Starship Sofa (mp3)
Length: 54 min (starts at 12 min in of a 1.5 hr episode)
Reader: Richie Smith
The story: I was a bit disappointed by this story. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. His works, from the Sandman comics, to American Gods, to The Graveyard Book, are filled with mind-blowing ideas and a personality that is both grotesquely horrific and charmingly idealistic. When I heard that he had a story on StarShip Sofa AND the story had won the Locus Poll Award for Best Novellette, I had high expectations.
Those expectations were not met, but this is still a good story. It starts out simply: A man, small in stature, has lost a daughter. He seeks a guide to take him to the Misty Isle where there is legendary treasure in a cave. Along the way, secrets about both the man and his guide come to the surface, leading to a much more dangerous journey than it would first appear to be. The journey format seems to drag the story out longer than it should to an ending which is predicable, but satisfying. This is one of Gaiman's less memorable stories, but is a Gaiman story and that's quality enough.
Rating: 7 /10
The reader: Richie Smith is a superb reader for this story. He has a clear voice that's easily understood. There's not much emotion in his voice, but that may be because this story is rather understated. The recording is well produced. Besides the main story, the podcast contains some additional commentary on science fiction and a old radio play. Tony, the host of Starship Sofa, has put together an excellent podcast. If it's not on your weekly listening list already, it should be.