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 #505 – READALONG: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #505 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Talked about on today’s show:
1894, not a novel, not a collection in the normal sense, Kipling wrote the whole thing for his daughter, a book of children’s stories, died at six years old, when Kipling left India, the Just So Stories, an inscribed edition, the opposite of a sad book, sad or not sad, wonderful or interesting, the law of the jungle, it’s not all Mowgli stories, a natural progression, the first story about the white seal, interacting with men Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Her Majesty’s Servants, distressing, suffering, war, circling back, that’s just life, finding Shangri La, he lead his people to the promised land, his friend’s skin is missing, hard-hearted, beast of burden, the perspective Kipling sympathized with, the lower ranks, the simple working guys, stead in battle, Jesse’s not very quick with the “themes” in the book, obedience, finding your place in society, a template for the Baden Powell scouts, interaction with nature as a system, all these animals are for us to eat, an exemplar, how many tendrils have grown through to our modern day society, Kim, how influential the book is, the Great Game, Tim Powers’ Declare, religious power in the desert, in the background, Hathi Trust, its from this book, (if there is a) God’s work, preserving the ephemera of 19th and 20th century magazines, a scraper, such a good resource, big systems don’t operate for human beings, wow of course, elephants never forget, and they’re wise, you cannot not remember it, Tantor.com, the elephant from Tarzan Of The Apes, the Indian word for elephant, from 0 to 6, relearn all the things that he learned, low-lifes, lesser-down, class stuff, when Mowgli goes to town, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wow, that’d make a good story, Tarzan is Mowgli’s story in Africa, a series of lessons, Tarzan is pure fantasy, a tiger in Africa, colonialism, a fable, a fantasy, not writing from experience, no sympathy and fellow feeling, no existential crisis, lynching, a justified revenge, the scene with the white seal, Mowgli is no king, lessons to learn, that amazing idea, I don’t know where everything came from, a huge splash, the ripples are reaching us today, why is this thing continuing?, that’s why its a book, half the stories aren’t even in the jungle, the law of the jungle, bringing human values into the jungle and taking jungle values out of the jungle, when Dick is on my back, the bullocks: “here’s all we know”, how would they interact with each other, the Emir of Afghanistan, are the beasts as wise as the men?, thus is it done, sucked into the Bollywood musical experience, Lagaan (2001), the desire of the little guy to get out from under, here’s how the British were able to conquer, they obey as men do, Animal Farm, a Mr. Spock haircut, one more author, Jack London, H.G. Wells, stealing from a great, The Call Of The Wild and White Fang, Buck did not read the newspapers, the error of his arrogance, shanghaied!, the most amazing story, Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe, you don’t know what pain is, the pain of the animals, Mowgli’s parenthood, a picture of Kim, all the writers who write really well, the story of Kipling as a boy, taking aspects of his own life and magnifying them, Christopher Nolan’s movie, you monster!, what is true and what is love?, an innate sense, the irony, such a deep love of humanity, the mother wolf, melancholy, the potential of man, super-modern, there’s no distance between me, William Morris, Thomas Mallory, the dosts, distancing grammar, if Riki-Tiki-Tavi was written today, intimate and close, a light and fun one, snake deaths, so evil, they’re good (to eat), just following their natures, this is my job, the perfect look at man and creature together, each following their own natures, his business in life was to fight and eat snakes, being nuzzled in a bag, why people like to hang out with puppies and kittens, he has a place, verandah, tiny little dogs, handbag dogs, a different kind of love, dogs domesticated people, wheat also domesticated people, fruit trees domesticated human, cows and chickens, being on a dog’s level, co-existing, Toomai Of The Elephants, complete domestication, we are witness to the majesty of animals, Elephant Boy (1937), the radio drama, distancing vs. intimate, he writes good, another strain, Cat People (1942), Val Lewton’s The Bagheeta, that’s crazy, The Body Snatcher (1945), I Walked With A Zombie (1943), The Black Bagheela by Bassett Morgan, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein, important and interesting, Extra Credits, Cordwainer Smith, Jerome K. Jerome, The Idler, Vermont, influencing Heinlein, Citizen Of The Galaxy, Stranger In A Strange Land, Virginia Heinlein suggested Heinlein write the Jungle Book except with a boy raised by Martians, H.G. Wells, Charles Stross, Saturn’s Children, a hidden history behind the books were really like, working on something true, working through the ideas, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline, fully illustrated, modern kid’s books (also for adults) that are fully illustrated, a tribute, people who dislike Kipling, “it would be a poor sort of world if one were only able to read authors who expressed points of view that one agreed with entirely. It would be a bland sort of world if we could not spend time with people who thought differently, and who saw the world from a different place.”, too problematic, let’s just read this book, do the life story’s of the authors matter?, O. Henry, The Gift Of The Magi, a criminal fraudster, rewarded and moral to be a fiction writer, Roman Polanski, Chinatown (1974), Arthur Conan Doyle, being modest about your claims about being a super-genius, foolishly doubling down on the ridiculous, Theodore Roosevelt, sometimes we’re just stupid about things, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, fascinated and hopeful, it humanizes them, a troubling trend, don’t watch the news, seeing a whole life, people being thin-skinned, Facebook or Twitter, performative, Logan Paul, famous for nothing, in the 1920s the way these kind of people got attention is they climbed up to the top of a flagpole, reality TV stars, in anticipation of reading The Graveyard Book, A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, written at age 19, in fantasy circles, Julianne Kutzendorf, working from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, a hidden history of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Juliane Kunzendorf, a Rudyard Kipling poem entitled M.I., the influences known or unknown, poetry, exploding with connections, giant spiderwebs, Saki aka H.H. Munro, Sredni Vashtar, twisted, is Jesse crazy?, reincarnation, an otter, a little brown servant boy, a very Indian concept, an alternative Kipling, charged by a cow, a hedgehog, Rumer Godden, going native, fraternizing with everybody, common experience and childhood, Anne Of Green Gables, Craftlit, H.H. Munro story entitled The Storyteller,

An aunt is travelling by train with her two nieces and a nephew. The children are inquisitive and mischievous. A bachelor is also travelling in the same compartment. The aunt starts telling a moralistic story, but is unable to satisfy the children’s curiosity. The bachelor butts in and tells a story in which a “good” person ends up being devoured by a wolf, to the children’s delight. The bachelor is amused by the thought that in the future the children will embarrass their guardian by begging to be told “an improper story.”

the aunt is an exemplar of a certain kind of person, the short term, bad governorship, being sensitive to the needs of the people you are in charge of, inverting the aunt’s story, horribly good, what a great story!, this story could have happened, managing children, a teaching story, thinking about yourself as an audience.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #480 – READALONG: Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #480 – Jesse, Paul, Bryan Alexander, and Evan Lampe talk about the audiobook of Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor.

Talked about on today’s show:
Tantor Media, 2013, dynamo, biography, H.P. Lovecraft, non-fiction, after 1899, as a kid, the future, the turn of the 20th century, Evan’s 100 Pages podcast, black writers, important fin de sicle, Victorian to Edwardian, a time of massive change, his parents and his quasi-parents, to see where London came from, looking at the past, don’t watch the news, William the Conqueror, seances and spiritualism, 30 years into spiritualism, morphing into other practices, the Chinese believe in ghosts, Americans believe in all kinds of things, UFOs, angels, credulous, Warren Chase, Wisconsin, utopian socialism, the Civil War, free labour, free soil, the connection between all these ideas, pamphlets, autobiographies, the rise of science and capitalism, Marx and Darwin, what are the laws?, utopians, the Horatio Alger story, I’m gonna make my fortune–and I can, coming from poverty and misfortune, complaining and bragging, Martin Eden’s problem, when Jack London was in Australia, died at 40, debilitated vs. lively and fierce, the noseless stranger, John Barleycorn, a novel to take as truth, alcohol, alcoholism, whiskey, a philosophical tangent, white logic, pink elephant, fatalism, existentialism, filling Nietzschean logic with religion, Steen Hansen, when still a teenager, delivering newspapers, teeth knocked out, hoboing around the United States, sheer physical movement, London’s connection to socialism, child labour, incredibly hard and varied work, the family economy, supporting his parents, travel, love of literature, the London epic, blown away, London’s Klondike experience, perfidy by Canadians, how many stories, the blood brain barrier between life and fiction, frequent life raiding, worship and fascination, The Call Of The Wild, Buck is sitting by the campfire, seeing a caveman, a race memory, a kind of brilliant thinker, hackwork, this is horror, enjoin, The Red One by Jack London, ancient astronauts, a dark and twisted story, Jung, symbol laden, lying sick and unable to move, astounding to see, Philip K. Dick, neighbours and wives, reworking his own thoughts as fiction, he interviews himself, thinking aloud on paper, how close Earle Labor got to understanding Jack London, more accurate, defining my position, the rent man, hope, the half-baked economist, the stout gentlemen, they wouldn’t be socialists they’d be beer sodden wrecks, scabs, full fledged graduates in anarchy, he’s a firecracker, George Sterling, the Weird Tales circle, Clark Ashton Smith, tilting the whole continent towards San Fransisco, Ambrose Bierce, the giantness of London, London’s mother was 4 and half-feet tall, punching Japanese officer in the face, not like another writers, J.R.R. Tolkien, going for walks and smoking pipes, Charmian and he were restless, Jack London couldn’t stay still, England, People Of The Abyss, on Jack London time, smoking and drinking, not sleeping enough, The Shadow Out Of Time, a Yithian takes over Jack London, conflicted about the work ethic, The Sea Wolf, Brisenden = Sterling, he didn’t have the spark, Weird Al, is Jack London still in school libraries?, White Fang, The Iron Heel, older dystopia, It Can’t Happen Here, London’s engagement with racism, the mestizos of Mexican Revolution, so many of London’s stories are skewering stupid racism, the white race lives on the destruction and putrefaction of the societies they’re crushing, The Wisdom Of The Trail, adopting the white man’s mentality, white men’s burdens are to be carried by red men, surrounded by racism, everyone around him people are using race as an excuse to do things, a whole critique of social Darwinism, the peak of European imperialism, it doesn’t get you anywhere, loneliness and despair, To Build A Fire, China, British literature, committed to teaching, he still glowed and grinned like a madman, bonding over Melville, War by Jack London, mad mythic, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, living in extreme cold (in Vermont), “the cold of space smote the unprotected tip of the planet”, science fiction, looking at reality, not about the relationships between people, look at this fascinating phenomenon, psychology or economics, The Cold Equations, a hard Science Fiction story, muscles in motion, when he does it it becomes, man against nature in the extremis, a story about spacesuits, Thomas Huxley, a literary critique of race in London’s work, Jack London’s Racial Lives: A Critical Biography, Campbell, the state of nature and the state of art, Herbert Spenser, The Shadow And The Flash, sibling rivalry, the mind at work, The Scarlet Plague, a social Darwinian document, the Chauffeur tribe, old idiots are interested in book reading, The Strength Of The Strong, Moon-Face: A Story Of Moral Antipathy, The Cask Of Amontillado, Guy de Maupassant, seeing into the mind of the other, empathy, “my-culture-is-not-your-prom-dress-ism”, cultural appropriation, dogs, Wolf Larsen is an odious character, academic arguments, Wolf Larsen is like Tony Soprano, Edward G. Robinson, a weird disease, was Jack London a precog?, seeing the psychology at work, Jack London (1943), A Thousand Deaths, a deserter, torture, wow!, almost everything in this story happened, I am not your father because I was impotent at that time, six marriages, fewer divorces, a hard mother, a family curse?, the seven year itch, looking for father figures, the man of action in the salon, Everhardt, Doctor Who, worshiping the man, Irving Stone’s Sailor On Horseback, the dream sandwich, The Star Rover, everybody should read Jack London, mapping reality.

Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor

Sailor On Horseback by Irving Stone

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #469 – READALONG: The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #469 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Luke Burrage talk about The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

Talked about on today’s show:
1897, why it made a little splash when it landed, alien invasion, society falling apart, The Walking Dead, invasion novels, The Battle Of Dorking, properties and adaptations and allusions and alliterations, Orson Welles, War Of The Worlds: The Series, isfdb.org,

An English astronomer, in company with an artilleryman, a country curate, and others, struggle to survive the invasion of earth by Martians in 1894. Thirty five million miles into space, a species of Martians sets eyes on planet earth. With their own planet doomed for destruction, the Martians prepare to invade. Their weapons are ready and their aim is ruthless. The war of the worlds is about to begin.

a look backwards, Orson Welles’ The War Of The Worlds radio drama, future events, unfolding in real-time, instantaneous travel from Mars, the 2005 movie adaptation, buried, ridiculous, cannon shots rather than rockets, Robert H. Goddard, fix the physics, a pretty damn amazing book, philosopher-writer, a certain speculative writer, a final structure not unlike Martian, the Pall-Mall Budget, Nov. 16, 1893, Punch, natural selection, a cardinal necessity, “teacher and agent of the brain”, The Man Of The Year Million by H.G. Wells, can you satirize a satire and then go on to make it serious?, Ape Man Space Man, 9 days later, nutritive fluid, early in his career, the most published author alive, the artilleryman, the revolution, a realization, the future, The Time Machine, Weena, the Eloi, the Morlocks, little details, a wife!, a romance rescue version, John Wyndham, what the world will be, sprouting many tripods, derivations and inspirations, his most influential story, how science fictiony it was, a novel with science in it, Larry Niven invasion of the Earth book, the ramifications, filling in the technology and physiology, The First Men In The Moon, how the machines work, The Crystal Egg, The New Review, May 1897, a Palantir, an Ansible

An antique dealer finds out that one of his items(the crystal egg) allows views from a high post into alien life scenes. Upon close inspection, small lifeforms and structures can be seen inside the egg. With the help from the protagonist it can be determined from clues that the egg is in fact a viewer, and that he is viewing scenes from Mars.

a teaser for the novel, League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, it feels still current, getting flying machines from the Martians, diggers, kits, autofacs, black dust, up close, fighting suits, Starship Troopers with aliens in exo-suits, Armor, The Forever War, an inversion, graceful machines, lumbering hulks, the brother sequence, stuck in a house being a mouse, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The World concept album, the 1953 movie, why we should care about these character, between me and my brother I know everything, it feels like what it’s like to have your country invaded, becoming a refugee for the space of the book, it’s not our military might, Independence Day (1996), taking the first person point of view, if Tom Cruise doesn’t see it we don’t see it, the Pearson’s serial illustrations, squids or octopi, he was writing about writing about it, the main character is H.G. Wells, his brother is H.G. Wells’, Horsley Common, Woking, characters from his own life, the curate, a savage attack on organized religion, dangerous, the curate is coming apart, God is not an insurance agent, Monty Python, the narrator calls on God and thanks God, science vs. formalized religion, how we think, strip-away, the illustrations, what the movie does, Henrique Alvim Corrêa’s illustrations, Tintin as a horror show, the arm reaching into the house, we will become rats, the art, interpretation, a new BBC TV adaptation, Roman legions, it’s about EMPIRE, why it is set in the USA in the 20th and 21st century, the criticism of EMPIRE, being brought low, Return Of The Jedi, striking at the head of the greatest Empire of the time, an island is defensible, the navy must be defeated, by 2005 the world market for films is much bigger, if they can do it we did it, undermines the whole satire, it looks terrible, force fields and weird energy weapons, the super-science!, the briefing sequence in the 1953 movie, green gasses, a new element that combines with argon, science-based, the heat beams, artillery, a first strike mentality, subtly mentioned, they’re going for Venus, so many subtitles, desiccated bipedal bodies from Mars, if only, not just insane, in a hole, starved, blind, deaf, guy with a sword, hot shit, a class story, fit for this new environment, an alternate ending, great illustrations, the artilleryman’s underground London world, the gulf between reality and dreams, walks, breaks, cards, the imagination, your job is to pick the right boots, taking over a fighting suit, the concentration camps, a huge alternate vision, Julianne, The Sleeper Awakes, a utopia, a dystopia, images of a future from a madman, empathize and appreciate and disdain, psychology, not a one note character, when calamity strikes, living underground, a whole hidden society, Ewoks aren’t the best example, a circle of resistance, not realistic, the biggest exodus of human kind, no resistance, Wells had a lot of women, they used to skedaddle off to work, for fear they’d get dismissed, fear of the backstreets, one little miserable skedaddle, exiling weaklings, the eugenics, survivalists/white supremacists, weak or silly, ought to die, “to live and taint the race”, “clean minded women”, “no rolling eyes”, on the team, racism?, class based, the most prolific author of his era, on his second wife, a draper’s assistant, the way writers look at things, how is it that people are so insecure, in their mousy little way, the tunnel is in the wrong spot, Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, class-oriented, the Chauffeur tribe, almost no people get names, Ms. Elphinstone and Mrs. Elphinstone, Tim Robbins is a combination of the curate and the artilleryman, PG-13 vapourized, the illustrations for Jeff Wayne’s musical version, the Earth covered in red weed, the fertilizer is human blood, the book is brutal, unworthy and uncharitable characters, the final image, the narrator (looking like H.G. Wells) haunted by corpses and the fighting machines, a war book, baskets of human bodies, the tentacle lights moving up and down, wholesale slaughter, the black outline, directly referencing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first book Paul read for SFFaudio, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, so racist and sexist, my thoughts had taken voice, the importance of sound, uula ulla, a mystery, a distress beacon, a death cry, an alarm, an average of 2.5 participants, Wells is a master craftsman, mean characters doing questionable things, writing what you see, retelling the story with sound, horrific, really scary, silence as a scary thing, the coulours and the dust, the crawling creeping nature of it all, what’s going on with the dog, The Spotted Dog, a dog-cart, a yelping dog, a lost retrieving dog, a howling dog, a good dog, man’s best friend doesn’t know what’s going on, a hoe-down, very American, a nurse’s uniform, weird reality, a Mexican character, disconnection, a horse, crows, a veneer over our reality, how things really are, peppered with dogs, paint by numbers writing, the unexplained, copying another novel, there for an unconscious purpose, stealing from a jewelry shop, a richness to deserted London, wives, his cousin, Heinlein’s redheads, too creepy, visually designed to create the disaster movie industry, showing this whole genre inspired by it, the ur text, the basis for other exploration, the taproot that everything references back to, Doctor Who, Planet Of Evil, Forbidden Planet and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, we men with our bicycles, guns and sticks and so forth, mere brains, appliances, the dominant feature: the wheel (is absent), we’ve made the world conform to the wheel, putting on suits, everything is suit for them, an umbrella is part of you, the fighting machines are holding their equipment, the machine is a suit of clothing, driving a car, I swerved, we become one with the car, all about brain, the philosophy of The Fast And The Furious, Pacific Rim, Daleks, all in favour of giant monster battles, tension and drama, learning to juggle, why there are no wheels on Mars, in the Amazon jungle, the Incas, salt flats, His Dark Materials, Jesse invented an alien bird, thinking through all, the necessary requirements, which is more efficient soaring or propellers, rotation, bicycles, nothing evolved from an air creature, a sea based system, propellers handier in the sea, squid, a bacteria with a propeller, greasing the alien bird’s wheel, 10 years in, The Time Machine, why did Jesse put it off so long?, head canon vs. head cannon, Cybermen, why is Doctor Who so good?, they’re stealing from the best!, aliens invading London, the danger and value of…, subversive, intelligent, the Tardis is taken away to engage with the world, never any sexual tension between the character and the companions, a “silly kid’s show”, Christopher Eccleston, Peter Capaldi, stealing from Lovecraft, the most brilliant science fiction show ever, Pyramids Of Mars, alien robots, Egyptian deities, Genesis Of The Daleks, not like Teletubbies, putting The Time Machine on the schedule?, re-reading, one and done, live with the consequences, Annihilation,

H.G. Wells' The Man Of The Year Million, 1893

H.G. Wells' The Man Of The Year Million, 1893

1,000,000 A.D. from Punch, November 25, 1893

War Of The Worlds - Horsell Common - illustration by Peter Goodfellow

War Of The Worlds - illustration by Geoff Taylor

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #408 – READALONG: Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #408 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Maissa discuss Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
1982, the last readable Heinlein novel, head-shaking, one of the most awkward books, transgender stuff, a New York times article, I Will Fear No Evil, body swap, an old man in a young woman’s body, Predestination (2014), All You Zombies, sex-change and time travel, another example of a Heinlein character getting a sex-change, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, even the computer is gender fluid, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein is the man in Science Fiction who really believes in women, the spring of 1991, re-reading experience, characters who defy human emotion and reality, made of human DNA, the Pinocchio story, focusing on the overbuilding, not just sex but odd sex, anti-male homosexuality but he likes lesbianism, a whiff of – but no sex on screen, Red Thursday, there’s a rape at the beginning and she marries her rapist at the end, it needs an editor, losing track of plotting, he let me pee, he’s a nice rapist, it makes sense!, Stranger In A Strange Land, what do we do about it?, horrible Heinlein thoughts, a lot of “doxy” training, an enhanced person vs. an artificial person, increased sexuality bred into them?, Dr. Baldwin engineered her, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, supermen, Olympia, late Heinlein is giving up on what early Heinlein wrote, travel reading, line marriages and serial marriages, making families, Christchurch, Winnipeg, Heinlein went to a swingers party and said “let’s do this all the time”, seeing a person’s mind over time, a plotless meandering travelogue/memoir, so many coincidences, that just happened to happen?, from set-piece to set piece, Bellingham, the AP guy never comes back, Chekhov’s gun that turns out to be a red herring, it wasn’t serialized for Playboy but should have been, sex for sex-sake, he’s got the 1997 World Wide Web in this book, Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game did forums, A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge, Hathitrust, terminals vs. PCs, kittens, cats, how many breakfasts, hungry the whole time, that “triggered” me, Jesse explains this book, Canada, California, Las Vegas, New Zealand, Australia, credit cards, she takes his Diner’s Club card, clothing, Heinlein went on a cruise, transient ischemic attack (TIA), Grumbles From The Grave, lots of eating, good food, cruise ship food, movies, cruise-like, sitting at the captain’s table, Heinlein being respected, touring the United States, crazy governments, “long pig” = human pig, rich “slitch”, playing psychoanalyst, the Earth is doomed, Heinlein is obsessed with the frontier, Time Enough For Love, the frontier hypothesis, racism you wouldn’t notice, law and order in peaceful British Canada, the remainders of the US, the Bear Flag Republic of California, the Free State of Las Vegas, Vicksburg, the Chicago Imperium includes Minnesota, getting Paul’s revolution on, everybody is Amish now, driving draft horses, semi-ballistic skyport, the world’s best batteries: shipstones, Ayn Rand, a libertarian streak, the Galt’s Gulch approach to patents, an unresolved plot point, an internal revolt, they own everything, making an argument, an analogy for the oil industry, s-groups, freeing women up to work, Friday can run 30 km per hour, rolling around on the floor with kittens and babies, housewives, the lesbian couple-ship with Goldie, tension between roles of women, all those contradictions, why is Friday sterile, childless Heinleins, write what you want, Heinlein as a gold bug, making America great again by tearing down the wall between the USA and Mexico, pushing gold hard, politeness is society, no flame wars on Heinlein’s internet, paperbooks vs. ebooks, Google book scans, nobody knew about the internet, the pay internet, the pay web, SOPA and PIPA, a free and open internet, Friday‘s enthusiasm for the web was realistic, I can learn everything, you have no excuse today for not knowing everything, know what you don’t know and don’t talk about it, learning about the world by reading Heinlein novels, the word “knave”, The Queen of Hearts, claques, stylites, particularism, secessionist California, Texas, a balkanized USA, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, alternate dimensions, the Rapture,

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole those tarts,
And took them clean away.
The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he’d steal no more.

its so easy not to appreciate all we have, I pity all the fools, The Number Of The Beast, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Gay Deceiver, there’s no way to fix this!, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, the thing he has about incest, Heinlein’s Future History, Philip K. Dick does the opposite, it all hangs together, someone is hanging himself in a closet, Heinlein’s periods, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Door Into Summer, Professor Eric S. Rabkin, walls dilate open, women: I kinda wanna be one, The Puppet Masters, a similar organization, a boss with a bunch of agents, the boss just dies, writing the novel with a pair of dice or the I Ching, weird coincidences, part of the story just falls away, the Dungeon Master, Friday as a pick-a-path book, on the whole we enjoyed it, the writing style, Hillary Huber was the narrator for Blackstone Audio version, a fun listen, I wouldn’t say that I liked it, fun in places, what is an artificial person, if you prick me do I not leak?, people born of three parents, a future person, GMO fruit vs. organic fruit, people have been fucking with fruit forever, Jesse expounds on apples, all apples for harvest are grafts, Maissa expounds on bananas, Paul expounds on corn, corn is in everything in the USA, you’re 80% corn, the enhanced talking dog, kobold miners, Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross, the main character is a robot, no biological creatures, the illegitimate worries that Friday has are programmed into the main character of Saturn’s Children, a romp novel with everybody dead, straight out of Heinlein’s subconscious, Reading, Short & Deep, Who Can Replace A Man? by Brian Aldiss, Ian Tregillis’ Alchemy War novels, Spartacus, Botany Bay, there is a destiny that shapes our lives, an allusion to Hamlet

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

LISTEN FOR PLEASURE - Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Del Rey Ballantine - Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY - Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis