The SFFaudio Podcast #704 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #704 – The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin; read by John Stratton

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hours 2 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin, Jesse’s been wrong about it for years and years, an important story (but not very well written), correct the record, well written but long, very effective, everybody who dislikes The Cold Equations can fight Jesse, Weird Science, May-June, no. 13, 1952, A Weighty Decision by Wally Wood, different enough, the whip hand of John W. Campbell, ghoulish and silly and fun, existential quite smooth, The Cold Calculations by Aimee Ogden, dealing with a different idea, a criticism of the premises, John W. Campbell, once upon a time, had to die, fudging the numbers, the Trolley Problem, why couldn’t there be a third track, not really the point, face the moral calculus, designed to illicit a very specific thing, an idea about reality, long, not that clunky, quite beautiful in places, simple, interesting psychology, a cold story, fiddling with the opening, some dude, it’s a girl, an artifact, silly, if you get pancreatic cancer you’re dead, wish fulfillment, kissed and made better, the pain of life, a lot of people don’t want to be disabused, Santa Claus is real, god will save us, Campbell’s trainee, the numbers are fudged, Capitalist Realism, there is no alternative, Barton is an employee, a quasi-merchant marine, the worldbuilding, not making enough money, the brother’s remittances, shielded from the truth, replacing the kitten, a metaphor for the whole story, trying to shield her from pain, we shield each other from the pain of reality, we’re all going to die, science fiction can do something interesting, more silly, comicy, the medicine, it is a trolley problem, even if it was plagiarized, follow through on you’re fucking idea, don’t tap out, the stupid E.E. Doc Smith, you can’t invent your way out of the laws of fucking physics, daylight bombing raids, the engineering is bad, the reality is correct, thin margins, on the commute, a non-insignificant number, all the EDS shuttles without stowaways are not stories, Stowaway (2021), accidental stowaway, out the airlock, there is no on purpose, nobody is to blame, maybe the sign should have said “you will fucking die”, don’t walk away from that, a beancounter on earth, blame capitalism, the ship can land after all, flip some tables, Mark Fisher, revolution is the alternative, is that really true?, Tom Godwin is wholly responsible, Jack London’s To Build A Fire, Yukon stories, Star Trek V, Star Trek II is a Cold Equations, because katras, euthanasia, a remedy for modern Star Trek, The Wisdom Of The Trail, soft lazy fucks, the white man’s logic, an estimation vs. a calculation, a different moral overlay, a guy who didn’t obey a sign, do not go there, the dog has more wisdom than the man, instinct vs. plan, what it means to disobey a sign, a sign as a piece of wisdom, the fine is the cost of her life, the X Minus One adaptation, a dumb adult, young and therefore innocent, it isn’t “fair”, having the medicine enhances, the reason its a white girl in the story, we as 1950s astounding readers, the kitten is innocent, changing it to a dude, flipping the genders, an adult man vs. a girl Barton, to hit us in the feels to make us understand, if it’s Hitler in the basement, not as many will walk away, the Azov battalion will walk away, both Bushes, eternal?, a sin eater, a more meta-story, a thought experiment, The Good Place, Stalin or any other evil person, a challenge to us to do better, threw in orgies for Evan, drugs, that’s fine, imagine the place that you want, Hitler’s in the closet on the EDS ship, it’s cold in here,

[THE QUICK EQUATION by Jesse

I was not alone.

There was nothing to indicate the fact but the white hand of the tiny gauge on the board before me. The control room was empty cept for me; there was no sound other than the murmur of the drives—but the white hand had moved.

It had been on zero when the EDS launched; now, an hour later, it had crept up. There was something in the supply closet across the room, some kind of a body that radiated heat.

It could be but one kind of a body—a living, human body.

I let my eyes rest on the narrow white door of the closet. There, just inside, another man lived and breathed.

I unholstered my blaster and stood up, facing the door. Maybe it was just a girl, I thought, just some dumb girl who couldn’t read warning signs. That would be bad.

“Come out!” My command was harsh and abrupt above the murmur of the drives.

I thought I could hear a whisper of a furtive movement inside the closet, then nothing.

I visualized the stowaway cowering closer into one corner, suddenly worried by the possible consequences of his stowing away.

“I said out!”

I heard the stowaway move to obey, and I waited with my eyes alert on the door, my hand on the trigger of the blaster.

The door opened and the stowaway stepped through it, smiling. “In Ordnung—ich gebe auf. Was jetzt?”

It was Hitler.

I put him out the airlock.

There was a slight waver of the ship as the air gushed from the lock, a vibration to the wall as though something had bumped the outer door in passing; then there was nothing and the ship was dropping true and steady again.

I shoved the red lever back to close the door on the empty air lock and turned away, to walk to the pilot’s chair with the light steps of a man just doing his duty.

Putting my feet up on the console I thought about those guys on Woden – they sure will be happy to have that vaccine, I thought. I could hear their voices now. And won’t they be surprised to hear about what I did with the stowaway.

THE END]

nice imagery, symbology, a puppet show adapation, a theatrical stage production, the movie and TV adaptations, The Twilight Zone adaptation, hits the points, about an hour vs. 20 minutes, this story is important and also its good, it’s not the physics, the engineering, made lean, disposable, an emergency, an escape pod, objections, a Socratic style dialogue, you’ve fucked it up, you’re gonna think about this, you’re gonna think about that, The Nothing Equation, James Patrick Kelly, responses, an uncomfortable place, a lot of people are unwilling to accept the answer, reject the framing, three dudes, essentially a fridging story, she’s definitely cold, Astounding readers, probably 1950s white men, arranged, sacrificing a young female character for man pain, yup, screwed up (by our current standards), no story can stand that test (being all things to all people at all times), fitting into that sort of tradition, Barton hurts, the brother hurts, Green Lantern’s girlfriend, series (add drama) vs. one and done, laughed out of the room or vilified, what if the one person is your mother, Gwendy’s Button Box by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King, a little girl, workers, an adult man, a 17 year old male, a six year old boy kid, it’s not supposed to be palatable, gender studies and science fiction, Paul is unqualified, we don’t want this story to exist, the reason for trying to undo the story, rejecting the premise to reject the conclusion, who is this for, people who claim to be astounding readers, engineers, it’d be good to have redundant systems, Apollo 13, a cold equation scenario, fuel vs. air, saving three dudes in space, kludging together, failures of imagination (not failures of empathy), empathy informs engineering, the challenger disaster, the o rings, the magic words, poor engineering, a gender response, an engineering response, Gary Westfahl, is he an authority, Cory Doctorow, why do we have these terrible trolleys, why are people tied to the trolley track, its too late to complain about the engineering, this engineering is terrible, margins are thin on the frontier, [had it been lampshaded by the narrator], an excuse, Cory Doctorow, capitalism sucks and then he pulls the lever, it doesn’t deliver the solution, frames, the fucked up nature of the premise, Elon Musk could save us, the technocrats will save us, the profound moral consequences of the world we’ve build up, we all live in Omelas, somehow you benefit from that, the rules of the game, a lot of people are cool with this, their goodness to their own children, quite beautiful, a beautifully written (and simple) story, A Few Good Men (1992), we’re the thin blue line, minimize the whipping at kids in basements, to make you look at the horrible thing you’re willing to live with, puppies, we got yoga, a completely different kind of attack on reality, N.K. Jemisin’s response, diversity and equality utopia, a liberal response, instead of walking away you stay and reform it, you denounce Raytheon, the twitter one by Olav Rokne, nominated, cougars are in, the solution’s in voting, the one about Worldcon, everybody’s choice, taking the piss on people, Facebook says its fine to call for the death of Russians, pointed at Chengdu, File 770 and other forums, their baby in their basement, centers of discussion, silly, that’s going to be nominated for a Hugo, best related work, Natalie Luhrs’ George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Evan’s tweets should be the priority, for worse, I love science fiction: I’m going to read all the Hugo award winners, Luke Burrage reading the Hugos and the Nebulas, not the cream of the crop, its my turn, we love her, David Brin’s bad Hugo winning book, taking turns, conservatives, liberals, Hugo nominators can be very…, Seanan McGuire’s fan base rewards her work, ecosystems, regardless of the merits, an electorate nominating and voting, the Oscar winners, Zero Dark Thirty (2012), snowballing and logrolling, the ones who walk away from the Hugos (walked into the dealer’s room), The Moon Moth by Jack Vance, less and less strahk these days, leftover momentum, momentum, the big game in town, clashing ecosystems, the whole puppy drama, just trying to right the ship?, the nutty nuggets, Brad Torgeson, The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away by Sean Vivier, analog daily science fiction, plotting violence, if only to end the torture of innocence, it has to be a joke, see that mop over in the corner? it’s watching you, I am good person, vote for Democrats, we have top men working on this, violating some of the premises, when AOC was down in Texas and mourning over the fence, a choice satire (or reality), the mixed results, everything on Goodreads is 3.8, we can’t have a rating system, mechanisms other than just writing, ratings break your brain, the incentives screw up the rating systems, we end up arguing over tiny percentage points, PC Gamer, Gary Whitta, Rogue One, The Book Of Eli (2010), debates about points, whether you’re wearing the badge or not, anti-thinking, why writing great reviews is so important, an attack on liberal values, there is a civic element to it, fleeing the country is always an option in a story like that, Paul would like to live in New Zealand, a settler colonial state, more paradise, their kid has two buckets, Maori writers, Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, That Only A Mother by Judith Merrill, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, told from the creature’s point of view, a nudie pic, what a pretty person looks like, a super powerful story, July 1950, horror, monsters, cats, basement, first person POV, diary format, child protagonist, 1996 one had a sexual element, added a bargaining scene, an uncredited adaptation, wrist bracelet thing, she gives the bracelet to Barton, burns, more depth and pathos, the fire is connected to the bracelet, fire rubies, what some writer did, Ursula K. Le Guin talks about the cost, the point of writing is to cause the effect you want it to have, a question rather than a delivery, an idea story, The Cold Equations is a door shut, why does it work so well, she starts in a closet, the white hand, she goes back into a closet, shot off into outer space, the writing is poetic, the sentimentality is through the roof, I will come to you on the wind, an object going ahead, that’s her, very close to the emotions, officious, this horrible bureaucracy, horrible capitalism realism, becoming sex workers outside of Omelas, under capitalism we have to be separated, jobs demand you do this, your economy demands you do this, if you don’t really scrutinize your government, your security depends on us being murderers and torturers, no more complaints about The Cold Equations being a story with bad engineering, Jesse killed everybody, a conceit that you need in a visual story, infodump, it would make a great stage play, that simple set, K.J. Parker’s How To Rule And Empire And Get Away With It, The Prisoner Of Zenda, Double Star, the power of stories, a professional liar, Herman Melville, Sixteen Ways To Defend A Walled City, no magic, Academic Exercises, finding hope in modern stuff, somebody has to winnow, the judgement of time and history, the market demands things Jesse is not willing to accept from the market, George R.R. Martin, the judgement of history, Robert Silverberg on a Writers Of The Future podcast, a juried award, reading the stories blind, an honesty, John W. Campbell (and a lot of people don’t like him), positing with authors, helping write engaging stories, hinted at, the universe is the ultimate judge of everything, the judgement of history so far, when Campbell gets it wrong (Scientology, overpopulation, telepathy), why still talking about The Cold Equations, a great idea story, barely an orgy on the EDS, why wasnt there room for three hookers on this ship?, Mars has got women, a Ferengi Harry Mudd delivering to miners on Stowaway

THE PROFITABLE EQUATION by Jesse

“I was not alone. Aboard the EPS were me, Magda, Ruth, and Eve, three hu-man fee-males I was transporting to a wealthy human mining colony on a planet named Ophiuchus III.

While I was calculating my profits, minus what I would render up to Damon Brool and the Grand Nagus, I had noticed a little white hand on the tiny gauge on the board before me.

The control room was, like I said, empty – except for myself, Magda, Ruth, and Eve.

There was no sound other than the murmur of the drives, and the batting of their long eyelashes—but still that little white hand had moved.

It had been on zero when the EPS had launched from the D’Kora-class ship Krookta – where I’d purchased the shuttle and filled it with just enough fuel to reach Ophiuchus III; but, an hour later, with the Krookta warped away that white hand had crept up, like an Andorian pickpocket.

There had been something in the supply closet across the room, some kind of a body that had radiated heat.

It could be but one kind of a body, I knew – a living body.

I let my eyes rest on the narrow white door of the closet.

There, just inside, another humanoid lived and breathed.

I unspooled my whip, stood up and faced that white door.

‘Come out!’ My command was harsh and abrupt above the murmur of the drives and the sudden pearl clutching of Magda, Ruth, and Eve.

I thought I could hear a whisper of a furtive movement from inside the closet, then nothing.

Nothing. Exactly what my profits would come to if I didn’t get whoever was in there out that closet and off of my EPS!

‘Out, I say!’ I said again.

I heard the stowaway move to obey, and I waited with my eyes alert on the door, one hand on my belt purse, the other clutching the whip.

The door opened and the stowaway stepped through it, she was cowering.

‘I give up,’ she said.

It was a Bajoran female, immodestly dressed from head to foot in thoroughly concealing yet ragged clothing.

She was obviously an escaped slave, probably from Terrok Nor.

I listened to her cry and plead and tell her unprofitable narrative.

Cracking the whip I told her to tell faster. I’d heard much the like before, she wanted to see her brother, capitalism sucks, and so I cracked the whip again, waved it all away, and considered.

Then I asked her a serious question: She had a choice, I told her: life on a remote mining planet with four wealthy hu-man husbands or a quick and utterly unprofitable death in the cold void of space.

She chose wisely, cousin.

Indeed. Oh yes, indeed.

Magda and Ruth are giving me oo-mox as I speak.

I’ve set the EPS autopilot to land on Ophiuchus III.

There’s not enough fuel for this Emergency Profits Ship to land land five hu-man-oids safely so that’s why I am sending you this message, cousin.

I’m sending you the contract details – now.

There.

In mere moments I will be stepping into airlock.

Eve will pull this red lever here and flush me out into space.

The hu-man males on Ophiuchus III were willing to pay an extraordinary price in gold pressed latinum – and for one more female, ooooh cousin.

This means even after your fee, what we kick up stairs to Sector Damon Brool, and even after the Grand Nagus gets his cut, this will be, or rather will have been, my most profitable enterprise ever.”

THE END

the Ferengi can make profits, a chapter for the sex book, Wallace Shawn, I sacrificed myself, the profits are unimaginable, Evan’s Grand Nagus Rom series, reforming Ferengi society, Ferengi liberals, Ferengi , because Leeta is in it, they would just ruin it, file off the serial numbers, The Orville, the side by side Discovery and The Orville, vegan Pizza vs. regular human pizza, vegan shoes, he knew they were poor because they had vegan leather, that Moon Knight show, he’s Egyptian, The Cats Of Ulthar, a long show for a short story, The Tempest, The Weird And The Eerie, Capitalist Realism, Starship Mutiny, The Last Of The Masters, dudes in robes, these people have been cut-off, Colony, cedar tree forests, utopia planet, what Le Guin was doing, Dick is more oblique or unconscious, Souvenir, Williamson’s World, larping different civilization, Dick well, Larry Niven love, they’re both females wearing clothes, Paul is self-loathing, not trolling, in German it’s silent, first names only, a Thai or Vietnamese name, referring to people occasionally, raw war footage, Black Amazon Of Mars, she’s got an axe, a tomb sweeping vacation, Allen Anderson, black tentacles, big axe, Eric John Stark, The Long Tomorrow, C.L. Moore, she smiled and let the wine cup fall, The Doings Of Vigorous Daunt, a billionaire that goes around the world punching people, like Russell Crowe, N.K. Jemison must be smart, a Warren supporter, anti-Bernie, she’s a shitlib, the afrofuturist aesthetic and ideas, unreadable, Out Of The Aeons by Hazel Heald and H.P. Lovecraft, The Man Of Stone, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy, I snuggled up the corpse and it turned a little rotty, Dan Carlin didn’t know what a quadroon or an octoroon was, clearly he doesn’t watch Archer.

he Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

he Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

A WEIGHTY DECISION by Wally Wood page 8

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Jesse

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Reading, Short And Deep #335 – Collapsing Cosmoses by R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #335

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Collapsing Cosmoses R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Collapsing Cosmoses was first published in Leaves, No. 2, Winter 1938

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

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The SFFaudio Podcast #522 – READALONG: Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #522 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Amy H. Sturgis talk about Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

Talked about on today’s show:
Alex Nevala-Lee, a book and an audiobook, thinking about legacies, thinking about audiobooks before, the original cool guy, adorable, its nice to be read to, 100 pages of footnotes, Evan, your book doesn’t exist as an audiobook, nobody wants to read anymore, Evan’s gotten to the stage, reading history books, non-fiction is so good on audio, rekindling pleasure, everything is cited, really he said that?, “Fuck, Eando Binder!”, “lambasted dianetics”, its all cited, 13 hours, not padded, way too long, more about their sexual problems, wife-swappin’ again, a problem for a lot of books, so easy to read, just have a little listen, so engrossing, so well written, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, the Navy yard, commentary on the stories, I Will Fear No Evil, John W. Campbell is important, Ben Bova, two confusing awards, Hugo Gernsback needs his own version of this, the one person who is completely missing from this book is H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, what about this?, Jesse’s complaints are not very legit, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, modern science fiction, the intellectual historian, markets for genres, the 20s-30s-40s, the Cold War, turn towards nativism, a profound effect, the Science Fiction League, a self-aware community, WWII, a fledgling dialogue, this revolution, connecting SF with science, Microcosmic God, this is on Campbell, distinctly American?, issues sent as ballast to the UK, all the foreign editions of Astounding, the British fanzines, Hugo was nuts for electronics, we’re going to invent our own televisions, home amateurs, ham radio operators, the science fiction reader, Tom Swift, the edisonade, fertile soil, the radio boys, Electronic Experimenter, a pulp fiction collection, reading Amazing vs. reading Astounding, technical drawings and weird editorials, not only space opera, The Electrical Experimenter, Larry Niven, they’re weird dudes, a pathetic figure, a tragedy, a mire of pseudoscience, Asimov’s biography, Heinlein’s letters, no no, a horror suspense movie, uplifting, it worked on Heinlein, Asimov was his own little being, the tragedy is coming, blind spots and prejudices, good fiction and good science, the new wave, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, a machine for generating analogies, he’s given them the tools to push back against him, still influential, descent into pseudoscience and self delusion, Asimov’s preface to Dangerous Visions, we’re the squares, the passing of the torch, the sexual revolution, a cultural revolution vibe, Asimov was a square, “I fuck a lot, man.”, almost sexless, The Gods Themselves, weird alien sex, Heinlein’s weirdness, a lot of revealing things, the role of the wives, a biography of Kay (Catherine) Tarrant, spelling the names, Campbell wasn’t needed, behind the scenes, Astounding is so important, still under copyright, Heinlein getting mad at Campbell, Philip K. Dick has one story in Astounding, what’s going on?, Impostor, Campbell wanted superhumans, The Golden Man, a superhuman idiot, writing in reaction to it, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold’s aesthetic, Campbell didn’t take Alfred Bester!, a gatekeeper, Frederik Pohl, how important The Cold Equations is, you have to keep re-writing this until you get it right, what it does, this is what we are talking about, this is how far we can go, a Star Trek story, here is an episode of something that we can imagine happening, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, what Campbell was aiming at, a study in what editors can do, seeding the same idea multiple times, turning Asimov down, how would that intelligence work?, a black POV character, a leap of imagination, racism and homophobia as compartmentalization, Dune World by Frank Herbert, Mack Reynolds, Black Man’s Burden, Commune: 2000, the problem is scarcity (there is none, except in jobs), universal basic income, it didn’t matter to you that the kid was Filipino, what the difference between a rationalists and empiricists, here’s how drunk driving should work, you’re not clear yet, a technical journal, that’s not how science works, how science works, grinding lenses, Verne -> submarines, Wells -> warplanes, Campbell -> atom bombs, science fiction leading the science, a legacy, Rocket Ship Galileo, Tom Swift in the Rocket Age, Nancy Drew is not the same, Nazis on the moon, action fun excitement, Elon Musk, pushing in all directions, badly inspired, Paul Krugman, Asimov’s Foundation series, a weird tension, the scientific approach to all things, psychology, a desire to make everything scientific, A.E. Van Vogt, enough to be dangerous, enthusiasm for the ideas didn’t follow through to the methodology, we can make this science too, Hubbard had no interest in science (or science fiction, really), Heinlein’s failing, Asimov was a sexual asshole, a tragic figure, Heinlein falls for Hubbard because he had a uniform, a lying used car salesman, cults, its not about your intelligence, lacking critical thinking, charisma doesn’t translate from the page, judging eyes, I no longer trust you, the worst insult Heinlein could ever give anybody, broken legs and gonorrhea, the asshole sections of Jesse’s email, Heinlein was really blinded by patriotism, the Vietnam War, we need a renaissance for the Heinlein juveniles, Farnham’s Freehold makes a lot more sense now, trying to make a point about Campbell being wrong, hopeful commentary, not including Hubbard, the serpent in the garden, transformative, “the competent man”, competitors and community members, we’re doing something that’s important, the conversations we’re having are important, they hung together for decades, personal loyalty, trolls, the story of the first Worldcon, women nurturing men who were nurturing other men, Donald A. Wollheim was a better troll than anyone living today, contributing something positive, Mimic, he bought a lot of Philip K. Dick, Asimov as a youth, your idea of heaven, the power of picking up one of these magazines, the one thing missing from this book is the history of the covers, the art, fill the space, a little bit of technology, pitch me three new magazine, Weird Tales, tiny little things, when H.P. Lovecraft turns down the editorship of Weird Tales, what would we have or what would we be missing?, a magazine with a legacy, Elon Musk is a Heinleinian character, old letters pages are fossils, D.D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon, a trap, not hard enough on the Soviets!, a whole lifetime of a really complicated human being, the whole point, the functionalist stuff sounds like Campbell, creativity doesn’t work that way, how writing works, The Trouble With Tribbles, everything is in reaction, H.G. Wells doesn’t seem to have a massive precursor, The Time Machine, Last And First Men, Olaf Stapledon, Starmaker, those men are heroes, page 370 and 371, Barry M. Malzberg, sympathize with his critics, the question of victimization, a problem solving medium, not everyone is a hero, the way science fiction is today, science fiction should explore everything, schlubs, we all live in a world that’s increasingly become science fictional, Wells’ heroes are assholes, the New Wave pushes back against the Campbellian revolution, J.G. Ballard, mistrust of the meta-narrative, setting up things that come later, wanting 15 other books to be written, a companion volume on the Futurians, creating editors, Judith Merrill, here’s another community, C.M. Kornbluth, glimpses, Arena by Fredric Brown, The Orville is new Star Trek: The Next Generation, the a plot and the b plot, season 8 Next Generation, Enemy Mine, Hell In The Pacific, Lee Marvin, no alien movie, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Space: 1999, The Most Dangerous Game, Predator, somebody sitting around, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the b-plot, The Corbamite Maneuver, The Kobayashi Maru, Amy’s Looking Back At Genre History, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, always asking questions, how do you know, a meta-story, it’s about what happens when you read Astounding, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin is a retelling of Microcosmic God, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Hal Clement, science fiction luminaries, missing an ode to Hal Clement, the chapter titles, Who Goes There?, it doesn’t give you what you want, Don A. Stuart, Twilight, two types of storytellers, historical narratives, a remarkable achievement, history is a pruning job, a really important book, more books just like this, every time we say “Astounding” take a drink, endnotes, bibliography, a gift that’s going to keep on giving, what happens after this, some editor discovered or promoted Dashiell Hammett, Black Mask, railroading magazines, westerns, isn’t Analog still going today?, finally why this magazine called Analog?, it’s a metaphor, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, factless, Willy Ley, trying to make the reality behind science fiction more real, giving writers a grounding, Asimov: what a man!, writers who are complaining about low pay rates, E.E. Doc Smith, the Dean drive, a reactionless space drive, more biographies of these pulp era mags, The World Of Nitrogen, The Realm Of Measures, Asimov On Numbers, super-clear writing, Campbell’s book of collected editorials, Lecherous Limericks, bra-snapping and carrying on, Annoted Gulliver’s Travels, a writing and learning machine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, mysteries, the joy of reading and the joy of writing, his mind was always elevator, that kind of curiosity is so rare, he wanted to know the answers to everything, a powerful force in reality, The End Of Eternity, a fun book.

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #452 – READALONG: The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #452 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Talked about on today’s show:
We three met, “a reaction” to The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, I wonder what these guys will think Jesse will think of this book?, idea filled, big ideas, explorations of societies, tons of imagination, successfully modeled my brain, idea after idea after idea, a neutered human, this weird society, the jester, how art works, fear blocked, cut off from the whole universe, reminiscent of Olaf Stapledon, this is Clarke’s Last And First Men, a rewrite of Against The Fall Of Night, Gregory Benford’s sequel, a rethinking of the original book, different Bach fugues, from a writing perspective, more to contribute, the British Interplanetary Society’s webpage, 2013, 1930s, the opening scene, 1935, six versions, Gnome Press, 1953, 1956, the Wikipedia entry, to showcase what he had learned about writing and information processing, in the individual scenes, Diaspar and Lys, the anecdote, different enough, the robot with the mental block is solved in two different ways, to FMRI the robot, robot psychology, so much in this book, Hal 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel, what drove his whole career, Paul is quiet, the Mad Mind of this novel, a battle at the end of eternity, more about computers and artificial intelligence, game theory, they’re not really human at all, they never have a childhood body, they’re never actually human, bio-manufactured like the robots in Westworld, emotionally muted, a whole book for someone else, the lack of love in Diaspar, factoids, John W. Campbell, telepathy, Startling Stories, the fact that everybody is telepathic, Jesse can become telepathic, the only kind of telepathy that makes any sense, modelling, the telepathy doesn’t pay-off, a balance between the world of Diaspar and the world of Lys, civilization vs barbarism, an equal but different, the whole problem of a lack of conflict, an Olaf Stapledonism, an excellent point, biological vs. technological, Apollonian vs. Dionysian, Zardoz is Sean Connery in a diaper, a brute barbarian, weird WTF moments, reborn over and over again, continuity of millennia, the futility of immortality, editing of memories, an inversion of Logan’s Run, a central computer, a society of youth vs. a gerontocracy, perturbing the system, let’s posit a future in which a global catastrophe has happened, a forbidden zone outside, a robot that goes crazy, the back half of Logan’s Run, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, The Giver by Lois Lowry, how Alvin has tucked away genitals, hairless except for his head, drugs, a flat affect, “Wei, Wood, Marx, and Christ”, Brave New World, “Our Ford”, a factory societies, a dystopia utopia, the RPG elements, Dream Park, “he breaks the railroad”, railroading in RPG terms, the sagas, how this novel works, his adventure outside the city (to the stars), Cthulhu or something?, Lovecraftian elements, “we have lived too long out of contact with reality”, the world shaker, seduced by Lys, a very soft horror, the hermit kingdoms of Korea and China, the treasure ships, forcing trade upon you, an outside force, he’s pre-programmed, he’s the only who isn’t pre-programmed!, even the jesters, a foreshadowing, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, from the robots point of view, their whole undercity, places to dust, do they have their own system?, sitting in the background while Alvin is exploring the depths of the city, how the humans are, intelligence machines looking at art, in other hands (not Clarke’s), how art is chosen, what those pieces of art look like, art without conflict, still life for everyone, no machine may contain any moving parts, Steve Jobs, an oval egg you keep in a drawer and don’t look at, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, optical fiber, control systems, no repairmen necessary, look at this mural, now the robots have something to do, the bones of old Rome, they don’t know what the word “tomb” means, the Great Ones, the Old Ones, the great race of Yith, a fake out, how the city was constructed, experiences the city of Disapar from a billion years in the past, this is all a dream, I take away the blocks that you have, you are free now, parallels, the difference between the humans and the robots, less hairy, metal?, “Rivets and Trees”, Marissa, HBO’s Westworld, nefarious vs. right and proper, thoughtful and philosophical, humans and robots, Blade Runner, at least one of the characters is an older robot, nuts and bolts inside, three kinds of robots, Diaspar is Westworld’s future by a billion years, guests and staff, now you are Mickey Mouse, the names, diaspora and lis, identity politics of 2017, you can’t use the word tribe, a white male protagonist, is he white?, is he male?, is he human?, a long flowing yellow mane or a curly tight man bun, being human or not, going full Olaf Stapledon, the future history has no bearing on 2017’s obsessions and attitudes, the Long Now Foundation, long term consequences, technological vs. biological, everybody is concerned about that, a Wiki of Ice and Fire, Lys (off the coast of Essos), George R.R. Martin, Dis (a layer of Hell), the heaven where everybody is the same, the city of Dys where everybody is the same, leaving both, the 1980s Alvin the robot submersible, looking for hidden things, playing the sagas, Skyrim, the final scene, in polar orbit, the night was falling, Scott’s entire reading life, sensawunda, seven strange stars arranged in a line, back to Earth, an ever expanding circle of exploration and wonder, among the stars, no eye-rolling, a hero’s journey, circular, an old Locus issue celebrating Robert A. Heinlein, one of the pictures of Heinlein visiting Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka, The Night Flier, a Cessna Skymaster, an incredibly weird guy, Lord Dunsany, he leaves the world, literally on the other side of the world, remarkable, a global influence, an internet like life before that was possible, how amazing his computer is in this, an intelligence machine, a non-distributed and smarter Siri, government by AI, doing stuff with computers that nobody is doing (even Isaac Asimov), what they do rather than how they do it, totally timeless, we’ve gone past atomics, infinity plus one, he knows what computers are about, process information, storage, we are robot computers with biological casings, circuits and synapses, is there anything in this story that feels dated?, holographic projection, unsqueaky chair, amazing!, urtexts, cleanly and generically, the trappings are timeless, their genitals don’t work, sex, kind of interesting, the fish in the sea, a radar operator during WWII, bouncing radar off the Moon, what this technology can do, why are we worrying about breaking these Nazi codes?, a plot, so good, full of ideas, The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke, a lot of Clarke is public domain, The Nine Billion Names Of God, The Star, everyone should read more of Arthur C. Clarke, 4001: A Continuing Of The Odyssey The Should Probably Have Been Left In The Drawer, Rama, Paul has issues with Gregory Benford, stick to the originals, the Black Sun, E.E. Doc Smith, black holes, until Hawking thought about how black holes could evaporate, a really good book, the audiobook, other versions, the one on Audible has music under the narration, the book for the blind version, Northstar Publishing, audiobook rental stores (like Blockbuster), truckers were the original hyper-consumers of audiobooks, women were supposed to have been the ones to make the household magazine purchasing decisions, mainstream, commuters (and everybody) not the women of the house, when Amazing Stories broke into the market, Railroad Romances, Westerns, women wanted to read about science fiction, I’m not a trucker, the BBC audio drama of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, abridged audiobooks, blind people aren’t the only ones who need audiobooks, if you didn’t see them on the shelf, totally out of print, nobody can get this one, a deep cassette hum, Paul’s trip to Yellowstone in 2005 (got him into audiobooks), a great idea, 2003, Audible’s 20th anniversary, before iPods, overseeing the explosion of audiobooks, nothing that isn’t unabridged, audiobooks are mainstream, are more people listening to books than are reading books now, where did you get that time?, double density book-cassettes from Brilliance audio (each channel having one track), apparently cassettes were expensive, CDs are still around, 40 CD audiobooks, Blackstone Audio rentals, Downpour has rentals, Books On Tapes, Audible by mail (Netflix for audio), Recorded Books, a slight competitive advantage, Bryan Alexander.

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

NORTH STAR AUDIO The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #158 – READALONG: The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #158 – Last week’s podcast was an unabridged reading of The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth. This week Jesse discusses it with the narrator, Mark Douglas Nelson!

Talked about on today’s show:
SciPodBooks.com, the SciPodCast, The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth, The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton, the virtues of democracy, Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, H. Beam Piper, Space Viking, a wealth of ideas, Frederik Pohl, the story as a straw man, Robert A. Heinlein, telepathy, witches, dystopia, utopia, polo played with jeeps (mounted with 50 caliber machine guns), the syndicate vs. the mob, Ireland, Iceland, libertarianism, the Prometheus Unbound review of The Syndic, polyandry, an economy run on alcohol, sex, and gambling, laissez faire capitalism, monopolies, robber barons, taxes vs. shakedowns, “a real mess of a book”, should a society compromise its ideals to save itself?, is the joke on us?, a velvet gloved invisible hand, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, the children’s crusade, WWII, rule by mob vs. rule by mobsters, Ron Paul, the sustainability of a war based economy need not much concern the arms manufacturer, Isaac Asimov, The City At World’s End has a real plot, disaster stories, new ideas trump big flaws, “writing by the seat of your pants”, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, respect for science and scientists, Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, LibriVox.org, Riverworld series, rolling ships, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, the problem of endless series, StarShipSofa, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, “philosophy, philosophy, philosophy”, it starts with a séance, C.S. Lewis, Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves And Wooster, Leave It To Jeeves, LibriVox’s new funding (from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, Gregg Margarite, Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper, Kevin J. Anderson, Principles Of Economics, iambik audio, Wonder Audio, All Or Nothing by Preston L. Allen, The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi, Toshiro Mifune, Akira Kurosawa, High And Low, Netflix, Sweet And Lowdown, One O’Clock Jump by Lise McClendon, A Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton, Talents Incorporated by Murray Leinster, goofy, the William Woodsworth Microphone Showdown, do expensive mics make great narrators?

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Macmillan Audio – Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Macmillan AudioThe first book, of a planned trilogy, called the “Forerunner Saga.” The Halo wiki has a quote from Frank O’Connor (the Franchise Development Director for Halo) saying:

“It’s going to be a trilogy. A connected universe that will remain faithful to the scale and mysteries, while exploring the detail and challenges of a VERY powerful culture. This won’t be some skirt-raising exercise in Forerunner populist-ism. Folks know way more about Forerunners than you think, but we’re definitely going to respect that strange sense of wonder and awe that Bungie infused from day one. It will be BIG Greg Bear fiction in a faintly familiar place, but one that’s full of surprises. Think Eon.”

The audiobook also includes a three and a half minute introduction, written and read, by Greg Bear himself. In it he says that he drew inspiration for the trilogy from Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, E.E. Doc Smith, Larry Niven and Robert A. Heinlein. There’s also a sentence particularly about Ringworld.

Macmillian Audio - Halo: Cryptum by Greg BearHalo: Cryptum (Book One of the Forerunner Saga)
By Greg Bear; Read by Holter Graham
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: March 29, 2011
ISBN: 9781427210081
One hundred thousand years ago, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species–eons beyond all others in both technology and knowledge–achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners–the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe’s Living Time. And then they vanished. This is their story. – Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting is a young rebellious Forerunner. He is a Manipular, untried–yet to become part of the adult Forerunner society, where vast knowledge and duty waits. He comes from a family of Builders, the Forerunners’ highest and most politically powerful rate. It is the Builders who create the grand technology that facilitates Forerunner dominance over the known universe. It is the Builders who believe they must shoulder the greatest burden of the Mantle–as shepherds and guardians of all life. Bornstellar is marked to become a great Builder just like his father. But this Manipular has other plans. He is obsessed with lost treasures of the past. His reckless passion to seek out the marvelous artifacts left behind by the Precursors–long-vanished superbeings of unknowable power and intent—forces his father’s hand. Bornstellar is sent to live among the Miners, where he must come to terms with where his duty truly lies. But powerful forces are at play. Forerunner society is at a major crux. Past threats are once again proving relentless. Dire solutions–machines and strategies never before contemplated–are being called up, and fissures in Forerunner power are leading to chaos. On a Lifeworker’s experimental planet, Bornstellar’s rebellious course crosses the paths of two humans, and the long lifeline of a great military leader, forever changing Bornstellar’s destiny …and the fate of the entire galaxy. This is a tale of life, death, intergalactic horror, exile, and maturity. It is a story of overwhelming change–and of human origins. For the Mantle may not lie upon the shoulders of Forerunners forever.

Posted by Jesse Willis