The SFFaudio Podcast #360 – READALONG: The Sign Of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

March 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #360 – Jesse, Julie Davis, and Maissa talk about The Sign Of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Talked about on today’s show:
1890, Oscar Wilde, Lipincott’s Magazine, a meeting at the Langham hotel August 30, 1889, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, a golden evening, years vs. six weeks, Doyle’s massive output, Wilde’s one novel, a whole new story, a Sherlock Holmes melting pot, Jeremy Brett adaptation, Mystery!, Masterpiece Theater, the 1983 cartoon, great visuals, the Sherlockiana, cocaine begins and ends the book, A Study In Scarlet, Watson is done already, black armbands, “an old adventure”, so Aspergery, Psychology Today, a patriotic obligation, the Andaman Islander, wrapped into a romance, 120 different kinds of tobacco ash?, worrying about details, movable wounds, misshapen heads, the Andaman Islands, they may not even have fire (technology), that’s still a thing, stone age, low on metal, Conan Doyle’s omnivorous interests, Joseph Bell, Jonathan Small has big willpower, a supervillain with a conscience, a sympathetic villain, blacks vs. whites, if Seth were here, we four should enter into a tontine, a recipe for murder, a group investment scheme, the strand with the romance, holding hands, Mary’s disdain for money makes her more attractive to Watson, the Agra treasure, the golden barrier, very chemical, significant looks, love is an emotional thing opposed to true cold reason, A Scandal In Bohemia, The Valley Of Fear, Sherlock Holmes vs. the Ku Klux Klan, the Mormon community, The Five Orange Pips, Philip K. Dick was reading histories of WWII, Doyle was reading the newspaper, a mystery romance, he’s overthinking it, go out and get Toby, the Baker St. irregulars, he does a chemical analysis, Sherlock Holmes tropes, deerstalkers, like wearing a hunting jacket in NYC, warm tweeds, Watson calls Holmes an “automaton”, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers, Cylons, the Borg, he forgets to kill all humans, Wings Out Of Shadow, the Red Baron, a deducing machine, allowing for expansion, the little nuggets allow participation in the experience, Agatha Christie, waiting for plot development to happen, two knights errant, Mr. Spock, Edgar Allan Poe’s C. August Dupin, consulting detectives, tales of ratiocination, The Purloined Letter, a government official who has lost a document, solves, Zadig by Voltaire, full blown Science Fiction, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg is clock-like, he loves the fog, there is no hot-air balloon in Around The World In Eighty Days, The Seven-Percent Solution, a chase on the river Thames, Robert Downey, Jr., disabling spleens, hidden talents, an improvisational violinist, I am an excellent housekeeper, Professor Challenger, Otto Penzler, Neil Gaiman, The Big Book Of Sherlock Holmes, someone with vast interests, The White Company, off to look at The Lost World, dinosaurs, fairies, spiritualism, false-imprisonment, warships of the future, spaceships?, the conversations between Oscar Wilde and Conan Doyle, you seem great – come and talk to us, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: The Undiscovered County, one of Spock’s ancestors, Spock as a descendant of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The original Wrath Of Khan, Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities, Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, Genesis, the A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, the war in India, horse, foot and gunners, blowing our own bugles, we’re still that stupid, the 1857 Sepoy rebellion, tallow and lard greased cartridges, the ultimate topper, repeating the cycle, the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin radicalized Thomas Paine, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, you have to reject monarchy, a petition to King George, Paine was right, BBC Radio 4: In Our Time, like a ministerial briefing, nobody looks at history, Doyle is dropping little comments in there, he’s super-anti-racist, rotten families, looking at it a little more cynically, taking-off the romantic blinders, super-human strength, murder, don’t call the police, corruption, ultimately underneath all of it is corruption all the way up and down, human nature, otherwise you have no story, notice Sherlock Holmes never gets paid?, he lays out money, this is why he needs a roommate, class, child labour laws, latch key kids, free-ranging kids, homeless kids, Seth we miss you, Maissa’s son, is Martin Freeman Hollywood’s choice to represent the British everyman?, homo-eroticism, Sherlock‘s entire focus is on the will-they or won’t-they?, Mary in Sherlock, derivative fiction, it is not an adaptation, Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, stuffed up a chimney, Without A Clue, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine, John Watson: The Crime Doctor, The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes, Billy Wilder, homosexuality, a twinkle, Maissa’s local video store is still open!

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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Podcast

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 #323 – READALONG: The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs

June 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #323 – Jesse, John Feaster, and David Stifel discuss the audiobook of The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs (narrated by David Stifel)

Talked about today’s show:
Project Gutenberg, Ace Book, The Girl From Hollywood, The Mucker, dope rings, The Efficiency Expert, ERB’s wife meets Earnest Hemingway, Frankenstein, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, nitric acid, what Frankenstein studies at university, alchemy, growing people, mandrake root, Luigi Galvani, the chemical tradition, girl with a machine gun, a feisty heroine, an axe, Virginia, constant clinging Deja Thoris, how old is Virginia?, there’s nobody good enough to marry my daughter, eugenics, racism of the period, Sing is the hero of the story, stalking, I bet you a car, some of the most improbable stuff, Number 13’s identity, “The Man Without A Soul”, a Scooby Doo theme, a nice rich stalking man (if he’s rich), test tube men, playing to the audience, nothing is more horrible than miscegenation, noble savages, Burroughs hated Germans, more of the creation, Burroughs is good at action, the bullwhip, the orangutan females (beautiful ladies), Von Horn, pirates, headhunters, evolution, brutish, stone age, The Synthetic Men Of Mars, the Caspak series, slow evolution, the progression of man, Charles Darwin, “oh, by the way you’re all apes”, Gods And Generals, why not a European castle?, nameless creatures, a series of unfortunate events, the aborted second creation (the bride of Frankenstein’s monster), a woman’s right not to marry, Penny Dreadful‘s Frankenstein Caliban and Proteus, Professor Maxon’s madness, why Borneo?, an exotic location, silly laws, Breaking Bad, the edge of the world, Jack London, black-birding, Dayak, Sarawak, James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, go west young man, poor demonized orangutans, Edgar Allan Poe, Fritz whipping the monster, playing god, one of the most fun writers ever, the spice of this guy, a satisfying writer, the Hollywood recipe, a forced love connection, Burroughs seems genuinely interested in man-woman romance, a Heinleinian father figure, Edgar Rice Burrough’s Twilight, a heroine with gumption, Christan waitresses worshiping Twilight (save yourself before marriage), no vampires, severed head creatures in Chessmen Of Mars, mind-flayers, Erol Otus, no supernatural elements, Mastermind Of Mars, Turus Tur, the power of will, a man of action (from money and breeding), if Tarzan’s parents had been plumbers, the most undercooked part of the book, had the man actually not had a soul…, Burroughs bully Teddy Roosevelt athletic men, conventional morality, a clean cut white man, the alternate love interest turns out to be the villain, is Townsend Harper a late addition?, y’ever seen a newborn baby?, just out of the cooker, that dull yellow eye, Young Frankenstein, lookism, in Edgar Rice Burroughs world it seems reasonable, was there cannibalism in that boat?, it is strongly inferable, drawing straws, tiger woman, cheetah lady, a light romp, wondering about H.G. Wells as a person, The Island Of Lost Souls, vivisection, unpleasantness, no Negroes in Tarzana, California, with not a single European, loyal Sing, yellow perily, Burmese, its the U.S. Navy!, this book really has everything, every kind of possible conflict, he wasn’t interested in doing dangerous quirky stuff, there’s a reason this isn’t an Earnest Hemingway podcast, a grand connected universe, Tarzan in Africa, John Carter on Mars, John Feaster should be pitching this as a show to the ERB estate, public domain tropes, Tarzan At The Earth’s Core, the Gridley Wave, more mash-up, the John Carter movie should have been more popular, picking a couple of nits with the film, limiting the focus of their world, Woola, the missing dog!, just another superior white man, number zero, Cornell, Ithaca, NY, Beyond Thirty (aka The Lost Continent) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, how will WWI wind up?, a submarine/airship, all the Mars are finished, Caspak is finished, Tarzan is finished, social realism, The Efficiency Expert, The Outlaw Of Torn, The Mad King, a Ruritanian romance, Winston Churchill’s ruritanian romance, helping to restore the monarchy (except it’s a republic), other authors?, meeting with the ERB estate, James Sullos, Edgar Rice Burroughs audiobooks need to be read by a California, Singapore, “Celestials” as a term for Chinese, Deadwood, the politically correct term at the time, negro, the “c” epithet?, on the side of the heroes, ERB was liberated for his time, Robert E. Howard didn’t have the wealthy heroes, Jack London, conservative free enterprise, the power of will, big muscles, when Roosevelt was obsessed with breaking up the trusts.

Frank Frazetta - The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs - dust jacket
The Monster Men - illustrated by Mark Schultz

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #298 – AUDIOBOOK: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

January 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #298 – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, read by Elizabeth Klett.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 hours 55 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. Jane Austen was first published in 1817.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (paperbacks)
Northanger Abbey illustrated by Hugh Thomson
Northanger Abbey illustrated by Hugh Thomson
Northanger Abbey illustrated by Hugh Thomson
Northanger Abbey illustrated by Hugh Thomson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Macrieve by Kresley Cole

October 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

MacRieveMacrieve (Immortals After Dark #13)
By Kresley Cole; Narrated by Robert Petkoff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: July 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 13 hours, 51 minutes

Themes: / fantasy / werewolves / romance /

Publisher summary:

Uilleam MacRieve, a centuries-old Lykae warrior, was captured, caged, and experimented on by a shadowy human order, along with other immortals. During a prison break that devolved into one of the bloodiest massacres in recent history, he escapes. But the aftermath of his unspeakable torture preys on his damaged mind, while the wolf inside him roars for vengeance and carnage. In the days leading up to the full moon, can MacRieve rein in his beast, even when he encounters his mate – a vexingly impossible female unlike anything he’d ever dreamed for himself?

MacRieve is quite a bit different than the other Immortals After Dark series. Uilleam MacRieve is a Lykae, a werewolf with a twin brother, Munroe. He finds his eternal Mate in the form of Chloe Todd, daughter of Preston Webb. Webb is the Commander of the Order, a group of humans striving to contain and study those creatures know as the Lore. It doesn’t feel as essential to the overarching story as the other books, but if you enjoy the series, it was an OK entry, although Chloe is pretty great.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

What makes this different from the other books in the series is a focus on sexual violence and abuse. Uilleam was raped repeatedly by a Succubus for years, and the book actually starts during one of these later sexual encounters. The Succubus had claimed to be his Mate, and started molesting him when he was nine, grooming the child so that he didn’t recognize it as abuse. His mother found out and went to confront her, only to be slain by one of the Succubus’ other lover, a Vampire. His father soon followed, leaving Uilleam and Munroe alone.

Chloe is an Olympic-level soccer player, focused on her career path. Her father is busy as a military consultant but supportive until she begins to notice some changes in her body, like super-hearing and sensitivity to touch. He abandons her with only a book on the Lore as a clue to the changes she’s experiencing. Chloe is captured by a group of Witches and auctioned off to the highest bidder. Most of the Lore shows up, eager to use and abuse her as a lure for her father, whom she discovers is not the retired consultant she thought, but the mastermind behind the Order.

Rape is brought up repeatedly to Chloe, as everyone points out that the Pravus army would gang-rape her as revenge for her father’s crusade against the Lore. She discovers she’s half-Succubus after a sexual encounter with Uilleam, and he repeatedly verbally abuses her about her sexual hunger. Uilleam struggles with the scars of his childhood abuse, but the Beast inside him loves Chloe. He even vomits after the first time they have sex, as it dredges up memories of the Succubus who raped him. Overall, this book tackles child abuse, rape, and emotional abuse more than the other books, but it can be pretty uncomfortable to have those episodes interspersed with some rather complicated sexual scenes. Cole does address childhood sexual abuse with an understanding hand, however, so if you can handle it, the book can be rewarding. Chloe is one of her best female characters, strong and brave with amazing attitude. She might be worth wading through the unsavory parts, even if there is a heavy dose of “I’m not like those dumb girly-girls” in both her thoughts and how she’s described.

The narrator does an amazing job, slipping between a neutral and Scottish accents for the werewolves. His voice goes up slightly for Chloe, but otherwise he has a warm, enthusiastic tone throughout.

Posted by Sarah R.

Review of The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith

October 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The KingmakersThe Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3)
By Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith; Narrated by James Marsters
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 29 January 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 14 hours, 49 minutes

Themes: / vampires / steampunk / fantasy / post-apocalpyse /

Publisher summary:

The Kingmakers is the long-awaited climactic end to the Vampire Empire trilogy.Bogged down by winter warfare in Europe, humans are suffering crushing losses to the surprisingly well-organized vampire clans of the north. The courage and commitment of the Equatorian troops and their allies cannot hold out against the overwhelming onslaught of the enemy.Treachery from within deals the Equatorian forces greater damage than any delivered by the vampire hordes. The only weapon left capable of smashing through enemy lines and annihilating the packs is the Empress Adele herself. Her geomantic talent and skills are formidable, but she is just one person, and the very forces she can bring to bear are also slowly draining her of her life-force.Prince Gareth, the vampire lord of Scotland, known as The Greyfriar to the humans, both slave and free, is at a loss. His brother, Cesare, has outmaneuvered him at every turn. Brilliant, ruthless and without honor, Cesare is confident in his ability to control destiny. His goal is to become king of kings and ruler of the world. Unless the rightful heir, Gareth, can prevent him from assuming their father’s throne, Cesare’s unified vampire clans will destroy Equatoria’s forces and set humanity, if it survives, back a hundred years.

This is the third book of what we could call a steampunk vampire trilogy. I still like the first book the best but this one competes with the second as far as things go. The story once again carries a strong sense of Beauty and the Beast mixed with Romeo and Juliet with a strong steampunk flair. If you liked the first two books, you’ll like this book since everything wraps up rather nicely in the end. One ding I had was that I still didn’t think there was a satisfactory explanation of why Gareth is different from the other vampires. More on that…

This book is very similar to the previous two books to the point that they kind of blur together in my mind when I think back on it. The steampunk aspect is kicked up a notch with some mech suit / tanks in this one but you’ll mainly see lots of swordplay, gunfire, goggles, and airships again. These are some of the things that kind of run together on me mainly because many of the same characters are involved in similar scenes but the overall plot obviously moves forward to a satisfactory conclusion.

Don’t get me wrong – there are many good things that have carried over from the previous two books. The language and prose used in the previous books still give the feel of characters stuck in the past caused by the vampire attack. The action is crazy and fun with lots of epic battles ranging across Europe. The characters are likable for the most part, although Gareth can be a bit one-dimensional sometimes (His primary motivation seems to be his love for Adele to the discount of everything else).

Speaking of Gareth, I still don’t understand why he is different from all other vampires (I guess you could say his manservant shares his values but he also seems kind of like he’s reluctantly dealing with a neurotic master). There was this whole explanation about how Gareth’s father didn’t like wasting things but that doesn’t seem to explain how he could go from seeing people as food to loving a human to the level he does. Even his friend in Paris held similar values but not to the extremes Gareth does. I’d hoped for something like what happened with Angel on Buffy but it was kind of left out there.

As for the audio side of things, I still enjoyed James Marsters’ performance this third time around. He speaks well, uses recognizable voices, and is a pleasure to listen to. I would say that I’d go out looking for books narrated by him, but that’s why I listened to this trilogy in the first place ;-).

Posted by Tom Schreck

 

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