The SFFaudio Podcast #380 – READALONG: The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

August 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #380 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
1965/1964, Nebula Award, Dr. Bloodmoney, Dune by Frank Herbert, better than Dune?, if books were boxers…, a standard Philip K. Dick book, a lot of religious people, taking the cracker and the juice (communion), religious crises, the smaller ideas, precogs, forgetting the precogs are precogs, writing characters who can see into the future, what this novel has, a certain movie, after chapter 5 you don’t know what is real anymore, actual reality and what we’re seeing aren’t lined up, are we still in the Chew-Z delusion?, a very surreal Dick experiences, it’s a trip, the rhetorical flourish, are they spreading the plague, the questioning of reality, an original idea book (Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?), The Days Of Perky Pat, an improvement of an idea in Perky Pat, a cobbled together book, a collage, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, witchcraft and blood magic, the infection is spreading, Anne’s story (joke) about a cat who eats a steak, transubstantiation, the telepathic martian grandmother jackal beast, the difference, Dr. Bloodmoney is funny, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch is creepy horror, the colonization of reality, Solaris, 1961, whenever a beautiful young woman says “come with me” she always wants to take you to Jesus, Anne Hawthorne, she’s really an agent for Leo, the rehotrizer, the analog for sin, Nathaniel Hawthorne is the religious American version of Edgar Allan Poe, how evil is Palmer Eldritch?, is he a victim?, claims and undercut claims, what real evidence do we have that he’s evil, the three stigmata, subjective realities, then we would all be your children, childlike evil, coming up with the idea, people playing with dolls, Barbie dolls, that connection makes it a better book, all the men go into the Walt (Ken), all the women go into Perky Pat (Barbie), LEGO, a Doctor Who podcast, little mustaches and little hats, The Game Players Of Titan, playing like kids do, you can no longer have the experience of Barbie in her dream house, if I had Can-D (candy) I could have…, so well realized in the Short Story, the kids are adults and the adults are children, hunting for rabbits, waving to the Care-Boys, Martian octopuses looking to help humanity on blasted earth, adults need toys, from Earth to Mars, Chicken Pox Prospect (CPP), a grim prospect, an escapist materialistic world, landscapes of methane ice, the opiate of the colonists, when Philip K. Dick wrote this book he was banished from the house, miserable in his shack, taking his drugs in his hovel-shack, seeing that huge metal mask in the sky, he’s like the doll, Eichorst or Eidhorst, E-therapy (evolution therapy), “look, I’m a bubblehead”, religion vs. evolution, he beats Palmer Eldritch (or he thinks he does), the opening paragraph is the clue, we’re only made of dust, they way he wrote it that’s the idiosyncratic voice, so he did win, thank you Marissa, thank you Philip K. Dick, the runaway green-house effect, resort beaches in Antarctica, it’s 2016, running around in air-conditioned suits, “his conapt Marilyn Monroe, New Jersey”, 4.62 grables, 1.46 wagners, things were hotter than ever, clanked?, Daybreakers (2009), vampires, a nocturnal society, Mayerson is a shriveled up corpse, Guillermo del Toro, The Strain, a retelling of Dracula, an invasion of New York, Chuck Hogan, Eldritch Palmer, a synthesis of Dracula with The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, that homage, like Babylon 5, Highlander: The Series, flashbacks, it’s fun, he’s really enthusiastic about all the right things, a scary book, seeing the names mispronounced, little details, now is the time when Paul talks about eXistenZ, virtual reality games, deep into the game, take-out from Perky Pat, just like real life, the sting in the tail, are we still in the game?, they’re acting just like characters, a Palmer Eldritch sort of experience, baseline reality, so many levels of reality, out of the rat maze, laserdisc, a gun made out of a bucket of chicken, real-Cronenbergy, it still holds up, sort of Philip K. Dicky, Big Kahuna Burger, identity issues, Felix Blau, how come you keep calling me Leo, “rigid” is a Philip K. Dick keyword, Roog, a good ending, that interoffice audio memo, we’re supposed to infer that he’s not Palmer Eldritch, World of Ptavvs by Larry Niven, don’t be such a Fnool, getting Fnoogled, Larry Niven takes a page out of Philip K. Dick, the most sexist man in the universe, the Kzinti females are non-sentient, he’s wholeheartedly sexist, Ronnie, super-cunning and clever, lots of boobs, plots and plans, nobody ends up at the top in a Philip K. Dick novel, women in his Antarctic colony, Winnie The Pooh Prospect, fluke-pits, it’s a fluke that they lived, homeopapes, just go with it, underappreciated Dick novels, the religious aspect is a really big thing for a lot of people, now you are like Jesus, Americans are baked in religion, Jesse’s students are from Asia, talking about three days in a tomb, fundamental background material, 37 books, Cosmic Puppets, Marissa really liked the virtual reality stuff, Facebook and Second Life, he would have had a lot of fun with Facebook, Palmer Eldritch today is Google, everyone is in the religion of Facebook, Google’s claws are deep, Fallout 3, Tranquility Lane, an evil little girl, a lot of H.P. Lovecraft, if you really want to be a video-game designer you wanna read a lot of this, whoever the nameless game writer are, the Voigt-Kampf tests, Synths, managing towns, an underground railroad for androids, find the Institute (MIT), a robot wants a human body, romance her later, we’re gonna hook up – might as well get straight to it, they all seem to reward re-reading, The Matrix, I’m going to be all the colonists, I’ll be their civilization, playing all the people, SimCity, Civilization, deep into role-playing without the drugs, addicted to evil games, Clash Of Clans, FREE to play, spending $300 on digital skins (for League Of Legends), Candy Crush, I’m going to farm, rejecting the fake world for the real world, The Sims, managing sims lives, micromanaging fake people’s lives, buying virtual goods for an artificial world, sucking up your life, alcohol is a drugs, beer allows escape from the body, the rejection, the kids being the responsible ones, we will make our own world, it’s hopeful, A Scanner Darkly, Facebook is a drug, liking a Bernie tweet, little check-boxes, a long vacation away from man (then share it on Twitter), I was here at these sand dunes, Jesse is stingy with Twitter favourites, favourites are currency, bots, we live in a sick world, digitizing a human need, you can buy 7,000 followers for $50, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, you must!, TV satire commentary, the top video games of all time, the number one game was Twitter, they’re not as good as me, I’m better than you, keeping up with the Morrisons, the Morrisons had more stuff in their layout, their virtual television is at the shop, psychotherapy costs $10 an hour, spinners and squares, a 12 hour flight to New Zealand, 35 hours to New Zealand, Auckland, Helen Lowe in Christchurch.

The Days Of Perky Pat by Philip K. Dick

The Days Of Perky Pat by Philip K. Dick

DAW - The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch - illustration by Hannah Shapero

Haffmans - The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch

The Three Stigmata Of Plamer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Ron Walotsky

Perky Pat

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #279 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

August 25, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDowncastThe SFFaudio Podcast #279 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Downcast, a fantastic podcast app for iPhone and iPad.

Talked about on today’s show:
A long time since we new released or recent arrived, our SPONSOR: Downcast, Seth’s daily routine, NPR News, Writer’s Almanac, Composer’s Datebook, changing playback speed, customizability, no more syncing, app developers being podcast listeners, an app by podcast listeners for podcast listeners, a one man operation?, ads on podcasts, razor blades, clothing clubs, internationality, Audible, a Science Fiction skin, Luke Burrage’s, Dan Carlin, Jenny is thinking of switching to Downcast, adding and dropping with swipes, categories, short stories!, wisdom in literature: first contact, “a lot of self-help literature is crap,” Understanding by Ted Chiang, Flowers for Algernon, wisdom vs. intelligence, Hansel and Gretel, Mercerism in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, wisdom in StardustMagic for Beginners by Kelly Link; Aimee Bender; Reflection by Angela Carter; Joe Hill; Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower with art by Gabriel Rodriguez; Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, featuring a Song of Ice and Fire novella, not strictly genre; Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction; Hugo Awards going to A Dribble of Ink and SF Signal; time travel mashup category!; The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne; The Drowned World and other strangeness of J.G. Ballard; Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer; Interlopers by Alan Dean Foster; Interlopers b y Saki a.k.a. H.H. Munro; slipstream, portal fantasy, archaeological fantasy?; Close your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian; Ilium and Olympus by Dan Simmons, Homer in spaaaaaace!; HyperionBoneshaker by Cherie Priest; chaos theory in A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury; The Last Ship on TNT based on a novel by William Brinkley, “perfect for watching while you’re eating your cereal”; Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick; The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, a follow-up to his epic The Saga of Seven Suns series; Kevin J. Anderson dictates his novels while hiking, influences his writing style?; William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher; Jesse prefers Isaac Asimov’s Robots trilogy to his Foundation series; Sarah A. Hoyt’s Ill Met by Moonlight is “Shakespeare with elves”; we try unsuccessfully to care about any of the new epic fantasy titles; a heady discussion about how an author’s gender influences his or her writing; are some books just for women?; Somewhere in Time a.k.a. Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson; The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman concluding his trilogy; the etymology of demimonde; Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman; Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar; Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea; Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews; Spyder Robinson’s Callahan series; Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Steakhouse series; Mr. Mercedes, not really genre, is Stephen King losing his edge?; The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft; Lovecraft’s writing does not prominently feature tentacles!; Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain is a Dracula retelling; Hello Cthulhu!

Little Nemo Return To Slumberland

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

June 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck HoganThe Strain
By Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan; Read by Ron Perlman
Audible Download – 13 hours 36 mins [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2009
Themes: / vampires / scientific thriller / horror / New York / mythology / medical mystery

Yes, it’s another book about vampires. But wait, don’t shrug it off just yet. Several things set The Strain apart from the glut of vampire novels flooding the market of late. First, it’s co-written by movie director Guillermo del Toro, whose past film successes include the vampire flick Blade II, the comic-book adaptation of Hellboy, and the mythological Pan’s Labyrinth. He’s also heading up the forthcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Furthermore, The Strain takes a more sobering view of the undead, divorced from the romanticism weighing down the vampire genre.

The Strain begins when a plane lands at JFK airport with almost all its passengers struck dead. The Center for Disease Control calls in its chief investigator Ephraim Goodwether, newly divorced and newly sober, to look into the matter. Mysteries abound when the passengers’ bodies go missing from the morgue, the few survivors begin acting strangely, and a coffin-like trunk inexplicably vanishes from the plane’s cargo hold. Ephraim and his partner Nora, with whom he’s had some past romantic involvement, find unlikely aid in the guise of pawn shop owner Abraham Setrakian, an aged Holocaust survivor who carries an odd staff with a silver wolf’s-head handle. The old man explains that a centuries-old conflict between vampire tribes is about to burst forth onto the streets of New York.

And indeed it does. The narrative frequently shifts away from the main storyline to tell the stories of men and women infected with a strange virus, whose vector is a disgustingly pulsating capillary worm. Initial side effects resemble a mild flu and include sore throat and slight disorientation. But this is only the beginning. The sore throat, it turns out, heralds the growth of a new sinister organ, a long tendril-like apparatus under the tongue tipped with a deadly stinger, which in turn infects other humans. Other vampiric characteristics soon manifest, including the whitening of gums, an aversion to sunlight, and immunity to most forms of attack.

The premise is intriguing, especially since it presents a more scientific approach to the undead than most other vampire novels, except perhaps Richard Mathesen’s superior I Am Legend. Unfortunately, the actual story unfolds too slowly and spasmodically, and lacks evidence of any real structural forethought on the part of the authors. Del Toro originally pitched the idea as a TV show, and evidence of his screenwriting background can be found in the scene headings affixed to each section and in the many entertaining but ultimately superfluous vignettes of violence. The suspense sequences are spine-tingling and the action scenes hair-raising, but most of them do little to further the story.

The book’s shining gem is the character of Abraham Setrakian, whose harrowing escape from Nazis and forces even more sinister we learn throughout the book in flashback sequences. Del Toro’s interest in mythology and folklore take center stage, and provide the most compelling moments of the book.

It’s difficult to know how the division of labor fell between Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan in writing The Strain, but my impression is that del Toro provided the concept and perhaps wrote some of the pivotal scenes, while Hogan did the heavy lifting of filling in the gaps and pulling the whole thing together. This should have been a good thing, since Chuck Hogan is an acclaimed best-selling author. However, writing good speculative fiction requires a certain sensitivity and perspective that I believe Hogan lacks, although this is only a guess on my part since I’ve read none of his other work. Del Toro has keener vision as a storyteller, at least as seen in his films, though these skills don’t necessarily translate to the written word. Since the cover bears both their names, both del Toro and Hogan must bear some blame for crafting a less-than-stellar novel.

The Strain is narrated by actor Ron Perlman, who incidentally also played a role in del Toro’s Blade II. Particularly in works of suspense and horror, a good voice actor can make the difference between scenes that leave you gripping the arms of your chair and scenes that make you laugh out loud by virtue of their inadvertent cheesiness. I’m pleased to report that Perlman’s voice work in The Strain had the former impact on me. His intonations are pitch-perfect, and he snarls out the vampiric growls and moans with enough force and feeling to chill the blood.

The Strain is the first in a trilogy of the same name, as can be seen in the novel’s grim and hurried ending. As Dante Hicks says of The Empire Strikes Back in Clerks, “it ends on such a downer.” That said, the ending brought significant changes to the lives of several pivotal characters who, despite the spotty storytelling, I’ve grown to care about, and I’ll probably read the sequel when it hits the audio airwaves next year.

Posted by Seth Wilson