The SFFaudio Podcast #399 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa discuss The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak
Talked about on today’s show:
1968, Maissa loved it, primed to like it, pastoral themes, little conflict, conversations, lightness, philosophy, Wisconsin, aliens, previous universes, pastoral gonzo, in the hands of another writer, a slow amble chase scene, lots of beer, more steaks for the sabertooth, Jesse’s problem with this book, heavy themes, there’s no buried subtext, a mystery, the book’s over?, this isn’t a novel, geared for subtext, so fluffy, more substantive than candy, swimming through clouds, what is the matter with all of you, sit back and play for a little while, there’s nothing to connect, Waystation has no conflict, the wheelers, the magazine illustrations, comedy figures, the Lovecraftian monsters, R.A. Lafferty, John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, making a challenge, like The Demolished Man, text as a form, spinning my wheels, more is going on in this backstory, time travel, this is like a short Connie Willis novel, a relaxed pace, pub, trolls under the bridge, Clarke’s third law, full of magic, and dragons!, a very heavy word, it’s a metaphor (but it’s not), growing up, no evidence of the dinosaurs, a missing sequel, a big university project, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, no evidence of Jesus, Diogenes (that guy with the lamp), where the hell is Jesus?, lighter than Robert Sheckley, lighter than Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, we’re mid-westerners, the artifact, the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a picture of the 2001 monolith from 1952, the Crystal World, are you sure?, the knowledge is lost, suck it up earthling!, going into Tolkien, a couple of banshees, very Simak, the fall of Man and the rise of Dogs, bittersweet, you’ll love it, go down to the river and have a lick, what’s up with Shakespeare?, comedy relief, the neanderthal, nice little paralleled, Alley Oop, wrong headed, just read the stories and watch the plays, a guy exercising his vital powers in a life affording them scope, read the Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s ghost, really?, isn’t that interesting, something completely obvious at the time (now nearly forgotten), L. Sprague de Camp, Poul Anderson, The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov, Riverworld, that Brendan Fraser movie, unfrozen cave man lawyer, Futurama‘s space chicken, distilling the facts, that’s not what’s going on here, the way that people love this book, unashamedly enjoying it, Maissa’s dog is in The Destiny Of Special Agent Ace Galaksi, goon show style, bizaaro humour, Sylvester, he just wanted your gold, the opposite of the feeling you get when watching Game Of Thrones, it’s just their pet, arguing with the trolls, the ale, a big bucket of bugs, a beer snob, just the right amount of neglect, we’re gonna analyze the crap out of this thing, beautiful scenes, sad, only two left, when its ridiculous I understand it, the novel that got Kim Stanley Robinson into science fiction, it’s going to be City, the Wisconsin countryside in the fall, a talented writer, a whole genre of pastoral Science Fiction (and only one writer who wrote it), really rural Science Fiction, Los Angeles ruralized, Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, southern California, Garrison Keillor, Bradbury is about the suburbs, he’s not about the farms, The Wizard Of Oz is closer to Simak than anything else American, Lovecraft, going full fantasy, we’re forgetting Tolkien, it doesn’t exist, Zenna Henderson, Escape To Witch Mountain, Henderson taught at a Japanese internment camp during WWII, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Doctor Who, technobabble, SCIENCE!, engineering, Smith is the engineering department on Star Trek, Scotty on steroids, it’s nigh impossible!, William Riker’s transporter accident, the two Kirks, the thoughtful Riker and the asshole Riker, misunderstood, funny fake twitter accounts, Riker Googling, the trolls, a bridge to the other world, bits of symbolism here and there, the wrong kind of tires for the wrong kind of track, so much does and doesn’t happen at the same time, nobody is upset, enjoy the fall colours.
The SFFaudio Podcast #387 – Jesse, Paul, and Julie Davis talk about Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein.
Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding Science Fiction, February, March, April 1956, Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini, making connections, good job, 100% first person, mistaken shallow perception -> deeper understanding, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the LibriVox audiobook levelated and made beautiful, humour, light, twitter conversation “bland” vs. “light”, bubbles along, swashbuckler, Heinlein is that you?, this is a book about politics, here are all the political systems, making fun of Heinlein is very easy, bullheaded, popular quotes, one character sitting in a room and another character walks in and says “no”, refusing, listen to me young man I am the old man and I know best, Heinlein’s negotiation tactic is brinkmanship, it’s not your turn, more about politics and racism and perception (than SF), I think my father would be proud that my life is a work of art, from Lorenzo Smythe’s POV, a failed actor, not a loser, penniless, working as a stripper, the illustrations from the serialization, this is not in the book, non-info-dump info-dumps, Coriolis vs. Coriolanus, narrator Lloyd James, in the voice of Bonforte, a better person or politician than Bonforte, remember Bill, a bunch of people talking on a spaceship, not a juvenile, Hitler, Satan, assuming the attributes of divinity, a politically astute novel, Heinlein’s earlier jobs, owning a silver mine, running for political office, being in the room, libertarian, California state assembly 1948, no prizes for second place in politics, an British parliamentary system, William King Of The Dutch and Emperor of The Earth, Queen Elizabeth II (former Empress), head of state vs. head of government, when you go to visit Lincoln, Lincoln is a God in the temple, larger than life, a Greek temple, The Simpsons, political corruption, the Jefferson memorial, you went to Lincoln first!, understanding why the book is resonant, the emperor of Known Space likes playing with trains, meeting the Queen, no statue for John Major, 100 units in pocket, politics as a team sport vs. saviors, taking care of the day-to-day crap, Primary Colors (1998), John Hightower, I take that on so you can get something done, taking on the mantle of the President, there’s no special charm to Prime Ministers (usually), confidence votes, the show must go on, “always take sides”, the “poltroons”, a second look, the title, human = martian, equality for all, doubling, Lorenzo Smythe = Lawrence Smith, an instinctual hate of the aliens, squiggly arms, hating aliens is racism, the aliens are just Texans, the life wand, induction into the Martian clan, introduction at William’s court, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture on Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, the TV Tropes entry on Double Star, orange morality and blue morality, wise man and straw man, showing up late, a cycle humans keep falling into, a 1970 Double Star cover, a modern art prize (2000 Turner Prize) controversy, Stuckists and Sad Puppies, scale matters (?), Marcel Duchamp, “artist”, “Fountain“, ponies?, movements for and against, Paul’s biased POV, taking umbrage, Rabid Puppies, SF is overrun with leftists (?), “no award”, like every awards thing, TOR Books, inclusionary authors, Larry Correia’s books, U.S. elections, trying to destroy the system, SJW = social justice warrior, what’s fundamentally interesting about Double Star is that we’re in on a massive fraud to subvert democracy, Humans First, for Jefferson’s sake, takes the facts the same story from the other side: a response book, I don’t want people walking around with open carry for their “life wands”, no guns allowed signs in Texas churches, The Good Wife, the Hillary Clinton – Bill Clinton story, telling lies in public, seeing politics from up close and personal, The West Wing, Dave (1993), a little humour there, “sick”, the wife, a little bit inverted, interesting parallels, taking the role and making it better, he’s better at Bonforte than Bonforte was, to be an actor you have to be every man, I’d like Jack the Ripper, an unreliable narrator, the theatrical way he describes himself, he thinks it’s all true, hyperbolized in some ways, acting with a burst appendix, biology can be conquered by will, ripping off the novel/plot, Moon Over Parador (1988), The Magnificent Fraud (1939), we are rooting for the hero, who is ripping off who?, it depends on what you do with it, To Be Or Not To Be (1942), To Be Or Not To Be (1983), the new Ben Hur, going by Hugos or awards or contests, Connie Willis, the Oscars, Guardians Of The Galaxy, two CG characters and it doesn’t suck?, being burned by award winners, Theeb, a disillusioning moment, boycotting and protesting, N. K. Jemisin, a Heinlein letter, race relations, the lucky ones were the ones that were enslaved, the inciting incident, Heinlein was the most liberal of SF writers, more left than Wells, a Missouri dude who was always into pushing fellow humans, “huh, he’s Filipino”, “he’s not even American!”, Heinlein’s always pushing talking heads that turn out to be diverse, Farnham’s Freehold, time travel, Blacks have taken over the world, castrating the son, cannibals, a less PC version of Planet Of The Apes, the Pierre Boulle book is a comedy (satire), Pierre Boulle, the ending of the Planet Of The Apes is a comedy, sexism, Charlton Heston in the Civil Rights movement, for both martians and men, making peace amongst all, here’s my problem, get in the system, The Fifth Season, where’s the idea?, where’s the idea?, Cory Doctorow does Heinlein in Little Brother, paint by numbers, Robert J. Sawyer, that shows the diversity you find in Toronto, the magic system is based on the manipulation of earth (geological) forces, it’s anti-racist, it’s important to be seeing doing it, more Bonforte than Bonforte, more Heinlein than Heinlein, the one female character, Heinlein doesn’t understand women, criticizing Dickens, he’s terrible at writing other humans, his villains are stick-figures, the old man, the young looking older woman, and the young narrator who has to be taught, transcending limitations, he’s bad at women who aren’t from the 1940s, violence towards women was an everyday thing, assault with violence, not that I laid a finger on her, proper and sensible hitting, the way people talked back then, from the wife-beating 1950s, acting like this guy, no no no no no, totally unrealistic, a six hour book, SFFworld.com, Double Star was written in three weeks, creep in.
The SFFaudio Podcast #284 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.
Talked about on today’s show:
accent on the new releases, The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton, Liviu’s Goodreads review, four dark Jack Cady novels, Jenny‘s Star Wars tweetfest, less chattering and battles, Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds, Westerfeld’s Uglies inspired by Ted Chiang, Hardboiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami, A New Dawn: Star Wars by John Jackson Miller, “Is this Firefly?”, the new canon, Marvel can make a movie about anything, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Luke’s unstarred review of Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, Jenny liked Blackout/All Clear, A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction by Terry Pratchett, Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl, mainstream or sf?, Puttering About in a Small Land by Philip K. Dick, it’s mainstream, Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman, Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood, Baba Yaga, Mage’s Blood by David Hair, What is a starred review?, Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall, Tales Of Terror Collection, The Best Ghost Stories, The Scarifyers 09: THE KING OF WINTER (audio drama), “winter is coming”, Devoured by Jason Brant, A Walk Among the Tombstones: A Matt Scudder Mystery and Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf by Lawrence Block, put out his own audiobooks, Man of Two Worlds by Frank Herbert and Brian Herbert, Echopraxia by Peter Watts, same world as Blindsight, it’s got a lot of references, books with “day” in the title, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (author of Rosemary’s Baby), Far Futures edited by Gregory Benford, they list the stories and describe them!, The Sound of His Horn by Sarban, Wild Hunt, The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein, Edge of Tomorrow (All You Need Is Kill) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, where is the Full Metal Bitch?, Groundhog Day, Steven Gould’s new Jumper book Exo is inspired by Heinlein, Geek’s Guide interview, the cool first page, Darin Bradley’s Chimpanzee audio drama?
Bellwether By Connie Willis; Narrated by Kate Reading
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: February 2009
[UNABRIDGED] – 6 hours, 30 minutes
Themes: / pop culture / scientific discovery / chaos theory / Robert Browning / office assistants / fads /
Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O’Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions – with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.
This is my favorite Connie Willis book, hands down. She blends pop culture, scientific discovery, chaos theory, Robert Browning, fads and an infuriating office assistant to produce a book where thinking for oneself gets you blank looks of incomprehension. Willis’s books come in two flavors, either funny or grim (as she herself describes her serious works). This is definitely one of the funny ones.
This was written in 1996 so it is interesting to see that certain fads have evolved and that some have floated away. (It’s been a long time since I thought about Pet Rocks or mood rings, for example.) Listening to the audiobook, I realized that it gave me a real sense of perspective on a lot of things that drive me crazy by reminding me that these are simply the most current fads (Paleo / gluten-free diets, smart phones, SnapChat, etc.). These too shall pass although the chaos will probably remain. And I’m actually okay with that.
Kate Reading’s narration really brought the book alive. I especially enjoyed her characterizations of Flip, Management, and Shirl, all of which added extra fillips of humor to the story. Having read the book several times before listening, I was impressed how well she captured the main character that I “heard” mentally. I will definitely be listening to this the next time I need a dose of anti-fad sensibility.
This is a light, fun book which nonetheless has a core of common sense and deeper meaning.
Why do only the awful things become fads? I thought. Eye-rolling and Barbie and bread pudding. Why never chocolate cheesecake or thinking for yourself?
The SFFaudio Podcast #244 – Jesse, Jenny, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.
Talked about on today’s show: Christmas-edition New Releases podcast; festivus; Seinfeld; Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War; pneumatic zeppelins (related to Led Zeppelin?) vs. non-pneumatic airships; Cherie Priest‘s Clockwork Century steampunk series; Gail Carriger‘s “tea-punk” Parasol Protectorate novels; Wizard of Oz: A Steampunk Adventure; HBO’s completely unrelated Oz television series; Seal Team 13, military vs. supernatural?; Lovecraftian horror vs. traditional horror; Call of Cthulhu role-playing game; World War Z; Overdraft: The Orion Exclusive; Jesse laments that neither Jenny nor Seth has seen Aliens; Sigourney Weaver; Gamadin: Word of Honor; Jesse loves audio drama; Night Vale; Blake’s 7; “audio drama is television or movies without pictures”; Visions of the Future now unabridged; limitations of the Star Wars spinoffs; R.A. Salvatore killed a beloved Star Wars character; Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey; a Star Wars Oedipus story?; When the World Shook by H. Rider Haggard; Haggard’s She; casual racism in turn-of-the-century fiction; Haggard is the English Edgar Rice Burroughs; Rumpole series (the actor narrates the audiobooks); Inspector Morse; Agatha Christie; Touch Me Eternally; X-Men; Silvered by Tanya Huff; are shape shifters the new vampires?; Charlaine Harris and True Blood; etymology of werewolf; were bat?; every Batman story has been done; Dangerous Women anthology; Lawrence Block; Legends anthologies; George R. R. Martin’s Dunk and Egg stories; Well of Echoes series; geomancy = crystal magic; ABC (the Australian one) book club; CSPAN’s Book TV; Reading Rainbow and the LaVar Burton revival; Herland; Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail and As Easy as ABC; Gungadin and “to carry the water”; Clark Gable; more on racism; White Man’s Burden; DreamScape Audio; The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle; sequel to The Lost World; similar to The Purple Cloud by M. P. Sheil; Jurassic Park; 1634 by David Weber and Eric Flint; time travel; George Guidall; Jonny Ive (and Seth’s bad Ive impression) read by Simon Vance; Chronicles of Light and Shadow by Liesel Schwartz; Waterlogged Holiday Collection; Kevin J. Anderson’s War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches; Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters; Star Trekpancakes attack; Connie Willis especially To Say Nothing of the Dog; Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome; Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit Will Travel; The Great Gatsby audio edition including Fitzgerald’s letters; Audible translating George R. R. Martin; Latin translations of Harry Potter; Call Down the Stars; metafiction; the prehistorical sub-genre; Clan of the Cave Bear; Ian Rutherford; James A. Michener; Harry Harrison; The Wonder Stick (spoiler: it’s a bow!); Jack London; A Quarter to Fear narrated by Mr. Jim Moon at Hypnogoria (Jesse actually bought it!); H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast; Audible Editor’s Picks; Audie Awards; Doctor Sleep by Stephen King won Audible Pick of the Year; The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker; American Gods by Neil Gaiman; Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia; The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Ender’s Game Alive; The Silo Saga; The Human Division by John Scalzi; The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell; Zombie Fallout series by Mark Tufo; Peter Clines 14 and Ex-Heroes series; Roald Dahl’s Matilda narrated by Kate Winslet; tweeting coffee;