Talked about on today’s show:
the classic Tarzan yodel, the dum-dum service, Tarzana, California, those beautiful Burroughsian run-on sentences:
“From this primitive function has arisen, unquestionably, all the forms and ceremonials of modern church and state, for through all the countless ages, back beyond the last uttermost ramparts of a dawning humanity our fierce, hairy forebears danced out the rites of the Dum-Dum to the sound of their earthen drums, beneath the bright light of a tropical moon in the depth of a mighty jungle which stands unchanged today as it stood on that long forgotten night in the dim, unthinkable vistas of the long dead past when our first shaggy ancestor swung from a swaying bough and dropped lightly upon the soft turf of the first meeting place.”
A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (and SFBRP #151), Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, The Return Of Tarzan, racism, Esmeralda, Gone With The Wind, minstrel shows, Chicago, Arizona, the mammy archetype, radio drama racism, Jar Jar Binks, Star Wars: Episode III, October 1912, historical dialect, Jane (the white lady), “you just shot a woman in the head”, cannibalism,
Conan Tarzan lynches his mother’s killer, rope tricks, out of context vs. in context, Tarzan as a god, Ballantine Books, the dum-dum scholars, Project Gutenberg edition, ERB Incorporated, Tarzan The Censored by Jerry L. Schneider, Tarzan Of The Apes censorship and “improvements” since the original publication, “an English grammar Nazi”, The Heathen by Jack London, taking out or changing a few words can hurt the story, Earnest Hemingway and William Shakespeare are “too wordy”, Tab Cola, Tarzan’s relationship with the cannibal villagers, “mankind and civilization aren’t”, colonialism, the Belgian Congo, King Leopold II, contemplating cannibalism, “the white god of the woods”, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), Wisconsin, Tarzan’s ape father is driven away by Kerchak (and turned into a museum exhibit), “the Evil village of Scotland”, the sadness that comes with the deaths is powerful, Paul D’Arno, Obi Wan Kenobi, “Tarzan was the blockbuster hit of the twentieth century”, A Princess Of Mars, Ruritania, The Mad King, “complete in one issue”, All-Story, the scanty Science Fiction elements, feral children, Romulus and Remus, Mowgli, Tarzan is a wild child, “this line from a book”, all of Burroughs characters are excellent language learners, when Tarzan writes a note, Lord Of The Jungle (Dynamite Entertainment), the mistaken dual identity, “Jane has massive bosoms”, Green Mansions (starring Rima, The Jungle Girl), Johnny Weissmuller, “the Sheena of South America”, Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins, Psycho, significantly more significant, the primary driver of fiction of this period is character, Nancy Drew, book serials, Rudyard Kipling dissed Burroughs’ writing and grammar, White Fang is kind of like Tarzan Of The Apes, first person vs. third person, you can’t admire the character from afar if the story is told first person, Sherlock Holmes, “that turn towards character is a turn towards the third person omniscient POV”, “that heroic distance” (1910-1950), Raymond Chandler, “I read Chandler”, Tarzan is the only Burroughs series that doesn’t turn to first person narration, John Carter’s character, why is Tarzan such a big character, Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography Of Lord Greystoke by Philip José Farmer, Tarzan as a quiet sophisticate, Doc Savage, The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer, Farmer is a fan of character, a stranger in a strange land, what ruined Julie for religion, The Mastermind Of Mars (is PUBLIC DOMAIN), “Tur is Tur.”, copyright, copyfight, jungle Tarzan vs. cafe absinthe drinking Tarzan, “the machine”, the Weissmuller Tarzan, where does he get his razor?, “that knife was his father”, “next book please”, Tarzan And His Mate , “lots of wet people”, “skin friendly”, melon-farmer vs. motherfucker, Boy and Cheeta are Hollywood, Scrappy-do, what did Tantor have to say?, Sabor the lioness, “there are no tigers in Africa, Ed”, Crocodile Dundee, Beyond Thirty, The Mucker, yellow peril looking dudes, The Girl From Hollywood, The Man Eater, early road trips, The Land That Time Forgot, The Lost World, the Caspak series, WWI, “sheer headlong adventure”, The Asylum, closing words, “it’s not what you think”, “really really good fun”, baby ape skeleton in the cradle, a classic of writing, a touching story, “and vengeance is his”, serialization in newspapers, cliffhangers, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins,
Posted by Jesse Willis
It took me two attempts to get into this Fritz Leiber audiobook. Part of the issue was that the first person protagonist is female and the audiobook’s narrator is male. Phil Chenevert, the narrator, is a talented voice actor but he still sounded male. This bothered me all the way up to chapter four when I had my growning indignity balloon deflated by this choice paragraph:
I swung back to the play just at the moment Lady Mack soliloquizes, “Come to my woman’s breasts. And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers.” Although I knew it was just folded towel Martin was touching with his fingertips as he lifted them to the top half of his green bodice, I got carried away, he made it so real. I decided boys can play girls better than people think. Maybe they should do it a little more often, and girls play boys too.
Despite my loss of that criticism, I am still not fully satisfied with the story. Like The Big Time |READ OUR REVIEW| before it, No Great Magic is well written fluff – with not even the shape of a plot beginning until the very end.
It may just be that No Great Magic, and perhaps a good deal of other time travel related SF, are of a kind of “cozy” Science Fiction story that I just don’t fully embrace.
Still, the first person narration by the amnesiac heroine and Chenevert’s narrative skill make No Great Magic worth checking out – and perhaps your tastes and my tastes will differ.
Chenevert, incidentally, put it this way in a LibriVox forum post:
“I hope you have been involved in the theater somewhere in your past or present because this story smells heavily of greasepaint.”
No Great Magic
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Phil Chenevert
8 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 1 Hour 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 27, 2012
They were a traveling group of Shakespearean players; perfectly harmless, right? wrong. For one thing, why did they have spacemen costumes in their wardrobes,right next to caveman ones? Why was the girl in charge of backstage suffering from amnesia and agoraphobia? No Great Magic is needed to perform the plays they put on, but sometimes great science. No matter where, or when. First published in Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1963.
Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/6656
iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|
Here’s a |PDF| with the original illustrations from Galaxy.
Illustrations by Nodel:
[Thanks also to DaveC]
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #166 – TOPIC: SFF FORMS (Short Story, Novella, Novellete, Novel, Fix-up, Trilogy, World)
Science Fiction Forms: Short Story, Novella, Fix-Up, Novel, Trilogy, and World. Respectively, they might be exemplified thus: Short Story (“Mars Is Heaven!“), Novella (“Flowers for Algernon“), Fix-Up (The Martian Chronicles, which contains a revised version of “Mars Is Heaven!” or The Seedling Stars, Accelerando, and Beggars In Spain, all of which began as novellas), Novel (originals, like 1984, and derivatives like Flowers for Algernon or Varley’s novel Millennium coming from his short story “Air Raid“), Trilogy (original Foundation series), World (the ultimate Foundation world or Heinlein’s Future History [shared with others] or Banks’s Culture or LeGuin’s Hainish series [created just for the authors, but let's not forget about fan fiction]). What are the special challenges and rewards in reading and writing in these diverse forms? What special challenges or rewards attend on reusing material in another form? Is the formal plasticity of SF unique among literary genres?
Talked about on today’s show:
Eric’s suggestion, literature with a capital “L”, The Dead by James Joyce, The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Luke’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, the format, the themes, the variability of short story form, the feghoot, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Accelerando, Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang, The Tower Of Babel, stripped away vs. embellished to the nth degree, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Understand by Ted Chiang, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat, fantasy, the unexplicit story, valid reactions, the etymology of “text”, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, a persuasive existential journey, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, San Fransisco, short stories as objects of frivolity or training, the brilliance of an idea is not always enough, a novel can act as a community to an individual, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury vs. The Fireman by Ray Bradbury, is the novel inherently more participatory than a short story?, the failure of technology vs. the power of nature, The Masque Of The Red Death, teaching Science Fiction with short stories and novels, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame (Volume 1), the composite novel, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, A.E. van Vogt, the fix-up, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Accelerando by Charles Stross, Lobsters by Charles Stross, the cat changes function, “an intellectual framework”, Robert A. Heinlein’s future history, the composite novel, Isaac Asimov, future history vs. psychohistory, Michael Moorcock, I, Robot, Robbie, the three laws, Stephen Byerly and Susan Calvin, unAsimovian assumptions, the full dose of SF, Reason, The Evitable Conflict, is Stephen Byerly a robot or a man?, the Mérode Altarpiece (a medieval iconographic trope), art history, Luke doesn’t think Asimov is that clever, R. Daneel Olivaw, the three laws are fairytale laws, positronic brains are positive, the three laws are for people (not just robots), The Bicentennial Man, Asimov’s powers, Asimov’s business acumen, Brandon Sanderson, shared worlds, gods, Mormonism, Daniel Clowes, The Death Ray, Elantris, “The Alexandria Quartet” by Lawrence Durrell, reading The Martian Chronicles backwards, Luke’s fiction, Alastair Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street Irregulars, whodunit ain’t the attraction, The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, a matter of cutting, A Clockwork Orange, it’s better without the extra chapter, the commercial effect (or the effect of commercialism), popular literature, the flabby novel, Robert J. Sawyer, Hominids, Calculating God, William Shakespeare, The Royal Ontario Museum, horse evolution, God needs a starship!?, where to find a paleontologist, “a hundred pages of nothing happening”, a circular argument, writing to the story’s demands, Kevin J. Anderson, commercial constraints shouldn’t be points of pride, the thickness of books, The Lord Of The Rings, does more succinct = more better?, novellas are novels with threads missing?, The Hobbit, the ambition of the author, Luke is rejecting the basic premise, The Stand by Stephen King, is it a better story short or long?, changes and updates and additional material, don’t let Asimov near a typewriter unless you want something written, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke, The City And The Stars, expanding everything, Monster Story, “it came to me in a dream”, Minding Tomorrow, Nightfall (the short story) vs. Nightfall (the novel), “it’s a lot like a perfectly nice novel that eventually becomes a masterpiece”, The Lion of Comarre, it’s not a commercial podcast, a civil rowdiness, Eric’s Coursera course: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, rechunking, forums, essays, 18,000 registered students, University of Michigan, only the competitors are qualified to judge the competitors, a history of the U.S. Civil War, Luke’s kitchen, grades, “there is no absolute abstract grade for anything”, Science Fiction and Politics (Courtney Brown), the governor of a steam engine, Luke confuses two professors, “yes, by golly, that was a very good thing of it’s kind”, The Odyssey by Homer, a foundational classic, The Bible, the Benjamin Franklin bible, there should be an SFBRP review of The Odyssey, Luke’s Matthew Mark Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, Joseph Campbell, time for coffee!
Posted by Jesse Willis
CBC’s Day 6 blog has a lengthy, November 1985, interview Ray Bradbury (conducted by Vicky Gabereau for her self titled Gabereau show). This is a terrific long-form and ramblingly awesome interview – as Bradbury himself puts it, it’s a “discussion about ideas.”
In it Bradbury talks about:
Moving out to California as a kid, how he gets around Los Angeles, his appearance on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life, movies, directing vs. writing, Fahrenheit 451, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, James M. Cain, Norman Mailer, a discussion about ideas, bad male drivers, Blackstone the magician, Paris, France, the American Revolutionary War, architecture, Federico Fellini, Amarcord (1973), horror movies, The Fog Horn, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Godzilla, dinosaurs, Moby Dick, William Shakespeare, John Houston, The Carrot People, The Horror Of Dracula, Christopher Lee, The Omen, Diabolique, Jean Harlow, Burns and Allen, The Trojans and sporadically his then current novel Death Is A Lonely Business.
And here’s that appearance on You Bet Your Life (featuring Ray Bradbury in a crew cut):
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #162 – The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, read by Heather Ordover (of Craftlit). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it by Jesse, Tamahome, Julie Davis, and Heather Ordover.
Talked about on today’s show:
Brownies!, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven, what is the lesson of The New Mother, naughtiness will be punished without chance of redemption, Lucy Clifford’s children were good, the big people, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, button eyes, crafty, The Father Thing by Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick had two fathers, glass eyes and a wooden tail, stand the baby on it’s head, “don’t talk to strangers”, free range children, scared straight, dancing dogs, hopelessness, don’t give in to temptation, “listen to your mother”, the magic cupboards, cargo cult mindset, is the girl the devil?, Something Wicked This Way Comes, creepy warnings, has the girl been the victim of a curse?, a moral story, evil things sometimes look attractive, Anyhow Stories: Moral And Otherwise, the Wikipedia entry for Coraline, The Father Thing and Coraline have hope, horror, The Shining by Stephen King, G.K. Chesterton “fairy tales are more than true”, The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, Stand By Me, BB guns vs. aliens, did Dick read The New Mother?, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, fantasy, the world is a magical place for children, the magic of housework, mom’s like God providing manna, the “good clock” that tries to keep going, frozen peas and creamed corn, the McCarthy era, The Twilight Zone, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, child abuse, untrustworthy parents, “this is real”, stepping into adulthood, 19th century, 1950s, Coraline’s ineffectual parents, the Turkey and Blue Eyes, what happened to the turkey?, what’s up with the peardrum?, the Dictionary Of American Regionalisms, horrormasters.com, “it’s too heavy“, deception vs. self-deception, when do we learn do we naughty?, or do we learn it?, is it a game?, naughty vs. evil, reverse psychology, Tom Sawyer, a dead rat on a string, what’s the deal with the missing father?, fairy tales, Persuasion by Jane Austen, away at sea, fun garages, the feeling of bigness, Julie makes it all sound homey, Philip K. Dick’s father was a WWI veteran, pastoral vs. mechanized hell, Vietnam veterans, the new father in Coraline, the s-word, the movie of Coraline, a giant spider with bony arms, Neil Gaiman’s inspirations are classic literature, The Graveyard Book, The Jungle Book, Silas, Nobody Owens’ governess is named Mrs. Lupescu, Mr. Lupescu by Anthony Boucher, Weird Tales, Neil Gaiman is a fantasy master like J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, The Sandman, Aladdin, The Sandman: Season Of Mists, rescuing readers with Neil Gaiman, the teacher’s conundrum, there’s nothing better for a young reader than comics, Red Nails by Robert E. Howard, comic adaptations, don’t play down to your audience, Gargoyles, William Shakespeare, don’t pile on memorization, pile on fun, everything of value is learned through story, if you invert everything the girl in The New Mother you still don’t know what’s going on, is she just evil?, did she sit upon a baby?, are the two dogs the man and woman missing from the box?, many locks and many keys, unanswered questions, “perhaps you’ve lost yourself”, levels of naughtiness, being naught isn’t following orders, truth in advertizing, critical thinking, Grimm’s fairy tales, the etymology of “grim”, the University of Arizona, Grima Wormtongue, Harry Potter, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Lee Arenberg, “to wend the grim tooth” (to recourse to harsh measures).
Posted by Jesse Willis
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, and its author Stephen Greenblatt, are the subject of the latest CBC Ideas podcast. The Swerve is the story of the recovery of a lost epic Roman poem, by Titus Lucretius Carus, titled On The Nature Of Things – Greenblat makes the case for it being a work that changed the world, made it modern, by bringing ancient philosophy into an age ready for enlightenment. It’s an absolutely fascinating discussion. Host Paul Kennedy, as usual, shows that Canadian tax dollars can be used incredibly well when put in the right hands.
The poem in question is available as a LibriVox audiobook HERE.
And The Swerve: How the World Became Modern is available from Recorded Books (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini).
Here’s the book’s description:
Renowned historian Stephen Greenblatt’s works shoot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. With The Swerve, Greenblatt transports listeners to the dawn of the Renaissance and chronicles the life of an intrepid book lover who rescued the Roman philosophical text On the Nature Of Things from certain oblivion.
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius – a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book – the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age – fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare, and even Thomas Jefferson.
Here’s the |MP3|
Podcast feed: http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/includes/ideas.xml
Posted by Jesse Willis