The SFFaudio Podcast #222 – READALONG: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

July 22, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #222 – Jesse, Jenny, Paul Weimer and Bryan Alexander discuss Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Talked about on today’s show:
The audiobook, Recorded Books, the appendix, The Lord Of The Rings, the feeling in your right hand, a dream-like book, Room 101, a disjointing of time, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Signet Classic, already a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League at 12, a 1971 sex drive, memory, Winston Smith’s obsession with the past, the three traitors, the Soviet Union as applied to Britain, show trials, it is so effective, The Running Man is a prole version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, “WHITMAN, PRICE, AND HADDAD!!! You remember them! There they are now, BASKING under the Maui sun.”, down the memory hole, the brutality of the movies and the applause of the audience, the crushing of weakness, the terrible children, the 1954 BBC TV version starring Peter Cushing, Winston’s own memories of his childhood, did Winston kill his sister, his bowels turn to water when he see a rat, the return of the mother, a bag of decay, the 1984 version of 1984, John Hurt looks like he was born to play Winston Smith, is it Science Fiction?, dystopia, does this feel like Science Fiction?, Social Science Fiction, If This Goes On… by Robert A. Heinlein, Animal Farm, Goldstein’s Book, the re-writing of history, collapsing the vocab, The Languages Of Pao by Jack Vance, Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, The Embedding by Ian Watson, Isaac Asimov’s review of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell imagines no new vices, WWIII, in regular SF we get used to a lack of motifs, the coral, the memories, the place with no darkness, everything is recycled in a dream and people merge, in dream logic 2+2 can equal 5, reduction of the world and the self, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, soma, The Hunger Games, Wool by Hugh Howey, cleaning day, grease, transformed language, a crudboard box, euphony, a greasy world, a comparison to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, We The Living by Ayn Rand, Harcourt Brace, Politics And The English Language by George Orwell, V For Vendetta, Norsefire vs. IngSoc, a circuitous publishing history, crudpaper, prole dialect, part dialect, New Speak, military language, Generation Kill, military language is bureaucratic language, Dune by Frank Herbert, Battle Language, private language, Brazil, the thirteen’s hour, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, victory means shit, Airstrip One, speakwrite, Star Wars, careful worlding, a masterwork, a transformation and an inoculation, watch 1984 on your phone while the NSA watches you watch it, North Korea, “without getting to political”, 2600‘s editor is Emmanuel Goldstein, the traitor Snowden, that’s what this book is, it’s political, The Lives Of Others, hyper-competent, the bedroom scene, “We are the dead.”, how did the picture break off the wall, dream-logic, Jesse knows when he’s dreaming, if you dream a book you must generate the text, dreaming of books that don’t exist, a great sequel to Ringworld?, The Sandman, “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”, O’Brien, Martin, the worst thing is you can’t control what you say when your sleeping, uncanny valley,

Whatever it was, you could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure IngSoc. As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was
his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Polar Express, the book within the book, high end books, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is London the capital of Oceania?, the value of the book, Stephen Fry’s character, a book that tells you only things you already knew, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, the possibilities of other books, supercharged moments in movies, Twelve Monkeys, Dark City, Book Of Dreams, utopias within dystopias, reading in comfort and safety, the golden place, Julia is a pornosec writer, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Processed Word by John Varley, Russian humor, is there really a war?, power is the power to change reality, Stephen Colbert’s truthiness, doublethinking it, the proles seem to be happier, feeling contempt, lottery tickets depress Jesse, “renting the dream”, the proles are obsessed by lotteries, who is the newspaper for?, the chocolate ration, Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History Of The Universe, how stable is Oceania?, guys and Guy, how stable is North Korea?, Christopher Hitchens, there’s no hope in 1984, the subversion mechanism has been subverted, changing human behavior, Walden Two by B.F. Skinner, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, genocide, racial purity, are they bombing themselves?, where does Julia get all her treats?, utopia is a nice cup of coffee, The Principle Of Hope by Ernst Bloch, what’s missing from your life comrade?, is Julia playing a role?, she’s the catalyst for everything, misogyny vs. misanthropy, Nietzsche’s master morality slave morality, political excitement is transformed into sexual excitement, ‘I have a real body it occupies space (no you don’t you’re a fictional character)’, Julia’s punk aesthetic, I love you., she’s the dream girl, the romantic couple that brings down the bad order, The Revolt Of Islam by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Pacific Rim, The Matrix, Equilibrium, Mephistopheles, Mustapha Mond, Jesse thought she was in on it, the prole lady out the window, nature, ragged leafless shrubs, nature has been killed, the Byzantine Empire, the Catholic Church, cult of personality vs. an idoru Big Brother, Eurythmics, we’re nostalgic for the Cold War, the now iconic ironic 1984 Apple commercial, dems repubs NSA, has Britain been secretly controlling the world using America?, George Bernard Shaw, society and politics, SF about the Vietnam War, petition for and against the war, Judith Merril, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, China.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Gather Yourselves Together by Philip K. Dick

February 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Gather Yourselves Together by Philip K. DickGather Yourselves Together
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4558-1435-0
[UNABRIDGED] – 9 compact discs; 11 hours

Themes: / Loss of innocence / Communist China / philosophy /

Publisher summary:

Gather Yourselves Together is one of Philip K. Dick’s earliest novels, written when he was just twenty-four years old. It tells the story of three American workers left behind in China by their employer, biding their time as the Communists advance. As they while away the days, both the young and naïve Carl Fitter and the older and worldly Verne Tildon vie for the affections of Barbara Mahler, a woman who may not be as tough-as-nails as she acts. But Carl’s innocence and Verne’s boorishness could end up driving Barbara away from both.

Prior to writing the complex reality-bending science fiction novels and stories that Philip K. Dick is best known for, he strived to be accepted as a mainstream writer; writing a handful of novels that on the surface bear little resemblance to the works that later became the source material for such films as Bladerunner and Total Recall. Gather Yourselves Together is one of these very early novels and one of a few to still be intact and published posthumously. The story revolves around three Americans left deserted among themselves in communist China to oversee the changing of the guard as their company is turned over to the Chinese.

At first the very basic and sparse plot spanning a few day period seems to bare little resemblance to the often sprawling narratives of Philip K. Dick’s better known alter-universes, but closer examination reveals several themes that would later re-occur in many of his better known stories. Additionally for enthusiasts, many autobiographical aspects of the author’s own life seem to be worked into the story. Although only mentioned in passing, a topic that would become a lifelong obsession and reappear in later novels is first mentioned in this novel: that of the time of the fall of the Roman and birth of Christianity being constantly repeated throughout history including during what Philip K. Dick thought was his own lifetime.

Narrator Luke Daniels does a great job breathing life into a novel that at 481 pages in length and which having little of substance actually take place in the span of the novel’s few days could easily have lost a listener’s interest. The story fills out the space by spending significant time on the past of the three characters while focusing on their current relationships in the present. The overall tone of the book is fairly dismal, which each character being extremely self-absorbed in their own ways but being drawn together due to circumstance. That being said, much of the story has a theatrical feel that builds to a very satisfying conclusion. The audiobook ends with an afterword by Dwight Brown, also read by Luke Daniels. Gather Yourselves Together succeeds on many levels and is certainly not a book to be avoided simply due what would seem to be an uninteresting premise when compared some of Philip K. Dick’s wilder, better known works.

Review by Dan VK.

The SFFaudio Podcast #191 – READALONG: The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

December 17, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #191 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about the Brilliance Audio audiobook, The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s podcast:
Racy?, 1950s, hermaphrodites, relativism is mandated by the government, reverse Nazism, the Wikipedia entry for relativism, relativism as a tool against disbelief, L. Ron Hubbard, The Way To Happiness, communism, “good explorations”, Doug Cussick, political correctness, the opposite of communism?, China, Chinese communism, WWII, “Hitler was a precog”, escape your fate by embracing your fate, seeing into the future after your death, the devolution of a mind in a dead brain, a molluscular and mineral afterlife, grab bag of ideas, giant alien jellyfish, Brilliance Audio, pollen?, spores?, polyps?, planula!, Floyd Jones (is he the hero?), the Venus babies, the people in the Womb, seven mutants in a warehouse in San Fransisco, artificial animals, Venusian wallpaper?, hot and moist, The Truman Show, people have to get off of Earth, the Moon as the 51st state, King Newt running the Moon, pantropy, tropism, genetic modification, Nexus by Ramez Naam, More Than Human by Ramez Naam, Kim Stanley Robinson, More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, the ending, Jones as the new Jesus, contempt for the audience, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, kids getting off on power, suicide, Hitler’s death, “how could a precog be wrong?”, future knowledge of your own knowledge, its very confusing, is Cussick the main character?, rebellion by shoplifting, sexism, WWIII, “asparagus sucks!”, women as litmus paper, she always held the majority opinion, visiting a racist elderly relative, “No grandma! That’s wrong!”, irony, the nameless character has a fascinating story, why don’t we get a sense of the masses, paralleling the rise of Hitler, lebensraum, interesting scenes interspersed with less interesting scenes, domestic scenes vs. organizational scenes, Tyler’s story, the Venus children, paranoia, Shell Game by Philip K. Dick, redundant exists, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Counter Clock World, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, The Zap Gun, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner, Robert Downey Jr., A Scanner Darkly, The Man In The High Castle, alternate history, most people who live in SF universes don’t read SF, a BBC adaptation of The Man In The High Castle, an epic story about a guy who makes jewelry, Terry Gilliam, Anthony Boucher, “a hasty and disappointing effort”, perk up vs. zone out, civil war or aliens?, a golden land of opportunity and adventure (and slime).

ACE - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Damon Knight on The World Jones Made

ACE Double - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Sphere - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

Ray Bradbury’s The Flying Machine and The Fruit At The Bottom Of The Bowl

December 3, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m not sure exactly how I came across this broadcast recording. But I’m very glad I did. It’s as part of a collection called The Golden Apples Of The Sun – a five part half hour of radio drama series adapting Ray Bradbury stories. This episode, episode 2, includes a pair of stories.

The first, The Flying Machine, is a short “fantasy” set in a mythical China. The story was familiar somehow so I looked it up and realized it was in an issue of Playboy that I have. I have appended the beautiful accompanying illustration (by Franz Altschuler).

In the same broadcast was an iconic tale of an obsessive compulsive murderer. Called, The Fruit At The Bottom Of The Bowl, it was first published as Touch And Go! in a mag called Detective Book (November 1948). Unfortunately, I don’t have a beautiful scan of the first publication of that. Instead, I have a terrible scan (see below).

But, my new friend John Feaster, who I found through LibriVox, mentioned an adaptation of it in the EC Comics comic called Crime SuspenStories (#17). And that I do have a nice picture of.

BBC Radio 5The Golden Apples Of The Sun – The Flying Machine
Adapted from the story by Ray Bradbury; Adapted by Lawrence Gilbert; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 5
Broadcast: January 30, 1991
Source: Archive.org

Producer Peter Hutchings.

Cast:
Paul Maxwell
Don Fellows
Ed Bishop
Paul Downing

The Flying Machine from Playboy August, 1954 - illustration by Franz Altschuler

Touc And Go! by Ray Bradbury - from Detective Book, November 1948

Touch And Go! adapted from the story by Ray Bradbury - from Crime SuspenStories #17

And The Fruit At The Bottom Of The Bowl was adapted to TV for The Ray Bradbury Theater. And it stars Michael Ironside and Robert Vaughn!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #144 – READALONG: Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley

January 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #144 – Jesse, Tamahome and Gregg Margarite talk about the audiobook of Robert Sheckley’s 1959 novel Immortality, Inc..

Talked about on today’s show:
Time Killer was nominated for a Hugo, the Blackstone Audio audiobook, Sheckley’s family of themes, a collage of images, Immortality, Inc. is a comedy, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, Peter Lorre, Midnight Cowboy, “those are real tears”, a cartoon, Buddhism, reincarnation, the yoga machine, “manipulation catches up to theory”, surviving beyond death, Futurama, suicide booths, New New York, Douglas Adams, Matt Groening, zombies, are we chicking or egging, Mindswap by Robert Sheckley (SFFaudio Podcast #076), Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, “you are not…”, are you your memories?, hundreds of trillions of assumptions, “why did communism fail?”, Tam knits, sweet sweet coffee, Harrison Bergeron, we need the CPU as well as the memory, Gregg would still be Gregg in another body, a body as an automobile for genes, aren’t skills a part of your mind, your memories?, bayoneting skills, Gregg wants longer pinkies, dynamic finger growth is optimal, episodic, the hunt, have the lawyer leave the room, “what if there is nothing more?”, this is a book about death, ghosts, walking through all the explanation for what happens after they die, tomb like an Egyptian, sane ghosts vs. nutjob ghosts, “the competition never ends”, “different dimension, same shit”, “transplant”, a black-market copy of a sensory recording of our hero’s story, interest in the twentieth century is waning, 1950s New York, Jesse has never been to New York, security theater, Gregg promises to take Jesse to New York, a private Winnebago?, the suspension of habeas corpus, Canada is a country that doesn’t work in theory (but works in practice), the United States as a utopian experiment, Australia has mandatory voting, Mayberry, “the right to die”, death is exactly like before you were born, you can only look forward to death, Mark Twain, death is just one damn thing after another, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, Dante’s Inferno, does love conquer all?, Cinderella, happily ever after, arguments that get all of us killed, Pakistan vs. India, tribalism, Ghandi vs. Jinnah, “the enemies of progress”, China, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, ancestor worship, Khmer mythology, Hanuman the monkey king, “reality is only inside you”, are most people half-believers?, Sheckley doesn’t pick one way, did the serialization inform the storytelling, The Status Civilization, Sheckley looks at the world and laughs, there’s no thesis Sheckley is trying to explicate, Sheckley is “a sane Phil Dick”, horror vs. humor, Freejack is a loose adaptation of Immortality, Inc., Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger, the role of the reader, the magic of radio (drama), The World According To Garp (film vs. novel), converting the nonconvertible, a romantic relationship, Aristotle’s Poetics, plot should follow necessarily (or at least probably) from that which came before, Accessory Before The Fact by Algernon Blackwood, “it all happens at the same time”, flat characters vs. round characters, do we live in a serial world?, if Hamlet was a television series, Gilgamesh still works, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry vs. J.J. Abrams, an anthologic approach, Babylon 5 as the counter-example, Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski, Doctor Who, the vehicle of the series, will the dancing toilet paper company care?, Gregg: “I’m no longer god”

The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
Freejack credits - "Based upon the novel "Immortality, Inc." by Robert Sheckley
Suicide Booth

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Mr. Wicker’s Window by Carley Dawson

August 11, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s the promotional description for a gorgeous juvenile, fantasy, pirate, time travel, airship novel (all this and less than 59,000 words). It’s public domain and from 1952. It’s called Mister Wicker’s Window:

When twelve-year-old Chris entered Mr. Wicker’s shop to inquire about a job for his friend, something about old Mr. Wicker forced him to take the job himself. Chris found himself the pupil of Mr. Wicker, not the old man he first saw, but a powerful man in his forties—a magician. Chris learned how to turn himself into a fish, a bird, a fly, and with a magic rope he learned to make a boat or even an elephant.

Chris had been chosen to sail to China on a mysterious mission. Long before he sailed, Chris met the enemies who would try and stop him—evil Claggett Chew, the dandy Osterbridge Hawsey, the treacherous old beggar Simon Gosler. With a Nubian boy Chris brought to life with magic, he set out on his hazardous voyage.

Carley Dawson writes beautifully, combining fact and fantasy with skill. Her characters are lifelike and vivid, and the plot of this, her first book, is fantastically exciting and exceptionally outstanding. With power and imagination Lynd Ward has illustrated the book with over eighty drawings in two colors.

It was precisely those drawings that drew me in!

Art from MR. VICKER'S WINDOW

Art from MR. VICKER'S WINDOW

Art from MR. VICKER'S WINDOW

Art from MR. VICKER'S WINDOW

Lynd Ward, the artist, drew dozens of gorgeous illustrations just like the ones above. They kind of remind me of Darwyn Cooke and, oddly, Doctor Seuss. Every single one of them accompanies the Gutenberg etext edition. After seeing them I was absolutely compelled to seek out the audiobook. I badly wanted someone to read me the story, if only so I could spend that much more time staring at the gorgeous images. I looked on LibriVox, and achieved a double success.

But… the first version, recorded in 2009 is a multi-reader relay-style edition (SIGH). And, Arthur Piantadosi, the narrator on Version 2 of LibriVox’s public domain audiobook, is not my ideal reader either. His recording is a little hollow sounding (oh well), he stumbles over words (not good) and he makes the occasional sound effect (ARGGGH!!).

We can’t have this. No we can’t.

This sounds like a job for WILLIAM COON!

Until Bill, you can take your pick…

LIBRIVOX - Mr. Wicker's Window by Carley DawsonMr. Wicker’s Window
By Carley Dawson; Read by various
36 Zipped MP3 Files – Approx. 5 Hours 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: November 10, 2009
Ebook: Gutenberg.org
Printable CD Booklet: |PDF|
When twelve-year-old Chris entered Mr. Wicker’s shop to inquire about a job for his friend, something about old Mr. Wicker forced him to take the job himself. Chris found himself the pupil of Mr. Wicker, not the old man he first saw, but a powerful man in his forties–a magician. Chris learned how to turn himself into a fish, a bird, a fly, and with a magic rope he learned to make a boat or even an elephant. Chris had been chosen to sail to China on a mysterious mission. Long before he sailed, Chris met the enemies who would try and stop him–evil Claggett Chew, the dandy Osterbridge Hawsey, the treacherous old beggar Simon Gosler. With a Nubian boy Chris brought to life with magic, he set out on his hazardous voyage.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/mr-wickers-window-by-carley-dawson.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - Mr. Wicker's Window by Carley DawsonMr. Wicker’s Window (VERSION 2)
By Carley Dawson; Read by Arthur Piantadosi
36 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 49 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 2, 2010
Ebook: Gutenberg.org
Printable CD Booklet: |PDF|
When Christopher Mason walked into Mr. Wicker’s antique shop, he had no idea he would soon be embarking on a marvellous journey to China to find a wonderful tree made of jewels. He had no idea that Mr. Wicker was a magician and could travel through time. And that the tree was sought by others, not least among them the murderous Claggett Chew, a merchant in port and a pirate on the high seas, who also had knowledge of magic. But before Chris succeeded in quest, he would know of all these things and more. And of Mr. Wicker’s friends, the sailor Ned Cilley, Becky Boozer, and the African boy Amos, changed from wood to flesh. And Christopher Mason would never be same, after.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4062

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Patti Cunningham, Diana Majlinger, J.M. Smallheer and Annise]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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