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 The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates by Peter T. Leeson

May 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

AUDIBLE - The Invisible Hook by Peter T. LeesonThe Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates
By Peter T. Leeson; Read by Jeremy Gage
Audible Download – Approx. 7 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible, Inc.
Published: September 4, 2009
Themes: / Economics / Piracy / History / Slavery / Democracy / Anarchy /

Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss–it’s time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates’ notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & Bones? Why did they create a “pirate code”? Were pirates really ferocious madmen? And what made them so successful? The Invisible Hook uses economics to examine these and other infamous aspects of piracy. Leeson argues that the pirate customs we know and love resulted from pirates responding rationally to prevailing economic conditions in the pursuit of profits.

I love non-fiction, and I love books that look at history, books that look at history through one lens or another are even better! And so there is much to love in The Invisible Hook. The title is a play on Adam Smith’s elegant metaphor for how markets work, the invisible hand. Most of the examples cited deal with the Atlantic and Caribbean pirates, rather than earlier Roman era or modern day pirates. But we get a sense of how it likely worked in other regions and times. Chapters on the paradoxical attitudes towards pirate slavery, the wildly contradictory stories about piratical impressment, and the chapter on the Jolly Roger, the pirate flag, are absolutely fascinating. And, as something of a piratical hobbyist myself, I’m pleased to report they deliver clear insights only hinted at in other non-fiction books about piracy. You know you’ve got a good book in hand when you find yourself relating the premises, arguments, and conclusions of whole chapters to friends.

How good is the analysis really? That’s kind of hard to tell. Democracy and equality as a function of economics? Wonderful! Seems logical, seems plausible. And that’s the sort of thing you don’t hear often enough. Indeed, economist Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, gets a shout out early on in The Invisible Hook. This is a book in that vein, a kind of entertaining pop-economics, well written, and very thoughtful. But it also boasts the same kind of inarguable psychohistory-style post-analysis of such books. It reminds me of books like William Rosen’s The Most Powerful Idea in the World, and Jared Diamond’s Collapse. Well written history looked at through the lens of a soft science makes the seemingly inexplicable events of history seem almost inevitable. That is to say, this book should be just one of many such on such topics. In the end though how can you not wanto to read a book that makes piracy, as depicted in The Princess Bride, actually very plausible?

But this is not as merry a ship as it might be. As with many book published these days, there’s some bit of puffery. Concepts well illustrated in a paragraph or two are revisited, whole passages nearly reworded, and I’m betting that this for reasons of market driven economics. It might be that each chapter can be looked at on it’s own, textbook style, but listened to as I did, back to back the chapters have a tendency to revisit the same ports too often. This is one of my major complaints about books these days. Too many books are being published with too many words that don’t say different things. At under eight hours even this relatively slim volume, by today’s market standards, but it’s still puffier than any pirate’s shirt really ought be. It is like a pirate cutter on the stalk, slowed down by a sea-anchor of unneeded repetition. Saying the same thing over and over and over. Get my point? Okay, its the market, and to be fair Adam Smith’s own The Wealth Of Nations is a bloody long book, 36 hours! I’d be willing to bet my strong right arm that the original article, as published by Levitt (mentioned in the book), would be an even better audiobook than this very fine one, and no doubt it’d measure at least a peg leg shorter.

Narrator Jeremy Gage is from the old school of audiobook narration, the kind I like. He doesn’t so much as perform a book as read it. His conspiratorial tone typically him a great choice for first-person POV novels, like Lawrence Block’s Burglars Can’t Be Choosers. This is the first non-fiction book I’ve heard him narrate. So now I can say he’s great for non-fiction too.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #200 – READALONG: Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi

February 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #200 – Jesse, Mirko, and Gary Lovisi discuss the Science Fiction novel Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi.

Talked about on today’s show:
the great description, Audible.com, it’s a prison novel, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel, it’s a book collector’s novel, Philip K. Dick, a reality dysfunction, The Man In The High Castle, 1984 by George Orwell, “retconning“, Stalin, airbrushing history, a new Science Fiction idea!, Amazon’s Kindle, Mark Twain, “The Department Of Control”, J. Edgar Hoover, Simon is the most evil character ever, oddball individualists, a straw man gulag, one way of keeping the population in control is to send troublemakers away, another is to give them someone to hate, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, the Attica Prison riot (1971), Arabella Rashid, entertainment media, when you can’t tell what the truth is anymore it’s very easy to control people, maybe it’s an allegory for our times, Paperback Parade, SF writers were wrong about what our times are like, Mars, crime novels, Science Fiction as a metaphor, people are scared of reading, “I like good writing”, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, getting the word out about Mars Needs Books!, Gargoyle Nights, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance, horror, fantasy, nice and short, short books pack a punch (and don’t waste your time), Stephen King, Patrick O’Brian, ideas, paperback novels from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, customers want thick books, Winter In Maine by Gerard Donovan, were looking at a different readership today, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, there’s nothing that doesn’t add to the story, “Lawrence Block is scary good”, Donald E. Westlake, Robert Bloch, Eight Million Ways To Die, A Pair Of Recycled Jeans by Lawrence Block, Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), Charles Ardai (was on SFFaudio Podcast #090), book-collectors, Murder Of A Bookman by Gary Lovisi (is also on Audible.com), collectable glassware, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, cool dialogue, Driving Hell’s Highway by Gary Lovisi (also on Audible.com), That Hell-bound Train by Robert Bloch, noir, Violence Is The Only Solution by Gary Lovisi (paperback), hard-boiled, revenge, betrayal, personality disorder, Sherlock Holmes, westerns, “if there’s one truth in the universe that I know it’s that Germans love westerns”, which frontier are you talking about?, The Wild Bunch, a western with tommyguns, Akira Kurosawa, Outland (is High Noon in space), Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, hard-boiled, violence, the Martian national anthem, Prometheus Award, libertarian motifs, world-building, GryphonBooks.com, Hurricane Sandy, Wildside Press, POD Books, eBooks, fire and water, that paperback is still in readable condition in 150 years?, fanzines, Jack Vance, The Dying Earth, Robert Silverberg, Dell Mapbacks, paperbacks were disposable, used bookstores, sex books.

Audible - Mars Needs Books! by Gary Livosi

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #171 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #171 – Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, Julie Hoverson, and Matthew Sanborn Smith talk about the latest NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS in audiobooks and paperbooks.

Talked about on today’s show:
Matt is sorry, audiobooks and paperbooks, The Mongoliad (Book 1) by Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, E.D. deBirmingham, Luke Daniels, Brilliance Audio, “speculative history”, shared worlds, Jenny appreciates the effort, Mongolian food yum!, Genghis Kahn And The Making Of The Modern World by Jack Weatherford, swordplay, Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig, Angry Robot Books, “our hirsute friend”, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose“, Peter Boyle, The X-Files, “I’m on team more please”, Counter Clock World by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|, Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday, “The librarians have all the power and they use it for evil.”, Red Dwarf, Backwards, WWII in reverse, time’s arrow, South Park, Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier by Jack Campbell, military SF, Steve Gibson (of Security Now), “Gratuitous Space Battles”, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Battleship, Shadow Blizzard by Alexey Pehov’s website, D&D style action, George R.R. Martin, Shadow Prowler, is there a Russian Goodreads?, Luke Burrage, The Scar, The Hot Gate by John Ringo, Baen Books, Sword & Laser, Omega Point (A Richards And Klein Investigation) by Guy Haley, an angry AI, The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan, “don’t poke the nerds”, Farmer In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein, collective tractor problems, Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein, Silent Running, bringing earth from Earth, Nick Podehl, “solar operas”, The Number Of The Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, a bloaty book, Sliders, lawyer world is our world, bickering about who is in charge, “sensual”, The Number Of The Beast Wikipedia entry, Amidala is Ozma?, Space: 1889, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction: Volume 4 edited by Allan Kaster, After The Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh, Charles Stross, Robert Reed, Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton, noir, Anne Rice, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (email Jenny if you’re an audiobook reviewer in search of audiobooks to review), Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde, Hamlet, The Unwritten, Recorded Books, One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde, Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness, a Martian day, Moon War by Ben Bova, the “Grand Tour” series, Kim Stanley Robinson, mowing the lawn while audiobooking, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, Downton Abbey, Cranford, The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman, The Secret Pilgrim by John le Carré, A Perfect Spy by John le Carré, Michael Jayston, AuralNoir.com (SFFaudio’s long forgotten clone), “it’s about ideas”, John le Carré as a narrator, Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Penguin Audio, Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman, Breaking Bad, a surreal chain of events, Kirby Heyborne, Homeland by Cory Doctorow, Eric S. Rabkin’s Coursera Course: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, Night Watch by Linda Fairstein, A Game Of Thrones food, when is Winter coming?, Barbara Rosenblat, It’s The Middle Class Stupid by James Carville and Stan Greenberg, is that a speech impediment or an accent?, I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me by Joan Rivers, “You’re not the gay son I wanted.”, Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures Of A Hollywood Geek by Olivia Munn and Mac Montandon |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Newsroom, Attack Of The Show, Michael Caine, audio biographies, My Life by Bill Clinton, Bossypants by Tina Fey, 30 Rock, SecondWorld by Jeremy Robinson, On The Beach by Nevil Shute, Phil Gigante, The Stainless Steel Rat, Fatherland, Kop Killer by Warren Hammond, wife wife wife, Spider Play by Lee Killough, Beware the Hairy Mango, 19 Nocturne Boulevard, Fatal Girl (anime audio drama), internal consistency, is anime a genre?, Hayao Miyazaki, Tony C. Smith’s District Of Wonders network, StarShipSofa, Tales To Terrify, Crime City Central, Protecting Project Pulp, Lawrence Block, Lawrence Santoro is awesome, should we care about networks?, Mucho Mango Mayo (a new story every day), web-series writing month, Saki, H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges, Dis-Belief, cosmic horror, parallel universes.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Crime City Central: Keller The Dog-Killer by Lawrence Block

July 19, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

Crime City CentralTony Smith, of StarShipSofa, was telling me, a few months ago, that he was working on a new podcast. I’m not much for plans. I don’t like to be disappointed. I don’t want to know what’s coming out next month or next year. Instead, I look backwards into what I see as the ever settling waters of history.

Tony had said the show was going to be crime fiction themed. He was excited. I was non-committal. But, now I’m excited.

That show he mentioned has come to fruition and is perfectly wonderful.

The first episode of Crime City Central features a short story by one of the world’s all-time best crime fiction writers, Lawrence Block. Keller The Dog-Killer was first published in the May 2008 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine – but it was originally a part of a novel, called Hit Parade, which itself was a part of a series of short stories that were fix’d-up into another novel (and then spawned more novels, which themselves were fairly episodic – and which included Hit Parade) – hence this short story. The “Keller” series features the adventures of Keller. He’s a shy stamp collector and curiously amiable freelance hit man who operates out of New York. You’d probably not want to know Keller in real life – he’s rather dangerous. But as a fictional character, he’s very fun to hang out with.

Keller The Dog Killer - from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May, 2008 - Illustration by Mark Evans

Aficionados know that Lawrence Block often narrates his own audiobooks, and he does a great job at it. But the narration here by reader Ray Sizemore is top shelf too. He does a seamless back and forth between Keller and Dot (his agent) and the story flows very smoothly.

I highly recommend giving it a listen. |MP3|

Here’s the podcast feed:

http://crimecitycentral.com/feed/

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #169

July 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #169 – Jesse and Luke Burrage (from the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast) talk to audiobook narrator Jonathan Davis.

Talked about on today’s show:
Not the Jonathan Davis of Korn, favourite audiobook narrators, Luke’s real job (juggling), how to become an audiobook narrator (or a professional juggler), acting, theatrical acting, voice over, New York, Testament by John Grisham, Brazil, Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese, Gone For Soldiers by Jeff Shaara, long form narration, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, urban samurais and Aleutian assassins, binaural recording, The Shadow Of The Torturer by Gene Wolfe, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, London, Paris, Iowa City, Thailand, genetic engineering, Japan, accessory dogs, GMO food, graphic sex scenes in mid-juggle, Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis, Zoolander, American Psycho, a 12 page sex scene, Star Wars, Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World by Jack Weatherford, straight readings vs. impersonations, Yoda, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Luke re-edits Star Wars, alien languages, Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer, When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger, Ian Mcdonald, North Africa, Egypt, Arab Spring, Bedouin, narration styles, straight narration vs. theatrical performance vs. cinematic narration, Michael Caine, scalpel vs. laser, Mike Resnick’s Starship series, voice based books, Star Trek, David Copperfield, Oliver Sacks, The Watchers by Jon Steele, Kirinyaga, The Scar by Sergey Dyachenko and Marina Dyachenko, Starship: Mutiny, Elinor Huntington, existential resonance, Harry Potter, conspiracy, dystopia, Ray Bradbury, Cool Air by H.P. Lovecraft, Starship: Rebel, no research, just fun, language, audiobooks as a collaboration between an author, a narrator and a listener, Walking Dead by Greg Rucka, espionage, comics, Neil Gaiman, Catch And Release by Lawrence Block, Hex Appeal, Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files, studio time, The Book Of The New Sun, “do your homework”, “suddenly revealed to be a Texan”, an Aleutian Rastafarian, Hiro Protagonist, Minding Tomorrow, revealing voices, American Gods, George Guidall, “the perfect audiobook experience”, Woden (aka Odin aka Mr. Wednesday), The Stand by Stephen King, reading with your ears, preferred narration styles, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, racism, Dune, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Johannesburg, South Africa, fantasy fiction shouldn’t have an American accent, Luke’s SFBRP review of The Scar, House Of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, an Arkansas accent, inner monologue vs. dialogue, the Sling Blade voice, Casaundra Freeman, audiobook narration is difficult, learning the characters over a series, George R.R. Martin, A.J. Hartley, Act Of Will, Will Power, working with authors, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, Book Of The Road, male and female narration, Gabra Zackman, Jonathan is the infodumper, Full Cast Audio, a one man show vs. theatrical collaboration, Scott Brick, Feyd-Rautha, a Jamaican brogue?, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, do you like computer games?, Max Payne 3, Tron, “that’s my neck fat”, Vladamir Lem, Armando Becker.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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