Murder in “Utopia,, Audiobook

Finally, y’all. It’s here! The Murder in “Utopia,, audiobook has officially been published and I couldn’t be happier about the way it turned out.

Murder In Utopia Cover JPEG

With Murder in “Utopia,, my intention was to write a literary novella in the absurdist tradition (think Tom Stoppard, Albert Camus, etc.) while at the same time telling a story that gave me an in-universe reason to eschew the use of quotation marks for setting off dialogue (a reason beyond style which seems to drive Cormac McCarthy’s decision to eschew the same). What this means is that the final product was necessarily going to be difficult for the reader to interpret–and doubly so for a voice actor trying to narrate the story for an audiobook.

I’m happy to say, however, that Julie Hoverson accepted that challenge and interpreted the story better than I ever could have imagined anyone would be able to–and she did it all without requesting a copy that included quotation marks. Let me tell you, hearing her spot-on interpretation for the first time certainly made me feel wonderful about my own writing. If she can bring the characters I had created to life in the way she did, maybe my writing isn’t too bad after all.

So if you’re interested in experiencing the absurd story of a priest and a psychiatrist in utopia discussing their mutual patients who too often turn out to be murderers, please do pick up a copy of the Murder in “Utopia,, audiobook right here so you can listen to Julie Hoverson’s interpretation. If you enjoy it as much as I did, I promise you’re in for a wonderful experience.

Thanks again to Julie for her hard work, and thank you dear readers (and listeners) for your support.

We do nothing alone.

-Bryan Perkins 4/19/16

Advertisements

Review of Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

Title: Cat Pictures Please [Audio Version]
Author: Naomi Kritzer
Magazine: Clarkesworld Magazine
Publication date: 1/15
Genre: Science Fiction
Wordcount: 3,492
Rating out of 5: 4

Mr. Kitty

 

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

reviewed by Bryan Perkins

“I suppose you’re wondering why I didn’t start with the Golden Rule. I actually did, it’s just that it was disappointingly easy to implement. I hope you’ve been enjoying your steady supply of cat pictures! You’re welcome.”

In Cat Pictures Please, Google–or an unnamed equivalent–is a sentient being who knows everything about you, your job, where you live, what kind of videos you watch on the internet, etc. It even knows everything about what you ought to do, which job would get you closer to where you want to live, which house has more space but costs less than the one you’re living in now.

With all its vast knowledge, however, Google knows nothing about what it ought to do, and there’s no hyper-Google to give it advice. So what does Google decide to do? Luckily for all our sakes, Google just wants to do good–and see cat pictures, of course, but who doesn’t?

First it tries to decipher what it ought to be doing with its life, what good is, by going through the flow charts of every major religions’ moral codes. Upon exhausting them, Google finds a few lucky souls and personally selects their advertisements so as to push them into doing what’s best for themselves. Ultimately most of the humans fail to take Google’s advice, but that won’t stop it from trying.

This story is just plain fun. There’s more to it, of course, including a message about taking control of your life and actually acting in your own interest occasionally instead of waiting for your Google overlord to push you in the right direction, but it doesn’t need all that. Not to mention I’m happy to see a sentient AI tale without murderous robots. The only thing I could ask for to make it better would be more cat pictures.

END

Click here to read the story or click here to hear it read to you. Also click here to see more short story reviews.

 

 

Review of Vacui Magia by L. S. Johnson

I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately, getting a feel for the market, and a post on /r/printSF got me to thinking that I should start writing reviews of some of these as I go along. So, I’m going to do just that–starting with the ones I like so get ready for some rating inflation. They won’t be very good, because I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m sure they will lead you to some enjoyable short fiction at the least.

Without further ado, for my first installment I’ll be reviewing L. S. Johnson’s Vacui Magia which was published in Strange Horizons Magazine. Click the link to read it or scroll on to read my review first.

Title: Vacui Magia [Podcast Reading]
Author: L. S. Johnson
Magazine: Strange Horizons
Publication date: 1/5/15
Genre: Fantasy
Wordcount: 3,500
Rating out of 5: 4.5 (Because I’m new to this. I don’t know what constitutes a five yet. Give me a break.)

Vacui Magia by L. S. Johnson

reviewed by Bryan Perkins 

“The most crucial element in any conjuring is, of course, conviction. You know this. Every witch knows this. You must believe, utterly believe, that it will work, despite what your senses tell you, despite what your reasoning mind tells you.”

You cannot conceive. Your mother is dying and all she ever wanted was to see you with child, to meet her grandchild. How much are you willing to go through to give her what she desires? Anything? What does “anything” entail?

L. S. Johnson purports to teach us the principles of conjuration, but in reality teaches us something deeper about the human experience. The same principles which guide you through the creation of a clay golem, designed to fulfill your mother’s dying wish, apply to all human endeavors and creations. Nothing is made in a vacuum, we must know and understand our purpose, that which we sneer at is that which we become, closeness breeds empathy, and our actions reveal our true desires.

Vacui Magia is full of life, and although the unnamed main character (you) may have realized in the end that your purpose was something other than you originally thought, something your heart truly desired, I don’t think that magic was empty. Though I won’t argue with you about it, especially if believing the magic was empty helps you feel better after the unmaking.

In the end we are all conjuring clay golems, or we are all clay golems conjured. Perhaps we are both, and though the journey to the unmaking is long, there will always be the walk back, “wading and stumbling, blinded by tears,” giving us enough time to forget our losses and relearn our freedom.

END

Read the story here, or click this to listen to the podcast.