The SFFaudio Podcast #250 – READALONG: Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith

February 3, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #250 – Jesse, Tamahome, J.J. Campanella, and Marissa van Uden discuss Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith.

Talked about on today’s show:
Cordwainer Smith’s first story, Fantasy Book, Frederik Pohl, roughness but with power, space is not for humans, A Game Of Rat And Dragon, a cool cat story, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, a bit romantic with a cat, cyborgs, habermans, cranching, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (aka Cordwainer Smith), was that a Mandarin fingernail?, Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, a specialist in propaganda, the spacers union, On The Waterfront, merchant marine (but super respected), all scanners are habermans but not all habermans are scanners, pork chops have gone extinct, The Instrumentality Of Makind series is set between 2000-8000 A.D. (with Scanners Live In Vain at 6000 A.D.), a rocketry problem, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Call Me Joe, the first post-singularity story, what will it be like when I have Google installed in every part of my body, chest box and instruments, Steve Austin, there’s something symbolic going on, the TV Tropes entry is like a cynical version of the Wikipedia entry, Adam Stone, half-Chinese, somebody from the South, Nazis, anti-Semitic feeling, J.J. Pierce, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, can’t taste, can’t smell, can’t feel, can’t hear, practicing facial expressions, a U.N. of spacers, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, romantic not symbolic, Mr. Spaceship by Philip K. Dick, habermans vs. scanners, the dregs of society, no computers in the future, whatever the instrumentality is, Martel’s wife is very patient, honor, China, eunuchs, samurai means to server, ronin, a very Asian story, Game Of Thrones, respect not money, an alienness of outlook, love, duty, and humanity = I surrender, 20th century Asian history, reading Scanners Live In Vain as an editor, the opening and the ending, a cynical ending, a little injection of Philip K. Dick, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, the graphic novel version, Martel as Edward Snowden, the NSA as the scanners, Fight Club, Alfred Bester, what’s the “the up and out”?, they have Etch A Sketches, the unforgiven, the “great pain of space”, Think Blue, Count Two, sleeper ships, an organic computer, Philip K. Dick’s question was ‘how do I know what’s real?’, “the First Effect”, reading authors, “writing is telepathy” (Stephen King, On Writing), a weird heightened operatic style, a mythical style?, “here’s to the habermans up and out”, a schizoid class, text message style, you don’t want or need an electronic teapot, brown betty, a bot-net in the refrigerator, my tootbrush is communicating with me!, firefly toothbrushes, a useful trap, when the technology enters your body, ice-cream.

Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

September 12, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Kafka on the ShoreKafka on the Shore
By Haruki Murakami; Performed by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 6 August 2013
ISBN: 9780804166553
[UNABRIDGED] – 19 hours, 2 minutes
Excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / cats / helpful librarians  / metaphysical reality / Japan /

Publisher summary:

This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle–yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.

I went on a Murakami reading binge in 2009, and suddenly found myself hitting a wall. What I had started out loving started to overwhelm and suffocate me. I knew I needed a break from him for a while.

I did take a break from the break to read 1Q84, which I really enjoyed. As I listened to the audiobook of this novel, I found myself wishing I’d read this prior to 1Q84. Some of the themes are the same, and I don’t just mean the silly themes like cats and pasta and music, but shifting realities and not being sure about who you are on many levels. They seem more concise in this novel, and I think having this experience first would have made 1Q84 even better.

This past year, Random House has been putting many of Murakami’s works out on audio, so I jumped at the chance to listen to this one as I had not yet read it in print. I enjoyed the audio production immensely. The two narrators bring completely different feelings to the different sections, and the novel shifts back and forth between the narratives of Kafka and Nakata. I enjoyed the haven of the library and the very helpful librarian, but that might have been the only moment of reality in this book.

Murakami always sends me off to listen to music, not just by work but certain performances of a work. I spent several afternoons listening to the Archduke Trio (Beethoven) as performed by the “Million Dollar Trio.” Great stuff.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

The SFFaudio Podcast #217 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #217 – Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, and Marrisa VU talk about audiobook NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s podcast:
Hammer Chillers, Mr. Jim Moon, British audio drama horror anthology, Hammer Films, Janette Winterson, Paul Magrs, Stephen Gallagher, the official physical list, spaceship sci-fi, Honor Harrington, David Weber, Audible.com, Horatio Hornblower in space, broadsides and pirates, gravity propulsion, Steve Gibson, a telepathic treecat, Lois McMaster Bujold, Luke Burrage (The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast), David Drake, S.M. Stirling, 90% of Lois McMaster Bujold’s sales are audiobooks, Sword & Laser, a girl writer, Prisoners Of Gravity, religion, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin isn’t Tolkien deep, secondary world, The Curse Of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, Blackstone Audio, Paladin Of Souls, Miles Vorkosigan, low magic vs. high magic, high fantasy, Westeros world vs. Harry Potter world, the Red Wedding (and the historical inspiration), the guest host relationship, John Scalzi, Redshirts, Agent To The Stars, The Human Division, The Ghost Brigades, Old Man’s War, William Dufris, Wil Wheaton as a narrator (is great at 2x speed), snarky comedic Scalzi stories, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Kirby Heyborne, Fuzzy Nation, Andrew L., Starforce Series, Mark Boyette, military SF, Legend: Area 51 by Bob Meyer, Eric G. Dove, traditional fantasy, epic fantasy, conservative fantasy, elves princes quests, fewer tattoos more swords, Elizabeth Moon, Graphic Audio, truck drivers, comic books, westerns, post-apocalyptic gun porn, Paladin’s Legacy, Limits Of Power, elves, simultaneous release, Vatta’s War, horses in space, The Deed Of Paksenarrion, Red Sonja, non-beach armor, Elizabeth Moon was a marine, sounds pretty hot, Any Other Name, the split-world series, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, The Assassination Of Orange, Terpkristin’s review of The Mongoliad Book 1, The Garden Of Stones by Mark T. Barnes, books are too long!, books are not edited!, cut it down, self-contained books, find the good amongst the long and the series, Oberon’s Dreams by Aaron Pogue, Taming Fire, Oklahoma, urban fantasy, Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig, Adam Christopher, blah blah blah quote quote quote, “Wow I’ve never read anything like this before!, a head like a wrecking-ball, cool artwork, Lovecraft sounds like the book of Jeremiah, Net Galley, a Chuck Wendig children’s book, Under The Empyrean Sky, The Rats In The Walls, “two amorphous idiot flute players”, Old Testament Lovecraft, Emperor Mollusc Vs. The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez, lucky Bryce, Legion by Brandon Sanderson, we have sooo many reviewers!, Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep, Jill Kismet, Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow, Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors, a vampire child, B.V. Larson, The Bone Triangle, Hemlock Grove (the Netflix series), True Blood, Arrested Development, House Of Cards, House Of Lies, The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu, Angry Robot, the Angry Robot Army, a complete list, Peter Kline, in the style of Lost, The Lost Room by Fitz James-O’Brien, Myst, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Joyland by Stephen King, Hard Case Crime, Charles Ardai, HCC-013, Haven, The Colorado Kid, setting not action, mapbacks, Iain M. Banks died, the Culture series, Inversions, Player Of Games, Brick By Brick: How LEGO Rewrote The Rules Of Innovation And Conquered The Global Toy Industry by David Robertson and Bill Breen, Downpour.com, At The Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, Edward Herrmann, Antarctica, Miskatonic University, The Gilmore Girls, M*A*S*H, 30 Rock, The Shambling Guide To New York City by Mur Lafferty, New York, great cover!, Spoken Freely … Going Public in Shorts, Philip K. Dick, Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Turetsky, Xe Sands, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, a time-traveling serial killer, Chicago, Jenny’s Reading Envy blog, fantasy character names, Ringworld by Larry Niven, Louis Wu, The Shift Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey, The Wool Series (aka The Silo Series) by Hugh Howey, a zombie plague of Hugh Howey readers, why is there no audiobook for Fair Coin by E.C. Myers?, The Monkey’s Paw, YA, Check Wendig on YA, what is a “fair coin“, rifling through baggage, dos-à-dos, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Odd And The Frost Giants, The Wolves In The Walls, Audible’s free Neil Gaiman story, Cold Colors, Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar, Audible download history and Amazon’s Kindle 1984, the world is Big Brother these days, George Orwell, dystopia, BLOPE: A Story Of Segregation, Plastic Surgery, And Religion Gone Wrong By Sean Benham, The Hunger Games, Philip K. Dick, The Man In The High Castle, alternate history, Antiagon Fire by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., William Dufris, what podcasts are you listening to?, Sword & Laser, Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Sword & Laser‘s interview with Lois McMaster Bujold, ex-Geek & Sundry, Kim Stanley Robinson, KCRW Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy, Writing Excuses, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, the Savage Lovecast, WTF with Mark Maron, depressed but optimistic, Maron, Point Of Inquiry, Daniel Dennet, Neil deGrasse Tyson, S.T. Joshi, how do you become a Think Tank, a weird civil society thing, Star Ship Sofa’s SofaCON, Peter Watts, Protecting Project Pulp, Tales To Terrify, Crime City Central, the District Of Wonders network, Larry Santoro, Fred Himebaugh (@Fredosphere),

Stan
Beyond the valleys, green and grand,
Peek the frightened eyes of the weak colossal Stan,
the giant boy of infant lands.

Stan grasps with Herculean hands the pinnacle peaks,
Clutching feebly with avalanche force.
It’s azure bulky hides his enormous and titanic hulk
From the frightening lights of the big small city.

Stan’s fantastic feet,
Like ocean liners parked in port.
His colossal thighs,
Like thunderous engines resting silently for a storm to come.
His tremendous teeth like hoary skyscrapers shaking in an earthquake,
like a heavenly metropolis quivering beneath a troubled brow,
above a wet Red Sea of silent tongue.

Stan, insecure in his cyclopean mass,
Feels fear for his future beyond the warm chill range of the bowl-like hills
That house his home and heart.

Stan fears a fall filled with
Judging eyes,
Whispered words,
Of mockery and shame.

How could city slick students stand Stan’s pine scented skin?
His dew dropped pits dripping down in rivulets turned to rivers!
And what does a giant know of school and scholarship?
What can mere tests, of paper and pen, say
For the poor and friendless figure who quakes and sighs
Behind the too small mountain looming high over
A big small city to which young Stan has never been?

SFSqueeCast, vague positivity, Charles Tan, SFFaudio could use more positivity, Hypnobobs, Batman, weird fiction, Peter Cushing, The Gorgon, Christopher Lee.

Stephen King's Joyland - Mapback

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

June 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

Hannes Bok illustration for The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

Hannes Bok illustration for The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

First published in Tryout, November 1920, The Cats Of Ulthar is an unusual tale by H.P. Lovecraft. It reads more like an old fashioned fairy tale than any other I’ve read. The story features a young boy named Menes who loves cats. Lovecraft probably took that name from the writings of a Greek historian named Diodorus Siculus who related a tale of a legendary Egyptian pharaoh named Menes that he heard from some crocodile-god priests. Menes it was said fled from his own dogs, who attacked him, while hinting. His escape was assisted by a crocodile. But no dogs or crocodiles are mentioned in The Cats Of Ulthar.

LibriVoxThe Cats Of Ulthar
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by James Pontolillo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 9 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 19, 2008
|ETEXT|
First published in Tryout, November 1920.

And here’s a |PDF| made from the publication in Fantastic Novels, January 1951.

Posted by Jesse Willis

1979 Philip K. Dick interview with Charles Platt (Santa Ana, California)

November 15, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

This essential interview with Philip K. Dick, conducted by Charles Platt and recorded in 1979 in Santa Ana, California, is sure to be immensely important for Dick scholars. It was recorded for Platt’s book Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction.

Here’s the video converted back to audio, |MP3| and although it isn’t huffduffable, it is downloadable.

Notes:
-Dick was “plenty peculiar” because he read books
-he wasn’t gay despite his hanging around with gay friends
-Quakers were about the only group in the world Dick didn’t have some sort of grievance against
-Dick claims to have been kicked out of university for failing mandatory ROTC training
-Dick read The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt and found in it great inspiration for his ideas about the perception of reality and reality itself
-Dick perceived his high school geometry teacher as a mechanism
Roog and other “interior projection stories”
-Dick’s fiction can be incomprehensible if you do not accept his premise (namely that “each of us lives in a unique world.”)
Martian Time Slip.
-When Dick went to a psychotherapist he was told he was an alcoholic (despite his being a teetotaler)
-“attack therapy”
-totalitarian communities
-why Dick writes about anti-heroes
-paranoia
-“I am inevitably persuaded by every argument that is brought to bare”
-private worlds
The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch
Time Out Of Joint
-artificial memories / false memories
-the influence of drugs on Dick’s writing was only in the output (using amphetamines he was completing 60 finished pages per day)
-Dick’s one real acid trip
A Scanner Darkly
-cats and cat curiosity
-Carl Jung and “the collective unconscious”
-John Belushi (on Saturday Night Live)
-WWI and the battle of The Marne
-Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky
-WWI and the battle of The Marne
-Dick’s father fought in WWI (in the 5th Marines) and told Philip the stories about it
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
-“the god of this world is evil”
Maze Of Death
Ubik
Eye In The Sky
-WWII
-something is terrible is wrong (when everyone cheers a burning man)
-empathy for animals (human and rodent)
-the killing of a rat (haunted Dick)
-Buddha
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
-lambs and sheep
Valis (his then latest novel)
-standing on the shoulders of giants
-disorder (evil) -> order (benign)
-Dick claims to have been eccentric but not insane
-“it fired my agent, it fired my publisher” (it being the spirit that was possessing him)
-Dick’s letter to the Roman Catholic Church (about the miracle that occurred)
-conspiracies
-the Cumaean Sibyl informed Dick that the American Republic is in danger of turning into the American Empire (in 1974)
-PKD on censorship (he’s against it, unless you aren’t)
-the War Of The Spanish Lowlands
-Congressman Charles E. Wiggins got letters from Dick (written while he was possessed by the spirit of the Cumaean Sibyl)
-the Nixon tape transcripts were forgeries (according to Dick’s Cumaean Sibyl)
-the Paul Williams article in Rolling Stone on Dick
-Dick’s tutelary spirit promised to return Dick to a garden upon his deathbed
Diana
-Norman Spinrad
-“I’m in the Portuguese States Of America”
-a Chinese finger trap
We Can Build You
-Platt: “Do you recognize the possibility that you were talking to yourself?” Dick: “Yes.”
-multiple personalities
-Archimedes principle
Faith Of Our Fathers
-Ursula K. Le Guin thought Dick was crazy
-pre-socratic philosophy

Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction

[via SFSignal.com and youtubemp3.tv]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Instructions by Neil Gaiman

April 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

While the audio portion of this post has been on our NEIL GAIMAN page for some time now…

Speaking in Tongues by Neil GaimanInstructions
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Neil Gaiman
1 |MP3| – [POEM]
Publisher: Last.fm / Dreamhaven Books
Published: February 2008 / 2004
“This is a poem about what to do if you find yourself in a Fairy Tale. It is guaranteed to work. If you find yourself in a Fairy Tale, and, despite following these instructions to the letter, you are eaten by wolves or lost, never to be seen again, the publisher will refund the cost of this CD.”

…the new video version, posted to YouTube by HarperKids, is worth posting too:

and while we’re at it:

[via AudiobookDJ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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