The SFFaudio Podcast #720 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey


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.

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

MAGABOOK - The Sky Is Falling AND Badge Of Infamy by Lester del Rey

The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey - 1973 Ace Double cover art

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Reading, Short And Deep #365 – Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #365

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Alethia Phrikodes was first published under this title in Weird Tales, July 1952.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #719 – READALONG: The Star King by Jack Vance

Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Star King by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul will answer to no other name, Cora was Popeye, not that Robby the Robot, riffing, Paul’s fifth or sixth time, the perfect excuse, something weird that happened, the “the” was dropped, The Wankh, a naughty word, dropping the definite article, the Edmond Hamilton, the series, a British paperback from 1973, Strange Case, people want to add the the in, when people are speaking they will often omit the the, Stefan Rudnicki, a more attacky angle, 1964 review by Robert Silverberg, a bad novel, embarrassing, a blown up novelet, “excerpts”, great name, that’s not how it happened, the thin rickety story, an instrument of vengeance, too implausible for words, incredible density, taking little or no action, glimpse tantalizingly, a limp stuttering revenge story that slogs on and on, entitled to slip now and again, distinctly human, weird aliens, sub-minion, stabbed by one of the dryads, slightly off, the back cover blurb spoils the whole thing, revealed very early, not that early, contempt and lust, a peace-abiding man, four humans and a star king, an “object lesson”, vengeance became Gerson’s sole objective, appetite for human slavery, Poul Anderson, Jesse kinda agrees with Silverberg, almost no SF content, dating and mystery solving, the mystery element, The Moon Moth, it’s the culture of the planet, the plot to solve the mystery is just an excuse, Sirene, mentioned in this book, what sparked you about this book?, is this an amazing book, Vance’s typical poetic style, Asimov adding quotations from The Encyclopedia Galactica, science fiction mysteries, romantic subplot, not hard SF, Silverberg is right about the initial planet, dryads, its a setting for the beginning and the end of the book, those names a really good, that’s a way to go, for example, the calendar is restarted at zero, 1492, writing for an American audience, find a new passage to India, it doesn’t pay off in any way, oh you’re a pirate, you’re a slaver, jokes, a torture slave, it isn’t an analogy, worldbuilding details, not everything needs to have a purpose or be an analogy, a lot of the things in here, writing it by the seat of his pants, serialized over two issues in Galaxy, it does feel padded, where’s the science fiction element, social science fiction, such a step down from The Moon Moth, this is gonna get good at some point, the revenge plot, all five guys could have been hunted down in this one book, maneuvering, kinda lazy, dating, sitting in the office, it doesn’t feel like science fiction, very surprised, set in space, a little bit of tech here and there, planet names, cute, a science fiction setting vs. a science fiction plot, set in the American west, a viable story, science fiction with something else, leaning into the genderlessness, their motivations are different than those and mine, figuring out who’s who, they’re sort of officious, told from alternating POVs, not a Campbellian alien, better than men, Kerth susses, an interstellar murderer, an interstellar assassin for justice, the girl in the Game Of Thrones series, killing evil people, more of that, not knowing who the five are, Smade’s Tavern, follow the timeline, five names, getting suspicious, the rest of the series, a giant wide universe, by coincidence or chance, it takes time, a mystery investigation plot, the weakest of the books, he knows what he’s doing, how am I arranging these plots, the weakest of the Demon Princes book, diminishing returns, a page turner, in what sense better?, less fumbling around, clumsy, the idea you can spoil things, Robinson Crusoe chapter titles:

Start In Life
Slavery And Escape
Wrecked On A Desert Island
First Weeks on the Island
Builds a House – the Journal
Ill and Conscience-Stricken
Agricultural Experience
Surveys His Position
A Boat
Tames Goats
Finds Print of Man’s Foot on the Sand
A Cave Retreat
Wreck of a Spanish Ship
A Dream Realised
Friday’s Education
Rescue of Prisoners from Cannibals
Visit of Mutineers
The Ship Recovered
Return to England
Fight Between Friday and a Bear

Chapters in The Hobbit: from the late 17th century, slightly popular, a quite common style, skip right to the chapter you haven’t read yet, 1719, not having chapter titles is a mistake, ooh that sounds interesting, read the chapter titles first as a kid, they used to have chapter titles, the default is not, Roast Mutton Riddles In The Dark, Queer Lodgings, sometimes it helps your memory of the book, when you’re dealing with a mystery, not knowing who the killer, playing against the detective, a fair play mystery, Agatha Christie, knowing who did it, the Columbo formula, a book-like tradition, an inverted mystery, there are exceptions, how’s he going to figure this out, which of these three guys is the alien, a fifth or more of the book, the girl romance, she’s kidnapped, a McGuffin, it has to do with it being a series, “soft science ficition” is psychology, sociology, wallpaper science fiction, cozies, police procedurals, Ed McBain, it isn’t focused on mystery, riding along with this guy, background that fills in the details, Robert Silverberg’ review of Son Of The Tree, ceaselessly inventive, so individual is his manner, long noveletes, complete in one issue, Standard Publications, a gaggle of reader departments, 25 cents!, his most fertile period, The Houses Of Iszm, going back to trees, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, the same basic outline, more delightful, two swift marvelous, not available as audiobooks, the novelet format and not being series are strikes against them, advertising the next books in the series, 111 pages and 112 pages vs. 158 pages, the difference is he adds some expanded material, where that year 1492 came in, an expansion to capitalize on a new market, Ace Doubles, Son Of The Tree, approximately the same length (32,000 words), his loves’ heart, the plot dynamics of the exploration people here, personal fiefdom, to spoil it, Subterranean Press, 22,000 words (+8,000 words), a monopoly on living houses, Sainh, the seeds of the rubber tree, silkworms, coffee beans, people smuggling plants across borders to break monopolies, spinning up worldbuilding, he loves to build his worlds, the IPCC, how these worlds work, enjoying the universe, tourism of the weird societies, Chai, the Grand Tour novels, the plot of The Moon Moth, the plot of Paul’s role playing game, many ways of being human, better than humans, their competitiveness with each other, parthenogenesis means you can’t be cuckolded easily, sexual conquests, eighteen babies out of their armpits, a short novel by an author who is pretty bad, Lester Del Rey, incompetent writing (or just bad), Lin Carter was an enthusiast, H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard, deep inside of his core he has a grinding stone that’s throwing out sparks, a guy who liked those guys (and didn’t have a horrible childhood), enthusiasm for some sort of science fiction idea in a setting, on Mars, plotting vs. ideas, The Sky Is Falling, MAGABOOK paperbook, making the words flow, pages turn vs. oh that was clunky, workmanlike, operating in the science fiction end, the wallpaper is ugly in his world, always delivers actual SF, awesome soft SF, The Potters Of Frisk, really disappointed, read the series multiple times, Dune by Frank Herbert, Paul got it young, hit a wall, Vance was difficult to find for a while, Dying Earth, dated science, nonsense technobabble, the crew of the ship have no idea how the thrusting works, how cars and planes work, how the car engine works, he knows he’s not doing hard SF, retro technology, a telephone booth, feels more modern than it is, a great movie or TV series, lots of makeup, tint her skin, problems of racism, skin dye, a disguise, for fashion, the Civil Rights era, footage of protests, not a political book, independent police, the Pinkertons, privatized police forces, that makes sense, To Live Forever by Jack Vance, dealing with an interesting theme: immortality, social credit score, empathy with your clone, the exploration was very important, a very solid SF novel, is it an SF wallpaper book?, Scott’s really really enjoying the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, integral to the plot, late season Orville episodes, an on off romance, she’s really strong, technically that’s different alien cultures, but not really, the focus on the romance, a Star Wars style battle, 10 minutes of Naboo fighters in trenches, not understanding, Mr Data has a phaser, Mr Spock was in this book, Dr. Spock, how many siblings have spock have at this point?, Michael who is adopted, Spock’s family tree, Amanda Grayson, Perrin is the replacement, the movie was so bad, Star Trek 4 was a such a great movie I’ll go see Star Trek 5, these fucking marshmallow jokes suck, Scott banging his head, I hate this movie, if we looked at it now our standards are so low now, Star Trek 1 gets better every year, Star Trek 3, Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, the Star Trek next generation movies are bad too, dune buggies, enemy dune buggies, they beam down and then walk, Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), a talking car, you know what this gothic romance needs? more dune buggies!, that’s not what it’s about, Okuda designing a screen for a dune buggy, The Killing Machine by Jack Vance, planet bound, The Five Gold Bands aka Space Pirate, Science Fiction 101 or Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, Startling Stories, criticism of capitalism and colonialism, brass bra babes, bug-eyed monsters, Thrilling Wonder Stories, entertaining, sales, unfairly forgotten, Tschai is a compilation of the Planet Of Adventure novels, sociological science fiction, the Lyonesse trilogy, discussed on occasion, Fuck Me Up Vance Knock Out Baby, Jack does It, Man I Love Sports, following their own bugbears, I’m going to read the series, too many names to remember, a terrible review don’t listen to me, narrator issues, consumer reviews, semi-professional reviewers, was Silverberg grumpy when he wrote that?, angry that books were so shitty, saying the same things over and over again, Piers Anthony and John Norman, Lin Carter is dead, the lowest ratings you’ve ever given, hurting someone who is still alive, calm down, someone didn’t like your book, calling their baby ugly, differentiating a story from a person, review their good books not their bad books, promoting things that are good vs. tearing down things that are bad, pissing on their baby, what’s the purpose of reviewing, it worked way to well, the initial motivation, talking about ideas in the book, why is it a bad book, an intellectual exercise, if you know the author it feels problematic, very successful and insecure, being honest, the new upcoming Prime Tolkien show, they paid people to be excited, hiring people to say good things is intellectually dishonest and lucrative, a huge thing (not for books), written by the author under pseudonym, what makes August Derleth a scumbag, doing a disservice to your idealized reader, holding your tongue, tell the truth at all times?, many techniques to avoid lying, throw some sparklers into the air, I just got this new hairpiece: how does it look?, if your world will fundamentally crumble, smart people will learn to not ask questions of people who give honest answers, Cora’s hair is long, hair braided to her tailbone, if that old woman can have long hair, there is a problem in the industry of reviewing, doing a disservice to our idealized reader, what things do I want to see in a review?, what the reviewer thinks the book could be or could have been, reviewing serves multiple functions, ratings do not, unuseful, when many thousands rate, dismissing things immediately, no one is rating honestly, Paul’s trip to Oregon, nagging the ratings, Paul got his revenge, what they asked for and not what they wanted, Goodreads is more critical than Amazon, books no on the market, is my number ok?, the more popular the book…, a perfect 5, the bigger the number of people having reviewed it, reviewing for IMDB, a ranking, anything under 5 is a shit movie, very close to 7, IMDB got bought out and you can’t trust reviewing, review bombing, the Marvel movies and Marvel series, the 2016 Ghostbuster movie, how hot someone is, Top Gun: Maverick, super-propagandy and still good, why we must rely, PC Gamer magazine’s wonderful giant reviews, Rogue One, blind black man actor [Denzel Washington], Gary Whitta, a western, science fiction wallpaper, fantasy, vision from god, The Book Of Eli (2010), a very solid script, many boffins died, the pacing is good, amazing essays, what good essay writing is, laugh at the games that are badly put together, half percentage points, inflation, a then living author, a slap in the face, who would have been served by him saying nothing?, a smaller world now, fistfights at Worldcon, fuck off into the sun, Blasters Of Forever by Cora Buhlert, who would it serve?, incensed, an MA in English, hating academics, lesson learned: don’t mention MAs, obvious an idiot, talk about you pets or children, author bios, which German army?, compulsory military service, its about identity, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, what Paul would think of it, pro-choice, what do you think your future in streaming is?, your audience will snitch on you, cracker is a slur, nudity will get you banned, who’s this person?, she has an MFA, a video editor for a streamer, why is MFA in her twitter bio, that’s her identity, that’s who they are, Anthony Rapp, a union rep, what he’s known for, he doesn’t identify it, Hugo finalist and pronouns, Jesse’s identity is a joke, what people care about, Robert A. Heinlein’s twitter bio: Libertarian onetime socialist, Elon Musk Fanboy, Former Naval Officer, writer, a good series of tweets, fake up some twitter bios for dead science fiction authors, emojis in their twitter bios, Ukraine Flag, Dove, Pirate flag?, a red spot means annoying person, COVID lockdown enthusiast, a German flag or Swedish flag, hammer and sickle, tomato, green vengetable, sunny symbol and aloha flower, a camera emoji, Vale of Garnath in Amber, I know don’t live in Lankhmar, the Plaza of Dark Delights, my German fan, huge in Germany, Germans read a lot of science fiction, Connor is an import, Mirko’s the original, an undertaker by profession, hilarious, the most suitable profession, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, any real stories?, Lovecraft can be funny, dry wry humour, next level hilarious.

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

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Reading, Short And Deep #364 – The Futile Flight Of John Arthur Benn by Richard Wilson

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #364

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Futile Flight Of John Arthur Benn by Richard Wilson

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Futile Flight Of John Arthur Benn was first published in Infinity Science Fiction, February 1956.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #718 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sea Wolf by Jack London

The SFFaudio Podcast #718 – The Sea Wolf by Jack London – read by Nick Bulka. This is a complete and unabridged reading of story (11 hour 39 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson.

Talked about on today’s show:
a psychological adventure novel, 3 episodes of Evan’s podcast, first time, a Jack London read-through, so many books, so little time, three famous famous famous novels, The Call With The Wild, White Fang, The Sea Wolf, such a great writer, a very interesting book, similar to Moby Dick, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, fry-cook to sea-captain, Humphrey is like a boy, immature in very specific ways, cabin boy, made manifest, the main character is Wolf Larsen, Brewster, the destroyer, social Darwinian cul-de-sac, kill seals and die, a critic, disliked critics, the only creative force, she has a grow-up, changing characters, from a passive person to an active person, the person with the character arc is the protagonist, impressionable, sucked in by Maude, a strong magnetic charge, old voicemails, in the arguments, speaking of what Jack London really believes, a social Darwinian, an atheist, this life is all that there is, the meaning we get out of life, socialism is the only out, Evolution And Ethics by Thomas Huxley, Darwinism is right, a reality of nature, the metaphor is a garden, you’re going to end up with weeds, a gardener to weed the garden, evolutionary ethics, the weaker good things, London is somewhere there, this is the world, gilded age capitalism, The Iron Heel, he’s both characters, as a success as a writer, an article in the Atlantic about Poe, criticism can be art, who’s the most successful artist on this boat?, the hardscrabble guy, no leg up in the world, in a struggle with death, only his manly body and his manly mind, what he happened to have been given, London has read Nietzsche, a guy giving lectures all the time, gentlemen and gentlewomen, real world practical experience, he’s almost like a Conan like force, Robert E. Howard, pull-up your pants mentality, dealing with reality as a man, vital nature, romantic love, not as awesome as Jesse was expecting, falling in love with the lady on the boat, a romantic novel, a philosophical struggle with death, ultimately he goes down, the end of his life, the Charles Bronson / Christopher Reeve adaptation, music tells you how to feel, Humphrey is telling us how to feel, many conversations, presented with a very hard philosophy, wouldn’t it be nice if everybody was nice, tweeting quotes:

“You have eternal life before you. You are a millionaire in immortality, and a millionaire whose fortune cannot be lost, whose fortune is less perishable than the stars and as lasting as space or time. It is impossible for you to diminish your principal. Immortality is a thing without beginning or end. Eternity is eternity, and though you die here and now you will go on living somewhere else and hereafter. And it is all very beautiful, this shaking off of the flesh and soaring of the imprisoned spirit. Cooky cannot hurt you. He can only give you a boost on the path you eternally must tread.

“Or, if you do not wish to be boosted just yet, why not boost Cooky? According to your ideas, he, too, must be an immortal millionaire. You cannot bankrupt him. His paper will always circulate at par. You cannot diminish the length of his living by killing him, for he is without beginning or end. He’s bound to go on living, somewhere, somehow. Then boost him. Stick a knife in him and let his spirit free. As it is, it’s in a nasty prison, and you’ll do him only a kindness by breaking down the door. And who knows?—it may be a very beautiful spirit that will go soaring up into the blue from that ugly carcass. Boost him along, and I’ll promote you to his place, and he’s getting forty-five dollars a month.”

very powerful, amazing, airy fairy, following through on the conclusion, we do not like it, some alternative explanation, some outside philosophy, very hard truths, at somebody’s house, not really paying attention, so propagandized, so in their class, what can you do there?, tacit or active support for horror, where is Jack London here?, we’re in a difficult situation, steel manning the enemy argument, he cheats his way out of this book, Goliah, it isn’t an angry book, we did our best for that terrible man, he’s trying to kill them, a hard choice to return good for evil, off together married, a happy ending, convenient death, who kills Wolf Larsen?, Death kills him, Melville’s Moby Dick, a secret crew, a secret hold, a plan to fight death, amazing, I’m going to kill, the Ghost, they escape from the Ghost, seals everywhere in Heaven, sealed their fate, headaches and strokes, status quo ante, admitting to himself he loves this woman, so one sided, worshipping her, all told from one point of view, 1904, he made a good argument, this isn’t a good time for romancing, at his mercy, hey lady, he’s a really decent fellow, dissed in a review, can I choose the weapons, I choose grammar, you lose, an essential good insight into this character, Wolf Larsen’s grammar, wrestling with the works that surround him in his cabin, perfectly human, Wolf Larsen’s enemy is Wolf Larsen, there is no god, his hate is curdling inside him, making himself sick, his circumstances of his life, born to Humphrey’s station, born poor, no education, low on the totem pole, starting half-way up as a half-ass, achieving, the latest failson out of Hunter Biden’s laptop and phone, drive from beneath to succeed, there are these Humphrey Van Wydens, somehow got rich, made him a gentleman standing on deadman’s legs, a morality hidden in Wolf Larsen, for your soul’s sake, he makes a project of him, he likes the conversations, winning the arguments, he wins all of the arguments, the Robert E. Howard – Jack London connection, Conan has two fathers, the psychology behind this stuff, the answer to the riddle of steel, William Smith: not men not women not beasts can you trust in this world, steel you can trust, James Earl Jones, kills his mother, a mission to kill that guy, nailed to a tree, boy you don’t know what you’re talking, come to me my child, a scene right out of Black Seers of Yimsha (The People Of The Black Circle), these two fathers raised the boy Conan, ‘I am your father, boy’, it was steroids, you need to be challenged as a person to flourish, some pruning, you behave yourself, benign pain, become kind of a man, marriage, blow up Washington, DC and bring in a new order, White Fang, Call Of The Wild is the Conan story, a dog that’s soft that becomes hard, a free dog becoming a slave, become a wolf, a transcendence life experience, brought low, muscle, sitting around and being weak again, an island of seals, ship out on any ship in the world, stronger people, instill good values, she’s 27 she better hurry, one of the wealthiest people based on his own ability to write, makes her living based on her writing, marauding around as well as writing, drinking his way across the planet, Charmian London, we did a show on a biography of London, six movie adaptations, the 1941 movie starring Edward G. Robinson, an observing writer, for the better?, interesting, choosing to make her not a lady, some kind of convict or criminal, film is not literary, literary conversations, leaning on Milton, reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven, less visual things, more timeless, William Shakespeare, Omar Khayiam, Ecclesiastes, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, a rich literary experience, Edgar Allan Poe, deny the connection, individualism against society, capitalist individualism, becoming socialized, interacting with indigenous people, the member of a pack, between Howard and London, Wolf Larsen is an intellectual dead end, the law of the jungle, where Van Wyden and Brewster are going, Hobbes, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, a thing that you cannot do, somehow blessed with a good brain and a strong body, the triumph of the Will (Emmons), the very materialistic, our opponent has nothing, an airy fairy liberal feeling, why it feels so one sided, intellectual rigor, I learned a lot from this hard man that is wrong and I take that into the fight against the horrors of this world, taught himself to read, his brain betrayed him, a refutation of the idea that there is or isn’t a soul, so amazing, his brother is Death, Wolf is not his name it’s his nature, what Jack London wanted people to call him, Wolf House, triumvirate of three famous books (are all about wolves), inside Jack London there were two wolves, timely and of its time, somewhat that will date this podcast, that’s what they were thinking back then, this monster of a book, Will loves this book, this romance thing is a sideshow to what the point of what the book ought to be, who is the audience for this book, the Maud and Van Wyden people, to help them digest this difficult philosophical heavy stuff going on, a lot of fiscourse, long monologues, comparing life to yeast:

“I believe that life is a mess,” he answered promptly. “It is like yeast, a ferment, a thing that moves and may move for a minute, an hour, a year, or a hundred years, but that in the end will cease to move. The big eat the little that they may continue to move, the strong eat the weak that they may retain their strength. The lucky eat the most and move the longest, that is all. What do you make of those things?”

but they have dreams, radiant flashing dreams, dreams of grub, read more Jack London, the volume on the original, oh my god it’s the character from Strong Bad: Strong Sad, dim sounding, why is this voice so familiar?, South Park, a better long running series, so of itself, so silly, Cookie, Melville?, the captain character going after God, he wears his philosophy on his sleeve, the thing Will likes, all in drawing rooms, Stranger In A Strange Land, it just becomes Ahab’s story, a mission to kill god, struggling more, avast my brother death I’m coming for your, incentivize the crew, nailing the gold coin to the mast, we’re all going to get rich, what everybody wants: more grub, very Shakespearean and experimental, literature and the meaning of life, whales! let’s talk about them, its very companionable to squeeze your friends while churning sperm, a very different love story, Queequeg would be Maud, no Starbuck here, Jack London doesn’t care about the crew, Melville cares a lot about the crew, he wrote Moby Dick as Jack London, social Darwinian theory is well developed, much more actory, bring more of yourself to Moby Dick, Maissa’s judgement, how civilization softens and ruins you, brought back to the wild to become a worthwhile person, a prison ship, a prisoner of himself, the ship being the Earth, they try to escape the ship to find their own Eden, Adam biting the apple, strange Eden, what makes me courageous is wanting to look courageous in front of my girl, clubbing seals, ready to club Larsen, violence and strength are the more important thing, my spirit will get rewarded in heaven, remaking the world, who intrudes into the garden is the holy Ghost, Lucifer, wolf a symbol for Satan?, goats, a predator danger, baddies control wolves, why wolves are bad guys, To Build A Fire, a good and different, Alaska, sea voyage, rebuilding a boat, almost science fiction space opera detail, very practical, whale geekery in Moby Dick, Trish read it in highschool, he was your Wolf Larsen, far fewer beatings, focus on moral behavior, a classic every week, for moral instruction, adopt this as your life, utterly horrific, would Humphrey survive the book?, breezed through it, coarsened and brutalized by life, from the ropes you’ve been pulling, grew the appropriate fungus on your fingernails, how dare you!, do more Jack London, a good book, one of the best novels, they make students read a lot of bad books, Charlotte’s Web, Animal Farm, Lord Of The Flies, a difficult book for humans, Hobbesian to the core, identifying with poor Piggy, look at the symbolism, his philosophy is all over the page, very implausible, earning up to that point, Buck’s story is Wolf Larsen’s story except they have primitive communism among wolves already, the idea of the lone wolf, in community, studying the differences between dogs and wolves, dogs are human oriented, wolves are pack oriented, they inform on each other, they’re on team human, “Buck did not read the newspapers”, Martin Eden, John Barleycorn, People Of The Abyss, The Road, a memoir of his hobo days, A Thousand Deaths, 1899, science fiction, The Black Cat, a guy in the water off San Fransisco Bay, an invention, revivifying people, an island in the South Pacific, like Tesla or Edison, a force field, he disintegrates the captain, it was his father, the father doesn’t recognize that it’s his son, his daddy issues, “I can kill you, dad”, the man he adopted as his Thulsa Doom father, Edgar Allan Poe’s story, an adopted name, his father Allan, I can be good, and drinks himself to death, potent writers who wrote good books, a little bit commercial, Before Adam, a prehistorical romance, those are science fiction too, racial memories of being an upright ape, almost domesticating a dog, a little bit Flintsonesy, a trace of that, the dog sees himself as a troglodyte, racial memories, on a big Bronson kick (again as usual), he always plays himself, Christopher Reeve playing a weak man, he plays dandies well, Ichabod Crane, an eastern dandy looking fellow, Lee Marvin, Ernst Borgnine, Keith Carradine, The Emperor Of The North Pole (1973), 1907, The Trail Of The Tramp, Coast To Coast, Lee Marvin playing Jack London, Emperor Norton, the hobo experience, 70s hobo movies, A Number One, Lance Henrickson plays an uncredited railroad worker, Humphrey Bogart has a cameo, that pick-pocketing this is just in the movie, a party scene, film steals from film, the writers are doing that, strange new worlds that are just Alien, they did that in Voyager, a Die Hard episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, deriving film from film, things adapted tend to be better, Arena by Fredric Brown, a Lee Marvin / Toshiro Mifune movie Hell In The Pacific (1968), Enemy Mine by Barry Longyear, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, Predator (1987), read Jesse’s essay, an episode of 30 Rock, film adaptations, 1913, an unnamed sailor, 1920, 1926, which ship starred as the Ghost, going to luff and jib and jibe, the focsle, The Cruise Of The Snark, a star on his shirt, Tales Of The Fish Police, 40 when he died, 1876-1916, he lived every year, very Wolf, kinda mean when drinking too much, BBC Radio 4 adaptation, The Cruise Of The Dazzler, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd., the movie with Oliver Reed, Evan should record the audiobook of John Barleycorn, Evan is good enough, Evan’s recording of Nudist Camp, all those Orrie Hitt, most of Orrie Hitt is public domain, Brother And Sister is coming out soon, it’s a (wrong) kissing book, cheating together, Sin Doll, sin books, Burlesque Girl, Never Cheat Alone, a writing machine that deserves more love, the white logic, why drunks in the body vs. drunk in the mind, you are just meat, Just Meat, happy going to church (they don’t need to drink, they’re drink on the lord, a Jamesian argument, a lived experience you can no longer enjoy, the noseless face, the skull behind your flesh, a different kind of good.

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Reading, Short And Deep #363 – Binding Deluxe by David H. Keller

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #363

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Binding Deluxe by David H. Keller

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Binding Deluxe was first published in Marvel Tales, May 1934.

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