The SFFaudio Podcast #567 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Alchemist by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #567 – The Alchemist by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (30 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Maissa Bessada, Terrence Blake and Julie Hoverson.

Talked about on today’s podcast:
The United Amateur, November 1916, 1908, 17 or 18 years old, consistently left out, The Beat In The Cave, a straight up Lovecraft story, the very last part of the very last episode of The H.P. Lovecraft literary Podcast‘s last Lovecraft episode, the opening, the ending, peters and swoons, the surprise that’s no surprise, the happiest (funniest), perfect, those words, a dramatic reveal, so inbred, incredibly dense, “ok, boomer”, black death, okay Tithonus, Eos the goddess of dawn, gods are merciful, Endymion, sleep forever, Cassandra, be careful what you wish for, Charles le Sorcier, why it is a comedy, claws for hands, same old clothes from 600 years, ago, skeletal, he’s a lich, Antoine is incredibly dense, weird phenomenon, who is telling this story and why, age 90, who is he telling this to?, subversive ways of reading it, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, set in Italy, wounded somehow, banditi, the scions of the house he’s in, the chateaus are both frowning, metonymy or synecdoche, the head of an old man, wooded around the base and has a head, a less sexual reading, given the crowning, the women are immediately killed, sacrificed to the devil and died in childbirth, 25 (or 32) generations without girls, Crusader Kings II, the painter paints his wife so well, entranced, wrought, THIS IS INDEED LIFE ITSELF!, aghast, FOOL! CAN YOU NOT GUESS MY SECRET?, it is I I I I, I love that ending, do you not know how the secret of life was solved?, I’ve been studying these texts, he speaks Latin, if you stick only to the text, the new document that has been handed down from father to son, why is that gold there?, to rebuild the estate, he never leaves the house, wait another 32 years, Antoine has these secrets now, he kills him with fire, the relationship between the two men and the two families, all about the other, cursed to fulfill his curse, move on, in the comic adaptation, 10,000 generations, feeling sorry for Charles, they live in the same castle, you idiot!, a black blob still alive, look at how many of these have the same theme, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, about a lich who inhabits one of his own descendants, The Thing On The Doorstep, ancestral papers, The Rats In The Walls, its within, the H.P.L.H.S. adaptation, De La Pore, the letter is lost, the family curse, an excellent adaptation by Julie Hoverson of 19 NOCUTURNE BOULEVARD, A(udio)D(rama)Infinitum, Maissa’s podcast: The Destiny Of Special Agent Ace Galaksi, free and amateur audio drama, as a comedy, single person narrative, the phone call is coming from inside the house, what he’s doing in that room, House Of Long Shadows, Lovecraft’s little twist on the Gothic, a serial killer, The Castle Of Otranto, at the end of a traditional gothic, traditional Scooby-Doo, a naturalistic explanation, a narrative within the narrative, a framed story, a framed portrait, wooo spooky, the second to last page, disliking the sight I turned away (from the Gothic door), very wondering about his father and his ancestors, his servant Pierre, upon my 21st birthday, of the most startling nature, the gravest of my apprehension, a certain circumstance which I always deemed strange, a certain sandwich place, my belief in the supernatural was firm and deep seated, OF COURSE!, he’s been studying the occult books in the library, at age 90 his beliefs are no longer firm, he literally faints, not an actual curse, the sorcery in this story, the house of C__., straight out of Shakespeare, the magic spell, that was Charles pushing that rock, it IS a comedy, is he the son of the devil?, presumably she gave birth prior to the burning, this story is getting better and better, so many parallels between the two families, one redeeming ray of humanity, a fierce intensity, a more than filial affection, “you killed my stepdad/lover”, he’s an alchemist not a sorcerer, the appearance of magic, I figured out a way to make gold and I also learned how to make the elixir of life, the curse is that he’s cursed himself, the philosopher’s stone, things move around, a liquid stone, the burning liquid, the progenitor, Pierre means stone, is Pierre a golem?, a reagent, a catalyst, there’s this stuff called DNA that’s magic, he passes through the Gothic door, why does Lovecraft do it?, is he making this interesting point?, it MAY have been gold, I was strangely effected by that which I’d undergone, Dark Of The Hillside Thickets, the boy Antoine, the wild ravines and grottoes, dusty forest, it’s The Outsider, in trying to sell this to Maissa, he had a dragon head, he was not allowed to talk to the kids of the village, maybe the castle has no mirrors, the dragon-headed boy that you are, he doesn’t know what he is, there IS no Charles le Sorcier, suckered in with poetry, the gothicness of it, I preceded back some distance, suddenly feel to my experience, its rusted hinges, a dream from 1909, two human skulls, Carl Jung, that’s a death-wish who do you want to kill, a map of his soul, its in the air, a plumbing the depths of your own castle, clothing the hills, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe, all skully, all rotty,

XVI. The Window

The house was old, with tangled wings outthrown,
Of which no one could ever half keep track,
And in a small room somewhat near the back
Was an odd window sealed with ancient stone.
There, in a dream-plagued childhood, quite alone
I used to go, where night reigned vague and black;
Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack
Of fear, and with a wonder each time grown.

One later day I brought the masons there
To find what view my dim forbears had shunned,
But as they pierced the stone, a rush of air
Burst from the alien voids that yawned beyond.
They fled—but I peered through and found unrolled
All the wild worlds of which my dreams had told.

David Lindsay’s Voyage To Arcturus, an inner journey, Music Of Erich Zann, Julie’s Lovecraft Five audio dramas are now out in Germany, full of morphine charm and comfortable goose, archetypes, Arthur Jermyn, backstory, The Dunwich Horror is all backstory, C. Auguste Dupin, The Picture In The House, the way it is told is different, at least that’s what I told the police, The Haunter Of The Dark, From Beyond, The Shunned House, a vampire’s elbow, beautiful dead women vs. architecture, a library of an ancient family, is my line cursed?,

The House

‘Tis a grove-circled dwelling
Set close to a hill,
Where the branches are telling
Strange legends of ill;
Over timbers so old
That they breathe of the dead,
Crawl the vines, green and cold,
By strange nourishment fed;
And no man knows the juices they suck from the depths of their dank slimy bed.

In the gardens are growing
Tall blossoms and fair,
Each pallid bloom throwing
Perfume on the air;
But the afternoon sun
With its shining red rays
Makes the picture loom dun
On the curious gaze,
And above the sweet scent of the the blossoms rise odours of numberless days.

The rank grasses are waving
On terrace and lawn,
Dim memories sav’ring
Of things that have gone;
The stones of the walks
Are encrusted and wet,
And a strange spirit stalks
When the red sun has set,
And the soul of the watcher is fill’d with faint pictures he fain would forget.

It was in the hot Junetime
I stood by that scene,
When the gold rays of noontime
Beat bright on the green.
But I shiver’d with cold,
Groping feebly for light,
As a picture unroll’d—
And my age-spanning sight
Saw the time I had been there before flash like fulgury out of the night.

Lovecraft sees a house, The Lurking Fear, the grass is strangely over-nourished, drawing the conversation, what does this evoke in us?, appreciating what’s going on, you’re seeing things better, a different myth cycle, connections between The White Ape and The Picture In The House, what this evolution stuff, the narcissistic wound, we thought we were god’s chosen turns out , a white man in somebody’s basement getting your revenge every 32 years, it seems a rudimentary story, no cosmic or metaphysical element, there’s something about the end, You fool! Warren is dead!, recognize the will, Arthur Schopenhauer, the only way out is to deny the will, he’s a bad alchemist, the eternal return of killing, he’s made a metaphysical mistake, not everyone really lives, The Cask Of Amontillado, you who know me so well, his confessor, Fortunado, I got away with it, why are we being told this story, is he living in an old folks’ home, The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco, renewing an old horror?, The Beast In The Cave, The Lurking Fear, became a C.H.U.D., whatchoo gonna do about it son?, so many thing unsaid, Marissa couldn’t stop thinking about it, he has a dragonface, from its machicolated parapet, stones or boiling oil, mounted battlements, worm eaten wainscots, that’s what he does with his time, he explores the ruins, called to the land beyond, the only human creature, cobwebs in profusion, untenanted gloom, dream holiday, bat and alchemist guano, he’s down there sciencing, the kid was fine, Lovecraft’s interest in witches, a political or social charge, sorcery in Saudi Arabia, Russia’s interfering in our elections (with magical ads on Facebook), Russian stooges, the old fashioned way, back to the children being killed, Gilles de Rais, The Unnameable, Mr Jim Moon, Cotton Mather, at the southward there was a Beast, this fellow was hereupon examined, infamous, they tortured him, the eye thing, he’s reading all these old books, he is that guy in the tower, his house is collapsing, he achieved his immortality, Malleus Maleficarum, vanishing testicles, he spent his whole childhood in a castle reading books.

The Alchemist by H.P. Lovecraft - comic book cover art by Octavio Cariello

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #457 – READALONG: The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #457 -Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Talked about on today’s show:
1975, not his real name, tabula rasa, genre movies, WWII movies, the 1970s, Where Eagles Dare (1968), Admiral Canaris, the framing device, stumbling over a mystery, “a false document”, the research frame, a secret history, Michael Crichton, John Carter (2012), putting yourself in the frame, Eaters Of The Dead, extensive footnotes, on the copyright page, one of the citations is from the Necronomicon, Ash by Mary Gentle, the onion layers, changes, a compressed time-frame?, Liam Devlin, Molly Prior, an editing-budget problem, Michael Caine, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, an IRA meeting, Donald Sutherland, tics on screen, we only had two days, the preamble, Dakota, interesting parallels, everyone on Earth knows this phrase in 1976, similarly audacious, a suppressed truth, a false truth, flat-earthers, if monkeys could talk, how many colonels do we have in this book?, Steiner, the American colonel, three kinds of veteran, Larry Hagman, a thankless task, Kelly’s Heroes (1970), incompetent vs. hyper-competent, non-Nazi, two polarities, uber-experienced, Robert Duvall, Max Radl, professional competence, dying, the priest, Joanna Grey, the brother-sister duality Philip and Pamela, Himmler-Churchill, the trickiness of Churchill, “Action This Day”, Colonel Pitts is the worst, Devlin is devilish, the last adventurer, the BBC audio drama, kidnap Hitler, The Eagle Has Flown, Michael Caine gets first billing, why Steiner is so charismatic, Steiner gets his shot at the fake Churchill in the movie, he dies with (as far as he knows) having completed his mission, media hype, giant Swastika on every cover, iconic hateable, Cross Of Iron (1977), panzer guys on retreat, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz’s SS Colonel Hans Landa, good Germans, no graphics, Squad Leader, Lucasfilm games’ Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain, when people don’t know what the fuck they are talking about (when you shouldn’t read their book), the Pentagon, building up a beautiful picture, Otto Skorzeny, parallels are so interesting, German and American parents, releasing the hostages, why are you German?, why are you the bad guy?, Computer Ambush, Harry Turtledove, Skorzeny gets to be awesome, seeing the parallels, Prussian style military officer, if we’re going to have WWII movies, other parallels, a love child, Charles Dickens, being Irish and English, dealing with backstory, Steiner’s father story, a major general, back details, Joanna Grey’s backstory, did you think the Nazis invented concentrations camps?, Robert Duvall steals the film, get your family out, Jung and synchronicity, providence, the hand of the author, what if?, The Man In The High Castle, almost everything is lifted, Warn That Man (1943), Went The Day Well? (1942), play by mail, a distant world, the candy bar as the reveal, an obscure movie with a great plot, Jack Higgins was a kid during WWI, his breakthrough novel, a huge hit, the sweet spot for WWII paperbacks, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, how are children dealt with in this book, upping her age, the two children, fate and synchronicity, accident, revealing his true nature in the doing, none of this is history, chronologically broken, Steiner saves the Jewess, a material difference, a useless gesture, “Kill Churchill? When we’ve already lost the war?!”, synchronicity has lined it up, an opportunity to do something special, his smoking-his drinking-his hand-he’s dying, some purpose, battle-tested, an ignoble death, 1943, North Africa, Italy, commandos, the Dieppe Raid, a pent-up inferiority complex, none of them has ever been in battle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the wrong mission, back and forth, undercuts or enhances, it would not have worked…even if…, what was the purpose of WWII, nobody got what they wanted, a grotesque, a miniature version of the war itself, Wehrmacht draftees, countries get away from people, the government is doing things in your name that you don’t approve, “register to vote”, his other books, this is THE Jack Higgins novel, meta-commentary, in the hands of fate, when I got put into this book, I have to do my job, a continual suicide mission, the Channel Islands, caring and doing research, why the records don’t appear, “a true story”, The Andromeda Strain, building up the idea, copyright page and footnotes, a hoaxer-conspiracy guy, citations, archive.org and newspapers.com, just fucking with us, Erich von Däniken, sea-floor deposition, Ogopogo, Sasquatch, cryptoids, Seanan McGuire, an immortal single sea-serpent, could you write this book today?, for people who know, that was weird, Steen Hansen, Today I Learned, o-rings on the Space Shuttle, a short period before, how can you have anybody who has any cultural memory, there’s no one in the Pentagon…, the dinosaur bones of the period after, the cultural legacy, none of these movies are on Netflix, almost no movies that aren’t from the 2000s, they don’t even have a DVD, vicissitudes of streaming availabilities, Westworld, how do you culturally institute this, movies on TV is cheap content, VHS, wanting to see movies from before you were born is a strange, it extends to books as well (in the science fiction book reading community), out of the bounds of this movie, out of date by a decade or more, goodness, The City And The Stars, Ringworld, Dune, it is better to mine the past than to sieve the present, that they bothered to even finish an old book is a good sign, exploring the boundries of what makes something interesting as a good book, its really mysterious, false documentation (or documentation in general), A Plague Of Giants, the framing story, where and when and why, the second person narrative, SS-GB, Fatherland by Robert Harris, did this really happen?, he knows all that, the British Freicorp, they chose unwisely, can’t be de-Nazified, Harvey Preston, sexual assault, who is the traitor?, what does a traitor look like?, the uniforms, a disguise, when Otto Skorzeny was put on trial, “we did the same thing”, during the Battle Of The Bulge, they’re cheating in an honorable way, asking us what makes something noble or legit in war?, this town is pretty horrible, condoning Molly’s mistreatment, “none of your business”, “God bless all here”, the local bully, no policemen in this town (in the book), “male privilege”, sexual assaults are implied, that’s somebody’s family member, a feud, exile was the traditional way, a “pierced eardrum”, a very big book, in sympathy with pretty much everybody, only Himmler comes off really bad (played by Donald Pleasance), Escape From New York is kind of this book!, such a good point, Snake Plisken is Steiner, he’s a traitor, the audio drama of Escape From New York by Bill Hollweg, robbing the Federal Reserve in a dystopia makes him a hero, Nazi Germany is a dystopia, very Snake Plisken, badge patches, reputation: “I heard you were dead.”, taking real life situations and circumstances, incredibly interesting parallels that mirror, a masterful novel, exactly the right recipe, connections to all sorts of stuff far beyond WWII.

POCKET BOOKS - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

The Eagle Has Landed

LISTEN FOR PLEASURE - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #195 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Polaris by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #195 – Polaris by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Jim Moon. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (11 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it by Jesse, Tamahome, Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Philosopher (an amateur magazine), is this a Christmas story?, The Festival, Lord Dunsany, The Necronomicon, Lovecraft’s Christianity, religion vs. Tradition, Lovecraft’s relationship to his characters, WWI, eldritch gibbering, fainting fits, Lovecraft loved his snoozing, reincarnation vs. mind transfer, time travel, alternate realities?, neanderthal in North America?, what is the setting?, The Horror Of The Museum, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, swamps vs. bogs vs. fens, “Eskimos” vs. “Inutos”, dishonorable dirty fighting, The Shadow Out Of Time, Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu, The Tomb, it’s The Outsider in reverse, Atlantis, Athens, Lemuria, the Land of Lomar, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Hyperborea, King Kull, Mu, the Dream Lands, atavism, The Rats In The Walls, “a penchant for strange foods”, Jack London, Carl Jung, race memory, the evolutionary path, dishonorable yellow hordes, the yellow peril, “line up and die”, startings and endings, repeated phraseology, a dunsany-esque story, the Dunsany mode, Edgar Allan Poe, its like an extended prose poem, Silence: A Fable, Shadow: A Parable, Ligea is labyrinthine, “battered by adjectives”, The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany, poetic stories, accessible Dunsany stories, In The Fields We Live, “sinister, whimsical, and beautifully odd”, Victorian magazines, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, C.S. Lewis, Michael Moorcock, world-building, a consistency of reality, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, lost epochs, “the wisdom of the Zobnarrian Fathers”, “bubble and blaspheme”, the alien outer gods, Lovecraft’s interest in astronomy, Charles Wain (aka the plow, aka the big dipper), mapping the skies, messages and impressions, Arcturus, Cassiopeia, Aldebaran, Philip K. Dick, “the world is alive”, a leering star, astrological time, if the seeing is good…, Lovecraft’s desire to be an astronomer, Lovecraft’s formal education.

Polaris by H.P. Lovecraft

Posted by Jesse Willis