Reading, Short And Deep #017
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Wolf by Guy de Maupassant
The Wolf was first published in French in 1889.
Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.
Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss
Posted by Scott D. Danielson
Here’s an Octobery treat for you, The Homecoming by Ray Bradbury as read by Scott Lefebvre.
Timothy feels like an outsider at his family reunion – he just doesn’t fit in; he doesn’t drink blood, he can’t fly, and isn’t immortal – not the rest of the family, which is made up of witches, vampires and werewolves.
Here’s Lawrence’s stunning illustration of The Homecoming from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1952:
“Homecoming”, as it was first titled, was first published in Mademoiselle, October 1946, and was “plucked from the pile of unsolicited manuscripts” by Mademoiselle’s editorial assistant, Truman Capote. This came, apparently, after its rejection by Weird Tales – a market where Bradbury had often earlier seen print. Mainstream publication lead to mainstream awards, and to more mainstream publications. But, it also showed up, as did so many of Bradbury’s works as reprints in genre magazines, like Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and in more recent years even as picture book version, with illustrations by Dave Mckean.
Posted by Jesse Willis
My friend Mr Jim Moon has been podcasting marvelous stories and essays from the “great library of dreams” for five years. But he’s just now started a Patreon campaign! And I’ve just signed up to support his great endeavor.
If you’ve not heard his show, Hypnogoria, you’ve been missing out.
Mr Jim Moon is to the weird and the wonderful what Dan Carlin is to history and politics.
There has never been anything like Hypnogoria before, and podcasting is the only medium in which it could exist.
Hypnogoria is the most thoroughly researched and thoroughly executed oral history of the “weird and the wonderful” you’ll ever hear.
Here are just some subjects that Mr Jim Moon has done episodes about:
the history of werewolfery
the history of Hammer and Amicus films
the life and films of Sir Christopher Lee
the life and films of Peter Cushing
the life and books of Sir Terry Pratchett
the stories of H.P. Lovecraft
the ghost stories of M.R. James
the history of Batman
the stories of Clark Ashton Smith
the stories of G.K. Chesterton
the history of Halloween
the history of zombie movies
the stories of William Hope Hodgson
the life and books of Richard Matheson
the stories of E.F. Benson
the life and films of Ray Harryhausen
the origin of Alien
the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
the stories of H.G. Wells
the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe
the history of found footage films
the life and films of Vincent Price
the stories of Guy de Maupassant
and those are just the shows I remember!
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #293 – Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu; read by Elizabeth Klett (for LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (3 hours 7 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Elizabeth Klett.
Talked about on today’s show:
1871, 1872, Elizabeth’s first solo for LibriVox, a per-adolescent kid, Dracula, a novella and not a novel, Dracula is obsessed with its own structure, dictaphone, the manner of the telling, The Dark Blue magazine, the framing device, the Dr. Martin Hesselius framing device, wee have the papers to prove it, not with that ending, so chilling, eight years after the major events, three hundred, Duke Charles, CBS Radio Mystery Theater adaptation, the setting, the nearest inhabited village is twenty leagues away, the ruins of Karnstein, white lilies, swans, perch, in the moat, the story within the story, Spielsdorf’s letter, Millarca and her “mother”, fete, a masked ball, a vampire scam, a glamour on the father, pulling Laura’s father aside, is she glamouring him?, so lonely, giving in to her whim, why don’t the vampires not immediately suck some folk dry?, preying on the village girls, Varney The Vampire, the name as an anagram, the blue mark, the lonely vampire, “you’re going to die into me”, “I live into your warm life and you’ll die sweetly into mine”, Laura has been stalked since she was six, enchanted by the pretty lady, needles, “just a blue spot”, the father and the doctor are shielding Laura, shielding Mina from the truth ends up hurting her, the female characters in both stories are more capable than the male characters give them credit for, religion, the crucifix doesn’t figure into Carmilla, the complicated layering of imagery, Carmilla’s escape from the castle, enclosure, Carmilla can transcend enclosures, transcendent confinement, an extra-transmissive female, the Mountebank peddlar, the little dog, amulets for protection against the oumpire, a very sharp tooth like a fish, a transaction through a window, a liminal space, invading the domestic space, well educated in trickery and juggling, the mountebank half-recognizes Carmillas as a vampire, a clever recipe, Harker’s shaving mirror, Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson, Carmilla thinks of herself as a product of nature, “all things proceed from nature”, girls as caterpillars while they live in the world, relying on God to take care of us is naive, a post Darwinian perspective, Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker, Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss, Nosferatu was nearly destroyed by copyright claims, the invasion of the home, Eric Rabkin, vampires are for aristocrats whereas werewolves are for peasants, The Odyssey as a series of stories about the host-guest relationship, Carmilla’s only virtue is that she’s pretty, Bertha, the striking image of Carmilla crawling onto Bertha’s bed, a phallic sword, there’s no hiding the fact that this is all sex sex sex, The Vampire Lovers, Hammer Horror with nudity, the British Board of Film Censors, “this is literature”, The Killing Of Sister George, Richard LeStrange from Cork, adaptations of Carmilla, the servants, a quick snack on the peasants, bathing in seven inches of blood, Elizabeth Bartolde, floating of coffins in blood, entirely shielded from ghost stories and fairy tales, languorous and dream-like, languorous and languid, a code word for sensual, sated, façade, interest in beauty, metamorphosis, your chrysalis is your coffin, how vampires leave their graves, revenants, Karnstein = fleshstone, out of folklore and into proto-science fiction, turning Laura into a vampire, one of the great questions in Carmilla – who is her mother? who is the man in black, the cuckoo nest scenario, who are these people?, the “broken” carriage charade, the cuckoo in the nest, pushing the other chicks out of the nest, a wonderful horrible story, Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks, a lot of Laura victims, lesbianism and incest, corruption beneath the veil of respectability, why the mother is missing, the doom to come, Morella by Edgar Allan Poe, Ligeia, Berenice, all up in the creepy, all possessing consumption, waiting for the fruit to be ripe, Blood And Roses, the petals of the rose, is it like a venereal disease?, M.R. James, the lens of distance,
“Magia Posthuma,” “Phlegon de Mirabilibus,” “Augustinus de cura pro Mortuis,” “Philosophicae et Christianae Cogitationes de Vampiris,” by John Christofer Herenberg; and a thousand others
the rules for vampires, Count Alucard, the writing itself, vic-fic, the clarity and economy of Le Fanu’s prose, clear but evocative, he doesn’t over-egg the pudding.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Macrieve (Immortals After Dark #13)
By Kresley Cole; Narrated by Robert Petkoff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: July 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 13 hours, 51 minutes
Themes: / fantasy / werewolves / romance /
Uilleam MacRieve, a centuries-old Lykae warrior, was captured, caged, and experimented on by a shadowy human order, along with other immortals. During a prison break that devolved into one of the bloodiest massacres in recent history, he escapes. But the aftermath of his unspeakable torture preys on his damaged mind, while the wolf inside him roars for vengeance and carnage. In the days leading up to the full moon, can MacRieve rein in his beast, even when he encounters his mate – a vexingly impossible female unlike anything he’d ever dreamed for himself?
MacRieve is quite a bit different than the other Immortals After Dark series. Uilleam MacRieve is a Lykae, a werewolf with a twin brother, Munroe. He finds his eternal Mate in the form of Chloe Todd, daughter of Preston Webb. Webb is the Commander of the Order, a group of humans striving to contain and study those creatures know as the Lore. It doesn’t feel as essential to the overarching story as the other books, but if you enjoy the series, it was an OK entry, although Chloe is pretty great.
What makes this different from the other books in the series is a focus on sexual violence and abuse. Uilleam was raped repeatedly by a Succubus for years, and the book actually starts during one of these later sexual encounters. The Succubus had claimed to be his Mate, and started molesting him when he was nine, grooming the child so that he didn’t recognize it as abuse. His mother found out and went to confront her, only to be slain by one of the Succubus’ other lover, a Vampire. His father soon followed, leaving Uilleam and Munroe alone.
Chloe is an Olympic-level soccer player, focused on her career path. Her father is busy as a military consultant but supportive until she begins to notice some changes in her body, like super-hearing and sensitivity to touch. He abandons her with only a book on the Lore as a clue to the changes she’s experiencing. Chloe is captured by a group of Witches and auctioned off to the highest bidder. Most of the Lore shows up, eager to use and abuse her as a lure for her father, whom she discovers is not the retired consultant she thought, but the mastermind behind the Order.
Rape is brought up repeatedly to Chloe, as everyone points out that the Pravus army would gang-rape her as revenge for her father’s crusade against the Lore. She discovers she’s half-Succubus after a sexual encounter with Uilleam, and he repeatedly verbally abuses her about her sexual hunger. Uilleam struggles with the scars of his childhood abuse, but the Beast inside him loves Chloe. He even vomits after the first time they have sex, as it dredges up memories of the Succubus who raped him. Overall, this book tackles child abuse, rape, and emotional abuse more than the other books, but it can be pretty uncomfortable to have those episodes interspersed with some rather complicated sexual scenes. Cole does address childhood sexual abuse with an understanding hand, however, so if you can handle it, the book can be rewarding. Chloe is one of her best female characters, strong and brave with amazing attitude. She might be worth wading through the unsavory parts, even if there is a heavy dose of “I’m not like those dumb girly-girls” in both her thoughts and how she’s described.
The narrator does an amazing job, slipping between a neutral and Scottish accents for the werewolves. His voice goes up slightly for Chloe, but otherwise he has a warm, enthusiastic tone throughout.
Posted by Sarah R.
By Ilona Andrews; Narrated by Renee Raudman
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: March 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 8 hours
Themes: / urban fantasy / Texas / magic / bed and breakfast / werewolves / vampires /
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast.
But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina. And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….
Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
Clean Sweep is an urban fantasy-type book with some interesting twists. Unfortunately, the narrator of the audiobook had a voice that didn’t fit the character and was so out of place that it made the book very difficult to listen to.
Dina is an innkeeper, a woman who runs a B&B in Texas. Her inn has magical properties and she has magical capabilities, her role being that of a neutral protector in a version of Earth/USA that includes normal humans but also has vampires, werewolves, and other magical beasts. The main thrust of the story is that Dina’s inn becomes the site for a showdown between two sides in a big family disagreement, though the book was more than halfway through before any of this became evident. The first half (or slightly more) of the book was world building and character introduction more than it was purely essential to the plot.
In Clean Sweep, Ilona Andrews has some interesting ideas about magic. I think I might be persuaded to read another book set in this world/series, assuming it was quicker to get to the point/didn’t do as much world-building, and assuming that I read it, not listened to it (or that the narrator was someone else). In Ms. Andrews’ world, the magical entities are by and large aliens from other worlds who find themselves on earth for a variety of reasons. What appears to be magic to “normal” people is actually uber nanotechnology or other futuristic technologies at work from alien worlds. There are many aggressive entities, such as the werewolves and vampires, but there are also places like the Inns, the Switzerland’s of the magical world. Innkeepers are to take no sides and to protect whoever signs the contract and pays to be a guest at the inn.
All of this goes awry when some creatures known as stalkers start killing dogs in the town where Dina’s inn is. At first, she believes that a local werewolf named Sean is to blame, but after killing two (with the help of Sean) and studying them, she comes to find out that these creatures may have been hired by vampires as part of a massive (and deadly) family feud. The world-building is mainly done by Dina explaining how the “magic” came to be to Sean, who knows nothing of the history of his species’ home planet or how his species came to earth. Through these explanations and through Dina’s preparations to help protect the vampires who are staying at the inn, the reader learns about other worlds, wormholes, and the true source of “magic.”
The book also has a side plot that was touched briefly upon, a story of Dina’s parents’ inn vanishing one day. Dina does a bit through the course of the narrative to try to find them, but it seems fairly obvious that it’s a side thread to be explored in later books/as a series arc. While most of the book is purely urban fantasy, there are also some hot and steamy scenes that are typically found in romance novels. Many urban fantasy books these days seem to have these scenes, whether they add to the story or not (in this case, not). There is also a possible threat, the local police officer thinking Dina is up to no good, but that thread is unceremoniously dropped just before the main thread of the story picks up, about halfway through. It’s not clear if this topic will be revisited in later books or if it was just an editing miss.
Clean Sweep is a fairly typical, action-packed urban fantasy story. There aren’t any deeper themes or morals to be had from it, though the idea of magic as uber technology is kind of fun. The book, once the actual plot started, was pretty quick to go through and fairly simple/straight-forward. This isn’t a book that’s going to make you think, or require lots of focused reading time to enjoy.
The only major negative is with the audiobook specifically. Dina is supposed to be a 23 year old woman living in Texas. Unfortunately, she sounds like an old grandmother from the deep south. The voice and the description of the character just don’t align. The narrator’s voices for the men were surprisingly good, but her overall voice just sounded old and tired. In parts where there was a lot of action, she actually sounded even worse, over dramatizing her voice acting. I actually thought she was going to die a few times. It was downright uncomfortable and annoying to listen to, and I cannot recommend the audiobook. If another book in this series is released, I may give it a go in print/Kindle, but won’t be listening again unless the narrator changes.
Posted by terpkristin.