The SFFaudio Podcast #129 – READALONG: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #129 – Jesse, Tamahome, Julie and Jenny discuss the Audible Frontiers audiobook of The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Aliens, first contact, alien aliens, Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evil genius inventor, a society in a bottle, how do we figure out which information is true, L.J. Ganser, “Fyunch(click)”, space empire, the Horse-Head Nebula, the depth of the alien alienness, who has free will in The Mote In God’s Eye?, “there was little of free will in an engineer”, “humans have free will – we know that”, Ron Paul has gone Crazy Eddie, Outies, The Gripping Hand, Renner is an independent minded contrarian, the CoDominium Series, “an American eagle holding the hammer and sickle”, MacArthur and Lenin, brownies, espionage, Sally never questioned her Fyunch(click), the characters are peripheral to the novel’s power, Niven and Pournelle arguing with each other, perfunctory romance, The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Treehouse of Horror VII, god games, Populous, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Master Of Orion, Science Fiction is not really about the future it’s about the present (except for Niven/Pournelle books), Protector by Larry Niven (in which humans are infantilized aliens), “only bad girls take birth control”, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God’s Eye is a yellow peril story!, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, gunboat diplomacy, “China has fake Apple stores”, the exotic East, “I asked myself … would that be so bad?”, “they’re not evil, they’re just our enemies”, Declare by Tim Powers, Soviet goals, “every place should be communist”, Russia vs. The USA, an unsustainable quarantine, this book is really about “the pill”, overpopulation, Malthus, Moties are people too (at least most of them are), a non-ideological clash of species, what “sentient” means, Eric S. Rabkin, do they have souls?, is it “scientifically proven” that an untrained kitten can never hunt?, “I don’t eat monkeys”, “nuclear war is the continuation of evolution by other means”, the long pig, is there an unused Chekov’s Gun in this book?, ozone smells good, imitations and perma-smiles, anti-yellow peril blinders, John W. Campbell, “give me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man”, “if only the humans wee more human.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFBRP #138: Review of The Sword Of The Lictor by Gene Wolfe

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast Luke Burrage is doing something very cute with his latest podcast, it’s a review of The Sword Of The Lictor (Book 3 in the “Book of the New Sun” series). Did he mention he’d had sex with his girlfriend last night? … Yes, he did. … Then I thought, “Hey?! What happened to the standard Luke intro?” And, “What’s with all the mentioning of his having had sex with his girlfriend last night?”

Is Luke being random?

Or is this something a little deeper?

I began laughing about half-way through when I think I twigged to what he was pointing at. Luke’s having some metafun.

Indeed:

I don’t want to spoil it too much, but I thought it was delightful. He drops some random things in there, playing with our expectations – all without spoiling it too much. He’s telling his own story, the review is flawed in some ways, but you actually start seeing a bit of his genius in a way. I thought I knew where the review was going but by the end of the podcast I must admit that he is way cleverer than I am. It’s a classic (review). Don’t blame me if you don’t stick with it.

That all said, do not make this your first SFBRP podcast – start elsewhere.

Have a listen |MP3|

Podcast feed: http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #124 – READALONG: Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #124 – a discussion of the Audible Frontiers audiobook Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein with Scott, Jesse, and Tamahome.

Talked about on today’s show:
“We believe that an armed society is a polite society”, under the pen name Anson MacDonald, his 2nd novel, For Us The Living was first, “no nudity or free love”, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, “a string of ideas broken up by action”, like two novellas put together, a novel about genetics and dueling, list of characters and terms, reversed names like Korea, “he’s a special guy”, moderators, germplasm, “sperm wars”, engineering away violence, Gattaca, Brave New World, “great egg!”, naturals, experimentals, written in the time of Hitler, kids are like Dune, Felix wonders what’s the point, reincarnation?, “says crazy ideas like they’re common sense”, synthesist, Scott has some quotes ready, Felix doesn’t want kids, “Felix just needs a good woman”, rambunctious scene with Felix and Phyllis, “I’m gonna kiss ya!”, Galactic Suburbia would not like this book, Heinlein’s characters, frozen football player, “everyone’s going to be a telepath”, John W. Campbell, “they don’t talk about telepathy anymore”, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein and fertility, Heinlein FAQ, the economic system — Social Credit, Beyond This Horizon on Wikipedia, spread the wealth, “What is money?”, it all goes to 0’s and 1’s, waterbed conception, The John W. Campbell Letters, bringing up super-writers, we never change, Campbell hated Dune Messiah, Felix is a “starline”, no Heinlein sequels??, “needs more telepathy”, best Heinlein novel?, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Double Star is like Moon Over Parador with Richard Dreyfuss, Starship Troopers has an action-packed start, Heinlein’s short stories like By His Bootstraps with Dreyfuss dramatized on 2000X, Red Planet with pet ball that’s an alien (now I get the Willis joke), Have Spacesuit Will Travel starts well, Heinlein as a dad, Fullcast Audio did a lot of these, Tunnel In The Sky just arrived and is like The Hunger Games, it’s a sci-fi Lord Of The Flies, Full Cast Audio is trying to be family friendly, nudity, worst Heinlein plot?, will the future remember football?, the sport “bligablong”, let’s read the opening, “the halt?”, serialized like The Space Merchants, “it’s all of those things and much more!”, it’s quotable, is the U.S. more polite?, England, duels are stressful, old reviews, 1900-1950 era, 1984, Brave New World, Heinlein starts the SF novel and hardback trend, Hugo Gernsback, Scott loved Foundation, Nazis on the moon, Rocket Ship Galileo, generation ship in Universe (nice old cover), “sucker for space.”

Beyond This Horizon - cover illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

SIGNET - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

New English Library - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Signet Science Fiction - T4211 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #113

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #113 – Jesse and Eric S. Rabkin talk about Stupidity and Intelligence in Science Fiction (and Fantasy).

Talked about on today’s show:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse, Fantasia, Christopher Marlowe‘s The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Brothers Grimm Clever Hans (the fairy tale), Clever Hans (the horse), War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Excerpt from (Book Two – Up the Ladder of Civilisation), trephination, “there are some things man was not meant to know”, evil science and evil scientists, R.U.R., Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is an egotist whereas the creature wants community, Chapter 11 of Frankenstein, intellect vs. empathy, “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought.”, the ideology of intelligence is suspect, Gulliver’s Travels, Laputa, philosophers, The Clouds by Aristophanes, “head in the clouds”, BBC Radio dramatization of Lysistrata, The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, “the big bang”, telepathy, Gregg Margarite, “Genius in not a biological phenomenon.”, “stupid people can have smart babies and smart people can have stupid babies”, eugenics, sterilization programs, “we know so little about what we mean by intelligence”, “we breed against the outliers”, “If I see further than others it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”, Sir Isaac Newton, Newton vs. Leibniz, Darwin vs. Wallace vs. Darwin’s grandfather, Robert A. Heinlein, “steam engine time”, Columbus and the egg, humans (persons) can compound our intelligence, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charly, “we shouldn’t define humanity by our intelligence”, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, flowers from Weena, “fundamental humanity has to do with emotion and not intelligence”, He, She and It by Marge Piercy, programming a robot with stories, Yod is a robot-like golem, “it was immoral to create a conscious weapon”, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Eric is the world’s least reliable critic of The Doomsday Book, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, philosophy of science, the meaning of weapon, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, tool vs. weapon, “we have one mad scientist after another”, Gojira!, Ozymandias, Watchmen, Understand by Ted Chiang, “talking to babies”, “if everyone in the world around you is an idiot…what kind of relationship can you have with the world”, His Masters Voice by Stanisław Lem, Hogarth is an incredibly intelligence person, Edgar Allan Poe, Audible Frontier’s Solaris: The Definite Edition, The Futurological Congress, Isaac Asimov, Eric puts on his professorial hat, nous, the etymology of the word “intelligence”, Asimov reads between the lines for you, the etymology of the word “stupid”, what’s with the word “sentient” in Science Fiction?, Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, ansible, “sentience is the bag that we put all our coding for equally human”, was Larry Niven the prime promulgator of the SF version of “sentience”?, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, “words are a map on the world”, The Time Machine, evolution and the clash of the classes, Wells respects the intelligence of his readers, Morlocks vs. Eloi, the King James version of the Bible, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani“, Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories, “whizz bang sensofwunda”, The New Accelerator by H.G. Wells, “the warp drive is not important”, “the ansible is not important”, “we are all time travelers”, “in Wells’ greatest works he leaves some part of the story open”, “but whether this was a reprieve for us or them only time will tell”, Experiment In Autobiography by H.G. Wells, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain”, Friedrich Schiller, reporters became cynical now they just go see what’s happening on Facebook, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth is public domain, much of Kornbluth is PD because he died so young, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy, stupid people have lots of (stupid) babies (?), what’s wrong with The Marching Morons?, PLENTY!, “The Marching Chinese”, Thomas Robert Malthus, eugenics and dysgenics, what ties do genetics and intelligence have?, a very high fraction of American presidents have been left handed, immigrant groups produce terrific comedians, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, storing up ideas for my “word hoard”.

The Marching Chinese

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

New Releases

Audible FrontiersSteve Feldberg, a past guest on the SFFaudio Podcast (#40), writes in to tell us about a new Audible Frontiers audiobook:

Hi Jesse –

I wanted to draw your attention to our all-new, unabridged recording of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. Not only is this the first time in audio for this classic – and not only is it narrated wonderfully by Alessandro Juliani of Battlestar Galactica – and not only is 2011 the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication – but this is a brand-new translation – and the first time the book has been translated directly from Polish to English. (The existing book is a translation from Polish to French and then to English; Lem always disavowed it as being incomplete.) Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, commissioned this new translation by Bill Johnston of the Univ. of Indiana.

This is an audio exclusive; there are no current plans to publish this translation in any other form.

We’re really excited about this project. I hope you’ll give it a listen!

Thanks Steve!

And yeah, Solaris looks like it will make a really terrific listen. Early reviews are positively glowing. Check out including this compelling quote from Jason (in Kansas City, MO):

“Wow! Wow! and Wow! Brainy stuff for thinking people.”

AUDIBLE FRONTIERS - Solaris by Stanislaw LemSolaris: The Definitive Edition
By Stanisław Lem; Translated by Bill Johnston; Read by by Alessandro Juliani
Audible Download – Approx. 7 Hours 48 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: June 7, 2011
At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available – just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation – complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation. In Solaris, Kris Kelvin arrives on an orbiting research station to study the remarkable ocean that covers the planet’s surface. But his fellow scientists appear to be losing their grip on reality, plagued by physical manifestations of their repressed memories. When Kelvin’s long-dead wife suddenly reappears, he is forced to confront the pain of his past – while living a future that never was. Can Kelvin unlock the mystery of Solaris? Does he even want to?

Posted by Jesse Willis