Audible SF/F NOTE: moved to The AudioBookaneers

The second release week of September still shows no sign of Brandon Sanderson’s Legion, read by Oliver Wyman; but I’m sure it’s coming soon. Not that I’m hitting reload that often…

The Blinding Knife: Black Prism, Book 2 By Brent Weeks, Narrated by Simon Vance for Hachette Audio — Series: Lightbringer, Book 2 — Length: 23 hrs and 48 mins — I haven’t gotten to book one of this series yet, The Black Prism (narrated by Cristofer Jean) but have heard quite a lot of good things about both Lightbringer and Weeks’ previous series, the Night Angel Trilogy. Here: “Gavin Guile is dying. He’d thought he had five years left - now he has less than one. With 50,0000 refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole 16 years ago.”

 

God’s War: Bel Dame Apocrypha, Book 1 By Kameron Hurley, Narrated by Emily Bauer for Audible Frontiers — Series: Bel Dame Apocrypha, Book 1 — Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins — When Book 2 (Infidel) was released last week, I hoped it was a good sign that God’s War would also be coming to audio. On Jeff VanderMeer’s a dozen of the year’s best, nominated for a Nebula Award, a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and winner of the Kitchies Golden Tentacle for best debut: “On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on - there’s not a chance in hell of ending it. Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war—but at what price? The world is about to find out.”

The White Forest By Adam McOmber, Narrated by Susan Duerden — Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins — concurrently in print from Touchstone/Simon & Schuster. “Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret - an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects - and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean. A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.” An early review: “A young woman can hear the souls of man-made objects, and they’re not exactly singing happy tunes in McOmber’s Victorian gothic debut.” (Kirkus)

 

Meanwhile, Audible Ltd has published three audiobooks from one of the early masters of science fiction, Olaf Stapledon. With Odd John (1935, Narrated by Nigel Carrington), Last and First Men (1930, Narrated by Stephen Greif), and Star Maker (1937, Narrated by Andrew Wincott) three books exploring both science fiction and the implications to humanity of those fictions are now in audio.

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

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After six audiobooks in May (though KSR’s 2312 went on well into the first week of June) I listened to eight in June, with Tim Powers’s On Stranger Tides and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay being the outstanding audiobooks, with plenty to recommend Mark L. Van Name’s No Going Back, John Scalzi’s Redshirts, and Jon Sprunk’s Shadow’s Son.

  

  

REVIEWS: (Note: as I’m terribly terribly behind in these reviews, these are short (or long in the cases where I did not have time to make them shorter) and mostly off the cuff.)

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A members-only sale at Audible, this one dubbed Win-Win, with $4.95 titles running through September 18. The sale page sorts out titles by author last name groupings, so here is my scan-through for interesting titles:

 

 

 

LONGER LIST and LINKS:

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September kicks off with quite a vengeance with new audio of both new, newly translated, and long-running series. As usual I have my “seen but not heard” complaints, led in a big way by the new widely-praised Tad Williams urban fantasy novel The Dirty Streets of Heaven and the Cory Doctorow/Charles Stross joint The Rapture of the Nerds but, I guess, you can’t have everything.

Out on September 1 was Clockwork Angels: The Novel By Kevin J. Anderson, Narrated by Neil Peart for Brilliance Audio. “International best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson teams up with Rush lyricist and drummer Neil Peart to expand the story set out in Clockwork Angels, the 20th studio album by the legendary rock band. For more than two centuries, the land of Albion has been ruled by the supposedly benevolent Watchmaker, who imposes precision on every aspect of life. Young Owen Hardy from the village of Barrel Arbor dreams of seeing the big city and the breathtaking Clockwork Angels that dispense wisdom to the people, maybe even catching a glimpse of the Watchmaker himself.”

 

Ashes of Honor: An October Daye Novel, Book 6 By Seanan McGuire, Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal for Brilliance Audio — Series: October Daye, Book 6 — Length:12 hrs and 26 mins — “It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities - training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills - but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.”

Infidel: Bel Dame Apocrypha, Book 2 By Kameron Hurley, Narrated by Emily Bauer — Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins — While book 1, God’s War, remains very high on my “where’s the audiobook?” list, book 2’s appearance may be a good sign. “Nyx used to be a bel dame, a government-funded assassin with a talent for cutting off heads for cash. Now she’s babysitting diplomats to make ends meet and longing for the days when killing was a lot more honorable. When Nyx’s former bel dame “sisters” lead a coup against the government that threatens to plunge the country into civil war, Nyx is tasked with bringing them in. The hunt takes Nyx and her inglorious team of mercenaries to one of the richest, most peaceful, and most contaminated places on the planet - a country wholly unprepared to host a battle waged by the world’s deadliest assassins.”

 

The book (much more often experienced in the US as the film) to which The Hunger Games was most often compared is the controversial 1999 Japanese dystopian novel Battle Royale By Koushun Takami, translated in 2009 by Yuji Oniki and now available in English language audio for the first time. Narrated by Mark Dacascos for Simon & Schuster Audio; Length:19 hrs and 34 mins.Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence in a dystopian world, it is one of Japan’s best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one “winner” remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English-language audio for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today’s dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old director Kinji Fukusaku.”

The Map of the Sky: A Novel By Felix J. Palma, Narrated by James Langton — Length:22 hrs and 38 mins — “The New York Times best-selling author of The Map of Time returns with a mesmerizing novel casting H.G. Wells in a leading role, as the extraterrestrial invasion featured in The War of the Worlds is turned into a bizarre reality. A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells’s War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.”

 

Lastly, the big Audible Frontiers haul this week is the Liaden Series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, narrated variously by Kevin T. Collins (Books of Before — Free Excerpt: Crystal Soldier), Bernadette Dunne (Space Regencies — Free Excerpt: Local Custom), Andy Caploe (Agent of Change — Free Excerpt: Agent of Change), and Eileen Stevens (Theo Waitley — Free Excerpt: Fledgling).

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

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It’s only today that I finally found the sale page, but I’d mentioned this somewhat “quiet” sale over on Facebook and Twitter. The long and short of it is that a whole big list of ACX (Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange) titles have been on sale for $5.95, with members still getting their discount which brings them down to $4.16. Among the full list of titles, this includes all the Neil Gaiman Presents titles,among some others below. I still don’t see a full and complete list of the $5.95 titles, but here’s some of the best that I’ve found:

Hey folks! Over on the reddit /r/Audiobooks community today is award-winning narrator Oliver Wyman for an AMA — which stands for “Ask Me Anything”.

He’s oft-mentioned here and has narrated some of my favorites — so go ask a question!

Monday’s haul easily crossed the threshhold to put together the “earlier this week" releases, including several Stanislaw Lem novels (including Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age), the much-lauded self-published sf series Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) By Hugh Howey, and Briarpatch By Tim Pratt (narrated by this blog’s own Dave Thompson). Meanwhile it’s a big Tuesday (August 28, 2012) for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio.

Mockingbird By Chuck Wendig, Narrated by Emily Beresford for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio — Length:9 hrs and 4 mins —after Blackbirds earlier this year, reviewed very warmly by The Guilded Earlobe. Here:Miriam is trying. Really, she is. But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year round. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis - who’s on the road half the time in his truck - is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability - to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them - in check. But even that feels wrong, somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle. Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.”

 

Seven Wonders By Adam Christopher, Narrated by Nick Podehl for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio — Length:14 hrs and 37 mins — after his debut novel Empire State: A Novel early this year, Christopher takes another look at superhero fiction with his follow-up: Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura – a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl. When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be….”

The Corpse-Rat King By Lee Battersby Narrated by Michael Page for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio — Length:11 hrs and 19 mins — Page is the award-winning narrator of (among many other titles) Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and here takes on:Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead. Just like the living citizens, the dead need a king - after all, the king is God’s representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are. And so it comes to pass that Marius is banished to the surface with one message: If he wants to recover his life he must find the dead king. Which he fully intends to do. Just as soon as he stops running away.”

 

Yeah, I mentioned it Monday, but once more with feeling: Briarpatch By Tim Pratt, Narrated by Dave Thompson — Length:10 hrs and 9 mins — “Darrin’s life has been going downhill ever since his girlfriend Bridget walked out on him without a word of explanation six months ago. Soon after losing her, he lost his job, and his car, and eventually his enthusiasm for life. He can’t imagine things getting worse - until he sees Bridget again, for the first time since she walked out, just moments before she leaps to her death from a bridge. In his quest to find out why Bridget took her own life, he encounters a depressive (and possibly immortal) cult leader; a man with a car that can drive out of this world and into others; a beautiful psychotic with a chrome shotgun; and a bridge that, maybe, leads to heaven. Darrin’s journey leads him into a place called the Briarpatch, which is either the crawlspace of the universe, or a series of ambitious building projects abandoned by god, or a tangle of alternative universes, depending on who you ask. Somewhere in that disorderly snarl of worlds, he hopes to find Bridget again.”

Also, there’s a new GraphicAudio title out this month that catches my eye. It’s The Highwayman, the first installment of The Saga of the First King by R.A. Salvatore, with part 2 coming in September and part 3 coming in October:

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

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Well, it’s another off-Tuesday release day well worth a post, as Audible Frontiers has released a long list of science fiction from Stanislaw Lem, including The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age and Mortal Engines Narrated by Scott Aiello and The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy, The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy, and Peace on Earth Narrated by David Marantz.

 

Also out today (Monday, August 27) is the much-lauded self-published sf series Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) By Hugh Howey, Narrated by Minnie Goode for Broad Reach Publishing. “This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.” The story was picked up by film director Ridley Scott earlier this year.

Still, all things considered, I’m most personally excited about and interested in one more title which is new today: Briarpatch By Tim Pratt, Narrated by Dave Thompson. “Darrin’s life has been going downhill ever since his girlfriend Bridget walked out on him without a word of explanation six months ago. Soon after losing her, he lost his job, and his car, and eventually his enthusiasm for life. He can’t imagine things getting worse - until he sees Bridget again, for the first time since she walked out, just moments before she leaps to her death from a bridge.” Why am I so interested?

Well, lots of reasons. Pratt’s fiction is awesome. The print publisher, ChiZine, puts out amazing dark fantasy fiction with regularity. It’s an ACX-matched project, and I’m still just fascinated by the way that side of things works. And, of course, the fact that narrator Thompson is a frequent contributor to this blog!

ALSO OUT TODAY:

EARLIER THIS WEEK:

  • Short: Beware the Black Battlenaut By Robert T. Jeschonek, Narrated by Randy Hames for Pie Press Publishing — Length:1 hr
  • Noise: A Novel By Darin Bradley, Narrated by Chris Patton for Audible RG — “This haunting debut from a brilliant new voice is sure to be as captivating as it is controversial, a shocking look at the imminent collapse of American civilization - and what will succeed it. In the aftermath of the switch from analog to digital TV, an anarchic movement known as Salvage hijacks the unused airwaves. Mixed in with the static’s random noise are dire warnings of the imminent economic, political, and social collapse of civilization-and cold-blooded lessons on how to survive the fall and prosper in the harsh new order that will inevitably arise from the ashes of the old.”
  • No Small Bills By Aaron Rosenberg, Narrated by Scott Hertzog for Crossroad Press — Length:9 hrs and 3 mins
  • The Martian Ambassador By Alan K. Baker, Narrated by Michael Maloney for Audible Ltd — Length:8 hrs and 49 mins — “London, 1899. It has been six years since the discovery of intelligent life on Mars, and relations between the two worlds are rapidly developing. Three-legged Martian omnibuses stride through the streets and across the landscape, while Queen Victoria has been returned to the vigour of youth by Martian rejuvenation drugs. Victorian computer technology is proceeding apace, thanks to the faeries who power the ‘cogitators’, while the first Æther zeppelins are nearing completion, with a British expedition to the Moon being planned for the following year. Everything seems to be going swimmingly, until Lunan R’ondd, Martian Ambassador to the Court of Saint James’s, dies while attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace.”
  • Mystery/Thriller: The Folks By Tammy Vreeland (2007) Narrated by Tammy Vreeland — Length:9 hrs and 32 mins — a 5-year old’s imaginary friends may be more than imaginary
  • Collection: Etched Deep & Other Dark Impressions By David Niall Wilson, Narrated by Al Dano for Crossroad Audio — Length:6 hrs and 24 mins

The complete list of 25 Beachcomber Sale titles has now been revealed, after this somewhat strange “follow the clues” sale placed 5 books on sale for $6.95 each day for 5 days. The prices will stick around until August 31, and here are the SF/F titles:

In Fiction, along with adventure and classics like Treasure Island and Moby-Dick and others, there’s one of my favorite short audiobooks, that being The Old Man and the Sea By Ernest Hemingway, Narrated by Donald Sutherland. At 2 hrs and 30 mins, it’s a most excellent pairing of narrator and subject.

The release week of Tuesday August 21 brings another chapter to two classic series, one sf and one fantasy, along with an intriguing horror title.

Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld By Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, Narrated by Tom Weiner for Blackstone Audio — Series: Ringworld, Book 5 — Length:9 hrs and 54 mins —The explosive finale to the Ringworld and the Fleet of Worlds series… For decades, the spacefaring species of known space have battled over the largest artifact - and grandest prize - in the galaxy: the all-but-limitless resources and technology of the Ringworld. Now, without warning, the Ringworld has vanished, leaving behind three rival war fleets.”

 

Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara By Terry Brooks, Narrated by Rosalyn Landor for Random House Audio (Random House) — Length:14 hrs and 25 mins —Seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks at last revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic fantasy series that has spellbound listeners for more than three decades. When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled - and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart. Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous - as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins.”

ALSO OUT TUESDAY:

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