the Little Red Reviewer

some Audio quickies

Posted on: November 24, 2012

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling for work lately, so MP3 player and free short story downloads to the rescue!  Here are a few that proved very enjoyable, maybe you will like them too. These are all less than an hour, so perfect for your commutes, holiday travels, or if you are stuck waiting somewhere, or would just like to listen to something nice.

These are from Lightspeed Magazine and Podcastle. do you listen to them? which other short story podcasts do you listen to?

The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species, by Ken Liu, from the August issue Lightspeed magazine (click here to download)
read by Stefan Rudnicki

I don’t know what I was expecting with this story, but I never thought so much imagination could be put into something that on the surface, sounds so very simple. This story is about what the title implies: book making habits. Of  aliens. All creatures record events and thoughts, perhaps the desire to make recordings is a sign of civilization.  With softly sure descriptions, Liu talks about a handful of alien civilizations, both organic and inorganic, creatures who record entire streams of consciencness, creatures whose records are slowing destroyed through use, and all sorts of other amazing, imaginative methods in which beings who are completely different from humans, but delight in the same things we do – storytelling.

This story had a surprisingly large impact on me.  We communicate more than we can possibly know through storytelling, and the methods of that storytelling is a communication unto itself. I couldn’t get this story out of my head. As a lover of books, stories, and the methods we use to record our stories for future generations (and the speed at which those methods are changing), this story struck me in a very personal way.

A Hole to China, by Catherynne Valente, from the May Issue of Lightspeed Magazine (click here to download)
read by Stefan Rudnicki

Never read a Valente?  her shorter works are an excellent introduction to her poetic and lyrical style.  If you read this blog, then you already know I’m a huge Valente fan, so of course I was going to listen to this story!

Young Tristram dreams of being like other little girls her age. She wishes she could converse with the other children, could play lacrosse, could be accepted by those same exceptional girls who tease her on the playground.  If she has no hope of becoming an exceptional child, perhaps she can escape her life, by digging a hole to China.

And because this is a Valente, something amazing happens to Tristram.  The hole she digs doesn’t quite get to China, but it gets somewhere else. Is little Tristram strong enough to survive this strange new world, where human children are rarely welcome? She’s completely out of her element, and wants anything but to be sent home. A Hole to China starts out a bit odd and confusing, but culminates as a very emotional coming of age story.

Valente writes in very long sentences,  and they work just fine on paper, but it took a bit to get used to hearing the complex metaphors.  In audio, I find that the pauses inbetween sentences are important pieces of negative space, giving my brain a moment to catch up. Longer sentences mean less pauses, less time for my brain to absorb what’s happening. It’s not a bad thing, just something I noticed.


Iron Eyes and the Watered Down World – Podcastle episode 220, August 2012 (click here to download the audio, click here to read the text on Saladin Ahmed’s website)
read by Cheyenne Wright
Saladin Ahmed has already made quite the name for himself with just one novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon. But Ahmed also has a handful of short stories out there to be enjoyed (Many also on Podcastle) . And? and you should be reading him. Really.

In the world of Zok Iron Eyes, humans live alongside giant, intelligent bunny rabbits. Yup, you read that right.  And these rabbit warriors have magnificently filthy mouths. As mentioned in to the intro, this story is rated R for language and sex. I love me some swear words, but wow, High-high taught even me some delicious new combinations!   The story follows three merchants who are travelling together; two humans Zok Iron Eyes and Mylovek, and Hai-hai, the dirty mouthed rabbit.  Spending the evening at an inn, the travellers are trying to figure out what direction to travel in that  will bring their journey the best results. The evening brings on thievery, which is followed by some truly excellent and pulpy sword and sorcery action scenes,  demons, ghosts, and revelations.

(click here to download)

3 Responses to "some Audio quickies"

Stefan Rudnicki and Saladin Ahmed – excellent choices. I’ll have to check these short stories out.


Rudnicki is an amazing narrator, I love his voice, it sounds like liquid velvet.


Yep. I voice like that has me entertaining all sorts of thoughts.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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