R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Science Fiction Master Ray Bradbury passed away peacefully Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles at 91 years of age. Story here. And here is a wonderful essay he wrote for the New Yorker about his grandfather.

His stories were a great inspiration to me as a kid to not be afraid to look up and wonder, to question authority, to read and read more, and that ‘insanity is relative’ (From the short story The Meadow).


Philip K Dick

The New York Times’ Simon Critchley writes a three part series on the life, philosophy, and madness of Philip K Dick.

Dick’s life has long passed into legend, peppered with florid tales of madness and intoxication. There are some who consider such legend something of a diversion from the character of Dick’s literary brilliance. Jonathan Lethem writes — rightly in my view — “Dick wasn’t a legend and he wasn’t mad. He lived among us and was a genius.” Yet Dick’s life continues to obtrude massively into any assessment of his work.

I recommend a little Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, while you read:

The Internet Archive

Presenting the Internet Archive, hands down the best resource on the internet for public domain audio recordings of live music, books, old time radio shows, and more plus a huge library of public domain books, often in a variety of formats. Whatever your poison, be prepared to spend your next several hours, if not days, browsing, searching, and playing files you find in this incredible archive.

With a few vacations still upcoming this year that involve a lot of driving, I thought I’d stock up on some audio books for the car which the whole family can listen to and maybe a few concerts I can listen to while the wife snoozes and the kids fire up their portable dvd players. So far I’ve only been roaming the archive of old time radio shows and have found more than a few gems worth checking out:

  • Dimension X – (From the description) “Dimension X was first heard on NBC April 8, 1950, and ran until September 29, 1951.Strange that so little good science fiction came out of radio; they seem ideally compatible, both relying heavily on imagination. Some fine isolated science fiction stories were developed on the great anthology shows, Suspense and Escape. But until the premiere of Dimension X — a full two decades after network radio was established — there were no major science fiction series of broad appeal to adults. This show dramatized the work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert (Psycho) Bloch, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In-house script writer was Ernest Kinoy, who adapted the master works and contributed occasional storied of his own.”
  • X Minus One – (From the description) “X Minus One aired on NBC from 24 April 55 until 9 January 58 for a total of 124 episodes with one pilot or audition story. There was a revival of the series in 1973 when radio was attempting to bring back radio drama and it lasted until 1975. The show occupied numerous time slots through out its run in the 50’s and thus was never able to generate a large following. X Minus One was an extension of Dimension X which aired on NBC from 1950-51. The first fifteen scripts used for X Minus One were scripts used in the airing of Dimension X; however, it soon found its own little niche. The stories for the show came from two of the most popular science fiction magazines at the time; Astounding and Galaxy. Adaptations of these stories were performed by Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts. They even wrote a few original stories of their own. The writers of the magazine stories were not well known then but now are the giants of today. These stories came from the minds of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Poul Anderson to name a few.”

Here’s Episode 32 of X Minus One featuring The Roads Must Roll:

  • Biographies in Sound – This one is a can’t miss if you’re into biographies. Check out the link for the full listing of guests but it mainly features giants of literature and music, plus other leaders and scientists, all discussed by the people who knew them.

Next time I’ll take a look at the Live Music avialable; here’s a teaser, the first track from The New Orleans Suspects Live at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park on 2011-10-22: 

Edit 2: Audio fixed.

Edit: Sorry, the audio files may take a minute or two to buffer!

Beautiful Speculative World Map from A Song of Ice and Fire

Rush Concept Album/Book

Ran across the blog of one Kevin J. Anderson, author and long time friend of Neil Peart, announcing his upcoming collaboration with Rush on their upcoming release, Clockwork Angels. Anderson will be writing the novelization of the album. Rush has already released the first two tracks from the album as a teaser. It certainly looks interesting and this is something I can definitely see Rush being able to pull off.