Saturday, September 06, 2008

Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

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Here's a Heinlein I hadn't re-read ... glad I came across it in my "quest for audio cassette books" - well worth it.


The Earth is crowded and food is rationed, but a colony on Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, offers an escape for teenager Bill Lermer and his family. Back on Earth, the move sounded like a grand adventure, but Bill soon realizes that life on the frontier is dangerous, and in an alien world with no safety nets, nature is cruelly unforgiving of even small mistakes. Bill's new home is a world of unearthly wonders -- and heartbreaking tragedy. He will face hardships, survive dangers, and grow up fast, meeting the challenge of opening up a new world for humanity and finding strengths within himself that he had never suspected existed.

Originally written in 1950(!) and serialized in Boy's Life, this book had a lot of meat. An earth with huge overpopulation problems. Fairly liberal family depiction (Bill and his widowed dad call each other by first names. Bill essentially threatens to "do as he pleases" if his father emigrates without him. Lots of serious data and details about colonizing, malthusian pressures and ecology. Sure, there are lots of dated aspects - but more surprising is how relevant and challenging the book is. It's also a love song to Boy Scouting, as the hero is an Eagle scout, and a lot of action involves keeping scouting going out in the reaches of the solar system. I'll have to dig up a paperback of this to add to my Heinlein library.....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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So... I have minimal (like, NO) exposure to the vaunted Neil Gaiman, and I spied a 2-cassette audio abridgement of this book. Not bad - though a bit of a blur... looking into it, I discovered it was actually a TV Series in the UK that Gaiman worked on, and adapted into a book... so this is a BIT distilled.....

Still, it was an interesting spin through a shadow under-London where things are disturbing and quite magical - and not a little scary.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim: Essays (Audiobook) by David Sedaris (Written and Read by), David Sedaris (Narrated by), David Sedaris (Read by), Author (Read by)

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Here's yet another book knocked off in my mad quest to find and enjoy books on audio cassette while they're still available.

Sedaris is definitely a good audio performer - and seeing how he got known for his work on radio, listening to his books (parts of which are from live performances) is more than appropriate.

Lots of good material here - some of it quite poignant (or scatological or just funny). A nice listen. Considering some of the material though... I'd think twice about playing this out loud. Headphones might be safer.