The SFFaudio Podcast #448 – READALONG: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #448 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1954, a reconstruction of a Norse Saga with Dungeons & Dragons elements, Scott loved it, Jesse found it terrible, and Paul has read it thrice, what would have happened…, Eric Bright Eyes by H. Rider Haggard, idiots and assholes and magic, low magic, striving toward wisdom, the nuclear weapons of magic, Odin, sacrificial Paul, the rules, in the realm of mythology, Beowulf, The Lord Of The Rings, Michael Moorcock’s Elric Of Melnibone, archetypes and gods, greater and deeper, mythic vs. inspired by myth, the language was amazing, Jesse’s not saying much, directly inspired by Beowulf, The Völsunga Saga, an insight into 1000 year old society, The Odyssey, the characters tended to not be very wise, semi-historical, Ragnar Lodbrook, simile nice, toning down the massive metaphors, more about power than it is about ideas, the whole magic sword thing, magic items, H.P. Lovecraft, huge and menacing and powerful and on the edge of our ability to perceive, Skafloc, drawing runes, there’s a demon in here, cursed staves, Dreams In The Witch House, his counterpart (his changeling), screwed at birth, cursed in a Greek or Norse way, more action, not an idea book, all about the ideas, The Forever War, the ideas are not front in center, you can’t touch iron, that’s the rule!, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, werewolves, becoming an outlaw, becoming savage, why is he a werewolf, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, not unlike the world was viewed, the revised edition, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, the 1971 revision (made it worse), Gollanz’s reversion, ‘I welded the Broken Sword back together’, a ‘Book For The Blind’ narration, luke warm, The High Crusade, Three Hearts And Three Lions, a WWII officer dropped into the land of fairy, the plot of the Wonder Woman movie, for copyright reasons?, fiddling, the language in this book, poetry, evocative descriptions, half converted Christians, a ghost tells them, that’s the rules, her brother her lover, that’s the tragedy, echoes, the ending was rushed, Valgard, killed by the device, E.F. Bleiler, noir, doomed from the beginning, the characters doom themselves vs. their doomed because of their destiny, why is this happening?, he calls to the raven, hey there’s a battle down the road, dude!? why did you do that?, James M. Cain, for no good reason, stirring the same area of Scott’s brain, pale recreation of Tolkien, thinking about the meta-aspect, that GRAVITAS, WWII, truth, the eternal verities, the truth of story, poetic truth, philosophers, a truth and a resonance, Dunkirk, its hard to criticize anything that is tongue-in-cheek, the bad geography of Middle Earth (Tor.com), philology, Frank Herbert, geology and ecology, monsters doing monstrous things to each other, what makes them powerful, Marissa, imagine you’re copy-editing someone’s work, fixing a falsity, the Goodreads reviews, the reviews of Beowulf, what’s the Bible’s Goodreads reviews, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, the epic vs. the novel, ringing false, is this a high fantasy book?, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, science vs. magic, lets shoot the fireballs at each other, Robert E. Howard, the magic sword mentality, Excalibur and King Arthur, his human thews (though very jaguar-like), the strength of 10-hill giants, a really problematic definition, epic vs. sword and sorcery, about scale and stakes, who is casting the fireballs, “an Atlantean Sword”, the magic is in his manliness, about willpower, born to be screwed, the characters don’t seem to know themselves, they are almost pre-conscious, The Odyssey, I’ve made mistakes – I’m going to make more – and here I go, sticking with the tradition he is writing in, that northern tradition, the Neil Gaiman movie script adaptation of Beowulf, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, set in Iceland, Henry Treece’s Viking Trilogy, on the PDF Page, Viking Dawn, The Road To Miklagard, Viking Sunset, Beothuk, throw down some quotes, a sequel hook, Ragnarok, the unfinished comic book adaptation from the 1960s, good stuff, a book full of sadness, “whence came you hither, fawn?”, the sacred grove, the dryad screams, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, arbitrary rules, the White Christ, real gods vs. fake gods, who and how much power a particular name has, see American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, Carcassonne, Kentucky, why are some characters not allowed to touch iron?, that’s the rules, the afterword, a science fiction-y take, when he isn’t being playful, Three Hearts And Three Lions, marrying science fiction with fantasy, how they can intertwine and make sense of each other, when the Devil shows up, Dante (Alighieri), “the White Christ, time and love”, I knew him of old in my incarnation of Loki, things as other things, fairies from China and India, a very old idea, that’s some deep stuff right there, elf girlfriends vs. human girlfriends, mocking eyes, “oh, you’re one of thooose guys”, “like calls to like”, cold mystery, adopted by elves, mythic, Dragon Magazine, some of the cartoons, straight out of Elric (and this), intelligent swords, willful swords, when you’re sword has a higher intelligence that you do, a tragedy, where’s my place in this world, where’s my place in a Norse saga?, sword dances, a novel for Dungeons & Dragons players, “Brutal, romantic and tragic. no cute hobbits.”

Ballantine Books - The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1961) fanzine illustration

comic book adaptation of The Broken Sword

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #071 – La Chasse-Galerie by Honoré Beaugrand

June 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #071

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss La Chasse-Galerie by Honoré Beaugrand

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

La Chasse-Galerie was first published in The Century Magazine, August 1892.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #265 – READALONG: Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny

May 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #265 – Jesse, Tam, and Paul Weimer discuss Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny

Talked about in this episode:
1976, “hey it’s Zelazny”, Tibor and whatnot, “The Great C.“, waking from a gnostic dream of oblivion, “the book is opaque to say the least”, “on the pilg”, recommended for super Dick-fans who like religion, New Wave (basically shitty), Christianity, Ted White, the Sector General novels, mythology and religion, 80-85% Dick, post-apocalyptic story, the local A.I., the sacrifice of the Athenians to the Minotaur, like a Jeopardy game, heliocentricity vs. geocentricity, “Benford, Bear, and Brin’s new Foundation trilogy”, Hari Seldon in a chimpanzee body, The Best Of Gregory Benford, it’s a paycheck, “If you wanna read this piece of shit that’s fine … I’m getting paid.”, cynicism, looking for the truth behind things, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Tibor’s conversations, there’s no fixed ground, Dr. Bloodmoney, Or How We Got Along After The Bomb, the fallout from nuclear fallout, Utah, Denver, “where are they getting this coffee?”, the socio-economic underpinnings of this book are fantasy, The Man In The High Castle, is he really worried about his bottle?, Autofac, the consequences of automated production, an economic weapon a weapon of war, Gresham’s law, The Crawlers, incs = incompletes, the thalidomide baby phenomenon, Arthur C. Clarke, Of Withered Apples (and our podcast about it), the apple tree scene doesn’t pay-off, the dog, episodic feel, the parallel pilgrimage of Peter Sands, the guy with the face problem, devil from the sky, Lufteufel (from the German words “Luft,” meaning “air,” and “Teufel,” meaning “Devil”), the class of people who engage with believers but don’t believe themselves, if you go into churches…, if there is a point to this story, representation, no photos of Jesus, does it matter if we worship a false image?, drawing a symbol, “the novel is extremely gnostic”, Zelazny’s Amber series, Islam goes the opposite way, depictions of Muhammad, believers tend not to worry about such details, the Klingons, the gnostic gloss, “it works as what it is”, the miracle of the arms and legs, a vision of the Deus Irae, what’s going on with the cow?, she’s a holy cow, the authors say?, “the cow slept and dreamed – Tibor ruminated.”, mechanical arms only (no legs), the crucifixion in reverse, the endings, Lufteufel and his daughter, dissolution, he does partake in divinity, Dr. Abernathy, Luke Daniels, the ozone in the air, an Arthurian motif, the healing of the wound, The Last Defender Of Camelot, dedicated Stanley G. Weinbaum and The Martian Odyssey, connecting the books, The Martian Odyssey is important and interesting but not great, “a classic of the field”, the first Science Fiction to come out of the 1920s, mostly junk, aliens that are just alien, where it fits in the history of Science Fiction, PKD’s favourite author was A.E. van Vogt, changing things up every thousand words, a formative influence on both Dick and Zelazny?, Eric S. Rabkin, maybe they had coffee together, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., dung beetles, the lizards (Lizzies), the talking bird, “the little black boys”, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, transformed by Am, another name for God or Popeye, evil turns into good, it’s all for the best, the philosophy behind Voltaire’s Candide, “it was good that we had a nuclear war”, the story of Noah, the ultimate Spring cleaning, religious people don’t tend to get stuck at that point, “maybe I’m wrong”, somebody is going to enjoy that sermon by Dr. Abernathy, the passing of good out of evil, internal arguments, “good” is not as strong as “evil”, a very clever sophistic argument that kind of works, a lot of German, allusions to other literature, and “the stars threw down their spears”, William Blake’s Tyger Tyger, a gnostic poem, the currency of half-forgotten poems, funerals and weddings call for the imagery and vocabulary of poetry, cultural tools for sealing social relationships, The Stars My Destination, what is gnosticism?, going out into a cave…, a vision quest, revelations, Jesus’ marriage, canonized gnosticism, religion as Jesus fan fiction, fan service, Galactic Pot Healer, a crisis of faith, a god needs help, a lack of editing, the meditation/drug thing, pastors can be grumpy without coffee and cigarettes, Abernathy is an asshole.

Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick DELL SF

Daw Books - DEUS IRAE by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny

DEUS IRAE by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny - Illustration by Corben

The Great C. by Philip K. Dick

Tyger Tyger by William Blake

Posted by Jesse Willis

La Chasse-Galerie by Honoré Beaugrand (Read by Mark Turetsky)

June 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

La Chasse-Galerie (aka “The Bewitched Canoe” aka “The Flying Canoe“)

I mentioned this story on a recent podcast, then I tracked down a very early English translation |PDF|, and now narrator Mark Turetsky has recorded it for us all! Thanks Mark!

Honoré Beaugrand’s La Chasse-Galerie is the story of some Quebecois voyageurs, actually Gatineau loggers, who make a pact with the devil in order visit their women. Satan grants them the power to paddle though the sky. But they are warned that if the blashpheme, by touching any church steeples along they way, or if they do not return before six o’clock the next morning, they will lose their souls!

This version of the story was first published in The Century Magazine, August 1892.

La Chasse-Galerie - illustrated by Henri Julien

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #212 – READALONG: The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

May 13, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #212 – Jesse, Mirko and Mr. Jim Moon discuss The Willows by Algernon Blackwood.

Talked about on today’s show:
Algernon Blackwood’s television show, “the ghost man”, the expansion of consciousness, the extension of human personality, ghosts, Saturday Night Story, H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, almost nothing happens, “ghoulish work”, cosmic horror, Mr. Jim Moon outlines of the story, the nameless Swede, travelogue, the Danube, a lonesome expanse, an elemental presence, the rising spirits, the shunned place, the man’s body (or the black otter), “never human in the first place”, overlapping dimensions, The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard, why is it set in Europe?, The Wendigo, Blackwood actually canoed on the Danube, Marcus Aurelius, the Black Forest, Blackwood attended school in the area, hard guys, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, “the soul chilling fury of Nature’s terrible dethroned gods”, the joke becomes unfunny, Romania, Transylvania, “looks fantastic but no-one lives there!”, evidence of human habitation, we have to keep going farther and farther to find the borderlands, their thoughts are manifested, telepathy, With Morning Comes Mistfall by George R.R. Martin, a review of Bright Messenger by Algernon Blackwood from Fantasy & science Fiction, the “Diva”, nature spirits, sprites, fairies, planetary entities, nature’s policemen, WWI, haunted tree?, occult and paranormal writing, occultist jargon, the chain of being, neo-Platonism, intermediary spirits, what did these two dudes do wrong?, sacred groves, druids, devilish places, The Children Of The Stones, the stolid Swede, red Indians, the noble savage, Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla, the drowned peasant, the conical holes, Chupacabra?, alien sampling?, footprints?, fingerprints?, Jaws, the hidden monster, “having rid himself of the morsel”, empty planet, “the sounds a planet must make driving along through space”, J.R.R. Tolkien, Old Man Willow, the Withywindle, the evil trees, Tolkien was familiar with Blackwood, Tom Bombadil is a nature spirit, Goldberry is a river spirit, “he’s got a bloody song for everything”, the Wikipedia entry for willow, the bronze skinned figures, fairy mischief, fairies fuck with you, what’s with the paddles?, a sacrifice, man where was your editor?, you didn’t really do anything wrong but show up, canoeing ghost stories, Voyageurs, a deal with the devil on Christmas Eve, La Chasse-Galerie (aka “The Bewitched Canoe” aka “The Flying Canoe“), Deliverance, leisure travel vs. work travel, the drones, the last gasp of the Grand Tour, Alien vs. Evil Dead, the punishment of the idle, reckless youth, Cabin In The Woods, The Complete Weird Fiction Of Algernon Blackwood, short stories are best enjoyed in short doses.

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood - read by Wayne June

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

La Chasse-Galerie - illustrated by Henri Julien

Posted by Jesse Willis

Never Bet The Devil Your Head by Edgar Allan Poe

August 17, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Never Bet The Devil Your Head was written by Edgar Allan Poe to mock his critics. It’s wit is as sharp as Voltaire’s Candide and it’s smirk is as wide as Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, but it’s just the size of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

Never Bet The Devil Your Head is the tale of Toby Dammit, a man of vice, who comes to a bad end.

Here’s a choice snippet:

“At five months of age he used to get into such passions that he was unable to articulate. At six months, I caught him gnawing a pack of cards. At seven months he was in the constant habit of catching and kissing the female babies. At eight months he peremptorily refused to put his signature to the Temperance pledge. Thus he went on increasing in iniquity, month after month, until, at the close of the first year, he not only insisted upon wearing mustaches, but had contracted a propensity for cursing and swearing, and for backing his assertions by bets.”

I highly recommended it.

Here’s an unabridged reading:

Voices In The DarkNever Bet The Devil Your Head
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Dawn Keenan
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Voices In The Dark
Published: 2005
First published in Graham’s Magazine, September 1841.

And here’s a pointed, yet spritely, audio dramatization adaptation with the legendary Daws Butler playing Dammit:

CBS Radio WorkshopCBS Radio Workshop – Never Bet The Devil Your Head
Adapted from the short story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS
Broadcast: July 28, 1957
Provider: archive.org

Cast:
John Dehner … Mr. Poe
Daws Butler … Toby Dammit
Howard McNear … the Devil

And finally here’s a |PDF|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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