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  • gilwilson 6:21 PM on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aliens, bela lugosi, , , watchers   

    “The Heaven Makers” By Frank Herbert 

    51iOh84hYML._SL500_The Heaven Makers
    By: Frank Herbert
    Narrated by: Scott Brick
    Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
    Release date: 01-29-14
    Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

    Frank Herbert had me hooked with the Dune series, so what else can he deliver? The Heaven Makers, read by Scott Brick, is definitely an intriguing story.

    Aliens are watching us.  But not for any reason other than as an entertainment source.    The thing is though, they are to watch but not interfere.  Our wars, our tragedies, our growth and pretty much all of our lives are recorded as full sensory movies the be enjoyed by these aliens.  I love how the watchers look like “short Bela Lugosis.”

    The story goes that we on Earth are being manipulated and recorded for the entertainment of a species of immortal beings. Not cool, man.  Before anyone can check in on the watchers (yeah, no one is watching the watchers) mankind has been seriously manipulated to the extent that our destiny is no longer our own.

    Scott Brick delivers yet another audiobook performance with the perfection I expect from him each and every time.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Immortal aliens have observed Earth forcenturies, making full sensory movies of wars, natural disasters, and horrifichuman activities – all to relieve their endless boredom. When they finally becomejaded by ordinary, run-of-the-mill tragedies, they find ways to create theirown disasters, just to amuse themselves.

    But interfering with human activities isforbidden, and the authorities have been known to check on these matters fromtime to time. However, by the time Investigator Kelexel arrives to investigate,the trouble has been going on for a long, long time – and things are reallygetting out of hand.

    ©2011 Frank Hebert (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

  • gilwilson 9:26 PM on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aliens, , , , , , , john barrowman, , ,   

    Torchwood Audio Dramas “Lost Souls” “Asylum” “Golden Age” “The Dead Line” Directed by Karen McAll 

    Torchwood Audio Dramas
    “Lost Souls”
    “Golden Age”
    “The Dead Line”
    Directed by Karen McAll
    each episode approx 1 hour.

    Once again I’m astounded by the creative sci-fi writing for British television.  I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who from way back.  Get past the what are now, and even then, considered cheesy special effects,  and you find some very smart writing in these series.  When the Doctor Who TV series experienced a rebirth back in 2005 I was wary.  I was afraid they would not be able to keep up with my image of Doctor Who, I was a huge fan of Tom Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor.  How could they keep up with the humor and the fun in space and time travel?  Well only recently I decided to give it a try.  I had six seasons to watch and I watched them all.  I was astounded. The writing was excellent and all of the new doctors kept the tradition alive.  David Tennant was my favorite of the New Doctors, since he was the closest to what Tom Baker brought to the character.

    The cool thing about the new series was that it launched two spin-off series. One was aired on CBBC (the children’s portion of BBC tv), “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”  This series focused on the longtime Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith.  The adventures were more of a live action Scooby Doo series (sans semi-talking dog, unless you count K-9) It was a kids show but the Doctor made a couple of appearances and the aliens were all ones that were experienced on Doctor Who.   There was even a crossover episode of Doctor Who which featured Sarah and her alien hunting crew along with the crew of the other spin-off, “Torchwood.”

    This second spin-off series, “Torchwood,” was one that really got my attention.  “Torchwood,” is a series about alien hunters that were established by Queen Victoria in 1879.  The Doctor saved the Queen from a werewolf at the Torchwood Estate, in Scotland.  After the Doctor saves her she knights him and then banishes him and establishes Torchwood to keep out all aliens.  (Something note here; Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who.)  Later in the Doctor Who Series Torchwood blasts an alien ship out of the sky, which The Doctor had just made it’s passengers promise to never come to Earth again.  Going against the Doctor on this the British Prime Minister learns not to cross the Doctor.  In yet another episode of Doctor Who Torchwood is destroyed by the Daleks.

    The Torchwood team is led by Captain Jack Harkness,  who is a time agent and can never die.  He met up with Doctor Who early in the new series and several times there after.  After Torchwood is destroyed, Captain Jack rebuilds Torchwood because “The 21st Century is when Everything changes.”  He rebuilds the base in Cardiff, Wales, because there is a rift in time and space above/around Cardiff that aliens and time travelers find their way through.  His team’s job is to detain the arrivals or if possible send them back, keeping the world safe from aliens.     So far the series has run 3 seasons with a fourth one coming soon, according to rumor at the time of this writing.

    Set between the end of Series Two and the beginning of Series Three, the BBC aired four Torchwood radio dramas featuring the cast of the series, with the first airing September, 2008 and the last three July, 2009.  That is the focus of this review.  After I watched all of the new Doctor Who series and all the Torchwood series, I had to find more material.  There are other audiobooks available but I wanted to start out with these radio dramas.   They are available separately on amazon.com at last check.

    So, let’s talk about these audio dramas.  They all feature the full cast and are written just as well as the TV series.  If you want to continue in the Torchwood world it is best to start with these since they do feature the full cast.  They also include the same music as the TV broadcasts as well as phenomenal sound effects that blast you into the middle of the story.

    Here’s a summary of each episode:

    “Lost Souls” written by Joseph Lidster, begins with Captain Jack Harkness and his crew chasing weevils (annoying aliens that are constantly coming through the rift).  Jack gets a call from Doctor Martha Jones, a former companion of The Doctor, who needs his help at CERN.  Just hours away from a major discovery in particle physics people have gone missing.  Torchwood arrives to find that the people have a particle missing from their atoms and must save the Earth from something brought to our univers via the Hadron Collider.

    “Asylum” written by Anita Sullivan, is about a girl that comes from the future through the rift, she is caught shoplifting clothes and Torchwood is called in because of the weapon she’s carrying.  Turns out the young girl is from a bleak future and has a secret.  Why did she come back in time and more important who sent her?

    “Golden Age” written by  James Goss, tells the story of the Delhi branch of Torchwood which was closed down by Captain Jack Harkness back in 1924 yet the people inside are not only still receiving packages addressed to Torchwood but have also found a way to freeze time.  This can’t be good for planet Earth.

    “The Dead Line” written by Phil Ford is more of a haunting tale of a phone call you never want to receive.  People in Cardiff are winding up in the hospital after answering the phone and going into a coma.  When the call is traced the phone number is one that has not been connected since 1975.  When Jack answers one of those calls it is up to Ianto Jones and Eve Myles, the other two members of Torchwood to find answers.

    Four great sci-fi stories that will leave you wanting more.  You can always go back and watch the series and check out the other audiobooks based on the series.  Glad I could get you started.

  • gilwilson 3:11 AM on April 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aliens, , beyond all weapons, , , , , , , , ,   

    “Beyond All Weapons” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Beyond All Weapons”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx. 2 hours.

    I have figured it out, right before I start any audio book which is 10 hours or more of listening time, I’m going to fill in with an intermission of one of these L. Run Hubbard audio pulps.  Back in the day before a movie the audience would get treated to a cartoon, serial or news reel.  Well these audio pulps released by Galaxy Audio are just like those serials, and some of the stories are “cartoony,” in that they are fun and short.  These larger than life characters and interesting adventures are the perfect fit for a two hour audio enjoyment.

    One of the main reasons for the audio enjoyment is the great acting.  In researching these stories, I found they put the actors in the same room at the same time so they can see what each other is doing and work off that, much like the old time radio shows.  Another feature is the original music composed specifically for each book.  Very creative and innovative audio book production by Galaxy Audio.

    The latest in my adventures is the book “Beyond All Weapons,” a collection of stories that were originally published in the science-fiction pulps of the 40s and 50s.  This audio book contains three sci-fi stories that demonstrate Hubbard’s science fiction mastery but also the stories in this particular edition seem to be a bit more brainy.  In fact the first one is a very neat explanation of Einstein’s theory of Relativity as it pertains to space travel.

    Let me sum up each story one by one.

    “Beyond All Weapons”, originally published in “Super Science Stories,” January, 1950 is about the colonists of Mars wanting to get away from and destroy the tyrannical war mongers that have taken over Earth and threaten to take over Mars.  The fighters have recently acquired a new fuel that will enable them to reach light speed and take the “refugees” out of the system.  They manage to have enough for ships to arrive at a new habitable planet after 9 days, covering several thousand light years.   Once settled on the planet they make a weapon that will enable them to return to Earth and defeat the tyrannical government.  But returning to Earth they find all life gone.  The twist in the story not only gives the brain a good physica problem to solve but Hubbard has also built in a bit of a morality tale into this story that will leave thinking philosophically.

    “Strain,” originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, April 1942, tells of a prisoner of war and how the enemy tortures him to find the secrets of an impending invasion.  This story is one of futility and pain as the officer does everything he can think of to escape and once that is determined to be an unobtainable goal he becomes determined not to share the secrets.  Once again Hubbard throws that inevitable twist in the story that would leave a fan of “The Twilight Zone,” gasping.

    The final story “The Invaders,” originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, January 1942, is a little more of a light hearted story, especially when compared to the previous two emotional stories.  This one tells of a technician that was sent to a nebula where a rare and valuable crystal is being mined.  However the miners are under constant attack from beings that seem to adapt to each weapon being used.  The technician is sent to create a new weapon that will destroy the creatures so the crystal can be mined safely.  The officer in charge of the the mining facility seems to do everything to keep the technician from destroying the creatures.  The technician wants to explore outside the nebula and deep inside, with no real concern for the creatures, but the officer just wants his weapon.  Eventually the problem is solved but I will warn you, this one is very deep philosophically and yet a bit humorous.

    All in all these pulps bring back the years of the pulp magazines of the mid 20th century and bring back some fun stories that should not be forgotten.

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