The SFFaudio Podcast #437 – The Turning Wheel by Philip K. Dick, read by Mike Vendetti (this audiobook comes to us courtesy of Mike Vendetti). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (52 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, Marissa, and Mirko Stauch.
Talked about on today’s show:
clearness be with me, novelette, Science Fiction Stories, issue 2, 1954, the far future of The Faith Of Our Fathers, an ambush ending, Brian Aldiss, I wish he wasn’t on speed, adrenaline or heroin hit, really funny, the most hilarious thing ever, walking around Hollywood, cruel glee, Sigma 2 Foxtrot, full of ideas, building a world step by step, small hints, not Dick’s best story, The Philip K. Dick Fans page, baffled by, pointing to something, the plot, what are we supposed to make of the ending, another turn of the wheel, penicillin, a return to reality, false beliefs, the next world, the tinkerists, a parade, a secular meeting, taken on too much, a racist and anti-racist story, awkwardness in his own body, PKD was a cauc, an interest in the numinous, a repairman, ambivalence, crapsack future, post apocalyptic dystopia, a Yellow Peril story, Indians ascendant, the lowly caucs, rotations of karma, circles within circles, humour, the PKD stand-in character, “my mind is still impure”, denial of education, entertainment, food, bardley class, some sort of satire, Scientology, Dianetics, A.E. van Vogt, John W. Campbell, there’s not much science in it, self-helpy, therapy replacement, psychotherapy for the afflicted, did Dick ever go to a Scientology meeting, Lawrence Sutin, phhh, Elron Hu (Bard), pretty crazy, in the center, e-meters, Aleister Crowley, apocryphal stories, Lester del Rey, founding a religion, Michael Shermer, the Robert A. Heinlein anecdote, the Harlan Ellison anecdote, what is religion for?, The Man In The High Castle, even the caucs of Detroit, the colonial governor, what is the purpose of religion?, how strange a man, a born liar, a similar mentality to Trump, a serious mental illness, a system, persuasion, the appeal of any religion, offering answers, tradition, social structure, what do they say?, they look with their blank stares, creepy, free test, no eye contact, Sung Wu, this is what the real world’s like, so much fear, it will jangle you, deprogrammed, the medicine, bad days, mental crisis, free floating anxiety, existential angst, this electronic device is not going to hurt you, free (at first), haters, every cult, the Westboro Baptists, Cults!, rusty and unoiled, a jammed disposal slot, any stable society is menaced by cults, are we stable society, teetering on the brink, blind to the rot, rationalize, this is fine, do not repair, do not fix, shooting bullets with a rusty gun, deterministic nature of their faith, predetermined, divine will, a cheap argument, the lowest class, off to Spain, a silent messenger, the basic catechisms, busy mixing, a hairy cauc sweating and galumphing around like a neanderthal, one of PKD’s wives must have called him an neanderthal, Mary And The Giant, technos, pale and unhealthy like nocturnal insects, othering the Caucasians, I’m pretty hairy myself, lascivious looks, human dimensions, incessant whining, laughing and wincing, full of hypocrisy, the robots, “clearness be with you”, welded to its waist, some tinkerist, a plow, legacy leftovers, the TV repairman part of PKD, science is good and engineering is great aspect, hoping for recycling, monorails everywhere, nuclear war, open sores, farming the ruins of Detroit, a cool image, Time Pawn, revisions, world-building, wanted more meat, nicotine or copper, insecticide, our brothers, reacting to Eastern Mythology, gnostic, I Ching, of course not, reading the Dick’s Exegesis, jangled with spirits of murders, Thetans, I wanna murder you right now, not my best self, externalize, a lascivious bastard, getting clear, on a spectrum, mental issues, so productive, maybe this will work, a marketable madness, negative thoughts, that’s the bad part, panic attacks, agoraphobia, depressions, the link between graphomania and mental depression, you wouldn’t see anything, sitting on Philip K. Dick’s shoulder, across the street with binoculars, it must be frightening, nobody has the answer, a powerful ending, a lot of reflection of our society, making animals suffer is bad, sorry spider, take it to the limit, hairy and sweaty, ultimately we’re smart and we have science and engineering, he ultimately believes that American industrialism is a good thing, penicillin is awesome, his only real giant point, its about empathy, kipple or gubble, back into organized states, old religions, a new world order, out of the ruins of the old society, deeply symbolic, they could make the same mistake, primitively wise, they suborn ’em, expiration dates on drugs, unpacking the brushed over, how do we know that it works?, a poor little fly on an alien planet, a self-deluded cult that’s taken over the world, we have no guarantees, to reboot Scientology, it would be VR, you’re jangled!, VR as a treatment for PTSD, I remember all of Blade Runner, I don’t need to watch it again, the Vangelis soundtrack, the cause of my jangles, that room, put yourself in a basket, the Mercer cult machine, no decent self-respecting woman, incredibly hairy, like apes!, ape-like, dealing with racism, a yellow man criticizing white men, a white ascendancy, a horizontal ascendancy, we’ll have to share the same outhouse, oh my Hubbard!, the black empathy box, Wilbur Mercer, an Empathy box, an E-Box, the virtual reality of Perky Pat, a regular person, you have to have so much knowledge going in, Roog, deciding to become a vegetable, what is he saying here?, did his wife say something to him?, why would anyone publish this?, no movie will be made of this (as it is), wishing it were a lot longer, Piper In The Woods, the Green Man, what’s he getting at here?, New Wave, why is that guy doing that?, is he New Wave before his time, Gonna Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, things are like huh, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, pre-inoculated for the changes to come, a boy goes to prison for treason and comes out a girl (Chelsea Manning), turmoil and rage, I was thinking about this two decades ago, fifty years ago, a story aimed squarely at the heterosexual male, stick with me, still a love story, there’s something going on there, not meant for the ages, for lining your bird cage with, we’re clear, and marked as suppressive persons, vegans, what you gonna stop eating fruit, totally put off, kind of cute, The Misfits, is abstaining from alcohol a religion, not having to lie, the religious fervor has passed, 27 year old Toyota,
The SFFaudio Podcast #404 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, Mr Jim Moon, Bryan Alexander and Wayne June, talk about The Call Of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, February 1928, the best or the most famous of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, Michel Houellebecq, it has everything in spades, dreams, madness, you must have insanity, a lot of action but all is indirect, adaptations, the Call Of Cthulhu game, a large shelf of Call Of Cthulhu game books, library skills is a high value skill, a story about research, Spotlight (2015), an anthology of stories, nested stories, the nautical adventure, the great uncles’ investigations, the 1908 Cthulhu cult in Louisiana, the origin of murder maps, Borgesian, Indiana Jones, the silent film, weirdly deferred, a Lovecraftian call to action: please don’t repeat this story, The Mountains Of Madness, the Algernon Blackwood opening quote, the late Francis Waylon Thurston,
“Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival… a survival of a hugely remote period when… consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes in forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity… forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds…”
dinosaurs, dinosaur men, or Silurians, Jordan B. Peterson, caught in the middle of a whole deal, getting a sense of the deeper meaning of the Garden Of Eden story, man made conscious by woman, very Lovecraftian, really really old texts, looking at texts in the wrong way, they are so wise, in creating a new pantheon, why it is so powerful, was it a deliberate choice or an accretion around a grain of sound, plush animals, Dagon: The War Of The Worlds, this is Dagon revisited, great artists, an atheist version of religion, from a hugely remote period, consciousness manifested in shapes and forms long since withdrawn, creating our gods and monsters, explaining away the existence of religion, myths that developed based on something long before humanity (that isn’t your great Buddy in the sky), very frightening, knitting together all of human folklore, Robert Graves, Spengler, Toynbee, Joseph Campbell, a universal monomyth, The Centaur by Algernon Blackwood, a Gaia myth, in Esquimaux legend, the South Pacific, dreams changing people, the scary potential of such a myth, infecting the world, Toulon Orbus Teratis by Jorge Luis Borges, staving off the unstoppable, Cthulhu’s edges have been sanded off, in facing our fears we become less afraid (or go mad), degenerate or go mad, degeneration aint so bad, Castro’s story, the benefits under Cthulhu, enjoyments of savage chaos, a wonderful time of depravity, a Robert E. Howard moment, go insane, die, or run away, one Norwegian sailor, The Call Of Cthulhu (2005), lip reading, German expressionism, the best silent film Jesse’s seen, being faithful to Lovecraft’s work, the microscopic budget, the isle of Paradise, Tibet and China, Castro is The Shadow (or Batman), Iram of the Pillars, The Nameless City, The Fire Of Ashurbanipal by Robert E. Howard, Scott was playing a Cthulhu rpg with his family at Christmas, the books infecting the world, The Communist Manifesto, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematica, for most people reality is social reality, becoming an investigator, the meta context, the model for the game is the story, Norway, the template for how to run a scenario, go gibbering, the sanity stat, Darkest Dungeon, the more intelligent you are the more at risk you are of losing your sanity, these are not eucldian angles, “taking sanity point”, table 4b Insanity Table, Wayne June’s narration of Darkest Dungeon, written in Lovecraft’s style, as hard as hell, it’s all about the sanity, buy lots of torches, scotophobia (fear of darkness), barophobia (the fear of loss of gravity), falling into the sky, temporary insanity, Wayne June vs. Jim Moon, the assonance is strong, the stars are aligning, the floor is lava, you can only walk on the couch or a pillow (or a sibling), there’s something about the play of children that continues into RPG, LARPing vs. RPGing, the first narrator is very skeptical, drawing you in bit by bit, falling into madness slowly, so wide in scope, The Tomb or Dagon, how to think about it, Wayne June reads the opening of The Call Of Cthulhu:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
brutal cynicism, totally resonates with Wayne (double meaning), so negative and so accepting of the negativity, not having cognitive dissonance is merciful, the train of Cthulhu coming down the tracks at you, DEATH, Jordan Peterson again, consciousness and the fear of death, it’s on all our minds, don’t think about it, I’m getting grey hair… how did that happen?, that dark inevitable gun-barrel, looking great!, still vertical, The Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, hard science fiction, a terrible way to hook a reader, damn this sounds good!, all of 18th century poetry, Alexander Pope,
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No pow’rs of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Why has not man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv’n,
T’ inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav’n?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o’er,
To smart and agonize at ev’ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
“Dear reader, you’re a moron be happy”, Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, Bryan is a serious Ligotti cultist, consciousnesses as a curse, there are no other animals in the kingdom that can contemplate their deaths, teaching Koko to sign is the most unmerciful thing in the world, the curse is passed on, the curse of sentience, Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers, weeping openly, back to the first paragraph, happiness vs. chaos and darkness (making you feel more alive and happy), he who increases his understanding increases his sum of suffering (Ecclesiastes 1:18), the second sentence,
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
Einstein was right, isn’t that what this is saying?, to try would be a bad thing, what the Alien movies tell us, Charles Stross’ Laundry Files novels, Case Nightmare Green, the SETI worry, The Three-Body Problem, so dark, a dark vision (that sounds great), a rich book, beating the 18th century drum, recalling Voltaire and Samuel Johnson, stay home and cultivate your garden, the third sentence, how I see myself in relationship with science, science is AWESOME!, a negative spin on it,
The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
hey, guess what?!, we’re all going to die as a species, stick your head in the sand, burn baby burn, drill baby drill, brilliant and calm, I don’t know what it means, the Theosophists, Madame Blavatsky, a hoax religion, your child is going to be the next world messiah, that’s kind of bananas, hugely influential, The Golden Dawn of Aleister Crowley, very Hard SF, the different branches of science, one giant puddle of natural philosophy, the sciences and the humanities, back into fantasy, “But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden aeons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it.” please expound upon this Mr Jim Moon dead and dreaming, a little wink, double meaning in the Necronomicon,
It was not allied to the European witch-cult, and was virtually unknown beyond its members. No book had ever really hinted of it, though the deathless Chinamen said that there were double meanings in the Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred which the initiated might read as they chose, especially the much-discussed couplet:That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.
the much discussed couplet, the most famous quote of Lovecraft ever, how the Necronomicon is treated in this story, the Observers Book of Eldritch Beings, medieval grimoires, stenography and ciphers, Doctor John Dee, signed 007, alchemical texts, allegorical, The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, where we get Cthulhu wrong, a marine King Kong vs. the high priest of the Old Ones, they died after their fashion, other dimensions, untold countless dimensions, Dreams In The Witch House, The Whisperer In Darkness, physically dead currently, our physical universe isn’t the only game in town, dead doesn’t apply to these fellows, these are creatures of the cosmos and are eternal, tweeting the dreams, Recapture by H.P. Lovecraft (is a dream recaptured in a sonnet), the translation of dream into text IS Lovecraft’s genre, using the mind to rationalize the irrationable, great artists and poets are best attuned to the transmissions of Cthulhu, evil muses inspired by the reality of science, we are biological creature with no souls fucking and eating and who are gonna die, dreams show up in newspapers in Lovecraft’s world, violence suicide madness, earthquakes, the earth itself is dreaming, the cosmic infinity of the quantum world, a keen astronomer, what if that continuum is inhabited, it’s a good as god, Clarke’s Law, might as well be a god, Castro’s unreliable narration, modern horror fiction, evil mustache twirlers, “It’s all about FREEDOM, guys!”,
Then, whispered Castro, those first men formed the cult around small idols which the Great Ones showed them; idols brought in dim eras from dark stars. That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom. Meanwhile the cult, by appropriate rites, must keep alive the memory of those ancient ways and shadow forth the prophecy of their return.
the most METAL thing Bryan’s ever read, Nietzsche’s Beyond Good And Evil, you can become like gods!, more stories from the point of view of cultists, the Oathbreaker will reward you because…, entombed but still thinking and dreaming, a generation of stories about hidden kingdoms, The First Men In the Moon, The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton here hold my staff, puns, Greenland, New Zealand, talking to back-woods people, we don’t hold with cops normally, an accurate picture of Louisiana, jury tampering, ethics in government, Henry Kissinger speaking to the Nobel Peace Prize trust, irony is dead, a non-idealist non-fantasy approach, cultists making gods of the old ones, they couldn’t give a damn about humanity, a materialist slant snuck in the back door, a murder mystery, jostled by a “nautical negro”, we do really see Cthulhu coming out of this door, Paul and Marissa,
Johansen, thank God, did not know quite all, even though he saw the city and the Thing, but I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.
the Thing, I have a thing for Things,
weedy Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth’s supreme terror—the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh, that was built in measureless aeons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes
Philip K. Dick’s “tomb world” becoming Lovecraft, Galactic Pot-Healer, a sunken cathedral, a god without form or shape which can transmit its communications through books, radio and toilet bowls, seeing his own corpse, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, these to guys are receiving the same transmissions, they were on the same wavelength, the transmissions about reality, guys who get science and then go dark, a dark interest in reality, what is lying underneath, Glimmung is not Cthulhu and yet he is, almost as a cult, the cult of the Glimmung, Glimmung is fighting his negative self as well, I have a little box I put myself in so the fish don’t eat me, in struggle of raising this sunken cathedral their is some sort of remuneration or solace, existential dread is lessened in some way, how this connects to plush Cthulhu, you need something to snuggle up with, more senile and benign, experincing this kind of dread in the safety of your own home, you can have a cup of coffee, The Ghost-Table by Elliott O’Donnell, reading Weird Tales on the bus on the way home from work, flapper hats, Margaret Brundage reading a copy of Weird Tales, Arkham House and the Pentagon, WWII, Armed Forces Edition of Lovecraft, dread and horror and attractive, Germany’s equivalent of Weird Tales, Der Orchidgarten (1919), reflecting on death, a comforting skull on your shelf, memento mori, Wayne brings a whole new level of dread, overdose on Cthulhu (it’s homeopathic), cyclopean blocks, the Dark Adventure Radio Theater adaptation, an ongoing adaptation, the stop motion animation Cthulhu, the Nosferatu like look, playing up the heroism, gibbering on the floor, The Man Who Laughs (1928), a perpetual grin, Conrad Veidt, Bob Kane, Gothic horror, Wednesday Adams, Cthulhu is unmentionable, like Voldemort, names have power, naming the animals, Adam and Eve are good Lovecraft characters, Joe Rogan’s podcast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen of today, Elon Musk, Alan Moore, Joe Rogan, Dan Carlin, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, normally he’s a talker, what am I hearing, mind-blowing perspectives, Peterson is nailing things in ways we haven’t been able to figure out myself before, amazing work, he’s kind of conservative, the left-right thing is a mistake, in the very first thing Adam does after gaining consciousness is hide in a bush, hiding from the all seeing eye, Samuel Delany, a feminist lesbian separatist mercenary company, man is a truncated woman, the final paragraph, things are going to get worse,
his ministers on earth still bellow and prance and slay around idol-capped monoliths in lonely places. He must have been trapped by the sinking whilst within his black abyss, or else the world would by now be screaming with fright and frenzy. Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men. A time will come—but I must not and cannot think! Let me pray that, if I do not survive this manuscript, my executors may put caution before audacity and see that it meets no other eye.
what is he talking about?, modernity?, immigration?, the Philip K. Dick return to chaos, life is the only antidote to entropy and yet life must die,
Slowly, amidst the distorted horrors of that indescribable scene, she began to churn the lethal waters; whilst on the masonry of that charnel shore that was not of earth the titan Thing from the stars slavered and gibbered like Polypheme cursing the fleeing ship of Odysseus. Then, bolder than the storied Cyclops, great Cthulhu slid greasily into the water and began to pursue with vast wave-raising strokes of cosmic potency. Briden looked back and went mad, laughing shrilly as he kept on laughing at intervals till death found him one night in the cabin whilst Johansen was wandering deliriously.
a cosmicly potent swimmer, Greek myth, Odysseus wins, Johansen goes back to his wife, I am nobody, it was I Odysseus sacker of cities, I’m gonna tell my dad!, slid greasily, another connection to the sirens,
I cannot attempt to transcribe it verbatim in all its cloudiness and redundance, but I will tell its gist enough to show why the sound of the water against the vessel’s sides became so unendurable to me that I stopped my ears with cotton.
an anti-progress narrative, its better not to know, right back to Wayne’s pessimism, no street view for the R’Lyeh, carpool to R’Lyeh