Recent Audiobooks

Normally I do an annual audiobook roundup, those titles I’ve produced and/or edited (with my lovely other half Tanja!)  But it has been such a busy year to date, that I felt a quick update now would be useful (and maybe inspire you to buy one or two of these beauties):

DOCTOR WHO: SHADA – Gareth Roberts/Douglas Adams

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From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary ‘lost’ Doctor Who story completed at last by Gareth Roberts and read by Lalla Ward.

The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. The sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind…

Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.

READ BY LALLA WARD

THE SECRET OF HAPPY EVER AFTER – Lucy Dillon

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When Anna takes over Longhampton’s bookshop, it’s her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her rowdy children and their hyperactive Dalmatian. As she unpacks boxes of childhood classics, Anna can’t shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn’t all that she’d hoped for. But as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get caught up in the magic too. Even Anna’s best friend Michelle – who categorically doesn’t believe in true love and handsome princes – isn’t immune. But when secrets from Michelle’s own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna’s home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends – and those they love – find their own happy ever afters?

READ BY JILLY BOND

OVER THE MOON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY – David Essex

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As a young schoolboy, David Essex dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and was signed up by his beloved West Ham United. But as a teenager, he developed a passion for music, which set him on a very different path, and ultimately led to superstardom. It wasn’t, however, an easy start. Scraping a living on the edges of show business was a hard slog, and he endured many disappointments.

Then, aged 23, he went along to an audition for a new musical called Godspell and won the role (Jesus) that shot him to fame. Within a year he was starring in a smash hit film, That’ll Be the Day, and had written and recorded his first number-one single, ‘Rock On’. It was the start of Essex Mania, and a long journey of undreamt of adventure.

From Godspell to EastEnders, it’s been an amazing life. And here is David’s full incredible story – in his own words.

READ BY DAVID ESSEX

THE VOYAGES OF THE PRINCESS MATILDA – Shane Spall

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“Tim and I both understood we had done something really stupid. We had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft, or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots.”

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge, The Princess Matilda. After a summer on the Thames they head out to sea with only a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance – and it is absolutely terrifying!  On their travels, memories are triggered of childhood trips to the seaside, but also of more recent times.

As Tim and Shane explore the coast from the Medway to Cornwall, eventually they start to wonder: Could they make it out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to … Wales?!  Taking place over the course of five years, The Voyages of the Princess Matilda is a minor epic, charting a very personal, moving, and uplifting story of an everyday couple’s adventure around their much-loved homeland. The Spalls’ adventures have already been the subject of two BBC4 series.

READ BY FRANCES BARBER

WHERE HAVE I GONE? MY LIFE IN A YEAR – Pauline Quirke

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Pauline Quirke was a skinny child, a slim teenager, a curvy woman, then – according to her bathroom scales (curse them) – just plain fat. Yes, the “F” word. Tipping the scales at nearly 20 stone, with creaking knees and a dodgy ankle to boot, at the beginning of 2011 Pauline had reached a crisis point. Something had to change, and fast.

It was never going to be an easy ride, but with her trademark warmth and sense of humour, Pauline recounts the highs and lows of the roller-coaster year in which she whips herself, and her life, into shape – with a fair few tales from her celebrated forty-year acting career thrown into the bargain. She reveals all: from the strain of working long hours away from home on one of Britain’s most popular soaps to renewing her wedding vows and reuniting with her Birds of a Feather co-stars; from battling the bulge and facing the naysayers to rediscovering the joys of airline travel…without a seatbelt extension.

Honest and revealing, Where Have I Gone? is brimming with brilliantly funny anecdotes and truly moving moments. So put your feet up and join Pauline as she embarks on the most incredible year of her life.

READ BY PAULINE QUIRKE

THE BOOK OF EBENEZER LE PAGE – GB Edwards

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Ebenezer Le Page, cantankerous, opinionated and charming, is one of the most compelling literary creations of the late 20th century. Eighty years old, Ebenezer has lived his whole life on the Channel Island of Guernsey, a stony speck of a place caught between England and France yet a world away from either. Ebenezer himself is fiercely independent, but as he reaches the end of his life he is determined to tell his own story and the story of those he has known. He writes of family secrets and feuds, unforgettable friendships and friendships betrayed, love glimpsed and lost.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a beautifully detailed chronicle of a life, but it is equally an oblique reckoning with the traumas of the 20th century, as Ebenezer recalls both the men lost to the Great War and the German Occupation of Guernsey during World War II, and looks with despair at the encroachments of commerce and tourism on his beloved island.

READ BY ROY DOTRICE

PLANET OF THE APES – Pierre Boulle

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Greg Wise reads Pierre Boulle’s chilling, iconic novel about a nightmare world where apes rule over men. In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, except that on Soror humans behave like animals and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations have always been greeted by prejudice and fear… The inspiration for several acclaimed cult films, Planet of the Apes is both a gripping, disturbing fable and a classic of science fiction.

READ BY GREG WISE

SKIOS – Michael Frayn

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On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. So is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and his sense of reality – everything he possesses apart from the flyblown text of a well-travelled lecture on the scientific organisation of science…

READ BY MARTIN JARVIS

HOLLOW EARTH – John & Carole E. Barrowman

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Twins Matt and Emily Calder have imaginations so powerful that they can make art come to life. Their powers are sought by villains intent on accessing the terrors of Hollow Earth – a place where all the devils, demons and monsters ever imagined lie trapped for all eternity. If Hollow Earth is breached, the world will be plunged into chaos. If Hollow Earth is breached… the twins are as good as dead.

READ BY JOHN BARROWMAN

WHY SPENCER PERCEVAL HAD TO DIE – Andro Linklater

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On the afternoon of May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the all-powerful prime minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot at short range in the lobby of Parliament by John Bellingham, a Liverpool businessman. Perceval polarized public opinion: Revered by some and hated by others for his fight against the lucrative slave trade, he domineeringly kept Britain at war against Napoléon and was driving her into war with the United States despite the huge economic drain of each, raising taxes to new heights to finance his decisions. Bellingham was not alone in blaming Perceval and his government for their ruinous policies; indeed, he claimed to have killed Perceval “as a matter of justice,” and believed he would not only be exonerated, but also applauded for his action. But he was not to enjoy relief; within a week, granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.

READ BY STEPHEN RASHBROOK

THE HUNT – Andrew Xia Fukuda

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Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing… A gory, gripping thriller for young adults from acclaimed author Andrew Fukuda.

READ BY TREVOR WHITE

COMING SOON

OLIVER TWIST – Charles Dickens – Read by Dominic Cooper

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Rudyard Kipling – Read by Alistair McGowan

DOCTOR WHO & THE LEISURE HIVE – David Fisher

WHEN HOOPOES GO TO HEAVEN – Gaile Parkin

MISSING PERSONS – Nicci Gerrard

DOCTOR WHO: SNAKEBITE – Scott Handcock

LIONEL ASBO: STATE OF ENGLAND – Martin Amis

PAINTER OF SILENCE – Georgina Harding

NEUROMANCER – William Gibson – Read by Jeff Harding

So as you can see, it has been a busy 6 months, and the titles are building up already for the next 6 months, with two new trilogies we are producing with SNK Publishing for Audible, and some exciting new titles for AudioGO.  Keep on supporting audiobooks and do let us know what you think of any of the titles we’ve produced.

Sci-Five Shorties 02 – “Saya’s Last Gasp”

Did you know I co-present a podcast called SCI-FIVE where we investigate all things SF in approximately 5 mins?  No, well, I do, and it is up to episode 62 already…you should go take a listen:

CLICKY HERE FOR THE PODCAST SITE

Recently we have launched the SCI-FIVE SHORTIES, a series of 4-8 minute new SF themed short stories.  I’ve written a few, and for those interested here is the second one, plus the audio link if you are interested in listening:

“SAYA’S LAST GASP” by Neil Gardner

          ‘Bugger!’ Saya shouted as her fingers, encased in their heavy-work gloves, slipped another few inches. ‘Bugger, bugger, bugger!’ Slip, slip, slip.

There are few, if any, good places to find yourself hanging on to by your fingertips, but for Saya, right now, she couldn’t think of any that could be worse.

‘THREE MINUTES TO ACTIVATION’ the robotic computer voice sounded in her ears, her telepathic communication link to the ship still working in one-direction.  Damn it, why couldn’t they hear her?!

‘Buggeration, buggery, bugger!’ she continued to swear, loudly.  She knew no-one could hear her, but the profanity helped keep her calm, and she kind of enjoyed the idea of what someone would think if they were to suddenly be able to hear her.  The thought of a stream of invective roaring around the ship’s telepathic PA system gave her a momentary diversion, before her mind refocused on her predicament.

This was such a stupid, typically-her way to die.  ‘It couldn’t happen to anyone else, could it?’ Saya thought to herself, the joints in her fingers screaming in agony, the gloves gradually slipping further. Why had she even volunteered to do the job?  She was no system specialist, and she certainly wasn’t the best at zero-g working.  Then there was her habit of losing all sense of direction once outside in space, and of course her general dislike of the cumbersome heavy-work space suits.  Combine all that with her clumsiness, lack of balance and all-round inability to do anything right, and Saya quickly realised just why she was stuck where she was stuck.

‘This is the Captain speaking,’ the warm, mellifluous voice had come over the PA. ‘As you all know we are soon to enter Relativity Drive for the jump to our next destination.  However, the onboard systems tell me that we have 1042 minor faults that need to be repaired before we make the jump.  Since we are on a strict schedule, and the engineering teams need to focus on the most complex tasks, I need volunteers to help fix the small stuff.  If you would like to help, and earn a gratitude chit for your assistance, please telpath my office before 0600. Captain out.’

Saya was a good person.  She cared about her job, her ship and her crewmates.  But sadly she hadn’t made a good impression, ever since she joined up four Relativity jumps ago.  She had been hired as a junior systems analyst and assistant, but it had become very clear, very early on that she had lied on her application.  She had basic systems knowledge, gleaned from years spent in salvage yards and on steamer ships doing the intra-system runs, but she had no clue how a Relativity Cruiser worked.  So she had been downgraded to second assistant environmental systems apprentice, lost two-thirds of her pay, been forced to move in to a shared dormitory with 5 other apprentices, and generally got the scummy end of the hydro-mop.

‘TWO MINUTES TO ACTIVATION’ the computer droned.

She had jumped at the chance to show the Captain and crew that she was made of better stuff, and to earn that gratitude chit.  She was already at MINUS 16 gratitude chits (a new ship record) and desperately wanted to break even before she was inevitably thrown off the ship.

And so she had telpathed her request to volunteer, and then she had waited.  And waited, and waited some more.  Eventually the Captain’s office telpathed to say there was one job left, it was on the outside of the ship’s hull and needed next to no skills except the ability to hold on, turn a spanner clockwise and climb back aboard before the jump occurred.

Saya, although scared and worried about a zero-g external excursion, headed for the appointed airlock, got her instructions from the bored and less-than-amiable engineering assistant, climbed into her heavy-work space suit and headed out in to space.  Sadly she banged her helmet on the steel-girdered airlock door, and broke her telpath antennae, thereby missing the engineering assistant’s hurried warning to ‘Stay clipped on to the guide rail’.

Once outside the ship, Saya had worked her way towards the small hatchport that needed 3 of its 4 locking bolts refastened.  She had a small digital heads-up display in her helmet counting down the minutes until the ship would blast in to Relativity Drive and span the vast distance to its next port of call.  She sill had 30 minutes to get the job done and get back inside the ship. ‘No worries, easy as anything,’ she had told herself.  But while confident in her ability to tighten 3 locking bolts in no time at all, she was starting to get concerned as to why she couldn’t hear anything from the ship’s telepathic PA system.  She should have been getting all sorts of messages and updates.  She ran a quick diagnostic on her suit and was dismayed to see that it was damaged.  The telpath comms system was broken.  the onboard diagnostics was able to get the system working in one-direction only. ‘Oh well, its not like they need to hear from me, is it?’ Saya had told herself.

‘ONE MINUTE TO ACTIVATION’ came the voice of the computer

Quite how she had forgotten to attach herself to the guide rail, Saya couldn’t think.  And why she hadn’t remembered that she was using a power-wrench, she really couldn’t say.  But put those two things together, add in the build-up momentum of the ship as it prepped for its Relativity Jump, and you ended up with Saya, gripping on for her life, to the exterior hull of a spaceship, slipping towards the engine mounts and about to be either [a] left behind to float in space until she died of asphyxiation, or [b] fall into the engine mounts just as the Relativity Drive powered up and she was atomised in an instant.

‘Bugger me, bugger me, bugger me! Won’t SOMEONE hear me?  Please, I need help! Don’t fire up the engines. I’m still out here….’ she screamed, gasping for breath, desperate to be heard.  She felt the vibrations in the hull building, her gloved hands slipping.  She screamed once more…

‘Oh come on you bastards, you must know I am here…help!’

The Relativity Drive powered up.

‘Oh bugger,’ she gasped.

(c) Neil Gardner, 2012

Sci-Five Shorties 01 – “The Sound Within”

Did you know I co-present a podcast called SCI-FIVE where we investigate all things SF in approximately 5 mins?  No, well, I do, and it is up to episode 62 already…you should go take a listen:

CLICKY HERE FOR THE PODCAST SITE

Recently we have launched the SCI-FIVE SHORTIES, a series of 4-8 minute new SF themed short stories.  I’ve written a few, and for those interested here is the first one, plus the audio link if you are interested in listening:

“THE SOUND WITHIN” by Neil Gardner

          Inside the space was cavernous, a behemoth of structure, its size close to unfathomable for the untrained mind.  Within the space there seemed to be no height, no width and no breadth.  The space itself appeared limitless, without end…without start.

Outside of the space was darkness.  Inside the space was limitless light. The boundary between the two was at once indistinct and yet as undeniable as the space itself.

Determining the structure of the space, the purpose of the space, the meaning of the space was a daunting task.  Where would you start? And how would you know when you had finished? From where would you begin the task, and where would you conclude it? By what criterion would you attempt to define the space? And to what would you make comparison?

The space was.  The space is. The space is everything.

Yet within the space there was nothing.  No up or down, or left or right.  The space, while illuminated by the fiercest white light, was utterly devoid of anything to see by that light. The space existed, but it was impossible to describe such existence using any explainable distinguishing features.  The space was just…the space.  It existed, therefore it was.

The space from within appeared devoid of function or purpose.  In fact it seemed devoid of anything, except the light, and its own existence. From without the space was an all encompassing light that defined the darkness around it.  The darkness was, because the space was.  One defined and delineated the other.  Without one there might not be the other.  Did the space, therefore, describe the darkness? Or did the darkness inform the space, give it substance and form?

Outside the space was silence.  The darkness said nothing. No sounds emerged, no sounds escaped. The darkness remained inviolate.

Inside the space the nothingness of the light was considered to be the completeness of existence.  Light was the space, and the space was the endless bright, furious light.

And then something extraordinary happened.  From deep within the space, from the very heart of the light, there came a sound. It lived for but a heartbeat of time, and then it was gone.  Gone, but not forgotten.

An eternity of space and light passed.  And just as the sound became a nano-spot of a fragment of the merest suggestion of a memory…it happened again.  This time it lasted for a whole second.  It defined the time of its duration and gave life to speculation.  Was sound going to supplant the light within the space? Did the light create the sound? Why was the sound longer this time?

Before answers could be formulated, the space rang out with the sound once again.  It grew in strength and volume, in amplitude and tone.  The sound ran laughing around every part of the space and back again, seeking the edges of the space and marking the boundaries of its existence.  The light, previously everything within the space, exploded in to a myriad colours, refracting through the lens of the all-encompassing sound.  Together the sound and the spectrum of light burst and fractured and exploded throughout the space.  The space had no time to come to terms with this new experience, as sound and light, sharing and joining and merging and mutating, reached the place where the darkness lived, and with one sudden gasp of momentum…spewed forth from the space into the darkness.

Now the space and the darkness are joined.  A river of sound and light gushes between them.  Space is defined by its birthing of colour and the reflections and echoes of the sound.  The darkness is now no longer entirely dark, and knows the joy of both light and sound.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the space and the darkness are creating something new, something different, something else.  In time there will be no more space, there will be no more darkness.  Then…what will be, will be what has come before, and what will come next, will be a space all of its own.

(c) Neil Gardner, 2012

2011 – A Year In Audiobooks

So, 2011 comes to a close, and as we wave bye bye I thought I would look back at what this year has meant for me as an audiobook producer, editor and publisher.  The most exciting thing was the launch of Ladbroke Audio, with Tanja (my fiance)…a dedicated audiobook production company that seems to be doing great business already. The saddest thing was the death of the lovely Elisabeth Sladen, who I had had the honour of producing several times for SJA audiobooks.  A massive thank you to PAUL KENT & MERILYN HARRIS for stepping in to help produce a few of the titles when I fell ill or was too busy elsewhere.  Also mahoosive thanks to MICHAEL, KATE, JESS, JEN, CLAIRE, EMMA and all the gang at AudioGO for keeping us in employment and being such good friends.  Big thanks to our friends SEB, KAYV, SAM & the gang at SNK Studios, our partners in crime for 99% of all the audios we produce. And a big thanks to the team at Random House Audio for taking a chance on us this year…we look forward to more audio grooviness with you in 2012.

It has been a bumper year for titles, so let’s dive in to the chewiness:

ALL ALIENS LIKE BURGERS by RUTH WHEELER – Read by DEBBIE CHAZEN – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Young, polite and intelligent Tom Bowler has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. Hes surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lola. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets – just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO


BEHIND THE BLACK DOOR by SARAH BROWN – Read by SARAH BROWN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Today, Gordon’s words are simple and heartfelt. He promises, as his own school motto said, to do his utmost. I know that the same will go for me, too. We turn to the door, greeting the policeman on duty. It is time to play our part in contributing to what happens next in government and a new life behind the black door.’  In this personal memoir about life at 10 Downing Street, Sarah Brown shares the secrets of living behind the most famous front door in the world. Sarah gave up a successful career in business to serve the country and champion countless charities at home and abroad. A passionate campaigner for women and children, she mobilised hundreds of thousands of people through her early adoption of Twitter where her legion of followers engaged with her on everything from repression in Burma to diversity in British fashion.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel with special branch, pack for a photo call with supermodels or pause a speech in front of hundreds when the autocue fails, it’s all here – from what to do when the school play clashes with a visit to the White House to what it feels like to support the man you love as he takes tough decisions to stave off global financial meltdown… Intimate, reflective, surprising and funny, ‘Behind the Black Door’ takes us backstage to reveal what it’s like to be an ordinary woman, wife and mother in extraordinary circumstances.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

DOCTOR WHO: THE GLAMOUR CHASE by GARY RUSSELL – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

An archaeological dig in 1936 unearths relics of another time… And – as the Doctor, Amy and Rory realise – another place. Another planet.  But if Enola Porter, noted adventuress, has really found evidence of an alien civilization, how come she isn’t famous? Added to that, since Amy’s been travelling with him for a while, why does she think the Doctor is from Mars?  As the ancient spaceship reactivates, the Doctor discovers that nothing and no-one can be trusted. The things that seem most real could actually be literal fabrications – and very deadly indeed. Who can the Doctor believe when no one is what they seem? And how can he defeat an enemy who can bend matter itself?

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

SEX LIFE by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – Read by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

When did your sexual experiences start? Are you having more virtual sex than real sex? Can you have too much or not enough sex? What exactly is ‘normal’?  Bestselling author and leading sex therapist, Pamela Stephenson-Connolly takes us on an eye-opening journey to explode the myths and answer the embarrassing questions we’ve always wanted to ask about sex and our insatiable appetite for it.  Drawing on hundreds of intimate interviews with ordinary people of all ages, appetites and backgrounds, Stephenson-Connolly reveals how the ever-present sexual force in each of us evolves throughout our lives, from our first months in the womb up right until our nineties. She also shows that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and that anything goes when it comes to sex as long as it is safe, sane and consensual. The result is an intimate portrait of our sexual selves that dispels the myths, guilt and mystery surrounding sex and our sexual urges.  Read by the author with Katherine Fenton, Tania Rich, Simon Shepherd and Bill Wallis. Hugely informative, always entertaining and at times shocking, this is arguably one of the most enlightening books on sex ever published.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

THE CAPTURE OF CERBERUS/THE INCIDENT OF THE DOG’S BALL by AGATHA CHRISTIE – Read by DAVID SUCHET – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Two recently-rediscovered Hercule Poirot short stories by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet.  In 2004, a remarkable archive was unearthed at Agatha Christie’s family home, Greenway – 73 of her private notebooks, filled with pencilled jottings and ideas. Hidden within this literary treasure trove were two rare, never-before-published short stories, discovered by archivist John Curran and published in his book ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making’.  ‘The Capture of Cerberus’ was intended to be the twelfth in her collection of Poirot stories, ‘The Labours of Hercules’, but she eventually rewrote it, keeping only the title. In this first, original version, Poirot is holidaying in Geneva, trying to take his mind off the impending war. But a chance meeting with an old acquaintance leads to an investigation involving a Nazi dictator and an enormous hound… ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’, probably written in 1933, was reworked as the novel ‘Dumb Witness’ (1937) with a different murderer and motive. In it, Poirot receives a letter from an elderly lady, written two months before and asking for help. Now she is dead, and Poirot is convinced that her beloved terrier Bob holds the key to her death…

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

THE JUST SO STORIES by RUDYARD KIPLING – Read by DAVID WARNER – ABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Have you ever wondered how it is that the moon pulls the tides (instead of a crab who was taller than the smoke of three volcanoes), or the reason why the elephant’s nose is so long? Find out as Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s stories are brought to vivid life in this enchanting  production first performed at the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh in August 2011. The perfect show for children aged 4+ and for adults of all ages. In this all-new audio adaptation of the smash-hit theatre show, legendary actor DAVID WARNER lends his voice to five of Kipling’s finest fare, while the Red Table Theatre cast perform five of their unique songs from the live show (in all-new recordings made especially for Spokenworld Audio).

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

HOPE & GLORY: THE DAYS THAT MADE BRITAIN by STUART MACONIE – Read by STUART MACONIE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

‘These were the days that made us, and these are the day trips to find them. Should we do a flask? And are you sure you’ll be warm enough in that coat?’  In ‘Hope and Glory’ Stuart Maconie goes in search of the places, people and events that have shaped modern Britain. Starting with the death of Queen Victoria, to the Battle of the Somme and the General Strike, and on to the docking of the Empire Windrush and Bobby Moore raising the Jules Rimet trophy, he chooses a defining moment in our nation’s story from each decade of the last century and explores its legacy today.  Some were glorious days, some were tragic, or even shameful, but each has played its part in making us who we are as a nation. From pop stars to politicians, Suffragettes to punks, this is a journey around Britain in search of who we are.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

DAVE GORMAN VS. THE REST OF THE WORLD by DAVE GORMAN – Read by DAVE GORMAN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go round to a friend’s house to see if they were playing? Well, as adults we’re not supposed to do that. Which is a shame… because Dave Gorman likes playing. He REALLY likes games. So he knocked on the biggest door you could ever imagine – the internet – and asked 76,000 people if they fancied a game. This is the story of what happened next.  Dave was up for anything and gamely played them at whatever they chose. He played some classics – Monopoly, Scrabble, dominoes and cribbage. He played many games he’d never heard of before – Khet, Kubb, Tikal or Smite anyone?  He played board games and physical games. He’s thrown sticks, balls, frisbees and darts. He’s rolled dice and he’s drawn cards.  From Liverpool to Hampstead and from Croydon to Nottingham, Dave travelled the length and breadth of Britain meeting strangers in strange places – their homes, at work, in the back rooms of pubs – and getting some hardcore game action. From casual players to serious game geeks, from the rank amateur to the world champion, he discovered a nation of gamers more than happy to welcome him into their midst.  He’s travelled all around the country and met all sorts of people – and it turns out us Brits are a competitive bunch! And it seems that playing games can teach you a lot about what makes the British tick. Of course, Dave hasn’t been keeping score. Much.

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 1 – Eps 1-25) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

The first 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series. Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia to this fascinating narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union finally lost its grip on power. Power struggles have a constant presence in his story, from the Mongol hordes that invaded in the 13th century, through the iron autocratic fists of successive Tsars. Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great – all left their mark on a nation that pursued expansion to the East, West and South. Many Tsars flirted with reform, but the gap between the rulers and the ruled widened until, in 1917, the doomed last Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated. The first part of Sixsmith’s history ends with Lenin and the Bolsheviks forcing through the final Revolution and paving the way for the Communist state. Eyewitness accounts and readings from Russian authors and historians, from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, enhance this fascinating account, as well as music taken from a wide range of Russian composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich.  Martin Sixsmith traces Russia’s turbulent 1000-year history from its founding to the Revolution.

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DOCTOR WHO: HUNTER’S MOON by PAUL FINCH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘There’s no end to the horror in this place – it’s like Hell, and there are devils round every corner.’  On Leisure Platform 9 gamblers and villains mix with socialites and celebrities. It’s a place where you won’t want to win the wrong game. With Rory kidnapped by a brutal crime lord, the Doctor and Amy infiltrate a deadly contest where fugitives become the hunted. But how long before they realise the Doctor isn’t a vicious mercenary and discover what Amy is up to? It’s a game that can only end in death, and time for everyone is running out. Read by Arthur Darvill, ‘Hunter’s Moon’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL by JONATHAN MORRIS – Read by CLARE CORBETT – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there.’  In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: ‘You can save her.’  As Mark is given the chance to save Rebecca, it’s up to the Doctor, Amy and Rory to save the whole world. Because this time the Weeping Angels are using history itself as a weapon.  Read by Clare Corbett, ‘Touched by an Angel’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – TSAR WARS by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the first of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey. In a distant galaxy, the Tsar and Tsarina rule over the Robotov Empire from the safety of their palace, whilst human workers tend the power plants on satellite moons.  When the Doctor arrives with Mrs Wibbsey, his identity is immediately mistaken, and the Tsarina believes that her old ally, Father Gregory, has returned. But when the Palace comes under attack, the Tsar suspects him of treachery.  Meanwhile, Mrs Wibbsey discovers that dark secrets are lurking in the shadows of one satellite moon. Far more than mere human rebellion is being planned, and Father Gregory is not operating alone. His actions will set off a chain of events with long-lasting consequences for the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE BROKEN CROWN by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the second of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  The year is 1861, and the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey find themselves in the right place at the wrong time. At the rectory they encounter the ill-tempered Reverend Dobbs and his young ward Andrew, whose paper faces hide whatever horrors lie beneath. Tutoring him is one Mr Bewley, whom Mrs Wibbsey is startled to recognise.  In Hexford Woods, the Doctor uncovers a secret which Andrew and his friends have been keeping. As the truth begins to emerge about the rectory’s occupants, it also becomes clear why so many people have disappeared from the village. Unless the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey can help, the whole village will soon be terrorised by a child’s imagination…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – ALADDIN TIME by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the third of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  Trapped underground, the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey encounter a small boy who claims to be Aladdin, in search of a fabled lamp. He joins them on their own quest, to find a power source in this weird domain and switch it off.  Many obstacles lie in their way. Vast rooms stuffed with exotic items give way to torch-lit tunnels and deadly precipices. Creatures of mythical proportions lie in wait. Peculiar atmospheres take their toll on them. Perhaps strangest of all, the Doctor’s multi-coloured scarf appears to take on a life of its own…  As friends are separated and uneasy alliances are formed, the strange environment attempts to claim them. Will the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey ever get back to Hexford? And will Aladdin discover who he really is?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE HEXFORD INVASION by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fourth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It’s been many months since the Doctor was in Hexford, and Mrs Wibbsey keenly feels his absence. As her grave suspicions about her new neighbour grow, she is in danger of becoming ostracised from village life. When Mike Yates turns up at Nest Cottage with a visitor in tow, Mrs Wibbsey’s life is turned even further upside down. Why has this strange new fellow appeared – and can he really be who Mike thinks he is?  With UNIT watching the skies, and a strange forest growing daily around the village perimeter, it comes as little surprise when an enormous spaceship slides into view and dominates the skyline. Who is watching Hexford, and what do they want? Never has Mrs Wibbsey needed the Doctor more. But can she cope with two…?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – SURVIVORS IN SPACE by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fifth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It has been three months since the Hexford catastrophe, and Mike Yates is trying to show strength of leadership to the villagers. But with morale low and supplies running out, it is increasingly difficult to keep his own hopes up. Unless somebody finds them soon, the future looks bleak.  So when the TARDIS materialises on the village green, it seems that help has arrived at last. But with two Doctors apparently at large, there is still the small matter of what was buried under Nest Cottage – not to mention who is clamouring to break through the protective force field. Soon Hexford is under siege once again, and this time an ancient hunger will be sated. Time has run out for the keepers of the Skishtari egg…

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 2 – Eps 26-50) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations.  After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars. Nikita Khrushchev reversed the worst excesses of Stalinism, and in 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on radical reforms of the communist system – unleashing unforeseen consequences that swept him from power and destroyed the USSR.  Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia in the 1980s and ‘90s to his narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union lost its grip on power. He asks if the recurring patterns of Russian history can help us understand what has happened since 1991, when the promise of Western-style democracy aroused so many hopes for change.  Eyewitness accounts, archive recordings and personal testimony enrich his narrative, as well as readings from Russian authors and historians such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vasily Grossman, plus music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and others.  The final 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series.

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THINGS I COULDN’T TELL MY MOTHER by SUE JOHNSTON – Read by SUE JOHNSTON – UNABRIDGED – Random House AUdio & AudioGO Ltd

‘There was a lot that we kept from my mother. My dad would say to me as a teenager “Don’t tell your mother.” We couldn’t face the disapproval.’  Sue Johnston always seemed to be disappointing her mother. As a girl she never stayed clean and tidy like her cousins. As she grew older, she spent all her piano lesson money on drinks for her mates down the pub, and when she discovered the Cavern she was never at home. The final straw was when Sue left her steady job at a St Helens factory to try her hand at that unsteadiest of jobs: acting.  Yet when Sue was bringing up her own child alone, her mother was always there to help. And playing her much-loved characters Sheila Grant and Barbara Royle – although her mum wouldn’t say she was proud as such, she certainly seemed to approve. And in her mother’s final months, it was Sue she needed by her side.  The relationship with your mother is perhaps the most precious and fraught of any woman’s life. When she began writing, Sue set out to record ‘all the big things, and all the small things. Everything I wanted to tell my mother but felt I never could’. The result is a warm, poignant and often very funny memoir by one of Britain’s favourite actresses.

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE MULTIPLEX by MARK KERMODE – Read by MARK KERMODE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

In It’s Only a Movie, the incomparable Mark Kermode showed us the weird world of a film critic’s life lived in widescreen. Now, in The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, he takes us into the belly of the beast to ask: ‘What’s wrong with modern movies?’  If blockbusters make money no matter how bad they are, then why not make a good one for a change? How can 3-D be the future of cinema when it’s been giving audiences a headache for over a hundred years? Why pay to watch films in cinemas that don’t have a projectionist but do have a fast-food stand? And, in a world in which Sex and the City 2 was a hit, what the hell are film critics for?  Outspoken, opinionated and hilariously funny, The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex is a must for anyone who has ever sat in an undermanned, overpriced cinema and asked themselves: ‘How the hell did things get to be this terrible?’

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DOCTOR WHO: PARADOX LOST by GEORGE MANN – Read by NICHOLAS BRIGGS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The Squall feed on psychic energy. They spread like a plague and if they are not stopped they will strip the Earth clean…’  London 1910: an unsuspecting thief finds himself confronted by grey-skinned creatures that are waiting to devour his mind. London 2789: the remains of an ancient android are dredged from the Thames. When reactivated it has a warning that can only be delivered to a man named ‘the Doctor’.  The Doctor and his friends must solve a mystery that has spanned over a thousand years. If they fail, the deadly alien Squall will devour the world…  Read by Nicholas Briggs, this is a thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: BORROWED TIME by NAOMI A ALDERMAN – Read by MEERA SYAL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘You want more time Mr Brown, of course you do. We all want more time. Let me make you an offer…’  Andrew Brown never has enough time. No time to call his sister, or to prepare for that important presentation at the bank where he works. The train’s late, the lift jams. If only he’d had just a little more time. And time is the business of Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop. They’ll lend him some – at a very reasonable rate of interest.  Detecting a problem, the Doctor, Amy and Rory go undercover at the bank. But they have to move fast to stop Symington and Blenkinsop before they cash in their investments.  Read by Meera Syal, this is a thrilling all-new adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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SAPPHIRE BATTERSEA by JACQUELINE WILSON – Read by FINTY WILLIAMS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Finty Williams reads this warm, funny and moving sequel to Jacqueline Wilson’s hugely acclaimed ‘Hetty Feather’.  Hetty Feather was given her name when she was left at the Foundling Hospital as a baby. But she always longed to be named after her incredible sapphire-blue eyes. When she is reunited with her mother, she hopes her new name, Sapphire Battersea, will also mean a new life. But things don’t always go as planned…  Follow the twists and turns of Hetty’s adventures as she begins work.  She longs to be reunited with her dear Jem, but also finds a new friend, Bertie the butcher’s boy. Despite her hopes for the future, Hetty’s life seems likely to take a darker path. Can she cope with the trials ahead?  A fantastic story set in Victorian times that Jacqueline Wilson fans will adore.

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THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH by HP LOVECRAFT – Read by RICHARD COYLE – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The perfect HP Lovecraft title to follow on from 2010’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”, and the only HPL title not to appear in a periodical! Perfect also because it is split in to 5 distinct chapters…ripe for abridgement in to five half hour episodes! “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” tells the first-person story of a young historian, Robert Olmstead, who, while investigating his family genealogy in New England, is intrigued to learn about a hated and mysterious fishing-town called Innsmouth. When he visits he finds the place to be run-down and near-deserted, with a cult-like religion and a strange, degenerate population. His investigation soon turns in to a race to escape the town and the the evil creatures he sees emerging from the sea.  “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” was written by HP Lovecraft in 1931 and is the only one of his works of fiction not to have initially been published as part of a periodical. It continues HPL’s Cthulhu Mythos, featuring townspeople worshipping the elder sea god Dagon and mentioning the mysterious Shoggoth creature of his other works. This 2011 adaptation comprises 5 episodes, originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra, once again read by the superb RICHARD COYLE and featuring music by acclaimed composer JON NICHOLLS. The series is offered here in exclusive EXTENDED EDITIONS. You will find an additional 30 mins of mystery-filled audio within these five episodes!

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DARK MARKET by MISHA GLENNY – Read by MISHA GLENNY – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

The benefits of living in a digital, globalised society are enormous; so too are the dangers.  The world has become a law enforcer’s nightmare and every criminal’s dream. We bank online, shop online, date, learn, work and live online. But have the institutions that keep us safe on the streets learned to protect us in the burgeoning digital world? Have we become complacent about our personal security – sharing our thoughts, beliefs and the details of our daily lives with anyone who cares to relieve us of them?  In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller ‘McMafia’, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker.  Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website DarkMarket, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories. Whether JiLsi or Matrix, Iceman, Master Splynter or Lord Cyric; whether Detective Sergeant Chris Dawson in Scunthorpe or Agent Keith Mularski in Pittsburgh, Glenny has tracked down and interviewed all the players – the criminals, the geeks, the police, the security experts and the victims – and he places everyone and everything in a rich brew of politics, economics and history.  The result is simply totally absorbing. DarkMarket is authoritative and completely engrossing. It’s a must-have for everyone who uses a computer: the essential crime guide for our times.

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DIARY OF A DOG WALKER by EDWARD STOURTON – Read by EDWARD STOURTON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Edward Stourton’s columns, recording his regular excursions with Kudu, the Springer spaniel, appeared fortnightly in the Telegraph from May 2009 until September 2010. They form the basis for this witty, charming and revealing book of canine musings. Ed’s focus might momentarily seem trivial, but his canvas proves to be immeasurably wide. Kudu’s small trips to the park offer big insights into romantic attachment, warfare, guilt and depression, honour and heroism, our sense of duty, beauty and the hard facts of life’s pecking order.

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MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE? by JAMES CORDON – Read by JAMES CORDON – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

As far back as he can remember James Corden has only ever wanted to be in one place: in front of you, doing something to make you laugh, cry, shout, or giggle uncontrollably. At the age of 4, he grandstanded throughout his baby sister’s christening, standing on a chair in front of the whole congregation, pulling faces and cracking everyone up. Despite himself, the vicar was impressed. And from then on he couldn’t get enough of the spotlight, even when it always seemed to avoid him. Throughout his teens, he and his Dad trudged up and down towards London, getting closer and closer to landing a gig, only to be told ‘No’ at the last stage. But he never gave up and soon found his whole life turned upside down and inside out by his experience as one Alan Bennett’s History Boys. From that moment forth, he’s never looked back.  May I Have Your Attention Please? is the warm, cheeky, surprisingly honest and hilarious story of one of our most popular comedy talents. From his antics as one of the founding players of his high-school’s first ever rugby team to gaining recognition in the West End, to nationwide fame as the loveably loud Smithy in the award-winning Gavin and Stacey, this is a tenderly told story of what it’s like to try, try and try again and – happily – get there in the end.

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BRUNG UP PROPER by JASON MANFORD – Read by JASON MANFORD – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

Jason Manford is firmly established as one of the country’s favourite stand-ups and is up there with the best northern comedy legends. His career began one night in a pub in Chorlton when a comedian didn’t arrive for his set and Jason, the 17-year-old glass collector stepped in to fill the gap. From that point on he’s never looked back, until now that is….  This is the story in his own words of everything that lead up to that fateful moment – a colourful tale of growing up with lots of family and not enough money, of getting by and sticking together. It is a story of his shameless extended clan of wayward uncles and singing nans and a gobby little knobhead at the heart of it all called Jason. Featuring rock-hard great granddads, doting grandparents, pub-crooning nanas, football-mad dads, pet-obsessed mums, more dodgy uncles than you can shake a stick at, failed exams, dead-end jobs, paper rounds, prostitutes, shocked priests, manslaughter, winning goals, sudden losses, replica shirts, chip-fat incidents, scary pubs, pet meat, fighting Gandhis, cancelled Christmases, Sir Oswald Mosley, flooded tents, call centres, circumcision, puppy love, friends for life, difficult girlfriends, gigs from hell, heart break and, finally, true love….  With his laugh-out-loud tales of coming of age, Jason shows he’s a generous storyteller and as natural an observer as he is on stage.

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THE TALES OF MAX CARRADOS by ERNEST BRAMAH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The tales of Max Carrados lie squarely in the classic English detective tradition, told in plain though polished prose. Max is an omniscient blind amateur detective with a wry sense of humour. Arthur Darvill reads five of his brings five of his finest adventures to life.  Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery books that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in the “Strand” magazine in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened. The author Ernest Bramah excelled in his detailed writing and uncovering of clues. The beneficiary of a large inheritance from an American relative, Carrados is foremost a gentleman who undertakes sleuthing only as an avocation. Though equipped with a keen observer in the perfect manservant Parkinson, the blind Carrados does not merely sit around deducing: he makes his own observations with ears, nose and fingertips. Carrados makes a point of noticing what others don’t, in his case precisely because, as he says, “I have no blundering, self-confident eyes to be hoodwinked.” Instead he uses careful deduction, his four other senses, and the well-trained eye of his manservant. Carrados’ friend Carlyle, a private investigator, serves as his Watson – he is just dense enough to require an explanation of how Carrados has solved each crime. Ellery Queen calls this first volume of his adventures, “One of the ten best volumes of detective shorts ever written!

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DOCTOR WHO: THE STEALERS OF DREAMS by STEVE LYONS – Read by CAMILLE CODURI – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

In the far future, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack find a world on which fiction has been outlawed. A world where it’s a crime to tell stories, a crime to lie, a crime to hope, and a crime to dream.  But now somebody is challenging the status quo. A pirate TV station urges people to fight back. And the Doctor wants to help until he sees how easily dreams can turn into nightmares.  With one of his companions stalked by shadows and the other committed to an asylum, the Doctor is forced to admit that fiction can be dangerous after all. Though perhaps it is not as deadly as the truth.  Read by Camille Coduri, this is a gripping adventure featuring the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston, together with Rose and Captain Jack as played by Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit series from BBC Television.

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TORCHWOOD: LONG TIME DEAD by SARAH PINBOROUGH – Read by INDIRA VARMA – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Indira Varma reads this thrilling Torchwood adventure – a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’.  Cardiff Bay. The government has ordered the excavation of the wreckage of a secret underground base. DCI Tom Cutler is watching from a distance, fascinated by the process. There are people in his dreams. People he feels he should know.  The disbanded Torchwood Institute spent a century accumulating non-terrestrial artefacts and catching aliens. Who knows what – or who – might still be intact down there. But by the time they find the first body, Suzie Costello is long gone.  Based on the hit series created by Russell T. Davies, ‘Long Time Dead’ is a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’, starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles as Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper. It features Suzie Costello, as played by Indira Varma.

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DOCTOR WHO: THE SILENT STARS GO BY by DAN ABNETT – Read by MICHAEL MALONEY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Michael Maloney reads this original adventure by Dan Abnett, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.  For centuries the Maintainers have worked. With no help from other worlds, they subsist on the food they can grow and that’s little enough. But their purpose, their whole life, is to maintain the machines that will one day make their world as habitable as old Earth. Life used to be hard. Now as crops fail, livestock sicken, and the temperature drops, it’s becoming impossible. This year’s Winter Season Feast won’t be the usual celebration. It’s no time for optimism or hope – or to welcome unexpected guests. The Doctor, Amy and Rory find a society breaking apart – and then the Doctor’s old enemies the Ice Warriors make their move. With the cold-hearted threat of invasion, the real battle for survival begins. Or does it? The Doctor suspects that behind everything lies a deadlier, even more chilling danger…  A thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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ELISABETH SLADEN: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by ELISABETH SLADEN – Read by CAROLINE JOHN – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Caroline John reads the captivating autobiography of Elisabeth Sladen, with a foreword by David Tennant and a postscript by Brian and Sadie Miller.  When Elisabeth Sladen first appeared as plucky journalist Sarah Jane Smith in the 1973 ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Time Warrior’, little did she know her character would become one of the most enduring of the series’ long history, and one of the all-time favourite companions. She left the TARDIS in 1976, but reprised the role of Sarah Jane many times, as well as touring the world of ‘Doctor Who’ fandom. So when Russell T. Davies approached her to star in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, how could she refuse? This warm, witty autobiography, completed only months before Elisabeth died in April 2011, tells her remarkable story, from humble beginnings in post-war Liverpool, through an acclaimed theatrical career, to ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em’ and the furthest reaches of the Universe. A unique, insider’s view of the world’s longest-running sci-fi series, Elisabeth’s memoir is funny, insightful and entertaining and a fitting tribute to a woman who will be sadly missed by millions. Caroline John, actress and friend of Elisabeth Sladen, played companion Liz Shaw in ‘Doctor Who’. David Tennant was the Tenth Doctor in the hit BBC TV series. Brian and Sadie Miller are Elisabeth Sladen’s husband and daughter.

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DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by PD JAMES – Read by SHEILA MITCHELL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

P. D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.  The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball while the guests are preparing to retire for the night, a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.  Death Comes to Pemberley – inspired by P. D. James’s lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen – is a distinguished work of fiction from one of the best-loved and most-read writers of our time.

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DOCTOR WHO: EARTHSHOCK by IAN MARTER – Read by PETER DAVISON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Peter Davison reads this exciting novelisation of a classic Doctor Who adventure in which the Fifth Doctor encounters the Cybermen.  A group of palaeontologists have been savagely attacked while carrying out a study of fossilised dinosaur remains in an underground cave system on twenty-fifth century Earth.  A party of troopers and Professor Kyle, the only survivor of the attack, are investigating the deaths of her colleagues when they discover the Doctor and his companions at the site of the massacre. The time-travellers are immediately suspected. In trying to establish their innocence and find out who – or what – was responsible for the killings, the Doctor is confronted by an old enemy…  The Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, reads Ian Marter’s complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1983, whilst Nicholas Briggs provides the authentic voice of the Cybermen.

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DOCTOR WHO – By MARK MORRIS – Details TBC – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Only just finished this one, so there are no details to share with you just yet.  But I can tell you that it is an exclusive 1 hr audio adventure, read by one of the stars of the 2011 DW Xmas Special!

COMING SOON

SPIRAL by RODERICK GORDON – Read by PAUL CHEQUER – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The Styx have surfaced… If you thought the Limiters were nasty, think again. This time it’s their females that provide the creepiest surprise. And all that stands in their way are Will and his friends – and a rag-bag team of retired commandos. It’s a smoking spiral of chaos…  The fifth fantastic adventure in the ‘Tunnels’ series for older children, from acclaimed authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Read by Paul Chequer.

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WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? by JEANETTE WINTERSON – Read by JEANETTE WINTERSON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The shocking, heart-breaking – and often very funny – true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.  

`Vivid, unpredictable, and sometimes mind-rattling memoir… This book… which had been funny enough to make me laugh out loud more times than is advisable on the No 12 bus – turns into something raw and unnerving’ —-Julie Myerson, the Observer

`This is certainly the most moving book of Winterson’s I have ever read… but it wriggles with humour… At one point I was crying so much I had tears in my ears. There is much here that is impressive, but what I find most unusual about it is the way it deepens one’s sympathy, for everyone involved’ —-Zoe Williams, the Guardian

`In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has proved herself a writer of startling invention, originality and style. Her combination of the magical and the earthy, the rapturous and the matter-of-fact, is unique. It is a strange and felicitous gift, as if the best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was combined with the best of Alan Bennett… This remarkable account is, among other things, a powerful argument for reading… This memoir is brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination. It is a marvellous book and generous one’ —-Cressida Connolly, the Speactator

`Both inspiring and appalling, its cruellest details only made digestible by the restrained elegance of Winterson’s prose’ —-Fiona Sturges, Independent on Sunday

COMING SOON

THE BEE-MAN OF ORN & OTHER FANCIFUL TALES by FRANK R STOCKTON – Read by NEIL GARDNER – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

A series of 9 fantastical tales from Frank R Stockton, including “The Bee-Man of Orn”, “Old Pipes & The Dryad”, “The Griffin & The Minor Cannon” and “Christmas Before Last”.  Released weekly over 9 weeks to build up a complete collection.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

THE CHIMP PARADOX by DR STEVE PETERS – Read by DR STEVE PETERS – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Personal development book by Dr Steve Peters, the British Cycling team’s psychiatrist, in which he shares his phenomenal mind management programme for the first time.  Do you sometimes behave irrationally or impulsively? Do you face some situations with fear and trepidation? Do feelings of self-doubt consume everyday activities?  Leading Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Steve Peters, knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives.  In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.  Seemingly complex concepts are made simple with the use of memorable analogies — such as the ‘chimp’, that seemingly irrational and impulsive being that inhabits our minds — and real-life case studies. Never before will you have had such a deep and clear understanding of your own behaviour and natural responses to certain people or situations.  This knowledge, combined with simple techniques that can be easily incorporated into daily life, will help you to control your emotional impulses and reach your full potential, leading to success at work and a happier, harmonious home life.

COMING SOON

WHAT KATY DID by SUSAN COOLIDGE – Read by LORELEI KING – ABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Gangly, quick-tempered Katy always means to be beautiful and beloved and as good as an angel one day, but meanwhile her resolutions somehow get forgotten or go horribly wrong. Until, one terrible day, the swing breaks… But it is still a long, eventful time before Katy learns to be as loving and patient as her beautiful, invalid Cousin Helen.

COMING SOON

JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD: STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN – Read by VARIOUS – UNABRIDGED/CHARITY – Spokenworld Audio

The recent devastation in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami has shocked the world. We at Spokenworld Audio, alongside our friends and partners at Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd are unashamed Japon-ophiles…we just love the place, the people and the culture. We have some great friends in Japan, and we felt it was important that we do what we could to help out.  JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD, STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN has been produced by Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Productions in just a few days, with the incredible kind help and talents of many of the UK and US’s finest Voice Over artists. With beautiful music donated by Jon Nicholls and Seb & Kayvan at SNK Music (and additional music from AKM Music). Within you will find 25 short-stories from the rich heritage of Japanese folk-tales. From demons and gods, to the creation of the Earth and the naming of mountains.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: MARGARET THATCHER – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1975 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher talks about being a woman in politics; managing men and women; her response to the media attacks she received in the early days of her career, and the importance of wearing the right clothes. She also recalls her memories of home, including working in her father’s grocery shop; the radio and TV programmes she enjoyed (including ‘The Two Ronnies’) and following sports like cricket and tennis. Also mentioned are the time she met her husband Denis; her worries about her son Mark when he went missing in the Sahara desert; her interest in science, and her love of porcelain and sculpture. Lastly, she discusses her stamina and her worst moment as Prime Minister (during the Falklands War). BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: NOEL COWARD – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1960 to 1972, Noël Coward talks about being a legend; whether he is a cynical writer; his early days in acting and about his early reputation for upsetting fellow actors on stage. He also discusses acting with Laurence Olivier; his affection for the Navy; his film-making; his knighthood, and writing ‘Private Lives’ for his friend Gertrude Lawrence. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: TERENCE RATTIGAN – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the acclaimed playwright, whose centenary was celebrated in 2011, begins in 1969 with a radio appearance on Out This Week. It culminates with an interview for Kaleidoscope in 1977, recorded a few months before his death. Inbetween are several major radio features on Rattigan’s life and work, in which he discusses the craft of playwriting, the state of commercial theatre, comparisons with Coward and Pinter, his famous ‘everywoman’ character Aunt Edna, and several of his plays in detail including Flare Path, Cause Celebre, French Without Tears, The Winslow Boy and The Deep Blue Sea.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ROALD DAHL – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 1989, Roald Dahl talks about writing for children; his medical inventions to aid his ailing son and wife (the actress Patricia Neal) when they were seriously ill, and writing his short stories. He also covers his school days; military service; writing for films (including ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’) and the link between cruelty and laughter. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: GLENDA JACKSON – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the renowned actress and MP begins with a radio interview in 1970 and runs through to a guest appearance on Desert Island Discs in 1997. Along the way Glenda Jackson appears on numerous programmes including Parkinson, In The Psychiatrist’s Chair and Start the Week, during the course of which she discusses her background and early years, women in theatre, and her journey from being a highly successful actress to becoming a Member of Parliament (and Minister of Transport). In A Chance to Meet… and In The Hot Seat she faces the questions of an invited audience and discusses a wide range of topics.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ALFRED HITCHCOCK – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1955 to 1980, Alfred Hitchcock talks about the time he was locked in a police cell when he was a child and being typecast as a director of thrillers. He also discusses his early films; the advent of ‘talkies’; planning ‘Psycho’; American audiences; cinema techniques; horror films, and the influence of real crimes. He considers the difference between making films in America and Britain; the importance of lighting; his female leads, and being a practical joker. As well as critics, he also touches on avoiding clichés; murder in film; film editing and music; ‘The Birds’; the star factor in actors, and making comedies. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: BRIAN CLOUGH – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 2000, Brian Clough talks about ‘the real Brian Clough’ – how he is perceived by other people; his bluntness and forceful opinions, and what makes him a good football manager. He also discusses the prospect of becoming an MP; his dream job; football hysteria and hooliganism; his childhood and mother’s death; and being imitated by Mike Yarwood. He considers what people may say about him after his death; buying football players and having managerial ability, as well as sport on TV; leaving Nottingham Forest, and his very public falling out with Peter Taylor. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

**************************************************************************************

It was also a pretty big year for my radio production company, Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd…but to list all those programmes would make this the world’s longest blog post ever!  Suffice to say, I am extremely proud of the international awards we won for some of our programmes, grateful to all of the producers, presenters, writers, actors and others who helped make another fine year of radio entertainment.  Huzzah!

2012 brings with it several new audiobooks already, plus a whole heap of new Archive Voices projects.  On the radio front we have over 10 new progs and series in the pipeline.  Over at Spokenworld Audio we are looking forward to a rebuild of the back-end of the online store, a massive increase in titles (fingers crossed for a tidy wee deal with our chums at AudioGO) and some very exciting new audiobook titles from our own production stable.

And my 2012 New Year resolution – reply to emails faster and get the businesses sleeker and more profitable.  Hire talented people and friends and grow the businesses.  Have fun and be creative.

And my 2012 wish – to get to produce and/or edit audios for Big Finish.  Nick and I have talked about it, so I just need to make it happen…fingers crossed!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL…and thanks for continuing to support, RT and share our audio work.  Now get out there and buy some of it too 😉

Neil Gardner & Tanja Glittenberg (& the audio-editing kitty-cats), Dec 31st 2011

All Aliens Like Burgers – Audiobook Release

IT’S HERE! “All Aliens Like Burgers” is the first in the much anticipated TRUXXE TRILOGY by Ruth Wheeler. Published by HIRST BOOKS (click here to buy the book), this exclusive unabridged audiobook edition is read by star of Dr Who, We Are Klang, Tittybangbang and Calendar Girls, Debbie Chazen. Featuring new music from award-winning radio, film & TV composer Jon Nicholls, and produced by multiple-award winning radio & audio director Neil Gardner.

CLICK HERE to visit the Spokenworld Audio site and buy the download

CLICK PLAY to hear a sample


An exciting, funny adventure in space, for late teenage – adult readers.

Young, polite and intelligent Tom Bowler has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. Hes surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lola. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets – just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

 

 

Reviews of the book (courtesy of Hirst Books)

5 product stars

5 stars – gemma walton – 21 June 2010
really enjoyed the book – it was very descriptive, whilst still being a compelling read. ruth has an amazing imagination and makes the unbelievable sound perfectly plausible and believable. i loved the humour especially with the crystal growing and retrieval – and also the spottooning (which im hoping it wont become a new sport on earth!!)the door is opened really nicely for a sequel with more of toms adventures…. burger ingredients …. alien relations….a home visit with the new found tablets or new found friends…… looking forward to the sequel!!

5 product stars
– david – 21 June 2010
all aliens like burgers is the dabut novel from author ruth wheeler and its a cracker. the basic plot concerns tom bowler who applies for a job at a “local” service stations fast food restaurant – which turns out not to be what or even where it seems. i wont go into any more details and ruin your enjoyment. ruth wheeler has created and enjoyable story with interesting and well fleshed out characters. the narrative moves at a good pace and makes an ideal read for anyone, like me, who enjoys a good science fiction novel with a twist.i was lucky enough to meet the author at a local book signing and found her to be charming and very down to earth. ruth also told me she is working on a sequal to this book. i for one, will be waiting with eager anticipation for more adventures of tom bowler.

5 product stars
Five Star Read – Ed – 07 September 2010
A most enjoyable debut novel from ruth wheeler in which she chronicles the mis-adventures of young tom bowler who is a fish out of water in his new job at a galactic burger bar ! Fast moving,funny and imaginative,this is highly recommended to all fans of douglas adams and comedic sci-fi.

4 product stars
All Alians like burgers – A robinson – 17 January 2011
Really enjoyed this book I bought it for my youngest son but landed up reading it myself and could’nt put it down – very funny well worth the read

4 product stars
burgers in space! – mike cook – 17 June 2010
this is a light-hearted story of a teenager taking up a job in a less than usual location. the story takes us on a journey of discovery for a young man leaving home, with some excellent imagery. includes one of my favourite one-line observations of recent years. one to sink your teeth into for a little light entertainment.

4 product stars
– victoria kahl – 21 June 2010
a real fish-out of water story, its interesting to think how i would cope with a situation like this. most of the time the main character accepts what he sees and gets on with things, i think this is because he is still a teenager and things roll off him!amongst the pure sci-fi there are plenty of comedy moments and even a sprinkling of romance. i look forward to the rest of the series and to finding out where toms adventures will take him.

 

Sci-Five Podcast Ep 2 – We Want Mecha!

Ep 2 is here and Neil & Tanja demand a kick ass mecha movie!

Send in your Sci-Fives to: scifive@ladbrokeradio.com

ENJOY!

Sci-Five Podcast – Ep 1 – The Force Unleashed Movie

Welcome to the first of the new daily episodes of SCI-FIVE…a five minute easy to consume podcast that looks at the whole world of Sci-Fi.  From movies and TV to toys, games and books…each ep deals with one topic and is all over and done with in 5 mins (give or take a bit!).

Presented by me (Neil Gardner) and my other half, Tanja Glittenberg.

We invite you to submit your own Sci-Fives – you can agree, disagree, or chat about anything sci-fi you like.  Just keep it clean and keep it to 5 mins.

You can get in touch by emailing scifive@ladbrokeradio.com

ENJOY!

Cover For HP Lovecraft Audiobook

As many of you know, I have just completed producing a new abridged reading of HP Lovecraft’s much loved novel “At The Mountains of Madness” for BBC Radio 7.  It is read by leading British acting blokey Richard Coyle and hits your airwaves over 5 days between Mon 1st November and Friday 5th November at 2pm/6pm/midnight.

Well,  if you happen to miss the series, or fall in love with it, or just fancy adding to you audiobook collection, I am very happy to announce that we are releasing an EXTENDED version of the series as a digital download audiobook…just in time for Xmas!  There will be around 30 mins of additional unheard material to feast your ears upon…and that means MORE Richard Coyle and MORE of Jon Nicholls superb compositions.

So…do you wanna see the cover art for the audiobook?  I bet you do!  Well, here it is…by the outrageously talented Angus Syme:

by Angus Syme (the talented swine!)

Now if that doesn’t get you itching to buy a copy I don’t know what will!  Well, maybe the thought of 3 hours of top notch HP Lovecraft goodness.

More news on cost and availability coming soon.

HP Lovecraft’s “AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS” – Read by Richard Coyle – Abridged by Paul Kent – Music by Jon Nicholls – Produced & Directed by Neil Gardner – A Ladbroke Radio production for BBC Radio 7

The BIG PAIR Podcast #10 – Riches From Persia

This episode features a one on one chat with top British actor blokey RICHARD COYLE (Going Postal, Prince of Persia, Coupling).

You can hear Richard reading HP LOVECRAFT’S “At The Mountains of Madness” on BBC Radio 7, from the 1st to the 5th November at 2pm/6pm/midnight.  Produced by me, abridged by Paul Kent, music by Jon Nicholls – an extended version will be out as a digital download audiobook in time for Xmas!!

A Warm n Snuggly FICT for a Wet n Drizzly Sunday

It’s raining…dum dum diddle diddle dum….raining in my heart!  Well, it’s certainly raining across the UK.  So here’s a lovely warm n snuggly new FICT from me and Robert Rankin:

Don’t Forget…there is a whole heap of brand new FICTS available in the 96 page hardbacked BUMPER BOOK OF FICTS.  It’s available now by CLICKING HERE!

Piccies from the Book Launch

Last night we launched “The Bumper Book of FICTS” in Brentford, and it was a fabulous night with loads of people popping by, many a book signed and much toot talked!  My deepest thanks to Robert for making all this happen for me, and to everyone who came along and supported us.

You can still buy the book…SIGNED WITH EXCLUSIVE BOOKPLATE…by simply CLICKING HERE.

Here’s a few piccies of the night:

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It’s BOOK LAUNCH Day!!!

Yes, three exclamation marks!  It must be exciting, eh? Well, today is a truly exciting day for me coz we are officially launching “The Bumper Book of FICTS”.  OK, so we’re not being published by a super-giant publisher just yet, BUT you CAN buy the book online now, and it does look rather spiffing in all its 96 page hard-backed glory.  So…just what the heck is all this FICTS business anyway?  Well, I’ve been working in the UK radio industry since 1994 (good grief…that long?!) and sometime around 1996 I was presenting various radio programmes in the East of England (cue the Alan Partridge jokes) and for one particular programme I would prepare a load of silly sketches, audio nonsense and fake facts (I have always hated the laziness of using daily newspapers to come up with material for your show).  One of the most popular and long-lived of these bits of stupidity was an item called “Interesting But Blatantly Untrue Facts”.  These ridiculous non-facts were either read out live or sometimes pre-recorded by various famous DJs I worked with (such as DLT, Steve Wright, Paul Carrington, etc…)  People kinda liked them, the boss thought they were original, and so I kept writing them.

By the turn of the millenium I had about 200 of the blighters, but sadly I was no longer presenting, having moved on to become a producer/director.  I tried resurrecting them on the Dr Glitz Disco Hits show on Heart which I was producing, but they didn’t really fit.  So they sat in a file on the computer for many years gathering e-dust.  Then in 2008, following the success of bringing Robert Rankin’s “Brightonomicon” to audio life (it LIVES!!!!), I got to thinking about trying to get the collection published.  Having spoken to some rather important people in the publishing trade I was advised to get the book illustrated, so it would have a USP.  So…who did I know who was a kick-ass illustrator and enough of a friend to work as a partner with me on such a speculative venture?  Well, as it so happens, I did know one chap…a certain favourite author of mine, and following the Brightonomicon, a good friend.  Yes, Father of Far-Fetched Fiction, Robert Rankin had a prodigious writing talent, but also a rather incredible set of illustrating skills.  Having visited the exhibition of his books, art and sculptures at the Gunnersbury Park Museum, I knew I wanted Robert to take a pass at making FICTS something more tangible.

And so, over a few pints of perry in Brighton one sunny afternoon, I asked the great man, and he humbly agreed to do an initial 20.  A few months later, and the first 20 arrived, and…oh my deary me…they were spectacular!  As you have seen on this here blog, the design work, the originality, the humour, the intricate details…all of it contrived to make FICTS jump off the page and become real!  Where does someone get such abilities?  I am sure there is some hocuspocus involved (or spaniels at the very least!)

So, we had the perfect protfolio to show FICTS off to the world…to you via the blog, and to potential publishers.  And the rest is history, as we now have THE BUMPER BOOK OF FICTS, with 89 fully-fledged FICTS within its covers.  A 96-page hardbacked joy.  We are published through a small publisher at the moment, but we hope to get the book into wider circulation as soon as we can.  But in the meantime, it is available exclusively via the internet and it is already selling well.

So…back to today and the launch.  In fact, it is a double launch day for Robert.  At lunchtime he is appearing at the fabulous Forbidden Planet superstore in central London where he is signing copies of his latest novel “The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions” and then popping to the pub with friends and fans for much toot-talking.  And then this evening he’ll be joining me, and a host of Rankin fans and friends in lovely Brentford (West London and spiritual home of all Rankinites) to officially launch our FICTS book.  All the details are below…EVERYONE is welcome, just turn up and say hi!  We’ll have books there to buy, and we’ll sign each one AND add an exclusive bookplate.  In addition, the Rankin fanclub will be running an auction/raffle in which you could win some rather tasty rare items (including a cast-signed Brightonomicon poster) and something rare relating to FICTS.

I am VERY excited about tonight an hope to see a lot of old and new friends.  A night in the pub with Robert and the gang is always fantastic, but this should be a once in a lifetime experience.  I really hope you can join us.

Woohoo!

DETAILS

7pm – late – The Magpie & Crown Pub, 128 High Street, Brentford

MAP – CLICK HERE

Celebrating Pope-day…FICTS Style

The Pope-bloke is UK bound for a few days…and we’d be remiss if we didn’t give you at least one Pope-related FICT…so here it is:

P.S.  Don’t forget that “The BUMPER Book of FICTS” is now available to buy – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

A New FICT for ‘Follow Friday’!

It’s another fabulous Follow Friday and so, to help bring mirth and merriment, here’s another brand new FICT from myself and the master of the pen, Mr Robert Rankin!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT (AND BUY!) THE BUMPER BOOK OF FICTS

Another New FICT!

To keep enticing you to buy “The Bumper Book of FICTS” (just £10 for UK buyers and £12.50 for international buyers) here’s another all new FICT for you to love and cherish.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT (AND BUY!) THE BUMPER BOOK OF FICTS

A Brand-New Bank Holiday FICT!

Hi all…with “The Bumper Book of FICTS” now available for purchase, I thought it would be nice to give you a taste of some of the many new FICTS you have yet to encounter.  So here is FICT #2 ‘Scary Monsters’…enjoy!

If you would like to buy a copy of “The Bumper Book of FICTS”, 96 pages, hardbacked, by Robert Rankin (yes, THE Robert Rankin!) and Neil Gardner…it costs just £10.00 + p&p. We’ll even sign it for you! You can get it by CLICKING ON THIS LINK HERE!

HOWEVER…if you are in London, UK on Sat Sept 18th, we will be holding a launch/signing event in Brentford in the evening (following the launch/signing event for Robert’s latest novel ‘The Japanese Devilfish Girl & Other Unnatural Attractions’ at Forbidden Planet at lunchtime).  Come along, drink beer, talk toot, meet us and buy a copy or two of the book, get it signed and get an exclusive bookplate too!

The Bumper Book of FICTS – Out Now!

I’ve finally managed to get my very first book published! A collaboration with best-selling author and the father of far-fetched fiction, Robert Rankin. The Bumper Book of FICTS is a beautifully illustrated 96 page hard-backed feast of fun and silliness and is available for you to buy now, exclusively from Ladbroke Productions & RAGA Publishing! Here’s everything you need to know, and a wee BUY IT NOW button to click:

The world is an amazing place, chock full of facts wherever you look, in plain view for all to enjoy.  And then there are the fictions, those oh-so-cheerful nuggets of the fantastical that float around us like clouds.  Now, after years of research, field trips and evenings in the pub, Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin can unveil the previously unknown third form of reality…the FICTS!

Somewhere between fact and fiction is where you will find the FICTS, nestling in unusual locations, like amazing Easter eggs, just waiting to be discovered, unwrapped and enjoyed.  They are non-facts, meta-fiction, something somewhere in between but at the same time co-existing in a realm of ‘almost-truth’.
The reading of FICTS is perfectly safe, having been rigorously tested in laboratory conditions by leading literary-scientist-boffins across the globe (this may not be true!).  The only side-effects are:

  • A need to giggle regularly
  • A feeling FICTS may actually be facts
  • A desire to live in a world where FICTS are reality
  • A need to giggle some more and then show them to a friend

Be warned though…once you open your senses to FICTS you will start to see them all around you.  DO NOT be tempted to approach them, photograph them or blog about them.  The authors are expert in the collection, collating and reporting of FICTS.  Leave it to the professionals because one mis-step may leave you trapped in a FICT forever!

The Little Book of FICTS is written by award-winning radio writer, producer & director Neil Gardner, and illustrated by best-selling award-winning fantasy/humour author, and Father of Far-Fetched Fiction, Robert Rankin.

To buy the book simply CLICK HERE to visit the official Ladbroke Productions FICTS page, where you will be taken to the secure and safe PAYPAL service. Delivery is by first-class post and should take between 3 and 7 days.

COST – £10.00 per book – POSTAGE – £1.50 per book

If you would like the book signed, please leave a note to this effect when ordering 🙂

Don’t Forget The FICTS!

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

With all the excitement from the recent spate of audiobook releases you may have thought I’d forgotten about the FICTS, those wee scamps of non-fact that we all know and love…

Well, they are currently pupating, going through some major changes, and I hope that very soon I can announce their all new look/feel/smell etc…

But for now, may I just point you in the direction of the FICTS BLOG?  You can go there right now by CLICKING HERE.

Enjoy!

The BIG PAIR Podcast #5 – Welcome, Mr Rune!

Big-Pair-podcast-image-150

JUST CLICK THE BIG PLAY BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THE PODCAST!

The BIG PAIR Podcast is back with episode 5, and this time we are giving you a complete FREE episode of the highly popular “The Brightonomicon” audio series starring legendary actor David Warner. Not only that but there is the result of our Doctor Who “The Last Dodo” competition, AND a whole new super-sized competition to enter.

Also in this episode:

* The Adventures of Dave Crampon pt 2
* A Spot Of Poetry
* Real People
* Jingles a go go!
* Shameless pimping

Places, people and things worth checking out:

THE BLOG – https://hokusbloke.wordpress.com
TWITTER – http://www.twitter.com/hokusbloke
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/radiobloke

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THE BRIGHTONOMICON – http://tinyurl.com/yzz4qs9
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 1 – http://tinyurl.com/yjbqnny
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 2 – http://tinyurl.com/yhdn9ub
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 3 – http://tinyurl.com/yj4gwvy
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 4 – http://tinyurl.com/yh4hjyd
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 5 – http://tinyurl.com/yzzkacp
Dr WHO THE FOREVER TRAP – http://tinyurl.com/yg2rgll
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE SHADOW PEOPLE – http://tinyurl.com/ygsu8ky
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE WHITE WOLF – http://tinyurl.com/ylex8ee

 

THE INSIDEOUTCAST – http://insideoutcast.mevio.com/
BOXROOM PODCAST – http://theboxroom.mevio.com/
SCIFI LONDON PODCAST – http://www.sci-fi-london.com/audio

Enjoy, share the links and enter the competition!!  Don’t forget, you can also subscribe via iTunes and get each new episode automatically.  Just clicky the button below:

Neil Gardner - The BIG Pair Podcast - The BIG Pair Podcast

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The Poetry Pirate in HD!

OK, the Poetry Pirate has used a few of his pieces of eight and bought an HD camcorder.  Let’s see if the higher resolution helps with the appalling poetry?!

Just clicky the HD button to see it in full HD…don’t be scared 🙂

The Poetry Pirate Has Boarded!

He’s a pirate…he reads poetry…come on people, it’s not that hard to understand!!!  Here’s his first foray into the poetry reading world…”The Quest”…

Welcome to “Flat Life”

All new silliness from me…this is FLAT LIFE, charting the travails of being a 2D shape in a 3D world!  Every week a new FLAT LIFE will pop up as if by magic, here at the blog, so do keep coming back 🙂

FLAT LIFE #001 – “2D Troubles!” starring Box-boy

(c) Neil Gardner, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner, 2009

Fancy Trying Your Hand At a Fan FICT? Maybe win a prize?!

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

Since I have over 200 FICTS ready to go, and as the FICTS we’ve shown you so far have been well received, I thought it might be nice to offer YOU the chance to create a FICT of your own!

So, below you will find 10 unillustrated FICTS.  Pick ONE and have a go at illustrating it.  Please stick to the style we have set i.e. the FICT is within a circle. Once your FICT is finished, post a link to it as a comment here and I will post them up on the Blog.

There will be a prize for the Fan FICT the readers vote as the best!!! A personally signed, first edition FICT poster.  Signed by myself and the god of far-fetched fiction and FICT illustrating, Robert Rankin!

So get those black pens out and start drawing.  I advise using an A4 sized piece of paper as this will allow for maximum clarity once we have it scanned in.  Then save as a hi-quality JPEG or PNG file, and reduce it down to 900 pixels wide.  This seems to be the optimum size for the blog, and allows us to reduce it or scale up with no lack of quality.

GOOD LUCK!

Here’s the FICTS:

  1. The mild mannered moth will, if given half a chance, munch his way through a kilogram of Russian literature a day
  2. Staggeringly you can twist the average blue tit through 360 degrees and all you will get in response from the bird is mild giggling
  3. In certain winds, schools of fish can be seen wearing flying goggles and those natty white wind-swept scarves
  4. Sausages were first discovered by Dr Littlejohn-Saint-Smithens-Smythington-Jones, on a river trip up the Amazon in 1867.  It was about 4.30 in the afternoon and he was trailing his fingers in the water when all of a sudden he was bitten, by the South American Lesser Jumping Sausage.  Following emergency surgery, the doctor went on to discover sausages living a predatory lifestyle in rivers across the globe!
  5. Lumberjacks like to eat more than their fair share of toilet rolls.  Lucky then that when they pass wind it results in gales of Andrex puppies
  6. If left undisturbed in its natural environment, the Peruvian Fruit bat can grow to be a little over 312 miles long. Staggering considering it remains only 1 centimetre wide!
  7. The Great White Shark, most feared of all the sea’s predators, can knit three or four long-sleeved sweaters a week. It specialises in mittens though
  8. Frank D Elbow was the last man to see the Bavarian Licking Bear first hand and close up.  After the encounter he said he felt ‘somewhat violated but invigorated’
  9. During a time of crises you can avoid the cost of a psychiatrist by talking through your problems with a giraffe.  They are great listeners and have answers to most of the big emotional issues that plague us today
  10. Doves like a good laugh…they also write drafts of chick-flick movies.  None have been green lit yet, but the doves live in hope.

N.B. The competition is open for 2 weeks, and closes on Sat 29th August 2009.  All work remains the (c) of the person who posted it. Anyone of any age can enter.  The illustration MUST be your own work.  Any theft or misuse of (c) material will lead to that person being disqualified and blocked. NO offensive language or explicit images. The competition will be judged via a blog poll during the week 29th August to 5th September 2009.  In the event of a tie, the final winner will be chosen by Neil Gardner.  The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.  This competition is meant as entertainment and fun. By entering the competition and posting links to your images you consent to allowing Neil Gardner and Robert Rankin to use your images in relation to FICTS on this blog and on other blogs and websites, as well as on social networking sites such as, but not limited to Twitter and Facebook.

FICTS So Far…

It’s been 2 weeks of FICT-Filled fabulousness, and it seems they are going down well.  So, since it’s the weekend and no new FICTS are due until Monday, I thought I would do a few FICT-based things to fill the gap.  So first off, here’s a compilation of the FICTS we’ve seen so far…have YOU seen them all yet? (Ooh, it’s a bit like Pokemon?!).  Clicky an image to jump to the relevant Blog page to see the FICT in its full-sized glory:

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

Guitars

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin (2009)

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin (2009)

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner @ Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner @ Robert Rankin, 2009

Somewhere Between Fact & Fiction You Will Find…FICTS! #7

Good Dawkins, we are already at FICT #7!

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

(c) Neil Gardner & Robert Rankin, 2009

Blog Cover 2

In my time as a radio presenter and producer I have written many short-form comedy items, but the one that was the most popular by far, and kept popping back at every station and on every show I worked on was something called ‘101 Interesting But Blatantly Untrue Facts’.  Over the years I have thought about trying to get these surreal and ridiculous little non-facts published as one of those little books you see by the tills in bookstores.  And then in early 2008 a publisher friend suggested I add illustrations to the book, to make it more appealing.  Who did I know who was an ace illustrator?  Who other than best-selling author of far fetched fiction Robert Rankin!  I sent the full list of 200+ non-facts to Robert and asked if he would illustrate a few IF he found the idea funny enough.  Well, he did, and so far he has produced 20 sample illustrations, all of which are, frankly, superb.

Blog Cover 1_5I have put together a sample book and have been taking it around various publishers and agents for the past 6 months.  I am also trying to get the now retitled FICTS (part fact part fiction…Robert’s very good idea) into a national newspaper as a weekly cartoon.  Whatever happens, I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of them here first.

So, every weekday, for the next 4 weeks, there will be a DAILY FICT for you to feast your eyes upon!  If you enjoy them, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE recommend this blog to friends and family, mention it on Twitter and Facebook, and if you know anyone who might be interested in publishing the book or use FICTS in a magazine, do send them our way.

Do please leave comments and feedback, links to other interesting blogs, and do also please vote on whether you like the FICTS or not using the 5-star ratings at the top of the page!

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