Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Mindwebs: Short Stories from the Worlds of Speculative Fiction

Last night I finished Penguin's The Call of Cthulhu the anthology of H.P. Lovecraft stories I mentioned a few posts back, and for one final bit of cosmic weirdness before I break from Lovecraft I took a listen to Mindweb's radio production of his 1919 story Beyond the Wall of Sleep a tale of extra-terrestrial possession from another dimension... Running from 1975-1984, and broadcast weekly out of WHA Radio in Wisconsin, Mindwebs was a sort of halfway house between sci-fi radio dramatizations like Dimension X and X-Minus One and "a book at bedtime" program.

Each 30min episode of Mindwebs features the relaxed easy-going voice of Michael Hanson reading from the short stories of science fiction and fantasy heavyweights like Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick among others. Accompanying Hanson's voice is an eclectic selection of music - from Samuel Barber to Tangerine Dream - and a battery of sound effects (or technical operations as Hanson credits them in each episode's sign-off). Of the 169 episodes, 135 are available to stream or download at the Internet Archive. The sound quality of these recordings is generally very good, but shouldn't be judged against official audio books - there are some occasional sound drop outs, tape hiss and other anomalies but given the rarity of these shows, this is a minor complaint. Sadly, given the amount of copyrighted music there's little chance that the Mindwebs archive will be remastered for an official release, so grab this extraordinary collection while its available. (The Dimension X and X Minus One collections are highly recommended also)

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