The SFFaudio Podcast #517 – READALONG: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #517 – Jesse, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada talk about The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Talked about on today’s show:
2008, a children’s book, hardcover, a book for kids, better than most adult books, Neverwhere, Coraline, who hates Neil Gaiman?, Sandman, pictures slow it down, he didn’t feel competent, a genuine classic, character and sentences, crafting language, the wisdom of his prose, insights into basic human beings, you know its true, his evil characters, thinking about The Jungle Book, he started with chapter 4, MouseCircus.com,

“We were young, and very poor. The rooms I was renting above a shop were in a building tall and spindly and old. The kitchen and lounge were on one floor, a bedroom and my office and a bathroom on the next, and, at the top of the house, there was a big attic bedroom, and a low, long room in which an adult could barely stand up straight and in which there was a crib and a playpen. My son, Michael, who was two years old, loved his tricycle more than anything, but there was nowhere to ride it in the house, not without him tumbling down the stairs, so I would carry him and his tricycle across the narrow lane to the grounds of the local church, and he would pedal around to his heart’s content, and I would sit and read a book in the sunshine, and watch him, and look at the grey gravestones, names half-erased by time, and marvel at how comfortable a child looks in a graveyard. That was where it started. I’ll call it The Graveyard Book, I thought. Like Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.”

listening to it, ghoulheim, there it is!, the monkey scene with Mowgli, Silas is Bagheera and Ms. Lupescu is Baloo, the tribute to Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, the rubberfaced night gaunts, something Lovecraft dreamt as child, they became his friends, they tickle you, creepy and wonderful, chew off any meat left on the bones, tip-up the lead-lined coffin and all the juices, when the angles were wrong, a city built to be abandoned, just as odd, to find the equivalent, King Louis, the Emperor Of China, the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman is a ghoul, the full cast version, recorded in a Minnesota radio station, so fantastic a narrator, no better author narrator, Gaiman’s reading of Coraline, Scott Danielson, a boy story and a girl story, The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, Heather Ordover, the CraftLit podcast, very insightful, The Count Of Monte Cristo, a man and woman in a box, glass eyes and a wooden tail, the cycle repeats three times, never naughty enough, live on berries, worse than the Other Mother, children in Hell, where Coraline came from, no redemption, no mercy, fairy-tale-like, very Neverwhere-ish, has he ever written a book that isn’t about gods, regular Neil Gaiman stuff, the Endless, is there a god in this book?, who is the grey lady on the grey mare?, she’s Death, the sickle and the hood, The Old Gray Mare, she ain’t what she used to be, the Hounds of God, Romanian soup, boiled cabbage is kinda a good, eating Twinkies, Mr Lupescu by Anthony Boucher, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria (Hypnobobs) podcast, Neil Gaiman’s breadth of reading, Mr Jesse, macabre (macabray), imaginary friends, Thus I Refute Beelzy by John Collier, Scarlet has an imaginary friend, Scarlet’s story is a mini-version of this story, a kid romance, the angry teenager, play houses, meany, totally girl, so cute, very brave, going into the dark, five years old, before Julie was 3, barely remember yesterday, summer used to last several years, the perception of time, how you could get bored really easily, the world is so boring, tapped into the youth, the Sandman series, the conference of the Jacks, serial killer convention, where is Silas going?, he’s like Gandalf, standard mean horrible character, time-traveling hit-men, Connie Willis, the characters that work, there’s the deepness, Jack Frost is Shere Khan, fresh, very fresh, quite refreshing, the comic book adaptation, some of the art in here, Jill Thompson, P. Craig Russell, Galen Showman, the scale is bigger, the horizon is bigger, the ghouls, comic gross humans, monkey creepy horrible awful, the sleer, Gaiman gives you the outline and then you fill it in, the Indigo Man, the broach, the graveyard, the antique shop, super complementary, look how Silas dominates the room, there’s never a haircut scene, so intriguing, why does he hang out in this graveyard, knowledge of the prophecy?, the whole plot is way less important, why is the Danse Macabre in this?, Death is so beautiful, living forever, the living with the dead, each to each, names aren’t really important, find his name, one day everybody does, how come death’s so cool?, really smart, what’s true and what do we need to remember, the dead should have charity, Elizabeth Hempstock, Toomai of the Elephants, referential, winter flowers, we’ve crossed worlds, within generations enough, the other book that was homework, A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle, Beagle’s narration, ended up perfect, brought to life, ride that raven, they are both stories about a human living in a graveyard and they are fantasies, very gentle and slow, it could have been a little bit shorter, he made his case for all the relationships, overcoming fears, only 19 when he wrote it, mature, living a fantasy world life, a raven, taking some inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, Ezekiel in the desert, a loose connection, the raven is what kept him there, psychopomp, a real personality, a ride in a back of a truck with a squirrel, set somewhere in England, so rich, find some weird house, adventures in her back yard, fully realized, how stiking is it that 10 year old kids and adults can enjoy it and not be lost, Coraline is not as amazing as this book, aimed at the children’s market, 188 pages for $10 US, images conjured by the book, no description of the lines on his face, the relationship has to Bod (she’s not going to eat him), it takes a (graveyard) village, out of time, his parents are almost the least interesting characters in the book, the poet who punished all his enemies by refusing to write his poems for the public, from my cold dead hand, kinda like Scrooge, some Lord Of The Rings stuff, the broach the knife and the cup, the Sleer is awesome, Elidor by Alan Garner, a family of jerks, William Shakespeare’s King Lear, a sword, a spear, a bowl, and an anvil, escaping into a fantasy world while you’re a kid, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, weaving in true history, he liked the roads, Celtic mythology, the ring connection, the barrow wights from The Fellowship Of The Ring, Jesse’s Roof Bear calendar, there has to be rules behind stuff to make it interesting, Roof Bear can’t leave the roof, Ghost Horse is waiting for his master to return, lifting from the Sleer?, children’s adventures, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, fun stuff for kids (and for Jesse), remembering the sort of fun you had as a kid, we don’t get to play house anymore, the pretend has a lot of value, mud pies, hanging out in childhood, beautiful, children and grandchildren, so Christmas becomes magic again, that acknowledgement, Bod’s getting too old, talking to Mother Slaughter, you’re always you and that don’t change, truth, I’m still me, that double memory, one of those profound things, LEGO robotics on Apple II computers (LEGO Logo), you really do loose something, its impossible, something you loose and yet retain the memory of it, Locke & Key: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, the head key, take out memories, the gender key, you forget, exploring a big old house, a menace, it works in the same way, brilliant and well worth reading, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, 1984 by George Orwell, “Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei”, very 1984, The Giver by Lois Lowry, a remake, the witch chapter, time in libraries, what forms your imagination, what tempts Bod is an apple, wish I’d left…, the groundskeeper’s pile of grass, she’s just a girl (who was murdered), “then I did my death curse”, when Bod falls out of his crib, a pile of plush toys, a nice doubling, do this kind thing, sends him out into danger, all the influences, nothing is forced, the mechanisms of writing, a six sentence story, all unconscious, it feels very natural, I want the magic, it takes him years and years, Tolkien: there were all these Catholic things in there, a good book, a good movie, what Neil Gaiman can do, just crafting your work, a lot of it is unconscious, an apple orchard, seeing things evolving, re-reading is not Jesse’s thing, when you run out you have to go back, re-watching, all these little things, Julie’s project, have they earned my shelf space?, deep in our cultural unconscious, 43 Bollywood movies last year, legal/police/moral situations, western culture branched-off, vengeance is looked at very differently, cultural thinking, shocked and taken-aback, northern Europe is full of apple trees, a ghost outside, Good book, what’s Ace barking at?, thought-yells, a Man Jack in the yard, a fun read.

The Graveyard Book - comics adaptation

The Graveyard Book - comics adaptation

The Graveyard Book - comics adaptation

The Graveyard Book - comics adaptation

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - with illustrations by Dave McKean

The Graveyard Book illustration by P. Craig Russell

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #516 – READALONG: The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #516 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Maissa Bessada, and Evan Lampe talk about The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Talked about on today’s show:
1920, serialized with wonderful illustrations, WWI, volunteer hospital dispensary, Cynthia, Dashiell Hammett, Dick worked in a repair shop, H.P. Lovecraft never left his house, the best selling novelist of all time, Shakespeare, pretty impressive, go back to the start, so polished, Sherlock Holmes, her first dog was named George Washington, Agatha Christie: surfer, her house was named Styles, her husband had an affair, she mysteriously disappeared, Curtain, the template for her later books, a court case, gathering everyone together in the library, Captain Hastings, his brother she kept in a basket, Oscar Wilde, interactive, written on a wager, the ideal detective story, what really made her reputation, what she’s created here is something people really liked, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, an intellectual game you play with yourself, Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin, the novelized form of a game that can only be played between a reader and an author, a sudoku puzzle, “cosy” murders, Mr Jim Moon’s shows on Choose Your Own Adventure books, props, the map of the house, the fragment of the will, play along at home, tremendously cool, an ahead of its time idea, Dell mapbacks, Avon mapback, a very American cover, Marilyn Monroe, the layout of styles, who’s lying, American hardboiled, so detached, emigres, the corrupt police department, everyone’s dirty, Raymond Chandler, a body, a motive, more escapist than fantasy literature, who killed this nice lady, who started this goddamned war that’s killing everybody, Bryan Alexander, it can’t but help talk about WWI, pro-war rallies, patriotic Belgian refugees, the rape of Belgium, an offer to write propaganda, unemployed uppercrust guys, Inspector Japp is not the right class, I much prefer the Belgies, aint your ordinary run of foreigners, noir books, James M. Cain, the murderers are the main characters, suspense, game-playing fantasy, if you could do anything after the war, I’d like to be a detective (like Sherlock Holmes), Jesse ruins the show, 15 Agatha Christies, read like popcorn, so relaxing, so untaxing, turn on my brain more, Chandler, the breakdowns of people’s lives and marriages, Hastings is sort of a flake, offers to marry the first lady who starts crying in front of him, an odd scene, someone might take you up on it, failed romance, the promise that made Agatha Christie very wealthy, there could be more of these adventures, like Arthur Conan Doyle, Miss Marple, problems from success, an outsider’s view of something very inside, Murder In Mesopotamia, Murder On The Orient Express, this is where Agatha Christie wrote, basing it on her own experience, losing money, murder for revenge, murder for love, murder for money, mostly money, Evelyn Howard, playing housemaid, a con-artist, American hardboiled evil characters, The Postman Always Rings Twice, the estate is a diner in California, the Howard and Inglethorp relationship, the intricacy of the plotting, double jeopardy, civics class, this cleverness, like a puzzle, The Simple Art Of Murder by Raymond Chandler, the authentic flavour of life, begging the question, a really long game, deeply embedded, impressively patient, on vacation in Dartmoor, The Hound Of the Baskervilles, the isolated house, a convoluted plot to disinherit somebody, red herrings, almost efficient, legitimated, the spy, the escaped lunatic, thrown off the scent, not the way murders actually take place, the Khashoggi assassination, reading too many Agatha Christies, lured into an embassy, a hit team, a lot more grubby, Jesse wrecks the podcast again, real life murders, John Haigh, the next rung on the ladder, when bodies are dissolving, poison is her trademark, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books, the American response to Christie and Holmes, “I suppose you’re wondering why I gathered you all here”, the real murderer is revealed, the consulting detective, kinda strange, kinda weird, no matter where he goes people die, Miss Marple, Angela Lansbury’s Murder She Wrote, the most prolific serial killer, the title, all the mysterious affairs, Dorcas, Jonathan Fast, a strange SFy name, don’t write notes to your gf, they would have got away with it if it wasn’t for Poirot, an antecedent in Sherlock Holmes, leaning on an intellectual heavyweight, Hastings has his heart too much on his face, a vague suspicion of everything, the game is under foot, how self-aware this is, I’m a kind of literary detective, Tommy and Tuppence, this is a thing in this world, her second husband was an archaeologist, ahead of her time on the meta-stuff, more than 60 novels, Philip K. Dick had 40 novels, this drive to write, Stephen King’s legacy, Mr Jim Moon’s Stephen King shelves, back to King, The Running Man, The Long Walk, a straight-up metaphor for life, from the alien perspective, newsreel footage from the 1930s, wearing a hat, Our Dumb Century, “Man Ventures Outside Hatless”, sunglasses replaced hats, the fossil of a whole fleshed out society that existed, John Buchan, the politics, Belgian refugees, the Poirot TV show, a French detective, a detective has to have a quirk, McCloud, Cannon, Ironsides, quirks, a cup of hot chocolate to get the little grey cells working, an outsider who brings insight into the cases, tapping into the same thing Jane Austen does, closely observing society, classes, a close up focus, shared DNA, upper classes, seeing the dirty laundry, quaint and cozy, later books, the interwar years, a very static world, the way class works in England, hardboiled novels, a more liquid environment, you get to ignore class conflict and unions, inheritance, always on vacation, the investigation is into people’s character, whether Mr Darcy is a jerk, whether this man is suitable for marriage, an orphan who gets adopted, seven Belgians, the audio drama, her patriotic poem, go fight in the war and get killed, the Napoleonic wars, detachment makes them popular, an escape, her perspective, poisoning thousands (with her words), toured the world, staying at the Ritz, Jack London, send me to the worst part of town, The People Of The Abyss, those who don’t live off of the investments of their grandfather, the best selling novelist of all time is a woman, she’s the J.R.R. Tolkien of the mystery, Alfred Hitchcock, The Feminization Of American Culture by Ann Douglas, Mary Wollstonecraft, women should marry their friends, poetry is peacock feathers, “dude this will get you chicks”, a valuable skill, not our world, the amazing thing about humans is we’re not as visual as we think we are, we live in the world of words, Lovecraft’s spells, false realities, oral cultures, languages and literary traditions, a bookshelf is case of spellbooks, a certain kind of magic, the primary medium, music, idea based SF vs. cozy based mystery solving, politicize Dick’s works, the worst sin she commits, pure escapism, detached relationships, there’s a wall all the way through it, a big circle, skating along the perimeter, look for the things that aren’t there, children, all adult children, Hallowe’en Party, Mr Jim Moon’s Halloween researches, a wonderful childhood, the money went away, WWI pilot, a little too attractive, he’s too pretty, that famous disappearance, the darkest incident in a person’s life, public crisis, so guarded in her interview, the worst incident in Philip K. Dick’s life, the lowest point of people’s lives, a very very very famous writer, a fulfilling life, a life well led, the adaptations, Japanese mysteries, the audio drama vs. the TV adaptation, really well put together, seeing the mustache, whole mediums come in, Maissa’s audio drama video, a poolside infodump, Big Finish, the modern novel is showing some signs of wear, new technologies, a VR story industry, streamer media, Twitch, what the kids are doing, kind of like podcasting in realtime, celebrities, content creators, Deadmau5, Dr DisRespect, performing and talking, whatever medium in 50 or 60 years they’ll be doing documentaries about these people, not only for children, livestreaming, drawing, a new medium, magazines, what we imagined 2019 would be like, it was not this, the war is barely there in the book, adaptions play up the war, she plays down the war, The Mousetrap is excellent, a great sense of humour, everybody did it.

Pan - The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Pan - The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #158 – Mr Brisher’s Treasure by H.G. Wells

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #158

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Mr Brisher’s Treasure by H.G. Wells

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Mr Brisher’s Treasure was first published in The Strand, April 1899.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #157 – The Cosy Room by Arthur Machen

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #157

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Cosy Room by Arthur Machen

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Cosy Room was first published in T.P.’s Weekly, May 1908.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #507 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #507 – Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 36 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Maissa Bessada, and Wayne June

Talked about on today’s show:
aunt?, ownt?, The London Mercury, April 1922, H.P. Lovecraft, pretty damn interesting, is it a ghost story?, Robert Aickman, Fontana Book Of Ghost Stories (Volume 1), M.R. James,, E.F. Benson, Thomas Liggoti, is it a vampire story?, a very successful ghost story, is it a witchcraft story?, necromancy, psychic vampirism, all about mood and sustaining a mood, atmospheric, very, creepiness sneaks in, chills up and down the spine,

“Deserving of distinguished notice as a forceful craftsman to whom an unseen mystic world is ever a close and vital reality is the poet Walter de la Mare, whose haunting verse and exquisite prose alike bear consistent traces of a strange vision reaching deeply into veiled spheres of beauty and terrible and forbidden dimensions of being.”

in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, rumors about an ancient castle under which is a conclave of demons, not truckle with psychological fudging, real life stories, never tipped over the abyss, a feeling of being haunted, the weight of disbelief, monster,

“Of the shorter tales, of which several volumes exist, many are unforgettable for their command of fear’s and sorcery’s darkest ramifications; notably Seaton’s Aunt, in which there lowers a noxious background of malignant vampirism”

Shades Of Darkness adaptation, 9/10ths close to the book, a big switcheroo, switching the roles, dialogue from the story, adaptations are people interpreting, interpretive decisions, the girl Alice, more life to her at the beginning, the casting, what a role, a role of a lifetime, no eating, a mountain of a woman vs. doll-like, that thin and hungry look, her hair, a wig, dark hair, all this history, how intense people are, things going on, the number of parallel things that are happening, the first meeting the second meeting, the school, the strand, creepier, it feels like an actual memoir, weary of for no good reason, Withers, why is he telling this story, a chapter in a memoir, not very good person, Seaton’s not perfect, maybe this aunt is very moral, she does pretty much everything wrong, a huge colossal biotch, from a shit’s point of view, “a creature”, why does she act that way, she’s a prick or in league with the devil, she is a monster (in a any sense of the word), a horrible person, spite, little mind games, this is not Seaton’s story, may ownt, an extraordinary figure, a non-supernatural story, what made a person like this?, maybe she just way to much Lovecraft when she was young, we English, pongo, ape, monkey, bribed every time, some jam, lunch, expensive wine, the everyman, self-involved, does she kill him?, the roles were switched, bells and sparks, that chess scene,

Seaton’s aunt was wearing an extraordinary kind of lace jacket when we sidled sheepishly into the drawing-room together. She greeted me with a heavy and protracted smile, and bade me bring a chair close to the little table.

“I hope Arthur has made you feel at home,” she said, as she handed me my cup in her crooked hand. “He don’t talk much to me; but then I’m an old woman. You must come again, Wither, and draw him out of his shell. You old snail!” She wagged her head at Seaton, who sat munching cake and watching her intently.

his room is full of cages, down at the pond, a dysfunctional family,

“And we must correspond, perhaps.” She nearly shut her eyes at me. “You must write and tell me everything behind the creature’s back.” I confess I found her rather disquieting company. The evening drew on. Lamps were brought in by a man with a nondescript face and very quiet footsteps. Seaton was told to bring out the chess-men. And we played a game, she and I, with her big chin thrust over the board at every move as she gloated over the pieces and occasionally croaked “Check!”—after which she would sit back inscrutably staring at me. But the game was never finished. She simply hemmed me defencelessly in with a cloud of men that held me impotent, and yet one and all refused to administer to my poor flustered old king a merciful coup de grâce.

teaching chess, the aunt and Withers are parallel, Arthur chose him, something of his aunt there, toying and sparing,

“There,” she said as the clock struck ten—”a drawn game, Withers. We are very evenly matched. A very creditable defence, Withers. You know your room. There’s supper on a tray in the dining-room. Don’t let the creature over-eat himself. The gong will sound three-quarters of an hour before a punctual breakfast.” She held out her cheek to Seaton, and he kissed it with obvious perfunctoriness. With me she shook hands.

“An excellent game,” she said cordially, “but my memory is poor, and”—she swept the pieces helterskelter into the box—”the result will never be known.” She raised her great head far back. “Eh?”

It was a kind of challenge, and I could only murmur: “Oh, I was absolutely in a hole, you know!” when she burst out laughing and waved us both out of the room.

immoral behavior, a cloud of men, how she treats her nephew, Withers or Johnson or Wither or Smithers, another dig, tapping into something very British, mirrored, a dishonest narrator, passing judgement on all and sundry, a hideous old beast, she’s not such a bad old stick, a dull stolid chap, what’s expected, a public school attitude, everyone’s a jolly good sort, a mask for bad behavior, a cavalier with the truth, very calculated, foibles of behavior, you are nothing to me, it’s a test, dare you correct an old lady, is she’s too self aware?, if this were a true memoir, they sneak into her room and hide in her closet, too intellectual for her own good, why she’s a miss, about half way through the book,

We turned and walked slowly towards the house, across whose windows I confess my own eyes, too, went restlessly wandering in search of its rather disconcerting inmate. There was a pathetic look of draggledness, of want of means and care, rust and overgrowth and faded paint. Seaton’s aunt, a little to my relief, did not share our meal. Seaton carved the cold meat, and dispatched a heaped-up plate by an elderly servant for his aunt’s private consumption. We talked little and in half-suppressed tones, and sipped a bottle of Madeira which Seaton had rather heedfully fetched out of the great mahogany sideboard.

I played him a dull and effortless game of chess, yawning between the moves he himself made almost at haphazard, and with attention elsewhere engaged. About five o’clock came the sound of a distant ring, and Seaton jumped up, overturning the board, and so ending a game that else might have fatuously continued to this day.

no malice, interpretation, he’s turning into her, becoming more sympathetic to her, my aunt, we lost all our money, fairly obvious, the aunt has spent the inheritance, stopping at the chemists to get rat poison, WHY?, is Seaton trying to kill his aunt?, a half-term holiday, for his own use, another parallel, what’s with the bangle?, only when pirating, a craze for wearing a ring, a craze for wearing bangles, wearing a rubber band as a bangle, a little affectation, a bit of jewelry, more adult, a bit glamorous, to be interesting and opulent, bullying, perfectly horrid, a touch of the tar brush, not white enough, a bit debonair, a bit gypsy,

I can scarcely describe with what curious ruminations I led the way into the faded, heavy-aired dining-room, with this indefinable old creature leaning weightily on my arm—the large flat bracelet on the yellow-laced wrist.

they are isolated, a maiden aunt, a malevolent creature, sometimes people are weird, weird household cultures, lobster mayonnaise, game sausages, the salad is the monster, a gargantuan appetite, you can’t scare me with your ghost stories, I’ll take it, she’s sure to be quite decent to you, code for child sexual abuse, she’s just a woman, does she lie ever?, the eye in the room, is this an Innsmouth story?, a lot of fishy eyes in this story, Irving S. Cobb’s Fishhead, frog boy?, did he go to the pond, or the sea?, her younger brother, she might be being misread, people turning into dust, Seaton is turning into his aunt, something you like to eat, so interesting,

We walked up the village street, past the little dingy apothecary’s and the empty forge, and, as on my first visit, skirted the house together, and, instead of entering by the front door, made our way down the green path into the garden at the back. A pale haze of cloud muffled the sun; the garden lay in a grey shimmer—its old trees, its snap-dragoned faintly glittering walls. But now there was an air of slovenliness where before all had been neat and methodical. In a patch of shallowly-dug soil stood a worn-down spade leaning against a tree. There was an old broken wheelbarrow. The roses had run to leaf and briar; the fruit-trees were unpruned. The goddess of neglect brooded in secret.

the Goddess of neglect, what the hell does that mean?, the whole opposite view of this whole thing, he’s dying, is he digging his own grave?, his way to try to get away, a keen naturalist, he’s making the best of a bad situation, I like wildness, forklift trucks to do her goddamned hair, the keys to his trust fund, salving a scrap of conscience, a bit of a tightfist, the money is running out, nuts and fruit, he doesn’t want to get too fat, tadpoles, between becoming what he’s going to be, the aunt croaks, he will never,

on one memorable occasion went to the length of bestowing on me a whole pot of some outlandish mulberry-coloured jelly that had been duplicated in his term’s supplies. In the exuberance of my gratitude I promised to spend the next half-term holiday with him at his aunt’s house.

expensive madeira, she sounds like a Lovecraft,

She confided in us her views on a theme vaguely occupying at the moment, I suppose, all our minds. “We have barbarous institutions, and so must put up, I suppose, with a never-ending procession of fools—of fools ad infinitum. Marriage, Mr. Withers, was instituted in the privacy of a garden; sub Rosa, as it were. Civilization flaunts it in the glare of day. The dull marry the poor; the rich the effete; and so our New Jerusalem is peopled with naturals, plain and coloured, at either end. I detest folly; I detest still more (if I must be frank, dear Arthur), mere cleverness. Mankind has simply become a tailless host of indistinctive animals. We should never have taken to Evolution, Mr. Withers. ‘Natural Selection!’—little gods and fishes!—the deaf for the dumb. We should have used our brains—intellectual pride, the ecclesiastics call it. And by brains I mean—what do I mean, Alice?—I mean, my dear child”—and she laid two gross fingers on Alice’s narrow sleeve—”I mean courage. Consider it, Arthur. I read that the scientific world is once more beginning to be afraid of spiritual agencies. Spiritual agencies that tap, and actually float, bless their hearts! I think just one more of those mulberries—thank you.

sounding like Thomas Ligotti, everything sucks, the trap of pessimism, a certain truth to it, justification for all manner of barbarity and horror, survival of the fittest, neoliberal morality, atmosphere building, the deaf for the dumb, intellectual pride, what do I mean Alice?, I mean courage, spiritual agencies, an attack on spiritualism, worst wedding toast ever, worst host ever, my child brother died in it, sleep well, how big a deal, another theory, one more of those mulberries, bastard squirrels, almost all vegetation, pop goes the weasel, Babylonian mythology, silkworms, death and rebirth, they spin their own shroud, Seaton should run away, the horse, she never will or she never would, she knows everything we’re doing, is she telepathic?, does she know the boy is buying rat poison?, cages and boxes, a box with a worm in it, role reversal, a switch, something strange happens near the end, off to tea, she calls him Arthur, is that you Arthur?, the ghost of Arthur?, get out, she doesn’t know, she killed him but she doesn’t even know, a voracious appetite, getting psychically fatter, she’s lost her source of food, she’s dying, conversing with the dead, still floating around the house, nothing to feed off anymore, not wholly embodied, that all seeing eye, seeing into other people’s minds, is he first in his class?, maybe if you apply the rules of science it’s almost like she’s in a superposition, the pile of clothes on the floor, the shoes two meters apart pointing at each other, a bundle of clothes, she’s in her room and she’s not in her room, Schrödinger’s Aunt, she’s just a human being, this story does both, a horror story, she’s a vampiric-witch who can talk to ghosts, The Terrible Old Man by H.P. Lovecraft, Spanish gold, easy pickings, bottled souls, old shipmates, three new bottles, his yard, moss covered totemic gods from the South Seas, Smithers Withers Johnson, not wholly of this dimension, why she’s so weird, an alien trapped on Earth, she knows she’s a shit, he does the exact same stuff as she does, not of this earth, a tragedy, the whole takeaway, feeling a little guilt, a life tragedy, nothing but a trap, you’re either a feeder or you’re the food, not an Oscar Wilde, outside of society, so masterfully put together, another way of going, she’s mean because she gives him the small room, who made the room full of cages and boxes, playing goth music all night, all about interpretation, a reflection of me (being in a cage), interesting parallels, a black widow spider, Wayne doesn’t buy that she’s innocent, in league with the devil, what happened to her brother?, a theory for Mr Jim Moon, The Terror Of The Blue John Gap by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, mother of pearl, a monster in the mine, a letter Seaton, Samuel Seaton, the painting on the wall, the one with the eye is S. Seaton, retelling it as a modern story, he has a VIC 20!, security cameras in every room, we have the same kinds of issues and problems today, most manifest in her awareness of what she’s doing, self-conscious, Alice is almost consciousless, did she move away?, who did she escape?, a weird race of two, the deep one crown in a chest of jewlery, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying to find a place to put my sympathy, they’re screwed individually and in combination, All Hallows by Walter de la Mare, a sour church, Blackwood and Machenesque, a BBC Radio abridgement, the story becomes insane without pauses,

you know your space, a powerfully interesting way of writing, layering in themes that are almost ineffable, just words, so much is the way its told, a liberated thoughtful lady, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, occult skill, charged with mockery and bitterness, ruined, processing through a filter of hate, began to play the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata. The piano was old and woolly. She played without music. The lamplight was rather dim. The moonbeams from the window lay across the keys. Her head was in shadow. And whether it was simply due to her personality or to some really occult skill in her playing I cannot say: I only know that she gravely and deliberately set herself to satirize the beautiful music. It brooded on the air, disillusioned, charged with mockery and bitterness. I stood at the window; far down the path I could see the white figure glimmering in that pool of colourless light. A few faint stars shone, and still that amazing woman behind me dragged out of the unwilling keys her wonderful grotesquerie of youth, and love, and beauty. It came to an end. I knew the player was watching me. “Please, please, go on!” I murmured, without turning. “Please go on playing, Miss Seaton.”

No answer was returned to my rather fluttering sarcasm, but I knew in some indefinite way that I was being acutely scrutinized, when suddenly there followed a procession of quiet, plaintive chords which broke at last softly into the hymn, A Few More Years Shall Roll.

what significance did the hymn have for her?

I confess it held me spellbound. There is a wistful, strained, plangent pathos in the tune; but beneath those masterly old hands it cried softly and bitterly the solitude and desperate estrangement of the world. Arthur and his lady-love vanished from my thoughts. No one could put into a rather hackneyed old hymn-tune such an appeal who had never known the meaning of the words. Their meaning, anyhow, isn’t commonplace.

I turned very cautiously and glanced at the musician. She was leaning forward a little over the keys, so that at the approach of my cautious glance she had but to turn her face into the thin flood of moonlight for every feature to become distinctly visible. And so, with the tune abruptly terminated, we steadfastly regarded one another, and she broke into a chuckle of laughter.

engaging with him like an adult, the clothes of a man, his coat is too big for him, so grateful for the invitation, I really appreciate it because I’m dying, the paranoid literal ghost haunted victim of an in-league-with-the-devil-aunt, nothing more than a coffin, my brother William died, there’s hundreds of eyes like that in the house, I shan’t stand it much longer, did Seaton commit suicide?, all my plans are falling into place, the old mulberry jelly trick, we are told he has lavish pocket money, that would be in character, so lonely, the bangle as an amulet against her, Alice Outram, some good stuff, a now lost medieval village in Derbyshire, early 1900s travel, piggy back rides and hiding in closets, candles, a fascinating story, Seaton is definitely a liar, you were supposed to best man, more on the ball, creeped by the aunt, you hypocrite, a mismatch between emotions and what people say, being clever and arch, snarky, is it about control or just being playful, so much free-rangeness, allowed bullying to flourish, snapchat bullying, the mistakes of perception that you have in childhood, a confession story, somewhere in there Withers is having an argument with Seaton, some guilt, mistreating the old bird, what she says, calculated cruelty, emotionally abusive, emotionally neglectful, no sexual or physical abuse, she never lies to him, she never gaslights him, that never happened, you’re wrong, she demeans him, she knows everything that I think and what I do, he’s a squashed human, squashed at school, victimness, uninterested in his emotional being, baby monkeys, the monkey Withers, a monkey in with a tadpole, very subversive, what is the question, what is this story?, not fantasy, not science fiction, definitely weird fiction, vampire is stronger than ghosts (in here), prehistoricism, eternal evil, Silurians (Doctor Who reference), Doggerland, it feels so Lovecrafty because of all the fish, he is doomed, The Rats In The Walls, The Moon Bog, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan,

And again I paused irresolutely a few paces further on. It was not fancy, merely a foolish apprehension of what the raw-boned butcher might “think” that prevented my going back to see if I could find Seaton’s grave in the benighted churchyard. There was precious little use in pottering about in the muddy dark, merely to discover where he was buried. And yet I felt a little uneasy. My rather horrible thought was that, so far as I was concerned—one of his extremely few friends—he had never been much better than “buried” in my mind.

dark!, a dark philosophy,

I was not a man of the world, nor was I much flattered in my stiff and dullish way of looking at things by being called one; and I could answer her without the least hesitation.

“I don’t think, Miss Seaton, I’m much of a judge of character. She’s very charming.”

“A brunette?”

“I think I prefer dark women.”

“And why? Consider, Mr. Withers; dark hair, dark eyes, dark cloud, dark night, dark vision, dark death, dark grave, dark!”

she’s goth, yo,

Perhaps the climax would have rather thrilled Seaton, but I was too thick-skinned. “I don’t know much about all that,” I answered rather pompously. “Broad daylight’s difficult enough for most of us.”

Seaton's Aunt by Walter de la Mare

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #495 – READALONG: News From Nowhere by William Morris

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #495 – Jesse, Bryan Alexander, and Evan Lampe talk about News From Nowhere by William Morris

Talked about on today’s show:
a socialist magazine, hardcover later that year, a response to something real, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy, historical interest, as a historian would, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lefties read it, Frederick Jameson, Marxism, post-modernism, An American Utopia, universal conscription, the actual plan, the military budget goes up every year, segmented by geography and class, how the army works, a planned economy, Americans fetishize the flag and the army, only the poor serve, leftist history writing, the importance of fiction, Bellamy clubs, Nationalism, confusing to 21st century folks, a fierce reaction against, an anti-centralized anti-industrial, anti-factory, scythes, beautifully crafted scythes, odious labour is automated, a different attitude towards labour, Rossetti, the lesbian fruit poem, Goblin Market, Eleanor Marx, why am I arguing with the book, all the problems he’s not addressing, the audio drama adaptation, force power, not coal powered, salmon spawning in the Thames, it is a beautiful thing, about beauty, “An Epoch Of Rest”, arguing against motivation to work, he hasn’t defined work very successfully, Mack Reynolds, hardcore socialist, here’s a novel, Equality In The Year 2000, everybody has degrees, guaranteed universal income, no crappy work, a problem of robotics, a lack of work is the problem, how striking, the serious problem is a lack of work, lazy bums, not enough quality work, the drudgery jobs are eliminated somehow, primitive communism, no invasion, no starvation, real issues, revolutions in every country of Europe, way to naive, he’s writing a utopia, least religious, Dante Alighieri, Nowhere = Utopia, articles about police brutality, the eight hour workweek, dynamiters imprisoned, The Anarchist, this is news, economics and foreign relations, Karl Marx, utopians as bourgeois, the world we live in is not the only possible world, the Greek polis, the nation state, the prison, capitalism, this doesn’t make any sense, talking past each other, there are alternatives, the world we live in is not written in stone, 500 years, Ernst Bloch, Kim Stanley Robinson, making sense of Henry Tudor’s world, Pacific Edge is an almost feasible science fiction utopia, the political situation, small problems, eliminating currency, making manifest, can you really get rid of currency, “everyone is an artist”, David Graeber, debt, three chickens for your cow, debt societies, my son really loves your daughter, debt relations, swapping around debts, made up, fancy ledgers, the lecture in the museum, getting a cutter, load up on surplus goods, great looking wine, very happy dudes, the big projects, rebuilding this cathedral, rebuilding this road, Che Guevara with a scythe, a fantasy, having utopia in our own life, Lasqueti Island, the back-to-the-land movement, the real economy there, Bryan’s homestead in Vermont, snow from October to May, shedding every 20th century technology, rural internet, 1800s technology, the Amish and the Mennonites, scale, Karl Schroeder, Britain is depopulated, mass produced arts and crafts wallpaper, J.R.R. Tolkien, hand carved wood, working with stone, hand mowing the hay, boats haven’t changed, the emotional appeal of it, thinking about health, chemotherapy, we live well, how long we live, crib-death, surgery without anesthetics, kidney stones, the childbirth thing, primitivist?, easier for men than for women, liberatory technology (for women), epidurals, fantasy novels gendered female, fantasy as pleasant imaginations of medieval world, 14th and 15th century style, contemporary back-to-the-land literature, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Iain M. Bank’s culture novels, post-scarcity, assuming robotics, dishwashers and Roombas and autodocs, two ways to get to post-scarcity, post-Ice Age post-scarcity, Bellamy’s assumptions, the Chinese, until we’re all wealthy, Steen Hansen, I bet that guy was born wealthy, you can’t even conceive of this stuff, the trust-fund hippie, ramping up wealth inequality, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. , upper middle class enlightenment through international travel, a historical vibe, the Clinton Democratic shift to the right, growing the economic, neo-primitivist, satisfied with what they have, the turn of the seasons, the anticipations graded finely, the turn to handicrafts, making and smoking pipes, finding meaning, little cheaty things, the exercise of vital powers, enjoyment in production, making that bread, that bread smell, that bread taste, something real, that utopian problem, the resisters, the refusers, the classic problem of utopia, your real skills, a race car driver, he’s completely forgotten the tragedy of the commons, where’s the violence, where’s the threat of violence, so fantastic it’s less believable than princess fantasy, a deep, deep claim, reforming the material conditions of life, the new Soviet man, their art, anti-communists, you can’t defy human nature, socio-biology, social arrangements, creationists, Jordan Peterson, women are more free to be nurses, women wanna be more nurturing, dudes like hitting each other with sticks, men like writing these utopian science fiction novels, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, progressive and fascinating and a utopia, 25 years later, sparking a love and aesthetic, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, women serving food, William Guest, his age is 56, the romance angle, Dick and Clara, risque for 1890, to “be together”, still problems in utopia, relationship stuff, the whole marriage thing, Mardi by Herman Melville, Typee and Omoo, copies of European states, a Christian utopia, following the girl, a critique of utopia, Melville’s early novels, a failed job interview, Evan’s podcast, American frontierism, going off to Oklahoma, going off to Nevada, getting back to history, Suspicious Persons, content setting up a kingdom for themselves, an anti-work thesis, be with the cannibals, paradise, the fruits on the tree, work and traveling up the Thames, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, maid’s knee, a model for all diseases, foolish doofuses, a series of ridiculous pastoral incidents without consequence, a madeira cake, told from an idle gentleman’s point of view, a huge smash, skulling, skulling all day, completely inappropriate, The Riddle Of The Sands by Erskine Childers, a German invasion of Britain, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, going to the water to make a utopia, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, living on breadfruit, making pineapples for foreign markets, it makes socialism seem like its fluffy-headed, one day the government will wither away, the ecological problem, an ecological lens, the green movement, cultural, all sorts of weird things are within human nature’s possibilities, ancient megaliths, some rich guy, what’s missing, notice how content everybody is, nobody wants to reach to the Moon, this is fascinating, I need six guys to help me build a super-collider in Kent, most people don’t need books, somebody has to clean the toilets, Hakim Bey, immanentism, the Bros. Grimm, the cultural creativity seems to have stopped, no new stories or songs, distressing Bryan, harder to imagine than a new tech, what we have now but streamlined, imagining the internet, human operators, Orson Scott Card got forums, the rich depth of Troll Culture, Locke is a troll, Poul Anderson, Olaf Stapledon, Samuel Delany, Philip K. Dick, fashions, the genre, the Gernsback model, utopianism isn’t exactly science fiction, an epoch of rest vs. work houses, the reason Sherlock Holmes can do his job, the uniform of a coachman, a ridiculousness, winking the whole time, the coming out is anticipated, asymmetrical, great scenes, the Victorian version of the new Soviet man, no longer seen by people, dull and bleared, dirt and rags, much servility, what the Victorian era is doing to humans, a positive idea prompt, this poor bastard was made by his time, the black cloud overhead, servility, the class situation, Upstairs, Downstairs, a speech the butler gives, Downton Abbey has a changed ethos, a fantasy of a fantasy, “they are our betters”, there is great honor and beauty in doing your job well, taking pleasure in doing a job well, scrub it well, finding dignity in your own work, for two reasons, why the British didn’t have another revolution, Jesse is really on to something, understanding as a historian, a revolution is social relations, ranks, profession or blood, The Radicalization Of The American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood, American slavery, “master” is replaced with “boss”, The Making Of The English Working Class by E.P. Thompson, “upper middle class”, Bryan is nodding and pumping his fist, republican virtues, a bipartisan love for the aristocracies, “we don’t do aristocratic politics in our family”, the least unequal period in British, Canadian, American and Australian history, more unequal, Downton Abbey is a celebration of aristocracy, Sex In The City, sukc down that fantasy and enjoy it, the Downton Abbey scenario, you’re the help, an expression of our acculturation, F. Scott Fitzgerald, WWI was fought as a love affair, the Trafalgar Square incident, Bill Hicks, how pathetic British crime is, fraying that love, the sociology of every nation (except for the USA), mutinies, broke France, broke Russia, broke Germany, that broke, the love affair is still there, “Boss”, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, a classic for the ages, the houses of parliament are used for storing manure, so savage in its takedown of all things American and medieval romanticism, Hank Morgan, why isn’t somebody wandering in, just get a stick and start hitting, no outlaws, no bandits, everybody is an artist, everybody be cool, universal basic income, the Manitoba Income Project, a decent response as to why would people work, cultural revolution, how the Romans saw the world, essential human characteristics, this book appreciates the idea that people find pleasure in being productive and helping one another, there’s a purpose to life outside a wage, a hard subject, the ultimate outcome is going to be close to E.M. Forsters’ The Machine Stops, starting a podcast after your oldest child moves out, changing how we raise children, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Russia, Eastern Europe, every single hotel has two hour rates, long workdays, imaging having kids, women are freer, Ecan is a stay at home father, the fake complaint tweet, the TV was a CRT, Walmart, giving the kids to nannies, what money does, access to birth control, universal basic income will help, the government is really good at mailing cheques, orphan’s benefit, cheap college, money totally helps, that Mack Reynolds novel, you have to spend the money, Townsend, the economy is predictability, bitcoin, deformational effects, government is really good at regulating, doctors still make a living, even with wait times, no dental care system, Sam Harris, Jerry Yang, some idiot (Dave Rubin), you don’t need plumbing or building regulations, people cut corners, all the products are designed to be sold, “makeshifts”, pop (soda), the history of soda, who is responsible when you put the phosphoric acid into the pop, The Soul of Man under Socialism by Oscar Wilde, satire, remedying the evils they see in poverty, destroying the need for charity, super-rich having a charity ball for the poor, The Clinton Foundation, charity salves the soul, carrying for the unknown, I would be a freer person, people on the right, a state burden, a way to liberate people, the rise of pet stores, pet service stores, children are too expensive, “fur babies”, not a single pet in this book, there might be more birds of prey, The Revolt Of Islam by Percy Shelley, the most dangerous animal in England is a badger, bears in the mall, missing kitten, when you push down on one part of the society, such criticism, the economic cost, I really like the idea of craftsmanship, I love art, some lectures about how bad it was in the 19th century, a famine in France, France is just like this, the Iron Curtain, why NATO is still around today, dystopias are the inverse of that, everywhere’s the same, a global catastrophe, is The Road by Cormac McCarthy a dystopia?, addressing the truth of reality, violence isn’t going away, wouldn’t it be nice, how they get there, several chapters, one good thing about this book, immigration, easy to have a guest, what are you Greeks gonna do about it, sometimes that’s the point, a naive novel, “that’s what Hitler’s trying to do, yo”, rationalistic vs. empiricistic, eight hour work week, one idea, motivation to work outside of forced labour, keep scythin’, sowing.

Posted by Jesse Willis