The SFFaudio Podcast #629 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Rastignac The Devil by Philip José Farmer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #629 – Rastignac The Devil by Philip José Farmer – read by Gregg Margarite for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (1 Hour 58 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Fantastic Universe, May 1954, no illustrations, a French publication, big long mustache, lion statue, a spirit coming out of the lion, all metaphorical, or a particular satire, an elaborate joke, would make a great cartoon, Fords and Renaults with feet, my Renaut is tired, interesting and imaginative, only for students of the genre, not a good entry point, unlikeable characters, exploring ideas in a jokey way, a satire of a certain thing, a little piece of history, 19th century French adventure literature, The Three Musketeers, making fun of or having fun with, the playful joking, more exploration, particular institutions, Jesse is not an expert on the French Revolution, pre-revolutionary France, the three institutions, political points, non-political points, the last three paragraphs, bad news for Trish and Will, Skin, a substitute for a conscience, Candide by Voltaire, the old evil of alcohol, they plunged into the whirlpool, the discussion philosophical, front loading the infodump, this is a novel but I can’t sell it as a novel, Christopher Paul Carey, this is in the public domain, not happy with it, enough material, more material than The Green Odyssey, a stock for a soup, The Lovers, 1952, the parent of the bug-woman, New Gaul, the Beautiful Land, why there’s so much material here, the Israeli Confederation, what makes the story work, her stuff is in Hebrew, true history that was corrupted devolved knowledge, just another interesting , The Lovers (the 58 page), A Woman A Day, Moth And Rust, World Of Tiers, Barsoom on one level, ancient Greece, Doc Savage, Tarzan, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, always exploring some sort of cool idea, how to knit it together, an interesting book, not fully grasped, The Three Musketeers, he says what he means, the skins were our consciences, the French Revolution is happening at the end of this story, I’ve got quite a gloss on that, specifically a Science Fiction story, changelings, a lot of metaphor happening, fairy tale, eating meat turns you violent, unshakeable belief, the openings, after the editorial introduction, Rastignac had no Skin., reading aloud in your inner mind, having no skin and being happy, deep underground, very very very playful, why are you telling us all this, pulling the rug out from under you every sentence, wordplay, see what the consequences of that are, the King’s Muckateers, three prison escapes is illegal, a chronic stiff neck, his philosophy of violence, an attack on the church, an embrace of the church, what happened to the Church of England, gay priests, atheist priests, we’re all on the same team, Anglican equivalents in Canada, when will the NDP be neo-liberally corrupt, just give it time, everything becomes corrupt and then there’s a revolution, the blood drinking, a metaphor, eternal life through drinking blood, Catholics, not eating meat is common in religions, not made explicit enough, Jesse doubts he’s not smart enough, watching Spaceballs and never having seen Star Wars, Blazing Saddles vs. Men In Tights, Jesse feels like Worf in Sherwood Forest, I am not a merry man, a canon of these kinds of stories, not good at limiting himself to one thing, The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg, just read it as an amusing little jaunt, planetary romance, generations later, different planet, the downed spaceman, a promise unfulfilled, with the six ships in the sky orbiting, why six?, that number is to refer to something, what’s happening in France today, why their culture is so heavily effected, how long a legacy, wash over, a dutch standup, something wrong with the text, ebook editions, Despoilers Of The Golden Empire by Randall Garrett, a spaceborn retelling of the conquest of Mexico, Star Trek, they’re obviously inferior, thus died Francisco Pizarro, there’s no such thing as spoiling it, Frank Kelly Freas, they didn’t believe in spoilers back then, we cant even tell them apart, it writes itself, a good science fiction metaphor gets behind your defenses in a way direct assaults can’t, that’s a metaphor, what is the philosophy of violence, lenient government that allows underground cells, literally laissez-faire, what’s true, free speech vs. actually killing people vs. overthrowing institutions, fish not meat, his buddy, Ssassaror, the changeling thing, residential schools, there’s no exchange, a kind of critique of religion, a Voltaire like character, revialed, exiled and revered, something very basic, daring to be a revolutionary, a free speech system, rejecting the church, rejecting the skin, its a vampire, acting like a parent, a superego, alcohol, in vino veritas, he’s got a skinful, glimpses of light, pre-revolutionary France, powerful church, distant king, nobody’s the good guy, Jesse doesn’t get it, Lusine, husband trying to abandon his native wife, he’s attracted to her because he’s repulsed by her, irredeemable, a conversation that absolved her of her sins, supporting her father, Rastignac’s approval, she’s deranged throughout the entire story, Jesse doesn’t even get the title, cognac, we don’t feel alcoholism, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, perfectly, special attention, its actually a satire of temperance, the long legacy of temperance, teetotaling, much better understood, on the head of a keg of alcohol, not an accident, best understood through the light of his excuse, he blames it all on alcohol, a real phenomenon, who’s responsible?, AA, the higher power is attached to your body, created by the government and tended by scientists, is alcohol the devil, Balzac uses Rastignac in a number of stories, a letter that’s me talking about…, perfectly enjoyable on its own, the car chase, infodump vs. action, the jump button, an elite car, Renault because its funny, he’s just playin, people who are in cultures, eternal things, everything is cultural, mutable, a linguistic expert…,

Everybody knew the Church had been outlawed a long time ago because it opposed the use of the Skins and certain other practices that went along with it. So, no sooner had that been done than the Ssassarors, anxious to establish their check-and-balance system, had made arrangements through the Minister of Ill-Will to give the Church unofficial legal recognizance.

who are they, do they have to be anyone?, the Minister of Ill-Will, accuracy in naming?, the containment strategy, if you want to go to Oxford you have to become an Anglican, dilutes the meaning, religious whackjobiness, a more honest system, the government persecutor, Ministry of War, in our self-deluded society, the Ministry of Defense, the War Department, truth in the naming, we won’t launch any aggressive wars, unk-unks, Secretary of Defense, sec-def, just going to the meeting is the corruption, we end up where we are, a news report about all the wars, it just doesn’t happen anymore, isn’t that interesting, an interesting point he’s making, Jesse feels it but doesn’t fully grok it, Jesse wishes there was a podcast that could totally explain it, Will is still trying to grok it, LibriVox, Heel, it needs to be brought to the surface, Easter eggs, a narrative you can enjoy, a bit of fun, this should be longer vs. this should be shorter, almost none of it goes deeper, an amazing dystopian device, biology, an amazing novel, a trilogy or a series, wrong skin, half skin, linked to all the other skins, its brilliant, its your culture, how that even happened, getting that idea into the SF arena, you have to wear this parasite, that he never calls it out like a parasite, interesting effects, biological adjustment, Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild, “Rastignac was sure… something”, it is definitely something, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, amazing scenes, building up a world, he doesn’t have a good explanation, he’s a seat of his pants guy, a core reveal, a Philip K. Dick short story, an amazing thing (and then there’s nothing), everybody dies and wakes up in Riverworld, a metaphor for being born on Earth, Hermann Goering, Mark Twain, this caveman dude, Richard Burton, no satisfactory reveal, genes wanna make more genes is not narratively interesting (it is narratively sad), free floating as true (even though it was false), how many Riverworld books, offered him too much money so he wrote book 5, what the point, ethical aliens, reach enlightenment and join this oversoul, hints, The Dark Design, a pointless war, a point about war, the blimp woman, the only queer character in any Philip Jose Farmer story, has dated Jack London before, secret truth, this book has no point, the ending of Rastignac is really good, so condensed, it needed to be way longer, curlicues and ornate spins, interesting vs. amazing, what people say about The Lovers, everyone looks like a sphinx and is a hermaphrodite, 1950s, 1960s, Joe Lansdale, Farmer’s electric brain, had Farmer submitted a script to Star Trek, a fanzine article, every week you got to a new planet (unless there’s a space anomaly), the planet of the counting coup black people, the plains Indians and the Moors, how do you deal with a culture that’s different, the presenting of a weird culture, because of his electric brain, the angst driving Farmer’s writing, he’s wearing the skin, I’ve been a god this whole time, The Rebels Unthawed, The Shadow Of Space, if you go really fast you gain mass, bigger than the universe, Sketches Among The Ruins Of My Mind, Farmerphile, issue 9, gems within,

Rastignac became brisk. He said, “We go to your castle, Giant. We use your smithy to put sharp points on our swords, points to slide through a man’s body from front to back. Don’t pale! That is what we must do. And then we pick up your goose that lays the golden eggs, for we must have money if we are to act efficiently. After that, we buy—or steal—a boat and we go to wherever the Earthman is held captive. And we rescue him. “And then?” said Lusine, her eyes shining with emotion.

“What you do then will be up to you. But I am going to leave this planet and voyage with the Earthman to other worlds.”

Silence. Then Mapfarity said, “Why leave here?”

“Because there is no hope for this land. Nobody will give up his Skin. Le Beau Pays is doomed to a lotus-life. And that is not for me.”

Archambaud jerked a thumb at the Amphib girl. “What about her people?”

“They may win, the water-people. What’s the difference? It will be just the exchange of one Skin for another. Before I heard of the landing of the Earthman I was going to fight no matter what the cost to me or inevitable defeat. But not now.”

Mapfarity’s rumble was angry. “Ah, Jean-Jacques, this is not my comrade talking. Are you sure you haven’t swallowed your Skin? You talk as if you were inside-out. What is the matter with your brain? Can’t you see that it will indeed make a difference if the Amphibs get the upper hand? Can’t you see who is making the Amphibs behave the way they have been?”

Rastignac urged the Renault towards the rose-colored lacy castle high upon a hill. The vehicle trotted tiredly along the rough and narrow forest path.

Philip K. Dick fun stuff, this is a scene from something that’s been re-imagined, this is an adventure story, a noisy car, dense and foggy, a very peaceful planet, stealing of babies is fine, because they don’t have alcohol?, a whole lot of levels, wanna mess up your life go to the bar and get in a barfight, liberté, égalité, fraternité, why is the Earth woman in this story?, a common plot element, it doesn’t need to be here, it doesn’t add anything to the story, that leads to a way off, spark a revolution, a chinwag about stuff, he started a riot, a promise of more alcohol?, where’s the evidence for that?, that would just be amazing, how to accept the skins, a classic of science fiction (in terms of ideas), adopt our ways, a YA Farmer book, super-rich and yet not satisfactory, a psychedelic art comic or cartoon art style, re-imagine it, very visual, without any piece of art to guide us, a LEGO line, very appealing to children of all ages, epees, rapiers, a coach Renault with a working jump button, a rosy coloured lacy castle, the underground cell set, the greatest LEGO movie ever, LEGO New Gaul, with so many good ideas, alas, but still, Trish would like to recommend a complete inversion of this story, Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin, becoming uninhabitable, centuries later…, live cooperatively and save the planet, these people are crazy they’re bad they’re obviously inferior and you need to leave”, on Audible, standalone, generally a recommendation, people are paying attention to this story, The Blasphemers, Phil is really neurotic about religion, semi-autobiographical reflections about things, have the children going to church, Phil’s lifelong battle with predestination and Hell (being traumatizing), trying to find a way to relate, Farmer almost became a Scientologist, you have to leave your wife, Sufi stuff, an extended metaphor for some aspect of Sufism, semi-podcasting life, be interesting, be interested, he’s writing stuff for sale but that’s only half of the reason he’s writing it, he was always working on something, working on your philosophical ideas, ambivalent about religion, fascinated and always searching, uniquely American, specifically intensified in American life, religious freedom, fractalization of churches, some weird religion is starting up, Falun Gong, New York, propaganda newspaper, the counter arm of the anti-Chinese government.

Fantastic Universe, May 1954

UTOPIA - Rastignac The Devil by Philip Jose Farmer

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The SFFaudio Podcast #598 – READALONG: The Mist by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #598 -Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe, Mr Jim Moon, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about The Mist by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
Dark Forces, 1980, Skeleton Crew, 1984 audio drama, Meatball Fulton, the 2007 movie adaptation, the terrible TV adaptation, a German audio drama?, who doesn’t like Stephen King?, America’s greatest popular novelist, people don’t like Stephen King’s endings, his narration tool, awesome endings, eucatastrophe, everything published until he turned 14, same, similar, Insomnia, changing style, the best time to read Stephen King is when it’s too young to be appropriate, Marissa’s eyes were opened, the scales were lifted from your eyes, mimetic fiction, a bridge novelist, a weird continuity, Mr Jim Moon’s bookshelves, the book cover of Carrie, New English Library, what the hell is the shining?, the psychic power, Salem’s Lot, Christmas and birthdays, a binge, a glut, a fear of big books, reading on Kindle, Terry Pratchett, highlighting observations, a heat map, your Dean Koontzs and James Herberts, very well put, tied up in audio, superior audiobooks, the most popular adaptation among fans, The Stand, Frank Muller, the different seasons, The Dark Tower, the Frank Muller narrated version of The Mist, the artist is mentioned, Hieronymus Bosch, Paul’s Stephen King’s experience, Firestarter in Omni Magazine, the Stephen King lake (there’s always something in that lake), Jesse is averse to popular, Cujo, The Running Man, Jesse is worried that his thesis is right, wise or wry observations of human behavior, King is telling us, a Hitchcock ending, a found document, The House On The Borderlands, the framing device, Lovecraft gets a shout-out, meta-mentioned, aliens, why Stranger Things was so popular, all those things that people are highlighting in Stephen King books, instinctually, amp up the drama, three sips of his beer, drinking beer all the whole day, out of alcoholism, cheating on his wife, he shoots his whole family, its transferred, making the main character less of an asshole, its okay that he cheats on his wife, hardscrabble, movie posters, The Dark Tower and The Thing, a more appealing protagonist, the sexual politics of this, moralistic about monogamy, the centerpiece of the drama, in his thoughts a little bit, the mom is missed more than the wife, replacement moms, replacement wife, the four bullets, we’re left to decide, seeing the book in relief, Darabont’s a hack, The Green Mile, Weird Tales, 1937, an error in the film, so faithful to the book in dialogue, the extra soldier, the neighbour is black, The Shawshank Redemption, a definitive ending, a noir ending makes it all the better, concretely solid as a story, A Quiet Place, the hear you instead of sniffing you, all these zombie stories, at least three actors from The Walking Dead, a distillation of so much, The Mist is a ground level version of The Night Wire by H.F. Arnold, the most popular story in Weird Tales ever, an internal monologue, reporting what it’s like to die, the foibles of all the people in the grocery store, “Food House”, a very choice decision, this is all happening out there, the emotional drama, why Stephen King translates so well to film, a skull-face, it amps up your eeuughs, the people dont trust each other, Mrs. Carmady, we see ourselves in her, a difference between the text and the movie, Christianity and folk stuff, psychic, frustrating, crazy fundamentalism, insidious in the book, recent events, people are that stupid here and now, unacknowledged psychics, The Dead Zone, nobodies who rise to political power, Under The Dome, fear of political zealots and cults, a great Covid story, we’re leaving, King read this stuff, *I AM INSPIRED BY THIS*, H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene’s The Horror At Martin’s Beach, what’s identical is us viewing, it’s not about upper class and lower class, out-of-towners vs. locals, the boundary dispute starts off the story, what’s so cool, his psychology is all over the page, Philip K. Dick, very instinctually, my magic spell words, I drink too much, one for the road, drink more beer, some people know they have drinking problems, at the end of Skeleton Crew there’s a note on how it was written, taking this event from your own life, a very methodical way, great details, observant touches, the class tensions, John Updike, built on this interesting fusion, he isn’t an occult researcher, he’s just a dude, a painter, he paints his picture for us, wherever their faithful, the name of the car is the same kind of car, International Harvester Scout vs. Toyota Landcruiser, a very specific region and mental state, a pseudo-explanation for why all this stuff is happening, the secret military base, we need this scenario, lined up for toilet paper, who’s not wearing a mask, follow the rules, how all of this works, what was the right thing for me to do, going to the drugstore, what was the best thing anyone could have done in this scenario, drink beer, play pinochle, a metaphor for the Vietnam War, these experiences, the atmosphere of 1980s, ultimately they’re fighting the Soviets, he’s actually speaking to a particular set of events for people who are not responsible directly, a nostalgia hit, there’s much more to it than the politics, he writes about where he knows, a temperature map, bad political takes on twitter, he’s a boomer, the Vietnam War and John F. Kennedy, 11-22-63, they’ve held up so well, Danse Macabre, the Patty Hearst case, a global pandemic, a very specific moment, 1990, a late 70s story, he didn’t revise it enough, the Symbionese Liberation Army, copy and replace, written right after The Stand, Bird Box, an invasion from outside, usually after the events, the explanation for why the monsters are the way they are, Project Arrowhead, overheard at the library, what you hear is going on, no one is responsible, we’re all responsible, “nobody knew”, “no one could have foreseen this”, why the TV show is terrible, scattering the people, the monsters in the mist, an alternative ecosystem in which we are made irrelevant, The Men In The Walls by William Tenn, a cool idea, are the evils in the grocery store are manifested by the monsters in the mist (in the TV show adaptation), King has them completely separated, they’re not here to eat us, that’s how they are, Mrs. Carmody isn’t right, cosmic indifference causes beer drinking, its all for nothing, why King is better at this, he understands this on the cellular level, a reflection on his own psychological experience with it, the family dog didn’t want to be that way, down the same path, Dark Tower 6 or 7, move between these worlds, a retcon, a mistake, Dark Tower 3, these institutions, North Central Positronics, how institutions appear in King’s early fiction, the storm is what caused it, The Men Who Stare At Goats, if you look at their CV, [Prof. Courtney Brown] working on remote viewing, failing upward, now I teach kids, The Window by H.P. Lovecraft, in Fungi From Yuggoth,

The house was old, with tangled wings outthrown,
Of which no one could ever half keep track,
And in a small room somewhat near the back
Was an odd window sealed with ancient stone.
There, in a dream-plagued childhood, quite alone
I used to go, where night reigned vague and black;
Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack
Of fear, and with a wonder each time grown.

One later day I brought the masons there
To find what view my dim forbears had shunned,
But as they pierced the stone, a rush of air
Burst from the alien voids that yawned beyond.
They fled – but I peered through and found unrolled
All the wild worlds of which my dreams had told.

that piercing, this curious monkey thing, roll our tanks into Moscow behind their lines, if he could have waited a few minutes he this whole story made no sense, his school shooting book [Rage by Stephen King], he’s thinking about killing his family, the army comes in and fixes things, undermining the cynicism, that he didn’t kill himself, he shot his son after abandoning his wife, he went there, that Chinatown (1974) ending, compare this to The Shawshank Redemption‘s ending, the mist just goes away, I think those tentacles came out of that beer can, the trucks, the woman who left right away, locals who had made better decisions, the politics of it are quite interesting, the military guys are wearing masks, its a gas causing hallucinations, an extra, faceless government guys, the Iraq quagmire, the surge will work, the military was cleaning up, burning cocoons off the trees, they’re saving the people, pretty powerful, Scott was not pleased by the ending in the theater, “we went straight to the bookstore from the theatre”, Stephen King’s hopeful ending, something drastic, the psychic part, a dire situation, it might not be real, he thought he heard the word “Hartford”, there’s no narrator in the audio drama, we’re just being show the sound, like a microphone in the pocket of one of the characters, eliminating his own hope, saving them from the horror, pro-hope, I would rather sit here for a minute, I guess we gotta do it, they were safe for a minute, the whole point of this exercise is doomed, not consistent with King’s character as a writer, Pet Semetary, evil is defeated provisionally, they’re so faithful up to the tone of the book up to that point, the ending of Salem’s Lot is the beginning, he doesn’t want to go to that very bleak ending, collecting graffiti from the bathroom stalls of truck-stops, the maid will find it, his notebook saves this guy’s life, an optimistic happy ending, a real phenomenon, all these gun deaths, assault style rifles, avoid breaking down the gun deaths, most US gun deaths are suicides, if you have drugs in your house, we have these states where we change, things will look better in the morning, son, “I was as honest as I could be”, not wiser (they just have more experience), here have a hug, a confection, Castle Rock, exploiting or adapting, wasn’t that part cool, it has the shining music, a kid like in Stand By Me, E.T., straight from his unconscious, he’s not constructing it using a plot generator, a car really obsessed, a superhuman level of attention to detail, a kid crying in the sandlot, the boathouse, wonderfully modeled, a Parliament cigarette, Pepsi, Purina, what it was like to be a middle class American in 1980s, this is not how the world is now, Castle Rock does a better job of getting King (like Darabont does), characters, memorable characters, It, the most accurate depiction of 12 year olds, still accurate at 38, people do that and there isn’t always consequences, every transgression is punished, punished for an act of mercy, Mrs. Carmody would have been right, movies for adults, The Big Chill, suburban adultery, closely observed modernist fiction, lets go on vacation, these dark thoughts on the road, the best depictions of being a writer, why you need that axe, if I can just change stuff up I can finish the book, I’m outlining a new writing project and four months of peace and quiet are what I need, from the very first scene, this Jack Torrence is absolutely crazy, vs. a descent into madness, moral corruption, Kubrick’s film is great, ghosts are allowed to be in novels, the New York Times review of Dark Forces, cinematic writing, is there a story he’s produced that hasn’t been adapted at least once, Revival is going to be adapted, is it because his writing is so cinematic?, the King name, pacing and people, so much happens in the last hour, the audio drama skips the first two chapters, the 1984 text adventure computer game, missing the foundation, an excellent artifact, many many audio dramas available, the 1980s was dry as hell, Fred Greenhalgh and Radio Drama Revival, so innovative, don’t short shrift the audio drama, that 3-D effect, this is really scary, you’re in that grocery store with those people, ‘there’s something in the mist and it looks like this’, Maissa Bessada, its definitely scary, in a film, all those eggs inside that guy, some great effects, a little bit of Aliens (1986) in there, the spiders are on our side, an alien ecology, what is their vegetation, the vegetation doesn’t spill in, The War Of The Worlds, triffids, he’s about the psychology, psychic plants, From A Buick 8, the architecture of the car is all wrong, Thomas Jane, one of the monsters is a D&D one, if Stephen King had been born Stephina King, that’s a guy thing, facts about the cars, being that he’s a dude, old cars from the 50s, an AMC AMX, it looks so cool, it would be different if he was a woman, if he had a female brain, what would those obsessions be, obsession with duck breeds, “what’s with the doilies, ladies?”, video games have really changed people’s brains, game clothes, their obsessions are going to be different, he tends to be very contemporary, Cell, a cellphone used as a flashlight, now nobody has flashlights, the mist knocked out the signal, the radio, “the internet’s out, what can we do!?”, Jesse’s favourite scene, I’m going to get you a Spider-Man, a Spider-Man and an Incredible Hulk too!, sitting on the dock for a few hour with a comic book, totally absorbed, something for the dentist to work on later.

The Mist by Stephen King - read by Frank Muller

The Mist In 3D Sound

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The SFFaudio Podcast #521 – READALONG: The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #521 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talked about on today’s show:
David Stifel, more explicitly racist, some language, chinks, a dago with affection, a class thing, an interesting book to look at, its about class, Japanese headhunters, isolates, out of time, they might as well be on Mars, historical context, yellow peril, American aristocracy, Burroughs is relaxing and enjoyable, licensees, defenders of the estate, a massively loyal older fanbase, old websites absolutely dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs, he threw all of this together, it goes down so easily, so fun, not everything has to be deep and profound, very comparable to Herman Melville’s Typee, a travelogue, protagonists on headhunting islands, the differences couldn’t be larger, the whole appendix, Tarzan, the Mars novels, action beats, adventure, man against the world, surprised by the ending of The Mucker, hooligan brawler, alcoholism, he walks away, easy to miss, the pattern repeats itself, Lord Greystoke, civilized, A Princess Of Mars, dating a princess, marrying a princess, a lowest class Chicago hoodlum cannot ascend, aristocracy is the word, reformed by this aristocratic figures, Derrier vs. Theriere, models for our anti-hero (hero), acting heroic, an interesting attack, Billy Byrne’s upbringing, trying to make a sociological point, taking it seriously, Jack London, similar characters, working class vulgar, class switching, a researcher in the slums of California, bougie academic jobs, Martin Eden, learning how to speak from the middle class, The Iron Heel, this reformist agenda, a working class story, the underclass, Studs Lonigan trilogy, ennui about capitalism, a descent, awakened into his heroic character, underplaying the role of Theriere, Mallory, Barbara, which classes are represented, the captain of the ship, The Call Of The Wild, the story arc of Buck, a pampered king, a slave, free in a new way, the man with the red sweater, the power of man over beast, physical abuse from his mom, no friends only heroes, thieves and murderers, very Burroughsian in its romance, island paradise, an island within an island, what was Burroughs thinking?, love for dogs and girls and falling in love, very romantic, swords and sandals and radium pistols, the romance of friendship, getting emotional, they start crying, brother and mother animals, in this process of transformation, not even the main character, his epithet, Billy was a mucker, a term that survives, a term that was in use, covered in shit, to muck out stalls, low-class person, that dirt doesn’t rub off, he fixes his grammar, improving oneself by improving one’s grammar, act like the class you’re moving into, Google N-Gram, those guys in the muck, the trauma, the most dignified sons of our nation, indiscriminate, shells and gas, the sudden reform, abstaining from alcohol, reflective of the minds of people in 1913, the progressive era, urban problems, prostitutes and drunkard, sewer socialism, clean up the city, the temperance movement, rural alcoholism is less conspicuous, in reading about drugs, the history of drugs, misidentifying the power of a drug in its ascendancy, smoking cigarettes, clamped down, personal virtue, western Canada, vaping is taking off, vaping in the bathroom, the smoking pit, they were the bad ones, the same drug, we don’t have our defenses up, a nice artifact, gangs in the street, his kindergarten, a metaphor, a dented bucket of beer, a bunch of thugs, a certain class of people, why was Theriere disgraced?, class-based, cheap and social, the health benefits, working class leisure, the work ethic, a lot of paranoia about drugs is about people not working, marijuana, John Barleycorn, drinking at a young age, part of working life, you couldn’t function with drink, getting you past the pain, no empathy, empathy for the manliness, John Carter is insane, psychosis and confabulation, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hybrid samurai cannibals, I was promised cannibals, Popeye: The Sailor Man, I am what I am and that’s all that I am, break out the spinach, a professor, the science of boxing, Joe Rogan and Mike Tyson, a low class guy with drug addicted parent, using anger and hate to make him a monster, Japanese endogamy, a lost colony of Japan, medieval age samurais, samurai headhunters?, The Land That Time Forgot, inbreeding, the late Ashikaga daimyo, a lawless frontier, uninhabited islands, the image, Madame Butterfly, all those islands, something interesting there, The Philippines, cultural relics, the War in the Pacific, how it is science fictional, most explicitly SFF related, Tarzan is about the blank slate, natural experiments, wild children, getting on a ship and seeing what’s there, the Pacific is spaceship and space and island worlds allowing you to have adventures, Planet Stories, F&SF, Galaxy magazine, transferable from the ocean to space, Ted Chiang, the chemistry and biology, one little weird tick, the monsters, the father and the son, all for the sake of allowing Billy to have his adventures, who is the intended audience, selling it to a pulp, some people appreciated it, I wanna make some money, selling to the workman, this cool looking train heist, by the guy who wrote Tarzan, Burroughs is trying to find out what sells, his version of a Yellow Peril story, San Fransisco, tongs, the ship action, learning to be a sailor, Robert E. Howard’s Sailor Steve Costigan, muscled doofuses with good hearts, the sailor tough-guy, the way Popeye talks, a strange guy with a tattoo, the middle classes have tattoos, sailors made this a thing, weird tattoos, its a prison thing, sailors looking at each other’s tattoos, anchor tattoo, the anime character that they like, the heart of the Yellow Peril anxiety, the Yellow Peril is a fake threat that’s fun to think about, they’re out-breeding us and they’re smarter than us, laws against intermarriage, medieval military savagery, relapsed into primitive ignorance, racial hierarchy, white yellow brown black and red, Chinese eugenicists, degenerated by intermingling, slavs, miscegenation, he fails to interbreed with the upper-class, in the sequel, bandits in Mexico, The Oakdale Affair, Two Dooms by Cyril M. Kornbluth, wrong about everything, a Hopi Indian, full of Asians, yellow peril-y, this is really stupid, taking our land and our women, save American from these threats, fun storytelling, so fake as to be not worthy of attention, the Fu-Manchu stories, The Mysterious Dr Fu Manchu, Hong Kong, an anti-colonialist narrative, Nyland and Petrie are boring, the one with the principles, so devilishly ambitious and smart, as a genre, red scare books, yellow peril is both up and down, interest in the East, Judge Dee, Robert van Gulik, Red Scare, Red Dawn (1984), we need breeding programs!, they tried to remake -> Red Dawn (2012), Cubans running around in Africa, we would like to be so organized, the brotherhood of man, no classes, an Australian red-peril yellow-peril movie, Tomorrow, When The War Began (2010), taboo, the white ghost, coming from a place of ignorance, don’t use that word, you have to use the right word for it, its not the actions, change the terminology, too ignorant, that top down acceptance, I’ll live on Park Avenue and he’ll live across the street, a fantasy world in a hollow in the woods, it becomes important to him, as real as anything else in this book, an unreal inside of an unreal, jockeying for whose going to marry this girl, a prize to be won, Burroughs makes active women, her knowing Japanese, give her something to do, something more to it?, this image of the Pacific, the centerpiece of the American Empire, not that preposterous, fantasy world, technocrats, Obama’s kids learning Chinese, training for the ruling class, German lessons, Legend Of Tarzan (2016), no origin story, just a Tarzan story, Tarzan was his moneymaker, trying to deal with a real horror, Belgian Congo, Tarzan in Heart Of Darkness, the villain is a historical character, Léon Rom, white savior, undignified, he and his friends don’t have hands they have mitts or paws, the mean streets, tribalistic, a book about psychological change, accepting vs. changing, married to a red princess, red indians, dealing with race (badly), Mowgli, all class, to make Billy all the tougher, they’re vicious, how many times his pistol fails him, mortal injuries, shakes it off and keeps going, it has no effect, primal brutality, one other racial element, the tracking ability of a red indian, from an era that is thinking about race all the time, its fun interesting and easy, not high art, entertaining, breezy, relaxing, all on the surface, this artifact from a period when you can get shanghaied, all the tropes, I’d like to get shanghaied!, the Taiping rebellion, emigrant cities, nationalist nonsense, regional cultures, Sisters And Strangers: Women In The Shanghai Cotton Mills, 1919-1949 by Emily Honig, an immigrant city, the prototype of Chinese cities, ethnic groups, the Chinese revolutions are about class, nationalism in the context of empire, the Nationalists, the Communists, the national bourgeoisie, intellectual purges, class politics in China, the global proletariat, the Boxer Rebellion, uphold the Ching, a gendered movement, the traditional family is holding back our progress, concubinage, the most oppressed women in human history, too much into Chinese history, the exotic East, how the West sees the Cultural Revolution, the massive factory, in the news, extraditing the head of Huawei, getting between the major super-powers, The Breaker.News podcast, The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, a treaty port, majority not-white, theBreaker.news Podcast, a sign of the times.

All-Story Weekly, October 24, 1914 - THE MUCKER

The Mucker dustjacket

The Mucker, page 8

The Mucker, page 109

The Mucker

The Mucker - illustration by Frank Frazetta

BOOKS IN MOTION - The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Mucker comic strip

Billy Byrne: The Mucker from The Greatest Adventure

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #480 – READALONG: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #480 – Jesse, Paul, Bryan Alexander, and Evan Lampe talk about the audiobook of Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor.

Talked about on today’s show:
Tantor Media, 2013, dynamo, biography, H.P. Lovecraft, non-fiction, after 1899, as a kid, the future, the turn of the 20th century, Evan’s 100 Pages podcast, black writers, important fin de sicle, Victorian to Edwardian, a time of massive change, his parents and his quasi-parents, to see where London came from, looking at the past, don’t watch the news, William the Conqueror, seances and spiritualism, 30 years into spiritualism, morphing into other practices, the Chinese believe in ghosts, Americans believe in all kinds of things, UFOs, angels, credulous, Warren Chase, Wisconsin, utopian socialism, the Civil War, free labour, free soil, the connection between all these ideas, pamphlets, autobiographies, the rise of science and capitalism, Marx and Darwin, what are the laws?, utopians, the Horatio Alger story, I’m gonna make my fortune–and I can, coming from poverty and misfortune, complaining and bragging, Martin Eden’s problem, when Jack London was in Australia, died at 40, debilitated vs. lively and fierce, the noseless stranger, John Barleycorn, a novel to take as truth, alcohol, alcoholism, whiskey, a philosophical tangent, white logic, pink elephant, fatalism, existentialism, filling Nietzschean logic with religion, Steen Hansen, when still a teenager, delivering newspapers, teeth knocked out, hoboing around the United States, sheer physical movement, London’s connection to socialism, child labour, incredibly hard and varied work, the family economy, supporting his parents, travel, love of literature, the London epic, blown away, London’s Klondike experience, perfidy by Canadians, how many stories, the blood brain barrier between life and fiction, frequent life raiding, worship and fascination, The Call Of The Wild, Buck is sitting by the campfire, seeing a caveman, a race memory, a kind of brilliant thinker, hackwork, this is horror, enjoin, The Red One by Jack London, ancient astronauts, a dark and twisted story, Jung, symbol laden, lying sick and unable to move, astounding to see, Philip K. Dick, neighbours and wives, reworking his own thoughts as fiction, he interviews himself, thinking aloud on paper, how close Earle Labor got to understanding Jack London, more accurate, defining my position, the rent man, hope, the half-baked economist, the stout gentlemen, they wouldn’t be socialists they’d be beer sodden wrecks, scabs, full fledged graduates in anarchy, he’s a firecracker, George Sterling, the Weird Tales circle, Clark Ashton Smith, tilting the whole continent towards San Fransisco, Ambrose Bierce, the giantness of London, London’s mother was 4 and half-feet tall, punching Japanese officer in the face, not like another writers, J.R.R. Tolkien, going for walks and smoking pipes, Charmian and he were restless, Jack London couldn’t stay still, England, People Of The Abyss, on Jack London time, smoking and drinking, not sleeping enough, The Shadow Out Of Time, a Yithian takes over Jack London, conflicted about the work ethic, The Sea Wolf, Brisenden = Sterling, he didn’t have the spark, Weird Al, is Jack London still in school libraries?, White Fang, The Iron Heel, older dystopia, It Can’t Happen Here, London’s engagement with racism, the mestizos of Mexican Revolution, so many of London’s stories are skewering stupid racism, the white race lives on the destruction and putrefaction of the societies they’re crushing, The Wisdom Of The Trail, adopting the white man’s mentality, white men’s burdens are to be carried by red men, surrounded by racism, everyone around him people are using race as an excuse to do things, a whole critique of social Darwinism, the peak of European imperialism, it doesn’t get you anywhere, loneliness and despair, To Build A Fire, China, British literature, committed to teaching, he still glowed and grinned like a madman, bonding over Melville, War by Jack London, mad mythic, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, living in extreme cold (in Vermont), “the cold of space smote the unprotected tip of the planet”, science fiction, looking at reality, not about the relationships between people, look at this fascinating phenomenon, psychology or economics, The Cold Equations, a hard Science Fiction story, muscles in motion, when he does it it becomes, man against nature in the extremis, a story about spacesuits, Thomas Huxley, a literary critique of race in London’s work, Jack London’s Racial Lives: A Critical Biography, Campbell, the state of nature and the state of art, Herbert Spenser, The Shadow And The Flash, sibling rivalry, the mind at work, The Scarlet Plague, a social Darwinian document, the Chauffeur tribe, old idiots are interested in book reading, The Strength Of The Strong, Moon-Face: A Story Of Moral Antipathy, The Cask Of Amontillado, Guy de Maupassant, seeing into the mind of the other, empathy, “my-culture-is-not-your-prom-dress-ism”, cultural appropriation, dogs, Wolf Larsen is an odious character, academic arguments, Wolf Larsen is like Tony Soprano, Edward G. Robinson, a weird disease, was Jack London a precog?, seeing the psychology at work, Jack London (1943), A Thousand Deaths, a deserter, torture, wow!, almost everything in this story happened, I am not your father because I was impotent at that time, six marriages, fewer divorces, a hard mother, a family curse?, the seven year itch, looking for father figures, the man of action in the salon, Everhardt, Doctor Who, worshiping the man, Irving Stone’s Sailor On Horseback, the dream sandwich, The Star Rover, everybody should read Jack London, mapping reality.

Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor

Sailor On Horseback by Irving Stone

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #420 – READALONG: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #420 – Jesse, Paul, Julie Davis, Maissa, talk about Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Talked about on today’s show:
Philip Morris vs. Philip Marlowe, he doesn’t like to get paid, not the greatest book?, LOVED IT!, randomly starting, a fix-up, obvious joins, Santa Monica, dumped off, odd climax, parts more than a whole, dialogue, description, character, setting, the rest of the Raymond Chandlers, the psychic part, mooshed together, The High Window, dialogue, a TERRIBLE plot, so stylish, the formula doesn’t matter, a matter of style, high style, a mess because of the way it is put together, Philip K. Dick, cannibalizing stories, here we go, worth reading, his best?, The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, The Lady In The Lake and The Little Sister, The Mandarin’s Jade, Try The Girl, The Man Who Liked Dogs, a gambling boat, three main threads, all the movies, overdosing, three audio dramas, Jesse’s dreams, the Japanese version of The Long Goodbye, when is it exactly set?, the 1975 Robert Mitchum story, Germany Invades Russia, Detective Kills Two, The Falcon Takes Over, after prohibition, gin bottles, the soakingest-full-of-alcohol book ever, sodden to the corners and spine, seeing the same scenes, a totally autobiographical novel, the girl with the flashlight, he sapped himself with alcohol, blacking out all the time, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder, driven to drink, no prize, two geniuses, a certain self-loathing, doing terrible things, a likeable asshole, 40s and 50s noir films, suicide, similarities, the writer with the drinking, the crazy wife stuff, running into the sea, a recurring theme, night swim, fully loaded, coming off of prohibition, Moose’s imprisonment, below the surface, timeless, set in Dixon Hill land, the Picard detective, Cast A Deadly Spell, gumshoe H.P. Lovecraft, femme fatale, hard drinking, Sam Spade, self knowledge, Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, brutal, his brains were on his face, gut shot, shot up with dope, you’re so great, “Tell me some more”, side paths, a simple story arc, getting lost, too much personality, disjointed, Harry Potter, writing derived from movies, how action movies are made, an opening chase scene, all the elements, the formula, the pulp magazine style and needs, the action figure merchandising method, following and not following, literally dragged into the plot, what is this doing here?, a hard fit, deviations, this is not the book at all, too dark and not noir enough, script problems, a character from a different series with Chandler’s plot, Murder, My Sweet, Dick Powell, Who knew murder smelled like honeysuckle?, it tears your heart out, noir for her, Mrs. Grail is her own femme fatale, shot herself in the heart twice, honesty about corruption, Bay City?, a huge corruption scandal, graft, you wanna see my house pal, Commissioner Wax, corrupt to money, everything goes sweet, the wrong side of money, the way they treat the blacks in the story, misdemeanor murder, horribleness, you’re not clean not even one little bit of you, not a just society, my dad was not on the take, I gave her the dope because her dad was cop, the puppets dancing on a string dance for love or money, Velma says money brings its own problems, a torch singer, “money must help”, quoting on twitter, a coat, a hat, a gun, you’re a tough guy, as crazy as two waltzing mice, do something really tough like putting your pants on, hangovers, a face like a sack of mud, strewn with empty bottles, a complete souse, the lady across the street, she doesn’t hold with liquor, a sad busybody, urban isolation, shut away with our own problems, where are the children?, she leaned forward a little, Julie’s right, Anne Riordan, a nice town, reading-along, on the boat with Red, latent homosexuality, slightly sticky, the wet air was as cold as the ashes of love, deferring hanging out with women, give me flowers first, The Maltese Falcon, different insights, Joel Cairo, Paul’s Peter Lorre impressions, not very cheerful, what it isn’t, the master of similes, all negroes, as heavy as a waterlogged boat, a face that had nothing to fear, why people love reading him, we need to do work, we need to infer what the descriptions mean, “Shinebox, where’s Velma at?”, a theory about Moose, golf ball buttons, “Jus the scram white boy, just the scram”, focused on love to the exclusion of all else, that black pool opened up at my feet and I dived in, one of the effects of heavy drinking is memory loss: Korsakoff syndrome, all he could have in his head, why is he simple?, interpretation, why didn’t she shoot herself in the head?, using Moose, looking for love, she did love him (Moose), a tragic hero/monster, Marlowe’s story, The L.A. Times, who needs Agatha Christie, who dun it, why dun it, who sapped Marlowe, amazing descriptions of the night, sometimes it is for love, the gangsters, the why is the reason for the investigation, that’s a character, if the question is why the answer is alcohol, re-reading The Big Sleep, Sherlock Holmes, real California vs. dream California, secret stairways, Mullholland Drive, strange dreams, the mirror on the wall in the office, Lawrence Block, if somebody made a down-payment, an exchange with Rembrandt, he can narrate his own story, a reflection of Moose above, seeing yourself and then someone else, so good Philip K. Dick style, what they were born to do, you can just feel it, applied to a genre, they are themselves, care-free, that whole scene, try the phone book, just waiting to wake up, Dark City (1998), a true love, The Thirteenth Floor (1999), the world is shit, Blade Runner, a new Blade Runner, Arrival, a beautiful gorgeous job, The Running Man, straying, really read it, I’m kind of cute sometimes, Bored To Death, a humorous take on Chandler’s Marlowe, if Jesse won the lottery, I’ll have the desk, and the hat, the equipment, the Sam Spade phone, what Patrick Stewart does, Ross Macdonald, hanging out with rich people, the experience of a writer, too much from life experience, one of the strangest openings to a novel, who has watched all of Veronica Mars?, so good, so well written, Brick, a father daughter private detective agency, hardcore hardboiled, like Buffy, Mitchum is not Elliot Gould, the Ray Porter narration, the Elliot Gould narration, abridged?, he’s not a dummy, a simpleton, a corpus delicious, laugh on your day off.

BALLANTINE BOOKS - Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #031 – The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #031

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Black Cat was first published in the United States Saturday Post, August 19, 1843.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson