The SFFaudio Podcast #355 – READALONG: The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

February 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #355 – Jesse and Mr Jim Moon talk about The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
novel or novella, would Lovecraft have published it had he lived longer?, left in a drawer, a first draft, smoothing out, an amazing talent, a fascinating fun world, The Wizard Of Oz, a tour of Lovecraft’s material, not the place to start with Lovecraft, no existential bleakness, surprisingly gentle, even Nyarlathotep is kind of nice, more adventurous, extended into nonsense, marshaling armies, Conan’s messing about is strictly small potatoes, a gregarious jolly man, a sense of fun, poems about Frank Belknap Long’s cat, more lucidity than you expect, the ghouls, the Fungi From Yuggoth cycle, three travelers who’d previously visited the dreamland, one must be the unnamed narrator of The Crawling Chaos, King Kuranes, the narrator of Hypnos, the smoking cosmic gun, The Other Gods, the priest, The Strange High House In The Mist, a night-gaunt, the mythos was largely invented by fans, the nexus point, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, is the graveyard in the Dreamlands?, other ways to get to the Dreamlands, ghoul tunnels, the ghouls are quite friendly, Warren is dead!, the enchanted wood, the Vaults Of Zin, the realm of the Gugs, The Divine Comedy, The Cats Of Ulthar, lots of cats from Ulthar, almost an anime style plot, hilarious, whimsical, swarming cats, unlocking, context, Dunsananian, Polaris, the Land Of Lomar, ahead of Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Paul’s own RPG Dreamlands, slavers, fighting the Moon Men, surprisingly visual, Celephaïs and The White ship, much mining, the Moon wine, lava gatherers, chalcedony mining, Mr. Merchant, Nyarlathotep is the wizard (and the wicked witch), Sauron, Azathoth does the gnawing, Carter’s passivity, Carter’s activity, Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, an explorer’s adventure, the hound is Belloq, Bryan Alexander, not a horror book, more comedy than horror, the Nigh-Gaunts sound scary but their major power is tickling, Lovecraft has a wicked dry sense of humour, playing with a caricature of himself, based on his own nightmares, squirming feelings, “there’s more of gravy than of the grave about you”, Marley’s ghost, a bit of undigested beef, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the HPLHS’ A Solstice Carol, adapting three Lovecraft stories by way of Dickens, The Festival, Pickman’s Model, The Outsider, it all connects up, Richard Upton Pickman, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, this grand tapestry, Jim’s ball of wax, The Thing On The Doorstep, a shoggoth in those pits, Night-Gaunts (the poem), not seeing the whimsical side of it, a gamer style fashion, in Deities & Demigods, that was all bullshit, Michael Moorcock’s Elric, flying on the night-winds with the ghouls, an internal Lovecraftian world, maps, the map from the Call Of Cthulhu‘s Dreamland Supplements, Sandy Petersen, Jason Thompson’s Dreamlands map, The Green Meadow, the Vaults Of Yin, the Gardens of Zin, how do they get to the Moon on this map?, straight on until morning…, dream logic supplies an endless supply of water, how much is personal and how much is external?, Carter’s Sunset City (Kadath), the gods of earth have abandoned it for Kadath, cosmic horrors, the Games of Divinity, Fungi From Yuggoth, Homecoming (Sonnet V), our experience of reading Lovecraft, Recognition, the book is the key,

IV. Recognition

The day had come again, when as a child
I saw—just once—that hollow of old oaks,
Grey with a ground-mist that enfolds and chokes
The slinking shapes which madness has defiled.
It was the same—an herbage rank and wild
Clings round an altar whose carved sign invokes
That Nameless One to whom a thousand smokes
Rose, aeons gone, from unclean towers up-piled.

I saw the body spread on that dank stone,
And knew those things which feasted were not men;
I knew this strange, grey world was not my own,
But Yuggoth, past the starry voids—and then
The body shrieked at me with a dead cry,
And all too late I knew that it was I!

, the next poem

V. Homecoming

The daemon said that he would take me home
To the pale, shadowy land I half recalled
As a high place of stair and terrace, walled
With marble balustrades that sky-winds comb,
While miles below a maze of dome on dome
And tower on tower beside a sea lies sprawled.
Once more, he told me, I would stand enthralled
On those old heights, and hear the far-off foam.

All this he promised, and through sunset’s gate
He swept me, past the lapping lakes of flame,
And red-gold thrones of gods without a name
Who shriek in fear at some impending fate.
Then a black gulf with sea-sounds in the night:
“Here was your home,” he mocked, “when you had sight!”

then we get The Lamp, Zaman’s Hill, The Port, The Courtyard, XX. Night-Gaunts, XXI. Nyarlathotep, XXII. Azathoth, XXV. St. Toad’s, seeking after visions, XVI. The Window, I.N.G. Culbard’s adaptation of The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath, this is a poem as well, word choices for assonance and alliterative sound, very aural, a pleasure to listen to, meant to be read aloud, Carter looks a lot like Lovecraft (in I.N.G. Culbard’s adaptation, Jason Thompson’s adaptation of The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath, from Dunsany and Poe, it all goes back to Poe with his Dream-land poem, Ulalume, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe,

Dream-Land
by Edgar Allan Poe
By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule—
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE—Out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters—lone and dead,—
Their still waters—still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
By the mountains—near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—
By the grey woods,—by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp,—
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,—
By each spot the most unholy—
In each nook most melancholy,—
There the traveller meets, aghast,
Sheeted Memories of the Past—
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by—
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth—and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
’T is a peaceful, soothing region—
For the spirit that walks in shadow
’T is—oh, ’t is an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not—dare not openly view it;
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fring’d lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

the double negative, seeing the mysteries of the dreamlands with the eyes unclosed, protean quality, an evolution of that Dream-Land, the seed that took root in Lovecraft’s mind, pools with lolling lilies, Eldorado, a prodigious dreamer, Tweeting dreams, “I’m prodigious dreamer.”, keeping a dream diary, deeper and more vivid, a dream New York City, Jesse recounts dream of swimming through the streets, a sea-monster, rafts, tables, wonderful wonderful comic books, it is very difficult to read books in dreams, #nightmare, forgetting that he is dreaming, close to waking, dreams while dreaming, Dennis Quaid, Dreamscape (1984), if we can just get the internet of dreams working, awesome and amazing, Waking Life (2001), dreams as prison, Curanes story is in the middle, Curanes has trained a bunch of locals to act English, totally Wizard Of Oz, the magic of three, The Crawling Chaos by H.P Lovecraft and Winifred Virginia Jackson, some sort of plague, opium, he’s inside his own head and walks into the Dreamlands, all cities of amber and chalcedony, deserted cities, amazing imagery, inside baseball, once you’re deep into the trenches…, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has the same kind of ghouls, the way ghouls get their names (the first person they eat), maybe Pickman got eaten by a ghoul (retcon), meeps or glibbers, planning the assault on Kadath.

The Dream Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft - illustration by Jason Thompson

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #354 – AUDIOBOOK: The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

February 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #354 – The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Martin Reyto.

This is an UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK of the novella (5 hour 20 minutes) comes to us courtesy of Legamus.eu.

The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath was first published in 1943.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

Ballantine Books - The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #352 – TOPIC: Doors, Gates, and Portals (and Rubicons)

January 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #352 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Prof. Eric S. Rabkin talk about doors, gates, and portals (and rubicons)

Talked about on today’s show:
thinking about doors, individual phenomena, a phenomenological way, white and purity, water, Edmund Husserl, an intensional act of consciousness, the conquistadors, when did WWII happen?, what kind of a phenomenon is a door?, doors are artificial, Narcissus and the lake, a boundary, passages for the whole body, windows, two-way passages, quicksand, horizontal movement, four qualities, the story of Oedipus, the riddle of the Sphinx, man -> mankind, the founding myth of Western culture, Aristotle, from one world to another, Eric in his professorial mode, the word world, were = man, the age of Man, in the world of…, the social domain that human beings create for themselves, prisons, doors as phenomena are artificial boundaries between two different worlds, social changes from one side of a door to another, doors as a phenomenon represent changes from consciously defined worlds, outdoors vs. indoors, inside and outside the gingerbread house, the morning thesis, the idea for this show, windows as opposed to doors, The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany, wanting to turn windows into doors, a rich example, sliding doors vs. sliding windows, in Science Fiction…, Robert A. Heinlein, defining the writing style of Science Fiction, the ideal Science Fiction sentence, Beyond This Horizon, “The door dilated and a voice from within said ‘Come in Felix.'”, wasting energy, one little change makes it a Science Fiction world, Heinlein invented the word “slideway”, Friday, from the reader’s armchair world it the fantastic world, folklore, liminality, crossing rivers, wandering into the forest, a wild world with gods and monsters, agrarian rural society -> industrial living, the wardrobe, The Door In The Wall, The Gable Window by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, Dreams In The Witch-house, a locked-room mystery, The Secret Garden, a Wellsian door in the wall, what’s behind the door could be anything, mythical monsters, vampires need your permission to cross your threshold, Dracula comes in through the window, defying gravity and the phenomenology of windows, an instant subliminal marker, ho ho ho, Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, the lore of changelings, leaving the house by the chimney, Little Red Riding Hood, “dispatched by typical female means” (cooking), Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, Alice is fantasizing before she leaves the bank of the river, the river side is a liminal domain, dazing, daisies, crossings, protective imagination, opening the door for a sequel, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a girl named Door, London’s underclass, being homeless is living outdoors, a hunter named Hunter, Door’s father is Lord Portico, a door back into Heaven, another rich text, worlds within worlds, the word hinge, ideas hinge upon something, stiles aren’t like doors, stiles don’t have hinges, lichgates and side doors to churches, the dead enter the church through a different door than the living, The Superstitious Man’s Tale by Thomas Hardy, shades of everybody, fourteen saints, a holiday in Germany, the blood of a sacrificial lamb, Exodus, keeping death from the door, all saints day, Jack-O-Lanterns scare off the returning dead, nature, walking through a gate, spirits pass through, how do gates function in keeping out the spirits of the dead, gates as territorial boundaries, “you come in through here”, the laws of territoriality, a keeper of the gate, the gate is the cover of the book, the door is what we cross “Once upon a time…”, “the second page of the first paragraph of a famous book”, why round?, why the exact center?, why green?, Eric’s eyes are green, The Door In The Wall has a green door, magic doors are often green, The Magic Door The Green Door (aka The Little Green Door) by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, horrible and messy and smelly, fundamental jokes in the Shrek series, Shrek is green too, kids love farts, About Time (2013), Domhnall Gleeson going through doors, “doors are amazing”, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, the Chinese Scholar’s garden at Snug Harbour cultural center, moon gates, gates post signs, gates offer viewpoints, from The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

the mouth as a door for voice and wisdom (and later a gate for flies and maggots), orifices, doors are artificial, eyes as windows, windows as natural, calm water as a window, the night sky as a window into the universe, window = wind and eye, a metaphor switching meaning, a heart is like a pump and a pump is like a heart, Babylon 5, star-gates, the Twilight Zone show inside Futurama: The Scary Door, Fredric Brown: “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. there was a knock on the door.”, William F. Nolan’s the door problem, a seventy-foot bug, the imagination trumps revelation, film, Shiley Jackson’s The Haunting Of Hill House (in the book and the film), banging vs. knocking, the unopened door, the end of The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, The Psychoanalysis Of Fire by Gaston Bachelard, “fire: fine servant, horrible master”, poor little rich boys, the ultimate irony: Arbeit Macht Frei, an open gate, the phenomena interpenetrate, Rubicon (lost and found), The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, “h amount of fuel will not power an EDS with a mass of m plus x”, uni-directional time travel as a kind of rubicon, Julius Caesar’s crossing, Alea iacta est (“The die is cast”), suicide, Jean Paul Sartre, Rip van Winkle, rubicons are natural, driving in Los Angeles county, counties and shires divided by rivers, the mouth as a (mostly) one way door into the body, Protector by Larry Niven, the tree of life root is a one way door (a rubicon), The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, The Ring, the River Styx, ancient heroes and gods crossing back and forth across the river Styx, biological machines, Jesus Christ’s tomb door, a locked room mystery, doubting Thomas, The Cold Equations as a demarcation between materialist SF and all other kinds, rejecting the premise of the story, two kinds of laws, “Marilyn willingly walks into the airlock and is ejected into space.”, myth vs. hard Science Fiction vs. soft Science Fiction, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, a few examples in literature, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, seven gates to Hell in Pennsylvania, Hell, Michigan, Audie Murphy’s To Hell And Back, a rubicon as an irrevocable choice, The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, Will cutting portals to other realms, “the ability to create portal given to someone on the cusp of puberty”, age 21 (given the key to the door), Key to the city, garter -> gate, barbicans, walled homes in the northern Mediterranean, doors within doors, protected by the laws of the city, the freedom of the city given to military units, Janus -> January, a two faced god and the god of doors, the doors to the temple of Janus are closed, open cities, Brussels, the locking of doors, growing up in New York you’re never fully at peace, living in Strawberry Point, Iowa, wifi open vs. wifi encrypted, wardriving, keeping the door open, the subspecies, dutch-doors, squeaky hinges, a door that opens up, China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh, “falling backwards into a world in which a consciousness extends infinitely in all directions”, “the phenomenology changes the epistemology”, ontological differences, The Star Rover by Jack London, a portal to other places and times via astral projection, even in confinement one can find ways out, The Demolished Man The Stars My Destination, Hypnos by H.P. Lovecraft, the restriction of the coffin of the body, jaunting, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Twilight Zone episode The Hunt, a country bumpkin -> a rural American, all dogs go to heaven, gatekeepers and doorkeepers, porter, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, wine drinkers and beer drinkers, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, was anything down that hatch on Lost?

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #349 – READALONG: The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson

December 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #349 – Jesse and Mr Jim Moon talk about The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson

Talked about on today’s show:
1909, from the later middle, more sophisticated than The Night Land, more tightly plotted than The Boats Of The Glen Carrig, all the letters of H.P. Lovecraft that talk about William Hope Hodgson, revisions to Supernatural Horror In Literature, a doomed an haunted ship, terrible sea-devils of quasi-human aspect, latent horrors in nature, “reaches enviable peaks of power”, the LibriVox audiobook, not as jam-packed with incident, the Carnacki stories, cosmic vistas, accessibility, a straightforward story, what it was like to being a working sailor, cliques and alliances, tremendous fun, time travel that good literature can give you, the poopiest book of all of Hodgson’s work, the taffrail, mood, a ghostly haunted ship, From Beyond by H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, an intrusion by other forces, shadows, strange figures, disappearances, underwater ships, not just a ghost, predation, dimensional drift, pirate skeletons ghosts don’t fit, its the ship that’s haunted, but not only the ship, the ship’s name is “Mortzestus”, “Sangier” (the bloodier), “I’m going to get my money out of this ship”, the pay scene in Aliens (1979), a thing from outside, bubbling below the surface is the corporatism problem, a commercial venture, mutiny, the officers want it hushed up, writing it up in the log, it is regrettable that Bryan isn’t here, why Marx wrote his works in England, the relationship between the means of production (the ship) and its sailors, taking care vs. making money, commercial considerations, historical piracy, in the lulls between sea-devils, “mate” reminds us of “comrade”, we’re all in this together mate (or comrade), why were there so many pirates?, why piracy happened, a Freudian (or Marxist) reading, the Sindey Sime illustration of The Ghost Pirates, “pale eyes”, mummified figures, are the ghost pirates a projection of the crew’s submerged collective unconscious?, the pirate articles, communism and democracy, parallels the Russian Revolution style, the captain, the quartermaster, the hatred that Hodgson had for commercial sailing, spooky, a sub-layer to the tale, the frustrations of the crew, “that old bully”, we are in trouble now, the devils take them all, the slang for the ship is “this packet”, the crew as a wrapping on the parcel, the language of spiritualism, Jessup’s theory as to what’s going on:

“Well, I’ve formed a bit of a theory, that seems wise one minute, and cracked the next. Of course, it’s as likely to be all wrong; but it’s the only thing that seems to me to fit in with all the beastly things we’ve had lately.”

“My idea is, that this ship is open to be boarded by those things,” I explained. “What they are, of course I don’t know. They look like men— in lots of ways. But—well, the Lord knows what’s in the sea. Though we don’t want to go imagining silly things, of course. And then, again, you know, it seems fat-headed, calling anything silly. That’s how I keep going, in a sort of blessed circle. I don’t know a bit whether they’re flesh and blood, or whether they’re what we should call ghosts or spirits.”

this ship is “open”, what happened on this ship that “opened it up”, The Haunted Jarvee (a Carnacki story), there’s something about the ship, there’s a crack in it, a tear in the fabric of reality, a sitting duck for otherworldly buccaneers, what is the goal of the sea-devils, what are they doing up in the rigging, four ghost ships, aliens?, aliens from the ocean?, are they Doctor Who sea-devils?, are they deep ones?, a parallel reality, From Beyond, Crawford Tillinghast is turning up ghosts, vestigial organs, ultra-violet,

“What do we know,” he had said, “of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break dawn the barriers.

if this was adapted today it would be explained by the cargo, an intra-dimensional material from atomic tests, 1920, The Dreams In The Witch House, 1934, The Banshee Chapter (2013), From Beyond (1986), a Freudian reading, Bill Clinton, in the language of apology, venereal disease, drugs, a found footage film, the framing story, believe it or not, The Ghost Pirates would make a great audio drama, showing the figures, crystallizing, Carnacki’s explanation in The Haunted Jarvee:

‘Well,’ replied Carnacki, ‘in my opinion she was a focus. That is a technical term which I can best explain by saying that she possessed the “attractive vibration” that is the power to draw to her any psychic waves in the vicinity, much in the way of a medium. The way in which the “vibration” is acquired – to use a technical term again – is, of course, purely a matter for supposition. She may have developed it during the years, owing to a suitability of conditions or it may have been in her (“of her” is a better term) from the very day her keel was laid. I mean the direction in which she lay the condition of the atmosphere, the state of the “electric tensions,” the very blows of the hammers and the accidental combining of materials suited to such an end – all might tend to such a thing.

making a magnet by hammering a nail, it’s not a person, it’s not something on the ship, it is the ship, electrical technology, a blend of science and the supernatural, BPRD: Plague Of Frogs, Mark Turetsky, slaves in chains at the bottom of the sea, a ship on its last voyage, the detritus of previous voyages, a Marxist resentment of the treatment of every crewman brought to the ship, end the of The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, working the same mine of feeling, the preface to the original edition, The House On The Borderland, certain conceptions of elemental kinship, flinging open the door wide, a kaleidoscope, scene upon scene, the door is open only a crack, speculation, what was the purpose, four shadowy galleons, the four ships below, are they mirrored (upside-down in the water), visualizing it is shocking, the Red Scare, they’re going to come here and take what we have, the Spartacus rebellions, an inter-dimensional idea, overwhelmed and pulled down, the other side of the veil, working a different passage in a nether dimension, if Neil Gaiman were to take this book as inspiration…, the surface of the sea, scraping along the surface of another world, the power of nautical ghost stories is in that liminal space between an ocean of air and an ocean of water, water as a liminal place in folklore, “where two elements meet strange things may intrude”, an inverted frog-men version of our world, are the sails like fins?, trade routes, how you portray the shadow ships, invisible would be fun, mirror world beneath the waves, the covers of various editions, skull and crossbones with a cutlass, whatever you see when you see through the eyes of Jessup, a fishy version of the pirate captain, mood effect, what the hell’s going on with those pig men?, a short novel, extended novellas, “I AM A NOVEL”, the Wikipedia entry, the unfinished novel, had Hodgson lived longer…, Captain Dang, the Sargasso Sea, the dawn of the pulp era proper, embracing the 20th century, The Hog, a complete collection.

The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson - illustrated by Sidney Sime

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #347 – READALONG: The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick

December 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #347 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
1962, Jesse and Paul’s first ever Philip K. Dick novel, rush reading, Juliana Frink, the book within the book, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, The Book Of Changes, the book that we are within, more like something Olaf Stapledon would write, future histories vs. alternate histories, what the Japanese and Nazis have done, For Want Of A Nail by Robert Sobel, Mexico, a very odd strange alternate history, a textbook from an alternate world, acharacteristic Dick, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, jewelry, taken from his life, Anne Dick, a soul wrenching scene, soul churning horrific embarrassing, working retail, R. Childan is horrible, he’s a monster, the least Philip K. Dick book, not a lot of boobs (but still some), not that much coffee, why this book is so powerful, we are so close to the characters souls, sympathy, who is the main character of this book?, Juliana, R. Childan, Mr. Baynes, Frank, Mr. Tagomi, so little interaction between the characters, we don’t know it is Frank, a clever move, everybody is fake, R. Childan is not Robert Childan, he speech pattern and thought pattern are Japanese, a lack of pronouns, Dick is a chameleon, Paul and Betty, the authentic American experience, soaking up, that’s not their names, Paul and Betty Kasura are more American than the American, Juliana is a fake judo instructor, she uses a knife, Hawthorne Abendsen, we know where he lives, Hawthorne Abendsen is Robert A. Heinlein for Dick (and Dick himself), children, Heinlein’s house in Colorado, Heinlein had loaned Dick money, Dick owed money to the IRS, We Can Build You, “To Robert and Ginny Heinlein…”, Wyoming, Dick is buried in Colorado, Fort Morgan, Colorado, Riverside Cemetery, damn, Dick’s sister, mom and dad, D.C., agrarian agronomy?, California, the dedication, “To my wife Anne, without whose silence…”, the jewelry business, getting excited, a bit sulky and a little bitter, a line from Childan’s mind, this sounds like its true,

They’re out of their minds, Childan said to himself. Example: they won’t help a hurt man up from the gutter due to the obligation it imposes. What do you call that? I say that’s typical; just what you’d expect from a race that when told to duplicate a British destroyer managed even to copy the patches on the boiler as well as—

the stamp on the boiler “Made in Aberdeen” or whatever, is this a true fact?, the objects, the pistol, Ed and Frank, the fake pistols are real pistols, the two lighters, Roosevelt’s lighter, historicity, historically interesting, the provenance, superstition of historicity, the real McCoy, you feel it, if Mr. Tagomi’s civil war era replica revolver can do the job…, Dick’s theme for the whole book, the theme that he’s always engaging, this stuff, actual facts of history, these events happened, the answer in this particular case…, historific truth, afraid to ask the question, this truth about the world, strangely meta-fictional, Tagomi escapes the meta-fictional world, a true and genuine object, the real state of affairs, cars and the freeway, our world is a nightmare, a depressing two world Cold War between the U.S. and England, C.M. Kornbluth’s Two Dooms, set in the 1940s, a future where the U.S. has lost the war, an alternate broken U.S., captured by the Germans, secret Jewish magical power, the world if we don’t is too terrible to contemplate, a repeated scene (or feeling), Mr. Baynes on the rocket, from Europe to San Fransisco, Lotze,”Oh, yes; that’s so. But racially, you’re quite close. For all intents and purposes the same.”

Lotze began to stir around in his seat, getting ready to unfasten the elaborate belts.

Am I racially kin to this man? Baynes wondered. So closely so that for all intents and purposes it is the same? Then it is in me, too, the psychotic streak. A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power. How long have we known this? Faced this? And-how many of us do know it? Not Lotze. Perhaps if you know you are insane then you are not insane. Or you are becoming sane, finally. Waking up. I suppose only a few are aware of all this. Isolated persons here and there. But the broad masses… what do they think? All these hundreds of thousands in this city, here. Do they imagine that they live in a sane world? Or do they guess, glimpse, the truth… ?

But, he thought, what does it mean, insane ? A legal definition. What do I mean? I feel it, see it, but what is it?

He thought, It is something they do, something they are. It is-their unconsciousness. Their lack of knowledge about others. Their not being aware of what they do to others, the destruction they have caused and are causing. No, he thought. That isn’t it, I don’t know; I sense it, intuit it. But-they are purposely cruel … is that it? No. God, he thought. I can’t find it, make it clear. Do they ignore parts of reality? Yes. But it is more. It is their plans. Yes, their plans. The conquering of the planets. Something frenzied and demented, as was their conquering of Africa, and before that, Europe and Asia.

Their view; it is cosmic. Not of a man here, a child there, but air abstraction: race, land. Volk. Land. Blut. Ehre. Not of honorable men but of Ehre itself, honor; the abstract is real, the actual is invisible to them. Die G?e , but not good men, this good man. It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles in space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again. This is an interval, ein Augenblick . The cosmic process is hurrying on, crushing life back into the granite and methane; the wheel turns for all life. It is all temporary. And they-these madmen-respond to the granite, the dust, the longing of the inanimate; they want to aid Natur.

he is a fucking Nazi!, at this point in the book…, he says he’s Jewish, is he Jewish?, a character is introduced.. the become who they really are, Joe Cinadella is an Italian who becomes an SS Aryan assassin, he’s becoming something, his genuine self, he’s actually an Italian who changes into a Nazi, transformation not revelation, Joe tells us about his family, what kind of music he like, an elaborate provenance?, Jesse thinks that Dick didn’t know who Joe was when he began writing, he became what he was in the book and world, Mr. Baynes is transformed, they actually are that way as well, the playing out of reality is undetermined, particle-wave duality, a “waveicle”, when you measure him a certain way, the truth is “revealed” collapsing the wavefront, observation determines the reality, the characters are in superposition state until Dick cast the yarrow stalks, when the world does it, Baynes is a Swede and a Jew and a Nazi, his elaborate cover, all of the characters are like that, Abendsen deflects, “I just murdered a man for you”, it happened to Heinlein, he’s almost inviting it, everybody knows his address, why does the SS send a Nazi hitman to kill this guy?, that’s not how they work, why is he telling Mr. Tagomi?, a stalking horse, Tagomi is a chess pawn, the most humane person, when Tagomi defies the German ambassador, the guy he frees is the guy who created the object, karmic circularity, changing as they are perceived, Nazism factionalized, a lot of technical terms, Dick did a lot of reading, the Abwehr, the SD, layers of terminology, Reinhard Heydrich, basically Hitler did a shitty job, draining the Mediterranean, skulls for cups, a sequel would have to be set in the Nazi part of things, sensitive and sympathetic, Speer, “yes he did slave labor, but he didn’t enjoy it.”, the two completed chapters of the proposed sequel, Herman Goering, Admiral Canaris, that sounds like a Dick novel (and a role playing game), GURPS Infinite Worlds, spreading Nazism to other worlds, staying in the heads of all these Nazis all the time, Heydrich sent Joe, Lotze is also an SD agent, everything is fake with a secret inside, internecine-Nazi?, the pilot for the Amazon series, it almost has no connection to the book, it’s about that piece of jewelry, it’s not a book it’s a movie, for the TV series, Paul’s guess… Abendsen has a portal to our world, sign Paul up, a little bit too fluffy and light, the Minority Report TV show is a trainwreck, you can’t really adapt this book, in development for a long time, Ridley Scott, a late-70s I, Claudius version shot on videotape, as soon as you start looking at what this book is actually about…, the American antiques thing is missing, Philip K. Dick reviewing his own novel, like a pair of glasses, what the book does to us, Paul’s speech about the pin, seeing into Childan’s head, they all laughed, this crappy play, what a monster you are, he’s been made a fool, false hopes dashed, Jesse replaces the words “pin or object” with “fiction or novel” and thus find’s Dick’s review of The Man In The High Castle within The Man In The High Castle, mere content deprived of form, it somehow partakes of tao, this novel has made its peace with the universe, this book has wu, by contemplating it we gain more wu ourselves, since we last about PKD, stones rejected by the builder, a rusty beer can by the side of the road, I have pondered this novel unceasingly, isn’t that exactly what he’s doing here?, it doesn’t have form, so true, Jesse thinks Dick was wrong, Dick almost never did anything like a sequel, think about how Hawthorne Abensen, this is Dick’s first real success, “give us more of the same” (the book industry as we know it), “I’m not sad”, The Ganymede Takeover by Philip K. Dick and Ray Faraday Nelson, formless and amorphous, this plotting gels so well, the I, Ching helped him, A Scanner Darkly, taken from life, a writer who is pretending to be a criminal, an organic shape, “what’s really going on here?”, she’s saying it right here, when Joe comes back with that haircut, at the heart of this novel, the two real action scenes, when Juliana is with Joe, he is sane and she is the opposite, she goes into the bathroom to kill herself, casting those yarrow stalks, Juliana’s last decision she makes, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy Ecclesiastes 12:5, “and the grasshopper shall be a burden”, a tiny little thing will have a great weight, the title of the book itself, why is the book called “The Man In The High Castle”?, the end of Farnham’s Freehold, “barbed wire and machine guns”, a meditative smile, he’s lying, he’s going to sit down when he meets Christ, it sounds like Heinlein, Juliana is literal minded and can’t understand Abensen’s jokes, are her boobs real?, she’s in post traumatic shock, the hymn,

Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new
Then he’ll call us home to heaven,
At his table we’ll sit down.
Christ will gird himself and serve us
With sweet manna all around.

they never lived in a high castle, Abensen is fated to what will happen, this happened to Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, Popular Mechanics showed Heinlein’s house, a kid’s bicycle in the driveway, Dick gave Heinlein a kid, Heinlein tried to treat everyone with respect, for Heinlein every race is worthy, weird ideas about sex and gender, an equal rights for all races, equal dignity, the Vietnam War, when hippies start showing up on his door, just like when Juliana shows up, when Juliana calls, they don’t call the police and kick her out, pilgrims to Dick’s house, “he wants me to go to his house and say hi”, before you do that…, just to stand there and feel the historicity, where he came to rest, the final gloss, a fake high castle, the high castle is the skull, who is the man in the high castle?, the mind trapped within the skull looking out, Dick was never satisfied, zoology and philosophy, Plato’s Myth of the Cave, chained to the floor since birth, behind them are people carrying various objects on their heads and walking by, and behind them are fires, the believe the shadows on the wall are the real world, if one should manage to escape…, they wouldn’t believe, Juliana says I’m one of the few, Baynes says it too, what’s the TRUTH about this world, in fact it’s only me when writing this book, unlike Lovecraft or Poe, the intertextual thing going on, written by Heinlein or Pohl (or Kornbluth), peak performance of this particular feeling, this is the PKD book you can hand to anybody who has read a little bit of history, as the facts unfold, even that reality is fake, the George Guidall narration, the little prologue, that recording is from 1997, audiobooks at that time, the traditional market (for audiobooks) was the blind, a standard trope that has disappeared now, the back of the dust-jacket, a singular mark of American literature, an amazing book, re-reading it, so many layers, we’re done.

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #345 – READALONG: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

November 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #345 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Professor Eric S. Rabkin talk about the Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon.

Talked about on today’s show:
1937, Jesse has a radical thesis, is this book a true story?, I’m not really happy I just think that I am, Alice In Acidland, drugs, what do we mean by true?, arachnoids and ikthyoids, a summary of Last And First Men, the unnamed narrator, astral projection, the contents of this book, not history but a personal experience (of imagination), standing on a hill, an interesting fantasia, considering the size of the universe, Star Trek with Nazi costumes is possible and perhaps even inevitable, The Truman Show, the nature of infinity, an Italian who would be perfectly happy to use the word true about this book, “Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark.”, bitterness, Dante Alighieri, a lyric poem, Olaf Stapledon was a philosopher, a blazing panoply, an image of the rose, OS, “One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill.”, an abiding faith, the original meaning of comedy, comedies end in marriage, sitcoms, both narrators acknowledge their psychological state, an exponential rhythm, overhead obscurities in flight, a Doppler shift, the other Earth, Bvalltu, a composite character, planets – > solar systems -> galaxies, a fractal experience, an encompassing wisdom, marriage as a small atom of community, spirit inhabited rock, a World War I novel, 1986, Eric taught Star Maker to Bryan, memories imbricated upon each other, the preface, Stapledon was an ambulance driver in WWI, looming WWII, militarism, seeing the sunny side of a ruined planet, Merseyside, too smashed up to really be alive, a 1930s novel, fascism vs. communism, how to organize the self and society, a secular myth, a shock to civilization, the cycle of mechanization, terrible mutations, the onset of the tank, a sense of horror, WWI and WWII as two different episodes, the Spanish Civil War, shaking off colonialism, materialistic industrialization, the only wait out is an act of faith, how can we not think of the Star Maker as a monster, “struck dumb with shame”, limitations of the audio medium, Bryan’s keyboard, C.S. Lewis, why C.S. Lewis didn’t like Star Maker, a Lewis-nemesis, crusades, the Great War on Terror (2 decades old), mindless religious violence, anticipations of subsequent Science Fiction, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, two 20th century philosophies, Freud and Marx, neurosis and sublimation, genitals with sense organs, radio pornography, the feelies from Brave New World, crisis of labour, ideologies as philosophical artifacts, not Dave Singer, separated by space and time, supplementary parentheses, adduction of Christianity, three linked universes, playing for the souls of the creatures, a timeless heaven and a timeless hell, Earth, Mars, and Venus in C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, suffering for the redemption of the Earth, explicitly not a Christian view, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy as a response to a paragraph in Star Maker, all the Christs of all the worlds, “a basket of Christs”, this is Arthur C. Clarke, a tour of Science Fiction in the future, this is The Mote In God’s Eye, The High Crusade, the novel itself is a universe, cosmos vs. universe, Jesse’s theory about the Game Of Thrones universe in the TV show, what Clarke does this in slight watercolours Stapledon paints in bold oils on a massive canvas, Arthur C. Clarke’s life changing moment, copying out the scales of magnitude, Bryan’s son, encapsulating, it is Stapledon, Dante is Dante in The Divine Comedy, The Divine Comedy as political revenge, Niven and Pournelle’s Inferno, Stapledon is not a punishment guy, when Lovecraft looks out of the universe…, when Stapledon looks at the same vista he’s not as melancholy about it, The Cats Of Ulthar, contemporaries, philosophical horror, long distance psychology, like Poe, fairy tales, handling fears, we get to feel, this is an education effort, quite special, a genre issue, the roller-coaster moment, looking at the vocabulary, eldritch and ichor, lucidity, feeling, the etymology of the word “vermin”,

I reflected that not one of the visible features of this celestial and
living gem revealed the presence of man. Displayed before me, though
invisible, were some of the most congested centers of human population.
There below me lay huge industrial regions, blackening the air with
smoke. Yet all this thronging life and humanly momentous enterprise had
made no mark whatever on the features of the planet. From this high
look-out the Earth would have appeared no different before the dawn of
man. No visiting angel, or explorer from another planet, could have
guessed that this bland orb teemed with vermin, with world-mastering,
self-torturing, incipiently angelic beasts.

the stellar wars, too lucid for more tribal patterns, sympsychic partnership, angelic vermin, more real than all the stars, like two close trees grown together, difference can be strength, the Orson Welles radio version of The War Of The Worlds, versus the Martians our differences don’t make a hill’s worth of difference, The Lord Of The Rings, looking for the Ents and the Entwives, there are Ents in Star Maker, the holy sex transmission that never got off, the ships worlds,

It was a strange experience to enter the mind of an intelligent ship to
see the foam circling under one’s own nose as the vessel plunged through
the waves, to taste the bitter or delicious currents streaming past
one’s flanks, to feel the pressure of air on the sails as one beat up
against the breeze, to hear beneath the water-line the rush and murmur
of distant shoals of fishes, and indeed actually to hear the
sea-bottom’s configuration by means of the echoes that it cast up to the
under-water ears. It was strange and terrifying to be caught in a
hurricane, to feel the masts straining and the sails threatening to
split, while the hull was battered by the small but furious waves of
that massive planet. It was strange, too, to watch other great living
ships, as they plowed their way, heeled over, adjusted the set of their
yellow or russet sails to the wind’s variations; and very strange it was
to realize that these were not man-made objects but themselves conscious
and purposeful.

Sometimes we saw two of the living ships fighting, tearing at one
another’s sails with snake-like tentacles, stabbing at one another’s
soft “decks” with metal knives, or at a distance firing at one another
with cannon. Bewildering and delightful it was to feel in the presence
of a slim female clipper the longing for contact, and to carry out with
her on the high seas the tacking and yawing, the piratical pursuit and
overhauling, the delicate, fleeting caress of tentacles, which formed
the love-play of this race. Strange, to come up alongside, close-hauled,
grapple her to one’s flank, and board her with sexual invasion. It was
charming, too, to see a mother ship attended by her children. I should
mention, by the way, that at birth the young were launched from the
mother’s decks like little boats, one from the port side, one from the
starboard. Thenceforth they were suckled at her flanks. In play they
swam about her like ducklings, or spread their immature sails. In rough
weather and for long voyaging they were taken aboard. At the time of our
visit natural sails were beginning to be aided by a power unit and
propeller which were fixed to the stern.

nothing like this in Science Fiction, Lloyd Abbey’s The Last Whales, an elegiac book, another sub-genre of Kindle based pornography, much of William Wordsworth’s poetry is admired too simply, Eric reads Lines Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, the houses with windows like sleeping eyes, watching the lives of dreams, the houses are sleeping not the people within them, the smokeless air, lying still, what makes the beauty, The World Is Too Much With Us, a cry for God, Fungi From Yuggoth (IX): The Courtyard by H.P. Lovecraft:

It was the city I had known before;
The ancient, leprous town where mongrel throngs
Chant to strange gods, and beat unhallowed gongs
In crypts beneath foul alleys near the shore.
The rotting, fish-eyed houses leered at me
From where they leaned, drunk and half-animate,
As edging through the filth I passed the gate
To the black courtyard where the man would be.

The dark walls closed me in, and loud I cursed
That ever I had come to such a den,
When suddenly a score of windows burst
Into wild light, and swarmed with dancing men:
Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead—
And not a corpse had either hands or head!

deemed unfit, body horror, Robert E. Howard, M.R. James, ever more capacious mentalities, being taught by groups, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Inner Light, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant as a horrible version of this, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, Boneland by Jeffrey Thomas, from a microscopic perspective, these things pass, bodyless timelords, a swarm of locusts, eugenics, Chapter 9, cultural and eugenical means, The King In Yellow (The Repairer Of Reputations) by Robert W. Chambers, the lethal chamber, Futurama, Providence, Alan Moore, criticism of Moore, turning everything Lovecraft hates into love, Last And First Men was a bestseller in 1930, the fifth generation, the Martian hive-mind, what is the moral ideal that Stapledon hopes that we move toward?, individuality in community, a literary allusion, a race on Venus, from epoch to epoch, that scaling thing again, the problem with fascism, fasces, is this a Darwinian book?, parasitism, symbiosis, evolution, Marx dedicated Capital to Darwin, getting rid of Harper, mutual aid, The World, the Flesh & the Devil by J.D. Bernal, astronomy, Peter Kropotkin (Mutual Aid: A Factor Of Evolution), mutual slaughter, profit in fraternization with the enemy, like Rod Serling The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, gentleness as a religion, the entangled bank (in Origin Of Species), functional stability arising out of local possibilities of violence, virtue in the creator is not the same of virtue in the creature, a third position, the sense experience of a star, in the center of this paragraph, free will and determinism are compatible, always bigger, a selfless star, the normal voluntary motor activity of a star, if you empty your ego and just feel others, perfect selflessness allows entrance into perfect community, getting your karma clean, dark matter, the science is pretty damn good, the key word is “lucid”, the vast emptiness enables the insight into the stars, rubies lay behind me, the sky’s familiar diamonds, all possible light, watch Steven Universe, ageless like Star Maker, the tag cloud, world and worlds, Oswald Spengler, growth -> change -> decay, the myth at the end, the course of empire paintings, The Decline Of The West, Arnold J. Toynbee, future histories, we could see if we were lucid, a great Götterdämmerung moment, the Russian civil war, The White Goddess, The Golden Bough, subsequent Science Fiction, for those who haven’t yet read the book…, the most disliked and most liked book, what kind of a novel is this?, an epic poem crossed with a lyric poem, erroneous expectations, feel better about your fishwife and your step children, back to Lovecraft, a writer of ideas, Odd John and Sirius are more like regular novels, Jack London’s Star Rover, more swords fewer wives, Frank Herbert, God Emperor Of Dune, when you frame it that way…, Accelerando by Charles Stross, full time IT professionals writing SF, Ted Chiang and Cory Doctorow, Ted Chiang can do anything, lapidary, Jorges Luis Borges wrote an introduction for Star Marker, A Story Between Jest and Earnest, Love and Discord.

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

Posted by Jesse Willis

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