Talked about on today’s show:
1970, one of Marissa’s favourites, get going, where is he going with this?, ohhhkay, Do Androids and Ubik, Morbid Chicken, similar scenes, the space jalopy scenes, this guy is crazy, the Philip K. Dick fans page, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Conspiracy ’87: “…Robinson came up with some refreshingly intriguing ideas. For instance, he sees Dick in A MAZE OF DEATH, deliberately murdering the cast of characters he has used in his books, and grown sick of since SOLAR LOTTERY. There is a different, new cast after MAZE”, the bevatron, various realities, dying one by one, hating each other for their worlds, that house!, all the religions in a blender, a signpost, The Cosmic Puppets, this far and no farther, endlessly spinning wheels about what God is like, prayer transmissions, the Walker On Earth, Seth has ascended, virtual reality, dolphin people, Kurt Vonnegut wrote that book: Galapagos, cynical, he’s going to bite his tongue off, sea-lion people, Margaret Atwood, Oryx And Crake, an episode: Books Jesse Hates, recycled or re-themed, the tench things: T.E.N.C.H. = tensions, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, Alfred Bester, I can’t stand you ANYMORE!, so depressing, stuck in a bottle forever, a Hell, Seth Morley escapes Hell, suicide, “oh god, that’s life!”, and then we play videogames and read books, Faith Of Our Fathers, which is the reality, overlapping possibilities, the weird gnostic twist, purposely plunging into fake reality, a metaphor, drug addiction, Seth Morely’s apotheosis, Delmak-O, is it too soon to bring up The Matrix?, the machines tried to give humans paradise, you weren’t satisfied with it, acting out, it’s a “dead star” not a “black hole”, right to the edge, it literally would be hell, Event Horizon, frozen forever, the Disney movie The Black Hole (1979), they wished they had had star wars, an R2-D2 character, Maximilian, see the movie anyway, a really fun kid’s movie, Roddy McDowell, Anthony Perkins, the overture, Virtuality, a murder happens, a Civil War world, a holodeck, musician/superhero, sounds Philip K. Dicky, follow me down the rabbit hole, Paul’s guess, “Heading for a lawsuit…”, “ripped off from Joe Haldeman’s SF novel “Old Twentieth”, Frozen Journey by Philip K. Dick (1980), you are in a faulty cryonic suspension, Vanilla Sky, Abres Los Ojos, in Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, the Walker On Earth as the protagonist, I don’t trust Philip K. Dick, interpretations, we’re all the Walker On Earth, they’re all Dick, I have to sleep with all the men, he really loves women, unrealized motivations, group therapy, couples therapy, so impressionable, empathizing with everybody’s point of view, he’s working out his own psychology, seeing one person’s attempt to reconcile all the weirdness that’s in his mind, H.P. Lovecraft, that’s his psychology, always being honest, this is what fascinates and obsesses them, PKD doesn’t like it either, “this is life we’re all sort of trapped in orbit around a dead star”, “why the fuck did you do that, you asshole?”, we’re so annoying, escaping to heaven, Heaven would be the most boring fucking place in the entire universe, change, coming to appreciate it, they’re all blurring together, The Game-Players Of Titan, haning out with people who are annoyed with each other, Philip K. Dick’s Agatha Christie novel, Ten Little Indians, Murder On The Orient Express, wow I had no idea this was coming!, “click here for a big spoiler”, too dense or too sick, did you realize what was going on beforehand?, Paul started to suspect, is this an Eye In The Sky sort of thing?, red herrings, a government experiment, an oceanologist and no ocean, an economist, their concentrating all the idiots together, a bunch of people with degrees they couldn’t use, a noser, a squib, a punishment planet, I don’t think Philip K. dick knows what’s going to happen, take me to my last destination, this has Printers in it, a hint early on where the conversations repeat, 1977, kind of like this podcast, it’s long and everybody’s babbling away, just like the podcast, you’re thrown a little bit, what is going on?, an author’s forward,
The theology in this novel is not an analog of any known religion. It stems from an attempt made by William Sarill and myself to develop an abstract, logical system of religious thought, based on the arbitrary postulate that God exists. I should say, too, that the late Bishop James A. Pike, in discussions with me, brought forth a wealth of theological material for my inspection, none of which I was previously acquainted with.
In the novel, Maggie Walsh’s experiences after death are based on an L.S.D. experience of my own. In exact detail.
The approach in this novel is highly subjective; by that I mean that at any given time, reality is seen–not directly– but indirectly, i.e., through the mind of one of the characters. This viewpoint mind differs from section to section, although most of the events are seen through Seth Morley’s psyche.
All material concerning Wotan and the death of the gods is based on Richard Wagner’s version of Der Ring des Nibelungen, rather than on the original body of myths.
Answers to questions put to the tench were derived from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes.
“Tekel upharsin” is Aramaic for, “He has weighed and now they divide.” Aramaic was the tongue that Christ spoke. There should be more like him.
what the hell does this mean?, it’s the Gotterdammerung!, this lady’s an embodiment of Freya, that guy’s an embodiment of Thor, archetypes of Biblical characters, the table of contents:
1 In which Ben Tallchief wins a pet rabbit in a raffle.
2 Seth Morley finds out that his landlord has repaired that which symbolizes all Morley believes in.
3 A group of friends gather together, and Sue Smart recovers her faculties.
4 Mary Morley discovers that she is pregnant, with unforeseen results.
5 The chaos of Dr. Babble’s fiscal life becomes too much for him.
6 For the first time Ignatz Thugg is up against a force beyond his capacity.
7 Out of his many investments Seth Morley realizes only a disappointing gain– measured in pennies.
8 Glen Belsnor ignores the warnings of his parents and embarks on a bold sea adventure.
9 We find Tony Dunkelwelt worrying over one of mankind’s most ancient problems.
10 Wade Frazer learns that those whose advice he most trusted have turned against him.
11 The rabbit which Ben Tallchief won develops the mange.
12 Roberta Rockingham’s spinster aunt pays her a visit.
13 In an unfamiliar train station Betty Jo Berm loses a precious piece of luggage.
14 Ned Russell goes broke.
15 Embittered, Tony Dunkelwelt leaves school and returns to the town in which he was born.
16 After the doctor examines her X-rays, Maggie Walsh knows that her condition is incurable.
maybe all this stuff did happen!, other realities, the economist goes broke, that’as another Philip K. Dick novel: The Cosmic Puppets, true in a metaphorical way, he’s playing a game, Jesse unearths a mysterious object, Rupert, stories told in four levels, “In Which Rupert Finds A Lost Boy” rhyming couplets, prose text, leveling of reading, on one level it’s a murder mystery (and science fiction novel), if you play long enough with Philip K. Dick…, a long game, not the book to start with, late Dick but not bad at all, the comedy and the descriptions and atmosphere of the planet, more polished, Three Stigmata, communities of protagonist, reading about a bunch of dickheads, he’s kind of an asshole sometimes, stressing each other out, the original title: The Hour Of The Tench, the manuscript, no revision, no moving things around, no third and fourth drafts, getting it right the first time, knowing how to hit the beats, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, how well the topic can be played out, a cute topic won’t be a great novel, as he was going it developed into that and started playing it up, How I Rose From The Dead And So Can You, forty god-worlds, mot-scientific means, a big clue, a biblical number, rather than revise, interplaneast and interplanwest, Dick loves Germany, Waking Life, are you the story?, he’s living the books, why is he always obsessed with printers?, their all in an insane asylum, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, little cups with pills, where do the pills come from?, when they don’t work properly and make me feel weird, buy a new car and suddenly entropy happens, the fight against entropy, the Printers are cool because…, other writers or Star Trek deal with replication, what will that do to the economy, a post scarcity future, anti-entropy machine: DNA, I make a kid and he’s not a little mini-me, even this awesome amazing thing that is life even it can’t win, every printer we’ve ever met in any story has been a dying printer, like fairies they’re always dying, deep and creepy, the computer is the Bible, the Bible as our programming, everything is decaying but not the ink, he’s taking it from another Bible: the I, Ching, Jesse’s understanding of how church works, throwing the yarrow stalks, don’t do two shows in the row exactly the same, a good fruitful passage, that’s the mystery of God!, Kings 2:4, it’s no John 3:16, Paul the altar boy, that’s the way its going to be, Jesse’s 4am dream, saving the end for the morning of, in a diner in Orange County, living in a Philip K. Dick (played by Antonio Banderas), a 1950s everyone has a special uniform world, cafe/restaurant/bookstore, a bag with two copies of A Maze Of Death, I’m pretty sure the last two chapters are going to reveal something to me, Antonio Banderas Philip K. Dick sort of smiled, just like in Delmak-O, that was only way this book could be adapted, what’s wrong with Philip K. Dick movie adaptations…, there’s no music swelling, A Scanner Darkly, successful, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Philip K. Dick can never be faithfully adapted, Adaptation, it made sense in the dream, a theory as to what’s going on in the book, that’s essentially what the dream is, an internet of dreams, the collective bevatron worlds of this dream, isolated invented worlds, a hall of puppets, Mormonism, experimenting with religions, Roger Zelazny’s Amber, Tickleufarsen, the Walker On Earth is real, he wants to believe in Jesus, stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire (and helped by Jesus), Jesus Christ is a character (like Batman), Constantine and Council of Nicea, why religious revolutions happen, this Jesus Robin Hood figure, how is Donald Trump gonna go to heaven?, PKD is the Walker On Earth for the characters in A Maze Of Death, inviting a meta-interpretation, a philosopher who uses 1950 and 1960 paperbacks to do philosophy, possibility vs. technology, the Printer is the important part, in a peripatetic Socrates and Plato kind of way, that’s why he (Dick) is immortal, Marilyn Monroe can be reconciled, the coffee machines and the computers, Google T.E.N.C.H., that’s what we’re all striving for, the ink stays, the WORD lives on, 1s and 0s, what really happened, he saved them all, ridiculous but also true, the Total Dick-Head Blog, the cook changes, oh yeah I’m the cook, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, we knew it from the colour of the couch, new knowledge, the game he’s always playing, it’s so subtle, nice catch!, totally re-readable, we did a show.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #401 – Celephaïs by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Gordon Gould. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (16 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June.)
Talked about on today’s show:
The Rainbow, May 1922, Marvel Tales, 1934, Weird Tales, Jun-July 1939, “A Posthumous Weird Fantasy”, a story about H.P. Lovecraft’s life,
Kuranes was not modern, and did not think like others who wrote. Whilst they strove to strip from life its embroidered robes of myth and to show in naked ugliness the foul thing that is reality, Kuranes sought for beauty alone. When truth and experience failed to reveal it, he sought it in fancy and illusion, and found it on his very doorstep, amid the nebulous memories of childhood tales and dreams.
so Lovecraft, reality ain’t pretty, always in fantasy, consciousness and objective reality, Jason Thompson comic book adaption, detail and attention, London, Yeasto and Beefo, Thomas Shap, gleefuly smashing a cat, opiates, a hashish man, the anonymity of Kuranes’ dream visage (in Jason Thompson’s rendering), Understanding Comics, wearied and wizened, a board game, an amazing adaptation, the page 8 sequence, the valley of Ooth Nargai, where form does not exist, a violet coloured gas, compass and protractor, manga style, hot air balloons, toward distant regions where the sea meets the sky, the domes are the same shape as the balloons, The Thing On The Doorstep, a script of imagery, going deep into the story, spending weeks in just 19 minutes, Fungi From Yuggoth, Dreamland-like,
XVII. A Memory
There were great steppes, and rocky table-lands
Stretching half-limitless in starlit night,
With alien campfires shedding feeble light
On beasts with tinkling bells, in shaggy bands.
Far to the south the plain sloped low and wide
To a dark zigzag line of wall that lay
Like a huge python of some primal day
Which endless time had chilled and petrified.
I shivered oddly in the cold, thin air,
And wondered where I was and how I came,
When a cloaked form against a campfire’s glare
Rose and approached, and called me by my name.
Staring at that dead face beneath the hood,
I ceased to hope—because I understood.
The Gardens of Yinand from Celephais:
One night he went flying over dark mountains where there were faint, lone campfires at great distances apart, and strange, shaggy herds with tinkling bells on the leaders; and in the wildest part of this hilly country, so remote that few men could ever have seen it, he found a hideously ancient wall or causeway of stone zigzagging along the ridges and valleys; too gigantic ever to have risen by human hands, and of such a length that neither end of it could be seen. Beyond that wall…
it’s a dream but it is also real, Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a teetotaler, far more fascinating is the man himself, at points in his life, his dreams live on, eighty years later, immortality, he’s alive for a lot more people than he was when he was alive, horrifying vs. a slow sad tragedy, reflecting H.P. Lovecraft’s life, uncompromising, attitudes towards money, lies and untruths, up-selling, The Diary Of Alonzo Typer, William Lumley, a Thomas Shap character himself, the pathetic people who tell lies about their own life experience in order to make life more tolerable, the last paragraph, played mockingly, Trevor Towers, the purchased atmosphere of extinct nobility, offensive brewers, The Great Gatsby, that resentment, so tragic, so awesome, the two images of Trevor Towers, thinness of reality, and the neighbouring regions of dream, his eye, the naked ugly reality, he’s killed himself, you’re out king!, The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap by Lord Dunsany, tongue in cheek, ironic, to persuade customers, a more compromised Lovecraft, a dignity of nobility, your everyday fella, particularity imaginative, a fable, don’t let it effect your work, living on the skeleton of his ancestry (or he’s a writer), tweeting dreams, the writer’s life,
I cannot tell why some things hold for me
A sense of unplumbed marvels to befall,
Or of a rift in the horizon’s wall
Opening to worlds where only gods can be.
There is a breathless, vague expectancy,
As of vast ancient pomps I half recall,
Or wild adventures, uncorporeal,
Ecstasy-fraught, and as a day-dream free.
It is in sunsets and strange city spires,
Old villages and woods and misty downs,
South winds, the sea, low hills, and lighted towns,
Old gardens, half-heard songs, and the moon’s fires.
But though its lure alone makes life worth living,
None gains or guesses what it hints at giving.
there’s that wall again, the wall as representative of the line between life and death, Ex Oblivione, they’re all dream-quests, “rift”, how the words associate with one another, all the abysses that Lovecraft talks about, The Strange High House In The Mist, a god having lunch, being thrown off the Earth, and yet…, a gate, a void, astral projection, the only way to the dream world (and space), super resonant, that’s great!, the wall over which the imagining and expectancy of what could be, that alone makes life worth living, embracing the fact you’re going to be extinct, that depth is unplumbed, a “problematic depth”, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, wanting to be an astronomer, going on night walks, it’s isolating, he’s walking alone here, the “rift”,
Faith had urged him on, over the precipice and into the gulf, where he had floated down, down, down; past dark, shapeless, undreamed dreams, faintly glowing spheres that may have been partly dreamed dreams, and laughing winged things that seemed to mock the dreamers of all the worlds. Then a rift seemed to open in the darkness before him, and he saw the city of the valley, glistening radiantly far, far below, with a background of sea and sky, and a snow-capped mountain near the shore.
But three nights afterward Kuranes came again to Celephaïs. As before, he dreamed first of the village that was asleep or dead, and of the abyss down which one must float silently; then the rift appeared again, and he beheld the glittering minarets of the city, and saw the graceful galleys riding at anchor in the blue harbour, and watched the gingko trees of Mount Aran swaying in the sea-breeze.
Once every year, in autumn’s wistful glow,
The birds fly out over an ocean waste,
Calling and chattering in a joyous haste
To reach some land their inner memories know.
Great terraced gardens where bright blossoms blow,
And lines of mangoes luscious to the taste,
And temple-groves with branches interlaced
Over cool paths—all these their vague dreams shew.
They search the sea for marks of their old shore—
For the tall city, white and turreted—
But only empty waters stretch ahead,
So that at last they turn away once more.
Yet sunken deep where alien polyps throng,
The old towers miss their lost, remembered song.
a sunken city, the city waits for them too, I don’t like it when people give me presents, faking it, for a minute or two, in that moment, Wayne always appreciates more cash, The City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe, Lo! Death has reared himself a throne, J.R.R. Tolkien, no Usher-ness, Little Princess Mee, Shap = Shaper (dream) or shop, profound, where the sea meets the sky, “Faith had urged him on, over the precipice and into the gulf, where he had floated down, down, down”, and “Endlessly down the horsemen floated, their chargers pawing the aether as if galloping over golden sands; and then the luminous vapours spread apart to reveal a greater brightness, the brightness of the city Celephaïs, and the sea-coast beyond, and the snowy peak overlooking the sea, and the gaily painted galleys that sail out of the harbour toward distant regions where the sea meets the sky.”, a dream written down, keep reading the same story over and over again, Paul’s map (or depiction) of Celephais, Campaign Cartographer, inspired to art, the abandoned village is Innsmouth, a river running through it, a completely inverted vision, ancient atavism vs. beauty and a new golden age, steering into The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, Carter once knew Kuranes in waking life, Carter knows me, the more muscular adventurer, all around the Dreamlands, the infection of dream travel, Kuranes’ last name is Trevor, a hit of this hookah, back to reality, back to childhood, The Dream-Quest Of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, exiled to reality, better off in the real world, the reverse, Wayne June’s audiobooks for Thomas Shap and Celephaïs, a dream fiction collection, have them all together, at your terrible job, retire to the sea-coast and go for a sleep walk, read it on your own.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #400 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick
Talked about on today’s show:
Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, early crystallized, fantasy, science fiction, a great story, which perspective, Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, a weird gnostic sort of thing, religious and gnostic themes, a scary herald, comforting, the one last comfort, first impressions, kind of amazing, so Philip K. Dick, almost Lovecraftian cosmic horror, politics, some of the best parts of his novels, Mr Lovecraft himself, amazing things to say, 1968, under LSD, written on LSD?, the Philip K. Dick fans website, Latin and Aramaic, a grain of salt and a tab of acid, what a good writer PKD is, the cigar keeps going out, how shocking, this is a retelling of 1984, 1984 meets the Doors Of Perception, Big Brother is God, the dystopia he’s living in, watching TV as a part of the job, reverse cultural imperialism, the ancient art of American steer roping, Julia (from 1984), Tanya, secret societies, being roped into a conspiracy against the part, agitprop, a great cynicism, astoundingly interesting, LSD in the water, anti-psychotic snuff, seeing behind the illusion, one of twelve possible realities, 1984 is not our world, modern politics, customized ads and emails, propaganda, you don’t taste it anymore, the desert of the real, stolen from The Matrix, a terrifying reality, have sex and drugs until you die (the moral of the story), there are things worse than I, what could be worse, very Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, topless and bottomless, glowing boobs, a mutant, low on affect, as horrific as anything in H.P. Lovecraft, powerful imagery, a genius all over the map, neo-Platonism, I am everything, I created the party, I created the anti-party, relativism, no objective reality,
It was terrible; it blasted him with its awareness. As it moved it drained the life from each person in turn; it ate the people who had assembled, passed on, ate again, ate more with an endless appetite. It hated; he felt its hate. It loathed; he felt its loathing for everyone present — in fact he shared its loathing. All at once he and everyone else in the big villa were each a twisted slug, and over the fallen slug carcasses the creature savored, lingered, but all the time coming directly toward him — or was that an illusion? If this is a hallucination, Chien thought, it is the worst I have ever had; if it is not, then it is evil reality; it’s an evil thing that kills and injures. He saw the trail of stepped-on, mashed men and women remnants behind it; he saw them trying to reassemble, to operate their crippled bodies; he heard them attempting speech.
what would be seeing?, it’s metaphor, a return to chaos, like meeting a celebrity and falling under their sway, interesting political, reading Hillary [Clinton] emails, seeing behind the curtain, plans and strategies, when on the drug of reality (instead of the public face of it), seeing everything for what it is, Netflix, London Has Fallen, Channel Zero, ruined for generic Hollywood movies, giving speeches while smashing an enemy in the face, since Independence Day, people watching the movie with us, the proxy for the audience, “we authorized it through the G8”, writing is solving problems, the whole of the movie depends on a tiny little linchpin, it’s all about economics, cartoonish, ISIS and the Saudis and the Clintons, destabilize your enemies and reinforce your allies, some people think that Hillary is the more sane response, behind closed doors speech, a public face and a private face, very pragmatic, she dissembles, since the days of the Roman senate, the veils are lifted, fear has infected them, he has revealed the fakeness all around them, he’s so fake he’s genuine, the clanker, the gulper, the climbing tube, the bird, politics and truth-telling, Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, diving into the greatest depression of your existence, consciousness is an accident of evolution, the atheist existential point, in order to survive emotionally, I want to it to go back the way it was, a gelatinous thing with a million eyes,
And then it ceased talking to him; it disjoined itself. But he still saw it; he felt its manifold presence. It was a globe which hung in the room, with fifty thousand eyes, a million eyes — billions: an eye for each living thing as it waited for each thing to fall, and then stepped on the living thing as it lay in a broken state. Because of this it had created the things, and he knew; he understood. What had seemed in the Arabic poem to be death was not death but God; or rather God was death, it was one force, one hunter, one cannibal thing, and it missed again and again but, having all eternity, it could afford to miss. Both poems, he realized; the Dryden one too. The crumbling; that is our world and you are doing it. Warping it to come out that way; bending us.
the window!, THE WINDOW!, don’t fall on my account,
“Don’t fall on my account,” it said. He could not see it because it had moved behind him. But the piece of it on his shoulder — it had begun to look like a human hand. And then it laughed.
“What’s funny?” he demanded, as he teetered on the railing, held back by its pseudo-hand.
“You’re doing my task for me,” it said. “You aren’t waiting; don’t have time to wait? I’ll select you out from among the others; you don’t need to speed the process up.”
shaking hands with Hillary Clinton, politics can distract us from reality, politics as a filter, seeing the world through a different filter, relativism, that’s why Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary tried to redefine what the drug was doing to you, psychedelic, philosophy, natural experiments, giving a blind person sight and having them recognize what they’d previously recognized with their hands, our minds don’t just take in and process information, drugs break the filters of projection, when you see someone smiling and giving you a message on TV, Barack Obama is a master of this, the TPP, the Dakota Access Pipeline, Bill Maher, The Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, RomneyCare is ObamaCare, the Democrats stole the money and positions from the Republicans, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Hillary workers on TV, exploitation plan, George Carlin and the big club, he’s a socialist of course he’s naive, he met a wood-chipper, who will be to blame?, who will be responsible?, arguing about nothing related to any of the issues that anyone cares about, the absolute benefactor, a Caucasian from New Zealand, it’s icky and you don’t want to deal with it,
“Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unselfconscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.”
the argument goes: lalalalalalal, block it out, we’re not just meat-sacks, Doctor Strange, the terror of the multiverse, atheist = asshole, shining a light on an uncomfortable truth, but we’re happy, I could have steak again, chemtrails are something to worry about, the Kardashians, reality and ignoring things, The Congress (2013), an animated reality, they want the delusion, there are multiple deserts, retreat to the Cambrian, getting mopped up with a towel,
That evening in his small but well-appointed condominium apartment he read over the other of the two examination papers, this one by a Marion Culper, and discovered that it, too, dealt with poetry. Obviously this was speciously a poetry class, and he felt ill. It had always run against his grain, the use of poetry — of any art — for social purposes. Anyhow, comfortable in his special spine-straightening, simulated-leather easy chair, he lit a Cuesta Rey Number One English Market immense corona cigar and began to read.
The writer of the paper, Miss Culper, had selected as her text a portion of a poem of John Dryden, the seventeenth-century English poet, final lines from the well-known “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.”
. . . So when the last and dreadful hour
rumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.
Well, that’s a hell of a thing, Chien thought to himself bitingly. Dryden, we’re supposed to believe, anticipated the fall of capitalism? That’s what he meant by the “crumbling pageant”? Christ. He leaned over to take hold of his cigar and found that it had gone out. Groping in his pockets for his Japanese-made lighter, he half rose to his feet.
then a page break,
At a quarter to three in the morning, as he sat sleepless in the living room of his conapt, smoking one Cuesta Rey Astoria after another, a knock sounded at the door.
When he opened it he found himself facing Tanya Lee in her trenchcoat, her face pinched with cold. Her eyes blazed, questioningly.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he said roughly. His cigar had gone out; he relit it. “I’ve been looked at enough,” he said.
“You saw it,” she said.
She seated herself on the arm of the couch and after a time she said, “Want to tell me about it?”
“Go as far from here as possible,” he said. “Go a long way.” And then he remembered: no way was long enough. He remembered reading that too.
the attempts at distraction failing, the title, the legless war veteran, a full novel’s worth of ideas bubbling,
“We can’t win,” he said. “You can’t win; I don’t mean me. I’m not in this; I just wanted to do my job at the Ministry and forget it. Forget the whole damned thing.”
“Is it non-terrestrial?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Is it hostile to us?”
“Yes,” he said. “No. Both. Mostly hostile.”
when he’s on the ledge, his shoulder has begun to bleed, a stigmata, the anti-god that rules the universe, Prince Of Darkness, the god of The Sims player, we’re evil, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, Philip K. Dick gave the manuscript copy of this story to Ray Nelson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the greatest movies ever filmed, They Live! now has added relevance, is it hostile to us?, it’s not one thing, Nietzsche: “God is dead”, Philip K. Dick: “no, They live.”
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1968, Maissa loved it, primed to like it, pastoral themes, little conflict, conversations, lightness, philosophy, Wisconsin, aliens, previous universes, pastoral gonzo, in the hands of another writer, a slow amble chase scene, lots of beer, more steaks for the sabertooth, Jesse’s problem with this book, heavy themes, there’s no buried subtext, a mystery, the book’s over?, this isn’t a novel, geared for subtext, so fluffy, more substantive than candy, swimming through clouds, what is the matter with all of you, sit back and play for a little while, there’s nothing to connect, Waystation has no conflict, the wheelers, the magazine illustrations, comedy figures, the Lovecraftian monsters, R.A. Lafferty, John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, making a challenge, like The Demolished Man, text as a form, spinning my wheels, more is going on in this backstory, time travel, this is like a short Connie Willis novel, a relaxed pace, pub, trolls under the bridge, Clarke’s third law, full of magic, and dragons!, a very heavy word, it’s a metaphor (but it’s not), growing up, no evidence of the dinosaurs, a missing sequel, a big university project, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, no evidence of Jesus, Diogenes (that guy with the lamp), where the hell is Jesus?, lighter than Robert Sheckley, lighter than Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, we’re mid-westerners, the artifact, the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a picture of the 2001 monolith from 1952, the Crystal World, are you sure?, the knowledge is lost, suck it up earthling!, going into Tolkien, a couple of banshees, very Simak, the fall of Man and the rise of Dogs, bittersweet, you’ll love it, go down to the river and have a lick, what’s up with Shakespeare?, comedy relief, the neanderthal, nice little paralleled, Alley Oop, wrong headed, just read the stories and watch the plays, a guy exercising his vital powers in a life affording them scope, read the Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s ghost, really?, isn’t that interesting, something completely obvious at the time (now nearly forgotten), L. Sprague de Camp, Poul Anderson, The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov, Riverworld, that Brendan Fraser movie, unfrozen cave man lawyer, Futurama‘s space chicken, distilling the facts, that’s not what’s going on here, the way that people love this book, unashamedly enjoying it, Maissa’s dog is in The Destiny Of Special Agent Ace Galaksi, goon show style, bizaaro humour, Sylvester, he just wanted your gold, the opposite of the feeling you get when watching Game Of Thrones, it’s just their pet, arguing with the trolls, the ale, a big bucket of bugs, a beer snob, just the right amount of neglect, we’re gonna analyze the crap out of this thing, beautiful scenes, sad, only two left, when its ridiculous I understand it, the novel that got Kim Stanley Robinson into science fiction, it’s going to be City, the Wisconsin countryside in the fall, a talented writer, a whole genre of pastoral Science Fiction (and only one writer who wrote it), really rural Science Fiction, Los Angeles ruralized, Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, southern California, Garrison Keillor, Bradbury is about the suburbs, he’s not about the farms, The Wizard Of Oz is closer to Simak than anything else American, Lovecraft, going full fantasy, we’re forgetting Tolkien, it doesn’t exist, Zenna Henderson, Escape To Witch Mountain, Henderson taught at a Japanese internment camp during WWII, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Doctor Who, technobabble, SCIENCE!, engineering, Smith is the engineering department on Star Trek, Scotty on steroids, it’s nigh impossible!, William Riker’s transporter accident, the two Kirks, the thoughtful Riker and the asshole Riker, misunderstood, funny fake twitter accounts, Riker Googling, the trolls, a bridge to the other world, bits of symbolism here and there, the wrong kind of tires for the wrong kind of track, so much does and doesn’t happen at the same time, nobody is upset, enjoy the fall colours.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding April-July 1953, 1954, interviews, an expected book, the flyers, up the slope, how Larry Niven borrowed some of this, Meskalanite co-travelers, nothing this heavy, a hard book to read?, stopping to do math, that’s the game, “the game”, an intellectual exercise, the essay: Whilygig World, starting with the world, we’re in a much more character driven era of Science Fiction, a story will emerge, hard SF is out of fashion, Analog is the torchbearer for hard SF, the field has shifted, the post-Campbell era, Prisoners Of Gravity, a dying Frankenstein, an interview with Hal Clement, Benford and such, a TVO thing, Teddog, somewhere in Toronto, thanks Prisoners Of Gravity, much more like a YouTube show than anything on television at that time, a pretty clever trick, Commander Rick, Rick Green, Enrico Gruen, pirate broadcasts, why aliens are in humanoid form, Daniel Richler, the opposite and appropriate angle, a zany talking head show, trying to change the world through Science Fiction, that’s Kim Stanley Robinson, hey that’s Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, escaping the mundane reality of this show, Rick is the humans looking down on the Earth, the people who don’t understand the shape of their world properly, an elongated sphere, the conquistadors landing on the shore, first contact stories, juiced up in Astounding, what about the “prime directive”?, a 2000-year crash course in science, a pirate!, just to get to this probe, uplift, L. Sprague de Camp’s stories set on Krishna, how to overcome problems, pirates of the galaxy!, our worlds are too hot for them, this is the kind of book you’re reading, a creative commons license before there was such a thing, methane seas, Titan’s methane seas, Saturn, TV Tropes, the first novel set on a world outside the solar system that actually is a planet, exoplanets, first exoplanet discovered during WWII, an exercise in answering that question, rafts instead of one big keel, “worldbuilding”, a great novel with a crappy story, basic, heavy handed, damn man, hat’s off, afraid of things above your head, biology, why intelligence would develop, a minimal ecosystem, physics vignettes, so much against what people are reading science fiction for now, The Fifth Season, wouldn’t it be cool if, forcing it in the other way, showing all the implications, the rules, as early as possible, “I always feel cheated when…”, we get a false picture of Science Fiction because of Astounding, the conventions, the premiere magazing, Horace Gold’s Galaxy, the gold standard, game fiction, Sherlock Holmes fiction, you’re a bad writer if you cheat the reader, almost nobody plays this game, so sexist and racist, even when he does a fantasy novel it’s hard, The Fifth Season, a cost to using a magic system, I’m starting with this crazy premise, Barlenon vs. Dondragmir, not one girl in the book!, what about your sex lives?, a million sailors frozen at the bottom of the sea, at an extreme of hard SF, the window of science fiction, shifted in other ways, a New England Yankee trader, building trade routes, a relatable mindset, Lackland, amazingly human, Star Trek aliens, he made them Hal Clements, looking at the Larry Niven and Hal Clement affect, emotionally oblate, the outer edges, the peak of characterization: “I couldn’t quite nip it.”, quick-witted students, Cortez, the natives should have a lot of their own shit going on, wrapped up in their own problems, a smooth and peaceful first contact, in real life when first contact happens bad things usually happen, it depends on who is coming, the gravity of this mission, the cost, in Chapter 19, the character names, in the pre-negotiations, Tolkien does the same thing (but with language), a richer tapestry, that’s not what this is for, the sequel: Starlight, all the little touches, the Bree is steering itself, how glaciers work, lubrication, steering glaciers, friction, when friction is an important part of a book, Douglas Adams’ game vs. the rules of chess, a good analogy, PhDs, genius, fostering reading activity, comicon, the importance of having ideas at the forefront, racism, intelligence, first contact, Asimov, sitting around talking about his story with Isaac Asimov, “Pancake In The Sky” and “Gravy Planet”, a pleasant evening spent talking materials science, an acquired taste, the great game, prime directives, not all historical first contacts, first contact between the Americans and the Japanese (1792), angry sticks, pre-admiral Perry, genocide in Central and South America, overturning governments, a more modest foreign policy, the history of British Columbia, super-peaceful, residential schools, land theft, first contact need not be terrible, the rock rollers, the spear throwers, never pay tolls again, a benevolent scientific dictator, Star Trek as a medicine for American imperialism, sharing knowledge, Jerry Pournelle’s Empire Of Man series, a daisy chain of influence, Needle, a peaceful alien lifeform that can live inside a human body, Jinx (Larry Niven), World Of Pattavs, Neutron Star, a game of gravity, General Products Hull #1, Beowulf Shaeffer, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, spagettification, Inconstant Moon, a love story about the moon, the reflected light of a nova (or a massive solar flare), it’s only the apocalypse, I’ll lasso the moon for you, an Adam and Eve sort of thing, What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, Kryptonian refugees, Superdog
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #395 – Jesse and Wayne June talk about The Slithering Shadow (aka Xuthal Of The Dusk) by Robert E. Howard
Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne’s first exposure to Robert E. Howard, “repetitious and childish, a self-vitiating brew of pseudo-science”, stage illusions and , repetition, “Oh, Conan!, Robert would have wanted it that way, REH is having some fun with a genre he normally doesn’t play in, Red Nails, Conan is dismissive of the city’s population, degeneration, drug addled drug attics in dopey hazes, lasers, radium light bulbs, manufacturing food from the primal elements, Valeria vs harem slave Natala, devious, controlling, self-interested, a lot of depth behind the shallowness in this story, Conan is really grumpy from page one, gigantic mirth: she’s only human, curmudgeon Conan, poisoning the well, don’t grab my sword arm, slap on the ass, a grumpy sexist, Howard’s doing something really really funny, The Slithering Shadow is a gothic horror, silliness, women written like cartoon characters, not reminding you of your mortality, not about the uselessness of existence, clunky elements, a haunted castle, kicking and screaming, bad casting, trap doors, up to the hilt, sitting on another divan, sooo gothic horror novel, hidden passageways, trapdoors, convoluted coincidence, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait, very recently and hurriedly abandoned, still food on the table, candles that have just been blown out, one spot of blood, The Monk, a giant helmet, a giant dome at the center of the city, one giant palace, all the trappings of a haunted mansion, switching gears, describing Thog, jumping right into H.P. Lovecraft, men of action, biting the Lovecraftian horror, what Cimmerians are like, passive aggressive Conan, in all of Howards writings about Conan, a blood feud, a lack of reproduction, an H.G. Wells trick, why the drug element is so heavy, the golden wine (a healing potion), Howard’s doctor father was very familiar with heroin addiction, Fort McMurray, “morons”, barbarians vs. the civilized, Thalis’ experience, the Fred Van Lente adaptation for Dark Horse Comics, initiated into the cult of Derketa, not my first rodeo, a gang-bang, better to kill Natala, Thalis’ life story is a horror show hidden behind a few words, that’s the cover of Weird Tales, who is this story intended for?, racy, sex, before Natala knifed Thalis, I don’t like getting stabbed, taught to be hard and cruel, Thalis’ chance at revenge, a Stygian Queen, growing up with doped out morons, a gruesome comeuppance, Thog doesn’t just eat you he rapes you first, digested for a thousand years, tentacles, the face of Thog, a non-euclidean face, a 40 year Texas feud, Thog at the center bottom of the city, a big black amorphous mass, Thog is the mad lady in the attic, a stoic attitude towards destiny and fate, from the likes of Thog, Thog is the oil, the cause for the addiction and for the city, unseen until it gushes all over you, fundamentally Howard is not completely wrong about civilization, trigger warnings and sexism, the limitations on what a woman can be in Xuthal (get a real man), moral judgements, his own code of ethics, stealing a slave, Natala’s safety is bound up with his morality, a kind of a rescue, the rebel Prince Almuric, a great river flowing into the desert, dead with forty arrows, canteen full of water, a rich and decadent place, black lotus, cursed, the desert will be kinder, a rebel prince of Stygia, Thalis was like a Natala, she’s the heavy (other than Thog), whip up some anger, Thalis is a Natala without a Conan, this “civilized” society, one of the worst Conan stories by one of the best writers of pulp fiction is still a pretty good story, super-hero-ish, Howard was smart at marketing, Margaret Brundage, lesbian scenes on the cover, gratuitous nudity, temptation, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit, a pirate queen, first mate (literally), Belit runs that story, a noir awesome ending, the coincidence, “I guess I could do a gothic – Conan won’t like this”, having fun with it, all those tropes, the comics adaptations, done in Stygian, when Conan talks in word balloons, a rough-hewn word balloon (a Cimmerian accent?), you don’t want to do Arnold, a pulpy breezy, showing the Xuthalians hooked up to IVs, smoking your black lotus, the den of an opium smoker, chasing the dragon, enough backstory to make it interesting, an opium inundated culture, yellow skinned, China in decline, the Hermit Kingdom, decadence collapsing, a yellow peril story, San Fransisco, Chinatown, Lovecraftian elements, The Hour Of The Dragon, start with a random story, outliers, Beyond The Black River, Queen Of The Black Coast, an epicness, forty issues of awesome adventure, the tie between pulp adventure and comics, comics are the legacy of the pulps, The Shadow, Doc Savage is a pulp superhero with a super-team, in the 1970s, Conan The Barbarian, the Roy Thomas adaptation from Savage Sword of Conan #20, 1977, essentially nudity, heads being lopped off, no blood and no death, Curtis Publications, kick-ass stories, amazing pulp adventure, a 60 page comic adaptation, “freely adapting”, Conan finds a lost valley – Iskander’s kingdom, crocodile men and bird men, walking zombies, all sorts of things need to have their heads lopped off, Marvel was the dark side vs. DC, sel-doubt and existential anxierty of the heros, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, the amazing Filipino artists drawing busty ladies and big armed barbarians, Warren Comics, Heavy Metal, Richard Corben, so much richness in the non-superhero comics, Pepe Moreno, Rebel (1984), Mad Max meets Escape From New York with Nazis, a hot rod gang with a heart of gold, victory by blowing up the World Trade Center, power in visualizing, the “steely thews” of Conan, eldritch vs. thews, cat-like, jaguar, pantherish, the battle scenes really flowed, Howard highly influenced by Lovecraft, The Black Stone, an elegance of colour, colour in every particle of sand, the opposite of Lovecraft, with Lovecraft the horrible thing makes its appearance and you faint, Howard wades in on it, Lovecraft would never do that, one can’t battle gods and get away with a whole skin, psychic damage vs. physical damage, Howard is a complement to Lovecraft, physicality, fighting against the inevitability, there’s life there, bleak and grey vs. blood flying everywhere, Robert E. Howard was a lot lustier, “a superfluity of naughtiness”, tongue in cheek, “spicy”, Railroad Man’s Magazine, Air Stories, Zeppelin Stories, True Detective, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Adventure, Twilight is nothing new, sexist so sexist, racist so racist, women readers asking for more nudity and spicy, reading it with one hand, women liked and wrote for Weird Tales, Dorothy Quick, Mark Twain, Maude Ludington Cain, yeah it’s sexist, keep behind me girl, “Why is he calling her a girl?”, “Oh, he’s sexist.”, visualizing what is said, what if someone saw us?, there’s blood on the stones, Conan at his stupidest, a crimson mist descended over his eyes, don’t let the blind bull-headed grumpiness be a guide for what he’s like, there’s a great character there.
Posted by Jesse Willis