The SFFaudio Podcast #691 – READALONG: Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #691 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Trish E. Matson talk about Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein.

Talked about on today’s show:
1955, Steele Savage, Rod standing in a doorway, a leg tattoo, a Farnham’s Freehold tattoo, refreshing, the gender dynamics, problems, is there anything anybody could complain about, the ending, an unsatisfying ending, Rod also was unsatisfied, the pre-ending, Captain Rod, what things can we cancel about this novel, the Amazons was pretty fun, lady soldiers, AND instead of but, gender sterotypes, get married and have babies, no!, the vote, the lost boys and girls, Heinlein couldn’t give her a single vote?, she didn’t even vote for himself, Rod didn’t vote for himself, a painting of equality, she showed herself as stronger at every turn, whole chapters from her diary’s POV, Rod’s sister, square dancing, monopolizing the conversation, the pioneer spirit, privileging x chromosomes over y chromosomes, strong and self assured, everybody wanted to get married, his last day as mayor, he’s a teenager, a junior in High School, oblivious to crushes, warding them off (especially Carolyn), the audiobook was terrific, Full Cast Audio, the actress playing Jack was a girl, borderline, “he” was smaller, a very girl thing, going off to have a cry together, a dude thing would be bro-ing eachother to death, this Zulu lady is very squaredancey, global culture, a Filipino from South America is from early 20th century Missouri, two different covers, the revised cover, Heinlein explicitly stated Rod was black, the god _____, going to some other planet, Time Enough For Love, really abbreviated ending, finished his schooling, Carolyn is busy doing Amazon stuff, some sort of pony, not explicitly black, a dispute as to who’s in charge, Jock McGowan, cholo means mixed race, a specific tribe of African black, the injuries he received (that are many), the realpolitik of trying to sell the novel, bringing us to the place he wants us to go, admiring Heinlein’s sneaking in, he’s got an agenda: anti-racist, a working theory, we’re just wrong, Andre Norton had to write as a man, maybe she had done her research, C.L. Moore had to her identity not her gender, in that era, why we call him H.P. Lovecraft, Zealia Bishop, selling to an audience that’s kids, what the kid is actually like, Podkayne Of Mars, Poddy is a girl, cancellation happens today for similar reasons, the lack of religion is very interesting, made up religion, a Koran a Book of Mormon, an army chaplain, spiritual services, ecumenical, agenda driven, reacting to the culture and the times he grew up in, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, secular, a secularized faith, small d democratized faith, let’s not be racist, a correct prediction of moving away from organized religion, Julie Davis was brought up by atheists and now runs a catholic podcast with Scott Danielson, waxing and waning, writing in the margins, building our world alongside it, the Talmud, comments and interpretation, a literate society, a lot going on in this little book, society is not society unless it is literate, you don’t have society without writing, papyrus, is it Jim is a Quaker?, Society of Friends, we wait until the spirit moves us, a really big problem with this book, i’m supposed to hate Grant (the first mayor), what is man’s greatest invention?, “government”, barfing up, what this book is about, boys get stranded through a stargate, it’s a portal Paul, the plot is a backdrop for essays on government, you have to cook your juveniles first, long pig is also mentioned, Heinlein themes, a responses to Lord Of The Flies, another stranding, Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, in dialogue with this, government, teaming, philosophy of PUBG, there can be only one, what’s happening?, the game didn’t tell you what the rules were or how to play it, a blue wall, if you win you get a chicken dinner?, how we are in the world, people who think they know how to play the game, game friends, different strategies and brains, the most popular game in the world for a few months, a clone of PUBG, what makes this game really interesting, a lot of Civilization, the same game but different every time, different people’s strategies, playing a meta-game with their own brain chemistry, hot-drops, I wanna get kills, the points aren’t the game, a survival simulator, avoiding getting killed, the point of this game is the point of that terrible novel is Lord Of The Flies, an awful message, Heinlein is saying no in this book, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, a war of all against all, submit to a king, jaw jawing all the time, war war, Winston Churchill, false dichotomy, Churchill wanted a war, rationing until the 1960s, war was inevitable, a war government, he was in WWI, he wanted war, its ironic, a war with the Boers, if you look around the room, a series of governments who made it happen, this book is arguing with that, a light introduction, mass hysteria style psychology, why Heinlein is arguing with Lord Of The Flies, civilization and square dancing, making a mono-culture, how to incorporate, sweet medicine, his ideological goals, TV Tropes, savagery and barbarism, The Coral Island, if everything is a rebuttal, this is a conversation, William Golding took it far, a toxic British boys school, invested in the pecking order, boy and girl scouts, generalizing from limited experience, a savage system with a veneer of civilization, wanting to engage with Heinlein’s novel, seeing this dialogue take shape, the framing is never focused on, their being sent away from a nuclear war, the fucking up of the planet, so important to understanding the book, what are the themes, the teachers never focus on how they got there, who said what in chapter what, this book [Tunnel In The Sky] is for children, 1857, because there’s kids in it, you walk out of that book thinking: I guess we’re all fucked, a skeptical and careful read, we have leaders who say stuff like “jaw jaw is better than war war”, that setups, the endless soviets, committee meetings, mandate, mandatory, your stuff has been requisitioned, not the dilating of the gate, a war of all against all, not all on SERE training, Maissa’s favourite German filmmaker, Werner Herzog, Little Dieter Wants To Fly, the Vietnam War, Christian Bale, Rescue Dawn (2006), why does Rod get immediately attacked?, its a metaphor, why the relationship with Jack is so important, the knife scene, falling into a couple later?, an aromantic relationship, he thinks he’s a dude, he’s chaste, oblivious, until I’m not mayor anymore, given the circumstances, when we’re back in Jerusalem, transferring governorship, 16 years old, still treated as a child, gone under two years, a planet with no birth control, a morality in the background, save it for your marriage, the missionaries got married, missionary positioning, a Mormon point of view, their culture is more explicit than the rest of American culture, these are the restrictions we put on ourselves, we don’t have perfect access to our own minds, a really good book, the ending, tremendously unsatisfying, abandoned the work they had done in establishing the colony (except for Rod!), improving the land, to be kids again, blood and sweat and tears, a sharper conflict point, unreal, Doctor Matson, married to his sister, the situation the reader is in, knowing how people’s psychology works…, go around the room, have you ever…, something happens that your’e not party to, a whiplash jetlag effect, people talk themselves into all sorts of stuff, a better doctor, camping is not for Jesse, compromises, glamping = glamorous camping, this other extreme, sleeping in a tree with a flimsy net, its a homeless simulator, we can make all sorts of explanations to ourselves, a way to end the book, what do you want to do today?, a malted, then another malted and a hot shower, tobacco and coffee, can you imagine not having coffee again for the rest of your life?, Jesse’s godfather, the back-to-the land movement, I’m not going to do this anymore, he’s the only one, he’s the mayor who was left behind, a hospital nearby, a vehicle to take you to the hospital, your 4000 square foot greenhouse, 5 years til we get bread, coffee is grown in Asia and south America and Africa, a guy who made a toaster, [The Toaster Project: Or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch by Thomas Thwaites], Carl Sagan, to bake a pie you must first invent the universe, our blacksmith, few strawmen, a portal back to earth, why does Heinlein hate reporters and the media, tabloid journalists exist and are bad?, Heinlein ran for office, a lot of what goes on in the reportage of politics, party politics, ingroups and outgroups and cliques, Rod’s leadership skills, likeable, principles, thoughtful, sidelined by committees, a YA novel, who is right?, the giant migration, right for the wrong reason, how much he complains, the constitution was the important thing, he’s wrong, you might better have a society without a majorly written constitution, the pirate articles, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams (2010), the signing of the articles when you don’t have paper, join or get cast off, abiding by the articles, designed to prevent the ship being sunk, smoke on the upper deck, no drinking when on watch, very reasonable, and then oddly specific, no boys or women on the ship, the captain is elected for combat, downloading the pirate rules, the list of the pirate codes, they downloaded their brain, all the ships had captains and quartermasters, shares, always more pay for positions of responsibility, getting into beefs, how does this come about, anybody want to do this, an invitation, what’s the best way to get to that end goal,
Blakes 7, why did you change course, who leads on this ship?, you lead you don’t command, Grant vs. Rod, getting to the ultimate goal, humans cooperating, when Rod gets mad at Carolyn, against a plan that was established, not making a clean kill, avoiding getting killed, all different kinds of strategies, I wanna be lazy about this, not doing the thing that’s necessary to do, the randos on the internet, diarrhea, a trigger, not a guy who reads a lot of books, discoveries about the realities of the world, smokes marijuana all day long, smoking bowls, how do we all get along, a bit naive in a lot of places, a common culture around the world, disenfranchising young people, the geriatric elite, children don’t get a vote, listen to the kids or not, at what point does the sailor get a vote, an age, their voice should be heard (rather than dismissed), our sailing ship planet Earth, the leadership is very very bad, we don’t want any youngsters, the median age for congress is 61, Strom Thurman was 100, Nancy Pelosi is 80, Sinema does the curtsy, she even forgot her own kid, new eden, because the metaphor, a little bit related, median vs. average, at what point are you a kid, a threshold moment, reasons to go back, take off the adulthood hat, putting it wrongly, they’re all under him, the burden of the responsibility, In Achilles His Tent, sulking, the classical reference, The Marching Hordes, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, The Yellow Peril, a long line of Chinese, Heinlein debunks this, the premise for the book, overpopulation, emigration didn’t solve population pressures, a safety valve, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the Irish Famine, reasons for emigration, political problems caused by governments, Australia is populated with prisoners because there was a repressive government in the U.K., export “our problems”, slatterns, deplorablize people, internally, freedom of movement, the Oregon, Hollywood is an escape from New Jersey, Thomas Edison had corrupted the courts, Heinlein is not addressing that in this book, putting people in stasis, blacks were being put into freezers, if Evan were here, some other people who are overpopulating, limiting births, sterilization, cultural practices, boys and girls schools separate prevents births, icky overpopulation problems, pollution, is this the best way of doing everything, C02, airplanes put out a lot more carbon than your car, rolling coal, defiant response to scorn, gas restrictions (rationing), 30 liters maximum, how much you can afford, your Starbucks cup, this book doesn’t engage wholly with that, forced emigration, the Chinese were forced out of Australia, the Chinese made a sea in the middle of Australia, early 18940s Heinlein, Yellow Peril’s back baby!, Sixth Column, The Fifth Way, Through The Tunnel, Savage, nasty, brutish, and short, The Nova, what caused the gate problem, it didn’t register, clever writing, a coincidence until it isn’t, I Think He’s Dead, I Should Have Baked A Cake, Fish Or Cut Bait, A Joyful Omen, I So Move, The Beach Of Bones, how the migrations go, the caves nearby full of bird brained people houses, an indigenous intelligent culture, birds make houses, wattle material, bees make colonies, Jesse’s putting on his Evan hat, what people are they displacing, colonization without a native population, maybe it’s Africa, why he wasn’t sure, his clinging to logic (or what he claimed was logic), sophistry, not wanting to accept, you can’t be a mayor without a community, character building, looking for a way out, the final straw, brother in law/teacher, just for drama, It Won’t Work Rod, Unkillable, Civilization, The Endless Road, a very optimistic view of a dystopian future, a little optimistic, an altar for the devil, The Wicker Man done with children, “lunchtime!”, we can get fucked up in our heads, witches, you shouldn’t be allowed hospital care, Paul agrees with vaccine mandates, those on the edges, everybody has to go to the meeting in an inaccessible location, you should have got on the committee!, the Mary Robinette Kowal apology [for the Raytheon], you shouldn’t have fired the sensitivity readers, you couldn’t have fixed this with another committee, the more eyes you have, make everything public, an awareness question, they have a lot of money to generate positive buzz, Facebook is Meta now, bad publicity, why did he change his name, Paul Bernardo, a big company, the Nazis are a big party, the Hitler Youth was mandatory, mandate means mandatory, exceptions for Quakers, vaccine injuries, Pelosi and Fauci at the beginning, something changed, we were told different, we were not privy to those conversations, they do terrible stuff in your name and your consent, this book is very subtle, emigration, immigration, they’re party song, incorporating factions, Grant was a pretty good leader, I gotta fire that guy and replace him with Rod, more satisfying, almost half the group would have supported Rod, the vote of no confidence, community building, Grant was trying, a straw man to knock down, working with an imperfect leader to bring about better solutions, a good example, your leader doesn’t have to be right, standing on principle, what to do when you’ve got dissent, the sergeant at arms has a mace, the Queen’s rod for hitting people, a shooting in parliament [2014], the January 6th [2021] thing, pretty subtle, page 136, all the crackpots are votes for Waxy, save it Waxy, twigs for Grant, leaves for Carol, did you vote for yourself?, dog take it!, typical politician behavior, a do nothing person, sometimes that’s what your want from the government, King Log, Wheels Of If by L. Sprague de Camp, Boston, Soviet Russia, Joseph Stalin, solving being in the wrong body through politics, a meeting of the inner sanctum, Inner Sanctum mysteries, the secret, The Star Chamber (1983), Michael Douglas, Hal Holbrook, Yaphet Kotto, where the real justice is done, a reality in England 15th – 17th century, when Julian Assange is extradited, hidden evidence, an executive committee, bad government, disenfranchised, there to be an enigma, keep your enemies closer, litmus and purity tests, are you corrupt or are you not corrupt?, Crystal Light, all talk, just wanted power, scared of the smart youngsters, Pelosi from 20 or 30 years ago she sounds like AOC, the Squad don’t take money from corporation, they talk a good game, Justin [Trudeau] will give you a nice apology, we know his true character, you miss these things, the buzz (what the people are saying and what the government is saying), putting words into people’s ears works, organic chatter, a lot of people are saying, advertising is that, really interesting ideas, science fiction of the soft (political science), a standing desk, Anthony Boucher’s review from February 1956, far superior in writing and thinking, an adult serial, advanced survival, SURVIVE OR ELSE, he spoiled the book, a splendid Zulu girl, best woman to date, Andre Norton is Heinlein’s chief and almost sole competitor, Star Guard, a sheer adventure story, stobor, Rite Of Passage by Alexi Panshin, in dialogue, Rod, a wand or staff as a symbol of office, a gavel, giant rod of power, it’s not Rodney, under the current, waxy or crackpot, the eugenicist, scientific breeding, Dr. Strangelove (1964), David Sirota, 2012 (2009), a consensus, we needed to have one female on the ballot, Grant, we want more candidates and we want a girl, it was politik, divides the vote, I’m doing this for you people.

HARDCOVER - Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Tunnel In The Sky - Steele Savage

Tunnel In The Sky- Darrell K. Sweet

FULL CAST AUDIO - Tunnel In The Sky - Cover B

FULL CAST AUDIO - Tunnel In The Sky - Cover A

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The SFFaudio Podcast #455 – READALONG: The Moon Moth by Jack Vance

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #455 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Bryan Alexander talk about The Moon Moth by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s game:
1961, dude!, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, the Seeing Ear Theatre adaptation, a setting and a culture and an experience, not very science fictiony, no weird transhumanism, deep interesting cultures and settings, more in the fantasy, a science fiction setting but it feels like fantasy, anthropological science fiction, Rite Of Passage by Alexi Panshin, Dune by Frank Herbert, goblins, the fantasy element of the masks, are you bold enough to wear a sea-dragon conquerer mask?, the adaptation follows the plot fairly faithfully, other POVs, a little more linearly, the ambassador’s folly, a masterful adaptation, like nothing we’ve ever seen before, it feels relaxing, gorgeous description, the plot is very stressful, how does this work?, the Larry Niven of economics and culture, high praise, Haxo Angmark, a Vance specialty (names), stealing his “money belt”, Cory Doctorow’s wuffie, so fascinating, I want to walk these streets, my father is a magistrate, a very libertarian society, Texas, L. Neil Smith, no expansionism, the night men, like a role-playing game, cannibalize whatever’s on the shore, indigenous people, captured by the night men!, social status, far weirder than any kind of Marxian communism, when he’s embarrassed about the fish with a face in the water, he’s acculturating to the culture, “religious convictions”, sticky and annoying like a thistle, the philology of our language and hacked it, Edwer Thissle, David D. Levine’s Tk’Tk’Tk’, what Jesse senses what walking the streets of Japan would be like, a dystopia, no government, it all comes down to violence, a very humble mask, how Saudi society works, a married couple would never show their faces to each other, a mock mask?, the afterword, clothes and nudity, the slaves are for having sex with, Jesse has questions, “I’ve been working on it for seventeen years”, a public ledger (like blockchain), a robot, electronic devices, an electric instrument, practically speaking, a bat-belt full of tiny musical instruments?, ornate and complex, the aliens are humans right?, orcs?, a weird human culture, the four outsiders, essentially humans (with pale faces), the consular representative, an anthropologist, Thomas Piketty, how do you have trade with these folks?, a trade port, fun to imagine, maybe you have people who hold value (for trade), expatriates, I will return you to the islands if you don’t obey me, food is incredibly plentiful, kind of like Venice, imaging Venice the whole time, the Dunsanian stories by H.P. Lovecraft, or Idle Days On The Yann by Lord Dunsany, the fantastic orient?, what Korea would be like from an Italian point of view, some happy fools have opened up a bookstore, people don’t want books, nail salon, skin salon, hair salon, tooth whitening, did you see a man come in here and did he take something?, why Steen was mad at somebody, he’s not acting like a Canadian, everyone in the states is so rude, so apologetic, if you don’t acknowledge how terrible you’ve been, an immoral slouch, Iranians have a way of talking around a subject (and will become annoyed when Jesse doesn’t understand), what would it have taken?, a kind of meritocracy, how reputation works in the States, infamous, Chelsea Manning, going from being a reviled traitor to having cachet, a celebrity in need of a couch, their visit to me makes me higher in the society, I gave Al Pacino a place to sleep for the night because his car broke down, how selfies work, some percentage of people want their picture taken with celebrities, our strakh in our culture is attention, Instagram people without their Instagram filters, Sirene is 1000 years in our future, free stuff, stereotypes about New Zealanders, people love Kiwis, an alien as a woman (than as a foreigner), cultural baggage, James Clavell’s Shōgun miniseries adaptation, feudal Japan, swaggering samurais, you’re disgusting and hairy, easing us into it, learning Japanese, the cultural barrier, Jesse’s strahk level plummets, the murder mystery aspect, brilliant!, the weak part, subtle or detailed, an excel sheet, a locked planet or locked houseboat mystery, Robert van Gulik, the whole murder mystery detective genre, you participate in the solving of the mystery, almost there, Judge Dee, like Sherlock Holmes but set in Ming China, a rich and decadent society, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series, there is a structural class system, you guys are building one, number one in plutocrats!, Upstairs Downstairs, Downton Abbey, their highest hope, falling from class position, how one gets raised out of the strakh level you’re born in to, how people change classes, sociology and anthropology, the business department, Jesse is insulting someone, everybody can be a manager, this story raises so many questions about our own societies, it is not a mirror to us, StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith, obsessed with the baroque, in the way that Tolkien is obsessed, the ornate social structures, The Potters Of Frisk, Planet Of Adventure, a tapestry of different cultures, unlock the puzzle of the culture, powned!, one delicious five volume package, what are Vance’s literary roots, science fiction friends, Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, diverse life experience, California, sui generis, the Demon Princes novels, phone booth, his roots are not in the Clarkeian-Sturgeonian tradition, The Dying Earth, one book leads to another book, Paul got lucky, getting the urge, the BBC In Our Time on Moby Dick, the whiteness of the whale, the pasteboard masks, Philip K. Dick, Halloween, thing are quite different, we wear a mask that blinds us to the world, we wear a mask that blinds us to us, Herman Melville, hijab, it plays to the base, what would it be like to be in a world, this is a very weird world, what form of popular entertainment is being satirized, opera, music, scary talented, an operatic world, musical accompaniment, 24/7 opera, the first audio drama Marissa enjoyed, in the audiobook, an animal!, Marissa got into it, Bryan is nodding, a metaphor for getting used to a new society, a metaphor for learning a foreign language, that sense of fear, a classic mystery novel, almost a western, John D. MacDonald, plotting was the hard thing, gathering the tools up to bluff your way through, what is the author thinking, what are they trying to do, isn’t wonderful to think about beautiful dead women, I think the mystery is the plot, what would it be like where nobody has any identity except what they say is their identity, nicely shoehorned, wow! look at this world, its the one with the masks, Marissa used to be so shy, if you’re in anyway alien or introverted this is playing with the fear of that, fear of bureaucracy, at the mercy of the killer, a judo flip, Vance always has a sardonic sense of humour, The Dying Earth, civilizations rising and falling, magic, Chun the unavoidable, one of the greatest villains, a sub-genre, Hothouse by Brian Aldiss, Clark Ashton Smith, Last Castle, The Dragon Masters, I want more, so much is in it and it has a plot too?, more Vance on the schedule, the orbits that writers move in, the focus on language, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, transformed language, Isaac Asimov, a total twin of science fiction, we do this job, we engage in the reality, fantasy as escape, working it out, this is the anthropology section of the lirbary, the soft sciences, Larry Niven did too much of it, there’s nothing more to say at the moment, if its not bio – what else you got?, genetics and epigenetics, philosophical science fiction, Mack Reynolds, a post-scarcity society, a great problem to have, nobody is starving to death, cheap food, a rich society, wearing the right suit, look at Bill Maher in his french cuffs, its a $5,000 suit, they look like clowns out of their context, the hair and makeup departments, that’s what all the slaves are doing on Sirene, hair and nails, tuning the instruments,

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

Posted by Jesse Willis