The SFFaudio Podcast #640 – READALONG: Wang’s Carpets by Greg Egan

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #640 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Wang’s Carpets by Greg Egan

Talked about on today’s show:
Greg Bear, its been a while, a story about scientists doing science in a science fiction story, really pleasant, a lot of philosophy and a lot of scientific ideas, establishes themes, distilled, some real questions about the world, many worlds to conquer, sense of wonder, fractals, not conquer, contact is conqueror, very Prime Directivey, a Sterling thing, the Shaper Mechanist stories, biological and technological, parallel lives, they’ve mastered biology, they’re digital, baseline humans, 96 percent of me died, I’m going to mourn that for a while, Borderlands, digistructs, Star Trek, stuck in the buffer, technically this story is really good, not writing problems, digital vs. biological, the CZ folks, there was a reality, not a solipsistic universe, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, why Scott is worried (what Scott understood), biological copies, they’re not in a simulation, when they arrive at Vega, another level, one of the reviews, a little bit of Borges, how Set Theory interacts with philosophy, an infinity of numbers, this thing could go on for a while, a bigger infinite set, once you set down this path, interesting to think about what’s going on, rather repulsive, a few shows ago, In The Clutch Of The War God went to Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, the post-human aspect, going post-human, changing your eye stalks, your dad’s third copy of your cousin, sound and fury signifying nothing, the act of looking at mp3 files is copying them, I don’t download I only stream, any actions within a computer are copying actions, going to visit a website is downloading it, big sheets of sugar, it turns out its not alive, turns out its not alive, in the interstices, what’s so interesting about this, kind of like Exhalation by Ted Chiang, these things are going on without us, hard fantasy, its much more like Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, learning the rules of a game, why is he telling me about the emotional relationships between these characters, they don’t have belt pouches and breakfasts, they don’t care whether it is raining, following robots, these are not a metaphor, any sense why Jesse would have a reaction, the message is sad, the people at home are living in VR worlds, step one set back and we’re looking at a short story, yeah within the story it all makes sense, within the story, the story is meta-questioning, somewhere deep in the center, why the search for life is necessary, suicide and emigration, people are excited to hear about life, if this goes on…, the carpets seem to have their own thing going on, exactly like your world, its incestuous, Wang tiles can’t be mirrored, very depressing, here’s the problem, here’s the solution, the problem is present again, escape solipsism with reality exploration, they’re playing proceduraly generated Minecraft, like LEGO, clunky cubic architecture, making calculators and computers that run programs inside of Minecraft, the logic chain, Redstone circuits, and or gates, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, like the data tape of a Turing machine, if someone had recorded all of our button presses…, control systems, a series of button presses, home computer programming, BYTE Magazine, Ti 99/4A, most people are not going to have access to this story, The Hard SF Renaissance, Mainly Books And Reading Blog, they have their own private language, a thinking machine, its a person, very distanced from the characters, some of them look like butterflies, post-human stuff, a mirror to the world that they’re exploring, the character of Orpheus, there’s no head involved, Cyberpunk 2077, one of the things you can do in the game is you can modify your character, super-customize your character, purple skin and eight fingers per hand, robot legs, eventually you’re just a thing that was a robot, these are not the bodies of the people back on Earth, the thoughts or the Turings of the people, they have votes, nobody would every consider cheating here, the guy who used to be his own son, it is all about the head, ultimately this is a math story, distinct realms, using math to measure reality, digital vs. analog, digital people living in a digital world, stored in pattern buffers, Carter Zimmerman, exploring the physical world vs. we’ve got aliens, so meta and so Borges, a very interesting crystal fractal thing, alienating, reading about others, there’s so much character work, consciousness downloading, Robert J. Sawyer, Four Lords Of The Diamond by Jack L. Chalker, Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, death is not an issue and the biggest issue that ever could be, suicide, immortality, no more copies, downloading memories, a linear existence, explored, tossed-around, really dense, a lot happening, read and listened simultaneously, a different skill, words that give you trouble, spelling, the philosophical exploration, ideas for life, back to Borges, The Library Of Babel, indefinite, infinite, standing room for sleeping, I prefer to dream, a world (not our world), what are in the books, how the world looks, the world consist of rooms, hexagonal, there is not outside world, it could be a giant circle, it could be a carpet, on that water world, some beaches somewhere, the toxic UV, out of contact with the reality of the sun, Plato’s cave creatures, no sense data, social information, a model of the internet, we could hook up webcams, so full, the naming of the planet (Orpheus), he’s despairing, that’s depressing, not a character story, a bit of nostalgia for Paul, all Paul wanted out of science fiction, characters could go hang, their world is presented clinically, they’re there, we’re distanced – like we’re scientists examining them, legitimate emotions, as much as Jesse’s emotions are legitimate, there’s no difference between actual people and fictional people?, an anthropocentric universe, the young earth creationists, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, these are the worries, the Fermi paradox, subspace chatter, why aren’t the Cardassians yelling at the Klingons, are we the first?, the only?, that’s what they’re saying, mocking, a cause for happiness, hey they discovered life on Mars again!, because there’s some methane, every fifty light years there’s a plankton sheet, fifty light years on there are ones with eyes, fifty light years beyond that there are ones with brains who worry about being alone, their hope, a twofer, a good old fashioned excuse to point to an article of November 1965 issue of Scientific American, Border Guards, David G. Hartwell, the lit crit pov, science as a symbolic construct of language, that’s part of it, are you gonna live you life playing computer games or live a real life, digital clothes for your avatar, the post-human people, the trans-human people, dump these bodies, we’re going to be digital, buy the books, the hard reality is they’re stuck in a meatbody, Kiln People by David Brin, its a metaphor for books, just shoot annoyed clones, typical Brin, I wanna play Minecraft, I left a me in the fridge, Transmetropolitan, robot slaves, you’ve got to have a plot, Raymond Kurzweil, cryonics, I can become younger, self-improvement, augmentation, nano-robot stuff, we do this, cataracts, what you’re claiming to think is consciousness, Evan Lampe, current Klingons aren’t interested in developing science, Klingons are post-human larpers, new fashion, what’s the difference between that and culture, the people who wanna be foxes, furries, unrealistic hope, you’re an ape that can swim and put on clothes and light fireplaces and collect rings, you’re not a bird, you’re not a fish, you’re definitely not going into a chrysalis and coming out a butterfly, 20 spots left in my harem, the more x chromosomes the better, if you have the fallopian tubes, we’re biological, we can’t fully transform from that, Jesse Simulator 1.2, a mistake like warp drive, that’s just gravity assist, Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton, I liked Sliders too, the farcasters in Hyperion, every room on a different planet, which planet does he choose to poop on, how many classes do we have in this story, everybody is equal except how many generation you are, suicide of emigration, what those carpets are doing, that we know of, they don’t have eyes, we come with assumptions, everything that looks at stuff have eyes, trees can detect light, designed to be depressing, these are not supposed to be humans, would you be cool with being a clone?, your clone uncle is now a butterfly, they have Wikipedia, post-scarcity, trans-humanist space journey, you can drink digital root beer and take digital photographs, another rant, AI software used in photos, HDR, slices of the reality that was there, the mark 1 eyeball, cheating, that lady who restored the painting of Jesus to look like a capuchin monkey, this is what Jesus looked like maybe, Paul’s philosophy of photography, that’s not really what you saw, the bad driving out the good, a weird overlay of reality, a watermark, a fascinating discussion, similar arguments in sports, a valid sports participant, a list of things you can’t do, using technology to enhance a performance, SPVIZ runtime, you never could, the Iwo Jima flag raising, manual photograph, choosing where to put and place the camera, it has always been the case you can’t trust the narrative, media literacy, common sense, The Invention Of Lying (2009), its a stage of human development, if I make a scary noise mom thinks I’m in pain, not everything is real, they can edit their personalities, change their dispositions in radical ways, a totalitarian state, I seem to remember that not being the case, so spotty, so useful, have the focused changed, the narrative, so meta, all those sets, if not deliberately, the story itself as part of the story, levels of a story, wholly artificial, a construction that’s interesting to look at, the appeal of sodoku, a logic exercise, a program that will do it in real time, kind of like dominoes, one sided tiles, good story, depressing story, in the Aurora sort of way, maybe that’s why there’s no photo of him, he might be a butterfly, the fundamental constants changed, the Clockwork Rocket series, what if light bends differently, the Greg Egan way.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #589 – TOPIC: WORLDCON 2020

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #589 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Trish E. Matson, Evan Lampe, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about WorldCon 2020.

Talked about on today’s show:
WorldCon had some panels, Hugo Awards 2020, George R.R. Martin, 3.5 hours long, we love the stories but maybe on a panel, Robert Silverberg, Jeannette Ng Astounding Award Speech that won a Hugo, Alec Nevala-Lee on John W. Campbell, bottle of scotch, Retro Hugos 1945, magazines in 1945, rules for Best Series Hugo, Arkham House, hero pulps, continue the Retro Hugos?, Leigh Brackett, Clifford Simak, C.L. Moore’s “No Woman Born”, New Zealand authors, Sir Julius Vogel Awards, Vogel Award voting packets, where was New Zealand in the award ceremony, WorldCon is a fan convention, WorldCon is a party put on by fans that we get to attend, gravitation field has shifted, mispronouncing names, award shows in general, Hugos are often tedious, fanzines have been buried – now they are all available, DIY History, University of Iowa, Leigh Brackett’s The Science Fiction Field, lists, Pellucidar better than Derleth’s contribution to Cthulhu Mythos, audience for younger writers, affording new books, R.F. Kuang, Poppy War, Lovecraft Country, The City and the City, libraries, a 35 cent book should today be $3.50, successful writers doing Patreons to help ends meet, Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire, local conventions, S.B. Divya, Becky Chambers, “Run-Time”, “To Be Taught, if Fortunate”, Wayfarers Trilogy, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, afrofuturism, Who Fears Death, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, Tade Thompson’s Rosewater, 2006 Worldcon, David Brin, “Killer B’s And A V”, Brin, Benford, Bear, Vinge, Karl Schroeder, get New Zealand another one, WorldCon bids, Chicago, Saudi Arabia, not feeling safe to go places, Dublin, should WorldCon have some kind of minimum standards of safety for attendees or trust voters to reject unsafe places, Memphis, Chengdu, China, travel to the United States, always expensive to go somewhere when you’re poor, kudos to CoNZealand volunteers, con panels are like podcasts every hour, Prisoners of Gravity, Fritz Leiber, Kim Stanley Robinson, doing research, lack of recordings of panels, loss of oral history of the genre, dealer’s room, do we have to have conventions?, environmental costs, Olympics ought to have one Olympic village at Athens and use it every 4 years, face to face has advantages, any future bids should include plans for a healthy and vigorous virtual component, Jesse likes podcasts better, comments better on Zoom than in person because no hijacking, Discord was used as if it were the hotel, breaking news: panels will be archived at Toronto’s Merrill Collection, CoNZealand Fringe panels, Gary K. Wolfe, near future SF, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, The Population Bomb, near future SF tends to be cautionary, writing more positive futures, Joe Haldeman, F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, print!, the masquerade, Alec Nevala-Lee on feelings about award name change, a new Hugo category “Best Non-Fiction Work” where scholars can be recognized, what he is writing now, Buckminster Fuller, Syndromes short story collection, thanks to WorldCon volunteers.

Posted by Jesse Willis
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Reading, Short And Deep #201 – The Faithful by Lester del Rey

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #201

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Faithful by Lester Del Rey

The Faithful was first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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

Podcast

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

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #454 – READALONG: The Forge Of God by Greg Bear

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #454 – Jesse, Scott, Paul, and Steen talk about The Forge Of God by Greg Bear

Talked about on today’s show:
1987, God!, Blood Music, Eon, Jesse’s finnicky tastes, Jesse’s purity test, three years before, the peak of his career, making money and trying to be mainstream, near the peak, that whole weird phase (techno-CIA thrillers), it had a profound effect upon Scott, no such thing as spoiler territory, just profound, the only good end of Earth story, a lot like 2012 (2009), a bunch of theories, Maissa Bessada, WWI (actually WWII) pilot, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader: “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”, Strange Exodus by Robert Abernathy, the false story, the parasites, the cinder cone, good steal!, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, political problems, how dated the politics is in the sense of the president, to impeach the president for being incompetent, part of the point, what has a point at all?, our most powerful person in the world is worse than useless, fantasies of competence, the 2006 Wordlcon in Los Angeles, “Bear, Benford, and Brin (and Vinge)”, very self-satisfied, consulted by the “higher ups”, they got tricked in the same way Dan Carlin got tricked, their consultation was of no inherent interest, Joe Rogan, the CENTCOM conference, shake the hand of the orange doofus, in awe of the room, all of them are frauds, just guys who got elected to a certain job, the problem is he has no power, is it OK to talk about religion on this show?, the “moms” are essentially a kind of god, machines saved us, machines all the way out, a real robot pretending to be biological, Doctor Who, Aliens Of London, When Worlds Collide is an antidote to this book, a different take, “competence porn”, the reference to Larry Niven, Laurence Van Cott, all sorts of great ideas, a really strange book, Jesse summarizes the book: enjoying geology, some weird stuff (not shown), the Americans!, leering at each other sexually (because its a book), science fiction writers writing about sexy time, Lucifer’s Hammer or Footfall, all this rigamarole, absolutely nothing could have been done except what they were compelled to do, a show like dominoes falling, worrying, like ants being attacked by you, ultimately they have no influence on what you’re going to do, part of the theme of the book, even the Arks aren’t human built in this book, at least we’ve got that going for us, no matter how many Larry Niven characters are consulted, blowing up the cinder-cone, buying CDS, so many spinning discs, it hid its age well, in fact the Soviet Union is in terrific shape!, Jerry Pournelle’s future, it should be humbling, the opposite of competence porn, Brin is incredibly impressed by his own brilliance, they’re smart guys, the wife who looks like an owl, Newt Gingrich’s attitude towards his fellow congressmen, the smile he would put on his face, he thought he was the genius in the room, he has written science fiction, he realizes he’s the only one who has read some books, they’re all Trump’s biggest fan, the left-right divide is a false reality, competent vs. incompetent vs. incredibly incompetent, a rhyming satire of Ronald Reagan, the Dunning–Kruger effect, equating not-smart with being religious, the president is not wrong (in this book), the irony, instinct, not a novel about the president, more and more attention goes to the Presidency, Jesse posits an alternate ending to Air Force One (1997), wasn’t that weird, the prayers are answered by the Moms, free will, its almost like they’re the religious ones, even the Moms are omnipotent, Shanghai and Seattle, what about the sequel?, we forget some of the rules from the first book, that Orson Scott Card feeling, Anvil Of Stars, the “ships of the law”, a treatise on the cost of vengeance, chapter openings, Lamb Of God, Lord Of Mercy, we repeat the cycle of violence, how are we any better than them?, Quantico, The Vulcan Academy Murders, the Fermi paradox, Fred Saberhagen, some of the characters have read science fiction, Larry Niven doesn’t even get a berth, an awful randomness, Yosemite National Park, I can write it off, going to the places in the book, The Crystal Spheres by David Brin, radio signals, everybody is living on Trantor, the logistics of empire, anticipating and then seeing the future not look like that, this guy’s amazing!, yeah except that novelized version of Blood Music…, the vision of what you see, the grey goo pouring over the surface of the earth, the same effect, the inner exploration, somehow was on a trajectory for greatness, The Wind From A Burning Woman collection, the raw power and intelligence that you see in a brilliant writer, Ted Chiang, bursting with weird ideas, not 100% polished (at first), now polished, this era of Greg Bear ends with Moving Mars, Queen Of Angels, Darwin’s Radio, Darwin’s Children, fantasies, Michael Crichton territory, to make some money?, rods from god, the “thor project“, War Dogs, a great author, his foundation novel, Gregory Benford, I’ve read this before, contemptuous of the reader, continuing a series, what do you expect from the latest Dune book?, how L. Ron Hubbard still sells a lot of books, Kevin J. Anderson’s writing method, making books while hiking, Vitals, the least damning paragraph, a Goodreads review: “Word count achieved”, The Liberation Of Earth by William Tenn, Of Men And Monsters by William Tenn, we’re termites, we’re the rats in the walls, humbling or humiliating, are we ever going to see from the aliens point of view?, he put us with the people, writing it today, less America focused, inferring the extra lies, a more global perspective, Independence Day (1996), the heart of the book (should have been) to spend time with the teenager, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, if this had been a novel of two ways of dealing with the situation, Elon Musk/Larry Niven team vs. an Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star team/robots, get past the kumbaya, the turn, the Australian robots self-destructing, they’re alien biological entities, trillions of sentient beings killed, the Wikipedia entry for Anvil Of Stars, formidable “philosophical defenses” (Jesse’s philosophy-fu?), the children of Earth are mad, Peter Pan, Wendy and The Lost Boys, “philosophical defenses” = “human shield“, humans are fucking horrible, brilliant but monstrous, a set up for the sequel, the four witnesses, who made this law?, Jesse is fighting The Forge Of God all the way, he doesn’t know how to do endings, a prequel to Eon, when Greg Bear was really angry, rolling in the Halo money?, a badge of shame, “I don’t understand how it could be good”, the whip!, Steen’s review of The Wind From A Burning Woman, Greg Bear’s take on Arthur C. Clarke’s The City And The Stars, Hardfought, if not audio he’s not going to read it, Bear is married to Poul Anderson’s daughter, a hate-on for Star Wars, Star Wars On Trial, I don’t want to live in a universe with Paul Atredies in charge, that Paul Weimer administration is even more dangerous than some, taxation in USA vs. Canada, Heads, Hegira, residual good feelings, Hull Zero Three, Dinosaur Summer, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, City At The End Of Time, the dying earth sub-genre, William Hope Hodgson, using Steen as a filter, ideas vs. writing, easy listening, Jorge Luis Borges, Olaf Stapledon, Voyager 1 news, awe inspiring, far future, long term projects that are still paying dividends, more funding to rovers on mars, some hot hot Venus action, balloons, Zeppelins on Venus, City Of Darkness by Ben Bova, betrayed by Bova, puns!, and that’s how Paul’s administration came to an end.

TOR - The Forge Of God by Greg Bear

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #383 – READALONG: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #383 – Jesse, Bryan Alexander, and Steen Hansen talk about The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.

Talked about on today’s show:
1969, before the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, contemporary critics, SF critics vs. mainstream critics, the defense of the ghetto against interlopers, Ray Bradbury, Doris Lessing, a deep feeling, spoiling the book, showing what was wrong with it, getting the facts wrong, interpretation, Luke Burrage reviewing, Robert J. Sawyer, bad writing, had they done nothing … nothing would have happened, the mutation, the Wildfire facility, Star Trek, scientists out for the good of humanity, self-destruct sequences, MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction, every nuclear sub movie, film-like, The Ipcress File by Len Deighton, airport fiction tropes, hyper competent high level government high tech mcguffins, brain-washing, novel -> film, written for film?, ER, picky fiddly science and bureaucratic operation, killed or useless, trusted scientists to save the world, ruthlessly hard science, Hollywood couldn’t make this movie now, restrained, chilly, the gender swap, Robert Wise, Shirley Jackson, The Haunting Of Hill House, Alfred Bester, a document dump, classified material, overloading the reader with verisimilitude, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton, The Thirteenth Warrior, Vikings, Russians and Byzantium, completely bullshit, Mr. Bullshit, regular SF vs. techno-thriller, a yummy INFODUMP, nobody had a definition for life, black cloth, a watch, a piece of granite, pure Science Fiction, Bryan’s mind destroyed at age 8, binary numbers, lasers vs. darts, Larry Niven, 24, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Steen welcomes our robot overlord, high-scale AI, Iain M. Banks, humans as pets, humans as cogs, I Have No Mouth And I must Scream, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, Dante Alighieri, lost race, the descent into Hell, from red to blue, the harrowing of Hell, a cold war story where the Russians aren’t the bad guys, The Bedford Incident, James Follett’s The Light Of A Thousand Suns, set in the recent past, the shotgun approach, Margaret Atwood, picking and choosing at the buffet table, dedicated to A.C.D., M.D. -> Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle -> Dr. Michael Crichton, “not a new story”, the glowing review in Life magazine, a retelling of The Blob, the Technovelgy, auto-doc, the suppressed cancer drug, Jensen Pharmaceuticals, gut flora, nudity and ass-grabbing, rectal suppository, astro-Tang, coffee, all that cleaning, they’re too holy, the five levels is a gimmick, the leveling, it’s bullshit!, we all know we have to wash our hands, the Wikipedia entry for the Airport Genre

Airport novel(s) represent a literary genre that is not so much defined by its plot or cast of stock characters, as much as it is by the social function it serves. An airport novel is typically a fairly long but fast-paced novel of intrigue or adventure that is stereotypically found in the reading fare offered by airport newsstands for travelers to read in the rounds of sitting and waiting that constitute air travel.

Rudyard Kipling’s fiction was published as a railway magazine, the origin of pulp fiction, The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille, the opening to The Strain, having the reins of political power at your fingertips, in the 2008 miniseries remake, back stories/love stories, a muddy anti-science mess, pre-Apollo -> Watergate -> conspiracy theories, the technical glitch (paper between the bell and the striker), germ warfare?!, the remake of The Manchurian Cantidate, the films and adaptations reflect the times, the 2008 version is super-militarized, X-18, F-4 phantoms, Dracula, the long gothic tradition of found documents, Plan 9 From Outer Space, a cold war document, The Parallax View, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Crichton like Spielberg loves power, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, medical people as superheroes, uber-expert scientists, power fantasy fiction, scepticism of power, image Michael Crichton at a Science Fiction convention, the immune reaction, You are not of the body!, techno-thrillers, why Ian Fleming’s James Bond books became so popular, JFK, Ronald Reagan was a big fan of Tom Clancy, The Hunt For Red October, Reagan based foreign policy of Red Storm Rising, Jack Ryan was a wonk Navy -> CIA agent -> CIA Director -> President, Firefox, political fiction written for a jet-set audience, conservative Heinleinian, Andromeda Strain cosplay?, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, SF writers save the world from alien invasion, science matters vs. science fiction, the first biology crisis, outflanking the ghetto, the 2006 Worldcon, Greg Benford, Greg Bear, David Brin, thinking up scenarios, if I was a terrorist how would I destroy the the United States, Wildfire, Cold War contingency planning, the Rand Corporation, the odd-man out element, his name was Hall but should have been Corridor, does this make sense?, the odd man is gay?, The Odd Couple, gay coding?, gay men are most likely to turn off nukes?, The Great Train Robbery, timing pacing planning tricking, that roller-coaster spark, opening observation, we are always observing, fun fiction for Henry Kissinger and the jet set, bureaucrats of a class, this function material is reflective, Science Fiction writers are poor, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake, Isaac Asimov, a biology book, Paul Di Filippo, bio-punk, Ribo-funk, The Bay (2012), The Hot Zone, the wet science, cloning, the neglected science, Coma, Protector by Larry Niven, how electron-microscopes work, crystallography, “it mutated”?!?!?, that was odd, it’s communicating with itself, block-chain virus, deep hurting, The Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, medicine without silicon, the Patriarchy, The Highest Frontier, Blood Music by Greg Bear, a Halo novel, The Wind From A Burning Woman, a “wild” writing style, bio is hard to do, Pontypool, prions, the worst part of The Walking Dead, we’re all infected, a symbol for regular death, Titan by John Varley, a 100ft tall Marilyn Monroe monster, The Satan Bug by Alistair Maclean (1962), where does the techno-thriller begin, a precursor to techno-thriller, The Stolen Bacillus by H.G. Wells, a really obvious anarchist, Wells defused the whole genre for sixty years, The Food Of The Gods, a convincing linguistic maneuver, fawning of technology bureaucracy power and the function of government, a stack of Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Sputnik shock, British invasion novels, Tom Clancy as a zombie brand, special helicopter trip, massive government expenditure for the competent man, an empty jetliner, vicarious thrill, power fantasy, “he’s the most important person right now”, this is our bailiwick!, nice and short, Dean Koontz, Phantoms, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Ghost Fleet by August Cole and P.W. Singer, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child books, no CRISPR, China is no Soviet Union, futurism, education moves so slowly, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, an X-Box with Paranoid Linux, Reamde by Neal Stephenson, a Kurt Vonnegut vibe, a Welsh Muslim terrorist, like pornography you know a techno-thriller when you see it.

The dedication for The Andromeda Strain

title page for The Andromeda Strain

Algis Budrys review of The Andromeda Strain

Life Magazine review of The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain - illustration by Dusty Abell

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - Random House Audio read by Chris Noth

Posted by Jesse Willis