The SFFaudio Podcast #521 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Talked about on today’s show: David Stifel, more explicitly racist, some language, chinks, a dago with affection, a class thing, an interesting book to look at, its about class, Japanese headhunters, isolates, out of time, they might as well be on Mars, historical context, yellow peril, American aristocracy, Burroughs is relaxing and enjoyable, licensees, defenders of the estate, a massively loyal older fanbase, old websites absolutely dedicated to Edgar Rice Burroughs, he threw all of this together, it goes down so easily, so fun, not everything has to be deep and profound, very comparable to Herman Melville’s Typee, a travelogue, protagonists on headhunting islands, the differences couldn’t be larger, the whole appendix, Tarzan, the Mars novels, action beats, adventure, man against the world, surprised by the ending of The Mucker, hooligan brawler, alcoholism, he walks away, easy to miss, the pattern repeats itself, Lord Greystoke, civilized, A Princess Of Mars, dating a princess, marrying a princess, a lowest class Chicago hoodlum cannot ascend, aristocracy is the word, reformed by this aristocratic figures, Derrier vs. Theriere, models for our anti-hero (hero), acting heroic, an interesting attack, Billy Byrne’s upbringing, trying to make a sociological point, taking it seriously, Jack London, similar characters, working class vulgar, class switching, a researcher in the slums of California, bougie academic jobs, Martin Eden, learning how to speak from the middle class, The Iron Heel, this reformist agenda, a working class story, the underclass, Studs Lonigan trilogy, ennui about capitalism, a descent, awakened into his heroic character, underplaying the role of Theriere, Mallory, Barbara, which classes are represented, the captain of the ship, The Call Of The Wild, the story arc of Buck, a pampered king, a slave, free in a new way, the man with the red sweater, the power of man over beast, physical abuse from his mom, no friends only heroes, thieves and murderers, very Burroughsian in its romance, island paradise, an island within an island, what was Burroughs thinking?, love for dogs and girls and falling in love, very romantic, swords and sandals and radium pistols, the romance of friendship, getting emotional, they start crying, brother and mother animals, in this process of transformation, not even the main character, his epithet, Billy was a mucker, a term that survives, a term that was in use, covered in shit, to muck out stalls, low-class person, that dirt doesn’t rub off, he fixes his grammar, improving oneself by improving one’s grammar, act like the class you’re moving into, Google N-Gram, those guys in the muck, the trauma, the most dignified sons of our nation, indiscriminate, shells and gas, the sudden reform, abstaining from alcohol, reflective of the minds of people in 1913, the progressive era, urban problems, prostitutes and drunkard, sewer socialism, clean up the city, the temperance movement, rural alcoholism is less conspicuous, in reading about drugs, the history of drugs, misidentifying the power of a drug in its ascendancy, smoking cigarettes, clamped down, personal virtue, western Canada, vaping is taking off, vaping in the bathroom, the smoking pit, they were the bad ones, the same drug, we don’t have our defenses up, a nice artifact, gangs in the street, his kindergarten, a metaphor, a dented bucket of beer, a bunch of thugs, a certain class of people, why was Theriere disgraced?, class-based, cheap and social, the health benefits, working class leisure, the work ethic, a lot of paranoia about drugs is about people not working, marijuana, John Barleycorn, drinking at a young age, part of working life, you couldn’t function with drink, getting you past the pain, no empathy, empathy for the manliness, John Carter is insane, psychosis and confabulation, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hybrid samurai cannibals, I was promised cannibals, Popeye: The Sailor Man, I am what I am and that’s all that I am, break out the spinach, a professor, the science of boxing, Joe Rogan and Mike Tyson, a low class guy with drug addicted parent, using anger and hate to make him a monster, Japanese endogamy, a lost colony of Japan, medieval age samurais, samurai headhunters?, The Land That Time Forgot, inbreeding, the late Ashikaga daimyo, a lawless frontier, uninhabited islands, the image, Madame Butterfly, all those islands, something interesting there, The Philippines, cultural relics, the War in the Pacific, how it is science fictional, most explicitly SFF related, Tarzan is about the blank slate, natural experiments, wild children, getting on a ship and seeing what’s there, the Pacific is spaceship and space and island worlds allowing you to have adventures, Planet Stories, F&SF, Galaxy magazine, transferable from the ocean to space, Ted Chiang, the chemistry and biology, one little weird tick, the monsters, the father and the son, all for the sake of allowing Billy to have his adventures, who is the intended audience, selling it to a pulp, some people appreciated it, I wanna make some money, selling to the workman, this cool looking train heist, by the guy who wrote Tarzan, Burroughs is trying to find out what sells, his version of a Yellow Peril story, San Fransisco, tongs, the ship action, learning to be a sailor, Robert E. Howard’s Sailor Steve Costigan, muscled doofuses with good hearts, the sailor tough-guy, the way Popeye talks, a strange guy with a tattoo, the middle classes have tattoos, sailors made this a thing, weird tattoos, its a prison thing, sailors looking at each other’s tattoos, anchor tattoo, the anime character that they like, the heart of the Yellow Peril anxiety, the Yellow Peril is a fake threat that’s fun to think about, they’re out-breeding us and they’re smarter than us, laws against intermarriage, medieval military savagery, relapsed into primitive ignorance, racial hierarchy, white yellow brown black and red, Chinese eugenicists, degenerated by intermingling, slavs, miscegenation, he fails to interbreed with the upper-class, in the sequel, bandits in Mexico, The Oakdale Affair, Two Dooms by Cyril M. Kornbluth, wrong about everything, a Hopi Indian, full of Asians, yellow peril-y, this is really stupid, taking our land and our women, save American from these threats, fun storytelling, so fake as to be not worthy of attention, the Fu-Manchu stories, The Mysterious Dr Fu Manchu, Hong Kong, an anti-colonialist narrative, Nyland and Petrie are boring, the one with the principles, so devilishly ambitious and smart, as a genre, red scare books, yellow peril is both up and down, interest in the East, Judge Dee, Robert van Gulik, Red Scare, Red Dawn (1984), we need breeding programs!, they tried to remake -> Red Dawn (2012), Cubans running around in Africa, we would like to be so organized, the brotherhood of man, no classes, an Australian red-peril yellow-peril movie, Tomorrow, When The War Began (2010), taboo, the white ghost, coming from a place of ignorance, don’t use that word, you have to use the right word for it, its not the actions, change the terminology, too ignorant, that top down acceptance, I’ll live on Park Avenue and he’ll live across the street, a fantasy world in a hollow in the woods, it becomes important to him, as real as anything else in this book, an unreal inside of an unreal, jockeying for whose going to marry this girl, a prize to be won, Burroughs makes active women, her knowing Japanese, give her something to do, something more to it?, this image of the Pacific, the centerpiece of the American Empire, not that preposterous, fantasy world, technocrats, Obama’s kids learning Chinese, training for the ruling class, German lessons, Legend Of Tarzan (2016), no origin story, just a Tarzan story, Tarzan was his moneymaker, trying to deal with a real horror, Belgian Congo, Tarzan in Heart Of Darkness, the villain is a historical character, Léon Rom, white savior, undignified, he and his friends don’t have hands they have mitts or paws, the mean streets, tribalistic, a book about psychological change, accepting vs. changing, married to a red princess, red indians, dealing with race (badly), Mowgli, all class, to make Billy all the tougher, they’re vicious, how many times his pistol fails him, mortal injuries, shakes it off and keeps going, it has no effect, primal brutality, one other racial element, the tracking ability of a red indian, from an era that is thinking about race all the time, its fun interesting and easy, not high art, entertaining, breezy, relaxing, all on the surface, this artifact from a period when you can get shanghaied, all the tropes, I’d like to get shanghaied!, the Taiping rebellion, emigrant cities, nationalist nonsense, regional cultures, Sisters And Strangers: Women In The Shanghai Cotton Mills, 1919-1949 by Emily Honig, an immigrant city, the prototype of Chinese cities, ethnic groups, the Chinese revolutions are about class, nationalism in the context of empire, the Nationalists, the Communists, the national bourgeoisie, intellectual purges, class politics in China, the global proletariat, the Boxer Rebellion, uphold the Ching, a gendered movement, the traditional family is holding back our progress, concubinage, the most oppressed women in human history, too much into Chinese history, the exotic East, how the West sees the Cultural Revolution, the massive factory, in the news, extraditing the head of Huawei, getting between the major super-powers, The Breaker.News podcast, The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, a treaty port, majority not-white, theBreaker.news Podcast, a sign of the times.
Talked about on today’s show:
1972, nominated for…, it doesn’t feel like a science fiction book at all, a small book, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, winning author, feels like a Lawrence Block book, the Lawrence Block genre, the same writing system, magazines and paperbacks, a prolific writing machine, four a year or five a week, pseudonyms, erotica, mysteries, a writer’s writer, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, the kind of paperback you read with one hand, paying markets, popular writers, you can feel it, it didn’t keep it up, keeping up the pace, it doesn’t feel like a fantasy either, genre adjacent, secret history, come from Atlantis, can we trust that monk?, anything?, inside the compound, exactly halfway through, another kind of book, the Wikipedia entry, a happy roadtrip movie, a Quentin Tarantino, the route they took, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Route 66, bildungsroman, American road-trip, Route 666, the TV show, what kind of book this is, no one reads as many old magazines as Jesse does today, ads for the Rosicrucian, the pyramids, astounding wisdom, astral projection, you may walk on the surface of the Sun!, the free book, secret society, AMORC, what secret power did they possess?, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, a full and peaceful life, power on this earth, primetime for cults, hey baby we’re going to the desert, dropping out, a book about a cult, unadvertised, that kind of immortality, laying out plans, stuck in this vastness, unrealistic expectations, when I get immortality, studying music for 30 years, walk across Asia, Larry Niven’s immortal characters, Louis Wu, a fashion maven, a hermit in a cave, the attraction of this book, stupid guys in college, naive, spew on it, a quest, eternal life, existential philosophy, seeking meaning, personal devils, the rubric, a cosmic accident, worth the risk, significance for your life, underlying outline, couched in the 70s, pretty accurate, when this book was new, time under my belt, he knew his existential philosophy, this book lives and dies on the fact there’s no Wikipedia, Scientology, getting off the bus to Hollywood, some friendly guy, working on myself, help me get jobs, the death wish thing, it doesn’t happen on screen, uninteresting lives, Jesse is Eli, homosexual, no trust fund, confess that later, reality shows and Big Brother, William Friedkin, a horror story, thinking during the book, Oliver, ’70s randy dudes, a lot of sex, not very SFy, cutting edge back then, drugs, pulp sci-fi, my faith wavered, the shrill laughter of Satan, do you think you’ve gained anything here?, the icy future, this image, the desert as one of the poles, an empty blasted world, a strange backsliding, oh god, you felt it to then?, the voice of doubt, the thing that you seek, skull mask, sullen girl, the heavy breasted succubus, the thing you seek, the House of Skulls, a hawk in the blue sky, hawk you will die and I will live, of this I have no doubt, I understand, life eternal we offer thee, a horror story ending, as much as it is disquisition on existentialism, prescribing vs. describing, I reject your victory, are these guys 25,000 years old?, an afterword, tell us the secret, I wasn’t there, ambiguity, the path of existentialism, belief, salvation, if you have a philosophical bent, in to being outraged, problematic scenes, I raped my sister, completely free of any of those concerns, he’s not trying to make it a movie, free love, a less apologetic culture, one review, this isn’t the only way to practice homosexuality, a gay friendly book, not shy or ashamed, never felt preached to, there’s these dudes, who’s telling this story, snarking on each other, getting it right and wrong, a psychological study, four narrators, not buddies, same basic age, hard to distinguish when not talking about themselves, Stefan Rudnicki, they’re the same guy, aspects of the same guy, the skull with the faces, without the flesh on it it is just a skull, each of those skulls had a face, working on a Freudian analysis, flowery metaphor, the right symbol for immortality, not immortality in Heaven, a horror immortality, the ending, in too deep, the sunk cost fallacy, that’s what this is about?, spicy vegetarian meals forever, a really old thing, memento mori, to contemplate your mortality, skulls under our faces, carrying death within us, Lent, from dust you came, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, candy skulls, Hamlet, I knew him Horatio, I kissed these lips, how great a work is man, I’m on a horror train come with me, sorry Ophelia, two fall away two move forward, four confession, the sacrifice and the murder, who is going to be killed?, who is going to kill themselves?, sharp, into overdrive, Oliver was the one, Eli was going to kill himself, a neurotic nebbish, game this out, expectations gone awry, Ariel, Random Walk by Lawrence Block, meanwhile in Kansas, really evil characters, these two forces come together, it is about walking, power walker (racewalker), speedwalking, a sports commentator, the normal human activity, chasing at a leisurely pace, endurance running, human physiology Wayne, local stray animals, escaping predators, getting places, an excuse to get exercise, walking (and hiking) is associated with thinking, meaning comes to him, gaining interest over time, The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham, Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Denholm Elliot, a WWI book, a trip to Asia, I’m a yogi, having meaning, it pisses everybody else off, from their point of view, crime novels, the Bernie Rhoddenbar books, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, Eight Million Ways To Die, the Matt Scudder series, A Walk Among The Tombstones, really good at brutal, Liam Neeson, alcoholism, a philosophy behind him, putting bullets in people occasionally, 1944, a sense of maybe not is all right with existence, ideas of the East, a weird category, not a lot of mystical powers, is there anything in here that is proof of some fantastic element, not good proof, on the razor’s edge between reality and something beyond, Poul Anderson’s Boat Of A Million Years, what does this all mean?, just sayin’, mixed success, the end of chapter nine, Jesse trying to dominate everything, the frater Anthony, go off into the desert and bury your friend, a librarian who keeps track of the local cults, they’re never coming back, when the cops come…, we have two, oh shit, keeping those hands off, their techniques, what are the ladies doing there, is there a book of skulls for women, four ladies on a road trip, a jump forward in time, porridge again for breakfast, skyscars, A Canticle For Leibowitz by American writer Walter M. Miller Jr., a great idea for a novel, quick edit that part out, possibilities, Larry Niven, the flipside of death, the men who live forever, The Draco Tavern, a story for ever vocab work, attaching meaning, ephemeral, a fifth Doctor episode, thing that doesn’t last very long, a three day old newspaper, all these skulls, all the idiots who came to this cult, two for every four, so fucking bored, same society, is Clark Gable still making movies?, Avengers: Infinity War, Footloose, the remake, Flashdance, cheerleader movies, Bring It On, Turn It Up, end of Chapter 9, Richard Nixon, bumptious, the true genius of the race, clerisy, a Lincoln Continental, flogging us towards sundown, a thing writers writers do all the time, a book I was reading not long ago, metaphor, the bleak Kalahari, the realities of the desert, the beautiful one, the clown, the hunter, the headman, Yatesian counter rotating gyres, ideational vs. operational, a stable group, the state, the hunter, the church, the art, and I the clown, a summary of their book in their book, I was reading this book lately and I’ll tell you how shitty it was, Ned and Eli, the shaman, the religion, Ned is the art, the leadership and the hunter, given up the things that connect them to the outside, people who live in the mind, meditating all day long, that makes sense, an existentialist end in view, the church and art, the speculative and self expressing parts of identity, Søren Kierkegaard, personal identity, the father of existentialism, a core value, an actual philosophy, here is a way towards answer, damn this shit is hard, we got to find something to do, Albert Camus, the myth of Sisyphus, life is absurd, pointless futile labour, find your own meaning, The Stranger, The Rebel, The Fall, the only thing left to us is suicide and I hope you consider it, the only practicing Catholic, St. Louis whore sex, the inner thoughts, powerful stuff, this actually happened, four science fiction writers in a car, a very North American thing, the road trip novel, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Theroux, Anthony Bourdain, The Old Patagonian Express, Siberia, landscape, flashbacks, Eli is a fraud, they’re young college kids, James Joyce, critical essays, flowery description, bullshit, personal demons, a metaphor for his entire life, his how life was inauthentic, the murder, you can see why, don’t threaten my escape, the part of the ritual, the receptacle, a side benefit, a very well written book, the 9th secret, the rich guy, Oliver, a shameful gay dalliance, denying his authentic self, the non-PC part of the book, the people who are upset about things, a very real cultural attitude, bred for richness, 100 a week, 18,000 years, pride, the tallness that I have, a short book, a slim volume from the ’70s, as always, a preview of Robert Silverberg’s return to Lord Valentine’s castle, Majipoor Chronicles, Dying Inside, The Stochastic Man, Lord Valentine’s Castle, what a cool world, a series back then, a series today, Nightwings, the future city of Rome, the mouth, Hero Of The Empire, Roma Eterna, a young man who wants to start a new religion, keep the empire going, Harry Turtledove, fighting Persia all the time, Through Darkest Europe.
The SFFaudio Podcast #500 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada talk about The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
Talked about on today’s show:
So it goes, the natives don’t like Paul, stop raping, a novella, dense, Again, Dangerous Vision edited by Harlan Ellison, out like a rocket, commissioned in the ’70s, the introduction and the afterword, easy to write, a boss with ulcers, lacking charity, anthropology, an army planet, a metaphor for Vietnam, wood, sawmill workers, not all that it was, Dump Island, ansible, gender, the role of women, the whole Biblical thing, a Prometheus story, The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison, Avatar (2009), Dances With Wolves (1990), thinking in the shower, The Power Of Kroll, a giant Cthulhu monster, nasty colonizers, Creechies, Ben and Sam, Gunga Din, Rudyard Kipling, strange conclusion, a lover of the exotic, unconscious of his own hypocrisy, a really good writer, very praising, effortless and beautiful to read, two pieces of yesterday, a ship-load of women, a crop failure, tame this planet, smiling jiggling line of little figures, effortless, The Lathe Of Heaven, Portland, the geography on New Tahiti, mostly ocean, how can you have a northwest corner?, all kinds of jungle, temperate rainforest, things don’t start growing on your purse, Costa Rica, clothes never dry, go naked, beautiful beyond words, life expressing itself in every corner, sound-wise, bugs and birds and frogs, the smells the sights the sounds, confronted and embraced, exhausting and wet, insects are the measure of how much life is going on, horrible insects, the giant red deer, fish, squirrels, her boss, it had been done before, come from Earth about a million years ago, monkey, her Hanish-verse, names of trees, a conspiracy, right but wrong, if you listen to those E.T.s, everything from sex to thumbtacks, gook, creatures!, green fur, super-asshole, Davidson, a split-rail fence, first reefer of the day, it might have been Idaho in 1950, a distant bird, what is undeveloped, so connected to the Lathe Of Heaven, you can’t beat them, round up the ringleaders and threaten to give them hallucinogens, from Selver’s point of view, dreams, that’s implied, a built up culture, oblique glimpses, another guy named Orr, cool!, training to dream, they never sleep, a broken sleep cycle, cat-nap your way through life, active dreaming, forges, wheels, helicopters, and laser guns, the good news about reading Ursula Le Guin, witch-doctors, the men’s lodge, lord dreamer, tell me about your dream Selver, killing all the guys at Smithcamp, a stepping stone, in the pre-story, a hot afternoon with two prostitutes, 220 other women, aliens came, “went spla”, how could they be to blame, a god, a Promethean technology, ideas as weapons, Jack Vance, weaponizing a culture by means of ideas, had he learned to kill his fellow men, an infection, a foreign plague, a psychological psionics, a raincoast, a physical change to the landscape, the same is happening to Davidson, your thinking gets all screwed up, hard to know, company, helicopter logging, by that point in the story, they’re kinda loose, lumberjacks and flapjacks, chopping down trees, wearing high heels, a looseness to the military, captain vs. colonel, the army and creechies, a whole section, the ansible anagram, two different directions, the U.N., smash the radio, how a place affects you, with your person and your purse, Collapse by Jared Diamond, the Medieval warm period, unsuitable ways, winter is coming, refusing the ways of the Inuit, Thailand, the hotel food, the hotel water, the Hilton is not Thailand, rejecting the whole part of the plot, the smash, transmitting false information, this machina ex machina, answerable within your own lifetime for what you did, the League Of Worlds, administering the American Empire, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, NAFAL, the economics, luxury goods, a kid in Chicago, rats, a nightmare, a powerful image, the Tet offensive, who the creechies are, deforestation, defoliant, massive swaths, agent orange, under that plan, Brazil, another dead Earth, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a minor story, city?, warrens, Sarnath, India, H.P. Lovecraft, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, summary, subject to interpretation, Jason Thompson‘s adaptation, isolation, solitary, an out, I’m a god you’re a god, going native, bringing life back, a backdoor, maybe in 20 or 30 years, what will happen when I die?, the gift of killing, always touching each other, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, go me!, murder has no reason, what’s going to happen?, interest in dreams and reality, everybody knows Scott, how simple truth was, famous for flying, if we knew what everything was, perception errors, what the word dream means in this context, dreaming the previous days information, pieces of yesterday, paying attention to it, great detail, every time we go to sleep its like we’re rebooting, hard to see the difference between, alternate New York City, what is a book if not a dream, it has no physical consequence excepting piling up, Karl Marx changed the world, George Orwell, taken from the world and then dream, her dreams are more real than she is now, Philip K. Dick’s dreams are more real than he is now, dreamed into existence, an E.E.G. subject, the Parthenon to a mud-hut, the aboriginal cultural of Australia, the Dreamtime, counting coins, shared dreaming, trees communicating to each other, considered as the trees, page 35, things looked pretty neat for a logging camp, endless meaningless, in your face and in your eyes, corruplast, eaten by the jungle, a permanent stain, being newed again, the world is always new, the creechie women, why the women listen, the afterword, the boss is a man, he didn’t want to play, he wanted to moralize, he was a man, when women are taking more assertiveness with their role in society, what feminists should be looking up to, the role of gender, The Left Hand Of Darkness, a lot of tea, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, too much kicking, what makes a gender role a gender role, captured incredibly well, George Orr, murder and revolution, a feminist streak, the ecological devastation, an act of rape, this is a new time for the world, at the farthest grows the Tree where the fruit ripens, the roots are deeper than the forest, no evidence that the creechies aren’t human, Colonel Dong, not really about Vietnam, every kind of human is represented (other than women), Euraf, Asian, all in destruction together, ill, bowels, water illness, when you go to the jungle you get bit, Selver’s name, self, selfish, subversive, kinda Buddhist, Taoist beliefs, Tibet, the land of Buddhists, Tibetans who resisted with weapons, shooting at your enemy, submission poses, certain traditions, surrender symbols, it doesn’t have answers, a lot of questions, terran man is clay, they are trees, Earth is rock and static, Trees have roots and grow and are more interconnected, not as rich as Dune by Frank Herbert, the desert planet, Waterworld (1995), the culture is deceptively rich, a pretty high rung, a good writer, CBC radio’s Vanishing Point adaptation from 1989, too much screaming, we don’t see it, straight from the book, very faithful, singing = screaming, a weird noise, a fantasy set in a rainforest, played on the title, probably pulling, urination, not concepts!, language!, reading books, no censorship, hygienic homosexuality, sure he’s a 20th century tough guy, what does that mean?, she’s way ahead of the curve, so ahead of its time, straight on with what is a gender role, this metaphor, what does that mean?, why Ursula Le Guin has a prominent position, always interested in interesting stuff, a pipe-smoker, just Gandalf, pipeweed.
Talked about on today’s show:
the first readalong of a comic book, a momentous occasion, Jesse’s mortgage completion, a hardcover “graphic novel”, the phrase is pretentious, Maus, Watchmen, fuck you it’s a comic book, dense art, rich, Lovecraft’s father is masked, plague doctor, a Venetian masque mask, died in an insane asylum, his mental malady, and THAT is all I care to say on the matter, the broken mask, his wife, out of Lovecraft’s own head, Lovecraft’s biography, poetry, In The Mountains Of Madness by W. Scott Poole, so racist, one year in New York, gets robbed, each story gets a big illustration, feeling bad, tearing up, that last panel, alone standing on the stage, moving, the first time seeing it, emotionally invested in his story, so human, how mad he was, super weird, fucked up, a gentleman doesn’t work, she had a mastectomy, living the life of a country gentleman, writing for amateurs, submitting on his behalf, he made it so hard for his friends, the desire to be the aristocracy, class distinctions, a time of transition, New England, a class system in operation, full of very old rich families, bad investments by his uncle, the whaling industry, super-super-rich, the details, a garbage can on page 52, Eight O’clock Coffee, hitting harder home, Lovecraft was offered the editorship of Weird Tales, Chicago, selling the furniture, a disaster caused by his 17th century deal of himself, the story of their entire marriage, rooted in the wrong place, so many biographies, a weird outsider, 1920s the Great Depression, debt collection service, not suited for the job, coax or hit, flower them into paying, the hard times coming, Ohio, outright rejection, sitting down and reading Weird Tales magazine, editorial response to letters, poems, the first two issues of Weird Tales, Farnsworth Wright, maybe it’s a good thing Lovecraft didn’t take that job, or maybe it’s a terrible thing, which it would be, a crazy, this is the magazine where everyone worships Lovecraft, every letter asks for more Lovecraft, he’s not connecting, as soon as Lovecraft dies the magazine fills up with Lovecraft, eminently forgettable, jealousy, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, so many scenes just alone in a room (and enjoying that), how much he loved to travel and adventure, three times to Quebec, retracing Lovecraft’s footsteps, chronological version of his life, when things happend in relation to the story, R.H. Barlow, the format, an entertainment style, no dry intellectual series of facts, why comics are so great, rewarded with pictures, seeing all the major players, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Loveman and Galpin, how different Lovecraft’s America was, architecture, page 74, Sonia in deep pain, a painful episode, moving a cow, a cat on his head, what a weird dude he was, Edith Miniter, why this is such a great book, showing the connection between experience and fiction, Superman, Batman, DC Comics, Marvel, X-Men, underground comics, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy’s Cat, drug dealers handing out comics, headshops, Guru, crystals, hemp pants, the preserve of shops like this, collected editions, Knockabout Press, Jason Thompson’s Mockman comics, Savage Sword Of Conan, black and white comics, so much more to see in black and white, the line of the mouth, how the room is organized around distancing characters apart, arm-in-arm, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, the Fungi From Yuggoth Cycle, three sonnets, the stacks on high, never designed for colour, bullshit complaint, Jesse shut himself down, what if I’m wrong, even the fonts, a whole sense that you can’t get when reading a regular biography, a one man job, each page is signed (and dated), years of labour, a treasure of art and information, the framing, on a stage, back on the stage, the last image on the last page, the empty stage, the other perspective, page 77, a gentleman does not divorce his wife, the little Janus head, people chasing after him, the night walks, what a great biography, a work of genius!, written in first person, a cool way to sneak in his opinions and thoughts, to segue into his letters, seamless, page 60, humming, finances are not great, every time Jesse calls Wayne or Jim, The Recluse, Supernatural Horror In Literature, an amateur magazine, a guy desperately in need of a Patreon, Wayne is no gentleman, the Weird Tales letters pages, huge proof, almost getting a major collection, the worst salesman ever, the copyright, with the kind permission of, maybe sometimes you’re doing work for hire when you don’t know you were, an entire issue of Weird Tales could have been under copyright, the collection was under copyright, persisting in comics, Image Comics, Alterna Comics, working for Marvel, Steve Ditko, Roy Thomas, so many times his life could have gone a lot better, a gentleman doesn’t press the matter, barristers and solicitors, no resources, exasperation in his life, to hell with it, what would WWI have taught Lovecraft had he survived enlistment?, artillery making mush, gas, just war?, subject to propaganda, a terrible shame, a pointless war, Mr Jim Moon studied the WWI at university, who said what to who’s aunt, the assassination, pride, self-destructive pride, a full page for Arthur Machen, The Bowmen, Out Of The Earth, tell me more about that, what’s that dude melting?, the whole genre of weird fiction, that little bit of Latin, the devil incarnate is humanity in truth, the first issue of Weird Tales, the attention to detail that you never get in commercial works, done because they love it, really inspiring, to honour it, in the best tradition, the Necronomicon convention in Rhode Island, The Journal Of William Hope Hodgson Studies, Carnacki, mummy horror, Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Machen with Jack The Ripper, Saucy Robot Stories, pulp fiction from the 1930s, Helen O’Loy, prolific, a Lovecraft expert, covers for Necronomicon Press, annotated H.P. Lovecraft, the Jason C. Echkardt Tumblr, The Derelict by William Hope Hodgson, Lovecraft as a communicable disease, you should write a story about this location, I haven’t been kissed by a woman since I was a very small child, working the night-shift as a movie theater ticket taker, R’Lyeh theatre, a 900 word biography, the connection between amateur magazines and blogs and podcasts, done for the love of the stuff, Wayne needs his own booth, a whole bunch of people who’ve read, holy shit that’s Kim Stanley Robinson coming up the escalator, that’s Larry Niven asleep beside me, go in disguise, that getting out of bed thing, eye contact is the start of a lot of terrible, a Venetian mask, cosplaying as Wayne June, stock left, PSPublishing, Best Eldritch Wishes, Best Lovecraftian Wishes, attention to detail, collecting author signatures, there’s so much going on on the internet, it’s a big place, bigger than you can imagine, two pages with hand drawn maps, damn it’s got it all!
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, takes on a case as a favor to his friend Thomas – a vampire of dubious integrity – only to become the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders.
I can honestly say, Blood Rites is my favorite in the series so far. Now, this was also my first audiobook of the series so that could have something to do with it. It’s hard to tell at this point, but either way, I highly enjoyed Bood Rites.
At first, I thought Marsters was a bit too serious for Harry, at least the Harry I had in my head, but the more I read, the more I realized Marsters is pretty much as perfect as you can get. Harry’s wit and constant one-liners were actually made more hilarious by this narrator who is serious for the majority of the time. I think the heightened seriousness really works better for these books because it gives you a sense of this highly dangerous world where Harry works on a daily basis.
It’s hard to separate the story from Harry himself because it’s told in first person so you’re in Harry’s head the entire time (outside of dialogue from other characters). I thought this was a brilliant way to handle it though, where you get Harry’s sense of humor through his dialogue mostly, his thoughts as well of course, but a seriousness that anchors the narrative because Harry still lives in a world of scary monsters.
I hope any of that made some remote bit of sense.
Anyhow, Blood Rites gets back into the vampires (they seem to be a pretty regular fall back for Butcher) and that makes sense because the set up has been an all-out war between vampires and wizards. Someone’s taking out people on an adult film set and Harry has to go undercover to discover who’s behind it. Of course, it goes deeper than he imagined at first and there’s where the money is for this series… Harry getting into stuff only to get beaten down and beaten on … a lot.
I struggled a slight bit with the first books in the series, but they have really hit their stride now. I didn’t even notice the typical repetitions this time (Harry disrupts electricity, Harry gets really protective of women, etc. etc.) that are explained in each volume as if no one’s ever heard about them before. It probably helps that it’s been a year or so since I last read in the series.
Blood Rites was excellent. James Marsters is so perfectly Harry Dresden it’s almost scary. What a great combination. I’ve already broken my rule of leaving a year between each Dresden file read and started on Dead Beat.