The SFFaudio Podcast #247 – READALONG: On The Beach by Nevil Shute

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #247 – READALONG: On The Beach by Nevil Shute; read by Simon Prebble. Jesse fends off illness to lead us in an intriguing discussion about Nevil Shute’s apocalyptic novel. This podcast features Jesse, Jenny, Seth, and Paul.

Talked about on today’s show:
Reversed seasons in Southern Hemisphere; novel originally serialized in London weekly periodical The Sunday Graphic; “on the beach” as naval phrase meaning “retired from service”; the novel almost universally acclaimed by critics and readers alike; what is the ideal time frame for an end-of-the-world scenario?; On The Beach as bleak existential novel; the author’s avoidance of political or religious polemic; 1959 movie starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Anthony Perkins; Australia as a secular nation; Earth Abides by George R. Stewart; Endgame by Samuel Becket; the novel as a metaphor for terminal cancer patients; The Star by Arthur C. Clarke; abstract sterile end-of-world mechanics, a “cosy catastrophe“; 2008 BBC radio adaptation; 2000 TV movie starring Bryan Brown, modernized and featuring a much more optimistic tone; Roland Emmerich’s disaster flick 2012; could the novel’s characters done more to ensure the continued survival of humanity?; fallout shelters, “duck and cover!”; Chernobyl; rampant alcoholism; euthanasia; attitudes toward media–were newspapers responsible for the war?; regression of technology in the novel; The Waveries by Fredric Brown; we wish the Cosy Catastrophe genre would supplant Paranormal Romance; reflection of a pre-WWI era arms race; 1959 movie version tackles Cold War paranoia; U.S. government’s criticism of the novel; Five Years by David Bowie; faced with the end of the world, our panel would evidently read Marcel Proust; needless revisions in film adaptations; much action takes place “off the page” in the novel; lookism; The Scarlet Plague by Jack London; Simon Prebble’s excellent audio narration; George Orwell’s 1984Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and logotherapy; Jay Lake and his bout with cancer; Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, and how we’re haunted by the people who are no longer with us; the novel’s three-dimensional characters; Nevil Shute employs typical British understatement; Lord of the Rings‘s Denethor and the idea of hopelessness; Egyptian tomb goods and attitudes towards death; Jesse plans his funeral rites.

On The Beach - illustration by John Rowland

On The Beach - Ralph Lane adaptation - RADIATION

Scorpion at Bremerton - illustration by Ralph Lane

ON THE BEACH - illustration by Ralph Lane - glass bricks

Posted by Seth Wilson

The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany (read by Mike Vendetti)

July 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany

I love The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany. It’s a terrific twelve minute tale, a prose poem of career criminals turned beneficent brigands. And my friend Mike Vendetti liked it a whole bunch too, have a listen a listen to his reading of it! |MP3|

Here’s a fully illustrated |PDF|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Dreamland by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Mr. Jim Moon)

July 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Mr. Jim Moon’s reading of one of my favourite Edgar Allan Poems!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

June 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

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 City And The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Wayne June)

May 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Wayne June‘s animated reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s The City And The Sea is absolutely haunting.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe

May 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The City In The Sea

The City in the Sea by Edgar Allan Poe

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently-
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free-
Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls-
Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls-
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers-
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol’s diamond eye-
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass-
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea-
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave- there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide-
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow-
The hours are breathing faint and low-
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.

Here’s the audio, as narrated by Mister Jim Moon:

The City In The Sea was published in this form in the Broadway Journal, August 30, 1845:

The City In The Sea: A Prophecy by Edgar Allan Poe

The City In The Sea

Posted by Jesse Willis

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