The SFFaudio Podcast #720 – The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey – read by Karen Savage. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (3 hours 13 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Tony de Simone.
Talked about on today’s show:
LibriVox, Karen Savage, she’s good, she’s got good taste, how to pronounce phlogiston, doer vs. dour, any book with phlogiston in it is going to be a good book, a good reading, a good narrator, a pretty good book, this weird book, resonanted, get your feels out and examine how you feels about this book, better in the vein, good is what I’m hearing, world beating vs. world saving, if you want to spoil, sky saving, entertaining, relatively short, van Vogt, old fashioned, universe shattering, the planet was about to come apart, pretty weird, Philip Jose Farmer, more sexually driven, normal for him, time had passed on Earth, animal tribes, the early to mid-60s, 1963, Beyond Fantasy, Galaxy Magazine, MAGABOOK double from Galaxy Press, 1973 publication, No More Stars, Beyond Fantasy, July 1954, 18,327 words vs. 34,493 words, an interesting fact, not all Lester del Rey, Charles Satterfield was Frederik Pohl and Lester del Rey, Pohl diluted, comparing the texts, re-ordering if not new scenes, a frequent collaborator, it doesn’t scream Frederik Pohl, cats and gardens and tomatoes, the opening of No More Stars, northern Saskatchewan, all he knew was that he was, the man with the knife, the masked man, Death to Dave Hansen!, avenging Moses, strangled them where they stood, the when of his reawakening, astrological mumbo jumbo, by the power of the True Name, sucking at him, aware of being alive, one of the dead, there should be no quickening of breath within him, noxious odor of sulfur, a good sign!, only a true being can sneeze, the salamander worked, high frequency radiation, the pre-psyche, a tamed succubus, who killed Foxy Loxy?, boomp in the night, delirious, bull-pusher, bull-dosser, the language wasn’t englais, Canadian French, no word for bull-dozer, the same setup but longer, different people in the room, an expansion, the format, there’s no audiobook of No More Stars, Jesse has to do everybody’s homework, re-read Life Of Pi again, they teach it wrong, character arcs, rising action, getting you excited about orreries, what is phlogiston?, that which what we would call oxygen if we didn’t know what oxygen was, you know of elements in your world?, we have all four here, when trying to expand your elements, metals, how do we get from phlogiston to oxygen, bell jars, air is full of this liquid called phlogiston, dephlogisticated air, from the alchemical days, vocabulary based history, a hard fantasy book, not a portal fantasy, taken from another world, not through a door, a portal fantasy without the portal, his body doesn’t go through a door, materials are drawn from another universe, a mandrake root man vs. made out of human stuff, a certified wife, some many rich things, caring about virginity, they don’t have birth control, our world in the future?, Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, Michael Moorcock, The Magic Goes Away (The Magic Will Come), Matthew Hughes, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of the New Sun, hoqw to get rid of him afterward, The Marching Morons, the C.M. Kornbluth on Frederik Pohl, Idiocracy (2006), you need to fix reality, this is not a complaint, it’s not a comedy, unintentionally imply eugenics, we are in that situation, it’s not genetics, laziness and background, I don’t know any of my friends phone numbers, we won’t even know where we live, take us home, take us to work, reciting all of Homer, all of Beowulf, carrying around the paperback, they had more time, we’ve never had more time, playing computer game, people playing computer games all day long, a peasant or a slave, modern slaves do not have a lot of extra spare time, a lot of holy days, the magic society in this book, they became so dependent on their magic, a very thought provoking book, postulating, Rumplestiltskin, etc., the folk tales that were magical to us when we were young, hinting at science fiction, no ultimate scientific explanation for what was going on, the last couple lines, overexplaining can be a problem, very different axioms, I can do magic here, sympathetic magic, a rigorous sort of world?, how rigorous is our understanding of our reality?, the subatomic and the macrocosmic, there was a big bang, the origin of their universe, how their universe works, we have this nice theory of gravity, what makes the sky literally fall, why do they have to have the orrery model, they don’t need gravity, why?, falling through the holes, falling in all directions?, flat earthers views, if you have a flat earth, the movement of the heavenly bodies, some weird explanation for it, the dome, examining a world in a hard SF way, assumptions we have in background, subsquently influenced, Giants Of Eternity by Manly Bannister, a planetary disaster requiring unique services, what the Martians from The War Of The Worlds do, Marie Curie, Sir Isaac Newton, using some means, you’re our task force, Einstein, Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, Thomas Alva Edison, like the Avengers of Science, bring back to life and put them to work, competence fantasy, brilliant geniuses from history, he can speak Canadian French, they got the wrong guy, touched on a couple of times, his uncle with the same name, your average science fiction reader, destined to do it, the prophecy works out, he has control of the universe in his pocket, he’s literally god, stop the movement of the sun in the sky, dawn in reverse, you can trust him, Solution Unsatisfactory, trust Colossus, under Colossus’ benign dictatorship, a scary sequel, your original Rumplestiltskin, get somebody else from earth, a specialist in folk tales, what type of being?, a wizard drags him into another dimension, I’d rather stay here, L. Sprague de Camp-ish, Joe Johnson, normal sounding names, fun pulpy style, a very short story, Remarkable Story Of Chicken Little, Hen Pen, a gentleman’s garden, how do you know it, Duck Luck, Goose Loose, Turkey Lurkey, how can I help knowing it?, Fox Lox, make haste, bit off her head, cut of her head, same by her, eat her all up, all this from the foolish fright of chicken little, 1840, the more graphic version, the santized version, the repeated lines: how do you know it?, why we have to know about phlogiston theory, authority says so, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, still eating, all the imagery is GOD, it’s God’s garden, Farmer McGregor looks like god, when constructing your world, base assumptions, we’re like that, characters in the universe, I can do no wrong, we make mistakes, very unsatisfying for most people, you can’t bring your old assumptions with you, real ideas, a fun interesting read, The Enchanted Bunny by David Drake, The Velveteen Rabbit, a Lovecraftian werewolf novel, 5500 kelvin, photography is one of Paul’s hobbies, the science of Dianetics, general semantics, about conjuration, the borderlands of philohophy and natural philosophy, understand reality better, mnake true statements, natural deductive logic, you idiots, you think that’s going to work?, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, conflating the actors with the character, Burt Reynolds punches the guy and gets in the car and drive off, Burt Reynolds, sometimes it works the other way, a Batman movie, Burt Reynolds as Batman, he does have a car thing, Smokey And The Bandit (1977), The Good Place, a slightly less good, I’m watching a Ryan Reynolds movie, does it ruin the movie experience?, no, true names tell us something more, and we have more control, it works for cops, exposed as the Gribsnobler, my podcast powers have depleted, Satoshi Nakamura is an AI from the future, legal heat, pronoun shaming AIs from the future, two different AIs from the future?, only under a legal authority, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot (1974), a pair of highwaymen, Clint Eastwood and the Dude from the Dude movie, he likes Jeff Daniels vs. Jeff Bridges, Lloyd and Harry, one of the bad prequel/sequels, there’s lot of good prequels, The Thing is a prequel to The Thing, Rogue One is fine, padded and flabby, don’t bother, The Temple Of Doom, neurodivergence, heavy on the action, hold my focus, the end of any Marvel movie, punchy, use the jewel, Ant-Man, I’m melting, why we don’t need a sequel, how diverting it was, everything is connected, we need more, you don’t need more ice cream, characters, Dave Hansen, the avatar for the reader, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, H.L. Gold, a fantasy fiction magazine, the science fiction market was hot, Galaxy was a massive hit, the literary, a pure fantasy magazine, it kinda flopped, Science Fiction Age, a glossy slick, Realms Of Fantasy, an ebb and flow in interests in interests, a fantasy story with a hard SF premise, hard fantasy, most fantasy stories, the scale is smaller, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, a horror story, Heat (1986), genre, character, length, something they had to read in school, TV series, the average person doesn’t read books, look at the books available, other podcasters, short stories are very unpopular, we don’t know, things do change, technology, YouTube, streamers, technology explaining, how VCRs vs. Laserdiscs, renting movies, flow of technology, why radio was popular, the decline of radio, the decline of television, into their homes, forces of technology changing human behaviors, nothing ever completely dies (it becomes unpopular), Time Out Of Joint by Philip K. Dick, haircutting salons, cars still come with [FM] radios, revealing of our true character, our true interest, our true nature, to literally destroy the world, we don’t need the sequel because we have the implication, really good on ideas, bad on polish, he’s framer, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, as famous as short stories can be Helen O’Loy, robots and people, Weird Science (1985), fixated on Robert Downey, Jr., overcoming social awkwardness, the older brother Chet (Bill Paxton), Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), playing Battleship with Death, The Seventh Seal, good jokes, even though it has literary precurors, Frankenstein movies, references to movies, Kelly LeBrock, Go Ahead Make Your Day?, the movie audience is unaware, the famous novel by Mary Shelley?, because his head has a crack in it?, how way leads on to way, Shakespeare, understanding humanity, the rising action, the train fight, Black Panther, Shang Chi has a train fight, a certain type of fight, Speed (1994), an elevator fight, a bus fight, a train fight, this character represents sadness, Badge Of Infamy, Slums of Mars, powerful union lobbies, the medical lobby, a pandemic, Daniel Feldman, pariah, more topical, topical vs. epistemological, trust the machinery, the flare bloomed, unbuckling herself, emergency bottles of oxygen, book it now, Midsommar (2019), Stefan Rudnicki, the man who discovered your greatest science: Dianetics, tongue in cheek, set in a fantasy world where all that stuff works, Dianetics only works in a fantasy world, plausible deniability, people didn’t have their feelings hurt that easily back then, more of an immediacy, people are very breakable now, they were much tougher, feed back for the original Star Trek and The Next Generation, same kind of complaints, the new Star Trek sucks, we can’t be friends anymore now, a crossover episode, ridiculous, juvenile, a thing to do, Mariner, the main character, BoJack Horseman, Mr. Peanutbutter, Judy Lynne del Rey was a dwarf, editor for Ballantine, Del Rey Books, her wikipedia entry, best editor nomination, paperback book collection, the biggest publisher in Jesse’s collection, Best Of books, Book Of books, DAW books, the 1970s and 1980s, the popularity of science fiction and fantasy, ACE books is the 1960s 1970s, keeping books in print, New English Library, the British version of Del Rey Books, gatekeepers vs. promoters, reprints, bringing back older fantasy titles, the way publishers influence writers, Otto Penzler, Mysterious Books, Donald E. Westlake, Comfort Station, the disaster movie, a parody, Viking Press, fuck these guys, Otto Penzler gets me, he had to publish with everybody, Seanan McGuire, the big two?, bad for authors, an effect on readers, the Audible Exclusives, sell straight to Audible, self-produced audiobooks, important to recognize, because of the format, ten years goes buy, a bulk up, ’54 – ’63 – ’73, the market isn’t healthy, LibriVox published it, coming out in ’23, seven months from now.