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

July 22, 2013 by · 1 Comment
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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

Time And Time Again by H. Beam Piper

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Time And Time Again by H. Beam Piper - illustrated by Vincent Napoli

Time and Time Again was H. Beam Piper’s first published story. It first appeared in the April 1947 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Time and Time Again features many of the themes of Piper’s later writing, including time travel, evidence of his electric reading habits, and a love of firearms.

Set in part during both WWII and WWIII Time and Time Again features time travel of the type made famous in both Back To The Future and Quantum Leap.

LibriVoxTime And Time Again
By H. Beam Piper; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 09, 2010
To upset the stable, mighty stream of time would probably take an enormous concentration of energy. And it’s not to be expected that a man would get a second chance at life. But an atomic might accomplish both— First published in Astounding, April 1947.

For some reason the ending to the X-Minus One version has been changed – to it’s determent in my view.

X-Minus OneX-Minus One – Time And Time Again
Adapted from the story by H. Beam Piper; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: January 11, 1956
A soldier is wounded in a future war and is transported back to 1945 when he was thirteen years-old with his future memory and past memory intact.

Here’s a |PDF| made from its appearance in Astounding.

Time And Time Again by H. Beam Piper - illustrated by Vincent Napoli
Time And Time Again by H. Beam Piper - illustrated by Vincent Napoli

One other interesting bit from the original story is the mention of a B-25 bomber crash into the Empire State Building, here’s a contemporary newsreel about that:

Posted by Jesse Willis

I, Mars by Ray Bradbury

June 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Barton’s younger selves lived on, tormenting him for his living proof that their hopes were dead!

I, Mars by Ray Bradbury
I, Mars by Ray Bradbury - illustration by Hannes Bok
First published in Super Science Stories, April 1949, here’s Jim Moon’s 26 minute unabridged reading of I, Mars by Ray Bradbury. I first encountered this story under it’s alternative title, Night Call, Collect.

|MP3|
|PDF| made from its publication in Super Science Stories.

[Thanks to WonderEbooks!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton

March 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Produced for SFFaudio Challenge #6, The City At World’s End is terrific audiobook. Part of that’s because Mark Nelson’s narration is super-listenable and the other part is because the novel itself is very keen Science Fiction.

If you’re a Superman fan the plot may remind you of a particular issue of Action Comics (#300) – that’s the one in which Superman travels to the distant future of Earth only discover it emptied of life and with a giant red Sun in its sky. Indeed, the similarities between the two tales would be very eerie were it not for the fact that both were written by Edmond Hamilton!

I’m halfway through The City At World’s End and am really enjoying it. The prejudices, assumptions, and attitudes of the townsfolk are all vintage 1950, but the idea quotient is very high. Hamilton has thought through a lot of the problems he makes his characters face. If you’re familiar with Robert A. Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold, in which a family is transported into Earth’s future, you’ll find The City At World’s End to be a kind of macroscopic version of that – and both novels start with a really big, and highly unnatural, bang.

Or, if you’re looking more contemporaneously, you could think of The City At World’s End as a kind of highly inverse version of Terra Nova (because they go forward in time not back, and what was bad on TV is actually good in the audiobook). I highly recommend you give The City At World’s End a listen!

Galaxy Novel - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

The City At World’s End
By Edmond Hamilton; Read by Mark Nelson
21 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 20, 2012
The pleasant little American city of Middletown is the first target in an atomic war – but instead of blowing Middletown to smithereens, the super-hydrogen bomb blows it right off the map – to somewhere else! First there is the new thin coldness of the air, the blazing corona and dullness of the sun, the visibility of the stars in high daylight. Then comes the inhabitant’s terrifying discovery that Middletown is a twentieth-century oasis of paved streets and houses in a desolate brown world without trees, without water, apparently without life, in the unimaginably far-distant future.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/6121

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s the |PDF|.

And for people like me I’ve also made a single giant 7 hour |MP3| version – which you can download from our server. It’ll be especially useful for iPod users as it has art, is tagged “Audiobook”, and is also checked with “remember playback position.” Even better it has been volume adjusted. Let me know if you like it!

Cover and illustrations from the appearance of The City At World’s End in Startling Stories, July 1950:

Startling Stories, July1950 COVER - The City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Startling Stories, July 1950 Table Of Contents (includes The City At World's End)

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 11

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

More covers:

Fells - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Fawcett - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

CREST - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Ballantine - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

And one more image, from the cover of Urania:

Urania #386

[Thanks also to DaveC, Barry Eads, and Gerard Arthus]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Defenders by Philip K. Dick

October 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Italian cover mirroring The Defenders

Did you know that Philip K. Dick’s fifth published story, The Defenders, is public domain? It is!

Like many of Dick’s tales The Defenders this is a post-atomic war story. The planet’s surface devastated, flushed with radioactivity, and has been abandoned. The population now lives in vast underground cities. In their place intelligent robots fight in their place.

I’ve put together a |PDF| from the original publication in Galaxy Science Fiction, which includes terrific illustrations by Ed Emshwiller. And there’s a complete ETEXT version available through Project Gutenberg. And LibriVox has the audiobook edition. Enjoy!

LibriVox - The Defenders by Philip K. DickThe Defenders
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
No weapon has ever been frightful enough to put a stop to war—perhaps because we never before had any that thought for themselves! From Galaxy Science Fiction January 1953.

And here’s the radio drama adaptation:

X-Minus OneX Minus One – The Defenders
Based on the story by Philip K. Dick; Adapted by George Lefferts; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: May 22, 1956
Provider: Internet Archive
East and West make war above ground with robots while both sides live underground … or do they?

Cast:
Lydia Bruce
Warren Parker
Grant Richards
Mike Ingram
Stan Early

Galaxy January 1953 - The Defenders by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Ed Emshwiller565

The Defenders by Philip K. Dick illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

The Defenders by Philip K. Dick illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

The Defenders by Philip K. Dick illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Here’s the X Minus One adaptation that I’ve put together with the original art from its publication in the Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1953 issue:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Escape From New York AUDIO DRAMA

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

WARNING: This review is a bit of an aberration, it’s a bit more gonzo. It was written this way out of necessity and it is thus perhaps only suitable for those who… ‘heard he was dead.’

BrokenSea Audio Productions - Escape From New York - FAN AUDIO DRAMAEscape From New York
Based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Nick Castle; Adapted by Bill Hollweg; Performed by a full cast
5 MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 15 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: BrokenSea Audio Productions
Podcast: April 2009 – March 2010
Themes: / Crime / Dystopia / Science Fiction / Alternate History / WWIII / Prison / Horror / New York /

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3| Part 5 |MP3|

In the year 1988 the crime rate in the United States rises 400%. The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem river, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. The prison’s name: New York Maximum Security Penitentiary, Manhattan Island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners, and the worlds they have made. The year now… 1997.

In the opening crawl (detailed above) we are given a world rife with Science Fiction glory. Escape From New York has a premise full of promise. It is a story pregnant with possibilities – nearly all of which are fulfilled. Escape From New York, my friends, is both a powerful satire of our times and a powerful cinematic experience movie. Now, thanks to the creative love and attention by fans at BrokenSea Audio Productions it is a wondrous audio drama made by fans for fans.

Now hang with me on this. I hope I don’t end up seeming like a crazed french film critic, arguing for the superiority of the second Star Wars trilogy (The Phantom Menace et. al) over the original Star Wars and Empire. Take that first statistic: “the crime rate in the United States rises 400%” – how would that be possible? It certainly wouldn’t match any conventional trend or shift in population growth. Might it then be categorized under some sort of Freakonomics-style explanation? Maybe. But, I think we could argue, quite convincingly, that the only way to increase the crime rate 400% overnight would be to make a whole lot more human behaviors crimes. Disrespecting authority, sharing files with friends, or as the trailer for Escape From L.A. puts it “No talking, no smoking, no littering, no red meat, no freedom of religion. And remember all marriages must be approved by the Department of Health.” So, the world of Escape From New York is really fun. But a world is not enough. You need a plot and a set of characters. As to the latter…

The anti-hero takes many forms but I have a special fondness for Snake Plisken. As in an IMDB grendelkhan says:

“Snake Plissken is the classic anti-hero, ala Clint Eastwood’s Man-with-no-name. Plissken is an ex-soldier turned criminal, recruited/blackmailed into rescuing a hostage president from the prison of New York City. Plissken is a walking ball of anger and a survival machine.”

Indeed, a survival machine who’s been betrayed, lied to shat on by his own government – and he’s got a cool eye-patch, a reverse tramp stamp of a cobra, and a gravelly voice. He is a great character.

“But what of his motivation?” You ask.

Read on…

Plisken, call him Snake, lives in a parallel universe – a USA run like a fun-house-lensed double craptoberfest of moral hypocrisy. If you’ve seen the movie Escape From New York, you’re seeing the 1980 zeitgeist of Manhattan as the epitome of ghettoic urban decay. This fear, that your neighbors are out to get you, the horror that politicians so often rely upon, works great in movies (and in the opening credits to The Equalizer). But this isn’t only a horror story. The prison genre is one of my favorites (check out Animal Factory). Like westerns, these genre stories have a certain set of conventions or constraints that make a story told within those constraints far more satisfying. But neither is Escape From New York just a prison story. For it
is also a quest story, a revenge story, an all out action adventure. There are MacGuffins galore for Plisken to chase after: First up is a world peace conference that is about to end in disaster lest a certain audio cassette is retrieved, then there’s a kidnapped President Of The United States to be rescued, and of course there’s a jet glider (don’t think too hard about that one) as their only escape, but to top it all off there’s a pair of ticking time-bombs in Snake’s body! That’s not just motivation, that’s entertainment folks!

Snake, now motivated, has enough-knock-down-drag-out adventures in the course of just less than 24 hours, so as to numb any thoughy you had about suspending any disbelief. Or as Samuel Taylor Coleridge argued: “[if a writer could infuse a] human interest and a semblance of truth [into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative].” If you look at it another way this is the original 24, but with a hard-assed biker veteran saving the USA instead of a Kiefer Sutherland. In the course of just over 2 hours Bill Hollweg and the folks at BSAP have created a faithful and loving tribute to one of 1981’s best movies.

Speaking of 1981, I look forward to hearing BSAP adapt Clash Of The Titans (1981), Excalibur (1981) and Body Heat (1981). They’re already working on a Mad Max II (1981)-inspired series.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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