Frederick Greenhalgh of Radio Drama Revival Truly spirited science fiction in the tradition of grand masters like Isaac Asimov with lush soundscapes reminiscent of Dr. Who if updated for the digital age. The Brad Lanksy series challenges the listener with hard science told through a good story.
Reviews of “Brad Lansky and the Rogue Era”:
The Seattle Star...Music carries much of the mood of the piece, not as background for people who are afraid of silence but rather as independent programmatic music inserted within a larger drama.
Furthermore the piece isn’t afraid to take its time to get where it’s going. The pace is never rushed. If anything it’s as expectant as the story demands. As the piece goes on the characters become more and more desperate and the plot more mysterious, the sounds become quieter and more oblique, more suggestive rather than expressive.
The producers at Protophonic have clearly thought about the audio mis-en-scène down to its finer details. Such care is rare in audio drama, especially in the sci-fi genre. It rewards extra attention... Read the full review here.
Ricky L. Brown of AmazingStoriesMag.com The story is a well-blended mixture of science fiction, mystery, and the social significance of artificial intelligence...
..listeners are provided with an electronic musical score reminiscent of the pioneering sounds Louis and Bebe Barron once brought to us back in 1956 with the popular film Forbidden Planet. This transcending sound also provides a special effect to the story, allowing the listener to be absorbed under an aural blanket. This method will turn listeners into passengers of the journey rather than just being witnesses.
Brad Lansky and the Rogue Era is not just a story to be read or heard, but a work of fiction that is meant to be experienced. For fans of the unique and unexpected, this production will be a new experience that many will want to explore more. Read the full review here.
Scott D. Danielson of SFFaudio I’m running out of adjectives to describe Protophonic’s Brad Lansky series of lush science fiction audio drama. The latest episode is Brad Lansky and the Rogue Era, and it’s another gem.
I admire the Brad Lansky series for a couple of reasons. First and most obvious is the sound. This production is a rich soundscape that invites a listener to settle in, eyes closed.
Again, J.D. Venne (writer) and Dieter Zimmermann (producer) inspire the listener’s imagination by using aural cues instead of description to provide the setting for the story.
Second, the Brad Lansky stories are genuine hard science fiction. Brad Lansky and the Rogue Era opens with a speech given by Dr. Brinn Diaz, an augmented human. She discusses artificial life (a-life) and biological life (b-life). ”B-life has been losing the race since the singularity a millennium ago,” she says. She is both ”project and project architect”, having changed her body in various ways, including raising the number of brains on board to three.
Brad Lansky and Dr. Diaz play an important role in an encounter with an invisible world that hurtles toward Earth, threatening to eliminate b-life for good.
I highly recommend this episode and the whole series. It’s great fun and wonderfully rich unique audio.
Bryan Alexander of bryanalexander.org And what a show was Rogue! I relistened to most of the tracks, partly to tease out details I’d missed because of the richness and density, partly to relive the audioscapes. I enjoyed the space opera aspect. Superb sound production.
Email from a listener Dear Protophonic crew, with a special greeting to Cosmic Dial Tone,
Thank you for this delight! The pdf precis was very helpful when I introduced Brad Lansky to my daughters and your two newest fans, Lara and Annabel. Rogue Era’s release happily coincided with my own successful setup of Airplay at home, and so within minutes of opening your e-mail on Thursday evening our family, some reluctantly at first, was listening attentively. As both an entertaining diversion and as a prompt for educating young minds, it is a GREAT production. Bravo!
After listening to Rogue Era we have had some great conversations about the Singularity Event, the new Anthropocene geological era, climate change, and SETI (here's a good discussion on the controversial 2020 SETI roadmap http://www.teamseti.org/page.aspx?pid=754 ), so apart from its entertainment as a story, I now appreciate its power as an educational tool for children. I really am humbled by the ease with which you succeeded at that in which I so dismally failed.
From a listener on Amazon another episode in JD Venne’s Brad Lansky series and as we have come to expect from Venne it’s a heady mix of adventure and cutting edge science, mixed with some scientific speculation. A planet on a collision course with Earth, conflicts between biological and artificial life forms, a female scientist who has bioengineered herself into something more than human, Cherenkov radiation and conspiracy theories all get a turn on the stage. Its a roller coaster ride that demands attention and it ends with a cliff hanger.. surely there’ll be a further episode?
From a listener on Itunes In the sixth instalment of the meticulously crafted Brad Lansky science fiction audio series, our hero finds himself in an unusual situation - or two.
One: falling in love with a bio-engineered human whose research imperative is prolonging human life on Earth and two: ironically, discovering he may be Earth’s last hope as an invisible planet hurtles right at it!
Navigating space, science, love and the convoluted politics that now exist between humans and artificial intelligence, Brad and the hybrid object of his affection, along with Alex and The Full Advantage (Brad’s ship) set a course for the rogue projectile.
JD Venne once again delivers a science-rich adventure story that exhorts the listener to immerse oneself further through multiple listens. Despite being feature-length, the storytelling is dense, detailed, forward-moving and (through the character performance, sound design and music) sonically rich throughout.
Reviews of “Brad Lansky and the 4D-Verse”:
Scott D. Danielson of SFFaudio Taking up where the previous Brad Lansky title ended, this drama has Brad and Alex exploring the 4D-Verse. They get split up while searching for MAMAI (an artificial intelligence), with Alex moving to a higher dimension while Brad figures how to get him back.
In a previous review I compared a Brad Lansky audio to Meatball Fulton’s Ruby series. This one comes from the same mold. It’s a aural feast from start to finish; among the richest audio you’ll hear.
Another comparison leapt to mind this time: the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not only is the subject matter similar (hard SF involving alien beings), but the tone is similar. Just like Kubrick lingered on shots to allow the viewer time to experience awe, Dieter Zimmerman and crew linger with sound that creates images in the listener’s mind. This is very much a cooperative experience. Break out your best headphones and be prepared to provide imagination.
Jerry Stearns of Great Northern Audio Theatre If you like the Poul Anderson or Isaac Asimov kind of hard-science fiction, then Brad Lansky is for you. It’s a human story where the speculative science plays a part in what happens to Brad and his partner, Alex, and to how they get into and out of trouble. It is an extension of the previous Protophonic production, Brad Lansky and the Anti-Starc, but it’s not necessary to have heard it to know what’s happening, though it can broaden your understanding of relationships.
But even better than the story is the sound. In the movie Alien, the spaceship was made to look beat-up, gritty and industrial. That’s how the music and sound effects are made in this. It gives that feeling of a working environment, not the perfect, plastic passageways of Star Trek. The music is all original and adds that emotional emphasis to the action and the dialogue. I urge you to listen with your best set of headphones, and your imagination will take you right there into the 4-dimensional universe, the 4D-verse.
Thrills and spills in 4D The adventures of Brad Lansky continue -- in this episode he has to deal with fourth dimensional predators, brain implants, an unreliable sidekick, mirror switching and the machinations of devious AIs... it’s a story that references many cutting edge scientific theories: quantum tangling, polydimensional universe theories, carbon based data storage and even time travel... for those who like their stories with a leading edge of hard science. (submitted by a listener on amazon.com)
Reviews of “Brad Lansky and the Anti-STARC”:
Scott D. Danielson of SFFaudio Attention Audiofiles: here is something to sink your ears into. Superior audio design is the hallmark of J.D. Venne’s Brad Lansky audio series, and this latest title (Brad Lansky and the Anti-Starc, the 4th installment) is the best yet. Through rich audio, Venne tells the continuing story of Brad Lansky and his crew, who this time are in search for the cause of the impending destruction of an amazing network of stars.
This audio drama is not your typical fare. The effects, music, and actors combine for an audio experience that reminds me a bit of Meatball Fulton’s Ruby series. Not in subject matter, but in presentation: there and here, the audio is the thing. The sound is as interesting as the story, and Venne’s story is pure hard science fiction. Be sure to use a good set of headphones, and enjoy the ride!
Jerry Stearns of Great Northern Audio Theatre The latest from Protophonic, Brad Lansky and the Anti-STARC, is really packed tight into a full feature-length audio movie. The story content is rich, a lot happens. The science fictional content is heavy and dense, with unexpected ideas piling on top of what’s gone before.
And the audio content is compacted like a neutron star, with music and sounds filling every corner and every inch. It’s way beyond listening while doing something else. Use your good headphones and let yourself watch on the movie screen of your imagination.
Radio Drama Revival ...full-length stylized hard sci-fi excellence
Excellent value - Like the prior Lansky audiobooks the Anti-STARC is kind of hard SF based around a series of discoveries with plenty of aliens, spaceships AIs etc. tempered by hard science. More of a typical Asimov or Star Trek mystery as opposed to a standard laser straight yarn. The story has much higher production values than earlier releases and is supported by an excellent ambient soundtrack which I think should be released as an album in its own right, or perhaps included in the download. The story has a large cast / backstory so listening to the earlier releases is pretty much mandatory to get the bigger picture. Excellent value for five and a bit clams... Submitted by a listener
“Reviews of Brad Lansky and the Face of Eternal Fire”:
Jerry Stearns of Sound Affects and Great Northern Audio Eternal Fire is wonderfully produced and very rich in sound. Protophonic Productions follow in the true tradition of Science Fiction by putting actual recent science in the story. The origin of the term ’Science Fiction’. Good stuff.
Absolutely essential listening for SF fans - This is my third time having the pleasure of listening to Brad Lansky’s adventures. I listened to the whole thing on my commute home and got through a second sitting over the weekend. Fantastic. I would definitely recommend this if you’re interested in science fiction of any kind. Submitted by a listener
Something for every sefhead - This is a hard-sf yarn with lots of backstory thrown in, reminded me a bit of baxter’s stuff -you need to concentrate to follow - this isn’t one for casual listening. Sounds like a home-grown production, with a small and enthusiastic cast, wisecracking humour (which they usually get away with) and backed up with an excellent soundtrack which stands on its own - good for anybody into FSOL, the orb, eat static etc. All in all, great fun. Turn up the bass for the orbital insertion and resultant battle. Submitted by a listener
Almost two years since the last episode but it was worth the wait - there’s nothing else out there like it, SF or otherwsie. Brilliant scene where they journey to a parallel universe. As usual, need to get the background to the tracks from the protophonic.net website or you’ll struggle to follow. The first 2 episodes were a little slow moving but this is actually a slick production - well done protophonic! Now who’s got the vision to make the movie? Submitted by a listener
Awesome SF Audio Adventure! Really enjoyable experience. Listen to it at work, the drive home or put it through the Home Entertainment System and switch the lights off. You are transported to the future into Brad Lanksy’s world, with fantastic sound effects. Submitted by a listener
“Reviews of Brad Lansky and the Alien Engineer”:
Brad Lansky is a great modern classic multi-cast science fiction series. - Ultimate SciFi Radio
Something fresh, at last... - Dim the lights when you listen to this one. Its a spooky gloopy SF adventure, old school with a generous helping of intriguing ideas - heaven for nerds with good headphones. Its content heavy, so recommend listening to the first one to keep up. Worth it either way. Submitted by a listener
The title was so cheesy I had to try it - and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a vintage SF adventure that requires you to pay attention to keep up with a complex plot - this is the second one in the series - haven’t heard the first one, but presume it’s more of the same. Oddly, the story supports the soundtrack which in itself would make a competent ambient album - think Spacetime Continuum with a bit of Aphex Twin. Submitted by a listener
“Reviews of Brad Lansky and the Alien at Planet X”:
Radio Drama Revival ...hauntingly vivid sound...
Scott D. Danielson of SFFaudio At Protophonic, the sound is the thing. Each track Protophonic produces is a rich soundscape that needs to be enjoyed using a pair of good headphones. I also recommend that you give it your full attention. Turn everything off, and let this audio work magic.
As each track starts, the sound sets the scene. More than once, I was surprised by the images in my mind. How easily they appeared in reaction to the sound, and how vivid the scenes were in my imagination. Much to the credit of Protophonic, no time at all is spent in dialogue establishing the setting. Actors never say things like, “My, just look at this blue spaceport!“ The rich audio in cooperation with my imagination provided the setting.
Indeed, Protophonic has trusted the listener with more than a typical audio drama would, and I found it an exhilarating experience. I enjoy the feeling of collaboration, and I like knowing that my mental picture of this story is sure to be different from another listener‘s. It‘s also wonderful that the story both depends on and works with whatever the listener brings to the table.
This first Brad Lansky production opens with a Ship AI (called Echolocator) telling co-pilot Dieter Rothman news of a distress call. Dieter and Captain Sandy Larkin meet at the main control console to discuss the situation, and things get tense quickly. Soon after, at Shanghai Spaceport, Brad Lansky and co-pilot Alex John meet with Zara, a life-form scientist, who tells them that Sandy Larkin is missing. Lansky and John immediately start searching. What follows includes alien life, artificial intelligences, cybernetic persons, and space travel.
In short: Brad Lansky and the Alien at Planet X is a very enjoyable work of science fiction, highly recommended for superior audio presentation.
Semi-lunar canals As a neuron-activating antidote to the numbing quality of Telly, ‘The Alien at Planet X‘ comes to you unreservedly recommended. Albeit redolent of the classic 50‘s style, with a twist by way of the 70‘s, a la Indiana Jones, it is a wholly original action adventure/romp.
The integration of a gripping and intelligent Science Fiction plot, with intriguing electronic music, renders it a reincarnation of ‘Old Time Radio‘ in an entirely modern and engaging format.
If a comparison must be made for this impressively inventive ‘audeo‘, it‘d be safe to describe it as more akin to Star Wars than Star Trek. Computer and Bio-warfare reign and the excitement of exploration for two space travellers easefully stimulates that largely unused area of the imagination. Do yourself a favour and enjoy the endorphin fix: this is aerobics for the cerebellum! . Juanita O.Kelly, Aspen, Colorado. (on amazon.com)
Derek Beda, Ultimate SciFi Radio The music and sound effects quality was outstanding with an involving story. A must listen to all old time radio science fiction buffs.
swamp monsters and cybernetic persons Brad Lansky heading off to rescue his old comrade Sandy Larkin despite the bad blood between them. Throw an electro-organic life form, tailored computer viruses, antique machine guns, a sentient swamp (which feeds on ship computers and rare earth metals), cybernetic persons and Lewis Carroll‘s ‘the Jabberwocky‘ into the mix and what comes out is a gripping science fiction of exploration and derring do.
The tale ends with the voice of the ship, the Full Advantage, preparing to destroy itself if said tailored viruses turn out to have damaged it sufficiently to be a danger to the rest of the civilization. Seastung, Cape Town (on amazon.com)
Bookwire “Brad Lansky and the Alien at Planet X” is not an audio book. It is something much more, an audio play in the vein of 1930s radio dramas such as “Space Patrol“ with a dash of the BBC‘s “The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy“ and a healthy dose of synthesizer music and special effects.
In the same way that rock musician Neil Young‘s soundtrack becomes a character in the movie “Dead Man,“ the superb music and special effects in “Planet X“ take on a life of their own. The music has an ethereal, pulsating, synthesized quality reminiscent of the BBC‘s “Dr. Who.“ The drama includes several musical interludes, each of which induces an almost hypnotic or meditative state.
The special effects are varied and clever. At the Shanghai Spaceport, for instance, an echoing Asian voice can be heard in the background making announcements. Later in the story, as two characters walk on a planet‘s surface, their voices sound tinny inside their spacesuit helmets and are all but drowned out by the hurricane-level winds they struggle against.
Like the old radio dramas that inspired it, “Brad Lansky and the Alien at Planet X“ engages the listener‘s mind and imagination in a way that movies typically do not. It moves at a slower, more thoughtful pace, and perhaps best of all, it tells a story of friendship that can be enjoyed by children and adults.
A happy marriage of SF and electronic music SF fans will enjoy Alien at Planet X, especially those who have a liking for electronic music.
The plot takes time to unfold (much like a typical Clifford D. Simak novel) but listeners are warned that the tempo increases dramatically in the second half as the rescue party finds itself in a number of precarious situations which are not always successfully negotiated.
The star of the story is undoubtedly the soundtrack which is effectively integrated into the plot and dialogue. Ever heard an interstellar spaceship journey? Well you should, and here is your chance...
Defintely worth checking out. WT, London (on amazon.com)
H.G. Wells watch out! Bravo!! What a joy to listen to, brought back childhood memories of listening to the old classic-H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds“. A real must for sci-fi buffs and those who still value the art of listening and using your imagination to conjure up the pictures. Vijay R. Parmar, New York (on amazon.com)