Reading, Short And Deep #226 – Black Cat Weather by David R. Bunch

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #226

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Black Cat Weather by David R. Bunch

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Black Cat Weather was first published in Fantastic Stories Of Imagination, February 1963 .

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #579 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #579 – The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake; read by Winston Tharp (for LibriVox.org). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (38 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, October 1961, a very good issue, Cordwainer Smith, Frederik Pohl, Fritz Leiber, Frank Herbert, Robert Bloch, Jack Sharkey, Willy Ley, a lot of engineering and planning, I love Westlake’s writing so much, reach out and kiss you, the first paragraph, that put the roof on the city, Eric S. Rabkin, “transformed language”, transforming an idiom for a science fiction setting, the opposite of Poe or Lovecraft, ornate, dense, oblique, frothy, characterization, perfect voice for it, he was dangerously insane, including my date with my girl, a post-apocalyptic dystopia that ends on a very sour note (for the reader), a nice trick he pulled, he gets over it very easily, cleavage girls, contract marriages, no-p (no progeny), p and not p, natural deductive and axiomatic logic, math for sentences and paragraphs, useless and yet…, an underlying current that’s rather deep, Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth, The Defenders, leadies vs. ore-sleds, a retelling of the myth of the cave from Plato’s Republic, a metaphor for having conversations with people, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the mentality of the people, The Ax by Donald Westlake, a very funny sad scary book, very political, it wouldn’t have felt political at the time, artifacts, the massive trope or overpopulation, arcology, a condo, the projects, the justification for why would be reading a crime novel, he quit science fiction, Xero (magazine), very true of most science fiction writers, Joe Haldeman cant make a living at it, a sad reality of the industry, solid ideas, from a very different angle, Wool by Hugh Howey, mainstream science fiction with this wonderful aspect, Robert Sheckley, he’s poking fun at everything all along the way, delights in enjoying how ridiculous life is, makes kids enjoy science fiction, a great infodump on page 183, it flows just beautiful, a nation 200 hundred stories high, occasional spies, external dangerous lurking at the back of our minds, the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war, irony and humour, treated to such flowy goodness, the whole story’s greatness, you could make this as a student film, three or four actors, so good, an efficeny of science fiction, a real shame he quit science fiction, Doctor Killybilly, William = strength and protector, why did they do this?, our judo flipping instructor, where the outside is unknown and secretly not bad, Logan’s Run, the Fallout games, High-Rise by J.G. Ballard, The Luckiest Man In Denv by C.M. Kornbluth, why are the Russian oligarchs so much work than the Bloomberg oligarchs, can it be explained, circular, imaginary enemies, WWI (the ignoble nobleman’s war), The Westlake Review blog, WWII (the racial non-racial war), WWIII (the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war), tactical nuclear weapons, MacArthur, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, good strategy, your focus narrows, situational awareness, tunnel vision, engaged with a twitter thread, this happens to countries (not just people), they found his car, the army men, kind of incompetent, aiming the elevator at the army, starve-em-out, Edmund Rice, the right focus, his apartment is falling apart, the window doesn’t work, his single egg, rationing, chicory coffee, he cant imagine a different life, at the bottom of the apartment building, slag, it dumping of their ore car slag, piling up, if this goes on they will be buried, Idiocracy (2006), Javelin missiles sent to Ukraine, attacking Trump from the right (instead of the left), making more nukes?, if we have WWIII it will be stupid, howitzer line of sight nukes, they did it on purpose, somebody is lying, West End Games’ RPG Paranoia, it’s cool to think about, page 193, terror, horror, dizziness, do you see that green?, the power of suggestion, agoraphobia, The Caves Of Steel, his girlfriend, so obsessively worried about punctuality, PTSD, ore-sleds are just like people?, they have so little, they focus on the tiniest things, get Jesse hiking more, kidnap victims, Stockholm Syndrome for a whole nation, he’s like Canada, the sky isn’t falling, he’s a humanitarian, a dangerous criminal, an illegal immigrant, he puts us in the situation right with the guy, page 179, that horrible egg, gaspingly transparent window, its better to look inward, a whimsical approach, a romantic approach, I can’t live without you at the moment, will you be provisionally mine?, I’m going to be needing a wife for at least a year or two, I moved like a whirlwind, that was wrestling, that was judo, that was karate, he just killed the guy who was trying to help him, Paul plugs a book: Mazes Of Power by Juliette Wade, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, three extra zeros, advertising for coffins, a prospector wanders out of the New Mexican desert, humans are complete asses, under the roof, she refused at length and descriptively, any number of girls, I was a hero, they even gave me a medal, not licensed for progeny, this is our reality, living in bubbles, elaborate defenses, that’s what this is really good at, what’s going in the sixties, what its for, its about the psychology of our own human silliness, delightfully frothy, that first giant step, man got a hotfoot, he ran back with the tale between his legs, Neil Armstrong, images of flame, page 189, you’ve crawled into your caves, a well appointed cave, Outside, the same thing, always the same stupidity, the long slow painful creep of progress, a lot longer than it took to go right back into the cave again, how long people had without useful technologies, the cave is a metaphor for your set of beliefs, cut out the information coming from the outside, he wants to eat the fake news, he’s blocking people on twitter, you’re cancelled, cancer culture, once you start blocking…, he thinks what he hears in the building, what the army tells them, radiation proof cars, why should we?, don’t you ever wanna look at that guy’s voting record?, cutting off, dis-empowering yourself, you’re walking into the slaughterhouse, don’t listen to him, feels like there’s very little here, just another science fiction story, substantial power, if it were novel length, that experience, The Defenders is the same story from another point of view, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, eggs, don’t shill for Instant Pot until they sponsor the podcast, the free range ones, orange yolks, you can taste the difference, a sad thought, that’s your allotment, the staircase, using the staircase is a transgressive act, do you need a stairway in a mausoleum, by 2000 everybody lived in projects, his grandparents?, three generations?, distorted stories, the history lesson, the old folks home, genetically unsuitable, what makes him unsuitable?, do you want to breed smarter people, suggested by the story but not in the story, we see two of them, the number of actors you need: two guys and a lady who comes in on skype, a tight dystopia, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, co-opted, Westlake was a Manhattanite, New York as a horizontal arcology, the El or the subway, you can walk three blocks, rush hour, you have ruined my life, the spy is a little more reliable, bad for you, a monster behind that dumpster, the big Donald Westlake hits, The Risk Profession, LibriVox, space insurance, the two sides of Westlake, oh man, situational jokeyness, the Dortmunder books, The Hook, Memory, Charles Ardai, Christa Faust’s Money Shot, like Kill Bill, Hard Case Crime, at least sixty novels, Anarchaos, a very slim volume, so many good books, Somebody Owes Me Money, a crime syndicate, wherever he takes you on a journey, still fun, he still makes it work somehow, so funny with his characterization, Greg Bear is the opposite of Donald Westlake, we build the whole thing, you don’t leave him for a second, the way Shakespeare was gifted, a massive loss for Science Fiction, Smoke, endlessly silly ideas beautifully demonstrated, how many movies are made out of Westlake’s stuff, foreign homages, 41 credits as a writer, The Hot Rock, The Grifters, Payback, Jimmy The Kid, Diff’rent Strokes, A Slight Case Of Murder, James Cromwell as the detective, Cops And Robbers, Point Blank, Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, he’s king of like Stephen King, Stephen King loves Westlake, Richard Bachman is named after Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Magnum, P.I., a crisp clear writer, Lawrence Block, fifteen years of great reading.

The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #569 – READALONG: The Men In The Walls by William Tenn

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #569 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about The Men In The Walls by William Tenn

Talked about on today’s show:
The Men In The Walls by William Tenn, Of Men And Monsters, in the shower, bins full of books, homework, no ending coming, the ending was a beginning, a solid ending, absurd in a bleak way, a stinger in the tail, mocking and doing a genre, collection of William Tenn short stories, the William Tenn model of story, absurdist, satirizing, frustrated expectations, Eastward, Ho , The Liberation Of Earth, this dying Earth, a metaphor for Africa, allegory, why he isn’t known as a novelist, to sustain a novel, an overarching belief in something, humans are fucking ridiculous, early on the web, a RealAudio stream, On Venus, Have We Have A Rabbi!, not a word different, “Priests, For Their Learning”, I’ll grow up fast, “Soldiers, For Their Valor”, literally takes place in the next step, “Counselors, For Their Wisdom”, 1000% confidence, William Shakespeare, Tenn taught English for a living, to Sheila Solomon Klass, this place of salvation, a quote from Gulliver’s Travel, “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth”, the land of the giants, a perfect fit, wholly new, puts them in their place, many ancestors to this book, The War Of The Worlds, how any one virtue is require for procurement of any one virtual, cockroaches or mice?, aspiring to the greatness of roaches, things completely outside humanity, the torture room, we’re all monsters, this book is very subversive, a cool idea, only 128 people are left, other tribes of mankind, he knows exactly what he’s doing, torturing these monsters is fine (because they’re not human), oh jeez, naive character, not a great book, misquote the quoter, Of Men And Monsters, easier to grasp, harder, Of Mice And Men, the institution vs the individual, trusting institutions, walking around the factory floor with long hair, your uncle your brother your sister your friend, people will be kind to you, Lenny and the other guy, their relationship, the labouring farm, a lecherous dude, a lecherous lady, navigable relationships, it ends in tragedy, Eric is our dumb character, the way of the world, slowly disabused of that, his uncle was also a fool, its not just we need a new king, government can’t help you really kid, I have no answers for you kid, the answer for Lenny, institutionalizing anything, it can’t care, summarizing Jesse’s point, the idea of the inhumanity of institutions juxtaposed to the human relationships we can have, put a cap on your hairs’ too long, capitalism, migrant labourers, mental handicap, he kills a woman, stop touching the rabbits, stop squeezing the ladies to death, Eric The Only, Eric The Eye, Eric The Outlaw, the church, the government, we can’t trust these human relationships either, about my vanity, folly, all the different tribes hate each other except for their leaders, it’s our planet buddy, a quietist tract, Man is alone in the world, as a young person, a product of his society, a statement about the society he is in, this is their mythology, a Harry Potter type character, destined to learn, smart enough eventually, try not be a roach anymore, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Rats In The Walls, humans to aliens, roaches to humans, a delicious scene, spending a lot of time analyzing what the aliens are thinking, sprayed by roach spray, hold your breath, count for 500 and run, a hissing whistling sound, a bed for the aliens, played the other way, his whole embarrassment in life is that he’s an only child, his only shame in life, mate with many wives and have massive litters, litters of puppies and kittens and mice and rats, pinkies, the most inhuman thing, mankind has changed, multiple babies at the same time, he’s a throwback, two three is common (up to six), wider hips?, the pill is a thing, restraining the pumping out of babies, over five litters two of them of maximum size, biologically possible but relatively rare, parthenogenesis, making twinning more common, fraternal or identical, old men at twenty, humans modified by a distant change, the religion and creed is pathetic and ridiculous, especially absurd groups of people, the national grouping is like a plains Indian thing, the people, so much worldbuilding here, restricted to Eric’s point of view, a very strange snapshot of the real world, Adam-Troy Castro: ‘imaginative and often witty simple and schematic nobody interesting not even the hero’, William Tenn was not a writer for writers, he was a writer gifted with writing but cursed with the knowledge of how humanity actually is, give ideas, he’s not supposed to be interesting, a traditional writer, I wanna be a writer, characters have to have motivation, what if we had the relationship that we have to ants, how would that go?, we lost Will, what’s wrong with that, Jo Walton, played for laughs, wryly and exclusively Tenn, not funny, but emotionally satisfying, it teaches you something, satisfying in a sense, feature not bug, the first line is a lie, two layers with that title, presented with facts and they’re subverted, how ->*”primitive”*<- people live, where everybody is a generalist, ridiculous leaders, executed or in prison, protests like you see in France or Hong Kong, everybody has to come out, classifying the kind of society, a hunter gatherer society, a social structure of mankind, hierarchy, make sure the food is edible, strange religious customs, cynically implemented, "a primitive people", somebody thought up agriculture, a post agricultural society, fascinating world-building, a hole at the bottom of the wall, alien food, the high absurdity is at is peak, the curtain is drawn away for us, a VCR with random buttons, ads for capitalism, two airplanes crash, a sale on cameras and a light meter, unthinking all hormones, sex with the ladies, being respected by his peers, did my dad have sex with other women because that'd be great if he did?, an inversion, oh my god BASTARD, the malleability of humans, how to take the pain, forced by circumstances into having his own thoughts about how to maybe run his life, forced into consciousness, a relevant book, a lot of people are vegans these days, projecting our own feelings into animals, it can be a pathology, not as obvious a trap, another kind of religion, we're trapped in the same way that Thomas Ligotti is saying we're trapped, a pitiable and curious state of mankind, personality and character rather than a presentment of the facts, Monty Python, Life's a piece of shit when you think of it, depressing and terrible but very accurate, am destiny story, all men are men, whatever magic, ancestor magic, he's the ONLY ONE, making only a good one, are we moving back, the idea of positioning, trying to relate it to mice, nesting in the spaces you aren’t, trees are fucking cold you don’t want to be in a tree, jars with lids, we crush them, Eric lives in the kitchen/bedroom, they have furniture, food, roach spray, one of them damn roaches again, and mysteriously everybody died, if its a depressing idea its a problem with the reader’s attitude, the novel is actually uplifting, deeply aesthetically satisfying (and upsetting on some level), the absurd reality of some man’s life, a sequel coming, a 1963 magazine, in Galaxy Magazine, the non-ephemeral nature of the paperback, if you didn’t get it that month you’ll never get it again, a physical copy of this book, a token of an achievement, a magazine feels like a newspaper, a childish way of looking at it, I’m not sure I can trust my sense, A Lamp From Medusa, a classic for our time, putting it in a package, a life of republication, what makes something a classic for the ages?, “Jesse, Moby-Dick‘s a famous book”, this novella was a classic of science fiction?, its not famous, a lost classic of science fiction, Richie Rich and Casper stuff…, so much going on in a short period of time, not a word wasted, fight for inclusion in a canon of anthropological science fiction, what is society, why do people do the things that we do, how do we know the things we know?, it keeps us sharp, received morality, the banality of evil, they did the crime so they need to do the time, abuse heaped up prisoners, that’s how the institution works, a layer was being peeled from your eye every few pages, my uncle’s not a hero?, we’re going to go into space!, an alternate interpretation, getting Eric out of the way, betrayed!, the French Revolution, restore the French monarchy, human science for humans, everything feeds into my podcast, The Penny Dreadfuls, The Brothers Faversham, satarizing everything, Richard E. Grant, The Scarlet Pimpernel, a proto-superhero, Maximilien Robespierre, how dare you!, why it came to this, why The Terror is happening, he didn’t have time for my speech, all of this farce of what caused the French Revolution, to take the other’s point of view as it is vs. the reality as we’ve framed it, the three estates, all three equal, choppin’ off heads is a good idea, once you get started breaking norms…, the effects of the French Revolution are still being felt, the Russian Revolution, the new word “adversary”, what the fuck you talking about, they like food and they enjoy TV, the button that Tenn is pressing, we like it a lot, a more obscure one, he’s a good writer and he’s got a nice sense of irony, a modern science fictional version of Jonathan Swift, slightly different from Robert Sheckley, slightly different from Douglas Adams, the broad brush, my loins are particularly tasty I’ve been fattening myself up, a Mark Twain-ness, this would make a really good audio drama, the sense of the big and the small, Oh, I’d really like to become a man, oooh she’s sexy, I hope somebody adapts it for an audio drama, Philip Jose Farmer, deeply sincere fictional beliefs, Will has that sense of humour, Phil Chenevert does a lot of Conan, he’s more whimsical, he’s is the naive light and fluffy, he’s perfect for this, The Slithering Shadow, a perfect Robert E. Howard voice, characterizing the writing as a gender, a combination of sensuousness and tooth and claw, perfectly attuned to Phil Chenevert’s voice, we’re laughing along, Donald E. Westlake’s The Spy In The Elevator.

Of Monsters And Men - Boris prelim

Of Men And Monsters by William Tenn, 1968 paperback illustration by Stephen Miller

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #514 – READALONG: Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #513 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Galaxy July and September 1972, 41 years old, out of context, people getting grumpy, autobiographical?, writing himself into his book, unnerving, “problematic”, you wont like anything, very well written, censoring oneself, all internal thoughts, a thoughtful interesting book, an interior book, racial slurs, the fakest parts are the plot points, going around in elevators, how other people perceive him at parties, the Lumumba incident, getting beaten up, ghosting student essays, websites that advertise these services, students required to submit, text comparison, tuning the voice, Columbia University, a cat and mouse game, young and strong, failing powers, a real person, the most clumsy, detecting lies, becoming telepaths, getting vibes, a metaphor for (if not science fiction), curious, casual or romantic or natural experiments, the drug scene, trapped in our own heads, comparing actions with words, complaining about the essay, super-resentful, this is not going to work out well, he’s broke all the time, so dependent on his powers, how to deal with somebody, the whole Kitty storyline, Ted Chiang’s Understand, invisible to the superpower, a cheat or not a cheat, “defend”, a science fiction novel in which the narrator is uninterested in the rules behind it, the author hasn’t revealed the rules to the narrator, he’s AM and she’s FM, undistinguished in everything, she doesn’t put up a defense, paranoid, unlock her telepathic mind, a crepazoid being creepy, annoying, bringing your psychiatry on your wife, Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, what makes that a fantasy book, a fascinating attraction, would she have read this?, an avid reader in the 1970s, one of Silverberg’s best, as a metaphor, superbpaper.com, need help with your assignment, “we can write any paper on any subject on any deadline”, $29 per page, testimonials, making people have skills, Jesse has a lot of homework to do, Jesse’s not doing this for money, Jesse has the telepathy within narrow range, I’m dignified, he’s barely in the economy, people thinking sentences in their head, “he thinks in French”, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, a shared document, Nixon shows up in a motorcade, if this book is a metaphor, trying to be telepathic with a later audience, Isaac Asimov, Lawrence Block, they communicate their ideas super-clearly, Greg Bear’s ideas, to him it makes sense, writing as telepathy, a writer’s inability to write, the autobiographical elements, things get thin until the 1980s, there’s life inside, the life may return, a massive output from the 1950s through the 1960s, the next novel is Lord Valentine’s Castle (eight year’s later), The Stochastic Man, Shadrach And The Furnace, The Book Of Skulls, like 50 stories in 1956, the same if not more, the magazine industry, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, sleeze novels, writing pornography, that wonderful sequence, hopping from mind to mind, the bee, the girl, the farmer, the full fulmination of his power, why its a tragic story, wunderkind, a pathetic shlub, cheat his way through life, stockbroker, Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields, inside information, insider trading, Dr. Hitner, the radio drama adaptation, read comic books and enjoy myself, when he gets into a fight, telegraphed, a rag-doll to be tossed about, have sex with girls is his major ambition, Paul’s own life, why Jesse has to make such pains to distinguish himself, volatile, a lot of parallels here, supermen aren’t going to be what you think they are, in dialogue with Slan by A.E. van Vogt, “slans are schlubs”, every allusion and reference, poets, painters, playwrights, philosophers, scientists, replete with thinking about books, a very philosophical novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, The Hampdenshire Wonder by J.D. Beresford, semi-autobiographical, Arthur C. Clarke, he lives in our universe, a little bit too recursive, the 2001 BBC radio drama adaptation, rather condensed, he works at a bookshop, translated into an adaptation, if people complain…, Harlan Ellison and Silverberg, how much filler material they could add, the Aeschylus essay, the Franz Kafka essay in full, The Castle and The Trial, padding, fun reading, recycle some material, so fun to do that, a sad and depressing book?, tonally depressing, comparing your own life to Selig’s, The Book Of Skulls, holding back information, a very good writer, a promise to the reader, when is he composing this narrative?, nicely constructed, a blank in his history, distancing himself from himself, cheating, things are a little tight this month, because he’s given something early on in his life, manipulating the moment, if you only have 40 minutes to tell the story, the car section of the bookstore, definitely gay, the musclemen section of the bookstore, a repressed homosexual, the dean, how far you’ve fallen, this guy’s pathetic, reading about rocketships and robots, that actually hits home, he’s doing bad work for money, prostitution, his nephew, meeting Kitty on the street, so many girlfriends, I didn’t get your number but you weren’t there anyway, many many other uncles, here’s a picture of a bomb blowing somebody up, Judith probably told him to say that, the necessity of the face and the smile is the new truth, he could see beneath that truth, they’re told to smile, seeing below the surface is a grim reality, self-motivated, if you can take that away, they’re delighted to meet you, “I feel your pain.”, disdain for politicians, a very nice character piece on why it might not be so great to be telepathic, almost like growing up and not being a liar, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, “Selig’s Complaint”, Silverberg could exist without Heinlein, parallel tracks (not tracts), Judith Beheading Holofernes, parallels with Judith of the bible, a nice jewish girl’s name, Zelig (1983), first observed at a part by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the secret history of reality, Selig’s death would mean almost nothing, an incredibly underwhelming superpower, the new wave, Alfred Bester, diddly shit, the jive-speak voice, keeps failing, Jesse wrote a lot of reviews, if its just a book, if its just a book then the temptation is to shit on it, baggage of your own, the demand for reviews, writing is a superpower you can waste by using a metaphor too much, sick of the treadmill, SFSignal doesn’t blog anymore (except on Twitter), gone to be a farmer, a different and happier place, the books doesn’t stop, new or underappreciated, still a good book, slightly less stuck in its time, the black dialogue is slightly different now, a historical piece, the power of the book is still with it, having lived through things and done things, “had I read it way back when”, a book for middle aged science fiction readers, they’ll feel it, hey kids you’re going to love Dying Inside!, when you’re young you read books differently, the depth of Selig’s plight, outright sexism, a pathetic character, once you’re inside somebody’s head you pretty much have to forgive them for everything, the crisis crisis, Airplane! (1980), I speak jive, subtitles, the sentences make sense, Diff’rent Strokes, cultures with different languages and vocabularies, well worth it.

Dying Inside from Galaxy, July 1972

Dying Inside from Galaxy, September 1972

Caedmon Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside (1979)

Frank Kelly Freas illustration of Dying Inside

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #508 – TOPIC: Piracy

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #508 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about PIRACY

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul as Simplicio, not just of the swashbuckling sea-kind, the music-kind, audiobook-kind, YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO THAT, stuff that the FBI Warnings on a VHS tape, forced DVD screens, forced threats, all the crimes I’m going to prison for, a deterrent, easier than ever, easier for some and harder for others, how podcasts work, subscriber only podcasts, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, “please don’t share this with anyone else”, a bonus vs. a big stick, opposite of seeking profits, Econtalk, transaction costs, not monetary costs, the time it takes, easier than ever (but you have to know how it is), a torrent client, ThePirateBay proxy, “CONSUME” media, making PDFs, all about the sharing, a thread Paul was participating in (about pirated ebooks), pirate editions, a drain on the market?, losing, with academic books, the research library model, the Marxist history library, the academic model, publisher XYZ by author A, the end of author A’s career, changing names, data entry job for entry, The Hook by Donald Westlake, once you get in the system, a book about not being able to get a book published, the ratcheting effect, “I’m gonna screw the author so hard”, intent, the effect, that’s the world we live in, How Music Got Free: A Story Of Obsession And Invention by Stephen Witt, the collective nature of the theft, the RIAA targetting random individuals, history of copyright changes, Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth by Alex Sayf Cummings, player pianos, machine based, sheet music, human readable, MP3s, a CD, a record, a magnetic tape, patent, loophole vs. rule, licensing any piece of music for a nominal fee, the transaction cost there is horrendous, the move to YouTube, full of piracy, YouTube ads, what percentage of creators on YouTube make a living off of YouTube, Jesse’s account was demonetized in 2018, exploiting creators, almost communism, ‘from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs’, library logic, curation, finding a massive archive of cultural history hidden from the mainstream, old television shows, never released on DVD, the actual principals, why is piracy a massively good thing? vs. massively a bad thing, the preservation of a cultural legacy, facts about The Beatles, did you know The Beatles’ had a racist version of Get Back, an anti-immigration song, racist?, how come that’s not on the official albums, the sanitized version, Apple Records, when iTunes got The Beatles, a big deal, they couldn’t make a deal with Columbia or Decca, a bootleg, fascinating, on December 17th 2013, an official bootleg release on iTunes, so they could secure their copyright, it’s about control, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates, copyright is (for) kings, a printer’s license, playing cards, a license to print playing cards, copyright is a monopoly, why the White Album is called the White Album, a tribute to the bootlegging with white sleeves, a very famous Bob Dylan album GWW: Great White Wonder, under the cultural consciousness, the medium changes the way people act, most videos are 10 minutes, NETFLIX, HBO, what libraries are supposed to do, oink’s Pink Palace, the complete catalogue of music, preservation and scholarship, chat roulette, millions and millions of things in the public domain, trying to lock down everything forever, an arcane and very complicated copyright system (with ever extending terms), orphaned works, the 1968 and 1968 Marvel comics, this issue of Daredevil matches exactly the Netflix, when Foggy Nelson was running for D.A. (50 years ago), cultural value vs. monetary value, people forget everything, the importance of preservation, the proof is in the song, you can hear how they said it, you really need to have good access to everything if you want to understand the world, wanting to control the message and control the history, VPNs, moving to America, they don’t know what’s there, Youku (aka Chinese YouTube), making a mistake as a human species, a show with Wayne June, a Wayne June Patreon, the voice of Lovecraft, “do you happen to have…”, its all about preservation, the music industry is about screwing artists out of royalties, bootlegging vs. piracy, why people bought bootleg albums, Paul makes a confession, the way Paul rationalizes it to himself, especially with the Poul Anderson(s), now Karen is deceased, at some point it has to fall into the public domain, review copies of books, please do not sell, what are people doing?, smuggling out of CDs, the majority of piracy, “camming”, live concert recording, breaking the encryption, they’re doing it because they love it, a sense of accomplishment, 5,200 PDFs, its not about money, I love movies, Disney’s The Song Of The South, Brer Rabbit, white black folklore, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, delightful stories, the perception is that they’re racist, a black main character, “problematic”, Archive.org, they can’t officially release it anymore, Taylor Swift’s Picture To Burn has been sanitized, a very Soviet thing to do, Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land, the lefty version, sharp social critique, oh my god this is so valuable, Jesse is happy to admit, Halmani a propaganda film about treating newcomers as human beings, excised from reality, Worldcat, pure goodness, that will be gone if I don’t preserve it, emulating what Napster did, RNS, from the invention of MP3 to how torrents work, a history story, Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, profits from the mechanism, the survival of American slavery due to the cotton gin, what a bastard!, the law of unintended consequences, predicting the automobile but not the traffic jam, another story from history, Doctor Who (classic), private collectors recording off of television, recording audio, to reconstruct episodes of a TV show that was absolutely beloved, KVOS in Bellingham, Washington, that activity of being a fan, cheating the BBC out of its massive profits, preservation of the good, Carl Sagan’s cosmos, Babylon 5 is a better radio drama than it is TV drama, The Prisoner, all 17 episodes, you evil pirate! you monster!, where Paul draws the line, Evan Lampe’s Philip K. Dick And The World We Live In, after Evan updates it we’ll find a narrator, the audiobook-man, lister Mike, review it in essence, give it, torrent site, the wrongness, would Paul have done something wrong, you’re hurting Evan by not following your better instinct Paul, libraries are pirates, don’t they hope 100s of people read it?, the YouTube model, you don’t put the genie back in the model, Justin Beiber was a YouTube star, making money from touring, “merch” is like totems, a totemic purchase, to acknowledge this artist has done great work, people wanna hear Philip K. Dick stuff, Mr Jim Moon’s Patreon, Luke Burrage just started a Patreon, his 2009 International Juggler video, a higher rez version, an amazing video to watch, Paul envies Luke a lot, Skyrim, Fallout, Origin and Steam, says the PUBG fan, Fallout ’76, Battlefield 1, a lot of it has to do with money, 2 floppy disc drives and a friend with a box of floppy discs, the low cost of Netflix, more television than you could ever watch, when they start deleting things from the Netflix Originals, is there a DVD version of Netflix’s Marvel shows, all about preservation, keeping the cultural history, not getting yourself photoshopped out of history, the Obama inauguration, Aaron Schwartz, JSTOR, transaction costs again, there’s no research done anywhere by professors that isn’t publicly funded, Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, The House On The Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, control and power and knowledge, information is power, its not wrong in general, wouldn’t socialism just solve this, The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde, that’s scary to a lot of people, charity, liberatory for an artist, the insurance companies are sucking off profits, there is no access to the stuff that you want, the alcohol bootlegging, a digital copy cannot be consumed, we are in a post-scarcity environment, this is what kings did, the Michelangelos and the Donatellos, or the church, the common good, Civilizations, an R-L thing, the complete works of Mozart, chamber music, religious music, court operas, on the dole of the king of Austria, catering to popular tastes, Japan, art for the masses, Monet, we don’t have Mozart’s stuff otherwise, everybody gets to be a king, I’m poorer than everybody, I’m helping, oh so sad somebody’s grandchild isn’t going to, a fucking waste of time, the Eli Whitney education fund, invention, the steam donkey, the whole patent system, a desire to maximize, a turbo charger on invention, patents are still relatively short, the most free-copyright state in the world, Dickens was mad about his losses, William Hope Hodgson, securing an American copyright, the great grandchildren of Robert E. Howard don’t exist, rent-seeking, who has the copyrights, Robert E. Howard holdings (Conan Properties International), Conan™ trademark, Red Sonja™, Marvel is reviving Conan in 2019, missing Philip K. Dick stories, a story published (maybe) in a Rogue 1963 issue, patents, in a conceptual bubble, a bottom up order, insisting, Lesson is the author of The Invisible Hook, working class people, collectors, invention and art, building off the collective knowledge of humanity, the ethics of this, science is a collective act, that’s the Royal Society’s whole shtick, what made it not alchemy, math is not science, Halley and Newton, science in action: two guys fighting about who is right, Newton and Leibniz, Euclid, remixing and adding, David Hume, basically we can only remix and reorganize, does the same thing apply artist, Everything Is A Remix, the wrinkles of observed phenomenon, new and better tools, people are in dialogue, Robert A. Heinlein leads back to Jerome K. Jerome and Rudyard Kipling, this is all public domain (morally), its all collective, the moral case for it, a value added tax that goes to a creator, pressures thanks to NAFTA renegotiation, you’re great great grandpa wrote something as a kid and now you get to reap the rewards (but you probably don’t), James Burke’s Connections, so fast, Avatar is actually a Poul Anderson story and also a couple other things, The Terminator, a Harlan Ellison, Alien, A.E. van Vogt, there’s nothing new under the sun (just stuff you don’t know about), Dan O’Bannon, its like sex, the critique of Malthus, what the copyright “industry”, trademark, patents, rentseeking, a quote from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, beware of he who deny you access to information, why Alex Jones should not be pulled down from anything, what you start locking down what people can say then you’re on the path to tyranny, the killer nail in the coffin for me: the Tolkien Library, the pirate edition of The Lord Of The Rings:

The infamous Ace Books “pirated edition” from 1965. The opening salvo of the “War over Middle- Earth”.
A very nice Near Fine matched set of this notorious edition.

This is the only paperback ‘Lord of the Rings’ to be printed based on later printings of the 1st Edition.
All others were based on the revised editions.

Houghton Mifflin, seemed to have been in technical violation of the law by having imported too many copies printed by Allen & Unwin.
Ace Books took notice of the sales and overseas production of the books, (which are marked, ‘Printed in Great Britain’), determined that LotR’s had fallen into the public domain in the United States, and launched their own edition in spring 1965. {Hammond and Anderson, pg 104} So to secure their American copyright, Tolkien was asked to submit new material to create a new Edition, and so secure their copyright beyond question.

Tolkien wouldn’t allow paperback editions, the reason Tolkien became popular in the 1960s, “I want you to read this story to me daddy.”, you could go to the library and lug around the hardcover around on the bus, a U.S. service edition (WWII pocket paperbacks), Arkham House put out a Lovecraft, sitting in the Ardennes waiting for the Battle Of The Bulge to begin, why Lovecraft is the name he is today, what makes something culturally relevant, why piracy is always a good thing, there are many schemes to help artists, you can’t sell this book in a used bookstore, Dan Carlin tells me all the time “you own this forever” you don’t own any of your Audible audiobooks, until we accept that fact we’re never going to agree, traditional pirates, navy’s were really mean, impress you, hazing, abuse, rape, bad pay, Herman Melville, William Hope Hodgson, should your son join the Merchant Marine, HELL NO!, the navy was pretty hellish, how democratic and egalitarian pirates were, he comes at it from a cultural bubble, rational actors who are self-interested, having the best sex, the individuals were not rational but the things that happened were, the quartermaster and captain were elected positions, Marcus Rediker, The Devil In The Deep Blue Sea, The Many Headed Hydra, the Chicago school influence, a pun on The Invisible Hand, music bootleggers, fans, obsessive collecting, gotta catch ’em all, where the rational part comes in, motivated by revenge, FUCK YOU ESTATE!, they had done copyfraud, literally whole sheets of fraud, photocopies of the hand written submissions, bring that truth out, if you became a pirate you were dead in two years, 2 years free as a pirate or 10 years a slave, anarchism is bottom up order, a revolution against your master, decades before the U.S. constitutions, Fred Heimbach’s pirate nation in The Devil’s Dictum, Edgar Allan Poe needed a Patreon, Charles Dickens had his own magazine called Once A Week, Madonna started her own label, you become the industry, Robert J. Sawyer, The Quintaglio Ascension, tidally locked, a retelling of Galileo and Copernicus, Wake, Watch, Wonder, neanderthal ones, one of these copyright maximalist guys, old material and new material to his patrons, like Greg Bear, extracting value from the old system, pulled down off of Gutenberg, the first half was not copyright renewed, writing books that aren’t for me Quantico, chasing after a different market, the bigger money, Tom Clancy name is a rubber stamp, that old system is going away, the original pirates were still in a scarcity economy, monopolies all over these stories, in Canada almost all the lands were controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company, sugar and other commodities, mercantilism, exclusivity, they misunderstood what profits were, if anyone else benefits then it hurts me, the same kind of thinking, Spain’s wine and Scotland’s sheep, those sunny hills of Spain and Italy, reducing scarcity so everybody benefits, attention is the new scarcity, the wherewithal, Patreon seems easy compare to that, trying to make money from my awesome website, supermodel asses and cryptocurrency, 19th century poetry is not super-interesting for most people, being employed outside your job as an artist, what academia, a basic income show, a Mack Reynolds novel about guaranteed universal income and the problem is not enough satisfying work, we need stuff to do, the 8 hour work day, what we will, two weeks of holiday, no vacation since childhood, They Live (1988), marry and reproduce, two groups of people, the straight up bums and hobos, the Italians who go to work at 10 and go home at 2, what am I gonna do if I’m not working?, the end of work is not so worrisome, tracking hours spent with daughter-time, the DINS, no sex, where we’re all headed, rolling coal, The Quiet Earth (1985), Paul has read the book, we can lose our focus if we have nothing to do, salaries or points, in this capitalist world if we get a paycheck for it’s valuable, Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play by James C. Scott, the Hmong people, the Doukhobors, protesting by becoming nude, everybody flees to the west, a non-violent way of showing abasement, a way for Christians to preserve a simple stateless existence, nudism as a tool, The Year Of The Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein, the world is so big wide and varied, they’re all around us these people, you can’t flee from Japans culture by staying in it, they’re cultural strength is hurting them as a population, Korea recently committed to massive English learning, advice for Taiwan, learn English legalize gay marriage and let in immigrants, making English an official language, the Great Wall covers hundreds of thousands of bodies, regular industrial imperialists, the Great Firewall, deep down they’re really Chinese, a fun theory about why so many Anglican ministers are atheists, this is how you do it, labor protests in the south, worker power, what communists have been saying for a century,

Moral Pirates

Pirates' Planet from CAPTAIN FUTURE, Winter 1942

M. Humpfris illustration for A Ladybird Book About Pirates (1970)

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #501 – READALONG: The Book Of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #501 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June talk about The Book Of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Talked about on today’s show:
1972, nominated for…, it doesn’t feel like a science fiction book at all, a small book, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, winning author, feels like a Lawrence Block book, the Lawrence Block genre, the same writing system, magazines and paperbacks, a prolific writing machine, four a year or five a week, pseudonyms, erotica, mysteries, a writer’s writer, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, the kind of paperback you read with one hand, paying markets, popular writers, you can feel it, it didn’t keep it up, keeping up the pace, it doesn’t feel like a fantasy either, genre adjacent, secret history, come from Atlantis, can we trust that monk?, anything?, inside the compound, exactly halfway through, another kind of book, the Wikipedia entry, a happy roadtrip movie, a Quentin Tarantino, the route they took, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Route 66, bildungsroman, American road-trip, Route 666, the TV show, what kind of book this is, no one reads as many old magazines as Jesse does today, ads for the Rosicrucian, the pyramids, astounding wisdom, astral projection, you may walk on the surface of the Sun!, the free book, secret society, AMORC, what secret power did they possess?, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, a full and peaceful life, power on this earth, primetime for cults, hey baby we’re going to the desert, dropping out, a book about a cult, unadvertised, that kind of immortality, laying out plans, stuck in this vastness, unrealistic expectations, when I get immortality, studying music for 30 years, walk across Asia, Larry Niven’s immortal characters, Louis Wu, a fashion maven, a hermit in a cave, the attraction of this book, stupid guys in college, naive, spew on it, a quest, eternal life, existential philosophy, seeking meaning, personal devils, the rubric, a cosmic accident, worth the risk, significance for your life, underlying outline, couched in the 70s, pretty accurate, when this book was new, time under my belt, he knew his existential philosophy, this book lives and dies on the fact there’s no Wikipedia, Scientology, getting off the bus to Hollywood, some friendly guy, working on myself, help me get jobs, the death wish thing, it doesn’t happen on screen, uninteresting lives, Jesse is Eli, homosexual, no trust fund, confess that later, reality shows and Big Brother, William Friedkin, a horror story, thinking during the book, Oliver, ’70s randy dudes, a lot of sex, not very SFy, cutting edge back then, drugs, pulp sci-fi, my faith wavered, the shrill laughter of Satan, do you think you’ve gained anything here?, the icy future, this image, the desert as one of the poles, an empty blasted world, a strange backsliding, oh god, you felt it to then?, the voice of doubt, the thing that you seek, skull mask, sullen girl, the heavy breasted succubus, the thing you seek, the House of Skulls, a hawk in the blue sky, hawk you will die and I will live, of this I have no doubt, I understand, life eternal we offer thee, a horror story ending, as much as it is disquisition on existentialism, prescribing vs. describing, I reject your victory, are these guys 25,000 years old?, an afterword, tell us the secret, I wasn’t there, ambiguity, the path of existentialism, belief, salvation, if you have a philosophical bent, in to being outraged, problematic scenes, I raped my sister, completely free of any of those concerns, he’s not trying to make it a movie, free love, a less apologetic culture, one review, this isn’t the only way to practice homosexuality, a gay friendly book, not shy or ashamed, never felt preached to, there’s these dudes, who’s telling this story, snarking on each other, getting it right and wrong, a psychological study, four narrators, not buddies, same basic age, hard to distinguish when not talking about themselves, Stefan Rudnicki, they’re the same guy, aspects of the same guy, the skull with the faces, without the flesh on it it is just a skull, each of those skulls had a face, working on a Freudian analysis, flowery metaphor, the right symbol for immortality, not immortality in Heaven, a horror immortality, the ending, in too deep, the sunk cost fallacy, that’s what this is about?, spicy vegetarian meals forever, a really old thing, memento mori, to contemplate your mortality, skulls under our faces, carrying death within us, Lent, from dust you came, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, candy skulls, Hamlet, I knew him Horatio, I kissed these lips, how great a work is man, I’m on a horror train come with me, sorry Ophelia, two fall away two move forward, four confession, the sacrifice and the murder, who is going to be killed?, who is going to kill themselves?, sharp, into overdrive, Oliver was the one, Eli was going to kill himself, a neurotic nebbish, game this out, expectations gone awry, Ariel, Random Walk by Lawrence Block, meanwhile in Kansas, really evil characters, these two forces come together, it is about walking, power walker (racewalker), speedwalking, a sports commentator, the normal human activity, chasing at a leisurely pace, endurance running, human physiology Wayne, local stray animals, escaping predators, getting places, an excuse to get exercise, walking (and hiking) is associated with thinking, meaning comes to him, gaining interest over time, The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham, Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Denholm Elliot, a WWI book, a trip to Asia, I’m a yogi, having meaning, it pisses everybody else off, from their point of view, crime novels, the Bernie Rhoddenbar books, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, Eight Million Ways To Die, the Matt Scudder series, A Walk Among The Tombstones, really good at brutal, Liam Neeson, alcoholism, a philosophy behind him, putting bullets in people occasionally, 1944, a sense of maybe not is all right with existence, ideas of the East, a weird category, not a lot of mystical powers, is there anything in here that is proof of some fantastic element, not good proof, on the razor’s edge between reality and something beyond, Poul Anderson’s Boat Of A Million Years, what does this all mean?, just sayin’, mixed success, the end of chapter nine, Jesse trying to dominate everything, the frater Anthony, go off into the desert and bury your friend, a librarian who keeps track of the local cults, they’re never coming back, when the cops come…, we have two, oh shit, keeping those hands off, their techniques, what are the ladies doing there, is there a book of skulls for women, four ladies on a road trip, a jump forward in time, porridge again for breakfast, skyscars, A Canticle For Leibowitz by American writer Walter M. Miller Jr., a great idea for a novel, quick edit that part out, possibilities, Larry Niven, the flipside of death, the men who live forever, The Draco Tavern, a story for ever vocab work, attaching meaning, ephemeral, a fifth Doctor episode, thing that doesn’t last very long, a three day old newspaper, all these skulls, all the idiots who came to this cult, two for every four, so fucking bored, same society, is Clark Gable still making movies?, Avengers: Infinity War, Footloose, the remake, Flashdance, cheerleader movies, Bring It On, Turn It Up, end of Chapter 9, Richard Nixon, bumptious, the true genius of the race, clerisy, a Lincoln Continental, flogging us towards sundown, a thing writers writers do all the time, a book I was reading not long ago, metaphor, the bleak Kalahari, the realities of the desert, the beautiful one, the clown, the hunter, the headman, Yatesian counter rotating gyres, ideational vs. operational, a stable group, the state, the hunter, the church, the art, and I the clown, a summary of their book in their book, I was reading this book lately and I’ll tell you how shitty it was, Ned and Eli, the shaman, the religion, Ned is the art, the leadership and the hunter, given up the things that connect them to the outside, people who live in the mind, meditating all day long, that makes sense, an existentialist end in view, the church and art, the speculative and self expressing parts of identity, Søren Kierkegaard, personal identity, the father of existentialism, a core value, an actual philosophy, here is a way towards answer, damn this shit is hard, we got to find something to do, Albert Camus, the myth of Sisyphus, life is absurd, pointless futile labour, find your own meaning, The Stranger, The Rebel, The Fall, the only thing left to us is suicide and I hope you consider it, the only practicing Catholic, St. Louis whore sex, the inner thoughts, powerful stuff, this actually happened, four science fiction writers in a car, a very North American thing, the road trip novel, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Theroux, Anthony Bourdain, The Old Patagonian Express, Siberia, landscape, flashbacks, Eli is a fraud, they’re young college kids, James Joyce, critical essays, flowery description, bullshit, personal demons, a metaphor for his entire life, his how life was inauthentic, the murder, you can see why, don’t threaten my escape, the part of the ritual, the receptacle, a side benefit, a very well written book, the 9th secret, the rich guy, Oliver, a shameful gay dalliance, denying his authentic self, the non-PC part of the book, the people who are upset about things, a very real cultural attitude, bred for richness, 100 a week, 18,000 years, pride, the tallness that I have, a short book, a slim volume from the ’70s, as always, a preview of Robert Silverberg’s return to Lord Valentine’s castle, Majipoor Chronicles, Dying Inside, The Stochastic Man, Lord Valentine’s Castle, what a cool world, a series back then, a series today, Nightwings, the future city of Rome, the mouth, Hero Of The Empire, Roma Eterna, a young man who wants to start a new religion, keep the empire going, Harry Turtledove, fighting Persia all the time, Through Darkest Europe.

The Book Of Skulls (1979)
The Book Of Skulls (1981)
The Book Of Skulls
The Book Of Skulls (1972)
The Book Of Skulls

Posted by Jesse Willis