The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton Wertenbaker

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

The Coming Of The Ice - illustrated by Frank R. Paul

I posted about this story, as part of a larger LibriVox collection, back in 2009. Then, I described it thusly:

The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile).

I had somehow forgotten about it. But, as I heard someone describe it recently I was reminded of it, tracked it down again, and enjoyed it wholly afresh today.

The Coming Of The Ice deserves to be far better known. Not only is it a really terrific story, but the narration, by Giles Baker, is absolutely outstanding too!

Sam Moskowitz, in his introduction to the 1961 reprint of The Coming Of The Ice wrote the following about it:

One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop-gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication’s contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming Of The Ice, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback’s SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom, in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world’s first truely complete science fiction magazine. The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author’s youth, Coming of
the Ice
builds to a climax of considerable power.

Back in 1926 the editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, said this about The Coming Of The Ice:

This powerful and tragic story by the author of “The Man From The Atom” tells of a man who acquired terrestrial immortality – tells of a world many centuries hence – a time when everything is changed. This one man remains as a relic of the 20th century, He is alone with strangely developed human beings, the product of ages of evolution. Climactic changes are taking place. The world begins to grow cold. New York is almost in the Arctic region and Italy is covered with snow all the year around. In spite of their enormous intellectual development, all human beings must perish. Our hero alone can withstand the intense cold. He wanted eternal life – and he got it – eternal life, purely intellectual. What does he do with all his years? And how does he enjoy them?, Read this powerful story.

LibriVoxThe Coming Of The Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 4, 2009
“Strange men, these creatures of the hundredth century, men with huge brains and tiny, shriveled bodies, atrophied limbs, and slow, ponderous movements on their little conveyances … it was then that I was forced to produced my tattered old paper, proving my identity and my story.” First published in Amazing Stories, June 1926.

|ETEXT|

Here are two PDF versions:

Amazing Stories, June 1926 |PDF|
Amazing Stories, July 1961 |PDF|

[Thanks also to David T. and Carlo!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

June 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

Alethia Phrikodes is a long poem by H.P. Lovecraft. The title, by the way, is from Greek, and means “Frightful Truth.”

Following the title there is a short line, in Latin, reading:

“Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omna nihil.”

Omni = all
risus = laughter
pulvis = dust
nihil = nothing

That could be translated to:

“Everything is a laugh and everything is nothing.” or maybe “All is a laugh and all is dust.” or “All laughter is all dust is all nothing.” or “All the laughter and all the dust and all the nothing.”

I found Alethia Phrikodes in the pages of the July 1952 issue of Weird Tales. But, subsequent research shows that it’s actually a segment extracted from an even longer, and much earlier, poem, entitled The Poe-et’s Nightmare (first published in The Vagrant, No. 8, July 1918).

Beyond being really cool Alethia Phrikodes is also, apparently, Lovecraft’s “first enunciation of cosmicism.”*

And so here’s Mr. Jim Moon’s beautiful narration of it |MP3| (12 minutes). To go with it check out this |PDF| which includes the text and the gorgeous art by Jon Arfstrom (from it’s publication in Weird Tales).

Posted by Jesse Willis

*Notes on a manuscript version are available HERE.

The SFFaudio Podcast #212 – READALONG: The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

May 13, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #212 – Jesse, Mirko and Mr. Jim Moon discuss The Willows by Algernon Blackwood.

Talked about on today’s show:
Algernon Blackwood’s television show, “the ghost man”, the expansion of consciousness, the extension of human personality, ghosts, Saturday Night Story, H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, almost nothing happens, “ghoulish work”, cosmic horror, Mr. Jim Moon outlines of the story, the nameless Swede, travelogue, the Danube, a lonesome expanse, an elemental presence, the rising spirits, the shunned place, the man’s body (or the black otter), “never human in the first place”, overlapping dimensions, The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard, why is it set in Europe?, The Wendigo, Blackwood actually canoed on the Danube, Marcus Aurelius, the Black Forest, Blackwood attended school in the area, hard guys, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, “the soul chilling fury of Nature’s terrible dethroned gods”, the joke becomes unfunny, Romania, Transylvania, “looks fantastic but no-one lives there!”, evidence of human habitation, we have to keep going farther and farther to find the borderlands, their thoughts are manifested, telepathy, With Morning Comes Mistfall by George R.R. Martin, a review of Bright Messenger by Algernon Blackwood from Fantasy & science Fiction, the “Diva”, nature spirits, sprites, fairies, planetary entities, nature’s policemen, WWI, haunted tree?, occult and paranormal writing, occultist jargon, the chain of being, neo-Platonism, intermediary spirits, what did these two dudes do wrong?, sacred groves, druids, devilish places, The Children Of The Stones, the stolid Swede, red Indians, the noble savage, Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla, the drowned peasant, the conical holes, Chupacabra?, alien sampling?, footprints?, fingerprints?, Jaws, the hidden monster, “having rid himself of the morsel”, empty planet, “the sounds a planet must make driving along through space”, J.R.R. Tolkien, Old Man Willow, the Withywindle, the evil trees, Tolkien was familiar with Blackwood, Tom Bombadil is a nature spirit, Goldberry is a river spirit, “he’s got a bloody song for everything”, the Wikipedia entry for willow, the bronze skinned figures, fairy mischief, fairies fuck with you, what’s with the paddles?, a sacrifice, man where was your editor?, you didn’t really do anything wrong but show up, canoeing ghost stories, Voyageurs, a deal with the devil on Christmas Eve, La Chasse-Galerie (aka “The Bewitched Canoe” aka “The Flying Canoe“), Deliverance, leisure travel vs. work travel, the drones, the last gasp of the Grand Tour, Alien vs. Evil Dead, the punishment of the idle, reckless youth, Cabin In The Woods, The Complete Weird Fiction Of Algernon Blackwood, short stories are best enjoyed in short doses.

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood - read by Wayne June

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

La Chasse-Galerie - illustrated by Henri Julien

Posted by Jesse Willis

To The Best Of Our Knowledge: S.T. Joshi on H.P. Lovecraft (and Cosmicism)

March 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

To The Best Of Our KnowledgeI posted about this To The Best Of Our Knowledge segment (and two others) back in 2009, but it’s worth a repost.

The video version below only includes the second segment, which is an excerpt from Garrick Hagon’s reading of Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and host Jim Fleming’s talk with S.T. Joshi about Lovecraft’s philosophy of “cosmicism.”

Cosmicism, according to Wikipedia, is the “philosophical position that mankind is an insignificant aspect of a universe at best indifferent and hostile.” Though putting it that way it seems to me that “cosmicism” is not so much a philosophical position as just an informed viewpoint.

And bonus How Big is the Universe? from Minute Physics:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany

March 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany

Maureen O’Brien, of the Maria Lectrix podcast, reads the prose poem The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany:

|MP3|

First published in the December 18, 1909 issue of Saturday Review.

Here’s the entire text:

The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany

‘All we who write put me in mind of sailors hastily making rafts upon doomed ships.

When we break up under the heavy years and go down into eternity with all that is ours our thoughts like small lost rafts float on awhile upon Oblivion’s sea. They will not carry much over those tides, our names and a phrase or two and little else.

They that write as a trade to please the whim of the day, they are like sailors that work at the rafts only to warm their hands and to distract their thoughts from their certain doom; their rafts go all to pieces before the ship breaks up.

See now Oblivion shimmering all around us, its very tranquility deadlier than tempest. How little all our keels have troubled it. Time in its deeps swims like a monstrous whale; and, like a whale, feeds on the littlest things–small tunes and little unskilled songs of the olden, golden evenings–and anon turneth whale-like to overthrow whole ships.

See now the wreckage of Babylon floating idly, and something there that once was Nineveh; already their kings and queens are in the deeps among the weedy masses of old centuries that hide the sodden bulk of sunken Tyre and make a darkness round Persepolis.

For the rest I dimly see the forms of foundered ships on the sea-floor strewn with crowns.

Our ships were all unseaworthy from the first.

There goes the raft that Homer made for Helen’.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #201 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Inn by Guy de Maupassant

February 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #201 – The Inn (aka Ulrich The Guide) by Guy de Maupassant, read by Mirko Stauch. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Mirko.

Talked about on today’s show:
Where and why, more and more Maupassant, is there a definitive list of Guy de Maupassant SFF stories?, German translations, the BBC audio drama adaptation of The Inn, RadioArchive.cc, a ghost story, the twist in the end or the twist middle, great writing, an ambiguous ghost story, a psychological happening, the dog’s reaction, revenant, “it becomes the monster”, Louise Hauser, is Ulrich dead?, Gaspard, The Others, Maupassant tricks us, “they bury themselves”, Ulrich is punished for no reason, the voice, white noise, Ulrich’s religious beliefs, Cologne on a cold night, the ravens!, the audio drama improves on the short story!, a filling metaphor, “the immense ocean of pale mountain summits”, mainstream, the vertical issue, Wolfgang von Goethe, “only a very stable character”, a proto-cosmic horror, The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft, a Christmas story, describing nature, the second meaning, “arose from the snow itself”, “he’s alone on the Moon”, being alone, cabin fever, we are alone in the cosmos, community allows us to hide from the harsh truth, gambling, “I would have brought a bunch of books”, “illiterate mountain peasants”, a lonely island, did Gaspard fall into a crevasse?, nature is the monster, the unknown is more terrifying, the terror of the soul, undeserved guilt, “eighteen degrees of frost”, “he was of a sleepy nature”, 1886, Guy de Maupassant visited the Alps, riddled with disease, the Inn at Schwarenbach, The Shining by Stephen King, an internal flaw, “he could speak no human words”, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin, Perry Rhodan, Silent Running, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the dog as a symbol, the dog as a companion, the importance of routine for the lonely, the demon of loneliness, “all is busy work before the grave”, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Castaway, The Piece Of String (aka The Piece Of Yarn), “eating a sandwich that you find on the sidewalk”, he dies alone and unloved, “two feets”, every Norman is trapped in disbelief, it could have happened to us!, his hair turned white, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the unseen”, “the outer blackness”, able to appreciate the immensity of reality, Honey Boo Boo, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, The Call Of Cthulhu, “when I think of H.P. Lovecraft I don’t think of immense tentacles.”

The Inn by Guy de Maupassant

The Inn by Guy de Maupassant

Ulrich The Guide by Guy de Maupassant

Posted by Jesse Willis

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