The SFFaudio Podcast #540 – READALONG: Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #540 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about the NBM Graphic Novel Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi.

Talked about on today’s show:
NBM Graphic Novel, we gotta do this, H.P. Lovecraft, as fascinating as, Evan was disappointed, it’s not Philip K. Dick’s stories, major things missing, the meeting with Ridley Scott, I have my reservations, Dick’s opposition, understanding and insight, who is the audience?, if you know the Easter Eggs…, who is it for?, documentaries about Philip K. Dick, somethin trippy, the visualization of Point Reyes, happy little Philip K. Dick with his science fiction magazines, the chronology, the flashforward, seeing the buildings, the architecture, we’re the audience for the book, so much missing, could it be improved by making it a lot longer?, an outline of events, a primer, a skeleton, the Thoreau one!, being in nature and being self-sufficient, you learn everything about Beethoven, [The Value Of Giving: The Story Of Beethoven by Ann Donegan Johnson and Steve Pileggi], an outline of Marie Curie, [The Value Of Learning: The Story Of Marie Curie by Ann Donegan Johnson and Steve Pileggi], Einstein For Beginners, Marx For Beginners, handing Lovecraft stuff to little kids, Philip K. Dick has teenage ideas, Jesse appreciating seeing the spaces, a secret, really well done, Jacen Burrows, the architecture, a real sense of the neighbourhoods, him at his typewriter, so cool, the very first page, pages unnumbered, December 1981, showing up at some airport with a new girlfriend, Evan is more worried about the script, in the screening room, everytime you turn the page there’s a black ceiling, the last page, March 2, 1982, a model of the neighbourhood, I think Ursula (K. Le Guin) was right, Small Town, living in a set, The Days of Perky Pat, that zoom out, then it’s the world!, every ceiling is black, attention to comics paneling, he was in town when Jesse was conceived, Willis, the skylights look like windows, something you can do in film or comics that you can’t do in a text biography, white, the Platonic thing he’s always thinking about, January 26, 1929, Phil, white space, the symbol for the platonic realm, that white page, outside with Mr. Tagomi, the graphic narrative, the colour, really beautiful, that whole posture and expression, they’re calling my name, Meemaw hiding in the bathroom, footnotes, quotation marks, exact dates, details, no androids, why isn’t there a spider in the mug?, three stigmatic, the same syndrome, focusing on Dick’s late stuff, stealing his mom’s pills, spray, big references vs. smaller stuff, Ubik, Exegesis, she would know he had a lot of wives, 18 year old Tessa sitting on his lap, drawn to the wordless panels, the dialogue was on the nose, stilted, engage and interpret, a little dry, outside of Art Music, better than a photograph, and yet, no TV repair, too short, more of what we’re getting?, Vince, the driving lessons from the FBI agent, you would have some questions, did this happen?, Solar Lottery, that’s a metaphor for his trying to get respectable, the New Statesman, H.G. Wells’ legacy, Tono-Bungay, dissing H.G. Wells was a bad writer, Philip K. Dick was a bad writer, clunky, The Variable Man,

even before the term “SCIENCE FICTION” existed the elites were shitting on SCIENCE FICTION and the people who read it (and the guy who basically invented it)

the literary books, important books about divorces, did he think it was really important – or did he want to change class, pettiness in spending time in his actual life, feeling ambivalent, totally could have happened, maybe that stuff is good, subtle things going on, a scriptural problem, how to solve it, the excitement on Philip K. Dick’s face, the latest issue, A.E. Van Vogt, my kingdom, Return To Lilliput, Gustav Mahler, social anxiety, the judgement of the friend, the average person, appreciating it on a visual level, Jason Eckhardt’s illustrations and the framing device, a show, a stageplay, more information about Lovecraft’s life than we do about Philip K. Dick, our job isn’t to market the book, the Lovecraft biography was densely packed, his interactions with other people, internalization of events, a giant metal face in the sky, these two pages work incredibly well, the lines on the road, a modern setting, running to the shack, the connection, going to visit the father, a real incident, the ex-wife and the kid, Harlan Ellison, these things gotta be explained, who knows what Dangerous Vision is?, Riders Of The Purple Wage and Aye And Gomorrah, fan service, mutual success destroyed, how many scenes when he sits on the couch, sitting at the desk, we just don’t know (about his dad), this isn’t even fan service its just facts, a spit-take, a meet cute, it’s a fact we know about his life, the visualizations of the physical spaces, we don’t know the colour of the couch (unless its a plot point), the visual element, not one of us!, maybe Paul is the audience for this book, his personal life, the general outline, filling in those facts, an interesting visual language, Philip K. Dick’s house, google street view, the post-script, the big shock, stubbled face, standing in the glory of the his 1952-4 publications, The World She Wanted, Science Fiction Quarterly, Jack Vance and Isaac Asimov, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, a real hotel, Out In The Garden, ah ha ha haw, the idea that Sir Francis Drake got as far as these places, Dr. Futurity, time travel, that kind of detail, a little spike of “wow! that’s amazing!”, hey I’ve read your stuff, I guess we have to do that, going out to that shack is terrific, wives leaving him, a lot from Anne’s biography, a lot of letters, how funny he is isn’t in here, this is not a comedy it’s a tragedy, a little bit to self oriented, about his internal stuff, going to a Chinese restaurant, a 1949 store, the weirdnesses’ of H.P. Lovecraft, abbreviations, the snob in Jesse, what’s going on with his mom, yo?, a homosexual hangup, why is his dad absent, because you’re weak, like who?, is his dad gay?, a hidden biography, absent from this book, fatherless, surrounded by women, as a WWI veteran he had a gas-mask that might have frightened Philip K. Dick and sent his mind going, what the authors think the people care about, a good contribution if they could have nailed the later weirdness, those Valis novels, a set of ideas he was playing with, a bit opaque, Philip K. Dick wearing a cowboy suit, a lot of lying in that bed, that focus on the end, lying in bed dying of colon cancer, regular nightwalks, the value of seeing what those houses look like, Steen went to Philip K. Dick’s gravesite, why is he buried in Colorado?, an incident in Vancouver, his whole life is California, two trips to France, Ghost World (2001), Daniel Clowes style, the same kind of lifestyle, hanging out in the suburbs, about some weirdos hanging out, older men and younger women, a slice of the Ghost World comics, Steve Buscemi, that California aesthetic, a vibe that’s different, it’s its own thing, beautiful images, Cleo storming in, a few months later, Cleo what are you doing here?, you promised you’d bring me the car title, going to workshops for him, she’s walking toward the house, a green glow around her head, Jesse reads a lot of comics, if the art is terrible, a very delicate balance, a really good audiobook narrator cannot save a bad book, a number of problems, audience expectation, you should pick it up, you’re welcome!, Evan appreciates the daughters in this, the gun, visiting him in the hospital, when Nancy leaves him, the estate, they’re frauds, everybody is an asshole at some point in their lives, the portrait of a highly complicated man, friendly and difficult, he’s got his demons, I was sexually molested as a child, he might be wrong, that phenomenon, the McMartin trial, Tessa Dick’s YouTube channel, your eyes are closed to your son’s birth defect, to the doctor immediately, I’m in shock, I can’t even drive, this sort of thing is not a sign of divine revelation, bad recollection, Jesse’s recollection about who exactly he’d punched in the face, magic thinking of the horoscope kind, here’s another incident of that, delusions becoming reality, either he infected her or she infected them, a Folie à deux, [Heavenly Creatures 1994] Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick, the trials and tribulations of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, now when what we talk about what Chelsea Manning was doing, she was doing this when she was in the army, they all agree, when we all agree, weird dontcha think?, furry costumes, I’m really a fox, just really weird, a weird guy and a person who isn’t an immune, anti-creativity, the thing kids have that we lose when we grow up, so late in the day, falling out of the immersion, Paul makes a very meta move, a richer character for a life, on the couch a lot, what’s so fascinating about him, how his friends perceived him, tension and conflict, not consistent in real life, really cool, hairy back, that hairy monster, a good book.

Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi

NBM Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography (art from the back cover)

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #539 – READALONG: The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #539 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Talked about on today’s show:
All-Story Weekly, August 9 – September 6, 1919, a little too familiar with it, Bruce Wayne’s parent’s murder in Crime Alley, Batman’s origin story, Joe Chill, Zorro, like the gospels, apocryphal, the 1940s Batman, The Mark Of Zorro (1920), Gotham, Christian Bale, The Mark Of Zorro (1940), Tyrone Power, what a man!, oh I know this one, a revelation, I hate you now, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., such a good movie, twisting his own arm, silent movies, mouthing at each other, dubbing, lip reading, the year after the serial, identical plot, the action sequences are so good, Antonio Banderas, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), all the movie beats, one of those translation things, Don Diego Vega, a foppy guy, really into slight of hand, something that’s stuck with every subsequent production, The Disney, the 1974 TV movie remake using the same script and music, Frank Langella as Zorro, a strange choice, a board on the back of her head, visualizing the text, the beginning, middle, and end of his character, this handkerchief is turned into a flower, have you seen this one?, finger curlicues to show excitement about this kiss, the first United Artists movie, Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), a half mask like Batman, Zorro is the spot in between everything that came before and superheroes as we know them, Who was America’s first superhero, Tornado is the Batmobile, the dynamic duo, Alfred, a dual identity, The Scarlet Pimpernel, adventures in America, Americans can eat it up, California, westerns, I’m earning a living so I’m writing it all, he wrote lots of pulp, the elements, better than a western, help the poor, the beautiful woman, choose her own path, 1909, supposed to be a surprise, you were spoiled for it, the text doesn’t tell you, the reveal here is at the end, at what point does it become clear, four minutes later, a physical face to look at, the powers of Batman, an acrobat, jumping and swinging, in real life you have to wear a full mask, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, no one will want to read it if it is spoiled, retconned right away, he captured lighting in a bottle and people want more lightning, like heaven on Earth, his secret lair, not a Batcave it’s a Foxcave, every superhero who is not superman, Bruce Banner, angry guy, he’s always angry, an issue with both, Zorro is the good guy because he’s fighting an unjust government, Batman’s doing the government’s job for them, a folk hero, being mean to the natives, when don’s have their taxes raised to high, Batman’s psychology, crazy criminals, a child of The Scarlet Pimpernel, unjust to the rich people, his posse is the sons of the dons, the families being oppressed, the focus around the family, the good aristocrat being oppressed by the government, the government is completely corrupt, Zorro as a libertarian hero?, an Ayn Randian hero, oh god!, the servant is both deaf and dumb, the Disney version he’s mute (not deaf), he’s everywhere, indio?, interesting to think about, pre-1849 California, the placenames and the missions, what’s the population?, fighting for justice, it’s all about blood, blood is everywhere, 1820 or so, blood x 79, 1,300 people, after the gold-rush, Julie’s read historical fiction, a backwater of Mexico, right across the street from the tavern, a phrase that was used in the period, WWI, writers read stuff, 1920s magazines, what decade based on the ads, fads that rise and fall, the 19teens and 1920s, eugenics theory, standard straight up racism, I’d rather marry a native than marry you, an insult, here’s how low I’ll go, badly OCR’d, the natives are on the bottom, less and less emphasized, you are of excellent blood, of the best blood in the land, class structure, a Vega when he takes a mate, woman-trading, some choice in the matter, historically accurate, its not super-super-clear what he is at first, he’s a robber, Zorro is already known, he’s already a legend, I was fifteen I saw something bad happen, two different aspects, Batman doesn’t rob the robbers, he’s Robin Hood at that point, a redistributor of wealth, Jesse James, Billy The Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, sticking it to the man, if he weren’t a fictional character, we’ve been trained by reality, killing people, Batman doesn’t kill, Zed not Zee, Zedero, Sgt. Gonzales, Captain Ramos, you’re not who I thought you were, a comedy relationship, Commissioner Gordon, he’s worse than the governor, sir leave this house right now, where not to me, quasi-rapist, he deserved his fate, he bought him his drinks, Sgt. Schultz is the same character, Hogan’s Heroes, a send-up of Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Escape From Sobibor, subverting the Nazis by staying in the camp, TV crossover, how does the timeline work?, the ridiculousness of Batman, most of the good super-hero writers have to avoid that sort of thing, zipping people, Catherine Zeta-Jones, its a cartoon, you can’t take Batman super-seriously, Arkham Asylum, Watchmen [and The Boys], The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the plot of Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, very funny, a tense line between serious and comedic, The Mask Of Zorro is a rebooting, Zorro makes a mockery of the soldiers, in the book he has a pistol, Sgt. Gonzales is a blustering fool of a character, physically comedic, a comic figure, he threatens death to people all day long, derailed for six months, my beautiful soul what have I done to it?, added to and polished up, suddenly he’s an 1820 superhero, Pirate Batman, The Lego Batman Movie (2017), he’s Robin Hood, reality is not as it is, formulating a plan, right from the start, he got his superpowers in the army, Captain America, romance, a ladies’ man, he’s the man all women want, he’s Tyrone Power and he knows it, the audio drama, Val Kilmer, Armin Shimmerman was terrific, Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside, he’s the Friar Tuck character, the same role, the Frey gets his licks in, serialized stories, they’re in Spanish California, he hides Maid Marian, a three hour audio drama for a six hour book, the framing, you’re buying drink, you want to know about Zorro?, at the end, Val Kilmer is about to reveal his identity, that’s another story, the change that had to happen, superheroes are not one offs they are continuous, the whole writing problem, writing for series, every book after that his identity is secret, Superman has a different origin, Captain America is an interesting case, recruiting and selling warbonds, all the things they did to recruit people for WWI and sell war bonds, pickle-helmet, a captured u-boat you could tour in Central Park during WWI, except for Dr Manhattan, masked vigilantes, Night Owl sits in his lair all day, kinda sad, the fundamental concept, they’re making fun of it, a very fine line, no the Batman you know, the 1989 reboot, where does he get those wonderful toys, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, nipples for George Clooney’s Batman, Holy rusted metal, Batman!, I’m walking out of the theater, there’s no winking, he’s not super-handsome, he did the adaptation, Robert Pattinson, a different way of running things, I’m gonna go practice my swordsmanship, reveling in that, this is a MOVIE!, Elevated short film, Vincenzo Natali, Cube (1997), set in an elevator, a student film, there’s something outside the elevator, when you make it a feature, most people read novels, once you get into that novel thing you sort of want more, the mask and the slight of hand stuff, this is why people get excited about film and making movies, cute and interesting, its not Zorro, a red flower, Zorro is a fox, the fox personality, Lady Zorro, Queen Of Swords, Jack Of All Trades, all so good, all died too soon, Bruce Campbell, the perfect combination of humour and physicality, that swagger, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), training scenes with Anthony Hopkins, the head in the jar, how many Zorro products there are, comics, the Disney colourized TV series looks terrible, Guy Williams, very Disney, the sidekick, his version of sign-language, sound effects, heavily music’d, a half-hour format, a cartoon, well done, Desilu, The Wild Wild West, it became a good show, Robert Conrad, you gotta see the show, there’s a fine line between ridiculous and perfect, they went the other way, all these things you see as a ridiculous, a subversive reading, is Batman just crazy and he’s the one in Arkham Asylum?, a spy-show and a western show merged together, you like James Bond and you like Westerns, this is that, so villainous, that Batman element pulled-back a little bit, a few gadgets, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, the bumbling character, The Avengers, Diana Rigg, so quirky, its not romantic but its not not-romantic, Mrs. Peel, the ridiculous stuff but in a serious way, Moonlighting, they broke the formula, he stumbled into something, perfectly serviceable entertainment for 1920, the Zorro Legion, all the dons put on masks, I’m Spartacus, the opening of The Mask Of Zorro, I’m ZORRO!, Batman comics in the 1970s, they have to work through all these ideas, better in the original, a ridiculous little coda, the self-made, the little boy’s dream, the right age for it, he held onto it and perfected it, B.J. , Meal mush and goatsmilk!, sounds like breakfast, an interstellar version of Zorro, planetary romance, A Princess Of Mars, feels very open and similar, so imagination, what are the possibility around every corner, The Pirates Of Ersatz, dual identity, back to my birth-planet, how could people have missed that opportunity, the same ending (its over), I stared a series, a retcon, a tiny little infodump at the end of the book, the Frailes (Franciscans), I pretended to have a small interest in life, horsemanship, in secret, go to Tibet and study with ninjas, that’s a prequel, San Juan Capistrano, in the middle and the end of his story, designed to be a reveal, all will be revealed, this is a mystery, give us another mystery!, deliberately cruel, the whole thing was a big wink, about expectations, the reader is rewarded for the knowledge that they already had, what’s in this chapter, what’s going to come next, spoiler soapbox, go back to favourite chapters, chapter titles as a guides, The Lord Of The Rings, children’s books, a preview, an affectation, a movie about a book being read to a kid, Dread Pirate Roberts, playing with the tension between, why Deadpool is such a great character, Fred Savage, Wilfred Brimley, Misery, when you’re reading Prisoner Of Zenda you’re taken away with a wink wink, in our post modern era, go look at Shakespeare, breaking the fourth wall all day long, a bunch of tropes and ridiculousness, that perfect path between the ridiculous and what we want from a story, story solving problems, doing all that work for Jesse, The Princess Bride is Zorro, essentially, the same spirit, Julie will allow it, if Julie were Jesse’s judge, would Paul be legalistic, when somebody lies people gets really upset, seems reasonable, repentance is important, a kind of conservationism, strict father conservatism, a gut reaction, don’t fritter away your money, do you’re research, I don’t really care about the details, a narrow escape, nope, none of that, wait I can explain, exactly, where’s my gavel, there’s a podcast there, hot takes, duly noted, Canadaland, a podcast format, we don’t have time to do all of it, what’s really important, this is an interesting story, nope not having any, half-price bookstore, Jenny Colvin’s speed dating with books, she’s reading books about every country in Asia, the Hmong, extra time, she’s just a reading machine, help with the curse, Alta California, Baja California, a poor choice, a Hmong movie, endogamous, hmoung the highest, Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Ethiopian population of Minneapolis, Toronto, Gran Turino (2008), Captain Phillips (2013), bitter flavours, we’re done.

The Mark Of Zorro - adapted by Yuri Rasovsky

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #538 – AUDIOBOOK: The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #538 – The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, read by Barry Eads.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 hours 22 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox. The Curse Of Capistrano was first serialized in 1919.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

All-Story Weekly, August 9, 1919 -The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #537 – READALONG: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #537 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Evan Lampe talk about The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Talked about on today’s show:
London Magazine, 1912, Sunday Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1912 book publication, why hasn’t this been a movie?, totally epic, very filmic, no comic book?, it would be a great comic, the big splash, the reveal, he hasn’t seen a human being in three years, the comic book format reveal, one of Jack London’s best, the first time, not the newest theme, The Last Man by Mary Shelley, The Strength Of The Strong, about the same thing, civilization and how civilizations evolve, The Iron Heel, this managed ordered world, an optimistic narrative, the story is fairly brutal, how the socialist thinking was obsessed with planning and order, social darwinism, rude barbarism?, his greatest?, drama, Martin Eden, John Barleycorn, The Call Of The Wild, he can’t get away from dogs, the dog goes into full atavistic mode, recapitulated, an unwashed barbarian, barbarian grandchildren, taking this story as it is, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, more optimistic, the essential character of this story, end of the world and post apocalyptic stories, endless zombies, a zombie apocalypse with no zombies, fighting off the harsh reality of what its like to go from running water toilet paper hot and cold running ice cream to living off the scraps of the old world, hasn’t seen soap in 60 years, Costco, 500 survivors in the whole world, a lot got burned, the last survivors genre, SCIENCE FICTION doubly, set 100 years from when it is written (2013) and then another 60 years beyond that, so rich in ideas, the future of American from 1912 and in a future far past it, a double critique, inspired by, The Walking Dead is not about class (and little about race), each a race unto themselves, the Aryan sweep is coming again, it did feel white, all about class, on the side of the downtrodden race, humans as basically very terrible, way scarier than a zombie story, zombies as a metaphor, the hordes of people you don’t know, a divisive horror, us and them, killing zombies as a fun thing to do, shambly and slow, not a science fiction story, Jesse’s niece did a course, its about class, so relevant again, the Chauffeur and Vesta van Warden, the luxury airships that the ultra-rich have, we took all the food and left a little bit for our slaves, you don’t understand Hoo-hoo, “slaves”, oh my god, Professor James/John Howard Smith, what’s happening in the states of 1912, a hardening and separating of the classes, medieval or 19th century England, he’s from the upper class, he has three servants, a housekeeper a cook and a chambermaid, at the bottom of the ultra-rich, every inspired by story never talks about class, Buck was a king brought low and turned into a slave, the same thesis, Chauffeur beats his wife, she’s a goddess, that she should be brought so low, an unreliable narrator who is super-reliable, he makes himself so pathetic, nested narrative, he makes himself look bad, everything that happened is what was happening, a super-hard thesis, lets spend time in this universe and see what meaning we, the good the bad and the worst and the best have gone to their eternal rest, the collie dogs are now wolves, that overcoming, back to brute beast, really interesting and fascinating to think about, obsessing with education, trying teach how to count to a billion, so Science Fiction, the courage and heroism of the bacteriologists, WWI imagery, in awe of the education, chapter 6, a day-labourer, the greatest prize next to Vesta, the crude illiterate getting the upper-class woman, huge gaps, not a culture of mass education, Jack London imagined the early 21st century with the working class uneducated, technocratic culture, millions of engineers, not as pessimistic, this is going to happen again, no good thoughts about humanity’s potential, red history, the red plague is people on Earth, population pressure, oozing slowly across to colonize the East, the gunpowder will come, I’m gonna git Granser this gunpowder stuff, the death stick, someday I’ll be boss over the whole bunch of you, the juju magic of the witch-doctor, poor Edwin is gonna be just like his grandpa, he didn’t survive by his book-learning, nothing he did could fix anything, those two automatics (pistols), the only reason he survives is because he’s a human (who can open doors and cans), nothing in his education as literature professor, Terry Nation’s Survivors, The Daleks as an examination of the human future after a future nuclear war, the exact plot of the Scarlet Plague (without the zooming forward), UK “public schools”, we’re all doomed, I don’t know how to smelt, plastic is made out of oil, ‘I have three batteries left. If I don’t find anymore I’ll be deaf.’, part of the education process, take in a profound piece of information and passing it on, the oral tradition, the big thing this story is all about, trying to teach the grandchildren something of value, there are ways of counting what’s beyond your fingers, they’re goat-hearders, is Edwin the smartest?, he’s the most like his grandfather, a medicine man, brute force, a very bleak vision, an English professor, The Sea Wolf, The Iron Heel, social progress is possible, Herbert Spencer, not a good society, obsession with food, post scarcity, civilization has to suppress, a Freudian aspect, training animals, a universe good, something every eater understands, dogs are food motivated, the bear and the wolves, goats, no longer a man of books, carrying coins, carrying teeth, sex and food, Vesta should’ve been mine by rights, he doesn’t stop him, you could never do this in a Hollywood film, save her and himself, he too their child to wife?, Bertha was a hash-slinger (but a good woman-though!), a Lady is a Chauffeur squaw, the opening and the closing, the surf grew suddenly louder, huge sea-lions, he can smell the food cooking, mussels!, he’s all gums now, crying, an empty-crab shell, so happy, his emotional range, really dottering, a beautiful sad story, the old geezer gets more long-winded every day, a small herd of wild horses, a beautiful stallion, horses, the mountain lions, close at hand, the sea-lions bellowing, fought and loved, there’s no victory here, just survival, just other animals, there’s a beauty, there’s a harshness, Earth is coming back, we can have it all year, all the toothsome delicacies are back, the Cliff-House restaurant, what is money?, those little marks don’t mean nothing, in 10,000 years, warning against the medicine men, that’s religion, agriculture, who controls that surplus?, primitive religion, thugs, not the civilization he wants, he predicted Trump!, he predicted Bush, the Board of Magnates, Vesta’s husband, lords of life (and death), stuck-up, some other place to live, sleep in a tree, no person is strong enough, stuck in these systems, kind to the old man, Granser’s going to get to it, his only value is as a storyteller, it won’t be his dayjob, if only a physicist or a chemist had survived, he’s a reliable narrator who is wrong about stuff, conflating food with money, shopping at the organic expensive farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, the poors can’t afford Whole Foods, not amongst the poors, chapter 4, the dean of faculty, full of airships, flying machines, one brave fellow, 300 miles per hour in an aircraft, radio, social systems, the brute reality of nature, the Yukon, what’s so powerful, those prehistorical romances are not just the past, black deaths, we are going to need the skills we don’t have, living off the corpse of the old world, you can’t just trust that Mother Nature is kind, a city is like a giant pampered baby, cuddled and coddled by all the servants going into and out of it, the beauty of nature taking over California again, the monorail, railroad tracks being taken over by tree roots, Life After People, we lost contact with each other, a very slim portion of this future society, teenagers and younger, tending the goats is a job for young boys, the mens’ job is yelling at women and young boys, a reverence for muscles (and punching people), as brown as a berry, a pair of gimlets, an endless series of messages from the outside world, a whole sequence like that in The Call Of The Wild, the coddling of man, the king of the slaves as a dog, as a wolf he’s utterly free but is dependent on his body being strong, doing something that few others do, the boys are the babysitters, thirty years ago people wanted to hear what he had to say, why do you call it Scarlet rather than Red, The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Bliss Carman:

A Vagabond Song

THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

George Sterling, A Wine Of Wizardry, mentioned in London’s biography, poet rich guy, I couldn’t save him, rebelling slaves, the grave tree, toothsome delicacy, fire, how it eats up everybody and turns it to dust, 1914 airplanes, the airships of the rich, Paul talks about the ultra rich bunkers in New Zealand, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, when the economy collapses he’ll have a bolt-hole, the rich all flee to Hawaii in their dirigibles, it went with them and it preceded them, that’s the one that married the baby, the wilds of British Columbia, Mount Shasta, so much to be explored, incredibly visual, really good at writing nature, full of ideas, a crackerjack book, Vesta is a metaphor for the whole thing, as good as you can get for a girl, drowned by her drunken husband for no reason at all, boiling fish chowder in a covered pot, parasol, the destinies of millions such as he she carried in her pink white hand, her private dirigible, to her!, a leper, ascertain the creature’s name, what the plague did to the world, the most brutal of low class uneducated horrors can be masters over a goddess, goddess of the hearth now has to tend the hearth, too small for a class system, just about strength, you’re my wife because I’m stronger, Evan can’t agree with London’s pessimism, Murray Bookchin, imposing on nature the reflections on our own society, domesticating the goats, division of labour, our ability to make cultures, why we can’t have good things, that’s our culture, human nature vs. culture, from first nature (sexual desire) vs. secondary (marriage), Eskimos, transformed nature, what people were saying about paleolithic, right back to where we are, printing presses and newspapers, the end goal, besides printing presses, not a teleology, goat-herders and hunters and trappers, mussels and crabs, started life as an oyster pirate, specialization is what he’s aiming at, the radio drama adaptation, a 2 hour book into a 29 minute show, dropping the framing sequence, hearing the plague is very familiar, The Walking Dead, The Day Of The Triffids, 28 Days Later, the aftermath 60 years later, they’ve run out of bullets and gasoline, the comics, allowing that progression to happen, how does the zombie system work, how do you have a society, join there society (a movie night!), a world that doesn’t exist, born into a world without movies, when all the movie bulbs have burnt out, ya, whatever grandpa, people are mean (and horrible), repression in 2013, a tweet with a guillotine was too radical, all the slaves he’s been repressing are going to come for him, optimistic stories of this ilk, Stephen King’s The Stand is essentially optimistic, the bad guy is the state, good vs. evil, both states suck, the triumph of solidarity, acculturated to states and authority, cultures are cooperative, in a dog eat dog world, calling our friends, exploitation within the system, battered husbands and battered wives, its not me its the corporation you work for, bad guys and good guys, The Day Of The Triffids ending, base instinct is love not hate, we need to recenter, a extremely pessimistic work, David Graeber’s book on debt, barter isn’t the first economy, social debt, everybody knows I gave you this are you going to be that guy that didn’t give it back?, my son loves your daughter, barter is from people used to exchange, the police as the barrier between you and the criminal, going back to hierarchy, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman has fantastic accounting, I made dinner yesterday, bankruptcy, so interesting to think about The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, utopian/dystopian future, forced mental audit, the ultimate invasive, good writing at the end, 24 hours, Evan read it for me!, Ayn Rand took over the U.S. government, “personal responsibility”, capitalism is eating individual human beings from birth!

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #451 – READALONG: Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #451 – Jesse, Paul and Marissa talk about Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1985, 1957, a magnificent novel!, struggling through, Paul is not a fan, opinions about this book, Marissa really enjoyed it, problems, interesting, not a mainstream book, marriage and cheating, Jesse’s gutter definition of mainstream, it has them all beat, an existential novel, mainstreaminess, dread, creeping social order dread, where did it start to go wrong for Paul, why am I listening to this book, technical difficulties, the opening, the school, why am I listening to this?, mimetic fiction, I’m not interested in this, there’s no hook, their lives, the son, the poor victim, Roger recapitulates, his mother-in-law, the inevitability of the break-up of the marriage, his third time, failed relationships, spending time with these people, they’re awful awful, flip-flopped, disregarding the content of the novel…, badly composed Philip K. Dick novels, he’s really smooth, most beautiful in a few places, a way for Paul to get through this novel, Jesse’s last theory, the Mexicans are not really Mexicans (they’re Martians), what the heck are you talking about, Martian Time-Slip, his autistic son, he gives his son to the Martians, put on the lap of one of the hitchhikers, psychology, moving to Chicago with a load of stolen televisions, a secret science fiction novel, becoming a science fiction novel for a moment, at the point where it would spin fantastic… its averted, ruminating and undercutting, when Jesse reads and Isaac Asimov mystery, mind bendy, under Galactic Pot-Healer, no access to higher beings or aliens who live across the street, Lord Running Clam, well and truly lost, there’s no way out other than to move about, Puttering About vs. puttering around, what is this thing about, its not really about anything, when Virginia talks about her husband, she’s made this mistake, the mores of the 1950s, waiting for her husband to screw up, Roger is a prat, they’re all Philip K. Dick, Mrs. Alt, the teachers are all robots, The Simulacra, the math teacher, the horses, the character realization is amazing, all real people, the TV repairman, R. Childan from The Man In The High Castle, a fascinating book for anybody who wants to go deep on Philip K. Dick, you have to let it hypnotize you, bootstrapping opportunities, being in the right mood for things, if you classify this book differently, this is a crime novel scene, they commit adultery and that’s a crime, James M. Cain, adulterous relationships, the Greek fate track they get on, a car-wreck of murder and sex and love, if I was in this car…, tearing him down, he married into this, there’s no escape, a horror, a horrible human being, horrible people, being terrorized and terrified and having no escape, good writing, feeling something coming, a payoff, what all the school means, what (other than the fact that this actually happened) does this mean?, like he was experiencing this stuff, screw you all, feeling the tedium, attention to detail, open and closed to the experience, little kid psychology, sometimes adults have a greater wisdom and experience than the kid, an emotional sponge, to get that cheque, Mrs Alt is a change, the chickens and the eggs, that chicken scene is straight out of The Father Thing, old and mouldy and rotten down to the center of the earth, its turning science fiction its turning fantasy, its turning PKD!, his brother, a multiple reality thing, it wouldn’t take much to flip it into a science fiction story, Paul remembers he hated mimetic fiction, A New Apartment, I hate these people, Paul nearly failed reading in seventh grade (because of the books they gave him), A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, mis-classified, listening to my neighbours talking about their marriage, the periodness of it, a picture of the 1950s that is so complete, immersed into the 1950s, oh this is a real place, this is a real time, so many scenes, The Hanging Stranger, the basement, everything in his 1950s town is exactly the same except for the corpse hanging from a lamp post, lynching, transparency into a social reality, the racism, he didn’t mutter it quietly enough, teeth flying all over the street and he deserved it, seeing the consequence, it felt so real, so visceral, what happened?, explaining to his wife, refusing to go to the dentist like a little kid, new horrors to come, he’s constantly putting himself into these horrible situations, how great is the rage trip?, raging at the whole world, every middle class white guy’s fear, the emotional experiences, perfectly encapsulated, maybe this was written by a woman, Liz is a fantasy character, Upon The Dull Earth, digging the trench, all the other stories reflected, a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, a waking dream, in a very PKD sense, you can’t tell which universe you’re in, the photographs, so amazing, Time Out Of Joint, we don’t want to live in the world where PKD became a successful mainstream writer, decaying royalties, he is a success in this world, being recognized during his lifetime, worth digging out, he’s such a great idea man that his work will live on past his mere boring and terrible existence, mainstream writers that have wasted their lives, Martian Time-Slip can’t exist without this mundane book, squint a little bit, the PKD genre, the shoe-repair boy, none of them can hear me, our perceptions of reality, it felt like it was about to turn into a science fiction novel, almost a witch, a sorceress, Roger’s seeing something in her, children and schizophrenics, a secret brother living inside, an asshole father, an amazing horror story, Tony And The Beetles, what does this mean, Evan Lampe American Writers: One Hundred Pages At A Time podcast, kids, an empathetic sponge, where it turns into a science fiction novel for a moment, the stamp collection, dad did they use stamps in Roman times, I think I have one, that’s the end of that scene, where’d that come from and where did it go?, the denouement of so many Philip K. Dick novels, Ubik, that is the turn, how often Jesse talks to kids, its almost like they have schizophrenia, I think my feet are on fire, they sound insane, what if that’s true?, the fact that he thinks he has a Roman stamp is true in that moment, those little touches are what make this a great, great book, eliciting the sense of existential dread, I might read another mainstream Philip K. Dick, The Man Whose Teeth Were Exactly Alike, the premise is like nothing, horrible people, I love reading about these fuck-ups, asshole after asshole, Stephen King, Nelson De Mille, a Goodreads review by Hyzenthlay:

The worst part of having a favourite author who died before you started reading him is that eventually you will run out of new reading material. The best part of that favourite author being Philip K Dick is that he was prolific as fuck AND he has so many books that are only recently coming back into print and/or being published posthumously for the first time that even though I’ve been reading him for 20+ years, I still haven’t run out of new-to-me shit to read.

Puttering About in a Small Land is one of those mythical PKD volumes I searched used book stores and thrift shops for for years. It was first published in the mid-80s, following Dick’s death, then went out of print for almost three decades cos there was never much call for his literary fiction. It’s not sexy enough to be referred to in hushed reverential tones like a DADoES or mind-fucky enough to be a scholarly treatise on humanity and reality like the VALIS trilogy.

It’s a quiet book, dealing with adultery and retail. It’s undeniably an early Dick book, exploring what exactly it means to be human; to feel eternal, knowing all this pain is an illusion. The prose and style will be familiar to anyone who’s read more than a handful of his books or short stories, but it’s not one of his Big Damn Idea books.

I feel I’m not explaining myself very well.

If you’re a genre fan thinking to dabble in Dick, don’t start here. [Waves hand] This is not the book you’re looking for. You go read something else (if you don’t want to start with the usual suspects, I applaud you and would recommend The Penultimate Truth, Dr Bloodmoney or The Cosmic Puppets), cos you will likely find this book’s slightly plodding pace infuriating.

If you’re a litfic reader, looking to broaden your reading horizons, you *could* give this one a go. Maybe only if you’re already into mid-20th Century Americana, though. This might not be the best starting point. You’d be better served picking up Confessions of a Crap Artist or Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (which, yes, is genre fiction, but ONLY JUST).

Fellow Dickheads? Obviously you need to read this. After Milton Lumky (who knew typewriter sales would be so compelling?). You might hate it, but your need for completion will compel you.

TL;DR This book isn’t for you. Or you. Or you. But it might be for YOU.

stealth sex scenes, she’s consuming him, a spider crawls on her hip, a great review, Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, Mario Puzo’s Fools Die,

Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K.Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – READALONG: Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:

Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.

dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:

“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”

the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.

Virgil Finlay illustration of Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

PAPERBACK LIBRARY - Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Virgil Finlay illustration of The Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Posted by Jesse Willis