The SFFaudio Podcast #334 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

September 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #334 – The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne; read by Fred Heimbaugh. This is an unabridged reading of the story (50 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Fred.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Pioneer, March 1843, a Hawthorne Poe fest, contemporaries, The Scarlet Letter, a quote by Poe about Hawthorne, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, well known?, why this story Fred?, he’s obsessed with sin, sociopaths, trigger warnings, neurosis, shame, luck, shaped by sin, a mark upon the family, subconscious Freudian messages, Commentary Magazine, Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature by Gary Saul Morson, textual density, vocab, Lovecraft poems, Fungi From Yuggoth poems, harbours, kids are now shuttled between school the home and the mall, ranting against Hawthorne, The House Of The Seven Gables, revolutions in 20th century literature, Ernest Hemingway, the show don’t tell revolution, Hawthorne is the telling-est teller who ever telled, the right attitude toward sin, the two facedness of people, Hawthorne is attacking late stage decadent Puritanism, a homosexual vibe, what is the lesson?, science reaches too far?, Gothic horror, the evil wizard or the mad scientist, science as the channel to unlimited power, elixirs, potions, not even futuristic, Georgiana, Aminadab?, where is this story set?, Aylmer’s castle, Aylmer’s wealth, a compartmentalized life, from the third person POV, the host narration, obsession, the left side, the sinister side, she’s been marked, in the dream, chemical means, pre-Darwin, “I’ve got these old books”, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a natural philosopher, science vs. alchemy vs. magic, Isaac Newton, almost as if he was Ben Franklin, electricity, many suitors, Aylmer’s wooing, is Aylmer gaslighting Georgiana?, she’s reading, a Medieval heroine, a character of of Greek mythology, is a sex-change story?, is this a boob-job story?, envy, the tips of two small fingers, she’s compared to a marble statue, small pox scars, Marilyn Monroe‘s beauty mark, does positioning matter?, Supernatural Horror And Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, a meditation on obsession, many uninteresting analysis, so little action, beyond the sexual interpretation, Hawthorne doesn’t seem all that prudish, how far can you go in purist of perfection in a fallen world, a mark of original sin, wanting knowledge (of good and evil?), the sin of disobedience, Frankenstein and Aylmer are reading the same books, the process of creating a man in Frankenstein, the lightning bolt, Luigi Galvani, grave-robbing, Paracelsus, the gold thing is your way of getting funding, when writing a grant…, this might lead to a cure for cancer(!), alchemy as a religion, The Cask Of Amontillado, Eric S. Rabkin, “the niter, it grows”, Montresor or Fortunato, niter, growing human shaped things inside of bottles, poisons, psychology and the occult, the difference between alchemy and science is openness, the Royal Society, Harry Potter’s school, there have to be muggles, magically oblivious, J.K. Rowling, natural greed, the ethic of sharing knowledge, France’s version of the Royal Society, like the obsession with “open source” or the “public domain”, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, sooo lifelike, sooo beautifully painted, Gothic horror, the evil mad scientist is destroyed by the power he unleashes, The Portrait Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the ending, what is Hawthorne saying?, was Aylmer’s attempt doomed from the beginning?, Jesse’s mom, one of the most important powers of a teacher, she has “THE VOICE”, Muad’dib (Paul Atredies), Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, a profound revelation, philosophy and critical thinking, vitamins are bullshit, fish oil woke Fred’s brain, North America has the world’s most expensive urine, religion wants you to take it on authority, bronze age holy texts, religion as book club where you only ever read one book (or just listen to a guy who did), cynicism or wisdom, loyalty to the organized religion of your family, inherited religions, fundamentalist belief systems, the narcissism of small differences, splintering, revolting revolutionaries, purity of doctrine, young earth creationists, Catholicism as an almost ethnicity (an identity), Hawthorne as a stopgap between H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley, the murky origins of Science Fiction, Dante, Lucifer frozen in the ice, a Gothic ghost story, Frankenstein’s obsession is with defeating death, too in love with science, Hawthorne’s message is like: “don’t drink too much”, Greek symposia, what really happened at a Greek symposium, “write drunk and edit sober”, The Odyssey, mixing water with wine, getting plastered is a sign on unmanning, the Greek obsession was with finding the moderation between too little and too much, what was Hephzibah’s sin?, her sin is being too worried about sin, “you will eat blood”, public shaming is a little much, be moderate with your casting of sin, John Wesley, a healthy functioning society, wealth corruption, falling into decadence, the protestant work ethic is kicking-in, Guggenheim, ransoming the grandchild, leaving it all to art, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Fred’s all time favourite Science Fiction novel: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, how do we raise the next generation?, a supercharged Kindle, matter compilers, Star Trek‘s replicator, eating green sludge, window panes made out of pure diamond, handmade hipsters, how you raise the next generation in a wealthy society, we are unimaginably wealthy, are Japan’s young people uninterested in sex?, Richard Dawkins on Twitter, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, Gothic-y, Science-y, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, a great inventor, Neoterics, he’s stealing their ideas, the ultimate mad scientist story, following in the tradition, somatoypes, ectomorph (Aylmer), mesomorph (Aminidab), endomorph (Jesse), it’s a scam!, Hillary Clinton, the Ronald Reagans of the world, this is astrology, people think that once you’ve got a word for something you understand it, wearing the mask long enough…, IQ tests, quantification, any time we think we understand the most complex thing in the universe…, there really is a subconscious, tweeting dreams, psychology, the book club with only one book in it, The Great Courses (The Teaching Company), Eric S. Rabkin, survey courses, kooky specializations, the best way to learn, the perennial student, taught not to learn, philosophy of art, credentialism, Jesse can guess the exact words in a student’s vocabulary, guess your weight or age, how Jesse gets work, gaming credentialism, no high school diploma, a contempt for institutionalized learning, a play-by-the-rules personality, grade inflation, what did Mussolini do?, intimidation vs. cultivation, give the students the experience of reading, reading as a meeting of minds, defending a dissertation, essays, we’re obsessed with essays (for the wrong reason), ohhh spoilers!, the big problem with almost any media, “I don’t want to spoil it for you.”, testing is easier, a kind of objectivity, don’t blame the actors for shitty Hollywood movies, status is society, education as the cultivation of minds, there aren’t enough people who are willing to rebel!

The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne - modified John Collier's "Laboratory", 1895

The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne - illustration by Lisa K. Weber

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection 028

February 16, 2010 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s a new assemblage of short Science Fiction stories, in audiobook form, that are in the public domain. You can re-cut them, sell them, give them away, put them in your podcast or anything else you want. That’s what “public domain” means! The only thing you can’t do with them is copyright them. These are mostly new stories to LibriVox, mostly from the mid-20th century, but the final story in the collection is from the 19th century. Written by Edgar Allan Poe, fictionalizing a new alchemical invention by a real life contemporary of Poe’s. It comes off as plausible – to readers of the period it may have been mistaken as true, given the time and who the central character is. But we know it’s definitely SF. Right?

tabithat’s reading of The Servant Problem by Robert J. Young is another new story in this collection. It offers an intriguing premise. A ghost town needs to be sold off and appraised by an scrupulously honest real estate agent. The town’s only remaining resident is mum on the issue. But what made everyone else leave and where did they go? The answer is neat, even if it is kind of a shaggy dog tale. Whether it’s a legitimate “Feghoot” or not I’ll leave more discerning listeners to decide.

George O. Smith’s Instinct will probably be more likable to many than my estimation of it. It’s well written, but to mind it’s not particularly fruitful. Sort of a “racial memory” story – which when you think a bit about it is kind of the flip side of “ancient astronauts.” Meh.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 028Short Science Fiction Collection 028
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 50 Minutes Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-028.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - Attention Saint Patrick by Murray LeinsterAttention Saint Patrick
By Murray Leinster; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
Legends do, of course, get somewhat distorted in the passage of time. In the future, the passage across space to other planets may cause a slight modification here and there… From Astounding Science Fiction, January, 1960.

GALAXY Science Fiction Magazine - July 1956Bad Medicine
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Megan Argo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
A man is mistakenly treated by a psychotherapy machine intended for Martians. while big corporations rule the world, paying a separate police department to enforce brand loyalty. First published in Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine July, 1956

Astounding Science Fiction September 1955Blessed Are the Meek
By G.C. Edmondson; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
Every strength is a weakness, and every weakness is a strength. And when the Strong start smashing each other’s strength … the Weak may turn out to be, instead, the Wise. This story was first published in the September 1955 issue of Astounding.

LibriVox - Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? by Kenneth O'HaraHas Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
By Bryce Walton; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
The body tanks had to be replenished and the ship had to be serviced—and the crew was having a Lotus dream in its bed of protoplasm. But Kelly knew how to arouse them… From If Worlds of Science Fiction July 1954.

LibriVox - Instinct by George O. SmithInstinct
By George O. Smith; Read by Ric F
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
You can keep a good man down, if you’ve got enough headstart, are alert and persistent … so long as he limits himself to acting like a good man… From Astounding Science Fiction March 1959.

Fantastic Universe January 1957Mex
By Laurence M. Janifer; Read by soualhi1
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
Talented William Logan [Laurence M. Janifer], though he hails from Dodger territory, tells a quiet story from down near the Mexican border, where men are very close to ancestral memories and to the things which dwell in the shadows. Logan is one of the more interesting of the newer writers. From Fantastic Universe January 1957.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Nothing Equation by Tom GodwinThe Nothing Equation
By Tom Godwin; Read by Mark Nelson
1 |MP3| – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
The space ships were miracles of power and precision; the men who manned them, rich in endurance and courage. Every detail had been checked and double checked; every detail except— From Amazing Stories December 1957.

LibriVox - Scrimshaw by Murray LeinsterScrimshaw
By Murray Leinster; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
The old man just wanted to get back his memory—and the methods he used were gently hellish, from the viewpoint of the others… From Astounding Science Fiction September 1955.

LIBRIVOX - The Servant Problem by Robert F. YoungThe Servant Problem
By Robert F. Young; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
Selling a whole town, and doing it inconspicuously, can be a little difficult … either giving it away freely, or in a more normal sense of “selling”. People don’t quite believe it… From Analog Science Fact Science Fiction November 1962.

LibriVox -Von Kemplen And His Discovery by Edgar Allan PoeVon Kempelen And His Discovery
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 11, 2009
German chemist, Baron Von Kempelen, possess an alchemical process which can transform lead into gold. The news of the discovery had already caused a two hundred per cent leap in the price of lead in Europe. First published in the April 14, 1849 edition of The Flag of Our Union.

[Thanks also to Wendel Topper and Lucy Burgoyne for proofing and coordinating and cataloging]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Forgotten Classics: The Hiccup Flask by James Powell

August 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine October 1985First published in the October 1985 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Hiccup Flask is another jewel from the typewriter of James Powell. Now, thanks to the good Julie D. of the Forgotten Classics podcast, we have an excellent audio version of Powell’s wonderful tale.

The plot concerns: An intractable caliph, his incurable hiccups, an untrustworthy alchemist and the Thief of Baghdad.

For your listening pleasure…

The Hiccup Flask by James PowellThe Hiccup Flask
By James Powell; Read by Julie D.
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Forgotten Classics
Podcast: August 22, 2009
A tale of wonder in which we encounter a caliph, a thief, an alchemist, and a hiccup … from the mind of James Powell.

For more James Powell stories in the paperbook format check out his recently released collection A Pocket Full Of Noses.

Posted by Jesse Willis