The SFFaudio Podcast #211 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Beside Still Waters by Robert Sheckley

May 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #211 – Beside Still Waters by Robert Sheckley, narrated by Julie Davis. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (9 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Julie Davis, and Rose Davis.

Talked about on today’s show:
Futurama, The Odyssey, Argos (Odysseus’ dog), a cup of sadness, depressing and beautiful, packed in sensitivity, The Status Civilization by Homer, Ray Bradbury, Amazing Stories, cold war worries, racism, Genesis, Psalms, Philip K. Dick, Eric S. Rabkin, there is no truth about what’s really happening in fiction, the final arbiter is the word, Martha, the 23rd psalm, Martha’s story, Julie’s patron saint, an expensive ointment, this slab of rock, “no girl he had ever known”, make a C.L.A.I.M., how many characters are in this story?, three?, Four?, robots, it was always night on Martha, everything is alive, Look! Language!, bedtime forever, Charles is Adam, a man created in the image of man, God isn’t interested in girls, the father he had never known, the “immaculate” shack, God is hard to find, the pallor of space, deprogramming the slave circuit, Willis the robot, the etymology of Charles (coming from Carl), the robot is a “free man”, …, “he restoreth my soul”, “I will fear no evil”, graveside usage, Robert Alter’s translation of Genesis, familiar yous, soul vs. spirit vs. breath vs. ghosts, God breathes, Gospel of John, Pentecost, neither water nor air, Martha’s tapped out, a Wall-E situation, was Charles sent by God?, was he an Angel?, once we start down the name path…, Mother Theresa, the guest/host relationship, God as the shepherd, in the shadow of death, flail and crook, rod and staff, Charles as Mark’s better self, Science Fiction, Martha as bitter, the “black tamed soil”, Martha as one, the Aramaic meaning, baby name websites, prefigurement, Exodus, graveyards, the purpose of slabs in graveyards, R.U.R. by Karel Čapek, Galactic Pot-Healer, Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe, Don Quixote, “over the mountains of the moon”, it was not good for Man to be alone, bone of his bones, the end miracle, something from outside of the story, rusted servos, “Where’s my hankie?”

Beside Still Waters by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Virgil Finlay

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #149 – TOPIC: METAPHOR in Science Fiction and Fantasy

February 27, 2012 by · 3 Comments
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #149 – Jesse, Luke Burrage, and Professor Eric S. Rabkin talk about METAPHOR in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Talked about on today’s show:
Science Fiction and Fantasy sort of undercut the scholastic meaning of metaphor, my friend Bill, metaphors come in two parts – the vehicle and the tenor, giants vs. ogres, denuding the metaphor, Aldebaran 6 has astonishingly beautiful humanoids, unknown vehicles deliver us, The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, The War Of The Worlds, a Tolkienesque task, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, Dark Universe by Ron Goulart, Plato’s cave, blindness, dead metaphors, the Burning Bush, Saul vs. Paul, a sound idea, Germanic grounds for divorce, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein, 1984 by George Orwell, “the clock stuck thirteen”, constructing meaning, William Shakespeare, awful as in creating awe, Moses and Mount Sinai, “shining like the sun”, a sun god, Sampson, hairy like the sun, bald like the moon, Genesis, “you may look upon my hindparts”, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, unconscious metaphors, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, wretch, catwomen from Venus, voluptuous sex objects, building up the vocabulary, Halting State by Charles Stross, Neuromancer‘s opening line, text adventure, Enoch lived 365 years (the sun god), The Tower Of Babel by Ted Chiang, comparing the constructed worlds of video games with the constructed worlds of Science Fiction, Battlefield 2, a meta-metaphor for understanding what Science Fiction does for understanding our world, hamartia needs range finding, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, “any fool can see”, a system of metaphors for the characters and the reader provides meta-uses, metaphor means “carry across”, Greek moving vans are called metaphore, the Morlocks are the workers, the Eloi are the owners, the Time Traveler is the manager, Get That Rat Off My Face by Luke Burrage, Science Fiction as thought experiment, Michael Crichton, deus ex machina, The War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Finnegan’s Wake, experimental novels, Germinal by Émile Zola, Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, allusion vs. metaphor, Sampson vs. Goliath, Luke and Eric prime each other, is Science Fiction useful?, should SF be useful?, Science Fiction and Personal Philosophy (SFBRP #100), reading only the Bible, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, the hard lesson namely: “sometimes you’re just fucked”, Star Trek II, cannibalism, Eric objects, the physical world vs. unconditional love, NASA staff need to read The Cold Equations, Steve Jobs (and his reality distortion field), a world full of things other than minds, smart by accident, Apollo 13, give the astronauts poetry, the title itself crystallizes the meaning, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a parametric center, how do we maintain individuality in the face of fascism?, the vehicle/tenor heuristic, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway, the car is the parametric central of The Great Gatsby, martian vampires, Apollo 1 disaster, Velcro and oxygen, “a failure of imagination”, learning from the past, the metaphor falls and leaves behind a lesson about reality.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The First Edition – interview with Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl

August 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

TVOF - The Voices Of FandomForgive me, I’ve posted part of this before, but it’s good enough to post twice. Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov were interviewed for a 1972 show called The First Edition. Apparently the show never aired, and was never edited.

THE FIRST EDITION – FIRST SHOW – 1972 – Raw interview material for unfinished show”

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

I repost the interview, in part because of how damn cool it is, and also in part because it is just the excuse I need to post what might very well be Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov first appearance together in print (in the letters column of the June 1939 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories). Be sure to listen, it’s a terrific interview! In it Asimov responds to the “New Wave” and attacks neo-Luddites, and Pohl protests the takeover of Science Fiction by the “English lit majors” (Pohl didn’t finish high school).

Be sure to read the letters below in which the two Brooklyn boys, Fred and Isaac, grumble about SF. Pohl has some sharp words for the art of Frank R. Paul and Asimov swears he will eat Uranus!

Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov in the letters column of Thrilling Wonder Stories - June 1939

[via The Voices Of Fandom and with props to “Burbank396”]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #113

June 20, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #113 – Jesse and Eric S. Rabkin talk about Stupidity and Intelligence in Science Fiction (and Fantasy).

Talked about on today’s show:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse, Fantasia, Christopher Marlowe‘s The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Brothers Grimm Clever Hans (the fairy tale), Clever Hans (the horse), War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Excerpt from (Book Two – Up the Ladder of Civilisation), trephination, “there are some things man was not meant to know”, evil science and evil scientists, R.U.R., Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is an egotist whereas the creature wants community, Chapter 11 of Frankenstein, intellect vs. empathy, “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought.”, the ideology of intelligence is suspect, Gulliver’s Travels, Laputa, philosophers, The Clouds by Aristophanes, “head in the clouds”, BBC Radio dramatization of Lysistrata, The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, “the big bang”, telepathy, Gregg Margarite, “Genius in not a biological phenomenon.”, “stupid people can have smart babies and smart people can have stupid babies”, eugenics, sterilization programs, “we know so little about what we mean by intelligence”, “we breed against the outliers”, “If I see further than others it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”, Sir Isaac Newton, Newton vs. Leibniz, Darwin vs. Wallace vs. Darwin’s grandfather, Robert A. Heinlein, “steam engine time”, Columbus and the egg, humans (persons) can compound our intelligence, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charly, “we shouldn’t define humanity by our intelligence”, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, flowers from Weena, “fundamental humanity has to do with emotion and not intelligence”, He, She and It by Marge Piercy, programming a robot with stories, Yod is a robot-like golem, “it was immoral to create a conscious weapon”, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Eric is the world’s least reliable critic of The Doomsday Book, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, philosophy of science, the meaning of weapon, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, tool vs. weapon, “we have one mad scientist after another”, Gojira!, Ozymandias, Watchmen, Understand by Ted Chiang, “talking to babies”, “if everyone in the world around you is an idiot…what kind of relationship can you have with the world”, His Masters Voice by Stanisław Lem, Hogarth is an incredibly intelligence person, Edgar Allan Poe, Audible Frontier’s Solaris: The Definite Edition, The Futurological Congress, Isaac Asimov, Eric puts on his professorial hat, nous, the etymology of the word “intelligence”, Asimov reads between the lines for you, the etymology of the word “stupid”, what’s with the word “sentient” in Science Fiction?, Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, ansible, “sentience is the bag that we put all our coding for equally human”, was Larry Niven the prime promulgator of the SF version of “sentience”?, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, “words are a map on the world”, The Time Machine, evolution and the clash of the classes, Wells respects the intelligence of his readers, Morlocks vs. Eloi, the King James version of the Bible, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani“, Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories, “whizz bang sensofwunda”, The New Accelerator by H.G. Wells, “the warp drive is not important”, “the ansible is not important”, “we are all time travelers”, “in Wells’ greatest works he leaves some part of the story open”, “but whether this was a reprieve for us or them only time will tell”, Experiment In Autobiography by H.G. Wells, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain”, Friedrich Schiller, reporters became cynical now they just go see what’s happening on Facebook, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth is public domain, much of Kornbluth is PD because he died so young, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy, stupid people have lots of (stupid) babies (?), what’s wrong with The Marching Morons?, PLENTY!, “The Marching Chinese”, Thomas Robert Malthus, eugenics and dysgenics, what ties do genetics and intelligence have?, a very high fraction of American presidents have been left handed, immigrant groups produce terrific comedians, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, storing up ideas for my “word hoard”.

The Marching Chinese

Posted by Jesse Willis

Radio Drama Revival: 2000X – Karel Čapek, Robert A. Heinlein, Yuri Rasovsky

June 13, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

2000X Tales Of The Next Millenia

Radio Drama RevivalFred Greenhalgh, or Radio Drama Revival, writes:

Hey Jesse,

Wanted to point you to what should be some pretty appealing Radio Drama Revival episodes for SFF Audio listeners. I’ve gotten permission from Yuri Rasovsky to broadcast a few stories produced for the Beyond 2000 series… If you’re not familiar with it, it was a series commissioned by NPR back in the day and featured a startlingly great compilation of writers no less than Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K LeGuin… http://www.irasov.com/faves.htm

Wow! Thanks Fred!

I agree with Fred, this is truly exciting audio. And there IS a whole lot to love in these professional productions from 2000X series (aka Beyond 2000). Check out the top shelf actors in these productions. And, then check out the sound quality! As Fred mentions in the podcast, it is all in an absolutely pristine stereo goodness.

Rossum’s Universal Robots asks a question, which has haunted the Science Fiction since: What does the creation of an artificial life form mean for the fate of humankind?

2000X - Rossum's Universal Robots2000X – R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
Based on the play by Karel Čapek; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 11 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Radio Drama Revival
Podcast: June 4, 2010
Helena, the daughter of the president of a major industrial power, arrives at the island factory for a tour of Rossum’s Universal Robots. The original stage play premiered, in Czech, in 1921.

Robert A. Heinlein’s By His Bootstraps deals in some of the inherent paradoxes that would be caused by recursive time travel.

2000X - By His Bootstraps2000X – By His Bootstraps
Based on the short story by Robert A. Heinlein; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Radio Drama Revival
Podcast: June 11, 2010
Bob Wilson locks himself in his room to finish his doctoral thesis on time travel. Suddenly a stranger appears in his dorm room and tells him to stop writing and start listening. The interloper, who looks strangely familiar, calls himself “Joe” and explains that he has come from the future through a Time Gate. First published in the October 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction under the pen name Anson MacDonald.
Starring:
Richard Dreyfuss
Cordis Heard
Kascia Marciniak
Ira Burton
Crew:
Adapted, Produced and Directed by Yuri Rasovsky
Sound Fesign by Richard Fairbanks

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #051 – TOPIC: THE YELLOW PERIL

March 22, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #051 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Luke Burrage and Professor Eric S. Rabkin to discuss THE YELLOW PERIL.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer (aka The Mysterious Dr. Fu-Manchu) – available via Tantor Media, fix-up novel, hypnosis, Sherlock Holmes, the yellow peril incarnate, the yellow peril as the hordes of asia, the Chinese Exclusion Act (USA), Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 (Canada), Tamerlane (the scourge of god), The Yellow Peril by M.P. Shiel, The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel, racism, WWI, colonialism, Burma, Thuggees, Boxer Rebellion, genius, The Talons Of Weng Chiang, if you read it as Fu-Manchu being the hero you may like the story more, mad scientist, Faust, Paradise Lost by John Milton, Robur-Le-Conquérant by Jules Verne (aka Robur-The-Conqueror aka The Clipper of the Clouds), The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling, colonialism, The Invisible Man, the other colored other, The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman by Alan Moore, Hawley Griffin (The Invisible Man), Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde, Mina Murray (from Dracula by Bram Stoker), English 418/549: GRAPHIC NARRATIVE (Winter 2010), The Invisible Man shows I and II, If I Ran The Zoo by Dr. Seuss, Jonah And The Whale, Suess’ anti-Japanese propaganda during WWII, Japanese internment during WWII in USA and Canada, Aryan, India, Nazi Germany, The Thule Society, Sri Lanka, racial stereotypes, Marco Polo, Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, gender and skin color, blondness, Karamaneh (the love interest in The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu), femme fatale, Black Widow (1987), miscegenation, the Chinese hordes vs. the insidious Japanese, War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Japan, LibriVox.org, Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein, beauty as goodness (in fairy tales), King Kong, Last And First Men by Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, The Iliad by Homer, The Old Testament, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame edited by Robert Silverberg, Arena by Fredric Brown, Plato, the red scare, Jack London, The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, Arslan by M.J. Engh, Chung Kuo by David Windgrove, selective memory, polarized memory, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Encounter With Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes, China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh, Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends on It by Zachary Karabell, Firefly, Limehouse, London, Detroit, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|, alternate history, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland by Robert Harris, Gorky Park, North Korea, the North Korea embassy in East Berlin.

The Yellow Peril

The Fiendish Plot Of Fu-Manchu (Thanks Gregg!):

Posted by Jesse Willis

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