Episode 259 – Illuminating Swordspoint’s Daring-Do with Ellen Kushner and Sue Zizza

Swordspoint Audio DramaWith the New Year upon us, we seek to capture one last audio gem from 2011: the new illuminated audiobook Swordspoint, directed and produced by Sue Zizza and narrated by the author, Ellen Kushner. This dashing audio adventure is further complemented by a full suite of actors including Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, Robert Fass, Nick Sullivan, and Simon Jones.

We speak Sue and Ellen to learn more about the genesis of this enchanting title and the peculiarities of combining a single narrator with a full cast, and how you go about picking the best scenes to render when you have 11 hours of material to work with.  The resulting work merit high praise, including these words from Neil Gaiman: “throughout the entire book’s soundscapes you will hear the cadences of the marketplace, the music of the drawing rooms, and of course the ring of steel drawn from the scabbard.”

We even get a taste of swordsplay before our show wraps today.  First up, a review from Captain Radio of the UK sci fi audio serial, Golden Age.

  • Rob

    Some of the Star Trek and Star Wars audio books have sound effects on them. They have done that for awhile now. 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for sharing! I haven’t heard any of the Star Trek/Star Wars audiobooks. How do the SFX/multivoice performances sound? Does it work for you as a listener?

    – Fred

  • Fred – 

    Any of the NPR Star Wars are fantastic, and recommended.  Any of the later Star Wars material (audiobooks) that I’ve heard, however, are horrible.  SFX can’t make up for horrible reader cadence and poor direction.

  • Anonymous


    Yes, the NPR Audio *drama* of Star Wars was/is fantastic – I was curious whether any of the current audiobook titles compare… it sounds like – ehhh maybe not. While we’ve never talked about it much on the show, that era of NPR produced radio drama is perhaps my favorite moment in the whole history of audio theater – lots of interesting things were happening with new production techniques that weren’t available in the golden age. Folks like Tom Lopez, Yuri Rasovsky were appearing, the BBC was making their way and there was NPR! Ahhh, but we have a different and very uniquely interesting revival happening now

    – Fred