The SFFaudio Podcast #296 – The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop; read by Jim Campanella (from Uvula Audio). This is an unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, John Feaster, and Jim Campanella.
Talked about on today’s show:
The least interesting part, the headless ghost that is sometimes is a woman, why isn’t this story better known, a bait and switch, an Edgar Rice Burroughs pastiche written by H.P. Lovecraft, getting the girl, A Strange Manuscript Found In A Cthulhu Cylinder, Ms. Found In A Bottle, The Curse Of Yig, the unnamed ethnologist, Quetzalcoatl, slithering like a man, The Mountains Of Madness, The Horror In The Museum, the original version, the Bishops of Dunwich, aggressively biblical, strange lost societies, The Whisperer In Darkness, the underworld, Grey Owl, Grey Eagle, unabridged and (not unedited), a Cthulhu coin, a science fiction story, atomic power, materialize objects, body sculpting, Robert E. Howard, Zamacona, Cibola, a city of gold, inured to torture, a magnetic star metal, Xibalba (Mayan Hell), Mayans Incas Aztecs, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, a forerunner to Brave New World, cannibalism, unicorn cattle, our world in their Hell, The Hound, sooo decadent, corpse hunters, a cartoon of evil, proto-emo-goths, are they interested in Zamacona, oooh he’s a savage!, morals are lost by boredom, civilization decays to barbarism, Red Nails by Robert E. Howard, The Red One by Jack London, disturbing culture, romances, disintegrating penises, lost worlds, he doesn’t do ghosts, all of the problems, headless and alive, convoluted, very Star Treky, a headless zombie, a secret history to this story, black flesh dissolving slime, The Festival, Indian skulls, the original headless ghost, headlessness is not a thing, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, strange shaped skulls, conquistadors gotta conquista, they could completely destroy us, the Roman aqueducts, bad medicine, Chief Sitting Bull, “Yes, no, and you bet”, B.C.’s native languages, water in BC is “chuck”, ocean is “salt chuck”, trading languages, ghost hunters and treasure hunters, dowsing doodlebugs, these are not barrows, this is a butte, Tikal (Guatemala), Teotihuacan (Mexico), Star Wars, parking your X-Wings, strange carvings on sandstone, Jack London’s The Red One, 1918, Charles Fort, 1919, Cahokia, plowed under, a cursed Pizza Hut, chocolate, potatoes, tomatoes and syphilis, Woodhenge, totem-poles, why we always talk about Romans (because we have books written by them), the Incan writing system (knots), cuneiform, we’ve got to get more styluses.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Back in October of 1938, Lester Dent finally bowed to pressure from his fans and publishers and decided to reveal Doc’s major secret—the exact nature of his “Fortress Of Solitude.” Of course, in doing so, Dent realized that he would have to create a legendary villain that would become the only rogue ever to escape from Doc and come back in a sequel. That villain was John Sunlight—you have to admit even his name is seriously cool and since he is so completely black of heart, The Sunlight name is a bit of an ironic joke that characterizes the very dark bad guy.
Hitler was not quite an internationally insane figure on the scene yet so it is interesting that according to writer Will Murray, John sunlight was modeled on another power hungry nutcase—Napoleon Bonaparte. As Murray says on the European stage napoleon’s legacy of conquest still held the distinction for the most bloodthirsty even until the late 30’s.
Dent originally in his notes made Sunlight tall and gaunt like Rasputin, but when Fortress was actually published, sunlight is described with a high forehead and burning deep-socketed eyes. This is the way that napoleon was often described. Sunlight is further described as a malevolent monster who desired nothing more than to bend mankind to his wicked will.
Actually throughout both novels Sunlight has a weird funhouse kind of kinship to Doc. He is a mental genius. He far stronger than most men. He is completely emotionless—except for his bestial growls. He dislikes killing—preferring to just dominate his victims.
-Doc is bronzed and Sunlight pale
-Doc trills and Sunlight growls
-Doc’s strength comes from his developed physique and Sunlight’s from his evil mind
-Doc wears single color conservative suits and Sunlight exotic costumes of single colors
-Doc has a superb balance between mind and body.
-Sunlight is all mind and out of balance
Doc wants to right wrongs and bring peace. Sunlight insists he wants to bring peace and “be the world’s greatest benefactor” as well but as a function of his dominating the world to get it. He literally wants to wipe out war by force. He actually says at one point to Doc “We have the same aim in life you and I . . . you strive to right wrongs. And I- I am trying to right the greatest wrong of all…”
Sounds interesting hey?
Here’s the first installment: |MP3|
Podcast feed: http://www.uvulaaudio.com/Books/Books.xml
Posted by Jesse Willis
James Campanella, of the Uvula Audio bookcast, writes in with details of his next project – L. Frank Baum’s The Enchanted Isle of Yew. This is a story with “classic storybook-type violence and mild trangendered themes” – which makes it sound awesome. Sez Jim:
“Baum’s book premieres on Friday October 10th and is more fantasy than SF, but it is still amazing. The story follows the travails of Prince Marvel as “he” travels around the legendary Isle of Yew in search of adventures. As usual with Baum stories, he introduced, very early in last century, some ideas that would later pop up in SF some 50 to 80 years later. Among other ideas, Baum lays the groundwork for what would become the main trope of the Paratwa novels by Christopher Hinz. He also introduces the first masochist ever to be found in a children’s book, as far as I know.”
You can subscribe through the podcast feed:
And for folks who haven’t experienced a Jim Campanella read story — you’re really missing out. Check out this recent review of Forgotten Classics |MP3|.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The Standards of Creation
By James Campanella; Read by James Campanella
MP3 Download – Approx 16.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Uvula Audio
Themes: / Science Fiction / Mars / cybernetics / aliens / telepathy / genetic manipulation /
J.J. Campanella is perhaps best known in audio circles as a frequent narrator on StarShipSofa, which is where I first encountered him. His website, Uvula Audio, features Campanella’s narration of a wide variety of audiobooks ranging from L. Frank Baum to Doc Savage to P.G. Wodehouse. It does not take long to discover that narration is indeed a skill at which Campanella is expert. He handles foreign accents and different voices with an ease that makes it easy for the listener to visualize each speaker.
What is easy to miss, perhaps, is that Campanella’s own written work, The Standards of Creation, is included among the archived files. This is a shame as Campanella has written a fast-paced, multi-layered book that combines the best of action thrillers and science fiction. It definitely deserves to be noticed by more people.
Just a few of the elements woven into the story include:
• Martian colonies of Chinese and Americans, each hiding their secrets while trying to discover those of the other.
• Yarrow Hayes, a Nobel Prize winning biologist born and raised on Mars, who ironically is dying of an incurable disease.
• Alex Arodyne, a young scientific genius whose cynical outlooks threatens to cripple his promise.
• Belle, an undercover NATO agent whose cybernetic enhancements give her unparalleled skills but carry with them a price that lead her to take surprising steps.
• Who are Gabe and his mysterious boss? Is he really an alien using telepathy to speak to Alex in his dreams?
• What is the mysterious alien ship voyaging through the solar system?
• Just what are the standards of creation? How will they change the lives of each person in the story?
All this is set against a background containing some of the most classic science fiction elements: terraforming on Mars, life in the Martian colony, biological scientific development in the future such as the different versions of the cloned NATO officers, and an alien device that looks like a huge black marble silently making its way toward the sun while scientists struggle to communicate. All of this is laced with characters in impossible situations for which there is seemingly no solution.
Above all this is a book of secrets. Every person and every situation has at least one secret beyond those that we think have been revealed. This leads to an indepth look at free will and personal responsibility that both surprisd and delighted me.
I am not even including some of the subplots involving drug trafficking or an order of priests with a surprising yet practical hidden agenda. It might sound as if there is too much crammed into the story to make a good book. However, Campanella handles the many elements with ease to provide us with a truly original novel that is not only thought provoking but which also hearkens back to the times when science fiction included real science. We hope that his future endeavors branch out again from narration to include more novels such as this one.
Posted by Julie D.
For almost a year now I’ve been making the argument, to anyone who’d listen, that Jack London’s short story To Build A Fire is Science Fiction.
I’m ready to make the same argument for London’s most famous work, The Call Of The Wild.
First off, the story is told from a dog’s POV. Normally that’d make this a Fantasy novel, in the spirit of Redwall or similar. But, we never hear Buck, the hero, speak, or think thoughts out in words (unlike other anthropomorphic fiction) – yet we are clearly seeing the world through Buck’s alien eyes. Moreover, the premise of the novel, the theme that informs the title of each chapter, was a commonly held idea in fantastic literature of that era. Namely, that ‘barbarism is around every corner, that civilization is a thin veneer, one broken easily.’ You see this in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. London wrote: “…the reign of primitive law … the facts of life took on a fiercer aspect, and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.” Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild is Science Fiction. The novel was set in the then recent past, and doesn’t have any future tech or extraterrestrial aliens – but that’s not what makes SF. What makes it SF is what makes The Call Of The Wild a classic – the presentation of bold philosophical ideas informed by science.
Below is a free version read by the talented narrator James Campanella. Unfortunately, for me, the reading is spoiled by two serious problems. First, it has a poor recording environment (rectified in later Campanella releases). Second, Jim has added in sound effects. An, imperfect recording environment I can live with, added sound effects I can’t. Check it out for yourself…
The Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by James Campanella
7 MP3s – Approx. 3 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Uvuvla Audio
“The Call of the Wild was written by American author Jack London. The plot concerns, Buck, a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th Century Gold Rushes in the Northwest. Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is one of London’s most read books and it is generally considered one of the classics of western adventure literature. Because the protagonist is a dog, it is usually classified as a juvenile novel, suitable for children.”
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3|
Part 5 |MP3| Part 6 |MP3| Part 7 |MP3|
There’s a LibriVox version also available.
Posted by Jesse Willis