The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price

The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, read by Ben Tucker (for LibriVox). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 29 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Jonathan Weichsel

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, July 1934, a lot of Lovecraft, The City, a nice little poem, kind of a Christmas story, a miracle happens in the winter garden, blooming flowers, holly and hollyberries, a little Christmas image, The Nameless City, one of his terrific stories, The Outsider, so sequelly, all the greatest hits, the pillars in Irem, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Festival, The Silver Key, a lot more, Hypnos, spheres of reality out in space, what happened here, hey I love you fiction, favourite Lovecraft story, a long correspondence, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, visit him in New Orleans, he had a car, give it a go, play with his ideas, supportive of that, Crypt Of Cthulhu, 6000 words, as he is wont to do, less than 50 words of mine left, keep the core concepts, the facets, the ultimate gates, very theosophical ideas of souls being reincarnated, scattered all through time, ran with them, the missing link between Dreams In The Witch House and The Shadow Out Of Time, everybody in the room in Carter, matrilineal related, a Sackville-Baggins sort of scene, not huge into Lovecraft, stupendous, they’re ok, the plastic and the dream world, weird cosmic, weird juxtaposition, more artificial in the sequel, you know what I love is character, the idea, a book about a guy who remisces too much about his childhood, does dreamwork, The Tomb, super-lonely and isolated, he is wrong, some aspect of him is trying to be another aspect of him and be him, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, am I not myself?, Harley Warren always dominated me and I feared him, trying to recapture golden youth, a startraveler and an immortality, is the guide he has a night gaunt?, what night gaunts do, maybe that’s even Carter, gone beyond the ultimate gate, he’s every character in the book, By His Bootstraps or All You Zombies, any females in this book at all?, yithians have no gender, a repeat of the scene with the camera in a different place, come with me, ok, ugly, at the very end, goes in a circle, Farnham’s Freehold, The Door Into Summer, he steals his own car, less time travel, about the frame, does it help the story?, okay but how does this Indian guy know this story, annoyed rather than made curious, disappointed in it, being a teenager, the lore, little glimpses and hints, it’s not a Call Of Cthulhu or a Pickman’s Model, very Dreamlandsy, Dreamlands 2.0, completely cosmic, drawing a lot of these ideas from, Philip K. Dick kind of cosmic encounter, Agatha Christie style denouement, Poirot, like Glass Onion, Randolph Carter behind the mask, mittens?, cheapens the other ones, The Festival, this friendly guy behind the mask, invites you into his house for Christmas, he’s not human, a King In Yellow situation, that’s not as good, mythos, some basic, R’lyeh gets a mention, nods to other stories, super-cosmic mystical context, awesome and terrible, not alien monsters, weird things in robes in cosmic hyperspace, a bit new age, alienation, cozy alienation, everybody is everybody else, a source of real horror stories, the new horror, the next horror, the greater horror, no evil here, the annihilation of ego and self, Ex Oblivione, a mini-version of The Silver Key, it’s great to be non-existent, thrust into a body once again, re-incarnation is the horror, writ large, everybody gets to be a king, more fanboy than it should, Lovecraft’s literary manifesto, a character based on him, we lose that in the sequel, it doesn’t feel like Lovecraft really, he’s made himself the chosen one by being such a prodigious dreamer, other people around the table, dividing the estate and getting the money, a more traditional narrative, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician, 1890, reincarnation, The Star Rover by Jack London, experiencing life on earth, his own past, nostalgia, other worlds and living on other worlds, The DreamQuest Of Unknown Kadath, going to space, 100,000 years, a rocket ship and cloak yourself, through other dimensions, astral plane and the ethereal plane, Hell is not down it is out, another planet, that’s what this book is, having fun with this, Randolph Carter is his stand-in, Samuel Loveman, bits added, The Unnameable, some milksops complained, The Loved Dead is so funny, mad recluse who was incredibly uptight, he seems like just a regular writer, good at selling stories, his interests are in here as well, loving time, a phrase that only repeats twice, the unknown outer sky, in the context of the story, about self-revelation, losing the amnesia that you had, an astonishing achievement, a lot of repetition, to make it more clear?, saying the same thing twice, a very similar form of repetition, when he went long, saga mode, it doesn’t quite work, less the sum of their parts, the structure of the story gets a bit too loose, a lot of action, not orchestrated, run to the end now, a torrent of images, when Jesse co-writes with somebody, not trying to steal the show, to help someone else, a fan boy, the Lovecraft legacy, Stephen King’s It, told through the mode of Stephen King, collaborations, The Mound, Zealia Bishop, bombarded with all these images, what it would be like to float disembodied through the cosmos, layers of reality, to what effect?, the same effect by having a montage, you don’t actually have to show it, flip between them, he does do this at points, I spent 10,000 years on this planet, pick one idea to develop, oh that’s a story I’ve read, an annotated one, this is a reference to some other story, I love you work, I wrote this thing, oh my dear boy, out of control, writing for me, writing for someone else, they have a hand in it, a failure on Lovecraft’s part, shorter, comic book adaptations, you’re better off sticking to the team, The Nameless City is so solid, it turns into The Silver Key, this is really good, an inherited view, that terrible biography by L. Sprague De Camp, the proper Lovecraft, not right at all, it could be Cthulhu if you want it to be, not a word misplaced, it’s building, where is this going, he’s gonna crawl out of here, at the end how is he even telling this story, some cop comes up in the park in the middle of the night and pokes a bum with a nightstick, sleep it off, fun things in it, cozy, not the Lovecraft that Jesse really really loves, a masterful self-analysis, an adventure with some of the ideas, the math stuff that’s in here, more successful in some ways, Magic Carpet Magazine, Spicy Detective Stories, Spicy Western, published in the 1970s, a renaissance in the 60s and the 1970s, I’ve got some new stuff, The Devil Wives Of Lee Fong, his lovely wives were really serpent demons, 1979, alive til 1988, either in Weird Tales or Oriental Stories, a much more felxible and salability, co-writing, Adolphe De Castro, a sudden scene where it’s actually good, back to the crap writing, since you don’t pay me, fix the punctuation and the grammar, cthulhu monster, competent, with great taste, more to be said, disappointed, don’t read sequels, maybe there’s something great in it, gonna forget it, missing that x-factor, that one is beautiful, true beauty in it, how much nostalgia is poured into it, that aspect, somebody from the past is trying to dominate you, that isn’t in here, Randolph Carter’s back because they don’t want Bag End to be sold, bodiless, using it like a magic wand, a lot in here, you don’t think of Lovecraft this way, such a different portait of the time, the 1920s and the 1880s, Steinbeck, The Grapes Of Wrath, the Dustbowl, makes you look at history different, one of the great benefits of reading Lovecraft, the reality that was his, the racism is what most people latch on to, some of that in them too, where is his power coming from, way more horrific, says the occasional word we don’t like, didn’t hurt anybody, very kindly, [Lovecraft Country] a way to get angry about stuff, this is beautiful picture, how cozy his youth was, for us to time and space travel, Providence, Boston, Randolph Carter was richer, a dilettante who can go on adventures, he had a car, there’s King Carter, Kuranes, to reign as a king, 11 beings from earth, 7 of them humans, half of those guys are carter (if not more), there is a gold piece in here, a cool idea, so filled out and so decorated and so checkboxy, collaborative works that are good, more responsible, just the premise, picked up and ran with it, more out of it, just doesn’t pull everything together, a structural pacing problem, heavy metal, heavy rock, ding ding ding ding ding ding ding, once it gets up to speed, gone to 11, no where else fore the story to go, after the cosmic voyage sequence, an invasive demon, great wizards, getting notes, a precis of the story, feeling it sentence by sentence, the descent, blind and then he see, revelation, all being told in past tense, one guy at the meeting, if you insist on proof I’ll give it, Clark Asthon Smith does this a lot, Sadastor, an incubus makes a succubus have a baby, everybody’s evil, they like evil, a flight of imagination, as a decorous thing, what August Derleth is doing, all connected into one big thing, the easy instinct, the Cthulhu Mythos section of Deities And Demigods, takes the mystery and delight away, take the dreamlike quality and make it plastic, one big pantheon, Abdul Alhazred, the more constrained, who tore Abul Alhazred apart?, the alligator cat bulldog people, it’s symbolic, his yogsothery, happy to contradict himself, built that in as a feature not a bug, the real bad boy was Lin Carter, couldn’t leave a reference alone, dim visions through the window, size, weight, eye colour and phone number, editorial introduction, an utterly amazing novelette, so far transcendence human experiences, titanic!, for sheer imaginative daring, the joint product, rejected originally?, some sort of fight going with Farnsworth Wright, a beef against Lovecraft since the beginning, not been able to produce a magazine, most of them are dross but you have to fill pages, competent but not memorable, everybody has their thing, if he could just bring himself to move to Chicago, editing a magazine of weird fiction, no, can’t do it, editing a magazine, the problem is he’s kind of broken, broken is a way that is beautiful, able to do some great work even when he has nothing to say, seeing greatness in other people’s writing, other than taking Lovecraft, in the early issues of Weird Tales, occasional gems from unknowns, fanboys and girls of Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn on the cover?, not commercial at all, wary of taking on the role of editor, rejecting stories by people he liked, not the same guy, he’s so fuckin weird guys, he can’t do some things, his first fictions to weird tales, take em or leave em, these are pieces of art, live on beans rather than compromise his artistic vision, the City Of Singing Flame, not a real sequel, a semi-sequel, Jungle Jitters, the Action Girls, a movie within the world of the book, rethinking a lot, this scene goes here, tedious busy work, that first revision is where the magic happens, Mr Jim Moon as a podcaster, more than the regular, the monster movies, 17 weeks homework, that one sounds great, wish there was a checklist, audio of Jim Moon stories into the feed, dabbled with writing, took stock, about 20 now, a new ghost story for Christmas, releasing them on your podcast, no spelling for these things, pioneering a lot of stuff, podcasts that come and go, the best of the 2020s, doing your own thing, an interesting phenomenon, don’t know what everyone else is doing, research, writing the music, coding and design work, coding and designing for your own podcast, chasing trends, a true crime podcast, BBC is producing another Lovecraft story that’s not Lovecraft at all, comedians get their shows announce their dates and interview each other, releasing your fiction through your podcasts, 3 shows released today, the audio advent calendar, The Signalman, a Commentary Club episode, most of December off, a lot of catch-up to do, transcribe podcasts, so much work already done, ghost stories, general weird fiction, a novel in 31 parts, huge narrative chunks, a cozy zombie story, Beating The Bounds, a Christmas sequel, Cirsova magazine, an anthology called Mighty Suns Of Hercules, write a few short stories, magazine credits, a fun way to get your stories out, Anvil Magazine, it feels good to get published in a good magazine, doing it very differently, Hypnobobs, 15 years now, scrolling back 17 years on a weekly show, The Adventures Of F. Bolger, the hobbit who stays behind, waves goodbye to the other hobbits, he goes shopping sees farmer maggot, gets some pipe weed, runs into some ringwraiths, they have a smoke, don’t know nothing about Mr. Frodo, huddling like it’s COVID, the other Hobbits come back and completely ignore him, Pippin and Merry are a foot taller each, a cozy story, a cozy fantasy, Thomas Burnett Swann, centaurs, fauns, nymphs, panisci, satyrs, and they all have sex, a professor in Florida, studied ancient stuff, most of his books were not published until the last few years of his life, 1967, archive.org, published in the U.K., compared to J.R.R. Tolkien, a connection there, too risque for swan, Henry Treece, The Viking Trilogy, viking kid joins crew of vikings to viking, a quasi-fantasist, The Green Man, 1968, sword and sorcery and savagery in King Arthur’s time, Piers Anthony, how can I make this popular?, a good amount of sex, cuter, funnier, a classical feel, more conventional, too weird for a lot of people, weirded out, uptight, A Spell For Chameleon, bawdy humour, grotesquery, ribald jokes, a coming of age story, you say people…, mythological creatures, everybody has a magic power, gonna be banished, exiled from the land, a classical setup for a myth, Joseph Campbell, The Weirwoods, laughed out loud many many times, there’s no way to read this without thinking its supposed to be funny, pure treasure, very subtle, an irony there, almost all Eddy, other people are allowed to write terrific stories too, Pity Me! by Bertha Russell, sex with the dead bodies, a Spanish lady had died, get the goop in, she fell on me and she was alive, I finished the job for you, let me tell you about how depraved I am, a tombstone for his writing desk, nothing funnier, got Weird Tales in trouble, pulled from the newsstands, Eleonora, The Canal, Everil Worrell, angry a long time ago, what Evan said, the tightness, more free flowing, it must exist, a PDF of The Green Man, unjustly forgotten, a lot of historical fiction, considered juvenile, caveman boy story, C.S. Lewis gets all the rest, no champion, the estate is defunct, get neglected, it’s not fair, treasure that’s hidden, in a limbo, we need more Henry Treeces, more Swanns, you do need a champion, Edgar Rice Burroughs has Moorcock, Nevil Shute doesn’t need a champion like Henry Treece does, little dog for a last walk, big snow, a good book, had a lot of fun with that one too, guy goes for a hike in California, discovers a weird spot, ends up in another dimension, a moth to the flame thing, more coffee and more sandwiches, discovering a whole other moth people and aliens, throwing themselves into the fire, The Bright Illusion by C.L. Moore, Logan’s Run, more Howard than any of them, that kind of fantasy, Lord Dunsany, so weird cosmic and trippy, an emotional core, goes to that cursed thread, Cultural Critic, 25 books that should be on every school curriculum but isn’t, The Gulag Archipelago, I think I can dismiss this list, 75 hours long, twitter accounts fishing for attention, not making serious suggestions, exercise account, makes fun of these things, getting his account banned, a way to have fun, 25 more books, is this a list this person has read?, Think And Grow Rich, Guns, Germs And Steel, a list of books, how to do 17 crunches, post a wrong answer to get a right answer, playing for engagement, why would you retweet that Jesse?, part of conversation we’re already having, this isn’t nonsense, more like hyperbole, every school child should read the history of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, a really good way to send links, things to scan, people to be on a podcast, Alex P., interesting tweets, manga mindset, good to be in touch, a cynicism that isn’t depressing, skepticism, Robert Ingersoll, that’ll make you cynical, a fellow who you can really see is not lying, Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, Ingersoll quotes, a Christmas Sermon, totally depraved, tormented in eternal fire, against organized religion, as an adult, how to deal with bad ideas, you literally have to learn that, why kids learn to lie, just like the sun being in the sky, child abuse, harmful and hurtful, when people don’t have full access to the facts, learn intellectual self-defense, people who are miserable, things imposed on them that they have no defense against, how gender affects climate and climate affects gender, everybody’s good at the table, falsities, Sylvester Stallone is frozen, goes into the future, Demolition Man (1993), people don’t know how to deal with violence, they predicted, the plot is stupid but the world is quite interesting, form a cult and takeover the world, create a lot of weird beleifs that make absolutely no sense, cut people off from everyone else, very insular, dietary restrictions on them, bottom up, these ideas come from the internet, from the media, magazines and articles and tv shows and movies, I’m gonna be a vegan, comes out of vegetarianism, being closer to god, deprecating the body, animals are nice and cute, why should we eat them, you’re a meat eating animal, how do you reconcile this?, they might not know it comes from an animal, nobody says, meat that I slaughter myself, a slaughter house is really depressing environment to work-in, scream and die, somebody will lose a finger, that’s not the end of the story, just one thin that’s happening.

Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #719 – READALONG: The Star King by Jack Vance

Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Star King by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul will answer to no other name, Cora was Popeye, not that Robby the Robot, riffing, Paul’s fifth or sixth time, the perfect excuse, something weird that happened, the “the” was dropped, The Wankh, a naughty word, dropping the definite article, the Edmond Hamilton, the series, a British paperback from 1973, Strange Case, people want to add the the in, when people are speaking they will often omit the the, Stefan Rudnicki, a more attacky angle, 1964 review by Robert Silverberg, a bad novel, embarrassing, a blown up novelet, “excerpts”, great name, that’s not how it happened, the thin rickety story, an instrument of vengeance, too implausible for words, incredible density, taking little or no action, glimpse tantalizingly, a limp stuttering revenge story that slogs on and on, entitled to slip now and again, distinctly human, weird aliens, sub-minion, stabbed by one of the dryads, slightly off, the back cover blurb spoils the whole thing, revealed very early, not that early, contempt and lust, a peace-abiding man, four humans and a star king, an “object lesson”, vengeance became Gerson’s sole objective, appetite for human slavery, Poul Anderson, Jesse kinda agrees with Silverberg, almost no SF content, dating and mystery solving, the mystery element, The Moon Moth, it’s the culture of the planet, the plot to solve the mystery is just an excuse, Sirene, mentioned in this book, what sparked you about this book?, is this an amazing book, Vance’s typical poetic style, Asimov adding quotations from The Encyclopedia Galactica, science fiction mysteries, romantic subplot, not hard SF, Silverberg is right about the initial planet, dryads, its a setting for the beginning and the end of the book, those names a really good, that’s a way to go, for example, the calendar is restarted at zero, 1492, writing for an American audience, find a new passage to India, it doesn’t pay off in any way, oh you’re a pirate, you’re a slaver, jokes, a torture slave, it isn’t an analogy, worldbuilding details, not everything needs to have a purpose or be an analogy, a lot of the things in here, writing it by the seat of his pants, serialized over two issues in Galaxy, it does feel padded, where’s the science fiction element, social science fiction, such a step down from The Moon Moth, this is gonna get good at some point, the revenge plot, all five guys could have been hunted down in this one book, maneuvering, kinda lazy, dating, sitting in the office, it doesn’t feel like science fiction, very surprised, set in space, a little bit of tech here and there, planet names, cute, a science fiction setting vs. a science fiction plot, set in the American west, a viable story, science fiction with something else, leaning into the genderlessness, their motivations are different than those and mine, figuring out who’s who, they’re sort of officious, told from alternating POVs, not a Campbellian alien, better than men, Kerth susses, an interstellar murderer, an interstellar assassin for justice, the girl in the Game Of Thrones series, killing evil people, more of that, not knowing who the five are, Smade’s Tavern, follow the timeline, five names, getting suspicious, the rest of the series, a giant wide universe, by coincidence or chance, it takes time, a mystery investigation plot, the weakest of the books, he knows what he’s doing, how am I arranging these plots, the weakest of the Demon Princes book, diminishing returns, a page turner, in what sense better?, less fumbling around, clumsy, the idea you can spoil things, Robinson Crusoe chapter titles:

Start In Life
Slavery And Escape
Wrecked On A Desert Island
First Weeks on the Island
Builds a House – the Journal
Ill and Conscience-Stricken
Agricultural Experience
Surveys His Position
A Boat
Tames Goats
Finds Print of Man’s Foot on the Sand
A Cave Retreat
Wreck of a Spanish Ship
A Dream Realised
Friday’s Education
Rescue of Prisoners from Cannibals
Visit of Mutineers
The Ship Recovered
Return to England
Fight Between Friday and a Bear

Chapters in The Hobbit: from the late 17th century, slightly popular, a quite common style, skip right to the chapter you haven’t read yet, 1719, not having chapter titles is a mistake, ooh that sounds interesting, read the chapter titles first as a kid, they used to have chapter titles, the default is not, Roast Mutton Riddles In The Dark, Queer Lodgings, sometimes it helps your memory of the book, when you’re dealing with a mystery, not knowing who the killer, playing against the detective, a fair play mystery, Agatha Christie, knowing who did it, the Columbo formula, a book-like tradition, an inverted mystery, there are exceptions, how’s he going to figure this out, which of these three guys is the alien, a fifth or more of the book, the girl romance, she’s kidnapped, a McGuffin, it has to do with it being a series, “soft science ficition” is psychology, sociology, wallpaper science fiction, cozies, police procedurals, Ed McBain, it isn’t focused on mystery, riding along with this guy, background that fills in the details, Robert Silverberg’ review of Son Of The Tree, ceaselessly inventive, so individual is his manner, long noveletes, complete in one issue, Standard Publications, a gaggle of reader departments, 25 cents!, his most fertile period, The Houses Of Iszm, going back to trees, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, the same basic outline, more delightful, two swift marvelous, not available as audiobooks, the novelet format and not being series are strikes against them, advertising the next books in the series, 111 pages and 112 pages vs. 158 pages, the difference is he adds some expanded material, where that year 1492 came in, an expansion to capitalize on a new market, Ace Doubles, Son Of The Tree, approximately the same length (32,000 words), his loves’ heart, the plot dynamics of the exploration people here, personal fiefdom, to spoil it, Subterranean Press, 22,000 words (+8,000 words), a monopoly on living houses, Sainh, the seeds of the rubber tree, silkworms, coffee beans, people smuggling plants across borders to break monopolies, spinning up worldbuilding, he loves to build his worlds, the IPCC, how these worlds work, enjoying the universe, tourism of the weird societies, Chai, the Grand Tour novels, the plot of The Moon Moth, the plot of Paul’s role playing game, many ways of being human, better than humans, their competitiveness with each other, parthenogenesis means you can’t be cuckolded easily, sexual conquests, eighteen babies out of their armpits, a short novel by an author who is pretty bad, Lester Del Rey, incompetent writing (or just bad), Lin Carter was an enthusiast, H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard, deep inside of his core he has a grinding stone that’s throwing out sparks, a guy who liked those guys (and didn’t have a horrible childhood), enthusiasm for some sort of science fiction idea in a setting, on Mars, plotting vs. ideas, The Sky Is Falling, MAGABOOK paperbook, making the words flow, pages turn vs. oh that was clunky, workmanlike, operating in the science fiction end, the wallpaper is ugly in his world, always delivers actual SF, awesome soft SF, The Potters Of Frisk, really disappointed, read the series multiple times, Dune by Frank Herbert, Paul got it young, hit a wall, Vance was difficult to find for a while, Dying Earth, dated science, nonsense technobabble, the crew of the ship have no idea how the thrusting works, how cars and planes work, how the car engine works, he knows he’s not doing hard SF, retro technology, a telephone booth, feels more modern than it is, a great movie or TV series, lots of makeup, tint her skin, problems of racism, skin dye, a disguise, for fashion, the Civil Rights era, footage of protests, not a political book, independent police, the Pinkertons, privatized police forces, that makes sense, To Live Forever by Jack Vance, dealing with an interesting theme: immortality, social credit score, empathy with your clone, the exploration was very important, a very solid SF novel, is it an SF wallpaper book?, Scott’s really really enjoying the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, integral to the plot, late season Orville episodes, an on off romance, she’s really strong, technically that’s different alien cultures, but not really, the focus on the romance, a Star Wars style battle, 10 minutes of Naboo fighters in trenches, not understanding, Mr Data has a phaser, Mr Spock was in this book, Dr. Spock, how many siblings have spock have at this point?, Michael who is adopted, Spock’s family tree, Amanda Grayson, Perrin is the replacement, the movie was so bad, Star Trek 4 was a such a great movie I’ll go see Star Trek 5, these fucking marshmallow jokes suck, Scott banging his head, I hate this movie, if we looked at it now our standards are so low now, Star Trek 1 gets better every year, Star Trek 3, Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, the Star Trek next generation movies are bad too, dune buggies, enemy dune buggies, they beam down and then walk, Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), a talking car, you know what this gothic romance needs? more dune buggies!, that’s not what it’s about, Okuda designing a screen for a dune buggy, The Killing Machine by Jack Vance, planet bound, The Five Gold Bands aka Space Pirate, Science Fiction 101 or Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, Startling Stories, criticism of capitalism and colonialism, brass bra babes, bug-eyed monsters, Thrilling Wonder Stories, entertaining, sales, unfairly forgotten, Tschai is a compilation of the Planet Of Adventure novels, sociological science fiction, the Lyonesse trilogy, discussed on occasion, Fuck Me Up Vance Knock Out Baby, Jack does It, Man I Love Sports, following their own bugbears, I’m going to read the series, too many names to remember, a terrible review don’t listen to me, narrator issues, consumer reviews, semi-professional reviewers, was Silverberg grumpy when he wrote that?, angry that books were so shitty, saying the same things over and over again, Piers Anthony and John Norman, Lin Carter is dead, the lowest ratings you’ve ever given, hurting someone who is still alive, calm down, someone didn’t like your book, calling their baby ugly, differentiating a story from a person, review their good books not their bad books, promoting things that are good vs. tearing down things that are bad, pissing on their baby, what’s the purpose of reviewing, it worked way to well, the initial motivation, talking about ideas in the book, why is it a bad book, an intellectual exercise, if you know the author it feels problematic, very successful and insecure, being honest, the new upcoming Prime Tolkien show, they paid people to be excited, hiring people to say good things is intellectually dishonest and lucrative, a huge thing (not for books), written by the author under pseudonym, what makes August Derleth a scumbag, doing a disservice to your idealized reader, holding your tongue, tell the truth at all times?, many techniques to avoid lying, throw some sparklers into the air, I just got this new hairpiece: how does it look?, if your world will fundamentally crumble, smart people will learn to not ask questions of people who give honest answers, Cora’s hair is long, hair braided to her tailbone, if that old woman can have long hair, there is a problem in the industry of reviewing, doing a disservice to our idealized reader, what things do I want to see in a review?, what the reviewer thinks the book could be or could have been, reviewing serves multiple functions, ratings do not, unuseful, when many thousands rate, dismissing things immediately, no one is rating honestly, Paul’s trip to Oregon, nagging the ratings, Paul got his revenge, what they asked for and not what they wanted, Goodreads is more critical than Amazon, books no on the market, is my number ok?, the more popular the book…, a perfect 5, the bigger the number of people having reviewed it, reviewing for IMDB, a ranking, anything under 5 is a shit movie, very close to 7, IMDB got bought out and you can’t trust reviewing, review bombing, the Marvel movies and Marvel series, the 2016 Ghostbuster movie, how hot someone is, Top Gun: Maverick, super-propagandy and still good, why we must rely, PC Gamer magazine’s wonderful giant reviews, Rogue One, blind black man actor [Denzel Washington], Gary Whitta, a western, science fiction wallpaper, fantasy, vision from god, The Book Of Eli (2010), a very solid script, many boffins died, the pacing is good, amazing essays, what good essay writing is, laugh at the games that are badly put together, half percentage points, inflation, a then living author, a slap in the face, who would have been served by him saying nothing?, a smaller world now, fistfights at Worldcon, fuck off into the sun, Blasters Of Forever by Cora Buhlert, who would it serve?, incensed, an MA in English, hating academics, lesson learned: don’t mention MAs, obvious an idiot, talk about you pets or children, author bios, which German army?, compulsory military service, its about identity, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, what Paul would think of it, pro-choice, what do you think your future in streaming is?, your audience will snitch on you, cracker is a slur, nudity will get you banned, who’s this person?, she has an MFA, a video editor for a streamer, why is MFA in her twitter bio, that’s her identity, that’s who they are, Anthony Rapp, a union rep, what he’s known for, he doesn’t identify it, Hugo finalist and pronouns, Jesse’s identity is a joke, what people care about, Robert A. Heinlein’s twitter bio: Libertarian onetime socialist, Elon Musk Fanboy, Former Naval Officer, writer, a good series of tweets, fake up some twitter bios for dead science fiction authors, emojis in their twitter bios, Ukraine Flag, Dove, Pirate flag?, a red spot means annoying person, COVID lockdown enthusiast, a German flag or Swedish flag, hammer and sickle, tomato, green vengetable, sunny symbol and aloha flower, a camera emoji, Vale of Garnath in Amber, I know don’t live in Lankhmar, the Plaza of Dark Delights, my German fan, huge in Germany, Germans read a lot of science fiction, Connor is an import, Mirko’s the original, an undertaker by profession, hilarious, the most suitable profession, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, any real stories?, Lovecraft can be funny, dry wry humour, next level hilarious.

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

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The SFFaudio Podcast #414 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #414 – The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse Willis, Paul Weimer, and Mr Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, a joke, W. H. Pugmire, the Lovecraft learning curve, a very short story indeed, the meta-story, beyond our ken, a literary argument, someone from the Great Race Of Yith came back in time, defending his own fiction, playtesting, every paragraph has vocabulary expanding words, resonances between stories, Philip K. Dick, the night, architecture, the numinous, a fake and also legit defense against the arguments marshaled against him, Neil Degrasse Tyson, dark matter, dark energy, a scare story, the orchestration of the vocabulary, the bat, Carter and Manton, the beginning of it, The Unnamable (1988), mercifully short,

It is all in that ancestral diary I found; all the hushed innuendoes and furtive tales of things with a blemished eye seen at windows in the night or in deserted meadows near the woods. Something had caught my ancestor on a dark valley road, leaving him with marks of horns on his chest and of ape-like claws on his back; and when they looked for prints in the trampled dust they found the mixed marks of split hooves and vaguely anthropoid paws. Once a post-rider said he saw an old man chasing and calling to a frightful loping, nameless thing on Meadow Hill in the thinly moonlit hours before dawn, and many believed him.

New England puritanical horror, who it is or what it is, Cotton Mather, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, a hidden murder, Pan, one aspect of the unnameable creature, a faun, a creature of indiscriminate sexuality, pan -> panic, the panisci, the panic of the herd, what are they doing in the hospital, attacked by a bull, a rape story, Archive.org, fs for Ss, the Attic Window, Whispers, The Gable Window by August Derleth, a cruel joke, precipitating the event, Manton’s reaction, ha ha ha I told you so, I whispered an awestruck question, was it like that?, like my memory?, in an earlier age, What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien, an unseen demonic force, The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft, a two-fisted investigation, flamethrowers, bones and a skull with horns, noisome frigid air, a piercing shriek, a rifted tomb of man and monster, Carter’s sucker punch, an inverse Scooby Doo ending, a malice, a more charitable reading, spinning up a story with a similar effect, the short film, The Shadow Of The Unnamable (2011), the hint of a German accent, the Germans love Lovecraft, the aspect of the animals, the snails, moths, the bat, experiences with bats, tangled in women’s hair, brushed by a bat at night, what is going on in the original Cotton Mather story?, the goose barnacle, bothering farmyard animals, Ring Of Bright Water, a pet otter, a diving terrier, in the film the unnamable has a name: Elida, the 1988 film, the empty Miskatonic University campus, the under-dressed sets, the blank slate (or slab), tabula rasa, nicely drawn out, The Unnamable II: The Statement Of Randolph Carter, a being from “we best not speculate where”, co-terminus beings, an illegible slab, colossal roots sucking, illegible vs. blank, an olive tree, The House by H.P. Lovecraft, magnifying an aspect, a real house, Fungi From Yuggoth, The Howler by H.P. Lovecraft

They told me not to take the Briggs’ Hill path
That used to be the highroad through to Zoar,
For Goody Watkins, hanged in seventeen-four,
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.
Yet when I disobeyed, and had in view
The vine-hung cottage by the great rock slope,
I could not think of elms or hempen rope,
But wondered why the house still seemed so new.

Stopping a while to watch the fading day,
I heard faint howls, as from a room upstairs,
When through the ivied panes one sunset ray
Struck in, and caught the howler unawares.
I glimpsed—and ran in frenzy from the place,
And from a four-pawed thing with human face.

Lovecraft books become the books, The Weird Writings Of H.P. Lovecraft, spellcasting books,

It had been an eldritch thing—no wonder sensitive students shudder at the Puritan age in Massachusetts. So little is known of what went on beneath the surface—so little, yet such a ghastly festering as it bubbles up putrescently in occasional ghoulish glimpses. The witchcraft terror is a horrible ray of light on what was stewing in men’s crushed brains, but even that is a trifle. There was no beauty; no freedom—we can see that from the architectural and household remains, and the poisonous sermons of the cramped divines. And inside that rusted iron strait-jacket lurked gibbering hideousness, perversion, and diabolism. Here, truly, was the apotheosis of the unnamable.

combining points of view, going back to that 17th century New England horror, The Witch (2016),

Others knew, but did not dare to tell—there is no public hint of why they whispered about the lock on the door to the attic stairs in the house of a childless, broken, embittered old man who had put up a blank slate slab by an avoided grave, although one may trace enough evasive legends to curdle the thinnest blood.

inviting speculation, the image of a person retained in glass, Bob Shaw’s stories about Slow Glass, The Light Of Other Days by Bob Shaw, images imprinted on glass, the motif of photographic lightning, the emotions in physics, The Martians by Ray Bradbury, Oh!, when Paul became an SF fan, legend, the murderer’s eye,

Whether or not such apparitions had ever gored or smothered people to death, as told in uncorroborated traditions, they had produced a strong and consistent impression; and were yet darkly feared by very aged natives, though largely forgotten by the last two generations—perhaps dying for lack of being thought about. Moreover, so far as aesthetic theory was involved, if the psychic emanations of human creatures be grotesque distortions, what coherent representation could express or portray so gibbous and infamous a nebulosity as the spectre of a malign, chaotic perversion, itself a morbid blasphemy against Nature? Moulded by the dead brain of a hybrid nightmare, would not such a vaporous terror constitute in all loathsome truth the exquisitely, the shriekingly unnamable?

The hour must now have grown very late. A singularly noiseless bat brushed by me, and I believe it touched Manton also, for although I could not see him I felt him raise his arm. Presently he spoke.
“But is that house with the attic window still standing and deserted?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I have seen it.”

the skull, the telling of the tale is the summoning of the creature, if only…, Arkham Asylum, rough sex or something, thinking about Elida, why is she so white?, justification, home invaders, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Leatherface takes a moment, backstory, bringing dignity to the situation, get off my tomb!, 6 pages of high level vocab words, the meta-aspect, lazy critical opinions, a linguistic trap, Lovecraft’s riposte to his critics, rumor, imagination, illusion, what effect does it have upon us?, the real horror, what does that do to a man?, Boston, the delicate overtones of life, what are they?, silly milksops, having it both ways, there’s no California gothic, what Algernon Blackwood can do with the wilderness, the power of nature vs. the power of an old building or a graveyard, The Wendigo, a reverence for that witch is unnamed, afflicted by a being, how could Lovecraft exist in a place like California?, had Lovecraft been to Florida by 1925, C.M. Eddy, The Loved Dead, withdrawn from Indiana, Farnsworth Wright, Kissed (1996), a very tasteful and very repellent film, “love knows no bounds”, a take that, Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft, In Defense Of Dagon, an old argument, every day things transcribed, a proper film about Albanian engineers, give us some awards, Tropic Thunder (2008), never go full retard, skewering truth, gameas that people play, pretending to have seen movies or read books, the guilty pleasure, don’t listen to the milksops (whatever they are), Philip K. Dick wanted to write realistic fiction, Lovecraft never dabbled in trying to be respectable, intertextual obssession, a library and a graveyard and a grove, F. Scott Fitzgerald, all the problems that the people at the Great Gatsby party have, facing the nature of the universe, keep the fright away, the beauty and terror of the universe, daytime is for writing letters, petting cats, and eating ice-cream, dreams, attacking F. Scott Fitzgerald, great writing, rushingly boundlessly toward, as an even more concrete opposite: Upton Sinclair and Theodore Dreiser, grinding detail, social documents but not fun to read.

Magnalia Christia Americana Book VI page 35 by Cotton Mather
PROVIDENCE - The Unnamable
The Unnamable scene in Providence, issue 8
H.P. Lovecraft's The Unnamable UNEARTHED CLASSICS

Posted by Jesse Willis