The SFFaudio Podcast #273 – TOPIC: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tom Bombadil

July 14, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

J.R.R. Tolkien's Tom Bombadil

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #273 – Jesse, Seth, Mr Jim Moon, and Cory Olsen (The Tolkien Professor) talk about J.R.R. Tolkien’s character Tom Bombadil – as he appears in The Lord Of The Rings and The Adventures Of Tom Bombadil.

Talked about on today’s show:
Tom Bombadil as a character spans Tolkien’s literary career; “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil” written early but revised later, while “Bombadil Goes a-Boating” post-dates The Lord of the Rings; comparing the different stages of Tom Bombadil; not the same Tom from “The Stone Troll” poem; Pauline Baynes as illustrator of Tolkien’s and C.S. Lewis’s works; Tolkien changing up song order in The Lord of the Rings; Tolkien’s recording of the troll song (see video below); “Princess Mee”; Tom’s imperviousness to rain is his only outwardly magical quality; “Tom Bombadil doesn’t fit”; Tom’s exclusion from the films was a good thing; Tom’s prose resembles his poetry; no one knows what to make of Tom Bombadil; is Goldberry dying?; The Little Mermaid; the Hades and Persephone myth; more on Tom’s contradictions; Goldberry tied to the land; Tom and Goldberry are childless; Babylon 5; Tom Bombadil’s place (or lack thereof) in Tolkien’s cosmology; the cats of Queen Berúthiel; “a story is better with some mysteries”; Tolkien’s poetry is wildly experimental in terms of meter; Tom’s trochaic meter; Väinamöinen in Finnish Kalevala myth cycle as influence for Tom Bombadil; on Tom Bombadil’s career; similarities between Tom Bombadil and Bjorn as opportunities for rest in the respective plots; derivative fantasy neglects these important rest stops; “yellow cream and honeycomb, white bread and butter” was served at Tom and Doldberry’s wedding feast; the importance of landscape and description in Tolkien’s work; dreams; Valinor is not Westerns, thankfully; no barrows in the films, sorry Jesse; Mr. Jim Moon’s podcast on wights; Old/Middle English’s many words for “man”; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; oral transmission of stories; Lord of the Rings would not have been publishable in today’s climate; Frodo’s relationship to the ring; Tom Bombadil and gravitas do not go together; Tom Bombadil’s D&D alignment is “flowers”, followed by “true neutral” as a close second; on the necessity of choosing sides; why don’t the hobbits call on Tom later?; Corey suggests The Tolkien Reader for further reading.

Tom And Goldberry - illustration by Pauline Baynes

Bombadil Goes Boating - illustration by Pauline Baynes

Badger Folk - illustration by Pauline Baynes

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #251 – READALONG: Up Against It by M.J. Locke

February 10, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #251 – Jesse, Scott, and Tamahome discuss Up Against It by M.J. Locke.

Talked about on today’s show:
Hardcover, paperback, audiobook, who to blame?, it’s Jo Walton’s doing we chose this book (at the bottom), still a lot of juice in the genre, the ultimate cause, drawing in vs. pushing in, Corner Gas, a new wine bracket, the Radium Age of Science Fiction, Scott’s Goodreads review, Tam’s Goodreads review24, the characters, less torture, its more fun if you count the tropes, every trope is in there, including immortality, mimetic fiction (literary realism), Henry James, mimetic fiction in a science fiction universe, tiny infodumps, not one brand new idea, waveface virtual reality, Tonal_Z AI language (Chris Crawford’s Solvesol-interface concept?), in dialogue, Cory Doctorow (Whuffies), Bruce Sterling, Chris Crawford, Bruce Sterling’s Veridians (wow, it’s a whole big thing, design philosophy? manifesto), asteroid miner stories, Heinlein and later, The Island Worlds by John Maddox Roberts and Eric Kotani, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, there’s no newcomer, a generally agreed upon direction our future will be, John Scalzi’s brainpal, more than one kind of SF, rocket ships, the Charles Stross direction, Iain M. Banks, Souvenir by Philip K. Dick, Amish tech, their tech is subservient to their culture, it seems inevitable in our world, the received future, Earth in Up Against It in bad shape, Vancouver shantytowns, Edmonton, this isn’t a utopian book, dystopia, dystopic Earth, why are they in the Asteroid Belt, good world-building, good but not new, nothing new but the idea, incredibly self-aware people is weird (and cool), gene tampering, Oblivion is a good introduction to SF tropes (for people born in the year 2000), the level of SF tropes in movies is very low compared to those in SF books, Darwin Elevator, bad physics vs. excellent physics, sugar rocks, there’s no intro character (other than the A.I. pov), Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, collaborative teens, a visual adaptation, Ender’s Game, Planetes, Gravity, Babylon 5 had nothing new, I don’t go to TV SF for new ideas, books are where great ideas, what great ideas haven’t been explored, the news coming out of Eve Online, Steen Hansen, political machinations, gold farming, a simulated universe, a libertarian alliance was trojaned or something, happening to real people, World Of Warcraft, our real future is in leisure, Tam liked it more, nose-piercings, tattooing, the gender neutral pronouns, why would you want a purple nose?, Jesse doesn’t understand trans-humanism, normal readalongs, why didn’t I like this more, Tam liked it fine, hands for feet, chromes and mutes, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, not too bright in the brain area, The Integral Trees by Larry Niven, a planetless solar system, a mashup of Doctorow and Heinlein, smile -> erection, Chekhov’s Gun, Heinleinian sex vs. Doctorowian sex, there’s too much going on, an immature writer, Elmore Leonard, “she pillowed her cheek”, nobody pillows their cheeks in Jack London stories, Jane as an older Ripley, an artificial spiritual awakening, too many compromises too much bullshit, an authentically political book according to Staffer’s Book Review, double dealings, the thriller plot, exploring space, what does Scott prefer?, does Scott have a right to review Up Against It?, is it maturity?, 2312, Tobias Buckell’s blog essay about mature reviewers, caveats, “and get off my lawn”, idea fiction, competent but unstimulating, why is The Lord Of The Rings more interesting than Up Against It?, the themes, the next episode of A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Luke Burrage re-reviews A Canticle For Liebowitz, what we do when we do READALONGS (we unpack books), The Odyssey, Community, currently airing TV series have podcasts?, books with allegories, Scott wants it to mean something to him, The Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman, WWI, the German ambassador in Mexico, Woodrow Wilson, Tom Clancy, mimetic fiction from the future, a history from the future, history, in some ways Eve Online is much more real than any fiction book, Scott finds value in general fiction, Mario Puzo, Tom Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, meaning vs. ideas, horror, Snowblind by Christopher Golden for some alternative horror, The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, gothic fiction, witchcraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, there’s still potential for Science Fiction, a sequel?, an unneeded sequel, every subsequent milk of a book undercuts it, Dune has been worsened by every Dune that’s come since, Dune Messiah (Scott liked it), the fall of a charismatic leader, a backward casting shadow, Brian Herbert has done what his father wanted by ruining Dune?, why was Up Against It so long?, YA/adult book, George R.R. Martin doesn’t think Scott’s a fan of Hard SF, The Martian by Andy Weir, Phoecea, why are they mining?, there’s no economic reason to do so, was there an economic reason to go to the moon, we need to build a space fleet, no martian resources are unavailable on Earth, the Moon has Helium-3, Tam read Frank Schatzing’s Limit and his eyes are tired, what the frack, (was it ‘Simon pure science fiction like A Darkling Sea‘?  we didn’t talk about it but I thought I’d note it)

Up Against It by M.J. Locke

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #190 – READALONG: Beowulf

December 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #190 – Scott and Jesse talk about the epic poem, Beowulf (and the Tantor Media audiobook edition read by Rosalyn Landor).

Talked about on today’s show:
The Odyssey, mead, Recorded Books Modern Scholar series, Michael D.C. Drout, Norsemen in the Mediterranean, “embarrassingly subservient to their women”, Miklagard, Russia and the Rus, Vikings -> Normans -> Britons -> Crusaders, the fall of Rome, Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition by Howell D. Chickering, Jr., the king of the blanekty blanks, Seamus Heaney translation, popularity of Beowulf, the Icelandic Sagas, Greeks vs. Romans vs. Scandians, more mead halls, fewer philosophical schools, guardsman vs. tutors, action vs. xenia, thanes just wanta band up, “they’re Klingons”, The 13th Warrior, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton, biker gangs, Hrothgar, Scyld Scefing, Unferth (un + frith = “mar peace”), Herot, the challenging retainer who gives the hero a sword, the swimming contest, Beowulf (the 2007 Roger Avary/Neil Gaiman adaptation), the visual composition, Babylon 5, Wiglaf, “badasses must compete”, Eric S. Rabkin, nine hours underwater, Grendel -> Grendel’s Mom -> The Dragon, the hoards, “a story to tell while you’re drinking mead”, “story is at the primacy”, “she’s got tentacles!”, the spawn of Cain, “Cain’s clan”, Beowulf is a poem about pagans by a Christian, the historicity of Beowulf (literally “bee” + “wolf” = “bear”), The Iliad, The Odyssey, historical King Arthur, J.R.R. Tolkien, what kind of poetry is it? It’s EPIC!, Tantor Media’s version of Beowulf (translated by Francis B. Gummere), the LibriVox version of Beowulf, Brian Murphy, “whale road” vs. “whale path”, Kevin Crossley-Holland, “foundling” vs. “waif”, Caesar -> Kaiser and Czar, The Hobbit is like Beowulf told to children, rapine warriors vs. cute dwarves, The Lord Of The Rings, golden rings and magic swords, breaker of swords, visual parallels Grendel’s arm + socket -> Beowulf’s arm + socket, “movies excel at visual metaphors”, “the thirteen dwarfs is not a good idea”, heavy going, watch the movie first then read the poem, Beowulf’s death, “often when one man follows his own will many are hurt”, “his high destiny”, a Talmud for Beowulf, having it every way, arguing the Bible, the etymology of “Homer”, we’re fans, Brendan Gleeson, Wiglaf’s choice, why Grendel’s got a grudge, monsters as externalizations of horror within, Viking men and their bastard sons, kings need heirs, the sins of the father (and Original Sin), the family of Cain, why did Cain kill Abel, capturing the reasons hidden within the story, Robert Zemeckis, adaptations of Beowulf, why put Beowulf in the future, the Christopher Lambert Beowulf, The Monarch Of The Glen by Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things, Grendel by John Gardner, Eaters Of The Dead |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Herot Series by Larry Niven, Steve Barnes, and Jerry Pournelle, Sons Of Anarchy, Hamlet, overturning the mead benches, named swords, Hrunting

Beowulf

Beowulf - SWORD, SHIELD, SHIP

Posted by Jesse Willis

My visit to the new Coquitlam City Centre Library

November 13, 2012 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Coquitlam City Centre Library

For the last couple of decades I’ve lived on the same street as my public library. That’s been one of the reasons that I live where I do. But today the local branch of Coquitlam’s public library moved two blocks south and opened for the first time.

The new address is 1169 Pinetree Way.

And the new space is great, very open, with plenty of study areas, and lots of room to grow the collection – and best of all it’s still within walking distance!

The first thing I did when I got there was to make a donation to the library’s collection, a combination of paperbooks, DVDs, comics, and audiobooks. Patrons of Coquitlam public library system should soon see these items on their shelves:

donations to the library's collection

Here’s a partial list:

City Of Dragons by Kelli Stanley |SFFAUDIO PODCAST #061|
Fate Of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Elidor by Alan Garner
Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ Ex Machina (volumes 1-5)
The complete Babylon 5 DVD set (all five seasons plus the movies)
Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle |READ OUR REVIEW|
V For Vendetta by Steve Moore |READ OUR REVIEW|
Armor by John Steakley |READ OUR REVIEW|
I Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson |READ OUR REVIEW|

And here are some shots of the library’s facilities:

New Arrivals at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
Teens section at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
study area at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
group study room at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
the Coquitlam City Centre Library

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFSignal Podcast (Episode 070): Panel Discussion of Favorite Podcasts

August 1, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

SFSignal PodcastSFSignal Podcast #70 features me and six other folks very quickly discussing Science Fiction (and other) podcasts. Unfortunately I think a lot of the best stuff came after the actual podcast ended. At least that’s the part of the discussion I enjoyed most. As a part of that I also invited Matthew Sanborn Smith to participate in an upcoming new releases and recent arrivals podcast.

In episode 70 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars: Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones, and do you listen to fiction podcasts?

Have a listen |MP3| or subscribe: http://www.sfsignal.com/podcast.xml

I took notes and think I got most of the podcasts that were mentioned:

Me:
-The Cthulhu podcast
-Lightspeed magazine podcast
-Forgotten Classics
-The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
-Gweek
-HuffDuffer.com

Fred Kiesche (of the Lensmen’s Children blog):
-Escape Pod
-Beware Of The Hairy Mango
-The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
-The History Of Rome
-Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
-The Incomparable! podcast
-Geek Life
-Writing Excuses
-Adventures In SciFi Publishing
-The Tolkien Professor
-The D6 Generation
-The Nerdist
-The Command Line
-Living Proof Brewcast
-365 Days Of Astronomy
-Spark
-Quirks And quarks
-The Naked Scientist

Jeff Patterson (of the Gravity Lens blog):
-The Nerdist
-The Doctor Who Cast
-RiffTracks
-Changesurfer Radio

John DeNardo (of SFSignal.com):
-Functional Nerds
-Beware Of The Hairy Mango
-Notes From Coode Street
-StarShip Sofa
-The Skiffy And Fanty Show

Paul Weimer (of Blog, Jvstin Style):
-Russian Rulers Podcast
-Ancient Rome Refocused
-Heatflash
-the Speculate! Podcast
-Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
-Three Moves Ahead

Matthew Sanborn Smith (of Beware Of The Hairy Mango podcast):
-StarShip Sofa
-The Tobolowsky Files
-Tank Riot
-Around Comics
-RadioLab
-Lightspeed
-The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
-Luke’s Creative Podcast
-Dunesteef
-Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas
-I Should Be Writing

Patrick Hester (of SFSignal.com):
-Seattle Geekly
-Dragon Page
-Adam Carolla
-Slice Of SciFi
-The Babylon Podcast
-The Geekdad
-Mac Tech Break
-Podiobooks.com

Posted by Jesse Willis

MIT: J. Michael Straczynski: The Julius Schwartz Lecture

July 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio News

Here’s a two hour lecture given by J. Michael Straczynski at MIT back in 2009. Sorry, there’s no audio only edition.

MIT Tech TV

This year’s Julius Schwartz Lecture speaker was transmedia creator J. Michael Straczynski, who has most recently entered the motion picture arena, writing the period drama Changeling for Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie, adapting such books as Lensman for Ron Howard, World War Z for Brad Pitt’s company, and They Marched Into Sunlight for Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass, as well as reviving Forbidden Planet for Warner Bros. and selling two new original movies, The Flickering Light and Proving Ground to Universal and Tom Cruise’s United Artists, respectively. He has also begun work on Last Words, a pilot for a new TV series for the TNT network.

Previously known best for his role as the creator of the cult science fiction series Babylon 5 and its various spin-off films and series. Straczynski wrote 92 out of the 110 Babylon 5 episodes, notably including an unbroken 59-episode run through all of the third and fourth seasons, and all but one episode of the fifth season.

His early television writing career spans from work on He-Man, She-Ra, and The Real Ghostbusters through to The New Twilight Zone and Murder She Wrote. He followed up Babylon 5 with the science fiction series Jeremiah.

Straczysnki also enjoys continued success as a comic book writer, working on established superhero franchises, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power and Thor, as well as his own original series, such as Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, The Twelve, and The Book Of Lost Souls. He is also a journalist, publishing over 500 articles in such periodicals as the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Writer’s Digest Magazine, and TIME Inc.

He was one of the first television producers to actively engage his fan community online and has consistently explored the interface between digital media and other storytelling platforms.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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