The SFFaudio Podcast #358 – READALONG: The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick

February 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #358 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
1964, Simulacrum vs. Simulacra, Dick is right in complaining about the title, Ace Books, what this book is about, “The First Lady Of The United States”, in the background, a tiny little hint, are chupas androids?, a closed-circuit-like passing spasm, who and what are robots, simulacrum, undercooked, best novel or worst novel, the audiobook, well-crafted, juggling, so confusing, a populated novel, psychoanalyzing Philip K. Dick, the settings, a complex complicated world, the Warsaw Pact, Poland, the Soviet Union, jalopies, why is the world the way it is?, der alter = the old man, Philip K. Dick saying…, my wife is my boss, changeable husbands, my emotions aren’t real, a fine idea for an SF novel, Queen Elizabeth II, the society is profoundly different, they don’t have books (or knowledge about anything), projecting into minds, your one chance, mass psychosis, societal control, a caste system, “the Ges”, the USEA society, education?, hobbies, “Let’s Watch Nichole”, it was nightmare world, passing the social studies test to keep your apartment, deep sea divers, knowing the numbers, a glimmering seed of an idea, revisionist history all the time, busywork, having political correct terms for everything, a Stalinist version of this story, the New Pravda, Wikipedia, “the euphemism treadmill”, what sounds like attack words, the word shit is a shitty word, toilet, escape to another planet, there’s always people going off-world, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, when you leave Earth, service simulacra, a worker of your own to help you, a warm jacket and a packed lunch, quick divorce, “I divorced my wife last night”, the Frontier Thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner, space as the new frontier, “the artificial worlds of Philip K. Dick”, the default, “the final frontier”, colonizing the solar system and the universe, other countries, Canadian bacon exists, moving to another apartment complex is a huge deal, what will the kids think?, a satire, the latest season of Homeland, an unprecedented, American television is very strange, House Of Cards, has there ever been an American television series set in another country?, not a Netflix show, tricked Americans into seeing another country, increasing America, the Berlin Airlift, JFK, the Philippine conquest, and Cuba, Germanophile weirdness, time travel is very easy, why always with the Hermann Göring in SF?, “he looks like he’s having fun”, he knows how to use power, Caligula, monsters, you have to have dinner with someone in the Third Reich, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, why is Hermann Göring in this book?, a transplanted plot?, looking to change time, palace intrigue, a time war, hilarious, more of everything, he’s running into himself, Sir Francis Drake, Time Pawn aka Dr. Futurity, apartment complexes, The Man Who Japed, fear of the pop-quiz, history isn’t neat, from democracy to totalitarian hermit kingdoms, baroque weird alien things (from the outside), it hangs itself (together), jug bands?, “Jug Band Plays The Whitehouse”, Richard Congrosian believes his body odor is lethal, Chick, chupa, the way Dick’s mind works, she’s so mean she can’t be a robot, that explains my lack of emotion, palupas are fake, am I invisible?, nits?, the crawling advertisements, they shoot the adveritzments to make them shut up, the reason Richard Congrosian thinks he stinks, I’ve had sex with 755 women, I’ve met three presidents of the United States, the default response, brainwashing, Jesse is sensitive to scent, Tide laundry detergent, gender equality vs. not touching door-handles, Paul’s superpower is he can smell ketchup from a mile away, Jesse thinks the general public is brainwashed by clothing cleaning products advertising, soap operas, Gain laundry detergent, advertising a product can create a market, fake creation of desire, the pets, my sheep’s not real, like the Dr. Bloodmoney, psychiatry, Mars, neanderthals, political factions, mutants, he just read something, The Crawlers, “more evolved” isn’t really a thing, a group of sad-sack mental deficients, what circumstances would allow you to enjoy a future that is grim?, he wanted vegetables and they gave him a coin, if they were the simulacra at the end, waiting for their time to rise up over the humans, the neanderthals will inherit the earth, this (novel) is a stew, not the best meal he (Dick) has served, electic music enterprise, do they have any ethnic music before you die?, funny digs, German conglomerates, Dick seemed to enjoy writing this, the next thing you know you have twenty characters and ten plots, it’s all held together by Dr. Egon Superb, Strikerock, Wilder Pembroke, National Police, one of his biographies or an interview, other than being a psychoanalysis of his own marriage, Dick never came at it from whatever the dominant view was, sometime in this period…, communists, the FBI came by and interviewed him, a locked filing cabinet, bikers, drug addicts, the FBI, or he did it, he became friends with one of the FBI agents (who taught Dick to drive), Donald A. Wollheim, in the paranoid phase, I’m gonna help out, no matter what novel there’s only thirty or forty people in the entire society, eventually their in the crank file, when you see the NP men, the Secret Service, an insight, when Philip K. Dick is at home he’s at work, all grist for his mill, when he isn’t writing novels he’s writing letters to the FBI, a terrible Philip K. Dick novel but a pretty good science fiction novel, fun and funny, a prism, that’s okay, sometimes you get stuff that’s okay, was there boobs?, “she had high-rise breasts”, 90-year old breasts, no quivering breasts, they were poking out every now and then, “her breasts protruded divinely”, we have marriage we have boobs, somebody is drinking coffee, you can see his life, so true, so familiar, just hanging out with Philip K. Dick again, random Germans, he likes Germans, hanging out with Philip K. Dick.

ACE Books - F301 - The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick
The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick - Illustration by Ed Emshwiller

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #222 – READALONG: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

July 22, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #222 – Jesse, Jenny, Paul Weimer and Bryan Alexander discuss Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Talked about on today’s show:
The audiobook, Recorded Books, the appendix, The Lord Of The Rings, the feeling in your right hand, a dream-like book, Room 101, a disjointing of time, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Signet Classic, already a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League at 12, a 1971 sex drive, memory, Winston Smith’s obsession with the past, the three traitors, the Soviet Union as applied to Britain, show trials, it is so effective, The Running Man is a prole version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, “WHITMAN, PRICE, AND HADDAD!!! You remember them! There they are now, BASKING under the Maui sun.”, down the memory hole, the brutality of the movies and the applause of the audience, the crushing of weakness, the terrible children, the 1954 BBC TV version starring Peter Cushing, Winston’s own memories of his childhood, did Winston kill his sister, his bowels turn to water when he see a rat, the return of the mother, a bag of decay, the 1984 version of 1984, John Hurt looks like he was born to play Winston Smith, is it Science Fiction?, dystopia, does this feel like Science Fiction?, Social Science Fiction, If This Goes On… by Robert A. Heinlein, Animal Farm, Goldstein’s Book, the re-writing of history, collapsing the vocab, The Languages Of Pao by Jack Vance, Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, The Embedding by Ian Watson, Isaac Asimov’s review of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell imagines no new vices, WWIII, in regular SF we get used to a lack of motifs, the coral, the memories, the place with no darkness, everything is recycled in a dream and people merge, in dream logic 2+2 can equal 5, reduction of the world and the self, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, soma, The Hunger Games, Wool by Hugh Howey, cleaning day, grease, transformed language, a crudboard box, euphony, a greasy world, a comparison to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, We The Living by Ayn Rand, Harcourt Brace, Politics And The English Language by George Orwell, V For Vendetta, Norsefire vs. IngSoc, a circuitous publishing history, crudpaper, prole dialect, part dialect, New Speak, military language, Generation Kill, military language is bureaucratic language, Dune by Frank Herbert, Battle Language, private language, Brazil, the thirteen’s hour, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, victory means shit, Airstrip One, speakwrite, Star Wars, careful worlding, a masterwork, a transformation and an inoculation, watch 1984 on your phone while the NSA watches you watch it, North Korea, “without getting to political”, 2600‘s editor is Emmanuel Goldstein, the traitor Snowden, that’s what this book is, it’s political, The Lives Of Others, hyper-competent, the bedroom scene, “We are the dead.”, how did the picture break off the wall, dream-logic, Jesse knows when he’s dreaming, if you dream a book you must generate the text, dreaming of books that don’t exist, a great sequel to Ringworld?, The Sandman, “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”, O’Brien, Martin, the worst thing is you can’t control what you say when your sleeping, uncanny valley,

Whatever it was, you could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure IngSoc. As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was
his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Polar Express, the book within the book, high end books, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is London the capital of Oceania?, the value of the book, Stephen Fry’s character, a book that tells you only things you already knew, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, the possibilities of other books, supercharged moments in movies, Twelve Monkeys, Dark City, Book Of Dreams, utopias within dystopias, reading in comfort and safety, the golden place, Julia is a pornosec writer, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Processed Word by John Varley, Russian humor, is there really a war?, power is the power to change reality, Stephen Colbert’s truthiness, doublethinking it, the proles seem to be happier, feeling contempt, lottery tickets depress Jesse, “renting the dream”, the proles are obsessed by lotteries, who is the newspaper for?, the chocolate ration, Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History Of The Universe, how stable is Oceania?, guys and Guy, how stable is North Korea?, Christopher Hitchens, there’s no hope in 1984, the subversion mechanism has been subverted, changing human behavior, Walden Two by B.F. Skinner, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, genocide, racial purity, are they bombing themselves?, where does Julia get all her treats?, utopia is a nice cup of coffee, The Principle Of Hope by Ernst Bloch, what’s missing from your life comrade?, is Julia playing a role?, she’s the catalyst for everything, misogyny vs. misanthropy, Nietzsche’s master morality slave morality, political excitement is transformed into sexual excitement, ‘I have a real body it occupies space (no you don’t you’re a fictional character)’, Julia’s punk aesthetic, I love you., she’s the dream girl, the romantic couple that brings down the bad order, The Revolt Of Islam by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Pacific Rim, The Matrix, Equilibrium, Mephistopheles, Mustapha Mond, Jesse thought she was in on it, the prole lady out the window, nature, ragged leafless shrubs, nature has been killed, the Byzantine Empire, the Catholic Church, cult of personality vs. an idoru Big Brother, Eurythmics, we’re nostalgic for the Cold War, the now iconic ironic 1984 Apple commercial, dems repubs NSA, has Britain been secretly controlling the world using America?, George Bernard Shaw, society and politics, SF about the Vietnam War, petition for and against the war, Judith Merril, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, China.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Singularity by Bill DeSmedt

November 19, 2006 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

Podibook Review

Podcast - The SingularitySingularity
By Bill DeSmedt; Read by Bill DeSmedt
47 MP3 Files – 20 Hours 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: 2006
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Tunguska Event / Black Holes / Time Travel / Near Future/ Cloak & Dagger / Quantum Physics / Soviet Union /

June 30th, 1908 – In the remote Tunguska region of Siberia, the most violent cosmic collision in recorded history flattened ancient forests over an area half the size of Rhode Island. Yet after a hundred years of international scientific research the cause of this impact remains a mystery.

Several people told me Singularity was worth listening to. But of course I figured they we’re probably wrong, I’m not easy to please. But because it was FREE I told myself to give it a chance. I have to say I was astounded! After a longish introduction, more of a history lesson, the real story takes off. And boy, does it! Like a Nelson DeMille novel with Saturn V booster strapped to it! This is incisive Hard SF set in a near future with plenty of action, some very cool ideas and even a bit of romance. The plot orbits around the mystery of the 1908 Tunguska Event. The action intertwines cloak and dagger with quantum physics in a tidal dance. I’m no physics major, but the scientific explanations were clear and compelling. You know a story’s good when you end up looking up some of the ideas. The tale is fleshed out through a large cast of central characters: Jonathan Knox, a consultant to elite government agencies, is the engaging lead protagonist. Knox has a knack with finding patterns in giant fields of data – a trait attributable to a voyage his mind went on once. Marianna Bonaventure, his soon to be lover, is a federal government agent on the trail of a missing materials scientist. Physicist Jack Adler is on the same trail as Knox and Marianna, but he doesn’t know it yet. Together, and apart they are in a race that may have been predetermined as unwinnable before it started, only the laws of causality know. Opposing them is a set of rationally motivated villains – with the weight of an multi-billion dollar corporate empire behind them. Leading them is, Arkady Grigoriyevich, who spends most of his time aboard a converted mega-yacht, that is now a floating laboratory. DeSmedt packs about a dozen terrific SF ideas into his tale. Also included in the podcast feed is an informative question and answer bonus MP3 file with the author himself. I am eagerly awaiting the follow-up novel, cleverly titled, Duality.

I tend to enjoy audiobooks narrated by authors, as they know exactly when and where to pause, what words to accentuate and how to pronounce the character names. But DeSmedt was not a perfect narrator, in fact at the start he sounded nervous. I was worried, but gradually as the chapters flowed the anxiety faded, and by the end I he was reading like a professional. Maybe his female voices need a bit more practice, but I swear, all those Russian accents were perfect.

I downloaded Singularity from Podiobooks.com for free, but when I did I could only get the first half of the novel. It was being released piecemeal, chapter by chapter, as podcasts. I have heard many people enjoy this delivery style; and it probably works for serial adventures or short story collections but I don’t like it for novels. I quickly listened to the first 20 chapters of the book in quick succession only to then have to wait for a whole month to finish it. Next time I visit podiobooks.com I’ll be making sure the serialization is completed before starting another novel. Another issue, selecting the next podcast once a chapter was finished was a real bitch. I drive a standard transmission automobile and my iPod is stuck into a faraway cigarette lighter. Every time a chapter of Singularity ended I would be made to reach over to rip my iPod out of the transmitter/charger and then hold on to it and the steering wheel while trying to navigate the menu to figure out which chapter was next. The podcasts delivery system would have been far better if I could have started and the ended the story in the same file, in other words what I needed was one big podcast, the novel in one file.