The SFFaudio Podcast #639 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: James P. Crow by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #639 – James P. Crow by Philip K. Dick – read by Mike Vendetti. This is a complete and unabridged reading of novelette (43 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe,

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, May 1954, little Donnie’s last name, Parks, Jim Crow, civil rights for an oppressed minority, institutional speciesism, taking this allegory too directly, more like China, selfish motivations, say her name [Rosa Parks] didn’t become a public figure until 1955, playing with the name, segregation, structural inequality, intellectual divergences between the robots and the humans, how we define success, W.E.B. Du Bois, cheating on a rigged test, its an SAT, if you make the test its a test that you can pass, a meritocracy test, a robot test, all the robots don’t get perfect answers, A – Z robots, D and beyond, D and above, a robot being mean to a human, it was true he was a human child, a human being in a robot’s world, you smell, The Matrix (1999), Star Trek: Enterprise, human stink, being more intellectually advanced, more logical, they can’t handle smell, the origin of that trope, associated with barbarians, they stink, the opposite test, the Voight Kampf Blade Runner test, the same author, anti-racist, he’s trying to do a story about racism, but class is also tied up so strongly with it, Indian Science Fiction, caste and class, disentangling, what’s he gonna do?, so preposterous things, a true anti-racist story, a problematic story, the cooking test, separate but equal, James P. Crow’s solution is segregation, the time window that we have, the program of integration, Colin Powell, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, successfully run the empire, become part of the ruling class, upset the apple cart, a shame covering maneuver, the truth’s going to come out at some point, Earth is a reservation, humans can’t leave, Time Out Of Joint, one happy world, a sequel to Second Variety?, robots built during the war, the Leadies, the vidsender, the time viewer, the time scoop, Paycheck, the Future History, just selling stories, using the tools of his imagination over and over again, what the title meant, Jesse’s not American, why his middle initial is P., Jim Crow is a weird etymology, the mid-19th century blackface character, James P. Johnson, a ragtime jazz musician, some hidden meaning, some hilarious joke, at the end of the story, Johnson died in 1955, classical music, a typical Philip K. Dick ending: I wonder what’s going to happen?, the congress, a strange granite cast to his face, Mount Rushmore, a peculiar harness, L87T, who’ll be the government?, The Turning Wheel, liberated humans from overseers, the master race, he’s a cheater, black doctors and famous scholars, a revered place within black communities, famous baseball player, they just can’t be held back, evidence for them, spending time with Donny Parks and his family, spending time with James P. Crow, stories where robots were black, as a metaphor, all the robots are white and all the humans are black, looking at it as an analogy for the United States in the 1950s, an incredibly powerful position, his smile seems menacing, the Humans Are Equal Party, he lecture the robot that they’re not equal, a very subversive thing, very human, the robots are more human than human, seeing history as it was, always working, he is the power, a bit of a dick, a worse robot like character, the husband from Human Is, inhabited by a PahWraith (Deep Space Nine), I’m a sweaty hairy big apey guy and this cute little elfin lady likes me, playing into that fantasy, he’s building, humans are good at entertaining, playing into black stereotypes, good at domestics, body servants [to robots], civil service exams, poll taxing, literacy tests, Protestant tests given to Italians, who grades the test, peasants studying, the Indian civil service exam, Rebecca Rebecca [R] F. Kuang the previously called Campbell Award, the Astounding Award, alternate history, the words boycott and gerrymander, these liberal universities SAT requirements, vocabulary words, when you Marshall your arguments, helping the Chinese elites become the American elites, a landowner who wouldn’t lower the rent, they shunned Boycott, voter suppression, power elites trying to keep in power, a Massachusetts mayor, a vice president with no primary votes, special circumstances, there’s always special circumstances, literally nuked, I could live in the mountains, surviving the initial blast, so good at getting in kid’s heads, Tony And The Beetles, its actually Bajor and he’s a Cardassian, they put us in these situations, the people in power, it feels like Philip K. Dick is smarter than he is, his dad, Edgar, those robots were contributing to society, so much in the fifties, some kind of dystopia breaking up, Vulcan’s Hammer, Solar Lottery, Now Wait For Last Year, Our Friends From Frolix 8, the future is unwritten, a weakness or a wisdom, a dark vision, The Crystal Crypt, send them all back to Africa (Liberia), some people bought into this, controlled by people in power, James P. Crow is the segregationist, his solution is Apartheid, Lesotho, such an American story, a 1955 letter, a Zora Neale Hurston letter to the Orlando Sentinel, the Indian position, a minority opinion, the argument Biden made at the time, a bunch of different reactions, on the side of good [except for being rabidly anti-communist], Booker T. Washington, growth from within, we don’t need white people, how Koreans and Chinese deal with inherent racism in the United States, quotas to keep them out, they just study harder, a cultural acceptance, that’s not our way, why do we want to be part of a system like that, we have our own thing going, Nick And The Glimmung, 1944, The Slave Race by Philip K. Dick, Berkeley Daily Gazette, May 8, 1944, culture and science was among them, worlds undreamed of, war followed in our steps, ambivalence, the robot on top, he can maintain his power, an autocrat, he gave the technology to the oppressor, talking about Lovecraft and the theme of deliberate forgetting, retelling the same story from a different angle, The Alchemist, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, trying to suppress knowledge, real historical figures, The Tree, he’s hidden in it a suppressed story, trying to prevent knowledge, always tilling up the earth, At The Mountains Of Madness, forbidden knowledge, civil unrest in the US under Jim Crow, not supportive of integration, not supportive of a rosy future together, fascinating stuff, very subtle, naive going in, we aren’t told, we just see that smile and that power disparity, the servant to him, watching humans construct the first A type, where black people came from, a horrible Lovecraft letter [actually a poem], suppressing the feelings of being an immoral monster, there are differences between people between cultures, passing these tests, should everyone be equal or should everyone be treated equally?, remunerative careers, Grace Park, the only way our family can move up at all, basic survival, being second class, parallel evil lies: “separate but equal” and “work will set you free”, Planet Of The Apes, a Dreamworks option, a technological Planet Of The Apes, what’s so awesome about this, being displaced from this, creating other human beings is something you do in your bedroom or on the beach when on vacation, barnyard animals, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, air pressure differentials, the breeding of human beings could be an invention, what’s natural and what’s unnatural, change your perspective, Roombas cleaning your carpets, dishwashers washing your dishes, everything’s natural (in a certain sense), if you are taken out of your community, are we inferior, dad?, human is a slur, growing up on a planet full of robots, the kids who wants to be Data (on Star Trek: The Next Generation), loose your cultural legacy, why would construct themselves, newly formed, where does the original king come from, patriarchy is from God, every hierarchy constructed themselves, it’s impossible to conceive of a city without police now, your iPhone 6 vs. your iPhone 7+, Reason by Isaac Asimov, apples and eggs, Asimov is more right about robots, Dick is more right about power, apes engaged in archaeology, our people would have discovered this, what is the robot origin myth, the premise of this story and the themes, not a fun read, oh that’s really interesting, had he expanded it, more time with the robots and the family and less time with James P. Crow himself, the core of this story, L87T, your really inspire us, his right gripper, the equality sign, it lingered at the door, he’s turning into Malcolm X, I don’t want to be part of your liberal elite, look at your list scores, a human isn’t the equal of a robot anymore than he’s the equal of a stove, sing act, write plays, make love, scratch sonnets on menus, soft music mixed with wine, both realms are fine, separate spheres, domestic spheres, raise wonderful men, women have an essential role, a non-sinister ending, society, that’s the robot’s question, its not up to you, you don’t need to concern yourself with us here in Liberia, a powerful story, not what you expected, electric jeep, that other twist, a cop-out, kind of wise, everything worked out in the end, an ambiguous ending is preferred, all of the action in the story is superfluous to what happened, he got this power point ready, here’s my ultimatum, no wonder it doesn’t satisfy, a nice glimpse into a very weird and semi-plausible world that’s also a metaphor for our own world, Grace and Ed, too early, untrustworthy, that’s Philip K. Dick sitting at his desk, get that rent paid, an interstellar connection, a city mention?, Ed swallowed nervously, only 300 years, before that the government was reactionary, nowadays we have a liberal government, no human has ever passed a list, brutal, similarities to Frolix 8, a couple versions of post-humans, the psis, the mentat types, the facade of, Tony And The Beetles, The Hanging Stranger, Martians Come In Clouds, amoeba things just passing through, psychic blobs, we just want to relocate because Mars is doomed, black people come to the neighbourhood, a better allegory for civil rights, Philip K. Dick review is Evan, the Philip K. Dick fans page, The White Whale, a favourite book, post-colonial, sickmyduck.narod.ru, Prize Ship, let’s book that, end of January [2021], wow the future, actors aging in place, Terry Farrell, an alien planet that looks suspiciously like southern California, bottle episodes, Paul’s first Star Trek convention, why aren’t you talking about that fight scene you did with your shirt off, a very bad hot take that’s very cold now, why you don’t need the actors to talk, Rene Auberjonois directs some episode, Ferengi talking about Ferenganar problems, a layer of universe, really rich, more drama based, Klingon mother in law doesn’t like it, the naked Betazed marriage ceremony, Marissa needs to get into Deep Space Nine, lots and lots of notes, Evan’s podcast, Sinclair Lewis who dat?, Henry James, technically an American writer, a traitor, the English don’t get him, isn’t Lovecraft a traitor, a British subject, hilarious hair-splitting, Doyle’s , Lord Dunsany’s fine because he’s from island, James Herriot, don’t try to undermine my prejudice, H.G. Wells, the Queen has a place in Scotland, he’s the Prince of Wales not the Prince of England, not just the yoga scenes, its shipping not sexing, sexual politics but no actual sex, alien babies, sex rituals of the planet Risa, rough patches, so many good Science Fiction ideas, counting coup, all the women are huge and all the men are tiny, Federation castaways, it was all about the 80s feminism, stop at the cookie store on the way home, big hair, shoulder pads, 1987, mid-80s, you can hear the set creak, still puppets, Worf is super conservative, most klingons are larping it, Worf intellectualizes it, he’s like Lovecraft trying to be an English lord, General Martok is way chill, I don’t get to have sex with her very often, if you don’t have Quark and Garak and Nog and Rom in your life, the first season of Babylon 5 is rougher, Alfred Bester is a psi-cop, The Demolished Man.

James P. Crow by Philip K Dick - illustration by EMSH

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The SFFaudio Podcast #638 – READALONG: Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #638 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons and Trish E. Matson talk about Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre

Talked about on today’s show:
1978, kicking around for years and years, The Entropy Effect, the first Star Trek novel, Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand, a report with science fiction fandom, Will’s choice, The Moon And The Sun, Louis XIV, Jesuit scientist, sea-monsters, consciousness about the world, politics, first contact, a little person, a magnum opus, 1998, a capstone, the Hugo for best novel, Nebula and Locus awards, Heinlein dedicated Friday to Vonda McIntyre, polyamory, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marge Piercy, Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, a tender and compassionate adventure story, swashbuckling, saddle buckling, acrobat skill, diplomat skill, real life swashbuckling, the personal rather than the institutional, dedicating a book to other people, my agent and my wife, turning institutional into personal, this is not a Heinlein book, why Heinlein thought something about it, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, the first in a trilogy, there’s a lot in this book, three different stories, little vistas, technologies used on this world, biology as a technology, very Dune, birth control, just slide it in, weaving world-building elements, the door dilated, second wave feminism, bears rereading, destroying so we can rebuild, an Earth empire planet, comparative text looking, the names of the snakes, October 1973, 1978, the ending, tons of changes, a lot dropped, stuff added, the last sentence, healers heal quickly, February and March would have come out in late 77 and the start of 78, a polish, a lot of plot threads that don’t go anywhere, we think she’s going to the city and then go to the stars, an Ursula K. Le Guin novel: City Of Illusions, The City And The Stars, rocket jockey finds love in space, subverted expectations, amazingly clever for a first novel, female protagonists in leadership positions, being in control of your own biology, what is he talking…, literally 100 years out of date, very Dune like, sex-education, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, biofeedback, evolving and changing and growing, outside of the center city, fighting for power, Jesse’s death, not dated at all, more social SF than hard SF, snake medicine good for somethings not so good for other things, making slaves, lies as a form of control, a 1973 person, in a religion that is telling you what to not do and what to do, people who are reading books, if you’re in the science fiction readership, an inoculation against the future, abstinence through yoga, will that change society? 100%, so immune to disease, breeding her horse, its a mule, where the novel doesn’t work as well, unfulfilled notes, what that material is made of, relationship material, a fix-up, a new view into the that world and a new problem to solve, The Lone Ranger, Kung Fu, a western, The Mandalorian, not with a flamethrower, education and information, Paul’s D&D tweet, the setting of a D&D game, she’s a druid, that time she bit someone, the crazy, the crazies, what we’re supposed to think about, Jesse is honour bound not to talk about the book (lest Jesse be a hypocrite), psychedelic, a drug book, heroin users, a medical problem, a dreamsnake breeder, a drug dealer, scenes with this character, the third part with the dome, alien plants, did the otherworlders come and leave the snakes?, left for us to excavate, going to visit her teachers, she’s lost her journal, its going to go well, how the dreamsnakes reproduce, to drop it there, why these things exist in the story, her real name, she’s snake, bestowed upon you, like the title doctor, call me nurse, the Doctor, Doctor Who, The Master, two kinds of degrees, the Bachelor, the Rani, other time lords, a special figure, living up to that title, a badge of honour, the War Doctor, training be damned, on a sentence by sentence level her prose is quite poetic, why isn’t this a classic?, she’s doing a recipe for school, for a Clarion West class, very powerful, setting things up, laying things down, this future, that not paying off is where it has gone wrong, the Kung Fu aspect, with her actions, she does a lot of telling along with the showing, every gun doesn’t have to be a chekov’s gun, a sandbox vs. a railroad, all the more rich, why you shouldn’t turn your D&D campaign into a novel, Jesse’s birthday present to Will:

The Birthday Present by Jesse

Once upon a time there was a gentle black bear who always wore the disguise of a human when going shopping.
He was a sly bear, so instead of just wearing a mask made of a human face, he also had gloves made from the skin of human hands.
Because it was his mother’s birthday he was determined to buy her a nice gift, in this case a bone china teapot.
As he approached the city gate the bear in human guise was asked by the city guard if he was “just a bear wearing a human face and human hands as gloves.”
Instead of denying it, the bear smote his challenger, his powerful claws making short work of the sentry.
In the third gift store he went into the disguised bear found a delightful bone china teapot with pink flowers and intertwining green ivy decorating its sides and lid and the bear knew it would make his mother sow happy.
Asking if the proprietor took human corpses as currency, the bear proffered the guard’s corpse, and after a moment’s calculation of the taxes, the shop owner consented, knowing there was plenty of bone in the corpse for the making of new teapots, and skin for the making of masks and gloves.

The End

making the story better, symmetrical, solving all of a story’s problems, a mini-Clarion, two stories set in the same city, adding the depth of richness, whatever you lay down pays off, out of the tunnels in Fallout 3, each individual stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, novels are a marketing campaign to move paper, novelettes are better, the whole market for audible.com, longer books not better books, pushing novels over short stories, 50s and 60s and 70s, trilogies, I need these stories to be individual rather than be collective, healers heal quickly, don’t think of it as a novel, Alan Kaster’s INFINIVOX audiobooks, fiction podcasts, Escape Pod, Podcastle, Uncanny Magazine, Clarkesworld, new fiction, another Heinlein, more about snakes, the dream part, hearing about it over these decades, something Scott said, second wave feminism, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, totally changed the fabric of society, what makes this book good, Trekonomics, what makes Star Trek good, its the ideology, a beautiful child with deep sexual shame, what makes this book good, how people could relate to each other, whether science fiction should be didactic, stigma, how you can relate to other people, the post-apocalyptic setting, step-out side the system, what science fiction can do, fear, a powerful story, deep truth, escape from pain, forget myself, fantastic things, this is what made it really good, the ideology, all of the baggage of society we live in, Gödel, Escher, Bach, imagining differently being, life outside of capitalism, the divine right of kings, different ways of living, examine our assumptions, you cannot protect someone completely without enslaving them, puts it into action, giving advice, Hippocratic oaths, ethics, a great negotiator, a great character, as a TV show, Raised By Wolves, character based, what makes Deep Space Nine such a great show, a darker prophetic aspect, outside of time, all the more powerful on screen, the way other people react to her, the new shirt, her feelings about the shirt, a very talented writer, Superluminal, disparate elements, reacting to assumptions being challenged, legalistic, a fun read, started from a short story, right after Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the very serious Mr. Spock, this is just her western, the genre she’s writing in, responding to the stranger, Conan stories, the effect is rather different with the Conan stories, a female inversion of the Conan stories, a wizard who has a pet monkey, Rogues In The House, scalpeling and herbs and a couple of snakes and the sticking around, the handsomest youth in town, thrown a lady over his shoulder and running off into another adventure, Melissa continues on, part of her being a woman, making a family vs. fleeing a family, just not marketable, center city, communication with the outside universe, an oppressive thing, the center as a first world nation, the strange weirdo people, whatever skills they brought, the one thing you don’t really feel, The Wizard Of Oz, poppies and heroin, ultimately it would be a lie, underwhelming, so locked up, not because you’re powerful but because you’re weak, when people are in bounty the instinct is to share it, Jesse hates feel good stories, fruit trees, a four fruit tree, what it is to go down and pick berries, a tree shoving apples in your face, you fucked it up, the food bank, the food bank is a new thing, the element of the church, the corporate thing, that’s a different show, how the health care system is terrible, wandering doctors, why don’t you move into town, healers retire to communities, she’s got the arthritis, word of mouth, she came to help that child, messengers, caravans, ships in the ocean would call out the news to each other, a pro-vaccine book, Arvin, we change viewpoints, arrested for assault, oh this is plot, action rather than dialogue, more dialogue please, a sidelight on the mayor, to figure out the truth, the slavery stuff, things changing over time, half-life calculations, radioactivity, Babylon 5, “The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars”, A Canticle For Leibowitz, what we assume, maybe they can heal her there, maybe the can’t, they’re liars, he says he’s going to heal us, the mirror of center in this dreamsnake cult, pain-relief, sound like real life, enslaved to a product that’s illegal, the externality, excommunicate them, damaged by whatever community they’re in, Melissa is hiding all sorts of things, the stable manager, the lies are consistent, something to the rumours, not face value, the reasons are forgotten, whatever led to the apocalypse doesn’t matter, we’ve got to learn to cooperate, families of three now instead of two, we need to work together, how the chores are going to be distributed, gathering the firewood, cleaning the horses, Scott may have heard of families, a family isn’t a democracy, an anarchy, age and experience, make demands, too harsh, fleeing the society of the family, fleeing on their own happy, Melissa wants to do all the chores, seeing the value in herself, self-respect, a nice journey, good messaging, the war was long over almost forgotten it had destroyed everyone, those domes, Larry Niven Ringworld material (scrith), The Ringworld Engineers, none of them cooperated, dwindled away, the engines off the Ringworld, it would pay off to read that terrible book, progressively worse, worthwhile?, seemed inexplicable, we like that too, adventuring, subversion, the god gambit, Speaker To Animals, if Will was in the adventure party he’d be Kizinti, he feels contempt for the fucking plant eaters, Bechdel Test, two aliens talking to each other, Garak and Quark, you solids, Odo, actors under, Nessus, comedy gold, Ringworld should be done as a comedy, Louis Wu is the straight man, the three person partnership, Jesse and Meredith and Alice, non-binary, they’re all female, Anna Fields, the cassette flipping information, you buy a license from Audible.com, buy from Blackstone and Downpour you do own it, Ringworld on Earth with a lot less rocket stuff, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre AUDIOBOOK

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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 #497 – READALONG: Dune (Appendices) by Frank Herbert

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #497 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Bryan Alexander, talk about Dune: Appendices by Frank Herbert aka the appendixes of Dune, the adaptations, and the book’s influence.

Talked about on today’s show:
the Appendix, a world first?, The Lord Of The Rings, Tom Bombadil, Tom Baker, most science fiction books don’t have appendices, Ringworld, Hal Clement’s Mission Of Gravity, The Ecology Of Dune, The Silmarillion, more fiction, out-takes from world-building, Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, glossary, what makes an appendix an appendix, non-fictional matter that explains and develops a world, really wants to be Dune, Christo Empire Silence , an empire must be get-able to, Aba – loose robe worn by Fremen women, usually black, another episode, Kynes came first, his babies, doing all that work, so fully thought through, the seams are as smooth as the desert sand, a skeptical point of view, past the point where you need it, the American edition of A Clockwork Orange, a glossary of the slang, a weird supplement, you don’t need the map, Eric Rabkin, transformed language, new or repurposed vocabulary, lasgun, a demystifier, the terminology of the impreium, demi-brother, cone of silence, Get Smart, a superfluousness, a playground of the imagination, peons, he put it into the book but he doesn’t use the word, the real reason, Dune lives beyond the last chapter, there is only one Dune movie, the Sci-Fi channel miniseries are fucking terrible, wasn’t there a book too, heartplugs, there’s no heartplugs in the original Dune book, a life much greater than the final word of the last sentence of the last book of Dune, sequels by other hands, Star Wars, Jesse’s spirited defense of the weirding modules, David Lynch’s Dune doesn’t capture the Paul – Duncan Idaho relationship, whiny Paul, “I just want to see my dad”, “Paul we don’t need your sarcasm”, Paul is the receiver of a long tradition, the Harkonnens, they’re not joking around, William Hurt, casting, ending scenes with a rhyming couplet, the Jodorowsky Dune, Pink Floyd, a fantasy dream, Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary, stories and stories, visual matches, Hollywood loves to pilfer from foreign films, movies that come out in pairs, Deep Impact and Armageddon, psychedelic, using drugs to expand consciousness, a sixties novel, a seventies novel, the ecological part, the rain at the end, the reward for the ritual sacrifice of Sting, the galactic setting, the mythical part, Beatles, El Topo (1970), a psychedelic western, The Holy Mountain (1973), it makes Zardoz looks like an after-school special, Santa Sangre (1989), Lynch was the wrong director, the anti-epic, the greatest science fiction film every made, trying to turn Dune into a movie, the Allan Smithee version, the Japanese laser-disc version, we gotta lot of characters, we gotta infodumping, all the things that happen, more than enough for a season of a television show, Francessa Annis, Leonardo Cimino, the Baron’s Doctor, your diseases made love to me, Brad Dourif, he treats everyone like an idiot, Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, and his co-stars, there’s nothing about eyebrows in the book, the kind of detail Jesse is loving, visualization, The Death Of Stalin (2017), Steve Buscemi, Brezhnev, Richard Jordan, Kyle Maclachlan, a blank slate, Blue Velvet, The Trigger Effect (1996), The Twilight Zone, very present for its time, Virginia Madsen, Silvana Mangano, Everett McGill, Twin Peaks, Jack Nance, Nefud, they’ve even got his music in there, it’s unbelievable, Jürgen Prochnow, Patrick fuckin Stewart, a battle pug!, dogs, Atredies, RPG launchers, Long live Duke Leto!, no pets on Dune, if Queen Elizabeth showed up with her corgis, Lynch added, he worked on the script for six months, so full, it works really well if you know the story, how come everybody isn’t watching this every night, the third stage guild navigators, giant slug people, Sardaukar Terror Troops, visually what is happening, Wellington Yueh, Asian, international casting, red haired, every grunt is ginger, a horrible sex scene, the heartplug is the symbol for that kind of perversion, it is the novel in a very real sense, the cat’s job is to show that Thufir is being controlled, they had to cut stuff, whole scenes added at the beginning of the film, it really almost is the book, its awesome!, so accessible, people who’ve read the book tend to be dismayed by it, the tradition of epic film, Akira Kurosawa, Kubrik’s Spartacus, the Battle of the Five Armies, The Straight Story, a really weird noise, finally a David Lynch moment, Inland Empire (2006), Mullholland Drive (2001), a perfect horror film in three minutes, a very strange scene, the floating fatman, never before never since, every war movie, the sense of pageantry, the sense of scale and heat, desert coloured fatigues, a sense of scale that the book can’t, the production history, Dino De Laurentiis, watching people on stage, the worms are fabulous, a universal film, Star Wars for grown ups, this is not Buck Rogers, completely belly-flopped, way the minority, a punchline, the existential bleakness of the Dune Coloring Book, let’s color the Baron’s Doctor, incredibly abbreviated, 129 theatrical, 176 minutes, how weird it is, whispered though narration, “My Duke. How I’ve failed you!”, literally weird as in weird fiction, hypnotizing, straight out of the book, the banquet scene, My Dinner With Andre, a whole episode, everything about the miniseries is terrible, more Irulan in the TV mini-series, disembodied head, nice and Lynchian, Dune Messiah, more cat-milking, the goddamn weirding modules, all the other versions of Dune, a jazz album from the 1970s, a board game, the real time strategy game, The Dune Encyclopedia, The Dune Companion, this isn’t a concordance, creative stuff, Game Of thrones, where it could have gone beyond, not-ordinary fan fiction, its the Talmud, oh my god!, especially Jesse, expanding out that universe, what’s in this that inspires that?, what would hook him?, that whole weird trip, the world-building that went into the book, historical novels, Steen Hansen, thank you Steen, Steen’s spirit animal is the Baron from the movie, he’s the ID unleashed, such a fucking evil shit that you love, little Alia, Rabban rips the face off a cow, “Yeth my Baron!”, this is not a rip-off of Star Wars, Tatooine, we got some moisture vaporators, some bantha tracks, Carrie Fisher back from the dead flying through space with magic woo powers, the comparison, the centerpieces, Paul Atredies and Luke Skywalker, the National Lampoon, the Dessert World, “my god I’m good, my god…I’m God!”, power fantasies, such a period piece, staying power beyond the 1960s and 1970s, the spaceship earth mode, oil and scarcity, the attitude towards sexuality, the homophobic strain, will that power last?, that’s just the way the world works these days, absent an adaptation…, Altered Carbon, a book compressed and shoved into a film medium, it’s time to talk about the weirding modules, untranslatable to film, much easier to film, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Harry Potter is much more influenced by film than other fantasy novels prior to it, Rowlings books have scenes and sequences, rich and deep themes about psychology, loyalty, love, the weirding way, a specialized athlete, very hard to translate that to film, yoga mats, aligning chakras, montage, “you have the weirding way”, why these people are special, the new army, a second level guild navigator cleaning up urine with a broom, making small-talk, you are transparent, the emperor spills his guts, a filmable film, set the film in motion, a through-line, the training scenes, “kick it, punch it, yell at it”, they have laser swords!, some sort of gimmick item, Krull (1983), how the voice can control people, “My name is a killing”, Usul no longer needs the weirding module, a perfect film, “THE (film) adaptation of DUNE full stop end of story”, watching, listening, Dune Messiah, how we’re going to overthrow Paul, we once made a Kwisatz Haderach but we had to kill him, a prophet, many such prophets, Joseph Smith, Jesus, a lost of thread of Dune, that’s the kind of passion, a flying Dutchman of space, dates mentioned in the book, the history from 1980 to Dune’s future, so generative, Stephenson tells you everything, CHOAM, Noam Chomsky, why Jesse is completely wrong about the weirding modules, Arnold J. Toynbee, history, challenge and response, The Dosadi Experiment, Babylon 5, why the Fremen are such great fighters, the Vorlons are the democrats, the Shadows are the republicans, and the solution is to get out from under both, deliberately creating these conditions, serving wench, God Emperor Of Dune, unless you squeeze and squeeze the human race will be killed off, one Sardaukar throws two Atredies, the training montage, training a unit, “fit him with the weirding module, Doctor Yueh”, activate a fighter, paralleled in the back end, the fighting machine, this could have been a great theme, Denis Villeneuve, visuals, music, favorite actors, Arrival (2016) had scale, Blade Runner: 2049 (2017), if you’re doing the book, look at The Hobbit, they’re doing it wrong, five dwarves too many, where’s the poetry, to film the impossible film, Brian Herbert, Eric Roth, War And Peace, the Soviet 8 hour film, Lynch put such a stamp, when you’re watching the miniseries, sentences, spun and respun, the previous incantations, the power of the word, Soviet movies, formally possible, production, do a TV show, The Man In The High Castle, Sharknado 5, sigh, Sicario (2015), HBO, Westworld, cinematic universes, The Expanse, back into the book and the books, all those cultures and all those secrets, such depth, if you could read the book and enjoy it you could be my friend, in 1983/4, Starlog, the stills, one more adaptation, the Audible multiple narrator edition, George Guidall, a 2010 music video starring Christopher Walken, check out my new weapon, walk without rhythm you won’t attract the worm, the wonderful dance, this crazy book line, the power of these words, still influencing, an ars technica discussion, Second Life, three different Dune re-enactment levels, a still suit, a chrysknife, scheduled reenactments, Prim Perfect, a tottaly VR game, oh my love girl, knife fight with Sting!, prescient visions, the appropriate use the media, infeasible/unfeasable, nobody loves every episode, there’s more interest in Dune podcast episodes, independent of hype, Luke Burrage, Comic Book Girl 19‘s Dune show, holy crap she’s a genius, becoming hyper-intelligent when talking about it, doing something profound to the reader, fake excitement, New Releases/Recent Arrivals, most of it is artificial, Bryan do you want to show on Greenmantle by John Buchan?, the best of a bunch of bad books, revisiting Dune with you, is that the end? it could be the end, but there’s no sequels, that was just the excuse, the trigger for the movie talk, shitting on the Bene Gesserit for being a little dumb, the Religions of Space Travel, published by Chilton, what it did for Chilton, when you break the mold, people want the mold, the publishers tell authors what to write, John W. Campbell, the Golden Age, Extra Credits, the book business, the Golden Age for some people?, the dignity, a new golden age?, stuff was really great back in that time, The First Golden Age of SF 1938-1946, 1947-1959, the rise of the paperback, writing paperbacks, from short stories to novels (and then series), changing the SF genre immensely, a whole new market, Del Rey, The Sword Of Shannara, extruded fantasy product, the grim dark era, a piracy show, never underestimate the power for the demand of a product, Tolkien didn’t want his books published in paperback, the ACE The Lord Of The Rings, an authorized paperback edition, not-piracy per-se, the history of their own industry, demand that isn’t supplied, suppression, getting that supply, the words must flow, paperbacks and pockets, “you could get hardcover books of Tolkien at the library”, in the modern era, a digital copy, Tolkien’s feelings about the wretchedness, Dune rules as a paperback, piracy is just demand, Wayne June is super-popular, beneficial to Wayne June, they are loving giving him money, not knowing what the market’s actually like, fictional author: Alice Beth Chatham, both sides, look to your own experience, piracy is a way of getting stuff when you don’t have any money, really complex, sometimes flattering, a weird argument with the head of the RIAA, steal this episode, pay for this episode, obscurity is the big problem, somebody got mad, an author dropped by the publisher, lost sales, save it for the pirate episode?

Map of Arrakis

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #405 – READALONG: The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #405 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa discuss The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
Speaker to Canadians, off the rails, doing a sequel, 1980 follow up to the 1970 novel, was this a good idea?, seeing the Ringworld one more time, fun, Larry Niven was having a lot of fun with it, retcon (retroactive continuity), Teela’s luck, maybe Paul is completely wrong, bad bad Teela Brown, her boytoy, because reasons, becoming a protector, where the luck problem comes in, the fight between Teela, Chmee and Wu is fabulous, luck is directing all these people, re-re-reinterpretation, happily ever after and sequels don’t play nice, luck as a genetically programmable trait is complete bullshit, that’s what’s going to happen, if you’re going to do a sequel…, waiting for Teela to show up, The Ringworld Throne, Louis becomes a protector, take each book on its own, she’s protecting all of the lucky people who are coming after her, cooler in a couple of ways, why Louis had needed to be a droud addict (a wire-head), he was bored in the first book, he’s an addict in the second, a little flashback to the visit of the gardens of the patriarch, “call me Chmee”, the Kzin patriarch’s version of the Smithsonian, happy all the time and hating his life, he can’t have cheese anymore, no more skinjobs or sleeping plates, caught up by the A.R.M., when Louis quits the droud, the only thing that saves him, a brilliant plotter, making choices, having free will (or not), Teela has to double-think her way, he’s the center of his own Ringworld (as an addict) then it flips, the addiction withdrawal was too easy, gorging on tree-of-life, that’s why sequels are a problem, really good writers use up their characters, that’s what makes The Postman Always Rings Twice so great, there aren’t endless sequels to great books, by the end of Moby Dick only one character is still alive, this whole book is retconning, here’s what’s wrong with the Ringworld!, that’s the game in Hard SF, the game he was playing was too big for him (Larry Niven), incorporating criticism, we were wrong about this…, this is a science heavy book, Prill was a liar, the spill mountains, the unclimbable rim mountains became volcanoes (kind of), how terrible this world is, the scrith covered place, we are very lucky to be on an actively-geological plant, we’re lucky to have metal, Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer, an asteroid crash that Mark Twain finds, it’s harder to boil things without metal, a ceramics and alcohol based high-technology, fiddling with the facts of the first book, Paul is more annoyed about the Teela brown transformation, Teela becomes both the hero and the villain kind of, maybe we should have read Protector first, the Pak and the Pak protectors, big science, World Of The Ptavvs, a recap of the premise of Protector, two main characters, unwanted and unexpected uplift, are there any women in there?, Protectors are sexless, talking about the sex in The Ringworld Engineers, rishathra, the Babylon 5 episode with rishathra, the two librarian Wendy and Peter, tell me about the mating practices, we make records (anthropological pornography), Jesse defends Larry Niven again, Wu the silent sexual ambassador, if Louis Wu was a female character…, where’s the same sex rishathra?, an obvious method of birth control, too much of that again, projecting what heterosexual males, I gotta get me a harem, mating uncontrollably, venereal disease is a real problem in our world, no mosquitoes, no venereal disease, the logic behind the sexual practices, the grass eaters, the cow and bull people, how cattle work, the sexual practices of wolves, the going on vacation thing, the terms the field scientists used: sneaky fuckers, another double-think, the lone guy in SF willing to do stuff with this, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, a real reproductive phenomenon, male pregnancy, sympathizing with everyone, males are easily replaced, they way we love our pets, the way he says females should be docile, the third sex of puppeteer, the way females are regarded, he’s a dude from the 1970s whose not trying to be sensitive, some books are male or female, more appealing to males, Niven is so good at thinking, the Wheels Within Wheels chapter, I’m saving this world, when Louis cuts up the hyperdrive, “Come, let us reason together” where is that line from?, the book of Isaiah, God talking to man, playing the god gambit, he turns the tables on the Hindmost, aye aye captain, the Bandersnatchi of Jinx is from Jabberwocky by Louis Carol, Wunderland, the Alice In Wonderland theme from Ringworld, the Peter Pan theme, Louis Wu is Peter Pan (the boy who will never grow up), following Louis out the window into Neverland (of the ship), The Man-Kzin Wars books, why is Speaker’s name Chmee, Smee, tag in the dark, Smee is the bosun to Captain Hook, that’s really clever, turning lead to fuel, the alchemy of the planet, a wild goose chase, the 5% 95% trick, it’s legit!, a strong sense of pathos, every character we’ve met on the Ringworld will die, would you kill everyone you’ve ever met to save 95% of the population?, empathizing with the sunflowers, is life for a year for everyone better?, it could be triple-think, talking about motivation, why do anything, what’s the point of anything, caring for the breeders, protecting her own vs. others, very interesting stuff, Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto, helicopter parenting, you can’t tell me my son’s grades are low, teacher motivation, knuckling under, lowering standards and grade inflation, the Business and Computer Science departments, everyone gets As, only Philosophy was holding out (when Jesse was at university), the mother protecting the young, the bear mother attacks threats to the cub, Free Range Kids, the perception of the threat level is higher, the craziness that happens when the mothering instinct is in charge, imagine Grandma with the powers of Rambo, why Teela is such a fearsome adversary (even when she’s playing to lose), the closest in any other science fiction is in the Banquet Scene in Dune, super-geniuses plotting how to murder each other, literally a role playing game style adventure, totally an RPG player move, where The Ringworld Role Playing Game came from, an nobody noticed he was talking into his hand, layers of fun, two poems,

I. The Book

The place was dark and dusty and half-lost
In tangles of old alleys near the quays,
Reeking of strange things brought in from the seas,
And with queer curls of fog that west winds tossed.
Small lozenge panes, obscured by smoke and frost,
Just shewed the books, in piles like twisted trees,
Rotting from floor to roof—congeries
Of crumbling elder lore at little cost.

I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap
Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through,
Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.
Then, looking for some seller old in craft,
I could find nothing but a voice that laughed.

II. Pursuit

I held the book beneath my coat, at pains
To hide the thing from sight in such a place;
Hurrying through the ancient harbor lanes
With often-turning head and nervous pace.
Dull, furtive windows in old tottering brick
Peered at me oddly as I hastened by,
And thinking what they sheltered, I grew sick
For a redeeming glimpse of clean blue sky.

No one had seen me take the thing—but still
A blank laugh echoed in my whirling head,
And I could guess what nighted worlds of ill
Lurked in that volume I had coveted.
The way grew strange—the walls alike and madding—
And far behind me, unseen feet were padding.

the first two sonnets from the Fungi From Yuggoth sonnet cycle, some books of elder lore, the audiobook irony, the problems of not having an audiobook version, the connection between finding the old books that reveal the truth about the world (only the machine people know the secret), the cult of knowledge, the paperback cover of Protector, surrounded by ancient tomes, great books make you super-smart, hitting that hard, page 128,

Something leaped from the crest of the next hill over. Green light speared it in midair, and held while the thing flamed and died. So much for Chmeee’s spacesuit. But a flight of hand-sized missiles flew toward the base of the green laser beam. Half a dozen white flashes from behind the rise, and the snap! of lightning striking close, showed that Chmeee had succeeded in turning puppeteer-made batteries into bombs.
Teela was close, and she was using a laser. And if she was circling the pond, just beyond the crest… Louis adjusted his position.
Chmeee’s burnt suit had fallen too slowly. A protector would know it was empty. Cthulhu and Allah! How could anyone fight a lucky protector?

calling on one fictional god and one semi-fictional god, calling on other gods, this is Niven playing a game with us, I like this game, gender does really change peoples minds, seeds and fields to plant, that has consequences in thinking, what do men want?, if you look at history, Genghis had a huge harem, the practice of polygamy, viking practices, is it patriarchy, he’s working it out in this Ringworld scenario, providing grandmotherly wisdom and veteran warriors, a generic love, another plot going on, the Earth is great and Ringworld sucks, Ringworld is a Garden of Eden, all the predators are on one island too far away from the rest of the ringworld, this is the story of the Fall, what is the thing that turns you into a Protector and something hard, the tree-of life root, who do we need right now, climate change, we’re so busy pulling the world apart Bussard ramscoops, Ringworld Engineers as an analogy for Earth, we need some smart bad-ass, monstrous, Justin Trudeau’s not going to solve it and neither will Trump, somebody around here needs to eat some Tree-Of Life Root, there were two trees in Eden, the tree of immortality, longevity vs. fertility, banishment, the fall of the cities, the Puppeteers with their snaky heads did this, they have beautiful voices too, a retcon Paul could accept, interpolating,

The smell of tree-of-life was in Louis’s nose and in his brain. It was not like the wire. Current was sufficient unto itself an experience that demanded nothing further to make it perfect. The smell of tree-of-life was ecstasy, but it sparked a raging hunger. Louis knew what tree-of-life was now. It had glossy dark-green leaves and roots like a sweet potato, and it was all around him, and the taste — something in his brain remembered the taste of Paradise.

panspermia is bullshit, Chariots Of The Gods?, the plot of Battlestar Galactica, thallium oxide, the Bible is a true story … we’ve forgotten, damn that’s good!, still doing good work, adding another ring, who were the first people, the two librarians, they get on an Ark, was Teela one of Louis’ descendants? (dating the great great granddaughter), not Heinlein level incest, if you think incest in Science Fiction that’s Heinlein, male SF writers, set pieces, I love the vampires, undercutting Prill’s one skill, vampire perfume, everything on the map of Mars, they have a gas laser, the taboo against lasers went away, I love the ghouls, keeping it in the family, the ghouls are the secret rulers of the Ringworld, non-sentient male and female, free-will vs. choice, he’s sexy, pheromones for humans, animal free will vs. animal free will, insects that get killed in mating, we were all in that state at some point, all the ideas Niven is playing with, all those ridiculous RPG-like events (the sunflowers and the water condensers), looking for ways to create meaning, a really smart book (and also a trashy sequel), stealing stuff for RPGs, dreaming about protectors, one of Niven’s big ideas, where did all the protectors go?, a question for The Ringworld Throne, making a whole bunch of people soft, nature finds a way, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the hanging people are kind of like the moties, the audiobook narrator didn’t do the Puppeteer contralto, we miss Nessus, the Hindmost is a dick, the tree-of-life virus, where did they go?, Niven didn’t know (in this book), another kind of addiction, their booster spice or their current addiction, a symbiotic virus, who is running the show?, more than Human (or Pak), powerful ideas and powerful characters powerfully motivated, not a wholehearted endorsement.

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven illustrated by Jesse

Ringworld Engineers (Map)

Teela Brown, Louis Wu, Nessus, and Speaker To Animals

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #356 – READALONG: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #356 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Demolished by Alfred Bester.

Talked about on today’s show:
1952, 1953, 1951, the serialization, a futuristic old book, purple and green with the big eye, The Stars My Destination, weird corporations, quasi-computer intelligences, Marissa didn’t love it, dated elements, 1950s women, really funny, the deleted prologue (is very confusing), damn amazing, so much in so many pages, it doesn’t baby you, many ideas per page, keeping track, not great as an audiobook, page play that can’t be seen in the audiobook, the narration is great, playful with typography, SMS style talk, the Amazon reviews, @ symbols in the ebook, Jerry Chuch, he’s an Esper 2, a textual clue to his nature, (lap)², the audiobook store, an illiterate society, paperbooks are extinct, a post-literate society, when you start listening to audiobooks…, shame for not reading textual books, reading aloud as entertainment, future societies, better as a paperbook on your first read, font size changes, the reader does a lot of the work, an amazing narration, dissension has begun, image of a laughing horse, more than one text version, the original serialization in Galaxy, the finished draft is the paperbook, changes between the text, Monarch vs. Sacrament, “enhanced books”, the esper world, the best adaptation of of The Demolished Man is Babylon 5, terrible and yet essential, the Alfred Bester episodes of Babylon 5, The Lord Of The Rings in space, it’s Dune, the Psi-Corp, “demolition”, the character of Alfred Bester, a dark Powell, deliciously played by Walter Koenig, evil, powerful, charismatic, on Spaceland, The Hunger Games, an unreal world, Sinclair, rogue telepaths, what does it mean if psi-powers were real, the breeding program, marriage, mundanes and telepaths, the coming war, his girlfriend is in the freezer, D’Courtney was a latent telepath, Ben Reich’s half sister, throat cancer, a psychic-scream, Powell and Reich (also in The Stars My Destination), Ben Reich = good money, Powell = power, Dishonest Abe (Lincoln Powell), Jerry Church (corrupted by the money), when telepaths make love, soooo Freudian, New York, sooo dated, demolishing the daughter, a sexy-father figure (super creepy), room for progression, who is Ben Reich’s heir?, who is D’courtney’s heir?, Powell now has all the power and all the money, he’s the bad guy (if you squint), the reconstruction happens in Star Trek episode (to Uhura), Nomad, we misread the code too, an inverted detective story, how-done-it, how-to-catch-’em, a locked room mystery, adapting it to TV, a Philip K. Dick-style mindfuck, a hugh solipsist section, artificial personalities, false memories, no stars in the sky, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Remember Me, going back to the womb, back to the beginning, explosion, concussion, the man with no face, suddenly blood is on him, very Lady Macbeth, a premonition of his future, he’s afraid of himself, The Prisoner‘s final episode, panettone, just 175 pages, the Hugo award, creepy stuff, the gilded corpse, ReDemolished, an essay by Bester on how novels are written, the book is dedicated to H.L. Gold (editor of Galaxy magazine), Astounding, Amazing, John W. Campbell, Jr., Scientology, ESP stuff, DARPA, remote viewing, one of Jesse’s profs, premonitions, Slan by A.E. van Vogt, power fantasy, “fans are slans”, the Minority Report thingy, no sense of the poor, in the Babylon 5 universe…, resentment of PSI, super-powerful, Babylon 5 is pretty amazing, The Best Of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, Julian May, tension, a caste system, psionic aliens, class struggles, Chooka Frood (the corrupt brothel-keeper), a role playing game character, ceramicly beautiful, a dream, a blind albino who plays gimpsters, “accident”, Duffy Wyg&,

Eight, sir; seven, sir;
Six, sir; five, sir;
Four, sir; three, sir;
Two, sir; one!
Tenser, said the Tensor.
Tenser, said the Tensor.
Tension, apprehension,
And dissension have begun.

Doctor Who, The Master, Jo’s rhyme, Mary Had A Little Lamb…, jingles, Bester wrote radio dramas, strange observations, everybody is in the business, if you are at a psychic party…, a throwaway line about the old deaf mutes…, blackmail, no man is an island, “make your enemies on purpose”, he’s an awful man, William Edgars from Babylon 5, Donald Trump, how he earned his money, that embrace, their hugging, we are not ignorant but we aren’t fully party to Ben’s plans, eating candy, there was no bullet, an apache duster, the cover of Galaxy, “humans are weird”, compact death, if we are paying very close attention we should be noticing all the details that aren’t there, the missing bullet hole, the closer you read it the better it pays you, a million more themes, we go to Venus we go to Mars, written today it would be a 600 page doorstop that wouldn’t do half the stuff, “I liked dishonest Abe”, “absolutely scary”, “let’s foreground that”, “I might marry you I’m not really sure about that”, “punch me around”, Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber, a parody of Mickey Spillane, The Man Who Japed, “he shot her in the groin”, there whole world is completely strange, New York, the future computer, typewriter hands and punch cards, glimpses into…, rushing towards demolition, Old Man Mose, “kittenish”, they’ve turned over parts of their society to…, horrible but compelling, damaged or mean or weird, the game of Sardine, Smee by A.M. Burrage, party games, who ends up alone?, everyone is together and naked, a bunch of adults playing naked hide-and-seek, parallels to the fake solipsistic world, “here’s how I did it”, the delusionary world, he finally had to face the man with no face, I couldn’t tell him the truth…, we were buying it the whole time!, skepticism, admissible evidence and objective proof, Powell looking at Ben, the mysterious parcel, it’s a present for you Ben, clumsy hands, we’re all of just nursemaids in this crazy world, Powell friend, “listen normals”, we see the truth that you cannot see, mind to mind and heart to heart, Powell was the villain the whole time, William Edgars virus, “solve the telepath problem once and for all”, something that Reich never does, a moment of self-awareness, he’s a monster but at least he feels bad about it, Garibaldi’s manipulation, revealing all on the train, Harlan Ellison, Powell is secretly evil, we’re distracted by Reich, Inception (2010), the horror lies, tragic despair, D’Courtney’s secret wish (he wanted to die), his son gave him what he wanted, on some level Ben Reich is a telepath, everything Powell says is a lie, the more you read it the better it is going to get, you need to go into analysis, unspool it, re-reading, one of the best audiobooks, Joe Dunlop, Isis Audiobooks, from 1989, still for sale as tapes, it totally worked with the story, a good sign of a good narration.

Signet Books - The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

Posted by Jesse Willis