The SFFaudio Podcast #594 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Horror At Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft

The Horror At Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #594 – The Horror At Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Gordon Gould. This is an unabridged reading of the story (57 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Julie Hoverson, and Trish E. Matson

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1927, a reprint, a very fat dude, Robert Suydam, sit suits em, Providence by Jacen Burrows and Alan Moore, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, re-framed in a more logical way?, Rhode Island, flashback, closing that story, there’s reasons for that, two parallel tales, from an outside viewpoint, creepy foreigners, a random observer’s pov, experiments on children, very very subtle, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, who’s telling the story?, the guy is totally bent, Lovecraft’s descriptions and judgements, he knows more, why is he telling this story to us?, Cool Air, the frame of the psychiatrist, there’s this Irish dilettante detective, a working police officer, his grandmother told him, you read odd books, Bosch, Michael Connelly, True Detective, Robert W. Chambers, the undercurrents are more interesting than the murder, what is motivating stuff, the terrible block collapse, the architecture is very important, “some magazines”, go hang out in Red Hook, why this investigation would actually happen, some inferences about why maybe the actions that take place, tramp steamers, this is actually the events that created Innsmouth in a contemporary setting, the promises are the same, the results are very similar, they’re not fishmen exactly, Kurds, Yezidis, Devil Worship: The Sacred Books And Traditions Of The Yezidiz by Isaya Joseph, Catholic Christian tropes, morphing these things together, The Transition Of Juan Romero, underground, Huitzilopochtli, old and new world deities, they’re ancient, Eskimos, Mulatto sailors, heterodox cults, hybrid squalor, Lovecraft’s narrative about the working class, a smaller version of New York City, Ra’s Al Ghul, symbolic collapse, the Yellow Peril stories, Sax Rohmer, the authors are attracted to the things they’re writing about, Harley Warren and Randolph Carter, reluctant fascination vs. actual inclination, a gentleman wouldn’t act this way, immortality, The Alchemist, The Tomb, the promise of Innsmouth, the interview, worldly freedom, a high position in another realm, keep the people materially starved, a rich man passing through the eye of a needle, younger, trimmer, he learned the right folk-dances, Lilith shows up, how dare you cheat on me, broke with tradition, became a Mormon, got his planet, he sorta gets what he wants, the city is like where the penguins go to lay their eggs, the real kingdom is under the sea, undercooked, Lovecraft’s sexuality, the creepy unmarried rich old fat guy with lots of foreign guys working at Greek restaurants, a lifestyle choice, read Providence, Robert Black is a gay man experiencing Lovecraft’s story, crossdressers, its in there to be read, wanting romantic love with a male, we were immediately best friends, a lack of a father figure, everybody needs a friend Julie, stuck at home with cats (and your two aunts), he graduated, the reason I was borrowing all these books, being obsessed with cursing a family, life is for the living, enjoy the Earth, the murder of his bride as a sacrifice to Lilith, they drain her of blood, why is he dead, is he actually dead?, death is not permanent for him, progeny as another form of immortality, why its so silly, Lovecraft is a punch downer, it’s okay for Jesse to make fun of anybody up the social or money or power ladder, his grandfather’s coachmen are helping him build his forts, that coming down, weird languages, the, there wearing sharp American clothes, an attraction, he’s a bright guy, this looming horror in his family history, his sister was abducted by aliens, The X-Files, in any particular story Lovecraft is not inconsistent, the focus is down (generally), the trauma comes from the police being shut down, a judgement, investigating stupid stuff, illegals, anti-Irish prejudice, Lovecraft distancing himself, we have real life stuff in our society, a Jeffrey Epstein story, people running things cozied-up to sex-criminals, there’s something going on, The Dreams In The Witch House, European and Asiatic magic, a west Asia peril, Asian dregs wisely turned back by Ellis Island, once sea-farers were pure and nice, Norwegian or Dutch children, “real people”, why did those buildings collapse, Lilith didn’t get her wedding night, Suydam’s sabotage, he finally saw what he was marrying, don’t stick your dick in crazy, the tumbling over of the plinth, the underground docks, rum-running, piracy, the church, The Courtyard by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, a disused church that’s also a nightclub, an atheist, Evan’s scolding Lovecraft, people are fucking complex, his brain is broken, these are horrible and disgusting and why am I so attracted?, homophobia, race hatred, fear of corruption and degradation in his own family history, his armor is being a gentleman, this active brain, he sounds so wonky, having conversations to think about these things, he really buys there are primordial cults out there, back to the geography, Dagon, working class resistance movements, The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, who sustained the beliefs?, who holds that key?, the working class people, the most exploited people in the system, the victims are the villains and have a lot of power and they get away with it, Suydam’s an anthropologist, gathering books together, listening to their songs, watching their dances, boarding them, what Malone’s doing, cheap guitars, stinky food, when you’re a little kid, try this, I don’t like that its green, xenophobia and xenophilia are dispositionally closer than you think, a knife’s edge, his apartment was robbed, he couldn’t get a job, their marketable skills are better, his clothes were stolen, his clothes were his armour, maybe you haven’t tried the right kind!, let’s go to a Thai restaurant, dinosaur porn is a thing?, Chuck Tingle, now its in my browsing history!, a meme that pops up, the Karen meme, the Wine Aunt meme, a massively old cultural tradition, KnowYourMeme.com, fear and fascination, Mesoamerica and India, monkey teeth, land bridge, earlier migrations, far east religions and Mesoamerica, sanskrit god, Magna Mater, Philip K. Dick, the psychological archaeological dig on his own brain, Malone dreams, late into the night, your dreams are tinged (remembered or not), Fate Of Cthulhu, it doesn’t resolve, too resolved, the hints, more plausible, really poetic, turning racism and hate into poetry, The South Of Red Hook, the collage of adjectives, Wayne June is the high priest of reading Lovecraft, oh the horror, as he unpacked his adjectives, Clark Ashton Smith, listen to Lovecraft, the David McCallum readings, the sounds paint a picture, more beautiful when read aloud, a composer of dread dirges, Julie Hoverson’s German versions of her audio dramas, 19 Nocturne Boulevard, Ghost Story by Peter Straub, like The Beatles and David Hasselhoff Julie’s big in Germany, a random section, very sexy buildings, homes of taste and substance, once green space, a many windowed cupola, the buildings are the sexual attraction, the class, what Providence and New York were made out of, Moby-Dick, an alternative way to go, its almost like Lovecraft without the racism, squeezing each other’s hands under the sperm, a beautiful male love story, the ship captains are out of control, refreshing and delightful, super-experimental, if you like, Nathaniel Hawthorne, stodgy vs. dynamic, The Confidence Man, Typee, anti-racist, what he really is, they’re all into that shit, eugenics, not degenerating, prevent degeneration, mail away for the French books of knowledge, scolding Lovecraft, juvenile and silly, so ridiculous, Samuel Johnson, Lovecraft’s vision of the 18th century, the Maroon communities, the stuff that we have from back then, Jane Austen, how many pounds a year, investments, milkin the cows and shoein the horses and making the shoes in the factories, writing about the hoighty toights, it’s not his maleness or his whiteness its his class that is fucking up his brain, he has an iron grey, not one of those lowly university of Hawaii doctors, not the hybrid squalor doctors, the Massie Affair, the Volumnious Podcast, a PBS documentary, a prize fighter, a hung jury, the conviction, the territorial governor, a sentence of hour for murder, the headline sensation for weeks, rabid for the justification, how dare those coloured folks, a honeymoon in Hawaii with some Tiki gods, very sympathetic to the native’s point of view, exemplifying the common thought at the time, an exotic location, pre-war Japanese hatred, if the Japanese get their shit together, concentration camps, the underlying lie, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, you don’t want to have any bastard children, Saudi Arabia, the time investment, the is the squalor and squalidness, how chemistry and planetary systems work, biological jealousy is so fucking low, tigers and bears, Shakespeare vs. bears, flinching every minute, from a modern perspective, Victor Lavalle’s The Ballad Of Black Tom, a great deal of understanding, dirty cops, turning to elder gods and chaos to topple, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, the HBO TV series, eldritch horror in graphic form, Abbott by Saladin Ahmed (and Sami Kivelä), Kolchak, Bitter Roots by C.J. Carmichael, subject yourself to it, feeling more deeply, yellow peril, he just read that book, E. Hoffmann Price, the peacock’s feather, claw marks, the chick dunnt even get a name, Lilith, only needs one name, Trish’s point, there is racism in here expressed by the narrator, really beautiful, Sax Rohmer, upholders of the British American Empire, colourful and rich and full of life, throwing off western imperialism, they never defeat him and dance on his grave, when you read Robert E. Howard, almost who reads these stories comes away racist, trauma, micro-aggressions vs. macro-aggression, a paeon, doing so much, so short, very deep, as racist as The Call Of Cthulhu but not more racist, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Evan’s article, the sailor as villain and victim, him at his racist worst, one of his most horrible stories, The Street, a sacrifice, the sacrificial goat, as racist, a broader brush, foreigners and miscegenation, are they actually transforming people, more subtle vs. less defined, that beauty of language, an incantation, some of the fun, Will Emmons, ancient astronauts, the current plague theories, people who don’t read fiction, fun ideas are from fiction stories, if you watch the opening credits of Survivors, passport stamps, how the game of telephone works, the 5G tie in (Huawei) [and Stephen King’s CELL], Jack London’s The Red One, Chariots Of The Gods?, whatever witch-cults they had were not summoning up Lilith, Cultures Of Darkness by Bryan D. Palmer, capitalism, Venetian masquerade, Haitian voodoo cults, the Masons, Jazz clubs, an epic history of working class cultures of resistance, not really having sex with the devil, one bad harvest away from starvation, that’s the life you live, the horseshoes, Christianity fills-in that uncertainty, the transubstantiation, Christians who believe in crystals, the zodiac, a pseudoancient horoscope newspaper business, memes hack into your brain, incompatible, or separate traditions, Pokemon, Star Wars and Star Trek, The Peacock’s Shadow by E. Hoffmann Price, November 1926, the innermost sanctuary, a Luger and a mirror, Through The Gates Of The Silver Key, New Orleans, everybody’s reading the contemporary stuff, no trigger warnings needed, some Kurd could be offended, Kurdistan, its happened many many many times, the partition of Poland, Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys, a much more victorious story, the sequel, Suydam’s inheritance, Martense Street, The Lurking Fear, scrapin people’s faces, poems written about her, The Dunwich Horror, it drives Julie nuts, him retelling his failed marriage, obliged to call out, Poe couldn’t stop talking women, Poe’s the funniest, How To Write A Blackwood Article, The Predicament, Lovecraft is funny, a certain passage, they know they’re not because they ate em, issue 7 covers, Night Gallery.

The Horror At Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft - Weird Tales, January 1927

Weird Tales, March 1952 - Jon Arfstrom illustration for The Horror At Red Hook

Weird Tales, March 1952 - Jon Arfstrom illustration for The Horror At Red Hook

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre - The Horror At Red Hook

Providence issue  2 - Weird Pulp

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The SFFaudio Podcast #581 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #581 – The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Mr Jim Moon

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1929, The Silver Key, a cameo by a bearded Gnorri, a cameo appearance, with The Silver Key on the mind, a whole theory, symmetry, flying vehicle, each of the wings represents an aspect of human existence, left on the dreaming room floor, Jesse had not read it, some theories from the conscious world, dream theories, a chronology, up for debate, 1919, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Dream-Quest Of Randolph Carter, cyclical element, a time loop, a time travel story, changes his life for the better, a better life, go with it, carter on the second loop, E. Hoffmann Price’s suggested sequel, living concurrently, a sequel, violently disliked by readers, which story was the most popular, no mention, willing to think it was a bad story, the HPLHs podcast episode, Kenneth Hite, a lot like a lot of other Lovecraft stories, The Tomb, outright references, the Great Cypress Swamp, who is the narrator of this story?, now it is agreed, the narrator is a friend of his, another dreamer, I shall ask him when I see him, a certain dream city, there are twists of time and space, the narrator himself is a dreamer, a mysterious Indian swami, a conclave of interested parties, an elderly eccentric of Rhode Island, Ward Phillips, still alive in another dimension, reigned as king, living a dream while you’re reading it, a personal crisis story, super sad, he’s become disenchanted with reality, disenchanted with his dreamworld, he’s philosophizing in fiction, the idea of a man whose pretending to act like he fits into a society, trapped in the is role, well meaning philosophers, I had this amazing dream, let’s get some Freud going here, maybe they know what theyre talking about, stamping out his imagination, he puts away his childish things, don’t be silly, a cultural shift to modernism, Clark Ashton Smith, fashions abruptly changed in the 1920s, esoteric and opulent prose, a brutalist style, poems about the automobile, we don’t have time for fairy glades and flights of fancy, early cubism, we need a tonne of grey and it ought’nt look like anything, a man out of time, after WWI, devoted to science, the over-extension of science to snuff out imagination, even knowing science takes away the beauty of it, science vs. fantasy, in stark contrast, two sides to Lovecraft, the dreamquest stuff and deep time and space, they’re doing so correctly, we’re fooling ourselves, the grinding of the wheel (grinds slow but fine), the depths of space and the depths of time, the womb-like dreamlike childhood innocence, reading his poetry, trying to reconcile the two, is Leslie S. Klinger going to do a third book?, where did this all come from?, its beautiful, a weird connection between the softness of the moss and the harsh reality of the gears, novels of the normal of the mainstream, well received by the empty herd?, a mimicing of the mimetic fiction, burning his manuscripts, his relationship with Weird Tales, Farnsworth Wright, give us your favourties, the more controversial shit you put into a show the more comments you get, disliked or not understood?, take your frogmen, Wright had a chip on his shoulder, The Loved Dead, Julia Morgan recorded one, the drawings Clark Ashton Smith did, a lot more sex in his stories…, The Evil Dead (1981), a guy on twitter (Bobby Derie), a disdain for the flesh, Case from Neuromancer, meat that gets you into cyberspace, playing PUBG, how funny Lovecraft is, Reading, Short And Deep, The Dream, Maurice Winter Moe, masturbation scenes, Unda; Or The Bride Of The Sea, if you go to YouTube, Jonathan Swift, very mocking poems, she gets out the chamber pot, smells and sounds, Strephon And Chloe, such cleanliness from brow to heel, no noisome whiffs, to make maid’s water, what poetic strains, he’s got stuff, remember that Swift is a minister, Hymen, Strephon had long perplexed his brains, to keep them sweet, the narrator intruding, the nymphs may smell it, can such a deity endure, lighting shot from Chloe’s eyes, forbid your daughters guzzling beer, in evil plight, what causes wind, think what evils must ensue, carminative and diuretic, fortune still assist the bold, even lambs fly the butcher, incredibly raunchy, a 1731 wedding toast, Strephon and Celia, The Lady’s Dressing Room, the kind of humour Lovecraft appreciates, not nice but funny, turning his own mockery on himself, how shallow, those pompous ideas, far less worthy of respect, some deep dark sad stuff, hitting us right where we live, in this way he became a kind of humorous, holy shit, in the first days of his bondage, the gentle churchly faith, only on closer view, the owlish gravity of sordid truth,

In the first days of his bondage he had turned to the gentle churchly faith endeared to him by the naive trust of his fathers, for thence stretched mystic avenues which seemed to promise escape from life. Only on closer view did he mark the starved fancy and beauty, the stale and prosy triteness, and the owlish gravity and grotesque claims of solid truth which reigned boresomely and overwhelmingly among most of its professors; or feel to the full the awkwardness with which it sought to keep alive as literal fact the outgrown fears and guesses of a primal race confronting the unknown. It wearied Carter to see how solemnly people tried to make earthly reality out of old myths which every step of their boasted science confuted, and this misplaced seriousness killed the attachment he might have kept for the ancient creeds had they been content to offer the sonorous rites and emotional outlets in their true guise of ethereal fantasy.

making me very sad, Celephaïs, Lord Dunsany, they’re real tied together, why this so painful, he’s doing a Philip K. Dick, he’s writing about himself, strongly autobiographical, hanging out with dryads,

Once in his ascent Randolph crossed a rushing stream whose falls a little way off sang runic incantations to the lurking fauns and aegipans and dryads.

what’s so painful about this story, making himself whole again, finds this key, he returns to childhood, its even worse, we’re happy at the end of Celephaïs, because its so real, it’s traumatic, Ask Lovecraft, some of you have asked me about The Silver Key, my grandfather Whipple had a key, a silver key wrapped in a parchment, what does this key open?, that really gets the basis behind this, this key only locks the place where the key is locked, the key is a way to get into the imagination and childhood, the wisdom of children, Kids Say The Darndest Things, “Biden’s kinda creepy”, his cousin, the very mundane things, an odd gift of prophecy, the connection between science fiction and the imagination, Day Million, exercising his imagination in a disciplined and an undisciplined way, sorta subtle so not loved, a sad circular story, the silver key gives you the power to do again, memories altered accordingly, you better appreciate what you have now, take it all in, you wont get to got there again, sit you down wisdom, living in nostalgia is super sad, pathetic, given that opportunity could anyone resist it?, how exiting things are when you’re a kid, there’s no way you could go back, nostalgia is a mistake, a push pull, experiences we want to re-embrace, New Zealand, I’m so depressed, it only goes one way, projecting into the future, if you want to live today you should spend all your time studying history, the CORONA virus, studying the SARS epidemic, studying vs. living in the past, noticing people tweeting dreams, go with the lava flow, Mom, tweeting dreams, kids today who are not under the vice of the church, they do have a big hat, surrounded by people who say you fantasy stories are garbage, write about people getting divorced and drinking less, where these stories are living, how much smell came into this, smell is super-associated with memory and nostalgia, I can still smell Hawaii, thinking about that photo, what you do more and more as time goes by, only the adults are capturing that, the massive innocence, the loss of innocence, so sad, Jim was 50 last year, a museum piece, I’m not going to be stuffy and crusty, fidget spinners, I remember when all that was fields, the world you grew up with is gone, WWI was this big hinge point, disillusioned with science, where is the hope?, William Blake accused Isaac Newton unweaving the rainbow, how wonderful it is to make something up, it IS magic, Alan Moore, magic is the original art, this story vs something I watched on the news, all just delusion, why not create new fantasies, its all kind of the same shit, getting mastery, BBS (bulletin board systems), getting all that equipment together (today), not a Yithian thing, his acceptance of the changing nature, fidget spinners are not cool, Paul does fidget, the disgust in Jesse’s voice, not making it better, the amaranthine wine from Atlantis that you drink and get depressed, reading the Statement Of Randolph Carter, based on the opposite, you need to study more math, he slams hard truths, the key is the only real thing in the universe, the proseyness of life, as middle age hardened upon him, why shouldn’t you spend all your time in the VR machine, matted hair, spending time in the meat space, my friends!, some sort of sadness there, talking about the darkness is comforting, being in a creative space, a solace from someone long dead, racism in this, his family his namesake, not everything about Lovecraft is based on race, that fear and horror of race is tied up with the meatspace and not the dreamworld, Pickman transformed into a ghoul, Jim’s show on The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying on the mask of the monster for yourself, if you’re a vampire you can stay up all night, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, still painting I see, stupid human, God’s real I’ll take you to his house!, a hysterial way, that humour that fun and delight in the strange and the weird, never happier than when he’s found a new author, when he’s sharing it, a real fan, what’s that giant essay for?, Supernatural Horror In Literature, his literary inspirations, the horror of dark monsters, by god they’re amazing, a flip-flop in Fungi From Yuggoth, Lovecraft criticism down the wrong path, looking at his bookshelf, he wrote horror fiction because he was a horror fan, some liquid he’s going to kill himself, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, She by H. Rider Haggard, Horace Baboon Holly, the handsomest man in Europe, just go with it, the Scopes monkey trial, a monkey’s grandchild, its a science story, a tension between a love of science and its acknowledgements about its reality around us and this imaginative space that’s all about art (and almost commerce), no algorithm or formula for a good story, writing to a formula, I think I see a formula, a pastiche or unworkable, finding their own voice and formulas, such a scientist, science is good for explaining this amount of reality, perception of beauty, a meaning in and of itself, appreciating it in and of itself, a far more interesting story than Jim first took it for, rethinking how you think about Lovecraft, shake the de Camp off, Robert E. Howard, remove the traditional blinkers, he’s a thinker on the page, calling him a horror writer is very limiting, writing about philosophy, spinning up scenarios, not easily classifiable, almost no tentacles, how poetic the lines are, that jarring bit of dialogue, Randy!, Howie!, the phonetics, dunt and wold, haint she tuld you, mooning around in that snake den, tea-parties with dryads, like a tea ceremony, the Alexa device, this is really big Jesse, it’s all proprietary, Six Or Seven Sentence Stories, little silly stories are really fun, half the delight of Jesse’s life, a dangerous pig with pants, weird vocab words, somehow you can make them connect, the connections are very deep within, its reflected, a Chinese myth, there’s a story there, he has not chained his fortune to some marketplace, where’s Lord Of The Rings II?, a polite gentleman, trying to chase the market, the purity there is unbelievable, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, arabian knights, fistfights and swordfights, a delight, saw raw and pure, unashamed, not a good book, so entertaining, harness this imagination, inside a sturcture like a poem, revels in the language and the words and the construction, that same unadulterated pure imagination fantasy, he hasn’t been shamed out of it, the documentary The Emperor Of Dreams, Hippocampus Press.

Hugh Rankin illustration for The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft
Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #562 – READALONG: The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #562 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Terence Blake, and Will Emmons talk about The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Talked about on today’s show:
1957, his first novel, LibriVox.org, Mark Douglas Nelson, Will has reviewed it on Goodreads, the universe is incredibly small (only for people who read books), there are 700 of us on the planet, the intense bookish community, shells, fewer mediums of entertainment, doing other things, more people are doing more sorts of things, as an avid lifelong reader, age vs. distracted, thank you for this podcast, on a scale, producing creative work, #notallkids, going through a consuming phase, use it later on, Stephen King, voraciously, writers in general, responsible for less, a low executive function period, at the grocery store or the news agent, the equivalent of television, designed to be read in a day, 1.7 times speed, deliberate choices, there are so many more ways of spending your free hours, video games, computer games, binging streaming, artificially inflated, newspapers, The Black Cat, some people on the internet disagree, the first Jack London story, the Edgar Allan Poe story, money for story tellers, $1,000 for a love story, writing up a storm, quit being a fish-policeman, one of the richest writers of all time, $31,000 today, a demand for writers, $7,000 a year, Cirsova Magazine, cents per words, my student’s story [sold for $6], Jesse help, Farmer read a lot of stuff, other people’s reviews, the people who don’t like it, how big and rich the world building is, a short and fluffy story, intense world-building, swashbuckling thing, obsessed with a number of topics, cultural differences, linguistics, etymology, how they relate, backstory and pre-history, Jesse’s review from 2006, created on a dare, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, Grover Gardner, a sea of grass on an endless plain, Douglas Niles, a genius man, enslaved and humbled, a lusty but fickle duchess, two demons, his adopted family wants to go with, vintage Poul Anderson, The High Crusade, reverse anticipation, the perfect length for SF, Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, addictively listenable, how good a narrator Mark is, he was going places, nothing good happened to him, the elephant in the room, misogyny, Alan Green’s wife, Amra = Conan, Queen Of The Black Coast, a reversal, if Alan became Alanah, obsessed with sex, different from Heinlein, cool vs. leery, you don’t want to be his cousin is really attractive, a royal gigolo, nothing titillating, unwashed and covered in perfume, the problems of same (in Nepal), Kathmandu showers are bliss, paired with a rando wife, sexy nagging, a strong personality, as the token woman, the whole henpecking thing, with such fun, holding a grudge, the whole henpecked husband act, he’s not a good person, he’s going to abandon his family, he’s not a good person (to start with), he has to be henpecked into it?, a trope in Farmer’s novels, more suspicious, a recurring figure of a nagging wife, a powerful female figure who is basically selfish and evil, Farmer fandom, fans who knew Phil and knew his wife Betty, Phil’s resentment of having to work, something uncomfortable about it, the morally upstanding figure, trying to reform him, she’s going to rule the Grass Sea when he’s gone, almost a reversal, how many children does Conan has?, Conan is a playa, very nubile, its his name or both, Homer (obviously), funny scenes, Odysseus is trapped on an island with a goddess who wont let him go, Calypso, trap the man, the Our Opinions Are Correct podcast, the myth of rugged individualist in science fiction, Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western, Sanjuro and Yojimbo, the Heinleinian competent, examples, Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick, no goddess of wisdom to give him advice, your Phil my Phil, 5 wives and extra girlfriends, authors projecting their own reality into their writing, Brent is a braggart, turns him into an animal, engaging with the idea of individualism, it takes a village to get off a planet, every male fantasy, not only does he get to have sex with a duchess…, the dog hates him, we never see Conan in his own home, wandering the world and conquering it, that whole aesthetic, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, it’s a planetary romance (not a science fiction novel), a hard SF explanation, Paul’s geology brain, that’s brilliant!, it’s like Atlanta (it’s a hub), loved revelations, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Farmer’s “World of Tiers” books, Jack Vance’s Planet Of Adventure, getting ready for book 2, he put so much into the world, there’s a book here that didn’t get written, so many questions left unanswered is a feature, Star Wars is meatgrinding, milking the cow dry, prequels are a bad thing, sequels are a bad thing, Young Indiana Jones, She And Allan is a prequel, the 1980 Flash Gordon Cartoon, the plot of She on Mongo, Rocket Robin Hood, Indiana, a grass sea from Ohio to Nebraska, rolling ships, a fantasy world, a regular sea, the tower of the grass cats, the housecat is named Lady Luck, autobiographical, Philip K. Dick’s cats, this sort of writer, a strange reality, the thing that makes you enjoy it so much, Burroughs fanzines, 1912, the most interesting pulp you’ll ever see, John Carter is a really good movie, you’d be foolish NOT to do it as a show, endless stuff to work with, Carter Of Venus, he’s built up a whole world, the TV and the games, take our time, playing music, games and games and games, massive decline (of movies in theaters), the percentage of the population, there’s too many books to read, that shame is hard to get over, the culture that some readers have, we’re the elite because we read books, the elite class buy books but not to read, the nouveau riche, like a super-genius like those of old, they think gibbon is a monkey, coming to France was good because there’s less production, reading philosophy in French, science fiction in English, little domains, a supplementary force is needed to make you read today (podcasts and blogs), I didn’t want to ever reuse a metaphor, a food metaphor, a tasty novel, what a hack (and he’s not even being paid), how much would you need to be paid to write a review on Audible?, people want to be read, a terrible financial situation, how you ruin a good blog, not caring about its legacy, let’s dump all pretense because we can ride on our reputation, pump and dump, the ‘audiobooks aren’t reading’ snobs, I wonder if anybody’s ever thought this before?, did you ever consider that blind people are not able to read with their eyes, they read with their fucking fingers you idiot, you read with your brain, the demand for people to read your stuff, people who write books want to be writers, wow!, he didn’t bother, it has some sort of timeless value, only read from the golden era, Jason Sanford, a list, Ted Chiang, a category error for all of story telling, you can’t understand the present storytelling without understand the earlier storytelling, A Princess Of Mars, a genre conversation, a straw man, a certain couple of science fiction authors, the whole puppies and the neo-pulp, attention vs. cogent argument, fifty years out of date, wider and more diverse than just the pulp of the 40s and 50s, obsessed with the idea of the public domain, dream about Neil Gaiman, I’ve read several books from this century, so many books from 1920 Jesse hasn’t read, we wont know what’s good from 2020, Paul’s job is to help future Jesses, we thank you for your service, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, “your life sucks, man”, Mike Nowak, Hi Mike!, is Mike reading modern stuff?, he likes the golden age stuff, the New Wave, bridges, an anti-John Carter, playing against the tropes, kinda jagged, Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, I think he just ate the dog, the ending, Virgil’s The Aeneid, all the surviving Trojans, Dido is in Carthage, the final stanzas, a broken truce, Aeneas’ savage nature, the brutal master mentality of the Romans is from this, the meter’s not right, because its so horrible, the core epic of the Romans, essential to understanding the Romans, René Girard, we turn their vice into our virtue, Jesus as a prince of peace, I’m all about the peace hippie stuff, because of the previous story, you’d be well advised to have read A Princess Of Mars, superpowers (healing ability), John Carter doesn’t know how old he is, the Wold-Newton theory, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phœnician by Edwin Lester Arnold, Gulliver Of Mars, but he did it better, my dreck is better, “Good afternoon.”, a room full of tharks, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, Maissa has blocked City Of Endless Night by Milo Hasting, people can listen to that podcast…, a bunch of other stuff, marooned on a gravitational island, Disney+, a traditional hero, an analogy with the plains Indians, Schiaparelli, the freighter had unaccountably blown up, mens rea vs. in media res, he’s been there two years, there’s lots of stuff, he took Penelope with him, you really need to read the Odyssey, and the Iliad, and the Aeneid, readers have a responsibility to read wisely, its so good, its Shakespeare with a sense of humour way out in the open, Star Trek II re-imagined trailer, Genesis by God, they needed more lens flare, diminishing the original by existing, rich with a great ending, Hamlet in the original Klingon, The Wind Whales of Ishmael, The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg, a retelling, an interstitial novel, we need more Farmer audiobooks, Dark Is The Sun, the houseboat on the River Styx to nowhere, box office, sloosh, many times over post-apocalyptic landscape, quirky and fun but forgettable, Marissa, powerful and interesting, that’s weird, researching what I should read, connecting with what you want at that time, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn, who is this Hitchcock guy?, choose your own adventure books, You Are a Shark (Choose Your Own Adventure, #45), maybe this has something to do with it, Watchmen, Alan Moore, the HBO show, recreating that exact scene, the symmetry thing, circles, Nite Owl’s Owlmobile, read the fuck out of everything, why V For Vendetta works so well, 1984 + Guy Fawkes + Superheroes + individual responsibilities, a lesser Philip Jose Farmer imitator, hard work, does he deserve all that hard work, the origin of Tar Baby in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Evan listened to Jerusalem twice, you can choose to get married or you can read Alan Moore’s Jerusalem, they’re miners, he didn’t go far enough, Mark Twain, critique of religion, I love you anyway, I’ll go to hell but I better do it anyway, obsession with Conan Doyle, Jesse’s brief understanding of Conan Doyle mania, a really fun and entertaining book, he doesn’t go far enough, Alan Moore + Philip K. Dick mashed together, A.E. van Vogt, The Odyssey + his own life + WWII, what is really important here?, Northumbria? [Northampton], thinks and thinks, the roots of these characters, look at the realpolitik, this superpower available, what would the government actually do?, we all know its bullshit, a fantasyworld, Batman is the government, fundamentally not connected, the X-Men, the relationship between the government’s relationship and the people’s relationship, Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants, Garth Ennis, these days?, researching the fiction vs. researching the reality, Allan Quatermain, H. Rider Haggard, fart jokes for the rich people and high poetry for the poor, too deep for Terence, too many philosophical implications, appendix replaced with a parasite, inspirational for Larry Niven’s Ringworld?, and Protector too, this whole unexplored mythology, civilization and seeding, pre-history, spiritual sequels, The Ringworld Engineers, H. Beam Piper’s Ominlingual, Little Fuzzy, Kelvin Of Otherwhen, Space Viking, a complement, foist, a cult classic, what happened to Seth?, a furry fandom book, Project Gutenberg, a lens through which, what we mean by the word sapience, right minded human benevolence, a philosophical examination on the subject of sapience, transparent plainspoken prose, John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, reboot old obscure books.

The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #545 – READALONG: Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #545 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

Talked about on today’s show:
cobber, guv’nor, tinhorn, ex-firster, a contemptible person, the Australian etymology, comrade, a revolution book, profound and deep and amazing, not the greatest science fiction novel ever written, no illusions, leg-clining, leg cling is the best part, ridiculous, weirdness, Helen O’Loy, Nerves, shaping the paperback industry, in the mood for something like, dig deep to keep going, 1.2x speed, police yourself, eastern USA accent?, perfectly adapted to the novel, implacable, a bulldozer through the plot, a fast read, a sweet-spot for science fiction novels, the period, what he’s doing, where this book fits in science fiction, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress but on Mars with more Mickey Spillane, more like tar than noir, Julie likes Maissa’s spirit, the same scenario over and over, Groundhog Day, shaking people down and breaking heads, a 15 page short story, Philip St. John was editor of several magazines, praising his own novel in the editorial, defending the novel against critics, fired from Future Publications, juggling everything, editorials, writing short stories and essays for four magazines, writing the novel while publishing it, a three part serial turns into four, people hate the serial, some people love them, he doesn’t really know where its going to end, this is gonna be okay (and then it fell apart), noirish style, the same trick over and over again, cop tinhorn fighter, Mercury mines, a punched mealticket, what the repetition does, not a fan of security, maybe…, Honest Izzy, didn’t pay-off, why did I get dragged through all this?, why you should be excited to buy this magazine, Van Lihn, a convincing picture of a planet, we were enjoying it, super-sloppy, not detail oriented?, its all getting done badly, apologizing, the height of the massive growth of science fiction magazines, as a product of that period, Dickens did that, he knew his prolific output, Elizabeth Gaskell, the motivation of Shelia, putting a gang together, why she attacked Gordon and was crying, in debt, sold as a slave, this is for what you did to Hilda, as a defense mechanism he hid all his soft feelings behind a tough mechanical exterior, a machine devoid of feeling, too much?, the fix-up, taking stuff in and take stuff out, chapter titles, chapter two is missing, police your prose, “Girl Gangs Of Marsport”, John W. Campbell, appreciating Campbell, the Del Rey books, his fourth wife, he’s a fucking liar, Erik Van Lihn, his Wikipedia entry, a professional liar, the closing editorial, “but it could happen”, happy to see it’s end, a darn fine yarn, doesn’t anyone like it, terrible as a whole, fun bits, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it should have been about Mother Corey, pulpy, the agent of change is a ex-boxer ex-gambler ex-cop ex-whistleblower, a yellow journal, benign agency, a traitor, if you squint a bit or your sick its not that bad, Durance, prison planet, done RIGHT, Australia as prison colony experience, a gloss of paint rather than thinking about ideas, Jerry Pournelle’s Co-Dominion, Sparta (prison planet), he could have done a lot more with this, less than the sum of its parts, what this podcast might be doing, what science fiction is, exploring the things Jesse’s interested in, the South Pacific in the 1830s (without spaceships), set on Mars with rockets and domes and superchargers, not science fiction, an editorial in Science Fiction Quarterly, February 1957, Robert W. Lowndes, P. Schuyler Miller, “The Reference Library”, good heavens!, Bridey Murphy, a suspense story, that’s a crime busting tale, where is the science fiction, it didn’t need to be set on Mars, gangs of New York, westerns, a lawless wild west story, almost no concrete ideas that are particularly speculative, something that Eric (Rabkin) taught Jesse, transformed language, The Teaching Company, an impression of the world in which you’re living, Cuddles, he sands the dishes for her, pioneer stories, designed to give you an impression of a whole world in the background you don’t see in the text, what makes it really science fiction is that it has ideas, so scattershot, he doesn’t follow through, Olaf Stapledon, no characters, idea after idea after idea, what science fiction might be, science is ways of knowing, he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he starts, a Philip K. Dick trick: he makes it symmetrical, the plot and the beatings and the dome punching, goddamned communists!, how do revolutions happen?, interesting as an artifact, imperialism, why certain things look like, a Big Big World, continents and countries and resources, why are people doing X, Y, or Z?, geography and resources, WWII, why are things happening this way, that’s where the oilfields are, like the game Settlers Of Catan, life outside of Marsport, Komarr, Lois McMaster Bujold, which is it?, changing from paragraph to paragraph, he’s going to derail an already overly long book, heartland hinterland, the Canadian experience, the resources for the USA, branchplantism, car factories in Ontario, Canada as a the hinterland for the United States’ heartland, the outsiders and the insiders, there’s a dystopia on Earth that we don’t get to see, a corrupt journalist who did a little too much actual journalism, something about his personality, he’s not an upright guy looking for the truth, corrupt but not completely corrupt, the heroes are the agency, East Germany, everyone has a secret badge, we’re gonna eat strawberries and cream, White Tiger (2012), this Jesus figure, t-34s, praying to the god of tanks, a very strange Russian movie, Duel (1971) TV movie, The Haunted Tank, why?, Ok?, The Killer Angels, two strange scenes at the end, a long scene with Hitler, the unconscious desire of Europe, is that the European psyche?, the audience?, equally baffling, unconditional surrender, talking about the food, the Russians bring in desert, what is this?, strawberries and cream, come the revolution we’ll all eat strawberries and scream, the revolution has come, when the revolution comes, a downtrodden people, what the rich people always have, playing all these ideas out, why it is a weak science fiction novel, you’re like Judas, they stuck in his throat, the methods used betray the ideals, that’s what we like about Gordon: he uses all the wrong means, the thirty pieces, none of it makes any sense, he’s busy in the kitchen and some things are burning, James Blish’s review: it’s naturalism but not realism, unpleasant matter, a normal sexual relationships, a bundling scene, they kiss, a normal reaction, goes nowhere, the naughty parts for a 1953 science fiction audience: salacious, Samuel Beckett, trance writing, humourless, the voting chapter, vote early and often, Alfred Bester could hold it together, the difference between a great writer and a medium writer, I’m expecting people to pick up…, roiling around, tossed salad and scrambled eggs isn’t revolutionary, Les Misérables, about redemption?, building something together, a change of mind, it’s horribly written, women’s psychology in the fifties, lock this room for a week, how little depth it has, you seem alright in a way, your boots, arranged marriage, if a lady tries to stab you or breaks a bottle over your head she likes you, a book club, five hours like eons, Jesse made Wayne June read the 60 hour Jerusalem by Alan Moore, and Evan has already finished it, baseline science fiction, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, picking vs. talent, don’t even try to defend it, shotgun, the setup and the dome and the boots, and we’re all spy, what about the drugs?, street drugs, they’re all starving to death, social control, undercooked, ideas he doesn’t do anything with, we should read Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, why books used to have chapter names, editing out the “this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain”, editing, so amazing, first published in 1980, Julie’s mom loves Alfred Bester, on Earth and so good, a nebula nominee, doable, electric bliss, Jesse has pirate powers, spoiled it!, plus five stars, The Rosie Project, The Man Who Fell To Earth, a book about chess, Squares Of The City by John Brunner, Jesse is the best ever.

Del Rey - Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

POLICE YOUR PLANET - Emsh prelim

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #513 – READALONG: Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #513 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Evan Lampe talk about Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown.

Talked about on today’s show:
1798, Wieland: or, The Transformation: An American Tale, first novel, the first author who got paid for a living in the United States, a weird first big novel, a weird country, a founding document is a strange book, Bryan’s thesis, connectivity issues, Bryan’s dissertation, Edgar Huntly, the doppleganger as a motif, the romantic era, British poems, not allowed to include Americans, teaching, the gimmick is sleepwalking, murder, Indian war, Skywalk: The Man Unknown To Himself, talking to Americans, in and out of fashion or focus, prefering the manly nature stuff, freakishly bizarre, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, and H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature, James Fennimore Cooper, The Last Of The Mohicans, American muscular exceptionalism, written for women, a female protagonist, a horror story, violence against women, murder, Natty Bumppo, waking up in a cave, like Rambo, violent novels, religious violence, nature, nature worship, nature is terrifying, incinerator by divine pyrotechnics, American Writers: 100 Pages At A Time, dense, super-high level vocab, distancing from the events, the whole back half, a very strange recommendation,

Of Mrs. Radcliffe’s countless imitators, the American novelist Charles Brockden Brown stands the closest in spirit and method. Like her, he injured his creations by natural explanations; but also like her, he had an uncanny atmospheric power which gives his horrors a frightful vitality as long as they remain unexplained. He differed from her in contemptuously discarding the external Gothic paraphernalia and properties and choosing modern American scenes for his mysteries; but this repudiation did not extend to the Gothic spirit and type of incident. Brown’s novels involve some memorably frightful scenes, and excel even Mrs. Radcliffe’s in describing the operations of the perturbed mind. Edgar Huntly starts with a sleep-walker digging a grave, but is later impaired by touches of Godwinian didacticism. Ormond involves a member of a sinister secret brotherhood. That and Arthur Mervyn both describe the plague of yellow fever, which the author had witnessed in Philadelphia and New York. But Brown’s most famous book is Wieland; or, The Transformation (1798), in which a Pennsylvania German, engulfed by a wave of religious fanaticism, hears voices and slays his wife and children as a sacrifice. His sister Clara, who tells the story, narrowly escapes. The scene, laid at the woodland estate of Mittingen on the Schuylkill’s remote reaches, is drawn with extreme vividness; and the terrors of Clara, beset by spectral tones, gathering fears, and the sound of strange footsteps in the lonely house, are all shaped with truly artistic force. In the end a lame ventriloquial explanation is offered, but the atmosphere is genuine while it lasts. Carwin, the malign ventriloquist, is a typical villain of the Manfred or Montoni type.

is the next book about x-ray specs, the Binding of Isaac, based on a true story in upstate New York, your local history, Washington Irving, Anthony Boucher’s They Bite, the cannibalism aspect, religious fanaticism, Carwin is a bit villainous, a thing going on with the maid, a genealogy of religious madness, an unreliable narrator, quite unhinged, a very Lovecraftian theme, inheriting the sins of the father, forbidden knowledge, ancient French protestants, this sounds like Lovecraft, half buried in dust and rubbish, his eyes were not confined, seek and you shall find, connection to madness, looking for her father’s old writings, Carwin in her closet, don’t read the book we’ll interpret it for you, teach the Indians how to be good Christians, his own personal religion, twice a day without fail, craziness and religion, really strange, early American history, the American Revolution, The Peopling Of British North America by Bernard Bailyn, America as a Marchland, a marquis, slavery, new religious movements, cults, no established church, a weak echo, Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, the Albigensians, not having a positive view of religion, religious frenzy: the end, a more traditional religious education, an unhinged freethinking frontier religion, the argument of religious authorities, Augustine, the best thing for humans is a good theocracy, Sunday School, mandatory belief, a Comics Code Authority Stamp, if you don’t like it I won’t write any more, William Godwin’s Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, anarchism, what’s the lesson here besides beware of ventriloquists, she isn’t as naive as she sometimes seems to be, a transformation from the brother into Carwin, a rustic friendly atmosphere, science and astronomy, traumatized by nightmares, a nightmare story, her savior is a rapist, I said I was going to rape you because it seemed best at the time, it feels so gothic, throw your voice to get out of dangerous situations, throw your voice to the garbage can behind your muggers, that’s bullshit, The Secret Of Ventriloquism by John Padgett, written for a Thomas Ligotti fansite, 1943, “Benders”, the Kansas serial killer benders, that father was insane, god was talking to him, so full of coincidence, Clara is not reliable, a sign of mental illness, the case that inspired Wieland, we could almost diagnose, showing up at a neighbor’s house naked, not just genetics but also disease, Guy de Maupassant, Who Knows?, The Horla, burn the house down, the brother is definitely insane, the father has been insane for a long time, voices attributed to a stranger with Spanish characteristics, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, charms for protection against vampires, a castle in an American forest, a temple, mysterious stranger, the father’s death and spontaneous combustion, a state of insensibility, his imperfect account, bearing a lamp, a blow from a heavy club, an imperfect tale, half the truth has been suppressed, how it ends, the divine ruler, the religious vs. the rational explanation, the boyfriend, the uncle, a professional, the voices, the original kills in New York, struck by lightning, both natural and supernatural, a sound up on the temple, a pistol discharged, a blazing light, a very striking image, a cloud impregnated with light, a burning bush, ball lightning, naked and scorched and bruised, clothes removed and reduced to ashes, never explained, so devout god visited him and he saw god’s sideboob, Poe is dealing with Radcliffe 50 years later, what’s going on up front, Mulder and Scully, crucial to the Gothic, Gothic explicae, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, Scooby-Doo, the final chapter, making sense of real phenomenon, lets find out what it is, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, the temptation of the Ring of Gyges story, a temptation to intervene, always rationalizing, past tense, for those people who want to know what happened to my family, this is her Stormy Daniels book, an essay in Vanity Fair three years later, no one would really write this that way, written for our benefit this way, putting it in the best light, I was paying her, what else is going on, the children, the maids, an upper class family, playing musics and discussing philosophy, suffering from syphilis, paranoia, hearing voices, a psychotic break, Lovecraft’s dad, a gang of men are raping my wife, went to the hospital, a hushing up, can this be rationalized without modern disease theory and modern psychology, In Cold Blood, so familiar, Gary Cole, Fatal Vision, a gang of hippies, Charles Manson, threat of the week, a narcissistic sociopath, Pleyel’s experience, “drifter”, he’s the Rasputin of this mess, lets have a secret meeting, no you idiot, don’t do it!, maybe I should, he’s hiding in your closet, let’s split up, a horror movie trope, drawn to the flame, the implications towards incest, transformed into a Spaniard, Carwin, this non-Spanish crypto-Spanish dude, some guy who doesn’t like me in Ireland, the British Gothic tradition, the Catholic South is very sexual, Othello, every Radcliffe novel, a ritual thing to do, a classic geographical imagination, part-time Spanish part-time English, Germans and Scotch-Irish and Jews, an inherited move, what Jeffrey MacDonald told the investigators, high heeled boots, “Acid is groovy, kill the pigs.”, the American Revolution angle, hostile to hierarchies and institutions, the corruption of old Europe, Saxony, Chapter 5, the good king, the Prussians, the horrors of war, which eventually happens, Thomas Paine, views on marriage, gender politics, the final scene, no general critique of institutions, a normal life, happiness in France, a Lord in Saxony, The Rats In The Walls, why they moved to the U.S., the Delapore family was murdered by one member and then praised by the neighborhood, the secret of the family was passed down, his family seat, the whole cycle of horror, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the Canadian who comes into take the Baskerville estate, returning to Europe where the sins were ingrained in the family name, start a religion afresh, principled and thoughtful, rigid thinking, too rational, what could have caused this?, a pair of aunts who married a pair of brothers, hints of incest, she’s expecting her brother there, “that’s weird, man”, emotion and passion vs. rationality, a movement driven in part by the Enlightenment, violent, slavery, siding with reason, mental illness, the scene of this contest, a duel, a malignant figure, I leave you to moralize on this tale, Robinson Crusoe goes hunting in Spain, a problem with pagination, a double-tongued deceiver, if only they had gone to church, you gotta think this problem through, a Kantian answer, an 18th century chestnut, the human brain is a pretty good machine until the passions wreck the place, frailty, Robespierre and the Goddess of Reason, The Dunwich Horror, Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, who is he talking to, these are your idols, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, a horror book, you don’t wanna go that way, one take on America, American Culture 101, the spontaneous combustion, horror movie scenes, don’t do it!, don’t go down in the basement, hewing trees, where you keep the monsters (the basement), most of the horror takes place upstairs, closets, when did basements become popular?, cellar, I lurked through the day, a trap door, a storm cellar, so strange, so weird, so foundational, the opposite of James Fenimore Cooper, William Faulkner, Pierre by Herman Melville, all the heads we’re driving over, Melville’s gone nuts, overblown writing for 200 pages, frustration, speaking to something that everybody knew about then, why was Poe obsessing about premature burial?, fake news, preserved like the bones of a dinosaur, historical criticism, a Gothic dream of factionalism, the Civil War, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House Of The Seven Gables, Young Goodman Brown, The Minister’s Black Veil, disconnected from religion but surrounded by people who are connected, swimming with the church team, freezing rain, Quaker meetings, another set of friends, the Philosophical Society, equal in extent, very much of the enlightenment, a biloquist, all the voices were Mel Blanc, digging graves in your sleep, astral projection, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, the biggest hoaxer of them all, Channel Zero, creepy pasta, Candle Cove, the tooth monster, about grief, a mobile haunted house, almost perfect, uncanny, a rundown Rustbelt city, modern folklore, a local legend, ventriloquism, that’s so weird, sleepwalking, Rutger Hauer and very meaty, infecting my dreams.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #466 – READALONG: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #466 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa, talk about Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.

Talked about on today’s show:
clones, doppelgangers, eidolons, 2014, the 2018 movie, gifting the book, Finch, City Of Saints And Madmen, new weirdness, The New Weird, The Weird, appreciating the book, appreciating the movie, understanding why people talk about the book and the movie the way they do, justifying their ratings, framing it wrong, the Wikipedia entry, The New Yorker, Area X as a hyperobject, Paul would know, big dumb object, Ringworld, Rama, going into it and experiencing it, the original and the interpretation, what?!!?, better experienced as audiobook, the cool thing about the audio version (it is ephemeral), you can’t skip or skim sex scenes, a dream like quality to the words, pronunciation, how things read on the page, The Man Who Japed, juveniles = Juvenal(s), fucking with the reader by changing the text in a kind of fungal growth, experimental, fairly successful, not easily digestible, the book is a manifestation of Area X itself, screwing with the readers’ heads, Alex Garland, seeing the movie first and then reading the book, Blade Runner: 2049, the theater experience, the painful trauma of childbirth, Sunshine, a science fiction movie that doesn’t care about science at all, Ex Machina, nuking the sun back into starting?, the metaphor for Sunshine, not a good idea for a movie, Solar Crisis (1990), Hard Sun, doing good things with bad ideas, not a perfect movie, interpretation, we can’t do that, narrator, from an internal point of view, a kind of version, inspired by, the book is all about words, no big piles of documents to read, The Man In the High Castle show, pointing to something without saying what it is, an art film for a mainstream audience, Andrei Tarkovsky, expectations, characters with names, outside of Area X, setting expectations, imagine its a different expedition, the tower the tunnel, Steen, what do you remember about it?, it’s “this kind of book”, no proper nouns in the whole book, signposts on your journey, taking down all the signposts, a sign there’s no signposts, an initial “S”, Ghostbird, Area 51, a word you use in place of a word, Operation Overlord, H-Hour, D-Day, designed to prevent you from knowing, in the mode, shift gears, losing your spot, so dreamlike, hypnotic, hypnosis, as a trope, hypnosis was huge in Science Fiction for decades, not a Science Fiction book, who likes this book, literary fiction, very lit-fic, horror elements, weird fiction, a reworking of The Willows, inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Conan Doyle, Supernatural Horror In Literature, something more than secret murder and bloody bones, a certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer unknown forces, the assaults of chaos and the demons of unplumbed space, an attack on the fixed laws of nature, a wrinkle in reality, what’s it like to experience that, if you squint a little bit, a metaphor for the scientific process, scientists, AR-15 or M-16s, a nod back to the book, everybody has one, the same uniform, a military expedition but twisted in a certain sense, the second and third books, cancer as a motivation, the disintegrating marriage, having an affair, pathetic and sad, set a little bit into the future, any evidence that it is set into the future, everything in the book is completely without specificity, he went through it with a comb and took away information, the word Lovecraft loves to use “certain”, a great adjective, the pig creature is a bear in the movie, Vietnam War upside down and inside out, the biologist is in love with the swimming pool, the characters in the film are cannon fodder, the conversation in the boat, taking away the centrality of character, a framing story, Benedict Wong, the tie-up scene, her fingerprints are moving, a lift from The Thing (1982), paranoia and suspicion, really bullshit, they’re all on Xanax, passion about biology and ecosystems, we only see the Xanaxed version on the characters in the film, we don’t see what the love, sympathy isn’t enough, evoking place, the black pine forest, a derelict lighthouse, untroubled landscape, Florida or the Georgia coast, filmed in England, cool ideas, Southern Reach, SR, an institution, two things that don’t tell you what they are, the same time zone, a lack of specificity,

“After leaving Vienna, and long before you come to Budapest, the Danube enters a region of singular loneliness and desolation, where its waters spread away on all sides regardless of a main channel, and the country becomes a swamp for miles upon miles, covered by a vast sea of low willow-bushes. On the big maps this deserted area is painted in a fluffy blue, growing fainter in color as it leaves the banks, and across it may be seen in large straggling letters the word Sumpfe, meaning marshes.”

the crawler, the thing without the name, the Swede, the narrator’s name, as if he is in the room, utterly transformed, just that, I am not returning home,

“See,” he said quietly, “the victim that made our escape possible!”

And when I peered across his shoulder I saw that his stick rested on the body of a man. He turned it over. It was the corpse of a peasant, and the face was hidden in the sand. Clearly the man had been drowned, but a few hours before, and his body must have been swept down upon our island somewhere about the hour of the dawn—at the very time the fit had passed.

“We must give it a decent burial, you know.”

“I suppose so,” I replied. I shuddered a little in spite of myself, for there was something about the appearance of that poor drowned man that turned me cold.

The Swede glanced up sharply at me, an undecipherable expression on his face, and began clambering down the bank. I followed him more leisurely. The current, I noticed, had torn away much of the clothing from the body, so that the neck and part of the chest lay bare.

Halfway down the bank my companion suddenly stopped and held up his hand in warning; but either my foot slipped, or I had gained too much momentum to bring myself quickly to a halt, for I bumped into him and sent him forward with a sort of leap to save himself. We tumbled together on to the hard sand so that our feet splashed into the water. And, before anything could be done, we had collided a little heavily against the corpse.

The Swede uttered a sharp cry. And I sprang back as if I had been shot.

At the moment we touched the body there rose from its surface the loud sound of humming—the sound of several hummings—which passed with a vast commotion as of winged things in the air about us and disappeared upwards into the sky, growing fainter and fainter till they finally ceased in the distance. It was exactly as though we had disturbed some living yet invisible creatures at work.

My companion clutched me, and I think I clutched him, but before either of us had time properly to recover from the unexpected shock, we saw that a movement of the current was turning the corpse round so that it became released from the grip of the willow roots. A moment later it had turned completely over, the dead face uppermost, staring at the sky. It lay on the edge of the main stream. In another moment it would be swept away.

The Swede started to save it, shouting again something I did not catch about a “proper burial”—and then abruptly dropped upon his knees on the sand and covered his eyes with his hands. I was beside him in an instant.

I saw what he had seen.

For just as the body swung round to the current the face and the exposed chest turned full towards us, and showed plainly how the skin and flesh were indented with small hollows, beautifully formed, and exactly similar in shape and kind to the sand-funnels that we had found all over the island.

“Their mark!” I heard my companion mutter under his breath. “Their awful mark!”

And when I turned my eyes again from his ghastly face to the river, the current had done its work, and the body had been swept away into mid-stream and was already beyond our reach and almost out of sight, turning over and over on the waves like an otter.

all the evidence is gone, the explanation in the movie is as much The Colour Out Of Space as it is the novel Annihilation, 12 expeditions, the shimmer is gone, possibilities, the asteroid, something extraterrestrial struck the lighthouse, the “S” word, he’s not her husband, he’s the duplicate, the shimmer in the eyes, more subtle, the thing he’s doing, a comet, meteorite, dwarf planets and planets, Ceres, a meteorite vs. comet, the object is white, aiming at something, the earth is a giant egg and the comet is a sperm, a tunnel and tower, slipping into Eric Rabkin mode, designed to be seen in the unconsciousness (if not the consciousnesses), a tunnel and a tower, becoming a being, fungus all over the walls is white, cell division, an egg developing into a person, cancer, ovarian cancer, the all women cast!, what is it like to have a being growing inside of you that is a mutation of you, the childless relationship, off to fight in Pakistan again, reunited, the happy ending is a new beginning, isn’t pregnancy scary, the real immortality cells can have, cancer vs. a baby, kinds of immortality, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the film works at what it’s doing, the movie is a prism for the book, a very filmic version of the book, it couldn’t be an audio drama, very very very metaphorical, a comic book version, in the backgrounds, Alex Garland’s story, the words scrawled in the tower/tunnel,

“Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.”

dreamlike biblical word salad, going to that church, its just weird, negative reviews of the book, you’re never going to get an explanation, very meta, the narration is unreliable, or the universe is unreliable, she’s in a coma, none of this is happening, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, Providence, seeing sexuality in everything, Rapunzel is only a sex story, hair growth like plant growth, a retelling of the Garden of Eden, underneath a lot of stuff is sex, about the cosmic, makes Jesse sad, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, a big stream of white cats up to the Moon, a sex dream, once you start looking, what it makes us different from rocks, the formation of rocks, we can’t compare ourselves to electrons, not mammal sex, why that weird world salad sentence, a tunnel, spiraling, a helix, just words, words are magic in the same way that genes are magic, let’s write some words, what does it mean?, certain coding, creating and casting a spell, speech-writing, amino acids into creatures who build and use firetrucks, this is literally Marissa’s job, where the spell is breaking, a piece of tape, seeing the book as a text in reference to texts and weird fiction, the word “thing”, that’s why the word shows up in so many weird fiction stories, uncanny horror, between fantasy and science fiction, body horror, Re-Animator, coming back to life as parts, seeing those fruiting bodies on the dead corpses, let’s take some samples, guts fall out, the more Marissa learns about biology the more grossed out she gets, designed to, very very movie, intestines, fear, scary gross out scene, Aliens (1986), the perfect film movie for what it is, taking certain aspects of Alien and amps them up, Terminator 2 is a remake of Terminator, Hudson becomes the hero, switching over to science mode, horror mode, you’re allowed to switch around as much as you want, why so many love it and hate it, contamination story, pregnancy story, creeping dread, taking all that potential out, taking it as it is, watch the movies first, preferring the text, reading the subtitles, as a film the characters are Xanaxed humans, placing themselves in our reality, are you polishing your Pashtun?, grounding, the Southern Reach is a metaphor for the continual war on terror?, 17 years in, he should have made it a real art film, unrelatable, are we all 12 years old?, being talked down to, people on CNN, everything that isn’t set in the shimmer hurts the film, the environmental disaster, a military screw up, Stephen King (The Mist), angry at the movie, a slow creeping dread, so disappointing, the plants that look like people, the twinned dears with flower antlers, very excellent language, the hints about the journals, this is all in a journal, that’s the moment they knew the most, are they losing information, we start with more information, if you re-edited the film, we all lost time, this is the afterlife, this is dream state, if I was religious I would read everything that way, the pool, the pond, tower tunnel, how her husband was traumatized by something in childhood and it was a film, the shownotes for the Altered Carbon show, how memory works, how important childhood memory is for laying your personality down, what memories are even real, that was a different person, the crisis actor thing, misremembered, .005% error margin, interrupting an attempted murder, strangling and cover in blood, missing limbs, the screaming thing in the bushes, self-reinforcing, the spiral of words, in 10 or 20 years, Authority by Jeff VanderMeer, an agency in dysfunction, Kafkaesque, so mundane, The Castle, in second person, sudden jarring cries, dripping out, the, the movie poster’s tagline “fear what’s inside”, psychological head-space fear, flowers sprouting from her arms, the better parts of the film, filmic explanation, the anthropologist in the tunnel/tower, the psychologist, did she lie?, that’s a story, the story doesn’t make sense as a straight up story, hypnosis as used in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, very science fictional, The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, [Jesse has already done a show on it], a decent movie and an even more interesting book, Marissa wants Jesse to read the sequels, a marketing gimmick, readings for podcasts, revisiting as a concept, three big pieces of a puzzle, what’s wrong with the word “spoiler” is the word has the opposite meaning (for Jesse), knowing more makes Jesse more interested, the lady goes off in a boat (maybe), and leave her journal behind (maybe), it would be much better as a found footage movie shot on videotape, shaky-cam, The Ritual (2017), four guys go out for a hike in the woods, a psychological haunting that happens, not being able to act, the psychology works amazingly better, Norse mythology, a hike movie (!) Marissa’s in!, Swedish mountains, we’ve been completely destroyed, why is called Annihilation?, special pleading, “nihil” means nothing and “a” means not – annihilation is a nothing of a nothing, titles are important, the trigger word, The Slithering Shadow by Robert A. Howard, something to talk about over beers, having something to do is really important in a world with no meaning, Jesse has nothing in common with his students, the only thing we really share is the text, before and after class, having that ritual of three interesting things, Matchstick Men, there’s no heaven, try to get through it until the cancer comes, less Xanax more coffee, The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson, a becalment, do you have any food, a ship covered in fungus, an island covered in fungus, eating the fungus, becoming the fungus, the pool body,

Posted by Jesse Willis