James P Kelly's "Burn" short sf novel podcast concludes

The entirety of Burn, a wonderful short science fiction novel, is now available as an audiobook podcast.

Back in November, I blogged about Hugo-award-winning author James Patrick Kelly's podcasting of his new short novel Burn, one chapter per week, for sixteen weeks.

Burn is the story of Prosper Gregory Leung, a native of a techno-primitive utopian planet called Walden, a planet that was purchased by a wealthy industrialist who turned it into a primitivist state modeled on Thoreau's book, chasing off the Pukpuks, the original settlers whose industrial civilization had denuded the planet's native flora and fauna. The Waldeners sign onto a covenant to eschew most technology — including all the amazing, life-extending, faster-than-light magic of the universe outside of Walden — except for genetically modified fast-growing forests that they use to replant the world, remaking it into a verdant and tranquil paradise.

But the Pukpuks aren't all content to be driven away. Some of them take to the hills, and attack Walden's forests and towns with firebombs that create the Burn, an ongoing, raging fire-fight that licks at the world's vegetation.

Leung is a firefighter, a kind of paramilitary role in this world, who has lost his best friend in a Pukpuk attack, and who is recovering in a high-tech hospital where he experiments with a souped up galactic phone that puts him in touch with the High Gregory, a kind of reincarnated Dalai Llama, but weirder and less tranquil, who surprises Leung by showing up with his entourage of prepubescent incarnations of divine powers to "make luck for him."

Like all Jim Kelly stories, Burn wrenches at your heart even as it makes you laugh out loud. I learned everything I know about reading aloud from attending Jim Kelly's readings at science fiction conventions (and he says he learned all he knows from reading to his kids, who are apparently a discriminating audience) and listening to him read Burn is a positive delight. One of my weekly highlights for the past four-or-so-months has been the latest Burn installment, and Jim's wonderful, warm readings of his book. I can't recommend it enough, and now that it's completed, it's the perfect thing to load onto a CD or MP3 player for a long trip or a week's worth of bike rides or workouts at the gym.

Podcast feed link