The SFFaudio Podcast #477 – READALONG: Dune (Book II of III) by Frank Herbert

June 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #477 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Will talk about Dune: Book II “Muad’Dib” by Frank Herbert aka the second third of Dune.

Talked about on today’s show:
the second third of the first and only Dune novel, exposed in the desert, Liet Kynes talking to his dad, more philosophy, infodumping, that surviving chunk, he couldn’t murder his darling, sand grasping, so long, he’s dying, a beautiful way to tell us about it, George R.R. Martin, why is he telling me this?, the Miniseries, terraform Dune, an invitation to pick up the torch, sort of Homeric, our moral purpose, his life is just as worthy as the others, Villeneuve, two movies?, David Lynch’s version, The Hobbit movie debacle, powerful scenes, the camping scenes, struck with, Chani was the daughter of Liet, parallels, they’re made for each other (dead fathers in common), you shall know them by who they despise, they hate Harkonnens together, both fathers killed by Harkkonens, the dream girl, a come-on line, when he sings her that love song, his mother is his enemy (in that moment), chilling, what Herbert does with psychology, people sometimes have criticisms, “you should more women writers”, 90% or higher, women understand women and men understand by men, the scenes where Jessica is talking to her daughter, Herbert’s a good writer of women, women aren’t just one thing, just like that scene in Dune, doing drugs when she was pregnant, you should’ve told us you were pregnant, the Bene Gesserit scolding, controlling the gender of babies, why did Jessica choose to have a daughter?, kind of a hole, Jesse knows how wise he is because he tells himself he is, two kinds of pie, the ability to choose vs. letting such thing happen, sunk costs, choosing badly, is the directive off?, 38% through, a prophecy of Paul’s, “only to serve”, mucking around with the Emperor, Irulan, ending the Emperor’s line, he has self-restraint, not manipulable, “I’m holdin’ off”, Count Fenring and wife, a fascinating couple, a power couple, a voice Will wanted to hear, sequelitis, why this book is so great, great backstory, why J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings is so great, backfill for a whole universe, using the religion to keep them obedient, Mission Protectiva, the channel Jessica uses, bringing the jihad, Bene Gesserit on ice planets become snow-witches, “wild”, Kynes’ father is responsible for the jihad, Cortez and Quetzalcoatl, a white skinned deity, a unnerving series of coincidences, “we’re taking this land guys”, horses, armour, disease, the Aztec Empire was ripe to fall, doing the legend, Paul territory, the Jesuits teaching the rules, special communications powers with the God, Catholicism, long term less thought out, the Protestant Reformation, North Vancouver, abuse of power, the Orange Catholic bible, mystical religious figures, multiple levels of interpretation, when Paul quotes from the OC bible, no expectation that you need to read the bible, a mediated thing, “Gods!”, Gurney and the Harkonnens and Jessica, tempt not the Gods of the desert, “Gods! What a monster!”, are the sandworms the only aliens?, the patterns of life are mimicked by the alien life brought to it, Caladanian plants?, slime on Gedi Prime?, the jungles and rice paddies, sounds like Vietnam, terraforming jungles?, the following five books…, Lois McMaster Bujold, 10,000 years later, one mixed thing, a native plant?, the Goodreads reviews, meta-reviews, subtle trolling, ‘couldn’t have been written today’, a thing veiled description of reality, John Kerry, squeeze and squeeze and squeeze, plastics factory, coffee, oil, the economy is run on oil, the spice must flow the oil must flow, a retelling of Lawrence of Arabia, the Harkonnens are the Ottomans, is spice-coffee made of spice?, coffee substitutes, chicory, coffee extender, fungal masses, the pre-spice mass, chaga coffee, a positive psychoactive effect, plus you, everything is made of spice, addictive like cocaine vs. addictive like oil, a metaphor, once you start farming with tractors, once you get on the oil, melamine, food made out of oil, sugar, horses and hay, inventing synthetic fuels, not just about fuel, an ideology in itself, a galactic economy, motivations, their computer technology, we’re going to have a Butlerian Jihad, proving you’re not a robot, against the ownership of AI, every phone has a button or an assistant, Alexa, Siri, we’re making our lives so easy we’re only responding, God made Arrakis to train the faithful, their goal is to become soft, a very Greek idea, the Spartans, the Persians were living easy lives, soft like the Ottomans, lion’s mane and chaga, Thufir taking stims, poison transmuted into a psychoactive sex party drug (ecstasy), just “look within”, manipulating the chemical bonds, a cool trick, weird fuel, acid and bile, transmutational effects, the magic in it is science based, aligning your chakras, prana bindu training to squirt the chemicals, the two kinds of alcohol, methyl and ethyl alcohol, drunk and blind, regular grain alcohol is an antidote for wood alcohol, extending regular alcohol with wood alcohol, it isn’t a book about one thing, politics, the Suez Canal is not just for fun, for moving product and controlling empire, a longer process, Jefferson, Barbary Pirates, the shores of Tripoli, doing lots of mushrooms, sex, when Fenring hums and haws, Feyd, everybody has a pink pouch of a mouth, the Windsor nose?, formic acid, this is amazing!, ethanol cures methanol poisoning, parallelism, Paul 1st kill vs. Feyd’s 100th kill, how much time is spent with the whole Jamis situation, expressing opposite societies, Feyd is the shadow version of Paul, Paul’s loving mother and father vs. Feyd’s creepy uncle and creepy cousin, an individual as deplorable as Sting, Sting’s smirk, the scene between the Baron and the Beast Rabban, the beast is on the ball, his spies and his addictions, they’re all flawed, Lady Fenring thinks Feyd was raised wrong, part of the failing of the book, I’m a prince and therefore I have a right to rule, King of North Korea, the rule of life, nature is really cruel, powerful monarchies, the rule is to try to be as tough and wily as you can, breeding a super-being, eugenics, breeding smart people, Ramses the III vs. Yao Ming, great writers who are the sons of great writers, Stephen King and Joe Hill, Kevin J. Anderson composing novels on hikes, Hitler’s son, opulent in their luxury, immigrants to Canada, Sardaran rote, going to Salusa Secundua, the Marine Corps, the tool of a bunch of tools, super-geniuses making huge mistakes, a thirty car pile up of different plots and plans, Thufir’s fuckups, the hawk symbol on the gladiatorial slave, trying to kill and help Feyd, a Harkonnen he can control, Feyd as Thufir’s weapon to kill the Baron, suppose Paul and Jessica died in the thopter crash, who would be the next emperor?, if the Kwisatz Haderach plan failed?, lighting round statements, respect for the truth comes close to the basis for all morality, a book of wisdom, poor princess in the tower, what do you despise? by this you are truly known, Michio Kaku, the future doesn’t exist, you cannot back into the future, an Uber car backed into the future at 88 miles per hour, Jesse’s Row, Row, Your Boat theory, life is but a dream, life is not real, the blue pill, we can never see the future, Barrett Brown, disrespect for authority, an amazing and hilarious writer, Thomas Friedman is wrong about everything, tricks and tropes, just read “Thomas Friedman”, why Noam Chomsky doesn’t have a column at the New York Times, your pustules are so beautiful my Baron, a suck-up to power, consistently wrong, a great philosophy, on drugs and about to have sex with Chani, we’re gonna make a baby, the hard part is not seeing the future but seeing the past from the future, tripping amazeballs, what is an Usul?, “that’s that scene where she said Usul!”, is the future known or is it experienced?, a nexus moment, a cloud, déjà vu, we have déjà vu, “ah! It is the prophecy, she is the sayyadina!”, the opposite of science, science isn’t in the business of proving anything, very meta, holding a physical copy of the book, Paul has the Wikipedia entry for certain chapters or certain scenes, the effect of magic mushrooms, everything is connected and seeing things as they are, The Fremen were supreme in that quality the ancients called “spannungsbogen” –which is the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of getting it, the self imposed delay, delayed gratification, Jamis was pleased, “I was a friend of Jamis”, a political speech, constant tension, a sometime prophet, just a teenage kid, “my mom is so stupid, I hate her right now”, Gurney, dispersed, taking up new positions, mercenaries, going rogue, short shrift, smugglers, live to fight another day, learning a lesson, Staban Tuek, very honorable in a very interesting way, gratitude, cool your sorrows with water, green grass, the beauty of women, rich with characters and stories, really good writing, a weird book, no chapters, Halleck turned, landscape face, the shadow version of the Fremen, a stone is heavy, playing a circumspect game, destroying the witch, Hawat didn’t see the traitor, rumors and hunches, likely not even their bones will never be found, differences between the audiobook and paperbook, the number of Fremen, dragging that foot and walking without rhythm, an interesting parallel, young and trainable, no value in the mom (except the water), the water discipline, the middlemen between the Fremen and the Guild, fascinatingly interesting, a story amongst all the structure, systems within systems, so good, the worst scene in the book, no more terrible disaster could befall your people than to fall into the hands of a hero, meta-commentary, by not killing himself or his mom, “show me the eighteen moves of pleasure, woman”, Kynes was seduced, the wife of Hitler, longer and stranger, when Jessica uses the voice she has to have them talk for a while, Chakobsa, the power that Bill Clinton had, winning the room, using the words, legit the voice, the voice of command, pressing the buttons of what people want to hear, “Axis of Evil”, right to the root of the brain, when someone comes up with a new metaphor, everything is metaphor, a new martial arts attack, move and counter move, Mixed Mental Arts, chattering heads on TV, the Atredies win the room, winning the action, so good!

John Kerry Code Pink

Dune by Frank Herbert (dustjacket)

ACE - Dune by Frank Herbert

Waldtenapes - Dune: A Recorded Interview

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #470 – READALONG: The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

April 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #470 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
1950, novel/collection, The Moon Moth, a story suite, self-contained, a great book of language, the excellent prismatic spray, travertine, lapis lazuli, Hollywood, a black dragonfly, I hate the world and everything in it, Dungeons & Dragons, the Demon Princes novels, the Planet Of Adventure novels, a second order of facts, the richness of the language, the amoral characters, would you have dinner with any of these characters?, role-playing, the final descent, weird and wondrous, defined by this book, future echoes, The Matrix is a dying earth story, accessing certain special moves, fighting machines, the magic system, a 9th level spell, Bigby’s Grasping Hand, Tenser’s floating disc, the same recipe, magic missile, jamming in five spells (instead of four), so fun, a little bit of FOMO, re-memorizing spells, making magic controllable, it’s OP (overpowered), super hero movies, Heroes, origins stories, Mazarian, the Excellent Prismatic Spray, the Omnipotent Sphere, unceasing, a list of the spells, tomes, there’s no actual incantation, spell words and tongue twisters, Latin spell names, a great idea, how Harry Potter’s spells work, the orcs are coming, colour and action, Paul plays mages a lot, a callow youth, being indoctrinated into Dungeons & Dragons, being like Jesus means no stabbing, just swinging my arm, twisted logic, Gandalf has a big long sword, to balance out the classes, to balance, niche protection, cramming for your spell exams, Paul’s showing his geekiness, Dragon Magazine, you could swing that stupid sword around, why you gonna carry that giant sword?, a profound effect upon hundreds of thousands of people’s lives for decades and decades, pretty amazing, pure luck, strange creatures, demons, this is just like home, the plot lines do not closely follow, there’s no taverns, a conman thief, go find this museum, not standard D&D quests, Liane gets what he deserves, Chun the Unavoidable, torturing an innocent couple, so fun to read, such a prat, when Bryan bowed out, an in-joke within the campaign, the perversity of the Dungeon Master, suggested stats, other planes of existence, appearing from behind a tapestry, The Princess Bride, a passion for eyes, the dragonfly riders, a vial of oil, shrinking Paul, don’t trust anything, a Vancian point of view, judging the worst beauty contest of all time, Poul Anderson, the deep blue sky of Earth, a pocket dimension, T’sain, is he trying to make a girl?, vats, T’sais, Turjan, Pandelume, The Handmaid’s Tale, making women in bottles, alchemy, homunculi, chemical products, we’re nearly there with lab grown meats, everything is ugly is ugly even beautiful things are uglier, she finds the world a bitter place, dire malevolence, use of language, eructate, a poem about burps, a burping tree, women server me some wine and make the eighteen motions of allurement, interesting as a concept, the opposite of innocence, everyone is corrupt, there’s only loss, what re they going to do, living inside their tanks and know that’s where they’re at now, the middle of the Dying Earth ideas, Darkness by Lord Byron, E.R. Eddison,

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black.

pretty gruesome, the year without a summer, Mary Shelley, Krakatoa, a dream and not a dream, it’s just everyday, this is not a young earth, not a new idea, Shakespeare’s fairies and Tolkien’s Middle Earth, from the fairy or elven point of view, a growing tide of darkness and ignorance, our deepest oldest fear, the end times, the end days, this is how we live now, the twilight days, the environmental stories in the news, we’re kind of fucking this up, “I just use as much plastic as possible”, an uplifting book, so dark but funny and uplifting, running the Museum of Man, that’s not how people actually are, the ideas of a book, these are the waves coming in, the beach, not the normal Jesse book, a very Clark Ashton Smith prose poem style, Zothique, a conduit, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, even the robots are tired, Mr Jim Moon, The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, 17th century language, pseudo-biblical language, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess Of Mars, something distinctly moving, the unromantic and unpoetic among readers, an insanely strange book, H.G. Wells, The Cave Of Time, resurrected at the end of time, Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer, a lot of celebrities, Richard Burton, everybody who ever was, Mark Twain, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Hermann Göring, TV adaptations of the Riverworld series, at the end of history, so sad, still striving, The Book Of The New Sun, The Book Of The Long Sun, Gene Wolfe, he’s an apprentice torture but his true passion is rape, ornate strange language, brilliant, interesting, frustrating, and wonderful, a massive undertaking, the book of gold, Paul’s book of gold: The Amber Chronicles, The Hobbit, this is amazing!, the one book that made Marissa get super-excited about reading: Cujo by Stephen King, it’s almost never laser guns, I’ve done questionable things, Rutger Hauer, creators, but also great things, Blade Runner is a dying earth story, infectious imagery, neo-noir, film dystopia, there are no heroes (really), everything is falling apart, the creatures are no longer biological, Blade Runner: 2049, a down and depressing future dystopia, what we think of doing well now, the Marvel movies, short term thinking, how well the money’s doing, long lived lives, John W. Campbell’s Night, hard Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock, the Hawkmoon books, C.J. Cherryh, George R.R. Martin, The City At The End Of Time by Greg Bear, an amazingly powerful book, The House On The Borderland, an interesting sub-genre, the language of cant, I babble in an unknown tongue, even the prophets are corrupt and fake.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #462 – READALONG: Sandkings by George R.R. Martin

February 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #462 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott talk about Sandkings by George R.R. Martin

Talked about on today’s show:
1979, out of the ether, one of Scott’s favourite stories, excellent short fiction, what does that say about Scott?, it hits you differently, playing out, horror and science fiction, the 1995 The Outer Limits adaptation, Beauty And The Beast, tuf voyaging series, the thousands worlds, Jack Vance-y, the magic shop trope, Wo and Shade, The Reel Stuff, short stories and novelettes turned into movies and TV shows, trading one shope for another, military, Melinda Snodgrass, a very different beast, a family of Bridges, who Shade is, Wo vs. woe, Salem’s Lot, Gremlins (1984), piranhas, goldfish, Simon Kress, Martian soil, a story of obsession vs. comeuppance, one of the best endings, it breathed, the others, orange children, all of them had his face, hitting the horror note, this isn’t the Frankenstein story, let there be light, playing god, being worshiped, when can I turn on the hologram, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, a cruel god, neoterics, patents, a “business man”, rakes in money, exotic pets, the poor shambler, leaving his pets, his “friends”, gambling, cruelty, Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask Of Amontillado and The Masque Of The Red Death, George R.R. Martin grew up poor, New Jersey, every G.I. Joe that’s ever been made, how can people live in such luxury, “spoiling” children, JUSTICE, a horror, where’s Wo?, “We got another one.”, an open thread, good advice, no malice, Wo is very polite, the Wo family, some Maw, Baldur, the reflection of the workers (the mobiles), you can live in harmony with these creatures, all on the surface, Jesse’s mind goes crazy, totally science fiction without much science, horror in a science fictional setting, a horror story set on a Vancian planet, it won all the awards, Nightflyers, the weakest?, The Way Of Cross And Dragon, The Ice Dragon, Harlan Ellison, Grail, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, everywhere, Nancy Kress?, The Shambler From The Stars by Robert Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, the clarity, “he wasn’t interested in that”, “Insects.”, hmmmm, eating up GRRM’s text, A Song For Lya, Robin Of Sherwood, space punk, goth punk?, dark humour, always hard to swallow, easily digestible pieces, Poe-like, the comic book adaptation, faithful, DC Comics Science Fiction Graphic Novel 7, 1987, Wo is female, incredibly faithful, emptying the refrigerator and the freezer, calling his friends, Fitcher’s Bird, Bluebeard, dilettantes, collective punishment, working on the level of a folk tale, the macabre, staring into the abyss and liking what you see, are they just animals?, psionics, seeing his soul, Populous, For I Am A Jealous People! by Lester Del Rey, Sim City, Civilization, victory conditions, the goal of the game, perversity in Jesse’s (and everybody’s) nature, a delight in smashing your own sandcastles, we resonate with it, wanting to see destruction, a house of cards, The Conqueror Worm, the sound of the cosmos, “invisible wo”, the mimes are humans, the children have his face, by a crowd that seize it not, in human gore imbued, almost a science fiction story, there’s no one answer, Hellboy, BPRD, a relatively shallow story, the experience is the experience of it, the Dreamsongs Volumes I, II, and III audiobooks, the name of the monster, maw gives pap, the Pit of Sarlacc, back to his doom, not an easy trick to pull off, super affective, the sword stabbing scene, then to a restaurant, contamination, bribery, a personal disaster, flee the planet, a sprawling manor house, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, an indictment of the pet ownership process, don’t leave your baby in the car (or your German Shepherd), Lloyd Bridges handing a boy a puppy, how badly aged the show is, I saw him in the window and couldn’t resist, Cowboy, a lovely father-son dynamic, where does he go wrong exactly?, where does Frankenstein go wrong?, to stop death, rampage, a lack of love and care and attention, the carrion hawk, what happened to the original cowboy?, very iconic, dealing with something real, horror stories only work when they’re dealing with something real, we’re operating on that level, mimesis, a genuine feeling, yes! of course!,

Sandkings by George R.R. Martin illustrated by Ernst Fuchs from Omni, August 1979

Sandkings by George R.R. Martin

Science Fiction Graphic Novel, SF7 - George R.R. Martin's SANDKINGS

Science Fiction Graphic Novel, SF7 - George R.R. Martin's SANDKINGS

Science Fiction Graphic Novel, SF7 - George R.R. Martin's SANDKINGS

George R.R. Martin's SANDKINGS

SANDKINGS by George R.R. Martin

The Outer Limits - Sandkings

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #452 – READALONG: The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

December 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #452 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Talked about on today’s show:
We three met, “a reaction” to The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, I wonder what these guys will think Jesse will think of this book?, idea filled, big ideas, explorations of societies, tons of imagination, successfully modeled my brain, idea after idea after idea, a neutered human, this weird society, the jester, how art works, fear blocked, cut off from the whole universe, reminiscent of Olaf Stapledon, this is Clarke’s Last And First Men, a rewrite of Against The Fall Of Night, Gregory Benford’s sequel, a rethinking of the original book, different Bach fugues, from a writing perspective, more to contribute, the British Interplanetary Society’s webpage, 2013, 1930s, the opening scene, 1935, six versions, Gnome Press, 1953, 1956, the Wikipedia entry, to showcase what he had learned about writing and information processing, in the individual scenes, Diaspar and Lys, the anecdote, different enough, the robot with the mental block is solved in two different ways, to FMRI the robot, robot psychology, so much in this book, Hal 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel, what drove his whole career, Paul is quiet, the Mad Mind of this novel, a battle at the end of eternity, more about computers and artificial intelligence, game theory, they’re not really human at all, they never have a childhood body, they’re never actually human, bio-manufactured like the robots in Westworld, emotionally muted, a whole book for someone else, the lack of love in Diaspar, factoids, John W. Campbell, telepathy, Startling Stories, the fact that everybody is telepathic, Jesse can become telepathic, the only kind of telepathy that makes any sense, modelling, the telepathy doesn’t pay-off, a balance between the world of Diaspar and the world of Lys, civilization vs barbarism, an equal but different, the whole problem of a lack of conflict, an Olaf Stapledonism, an excellent point, biological vs. technological, Apollonian vs. Dionysian, Zardoz is Sean Connery in a diaper, a brute barbarian, weird WTF moments, reborn over and over again, continuity of millennia, the futility of immortality, editing of memories, an inversion of Logan’s Run, a central computer, a society of youth vs. a gerontocracy, perturbing the system, let’s posit a future in which a global catastrophe has happened, a forbidden zone outside, a robot that goes crazy, the back half of Logan’s Run, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, The Giver by Lois Lowry, how Alvin has tucked away genitals, hairless except for his head, drugs, a flat affect, “Wei, Wood, Marx, and Christ”, Brave New World, “Our Ford”, a factory societies, a dystopia utopia, the RPG elements, Dream Park, “he breaks the railroad”, railroading in RPG terms, the sagas, how this novel works, his adventure outside the city (to the stars), Cthulhu or something?, Lovecraftian elements, “we have lived too long out of contact with reality”, the world shaker, seduced by Lys, a very soft horror, the hermit kingdoms of Korea and China, the treasure ships, forcing trade upon you, an outside force, he’s pre-programmed, he’s the only who isn’t pre-programmed!, even the jesters, a foreshadowing, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, from the robots point of view, their whole undercity, places to dust, do they have their own system?, sitting in the background while Alvin is exploring the depths of the city, how the humans are, intelligence machines looking at art, in other hands (not Clarke’s), how art is chosen, what those pieces of art look like, art without conflict, still life for everyone, no machine may contain any moving parts, Steve Jobs, an oval egg you keep in a drawer and don’t look at, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, optical fiber, control systems, no repairmen necessary, look at this mural, now the robots have something to do, the bones of old Rome, they don’t know what the word “tomb” means, the Great Ones, the Old Ones, the great race of Yith, a fake out, how the city was constructed, experiences the city of Disapar from a billion years in the past, this is all a dream, I take away the blocks that you have, you are free now, parallels, the difference between the humans and the robots, less hairy, metal?, “Rivets and Trees”, Marissa, HBO’s Westworld, nefarious vs. right and proper, thoughtful and philosophical, humans and robots, Blade Runner, at least one of the characters is an older robot, nuts and bolts inside, three kinds of robots, Diaspar is Westworld’s future by a billion years, guests and staff, now you are Mickey Mouse, the names, diaspora and lis, identity politics of 2017, you can’t use the word tribe, a white male protagonist, is he white?, is he male?, is he human?, a long flowing yellow mane or a curly tight man bun, being human or not, going full Olaf Stapledon, the future history has no bearing on 2017’s obsessions and attitudes, the Long Now Foundation, long term consequences, technological vs. biological, everybody is concerned about that, a Wiki of Ice and Fire, Lys (off the coast of Essos), George R.R. Martin, Dis (a layer of Hell), the heaven where everybody is the same, the city of Dys where everybody is the same, leaving both, the 1980s Alvin the robot submersible, looking for hidden things, playing the sagas, Skyrim, the final scene, in polar orbit, the night was falling, Scott’s entire reading life, sensawunda, seven strange stars arranged in a line, back to Earth, an ever expanding circle of exploration and wonder, among the stars, no eye-rolling, a hero’s journey, circular, an old Locus issue celebrating Robert A. Heinlein, one of the pictures of Heinlein visiting Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka, The Night Flier, a Cessna Skymaster, an incredibly weird guy, Lord Dunsany, he leaves the world, literally on the other side of the world, remarkable, a global influence, an internet like life before that was possible, how amazing his computer is in this, an intelligence machine, a non-distributed and smarter Siri, government by AI, doing stuff with computers that nobody is doing (even Isaac Asimov), what they do rather than how they do it, totally timeless, we’ve gone past atomics, infinity plus one, he knows what computers are about, process information, storage, we are robot computers with biological casings, circuits and synapses, is there anything in this story that feels dated?, holographic projection, unsqueaky chair, amazing!, urtexts, cleanly and generically, the trappings are timeless, their genitals don’t work, sex, kind of interesting, the fish in the sea, a radar operator during WWII, bouncing radar off the Moon, what this technology can do, why are we worrying about breaking these Nazi codes?, a plot, so good, full of ideas, The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke, a lot of Clarke is public domain, The Nine Billion Names Of God, The Star, everyone should read more of Arthur C. Clarke, 4001: A Continuing Of The Odyssey The Should Probably Have Been Left In The Drawer, Rama, Paul has issues with Gregory Benford, stick to the originals, the Black Sun, E.E. Doc Smith, black holes, until Hawking thought about how black holes could evaporate, a really good book, the audiobook, other versions, the one on Audible has music under the narration, the book for the blind version, Northstar Publishing, audiobook rental stores (like Blockbuster), truckers were the original hyper-consumers of audiobooks, women were supposed to have been the ones to make the household magazine purchasing decisions, mainstream, commuters (and everybody) not the women of the house, when Amazing Stories broke into the market, Railroad Romances, Westerns, women wanted to read about science fiction, I’m not a trucker, the BBC audio drama of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, abridged audiobooks, blind people aren’t the only ones who need audiobooks, if you didn’t see them on the shelf, totally out of print, nobody can get this one, a deep cassette hum, Paul’s trip to Yellowstone in 2005 (got him into audiobooks), a great idea, 2003, Audible’s 20th anniversary, before iPods, overseeing the explosion of audiobooks, nothing that isn’t unabridged, audiobooks are mainstream, are more people listening to books than are reading books now, where did you get that time?, double density book-cassettes from Brilliance audio (each channel having one track), apparently cassettes were expensive, CDs are still around, 40 CD audiobooks, Blackstone Audio rentals, Downpour has rentals, Books On Tapes, Audible by mail (Netflix for audio), Recorded Books, a slight competitive advantage, Bryan Alexander.

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

NORTH STAR AUDIO The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

September 18, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

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 #383 – READALONG: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

August 22, 2016 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #383 – Jesse, Bryan Alexander, and Steen Hansen talk about The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.

Talked about on today’s show:
1969, before the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, contemporary critics, SF critics vs. mainstream critics, the defense of the ghetto against interlopers, Ray Bradbury, Doris Lessing, a deep feeling, spoiling the book, showing what was wrong with it, getting the facts wrong, interpretation, Luke Burrage reviewing, Robert J. Sawyer, bad writing, had they done nothing … nothing would have happened, the mutation, the Wildfire facility, Star Trek, scientists out for the good of humanity, self-destruct sequences, MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction, every nuclear sub movie, film-like, The Ipcress File by Len Deighton, airport fiction tropes, hyper competent high level government high tech mcguffins, brain-washing, novel -> film, written for film?, ER, picky fiddly science and bureaucratic operation, killed or useless, trusted scientists to save the world, ruthlessly hard science, Hollywood couldn’t make this movie now, restrained, chilly, the gender swap, Robert Wise, Shirley Jackson, The Haunting Of Hill House, Alfred Bester, a document dump, classified material, overloading the reader with verisimilitude, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton, The Thirteenth Warrior, Vikings, Russians and Byzantium, completely bullshit, Mr. Bullshit, regular SF vs. techno-thriller, a yummy INFODUMP, nobody had a definition for life, black cloth, a watch, a piece of granite, pure Science Fiction, Bryan’s mind destroyed at age 8, binary numbers, lasers vs. darts, Larry Niven, 24, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Steen welcomes our robot overlord, high-scale AI, Iain M. Banks, humans as pets, humans as cogs, I Have No Mouth And I must Scream, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, Dante Alighieri, lost race, the descent into Hell, from red to blue, the harrowing of Hell, a cold war story where the Russians aren’t the bad guys, The Bedford Incident, James Follett’s The Light Of A Thousand Suns, set in the recent past, the shotgun approach, Margaret Atwood, picking and choosing at the buffet table, dedicated to A.C.D., M.D. -> Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle -> Dr. Michael Crichton, “not a new story”, the glowing review in Life magazine, a retelling of The Blob, the Technovelgy, auto-doc, the suppressed cancer drug, Jensen Pharmaceuticals, gut flora, nudity and ass-grabbing, rectal suppository, astro-Tang, coffee, all that cleaning, they’re too holy, the five levels is a gimmick, the leveling, it’s bullshit!, we all know we have to wash our hands, the Wikipedia entry for the Airport Genre

Airport novel(s) represent a literary genre that is not so much defined by its plot or cast of stock characters, as much as it is by the social function it serves. An airport novel is typically a fairly long but fast-paced novel of intrigue or adventure that is stereotypically found in the reading fare offered by airport newsstands for travelers to read in the rounds of sitting and waiting that constitute air travel.

Rudyard Kipling’s fiction was published as a railway magazine, the origin of pulp fiction, The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille, the opening to The Strain, having the reins of political power at your fingertips, in the 2008 miniseries remake, back stories/love stories, a muddy anti-science mess, pre-Apollo -> Watergate -> conspiracy theories, the technical glitch (paper between the bell and the striker), germ warfare?!, the remake of The Manchurian Cantidate, the films and adaptations reflect the times, the 2008 version is super-militarized, X-18, F-4 phantoms, Dracula, the long gothic tradition of found documents, Plan 9 From Outer Space, a cold war document, The Parallax View, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Crichton like Spielberg loves power, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, medical people as superheroes, uber-expert scientists, power fantasy fiction, scepticism of power, image Michael Crichton at a Science Fiction convention, the immune reaction, You are not of the body!, techno-thrillers, why Ian Fleming’s James Bond books became so popular, JFK, Ronald Reagan was a big fan of Tom Clancy, The Hunt For Red October, Reagan based foreign policy of Red Storm Rising, Jack Ryan was a wonk Navy -> CIA agent -> CIA Director -> President, Firefox, political fiction written for a jet-set audience, conservative Heinleinian, Andromeda Strain cosplay?, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, SF writers save the world from alien invasion, science matters vs. science fiction, the first biology crisis, outflanking the ghetto, the 2006 Worldcon, Greg Benford, Greg Bear, David Brin, thinking up scenarios, if I was a terrorist how would I destroy the the United States, Wildfire, Cold War contingency planning, the Rand Corporation, the odd-man out element, his name was Hall but should have been Corridor, does this make sense?, the odd man is gay?, The Odd Couple, gay coding?, gay men are most likely to turn off nukes?, The Great Train Robbery, timing pacing planning tricking, that roller-coaster spark, opening observation, we are always observing, fun fiction for Henry Kissinger and the jet set, bureaucrats of a class, this function material is reflective, Science Fiction writers are poor, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake, Isaac Asimov, a biology book, Paul Di Filippo, bio-punk, Ribo-funk, The Bay (2012), The Hot Zone, the wet science, cloning, the neglected science, Coma, Protector by Larry Niven, how electron-microscopes work, crystallography, “it mutated”?!?!?, that was odd, it’s communicating with itself, block-chain virus, deep hurting, The Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, medicine without silicon, the Patriarchy, The Highest Frontier, Blood Music by Greg Bear, a Halo novel, The Wind From A Burning Woman, a “wild” writing style, bio is hard to do, Pontypool, prions, the worst part of The Walking Dead, we’re all infected, a symbol for regular death, Titan by John Varley, a 100ft tall Marilyn Monroe monster, The Satan Bug by Alistair Maclean (1962), where does the techno-thriller begin, a precursor to techno-thriller, The Stolen Bacillus by H.G. Wells, a really obvious anarchist, Wells defused the whole genre for sixty years, The Food Of The Gods, a convincing linguistic maneuver, fawning of technology bureaucracy power and the function of government, a stack of Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Sputnik shock, British invasion novels, Tom Clancy as a zombie brand, special helicopter trip, massive government expenditure for the competent man, an empty jetliner, vicarious thrill, power fantasy, “he’s the most important person right now”, this is our bailiwick!, nice and short, Dean Koontz, Phantoms, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Ghost Fleet by August Cole and P.W. Singer, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child books, no CRISPR, China is no Soviet Union, futurism, education moves so slowly, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, an X-Box with Paranoid Linux, Reamde by Neal Stephenson, a Kurt Vonnegut vibe, a Welsh Muslim terrorist, like pornography you know a techno-thriller when you see it.

The dedication for The Andromeda Strain

title page for The Andromeda Strain

Algis Budrys review of The Andromeda Strain

Life Magazine review of The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain - illustration by Dusty Abell

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - Random House Audio read by Chris Noth

Posted by Jesse Willis

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