The SFFaudio Podcast #266 – READALONG: When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #266 – Jesse, Luke, and Juliane Kunzendorf discuss When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells

Talked about on today’s show:
Julianne’s first SFFaudio Podcast, what do we call them?, readers and talkers, 1899/1910/1923, When The Sleeper Wakes, The Sleeper Wakes, The Sleeper Awakes, Blackstone Audio’s audiobook version, the serialization in The Graphic magazine, the 1910 preface, “an editorial elder brother”, going to the original sources, a forecast of technology, technological changes between the revisions, aeroplanes and aeropiles, the introduction to the 1923 edition, “fantasias of possibility”, “suppose these forces go on novel”, H.G. Wells thought the rich were evil geniuses (prior to meeting them), “rather foolish plungers”, “vulgar rather than wicked”, Ostrog, “a nightmare of capitalism triumphant”, capitalist/socialism (kind of like Japan), The Unincorporated Man is pretty much the same story, yay Marxism!?, when Graham wakes up, Chapter 7, there only audiobooks in the future, The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling, The Madonna Of The Future by Henry James, Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, phonetic spelling, an H.G. Wells way of writing, is it the nature of a serial, the reader transplanted into the year 2100, The War Of The Worlds, suicide, Isbister, Warming, Ostrog, Lincoln, “body fag is no cure for brain fag”, “while he was breaking his fast”, the language, lying in a crystal box, a passive character, establishing the genre, space elevators, Buck Rogers has the same premise, Idiocracy, Eine Billion Dollar by Andreas Eschbach, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, the importance of money, the gilded age, wealth disparity, the labour company, a dystopia along the lines of Brave New World, the Martian invasion, The Time Machine, is this the start of the Morlocks and the Eloi?, 1984 by George Orwell, the proles, the pleasure cities, distractions, the value of work beyond being paid, a class trap, what is Wells saying?, Wells’ ambivalence towards the proles, there are no more school examinations, is this a meritocracy?, technological dystopias (like 1984), social dystopias, Brave New World is a medical dystopia, genetic dystopias, knowing you live in a dystopia, North Korea, knowledge of other societies, the time before Big Brother, Julia, the Anti-Sex League, genetically dumbified, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, religious dystopia, advertizing Christianity, prosperity gospels, church revivals, advertising, the babel machines, movies and television, what will this culture do to the culture?, “people don’t read”, airplanes, heavier-than-air aircraft, smashing airplanes into other airplanes, aerial ramming, flying machine vs. aeroplane vs. airplane vs. aeropile, My First Aeorplane by H.G. Wells, rocketships, the pilot’s union, the look of the airplane, the clothing, Victorian age dresses, the church, hanging in the air, the Thames has run dry, megalopolis, the building material, the Eiffel Tower, steel, concrete, plastic, glass, carbon fiber, biotech, Pandora’s Star, a coral house, 3D printing, Ikea Hacks, print on demand houses, economics, factories and automation, The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, slide-walk, edamite, Ostrog, Ostrogoths, Lincoln, foment a revolution, race and racism, Senagalese, ostrog as “fortress”, a Serbian Orthodox Church, Ostrog will boss the show, “in bounds”, are these are revolutionary names?, Che Guevara, Abraham Lincoln’s freeing the slaves, thug force, Berlin, June 17th, 1953, the Berlin Wall, outside forces, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Gurkhas, “see we’re all friends”, smiling bright shiny teeth, “they are fine loyal brutes”, racism is in there but it is not the point of the book, The War Of The Worlds, a little hypocritical, we can’t see the issue, massive economic suppression, calculating boys, hypnotism, economic slavery, the wealth gap, the White Council, the blaring speakers, the media firehouse, talk radio, people wearing their headphones everywhere, podcasts, each one of those streams are newspapers, a newspaper for everybody, broadsheets vs. tabolids, your newspaper tells your class, daily free newspapers, Jack The Ripper, Melville Macnaghten, Michael Ostrog (thief and con-man), the symbolism of the aircraft, the three books, Helen is the Madonna of the future, it’s a joke, the novel’s end, ‘my Graham dies without certainty of victory or defeat’, ambiguous airplanes, “literally that’s his dream”, flying dreams, cliffs and high places, Isbister and Warming -> Lincoln and Ostrog, “its fun”, “in such a fall as this countless dreams have ended”, dream falling, the different endings, the future of that future, Olaf Stapledon’s The Last And First Men, many futures, Olaf Stapledon takes what Wells does a little farther, Graham as a Christ figure, risen from the dead… etc., in Graphic detail, full colour holographic Jesus, the empty tomb moment, allusions to other literature in the Bible, Arthur C. Clarke, the Son of Man, A Story Of The Days To Come, the emptying of the countryside, the enclosures, Scotland, Canada, Glasgow, Berlin, well more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities now, Among Others by Jo Walton, Wales, the merits of country living, the economic theory behind everything, access to internet, staring at the internet, services, live entertainment, “my choice of Christian girls was three girls”, poor Luke.

When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells - illustration by H. Lanos
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells - illustration by H. Lanos
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells - illustration by H. Lanos
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells
When The Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

January 9, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Island of the Sequined Love Nun
By Christopher Moore; Read by Oliver Wyman
Publisher: HarperAudio (available on Audible)
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 39 minutes; 10 CD’s
Published: 2004

Themes: / exotic island / humor / commercial jet / cannibal / cargo cult /

Publisher summary:

Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise – a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Christopher Moore is a popular writer and satirist in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegut with titles like Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; You Suck: A Love Story; and many Moore (how could I resist?).

Island of the Sequined Love Nun was actually my first foray into his work, but what got me more than anything else, even more than Moore’s popularity and humor, was the title itself. It says it all. And after having read it, it’s an extremely fitting title.

Tucker Case skates by in life, nearly everything has been handed to him, not the least of which is his job flying a pink jet for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation, which he almost immediately crashes…while drunkenly fooling around with a girl he “didn’t know was a prostitute.”

With an intro like that, how can you resist?

Tucker is essentially imprisoned as Mary Jean attempts to salvage the situation for her company. Having lost his license to fly, his options are limited and thus begins the meat of our story as Tuck is contacted by a less-than-reputable employer claiming to be doing “missionary service.”

One of the first things I noticed was that Moore is not afraid to be outrageous and he does so often. There are jokes about cannibals, religions, transsexuals, you name it. He pushes the boundaries and even does so a bit too far for this self-admitted prude. Then again, I didn’t not laugh either.

Tucker Case comedically bumbles around the place, just accepting life as it’s handed to him, but the problem is you either love him or hate him, and I found myself leaning toward the latter. He bugged me from the start and he does eventually develop redeeming qualities, but it was almost too late for me. That’s why I couldn’t say I absolutely loved this book, it was just decent.

A big part of how I measure how much I am liking an audiobook is how much I look forward to my morning drive or how much I skive off, to use a British term, whatever I’m doing to listen and while it wasn’t painful, it also wasn’t my favorite.

In the end, Island of the Sequined Love Nun was a good introduction to Christopher Moore. While I didn’t absolutely love it, I will definitely come back for more (I held back!). I’m looking forward to reading some of his more popular works in the near future.

3 out of 5 Stars (Recommended with Reservations)

Review by Bryce L.

Hypnobobs: The Horror Of The Heights by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

May 22, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m becoming convinced that Mr Jim Moon, of the Hypnobobs podcast, is wholly made of pure running awesome.

His wonderful narration and his podcast sound design (with it’s elegant clockwork logic), he delivers great fiction with incredibly well researched audio essays – and does all this on a regular basis.

He’s like a marvelous homemade fruit jelly that you just want to spread all over everything – okay maybe that sounds a little strange but his podcast is truly that wonderful. I just love it to bits.

Take last week’s podcast. From his great “Library of Dreams” Mr Jim Moon performed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Horror Of The Heights. I’d never heard of it, it’s terrific, and Jim Moon’s reading of it is perfect.

The Horror Of The Heights by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Illustration by Virgil Finlay for The Horror Of The Heights by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1947)

Hypnobobs - The Horror Of The Heights by Sir Arthur Conan DoyleThe Horror Of The Heights
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Read by Jim Moon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Hypnobobs
Podcast: May 12, 2012
“There are jungles in the upper air, and there are worse things than tigers which inhabit them….” First published in The Strand Magazine, November 1913.

Podcast feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Hypnobobs

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s a |PDF| assembled from the publication in the December 1947 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries.

The Horror Of The Heights

Posted by Jesse Willis

Lux Radio Theatre: No Highway In The Sky based on the novel No Highway by Nevil Shute

August 6, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I was talking with a friend of mine about Nevil Shute. Shute has been blipping onto my radar since about ten years ago when my Science Fiction uncle gave me a copy of Slide Rule: The Autobiography Of An Engineer. Over the years I’ve gotten into Shute’s fiction, notably On The Beach and A Town Like Alice. Most recently I just finished watching, and listening to No Highway In The Sky, a pair of adaptations of Shute’s novel No Highway. Here’s the premise:

The Rutland Reindeer, a recently developed trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft, is approved for flying. But one Anglo-American scientist thinks the Reindeer’s tail may just up and fall off when it hits the golden number of flight hours. He’s got the numbers to prove a catastrophic failure is inevitable, but that won’t be enough to ground the already flying Reindeer. So, he’s dispatched to Labrador to inspect the wreckage of a recently crashed Reindeer. It was reported to have been downed by “pilot error” but our scientist thinks it may have been metal fatigue. Then comes the twist we can see coming from miles away, our hero finds himself flying aboard just such another doomed aircraft. Can the logic of his calculations be enough to persuade the captain to turn the Reindeer back to England? Or will they crash into the North Atlantic?

No Highway In The Sky

Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich reprise their roles on Lux Radio Theatre’s adaptation of the film – the main difference between this version, and the movie (besides the lack of video), is the in-studio audience laughing at the character based comedy in this story of suspense. It’s well worth a listen!

Lux Radio TheatreNo Highway In The Sky
Based on a novel by Nevil Shute; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 56 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS / Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast: April 21, 1952
Theodore Honey (James Stewart) is a highly eccentric “boffin” with the Royal Aircraft Establishment. A widower with a precocious young daughter, Honey is sent from Farnborough to investigate the crash of a “Reindeer” airliner in Labrador, which he theorizes occurred because of a structural failure in the tail caused by sudden metal fatigue. To test his theory in his laboratory, an airframe is continuously shaken in eight-hour daily cycles. It isn’t until Honey is aboard a Reindeer that he realizes he himself is flying on one such aircraft and that it may be close to the number of hours his theory projects for the fatal failure. Despite the fact that his theory is not yet proven, Honey decides to warn the passengers and crew, including actress Monica Teasdale (Marlene Dietrich).

Here’s a section of the Dell Mapback edition of No Highway showing the locations mentioned in the story:

No Highway by Nevil Shute DELL MAPBACK

Posted by Jesse Willis