The SFFaudio Podcast #339 – READALONG: Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick

October 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #339 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1960 novel, 1956 novella, the Goddreads reviews, Reddit, re-listening, very visual, John Mcclane at the end of Die Hard, conference room scenes, vague characters, awesome ideas, three Philip K. Dick stories that could have inspired The Terminator movies, no time travel, Doctor Futurity, Skynet, the drones (the hammers), UAV style drones vs. terminators, drone technology, there were drones in WWII, remote controlled bombers [ex. Operation Aphrodite], almost nothing “invented in SF” was actually invented in SF, infiltrators, Jesse has become a Terminator geek, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Screamers (adapted from Second Variety by Philip K. Dick), two battling computers, humans as pawns, both computers are in the same building!, proxies, the Internet is missing, Vulcan 3 is building the Internet, Skynet’s drones, Skynet doesn’t have central control, when Vulcan 3 is controlled, Vulcan 3 as a baby, creepy, at the periphery of the plot, the education sub-theme, a little red headed girl, being raised by a terminator, such a fanny show, the movies are recycling scene and catchphrases, at the school, a non-conformist school, Philip K. Dick’s kid is in school, regular school crushes creativity, meritocracy, nepotism, an unfinished thought, cronyism, technocratic government, getting through by hard work, was he an A.I. controlled by Vulcan 3, “hey the system works!”, sociological ideas, how un-Dickian this novel is, a relatively straightforward mystery, no weird obsessions (like with infidelity), the obligatory black haired girl, the president of the world comes into the world takes a little girl out of school and takes her home?, WTF?, the teacher’s okay with this?, the classroom, the concentration camp in Atlanta is a psychology camp, the conformist world in A Wrinkle In Time, Marissa learns Science Fiction, a planet of complete conformism, “you let them play an unstructured game?”, stifling of independent thought and creativity, why was the teacher killed?, reading Lolita, secretly reading forbidden books, is Philip K. Dick improving the books when he re-writes them (consensus is NO), two cults, a cult of reason and rationality, why is that rebellion group called the “Healers”, like alternative medicine, the worship of the computer, Greys, blue collars against the white collars, “we shouldn’t undervalue people just because their skills are in their hands and in their fingers”, vaxxers vs. the anti-vaxxers, back to Dr. Futurity, Vulcan 2 in the novella, piecing Vulcan 2 back together like a damaged hard-drive, the data is recovered aurally, listening to the broken thoughts of Vulcan 2, not just white noise in between the broken sentences, a groaning of ghosts, psychology, weird and interesting, absolutely NOT what anyone else does in Science Fiction, the Butlerian Jihad, because… Skynet, nobody says actually technology is really quite useful, 43% of the Earth’s resources?, the paragraph, maintaining the computer, the “lesser order of human needs”, some sort of metaphor 43 percent of calories go to the brain?, a biological parallel, making the decisions, making the policy, a subtle allusion to Plato, the greys the technician class are “guardians”, denying a brain data (big mistake), The Just City by Jo Walton, Athena sets up Plato’s Republic, automatons for physical labour, seeing the connections, The Republic, Socrates, like the old Atlanteans, the Gold the Silver and the Bronze (ditch diggers and truck drivers), the Silver (the police, functionaries, tax-collectors), the Gold (the enlightened, the philosophers), Vulcan 3 is the Gold, the T-class (experts and specialists), these books are all being suppressed (due to copyright), a pretty good title, Hammer shaped robots?, Vulcan (aka Hephaestus), the ancient Greeks and Romans, Hephaestus built a robot for Athena, the Greeks were really into automata, metal beings, the Talos of Crete, Vulcan as the wizard of metal, a Philip K. Dick conference lecture, when the Greeks thought of gods they thought of A.I. (sort of), these atoms over here have desires, intelligence in non-living things, a little bit under cooked, what about Vulcan 1?, or does it?, maybe Vulcan 1 is hiding, in a degenerate state, Deus Irae and The Last C., tactical nukes, a lot of weakness but it makes up for it, a bit of paranoia, that’s usually what causes the problem, self-preservation, when Saddam Hussein is threatened, the emotional computer, pleading only as a human could do, “We can come to an arrangement!”, shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a microcosmic version of Vulcan’s Hammer, several Star Trek episodes, The Ultimate Computer, Star Trek as a metaphor for American foreign policy, The Apple, they kill the computer that regulates their society, they killed the snake but…, vegetarians are now hunting, put some controls on this, as a metaphor for society, a rebellion against pain in the body, the mind as the government, living in a post-WWIII world, WarGames, the Russians had a battle computer called “The Dead Hand“, a dead-man’s trigger, WWIII was looming in 1956 and 1960, so good even though its not that good, Dick loves blue collar workers, Father Fields, making something out of the air-conditioner, a dropped thread, a completely weird metaphor, The Borderlands series, Scooter, a technopath, The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick, “he fixed things”, a great tagline, “I don’t got Philip K. Dick for action”, living in a disposable society, everything is disposable, is there a TV-repair shop left in North America?, modern cars, only 5.5 hours, zoning out, cool predictions, the paranoid artificial intelligence, Sam Harris and Joe Rogan, caging an A.I., setting up honey-traps, Jesse thinks that’s not going to be the issue, Neuromancer all A.I.’s have digital shotguns strapped to their heads, “the smartest man in the world”, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, worries, better as a metaphor than as a prediction, we shouldn’t be unconcerned, Colossus: The Forbin Project, it isn’t 1s and 0s on a screen, seeing inside a burned diary, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, Mike the computer (aka Mycroft Homles), what’s missing from Vulcan’s 3‘s life is a friend, kids want to know, I think you guys are liars if…, kids are going to get into everything and that’s not a bad thing, more information is better, Vulcan 2’s decision, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, you are totally welcome to prosper if you are willing and able to play a certain kind of game, the push-back is caused by the masses rejecting stability, the adventurer class, “more concerned with gain than with stability”, the phrases: “life is cheap”, big gambles, the Netflix series Narcos, communist guerrillas living in the jungle, if you are living in a corrupt society you get a lot of gamblers, the striking opening scene, “can’t you get a better picture?”, they all wear the uniform of their class, another theme, destroying stability, going back to entropy, it is kind of Philip K. Dickian after-all, undercooked or maybe overcooked, the same with Time Pawn, this is my worst book, Dean Koontz’s 1973 novel of Demon Seed has a rapey robot computer, with the rewrite of Demon Seed Koontz has mellowed out, writing for the market, even after his death, Puttering About In A Small World by Philip K. Dick, everything’s always better with a robot wife.

Future Science Fiction No. 29 (1956). Cover Art by Frank Kelly Freas
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art

Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick - FRENCH

ACE - Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick

Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick - German

Vulcan's Hammer - preliminary art D-457

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Brilliance Audio, Full Cast Audio, Penguin Audio

November 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Which website has a stack of more than a dozen recently arrived audiobooks looking for reviews? Would you be surprised to learn it’s called SFFaudio.com? We knew you knew that.

Nearly 200 ratings on audible, where it premiered back in July, give this audiobook a score of 4.39 out of 5. Impressive. And, check it out, narrator Jay Snyder (aka Dan Green) is also the voice actor for Yugi Moto from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series.

Fantasy Audiobook - Day By Day Armageddon by J.L. BourneBeyond Exile: Day By Day Armageddon (book 2 in the Armageddon series)
By J.L. Bourne; Read by Jay Snyder
8 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: August 10, 2010
ISBN: 9781441874863
Sample: |MP3|
START INTERCEPT – Armies of undead have risen up across the U.S. and around the globe; there is no safe haven from the diseased corpses hungering to feed off human flesh. But in the heat of a Texas wasteland, a small band of survivors attempt to counter the millions closing in around them. – INTERCEPT COMPLETE — Survivor, Day by day, the handwritten journal entries of one man caught in a worldwide cataclysm capture the desperation — and the will to survive — as he joins forces with a handful of refugees to battle soulless enemies both human and inhuman from inside the abandoned Hotel 23. But in the world of the undead, is mere survival enough?

Here’s the follow up to The Unincorporated Man |READ OUR REVIEW|. The part I like most about this sequel is that it is slightly shorter than the original.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Unincorporated War by Dani Kollin and Eytan KollinThe Unincorporated War
By Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin; Read by Eric G. Dove
19 CDs – Approx. 22 Hours 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: May 11, 2010
ISBN: 1441858016
Sample: |MP3|
The Kollin brothers introduced their future world, and central character Justin Cord, in The Unincorporated Man. Justin created a revolution in that book, and is now exiled from Earth to the outer planets, where he is a heroic figure. The corporate society, which is headquartered on Earth and rules Venus, Mars, and the Orbital colonies, wants to destroy Justin and reclaim hegemony over the rebellious outer planets. The first interplanetary civil war begins as the military fleet of Earth attacks. Filled with battles, betrayals, and triumphs, The Unincorporated War is a full-scale space opera that catapults the focus of the earlier novel up and out into the solar system. Justin remains both a logical and passionate fighter for the principles that motivate him, and the most dangerous man alive.

Neal Stephenson’s “Baroque Cycle” – no matter how you measure it – begins with this audibook. I’m always for starting at the beginning.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO Quicksilver by Neal StephensonQuicksilver
By Neal Stephenson; Read by Simon Prebble
12 CDs – Approx. 14 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: August 2010
ISBN: 9781441874962
Sample: |MP3|
Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

This mortal, meaning me, plans on listening to this intriguing sounding book before the year is out. It was originally published, in a shorter version, under the title … And Call Me Conrad. Check out the fascinating Wikipedia entry describing its long an convoluted publishing history.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - This Immortal by Roger ZelaznyThis Immortal
By Roger Zelazny; Read by Victor Bevine
6 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: August 25, 2010
ISBN: 1441875018
Conrad Nomikos has a long, rich personal history that he’d rather not talk about. And, as arts commissioner, he’s been given a job he’d rather not do. Escorting an alien grandee on a guided tour of the shattered remains of Earth is not something he relishes – especially since it is apparent that this places him at the center of high-level intrigue that has some bearing on the future of Earth itself. But Conrad is a very special guy…

Narrator Christina Traister, in addition to narrating audiobooks, also teaches stage combat in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University. That’s cool.

Fantasy Audiobook - Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna LoveBlood Trinity: The Belador Code, Book 1
By Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love; Read by Christina Traister
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 19, 2010
ISBN: 9781441863515
Sample: |MP3|
Atlanta has become the battlefield between human and demon. All her life, Evalle Kincaid has walked the line between the two. Her origins unknown, she’s on a quest to learn more about her past … and her future. When a demon claims a young woman in a terrifying attack and there’s no one else to blame, Evalle comes under suspicion. Now she’s on a deadly quest for her own survival. Through the sordid underground of an alternate Atlanta where nothing is as it seems to the front lines of the city, where her former allies have joined forces to hunt her, Evalle must prove her innocence or pay the ultimate price. But saving herself is the least of her problems if she doesn’t stop the coming apocalypse. The clock is ticking and Atlanta is about to catch fire…

Not only does the protagonist of Heaven’s Spite have unbelievably fake sounding name, so does the author. Lillith Saintcrow, however, insists that it is in fact her real name! Now considering how cool sounding it is I can entirely imagine someone having her name legally changed to Lillith Saintcrow. And, I’ve also got to hand it to any author/character combination who can use the word “Fuckwad” in the opening of her paranormal romance parkour novel! Check out how they made the cover for another of Saintcrow’s urban fantasy books too.

Fantasy Audiobook - Heaven's Spite by Lilith SaintcrowHeaven’s Spite: Book 5 in the Jill Kismet series
By Lilith Saintcrow; Read by Joyce Bean
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 27, 2010
ISBN: 9781441886835
Sample: |MP3|
Jill Kismet has no choice but to seek treacherous allies — Perry, the devil she knows, and Melisande Belisa, the cunning Sorrows temptress whose true loyalties are unknown. Kismet knows Perry and Belisa are likely playing for the same thing — her soul. It’s just too bad, because she expects to beat them at their own game. Except their game is vengeance. Nobody plays vengeance like Kismet. But if the revenge she seeks damns her, her enemies might get her soul after all…

Cherie (aka BelovedBitterSea) sez: “genocide is bad and life should be fair” – You know I’m liking YouTube more and more if only for reviews like Cherie’s – it’s for Foundation, the novel preceding this audiobook…

Fantasy Audiobook - Intrigues by Mercedes LackeyIntrigues: Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, Book 2
By Mercedes Lackey; Read by Nick Podehl
9 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 5, 2010
ISBN: 9781423308003
Sample: |MP3|
Mags was an orphan and slave of ‘bad blood’ who toiled a gem mine all his young life. He would have died before adulthood, had he not been Chosen and taken to Haven to be trained in the new Herald Collegium. Now, Mags was never hungry and never cold. He slept in a real bed in his own room and, most importantly, he had Dallen, who was like another part of himself. And yet, aside from Lena and Bear, both loners like he was, he couldn’t relate to most of the Herald, Healer, or Bard trainees. He was the only trainee who came from what—to the others—was unimaginable poverty. There was another factor that contributed to Mag’s isolation. Foreign assassins, masquerading at court as envoys were discovered. As they fled from the Guard, one of them seemed to “recognize” Mags. Now, Mags was an object of suspicion. He had always been curious about his parents, but after the incident it became urgent for Mags to discover exactly who his parents were. And at Haven, he had access to the extensive Archives. Poring through the Archives, he got only incomplete information: his parents, found dead in a bandit camp, had been two of a number of hostages, some of whom had survived. The survivors had told the Guard that Mags’ parents spoke a language that no one understood or recognized. This information did not help, for the ForeSeers had been having visions of the king’s assassination by “one of the foreign blood”. Some had even Seen Mags with blood on his hands. How could Mags defend himself against a crime that hadn’t yet been committed?

Here’s the sequel to Sandman Slim. It’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy told humorously in first person! Narrator MacLeod Andrews sounds very good while telling the story with what sounds like a conspiratorial smirk. Check out Kadrey’s video about the first book in the series too.

Fantasy Audiobook - Kill the Dead by Richard KadreyKill The Dead
By Richard Kadrey; Read by MacLeod Andrews
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 5, 2010
ISBN: 9781441806642
Sample: |MP3|
James Stark, a.k.a. Sandman Slim, crawled out of Hell, took bloody revenge for his girlfriend’s murder, and saved the world along the way. After that, what do you do for an encore? You take a lousy job tracking down monsters for money. It’s a depressing gig, but it pays for your beer and cigarettes. But in L.A., things can always get worse. Like when Lucifer comes to town to supervise his movie biography and drafts Stark as his bodyguard. Sandman Slim has to swim with the human and inhuman sharks of L.A.’s underground power elite. That’s before the murders start. And before he runs into the Czech porn star who isn’t quite what she seems. Even before all those murdered people start coming back from the dead and join a zombie army that will change our world and Stark’s forever. Death bites. Life is worse. All things considered, Hell’s not looking so bad.

Narrator Ralph Lister reads with an English accent. If I had my drothers all aliens (and Nazis) would be played by English actors. First published in 1968.

Fantasy Audiobook - Priest-Kings of Gor by John NormanPriest-Kings Of Gor: Gorean Saga, Book 3
By John Norman; Read by Ralph Lister
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 15, 2010
ISBN: 9781441849021
Sample: |MP3|
This is the third installment of John Norman’s popular and controversial Gor series. Tarl Cabot is the intrepid tarnsman of the planet Gor, a harsh society with a rigid caste system that personifies the most brutal form of Social Darwinism. In this volume, Tarl must search for the truth behind the disappearance of his beautiful wife, Talena. Have the ruthless Priest-Kings destroyed her? Tarl vows to find the answer for himself, journeying to the mountain stronghold of the kings, knowing full well that no one who has dared approach the Priest-Kings has ever returned alive….

Told in first person, by the chameleon voiced Phil Gigante, here’s the 1970 sequel to an audiobook I am listening to right now. I suspect I’ll be gobbling up this sequel soon too.

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge by Harry HarrisonThe Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge (book 2 in the Stainless Steel Rat series)
By Harry Harrison; Read by Phil Gigante
5 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 12, 2010
ISBN: 9781441881144
Sample: |MP3|
DiGriz and Angelina are happily married and expecting the birth of their sons. The planet Cliaand is waging interstellar war, and against the odds, its Grey Men are invading and taking over planet after planet. The Rat is sent to Cliaand to start a one-man guerrilla campaign to put a stop to the plans of the planet’s leader, Kraj. He is aided by the Amazons, a force of liberated freedom fighters, and eventually by his wife who arrives to help him win the war and keep him out of the arms of the Amazons.

This audiobook asks: “King, Country, Crown. What would you die for?” Author Celine Kiernan is also, apparently, working on a graphic novel.

Fantasy Audiobook - The Rebel PrinceThe Rebel Prince (book 3 in the Moorehawke Trilogy)
By Celine Kiernan; Read by Kate Rudd
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2010
ISBN: 9781441891679
Sample: |MP3|
Wynter Moorehawke has braved bandits and Loup-Garous to find her way to Alberon — the exiled, rebel prince. But now that she’s there, she will learn firsthand that politics is a deadly mistress. With the king and his heir on the edge of war and alliances made with deadly enemies, the Kingdom is torn not just by civil war – but strife between the various factions as well. Wynter knows that no one has the answer to the problems that plague the Kingdom – and she knows that their differences will not just tear apart her friends – but the Kingdom as well.

This series has a very interesting premise. In Rachel Aaron’s universe all inanimate objects, in addition to people (and perhaps animals), have spirits. I’m not sure if there have been any Fantasy novels that have used animism before this one. Although, now that I think of it, I guess one could take it a step further and give even abstract nouns spirits as well – but that’s a different zeitgeist altogether.

Fantasy Audiobook - The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel AaronThe Spirit Rebellion: The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2
By Rachel Aaron; Read by Luke Daniels
10 CDs – Approx. 12 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: November 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781441886576
Sample: |MP3|
Eli Monpress is brilliant. He’s incorrigible. And he’s a thief. He’s also still at large, which drives Miranda Lyonette crazy. While she’s been kicked out of the Spirit Court, Eli’s had plenty of time to plan his next adventure. But now the tables have turned, because Miranda has a new job — and an opportunity to capture a certain thief. Things are about to get exciting for Eli. He’s picked a winner for his newest heist. His target: the Duke of Gaol’s famous “thief-proof” citadel. Eli knows Gaol is a trap, but what’s life without challenges? Except the Duke is one of the wealthiest men in the world, a wizard who rules his duchy with an iron fist, and an obsessive perfectionist with only one hobby: Eli.

One tale, from this collection of Bruce Coville short stories, is available for FREE DOWNLOAD |HERE|.

Fantasy Audiobook - Oddly Enough by Bruce CovilleOddly Enough
By Bruce Coville; Read by various
4 CDs – Approx. 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 9781936223350
A collection of nine short stories about “vampires, werewolves, ghosts, unicorns.”

Here’s a new young adult novel, the first of three, set in a dystopian world in which boys and girls are matched by their society.

Fantasy Audiobook - Matched by Ally CondieMatched
By Ally Condie; Read by Kate Simses
8 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: November 30, 2010
ISBN: 9780142428634
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate … until she sees Ky Markham’s face.

Posted by Jesse Willis