The SFFaudio Podcast #669 – READALONG: The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #669 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Talked about on today’s show:
The Magic Goes Away, more Barnes than Niven?, collaborations, Burning Mountain, The Moon Bowl by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, the bowlverse is unapproved, the book title, that’s a good title!, some adventure on the high seas, maritime book, Scott was not fond, a homage or a throwback to old sword and sorcery, not a lot there, Scott soft take, Niven has never grown past 12 years old, Paul was sadly underwhelmed, distasteful politics, a chore to get through, a lack of…, neat ideas, explorations of the consequences, the decline and fall of the magic empire, except for the stealing from the future, undercooked, Trish: it felt “like competent fan fiction”, all these tensions, a hacky ending for everyone, noir is the opposite of fan fiction, kill Captain Kirk in the first scene and say he’s dead forever, not expecting that much, the last or the most recent in a long series, doesn’t have the magic of the earlier books, the opening dedication: To my copious array of cousins, Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard, hey cousins, we all inherited a fortune, Niven’s contribution, not Niven heavy, Street Lethal, Lion’s Blood, Zulu Heart, alternate history, the black plague, slaves from Europe to Africa, interesting ideas, smooth competently written vs. Greg Bear, Donald Westlake or Lawrence Block, good plotting good characterization, everybody has a negative take except for…, second or third order implication, “this fantasy is not hard enough!”, up to the point they arrive in Shrike, other than stuff happening, the Scott rule was co-opted from Jesse, what Jesse has done to Scott, A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, Scott has successfully pointed at something, a stuff happening book, there’s a lot of them, sub-series, a fix-up, The Burning City, 1969 – 1980, The Golden Road, chronologically closest to our own time, human sacrifice, necromancy, Atlantis sank, pockets of manna, just the setting, oh the sea!, manna in the ocean, more interesting than some random fantasy, treat magic as a science, phlogiston theory, bad science theories, is it rocks or is it space?, is it in material or position?, Roger Zelazny, meteorite bombardment, the magic sword is a meteoric iron sword, what about the ocean?, the water cycle, continental shelves and island, what makes a book good, participate in the book, some writers are bad at telling stories, thus he crossed the room, let the imagination get going, participating in the world, maybe that…, more of a stuff happens book, The Seascape Tattoo 2, revisiting a familiar idea, relatively short, the character jokes, all the cringey elements, the Larry Nivenisms, things that will get you canceled, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, 12 year old Niven vs. Neutron Star Niven, what is there was a way for us to trust each other wink wink, Niven on the phone: hey what if…, the princess tries to rescue herself, a Barnes thing, Ever After (1998), Paul signed up for the wrong book, a little bit Niven like: when the barmaid has a pivot waist, flexible women, pliable women, nipples didn’t go sprung, the relationship between Aros and his pseudo-mom and pseudo-dad, Eros vs. Aros, so decisively, did they chop it off?, somebody had to die, back to the kingdom, find the woman, abrupt?, a pretty bad Andre Norton novel Star Hunter, a kid gets kidnapped and brainwashed, the fake heir, an old trope, waaaay better, too rushed, the relationship between the wizard and Aros, cozy in the end, the end of Dagon (2001), it fits his arc, the sea-peoples, the end of Star Wars (1977) everybody gets a medal, Chewie: hey where’s my medal?, the robots just get a nice polish, Jade, she’s not his mom?, he has a story, he’s Azteca, his tattoos and his scars, who am i without my scars?, who are you without your trauma?, the horror of dementia, in practicing for his role, he becomes his role, those connections are potential real vs. the fake grift, bicycles, cannon, pistol, characterization, a Larry Niven fantasy world potentials are much greater, the Lord Of The Rings series just set in Middle Earth, the estate is not the caretaker, these are the rules, this is the premise, caves, tanks, a good plot idea, pretty interesting, oh, this is that!, Aros is the Conan figure, The Scarlet Citadel and Hour Of The Dragon, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber, a conman team, the wizard trainee, that’s cute, as analogs, some Robert E. Howard names in here: the bad lady/man wizard, Belit, through Conan’s eyes, a river that has bad stuff coming out of it, the mer-folk, the octopeople, an octopus showing a face on its body, effluent from a factory, coal tar, a deliberate plan or just an externality from capitalism, the poisoned river, poison sounds bad, the boxing match sailor, Dorgan the first mate, the nephew of the captain, kinda dumb, that’s a Dennis Dorgan, presented with possibilities, fun?, the Red Nun the Red Priestess in A Game Of Thrones?, a nun costume, nuns are just Halloween costumes, a Rolodex full of nuns, binders full of nuns, not a complete waste of time, its about philosophy, King Kull, almost no action, how do I exist?, is this solipsism, there are forces in the world that want you to obey, what happens at the end of every Conan episode, the anomaly, he goes into a wizard house and there’s a monkey in there, monkeys shouldn’t get too uppity, its anti-Dungeons & Dragons, Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, it’s the things, new armor, new mount, set dressing, the exercise of philosophy, how to be, analyzing books, a hero’s arc, find a home, Conan is completely unreal, trying to live like Conan is impossible, even Grizzly Adams had a bear, you must live in some sort of community, Conan would never be a tax-collector, thief, reiver, tax-collector?, referencing The Burning City, tax-farming, the traditional way of tax collection, corruption that’s out in public, if this is our Conan figure, he’s against civilization, top down telling people how to be, how the Conan stories work, Conan fan fiction about King Conan, The Hour Of The Dragon, the Eisenhower/JFK figure, FDR, a less dead Julius Caesar or JFK, How To Become A Tyrant, a Zenda situation, possibilities were amazing, a found family story, the hint was enough, when Aros feels this, Kasha, quite interesting, the battle sequences with the grubs, the politics of the city were interesting, the kids on the street, a puppet king, continuing to play dumb, pivoting hips, every character has something going, Jesse was kinda impress, a fantasy with a plot, entertaining’s not enough, engaging, an appetizer vs. a full meal, this all works on its own, all new characters, a nice balance, Not Long Before the End, a magic user and a swordsman team up, if you’re going to do a TV show do this book, graphic and cinematic, Magic Goes Away as an art film, steampunk show, they have the technology, if you’re going to steal go right to the source, a Turner And Hooch tv series, a different way of telling stories, ok as a novel, much better (as a potential) with the same material, to call it entertaining is an insult, paddleball, its a thing people do, grokking a great book, returning to the status quo, what TV fundamentally understands, Blindspot, how you get to season 7 of Prison Break, NCIS, CSI, we’re solving mysteries with tech, Locard’s principle, Tom Hanks and a dog, you can fail upward very easily in Hollywood, spending time in Larry Niven’s playground, the Road of Kings, we did Dream Park and found it wanting, pre-holodeck, Westworld (1973).

The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

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The SFFaudio Podcast #651 – READALONG: Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #651 – Jesse and Alex talk about Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Talked about on today’s:
Brandon Porter, complaints about the audiobook, missing footnotes, appendixes C and D, Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979, page 224, who the hell are these guys, there’s Tolkien, John , Andrew J. Offutt, Fltcher Pratt, Face In The Frost, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, reading ideas, Paul Weimer, opposed to Castalia House, John C. Wright, chips on both guys shoulders, misplaced chips, not wanting to participate in some books, Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy, Oryx And Crake, too stuck up, complaining the whole time, authors we want nothing to do with, oh you’re a genius Margaret!, Jesse hates her, a book of book reviews, a Christian, Margaret St. Clair, “milieu”, halberd, when you learn things from books, as a professional narrator, names in fantasy books, not having pronunciation in mind, apostrophes, Tolkienesque words, all the role playing games, Gamma World, Traveler, Pathfinder, The Call Of Cthulhu, Car Wars, GURPS, the core rule books, modules, more time reading the books than playing the game, his thesis, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just Tolkien and it was never meant to be, fundamentally misunderstand the game, how clerics show up, Galadriel with cup of healing water, organized religion was missing from Middle Earth, the Hobbits don’t go to church, Denethor, heathen kings of old, worshiping, he’s a dictator, one of many inspirations, quotes, the Conan section, pastiches, Gary Gygax, the original Howard Conan wasn’t available to Gygax, people kown Conan, most people’s views of Lovecraft are just wrong, The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair and The Sign Of The Labrys, inspiration, my love my father showed when I was a tad, cloaked old men who could grant wishes, dauntless swordsman, E.C. Comics, the Satanic Panic, juvenile delinquents, ample helpings of fantasy, Andrew Lang, the Brothers Grimm, of particular inspiration, pluck kernels, good reading!, DeCamp, Pratt, Jack Vance, A. Merritt, these will help you make your gaming better, the original AD&D, a collaborative storytelling effort, dice rolling and stats, min-max munchkin play, you have to have read a bunch of stories, things you should be building on, the players limitations make the gaming less good than it could be, most of these books were on the shelf in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Williamson, publishing, the changing media, talking about movies and TV shows and computer games, pop culture is POPULAR, Stranger Things, True Detective, True Crime, locking a kid in the closet with no books, D&D has become its own incestuous thing, Forgotten Realms, wide open fantasy sandbox, engines to make other games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pool Of Radiance, Pool Of Darkness, Wizardry (on the Apple II), Fallout 3, step out into the wasteland, dependent on a really good Dungeon Master, adventures around every corner, the dialogue tree comes out, I wanna save this farmer, I wanna steal the farmer’s pants, the immaturity of the players, DMing is a skill, like Frisbee, cooperative, THACO, Star Trek Voyager, Naomi Wildman, a kid’s adventure holodeck program, nerfed, magical forest, Neelix, the creatures of the forest recognize Janeway, the ideal form of Dungeons & Dragons, your inventory, torch schedule, Darkest Dungeon, you have enough torches, the rope store, Fallout‘s inventory system, the creativity and the flow, how do we let our players have that same kind of adventure, domain play, tier 1 play, a town or country you kind of run, spouses and retainers, a bigger magic sword, New Vegas, post apocalyptic, stories around every corner, bottlecap currency, what we want is the story, whatever mechanics are there, leveling up, new spells new attacks more attacks, achievement unlocked, a real scholar now, awards, you’re a real boy now, army promotions, Eisenhauer is needed, a false understanding of what we’re here to do, the sense of awe, the first time playing Dungeon & Dragons, lead figures, carrying about what colour dice they have, getting a glimpse of Tsathoggua through a keyhole, console games, computer games, like reading a really good book but completely different, I killed a demon, I am a demon, a more advanced version of cops and robbers, go down to the basement, these dice say I hit you for double damage, FPS, all shooting games, Portal, it breaks what you thought was possible, The Long Dark, making mittens, zen meditative, achieving balance, murder hobos, wilderness adventure, one dungeon, not a lot of dragons, two dragons in twenty years, what we need to do as dungeon masters, what players need to do as players, can I stab this or set it on fire, a character with massive charisma, make friends with the monsters, combat oriented, the epic moments, inter-dimensional travel, you can become a god, Leah Libresco [Back Again From The Broken Land], intelligence, wisdom, strength, in real life, we don’t have the player character sheet at all, keep it under the hood, extra speech options, you are less involved, do you even lift, bro?, a suit of armor because suit of armor, Age Of Conan, I got a dagger, a fur diaper, and maybe some boots, a flagon of wine and a girl, World Of Warcraft, mount armor, change the world, Knights Of The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, guilds, all these titles, oh you wanted to buy bread?, the game doesn’t care, when games are capable of caring, an anti-perk: gravedigger, the orc said: I know you of old…, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a one way gate to the Pliocene, exporting criminals to the past, giant toadstool forests, megafauna, visiting aliens with psychic powers, almost all based on Julian May’s interest in geology and history, the Wild Hunt, accommodateable, straight sci-fi, all through the lens of Tolkien, Greyhawk and Dragonlance, Krynn, kinder instead of hobbits, dragon people, Vancian magic, you don’t understand the building blocks, to have the internet back then, so much is public domain, a blogpost in 2014, so much of it has never been republished, what is actually great, what’s being pushed by a publisher, the cult of the new, nothing from before 1987, The Professionals (1966) with Lee Marvin, Dave Arneson, self-enforcing mythology, Charisma Zero (2013), a player is getting divorced, the hipster is way to cool, what made him a loser, some genuine reality going on there, its a lifestyle, live and breathe Dungeons & Dragons is kinda sad and kinda amazing, the first modules, GenCon, where’s Wisconsin, Tomb Of Annihilation, a meat grinder simulator, Jason Thompson’s D&D module poster maps, 37 species of zoogs, the dreamlands, there used to be kinds of stories, it can’t be done without irony anymore, no-one can write it that way anymore, subverting expectations, a lack of planetary romance, August Derleth, The Trail Of Cthulhu, more of what you had, a magic wand, take what you can get, sad puppies, the Hugo Awards contest, John C. Wright, the popular clique, your ability to get into people’s hands, a list of old books, old fiction, some of them sounded pretty weak, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, cigaretty voice, World Of Teirs by Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner F. Fox, a really innovative way, a very small organization, I want more people to read Gardner F. Fox, connected to comics, Crom his Conan ripoff, old-school pulp author, only five?, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, The Moon Moth, The Dragonmasters, Planet Of Adventure, a kind of depth to his worlds, a plaster castle held up by two by fours vs. a velvet tapestry with a stone wall with grout made from goblin bones, sketching out a world with a few lines, footnotes, Jorge Luis Borges, granular detail, Philip K. Dick wrote a lot about spies, Mr Jim Moon’s show on Piper In The Woods, set in the pacific during WWII, Seabees, I’m a plant, how dryads reproduce, Typee by Herman Melville, a garden of Eden, it takes 20 minutes to build a house vs. pull ropes and get hit with the lash all day, Poul Anderson, The High Crusade is so fun, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, Dwellers In The Mirage by A. Merritt, vikings at the North Pole, ragging on Michael Moorcock, why people liked Elric, navel gazing, so sad, I murdered a bunch of people now I’m sad about it, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, Manly Wade Wellman, A Martian Odyssey, fabulously science fictional, spaceships, a virtual reality story in the 1930s, totally inspirational reading, Andre Norton, read this list as inspiration for your own campaign, the concept of this book, the foundations most people don’t realize are there, this is where I got some ideas, ruleset, where do all the other rules plug in, the monks were added because kung-fu was so popular, illuminating a manuscript vs. a Shaw Brothers character, more books like this, as we discussed in October, a book of Star Trek literary references posts, Arena by Fredric Brown, microphones for eyes, Darmok, Gilgamesh + Arena, Picard would, post-scarcity communist future allows us to read Gilgamesh and archaeology, lifts from literature, lifts from themselves, that idea worked, lets do our version of it, Stuart J. Byrne, he Kirked the computer, V’Ger, The Changeling, Nomad, his influence shows up in the first star trek, The Doomsday Machine, Fred Saberhagen, the Berserkers, hey I read Tolkien and I have a elves and goblins in a forest, break out of that mold, Portal 2, the Logic Bomb, this sentence is false, the cake is a lie, it becomes more of what it is, Doom and Wolfenstein and Spear Of Destiny, its short, literally out of the box thinking, it’s amazing, things can be different, a tavern with an old man giving you a mission, Lord Dunsany’s The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, The Book Of Wonder, gnoles vs. gnolls, Jesse’s favourite kind of Dungeons & Dragons, Thief, old game books, like choose your own adventure with dice, play honest with the book, the gap between the two, a regular novel is completely linear, game books, told in second person, we are so luckly right now, scanning books, finding them and buying them, way more of this and a lot less Tolkien ripoffs, a late 80s, really grimdark, Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein, you can just read Scalzi, you don’t need to read Heinlein, 2,000 pages of his inspired by Starship Troopers book, Farmer In The Sky, every book was different, why do we have to have another series?, that publishing drive, a sequel hook, advertising a one-off book, “listen Larry Niven if you write just one more Ringworld book we can bring Ringworld back into print”, from 1979 onward, The Martian by Andy Weir, only four or five years old, these things did happen, thinking along parallel lines, the requisite map, you just told me you know noting and I don’t need to read you, that’s just geography, picking up these cues, treating it like a science, arbitrary rules, Lost, what’s in the hatch?, that Sullivan guy, just good set dressing, J.J. Abrams has not content, M. Night Shyamalan, Heroes went nowhere, Star Wars and Star Trek, we as readers need to be chintzy with our attention, where are your bonafides, that’s not how you pronounce Suleiman the magnificent, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, egret vs. eaglet, we’re conjuring up things with our mouths, a Savage Sword Of Conan plot, Finnish Eskimos? The Summi?, favourite campaigns, a buried dead god they’re trying to resurrect, a turn based dungeon crawl, a quasi-medieval setting, the sanity system, confronted by trauma, gain a mania or a depressive problem, prayer or tavern or wenching, all narrated by Wayne June, The Ancestor is evil, from The Rats In The Walls, Darkest Dungeon 2, computer games tend to get better, becoming more what they are, a hybrid experience.

Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson

Dungeon Master's Guide

@Algncs' Appendix N Bookshelf

Appendix N by Gary Gygax

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The SFFaudio Podcast #611 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Jewels of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #611 – Jewels of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard; read by Phil Chenevert

This unabridged reading of the story (2 hours 5 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Alex.

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, March 1935, The Servants Of Bit Yakin, The Teeth Of Gwahlur, Farnsworth Wright, the giveaway ending, Conan actually says that, a monster vs. some jewels, an awesome story, a really cool political intrigue story, realpolitik, what country wants to invade what country for what resources, Russia to invade Afghanistan, Americans invade, they want the minerals, a police that believes in the bullshit, we’re going in as liberators!, Conan’s attitude, inhuman ape-ghouls, what an idiot, not a lot of swordfights, any actual magic?, the preserved body, a lich, the ghoul men, C.H.U.D.S, Lovecraftian ghouls, very preserved lives, what did Bit-Yakin even wanna do in there?, food delivery, a shitty life, implied backstory, broad strokes, that scroll, undercuts the interpretation of the vast public, he knows his shit, Conan’s grasp of languages, Bit-Yakin is self-obsessed, the only mummy on the entire granite curtain, the geology of it, Star Hunter by Andre Norton, comic book adaptations, climbing the cliff, a little nichey cave, slightly less sheer, a secret entrance, he’s a hill climber, he just happened to find the only mummy on this 20 km, Jesse’s Monkey’s Paw theory, W.W. Jacobs, a free meal, an elaborate show, mangled in a factory accident, a great con from idea, a whole sea-chest full of monkey’s paws, a reality based story, black magic is real, the way you focus the story tells you what the reality is, the Stygian dude, Thutmekri, there’s mummies at the top of every part of the palisade, this is a con-game story, at the end, Muriella, the Punts they have a thing for an ivory goddess too, Conan needs to be given a house full of gold, the Conquistadors, H. Rider Haggard’s She, a con on us as well, they’re all playing the same game, next village over, the Seven Cities Of Gold, what Robert E. Howard has done here, the icky international, a grifter whose name is Conan, the richest man on the planet or hang out with a sexy girl for a while, I can make use of you, that’s all its for, its the getting not the having for Conan, 40 pairs of red silk breeks, the P. Craig Russell, the fur diaper, iconic, you know who you’re looking at, no heirloomed possessions, just Conan and his black mane and his pantherish thews, his sandeled feet, we get it he’s a panther, tigers, big cats, Kull’s the one with the scar on his eye, Solomon Kane has a hat, Will’s first Conan story, how truly bleak a person Conan is, addicted to risk-taking, the only way he could feel, everything in it, westerns, bleak man comes to town stories, fascinated with the hand of H. Rider Haggard in this story, Ayesha done realistic (its a scam), the ending, the exact same scam in the next country over, pre-ice age Hyborian Africa, racial mythology, Zimbabwe, Shemitish archers, they’re just trying to figure things out (they’re completely wrong), John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, beehive huts, the Cromcast, a white kingdom inside of an African nation, a whole cool thesis, trying to prove to H.P. Lovecraft, its always collapse, civilization is a passing fad, collapse is the real thing, always arguing with Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time, At The Mountains Of Madness, ancient civilizations on Earth, the leftovers, the pyramids, Nubia, pyramidal leftovers, their culture wasn’t a culture of pyramids that’s the only thing left, a long time ago they were really into skulls, a guy who knew how to weave things, collapsed civilizations everywhere, at the bottom of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the mounds of Moundsville, the Mound Builders, Howard’s not wrong (really), Howard’s obsessed by it, layer upon layer, this great Dungeons & Dragons style module, a great scenario to run characters through, a great VR, a great computer game, The Pygmalion’s Spectacles scenario you’d like to do, scaling forbidding crags, if things had worked out slightly differently…, still a threat, issue 25 of Savage Sword 1977, Conan Saga reprint, a very solid adaptation, expressive faces, camera angles, Conan’s sort of the least interesting figure in it, that splash page showing the wall and the temple, the terrific use of the actual Howard prose, colour to a black and white image, the 2006 P. Craig Russell adaptation, the caldera of a volcano, continent sized caldera, Devil’s Tower, a volcanic plug, could something like this exist?, he made it so awesome, the palace of the king, now its all jungle everywhere, green sward, pleasure pavilions, Zhargeba, take some of the teeth, Dagon and Derketta, Palishtim, layers and layers of strata, servants never even given a name, bound magically perhaps against their will, literally happens in this story, #LegCling, that’s the real thing, her costume is magical, Yaleah, you’re a liar, all the oracles are liars, the same costume, a room of sacred vestments, she’s fine, her clothes rot away, her jeweled breastplate, her silk short skirt, run to the closet, doing some work, an instinct, robots left to run a bit too long, what the priests are doing, an ancient system, reliable information from the oracle, what’s the modern version of that?, should we invade Iraq?, what’s the Oracle think?, only the wooden walls will hold?, a great kingdom will fall, Themistocles, the Persians are coming, we’re know for our ships, yo, some horrible political decision, let’s have a task force, white paper, push it off of the schedule, half measure or wholesale, a delaying tactic, hold a referendum, quit the British Empire, some special day for it, Upper and Lower Canada rebellions, Lord Durham’s report, holy shit you guys are totally corrupt, actual autonomy, democracy, everybody in the family of the governor gets to run things, Conan and Howard are mostly right, an actual politician who believes in the system, what gets you killed, by believing in these gods you’re gonna get scammed, have your mineral resources stolen from you, organized religion, Cimmeria, Crom never shows his face, Crom never answers prayers, its hard to remember, in a rural community there’s a ton of pressure to think about god, its not just me, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit’s will, a cool takeaway, Howard is intellectually a heavyweight, how little attention the player character pays to the world building, I have all this backstory, he’s a hack and slash character, The Slithering Shadow, Conan’s not a fan of the railroad, return to the backstory, the ape fantasies here, ape people, half-men, Mangani, super-gorillas all over the place, Atlanteans of Opar, an ape-man aspect, Conan doesn’t care about ape-men, sorta apey, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a Frankenstein-style doctor’s creations, a comic book adaptation, A Man Without A Soul, The Island Of Dr Moreau, pirates, the turn, dude, nobody has a soul, the prose, the opening paragraphs, a much better writer than Burroughs, away and away, the ocean of fronds and leaves, its full of that, Clark Ashton Smith, the color of Conan’s pants, different beats, plenty, that broad lofty hall, a fortune in itself, a series of tweets, every sentence is gorgeous, the part Lovecraft would have loved, the twin arches over the subterranean river, its an Indiana Jones story, the Sankara Stones, The Temple Of Doom, the difference between Indiana Jones and Conan, Conan is Belloc but more competent, she was a Nazi, greed doomed her, a pretty good movie, a steep cliff, a hard climb to save it, there’s a sequel to this, L. Sprague de Camp, The Ivory Goddess, Savage Sword would fill in the gaps, mining little bits, Roy Thomas, much of his career is riding on the coat tails Howard laid down, a Howard Lin Carter joint, the general public, the old used bookstore that doesn’t exist on its own, the dipshit (Fritz Leiber), repetitious and childish a self-vitiating brew of pseudoscience stage illusions, Francis X. Grodon, playing the Great Game better than them, The Hawk Of The Hills, living in a small town, that letter to Farnsworth Wright, burdened down with a bad healthcare system, an only child, his favourite stories were the historical ones, Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser, some random boxing story is good, the Conan that’s presented here, a thoughtful dude, rough and tumble, the fantastic he wrote about is very grounded, The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs, two guys punched each other a lot, Fantastic, May 1968, Will’s assessment: about as good as what Fritz Leiber would writer but better than something C.L. Moore would write, ranking the Conan stories, the middle, the backstory, The Vale Of Lost Women, parked his horse, this story is in real-time almost, if the lions havent eaten him, what are you crying about now, slim shoulders, a Corinthian accent, a valley girl accent, I immediately regret that decision, a lot of philosophy in Conan, Diogenes, Alexander the Great comes to town, get out of my light, I was just enjoying my mug, 2020 is wrecked, if you have a favourite cup, cynicism, skepticism, if you have a favorite and its broken now its sad, I had a cup and then I saw a boy drinking cupping, a tiny house down by a river, a flatline life, John Waterhouse painting, he’s got his scroll, a pile of onions for lunch, collecting to many motorcycles, a parallax on your own life, light enough to see, the worst Conan stories, Red Nails, a furious effort, exotic maniacs and hop-heads, opium dens, snaking through endless corridors, butcher shop carnage and the like, I don’t like Conan stories, The People Of The Black Circles, “All the obscenity and salacious infamy spawned in the muck of the abysmal pits of Life seemed to drown her in seas of cosmic filth.”, all good things, there’s a great scene, tearing a dude like he’s a chicken, cannibalism, Howard slaughtered a chicken, 1 Shadows, 2 Gwahlur, 3 Vale, a solid story, Beyond The Black River, Tower Of The Elephant, what he does there kinda fails, too much magic, a reskin, suiting it to his magazine, bonus for the cover, LibriVox, The Crushing Hands Of Death, Tiger Cat by David H. Keller, apparently people want whipping, whipping scenes, Frank Frazetta’s surefire way of getting on the cover, a documentary about Frank Frazetta, Painting With Fire, Frazetta paints himself (and his wife), Virgil Finlay and Margaret Brundage, the Dark Horse adaptation, he looked young, some of the architecture is good, the jungle valley, @FrazettaGirls, the series sold 10 million copies, the tan looking priests, shying away from the race angle, in 1977 they were aware of different races, Ayesha’s supposed to be an Arab, she should have black hair, a blonde in the movies, a thing in Hollywood, dark foamy hair, proto-greeks, how you describe a Venus, born of the foam of Zeus’ sex with the sea, Chronos, his step-dad, flashbacks, the court intrigue, more faithful to the flow of the story, the way it starts, Howard is a much better plotter than most people, why he didn’t put these scenes them in the story, that narrative technique, a mystery he wants us to be distracted from, a very good mystery writer technique, you can see it in retrospect, incredibly valuable techniques, Lovecraft read a tonne, Howard’s instinct, Spear And Fang, Argosy and Adventure, Harold Lamb, any LibriVox of Harold Lamb?, ask the experts, what kind of swords did they use in 6th century Uzbekistan?, inter-library loans, Howard Andrew Jones, the PDF Page, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Virgil Finlay, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, Arabian Knights set in 1650 Baghdad, a boy’s adventure, literal Dungeons & Dragons style playthrough, an abandoned castle, Zoroastrian?, the Temple of the Fire Worshippers, hitting the Haggard hard, a stern lecture about what he’s going to tell him later, pretending to be black, Scheherazade, are they diamonds?, the briefcase with the glowing object in Pulp Fiction, Orientalism, Shanghai and Afghanistan, Mountain Man by Robert E. Howard.

Jewels Of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES

Savage Sword Of Conan, number 25

Jewels Of Gwahlur - illustration by P. Craig Russell

Two Dominoes - Jewels Of Gwahlur

illustration by Sanjulian (Manuel Perez Clemente) Jewels Of Gwahlur

Oliver Cuthbertson - Map Of Hyboria for JEWELS OF GHWALUR

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The SFFaudio Podcast #610 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Hunter by Andre Norton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #610 – Star Hunter by Andre Norton; read by Leonie Rose

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 37 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and J. Manfred Weichsel talk about Starhunter by Andre Norton

Talked about on today’s show:
Ace Double d-509, Voodoo Planet, 1961, Planet Of Alien Monsters!, a thrill packed account, an interstellar safari, All Cats Are Gray, plotting, geography, this planet somewhere east of the Sierra Madre, a planetary romance, Burroughs’ Africa, Colorado-y, southern Appalachians, water cats, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, relationships vs. biome, safari planet, the sounds of little animals, its the seas are so shallow, Beast Master by Andre Norton, Eye Of The Monster, The Sioux Spaceman, it feels like a series book, space buffalo trap, the sloth people, the takeaway, colonial planets, the county library, The Crystal Gryphon, Quag Keep, bait and switch, Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, a lost heir in space story, the alien mystery was not even solved, People Of The Crater, Star Born, the preliminary art, Jesse is always seduced by the art, a big hole, a famous science fiction writer, Tarzan as a scam (Tarscam), reframe it from the boy’s POV, Lovecraft’s The Outsider, YOU ARE LORD GREYSTOKE!, every time there’s a piece of technology in this story it fails, the alien field, nevermind about that, as a piece of science fiction all the technology is basically useless, let’s have the kid genetically tested, a half-assed plan, a D&D character rolling a 1, provide complications and fill pages, compare this to Kim and The Jungle Book, Citizen Of The Galaxy, Romulus and Remus, my Robot Jox (1989) movie was not inspired by Transformers, I can do that, an heir to something greater, the greatest spy in the Great Game, a mop boy, a dive bar on a cantina planet, part of this Mandalorian religion, a drugged cup of joe, the fake lost heir, intrigue on an alien planet, maybe they’ll find the actual boy, a The Prince And The Pauper situation, writing it over the weekend and handing it in, the Time Trader novels, could Paul draw a map of where they go and what the geography is?, a safari for what?, that looks like a great book, hiding in the foreground, TECHNOLOGY!, sloth man, even the sloth kid doesn’t get the star treatment, spy vs. spy stuff, in the background of the universe, it could have been a cool story, their sociology their anthropology, if you have a science fiction premise, implanting memories in people’s minds, what would that mean?, I am from the future and here is my rocketship to take you to the Moon, promises to the reader, skeptical straight from the getgo, the sloth people, this should be some sort of mirror to our hero, what is he doing there?, turns out nothing important, (drawing Jesse in), aliens secretly running a planet, the Jack Vance Planet Of Adventure novels, Fredric Brown’s Arena, that story is all symbols, a plastiform hand just like Luke Skywalker, Cool!, make him cool!, gentlefemme, one of the things she’s famous for, pardon Paul’s language, economic classes, ethnic groups, an external mystery or threat, Jumanji, Finnish for God, why?, how much drug taking is going on, maybe this *IS* the Great Game, sort of a YA novel, the relationship that Kipling had to his wetnurse, an analog for him, sympathy for the lower classes, of earth stock, because billionaires, a fascinating universe hidden behind the meandering weak plot, special skill, now he wants revenge, it doesn’t work, what was all that for?, an episode of Johnny Quest, if you follow it closely, the art of Johnny Quest, for small children, disrespectful to children, Lord Tyger by Philip Jose Farmer, create a Tarzan in real life, an interesting premise, counting on Farmer for more fun, more interesting than fun, decepticons stuff, Farmer doesn’t know what he’s doing, explanation (don’t care so much), heavy at points, sexual violence, what Tarzan would be like in real life, bad things, a bad person, lynching black men who killed his man, an aesthetic choice, chaste on camera, the whole wild child phenomenon is fascinating, when these things happen, it has happened many times, parents abandoning children, adopted by animals, a logic to it, what is what we do to all our pets, domesticating them as a part of the family, my furbabies, dogs are a part of out society, we have capabilities that they don’t, why Jesse?, I know how it ends, Jesse has his own systems, everybody is immoral in this book, the systems they live within are immoral, sloth guy, that’s a lie, totally immoral, that’s the name of the book, he feels guilty about it, the kid has no future anyway, killed in a bar fight, there’s another way to run this, Andre Norton tries for a saving throw, c’mon man, going along with it would be immoral, you can’t lie to animals exactly, maybe Will would look at it from a legal POV, what are they liable to be charged with?, unlawful confinement, the police’s involvement, condoned by the state, intelligence circles, that’s all they do, yo, programming people, kidnapping, a capital crime, the quasi-police, entrapment, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, ok I’m writing a book this weekend, a Norton quirk, criminals are heroes in the past, Robin Hood, Suicide Squad, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, in the news this week, statues getting pulled down, they were given statues, Winston Churchill, you can’t be a good person and run the empire, the only good person, he’s vying for power?, Jesse can be wrong about books, The Mound by Zealia Bishop and H.P. Lovecraft, maybe totalitarianism and…, the gaining of knowledge is the only thing worth doing, I was promised a headless ghost living in a mound, that’s shit, their heads are inside their torsos, fine here’s your book, dismiss Norton as not worth reading, this is her worst book, Sea Siege is worse, that’s not cool, a nuclear war, trails and goes nowhere, the scene on the cover is fairly early in the book, some ace books, The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick was written to order, a philosophical meditation on the meaning of weapons, it tricked me, the power of a really good cover, when you were young, on an island with no electricity, Smaug sitting on that pile sold me, John’s selling his book based on the cover, the promise of the cover, Lawrence Block doesn’t make bad books, this speaks to me, Jon’s first science fiction book Starman Jones, an aerospace museum gift shop, there’s a little monkey guy on the cover, there’s always Starman Jones, an up and comer, Red Planet, their best friend Willis, a YA thing, the hero or heroine and his furry companion, Star Beast, a pet in the family, we should have just read that, Star Beast is fun, how the economy works, the avuncular wisdom of Heinlein, off planet, these are competing books on the used bookstore bookshelf, more of the same (more cool interesting stuff), more of the stuff you love, Animal Kingdom, crime, Isaac Asimov, Donald E. Westlake, Larry Niven, playing fair, The Long Arm Of Gil Hamilton, Blaking Bad, there is a kind of detachment once you realize the government isn’t going to help you, a quasi dystopia, that perfect setup, he did the right thing, his students are making fun of him, I’m going to use my skills for evil, your background premise, it shows the deficiency even more, orphanages, debatable, unchecked institutions, surplus kids dropped off on people’s doorsteps, orphan trains, WWII, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Ellen Barkin, a family of adult boys, they all hate the mom, willing to kill people, they have a lot of money, you cant go to the cops or the church or the neighbors, sharpen some weapons, put some food aside for a rainy day, following a situation like that, The Shield, he gets a desk job, a weird kind of punishment, at least he’s not happy, the audience for that show is all the people who don’t have that day job, what do you think Andre Norton is thinking, the drugs and the orphans, a massive dystopia outside the tiny little view of it, expand please, the traumas of the post war moment are right under the surface, America in 1961, before the War on Poverty programs, back from WWII and the Korean War, taking turns at the uncle’s house, the backdrop, our society, in this strange sci-fi setting, plenty of orphans, Fake Heiress, another survival technique, assumed identity, past the Mississippi be a different person, Henry Morton Stanley, Joseph Conrad, ornamental last names, the morality of big game hunting, accidentally hunt humans, trophy hunting, grandbosses, contact protocols, implied shooting of aliens, another technology failure, this stuff never fail, there’s only a few of them, a class thing, the guides, the rich guy doesn’t need the food, this trap may be there to kill water cats (over hundreds of years), very small planet, passive fishing, shortly thereafter the megafauna disappear, anything we cant domesticate becomes food, having a distaste for big game hunting, ridiculous and stupid, maybe hippos are yummy, a taste problem, go read a book yo, just something to do, like jetskiing, what the billionaire class does, I must have my water cat, rich clueless idiot tourists, the collector who wants to classify every butterfly, on the level intellectually of really liking go-carts, a very basic visceral thrill, something to brag about, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, he’s exactly like Zaroff now, this is his castle now, that’s a Jesse thought, Jesse just wants to hunt people, check it out, Trish has a different conclusion, the most popular download, more than a quarter of a million downloads, the Russian angle, a 1924 story, his noble seat, now he’s gone too far, Shiptrap Island, a different show, recommendations, Sneaky Pete, bonds vs. bail bonds, satisfying, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, great great great, Jo Walton review, doppelgangers, earth stock vs. space stock, compact vs. elongated, The Smoke Ring, The Integral Trees, big ideas, small plot problem, their tree is falling apart, those big ideas sure are big, we squeezed this very slim volume dry, something she does often, it is not PC, it is PC, it can be both, identifying with the natives, an anti-colonial novel, The Sioux Spaceman his hawk-man style costume, a very political book, she changed her name to match her pseudonym, that sounds like fun book, it sounds like Star Trek, investigate the universe and fix it all up, a stagnant galaxy, a Foundation TV show, let’s get on this spaceship and have a conversation, one day there should be books in a library, on the other side of the galaxy, one day there will be a Mule, that will be important, Paul Krugman must be wetting his pants, a superhero movie about The Mule, the I, Robot (2004) movie, The Naked Sun, a murder mystery.

Andre Norton's Star Hunter - preliminary art by Ed Emshwiller

Star Hunter by Andre Norton

ACE DOUBLE D-509 - Star Hunter by Andre Norton

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The SFFaudio Podcast #590 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #590 – Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis; read by Kathy Wright. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 10 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding Stories, February 1930, the second issue, the subtitle, slimemold and flivver, super-science, there’s a reason we don’t SUPER-SCIENCE stories, this whole issue is on LibriVox.org, Into Space by Capt. S.P. Meek, here’s some volume for you, a retelling of The First Men In the Moon by H.G. Wells, a one bullshit gimme, not a scientific bone in the actual, bullshit science is everywhere in this story, launch into a defense of this story, an interesting story, a very silly story, intended, she’s kinda silly, between Frankenstein and 2001: A Space Odyssey, an evolutionary destiny to be god-like, can we create a better kind of person through science, the ideology of science, a Fantastic Voyage quality, hey have you read this Science article, a scary looking beautiful man, Antarctica, the fourth dimension, everything this exists, how deranged these experiments are, a crazy romp, it lives on in comics, Superman, Superboy, Superdog, villain mustaches, a good silent movie, a good bad movie, Captain America is a product of super science, one of the first super hero story, so amazing, Francis Stevens invented the superhero in 1904, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, Sampson, bitten by a radioactive spider, unique, the fun, very sensuous bodies, lips, splattered with startling features, people are so beautiful they are magnificent scenery, getting into arguments on twitter, attacking Lovecraft for being racist, she fundamentally misunderstands, genetics and evolution, Philip K. Dick’s The Infinities, teleological evolution, racism is tied up with an evolutionary ladder, Evan’s podcasts on H.P. Lovecraft (the sea and forgetting), racism is bullshit, there is no end state, no perfection, humpbacked German scientist, the first creature that crawled out of the sea was a Man, man is going to evolve into God, all life is a part of an experiment, her bursting ideas, the solar powered helicopter, everything turns gray, new scientific ideas that are not really science, if you get a life ray you get a death ray, she’s like Ed Wood, hilarious, earnest, not hard SF, a science fable, the overreach of the German scientist, they’re all chill about it, Adam and Eve at the end, she’s the anti-eve, Lilith, She‘s Ayesha, so funny, somebody’s head has been on this pillow, hey let’s build igloos and live on penguins, yo-yo-y, the Savage Land, a continuation of the Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton’s The People Of The Crater, its all there, madcap bursting at the seams with concepts, she’s juggling, a low mileage, life-ray, super-race, solar sphere, telepathic, death-ray, superman, LibriVox, invisible man, time travel, an unconventional form of invisibility, telepathy, the story needs an interlocutor, Ed Wood needs to do the narration, this perfect black age woman, she had the good genes, keeping his disability, hilarious and amusing, like a kitten being angry at you, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is an evil book, a new race of people who are superior to you, they’re eugenically more pure, none of the defects that we have, only for the richies, the liberal elites vs the basket of deplorables, Plan 9 From Outer Space is not a good plan for the space program, this is 1930s, what sexual selection is for, modern science is permitting the unfit to live, she doesn’t even get Paradise Lost, its 9 hours, comedic on purpose, a story with a happy ending in marriage, The Tempest has the greatest fart jokes on the planet, a slef concisncous commediane , Heard In A Grocery, The White Wizard, her letter to Weird Tales, the happiest days of the month for me, The Woman Of The Wood by A. Merritt, The Moon Bog, The Outsider, The Dreamer of Atlânaat by E. Hoffmann Price, Dwellers In The House, White Lady, a hunch nose, he smells bad, an Arabic scholar judge, it goes without saying, courting the judge’s daughter, personality change, its a Lovecraft ripoff, split people into multiple bodies, a happy ending, burn down the house that all the book were in, chaste and tortured romance, they don’t have houses, our whole lifestyle, we’re locked up in our houses, you need a gym membership, more logical, that’s crazy, a role playing game plot, Spirit Of The Century, E.E. “Doc” Smith, “they’ve adapted”, “only human ingenuity”, technobabble heavy Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will’s definition for super-science: science is part of modern mythology, the mythological power of science, fantastic and godlike things, The Flash, magic with science as the explanation, an ideological component, GURPS,

‘“Superscience” technologies violate physical laws – relativity, conservation of energy, etc. – as we currently understand them. (…) By definition, it is impossible to set a firm TL for superscience – we might discover faster-than-light travel tomorrow, a thousand years from now, or never. Equipment TLs are always debatable, but superscience TLs are arbitrary.

The Super-Friends wiki,

Super-Science is a term that refers to any type of science that is considered beyond that of the normal mainstream science. The Raven was a super-scientist, but his experiments were considered unethical.

a great episode, erasing the Super-Friends from the timeline, The Boys From Brazil, Teen Titans, Nazis are a combination of throwbacks to medievalism and super-science, In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Eagles or Legions, 2,000 year old consequences, they’re their own people, a moral screed against Romans by Romans, German psychology of the 20th century before and after WWII, the chances of finding a couple Germans hiking in the mountains of British Columbia, blue eyed and yellow haired, he’s got the WILL!, the classification system, novel and cute hunchback, she would get destroyed if she was used in a touchstone, a womanthology, forgotten, wrong about everything, not a single correct move in any scene, the right guy, he’s a dilettante who doesn’t have a job because he has good genes, what about Mary?, she’s not beautiful so we don’t care, Friedrich Engels’s common-law wife, what’s going on psychological here?, dude, it’s so obvious, interested in girl stuff, this handsome handsome man, a middle-class housewife, totally fun to hang out with, disabuse her of her eugenics beliefs, almost everybody was ideologically deranged, H.G. Wells’ The Country Of The Blind, a lost world story, different kinds of assholes, H.G. Wells assholes vs. H.P. Lovecraft assholes, Æpyornis Island, that’s my ride, this æpyornis comes out, taking on Will’s mannerisms, …the one eyed man is king, sight (which is not a thing), these two growths in the front of your face, a scientific story, sickle cell anemia and malaria, its a mistake, Huntington’s disease seems to be bad, way to sophisticated for Sophie Wenzel Ellis, one thing everyone sort of got wrong, “survival of the fittest”, social Darwinism, there is no path that we’re on that is going towards a destiny, you don’t need breeding if you have a life-ray, confronted in the raw, Jesse went to university for 16 years, cloning, Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, cloning doesn’t make any sense on a large scale because of , Hitler’s clone army, monocultures are terrible, what genetic diversity is for, this problem with bananas, sexual selection is about diversity, stupid but fun, emerald ash borers, tree farming, economically too, no ventilators, British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve, you’re setting yourself off for a massive die-off, trying to diversify, riding the wave, stuff is complex, complex is hard to explain, its a bush not a ladder, seed pods, Paul is right again, an alternative to this story, eugenics and race stuff, Milo Hastings’ City Of Endless Night, all coincidence and fortuitousness, a pandemic and a plague and we’re all gonna die, how come he can fly, its not the right (or fruitful) critique of this story, it might reinforce your distorted ideas, now that its so silly its mostly harmless, the ubermensch, Superman: Red Sun, a great super-science ending, the story ideologically undermines itself to work as a story, inching himself towards godhood, we’re meant to be gods, horrible people who needed to be destroyed, watching the gods destroy themselves, a viewpoint character, René Girard, distracted boyfriend meme, Where No Man Has Gone Before, very super-sciency-stupid, but what does it mean?, this is inevitable, you can not rush it otherwise you will get monsters, Babylon 5, supercharged psi-guy, I’ll see you again in a million years, down the tubes, supercharged by Vorlons, another Star Trek: Voyager episode, when Paris goes to super-warp and becomes a lizard, retconing conversations with your mother, when Larry David was a writer on Saturday Night Live, pretended it never happened, George Costanza quits his job, that’s gaslighting so don’t do that, this really terrible Star Trek episode, another really annoying novel by Kurt Vonnegut (Galapagos), Margaret Atwood, humans as sea-lions flopping around on the beach, when Olaf Stapledon does it it’s cool, Will thinks seal people are a good idea, push straight through, a silly silly book, Maissa defends Kurt Vonnegut 100%, feted in a way that Jesse doesn’t think is reasonable, when Jesse watches an Ed Wood movie, he is dead, we must honour him by never talking about him again, day six I got displaced from time, I ran myself to my destruction, my humpbacked’s father: Jesse, Harrison Bergeron, The Marching Morons.

Heard In A Grocery by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis - Astounding, February 1930

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Reading, Short And Deep #012 – All Cats Are Gray by Andre Norton

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #012

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss All Cats Are Gray by Andre Norton.

All Cats Are Gray was first published in Fantastic Universe, August-September 1953.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson