Announcing the “Rip-Off!” Audio Anthology: You Pick the Cover

I’m not sure I mentioned this here before, but I am one of the authors featured in a new audio anthology called Rip-Off! that’s coming from Audible this December 18th. The idea behind the anthology is kind of cool: noted science fiction and fantasy authors take the first line of a well-known work of literature and from that spin off a whole new story. It’s edited by the estimable Gardner Dozois. Here’s the line up of authors and their stories:

  • “Fireborn” by Robert Charles Wilson
  • “The Evening Line” by Mike Resnick
  • “No Decent Patrimony” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “The Big Whale” by Allen M. Steele
  • “Begone” by Daryl Gregory
  • “The Red Menace” by Lavie Tidhar
  • “Muse of Fire” by John Scalzi
  • “Writer’s Block” by Nancy Kress
  • “Highland Reel” by Jack Campbell
  • “Karin Coxswain”, or, “Death as She Is Truly Lived” by Paul Di Filippo
  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air” by Tad Williams
  • “Declaration” by James Patrick Kelly

Also, before you ask, yes, my story in this anthology is read by Wil Wheaton. Because Wil’s awesome that way, that’s why. Other narrators include Scott Brick, Stefan Rudnicki, Allyson Johnson and Dina Pearlman. It’s a great line-up of writers and narrators, basically.

And there’s an audience participation portion: Audible wants you to choose which of the three proposed covers up there you like the best. Follow this link to the contest’s Facebook entry to cast your vote. Remember, go to that link, don’t leave your votes here, because leaving your votes here won’t count. And then you’ll be sad.

More details about this anthology are forthcoming; I’ll keep you up to date on it.

21 Comments on “Announcing the “Rip-Off!” Audio Anthology: You Pick the Cover”

  1. I have yet to get into this newfangled Audible thing, even though I’m a fan of your work and of Wil Wheaton and I think the combination would be awesome. I’m a voracious reader, though (your Big Idea thing is great for that). Will this anthology be available in paper or as an eBook? Because that’s a killer line-up.

  2. As I’d gotten a lot of Facebook comments about last year, when I completed my intenive sti=udy on the matter, and I figure that neither John Scalzi nor I need or want comments on now:
    OPENING SENTENCES: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1
    [The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time, Chosen by the Science Fiction Writers of America, edited by Robert Silverberg, Doubleday, 1970]
    compiled by Jonathan Vos Post, 4-5 Sep 2011; Table of Contents appended 6 Sep 2011

    “Jarvis stretched himself as luxuriously as he could in the cramped quarters of the Ares.” [1]

    “‘Speaking of hitch-hikers,’ said Jim Bendell in a rather bewildered way, ‘I picked up a man the other day that certainly was a queer one.’” [2]

    “I am an old man now, but I can still see Helen as Dave unpacked her, and still hear him gasp as he looked her over.” [3]

    “‘What makes the roads roll’” [4]

    “Here is a story about a man who had too much power, and a man who took too much, but don’t worry; I’m not going political on you.” [5]

    “‘If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!’ – Emerson” [6]

    “The village at night made a curiously timeless picture.” [7]

    “There’s no use trying to describe Unthahorsten or his surroundings. Because, for one thing, a good many million years had passed since 1942 Anno Domini, and, for another, Unthahorsten wasn’t on Earth, technically speaking.” [8]

    “The drizzle sifted from the leaden skies, like smoke drifting through the bare-branched trees.” [9]

    “Carson opened his eyes, and found himself looking upwards into a flickering blue dimness.” [10]

    “Tommy Dort went into the captain’s room and said: ‘I’m through, sir. These are the last two pictures I can take.’” [11]

    “Margaret reached over to the other side of the bed where Hank should have been.” [12]

    “Martel was angry.” [13]

    “The ship came down from space.” [14]

    “Old Dr. Full felt the winter in his bones as he limped down the alley.” [15]

    “X—This day when it had light mother called me retch.” [16]

    “The coupe with the fishhooks welded to the fender shouldered up over the curb like the nose of a nightmare.” [17]

    “The Bishop of Rome, the head of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Vicar of Christ on Earth—in short, the Pope—brushed a cockroach from the filth-encrusted wooden table, took another sip of the raw red wine, and resumed his discourse.” [18]

    “Dr. Chatvieux took a long time over the microscope, leaving la Ventura with nothing to do but look out at the dead landscape of Hydrot.” [19]

    “‘This is a slightly unusual request,’ said Dr. Wagner, with what he hoped was commendable restraint.” [20]

    “Aunt Amy was out on the front porch, rocking back and forth in the highbacked chair and fanning herself, when Bill Soames rode his bicycle up the road and stopped in front of the house.” [21]

    “He was not alone.” [22]

    “He doesn’t know which of us I am these days, but they know one truth.” [23]

    “The attendant at the car lot was daydreaming when I pulled up—a big, lazy-looking man in black satin chequered down the front.” [24]

    “progris riport 1—martch 5, 1965.” [25]

    “I was busy translating one of my Madrigals Macabre into Martian on the morning I was found acceptable.” [26]

    How many of these could you identify? Sometimes it is Sentence #2 that veers hard from the mundane. Sometimes it is the last sentence which pulls the pin from the grenade.

    Those stories, my wife agreed, changed us from readers into writers.

    — Jonathan Vos Post
    The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964 is a 1970 anthology of science fiction short stories, edited by Robert Silverberg. It is generally considered one of the best, if not the best, of the many science fiction anthologies. Author Lester del Rey said that “it even lives up to its subtitle.” It was first published by Doubleday and subsequently reprinted by Orb.
    The content of the book was decided by a vote of the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America, choosing among short stories (up to 15,000 words long) that predated the Nebula Awards. The top 15 vote-getters were included; Silverberg then used his judgment, rather than the number of votes, in selecting 11 of the next 15 for a total of 26 stories. (Several authors had two stories in the top 30 vote-getters, but no author is represented twice in the collection.) “Nightfall” was chosen as the best short story, followed by “A Martian Odyssey” and “Flowers for Algernon”.
    In 1973, it was followed by The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time. Further volumes were published, consisting of early Nebula winners, thus straying outside the original “pre-Nebula” concept.

  3. I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook, and thus cannot vote, but FWIW, cover #3 is the clear winner in my eyes. It’s not even close.

    A very good friend of mine is an audiobook reviewer, and she adores when WW narrates your stuff. There’s a definite synergy at work between your writing and his reading/acting.

  4. I’ll make the case for cover #4. It has the outline and main figures of some very famous painting, say, from Lascaux Cave’s Palaeolithic cave paintings, or Picasso, or the Sistine Chapel, and is then completed by a contemporary artist, with a science fiction flair. Or flare-gun. Or flagon of dragon blood. With John Scalzi riding the giant sloth.

  5. I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook, and thus cannot vote, but FWIW, cover #3 is the clear winner in my eyes. It’s not even close.


  6. Cover or no cover, I look forward to seeing how you ascend the brightest heaven of invention.

  7. I really hope it comes out in print. I absolutely despise listening to books. Wen I go blind, maybe. But not until then.

  8. to repeat what others have probably said [i’m in a rush…]

    will it be in print? i mean, yeah, the Wheaton’s cool, but i can’t do audio books. it’s not the *same* [whine, whine, my first world problems]

    print would be awesome. hell, i’d pay for both to get it in print!

  9. “You Pick the Cover” — as long as you’re willing to let Facebook suck up all the data of your life and the lives of everyone you sort of know.

    3 seems to be ahead, as it should be.

    I will buy this if it comes out in digital or print. I can’t pay attention to e-books, no matter who’s reading.

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