Five Free Favourites #17: SFFaudio’s Socialist Leanings

SFFaudio Online Audio

This post, over on The Weekly Ansible, is, apparently, China Miéville’s list of 50 SFF “Works Every Socialist Should Read.”*

We’ve talked about four of the books and short stories on the list and done five shows on them.

I think each of them is pretty terrific, so I’ve added links to where you can download them:

Five Free Favourites

The SFFaudio Podcast#1 – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
SFFaudio Podcast #178 (AUDIOBOOK/READALONG) – |MP3|
“Towering work by this radical thinker. Terrifying short story showing how savage gender oppression can inhere in “caring” relationships just as easily as in more obviously abusive ones.”

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The SFFaudio Podcast#2 – Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
SFFaudio Podcast #094 (READALONG) – |MP3|
“Savage attack on hypocrisy and cant that never dilutes its fantasy with its satire: the two elements feed off each other perfectly.”

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The SFFaudio Podcast#3 – The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells (1896)
SFFaudio Podcast #140 (AUDIOBOOK) |MP3|
“Like a lot of Wells’s work, this is an uneasy mixture of progressive and reactionary notions. It makes for one of the great horror stories of all time.”

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The SFFaudio Podcast#4 – The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells (1896)
SFFaudio Podcast #140 (READALONG) – |MP3|
“Like a lot of Wells’s work, this is an uneasy mixture of progressive and reactionary notions. It makes for one of the great horror stories of all time.”

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The SFFaudio Podcast#5 – We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924)
SFFaudio Podcast #192 (READALONG) – |MP3|
“A Bolshevik, who earned semi-official unease in the USSR even in the early 1920s, with this unsettling dystopian view of absolute totalitarianism. These days often retrospectively, ahistorically, and misleadingly judged to be a critique of Stalinism.”

*the original article from Fantastic Metropolis is “temporarily available.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (narrated by Xe Sands)

SFFaudio Online Audio

Professional narrator Xe Sands (Xe is pronounced “exy”) recorded a terrific sounding audiobook of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper back in June.

Sez Xe:

Originally, I wanted to record “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson. Sadly, it is not in the public domain. But then, for some reason, this wonderful, dark, gothic story of a woman’s descent into madness came to mind. Not sure whether to thrilled to have the perfect piece, or somewhat disturbed that a tale of neuroses run wild popped into my mind so easily, but I digress…

I think I’ve grown a bit angry.

Let me start with this – how the story is generally encapsulated:

“…a woman whose mental illness makes her a prisoner in her own home.”

“…a young wife and mother succumbing to madness ”

So why is this a problem? It’s true, right? She is unbalanced. She does descend into madness. But it’s all a question of why, WHY does she “succumb” to madness?

And this is where I grow a bit angry. Most of the dismissive language used in these summaries miss the point: that this story is a treatise on the attitudes toward women’s mental health during this period (written in 1899). The narrator, who we are supposed to believe is unreliable, is actually perfectly coherent and early on in the story, likely a far better judge about what would actually help her. It is the ignorance and arrogance of her husband that is the unreliable narrator, for his filter regarding her condition and what would help it, cannot be trusted to give the reader an accurate picture of what ails his wife.

Take a look at this bit from the author, “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper.” And tell me if attitudes are really all that different today? All I can say is that it is wonderful that she was able to save herself…and I think she put a hint of that in this story:
“He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.”

Luckily for Gilman, she was able to do what her narrator could not.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #178 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #178 – An unabridged reading of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (32 minutes, read for LibriVox by Michelle Sullivan) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny Colvin, and Julie Hoverson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman vs. Charlotte Perkins Stetson, wall-paper vs. wallpaper, a seminal work of feminist fiction, a ghost story, a psychological horror story, the Wikipedia entry for The Yellow Wallpaper, Alan Ryan, “quite apart from its origins [it] is one of the finest, and strongest, tales of horror ever written. It may be a ghost story. Worse yet, it may not.” postpartum depression, “the rest cure”, phosphates vs. phosphites, condescending husbands, infantilization of women, superstitions, is she dangerous?, is she only pretending to go insane or is she actually mad?, will reading The Yellow Wallpaper drive you to insanity?, an androcentric society, Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare, Life by Emily Dickinson

MUCH madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

Jenny is the husband’s sister (or mistress?), “gymnasium or prison, she doesn’t know she’s living in a short story”, does the family think she’s crazy a the story’s start?, biting the bed is a bit suspicious, barred windows, suicide, has she forgotten that she’s the wrecked the wallpaper to begin with, a haunted house vs. a haunted woman, is the supernatural only within minds?, Julie goes crazy without something to read, first time motherhood can be a struggle, duplicity, crazy people are known to make unreasonable requests, “why is the cork on the fork?”, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, what’s the rope for?, “all persons need work”, counting the holes, are women moral by default?, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, utopia, “everything is both beautiful and practical”, the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution (prohibition), the husband faints (and so she wins?), creeping vs. crawling, the creepiest ending, smooch vs. smudge, neurasthenia, William James (brother of Henry James), “Americanitis”, the fashion of being sick, hypochondria as a fad, the “fresh air” movement, Kellogg’s cereal 9and other patented medicines), a yogurt colonic, mental illness is shameful in Asia, mental illness vs. oppression, an absolutely unreliable narrator, Stockholm syndrome style thinking, “You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well under way in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you.” worrying a tooth, tooth loss as an adult is horrific, as a kid it’s fun, why are we rewarded by the tooth-fairy?, is the tooth-fairy universal?, was chronic fatigue syndrome a fad?, fame is popular, Münchausen’s syndrome (the disease of faking a disease), take up a hobby!, distinguishing genuine from real, syndrome (symptoms that occur together) vs. disease (dis-ease), “which is worse…”, how to look at doctors, Tam’s doctor is nicer than House, M.D., witch doctors, non-invasive cures, gallium, Vitamin C, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, Julie Hoverson’s reading of The Yellow Wallpaper, the unnamed narrator (let’s call her Julie), “what’s with the plantain leaf?”, a modern version of The Yellow Wallpaper would be set at fat camp (is that The Biggest Loser), starts off, Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews, arsenic doughnuts (are not Münchausen syndrome by proxy), The Awakening by Kate Chopin, civilizing influence, bathing!, “men know what side their sex is buttered on”, In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl, Changeling (screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski), what is your Yellow Wallpaper?, fiction is Jesse’s wallpaper, ‘tv, videogames, comics … none of these make you crazy’, heroin chic, Julie has many yellow papers, Tam’s yellow wallpaper is the bookstore, Sebastian Junger vs. J.G. Ballard, 1920s, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, posing gowns, identical wigs, Jenny’s yellow wallpaper is dreams, The Evil Clergyman (aka The Wicked Clergyman) by H.P. Lovecraft, nice wallpaper, authorial self-interpretations, Eric S. Rabkin, re-reading as an adult something you read as a kid, The Prince Of Morning Bells by Nancy Kress, The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James, The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, old time radio comedies, should you read fiction from the beginning? Start with Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer?, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Jonathan Swift, Peter F. Hamilton, E.E. ‘doc’ Smith, Mastermind Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ad for The Yellow Wall Paper from 1910

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - illustration by J.K. Potter

Sebastian Junger vs. J.G.  Ballard

Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper - illustrated by Hyperphagia

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Yellow Wallpaper - original illustration from The New England Magazine

There are several readings of The Yellow Wallpaper on LibriVox, but the best one to my ears is Michelle Sullivan’s. I think that’s the one we’ll use on an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast.

LibriVoxThe Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Michelle Sullivan
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 7, 2008
First published in The New England Magazine, January 1892.


LibriVoxThe Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Justine Young
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 2, 2006
First published in The New England Magazine, January 1892.


LibriVoxThe Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Lola Rogers
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: February 13, 2007
First published in The New England Magazine, January 1892.


LibriVoxThe Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by jaggO
1 |MP3| – Approx. 41 [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 25, 2007
First published in The New England Magazine, January 1892.


LibriVoxThe Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Kirsten Ferreri
1 |MP3| – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 8, 2006
First published in The New England Magazine, January 1892.


Here’s a |PDF| made from the original publication.

And here’s one with the modernized title and with the author’s more familiar married name |PDF|.

The Yellow Wallpaper - original illustration from The New England Magazine

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Recently arrived, and currently being soaked in through my skin and ears, is this giant collection of weird fiction. Assembled from a list of stories found in H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, it is a collection of well known and obscure classics by authors that H.P. Lovecraft loved.

Looking at the table of contents I noted that I’d already read several of the stories in this collection – including The Turn Of The Screw (we did a podcast about that one), the engimatic Christmas horror Markheim, the scientific ghost tale What Was It?, the unutterably creepy and horrific The Voice In The Night very recently, and many years ago, perhaps in high school, The Yellow Wallpaper. But even though I’ve read some of these stories already I’m still very excited. Each of the stories seems to be preceded by some relevant words by Lovecraft himself – and at the very least I will be listening to the mini-introductions to those stories I am well familiar with.

Until then I will content myself in listening to the unknown ones. For example, the frightful first person narrative of Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant is thrilling and wondering me in the exact same way The Horla almost exactly one year ago. It’s wonderful!

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – Approx. 16 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

Here’s the table of contents:
Introduction by editor Stephen Jones – Approx. 7 Minutes
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving – Approx. 14 Minutes
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson – Approx. 49 Minutes
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian – Approx. 41 Minutes
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam – Approx. 15 Minutes
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe – Approx. 29 Minutes
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce – Approx. 24 Minutes
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James – Approx. 4 Hours 52 Minutes
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford – Approx. 57 Minutes
The Wind In The Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman – Approx. 38 Minutes
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Approx. 36 Minutes
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling – Approx. 30 Minutes
The Hands Of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Burial Of The Rats by Bram Stoker – Approx. 1 Hour 7 Minutes
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield – Approx. 35 Minutes
The Captain Of The Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Approx. 1 Hour 6 Minutes
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair – Approx. 28 Minutes
The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson – Approx. 36 Minutes
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen – Approx. 48 Minutes

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural

New Releases

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

The audio sample says it includes “20 classics of the macabre.” I’ll try to get a list.

Here’s the TOC:

an introduction by editor Stephen Jones
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford
The Wind in the Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling
The Hands of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn
The Burial of the Rats by Bram Stoker
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield
The Captain of the Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair
The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen

[Thanks Amy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis