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Into The Sun

A medical doctor wanders a star ship, perplexed by the odd goings on. It turns out SPOILER Read more... )
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The Oblivion Syndrome

Following a major malfunction in space, and much to the distress of his enslaved AI, a human explorer has given in to the inevitability of death to the point that when aliens suddenly appear offering rescue, he resists to the best regulations accepting this offer. Happily, the aliens are able to restore his desire to live through the healing powers of xenophobia.

Not my thing. It did have the least believable explanation I've heard in a long time for why the alien speaks English. It's a "coincidence".

Paul Singleton
(and two others but don't ask me who)
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Think Like a Dinosaur - Part 1
Think Like a Dinosaur - Part 2

An equipment error with an interstellar transporter leaves the originating station with a superfluous instance of a passenger, one who previously agreed that there should only be one copy of her as part of the deal to be allowed to travel to another star; a human technician finds himself caught between sympathy for the girl and the demands of the aliens who have given humans access to the stars.

Yeah, not my favourite JPK. I never get the sense the aliens have a good reason to insist there only be one copy of a passenger. On the other hand, unlike a certain other story, the passenger knew what she was getting into, even if she didn't really grasp it on an emotional level.

Michael O’Hare
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Death Of Captain Future - Part 1
Death Of Captain Future - Part 2

Pitiful but rich Bo McKinnon thinks he's the embodiment of the legendary and entirely fictional Captain Future. Unfortunately he's not in a four colour pulp of the 1940s but a grimdark (and no more realistic) space noir of the 1990s. He's not the narrator, the love interest or the plucky and funny side-kick, he's the morbidly obese and unhygienic Bad Boss; guess how well the plot works out for him the one time he gets to try a deep space rescue?

The original story won a Hugo.

Is it just me or could they not decide how to pronounce 'Ceres'?

I think this story's treatment of space exploitation was intended to be at least quasi-realistic. For amusement's sake, try to keep track of the elements in the story that are just as daffy as anything Edmund Hamilton wrote.

Marina Sirtis
Neil Dickson
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Herd Mentality - Part 1
Herd Mentality - Part 2

A wandering gunslinger ambles into Roswell in the 19th century and finds himself caught up in a three way interstellar struggle with Earth itself at stake.

I could mention a failed blockbuster movie this shares a premise with or I could talk about that SF western Bob Shaw wrote but instead I think I will compare this to one of those SNL sketches that tries to compensate for not being funny by going on way too long.

Note: veers into involuntary sodomy as a source of humour territory at about the half-way mark.

Kevin Murphy as Luke Logan
Mike Nelson as Tom Garrett, Feldar the Alien, and Hank Harker
Paul Chaplin as Pat Garrett and Vokon the Alien
Mary Jo Pehl as Ma Garrett, Zargon the Alien, and Bessi the Cow
Barbara Halas as Sam Ballinger, Moon the Horse, and Dying Cows
Jef Betz as Cal Harker and Dalton
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Wanted In Surgery

A surgeon struggles to find a rewarding role for human doctors after medical robots prove too capable, even going so far as to consider engineering the death of a patient to discredit the robots.

This is cousin to stories like Player Piano, "The Darfstellar" and the backgrounds to a number of stories by Poul Anderson. It is not a particularly notable example, since it jumps from the point where it seems our hero has been foiled to the happy resolution without really explaining how Read more... )
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A Clean Escape

A psychiatrist in the most secure location in the US struggles with her only patient, hoping to prove he's faking the medical condition he appears to have. The alternative is that the greatest mass murderer in history has found a way to escape his crimes.

I realized what the general situation was during the opening sound effect, which may mean I've been exposed to too many stories that share it. Alternatively, good job at scene setting, audio guys.

Paul Amodeo as Robert Lynch
Rebecca Nice as Dr. D.S. Evans
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Too Late - An Experiment in Sound

I think the idea behind this is the listener gets to make up their own story based on a sequence of sounds. The story I came up with involved a script being late.


No idea who is in this.
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The Bigger One

Reporters reporting on the aftermath of a major earthquake in California learn that the story is both larger and more personal than they realized; the ocean is flooding into the low lying parts of the state, which by bad luck is where the reporters are when they hear about this. A madcap race to safety follows.

Note: short.

Some may notice the striking parallels between this story and Heinlein's Water Is For Washing, but the Heinlein is about things like overcoming bigotry despite a recent war, and self-sacrifice to save strangers and this is about a few idiots in a car.

I wonder, would it be possible to do an adaptation of The Great Nebraska Sea? I mean, it was amusing to read but is there anything there that would survive the passage to radio?

Jef Betz as Doug Aron
John D’Arcangelo as the First Man
Andrew Joffe as the Announcer
Rebecca Nice as the Woman
Raquel Starace as Pamela Merkle
George Zarr as Herb Walker
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George and the Red Giant - Part 1
George and the Red Giant - Part 2

Cranky middle manager Phil finds himself on a world orbiting a red giant sun, with no idea how he got there or why he seems to be an intelligent flying lemur now. His only companion is another former human named George but while George is in a position to know more, George has distracting issues precluding a frank exchange of information.

I wouldn't have pegged this as a Baxter, although the way people make grand deductions on very little data is Baxteresque (that said, George admits some of his ideas are just conjecture, which is a far cry from how your standard Baxter protagonist can glance at a galaxy and deduce with near certainly the state of civilization there).

SPOILERS (and how nice it that I even care about spoilers?)
Read more... )
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The First (and Last) Musical on Mars - Part 1
The First (and Last) Musical on Mars - Part 2
The First (and Last) Musical on Mars - Part 3

Alien princesses demand that before Earth is sterilized, a human with an appropriate skill base be forced to stage a musical for their amusement. Wacky hijinks presumably follow but I cannot swear to that because this failed to keep my attention well enough that I was going to listen to 85 minutes of it.

Cast: huge but the only one whose name I know is Mary Jo Pehl
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The Country Doctor

Stopped at the point when the guy who owns the horse the doctor needs carried off the servant girl as payment.

Mark Hamill
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The Flat Edge of the Earth - Part 1
The Flat Edge of the Earth - Part 2

In contrast to Alice, I listened to this the whole way through for reasons that escape me. A man and woman, one blind, one seeing, both annoying as hell, are unlucky enough to be on a plane forced to try landing at sea. They find themselves alone together in a strange environment and are forced to find their way through it to their SUBTLE FORESHADOWING final destination.

Yeah, the twist ending is exactly what you think it might be. But at least it's long, right?

I do have to say it is inconsistent to assert one must be dead and in hell *and* also claim to have no religious beliefs.

No idea who was in this.
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Alice In Wonderland - Part 1
Alice In Wonderland - Part 2

This an adaptation of the famous work by Carroll. I will admit I am not a Carroll fan and I stopped listening about 20 minutes into the first part. As far as I recall, the part I listened to seemed to be a faithful adaptation and by dint of not being directed by Tim Borton and not having Johnny Depp in it far superior to the 2010 movie.

Lili Taylor as Alice
Rebecca Nice as The Queen of Hearts
Alissa Hunnicutt as The Duchess & Doormouse
Dick Rodstein as Mad Hatter
Chris Phillips as March Hare
George Zarr as Gryphon & Knave
Merwin Goldsmith as Cheshire Cat
Tim Jerome as French Mouse & Mock-Turtle
Bill Raymond as Caterpillar & The King
Simon Jones as Charles Dodgson & White Rabbit
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Times Arrow, Time's Spiral

Cain and Abel repeat their story with variations in a selection of poorly realized historical periods. I stopped about ten minutes in, at the seemingly obligatory rape scene.

Paul Amodeo
Jef Betz
Leah Applebaum
Mort Banks
Andrew Joffe
Rebecca Nice
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Daughter Earth - Part 1
Daughter Earth - Part 2

A couple's baby girl, Xenobia, turns out to look exactly like a small model of the Earth. After spending enough time on Earth to be an inspiration to us all, she is forced to choose between staying with her family on tainted old Earth or flying off into space. Guess which one she chooses?

Well, at least this Morrow didn't have a gratuitous rape in it. I guess that's my new litmus test for Morrow stories.

In case anyone wonders how I maintain my will to live while listening to stories like this one, I did some mental calculations about how long the Age of Dinosaurs on Xenobia lasted if we assume she was about a year old and the AoDoX lasted proportionately as long as the AoD did on Earth (About ten or eleven days, if I didn't drop a decimal somewhere).

Everyone is sad when these guys die

But nobody even notices these guys, let alone sheds a tear for them.

Seriously, I already have a tag for "no love for therapsids?"

No idea of the cast on this one.
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Orson The Alien

*adapted H.G. Wells' novel and Orson Welles' play by Terry Bisson, Brian Smith and George Zarr

As Orson Welles begins his notorious 1938 airing of War of the Worlds, two seemingly unconnected sets of people have their lives changed forever by it. One is the crew of a passing alien space ship who mistake it for reality and the other is a pair of thieves and the woman they encounter while robbing her place of business. Hilarity ensues.

I no longer believe his appearance in The Starlost marks the low point of Walter Koenig's career.

Dick Rodstein as Orson
Walter Koenig as Commander
Paul Singleton as Cadet
Jef Betz as Bud
George Zarr as Lester
Rebecca Nice as Rosie
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The Wheel - Part 1
The Wheel - Part 2

A mother, her mute brother and her child whose father is never mentioned in the course of the story that I noticed and oh by the way the only men we knew she met were her dad and the brother returning to the cave where the siblings first lived, where they find audio tapes left to them by their now dead parents. From these tapes we learn nuclear war is bad but following one up by launching a roving doomsday device is worse.

This was not good. This is basically 50 minutes of exposition about the unexpected downside of atomigeddon and it made me want to relisten to Canticle to hear this kind of thing done right.

Roxann Dawson
Andrew Robinson
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Meet The Neighbor

A nearly dialogue-free account of first contact between human and alien.

Interesting creative choice.
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Propagation of Light in a Vacuum - Part 1
Propagation of Light in a Vacuum - Part 2

The lone survivor of an interstellar mission struggles with reality on the other side of the light barrier.

There's a definite subgenre of stories based on the idea that Weird Shit happens when you go faster than light: James Blish's "Common Time" is one example and Le Guin's "Dancing to Ganam" is another. Oh, wait: add Asimov's "Escape!" as well.

This would be the subset of that sub-genre that I call "powered by sheer nonsense and if the running commentary of the protagonist is any guide, a near complete lack of understanding of the physics involved," overlapping with "Wow, women issues much?" But at least it ran for 47 minutes.

Paul Giamatti as The Spaceman
Alissa Hunnicutt as The Imaginary Wife
Christine Lavren as Varina & Computer Voice
George Zarr as Old Man
Jef Betz as Young Man


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