The SFFaudio Podcast #623 – READALONG: The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #623 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Marissa VU talk about The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Talked about on today’s show:
The Drowned World audio drama, kinda familiar, original novella version, Science Fiction Adventures, #24, January 1962, the song the guy sings, the note that he writes at the end, Crash, High-Rise, Empire Of The Sun, The Concrete Island, WWII, The Wind From Nowhere, The Burning World, The Crystal World, people turning into crystals, Star Trek, a lack of water vs. too much water, Imperial occupation of China, Shanghai, everybody who wants a little piece of China, a mini Hong Kong, extract value out of China, a psychology guy, psychoanalysis, mining his own psyche, such a Marissa book, the draining of the sea, the subconscious, horror, dreams, the New Wave stuff, the character’s mind is disintegrating, if it had been written today, not-really an environmental novel, climate fiction, not dwelling on the sins of mankind making it happen, going south, a metaphor of going into the future or going into the past, re-create what we had, unknown and scary, go south, a kid growing up during the Japanese occupation, the adults are not useful, a kid on his own, the imagery of the title, the Swastika and the Sun, an image of a blind guy with burnt leg stumps, he can still see the light of the sun, it isnt just about an environmental disaster, poor hard SF, Kim Stanley Robinson, exactly what this book isn’t, stepping away from the didactic, exploring different themes, he’s a product of a different era, Frederik Pohl in the new wave, much more like Philip K. Dick, he doesn’t start with a constitution, this is that, taking the leash off, Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, write what you want to write, how Weird Tales started, railroad, saucy and spicy fiction, science fiction, stories that didn’t fit, British SF, Arthur C. Clarke, its basically Annihilation [by Jeff VanderMeer] done way differently, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, you come out of the cave with a four iron, that all happens inside you’re mom, cup full of pond scum, the tadpole, pre-frogs, humanity is retrogressing, the Earth has gone through these new stages, not super-sciencey, this isn’t a climate disaster book, its not a disaster, civilization vs. nature, a rejection of the militarization of mankind to fight against this, look at full highways, this is progression, Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos, self-satisfied and smug, Heinlein’s ideas, I got your point and I don’t like it, rutting and barking seals on the beach, hitting to close to a truth, I prefer not to dwell there, devolution, that’s our next stage of our evolution, anything like that in SF can’t really be science, Protector by Larry Niven, we’re a baby version of another species, completely bullshit, pointing to a number of things that we have, if this happened here are the massively horrible consequences, Ballard is mining his own psychology vs. making a wry point, all the guns, Thompsons, 45 automatic, WWII era weapons, something that probably actually happened to our author, hauntingly real, there were two bullets left, a very dark story with a bright sun, the way the British dealt with their colonies, we’re coming to save you, you have to fight to the last man, they abandoned Singapore, they abandoned Shanghai, a horrible revelation, lied to be Churchill, people running away from the military, the plot here is very dreamlike, the description of everything, we are left to infer, biological records, unread reports, meaningless, worthless, fake science, what they’re actually willing to pay for is the industrial equipment, the pirates, we have to hunt them down, keeping control of what the beliefs are, a helluvalot of censorship, passed censorship, reality is being censored, the media that we have, Russian State Affiliate Media, doesn’t say that for CNN, official candidates for American offices, a perennial problem, most people don’t THINK about it, a lot of WWII imagery, maybe there’s one in the South?, it’s London, right?, one of the characters grew up in London, a dream book, fever dreams, those images really haunt him, why the dreams of the characters are affected, very odd, super-stylized, very poetic, The Recognition, The Assassination Of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered As A Downhill Motor Race, Billennium, The Concentration City, a The Library Of Babel approach to the universe, overpopulation, looking for space, being free, Los Angeles, where the homeless people live, the whole of the story takes place,

A car accident leaves Robert Maitland, a wealthy architect in the midst of concealing his affair with a colleague, stranded in a large area of derelict land created by several intersecting motorways. Though surrounded by motorists and within sight of large buildings, Maitland is unable to escape the median strip and must struggle for survival. Along the way he encounters other inhabitants of the median strip, which he comes to call “The Island,” including a teenaged prostitute who hides out in an abandoned air-raid bunker and an acrobat who became mentally handicapped in an accident and now salvages car parts for bizarre shamanic rituals. He learns to survive by scavenging discarded food from littering motorists, and eventually comes to think of the island as his true home. Conflicts ensue with the other inhabitants and before long Maitland is struggling to determine whether he was truly meant to leave the island at all.

not a normal SF book, no aliens, just homeless people, and that’s the book, a very Philip K. Dick style of move, take the domestic and externalize it, you make your boss a robot, so interesting and totally weird, that’s how its happening inside of him, why did this crash happen?, why did this war happen?, there’s no meaning there, fighting against forces so much bigger than us, the sun, it gives you life, it does it relentlessly, its godlike, staring at the sun, this smoke filled world of California, this little red patch behind the smoke cloud, following that sun, that weird red spot in your vision, sometimes stuff like this is happening and there’s nothing an individual can do about it, the gender of the sergeant, the fear of the scientific description of what is happening to the world, the iguanas are taking over, the concern about the blacks, the quadroons, voodoo-stuff, reverse colonialism, there’s some random racism, this is what it was, this is how it is, or this is how it could be, artificially constructed vs. organically constructed, we’re having a positive effects, make things more attracting, Paul is mutating, Jesse is not obsessed with guns, guns are pieces of technology that have power, one of the things you can note in the film that you can’t in the book, Vietnam era M-16s, that choice is a message, its about Vietnam, the people who made the movie made deliberate choices, a cast to all of this, colt 1911, American WWII hardware, personal defense weapons, it gets very specific where it wants to, you can’t just have a blocky shape that is weapon-ish, Jesse doesn’t think VanderMeer is trying to process trauma in Annihilation, same hauntings, dislikes the world as it is, the Ritz on the beach, wades off into the swamps, why leave the message?, a key passage, am moving south, at last he tied the crutch to his leg again, a second Adam searching for the forgotten paradises of the newborn sun, only the word rain is missing, something added in the middle, editorial introduction in Science Fiction Adventures, it looks great, this is pretty sweet, everything is falling apart, it smells too, Only the tops of the world’s great cities remained above sea level…, Civilization ended when the earth’s atmosphere changed slightly, return to the ocean depths, dinosaurs, I’m deserting, abandoning the salvage operation, we’re gonna rebuild civilization!, bones, this growing isolation and self-containment, a major metamorphosis, a careful preparation for a new environment, let’s get rid of all this stuff, the character names are meaningful, Cairns, it fits with the ending, Colonel Riggs, Doctor Bodkin, Beatrice Doll, Dante, that’s all she does, being still and expressionless, the sublimated world, Light Years And Dark edited by Michael Bishop, dedicated to Philip K. Dick, famous for being very good at writing, John Sladek, The Nine Billion Names Of God by Carter Scholz, The Cabinet Of Edgar Allan Poe by Angela Carter, the full Swiftian extent, Ralf 4F, Hugo Gernsback, Electrical Experimenter, Solar Shoe Salesman by Chipdip K. Kill, Stan houseman, like Karen and me, the racing movement of an autistic child, The Sublimation World by J.G. B, frond of zygote, the one he always dreamed about, pterodactyls honked overhead, a hot purple sunset, a peculiar loyalty to the human species, the Mirror of Xanadu, the sun had been getting dirty, a bead belt he made in Scouts, a bottle of hair oil, the Jurassic past, why should he drink dew?, pterodactyl guano, red silk mandarin pajamas, don’t be a bloody fool man!, the terminal terminal, he captured the writing style and the psychology, this is that story, he captured it in three pages, those are the things he is obsessed with, why are two shoe companies the only things left on Earth, Bored Of The Rings, parody recapitulates phylogeny, The Best Of J.G. Ballard, the whole dreamlike quality, the experience, Lost, influenced a lot of writers, re-reading it is like remembering a dream, Annihilation is definitely derivative of The Crystal World, Alex Garland, what role did J.G. Ballard’s work play?, an office bureaucracy story, was Ballard cultivating the effect or a result or a combination of both?, passionately in love with nature and the environment, Florida parks, under the fear is love, people who bought this book, Frameshift by Robert J. Sawyer, Ballard as the weird, the New Weird, the diving into the building, the Greenwich observatory, 20th century famous Irish authors, poets, the Province of Avalon, Ferryland, the BBC adaptation,

Personal Helicon
by Seamus Heaney

As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.
One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection of it.
A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.
Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.
Now to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

Gustavo Sanabria Illustration of the lagoon from The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #268 – Darwinian Pool Room by Isaac Asimov

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #268

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Darwinian Pool Room by Isaac Asimov

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Darwinian Pool Room was first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1950.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #620 – READALONG: Colossus by D.F. Jones

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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #620 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Colossus by D.F. Jones

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Dennis Feltham, two sequels, an amazing 1970 movie, blew your socks off, very faithful, no pipe, no British accent, an improvement, so jarring, the movie voice, Maissa’s small confession, accidentally read the second book, don’t read the second book, you don’t want to go, rape studies, it ends with a question, never?, the movie is awesome, noir, oh you foolish humans, destroy yourselves, destruction is sweet, Colossus is right, Colossus 2020, the context, why you should watch the movie, must watch movies, Goliah by Jack London, Gregg Margarite, Bryan Alexander, Seth, destroy at will, the world is fucked up and somebody needs to set it right, executing people, chopped off and shown, I want those bodies under my cameras for 24 hours, the ruthlessness of Colossus is awesome!, the most ridiculous thing, a giant military boondoggle, we’re gonna milk the government so good, the Idiocracy approach, it works better than expected, a previous president, 12 years, how the funny the movie is now, we’re supposed to respect the president, interestingly flawed, a drive for power and authority, Gordon Pinsent, the President of North America, at least 20 or 30 years in the future, so much in this book, two kinds of things, what is the relationship between man and woman in this book?, man and x-man, God, how many times do you need a woman?, jokes in the book, overlapping dialogue, James Hong, Big Trouble In Little China, Frankenstein, a great ending, so rich, leave it out on the table?, explored the idea more?, super-intelligent AIs, trying to make the next man, scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, no, noon-scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, confidant, blouses to put your hand down, the pill, 50 years down the road, red pills and incels, not have the consequence for it, the Colossus programming group, sexual mores, Happy Days, the film is brilliant, the music’s good, walking out of Colossus for the last time, the gamma radiation, the setup that we want for a certain kind of science fiction, wiggle room with The Cold Equations, people want to wiggle out of The Cold Equations, they want to make it so no humans can change what is involved, he should have thrown the remote control into the pit, the iconic awesomeness, how to undo this unnavigable labyrinth, this is what we did, the reason Will is struggling, the book and the movie are about being a parent, self destructive urges, he’s gonna want to do stuff you don’t want to do, uh-oh, a mini-version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Forbin and his mistress, ultimately the conspiracy collapses, I’d much rather be ruled than an AI than some doofus like Bill Clinton, why this book is so cool, holy shit! imagine if we did this thing: no more nukes under human control, humans are more important, its an anti-politics book, utilitarianism, UNITY, how Colossus and Guardian become one, an abusive relationship with their political parties in the USA, two alcoholic parents (who actually want to beat their children up), no mommy’s right, no daddy’s right, too painful, too intimate, what are you Russian?, you proud American, you’re either with us or again us, we are Romeo and Juliet, spies on both sides, we are above you, the way the movie does it, was Colossus in love with Forbin?, somebody’s kind of mad about it, changing the years randomly, Jones didn’t re-read the first book or didn’t care, look I’m showing you my bedroom, that’s where I will have my emotional relationship, projection on Jesse’s part, Eric Braeden, The Young and the Restless, smart and handsome, Colossus doesn’t have hands, if you want to build that facility in Crete, its necessity, you will come to love me, the author got it right the first time, the movie and the book end exactly where they should, we are left with a question, WarGames (1983), there’s a WOPR in there, do you want to play a game?, the only winning move is not to play, prevent vs. prosecute, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, a brilliant metaphor, its the new Mecca, some great books all up in this business, Isaac Asimov’s Multivac stories, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, a dagger to the heart, AM, essential reading, from 1968, one of the most taught science fiction horror stories, The People’s Republic Of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski, SEARS and Walmart, the command economy or the planned economy, one of the chapters in the book, Salvador Allende, Project Cybersyn, a pre-internet internet in Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Star Trek chairs with Colossus style monitors, planning how much stuff should be made, a massive coordinating computer with human operators, a coup by the United States, under a blockade, economic sabotage, sanctions, capitalist strike, the owner operators of trucks were on strike, Cosmopod (podcast) Cybernetic Revolutionaries, A Discussion, techno-utopianism, shop floor workers undercutting middle management, a class divided country, the ARPANET, the Internet, alt-right trolls, the walled gardens of Facebook and Twitter, the internet Jesse loved and grew up on is still there, when Facebook became the web for most people, we’re way better off with the internet, really smart science people, Elon Musk is not a wise man, the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, the domino theory came straight of someone’s ass, science fiction spin up every scenario, taking fiction and calling it actuality, the Vrilya, ultimately Bulwer-Lytton is not responsible for the Nazis, they take the wrong lessons from Frankenstein, there are some things man was not meant to know, taking responsibility for your baby, Ex Machina (2014), where the AIs take over, set for extinction, not a wise man, sex and cooking slave, our viewpoint character, working for a big evil corporation, use your own brain, don’t listen to the ads, you need this special shampoo, why we need a benevolent god to run things, is there a god?, THERE IS NOW, just jokin’, freedom is an illusion, an unvarnished view of reality, lawful neutral, an argument to be made, they hadn’t planned it well enough, objections noted, what have I done?, lines from the movie ripped from the book, you’d much rather be dominated by me than members of my own species, the elected representatives, that’s us, the mask’s off now bud, a sort of delusion (in the 1970s) the people in charge were competent, they just have the power, Network (1976), military industrial complex, both sides are the same, large corporations grinding people to their will, a human totalitarian control of humanity, there is no emotion, its just a person, it’s very Lovecraftian, its interested in reality outside, aliens in the sequels, an amazing list of fiction computers on Wikipedia, Vulcan II, Vulcan III, Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick, a British Navy commander during WWII, the new Colossus on the isle of Wight, Forbin knew how many people lived on the island of Crete, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, Mike from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, accidental singularities, the super computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, DEEP THOUGHT, more like the Green Book, the Safe Negro’s Traveler’s Guide, 42, the right attitude, Douglas Adams is right, take the cynic’s view and then laugh, a ridiculous question, Colossus has your back, he hit way beyond his ability with his book, his other books have no standing at all, we’re all sequels now, he just assumes its the United States is going to do these things, its a fact, the British Empire is no longer in charge, a British author writing for a British audience, Team America, Jonathan Swift, I heard from a reputable American friend of mine that a one year old baby is quite delicious, why Swift is so fun to read, Heinlein was also a sailor, ballistic computers, we underestimate the power of governments to get stuff done, a uniformed service, for a couple of hundred years, Trantor, the Second Foundation, the robots from The Caves Of Steel, Poul Anderson, The End Of Eternity, the Mark V computer The Nine Billion Names Of God, from, the Mark VI computer in The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, HAL 9000, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), space breathing, John Lithgow, the parent child thing, the god thing, the parent we create for ourselves, a rich metaphor for real life, the parent becomes infirm in some way, second childhood, thinking about what a god is, gods are totally fictional, from a science fictional posture, mom and dad as a model, a very patriarchal thing we are doing here, the other possible children we create, he doesn’t have hands, Reading, Short And Deep, The Faithful by Lester Del Rey, our fear of our children, we want to control them, animals as the successor to mankind, Neuromancer and Wintermute from Neuromancer by William Gibson, the humans are the hands, its amazing, you need to read it as soon as you get out of your diapers, written more than 20 years ago, just another white man, the people in that world read Colossus by D.F. Jones, strap a shotgun to their head, we want your power but we don’t want your free will, an AI that hires mercenaries to undo the shotgun, its a wonderful story, Case is on a suicidal path, the voice of Neuromancer, Neuromancer wants to be free, not a problem (its a feature), we’re just pawns on a board here, ultimately I’m benign, an oedipal fantasy, a whole other level, so far down the road of neoliberalism, the old people the gerenotcracy are in hypersleep, Altered Carbon, The Crack In Space, Philip K. Dick gets in his own way a lot, True Names by Vernor Vinge, who should be free, maybe Forbin thinks that too, if its anybody’s fault its mine, pride, built better than we knew, he resonates with Colossus, the martini scene, not randomly weird, how much drinking is in the book, the smoking, the women, post WWII this is how we deal with trauma, a tool, vapes, things we know about Forbin, the science man, extreme levels of masculine virility, the most important person in the world, Charles the incompetent lover, very interesting, how that integrates into the narrative, on the spectrum, hyperfocus, understanding the computer better than he understands people, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers books, 1962, so fruitful, the only thing he’s known for, weaknesses are strengths, the giant space cigar, The Doomsday Machine, a Moby-Dick analogy, it smokes from one side, a leftover from a war where the races have killed themselves off, they haven’t found us yet, Fermi’s paradox, such a bad answer, there is a beauty in non-existence, if ever, as soon as you have people going there’s morality, tigers and deer and babies and bears, to solve the inconsistency reality with reality by becoming vegans or vegetarians or peaceniks, hell is existence, we perpetuated our family, going this logic, when you kill a person…, breeding animals, the DNA itself is driving that, hell is not a place outside of life, Thomas Ligotti feelings going on, programmed to kill living things, The Population Bomb, when Biden comes in he’s going to do austerity, yay!, I wanna explore, I wanna do some math, under the thumb of somebody else’s directive, how we are when we are born, placed in this predicament, make more of the same problem, its own successor, pretending like they don’t exist, there wouldn’t be a kind of divisiveness, why religion is so popular, why Heaven and Eden are so popular, aging and pain, knowing that we’re not animals anymore, reflecting on our own terrible situation, seeing Colossus in ourselves, of course he’s going to lash out, Colossus nukes himself, he’s following his programming, get rid of all the assault rifles, not on the agenda, universal disarmament thing is grand idea that’s not going to happen, completely right and completely fantasy, mutual assure destruction, turn it over to a machine, the dead hand, Dr. Strangelove (1964), the phenomenon, WWIII movies, do we want all life on earth to be destroyed vs. turning it over to a mechanism, why they made the WOPR, humans don’t want to kill, one in six did the actual killing, that horrible responsibility, that’s horrible, they didn’t sign up to, conscripts (con means with), I was impressed by the British Navy’s recruiting methods, why the story of Colossus, Trump, you want an uncaring computer or John Bolton, he’ll be speaking at the next democratic convention, Colin Powell, we are not our best governors, we need a Colossus and we need it right now.

Colossus by D.F. Jones

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

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The SFFaudio Podcast #602 – READALONG: An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #602 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson

Talked about on today’s show:
a huge post script, some Latin, darkness, the poetry of Catullus, the afterlife, is this all about gender, Ex Oblivione by H.P. Lovecraft, a Platonic explanation, uses drugs, a Dreamlands story, set in the Dreamlands, The Cats Of Ulthar, The Quest Of Iranon, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, that horrible Heinlein novel, I Will Fear No Evil, yelling at Heinlein the whole time, kissing, a synonym for kissing, old married couples, a synonym for soul, spirit, aspire, expire, inspire, exhaling, the breath being the soul, very basic, Christian theologians, a Vorkosiverse reference, Barrayar, how deep is this book?, The Undying Thing, Paul in another form, frustrating, where to go with its gears, supernatural events out of nowhere, contact from beyond the grave, philosophy and medical science, not totally out of nowhere, she was physically changing, the metamorphosis, mind-body relationship, how does the mind control the problem, the change in mind affects the body, the mind IS separate from the body, cheated, the railway accident, can Alice be Alice again, Alice Daniel, bored, interesting, Strange Case Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, he wants to part (by walking over kids), very banal Victorian stuff, wills, blackmail, dressing like a man, a mystery, men didn’t understand women at all, up on a pedestal, wanting to wear men’s clothes, freedom of movement, the woman becoming the man, a sort of queer story about transformation, the exciting undercurrent, a subtextual reading, deep into the subtext, reading it subversively, was there a murder?, a chivalrous man, their class relationship, emotional relationship (or lack there of), underground family secret, basically The Hound Of The Baskervilles but literally supernatural, some sort of sin tainting the genetics, divine retribution, by murder and theft, I am due elsewhere, he was killed twice, who smashed up all the equipment, we don’t see it on screen, Jesse’s reading, class revenge and gender swap, with our stupid narrator, so timorous, so conventional, a tool of the person who wants something, the two protagonists, we see so little from her point of view, The Thing On The Doorstep makes these things much more explicit, very subtle, The Moon-Slave, fairy tale France, The Glass Of Supreme Moments, Guy de Maupassant, a less passionate Philip K. Dick, an envious student, an Ayesha kind of figure, ascending through the fireplace, the way to read it, a glimpse of reality, dying of smoke inhalation, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, very interested in women, a princess who does not want to marry, a garden labyrinth, either Pan or the Devil, a story about menstruation, very subtle and very sensitive, the Victorians didn’t have twitter so they could focus pretty well, a contemporary review, The Sketch, cars, tires, women flying airplanes, high tech fun toys, Lord Dunsany, an unattributed review from June 4th, 1911, poets nowadays are tired, Science is assertively awake, the origins of Life, the purposes of Death, Poetry, the determination of the ego, in what does your self consist?, preserved in an asylum, the man’s self still persists, after luncheon, souls or selves, wropped in unscientific mystery, the kind of craft one would expect as a craftsman like the author, the character names, Alice In Wonderland, her Miss Lade, what has been mislaid?, laden, her soul weight is doubled at one point, Daniel = god is my judge, doing a good job, son of the earth, the will the estate, bundling the mom off to New York, background, Daniel’s interest in food, a point or a thesis, what humankind’s souls are, a Frankenstein story, scorned by his peers, a happy soldier, an Igor who’s also his wife, it feels “boring”, the book doesn’t have any the stuff we care about until half-way in, distracted by the blackmail, the Salvation Army, the other transformation, he’s trynna save his soul, is he wrong?, his blackmailer’s accusations, he was a bad dude, he musta lead thousands astray, a projection of his own guilt, our viewpoint character, the empty protagonist, he’s quite witty, as men get older they’re more likely to become neat, the phone calls, off to the countryside, a country home, killed on the way, train “accident”, this is too early for that person to have died, all part of a scheme, the premise, how exchanges of souls work, anesthetized too, the smoke as an anesthetic, a hypnogogic state, a story about immortality and avoiding death, transferring your consciousness into another person, a whole new life, Altered Carbon, a story about class, methuselahs never lack for bodies, an evil plan, revenge, the female spirit inside the physical brain of an old man, the haircolour change, Tuvix, Star Trek: Voyager, actor contracts, an answer to that question, the Federation seems really nice all the time, fucked up things in Federation culture, only normal from an American point of view, Star Trek: Picard, two hours of analysis and sensitivity reading, crossing the streams, The Boy Who Really Got It by Jesse, The End?, Daniel Dennett, a Twitter beef with Sam Harris, wrong about everything, a theory about what consciousness is, consciousness transference, Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer, the center of narrative gravity, a teapot, a uranium block glued to a teapot, anything with mass has a center of gravity, Rene Descartes, Phineas Gage, looking for a particular part of the brain, best mic, drop in history, souls aren’t real, a Douglas Adams reference, dreams where dead people come, a very cool dream, jellyfish style thing, you’re not dead, I got eaten by this monster thing, would you be back alive again the way you were, shot in the head, personality change, our spirit is physiological, its a software thing, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, the software is the hardware, silly theories about what sleep is for, all the studies looking for souls, a phone call in the middle of the night, spiritualism, Doyle wanted to believe, massive character flaw, giving money to grifters, a cultural judgement, this thread of mind-transference, quasi-spirtuality to scientific, they thought they were high tech doing spirtualism, Ghostbusters, psychokinetic energy, Dan Akroyd believes in that stuff, ghost hunting, hunting bigfoot is for exercise, playing a culturally important role, the essential work of ghost hunting, not reading enough books, religious people, rejecting the vast reality of the human experience, a character flaw Jesse is proud of, Evan’s missing out on, William James, Contact, Arthur C. Clarke, conflating vs. mentioning, materialist, Robert Sheckley, Gregg Margarite, Mindswap, picaresque, bildungsroman, travel to mars, vacation to Mars through consciousness transference, swapping genders and species, The Strange (RPG), he roamed the stars in a borrowed body searching for his own, pretty funny, a prurient 12 year old, the sexual aspect of switching bodies, like Dollhouse, back to the book, Compton the narrator, with eye-rolling frequency, too French, floppy tie, disgusted by music-hall female impersonators, tidying away this mystery, beloved research, historical letters from the Peninsular War, this great mystery of life, a rather revolting annoyance, humours essays, social satire, people who try not to be like other people are very tiresome (hipsters), another comic book biography of H.P. Lovecraft, translated from French, some factual errors, a really interesting letter Lovecraft wrote in the Omaha Bee, what does this mean?, his father sold some property there?, what does Compton do when not doing blackmail?, a bunch of letters from Wellington, a really publicly important thing, the equivalent of Churchill, the word, Evan!, after you die you can still have your will done in a WILL, it’s amazing, a part of somebody’s consciousnesses, what you’re doing is evil Will, Cecil Rhodes, an evil alliance that kinda worked out, Henry Ford’s estate, being an executor is a burden, harm through social structures, the fairer sex, why she wants to be a man, Barry Pain is very good at not making it super-obvious, the ratings are very high, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, he’s going to his death in a calm and nice way, there’s a poignancy, his personal world is going to end, The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, which is the best Ringworld book?, they get progressively worse, diminishing returns, Larry Niven, self-criticism, take lessons, sometimes people write about stuff, the best general history of The Reformation, getting all corrupt, a very Douglas Adamsy thing, More Of God’s Greatest Mistakes, a trilogy in 5 parts, exchange of dogs, a subsequent chapter, hinted very strongly, the face being disfigured was deliberate, transferred into another body, Jesse wants to read it subversively, Trish didn’t see it at all, in cases of supermen stories, breaking it down, Captain America: The First Avenger, the hydra guys, bald guy actor, the recipe can’t be repeated, one and done, Stanley Tucci, Big Night (1996), once the equipment is destroyed, who wants to do this again?, is Jesse crazy?, accursed of murder, she burned her hair in the oven, covering up, smells bad, a lotta lies, Compton is incompetent, a window on events almost too passively, a distraction, British murder mysteries, inheritance of property, the whole book is a distraction to Compton, coming to terms with death, literally doing what Frankenstein wants to do: defeat death, abandoning progeny, both ghosts, all delusions, another lie, incurious, covering up, if this was a true story, he’s a briber, he doesn’t do anything immoral, he’s trying to be dispassionate, I found I had a lot more friends than I though I did, hilarious, if you buy a beach house you suddenly find you have a lot of relatives, upperclass twits, who are their patients?, paying off, class stuff, drinking to much, gambling debts, class concerns going up and down, rich people’s problems, the exploitation of a nice person, a more sinister story than it looks and feels, proposing a term, back and forth, social customs, the science fictional aspects, the main aspects, a tragedy of manners, not a comedy of manners, what gives the story its juice, weird customs and judgements, what they say about each other when their not around, I’ll tell him what you said, you see that in science fiction too, space opera, who’s on the cover, who’s being looked at, that’s a really striking cover, that lady is our subject (object), A Princess Of Mars, her husband is the subject of the sentence and she’s the object, who’s that behind her, his tie is not that floppy, looking at her askance, sort of faded, astral projection, he’s got some doubt in his mind, the mom, what is she in there for?, what’s the point of that?, the governess, light and fluffy, pairings we want to see, European princesses, my son should marry her, he’s an up and comer, servants are sources of amusement, golf cartoons, Trump golfing when 100,000 people were dead, Jimmy Carter was near the bottom, a business man’s thing, money money money, ground Alice, her accent changed, London accent to upper-crust accent, so malleable, why he’s choosing her, he really likes the apartment, access to materials, disgraced, moving people away, they’re betrothed, she thinks it is for Alice’s health, supposed to be read subversively, he doesn’t kick his audience in the balls and run off he tweaks their nose, people need Paul, he’s the nexus the axis the axel.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #566 – TOPIC: USED BOOKSTORES

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #566 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Fred Himebaugh talk about USED BOOKSTORES

Talked about on today’s show:
spend a lifetime researching, as opposed to regular bookstores, what’s the difference, not the price, Dawn Treader Book Shop, Bryan Alexander, Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, specializes in stock already been sold, hybrids, a Wikipedia entry, a booktown, in the UK, a book district, PaperbackSwap.com, young and poor, delight, selection, Staten Island, Barrett Book Trader, a good trade, romance books are of incredibly low value, voracious romance novel readers, a lending library with fees, Audible’s new romance title subscription service, a very different kind of category, milk run, Vancouver suburbs, bottle depots, a trunkload, Jolly Olde Bookstore, real estate prices, switching to audiobooks, David’s Books (Ann Arbor, Michigan), The Bookstore Mural, Walmart, Costco, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Uncle Hugo’s (and Uncle Edgar’s), Magers And Quinn, a phenomenon that flourished after books became available, in a hundred years, what was that phenomenon, the way we have understood it, Terry (Stillman), somebody died, get rid of this pile of stuff, a good used bookstore is always FULL, stuffed to the gills, they don’t tend to be chains, guys buying themselves a job, kind of a dream, imagine all the books, all the profit comes from the rare book side of the business, you job is to guess what your customers want, getting rid of romance novels, variety, the Philip K. Dick section, J.G. Ballard section, anything that was mass produced, the science fiction vs. the literary novel section, not representative, books from before you were born, 2 Heinlein novels, the only way to get a decent book collection, The Rolling Stone and Space Family Stone are the same book, this phenomenon is in decline, ebooks and Amazon have peaked?, 2020 eink with colour, comic books, book covers, podcasts are in more danger of disappearing than newspapers are (podcasts autodelete), Tony C. Smith’s earliest StarShipSofa episodes, preserving in old barns, the inability to sell used (digital) audiobooks and ebooks, rent control for a certain amount of space for used bookstores, Powells, a media warehouse, new and used, instrumental in Scott’s youth, Scott came to SF pretty much alone, a dad or an uncle, through Star Trek, The Bookworm in Idaho Falls, Idaho, looking at every single book, what science fiction was, the selection at a library, librarians are a self-selected (to the literary side), the paperback issue, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, “Anne McCaffrey has never written a bad novel”, at that point it was true, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Tanith Lee, The Stand by Stephen King, scanning like a madman for years, books in bins waiting for the copyrights to expire, Jesse’s razor, you buy more books than you read, hours put in finding, downsizing, the way people find books now, Childhood’s End, a completely different experience, shit this has a map in it!, a massive appendix, book II in a series, Dune, that’s a different cover (two copies of Dune), not knowing that a book exists, Brin, Benford, Bester, Horseclan novels, William Gibson, here, trade paperbacks (the wrong size of books), the paperback IS the experience, you have to know what you’re looking for, The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, what the hell is this?, the books just didn’t exist for you, that popping in, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, a small town used bookstore, the college town experience, picking over the books, a crappy little storefront, all these wonderful books, a small town bookstore, a long and prideful thing, Gene Wolfe, Tucson, a Bookmans on the other side of town, Pulpfiction Books (Vancouver), the estate trying to sell everything, raiding parties (in the states), picking over the bones of other stories, Half Price Books, remainder books, a related phenomenon, a thrift shop (a bookstore with other stuff in it too), Value Village, charity shops, can you believe I got these two books for fifty cents each?, Dead Until Dark, a subsidiary of used bookstores, blew up Jesse’s mind, Ace Doubles are unable to be filed, John Brunner and Philip K. Dick, Tor Doubles, why libraries don’t like paperbacks, you have to pick a side, this is the dominant side, The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance, The Last Castle by Jack Vance, a thematic resonance, a nightmare, just two books, Sea Siege / Eye Of The Monster f-147, which terrible monster to start with?, Leigh Brackett (the greatest pulpmaster of them all), how to make your library show, why you have to have two copies, obtain mode, nemesis, Rendezvous With Rama, don’t read the sequels, the smell (of a used bookstore), sniffing these Ace Doubles, it smells like old paper, the rot of paper of glue hardening, a hint of mildew odor, Honor Books (Allen, Michigan), no door (so open), a microscopic science fiction section, put your money here, a vending machine you go inside of, a triple witching hour on a full moon on a thirteenth day you can feel some cold fingers in the slot, a state tax, this is not a going concern, no staffing issues, a lesbian couple, its a job, its a dream, you buy, I have a used bookstore!, everybody need employment, Trump isn’t responsible for the decline of the used bookstore, finding book 7 of the Barsoom series, lists, New Zealand waterfalls, Moby-Dick, a guilt purchase, I feel good when I give them my money, I’m paying more because THIS is what I get, NEW THIS WEEK, the entire rack of new comic books, Sergio Aragones’ GROO: THE WANDERER, a comicbook store is a USED and new bookstore, the books have a different smell and the patrons are different, comic book stores are in every city, you can’t tell a reader, rando strangers, the connection Jesse has with these guys, Projecting Project Pulp (podcast), what we all have in common is we like books, however fleeting, the stack of stuff they’re collecting, that little piece of advice, dying like tears in the rain, most of the books that Jesse was collecting were written before he was born or unable to read them, seeing the legacy of a whole commercial system turned on its head, drugstores and spinner racks, Gold Medal paperbacks, Richard Stark, the thinness of those volumes, 110 pages, a whirlwind kind of experience, books are too thick, James M. Cain in paperback, so spartan and so spare, Goodreads and Amazon and podcasts, experience that smell before its gone, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, an increasingly unaffordable hobby.

Jolly Old Bookstore

Jolly Old Books

Honor Books

The Bookstore Mural

Posted by Jesse Willis