The SFFaudio Podcast #396 – READALONG: The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

November 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The Thing On The Doorstep

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #396 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1937, the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre adaptation, the movie, all thingy, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, racism, the sexism isn’t sexism, I’m not fully human, I need a man’s brain, partially intentional?, a mishmash of transmigrations, the opinion of Ephraim as expressed through Asenath, congress with certain supernatural horrors (Deep Ones), hybrid, what Edward hears, Man can be capitalized, at what point in the story does Asenath speak for herself?, man vs. woman, poison, the prequel, when she leaves Innsmouth?, trapped in the corpse of her own father, amazing resonances, 0% sexist, sympathy, being locked up in the Crowninshield House, down the 6,000 steps, in a Darkest Dungeon in Maine, mindblasted by shoggoths, on and on and on,

It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer.

a horrible “survival”, gills and spawning, Ephraim is desperate for immortality because he’s fully human, aging while your descendants get to live forever, not the immortal we’re looking for, this technology, burn the Necronomicon, gender swapping, finding a body on craigslist, social networking and social media, Bodybook, Strange Aeons: The Thing On The Doorstep (2005), the Providence adaptation, honeymoon in Innsmouth, especially creepy, a rival to her father, he’s having sex with the father-in-law, a thought you never want to have, a character focused story, reacting badly, body-hopping through time, a story of Daniel’s insanity, the framing story, Julie Hoverson’s adaptation, Dan is so far from the events, below the surface, other filmed adaptations, with budget vision and understanding, Guillermo del Toro, the 3 and 2 knock, glub glub glub bubble bubble, the scariest use of glub glub ever, Daniel is a skeptic, a recurring motif: “tirelessly mediocre”, he doesn’t have hypnotic ability (susceptibility), Ephraim needs a weak willed person with a lot of brains, get a taxi, strong willed, he’s gone through some shit, the survival continues, rationalizing the magic, it’s all math, Charlie Stross’ Laundry books, A Colder War, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, Dreams In The Witch House, science of magic, quantum stuff, Lovecraft at bottom is a Science Fiction writer, candlestick, the Rider-Waite tarot deck, a cult leader in New York, The Order Of The Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, the infinity symbol above “the Magician” and “Strength”, the cups the swords the wands and the pentacles, the esoteric order in reality, The Dunwich Horror, Robert M. Price, an ouroboros belt, biblical names, Ephraim and Asenath, a circle, is this an earlier survival (from a biblical era?), The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick has his themes, reality replaced with post-it notes, parallels in Lovecraft, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, in a dream Jervas Dudley finds the key, just so natural, beginning and ending in a sanitarium, the great race of Yith, born in the wrong time, a 17th century gentleman, what’s wrong with sleeping in a graveyard, Lego model of THE TOMB, an affinity for the tomb, now is the time we discuss the Providence adaption, a 12 issue series, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, Avatar Press, racism, sexism, and hidden sexuality, physically turning the pages is traumatic, reading that third paragraph, incredibly difficult to read, the subtext becomes text (and graphic), the more you think about it the more horrifying it gets, Edwards’ weird experiences, that lost time, Robert Black, the final panel, she’s standing on the doorstep, the rape scene, he sees himself entering town, another callback, the call from woodland Maine, the local Marshall, a pivotal scene, communing with the shoggoths, wordlessly insisting he’s going to drive the rest of the way, power over the weather, uncanny predictions, Lovecraft the wannabe architect, another kind of horror, the hidden, the crushed in skull of Asenath is the beginning of the story, out of all of the horrible teenage experiences waking up in a decomposed body is a cool idea, there’s a lot more too it than that, the seeds are all there, it is deep, An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain, H.B. Drake’s The Remedy, The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, great minds think alike, a devotee of subterranean magic, a hypnotist with the power to transfer her consciousness, out of body experience, Trinidad, a psychic vampire story, bank robbery, a phial of acid, the Asenath analogue, without the final transference, a popular trope at that time, spritualism and seances, mesmerism, animal magnetism, The Facts In The Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, he totally glub glubbed, Cool Air, ammonia baths, staying alive for love, he’s been dead for years, if you read a lot of Lovecraft you’ll love Providence, she’s raping her own body with the body of a gay man, so inverted through a mirror, the father is a monster, a lot of trans people would be really happy with Ephraim’s tech, suffering, “monsters in human form”, one of the monsters: lich, an evil wizard that uses magic to keep alive, classic high level undead D&D monsters, ancient Scottish for corpse, soul magic, Gary Gygax, Clark Ashton Smith, a phylactery, Edward says to Dan, an object brought back from the underground Maine shoggoth pit, John Dee, the magical objects, opening gateways with quantum physics, this story has it all, a keystone has it all, fetishes?, if this was a bayou story, we dig it, would a great high budget version, Lovecraft is word magic, the definitive adaptation, amazing to hear the voice invoke pages from the Necronomicon, a minimalist palate, brings the images to life, that’s why Lovecraft doesn’t work as well on film, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Thing (1982), Lovecraft thought of himself as a failure because he thought he couldn’t live up to the dreams his stories describe, Lovecraft never wavered from the idea that the only thing interesting is interesting things, who cares about that Henry James sitting room drama when you can pick up a gun and shoot your freind in the head six-times through, it cannot be described, alien sounding vocabulary, don’t think of elephants, so genius, the name of the house that Asenath house, the Derby mansion, a real family in a fake town, she bought the crownishield to shield her crown, on the way back from Maine, they switch,

I do not recall just what my own part of the conversation was, for the baffling alienage of my seatmate filled all my consciousness.

an emotional response,

There was talk of an investigation, but this was dispelled one day when Asenath appeared in the streets and chatted in a sprightly way with a large number of acquaintances

dusting a turning the furnace on once a week, he will need a place to go, on those days, this guy is genius, what makes the spell so great, that’s insane, polished, so many meanings, it’s like he’s occupied by a 17th century genius.

PROVIDENCE, issue 6, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

Asenath waits - from PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #088

December 27, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #088 – Scott and Jesse talk about audiobooks, the recent arrivals and the new releases.

Talked about on today’s show:
Why was Scott gone?, Scott fought off a zombie apocalypse, an angry letter to Santa, Last Call by Tim Powers, Subterranean Press, On Stranger Tides, Bronson Pinchot, “gritty magic realism”, Scott likes lists, top 10 best horror novels, Ghost Story, The Stand, divinationary tarot cards, The Fisher King, “blended weirdness”, StarStruck, The Audio Comics Company, Starstruck’s Wikipedia entry, William Dufris, Simon Vance, Portland (Maine), Simon Vance’s YouTube, Infinivox, Starship Vectors, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Charles Coleman Findlay, Gwenyth Jones, Nancy Kress, Robert Reed, “spacey Science Fiction is very refreshing”, BoingBoing’s “The Beginning Of The End Of A Trend” post – is the death of Paranormal Romance approaching?, Brilliance Audio, The God Engines by John Scalzi, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy podcast, The Android’s Dream (as read by Wil Wheaton), Audible.com, Debt Of Bones by Terry Goodkind, the Legends anthology, Frank Muller, The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin, The Hedge Knight II, Legends II, Dreamsongs, Pump Six And Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi, The Fluted Girl, biopunk, Lord Of The Changing Winds: The Griffin Mage Book One by Rachel Neumeier, epic fantasy, Griffins, hard-boiled YA?, noir YA?, The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You by Harry Harrison, Gregg Margarite, the Stainless Steel rat is wry and slick and rascally, well written candy, West Of Eden, prehistorical Science Fiction, alternate history, Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, barking cats?, Scott is a cat person, Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer, “Mood-altering cat parasites make women friendly and men into jerks”, fantasy, The Runelords: Book Four: The Lair Of Bones by David Farland, Shadowheart by Tad Williams, Dick Hill, The Habitation Of The Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente, Prester John, immortality, She: Who Must Be Obeyed by H. Rider Haggard, “the literal tree of knowledge”, A Dirge For Prester John, Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, “the fate of the world is always hanging in the balance” ,The Walking Dead TV vs. The Walking Dead comic, “a zombie movie that never ends”, Robert Kirkman‘s plan, reading contest, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, upcoming readalongs: Gulliver’s Travels and Oath Of Fealty, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, On The Beach by Nevil Shute, Wil Patton, Neon Rain by James Lee Burke, Heart Of Darkness, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack The Ripper, Time For The Stars, Will Patton, Richard Matheson, Somewhere In Time, Ross Macdonald, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacey Keach, Max Allan Collins, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland, Eric S. Rabkin, “I don’t want to say I like Nazis”.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Long Walk by Stephen King

September 9, 2010 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Horror Audiobook - The Long Walk by Stephen KingThe Long Walk
By Stephen King; Read by Kirby Heyborne
9 CDs – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780142427835
Themes: / Horror / Walking / Alternate History / Maine /

Every year, on the first day of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as the “Long Walk.” Among this year’s chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: Warning are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. After three warnings, you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk: the one who survives.

One of the things that generally makes me not connect with fiction is what’s missing. That is to say, if the story isn’t talking about some idea (the human condition, society, or how the world works) I probably won’t connect with it. I therefore always assume that a novel has some message. A lesson it is trying to impart to me. Perhaps this is a mistake as The Long Walk, by Stephen King, lives on the surface of what it is. It’s 100 boys walking across the United States in a kind of slow motion deathrace. Unlike the the traditional death march, these walkers are all volunteers, and are supplied with food and water. “That’s the premise.” I told myself. But what message had King planted underneath it? What idea was he trying to convey in novel form?

At first I was wondering if King was addressing the Vietnam War. But that didn’t pan out, not exactly. The way the book is structured, the premise is never flatly stated, we only learn how the boys ended up where they are (walking across Maine) when they discuss it amongst themselves. So, we’re learning the premise as we go. I figured that if there was a message in The Long Walk it needed to be decoded. My first suspect for the key to the message was the soldiers who passively enforce the Long Walk’s rules. Their faces were strangely blank, providing no bounce or reaction to their work or the insults the walkers hurl at them. I thought their blankness might be a hint, a symbol, or something. But if so, it didn’t work out for me. In fact, by the end, never having learned the names of any of the nearly faceless soldiers, it was quite the opposite. The only idea I could come up with to explain this was that they were designed to represent the unfeeling laws of nature. Kind of an embodiment physics, unfeeling and inalterable. That got me thinking that perhaps the whole of the The Long Walk was kind of a metaphor for mortality – you know, the idea that no matter your station, no matter your talent, none of us can escape our coming demise. But, the more I read, the less that seemed likely. In fact, no matter which intellectual straw I grasped at I kept coming away with a figurative handful of nothing.

Another angle of attack I took was to look at the world. What kind of a world would allow this horror race? What was the meaning of “the prize” for the winner? The world, what little we get to hear of it, was pretty interesting. We learn that there are 51 states in the Union, that before then end WWII some kind of air raid from Nazi Germany hit the American East Coast, and that the government may be entirely in the hands of a military dictatorship. Nice! These and other small details slip out in the many varied conversations between the boys in the Walk, amongst trash talk, sex talk and the discussion of literature. With nothing much left to go on I tried to think about the literary references, tried to see if there was some key there, to unlocking the meaning of this novel. At one point one of the walkers says that ‘the Walk is like living in a Shirley Jackson story.’ He was right! And later on, when ruminating on the effect of being watched by the public, another of the boys says he’s ‘reminded of a Ray Bradbury story.’ And he was right! In fact, there are maybe a half dozen literary references alluded to in this novel. But none of them, not any one of them, was the key to decoding the meaning for me. So, in the end, I didn’t come away with was any sense of what this novel was about, other than what it would be like to be force marched across the United States.

Apparently The Long Walk was originally written in 1966 and 1967 while King was in his first two semesters of university. I’m assuming it was somewhat updated or re-written before it’s 1979 debut in paperback under King’s Richard Bachman pseudonym. I first heard Kirby Heyborne’s narrative abilities with Little Brother |READ OUR REVIEW|. That novel was told in the first person, and Heyborne’s youthful voice was up for the job there. Here, voicing more than a dozen young men and boys, all in the third person, he renders an acceptable, if not stellar, performance. He adds the occasional regional American accent to each kid and it always sounds appropriate for what we know about his background. Also of note: There is an interesting introductory essay on Disc 1 entitled The Importance Of Being Bachman. It does not, however, provide any particular details about The Long Walk.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #039

October 12, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #039 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Fred Greenhalgh of Final Rune Productions (and the Radio Drama Revival podcast) to talk about the twin arts of radio drama and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
Modern radio drama, The Sonic Society podcast, Roger Gregg, William Dufris, H.P. Lovecraft, Halloween, horror, The Grist Mill, Dark Passenger by Fred Greenhalgh, Willamette Radio Workshop, zombies, The Drabblecast podcast, Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, WMPG, Maine, equipment for recording, Zoom Q3, Zoom H2, software for editing audio, Audacity, Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro), Pro Tools, The Most Dangerous Game, Three Skeleton Key, Infidel by Roger Gregg, “field recording” audio drama, Marantz PMD660, the growth of amateur audio drama, AudioDramaTalk.com, Mad Horse Theatre Company, Waiting For A Window by Fred Greenhalgh, 2008 Ogle Awards, Wireless Theatre Company, The Grimm Of Stoddesden Hall, folklore, mythology, Medusa On The Beach, New Orleans, fantasy, Day Of The Dead by Fred Greenhalgh, the Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Robert Jordan, Final Fantasy, German audio drama (“Hörspiel”), the freakonomics of audio drama (dubbing drives interest in audio drama), the Torchwood radio dramas, Lux Radio Theatre, Academy Award Theatre, will radio drama revive?, what’s wrong with terrestrial radio?, what’s wrong with satellite radio?, Sirius Channel #163, radio drama in decline?, CBC mothballing radio drama, Colonial Radio Theatre, turning radio drama into cartoons, The Anne Manx series, Anne Manx animated (on YouTube), Radio Repertory Company of America, Decoder Ring Theatre’s The Red Panda Adventures, machinima, Creepshow, Wormwood, is the month of October for radio drama?, or is it just Halloween?, The War Of The Worlds, Simon Jones, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (radio drama), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Adventures Of Sexton Blake, Dirk Maggs, stream of consciousness, post modern audio drama, Yuri Rasovsky‘s The Cabinet Of Dr. Calagari, Tom Lopez (aka Meatball Fulton), The Cabinet Of Dr. Fritz, Cellphone Theatre, ZBS.org, Audible.com’s new stereo format, Bradbury 13, 90 Second Cellphone Chillin’ Theatre, Blackstone Audio’s The Maltese Falcon, narration in audio drama, Rogue Male, storytelling and medium, First Blood, RadioArchive.cc.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

January 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

This review was originally posted on Monday, November 14, 2005 on our now merged AuralNoir.com site.

Simon & Schuster Audio - The Colorado Kid by Stephen KingThe Colorado Kid
By Stephen King; Read by Jeffrey DeMunn
4 CDs – 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0743550404
Themes: / Mystery / Hard Case Crime / Murder / Reporters / Newspaper / Maine /

In brief, Stephen King’s latest novel is a good one, though I don’t feel it fits well into the Hard Case Crime mold. Details? Here they are:

Two old newspaper men, both approaching retirement, tell a female intern the story of a man who was found dead on the coast of the Maine island on which they live. They reveal clue after clue that they had put together along with a forensics graduate student that worked with police back when it happened. And that’s… pretty much it. No grisly private eyes, no grifters, and no real danger for the main characters, which is why I think the book is a strange fit for the Hard Case Crime line of novels.

Still, this is a short Stephen King novel reminiscent of an earlier King short novel called “The Body”, on which the film Stand by Me was based. There is much going on here between the characters. The old men are approaching retirement and are sharing their years of investigative reporting experience to the intern. The intern is eager to be accepted. The story of the investigation, the clues, the forensics – all extremely interesting in King’s hands, even though “action” is not a word that I’d use to describe it. The novel is filled with the depth of character that Stephen King is famous for, and I enjoyed it even though it was not quite what I expected.

Jeffrey DeMunn is the perfect choice to read The Colorado Kid. He read one of King’s earlier novels – Dreamcatcher – and also starred in what was easily the best Stephen King miniseries – Storm of the Century, where he got to use his excellent Maine accent. He used that accent in this reading, too, and as the island and its inhabitants are characters in themselves, DeMunn’s added authenticity was welcome and very effective. It is a gem of a performance.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

July 22, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Salem’s Lot
By Stephen King; Read by Ron McLarty
11 Cassettes – 17.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2004
ISBN: 0743536959
Themes: / Horror / Vampires / Maine / Small town /

Simon and Schuster recently published this unabridged version of ‘Salem’s Lot, the only appearance of this 1975 Stephen King novel on audio of which I’m aware. This is the second novel published by King, and in my opinion is one of his finest.

Ben Mears, a successful author, returns to the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot to research a book he’s writing. Things get complicated quickly when a man named Barlow moves into town and folks start disappearing. Even more complicated – they start re-appearing. As vampires. As Ben Mears absorbs this fact, he meets the young Mark Petrie, and together they fight Barlow and his growing army.

The characters are the most striking attribute of any Stephen King novel, and this early novel is no exception. The numerous characters breathe with detail, and they all seem like people that I’ve met or could meet today. King lays the small town of Salem’s Lot out for all to see, warts and all, and then commences to destroying it while the reader watches. The actions and fates of the small town characters King has brought to life are where the story lies – not in Barlow himself.

Ron McLarty performs the novel, and does a fine job of it. He handles all the characters with great skill, reading in a clear and often tense manner. As you can probably tell, I really like Salem’s Lot. It’s one of the few novels that I revisit every so often. McLarty treated it well, and I thank him.

Now, I’d love to hear an unabridged audio version of the other two of what I’ve heard called King’s Trinity: one of The Shining, and one of the uncut version of The Stand. I’ll wait patiently…

NOTE: Did anyone catch that recent USA Network TV version of Salem’s Lot? Why the heck did they change so many small details? OK, OK, it’s a different medium, yadda yadda yadda, but wow. They had a perfectly good story to start with. ‘Nuff said. Back to the audio.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson