Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #134

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Tyger by William Blake.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

The Tyger was first published in Songs Of Innocence, 1826.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #488 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, Bryan Alexander, and Will talk about Dune: Book III “The Prophet” by Frank Herbert aka the third third of Dune.

Talked about on today’s show:
1965, The Santaroga Barrier, El Santos!, Luke Burrage, the worst part of the book, good stuff in here, amazing, stupendous, and really good, not spectacular, the most spectacular, man to man, a knife fight, the sparkling knife fights of conversation, reading the books for the action, an idea person, heavy on the ideas, the setup, the culmination, splayed out, family atomics, Paul’s analysis, which baby to never see again, it isn’t a Dune problem it’s an every book problem, who wants answers?, Herbert’s answers, it can’t exist without the other two, the only movie we should ever talk about, the scenes, the dialogue is all there, what’s missing, there’s a gun that doesn’t go off, very strange, the gun of Count Fenring, denouement, a friend of an emperor, Fenring vs. Paul, “Count Fenring: A Profile”, within his capabilities, not about Paul, this is Count Fenring’s book, this guy’s the one guy that’s never been in my vision, a lot of promise, what kind of power is it going to be?, the power of invisibility, Kwisatz Haderach, Jesse’s twitter profile, who Jesse modeled himself after, I don’t want that mantle, about the accretion of power, why Dune Messiah is such a fantastic book, private language, they did seduce Feyd, the Imperium beyond the Harkonnens, Russian Czar’s abdication, even if Fenring could defeat and kill Paul it wouldn’t stop anything, tapping into the collective consciousness, a Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Handerson quadrology, no attempt has ever been completed, walking wounded, sterile, a could-have-been, a powerless eunuch, forty or fifty pages where Paul isn’t mentioned, worldbuilding, Leto II, Alia lives, seeing all ends, the surfer on the wave, a lot of smart folks anticipating, the flags, C.H.O.A.M. or U.N., does that mean the bombs don’t hurt?, cover, saves the emperor’s life, a beautiful cruel joke, to reign in Hell, soft and wonderful, straight from the Iliad, too comfortable, from their decadence, a callback to the Trojan War, rest and pay taxes, Ottoman Janissaries, going crazy without a purpose, all the what ifs, suppose Paul dies, kill the rest of the universe, a tyrannical genocide, let’s go conquer the galaxy, destroy the spice, galactic civilization collapses, interstellar society, the best possible outcome, a Boethian decision, Book II, parallel structure, ooh I’m smart, happy birthday, it makes you feel like a supergenius, plans within plans feints within feints, combat to the death, another parallel, Feyd tries to take the Baron’s position, Thufir’s blindside, the Baron is so lovably evil (and competent), make Arrakis great again?, gluttonous lust, the slaveboy with a posion stinger in his thigh, let Feyd think that I saw it myself, actually I’m the smart one, Nefud, you still need me, I’m going to show you still need me, I’m going to remember this, the next scene that we never see, killing his harem, to take his punishment, Alia sting, Stilgar’s challenge for Paul’s leadership, should I cut off my right arm, so well highlighted, a fear-power relationship vs. a love-power relationship, the Baron hates truthsayers, the Bush administration, it could be true that’s good enough, truth means nothing, for the sake of tradition, ride the maker, this idea of history or necessity, bought a Bene Gesserit, you pay for that Amazon Echo dot but Amazon should be paying you, you know my tastes, I’m totally gay, the straight up interpretation, I don’t want them spying on me and manipulating me, on the Kinsey scale, other ways of getting semen, one would be valuable for…, advice, I trust them not, changing the subject, when Thufir has a fight with the Baron, there are things that you don’t need to know, Salusa Secundus, that tiny little fact (that the Baron wanted to turn the Arrakis into a prison planet), you fucked up, Rabban has to be cut off, the whole of the missing years, at least three years, the toddler, to save himself from the emperor, how the sardaukar are created, a spare heir, acting instinctually smartly, a political calculation that saves the Emperor’s life, to tame Thufir Hawat, making all the right chess moves, the Baron’s fate is not as forseeable, Baron Harkonnen did nothing wrong!, shall I dispatch her now Emperor, a victory for her brother, the revenge, kills her own grandfather, justice, this poor Baron, still ends up dead, a brilliance to this, easy to dismiss, everybody here is a monster, you should be afraid of Paul, Gurney gets an Earldom, and every surviving Atredies gets a title, Baronets all over the place, massive reward, this victory, the prophet Mohamed, all the Muslim lands, satrapys, Alexander the Great, Leopold II, plundering Africa, squeezing and squeezing, always a touch of the calculated, not from the heart, wanting everyone loyal, I NEED him, he’s a tool, forget the equipment, we need men now, like in the first book, shortly thereafter, not what the old Atredies would have done, regretting the loss of the equipment, the men vs. the equipment, nicely balanced parallel, the appeal of Paul, one of many many games, a fantastic power fantasy, Slan, the X-Men, Kyle MacLachlan, master of the universe, age 14, Achilles was 17 in the Iliad, cheeks too full for the desert, seductive, quietly undermining, if Aragorn was the main character in The Lord Of The Rings, Voltaire, tend your own garden, Irulan, how cruel Paul is to Irulan, I’m gonna treat her so bad baby!, Irulan plotting to kill Paul, the ultimate internal question, religion and politics in the same cart, the ultimate power fantasy for Paul, this quote is fantastic, treating Herbert as non-fiction, the Amish, that orthodox effort, that moment of peace for Paul and Chani, quiet hypocrisy, “terrible purpose” is repeated 23 times, another change, feeling it, a nice lady who has a little test for a little boy, the heat and pain pile, an iconic scene for all of science fiction, I see the truth of it, explosion of realization in the mental sphere, a drug book, Gaius Helen Mohiam appears like a witch, kind of kind, wench poured my water, her apprentice, you disobeyed your orders, until she shows up here at the end, how is she depicted, this child is an abomination!, is it TP? telepathy?, just like when I was getting consciousness uploaded when I was a girl, is she wrong?, mom shouldn’t do drugs when she is pregnant, making the sacrifice, child genius, leading a regiment at age 3, she’s meant to be the bad guy, we’re supposed to recoil, the coming jihad, only a glimpse, the dark future, this desert power, addicted to oil, solar power, Dune solved, when they go too far, only spice powered, no solar, no wind, cutting-off avenues of caught, Jesse is not Elon Musk’s team, artificial intelligence, AI as a weapon, hippy dippy engineering sociologist anthropology guy, terraforming, this is about O.P.E.C., the Hudson’s Bay Company or the East India Company, his stock in CHOAM is forfeit, brutal indignity, title rich and money poor, the role of oil, Butlerian Jihad as a useful phrase, techlash, jihad is not a word that sells well today, biased data, accentuating inequalities, dreadful flavour, future history, Isaac Asimov’s future history, tinkering back towards that, cast away AIs, the decline of Empire, science as priesthoods, that last Cold War, Giving Up The Gun by Noel Perrin, banning crossbows, giving up nuclear stockpiles, blew their noses off, high technology and its opposite, star spanning starcraft and medieval style politics, how Marissa’s games match her audiobooks, Horizon Zero Dawn, a robot safari, retreating from technology, ruins are computer screens, going back to the Amish, Mennonites, weird policy, no electricity, airpower, blenders running on compressed air, technological policies, what are the ramifications of this technology, landline telephones, cellphone technology, Africa’s wired cellular wallets, digital currency based on cellphone credits, what technology will be useful, Canada’s participation in NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, WarGames (1983), nukes, we took the missiles but not the nuclear tips, Defense Minister and Prime Minster of Canada, advice on top secret stuff, managing treaties, political cost, being in NORAD, Iceland’s invasion during WWII, you can have your country back, a giant bully south of the border, obey the will of the giant country, John Diefenbaker, John F. Kennedy, what Syria is all about, the White Helmets, no giant surprise, an actual machine out there doing work, get on board or find a path through, the Bomarc Missile Crisis, the joint strike fighter debacle, if you look at the history of Canada in the right way, a positive force, Pierre Eliot Trudeau was paling around with Castro, a true image, Cuban doctors, plot machinations in the book mirroring a reality happening in the nows, mushrooms, more Marissa territory, hanging out with that worm, a coma for three weeks, some trip, time opening up, a sniff of a new drug, Feyd’s knife’s poison is transmuted, “poison” appears 117 times in Dune, chief poisoner, the Russian doping epidemic, bend over comrade, early on in book three, she took the coffee and sipped it, Frank Herbert’s at a rock concert, tripping out on the floor is transmuting, hot and delicious, room service, heaven for Jessica, she had thought of coffee and it had appeared, Tau, the subtle poison of the spice diet, enlightenment, their minds rejected what they could not encompass, more Slan, the guide, guided through the trip, Joe Rogan, taking the arrogance out of it, training, the etymology of psychedelic, psyche = soul/mind, delos = clarity/manifest, no mischaracterization, pattern recognition enhancement, seeming like a truth, the way the birds fly, “truth” is in the book 90 times, “pattern” comes up 48 times, the pre-spice mass, gathering up the magic mushrooms, a convenience, metaphorical, the power to destroy a thing is the power to control it, heavy shit, super-dark, science fiction genre history, partaking in jaspers, not the full-dune effect, amphetamines or coffee, town awareness, telepathy, drugs as a huge theme, stimulants, barefoot in the head, Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, 1980, super-anti drugs, an exponent of coffee, Neuromancer, case is strung out all the time, reflecting what was happening in the culture, his case officer, Armitage implants a drug neutralizer, the ultimate solution for Reagan, The Hellgramite Method, how Keith Moon of The Who died, suicide, how science fiction shifts, innerspace going from biological to cyberspace, dated in interesting ways, the role of gender, Planet Of The Apes (1963), where Paul rides the sandworm, making the models feel realistic and big, the worm as a dragon, the Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, much of madness more of sin, coffin worm of a dead world, a man making a steed out of a giant god, Reading, Short And Deep, Strange Exodus, gutted cosmic carcass, primal lust, humanity becomes a parasite, the image of man conquering death, it looks like a shot from Dune, a flea on a dog, the ecology, threatening a chain reaction, destroying all the oil like Saddam Huessein during the first Gulf War, not an atomic model, oil and drugs, Jessica’s power to transmute, a superhero story, Doc Savage stuff, if you’re anxious about your body, why Bryan doesn’t like the Lynch movie, minute operations, a weirding module defense in The Appendix show, that interior way, the women dare not look in that place, a place that women can’t go, the balance of the force, controlling the gender of their babies, controlling ovulation, super-yoga, a superpower, ultradiscipline, she didn’t seem to have an inner life, the women in here have huge inner lives, we spend a ton of time in Jessica’s mind, what’s going on in Paul’s mind, he becomes an enigma, the way Jordan Peterson talks about male and female minds, Jessica is a mom then she’s a reverend mom, Paul you do what’s good for you, is her mind expansion there a reflection, if men don’t have father figures, being raised by mothers alone, mothers want to protect their children, toughening, only giving into one instinct, having been tested, why the kwisatz haderach has to be male, the Y chromosome, how midwives are always women, midwives dudes, are male obstetricians uncool?, a caste based thing, training schools, Gurney even went to some school, the Suk school, training academies, he’s a mentat, who is the emperor’s mentat?, male domains and female domains, women’s roles and men’s roles, anthropological science fiction, traditional societies, strict gender roles, a remix of a medieval society, historical framework, Paul as the white savior, a male who solves a female problem, sexism, too easy, how powerful the role of Jessica is, Chani and Jessica and Alia, the brilliant one, the wise one, here too, there has to be a pattern, a version of Dune with Paula Atredies, Leta who bears a daughter, Grass by Sheri S. Tepper, if one was doing a university course on science fiction, one semester for each of Dune’s three books, an amazingly rich text, he’s the baddie, the subversion, from the fourteen year-old’s point of view, a wonderful adventure that makes you feel smart, over and over, a war book, a drug book, history, the Folio Society edition, Scott Lynch, Dracula, Bram Stoker, non of his other books are Dune level, The Dosadi Experiment, Whipping Star, Herbert is playing games of complexity and depth, Gene Wolfe, mind stretching, Samuel Delaney, a mental workout, an emotional workout, The White Plague, The Children Of Men, emotional destruction, taking story into all kinds of places, 159

The Sandworm Strikes - illustration by Ed J. Hannigan

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #133

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The King Of The Mazy May by Jack London.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The King Of The Mazy May was first published in Youth’s Companion, November 30, 1899.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #487 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding September to December 1957, a juvenile, Julie’s favourite Heinlein, Starship Troopers, really subtle, themes!, the prison on the moon, “I’m tired of being told your philosophy”, reconsidering, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, the computer, it’s on THE MOON!, so good, lectures, Maissa’s first time, Glory Road, crazy stuff, how gently, grossly obsessed, handled deftly, serialized, magazines back then, magazines suck today, magazines have been on the wane, the promise, so cool, not written for children, Double Star, looking up and remembering stuff, Heinlein’s worldbuilding, three major cultures, Jubulpur, the Free People, and Earth, the Hegemony, little drop ins, the planet of the squid people, reading into Earth’s history, launching his imagination, because of its alienness, what strikes you, the ride, all those incarnations, a blank slate, the unspoken premise, slavery, how free is anybody, deeply entrenched within the text, Jesse never sees themes, no themes, that word: “FREE”, and that was the freest time he had ever known, straight out of Kim by Rudyard Kipling, he ended it the same way, the thing that makes you free, I’m going to finish your work, the two priests and the monk and the military officer, his heirship, the Free Traders are the horse dealers of this world, thoroughly embedded in the culture that he’s in, the responsibilities grow, the ending section is boring and businessy, getting a handle, coming back to Pop, he would have joined the military again, reconstruct and deconstruct, reading every Heinlein book, maybe its these Dell books, reading a ton of Philip K. Dick, reading life or listening life, PKD characters are always talking about chamber music, writing those crazy books, being super-enthusiastic about it, in Heinlein’s books, his early reading influnced his own writing, really obvious, when Thorby gets on the Sisu, what Heinlein did when he was in the Navy, mechanical computers, exactly what his job was, classic who sunk my battleship, shooting nukes instead of canon, paralyzing beam, that esprit de corps, making it a family, we’re making it a matriarchy, the other thing he’s obsessed with is manners (in a way that no other author is), no normal decent person would, the gas-lighting grandparents, slavery in Canada, the underground railroad (was 30 years), between the American Revolution and the American Civil War, Oliver Wiswell, fleeing Tories, slaves in New France, it’s cold up there, slavery is still a reality, Libya’s slave market, Blackbirding, fruit plantations of the Pacific, indentured servitude for six years, Nate And Hayes (1983), an action adventures, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Tommy Lee Jones, non-Frakis, Suomi, the Finnish word for Finnish, they can’t see it, putting scabs on himself, getting pissed off, making slavery look ok, the whole theme, supporting fascism, chicken hawk politicians, a thoughtful book, guiding you like a teacher, being wise, heavy handed?, the movie of Starship Troopers is a parody of the Starship Troopers the book, militarism is something worthy of mockery, we gotta take it serious, every time he changes jobs and culture, a new kind of unfreedom, philosophical pacifist, pacifism in opposition to militarism, what Heinlein is always coming back to, the grandparents are a slave to the money, what’s going on with their ships?, did or do the grandparents know?, so removed, are they that dense, the uncle knows, a disagreement about the ending of the book, did the uncle set up the parents?, he is the baddie of the book, willing to do anything to keep his power, he clearly has a lot to hide, a yacht with three passengers and no cargo, this is the exact plot of Netflix’s Iron First, “hey white kids kung fu is cool!”, political correctness doesn’t care about facts or logic, Danny Rand’s return to the estate, somebody at Marvel read this book?, lawyer characters, its going to cost you a fortune!, words of wisdom, talking to an experienced mechanic, is he going to marry his cousin?, they’re on the path for it, the career he needs, a person cant run out on responsibility, being so devoted to freedom…, what do you mean by slavery, being under the whip, Paul is a slave of Christ, that wisdom from the anthropologist, she’s fantastic, fun stuff, when Baslam is dead, he’s shortened, his words come back, he literally comes back, and so does grandmother, “citizen”, mmmhhhm!, the Sargonese nine worlds, end slavery by other means, India, caste, “levels of responsibility”, let me tell you better than you know, I’ve got scars on my back, the value of an open mind, how big is this book, it feels huge, so well packed, it feels breezy, all one character’s POV (with a few exceptions), age 4 or 5 or 6 to 19 or 20, Baslam looks at the boy, a hunted animal, opinions or endorsements of former owners, Jesse is going to blow everyone’s mind, Sisu came into popular North American parlance during the Winter War, 300,000–340,000 vs. 425,000–760,000, 2,514–6,541 tanks vs. 32 tanks, 3,880 aircraft vs. 114 aircraft, the Soviet Union won WWII, 27 million Russians died in WWII, Sisu expresses their natural character, the word that explains Finland,

The Finns have something they call sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate sisu as “the Finnish spirit” but it is a much more gutful word than that. Last week the Finns gave the world a good example of sisu by carrying the war into Russian territory

how Thorby acts at the end, just sign this thing, end use license agreements and terms of service, implied interactions with Grandmother, a whole novel or novel series hidden within just that line, bringing him into the family, a puddle of blood formed on the deck, your blood is now in the steel, sympathetic magic, he was now part of the ship, seeing how this is lived out, why does Baslam buying Thorby?, unmutated earth ancestry, he needs an assistant, many other lots, the whip marks and the price, he is literally buying a slave, he threatens to manumit him, “don’t manumit me, pop!”, Virginia Heinlein never bore any children, fertility treatments, all they could do was practice, the Heinleins never adopted, these juvenile books express a longing, he’s always the old man, interesting transgender issues, I Will Fear No Evil, a Missouri military guy, a free thinker, our Glory Road show, Heinlein should be handed out to everybody, Heinlein would have been a great father, slaves purchased for sexual purposes, this could be creepy, it’s not creepy at all, he’s mother and father to the boy, a touching book, very maternal for a dude, Baslam’s motivation, for no more children to be like Thorby, all the little hungry Thorbys, the big picture, you turn into the uncle, Heinlein is really good at the big picture, philosophy, circumstance, here are their skeletons, he never makes sequels, we make the sequels in our own heads, Thorby’s escape, the uncle is the undoing of Thorby’s family, giant stories we build ourselves, loquacious or voluble, the standard Heinlein asshole character, running around Bombay, where’d you get that scarf?, “I inherited it.”, that lesson is paralleled, how to get Thorby’s identity, when Heinlein is in the military, make it happen anyways, those kinds of lessons, lecturing people about morality, why Heinlein why?, no particular action, we’ve been taught, he’s trying to protect the kid, stealing from the beggar bowl, the ripples that effect somebody else, a true story we see expanded upon with every new level that he hits, Heinlein is more subtle here than in his other books, Mother Shaum, is she a brothel owner?, a parallel to Kim, the only time he has a mother, advisor, grandmother, one big strange family, more of the behind the scenes development, the nice note, indicating vs. preaching, the People (the Finish fleet of Viking trading ships), super-rich, potlatch style, so much prestige!, amazing cool culture, they’re racists!, from the anthropologists POV, Captain Krause, eating the soup, so good, real science fiction, anthropological science fiction, their name means the people, we all understand each other, SFFaudio is the people for that, right here this is our little spaceship, the trading ground, at the gathering, Jesse’s gonna lay out his stuff on this grass, their ability to turn Fraki off, admonished immediately, raiding neighboring communities for slaves, a path to one of the group, not the chattel slavery at the beginning of the book, evil slavers, the hope that was held out, Julie also heard that In Our Time episode, American slavery, Roman slavery, the business model, expressing the cultures, examining it, there’s nobody more anti-slavery than Heinlein, that’s “problematic”, Baslam’s fight to stop slavery, the ghost that haunts the whole book, Rudbecks, a giant evil state corporation, slavery is preferable to genocide, prison industrial complex slavery, people start wars for slaves, a more pleasant vs. preferable alternative to genocide, integration was hated by a lot of white folks, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lincoln, a book about slavery that isn’t about American slavery, Paul I hope you’re listening, why everyone should be reading Heinlein, literal starships, a book about a concept and anthropology (not technology), my other father, the way to find justice is to be fair with other people and not care how they treat you, calm things down, the judges, the justices, draw nigh and ye shall be heard, a lot of witnesses, the uncle’s daughter was named Leda, does it mean anything in this context, his swan body, Thorby is The Ugly Duckling and so is Baslam, pure of heart, the book ends with Thorby picking up another father, just in a way that Baslam was just, Stranger In A Strange Land, a great fondness for one particular kind of lawyer, using the weapon of the law to get justice, another wonderful person to showcase, how fatherly, looking at some pretty girls, back to Kim, the same tiny family, a good book, here’s one, a good story is hard to find.

Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
Darrell K. Sweet illustration for CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #132

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Wow! by William Seabrook.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Wow! was first published in The Smart Set, January 1921.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #486 –The City Of The End Of Things by Archibald Lampman; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the poem (5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Prof. Eric S. Rabkin.

Talked about on today’s show:
Jesse goes crazy, this guy’s amazing!, unheard of, earlier and later weird poetry, Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot, the poems of Clark Ashton Smith, child prodigy out of California writes amazing poetry!, Hamilton, poetry without music isn’t mainstream anymore, rhyme and verbal invention, evolutionarily pro-adaptive, mate-getting and gene replication, fashion, Dr. Bowdler’s Legacy, Sir Walter Scott, immoral novels, flat-chested sexy women, enormously mammary sexy women, almost perfect rhyme and rhythm, doggerel, Alexander Pope, the Canadian Keats, romantic poetry, William Wordsworth, Archibald Lampman on twitter: @alampman, H.P. Lovecraft, almost Lovecraftian, cosmicism, a dream poem, A Thunderstorm, multi-valent meaning, depths, circles, 1894, multiple ways to understand,

BESIDE the pounding cataracts
Of midnight streams unknown to us,
’T is builded in the dismal tracts
And valleys huge of Tartarus.
Lurid and lofty and vast it seems;
It hath no rounded name that rings,
But I have heard it called in dreams
The City of the End of Things.

Its roofs and iron towers have grown
None knoweth how high within the night,
But in its murky streets far down
A flaming terrible and bright
Shakes all the stalking shadows there,
Across the walls, across the floors,
And shifts upon the upper air
From out a thousand furnace doors;
And all the while an awful sound
Keeps roaring on continually,
And crashes in the ceaseless round
Of a gigantic harmony.
Through its grim depths reëchoing,
And all its weary height of walls,
With measured roar and iron ring,
The inhuman music lifts and falls.
Where no thing rests and no man is,
And only fire and night hold sway,
The beat, the thunder, and the hiss
Cease not, and change not, night nor day.

lurid night, end of days, a Dying Earth story, an automated factory, a city at the end of time, post humanity, the end of things we have made, at the end of the concept of things (manufacture and industry), bursting with different ways of looking, a Canadian Shelley, “hail to thee blithe spirit”, Ozymandias, the works of man, creation, what does the first “of” mean, the telos of things, removing humanity, leafless vs. dismal, sonorous description, murky, flaming, what does this presage?, “wandering lonely as a cloud”, the creations of man persisting, leafless tracts, lands with no leaves, books without pages, making decisions, this is a fantasy or this is a science fiction, dreams as vision, genre distinctions, Edgar Allan Poe, Dreamland, “bottomless vales”, pastoral Gothic bound in human emotion, looking forward, shadows echoes, rings and rounded, the end of a cycle, a nadir, the end of a phase, the poem is the city, the poem becomes the city, “unknown to us”, fore and aft in time, adjective vs. adverb, multiple meanings, once we “see”, a derivative meaning of cataracts, waterfall, extraordinary! extraordinary!, referring to himself, putting in vs. allowing in, this city has no name, it hath no rounded name, “Megacity 422”, a sense of gears turning, verticality and depth, this could be a clock (except for all the fire), foundry factory, uninhabitable, seeing this as astronomy, the music of the spheres, an awful sound (full of awe for us), what is a rounded name? Bubbles, Radar, the fixed stars, wandering planets, the Earth, a sublunary place, in addition, none know it now, set in Hell, Tartarus, the “Titan Woods” in Dreamland, a place and a being, Chaos and Gaia, Hesiod, an area in Hades, defeated titans, imprisoned cyclopes, the Gold, Silver, Brass, and Iron ages, the heat death of the universe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an absent sun, the end of the industrial world, philosophical depths, how is a height weary?, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster, Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the hell of the mechanized underworld, and the garden above (until the night comes),

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

sunlights and blossoms, a dream interrupted, a river ringing the city of the end of things is Omega,

And moving at unheard commands,
The abysses and vast fires between,
Flit figures that, with clanking hands,
Obey a hideous routine.
They are not flesh, they are not bone,
They see not with the human eye,
And from their iron lips is blown
A dreadful and monotonous cry.
And whoso of our mortal race
Should find that city unaware,
Lean Death would smite him face to face,
And blanch him with its venomed air;
Or, caught by the terrific spell,
Each thread of memory snapped and cut,
His soul would shrivel, and its shell
Go rattling like an empty nut.

It was not always so, but once,
In days that no man thinks upon,
Fair voices echoed from its stones,
The light above it leaped and shone.
Once there were multitudes of men
That built that city in their pride,
Until its might was made, and then
They withered, age by age, and died;
And now of that prodigious race
Three only in an iron tower,
Set like carved idols face to face,
Remain the masters of its power;
And at the city gate a fourth,
Gigantic and with dreadful eyes,
Sits looking toward the lightless north,
Beyond the reach of memories:
Fast-rooted to the lurid floor,
A bulk that never moves a jot,
In his pale body dwells no more
Or mind or soul,—an idiot!

ITS ROBOTS!, Hephaestus, automaton owls, iron lips, warehouses, dump truck, the garbage truck, automated sounds, metaphorizing the pieces of the machine, exquisite control of language, imabic tetrameter, that empty nut, a prelapsarian time, the mechanized is ultimately the problem, mysterious, people built this city, now they’re dead except for three, Jesse’s illustration, a nightmare vision, the controllers of the city?, a fourth, Dreams Of Yith by Duane W. Rimel and H.P. Lovecraft, The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, the huge sentinel, an insane person (a nut case), vapid empty mindlessness, trapped in the iron tower, prisoners, The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul, the citizen who does not participate, the three and the one, we’ve done this to ourselves, human perfection as an oxymoron, mortal races, who did the setting?, an exclusion, the idiot remains,

But some time in the end those three
Shall perish and their hands be still,
And with the masters’ touch shall flee
Their incommunicable skill.
A stillness, absolute as death,
Along the slacking wheels shall lie,
And, flagging at a single breath,
The fires shall smoulder out and die.
The roar shall vanish at its height,
And over that tremendous town
The silence of eternal night
Shall gather close and settle down.
All its grim grandeur, tower and hall,
Shall be abandoned utterly,
And into rust and dust shall fall
From century to century.
Nor ever living thing shall grow,
Or trunk of tree or blade of grass;
No drop shall fall, no wind shall blow,
Nor sound of any foot shall pass.
Alone of its accurséd state
One thing the hand of Time shall spare,
For the grim Idiot at the gate
Is deathless and eternal there!

who is this grim idiot?, idiom, Time, Lean Death, playing VR games, are they the masters?, master’s, Voices Of Earth, the mechanism underneath everything, the physics underneath reality, if this is all metaphor…, emojis that look like you, emoticons, technology, part of the reason to have poetry: to communicate the incommunicable, “grim”, a haunting spirit, “the graveyard grims” giant spectral hounds that guarded cemeteries, the wheel, the Hell turns off, a science fiction poem, The Valley Of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe,

Once it smiled a silent dell
Where the people did not dwell;
They had gone unto the wars,
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay.
Now each visitor shall confess
The sad valley’s restlessness.
Nothing there is motionless —
Nothing save the airs that brood
Over the magic solitude.
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
That palpitate like the chill seas
Around the misty Hebrides!
Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
Uneasily, from morn till even,
Over the violets there that lie
In myriad types of the human eye —
Over three lilies there that wave
And weep above a nameless grave!
They wave: — from out their fragrant tops
Eternal dews come down in drops.
They weep: — from off their delicate stems
Perennial tears descend in gems.

Reading, Short And Deep, But who Can Replace A Man? by Brian Aldiss, a missing piece of the puzzle from the dialogue of science fiction and fantasy, City Of The Titans, City At The Edge Of Forever by Harlan Ellison, an anthology of Victorian verse, The Atlantic Monthly, March 1894, the praise of Lampman as a nature poet, The City by Ray Bradbury, inimical to man, There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury, Sara Teasdale’s There Will Come Soft Rains, WWI,

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

we are very dangerous for ourselves, a poet who should not be forgotten, the scholarship, so many layers, its marvelous, repeating words strategically, the theme being revealed, such a deep feeling for what it is that he’s about.

The City OF The End Of Things

Posted by Jesse Willis

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