Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

September 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

ALL AMERICAN
Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

ECLECTIC AFFINITIES
Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

AMUSEMENTS, ANNOYANCES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

LEGACIES OF TOTALITARIANISM
Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

WORDS’ WORTH
When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo – on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

August 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Recently arrived, and currently being soaked in through my skin and ears, is this giant collection of weird fiction. Assembled from a list of stories found in H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, it is a collection of well known and obscure classics by authors that H.P. Lovecraft loved.

Looking at the table of contents I noted that I’d already read several of the stories in this collection – including The Turn Of The Screw (we did a podcast about that one), the engimatic Christmas horror Markheim, the scientific ghost tale What Was It?, the unutterably creepy and horrific The Voice In The Night very recently, and many years ago, perhaps in high school, The Yellow Wallpaper. But even though I’ve read some of these stories already I’m still very excited. Each of the stories seems to be preceded by some relevant words by Lovecraft himself – and at the very least I will be listening to the mini-introductions to those stories I am well familiar with.

Until then I will content myself in listening to the unknown ones. For example, the frightful first person narrative of Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant is thrilling and wondering me in the exact same way The Horla almost exactly one year ago. It’s wonderful!

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – Approx. 16 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

Here’s the table of contents:
Introduction by editor Stephen Jones – Approx. 7 Minutes
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving – Approx. 14 Minutes
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson – Approx. 49 Minutes
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian – Approx. 41 Minutes
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam – Approx. 15 Minutes
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe – Approx. 29 Minutes
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce – Approx. 24 Minutes
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James – Approx. 4 Hours 52 Minutes
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford – Approx. 57 Minutes
The Wind In The Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman – Approx. 38 Minutes
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Approx. 36 Minutes
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling – Approx. 30 Minutes
The Hands Of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Burial Of The Rats by Bram Stoker – Approx. 1 Hour 7 Minutes
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield – Approx. 35 Minutes
The Captain Of The Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Approx. 1 Hour 6 Minutes
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair – Approx. 28 Minutes
The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson – Approx. 36 Minutes
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen – Approx. 48 Minutes

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural

August 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

The audio sample says it includes “20 classics of the macabre.” I’ll try to get a list.

Here’s the TOC:

an introduction by editor Stephen Jones
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford
The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling
The Hands of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn
The Burial of the Rats by Bram Stoker
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield
The Captain of the Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair
The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen

[Thanks Amy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Damon Knight discusses early Science Fiction

February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

James Gunn filmed this interview with Damon Knight sometime in the 1960s, it features Knight discussing Science Fiction from a time when there was no name for it. He begins with stories of of moon voyages (Lucian, Cyrano de Bergerac) and moves on to 19th century authors Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne.

H.G. Wells, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Rudyard Kipling, Hugo Gernsback, Jack Williamson, Edmund Hamilton, Olaf Stapeldon, E.E. Smith, and J.R.R. Tolkien are the focus for this second half…

[via AboutSF]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #138 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft

December 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #138 – The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft, read by Wayne June. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Tamahome, Jim Moon and Wayne June). Here’s the ETEXT.

“In The Crawling Chaos the narrator flees inland, taking his adjectives with him.” -L. Sprague de Camp (from Lovecraft: A Biography)

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne June is still alive!, first impressions of The Crawling Chaos, Wikipedia’s plot summary of The Crawling Chaos, dream logic, an opium vision, the tripiness, the philosophy behind The Crawling Chaos, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe, the self as a haunted palace, Poe is so 19th century, The Raven, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, entropy, there is no meaning in this uncaring universe, “and all the planets mourned”, you’d need a lot of Prozac (or opium) to go through a life like that, the catharsis of apocalypse, a cosmic apocalypse, the plot is a jumble of junk, the biblical echoes, “only the gods reside there” (in Teloe), a very old testament vibe, “lest you turn into a pillar of salt”, the protagonist is us (mankind), Lovecraft’s recurring themes, the ordinary man who swaps places with another, The Shadow Out Of Time, Polaris, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, transcendental mind-swap stories, the story was a pseudonymous collaboration between Elizabeth Berkley (aka Winifred V. Jackson) and Louis Theobald, Jun. (aka H.P. Lovecraft), Nyarlathotep, “send me some money”, a lot of dross with a powerful effect, “the year of the plague”, the “oriel window” is an eyeball!, “calm down Howard”, “he’s in his own brain”, who or what is “the crawling chaos”?, the ocean pounding is his heart beating, “We’re all doomed!”, what is the crawling chaos?, S.T. Joshi, Rudyard Kipling, the peninsular beach house, Tiger Tiger (from The Jungle Book), The Tyger by William Blake, is the beautiful youth Mowgli?, who are “they”?, a fawn faced youth, Weena from H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, did Winifred read The Time Machine before sleep?, what is the meaning of “Teloe”? is it teleology, reaching for meaning or purpose and losing it, Amber and Chalcedony, pleasure barges bound for blossomy Cytheron, Liquid Gold, Lord Dunsany, the heavenly host, the destruction of the physical (the corpse-like clay), black clouds like vultures, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear”, City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe, opium addiction, why opium?, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey, Charles Baudelaire, a waking dream, if the story was written in the 1960s…, LSD, morphine and Morpheus (dream), a waking dream, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, The Doors Of Perception, out of Plato’s cave, Philip K. Dick, mindset and environment, mescaline, dreams vs. drug trips, journeys into the unconscious, Mouthpiece by Edward Wellen, decoding the death ravings of Dutch Schultz (HERE), William Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, “French Canadian Bean Soup”, stream of unconsciousness, Frances vs. French people, “swimming through New York”, The Librarian TV series, “perfectly ordinary strange adventures”, puns are big for the subconscious, Samuel R. Delany, Groucho Marx.

The Tyger by William Blake

The United Co-Operative, April 1921 - The Crawling Chaos

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #130 – READALONG: Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley

October 17, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #130 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Jenny discuss Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley.

Talked about on today’s show:
uppity damn robots, hilarious characterization, soulless robots, Galaxy Magazine September 1956, Star Trek, Harry Mudd, Sears Roebuck catalogues, freeze dried vs. flash frozen, Kiln People by David Brin, The Twilight Zone episode “The Lonely“, robot wives, manufactured fingernails, center of gravity, “could she have been a robot?”, Gunga Sam the foreman robot, duenna is Portuguese for chaperone, Gunga Din, the Writing Excuses podcast with Lou Anders, HuffDuffer, John Scalzi, Casablanca, The Dark Knight, Edward Flaswell, “Sure pal. Sure.”, Frontier Bride, mail order bride, freeze dried preacher, programmed by “a human supremacist of the most rabid sort”, was Flaswell talked into feeling bad, what is the Human Man’s Burden?, is it all a marketing ploy?, The Mote In God’s Eye, the Gold Rush, why is the combustion god?, “Him strong him good, believe me brothers, it is even as I say.”, Rudyard Kipling poem’s The White Man’s Burden, the justification for empire, satire, the page 99 illustration, labeling people, ultra deluxe model bride, “oil glistened on their honest faces”, Tama can prove the robots are having sex, “in their carefree robot fashion”, a series of robots on the moon ordering from Sears Roebuck catalogues (15 F&SF covers by Mel Hunter), Charles van Doren, face-parts, “the robot frontier”, Asteroids in fiction (Wikipedia entry), TZ ep.: “Two“, Dumb Martian by John Wyndham, TZ ep.: “The Lateness Of The Hour“, android vs. gynoid, Firefly, Gunga Sam knows best, Sheila was down-selling herself, this is a feminist story?, Human Man’s Burden could be a cartoon, Kindles/Xboxes/Wiis/PS3s are sold as cheaply as possible because of the profit being in the media they play, iTouch vs. iPhone, free robots in our homes selling moon makers and solidovisions, nesting dolls, Human Man’s Burden probably isn’t public domain, Psycho by Robert Bloch, The Status Civilization, Seventh Victim, Mindswap, Warrior Race, The Space Merchants, Blackstone Audio, Charles Stross, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan.

ISFDB publication history for Human Man’s Burden HERE.

Human Man's Burden by Robert Sheckley - Page 95 - Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, September 1956

Human Man's Burden by Robert Sheckley - ilustration by Weiss

Sears Roebuck Ordering Robot - Art by Mel Hunter

Posted by Jesse Willis

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