The SFFaudio Podcast #141 – READALONG: The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #141 – Last week’s podcast was an unabridged reading of The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. This week Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Professor Eric S. Rabkin form an ad hoc community discuss it!

Talked about on today’s show:
Are we men or animals?, Charles Laughton, The Island Of Lost Souls, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, let the movie atrophy and evaporate, changing the name Prendick to Prentice to Parker, Margaret Atwood, Moor, death, water, Moreau, Gustav Moreau, etchings of Dante’s Inferno, ebony, anthracite, Moreau is a funeral shroud, prig + dick (thick), prender, Prendick appropriates Moreau’s island, the manuscript, Prendick is a user, “a false church”, Edward (the happy guardian), Charles (the common man), “a private gentleman”, the single biggest theme in the book (modern European culture deforms the natural state of things), beastilizing humans or humanizing beasts, the white man’s burden (and his name is black), pro-science vs. anti-progress, Darwin brings the questioning of the moral narrative of humans, Montgomery and Moreau lack moral direction, Prendick too is directionless (all at sea), vivisection, “life is the house of pain”, Wells (and Mary Shelley) are deeply concerned with the relationship of scientists with the larger community, Eric thinks science unaware of moral obligation is the target, Prendick is a disingenuous narrator, Moreau is a colonial overload, “The Lady Vain”, Lady Day (Billie Holiday) vs. Lady Day (the Catholicism meaning), “Lady Day” is an ironic reversal of “Saint Mary”, Ipecacuanha = ipecac, Gulliver’s Travels, what are the chances of a collision with a derelict ship in the middle of Pacific?, M’Ling, mankind’s way of finding destruction, “ship of fools”, the ships are microcosms, a foreshadowing of destruction (of an unsustainable ), “Wells is just so God-damned smart”, Addaneye Island vs. Adonai (God), M’Ling is Manling, is M’ling a dog or an ape?, Thomas HobbesLeviathan, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”, “the great chain of being”, “In the afternoon, Moreau, Montgomery, myself, and M’ling went across the island to the huts in the ravine.” Montgomery = defender of the mountain, Prendick’s narration belies the events of the story, poetic justice, “he attacks Helmar with his hands”, men don’t sink like stones, cannibalism, “when every animal is a person then you better have a law against cannibalism”,

A sudden convulsion of rage shook me. I was almost moved to batter his foolish head in, as he lay there helpless at my feet. Then suddenly his hand moved, so feebly, so pitifully, that my wrath vanished. He groaned, and opened his eyes for a minute. I knelt down beside him and raised his head. He opened his eyes again, staring silently at the dawn, and then they met mine. The lids fell.

“Sorry,” he said presently, with an effort. He seemed trying to think. “The last,” he murmured, “the last of this silly universe. What a mess — ”

I listened. His head fell helplessly to one side. I thought some drink might revive him; but there was neither drink nor vessel in which to bring drink at hand. He seemed suddenly heavier. My heart went cold. I bent down to his face, put my hand through the rent in his blouse. He was dead…

Eric thinks Prendick is trying to exonerates himself, abolutionism a theme of abstinence and alcohol, “you’re Mr. Shut Up”, Lem Johnson, Governor George Gawler‘s 1838 speech to the local Aborigines in the Adelaide area:

“Black men – We wish to make you happy. But you cannot be happy unless you imitate good white men. Build huts, wear clothes, work and be useful. Above all things you cannot be happy unless you love GOD who made heaven and earth and men and all things. Love white men. Love other tribes of black men. Do not quarrel together. Tell other tribes to love white men, and to build good huts and wear clothes. Learn to speak English. If any man injure you tell the protector and he will do you justice.”

language as an instrument of repression, “this is an impossible story”, vivisection cannot create men, “this is a fable”, Thomas Henry Huxley, Wells was an apprentice to Huxley, natural selection and animal nature, if you can evolve can you devolve?, Montgomery is Moreau’s vicar (or Pope), an experiment with a snake, the Garden of Eden, Prendick is a liar, there is no great chain of being, Brits don’t have the right to change Indians, neither the force of arms, nor the claim of church, nor the claim of law can justifiably impose on one’s fellow man, The Time Machine, cannibalism is a transformation of murder, The Island Of Doctor Moreau as a fable, Sigmund Freud’s essay on “the uncanny” (make the metaphorical literal), The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick, it looks like a beast fable, “animal swiftness”, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, rabbits and Easter and eggs, Prendick destroys the symbol of christian resurrection, “a boat of community”, The War Of The Worlds as a kind of coda to The Island Of Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein, human beings are social animals, Boer Wars, South Africa, The Invisible Man, The Kingdom Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, one man is no match to a community, all of Wells’ protagonists seem to be horrible human beings, “a private gentleman”, if you have means you have an obligation to participate in the world, the doubting Thomas Marvel, the ocelot man, the pig men, the monkey man, “he’s a five man”, “big thinks” vs. “little thinks”, “it takes a real man to tell a lie”, sex and marriage and community in Frankenstein, Doctor Moreau Explains, man-making vs. woman-making, the puma-woman, Brian Aldiss, The Other Island Of Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein Unbound, “when suffering finds a voice”, vivisection, social class, PETA, the British Museum, the National Anti-Vivisection Society, The Invention Of Morrel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges, “an atrocious miracle”, “youthful blasphemy”, are there any contemporary reviews for The Island Of Doctor Moreau?, Henry James vs. H.G. Wells, little picture vs. big picture, psychology vs. sociology, characters vs. ideas, our Rainbow’s End discussion, Wells is undervalued because he is so easy to read, the consumption of food and drink, Wells learned it all, The Outline Of History by H.G. Wells, Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, ramify, The Lord Of The Flies by William Golding, The Inheritors is an elegiac recognition of the importance of community, neanderthals.

The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells - Illustration by Frank R. Paul for Amazing Stories

The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells - Illustration by Frank R. Paul for Amazing Stories

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU

The Island Of Dr. Moreau - Cover illustration by Paul Lehr

H.G.WELLS' The Island Of Dr Moreau - MARVEL

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favourites #14: Jesse’s Five Favourte SFFaudio Podcast READALONGS (of the first 100 shows)

SFFaudio Online Audio

It probably sounds arrogant to talk about SFFaudio’s own podcast being my favourite podcast. It may sound that way, but it also happens to be what I really think. Not only is recording the podcast the highlight of my week, it’s also my favourite podcast to listen to when it comes out on Mondays. In our first 100 SFFaudio Podcast episodes there dozens and dozens of episodes that I can recall in great depth, episodes where I learned something interesting and had a whole lot of fun while doing so. We talked to some truly amazing people and talked about great ideas in SFF. SFFaudio Podcast episodes come in several flavours, but amongst them I think my favourite kind of show is our READALONGS. READALONGS are essentially our book club show, where we pick an audiobook (or paperbook), and discuss it in great detail. There have been more than thirty READALONGS so far and I’m convinced it would be hard to find a single dud amongst them. Here are five of my favourite readalongs from our first 100 episodes.

Five Free Favourites

The SFFaudio Podcast1. The SFFaudio Podcast #050 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
This list isn’t in order of preference, but rather of chronology. That said, if I had a gun to my head I might pick this episode as my personal favourite. This is a book that just had two participants, Scott and me. When I think of our friendship over the last decade I think of this episode. Scott says that this is the episode where the show “shifted gears” and I think he’s right. The show starts with a clip from Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture entitled Masterpieces Of The Imaginative Mind .

The SFFaudio Podcast2. The SFFaudio Podcast #056 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley
The episode with the most participants, there are six: Scott, myself, Rick Jackson, Gregg Margarite, Jerry Stearns and Julie Davis. Normally we try to avoid having that many people in one show, but for this episode I think it mostly worked. Also, the book was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Robert Sheckley. If you end up liking this episode check out #076 in which we discuss Sheckley’s Mindswap.

The SFFaudio Podcast3. The SFFaudio Podcast #064 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Now this episode is cool for a number of reasons. One is that it’s an episode with both Julie Davis and Luke Burrage in the same episode (something that’s happened only twice). Alfred Bester is one of my favourite writers and this novel is one of the best Science Fiction books I’ve ever read. We all brought something to the table for this episode and we all walked away richer for it.

The SFFaudio Podcast4. The SFFaudio Podcast #073 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
This episode has both Luke Burrage and Gregg Margarite. We discussed one of the best novels I’d never read before. This is also one of the longest episodes, coming in just shy of two hours. I came away from this book and this wonderful conversation both a smarter person and a wiser man.

The SFFaudio Podcast5. The SFFaudio Podcast #082 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Memory by Donald E. Westlake
This episode saw the first appearance of Trent Reynolds, from The Violent World Of Parker. The novel, by one of my favourite authors, was wonderfully noir and we discussed its every turn and twist with a kindly eye. With Trent’s help (and that of Gregg Margarite’s) I walked away from this episode knowing we’d done a very good job. I was happily depressed for the following week.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #129 – READALONG: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #129 – Jesse, Tamahome, Julie and Jenny discuss the Audible Frontiers audiobook of The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Aliens, first contact, alien aliens, Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evil genius inventor, a society in a bottle, how do we figure out which information is true, L.J. Ganser, “Fyunch(click)”, space empire, the Horse-Head Nebula, the depth of the alien alienness, who has free will in The Mote In God’s Eye?, “there was little of free will in an engineer”, “humans have free will – we know that”, Ron Paul has gone Crazy Eddie, Outies, The Gripping Hand, Renner is an independent minded contrarian, the CoDominium Series, “an American eagle holding the hammer and sickle”, MacArthur and Lenin, brownies, espionage, Sally never questioned her Fyunch(click), the characters are peripheral to the novel’s power, Niven and Pournelle arguing with each other, perfunctory romance, The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Treehouse of Horror VII, god games, Populous, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Master Of Orion, Science Fiction is not really about the future it’s about the present (except for Niven/Pournelle books), Protector by Larry Niven (in which humans are infantilized aliens), “only bad girls take birth control”, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God’s Eye is a yellow peril story!, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, gunboat diplomacy, “China has fake Apple stores”, the exotic East, “I asked myself … would that be so bad?”, “they’re not evil, they’re just our enemies”, Declare by Tim Powers, Soviet goals, “every place should be communist”, Russia vs. The USA, an unsustainable quarantine, this book is really about “the pill”, overpopulation, Malthus, Moties are people too (at least most of them are), a non-ideological clash of species, what “sentient” means, Eric S. Rabkin, do they have souls?, is it “scientifically proven” that an untrained kitten can never hunt?, “I don’t eat monkeys”, “nuclear war is the continuation of evolution by other means”, the long pig, is there an unused Chekov’s Gun in this book?, ozone smells good, imitations and perma-smiles, anti-yellow peril blinders, John W. Campbell, “give me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man”, “if only the humans wee more human.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #122 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #122 – a complete and unabridged reading of Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, followed by a discussion of it with Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Gregg Margarite (who narrated the story).

Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond The Door is a story about a very angry bird, is it a puff-piece or a potboiler?, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, “My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.”, Living Doll, Telly Savalas, Clown Without Pity (from Treehouse of Horror III), Night Gallery, Chucky, were clowns always scary?, automaton, fantasy, is it a haunted cuckoo clock?, what does that mean?, why is that in there?, who is Pete?, Pete has to be her dead brother, did Pete die in the same way?, the Black Forest, what’s wrong with this woman?, “it was written in the fifties!”, she’s happy and she’s sad, Umberto Eco and the role of the reader, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Eric S. Rabkin, Warehouse 13, is the first line a moral lesson (or merely a magazine call out)?, Project Gutenberg’s etext edition of Beyond The Door, Fantastic Universe Science Fiction, this story is not about a cuckoo clock, it’s about the cuckoo bird and the cuckoo egg, and the egg’s name is Pete, Perky Pat, Gregg has read Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, James Joyce, what am I thinking?, what am I feeling?, “keep thinking about that”, “it’s wholesale baby”, this is sex, Bob is her lover (in the 1950s sense), anthropomorphizing cuckoo clock’s bird is not that uncommon, “you’ll love it Bobby”, this is a really strange clock, it would keep you up all night, the cuckoo clock fad (they were ubiquitous), “like a new member of the family”, what is the symbol of?, the cuckoo is a brood parasite, the characteristics of cuckoo eggs and chicks, “some important special accounts” sounds like a story, “how nice you look today”, “Mrs. Peters across the street you know…”, “oh oh oh”, Pete was only her half brother, “it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you need 5,000 words by ten a.m.”, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Dick’s many marriages, Tessa Dick, structuralism vs. post structuralism, writer’s intent vs. the text standing alone, does the author’s intent matter?, a bastard child, “she’s seen this thing in action before”, the great depression -> WWII -> many impulsive marriages, Bob isn’t gay, “no guy is interested in buttons!”, “does he realize he is next in line?”, “monogamy is designed to makes sure the male gets a genetic heir”, the cuckoo is her champion, “I like a good deal”, “he’s rude, he doesn’t deserve to die”, there’s no magic, no science fiction, folklore, mythology, proto-story, Scott read Beyond The Door aloud to his daughter, James Thurber’s The Princess And The Tin Box, Anthony Boucher, three or four princes, reverse-dowry, “red charger” vs. plow horse, mica and hornblende, she’s not an idiot, anyone who thought she was going to…, this is an overturning of that, it’s a fractured fairy tale, a noir fairy tale, Frank R. Stockton, The Griffin and the Minor Canon, Snow White as a horror story, Rocky And Bullwinkle, June Foray, William Conrad, Jake And The Fatman, “finish before it burns”, the Marx Bros., the self-deprecating stuff we like today, Forever Peace, we got it sorted, anecdotal proof.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #115

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #115 – Scott and Jesse talk to Anne Frid de Vries of the Anne Is A Man blog for a talk about podcasts and podcasting.

Talked about on today’s show:
Anne rhymes with manna, SFFaudio Podcast #053, finding time to review podcasts, listening ideas, recruiting blog readers to be blog contributors, working with WordPress, this Anne needs 3G, university courses, iTunes U, Yale, Joanne B. Freeman, subscribe to iTunes U programmes as podcast, University of California, Berkeley, Anne does the detective work for his readers, BBC World Service: Witness, Fermat’s Last Theorem, Luke Burrage, The Tobolowsky Files, Groundhog Day, HuffDuffer, use your DropBox public folder to HuffDuff your audio files, this doesn’t fit the Wikipedia definition of podcast, podcasts are not radio, retweeting and re-retweeting, using Google Reader as a podcatcher, Dutch Treat (a podcast about the audiobooks of Elmore Leonard), sooo nichey, radio is about scarcity, paper publishing and ebooks, there’s a need for a new podcasting snipper software, drag and drop and trim and label and tag online, we need an audio search engine, speech to text, YouTube’s transcribe beta feature, MIT, speech recognition, podscope.com, trend in podcasting (blogs adding podcasts), iO9.com, Rivets And Trees, are podcasts just portable blogs?, podcasts about podcasts are the best podcasts, what makes a podcast good?, BBC Radio 4, In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg, On Being (aka Speaking Of Faith), CBC Radio One, Spark, Spark Plus, Eric S. Rabkin, Robert J. Sawyer, using podcast medium to enhance radio shows, Rachel Remen, prep and post production, live podcasts vs. scripted podcasts, “Interesting Stuff About History” pisses Anne off, Europe From Its Origins, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Julie Davis’ Forgotten Classics, Genesis, what do you do with footnotes?, CBC Ideas, 104 Pall Mall (the Reform Club), Phileas Fogg, Around The World In Eighty Days, Ideas is too pretentious, Entitled Opinions, a very insightful slice into English history, putting in a bad episode in a podcast feed can hurt your podcast (or ours), LibriVox, Mystery at Geneva: An Improbable Tale Of Singular Happenings by Dame Rose Macaulay, The League Of Nations, The United Nations, iTunes is not where you find podcasts anymore?, HBO’s Realtime with Bill Maher podcast, CBS’ 60 Minutes podcast, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, can podcasting do for TV what it did for radio?, NBC’s Meet the Press, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Morning Joe, The Ricky Gervais Show, how do you listen to podcasts? TWiT, how many podcasts exist?, can you hurt students by recording their classes? – consensus no, smartpens (like the Livescribe) should be hacked to podcast, podcast editing app, people get really hung up on video, Fr. Roderick‘s Catholic Insider podcast, the intimacy of audio podcasts, sound seeing tours, ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone, Ludwig Wittgenstein, A Brief History Of Mathematics, CBC Radio One’s Tapestry, thank you to all the Australian taxpayers, why is philosophy so prevalent in podcasting, A Partially Examined Life, Philosophy Bites, The History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, CJSW’s Today In Canadian History, Bob Packett’s History According To Bob‘s endless Civil War series, Viking armor, The Conquest Of Mexico, Matt’s Today In History, The Tunguska Event, Medieval Commune, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Death Throes Of The Republic VI, The Ghosts Of The Ostfront, Dan Carlin has perfected the art of the monologue, Common Sense with Dan Carlin, Hardcore History, blitz shows, James Burke, Gwynne Dyer, New Books In History podcast, the New Books Network, New Books In Public Policy, iTunes fail, I like podcasts about books, Marshall Poe interview with Christopher Krebs, A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania From The Roman Empire To The Third Reich, The Origins Of Political Order, BIG HISTORY, Anne needs funding, The Do It Yourself Scholar, podcast directories are dead (Podcast Pickle), The Podcast Place, soccer, Tour de France, big media is dropping podcasts in favour of iPod and Android apps, Lance Armstrong, Queen Elizabeth II, “there’s something to be said for a constitutional monarchy in which the monarchy doesn’t live in the country.”

Posted by Jesse Willis