A couple lines from episode 2 of HBO’s new show, True Detective, made made me gasp in shock and pleasure. The stylish debut episode, though beautifully filmed, didn’t quite explicitly state the weird undercurrent that may be behind the mystery of this novel for television.
Det. Rustin Cohle (reading the diary) “I closed my eyes and saw the King in Yellow moving through the forest.”
And then “The Yellow King … Carcosa”
I really began to get excited when, near the end of episode 2, birds flock into a recognizable shape, a tattoo found on the victim in episode 1.
Here are two short stories, listed chronologically, for those lines:
An Inhabitant Of Carcosa
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by rasputin
1 |MP3| – Approx. [UNABRIDGED]
First published in the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, Dec 25, 1886.
The Yellow Sign
By Robert W. Chambers; Read by CrowGirl
1 |MP3| – Approx. 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 30, 2011 The King In Yellow is a monstrous and suppressed book whose perusal brings, fright, madness, and spectral tragedy. Have you seen the Yellow Sign? First published in 1895.
The NPR interview with Jeremy Brett points out exactly why his Sherlock Holmes is the best Holmes (Brett champions sticking to the original Strand Magazine publications – as Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Holmes as Sidney Paget drew Holmes).
Professor Craig Kennedy, a scientific detective similar to Sherlock Holmes, uses his knowledge of chemistry, psychoanalysis, and the scientific method to solve mysteries. In this adventure he foresees “potentialities and possibilities unrecognized by ordinary minds, and with his profound knowledge of applied sciences, is able to approach the enormous tasks confronting him from a new and scientific angle.”
And according to Hugo Gernsback The Seismograph Adventure is “one of the finest, as well as scientific, of Arthur B. Reeve’s stories.”
The Seismograph Adventure
By Arthur B. Reeve; Read by Elliott Miller
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2010 “Can ghosts walk? And if they do, can their footsteps be recorded on a machine? And are the spirits of the phantom world subject to the same physical phenomena as our human bodies? These are tantalizing questions which arise during the thrilling and complex mystery into which Craig Kennedy and Jameson are plunged without warning.” First published in Cosmopolitan, April 1911.
And here’s a 10 page |PDF| made from its republication in Scientific Detective Monthly, March 1930.
The SFFaudio Podcast #200 – Jesse, Mirko, and Gary Lovisi discuss the Science Fiction novel Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi.
Talked about on today’s show:
the great description, Audible.com, it’s a prison novel, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel, it’s a book collector’s novel, Philip K. Dick, a reality dysfunction, The Man In The High Castle, 1984 by George Orwell, “retconning“, Stalin, airbrushing history, a new Science Fiction idea!, Amazon’s Kindle, Mark Twain, “The Department Of Control”, J. Edgar Hoover, Simon is the most evil character ever, oddball individualists, a straw man gulag, one way of keeping the population in control is to send troublemakers away, another is to give them someone to hate, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, the Attica Prison riot (1971), Arabella Rashid, entertainment media, when you can’t tell what the truth is anymore it’s very easy to control people, maybe it’s an allegory for our times, Paperback Parade, SF writers were wrong about what our times are like, Mars, crime novels, Science Fiction as a metaphor, people are scared of reading, “I like good writing”, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, getting the word out about Mars Needs Books!, Gargoyle Nights, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance, horror, fantasy, nice and short, short books pack a punch (and don’t waste your time), Stephen King, Patrick O’Brian, ideas, paperback novels from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, customers want thick books, Winter In Maine by Gerard Donovan, were looking at a different readership today, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, there’s nothing that doesn’t add to the story, “Lawrence Block is scary good”, Donald E. Westlake, Robert Bloch, Eight Million Ways To Die, A Pair Of Recycled Jeans by Lawrence Block, Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), Charles Ardai (was on SFFaudio Podcast #090), book-collectors, Murder Of A Bookman by Gary Lovisi (is also on Audible.com), collectable glassware, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, cool dialogue, Driving Hell’s Highway by Gary Lovisi (also on Audible.com), That Hell-bound Train by Robert Bloch, noir, Violence Is The Only Solution by Gary Lovisi (paperback), hard-boiled, revenge, betrayal, personality disorder, Sherlock Holmes, westerns, “if there’s one truth in the universe that I know it’s that Germans love westerns”, which frontier are you talking about?, The Wild Bunch, a western with tommyguns, Akira Kurosawa, Outland (is High Noon in space), Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, hard-boiled, violence, the Martian national anthem, Prometheus Award, libertarian motifs, world-building, GryphonBooks.com, Hurricane Sandy, Wildside Press, POD Books, eBooks, fire and water, that paperback is still in readable condition in 150 years?, fanzines, Jack Vance, The Dying Earth, Robert Silverberg, Dell Mapbacks, paperbacks were disposable, used bookstores, sex books.
There’s a terrific radio drama series available via torrent over on RadioArchive.cc.
Broadcast late last year on BBC Radio 4, December 17 – 21, 2012, Modesty Blaise: A Taste For Death is truly lovely listening!
I listened to the entire five part serial two or three times. That’s something I rarely do. Yet even after multiple listens this program has left me wanting more.
Blaise, as voiced by Daphne Alexander, is a confident, mysterious, and thoughtful secret agent. The supporting cast is top shelf, as is the sound design, editing, and music. This show is unmissably great.
In tone it’s probably not what you expect, being more of a cozy version of The Sandbaggers than a feminized James Bond. Not campy, exactly, as it is far too reverent for that.
Indeed, this particular adventure features far more than just 007 style espionage, romance, and action – it features friendship, teamwork, kindness, thoughtfulness, and a light-handed touch.
Best of all the producers aren’t at all above teasing the audience – the very first sounds from episode one are a total tease!
I love it.
Also cool, Modesty Blaise: A Taste For Death seems to be set in the period the novel of the same name was written (1969). Blaise, a child escapee from a WWII era displaced person camp, drives a “Jensen” (in my mind it’s a Jensen Interceptor).
Here’s the description from RA.cc:
She’s glamorous, intelligent, rich and very, very cool. Modesty Blaise has been called the female James Bond but she’s much more interesting than that. With her expertise in martial arts and unusual weapons, the ability to speak several languages and her liking for fast cars, twenty-something Modesty became a female icon long before the likes of Emma Peel, Lara Croft, or Buffy.
In Stef Penney’s brand new radio adaptation of Peter O’Donnell’s novel, Sir Gerald Tarrant, Head of a secret British agency, tempts Modesty out of retirement and into a job involving a young woman with extra sensory powers, an exotic desert location, and a larger than life public school villain, intent on murdering his way to a vast fortune. With its perfect cocktail of glamorous settings, hidden treasure, a twisting turning plot, and characters to root for, A Taste for Death is an action packed treat – and a guilty pleasure.
With an original score by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, arranged by Ian Gardiner, and performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Ben Foster.
Modesty Blaise ….. Daphne Alexander
Willie Garvin ….. Carl Prekopp
Sir Gerald Tarrant ….. Alun Armstrong
Simon Delicata ….. Sam Dale
Steve Collier ….. Geoffrey Streatfeild
Dinah Pilgrim ….. Samantha Dakin
McWhirter ….. Alex Fearns
Skeet Lowry ….. Jeff Mash
Sir Howard Presteign ….. Nigel Anthony
Everett F. Bleiler, in Science Fiction, The Early Years, described The Diamond Maker as a tale of “science fiction by implication” – but there’s another way of looking at it too. You could argue that it’s just the story of an unsuccessful heel grifter, with a tall tale and a gaffed prop, who puts on the Send.
I like it either way.
The Diamond Maker
By H.G. Wells; Read by Jerome Lawsen
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 25, 2008
First published in the Pall Mall Budget, August 16, 1894.
The Diamond Maker
By H.G. Wells; Read by Sean Puckett
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Voices In The Dark
Published: 2004/2005 After a long day’s work, our narrator meets a beggar while contemplating the peacefulness of the river embankment. First published in the Pall Mall Budget, August 16, 1894.
Here’s a |PDF| made from the story’s appearance in Science Wonder Stories, June 1929.