Talked about on today’s show:
1982, the last readable Heinlein novel, head-shaking, one of the most awkward books, transgender stuff, a New York times article, I Will Fear No Evil, body swap, an old man in a young woman’s body, Predestination (2014), All You Zombies, sex-change and time travel, another example of a Heinlein character getting a sex-change, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, even the computer is gender fluid, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein is the man in Science Fiction who really believes in women, the spring of 1991, re-reading experience, characters who defy human emotion and reality, made of human DNA, the Pinocchio story, focusing on the overbuilding, not just sex but odd sex, anti-male homosexuality but he likes lesbianism, a whiff of – but no sex on screen, Red Thursday, there’s a rape at the beginning and she marries her rapist at the end, it needs an editor, losing track of plotting, he let me pee, he’s a nice rapist, it makes sense!, Stranger In A Strange Land, what do we do about it?, horrible Heinlein thoughts, a lot of “doxy” training, an enhanced person vs. an artificial person, increased sexuality bred into them?, Dr. Baldwin engineered her, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, supermen, Olympia, late Heinlein is giving up on what early Heinlein wrote, travel reading, line marriages and serial marriages, making families, Christchurch, Winnipeg, Heinlein went to a swingers party and said “let’s do this all the time”, seeing a person’s mind over time, a plotless meandering travelogue/memoir, so many coincidences, that just happened to happen?, from set-piece to set piece, Bellingham, the AP guy never comes back, Chekhov’s gun that turns out to be a red herring, it wasn’t serialized for Playboy but should have been, sex for sex-sake, he’s got the 1997 World Wide Web in this book, Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game did forums, A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge, Hathitrust, terminals vs. PCs, kittens, cats, how many breakfasts, hungry the whole time, that “triggered” me, Jesse explains this book, Canada, California, Las Vegas, New Zealand, Australia, credit cards, she takes his Diner’s Club card, clothing, Heinlein went on a cruise, transient ischemic attack (TIA), Grumbles From The Grave, lots of eating, good food, cruise ship food, movies, cruise-like, sitting at the captain’s table, Heinlein being respected, touring the United States, crazy governments, “long pig” = human pig, rich “slitch”, playing psychoanalyst, the Earth is doomed, Heinlein is obsessed with the frontier, Time Enough For Love, the frontier hypothesis, racism you wouldn’t notice, law and order in peaceful British Canada, the remainders of the US, the Bear Flag Republic of California, the Free State of Las Vegas, Vicksburg, the Chicago Imperium includes Minnesota, getting Paul’s revolution on, everybody is Amish now, driving draft horses, semi-ballistic skyport, the world’s best batteries: shipstones, Ayn Rand, a libertarian streak, the Galt’s Gulch approach to patents, an unresolved plot point, an internal revolt, they own everything, making an argument, an analogy for the oil industry, s-groups, freeing women up to work, Friday can run 30 km per hour, rolling around on the floor with kittens and babies, housewives, the lesbian couple-ship with Goldie, tension between roles of women, all those contradictions, why is Friday sterile, childless Heinleins, write what you want, Heinlein as a gold bug, making America great again by tearing down the wall between the USA and Mexico, pushing gold hard, politeness is society, no flame wars on Heinlein’s internet, paperbooks vs. ebooks, Google book scans, nobody knew about the internet, the pay internet, the pay web, SOPA and PIPA, a free and open internet, Friday‘s enthusiasm for the web was realistic, I can learn everything, you have no excuse today for not knowing everything, know what you don’t know and don’t talk about it, learning about the world by reading Heinlein novels, the word “knave”, The Queen of Hearts, claques, stylites, particularism, secessionist California, Texas, a balkanized USA, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, alternate dimensions, the Rapture,
The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole those tarts,
And took them clean away.
The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he’d steal no more.
its so easy not to appreciate all we have, I pity all the fools, The Number Of The Beast, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Gay Deceiver, there’s no way to fix this!, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, the thing he has about incest, Heinlein’s Future History, Philip K. Dick does the opposite, it all hangs together, someone is hanging himself in a closet, Heinlein’s periods, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Door Into Summer, Professor Eric S. Rabkin, walls dilate open, women: I kinda wanna be one, The Puppet Masters, a similar organization, a boss with a bunch of agents, the boss just dies, writing the novel with a pair of dice or the I Ching, weird coincidences, part of the story just falls away, the Dungeon Master, Friday as a pick-a-path book, on the whole we enjoyed it, the writing style, Hillary Huber was the narrator for Blackstone Audio version, a fun listen, I wouldn’t say that I liked it, fun in places, what is an artificial person, if you prick me do I not leak?, people born of three parents, a future person, GMO fruit vs. organic fruit, people have been fucking with fruit forever, Jesse expounds on apples, all apples for harvest are grafts, Maissa expounds on bananas, Paul expounds on corn, corn is in everything in the USA, you’re 80% corn, the enhanced talking dog, kobold miners, Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross, the main character is a robot, no biological creatures, the illegitimate worries that Friday has are programmed into the main character of Saturn’s Children, a romp novel with everybody dead, straight out of Heinlein’s subconscious, Reading, Short & Deep, Who Can Replace A Man? by Brian Aldiss, Ian Tregillis’ Alchemy War novels, Spartacus, Botany Bay, there is a destiny that shapes our lives, an allusion to Hamlet
Posted by Jesse Willis
Sailing Alone Around The World
By Joshua Slocum; Read by Alan Chant
1 |M4B|, 22 Zipped MP3 Files, or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 9, 2007
Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail around the world alone in a small boat. He personally rebuilt an 11.2 metre sloop-rigged fishing boat that he named the Spray. On April 24, 1895, he set sail from Boston, Massachusetts. More than three years later, he returned to Newport, Rhode Island, on June 27, 1898 having circumnavigated the world, a distance of 46,000 miles (74,000 km). In 1899 he described the voyage in Sailing Alone Around the World now considered a classic of travel literature. It is a wonderful adventure story from the Age of Sail and a book of which Arthur Ransome declared, “boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.”
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I was listening to an episode of the CBC Radio One Ideas podcast, entitled Sailing Alone Around The World |MP3|, and was struck by the story of the first man to do that very thing. The program uses excerpts from Slocum’s book of the same name, and interviews those modern solitary sailors who’ve followed in Slocum’s wake. The fact that, in some sections of the sea, the next nearest human being to a lone sailor might be someone on the International Space Station, was an astounding revelation to me. The fact that there have been fewer solitary circumnavigators than there have been people in space, also astounding. So, not even half-way through the show I set my sights on LibriVox, where I searched for, found, and downloaded an M4B of the audiobook.
Slocum was an Canadian by birth and a naturalized American. In the late 19th century, upon finding himself out of work (the age of coal powered ships had begun in earnest), Slocum found there was no more call for a tall ship captain. One day Slocum finds himself having been gifted with an aged sloop. And so he sets about refitting it, hires himself out to himself plans to write a book (serialized in the Century magazine), loads up his cabin with food, supplies and lots of books, and sets sail on a solitary circumnavigation of the planet earth.
What he finds in the adventure is, simply put, real adventure! Slocum is alone for the entire trip except for The Spray itself, Slocum’s sloop, which is full of emotions (it feels happy when the sailing is good, and becomes anxious when in port too long). Similarwise he has a few passengers, there’s a hungry goat, a sneaky bilge rat, and a long suffering spider (it meets another just like it half a planet away from where it was born).
In his more than three years at sea Slocum meets with ship thieves, admirals, colonial governors, the widow (and adopted son) of Robert Louis Stevenson, friendly natives, hostile natives, officious bureaucrats, friendly bureaucrats, storms, reefs, sickness, and even a ghost!
Along the way he salute’s the sea god Neptune, ports at many memorable anchorages, including the island of the real life inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (Alexander Selkirk), and becomes an international celebrity.
Slocum’s narrative is helped by his enjoyable sense of humor and hindered by his prejudices. And while the various characters that he meets in the book may sometimes benefit from Slocum’s breezy writing style I got no real sense of the other side of the story. Incidents with thieves, one man steals his pistol, and one South American boy tries to steal his ship, come across as far less frightening than they might really have been. Indeed, there’s something of a deliberate storyteller to this travel narrative, something which reminds me of Sławomir Rawicz’s extraordinary adventure memoir The Long Walk (it may have been entirely made up). That said, the documentation seems far more present, and the journey here does seem to have actually occurred.
Narrator Alan Chant has an English accent and a relaxed reading style. There’s a bit of background noise in the recording, but the audio is very serviceable. Each chapter begins and ends with a bit of seabird song. Recommended.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #170 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny discuss the Brilliance Audio audiobook of The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke.
Talked about on today’s show:
Skyhooks and space elevators, Sri Lanka, “my first space elevator book”, Robert A. Heinlein, Friday, “it feels like a novel”, “the fictional accounting of a real construction project”, history, Colombo, afterwords, sources and acknowledgements, “what a rip-off”, Sigiriya’s Lion Paws Gate, King Kashyapa I, “past, present, and future”, engineering fiction vs. science fiction, Taprobane, Paradise Regained by John Milton, Jo Walton’s review of The Fountains Of Paradise, religion, “Heinlein in a dress”, an idea book, to think interesting Science Fictional thoughts, hard SF, Clarke’s Laws, space probe, a game changer, Gregg Margarite, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, The Nine Billion Names Of God, Sigmund Freud, growing out of religion?, Thomas Aquinas, symbolic logic, Bertrand Russell, satellites and their uses, unseen benefits to giant engineering projects and science, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, “this is what we’re meant to do”, the space age, the 1970s, Jenny gets depressed, Terpkristin‘s visit to French Guiana (PICS!), will we have a Chinese moonbase by 2022?, innovation vs. exploration, Jerry O’Neil, good reasons to go to space, we ought to do things that we can do, Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, the daily life challenges of a space born population, The Island Worlds by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts, the probe is a person, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy #64: John Scalzi, (Star Trek holds us back), “the God Particle”, “you’re going to die soon”, can we empathize with a character that isn’t a human being?, a complimentary cosmonaut, 2001: A Space Odyssey, one day in Jerusalem, the transhuman future in the end of The Fountains Of Paradise, Starglider/Starholme, a well developed solar society, the Wikipedia entry for The Fountains Of Paradise, The Last Theorem, The City And The Stars, a non-off putting post-human story, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang, Charles Stross, sequels and science, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, in SF ideas build can on one another whereas others books are more parasitizing upon those ideas, why does it have to be a new book?, ‘these were the stepping stones to today’, a balance of both a good story and good ideas, William Gibson, Embassytown by China Miéville, The City And The City, “garbage, garbage, garbage”, 2312, Playboy’s serialization of The Fountains Of Paradise, Buckminster Fuller, why did Sir Arthur C. Clarke live in Sri Lanka?, Milton is literature, Dante’s Inferno, Lucifer’s fall from heaven, Brilliance Audio, A Fall Of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke, BBC Radio dramatization of A Fall Of Moondust, Crisis On Conshelf Ten by Monica Hughes, “best book ever”, The Abyss, Tom Swift, Aquaman vs. The Sub-Mariner, Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, The Prefect, Ray Of Light by Brad Torgeson, “Alien sun mirror block deepwater living daughter Glimmer Club surface discovery.”, the Mars tangent, Phobos and Deimos, John Scalzi, “I liked that he didn’t explain it.”, “we don’t build em that way”, “I want it to be hard”, Phobos interference would be a feature not a bug, “wiggle the thread”, atmospheric density and windspeed, carbon nano-tubes vs. buckminsterfullerene, Roald Dahl, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, horror, The BFG, Jack McDevitt, a waking dream, in the shadow of Vesuvius, the Prime Directive, Doctor Who, Fantasy vs. Science Fiction, Inferno (Doctor Who episode), Sliders, Doorways by George R.R. Martin, Tom Baker.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out Of Time
Adapted from the novella by H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – Approx. 77 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Published: October 27, 2009
Themes: / Horror / Science Fiction / Aliens / Consciousness Swapping /
It their line of faux Old Time Radio shows the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has also adapted the old master’s The Shadow out of Time. After the slightly disappointing At the Mountains of Madness and the great Dunwich Horror we now look the The Shadow Out Of Time – not quite what I would have expected for an audio drama treatment.
As usual you can get the audio both as a download and in the physical CD form, the latter is enhanced with certain goodies. The HPLHS started off as a supplier of props for Lovecraftian role-playing games (both pen-and-paper, and live action). This CD is no exception and so you can find a cutout from the fictitious Arkham Advertiser printed on real newspaper paper, a sealed Marconigram (a telegram), torn pages from a psychological journal detailing the case of Nathaniel Peaslee, and finally a very well made faux facsimile page from the infamous “Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten“. The latter being in absolutely perfect German. Not that you will actually need any of these things but they are fun to look add and just add to the impression that this is a quality product.
But what about the audio?
The story tells of Nathaniel Peaslee, Professor of Political Economics whose mind gets exchanged by an alien entity from the Great Rave of Yith who are time travelers from earth’s distant past. The strange behavior of the entity in his body alienates Peaslee from his family and friends, and he becomes a celebrity patient among psychologists.
When the real Peaslee is being sent back into his body with no memories of his experience he is shocked to find his life in shambles and is soon confronted with nightmarish visions of his life as a captive of the Yithians. Eventually he becomes involved in an archeological dig in Australia that is about to uncover the remnants of the ancient pre-human city along with the Yithian arch-enemies that still dwell there.
Lovecraft’s usual topic, of showing the insignificance of human kind in light of some alien being or race who could eradicate it in the blink of an eye, is emphasized by the fact that even these powerful beings can be overcome by some more powerful than they are.
Let’s face it, you don’t read an individual Lovecraft story for the action or suspense. It’s more the joy of unveiling the cosmology that connects most of his literary works. The Shadow Out Of Time is no exception, if anything it is an even more than typical example. I mean it starts with an alien hijacking a professor of *Political Economics* of all things! (Dear students of Economics, this is nothing personal but you must admit that the discipline does not quite come to mind as the starter for a horror story of cosmic dimensions) A sizable part of the story consists one massive infodump detailing the culture and society of the Great Race of Yith. In it Lovecraft even goes so far as to classify the economic and political system (I can see a pattern evolving) of the Yithians, which he dubs some form of “socialist fascism”. All of this is delivered in the form of a letter to Peaslee’s son and the world at large.
Not an easy thing to turn into an audio drama.
However, the HPLHS managed surprisingly well to create a more dynamic form of presentation. First of all, when the story starts on the ship bringing Peaslee home from Australia the audio drama introduces the ship’s doctor as a counterfoil so that Peaslee can actually tell his story to someone. Peaslee’s research into the lost years of his amnesia during which his hijacker traveled the world in search of arcane knowledge is made more vivid through a conversation with a Swedish librarian, and so are the flashbacks into his incarceration in Earth’s distant past together with fellow prisoners from other ages and places. These diversions from the original story all serve to liven up the dramaturgy without changing the essence of Lovecraft’s Shadow Out Of Time.
As usual, the production and voice acting are great, especially considering that this is not an entirely professional production. The HPLHS are hobbyists who, in spite of the love and attention to detail they pour into their products, have not lost their sense of humour. Thus, The Shadow Out Of Time is the first Lovecraft adaptation to my knowledge which features product placement (Fleurs de Lys anyone?). It is not least this tongue-in-cheek humour that helps to turn an slightly stuffy tale of pre-historical kidnapping with cosmic, nay, titanic dimensions into an enjoyable audio drama. Highly recommended.
Posted by Carsten Schmitt
Galactic Suburbia is a podcast out of Australia that’s hosted by Alisa, Tansy and Alex. They’re three women from Perth, Hobart and Melbourne respectively. Alisa contacted me after hearing my comment, that I’m always looking for new podcasts on SF Signal Podcast Episode 70. She wrote:
I noticed that not very many women podcasts, nor podcasts aimed at or interesting to women, came up in discussion. I thought I might let you know about the Galactic Suburbia Podcast, of which I am a member of the audio team. We are a group of women talking about SF publishing and news, with a feminist lean. I am particularly proud of one of our recent episodes which was a tribute to the late Joanna Russ [episode 36] The Spoilerific Book Club: Joanna Russ
I’m not a fiction writer, don’t have any interest in publishing or the publishing business, but I found some value there. One story in particular in Episode 36, about Samuel R. Delany and his wife Marilyn Hacker (and their pockets) was absolutely masterful. Unlike SFSignal’s podcast, which is short, Galactic Suburbia is a long format discussion podcast, with shows regularly running near the two hour mark.
In their latest show, Episode 38, they talk about SFSignal Mind Meld titled: “What’s The Importance of ‘The Russ Pledge’ For Science Fiction Today?” and Alisa makes the argument that there’s a gender bias at SFSignal. Later, she brings up the specific SFSignal Episode #70, the one I was in, and … well … here’s a clip of both segments (first from SFSignal, then from Galactic Suburbia) back to back |MP3|. Here are the full files for both:
Episodes not in the feeds are available HERE.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis about the Audible Frontiers audiobook Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.
Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s virtual velvet lounge (has a jazz band), Dream Park, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Rudnicki, Scott ranked it 3/5 stars on GoodReads.com, zombies, cargo cult, murder mystery, World Of Warcraft, LARPing, the wikipedia entry for Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, Seventh Victim by Robert Sheckley, Dungeons And Dragons, The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park is much more interesting than DisneyWorld, Niven novels have robotic personal interactions, misogyny, The Mote In God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne |READ OUR REVIEW|, the murder provides a plot, California, holographic technology, H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Griffin, “The South Seas Treasure Game”, cementing relationships through gaming, Zork, “open mailbox”, Infocom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Baldur’s Gate, Tolkien-derived adventure play, the least interesting part of Dungeons & Dragons is the mechanics, too many players (characters), Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game), pen and paper RPGs can be incredibly immersive, consensual hallucination, William Gibson, Community‘s spoof of Dungeons and Dragons, The IT Crowd, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, avoid the “Dunwich Building”, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, RPG mechanics can get in the way of RPG storytelling, reality game shows, The Amazing Race, 1980s Dungeons & Dragons hysteria, Mazes And Monsters, comic book hysteria, video game hysteria, StarCraftas a lifestyle, The Guild, the Afterword of Dream Park is missing from the audiobook, Papua New Guinea, Inuit mythology, Mars, has time been kind to Dream Park?, Audible Frontiers, “this is weakest Larry Niven book I’ve ever read”, The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III by William Dear, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, psychopath, the problem of psychopathy, parental responsibility, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Minority Report, gesture control, the Spruce Goose, The Aviator, Martin Scorsese, WWII, HBO’s The Pacific, World War II in HD, the Battle of Saipan, HBO’s Band Of Brothers, Australia, Chicago, Museum Of Science And Industry, submarines, San Francisco, Get Lamp, Helvetica (a documentary on a font), Futura, Gothic doesn’t look gothic in Helvetica, narrators are like the fonts of audiobooks,
Posted by Jesse Willis