. This story makes me want to go out and find the Sookie Stackhouse series and start reading it.
"A Hard Day's Night-Searcher" by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Kenyon writes this story with in the "Dark Hunter" series realm. The Dark-Hunters are immortal warriors pledged to the Greek goddess Artemis and dedicated to defending mankind against Daimons (vampires) and other assorted enemies: including a couple of rogue gods and goddesses. In this story an overprotective squire falls in love with a Dark-Hunter. This story is pretty much a novella coming in at 44 pages in length and dividen into chapters. It provides some great vampire hunting action and some interesting moments, a good read.
"...Or Forever Hold Your Peace" by Susan Krinard
This is one story I had a hard time trying to follow. It takes place in an alternate Victorian England known as Albion, where prominent families possess magicks. The somewhat detective team of Kit and Olivia have to figure out why a woman of social status has run away after her wedding was interrupted by someone that objected to the marriage but died before he could say why. Kit, Olivia and the Groom travel the countryside tracking down the woman using magic and then rescue her from an "Inquisitor." They soon find the woman may or may not be who she says she is. This story seemed to scream for a full length novel version.
Labels: charlaine harris, esther m. freisner, jim butcher, L.A. Banks, lori handeland, my big fat supernatural wedding, p.n. elrod, Rachel cain, sherrilyn kenyon, susan krinard, vampires, werewolves
posted by Gil T. @ 3:24 PM