The SFFaudio Podcast #475 – READALONG: Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

May 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #475 – Jesse, Paul Weimer and Maissa Bessada talk about Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

Talked about on today’s show:
1980, hard science fiction, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, first contact, the surface of a neutron star, moving the idea Forward, 2016, Tantor Media, this is a terrific book, a Jesse book, big ideas, the human characters, the ideas of this book, how do you do biology on a neutron star, a civilization running much faster, the writing brought it down, the TV Tropes page, minor details like plot and character, very heavily written, really different aliens, a culture, a society, an arc of civilization, from the Stone Age to the Space Age, the religious subplot, forgive them they know not what they do, the Wikipedia entry, this isn’t a metaphor for us, I’m doing a little thing here, the sex scenes are hilariously interesting, all of my egg sacs, body-stiffening, touching all the sensitive parts, under their eyes, I haven’t drooled that way since I was an eggling, made of neutronium, the opposite of Star Trek, The Orville, Star Trek: Voyager, they surpass us, the way the cheela deal with the humans, a slow robot for fast humans, early culture and early problems, visiting H.G. Wells’ writing career, the hominids, cave man society, cave cheela, inventing math, seeing how you can get from there to here, agrarian farming, the tasting plates, knots, the 2001: A Space Odyssey moment, Thus Spake Zarathustra, putting on a book like a new pair of pants, in the constellation of Draco, 30au, more poignant now, giving up on the space program, set in 2020-2050, the Soviet Union, neither government is willing to spend the money, a spacefaring civilization, an old relic of a book, a big dumb object, how the cheela perceive reality, this is amazing!, magnetic lines, the hard direction, bootstrapping that, seeds, full of idea science fiction, what I want from my science fiction, slowing down, let it wash over you, hard to understand, carrying a slide-rule around while you listen, problems that need solving, trusting Forward’s math, getting the gist, loving science, not about bullshitting, why they would visit the neutron star, mechanically putting the plot together, delivering the ideas, “a textbook on neutron star physics disguised as a novel”, monopole technology, a theoretical concept, handy for Larry Niven novels, Infocom’s Starcross, mining monopoles, what are monopoles?, regular matter, 80s novels, generating monopoles from monopoles, nuclear fusion, if we had a hammer…, a bonanza of hard science fiction and medium soft medium hard sf boiling around in the 1980s, space opera, napoleonic war in space, technologies, math is a kind of technology, James Burke’s Connections, the creation and invention of tools, how the airplane got made, streamline the parts, a made up rhyming history of our technology, dismissing new tech that is unuseful now (is a mistake), blockchain technology, valuable properties, cryptocurrency, inventing or discovering an element or a property, wait 50 years, when you’re zipping through time, million times faster, turns, a guy with a sword, Maissa got knocked out, knocky, no leftover sexism, predominantly female, failed tyrant queen, immortality by vegetation, barracks emperors, megalomaniac, kill all the scientists if they fail, eating their dead, they’re not humans, Soother separating her eggs from the others, Pink Eyes, a religious conversion, out in the desert for 40 turns, laugh out loud moments, the antics of these tiny cute weird creatures, nobody’s getting married, their culture is based on their biology, their biology is based on their chemistry, their chemistry is based on their physics, minimal ecosystem, Flatland: A Roamance Of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot, afraid of math, written by A Square, invasion, straight lines are females, invasion literature, a Cosmos episode, The Orville, our world is shaped like an egg, having a ball, real worldbuilding, long rectangular lines, big and sticky, Eric Rabkin, thousand, why is the world named mescaline?, a math book, what beings would have to be like at the surface level, a thousand times faster, slow as in stupid, turning up the speed, 1.5 times speed, gear up (with a lot of coffee) operating at a higher speed, certain countries, the day seems to go longer, we are able to operate at a higher speed, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, getting certain things done, running around naked, crystalline vegetable matter, they don’t have oral communication at all, tremor sense, marching up the hill, give your peace cry, don’t get punctured by a woman, how would this work?, no wheels, a game of Civilization, many barbarians to conquer, sad news, curing breast cancer, flood her with x-rays, Robert L. Forward died of cancer, you don’t need a sequel, we didn’t need that, planting little clues, “here read this!”, no Prime Directive, Machiavelli, Napoleon, just a phase, Larry Niven, Lucifer’s Hammer, Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Charles Sheffield, John Campbell would have loved it, Frank Herbert, more interested in ideas than anything else, let’s go on another adventure with the serial numbers filed off, the same but different, psychological thrillers, the fan of real science will love a book like this, narrator Todd McClaren, funny and hilarious, very sexy grains of sand that want to be sandwiched, Downpour.com, I really like Dragon’s Egg, take a book and pass it to your friend and they like it, the joys of an author and their work, I need more rubles for computer time, a good mix of people, pretty cute tuckerizing, more messed up, if a neutron star entered the solar system, robot space probes, no Hoffmann transfer orbits, all Greek?, anecdotal scenes, superconductivity, this is a vacuum, aerospace physicists, extracting electrical energy from the vacuum by cohesion of charged foliated conductors, Hendrik Casimir, the Casimir effect, quantum vacuum fluctuations, getting energy from nothing, free energy from reality, as we go…, spending money, dropping more dumb bombs, never look forward, seeing more clearly when you look backwards, why were we so obsessed with that thing at that time, what’s this like?, kind of silly, energy levels, regenerating, wish fulfillment, seeing changes in its society, Olaf Stapledon, blowing along through geologic time, struggling against, they’re vegetables?!, god hand-wavy world creation, how to get the kind of brains we have, advancing when going in the hard direction, we have overcome to advance, I’m not getting this, cuneiform accounting a brilliant book.

Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward, 1980

Tantor Media - Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Cerberus Rex

November 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio Review

Cerberus Rex audio dramaCerberus Rex
Written and Directed by Jason Hardcastle
Performed by a full cast
90 Minutes – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: www.sci-fi.com

Ana: What’s in the well?

Langstrom: A mystery of physics.

Ana: Awesome.

I agree with Ana. That mystery of physics was awesome. And so was this whole production. Thanks to excellent voice actors, superior sound, and an entertaining script, Cerberus Rex was a pleasure to hear.

Cerberus Rex is “an hour-and-a-half long science fiction audio adventure”. Dr. Anabela Correia, a professor of astrophysics, is the main character. She receives a request to visit Well Station, which is a research facility working on that “mystery of physics” in an underground cave. Ana visits the phenomenon, and things get dangerous very quickly.

The acting, like I said, is excellent. The entire cast was great, but special kudos to Natali de Assis who played Ana. I was right there with her the whole time.

The sound, again like I said, was superior. This is a cut above ordinary audio drama. This production fully achieved the “movie in your head” description that audio drama often gets. The sound allowed this drama to pull off something particularly interesting and powerful.

The script by Jason Hardcastle was also well done. It was particularly suited for audio drama. The comedy in the script worked and acknowledged some of the influences on the story. The tense moments, and there are plenty of those, were done with just the right touch.

This audio drama is available in a few different ways at www.sci-fi.com, including FREE. I highly recommend, though, that you pay $1.99 (yes, that’s right, only 2 bucks) for the high quality audio version. 90 minutes of pure audio goodness for 2 bucks.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

CBC: The Vanishing Point: The Dispossessed (adapted from the novel by Ursula K. Le Guin)

October 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

A six part radio dramatization of The Dispossessed was broadcast on CBC Radio in weekly 1/2 hour installments from June 12 to July 17, 1987 for The Vanishing Point (a long running SF radio drama series). Airing at 7:30pm on Friday nights this serial was based on the 1974 novel of the same name, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Subtitled “An Ambiguous Utopia” it tells the story of the occupants of twin planets, Urras and Annares. A sprawling epic of its era it features tree-planting, dinner parties, copulation, physics, homosexuality, anarchism, social justice, copulation, spankings, propaganda, culture, copulation, pregnancy, babies, famine, revolution, class consciousnesses, politics, and copulation.

Here’s the official plot:

“Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Urras, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.”

CBC - The Vanishing PointThe Vanishing Point – The Dispossessed
Adapted from the novel by Ursula K. Le Guin; Dramatized by David Lewis Stein; Performed by a full cast
6 Episodes – Approx. 3 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC Radio
Broadcast: 1987

Part 1 |MP3| Jun. 12, 1987

Part 2 |MP3| Jun. 19, 1987

Part 3 |MP3| Jun. 26, 1987

Part 4 |MP3| Jul. 03, 1987

Part 5 |MP3| Jul. 10, 1987

Part 6 |MP3| Jul. 17, 1987

Podcast feed: http://huffduffer.com/tags/vpdispossessed/rss

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Cast:
Gary Reineke as Shevek
Barbara Gordon
Gaysa Kovacs
John Swindells
Gillie Fenick
Greg Elwand
Hrant Alianak
Terry Waterhouse
Francine Volkhurt
Mary Durkin
Marsha Moreau
Michael Hogan
Phil Aiken
Beth Robinson

Music by Marsha Coffee

SF Masterworks - The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Anarres and Urras

Part 1 of 6:

Part 2 of 6:

Part 3 of 6:

Part 4 of 6:

Part 5 of 6:

Part 6 of 6:

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 4: In Our Time – a new podcast for every subject with shows from the past 14 years

January 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Our friend Anne has added a wonderful new post to his Anne Is A Man blog about podcasts. Says Anne:

“I used to write that one should always download the In Our Time podcasts and keep for ever. The BBC used to keep only the last episode in the feed. In case one had not kept the episode, the only option to listen was to go to the on-line archive and listen while streaming. While that has become less and less of a bother with WiFi all around and capable smartphones, it still was a pity you had no option. All of this now belongs to the past; the archive is also available for download and one can lay ones hands on any chapter ever.”

The archive has been categorized into five separate feeds, sorted by subject:

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - CultureIn Our Time Archive – Culture
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas. Topics in the Culture feed include: architecture, the Renaissance, writing forms (like the novel, the sonnett and biography), as well as a multitude of specific persons.

Podcast feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iotc/rss.xml


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - HistoryIn Our Time Archive – History

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas. Topics in the History feed include: The Wars of the Roses, specific battles, a multitude of historical personages, as well as the history of tea.

Podcast feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/ioth/rss.xml


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - PhilosophyIn Our Time Archive – Philosophy

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas. Topics in the Philosophy feed include: just war, rhetoric, great thinkers (Confucius, Popper, Socrates) as well as specific works of philosophy.

Podcast feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iotp/rss.xml


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - ReligionIn Our Time Archive – Religion

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas. Topics in the Religion feed include: fundamentalism, prayer, the Devil, paganism, the Holy Grail, and the Spanish Inquisition.

Podcast feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iotr/rss.xml


BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - ScienceIn Our Time Archive – Science

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas. Topics in the Religion feed include: genetic engineering, artificial intelligence (and regular intelligence), quantum gravity, oceanography, aliens and cryptography.

Podcast feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iots/rss.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

1979 Philip K. Dick interview with Charles Platt (Santa Ana, California)

November 15, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

This essential interview with Philip K. Dick, conducted by Charles Platt and recorded in 1979 in Santa Ana, California, is sure to be immensely important for Dick scholars. It was recorded for Platt’s book Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction.

Here’s the video converted back to audio, |MP3| and although it isn’t huffduffable, it is downloadable.

Notes:
-Dick was “plenty peculiar” because he read books
-he wasn’t gay despite his hanging around with gay friends
-Quakers were about the only group in the world Dick didn’t have some sort of grievance against
-Dick claims to have been kicked out of university for failing mandatory ROTC training
-Dick read The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt and found in it great inspiration for his ideas about the perception of reality and reality itself
-Dick perceived his high school geometry teacher as a mechanism
Roog and other “interior projection stories”
-Dick’s fiction can be incomprehensible if you do not accept his premise (namely that “each of us lives in a unique world.”)
Martian Time Slip.
-When Dick went to a psychotherapist he was told he was an alcoholic (despite his being a teetotaler)
-“attack therapy”
-totalitarian communities
-why Dick writes about anti-heroes
-paranoia
-“I am inevitably persuaded by every argument that is brought to bare”
-private worlds
The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch
Time Out Of Joint
-artificial memories / false memories
-the influence of drugs on Dick’s writing was only in the output (using amphetamines he was completing 60 finished pages per day)
-Dick’s one real acid trip
A Scanner Darkly
-cats and cat curiosity
-Carl Jung and “the collective unconscious”
-John Belushi (on Saturday Night Live)
-WWI and the battle of The Marne
-Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky
-WWI and the battle of The Marne
-Dick’s father fought in WWI (in the 5th Marines) and told Philip the stories about it
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
-“the god of this world is evil”
Maze Of Death
Ubik
Eye In The Sky
-WWII
-something is terrible is wrong (when everyone cheers a burning man)
-empathy for animals (human and rodent)
-the killing of a rat (haunted Dick)
-Buddha
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
-lambs and sheep
Valis (his then latest novel)
-standing on the shoulders of giants
-disorder (evil) -> order (benign)
-Dick claims to have been eccentric but not insane
-“it fired my agent, it fired my publisher” (it being the spirit that was possessing him)
-Dick’s letter to the Roman Catholic Church (about the miracle that occurred)
-conspiracies
-the Cumaean Sibyl informed Dick that the American Republic is in danger of turning into the American Empire (in 1974)
-PKD on censorship (he’s against it, unless you aren’t)
-the War Of The Spanish Lowlands
-Congressman Charles E. Wiggins got letters from Dick (written while he was possessed by the spirit of the Cumaean Sibyl)
-the Nixon tape transcripts were forgeries (according to Dick’s Cumaean Sibyl)
-the Paul Williams article in Rolling Stone on Dick
-Dick’s tutelary spirit promised to return Dick to a garden upon his deathbed
Diana
-Norman Spinrad
-“I’m in the Portuguese States Of America”
-a Chinese finger trap
We Can Build You
-Platt: “Do you recognize the possibility that you were talking to yourself?” Dick: “Yes.”
-multiple personalities
-Archimedes principle
Faith Of Our Fathers
-Ursula K. Le Guin thought Dick was crazy
-pre-socratic philosophy

Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction

[via SFSignal.com and youtubemp3.tv]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Lightspeed Magazine: Bubbles by David Brin (narrated by Harlan Ellison)

September 13, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Lightspeed MagazineThe September 2011 issue of Lightspeed Magazine (issue #16) features a reading by one of the finest narrators around, Harlan Ellison! There’s also a text interview with the author, David Brin |HERE|. Asked what inspired the story Brin sez:

“Most of the universe is the regions between galaxies, yet no stories are ever set in that vast emptiness. I like a challenge.”

And based on this you might suspect, rightly, that the plot tries to answer a problem in physics.

Lightspeed Magazine - Issue 16 - September 2011Bubbles
By David Brin; Read by Harlan Ellison
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Lightspeed Magazine
Podcast: September 2011
“Most of the universe is the regions between galaxies, yet no stories are ever set in that vast emptiness. In “Bubbles” by David Brin, we get to know Serena, a lonely entity traveling the space between galaxies.” First published in a 1987 anthology, The Universe edited by Byron Preiss.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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