The SFFaudio Podcast #587 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Dream Of Debs by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #587 – The Dream Of Debs by Jack London; read by KevinS for LibriVox. This is an unabridged reading of the story (47 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
The International Socialist Review, January – February 1909, The Strength Of The Strong, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Mask vs. Masque, its both, The King In Yellow, jumps in the fireplace, the hunting story, Robert W. Chambers, cars breaking down, punctures, drivers, The Sketch 1910/1911, Lord Dunsany, made of tires, ads for cars, wheels and wings, touring cars, cars as a toy of the rich, what’s missing, why does the story play out the way it does, refrigeration technology, widescale refrigeration, ice deliveries, this particular general strike, not much talk about toilet paper, paper towels, pinecones, store shortages, Manhattan Clam Chowder, canned food, how achievable is a general strike, when Bernie loses the election and our revolution turns into a party, what had to happen for the ILW to accomplish a general strike, the story is silly, IWW, the Knights Of Labor, industrial unionism, a mythological quality for people in the labour movement, the 1880s railway strike, Indiana, they don’t teach this stuff in school, what was uncanny about this story, the majority of working age people had knowledge they were gonna strike, if it was happening today, organizations on Craigslist, there have been revolutions, the Arab Spring, governments are incompetent, our hero gets his information from a particular newspaper, in the offing, Vancouver 1918 general strike, the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike lasted six weeks, anti-conscription, why the fuck was the United States in WWI?, 2nd Lt. Mike Vendetti, the Vietnam War, makes you feel stuff, Jack London supported it, we’re very complex strange creatures, an economic explanation, insuring loans get paid, rationing until the mid-1950s in the UK, the last day of sugar rationing August 1953, what a difference a couple of years makes, our colony in Hawaii, how unrealistic is this story, a week?, if we suddenly had a general strike today, eat those six-months old pickles, dogs and cats, from the POV of a very wealthy man, a feudal lord, that last line, something needs to be done, ridiculously orderly, the army only killed a few people, the telegraph lines, an apocalypse in a comic book, the state is totally unable to respond, if the industrial unions accomplished some of their goals, 1930s strikes, why schools don’t talk about labour history, a functional history showing how thing change, how to change stuff, we cant rely on the newspapers owned by rich people, we have to have our own means of communicating, the people that own everything, how factory jobs became family sustaining jobs, the miners were striking, an actual history of the future, set just a couple of years ahead (at most), utopian writing, aspirational, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, one of the things that socialism is a story about how to make things better, how it could work, emphasizing the lawfulness, doing only a few illegal things, unprecedented!, immoral!, a fair game, he’s a dilettante journalist, he’s a blue check twitter, Anderson Cooper, a Vanderbilt, Journalism school, the billionaires who are his friends and relations, they don’t listen at the club, and that was the end of the general strike, worse than a war, Harrison is still my chauffeur, the tyranny of organized labor, neighbours houses burned to the ground, they haven’t overturned capitalism here, an inversion of another line, something must be done is the starting point, the tyranny of the plutocrats, immigrant labour, imprisonment, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the New Democratic Party, Canada has a different culture than the USA (mostly to do with the relationship to government), Steve Cox hospital bill, Tommy Douglas, Keifer Sutherland, if you want to change to happen, why not any blue will do, eventually the guillotines will come out, a seminal strike 2 years after the Russian Revolution, this deal sucks, how do you scare the shit out of the government, the violence we see, forced to kiss the union jack, 30,000 workers on strike, stop all traffic, why we have that difference, Canada was not born with a different healthcare system, returning soldiers, the idea that soldiers love war, doofus men and boys, wargames, fight the Germans for reasons that did not make any sense, the title of this story, Winnipeg, Eugene V. Debs, Frankenstein’s subtitle, the anti-trust law made unions illegal, they’re using the laws designed to help them against them, that taught Debs a lesson, Victor Berger, I really like reading books so…, Karl Marx, a traveling evangelist for Marxism, evangelical Christianity, socialism, human beings are sacred, everybody has to come together, expropriate the parasites, overthrow the government and replace it with another kind of government, speaking out against WWI, this is all about securing the loans, I belong to the world, it’s disgusting, the Dixie Chicks, they’re heroes, Bill Maher, weird war rah rah madness, a hope for change, TV news clown, people wanted hope and change, they got 6 new wars, more neoliberalism, we know our country isn’t great, you don’t have to be a lunatic to see the appeal, people living under bridges, unless something weird happens with the red death: guaranteed Biden will lose, a return to normalcy is MAGA for white liberals, both are imaginary, Will has questions, the jingoism stuff, Jack London is one of the biggest American writer, the richest writer in the United States, he had the estate he was writing about, not since Mark Twain, this huge figure, a broke labourer, he started as a homeless guy, he was the poorest of the poor, a sincere socialist, a left a center and a right, how lazy the Italians who worked for him are, he had a crazy work ethic, drink you under the table, ride all day, laying bricks, boxing the shit out of people, a proletarian Lord Dunsany, gentleman’s club, what does it mean now?, the audience for this story, playful, The Iron Heel by Jack London, a future history, a very Jack London of Debs, August 2019, News From Nowhere by William Morris, Will Emmons: Boy Genius, a response to Bellamy, everyone lives the lifestyle of an artist, the arts and crafts guy, inspiring those who need inspiration, The Commonweal: The Official Journal Of The Socialist League, you control the means of publication, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the 8 hour day, ratchet down from there, everybody has three jobs now, Paul conveniently flees the country whenever we do a socialist book, the tyranny of human endurance, a 19th century sermon, religious non-conformists, seeing people oppressed for religious beliefs, Prairie Giant, current British Columbia government, the Canadian Labour (UK) party, parties change, the way Cornell West talks and thinks, he saw what Barack Obama did, those snake emojis, they believe she’s a snake (not a lizard person), he was stabbed in the back (in a certain sense), Nancy Pelosi has an endless supply of $600 silk scarves, the AUMF, a plan designed to fail, people can’t judge people, like the butler, Elizabeth Warren is an enemy not an ally, a narrow stratum of petite bourgeoisie, bourgeoisie the capitalist class (the owners of property), small in French, profit margins are lower, the most evil people in the world, squeeze super-exploited people, a position of class, the grocery store and warehouse workers, the proletariat (people who own nothing), debt peonage, the people who are told stay home (but can’t), wage slavery is a beyond the pale as a term, is this really like a choice?, communism, scientific socialism, once a certain number of people it becomes much easier for everyone to stop working, distancing yourself, the way Canada’s fucked up psychology works, until you get better we can’t get better, provinces have more authority than states do, a federal government, provincial responsibilities, equalization payments, provincial change, GST, Value Added Tax, the everyday feel, Social Credit, a Heinlein novel that deals with it, distance Paul, general strikes in antiquity, the secessio plebis, H.G. Wells’ Outline Of History, the plebeians invented strikes, Jesse is very proud of this fact, how the patricians and the plebeians had this relationship, the citizen’s assembly, a mean use, obey the laws you don’t know, 450 B.C., the laws of Rome were written, where that tribune of the plebs came from is because of a general strike, a religious exit from the city, ex-soldiers being treated like nothing, an untouchable representative, whoevers wrote it, when the South lost the war, W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction In America, some great saga, an inciting incident, Lincoln sort of freed the slaves, its not about race, race was a way of dividing people, divide and conquer, indentured servitude vs. slavery, to prevent making common cause, how these changes actually happened was not examined, we saw that it evolved, the teacher didn’t know how these evolutions came, the clarifying questions, slave revolts, patricians are plutocrats, why Julius Caesar was stabbed, I am your advocate, he is betraying his class, all his high school buddies stabbed Julius Caesar, maybe he’s just someone from the upper class, an inflated self-image, private soldiers, Sandline, Blackwater, Erik Prince, Dashiell Hammett, Ludlow, Colorado massacre, become a detective, the phenomenon of these people, gun thugs, a funny piece of history, the Pinkertons, were very concerned about the plebeians, subject to the law, the slum-dwellers, bread lines, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the outer party, that turn on stage, by not supporting her claim…, he doesn’t say a bad word about anybody, democratic socialists (rose twitter), cross class coalition, people in the streets, Bernie Sanders, Paul is a good person, Paul is in a position of Winston Smith, ready for rebellion, the ultimate betrayal, define betrayal, she didn’t endorse him, she didn’t drop out, you said to me a woman couldn’t be president, a naked political move, the anti-Christ, an aggressive political move, unprincipled, a non-aggression pact with everybody, a revelation of character, Bernie has no killer instinct, everybody is savable, you need to unilaterally disarm, using his personality defect, Joe Biden is responsible, the Iraq War, I wanna prostitute himself, is he gonna kill fewer people, a venal incompetence, a little afield, numbers of wars started, Trump has killed fewer people than Obama, a bad person and immoral, go for funny, Ronald Reagan, a comedy of the worst and last kind, if you looked at her policies, somebody needs to push this party to the left, the bedrock inherent conservationism, how many more homeless people will have to be out on the street?, old folks, crying wolf too much, social dangers, energizing the far right, Hillary Clinton ran to the right of Trump, militia people coming of the woodwork, an uptick in terrorism, the deep state is not gonna do anything about it, functional Nazis in US police department, I will work with anybody to get something done, scientifically that’s not true, guillotine 2020 is my compromise candidate, start with a strong position, the New Deal, the Depression was an existential threat, FDR was not conservatism, who owns the TV stations, who owns the newspapers, back to the slumdwellers, checking all Jesse’s privileged boxes, how science fiction relates to reality, Survivors, The Scarlet Plague, how to survive the plague that is upon us, Carriers (2009), so well organized, non-unionized workers and the unemployed, the lumpen proletariat (the criminal element), the reserve army of labour, structural unemployment, scabs, more oppressed, the first stratum organized, what he needs to win, amazing, the plebeians are aligned with the patricians against the slaves, guaranteed work, the mobility you see for Roman society for slaves vs. American society for slaves, capitalist slavery, a new nationality, the descendants, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Benjamin Disraeli, this story isn’t about race at all, very radical for the time, there’s no gender in this story either, German opposition to WWI, fake scientific notions about the races related to each other, H.P. Lovecraft wasn’t uniquely racist, the multinational character of the US working class, if Will is a child then Jesse and Paul are old men, the 19teens, as learned people, the second Red Scare was very successful, the turn, Uncle Joe Stalin, when you see US and Soviet soldiers embracing, some real united shit, the first Red Scare, massive state repression, vigilante violence, when the socialist disappear off the map, mayor of Burlington, Vermont, the farmer labour movement, the libertarian strain, a constitutionally different personality, going in the religious direction, official racism, genocidal settler nations, getting the slumdwellers in, the Communist Party was huge, organize the homeless, organize the sharecroppers, the geography of the United States, the ability to just move, extra lumpen, and Canada is a safety valve for the United States, poor and terrible, they beat up some rich people, its not discussed, a dream tweet:

Dreamt a lost sequence of 3 novels by Jack London. Each built-up an idea then the wiped the slate clean, the last ending in a scene in which the horrified protagonist–trapped in a maze built of bookshelves fights an infection by ultimately setting the labyrinth & himself alight

whips, there’s a shotgun shell incident, a lot less gun oriented, so crazily armed, a positive dream, you don’t want a massacre, Anderson Cooper reminds them, ways of looking at history, why people like watching hockey, Jesse doesn’t love Canada, a hard to understand phenomenon, every time the Canucks win a hockey tournament, the Stanley Cup riots, mass psychology, a way of understanding psychology enmass, reading the riot act, who is involved in sports riots, regular sports riots, college kids with parents who make more than $100,000 a year.

International Socialist Review, January 1909 - The Dream Of Debs by Jack London

International Socialist Review, February 1909 - The Dream Of Debs by Jack London

International Socialist Review, February 1909 - The Dream Of Debs by Jack London

International Socialist Review, February 1909 - The Dream Of Debs by Jack London

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #522 – READALONG: Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #522 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Amy H. Sturgis talk about Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

Talked about on today’s show:
Alex Nevala-Lee, a book and an audiobook, thinking about legacies, thinking about audiobooks before, the original cool guy, adorable, its nice to be read to, 100 pages of footnotes, Evan, your book doesn’t exist as an audiobook, nobody wants to read anymore, Evan’s gotten to the stage, reading history books, non-fiction is so good on audio, rekindling pleasure, everything is cited, really he said that?, “Fuck, Eando Binder!”, “lambasted dianetics”, its all cited, 13 hours, not padded, way too long, more about their sexual problems, wife-swappin’ again, a problem for a lot of books, so easy to read, just have a little listen, so engrossing, so well written, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, the Navy yard, commentary on the stories, I Will Fear No Evil, John W. Campbell is important, Ben Bova, two confusing awards, Hugo Gernsback needs his own version of this, the one person who is completely missing from this book is H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, what about this?, Jesse’s complaints are not very legit, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, modern science fiction, the intellectual historian, markets for genres, the 20s-30s-40s, the Cold War, turn towards nativism, a profound effect, the Science Fiction League, a self-aware community, WWII, a fledgling dialogue, this revolution, connecting SF with science, Microcosmic God, this is on Campbell, distinctly American?, issues sent as ballast to the UK, all the foreign editions of Astounding, the British fanzines, Hugo was nuts for electronics, we’re going to invent our own televisions, home amateurs, ham radio operators, the science fiction reader, Tom Swift, the edisonade, fertile soil, the radio boys, Electronic Experimenter, a pulp fiction collection, reading Amazing vs. reading Astounding, technical drawings and weird editorials, not only space opera, The Electrical Experimenter, Larry Niven, they’re weird dudes, a pathetic figure, a tragedy, a mire of pseudoscience, Asimov’s biography, Heinlein’s letters, no no, a horror suspense movie, uplifting, it worked on Heinlein, Asimov was his own little being, the tragedy is coming, blind spots and prejudices, good fiction and good science, the new wave, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, a machine for generating analogies, he’s given them the tools to push back against him, still influential, descent into pseudoscience and self delusion, Asimov’s preface to Dangerous Visions, we’re the squares, the passing of the torch, the sexual revolution, a cultural revolution vibe, Asimov was a square, “I fuck a lot, man.”, almost sexless, The Gods Themselves, weird alien sex, Heinlein’s weirdness, a lot of revealing things, the role of the wives, a biography of Kay (Catherine) Tarrant, spelling the names, Campbell wasn’t needed, behind the scenes, Astounding is so important, still under copyright, Heinlein getting mad at Campbell, Philip K. Dick has one story in Astounding, what’s going on?, Impostor, Campbell wanted superhumans, The Golden Man, a superhuman idiot, writing in reaction to it, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold’s aesthetic, Campbell didn’t take Alfred Bester!, a gatekeeper, Frederik Pohl, how important The Cold Equations is, you have to keep re-writing this until you get it right, what it does, this is what we are talking about, this is how far we can go, a Star Trek story, here is an episode of something that we can imagine happening, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, what Campbell was aiming at, a study in what editors can do, seeding the same idea multiple times, turning Asimov down, how would that intelligence work?, a black POV character, a leap of imagination, racism and homophobia as compartmentalization, Dune World by Frank Herbert, Mack Reynolds, Black Man’s Burden, Commune: 2000, the problem is scarcity (there is none, except in jobs), universal basic income, it didn’t matter to you that the kid was Filipino, what the difference between a rationalists and empiricists, here’s how drunk driving should work, you’re not clear yet, a technical journal, that’s not how science works, how science works, grinding lenses, Verne -> submarines, Wells -> warplanes, Campbell -> atom bombs, science fiction leading the science, a legacy, Rocket Ship Galileo, Tom Swift in the Rocket Age, Nancy Drew is not the same, Nazis on the moon, action fun excitement, Elon Musk, pushing in all directions, badly inspired, Paul Krugman, Asimov’s Foundation series, a weird tension, the scientific approach to all things, psychology, a desire to make everything scientific, A.E. Van Vogt, enough to be dangerous, enthusiasm for the ideas didn’t follow through to the methodology, we can make this science too, Hubbard had no interest in science (or science fiction, really), Heinlein’s failing, Asimov was a sexual asshole, a tragic figure, Heinlein falls for Hubbard because he had a uniform, a lying used car salesman, cults, its not about your intelligence, lacking critical thinking, charisma doesn’t translate from the page, judging eyes, I no longer trust you, the worst insult Heinlein could ever give anybody, broken legs and gonorrhea, the asshole sections of Jesse’s email, Heinlein was really blinded by patriotism, the Vietnam War, we need a renaissance for the Heinlein juveniles, Farnham’s Freehold makes a lot more sense now, trying to make a point about Campbell being wrong, hopeful commentary, not including Hubbard, the serpent in the garden, transformative, “the competent man”, competitors and community members, we’re doing something that’s important, the conversations we’re having are important, they hung together for decades, personal loyalty, trolls, the story of the first Worldcon, women nurturing men who were nurturing other men, Donald A. Wollheim was a better troll than anyone living today, contributing something positive, Mimic, he bought a lot of Philip K. Dick, Asimov as a youth, your idea of heaven, the power of picking up one of these magazines, the one thing missing from this book is the history of the covers, the art, fill the space, a little bit of technology, pitch me three new magazine, Weird Tales, tiny little things, when H.P. Lovecraft turns down the editorship of Weird Tales, what would we have or what would we be missing?, a magazine with a legacy, Elon Musk is a Heinleinian character, old letters pages are fossils, D.D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon, a trap, not hard enough on the Soviets!, a whole lifetime of a really complicated human being, the whole point, the functionalist stuff sounds like Campbell, creativity doesn’t work that way, how writing works, The Trouble With Tribbles, everything is in reaction, H.G. Wells doesn’t seem to have a massive precursor, The Time Machine, Last And First Men, Olaf Stapledon, Starmaker, those men are heroes, page 370 and 371, Barry M. Malzberg, sympathize with his critics, the question of victimization, a problem solving medium, not everyone is a hero, the way science fiction is today, science fiction should explore everything, schlubs, we all live in a world that’s increasingly become science fictional, Wells’ heroes are assholes, the New Wave pushes back against the Campbellian revolution, J.G. Ballard, mistrust of the meta-narrative, setting up things that come later, wanting 15 other books to be written, a companion volume on the Futurians, creating editors, Judith Merrill, here’s another community, C.M. Kornbluth, glimpses, Arena by Fredric Brown, The Orville is new Star Trek: The Next Generation, the a plot and the b plot, season 8 Next Generation, Enemy Mine, Hell In The Pacific, Lee Marvin, no alien movie, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Space: 1999, The Most Dangerous Game, Predator, somebody sitting around, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the b-plot, The Corbamite Maneuver, The Kobayashi Maru, Amy’s Looking Back At Genre History, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, always asking questions, how do you know, a meta-story, it’s about what happens when you read Astounding, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin is a retelling of Microcosmic God, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Hal Clement, science fiction luminaries, missing an ode to Hal Clement, the chapter titles, Who Goes There?, it doesn’t give you what you want, Don A. Stuart, Twilight, two types of storytellers, historical narratives, a remarkable achievement, history is a pruning job, a really important book, more books just like this, every time we say “Astounding” take a drink, endnotes, bibliography, a gift that’s going to keep on giving, what happens after this, some editor discovered or promoted Dashiell Hammett, Black Mask, railroading magazines, westerns, isn’t Analog still going today?, finally why this magazine called Analog?, it’s a metaphor, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, factless, Willy Ley, trying to make the reality behind science fiction more real, giving writers a grounding, Asimov: what a man!, writers who are complaining about low pay rates, E.E. Doc Smith, the Dean drive, a reactionless space drive, more biographies of these pulp era mags, The World Of Nitrogen, The Realm Of Measures, Asimov On Numbers, super-clear writing, Campbell’s book of collected editorials, Lecherous Limericks, bra-snapping and carrying on, Annoted Gulliver’s Travels, a writing and learning machine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, mysteries, the joy of reading and the joy of writing, his mind was always elevator, that kind of curiosity is so rare, he wanted to know the answers to everything, a powerful force in reality, The End Of Eternity, a fun book.

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #438 – READALONG: Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #438 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis, and Rose discuss Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett.

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul’s adventures in Australia and New Zealand adventures, all of Middle Earth, 1929, Black Mask, 1928, Yojimbo (1961), A Fist full Of Dollars (1964), Last Man Standing (1996), William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, Walter Hill, the Continental Op, a mystery (kind of), history retold in a rhyming fashion, what is the motivation of our unnamed protagonist?, to straighten up the town, Poisonville doesn’t treat him right, poison, compare to The Maltese Falcon, Tishiro Mifune, Sanjuro, mulberry field, motivated to make money, a good heart, The Glass Key, a common type of plot, third or fourth tier, the history of Hammett himself, motivation for a masterless samurai, all the reports he’s not sending, the old man, at a higher level, he knows deep down, in his right mind, that laudanum dream, gin and laudanum, from Adams apple to ankles, wait what?, corruption, bootlegger, gambler, no takes-backsies, Elihu, no personal stake, he doesn’t like them, I’m just mean enough, no no, because Dashiell Hammett wanted it to be novel length, corrupt police, rotten to the core, ostensibly to clean up the town, still echoing back, personal glee, burn it to the ground, echoed and repeated, they beat up his car (instead of his burro), a Clint Eastwood look-a-like, Sergio Leone, a very American iconic character, why that’s necessary, from a first person perspective, how reliable is the narrator?, I couldn’t tell the bosses that, the murder, as faithful as the third person descriptive, upset, not a normal code, no one did right by him, the Pinkertons, motivated by a real incident, what he was involved in, it doesn’t fit otherwise, he’s lying to his corporation, he’s trying to make his country better, a communist, corrupted government, when you say involved, Butte, Montana, the wobblies, a great metaphor, “involved”, they weren’t “detecting”, in this period and at that place, union busting, private contractors, Carnegie, steel workers, the strikers had to do their own bleeding, the standoff at Standing Rock, North Dakota, infiltrators, the 1920s, union vs. magnate battles, wield the might of a mercenary force, boxing match, the bloodiest, his noodle, body parts, awesomely described, what a wordsmith, a red haired mucker, “a shoit”, richardsnary, so much information in so few words, a mucker is a tough guy, Edgar Rice Burroughs, coming out of the war, underemployed, ride the rails, the good squad or the anti-goon squad, all over the world the Industrial Workers Of The World, a fight between the gilded age owners and the workers, beautiful cynicism, an acknowledged literary landmark, the first hard-boiled detective book?, no softening to this, Dinah Brand, no one remembers his (?) name, Carroll John Daly, Borderlands, the peace summit in The Godfather, the Fallout series, in 2010 Playboy made an MMO called Poisonville, Grand Theft Auto, super-iconic, their sheriff is weak, the Japanese take, the decline of the old way, only a visit from the overarching government can stop the violence, the Mexican and gun-running and rum-running, all rum-runners, horrible corruption within every layer of government, incredibly oppressive, mapping all the streets, Hurricane Road, Mountain View, Dell Mapbacks, a real living place from in the book, 40,000 people, Scott’s mind’s eye, an amazing amount of criminal activity, Ogden, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, railroad hubs, the richest hill on earth, what downtown Butte looks like, the city wasn’t pretty, gaudiness, yellow smoked into uniformed dinginess, perfect, the old man in bed, The Big Sleep, who employs these detectives, it feels quite different from later P.I. novels, how modern, a throwback, the cynicism and the coolness and the alcohol, every page is soaked in gin, soaked in a corpse, prohibition, unpleasant whiskey, the femme fatale character, coarse hair, an unbecoming wine color, you’re legs are too fat, the best Poisonville has to offer in women, an old case, so undesirable, all she cares about is money, did you expect differently, always about the expense account, $200.10, she takes the dime,

“You’re drunk, and I’m drunk, and I’m just exactly drunk enough to tell you anything you want to know. That’s the kind of girl I am. If I like a person, I’ll tell them anything they want to know. Just ask me. Go ahead, ask me.”

she is poison, the poison pill, the kid who is in love with her, he can kill for her, Walter Neff, Double Indemnity, no runs there, Barbara Stanwyck, James M. Cain, petty, horrible human beings who somehow find each other, Ronin (1998), a way out, he has to live there, The Hidden Fortress, the Western in Feudal Japan, the humour is against the violence, the literal Red Harvest he sows and then reaps, exactly parallel, the Star Wars cantina scene, brutality, we’ve become soft, a genre, conventions, all the drinking, that’s what you do when you can’t escape, if you’re not half in the bag when you meet her, more alcohol, really odd, some of it fat, judging everyone’s height, continually yanking you back to reality, unromantic and ugly, Edward G. Robinson, middle aged, he’s seen a lot of mileage, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Blade Runner, the look and the corruption, Blood Simple, M. Emmet Walsh, the corrupt cop, he’s not even a boss!, the visit to the big boss up in the tower, the femme fatale turns out to be a robot, The Postman Always Rings Twice, uncombed hair, greasy and dirty and horrible, you’re compelled and you can’t stop, Rose’s favourite Hammett book, unrelenting, he uses what they care about to tear them down, Dan Rolf, if he got fired, his code and only his code, the simple case, the blood simple speech, that is the most personal we ever hear from the Continental Op, dear readers, the joy he takes, he remembers who all of them are, so much in such a short amount of time, hero progression, Continental Op -> Sam Spade -> The Thin Man, extraordinarily human, not very likeable, his wife, moral qualms, I’m gonna sit here and drink, very genre focused, we’re not going to experience exactly the same things, the people who own everything,

For forty years old Elihu Wilson…had owned Personville, heart, soul, skin and guts. He was president and majority stock-holder of the Personville Mining Corporation, ditto of the First National Bank, owner of Morning Herald and Evening Herald, the city’s only newspapers, and at least part owner of nearly every other enterprise of any importance. Along with these pieces of property he owned a United States senator, a couple of representatives, the governor, the mayor, and most of the state legislature.

look what your father’s got his fingers in, so perfect, a lot tighter, having two gangs, playing both sides against the middle, a bit too complex, what ruins Last Man Standing, the music is so good in Yojimbo and A Fistful Of Dollars, starts and ends violence, from light comedy to brutal man-slaying, conventional narration, Bruce Willis’ voice-over, Julie likes the original cut of Blade Runner, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, not all narration (hash tag?), feeling the way he reacts, poking a face in, I don’t really care whose doing what, I stepped into the room the way my foot would, buckets of blood, it shouldn’t be faithfully adapted, read the short stories, well conceived, well written, it doesn’t matter where you grab it, the audiobook narrator Richard Ferrone, Lawrence Block, first person narration, conspiratorial whispering narration, told in confidence over a cup of coffee in Hopper’s Nighthawks.

CHIVERS Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #434 – READALONG: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #434 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis and Maissa Bessada talk about The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet

Talked about on today’s show:
Peter Lorre is not in Dracula, 1929, Black Mask, Sam Spade, The Dain Curse, 1941 movie, Star Trek: The Next Generation: “The Big Goodbye”, Mr Leech, Laurence Tierney, Cyrus Redblock, Sindey Greenstreet, Gutman, Brigid O’Shaughnessy, The Black Bird (1975), Wilmer, The Twilight Zone, Effie Perine, his mom is his secretary, watching for kicks, seeing the bird in colour, Satan Met A Lady (1936), the BBC Saturday Night Theatre adaptation, John Huston, Constantinople became Istanbul, we disagreed!, too right to fool with, we agreed!, Raymond Chandler vs. Dashiell Hammet, same genre, so heavy on description, a Pinkerton man, doing the right thing (for different reasons), hard-boiled to the core, a narrow code, moral problems, big on description and framing scenes, immersed into the world by following the words, seeing the movie in the book, seeing the power, an ‘impatient grimace’ is stage direction, text devoted to description, the opposite of a Philip K. Dick novel, what film does, the scene where Bogart leaves after pretending to be angry, that shaking hand, best screenplay adaptation, unlike Philip Marlowe, who is the homophobe? the author or the character or both or neither?, a perspective, we notice like she does, don’t blame me for being a fake, is there a homophobe?, Brigid is baiting Cairo, the one you couldn’t make, when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it, you could make a strong case, Jesse was baiting, what Spade is doing, who is the gay man in this story, Wilmer gets the slurs, Joel Cairo, smells of gardenia, fruity, a Greek passport, speculation that Gutman is gay, a gay gang or a queer gang, genial, William Dufris’ narration of the novel, thinking for oneself, a blonde Satan, the teeth thing, a trademark, Humphrey Bogart, another kind of gay man, “the boy” “Wilmer you’re like a son to me, but sons can be replaced. There’s only one Maltese Falcon”, a really strange family, where Julie goes for her gay family information, Wesley Crusher’s mom, touching Picard, a weird family meeting in Picard’s ready room, the Klingon, Data the Pinocchio character, the characters in the holodeck story, the detective friend, all after “the item”, what makes the dynamic so awesome, the highest point in the film, “I spent 17 years looking”, let’s go to Constantinople, Peter Lorre has purpose and meaning, they invite Spade to come along, the movie makers loved, it the audience loved it, and that’s how we get Casablanca, reuniting over and over, three kinds of men, the tough cynical tough guy with a code, the sycophant (the leech), I need you stand with your hands behind your neck, every future episode, that pistol, that is why we love Joel Cairo, the Gutman Sidney Greenstreet is so dynamic, I love talking to a man who loves to talk, the palming of the $1,000 bill, I have to have my games, apologizing while insulting, the key to his relationship with Wilmer, Gutman loves manipulation, find me a character that isn’t manipulating, even Effie is manipulating, everybody is manipulating everybody, what the hell!?, a hetero sort of version of the gay team, Archer’s cheating, there’s a woman out here, she’s a spectacularly bad judge of character, everybody is cynically manipulating everybody else, even the cops are in on it, the Star Trek adaptation, sharing pickled pig feet, not with those caps, here to offer insight, Julie’s going to disagree halfway through, why does this novel work so well, as opposed to any of the other Dashiell Hammett novels, chasing a whatsit, almost identical plots: Ronin (1998), an international cast, San Fransisco, “I need a kiss”, everybody is manipulating each other, the great whatsit, the McGuffin, Mike Spillane a glowing suitcase, the room lights up and you’re face comes off, Pulp Fiction, why does this all resonate, in a world without God we do not have any purpose for existence, the price of the Maltese Falcon goes up and up and up, it could be worth an infinite amount of museum, something worth chasing after, maybe my life can regain a purpose, we get a sense of ‘oh yes, this is something can chase after’, why we love they don’t kill Gutman is they are allowed to go one along with their quest, that god shaped hole, high five, Scott! Scott!, the Flitcraft case in chapter 7, looking at it very obliquely, death is real, not the life he wants, he recreates the life he was living, the proper pronunciation of “Spokane”, what’s the point of the Flitcraft story, Spade telling a story, fleshing Spade out, how Spade wound up in San Fransisco, coming out of the mists, backstories, a ball of snow rolling down a hill, Cairo’s backstory, that’s why he’s a private detective, captured by pirates, lost in France for history, not Mr Wells’ history, a history of humanity, a micro-story,

He knew then that men died at haphazard like that, and lived only while blind chance spared them.

“It was not, primarily, the injustice of it that disturbed him: he accepted that after the first shock. What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs, he had got out of step, not into step, with life. He said he knew before he had got twenty feet from the fallen beam that he would never know peace again until he had adjusted himself to this new glimpse of life. By the time he had eaten his luncheon, he had found his means of adjustment. Life could be ended for him at random by a falling beam: he would change his life at random by simply going away. He loved his family, he said, as much as he supposed was usual, but he knew he was leaving them adequately provided for, and his love for them was not of the sort that would make absence painful.

how perfectly fascinating, she’s always lying, Tacoma, you’re never going to change, she doesn’t get it, I’ve lied so long I don’t know how to do anything else, s specific note, a specific word, thank you for saying “fuck”, this book had censorship, the word “gunsel”, punk, a male prostitute or sex slave, projecting homophobia, a back and forth exchange, in the lobby of a hotel, “the fairy”, New York aren’t you, Baumes’ rush (the 1920s equivalent of the three strikes law), bums and hobos and gunsels, shove off, you can tell G I said so, he never brings his eyes up, he’s almost not there, shove off, performance art, that would go over big on 7th avenue, censorship, sailors, where sailors go to pick up…, to shake loose information, he’s employing homophobic language to provoke, Miskatonic.org Rara Avis (the rare bird), bulletin boards, amateur scholars, he can’t act, a Lux Theatre adaptation, Hollywood actors recreating movies as radio dramas, Edward G. Robinson as Sam Spade, a strange line, You’re the sister of the boy who stood on the burning deck, Casabianca, we don’t know how Casablanca came to be, a great classic out of a filler, a wonderful confluence of events, strange international relations, Vichy France, the Nazis, that great speech, a romantic positive speech, come around to me in 20 years, do you think either one of them loved each other?, his philandering, they’re all angels, what does love leave to them, he’s the hetero version of Cairo, sent to sleep with the Russian, a fun speech (pure bullshit), the ending of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful…, Jesse’s independent research, the letter of transit is the Maltese Falcon, they ripped this off!, a solid but unspectacular hit, a work of genius, standing the test of time, you’re principles, she’s worth and so is the boyfriend, cipher, what does that amount to?, not a hill of beans (in this crazy world), here’s my code, I’m not playing the sap for you, low spirits, by late 1941, the cynicism, a comedy by accident, comedy, you’ll forgive me but it’s not good for me to be alone with you, poor Joel Cairo, we can give up you, it’s really striking when they replicate that relationship, Spade made a cigarette, Lauren Bacall, a kind of remake of Casablanca, To Have And Have Not, Bold Venture, Slate Shannon and Sailor Duvall and King Moses, set in Havana, playing to type, ideas vs. character, a story full of ideas – but demonstrated, Hammett leaves you to put it together, what was going on his head?, Red Harvest, even leaner, his style is amazing, he’s super-smart, he doesn’t put genius into the characters, people make movies about his life, fought in both WWI and WWII, evil mercenaries operating for giant evil corporations, Lillian Hellman, HUAC, throw a veteran of two world wars thrown in prison as “unamerican”, The Thin Man, The Adventures Of Sam Spade, talking everybody’s space away, the original Rat Pack, Errol Flynn, Eva Gardner, quite a pack, the den mother, a good to do list for anybody, she’s wise beyond her years, self-possessed, a match for any man, You Must Remember This podcast: Bogie Before Bacall, Bacall After Bogie, so 1945, asking Peter Lorre for dating advice, another really wise guy, better five good years than nothing, go for it you idiot!

Black Mask, September 1929 - The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon and Humphrey Bogart
The Maltese Falcon (Folio Society)
The Maltese Falcon meets The Call Of Cthulhu - illustration by DOUGLAS KLAUBA

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC: Day 6 – Ray Bradbury interview from 1985

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC - Day 6CBC’s Day 6 blog has a lengthy, November 1985, interview Ray Bradbury (conducted by Vicky Gabereau for her self titled Gabereau show). This is a terrific long-form and ramblingly awesome interview – as Bradbury himself puts it, it’s a “discussion about ideas.”

In it Bradbury talks about:
Moving out to California as a kid, how he gets around Los Angeles, his appearance on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life, movies, directing vs. writing, Fahrenheit 451, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, James M. Cain, Norman Mailer, a discussion about ideas, bad male drivers, Blackstone the magician, Paris, France, the American Revolutionary War, architecture, Federico Fellini, Amarcord (1973), horror movies, The Fog Horn, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Godzilla, dinosaurs, Moby Dick, William Shakespeare, John Houston, The Carrot People, The Horror Of Dracula, Christopher Lee, The Omen, Diabolique, Jean Harlow, Burns and Allen, The Trojans and sporadically his then current novel Death Is A Lonely Business.

And here’s that appearance on You Bet Your Life (featuring Ray Bradbury in a crew cut):

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #152 – READALONG: The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #152 – Jesse talks with Trent Reynolds and Paul Westlake about the AudioGo and Hard Case Crime novel The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake.

Talked about on today’s show:
Is The Comedy Is Finished going to be the last Donald E. Westlake novel to be published?, Memory (and our discussion of it), Charles Ardai, Max Allan Collins, Mickey Spillane, getting paid is a priority for professional writers, the 1970s, Honeydew, USO tours, Bob Hope, the audiobook experience, Peter Berkrot’s narration of the audiobook of The Comedy Is Finished, Koo Davis, Bob Hope as Red Skelton vs. Bob Hope as Gene Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ricky Gervais, Koo Davis narrates his own POV in the present everyday tense sense, “Westlake is the master of sentence by sentence writing”, “in the moment”, “the god-damned Vietnam thing”, “the real Americans”, the redemption, healing vs. moving on, Ronald Reagan, “new normal”, “the Carter malaise” and “festering wounds”, Larry, Peter, Mark has daddy issues, Joyce, the Dortmunder gang if they were all psychotic, “doing a Westlake”, why do Koo’s boys not look like him?, the role of a father, the mirror scene, “genetics don’t matter in fiction”, fatherhood as a choice, leave the messages to Western Union, character arcs, Lindsey, A Sound Of Distant Drums, radio drama, “there are round characters and there are flat characters”, “oh this is a Westlake”, “Charo has become a bitter old woman”, “a romantic writer”, succinct description, taking plots from real life, The Score, “he can heist anything”, The Mourner, The Stepfather, “that’s pretty much how these work”, three Dortmunder ideas, Kahawa should be an audiobook, California, Burbank, Santa Barbara, Elizabeth Taylor’s biography, Under An English Heaven should be an audiobook too, Anguilla, an option has been taken out on Kahawa, the new Parker movie, Stephen King’s filmography vs. Donald Westlake’s filmography, The Hot Rock, Cops And Robbers (1973), The Split (based on The Seventh), Payback, Les Alexander, The Outfit, City Of Industry, The Sour Lemon Score, Made In U.S.A., the Criterion Collection, it’s Clint Eastwood with internal monologue, a Dortmunder TV series, The Limey, Terence Stamp, Idi Amin, Uganda, “the coffee train”, Enough, Ordo, A Slight Case Of Murder, A Travesty, it’s very hard to be a Westlake expert, the sound a girl makes when you’re kissing her, “it’s just a weird name”, Bob Hope was a knight!, Conrad Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, Westlake’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, Westlake’s renunciation of SF, Anarchaos by Curt Clark, “Rolf Malone is a precursor to Parker”, Theodore Bikel (the fiddler in The Fiddler On The Roof), The Risk Profession, Nackles (is great for kids!), The Twilight Zone, Harlan Ellison’s screenplay for Nackles, the Starship Hopeful series (available on DonaldWestlake.com), Lawrence Block’s fantasy story, SF is very allegorical (and that’s not Westlake), Humans, Westlake’s Smoke vs. Wells’ The Invisible Man, “and everybody’s an asshole”, “everybody one way or another is a jerkoff”, “Joyce goes crazy in the most wonderful way”, a survivor of Chernobyl, “is God really an asshole?”, “angels are assholes”, Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Sacred Monster, Get Real, ridicule in print, Money For Nothing, Westlake never lectured, interior thoughts that are so revealing about the shallowness of a character’s nature, Washington, D.C., “moving up the ladder”, “what does Ginger want?”, “it’s fun to play with fire”, “I’ve got to have something”, did Don hate rock and roll?, he liked classical and atonal jazz, “damn hippie”, 99% of politics is pointless, talking to death, Jimmy The Kid (a Parker novel inside of a Dortmunder novel), kidnapping, Help I Am Being Held Prisoner, Patty Hearst, Gangway, Brian Garfield, Spider Robinson’s Dortmunder homage, Lawrence Block, The Sour Lemon Score, Dashiell Hammett, Piers Anthony, Poul Anderson, Robert A. Heinlein, shiny spaceships, don’t read by genre, read by author, the genre label, Jim Thompson, The Grifters, Trent’s beef with Angelica Huston, a period piece, Paul had a problem with John Cusack, J.T. Walsh, Pat Hingle, Annette Bening, “I’ll never look at a bag of oranges the same way”, Donald Westlake: NYC Personified, The Violent World Of Parker website, Nick Jones, Westlake’s bibliography at DonaldWestlake.com.

AudioGo - The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse Willis