The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – READALONG: Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

October 30, 2017 by · 1 Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:

Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.

dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:

“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”

the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.

Virgil Finlay illustration of Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

PAPERBACK LIBRARY - Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #206 – READALONG: Seven Nebula Nominated Short Stories

April 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #206 – Scott and Jenny talk about the seven short stories nominated for the Nebula Award.

Talked about on today’s show:
Seven nominated stories for the Nebula Award. Why so many? Some of the stories have themes in common.  Scott wasn’t enamored by any of the seven (but it gets better with the discussion).  All of them are free online, and all except “Nanny’s Day” are also available in audio (see links below). 

Robot by Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12) |audio version read by Cat Rambo| Scott’s favorite part is the very beginning: “You may wash your aluminum chassis on Monday and leave it on the back porch opposite the recyclables…don’t eat the dead flesh of my right foot until after I have fallen asleep and cannot hear the whir of your incisors working against the bone.” 

Immersion by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12) |audio version read by Kate Baker| The story takes place in a restaurant, and the author likes to cook. Scott said this isn’t her first nomination. (Shipbirth was nominated last year , but we excluded it from our short story discussion at the time since it was not available in audio; “The Jaguar House, in Shadow” in the novella category for the Nebula and the Hugo in 2010.) Reminds Scott of The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang.  Enjoying Kate Baker’s reading.

Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes by Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12) |audio version read by Kate Baker| Author of “Mama, We are Zhenya, YourSon” |OUR READALONG| First line: “Every day, Mom says goodbye to me for the last time.” Stories grow in talking about them.

Nanny’s Day by Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
Scott’s first would be Jenny’s last, and Scott is surprised to like it so much when it isn’t even really science fiction!

Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream by Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12) |audio version read by Gabrielle de Cuir| “Everyone knows that forever is, and has always been, a magic word. Forever isn’t always something one would choose, given all the information.”  Scott says It’s a both-and. Jenny says this is why love is hard.

The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species by Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12). |audio version read by Stefan Rudnicki| We agree this story is missing its story, but are intrigued by the people and world created.

Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain by Cat Rambo |audio version|
Five things Jenny loves about this story:

  1. The creatures – chimmerees and limentia, like jellyfish floating on the wind.
  2. “She’d lain awake in the darkness, checking her mind with the same care. Were there any sorrows, any passions that might lead her thoughts along the same groove till it gave, eroded into madness?”
  3. Sound garden, but can it dissolve your insides to dust?
  4. Frozen orgasms
  5. “There were more interesting worlds in the multi-verse, she knew. Paper dolls, and talking purple griffons. Intelligent rainbows and everyone’s favorite, the Chocolate Universe. She shrugged.” Jenny wants to visit ALL these worlds.

Other discussion:

Hugo Award nominees will be announced before this episode posts and we both vote! – Embassytown by China Miéville The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord – what is “hard” science fiction?  Scott is tired of “stories in space” that aren’t really science fiction. Nominations can be quite a mystery.

Posted by Jenny Colvin