The SFFaudio Podcast #646 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #646 – Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick – read by Ian Bradford Ngongotaha Pugh. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (31 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
Orbit, December 1953, copyright clearances, a comic book adaptation, BIPOC, very countryist of you, IBPOC, who gets to be included, LGBTQ2S+, a council that meets in the sewers beneath New York City, can Jesse be included?, parentage, black vs. coloured, then most obvious, latinx, 25% of the community is aware of it, approx 5% use it, Tony’s dad, that’s our word, you beetle lover, Pasudeti’s point of view, very different, similar themes, goodreads, three Os with a little line dancing over it, 3.5 stars, ratings out of stars, one of the most different Philip K. Dick stories, the literary agency that gave it a G or a G+, classify it, feel about it, Mike Resnick, Birthright: The Book Of Man, dooming humanity, enslaved and subjugated, teetering point, where we came from, Seven Views Of Olduvai Gorge, bootstrap up themselves to sentience, mankind are assholes, India’s rise against the British, decolonization, Rhodesia, Kenya, leibensraum, you can’t live on Earth anymore, how far they spread, other Orion planets, a huge crisis, we must move out just to survive, a theme in Dick’s novels, The Variable Man, Mr. Spaceship, The World Jones Made, this expansion of humanity, this intimate way, what he thought were friends, his community, this way, this angle, Time Out Of Joint, Arthur C. Clarke, Omni Magazine, it doesn’t seem inevitable, doom, one battle, the tide has turned, they’re evacuating the planet, evacuating the city, beetle riots and mobs, being psychohistorians, this is stolen ground, in the long term, no forever in the long term, the SMLA agency, “pedestrian”, “rather corny stuff”, “pretending to be impressive”, not your favourite, my knee, earnest, certain works are the greats, they don’t understand it, seeing Jesse’s own reactions, why is this ok?, The Crystal Crypt, humans leaving Mars, Earth spies steal a city, black clad leiters, Philip K. Dick is doing something, our hero in this story, Tony Rossi, Italian, Anthony, Italians play a role, make a little list, Roog, Cardossis, a real house and a real dog, The Man In The high Castle, Joe Cinadella, Now Wait For Last Year, always on about the Italians, my best friend was Italian!, the Japs, victory gardens, a German last name, Philip K. Dick’s father, a gas mask, everybody knows what your name is, Dick is a pretty funny name, where this story is really set, he was never decolonized, double envelopment, seeing his story in print there, American tank gives piggy back ride to nip tank, growing up during the war, during the Italian Campaign, Sicily, the Italians change size, Benito Mussolini, again The Hanging Stranger, an analogy, the number of military bases in Italy today, between 3 and 100, growing up on a military base, that’s actually what we see, he puts on his spacesuit, I’m going out to play, school 4 hours a day 6 days a week (online), a mandatory lift from a beetle, the B-slur, humans automatically get rides, a polite boy, an attractive telepathic female, the robot carries his bag, his friends reject him, you suck, fuck you, they throw rocks at him, not suitable for human life, recovery mode, his EEP (his robot dog), a heat ray, no blood, Tony’s visor fogs up, we’re on the run now, a really weird story, read the words and bounced off, how amazing the amount of planetary world building goes on, the flux winds, trudging through sands, almost like Cuba, freighters that have been changed, they have an empire, a really amazing world, told from the POV of someone least able to tell us about it, threatens to beat his son, that threat from the parents, Martians Come In Clouds, the external colonizers, the monsters are the humans, he’s 11 in that story and 10 in this story, we know he’s reading the newspaper, he has to flip through the newspaper, everybody would know what’s going on, his sensitivity level is through the roof, John W. Campbell, a metaphor for sensitivity, insensitive to his parent’s racism, working on projects with them, polite and friendly, they turn on a dime, all of a sudden, this Japanese friend, the next day Pearl Harbor happens, the stab in the back, unprovoked attack, high rhetoric for Pearl Harbor, a participant in this hate, reflecting upon it and thinking about it, a twitter thread about this story, an interesting comparison to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a movie of no note, a very powerful book, a war story told from the point of view of a boy, special kids, super-soldiers in a war against the buggers, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, funny name, accident, human inability to recognize they were like them, stolen ground, a thoughtful guy, a relgious guy, anti-gay vs. homophobic asshole, taking his religion seriously, pressing Paul’s buttons, all his hate non-violent, sexual preference, sexual tension between the young pasudeti woman and young Tony on the bus, Catholicism’s official policy on homosexuality, dodging it, still evolving, dealing with intellectual inconsistencies, when Tony is being attack for his species, why he would feel hurt, physically assaulted, a terrible law imposed on them, an occupying force, settlers, stolen ground, we’re here because we’re stronger, a meeting of an elite at a university, introductions degrees, acknowledge the place that they’re in is on unceded territory, on Dakota land, I’m headed back to Europe, this is stolen ground, there’s no place for Jesse to go, the Earth is uninhabitable, something deep inside this, all the ships that come from Europe or Asia, the Vietnam War, “doesn’t resonate in a particular way yet (but I think it will), I was thinking about the end of the Vietnam War and the aircraft carriers, the images of aircraft, perfectly good helicopters, being pushed off to make room for more people, this is 1975, and they’re just like trying to get every person who was a quote unquote collaborator, that’s not my word, but somebody who is going to get persecuted or
prosecuted for collaborating with the Americans out and into the United States to safety, right? Those people can’t go back. I guess this is sorta how the Cubans feel, in southern Florida, or whatever. So there’s some sort of resonance going on there and that’s … this is not a
story that can be judged on a score out of five, because its not trying to win a contest its trying to express a very, very specific kind of concern. It’s a very strange story.”, subsequent books, how do you reconcile the idea of your country and community being taken from and genocided to take that land, they ain’t giving it back, a nice worldbuilding, Eastward Ho! by William Tenn (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1958), really dark, world history, the century of Ethnic Cleansing (the 20th century), the Acadians, Armenia, Pakistan – India, decolonization efforts, Zanzibar, the rights of indigenous people vs. ethno-nationalism, they physically come and ethnically cleanse you, some cop shows up, little Johnny has to leave to a camp, Germans and Italians, Germans ethnically cleansed from Europe after the war, 12 million people, Prussia, German enclaves, all over the world, a whole bunch of Germans shipped to Australia during WWII, the Dunera Boys, enemy aliens, hate causes that, they don’t wear a pickle helmet, Paul’s family name pronunciation changed, based on hate, racism, the George Takei, the Star Trek guy, Star Trek was trying to break up that idea of racism, Kenyan, they had a Jewish captain and a Jewish first officer, one world government, ethnic identities but not ethno states, Harry Kim is from Denmark, so weird to have a nuanced very strange little idea, an anti-happy ending, Tony is turned from being a happy little boy playing with his friends to a bitter boy who could be fighting the pasudeti soon, sufficient lengths to show these bug-like aliens have their own ethnic slur for humans (white-grubs), not a militaristic culture, swapped military equipment, armed freighters, those beetles shooting down our boys from armed-freighters, to think of those Germans shooting down my boy, some rando, strategic bombing, is it okay for us to bomb cities?, coup any attempts at change, ask the city fathers of Carthage, economic and social control of Sicily, the Phoenicians, a commercial empire, mercenaries, raise more legions, delda est, Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, culture is important, the humans remind Evan of the Romans, on the planet for 14 years, slaves and land, citizenship, the best way of analyzing it, he’s set it in space, the barbarians are retaking the land, now taking Rome, cynicism about the humans, designed to be humans are always the same wherever we go, he ain’t wrong, nobody’s mad at Genghis Khan the way they’re mad at Hitler, betrayed by his friends at school, his haircut, Cato was in favour of genocide, its so long ago, ultra-right nationalists, SPQR, trolls, we don’t have to go back too far, victims and oppression, Israel, reparations for slavery, continue cancelling people, cancelling Genghis Khan, cancel Thomas Jefferson, re-contextualizing, less hagiography more history, the 1619 project, first grade, early American history, conservatives react badly, Irish drafted into the US army and sent to fight in Mexico, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, all this land was stolen, a war of imperialist conquest, most people aren’t in academic environments, Tom Berenger, One Man’s Hero (1999), HBO movies, we don’t care about you, a pretty compelling example, the two state solution, good luck with that, a one state solution, secular power-sharing, still in ethno-nationalist, a lot of support for it, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, punishment, on this planet, its not even habitable, his parents gave him an EEP, a cute robot dog (also a killing machine bodyguard), electronic extermination pet?, a truck ride in the Man In The High Castle, everything in this story is Italian, regular people, if Jesse lived in Italy and there’s a military base right beside me, a military transport that ran over a Korean school girl, the Catholic church’s solution to problem priests, resentment, you’re a nice guy and everything but get the fuck out of here, Okinawa, the Taiwanese will take those bases, it isn’t pedestrian, there’s a lot of walking in this story, not even a real grapefruit he’s eating, a lot of walking, a regular old story about a guy who goes for a walk, a kind of tree, a kid rejected on the school yard, what colour his spacesuit is, its bizarre and fascinating, people read Philip K. Dick backward, I like LSD, they like Ubik, this doesn’t have that stuff, the Jupiter symphony by Mozart, they don’t understand, the beat vs. the lyrics, all the words passed into my eyes, trying to make money, Jesse read a ton of science fiction, nobody else writes about kids, middle grade fiction, Schooled by Gordon Korman, school books, the short story fiction markets from the 1950s, the short story market is basically dead, it was always adult, in science fiction?, Stephen King, he does kids really well, how many H.P. Lovecraft stories? [The Silver Key], the pasudeti kids, they’re building a space station, the childhood of slaves, plantations were not segregated, the childhood aspect, stolen childhood, playing with the black slaves, this facade doesn’t work anymore, even without the defeat, equals, power over them, a cusp of awakening, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, like Robert E. Howard, you take your place as the lord of the manor, they need to know their place, you can free some of them when you die, she smiled faintly, she knows what’s going to happen, Tony was troubled and uncertain, to the place where his friends lived, an immense bengalo tree, a domed city, B’Prith, his eep, “how are things?”, fine, their shells had not hardened, they’re the grubs, they could hop and skip around still, such a great writer, “what’s the matter”, Llyre, what are you all mad about, the war again, his anger burst up, it was fine, sure, the heart of the story, being affected by what’s going on in the news, when 9/11 happened, all those arab kids endlessly prosecuted and persecuted, both, getting attacked for nothing they did, we do it to ourselves, he’s capturing something, the antithesis of pedestrian, so wrapped up in its own explanations, sorry about the genocide, gotta be nice to the Indians now, this is a very extraordinary story, how could you rate this?, it makes sense to compare it, it doesn’t make sense to rate, trying to classify things, the instinct to rate, The Father-Thing was sold to the highest market, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Philip K. Dick is so important because he’s doing things nobody else is doing, starting with Valis, I dig drugs, The Crystal Crypt is almost impenetrable, could be years, Evan’s podcast on this story, the one state solution, the no state solution, most of the West Bank is colonized, the beetles would be the majority, a detour, The Wild One (1953) with Marlon Brando, The Red Dwarf version of the movie, personality on screen, I love you johnny, based on a short story about a real incident, took over the town, a “riot”, a photograph, a phenomenon in the 1950s, the juvenile delinquents, Rebel Without A Cause (1955), James Dean, the biker gangs started after WWII, ex-bomber pilots all PTSD, living the wild lifestyle, the 1%ers, outlaw motorcycle gangs, they don’t fucking care about your fucking laws, I don’t like no cops, I don’t make no deals with cops, this is a reaction, when you come back from the war traumatized, unless you’re a psychopath, drinking, not obeying, not old enough to be a soldier, his ROTC didn’t last very long, too sensitive, a universal draft, arguing about it at the kitchen table, we know exactluy what’s going on, but Tony doesn’t know, his dad threatens to beat him, if this is your target and you hit your target, that movie makes no sense, a warning to our society, the disclaimer, the least wild person in the whole movie is the wild one, calm down, have a seat, have a drink, how high his voice is pitched, a homoerotic relationship, somebody throws a tire iron at him, his bike runs over an old man, the whole point of this movie, it doesn’t give you a clue, they don’t understand it at the time, why these biker gangs existed, cops are authority, fascinating psychology, a post traumatic stress society.

Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick

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The SFFaudio Podcast #465 – READALONG: Dune (Book I of III) by Frank Herbert

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #465 – Jesse, Paul, Scott, Marissa, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Will, and Bryan talk about Dune: Book I “Dune” by Frank Herbert aka the first third of Dune.

Talked about on today’s show:
1965, serialized in Analog 1963, 1964, 15 years old, start the training early, mentat training, Bene Gesserit training, a trope, the crowning trope of a certain kind of science fiction, we are the universal super-being, fans are slans, it turns you into an asshole, peak podcast, a lot of drugs, the truthsayer drug, #thedrugsofdune, a drug book influenced by a drugee, rachag, coffee, the cranberry coloured stain of the sapho juice, mentats is a drug in the Fallout games, Nefud squatted, semuta, trance drugs, call on Doctor Yeuh, a wakeshot, sleeping drugs, ups and downs, poisons, the gom jabbar, inspiration, mushroom collecting, some science, Joe Rogan’s mushroom guy, psilocybin, pretty obvious, mushroomy, ecological science fiction, the creatures, part plant and part animal, the spice is worm poop, the network of how everything is interconnected, why it is so different from every other book, Philip K. Dick, A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, a technology of the self, a drug of choice, meditation practices, how embodied the training Paul is doing, a very Joe Rogan book, body training, he is Joe Rogan, consciousness expansion, a prophecy laid down for him, a nice book about a mother and son going on a camping trip in the desert, wherever Paul goes, trite and facile, when Paul was 14/15, he has the same name as me, a mentat duke, save it for the next podcast, the first book of the first book of Dune, and baby sister in the womb, up to the point where Paul is crying for his daddy, high on spice beer, Florida, reading while travelling intensifies the reading experience, Tuscon, Idaho, the belly of a sandworm, walking around L.A., wasting water, get the squeezings, water discipline, what makes Dune so amazing, ecological novel, A Game Of Thrones before A Game Of Thrones, read it, read it, read it, an electro-static charged novel, pushing fifty, Dune Messiah, sparse, elegant, The Dune Encyclopedia, thoughtful and oblique, think harder and reflect, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, Arthur C. Clarke, a deep book, preparing for six years, sand dune migration in Oregon, comparative religion, psychology, twenty years, his genetic unconsciousness, a lot of poetry, Gurney Halleck, Dune World, try a Caladanian daughter, dense layer of referential, a second order approximation, a reaction to WWII and WWI, in different directions, Muslim history, resource politics, the ecological movement, decolonization politics, Orientalism by Edward W. Said, Napoleon, Lawrence Of Arabia turned on its head, exploiting the exotic, Misionaria Protectiva, a naked power grab, pretty subtle, intertwining change and stagnation, stress and response, the prison planet, galactic messiah, Arnold J. Toynbee, Chinese Gordon, Karthoum, the Mahdi, distributing information, a small film book of a small sandworm, a propaganda system, three great tutors for his sun, his mom is his yoga instructor, Thufir for math, Gurney for fighting, less internet than it should be, educating Paul, the Anderson/Herbert prequels, mentats are their YouTube, the Harkonen veil, basic facts, the Imperial Ecologist and Planetologist, the spacing guild, an information bottleneck, weather satellites, this information thing, the effect of a messiah on a society, the structure around a messianic leader, reflecting on the casualties of Paul’s jihad, unbelievers all, information transfer, Bene Gesserit fake news, accusing Russia, propaganda, this is a good duke, stories transfer (not YouTube videos), no rocketry, background ecology, door seals, meditation and the Arrakis version of chakras, a sense of pedagogy, a re-imagination of space-opera, Paul and Feyd are both students, formal and informal teachers, are you catching this?, loving relationship, one is the twisted and one is the pure, the policy and the curriculum, training up an aristocracy, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, the medieval space opera, Star Wars, why it works for bad reasons, monoplocies, CHOAM, autocracies, a dream of Jesuits, House Corrino, the terrible crime of stagnation, cybernetics, the great mind, Game Of Thrones type tactics, a thoughtful parody, a retro universe, an intervention in the history of Science Fiction, your magna carta, family atomics, kanly, reading this novel after 1990, reading it in the 1980s, an appendix show?, the banquet scene, such a faithful adaptation of a novel, Dr Yueh’s droopy mustache, it’s not about what you film, the emotional undercurrent above the table, players roles, chess pieces, a microscopic view of the macroscopic greatness of this book, Ted Chiang’s Understand, picking up all these things, Paul gets an insult, Liet Kynes’ ally, this is why Jesse doesn’t like going to dinner parties, the most important scene in the book?, what a lot of novels are afraid to do, head-hopping, what they’re thinking, how they’re plotting, the power of Herbert, an unpaid-off plot thread, the stillsuit’s manufacturer’s daughter, who put her into play?, in light of later events…, George Guidall’s is the best audiobook version, how proof against modern times, “roles for women” and “mansplaining”, strictly defined, maybe we’re being double out-thought, from the eyes of other characters, false information, when Yueh gives himself away, the distraction we see in him, unreliable head-hopper, the narrator makes us like Paul, the epigraphs, you have a traitor amongst you, we know pretty much everything, the tension comes from elsewhere, who the father of Jessica was, the only surprise, so awesome, spoilers are not the important thing, who the hidden murderer is doesn’t matter, not Yueh, inconceivable to break imperial conditioning, B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, a towering achievement of world-building, a classic suspense story, Ken Schneyer, Princess Irulan is a propagandist, the opening, inside the propaganda machine, Hart To Hart, predestination as storytelling technique, Agamemnon by Aeschylus, two great houses, a knowing walk into doom, a reversal of the hero’s journey, a romance, the seeds of tragedy are being sown, remixes of contemporary and historical events, Gom Jabbar as a pun on Kareem Abdul Jabbar? [or is the jabbar derived directly from the Arabic for coercion or force?], the “Lansdraad”, the Hanseatic League, whipping all these things together, Tolkien, very Shakespearean, the soliloquy, Piter De Vries, watching Dune under the effect of edibles, watch the David Lynch movies first!, Starlog, a fascinating movie and book, The Twilight Zone Magazine, the reader creates the world for themselves, how an ornithopter works, Jodorowsky’s Dune, sparking off your imagination, Eric S. Rabkin’s “transformed language”, dragons, worm = wyrm, the epithets, silky and effeminate, the Harkonnen sexuality vs. the Atredies’ kanly manliness, the Baron’s an awesome villain, appetites, plans within plans, surrounded by weak terrible characters, don’t waste this sexy lady, whoever seduced the Baron in his youth, the greatest villains, Night At The Museum, to enhance the horror of the Harkonens, a love of a certain kind of efficiency and morality, trying to get revenge, the unexpected, “Russian hacking”, the internet research agency, it’s a bot, billionaires know each other, foolish and stupid thinking, seeing the inner workings of people’s minds, subtle body cues and motivational signals, we are trained by Herbert, the “my dead wife excuse”, when did Yueh flip, for murder?, securing his seed for another bloodline?, a text for analyzing reality, James Risen‘s debate with Glenn Greenwald, we’re becoming the Kwisatz Haderach while we’re reading it, priming for skepticism, the weirding way, Bene Gesserit kung fu, the voice is real, “the teacher voice”, the “parent voice”, The Wire, Stilgar spits on the table, the book is sneaky and devilish, a science of pain, living your life in a pain amplifier, similar to LSD and hallucinogens, layers going on underneath, collective unconscious, everything is interconnected, Jungian racial memory, the Reverend Gaius Helen Mohiam, Siân Phillips, you treat her as a common serving wench?, sequel and prequel books, Hellhole by Kevin J. Anderson, Seleucus Secundus, Sardukar, mining ideas, marrying soft and hard science fiction, Dune as a fat fantasy novel, noble houses, sword fights, magical powers, a fantasy book with science fiction discipline, science fiction tools, anthropology, Black Panther, a scientific ecology, no sense of the fantastic, The Stars My Destination, cold eyed realpolitik, political science, Michael Moorcock’s Starship Stormtroopers, what makes Mordor evil, when Gurney becomes to old, a moral difference, the evil is real, wanting to have the scenes, the road goes ever on, but what are the healing properties of that tree?, a walking tour of England, the greatest connection to fantasy is with how the Kwisatz Haderach works, a cool insane idea, the Mass Effect games, space magic, “everything’s connected man, I can travel to the stars!”, “I can read your mind, man!”, when Paul has a dream of Chani, the waking dream, Muad’dib, drunken Duncan Idaho, Altered Carbon, brain chemistry, advanced mental training to appreciate your dreams, lucid dreaming, pure fantasy, working against the Missionaria Protectiva, never mind about Elijah!, actual nuns took Scott away, the zeitgeist of science fiction in the 1960s, The Nine Billion Names Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven’s indestructible hulls, Philip K. Dick, Athena visiting Telemachus, the metaphor for a bowstring being drawn and released, the Butlerian Jihad, human machines and our magic and engineering, focused consciousness, the animal and the human, love and duty, fantasy strips away choice, Frodo, a fantasy of international relations, Tolkien wants to leave the world, those orcs, ultimately killable, tools for dealing with the world, take walks and smoke pipes, a training manual, it’s all coming together, points of realization, “wow, my mind blown!”, the morality and humanity of your parents, Dune World (the Analog serialization), the heroes are wiped out, the trap is sprung, when Gandalf is killed, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, great relief, traipsing through Farmer Maggot’s mushroom fields.

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

Dune World - illustration by John Schoenherr

CAEDMON - Dune Banquet Scene - art by Kelly Freas

Posted by Jesse Willis