The SFFaudio Podcast #369 – Jesse and Juliane Kunzendorf discuss The First Men In The Moon by H.G. Wells.
Talked about on today’s show:
1900, 1901, dystopia, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, The Sleeper Awakes, “on the moon” vs. “in the moon”, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the 1964 movie, the framing story, a multinational crew, technical issues, the 2010 adaptation, putting a frame around the story, a Moon Landing fair, a grumpy old man, a kinematoscope, the “real” first Moon landing, Bedford, differences, no plants on the Moon, drugged up, introducing a woman, men acting stupid, a comedy, how Bedford and Cavor meet, passive aggressive, the three workman, almost comedic, a sinister undertone, The War Of The Worlds in reverse, a disappointing ending for the movie, a really strong ending for the book, to make it a family movie, light and amusing vs sinister and serious, coming from Elizabeth Moon’s Trading In Danger, Wells’ language, The Invisible Man, explaining some scientific principle, analogies, maybe there is something like cavorite, the detection of gravitational waves, glass, bromine solution, transparent to gravity, a dodecahedron, a glass sphere, louvered blinds of cavorite, at the bottom of an ocean of air, shooting all of the Earth’s atmosphere into space, genius, genius!, flying to the Moon, the spaceship as an eye, driving school, always look where you want to go, how eyes work, why the movies have been forgotten, the last transmission, the 2010 movie ending, symmetry, what Wells is saying with this book, the last word, ambiguity, the loneliness of humanity, lost, he’s not his identity, what Cavor is doing in those transmissions, utopia/dystopia, wrestling with our purpose as human beings on the surface of the Earth, one definition of work: activity on or near the Earth’s surface, astronauts and miners, the great mind, hive mind, so much Science Fiction afterwards, how life works, ants, on the topic of war, Bedford is the classical monster character, The Country Of The Blind, crystallized in the 1964 movie, hiding from his debts, Blake, once you start suspecting this guy, some of that story is true, putting a good spin on it, subtlety, gold chains, the Selenite’s head broke just like an eggshell, turning the moon into another colony, the whole history of humanity, fighting over useless things, a mirror in front of humanity, the Native Americans, scientific naivety, are we gonna reform our ways?, WWI, giving ultimatums, honor, respect to warriors, (in vino veritas), the surplus population, later SF, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the latter half of this book, the brain, the dictionary, the one who likes to draw, one who is really good at metaphor, off in lala land thinking lala thoughts, the communication specialist, the one who knows all the stuff, the illustrations, the alphas the betas the gammas the deltas, the three worker specialists, the joiner, the earth worker, the metal worker, the name Cavor – caver?, it sounds good, caver vs. cavor, the Lord Bedford, claiming the Moon for the Queen, the BBC audio drama, a very serious book, the Mooncalves, the word “mooncalf”, “abortive fetus of a cow or other farm animal”, all sorts of resonances, a scene that makes vegetarians, the reading material that Bedord brings: TidBits (magazine), selling fishknives, Cavor brings the complete works of William Shakespeare, another connection to Brave New World, The Tempest, a story of colonialism, the only native occupant is Caliban, he’s funny and wise in his untutored way, one of the insults that Prospero throws at , the title of Brave New World, an ironic usage, the one slip-up that Wells mad that Huxley picks-up, Bedford’s play, it would work as a play, act 1, act 2, act 3, the flight as an interlude, trying to find the sphere again, two hours left to go?, another interlude in space, an epilogue, how you would stage it, the gold that he brings back from the Moon, living in Italy, published in The Strand, very meta, you can really see the staging, Cosmopolitan, November 1900 first then The Strand, December 1900, serialized as he wrote it, the end of the Cosmopolitan serialization, an elaborate suicide, a dream, Moon gold, a most extraordinary communication, alive in the Moon, is he hoaxing me here?, The War Of The World radio drama, how the spaceship disappears, the boy who disappears into space, Bedford In Infinite Space, at least 10 days, something weird about time, Einsteinian relativity, time works differently when you travel, criticism of this book, C.S. Lewis’ objections, one world government, new world order, a fascistic totalitarian society, lets look at this, other writers do their own version, a sign of a good book, taking the essence, other interpretations, audio drama as a soporific, two dreams, dreaming the ending of The First Men In The Moon, that’s exactly what happened!, my unconscious or semi-consciousness heard it, such a great ending, left for dead, did Bedford feel guilty for leaving Cavor on the Moon?, not the kind of person to have self-doubts, not very charitable, how it actually went, the best possible spin, this is just the way he is as a human, humans are terrible, his nature, Jesse’s secret, The War Of The Worlds, one of Juliane’s first SF books, the illustrations, reading it with the old serialized magazines, chapter endings, what a great end, did Wells have an influence on the illustrations, how adaptations will always take away the plants on the Moon, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, seeing dinosaurs with skin, a resultant mistake, dinosaurs in popular culture arent shown with feathers, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, a false picture of the reality, we’ll never be able to get passed this point, daylight savings time, were stuck unable to shift out of a system that doesn’t work, we’re stuck, were stuck with war, when Bedford is completely alone he loses his particular niche, if you zoom out, we’re nothing, what are we that we have to fight each other, we’re all stuck here with gravity, why those interludes are so important to the book.
Posted by Jesse Willis
This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (7 hours 50 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. The First Men In The Moon was first serialized in Cosmopolitan, November 1900 to April 1901.
The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1951, the really annoying way Heinlein does things, Paul’s main Heinlein phase (in the late 1980s), when Paul was ten, Time Enough For Love, Expanded Universe, the basic parts of a Heinlein novel (in terms of characters), the Heinleinian triad, the young talented protagonist, the older wise crotchety man, and the red headed woman character, who The Man In The High Castle was, when Dick writes a novel…, when Heinlein writes a novel…, methamphetamine is 100% non-habit forming (?!), Jesse is uncomfortable with surety, Heinlein exudes surety from every pore of his body, orbital mechanics, what women want, Bruce Jenner’s gender switch, Heinlein’s politics, black people, women should be raised up in society, homophobia, Mary’s super-power is gaydar, homosexuality, asexuality, marriage, men and women are identical, “of course husband”, the alien is the husband, the structure, the final chapter, in case the mission to Titan fails, message in a bottle storytelling, first person perspective, surety undercuts it, has Dick ever written in first person?, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Hanging Stranger, identical paranoia, how much he hates the Soviets, Heinlein was rabidly anti-communist, in the commissar’s office, WorldCon, God help us all, he was right but…, imagine if this novel is a metaphor for communism, the Second Red Scare, Soviet and Chinese communism, WWWII, Manhattan crater and Washington crater, projecting brawn, getting tanks to North America, the evil of the puppet master aliens, orgies on TV is bad, also gladiatorial combat, they kill cats!, no effect on Soviet Russia, hygiene, scabies and lice, parasitism, cranked up to 13, Saddam Hussein, U.S. politics, if it were re-written today…, core fears, 24 was that, looking at the structure, avenging the cats and dogs, a master of the craft, Luke Burrage, that is good writing, so different from Philip K. Dick’s books, a straight line vs. how did I get here, all the sins that Time Enough For Love, naked people standing around in cushioned apartments talking about legal matters regarding the decanting of babies while a cat walks into the room, get passed the cat, Pirate the cat, casual nudity, Eric S. Rabkin, making it absolutely necessary that the society go nudist (and never go back), Hyperpilosity by L. Sprague de Camp, combs, even in Heinlein’s kids books, in their dome homes the heat is cranked up, was Heinlein a nudist?, Hollywood, downhill after The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, I Will Fear No Evil, an old white guy living in the body of a young black woman, the US Navy, hate and love for the military, this weird guy from Missouri writes his consciousness into his books, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, Friday, rape, when Heinlein talks about rape…, an artificial person, an inferiority complex, a fascinating society, the movie of The Puppet Masters, the fun stuff, the cat, the alien was kissing, being devoured by a woman, Eric Thal opens his mouth whenever possible, Sam, Mary, why does everyone hate this movie so much, Donald Sutherland, Keith David is always fun, unlike every X-Files this was competent, yeah look it’s a fake, the slugs are really smart, were they smart?, the sequence where Sam first gets a slug on his back is one of the best bits of Science Fiction, its almost as if he doesn’t know, more insidious and more scary, tying it all together, helicopter vs. skycar, Heinlein loves incest, they do juice you up, the addiction metaphor, had Dick developed it…, an Olympic athlete, what’s undercooked, who is in charge of their own minds, choices under some conditions but not under others, if we all had slugs on our backs…, getting married to Mary, love of a good woman ends addiction, black and white, Joe Cinidella is actually Italian until he becomes a Nazi, a flipped switch, turning on the waterworks, operating as a slug, Glory Road, set in fairlyand, Nebraska, all about the contract, an ambivalent relationship with marriage and law, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, alpha husbands and beta wives, primae noctis, you get into their psychology, really weird people, WWII and methamphetamines, go pills, tempus fugit, chasing the cat, is Heinlein challenging us?, Star Trek: Operation: Annihilate (aka Planet of the Pancakes), Maissa Bessada, resetting the show at the end of the episode, another point of Vulcan physiology, Kirk’s brother is named “Sam”, Mary is the vessel for world piece, Heinlein sued the makers of The Brain Eaters, Star Trek: The Next Generation, there’s no money until the Ferengi show up, Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy of the post scarcity economy, maybe women did act that way in the 1950s, a sequel in which Mary is saved from her marriage, 1980s tropes, sex scenes, Mission Impossible movies, developing out of taboos, the PG-13 effect, “they’re boffing, ok”, Alien, giant penis monster, Aliens, James Cameron’s problems with Harlan Ellison and The Terminator, The Outer Limits, The Brain Eaters, lifting things out of literary SF, Avatar is very good lifting, redoes the the first movie and the first, Luc Besson, The Professional, adding a baby doesn’t make things better, Ellen Ripley, the corporate military mission, Newt (from Aliens) is Mary (from The Puppet Masters), garbage bunk vs. good orbital mechanics, feral child, the structure is the same, spacesuit -> fighting suit, ejecting from the ship -> ejecting from the planet, a powerful story, Alien 3, Paul fulminates, the nine day fever (Venusian Jungle Fever), encephalitis, The Puppet Masters is a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, here’s how I would do it, H.G. Wells was a cynical asshole, monstrous, liars, jerks, and racists, our CIA operatives know what they’re doing, the NSA, “you just killed a guy for no reason”, it isn’t uncaring wisdom that save humanity it’s man’s ingenuity, root em out and kill em all, it’s the end of Starship Troopers, the Elves of Titan, Independence Day aliens, Welcome to Earth scene, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, Willy Wonka-style, a space alien cop (the Mother Thing), “who lives like that?”, if Heinlein had had a kid, the serial was slightly rewritten by Horace Gold, the unexpurgated version, 1980s movie style, a hook-up with an anonymous blonde from a bar, the trope for James Bond, Virginia Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, it is not better, weird names, Biblical names, Mary’s real name, Sam’s real name is Elihu, in the Book of Job, Elihu’s big speech
Elihu states that suffering may be decreed for the righteous as a protection against greater sin, for moral betterment and warning, and to elicit greater trust and dependence on a merciful, compassionate God in the midst of adversity.
putting us on the right path, x is so bad that we have to put all our trust in…., our precious bodily fluids, if Heinlein were alive today…, Ray Bradbury, the NSA, anarchism, Mary’s backstory, the Whitmanites, an explicit mention of the Doukhobors, Heinlein just likes nudity, Heinlein likes his women to older or a lot younger, physically young but actually older, a young secretary with an old man’s brain, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, lots of surgeries or whatever, shrugging it off, a different experience than back in the day, you must read ancient authors, for another podcast, you don’t know SFF if you don’t read…, shame at not reading The War Of The Worlds, can you find Heinlein books at new bookstores?, Alfred Bester is great but he wrote two books, genre defining or pioneering, well-written idea SF, almost no science, a bit of politics, marriage, you don’t know SFF if you havent read a Heinlein novel, a long discussion for another time.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1890, Oscar Wilde, Lipincott’s Magazine, a meeting at the Langham hotel August 30, 1889, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, a golden evening, years vs. six weeks, Doyle’s massive output, Wilde’s one novel, a whole new story, a Sherlock Holmes melting pot, Jeremy Brett adaptation, Mystery!, Masterpiece Theater, the 1983 cartoon, great visuals, the Sherlockiana, cocaine begins and ends the book, A Study In Scarlet, Watson is done already, black armbands, “an old adventure”, so Aspergery, Psychology Today, a patriotic obligation, the Andaman Islander, wrapped into a romance, 120 different kinds of tobacco ash?, worrying about details, movable wounds, misshapen heads, the Andaman Islands, they may not even have fire (technology), that’s still a thing, stone age, low on metal, Conan Doyle’s omnivorous interests, Joseph Bell, Jonathan Small has big willpower, a supervillain with a conscience, a sympathetic villain, blacks vs. whites, if Seth were here, we four should enter into a tontine, a recipe for murder, a group investment scheme, the strand with the romance, holding hands, Mary’s disdain for money makes her more attractive to Watson, the Agra treasure, the golden barrier, very chemical, significant looks, love is an emotional thing opposed to true cold reason, A Scandal In Bohemia, The Valley Of Fear, Sherlock Holmes vs. the Ku Klux Klan, the Mormon community, The Five Orange Pips, Philip K. Dick was reading histories of WWII, Doyle was reading the newspaper, a mystery romance, he’s overthinking it, go out and get Toby, the Baker St. irregulars, he does a chemical analysis, Sherlock Holmes tropes, deerstalkers, like wearing a hunting jacket in NYC, warm tweeds, Watson calls Holmes an “automaton”, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers, Cylons, the Borg, he forgets to kill all humans, Wings Out Of Shadow, the Red Baron, a deducing machine, allowing for expansion, the little nuggets allow participation in the experience, Agatha Christie, waiting for plot development to happen, two knights errant, Mr. Spock, Edgar Allan Poe’s C. August Dupin, consulting detectives, tales of ratiocination, The Purloined Letter, a government official who has lost a document, solves, Zadig by Voltaire, full blown Science Fiction, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg is clock-like, he loves the fog, there is no hot-air balloon in Around The World In Eighty Days, The Seven-Percent Solution, a chase on the river Thames, Robert Downey, Jr., disabling spleens, hidden talents, an improvisational violinist, I am an excellent housekeeper, Professor Challenger, Otto Penzler, Neil Gaiman, The Big Book Of Sherlock Holmes, someone with vast interests, The White Company, off to look at The Lost World, dinosaurs, fairies, spiritualism, false-imprisonment, warships of the future, spaceships?, the conversations between Oscar Wilde and Conan Doyle, you seem great – come and talk to us, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: The Undiscovered County, one of Spock’s ancestors, Spock as a descendant of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The original Wrath Of Khan, Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities, Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, Genesis, the A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, the war in India, horse, foot and gunners, blowing our own bugles, we’re still that stupid, the 1857 Sepoy rebellion, tallow and lard greased cartridges, the ultimate topper, repeating the cycle, the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin radicalized Thomas Paine, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, you have to reject monarchy, a petition to King George, Paine was right, BBC Radio 4: In Our Time, like a ministerial briefing, nobody looks at history, Doyle is dropping little comments in there, he’s super-anti-racist, rotten families, looking at it a little more cynically, taking-off the romantic blinders, super-human strength, murder, don’t call the police, corruption, ultimately underneath all of it is corruption all the way up and down, human nature, otherwise you have no story, notice Sherlock Holmes never gets paid?, he lays out money, this is why he needs a roommate, class, child labour laws, latch key kids, free-ranging kids, homeless kids, Seth we miss you, Maissa’s son, is Martin Freeman Hollywood’s choice to represent the British everyman?, homo-eroticism, Sherlock‘s entire focus is on the will-they or won’t-they?, Mary in Sherlock, derivative fiction, it is not an adaptation, Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, stuffed up a chimney, Without A Clue, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine, John Watson: The Crime Doctor, The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, Billy Wilder, homosexuality, a twinkle, Maissa’s local video store is still open!
Posted by Jesse Willis
Here’s an interesting lecture, by Simon J. James, about H.G. Wells’ The First Men In The Moon recorded August 30, 2013.
Note that the audio for the video cuts-out for about 3 minutes starting at the 17 minute mark.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Reading, Short And Deep #003
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Flowering Of The Strange Orchid by H.G. Wells
The Flowering Of The Strange Orchid was first published in the Pall Mall Budget, August 2, 1894.
Here’s a link to the PDF of the story (from Pearson’s Magazine, April 1905).
Posted by Scott D. Danielson