Reading, Short And Deep #241 – Or Give Me Death by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #241

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Or Give Me Death by Donald E. Westlake

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Or Give Me Death was first published in Universe Science Fiction, November 1954.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #588 – READALONG: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #588 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Maissa Bessada talk about Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Talked about on today’s show:
The Body Snatchers, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, 1976/8, 1956, very faithful, the changes to the text, a slightly bigger frame, in and about and to the ending, I drive a 1973 Cadillac, 5 adaptations, the 1978 adaptation, 1955, serial finished on Christmas Eve, beautiful illustrations, 2007, The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham, 1951, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, The Father Thing by Philip K. Dick, The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick, an alien invasion of space plants, the scale, the major point of the body snatchers is the snatching, 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, The Night Of The Living Dead, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, the plants are consuming people, a spore in the air, so close in other details, its eerie, an outsider to mainstream science fiction, Ray Bradbury, when Heinlein gets in a slick, bridging the gap between the mainstream mom and dads of the 1950s, the original dad ends up in a trash can, pod people in the sense their emotions are done, must be some sort of display, very Stephen King-like, a contagion that’s spread, communist Red Scare, you need to conform or those people are communists, 4 official adaptations, delightfully 1970s, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, a really cool connection, maybe there are only 3 adaptations, it might be the case that they’re all the same storyline, Kevin McCarthy, a cameo, reprising his scene, they’re coming! they’re not who you think they are! they’re here!, Mill Valley, California, San Francisco, Louise Fletcher Veronica Cartwright is the last human alive in the 1978 movies, Wendy Lenk, the 1993 adaptation, Body Snatchers (1993), Scott has an idea for a movie called Snatchers, the Recorded Books audiobook, the Blackstone Audio, Kristoffer Tabori, a pretty terrific novel, reverse engineering, very close, a low budget, the bubbles and the foam, the major difference is the ending, the novel has the worst ending, we did it – we fixed it – it’s over, the ending of The War Of The Worlds, by accident we survived, The War Of The Worlds: The Series (1988-90), the Spanish Flu, WWI, individual tragedies vs. collective tragedy, the humour, the first person perspective, he sure seems handsome, divorcees, a wonderful relationship, they dated in high-school, compassionate writing, the meta-ness of the novel, brilliant!, Heinlein’s not good at people, Somewhere In Time, a different skill at writing, the clarity of Westlake, in relief against the other adaptations and the changing times, what’s missing from every adaptation, Billy the shoe-shine man, it’s not about communism, its about us, in a terrible relationship, Billy the shoe shine man is our hero, everybody is a white-man, none of the other adaptations go near that, self-loathing, other black characters in the adaptations, its not about race relations at that point, Finney is saying it, the cave, the ending, divorcees as human beings, the relationship he has to his patients and his own body, his girlfriend’s skeleton, her flesh fits her bones, two skeletons in his closet, the world is going to be saved, Soylent Green, you gotta tell em!, so Body Snatchers-ish, the pods are not giving up, they’re kinda resisty, anti-science fictional, he couldn’t know what he needed to be done, forget everything I said, maybe an editor made him do it, he didn’t fix it in the revision, its about San Fransisco and the people who live there, the banjo man, they have to share a pumpkin, the same relationship, the potential future girlfriend is already in a relationship, go to the psychiatrist with me, maybe he’s turning gay, the 2007, the kid is the primary relationship, The Invasion (2007) is very slickly done, a cool science fiction movie, a spore, an infection like a zombie infection, colonized chrysalis-ed, a collective consciousness, a way cool element, doubling down on why being snatched is maybe not such a bad thing, you will be just like you, there’s nothing new for you, the whole world is involved, a unilateral disarmament treaty, worse and worse or better and better, the countries listed, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Iraq, we’re all the same people inside, much more seductive, both positive and negative, played as totally positive, Daniel Craig is still alive, now recovered, all dream like, memory loss, Nicole Kidman has too children, in the background the American Empire is resuming, back to where we are, they close on her face, that amazing dance, the personal vs. the collective, the waiters are spitting into the coffee, fungal load, Equilibrium (2002), the dancing with guns movie, drugging their population, a society worth having an protecting, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, its all connected, the flying pancakes episode of Star Trek, Landru, you are not of the body, pointing and screaming, “New York Times has good reporters”, the most toxic relationship on the history of the Earth, so exactly right, a received opinion, why this book was so powerful, the NPC meme, youre a character in the story but you have no will or volition of your own, a red shirt, there to serve the plot and to show the gravity of the situation, if you are acting like an NPC you are making a mistake, philosophical zombies, observing somebody through a telescope, like a robot, following a script, a bot in computer games, critiquing the idea of individual thought, the processes have happened within us, watching a great actor in the great movie can give you a simulation of that, highly sympathetic actions, the psychology building up around that pool table, his new GF is in danger from her dad, a very cool Americanism, he runs in wearing his pajamas, magnified in the 1978: the amount of gaslighting that happens, Leonard Nimoy is a pod person from the beginning, the way he treats Jeff Goldblum, Robert H. Solo, Neil Simonesque, Alan Alda and Michael Caine and Richard Pryor, a style of film, it became a staple, the 1993 is the shittiest version, Invasion Of The Pod People (2007), if you’re not looking closely, most of the actresses are porn actresses, ginger root is the pods, Tubi, the acting is so wooden, the air condition systems are humming in every scene indoors, an excuse to have sexy being pod people, like the 1993 version but way worse, another direction, They Live (1988) adaptation of Eight O’Clock In The Morning, the sunglasses meme is evergreen, the recent election shit, you can’t call them oligarchs, the guy in The Matrix, I know what I’m doing is wrong but I really need the money, THEY LIVE (1988) is the most important science fiction movie that’s ever been, underneath the tunnels, some people are real some people were not, you’d sell out your own kind, the social message of THEY LIVE (1988) is super valuable, which is a better novel? very different exactly the same, Heinlein is Heinlein, The Puppet Masters is a piece of excellence, Donald Sutherland is playing another pod person and he loves it, they juice us up, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, can I borrow you for a minute?, a powerful story, aliens psychically take over your body, walk of shame back to your life, everybody is subject to it, we just have to live with this new reality, super cool, The Roller Coaster by Alfred Bester, we project our minds back in time yithian-style, The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, more technically a snatch, a super-positive tool for studying history in the hands of sons and daughters of billionaires, when you’re killing people you don’t want to do it openly, terrorize people to get a rise out of them, Reading, Short And Deep episode 11, from 1953, The Thirteenth Floor (1999), a better movie as a story than The Matrix (1999), eXistenz (1999), that mass scale, seeing it from a different end, semi-government competent agency, a pre-X-Files sort of story, taken over by a pancake, a trauma on the scale of rape or worse, a horror, you’re there but you’re not in control, witness to an alien mind, a parasitism, a broken axe handle and a soup can were duplicated, spilling the seed on the earth, Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright’s mudbath spa, I recommend the lava-ash, reading a paperback novel, Worlds In Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky, not science at all, the saucer stuff, you must read this book, I’ve read it several times, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, the seed of every science fiction story, let’s look in this basement, this chain of looking within to find facts from without, not my real mom, as science fiction as science fiction can get vs. space vegetables, the Space Shuttle, you’ve triggered it, we now have to talk about Lifeforce (1985), panspermia, Lifeforce (1985) said “hey 1970s movies, we saw what you did and we’re going to do the opposite”, science fiction isn’t about a whole bunch of separate ideas, its about the way you spin or focus on a particular detail, doing shownotes three months down the road, looking up the spelling of authors, spinning and thinking about different aspects of humanity’s role and what we’re doing here, what is your purpose here on earth, we don’t have a purpose, just reproduction, just like you, the virus is the body snatcher, the last 2 weeks has turned into bizarro world, it translates, whatever is happening, March 21st, 2020, we’re thinking about a scene where the town is dying, the coffee doesn’t taste good in the diner, people are numb, we don’t know who the enemy is, asymptomatic, very well shown, he loves his town, he flees and then returns, how broken we are, going back to bad relationships, why moving is such a trauma, we shelter in place, spring break beach, YOLO, how you feeling?, are you worried?, toilet paper levels, thermostat, the bidets were all sold out, hoarding bidets, Green Patches by Isaac Asmiov, a unified consciousness, a stowaway, back to anarchy, a greater unthinking being, The Green Splotches by T.S. Stribling, alien spores, grey goo aliens, Colony by Philip K. Dick, X-Minus One, “I trusted the rug completely”, the dissolve you and make copies of you, a fake laser gun, sending down a drop ship to rescue the crew, the cook taking orders from himself, oddly science fictional items, that was 1953 too, don’t drink the water, we will all find out, which one of us will be next?, going for that 1970s downer ending, which one of us isn’t even us anymore?

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney - Collier's November 26, 1954

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney Collier's, December 1954

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney - Colliers December24, 1954

Award Books - Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

URANIA - Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

Posted by Jesse Willis
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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