The SFFaudio Podcast #334 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

September 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #334 – The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne; read by Fred Heimbaugh. This is an unabridged reading of the story (50 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Fred.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Pioneer, March 1843, a Hawthorne Poe fest, contemporaries, The Scarlet Letter, a quote by Poe about Hawthorne, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, well known?, why this story Fred?, he’s obsessed with sin, sociopaths, trigger warnings, neurosis, shame, luck, shaped by sin, a mark upon the family, subconscious Freudian messages, Commentary Magazine, Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature by Gary Saul Morson, textual density, vocab, Lovecraft poems, Fungi From Yuggoth poems, harbours, kids are now shuttled between school the home and the mall, ranting against Hawthorne, The House Of The Seven Gables, revolutions in 20th century literature, Ernest Hemingway, the show don’t tell revolution, Hawthorne is the telling-est teller who ever telled, the right attitude toward sin, the two facedness of people, Hawthorne is attacking late stage decadent Puritanism, a homosexual vibe, what is the lesson?, science reaches too far?, Gothic horror, the evil wizard or the mad scientist, science as the channel to unlimited power, elixirs, potions, not even futuristic, Georgiana, Aminadab?, where is this story set?, Aylmer’s castle, Aylmer’s wealth, a compartmentalized life, from the third person POV, the host narration, obsession, the left side, the sinister side, she’s been marked, in the dream, chemical means, pre-Darwin, “I’ve got these old books”, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a natural philosopher, science vs. alchemy vs. magic, Isaac Newton, almost as if he was Ben Franklin, electricity, many suitors, Aylmer’s wooing, is Aylmer gaslighting Georgiana?, she’s reading, a Medieval heroine, a character of of Greek mythology, is a sex-change story?, is this a boob-job story?, envy, the tips of two small fingers, she’s compared to a marble statue, small pox scars, Marilyn Monroe‘s beauty mark, does positioning matter?, Supernatural Horror And Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, a meditation on obsession, many uninteresting analysis, so little action, beyond the sexual interpretation, Hawthorne doesn’t seem all that prudish, how far can you go in purist of perfection in a fallen world, a mark of original sin, wanting knowledge (of good and evil?), the sin of disobedience, Frankenstein and Aylmer are reading the same books, the process of creating a man in Frankenstein, the lightning bolt, Luigi Galvani, grave-robbing, Paracelsus, the gold thing is your way of getting funding, when writing a grant…, this might lead to a cure for cancer(!), alchemy as a religion, The Cask Of Amontillado, Eric S. Rabkin, “the niter, it grows”, Montresor or Fortunato, niter, growing human shaped things inside of bottles, poisons, psychology and the occult, the difference between alchemy and science is openness, the Royal Society, Harry Potter’s school, there have to be muggles, magically oblivious, J.K. Rowling, natural greed, the ethic of sharing knowledge, France’s version of the Royal Society, like the obsession with “open source” or the “public domain”, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, sooo lifelike, sooo beautifully painted, Gothic horror, the evil mad scientist is destroyed by the power he unleashes, The Portrait Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the ending, what is Hawthorne saying?, was Aylmer’s attempt doomed from the beginning?, Jesse’s mom, one of the most important powers of a teacher, she has “THE VOICE”, Muad’dib (Paul Atredies), Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, a profound revelation, philosophy and critical thinking, vitamins are bullshit, fish oil woke Fred’s brain, North America has the world’s most expensive urine, religion wants you to take it on authority, bronze age holy texts, religion as book club where you only ever read one book (or just listen to a guy who did), cynicism or wisdom, loyalty to the organized religion of your family, inherited religions, fundamentalist belief systems, the narcissism of small differences, splintering, revolting revolutionaries, purity of doctrine, young earth creationists, Catholicism as an almost ethnicity (an identity), Hawthorne as a stopgap between H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley, the murky origins of Science Fiction, Dante, Lucifer frozen in the ice, a Gothic ghost story, Frankenstein’s obsession is with defeating death, too in love with science, Hawthorne’s message is like: “don’t drink too much”, Greek symposia, what really happened at a Greek symposium, “write drunk and edit sober”, The Odyssey, mixing water with wine, getting plastered is a sign on unmanning, the Greek obsession was with finding the moderation between too little and too much, what was Hephzibah’s sin?, her sin is being too worried about sin, “you will eat blood”, public shaming is a little much, be moderate with your casting of sin, John Wesley, a healthy functioning society, wealth corruption, falling into decadence, the protestant work ethic is kicking-in, Guggenheim, ransoming the grandchild, leaving it all to art, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Fred’s all time favourite Science Fiction novel: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, how do we raise the next generation?, a supercharged Kindle, matter compilers, Star Trek‘s replicator, eating green sludge, window panes made out of pure diamond, handmade hipsters, how you raise the next generation in a wealthy society, we are unimaginably wealthy, are Japan’s young people uninterested in sex?, Richard Dawkins on Twitter, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, Gothic-y, Science-y, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, a great inventor, Neoterics, he’s stealing their ideas, the ultimate mad scientist story, following in the tradition, somatoypes, ectomorph (Aylmer), mesomorph (Aminidab), endomorph (Jesse), it’s a scam!, Hillary Clinton, the Ronald Reagans of the world, this is astrology, people think that once you’ve got a word for something you understand it, wearing the mask long enough…, IQ tests, quantification, any time we think we understand the most complex thing in the universe…, there really is a subconscious, tweeting dreams, psychology, the book club with only one book in it, The Great Courses (The Teaching Company), Eric S. Rabkin, survey courses, kooky specializations, the best way to learn, the perennial student, taught not to learn, philosophy of art, credentialism, Jesse can guess the exact words in a student’s vocabulary, guess your weight or age, how Jesse gets work, gaming credentialism, no high school diploma, a contempt for institutionalized learning, a play-by-the-rules personality, grade inflation, what did Mussolini do?, intimidation vs. cultivation, give the students the experience of reading, reading as a meeting of minds, defending a dissertation, essays, we’re obsessed with essays (for the wrong reason), ohhh spoilers!, the big problem with almost any media, “I don’t want to spoil it for you.”, testing is easier, a kind of objectivity, don’t blame the actors for shitty Hollywood movies, status is society, education as the cultivation of minds, there aren’t enough people who are willing to rebel!

The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne - modified John Collier's "Laboratory", 1895

The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne - illustration by Lisa K. Weber

Posted by Jesse Willis


October 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Harper Audio was founded in 1952 under the name “Caedmon.” Harper Audio still occasionally publishes under its Caedmon label but its real heyday was in the late 1970s. Uniquely, the back of each album featured unique liner notes typically written specifically for the LP. Witness this vintage magazine ad (from Unearth, Spring 1978):

CAEDMON ad from Unearth, Spring 1978

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Graveyard Shift with Dudley Knight

August 16, 2013 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Graveyard Shift - Readings by Dudley KnightBeginning it seems in the mid-1970s Dudley Knight, a U.C. Irvine professor of drama, voiced a series called The Graveyard Shift on KPFK, Los Angeles. The purpose was to tell stories of the macabre. His broadcasts aired weekly with shows of variable length (between half and hour and two and a half hours).

Here is a list of broadcast stories, with links to audio when available:

Jan. ??, 1974- The Room In The Tower by E.F. Benson (34 min.)


May. ??, 1977 – Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick (55 min.)

Jun. 08, 1977 – I See A Man Sitting On A Chair And The Chair Is Biting His Leg by Harlan Ellison and Robert Sheckley (57 min.)

Jun. 22, 1977 – It by Theodore Sturgeon (57 min.)

Jun. ??, 1977 – Count Magnus by M.R. James (35 min.)

Jul. 06, 1977 – Children Of The Corn by Stephen King (71 min.)

Aug. 03, 1977 – Compulsory Games by Robert Aickman (56 min.)

Aug. 17, 1977 – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (37 min.)

Aug. 31, 1977 – Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken (46 min.)

Sep. 21, 1977 – The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood (42 min.)

Oct. 19, 1977 – Armaja Das by Joe Haldeman (44 min.)

Nov. 08, 1977 – It Only Comes Out At Night by Dennis Etchison (33 min.)

Dec. 14, 1977 – Couching At The Door by D.K. Broster (59 min.)

Dec. ??, 1977 – The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges (35 min.)


Jan. 18, 1978 – Suspicion by Dorothy L. Sayers (38 min.)

Jan. ??, 1978 – I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison (41 min.)

Feb. 01, 1978 – The Gentleman From America by Michael Arlen (48 min.)

Feb. 08, 1978 – Bulkhead by Theodore Sturgeon (75 min.)

Feb. 22, 1978 – Gonna Roll The Bones by Fritz Leiber (60 min.)

Mar. 22, 1978 – Sometimes They Come Back by Stephen King (58 min.)

Apr. 05, 1978 – Three Miles Up by Elizabeth Jane Howard (42 min.)

Apr. 19, 1978 – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Fredric Brown (49 min.)

Jun. 07, 1978 – The Ash Tree by M.R. James (36 min.)

Jul. 26, 1978 – The Squaw by Bram Stoker (35 min.)

Aug. 30, 1978 – Batard by Jack London (39 min.)

Sep. 06, 1978 – The Game Of Rat And Dragon by Cordwainer Smith (37 min.)

Oct. 17, 1978 – The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson (49 min.) |MP3|

Nov. 21, 1978 – The Other Celia by Theodore Sturgeon (48 min.)

Dec. 06, 1978 – Benlian by Oliver Onions (44 min.)


Jan. 03, 1979 – Before Eden by Arthur C. Clarke (32 min.)

Jan. 31, 1979 – The Haunters and the haunted by Edward Bulwer Lytton (106 min.)

Feb. 23, 1979 – Space Rats Of The CCC by Harry Harrison (37 min.)

Apr. 03, 1979 – Breakfast At Twilight by Philip K. Dick (41 min.)

Apr. 17, 1979 – Thurnley Abby by Perceval Landon (43 min.)


???. ??, 1985 – Afternoon At Schrafts by Gardner Dozis, Jack Don, and Michael Swanwick Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|


???. ??, ???? – The Whisperer In Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #191 – READALONG: The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

December 17, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #191 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about the Brilliance Audio audiobook, The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s podcast:
Racy?, 1950s, hermaphrodites, relativism is mandated by the government, reverse Nazism, the Wikipedia entry for relativism, relativism as a tool against disbelief, L. Ron Hubbard, The Way To Happiness, communism, “good explorations”, Doug Cussick, political correctness, the opposite of communism?, China, Chinese communism, WWII, “Hitler was a precog”, escape your fate by embracing your fate, seeing into the future after your death, the devolution of a mind in a dead brain, a molluscular and mineral afterlife, grab bag of ideas, giant alien jellyfish, Brilliance Audio, pollen?, spores?, polyps?, planula!, Floyd Jones (is he the hero?), the Venus babies, the people in the Womb, seven mutants in a warehouse in San Fransisco, artificial animals, Venusian wallpaper?, hot and moist, The Truman Show, people have to get off of Earth, the Moon as the 51st state, King Newt running the Moon, pantropy, tropism, genetic modification, Nexus by Ramez Naam, More Than Human by Ramez Naam, Kim Stanley Robinson, More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, the ending, Jones as the new Jesus, contempt for the audience, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, kids getting off on power, suicide, Hitler’s death, “how could a precog be wrong?”, future knowledge of your own knowledge, its very confusing, is Cussick the main character?, rebellion by shoplifting, sexism, WWIII, “asparagus sucks!”, women as litmus paper, she always held the majority opinion, visiting a racist elderly relative, “No grandma! That’s wrong!”, irony, the nameless character has a fascinating story, why don’t we get a sense of the masses, paralleling the rise of Hitler, lebensraum, interesting scenes interspersed with less interesting scenes, domestic scenes vs. organizational scenes, Tyler’s story, the Venus children, paranoia, Shell Game by Philip K. Dick, redundant exists, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Counter Clock World, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, The Zap Gun, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner, Robert Downey Jr., A Scanner Darkly, The Man In The High Castle, alternate history, most people who live in SF universes don’t read SF, a BBC adaptation of The Man In The High Castle, an epic story about a guy who makes jewelry, Terry Gilliam, Anthony Boucher, “a hasty and disappointing effort”, perk up vs. zone out, civil war or aliens?, a golden land of opportunity and adventure (and slime).

ACE - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Damon Knight on The World Jones Made

ACE Double - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Sphere - The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

Geheimproject Venus by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

Radio Project X: The Other Celia [AUDIO DRAMA]

November 19, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Radio Project X, a great new audio drama troupe out of Toronto, makes a combination of compelling and humorous audio dramatizations – recorded live on stage. The latest one to reach my ears is centered around a terrific adaptation of a creepy Theodore Sturgeon story entitled The Other Celia (aka The Blonde With The Mysterious Body). Like the other Radio Project X episodes already released, this program is followed by a series of skits, all funny, and all very Canadian – the kind you’d hear on CBC radio in years past.

Highly recommended!

Radio Project XThe Other Celia
Adapted from the short story by Theodore Sturgeon; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 10 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Radio Project X
Podcast: August 14, 2012
Something drastic should happen to all snoopers – but nothing as awful and frightful as this! First published in Galaxy, March 1957.

The Other Celia by Theodore Sturgeon

The Other Celia - illustrated by Dillon

[via The Sonic Society]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Baby Is Three by Theodore Sturgeon

July 22, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Baby Is Three by Theodore Sturgeon

Baby Is Three - Editorial Description From Galaxy

CAEDMON - Baby Is Three by Theodore SturgeonBaby Is Three
By Theodore Sturgeon; Read by Theodore Sturgeon
2 MP3s – Approx. 58 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Caedmon Records
Published: 1977
Product #: TC 1492
First published in Galaxy October, 1952.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Here are Don Sibley’s illustrations from the original publication in Galaxy:

Baby Is Three - illustration by Don Sibley

Baby Is Three - illustration by Don Sibley

Baby Is Three - illustration by Don Sibley

Baby Is Three - illustration by Don Sibley

Baby Is Three - illustration by Don Sibley

[via the Library Of America]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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