The SFFaudio Podcast #138 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #138 – The Crawling Chaos by Winifred V. Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft, read by Wayne June. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Tamahome, Jim Moon and Wayne June). Here’s the ETEXT.

“In The Crawling Chaos the narrator flees inland, taking his adjectives with him.” -L. Sprague de Camp (from Lovecraft: A Biography)

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne June is still alive!, first impressions of The Crawling Chaos, Wikipedia’s plot summary of The Crawling Chaos, dream logic, an opium vision, the tripiness, the philosophy behind The Crawling Chaos, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe, the self as a haunted palace, Poe is so 19th century, The Raven, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, entropy, there is no meaning in this uncaring universe, “and all the planets mourned”, you’d need a lot of Prozac (or opium) to go through a life like that, the catharsis of apocalypse, a cosmic apocalypse, the plot is a jumble of junk, the biblical echoes, “only the gods reside there” (in Teloe), a very old testament vibe, “lest you turn into a pillar of salt”, the protagonist is us (mankind), Lovecraft’s recurring themes, the ordinary man who swaps places with another, The Shadow Out Of Time, Polaris, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, transcendental mind-swap stories, the story was a pseudonymous collaboration between Elizabeth Berkley (aka Winifred V. Jackson) and Louis Theobald, Jun. (aka H.P. Lovecraft), Nyarlathotep, “send me some money”, a lot of dross with a powerful effect, “the year of the plague”, the “oriel window” is an eyeball!, “calm down Howard”, “he’s in his own brain”, who or what is “the crawling chaos”?, the ocean pounding is his heart beating, “We’re all doomed!”, what is the crawling chaos?, S.T. Joshi, Rudyard Kipling, the peninsular beach house, Tiger Tiger (from The Jungle Book), The Tyger by William Blake, is the beautiful youth Mowgli?, who are “they”?, a fawn faced youth, Weena from H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, did Winifred read The Time Machine before sleep?, what is the meaning of “Teloe”? is it teleology, reaching for meaning or purpose and losing it, Amber and Chalcedony, pleasure barges bound for blossomy Cytheron, Liquid Gold, Lord Dunsany, the heavenly host, the destruction of the physical (the corpse-like clay), black clouds like vultures, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear”, City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe, opium addiction, why opium?, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey, Charles Baudelaire, a waking dream, if the story was written in the 1960s…, LSD, morphine and Morpheus (dream), a waking dream, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, The Doors Of Perception, out of Plato’s cave, Philip K. Dick, mindset and environment, mescaline, dreams vs. drug trips, journeys into the unconscious, Mouthpiece by Edward Wellen, decoding the death ravings of Dutch Schultz (HERE), William Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, “French Canadian Bean Soup”, stream of unconsciousness, Frances vs. French people, “swimming through New York”, The Librarian TV series, “perfectly ordinary strange adventures”, puns are big for the subconscious, Samuel R. Delany, Groucho Marx.

The Tyger by William Blake

The United Co-Operative, April 1921 - The Crawling Chaos

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Armor by John Steakley

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction - Armor by John SteakleySFFaudio EssentialArmor
By John Steakley; Read by Tom Weiner
11 CDs – Approx. 13.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 1433294834
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military SF / War / Leadership / Drugs / Psychology /

The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered. Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred. And he is protected not only by his custom-fitted body armor, the culmination of ten thousand years of the armorers’ craft, but also by an odd being which seems to live with him, a cold killing machine he calls “the Engine.” This best-selling science-fiction classic is a story of the horror, the courage, and the aftermath of combat and also of how strength of spirit can be the greatest armor of all.

Armor is a novel that was clearly inspired by Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. It makes use of both powered exoskeletons and insect-like alien enemies. But, instead of being a novel of politics and leadership it is a very different kind of story. At first I thought it was about the psychological effects of violence and the various kinds of heroism that can exist within a person. I was wrong because that isn’t enough. This novel is not one or two things. It isn’t the normal kind of idea driven SF that I so love – instead its ideas flow more through the emotions, eliciting our sympathies. I think this was acomplished by it changing, turning over and over, with it’s many plot surprises.

Early on Felix, our viewpoint character, refers to something he calls an “engine.” I thought he was describing the powered armor of the title. That would make sense, there was a video game called Heavy Gear that, like than Mechwarrior, had men and women doing battle in humanoid shaped tanks. I think it refereed to its “mechs” as “engines.” Felix seems pretty much like any of the other soldiers he’s been dropped with on planet Banshee. Maybe he’s a bit more of a hick – he doesn’t know the names of the winners at the Powered Olympics. Felix makes no waves, volunteers for nothing. He just wants to survive the battle to come. But when the waves of enemy aliens pour out of their holes only Felix survives – and keeps on surviving.

Armor has taut battle scenes, flowing exposition, and realistic dialogue. Had John Steakley written more, and his other novel Vampire$ |READ OUR REVIEW|, I think he’d be a very well known author.

The first third (or so) of the novel follows Felix, a low ranking scout in the invasion of the planet Banshee. Here the action somewhat resembles that of Starship Troopers. Then there is an abrupt switch – the novel seems to lurch into an an entirely different scene and setting. Set a few years later and following in first person perspective this time we meet a man named Jack Crow. Crow is a notorious galactic scoundrel. A well known thief, pirate, and adventurer – his legend is long and precedes him even to an obscure research station on a planet called Sanction. Crow is there to infiltrate, but eventually finds himself involved in an experiment – one that drains him of his half-hearted bravado and changes his life. If were talking about where this novel fits in the SF library I’ll say this: Armor synthesizes the action of Heinlein’s Troopers with the emotional impact of Haldeman’s The Forever War – but still comes off as a completely unique story.

Tom Weiner, who seems to be narrating almost every Blackstone Audio audiobook that I’m listening to these days, delivers his usual letter perfect narration. Weiner animates Felix with a weary melancholy of a veteran scout, brightens audibly with the cocksure Crow, pulls a vocal Tom Bombadil with Louis, feminizes for Lya, and geeks it all up for Holly (a star-struck scientist). That’s pretty impressive. Check this audiobook out!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Spider On The Web: Satan’s Children by Spider Robinson

SFFaudio Online Audio

Spider On The Web - Spider Robinson’s podcastSpider Robinson has recorded his 1979 novella, Satan’s Children, for release in two parts on his podcast. He describes it as being “about a holy lunatic’s dream of actually making a better world, through chemistry.” Episodes 79 and 80 feature the complete reading.

Myself, I don’t like music, something included in almost every Robinson podcast, so I’ve used Audacity to strip out and combine both halves of the fiction in each episode. Combined together the novella runs nearly 78 minutes. But even if you are weird like me there are still a few other bits and bobs in there you may be interested in hearing – including some news on Jeanne Robinson‘s health and a rare blog entry from Harlan Ellison (as read by Spider).

New Voices II, ed. George R. R. Martin, Jove 1979Satan’s Children
By Spider Robinson; Read by Spider Robinson
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Spider On The Web
Podcast: March 2010
First published in the anthology New Voices II (The Campbell Award Nominees) edited by George R.R. Martin, Jove 1979.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Podcast feed:

http://www.spiderrobinson.com/iTunes_feed.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Donations for Jeanne Robinson can be done through THIS site.

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 7: Planet B (series 2), The House On The Strand, A Stir Of Echoes

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7BBC Radio 7 has two “NEW COMMISSIONS” that should draw many a wandering ear. First up a Richard Matheson novel A Stir Of Echoes! Scott reviewed the UNABRIDGED Blackstone Audio version not too long ago |READ OUR REVIEW|. Julie and a few other folks will also be excited to learn that the second Planet B series begins this week too. Among the re-runs for the week ahead is a BBC7 commission 2005. The House On The Strand is a 1969 novel by Daphne du Maurier. I suspect most of the new releases will turn up on RadioArchive.cc sooner or later, or you could use Radio Downloader, either of those will work. Planet B (Series 2), on the other hand, is available via podcast and the first episode is already in the feed!

Planet BPlanet B (Series 2) – The Tender Trap
By Matthew Broughton; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Sunday at 6pm and midnight
Kip is looking for love on the dating site, The Spark. But he gets more than he bargains for when a mysterious woman explodes into his world. Produced by James Robinson.
Starring:
Joseph Cohen-Cole
Tessa Nicholson
Emerald O’Hanrahan
Chris Pavlo
Melissa Advani
Adjoa Andoh

Podcast feed:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/bbc7/planetb/rss.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

The House On The Strand by Daphne du MaurierThe House On The Strand
By Daphne Du Maurier; Read by Julian Wadham
12 Broadcast – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Tuesday – Friday at 6.30pm and 00.30am
Daphne Du Maurier’s masterpiece is a beguiling combination of romantic atmosphere, haunting psychology and assured storytelling. The tale revolves round the narrator Dick Young, who escapes from his troubles in the form of a new drug, which transports him six centuries back in time. But his attempts to change history bring terror to the present and throw his own life into the balance.

A Stir Of Echoes by Richard MathesonA Stir Of Echoes
By Richard Matheson; Read by Trevor White
5 Broadcasts – Approx. 2.5 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Monday – Friday at 1.30pm, 8.30pm and 1.30am
Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life in a seemingly normal neighbourhood until his brother-in-law hypnotises him; a chance event that awakens psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he can hear the private thoughts of the people around him, and learns shocking secrets he never wanted to know.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

SFFaudio Review

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. DickThe Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Tom Weiner
6 CDs – 6.8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781433248221
Themes: / Science Fiction / Religion / Drugs / Mars / Aliens /

Not too long from now, when exiles from a blistering Earth huddle miserably in Martian colonies, the only things that make life bearable are the drugs. Can-D “translates” those who take it into the bodies of Barbie-like dolls. Now there’s competition: a substance called Chew-Z, marketed under the slogan “God promises eternal life. We can deliver it.” The question is: What kind of eternity? And who—or what—is the deliverer?

Reading Philip K. Dick is the literary equivalent of taking deliriants in church. Dick’s world is fully realized, his characters being windows into Dick’s own sympathies, his own passions. Dick seems to have observed the writing advice that goes: “Write what you know.” What Dick knows about is drugs, suburban druggie life, revealed religion, the conflict between an individual and the group, between women and men. If you look at the basic plot The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch scans as most similar to Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, in that a corporate war between the solar system’s two biggest multi-planetaries drives the action. But it doesn’t feel that way, it feels like a scaled-up version of Dick’s short story Wargame. Sure, the novel is supposed to be about life on Mars and big corporate business, but Dick’s Mars is mostly confined to a few intemperate draftees who couldn’t fake their way out of the draft. Upset with their new colonial life they spend all their time playing with Barbie style playhouses and taking mind altering drugs. I can almost picture Dick sitting in his living room watching his young daughters playing with their Barbie dolls. They sit on the floor, coveting their Barbie corvettes, their Barbie clothes and decorating their Barbie dream houses while Dick, sitting in an armchair above, looks down compassionately and philosophicaly as he reaches for the typewriter. Strangely, the novel also feels extremely prescient. At multiple times throughout I paused and thought about the PC game called The Sims – a game where your avatar must eat, sleep, and furnish her virtual home with virtual goods as you plan her idealized life. We seem to have gotten what Dick was driving at. For what is World Of Warcraft if not a Dickian reality minus the drugs? William Gibson would describe it as “a consensual hallucination” – Dick called it The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch.

Originally published in 1965, this is the first commercial audiobook release of The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch. Narrator Tom Weiner seems to be Blackstone Audio’s go-to guy when it comes to narrating the heavy hitters of Science Fiction. This is a good thing as Weiner brings a vast gravitas to his reading. Fans of George Guidall’s narrations will find Weiner similarly impactful. The cover art for The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch is all original for this production. This is more and more the case at Blackstone, which makes me happy, for I am covetous.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 015

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxH.G. Wells has two tales in this collection. The New Accelerator features a fascinating depiction of the invention of what sounds a lot like an amphetamine (though technically they had already been invented a dozen years earlier). It will also remind Star Trek fans of the episode called Wink of an Eye.

The other story by Wells here is The Crystal Egg which is set in a pawn shop in London. It’s likely one of the first tales featuring a kind of CCTV television technology.

The Philip K. Dick story called Beyond Lies The Wub is one of the best Dick short stories printed. It makes for excellent repeated listening. Gregg Margarite does a great job with it too.

As Long As You Wish is not new to this collection but I mention it because it is a bit tricky – remember to pay close attention to the beginning so as to help you understand the ending.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 015Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 015
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx 3 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science or technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-015.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox Science Fiction - As Long As You Wish by John O'KeefeAs Long As You Wish
By John O’Keefe; Read by Wally Reed
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
If, somehow, you get trapped in a circular time system . . . how long is the circumference of an infinitely retraced circle? From Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1955.

LibriVox - Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. DickBeyond Lies The Wub
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
The slovenly wub might well have said: Many men talk like philosophers and live like fools. From Planet Stories July 1952.


LibriVox - The Crystal Egg by H.G. WellsThe Crystal Egg
By H.G. Wells; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
The story tells of a shop owner, named Mr. Cave, who finds a strange crystal egg that serves as a window into the planet Mars. Written in the same year in which The War of the Worlds was being serialized. This story is often considered a prequel to The War of the Worlds, though there is no clear foreshadowing of the events that transpire in the novel.

LibriVox - Hard Guy by H.B. CarletonHard Guy
By H.B. Carelton; Read by Bookman
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
There will be fine, glittering, streamlined automobiles in 2000 A.D. Possibly they will run themselves while the driver sits back with an old-fashioned in his hands. Perhaps they will carry folks down the highways at ninety miles an hour in perfect safety. But picking up a hitch-hiker will still be as dangerous as it is today. First published in Amazing Stories November 1942, later reprinted in Amazing Stories April 1956.

Amazing Stories December 1960I’m A Stranger Here Myself
By Mack Reynolds; Read by William Haseltine
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
One can’t be too cautious about the people one meets in Tangier. They’re all weirdies of one kind or another. Me? Oh, From Amazing Stories, December 1960.

LibriVox - The New Accelerator by H.G. WellsThe New Accelerator
By H.G. Wells; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
A friend of H.G. Wells is on the verge of making a scientific breakthrough which promises to revolutionise human life – so the two friends decide to road-test the new drug – with exciting but dangerous consequences.

LibriVox - The Radiant Shell by Paul ErnstThe Radiant Shell
By Paul Ernst; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
The man on the metal plate was vanishing. From Astounding Stories January 1932.


Astounding Stories November 1932A Scientist Rises
By D.W. Hall; Read by Epistomolus
1 |MP3| – Approx. 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
All gazed, transfixed, at the vast form that towered above them. From the November 1932 issue of Astounding Stories.


LibriVox - Vanishing Point by C.C. BeckVanishing Point
By C.C. Beck; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
In perspective, theoretically the vanishing point is at infinity, and therefore unattainable. But reality is different; vanishment occurs a lot sooner than theory suggests .. From Astounding Science Fiction July 1959.

LibriVox - Viewpoint by Randall GarrettViewpoint
By Randall Garrett; Read by Ray Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 4th, 2009
A fearsome thing is a thing you’re afraid of—and it has nothing whatever to do with whether others are afraid, nor with whether it is in fact dangerous. It’s your view of the matter that counts! From Astounding Science Fiction January 1960.

Posted by Jesse Willis