The 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 , the January 6th  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.
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