The SFFaudio Podcast #372 – June 6, 2016 by George Allan England; read by Julie Davis of A Good Story Is Hard To Find. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (52 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada.
June 6th, 2016 was first published in Collier’s in April 22, 1916.
Talked about in this episode:
as a story, a fine imagination about all the technologies we’ll have in the future, a time capsule to open after 100 years, storytelling aside…, accurate predictions?, a historical artifact, Looking Backwards, what were you thinking, nothing is accurate, a third right, if you squint real hard, a terrible plot, the sappiest romance, he foresaw Marilyn Monroe, he got texting, radio movies = television, any particular paragraph, technology and social change, alcohol isn’t made anymore, socialist pushing, prohibition, that experiment failed, smoking is still in fashion (but falling out of favor), unless you’re sanitized, he got Skype right (kinda), wouldn’t it be great if we could…, burning our clothes, everything is made of paper and only used once, paper underwear, it’s illegal to make noise or to be sick, as a dystopian story, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said The Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, free public transit, everything is aluminum, everything is regulated, weather regulated, cloud seeding, from the Territory of Patagonia to the State of Labrador, the President of England, the 1970s push for the metric system in the USA, everyone is cooperating now, the United States of Asia, the Asian fleet is stationed in Hawaii, Japan or China, they made NAFTA really work, the TPP, a 2016 airplane that’s already broken, the anti-grav element, automation from a distance, the self driving car, the “Tesla” thing, more Philip K. Style, 250km per hour, the Trans-Atlantic aircraft, how amazing that would have sounded, he got some things right, why this story is so extraordinary, Philip K. Dick’s 2016, a slice of life from one day 100 years into the future, what he got right, 28 million people live in New York, a social trend that nobody predicted (except for Clifford Simak), Make Room, Make Room, Stand On Zanzibar, what Science Fiction is doing, the “where’s my flying car” or “where’s my jetpack?” phenomenon, obsessed with hygine, Purell everywhere, there’s no crime in this story, she was promised more rain, what makes one a great writer, the human element, the essence of the story, the role of women, a 1960s lady, and his heart melted, businesses actually paying their taxes, the kind of socialism we can get behind, everyone knows what everyone is doing all the time, everybody knows where everybody is, convenience vs. Big Brother, everyone has everything they need, children are to be seen and not heard, where’s the children, Brave New World without the drugs, Soma in the ozoneators, the women’s suffrage movement, the Prohibition movement, every leap year women got the opportunity to ask men to marry them, marriage, cellphones (or satphones) telepathy, a slidewalk as in The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein, Iridium Satphone, an urgent telepathic call from Hong Kong, bluetooth technology, the Sub-Atlantic tube, a trans-atlantic tunnel, Channel Tunnel, email, video ads on the subway, newspapers are completely gone, how much would George Allan England like us talking about this story on this date?, headphones, what a world of wonders we do live in, to George, we’re not there yet (for non-commercial cremation), filling in New York harbour, we bend nature to our will, the big eugenics thing, the eugenics board, the fallacy of eugenics, Muhammad Ali, how fallible and foolish people are, alcohol going out of fashion, turning off alcohol would be like banning marriage, The Drunken Botanist, the benefits of alcohol, people in 9,000bc, the archaic art of letter writing, a little gesture of the time, investing in the characters, the PDF is a bit hard to read, muting the feminine philosophy, feminism, he will make more in the end, the images, did the art come first and the story follow?, etherically connected, centrally regulated atomic clocks, a Pickwick Papers situation, Charles Dickens, the illustrator died, monthly installments, the invention of the cliffhanger, Paul is related to Charles Dickens.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #369 – Jesse and Juliane Kunzendorf discuss The First Men In The Moon by H.G. Wells.
Talked about on today’s show:
1900, 1901, dystopia, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, The Sleeper Awakes, “on the moon” vs. “in the moon”, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the 1964 movie, the framing story, a multinational crew, technical issues, the 2010 adaptation, putting a frame around the story, a Moon Landing fair, a grumpy old man, a kinematoscope, the “real” first Moon landing, Bedford, differences, no plants on the Moon, drugged up, introducing a woman, men acting stupid, a comedy, how Bedford and Cavor meet, passive aggressive, the three workman, almost comedic, a sinister undertone, The War Of The Worlds in reverse, a disappointing ending for the movie, a really strong ending for the book, to make it a family movie, light and amusing vs sinister and serious, coming from Elizabeth Moon’s Trading In Danger, Wells’ language, The Invisible Man, explaining some scientific principle, analogies, maybe there is something like cavorite, the detection of gravitational waves, glass, bromine solution, transparent to gravity, a dodecahedron, a glass sphere, louvered blinds of cavorite, at the bottom of an ocean of air, shooting all of the Earth’s atmosphere into space, genius, genius!, flying to the Moon, the spaceship as an eye, driving school, always look where you want to go, how eyes work, why the movies have been forgotten, the last transmission, the 2010 movie ending, symmetry, what Wells is saying with this book, the last word, ambiguity, the loneliness of humanity, lost, he’s not his identity, what Cavor is doing in those transmissions, utopia/dystopia, wrestling with our purpose as human beings on the surface of the Earth, one definition of work: activity on or near the Earth’s surface, astronauts and miners, the great mind, hive mind, so much Science Fiction afterwards, how life works, ants, on the topic of war, Bedford is the classical monster character, The Country Of The Blind, crystallized in the 1964 movie, hiding from his debts, Blake, once you start suspecting this guy, some of that story is true, putting a good spin on it, subtlety, gold chains, the Selenite’s head broke just like an eggshell, turning the moon into another colony, the whole history of humanity, fighting over useless things, a mirror in front of humanity, the Native Americans, scientific naivety, are we gonna reform our ways?, WWI, giving ultimatums, honor, respect to warriors, (in vino veritas), the surplus population, later SF, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the latter half of this book, the brain, the dictionary, the one who likes to draw, one who is really good at metaphor, off in lala land thinking lala thoughts, the communication specialist, the one who knows all the stuff, the illustrations, the alphas the betas the gammas the deltas, the three worker specialists, the joiner, the earth worker, the metal worker, the name Cavor – caver?, it sounds good, caver vs. cavor, the Lord Bedford, claiming the Moon for the Queen, the BBC audio drama, a very serious book, the Mooncalves, the word “mooncalf”, “abortive fetus of a cow or other farm animal”, all sorts of resonances, a scene that makes vegetarians, the reading material that Bedord brings: TidBits (magazine), selling fishknives, Cavor brings the complete works of William Shakespeare, another connection to Brave New World, The Tempest, a story of colonialism, the only native occupant is Caliban, he’s funny and wise in his untutored way, one of the insults that Prospero throws at , the title of Brave New World, an ironic usage, the one slip-up that Wells mad that Huxley picks-up, Bedford’s play, it would work as a play, act 1, act 2, act 3, the flight as an interlude, trying to find the sphere again, two hours left to go?, another interlude in space, an epilogue, how you would stage it, the gold that he brings back from the Moon, living in Italy, published in The Strand, very meta, you can really see the staging, Cosmopolitan, November 1900 first then The Strand, December 1900, serialized as he wrote it, the end of the Cosmopolitan serialization, an elaborate suicide, a dream, Moon gold, a most extraordinary communication, alive in the Moon, is he hoaxing me here?, The War Of The World radio drama, how the spaceship disappears, the boy who disappears into space, Bedford In Infinite Space, at least 10 days, something weird about time, Einsteinian relativity, time works differently when you travel, criticism of this book, C.S. Lewis’ objections, one world government, new world order, a fascistic totalitarian society, lets look at this, other writers do their own version, a sign of a good book, taking the essence, other interpretations, audio drama as a soporific, two dreams, dreaming the ending of The First Men In The Moon, that’s exactly what happened!, my unconscious or semi-consciousness heard it, such a great ending, left for dead, did Bedford feel guilty for leaving Cavor on the Moon?, not the kind of person to have self-doubts, not very charitable, how it actually went, the best possible spin, this is just the way he is as a human, humans are terrible, his nature, Jesse’s secret, The War Of The Worlds, one of Juliane’s first SF books, the illustrations, reading it with the old serialized magazines, chapter endings, what a great end, did Wells have an influence on the illustrations, how adaptations will always take away the plants on the Moon, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, seeing dinosaurs with skin, a resultant mistake, dinosaurs in popular culture arent shown with feathers, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, a false picture of the reality, we’ll never be able to get passed this point, daylight savings time, were stuck unable to shift out of a system that doesn’t work, we’re stuck, were stuck with war, when Bedford is completely alone he loses his particular niche, if you zoom out, we’re nothing, what are we that we have to fight each other, we’re all stuck here with gravity, why those interludes are so important to the book.
Posted by Jesse Willis
This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (7 hours 50 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. The First Men In The Moon was first serialized in Cosmopolitan, November 1900 to April 1901.
The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1990, what was it about this book…, nothing much happens, utopia, utopian novels generally don’t exist, Brave New World, conflict, the only death in the book, if it was a literary novel, Ramona’s thighs, almost a perfect novel, “constructed”, softball, batting a thousand, light symbolism, Tom in Switzerland, so much to think about during the lazy days, a magical transformation, fascinatingly insightful, what human beings are trying to do all the time, “that’s the novel I wanted to read”, a tryptic, The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast, three Californias growing out of the 1980s, cyberpunk, Orange County, TSA, the water situation, Chinatown, machinations, evil corporations, KSR is a really smart guy, a genuine world, comparing to Heinlein’s bad guys, conflict (or lack thereof), why theater is fun, wrestling!, softball, his Mars books, baseball as a metaphor, small ball, a small ball utopia, the October of his own utopia, what are utopia, an almost meta-SF novel, Utopia by Sir Thomas More, “must redefine utopia … the process of making a better world … struggle forever”, 2065, a bigger theater, fewer baseball diamonds, starting from scratch won’t work, there’s a lot of work to be done, an underpopulated world, how we got there, emigration to Space, the understated Mars landing, the drought in California, climate change (global warming), Antarctica, Worldcon 2006, Anaheim, Luke Burrage’s review of The Gold Coast, he’s sophisticated, Shaman, the four shamanic elements: air/earth/fire/water, sooo well constructed, the mask party, great magic bullshit, not The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Prisoners Of Gravity, Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman, tackling a really substantial subject, an almost bullet-proof approach, the economy doesn’t work and the geology doesn’t work (in The Lord Of The Rings), the housing situation, Viking style or Haida style, its all fashion, the defining look of how any utopia can work, the economic model, socialism, Stephen Harper, [Kim Stanley Robinson] has thought of everything, the black banks, some sort of federal system?, the New Oregon Trail?, a local government utopia, it’s a certain kind of communism, Alfredo, labour taxation, another junction box, there’s still money but nobody is talking about it, the scene at the fire, the community is the fire department, no police, what do you do with criminals?, exile, Amish communities exist at the sufferance of the surrounding state, they’ve got Skype/Facetime, we have to not hate our brothers around the world, sister cities, delegations, Paul takes exception, Minneapolis, magnifying certain aspects (and shrinking others), the Greens have had there day, what’s going to happen, where’s the public library?, an ebb and flow, drag racing, Oscar’s interests, neighbors invading is the only possible hole, an ecological society, an ecology of local systems, by not competing in the way that some can compete you’re going to get crushed, if the utopia is unstable…, Kevin as the catalyst, small solutions, a feel good message, the Athenian polis approach to community, who started that fire?, the evil mustachio thing, if we asked KSR, he’s earned that, A Short Sharp Shock, the kerosene … who did it?, a happy death, let’s spend some time here, When Tam asked: “Does it get less boring?”, going back to work, how to deal with reality, moderation in all things including moderation, smoking, Kim Stanley Robinson is incredibly wise, a very wise book, relationship stigmas have been done away with, casual but not disposable, no ideology, take out the thing that you like, whatever system they seem to have…, the inevitable swinging of a pendulum, Arthur C. Clarke’s The City And The Stars (aka Against The Fall Of Night), frozen in time with a focus on art, Nineteen-Eighty Four and Brave New World are forever dystopias, “interpenetration”, a metal ceramic material, Oscar’s hike, going for walks, reality entering a body, we are a part of our environment, a religious moment, the mask party, as a motif word, every part of the community interacts, they live inside each others’ homes, a great scene of Alfredo and Kevin working shoulder to shoulder, Rattlesnake Hill is a symbol for Kevin, that’s no human nature, Jenny’s visits to former utopian society, the Shaker village in Kentucky, New Harmony, Indiana, we’re living in a utopia, how many times have you guys run for city council, campaigning is not fun, trying to convince people door to door is a horrible job, maybe its time, it IS what he’s saying, a bitter pill, KSR’s bio, Jesse’s mom, tons of meetings, we tried to go to a movie theater, the inertia of a city council is less, “turning the ship”, Jenny’s really good example, Greencastle, Indiana, no discrimination if you do business with the city, Our Angry Earth by Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov, get organized, maybe that sense of mobility is the problem, love the place you’re at, utopia is not a destination it’s an activity, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, staying where you were born, it goes both ways, Ted Cruz, subversive groups, Anonymous, different strategies, Last Week Tonight, Jon Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, dick pics, high-minded people are all sold, does this program have your dick pick?, you need a comedian, LIBERTY!, go with the dick pic.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
Jenny Beta+, Paul (caste unknown), f-minus, double plus, A-, Beta-, 1932, double plus good, a different dystopia, Orwell read Brave New World, the Aldous Huxley radio drama (CBS Radio Workshop), negative utopia, Nineteen-Eighty Four is hella-dystopia, Paul has read Brave New World five times, drugs and sex and happiness, conditioning, programming, society engineered, identifying with Bernard, Helmholtz, the Falkland Islands, Huxley’s introduction to the CBS Radio Dramatization, 200 years (not 600) in the future, why so obsessed with Henry Ford?, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei, Henry Ford as a political and intellectual force, efficiency, modernization, consumerism, pricing the model-t, absenteeism equals losses, Brave New World‘s society is about production efficiency, the 1998 TV movie, what society really is, no Helmholtz, Henry Foster, Lenina, Peter Gallagher, the 1980 TV movie, 1990s hipsters, the reservation, white trash zone, the outlands of Zardoz with mini-vans, The Children Of Men, Los Angeles, very few deviations in the 1980 TV movie, pushing the Shakespeare connection, whatever happened to Lenina?, a definite weakness, Mustapha Mond gave John Savage the conflict he really wanted, I want to be unhappy, the ultimate political act, the suicide solution, the little boy with the cotton balls in his ears, the hope for reform, the stability of the society, an interesting change, how unstable is the social structure, more soma, more conditioning, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven, hydrolic empires, John as a catalyst, society returns to normalcy, soma rations forever, freethinkers are sent to outlying islands, an Omni magazine story about dissident clones being killed again and again, Edge Of Tomorrow (2014), cloning novels, this is the cloning novel, “it’s clones all the way down”, the caste-system tells us this is a dystopia, seeing the world from the alpha point of view, betas vs. alphas, are betas autistic?, the 1998 adaptation, intelligent, high-producing, and efficient, mentored and disciples, sex-slaves and baby-makers, good tech, the Malthusian belt, helicopters, WWII, a proto-flying car, their Model-T, the sign of the T, “switching on the synthetic music”, the visual medium, the character names, Bernard Marx probably isn’t named after Groucho Marx, Bernard is pathetic by the end, George Bernard Shaw, Lenin -> Lenina, Darwin Bonaparte, Mustafa Mond <- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, so much Shakespeare, the audiobook is a weird experience, an infantilized world, I drink to the greater being, the plot, the scent organ, the feelies, the perfume tap fauceting cologne all day, drinking fountains full of Shasta, a constantly refilled mini-bar, the economy in Brave New World, overturning the soma tables, want what you can have, deltas, epsilons, the purple eyes, Amazon Prime for soma tablets, drone delivery, Lenina’s obsession, chastity means neurasthenia, plenty of pleasant vices, “engaging”, oiling the machine, a male fantasy utopia, women never say no, “promiscuity is a citizen’s duty”, no females above beta (in the book), yellow from lupus, social hierarchy, male dominance, John the Savage is sexist too, a product of Huxley’s time, a flash of semi-nudity, why the book gets banned -> children engaging in erotic play, the downfall of TV movie versions, how the world is, books old ideas and marriage are pornographic, “motherfather!”, “fight!”, “hate!”, everyone comes from a bottle, mother as a dirty word, outed as a father, a shameful thing, Miguel Ferrer was re-engineered as a delta, a Machiavellian character turned into a smiling idiot, Linda’s story, the reaction to her appearance, the Death Center, ice-cream when someone dies, such strong pathos, death brings us phosphorus, the 1998 Linda, Tommykins, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, the first test-tube baby, birth control, freemartins, a sterilization bonus, Brave New World Revisited (is non-fiction), Walden Two by B.F. Skinner, an expanding horrible utopia, growing up in the soviet union what would we think of Brave New World?, power and control, I love Big Brother, rewind ten years, people are drugging themselves up with drugs TV and the internet, a spy-biography, why don’t they care more about the outlying society, communism, when everyone shares the vision, a step to becoming Mustapha Mond, 1984-ish, assimilation has a cost, the island of all alphas, engineered to be in that place, the temptation of the reader is subversive, are we doing this stuff?, I wanna be more like Helmholtz, Marx gets co-opted by Mond, the shit-disturbers become the leaders in This Perfect Day, you have to see it to believe it, look we’re in the future!, a sick enjoyment, no sense that this world can be destroyed, the benefit of social instability, why Shakespeare is still relevant, we have the analogues for kings and merchant princes, the feelies, a cross-between pornography and reality television, Idiocracy (2006), Three Weeks In A Helicopter, farts, one human need, surrogate pregnancy, violent passion surrogate, The Prisoner‘s secret club within a club, more surreal than it is about something, spies be weird, suddenly in dreamland with giant breasts chasing you down the beach, the world is still for men, we’ve done We and Nineteen Eighty Four…
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1970, swearing, watch your “fighting language”, think about things before treatments, like Brave New World‘s soma, the incurables vs. the savages, a stratified society vs. a flattened society, sex once a week, Marxmas and Christmas, the computer shapes little boy Li, the computer trains the society, controlling by giving a semblance of control, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, no friction, top-speed, Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, Bob Wood, Li Wei, Vulcan philosophers, a cross and a sickle instead of a hammer and a sickle, not exactly a Communist utopia/dystopia, a communist takeover of the entire planet, movies and TV shows about Marx every year, no spirituality, Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, did the good guy win in the end?, the rape scene, Rosemary’s baby-daddy is Satan, what will happen after Chip blows everything up?, when Wei is eating, the focus on the food, the high programmers, the turn/plot twist, the gold toilet fixtures, silk clothing, fuck is a nice word, you’re not free, free of aggression, how will they feed everyone, the YouTube video, The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth, the Prometheus Award, books that examine the meaning of freedom, Ayn Rand, four ideologies combined, what they took from Christ, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, Wei addressing the chemotherapists, who is Wood?
Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei,
Led us to this perfect day.
Marx, Wood, Wei and Christ,
All but Wei were sacrificed.
Wood, Wei, Christ and Marx,
Gave us lovely schools and parks.
Wei, Christ, Marx and Wood,
Made us humble, made us good.
body part swapping, improvements in the society, the last injection you get is fatal, you become a net loss to society after a certain point, baby boomers getting older, the diseases of aging, the totalcakes and cokes for lunch, Jenny is baking total cakes for Marxmas!, Li’s spilling a coke on a leaf, eureka!, how he got the idea to avoid treatment, there is no Pepsi, there’s no Dr Pepper, the symbol of a leaf in the shape of a man, Jenny always ignores metaphors, was the grandfather in a secret society?, you don’t forget, ecstasy , athletes and drugs, the influence machine, television as a drug, revisionist history, there’s no NEWS, it’s very North Korea, how did you claim the ticket?, a book about mental illness, replace sickness with sin and the entire novel is about religion, self-reporting, “No, thank uni.”, “they’re all snitches”, the f-word is fight, “everybody loves fucking”, hate is a bad word, objectivism is exactly selfish, selfishness and fear, it’s their Galt’s Gulch, the whole smoking thing, the perks of the programmer class, the fantasy of libertarianism, “you the unrecognized superman”, a dystopia, we’ve got our magic super-power stuff, Atlas Shrugged, reardon metal, people are aliens, men trying to control women bodies, two ambiguously dystopic societies, a powerful book with a lot to think about, more Animal Farm than Nineteen Eighty-Four, We, Brave New World has a boring, stupid and depressing plot (so let’s do a podcast on it!), a neglected novel, Planet Of The Apes, Logan’s Run, Paranoia (the Role Playing Game), THX-1138, The Call Of Cthulhu RPG, the new Paranoia Kickstarter, the book for the blind audiobook, rape in quotation marks, The Matrix, Soylent Green, Gattaca, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Equilibrium, “live in that horrible world”, the women’s names: Anna, Mary, Peace and Yin, if you were living in this world which society would you want to live in or would you overthrow it?, keep getting mad, keep being proactive, aren’t we done talking about it yet?, King’s suicide, your old gray head, the secret sleeper spies, a mental asylum run by the patients, Cuban refugees fleeing Castro, this book is about our world, any ideology you have ought to be thrown to the dirt, the schizophrenia TV focus, Facebook becomes our island, dumping buckets of ice, Ferguson, New York, this book feels alien, the goal of communism, wouldn’t it be interesting if we all were actually equal, father knows best, blowing up airports seems crazy, a hard one, people only want you to think for yourself when it doesn’t effect them, Pierre Boulle.
Posted by Jesse Willis