The SFFaudio Podcast #451 – READALONG: Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

December 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #451 – Jesse, Paul and Marissa talk about Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1985, 1957, a magnificent novel!, struggling through, Paul is not a fan, opinions about this book, Marissa really enjoyed it, problems, interesting, not a mainstream book, marriage and cheating, Jesse’s gutter definition of mainstream, it has them all beat, an existential novel, mainstreaminess, dread, creeping social order dread, where did it start to go wrong for Paul, why am I listening to this book, technical difficulties, the opening, the school, why am I listening to this?, mimetic fiction, I’m not interested in this, there’s no hook, their lives, the son, the poor victim, Roger recapitulates, his mother-in-law, the inevitability of the break-up of the marriage, his third time, failed relationships, spending time with these people, they’re awful awful, flip-flopped, disregarding the content of the novel…, badly composed Philip K. Dick novels, he’s really smooth, most beautiful in a few places, a way for Paul to get through this novel, Jesse’s last theory, the Mexicans are not really Mexicans (they’re Martians), what the heck are you talking about, Martian Time-Slip, his autistic son, he gives his son to the Martians, put on the lap of one of the hitchhikers, psychology, moving to Chicago with a load of stolen televisions, a secret science fiction novel, becoming a science fiction novel for a moment, at the point where it would spin fantastic… its averted, ruminating and undercutting, when Jesse reads and Isaac Asimov mystery, mind bendy, under Galactic Pot-Healer, no access to higher beings or aliens who live across the street, Lord Running Clam, well and truly lost, there’s no way out other than to move about, Puttering About vs. puttering around, what is this thing about, its not really about anything, when Virginia talks about her husband, she’s made this mistake, the mores of the 1950s, waiting for her husband to screw up, Roger is a prat, they’re all Philip K. Dick, Mrs. Alt, the teachers are all robots, The Simulacra, the math teacher, the horses, the character realization is amazing, all real people, the TV repairman, R. Childan from The Man In The High Castle, a fascinating book for anybody who wants to go deep on Philip K. Dick, you have to let it hypnotize you, bootstrapping opportunities, being in the right mood for things, if you classify this book differently, this is a crime novel scene, they commit adultery and that’s a crime, James M. Cain, adulterous relationships, the Greek fate track they get on, a car-wreck of murder and sex and love, if I was in this car…, tearing him down, he married into this, there’s no escape, a horror, a horrible human being, horrible people, being terrorized and terrified and having no escape, good writing, feeling something coming, a payoff, what all the school means, what (other than the fact that this actually happened) does this mean?, like he was experiencing this stuff, screw you all, feeling the tedium, attention to detail, open and closed to the experience, little kid psychology, sometimes adults have a greater wisdom and experience than the kid, an emotional sponge, to get that cheque, Mrs Alt is a change, the chickens and the eggs, that chicken scene is straight out of The Father Thing, old and mouldy and rotten down to the center of the earth, its turning science fiction its turning fantasy, its turning PKD!, his brother, a multiple reality thing, it wouldn’t take much to flip it into a science fiction story, Paul remembers he hated mimetic fiction, A New Apartment, I hate these people, Paul nearly failed reading in seventh grade (because of the books they gave him), A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, mis-classified, listening to my neighbours talking about their marriage, the periodness of it, a picture of the 1950s that is so complete, immersed into the 1950s, oh this is a real place, this is a real time, so many scenes, The Hanging Stranger, the basement, everything in his 1950s town is exactly the same except for the corpse hanging from a lamp post, lynching, transparency into a social reality, the racism, he didn’t mutter it quietly enough, teeth flying all over the street and he deserved it, seeing the consequence, it felt so real, so visceral, what happened?, explaining to his wife, refusing to go to the dentist like a little kid, new horrors to come, he’s constantly putting himself into these horrible situations, how great is the rage trip?, raging at the whole world, every middle class white guy’s fear, the emotional experiences, perfectly encapsulated, maybe this was written by a woman, Liz is a fantasy character, Upon The Dull Earth, digging the trench, all the other stories reflected, a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, a waking dream, in a very PKD sense, you can’t tell which universe you’re in, the photographs, so amazing, Time Out Of Joint, we don’t want to live in the world where PKD became a successful mainstream writer, decaying royalties, he is a success in this world, being recognized during his lifetime, worth digging out, he’s such a great idea man that his work will live on past his mere boring and terrible existence, mainstream writers that have wasted their lives, Martian Time-Slip can’t exist without this mundane book, squint a little bit, the PKD genre, the shoe-repair boy, none of them can hear me, our perceptions of reality, it felt like it was about to turn into a science fiction novel, almost a witch, a sorceress, Roger’s seeing something in her, children and schizophrenics, a secret brother living inside, an asshole father, an amazing horror story, Tony And The Beetles, what does this mean, Evan Lampe American Writers: One Hundred Pages At A Time podcast, kids, an empathetic sponge, where it turns into a science fiction novel for a moment, the stamp collection, dad did they use stamps in Roman times, I think I have one, that’s the end of that scene, where’d that come from and where did it go?, the denouement of so many Philip K. Dick novels, Ubik, that is the turn, how often Jesse talks to kids, its almost like they have schizophrenia, I think my feet are on fire, they sound insane, what if that’s true?, the fact that he thinks he has a Roman stamp is true in that moment, those little touches are what make this a great, great book, eliciting the sense of existential dread, I might read another mainstream Philip K. Dick, The Man Whose Teeth Were Exactly Alike, the premise is like nothing, horrible people, I love reading about these fuck-ups, asshole after asshole, Stephen King, Nelson De Mille, a Goodreads review by Hyzenthlay:

The worst part of having a favourite author who died before you started reading him is that eventually you will run out of new reading material. The best part of that favourite author being Philip K Dick is that he was prolific as fuck AND he has so many books that are only recently coming back into print and/or being published posthumously for the first time that even though I’ve been reading him for 20+ years, I still haven’t run out of new-to-me shit to read.

Puttering About in a Small Land is one of those mythical PKD volumes I searched used book stores and thrift shops for for years. It was first published in the mid-80s, following Dick’s death, then went out of print for almost three decades cos there was never much call for his literary fiction. It’s not sexy enough to be referred to in hushed reverential tones like a DADoES or mind-fucky enough to be a scholarly treatise on humanity and reality like the VALIS trilogy.

It’s a quiet book, dealing with adultery and retail. It’s undeniably an early Dick book, exploring what exactly it means to be human; to feel eternal, knowing all this pain is an illusion. The prose and style will be familiar to anyone who’s read more than a handful of his books or short stories, but it’s not one of his Big Damn Idea books.

I feel I’m not explaining myself very well.

If you’re a genre fan thinking to dabble in Dick, don’t start here. [Waves hand] This is not the book you’re looking for. You go read something else (if you don’t want to start with the usual suspects, I applaud you and would recommend The Penultimate Truth, Dr Bloodmoney or The Cosmic Puppets), cos you will likely find this book’s slightly plodding pace infuriating.

If you’re a litfic reader, looking to broaden your reading horizons, you *could* give this one a go. Maybe only if you’re already into mid-20th Century Americana, though. This might not be the best starting point. You’d be better served picking up Confessions of a Crap Artist or Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (which, yes, is genre fiction, but ONLY JUST).

Fellow Dickheads? Obviously you need to read this. After Milton Lumky (who knew typewriter sales would be so compelling?). You might hate it, but your need for completion will compel you.

TL;DR This book isn’t for you. Or you. Or you. But it might be for YOU.

stealth sex scenes, she’s consuming him, a spider crawls on her hip, a great review, Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, Mario Puzo’s Fools Die,

Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K.Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #095 – Crickets by Richard Matheson

November 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #095

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Crickets by Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson was first published in Shock, May 1960.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #449 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

November 27, 2017 by · 2 Comments
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #449 – Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Oliver Wyman. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Oliver Wyman.

Talked about on today’s show:
100 years old, the beginning, because it is short, At The Mountains Of Madness, the narrator is insane, gone mad with fear, Pete Rawlik, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a great Crispin Glover impersonation, Christopher Walken, the great war was then at its very beginning, pre-Lusitania, the narrator is either British or Canadian or an American working on a British or Canadian ship, inspired by a dream, a Lovecraft-stand-in, internal evidence, a Mid-Atlantic accent, the element of the war, post-traumatic stress, adding ambiguity, illustrations, a LEGO version, on the first page, he’s outside of the boat, “the change happened while I slept”, the heaving vastness of unbroken blue, half-sucked, the surface of the ground matching the undulating black mire, Stranger Things, “the upside-down”, stranded at the bottom of the ocean, being sucked into black slime, how sexual the images are in this, everybody illustrates the creature climbing up the monolith, the one with the monster, an incredibly striking image, a framing story, weeks -> months -> years, three or four years of torture, he was “supercargo”, WWII, The Narrative Of Arthur Goron Pym Of Nantucket, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, two spaceships traveling in intergalactic space crashing into each other, designed to be suspect, “I think I went mad then”, an unprecedented volcanic upheaval, a reverse Atlantean myth, Lemuria, Mu, pre-human horrors, all of this is real, The Uncharted Isle by Clark Ashton Smith, King Kong, a phantasmagoric eternity of delirium, like The Invisible Man, a coming apocalypse, the oars, a style of storytelling, The Red One by Jack London, the big red thing, it feels like a Lovecraft story, shooting giant butterflies or moths, the Atlas moth, a juju man, the heads, a breadfruit tree, loaded with heads, “the red one”, a giant red sphere, an alien spaceship, a super-powerful weird story, nothing is revealed, the most enigmatic story, ancient astronauts were not a thing until after The Red One, stories really, Erich von Daniken’s Chariots Of The Gods and Life After Life, huskies and dying in the snow, White Fang, Call Of The Wild, The Sea Wolf, Jack London’s science fiction, “hard-ass bastards vs. dilettante assholes”, To Build A Fire, a punch to the gut, feeling SFy, the coldness of space reaching down, being tipped away from the sun, hard SF, the guy needs a spacesuit, that feeling when Luke Skywalker gets stuffed into a tauntaun, looking at the world from an alien perspective, the wisdom of men does not extend to all things, Jack London totally an SF guy, The Iron Heel is mostly lectures, back to Lovecraft, the genre of apocalyptic dream fiction, highlights and stars and boxes, “I cannot think of the deep sea”, “water soaked granite”, clams in their clammy beds, sea-cucumber, eating invertebrates, a horseshoe crab, Oliver is not afraid of going in the water, on the dock, de-crabbing his crab trap, good at clamping, tearing the crab apart, pretty horrific, Paul went to the beach in New Zealand, the deep ones were not invading that day, the HPLHS’ Dagon: The War Of The Worlds, reading the ending in a subversive way, I dream of day, in their reeking talons, war exhausted mankind, universal pandemonium, just end this!, bring on the great old ones!, why is he freaked out?, what’s happening with our species right now, if Jesse is right, taking place in 1917, the horrors of trench warfare, end our inhumanity to each other, might as well have the apocalypse, Keith Roberts’ Pavane, Scott and Luke Burrage, fairies, changing history, researching history (instead of watching the news), some dude went crazy in Las Vegas, country music is not for everybody, this story fits in with that, the general tenor, I got to read more about what the unabomber was worried about, hid and read history and do a podcast,

When you have read these hastily scrawled pages you may guess, though never fully realise, why it is that I must have forgetfulness or death.

Lovecraft’s inspiration for writing these stories is dwarfing the horror of reality, somebody is putting a name on it, House Of Cards, I miss when politicians were evil (instead of corrupt and inept), we sympathize with their massive ability (and their massive ambition), a fantasy of competence, Ken Burns’ Vietnam, JFK, Obama, a written narrative, I hear a noise at the door, an immense slippery body, that same scene, jumping out the window, that turn, he’s one of them, a fear that he has within him, knowledge bubbling below the surface but which he can’t put name to, “it shall not find me”, “god, that hand”, “the window, the window!”, being digested slowly, the hand is the hand before him, creepy, totally within the text, pre-Shadow Over Innsmouth, subconsciously he’s thinking of all of this, when doing the modelling of that LEGO, seeing other people’s drawings, a sexuality that’s freaking him out, kissing is somebody putting their mouth on you, when people write about sex, detail by detail, beat by beat, drawing a veil over some of it, the carvings and the bas-reliefs on the monolith, a giant man-like creature fighting a whale, reading this as deep ones, each story is independent, are we supposed to…, what size is this monolith, what size is the creature that most people would call Dagon, dimensions, presumably, Polyphemus-like and cyclopean, definitely huge, it’s his, no man could life that, bronze age tombs, when it comes out of the water, it flung its gigantic scaly arms, a child clinging to its mother, certain measured sounds, is it “in heat”, a Freudian interpretation, “loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly arms, the while it bowed its hideous head and gave vent to certain measured sounds.” “certain” is very specific and means nothing, a religious chanting, a sexual thing, I remembered little, “I believe I sang a great deal” and laughed oddly when I was unable to sing. I have indistinct recollections of a “I heard peals of thunder”, over reading, certain people (Ollie Wyman), something deep within us, we know it is powerful, its the questions that propel us forward, when he travels over the surface over the land, nowhere were there sea-fowl, a giant white phallus, walk through the mire, unknown to the modern world, decomposing forms of dinosaurs?, a vision of a present?, Doctor Who’s Silurians, this was all fever dream, the storm broke the fever (and the dream), unless you’re Captain Bligh…, in his dream, I want it to be that way, ancient chthonic creatures or all in his head, tending to the more fantastic, especially when the Moon is gibbous, transient surcease (the lost Lenore is always missing from the Lovecraft stories), written for information (or contemptuous amusement), a hideous vivid vision in reply, it manifests itself before him, Gustave Doré, Bulwer-Lytton, Piltdown Man, Paradise Lost, worries about the reception of his work, a real chip on his shoulder, contempt, self-loathing, self-doubt, nobody likes his poems (except for Jesse and Paul), the psychiatrist is “hopelessly conventional”, alienated, Lovecraft is an alien, Sonia Greene would feed him because he was so thin, had never been in an Italian restaurant (age 30), let’s go in for lunch, Lovecraft watches him eat, why open yourself up to criticism, you end up being a Crispin Glover, Willard, a pale gaunt slender man living in his parent’s garret, New York, Chicago, Sonia Greene was a big fan of amateur journalism (blogs and podcasts), earning the equivalent of $100,000 a year, echo-y with later stuff, The Tomb, “I dreamed that the whole hideous crawl”, Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb, the sky is also black, its not Carcosa yet, Marissa wants to go there, bring a gas-mask, bring a camera, a great virtual reality environment, almost nothing happens in terms of choices, the Lovecraft role-playing game, The Nightmare Lake, What The Moon Brings, a recurring dream, lotus-petals, sea-birds circling over something in the water, the brow of a giant statue, he goes mad, if he seas what is beneath the brow it will be the end, the hideous stench of the sea, swimming in black lakes, a little bit freaky, the water is much scarier, VR is the hot new thing, Blackstone Audio’s The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Jerome Bixby’s It’s A Good Life, Roger Zelazny, Bill Mumy, the Joe Dante adaptation, Dawn Of The New Everything: Encounters With Reality And Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier, VPL, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, eating virtual food, screen-time, selling the spiritual aspect, how good are computer games?, mixed reality (augmented reality), Steam’s VR environment, on a catwalk in the bowels of Bespin, unendurable vertigo, The Simpsons living room, Audioshield, it makes me feel I’m in a Steve Ditko Doctor Strange comic, the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, Aces Of The Pacific, a rookie pilot in 1943, why Ollie is an actor, pulling the wool over my own eyes, getting into VR, go for an Occulus or a Vive, a VR Star Trek game, Fallout 4 (VR), Psychonauts, cooking an egg and washing dishes in VR, Vanishing Realms, real fight mechanics, its ready, 1991, huge and clunky, more than a bigger monitor, vector graphics?, Dactyl Nightmare, Dire Straits, Max Headroom, Elite Dangerous, Marissa wants to join the church of VR, skiing, under London Bridge, divining caches, friend MrKawfy on Steam and, the interactive entertainment editor of Creem magazine, that raunchy Doom theme, Serious Sam, chainsaw, was the Far Harbor expansion for Fallout 4 Lovecraftian?, the Pickman’s Model house, the Dunwich Borers, a serial killer, get their shit freaked, what are we doing in here?, the problem Bethesda games is the inventory management, a bane on your existence, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, listening to audiobooks while playing games.

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - WEIRD TALES

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - WEIRD TALES

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke - I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke - I think I went mad then.

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke "The Window"

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #446 – READALONG: The Night Flier by Stephen King

November 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #446 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU, talk about The Night Flier by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
1988, Prime Evil (New Stories By The Modern Masters Of Horror), the movie, The Running Man is a powerful book, was Jesse wrong about Stephen King?, Salem’s Lot, he’s long, faithful, killing Dees?, lean and mean and sharp, essential goodness, cute, where It was set, All You Zombies, Predestination (2014), Marissa really loves his writing, creeped-out again, how bad writing happens, translates thought onto the page, Elmore Leonard, Donald E. Westlake, not enough there?, maybe Jesse is wrong, depth?, evidence that Jesse is wrong, social commentary, the flower children of the 1960s became the cannibals of the 1990s, real cynicism, pushing hard, the depth is in the characters, caring about characters, hard to film, what’s missing is its all a metaphor for something, the story in the telling, apart from the obvious metaphor: journalism bloodthirstiness, fake journalism, having the story in their minds, tabloid newspapers, what’s that about?, the social phenomenon, analogies to blood (and guts), typical Stephen King, a depth of connection, part of the appeal, feeling these things happen, we know him, we get him, the Weekly World News, on the edge of reality, Kolchak crossed with Lou Grant, “You’re real!”, backward and forward in time, anticipating what he’s going to see, a Cessna Skymaster, you sleep in the belly of that thing, don’t publish what you believe, finding evidence, Maine, small aircraft at small airports, a story idea, who is the titular character?, he’s more real than anyone else, he pointed to it right there, Dwight Renfield’s aircraft: the Toyota of aircraft, a push-pull, a bit like a bat, Dee’s aircraft: Beechcraft 55 aka the Baron, their “crosstown rival”, Cessna vs. Beech, Wichita, Kansas, playing up that parallel, extending the ending, anticipatable, creating the creature for his story, the writer spinning his story, soft human emotions, “Reader’s Digest emotions”, Miguel Ferrer, the anti-hero, a kind of bloodthirsty dude, he’s the vampire, to exploit the trauma of other people’s lives, lying, he glamours them, practicing, “a little boid”, is that what makes King so popular?, he does humans well, problems with endings, unlike the movie, vampiric traits, that ending, there’s no evidence of a vampire, did he get framed, making explicit the metaphor that’s going on in the text, take the film out, if that’s true…, why does Dwight let Dees go?, chasing a phantom, self mutilation for fun and profit, we are supposed to infer Dwight has glamoured the folks at the airfield, following but not with, was Dees doing the killing, an X-Files episode, very Kolchak, an asshole as the main character, we know he’s a bad actor, comparing him to the monster that he’s chasing, practicing in the mirror at hotels (his true home), the fake human emotions he doesn’t actually feel, a Tim Powers lecture, Dracula as a statement on feminism in the 19th century, the horrors are real int he context of the story, The Turn Of The Screw, the comparison is valid, our position, persuaded by the editor, good instincts, he’s losing it, a fracture in his mind?, taking photos, enough, seeing himself from outside himself, super-powerful stuff, dual personality, Stephen King’s world, the monster is a monster (not just imagination), what Jesse likes: very ambiguous stories about what might just be a madman, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe, the scene with the mirror, I like your work, Dees as the fall guy, a reset button, the ending of the movie, he’s alive and the vampire’s out there, horrifying stuff, he might deserve it, traumatized for the rest of his life, Julie Entwisle, as cold as he was, a good moment, more powerful ending, Stephen King worked with the film-makers, more time seeing than describing, “STAY AWAY” in blood, a dog, the album, more concrete evidence that he’s a real guy, the graveyard and the tombstone, he’s not creating the story out of whole-cloth he’s spinning it he’s framing it, the National Enquirer, reading this now in the wonderful era of fake news, readers like dogs, the cynicism, it’s right, cynicism is dangerous, cynicism’s etymology, he’s done this, Salem’s Lot, The Strand, a peaceful Dracula, a kind of psychopath, muted feelings, it came out, the wall was broken down, 1408, John Cusack, making stuff up, Frank Muller, we have evil inside of us, deep honesty, he has the model of that, doing it in real life and doing it in fiction, a horrific way of being, that’s what jokes are, if I said very rude about one of you, a joke is a thought, the evil angels inside of us, bad impulses, humanity, princess and happy cartoon creatures, “oh shit, this is what adults think!”, they do fight and they are unfair, the exact same feeling, a revelation, a clown with a balloon doesn’t appeal, anybody who writes a lot, thinking about what other people don’t have to think about, his job is to think hard about real things, why is this phenomenon so pervasive?, what’s behind it, what’s underneath it?, a different kind of truth, undercurrents vs. facts, the insights by the editor and the author, poking at the why, bad boob jobs, alien abductions, not interested in the why, interested in the what, more honest than other kinds of newspapers, at an instinctual or animal level, an indictment of humanity, ratings, Gawker and Peter Thiel, the online equivalent, Inside Edition, Bill O’Rielly, a horror of a human being, Geraldo Rivera, wjhat got Gawker got in trouble for, breaking real news stories, National Enquirer has broken real news stories, unpopular facts, Nightcrawler (2014), the monsters are all human, making a story, the movie was so low budget that the editor’s office doesn’t have a desk it has a dining room table, he’s too short, Jesse forgives The Night Flier (1997) a hell of a lot, crappy little movies that do a lot with what they’re given.

Stephen King's The Night Flier (1997)

THE NIGHT FLIER

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #091 – The Place Of Pain by M.P. Shiel

November 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #091

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Place Of Pain by M.P. Shiel

The Place Of Pain was published in The Red Magazine, May 1, 1914

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #443 – READALONG: Ubik by Philip K. Dick

October 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #432 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU, talk about Ubik by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1969, the third most popular PKD novel, not much new in here, a lot more costumes, very familiar things, a pretty good book, the top half of the bottom half, for Dick connoisseurs like us, a tonne of Philip K. Dick, the end of the most lucid stage, things are starting to slide, conapts, strange realities, mysterious forces, a relatively coherent whole (except for the last chapter), we’ve done 40 episodes on Philip K. Dick, thank you, a Ubik ad, one of the first Philip K. Dick books Marissa read, well put together, loving this crazy guy’s writing, a different appreciation, What The Dead Men Say by Philip K. Dick, Virgil Finlay illustrations, this novel contains one page of that novelette, some crossover, names and concepts, no Joe Chip, amazing illustrations, a lot fewer angry wives, “wife”, become my wife, now you’re just a girl, that scene where some guy comes by with a girlfriend for the main character, Lord Runningclam, you’re depressed you need a girlfriend, G.G. Ashwood, on coffee and cigarettes and speed, a nice big fat commission, a sad sack Dick protagonist, Galactic Pot-Healer, so many connections, who is the Glimmung in this book?, strange messages on packages, notes, Ubik is the Glimmung, a thing or a tool?, a McGuffin, a random line, “I am”, God talking (from the Bible), one of those bathroom revelations, I am alive!, Chapter 17, “before the universe was, I am,” my name is never spoken, I am called Ubik, the little bon mots at the beginning over every chapter, “only as directed”, Christ Sally!, but now – wow!, the enterphone, my apartment’s a mess, a vague memory of going shopping the night before, the conapt’s super-maket, a green ration stamp, all drugs, expensive coffee, soporific, ubiquitous throughout the novel, in our higher moments, drug induced experiences of god, Ubik as an anti-psychedelic, legit, his novel is decaying, the world is regressing, Runciter, amphetamines, delusion and paranoia, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, ubik reifies reality, after the explosion on the moon who is alive and who is dead?, are they all in coldpac?, is the entire novel a false world?, the facile answer, the central attraction of the novel, managing the question, a screenplay, skillfully done, Solar Lottery, an anti-telepath, the twitching of the bottle, feeling the echoes, Eye In The Sky, Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie, a bomb, Impostor by Philip K. Dick, the bevatron novel (Eye In The Sky), Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny, they’re all merging into one, Time Out Of Joint, recycling, somehow it still works, all the pieces fit together, good writing, comedy, horror, The Cookie Lady, a little boy named Bubber, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel without Gretel, a bundle of rags and a tumbleweed, the sick my duck website, Chapter 16, fades, “an evening wind rustled at him”, a real feeling, super-coffee, perked up, he let his unconscious take over early in the book, the Hour 25 interview, $0.06 for every novel sold, Ubik my dear sir, Gresham’s law, Ubik The Screenplay, 1985, a digital ebook, he’s kind of like us, reinterpreting his own work, visual metaphors, being told what you’re seeing, clothing description, playing up against the retro elements, 1939 -1933, dressing like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band members, captain’s hats, when Pat comes, she starts taking her clothes off right away, you don’t remember, hence this, her breasts wagging forward, take-off, electric yellow cummerbund, knee hugging hose, gauntlets, “Gosh Jill, I wish I knew what was wrong with me lately”, inertia inertial, tousled woolly hair, luminous gypsy, jangled taughtness, wagging a goatish beard, gold lame trousers, kelp green minty blouse, cowboy chaps, a weak nosed young man in a maxi-skirt, hippie-fashion, green and tumbled stones (for eyes), tumbled eyes, tumbling black hair, is it a mistake or something he’s coding into the book, eye-colour changes, tipped me, here’s what good is and here’s what bad is, genocide is a bad thing, increase the amount of suffering make more things that can suffer, getting eaten or crushed by a rock, it doesn’t end well for any piece of life, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker books, kinda makes sense, H.P. Lovecraft, The Turning Wheel, life is suffering, escaping from the cycle, life is the only thing in the universe that is anti-entropic, trying to fight entropy, God is the one who created life in the mythology, hence all the suffering, the demiurge, what half of PKD novels seem to be about, a booster-strap for life itself, the sub-worlds of Runciter, the final narrator, the Gnostic interpretation of Ubik, a coin with Joe Chip’s face on it, Inception is the movie adaptation of this, The Matrix, time is frozen, coldpac and moratorium, we’ve seen that in other Dick novels, racist, Dr. Futurity?, there sitting to close together in the freezer, The Crack In Space, escaping from entropy, the fundamental grounding, the Gaurdian article: it’s squishy, there’s no firm ground, life is very problematic, the horror of entropy, never a permanent solution, the DNA breaks down, fiction, especially novels can be preserved, the preservation of the text is like the preservation of DNA, finding the earliest publication, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Valley Of Unrest, as time goes by in the publication industry people fiddle with stuff, italics, a poem is a super concentrated story, each sentence is an image, Jesse do you like pizza?, who likes pizza is the question, the question of the correct text, a novel is a fixed thing, does the font effect it?, formatting, outside of our reality, a way of preserving history, in a meta-context, he’s holding some ubik in his hand and it starts regressing, the changing context showing there’s no escape from the dread horror of entropy, we don’t want it to change anymore, constructing it on the fly, coins at the beginning, her special psychic power is to change reality in the past, some politician coming on to TV to talk about What Happened, is that really what happened?, our default is to just believe what we hear, we believe our sense, we start with believing our senses, everything is deceiving including our memories, if everyone around us in believing it, if everyone is delusional, they have to hang together, their tomb world, another TOMB WORLD!, invoking the name: Palmer Eldritch, what is an S. Dole Melipone?, he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet, the entire last chapter:

Chapter 17
I am Ubik. Before the universe was, I am. I made the suns. I made the worlds. I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there. They go as I say, they do as I tell them. I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows. I am called Ubik, but that is not my name. I am. I shall always be.

Glen Runciter could not find the moratorium owner.

“Are you sure you don’t know where he is?” Runciter asked Miss Beason, the moratorium owner’s secretary. “It’s essential that I talk to Ella again.”

“I’ll have her brought out,” Miss Beason said. “You may use office 4-B; please wait there, Mr. Runciter; I will have your wife for you in a very short time. Try to make yourself comfortable.”

Locating office 4-B, Runciter paced about restlessly. At last a moratorium attendant appeared, wheeling in Ella’s casket on a handtruck. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” the attendant said; he began at once to set up the electronic communing mechanism, humming happily as he worked.

In short order the task was completed. The attendant checked the circuit one last time, nodded in satisfaction, then started to leave the office.

“This is for you,” Runciter said, and handed him several fifty-cent pieces which he had scrounged from his various pockets. “I appreciate the rapidity with which you accomplished the job.”

“Thank you, Mr. Runciter,” the attendant said. He glanced at the coins, then frowned. “What kind of money is this?” he said.

Runciter took a good long look at the fifty-cent pieces. He saw at once what the attendant meant; very definitely, the coins were not as they should be. Whose profile is this? he asked himself. Who’s this on all three coins? Not the right person at all. And yet he’s familiar. I know him.

And then he recognized the profile. I wonder what this means, he asked himself. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen. Most things in life eventually can be explained. But – Joe Chip on a fifty-cent piece?

It was the first Joe Chip money he had ever seen.

He had an intuition, chillingly, that if he searched his pockets, and his billfold, he would find more.

This was just the beginning.

ravelling around Runciter, Jesse casts a spell: Counter-Clock World,

“I was dreaming,” Ella said. “I saw a smoky red light, a horrible light. And yet I kept moving toward it. I couldn’t stop.”

“Yeah,” Runciter said, nodding. “The Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, tells about that. You remember reading that; the doctors made you read it when you were-” He hesitated. “Dying,” he said then.

“The smoky red light is bad, isn’t it?” Ella said.

“Yeah, you want to avoid it.” He cleared his throat. “Listen, Ella, we’ve got problems. You feel up to hearing about it? I mean, I don’t want to overtax you or anything; just say if you’re too tired or if there’s something else you want to hear about or discuss.”

“It’s so weird. I think I’ve been dreaming all this time, since you last talked to me. Is it really two years? Do you know, Glen, what I think? I think that other people who are around me – we seem to be progressively growing together. A lot of my dreams aren’t about me at all. Sometimes I’m a man and sometimes a little boy; sometimes I’m an old fat woman with varicose veins… and I’m in places I’ve never seen, doing things that make no sense.”

“Well, like they say, you’re heading for a new womb to be born out of. And that smoky red light – that’s a bad womb; you don’t want to go that way. That’s a humiliating, low sort of womb. You’re probably anticipating your next life, or whatever it is.” He felt foolish, talking like this; normally he had no theological convictions. But the half-life experience was real and it had made theologians out of all of them. “Hey,” he said, changing the subject. “Let me tell you what’s happened, what made me come here and bother you. S. Dole Melipone has dropped out of sight.”

A moment of silence, and then Ella laughed. “Who or what is an S. Dole Melipone? There can’t be any such thing.” The laugh, the unique and familiar warmth of it, made his spine tremble; he remembered that about her, even after so many years. He had not heard Ella’s laugh in over a decade.

“Maybe you’ve forgotten,” he said.

Ella said, “I haven’t forgotten; I wouldn’t forget an S. Dole Melipone. Is it like a hobbit?”

consulting the dead in order to make corporate decisions, we just drop it, what’s he visiting her for, there’s no business in this book at all, the business of being alive, an excuse to go to Switzerland and see his dead wife, step-up your TV ads, you need to send off more manuscripts, Ella, it’s a cryogenics book, it’s all bullshit, it’s just a way of avoiding death, if you’re living in a half-life, fundamentally there’s a really weird long part of the interview that’s pretty interesting, how the Soviet Union that had scientists that wanted to talk to him, from the Soviet embassy, I played dumb, classic Dick, A Scanner Darkly, he’s both the drug deal and the drug cop, he’s informing on himself, worlds inside worlds, to connect it to our reality, we only have access to the constructs of reality, What It Is Like To Be A Bat?, swapping genders, Philip K. Dick creating these characters, if you have a fixed text you can escape from your shared reality, it isn’t as squishy as regular reality, its only you who change between readings (we hope), the anomalies are the clues, that wouldn’t negate the point, after the explosion when they’re all on the Pratfall II, Glen Runciter’s POV, his transparent plastic casket,

Removing the plastic disk from its place, its firm adhesion to his ear, Glen Runciter said into the microphone, “I’ll talk to you again later.” He now set down all the communications apparatus, rose stiffly from the chair and momentarily stood facing the misty, immobile, icebound shape of Joe Chip resting within its transparent plastic casket. Upright and silent, as it would be for the rest of eternity.

Sarapis, plastic rosebuds, “A man that vital. And vitalic.”, that’s a weird error, upright, her sagacity, a wisdom not based on knowledge and experience, maybe the whole thing is in Ella’s world, the cop with little blonde pig-tails and red shoes, she’s changing characters, maybe they all fit together, the Technovelgy website, artiforg = artificial organs (also artificial and forged) = a fake fake, automatic apartment maintenance, homeopapes are Twitter feeds, high gossip vs. low gossip, physiognomic template, a tranquilizing gum, amazing technobabble:

“What is Ubik?” Joe said, wanting her to stay.

“A spray can of Ubik,” the girl answered, “is a portable negative ionizer, with a self-contained, high-voltage, low-amp unit powered by a peak-gain helium battery of 25kv. The negative ions are given a counter-clockwise spin by a radically biased acceleration chamber, which creates a centripetal tendency to them so that they cohere rather than dissipate. A negative ion field diminishes the velocity of anti-protophasons normally present in the atmosphere; as soon as their velocity falls they cease to be anti-protophasons and, under the principle of parity, no longer can unite with protophasons radiated from persons frozen in cold-pac; that is, those in half-life. The end result is that the proportion of protophasons not canceled by anti-protophasons increases, which means – for a specific time, anyhow – an increment in the net put-forth field of protophasonic activity… which the affected half-lifer experiences as greater vitality plus a lowering of the experience of low cold-pac temperatures. So you can see why regressed forms of Ubik failed to-”

Joe said reflexively, “To say ‘negative ions’ is redundant. All ions are negative.”

complete bullshit, this is how people buy products, all that babble mixed with the Amazing promises, Deepak Chopra, self-criticizing, chapter 16:

Under a streetlight he held up the spray can of Ubik, read the printing on the label.
I THINK HER NAME IS MYRA LANEY, LOOK ON REVERSE SIDE OF CONTAINER FOR ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER.

“Thanks,” Joe said to the spray can. We are served by organic ghosts, he thought, who, speaking and writing, pass through this our new environment. Watching, wise, physical ghosts from the full-life world, elements of which have become for us invading but agreeable splinters of a substance that pulsates like a former heart. And of all of them, he thought, thanks to Glen Runciter. In particular. The writer of instructions, labels and notes. Valuable notes.

like the Glimmung, Jesus: Don’t worry guys I’m going away for a while buyt I’ll be back!, they are Jesus for each other, the Inception situation, there’s no top level, there’s only the outside of the book, the writer is dead (Dick) but he’s in half-life becasuue we can read his book, maybe we’re all dead, Ubik is real!, Jesse’s Satoshi Nakamura theory, why graphics cards are so expensive, video cards are reality simulators, BitCoin, he’s gone dark, Satoshi Nakamura is a benevolent AI trying to fix our world, economic theory, an indefeatable unstoppable way to subvert the power of the banks, like the Glimmung, it’s not all powerful, it’s just an AI, it’s a demiurge of some-kind, kind of what Neuromancer is, the end of True Names by Vernor Vinge, Neuromancer also has a half-life in the form of a hacker on a ROM-chip (Dixie Flatline), thanks for helping me pull this heist, turn me off, a completely different kind of writer dealing with the same kind of stuff, hack to hard, episode 136, while trying to crack an AI, the lesson for Runciter, does it even matter what the status, it’s the old trick, the best trick there is, he’s always pulling the same exact move and you see it coming, getting close to book length, the swerve, curling back on itself, peak Dick, most popular Philip K. Dick books in order of popularity, Martian Time-Slip, what you’ve read of him before, Evan Lampe’s American Writers: One Hundred Pages At A Time podcast, how Philip K. Dick is always thinking about the frontier, the horror world, The Father Thing, The Simulacra, The Pentultimate Truth, the big surprise Now Wait For Last Year, Valis, the titles all flow together, the alternate titles for Ubik: Death Of An Anti-Watcher a new spin on the last chapter?, who is dead?, One theory: everybody died except for Runciter, The Half Life Of An Anti-Watcher?, a story about a dead-guy: Runciter, Runciter is the main character, the pixie-like Pat, maybe she is Ella as an older woman, there’s no answer here, who is that Ubik girl, ultimately Marissa and Jesse are figments of Paul’s imagination, this is Philip K. Dick doing Philip K. Dick.

Blackstone Audio - Ubik by Philip K. Dick

What The Dead Men Say by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Virgil Finlay

What The Dead Men Say by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Virgil Finlay

What The Dead Men Say by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Virgil Finlay

What The Dead Men Say by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Posted by Jesse Willis

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