The SFFaudio Podcast #307 – READALONG: The Lord Of The Rings (Book 1 of 6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

March 9, 2015 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #307 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Lord of the Rings Book I (“The Ring Sets Out”) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Talked about on today’s show:
On the comparative merits of the book, movie, and the BBC audio drama; the similarity between the audio drama and the film; Ian Hom as Frodo in the audio drama (elder Bilbo in the film) and Michael Hordern as Gandalf; Rob Inglis’s superb audiobook narration and singing; poetry and singing as a reflection of Tolkien’s mythological influence; Kenneth Morris’s influence on Tolkien; The Silmarillion and the creation of Middle Earth; The Tolkien Professor and Michael Drout as resources for further Tolkien scholarship; Jesse’s first encounter with The Hobbit; the birth of Jesse’s fascination with audiobooks; the depth of Tolkien’s world-building and lack of depth in fantasy successors; Aragorn is unsung hero; on how the audio helped Jenny get a handle on the series; Seth’s regular reading of the novels; Maissa has questions as a new reader; the cliffhanger ending of Book I; on the making of the rings; the ring as an analogy to modern technological addiction; Steve Jobs as Sauron; Maissa envisions true palm technology and Jesse envisions a real technological ring; Doctor Who; Socrates, Gyges, and a ring of invisibility, how much agency does the Ring have?; religious subtext; more on the ring’s agency; “more than one power at work”; on how Tolkien had to retcon The Hobbit; Tolkien’s letters and his attention to detail; Frank Herbert’s similar world building process in Dune; on Middle Earth’s historical depth; the cats of Queen Berúthiel; Farmer Maggot vs. the Black Rider; hobbits make the story relatable; Gandalf as rabble-rousing priest and prophet (Moses, Jeremiah); “birthday presents” and the circularity of the tale; “The Conspiracy Unmasked” and the power of friendship; the untold tale of Fredegar Bolger; on the faults of hobbits; parallels with modern military conflicts; economics in the books (or lack thereof); the varieties of goodness and evil; the Prancing Pony has free wi-fi; a time of transition and the Elves’ pilgrimage to the Gray Havens; on Gollum’s possession of the ring; Tom Bombadil as unexplained phenomenon; Jesse wants a Tom Bombadil Bed and Breakfast; on the importance of Frodo’s encounter with the Barrow White; Tolkien could have written weird fiction; Sam’s selfless sacrifices; Tolkien’s impact on our real lives; we are all Butterburs wanting to be Sams; Sam learning his letters; class differences in the Shire, Hobbiton as Downton Abbey; “the road goes ever on”; does Sauron have corporeal existence?; no Harry Potter style set pieces in favor of a much more organic feel; Jesse tells us the definition of scrumping; Tolkien’s descriptions of nature; on Tolkien and fantasy tropes; influence on Dungeons and Dragons; Bombadillo cadence; comparisons with contemporary writing of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories; Tolkien’s preference for allegory over history; the power of words in Tolkien and its parallel with Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea; on the novel’s slow opening; on the film’s simplification of plot and characters, Merry and Pippin in the film are Dumb and Dumber; if Gandalf can make fireworks, why are there no guns in Middle Earth?; for a wizard, Gandalf doesn’t do much magic; (who let the dogs out?); Tolkien and World War I; on Gandalf’s refusal to take the ring; on the etymology of wraith and the origin of the ring wraiths; more on Plato and Socrates’s Ring of Gyges parable; Gollum’s fascination with roots and beginnings; Aragorn’s healing power (foreshadowing!); giving the ring to the wrong person is “like giving a machine gun to a baby”; Saruman twisted by even the idea of the ring; Maissa is a prescient reader.

The Lord Of The Rings - The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien - Illustration by John Howe
The Fellowship Of The Ring - A Part Of The Shire - MAP
MAGNUM - The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings volume 1 (Interplay Productions, 1990)
(Interplay Productions, 1990) - MAP OF THE SHIRE
(Interplay Productions, 1990) - MAP OF ERIADOR

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – READALONG: Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

May 30, 2011 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #110 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis about the Audible Frontiers audiobook Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s virtual velvet lounge (has a jazz band), Dream Park, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Rudnicki, Scott ranked it 3/5 stars on GoodReads.com, zombies, cargo cult, murder mystery, World Of Warcraft, LARPing, the wikipedia entry for Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, Seventh Victim by Robert Sheckley, Dungeons And Dragons, The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park is much more interesting than DisneyWorld, Niven novels have robotic personal interactions, misogyny, The Mote In God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne |READ OUR REVIEW|, the murder provides a plot, California, holographic technology, H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Griffin, “The South Seas Treasure Game”, cementing relationships through gaming, Zork, “open mailbox”, Infocom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Baldur’s Gate, Tolkien-derived adventure play, the least interesting part of Dungeons & Dragons is the mechanics, too many players (characters), Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game), pen and paper RPGs can be incredibly immersive, consensual hallucination, William Gibson, Community‘s spoof of Dungeons and Dragons, The IT Crowd, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, avoid the “Dunwich Building”, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, RPG mechanics can get in the way of RPG storytelling, reality game shows, The Amazing Race, 1980s Dungeons & Dragons hysteria, Mazes And Monsters, comic book hysteria, video game hysteria, StarCraftas a lifestyle, The Guild, the Afterword of Dream Park is missing from the audiobook, Papua New Guinea, Inuit mythology, Mars, has time been kind to Dream Park?, Audible Frontiers, “this is weakest Larry Niven book I’ve ever read”, The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III by William Dear, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, psychopath, the problem of psychopathy, parental responsibility, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Minority Report, gesture control, the Spruce Goose, The Aviator, Martin Scorsese, WWII, HBO’s The Pacific, World War II in HD, the Battle of Saipan, HBO’s Band Of Brothers, Australia, Chicago, Museum Of Science And Industry, submarines, San Francisco, Get Lamp, Helvetica (a documentary on a font), Futura, Gothic doesn’t look gothic in Helvetica, narrators are like the fonts of audiobooks,

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven And Steve Barnes

ACE BOOKS - TPB - Dream Park by Larry Niven

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven - Interior Illustrations

Steve Barnes Signature in DREAM PARK

Dream Park Spine

Posted by Jesse Willis

Hourglass Productions – An Hour With Fritz Leiber: The Author And His Works

March 8, 2011 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

In less than a year William Hart has assembled an amazing blog over on CthulhuWho1.com. It’s mostly about Lovecraftiana, but it strays into other areas too. The way I found it was via Fritz Leiber’s detailed Wikipedia entry. Last listed among the audio files there was this gem. An informative scripted interview recorded and released in 1978…

Hourglass Productions - An Hour With Fritz Leiber

Hourglass Productions - An Hour With Fritz LeiberAn Hour with Fritz Leiber: The Author And His Works
Interviewer Randall Garrett
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour [INTERVIEW]
Publisher: Hourglass Productions
Published: 1978
Source: cthulhuwho1.com
Recorded at the 1978 Fantasy Faire 8 in Pasadena, California in September 1978.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Podcast feed: http://huffduffer.com/tags/an_hour_with_fritz_leiber/rss

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

All I Really Need to Know About Life, I Learned From Dungeons and Dragons

January 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

IgniteOKCPodcaster Chad Henderson (of the ElmoCast) gave this talk entitled “All I Really Need to Know About Life, I Learned From Dungeons and Dragons” at a recent IgniteOKC event. IgniteOKC is a “community-driven networking event that connects people of diverse backgrounds and knowledge through a series of entertaining, rapidfire presentations.” Presenters are given a microphone, 5 minutes, and 20 slides to showcase their presentation. And for those not from OKC, it stands for “Oklahoma City.”

The Presentation:

The Slideshow:

[via BoingBoing.net]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of ENGLISH 3020 Studies In Narrative: Science Fiction & Fantasy

April 18, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science FictionIndependent and Distance Learning – ENGLISH 3020 Studies In Narrative: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Lectures by P.C. Hodgell and Michael Levy
20 MP3 Lectures
LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/Engl3020.htm
Approx 19 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: University Of Minnesota
Published: 2002 (But recorded over several years)
Themes: / Non-Fiction / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror / Time Travel / Gothic Horror / Utopias / Dystopias / Religion / Vampires / Urban Fantasy / High Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Cyberpunk / Messiah / Apocalypse / Future War / Supermen / Robots / Feminism / Computers / Robots / Androids / Cyborgs / Dungeons & Dragons / Aliens /

Pat Hodgell and Mike Levy discuss the details of SF&F’s history in under 20 hours – no mean feat. Though in amongst the broad academic strokes there are many nice discussions listeners should note. These are academic university lectures, and not an entertainment talk show so the evidentiary schema is the primary focus.

The lectures are vaguely sequential to the history of science fiction and fantasy. The first lectures by Levy discusses the origins of Science Fiction, tackling the progenitive triumverate of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, H.G.Wells, and Jules Verne. The second lecture explores the early and mid twentieth century figures in the field: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein. For the third and fourth lectures Fantasy author Pat Hodgell and the course’s instructor presents the origins of modern Fantasy from its roots in gothic novels and romanticism and then the various 19th century fantastic writings.

Levy’s turn on the fifth lecture covers the early Utopian and Dystopian stories with particular attention to the novels We, 1984 and Brave New World. His insightful commentary continues into the sixth lecture and covers post World War II SF with Astounding Vs. Galaxy Science Fiction Magazines, and the novels Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants, Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano and John Brunner’s Shockwave Rider. For lectures seven and eight Hodgell investigates English Fantasy authors Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Handing off to Levy again for lectures nine and ten covering the general theme of Religion and the specific themes of Messiah and Apocalypse with the novel examples of James Blish’s A Case Of Conscience, Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A Canticle For Leibowitz, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land.

Lecture eleven covers the theme of evolutionary Supermen – homo superior in his early fictional incarnations and where the strange motivation to write about them comes from. Lecture twelve is similar to eleven except its focus is on the manufactured heirs to humanity in the form of Computers, Robots, Androids and Cyborgs. This is also the first lecture to include a guest, SF author William F. Wu! Lectures thirteen and fourteen cover the ever popular Time Travel theme, including Connie Willis’ Firewatch, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man and two of Heinlein’s excellent SF short stories All You Zombies and By His Bootstraps.

Lectures fifteen and sixteen investigate fantasy fiction after Tolkien’s influence covering the various themes of Horror, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery and the influence of the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Among the stories specifically discussed are Fritz Leiber’s Smoke Ghost, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea” novels, Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels and Robert E. Howard’s “Conan” stories. Lectures seventeen and eighteen examine women’s role in science fiction, with the themes of Utopias and Feminism, discussion of the novels Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon and The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, as well as discussion of it’s authors, the likes of Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Triptree Jr. and Octavia Butler.

Lecture nineteen breaks from the lecturing professor mold with Pat Hodgell doing an interview in the home of Minnesota SF author Gordon R. Dickson. He talks about how he writes, where he gets his ideas (from history dontcha know) and about the writing process – and this is a very valuable interview as Dickson is now deceased. Dickson novels discussed include among others Dorsai! and Soldier Ask Not. Pat Hodgell concludes the lecture series with a roundtable discussion with herself, Levy and SF author Elanor Arnason. Together they talk about Cyberpunk, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and the film Blade Runner, the use of Aliens in SF and some final thoughts about where they thing SF and F is going.

The sound quality of these lectures isn’t great. There are many background noises, people whispering, lecturers too close and too far from the mic, Gordon R. Dickson coughs a bit and various other aural annoyances are legion. But, it was recorded at a good level and I don’t think I missed one word that was above a whisper – these are lectures and they are free so don’t complain! The funny thing is after hearing these lectures I feel a very strange urge… to learn more about Minnesota. I’ve never had that urge before but Pat Hodgell and Mike Levy manage to include so many Minnesota references and connections into their lectures they sold me on the whole ‘10,000 Lakes to Explore’ deal! Hmmm, maybe these lectures are being given away for free because their underwritten by the Minnesota Tourism Bureau? In any case I heartily recommend you give one or some of these lectures a try they are good listening and good edjamacation.

Here’s a breakdown of the lectures::

Lecture 1 – 29 Minutes 6 Seconds – SF FOUNDATIONS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_1A.MP3)

Lecture 2 – 27 Minutes 8 Seconds – SF FOUNDATIONS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_1B.MP3)

Lecture 3 – 26 Minutes 46 Seconds – FANTASY
FOUNDATIONS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_2A.MP3)

Lecture 4 – 27 Minutes 10 Seconds – FANTASY
FOUNDATIONS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_2B.MP3)

Lecture 5 – 26 Minutes 7 Seconds – THE FUTURE
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_3A.MP3)

Lecture 6 – 26 Minutes 3 Seconds- THE FUTURE
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_3B.MP3)

Lecture 7 – 28 Minutes 2 Seconds- HOBBITS AND INKLINGS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_4A.MP3)

Lecture 8 – 27 Minutes 9 Seconds- HOBBITS AND INKLINGS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_4B.MP3)

Lecture 9 – 27 Minutes 18 Seconds- SCIENCE FICTION AND
RELIGION
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_5A.MP3)

Lecture 10 – 26 Minutes 57Seconds – SCIENCE FICTION
AND RELIGION
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_5B.MP3)

Lecture 11 – 27 Minutes 18 Seconds – SUPERMEN
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_6A.MP3)

Lecture 12 – 28 Minutes 11Seconds – ROBOTS, ANDROIDS
AND CYBORGS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_6B.MP3)

Lecture 13 – 26 Minutes 7 Seconds- TIME TRAVEL
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_7A.MP3)

Lecture 14 – 27 Minutes 11 Seconds – TIME TRAVEL
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_7B.MP3)

Lecture 15 – 28 Minutes 2 Seconds – MODERN FANTASY AND
HORROR
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_8A.MP3)

Lecture 16 – 43 Minutes 47 Seconds – MODERN FANTASY
AFTER TOLKIEN
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_8B.MP3)

Lecture 17 – 27 Minutes 30 Seconds -WOMEN IN SCIENCE
FICTION
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_9A.MP3)

Lecture 18 – 27 Minutes 57 Seconds -WOMEN IN SCIENCE
FICTION
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_9B.MP3)

Lecture 19 – 44 Minutes 16 Seconds – AN INTERVIEW WITH
GORDON R. DICKSON
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_10A.MP3)

Lecture 20 – 43 Minutes 46 Seconds – CYBERPUNK AND
ALIENS
(LINK: http://lrc.lib.umn.edu/dai/P131_10B.MP3)

Posted by Jesse Willis

Here’s an interesting audio story from NPR’s Morni…

August 20, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s an interesting audio story from NPR’s Morning Edition entitled: Dungeons and Dragons Turns 30.

This Thursday night in Indianapolis, fans of role-playing and war games will gather for the annual GenCon convention. And this year, they’ll be marking the 30th anniversary of the most popular game in the genre’s history — Dungeons and Dragons, known by its fans by the shorthand “D and D.”

In the modern era of virtual reality, NPR’s Rick Karr reports that the original, unplugged version of the game remains popular and has proved a key influence on the next generation of video games.

Click here for the whole story, which includes a link to listen to the NPR story and a web extra link to listen to a game of D & D being played.

Posted by Jesse Willis