The SFFaudio Podcast #474 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
Talked about on today’s show:
1963, 1964, better in memory?, horrible, so good, annoying, if you were to find these books in the public domain, editing out the annoying parts, Heinlein can’t help himself, re-reads, trying to focus on the good things, what huh?, what are you doing here, not quite proper, cross-universe stories, eternal jams, a sequel to Glory Road, Fate’s Trick by Mathew J. Castella, “A Crossroads Adventure”, a 14 book series, Robert Silverberg, Xanth, Majipoor, Jody Lynn Nye, Steven Brust, choose your own adventure books, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, as close to a choose your adventure as Heinlein came, Have Space Suit-Will Travel, Ellen Kushner, weird conclusions, TV Tropes is Wikipedia for tropes, a tribute novel, those books I read as a kid, Dagwood sandwich, good art, brain uploading, the egg, an African American protagonist?, the F&SF covers, Robin Hood-looking dude, surprise Filipino, Tunnel In The Sky, set in the then contemporary world, cultural assumptions, Oscar Gordon, no evidence for that in the book, have you got to the part with the realization yet?, the big surprise, the key scene in this novel, the opening quotation, George Bernard Shaw, his experience with the Dural customs and morality, author tract, the broader setting seems only to exist to praise the authors views, crappy dialogues, “I’m going to spank you”, somebody’s personal morality is tripped and triggered, obsession, its in every book, “I’m going to marry you…no we can’t get married” for 14 pages, losing control, Iowa to Colorado, the banality of Iowa, the first publication introduction, figure skater, cat-midwife, Isaac Asimov, Starship Soldier, an adventure story, a romance, other worlds – other manners, full of references, incredibly brilliant, wrong in so many ways, it’s not that I haven’t had sex with a married man’s wife under his own roof…, he wanted to be a wife-swapper, baked in so deeply, the whole universe of Nivea, Heinleinian fantasy land, the island in France, le minimum, nudism, he can’t help but talk about it all the time, nudity and nudity taboos, A Princess Of Mars, the conventions of American morality are wrong, freely given, “I’m a dirty tramp” every three pages, objectified and off-put at the thought of a spanking, a male fantasy novel written by a man who wanted to be a woman and be spanked, characters vs. speeches, a libertarian fantasy world, no need for police and taxes, Irish Sweepstakes, unsubtle digs, sad and ridiculous, silly empress stuff, royalty can work really well, Heinlein signed a document that was in favor of continuing the Vietnam War, until what time?, G.I. benefits, Singapore, Europe, hanging-out with hairy hippies, being spat upon, infantry, the U.S. Navy, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, a homeless Vet, questions his own sanity, visiting his parents, taking away the last two paragraphs, weird morality, misunderstanding what women want, sword spanking with specific swords, why am I being exposed to this, not so good with the flashing, Friday, more tightly controlled, a lot of time sitting around the castle, the actual adventure we get, dragons, the whole tower thing, a really good sword-fighting scene, all the references, who the swordsman (the never born) was Cyrano de Bergerac, it just so happens, good writing, Chapter 11 ends with a fateful scene, read the motto star, while we live let us live, again with the swords, jump high, another gate or doorway, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, intermittent mental illness, a green door, a wonderful fantasy world, a beautiful elven lady much older than himself, a doorway to another universe, the inspiration for all of these styles of story, he wishes that he was there, opens himself to the possibilities, just a deluded man, playing, so many stories of this ilk, hard going, Stranger In A Strange Land is lawyers talking about morality with ladies serving them coffee, the Eater of Souls, Carcassonne, fly to the Moon, the play, replete with references, the thuddingness of the third act, Silverlock by John Myers Myers, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, very swashbuckly, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the three women who want to bed him (the three bears), the horned ghosts, the horned goats, tilting at windmills, Don Quixote style, Neverwhere is how we got here, homeless and crazy, a roc’s egg, a likely wench, slow wings of the albatross, Prester John, eating the lotus in the land of always afternoon, the world sucks, a fantasy world for Heinlein, Neil Gaiman’s kinds of characters, the pixie girl, the blank Neil Gamian character, the funny character with a haircut, masturbatory, the kind of conflicts that Heinlein’s character have is a kind of horror, abused by his government, killing little brown brother, a sadder ending, connecting everything, the Heinlein Cinematic Universe should not exist, The Number Of The Beast, he thinks its cool, Jesse doesn’t care how many Manuel Garcia shows up in other books, not a fantasy novel, all the magic is math, “you don’t have the math yet, son”, the giant troll, a great scene, a pair of greasy hands, peak Heinlein efficiency, are you a coward?, brilliant, being manipulated for the better part of a decade, the scope, how many near Oscar Gordons are wandering the Earth, Rufo, as voiced by Bronson Pinchot, a funny sidekick, I invented it!, giving Eisenhauer advice on D-Day, the structure feels identical (to Neverwhere), tested at Blackfriars station, a psycho-ward, lederhosen and an aloha shirt and nothing else, ugly Americans, screw the draft, so wise, democracy is foolish, apply that to foreign policy, we made our commitments, national glory, honour and glory, we screwed up, you break it you bought it, more wasted lives, the longest war in American history, taking over the French fuck-up, not a book of wisdom, a book of adventure, so good when he’s good and so terrible when he’s terrible, working it out in his own head?, he loves his country so much, very progressive in strange ways, not racist, looking at a mirror too much, looking at it as a libertarian book, frustrating, oh god!, once the adventure is over, sentence by sentence writing, a mistake, visiting a barony, guests and heroes, Edgar Allan Poe, Casey At The Bat, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, why?, because!, fixing that mistake, sleeping with women, what is necessary in one world, wherever Heinlein’s character’s wander, same sex relations, a little lesbianism, no offers of young men, more universes under her belt, a running unfunny joke, earlier Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, Philip K. Dick, questionable morality, cheating, bows and swords, lady’s got her eggs frozen (for later decanting), wacky stuff, fertility clinics, every book, Podkanyne Of Mars, interested in fertility, fertility treatments in the mid 20th century, something that ate at him?, “I’m sterile”, “I’m going to have your baby”, “does that make me a minx? does that make me a bitch?” why are we doing this to the listener, Mythgard Academy shouldn’t do Heinlein, hurts peoples brains, birth control, women must be putting out all the time, yours is the weird universe, for such a brilliant guy, the ridiculous false-conflict conversations are almost unbearable, forgetting about the stuff, rationalizing, read him when you’re young, the problematic stupid and clunky, Heinlein is in decline, the Coode Street Podcast, bookstores don’t carry older stuff anymore, for the best?, Maureen Speller, studying Heinlein, University Of Illinois Press, what about the juveniles?, the YA, better YA being written, “less problematic”, a lot of great protagonist storytelling with capital S capital F SCIENCE FICTION, Isaac Asimov, Rocketship Galileo, the science fiction mindset, playing a game of Science Fiction, Mr. Science Fiction, Heinlein’s not doing allegory ever, hard SF, “here’s how rocketships work, boys”, if people don’t read Moon Is A Harsh Mistress the world is a much worse place, Heinlein is great!, what makes somebody worth talking to is they’ve read a lot of books, The Hunger Games is okay but Tunnel In The Sky is better, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, recycling characters, Heinlein has something really special, maybe there’s other books out there for me, Heinlein really knows how to convey a certain 1950s mindset that “SCIENCE IS REALLY IMPORTANT”, engineering students, breaking out the slide-rule, the Popular Mechanics style of can-do-ism, a not user repairable world, helping you as a person, the danger of Dungeons & Dragons, critical in all sorts of areas, tributes to Heinlein, there’s something about him and his mindset, a I Love Heinlein show, somehow irrelevant, deep dive into genre history, thirty years and forty years after publication, reading a book, that’s not how people read books anymore, cultural transmission, peer generation vs. top down generation, popular, a good old fashioned marketing campaign, Harry Potter, the epitome and ur example, what kid’s going to pick up Starman Jones?, that’s not marketing, we made a lot of money selling those books, a bottom up, will you in thirty years, Harry Potter ultimately nothing like Heinlein, within the set-up, however it works, spending time on Mars, he’s interested in that, The Expanse novels, Jesse’s not going to read them, anti-gravity, Ian Macdonald’s Luna: New Moon, Artemis by Andy Weir, Luke Burrage’s review, if you want to understand what life on the Moon’s like, digging those tunnels, Gentlemen, Be Seated, let’s explore and see what is consequent, that’s wrong and Heinlein is the one who taught Jesse that, historical perspective, not the best move, not reflective of the field, Anne Of Green Gables, fantasy novels are generally timeless, science fiction (when it ages), what the heck is this?, a theoretical?, James Davis Nicoll, no good way to feel your way into it, The Lord Of The Rings, why are there no girls in this book?, most people who are real readers are real weirdos, the only reason Paul and Jesse met, omnivorous and fast vs. slow and ponderous, most of Jesse’s student’s don’t read anything, a worse person without Heinlein, if they were public domain, the power of Lovecraft, everybody who read his stuff at the time H.P. Lovecraft was alive loved his stuff, this is stuff you should bounce off harder than anything, the vocabulary and the racism, a massive decline in Heinlein’s stuff, some corporation, there’s no champion for Heinlein, wonderful and terrible, getting a copy, Jesse has never seen a Kindle in real life, a great and terrible novel, in ten years, so many good scenes!
The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens
Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:
Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.
dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:
“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”
the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.
Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 2, 1: The Reign Of The Robots, 2: Operation Saturn, and 3: Prisoners Of Space
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: April 2017
Dan Dare: Where Space and Opera Meet To Sing
Is there evil in the universe? Yes. Are there tyrants who take great pleasure in enslaving the human race simply to gratify their unquenchable ego? Yes. Is there any hope for this small blue planet where none but the barest few have any idea of the dastardly dangers all around? Absolutely!
All is right with the twenty first century because Dan Dare and his cohorts, Professor Peabody and Digby are out roaming our solar system, vigilantly keeping villainy and tyranny at bay.
Having defeated the evil Mekon at the end of Season One, Volume One, Dan Dare and his crew are finally able to return home after using the transporter to rid themselves of an alien Armageddon virus.
The first problem that besets them at the beginning of Volume Two is a small issue with the return trip through the transporter that lands them ten years into the future. The bigger problem is that Earth has been enslaved by an army of ruthless robots in, The Reign Of The Robots.
A rollicking space faring adventure of daring do and evil don’t sails on through Operation Saturn and Prisoners Of Space.
Dan Dare is an audio drama of old where the good guy is good through and through, and nasty bigheaded megalomaniacs are rotten to their evil cores. But wait, there’s a back-story running in the undercurrent. This world isn’t quite as black and white as it seems.
A beautiful mix of nostalgia with references to coal-fed engines, and forward-ho, with a ship that can whisk the crew off to Saturn in minutes flat, Dan Dare is perfectly situated in the now. And that now is a science fiction gem with classic lines like, “Resist and you will die” and the quintessential, “Take me to your leader.”
The cast is wonderful throughout and the whole thing is brought to life with a thoroughly engaging, immersive soundscape designed by Wilfredo Acosta.
I was not familiar with the Dan Dare comics before listening to the series, but when I heard, “Colonel Dan Dare! But you were dead!” Followed by, “Only delayed,” I learned everything I needed to know.
Strap on your jet pack if you have. Adventure awaits.
THE REIGN OF THE ROBOTS
Dan Dare and his crew finally return to Earth. Landing in central London, they find the city deserted – or that’s how it seems at first. But soon Dare faces an army of ruthless machines, robots who have conquered the planet and placed the surviving humans in slave camps. The robots are too powerful and too numerous to be resisted, and their invasion is complete. With limited resources, Dare, Digby and Peabody face their greatest challenge yet – to liberate planet Earth. But the task becomes more desperate than ever when Dan discovers the alien force behind the robot invasion…
As work begins to rebuild planet Earth after the devastation of the robot invasion, Dare and his friends in Space Fleet remain vigilant, certain that it is only a matter of time before the Mekon launches a fresh attack. When the wreck of the Nautilus – an experimental ship lost over a decade before – appears in orbit of the moon, Dare, Digby and Peabody are sent to investigate. They find the ship and its crew were destroyed by advanced alien weapons. All clues lead them to Saturn’s moons. With Earth still vulnerable our heroes must journey to an unknown world – to discover who sent the Nautilus back, not realising that for once the source of their latest conflict comes from a lot closer to home. Not all would-be conquerors of planet Earth are alien…
PRISONERS OF SPACE
After a sequence of near non-stop adventures Dare, Digby and Peabody find themselves in a strange limbo of paranoid calm. Whilst there’s been no sign of the Mekon anywhere in the solar system, Dare is certain Earth hasn’t seen the last of the evil alien. Mysterious spaceship disappearances near Venus, an Academy student accidentally launching a prototype new spacecraft, and a floating prison cell in space… reveal themselves as all part of the Mekon’s latest plan to defeat his archenemy Dan Dare once and for all. The first season of Dan Dare concludes with daring space action, fearless heroics and the revelation of devastating secrets concerning Space Fleet…
Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 1, 1: Voyage To Venus, 2: The Red Moon Mystery, and 3: Marooned On Mercury
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: January 2017
Three audio adventures based on the Eagle comic strip “Dan Dare” created by Rev. Marcus Morris, adapted and drawn by Frank Hampson.
Brilliant test pilot, Dan Dare, is chosen to fly the Anastasia – a new experimental
spacecraft – on its maiden voyage to Venus. This isn’t exploration – it is to make first
contact with a mysterious civilisation that has sent technological secrets as a goodwill
gesture. However, what Dan, Digby and Professor Peabody find on Venus isn’t
goodwill, but a terrifyingly intelligent, cold-hearted ruler, the Mekon. A creature
destined to become Dan Dare’s nemesis – and Earth’s greatest threat…
Unable to return to Earth, Dan Dare and the crew of the Anastasia head to the
desolate planet Mars, where Dan’s estranged Uncle Ivor is part of a research team
working on a top-secret archaeological dig; but when they find the base wrecked and
the scientists missing, Dare, Digby and Professor Peabody soon discover that the Red
Planet is not nearly as dead as everyone thought and that Ivor’s expedition has
woken an army of deadly insect-creatures that threaten to swarm and engulf the
Earth… Dare must stop the aliens, but can he really resort to genocide in order to
save the human race?
When a distress call summons the crew of the Anastasia to the burning wilderness of
Mercury, they are reunited with their old ally, Sondar. He tells them of the
beleaguered Mercurians who are held in thrall to a cruel new taskmaster – the
Mekon! The exiled Mekon is rallying his forces, plotting a desperate revenge against
his former homeworld of Venus and his hated enemy, Colonel Dan Dare!
It had been quite some time since I’d heard much about Dan Dare, at least twenty or more years until the classic comic character’s adventures were rebooted by ace author Garth Ennis in 2009 for Dynamite Comics. I was glad to hear that B7 Media, those folks responsible for the terrific Blake’s 7 adventures from a few years back have revived the man with the iconic name: Dan Dare.
Taking advantage of the audio drama format, these three new Big Finish Dan Dare adventures are truly terrific entertainment. They’re modern boy’s own-style space adventures, a kind of unapologetically forthright solar space opera, and starring no less a figure than Britain’s most iconic test pilot turned space adventurer, Dan Dare. For those unfamiliar, Dan Dare is one of those lapping-over delights from the end of the British Empire days, an ever just so slightly alien import – like the Rupert Bear books, or Captain Britain, or even Judge Dredd – and as delightful as a tin full of Turkish delight!
It is hard for me to review audio drama the same way I review audiobooks. I listen to audio drama at night with my eyes closed just as I’m drifting off into Dreamland. This means if I want to review them, I must re-listen to the shows over and over in order to get all my facts straight (that I love to is a side benefit). I need to know exactly what’s in the show itself, and what I only dreamed was in the show. And in my nightly re-listening for two weeks, I must say that all three episodes are really terrific – professional – solid work – as good as you would want them to be. Even with three different writing teams for three episodes and the fact that the three shows are mapped to three storylines from the very inception of Dan Dare, there’s very little for me to complain about. If you pushed me, really pushed me for some hard critiques of the shows as a whole I could come up with a few pitiful ones. I’d say, maybe, that the actors for Digby and Dan have voices just a bit too similar to each other, that maybe the personality of Professor Peabody – going from a hard-ass corporate profiteer to a stalwart champion of the undertrodden is a bit quick. But I really cannot complain. I got two wonderful weeks of nightly entertainment from these three episodes; each combining some of the very best elements of some of my favourite adventures into three all new shows. I’m telling you, if you like stories like The Empire Strikes Back, or Metropolis, or DOOM, or Aliens you’ll certainly love these new Dan Dare adventures.
Now, twist my arm just a bit more and I’ll tell you a secret… oh yes, I loved the first and second episodes, but that third episode, with those wonderful sympathetic Mercurians… it is my favourite.
Some fun, fast facts comparing Dan Dare in 1950 and Dan Dare in 2017.
-In the original comic strip Digby was Dan’s batman (his gentleman’s gentleman), not so in 2017.
-In the 2017 audio drama, Dan Dare is a vlogger!
-In 2017, Dan Dare’s dad is in hospital, in what sounds like a coma, and he regularly visits him (as does Digby).
-Professor Peabody was a professor in 1950 and still is a professor in 2017.
-The 2017 Dan Dare is set in the 2040s, the 1950s Dan Dare was set in the 1990s.
-In the 1950 Dan Dare “Eagle” was the name of the magazine where Dan Dare appeared, in 2017 “Eagle” is the name of the corporation that built Dare’s spaceship.
-And, the 2017 Dan Dare uses the medium of audio drama (or radio drama) as part of the plot.