This document is in two main parts: comments and ZBS's address.
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ZBS (a not-for-profit organization) produces some fantastic radio plays. Although I hate Dreams of Rio and have been disappointed by the Travels With Jack series, I heartily recommend almost every radio play they make -- especially Ruby 3. I do not work for ZBS. These opinions are not to be taken internally. Your mileage may vary.
In 1999 I began to think that the sort of stories I like just can't be compressed into the two hour format of many of the later ZBS stories. It seems to me that in place of plot the author (let's call him Meatball) has been playing with different story structures. I appreciate structure -- I am into hypertext after all -- but I miss the engaging and fulfilling plots. And I am disappointed in what I see as retroactive changes to the character of Teru.
Here are my comments on their two main series: Ruby & Jack Flanders.
Ruby is in The Science Fiction Audio Hall of Fame for Best Science Fiction of 1982! Ruby 3 was produced in 1990 and 1991.
Ruby 3 (part two) is engaging and entertaining. As with all the Rubys, it has several morals and some amusing cultural references. If you have an interest in classical mythology then you will be interested in their adaption of the myth of the Enki. (Yup, the same Enki as in Neil Stephenson's book Snow Crash -- but Ruby was out first.)
You can jump right into Ruby 3 (part two) without listening to part one. All you need to know is explained at the beginning. It does help to know that Mojo was a character in the Jack Flanders story Moon over Morocco though. Although the best way to approach Ruby 3 (part two) is to listen to the first Ruby and then Ruby 3 (part one). Do not listen to Ruby 2 unless you are a die-hard fan. It's fun, but the overly elaborate sounds make it almost as difficult to follow as the many divergences.
The Fourth Tower of Inverness is still current more than 20 years since it was first released. Not as fast-paced as Ruby, nor as slick but packed with more levels of meaning, humour and stimulating thought.
The only thing better is Moon over Morocco. But that is 10 hours long and the overlapping sound effects make it hard to pick up all the detail. I think it is worth it though.
You want a second opinion? Jerry Stearns and Signal have some things to say about ZBS tales too.
There is a discussion forum about ZBS stuff at eGroups.
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In case you have trouble with ZBS's homepage here is their address:
This document is copyright by its author, J. Blustein.