The SFFaudio Podcast #230 – The Red Room by H.G. Wells, read by Simon Vance. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Luke Burrage, Bryan Alexander, and Simon Vance.
The Red Room (aka The Ghost Of Fear) was first published in The Idler, March 1896.
Talked about on today’s show:
Are there any supernatural elements in The Red Room?, what is the genre of this story?, Gothic Fiction, a deconstruction of the gothic, the ultimate psychological horror story, the apparatus of gothic horror, a psychoanalysis of horror, what we do to ourselves, we scare ourselves, the scary clothes horse, “as long as this house of sin endures”, what happened to the candles, Luke’s theory, what is the sin?, the old people, bad candles?, trick candles?, a Scooby Doo interpretation of the story?, coincidence, how reliable is the narrator?, the origins of the horror are in a fake scare, the changing description of the men, distorted and crouching, the man with the shade, shadow?, ghost?, a blue phial, a green shade, a story of generational transfer, the rising generation of science, the significance of the narrator’s age (28 years), what’s up with the gun?, an impossible sturdiness, the unknowableness of your own mind, the final word – or is it?, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, Eric S. Rabkin, an evil relationship, Ganymede with an eagle (Zeus), cup-bearer is a euphemism, does the Chinaman statuary represent the Yellow Peril?, clothing fashioned in dead brains, the generational interpretation, the grotesque, why not three norns?, the three disabilities, a tremendous tremor, 150% spillage, a mocking shadow, a pro-science story, fire = knowledge, the light of science, the return of ignorance with the return of darkness, why is the narrator there?, is this a Hound Of The Baskervilles situation, the previous tenant, the glass before the fire, the three mirrors, Mise en abyme, “your own choosing”, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, what side in the public debate of new spiritualism, it felt modern to Luke, The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe, Dracula is a contemporary of The Red Room, the subterranean passage, Eric is a big Freudian, a meticulous forensic analytic description, this isn’t Mulder this is Scully, Simon Vance has voiced Dracula twice, Fangland (a modern 60 Minutes style retelling of Dracula), updates to Dracula, The Dracula Tapes, The Stone Tape (1972), byte by byte, Nigel Kneale, The Quatermass Experiment, Lorraine Castle, generic European castle, skeptics haunted by a ghost that isn’t a ghost, a modern Gothic horror story, is it the carbon monoxide coming off the fungus?, the stone as a medium, solid state recording, a scientific explanation, a Lovecraftian pre-human recording, it may not be need to be remade, Quentin Tarantino remakes bad movies as a good movies, haunted digital media, Alien, MOTHER is basically HAL, Demon Seed, the anti-Japaneses bias as a more modern Yellow Peril, the medium of the tale, the staircase, “it’s not there’s nothing there”, the good-time gal, the wrong interpretation, The Crawling Chaos by H.P. Lovecraft and Winifred V. Jackson, becoming lost in your own head, he brought the ghost into the room, spirits as ghosts, why is it a red room?, red in the flames, it’s like the grate is a prison, a slick tunnel to the red room, a womb like room, a beige room, Ash spurting sperm everywhere, a haunted castle in space, Alien as the opposite of Star Wars, the science hero angle, gothic explique, teasing out a Gothic reading, in medias res, Freudian spaces, on this night of all nights, its like their casting a spell, is he a journalist?, Simon thinks the narrator is the new owner, Christopher Priest, The Prestige, why Christopher Priest is not as popular as he should be, his head and his lips are bloody, a bashed face, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, is the story open, Luke is skeptical about the openness and the double blooding, belying the begrudgement, the curious escape,”H.G. Wells is a genius writer”, The War Of The Worlds from the alien perspective, Little Wars, “a heavy blow at last upon my forehead”, an almost 2nd person POV shift, “global warming is a fake”, the haunted man not the haunted room, Gene Wolfe, gothic markers, Henry James, Boon, the judgements of history, Wells’ agenda, The Time Machine, The Chronic Argonauts, horrific jellyfish and rabbits, nameless characters, minimal information, the Wells-Wolfe connection, The Shadow Of The Torturer, the always unreliable narrator, Understanding Comics by Scott Mccloud, Hello Kitty, part of the appeal of the Twilight books is in how badly drawn Bella is, inviting blankness, Things To Come.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Here’s a hidden gem, a terrific adaptation of a sociological Science Fiction short story by the great Jack Vance! Plus it has materials science!
Dimension X – The Potters Of Firsk
Adapted from the short story by Jack Vance; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcast: July 28, 1950
The native population of Firsk produce pots of every colour under the sun, save one. First published in the May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.
Also check out this beautiful character study by Thomas Perkins:
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
Aliens, first contact, alien aliens, Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evil genius inventor, a society in a bottle, how do we figure out which information is true, L.J. Ganser, “Fyunch(click)”, space empire, the Horse-Head Nebula, the depth of the alien alienness, who has free will in The Mote In God’s Eye?, “there was little of free will in an engineer”, “humans have free will – we know that”, Ron Paul has gone Crazy Eddie, Outies, The Gripping Hand, Renner is an independent minded contrarian, the CoDominium Series, “an American eagle holding the hammer and sickle”, MacArthur and Lenin, brownies, espionage, Sally never questioned her Fyunch(click), the characters are peripheral to the novel’s power, Niven and Pournelle arguing with each other, perfunctory romance, The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Treehouse of Horror VII, god games, Populous, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Master Of Orion, Science Fiction is not really about the future it’s about the present (except for Niven/Pournelle books), Protector by Larry Niven (in which humans are infantilized aliens), “only bad girls take birth control”, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God’s Eye is a yellow peril story!, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, gunboat diplomacy, “China has fake Apple stores”, the exotic East, “I asked myself … would that be so bad?”, “they’re not evil, they’re just our enemies”, Declare by Tim Powers, Soviet goals, “every place should be communist”, Russia vs. The USA, an unsustainable quarantine, this book is really about “the pill”, overpopulation, Malthus, Moties are people too (at least most of them are), a non-ideological clash of species, what “sentient” means, Eric S. Rabkin, do they have souls?, is it “scientifically proven” that an untrained kitten can never hunt?, “I don’t eat monkeys”, “nuclear war is the continuation of evolution by other means”, the long pig, is there an unused Chekov’s Gun in this book?, ozone smells good, imitations and perma-smiles, anti-yellow peril blinders, John W. Campbell, “give me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man”, “if only the humans wee more human.”
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #126 – a complete and unabridged reading of The Statement Of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Wayne June (from the Audio Realms collection The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft – Volume 3), followed by a discussion of the story. Participants include Jesse, Scott, Tamahome, Jenny Colvin (of the Reading Envy blog) and Mr. Jim Moon (of Hypnogoria.com).
Talked about on today’s show:
H.P. Lovecraft never played soccer?, Mr. Wayne June is the voice of Lovecraft, Michael Clarke Duncan has a swarthy voice, Pat Bottino’s voice might work for Lovecraft, Tama was a Lovecraft virgin until The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Statement Of Randolph Carter is a good place to start with Lovecraft, forbidden writings, nameless things with many adjectives, Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart, a radical thesis: Harley Warren is a mean practical joker, Jesse renders the story meaningless, The Turn Of The Screw, Big Cypress Swamp, Florida, Imprisoned With The Pharaohs, alligator-men, secret places and cultists, legion (many – demons – The New Testament), The Lovecraft Vocabulary Challenge, necrophagous niter, The Cask Of Amontillado, did Randolph Carter cover up that tomb?, using The Statement Of Randolph Carter for vocabulary expansion, “hoary”, adding horror, The Silver Key, Randolph Carter is an occult thrill seeker, “we’re one lid away from total doom”, I don’t find books of forgotten lore in used bookstores, Harry Houdini’s book on the occult had an introduction written by Lovecraft!, Lovecraft’s letters, the Call Of Cthulhu RPG works differently than other RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons, From Beyond, Re-Animator, Herbert West Re-animator, it’s such a cute little horror, showing Lovecraft on screen may be best done humorously, dripping oozing ichor, China Miéville, piling on the connotations, bringing home the horror, “it was an eldritch night and I was feeling squamous”, night terrors, Tama had a nightmare that DC was going to relaunch all their comics, “Warren is calling”, what does a gelatinous voice sound like? it’s a rip-of from Poe, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, hypnotism, Warren’s theory about why certain corpses say fat and firm, Demons by John Shirley, The Unnameable, a funny riposte, “your giant zombie theory doesn’t work”, In The Mouth Of Madness, The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft, The New Cthulhu, Robert E. Howard, The Black Stone, Clark Ashton Smith, Conan lives in a Lovecraftian universe, Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, The People Of The Dark, Worms Of The Earth, Howard’s non-Lovecraftian horror, Pigeons From Hell, Howard was a collector of words and ideas, what’s the Mongolian word for sword?, Cimmeria was a real place, Lovecraft was a crafter of stories whereas Howard was a storyteller, Lovecraft’s poetry, yellow peril, The Horror At Red Hook, raging racist, respectable white folks turning into fish people, Clive Barker, “you’re one puzzle box away from doom”, dark fantasy, hidden secret magical worlds.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The Adventures of Doc Savage
Adapted from novels by Lester Dent
Starring Daniel Chodos as Doc Savage
8 Hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hero / Adventure / Pulp / Audio Drama / Skeletons / Chemistry /
Doc Savage is the strongest, smartest, most resourceful, best-looking guy you’ll ever meet. And he fights crime. Born in pulp magazines in the 1930’s, he’s also the subject of 181 novels, and a movie.
The Adventures of Doc Savage contains 13 half-hour episodes of audio drama that were originally broadcast on NPR in 1985. These episodes tell two complete stories that were adapted from novels written by Lester Dent. “Fear Cay” was published in September 1934 and “The Thousand Headed Man” in July 1934. The scripts were written by Will Murray and Roger Rittner.
Having never read a Doc Savage story, I was interested for historical reasons. I’ve run across these novels regularly over the years, but the pulp hero never caught my reading eye. I’m very happy, though, to have heard these audio dramas. They are very well done. They’re action packed, thoroughly entertaining, and as full of camp as you’d hope.
With the opening of “Fear Cay”, I learned that Doc Savage doesn’t work alone. He’s got a team around him that reminds me of Buckaroo Banzai’s crew. (Now, why was Jeff Goldblum wearing that ridiculous cowboy outfit again?) I now realize that Buckaroo had to have been influenced by Doc Savage. Savage also has a diverse team around him – from physical strength to electronic genius – and there’s nothing they can’t handle.
Still, Doc Savage is the best of them all. He’s not among equals. He can overpower multiple men at once, but he’s just as apt to talk himself out of a situation. And he’s got gadgets and/or chemical formulations for everything else that occurs.
In short, I had a great time listening to these dramas. They’re fun.
Find them over at RadioArchives.com.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson
Now this is strange, I recommend you read this audiobook despite it having some pretty awful writing. I’ve never found myself rooting the the villain as much as with this book, a book in which the mostly off-screen antagonist outshines the on-screen protagonists. First published in 1913 the titular character of The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu (aka The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu) has come to epitomize a the embodiment of a socio-cultural meme known as THE YELLOW PERIL. The purported protagonists, Dr. Petrie and Sir Denis Nayland Smith, are a pair of casually racist assholes. They carry their ignorant colonial bully-boy tactics with them into every scene like a foul and infecting stench. Their agenda, to protect white supremacy at all costs, makes their foe’s vaguely villainous goals all the more palatable. But what is it that their enemy, Dr. Fu-Manchu, wants to do exactly? He is clearly ruthless. Is it simply world domination? Maybe. But even if that’s true, I can’t imagine he’d be as offensive as these two English assholes. When Fu Manchu does finally show up he seems more of a curious zoologist than an arch-fiend. It sounds bad, and it is, with bad writing for the most part, but it’s also very something iconic, and in that sense it is both important and worthwhile.
I think what Sax Rohmer did was write the novel, in earnest, from the heroes’ perspective – what time has done has has turned the heroes into villains and the villain into the hero.
We did couple of podcasts on this book and this subject earlier this year: The SFFaudio Podcast #051 and #052, and I’ve been thinking about the yellow peril again recently. After watching the glossily re-imagined Hawaii Five-O pilot (if you value your vaunted opinion of humanity’s as the paragon of animals stay far clear) I was reminded of the yellow peril’s turn in the original Hawaii Five-O TV series. It had a 13 episode arc that spanned from the first episode in 1968 to the final episode in 1980. That was good stuff. The racism that infects The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu had been replaced in the original Hawaii Five-O by a RED MENACE (guised as YELLOW PERIL). Since that last episode aired the USA has come a long way in the racism department, but bad writing, in books and television, will always be with us.
The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu
By Sax Rohmer; Read by FNH
30 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 9, 2010
The first of the Fu-Manchu novels this story follows the two characters who are set against the machinations of the insidious doctor.
Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/3488
iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|
[Thanks also to Gesine and Leni!]
Posted by Jesse Willis