Monday, September 28, 2015

Alternate World Recordings and Analog Records: Spoken-Word and Audio Drama devoted to fantastic fiction

Alternate World Recordings first issued an LP, by actor and professional reader Ugo Toppo, of Robert Howard's work as From the Hells Beneath the Hells in 1975,  which had sold out by the point in 1977  when the ad below was put together, offering the balance of the recordings they would release. Analog Records was a short-lived flier taken by the staff of the magazine to see if there was much of a market that AWR and the more established spoken-word labels (Caedmon, Spoken Arts, et al.) was perhaps not saturating...the dramatized Nightfall (with a brief conversation between Asimov and Analog editor Ben Bova appended) was their only release, though if there had been a second it was apparently set to feature Gordon Dickson's Dorsai stories and at least one or two of the songs he had written to go along with them. AWR's Shelley Levinson, in the '70s married as Shelley Torgeson, went on to co-found the Harlan Ellison Recording Collection among other work; her short film "Violet" won an Oscar in 1982.

Theodore Sturgeon also recorded excerpts from More Than Human for Caedmon, and the Library of America has some on-line here.
From UnEarth: The Magazine of Science Fiction Discoveries, Winter 1978; courtesy Jesse Willis at SFFaudio.
 Includes "When It Changed", "The Great Happiness Contest", "Gleepsite" & "Man, One Assumes, Is The Proper Study Of Mankind". 

Featuring the painting Ed Emshwiller did for the Sturgeon issue of F&SF

As reissued by the HERC (note logo at bottom right)

Courtesy Evan Lewis, who has the sound files up at his blog.

Further images of Nightfall:

Further images of Frankenstein Unbound:

Further images of Blood!


Yvette said...

Todd, I wanted to let you know that when it comes to films - I am blank. Have nothing to write about for your Tuesday meme and I think this means I need to take a break. I just don't feel like watching anything right now. I'll be posting on books and occasionally on art, but that's about it for now. Please don't be angry - I plead general weariness and stuff going on in my 'real' life. You certainly have plenty of other bloggers posting on your popular meme, so I suspect I won't be missed at all.

Todd Mason said...

You'll be missed, Yvette, but angry is the Last thing I'd be...there's nothing compulsory about these roundelays! Hope to see your A/V reviews when you are moved to write them again!

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Great collection of records you've got here Todd - I do love audio!

George said...

Like Sergio, I love audio, too. The narrator has to be top-notch. I find a lot of writers are not very good narrators.

Todd Mason said...

Sergio, I wish I owned these albums. Among the AWR items, I've owned a dub of HARLAN!, and have yet to hear the others (aside from Dave/Evan's sound files of the first). I've never heard NIGHTFALL (which can't be nearly as bad as the two film versions I'm aware of), nor have I heard any of the Prestige Lively Arts items beyond what I've set up links to. I'd definitely like to hear the contents of at very least most of them.

Todd Mason said...

George--yes, some writers are excellent readers-aloud...and some are mediocre and some awful. Fritz Leiber, as a former professional actor, was probably pretty brilliant at it. Joanna Russ had some training in writing drama, at least, so she was probably pretty good at it too...and Norman Mailer never had any lack of confidence in his own ability to blather on at length. J. B. Priestley, as I've noted on-blog a while back, was excellent in the Spoken Arts recording of his essays from the book DELIGHT.

Others are perhaps less sterling. I liiked Sturgeon's reading of "The Fabulous Idiot" for Caedmon, but his reading of "Baby is Thres" (perhaps recorded a few years earlier) sounds a bit thin on the Library of America files. I understand Anne McCaffrey came off rather too cute in her reading for Caedmon. And then there are those readers at conventions or presentations or on record who are simply terrible...T. S. Elliot read as if he was late for a bus.

Rick Robinson said...

I would have liked to hear the Dorsai audio versions, too bad it never happened.

Todd Mason said...

I've never heard them, but Spider Robinson was fond of Dickson's songs, as well.