The SFFaudio Podcast #579 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #579 – The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake; read by Winston Tharp (for LibriVox.org). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (38 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, October 1961, a very good issue, Cordwainer Smith, Frederik Pohl, Fritz Leiber, Frank Herbert, Robert Bloch, Jack Sharkey, Willy Ley, a lot of engineering and planning, I love Westlake’s writing so much, reach out and kiss you, the first paragraph, that put the roof on the city, Eric S. Rabkin, “transformed language”, transforming an idiom for a science fiction setting, the opposite of Poe or Lovecraft, ornate, dense, oblique, frothy, characterization, perfect voice for it, he was dangerously insane, including my date with my girl, a post-apocalyptic dystopia that ends on a very sour note (for the reader), a nice trick he pulled, he gets over it very easily, cleavage girls, contract marriages, no-p (no progeny), p and not p, natural deductive and axiomatic logic, math for sentences and paragraphs, useless and yet…, an underlying current that’s rather deep, Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth, The Defenders, leadies vs. ore-sleds, a retelling of the myth of the cave from Plato’s Republic, a metaphor for having conversations with people, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the mentality of the people, The Ax by Donald Westlake, a very funny sad scary book, very political, it wouldn’t have felt political at the time, artifacts, the massive trope or overpopulation, arcology, a condo, the projects, the justification for why would be reading a crime novel, he quit science fiction, Xero (magazine), very true of most science fiction writers, Joe Haldeman cant make a living at it, a sad reality of the industry, solid ideas, from a very different angle, Wool by Hugh Howey, mainstream science fiction with this wonderful aspect, Robert Sheckley, he’s poking fun at everything all along the way, delights in enjoying how ridiculous life is, makes kids enjoy science fiction, a great infodump on page 183, it flows just beautiful, a nation 200 hundred stories high, occasional spies, external dangerous lurking at the back of our minds, the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war, irony and humour, treated to such flowy goodness, the whole story’s greatness, you could make this as a student film, three or four actors, so good, an efficeny of science fiction, a real shame he quit science fiction, Doctor Killybilly, William = strength and protector, why did they do this?, our judo flipping instructor, where the outside is unknown and secretly not bad, Logan’s Run, the Fallout games, High-Rise by J.G. Ballard, The Luckiest Man In Denv by C.M. Kornbluth, why are the Russian oligarchs so much work than the Bloomberg oligarchs, can it be explained, circular, imaginary enemies, WWI (the ignoble nobleman’s war), The Westlake Review blog, WWII (the racial non-racial war), WWIII (the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war), tactical nuclear weapons, MacArthur, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, good strategy, your focus narrows, situational awareness, tunnel vision, engaged with a twitter thread, this happens to countries (not just people), they found his car, the army men, kind of incompetent, aiming the elevator at the army, starve-em-out, Edmund Rice, the right focus, his apartment is falling apart, the window doesn’t work, his single egg, rationing, chicory coffee, he cant imagine a different life, at the bottom of the apartment building, slag, it dumping of their ore car slag, piling up, if this goes on they will be buried, Idiocracy (2006), Javelin missiles sent to Ukraine, attacking Trump from the right (instead of the left), making more nukes?, if we have WWIII it will be stupid, howitzer line of sight nukes, they did it on purpose, somebody is lying, West End Games’ RPG Paranoia, it’s cool to think about, page 193, terror, horror, dizziness, do you see that green?, the power of suggestion, agoraphobia, The Caves Of Steel, his girlfriend, so obsessively worried about punctuality, PTSD, ore-sleds are just like people?, they have so little, they focus on the tiniest things, get Jesse hiking more, kidnap victims, Stockholm Syndrome for a whole nation, he’s like Canada, the sky isn’t falling, he’s a humanitarian, a dangerous criminal, an illegal immigrant, he puts us in the situation right with the guy, page 179, that horrible egg, gaspingly transparent window, its better to look inward, a whimsical approach, a romantic approach, I can’t live without you at the moment, will you be provisionally mine?, I’m going to be needing a wife for at least a year or two, I moved like a whirlwind, that was wrestling, that was judo, that was karate, he just killed the guy who was trying to help him, Paul plugs a book: Mazes Of Power by Juliette Wade, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, three extra zeros, advertising for coffins, a prospector wanders out of the New Mexican desert, humans are complete asses, under the roof, she refused at length and descriptively, any number of girls, I was a hero, they even gave me a medal, not licensed for progeny, this is our reality, living in bubbles, elaborate defenses, that’s what this is really good at, what’s going in the sixties, what its for, its about the psychology of our own human silliness, delightfully frothy, that first giant step, man got a hotfoot, he ran back with the tale between his legs, Neil Armstrong, images of flame, page 189, you’ve crawled into your caves, a well appointed cave, Outside, the same thing, always the same stupidity, the long slow painful creep of progress, a lot longer than it took to go right back into the cave again, how long people had without useful technologies, the cave is a metaphor for your set of beliefs, cut out the information coming from the outside, he wants to eat the fake news, he’s blocking people on twitter, you’re cancelled, cancer culture, once you start blocking…, he thinks what he hears in the building, what the army tells them, radiation proof cars, why should we?, don’t you ever wanna look at that guy’s voting record?, cutting off, dis-empowering yourself, you’re walking into the slaughterhouse, don’t listen to him, feels like there’s very little here, just another science fiction story, substantial power, if it were novel length, that experience, The Defenders is the same story from another point of view, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, eggs, don’t shill for Instant Pot until they sponsor the podcast, the free range ones, orange yolks, you can taste the difference, a sad thought, that’s your allotment, the staircase, using the staircase is a transgressive act, do you need a stairway in a mausoleum, by 2000 everybody lived in projects, his grandparents?, three generations?, distorted stories, the history lesson, the old folks home, genetically unsuitable, what makes him unsuitable?, do you want to breed smarter people, suggested by the story but not in the story, we see two of them, the number of actors you need: two guys and a lady who comes in on skype, a tight dystopia, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, co-opted, Westlake was a Manhattanite, New York as a horizontal arcology, the El or the subway, you can walk three blocks, rush hour, you have ruined my life, the spy is a little more reliable, bad for you, a monster behind that dumpster, the big Donald Westlake hits, The Risk Profession, LibriVox, space insurance, the two sides of Westlake, oh man, situational jokeyness, the Dortmunder books, The Hook, Memory, Charles Ardai, Christa Faust’s Money Shot, like Kill Bill, Hard Case Crime, at least sixty novels, Anarchaos, a very slim volume, so many good books, Somebody Owes Me Money, a crime syndicate, wherever he takes you on a journey, still fun, he still makes it work somehow, so funny with his characterization, Greg Bear is the opposite of Donald Westlake, we build the whole thing, you don’t leave him for a second, the way Shakespeare was gifted, a massive loss for Science Fiction, Smoke, endlessly silly ideas beautifully demonstrated, how many movies are made out of Westlake’s stuff, foreign homages, 41 credits as a writer, The Hot Rock, The Grifters, Payback, Jimmy The Kid, Diff’rent Strokes, A Slight Case Of Murder, James Cromwell as the detective, Cops And Robbers, Point Blank, Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, he’s king of like Stephen King, Stephen King loves Westlake, Richard Bachman is named after Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Magnum, P.I., a crisp clear writer, Lawrence Block, fifteen years of great reading.

The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #553 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #543 – The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens; read by Josh Roseman.

This unabridged reading of the story (51 minutes) comes to us from the Protecting Project Pulp podcast is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Terence Blake and Fred Heimbaugh

Talked about on today’s show:
Argosy, July 5, 1919, Fantastic Novels, Virgil Finlay, elvish or trappy, a fizzy wine, the colour of the wine is golden, yellow, gold, fin de sicile, The King In Yellow, the 1890s is yellow, the Yellow Peril, Yellow Journalism, the Gilded Age, yellow road, yellow mud, white robe, honeysuckle, very image based, the blue of her scarf, her brother is Elfo?, the invitation, white and silver, signifies for the opening and the closing scenes, the effect of the nested narratives, an outer outer outer narrator (Francis Stevens), old wives’ tales, recrudescence, related by a well known specialist in nervous diseases, the doubling or tripling, Dr. Locke?, prescription for me?, Wharton is the inner narrator, Theron Tademus, a listener, a comedy?, why don’t you read this to me?, Locke is a fool!, I don’t need to hear any more of this, the best part is coming up, a sex story, pretty chaste, two roads diverged, the negro caretaker, a yellow track and the other goes to Carcassonne, a Carolina mountain road, a confusion in his own mind, the gypsy camp vs. the artist’s camp, a tripling of reality, two Reading, Short And Deep podcast, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, The Rutted Road by H.P. Lovecraft, a very sly and sneaking poem, written for a friend, walking tours of England, the power of a poem, everybody has Fred’s take, everybody else doesn’t understand it, being playful, close to the message of The Elf Trap, he met death (or something), his physical form is destroyed, very Lovecraftian in the non-tentacled way, Celephaïs, The White Ship, happy or sad ending?, happy in the way people joining a cult are happy, evil or good or other, categories that can truly escape the good evil polarities, a valedictorian speech, I took the harder path, me looking down my nose at the snobs, career choices, very meta, more gloomy, Terence has heard the podcast on it, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, 1820, Marissa is excluded, a gender queer fluid, they’re elves, that line from Aliens (1986) about Arcturian poontang, John Waterhouse, an interesting name, the best social interaction he’s ever had, so striking how, racist sounding, a bit of a dick, ripe for the picking, science vs. romanticism, he’s a microscopist (a cytologist), setting you up, life and feeling and warmth, science is basically a dead bug pinned to a card with a latin inscription underneath it, the limitations and the ugliness, the blindness of his scientific vision, the simplest interpretation, there’s a trap, the iron trap vs. the silver trap, it can re-get ya, a community, crafts (vs arts), a bit of fun, bringing an easel on a manhunt, hilarious, he could have been taken away by either group, the “rural ruins” kick (#ruralruins on Twitter), old wooden barns, collapsing barns, the appeal of melancholy ruins, now is the time to start photographing them, Southern Michigan, ex-urban, cornfield, the southern exposure, Minnesota, a going native story?, if Evan were here…, Typee by Herman Melville, beautiful clean, the white ivory flute, tending his disgusting grandmother, clean beautiful people, pretty colours, he needs somebody to break him out of his crabbed world of scientific examination, his passion for science, a tension, a fit of pique, she’s racist, terrible relationship, you’ve got to stay with me forever, that yellow dog, cur, mutt, mongrel, wearing the elf-glasses, a silver bell, everything that’s inviting him in is yellow, everything turns to gold instead of yellow, honey wild and manna dew, roots aren’t sweet, root beer tastes like medicine, it tastes like Chinese medicine, the etymology of drug, Buckley’s Mixture, relish sweet, this switch, everything that’s horrible becomes wonderful, he doesn’t have thought in his head, uh huh, and how much can you sell it for?, there’s something fundamentally wrong in his life, his Doctor’s name, how important names are, John Locke has the most beautiful signature, freshwater goldfish, dysteria, out of the loop, he almost escapes, his racism, their skin is whiter, he sees them in this white way, science sobers him, he’s very unwell, there’s something unwell in science at this time, mongrelizing, everybody’s suffering from Russia-gate-ism, how many rubles did you get paid?, here’s Nazism in 1919, racial theories and breeding programs, it was in the water and everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid, Irish travelers, the black servant, the airy fairy artist community, the sheriff with a posse, if Mr Jim Moon was here, midsummer, a nightwalk, a misreading, a morning walk, up all night, instead of through telescopes he’s looking through microscopes, Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Wonder Stories, June 1935, Galatea, The King In Yellow story that’s the opposite, Robert W. Chambers, The Elf King, belle epoch Paris, Virgil Finlay, he put on the glasses and fell in love with a dream, A Martian Odyssey, Fitz James O’Brien, The Diamond Lens, super-racism, The Atlantic (1858), the best microscope ever, falls in love with a little tiny lady, SCIENCE!, “Dysteria ciliata. Dysterius giganticus”, his love for the microscopic world, what the painter sees, seeing things as generalities on the surface vs. details in the lens, clumsiness, largeness, the anvil, Tolkien elves, frills and paisley, the blending of crafts and arts, William Morris, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a reaction against science, poems about butterflies, you can love science AND poetry, William Blake, double vision, Auguries Of Innocence by William Blake, behind that is a veil, a hidden life of their own, Theron learns double vision, the elves inside the gypsies, a whole world, there Elva is blind, twofold vision, monsters that want eat him and liberators who want to free him, what does he bring to the table?, culture and community, 37 year old professor, infertility, outsiders, his charismatic attitude?, he brings novelty, something fresh and different, an Elva shaped hole, time is different for her, telepathically grooming Wharton, soulless, he’s lost his soul, big clumsy hulking brutes, an outsider without a soul, indeterminate, maybe they trapped him because he was trappable, is she a Scientologist, Projecting Project Pulp, Mech Muse, too early in podcasting?, more audiobooks, if Fred follows through, Unseen, Unfeared by Francis Stevens, spiritual themes, blogs are good but suppressed by Google, Tellers Of Weird Tales, Terence E. Hanley, death dealing shells, light over darkness, dark fantasy, a 21st century and academic conceit, one of the simplest of Stevens stories, built like a puzzle box, relativity, analytic cubism, where lies reality, a happy ending?, a pleasant reading experience, could have been written only by a woman, a deeper meaning in the man’s name, Jesse’s theory, Theron Tademus, tall?, hunter?, animal, tadpole, mouse, tall tailed mouse, mousetrap, she’s playing with it, pointing, the hunter and the hunted, not necessarily a happy ending, we praise thee oh god, he trusts science, he trusts her, he loses his last name in her world, they need some tall genes, one good name was good enough for one good person, a coordinate system, binomial nomenclature, Carcosa?, fantasy engaging with science fiction, Brigadoon, he has never danced or loved, beyond the veil, the deeper reality of the spirit, love and art triumph over materialism, the sky blue scarf, you’re all alike, you love is for gold (or freedom), she enslaves people, saved from science, his red notebook, looking at flowers in the forest with your girlfriend, beckoning him, driving Jesse mad, Carcassonne is a famous tourist trap, a medieval walled town, the tabletop game, it’s a trap, traps can be beautiful, a Florida based Star Wars Disney park, $40 light-saber, the rural ruins of Star Wars, tourist ruins, dinosaur ruins, South Dakota, Rapid City, north of Mount Rushmore, the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is in Kentucky, about as rural-ruiny as it can get, did she go there?, is this a true story, Carcassonne post office, a train stop maybe, America is filled with failed towns, Carcassonne Road, Carcassonne Community center, trampoline and a pool, an unincorporated village, if you squint and take off your classes, once every hundred years, if you’re Blakeian enough you can see it, there’s a guy who saw things differently, angels in the fields with the workers, something pagan about Elva, the Cathars, Kingsport, took the train into Asheville, something happened, I want to believe, Thousand Sticks, Mount Blackmore, American flag, Google Maps was magic, guess where in the world, the signage is in Spanish, we have magical powers our parents didn’t have, in the per-internet age, the state library in the capital of West Virginia, wait for the internet, lost and suppressed by google, if you know the address (the magic word) you can find it on the WayBackmachine, Protecting Project Pulp, Friend Island, a male reporter, women control the world, the grim and gritty sea-side tea house, an old sailoress, the only ships are trading ships or peace ships, shipwrecked on a man on an island and the island is female, Mother Nature is angry, funny on purpose, we need a president, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t that good, Hillary Clinton, policies and intentions matter, what is he basing that on?, hello Keats, much more arguable, male gazing, if you read it as a subversive ending, femme fatale, Black Widow (1987), Bound (1996), if it were written by, squamous squalid, not enough degeneration, love of place, very subtle, entertaining, so well put together, this story is cool, all that nesting of reality, it doesn’t tell you this is what happened, something artificial about the outer narrator, why do you need these characters, Edith Wharton, to make it seem more journalistic, framing stuff, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, about 60% is framing (and its all front framed), a turreted room, armorial trophies and portraits, falling in love with a portrait, there’s no outer frame, all set-up, Jesse cant remember the name of Henry James, The Others (2001), The Turn Of The Screw, take it as journals like Lovecraft, My name is Jervas Dudley, framing as throat clearing, imagine this was true, we’ve been trained, The House On the Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, Rene Girard, triangular desire, scapegoats, mimetic desire, taking on the object of desire of someone else, aggression, Trump, Peter Thiel, advertising and Facebook, this is how their manipulating, writing about advertising, they use it all day long, I wanna be like them, BMW ads, projecting yourself into the vehicle, “ultimate driving machine”, the object of desire, we keep changing sympathies, I have a story to tell, he had a story to tell, he tells it to another guy, lampshading, who are we sympathizing with, that complication, perspectivizing through, filtering through, Rashomon effect, three visions of the dog, The Blair Witch Project, Scooby Doo, the whole point is the Gothic explique, gothic time!,

THE chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe.

Jesse’s amazing news, The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges, change the trend, if they’re so impatient, if you don’t hook them in the first paragraph they’re going to walk, the perception in publishing, a whole bunch of readers who liove the slow build, the publishers are enforcing that rule, its anti-science fiction, Inconstant Moon a line only written by Larry Niven (or Jerry Pournelle), that ending line, Footfall, the humans are more conquery and tankie, giant elephants, The Tower Of The Elephant by Robert E. Howard, an adulteration, why are we being told this, changing microscope magnifications, micrometer, a blurry chaos becomes crystal clear, The Outer Limits, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Wondersmith, How I Overcame My Gravity, What Was It?, a haunted boarding house, smoking opium in the backyard, an invisible creature, plaster of Paris, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant.

The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens - Illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Kingdom Come State Park near Carcassonne, Kentucky

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #510 – READALONG: Understand by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #510 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June talk about Understand by Ted Chiang

Talked about on today’s show:
still alive, still putting out stuff, novelette, an interesting topic, intelligence and stupidity, pair things up, an interesting and complex topic, the school system, true features, a story about an incredibly stupid guy, the title is not intelligence, a long traditon in Science Fiction, Flowers For Algernon, the arc that happens within it, Idiocracy (2006), The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, a lot of bad answers, a short theory, first impression, so success and smartness, very successful stupid people, Bill Maher on Stan Lee, wrong about a long of things, Jerry Springer, propelling interest, a calculated effect, a bigger issue, a Reading, Short And Deep, on YouTube, its about awareness, the “bubble” you’re in, the blinders you have, going back to first principles, how do you know what you think you know?, epistemology, jargon, technical talk, very skilled, you have to be super-intelligent to have written it, very studied, the integration of hard science into the story, super smooth, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, the audiobook by Todd McClaren, the BBC version, a response to Flowers For Algernon, spinning out implications, fatal error, the end of the story, hypercritical, such a great metaphor, he’s a bomb, he’s about to go off, where he was coming from, lofty concepts, meta-cognition or thinking about one’s thinking, computer science, artificial intelligence, being self-aware, the nature of consciousness, the limits of our consciousness, hormone k, how far will intelligence get us, Leon and Reynolds, how to use it, conflicting philosophies and moralities, I I I, save the planet, how selfish Leon is, go transcendental, changing whole industries, the good guy won, the whole view of the outside world, the normals and their world, aesthetics and beauty vs. saving the world from itself, who are you to decide?, threw Wayne for a loop, kinda monstrous, admirable, Eric S. Rabkin, one of the few people alive I want to read, how do you think he made this?, as we see his growth, Limitless (2011), don’t bother with the TV show, super creative, stock market trading, the book, methamphetamine, set in the future, Asimov’s, August 1991, The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, came out 2001, tweaking, in manic mode, less about accumulating new knowledge, going over and over and over, the way this story gives you the sense of intelligence growth, playing ahead, if this happens then this will happen, hacks in to a terminal at his doctor’s office, service port, a desktop safe, bio-metric device with a service port, all these steps to think ahead, what we think of as chess, teaching chess, constricting an opponents movements, fewer choices, anticipating, gestalt, an organized whole that is perceived than more than the sum of its parts, micromanaging details of everything, the gestalt of everything, the ultimate meaning of everything, as a result of his powers, read a person’s body language, intentions and nature, the smell of their pheromones, microscopic details, one little thing, the whole is much more than the sum of their parts, Sherlock Holmes to the nth degree, time chess to speed chess, transcendental enlightenment, he’s Buddha, the point of the story, an infinite staircase, close to futile, other creature’s intelligence, a critical mass thing, reading a Lovecraft story, consonance and resonance and sonar, animals that use sonar, bats and whales, sperm whales, massive resonance chambers, free divers, six times the size of a human brain, they have no hands, can’t forge metal, and have no writing implements, Icarus and Daedalus, father and son, godlike in their abilities, just like in Watchmen, already won, already in the trap, the note at the doctor’s office, gloating, his undoing, a real thing and a real phenomenon, vocabulary words, that gestalt and that surprise, the guy with the psychedelic shirt, an Inception (2010) story, literally happening all around us, advertising, my friend Maissa Bessada, skeletons, lesbians, two more skeletons, a pattern of acceptance and dissolving your preconceptions, that scene in Total Recall (1990), this is exactly why this is so effective (is because it can be so affective), René Girard’s triangular desire or mimetic desire, other monkeys, supreme manipulators, don’t participate or try to minimize it, the dominant chatter, chatter controls action, a slowdown, intelligence as getting what you want, what drops out of the story is everybody else in society, what makes Reynolds the good guy, a group animal, meaning and intelligence are tied together in a strong way, bad at math, can brain damage make you better at math?, his regret is evident, idiot savants, the CIA, Greco, accurate in assessing Reynolds, a reliable narrator, merely a savior, his judgement is optimal, how he justifies himself, people don’t trust themselves, a meta-human, how we’re supposed to think of him, once as an experiment on a drug dealer, testing your power, Joe Rogan, UFC, which system of fighting is the best system, how do you test it?, which techniques is really better, jujitsu, Steven Seagal, all about the testing, what techniques work, testing our limits, what animals do when they’re young, a drug dealer, drug users, a beneficent god in a certain sense, not without sin, not necessarily unironic, I dissolve, Word is capitalized, the Logos, page 116, the sentence that when uttered will destroy the mind of the listener, it makes the title a really clever punchline, meta-awareness, self-awareness, ultimate understanding, taxing the limits of the structure of my brain, tricks him into understanding, the trap, he’d already programmed him, triggering the word, he got what he wanted, very good, a really clever punchline, less science than it is fantasy, fetal brain tissue, repair when not rejected, anoxia, damage more parts of his brain, his former life, there’s no girlfriend, a business, looking at Understand through the lens of The Dark Fields, a line from The Great Gatsby, a book about people without purpose, enhancing what you have, about methamphetamine, to speed people up, more active, paradoxical effect, your brain is not an engine, the Le Mans 24 hour race, the continual racing, testing to endure, an extended amount of high performance, Reynold’s weapon, implants the mandala, beyond his endurance, a metaphor, composing poetry, emotional impacts from words, the right combination of words can make an audience explode, pointing to real things, how writers and ad writers get their money, an impact on the reader, we change our lives, we sacrifice peoples lives for words, more real than most things, those whales without tools, they have lives we can never understand, what they’re communicating and how they even live and hunt is incredibly complex, very rare, the lives of beings that are not like us, Lucy (2014), psychokinetics, Morgan Freeman babbling, that stupid bullshit, most people don’t use the engine at maximum RPM, sleep, rest for the cars engine, a new air filter, stress tests, adrenalin, a super fuel, super good, Mr Jim Moon puts out a lot of podcasts, working smart, have a plan and be open, wherever you can get progress you push, the journey of a thousand miles, Rome wasn’t built in a day, the Devil’s in the details, navigating and picking which ones to go with, attempts at wisdom, when smart people say stupid things, committed to a system or a person, made commitments that they were unwilling to examine, Exhalation, a robot who opens up his own brain, the Galen of the robot universe that he lives in, pneumatic, a self-consistent brilliant idea, examining the internal to examine the external, Jesse’s not a drug guy, the brain is thinking, the body is thinking, so inside your own brain, focus, memory and thought and action, a brilliant guy, amazing stories, he can’t really tell the truth here, he knows what truth sounds like and it sounds like this, that poetic canto, the art, two naked dudes, a skull brain, climbing out of his own brain, representing out two main characters, a metaphor for the hyper-intelligence, a symbol, not the size of your brain, brain body ratio, Protector by Larry Niven, a particular drive, how certain kinds of intelligence to survive, hummingbirds, we can create niche (or destroy the niche) we’re in, there are stupid people, lead, fetal alcohol, no comic books for 20 years, behavior, the right habits, intention and purpose, a self appointed savior, incompatible, almost into programing, no quotation marks, the meta-textual text you may miss in the audio, only one bit that tells you its in the future, Pittsburgh, white air filter masks, not necessarily a pollution thing, hoodies, restricting vision, feeling cozy, women are more likely to wear masks, all sorts of reasons, welder masks, keeping skin pale, it allows you to hide, license to do it, you’re the crazy ones, a critical mass, trends, everybody used to wear hats, the fashion man, smoking their asses off, vaping, people who would have been ashamed to be smoking, wearing baseball hats, cowboy hats, fake street kids, $200 t-shirts, strange phenomenon, what makes this story fantastic (fantasy), could there ever be a drug or hormone, a metaphor for a kind of approach to that direction, like the ending of Dagon, past tense with present tense interruptions, we don’t expect the ending because told first person in present tense, “I’m standing” not “I was standing”, Ted Chiang is doing what Reynolds is doing and we’re the protagonists.

Understand by Ted Chiang

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #476 – READALONG: Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #476 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Evan Lampe talk about Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Future Science Fiction, June 1954, the notes that PKD wrote, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, in the late ’70s, The Exegesis, remembering vs. projecting, his revised ending, he doesn’t understand the mindset he was in when he wrote it, really sensitive, obsessed with tiny little details, his wives and wive characters, what this story is really about, why he doesn’t like the ending, the adaptations, the radio drama, the Electric Dreams adaptation, loose, they’re trying to figure it out, messing up, suddenly the UK doesn’t know how to do science fiction at all, plots vs. scenes, not well thought through, as it was unfolding, doing so much, no through-line, unified thought, why is it called Crazy Diamond?, Jesse doesn’t listen to music, noticing music, colonized by music, chamber music was important to PKD, little details, the name of the boat, John Dee vs. John D., John Dowland, one of two pseudonyms PKD, sixteenth century lute music, Jack Dowland, Jacks and Jills, androids and gynoids, their replicants, what’s wrong with androids?, throwaway technology, what is this story about?, by attacking it from the outside we can work our way in, homages or in-jokes or fanservice, a FASRAD mention, I had a dream, dreams have their opposite meaning?, no coda, thematic overlap, Easter eggs and thematic episodes, entropy, the shoreline, artificial world, a construct, The Truman Show, hoping for a reveal, holding the record, the world is sterile and fake, diners and McDonald’s, fake but they know it is, no growing your own food, understanding this episode, why is their a pig lady?, to make it quirky, just a pig-lady to talk to, the ending is terrible, interesting but they don’t really understand what they’ve got, action movies, ways of adapting these things, callbacks and nods to other shows, 1950s stories, straight up adaptations, Double Indemnity, James M. Cain, let’s do a gender swap with the ending, the girls are teamed up against the guy, it doesn’t make any sense, all the IVF treatments, as a whole it is a failure, useful for analyzing the story, a lead in, escape, El Dorado, Cockaigne, Ultima Thule, 2050 is a nightmare but 1950 is perfect, Time Out Of Joint, near and dear to Dick’s heart, something static that has to be escaped from, the frontier, The Man Who Japed, Solar Lottery, political dystopia, Vulcan’s Hammer, Doctor Futurity, stagnation, on the right page, the third choice is suicide, relentless advertising, a fourth choice, none of this, the way our ancestors lived, no stove, the proper choice, imposing our intellect, the proper choice is to buy the FASRAD, the FASRAD would liberate her, Evan’s podcast: American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time), interpretation based on life experience and life goals, Rorschach, Evan’s plan is to buy land in Wisconsin, homesteading, a Pink Floyd song, rubbing his record, no attribution on the label, all very interesting, musical flatulence, erotic loveplay, personalized google ads, does this happen to you?, gastric processes, bully crossed nag,

“Men!” an unctuous voice thundered on all sides of him. “Banish internally-caused obnoxious odors forever. Removal by modern painless methods of the gastrointestinal tract and substitution system will relieve you of the most acute cause of social rejection.” The visual image locked; a vast nude girl, blonde hair disarranged, blue eyes half shut, lips parted, head tilted back in sleep-drugged ecstasy. The features ballooned as the lips approached his own. Abruptly the orgiastic expression on the girl’s face vanished. Disgust and revulsion swept across, and then the image faded out.

brutal!, so funny, what is the solution?, to replace your intestines with a plastic chute, the skin salon and the hair salon and the nail salon, less animals, prettier and less farty, what ads are for, having your least used eye replaced with a augmented reality google glass, being replaced by your robot, the real threat to Ed Morris is the robot is going to replace him as the husband and at his job, how did this story come into existence?, door-to-door salesperson, fuck you go away I don’t want to hear it, really good at sales, Immanuel Kant would say, a means to an end, Jesse consistently the worst salesperson, robots that endlessly horribly peruse you, they have no feeling, vacuum sales and repair, door to door vacuum sales, learning to repair vacuum cleaners, you’re going to be amazed, Electrolux, FASRAD-style, this wonderful delightful machine, the Jones’ will be so jealous, the job of a husband, a threat to him as a man, no kids, impotence, the PKD-stand in character, the “mute” button, there’s something fascinatingly interesting about this story, we need these appliances, there are advantages to living in the city, a really horrible house-guest on coke, machines need to shut up, totally relating to this story, DVDs and Blu-Rays, the mandatory FBI warning, the state advertising itself, is their anything you can’t do, I’d be insane to buy you, they follow you around until you die, our life, Twitter isn’t the real world, electricity and central heating isn’t the real world, a certain kind of reality, the real world is inaccessible, the reality of bots, ad blockers, the most insidious ads, comments, favouriting everything, falsely identifying people at bots, bots can’t care, a means to an end, the horrible thing about about robots as sales people, the horrible ending, stuck in that loop, military, a whole different track, tapes, bot-like behavior, you’re the product!, soldier versions, replacing humans (or men) in their places of work, Jesse is worried about his dishwasher taking over the podcast, finding yourself as friendship with a bot, ego growing for years, Blade Runner androids are emotionally stunted, they can care about stuff, a horribly wonderful ending, a horror ending, Ed abandoned his wife, empty an vacant, the horror of the world, night and darkness and cold wind, a good night’s sleep, all day, all night, sheer dress, when you’re far away you can see her shapely form, things are worse when you get up close, translucent up close, farther away it is sheer, when married couples go on dates why do they dress up?, right about the story, the story is all about gender, proving his masculinity to the robot, paying on installments, becoming middle aged, he’s worried about being replaced, automation, the Trump voters, what the market says is productive labour, with [Karl] Marx, a philosopher in the morning a fisherman in the afternoon, what to make of our lives when not tied to the market, a liberatory technology, as a labour historian, 35 years of exhaustion, automation as liberation, undermining this particular story, other robots pause, a good story for looking at our reality today, people will be lining up at the Apple store, the door-to-door sales technique, the product is a good one if you can tone down the mouth, working in a sales room, being unable to defend yourself against a sales-person, falling into traps, learning the skills, a sales person is a person, the L.A. Festival of Books, people on scripts, easily influenced, full of compassion for people, bizarre question, do you like books?, I like to eat animals to punish them, do you know how many fish are in this jar?, the Consumer Electronic Shows, booth babes, reviewing video cards, the mid-America Truck Show, catching a booth babe on her lunch break, they can turn it off (a lot of them), there’s never a point when the FASRAD says “when you buy me I’ll shut up”, commuting is a whole thing, the process of driving down the road, Puttering About In A Small Land, a massive amount of stress, the most fearful driver on the road, very important, how many times coffee and mashed peas, big boobs, advertising, commuting, a device that makes you read your boss’ mind, it’s telepathy, seeing the scene with PKD behind that dashboard, honking horns, 60 million miles a second, The Jetsons, as close to pure comedy, the “Doc Labryinth” stories, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, the self-driving car, hypno-motor control, Elon Musk, advertising as a whole, performed a crucial function in democracy, inexpensive or free media, TV and radio advertising, the buyer-seller relationship, ensuring media is distributed to people, BFM radio station ads, enjoyable ads, movie trailers, when the money is going to be expensive, the Superbowl ads, write something that people won’t hate, why isn’t everyone crazy in my particular way, Adbusters magazine, Occupy Wall Street, getting information to people who need it, the Tide ads, don’t eat the Tide Pods, new Coke vs. old Coke, who’s setting the agenda, that is horrible, that’s mind control and it works, we’re poor everyone else is rich, how come your phone is nicer than mine, you cannot understate how powerful advertising is, advertising paid for media that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, the other stuff subsidized the news, CNN doesn’t seem to have reporters outside of their studios, their product is fear, who can we hate this week?, political parties paying for newspapers, magazines without ads, CBC, BBC, the Age Of Persuasion, Network (1976), The Jimmy Dore Show episode in which Ed Schultz explains how he got fired, the system is all set up, six media companies own everything, adding oxygen to an anaerobic environment, the ad breaks, out of the goodness of their anonymous hearts, they are controlling us, political advertising, doing ads for The SFFaudio Podcast, ads for vodka, ad for gas remedy, ad boob extender, quivering breasts, a comedy piece he also enjoys, your wife is sexually attractive but not so intellectual, Sally swept into the room her breasts quivering with excitement, don’t be a dick, given the world we live in, public funding for media, even PBS and NPR have been captured, as soon as you step out of propaganda you know what not propaganda is, is this really a big deal?, how everybody thinks, so tailored to your inadequacies, Structube, an online furniture company, structural tubing, that is the bots, because they are literally robots, the FASRAD can never quit, generic shitty advertising, tampon ads, Maybelline, Minority Report (2002), Facebook, Pure New Zealand, googling murder weapons and IVF stuff, the 13 twitter trolls that swung the election that the 6 billion in free advertising didn’t do, how robots were going to save the world, the way robots are running our world, not the kind we envision, value of labour, bots are working for corporations and institutions, a Roomba, Roombas going door to door selling their services, Jack London, The Iron Heel, Everhart, you’re just Luddites, private hands own the robots, a type of socialism, the people have to control the robots, 200 years in the future,

“Trans-Solar Products greets you!” an immense voice boomed in his ear. Morris groaned and hunched down in his seat. He was getting near Terra; the barrage was increasing. “Is your tension-index pushed over the safety-margin by the ordinary frustrations of the day? Then you need an Id-Persona Unit. So small it can be worn behind the ear, close to the frontal lobe –“

is that an ad blocker?, anti-anxiety, cigarettes and coffee, the mood organ from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, we wouldn’t have a lot of PKD stuff if he wasn’t so stressed out, a science fiction comedy, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, weird stressed out and paranoid, a moral judgement, don’t take the Soma, Bryan Alexander is a jet-setting homesteader, the dream of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is fulfilled with Wikipedia, the novelty hasn’t worn off, Verne Troyer is trending, we are becoming subject to what Google wants us to search for, we’re getting shaped, the anticipating is making things harder, a very good story, the story is very meaty, resonance, the two illustrations by Luton, a giant beckoning woman in space, Blade Runner: 2049, the FASRAD, you’re going to buy me!, this stubborn looking dude, great illustrations, how other people interpret, what they’re seeing in it, was Solar Lottery‘s cover was commissioned then the story was written around it, The Zap Gun, the darkness of the world, fiddling with shoelaces useless, what inspired a scene-let, you’ll feel better after you’ve turned responsibility for me, they took the other ending, Sally becomes Ed, the inversion, they’re muddled, so much in here, I’m sure it will mean something, it fell apart, Annihilation (the movie and the book), the moving tattoo, that movie works because they had a plan, plans are made in the process of editing, a committee, what if there’s a heist!?, the Robin Hood thieves in the forest, why is that there? No reason, what the hell are the QCs, are we all really dumb, going senile, how this world they live in works, why is the food rotting, entropy, Ubik, sometimes a thug or a hood will attack a person at night, The Hood Maker, the twin Beetles, twin broken down trucks, what’s the boss doing, you stopped the crime and then the crime happens?, playing him out?, the editing and the script doesn’t, drugged up by the drugs in the commercials you don’t notice, there’s only one fence in England, do these stories work in England, more French than English, everything’s so fucking small, one foot square garden, they don’t have a living room, there’s a bar in the house, and a den, these stories do not work in U.K., Western and mid-Western America, cedars, the dismal night wind, the radiant lens, Upon The Dull Earth, part of the issue, a cultural mis-translation, too American for a British production, The Impossible Planet, a cup of tea (not a cup of coffee), the most widely used legal brain-stimulant, the smoking rates in Taiwan, cigarette smoking around the world.

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Luton

Posted by Jesse Willis

News: Riot Ad Network Closing

SFFaudio News

Riot New MediaThe Riot Ad Network, a division of Riot New Media, is closing shop and will no longer be operating after September 2017.

Riot Ad Network has provided website ads in competition with Google AdSense since at least 2013.

SFFaudio.com uses both Google AdSense ads and Riot Ad ads to generate revenue to cover hosting costs (Riot Ad Network ads have been in place on SFFaudio.com since the Fall of 2013).

Riot Ad revenue payments started promisingly, beginning with $138.54 USD for November 2013 impressions but ended with $17.89 USD for May 2017 (the most recent payment).

From an email:

Riot New Media Group will be discontinuing the Riot Ad Network as of September 30, 2017.

The economics of a niche display ad network are challenging and have eroded further over the past year. It is time for us to exit this business.

Thank you for being part of the Riot Ad Network.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #358 – READALONG: The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #358 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
1964, Simulacrum vs. Simulacra, Dick is right in complaining about the title, Ace Books, what this book is about, “The First Lady Of The United States”, in the background, a tiny little hint, are chupas androids?, a closed-circuit-like passing spasm, who and what are robots, simulacrum, undercooked, best novel or worst novel, the audiobook, well-crafted, juggling, so confusing, a populated novel, psychoanalyzing Philip K. Dick, the settings, a complex complicated world, the Warsaw Pact, Poland, the Soviet Union, jalopies, why is the world the way it is?, der alter = the old man, Philip K. Dick saying…, my wife is my boss, changeable husbands, my emotions aren’t real, a fine idea for an SF novel, Queen Elizabeth II, the society is profoundly different, they don’t have books (or knowledge about anything), projecting into minds, your one chance, mass psychosis, societal control, a caste system, “the Ges”, the USEA society, education?, hobbies, “Let’s Watch Nichole”, it was nightmare world, passing the social studies test to keep your apartment, deep sea divers, knowing the numbers, a glimmering seed of an idea, revisionist history all the time, busywork, having political correct terms for everything, a Stalinist version of this story, the New Pravda, Wikipedia, “the euphemism treadmill”, what sounds like attack words, the word shit is a shitty word, toilet, escape to another planet, there’s always people going off-world, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, when you leave Earth, service simulacra, a worker of your own to help you, a warm jacket and a packed lunch, quick divorce, “I divorced my wife last night”, the Frontier Thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner, space as the new frontier, “the artificial worlds of Philip K. Dick”, the default, “the final frontier”, colonizing the solar system and the universe, other countries, Canadian bacon exists, moving to another apartment complex is a huge deal, what will the kids think?, a satire, the latest season of Homeland, an unprecedented, American television is very strange, House Of Cards, has there ever been an American television series set in another country?, not a Netflix show, tricked Americans into seeing another country, increasing America, the Berlin Airlift, JFK, the Philippine conquest, and Cuba, Germanophile weirdness, time travel is very easy, why always with the Hermann Göring in SF?, “he looks like he’s having fun”, he knows how to use power, Caligula, monsters, you have to have dinner with someone in the Third Reich, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, why is Hermann Göring in this book?, a transplanted plot?, looking to change time, palace intrigue, a time war, hilarious, more of everything, he’s running into himself, Sir Francis Drake, Time Pawn aka Dr. Futurity, apartment complexes, The Man Who Japed, fear of the pop-quiz, history isn’t neat, from democracy to totalitarian hermit kingdoms, baroque weird alien things (from the outside), it hangs itself (together), jug bands?, “Jug Band Plays The Whitehouse”, Richard Congrosian believes his body odor is lethal, Chick, chupa, the way Dick’s mind works, she’s so mean she can’t be a robot, that explains my lack of emotion, palupas are fake, am I invisible?, nits?, the crawling advertisements, they shoot the adveritzments to make them shut up, the reason Richard Congrosian thinks he stinks, I’ve had sex with 755 women, I’ve met three presidents of the United States, the default response, brainwashing, Jesse is sensitive to scent, Tide laundry detergent, gender equality vs. not touching door-handles, Paul’s superpower is he can smell ketchup from a mile away, Jesse thinks the general public is brainwashed by clothing cleaning products advertising, soap operas, Gain laundry detergent, advertising a product can create a market, fake creation of desire, the pets, my sheep’s not real, like the Dr. Bloodmoney, psychiatry, Mars, neanderthals, political factions, mutants, he just read something, The Crawlers, “more evolved” isn’t really a thing, a group of sad-sack mental deficients, what circumstances would allow you to enjoy a future that is grim?, he wanted vegetables and they gave him a coin, if they were the simulacra at the end, waiting for their time to rise up over the humans, the neanderthals will inherit the earth, this (novel) is a stew, not the best meal he (Dick) has served, electic music enterprise, do they have any ethnic music before you die?, funny digs, German conglomerates, Dick seemed to enjoy writing this, the next thing you know you have twenty characters and ten plots, it’s all held together by Dr. Egon Superb, Strikerock, Wilder Pembroke, National Police, one of his biographies or an interview, other than being a psychoanalysis of his own marriage, Dick never came at it from whatever the dominant view was, sometime in this period…, communists, the FBI came by and interviewed him, a locked filing cabinet, bikers, drug addicts, the FBI, or he did it, he became friends with one of the FBI agents (who taught Dick to drive), Donald A. Wollheim, in the paranoid phase, I’m gonna help out, no matter what novel there’s only thirty or forty people in the entire society, eventually their in the crank file, when you see the NP men, the Secret Service, an insight, when Philip K. Dick is at home he’s at work, all grist for his mill, when he isn’t writing novels he’s writing letters to the FBI, a terrible Philip K. Dick novel but a pretty good science fiction novel, fun and funny, a prism, that’s okay, sometimes you get stuff that’s okay, was there boobs?, “she had high-rise breasts”, 90-year old breasts, no quivering breasts, they were poking out every now and then, “her breasts protruded divinely”, we have marriage we have boobs, somebody is drinking coffee, you can see his life, so true, so familiar, just hanging out with Philip K. Dick again, random Germans, he likes Germans, hanging out with Philip K. Dick.

ACE Books - F301 - The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick
The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick - Illustration by Ed Emshwiller
Chris Moore illustration of Philip K. Dick's The Simulacra

Posted by Jesse Willis