The SFFaudio Podcast #118 – READALONG: Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick

July 25, 2011 by · 16 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #118 – Scott, Jesse and Tamahome talk about Philip K. Dick’s wonderful novelette Upon The Dull Earth (available in Blackstone Audio’s The Selected Stories Of Philip K. Dick Volume 2)

Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond Fantasy Fiction, the prolific Philip K. Dick, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold, is Upon The Dull Earth Fantasy or Science Fiction, suburban romance?, rural romance, Jesse loves the setting, cedars, angels, The Odyssey, On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, Jesse’s terrible Philip K. Dick impersonation, a wooden faucet?, a one way ladder to another plane, using your coffin as a cocoon, “Rick, I cut myself.”, Rick is responsible for her death, is Rick in hell?, Silvia is a sick chick, shortly after Silvia’s incineration, blood from a New Jersey abattoir, Upon The Dull Earth would be perfect for the A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, God has moved on up, HE is capitalized, she’s Fantasy, he’s Science Fiction, she’s elf-like, he’s machine-like, iron and spirits don’t mix, ridding one’s self of civilization, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle |READ OUR REVIEW|, uisge beatha mean “the water of life” (or whisky), is Silvia depressed?, YA, valkyries, insects, The Hanging Man had insects too, witch vs. saint, remember Prometheus and the fire?, ripples from the event, kraals of white skinned young women, is this all going on in Rick’s head, Rick picks up a hitchhiker to use him as a guinea pig, “you’re crowding me man”, going into the underworld to get back your dead girlfriend, when someone dies you mourn your loss, Plato (and Aristophanes’) story about the mythological division of male from female (The Symposium), “we were meant to be together”, “you complete me” and similar cliches, what happens at the end?, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick stories often have a roadside cafe scene and a gas station scene, “like the doves in a John Woo movie”, where does the title of Upon The Dull Earth come from?, she was merely playing at death, disturbed spirits thirsty for blood, the natural of order of things has been violated, William Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act 4, Scene 2, the character name Sylvia comes from the play, but sylvan means “of the wood”, is she a fairy?, HBO’s True Blood, Icarus, the Wikipedia entry for Upon The Dull Earth, the many mentions of clay, Wonder Woman came from clay, Batman: False Faces by Brian K. Vaughn, J. Michael Straczynski, the Golem, Ted Chiang’s Seventy-Two Letters, The Adventures Of Cavalier And Clay by Michael Chabon, capricious (adj.) Given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior, religion, Steven H Silver’s review of Seventy-Two Letters (and Stories Of Your Life And Other Stories), FREE TED CHIANG!, Saint Bernadette, Philip K. Dick really cares about the way the story is told, we never see inside a character’s mind, the authorial view, is Dick popular in for movies for this reason?, it’s grotesque!, she filled the Silex, “We’re all going to have wings!”, “We won’t be worms anymore”, Silvia’s looking for an abusive relationship, Blackstone Audio, the audiobook, Upon The Dull Earth is best read aloud, Tama didn’t know how fantastical Dick was, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, its a Noir Horror Science Fiction Fantasy story, anime, Berserk, Project A-Ko, Princess Mononoke, I only understand Japanese movies made by Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, “I can barely understand the people wearing a Storm Trooper costumes”, Jesse needs some accessible anime, Spirited Away, what are the background assumptions in anime, Cowboy Beebop intro, Luke’s review of Solaris on SFBRP, Erik S. Rabkin, Just Imagine is a crazy musical with plenty of background assumptions (like prohibition), Hey Want To Watch A Movie? podcast, is there an MST3K podcast?, Tam was thinking of the non-podcast Rifftrax.com, readalong vs. watchalong, The Thing, The Thing From Another World, The Thing (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger, The Amazing Spider-Man, comic books vs. Hollywood, The Avengers will be written and directed by Joss Whedon, swastikas are banned in Germany, it’s a case of it’s time to end the podcast.

Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick - BEYOND FANTASY FICTION #9 (November 1954) illustrations by Rene Vidmer

Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick - BEYOND FANTASY FICTION #9 (November 1954) illustrations by Rene Vidmer

Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick - BEYOND FANTASY FICTION #9 (November 1954) illustrations by Rene Vidmer

Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick - BEYOND FANTASY FICTION #9 (November 1954) illustrations by Rene Vidmer

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #116

July 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #116 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Professor Eric S. Rabkin talk about The Space Merchants (aka Gravy Planet) by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

Talked about on today’s show:
Frederik Pohl’s blog, differences between Gravy Planet and The Space Merchants Coca-Cola vs. Yummy Cola, com-pocalypse (a commercial apocalypse), advertizing, conservationists -> connies (or consies) is an analogue for communists -> commies, Tristan Und Isolde, Costa Rica, Chicken Little, Fowler Shocken, 1950s. Jews in “the Science Fiction ghetto”, H.L. Gold, Phlip Klass (William Tenn), Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, the Wikipedia entry for The Space Merchants, a study guide for The Space Merchants, Levittown, Man Plus, The Merchants War, Pohl’s interest in psychiatry, Gateway, structural problems in The Space Merchants, identity theft, a hero’s journey, The Odyssey, katabasis, banana republic, the United Fruit Company, Cuba, U.S. Marines in Columbia, Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders, Jack O’Shea, little people are the perfect astronauts, pilots tend to be small people, the continuing relevance of The Space Merchants, “transformed language”, The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, “the Glaciers didn’t freeze overnight” (Rome wasn’t built in a day), what side do you oil your bread on, pedaling your Cadillac into the future, are there more cars in the U.S.A. than people?, William Gibson, The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed, corporatocracy, Oliver Stone, does Wall Street run the world or is it Madison Avenue?, representative government per capita (per head) or ad valorem (to value), The Marching Morons, dystopia, utopia, citizen vs. consumer, CBC’s The Age Of Persuasion podcast, the effectiveness of advertizing, feminine hygine products, “it has wings”, coffiest vs. Starbucks, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, how effective is advertizing?, saturation of advertizing vs. the message of advertizing itself, does advertizing work?, who consumes dog food?, soyaburger, Chlorella, algae, soylent red, despite what he says Eric is not a jerk vegetarian, seitan (wheat gluten food), Moby Dick, Mountain Dew in the U.S.A. vs. Mountain Dew in Canada, energy drinks, Jolt Cola, phial vs. vile, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream Of Electric Sheep?, the Penfield Mood Organ, caffeine, Tamahome likes unsweetened chocolate, what did Montezuma drink all day long?, does has the internet lessen the impact of advertizing?, the spillage from penis enhancement, Eric bought a wide cross section of pornography, “genuine spurious placebo”, Boeing “forever new frontiers”, the Dubai Ports controversy, Cisco Systems, I, Robot, Minority Report, gesture recognition, Yelp, Wikileaks: U.S. diplomats pressed Boeing deals, Bombardier, “he came from an old family”, Kennedy, Bush, Heddy and Hester, Hedy Lamarr, Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, The Stars My Destination, “Eight sir, seven sir, six sir, five sir, four sir, three sir, two sir, one. Tenser, said the Tensor, Tenser said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun.” Rebecca Black’s Friday is a train wreck, Arthur C. Clarke‘s Tales From The White Heart, colonizing your brain, “you haven’t read a book until you’ve talked about it”, is solitary reading a different kind of thing than social reading?, satire, Monty Python’s “The Funniest Joke In The World” sketch, advertizing in books, advertizing in paperback novels, propaganda, recommendation vs. advertizing, making something available vs. thrusting it upon you, metaSFFaudio, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell, Flannery O’Connor with zombies, why SFFaudio doesn’t link to Amazon.com, Morning Joe, Fox News, Scott is now a politician, Douglas Adams, political debate being replaced by sound bites, Jon Stewart vs. Sean Hannity, Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, Will Rogers, communication vs. advertizing, jokes are revelations, brand awareness, why do kids want to see Transformers 3?, Cedar Rapids is a coming of age movie about the nature of friendship, why is there no commercial released audiobook of The Space Merchants?, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, Them!, anti-consumerism (anti-Americanism), tobacco packaging warning messages (are ads), the tobacco industry vs. the anti-tobacco industry, church advertizing, Scientology doesn’t sell the same message as many other religions, L. Ron Hubbard, A.E. van Vogt, Dianetics, the premise of Null-A, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Illustrations from the original serialization of Gravy Planet (aka The Space Merchants) in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine’s July August and September 1952 issues:

Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley

Posted by Jesse Willis

Robert Sheckley’s Seventh Victim

April 14, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Seventh Victim by Robert SheckleyGoing in, and liking Robert Sheckley, I was surprised how much I didn’t respond to his most famous short story Seventh Victim. Upon first reading it I didn’t think of it as terrific story. Nor did I think of it as having much in the way of intellectual heft. But, upon reflection, particularly after watching the film adaptation I am coming around a bit. Indeed, plenty of folks, it seems, think of Seventh Victim as an academic story. It’s been used in both introductory psychology and philosophy textbooks. It has been reprinted more than a dozen times in different anthologies or collections. The 1965 film adaptation, called The Tenth Victim (La Decima Vittima), prompted Sheckley to expand the short story into a novel under the same name (which spawned more novel sequels Victim Prime and Hunter / Victim.

Robert Sheckley’s short story Seventh Victim is the tale of a future earth in which men and women engage in a voluntary game of assassination. Upon its first publication Galaxy magazine’s editor, H.L. Gold, abstrusely compared it to Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game. I see that. But I was more struck by its closer resemblance to the game played in the opening scenes of the 1985 film Gotcha!. That film was likely inspired by a 1982 movie, Tag: The Assassination Game – which itself certainly nodded towards The Most Dangerous Game (the name of the first victim in the film is Connally). And that movie, in turn, was likely inspired by a real game of fake murder played on university campuses at the time (it looks like it is still played today too). While the story itself isn’t available as an audiobook there are a couple of audio dramatizations (both use the same script):

Future TenseFuture Tense – The Seventh Victim
Adapted from a short story by Robert Sheckley; Adapted by Ernest Kinoy; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: WMUK Special Projects
Broadcast: May 20th, 1974
Provider: Rimworlds.com
“The most dangerous game, said one writer, is Man. But there is another still more deadly!” First published in the April 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

X-Minus OneX-Minus One – The Seventh Victim
Adapted from a short story by Robert Sheckley; Adapted by Ernest Kinoy; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: March 6, 1957
Provider: Archive.org
“Tonight we go forward in time to the days when war has been outlawed – and in its place there is a system of carefully controlled legalized murder.” First published in the April 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

Cast:
Lawson Zerbe …. Freeline
Terri Keane …. Janet
Frank Maxwell … Emanuel Gale
Ian Martin ….
Arthur Hughes …. Jerry
Fred Collins …. Announcer

[via Archive.org and Rimworlds]

Posted by Jesse Willis

X-Minus One: Isaac Asimov’s The C-Chute

February 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The C-Chute is one of the few Isaac Asimov stories that features aliens. Set during an interstellar war, it tells the story of a group of humans that are captured and imprisoned by an alien species. Most of the action of the tale comes in the playing out the group’s psychology. They all have differing backgrounds, experiences and motivations. – It kind of sounds like Cube right? – The story was originally submitted under the title “Greater Love.” But, as it was altered to The C-Chute as a part of several modifcations demanded by Galaxy Magazine editor, H.L. Gold. Asimov, who didn’t like the changes, was inspired to write another short story (The Monkey’s Finger) in which a fantasy writer, and his editor, get into a similar dispute.

Here’s the Galaxy magazine teaser for The C-Chute:

“Captured by an unthinkably alien race, the terrestrial spachsip formed a desperate human microcosm. Somebody had to be a hero … but who was it to be … and why?”

X-Minus OneX-Minus One – The C-Chute
Based on the short story by Isaac Asimov; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: February 8, 1956
Provider: Archive.org
During Earth’s first interstellar war, a civilian transport traveling to Earth is captured by a spaceship piloted by the Kloros, a chlorine-breathing race of intelligent beings. They place two of their own on board the humans’ spaceship. With the human passengers sequestered as prisoners of war, the Kloros head to an unknown destination. The human passengers fall into argument and dispute, some coming to blows, with contradicting feelings on what should be done. Opinions range from a violent counteroffensive to a passive acceptance of their situation. Only Mullen, a shy, mild-mannered, short bookkeeper, is willing to make an attempt to take back control of the ship, which he does by exiting via the C-Chute which is normally used for launching corpses for burial in space.Based on the story by Isaac Asimov, originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1951

Here’s the art from the original Galaxy Magazine publication in the October 1951 issue:

The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - Cover from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine
The C-Chute by Isaac Asimov - from the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine

[via Beware ,There’s A Crosseyed Cyclops In My Basement!!! and the Thrilling Wonder Stories blogs]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: X-Minus One Project

August 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxNow here is a cool project, and it’s one recently mentioned on one of our podcasts! It’s an effort to source and record and proof the “public domain science fiction stories which were turned into half-hour plays for the classic mid-1950’s American radio series, X Minus One.” This collection includes eight such stories. Which one do you think should be remade as a modern audio drama?


LIBRIVOX - X-Minus One ProjectX Minus One Project
By various; Read by various
9 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4249

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - The Coffin Cure by Alan E. NourseThe Coffin Cure
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Max Lindberg
1 |MP3| – Approx. 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
First published in Galaxy April 1957. The X-Minus One adaptation was first broadcast November 21st 1957.

LIBRIVOX - Death Wish by Robert SheckleyDeath Wish
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Compared with a spaceship in distress, going to hell in a handbasket is roomy and slow! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction June 1956.

LibriVox - The Defenders by Philip K. DickThe Defenders
By Phillip K. Dick; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
No weapon has ever been frightful enough to put a stop to war—perhaps because we never before had any that thought for themselves! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction January 1953.

LibriVox - The Moon Is Green by Fritz LeiberThe Moon Is Green
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Juli Carter
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Anybody who wanted to escape death could, by paying a very simple price—denial of life! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction April 1952.

LIBRIVOX - The Old Die Rich by H.L. GoldThe Old Die Rich
By H.L. Gold; Read by Juli Carter
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED] –
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
First Published in the March 1953 issue of Galaxy magazine.
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

LIBRIVOX - Project Mastodon by Clifford D. SimakProject Mastodon
By Clifford D. Simak; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
“An interesting variation on the standard time-machine theme. No loops encountered. The short story is tersely written and the end, when technicalities clear, abrupt. This makes it an early example of hard SF with a time machine.” First published in the March 1955 issue of Galaxy magazine.

LIBRIVOX - Time And Time Again by H. Beam PiperTime And Time Again
By H. Beam Piper; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
To upset the stable, mighty stream of time would probably take an enormous concentration of energy. And it’s not to be expected that a man would get a second chance at life. But an atomic might accomplish both— First published in Astounding Science Fiction April 1947.

LIBRIVOX - The Tunnel Under The World by Frederik PohlThe Tunnel Under The World
By Frederik Pohl; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Pinching yourself is no way to see if you are dreaming. Surgical instruments? Well, yes—but a mechanic’s kit is best of all! First published in the January 1955 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. The X-Minus One adaptation was first broadcast March 14, 1956.

And here are the X-Minus One adaptations:

The Coffin Cure |MP3|[RADIO DRAMA]
Death Wish |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Defenders |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Moon Is Green |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Old Die Rich |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
Project Mastodon |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
Time And Time Again |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Tunnel Under The World |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]

[Thanks also to by BellonaTimes, Betty M., Annise, Gregg Weeks and the crew at Distributed Proofreaders]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Inside Man by H.L. Gold

July 6, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction - Inside Man by H.L. GoldInside Man
By H.L. Gold; Read by William Mills, Sam Gartner and
Roxanne Mills
1 MP3 File – Approx. 32 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Renaissance E Books / REB Audio
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Humor / Empathy / Telepathy / Psychology / Domesticity /

Why would Lester Shay need anything new to occupy his mind? He is a newlywed of just 3 months! But, when you can’t shut out the pained emotions and feelings of the machines with which you live, even a passionate young bride isn’t quite enough!

First published in the October 1965 issue of Galaxy magazine, the 15th Anniversary issue, Inside Man garner a Nebula nomination for best science fiction short story of the year. But despite the nomination this is, by no means, a classic of the genre. Horace Gold was a far better editor than he was a writer. Despite the caveats this is a well produced multiple voice reading of the exact sort of story that appeared in Galaxy magazine under Gold’s editorial reign. Funny and original. And though hearing the mid-twentieth century values voiced today seem at best rather quaint, this short story still yields an interesting twist. The readers’ voices are clear and this a relatively straightforward and professional production. The highlight for me though is actually the three minute biographical and historical introduction to the story written by Jean Marie Stine. It is always a good idea to place an older story in its context. But I must say the spacey music that accompanies the introduction doesn’t actually improve it. Inside Man is available now as a high quality MP3 through Fictionwise.com.

Posted by Jesse Willis