The SFFaudio Podcast #626 – READALONG: The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #626 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker.

Talked about on today’s show:
1903, 1912, there are 7 movie adaptations (at least), audio drama, no comic book adaptations except for one in Graphic Classics, how influential it is, Dracula, Dracula’s Guest, why excised, is it very similar to Dracula or very different from Dracula?, experimental, aka a lawyer, a school teacher, Lucy’s suitor, cowboy, the doctor, the Dutchman, brides don’t get names, not so much in the format, The Call Of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft, the coziness, they way American television deals with stuff (its a cop show), Odile Thomas from Hypnogoria, Role Playing Game characters, the antiquarian, the daughter from away, the solicitor, the detective named Daw, a module, cause and effect are reversed, lifting from books, H. Rider Haggard, She, common elements, less problematic, less interesting, to chew over, perfectly okay, what filmmakers have done with it, story breaking, most of the people are breaking it from other versions of the movie, most movie makers watch movies and most novelists read novels, re-make, John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Thing From Outer Space (1951), Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, novels are great at a lot of things, tricking you, the toolset is different, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971), the Hammer adaptation, the gothic style and mid-sixties fashion sense, period pieces, as Mr Jim Moon pointed out, the new woman, participants, Mina vs. Tera, the Dutchman’s journal, the cartouches, wearing men’s clothes, reincarnation is bullshit, the latest Tom Cruise mummy film, The Mummy (1999), Frankenstein, there is no definitive mummy story, what a general audience knows about mummies, they’re back, they’re cursed, and they’re out to get people, she’s wrapped but not embalmed, making prep for a return, I’m blossoming, this mummy was undead, regular mummydom, I have something here, it would have been a series… Dracula II: He’s Back, what’s going on in Tera’s plan, same plan as Dracula’s, a lost chapter, the earlier gods, back to the source gods, its really cool what she wants to do, go back to the beginning, where the magic is, raarrrh!, Silvio the cat, he has his own version of Tera, the vat is wiser than Margaret, what happens at the end of this novel?, fresh in Will’s brain, she’s back!, a less cynical read than Jesse does, a 5,000 year journey, the new woman, is it a threat?, yes, everybody’s a threat, how cops deal with people, resisting being killed, we’re all like that, you have hands, cup a tea or a slash with the knife, where she’s coming from, she’s a magician, a great sorcerer, she exceeded her teachers, look at her history, she murdered a lot of people, a menace, she goes through with the marriage, why?, not so much a takeover as a fulfillment of a plan, kind of like a detective story, he gets out a magnifying glass, it becomes a different kind of book, that skillset is not leaded, physically taken over by the spirit of Tera, Tera was manipulating the dad all along, a character named Winchester, the Egyptologist, Abel’s bedroom is actually a tomb, do not remove any of the items from it, let me lie in state, all the Egyptian tombs were active places of attendance, grave goods, by right of possession, he is the curse of this mummy, he’s got the agent off to get the lamps, all the deaths that happen in the excavations and expeditions are his responsibility, ways of understanding how people are understanding, The Awakening (1980), The Mystery Of Imagination’s Curse Of The Mummy Tomb (1970), they saved money, visually its more interesting, a teleplay, 100% behind, the country house, the train, the electricity, the difference in tone, happy in her domesticity, a happy life at home with her adoring husband, the sinister ending, decked out in the queen’s garments with a predatory expression on her face, the best adaptation, fashion issues, problematic fashion, stylish, the seven fingers, all the covers, sometimes caressing a jewel, Jesse can’t stop noticing, a sixth and seventh digit, the hand does a lot of extracurricular activities, Guy De Maupassant’s The Hand and The Withered Hand, Swinburne, mummy stuff around the house is like having a Tesla, Raiders Of The Lost Ark has no mummy but it does have a jewel, a pretty bad movie, its a horror movie, a suspense story, a supernatural story, The Omen, a certain tone, set before the novel starts, high concept, the whole story (but backwards), The Mummy Resurrected (2014) aka Resurrection Of The Mummy, super-terrible, on Tubi, The Eternal (1998), Christopher Walken, set in Ireland, a female iron age druidical bog mummy, almost like an art film, narrated from two childrens’ points of view, the curse is alcohol, thanks Jorge Luis Borges and Bram Stroker, a typo or not, a license and a rewrite, Lou Gosset Jr. Bram Stoker’s Mummy, very faithful and a complete mess, The Tomb (1986) deliberately and accidentally entertaining, musical sequences for no reason, not a good movie but also quite interesting, The Jewel Of *The* Seven Stars, this is wrongly titled, the happy ending, why is she evil, the Wikipedia summary of the plot, manipulated by evil Queen Tera, wreak her will on the end, she’s a Corbek, confusing, Heston’s amazing, he’s wearing the neckerchief, 18 years previous, a curse movie, when you look at a movie it tells you about its period, 1970s = divorce and marriage breakup, the wife is still alive, they are rhyming with the original story, servicing their own subconsciousnesses and serving the audiences, Bram Stoker loves this setup, one stranger from the United States, in good faith working together to solve the issue, “the great experiment”, this whirlpool, this orbit of this obsessive egyptologist, Silvio, we get to do with it whatever we want, she’s also a time traveler, one of the most famous novels of the 19th century, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, all the other films that are basically the same story, Lifeforce (1985), The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Hailey’s comet, a retelling of Dracula (in space), the disappearance of her body, she’s astrally all over the place, she’s a star rover, she’s cosmically aware, where’d he get his money, smuggler drug dealers, Cornish smugglers, re-setup your tomb, all the stars aligned, why it was a craze, a very meta-situation, its not because the Egyptians were obsessed with death, China has mummies from 2,000 years ago, a Chinese mummy, “Lady Dai”, decanted from a mysterious liquid, melons, you can see her tongue, changing lives, windows into a period of time from so long ago, Tera has weaponized our interest, knowledge of forethought, alive again in a physical body, the treasurer with the spear, she wanted to be excavated, English servant, a lower class (?) man who knows evil when he sees it, an elite functionary in a think tank, a weapon for hire, genuinely fascinated, Mad Mike Hoare, Egyptology instead of killing, he’s our klaxon, Silvio is our klaxon, robbing tombs, assuaging European guilt, revenge from a great Empire from 5,000 years ago, a decadent civilization, her evil is less Catholic, she’s willful, I’ve got this whole other system going, why would it be deleted?, it underscores the more bleak vision, the ambiguous ending (1912), why Silvio has seven claws on one foot, its really Silvio’s story, her familiar, cat vs. snake, a grey cat, a tabby, the only female pharaoh of upper and lower Egypt, was Hatshepsut gender fluid?, the trappings of masculinity, her name was obliterated, when we think about kings and queens in ancient days, do whatever they want, financial freedom, you can be a gladiator!, strucken, the blasphemy of their life, resistance to the priestly class, the priestly class today, flourish, be your true self, two extra digits, upper and lower, a full and healthy life and an extra life, Ayesha was evil, manipulative vs. evil, presidents and speakers of the houses, is it seven?, a description:

He was certainly a magnificent animal. A chinchilla grey Persian with long silky hair; a really lordly animal with a haughty bearing despite his gentleness; and with great paws which spread out as he placed them on the ground.

a Lovecraftian description of a cat, a good command of language, quite engaging, slow paced, only 10 hours, quite respectably good prose, beautifully written, smooth and easy to read, Will disagrees, cut out about a third, how efficient that 1970 TV movie adaptation is, no train ride, the gas mask, compressed scenes, it could have been shortened, he cut it the wrong place, commercial instinct, he was a stage manager at an acting theater (a playhouse), tweaking to improve stories, playing to it, right from the beginning, the opening chapter is a dream, this is how Tera manipulates people

It all seemed so real that I could hardly imagine that it had ever occurred before; and yet each episode came, not as a fresh step in the logic of things, but as something expected. It is in such a wise that memory plays its pranks for good or ill; for pleasure or pain; for weal or woe. It is thus that life is bittersweet, and that which has been done becomes eternal.

ways of reading this,

Again, the light skiff, ceasing to shoot through the lazy water as when the oars flashed and dripped, glided out of the fierce July sunlight into the cool shade of the great drooping willow branches—I standing up in the swaying boat, she sitting still and with deft fingers guarding herself from stray twigs or the freedom of the resilience of moving boughs. Again, the water looked golden-brown under the canopy of translucent green; and the grassy bank was of emerald hue. Again, we sat in the cool shade, with the myriad noises of nature both without and within our bower merging into that drowsy hum in whose sufficing environment the great world with its disturbing trouble, and its more disturbing joys, can be effectually forgotten. Again, in that blissful solitude the young girl lost the convention of her prim, narrow upbringing, and told me in a natural, dreamy way of the loneliness of her new life. With an undertone of sadness she made me feel how in that spacious home each one of the household was isolated by the personal magnificence of her father and herself; that there confidence had no altar, and sympathy no shrine; and that there even her father’s face was as distant as the old country life seemed now. Once more, the wisdom of my manhood and the experience of my years laid themselves at the girl’s feet. It was seemingly their own doing; for the individual “I” had no say in the matter, but only just obeyed imperative orders. And once again the flying seconds multiplied themselves endlessly. For it is in the arcana of dreams that existences merge and renew themselves, change and yet keep the same—like the soul of a musician in a fugue. And so memory swooned, again and again, in sleep.

who is having the dream, an Egyptian river aka the Nile, a brief boating expedition with Miss Trelawny, Tera inserting herself,

It seems that there is never to be any perfect rest. Even in Eden the snake rears its head among the laden boughs of the Tree of Knowledge. The silence of the dreamless night is broken by the roar of the avalanche; the hissing of sudden floods; the clanging of the engine bell marking its sweep through a sleeping American town; the clanking of distant paddles over the sea…. Whatever it is, it is breaking the charm of my Eden. The canopy of greenery above us, starred with diamond-points of light, seems to quiver in the ceaseless beat of paddles; and the restless bell seems as though it would never cease….

coming out of the dream, the doorbell, the knocking, you know about the plow, big dipper, Polaris, north of Egypt, he’s definitely a good writer,

The record of a soul is but a multiple of the story of a moment.

deep time, the Egyptians didn’t have a dualist perspective, Jews tend not to go with dualism, there’s your Ka, your astral thing, your body, your id, your ego, your superego, programs inside, my brain is a computer, my mind is the software running on the computer, glitches and reboots (sleep), how does it technically work for Tera, a takeover?, a new vessel, pour your spirit, the dualist take on it, all part of Tera’s plan, moments of clarity, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, don’t fall asleep because you die and some guy wakes up in the morning with your memories, The Body Snatchers, a worse version of you, let’s share this space, she’s like an immigrant, old and new, the upstairs and the batcave, the upper and lower, bring the foreign into England, central to the Empire, the author wrote the book, he’s the guiding hand, he doesn’t have full access to why he’s doing stuff, inhabited by Tera, giving permission, the old woman who’s the new woman, I’ve killed 9 people in the last 5,000 years, ancient alien metal, aerolite, meteorites, star spawned, a magic sword, star connected, she is in some way divine, a symbol of something, the devil is real in a certain sense, numerology, explained as science, the radium that is so prominent, an astral body, hey pick up that fork, corporeal transference, there need be no bounds, its fun to taste stuff, you don’t want to have a sequel, the wrong scale, the possibilities opened up, Will doing his Farmer impression, what the ka does, the Riverworld series, When The World Shook by H. Rider Haggard, a millionaire socialist, a striking resemblance, reincarnation, a science fiction plan to destroy the world, theosophical adventures start to become science fiction stories, so many valances, gothic or weird stories, that X-Files feel, The Jewel Of Seven Stones by Seabury Quinn, Weird Tales, April 1928, a bad priest and a good princess, less ambiguous, Jules de Grandin, no deep philosophy and stuff, read more Bram Stoker, The Crystal Cup by Bram Stoker, super-obscure, very abstract, souls, what does it mean?, a cup filled with nothing in it, taking the reality of materialism and transmuting it into poetic beauty, a stage play, it could be a short film, there’s no characters except for the cup and the light, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, super-cool and very weird, a feature length no budget film adaptation, A Princess Of Mars with LSD, how John Carter gets to Mars, various relationship, the party, the tower, suicidal action, metaphysical, audiobook and readalong available in the feed, Will’s cup of tea, down for more stoker, subtle, she’s got a plan.

The Awakening (1980)

Bram Stoker's The Mummy (1998)

Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971)

The Tomb (1986) VHS

BORIS VALLEJO cover of The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

FRENCH edition of The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

Oxford Paperback - The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

ZEBRA - The Jewel Of Seven Stars, 1979

The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, Arrow 1975

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Reading, Short And Deep #237 – Dreadful Dreamer by Margaret St. Clair

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #237

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Dreadful Dreamer by Margaret St. Clair

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Dreadful Dreamer was first published in Super-Science Stories, July 1949.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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The SFFaudio Podcast #564 – READALONG: VALIS by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, Evan Lampe and Terence Blake talk about VALIS by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1981, science fiction novel?, the long awaited masterwork, you didn’t like it, low expectations, the first half is the best part, it takes place in the head, after the film, the discussion of the film, the Wikipedia, Radio Free Albemuth‘s plot, parallel universe Nixon, state vs. society, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, movement cultures, fighting the Black Iron Prison, this is a political dead end novel, is it science fiction?, the opening, SickMyDuck.narod.ru, quasi-consciousness, gobbledygook,

VALIS (acronym of Vast Active Living Intelligence System, from an American film): A perturbation in the reality field in which a spontaneous self-monitoring negentropic vortex is formed, tending progressively to subsume and incorporate its environment into arrangements of information. Characterized by quasiconsciousness, purpose, intelligence, growth and an armillary coherence.

–Great Soviet Dictionary

Sixth Edition, 1992, used in many others, the copyright details about his other books, A Scanner Darkly, the schizophrenic break, good bits, the autobiographical details, fictionalizing his life, not anything like science, most people don’t have a grasp of what science is, a perturbation in the reality field, progressively subsumed?, a collection of words, he’s eating his own prole feed, he takes as fact, a refutation soon accommodated, this skepticism thing, the same plot as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Book Of The New Sun by Wolfe, the hero can reverse time, that’s there, so much better, weird quest, this 2 year old kid who may or may not be Jesus, more like meta-fiction, reintegrate his brain, Psi-Man heal me, he put’s his hand on Fat’s shoulder, self-hugging, he baptized him with chocolate and a hot dog bun, stuff he’s actually done, not fiction, bullshit people all the time, every now and then this should be science fiction, bullshit with his friends, a rough plot, exegesis, we should be upset, puttering about in a small land, so internal, his other half, Small Holywater, Black WanderingEarth, that’s why its a better novel, it has the satellite, in the beginning was the word,

#36. We should be able to hear this information, or rather narrative, as a neutral voice inside us. But something has gone wrong. All creation is a language and nothing but a language, which for some inexplicable reason we can’t read outside and can’t hear inside.

its important to see why people are attracted to this book, words are data as much as visual data, bear scratching against a tree, i present these words to you and they become reality, dope dope dope 500 times, the word loses its sound and its meaning, words on a page are reality, we have to contend with this, how do you know when this is, it’s tremendous, is that true, dreams, your critical faculties are not in full operation, religious people are presented with evidence, adopted accommodated or ignored, causing a crisis, telegraphed far before, we all have this capacity to generate data, distinguishing it from, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”, untethered to critical no no no no, Fat gained strength, self-criticism, Horselover Fat is the early 60s sociological type, Michel Serres, there’s something broken in his head, he’s a car engine and there’s a serious problem with the mechanics, “The Black Iron Prison”, “The Empire Never Ended”, proved, made up in medieval times, the Roman Empire fell in…, time is not what we think it is, K.W. Jeter, Tim Powers,

“You found your way into the upper realm,” Kevin declared. “Isn’t that how you put it in your journal?”

#48. Two realms there are, upper and lower. The upper, derived from hyperuniverse I or Yang, Form I of Parmeni-des, is sentient and volitional. The lower realm, or Yin, Form II of Parmenides, is mechanical, driven by blind, efficient cause, deterministic and without intelligence, since it emanates from a dead source. In ancient times it was termed “astral determinism.” We are trapped, by and large, in the lower realm, but are, through the sacraments, by means of the plasmate, extricated. Until astral determinism is broken, we are not even aware of it, so occluded are we. “The Empire never ended.”

A small, pretty, dark-haired girl walked silently past Fat and the huge old woman, carrying her shoes. At breakfast time she had tried to smash a window using her shoes and then, having failed, knocked down a six-foot-high black technician. Now the girl had about her the presence of absolute calm.

“The Empire never ended,” Fat quoted to himself. That one sentence appeared over and over again in his exegesis; it had become his tag line. Originally the sentence had been revealed to him in a great dream. In the dream he again was a child, searching dusty used-book stores for rare old science fiction magazines, in particular Astoundings. In the dream he had looked through countless tattered issues, stacks upon stacks, for the priceless serial entitled “The Empire Never Ended.” If he could find it and read it he would know everything; that had been the burden of the dream.

so many comic books, he’s obsessed in a way,

Prior to that, during the interval in which he had experienced the two-world superimposition, had seen not only California, U.S.A., of the year 1974 but also ancient Rome, he had discerned within the superimposition a Gestalt shared by both space-time continua, their common element: a Black Iron Prison. This is what the dream referred to as “the Empire.” He knew it because, upon seeing the Black Iron Prison, he had recognized it. Everyone dwelt in it without realizing it. The Black Iron Prison was their world.

Who had built the prison–and why–he could not say. But he could discern one good thing: the prison lay under attack. An organization of Christians, not regular Christians such as those who attended church every Sunday and prayed, but secret early Christians wearing light gray-colored robes, had started an assault on the prison, and with success. The secret, early Christians were filled with joy.

this is ho you make science fiction this is not science fiction, superimposing the present on the past, James Joyce, 1981 or 1982, Paris, one of the greatest philosopher’s of the 20th century Gilles Deleuze, cinema, a vertical time axis, Marie Louise Von Franz, Jungian theory, a second axis of time, Wolfgang Pauli, tied to a particular experience, a working out of it, dipping into it, this is basically what it is, not that revealing, nonsense, the big words that he’s using, essay writing as a game, write them first, the way Star Trek: The Next Generation technobabble, reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, a black iron prison, does the blackness refer to the iron, its just a phrase that popped into his head and he thinks, this is how religions are birthed, coming straight out of it, so sad, hilarious Philip K. Dick bits, a mental breakdown on the page, a slow decline into depression and isolation, A Scanner Darkly except real, new religious movements, subjective experiences, William James, is there anything not referenced in here, a trained philosopher, Dick doesn’t do any of that stuff, multidimensional, masterful from the beginning, the only sad thing Terence can see, male male male all along, one sided, The Exegesis a fake book, this is a novel, a metafiction novel, its not a fantasy, he perceived those perceptions, its most interesting to him, where it intersects with the stuff in his previous writings, from the beginning, The Cosmic Puppets, much more grounded, breaking himself off from himself, he gets stuck in this loop, I have become a mechanical function of my own idea, a rat trying to get on a rat-proof ship, something mechanically wrong in his brain, the rest of the engine was good, a terrible metaphor, he goes to the therapist and the therapist becomes part of the problem, going back to the themes of the institution vs. the individual, the police steal his stuff, this is not a political book, the society against the state, encouraging movements to do little things, the resistance is always there, in Valis we gotta find Jesus, his interpretation, The Divine Invasion, Shadow And Claw by Gene Wolfe, symbols invent us, the symbol took over his mind, The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer, a cathartic effect, juxtaposing is the problem, that’s the science fiction aspect, its a theory, its unfalsifiable,

9

Wordsworth’s “Ode” carries the sub-title: “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” In Fat’s case, the “intimations of immortality” were based on recollections of a future life.

In addition, Fat could not write poetry worth shit, despite his best efforts. He loved Wordsworth’s “Ode,” and wished he could come up with its equal. He never did.

Boldness is not virtue, Spiders sail on strands, there was no path back, crouched in basement darkness, on and on, infinitude of time, Mind, now torn away, We humans have been told, We larger ones, What of us we lack the stamina, a summary of the book, cats, the key to decoding it, Phil’s Cat by K.W. Jeter, two of PKD’s cats: Mrs. Tubbs and Harvey (an “elegant but paranoid” black cat), lots of stuff from book, a fatalistic attitude, the thing one most loves can be fatal, “Listen, do you hear something.”, with an open can of catfood, two big yellow eyes, his small mind not comprehending the vertical dimension, his spatial coordinates had been right on target, March 1982, his self destructive urges had been transcended, methodically combing the isles, a little scrap of warmth, ludicrous hope, a faith that believed in faithlessness, in the light of the story, this is what the empathy thing he’s so known for is all about, very beautiful, a lot of empathy for cats, his weird relationship with women, weird resentments, retroactive blaming the women, his empathy for women is his bad side, Sherry with cancer, suffering something so horrible, is that his perception or is that the reality, did she know that she was doing that, how do you know that?, citing citations, does she know she’s doing that, that’s the main problem, confronted with both sense data and actual sentences and both are not subject to critical questioning, Jesse saw a ghost once, Jesse loves the idea of ghosts, part of a letter, Last Wave, Summer 1984, The Shadow Out Of Time, hypnagogic images, conversations with, John W. Campbell, ultimately always better, Gene Wolfe’s similar cosmogony, between Dick and Wolfe, a better thinker, he saw Dianetics was bullshit, it seized on him, religion as a kind of a mania, latching on to their stories, Bishop Pike, if Philip K. Dick had access to the internet, anamnesis, three meanings, obsessing over etymology, etymology is everything, he’s in improv, I’m a toaster, have you eaten your toast?, you always go with it, your sense data or your sentence in front of you Jabberwocky, brillig, his vorpal sword, runcible spoon (a grapefruit spoon), runcible to runciter, something animals don’t really do, its almost like we can fall down a well of only believing this one book from 4000 years ago, writing down experiences they never had with a guy they never met, and he’s wrong, a druid ceremony, not the only story even he’s caught up in it, a half hour of notes, Tractates Cryptica Scriptura, usually it takes whole cultures to make a cosmogony, the appendix is kind of useful, in Evan’s podcast episode on Valis, The Gospel According To Philip K. Dick,

50. The primordial source of all our religions lies with the ancestors of the Dogon tribe, who got their cosmogony and cosmology directly from the three-eyed invaders who visited long ago. The three-eyed invaders are mute and deaf and telepathic, could not breathe our atmosphere, had the elongated misshapen skull of Ikhnaton, and emanated from a planet in the star-system Sirius. Although they had no hands, but had, instead, pincer claws such as a crab has, they were great builders. They covertly influence our history toward a fruitful end.

Kilgore Trout, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, an endless hole, the discovery of planets doesn’t occur for quite a long time, an external place vs. another realm, his citation is it seems to me it must be true, horoscopes, there are no dis-confirming facts (until their is), a giant radical shift, its in the paper, if its published its true, the New York Times and The Washington Post, how we get offended by people’s words, you know I don’t REALLY believe this right, I know I’m nutty, the amount of time you spend on it, something is pulling their brain, a cool fact, bloodtype tells about your personality, you don’t know your blood type?, that’s very o positive, imagine saying that about someone’s race, we can’t conceive of that being a thing, this is destiny, this is how all the religious functions work, auspicious, looking good, Roman birds, suspicious, I don’t think we can trust this, trapped in a world of etymology, etymology as destiny, the fake etymology of embarrassed, Jesse doesn’t want to give it up, magic words, pickaninny, niggardly, the airplane was retarded by the braking process, the sound of it is not offensive, words are presentations of reality, the whole whale language thing, cobol, c++, I saw a ghost, I saw a red hat, red hats are not nice hats, words on a page, in your ear, on a sign, causing a dysfunction within us, that’s this book, that’s why this book has power, the revelation is surprising because almost nobody else ever talks about it, not a universal truth, how he described it to Anne, I’m writing an autobiography about BOTH of my personalities and I’m calling it VALIS, structure it as a self-conscious whatever, so much based on actual events, there is no VALIS film, he did call up somebody in Hollywood, he barely knew Gloria, a friend of his, Sic transit gloria mundi, pathology, sending up, funny bits pointing, making fun, he’s deflating the thing in real time, if he lived in our age, the pot showing up in the film, a fish symbol, the DNA molecule, how it connects to Galactic Pot-Healer, this pot did exist, oh yeah, of course, the jewelry in The Man In The High Castle, a photograph of him leaving the funeral early climbing into a Volkswagen, whose reaction is more authentic, if he were a girl, subject to criticism, ditzy, quite pathetic, pathos, Greek for feeling, how great he is at saying that experience of watching a film, applying the rules of filmwatching, Blade Runner, did they intend this to be the meaning, what about the eyes being lit up, different actors disagreeing, as a piece of fiction I’m allowed to spin up as many theories as I want, things outside of the film, where is the meaning?, the meaning goes out the window, macro-focused in the wrong direction, I didn’t see this the first time, adding Phil to the Skype call right now, at the time vs. now, almost guaranteed, everything in there is searchable, Reading, Short And Deep, looking at the text, breaking past the fourth wall into two different axis, no time is god, the boy can replace his wife who has died, its amazing, how seriously should we take this?, Parsifal,

Parsifal is one of those corkscrew artifacts of culture in which you get the subjective sense that you’ve learned something from it, something valuable or even priceless; but on closer inspection you suddenly begin to scratch your head and say, “Wait a minute. This makes no sense.” I can see Richard Wagner standing at the gates of heaven. “You have to let me in,” he says. “I wrote Parsifal. It has to do with the Grail, Christ, suffering, pity and healing. Right?” And they answered, “Well, we read it and it makes no sense.” SLAM.

which heaven do you go to?, the savior saved?, you’re the gods, the typical Nietzsche thing, glorified stupidity, a similar joke in episode 3 of Watchmen, the world being enduring suffering, Amfortas, three superheroes go to heaven, Nite Owl, did the comedian go to heaven?, how many people did you kill?, super moral, Ozymandias, Dr Manhattan, I’m already there, these things that seem to have great meaning, action set pieces, Harry Potter, ultimately its empty, Lord Of The Rings, the experience is not just a walk with Gandalf, finding meaning in existence, hiding in a secondary world, something deep there, its about the setups, kids go up and stuff happens, Tolkien would go to heaven, Wagner would go to hell, Rowling would go to hell, go to Valhalla for the Ring, you’re in the wrong heaven, sir, Valhalla ends at Ragnarok, a temporary heaven, done with VALIS, I wash my hands of it, where does it get us?, political or psychological, such an honest portrayal of having a psychosis and also be very aware of what’s happening, whatever philosophy he’s trying to get at, this is not a philosophy, pre-philosophy, gnostic beliefs, the Kult RPG, in the center of the city, a role playing game about trying to find reality, this module, the keeper or the dungeon master, exploring the reality, the players are in a Black Iron Prison.

On A Cat Which Fell Three Stories And Survived by Philip K. Dick from Last Wave, Summer 1984

Phil's Cat by K.W. Jeter from Last Wave, Summer 1984

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Reading, Short And Deep #204 – Cat And Mouse In Partnership by Bros. Grimm

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #204

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Cat And Mouse In Partnership by Bros. Grimm

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Cat And Mouse In Partnership was first published in Children’s And Household Tales.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #549 – READALONG: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #549 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Talked about on today’s show:
a question on Twitter, Julie, how it even got on the schedule, A Good Story Is Hard To Find (110), June 2015, Mark Woodword, how we’ve never heard of this book, Julie’s mom, very weird, a near masterpiece of Science Fiction, Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth, David Bowie, not about music, Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, one PDF on the PDF Page, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, post apocalyptic, a post-capitalist society, a post-scarcity society, a downer, a slow slow slide into the long dark night, uplifting (also), the state of humanity, they way he reveres reading, enjoy an omelette, re-watching Star Trek, the Animated Series, The Next Generation, it gets better, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Yang, take away all goals, stripping us of our humanity, drugs, hippies, an anti-marijuana book, a critique of the hippies, silent movies, a world you didn’t know, when this old man dies, a different view, Spoforth, pensioning off Paul, reading is not valued, Paul teaches Mary how to read, looking for pornography, he was teaching pornography and mindfulness, a savage critique, who’s the mockingbird?, he wants to know what’s going on, genuine examples of humanity, Julie is being so mean to Paul, Paul in the book, Bentley, spaw-forth or spoof-forth (and multiply), struck to the heart, revealed as the villain, he’s not even sure it’ll work, kill humanity to kill ones’ self, kinda dark, sympathetic, did he intend to kill the child right from the start?, detector, a lot of twists, no diary, a hard shift, switches to Mary Lou, I don’t like this book anymore, not who I imagined her to be, love as a projection, maybe she was blind to herself, or emotionally repressed, when he gets thrown in prison, hanging out with the baleens, a horror novel, shifting around, an impressive world, standard mainstream good writing, built up this whole world, premises are revealed to us, is he a bad guy, an abortionist, destroy humanity, he didn’t invent the system, he’s cursed with an inability to die, massive, a total dystopia, Brave New World‘s children, Huxley was optimistic, self immolation, political protest, a political act, a religious act, a sacrifice, people can’t string ideas together, going to the same cafe, they’re singing, what is the motivation, psychology, Annabelle, SEARS as a church, A Boy And His Dog (1975), a revelation, different genres, my pet Biff, New York City, the Adam and Eve theme, story is how we find truth, books get us in touch with other minds, what a masterpiece, have you got to the monkey bacon yet?, bacon for monkeys?, clever ideas going on, a lot of biblical stuff, this is Jonah, he’s vomited out, the thought buses are like the friends in Job, they’re something else, that thought wasn’t finished, the true inhabitants of the city, a line relevant to our times, cars were promulgated by a cabal of oil manufacturers, dealing with the consequences of a world we never made, a mass transportation system, look very deeply back at old stuff at the time, reading TV Guide from 1980, it’s fascinating, yo, a good magazine about the technology of TV, what television will be like in 1990, they kinda nailed it, gay behavior will be more popular, the trends we see here, the 1980 Olympics in Russia, the invasion of Afghanistan, anyone who would invade Afghanistan is obviously a monster, the fossils of a previous generation, A Streetcar Named Desire, streetcars around the world, one more reason to go to Nice (France), I say that in Jes(t), she picks a fruit, its artificial, what they’re being taught in school, quick sex is best, it comes from the same place, reconstructed all the greatness in science fiction, a mainstream book with a deeply science fiction world behind it, the zoo is all fake, even the children are fake, the Adam and Eve thing, when he comes back to Marylou, Jesus!, Mary, the notion of felix culpa (the fortunate fall), remembering her action, he explicitly remembers, it isn’t going to be as bad as you think, thank you Terence, so loaded, Spoforth is a good carpenter, the poem from T.S. Eliot, the songful simian, a Christ figure, the little sparrow, like the end of Blade Runner when Roy Batty dies, the same problem in the other direction, a sort of love, joy, compassion, influenced?, a lot of Philip K. Dick elements, artificial emotions, the symmetry trick that works every time, it’s beautiful, an act of mercy and love, the poor guy, condemned to Hell on Earth, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, I Am, keep sliding towards oblivion, actively seeking death, the mercy that he wants the mercy he’s trying to give humanity, the behavior of humans is not good, an Arthur C. Clarke vibe, The City And The Stars, that world is perfectly broken, the only thing you can do is appreciate the abstract, blotchy moving colour shapes and sounds, no more music, the heart and the center of the book, the robot toaster factory, a whole novel, a mindless parody of productivity, those grey uniformed sub-morons that all look like Peter Lorre, and then he fixed them, suddenly people are getting toasters again, the warmth and the light (a preview), its a rebirth, what happened in real-life that you didn’t see on twitter, looking for stuff on Netflix, Year One (2009), cave man comedies, fur bikinis, One Million B.C. (1940), science fiction stories, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling, The Wonderstick by Stanton A. Coblentz, the wonder of the wheel the wonder of the stick, a retelling of the bible, Harold Ramis plays Adam, David Cross is Kane as Paul Rudd is Abel, that tree of knowledge, only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods, that’s really powerful, all the characters, Simon, the alternative father for Marylou, why she’s so different, monstrous and straight out of Brave New World, we recognize all this biblical stuff, you get both, there’s gotta be something out there, an The Brick interview with Walter Tevis, it felt very Lawrence Block-y, “Mockingbird’s about coming out of alcoholism.”, “But I don’t do any outlin­ing. I don’t do any researching. I was tempted while writing Mockingbird to start watching silent movies, you know, and see if I could pick some interesting stuff to use, and I realized that would’ve been just a dodge to avoid the type­writer. So I never research anything.”

LD: You paint a pretty bleak picture in terms of lit­eracy in Mockingbird.

WT: It comes from twenty-five years of being an English teacher.

RW: Do you see a decline in literacy? I do, but do you?

WT: Oh, you hear about it a lot. Yes, I’ve seen it a bit, but my private experience as an English teacher has been that Americans don’t read books. They didn’t read books in 1949 when I started teaching. They don’t read books now Television did make a difference. It deepened the slack of the slackjaws and gave another great quantity of garbage for people to fill their lives with. But, you know, there was other garbage around before television. Mockingbird does sometimes, I think, weaken into an attack solely on television and on the modern world, and “weaken” I say because I’m not completely convinced of all those things that I say. But what I am convinced of is that it is very bad for people to find substitutes for living their lives, and that’s what I hope I do say, and say well, from time to time in the book.

reading is the tool that opened up his mind and taught him how to think, a photograph of notes to the editor, the surprise that she’s going to narrate, destructive to our view of his wonderful relationship, she came to appreciate him, he forgot her too, what they had wasn’t super-deep, she was Dante’s Beatrice, Edward Hopper, there’s no door in Nighthawks, alone together, some lady sitting on a bed looking out a window, beautifully painted, what makes us care about his paintings is the emotions in these characters, the emotions that make Hopper’s paintings so powerful, a criticism of the kind of television being shown in the book, stimulating arrangements of color form and design, the psychedelic, Tevis’ take on Hopper’s quote, yeah exactly, four things you can get from films (books), manipulating one’s mental states, a means of learning something about the past, why memory is not enough, sympathizing with other people from other times, knowing about other people’s feelings you discover your own feelings, he captures that experience, jokes from 200 years ago, a line that crystallizes something you’ve always known but never seen before, before Plato, the only book he never reads is Gone With The Wind, See Spot Run, the alphabet is arbitrarily ordered, this is science fiction, the scene in Frankenstein where the creature learns how to read and speak, Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, his creation book (Frankenstein’s lab notes), this is a Frankenstein-fixed story, the creation of the world, how to service robots and thought-buses, a masterpiece, nature is always pulled in, puzzling over how to fix the thought-bus, a large dramatic spiderweb, the moon, made of pure light, the elaboration and power of life that could make such a design, this makes me feel something, Julie’s favourite Psalm is Psalm 19, so mysterious, the way you hold that cup, so much bigger, the human experience, he wrote it for us, the earlier scene with the spiderweb, the court is a plastic building, you go clean the judge’s face, yellow powder, they all have the same look on their face, the system turns on and gears up, other prisoners, the prison sequence, I didn’t see this coming, Belasco, tattoos, Queequeg!, rule breakers, paintings of trees and birds, have a fire on the beach, as free as people in that world can be, a temptation to stay there?, the escape itself, a community of people to help him toughen up, the beginning of his journey, The Handmaid’s Tale. reading is powerful, the way we got there, our own fucking laziness, go along get along, rage rage rage against the machine, read a fucking book, you’ll like it it’s good, not just shore-dinners, a so coddled society, memorizing your life, a kind of writing, a book that feels like its in dialogue with Fahrenheit 451, drop out communities, finding the libraries (it’s treasure!), insistence of family and community, Annabelle becomes his mother, enriched by other communities, great risks to my individuality, the robots who taught me, yup, individualistic, you’re not letting me help anyone, a balance, a really good job of pointing that stuff out, it doesn’t feel like a sermon, super-funny, Buster Keaton, he’s baptized in the mall, the SEARS (catalogue) was a big part of Jesse’s life in 1980, a book of pictures of things, the world in the background economically makes sense, could you game in this world?, a survival game, rebuild society, back to board-games, Scrabble, role-playing games, a very New York thing to do, California, The Last Chase (1981), how the credit card system worked, the pricing, what are they teaching in those classrooms?, yoga and meditation?, sopors, soma, give yourself to the screens, Terence is right!, social media, stream everything, everybody is literate now (to read stop signs and instructions), people who never read anything (maybe a magazine once a year), a super-nice person, what is wrong with you, there are these parallel societies, Anabelle is that representation, part of this is looking at creativity, Spoforth wasn’t creative but he learned, Exhalation Stories: (The Lifecycle Of Software Objects) by Ted Chiang, the whole him trying to find his earlier incarnation, recapture what he had lost from his earlier mind, in the dream, its a baby, just before he dies, the missing peice in the puzzle of his dream, in Westworld for recipe for an intelligent robot is a reverie, the reverie we get from literature, its made him more human, he’s trying trying trying, another element of information, what humanizes him, he felt love, the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, I love you, still strange, the mockingbird sings from the edge of the woods, Scott Danielson, “Whose woods these are I think I know”, the mockingbird is the creative artist, always in association with creativity, a deepening sadness, more creative than we give him credit for?, the boy’s drawings, it works on multiple levels, the fake, the marginal, mocking, a mockery of a man, the emotions of a man and he can’t connect, this mock level, mockingbird songs, things stung together, Tevis is the mockingbird, there’s this hybridization, a very literary book, To Kill A Mockingbird, it sings its heart out, to deal with race again, is it because you’re a black man, it’s 1978, the most advanced beautiful man ever, he was the pinnacle and they made him a black man, still enslaved, in his dream his feet are white, Typee by Herman Melville, an Anabelle like character, only one person’s working hard all day line, Bentley see this as an injustice, is it an injustice?, her choice, making something of value, cooking is work, its still good to feed the kids (even if they can’t thank you), making the mistake of thinking humans are all one way, objectivism, let’s be greedy together, reading Ayn Rand, is Anthem a rip-off of We, moms being moms, I’m a loner, everybody’s talking to each other all the time, invading privacy is the worst thing, it was the robots that did it, the society happened almost by accident, quite beautiful, we fall into the trap of amusing ourselves to death, John Savage likes pain, they twist it against him, “that’s illegal”, those people are all around us, he had his stash, dumping herself full of Valium, him living in her house, thank your mom for us, how many people heard about it through you through her through this podcast, Marissa would have been here very happily, the Westworld connection, good choice, thank you!

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

The SFFaudio Podcast #506 – READALONG: Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #506 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1953/1954, people and animals getting smarter on the Earth, Space Science Fiction, the 2nd half was never published, the first half is public domain, Greg Bear and Poul Anderson’s daughter, bad logic, a strange curiosity, 1953, oh crap my subscription’s lapsed!, The Escape, putting Poul Anderson on notice!, Scott’s prediction, idea science fiction, fantastic, very good, the reviews, what people love about it, too short?, 164 pages, Archie Brock, Jesse is not here to poop on the book, the imagery, the opening, Ray Bradbury, an elephant, a chimpanzee with a shotgun, these covers are weird, not a novel about an animal uprising, that’s not what you see mostly, didn’t come to fruition, throwaway stuff, a revolution in Africa, a one off, gorillas organizing, Protector by Larry Niven, A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge, the laws of thought in different in different parts of the galaxy, Earth is in the slow zone, stories that nest within this premise, a dampening field was turned off, echoes in other stories about intelligence or stupidity, Anderson didn’t say enough, it wasn’t philosophical enough, the dog, reflection on motivation, reading news reports, the Chinese army has defected, characters coming up with explanations for other characters to shoot down, a shotgun approach, the Goodreads reviews, a good idea for a bunch of different writers to tackle, Mike Resnick can take a bone and chew on it real good, Rachel In Love by Pat Murphy, Flowers For Algernon, a lack of focus, a whole novel about that farm, what does it mean to be smart, people going crazy, its better to be stupid (so as to not be unhappy), a philosophical meditation or exploration, among the scientists, cut the book up, the space stuff is supposed to make us think, is there something that we don’t see?, that’s amazing, no backup systems, no safeguards, an arrogance there, hubris!, racing brains, manic, what about the insects?, the pigs, it almost turned into Animal Farm for a minute, how George Orwell’s novel can be explained, bees, ants, social insects, the higher animals, working at real speed, shrew to humans, reptiles, fish, what about all the aquatic mammals, dolphins and whales, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, he isn’t really interested in the animals except on the farm, 5 times boost, critical mass, let’s explore what intelligence is, is this about school?, more facts, more history, math, train you up, a useful and functional member of society, quitting your job and moving to the country, Clifford D. Simak’s City stories, it’s not a metaphor, what Anderson thinks education is about, they never make the whole planet dumb, a sidebar, save humanity by making it dumb, so 2018, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, an apple the size of a basketball (or bigger), a scientific adventure romance, a fabulation, a fertilizer that boosts production, the ultimate result, a homeostasis, profits are always temporary, no eternal profits (or prophets either), very sparky for ideas, no answers, a real thorny issue, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Scott is surprised, if you multiply everyone’s intelligence by 5 the system we live in will fall apart, rote jobs, the elevator job, the farm job, Sheila wasn’t very bookish (was looking into the abyss), Jesse doesn’t know what intelligence is, very pleasant house frau, deep conversations, dissatisfied, I don’t want to know, red pill blue pill, is that intelligence, so small, people don’t enjoy things except for food, bad coffee, super geniuses on top of super geniuses, IQ, what IQ tests are, we’ve got morons and we’ve got imbeciles, problematic language, disability to the mean, mental disabilities, mental classes, does existential angst only kick-in at a certain intelligence class?, sphere of influence, put things back the way it was, there wasn’t a universal thesis, intelligence is a bag, this explains voting, you guys aren’t doing it right, “if everybody got a 5x boost Hillary would be president”, why not the American army, ho one gets classified as an officer (vs. a grunt), why is Sgt. Rock a sergeant, the iconic Nick Fury (and his Howling Commandos), the top of the competence chain, he isn’t saying specific, no single thesis, what is intelligence, bad at math good at smelling bullshit, sometimes stupid sometimes smart, gradients or thresholds, here’s a massive effect, why do so many move to the country?, circumstances and limitations, intellectual limitations vs. vs. power limitations, the rabbit has not hand, power and manipulation, no matter how smart dolphins are they don’t impact us?, what’s a dolphin going to do with a ship?, what’s in the black box (underneath)?, Jesse will shut up for a while, no evolutionary pressure to increase intelligence after a certain level, no supersingularity civilizations, humans can now explore the galaxy, what is that going to do?, human-alien relations, story possibilities, now what?, leaving it hopeful at the end, categories of human, the level we used to be, good luck and godspeed, neanderthals and homo sapiens, recolonize the earth, what the pigs have to say about being slaughtered, veganism, pigs are ok to eat because they’re yummy, negotiations, mutually yummy, we’re mutually yummy, chicken eggs, how much is language importance to intelligence?, dogs and pigs and the elephant, a new logical language, natural shorthand, efficiency of communication, pretty hungry, now the sheep knows what’s happening, cows don’t want to go in the slaughterhouse, in the queue, I’ve heard Bessie, what does this mean?, an animal with human level intelligence and no thumbs and no fire, new sets of questions, selection pressure, no hands and no speech, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Startide Rising by David Brin, a driving thesis, it doesn’t really work that way, reading the gossip column, poetry is making her depressed, we need to develop a new philosophy, usually the problems, what is the new relationship on the farm going to be?, what should happen?, should we stop eating meat?, if pigs were intelligent(er), lots of experience with cows, feral pigs in Texas, vegetarianism, dairy, slaughtering animals for meat, another thing Anderson doesn’t think about, what about Africa?, Mountain Lions are lions, they can’t eat vegetables, carnivores, what are the predator prey dynamics, birds of prey, intelligence is associated with hunting, instincts to huddle up and get in the center, runaway or get to the center, hide and kill, wolves, stalk, kill, a major disruptor of ecology, what will the wolves do, Traveller (RPG), the entire Earth’s ecology will be disrupted, what we don’t see, the amount of time spent under tutelage, both kids in college, an empty nest, 18 years in the nest, most animals, insects and snakes never meet their parents, hunting skills, a full fledged member of the group, the cultural tools, linguistic tools, not just for poetry, much more to be said on this topic, a place to spark ideas from, not the end word on it, from Locus magazine, what five books would I like to be remembered for? Tau Zero, Mid Summer Tempest, The Boat Of A Million Year, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Enemy Stars, Brain Wave, what science fiction does best, maybe one more chance, thank you Paul, he didn’t put the High Crusade on the list, Call Me Joe, funny and fun.

Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Posted by Jesse Willis