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

Review of The Folklore of Discworld

September 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Folklore of DiscworldThe Folklore of Discworld: Legends, Myths, and Customs from the Discworld with Helpful Hints from Planet Earth
By Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson; Narrated by Michael Fenton Stevens
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: March 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 12 hours, 59 minutes

Themes: / folklore / discworld / fantasy /

Publisher summary:

Most of us grew up having always known when to touch wood or cross our fingers, and what happens when a princess kisses a frog or a boy pulls a sword from a stone, yet sadly some of these things are beginning to be forgotten. Legends, myths, and fairy tales: Our world is made up of the stories we told ourselves about where we came from and how we got here. It is the same on Discworld, except that beings, which on Earth are creatures of the imagination – like vampires, trolls, witches and, possibly, gods – are real, alive and, in some cases kicking, on the Disc.

In The Folklore of Discworld, Terry Pratchett teams up with leading British folklorist Jacqueline Simpson to take an irreverent yet illuminating look at the living myths and folklore that are reflected, celebrated and affectionately libelled in the uniquely imaginative universe of Discworld.

The Folklore of Discworld is as capricious and lovely a reference book for the Discworld series as the Discworld itself. It seems to drift between our world and the Discworld with a strangely organic ease, and, given the breadth and depth it covers, doesn’t assault the listener with too much. Instead it reads like any of the other books in the Discworld series, with light, comforting reassurances to the reader that everything is just exactly where it needs to be.”

Posted by Trant Thumble.

The SFFaudio Podcast #122 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick

August 22, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #122 – a complete and unabridged reading of Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, followed by a discussion of it with Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Gregg Margarite (who narrated the story).

Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond The Door is a story about a very angry bird, is it a puff-piece or a potboiler?, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, “My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.”, Living Doll, Telly Savalas, Clown Without Pity (from Treehouse of Horror III), Night Gallery, Chucky, were clowns always scary?, automaton, fantasy, is it a haunted cuckoo clock?, what does that mean?, why is that in there?, who is Pete?, Pete has to be her dead brother, did Pete die in the same way?, the Black Forest, what’s wrong with this woman?, “it was written in the fifties!”, she’s happy and she’s sad, Umberto Eco and the role of the reader, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Eric S. Rabkin, Warehouse 13, is the first line a moral lesson (or merely a magazine call out)?, Project Gutenberg’s etext edition of Beyond The Door, Fantastic Universe Science Fiction, this story is not about a cuckoo clock, it’s about the cuckoo bird and the cuckoo egg, and the egg’s name is Pete, Perky Pat, Gregg has read Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, James Joyce, what am I thinking?, what am I feeling?, “keep thinking about that”, “it’s wholesale baby”, this is sex, Bob is her lover (in the 1950s sense), anthropomorphizing cuckoo clock’s bird is not that uncommon, “you’ll love it Bobby”, this is a really strange clock, it would keep you up all night, the cuckoo clock fad (they were ubiquitous), “like a new member of the family”, what is the symbol of?, the cuckoo is a brood parasite, the characteristics of cuckoo eggs and chicks, “some important special accounts” sounds like a story, “how nice you look today”, “Mrs. Peters across the street you know…”, “oh oh oh”, Pete was only her half brother, “it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you need 5,000 words by ten a.m.”, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Dick’s many marriages, Tessa Dick, structuralism vs. post structuralism, writer’s intent vs. the text standing alone, does the author’s intent matter?, a bastard child, “she’s seen this thing in action before”, the great depression -> WWII -> many impulsive marriages, Bob isn’t gay, “no guy is interested in buttons!”, “does he realize he is next in line?”, “monogamy is designed to makes sure the male gets a genetic heir”, the cuckoo is her champion, “I like a good deal”, “he’s rude, he doesn’t deserve to die”, there’s no magic, no science fiction, folklore, mythology, proto-story, Scott read Beyond The Door aloud to his daughter, James Thurber’s The Princess And The Tin Box, Anthony Boucher, three or four princes, reverse-dowry, “red charger” vs. plow horse, mica and hornblende, she’s not an idiot, anyone who thought she was going to…, this is an overturning of that, it’s a fractured fairy tale, a noir fairy tale, Frank R. Stockton, The Griffin and the Minor Canon, Snow White as a horror story, Rocky And Bullwinkle, June Foray, William Conrad, Jake And The Fatman, “finish before it burns”, the Marx Bros., the self-deprecating stuff we like today, Forever Peace, we got it sorted, anecdotal proof.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #039

October 12, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #039 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Fred Greenhalgh of Final Rune Productions (and the Radio Drama Revival podcast) to talk about the twin arts of radio drama and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
Modern radio drama, The Sonic Society podcast, Roger Gregg, William Dufris, H.P. Lovecraft, Halloween, horror, The Grist Mill, Dark Passenger by Fred Greenhalgh, Willamette Radio Workshop, zombies, The Drabblecast podcast, Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, WMPG, Maine, equipment for recording, Zoom Q3, Zoom H2, software for editing audio, Audacity, Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro), Pro Tools, The Most Dangerous Game, Three Skeleton Key, Infidel by Roger Gregg, “field recording” audio drama, Marantz PMD660, the growth of amateur audio drama, AudioDramaTalk.com, Mad Horse Theatre Company, Waiting For A Window by Fred Greenhalgh, 2008 Ogle Awards, Wireless Theatre Company, The Grimm Of Stoddesden Hall, folklore, mythology, Medusa On The Beach, New Orleans, fantasy, Day Of The Dead by Fred Greenhalgh, the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Robert Jordan, Final Fantasy, German audio drama (“Hörspiel”), the freakonomics of audio drama (dubbing drives interest in audio drama), the Torchwood radio dramas, Lux Radio Theatre, Academy Award Theatre, will radio drama revive?, what’s wrong with terrestrial radio?, what’s wrong with satellite radio?, Sirius Channel #163, radio drama in decline?, CBC mothballing radio drama, Colonial Radio Theatre, turning radio drama into cartoons, The Anne Manx series, Anne Manx animated (on YouTube), Radio Repertory Company of America, Decoder Ring Theatre’s The Red Panda Adventures, machinima, Creepshow, Wormwood, is the month of October for radio drama?, or is it just Halloween?, The War Of The Worlds, Simon Jones, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (radio drama), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Adventures Of Sexton Blake, Dirk Maggs, stream of consciousness, post modern audio drama, Yuri Rasovsky‘s The Cabinet Of Dr. Calagari, Tom Lopez (aka Meatball Fulton), The Cabinet Of Dr. Fritz, Cellphone Theatre, ZBS.org, Audible.com’s new stereo format, Bradbury 13, 90 Second Cellphone Chillin’ Theatre, Blackstone Audio’s The Maltese Falcon, narration in audio drama, Rogue Male, storytelling and medium, First Blood, RadioArchive.cc.

Posted by Jesse Willis