The SFFaudio Podcast #451 – READALONG: Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

December 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #451 – Jesse, Paul and Marissa talk about Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1985, 1957, a magnificent novel!, struggling through, Paul is not a fan, opinions about this book, Marissa really enjoyed it, problems, interesting, not a mainstream book, marriage and cheating, Jesse’s gutter definition of mainstream, it has them all beat, an existential novel, mainstreaminess, dread, creeping social order dread, where did it start to go wrong for Paul, why am I listening to this book, technical difficulties, the opening, the school, why am I listening to this?, mimetic fiction, I’m not interested in this, there’s no hook, their lives, the son, the poor victim, Roger recapitulates, his mother-in-law, the inevitability of the break-up of the marriage, his third time, failed relationships, spending time with these people, they’re awful awful, flip-flopped, disregarding the content of the novel…, badly composed Philip K. Dick novels, he’s really smooth, most beautiful in a few places, a way for Paul to get through this novel, Jesse’s last theory, the Mexicans are not really Mexicans (they’re Martians), what the heck are you talking about, Martian Time-Slip, his autistic son, he gives his son to the Martians, put on the lap of one of the hitchhikers, psychology, moving to Chicago with a load of stolen televisions, a secret science fiction novel, becoming a science fiction novel for a moment, at the point where it would spin fantastic… its averted, ruminating and undercutting, when Jesse reads and Isaac Asimov mystery, mind bendy, under Galactic Pot-Healer, no access to higher beings or aliens who live across the street, Lord Running Clam, well and truly lost, there’s no way out other than to move about, Puttering About vs. puttering around, what is this thing about, its not really about anything, when Virginia talks about her husband, she’s made this mistake, the mores of the 1950s, waiting for her husband to screw up, Roger is a prat, they’re all Philip K. Dick, Mrs. Alt, the teachers are all robots, The Simulacra, the math teacher, the horses, the character realization is amazing, all real people, the TV repairman, R. Childan from The Man In The High Castle, a fascinating book for anybody who wants to go deep on Philip K. Dick, you have to let it hypnotize you, bootstrapping opportunities, being in the right mood for things, if you classify this book differently, this is a crime novel scene, they commit adultery and that’s a crime, James M. Cain, adulterous relationships, the Greek fate track they get on, a car-wreck of murder and sex and love, if I was in this car…, tearing him down, he married into this, there’s no escape, a horror, a horrible human being, horrible people, being terrorized and terrified and having no escape, good writing, feeling something coming, a payoff, what all the school means, what (other than the fact that this actually happened) does this mean?, like he was experiencing this stuff, screw you all, feeling the tedium, attention to detail, open and closed to the experience, little kid psychology, sometimes adults have a greater wisdom and experience than the kid, an emotional sponge, to get that cheque, Mrs Alt is a change, the chickens and the eggs, that chicken scene is straight out of The Father Thing, old and mouldy and rotten down to the center of the earth, its turning science fiction its turning fantasy, its turning PKD!, his brother, a multiple reality thing, it wouldn’t take much to flip it into a science fiction story, Paul remembers he hated mimetic fiction, A New Apartment, I hate these people, Paul nearly failed reading in seventh grade (because of the books they gave him), A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, mis-classified, listening to my neighbours talking about their marriage, the periodness of it, a picture of the 1950s that is so complete, immersed into the 1950s, oh this is a real place, this is a real time, so many scenes, The Hanging Stranger, the basement, everything in his 1950s town is exactly the same except for the corpse hanging from a lamp post, lynching, transparency into a social reality, the racism, he didn’t mutter it quietly enough, teeth flying all over the street and he deserved it, seeing the consequence, it felt so real, so visceral, what happened?, explaining to his wife, refusing to go to the dentist like a little kid, new horrors to come, he’s constantly putting himself into these horrible situations, how great is the rage trip?, raging at the whole world, every middle class white guy’s fear, the emotional experiences, perfectly encapsulated, maybe this was written by a woman, Liz is a fantasy character, Upon The Dull Earth, digging the trench, all the other stories reflected, a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, a waking dream, in a very PKD sense, you can’t tell which universe you’re in, the photographs, so amazing, Time Out Of Joint, we don’t want to live in the world where PKD became a successful mainstream writer, decaying royalties, he is a success in this world, being recognized during his lifetime, worth digging out, he’s such a great idea man that his work will live on past his mere boring and terrible existence, mainstream writers that have wasted their lives, Martian Time-Slip can’t exist without this mundane book, squint a little bit, the PKD genre, the shoe-repair boy, none of them can hear me, our perceptions of reality, it felt like it was about to turn into a science fiction novel, almost a witch, a sorceress, Roger’s seeing something in her, children and schizophrenics, a secret brother living inside, an asshole father, an amazing horror story, Tony And The Beetles, what does this mean, Evan Lampe American Writers: One Hundred Pages At A Time podcast, kids, an empathetic sponge, where it turns into a science fiction novel for a moment, the stamp collection, dad did they use stamps in Roman times, I think I have one, that’s the end of that scene, where’d that come from and where did it go?, the denouement of so many Philip K. Dick novels, Ubik, that is the turn, how often Jesse talks to kids, its almost like they have schizophrenia, I think my feet are on fire, they sound insane, what if that’s true?, the fact that he thinks he has a Roman stamp is true in that moment, those little touches are what make this a great, great book, eliciting the sense of existential dread, I might read another mainstream Philip K. Dick, The Man Whose Teeth Were Exactly Alike, the premise is like nothing, horrible people, I love reading about these fuck-ups, asshole after asshole, Stephen King, Nelson De Mille, a Goodreads review by Hyzenthlay:

The worst part of having a favourite author who died before you started reading him is that eventually you will run out of new reading material. The best part of that favourite author being Philip K Dick is that he was prolific as fuck AND he has so many books that are only recently coming back into print and/or being published posthumously for the first time that even though I’ve been reading him for 20+ years, I still haven’t run out of new-to-me shit to read.

Puttering About in a Small Land is one of those mythical PKD volumes I searched used book stores and thrift shops for for years. It was first published in the mid-80s, following Dick’s death, then went out of print for almost three decades cos there was never much call for his literary fiction. It’s not sexy enough to be referred to in hushed reverential tones like a DADoES or mind-fucky enough to be a scholarly treatise on humanity and reality like the VALIS trilogy.

It’s a quiet book, dealing with adultery and retail. It’s undeniably an early Dick book, exploring what exactly it means to be human; to feel eternal, knowing all this pain is an illusion. The prose and style will be familiar to anyone who’s read more than a handful of his books or short stories, but it’s not one of his Big Damn Idea books.

I feel I’m not explaining myself very well.

If you’re a genre fan thinking to dabble in Dick, don’t start here. [Waves hand] This is not the book you’re looking for. You go read something else (if you don’t want to start with the usual suspects, I applaud you and would recommend The Penultimate Truth, Dr Bloodmoney or The Cosmic Puppets), cos you will likely find this book’s slightly plodding pace infuriating.

If you’re a litfic reader, looking to broaden your reading horizons, you *could* give this one a go. Maybe only if you’re already into mid-20th Century Americana, though. This might not be the best starting point. You’d be better served picking up Confessions of a Crap Artist or Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (which, yes, is genre fiction, but ONLY JUST).

Fellow Dickheads? Obviously you need to read this. After Milton Lumky (who knew typewriter sales would be so compelling?). You might hate it, but your need for completion will compel you.

TL;DR This book isn’t for you. Or you. Or you. But it might be for YOU.

stealth sex scenes, she’s consuming him, a spider crawls on her hip, a great review, Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, Mario Puzo’s Fools Die,

Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K.Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #450 – READALONG: Declare by Tim Powers

December 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #450 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Fred Himebaugh, talk about Declare by Tim Powers

Talked about in today’s show:
Learned Hand’s Brow, Fredösphere, 2001, a supernatural spy novel, historical, a secret history of the Cold War, the author’s note from the end, Kim Philby, The Fourth Man, a paranoid squint view of history, “real truth”, On Stranger Tides, more piratical, this way of writing, a sequel?, Last Call, Expiration Day, Earthquake Weather, The Stress Of Her Regard, The Anubis Gates, supernatural adventure stories, very loooong, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, a novelette length epilogue, the last 15%, Scott’s favourite part, alone in a Memphis hotel room, the spy stuff, the final Ararat trip, Paul needs to go up a mountain, the two halves of the same souls, bouncing around the timeline, re-activation, up to confront God, how it was written, the blender artistic method, composition, writing a novel, should be between, where is that number written?, anything over 100,000 words would feel long (except in Fantasy), an 80 page James M. Cain novel, not novel material, what Jesse does for fun, filling in the pieces with supernatural theory, a different bent than Philip K. Dick, Valis, quoting C.S. Lewis, accidentally told the truth, the kind of conversations that they had are exactly where the material this book comes from, A Maze Of Death by Philip K. Dick, Gnostic theories about what’s really behind the veil, really behind the motivations, Philip K. Dick can’t even get through a book without undermining his own theory (unlike Powers), some evil power has blinded us to the truth, a conspiracy against us, escape into the truth Bishop Berkeley, a Gnostic leaner, Fred is reserving the right, dinosaur bones are a distraction, Gnostic vs. ignorant, theme parks for that, Gnostic theme parks, Paul is resolutely materialist, this mundane world, role playing games, this is a fake world, Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, driving to the Courts of Chaos, fantasy literature, spooky stuff, when you pick this flower the princess in the kingdom next door will die, activated, being hungry doesn’t mean we have bread, the bread in the book, miming eating bread that tastes like dust (the Barmecide Feast scene), the meat, an alternate way to god, almost an totalitarian world, how we feel about Kim Philby, how can anybody escape from the reality behind this world?, he’s not killing God he’s confronting an angel, striking against the higher powers, what the Russians are doing, the atheists in the story believe that the fallen angels of Ararat are the sources of all our Biblical theology, interpreting the agenda of Hale’s handlers, by destroying these powers, overthrowing the whole monotheistic paradigm, Andrew Hale, two layers, countries and people, to escape the judgement of God, very Lovecraftian, alien in mindset and morality, Philip K. Dick’s Upon The Dull Earth, profoundly interesting, bloodthirsty angels, Oregon, it ends in a horror, The Odyssey, lambs blood, On Stranger Tides, what the mystery was, the wireless telegraphy, the circles, that’s interesting!, the djinn and how they operate, they pick up what’s around them and use that, very cool, using a crowd, Abdul Alhazred, a Gnostic version of reality, a secret history, visibly torn apart by an invisible force, a subverted reading…, the crowd tears him apart, reading in-, the same feeling, random doubling?, beyond the double agents, Philby’s secret ability to double himself (bodily), the ark and the dark ark, Galactic Pot-Healer, the Glimmung and the Dark (or Black) Glimmung, Joe Fernwright, an evil cathedral, Joe Fernwright’s skeletal double, why this book is long, this is the novel you must read first, a subverted idea, I’m not going to think about this, Jesse thought that maybe one of the Hales we’re seeing is a different one, when he sees himself beaten up by the police, so subtle?, a bridge too far, taking the twinning thing a step beyond, an unreadable mess, a TV adaptation, could you do a TV series adaptation that wasn’t 400 episodes long, a Netflix series, The Sandbaggers, would anyone watch it?, the Publishers Weekly review, should you stock your shelves with this book?, genre bender, the audience for this is science fiction people, what it really is, Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy, The Devil’s Dictum by Fred Himebaugh, an audiboook?, a Fred podcast?, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, those English thinkers, really good writing, how much Powers knows about stuff, oh good!, it almost hurts the novel, he isn’t killing his darlings quite enough, how the Bedouins sit on the camel’s saddle, its okay to have one character who has read really widely (but when you have three or four people), when Jesse found out about Otto Skorzeny, I will not violate any known historical fact, the NSA, Davinci’s Demons had new world parrots in Italian streets prior to Columbus, why this book holds up as well as it does, a two-edged sword, historically consistent, infodumps, taken to see Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, in the hands of any other author, utterly brilliant, an insight into Theodora’s character, he’s ‘deep state’, silently assuming, a tension-filled (and hilarious) scene, not many authors who are thinking that hard, worth the cost of admission, going through a writing workshop, Fred bows before the greatness of Tim Powers, when writers do the critiquing, he took something that should have been crap and turned it into something, a bit too neat, we get THE goods on what’s going on, not enough room for Jesse(‘s theorizing), the suspicions have to fit the facts, conspiracy thinking but with constant undermining, I don’t know where we stand, room for mystery, God doesn’t actually show up, Hale as a rebirth of Jesus, Stillman head of Christ, blue eyes, his mysterious father, someone compares Hale to T.E. Lawrence, a ghost, ambiguity, making the Soviets seem competent, what are these purges about, wrapping up all the threads, what was going on in Las Vegas in the 1950s, Tim Powers doing Tim Powers, card games, playing for immortality, when Powers does real life research has to pay-off in a book, as for my own books, last time we did an interview, an apparent inconsistency, Earthquake Weather, under in a tarp in the back yard, Three Days To Never, Hide Me Among The Graves, Dave Robeson, The Projecting Project Pulp Podcast (episode 14), not merely a drug-addled mystic, insight into PKD’s personality, the MP3s are all available, San Fransisco, how he phrases things, John Le Carré, it’ll be fun writing set in the 1960s, Philby’s father, appeared to have a private army, I thought “that’s fun”, 1,001 Nights, wouldn’t that be cool, a very self-conscious writer, the plan forms itself out of the materials he discovers, forcing it together doesn’t work, the pages push away from themselves, I have 14 hours left!, 22 hours, the 1940s setting, the meat and potatoes of the book, three books in one, “Ok, Mr Tim Powers…”, dudes!, Ararat loomed over the whole novel, double a normal genre novel, occult writers, friction and stickiness at the same time, magic?, it had to be this long (except for bits), so perfectly marbled, no other author Fred admires more, Roman Catholic, studiously avoid inserting, a fascinating statement, two skeptics, assumed by the novel, distinguished from the rest of society, a lot of the answers, an Egyptian ankh, experience redemption a specifically Catholic way, heretic heathen people, dogma, wiggle room, Raymond Chandler, why everyone is drinking all the time, he experience the Catholic church, you can feel it, if you read it carefully, just fallen angels, you can interpret this the way you want, maybe Fred knows too much about Tim Powers, which side he’s on, to a Catholic audience, not preachy, Satan passes through a pizza parlour on the way to Hell, The Way Down The Hill, not be judged, hoping for a big Elena section, an honest broker, the Spanish Civil War, being in Paris, being a spy, walking down the street, what does this mean, the borderlands of the supernatural, the scenes in Paris are the most enjoyable part of the book, 1941, they didn’t have a snow that year, the weather is influencing the, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, working backwards, a brilliant sense better than so much more than the usual, Jesse likes the a 21st century novel?, he enjoys it too much, a Tim Powers move, a signature move, in syncopation, a magical trick, I wouldn’t wear this belt, the bare feet radiating heat, they stole the ideas from that book, Pirates Of The Caribbean, it would make a really good audio drama, a conspiratorial narrator, flying over the pyramids, a pyramid of sandbags, we don’t doubt it, the Soviet airplane, we’re spending it on other things comrade, so much time researching, when does he sleep?

Declare by Tim Powers

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #448 – READALONG: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #448 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1954, a reconstruction of a Norse Saga with Dungeons & Dragons elements, Scott loved it, Jesse found it terrible, and Paul has read it thrice, what would have happened…, Eric Bright Eyes by H. Rider Haggard, idiots and assholes and magic, low magic, striving toward wisdom, the nuclear weapons of magic, Odin, sacrificial Paul, the rules, in the realm of mythology, Beowulf, The Lord Of The Rings, Michael Moorcock’s Elric Of Melnibone, archetypes and gods, greater and deeper, mythic vs. inspired by myth, the language was amazing, Jesse’s not saying much, directly inspired by Beowulf, The Völsunga Saga, an insight into 1000 year old society, The Odyssey, the characters tended to not be very wise, semi-historical, Ragnar Lodbrook, simile nice, toning down the massive metaphors, more about power than it is about ideas, the whole magic sword thing, magic items, H.P. Lovecraft, huge and menacing and powerful and on the edge of our ability to perceive, Skafloc, drawing runes, there’s a demon in here, cursed staves, Dreams In The Witch House, his counterpart (his changeling), screwed at birth, cursed in a Greek or Norse way, more action, not an idea book, all about the ideas, The Forever War, the ideas are not front in center, you can’t touch iron, that’s the rule!, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, werewolves, becoming an outlaw, becoming savage, why is he a werewolf, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, not unlike the world was viewed, the revised edition, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, the 1971 revision (made it worse), Gollanz’s reversion, ‘I welded the Broken Sword back together’, a ‘Book For The Blind’ narration, luke warm, The High Crusade, Three Hearts And Three Lions, a WWII officer dropped into the land of fairy, the plot of the Wonder Woman movie, for copyright reasons?, fiddling, the language in this book, poetry, evocative descriptions, half converted Christians, a ghost tells them, that’s the rules, her brother her lover, that’s the tragedy, echoes, the ending was rushed, Valgard, killed by the device, E.F. Bleiler, noir, doomed from the beginning, the characters doom themselves vs. their doomed because of their destiny, why is this happening?, he calls to the raven, hey there’s a battle down the road, dude!? why did you do that?, James M. Cain, for no good reason, stirring the same area of Scott’s brain, pale recreation of Tolkien, thinking about the meta-aspect, that GRAVITAS, WWII, truth, the eternal verities, the truth of story, poetic truth, philosophers, a truth and a resonance, Dunkirk, its hard to criticize anything that is tongue-in-cheek, the bad geography of Middle Earth (Tor.com), philology, Frank Herbert, geology and ecology, monsters doing monstrous things to each other, what makes them powerful, Marissa, imagine you’re copy-editing someone’s work, fixing a falsity, the Goodreads reviews, the reviews of Beowulf, what’s the Bible’s Goodreads reviews, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, the epic vs. the novel, ringing false, is this a high fantasy book?, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, science vs. magic, lets shoot the fireballs at each other, Robert E. Howard, the magic sword mentality, Excalibur and King Arthur, his human thews (though very jaguar-like), the strength of 10-hill giants, a really problematic definition, epic vs. sword and sorcery, about scale and stakes, who is casting the fireballs, “an Atlantean Sword”, the magic is in his manliness, about willpower, born to be screwed, the characters don’t seem to know themselves, they are almost pre-conscious, The Odyssey, I’ve made mistakes – I’m going to make more – and here I go, sticking with the tradition he is writing in, that northern tradition, the Neil Gaiman movie script adaptation of Beowulf, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, set in Iceland, Henry Treece’s Viking Trilogy, on the PDF Page, Viking Dawn, The Road To Miklagard, Viking Sunset, Beothuk, throw down some quotes, a sequel hook, Ragnarok, the unfinished comic book adaptation from the 1960s, good stuff, a book full of sadness, “whence came you hither, fawn?”, the sacred grove, the dryad screams, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, arbitrary rules, the White Christ, real gods vs. fake gods, who and how much power a particular name has, see American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, Carcassonne, Kentucky, why are some characters not allowed to touch iron?, that’s the rules, the afterword, a science fiction-y take, when he isn’t being playful, Three Hearts And Three Lions, marrying science fiction with fantasy, how they can intertwine and make sense of each other, when the Devil shows up, Dante (Alighieri), “the White Christ, time and love”, I knew him of old in my incarnation of Loki, things as other things, fairies from China and India, a very old idea, that’s some deep stuff right there, elf girlfriends vs. human girlfriends, mocking eyes, “oh, you’re one of thooose guys”, “like calls to like”, cold mystery, adopted by elves, mythic, Dragon Magazine, some of the cartoons, straight out of Elric (and this), intelligent swords, willful swords, when you’re sword has a higher intelligence that you do, a tragedy, where’s my place in this world, where’s my place in a Norse saga?, sword dances, a novel for Dungeons & Dragons players, “Brutal, romantic and tragic. no cute hobbits.”

Ballantine Books - The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1961) fanzine illustration

comic book adaptation of The Broken Sword

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #447 – READALONG: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

November 13, 2017 by · 3 Comments
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #447 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Talked about on today’s show:
1974, if everybody in the modern era writes like him…, depth beyond the good writing and the ideas, what does it MEAN?!, a straightforward 1970s novel, ever further into the future, future-shock, war, Ken Burn’s Vietnam documentary series, accelerated time, mid-2016 and now, WHAT the bleep has HAPPENED?, clown show, a politically traumatic time, 1967-1968, 1968-1969, Paul is my senior, draft dodgers taught Jesse, “not my president, hashtag”, leaving the USA for Canada, they stayed, making a peep, the elites (or quasi-elites) might have to go, the real plutocrats always found a way out, Jimmy Carter, McCain, John Kerry, that trick still works, the Russia thing, collusion, what skills does he bring to the table?, the John Podesta emails, Bill and Hill Clinton, flipped the script, they swift-boated him, a perennial technique, bringing it back to the book, all weird, another tour, all word, Earth is a dystopia, Earth became Texas, the first section, training on Charon, power-armor, technology, silly and weird predictions, Mogadishu, Somalia, the farm, lawless Horn of Africa, the center cannot hold, ever expanding military, no health-care for the mom, death-panel, trying to figure out what’s going on in the mind of the author, an analogy, this is why people sign back up (go on another tour), going back and forth, the big takeaway, oh, my mom’s gay, everybody’s gay!, everybody’s multi-racial now and I’m the queer, that’s interesting, now everybody is a clone, a hyperbolized version of the political changes, Cassius Clay -> Muhammad Ali (and great) -> now he’s a war-resister, the kind of military SF, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Armor by John Steakley, Old Man’s War, ooh it’s a twist (he’s not even white!), the movie adaptation of Starship Troopers, doing something slightly different, following forward, Jesse’s a big fan of the montage, tedium mixed with fear and shock, the military-industrial complex, romance novels for men, a focus on the specs of the pistols, the serial numbers on their special hand-grips, what gets them going in the night, he did a lot of math, gravity curves, MIT, political stripes, the legalization of cannabis, the acceptance of homosexuality, having latent feelings, a little looser, among those artist types, he’s the “old queer”, a funny twitter conversation: what’s really lacking today…, VHS vs DVD, we’ve become more prudish, conservative marketing, “no, we’ve lost context”, sexist!, homophobe!, “a latent heterosexual”, whenever you put a pressure on a large group of people results happen, everybody in our society is gay now, isn’t that interesting, look at the way we’re living now, the lack of context rule, when Potter converts to heterosexuality…, he’s not trying to target the audience of today, Heinlein was a weird guy, the way he obliquely attacks problems, no qualms about this book, an asexual cyborg, Forever Free, Forever Peace is excellent (Paul doesn’t like it), all about drone warfare, more artificial, The Accidental Time Machine, funny and delightful, Haldeman on Prisoners Of Gravity, he won everything (it was political), overwhelming, a thoughtful and reasonable guy, four serials of this book, Analog, Hero, “Screw you, sir!” -> “Fuck you, sir!”, Robert A. Heinlein’s naval service, a deep respect for the military, a hippie planet called “Middle Finger”, it starts with a “fuck you” and ends with a “Middle Finger”, Mandela’s psychological profile, leading from a position of empathy and ideas (instead of will), how the Marxist soldier during the Spanish Civil War would do business, ambiguous (ambivalent) feelings, Mike Vendetti, not something you take lightly, his emotions in his tweets, he’s got mixed feelings, a big mistake!, this war didn’t need to happen, ultimately the lesson, “support our troops”, taking a knee, a conflation with honouring the military, into the arms of the other f-word (fascism), a very nice point, politicians manipulating the people is nothing new, actual journalism with a critical eye, both Gulf Wars, “embedded with the troops”, stories in a patriotic light, propaganda, still happening today, Brian Williams’ ‘beauty of our missiles’, this book misses, told tightly from Mandella’s POV, the veterans are toured around the world, the comic book adaptation of The Forever War by Marvano (artist), Gay Haldeman (translation) and Joe Haldeman (script), Titan Comics, he stacked the deck, a counter-pole, there’s nothing here, the serialization, We Are Very Happy Here, necessary for serialization, a plot contrivance, 84-year old moms, joining the army for financial reasons, Marygay’s mother and father, true for the people of Somalia, pirates don’t do piracy for the sea-shanties, manipulated for our benefit, in the tradition of Starship Troopers (and not in the tradition), Heinlein’s generation vs. Haldeman’s generation, war with aliens, we become the alien, “you don’t understand politics”, why veteran are the only people are allowed to vote, politics of the era of Nixon vs. the politics of the era of Roosevelt, a “take that”, there was a revolt of veterans on earth at one point, the Bonus Army, the Revolutions Podcast, support our troops is a whip, the American support of the French in Vietnam, depending on how you calculate, a sunk cost fallacy, JFK needed to keep the war going past the next election, we can only badly infer it, what Jesse appreciated about Ender’s Game, a wish-fulfillment avatar for 13 year old boys, a lot of time in the online forums, reading a really deep reddit post, why that book is powerful, and here’s what’s missing, the general is a child, it kind of explains the real life generals, Netflix’s thinly veiled McCrystal biopic, there’s no job to be finished, there are no victory conditions, a frameworks for continuous unending war, without a draft it is an endlessly churning meat-grinder, a constant war economy, the government is being fleeced of its coffers by war profiteers, why is my standard of living falling?, pointing out the unfair, labeling it is not the solution, the Las Vegas shooting, “this is an act of domestic terrorism!”, we’re going to calm things down, slave revolts are not terrorism, labels are not the issue, the guns and the access to them are a bigger issue, people get caught up on the words and identity politics, sidestepping racism, sexual norms, a made-up name, he dodged the question, the charge of racism, google n-gram, nobody got suddenly racist, when they do the movie, Channing Tatum, they made a decision, socioeconomic status, a person’s story, the Ender’s Game movie, Johnny Rico is Filipino from South America, Ensign Kim is Scandinavian!, is it a weakness that the novel doesn’t explore racism?, a beautiful time capsule, Mandella’s psychology, Doctor Potter: I’m not prejudiced, the soldiers he was fighting beside were all his team and the fear of the enemy was more important than the colour of the skin of the soldier in the fox-hole with him, a media construction, real human beings, outside your bubble and your fears, deep deep resentment, prejudices of all kind, lived experience, ameliorating intolerance, a chance to grow and understand, an overoptimistic story?, a combat team, it treats racism as settled, let’s deal with homosexuality, Heinlein on homosexuality, a greater representation of gender-queer characters (male vs. female), painful and uncomforting, seeing the flaws within yourself, he’s a dude telling his own story, Diana, Margay gets her own standalone story, Spider Robinson, many changes, an excised fourth part, people read science fiction the wrong way, dangerous territory, Jesse you should read this this and this, this is a story of a dude like this…, reading off in my own direction, books written before I was born, reading the books written by the readers of recent books, unlike other genres (with the exceptions of mystery and crime), science fiction is a series of conversations between stories, your going to be missing a large part of the story, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, gay characters in a story is passe, I don’t read the stories for the characters at all, reading it for the societies, reading it for the science, I want to see my values reflected, the battle on that last planet, where’s the rest of the story, why people read science fiction (other than to see their values relfected), world-building, effusive for Ringworld, literal world-building, reading to see representation, an era of character based, having not seen themselves they want to see themselves reflected, a sense of wonder, Paul Atreides is someone Paul could sink into, a white male protagonist, they’re not the classic, how cool the other stuff in that book is, why am I having a whispered conversation with this weird lady in my bedroom, kids never pay attention to the author until you graduate from that, cover artists, aha!, this other thing: the author, this Miguel Ferrer is the actor (not the writer), Tom Cruise movies have no writers, the French focus on the film director, it’s not the characters to me, what makes science fiction so different, soft science fiction, looking at trends and forces, here’s a society with a guaranteed annual income, he’s probably male, that Mack Reynolds novel stands out because it is representing me, the scarcity of jobs is important, world-building enough to spend, there’s no one true way to read science fiction, to misquote Rudyard Kipling, alien planets, we get to see Heaven (a paradise planet), we get to see life on a little planet in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, a deep dive into William Mandella, academic to grunt, what a soldier’s life is like, waiting in a time, a lover or a nurse, reading for the Marygay-William relationship, the Church of Science Fiction, if you read it for the romance you’re going to be disappointed, a Heinleinian bit, looking it as a modern book, are there books still to be written in this conversation?, how Jesse would film the novel, people don’t just live happily ever after, H.E.A. (a romance term), Jonathan and Gary of the Coode Street podcast, how you want to slice it, Linda Nagata’s The Last Good Man, the “Red” series, in this particular thread, digitizing The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, Le Guin doing Philip K. Dick, a great appreciator of PKD’s writing, she’s trying to have a conversation with Philip K. Dick, the Lovecraft conversation is so loud and churning, fulminating, denouncers, he’s now at max volume, how many sequels to Innsmouth, Ben Bova, a legacy of Analog and Astounding, John W. Campbell seemed to interfere, a pretty stupid man in many respects, the telepathic (psionics), add some bullshit element and you’ll get a sale, nobody writes those (psionics) books anymore, Julian May’s intervention novels, The Many Colored Land, August Derleth, not only a bad writer (a bad person), show me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man, nicely reflected in what happens to the humans, you poor deluded human, Murray Leinster, A Martian Odyssey Stanley G. Weinbaum, an important story, H.G. Wells, I’ve got these great ideas and this piece of paper, thinking through the ideas, tell a story based on that world, what makes Dune so great, a gender-swapped version of Dune, monks instead of nuns, set on a waterworld?, this book has something for everybody.

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

End Game by Joe Haldeman - illustration by Vincent Di Fate - Analog, January 1975

End Game by Joe Haldeman - illustration by Vincent Di Fate - Analog, January 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #446 – READALONG: The Night Flier by Stephen King

November 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #446 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU, talk about The Night Flier by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
1988, Prime Evil (New Stories By The Modern Masters Of Horror), the movie, The Running Man is a powerful book, was Jesse wrong about Stephen King?, Salem’s Lot, he’s long, faithful, killing Dees?, lean and mean and sharp, essential goodness, cute, where It was set, All You Zombies, Predestination (2014), Marissa really loves his writing, creeped-out again, how bad writing happens, translates thought onto the page, Elmore Leonard, Donald E. Westlake, not enough there?, maybe Jesse is wrong, depth?, evidence that Jesse is wrong, social commentary, the flower children of the 1960s became the cannibals of the 1990s, real cynicism, pushing hard, the depth is in the characters, caring about characters, hard to film, what’s missing is its all a metaphor for something, the story in the telling, apart from the obvious metaphor: journalism bloodthirstiness, fake journalism, having the story in their minds, tabloid newspapers, what’s that about?, the social phenomenon, analogies to blood (and guts), typical Stephen King, a depth of connection, part of the appeal, feeling these things happen, we know him, we get him, the Weekly World News, on the edge of reality, Kolchak crossed with Lou Grant, “You’re real!”, backward and forward in time, anticipating what he’s going to see, a Cessna Skymaster, you sleep in the belly of that thing, don’t publish what you believe, finding evidence, Maine, small aircraft at small airports, a story idea, who is the titular character?, he’s more real than anyone else, he pointed to it right there, Dwight Renfield’s aircraft: the Toyota of aircraft, a push-pull, a bit like a bat, Dee’s aircraft: Beechcraft 55 aka the Baron, their “crosstown rival”, Cessna vs. Beech, Wichita, Kansas, playing up that parallel, extending the ending, anticipatable, creating the creature for his story, the writer spinning his story, soft human emotions, “Reader’s Digest emotions”, Miguel Ferrer, the anti-hero, a kind of bloodthirsty dude, he’s the vampire, to exploit the trauma of other people’s lives, lying, he glamours them, practicing, “a little boid”, is that what makes King so popular?, he does humans well, problems with endings, unlike the movie, vampiric traits, that ending, there’s no evidence of a vampire, did he get framed, making explicit the metaphor that’s going on in the text, take the film out, if that’s true…, why does Dwight let Dees go?, chasing a phantom, self mutilation for fun and profit, we are supposed to infer Dwight has glamoured the folks at the airfield, following but not with, was Dees doing the killing, an X-Files episode, very Kolchak, an asshole as the main character, we know he’s a bad actor, comparing him to the monster that he’s chasing, practicing in the mirror at hotels (his true home), the fake human emotions he doesn’t actually feel, a Tim Powers lecture, Dracula as a statement on feminism in the 19th century, the horrors are real int he context of the story, The Turn Of The Screw, the comparison is valid, our position, persuaded by the editor, good instincts, he’s losing it, a fracture in his mind?, taking photos, enough, seeing himself from outside himself, super-powerful stuff, dual personality, Stephen King’s world, the monster is a monster (not just imagination), what Jesse likes: very ambiguous stories about what might just be a madman, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe, the scene with the mirror, I like your work, Dees as the fall guy, a reset button, the ending of the movie, he’s alive and the vampire’s out there, horrifying stuff, he might deserve it, traumatized for the rest of his life, Julie Entwisle, as cold as he was, a good moment, more powerful ending, Stephen King worked with the film-makers, more time seeing than describing, “STAY AWAY” in blood, a dog, the album, more concrete evidence that he’s a real guy, the graveyard and the tombstone, he’s not creating the story out of whole-cloth he’s spinning it he’s framing it, the National Enquirer, reading this now in the wonderful era of fake news, readers like dogs, the cynicism, it’s right, cynicism is dangerous, cynicism’s etymology, he’s done this, Salem’s Lot, The Strand, a peaceful Dracula, a kind of psychopath, muted feelings, it came out, the wall was broken down, 1408, John Cusack, making stuff up, Frank Muller, we have evil inside of us, deep honesty, he has the model of that, doing it in real life and doing it in fiction, a horrific way of being, that’s what jokes are, if I said very rude about one of you, a joke is a thought, the evil angels inside of us, bad impulses, humanity, princess and happy cartoon creatures, “oh shit, this is what adults think!”, they do fight and they are unfair, the exact same feeling, a revelation, a clown with a balloon doesn’t appeal, anybody who writes a lot, thinking about what other people don’t have to think about, his job is to think hard about real things, why is this phenomenon so pervasive?, what’s behind it, what’s underneath it?, a different kind of truth, undercurrents vs. facts, the insights by the editor and the author, poking at the why, bad boob jobs, alien abductions, not interested in the why, interested in the what, more honest than other kinds of newspapers, at an instinctual or animal level, an indictment of humanity, ratings, Gawker and Peter Thiel, the online equivalent, Inside Edition, Bill O’Rielly, a horror of a human being, Geraldo Rivera, wjhat got Gawker got in trouble for, breaking real news stories, National Enquirer has broken real news stories, unpopular facts, Nightcrawler (2014), the monsters are all human, making a story, the movie was so low budget that the editor’s office doesn’t have a desk it has a dining room table, he’s too short, Jesse forgives The Night Flier (1997) a hell of a lot, crappy little movies that do a lot with what they’re given.

Stephen King's The Night Flier (1997)

THE NIGHT FLIER

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – READALONG: Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

October 30, 2017 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:

Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.

dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:

“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”

the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.

Virgil Finlay illustration of Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

PAPERBACK LIBRARY - Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Posted by Jesse Willis

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