nelc: (Brain)


BBC Radio have done an adaptation of five of Isaac Asimov's robot short stories. Listen to them on iPlayer.

Only listened to the first one, "Robbie", so far. I'm not sure it was a wise marketing decision to model Robbie's voice on that of GlaDos....

Fragile

Oct. 5th, 2016 03:40 pm
nelc: Bob Howard from the cover of The Fuller Momorandum (Fuller)
The BBC Radio production of Doctor Who: Protect and Survive is probably not a good thing to listen to if you're feeling at all emotionally fragile. Maybe it has more resonance if you grew up in the UK in the era of the Protect and Survive leaflets and Briggs' When the Wind Blows, but it's pretty bleak anyway, I think.

Also Tesco's Screws and Rawl-Plug Set (£2.00), you probably want to avoid that, too, whatever your state of mind. One of the screw's head snapped clean off while I was tightening it.
nelc: (think)
The Beeb have a reading ofA Canticle for Leibowitz up on iPlayer, in five parts, available for the next three weeks.
nelc: (Default)


Heads-up. The BBC have aired their adaptation of Iain M Banks' The State of the Art again, available on iPlayer for the next three weeks.
The Culture ship Arbitrary arrives on Earth in 1977 and finds a planet obsessed with alien concepts like ‘property’ and ‘money’ and on the edge of self-destruction. When Agent Dervley Linter decides to go native can Diziet Sma change his mind?


Via File770.
nelc: (Default)
A series of sci-fi adaptations (and original stories? I'm not sure) currently running on Radio 4 and available on iPlayer. (I don't know what Harlan makes of the BBC appropriating his title.)

Iz by Miranda Emmerson
In a crapsack future where the inhabitants of the UK are quarantined alone in their homes and only interact through virtual realities, a young man escapes to look for his girlfriend, Iz. Sacha Dhawan, Sian Phillips and Jaimi Barbakoff star. I enjoyed this. The ending could have gone either way.

The Zone by Trevor Preston
In a crapsack future, a man buys a car but gets stranded in The Zone between cities, encounters an old acquaintance and gets involved in his organlegging business. I found this one quite confused, but maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it.

The Two Georges by Stephen Keyworth
In a crapsack past (1955 America), sci-fi writer Philip K Dick is visited by the FBI, is asked to inform for them and is taught to drive (!). Haven't listened to this one yet.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
A new adaptation starring Derek Jacoby. Captain Wilder, leader of the second expedition to Mars, returns to Earth after an extended mission to Pluto, and reminisces while waiting for his court martial. I saw the American TV adaptation about four decades ago, but don't recall much of it, and what I do doesn't correspond with much of this. But I enjoyed it.

The Drowned World by JG Ballard
The Earth's atmosphere has been destroyed, and the cities are drowning. (Don't ask me how this works, I haven't listened yet.)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
A new adaptation in two parts. James Purefoy and Jessica Raine star. Covers most of the main points I remember. Enjoyed.

A Message of Unknown Purpose by Tao Lin
In a crapsack future, society becomes addicted to sleep machines. Not listened to yet.

Concrete Island by JG Ballard
An architect crashes his car and gets stranded between motorways. Not listened to yet.

More to come.
nelc: (Default)

Jim Burns

Arthur C. Clarke's short story, Summertime on Icarus given a fine dramatic reading by Tim Piggot-Smith on BBC Radio 4extra.
nelc: (Default)
A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. Stream available until midnight Saturday.

A dramatization of Bradbury's seminal time travel story. It's a long time since I last read the story, but I think the adaptation hits all the salient points. I suspect that the American accents may be slightly off; I don't know if it's enough to bother American listeners. The introducing and closing narration is by that guy who sounds like Orson Welles, "Paul Fries", I think?

There's a brief outro by Bradbury's biographer Sam Weller.

Understand by Ted Chiang. Stream available until 00:30 Saturday.

A reading of a Ted Chiang story. Second part of four. The first part's not available now, and the second will evaporate when the third part appears. In the first part, Leon is given a drug to restore brain cells lost by oxygen starvation from drowning, and finds himself becoming more intelligent than before.

The parallel with Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon is clear, but the set-up is accelerated, and the story goes in a somewhat different direction in episode 2. I haven't read the story, so I don't know if it ends up in the similar place to FFA after the CIA shenanigans.

At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft. Stream available until 00:30 Monday.

A reading (abridged?) of the classic HP Lovecraft story of unearthly archaeology in five parts. Transmitting every night this week. I listened to this earlier in the year, and I have to say that to me, Lovecraft appears to be even harder to listen to than to read. Such amaranthine, violaceous, heliotropic, perse prose!

Burning Chrome by William Gibson. Stream available until 00:30 Monday.

"It was hot, the night we burned Chrome." A reading in two parts of Gibson's first cyberpunk story, in which the word cyberspace was first coined. Bobby Quine and Automatic Jack hack a local gangsters' banker's system, for the sake of a girl. Bobby and Jack fall out, and there are consequences. Luminous, hallucinogenic early Gibson.

nelc: (Default)
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, adapted by Mike Walker. Starring David Soul as Ted, and featuring Harlan Ellison as AM. Available on iPlayer in the UK until 2nd August.

A hundred and nine years after the supercomputer AM linked up with its international counterparts and all but destroyed the human race, the five survivors wander AM's catacombs while it tortures them. They starve, but do not die; they thirst, but do not die; it transforms them, but they do not die. They seek water, food, rest, but AM turns rain to bitterness, fruit to rot, green fields to fields of lava. It does this seemingly because it is jealous of humanity's embodiment: it can think, but it cannot feel the world; it cannot love, but it can hate. And so it does.

You'd think that with AM's apparent powers of matter manipulation, it could just build some bodies to experience the world in, but this doesn't seem to occur to it. AM is psychotic, after all, so maybe it doesn't know itself well enough to know its true motives. It hates because that's all it can do.

Back in the day, I think that — for at least a while — my two favourite authors were Harlan Ellison and Larry Niven. Make of that what you will.

I think this was the first Ellison I read, way back in my Golden Age, in the 1970s, the first story in the collection All the Sounds of Fear:


Scan by Paul McAuley

Marvelously inappropriate cover by Chris Foss, there; you young 'uns complaining because the cover artist didn't use the precise shade of auburn in the protagonist's hair specified by the author, you don't know you're born, you really don't. And get off my lawn.

Getting back to the story: these days, we might speculate that the humans in AM's corridors are actually simulations, that the marvelous effects — the immortality, the transformations of bodies and minds, the manipulation of environments — seem like magic because they're just software which AM is recoding on the fly, and that while AM is torturing this group, it may be simultaneously torturing a duplicate group in different ways. But that would be another story.
nelc: (Default)
William Gibson's first book in the Bigend trilogy on iPlayer here. Don't know the narrator, but at moments she reminds me of Laurie Anderson's talkie bits in O Superman. Seems appropriate, somehow.

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