The SFFaudio Podcast #435 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Green Meadow by H.P. Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson

August 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #435 – The Green Meadow by H.P. Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson read by the great Wayne June. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (17 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Bryan Alexander, and Wayne June!

Talked about on today’s show:
The Crawling Chaos, a tiger, a plague year, drugs, a meteorite, professors, translators, how it struck an ending, baffling, three big paperbacks, the revision work, Arkham House, Horror Of The Museum, like a fragment, an extended commonplace book entry, strongly echoed in The Shadow Out Of Time, the mythos shopping list, the artificial checklist, Memory, What Rhe Moon Brings, prose poems, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, completely ignored, what to make of it, prose poem aspects, the only audiobook version in the universe, the way it struck Wayne, 1918/19, an early effort, Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, atypical formula, loosely connected to the frighteningly uncaring universe, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, The Wendigo, The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce, nature as a threat, 100%, the gauntlet thrown down: “The text, as far as preserved, is here rendered as literally as our language permits, in the hope that some reader may eventually hit upon an interpretation and solve one of the greatest scientific mysteries of recent years.” a hoax, dreams, a frame, figuring out what it means, a series of images, the power of the description, its so clear that life is the enemy, the sea and the sky are in a war with life, he breaks off from life, a peninsula, things of the air, the forms of the air that are non-alive join with the sea, conspiring, the living against the non-living, cataract, ending in the Dreamlands, Bryan’s take, the fantasies vs. the horror, appreciated and enjoyed, the massive frame, WWI, German, one of the many loathsome policies of the Wilson administration, the tonal shift, the quick catastrophe, the Harvard guy blows it,

I saw clearly the source of the chanting, and in one horrible instant remembered everything. Of such things I cannot, dare not tell, for therein was revealed the hideous solution of all which had puzzled me; and that solution would drive you mad, even as it almost drove me. . . . I knew now the change through which I had passed, and through which certain others who once were men had passed! and I knew the endless cycle of the future which none like me may escape.

Kafka’s fragments, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym, the four professors, Potowonket, Lovecraft country village, Dr. Richard M. Jones, the “late” professor Chambers of Harvard, how did he manage to do it?, the indestructible pages, he found out what happened and he followed the path, why the text is cut-off, it’s not a fragment,

. . . . All is before me: beyond the deafening torrent lies the land of Stethelos, where young men are infinitely old. . . . The Green Meadow . . . I will send a message across the horrible immeasurable abyss. . . .

that sort of scene, The Quest Of Iranon, Sarnath, the book is the message, that’s not so interesting, a real scholar, Democritus, idola (eidolon), air spirits you absorb through your pores, influencing your eidolon, really creepy, the theme: oh those scary trees – watch out!, papyri, center for Hellenic studies at Harvard, Professor Rooms, he original atomic theory, souls of the dead, Homer, audible and visible in sleep, the Poe connection again, Dreamlands,

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule—
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE—Out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters—lone and dead,—
Their still waters—still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
By the mountains—near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—
By the grey woods,—by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp,—
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,—
By each spot the most unholy—
In each nook most melancholy,—
There the traveller meets, aghast,
Sheeted Memories of the Past—
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by—
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth—and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
’T is a peaceful, soothing region—
For the spirit that walks in shadow
’T is—oh, ’t is an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not—dare not openly view it;
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fring’d lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

msiing the one thing Lovecraft never puts in (the dead girlfriend), the dead trans-gendered boyfriend, not a good girl to hang out with, The Man Whom The Trees Loved, forest and verdure being alluring but having a terrible force, Arthur Machen, Jesse makes his students do his homework for him, vocab words, Jesse thinks regular people read about teacups and tea-cozies, how insane people were in whatever period, why are they so upset, they haven’t invented rocketships, between 1895-1925, astral projections, the long nights, cursing the gods, the ancient blasphemies and terrible delving, terribly upset and thoroughly enjoying himself, his astral body, over-leaped the bounds of corporeal entity, he planeted the seed, this explains the whole story, old science fiction (before the rocketships), David Lindsay’s A Voyage To Arcturus, Jack London’s The Star Rover, a lot less vikings and Japanese invasions of Korea, bringing Hypnos and the Dreamlands all together, the checklist, you can frame it in the wrong way, how good this story is, the abrupt ending is foretold by the huge frame, the narrator does almost nothing, a malignant hatred, grotesquely huge horrible, unthinkable things, the land breaks off, its up to us to do all the work, typical Lovecraft, unthinkable indescribable things, this horrible thing (existence) is just hitting them, existence (consciousnesses) attacks him, the hopeless uncaring universe, William Blake’s The Tyger, he thinks it is a reference to Rudyard Kipling, less and less of an isthmus, a description of bodily decay, let’s go off to another planet, so good, Virginia Jackson was a prodigious dreamer herself, holding on to all those details, turning a dream into a story, an alien place, why are the trees scaly, he had become an ant, a field of broccoli, lichen and fungi, grey lichen, a point of alien-ness, adapting it for film, stop-motion animation, whatever is going on in this alien planet, Scythian (Greek description of everybody to the top right of the Black Sea), if all the Mediterranean, the planet is being destroyed, the sea has defeated the trees, night gaunts?, dong interpretation, life is terrible-horrible, god is life, god is DNA, the enemy of life is non-life, nihilistic, living where young man are, scythe, the earliest recorded hashish smokers, the smoke rings of the hashish smokers, what’s lurking in the Green Meadow, human-ish,

While the words were utterly undistinguishable, the chant awaked in me a peculiar train of associations; and I was reminded of some vaguely disquieting lines I had once translated out of an Egyptian book, which in turn were taken from a papyrus of ancient Meroë. Through my brain ran lines that I fear to repeat; lines telling of very antique things and forms of life in the days when our earth was exceeding young. Of things which thought and moved and were alive, yet which gods and men would not consider alive. It was a strange book.

a prototype for the Necronomicon, who are the chanters?, The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, Alan Moore’s Providence, a test out, a strange narrative and a strange book, a persistent meme, people get upset (and Jesse finds it hilarious), look at these crazy people, the Yellow Peril, what they should have been worried about, not just for space (it’s also for time), mis-named, semi-based on a real guy, projecting yourself outside your body, that’s cool, when King Kuranes walks off the cliff, Celephais, a fucking meteorite came down from the sky with a book in it, it took 2,000 years to reach the Earth, chalk and slate, the lure of life that isn’t horror, the siren call of human contact, parties, suicide, the shadowy figures were that which were really real, reverting to the main theme, oblivion is to be preferred, why is this story called “The Green Meadow” instead of “The Scary Trees

My eyes could now discern several things amidst the omnipresent verdure—rocks, covered with bright green moss, shrubs of considerable height, and less definable shapes of great magnitude which seemed to move or vibrate amidst the shrubbery in a peculiar way. The chanting, whose authors I was so anxious to glimpse, seemed loudest at points where these shapes were most numerous and most vigorously in motion.

the sense of vibration and oscillation, wake up buddy!, shrubbery, a three headed knight, A Voice In the Night by William Hope Hodgson, The Derelict, a fungus, eater of the dead, green vs. grey, so green even the trunks and rocks are green, the forward and backward nature, the perpetuation is the horror, if anyone could become President then Lovecraft could become President, give me a clean planet like Mars or Mercury bathed in the solar rays, a walk in the woods with Wayne June, green is my favorite colour, just beneath the skin, existence sucks, In The Mountains Of Madness by W. Scott Poole, there’s still lots of interesting books to read, that strange book he read, Lovecraft is so funny, a joke, falling along his normal path and message, it’s not deadly serious, the most important scientific discovery in the history of the world, The Colour Out Of Space, that’s how Joseph Smith found his books, the hoax religion, there nice people to hang out with, sure they don’t like coffee but they don like ice-cream, really cool underwear, chloroform in print, before we go completely sideways, the Fiddler’s Green myth, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, better than anything Gaiman has written since (except for the first volume), appeals to sailors, reading a lot of comics, mermaid, mermaids are the angels for sailors, DC and Marvel horror comics, mermaid discovers meat, lamia, sirens, a Valhalla for sailors, common ways of dying in folk-songs, Friday and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Billy Budd by Herman Melville, dance-houses doxies and tapster, ladies of negotiable affection, were dance halls a way of getting around prostitution laws, an earlier version of Match.com, off the rails and into the sea and off the hook.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #077 -One Summer Night by Ambrose Bierce

July 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #077

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss One Summer Night by Ambrose Bierce

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

One Summer Night was first published in Cosmopolitan, March 1906.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The Three Hoarsemen #43 – The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

April 30, 2017 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Three Hoarsemen PodcastThe latest episode of The Three Hoarsemen podcast, episode 43, was a discussion of The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence – that’s either two or three graphic novels depending on how you count from Avatar Press. Written by Alan Moore and illustrated Jacen Burrows. In it Jeff Patterson, Fred Kiesche, and I talked about these beautiful and horrific reworkings of the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft.

|MP3|

Podcast feed: https://www.theincomparable.com/hoarse/subscribe/

Providence 12 - Portrait Cover

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #029 – An Inhabitant Of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce

August 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #029

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss An Inhabitant Of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

An Inhabitant Of Carcosa was first published in the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, December 25, 1886.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The WEIRD FICTION roots of TRUE DETECTIVE, season 2, Frank’s story

August 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

True Detective

Frank Semyon, the criminal businessman from season 2 of True Detective, has a fantastic character arc.

And, like season 1 of True Detective, season 2 is also connected to a weird fiction story by Ambrose Bierce.

For season 1 it was An Inhabitant Of Carcosa (read my post on it HERE).

In season 2 it was An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (we’ve done a podcast about this one).

So, do you remember the story that Frank (played by Vince Vaughn) tells his wife, Jordan, at the beginning of season 2’s second episode?

Here’s the scene:

Frank and Jordan are lying next to each other in bed.

FRANK: How’d a water stain get there?

Camera cuts up to two brown stains on the ceiling above Frank.

FRANK: It rained maybe twice this last year. It’s like everything’s papier-mache.

JORDAN: Stop thinking.

FRANK: I don’t like being on a ledge.

FRANK: My old man back in Chicago, when I was a kid… (laughs) he used to lock me in the basement when he’d go on a bender. Usually last the night. Let me out the next day. Thought he was keeping me safe, I guess. This one time, I was six – he puts me down there. I wake up and it’s locked. It had happened before. Anyways, so I guess he ended up arrested, I guess.

JORDAN: God, baby.

FRANK: Well, by the second morning I was out of food. The third day the light bulb burnt out. Pitch black in there. That’s when the rats started coming out. I dozed off and I felt a thing nibbling my finger. I woke up, it was, you know, chewing my finger.

JORDAN: What did you do?

FRANK: I grabbed it in the dark with my hands, I started smashing. And I just kept smashing it until it was nothing but goo in my hands. Two more days I was in there. In the dark. ‘Til my dad comes home.

JORDAN: Sometimes I wonder how many things you have like that. That I don’t know about.

FRANK: Ever since, I wondered: what if he never comes home? What if I’m still in that basement in the dark? What if I died there? That’s what that reminds me of.

JORDAN: What?

FRANK: The water stain. Something’s trying to tell me that it’s all papier-mache. Something’s telling me to wake up, like… like I’m not real. Like I’m only dreaming.

True Detective - Season 2, Episode2

Then in the final episode of season 2, episode 8, in his last scene, Frank hears Jordan’s voice, then sees her standing there, in that white dress – the one he had her promise she would wear – and him, standing before her, wearing a white shirt soaked in blood (like the “red rose” he had promised her that he would wear).

And the lines:

[FRANK IS BLEEDING, LIMPING THROUGH THE DESERT]

JORDAN: Hey there handsome.

FRANK: You made it! You okay?

JORDAN: Did. Fine. I’m safe.

FRANK: I’m coming, hold up.

JORDAN: Whats a guy like you doing in a place like this?

FRANK: [WALKING EASIER NOW] Just making my way baby. I told ya, Id make it.

FRANK: You did. You made it. You can rest now.

FRANK: No rest. Never stop moving.

JORDAN: Babe, oh babe – you stopped moving way back there.

True Detective - Season 2, Episode 8

Earlier in episode eight, do you remember where Frank said he’d meet Jordan?

Yeah. And though we never see them meet there Frank was very specific, saying they’d meet in a park called “Obelisco” in “Barquisimeto” (Venezuela).

Here’s what “Obelisco” in Barquisimeto looks like:

Obelisco de Barquisimeto

Frank’s story is the story of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Tales of Terror

November 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Tales of TerrorTales of Terror Collection
A Night in Whitechapel, Was It a Dream?, Caterpillars, John Mortonson’s Funeral
By: Ambrose Bierce, Guy de Maupassant, E.F. Benson; Performed by Victor Garber
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 1 disc, 1 hour!
Themes: / short stories / horror / classic / supernatural /
Publisher summary:

‘Night in Whitechapel’ French short-story master Guy de Maupassant offers this chilling look into one of the world’s best known cities. When two young men make a trek to London on a cold December evening, they expect to take in the city and maybe a pub or two along the way. But a chance encounter with a mysterious woman soon has them questioning not only the proceedings of their evening but their sanity as well. ‘Was It a Dream?’ Guy de Maupassant once again delivers a spine-tingling narrative. A young man recounts the tragic death of his love, claimed by an unknown illness. In his grief, he wanders the cemetery where she is buried to find a dark secret that she, and many other corpses, share. ‘Caterpillars’ Stories of the supernatural from E.F. Benson have been terrifying audiences for decades—even making the transition to television adaptation. In “Caterpillars,” a man recalls his terrifying stay at a haunted Italian villa. You will never look at caterpillars in the same way. ‘John Mortonson’s Funeral’ Perhaps best known for The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce is a mainstay of nineteenth-century American literature. In “John Mortonson’s Funeral,” Bierce adds horror to his satirical lens. The mourners at this funeral will be forever changed.

“Night in Whitechapel” – Guy de Maupassant
When two young men make a trek to London on a cold December evening, they expect to take in the city and maybe a pub or two along the way. But a chance encounter with a mysterious woman soon has them questioning not only the proceedings of their evening but their sanity as well.

“Was It a Dream?” – Guy de Maupassant
A young man recounts the tragic death of his love, claimed by an unknown illness. In his grief, he wanders the cemetery where she is buried to find a dark secret that she, and many other corpses, share.

“Caterpillars” – E.F. Benson
A man recalls his terrifying stay at a haunted Italian villa. You will never look at caterpillars in the same way.

“John Mortonson’s Funeral” – Ambrose Bierce
The mourners at this funeral will be forever changed.This collection is well named. All of these tales have a certain creepiness factor that will leave your skin crawling if you think about them too much. They also have the virtue of not being the usual “classic” horror tales included in most anthologies, although they are by authors acknowledged as master storytellers.

What enhances the subtlety and creeping horror is Victor Garber’s soft spoken narration. As any good actor would, he reads each tale differently to reflect its own character, but never with obvious technique that draws the listener away from the story itself. My favorite was “Was It a Dream?” in which the protagonist’s lovelorn state gradually gives way to shuddering fear in the graveyard. The transition was so seamless that I couldn’t tell you when it happened and by the end of the tale I myself was horror stricken.

The collection is short, clocking in at slightly more than an hour, but it is choice. Definitely recommended.

Posted by Julie D.

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