The SFFaudio Podcast #258 – READALONG: The Star Rover by Jack London

March 31, 2014 by · 3 Comments
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #258 – Jesse, Seth, and Maissa discuss The Star Rover (aka The Jacket) by Jack London.

Talked about on today’s show:
titled The Jacket in the UK; astral projection; what about alien past lives; the primordial ooze; the book is a laundry list of Jack London’s interests; structure resembles television flashbacks; knuckle-rap Morse Code; The Count of Monte Cristo; Seth recounts his own past-life story; Jesse and Maissa debate plausibility of reincarnation; Plato and the Land of the Forms; “little death” means something else in French; Ragnar Lodbrok based on Norse Mythology; anachronism; Korean history and turtle ships; Jesse attempts to use the Napoleon Complex to debunk reincarnation; everyman (and everywoman); does reincarnation extend beyond humanity?; “there’s only one soul”; Lucretius, star dust, and the recovery of scrolls from Herculaneum; “souls are totally bogus”; past lives as a metaphor for reading widely; prevalence of the number 40; hallucination; Jack London on surfing; multilingual reference as an indicator of fame; prison reform; interrogation, torture, and Guantanamo Bay; loosely adapted in 2005 film The Jacket; the 1923 silent film adaptation is sadly lost; comparing and contrasting with The Iron Heel; T.C. Boyle’s The Relive Box in The New YorkerUntil the End of the World, a film about reliving dreams; on cultivating sleep; frame narrative; sexism; historical basis for character names; H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the creative power of dreams; confabulation; Total Recall; “faith in the lordship of my mind”; the odd importance of tobacco; The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells.

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #255 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Repairer Of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers

March 10, 2014 by · 2 Comments
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Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #255 – The Repairer Of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers; read by Mark Turetsky. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 25 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Mark Turetsky!

Talked about on today’s show:
The King Of Yellow, 1895, novelette, the connections between the stories, Cynthia, the coda, The Mask, Paris, the lethal chamber (a suicide booth), the Fates, revision of judgement, questioning the reader’s sanity, The Yellow Sign, Hildred Castaigne, the future setting (or lack thereof), the statue of Garibaldi (at Washington Square Park), the Carcosa Mythos, weird tales, weird romances, New York City, Mr. Wilde, Hawberk, Dr. Archer, the geography of Washington Square, the elevated train, a subway entrance (as a death chamber), the Wikipedia entry, Futurama (and New New York), a bohemian place, NYU, why is everything militarized?, what’s with the jingle of metal?, the expansion of the American Empire, “citation needed”, dragoons, hussars, lancers, the Prussian style, New Jersey, the texture of the fantasy future, a courtly atmosphere, colouring psychosis, a Napoleonic fascist sate, the meta-fictional nature of The King In Yellow, the Cthulhu Mythos vs. the Yellow Mythos, a surrealist existential nightmare, a fall from a horse, “he’s in the biscuit box”, it’s not horror, weird fiction, Ambrose Bierce, Science Fiction, science, the pinnacle of technology is a dreadnaught, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, Copernicus, Ptolemy, Galileo, the Moons of Jupiter, we’re living in a paradigm, a time of scientific flux, modern atomic theory (and The Mask), H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmicism, Steve Job and the “reality distortion field“, a social reality, Mr. Wilde’s career is the ability to distort social reality, “Napoleon, Napoleon, Napoleon”, Charlemagne, George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.“, Emperor Norton, California, Ambrose Bierce, “A sure sign of a genius is that all of the dunces are in a confederacy against him.”, the Hawberk (aka the Duke of Avonshire), the Metropolitan Museum, why does Louis visit Hildred?, the lethal chamber is central to the action, under the thrall of the Yellow Sign, Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant, insanity and isolation, how is Hildred employed?, how Schizophrenia works, going along with the delusion, what is the significance of the cat?, the crisis comes when the cousin has to move, the crush on Constance, the anti-story nature of the work, the unreliable narrator (not Mark!), “suspension of disbelief”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (and the old romantic poets), a reaction against science, are the ships real?, aren’t the ships and cavalry set up as a Chekov’s Gun that will go off?, internal inconsistencies, how old are the characters?, Hildred vs. Louis, the statue of General Sheridan, Académie Julian, artists and prostitutes and models, The Mask by Robert W. Chambers, what photography did to painting, impressionism, disruptive ideas, the homunculus, the missing fingers, the damaged ears, Mr. Wilde’s manuscript is the story we’re reading!, is the Chamber is a reference to Chambers himself?, The Street Of The First Shell by Robert W. Chambers, the siege of Paris (during the Franco-Prussian War), Two Fishers by Guy de Maupassant, the Benedict (80 Washington Square East), HBO’s True Detective and the connections to The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, detecting reality (and identity), the purple ears vs. pink ears, how does repairing reputations work?, Hildred’s reputation, a Strangers On A Train-esque clearing house for murder, Scandal (we haven’t seen it), Osgood Oswald Vance, crouching, who killed Mr. Wilde?, the cat did it!, the cat must be symbolic, Oscar Wilde and The Yellow Book, a web of fantasies, “folie à deux”, ‘don’t make fun of crazy people because their folly lasts longer than our own’, we don’t have perfect access to reality, WWI, a social reality vs. a harsh physical reality of artillery, madman vs. a fool, craziness vs. folly, Omar Khayyám, Act 1, Act 2 will make you insane, densely packed with world and incidence, revolutionary science, speculation, no Shyamalan twists please, Cohle and Hart, precedents for a twelve year gap, Battlestar Galactica, Vikings, Rome, Lost, it won’t be a happy ending, suicide is hugely important in both stories, ‘death is not the end’, back to the cat, The Street Of The Four Winds by Robert W. Chambers, cats, dark magic, evil omens, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe, No mask?, Stefan Rudnicki talking about The King In Yellow, the “pallid mask”, is it a skull?, Boris, the face in the fates, the bird on the statue, a jigsaw puzzle, “the long arm of The King In Yellow reaches forward and backward in time and space”, David Lynch’s Lost Highway, is Mr. Wilde real at all?, a very readable book, stylistically it’s surprising modern, the artisty milieu, a freshness, “beware of The King In Yellow“.

The Repairer Of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers - illustration by Tucker Sherry

In The Académie Julien In Paris by Marie Bashkirtseff

The Repairer Of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers - WORD CLOUD

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #254 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Anticipator by Morley Roberts

March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #254 – The Anticipator by Morley Roberts; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (17 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Mr Jim Moon!

Talked about in this episode: Story “found through a route obscure and lonely” via Arthur C. Clarke’s A Recursion in Metastories; H.G. Wells; story anthologized in time travel collection; Morley Roberts popular in The Strand magazine right alongside H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle; a story about the writer’s life; serialized fiction in the Victorian era; Victorian writers crossed genres more frequently; ornate, flowery writing style; invoking the ancestors and collective race memory; names in the story; ESP; main character is a drug addict “of the Holmesian school”; metafiction; William Williamson; semiautomatic writing; writing, sleep, and the subconscious; fiction as an escape; recursion in the story; The Food of the Gods (both the novel by H.F. Wells and the short story by Arthur C. Clarke); variations in writerly productivity; The New Accelerator by H.G. Wells; Philip K. Dick’s frenetic drug-fueled writing schedule; modern books are less thought-provoking and don’t age well; The Land of the Ironclads by H.G. Wells; the metaphor of gemstones as writing and the importance of metaphor in general; Mr. Jim Moon debunks the “cult of personality”; Stephen King’s Danse Macabre: “talent is like a knife”; Jesse thinks NaNoWriMo is a bad idea; Ted Chiang; Harlan Ellison’s as-yet-unpublished third volume of Dangerous Visions.

And check out the wonderful two-page doodle of the story by the amazing Samantha Wikan, it’s below!

Talked about on this episode:

A Recursion Of Metastories by Arthur C. Clarke

The Anticipator by Morley Roberts- illustrated by Samantha Wikan

The Anticipator by Morley Roberts- illustrated by Samantha Wikan

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #253 – READALONG: The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

February 24, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #253 – Jesse, Seth, and John Feaster discuss The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Talked about on today’s show: H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror in Literature; the House as a character in the novel; the novel’s memorable characters; The Scarlet Letter is “a sentence, a trial unto itself”; the novel’s modern resonance; Jim Crow gingerbread; setting and character trump plot; the rambling plot imitates life; Hawthorne’s subtle use of humor; Hepzibah = Lovecraft?; the family chickens, Chanticleer is an allusion to Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale; Chanticleer dredges up John’s horrible memories of Rock-a-doodle; comparison to various Lovecraft stories; Hawthorne’s characters are concepts, but well-drawl concepts; allegory with depth à la Tolkien; atavistic guilt; hypnotism, mesmerism, and phrenology, oh my!; phenomena as fads in science fiction and popular culture; Edgar Allen Poe’s work, especially The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar and Fall of the House of Usher; Arthur Conan Doyle is to spiritualism as Glenn Danzig is to Satanism; The X-Files, “I Want to Believe”; John Keats’s theory of negative capability; Mark F. Smith’s LibriVox narration; man’s identity tied to real estate; a Marxist reading of the novel; the house as metaphor for the human heart; Pennsylvania and the great American land grab; the novel’s peculiarly Puritan nature; real-life Pynchon family ancestors of author Thomas Pynchon; inspiration for the fictional house now a tourist attraction; Hawthorne’s defense of writing a romance in the novel’s preface; the novel’s horrendous screen adaptations and slightly better comic book adaptations; The Haunting of Hill House; the power of interpretive haunting; revival of the Gothic tradition e.g. in The Duchess of Duke Street; Hawthorne plays amazing tricks with point of view; “guns are America’s pit bulls”; Joe Hill’s Locke and Key.

The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The House Of The Seven Gables - Classics Illustrated

Characters in The House Of The Seven Gables

Gold Key - The Twilight Zone - Pinup #5

Word Cloud for Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft

Word Cloud for The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Phoebe and Holgrave

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

February 10, 2014 by · Leave a 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 #250 – READALONG: Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #250 – Jesse, Tamahome, J.J. Campanella, and Marissa van Uden discuss Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith.

Talked about on today’s show:
Cordwainer Smith’s first story, Fantasy Book, Frederik Pohl, roughness but with power, space is not for humans, A Game Of Rat And Dragon, a cool cat story, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, a bit romantic with a cat, cyborgs, habermans, cranching, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (aka Cordwainer Smith), was that a Mandarin fingernail?, Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, a specialist in propaganda, the spacers union, On The Waterfront, merchant marine (but super respected), all scanners are habermans but not all habermans are scanners, pork chops have gone extinct, The Instrumentality Of Makind series is set between 2000-8000 A.D. (with Scanners Live In Vain at 6000 A.D.), a rocketry problem, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Call Me Joe, the first post-singularity story, what will it be like when I have Google installed in every part of my body, chest box and instruments, Steve Austin, there’s something symbolic going on, the TV Tropes entry is like a cynical version of the Wikipedia entry, Adam Stone, half-Chinese, somebody from the South, Nazis, anti-Semitic feeling, J.J. Pierce, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, can’t taste, can’t smell, can’t feel, can’t hear, practicing facial expressions, a U.N. of spacers, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, romantic not symbolic, Mr. Spaceship by Philip K. Dick, habermans vs. scanners, the dregs of society, no computers in the future, whatever the instrumentality is, Martel’s wife is very patient, honor, China, eunuchs, samurai means to server, ronin, a very Asian story, Game Of Thrones, respect not money, an alienness of outlook, love, duty, and humanity = I surrender, 20th century Asian history, reading Scanners Live In Vain as an editor, the opening and the ending, a cynical ending, a little injection of Philip K. Dick, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, the graphic novel version, Martel as Edward Snowden, the NSA as the scanners, Fight Club, Alfred Bester, what’s the “the up and out”?, they have Etch A Sketches, the unforgiven, the “great pain of space”, Think Blue, Count Two, sleeper ships, an organic computer, Philip K. Dick’s question was ‘how do I know what’s real?’, “the First Effect”, reading authors, “writing is telepathy” (Stephen King, On Writing), a weird heightened operatic style, a mythical style?, “here’s to the habermans up and out”, a schizoid class, text message style, you don’t want or need an electronic teapot, brown betty, a bot-net in the refrigerator, my tootbrush is communicating with me!, firefly toothbrushes, a useful trap, when the technology enters your body, ice-cream.

Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith

Posted by Jesse Willis

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