The SFFaudio Podcast #439 – READALONG: The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

September 18, 2017 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #439 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer discuss the novella entitled The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

Talked about on today’s show:
Serberous?, the novella (not the whole book), maybe an accident maybe on purpose, very-Wolfeian, Orbit 10 edited by Damon Knight, fixup vs. novel?, V.R.T., to fully understand…, you need them all together, error or on purpose, many moons ago, novella is the perfect length for any Science Fiction work, read in publication order, old home week, Ender’s Shadow, Ender’s Game, cheating, the Alzabo Soup podcast, The Book Of The New Sun, condensed and distilled, Jorge Luis Borges <- I like what that guy's doing, I'm going to do me some of that -> George R.R. Martin, reader doing the heavy lifting, A Song Of Ice And Fire, almost a fantasy novel, a cloning story, Jack Vance, far future where science has become magic, the Dying Earth subgenre, no magic going on?, the sentences are full of magic, what does the title mean, is the reader the fifth head?, The Black Gate blog post, this story is a combination lock that allows many different combinations, info-dumping, somebody is a clone or a mirror or a part of his imagination, an unreliable narrator, a really good sign, this is Gene Wolfe’s thing, perfect memory, no memory, a consistent memory, how accurate are the details?, how many characters are there?, number five, is one of the characters is “Gene Wolfe”?, the father, the brother (David), the aunt, the lady in pink, the other clone in the warehouse, the four-armed dude is a character, the robot (Mr Millions), Marsh, the anthropologist, the brothel, how its revealed, he has been in prison, the only complete arc, we must infer the rest of them, the death of the father, Christopher Nolan should direct it, it is a complete work or it will be, clones of the same person, hinkey, hokey, or odd, all the books in the private library were written by his father, going to the Ws, very meta, are you a Nigerian prince? Jesse will believe you (for a minute), he is really old, which body did all the typing and research, daily dissertations, studying particular subjects (to be filled in in the labyrinth), The Library Of Babel, the only thing we know about readers is that they like books, writers are readers too, the ultimate fantasy is the place where all the stories are found, cloning to write, cloning to read, what’s up with the late night interrogations, is he psychoanalyzing?, or studying?, voight-kampff tests, what makes something or someone real?, Infinivox, Robert Reed’s Guest Of Honor, there was no quintessential cloning novel, why she is guest of honour, everybody is immortal, he could be downloading, being able to read three books at the same time, David isn’t one of the clones is he?, he escapes, theory and conjecture, nothing more than personality test?, gaining insight into himself, he’s clearly cloned a lot, “failures”, a slave who looks like him, four arms vs. five heads, societal cloning, impressions, “questionable things”, a brothel, a Frankenstian lab, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Littlefinger and Varos from Game Of Thrones, all sorts of play, what the kid’s doing with the frogs, experimenting with all the different ways of living and making life, mirrors and labyrinths, why he lives in a brothel, financial motivations, slave dealing, endless cycle, the Greek Tragedy elements, unfortunately that’s how the prophecy goes, genes are destiny, escaping the trap and escaping the cycle, A Song Of Ice And Fire, castrated folks, incest, pretty interesting, Nightflyers, Sandkings, that hardness, slavery and murder, colonization, genocide, colonialism, what information can we glean, the plastic replicas of the aboriginal stone tools, pre-stone tool culture, is Veill’s hypothesis correct?, does it matter?, good questions, John Marsh or a version of John Marsh, sending messages in the prison…to who?, the third novella, only identified as numbers, more to unlock, 666 to jump up on the stage, Hell, Hell is a stage, the theatre, the woman guard, what are the different theories on the title?, Maitre, the five clones, the maidenhead (virginity), bars and locked doors, suddenly he’s a mad scientist, the slave market visits, the great grandfather, a ROM?, reliability of information, why who is an abbo is important, robot protector, robot tutor, seemingly no emotions, very Christopher Nolan, if Gene Wolfe is the name of 5, one is a mirror of the other, one is a mirror of Earth and one is a mirror of Hell, one way of writing a story summary, what is the metaphor of the stage?, why is the stage stuff in there?, there’s stuff they want you to see, there’s a bunch going on back stage, a facade, the name of the house, The House Of The Dog, base and primal, a sexual position, what the significance of the stone tools (that are actually plastic), John V. Marsh, the significance is overblown because it is the only thing leftover, the kid then confabulates the culture, is David smarter or wiser?, when our father interviews you what does he call you?, escaping the traps, reading Odysseus, the cyclops, don’t give your name, the intertextual references, H.P. Lovecraft, Vernor Vinge, feeling like fantasy, part of the play, nurture vs. nature, it’s all fate, doomed, a metal prison, we seek self knowledge, why we seek, the little ape, we wish to discover why we fail, another reflection, the mirror world you can’t go to, to step through the looking glass, a myth or a fairy tale, trying to connect with the world of myth and legend, quest, maitre means head, like a head of a hotel, so cool, the theories of what is going to happen in Game Of Thrones, Martin’s plans, “interesting”, what bones were put into the soup, how the meal is going to digest, a very complex set of flavours, the anise, the bacon, mixed beans, a very hearty hearty meal, How To Read Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman:

1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.

2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It’s tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.

3) Reread. It’s better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.

5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It’s a knife-throwing act, and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes, earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn’t mind. Gene is throwing the knives.

6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.

7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw in the mirror that night.

9) Be willing to learn.

the dogs always stand in, how the red woman and her prophecies play out, king’s blood, a victim of her own witchery, a deep analysis of the opening credits of the Game Of Thrones TV series, it’s not really a map, it’s an inverse orrery, mechanistic movement, behind the scenes, a Dyson’s sphere, when Winterfell falls, a nice metaphor for the creation of a secondary world, Lord Dunsany’s The Wonderful Window, Golden Dragon City, ways of reading, different methods and techniques with which to approach, an interview with Gene Wolfe, the Korean War, once you think you’re smart that’s when they get you, getting killed shows that you’re not smart, I’m a much more literary man, it’s about the love of writing, how ethereal or gossamer Borges stuff is, how it connects to us, it can live without us reading, a story being spun, its the yarn itself, it needs us more than Borges’ stuff does, what would make a failed Gene Story would look like, that’s his brand, Stanisław Lem’s One Human Minute, a cute thought, a professor of 1920s and 1830, a more broad education, the Wikipedia entry for 1908, when you read the Wikipedia entry for 2017 in 100 years…, Durham Stevens, super-deep, The Island Of Doctor Death And Other Stories And Other Stories, he knew exactly what he was doing, a confluence of events, a critical hit, stumbled upon, its not an accident, Faulkner’s The Sound And The Fury, Proust, questions of identity, Sandman, he has always been a really good guy to following the reading of, Douglas Adams, look at this, his essays about Edgar Allan Poe, an even better non-fiction writer than a fiction writer, a book of essays, a mini essay about cities in SimCity 2000, a little Easter Egg, “ruminate”, A View From The Cheap Seats, Philip Reeve, The Hungry Cities Chronicles, The Wind From A Burning Woman (collection) by Greg Bear, this is Lankhmar, Dungeons & Dragons, a city adventure, behind every door is another potential story, a tiny little slice, fully expanded, Fritz Leiber’s not as good as I want him to be, next level stuff, Gene Wolfe never won a Hugo, there’s no justice, you know nothing, Nebulas, who is our best writer?, no official audiobook version, Audible.com, the best of Gene Wolfe on audio is a good idea, a hard no, off the Wolfe subject.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #411 – READALONG: The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick

March 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #411 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, Maissa and Bryan Alexander discuss The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Imagination, Stories Of Science Fiction and Fantasy, July 1955, his most obscure story, a great random story, everything he touches is chromium, the robot, metallic, on the fence, the commute disk, the invisible safety rail, flying carpets, reading the newspaper, he completed the load, beautiful writing,

EARTH TILTED toward six o’clock, the work-day almost over. Commute discs rose in dense swarms and billowed away from the industrial zone toward the surrounding residential rings. Like nocturnal moths, the thick clouds of discs darkened the evening sky. Silent, weightless, they whisked their passengers toward home and waiting families, hot meals and bed.

the ground, Detroit, ashes and cinders, this is the bus guys, Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler, a post apocalyptic story, Butler like Dick had to take the bus a lot, I like philosophy and music, he’s invented the strip mall, the counselor (charlie), do all the other stores have robots in them too?, weird touches, a boy and a girl making love, from the 1950s, he’s a sexual man, on point for everything happening right now, basically conapts, beauty of clunkiness,

Through the thin walls of the bright little dining room came the echoing clink of other families eating, other conversations in progress. The tinny blare of tv sets. The purr of stoves and freezers and air conditioners and wall-heaters.

you can really feel the world, the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, the disgusting beauty of bodies, the bullshit idea, the brother in law,

Across from Walsh his brother-in-law Carl was gulping down a second plateful of steaming food.

and then:

It was true. Walsh gazed unhappily past his son, into the days that lay ahead. He saw himself involved in endless wretched situations like the one today; sometimes it would be Naturalists who attacked him, and other times (like last week) it would be enraged Purists.

being contrary, arguing both sides, the Horney amendment and the Butte petition, having your sweat glands removied, teeth whitened, no balding for you sir, we’re going underground, smaller portions, relating to this story after living in Hollywood, two kinds of people, half want to be dirty and bald and fat, oh no!, the B-Ark from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, something of Socrates dying here, tearing up the get out of jail free card, cold beams, frozen and then reduced to basic mineral elements, thisis the kind of act they freeze you for, millions of cryo-units,

the analyst sat back and gave a low, soundless whistle. “That’s a felony, Don. They’ll freeze you for that; it’s a provision of the new Amendment.”

the robot psychologist, a suitcase called Dr. Smile, A. Lincoln, Simulacrum, horrible and awesome,

“Don,” it called heartily. “Come on in and sit down.”

He entered and wearily seated himself. “I thought maybe I could talk to you, Charley,” he said.

“Sure, Don.” The robot leaned forward to see the clock on its wide mahogany desk. “But, isn’t it dinner time?”

“Yes,” Walsh admitted. “I’m not hungry. Charley, you know what we were talking about last time… you remember what I was saying. You remember what’s been bothering me.”

“Sure, Don.” The robot settled back in its swivel chair, rested its almost-convincing elbows on the desk, and regarded its patient kindly. “How’s it been going, the last couple of days?”

“Not so good. Charley, I’ve go to do something. You can help me; you’re not biased.” He appealed to the quasi-human face of metal and plastic. “You can see this undistorted, Charley. How can I join one of the parties? All their slogans and propaganda, it seems so damn — silly. How the hell can I get excited about clean teeth and underarm odor? People kill each other over these trifles… it doesn’t make sense. There’s going to be suicidal civil war, if that Amendment passes, and I’m supposed to join one side or the other.”

Charley nodded. “I have the picture, Don.”

“Am I supposed to go out and knock some fellow over the head because he does or doesn’t smell? Some man I never saw before? I won’t do it. I refuse. Why can’t they let me alone? Why can’t I have my own opinions? Why do I have to get in on this — insanity?”

The analyst smiled tolerantly. “That’s a little harsh, Don. You’re out of phase with your society, you know. So the cultural climate and mores seem a trifle unconvincing to you. But this is your society; you have to live in it. You can’t withdraw.”

Walsh forced his hands to relax. “Here’s what I think. Any man who wants to smell should be allowed to smell. Any man who doesn’t want to smell should go and get his glands removed. What’s the matter with that?”

“Don, you’re avoiding the issue.” The robot’s voice was calm, dispassionate. “What you’re saying is that neither side is right. And that’s foolish, isn’t it? One side must be right.”

did we not hear this in 2016?, it was the news channels, Hey Don!, an intellectual virgin,

“I have a right to hold my own ideas.”

“No, Don,” the robot answered gently. “They’re not your ideas; you didn’t create them. You can’t turn them on and off when you feel like it. They operate through you… they’re conditionings deposited by your environment. What you believe is a reflection of certain social forces and pressures. In your case the two mutually-exclusive social trends have produced a sort of stalemate. You’re at war with yourself… you can’t decide which side to join because elements of both exist in you.” The robot nodded wisely. “But you’ve got to make a decision. You’ve got to resolve this conflict and act. You can’t remain a spectator… you’ve got to be a participant. Nobody can be a spectator to life… and this is life.”

at his own advice, this is life,

“You mean there’s no other world but this business about sweat and teeth and hair?”

the third option, prescient of his own fiction, that channel didn’t make any sense, wait a second she’s getting paid to say that!, the robot’s umblical, he controlling institutions of society (Fox News and MSNBC), so creepy, a freaky world, on the nose, about any two parties or topics, the life extension program, Chew-Z vs. Can-D, a reaction against consumerism,

“I wish they’d get it over with, once and for all,” Betty complained. “Was it always this way? I don’t remember always hearing about politics when I was a child.”

men uncomfortable in their bodies, the beautiful androids of Marissa’s neighborhood, an alien philosopher pig (Beyond Lies The Wub), flabby, a tuft of the rough hair, a tear rolled down the wub’s cheek and splashed on the floor, you’re fat!,

“They didn’t call it politics, back in those days. The industrialists hammered away at the people to buy and consume. It centered around this hair-sweat-teeth purity; the city people got it and developed an ideology around it.”

Betty set the table and brought in the dishes of food. “You mean the Purist political movement was deliberately started?”

“They didn’t realize what a hold it was getting on them. They didn’t know their children were growing up to take such things as underarm perspiration and white teeth and nice-looking hair as the most important things in the world. Things worth fighting and dying for. Things important enough to kill those who didn’t agree.”

“The Naturalists were country people?”

“People who lived outside the cities and weren’t conditioned by the stimuli.” Walsh shook his head irritably. “Incredible, that one man will kill another over trivialities. All through history men murdering each other over verbal nonsense, meaningless slogans instilled in them by somebody else — who sits back and benefits.”

big-endians and the little-endians, Babylon 5‘s Drazi, Green. Purple!, we all have this, eyebrow threading, every unit, a nail salon, a dental salon, a hair salon, the alcohol store, no bookstores, the dog’s cant smell bad either, waste excretion tubes, still suits Dune by Frank Herbert, Counter-Clock World, hairless future humans, transcending the body, hatred of the body, consciousness uploading, The Quiet American by Graham Greene, eating vitamin paste, so ridiculous, trying to sell this story, this is not a New Yorker story, a satire, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift,

The police spread efficiently into the room. Standing around the immobile Carl, they examined him briefly, then moved away. “No body odor,” the police sergeant disagreed. “No halitosis. Hair thick and well-groomed.” He signalled, and Carl obediently opened his mouth. “Teeth white, totally brushed. Nothing non-acceptable. No, this man is all right.”

WWII, torchlight rallies, 1984, the Anti-Sex League, I’m proud of my smell, untenable, re-education, dying for the right to not care, bound up with belief, “red hair and beer-swollen features”, a plutonium ring, depleted uranium, a sissy kissing purist (turning us all into women), putting on make-up, why? why are we doing this to ourselves, Axe Body Spray, high-heels were invented for men in the 18th century French courts, you’re lucky we’re on the internet, on behalf of society, Code Red, billowing scent clouds, bread and coffee, a fun story to teach to kids, what is the illustration supposed to mean?, is it supposed to be symbolic?, two giant arms, nothing that happens in the story, low stakes, of our reality, mimics so much of what you’re seeing in the media, you lib-tard, you cuck, you’re thallamicly oriented, the animals vs. the lilies, that’s the rhetoric, you call this a peaceful protest, windows smashed, great damage done, Can a robot think for a man?, rejecting the robots advice, not caring, playing within the rules of the society, what people don’t like about Trump, you can’t say it that way, his political incorrectness is what people find offensive, in this story, in our reality, on the purist side, the sound of people chewing, don’t chew in her presence, last thoughts?, Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut, snarky vs. full horror, Vonnegut starts with horror and then goes tricky, a double take, such a funny story, how easy it is to completely brainwash people,

Walsh waved gratefully. “Thanks,” he called up. “I appreciate that.”

“Not at all,” the gray-haired man answered, cheerfully examining a broken tooth. His voice dwindled, as the disc gained altitude. “Always glad to help out a fellow…” The final words came drifting to Walsh’s ears. “… A fellow Purist.”

“I’m not!” Walsh shouted futilely. “I’m not a Purist and I’m not a Naturalist! You hear me?”

a total Dick move, Beyond The Door, do you think it was suicide?, I didn’t mean that…, but nobody heard him,

“I’m not,” Walsh repeated monotonously, as he sat at the dinner table spooning up creamed corn, potatoes, and rib steak.

Philip K. Dick food, what side is the mother on?, you can’t vote, a card carrying boot-stamping member, the left handed party and the right handed party, star-bellied Sneetches, Star Trek, endlessly fighting for all eternity.

The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick - pg. 86

The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick - illustration

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #406 – READALONG: Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick

January 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #406 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Marissa talk about Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
if this book is anything to go by, personal drama, bottom quarter, pre-A Maze Of Death book, protagonist, world dictator, his woman for a girl, an Earth dictator, a real Trump, aliens, prohibition of alcohol, easy access to drugs, a throwback, the ending, Jesse really liked this book, a Philip K. Dick book, a tire re-groover, illegal and immoral, The Man In The High Castle, ersatz carving of reality, fun themes, so emotional, more emotionally interesting, for poignancy, so good at feeling things, such a loser, the age of consent in Canada, everything in this book actually happened, subtle, the wife and son are literary abandoned, the details of the world, the Philip K. Dick fans page, the what is reality is missing, quotidian, debating philosophy, the PKDS issue 19, Frolix 5 9, prolix, frolicking, The Three Body Problem, are you ready for the alien invasion yet?, people have awakened,

Outline for science fiction novel called: OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 5 8

Theme: Earth is invaded by aliens whom the great majority of people welcome.

Locus of action: Earth in 2190

Situation: Within the last century two new types of human beings have arisen as sport-mutations desired and preserved until by 2085 they fill the top levels of business organizations — and, in the planet-wide federal government, all persons who pass the Civil Service tests must be either a New Man or an Unusual.

The New Men possess magnified cerebral cortexes, the so-called Nodes of Rogers. Their I.Q. is twice that of a brilliant Old Man — as the unevolved are called. (Most people are Old Men, so this makes the New Men an elite — along with the Unusuals.)

The Unusuals are mutants who have freak abilities; i.e. all the familiar psionic gifts having to do with reading minds, knowing the future, moving objects at a distance, etc. They, too, can pass the Civil Service tests and obtain G ratings. And hence rule, along with the New Men.

Neither group likes the other very much. In particular, the New Men look down on the Unusuals as being merely odd.

The highest official on Earth is the Council Chairman of the Extraordinary Committee For Public Safety. He, too, must hold a Civil Service rating. This office, over the years, has passed back and forth between New Men and Unusuals. At this moment the council Chairman is an Unusual named Willis Gramm.

In addition one further group exists. An illegal organization by Old Men calling themselves — not Old Men — but Under Men. There is no way they can rule legally, but at least they can fight. But up to now they have done nothing but print tracts and hang up lurid posters in the dead of night.

Their paralysis is understandable; they are waiting for their hope, their saviour. Led by their pro tem spokesman, Eric Cordon, who is in prison, they are standing firm until the day that Thors Provoni returns from the distant star-system which he is visiting. “Provoni will come back with help,” the Under Men say, but, as they wait, the police (the PSS: Public Security Service) get them one by one; the police have successfully infiltrated the ranks of the Under Men and are destroying them from within.

Plot: The novel opens in on Bobby and his father Nick Appleton. Along the crowded sidewalk, at a snail’s pace, they are making — or trying to make — their way to the Federal Bureau of Personnel Standards; there, Bobby (who is twelve) will try to score highly enough on his first Civil Service test to give the Appleton family some hope for the future… since Nick himself has never been able to obtain even a G-one rating, the lowest there is.

coming to you soon Paul, Democrats and Republicans, untermenschen, slidewalk, this is a true story, autism, he’s obsessed with it, he literally has no skills, he’s a super-genius, a brilliant genius and completely unemployable, people look down on him, you write that dreck?, full of pathos, a knife to help me have confidence, we’re going to flunk him, a weird dystopia, a nationalist sounding speech, I showed him, I’m going to show everyone, so timely, “God is dead. They found His carcass in 2019, floating out in space near Alpha [Centauri]”, Towing Jehovah by James K. Morrow, that Philip K. Dick move, that doesn’t prove it was God, we don’t have his wallet, God at the end, a statuette of God, their prophets, this it was it means…, all the possible interpretations, my arm’s broken, shake your head and give him a hug, if someone else wrote this book, not as polished, that Dick sensibility, better than reading a non-Philip K. Dick book from 1970, the New Wave, big novels of the ’70s, the gears of Science Fiction, Lord Of Light by Roger Zelazny, recommending this book, moments, a whole sequence, the turning point of the novel, Philip K. Dick has to go find a new drug dealer, passive vs. active, complimented by a sixteen year-old, boobs, taking her home to the wife and son, she’s an underman, the drug dealers in this book are selling The Communist Manifesto, carve ’em deeper, taking pride in the art of tire re-grooving, a radio, ghetto blasters, the Edward Snowden equivalent, deep down he likes his boss, super-anti-racist, we seen that figure before, share a beer with me, get a new wife, alcohol, Nick Podehl, Trump with psionics, A/B testing, social intelligence, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe by Douglas Adams, the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, the squib (air car), the Morbid Chicken, the Gray Dinosaur, the Purple Sea-cow, is that what literally happened?, give it up dude, 50mph or 70 or 120, autopilot (self-driving car), no sentient machines, an automatic door, the appliances don’t talk in this world, tire retreads, the funny thing about this world, inverted, psychotic violence, the alcoholic version of Reefer Madness, drug taking, a scene in The Man Who Japed, kicking dirt, Hokkaido, 25 year old scotch, a beer, the effects last for so long, books are illegal, people abusing books, a drug scene with tracts, Jack Chick Chick Tracts, anarchists, you haven’t got addicted yet, you care about me as a person?, don’t you ever touch me without my permission, precious, amazing little bits, men just want to take little helpless animals and girls in, lost cats and kittens and girls, she sees you as a money making machine, don’t wreck my machine by drinking, a core of truth, if you depend on someone for your income…, 1960s women, a policewoman with her gender taking away, uniforms, Dick: ‘you can barely see her boobs’, ‘her personality’s changed too!’, Psychology of Clothes, my Jesse uniform, why are you dressed like that?, Richard Dawkins’ socks, unmatched socks, a tyranny of socks, shoes have chirality but socks don’t, under the thumb of big sock, the psychology of appearance, unshaven and unclean, a space alien, have a bath (hints the space alien), Jonah inside the whale, another space saviour, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, laser energy, a Christian allegory, The Day The Earth Stood Still, a man who isn’t a man and his robot Gort, underrated?, expectation, no one talks about it, not terrible, the neat little nod to The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, the premise, malignant vs. friendly aliens, make the new men froclick in the play room, having to live in camps, camps vs. camps, Ild (the eyeless) is the Mike Pence of this world, the “great ear” is the NSA, listening to everybody’s thoughts, “we can put people into camps. relocation camps”, we’re going to use these things for good, prepping for the new dystopia, the fake news radio and television in this book, well known for his crimes against the people, Cordon, commutation, execution, Chelsea Manning’s last minute clemency, Julian Assange stuck in that embassy, 2019, how timely this book is, totally surprising, motives for joining political parties, personal motives, the 1%, fated to be a tire regroover, no social movement, the “new math”, symbolic logic, the elaborate theory is completely wrong, string theory, it’s all coming together, just a little more investment/research money, scammers, that’s what exams are, I can write an exam that only I can pass, way back in history, Diff’rent Strokes, test what you want them to test, IQ tests have gone out of fashion, Philip K. Dick is super smart, a deep thinker, thinking the wrong way, a divergent thinker, Jesse’s job, provincial exams, which of these is more correct, the question was badly formed, double think, Marissa’s editing work, how to interpret, editing is about what figuring out what a reader is taking from a scene, writing narrative non-fiction, do more dialogue, we’re inside the character’s mind, no work for the reader to do makes it long and boring, very subtle, what makes a person think a book is good, a high art for author an editor, pg 165, “that melted his heart”, the Dionysian face, a poem by Yeats, an alliforget sweater, I should just spray myself with paint, was he before Bob Dylan, set 200 years in the future, a Nobel Prize laureate, poetry started with Dylan and has declined since, chamber music, he rolled himself on to her, I’m not a woman, what?!, wow!, it’s statutory rape he told her presently, the end of the world has come, PiSSers, their occifers not officers, to ossify is to turn to bone, the black shirts, keeping the undermen down, witness it he echoed, Central Park, those lines are from his life, he withdrew from her, look Nick, you keep having sex with me and I’ll let you read that poem, you’re hurting me, they’ve been having sex!, surprising sex scenes you didn’t know were sex scenes in Philip K. Dick books, Provoni came from up there, I’m so glad I’m not an American right now, lobotomized, The Cosmic Surgeon From A Distant Star (an alternative title),

I must be gone: there is a grave
Where daffodil and lily wave,
And I would please the hapless faun,
Buried under the sleepy ground,
With mirthful songs before the dawn.
His shouting days with mirth were crowned;
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
Walking ghostly in the dew,
Pierced by my glad singing through,

The Happy Shepherd by William Butler Yeats, very very Greek, Chronos, a gay poem, fawns are male, her grave, the second to last scene, a world with a black sun, asking his autistic son for a drawing, what does this mean?, he’s a prophet, the black shirts, baffling stories, The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick, SS (Schutzstaffel), three saboteurs, the Chelsea Manning sort of character, political prisoners, like an airplane, a snowglobe, a terrible science fiction story, a reducing ray, Dick cannot get the idea of the SS out of his mind, a powerful image, newsreels, chapter 24, a hydrogen truck, he can’t feel his body, is that the light of a police officer shining in my eyes?, he sees her brain, brutal, surprising, sudden, he gives he cop a fake name and then starts running, let me take you to the hospital, you’re not going to arrest me?, the evil behind the throne, a pathetic scene, being kindly treated by a bunch of SS-guys, a brilliant monster that can’t be monstrous anymore, Philip K. Dick is so willing to have his mind changed about things, it’s amazing!, little arcs, I don’t know anybody else who is like that, the car chase, polished writing, a mad driver, drawing from his life, a little longer, only 189 pages, expanded, an Ace paperback, back to the pulp roots, Jesse really liked this book, not a bad Science Fiction story, recommended to Dick fans, unspool his mind, paint your flying car purple, teenagers hanging out, users, abusers, losers, young people looking up to him, why he is that way to this girl, why she is admirable to him, if Philip K. Dick were alive now…, during his lifetime, wow this guy is awesome, most people in his lifetime, in reading all his novels, give one of those great Philip K. Dicky responses, hidden genius, what he gets out of that relationship, that lack of confidence, if you’re married to a famous person, everybody needs a little bit of reassurance now and then, Don Wollheim, oh yeah sure!, appreciated for what he’s doing, and here’s some money, you can see it in his writing, rolling the eyes is the end, you’re amazing!, he needed that, wanting to spend time with him,

Great news. Although I am a little late, I have finished the novel, OUR FRIENDS FROM FROLIX 8, which, as you will recall, I am under contract for (sometime last month it was due). All I need do now is simply type up the final draft; there will be no further revision, that having already been done.

The novel runs longer than my others. They all came out at about 215 typescript pages; this comes out to 268, which I would estimate as between 70,000 and 80,000 words. I hope that the length is satisfactory to you; i.e. the contract called for 70,000, rather than the usual 60,000, so I assumed you wanted a longer novel; hence this length, which was most carefully planned on my part; it didn’t just happen that way.

Not since EYE IN THE SKY have I so much enjoyed working on a novel. Usually I get up at noon; while writing this I got up at seven a.m. and tottered my way to the typewriter, my mind filled with dialog. There is nothing about reality-versus-illusion in it, no hallucinations, etc. I did depart from the latter part of the outline, but the book remains as the outline described it; I think it is fair to say that it is true to the outline.

Please write me and let me know if the length is okay. But I really don’t want to trim it; I would appreciate it very, very much if you let me leave it at its present length. Okay?

and then:

I have been stewing and fretting about completing the final copy of OUR FRIENDS. First, when I began typing the final version, I discovered that I had to change some of the material. Then I came down with Hong Kong flu, with complications. And as the coup de grace, my Olympia typewriter broke down and had to go to the shop for repairs {…} typing 80,000 words on this damn {loaner} thing is next to impossible (it’s a 1941 Royal). I have to have my own machine, and when I get it back I’ll resume the typing of the final draft (which I had gotten well into before the troubles began). I am very sorry and I know the novel is overdue, but the revisions have been made {…}

the only novel he completed in 1969, June 1970, personal troubles, its all in the book, a very long memoir, memoir by way of Science Fiction, no-one writes book like this, taking elements, the crazy cars, the crazy boss, a good book.

Ace Books - Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick

Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Jesse

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #399 – READALONG: The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak

December 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #399 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa discuss The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak

Talked about on today’s show:
1968, Maissa loved it, primed to like it, pastoral themes, little conflict, conversations, lightness, philosophy, Wisconsin, aliens, previous universes, pastoral gonzo, in the hands of another writer, a slow amble chase scene, lots of beer, more steaks for the sabertooth, Jesse’s problem with this book, heavy themes, there’s no buried subtext, a mystery, the book’s over?, this isn’t a novel, geared for subtext, so fluffy, more substantive than candy, swimming through clouds, what is the matter with all of you, sit back and play for a little while, there’s nothing to connect, Waystation has no conflict, the wheelers, the magazine illustrations, comedy figures, the Lovecraftian monsters, R.A. Lafferty, John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, making a challenge, like The Demolished Man, text as a form, spinning my wheels, more is going on in this backstory, time travel, this is like a short Connie Willis novel, a relaxed pace, pub, trolls under the bridge, Clarke’s third law, full of magic, and dragons!, a very heavy word, it’s a metaphor (but it’s not), growing up, no evidence of the dinosaurs, a missing sequel, a big university project, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, no evidence of Jesus, Diogenes (that guy with the lamp), where the hell is Jesus?, lighter than Robert Sheckley, lighter than Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, we’re mid-westerners, the artifact, the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a picture of the 2001 monolith from 1952, the Crystal World, are you sure?, the knowledge is lost, suck it up earthling!, going into Tolkien, a couple of banshees, very Simak, the fall of Man and the rise of Dogs, bittersweet, you’ll love it, go down to the river and have a lick, what’s up with Shakespeare?, comedy relief, the neanderthal, nice little paralleled, Alley Oop, wrong headed, just read the stories and watch the plays, a guy exercising his vital powers in a life affording them scope, read the Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s ghost, really?, isn’t that interesting, something completely obvious at the time (now nearly forgotten), L. Sprague de Camp, Poul Anderson, The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov, Riverworld, that Brendan Fraser movie, unfrozen cave man lawyer, Futurama‘s space chicken, distilling the facts, that’s not what’s going on here, the way that people love this book, unashamedly enjoying it, Maissa’s dog is in The Destiny Of Special Agent Ace Galaksi, goon show style, bizaaro humour, Sylvester, he just wanted your gold, the opposite of the feeling you get when watching Game Of Thrones, it’s just their pet, arguing with the trolls, the ale, a big bucket of bugs, a beer snob, just the right amount of neglect, we’re gonna analyze the crap out of this thing, beautiful scenes, sad, only two left, when its ridiculous I understand it, the novel that got Kim Stanley Robinson into science fiction, it’s going to be City, the Wisconsin countryside in the fall, a talented writer, a whole genre of pastoral Science Fiction (and only one writer who wrote it), really rural Science Fiction, Los Angeles ruralized, Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, southern California, Garrison Keillor, Bradbury is about the suburbs, he’s not about the farms, The Wizard Of Oz is closer to Simak than anything else American, Lovecraft, going full fantasy, we’re forgetting Tolkien, it doesn’t exist, Zenna Henderson, Escape To Witch Mountain, Henderson taught at a Japanese internment camp during WWII, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Doctor Who, technobabble, SCIENCE!, engineering, Smith is the engineering department on Star Trek, Scotty on steroids, it’s nigh impossible!, William Riker’s transporter accident, the two Kirks, the thoughtful Riker and the asshole Riker, misunderstood, funny fake twitter accounts, Riker Googling, the trolls, a bridge to the other world, bits of symbolism here and there, the wrong kind of tires for the wrong kind of track, so much does and doesn’t happen at the same time, nobody is upset, enjoy the fall colours.

GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968
GALAXY, April and June 1968

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #397 – READALONG: Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

November 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #397 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa, talk about Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding April-July 1953, 1954, interviews, an expected book, the flyers, up the slope, how Larry Niven borrowed some of this, Meskalanite co-travelers, nothing this heavy, a hard book to read?, stopping to do math, that’s the game, “the game”, an intellectual exercise, the essay: Whilygig World, starting with the world, we’re in a much more character driven era of Science Fiction, a story will emerge, hard SF is out of fashion, Analog is the torchbearer for hard SF, the field has shifted, the post-Campbell era, Prisoners Of Gravity, a dying Frankenstein, an interview with Hal Clement, Benford and such, a TVO thing, Teddog, somewhere in Toronto, thanks Prisoners Of Gravity, much more like a YouTube show than anything on television at that time, a pretty clever trick, Commander Rick, Rick Green, Enrico Gruen, pirate broadcasts, why aliens are in humanoid form, Daniel Richler, the opposite and appropriate angle, a zany talking head show, trying to change the world through Science Fiction, that’s Kim Stanley Robinson, hey that’s Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, escaping the mundane reality of this show, Rick is the humans looking down on the Earth, the people who don’t understand the shape of their world properly, an elongated sphere, the conquistadors landing on the shore, first contact stories, juiced up in Astounding, what about the “prime directive”?, a 2000-year crash course in science, a pirate!, just to get to this probe, uplift, L. Sprague de Camp’s stories set on Krishna, how to overcome problems, pirates of the galaxy!, our worlds are too hot for them, this is the kind of book you’re reading, a creative commons license before there was such a thing, methane seas, Titan’s methane seas, Saturn, TV Tropes, the first novel set on a world outside the solar system that actually is a planet, exoplanets, first exoplanet discovered during WWII, an exercise in answering that question, rafts instead of one big keel, “worldbuilding”, a great novel with a crappy story, basic, heavy handed, damn man, hat’s off, afraid of things above your head, biology, why intelligence would develop, a minimal ecosystem, physics vignettes, so much against what people are reading science fiction for now, The Fifth Season, wouldn’t it be cool if, forcing it in the other way, showing all the implications, the rules, as early as possible, “I always feel cheated when…”, we get a false picture of Science Fiction because of Astounding, the conventions, the premiere magazing, Horace Gold’s Galaxy, the gold standard, game fiction, Sherlock Holmes fiction, you’re a bad writer if you cheat the reader, almost nobody plays this game, so sexist and racist, even when he does a fantasy novel it’s hard, The Fifth Season, a cost to using a magic system, I’m starting with this crazy premise, Barlenon vs. Dondragmir, not one girl in the book!, what about your sex lives?, a million sailors frozen at the bottom of the sea, at an extreme of hard SF, the window of science fiction, shifted in other ways, a New England Yankee trader, building trade routes, a relatable mindset, Lackland, amazingly human, Star Trek aliens, he made them Hal Clements, looking at the Larry Niven and Hal Clement affect, emotionally oblate, the outer edges, the peak of characterization: “I couldn’t quite nip it.”, quick-witted students, Cortez, the natives should have a lot of their own shit going on, wrapped up in their own problems, a smooth and peaceful first contact, in real life when first contact happens bad things usually happen, it depends on who is coming, the gravity of this mission, the cost, in Chapter 19, the character names, in the pre-negotiations, Tolkien does the same thing (but with language), a richer tapestry, that’s not what this is for, the sequel: Starlight, all the little touches, the Bree is steering itself, how glaciers work, lubrication, steering glaciers, friction, when friction is an important part of a book, Douglas Adams’ game vs. the rules of chess, a good analogy, PhDs, genius, fostering reading activity, comicon, the importance of having ideas at the forefront, racism, intelligence, first contact, Asimov, sitting around talking about his story with Isaac Asimov, “Pancake In The Sky” and “Gravy Planet”, a pleasant evening spent talking materials science, an acquired taste, the great game, prime directives, not all historical first contacts, first contact between the Americans and the Japanese (1792), angry sticks, pre-admiral Perry, genocide in Central and South America, overturning governments, a more modest foreign policy, the history of British Columbia, super-peaceful, residential schools, land theft, first contact need not be terrible, the rock rollers, the spear throwers, never pay tolls again, a benevolent scientific dictator, Star Trek as a medicine for American imperialism, sharing knowledge, Jerry Pournelle’s Empire Of Man series, a daisy chain of influence, Needle, a peaceful alien lifeform that can live inside a human body, Jinx (Larry Niven), World Of Pattavs, Neutron Star, a game of gravity, General Products Hull #1, Beowulf Shaeffer, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, spagettification, Inconstant Moon, a love story about the moon, the reflected light of a nova (or a massive solar flare), it’s only the apocalypse, I’ll lasso the moon for you, an Adam and Eve sort of thing, What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, Kryptonian refugees, Superdog

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

PYRAMID BOOKS - Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #394 – narrator Wayne June

November 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #394 –Jesse talks with the great Wayne June, the narrator of Darkest Dungeon and several H.P. Lovecraft audiobooks. Wayne grew up reading science fiction and has both a love and appreciation for H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

Talked about on today’s show:
he has to be Wayne June, Darkest Dungeon, made in Vancouver, really hard, Chris Bourassa, Tyler Sigman, the script, Stuart Chatwood, PowerupAudio.com, Twitch streaming, stress and post traumatic stress disorder, Dismas, snap out of it, “a mighty blow”, what are you recording?, out of context, YouTube commentary, STURDY SHOVELS!, single player, Wizardry on the Apple II, comics, the sequels to games get better, a community of gamers, a Twitch streamer’s sound-pack, Red Hook Studios, 500 personalized notifications, taking it out of context, worlds of their own, laughing our butts off, a DOTA announcer pack?, professional gaming, millions of dollars in prizes, a groundswell of support for Wayne June, Jesse was a fan of Wayne June fan from the beginning, Jesse made Wayne June the man he is today, a lovecraftian theme, pronouncing all the words, “squamous”ˈskwāməs/, Wayne June grew up on Lovecraft, a lifetime of Lovecraft, it’s better to be non-existent, weltanschauung, you have to feel what the author wants you to feel, Donald Sutherland, great performance advice: don’t lie, live the script, people are going to feel it, Ex Oblivione:

So, happier than I had ever dared hoped to be, I dissolved again into that native infinity of crystal oblivion from which the daemon Life had called me for one brief and desolate hour.

Lovecraft doesn’t give a shit about what other people think of his writing, he’s fully committed, guilty, he’s his own genre, enveloped in a syrup of hopelessness, necessary flourishes, the undisputed master, Edgar Allan Poe, I’m that guy, carrying books of poems around, The Dunwich Horror, the Vermont landscape, ravines of problematic depth?, that’s giving me a problem, subjective vs. objective, here’s the quality of what he thinks it should be judged as, a subjective outline, Lovecraft often has the revelation first achieved through sound, The Thing On The Doorstep, the sound coming before the visualization, Lovecraft is meant to be read aloud, a book of spells, feelings of fear and nausea or dread, The Raven, you can taste a lot of Poe in Lovecraft’s stuff, From Beyond, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, ingesting a story, alliteration and consonance and assonance, so crafted with sound,

And once I walked through a golden valley that led to shadowy groves and ruins, and ended in a mighty wall green with antique vines, and pierced by a little gate of bronze.

Dreamland, there’s even ghouls in there, Ex Oblivione very succinctly outlines Lovecraft’s whole gloomy view of the universe, rewarding re-reading,

Once when the wind was soft and scented I heard the south calling, and sailed endlessly and languorously under strange stars.
Once when the gentle rain fell I glided in a barge down a sunless stream under the earth till I reached another world of purple twilight, iridescent arbours, and undying roses.

The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, too wise to have ever have been born in the waking world, illimitable space, the realm of the forms, he enters into it joyously, incredibly comforting, yeah right!, awww damn, coffee, Thomas Ligotti, consciousness as an accident of evolution (and not a happy accident), Douglas Adams, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, tooth and claw, awareness and self awareness, glooming-up a good gloomy book, Chinatown, its good to hear truth, other people are struggling, taking existential dread and experiencing it fully, putting it into a compartment, naming all the guts, fear can be managed, take it in doses, wrestling with fictional takes on real existential dreads, give it names, True Detective, temperament, there’s nothing truer than great fiction, From Beyond, the unseen world, things flopping through us, a monster story, life as tedium vs scientific revelation, The Hounds Of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long, to the beginning of creation, when you invent the microscope, germ theory, telescopes, Galileo, ultraviolet, microbes, confronting how small we are, the endless boundless vistas of space, best expressed,

I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break down the barriers. I am not joking. Within twenty-four hours that machine near the table will generate waves acting on unrecognised sense-organs that exist in us as atrophied or rudimentary vestiges. Those waves will open up to us many vistas unknown to man, and several unknown to anything we consider organic life. We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation.

not just horror, science fiction as well, Lovecraft is the H.G. Wells of weird fiction, the project to get Wayne June to record every H.P. Lovecraft story, packaged in the Necronomicon, slow treading, at the bottom of this ravine of problematic depth,The Call Of Cthulhu, Frankenstein, bringing our own prejudices, whose argument is this?, The Dunwich Horror is a family tragedy, coming from a dimension where aesthetics are different, Jesus and Mary, he has to break into the library to read a book, biased and racist, Wilbur wanted to learn skillz, transparent attic brother, he wanted to help his disabled brother, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a family reunion, living forever under the sea, fishy eyes, he gets his sealegs, aquatic family values, The Tomb, Jervas Dudley likes walks in the woods, the ancestors, reverting to type, atavism, an “evil” ancestor, coming to terms with what’s in your family tree, goth or emo, who’s he hurting?, such a libertarian, let the living lie with the dead, the ending of Annabelle Lee, sleeping with a corpse, a beautiful beautiful poem about a disgusting activity, he could probably find better ways to spend his time, discernment, eating mushrooms, when we get together for pizza, Wayne June owes Jesse a pizza.


Posted by Jesse Willis

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