The SFFaudio Podcast #208 – Jesse, Jenny, and Eric S. Rabkin talk about Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Talked about on today’s show:
Magic realism, liking this book more, upset with a lot of things, “where’s the fantasy?”, Eric uses this book in his classes, Laura Esquivel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Eric’s Castillian accent, magic realism is just realism, One Hundred Years Of Solitude, locus classicus, a ten pound bag of amniotic fluid salt, Spark Notes, Tita would make some food, externalize her emotions, making matches, soap opera style plot, “this is a girl book”, “the most girly book ever”, birthing, cooking, Chapter 5, the chickens are pecking each other’s eyes out, the chicken tornado, three sisters, “know any other trinities”, Tia means aunt, Jessela, Josephita, “Little Joseph”, Mamma Elena wants to be God, Garza means heron, “malice in her heart”, birds, falcons, capons, an absence of storks, “Alex, the conqueror of the world”, what are we to make of the death of Roberto?, nurse and nourish, lactating non-moms, “such a girly book”, Isabel Allende, women have magic (in the kitchen, bedroom, family), the massive Wikipedia entry on Magic Realism, John Brown, Eric’s 4 cents about magic realism, true Fairy Tales, nobody is surprised by talking animals in fairy tales, Science Fiction, King Kong, Frankenstein, “science fiction provides metaphors whereas magic realism provides conceits”, food becomes the metaphor for the presentation of the self, Erving Goffman, the movie, the insane asylum, Chencha, ghosts, the kilometer long blanket, you may not believe it but you have to accept it, Jenny’s superpower, Ray Bradbury, grand niece, aroma and flavour, impossible flavours, John Brown has the power of his Kickapoo indian grandmother, romance novel, Rosaura, golden rose, the Virgin Mary, Pedro = Peter (the rock upon whom she will build her church), what it means to be selfless, loyal, and reliable, John Brown (the abolitionist), why is mama Elena such a twisted up bitch, Gertrudis (spear of strength), a story of racial prejudice, Harlequin Romance, Tristan And Isolde, love potions, “to the table or to be but you must come when you are bid”, “one time only is one called”, Gertrudis is burning with fire and covered in pink sweat, “in a very sexy manner”, rape?, Pedro’s a stick figure of a person, the ox-tail soup, “that was the way she entered his body”, a feminist book, the sergeant who can’t read, the mother needs to go away, “Surprise, I hate you.”, a haunted kitchen, the tradition of the youngest daughter, a love that bore strong fruit, not just a girly book, racism, black people dance well?, the Mexican Revolution, the revolution is happening within the people, “a brilliant insight”, the individual and the public, the Chinaman, “a well cooked dish”, the etiquette book, the three coloured enchiladas, Zapata, Pershing, Pancho Villa, the Mexican Tourist Board, the food is good, Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus, Tita and Pedro’s final occurrence is apotheosis, Jesus gets the revive?, a tunnel of light, onions as a metaphor, the translation, visits to Mexico, Diego Rivera, civic nationality, “as if”, puns, conveying the general tone of craftsmanship, the two audiobooks, the metaphorical title, “hot and bothered”, alchemical food chemistry magic, recipe, science with its reproduceable results, eight different ways to perfectly hard-boil an eggs,
Posted by Jesse Willis
SFFaudio Podcast #189 featured our chat with the fantastic writer Tim Prasil – about his MARVELLOUS BOXES anthology series (as produced by Decoder Ring Theatre). Something that came up in that discussion was that one of the stories, Plotting For Perfection, was based on a short story Tim has the story online, |PDF|, and has now graciously narrated it for our listening pleasure:
Plotting For Perfection
By Tim Prasil; Read by Tim Prasil
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Provider: Tim Prasil
Provided: December 2012
A photographer on assignment meets his future love, an astrophysicist, and then is visited by photographs of their future life together.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Horror, romance, and zombies – kinda.
There’s also a terribly muddy recording, of a cool sounding CBSRMT adaptation too:
CBS Radio Mystery Theater #0548 – The Graveyard
Based on Was It A Dream? by Guy de Maupassant; Adapted by Elspeth Eric; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: November 8, 1976
A man mourns for his lost love who died after riding out into a rain storm to buy a new dress. He learns the truth about her in a hard way.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #188 – First podcast in 2008, in seven separate installments, here it is, the legendary, unconquerable epic that they didn’t want you to hear. It’s back, stronger, and wholly united into one massive adventure … the mighty BrokenSea Audio Productions adaptation of The Queen Of The Black Coast by Robert E. Howard!
Posted by Jesse Willis
Here’s a terrifically interesting story of romantic adventure, and love, between two very heterosexual men.
Did I mention they are heterosexual?
Well they are.
They have wives!
That’s all there is to it.
The Heathen interweaves Jack London’s racist ideas with his experiences as a sailor to make a truly he-manish tale of two macho sailors who form an unbreakable seventeen-year bond after being shipwrecked in the South Pacific. This is manly beefcake Jack London from 1910, working the blood and breed obsessed vein of fiction and friendship that Robert E. Howard did so masterfully in stories like Queen Of The Black Coast and Hills Of The Dead.
Unfortunately, the version that my good friend Gregg Margarite read for LibriVox, a couple years back, was abridged (or perhaps sanitized) – the PDF version below includes a couple of extra lines here, there, and at the end. Important lines. It also includes more swearing.
Damn those abridgers and sanitizers.
Gregg is dead.
I’m confident he’d have wanted to have read the unsanitized and unabridged original had it been available.
Here’s a beautiful |PDF| made from a scan of the magazine.
Here are the rest of the terrific illustrations by Anton Fischer:
Posted by Jesse Willis
Written by Marie Lu; Read by Steven Kaplan & Mariel Stern
9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: November 2011
Themes: / dystopia / thriller / romance / YA /
A dystopian novel set in a future where The United States of America is a forgotten memory, Legend is part science fiction, part thriller, and part romance aimed at young adults.
The story is set sometime in the future in what is now California. The USA is apparently long-gone and instead, North America is divided into The Republic and The Colonies, which seem to be at odds. Generally it seems that The Republic is the western part of the US while The Colonies are the eastern part. From clues in the text, the reader is also lead to believe that The Colonies have more technology than does The Republic, at least in terms of weapons and possibly medicine. The reader doesn’t learn much else about The Colonies in this book, since the story is centered on two youth in The Republic. However, it is the first in a planned trilogy and it’s possible that future books will explore The Colonies more.
The Republic seems to be a militaristic state. The poor are looked down upon and the “rich” seem to be the ones running the police/militia. Through context clues, we find that nobody–not even the “rich”–are safe from government snooping. There is a plague that seems to mostly impact the poor; the rich get vaccines every year for protection. As a result of the plague, there are regular inspections and “plague checks” of those in the poor areas of town. There are also a lot of natural disasters. Hurricanes occur quite frequently, with co-commitant flooding. Earthquakes are also somewhat regular happenings. Most of this, though, forms the background for the main story.
The bulk of the story surrounds two youths, Dey and June, who are on opposite ends of the class spectrum. Relatively early, we learn that all youths have to go through “The Trials” at age 10. These trials affect ones position in society. Those who do well are allowed to go on to high school and a sort of college, to become leaders in politics and the military. Those who do average are given blue-collar jobs. Those who fail become wards of the state, destined to do menial tasks for their government. Dey failed his trials. June is the only one known to have aced them. Rather than be resigned to his fate, Dey has escaped from the government and spends his time as a bit of a loner, working to help the poor–in particular, his family–by stealing from the military/government. He’s particularly good at this and is actually the most wanted criminal in The Republic.
The story itself builds in a rather predictable fashion from there. Dey’s family is marked as one that gets the plague. Realizing this, Dey decides to steal the necessary antidote from the hospital. As he escapes, he ends up killing June’s brother, Metteaus. June, a top student in the militaristic school, is graduated early and put on the case to try to catch her brother’s killer. While trying to find the murderer, June goes undercover and ends up getting rescued from a fight by Dey. At this point, she doesn’t realize that Dey is who he is, and they strike up a sort of friendship. Eventually, June figures out Dey’s identity and aids in his capture by the police. However, having spent time with him, she has a hard time believing that Dey killed Metteaus. She ends up doing more investigation and learning many uncomfortable truths about The Republic and many of her long-held beliefs are called into question. I won’t spoil any more plot details here…
Legend is a fairly typical dystopian novel. It centers on an oppressed lower-class in society and a privileged upper class that mostly is kept in the dark about how the society works and what is really going on. As with many books like it, the protagonists (June and Dey) are resourceful and intelligent…and to some extent, rebellious. Lu doesn’t explain all of the mysteries in this book. At one point, a character calls “The United States” a legend of the past, and the reader isn’t told how society has gotten to the state its in. It seems reasonable, though, to assume that most of the society doesn’t know its own history, since they barely know the reality of the current state of affairs.
Fans of The Hunger Games will recognize key elements common to both books/series. That’s not necessarily a bad thing…while Legend is fairly predictable, it was still enjoyable enough. This is a science fiction novel aimed at the young adult crowd and isn’t particularly deep on ideas. Lu wraps themes common to the genre in a fast-paced plot. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but fans of the genre probably won’t mind. That said, I’m not sure I need to read the rest of the trilogy. It will be interesting to see where Lu takes it.
I listened to the audio version of this book. There were two narrators. The book is written from the viewpoints of Dey and June and alternates between these viewpoints. Mariel Stern read the parts from June’s point of view, Steven Kaplan read the parts for Dey’s. The reading was fine, though nothing particular stood out. Where some narrators do a bit of voice acting, trying to put more emotion into the voices and use different voices for each character, neither Stern nor Kaplan seemed to do that here; it was a more flat rather than dramatic reading. The only “excitement” in the narration came during the climax, where it seemed that Stern read more quickly, as if her reading speed was trying to keep pace with the story. The “flatness” of the reading doesn’t detract from the story, though. In fact, it can be far better than the alternative, as sometimes narration can be distracting if too much acting is done.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad book. Sure, it could have gone more deeply into the ideas instead of focusing so much on the plot…but that’s OK. Not every book needs to be deep. This one was decent and an enjoyable enough quick read. Young adults (and not-so-young adults) who enjoyed The Hunger Games will probably enjoy this one as well.
Review by terpkristin.