As all the other reviewers have stated, the voice performance by Susan Bennett is incredible. She is an amazingly talented voice artist, so much so that Apple actually chose her to be the voice of Siri.
When this news first broke today on CNN, I immediately looked her up on Audible to see if she had any audiobooks and was very surprised to find that she performed this book. Needless to say, she doesn't sound at all like Siri on this recording, which just goes to show how incredibly versatile a voice actress she is.
Here's an interesting idea, suppose they gave an apocalypse and no zombies came? This anthology bucks the trend of zombies ruling over the apocalypse that is so prevalent in today's science fiction and horror literature (the stories collected here were written before the recent zombie craze.)
Actually, there is one story (The Underdweller by William F. Nolan) that is somewhat zombie-like in the same way that Richard Matheson's I Am Legend is, in that the world is overrun with monsters. Exactly what kind of monsters though remains to be seen until the shock ending.
1. Introduction: Dancing Through the Apocalypse - Robert Silverberg
2. The Hum - Rick Hautala
3. Salvador - Lucius Shepard
4. We Can Get Them for You Wholesale - Neil Gaiman
5. The Big Flash - Norman Spinrad
6. Kindness - Lester del Rey
7. The Underdweller - William F. Nolan
8. Lucifer - Roger Zelazny
9. To the Storming Gulf - Gregory Benford
10. The Feast of Saint Janis - Michael.Swanwick
11. The Wheel - John Wyndham
12. Jody After the War - Edward Bryant
13. Salvage - Orson Scott Card
14. By Fools Like Me - Nancy Kress
15. The Store of the Worlds - Robert Sheckley
16. Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels - George R. R. Martin
17. "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth..." - Arthur C. Clarke
18. Afterward - John Helfers
19. When We Went to See the End of the World - Robert Silverberg
20. Flight to Forever - Poul Anderson
Large portions of this adaptation are taken directly from Washington Irving's text. The first few pages and the ending are nearly unabridged readings. In-between, sentences are quoted verbatim as the structure follows closely the original story.
The dramatized portions include songs (similar to the Disney animated adaptation) and other whimsy as well as sound effects and music. The thrilling finale is read with suitably theatrical gusto and is completely unabridged from the original text.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is perhaps the ultimate Halloween story, and this rendition does it proud.
"It was a pleasure to burn." That is how Fahrenheit 451 opens. This collection titled after that first line contains stories that might be set in the universe of Fahrenheit 451, are thematically similar, or are actually early versions of that novel.
The Reincarnate • (2005) Unrevised version of same title published in We'll Always Have Paris.
Pillar of Fire • (1948) Previously collected in S Is for Space.
The Library • (2006) Originally published in Match to Flame: The Fictional Path to Fahrenheit 451 (an earlier deluxe edition of this collection.)
Bright Phoenix • (1963) Previously collected in Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales.
The Mad Wizards of Mars • (1949) Variant version of The Exiles from The Illustrated Man and R is for Rocket.
Carnival of Madness • (1950) Variant version of Usher II from The Martian Chronicles.
Bonfire • (1950) Originally published in the fanzine Torquasian Times Winter 1950/51, later collected in Gauntlet #2.
The Cricket on the Hearth • (2002) Originally published in One More For the Road.
The Pedestrian • (1951) Previously collected in The Golden Apples of the Sun and S Is for Space.
The Garbage Collector • (1953) Previously collected in The Golden Apples of the Sun.
The Smile • (1952) Previously collected in A Medicine for Melancholy and S Is for Space.
Long After Midnight • (2006) Not the same story as in the book Long After Midnight, this is the earliest take on what would eventually become Fahrenheit 451, it was previously unpublished until Match to Flame (2006)
The Fireman • (1951) Originally published in Galaxy Magazine February 1951, this is the original novella that was later expanded into Fahrenheit 451.
Bonus stories - all featuring the same characters and dystopian time travel premise:
The Dragon Who Ate His Tail • (2007) Originally published in a chapbook of the same title, previously uncollected.
Sometime Before Dawn • (2004) Variant version of the same title originally published in The Cat's Pajamas.
To the Future • (1950) Variant version of The Fox and the Forest from The Illustrated Man.
Originally published in the March 1936 edition of Weird Tales pulp magazine, this story has been included in anthologies with titles such as "The End of the World" and "The Last Man on Earth" so you can guess what it's about. It was also included in "The Best of Edmond Hamilton" which was edited by his wife Leigh Brackett, so they must've thought it was a pretty good story. And it is.
Audible seems to have made a mistake in listing this as abridged. I've listened along with the free Kindle ebook and can confirm that it is in fact completely unabridged.
This is one of Jack London's darkest tales, it's even been anthologized in a number of horror story anthologies. Like many of his stories it involves a man struggling to survive, but this time instead of struggling against the uncaring brutality of Nature, our hero is fighting against the cruel brutality of Man. The protagonist is a prisoner of a barbaric Indian tribe who are savagely torturing their prisoners to death one by one. While the man awaits his turn he has only his wits to use to avoid his horrible fate.
The narration is superb. There is some background music that lends atmosphere such as tribal drums which some people may not care for. Listen to the sample and decide for yourself. I personally believe it enhances the immersive experience.
This edition contains all three of the "Unabridged Selections" volumes that are sold separately. So, if you're using a credit this is obviously the one to get. There are 3 stories from the print edition that are not included here: "The Ice Dragon" which is available as a seperate audiobook and the two television scripts: The Twilight Zone: "The Road Less Traveled" and Doorways, a pilot that was too similar to Sliders.
Fans of Game of Thrones will be pleased with "The Hedge Knight" which is set in the same universe.
Introduction by Gardner Dozois
A FOUR-COLOR FANBOY - Introduction to the following 3 stories read by George R.R. Martin
Only Kids Are Afraid Of The Dark
And Death His Legacy
THE FILTHY PRO- Introduction to the following 4 stories read by George R.R. Martin
The Exit To San Breta
The Second Kind Of Loneliness
With Morning Comes Mistfall
THE LIGHT OF DISTANT STARS - Introduction to the following 6 stories read by George R.R. Martin
A Song For Lya
This Tower Of Ashes
And Seven Times Never Kill A Man
The Stone City
The Way Of Cross And Dragon
THE HEIRS OF TURTLE CASTLE - Introduction to the following 2 stories read by George R.R. Martin
The Lonely Songs Of Laren Dorr
In The Lost Lands
HYBRIDS & HORRORS - Introduction to the following 6 stories read by George R.R. Martin
The Monkey Treatment
The Pear-Shaped Man
A TASTE OF TUF - Introduction to the following 2 stories read by George R.R. Martin
A Beast For Norn
THE SIREN SONG OF HOLLYWOOD - Introduction to 2 scripts missing from the audiobook edition.
DOING THE WILD CARD SHUFFLE - Introduction to the following 2 stories read by George R.R. Martin
From The Journal Of Xavier Desmond
THE HEART IN CONFLICT - Introduction to the following 6 stories read by George R.R. Martin
The Skin Trade
The Glass Flower
The Hedge Knight
Portraits Of His Children
This collection contains the earliest classics of the vampire genre. In fact, it includes what is considered the very first story in the vampire literary genre (well before Bram Stoker's Dracula.)
The Vampyre (1819) - Written by John Polidori in the summer of 1816 while staying at the Villa Diodati in the Swiss mountains with Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollestonecraft and Claire Clairmont. While it stormed outside, the group took to the fireplace and dared each other to scare theirselves by telling frightening stories. Out of this inspiring atmosphere came two classics of the gothic horror genre: Frankenstein by Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley and The Vampyre by John Polidori. This fateful gathering has been the subject of numerous books and films including Ken Russell's magnificent film GOTHIC.
Wailing Well (1928) - Written by M.R. James and narrated by Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) M.R. James is one of the masters of the ghost story, and having a vampire story told to you by Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is obviously a geek thrill.
For the Blood Is the Life (1905) - F. Marion Crawford was a woefully under appreciated writer who wrote some outstanding classic weird stories that have been heavily anthologized. In addition to "For the Blood Is the Life" he also wrote "The Upper Berth," "The Dead Smile" and "The Screaming Skull" which was made into a film in 1958.
An Episode of Cathedral History (1914) - Another M.R. James classic.
Courtesy of sffaudio:
Lofty Ambitions by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison
PART 1: THE MYTHS WE LIVE BY
A Youth In Apparel That Glittered by Stephen Crane, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem)
After the Myths Went Home by Robert Silverberg, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Novelty by John Crowley, read by Harlan Ellison
Pan And The Firebird by Sam M. Steward, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Murderer, The Hope Of All Women by Oskar Kokoschka, performed by cast
The Touch Of Pan by Algernon Blackwood, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Lost Thyrsis by Oliver Onions, read by Roz Landor
The Bacchae (excerpt) by Eurpides, performed by cast
PART 2: MYTHS THAT BITE
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Mystery Train by Lewis Shiner, read by John Rubenstein
Continued On The Next Rock by R.A. Lafferty, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Diary Of A God by Barry Pain, read by Enn Reitel
The Repairer of Reputations (excerpt) by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki
An Inhabitant Of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce, read by Danny Campbell
The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, read by Arte Johnson
PART 3: SHOCKING FUTURES
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem)
City Come A’Walkin (excerpt) by John Shirley, read by Don Leslie
A Pail Of Air by Fritz Leiber, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Machine Stops (excerpt) by E.M. Forster, read by Roz Landor
Looking Backward and Equality (excerpts) by Edward Bellamy, read by David Birney
Gulliver’s Travels (excerpt) by Jonathan Swift read by Scott Brick
Utopia (excerpt) by Sir Thomas More, read byChristopher Cazanove
Monument To Amun by Queen Hatshepsut, read by Judy Young
PART 4: TRAVELING FOOLS
La Bateau Ivre by Arthur Rimbaud, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Inspiration by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Bones Do Lie by Anne McCaffrey, read by Stefan Rudnicki
A Princess Of Mars (excerpt) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by John Rubinstein
The Great Stone Of Sardis (excerpt) by Frank R. Stockton, read by David Birney
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (excerpt) by Lewis Carroll, read by Michael York
Diary Of A Madman (excerpt) by Nicolai Gogol, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Inferno (excerpt) by Dante, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Odyssey of Homer (excerpt), read by David Birney
PART 5: TRANSFORMERS
The Stolen Child by William B. Yeats, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Porcelain Salamander by Orson Scott Card, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Let’s Get Together by Isaac Asimov, read by Arte Johnson
Dracula (excerpt) by Bram Stoker, read by Simon Vance
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (excerpt) by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by John Lee
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Frankenstein (excerpt) by Mary Shelley, read by Stefan Rudnicki0\ *
The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh (Traditional English Fairy Tale), read by Judy Young
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (excerpt) by William Shakespeare, performed by cast
The Ballad of Tam Lin (Celtic ballad), read by Stefan Rudnicki
Metamorphosis (excerpt) by Ovid, read by Cassandra Campbell
PART 6: REST IN PIECES
The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The New Testament: Revelations (excerpt), read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Colloquy of Monos & Una by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir
From the Crypts of Memory by Clark Ashton Smith, read by Danny Campbell
The Comet by W.E.B. DuBois, read by Mirron Willis
Sand (excerpt) by Stefan Rudnicki, performed by cast
Transience by Arthur C. Clarke, read by Bahni Turpin
The Illusionist by Gareth Owen, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Unchosen Love by Ursula K. LeGuin, read by Stefan Rudnicki
In Lonely Lands by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison
News from Nowhere (excerpt) by William Morris, read by Stefan Rudnicki
PART 7: COMMENTARIES
The Special And General Joys of Science Fiction by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 by Elliott Engel, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Adolescence And Adulthood In Science Fiction by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Clark Ashton Smith wrote five stories in his Atlantis (or more accurately Poseidonis "the last isle of floundering Atlantis") cycle, two of which are performed in this audiobook: the first story in the cycle "The Last Incantation" and the last story in the cycle "The Death of Malygris" both of which star the necromancer Malygris.
In "The Last Incantation" Malygris uses his necromancy to bring back from the dead his lost love Nylissa, but as we know from "The Monkey's Paw" you can't bring back from the grave loved ones and expect them to be the same. However, unlike "The Monkey's Paw," this story gives a very profound and meaningful reason why the object of lost love can not return as it was.
In "The Death of Malygris" the powerful necromancer resurrects his own self. Or does he?
The narrative performance by Jim Gallant is truly remarkable and probably his best performance in all the Ziggurat productions. His narration of the "demonian viper that dwelt in the head of the unicorn" captures perfectly the "low but singularly penetrating hiss" described in the story "The Last Incantation" and his multiple character voices of the different sorcerers in "The Death of Malygris" are suitably varied and wonderful.
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