The SFFaudio Podcast #182 – READALONG: The Odyssey by Homer (Books XXI to XXIV)

October 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #182 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the sixth of a six part series, about the books XXI, XXII, XXIII and XXIV of The Odyssey by Homer.

Talked about on today’s show:
The E.V. Rieu translation and the , The Great Bow, Odysseus Strings His Bow, The Battle In The Hall, Slaughter In The Hall, Odysseus And Penelope, The Great Rooted Bed, The Feud Is Ended, Peace, flexing that bow, canny suitors, does Penelope know what’s going on?, the Wikipedia entry for The Odyssey (and the Slaying Of The Suitors):

The next day, at Athena’s prompting, Penelope maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus’ bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then turns his arrows on the Suitors and with the help of Athena, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, he kills all the Suitors. Odysseus and Telemachus hang twelve of their household maids, who had betrayed Penelope or had sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the goatherd Melanthius, who had mocked and abused Odysseus. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She is hesitant, but accepts him when he mentions that their bed was made from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the Odyssey, and the rest to be an interpolation.

The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes, who likewise accepts his identity only when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him.

The citizens of Ithaca have followed Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their leader points out that Odysseus has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to give up the vendetta, a deus ex machina. After this, Ithaca is at peace once more, concluding the Odyssey.

Melanthius prompts his own mutilation, a mutilating evil dude, “horror swept through the suitors”, on the question of the axe heads, the “battle master”, “cased in bronze”, a “turbid jet” of blood, how awesome would it be to see a bardic performance of The Odyssey?, Sir Ian McKellen, the compliant bard, the ancient Greek holy books, the host-guest relationship, the morality of killing your house-guests, why should you read The Odyssey? Because it doesn’t present a world classifiable into good and evil, the inviolability, Iranian hospitality, how Iranians talk (a circuitous path to making a point), why can’t Odysseus even trust his dad?, the primacy of patriarch, the killing of the twelve maidens, what is the moral message?, an unjustified liar, Agamemnon ghost, “that Penelope’s pretty great”, “talk about odd behavior”, the immovable (marriage) bed, an olive tree, “the gods have made you daft”, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, Odysseus in Antarctica?, Odysseus runs his life crazily, Odysseus’ name means “trouble”, impiety to Polyphemus, the Trojan War was Odysseus’s fault, a kind of comedy like Voltaire’s Candide, a satire of The Odysseus, True History by Lucian of Samosata, “the natural ending”?, Athena’s solution, the end of The Stand by Stephen King, is the deus ex machina ending satisfying?, Poseidon’s rage, the Norweigan version of The Odyssey (Beowulf), the Beowulf movie, Beowulf is tough braggart but is not wise, melancholy gods, the hero is the villain, the merciless Odysseus, the unquestionable Odysseus.

Thirteen Axe Heads?

The Odyssey - Marvel Classics art by Jeff Jodloman

The bard at work from Classics Illustrated

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #165 – READALONG: The Odyssey by Homer (Book XIII – XVI)

June 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #165 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the fourth of a six part series, about the books XIII, XIV, XV and XVI of The Odyssey.

Talked about on today’s show:
roman numerals, Ian McKellen’s narration, Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World by Jack Weatherford, the host/guest relationship, Phaeacians vs. Phoenicians, Ithaca, the start is near the end, the loyal swineherd, sleeping Odysseus, Poseidon: “I’d like to avenge myself at once” (on the people of Scheria), a ship shaped rock, the generous Phaeacians tax the people to pay for their extravagant gifts, one 1%er helping another 1%er, why is Athena always in disguise?, lies and deception are Odysseus’ nature, a disguise for Odysseus, the cruel abuse of men, Eumaeus the loyal swineherd, the richness of Odysseus’s estate, the trickiest bastard who ever lived is also the richest bastard who ever lived, “In Eumaeus’ Hut”, Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, the cruelty to the pig, Athena’s plans and plots, Odysseus queries his son, the prince of Pylos, the wandering dude, Telemachus is the dutiful and well mannered, the lies parallel a truth, the parallels between the wooing of Helen and the problem of Penelope’s suitors, Odysseus will use a different method to solve this dilemma, “feats of strength”, you sometimes just have to kill a whole bunch of dudes, the stringing of the bow, extended metaphors, “Odysseus Goes To Town”, the genealogy of royal houses, the Robert Fagles translation.

Odysseus Lands In Ithaca

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4X + RA.cc: Topkapi by Eric Ambler

June 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

BBC Radio 4 ExtraRadioArchives.ccAccording to the Wikipedia entry, BBC Radio 7 was renamed BBC Radio 4 Extra back in April. I’m not much for re-branding – it’s a grubby little idea that makes me think of scientific management, focus groups and meetings … endless … unproductive … meetings. The more I think about meetings the less I want to think.

Hopefully the new name will last a few years, and then perhaps BBC management can go ahead and arrange to have a meeting about considering the update of their antiquated delivery methods – perhaps they’ve already started as I hear they’ve finally dropped RealAudio (the web’s first big audio technology).

Speaking of delivery methods, I discovered my first interesting BBC Radio 4 Extra offering over on RadioArchive.cc. RA.cc is my favourite site for public radio, its chock full of great taxpayer funded programming. The site is extremely well organized and make even people who are wary of the word “torrent” comfortable with the technology. Files are, naturally, in the MP3 format, and when well seeded, a program the size of Topkapi will take only about TEN minutes to download. That’s service folks!

Topkapi, aka The Light Of Day, is a 1962 novel Eric Ambler. I’d heard about it – but until it showed up on RadioArchive.cc I never even thought to investigate it. Well, after investigating it turns out that The Light Of Day was an Edgar Award winning novel, 1964, and has a fair cachet in espionage and crime fiction circles. The name change, for this reading, was likely done to remind BBC listeners of the movie – Topkapi is pretty famous, the Ottoman Sultans used it as their personal residence as well as an “impregnable fortress” that housed its famous seraglio/harem.

the Topkapi Palace by night

The Wikipedia entry for Ambler has this gem:

“A recurring theme in Ambler’s books is the amateur who finds himself unwillingly in the company of hardened criminals or spies. Typically, the protagonist is out of his depth and often seems for much of the book a bumbling anti-hero, yet eventually manages to surprise himself as well as the professionals by a decisive action that outwits his far more experienced opponents.”

That certainly fits Topkapi.

I can’t say how much of the novel was excised for this abridgement, but I can say the novel definitely works as a quick listen. There are some unnecessary sound effects added, but when they show up they don’t overwhelm the text. The story is told in first person, by the clever, but unlucky anti-hero. David Westhead, the reader, is truly excellent in performing the lead character. He’s got a wonderfully subdued humor, and the voice and accent work he provides for the man supporting characters adds a lot of color.

Topkapi by Eric AmblerTopkapi (aka The Light Of Day)
By Eric Ambler; Read by David Westhead
Six 30 minute episodes – Approx. 3 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 Extra
Broadcast: May 2011
Source: RadioArchive.cc
Small time operator Arthur Abdel Simpson is an illegitimate stateless half British half Egyptian pimp and pornographer. He makes his living fleecing tourists in Athens, Greece. When he picks up a likely looking pigeon at the airport he soon discovers that he’s the one in trouble. He’s then blackmailed into driving a car to Istanbul.

1/6. Minor crook Arthur Abdel Simpson spots a likely mark at Athens airport
2/6. Arthur Simpson is interrogated by Turkish security for unintentional arms smuggling.
3/6. Arthur is now seconded to Turkish security. He also has to work at the suspect’s villa.
4/6. Unwilling agent Simpson watches a group of ‘tourists’, while he works as their driver.
5/6. Arthur Simpson witnesses a vicious knife fight and waits for news of Fischer.
6/6. Arthur Simpson is still on the roof. He has just reluctantly robbed the Treasury.

Here’s the trailer for the film version:

I’ll try to find a copy of the film itself, and maybe see if its anything like the audiobook.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #103

April 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #103 – Scott, Jesse, Eric S. Rabkin and Luke Burrage talk about FOOD in Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is rather unpleasantly like being drunk.

Talked about on today’s show:
Luke’s got a twelve hour hunger, fairy tales, Fantasy, food sharing is coming to know the alien, what food is served in a Canadian restaurant?, Kwakiutl vs. Kwakwaka’wakw, pemmican, voyageurs, THE YELLOW PERIL podcast (The SFFaudio Podcast #051), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s creation was a vegetarian, Paradise Lost, Genesis, Cain vs. Abel, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, the three stages of eating: veggies -> meat -> people, aliens, crazy vs. odd, inedia (fasting), breatharianism, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, inspired by spirits, Neuromancer, communion, puns, Foods of the Gods: Eating And The Eaten In Fantasy And Science Fiction (Proceedings Of The J. Lloyd Eaton Conference On Science Fiction And Fantasy Lite) edited by Eric S. Rabkin, Gary Westfahl and George Edgar Slusser, more puns, The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem, consuming books, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Michael Kandel, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, evolution and food, food in pill form, Tang, Firefly, Science Fiction: prediction of the future vs. sign of the future, jetpacks, capsulized food is symbolic, lembas is super-power bread, energy drinks, food as a representation of our relationships with our bodies, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, yet more puns, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, food and pretty dresses, baking and bread have deep roots, Voyage To The Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac, no one ever sees a baker eating, food imagery, the centrality of bread in SFF only matches that of religion, the bread yes – the blood no, Osiris, Egypt, Greece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, List of races and species in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the babel fish, “it’s not the babel worm”, fish as a symbol, Pythagoras, professor smackdown, Tower Of Babel, food and sexuality, urban romance, Eat Prey Love, “man does not live by bread alone” vs. “forbidden fruit”, bread as technology, breadfruit, the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge vs. the tree of immortality vs. the rubber tree, Trantor, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Coruscant, Star Wars, Sam Parkhill, The Off Season by Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles, the best hot dog stand on Mars, The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, the national food of America is the hot dog, the hot dog is the symbol of America, Manhattan, “hot dog stands all the way down”, meat paste, man as food, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Alien, The Logic Of Fantasy by John Huntington, cannibalism, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch, The Screwfly Solution by James Triptree Jr., Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, further punning, vat grown meat, breeding animals to be less intelligent, a very meaty topic, Caviar by Theodore Sturgeon, vegetarianism, Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton, Luke is on the wrong side of meat history, being as unnatural as possible is what makes us human, a continuing journey towards humanity (marching on our stomachs?), social animals, mothers make food for you – witches make food of you, choosing not to eat meat vs. choosing to be monogamous, dolphin eating habits (are they porpoiseful eaters?), eating dolphin is out of line (for Luke), exploring the possibilities of empathy, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, empathy vs. compassion, Technovelgy.com’s entry on food, an overly inclusive notion of what constitutes invention, CBC Spark, visiscreens and visiplates, Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, Technovelgy needs more wiki, Wikipedia is endlessly useful, automated restaurant, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, food has functions beyond just sustaining our bodies, George Birdseye, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, coffee, sharing meals via Skype.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre: Marsyas: The Hippest Satyr video

February 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio News

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre's -Audio Gothic by Roger GreggAudio Gothic is one of Crazy Dog Audio Theatre‘s odder ventures. It was broadcast on RTÉ (Radio Ireland) in 2006. One part of Audio Gothic is entitled Marsyas: The Hippest Satyr. Here’s the complete work (in the form of successive YouTube videos) as staged at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 1999. Here’s the description:

A modern jazz retelling of the Greek myth of Marsyas, a humble satyr who comes under the spell of a cursed magical horn. Leading Irish guitarist Giordai Ua Laoghaire is the featured musician in this comic musical fable of pride and self-delusion.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

[via Audio Drama Talk forums]

Posted by Jesse Willis