The Nine Billion Names of God: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, 1951-1956
With so little serious sf currently available on unabridged audio, the release of this comprehensive collection of Clarke's short stories is an occasion for celebration, for he is an undisputed master of hard sf; that which combines creative storytelling with ideas grounded in plausible science. Clarke is, after all, best known as the writer behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the few films that depicts space travel realistically. It is thus not surprising that his tales are filled with intelligent, fresh, and fascinating ideas, as well as interesting and plausible characters. The stories on these tapes are arranged in chronological order, with titles printed on each side of each cassette: a nice feature that more audiobook publishers should emulate. Clarke himself reads the foreword to the first set, and each of his stories is preceded by a brief discussion of its themes and publishing history, read by someone else. The readers are a large and diverse assemblage, ranging from actors such as Maxwell Caulfield, Samantha Eggar, and William Windom, to other well-known sf writers, such as Harlan Ellison and Ben Bova. The collection is overproduced; its many different reading voices make it confusing; especially the introductions that are read by two different people. Moreover, screen actors and writers don't always make the best readers.
Product Description This volume is of special interest -- included are a wide range of classic stories, including the title story, "Jupiter Five," "The Deep Range," "Second Dawn," and the earliest of the splendidly comic narratives told by Harry Purvis for the benefit of the denizens of the White Hart.