Reading, Short And Deep #218 – I, Mars by Ray Bradbury

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #218

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss I, Mars by Ray Bradbury

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

I, Mars, later titled Night Call, Collect, was first published in Super Science Stories, April 1949.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #572 – READALONG: The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #572 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talked about on today’s show:
the photographer, serialized in Argosy All-Story Weekly, magazines merge, 1 novel in one month (instead of 4 months), the decline in magazines, comics once a month, a Marvel superheroes, larger story, republication in 1966, Tarzan and Barsoom books, Pennsylvania, he was delighted, not normal for ERB, detective stories, a crime genre, underworld elements, Booth Tarkington stories, The Little Rascals, he was superhot, The Magnificent Ambersons, non-genre, selling Marissa on The Girl From Hollywood, the women in this novel, an impolite epithet, he’s pretty spiffy, The Mucker, starts in Chicago, the South Pacific, New York, cannibal samurai, degenerate cannibals, technically still cannibal samurai, the border between the unreal and the real, set in real places, ERB used to work at Sears, the mail order catalogue, the Horatio Alger myth, disinherits himself, the myth of the American dream, Torrence is fundamentally moral, moving his way up, a criticism, hilarious, wonderful, hubris, shining the boots of some manager who will give him a job, god give me the confidence of a mediocre white man, its basically Yale, graduated last in his class, if you flip it on his end, Ulysses S. Grant, where did Burroughs graduate, a criticism of formal education, the tie back to The Mucker, class stratification, the elites and those living on the edge (criminals), the Lizard, the Jewish family that thinks he works for the FBI, a government agency, selling his clothing, the lizard has stolen them, what happened to his clothes?, burglarized the place, someone else, never resolved, very neat, two different timelines, over the course of a month, written in 10 days, a full on novel, James M. Cain novels, a five hour read, 1919, 1921, structure available to us, Jesse was still tricked, meeting the girl and the girlfriend over and over again, Burroughs tricked Jesse, expectation subverted, little Eva, Elizabeth Compton, James and Elizabeth, the hooker with a heart of gold, when the (Spanish) flu happens to Jimmy, being poisoned by the Bince, the cultural legacy of that, shit, “that’s actually a thing”, pretty sophisticated, expectations, a bad actor, more than you would expect it to be, social commentary, a straight adventure novel, Eva or Edith, he’s got class and you are not for him, I earn my money (unlike you), period details, the IWW, scientific management, the milk truck drivers go on strike, he was a good hosier salesman, he’s extraordinarily athletic, a good person, the most interesting character in the book, The Lizard is fun, too good, Fineheimers, a guy more responsible for pulp fiction in the 20th century, why wouldn’t there be a movie adaptation of this?, they go to the movies, Young Indiana Jones, a waiter at an Italian restaurant, Chicago is the center of the excitement, a pitch about Chicago, the best book Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago And The Great West by William Cronon, The Octopus, Range Romances, sending cows by train to Chicago, even Weird Tales was headquartered in Chicago, the center of the American labour movement, quintessentially American, Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Second City (comedy), The Great Migration, Route 66, an ignored aspect, Bronzeville (Chicago), his kid was watching, how young our hero is, such a clean writer, fantastic imagination, no investigation into meaning, Jesse’s thesis, The SFFaudio Podcast, a non-genre book, non-genre is bad, explaining this book, an Edgar Rice Burroughs romance, he’s a dude, Netflix, Virgin River, handsome bar dude, how Burroughs does romance, a male romance, make himself worthy of a girl and his father, the theme underneath, how do we know who we wanna spend a lot of time with (have a kid with), the Hooker with a heart of gold, in hospital for venereal disease?, the daughter of the industrialist, a standup lady, her intended is not (and she doesn’t see it), and that’s a flaw, a relationship by default, an endless series of meet cutes, a Xmas romance movie, collapse Elizabeth and Harriet together, a female romance, making her way in the world today (Cheers), Mary Tyler Moore, Minneapolis, a new life in a new city, a choice of three dudes, a criminal, a rich socialite, and somebody else, slumming for the thrill, not for the Jazz, a unique place, all classes of society, “a social goulash”, excursions into the underworld, the happening place, a club, everything’s happening there, cover, a dude looking into a car, who are these people?, a slouch hat, a flapper, that’s actually The Lizard, like John Carter in fancy clothes, Frank Frazetta, Bince attempt to get Jimmy croaked, embezzlement, gambling criminals, how do you know you can trust a guy with your business (or your empire), if this was a medieval story, what capitalism is, allowing empires to be built up, Crusader Kings II, analogies to be made, what is this about?, why does it resonate with us?, he himself with inherit wealth, business connections, application to a management program, how did you choose this?, sorta standard stuff, not normally the way we think of it, turned into a kind of immigrant, all this time his son’s on trial for murder and almost dies of the flu, not the romantic couple you expect, only in retrospect, if it was a film, slightly out of focus, rack focus, filmic techniques, a skillful enough writer, a whole narrative voice, who’s telling this story?, the context of this boxing match, you gave up an opportunity to show a fight, he’s playing a game with us, the letter from his father, another kick in the pants, arrogant hubris, Martin Eden by Jack London, he wasn’t writing about himself enough?, Burroughs is a hit straight off, Under The Moons Of Mars, very impressed, fun, how do you know what a person’s character is?, when he goes in for job interviews, what experience do you have?, where did you get educated?, if you can program they don’t care that you got a computer science degree, an interview after the test, practical testing, being an employer and being an employee, someone who will help you with your business, he kinda was an efficiency expert, that safe-cracking stuff, it felt like flavour, plot relevant, all Jesse’s predictions didn’t happen, the accountants job, the number of coincidence that happen are unbelievable, the different between what it says on paper vs. your ancestry vs. your actions, lemme listen to your podcast, in a romantic relationship, a person you won’t hate for the rest of your life, blinded by chemicals in your bloodstream that make you insane, character is very hard to assess, Jimmy IS a standup guy, she’s not a good judge of character, the way she treats people, give my chauffeur your name, Harriet says please stick around, subtle details, what a better person Harriet is, a malaise, why people who read novels are more emotionally intelligent, trying to be telepathic is very dangerous to say, a review of the first episode of The Witcher: a luxurious and very long cut-scene, your own visceral reaction, very talented and a very subtle book for eternal questions, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, ultimately they’re good people, these are practical capitalism problems (feudalism problems), how pretty are they?, pretty people you don’t want to spend any time with, Michael J. Fox in The Secret Of My Success (1987), Bright Lights Big City (1988), editing old movies together, talking about efficiency, the milkman’s strike, intuition and skill, scientific management, the popular version, memorized stuff, breaking up work into distinct components is to dis-empower the knowledge of workers, the management’s brains are under the workman’s cap, the reason a factor works at all, Blue Monday (and Saints Monday), under the manager’s hat, what efficiency was about, disempower workers and unions, “let people go”, the word efficient, how to play chess, out of patent, horrible for the working class, Flowers For Algernon, the principal isn’t the smartest man in a school, he ends up happily ever after the manager of Sears?, a professional boxer, football, or baseball player?, his class, you wanna hang out with Wade Boggs or Yogi Berra?, this amateur aspect of the Olympics, there are no jockeys in the Olympics, its for the elites, its a pastime, other jobs during the off-season, spring training, an efficient job with this book, a very efficent podcast, two podcasts a week (and not wholly incompetent), PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds hours (2000+ hours), when they do the PUBG movie…, squeezed into a smaller and smaller era, a survival game where everybody’s a predator, some dystopian TV show, the running Man plot, Battle Royale, popularity over time, trends that you’re out of touch with, nothing can kill League Of Legends, your own participation, here’s an idea whose time has come, Data Is Beautiful.

The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs - illustration by John Rush

The Efficiency Expert - illustration by Frank Frazetta

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #217 – The Dead Woman by David H. Keller

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #217

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Dead Woman by David H. Keller

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Dead Woman was first published in Strange Stories, April 1939.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #571 – AUDIOBOOK: The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #571 – The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by Delmar H. Dolbier.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (5 hours 3 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox. The Efficiency Expert was first published as a serial in Argosy All-Story Weekly, October 8 – 29, 1921.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

Argosy All-Story Weekly - The Efficiency Expert - COVER

Argosy All-Story - The Efficiency Expert - INTERIOR

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #216 – Ozymandius by Horace Smith

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #216

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Ozymandius by Horace Smith

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Ozymandius was first published in The Examiner, February 1, 1818

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #570 – READALONG: The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #570 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Olav Rokne talk about The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Talked about on today’s show:
1952, the great Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, gravitas, how much should we think of it as a great book?, 100 best novels 1946-1987, number 12 amongst fantasy novels, a fantasy novel or a science fiction novel, an alternate history kick, The Man In The High Castle, Harry Turtledove, The Guns Of The South, Lest Darkness Fall, Bring The Jubilee, For Want Of A Nail by Robert Sobel, here today in 2019?, Axis victory novels, In The Presence Of Mine Enemies, techno veneer, the toxic nostalgia at the heart of fascism, the rejection of modernity, sylvan existence, mythologizing of the past, neo-feudalism, 100 years after reign?, The War For German Rights, not that far from our future, 2030s, Fuhrer means God now, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, kinda like Sliders, barely even know who Hitler was, the SS rituals, race theory, eugenics, genetic engineering, lions and dogs, vegetarian vs. Hermann Goering’s aesthetic, a symbolism book, vs. Albert Speer’s vision, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland by Robert Harris, Nazi-world, an analog for life behind the Berlin Wall, Kit, slightly tweaking the ideology, the world we don’t see, what makes it such an intriguing book, tech, the support system for a game preserve on a private estate, the horror of a Nazi regime, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, the body horror, fear horror, a Gothic castle, an anticipation not fully fulfilled, the Wild Hunt, was it real or was it all a delusion?, Deities & Demigods, the Huntmaster, Thor, driving game, myths versus legends, hearing the horn, join the hunt or become one of the hunted, pre-fascism, Herne The Hunter, inarticulate dread, fantastic stories, The Hounds Of Zaroff aka The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, unencumbered from morality, a throwback, not the only one, Hans von Hackleburg, the curse of the Baskervilles, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, an evil morality, inferring the system, a strong warning, people who have suffered gender or race based violence, Allan’s fears, creeped, sexism, misogynist, anti-human, women are turned into cats and men are turned into hounds, a vegetarian argument, Pierre Boulle’s Planet Of The Apes, the difference between of human and prey, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, the framing story, a four hour audiobook, 42 minutes into the book, almost 1/4 of the story is the frame, two narrators, authenticated, kinda fun, The Wolf or The White Wolf by Guy de Maupassant, a wonderful funny horrible story, kill everything, a true story of France, strangles it “gently”, true from one end to the other, less about gender than it is about class, Reichmaster of Forests, the cat girls and the fiance in the frame, it could be interpreted that way, the descriptions of meat were stomach churning, “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”, The Yellow Book (magazine), the book inside the book, the yellow 90s, a decadent book, Wayne June, $1.50 in 1895, a book for artists and high class folks, before he’s arrested and thrown in prison he’s playing a game, An Ideal Husband, The Importance Of Being Earnest, powerful versus popular, when Hillary Clinton was on Saturday Night Live, they pull their punches, Trump has been on Saturday Night Live, too thin skinned, more thin skinned, if you offend too much you’re going to get in trouble, going to far, Sinéad O’Connor, too true, not politic, a vegetarian propagandist book, I’m not so sure, the cat, a metonym for his wife, Kit, why doesn’t he want to tell her?, some distant 100 year old future, a screed against an activity she so enjoys, the terror, a world famous hunter, trophy room, a bridge too far, what is animal and what is human, a lot of science fiction, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells but with Nazis, vivisection, The Time Machine, unreliable narrators, Wells allusions, another thread, utopian futures, the Bellamy school, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, The Living, Just Imagine, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy (2006), Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, it’s a happy liberal future inside the city and homeless and we don’t spend time with the homeless people who are outside the city everybody is super happy enjoying their fancy clothes with robots and they spend time in outer space fighting Ming The Merciless and then outside the city we never talk about those dirty disgusting folks, it’s the same thing, clones of each other, a Marxist analysis of Gil Gerard’s Buck Rogers, intellectual property, we haven’t had a Space: 1999, a good point, the Dille family trust, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, we don’t need more Buck Rogers, overdosed on Superman, When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, the sequel, that Galt’s Gulch stuff, we are the elites, this lifeboat is for us, that comedy movie 2012 (2009) an unofficial reboot, Elon Musk is like Heinlein, Wernher von Braun was a fuckin SS nazi, D.D. Harriman, we don’t cut anything, dancing around The Sound Of His Horn, aged more in the last 25 years than in its first 40, more dated now, the ponderousness, become more of its time, flowery beautiful description, oooh this stuff is wonderful, the material is perfect for what it is, maybe its the relationship people have to it, imagine reading The Man In The High Castle in the 1960s, WWII was that much closer, its only aged in its relationship to us, a piece of art rather than a commercial work designed to put bums in seats, much more intellectual despite physical, spectacle, Blumhouse horror torture porn, the first Saw movie, the explanation is not the point the exclamation point was the point, the novel medium, dwelling more on certain paragraphs and certain sentences, immerse in Allan’s plight, feel his fear and apprehension, spend more time noticing connections between the outer narrator’s story and the inner narrator’s story, academic theses that nobody reads vs. big long blog posts that analyze the shit out of stuff, so many things in the meals in the hall the torchbearers, is that what I think it is?, trussing up the girls they’ve hunted as if they’re going to eat them, its not cannibalism its more like sadism and rape, the gentlemanly country estate of England vs. Nazi baronial estate, the two teams that went to war, the two cages (the POW camp and the estate), the games that they play within, another camp on the outside, concentration camps, slave labour employed, servants vs. slaves, not so much “you need to become a vegan, today” vs. considering the feelings of others, otherkin, a call for empathy, dwelling on the results of war and that setting, more connections sparking away, reading it in paper, not an easy book if you get squicked out, surgically modified, running to fat, brain surgery, bred, what’s happening to Kit, sent for reeducation, something to practice on, utopias and dystopias, all a part of a flow, patterns repeating throughout, in a dystopian novel it feels like everything is frozen, here’s a society that is perfected, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, lots of little shitbirds fucking things up, we’re in a system headed in a good direction, Nineteen-Eighty Four, Brave New World, the resistance was gelded, News From Nowhere by William Morris, everybody should be an artist, The Wood Beyond The World, a rural paradise, adding a lot of filigrees to their hoes, a science fiction fantasy, things can’t change, we have that within us too, cultivating good habits, coming to a steady state, we’ve refined our morality, we’re refined our diets, and we’ve brushed our hair in just the right way, Francis Fukuyama’s the end of history, NATO’s still a thing, yup, life’s ridiculous, people can be cruel, Jesse doesn’t visit the United States, when Peter Watts got the shit kicked out of him at the border, if you give in, drawing lines in the sand, a job in Texas, if Bernie wins, the abuses heaped upon the Nazis are justified, a personal story, personally suffered, one nice way to read it, a walking dream, walking across Eastern Europe, he walks 100 years into the future, a daydream, he spins up the whole story, has this happened more than once to him?, falling back into fairy, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, no fay element, Paul is arguing against himself, Thomas the Rhymer, mental illness, we don’t have perfect access to that, Oberon and Titania, torches as an affectation, plastic cup technology, high quality clothing, rich folks, not about the Nazis, what they did in Africa, you can’t really tell stories about swaths of people, stories about individuals, those personal relationships with a culture, without that frame the story doesn’t work very well, he is questioning hisself, speculating about Sarban’s knowledge of the crimes of the British Empire, parallels, Great Britain’s colonial history vs. the crimes of the Nazis, surveillance, no conscious critique of the British, what is our relationship to hunting, they do it unconsciously, a turkey hunt, why there are no lions, bears, and wolves in England, the gauleiter’s fake hunt, hunting fish in a barrel, mini-golf hunting, Barkerville, British Columbia, you pay for the pan the bag and the trough, a fake experience, not training, an ersatz experience, the reichforester has contempt for everybody around him, why is it like that?, a Medieval Times restaurant in Nazi Germany, its good to go out for a walk, a safe walk in nature, Mark Twain: golf as a good walk ruined, facial hair, the incarnation of the wildness, I will save you for another moon, a Nazi Utopia is a dystopia for the reichforester (he’s a manager at Disneyworld), I didn’t expect it to be like this, its different, what Sarban means: the kind of storyteller who traveled with caravans and entertained the travelers with stories, what Homer was, he’s basically a bard, a diplomatic career in the Middle East, how short it is, all the more plausible, you have your coffee you have your smoke, how to classify it, a horror book, no visceral reaction, Olav went vegetarian, no vegetables at that banquet, the dressing up of the game, two does, its not clear, on purpose, dehumanizing the pray, more dreamlike and more fey, the Star Wars experience in Disneyworld, a Star Wars store, a Star Wars lightsaber, the Batman costume with Batman’s face on the shirt, he’s not having fun, its not for him, Universal Studios’ Miami Vice experience, a spectacle vs. a ride, a cool idea, all of the jousting is every night, they’re actors, striving for utopia, regularize things, make things improved, best practices, self-driving cars, one day…, a trap, a fantasy we fall into, it fails to be a classic on a few levels, very affecting, a rich text, an intellectual experience, it doesn’t need to be that long, how much not spent in the actual world, where is the divergence point?, it doesn’t want or need to explore that, if it had been written in the 1890s, Prussian or Russian nobleman, it’s not about Nazis its about people, humans are fuckin weapons, dealing with things that have agency, what makes a bad society is having lots of people trending towards badness, not even saying that foxhunting is bad, Mike Vendetti, The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, people in power are fuckers, the cat’s name is Jan Smuts, best buds with Winston Churchill, both of them were in concentration camps in South Africa, Prime Minister of South Africa, maybe it is a critique, John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, in the hands of John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), yellow 90s ruin, the last place on earth for this goddess to inhabit, it does matter, how we come out of the inner frame, who named that cat?, where is that damn cat?, let it out, why the outer narrator doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t tell her this story, Aneurin Bevan (father of the NHS), fascism is the future refusing to be born, toxic nostalgia.

The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Posted by Jesse Willis