Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Venom Business by Michael Crichton.
Talked about on today’s show:
John Lange, the worst Michael Crichton novel, the worst of the Lange books, the number one problem, it is too long, badly padded, random sex scenes, compared to Easy Go, no sex in Binary, it’s annoying, the characters are horrible assholes you don’t want to be around, thinking of the money, who are we supposed to sympathize with?, our hero, nobody is likeable, very ambitious, a big book, fast and simple and cool and delightful, a murder mystery where you’re waiting for the murder to happen, when are they going to kill this fucker?, shortly before the end, starts awesome, terrific, Mexico stuff, Edgar Wallace, Indiana Jones, Walter Matthau, German actors, weird sharp turn, as soon as he’s off the plane and releasing the snakes, goes to the party, Richard Pierce shows up, one of the worst characters, full of resentment, hoping he was going to die, they waited to the end, an Agatha Christie before the detective comes in, the plot is gonna get cookin’, where’d this black guy come from?, the cats shit, a snakehandler, a smuggler, Richard not Rupert, The Prisoner Of Zenda, a layabout, Channel Tunnel, 1964, typical UK move, Paul’s high-school teacher, never, England shouldn’t be part of Europe, a weird way, this whole Brexit thing, laughing, the terrible teachers live forever, a math teacher in her 80s, a lady in her 70s, teaching in the 1930s, fast track program in the 1930s, died of shock, bullied her poor daughter, the lead character in Easy Go was named Pierce, Binary is such a clean book, Barnaby is our equivalent of Black here, rich elderly guy introduced later, he likes the name, his first name is Dick Pierce, hence all the sex, this is horrible, a lusting machine that’s abusive, why did he make him so horrible, rooting for his death, Gunter Sachs, Brigitte Bardot, sex dispensing machines, Michael Crichton knew somebody like this, doctors in this book, a little bit of psychology, a psychiatrist, a surgeon, more human venom than snake venom, later chapters, backstory, adopted father, a lot of contradictions, the terrible wife, he’s relating real experiences, hanging out with rich people with trust funds, Charles Renault, our main character, multiple names, failed out of Yale, the army, awesome hero character, also flawed, psychology all over the page, Easy Go, the journalist and the archaeologist, the incidents that happen, it fucks you up, the relationship between power and money, make people do what they want, adopts a friend’s son, adopted father, lampshade, his father, adoptd when he was 6, parents died in WWII, two or three years between, wouldn’t give him a child, resentment there, genetic competition, weird psychology, everybody is trying to fuck each other over, a horrible book because all the characters are horrible, away from the main character for much of the book, trying to write a big book explaining to himself, we keep shifting to other people’s points of view, visited by the step-mother, a dream-sequence, way too ambitious, his version of Moby-Dick, it fails, almost 12 hours, three times longer, the plotting was bad, his ambition was too much, somewhat more redeemable, Charles pistol whips a lady, double cross, he could have tied her up, violence, trying to kill people in cars, hung out with people like this, school friend, something that really happened to him, who is he other than Charles, a sequence where Charles goes to a party, one of them is a medical student, sticking himself into his own book, I can make this a novel plot too, studied in Harvard, Cambridge in the mid-60s, expensive cars, whores, drugs, so good to start, it settles into a horrible vest of vipers, spitting venom all over each other, that’s why I don’t hang out with those people anymore, Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, glitzy, those books, at hour 11 and a half, that was last week, last week?, it feels like five years in this hellhole, every couple of days he renegotiates his contract, no-fun, the book he started writing, how great this book started, the first hardcover John Lange, Drug Of Choice leans into the cats stuff, removing part of the brain, drugs to control people’s behavior, a Philip K. Dicky book, I’m interested in interesting things, fucking, alcohol and lording it over other people with their fancy new Maserati, sex is nice, interest in science, history, archaeology, cat surgery, rich people being terrible is sadly popular, Succession, Dynasty and Dallas, cars and clothes and fancy cars, fancy furniture, swinging sixties, over-descriptions, critical reviews from the period, overlong, encumbered, grubby collection of opportunists, too many subplots, too many dames, too many men and women, annoyed by interchangeable women, Dominique, Vivien, unimportant disgusting behavior, chasing after sex, we didn’t need that, he gets it every time, cruelty towards his Italian fiance, chaste until marriage, being there with those people, snake pit, stock deal, not completely terrible people, covered in venom, sacrificial virgins thrown into a snake pit, a horror, the author at the part is John Lange, bombastic literary figure, Truman Capote, conned into running these parties, a literary figure, this is the worst Crichton book Jesse has read, later period ones, Airframe, Disclosure, Prey, State Of Fear, Congo, intelligent apes in Africa, Rising Sun, Japan’s going to take over the world, Jurassic Park, which book is which, The Great Train Robbery, The Andromeda Strain, ossified, the script for Westworld (1973), Reading, Short And Deep, Alfred Bester, tuckerized, The Unseen Blushers, a poem by Thomas Gray, unknown Shakespeares, writers group, no editors allowed, an idea for a story, the new Shakespeare is a pulp, who would this Shakespeare be from this period of time, documents go missing, pulp science fiction writers, better or worse or equivalent of his period, he was not for rich people only, writing old tropes, Isaac Asimov, fart jokes for rich people and high brown literature for poor people, sea stories, he mumbled, a tropical disease in the Navy, throat cancer, he uses his friends to tell a meta-science fictional science fiction story, Bester is a superstar, Astonishing Stories, his power is amazing, stories that sparkle all over the page, make bad old ideas good new ideas, snip out that beginning of the book, it turns into a nest of horrible, after the party everything turns to shit, rich guy dilettante, he’s horrible in this book, from life!, Pickman’s Model by H.P. Lovecraft, horrible yucky, please tell me more about the gas chambers, soaking in the venom, Holocaust kid’s novels, endless terrible scenes, commit suicide, terrible, survivors accounts, historical value, as a catharsis, these things happened, sounds horrible, bestsellers, is this titillation?, go at it for the sex, Harold Robbins, rich people being terrible, we should wash our hands of this, Zero Cool, back on the horse with a good one, Odds On, critical path analysis, a lady kissing a man holding jewelry, Scratch One, A Case Of Need, the ebook, paper is preferable, even shorter, an American doctor goes to Spain, a conspiracy to obtain a jewel, not horrible sounding, arms shipment, a quote from Benjamin Disraeli, the horrible taste of this book, April, the writing vs. the plotting, a biography of Bester’s writing, seeing Alfred Bester interviewed [FANAC], you mean counterplot?, what went wrong here, three counterplots, as soon as he gets to Paris, the girl with the gun, the setup, a minor minor part of the many counterplots, Jane Goodall, Jane Mitchell, the Congo book, only gold up to this point, too venomy, pissed off, snake business, snakes as a subject, poison vs. venom, arsenic, hours of terrible pain and stomach cramps, building up a tolerance, a myth, Crichton knows, Black knows, he’s lying, idiotic nephew, sedatives or something, the poison of choice for murderers in the 1960s, sleeping pills, e605 [parathion], how did Jane get her gun from Mexico to Paris, he’s a smuggler with his own plane, they don’t search you bags, metal detectors in the 1970s, hijackings, airplane bomb, upping security, 1955 airplane bombing [United Air Lines Flight 629], this guy really hated his mother, macabre grindcore, Sinister Slaughter, 1949, Canadian Pacific Airlines 108 bombing, Albert Guay, tree stumps, timing pencils, acid eating through, glowsticks, advanced chemistry class, and then they had a rave, 1944 plot, Claus von Stauffenberg, Harry Turtledove, the world is terrible, WWII could have turned out, two evil powers, venerated in Germany, glowsticks go bad in 1-4 years, Re-Animator (1985), drug experiments done by the government, fucking around with brains, especially when the government does it, did not meet expectations, if he’d written the book he started to write, editor: give me a bunch of unlikeable monsters and make it long please, also dream sequence, baby born in an abbey, fast forward 30 years, people being horrible mode, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Basil Fawlty, trans-Atlantic tripe, everything we would hate to be in ourselves, a snob, hilarious, we didn’t need any of them, wipe them all out start again, Peyton Place by Grace Metalious, 10 Robbins books after he died, Tom Clancy, V.C. Andrews, Tycoon, Sidney Sheldon, mysteries, thrillery, furious at it, hugely popular, miniseries on TV, why do you have that thing?, you never even question it, wallpaper, why did you read John Lange?, looking at people’s bookshelves, judging Paul for his bookshelf, jettisoned ARCs, can’t hold everything, showing off or showing shelves, Jesse is judging them, this person is wise, this person is trash, organized by colour, youtubers, 2 books in the whole house: sad story, booktubers, not showing off enough, greenscreen fake bookshelf, how to make everything look really great behind them, fake blurred background wallpaper, organize your wall, judge your bookshelf, faux leather embossed hardcovers, videotape cases, leatherbound hardcovers, Subterranean Press, luxury books, a signal, drill down on this, a symbol of a rich person, the x the y or the z, a decanter, a tub of ice nearby, no decanters at the liquor store, rich people would go to the vineyard, buy a giant cask of amontillado, pour the liquor into the decanter from the bottle, its the legacy of the leftover of hundreds of years, which makes more sense?, why do we do the second one?, trying to cosplay being rich, the accoutrements of being rich, Mercedes is a car for taxis in Europe, the unconscious mimicking of rich people’s behavior is super-pathetic, measuring the books by the foot, Folio Society books, Centipede edition, not knowingly, more money than brains, secretly refilling from a whiskey bottle, cheap brandy in a pricey bottle, a basement full, a box with bottle openers, old liquor in the basement, Dundee cake, underground tunnels, Cora’s bakery, flower shops and gas stations, everything’s open everyday of the week, open shopping Sundays, an excuse, better in what sense?, LEGO art, action figure photos with Christmas lights, fake votive candles, lasers and glowsticks, can I have one, ubiquitous, dry ice is supercool, dry ice fog, makes for nice pictures, panicky about carbon dioxide, magnesium ribbon, potassium nitrate, blow up a model of the school, match heads, wax mixed with blackpowder, Chaos Day, Cora blew up her school once (and a volleyball net), two teenage girls, bad books happen occasionally, no indication, started off great, which book are you talking about, tall people die young, he would be 80 now, died at 66, this one was terrible, five or so, the first bad one, Grave Descend, Pirate Latitudes, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, State Of Fear, a lot to discuss it, climate change, carbon dioxide bad, terrible people, big evil oil companies, financed by the oil companies, the other end, a very complex system, we only have the one example, much warmer and much colder, climate observations from the 19th century, he’s interested in history and he likes the Caribbean, plenty more to read.