The SFFaudio Podcast #436 – READALONG: When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie

August 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #436 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Maissa Bessada talk about When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie

Talked about on today’s show:
1933, Ira Levin, Gladiator, the first superhero novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, Superman, fleeing a dead world, the sequel: After Worlds Collide, the illustrations in The Passing Show (magazine) serialization, not the only ship, Bronson Beta, Blue Book, the very last page (February 1933), “these daring pilgrims”, remake a world, George Pal’s plans for a sequel, Cecil B. DeMille’s plans for a film, Pal’s would pale, the official adaptation is the least good adaptation, that crappy matte shot, Ransdall smooching his girl while flying his aircraft, Guardians Of The Galaxy, his Kryptonian origin story, spinoffs, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, football, a religious moment, good birth and breeding, the W.A.S.P., precursors and follow-ups, an amazing book, its hard to gage how big a book it was, the “queen of the pulps”, the premier way of getting (fiction) content to the people, the middle of The Depression, daily life-sucks, the Roosevelt administration, the work programs, making the unemployed work, is it simpler than that?, Arkham House, The Outsider And Others by H.P. Lovecraft, maybe it helps to have something worse in mind, The Star by H.G. Wells, Nemesis by Isaac Asimov, Finis by Frank Lillie Pollock, gravitational waves, earthquakes, cooking the earth (microwave style), a long tradition, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, biblical collections, A Pail Of Air and The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, Deluge (1933), S. Fowler Wright, the motif of the destruction of of Fantastic Universe, a thugee-romance plot, Meteor (1979), Sean Connery as an SDI scientist, Armageddon, Independence Day, Twitter, Fred, Deep Impact (1998) started life as a remake of When Worlds Collide, the crowning adaptation of is 2012 (2009), so ridiculous, it knows its stupid, the ‘neutrinos mutated’, Battlefield Earth is Ed Wood with a budget, The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010), Lars Von Trier’ Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst and Keifer Sutherland, Forge Of God by Greg Bear, “I have bad news.”, rescued by good aliens, watching the destruction of the Earth, Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall, fan fiction of themselves, Hammer Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, the evolution of the plot ideas, so heavy, the religious elements, her name is EVE, Joyce, handing out sandwiches, the zillionaire, a plane-load of money, an iconic scene, why 2012 works so well, the Russian billionaire and his family, how ambivalent I feel, the role of government, what made Robert A. Heinlein wrote, super-Ayn Rand-y, The Fountainhead, robust and austere, strange-y, a broken-ness, who is funding this?, everybody is working for free, how do you get truckloads and truckloads to a certain place, economics do matter, everybody is working for free, a new metal, the nice horror tour, where did the fuel come from, if Heinlein were writing it, all in secret, how Maissa saw it, tidal waves, weird side digression, The Last Car Chase (1981), Lee Majors, Steve Austin, two theories, one funny, one dark, nouveau riche, old fortunes, just arranged, shiny upstarts get their comeuppance, steel furnaces, punishing the parvenus, so not democratic, Galt’s Gulch, we know better, the magic metal, our ingenuity, weird sexual purity, part of the old money righteousness, South Africa in 1933, no more lions, rich white guys in South Africa, Chapter 8: Marching Orders For The Human Race, ugly houses, the spawn who inhabited it, pollution, 125th street in New York (Harlem), immigration bans, the Lovecraftian racial horror moment, “God himself had sickened with their selfishness”, squalid horror, the golden age of eugenics, the “Jap”, purifying the race, a giant eugenics exercise, even if a cashless economy you have to trade, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, a conspiracy, the first episode of The X-Files, the paean to the Vanderbilt family, set in the mid-20th century, his sister went to school with my mother, the elite, should Jesse bring it up?, huh this is a novel for Hillary voters, its the east coast elites, what is everybody’s problem? why can’t they vote for the right person?, WWI, lining up the machine guns and mowing down the plebes, retreating to their spacecraft and cooking the earth of all the people, a fantasy of many people, it is good to escape the death of the Earth, 2012 addresses all the horror vs. Deep Impact (the government is here to save you), the heroes in space, pathos, way to much love with MSNBC, saccharine horror, cynical comedy, the Paris Hilton looking girl, even Oliver Platt (the baddie) is just trying to get shit done, even the billionaire comes off pretty well, really fun, such a page turner, it’s so good (but it doesn’t deserve it), where are all the rats?, back to World War I, the Noah thing, open the doors, the billion dollar ticket, James Cromwell’s character is a whistleblower, the truth needs to come out, secretary of finance, thinking about the economics, the word “Tony”, our hero from every Robert Heinlein story, “Tony, I’m explaining the plot, Tony.” Tony is slang for expensive, what makes it so gripping, the premise, none of the characters are worth caring about, from Deluge to Meteor, a disaster movie without screen stars, the idea is primary, a race, Edwin Balmer was editor of Red Book magazine, they know how to spin a story, Wilkie Collins: make the worry, make them wait, make them weep, Dunkirk (2017), a ticking clock, what’s in the box?, un-bribe-able, doing this story today, how academia doesn’t matter, the professors, a chief scientist at a chemical company, a private observatory, universities as research machines (since WWII), scary politics, in 1933 the USA had unions, the Battle Of Blair Mountain, the lurking socialism, Eugene Debs, labour unrest, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we’re noble, machine gun them, then burn them, but we’re nice, the same stories are told again and again, choosing who gets to go in the Ark, Tasha Yar gives her baby to Frodo Baggins, black presidents, black Presidents, grounded in individual details, apocalypses are always about escape, an escape from communism, shade thrown on the French and the Germans, the french turn to fascism, planting the French flag for comedic effect, nationalism, labour without labour, race without race, the religious sanction, George Pal’s The War Of The Worlds, the book is big and broad and deep, 44 people and a dog, a dog in 2012 and Independence Day, for they were walking hand-in-hand, a road, the ribbon of it ran right and left, by what hands and for what feet, through Eden took their solitary, a yellow brick road, Tony the guy with no brain, they’re in Oz, the souls of those a hundred million years dead, a Nineveh a Sargon?, the fate of our world, human with bodies like our own?, The Ring, a curse, so tempting, William Blake’s The Tyger, what dread hand and what dread feet, they are the tiger, when the stars threw down their spears, what did the people on this other planet do to be knocked out of their orbit and frozen, how god has graced us with his goodness, us east coast elites, the whole universe , she has a right to my vote, Heinlein can’t be right and Rand can’t be right, it’s just too simple (but its so fun), business and military, more sex and nudeness, the love triangle, oh Tony can’t you understand I can’t make decisions for the future, the other rocket, the other half of the plane in Lost, the setup is so good, one bizarre detail, Chapter 21: Diary, the insulation (books), a first edition of Shelley, a cute idea?, the 2012 movie picks it up, John Cusack’s character, Chewitel Ejifor’s character, Yellowstone, loaded up with the signs of the elites, isn’t it funny that there’s one copy of this books and it just so happens…, in 2012 under a pile beer bottles and bourbon bottles and a copy of Moby Dick, Robert Duvall reads Moby Dick in Deep Impact, ambivalence about lots of things but everybody agrees Moby Dick is terrific, a stand in for god, providing the bees and the books, a distasteful task in the sequel, The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle, a story about mercy, saving the kids, little moments of mercy, women doing men’s jobs, France, canaries, the radium girls, how women get the vote, when they come for our women, women as possessions, triumph of the patriarchy, the proles are coming for our women, racist and sexist, an atomic rocket in 1932, not even a nuclear reactor has been invented yet, the Chicago Pile, ten years later, Rocketship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein, space-Nazis, so early!, countdown clocks, a race for everything, side quests, a lot being told, the illustrations, this book feels huge, 150 pages in the serial, complementing content, Eve’s mother gets killed, how quickly the veneer of civilization gets ripped off, Augustine, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster Book by Rebecca Solnit, Bronson: the son of a brawny man, the anticipation of total war, U.S. nationalization, Prohibition, beer makers, say nothing bad about the government law, human cogs, price fixes, holding the masses, Oliver Platt’s mom in 2012, Tony’s so angsty about his mom, he wants to kill, the mobilization doesn’t matter, the migration is for nothing, the President and his cabinet in Kansas, the plebeian thing, rules for them, dignified in their way, terrorizing the plebeians, Téa Leoni’s character’s mom and dad in Deep Impact, tons of connections, waiting for the wave to come, Roland Emmerich and Harold Klausner, The High Crusade, The Thirteenth Floor, a schlockmeister of the highest order, the cultural baggage of the legacy of films gets into you whether you’ve seen them or not, you have Casablanca lurking in your cultural DNA, nobody complains we’ve already seen this movie, the end of the world blah blah blah, this novel is at the center, Noah’s Flood, Gilgamesh, wiping out the Earth for 5,000 years.

When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké
WWhen Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie - illustrated by Joseph Franké

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Media: FREE AUDIOBOOK: The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

April 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Tantor MediaTantor Media, one of the best sources for professional narrations of public domain audiobooks and modern copyrighted audiobooks alike, is offering a FREE MP3 download of The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood to registrants. Sez Tantor:

The free download is for personal use only and is not for commercial distribution. Limit one download per customer. Limited time only.

Click HERE to get it, you’ll have to be registered (no credit card required) and signed in. I had quite a bit of trouble getting and staying signed in, and getting the downloads. This may be due to a high server demand or some other issue. I eventually downloaded each MP3 file individually rather than the zipped folder. One other point to note, the final file, listed as “Epilogue” is actually mis-linked, and should be downloaded via this URL:

http://www.tantor.com/download.asp?BookStem=1705_RobinHood&File=022-RobinHood.mp3

Narrator Simon Vance makes all the trouble I had worthwhile.

TANTOR MEDIA - The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood by Howard PyleThe Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood
By Howard Pyle; Read by Simon Vance
22 Zipped MP3 Files – Approx. 9 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: April 26, 2010
In Merry England, in the time of old when good King Henry the Second ruled the land, there lived within the green glades of Sherwood Forest near Nottingham Town a famous outlaw whose name was Robin Hood. No archer ever lived that could speed a gray goose shaft with such skill and cunning as his, nor were there ever such yeomen as the sevenscore merry men that roamed with him through the greenwood shades. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and in so doing became an undying symbol of virtue. But most important, Robin Hood and his band of merry men offer young audiences more than enough adventure and thrills to keep them listening intently. Filled with action, villains, and surprises, who could resist the arrows flying, danger lurking, and medieval intrigue?

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox – The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

January 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxBack in October I was telling you folks about the two Howard Pyle audiobooks that had been released over on LibriVox.org. I had actually meant to tell you about THREE Pyle audiobooks – but I got distracted by something shiny and never finished the post. Well I’m finishing it now! The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle is a public domain book about the original highwayman of Nottinghamshire. First published in 1883 The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood served as the basis for many later adaptations of the story of Robin Hood and his merry band.

LibriVox - The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood by Howard PyleThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
By Howard Pyle; Read by various
22 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 26, 2007
Robin Hood is the archetypal English folk hero; a courteous, pious and swashbuckling outlaw of the mediæval era who, in modern versions of the legend, is famous for robbing the rich to feed the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny. He operates with his “seven score” (140 strong) group of fellow outlawed yeomen – named the Merry Men. He and his band are usually associated with Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. The Victorian era generated its own distinct versions of Robin Hood. The traditional tales were often adapted for children, most notably in Howard Pyle’s Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. These versions firmly stamp Robin as a staunch philanthropist, a man who takes from the rich to give to the poor.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/the-merry-adventures-of-robin-hood-by-howard-pyle.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Incidentally, if you’re not a fan of the multiple amateur narrators in this reading, you might want to shell out for the new Blackstone Audio version. It’s read by a single professional narrator. You can get that one |HERE|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Otto Of The Silver Hand by Howard Pyle

October 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxWere you intrigued by my Howard Pyle post from the other day but still not quite ready to commit to nearly 7 hours of listening? If the answer was yes then why not try this…

Otto Of The Silver Hand by Howard Pyle, an 1888 novellette published three years prior to Men Of Iron. Unlike the latter this story is set in Germany, sometime in the late Dark Ages, and features a far more villainous father figure. There’s also a different focus, namely the apparent disparity between the cruelty of the era vs. the rise of chivalry. This makes a nice contrast: Just think, the sedate manors of the modern landed gentry are merely the millennial old skeletons of their ancestors, the wicked robber barons and their deadly feuds. Christianity and gentlemanlyness is all well and good, but dark times call for dark manners eh?

Here’s a quick plot hook: Our hero, Otto, after being born is quickly shuffled off to monastery for some early childhood education. When Otto reaches eleven years of age his father returns to claim him from the monastery and take him back to live in their ancestral castle “Drachenhausen” (which my one semester of German tells me literally means “Dragon House”). It is then that Otto learns of his father’s life as a thief and robber and particularly how his father killed a defenseless enemy. Needless to say the sin of the father comes back to hurt poor young Otto. The trauma is great, but survivable – and that alone is a very neat message. There’s also the requisite romance so this short audiobook has something for everybody.

LibriVox - Otto Of The Silver Hand by Howard PyleOtto Of The Silver Hand
By Howard Pyle; Read by various
15 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 3 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 30, 2007
The story of little Otto, a gentle, peace-loving child born into the heart of turmoil and strife in the castle of a feuding robber baron in medieval Germany.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/otto-of-the-silver-hand-by-howard-pyle.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Men Of Iron by Howard Pyle

October 25, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxMen of Iron is an 1891 book by the American author Ernie Howard Pyle. It is juvenile novel in which the author has the reader experience the medieval entry into knighthood through the eyes of a young squire, Myles Falworth. It was adapted into a film in 1954 using the title The Black Shield Of Falworth. The film featured the then real life married team of a very buxom Janet Leigh and a young beducktailed Tony Curtis (doing a fine Errol Flynn impression). The film also has some terrific fight scenes including maybe the best axe vs. shield brawling ever put on film. This LibriVox version of the novel, despite being a multi-narrator volume, is still highly listenable.

One curiosity though is how the language seems particularly homo-erotic. Take these passages from Chapter 5:

From this overlordship of the bachelors there had gradually risen a system of fagging, such as is or was practised in the great English public schools—enforced services exacted from the younger lads—which at the time Myles came to Devlen had, in the five or six years it had been in practice, grown to be an absolute though unwritten law of the body—a law supported by all the prestige of long-continued usage. At that time the bachelors numbered but thirteen, yet they exercised over the rest of the sixty-four squires and pages a rule of iron, and were taskmasters, hard, exacting, and oftentimes cruel.

and

Then a sudden thought came to Myles, and as it came his cheeks glowed as hot as fire “Master Gascoyne,” said he, with gruff awkwardness, “thou hast been a very good, true friend to me since I have come to this place, and hast befriended me in all ways thou mightest do, and I, as well I know, but a poor rustic clod. Now I have forty shillings by me which I may spend as I list, and so I do beseech thee that thou wilt take yon dagger of me as a love-gift, and have and hold it for thy very own.”

Gascoyne stared open-mouthed at Myles. “Dost mean it?” said he, at last.

“Aye,” said Myles, “I do mean it. Master Smith, give him the blade.”

At first the smith grinned, thinking it all a jest; but he soon saw that Myles was serious enough, and when the seventeen shillings were produced and counted down upon the anvil, he took off his cap and made Myles a low bow as he swept them into his pouch. “Now, by my faith and troth,” quoth he, “that I do call a true lordly gift. Is it not so, Master Gascoyne?”

“Aye,” said Gascoyne, with a gulp, “it is, in soothly earnest.” And thereupon, to Myles’s great wonderment, he suddenly flung his arms about his neck, and, giving him a great hug, kissed him upon the cheek. “Dear Myles,” said he, “I tell thee truly and of a verity I did feel warm towards thee from the very first time I saw thee sitting like a poor oaf upon the bench up yonder in the anteroom, and now of a sooth I give thee assurance that I do love thee as my own brother. Yea, I will take the dagger, and will stand by thee as a true friend from this time forth. Mayhap thou mayst need a true friend in this place ere thou livest long with us, for some of us esquires be soothly rough, and knocks are more plenty here than broad pennies, so that one new come is like to have a hard time gaining a footing.”

“I thank thee,” said Myles, “for thy offer of love and friendship, and do tell thee, upon my part, that I also of all the world would like best to have thee for my friend.”

Such was the manner In which Myles formed the first great friendship of his life, a friendship that was destined to last him through many years to come. As the two walked back across the great quadrangle, upon which fronted the main buildings of the castle, their arms were wound across one another’s shoulders, after the manner, as a certain great writer says, of boys and lovers.

The problem with assuming there is some homo-erotic subtext, seems to me a problem of false positives. They’re easy to spot, and once spotted harder to shake than a case of the yawns. A nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat. Not that this book is in any way boring, it’s actually quite rollicking and definitely worth checking out!

LibriVox - Men Of Iron by Howard PyleMen Of Iron
By Howard Pyle; Read by various
35 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours 55 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibiVox.org
Published: March 14, 2008
Men of Iron by Howard Pyle is historical fiction that transports us back to the 1400’s, a time of knighthood and chivalry. Myles Falworth is eight years old when news comes they must flee their home. His blind father is accused of treason. We see Myles grow up, train as a knight, and with perseverance, clear his father of any wrong-doing and restore their family name.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/men-of-iron-by-howard-pyle.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis