Review of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

August 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter
By Blake Crouch; Read by Jon Lindstrom
10 Hours 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: July 26, 2016

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

So, the only other experience I have with Blake Crouch is through the ridiculously insanely pulpy, Drakulas … written by three other authors. I can’t say I was able to tell who wrote what, so it really wasn’t a huge help. Other than that I had good feelings going in because Drakulas is amazing. Read it, do it.

Dark Matter is difficult to explain without spoilers, but let’s just say it involves … science. Wow, could this review get more boring than that. Okay, there’s got to be a minor amount of spoilers to get this review moving, so let’s say spoiler warning for the first quarter of the book.

Our protagonist, Jason Dessen, has the perfect life and, more importantly, the perfect family. Okay, his marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s a place he loves being in more than anything. In fact, it’s something he gave up a budding science career to pursue.

Like anyone, he always imagines what it would be like if he’d made different choices. The only difference is that he actually gets to see for himself.

While tightly plotted with one heck of a twist at the end (I thought), this book packs more of a punch in the psychological aspects. Considering the implications of the science (which I’m really trying not to spoil), the questions addressed by Dessen are what really got me. Thinking about what I would do in the same situation is what will keep this book in my brain for some time.

What would you do for your family? What lengths would you go to to be with them? To save them? To permit them to be happy? What if that choice makes you miserable?

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

Note on the narrator: Jon Lindstrom is one of those voices that really needs to fit the character if that makes any sense. I feel like there are some books that his voice wouldn’t work for. It worked for Jason Dessen. Craig Wasson (11/22/63 and many others) is one of those voices for me as well.

I received an audio copy from the publisher for review.

Posted by Bryce L.

The SFFaudio Podcast #429 – READALONG: In The Mountains Of Madness by W. Scott Poole

July 10, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #429 – Jesse, Marissa, Mr Jim Moon and Wayne June talk about the Tantor Media audiobook In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death, And Extraordinary Afterlife Of H. P. Lovecraft by W. Scott Poole.

Talked about on today’s show:
a biography (not the novel), who would make that mistake, W. Scott Poole, The Extraordinary Afterlife Of H.P. Lovecraft, the writing style, some reservations, a very interesting book, S.T. Joshi, Michel Houellebecq, current thoughts about Lovecraft, have we all fallen into a trap?, there must be something wrong with him, first biography, I Am Providence, primary materials, letters to the editors, here’s Lovecraft’s vision, man, Lovecraft’s childhood, why do we care so much, a forerunner, his mom and his wife, everybody hears about Lovecraft’s mom: he’s hideous looking, the L. Sprague DeCamp biography, a strange man with an ugly lantern jaw, Stephen King, progressive and interesting, an open minded woman, his politics, cautiously taking issue, Lovecraft’s racism, history, a crock of bull, dismissing the man of his time argument, science, eugenics, racial theory, phrenology, condemns overly harshly, divorcing the work from the creator of it, celebrating his creativity without celebrating his politics, what if Rembrandt was a wife-beater, a conservative, his grandfather, a pedestal, we all get our politics from our parents and our family, unusual and extreme, not a happy fact, commonplace views, The Birth Of A Nation, bringing Lovecraft away, strange and creative, humanizing, they weren’t terrible mad women, playful, reading Shakespeare, annoying the neighbours, psychoanalysis, they must be psychopaths, a wax cylinder, Lovecraft’s singing was like a fox terrier being strangled, cats and ice-cream, good evidence, an admirable person, an only parent, every kind of toy, chemistry sets and magazine subscriptions, school as torture and punishment, she sounds awesome, expand your mind in different ways, he’s filling in gaps with a lot of speculation, really interesting new evidence, non-standard childhood behavior, starting a detective agency after you’re playing dungeons and dragons style wargames, .22 pistol, tailing suspicious looking characters all over Providence, an absurdly early age, Sarah Susan Lovecraft, conclusions, this book is so 2016/2017 with suppositions, hard to argue with facts, beyond precioucious, Mr Jim Moon’s rubbish detective agency, toddlers with automatic weapons, gun control, football, every male was given a badge that ranked them beta or delta, fuck you society!, ugly vs. striking, William Hope Hodgson, going with it and going against it, amateur journalism and reading pulp magazines, why my sympathy resonates with Lovecraft in his stories, he’s interested in school, Teddy Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt, war was masculine, WWI was a mistake, pulled some strings, a strange sickly twilight individual, a walker and rambler vs. mad recluse, go for a walk and read books, social anxiety and mild depression, most of the people Jim knows, the subtitle, becoming H.P. Lovecraft, the stories themselves, August Derleth and Cthulhu plushies, Hypnos, Hypnos tattoos, very funny, a sarcastic take on the hipsters, THE answer, the secret history of why today is the way it is today, Gary Gygax comic book biography, Little Wars by H.G. Wells, war-gaming, the great grandfather of modern gaming, he’s not really a fantasist in most cases, Wells’ stamp, Doctor Who could not exist without The Time Machine, Lovecraft’s marriage to Sonia Greene, she bank rolled amateur journalism (their version of blogging or podcasting), The United Amateur, she comes off pretty well as a wife, he comes off pretty badly, a raconteur, carousing, a dynamic person, the teenage daughter, Lovecraft’s stepdaughter, some beautiful poetry, I’m after him, completely unemployable, he’s a rich man who has come down in the world, Lovecraft’s main attempt to make money was to revise other people’s writing, Marissa can make a living, Wayne can make a living, one ad in Weird Tales, rewriting, 100,000 letters, Ted Chiang, unwilling to compromise, manual labour, his job-seeking letter, 17th furniture was the peak of furniture design, no normal customer, mattresses mattresses mattresses, extraordinarily striking, he can’t grant his wife a divorce, his own worst enemy, he didn’t want a job, 14-18 hours a day, get yourself a Sonia, never ate in a restaurant, alone in their cave, not the normal thing, was H.P. Lovecraft a gay man?, his only woman kisser, time spent, some gay friends, his first love was books and writing, M.R. James, there might might be some very racy letters we’ll never see, asexuality, an old flame, we shouldn’t go there, he’s like most people, relationships are difficult, completely open-minded, he had the opportunity with R.H. Barlow, dwelling, everybody was in love with Lovecraft, it’s great to spend time with a brilliant mind, a 14 year old fan, Jesse’s students, interesting ideas, talking about art or sports, really normal, spending time with heroes, letters back and forth, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, kind of a leap, getting together in physical space, we think he’s fascinating, trying to explain the fascination, a name to conjure with, a funky coffee house, a bowler hat and a tattoo with Lovecraft’s face, why Lovecraft plays a huge role as a totemic symbol, buying books with his name on the side, sex toys, Savage Sword of Conan, the Lovecraft influenced stories of Robert E. Howard, how did Mr Jim Moon discover Lovecraft, The Hound, Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, Trail Of Cthulhu, the role playing game, hitting thew jackpot, battered old paperbacks, Wayne’s dad was an SF reader, a stationery store’s upstairs, a metaphor of some kind, half-way up the ladder, Cool Air, it gave me chills, becoming obsessed with Lovecraft, what was in the used bookstore, do you think his writing style sets you up for that?, one of those writers, a bigger thrill everytime, like Shakespeare, into the flow, richer and richer, At the Mountains Of Madness, a gift card for Chapters, filed in the biography section, Scott Danielson, damn it!, the audiobook is missing the back-matter, Necronomicon fake-lore, good essays about Lovecraft by Angela Carter and Colin Wilson, the Chaosium Necronomicon, related short stories, The Adder by Fred Chapel, corrupting neighbouring books, why “In” in the title, forgotten perfectly, Lovecraft’s dad: ‘the chamber maid has insulted me and strange men are raping my wife’, sanitarium, he was “noisy”, the treatment was enemas every second day, damaged genitals, Poole’s theory, syphilis, Guy de Maupassant, in the background of Lovecraft’s psychology, bringing the sexual horror to the surface, high on morphine, not a friendly way to go, talking insensibly, high on opioids, that’s fucked up, drugs, who knows?, lose yourself in some good comic books because life is fucking horrible, the core of Lovecraft’s philosophy, Lovecraft thought about suicide, so polite, he hasn’t learned enough about geology yet, not the coward’s way out, Howard’s suicide, a lot more depressive, powerful and beautiful, The Thing On The Roof, getting right into the action, the requisite ending, in touch with that horror, why worry about getting married when you’re worried about how mortal you are, a lot of sympathy, marriage instead of suicide, what’s missing, what was Lovecraft doing all those years when he wasn’t writing?, astronomy, running clubs, becoming something, the eighth biography?, there’s something going on, he’s pointed to a lot of things, some much at odds with the myth of Lovecraft, he’s maladjusted, he’s anti-social, seven weeks of blackberry picking, Winnie the Pooh, more to the man, off the hip astrology, the intentional fallacy, a secret autobiography, what makes a weird tale, a whole other side, chit chatting with friends, walks and get-togethers, a different picture emerges, did you come here to praise him or bury him, a hatchet job, sour grapes, de Camp, he finds other people’s writings, that’s not great, get a handle on a whole life, it feels like we get to know him, a person we can know, incredibly like having a friendship, where did this mythology come from?, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race by Thomas Ligotti, people don’t like them, you have to do that, death is waiting for each and every one of us, existence is horrible, taking a step-back from you, reputation and mythology, absolutely an athiest, a pessimist, an atheistic existentialist, they don’t like it, an academic, a course on Lovecraft, what was H.P. Lovecraft’s philosophy?, material, atheism, cosmicism, racism, Cthulhu plushie racist, a quick bit of googling, it’s everywhere, something you have to get passed, tentacles, I like coffee, Freudian symbolism, who have you been dating?, chimera, the irony is bigger, I Am Providence, now he’s dirt, the fortune he was heir to and then lost, made it’s money from whaling, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, compromise, working at a gas station, humiliating, his worldview, bemoaning the decline of the aristocracy, pledged allegiance to King George, an unrepentant Tory, The Rats In The Walls, why we’re so interested in the man, writing true, making hay out of trends, the flavour of the week, no skin of his nose, rejected, he could suffer any indignity, a beautiful tragedy, it could have been a lot worse, he was so generous, the lord dispensing wealth, he was giving out what he wished he had recieved, mentoring, Robert Bloch, a life-line in the amateur press, fan letter, highfalutin poetry, the marketing came after by his fans, my point for Wayne, I could make Wayne so much money, he needs a Patreon, Audio Realms is out of business, the complete H.P. Lovecraft one book a month, some sort of barrier, it’s like you can’t lower yourself to that, he’s just lazy, you’re still alive, you’re killing me, At The Mountains Of Madness is a big job, that book is an expedition, Poole makes an argument that Prometheus is a retelling of At The Mountains Of Madness, Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, a massive debt to Lovecraft, a link still unexplored, a thing podcast, thing it, them, they!, the mysterious pronouns in dark places.

In The Mountains Of MadnessTheExtraordinary Afterlife Of H.P. Lovecraft by W. Scott Poole

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #426 – READALONG: A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

June 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #426 -Jesse and Juliane Kunzendorf talk about A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

Talked about on today’s show:
1960, is it true that Peter S. Beagle wrote A Fine And Private Place when he was 19?, Mary Shelley, Mr Rebek has been in the graveyard for 19 years, self-aware, unforeseen circumstances, November 2016, lightweight material, subtext, it’s not deep, on the nose, a bit long?, novel length for a novella idea, a raven here, a lady doing her shopping, a time capsule, 1960-ish, darn interesting, how New York was, a social study, science fiction and werewolves, a light touch fantasy, pretty effective, 272 pages, six to eight hours, narrated by Peter S. Beagle himself, a calm voice, a pleasant listen, more better work, a special and distinct voice, kind of amazing, it feels super-old, wise, philosophical about death and how to live, how do you get to this?, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, one of Jesse’s favourites, nobody cared, Jesse’s theory as to what is going on in The Raven and how it relates to this story, Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress, a metaphysical poem, start to kissing, rhyming with the comeuppance, but none do there embrace, reading poems aloud, forced rhymes,

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

sweet!, come on baby!, 1681, a tutor to a rich man’s daughter, post-mortem publication, The Twilight Zone, World Enough And Time, inspired, amorous birds of prey, iron gates of life, chaste love, Jonathan and Mrs. Clapper, finding another person to be with, all during WWII, an interesting backstory, reading books, washing his clothes in the bathroom sink at night, is it all in his head?, is he just a crazy homeless man?, fitting the facts, dirty and smelly, well groomed, disheveled, shaving, grooming, what are we to make of Mrs. Clapper falling in love with not the greatest catch ever?, her (dead) husband, tickles a sense of adventure, I’m not your husband, the rain-jacket, museum visitor than stay-at-home, the store scene, the Stillman family, when are you getting married?, she’s trapped in her role, her place in society, her apartment, the social environment of the 1960s, widowhood, when are you going to Florida?, other options, how she’s going to be buried, Mr. Rebek’s prison, an incomplete explanation, acting as a witch-doctor, love-potions, the scarred up boxer, making a love-potion, it’ll just make her receptive, when the love-potion works…, a weak character, he plays along, whiter teeth, his girlfriend died and he can’t get over her, he’s fleeing from the world and responsibility, in a time loop, frozen in time, just being, going on vacation is not a life, more of the same, his icy tomb, other stories like this, Beatrice in Dante’s Paradise, Orpheus and Eurydice, Odysseus, is Mr. Rebek going to move in with Mrs. Clapper?, living together, wearing her husband’s old clothes?, his room, they have to find a new apartment, from the Goodwill (but actually from her), she’s trying to replace her dead husband, marriage, domains, the boss, the nameless raven, Elijah, a squirrel with a wife, more raven, a couple of rules, how ghosts act and animals can talk, the ghosts, subversion, that’s what ravens do, the nightwatchman, alcohol, Spanish singing, sung as it should have been sung, another reflection of the raven, a psychopomp, Charon, the ferryman, Anubis, Pluto, deep in every religion, a man alive in the place of the dead, you’re a terrible guard, a passenger stuck on the barge to the underworld, not dead, not alive, seeing the dead, Mrs. Clapper can’t see the dead, an idea working below the surface, a lazy slow river journey, a slowboat to hades, Michael, I don’t want your nepenthe, Laura, more friends than anything else, a seagull lost in Iowa, seeing a bird, what is the metaphor there?, heavy with metaphors, things underlying, Juliane has time, listening to the sound of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, certain sad uncertain rustling, a story of madness, Jesse’s theory but first the poem itself, Beagle must have been familiar with The Raven, books: “many a quaint and curious volume”, not nameless, wrought as a homophone for rot, a ghost of flame, morrow and marrow, surcease of sorrow, ending sorrow by reading, distraction, “to still the beating of [his] heart,” December, at night, midnight, “once”, Charles Dickens, big on ghosts, Into That Darkness Peering a collection of Poe narrated by Wayne June, what is he dreaming about?, suicide, what’s behind suicide, teasing, the passive voice, Guy de Maupassant, premature burial, Japanese or Korean ghosts, a real creepy ghost story, back from the dead, “chamber” not house, a lattice, panes and shutters, curtains, a shade, purple as the royal colour, layers, why is his soul burning?, slight variations, eyelids as shutters, “perched upon a bust of Pallas”, Athena, why Pallas?, palace, there were two goddesses, Pallas was eaten by Athena, distance away from Athena, perched above wisdom, “though thy crest be shorn and shaven”, Sampson, you can’t shave a raven, you can pluck a raven, crest, no fur nor hair nor feather’s on it’s head, that’s a different bird, it’s a condor aka a buzzard aka a carrion eater aka a vulture, why vultures head’s are are shaven, mistaking the bird, his perception of it as a raven is odd, why doesn’t anybody comment on this?, Athena’s helmet has a Raven on it, when you make a drawing you have to choose, in a poem we can have it both ways, a comparison to a vulture, craven as lustful, vultures don’t look young, he’s having it both ways, a much scarier story, a fire theme, ungainly = ungraceful, a talking raven, nesting ravens, does the Raven always tell the truth?, “fiery eyes” burning, Gustave Doré, a ray of light, fire and light, censer, seraphim, nepenthe again, always subverting, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, desert land, balm in Gilead, skin soothing stuff, radiant, “still is sitting, still is sitting”, how can the shadow throw from the lamp stream over?, “my soul from out that shadow”, he burned his house down and he’s a ghost, the perfume of smoke, a room (not a house), Mr. Rebek’s house is a tomb, a man without a Lenore, eh, what are you going to do?, ravens in Greek mythology, Apollo, why all ravens are black today, creator god, the Ravens in the Tower of London, Mabel and Grip, trickster god, ravens stealing food, experiments with crow communication, sharing information, Jesse’s crow friend, zebras, lions making a plan, he cried like a baby, a reading raven, a gentle fantasy, the social structure, Michael and Laura, suicide or murder?, a prison of his own making, the prison of her own head, a golden cage, a satisfactory book, Mr. Rebek is 53, Mrs. Clapper is a little older (maybe), children are really absent, what’s real and what’s just in his head?, the nightwatchman is the sanest of all of them, so little evidence for insanity, very little below the surface, The Last Unicorn film adaptation, thematic connections, the death theme, The Innkeeper’s Song, five novels, We Never Talk About My Brother, funerals, death of child, hanging out in graveyards, pillars that didn’t support anything, the symbology of graveyards, a broken column indicates a life cut short, burial vs. cremation, a line between life and death, formalized words, affective, more philosophical, working as a mortician, Six Feet Under, a good book and pretty impressive, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (and the comic book adaptation), similarities, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, a boy raised by ghosts, Tarzan, raised by animals, Tantor the elephant, Nobody Owens aka Bod, subtle illustrations, the babysitter characters, reading with students, tweeting Neil Gaiman, a signed poster, monster characters, Coraline, Tim Burton, thanatophilic, a weird relationship with death, if you’re dead you’re just gone, exactly like before you were born, we’re all just living in our heads.

BALLANTINE - A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle
IDW - A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #424 – READALONG: Dracula by Bram Stoker

June 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #424 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, and Julie discuss Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Talked about on today’s show:
Straight waistcoats, the audiobook, the Leslie S. Klinger annotated Dracula, Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi, The Horror Of Dracula (1958), the 1977 BBC miniseries Count Dracula, the Richard Matheson’s scripted Dracula (1973), Jack Palance and one armed push ups, the 1979 Frank Langella Dracula, the Bram’s Stoker’s Dracula (1992), “whoa Dracula, cool castle!”, Dracula: Dead And Loving It (1995), Love At First Bite (1979), George Hamilton, faithfulness, the Big Finish 4 hour audio drama of Dracula, Mark Gattis, Marvel’s Tomb Of Dracula comic, how big a deal Dracula is, Frankenstein, The Hound Of the Baskervilles, the Twilight series, Lifeforce, the Mercury Theater – Orson Welles version, Zoltan: The Hound Of Dracula (1978), Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett, a modern vampire family, religion and symbols, don’t judge Paul, reincarnation romance, Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula’s wife, why do we need this reincarnation, The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross, an alien elven princess, an alien parasite, blood, fantasy science, Queen Of The Damned, Anne Rice, dominating vampires, collapsing or eliminating characters, illuminating and confusing, most interesting characters, Dracula’s dairy, The Dracula Tapes by Fred Saberhagen, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, Renfield, Eric S. Rabkin, Harker as a mirror to Renfield, locked in a castle, eat this bird, hours of talking (no partaking), write letters, I’ve read all your letters, observing eating, Doctor Seward, gas-lighting, why is Renfield the way he is?, Dracula’s Guest, what contacts did Renfield have with Dracula?, the insane asylum, explaining to us what’s really going on, a Socratic question, why is Dracula interested in going to England in the 1890s?, Empire?, evolution, Van Helsing’s speeches, he’s a child, Kenneth Hite, MI5, the unredacted Dracula files, in the role playing setting, Dracula fought the Turks, Dracula was invited to England, The Great Game, the Hypnogoria podcast, wordless Dracula, once you go vampire you’re a feral beast, London, Corey Olsen’s Dracula at Mythgard Academy, Lucy is more sensitive, Renfield was open to the Count, other methods, “the blood is the life”, the Scooby gang, Renfield fighting Dracula, Mina, adaptors don’t know what to do with Renfield, Renfield never gets deleted, Renfield’s role, I wonder why they put that in there?, Renfield as a policeman in Whitechapel?, a little weirder, Renfield as transgender, Dracula likes sucking on women, breaking Renfield (instead of sucking his blood), if it isn’t just all about sex, more vitality, another reading, books about Dracula, Renfield as a John the Baptist character (a Harker or a herald), moving up the food chain, the Hammer movies, Dracula as a satanic figure, a most ancient vampire, the secret origin of Dracula in Chapter 18, many dealings with the evil one, an evil Hogwarts, the 10th student of the Devil, deconsecrating, Kim Newman, invasion literature, what if the Germans won WWI or WWII?, The Battle Of Dorking, a more subtle invasion, Lucy as Helen of Troy, multiple suitors who represent different classes and kinds of Englishness, Van Helsing as a kind of suitor, Carfax Abbey as Troy, everybody who meets her loves her, Lucy Westernra, light of the west?, the stealing and breaking of a marriage, West vs. Wast, good vs. evil, you can’t avoid the religion, Dracula as an inversion of Jesus Christ, selfishness vs. unselfishness, a sanguine temperament, banding together, resonating with humanity, the Lyceum theatre, a Greek temple, the guest host relationship, enter of your own free will, invitations, Dracula locks you in, Polyphemus, almost a French farce, obsessing over housebreaking, covering their asses in London, breaking the hinges off the door, why the gypsies are the bad guys, The Curse Of Strahd (Ravenloft), Romania, Transylvania, the Borga Pass, the two fingered salute, the evil eye, the heavy metal devil sign, extra garlic, Mina’s dairy, very superstitious = wisdom, recipes, comparing Dracula to Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, long council sessions, here’s what we know, coming out in the daylight, True Blood, burying those who will become vampires, Dracula has a dream, I never drink … wine, “it’s good!”, walking in daylight, why does Dracula go to the zoo?, the zookeeper and Dracula conversation, a symbolic element, the old sailor in the seaside cemetery, so much going on, extending life, immorality in the body vs. the soul, the tombstones, the lies, dragging the tombstones to Saint Peter, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, he’s everybody, why is Dracula’s house empty?, the wiggling bag (with baby in), the lights on Walpurgisnacht, Halloween, the will-o’-the-wisp, the flickering corpse lights, gathering up local caches of gold, served by cows, chickens, and pigs, gothy junkies, he doesn’t have to dine on everybody he meets, tools, more discriminating about what you eat, the shaving glass, nobody wants to eat Renfield, what H.P. Lovecraft took from Dracula, The Call Of Cthulhu, if I was Dracula, 50 boxes, holy earth vs. unholy earth, a perversion, the question of Dracula cooking, looking at a beautiful girl, the Bloofer Lady, Jesse’s theory as to the meaning of “bloofer”, nobody has jobs, presuming beautiful as the meaning vs. having blue fur, bat and gas, a wolf and a werewolf, blue fur lady, the kids are very free-range, cockney urchin speak, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, one really interesting thing, Dracula’s Brides (or Wives), breaking the rules, the novel is about marriage, Lucy talks about her suitors, I wish I could have more than one husband, psychology, the sexuality of Dracula, Lucy’s bedroom visitors are her suitors, she loves them all, Harker’s photo of Mina or Lucy and Mina, why Dracula focuses on them, a weird relationship between the four suitors, Quincey Morris, Pampas, vampire bats, vaquero, world adventurer, Doctor Seward, Lord Holmwood, Abraham Van Helsing, intravenous bodily fluids, candle spills sperm,

Van Helsing went about his work systematically. Holding his candle so
that he could read the coffin plates, and so holding it that the sperm
dropped in white patches which congealed as they touched the metal, he
made assurance of Lucy’s coffin. Another search in his bag, and he took
out a turnscrew.

non-sexual connotation, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, sounding like Eric S. Rabkin, seeing sex in everything, it’s weird, Mina’s child gets the name of all the men, their all the father of that baby, everybody knows that Dracula is all about the sexiness, all of the repression, literally stated in the diaries, this is the way I can get everybody, the perversion of the feeding, reading backward, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, how things become popular, how repressed the Victorians weren’t, a golden age of brothels and hookers, crimes against children, Stoker’s breaking a prime taboo in fiction, killing children, a comics adaptation, sexually charged scenes, Jesse completely disagrees, a technological novelty, a hysterical fit, we’re all married to her, an aura, investing it with something backwards, Paul watches the ping pong match, with modern eyes and sensibility, could they have used electric lanterns, even if it wasn’t intended, what does our Dr. Van Helsing say?, the coffin as another bed, a deliberate mirror of earlier scenes, stakes as totemic items, destroying the body so it ain’t gonna get up again, ultraviolence, garlic as an anti-septic, the staking of Lucy, a dark mirror, very nicely negotiated, reading differently, killing Lucy to save her soul, how good Mina is, the look of peace on Dracula’s face, he was a great, good, and wise man, restoring Dracula, giving the novel a closure, a sequel by Stoker’s great grand kid, our adventurers, how do we resurrect Dracula?, all the symetry that we like, the three brides and the three suitors, so meta, epistolary elements, a found footage book, Fangland by John Marks, how great this typewriter is, The Hawkins Papers, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society props, the writing, transcribing the wax cylinder, S. by Doug Dorst (J.J. Abrams), watching Dracula at the gym, it has legs, like The Lord Of The Rings, when you think vampire you think Dracula, what if Dracula doesn’t exist, a lot of insanity, a conniption, disease, marriage, insanity, a mundane book without Dracula, hysteria, secrets, Seward and Dracula and Harker, she has the brain of a man, Jim is brooding, invisibility, Nosferatu, shadow, mirrors, we don’t have reflections because we don’t have souls, vampires leaving the grave, a fat beached leech, more Dead And Loving It, ruder shadow, Van Helsing (2004), movie direction-style descriptions, a surprisingly modern novel, set slightly in the future, a Science Fiction novel?, audio notes, new theories, Kate Reed, the Dracula tv series, the Victorians (a mass of contradictions), Inventing The Victorians by Matthew Sweet.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1931) Grosset And Dunlap
Scholastic Books - DRACULA by Bram Stoker
Tomb of Dracula - The Fear Within

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #372 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: June 6, 2016 by George Allan England

June 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast
June 6, 2016 by George Allan England - first published in Collier's April 22, 1916

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #372 – June 6, 2016 by George Allan England; read by Julie Davis of A Good Story Is Hard To Find. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (52 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada.

June 6th, 2016 was first published in Collier’s in April 22, 1916.

Talked about in this episode:
as a story, a fine imagination about all the technologies we’ll have in the future, a time capsule to open after 100 years, storytelling aside…, accurate predictions?, a historical artifact, Looking Backwards, what were you thinking, nothing is accurate, a third right, if you squint real hard, a terrible plot, the sappiest romance, he foresaw Marilyn Monroe, he got texting, radio movies = television, any particular paragraph, technology and social change, alcohol isn’t made anymore, socialist pushing, prohibition, that experiment failed, smoking is still in fashion (but falling out of favor), unless you’re sanitized, he got Skype right (kinda), wouldn’t it be great if we could…, burning our clothes, everything is made of paper and only used once, paper underwear, it’s illegal to make noise or to be sick, as a dystopian story, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said The Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, free public transit, everything is aluminum, everything is regulated, weather regulated, cloud seeding, from the Territory of Patagonia to the State of Labrador, the President of England, the 1970s push for the metric system in the USA, everyone is cooperating now, the United States of Asia, the Asian fleet is stationed in Hawaii, Japan or China, they made NAFTA really work, the TPP, a 2016 airplane that’s already broken, the anti-grav element, automation from a distance, the self driving car, the “Tesla” thing, more Philip K. Style, 250km per hour, the Trans-Atlantic aircraft, how amazing that would have sounded, he got some things right, why this story is so extraordinary, Philip K. Dick’s 2016, a slice of life from one day 100 years into the future, what he got right, 28 million people live in New York, a social trend that nobody predicted (except for Clifford Simak), Make Room, Make Room, Stand On Zanzibar, what Science Fiction is doing, the “where’s my flying car” or “where’s my jetpack?” phenomenon, obsessed with hygine, Purell everywhere, there’s no crime in this story, she was promised more rain, what makes one a great writer, the human element, the essence of the story, the role of women, a 1960s lady, and his heart melted, businesses actually paying their taxes, the kind of socialism we can get behind, everyone knows what everyone is doing all the time, everybody knows where everybody is, convenience vs. Big Brother, everyone has everything they need, children are to be seen and not heard, where’s the children, Brave New World without the drugs, Soma in the ozoneators, the women’s suffrage movement, the Prohibition movement, every leap year women got the opportunity to ask men to marry them, marriage, cellphones (or satphones) telepathy, a slidewalk as in The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein, Iridium Satphone, an urgent telepathic call from Hong Kong, bluetooth technology, the Sub-Atlantic tube, a trans-atlantic tunnel, Channel Tunnel, email, video ads on the subway, newspapers are completely gone, how much would George Allan England like us talking about this story on this date?, headphones, what a world of wonders we do live in, to George, we’re not there yet (for non-commercial cremation), filling in New York harbour, we bend nature to our will, the big eugenics thing, the eugenics board, the fallacy of eugenics, Muhammad Ali, how fallible and foolish people are, alcohol going out of fashion, turning off alcohol would be like banning marriage, The Drunken Botanist, the benefits of alcohol, people in 9,000bc, the archaic art of letter writing, a little gesture of the time, investing in the characters, the PDF is a bit hard to read, muting the feminine philosophy, feminism, he will make more in the end, the images, did the art come first and the story follow?, etherically connected, centrally regulated atomic clocks, a Pickwick Papers situation, Charles Dickens, the illustrator died, monthly installments, the invention of the cliffhanger, Paul is related to Charles Dickens.

June 6th, 2016 by George Allan England - illustrated by Harry Grant Dart
June 6th, 2016 by George Allan England - illustrated by Harry Grant Dart
June 6th, 2016 by George Allan England - illustrated by Harry Grant Dart

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #363 – READALONG: The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein

April 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #363 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein.

Talked about on today’s show:
1951, the really annoying way Heinlein does things, Paul’s main Heinlein phase (in the late 1980s), when Paul was ten, Time Enough For Love, Expanded Universe, the basic parts of a Heinlein novel (in terms of characters), the Heinleinian triad, the young talented protagonist, the older wise crotchety man, and the red headed woman character, who The Man In The High Castle was, when Dick writes a novel…, when Heinlein writes a novel…, methamphetamine is 100% non-habit forming (?!), Jesse is uncomfortable with surety, Heinlein exudes surety from every pore of his body, orbital mechanics, what women want, Bruce Jenner’s gender switch, Heinlein’s politics, black people, women should be raised up in society, homophobia, Mary’s super-power is gaydar, homosexuality, asexuality, marriage, men and women are identical, “of course husband”, the alien is the husband, the structure, the final chapter, in case the mission to Titan fails, message in a bottle storytelling, first person perspective, surety undercuts it, has Dick ever written in first person?, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Hanging Stranger, identical paranoia, how much he hates the Soviets, Heinlein was rabidly anti-communist, in the commissar’s office, WorldCon, God help us all, he was right but…, imagine if this novel is a metaphor for communism, the Second Red Scare, Soviet and Chinese communism, WWWII, Manhattan crater and Washington crater, projecting brawn, getting tanks to North America, the evil of the puppet master aliens, orgies on TV is bad, also gladiatorial combat, they kill cats!, no effect on Soviet Russia, hygiene, scabies and lice, parasitism, cranked up to 13, Saddam Hussein, U.S. politics, if it were re-written today…, core fears, 24 was that, looking at the structure, avenging the cats and dogs, a master of the craft, Luke Burrage, that is good writing, so different from Philip K. Dick’s books, a straight line vs. how did I get here, all the sins that Time Enough For Love, naked people standing around in cushioned apartments talking about legal matters regarding the decanting of babies while a cat walks into the room, get passed the cat, Pirate the cat, casual nudity, Eric S. Rabkin, making it absolutely necessary that the society go nudist (and never go back), Hyperpilosity by L. Sprague de Camp, combs, even in Heinlein’s kids books, in their dome homes the heat is cranked up, was Heinlein a nudist?, Hollywood, downhill after The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, I Will Fear No Evil, an old white guy living in the body of a young black woman, the US Navy, hate and love for the military, this weird guy from Missouri writes his consciousness into his books, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, Friday, rape, when Heinlein talks about rape…, an artificial person, an inferiority complex, a fascinating society, the movie of The Puppet Masters, the fun stuff, the cat, the alien was kissing, being devoured by a woman, Eric Thal opens his mouth whenever possible, Sam, Mary, why does everyone hate this movie so much, Donald Sutherland, Keith David is always fun, unlike every X-Files this was competent, yeah look it’s a fake, the slugs are really smart, were they smart?, the sequence where Sam first gets a slug on his back is one of the best bits of Science Fiction, its almost as if he doesn’t know, more insidious and more scary, tying it all together, helicopter vs. skycar, Heinlein loves incest, they do juice you up, the addiction metaphor, had Dick developed it…, an Olympic athlete, what’s undercooked, who is in charge of their own minds, choices under some conditions but not under others, if we all had slugs on our backs…, getting married to Mary, love of a good woman ends addiction, black and white, Joe Cinidella is actually Italian until he becomes a Nazi, a flipped switch, turning on the waterworks, operating as a slug, Glory Road, set in fairlyand, Nebraska, all about the contract, an ambivalent relationship with marriage and law, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, alpha husbands and beta wives, primae noctis, you get into their psychology, really weird people, WWII and methamphetamines, go pills, tempus fugit, chasing the cat, is Heinlein challenging us?, Star Trek: Operation: Annihilate (aka Planet of the Pancakes), Maissa Bessada, resetting the show at the end of the episode, another point of Vulcan physiology, Kirk’s brother is named “Sam”, Mary is the vessel for world piece, Heinlein sued the makers of The Brain Eaters, Star Trek: The Next Generation, there’s no money until the Ferengi show up, Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy of the post scarcity economy, maybe women did act that way in the 1950s, a sequel in which Mary is saved from her marriage, 1980s tropes, sex scenes, Mission Impossible movies, developing out of taboos, the PG-13 effect, “they’re boffing, ok”, Alien, giant penis monster, Aliens, James Cameron’s problems with Harlan Ellison and The Terminator, The Outer Limits, The Brain Eaters, lifting things out of literary SF, Avatar is very good lifting, redoes the the first movie and the first, Luc Besson, The Professional, adding a baby doesn’t make things better, Ellen Ripley, the corporate military mission, Newt (from Aliens) is Mary (from The Puppet Masters), garbage bunk vs. good orbital mechanics, feral child, the structure is the same, spacesuit -> fighting suit, ejecting from the ship -> ejecting from the planet, a powerful story, Alien 3, Paul fulminates, the nine day fever (Venusian Jungle Fever), encephalitis, The Puppet Masters is a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, here’s how I would do it, H.G. Wells was a cynical asshole, monstrous, liars, jerks, and racists, our CIA operatives know what they’re doing, the NSA, “you just killed a guy for no reason”, it isn’t uncaring wisdom that save humanity it’s man’s ingenuity, root em out and kill em all, it’s the end of Starship Troopers, the Elves of Titan, Independence Day aliens, Welcome to Earth scene, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, Willy Wonka-style, a space alien cop (the Mother Thing), “who lives like that?”, if Heinlein had had a kid, the serial was slightly rewritten by Horace Gold, the unexpurgated version, 1980s movie style, a hook-up with an anonymous blonde from a bar, the trope for James Bond, Virginia Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, it is not better, weird names, Biblical names, Mary’s real name, Sam’s real name is Elihu, in the Book of Job, Elihu’s big speech

Elihu states that suffering may be decreed for the righteous as a protection against greater sin, for moral betterment and warning, and to elicit greater trust and dependence on a merciful, compassionate God in the midst of adversity.

putting us on the right path, x is so bad that we have to put all our trust in…., our precious bodily fluids, if Heinlein were alive today…, Ray Bradbury, the NSA, anarchism, Mary’s backstory, the Whitmanites, an explicit mention of the Doukhobors, Heinlein just likes nudity, Heinlein likes his women to older or a lot younger, physically young but actually older, a young secretary with an old man’s brain, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, lots of surgeries or whatever, shrugging it off, a different experience than back in the day, you must read ancient authors, for another podcast, you don’t know SFF if you don’t read…, shame at not reading The War Of The Worlds, can you find Heinlein books at new bookstores?, Alfred Bester is great but he wrote two books, genre defining or pioneering, well-written idea SF, almost no science, a bit of politics, marriage, you don’t know SFF if you havent read a Heinlein novel, a long discussion for another time.

The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
PAN Science Fiction - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
The Puppet Masters - MOVIE

Posted by Jesse Willis

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