The SFFaudio Podcast #345 – READALONG: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

November 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #345 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Professor Eric S. Rabkin talk about the Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon.

Talked about on today’s show:
1937, Jesse has a radical thesis, is this book a true story?, I’m not really happy I just think that I am, Alice In Acidland, drugs, what do we mean by true?, arachnoids and ikthyoids, a summary of Last And First Men, the unnamed narrator, astral projection, the contents of this book, not history but a personal experience (of imagination), standing on a hill, an interesting fantasia, considering the size of the universe, Star Trek with Nazi costumes is possible and perhaps even inevitable, The Truman Show, the nature of infinity, an Italian who would be perfectly happy to use the word true about this book, “Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark.”, bitterness, Dante Alighieri, a lyric poem, Olaf Stapledon was a philosopher, a blazing panoply, an image of the rose, OS, “One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill.”, an abiding faith, the original meaning of comedy, comedies end in marriage, sitcoms, both narrators acknowledge their psychological state, an exponential rhythm, overhead obscurities in flight, a Doppler shift, the other Earth, Valtu, a composite character, planets – > solar systems -> galaxies, a fractal experience, an encompassing wisdom, marriage as a small atom of community, spirit inhabited rock, a World War I novel, 1986, Eric taught Star Maker to Bryan, memories imbricated upon each other, the preface, Stapledon was an ambulance driver in WWI, looming WWII, militarism, seeing the sunny side of a ruined planet, Merseyside, too smashed up to really be alive, a 1930s novel, fascism vs. communism, how to organize the self and society, a secular myth, a shock to civilization, the cycle of mechanization, terrible mutations, the onset of the tank, a sense of horror, WWI and WWII as two different episodes, the Spanish Civil War, shaking off colonialism, materialistic industrialization, the only wait out is an act of faith, how can we not think of the Star Maker as a monster, “struck dumb with shame”, limitations of the audio medium, Bryan’s keyboard, C.S. Lewis, why C.S. Lewis didn’t like Star Maker, a Lewis-nemesis, crusades, the Great War on Terror (2 decades old), mindless religious violence, anticipations of subsequent Science Fiction, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, two 20th century philosophies, Freud and Marx, neurosis and sublimation, genitals with sense organs, radio pornography, the feelies from Brave New World, crisis of labour, ideologies as philosophical artifacts, not Dave Singer, separated by space and time, supplementary parentheses, adduction of Christianity, three linked universes, playing for the souls of the creatures, a timeless heaven and a timeless hell, Earth, Mars, and Venus in C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, suffering for the redemption of the Earth, explicitly not a Christian view, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy as a response to a paragraph in Star Maker, all the Christs of all the worlds, “a basket of Christs”, this is Arthur C. Clarke, a tour of Science Fiction in the future, this is The Mote In God’s Eye, The High Crusade, the novel itself is a universe, cosmos vs. universe, Jesse’s theory about the Game Of Thrones universe in the TV show, what Clarke does this in slight watercolours Stapledon paints in bold oils on a massive canvas, Arthur C. Clarke’s life changing moment, copying out the scales of magnitude, Bryan’s son, encapsulating, it is Stapledon, Dante is Dante in The Divine Comedy, The Divine Comedy as political revenge, Niven and Pournelle’s Inferno, Stapledon is not a punishment guy, when Lovecraft looks out of the universe…, when Stapledon looks at the same vista he’s not as melancholy about it, The Cats Of Ulthar, contemporaries, philosophical horror, long distance psychology, like Poe, fairy tales, handling fears, we get to feel, this is an education effort, quite special, a genre issue, the roller-coaster moment, looking at the vocabulary, eldritch and ichor, lucidity, feeling, the etymology of the word “vermin”,

I reflected that not one of the visible features of this celestial and
living gem revealed the presence of man. Displayed before me, though
invisible, were some of the most congested centers of human population.
There below me lay huge industrial regions, blackening the air with
smoke. Yet all this thronging life and humanly momentous enterprise had
made no mark whatever on the features of the planet. From this high
look-out the Earth would have appeared no different before the dawn of
man. No visiting angel, or explorer from another planet, could have
guessed that this bland orb teemed with vermin, with world-mastering,
self-torturing, incipiently angelic beasts.

the stellar wars, too lucid for more tribal patterns, sympsychic partnership, angelic vermin, more real than all the stars, like two close trees grown together, difference can be strength, the Orson Welles radio version of The War Of The Worlds, versus the Martians our differences don’t make a hill’s worth of difference, The Lord Of The Rings, looking for the Ents and the Entwives, there are Ents in Star Maker, the holy sex transmission that never got off, the ships worlds,

It was a strange experience to enter the mind of an intelligent ship to
see the foam circling under one’s own nose as the vessel plunged through
the waves, to taste the bitter or delicious currents streaming past
one’s flanks, to feel the pressure of air on the sails as one beat up
against the breeze, to hear beneath the water-line the rush and murmur
of distant shoals of fishes, and indeed actually to hear the
sea-bottom’s configuration by means of the echoes that it cast up to the
under-water ears. It was strange and terrifying to be caught in a
hurricane, to feel the masts straining and the sails threatening to
split, while the hull was battered by the small but furious waves of
that massive planet. It was strange, too, to watch other great living
ships, as they plowed their way, heeled over, adjusted the set of their
yellow or russet sails to the wind’s variations; and very strange it was
to realize that these were not man-made objects but themselves conscious
and purposeful.

Sometimes we saw two of the living ships fighting, tearing at one
another’s sails with snake-like tentacles, stabbing at one another’s
soft “decks” with metal knives, or at a distance firing at one another
with cannon. Bewildering and delightful it was to feel in the presence
of a slim female clipper the longing for contact, and to carry out with
her on the high seas the tacking and yawing, the piratical pursuit and
overhauling, the delicate, fleeting caress of tentacles, which formed
the love-play of this race. Strange, to come up alongside, close-hauled,
grapple her to one’s flank, and board her with sexual invasion. It was
charming, too, to see a mother ship attended by her children. I should
mention, by the way, that at birth the young were launched from the
mother’s decks like little boats, one from the port side, one from the
starboard. Thenceforth they were suckled at her flanks. In play they
swam about her like ducklings, or spread their immature sails. In rough
weather and for long voyaging they were taken aboard. At the time of our
visit natural sails were beginning to be aided by a power unit and
propeller which were fixed to the stern.

nothing like this in Science Fiction, Lloyd Abbey’s The Last Whales, an elegiac book, another sub-genre of Kindle based pornography, much of William Wordsworth’s poetry is admired too simply, Eric reads Lines Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, the houses with windows like sleeping eyes, watching the lives of dreams, the houses are sleeping not the people within them, the smokeless air, lying still, what makes the beauty, The World Is Too Much With Us, a cry for God, Fungi From Yuggoth (IX): The Courtyard by H.P. Lovecraft:

It was the city I had known before;
The ancient, leprous town where mongrel throngs
Chant to strange gods, and beat unhallowed gongs
In crypts beneath foul alleys near the shore.
The rotting, fish-eyed houses leered at me
From where they leaned, drunk and half-animate,
As edging through the filth I passed the gate
To the black courtyard where the man would be.

The dark walls closed me in, and loud I cursed
That ever I had come to such a den,
When suddenly a score of windows burst
Into wild light, and swarmed with dancing men:
Mad, soundless revels of the dragging dead—
And not a corpse had either hands or head!

deemed unfit, body horror, Robert E. Howard, M.R. James, ever more capacious mentalities, being taught by groups, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Inner Light, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant as a horrible version of this, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, Boneland by Jeffrey Thomas, from a microscopic perspective, these things pass, bodyless timelords, a swarm of locusts, eugenics, Chapter 9, cultural and eugenical means, The King In Yellow (The Repairer Of Reputations) by Robert W. Chambers, the lethal chamber, Futurama, Providence, Alan Moore, criticism of Moore, turning everything Lovecraft hates into love, Last And First Men was a bestseller in 1930, the fifth generation, the Martian hive-mind, what is the moral ideal that Stapledon hopes that we move toward?, individuality in community, a literary allusion, a race on Venus, from epoch to epoch, that scaling thing again, the problem with fascism, fasces, is this a Darwinian book?, parasitism, symbiosis, evolution, Marx dedicated Capital to Darwin, getting rid of Harper, mutual aid, The World, the Flesh & the Devil by J.D. Bernal, astronomy, Peter Kropotkin (Mutual Aid: A Factor Of Evolution), mutual slaughter, profit in fraternization with the enemy, like Rod Serling The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, gentleness as a religion, the entangled bank (in Origin Of Species), functional stability arising out of local possibilities of violence, virtue in the creator is not the same of virtue in the creature, a third position, the sense experience of a star, in the center of this paragraph, free will and determinism are compatible, always bigger, a selfless star, the normal voluntary motor activity of a star, if you empty your ego and just feel others, perfect selflessness allows entrance into perfect community, getting your karma clean, dark matter, the science is pretty damn good, the key word is “lucid”, the vast emptiness enables the insight into the stars, rubies lay behind me, the sky’s familiar diamonds, all possible light, watch Steven Universe, ageless like Star Maker, the tag cloud, world and worlds, Oswald Spengler, growth -> change -> decay, the myth at the end, the course of empire paintings, The Decline Of The West, Arnold J. Toynbee, future histories, we could see if we were lucid, a great Götterdämmerung moment, the Russian civil war, The White Goddess, The Golden Bough, subsequent Science Fiction, for those who haven’t yet read the book…, the most disliked and most liked book, what kind of a novel is this?, an epic poem crossed with a lyric poem, erroneous expectations, feel better about your fishwife and your step children, back to Lovecraft, a writer of ideas, Odd John and Sirius are more like regular novels, Jack London’s Star Rover, more swords fewer wives, Frank Herbert, God Emperor Of Dune, when you frame it that way…, Accelerando by Charles Stross, full time IT professionals writing SF, Ted Chiang and Cory Doctorow, Ted Chiang can do anything, lapidary, Jorges Luis Borges wrote an introduction for Star Marker, A Story Between Jest and Earnest, Love and Discord.

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #344 – READALONG: Now Wait For Last Year by Philip K. Dick

November 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #344 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about Now Wait For Last Year by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, in the high end, if you want to know what Philip K. Dick writes, it has everything, interplanetary, pretty-earthbound, marriage issues, resonances with other novels, Eric Sweetscent, a nice Dick protagonist, touchy relationship stuff, “misogynist”, he loves women too much, his “headbasher”, The Search For Philip K. Dick, when he was ending their relationship, impotence, psychoology, a husband-father formula, a teenage alternate girlfriend, Eric is so sweet and so sympathetic, an evil bitch destroying the relationship, sympathetic and pathetic, addiction, JJ-180, drugs, time travel, the robot goes with her, robants, the secret service agents, the bill collector robant, the cab robant, “Sir, we’re not allowed to get married”, the robant that wants a bribe, Total Recall, the secretary with the fingernails that change colour, nude breasts with dye and sparkles, a decorative secretary, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, Blade Runner, wheels, a confusing start, using amoebas to make stuff?, Wash30 = Washington 1930, the Philip K. Dick Fans site, none of this stuff is possible, the print amoeba, really cool writing, “in bed alone”, potent spirits of the past, a graveyard, describing space, is Cheyenne underground?, writing Wyoming again, NORAD?, dialogue vs. description, a nice state capital, “he was enjoying the sight of her dressing”, Lillistar’s secret police, creepy, the Reegs, Gino Molanri, a single medal on his uniform, that’s Hitler!, Gino Molinari is Mussolini, the Earth is Italy and the Star Men are the Nazis, Mussolini is not Hitler, the first fascist dictator, Rimmer from Red Dwarf, not racism but power and glory, when the Americans and the Canadians and the British invade Italy, the soft underbelly of Europe, why Molinari is getting sick, Mussolini’s alpine prison, Otto Skorzeny, rescue/liberate, “Hey, Hitler!”, Molonari is a smart Mussolini, the Reegs are nice, we look like the star-men but we have more in common with the reegs, Tony And The Beetles, telepathic females, one of the weirdest Philip K. Dick stories, a weird ending, the racist father, a frightening story, The Father-Thing, Hansel and Gretel without Gretel: The Cookie Lady, a really creepy story, a quasi sequel or a dry run for Now Wait For Last Year, the same themes, grapefruit sized baseball heavy plastic brains, the lazy brown dogs, the Martian print amoeba, from another Dick story, Colony and Beyond Lies The Wub, attacks by microscopes and towels, “I trusted the rug completely.”, camouflage aliens, when Cathy has her first trip, the history of their tech, matching furs, Virgil, he destroyed the fur industry, killing amoebas is ok?, the fur bearing animals are saved, “furs, that’s the best thing you can think of to do?”, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, monad lazy brown dogs, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, are they dog brains?, fur is not alive in the first place, brains are plastic, both meanings, non-living brains, half a cent, so sweet, super sweet, their attacking each other, animal nature, they are as much alive as we are, their god is black, Himmel = heaven, the martian bat guano business, Molan-air-e, Wash-35, collecting stuff, authentic artifacts, The Thirteenth Floor, and Eye In The Sky, Time Out Of Joint, artificial towns, recreated towns, recapturing youth, a rich person’s game, Pitts39, the robant was lying… wasn’t it?, who is the liar?, strange and weird, a similar character in Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, a flawed god, his unsightly body, shambling, a pathetic figure, it does something to the whole book, first the book takes the shape and then at the end it is fixed, there’s a little animal at the end of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, all this ersatz, Jonas, as dead as a robant, suicide, Tijuana, the absurdity of their jobs, seeing to it that factory-rejects got their place in the sun, “I love this stuff”, strong resonances, Wash35 is a 135 year old man recreating a frozen moment in time, time is NOT frozen, Dick has it every which way, “do you object to a stereotape…”, the orchestra isn’t there, all you possess is 1,200 feet of iron-oxide tape, we live with illusion daily, The Iliad is as much a fake as the robant children trading stamps, old-age making its dread appearance, “have an affair with me doctor”, The Cosmic Puppets, set in Virginia, Dick recreating his childhood, remembering the details, alternate presents, a cloud of possibilities, Tijuana Fur and Dye, “Mrs. Sweetscent, sweetheart”, when Cathy destroys the comedian recordings, Dick’s got some awesome recording…, by the way about that American Weekly with that article on the Sargasso Sea…, the Hearst newspapers, an empty cigarette package, antiques are the mcguffin for The Man In The High Castle, he’s right! we don’t live in the present, tweeting dreams, the internet is more reliable than the sun, it’s always on, the internet never goes off, we are living in a weird illusionary reality, when Cathy gets Korsakoff’s syndrome, all these elements that almost completely come together, the gel doesn’t completely set, there’s so much love for Cathy, the robot says he’s a good man, getting into the female character’s mind, he’s a boob man, so much empathy for people, hate and spite, she’s so mad, a movie star named Marm, the microwave dings, my purpose is to make your life a living hell, “good luck with that”, totally re-readable, I would love it again, we had no idea, what is with Molinari getting diseases from his staff?, his zipper was open, he kills people, we don’t know what’s true about him, he’s using his diseases, pulling a sick-day to avoid meetings, a plot device, sympathy pains, hypochondria, empathizing, the uber-empathizer, Bill Clinton felt your pain, literally, JJ-180 is the main character of this book, playing rope-a-dope with the Star-men, brain-freeze, Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, Starman (1984), Return To Lilliput, every toddler’s dream, the war like Lilliputians, little Napoleons, we’re getting pushed around by little tiny people, taking slave labour from Earth, so we can win this war, whether the illnesses are real or not they are a great strategy, you can’t have Italy fighting on your side unless you’ve got Mussolini, Molinari is finding the middle ground, admirable, thinking the way Nixon is thinking in the Vietnam War, as we re-experienced with Iraq and Afghanistan, slow or fast peeling a band-aid, a self inflicted wound, an exploratory examination, “Molinari you are awesome”, Molinari is the hero, he saves Eric Sweetscent, so many good resonances, thinking while listening, why this isn’t the best ever Philip K. Dick novel ever.

Now Wait For Last Year - DAW Books

URANIA - Now Wait For Last Year by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #343 – READALONG: The Lord Of The Rings (Book 6 of 6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #343 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Lord of the Rings Book VI (“The Return Of The King”) by J.R.R. Tolkien (aka the second half of The Return Of The King).

Talked about on today’s show:
On the merits of “The Scouring of the Shire”; final volume as catharsis; on Bilbo opening up the Shire, paving the way for the scouring; the transformation of Pippin and Merry; Hobbit lust for Bilbo’s gold; rejection of wealth compared to The Hobbit; on The Hobbit as a children’s story; “Hobbits are a thing!”; humility as seeing the truth; Hobbits just need a flame to fire them up and save the Shire; Sam’s ring-bestowed vision of a giant World-Garden; core of Hobbit goodness; of the many meanings of the word “scour”–cleansing, ruining, scowling, hurrying; chronology, and just how long Saruman had to ruin the Shire; Saruman on the road, “the beggar and his dog”; debating the value of mercy; Galadriel’s gift to Sam; on the validity of visions in the mirror of Galadriel; Théoden as precedent for mercy; unexpected changes of heart; Frodo’s not a fighter, stops killings; Hobbits don’t kill one another; have Hobbits changed?; World War I monument for Hobbits, mass grave for ruffians; are there sharks in Middle Earth?; Saruman’s voice on Freeboard; even after the last battle, life goes on; Aragorn’s mercy towards the vanquished; determinism not incompatible with free will; on this concluding volume’s themes; George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien diametrically opposed in their treatment of mercy and duty; can absolute mercy work in the modern political climate?; it’s not a Catholic book; evangelizing Lord of the Rings, promoting mercy, one family at a time; Éowyn and Faramir’s romance; Tolkien is not the best battle-writer; a “book without girls” (almost); the golden moment of the world’s salvation; Éowyn’s not initially a Faramir fan; the tricky gender implications, and many happy pairings; Tolkien’s retcon of names like Eleanor; the circularity of tales and the importance of birthdays; Saruman as Dorian Gray; Jesse wants Hobbit University fanfic; the subtle frame narrative of Lord of the Rings; the thirst of the characters made Julie thirsty; is Lord of the Rings the greatest novel ever?

The Lord Of The Rings - Book 6

posted by Seth Wilson

The SFFaudio Podcast #342 – READALONG: Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs

November 9, 2015 by · 1 Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #342 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and David Stifel discuss the audiobook of Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs (narrated by David Stifel)

Talked about on today’s show:
All-Around Magazine, 1916, a peek into 1916s subconscious, not even really a novel, a future history, reading the dispatches from the Western Front, mechanized war, how WWI was affecting consciousness, spiraling into barbarism, J.R.R. Tolkien, L. Ron Hubbard’s Final Blackout, Genesis Of The Daleks, a simple plot, a very relaxing book, a mediation, what is Burroughs’ conclusion?, boringly peaceful, excruciatingly peaceful, an American Libertarian utopia, the corrupting influence of civilization, Europe has blown itself back to the stone age, the Lusitania, the Spanish American War, Cuba, the Philippines, 175 east, 30 west, the Monroe doctrine, the Zimmerman Telegram, a moment of the American psyche captured in time, 1913-1921, push pull of expansionism and isolationism, the Japanese are the British of Asia, the Japan Russia war, the story of Pearl Harbor before Pearl Harbor, the cruiser Maine explosion, Yellow Journalism, “Screw Spain and Remember the Maine”, the novel’s premise is kind of crazy and yet…, Crime Think, historical precedent, Zheng He’s treasure ships, China, Japan, Korea, the Hermit Kingdom, Perry, global village, provincialism, American policy on Cuba, taboos end, we’ve bought into the premise, tigers and lions in England, tigers in Africa, Simba the Lioness (nee the Tigress), the Tigers and Lions and Elephants of London, the African veldt in England, a setting for a planetary romance, Beyond The Farthest Star, Caspak, Tarzan, the Mars and Venus books, the gravity shield, the airship/submarines, the narrator is extremely naive, a sequel that wasn’t written, hanging threads, being a slave, Burroughs’ subconscious is all over the page, the U.S. Civil War, Birth Of A Nation, some of the racism, they are essentially the Romans, the Asian empire, the Yellow Peril and the Black Menace, all the white women sent off to the evil emperor’s harem, what did we think of Queen Victory?, more spunk than Deja Thoris, John Carter (2012), the Tharks, a flea jumping around, we could have a Woola sequel, a Minion movie, the Ralph Bakshi Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings in a week, Beyond Thirty would make a good comic book, the literacy of the Abyssinian, our hero is from Arizona, Beyond 175 would be the sequel, recolonizing England as a sequel?, “chastened and forgiven Europe”, Buckingham the Brute, they don’t even have fathers any more, 200 years of devolution, the sunken depths, “it may as well as have been nuked”, “stay out of this mess, Europe is doomed”, died at his desk, tigers and lions sitting on the throne, “Burroughs not a symbolism guy he’s a Roddenberry guy”, the two Gene Roddenberry pilots from the 1970s, Andromeda, Planet Earth, Genesis 2, the DVDs, the Earth is going to be fine, lamenting the lack of war, worried about footpads, remember Teddy Roosevelt, Bully!, manly escapades, a pan-American peace, target practice, Voltaire’s Candide, “that Volatire guy”, Manifest Destiny and the American Wild West, Europe as the new frontier, he’s the new Columbus, interesting animals, everyone in Pan-America speaks Pan-Am (English), the cultural memory loss in Europe and the language gain in South America is kind of suspicious, Hispanic names, homogenization, L. Sprague deCamp’s Viagens Interplanetarias, Brazilian Portuguese, Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, Firefly, a hidden history, a constriction, that’s my head cannon (?), antelopes all over Europe, just Africa transported north, a very relaxing book, enjoying Burroughs like a vacation, not a lot a depth, very little symbolism, its fun, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes, David is speaking with the Burroughs estate, running out of public domain Burroughs, a huge stockpile of Burroughs still under copyright, not counting the mundane worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1923-1949, the Caspak series, Amtor, he built himself a rocketship, the Venus series, a tropical rainforest, a sidebar, S.M. Stirling’s re-imagining of the Mars and Venus books, red-striped tigers, bird-people, and a beautiful princess, it’s his thing, this romance thing, The Outlaw Of Torn, his take on the Three Musketeers, brute strength and manly men, Under The Moons Of Mars, from the early 1930s, Pirates Of Venus, Lost On Venus, like the first three Mars books.

Beyond Thirty - from  Erb-Dom circa 1969
The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Beyond Thirty

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #341 – READALONG: The Boats Of The Glen Carrig by William Hope Hodgson

November 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #341 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon and Bryan Alexander talk about The Boats Of The Glen Carrig by William Hope Hodgson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1907, the publishing order vs. the writing order, The Night Land, more realistic and tighter, why The Night Land is so rambling, there’s still a romance element, The House On The Borderland, slash fiction, Mary, Job, Leviathan, the Wikipedia entry, science fiction, the alien flora and fauna, what the fuck is going on?, is this what happened to the couple in The Voice In The Night?, H.P. Lovecraft’s assessment, a romance in both senses, The Lost World, a lost world novel, The Lost Continent (film) is based on a Dennis Wheatley novel, the technical stuff, desalination, a fun mashup of Edwardian SF, the devil people, 7 year old “fresh” pork?, long pig?, Creutzfeldt jakob disease, classic horror, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the “angler” tree, decoys to attract food, a spongy fungal horror, must have fungus and pigs, a Philip K. Dick nightmare monster, we are totally missing a scientist, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, how The House On The Borderland uses a book to tell the story, Mary Celeste, what happened to the crew?, The Horror Of Fang Rock, sample wrappers as the leaves of an unbound journal, a soft chamois, the missing pages, the intertextual thing, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates, Castle Of Otronto, Frankenstein, embedded text, Melmoth The Wanderer, As taken down very carefully by his son, James, what of the Glen Carrig itself, boat(s), why this structure, here’s evidence we’re not all liars, random authentic, why does it have two boats?, what was the boatswain’s name, what was their route?, what were they carrying?, the mighty man, for reasons of decorum…, modern nitpicky things, Edgar Allan Poe, in the year 19__, the British were the last people to figure out the novel, Moll Flanders, a neat device, omitting the names and dates and places, M.R. James, Christmas performances, a novel of extremity, like a suspense novel, by crossbow or kite, bastard children and a shipboard marriage, in fact I applaud you, such as cannibalism, seven years trapped in the weeds, a fresh ham? come on!, an enormous supply of foodstuffs, Swiss Family Robinson, you could keep the pigs going, Metro 2033, mushrooms and pigs, Russian political satire, Russian political humor, pigs will eat anything, bread, wine, ham, and cheese, the 1968 movie The Lost Continent, so many cool things happening in it, a tramp steamer from Africa to Venezuela, lithium?, explosive when wet, a proto-disaster movie, in the weed lands, a burial, mariners from all different times (conquistadors), various barques, a Hammer movie, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, Wheatley was clearly a fan of Hodgson, Uncharted Seas, a noir-ish disaster movie, like Casablanca on a ship, again Mysterious Island, they hit a hidden rock, because it is told from the father’s point of view…, not a story for the little ones, because terror is not what the children want, an unreliable narrator, something that Lovecraft does, the effect something has on a character, the description of the weed-men is left to our imagination, “he was very disturbed”, when the bosun heard that the youngest crewman had forgotten an axe, the bosun as the steady-man, make work project, PTSD, vampires, Job gets drained, a disinterment from a beachy grave, vampire bats?, “the thing that made search”, priming us, audio theatre, it would make an excellent audio drama, weird is suited to the short form, a slur of a snake, The Haunting Of Hill House, the land of loneliness, The Captain Of The Pole Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a “pocket Moby Dick”, a mini-version of The Boats Of The Glen Carrig, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket, “tekeli-li tekeli-li”, aural ghosts, weird fiction, sanity blasted, how Poe ends Pym, why do we spend so much time on that crossbow?, reality vs. an adventure story, “I went below in a massive sulk”, what if the island was the back of a creature?, a blow hole of a giant whale, Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Empire Strikes Back, did the Millennium Falcon it fly up the anus?, famous last words, very nautical, in the belly of the whale, EC style comics, a shipwreck survivor in a black cave that turn out to be in the belly of a whale, a happy ending, The Ghost Pirates, how can you go wrong with ghost pirates?, Hodgson as an SF writer vs. being a fantasist, Carnaki is sometimes a debunker, Scooby Doo style villains, The Hog, an uber-demon swine entity, what is it with Hodgson and pigs?, M.R. James’ phobia of spiders, dread specters, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, the beautiful images of The Boats Of The Glen Carrig from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, how the hell is this from 1907, set in the early 1700s, what Hodgson gets wrong, a careful 18th century novel, Thomas Pynchon’s Mason And Dixon, John Fowles’ A Maggot, Stanley Kubrick, a nautical doom metal band: Ahab, a weed-man hand, the horror of inter-species sexuality, miscegenation, not The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Sargasso style, Mark Turetsky, he’s porkist not racist, Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, everything that Lovecraft hates Moore turns inside out, horror vs. love, I get to live forever, I get to live in a palace made of coral, what Randolph Carter never got, the cosmic horror vs. the cosmic awesome, the hero won, The White Ship, his fishy glory, Guantanamo Bay style concentration camps, he loves being on the Innsmouth Swim Team, crossing over to Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Historical Society’s adaptation of Dagon: The War Of The Worlds, a San Fransisco garret, seeing it live in Providence, RI, the newspaper, really obsessive, the atmosphere of war, the weed men, the devil men, claws and tentacles, evoking the alien, more like Edgar Rice Burroughs, a great visual, the biggest cone hat you’ve ever seen, into the pit of sarlacc, so many good structural ideas, what you think is a liability…, animal skin hot air balloons, a noirish touch, why it isn’t better known, She, A Million Years B.C., At The Earth’s Core, ships trapped in time, trapped in the Sargasso Sea, tramp steamer movies, Raider’s Of The Lost Ark, Tin Tin also has tramp steamers, Captain Haddock, rife for adventure, more tramp steamer stories please!, The Sargasso Of Space by Andre Norton.

Sargasso Sea
Sargasso Sea
Sargasso Sea

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #339 – READALONG: Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick

October 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #339 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1960 novel, 1956 novella, the Goddreads reviews, Reddit, re-listening, very visual, John Mcclane at the end of Die Hard, conference room scenes, vague characters, awesome ideas, three Philip K. Dick stories that could have inspired The Terminator movies, no time travel, Doctor Futurity, Skynet, the drones (the hammers), UAV style drones vs. terminators, drone technology, there were drones in WWII, remote controlled bombers [ex. Operation Aphrodite], almost nothing “invented in SF” was actually invented in SF, infiltrators, Jesse has become a Terminator geek, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Screamers (adapted from Second Variety by Philip K. Dick), two battling computers, humans as pawns, both computers are in the same building!, proxies, the Internet is missing, Vulcan 3 is building the Internet, Skynet’s drones, Skynet doesn’t have central control, when Vulcan 3 is controlled, Vulcan 3 as a baby, creepy, at the periphery of the plot, the education sub-theme, a little red headed girl, being raised by a terminator, such a fanny show, the movies are recycling scene and catchphrases, at the school, a non-conformist school, Philip K. Dick’s kid is in school, regular school crushes creativity, meritocracy, nepotism, an unfinished thought, cronyism, technocratic government, getting through by hard work, was he an A.I. controlled by Vulcan 3, “hey the system works!”, sociological ideas, how un-Dickian this novel is, a relatively straightforward mystery, no weird obsessions (like with infidelity), the obligatory black haired girl, the president of the world comes into the world takes a little girl out of school and takes her home?, WTF?, the teacher’s okay with this?, the classroom, the concentration camp in Atlanta is a psychology camp, the conformist world in A Wrinkle In Time, Marissa learns Science Fiction, a planet of complete conformism, “you let them play an unstructured game?”, stifling of independent thought and creativity, why was the teacher killed?, reading Lolita, secretly reading forbidden books, is Philip K. Dick improving the books when he re-writes them (consensus is NO), two cults, a cult of reason and rationality, why is that rebellion group called the “Healers”, like alternative medicine, the worship of the computer, Greys, blue collars against the white collars, “we shouldn’t undervalue people just because their skills are in their hands and in their fingers”, vaxxers vs. the anti-vaxxers, back to Dr. Futurity, Vulcan 2 in the novella, piecing Vulcan 2 back together like a damaged hard-drive, the data is recovered aurally, listening to the broken thoughts of Vulcan 2, not just white noise in between the broken sentences, a groaning of ghosts, psychology, weird and interesting, absolutely NOT what anyone else does in Science Fiction, the Butlerian Jihad, because… Skynet, nobody says actually technology is really quite useful, 43% of the Earth’s resources?, the paragraph, maintaining the computer, the “lesser order of human needs”, some sort of metaphor 43 percent of calories go to the brain?, a biological parallel, making the decisions, making the policy, a subtle allusion to Plato, the greys the technician class are “guardians”, denying a brain data (big mistake), The Just City by Jo Walton, Athena sets up Plato’s Republic, automatons for physical labour, seeing the connections, The Republic, Socrates, like the old Atlanteans, the Gold the Silver and the Bronze (ditch diggers and truck drivers), the Silver (the police, functionaries, tax-collectors), the Gold (the enlightened, the philosophers), Vulcan 3 is the Gold, the T-class (experts and specialists), these books are all being suppressed (due to copyright), a pretty good title, Hammer shaped robots?, Vulcan (aka Hephaestus), the ancient Greeks and Romans, Hephaestus built a robot for Athena, the Greeks were really into automata, metal beings, the Talos of Crete, Vulcan as the wizard of metal, a Philip K. Dick conference lecture, when the Greeks thought of gods they thought of A.I. (sort of), these atoms over here have desires, intelligence in non-living things, a little bit under cooked, what about Vulcan 1?, or does it?, maybe Vulcan 1 is hiding, in a degenerate state, Deus Irae and The Last C., tactical nukes, a lot of weakness but it makes up for it, a bit of paranoia, that’s usually what causes the problem, self-preservation, when Saddam Hussein is threatened, the emotional computer, pleading only as a human could do, “We can come to an arrangement!”, shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a microcosmic version of Vulcan’s Hammer, several Star Trek episodes, The Ultimate Computer, Star Trek as a metaphor for American foreign policy, The Apple, they kill the computer that regulates their society, they killed the snake but…, vegetarians are now hunting, put some controls on this, as a metaphor for society, a rebellion against pain in the body, the mind as the government, living in a post-WWIII world, WarGames, the Russians had a battle computer called “The Dead Hand“, a dead-man’s trigger, WWIII was looming in 1956 and 1960, so good even though its not that good, Dick loves blue collar workers, Father Fields, making something out of the air-conditioner, a dropped thread, a completely weird metaphor, The Borderlands series, Scooter, a technopath, The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick, “he fixed things”, a great tagline, “I don’t got Philip K. Dick for action”, living in a disposable society, everything is disposable, is there a TV-repair shop left in North America?, modern cars, only 5.5 hours, zoning out, cool predictions, the paranoid artificial intelligence, Sam Harris and Joe Rogan, caging an A.I., setting up honey-traps, Jesse thinks that’s not going to be the issue, Neuromancer all A.I.’s have digital shotguns strapped to their heads, “the smartest man in the world”, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, worries, better as a metaphor than as a prediction, we shouldn’t be unconcerned, Colossus: The Forbin Project, it isn’t 1s and 0s on a screen, seeing inside a burned diary, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, Mike the computer (aka Mycroft Homles), what’s missing from Vulcan’s 3‘s life is a friend, kids want to know, I think you guys are liars if…, kids are going to get into everything and that’s not a bad thing, more information is better, Vulcan 2’s decision, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, you are totally welcome to prosper if you are willing and able to play a certain kind of game, the push-back is caused by the masses rejecting stability, the adventurer class, “more concerned with gain than with stability”, the phrases: “life is cheap”, big gambles, the Netflix series Narcos, communist guerrillas living in the jungle, if you are living in a corrupt society you get a lot of gamblers, the striking opening scene, “can’t you get a better picture?”, they all wear the uniform of their class, another theme, destroying stability, going back to entropy, it is kind of Philip K. Dickian after-all, undercooked or maybe overcooked, the same with Time Pawn, this is my worst book, Dean Koontz’s 1973 novel of Demon Seed has a rapey robot computer, with the rewrite of Demon Seed Koontz has mellowed out, writing for the market, even after his death, Puttering About In A Small World by Philip K. Dick, everything’s always better with a robot wife.

Future Science Fiction No. 29 (1956). Cover Art by Frank Kelly Freas
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick interior art

Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick - FRENCH

ACE - Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick

Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K. Dick - German

Posted by Jesse Willis

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