Heard it on the Grapevine

Aubible has an excellent collection of audio books. A good place to start is the Neil Gaiman curated selection. This includes classics and modern works by many of my favourite authors, including Avram Davidson, M John Harrison and Robert Sheckley.

Some particularly good audiobooks include readings by the author and full cast recordings. Here are five of the best.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.32.48 AMThis is the complete collection of Doctor Englebert Esterhazy’s adventures in the Triune Monarchy of Scythia- Pannonia-Transbalkania, located in a 19th-century Europe between the Wars.

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Ellen Kushner turns out to be a great reader of her own work. All three of the Riverside books are available, with a full cast who ably bring the stories to life.

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A fine tale of a young witch growing up.

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A very disturbing story of a schizophrenic dealing with disturbances in reality, and possible intrusions of mythic creatures.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 1.01.33 AMYes, all of the His Dark Materials trilogy are available. Not only is Pullman an excellent reader of his own work, but (as with the Kushner) a full cast enlivens the narrative — the attack on the polar bear stronghold is beautifully evoked.

The Sound of Lafferty

It is the secret river that not only greens the soul but also runs under walls and gains entrance to all fortified and walled places of the world and of the mind. Regard your own estate and case. Is your own town not built on two rivers which are separated by a firmament between? One of them is the impossible river by which all things may enter anywhere. We’d be robbed of our celestial birthright without it.
Ignace Wolff, The River Inside quoted by R. A. Lafferty in Rivers of Damascus

Raphael Aloysius Lafferty was a brilliant Irish-American fabulist whose amazing works are little known nowadays.

Lafferty’s words belong to an ancient, invisible river which nourishes and greens our imagination. The river made up of storytellers’ voices, ancient and modern, weaving myth and legend, whispering ghost stories and telling folk-tales. An oral tradition which stretches from cave mouth to radio studio, from the Halls of Asgard to the main street of Lake Wobegon.
R. A. Lafferty is not recognized as the brilliant fabulist he is because he belongs not to the literary tradition, but to the oral tradition. If his stories were recorded, podcast, or broadcast on radio, he would have a huge following and would be kept constantly echoing.

Last Wednesday, Roman Orszanski reprised his talk from the February 1989 Critical Mass.

Here is a recording of it

D M Cornish Interview

David Cornish studied illustration at the University of South Australia, where in 1993 he began to compile a series of notebooks: over the next ten years he filled 23 journals with his pictures, definitions, ideas and histories of his world, the “Half-Continent”. It wasn’t until 2003 that a chance encounter with a children’s publisher gave him an opportunity to develop these ideas further. Learning of his journals, she urged him to write a story from his world. From this grew the Monster Blood Tattoo series.

Ewart Shaw talked to him about his work.

Listen: Download  (MP3,   5.1MB)


Richard Harland was at Swancon over Easter, with copies of his new book, Liberator, the sequel to WorldShaker.

We persuaded him to read an excerpt from the Novel.

It’s a YA novel, and a cracking good read. Politics, romance, betrayal and plenty of page-turning action. I whipped through my copy in a day, enjoying it all the while. Who would have thought that corsets would trigger counter-revolutionaries?