The SFFaudio Podcast #219 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Derelict by William Hope Hodgson

July 1, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #219 – The Derelict by William Hope Hodgson; read by the wonderful Mike Vendetti. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 13 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mike Vendetti, and Sam Gafford (from the William Hope Hodgson blog).

Talked about on today’s show:
Most popular stories, Audible.com, Out Of The Storm by William Hope Hodgson, The House On The Borderlands, one of the best novels of the twentieth century, a classic of Science Fiction and Horror, The Ghost Pirates, The Boats Of The “Glen Carrig”, The Night Lands, one of the best horror novelists ever, WWI, Belgium, Ypres, Mike did the Vietnam thing, Ambrose Bierce, a love hate relationship with the sea, the merchant marine, why didn’t Hodgson join the Royal Navy?, Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua Slocum, the sea as an evil monster, a hair pin as a deadly weapon, the sea becomes your god, an indifferent sea, H.P. Lovecraft, a lappet rather than a tentacle, the same basic take on how the universe works, Supernatural Horror In Literature,

Of rather uneven stylistic quality, but vast occasional power in its suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life, is the work of William Hope Hodgson, known today far less than it deserves to be. Despite a tendency toward conventionally sentimental conceptions of the universe, and of man’s relation to it and to his fellows, Mr. Hodgson is perhaps second only to Algernon Blackwood in his serious treatment of unreality. Few can equal him in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and insignificant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and the abnormal in connection with regions or buildings.

ghost stories, the frame story, the spontaneous generation of life, The White People by Arthur Machen, Frankenstein, The Eclogues by Virgil, a recipe for wasps, dead matter, The Voice In The Night (Hodgson’s most famous story), don’t come any closer!, the mold taking over, Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, The Terror Of The Water Tank, Hodgson in the bookstore, Night Shade Books, The Hog, where is the manuscript?, Brown University, Lord Dunsany, Sam Moskowitz, S.T. Joshi, a gathering of papers, the Titanic, the “nautical” theme, travel by sea, Cpt. “Sully” Sullenberger, radio telegraphy, Widow’s walk, Why I Am Not At Sea, the romance of the sea, personal abuse, physical culture, ‘all those reports are untrue’, Slocum may have been on the other side, Hodgson was a hunk, photography, Hodgson’s gym, directing artillery fire, too early, diet and exercise, Super Man and the superheroes, Gladiator by Philip Wylie, 98-pound weakling, Charles Atlas, sailor, soldier, writer, photographer, what didn’t he do?, Hodgson’s family, religion, Blackburn, Downstairs On A Bicycle, Harry Houdini, a flurry of stories and novels, a hungry rejected writer, where did this writing come from?, a notoriety seeker, Arnold Schwarzenegger, good reviews and poor sales, The Night Lands is incomparable, Olaf Stapledon, the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey, H.G. Wells, The Bookman magazine, Edgar Allan Poe, Hodgson’s women, The Dream Of X, writers rights (copyright), short stories sell better, writing order vs. publication order, The Ghost Pirates is Sam’s favourite, seeping dimensions, Mike is fast, outside sales, Mike Vendetti audiobooks on Audible.com, Robert E. Lee, text was meant to be read aloud, music and reading were social activities, actors are turning to audiobooks.

The Derelict by William Hope Hodgson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua Slocum

June 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua SlocumSailing Alone Around The World
By Joshua Slocum; Read by Alan Chant
1 |M4B|, 22 Zipped MP3 Files, or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 9, 2007
|ETEXT|
Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail around the world alone in a small boat. He personally rebuilt an 11.2 metre sloop-rigged fishing boat that he named the Spray. On April 24, 1895, he set sail from Boston, Massachusetts. More than three years later, he returned to Newport, Rhode Island, on June 27, 1898 having circumnavigated the world, a distance of 46,000 miles (74,000 km). In 1899 he described the voyage in Sailing Alone Around the World now considered a classic of travel literature. It is a wonderful adventure story from the Age of Sail and a book of which Arthur Ransome declared, “boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.”

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/sailing-alone-around-the-world-by-joshua-slocum.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

I was listening to an episode of the CBC Radio One Ideas podcast, entitled Sailing Alone Around The World |MP3|, and was struck by the story of the first man to do that very thing. The program uses excerpts from Slocum’s book of the same name, and interviews those modern solitary sailors who’ve followed in Slocum’s wake. The fact that, in some sections of the sea, the next nearest human being to a lone sailor might be someone on the International Space Station, was an astounding revelation to me. The fact that there have been fewer solitary circumnavigators than there have been people in space, also astounding. So, not even half-way through the show I set my sights on LibriVox, where I searched for, found, and downloaded an M4B of the audiobook.

Slocum was an Canadian by birth and a naturalized American. In the late 19th century, upon finding himself out of work (the age of coal powered ships had begun in earnest), Slocum found there was no more call for a tall ship captain. One day Slocum finds himself having been gifted with an aged sloop. And so he sets about refitting it, hires himself out to himself plans to write a book (serialized in the Century magazine), loads up his cabin with food, supplies and lots of books, and sets sail on a solitary circumnavigation of the planet earth.

What he finds in the adventure is, simply put, real adventure! Slocum is alone for the entire trip except for The Spray itself, Slocum’s sloop, which is full of emotions (it feels happy when the sailing is good, and becomes anxious when in port too long). Similarwise he has a few passengers, there’s a hungry goat, a sneaky bilge rat, and a long suffering spider (it meets another just like it half a planet away from where it was born).

In his more than three years at sea Slocum meets with ship thieves, admirals, colonial governors, the widow (and adopted son) of Robert Louis Stevenson, friendly natives, hostile natives, officious bureaucrats, friendly bureaucrats, storms, reefs, sickness, and even a ghost!

Along the way he salute’s the sea god Neptune, ports at many memorable anchorages, including the island of the real life inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (Alexander Selkirk), and becomes an international celebrity.

Slocum’s narrative is helped by his enjoyable sense of humor and hindered by his prejudices. And while the various characters that he meets in the book may sometimes benefit from Slocum’s breezy writing style I got no real sense of the other side of the story. Incidents with thieves, one man steals his pistol, and one South American boy tries to steal his ship, come across as far less frightening than they might really have been. Indeed, there’s something of a deliberate storyteller to this travel narrative, something which reminds me of Sławomir Rawicz’s extraordinary adventure memoir The Long Walk (it may have been entirely made up). That said, the documentation seems far more present, and the journey here does seem to have actually occurred.

Narrator Alan Chant has an English accent and a relaxed reading style. There’s a bit of background noise in the recording, but the audio is very serviceable. Each chapter begins and ends with a bit of seabird song. Recommended.

A Brush With Fuegians

The Voyage Of The Spray

Posted by Jesse Willis