The SFFaudio Podcast #236 – AUDIOBOOK READALONG: The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

October 28, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #236 РThe Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard, read by Paul Boehmer (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Savage Tales Of Solomon Kane). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (60 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Bryan Alexander

Talked about on today’s show:
Second-to-last Solomon Kane story chronologically, “Red Shadows” and “Wings of the Night” close contenders for Solomon Kane stories, the latter featuring harpies from Jason and the Argonauts, history of Solomon’s staff explained in other stories, fetishes (not THAT kind!), joojoo stick, magical weapons, Wandering Star edition illustrated by Gary Gianni, comic book adaptations, vampire-slaying, story uncharacteristically well-plotted including foreshadowing, “plains and hills full of lions” oh my!, lion sleeping habits, “Africa is full of never-explained mysteries” excuses plot holes, prefigures Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld movies, one of few stories to depict ‘nation of vampires’, Kiss of the Vampire (film), Transylvania, homeopathic symbolism, sex sells, ‘Howardian damsel in distress’, voodoo, feminization of the jungle, homoerotic undertones, Howard biography Blood and Thunder by Mark Finn, post-Colonial critique, vampires in fiction oscillate between sexualized and homicidal, Stephen King slams Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight vampires, Nosferatu (relatively unknown at the time of this story’s writing) introduced the idea that sunlight kills vampires, the Devil as source of Kane’s lustful urges, “Howard doesn’t do metaphors very well”, vampire-zombie continuum, Howard as great visual writer, animal characteristics ascribed to Kull and Conan but not Kane, snake imagery (related to serpent in Garden of Eden?), Slave Coast, vultures, nature of the soul, “Rogues in the House” (written in one sitting while Howard had a headache), the dangers of over-interpreting Howard, Howard’s subconscious, early 20th-century magazines preoccupied with race, Cosmpolitan (it was once a literary magazine), race hierarchy, Solomon Kane less racist than Howard himself, racial hierarchy, Berbers, Solomon Kane’s conflicted personality, the New Model Army, Howard’s characters are solitary, Puritans, Kane has a death wish, Kane’s celibacy, significance of Solomon Kane’s name, Ben Jonson satirizes Puritan names (in Bartholomew Fayre), so does Terry Pratchett (in Lords and Ladies, Mormonism, concept of congregation of all believers, English Civil War and its sects, Grendel in Beowulf as descendant of Cain, Sandman comics, Kane is “always on the road”, Matthew Hopkins witchfinder general, wood imagery, we learn what a palaver is, The Dark Tower series, temptation, inquisition, H. P. Lovecraft, cohesion of Howard’s works, history of the English language, George Harrison’s coyright infringement, parallel evolution in fiction, Clark Ashton Smith, Charles Baudelaire, genocide, the importance of a shared reader-author premise, shared cultural values, Hitler, The King in Yellow, Woodrow Wilson was a racist, zombies vs. animals.

The Hills Of The Dead - Illustration by Greg Staples

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead

Solomon Kane's Fetish Staff

Solomon Kane in Africa

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard - illustration by Hugh Rankin from Weird Tales, August 1930

Posted by Seth Wilson

The SFFaudio Podcast #019

January 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #019 – Julie Davis (of the Forgotten Classics, StarShipSofa and Happy Catholic blog) joins us for a potassium filled show.

Talked about on today’s show:
Forgotten Classics, The Hidden Adversary, Agatha Christie, Temptation, David Brin, Recorded Books, Sundiver, Different Seasons, Stephen King, Frank Muller, Daemon, Daniel Suarez, Microsoft Zune’s 30gb brick = DRM, Librivox’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, Craftlit, Craftlit podcast, Another Beowulf & Grendel, Iceland, Greenland, The Fall, Encounters At The End Of The World, Antarctica, Chicago, Dreams With Sharp Teeth coming to DVD, Harlan Ellison, Voices From The Edge, City Of Darkness, Ben Bova, A Wizard Of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin, The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, A good book badly read: IBM And The Holocaust, Edwin Black (have a listen to a sample) |MP3|, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman, Tony Smith from StarShipSofa, the worst news of 2008/2009: Donald Westlake is dead. The Hunter, The Sour Lemon Score, Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr Burglar books, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, Spider Robinson, The Hook, The Ax, Humans, Samuel Holt, Grofield, Lemons Never Lie, Hard Case Crime, Somebody Owes Me Money, The Risk Profession, Tomorrow’s Crimes, Anarchaos, Theodore Bikel, Westlake’s “nephew novels”, Smoke, Ross Thomas, Dick Francis, an incomplete but wonderfully annotated bibliography of Westlake novels, My Own Worst Enemy, Money For Nothing, The Cutie, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Robert Silverberg,

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #017

December 22, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #017 – Brian Murphy of The Silver Key blog joins the podcast and talks to us about his terrific blog, writing habits, and how vikings and rappers are alike.

Talked about on today’s show:
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, Michael D.C. Drout‘s Beowulf, Neil Gaiman‘s Beowulf, religion in fiction, god in fiction, Stephen King, Carrie, The Stand, Desperation, The Regulators, Kate Nelligan, Delores Claiborne, Cujo, The Tommyknockers, On Writing, Duma Key, The Dark Tower, George R.R. Martin, A Song Of Ice And Fire, Roy Dotrice, Pandora Star, Peter F. Hamilton, Audiofile magazine, how being a truck driver is worse than being in prison (without audiobooks), Mini-Masterpieces of Science Fiction edited by Allan Kaster, Fantasy, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, my fantasy fiction rant, “fantasy fiction works best when magic is talked about but rarely seen”, The Cimmerian blog, Mark Finn’s Blood And Thunder, Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Gentlemen Of The Road, Henry Treece, The Viking Trilogy: Viking’s Dawn, The Road To Mikligaard, Viking’s Sunset, Bernard Cornwell, Saxon Stories: The Last Kingdom, Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels, William Gibson, Neuromancer, The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft, Wayne June, horror movie: Session 9.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Beowulf podcast(s)

November 12, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Beowulf Movie PodcastIn multiple artist media like movies and comic books its always been my byword that you should “follow the talent and not the team.” Nobody directs better TV movies than Steven Schachter, actors like Kristen Bell, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi know how to pick good scripts, and writers like Garth Ennis and Donald Westlake are worth following – wherever they go. That said, good visuals don’t hurt good movies…

Beowulf widescreen

Visuals aside, it is the talent behind the script that makes a movie truly memorable. That’s why I’m excited to see that the new animated version of Beowulf is coming to movie theatres November 16th (that’s a still from the trailer above). The script for Beowulf is by Roger Avary (Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction) and Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, American Gods, The Sandman). So whats’ the audio connection? Well, there’s a podcast for the movie including an interview with Gaiman, and Crispin Glover (who plays Grendel) and more folks behind the project:

Subscribe to podcast via this feed:

http://www.beowulfmovie.com/podcast/feeds/beowulf_podcast_feed.xml

And before the movie comes out, we can have a listen to the translation by Francis Gummere…

LibriVox Fantasy Audiobook - BeowulfBeowulf
Translated by Francis Barton Gummere; Read by various readers
8 Zipped MP3s or Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published:
Beowulf, a mysterious young warrior, saves the Spear-Danes from the terrible monster Grendel and his venomous mother.

Subscribe to the podcast feed via this link:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/beowulf.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Rings, Swords, And Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature by Michael D.C. Drout

March 11, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Modern Scholar - Rings, Sword, Monsters Rings, Swords, And Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature
Lectures by Professor Michael D.C. Drout
7 CDs & Book – 7 Hours 51 Minutes [LECTURES]
Publisher: Recorded Books LLC / The Modern Scholar
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1419386956
Themes: / Non-Fiction / Lectures / Fantasy / J.R.R. Tolkien / Middle Earth / Beowulf / Children’s Fantasy / Arthurian Legend / Magic Realism / World Building /

“It used to be that fantasy was a boy’s genre and that was clear even back through the 80s and 90s, that 90% of your audience for fantasy literature, 90% of your audience for Tolkien was male. That is no longer the case. When I give lecturings [sic] at gatherings of Tolkien enthusiasts the crowd is easily 50-50 male female and often times more female than male – though I will have to say that many of the women in the crowd are wearing elf-princess costumes – I’m not really sure what that means.”
-Lecture 13: Arthurian Fantasy (on the ‘Marion Zimmer Bradley effect’)

Most of this lecture series is concerned with Tolkien. Drout explains what influenced Tolkien’s fiction, how his work impacted Fantasy and how later writers reacted to and imitated him. A full five of the 14 lectures are on Tolkien’s books proper, with another four on what influenced him, and who he influenced. The scholarship here is absolutely engrossing, hearing Drout tease out details from names, the structure and the philosophy of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion will delight any Tolkien fan. At one point in Lecture 4 Drout explains the sources for the names of both the 13 dwarves of The Hobbit and Gandalf too. According to Drout, Gandalf was originally named “Bladderthin.” But this isn’t just scholarship here, Drout is very much a critic, a fan of the works he studies. He gives a critical examination of plots, themes and the worlds of each of the Fantasy novels he talks about. Drout dissects Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books, calling them possibly the best Fantasy since Tolkien, on the one hand and also shows what doesn’t quite work in them. Drout, like Tolkien is an scholar of Anglo-Saxon so there is also plenty of talk about Beowulf and the impact it had on Tolkien. In fact, central to many of his arguments is the linguistic background each work of Fantasy makes use of. Tolkien works so well, argues Drout, in part, because it all hangs linguistically together. Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, which Drout thinks immensely prominent in post-Tolkien Fantasy, doesn’t have a cohesive linguistic bedrock, and that hurts the series – which he thinks is otherwise one of the best realized “secondary worlds” created. Whatever it is Drout talks about, he backs up his critical opinion. Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, he’s read them, and has dissected the plots to show how as time has gone by and Brooks has written more, he’s come to have something of his own voice, and not just stayed the pale Tolkien imitator he started as.

The lectures on Tolkien inevitably lead to the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. Drout gives them their due, and shows why some of it works and some of it doesn’t. Arthurian Fantasy, which predates Tolkien, seems to have run a parallel course to “secondary world” fantasy literature. After hearing Lecture 13 you’ll come away with a desire to find a copy of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and Mary Stewart’s Merlin series. My own opinion is that Drout gives too much credit to J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter novels, he talks about her writing for about 8 minutes. In fairness it would probably not be possible to talk about Children’s Fantasy literature without mentioning her popular series. But on the other hand there are many different kinds of Fantasy that Drout doesn’t talk about at all. I wonder why Neil Gaiman isn’t mentioned. What of Robert E. Howard? And why almost no talk about short stories? James Powell’s A Dirge For Clowntown needs some attention! The only solution is for Recorded Books to go back and ask for more from this professor. Call it Gods, Barbarians, and Clowns: Further Explorations Of Fantasy Literature or something. Until then I’ll be working on my Cimmerian-clown costume.

Posted by Jesse Willis