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  • gilwilson 11:06 PM on August 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , , oli smith, ,   

    “Doctor Who: The Runaway Train” by Oli Smith 

    “Doctor Who: The Runaway Train”
    by Oli Smith
    read by Matt Smith
    Published by BBC Audiobooks (2010) (now AudioGo)
    1 hour and 4 minutes.

    Needing my quick fix for some stories from the Doctor Who realm, I sought out and found some short audio only stories.  To make things even better I found some that were read by the actors that portrayed the tenth and eleventh doctors, David Tennant and Matt Smith respectively.  I went with the Matt Smith narration this time so I could get myself more hyped up for the next season which begins this fall.

    Being read by Matt Smith made the book sound as if it were an actual episode.  I do have to say that it was mildly funny hearing Matt Smith voicing some of the cowboys involved in the story.  I wouldn’t say he captured the authentic sound, but he made the voices work in the story.  Once the opening scene occurs and the Doctor Who theme music plays I was in the story until the closing theme.

    The story opens on a railroad platform and a group of cowboys are gathered.  When a wind blows up and the TARDIS appears, the grizzled men welcome the Doctor and say they are ready to help.  Being a time travel based series the Doctor never really knows if he is coming or going and in this case he finds himself surprised that these men he’s never met are waiting for him, and even more surprising is that they were promised some lush farmland as payment.

    The task at hand is that a race of beings that were once at war with another race is trying to find a new home.  To find this home they have to terraform the planet to make it habitable to their species.  They send a device to Earth in the year 1864 to terraform the planet for their new home.  It is now up to the Doctor to keep this from happening.

    With the help of the grizzled cowboys and Amy Pond, the Doctor puts the terraforming device on a train to get it away from civilization in case he can’t prevent it from activating.  While they are on the train the aliens appear to keep the Doctor from stopping their destruction of Earth.  In a thrilling joyride through the Old West, this story by Oli Smith will keep you on the edge of your seat and entertained through the Doctors antics.

  • gilwilson 9:57 PM on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , bbc audiobooks, , , carmilla, , , , , , vampyre   

    “Carmilla; A Vampyre Tale” by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 

    “Carmilla; A Vampyre Tale”
    by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

    Read by Megan Fellows

    first published in 1872

    Audiobook production 2002

    by BBC Audiobooks America

    I’m not sure how I came about loading this audiobook on my iPod but some time ago when my iPod decided to crash, this was one that I managed to salvage. I had originally loaded this novella back in my vampire phase and nearly forgot it was there. I’m glad I was able to save it, because it was a pretty good vampire tale, especially since none of the vampires sparkled.

    This gothic novella predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 25 years “Carmilla” was first published in the magazine “The Dark Blue” in 1872, and then in the author’s collection of short stories, “In a Glass Darkly” the same year. It tells the story of a young woman’s susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla.

    This audiobook production features Megan Fellows as the reader, and is a very nice production in that the reader is able convey this classic tale with ease, and her voice matches how I would imagine the teller of this tale, Laura, to sound. She is also able to convey the suspense through her voice work and thus giving a bit of a haunting tale, that may have you checking under your bed before you sleep.

    The character Laura begins her tale by relating her childhood in a “picturesque and solitary” castle in the midst of an extensive forest in Styria where she lives with her father, a wealthy English widower, retired from the Austrian Service. When she is six years old, Laura has a vision of a beautiful visitor in her bedchamber. She later claims to have been bitten on the chest, although no wounds are found on her.

    12 years later, Laura and her father are admiring the sunset in front of the castle when her father tells her of a letter he received earlier from his friend General Spielsdorf. The General was supposed to bring his niece, Bertha Rheinfeldt, to visit the two, but the niece suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. The General ambiguously concludes that he will discuss the circumstances in detail when they meet later.

    Laura is saddened by the loss of a potential friend, and longs for a companion. A carriage accident outside Laura’s home unexpectedly brings a girl of Laura’s age into the family’s care. Her name is Carmilla. Both girls instantly recognize the other from the ‘dream’ they both had when they were young.

    Carmilla appears injured after her carriage accident, but her mysterious mother informs Laura’s father that her journey is urgent and cannot be delayed. She arranges to leave her daughter with Laura and her father until she can return in three months. Before she leaves she sternly notes that her daughter will not disclose any information whatsoever about her family, past, or herself and that Carmilla is of sound mind. Laura comments that this information seems needless to say, and her father laughs it off.

    Carmilla and Laura grow to be very close friends, but occasionally Carmilla’s mood abruptly changes. She sometimes makes unsettling romantic advances towards Laura. Carmilla refuses to tell anything about herself or her background, despite questioning from Laura. Her secrecy isn’t the only mysterious thing about her. Carmilla sleeps much of the day, and seems to sleepwalk at night. When a funeral procession passes by the two girls and Laura begins singing a hymn, Carmilla bursts out in rage and scolds Laura for singing a Christian song. When a shipment of family heirloom restored portraits arrives at the castle, Laura finds one of her ancestors, “Mircalla, Countess Karnstein”, dated 1698. The portrait resembles Carmilla exactly, down to the mole on her neck.

    During Carmilla’s stay, Laura has nightmares of a fiendish cat-like beast entering her room at night and biting her on the chest. The beast then takes the form of a female figure and disappears through the door without opening it. Laura’s health declines and her father has a doctor examine her. He speaks privately with her father and only asks that Laura never be left unattended.

    Her father then sets out with Laura in a carriage for the ruined village of Karnstein. They leave a message behind asking Carmilla and one of the governesses entreated to follow after once the perpetually late-sleeping Carmilla wakes up. En route to Karnstein, Laura and her father encounter General Spielsdorf. He tells them his own ghastly story.

    Spielsdorf and his niece had met a young woman named Millarca and her enigmatic mother at a costume ball. The General’s niece was immediately taken with Millarca. The mother convinced the General that she was an old friend of his and asked that Millarca be allowed to stay with them for three weeks while she attended to a secret matter of great importance.

    The General’s niece fell mysteriously ill and suffered exactly the same symptoms as Laura. After consulting with a priestly doctor who he had specially ordered, the General came to the realization that his niece was being visited by a vampire. He hid in a closet with a sword and waited until seeing a fiendish cat-like creature stalk around his niece’s bedroom and bite her on the neck. He then leapt from his hiding place and attacked the beast, which took the form of Millarca. She fled through the locked door, unharmed. The General’s niece died immediately afterward.

    When they arrive at Karnstein the General asks a nearby woodsman where he can find the tomb of Mircalla Karnstein. The woodsman relates that the tomb was relocated long ago, by the hero who vanquished the vampires that haunted the region.

    While the General and Laura are left alone in the ruined chapel, Carmilla appears. The General and Carmilla both fly into a rage upon seeing each other and the General attacks her with an axe. Carmilla flees and the General explains to Laura that Carmilla is also Millarca, both anagrams for the original name of the vampire Countess Mircalla Karnstein.

    The party is then joined by Baron Vordenburg, the descendant of the hero who rid the area of vampires long ago. Vordenburg is an authority on vampires and has discovered that his ancestor was romantically involved with the Countess Karnstein, before she died and became one of the undead. Using his forefather’s notes he locates the hidden tomb of Carmilla. An Imperial Commission is then summoned who exhume and destroy the body of the vampire on behalf of the ruling Habsburg Monarchy, within whose domains Styria is situated.

    A truly haunting tale that may have been the launching point for all vampyre stories.

    • Erica 12:56 AM on February 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      This sounds really good! I will have to find it and have a listen!
      Thanks for sharing!


  • gilwilson 9:36 PM on January 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , , brian minchin, , gareth david-lloyd, , , , , ,   

    “Torchwood: The Sin Eaters” by Brian Minchin 

    “Torchwood: The Sin Eaters”
    by Brian Minchin
    Read by Gareth David-Lloyd
    Produced by BBC Audio / AudioGO (2009)
    2 hours and 11 minutes

    One of the things that attracted me to the television series and audiobooks of “Torchwood” (besides being a “Doctor Who” spin-off) was that they could combine several genres into each and every episode, and, as I’m finding out, the books and audio releases.  The writers of this series are able to blend in Lots of sci-fi (of course) with some horror, drama, comedy and every once in a while a bit of romance.  The latter doesn’t grab me as much as the others, but hey, it’s there.  This story definitely weaves in the horror.

    A little background on the Torchwood series is needed here, especially since this story takes place right about the middle of the Torchwood series timeline.  This story takes place just before the third season of the four seasons that were broadcast, so far.  Torchwood is a super secret not quite government agency that basically saves the Earth from aliens.  Their base is in Cardiff, Wales which also happens to be the location of a rift in time and space from which aliens are always appearing and threatening humanity, sometimes intentionally and sometimes just accidentally slip through the rift.  The series originally started out with five team members but by the end of season two, two of the members had died, leaving only Captain Jack Harkness, the head of Torchwood, Ianto Jones the admin of the agency, now serving in a more prominent function since the loss of the other two members, and Gwen Cooper, former cop.  That’s when this book takes place, sometime just before season three.

    Gwen, Jack and Ianto are investigating some bizarre rift readings (which usually means something is coming through) when they discover a corpse on the beach, the body is clothed in a WWII navy uniform and the body’s face is covered in hundreds of tiny cuts.  They get the body back to the Torchwood base and discover small items within each of the cuts that appear to be egg sacs of sorts.  Further investigation reveal that the egg sacs hatch into small larvae that look like small shrimp.

    At this same time, Rhys, Gwen’s husband, awakes after a night of debauchery at a friend’s bachelor party to discover his friend, the groom is missing.  When he goes to the groom’s home and finds the mother of the groom dead, he calls Gwen.  Gwen and Rhys set off to find the groom after Gwen decides the disappearance and the larvae may be tied together.

    Also at this same time, the Reverend Hayward has found a way to take away people’s sins.  By placing small creatures (larvae?) into the baptismal font that take away the peoples sins, the problem is the creatures feed on the negative emotions and eventually totally consume their hosts.  But this does not stop the reverend in his quest to free humanity of its sins.

    Jack and Ianto discover, in the bay, a sunken ship teeming with the larvae.  The larvae are caring for their “queen” who has enough larvae to destroy all of humanity.  Now only Torchwood with their, better than Bond gadgets, and alien fighting wit must race with time to save the world from these “sin-eaters.”

    In a well told story that combines horror, sci-fi, and some good comedic relief Torchwood and it’s operatives will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

    This audiobook is read by Gareth David-Lloyd, who portrays Ianto Jones in the series.  He does a fantastic job of delivering the drama and even impresses with his voicing of the different characters.  In fact, his voicing of Captain Jack, is spot on, at times I thought I was hearing the voice of John Barrowman, the actor who portrays Captain Jack Harkness.  His voicework and the nice dramatic music for effect make this audiobook a complete adventure.

  • gilwilson 10:00 PM on January 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , , , rory, , , ,   

    “Doctor Who: The Ring of Steel” by Stephen Cole 

    “Doctor Who: The Ring of Steel”
    by Stephen Cole
    Read by Arthur Darvill
    Published by AudioGO Ltd. & BBC Audio (2010)
    1 hour and 18 minutes

    Okay, I admit it, I’m hooked.  Hooked on Doctor Who.  What I find amazing is the awesome choice of audiobooks available in the Doctor Who World.  In the new generation of Doctor Who, which includes the 9th, 10th and 11th doctors, there are at least 50 audiobooks available.  Then all sorts of books on the doctors from the “old generation,” so it looks like I may have some fun for a while.  The television series is slated to start another season next fall, so until then I’m gonna listen to all the audiobooks I can lay my hands on.   Some of the se audiobooks are full length books and some are specifically for audio only and are written in a one hour format, much like a single television episode.  This latest one is one of those one hour audio recordings.

    Normally I find it even more interesting when the book is read by one of the actors in the series.  Usually when one of the actors reads the story it is based on happenings around their character.  Of course when Matt Smith reads, since he portrays the Doctor, it’s perfect, but when one of the other actors reads it you can count on it being focused on them.  Now maybe that’s just something I’m putting into it because of hearing their voice.  So when I picked out this audiobook I saw it was read by Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory in the series, Amy Ponds boyfriend/husband in the series.  But Rory never made a single appearance in this story so they fooled me.  However his voicework is spot on and when voicing the Doctor, he nearly sounds like Matt Smith, which made the book nice to hear.

    When the TARDIS lands on Orkney (or Orkney Islands, in Scotland) in the near future, the Doctor and Amy arrive to find a large demonstration in progress over the construction of new electricity pylons. The Doctor tries to break things up peacefully – but suddenly the road splits open without warning and swallows police, security guards and protestors alike.

    Separated from the Doctor, Amy takes charge of transporting the wounded to hospital – but the rescue mission becomes a terrifying ride as the pylons come to life and begin to walk and the road rears up, erupting with boiling tarmac.

    The Doctor, meanwhile, has even more than metal monsters and rebellious roads to deal with. Here is where it became really cool for me.  Have you ever been driving along an interstate or even country roads and seen those large high tension electrical wire supports that look like giant metal robots?  I’ve heard some say they look like Farmer John and his wife (different shapes for each sex).  When I was a kid I used to be on long road trips and imagine they would come to life, and like Amy Pond in this story, I used to protect my family by shooting them down with my pretend laser gun (forefinger extended and thumb up).  Well, in this book they do come to life and attack.   So, who is bringing these things to life and sucking the life out of the power company’s employees – and just what is lurking inside the Astra-Gen headquarters?  That is for the Doctor and Amy to find out and through the help of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (the only weapon ever needed) to fix and save the earth, again.

    There was one really interesting moment in this book that made me have to rewind and listen again.  The Doctor says, “you’re only young twelve times,” is this a reference to the number of times a Time Lord can regenerate? If so are we looking at a near-future end to the Doctor Who series?  There is a movie supposed to be coming out and that usually marks the end of a television series.  Oh…say it isn’t so.

    If you are interested as to where this book falls into the timeline of the Doctor Who series, it occurs after tv episode, “Victory of the Daleks” and before the book, “The Runaway Train.”

  • gilwilson 9:39 PM on January 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: another life, , , , , bbc audiobooks, captain jack harkness, , , , second life,   

    Torchwood: Another Life by Peter Anghelides 

    Torchwood: Another Life
    by Peter Anghelides
    Read by John Barrowman
    Published by AudioGo / BBC Audiobooks
    Running Time: 3hrs 0mins

    So did you catch any seasons of Torchwood?  If so then you know how cool of a TV series it is.  The show is a spinoff from Doctor Who (in fact the title, Torchwood, is an anagram of Doctor Who) and features an “X-files” type team in Cardiff, Wales who fight every day to keep aliens from invading Earth.  The series is based on the idea that a rift in time and space runs directly through Cardiff and all sorts of nasty stuff is trying to get through.

    The first season of the series (which is where this audiobook takes place) features Captain Jack Harkness (portrayed by John Barrowman), a time traveller and con man from the 51st century who once was a companion in the TARDIS with the Doctor.  Captain Jack has a team that specializes in wrangling the aliens and using various alien technology to cover up their existence.  The team conists of Gwen Cooper, a Welsh police officer recruited to the team after seeing “too much,” Owen Harper, a medical doctor that is quickly learning the anatomy of many alien races,  Toshiko Sato, a computer specialist,  and Ianto Jones the coffee guy/front desk man and more (in this part of the series that’s all you really need to know, later in the series it was revealed why and how he became a part of the team.

    The series gained a larger and larger audience as each season aired mainly because of the well written stories, but also because of their open approach to Gay and Lesbian characters.  I found the series a nice sci-fi series that combined elements of Doctor Who and the X-files.  All the episodes had some great acting and great scripts and kept me interested until this last season which aired in the U.S. on the Starz network.  This last season moved what was left of the team (Gwen and Captain Jack) to the United States and for some reason the writing seemed to miss something.

    Anyway back to this book. Like I said, it takes place in the first season, so you get the full team, as the seasons progressed team members were lost with no replacement.  This book starts just about a month or so after Gwen is recruited and jumps into the action right away.  A massive storm is dumping rain on Cardiff with twenty-four inches of rain fall in twenty-four hours, the city center’s drainage system collapses, causing sever flooding and to make matter’s worse the homeless are being murdered, their mutilated bodies left lying in the soaked streets around the Blaidd Drwg nuclear facility.  Tracked down by Torchwood, the killer calmly drops eight stories to his death. But the killings don’t stop.  Torchwood soon discovers a sea-monster in a bathtub, stolen nuclear fuel from an army base and Torchwood’s doctor, Owen, goes missing.

    As it happens something is forcing its way through the rift in the bay causing the storm system and it is up to Torchwood to track down the alien before the “something” coming through the rift destroys Cardiff and possibly the world.

    The audiobook is read by the show’s lead actor John Barrowman and he delivers the story in the perfect Captain Jack Harkness way.  Harkness is a bit cocky and always sure of himself and Barrowman portrays that perfectly in the series and in this audiobook, without being a multi-cast audiobook, Barrowman was the perfect choice and succeeded in presenting the fun and action within the Torchwood world.

    Not sure about the future of the series, but if this audiobook is a reflection of the others available, I can still get my fix.

  • gilwilson 9:05 PM on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , , , , , ,   

    “Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles” by Michael Moorcock 

    “Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles”
    by Michael Moorcock
    read by Clive Mantle
    produced by AudioGO/BBC Audiobooks (2010)
    Approx 11 hours

    While anxiously awaiting the Christmas return of Dr. Who on television, I have to get my fix.  This time around I dive into a Dr. Who audiobook that is unlike any other.

    First of all the length.  This one is just about 11 hours where most Dr. Who audiobooks tend to be from one to three hours in length.  So I was strapped in and ready for a good long run.  This story would have easily taken an entire season to run.

    The next feature that makes it unique is the writing.  Michael Moorcock is a well know award winning author of science-fiction and fantasy, and I have heard his name bandied around in sci-fi circles, but I’ve never picked up one of his stories until now.  This story takes the Dr. Who universe and seems to pop it into a more surreal almost absurd series of events that seem to blend the writing styles of Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse.  At times the story is a humorous romp through the multiverse and at others a bit of a humorous whodunit.   Needless to say this is a fun book featuring the 11th Doctor and his companion Amy Pond.

    The reader Clive Mantle does a great job of delivering the story through this audiobook.  In some cases the characters are over the top and Mantle voices them just that way.  From his vocalizations you can nearly picture the faces of the characters.  Superb delivery.

    At times this story reminded me of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” with Amy pod as Alice and the Doctor as the White Rabbit, and there are a couple of hatters that do seem mad.

    In the beginning it at first seems as though the Doctor is out for a bit of sport as he and Amy join the Terraphiles, a group of humans in the far future obsessed with recreating Earth’s distant past and reenacting medieval Earth sports.  By the far future I mean about 50,000 years into the future, so you have to forgive if they get some of the sports wrong.  There’s a version of, I’m thinking Rugby, where the ball is an arrow and the bowmen/archers shoot the arrow and catch it.  I did say they didn’t quite get it right.

    As it turns out, though, the Doctor is trying avoid the collapse of the Multiverse from the mysterious “dark tides” that have begun to appear.  The Doctor and his new friends compete in a Grand Tournament in the Miggea star system, which lies on the border of parallel realities. The prize of the contest is an ancient artifact called the Arrow of Law, sought also by the Doctor’s old foe Captain Cornelius and his crew of space pirates.

    With the multivers on the verge of collapse the Doctor, Amy and the Terraphiles have to team up with the space pirates to try to save all of existence.  With some fun moments, the theft of a gawdy hat, and some strange sports, this is one adventure with the Doctor that you won’t soon forget.

  • gilwilson 1:06 AM on October 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bbc audiobooks, , , , paul finch, , , ,   

    “Doctor Who: Hunter’s Moon” by Paul Finch 

    “Doctor Who: Hunter’s Moon”
    by Paul Finch
    read by Arthur Darvill
    Published by BBC Audiobooks
    Approx 6.5 hours

    Okay before we talk about this particular audio book I’ve gotta point out something I just found out and it has me stoked; there are like a bazillion Doctor who audiobooks.  I was looking around for something to shove into my iPod and remembered having listened to a couple of Doctor who books and thought that would be cool let’s see what else is out there.  ‘Lo and behold there are several for the latest 3 Doctors and many more for the older series.  BBC Audiobooks has been busy.

    This time around I’ve picked up another audiobook featureing the 11th Doctor (portrayed by Matt Smith) and in the continuity it takes place just before the 5th season episode of “The Impossible Astronaut.”  The Doctor’s companions are still Amy and Rory and their adventures takes them to a region that is pretty much like a gambler’s heaven, Leisure Platform 9.  Before he can join Rory and Amy, the Doctor has to go and visit an old friend, Kobal Zalu, who is head of the police force in this sector.  Zalu mentions that the last time he saw the Doctor, the Doctor had white hair, so this is digging out an old friend from way back, the first or second Doctor.   It seems Zalu doesn’t as much act as a police officer but more of a peacekeeper between gamblers and vilians and as long as the locals aren’t harmed all else is ignored.

    This book is ready by Arthur Darvill, the actor portraying Rory in the series, and not only is this a good choice because the bulk of the story is told from Rory’s point of view, but because Darvill has a great delivery.  His voice is flexible enought to change between different characters talking in the story, but he does a pretty good impression of Matt Smith (the Doctor).

    While on the platform Rory notices a game of chance that he’s pretty good at, well least the Earth version (craps).  While observing a player at the game Rory remarks that the game of chance is chancing more to the players benefit.  When he remarks outloud about this the player then challenges Rory.   Rory plays ends up winning but on the final throw loses, and loses big, in fact he loses the TARDIS to the player (it doesn’t matter that Rory isn’t the owner.)  So as payment the player, Xorg Krauzzen, kidnaps Rory and takes him to the planet Gorgoror, where Rory and other kidnapped earthlings are part of a hunt, not as hunters but as hunted.

    The Doctor and Amy go undercover to save Rory and end up uncovering a fiendish hunt that has been going on illegally for years, so now the Doctor must stop this evil, rescue his friends and get the TARDIS back.  In a non-stop thrillride this story will keep you on the edge of your seat, have you chew down all your fingernails and keep your adrenaline up until the very end.

  • gilwilson 9:50 PM on September 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: artemis, , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , , ,   

    “The Hounds of Artemis” by James Goss 

    “The Hounds of Artemis”
    by James Goss
    read by Matt Smith & Clare Corbett.
    Produced by BBC Audiobooks
    approx 1 hour.

    Not sure why it took me so long but not until the 5th season and the 11th doctor did I get into the return of the series “Doctor Who.”  I loved it as a kid especially the Tom Baker version of the Doctor.   But before I got into the series I had to start from the 9th Doctor and work my way back up to now…I’m now caught up with the TV series and, well, I’m impressed.  Great storyline, and the special effects are awesome.  The BBC even has 2 spinoff series, on for kids, “The Sarah Jane Adventures” a series for young adults (which ended due to the death of Elizabeth Sladen) and “Torchwood,” which went for 3 seasons, each on a different BBC channel and then coming to America on a subscription cable channel for a 4th season.

    So now I’m caught up on the series and all the side series’ I’m doing my best to wait for each new episode.   So what does an audio book lover do?  Find Doctor Who audiobooks, and let me tell you the BBC has done their best to make sure there is a plethora of them available.  So far I have liked all 3 of the new doctors (David Tenant was my fave, but the latest, Matt Smith is really growing on me.   He’s my son’s fave so hey, there’s that.)  This audiobook is a one hour release from BBC Audiobooks and features the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and his companion, Amy Pond.)  In the continuity of the series this audio falls before the “Big Bang” episode because it features the smiling crack in reality that is always following Amy.

    In 1929 Lord Woolcroft and his team break open the fabled Tomb of Artemis, sealed for thousands of years, they are astonished by what they find inside…A man and a woman.  The man is wearing a bowtie and introduces himself as The Doctor.  He then tells them they are in great danger, and  thus begins the adventure.

    As are many things in time this event is a fixed moment and cannot be changed, however maybe the casualties can be lessened so that is what the Doctor and Amy set out to do.  The Tomb of Artemis is opened and soon wolves/hounds begin to terrorize the archaeological team.  Once entering the tomb, the priestess of Artemis is there and presenting a feast of what seems to be each person’s favorite food.  So it seems Artemis is feeding off the mental energy of the humans.  Soon Artemis reveals her plan to escape and take over the world, but the Doctor decides this cannot happen.

    Just as with the tv series this audiobook features excellent writing that makes the adventure one that will keep you wondering what will happen next the book is read by the star of the series, Matt Smith and by Clare Corbett.  Clare Corbett’s reading sections are when the story is being told from Amy Pond’s diary and as the teller of the story, a descendent of one of the archaeological team.   Matt Smith delivers the rest and gives the story that extra Doctor Whoishness.

    Great little audiobook that may get you hooked into the Doctor Who world if you aren’t already.

  • gilwilson 9:26 PM on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , bbc audiobooks, , , 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 9:24 PM on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bbc audiobooks, , , carol jordan stewart, , shirley jackson, , the lottery   

    “The Lottery and Seven Other Stories” by Shirley Jackson 

    “The Lottery and Seven Other Stories”
    by Shirley Jackson
    Read by Carol Jordan Stewart
    Published by BBC Audiobooks America (2010)
    Approx 3.5 hours

    Shirley Jackson has been called one of the best short story authors, but when she first released her story, “The Lottery,” many people did not appreciate the story and she was ridiculed.  Luckily we still have the chance to read these stories and be better off for it.  I will admit these short stories go against the grain in both the story content and delivery.

    On the delivery, I was always taught that good fiction has a beginning and and end with tension building to a release.  Jackson doesn’t follow that line and that the end of the stories don’t release any tension, instead they leave the reader/listener with even more questions and a big void wondering what happened?  Whether wanting to know what happened to the character or the events, you are just left on edge with no promise of easing that tension.  When writing reviews I don’t like to talk about the end of the story because I want to leave that up to the reader.  I still won’t break that policy with myself, but I will tell you that really the ending of each of these stories will only leave you wanting to know more and even to the point of frustration.  Yes, I was frustrated at the end of some of the stories, but after I got over that tension and frustration I realizid I had just been taken on a journey and while the ending is somewhat pessimistic it was definitely an escape, which is all I ask from good literature.

    The stories included in this audiobook are:

    “The Lottery”
    In a small village of about 300 residents, the locals are in a strange and nervous mood on 27 June. Children gather stones as the adult townsfolk assemble for their annual event, that in the local tradition has been practiced to ensure a good harvest. In the first round of the lottery, the head of each family draws a small slip of paper; One man gets the one slip with a black spot, meaning that his family has been chosen. In the next round, each Hutchinson family member draws a slip, andhis wife gets the marked slip. In keeping with tradition, which has been abandoned in at least some other neighboring communities, she must meet the fate of the lottery.

    “Flower Garden”
    A woman comes from New York City and purchases a cottage in a small town.  When the New York woman asks a young African-American boy to help with her garden the town begins to shun the newcomer.

    “Come Dance with Me in Ireland”
    Three women are visiting and watching baby at home and indulging in gossip, when the doorbell rings. An elderly man, who looks extremely poor if not homeless, attempts to sell one of the women old shoelaces. Suddenly he nearly faints, and the women all try to help the man.    The feed him and help him out and see him on his way, all the while criticizing him.  This may not seem to intriguing as a summary but the story has more including the response the man has at the end, pretty interesting.

    “Men with Their Big Shoes”
    Mrs. Anderson, who works in Mrs. Hart’s home, engineers a conversation where she leads Mrs. Hart to believe that the neighborhood is gossiping about her relationship with her husband, and that to protect herself from further gossip she needs to let Mrs. Anderson live in her home.

    “Trial by Combat”
    An older woman is stealing things from Emily Johnson and is thus stealing her identity. When Emily realizes that they have parallel lives, she feels enough empathy for the thief that she does not react with any antagonism.  I found this to be a very intriguing story especially in the twist at the end.

    “Pillar of Salt”
    A woman trying to cope with the change of visiting New York City after living her life in rural America.  At first the sights and sounds are exhilarating but soon become overwhelming after witnessing a house on fire, a human leg washing up onshore and the death-defying feat of crossing the street in the middle of the day.

    “Like Mother Used to Make”
    A man is very meticulous with his apartment from the type and color of drapes to the look of the silverware, but his girlfriend seems to be, well in short, a slob.  His passiveness is his downfall after he invites her over for dinner and she seems to have invited someone else.

    A woman goes to the doctor to inquire about her husband’s possible insanity. The doctor’s response is so confusing that she becomes hysterical and might be the crazy one herself, though she thinks she might be the only sane person around.  This one was definitely fun to hear.

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