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  • gilwilson 3:39 PM on May 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , radio drama   

    Audiobook Review: “The Red Dragon” By L. Ron Hubbard 

    reddragon

    “The Red Dragon”

    By L. Ron Hubbard

    A multi-cast performance

    Produced by GalaxyAudio

    Approx 2 hours

     

    With the exception of a few stories here and there I have nearly listened to all of GalaxyAudio’s productions of stories from the master story-teller, L. Ron Hubbard, up to those released until the end of this year.  There are a couple I have missed but don’t worry I will be getting those soon, one way or another.  The have almost become an addiction.

     

    The reason I love hearing these audiobooks is the superb production quality that goes into these books.  The voice actors used in each book are all top caliber and are able to bring to life the over the top characters created by Hubbard, from the lowly sidekick to the larger than life hero.  Each actor creates a full characterization in his/her vocal performance that paints a mental picture of each character that brings back the cover pictures from the old pulp fiction magazines where these stories were originally published.

     

    Add to the perfect vocal performances the subtle yet effective sound effects.  In each story the sound effects are subtle enough to not distract from the story, yet so perfectly produced that, as the listener, you will be dodging bullets, flying in old-timey aircraft with wind whipping your scarf, or dusting off dirt from the trails.    Then the addition of an original musical score that keeps the listener in the mood of each adventure.  All these tie in together to create a two hour performance that can easily compete with any movie for some great entertainment.

     

    This time around GalaxyAudio releases, “The Red Dragon,” which was originally released in the February, 1935 issue of “Five Novels” magazine.  This time around Hubbard tells the story of Michael Stuart, a red haired officer in the Marines whose career came to a halt after a failed attempt to return the Chinese Imperial Dynasty to power in the ‘30s.  Stuart has been abandoned by his country and is unable to get out of China, so, he spends his time to help others.

     

    Stuart’s latest adventure brings him to help a young woman who is on the search for a mysterious black chest hidden by her father before his murder.  Drawing on his many life’s adventures, Hubbard brings the hero and the woman all across the scenic countryside of China, including The Great Wall, to caves in Manchuria where the black chest must be recovered before it falls into the wrong hands.

     

    Two hours of pure excitement and adventure make this audiobook one two hear while doing house work or working on a major project; as long as you don’t stop working to listen solely to the performance you will find yourself working faster trying to keep pace with the hero.

     
  • gilwilson 10:55 PM on September 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , dennis etchison, dreadtime stories, fangoria, , m.j. elliott, malcom mcdowell, max allan collins, radio drama, scary, steve nubie   

    Fangoria: Dreadtime Stories Volume 1 (narrated by Malcom McDowell) 

    “Fangoria – Dreadtime Stories Volume 1”
    Narrated by Malcolm McDowell
    Multicast performances
    Produced by AudioGo
    4 Hours 12 Minutes

    I have always been a fan of Audio Drama, especially radio shows from back in the day and when I received this production from AudioGo, I kept wondering, how did I miss this. This series aired on satellite radio and streaming from the website, so I can see how it has passed me by. But now AudioGo presents these stories in audiobook form so finally I can enjoy them. Being a career terrestrial radio broadcaster, I have not jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon, and probably never will. I have only recently turned to podcasts (even publishing my own weekly podcast) but streaming audio I can’t see myself getting into. So once again AudioGo has brought some really great audio drama to me, and I may investigate at least the streaming audio, maybe.

    Either way I now have listened to volume 1 and thoroughly enjoyed it. This collection brings back the classic radio horror feel, much like the shows “Lights Out,” “Suspense,” or “Inner Sanctum.” Malcom McDowell’s narration between segments of each story is superb. He has that charm that invites you in but at the same time his voice has that air of eeriness and suspicion that let’s you know you are in for a ride with the story. The actors in all the stories were all excellent in their roles, making this entire collection a great horror escape.

    “Dreadtime Stories – Volume 1” consists of six unique horror stories. Each story has great twists and turns throughout the drama that as a listener you’ll never know how the story is going to end, and they probably won’t end the way you think, or hope, for that matter.

    The first story, “The Late Shift” written by Dennis Etchison was a great way to kick off this collection, especially for me. I work until midnight and the commute home from work is when I get some of my best audiobook listening. This story tells the tale of what if all those zombies working the late shift were really zombies. If you have ever been in a convenience store, gas station or fast food place in the overnight, you’ve probably run into at least one of these mindless beings that seem to not quite function at a higher brain power, and just barely get your order or transaction right. In “The Late Shift,” those brain-dead graveyard shift workers are really brain-dead and when one unlucky guy discovers the secret, he may be the next to pull an over night shift.

    “Reincarnal” by Max Allen Collins, at first sounded like it may be a sexy horror story, but turns out not to be. A young artist is hypnotized at a party, as part of the party’s entertainment, when she awakens she sees the rest of the party-goers looking at her with concern and a touch of horror. It seems that while under hypnosis she relived a past life in which she was a teenager who was the victim of a mass-murderer on prom night in the eighties. The coincidences begin when another series of murders are occurring that bear a strong resemblance to the same string of murders in which she was a part of in her “past-life.” Now though she is seeing the murders through the eyes of the female victims, and the only person that believes her is a blogger/journalist that helps her track down the killer.

    “A Fungus Among Us” by Steve Nubie, is a story that would fit perfectly with those mad scientist 1950s “B” movies. This one hit a bit of synchronicity with me, which tells me I’m listening to the right story at that moment in my life. The Synchronicity this time concerns the Ophiocordyceps fungus. This is known as the “Zombie Ant” fungus. This fungus infects an ant and causes him to stray from the normal behaviours of an ant and when fully mature the fungus explodes a node through the head of the ant and spreads the spores to infect more ants. In this story this is happening to humans. The humans are setting fires, robbing banks and then when caught their skulls explode and a node extends out of their heads. Is this man-made or is the fungal world seeking its revenge?

    “Wolf” by Max Allan Collins, is an almost typical were-wolf story. A resort lodge has had a murder occur on its grounds and the victim was mangled as if by an animal. The man under suspicion by the local authorities is a wealthy lodger who checked in on the night of the murder. The man’s name is Mr. Wolf, but remember this is a “Dreadtime Story” so it might not quite be what you expect.

    “Living Space” by M. J. Elliott is a story that brings to mind the “Saw” series of movies but a little (not by much) more tame. A young couple have found an apartment in New York that is priced too low to be true, and remember if it is too good to be true, it is. In this case once the trap has sprung there is only one way out can this young couple learn the way that no other tenant could figure out?

    The final story in this volume is yet another classic monster brought to modern life, well at least to the 1930s Chicago gangster time. “A Good Head on His Shoulders” is written by Max Allan Collins and brings back one of the top 3 classic movie monsters, this time around a rash of murders is taking place that has the police baffled. Prominent doctors are being slain by a maniac dubbed “The Mangler.” When a local mob boss learns the real namesake of his loyal Doctor Stein he finds out too late that he should have destroyed the brain of his dead rival.

    Each of these stories were a perfect companion for those midnight drives home causing me to move a little faster when arriving home and going inside. So do yourself a favor and check out this chilling collection of stories from Fangoria.

     
  • gilwilson 10:32 PM on June 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a prairie home companion, , , , , , , , garrison keillor, guy noir, , , radio drama, sue scott, tim russell   

    “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny” By Garrison Keillor 

    “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny”
    By Garrison Keillor
    Performed by Garrison Keillor, Tim Russell and Sue Scott
    Published by HighBridge Audio
    4 hours

    Every book you read or hear has to be fun in some way. Sometimes it’s just that you enjoy getting lost in a mystery or escaping realism with some adventurous fantasy. Whatever the reason each book will take you somewhere and it should be fun. This time around I listened to a book that was pretty much nothing but fun. “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny” is pure fun and a romp through a mystery and adventure with some great humor and classic literature references, and even a few pop culture jabs thrown in to keep the story fresh.

    If you’re not familiar with the character of Guy Noir then on Saturdays from 5pm – 7pm central time you need to tune in to your local public radio station and find Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” This fun piece of what is left of radio variety shows in America launched the character of Guy Noir, Private eye. It’s always fun to hear when Guy Noir segments come on the show and find out what kind of crime needs solved by the private dick with a penchant for literature.

    The Guy Noir character and stories parody the conventions of the pulp fiction novel and the film noir genre. He works on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building in a city that “knows how to keep its secrets”, St. Paul, Minnesota and first appeared in prairie home companion broadcasts around 1995. This time around Guy gets his own story and in this 4 hour fully dramatized audiobook you get a humorous adventure that will keep you laughing and if you are overheard listening to this audiobook, the literary references and the plays on words will make you sound more intelligent.

    This story opens up with Guy staring down the barrel of a gun held by a wheezing geezer gangster that goes by the name of Joey Roast Beef. Joey is demanding to know what sort of money-making scheme Guy is involved in with stripper-turned-women’s-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian. It also seems that everyone knows about Guys weight loss pills. Naomi has hired Guy as security for the Elongate product of weight loss pills (which actually turn out to be tapeworms). While Naomi promises Guy to be the love of his life (and he falls for this oldest female scam) she’s off gallivanting around the world spending her millions from selling tapeworms to the rich.

    In the meantime Guy, who has taken one of these wonder-pills, is losing weight and all of a sudden the women in his life are finding him attractive. Saving himself for Naomi and saving the tapeworm queens and eggs from the despicable Larry B. Larry, Guy looks death in the eye, falls in love and finally faces off with the capo del capo del grande primo capo, Johnny Banana.

    Will Guy lose his worm fortunes and women? Give this hilarious adventure a listen and find out. The performance is the perfect over the top performance you would expect from Garrison Keillor. If you’re not familiar the three actors in combination with hilarious sound effects and incidental music will keep you listening just to hear what happens next and anticipating the next laugh. Fun stuff here.

     
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