The SFFaudio Podcast #414 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft

March 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #414 – The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse Willis, Paul Weimer, and Mr Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, a joke, W. H. Pugmire, the Lovecraft learning curve, a very short story indeed, the meta-story, beyond our ken, a literary argument, someone from the Great Race Of Yith came back in time, defending his own fiction, playtesting, every paragraph has vocabulary expanding words, resonances between stories, Philip K. Dick, the night, architecture, the numinous, a fake and also legit defense against the arguments marshaled against him, Neil Degrasse Tyson, dark matter, dark energy, a scare story, the orchestration of the vocabulary, the bat, Carter and Manton, the beginning of it, The Unnamable (1988), mercifully short,

It is all in that ancestral diary I found; all the hushed innuendoes and furtive tales of things with a blemished eye seen at windows in the night or in deserted meadows near the woods. Something had caught my ancestor on a dark valley road, leaving him with marks of horns on his chest and of ape-like claws on his back; and when they looked for prints in the trampled dust they found the mixed marks of split hooves and vaguely anthropoid paws. Once a post-rider said he saw an old man chasing and calling to a frightful loping, nameless thing on Meadow Hill in the thinly moonlit hours before dawn, and many believed him.

New England puritanical horror, who it is or what it is, Cotton Mather, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, a hidden murder, Pan, one aspect of the unnameable creature, a faun, a creature of indiscriminate sexuality, pan -> panic, the panisci, the panic of the herd, what are they doing in the hospital, attacked by a bull, a rape story, Archive.org, fs for Ss, the Attic Window, Whispers, The Gable Window by August Derleth, a cruel joke, precipitating the event, Manton’s reaction, ha ha ha I told you so, I whispered an awestruck question, was it like that?, like my memory?, in an earlier age, What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien, an unseen demonic force, The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, a two-fisted investigation, flamethrowers, bones and a skull with horns, noisome frigid air, a piercing shriek, a rifted tomb of man and monster, Carter’s sucker punch, an inverse Scooby Doo ending, a malice, a more charitable reading, spinning up a story with a similar effect, the short film, The Shadow Of The Unnamable (2011), the hint of a German accent, the Germans love Lovecraft, the aspect of the animals, the snails, moths, the bat, experiences with bats, tangled in women’s hair, brushed by a bat at night, what is going on in the original Cotton Mather story?, the goose barnacle, bothering farmyard animals, Ring Of Bright Water, a pet otter, a diving terrier, in the film the unnamable has a name: Elida, the 1988 film, the empty Miskatonic University campus, the under-dressed sets, the blank slate (or slab), tabula rasa, nicely drawn out, The Unnamable II: The Statement Of Randolph Carter, a being from “we best not speculate where”, co-terminus beings, an illegible slab, colossal roots sucking, illegible vs. blank, an olive tree, The House by H.P. Lovecraft, magnifying an aspect, a real house, Fungi From Yuggoth, The Howler by H.P. Lovecraft

They told me not to take the Briggs’ Hill path
That used to be the highroad through to Zoar,
For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four,
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.
Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view
The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope,
I could not think of elms or hempen rope,
But wondered why the house still seemed so new.

Stopping a while to watch the fading day,
I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs,
When through the ivied panes one sunset ray
Struck in, and caught the howler unawares.
I glimpsed—and ran in frenzy from the place,
And from a four-pawed thing with human face.

Lovecraft books become the books, The Weird Writings Of H.P. Lovecraft, spellcasting books,

It had been an eldritch thing—no wonder sensitive students shudder at the Puritan age in Massachusetts. So little is known of what went on beneath the surface—so little, yet such a ghastly festering as it bubbles up putrescently in occasional ghoulish glimpses. The witchcraft terror is a horrible ray of light on what was stewing in men’s crushed brains, but even that is a trifle. There was no beauty; no freedom—we can see that from the architectural and household remains, and the poisonous sermons of the cramped divines. And inside that rusted iron strait-jacket lurked gibbering hideousness, perversion, and diabolism. Here, truly, was the apotheosis of the unnamable.

combining points of view, going back to that 17th century New England horror, The Witch (2016),

Others knew, but did not dare to tell—there is no public hint of why they whispered about the lock on the door to the attic stairs in the house of a childless, broken, embittered old man who had put up a blank slate slab by an avoided grave, although one may trace enough evasive legends to curdle the thinnest blood.

inviting speculation, the image of a person retained in glass, Bob Shaw’s stories about Slow Glass, The Light Of Other Days by Bob Shaw, images imprinted on glass, the motif of photographic lightning, the emotions in physics, The Martians by Ray Bradbury, Oh!, when Paul became an SF fan, legend, the murderer’s eye,

Whether or not such apparitions had ever gored or smothered people to death, as told in uncorroborated traditions, they had produced a strong and consistent impression; and were yet darkly feared by very aged natives, though largely forgotten by the last two generations—perhaps dying for lack of being thought about. Moreover, so far as aesthetic theory was involved, if the psychic emanations of human creatures be grotesque distortions, what coherent representation could express or portray so gibbous and infamous a nebulosity as the spectre of a malign, chaotic perversion, itself a morbid blasphemy against Nature? Moulded by the dead brain of a hybrid nightmare, would not such a vaporous terror constitute in all loathsome truth the exquisitely, the shriekingly unnamable?

The hour must now have grown very late. A singularly noiseless bat brushed by me, and I believe it touched Manton also, for although I could not see him I felt him raise his arm. Presently he spoke.
“But is that house with the attic window still standing and deserted?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I have seen it.”

the skull, the telling of the tale is the summoning of the creature, if only…, Arkham Asylum, rough sex or something, thinking about Elida, why is she so white?, justification, home invaders, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Leatherface takes a moment, backstory, bringing dignity to the situation, get off my tomb!, 6 pages of high level vocab words, the meta-aspect, lazy critical opinions, a linguistic trap, Lovecraft’s riposte to his critics, rumor, imagination, illusion, what effect does it have upon us?, the real horror, what does that do to a man?, Boston, the delicate overtones of life, what are they?, silly milksops, having it both ways, there’s no California gothic, what Algernon Blackwood can do with the wilderness, the power of nature vs. the power of an old building or a graveyard, The Wendigo, a reverence for that witch is unnamed, afflicted by a being, how could Lovecraft exist in a place like California?, had Lovecraft been to Florida by 1925, C.M. Eddy, The Loved Dead, withdrawn from Indiana, Farnsworth Wright, Kissed (1996), a very tasteful and very repellent film, “love knows no bounds”, a take that, Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft, In Defense Of Dagon, an old argument, every day things transcribed, a proper film about Albanian engineers, give us some awards, Tropic Thunder (2008), never go full retard, skewering truth, gameas that people play, pretending to have seen movies or read books, the guilty pleasure, don’t listen to the milksops (whatever they are), Philip K. Dick wanted to write realistic fiction, Lovecraft never dabbled in trying to be respectable, intertextual obssession, a library and a graveyard and a grove, F. Scott Fitzgerald, all the problems that the people at the Great Gatsby party have, facing the nature of the universe, keep the fright away, the beauty and terror of the universe, daytime is for writing letters, petting cats, and eating ice-cream, dreams, attacking F. Scott Fitzgerald, great writing, rushingly boundlessly toward, as an even more concrete opposite: Upton Sinclair and Theodore Dreiser, grinding detail, social documents but not fun to read.

Magnalia Christia Americana Book VI page 35 by Cotton Mather
PROVIDENCE - The Unnamable
The Unnamable scene in Providence, issue 8

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

August 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Recently arrived, and currently being soaked in through my skin and ears, is this giant collection of weird fiction. Assembled from a list of stories found in H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, it is a collection of well known and obscure classics by authors that H.P. Lovecraft loved.

Looking at the table of contents I noted that I’d already read several of the stories in this collection – including The Turn Of The Screw (we did a podcast about that one), the engimatic Christmas horror Markheim, the scientific ghost tale What Was It?, the unutterably creepy and horrific The Voice In The Night very recently, and many years ago, perhaps in high school, The Yellow Wallpaper. But even though I’ve read some of these stories already I’m still very excited. Each of the stories seems to be preceded by some relevant words by Lovecraft himself – and at the very least I will be listening to the mini-introductions to those stories I am well familiar with.

Until then I will content myself in listening to the unknown ones. For example, the frightful first person narrative of Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant is thrilling and wondering me in the exact same way The Horla almost exactly one year ago. It’s wonderful!

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – Approx. 16 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

Here’s the table of contents:
Introduction by editor Stephen Jones – Approx. 7 Minutes
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving – Approx. 14 Minutes
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson – Approx. 49 Minutes
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian – Approx. 41 Minutes
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam – Approx. 15 Minutes
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe – Approx. 29 Minutes
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce – Approx. 24 Minutes
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James – Approx. 4 Hours 52 Minutes
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford – Approx. 57 Minutes
The Wind In The Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman – Approx. 38 Minutes
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Approx. 36 Minutes
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling – Approx. 30 Minutes
The Hands Of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Burial Of The Rats by Bram Stoker – Approx. 1 Hour 7 Minutes
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield – Approx. 35 Minutes
The Captain Of The Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Approx. 1 Hour 6 Minutes
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair – Approx. 28 Minutes
The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson – Approx. 36 Minutes
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen – Approx. 48 Minutes

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural

August 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

The audio sample says it includes “20 classics of the macabre.” I’ll try to get a list.

Here’s the TOC:

an introduction by editor Stephen Jones
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford
The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling
The Hands of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn
The Burial of the Rats by Bram Stoker
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield
The Captain of the Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair
The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen

[Thanks Amy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #173 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London

August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #173 – A Thousand Deaths by Jack London, read by Julie Hoverson (of 19 Nocturne Boulevard). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (29 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, Julie Hoverson, and Matthew Sanborn Smith

Talked about on today’s show:
Jack London’s first professional sale, “the hirsute fruit”, the LibriVox version, is the protagonist supposed to be female?, “I don’t know what’s real”, a disintegrated Saint Bernard, a Freudian story, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, vivisection on a South Pacific Island, a mad scientist, oedipal literature, London’s own life, H.P. Lovecraft, re-animation, archaic language, Frankenstein, a well educated sailor with an interest in science, obliquely obtuse, The Call Of The Wild, peregrinating, “overly smarty-pantsy”, is it all a dream?, a conscious death, horror, drowned sailors owe their revivers, Poultrygeist, the catalyst event, “an amoral scumbag”, Phineas Gage, blowing smoke up the near drowned, the disintegration door, Doctor Manhattan, Fallout: New Vegas, the disintegration ray, dis-integrate, anti-gravity, electrolysis, synthetic clothing, “animal charcoal”, The Shadow And The Flash is Jack London’s take on The Invisible Man, not just dogs and boats, London’s Polynesian stories, sink the Farallones, San Francisco, suspended animation, chest tampering, death vs. approaching death, drowning vs. poisoning, exploring the boundaries of death, Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, zombies, coffin bells, meteor insurance, “I brought you in [to this world] and I can take you back out”, Bill Cosby, Jack London’s writing voice, action³, verb heavy vibrancy, a raging socialist, is it interesting or is it good?, lockjaw, psychological damage, the ending is ambiguous, a dilettante and a wastrel, do deaths mature you?, an inversion of the prodigal son, what would Eric S. Rabkin say about this story?, time travel, early Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe -> Fitz-James O’Brien -> Lord Dunsany -> William Hope Hodgson -> Ambrose Bierce, “gonzo”, “where do your ideas come from?”, There’s a Crapp For That, picturemypoo.com, eww, Flatliners, spiritualism vs. materialism, ghosts, patents, olympics, Julie Hoverson’s copyright, patent and trademarks podcast?, shotgun shelled powered battering ram, Julie Hoverson is incredibly busy, thanks Julie!, Jonathan Davis, “don’t surprise the actors”,

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien

May 2, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’ve posted about this story before. It’s worth posting about again and again. What’s new now is this reading, which is PUBLIC DOMAIN, and therefore extremely handy. Included also, for the first time, is some really stunning art!

I’ve also added a PDF, for handy printing!

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien

"In Five Minutes We Had A Plaster Mold Of The Creature"

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien - illustration from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1949

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien - from A Stable For Nightmares, 1896

LibriVoxWhat Was It?
By Fitz-James O’Brien; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 2006
|ETEXT|
One of the earliest known examples of invisibility in fiction is What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – He’s been called “the most important figure after Poe and before Lovecraft” and this story serves as a kind of a bridge between the supernatural and the scientific, between the likes of de Maupassant’s The Horla and Wells’ The Invisible Man.
First published in Harper’s Magazine, March 1859.

Here’s a |PDF| complied from the Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1949 publication.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Maria Lectrix: The Pot Of Tulips by Fitz James O’Brien

November 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Sez Maureen O’Brien: “This ghost story is pretty fun. Lost treasure! A wronged heiress! Communication from beyond the grave!”

Sez Bibliophilia Obscura:

“The purely supernatural has its place in O’Brien’s stories as well. The Pot of Tulips effectively retells a story, as old as antiquity, of a miser who in death reveals through signs and symbols the location of his hidden fortune.

O’Brien writes most of the stories in the persona, apparently well know to him, of the comfortable bachelor, ensconced in his cozy lodgings, be it a haunted boarding house or a decaying Dutch mansion in upper Manhattan. Late evenings with cigar or opium, discussing supernatural possibilities with companions set a cozy tone, which will be upended by a shift of reality as objects of speculation become all too real. It would be wrong to judge O’Brien’s themes as hoary simply because we have encountered them in more well known authors who followed him down these speculative paths. Taken as exemplars of early nineteenth-century speculative fiction, these stories are still worth a read on a chill winter’s night.”

The Pot Of Tulips by Ftiz James O'BrienThe Pot Of Tulips
By Fitz James O’Brien; Read by Maureen O’Brien
1 |MP3| – Approx. 48 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Maria Lectrix
Podcast: October 30, 2005
Source: Archive.org
A lost treasure, a lady in distress, and a message from beyond the grave! This 1855 story is an earlier appearance of Harry Escott from “What Was It? — A Mystery“, and features the same entertaining mixture of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. First published in Harper’s, Nov. 1855.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Next Page »