The Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth

April 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Little Black Bag is a highly regarded C.M. Kornbluth novelette. It was undeniably influential and popular. It won the 2001 Retro-Hugo Award for “Best Novelette” (of 1951), was voted the 13th best all-time short science fiction story (in a 1971 Analog Science Fact & Fiction poll), and was anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964. Philip K. Dick himself seems to have read it (he had a 1964 short story entitled The Little Black Box).

In his introduction to The Best of C.M. Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, a friend and frequent collaborator of Kornbluth’s, states that The Marching Morons (see SFFaudio Podcast #112) is a direct sequel to The Little Black Bag. The titular bag is a time-traveled artifact from a future in which the majority of the population is genetically stupid and must be supported by a minority of geniuses who masquerade as assistants to the morons. Thus the bag of the title is filled with self-driven instruments enabling even a complete moron to act as a highly competent doctor.

Three television adaptations of The Little Black Bag have been made: Tales of Tomorrow (1952), Out Of The Unknown (1969), and Night Gallery (1970).

Myself, I think The Little Black Bag is both too well regarded and too popular. It’s popularity suggests that many readers think of themselves as one of the geniuses surrounded by morons. And its being regarded as highly as it is by those geniuses makes me think they are rather stupider than they think.

I invite you to come to your own conclusions.

Escape PodEscape Pod #429 Little Black Bag
by C.M. Kornbluth; Read by Mat Weller
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Escape Pod
Podcast: January 5, 2014
First published in Astounding, July 1950

Here’s a |PDF| made from it’s original publication.

|ETEXT|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #158 – READALONG: The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

April 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #158 – Last week’s podcast was an unabridged reading of The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth. This week Jesse discusses it with the narrator, Mark Douglas Nelson!

Talked about on today’s show:
SciPodBooks.com, the SciPodCast, The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth, The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton, the virtues of democracy, Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, H. Beam Piper, Space Viking, a wealth of ideas, Frederik Pohl, the story as a straw man, Robert A. Heinlein, telepathy, witches, dystopia, utopia, polo played with jeeps (mounted with 50 caliber machine guns), the syndicate vs. the mob, Ireland, Iceland, libertarianism, the Prometheus Unbound review of The Syndic, polyandry, an economy run on alcohol, sex, and gambling, laissez faire capitalism, monopolies, robber barons, taxes vs. shakedowns, “a real mess of a book”, should a society compromise its ideals to save itself?, is the joke on us?, a velvet gloved invisible hand, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, the children’s crusade, WWII, rule by mob vs. rule by mobsters, Ron Paul, the sustainability of a war based economy need not much concern the arms manufacturer, Isaac Asimov, The City At World’s End has a real plot, disaster stories, new ideas trump big flaws, “writing by the seat of your pants”, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, respect for science and scientists, Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, LibriVox.org, Riverworld series, rolling ships, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, the problem of endless series, StarShipSofa, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, “philosophy, philosophy, philosophy”, it starts with a séance, C.S. Lewis, Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves And Wooster, Leave It To Jeeves, LibriVox’s new funding (from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, Gregg Margarite, Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper, Kevin J. Anderson, Principles Of Economics, iambik audio, Wonder Audio, All Or Nothing by Preston L. Allen, The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi, Toshiro Mifune, Akira Kurosawa, High And Low, Netflix, Sweet And Lowdown, One O’Clock Jump by Lise McClendon, A Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton, Talents Incorporated by Murray Leinster, goofy, the William Woodsworth Microphone Showdown, do expensive mics make great narrators?

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #157 – AUDIOBOOK: The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

April 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #157 – The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth, read by Mark Nelson.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 Hours 20 Minutes) comes to us courtesy of SciPodBooks.com and WonderEbooks. The Syndic was first published in Science Fiction Adventures, December 1953 and March 1954.

Come back for our next episode (SFFaudio Podcast #158) to hear our discussion of it.

Here’s the etext |RTF| (Rich Text format).

The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth - illustrated by Sussman
The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth - illustrated by Sussman
The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth - illustrated by Sussman

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

March 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

SFFaudio Podcast #116 was a nearly 2 hour discussion of The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth. At the time, last July, there was no commercial audiobook version. Now there is!

The Space Merchants
By Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth; Read by Dan Bittner
Audible Download – 6 Hours 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio (available through Audible.com)
Published: December 2011
In a vastly overpopulated near-future world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge transnational corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and boasts some of the world’s most powerful executives. Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that all the products on the market improve the quality of life. However, the most basic elements are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel. The planet Venus has just been visited and judged fit for human settlement, despite its inhospitable surface and climate; colonists would have to endure a harsh climate for many generations until the planet could be terraformed. Mitch Courtenay is a star-class copywriter in the Fowler Schocken advertising agency and has been assigned the ad campaign that would attract colonists to Venus, but a lot more is happening than he knows about. Mitch is soon thrown into a world of danger, mystery, and intrigue, where the people in his life are never quite what they seem, and his loyalties and core beliefs will be put to the test.

Macmillan Audio - The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth

Posted by Jesse Willis

Prometheus Unbound: Review of The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

June 22, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Prometheus UnboundHere is a very interesting, but highly ideological, podcast review of (and apology for) Cyril M. Kornbluth and his 1953 novel The Syndic. It is an interesting listen, but as I mentioned, it is extremely narrowly focused – seemingly like a sermon to the adherents of some sort of religion called “libertarianism.” There is no audiobook available at the moment, but Wonder Publishing has an ebook edition available.

|MP3|

Incidentally, Groff Conklin‘s March 1954 Galaxy magazine review of the novel describes The Syndic as “remarkable both for its inconclusiveness and for its surprisingly philosophical depth.”

The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #112 – AUDIOBOOK: The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth

June 13, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #112 – a complete and unabridged reading of The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth. It is wonderfully narrated for us by William Coon of Eloquent Voice.

The Marching Morons is a Science Fiction novella written by Cyril M. Kornbluth, originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction’s April 1951 issue. It has been famously anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (B).

The story is set hundreds of years in the future: the date is 7-B-936. Its protagonist is John Barlow, a man from the past put into suspended animation by a freak accident involving a dental drill and anesthesia. He is revived in a dystopic future where the dysgenic breeding of humans has, in combination with intelligent people not having many children, overwhelmingly populated the world with morons. An elite few non-idiots must work slavishly to keep the world productive. Barlow, who was a shrewd con man in his day, has a solution to sell to the elite.

In his introduction to The Best Of C.M. Kornbluth Frederik Pohl explains some of the inspiration to The Marching Morons. Apparently the work was written after Pohl suggested that Kornbluth write a follow-up story to The Little Black Bag (a classic Kornbluth short story). In contrast to the “little black bag” arriving in the past from the future, Kornbluth wanted to write about a man arriving in the future from the past. To explain sending a man to the future, Kornbluth borrowed from David Butler’s Just Imagine (1930) science fiction film in which a man is struck by lightning, trapped in suspended animation, and reanimated in the future.”

The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth - illustrated by Don Sibley

The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth - illustrated by Don Sibley

Posted by Jesse Willis

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