The SFFaudio Podcast #425 – READALONG: Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang

June 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #425 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Maissa talk about Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang

Talked about on today’s show:
1998, Arrival (2016), Ted Chiang has lost it!, you’ve pulled it off again, the vast sweep of history, the space of my life, Jesse doesn’t hold with modern writers (very much), savouring his stories, a technical writer, smart, wise, and young!, let’s sell out write away, he’s all ages at once, wisdom, his themes, Stories Of Your Life by Ted Chiang (the collection), too much chocolate, Tower Of Babylon, Liking What You See: A Documentary, style and tone, it’s right there in every sentence, when I talk about this on the podcast…, falling into place, in giant swaths, blocks, blocks of ash backwards and forwards, how memory works, changing memories by looking at them, heptapods, could they have done the movie any better?, a thoughtful science fiction story, more graspable, the rogue Chinese general, weirdly flowing hair, they’re doing it!, “oh gawd, Hollywood, what are you doing?”, which order is better?, movie first?, the future not the past, the clay figure, a breakdown, pieces building up, flashbacks, the house was so empty, past and future tense at the same time, movies do that all the time, less literary and more show, the movie-ish elements are not in the story, scale and stakes, Understand is a power, Flowers For Algernon, a meta-human super-mind, Hell Is The Absence Of God, a hilarious ending, too much dark chocolate is overwhelming, Seventy-Two Letters, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, The Life-Cycle Of Software Objects, he’s too wise, stories like bonsai trees, her first dream about her daughter’s death, where he puts everything, just the right spot, very Hollywood, so much more tragic, more mysterious, the writers sitting around…, the lady has to be younger because…, we’re going to give a 45 woman a movie?, how would they film that?, and how’s she gonna die?, incurable disease, nothing the mom could say or do could save the daughter, thinking about what the audience is thinking, outrage!, she seems to have more choice in the movie, an action sequence, she saves the world, the floating hair sequence, it doesn’t work as a memory, timey-wimey, a propagating wave of memory, it doesn’t work within the logic of the book, in trying to make it easy to the audience they’ve broken the logic of the story…, too dumb to understand, more rewarding and more hollow, is this a Science Fiction classic?, not at all, total brilliance, the whole movie in that sentence, my favourite second, our bar for science fiction movies is quite low, it’s legitimately science fiction, playing it up, fiddled with the aliens, a visual treat, a blockbuster, against the grain of the short story, the kangaroo, everything in my life points toward the fiction we’re going to discuss, Cognitive scientist explains why perceiving a false reality is beneficial, the duck that’s also a rabbit, the duck-rabbit’s direction, a complex reality we don’t need to know, whatever reality might be, the tiger would eat you, why do people have babies, “wanna make a baby?!, my kid’s gonna die, absolutely!”, all babies die, fearful of death, always looking at that end point, thinking about death is comforting, everybody does know the future, Robert J. Sawyer, any time now!, death is absolutely inevitable, outliving your friends and family, fragile and tiny, why daddy looks at me strangely now, Jean Paul Sartre, everybody lives forever, your forever has happened, that was your forever, giving it the forever life, the death of a child vs. the death of a 99 year old person, her “accident”, why the name change from Flapper and Raspberry to Abbot and Costello, the audience wouldn’t buy it, it’s very movie, Sam and Diane, definitely its, a thematic pair, classic comedy, highly neat, a weird theory, in the context of the movie logic, memories with the daughter, pointing at the problem of the movie, there’s no deciding!, it’s everywhere, talking for the sake of ritual, actors performing the lines, you have to read it on the page to grasp it in the theatre, seeing Shakespeare performed, to see an actualization of your experience, a positive story (a horror), not testing them limits, delivering their lines well, he’s improvising, I need a bowl like this (in order to hit my daughter in the head with it), choosing not to learn it <-this doesn't make sense - does it?, it's the written language, most people don't read, language ability, would you?, going to psychics, no one would go because they know it's bullshit (deep down), those who've read the book of ages never admit to it, conversations about certain topics because they're not read for it, good old days of forums, yelling against the wind, work it out themselves, a lesson from getting things right, you don't want to waste time, Fermat's most efficient system, you wanna be that way soon, computer games, no unlimited quarters, taking the ferry, the Sunshine Coast (British Columbia), riding the Queen Of Nanaimo, my Tron story, a clone of Defender, a side-scroller, demo mode, “insert coin”, a weird phenomena, at what point did I lose control?, computer games, Battlefield 4, the same kind of frustration, when you’re in the “zone” where time flows differently, your brain chemicals are elevated, it’s like I’m on drugs, where frustration comes from, why the ancient Greeks are all about fate, errors are going to creep in, in a certain sense it’s all scripted, dealing with this theme more explicitly, the one with the button, what to make of all of this?, a creepier sense of this poor woman, what a horrible existence, I cherish every moment, it’s only when things don’t going according to my script, even better!, only a lack of knowledge is upsetting, however we’re supposed to perceive it, it doesn’t make her upset, euphoric in the flow state, a logic defeated by the film, there’s no drama like that in the story, our realization of what Ted Chiange has done with that two hours of text, very Borgesian, a science fiction writer’s version of Borges, the text fixed, all the contents are immutable and yet we continue reading it, Big Trouble In Little China, Galaxy Quest, knowing the end doesn’t distract from the movie, is there a word for a fear of predictability?, do things unexpectedly all the time please, such a horror, he’s also Lovecraft, barrel shaped, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Shadow Out Of Time, an experience that the narrator can’t do anything time, if Lovecraft could ever write about a mom…, a professor who has a strange experience with an otherworldly creature, unavailability and a horror, a slow build up of tension, the whole bomb sequence, the alt-right talk show Alex Jones character, the latest series of Homeland, is in the death process, they knew it was coming, the spray (of shit?) all over the screen, their writing reflects their perception of reality, their speech doesn’t reflect their perception, from the end of the Mist, that’s just how we perceive it,they don’t really look like that, big pieces of silica, 12 vs. 112, why only 12?, this is a math problem, only one pair of aliens in all of those looking glasses, time fracture, all-time/no-time, there might only be one alien, when you’re perceiving things differently, why did the aliens come to visit?, we need reasons when we walk out of the movie theater, the 3,000 years thing, at the moment I was satisfied, Fermat and the light, for teleological reasons, knowing where it’s going and where it’s been all at the same time, we think of cause and effect, the universe is a book that can be read a couple of different ways, in a story vs. in a movie, we’re so conditioned, getting mad at the movie, are they just scientists?, the Strugatsky brothers, Roadside Picnic, animals, we are come and creepy like that, animals are almost never interested in having conversations,

The universe was a language with a perfectly ambiguous grammar. Every physical event was an utterance that could be parsed in two entirely different ways, one causal and the other teleological.

the rabbit is ready to eat, the rabbit is ready? hungry rabbits vs. hungry people, time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana, fruit doesn’t fly, fruit stays still – like bananas, free as in software not as like free as in beer, FREE BEER!, free software is infinitely copyable, grammar allows for multiple meanings too, parallels with Contact (1997), a little bit like an homage, complete with the religious nuts, a cult, Heaven’s Gate, a nice metaphor for our current times, what the State Department is going to think, a clown show, nothing they do matters, clearly filmed before the Trump presidency, could you film it now?, somehow Trump makes it more realistic, who would do that?, a big tantrum, stop talking to them bigly, the score and cinematography, the same director and composer, I’ve seen the future don’t be so excited, moderate your expectations, dreaming about hectopod unlocking future memories, seeing snatches of the future, it rewired Paul’s brain, really affecting stories, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, TED Talks, a TED Talk talking point, linguistic relativity, stories are what come out of language, stories that resonate, when she’s reading Goldilocks to her daughter, you’re not telling it right, threefold magic, that’s all you need to know, always the same reaction and always a different reaction, the three chairs, the bowls, the three beds, somebody’s been sitting in my chair, somebody’s been eating my porridge, somebody’s been sleeping in my bed and there she is!, being able to retell, this is how Homer’s stories are designed, rosy fingered dawn, memory cues, hhmms and hawws, the epithets, tools and tricks evolved naturally out of us, Maissa enjoying Galaxy Quest again and again, Seth McFarlane’s The Orville, a whole series?, In The Mountains Of Madness by W. Scott Poole, I Am Providence by Nick Mamatass, the subgenre, Murder At The ABA by Isaac Asimov, mysteries set at mystery or science fiction conventions, authors writing what they know, Winter’s Tide, Lovecraft Country, Goodreads.com is good for satisfying hate-ons, here’s my position: I’m better than you, you with your Lovecraftian tentacle shirt…, the opposite of Ted Chiang, some sort of ethos or ethical system, there’s not just going with it and seeing how it goes, he has something to say, crafted not rushed, awards are wrong on the grand scheme, Parsec and Nebula awards, if you’re aiming in that direction…, moving through the universe and collecting awards by accident, Hidden Figures (2016), why are they stopped there?, whatever…, should I call a tow truck?, “no, I’ll just bypass the starter?!!?!?”, what the fuck are you talking about?!!?!?, smart women engineers, you can’t bypass starters, IBM, come on!, now you’ve ruined it Jesse, the only reason that exists, they ruined it, they need the sequence, a movie supposedly about science and engineering and then they focus on what makes it actually interesting, an establishing character moment, their so smart they can do magic, for trailer moments, Kevin Costner smashing the bathroom sign, I want to be manipulated, Da Vinci’s Demons, an amazonian parrot in the time of Da Vinci?, we could use african greys, perfectionists and people who don’t care, every word is perfectly placed, he’s clear, every word is carefully place, actually it’s him doing Borges, a much finer point, brains and minds, Exhalation, you can’t use your mind to look at your own mind, doing experimental surgery on his own head using a mirror, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, this is a master at work, everybody in there, he’s a wonder.

TANTOR MEDIA - Stories Of Your Life by Ted Chiang

Arrival by Ted Chiang

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100”, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to “neil1966hardy” from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #065

July 5, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #065 – Scott and Jesse and Luke Burrage talk about the latest audiobook releases!

Talked about on today’s show:
The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction – Volume 2 edited by Allan Kaster, Infinivox, On The Human Plan by Jay Lake, Tarnsman Of Gor by John Norman, Gorean subculture, The Chronicles Of Counter-Earth, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Boris Vallejo, Brilliance Audio, Dog Blood by David Moody, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, Hater by David Moody |READ OUR REVIEW|, David J. Williams, editing your novel, Gerard Doyle, Guillermo del Toro, Borders Of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Reader’s Chair, Grover Gardner, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold |READ OUR REVIEW|, Penguin Audio, The Left Hand Of God by Paul Hoffman, Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfus, A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, Rosemary And Rue by Seanan McGuire, “urban fantasy warning”, fey vs. fairy, Audio Realms, Double Shadow by Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Weird Tales, William F. Nolan, Michael Bishop, F. Marion Crawford, Wayne June, The Empty House And Other Ghost Stories by Algernon Blackwood, Robert E. Howard, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, The Things That Are Not There by C.J. Henderson, naming your weapons, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Gonji: Red Blade From The East by T.C. Rypel, the anti-Marco Polo, Hunt: Through The Cradle Of Fear by Gabriel Hunt, The Hunt For Adventure series, Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime, manly adventure, Christa Faust, Money Shot by Christa Faust, the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, Nancy Drew, James Reasoner, People Of The Dark: The Weird Works Of Robert E. Howard – Volume 2, CONAN, Queen Of The Black Coast, Castaways by Brian Greene, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Disney edition (John Carter Of Mars), chain-mail bikini, Chicks In Chainmail, hauberk and coif, Gust Front: Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo, the Legacy of the Aldenata series, “military science fiction warning”, Flag In Exile (Book 5 In The Honor Harrington Series) by David Weber, “there is no happily ever after in a series”, Mass Effect, Steam, the wikipedia entry for Elder Race, big dumb objects, xenoarchaology, uplifting as a god replacement, Sid Meier, Babylon 5, Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds, Heechee vs. XeeLee, lamp-shading the foam forehead, GoodReads.com, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, House Of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, Century Rain, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, Audible.com, Audible Frontiers, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, Steve Feldberg, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, Science Fiction And Politics podcast, Lost, Geek Nights podcast, The Darkness That Comes Before, The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch |READ OUR REVIEW|, middle grade vs. young adult vs. vampire romance, The Books Of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West, Penguin Audio, Song Of The Dragon by Tracy Hickman, Brilliance Audio, fantasy, Harriet Klausner, Tracy And Laura Hickman’s Eventide, Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing, Medal Of Honor (pre-order), Dragonlance, 23 Hours by David Wellington, vampires, comics, Classics Illustrated #3: The Count Of Monte Cristo, Epic Illustrated, The Rook, Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Conan: Black Colossus, Garth Ennis’ The Boys, Herogasm, the video review of Herogasm, The Guns Of August by Barbara Tuchman, GraphicAudio, Batman: Inferno by Alex Irvine, “I’m Batman”, Elantris, Writing Excuses, Cory Doctorow, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, The Way Of Kings, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Luke’s Pick Of The Week: The Writing Excuses Podcast, “stories have to have an end”, Epic Fantasy’s appeal is that it has no end, The Lord Of The Rings vs. A Game Of Thrones, Eric S. Rabkin, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: GraphicAudio’s Batman: Inferno by Alex Irvine, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Sandbaggers, BFS Entertainment, Ian Mackintosh, James Bond, espionage, Queen & Country by Gregg Rucka,

Posted by Jesse Willis