Friday, March 25, 2016

A few recommendations

As many of you know, from July 2010 until December 2015, I was the campus CIO at the University of Minnesota Morris, a residential liberal arts university in rural Minnesota. While it was a great campus and we did a lot of wonderful work there, one thing I won't miss is the driving. You see, Morris is a three hour drive from the Twin Cities. That's a significant distance when my wife lived in the Twin Cities and I lived and worked in Morris.

So I did a lot of driving. To pass the time, I listened to audiobooks. On my Coaching Buttons blog, I shared a few of my favorite audiobook recommendations. I thought I'd share those here.

First, a comment on my audiobook preferences. I like science fiction and strong drama. I prefer full-cast performances over traditional readings, although I listen to both. A year or so before moving to Morris, I discovered Big Finish, which had the license to make new audio stories based on the classic Doctor Who television program. They do other stories too, but I am a huge Doctor Who nerd. So it's no surprise almost all of my recommendations are Big Finish productions.

Mine is a very long list, but I have condensed my recommendations to just those must-have stories that I listen to all the time. Click the links for the much longer lists of my favorites.

Traditional audiobooks, full-cast audio plays, and spin-offs from Doctor Who.

A few highlights:
UNIT, series 1
A spin-off from Doctor Who, but you don't need to have seen the show to enjoy this. More closely related to X-Files, this is about a military unit that investigates unexplained encounters.

Blake's 7, series 1
A continuation of the classic British sci-fi show, about a small group of renegades fighting against an oppressive galactic government.

A compelling audio series about survival after a devastating plague wipes out almost all life on earth. Not for the casual listener, Survivors features adult content and situations.
The well-known BBC science fiction program, Doctor Who, featuring the original cast.

A few highlights:
Spare Parts
The origins of the Cybermen, featuring Peter Davison as the 5th Doctor.

Seasons of Fear
Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor, featuring new companion Charlotte (Charley) Pollard.

Dalek Empire, series 1–2
Another spin-off from Doctor Who, following the Daleks as they conquer the human race, and our struggle for freedom.

I, Davros
About the creator of the Daleks, this tells the story of Davros as a young man during the Thousand Year War.

Cyberman, series 1
One more spin-off from Doctor Who, about Earth at war with their own android creations in Orion, and leveraging captured Cyberman technology in a bid for victory.

Sword of Orion
A prequel to the Cyberman series, featuring the 8th Doctor and Charley.

And I'm glad to share that Big Finish doesn't use DRM. These are available in plain MP3 or audiobook, or you can purchase on CD and rip to your preferred format.

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