The Bat Segundo Show, episode #432, has the host, Edward Champion, “basking in a pleasant tsunami of erudition” when he talks to Stephen Fry.
Among the many subjects discussed in this delightfully wide ranging conversation are Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, how to write essays for exams, the Oxford manner, the ethics of the French Resistance, absolutism, and Brave New World.
William H. Patterson, Jr., author of Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century a new biography of Robert A. Heinlein, is the speaker in this Cato Institute video from 2010. Here’s the official description:
Robert A. Heinlein is regarded by many as the greatest science fiction writer of the 20th century. He is the author of more than 30 novels, including Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and the libertarian classic The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. According to biographer William H. Patterson Jr., Heinlein’s writings “galvanized not one, but four social movements of his century: science fiction and its stepchild, the policy think tank; the counterculture; the libertarian movement; and the commercial space movement.” This authorized biography, reviewed enthusiastically by Michael Dirda in the Washington Post, is the first of two volumes, covering Heinlein’s early ambition to become an admiral, his left-wing politics, and his first novels. Heinlein later became strongly libertarian.
The speech itself is short, and isn’t particularity exciting, but Patterson gives some very detailed and interesting answers to audience questions. Some are about the connections between Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, the philosophy of Heinlein, socialism in the U.S.A., and Heinlein’s mysticism.
But one question asked, about how to rebuff arguments that Heinlein’s ‘Starship Troopers is fascist’, has Patterson point to the compulsory military service in Switzerland. He equates it with being a part of Swiss citizenship. However, military service is only compulsory for Swiss men. In South Korea, where the threat of war is much more pressing, compulsory military service works the same way – only men are compelled. In fact compulsory military service works, and has worked, that way just about everywhere – including in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. A much better example of equating military service with citizenship would be Israel, where compulsory military service includes both men and women – and there aren’t very many exemptions. Problem is, this isn’t what the book, or the movie, has. Heinlein has voting rights for veterans – soldiers can’t vote and anybody who doesn’t join the military can’t vote. That’s not fascism. I don’t know what it’s called but it is not fascism.
The SFFaudio Podcast #098 – Scott and Jesse talk with Luke Burrage about the new audiobook releases. And we also play Philip K. Dick’s “Preserving Machine” game in which you pick a piece of music and transform it into an animal.
By Ayn Rand Source:Thought Audio Length: 2 hr, 12 min Reader: Michael Scott
The book:Set in the future following a catastrophic war, the society portrayed in Anthem is collectivism taken to the extreme. Individuality has been nearly wiped out. The first person singular is outlawed and forgotten, replacing “I” with “we”. People do not not have names, but designations containing a societal quality combined with a number. Equality 7-2521 is a man who feels the pull of individualism and is punished for it. When in the course of his duties, he discovers an old tunnel from before the wars, he gains a chance to break free.
Rand’s portray of this society has much in common with works produced during the rise of communism, such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World. Unlike these other examples of the sub-genre, I found Rand’s dystopia lacking in realism and therefore less compelling. Anthem‘s society is a city all on its own without any sense of a larger world other than an ill-defined wilderness. Surely other pockets of humanity would have survived even the most horrific war and become a rival society to out-compete the anti-technology society portrayed here.
The other main problem that I have with the book is that the danger it forecasts in collectivism is no longer the pressing spectre it was to Rand, who had lived in Stalinist Russia. In the present, we are more in danger of the opposite, a world of complete individuals with no sense of brotherhood or the collective good. Just as science in Anthem is impossible because no one can become any greater than others, science in a world where every technique or discovery is patented and jealously guarded is equally impossible. Likewise art is equally difficult when the artist or writer is not allowed to be different as when anything mildly derivative runs the danger of a copyright lawsuit. For this reason, I see Anthem not as a story for our time, but as a historical document of the fear that collective society once held.
The Reader: Scott has a deep, announcer-sounding voice that is very pleasant for listening. This stentorian voice, however, is one of the drawbacks as well. Scott speaks with such confidence and power that it is sometimes discordant with the position of the protagonist, who has been trained to see himself as just like everyone else. The steady patterns of his cadence and the radio-quality voice are great assets to make the words very understandable, so only true purists need worry about the incongruity of the voice. Some edits are audible through digital artifacts, but otherwise the audio is professionally produced with very little background noise.
Note: Thought Audio’s books have sometimes been free and other times behind a pay wall. If you would like this book, but find you cannot download it, try the always-free LibriVox version.
This sounds just up our alley! it’s described as “Gritty noir fiction, mind-bending fantasy, and medical thriller combine in a new novel by an author dubbed the ‘cyberpunk Dashiell Hammett.'” Noir and Fantasy! Yum yum!
By Jack O’Connell; Read by Holter Graham
9 CDs -11½ Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Published: April 2008
[LISTEN TO AN MP3 SAMPLE] Sweeney is a druggist by trade; Danny, his son, is in a persistent coma, the victim of an accident. Hoping for a miracle, they have come to the Peck Clinic, a fortress-like haven in a post-industrial city overrun by gangs. Doctors there claim to have resurrected two patients who were similarly lost in the void. Gradually, Sweeney realizes that the cure for his son’s condition may lie in “Limbo,” a fantasy comic-book world into which Danny had been drawn at the time of his accident. Plunged into the intrigue that surrounds the clinic, Sweeney searches for answers and instead finds sinister back alleys, brutal dead ends, and terrifying rabbit holes of mystery.
Narrator Wayne June assures us that he’s done his research on this new series of definitive Edgar Allan Poe readings…
Into That Darkness Peering: Nightmarish Tales Of The Macabre – Vol. 1
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Wayne June
1 CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Published: March 2008
ISBN: 0977845303 Three tales from the original master of horror fiction, Edgar Allan Poe! Included in this collection are “The Raven”, “The Black Cat” and “The Cask Of Amontillado.”
Tee Morris returns to his, and the world’s first podiobook, restoring lost scenes, adding more production and voices from other favorite podcasters. Read our review of the original version HERE, then set sail with Rafe and Askana again…
Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana (Remastered)
By Tee Morris and Lisa Lee; Read by Tee Morris and others
Podiobook (a podcast novel) – [UNABRIDGED?]
Published: 2008 Morevi, a landlocked kingdom shrouded by jungles and mystery, falls under the rule of Askana Moldarin. In the dawn of this New Age, hidden traitors in her own regime threaten to destroy everything. The First Queen, independent of council, seeks help to reveal the conspiracy against her… Enter Rafe Rafton, captain of the Defiant.
Soon to be a major motion picture, already an audiobook!
The Chronicles Of Narnia: Book 2 – Prince Caspian (Movie Tie-In)
By C. S. Lewis; Read by Lynn Redgrave
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Childrens Audio
Published: April 2008
ISBN: 0061435279 Narnia is in trouble! All the magical creatures and Talking Animals have been forced into hiding by an evil king. Fortunately, young Prince Caspian escapes in time to lead the Old Narnians in the fight for their freedom. But when the battle goes badly, Caspian blows an enchanted horn. Suddenly Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are pulled back into Narnia from England, where they had returned after defeating the evil White Witch. In a race against time and with the aid of the Great Lion, Aslan, they join Caspian and his army in a battle to restore peace throughout Narnia.
At over 1,000 pages in length this is the longest work of speculative fiction published between two covers (Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard was published in separate volumes) – it becomes now one of the longest audiobooks ever made at a backbreaking 38 CDs!
By Ayn Rand; Read by Kate Reading
38 CDs – Approx. 40 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Books On Tape
Published: March 2008
ISBN: 1415949247 First published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy…to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction…to the philosopher who becomes a pirate…to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad…to the lowest track worker in her train tunnels. Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller.
First published in 1938, Anthem by philosopher/SF author Ayn Rand is one of the world’s most famous novellas! Anthem depicts a dystopian world that will be familiar to those who’ve read George Orwell’s similiarly-themed 1984 (published a full decade later). Both tales are set far in a future in which “equality” is strictly enforced, and individual thought are banned. In the society of Anthem, even individual names are banned with the protagonist known only as “Equality 7-2521.” His story is written as though it was his forbidden diary. You’ll find the full, fascinating, novella available through LibriVox.org…
And here are Virgil Finlay’s illustrations from the June 1953 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries:
Anthem By Ayn Rand; Read by Chere Theriot 1 Zipped Folder of MP3 Files – 2 Hours 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED] Publisher: LibriVox Completed: May 2nd 2007 “A dystopic SF story taking place at some unspecified future date. Mankind has entered another dark age as a result of what Rand saw as the weaknesses of socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur, if at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word “I” has disappeared from the language). As is common in her work, Rand draws a clear distinction between the “socialist/communal” values of equality and brotherhood and the “productive/capitalist” values of achievement and individuality. The story also parallels Stalinist Russia, which was currently going on at the time as the story was published.”