By Daniel Dern: Got some eye/ear time available? Here’s a few that don’t require reaching for your wallet (assuming you still own and use a wallet).
SCHMIGADOON (Apple Plus TV)
If you like Broadway musicals with a strong dash of snark, you’ll probably love this quasi-fourth-wallish musical comedy spoof — great songs, great dance, great actors. So far (as of August 1), four of the six half-hour episodes are up.
Apple Plus TV is $4.95/month (and, like Display+ and HBO Max, among others, you can let several people share your account).
Meridithilly, (currently), all premiere episodes of Apple Plus series are available free without you having to even join…and you can get a free one-trial. So you could wait a fortnight and catch them all. (Of course, if you’re going to want to watch Foundation, or have already been Ted Lasso‘ing, etc., this advice is moot.)
THE SANDMAN (Audible)
I don’t consider myself an audio-book fan (versus the megahours of music, Firesign Theater, NPR segments, etc that I ebibe, along with enjoying author readings in person and Zoomed), but a friend not only recommended the ensemble Audible of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (which I read as the comics came out, one by one, and periodically re-read my trade paperback versions of), and, so far, I’m enjoying it.
Gaiman is doing the narration; the all-star cast includes James McAvoy as Morpheus (Dream), Kat Dennings as Death, Andy Serkis as Matthew the Raven, among others.
I reserved the ten-CD, 10 hour 55 minute set through my library, but a friend re-urged me to simply go through Audible — The Sandman by Neil Gaiman — who currently offers this for free — it’s listed as “free sample” but at least for now, it’s the whole thing. A price that’s hard to beat. (My friend says “No Audible account needed” (or maybe that’s “no need to give any payment info” — I appear to already have four other Audible things on my phone, in the app that’s clearly been sitting there for a few years.)
(I don’t see this on HooplaDigital.com, though there’s a dozen or so other Gaiman audiobooks — and the comic book collections are all there, under e-books…)
This set covers the first three book collections of Sandman’s 75 issues.
“Act II” is apparently coming out mid-August.
The mix of Gaiman’s narration, the voices, plus SFX and music, are (so far– I’m early on) well done and feel true to the words-and-images source. I can’t say or even guess what the experience would be for somebody who hasn’t read (which, for comics, includes looking at, of course) the original comics (or listening first and then reading). (Let me know!)
HOOPLADIGITAL BONUS BORROWS FOR AUGUST
Hoopla’s digital book/comic, audio and video loans already don’t cost anything — but you’re limited per month to whatever your library’s arrangement is with Hoopla. (Although if you can also accounts with additional Hoopla-partnering libraries, you can up your monthly borrows that way.)
“Bonus Borrows,” first introduced somewhere in the last year so, however, don’t count against your monthly quota — here’s https://www.hoopladigital.com/collection/13534 the batch that Hoopla just added.
HUNDREDS OF SKIFFY AND OTHER “MEGAPACK” COLLECTIONS
Megapack collections are hundreds-to-thousand page collections of sf and other stuff, by authors known and lesser-known, mostly of older stuff, but some, I’m seeing, have new stories, interviews, and other materials. Lots of author and thematic SF (and pulp, detective, western, etc.) anthologies.
On Amazon/Kindle, these e-collections are inexpensive, periodically in the Meredith Moment range (a buck or three), making them inexpensive, ahem, Kindling to make sure you’ve got enough back-up reading material for a long trip…or a relaxing weekend.
Hoopla (hoopladigital.com), it turns out/I’ve just discovered, has bunches of said megapacks — https://www.hoopladigital.com/search?page=1&q=megapack&scope=everything&type=direct — Free! (Only requirement: You need a card/account with a public library that partners with Hoopla — and each library determines how many items a patron can borrow per month. Borrows auto-return if you don’t release them sooner, so you can’t run up overdue or “lost” fines.)
A quick look at the search results from the URL shows megapack titles including: Harry Harrison, Fredric Brown, Edgar Pangborn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, H. Beam Piper, Jane Austen, R.A.Lafferty, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack London science fiction, and topicals including Cthulhu Mythos, Robot, Whodunit?, Fantasy, Utopia, Steampunk, Mystery, Sea-Story, Vampire, Great American Novel, Space Opera…the task of filling up your list…
Tip: “Favorite” (“heart”) the ones you want, to keep track, and then judiciously borrow based on how much time you think you’ll have to e-consume.