Future Tense: Richard Matheson’s Born Of Man And Woman

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Richard Matheson’s first published story, Born Of Man And Woman, is a powerful three page Science Fiction Horror tale written in the form of a diary. An uneducated and abused child, our protagonist, is kept chained in the basement by his or her parents, he or she has never been outdoors or upstairs. It’s a thoughtful tragic masterpiece.

Though I take the title as an allusion to a line in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth it also, I think, adds a layer of depth to the story’s sketch.

Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson from Fantasy & Science Fiction, Summer 1950


Future TenseFuture Tense – Born Of Man And Woman
Adapted from the story by Richard Matheson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcast: WMUK Special Projects
Broadcaster: May 30, 1974
Provider: SciFi Friday
First published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Summer 1950.

External |PDF|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #207 – READALONG: Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick

April 8, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #207 – Jesse, Julie Davis, and Rose Davis talk about Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
the premise, a Lovecraftian monster, malign desires upon the Earth, The Call Of The Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick, dead and not dead, city vs. cathedral, what if Cthulhu was a nice god?, Robert Sheckley, Voltairian style of comedic adventure, even the ending is a joke, super-depressing dystopian earths, “a machine-like” state of being, everyone in the book is suicidally depressed, the Glimmung, everyone is afraid of failure, I want you to map all the themes and the rising action, an existential book, the value and importance of work, the best pot-healer on Earth, failed marriage, “the game is so depressing”, clever but not uplifting, this is about our society (Twitter and podcasts), totally relevant for the internet age, Molly Yoyez, Richard Matheson’s repeated theme of the disconnection between people, “he you should listen to my podcast”, at least you can laugh, the last line of the book, the best of them, instead of just fixing or healing what is broken he is becoming a creator, “the pot was awful”, Philip K. Dick’s personal relationship with religion, history, church history, Roman history, wordplay, the meaning of “Mare Nostrum”, medicine of secret composition a placebo or patent medicine, to give them hope, agape, keritas, Happy Catholic, a body of Christ analogy, the power of Jesus, Christ stands empty handed, pointless existence, existential ennui or a disaffection with a lack of meaning in the universe (going back to Lovecraft), a symbolic version of deep time, a Jungian interpretation, the collective unconscious, is Joe Fernwright trying to find his soul?, his dead self, come to terms with death, “it’s your corpse”, “I have a box I’ve made”, it’s a coffin, distraction, the book title game, there are more allusions per square inch than other novels, Faust, albatrosses, “what Christ really was”, Willis the robot, unlimited power and unlimited knowledge, why does this cathedral need to be raised?, you love things that are stronger than you, forbidden love, “he felt apathy and there was nothing to be apathetic about”, incest, Amalita and Borel, God the creator, what is a cathedral essentially?, it is a church or THE Church, the bivalve character, the Book of the Calends, people being saved through work, “the robots are more alive (and human) than the people”, “the whole thing about robots”, ignoring your programming, Costco robots, “you can’t take pictures in here”, she could disregard the policy but she chooses not to, buckle your seat-belt, “whether you have a fate or not”, Willis doesn’t just do this roboting thing (he has aspirations to be a writer), thinking of other people not as people, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, LEGOing, WiFi vs. wireless, “be a human being for a minute”, programmed dreams, is the book prescient?, colostomy bag installation, it is inhumane not to be full of agape and keritas and worry for other people, the scene at the spaceport, THX-1138, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, “I gaze across the silence of the marshes”, the padre booth scene, Zen, “you have worked and not worked”, Puritan Ethic, Roman Catholic, Allah, Judaism, “a bowl of Martian fat-worm soup”, the dystopia of regulation and efficiency, friending and unfriending, if this is a book about religion…, pots are what he loves, why didn’t Joe break pots?, the spider in the cup, the little fisherman of the night, “the great fisherman of the night”, this is a book about doing not having done, aspiring and aspiration, busy work and the game, Snake by D.H. Lawrence, But even so, “from out the dark door of the secret earth”, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the bottle in the toilet tank, was there a giant snake down there?, the bones of a Black Glimmung, the bones looked like the bones of an Ark, come and be saved (a new Testament ark), beings in distress, the Glimmung is forcing their hands, “he loved us because we were alive”, Amalita means hard work, Calends -> Calendar, taxes, the ides of March, the allusions to Faust, Faustian-man striving upwards never satisfied, overcoming our bad-selves, reconcile yourself to death, overcome a fear of failure, the pot at the end of the world, “why didn’t you try something”, God in Genesis was very Faustian, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, co-creators with God, the swamp is the flooding of the perfect and the beautiful, Midnight In The Sunken Cathedral by Harlan Ellison, the fog-things of antiquity, infirm and senile, you can get a lot done on the telephone, Mr. Job and Mr. Lawyer, the robots are just as inhumane as the humans, the interplan corn and wheat bank, communism as absorbed into capitalism, crumbles as a unit of currency, Ploghman’s Planet, manifesting, the hovercraft, hello to you too, reading into it more, Julie wants to force Scott to read this book, poetry, Jesse reads The Raft Builders by Lord Dunsany, “hastily making rafts”, The Epic Of Gilgamesh, Robert Silverberg, other Philip K. Dick books, Philip K. Dick’s common book (The Exegesis), Galactic Pot-Healer is a piece of art, it was crafted, weaved, A Scanner Darkly, plots vs. ideas, having once thought to kill a senator, suicide, suicide by cop, upon re-reading, the use and abuse of drugs, ‘archaeologists will find him and know he was a misunderstood superman because he was holding a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead‘, nihilism, Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron, 2081, whack-job libertarian idea, the problem isn’t “the nanny state”, the inexplicably of Kurt Vonnegut’s popularity, the hopelessness of his books, triteness, Philip K. Dick’s deeper themes, Philip K. Dick’s simple short stories, “what is it that you find that’s better?”, the people are the pot = mind blown!, the cover art of Galactic Pot-Healer, how Glimmung manifests himself in the world is how Jesse imagines Julie, and Scott and Rose see God in the world, Glimmung has no concern for self-dignity, “Don’t lose faith. -G.”, this book is about depression, being out of work, suicide, “I have my own black dog I need to fight”, “I love this book”, “It is a great book.”

Galactic Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Last Man On Earth (adapted from I Am Legend by Richard Matheson) with AUDIO DESCRIPTION

March 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Starring Vincent Price!

[via Movies For The Blind]

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

Duel by Richard Matheson

November 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Derived from an incident in which he and a friend were dangerously tailgated by a large truck on the same day as the Kennedy assassination, Duel is emblematic of Richard Matheson’s queer existential fiction. It was first published in the April 1971 of Playboy.

Playboy, April 1971 - Duel by Richard Matheson

The most accessible version of this classic story is this one, put out by Harper Audio in 2009:

Harper Audio - Road Rage by Richard Matheson, Stephen King and Joe HillDuel (from Road Rage)
By Richard Matheson; Read by Stephen Lang
1 |MP3| – Approx. 63 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: February 2009
“Driving to San Francisco, a businessman finds himself the victim of a deadly game being played by the driver of a huge, mysterious truck. Later to become Steven Spielberg’s classic 1971 film.”

But, back in 2006 BBC Radio 7 (now BBC Radio 4 Extra) did a special broadcast in honour of Richard Matheson’s 80th birthday. Along with a specially recorded interview there was also an unabridged reading of Duel. That version is available via torrent over on RadioArchive.cc:

RadioArchives.ccBBC 7's The 7th DimensionDuel
By Richard Matheson; Read by Nathan Osgood
2 MP3s via TORRENT – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: February 18, 2006
“A huge truck plays deadly games with an innocent motorist.”

Blackstone Audio’s collection, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, released in 2009 also includes it:

Horror Audiobook - Nightmare at 20,000 Feet by Richard MathesonNightmare at 20,000 Feet
By Richard Matheson; Read by Various
10.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009

And while the movie version is currently available, in its entirety, on YouTube this short film version, recut from Spielberg’s TV-Movie is perhaps even better:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Steel by Richard Matheson (from Steel And Other Stories)

July 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Steel And Other Stories by Richard MathesonSteel And Other Stories – Steel
By Richard Matheson; Read by Scott Brick
Approx. 59 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2011
ISBN: 1455112127
Themes: / Science Fiction / Boxing / Robots /

Steel, a novelette, was first published in the May 1956 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
The editorial introduction preceding it described Steel as a “tale of strength and endurance” and as “a science fiction sports story so realistic, simple and powerful that it should prove moving even to sports-loathing readers who have never let a boxing bout darken their television screens.” The story would just a few years later, in a 1963 adaptation as an episode of the Twilight Zone brighten the living rooms of many. And, in 2011 it would inspire the big budget movie Real Steel. So, how does the original novellete, stand up to repeated blows of history?

Pretty well. If you like Matheson’s writing Steel is definitely worth hearing. This story captures in a relatively short space the oddity, the kind of quirk that Matheson seems forever working on. It’s something I’ve noticed in practically every story by Matheson that I’ve read. His main characters always seem to want to make a human connection with strangers, and in their efforts to do so always fail – and always for the same reason. In their desire to be heard, and be understood, they always disregard the needs and desires of those strangers. I’ve never seen a writer tackle anthing like this, over and over, like Matheson always seems to. Let’s tale Steel as our example. One of the two main characters, Paul, goes to great lengths to get engage an uninterested stranger in a conversation about the exploits of his dilapidated robot boxer. That the stranger, who doesn’t know anything about boxing, doesn’t care about boxing, and has never even heard of Paul’s robot, is obviously completely uninterested in what Paul is saying. This doesn’t seem to occur to Paul. It’s as if Paul’s own need to reach out and be heard – to be something – is greater than the interests of the stranger – whatevber those interests might be. It’s not so much a Science Fiction issue as it is an existential one. It’s almost as if Matheson is using his fiction to try to find a way to navigate around a massive blind spot in human relations. Like in his novel The Incredible Shrinking Man Matheson has the plot of Steel be a manifestation of a character’s internal difficulties.

Scott Brick narrates this bare bones dialogue driven story. I’m often ambivalent about Brick’s narrations. Sometimes he works for me, sometimes he doesn’t – and I think I’ve finally realized why. Brick is excellent at delivering emotion. But if the emotion is from a third person perspective it comes across as too operatic. But, if the story is told in first person perspective then it work well. In Steel there are basically only two voices – Paul’s and Kelly’s. And when Brick voices either one I can’t readily enough distinguish difference between them. Yet when a story is told in first person Brick’s narration really works. Take this sample |MP3| from Nelson DeMille’s The Lion’s Game (which is first person perspective). And now compare it with this |MP3| from Steel.

I came away feeling somewhat unsatisfied with Steel. It’s not that the story is uninteresting, or unoriginal, Steel is both original and interesting. Kelly and Paul are a pair of boxing enthusiasts – and I’m more of an enthusiast of ideas. There’s just not enough intellectual heft to their journey. I think The Twilight Zone adaptation, penned by Matheson himself and starring Lee Marvin, does the story better mostly because it’s a lot quicker too it. The movie version is hardly an adaptation, being much more of a family father and son traditional conservative values tale than an existential exploration. None of versions of the story did what I wanted them to do, namely get into the robot’s POV. The fact that none of the adaptations treat the robot as anything other than an external manifestation of their root interests is kind of depressing. But then again, I don’t go to Matheson for uplifting, I like his depressing ideas.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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