The SFFaudio Podcast #327 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #327 – The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto courtesy of Legamus. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse Willis, Seth Wilson, Jim Moon, and Juan Luis Pérez.

Talked about in this episode:
Title has a hyphen; published in Weird Tales in June 1926, but written for a St. Patrick’s Day event; most critics dismiss the story; most characters are nameless; no Cthulhu mythos; Greek ties to Lovecraft’s The Tree; H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast; thematic similarities to The Rats in the Walls and Hypnos; conflict between the bog goddess and her servants; frogs; moonbeams; Greek Pan pipes, not Celtic pipes; on the story’s un-Irishness; competing models of colonization; Protestant work ethic; Pied Piper of Hamelin; surviving narrator motif similar to Ishmael in Moby Dick; departure from the traditional Lovecraftian narrator; the poetry of Lovecraft’s prose, alliteration, etc.; Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature; spoiler in Weird Tales art; the joys of reading aloud; Lovecraft’s Dunsanian story The Festival; architecture; Tolkien’s Dead Marshes and the gothic symbolism of bogs, etc.; Lovecraft’s descriptionn of cities in The Mountains of Madness and landscapes in The Dunwich HorrorThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and similar impressionism in film; The Quest of Iranon; unreliable narrators à la Edgar Allan Poe, especially The Fall of the House of Usher; laughing; bog draining and the curse of the Tiddy Mun; the city of Bath and the intersection of Roman and Celtic cultures; John Buchan’s The Grove of Ashtaroth; this is actually a happy Lovecraft story!; Robin Hood and the defense of the land; humans destroy megafauna; Lovecraft’s The Hound; American horror trope of the Indian burial ground; the lack of Celtic mythology; will-o’-the-wisps; how does one drain a bog? Ask the Dutch; disappointment in scientific explanation for stories; the ruins and the Gothic tradition.

The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft

The Moon Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

Providence, Issue 10, The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Raulo Cáceres

The Moon-Bog by H.P. Lovecraft - art by Stephen Fabian

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook: Julian Comstock by Robert Charles WilsonJulian Comstock: A Story of the 22nd Century
By Robert Charles Wilson; Read by Scott Brick
21 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
Themes: / Science Fiction / Government / Aristocracy / History / Politics / Global Warming / Civilization / Theocracy /

The United States of America has changed. Global warming fears have come to pass, Christian groups have become a stronger part of the government (practically its own branch, called The Dominion), aristocracy has ascended because fewer and fewer have access to so much. The average citizen in this 22nd century view of the future have taken a step backward. The scientific past has retreated into myth, and superstition rules the day.

In short, Robert Charles Wilson has taken a particular view of what the United States is and has taken it to extremes in “if this should continue” science fiction tradition. The characters do not feel futuristic – instead they feel historical. Like Firefly in a way, the characters are straight from the 19th century. This creates a very interesting juxtaposition of time: A possible future that’s really a look at the present, but with characters that feel historical. Sci-Fi Wire quotes Wilson on this:

The past regarding the present from the future—that’s a literary effect only science fiction can achieve, and that’s what I was aiming for, a kind of simultaneous triple perspective. We think of the past as quaint and the present as mundane and the future as, well, futuristic—but so did our great-grandparents, and so will our great-grandchildren. ‘All times have been modern,’ as the French composer Nadia Boulanger said.

The novel is told by Adam Hazzard, a friend of Julian Comstock, who is aristocrat (the Comstock family has held the Presidency for years and years). Hazzard tells us right up front that he’s writing this biography of Comstock because Comstock has become a great man.

The first scenes have the two as young men looking through a pile of discarded books. They take what they can carry, but Comstock gives a specific book to Hazzard; a history of manned exploration of the Moon. Hazzard doesn’t believe such things actually happened, but accepts the book anyway, and wonders.

From there, Hazzard uses events like this one to show readers the life of Comstock, but everything is colored through Hazzard’s point of view. In a way, the book is like a Sherlock Holmes novel, but Wilson has created a much more interesting character in Hazzard than Doyle ever did with Watson.

Scott Brick takes full advantage of the Hazzard character, and does well with the 19th century sensibility of all the characters. This book has a whole lot of detail and a whole lot of lengthy conversation between the main characters about various subjects. Brick keeps it interesting, like he always does. We even get to hear him speak French when the characters spend time in Montreal.

This novel is rich and draws on a rich tradition. A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Postman, and Earth Abides all leap to mind, but this isn’t a homage or a retelling of those books. This is a story that looks at the present in a way that only science fiction can.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson