Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #043

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Tree was first published in The Tryout, October 1921.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

SFFaudio Review

skeletonSkeleton Crew
By Stephen King; Narrated by Stephen King, Matthew Broderick, Michael C. Hall, Paul Giamatti, Will Patton, Norbert Leo Butz, Lois Smith, Dylan Baker
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 5 July 2016
[UNABRIDGED] – 22 hours, 37 minutes

Themes: / short stories / horror /

Publisher summary:

The master at his scarifying best! From heart-pounding terror to the eeriest of whimsy – tales from the outer limits of one of the greatest imaginations of our time!

In “The Mist”, a supermarket becomes the last bastion of humanity as a peril beyond dimension invades the earth.

Touch “The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands”, and say your prayers.

There are some things in attics that are better left alone – things like “The Monkey”.

The most sublime woman driver on earth offers a man “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” to paradise.

A boy’s sanity is pushed to the edge when he’s left alone with the odious corpse of “Gramma”.

If you were stunned by Gremlins, the Fornits of “The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet” will knock your socks off.

Trucks that punish and beautiful teen demons who seduce a young man to massacre; curses whose malevolence grows through the years; obscene presences and angels of grace – here, indeed, is a night-blooming bouquet of chills and thrills.

Review:

I’m not generally a fan of short stories, but I am a big fan of Stephen King. I’ve read two collections by him prior to this one: Hearts in Atlantis and Different Seasons. I thought both of them were stronger collections. The main difference is those contain fewer, but longer stories I think.

This one has been on my radar for a long time, in particular because of The Mist, which is the first (and longest) story. It’s actually a Novella, where the rest are short stories. It’s supposed to have “major” ties to his Dark Tower series, and one of the few in that category I haven’t read already. Personally I found it being a “major” connection to be a stretch, especially compared with most of the others. So if like me, you’re wanting to read all the associated works, I personally think you can skip this one without much issue.

There are 3 stories worth calling out for this collection of 22 (although calling 2 of them stories is overly generous). The best story was probably Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut. I thought it was fantastic. I also really enjoyed The Monkey and Gramma.

Paranoid: A Chant and For Owen round out the bottom. I guess if you have little fragments of writing you think are interesting, sticking them in such a large collection is the best way to publish them, but I think the collection would have been stronger without them personally.

As to the rest you can consult my list of ratings below.

Audio
This book has 13 unique narrators, some of them reading several stories. Will Patton, Frances Sternhagen, Paul Giamatti, and Norbert Leo Butz were the best narrators of the group. None of the narrators were bad, but most of them were unmemorable. You can see my full ratings below for each performance.

Ratings
StoryStory RatingNarratorNarrator Rating

The Mist – 3 – Will Patton- 4.5
Here There Be Tygers – 2.5 – Kyle Beltran – 3
The Monkey – 4.5 – Matthew Broderick – 3
Cain Rose Up – 1.5 – Kyle Beltran – 3
Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut – 4.5 – Dana Ivey – 3.5
The Jaunt – 3 – Robert Petkoff – 3
The Wedding Gig – 2.5 – Paul Giamatti – 4
Paranoid: A Chant – 1 – Will Patton – 3
The Raft – 3 – Stephen King – 3
Word Processor of the Gods – 3.5 – Norbert Leo Butz – 3.5
The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands – 2 – Paul Giamatti – 4
Beachworld – 2.5 – Michael C. Hall – 3
The Reaper’s Image – 2 – David Morse – 3
Nona – 3 – Norbert Leo Butz – 3.5
For Owen – 1.5 – David Morse – 3
Survivor Type – 2.5 – Norbert Leo Butz – 3.5
Uncle Otto’s Truck – 3 – David Morse – 3
Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) – 3 – Dylan Baker – 3
Big Wheels: A Tale of The Laundry Game (Milkman #2) – 3 – Dylan Baker – 3
Gramma – 4 – Frances Sternhagen – 4.5
The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet – 3.5 – Michael C. Hall – 3
The Reach – 2.5 – Lois Smith – 3

Review by Rob Zak.

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #397 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa, talk about Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding April-July 1953, 1954, interviews, an expected book, the flyers, up the slope, how Larry Niven borrowed some of this, Meskalanite co-travelers, nothing this heavy, a hard book to read?, stopping to do math, that’s the game, “the game”, an intellectual exercise, the essay: Whilygig World, starting with the world, we’re in a much more character driven era of Science Fiction, a story will emerge, hard SF is out of fashion, Analog is the torchbearer for hard SF, the field has shifted, the post-Campbell era, Prisoners Of Gravity, a dying Frankenstein, an interview with Hal Clement, Benford and such, a TVO thing, Teddog, somewhere in Toronto, thanks Prisoners Of Gravity, much more like a YouTube show than anything on television at that time, a pretty clever trick, Commander Rick, Rick Green, Enrico Gruen, pirate broadcasts, why aliens are in humanoid form, Daniel Richler, the opposite and appropriate angle, a zany talking head show, trying to change the world through Science Fiction, that’s Kim Stanley Robinson, hey that’s Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, escaping the mundane reality of this show, Rick is the humans looking down on the Earth, the people who don’t understand the shape of their world properly, an elongated sphere, the conquistadors landing on the shore, first contact stories, juiced up in Astounding, what about the “prime directive”?, a 2000-year crash course in science, a pirate!, just to get to this probe, uplift, L. Sprague de Camp’s stories set on Krishna, how to overcome problems, pirates of the galaxy!, our worlds are too hot for them, this is the kind of book you’re reading, a creative commons license before there was such a thing, methane seas, Titan’s methane seas, Saturn, TV Tropes, the first novel set on a world outside the solar system that actually is a planet, exoplanets, first exoplanet discovered during WWII, an exercise in answering that question, rafts instead of one big keel, “worldbuilding”, a great novel with a crappy story, basic, heavy handed, damn man, hat’s off, afraid of things above your head, biology, why intelligence would develop, a minimal ecosystem, physics vignettes, so much against what people are reading science fiction for now, The Fifth Season, wouldn’t it be cool if, forcing it in the other way, showing all the implications, the rules, as early as possible, “I always feel cheated when…”, we get a false picture of Science Fiction because of Astounding, the conventions, the premiere magazing, Horace Gold’s Galaxy, the gold standard, game fiction, Sherlock Holmes fiction, you’re a bad writer if you cheat the reader, almost nobody plays this game, so sexist and racist, even when he does a fantasy novel it’s hard, The Fifth Season, a cost to using a magic system, I’m starting with this crazy premise, Barlenon vs. Dondragmir, not one girl in the book!, what about your sex lives?, a million sailors frozen at the bottom of the sea, at an extreme of hard SF, the window of science fiction, shifted in other ways, a New England Yankee trader, building trade routes, a relatable mindset, Lackland, amazingly human, Star Trek aliens, he made them Hal Clements, looking at the Larry Niven and Hal Clement affect, emotionally oblate, the outer edges, the peak of characterization: “I couldn’t quite nip it.”, quick-witted students, Cortez, the natives should have a lot of their own shit going on, wrapped up in their own problems, a smooth and peaceful first contact, in real life when first contact happens bad things usually happen, it depends on who is coming, the gravity of this mission, the cost, in Chapter 19, the character names, in the pre-negotiations, Tolkien does the same thing (but with language), a richer tapestry, that’s not what this is for, the sequel: Starlight, all the little touches, the Bree is steering itself, how glaciers work, lubrication, steering glaciers, friction, when friction is an important part of a book, Douglas Adams’ game vs. the rules of chess, a good analogy, PhDs, genius, fostering reading activity, comicon, the importance of having ideas at the forefront, racism, intelligence, first contact, Asimov, sitting around talking about his story with Isaac Asimov, “Pancake In The Sky” and “Gravy Planet”, a pleasant evening spent talking materials science, an acquired taste, the great game, prime directives, not all historical first contacts, first contact between the Americans and the Japanese (1792), angry sticks, pre-admiral Perry, genocide in Central and South America, overturning governments, a more modest foreign policy, the history of British Columbia, super-peaceful, residential schools, land theft, first contact need not be terrible, the rock rollers, the spear throwers, never pay tolls again, a benevolent scientific dictator, Star Trek as a medicine for American imperialism, sharing knowledge, Jerry Pournelle’s Empire Of Man series, a daisy chain of influence, Needle, a peaceful alien lifeform that can live inside a human body, Jinx (Larry Niven), World Of Pattavs, Neutron Star, a game of gravity, General Products Hull #1, Beowulf Shaeffer, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, spagettification, Inconstant Moon, a love story about the moon, the reflected light of a nova (or a massive solar flare), it’s only the apocalypse, I’ll lasso the moon for you, an Adam and Eve sort of thing, What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, Kryptonian refugees, Superdog

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #042

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Oval Portrait was first published as Life In Death in Graham’s Magazine, April 1842.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast

The Thing On The Doorstep

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #396 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1937, the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre adaptation, the movie, all thingy, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, racism, the sexism isn’t sexism, I’m not fully human, I need a man’s brain, partially intentional?, a mishmash of transmigrations, the opinion of Ephraim as expressed through Asenath, congress with certain supernatural horrors (Deep Ones), hybrid, what Edward hears, Man can be capitalized, at what point in the story does Asenath speak for herself?, man vs. woman, poison, the prequel, when she leaves Innsmouth?, trapped in the corpse of her own father, amazing resonances, 0% sexist, sympathy, being locked up in the Crowninshield House, down the 6,000 steps, in a Darkest Dungeon in Maine, mindblasted by shoggoths, on and on and on,

It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer.

a horrible “survival”, gills and spawning, Ephraim is desperate for immortality because he’s fully human, aging while your descendants get to live forever, not the immortal we’re looking for, this technology, burn the Necronomicon, gender swapping, finding a body on craigslist, social networking and social media, Bodybook, Strange Aeons: The Thing On The Doorstep (2005), the Providence adaptation, honeymoon in Innsmouth, especially creepy, a rival to her father, he’s having sex with the father-in-law, a thought you never want to have, a character focused story, reacting badly, body-hopping through time, a story of Daniel’s insanity, the framing story, Julie Hoverson’s adaptation, Dan is so far from the events, below the surface, other filmed adaptations, with budget vision and understanding, Guillermo del Toro, the 3 and 2 knock, glub glub glub bubble bubble, the scariest use of glub glub ever, Daniel is a skeptic, a recurring motif: “tirelessly mediocre”, he doesn’t have hypnotic ability (susceptibility), Ephraim needs a weak willed person with a lot of brains, get a taxi, strong willed, he’s gone through some shit, the survival continues, rationalizing the magic, it’s all math, Charlie Stross’ Laundry books, A Colder War, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, Dreams In The Witch House, science of magic, quantum stuff, Lovecraft at bottom is a Science Fiction writer, candlestick, the Rider-Waite tarot deck, a cult leader in New York, The Order Of The Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, the infinity symbol above “the Magician” and “Strength”, the cups the swords the wands and the pentacles, the esoteric order in reality, The Dunwich Horror, Robert M. Price, an ouroboros belt, biblical names, Ephraim and Asenath, a circle, is this an earlier survival (from a biblical era?), The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick has his themes, reality replaced with post-it notes, parallels in Lovecraft, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, in a dream Jervas Dudley finds the key, just so natural, beginning and ending in a sanitarium, the great race of Yith, born in the wrong time, a 17th century gentleman, what’s wrong with sleeping in a graveyard, Lego model of THE TOMB, an affinity for the tomb, now is the time we discuss the Providence adaption, a 12 issue series, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, Avatar Press, racism, sexism, and hidden sexuality, physically turning the pages is traumatic, reading that third paragraph, incredibly difficult to read, the subtext becomes text (and graphic), the more you think about it the more horrifying it gets, Edwards’ weird experiences, that lost time, Robert Black, the final panel, she’s standing on the doorstep, the rape scene, he sees himself entering town, another callback, the call from woodland Maine, the local Marshall, a pivotal scene, communing with the shoggoths, wordlessly insisting he’s going to drive the rest of the way, power over the weather, uncanny predictions, Lovecraft the wannabe architect, another kind of horror, the hidden, the crushed in skull of Asenath is the beginning of the story, out of all of the horrible teenage experiences waking up in a decomposed body is a cool idea, there’s a lot more too it than that, the seeds are all there, it is deep, An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain, H.B. Drake’s The Remedy, The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, great minds think alike, a devotee of subterranean magic, a hypnotist with the power to transfer her consciousness, out of body experience, Trinidad, a psychic vampire story, bank robbery, a phial of acid, the Asenath analogue, without the final transference, a popular trope at that time, spritualism and seances, mesmerism, animal magnetism, The Facts In The Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, he totally glub glubbed, Cool Air, ammonia baths, staying alive for love, he’s been dead for years, if you read a lot of Lovecraft you’ll love Providence, she’s raping her own body with the body of a gay man, so inverted through a mirror, the father is a monster, a lot of trans people would be really happy with Ephraim’s tech, suffering, “monsters in human form”, one of the monsters: lich, an evil wizard that uses magic to keep alive, classic high level undead D&D monsters, ancient Scottish for corpse, soul magic, Gary Gygax, Clark Ashton Smith, a phylactery, Edward says to Dan, an object brought back from the underground Maine shoggoth pit, John Dee, the magical objects, opening gateways with quantum physics, this story has it all, a keystone has it all, fetishes?, if this was a bayou story, we dig it, would a great high budget version, Lovecraft is word magic, the definitive adaptation, amazing to hear the voice invoke pages from the Necronomicon, a minimalist palate, brings the images to life, that’s why Lovecraft doesn’t work as well on film, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Thing (1982), Lovecraft thought of himself as a failure because he thought he couldn’t live up to the dreams his stories describe, Lovecraft never wavered from the idea that the only thing interesting is interesting things, who cares about that Henry James sitting room drama when you can pick up a gun and shoot your freind in the head six-times through, it cannot be described, alien sounding vocabulary, don’t think of elephants, so genius, the name of the house that Asenath house, the Derby mansion, a real family in a fake town, she bought the crownishield to shield her crown, on the way back from Maine, they switch,

I do not recall just what my own part of the conversation was, for the baffling alienage of my seatmate filled all my consciousness.

an emotional response,

There was talk of an investigation, but this was dispelled one day when Asenath appeared in the streets and chatted in a sprightly way with a large number of acquaintances

dusting a turning the furnace on once a week, he will need a place to go, on those days, this guy is genius, what makes the spell so great, that’s insane, polished, so many meanings, it’s like he’s occupied by a 17th century genius.

PROVIDENCE, issue 6, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

Asenath waits - from PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #041

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Purple Pileus by H.G. Wells

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Purple Pileus was first published in Black and White, December 1896.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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