The SFFaudio Podcast #400 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick
Talked about on today’s show:
Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, early crystallized, fantasy, science fiction, a great story, which perspective, Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, a weird gnostic sort of thing, religious and gnostic themes, a scary herald, comforting, the one last comfort, first impressions, kind of amazing, so Philip K. Dick, almost Lovecraftian cosmic horror, politics, some of the best parts of his novels, Mr Lovecraft himself, amazing things to say, 1968, under LSD, written on LSD?, the Philip K. Dick fans website, Latin and Aramaic, a grain of salt and a tab of acid, what a good writer PKD is, the cigar keeps going out, how shocking, this is a retelling of 1984, 1984 meets the Doors Of Perception, Big Brother is God, the dystopia he’s living in, watching TV as a part of the job, reverse cultural imperialism, the ancient art of American steer roping, Julia (from 1984), Tanya, secret societies, being roped into a conspiracy against the part, agitprop, a great cynicism, astoundingly interesting, LSD in the water, anti-psychotic snuff, seeing behind the illusion, one of twelve possible realities, 1984 is not our world, modern politics, customized ads and emails, propaganda, you don’t taste it anymore, the desert of the real, stolen from The Matrix, a terrifying reality, have sex and drugs until you die (the moral of the story), there are things worse than I, what could be worse, very Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, topless and bottomless, glowing boobs, a mutant, low on affect, as horrific as anything in H.P. Lovecraft, powerful imagery, a genius all over the map, neo-Platonism, I am everything, I created the party, I created the anti-party, relativism, no objective reality,
It was terrible; it blasted him with its awareness. As it moved it drained the life from each person in turn; it ate the people who had assembled, passed on, ate again, ate more with an endless appetite. It hated; he felt its hate. It loathed; he felt its loathing for everyone present — in fact he shared its loathing. All at once he and everyone else in the big villa were each a twisted slug, and over the fallen slug carcasses the creature savored, lingered, but all the time coming directly toward him — or was that an illusion? If this is a hallucination, Chien thought, it is the worst I have ever had; if it is not, then it is evil reality; it’s an evil thing that kills and injures. He saw the trail of stepped-on, mashed men and women remnants behind it; he saw them trying to reassemble, to operate their crippled bodies; he heard them attempting speech.
what would be seeing?, it’s metaphor, a return to chaos, like meeting a celebrity and falling under their sway, interesting political, reading Hillary [Clinton] emails, seeing behind the curtain, plans and strategies, when on the drug of reality (instead of the public face of it), seeing everything for what it is, Netflix, London Has Fallen, Channel Zero, ruined for generic Hollywood movies, giving speeches while smashing an enemy in the face, since Independence Day, people watching the movie with us, the proxy for the audience, “we authorized it through the G8”, writing is solving problems, the whole of the movie depends on a tiny little linchpin, it’s all about economics, cartoonish, ISIS and the Saudis and the Clintons, destabilize your enemies and reinforce your allies, some people think that Hillary is the more sane response, behind closed doors speech, a public face and a private face, very pragmatic, she dissembles, since the days of the Roman senate, the veils are lifted, fear has infected them, he has revealed the fakeness all around them, he’s so fake he’s genuine, the clanker, the gulper, the climbing tube, the bird, politics and truth-telling, Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, diving into the greatest depression of your existence, consciousness is an accident of evolution, the atheist existential point, in order to survive emotionally, I want to it to go back the way it was, a gelatinous thing with a million eyes,
And then it ceased talking to him; it disjoined itself. But he still saw it; he felt its manifold presence. It was a globe which hung in the room, with fifty thousand eyes, a million eyes — billions: an eye for each living thing as it waited for each thing to fall, and then stepped on the living thing as it lay in a broken state. Because of this it had created the things, and he knew; he understood. What had seemed in the Arabic poem to be death was not death but God; or rather God was death, it was one force, one hunter, one cannibal thing, and it missed again and again but, having all eternity, it could afford to miss. Both poems, he realized; the Dryden one too. The crumbling; that is our world and you are doing it. Warping it to come out that way; bending us.
the window!, THE WINDOW!, don’t fall on my account,
“Don’t fall on my account,” it said. He could not see it because it had moved behind him. But the piece of it on his shoulder — it had begun to look like a human hand. And then it laughed.
“What’s funny?” he demanded, as he teetered on the railing, held back by its pseudo-hand.
“You’re doing my task for me,” it said. “You aren’t waiting; don’t have time to wait? I’ll select you out from among the others; you don’t need to speed the process up.”
shaking hands with Hillary Clinton, politics can distract us from reality, politics as a filter, seeing the world through a different filter, relativism, that’s why Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary tried to redefine what the drug was doing to you, psychedelic, philosophy, natural experiments, giving a blind person sight and having them recognize what they’d previously recognized with their hands, our minds don’t just take in and process information, drugs break the filters of projection, when you see someone smiling and giving you a message on TV, Barack Obama is a master of this, the TPP, the Dakota Access Pipeline, Bill Maher, The Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, RomneyCare is ObamaCare, the Democrats stole the money and positions from the Republicans, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Hillary workers on TV, exploitation plan, George Carlin and the big club, he’s a socialist of course he’s naive, he met a wood-chipper, who will be to blame?, who will be responsible?, arguing about nothing related to any of the issues that anyone cares about, the absolute benefactor, a Caucasian from New Zealand, it’s icky and you don’t want to deal with it,
“Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unselfconscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.”
the argument goes: lalalalalalal, block it out, we’re not just meat-sacks, Doctor Strange, the terror of the multiverse, atheist = asshole, shining a light on an uncomfortable truth, but we’re happy, I could have steak again, chemtrails are something to worry about, the Kardashians, reality and ignoring things, The Congress (2013), an animated reality, they want the delusion, there are multiple deserts, retreat to the Cambrian, getting mopped up with a towel,
That evening in his small but well-appointed condominium apartment he read over the other of the two examination papers, this one by a Marion Culper, and discovered that it, too, dealt with poetry. Obviously this was speciously a poetry class, and he felt ill. It had always run against his grain, the use of poetry — of any art — for social purposes. Anyhow, comfortable in his special spine-straightening, simulated-leather easy chair, he lit a Cuesta Rey Number One English Market immense corona cigar and began to read.
The writer of the paper, Miss Culper, had selected as her text a portion of a poem of John Dryden, the seventeenth-century English poet, final lines from the well-known “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.”
. . . So when the last and dreadful hour
rumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.
Well, that’s a hell of a thing, Chien thought to himself bitingly. Dryden, we’re supposed to believe, anticipated the fall of capitalism? That’s what he meant by the “crumbling pageant”? Christ. He leaned over to take hold of his cigar and found that it had gone out. Groping in his pockets for his Japanese-made lighter, he half rose to his feet.
then a page break,
At a quarter to three in the morning, as he sat sleepless in the living room of his conapt, smoking one Cuesta Rey Astoria after another, a knock sounded at the door.
When he opened it he found himself facing Tanya Lee in her trenchcoat, her face pinched with cold. Her eyes blazed, questioningly.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he said roughly. His cigar had gone out; he relit it. “I’ve been looked at enough,” he said.
“You saw it,” she said.
She seated herself on the arm of the couch and after a time she said, “Want to tell me about it?”
“Go as far from here as possible,” he said. “Go a long way.” And then he remembered: no way was long enough. He remembered reading that too.
the attempts at distraction failing, the title, the legless war veteran, a full novel’s worth of ideas bubbling,
“We can’t win,” he said. “You can’t win; I don’t mean me. I’m not in this; I just wanted to do my job at the Ministry and forget it. Forget the whole damned thing.”
“Is it non-terrestrial?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Is it hostile to us?”
“Yes,” he said. “No. Both. Mostly hostile.”
when he’s on the ledge, his shoulder has begun to bleed, a stigmata, the anti-god that rules the universe, Prince Of Darkness, the god of The Sims player, we’re evil, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, Philip K. Dick gave the manuscript copy of this story to Ray Nelson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the greatest movies ever filmed, They Live! now has added relevance, is it hostile to us?, it’s not one thing, Nietzsche: “God is dead”, Philip K. Dick: “no, They live.”
Posted by Jesse Willis
I posted about this story, as part of a larger LibriVox collection, back in 2009. Then, I described it thusly:
The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile).
I had somehow forgotten about it. But, as I heard someone describe it recently I was reminded of it, tracked it down again, and enjoyed it wholly afresh today.
The Coming Of The Ice deserves to be far better known. Not only is it a really terrific story, but the narration, by Giles Baker, is absolutely outstanding too!
Sam Moskowitz, in his introduction to the 1961 reprint of The Coming Of The Ice wrote the following about it:
One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop-gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication’s contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming Of The Ice, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback’s SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom, in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world’s first truely complete science fiction magazine. The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author’s youth, Coming of
the Ice builds to a climax of considerable power.
Back in 1926 the editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, said this about The Coming Of The Ice:
This powerful and tragic story by the author of “The Man From The Atom” tells of a man who acquired terrestrial immortality – tells of a world many centuries hence – a time when everything is changed. This one man remains as a relic of the 20th century, He is alone with strangely developed human beings, the product of ages of evolution. Climactic changes are taking place. The world begins to grow cold. New York is almost in the Arctic region and Italy is covered with snow all the year around. In spite of their enormous intellectual development, all human beings must perish. Our hero alone can withstand the intense cold. He wanted eternal life – and he got it – eternal life, purely intellectual. What does he do with all his years? And how does he enjoy them?, Read this powerful story.
The Coming Of The Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 4, 2009
“Strange men, these creatures of the hundredth century, men with huge brains and tiny, shriveled bodies, atrophied limbs, and slow, ponderous movements on their little conveyances … it was then that I was forced to produced my tattered old paper, proving my identity and my story.” First published in Amazing Stories, June 1926.
Here are two PDF versions:
[Thanks also to David T. and Carlo!]
Posted by Jesse Willis
Alethia Phrikodes is a long poem by H.P. Lovecraft. The title, by the way, is from Greek, and means “Frightful Truth.”
Following the title there is a short line, in Latin, reading:
“Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omna nihil.”
Omni = all
risus = laughter
pulvis = dust
nihil = nothing
That could be translated to:
“Everything is a laugh and everything is nothing.” or maybe “All is a laugh and all is dust.” or “All laughter is all dust is all nothing.” or “All the laughter and all the dust and all the nothing.”
I found Alethia Phrikodes in the pages of the July 1952 issue of Weird Tales. But, subsequent research shows that it’s actually a segment extracted from an even longer, and much earlier, poem, entitled The Poe-et’s Nightmare (first published in The Vagrant, No. 8, July 1918).
Beyond being really cool Alethia Phrikodes is also, apparently, Lovecraft’s “first enunciation of cosmicism.”*
And so here’s Mr. Jim Moon’s beautiful narration of it |MP3| (12 minutes). To go with it check out this |PDF| which includes the text and the gorgeous art by Jon Arfstrom (from it’s publication in Weird Tales).
Posted by Jesse Willis
*Notes on a manuscript version are available HERE.
The SFFaudio Podcast #212 – Jesse, Mirko and Mr. Jim Moon discuss The Willows by Algernon Blackwood.
Talked about on today’s show:
Algernon Blackwood’s television show, “the ghost man”, the expansion of consciousness, the extension of human personality, ghosts, Saturday Night Story, H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, almost nothing happens, “ghoulish work”, cosmic horror, Mr. Jim Moon outlines of the story, the nameless Swede, travelogue, the Danube, a lonesome expanse, an elemental presence, the rising spirits, the shunned place, the man’s body (or the black otter), “never human in the first place”, overlapping dimensions, The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard, why is it set in Europe?, The Wendigo, Blackwood actually canoed on the Danube, Marcus Aurelius, the Black Forest, Blackwood attended school in the area, hard guys, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, “the soul chilling fury of Nature’s terrible dethroned gods”, the joke becomes unfunny, Romania, Transylvania, “looks fantastic but no-one lives there!”, evidence of human habitation, we have to keep going farther and farther to find the borderlands, their thoughts are manifested, telepathy, With Morning Comes Mistfall by George R.R. Martin, a review of Bright Messenger by Algernon Blackwood from Fantasy & science Fiction, the “Diva”, nature spirits, sprites, fairies, planetary entities, nature’s policemen, WWI, haunted tree?, occult and paranormal writing, occultist jargon, the chain of being, neo-Platonism, intermediary spirits, what did these two dudes do wrong?, sacred groves, druids, devilish places, The Children Of The Stones, the stolid Swede, red Indians, the noble savage, Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla, the drowned peasant, the conical holes, Chupacabra?, alien sampling?, footprints?, fingerprints?, Jaws, the hidden monster, “having rid himself of the morsel”, empty planet, “the sounds a planet must make driving along through space”, J.R.R. Tolkien, Old Man Willow, the Withywindle, the evil trees, Tolkien was familiar with Blackwood, Tom Bombadil is a nature spirit, Goldberry is a river spirit, “he’s got a bloody song for everything”, the Wikipedia entry for willow, the bronze skinned figures, fairy mischief, fairies fuck with you, what’s with the paddles?, a sacrifice, man where was your editor?, you didn’t really do anything wrong but show up, canoeing ghost stories, Voyageurs, a deal with the devil on Christmas Eve, La Chasse-Galerie (aka “The Bewitched Canoe” aka “The Flying Canoe“), Deliverance, leisure travel vs. work travel, the drones, the last gasp of the Grand Tour, Alien vs. Evil Dead, the punishment of the idle, reckless youth, Cabin In The Woods, The Complete Weird Fiction Of Algernon Blackwood, short stories are best enjoyed in short doses.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The video version below only includes the second segment, which is an excerpt from Garrick Hagon’s reading of Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and host Jim Fleming’s talk with S.T. Joshi about Lovecraft’s philosophy of “cosmicism.”
Cosmicism, according to Wikipedia, is the “philosophical position that mankind is an insignificant aspect of a universe at best indifferent and hostile.” Though putting it that way it seems to me that “cosmicism” is not so much a philosophical position as just an informed viewpoint.
And bonus How Big is the Universe? from Minute Physics:
Posted by Jesse Willis
Maureen O’Brien, of the Maria Lectrix podcast, reads the prose poem The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany:
First published in the December 18, 1909 issue of Saturday Review.
Here’s the entire text:
The Raft-Builders by Lord Dunsany
‘All we who write put me in mind of sailors hastily making rafts upon doomed ships.
When we break up under the heavy years and go down into eternity with all that is ours our thoughts like small lost rafts float on awhile upon Oblivion’s sea. They will not carry much over those tides, our names and a phrase or two and little else.
They that write as a trade to please the whim of the day, they are like sailors that work at the rafts only to warm their hands and to distract their thoughts from their certain doom; their rafts go all to pieces before the ship breaks up.
See now Oblivion shimmering all around us, its very tranquility deadlier than tempest. How little all our keels have troubled it. Time in its deeps swims like a monstrous whale; and, like a whale, feeds on the littlest things–small tunes and little unskilled songs of the olden, golden evenings–and anon turneth whale-like to overthrow whole ships.
See now the wreckage of Babylon floating idly, and something there that once was Nineveh; already their kings and queens are in the deeps among the weedy masses of old centuries that hide the sodden bulk of sunken Tyre and make a darkness round Persepolis.
For the rest I dimly see the forms of foundered ships on the sea-floor strewn with crowns.
Our ships were all unseaworthy from the first.
There goes the raft that Homer made for Helen’.
Posted by Jesse Willis