Five of my favourite podcasts, of our first 100 shows, include the first appearances of SFFaudio Podcast semi-regulars. This list is actually in order of how frequently they were on the podcast in those first hundred episodes.
3. The prolific Julie Davis runs several blogs and podcasts – most of which I follow avidly. I think I first heard her as a narrator on StarShipSofa in 2008, she then began narrating audiobooks for SFFaudio Challenges.
#019 – |MP3|-|POST| – Scott and Jesse talk to Julie Davis of the Forgotten Classics podcast
#017 – |MP3|-|POST| – Scott and Jesse talk to Brian Murphy of The Silver Key blog
Other Brian Murphy podcasts in the first 100 episodes: #025, #034, #042,
5. I first heard of Professor Eric S. Rabkin, a professor of English Language and Literature University of Michigan, back in 2003 when Scott sent me his first lecture series, Science Fiction: The Literature of the Technological Imagination |READ OUR REVIEW| from The Teaching Company. I was blown away. Then, after hearing the second second lecture series, Masterpieces of the Imaginative Mind: Literature’s Most Fantastic Works, in 2009, we invited him on to the podcast. Since then Rabkin has metaphorically delivered a series of intellectually concussive blows to our collective consciousnesses. We love to get Eric, as we now call him, on the show.
#044 – |MP3|-|POST| – Scott and Jesse talk to Professor Eric S. Rabkin of the University Of Michigan
Other Eric S. Rabkin podcasts in the first 100 episodes: #051, #095
Talked about on today’s show:
Science Fiction and Fantasy sort of undercut the scholastic meaning of metaphor, my friend Bill, metaphors come in two parts – the vehicle and the tenor, giants vs. ogres, denuding the metaphor, Aldebaran 6 has astonishingly beautiful humanoids, unknown vehicles deliver us, The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, The War Of The Worlds, a Tolkienesque task, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, Dark Universe by Ron Goulart, Plato’s cave, blindness, dead metaphors, the Burning Bush, Saul vs. Paul, a sound idea, Germanic grounds for divorce, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein, 1984 by George Orwell, “the clock stuck thirteen”, constructing meaning, William Shakespeare, awful as in creating awe, Moses and Mount Sinai, “shining like the sun”, a sun god, Sampson, hairy like the sun, bald like the moon, Genesis, “you may look upon my hindparts”, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, unconscious metaphors, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, wretch, catwomen from Venus, voluptuous sex objects, building up the vocabulary, Halting State by Charles Stross, Neuromancer‘s opening line, text adventure, Enoch lived 365 years (the sun god), The Tower Of Babel by Ted Chiang, comparing the constructed worlds of video games with the constructed worlds of Science Fiction, Battlefield 2, a meta-metaphor for understanding what Science Fiction does for understanding our world, hamartia needs range finding, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, “any fool can see”, a system of metaphors for the characters and the reader provides meta-uses, metaphor means “carry across”, Greek moving vans are called metaphore, the Morlocks are the workers, the Eloi are the owners, the Time Traveler is the manager, Get That Rat Off My Face by Luke Burrage, Science Fiction as thought experiment, Michael Crichton, deus ex machina, The War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Finnegan’s Wake, experimental novels, Germinal by Émile Zola, Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, allusion vs. metaphor, Sampson vs. Goliath, Luke and Eric prime each other, is Science Fiction useful?, should SF be useful?, Science Fiction and Personal Philosophy (SFBRP #100), reading only the Bible, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, the hard lesson namely: “sometimes you’re just fucked”, Star Trek II, cannibalism, Eric objects, the physical world vs. unconditional love, NASA staff need to read The Cold Equations, Steve Jobs (and his reality distortion field), a world full of things other than minds, smart by accident, Apollo 13, give the astronauts poetry, the title itself crystallizes the meaning, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a parametric center, how do we maintain individuality in the face of fascism?, the vehicle/tenor heuristic, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway, the car is the parametric central of The Great Gatsby, martian vampires, Apollo 1 disaster, Velcro and oxygen, “a failure of imagination”, learning from the past, the metaphor falls and leaves behind a lesson about reality.
Discussed on the show: A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, a flexible chronology, Luke’s first Isaac Asimov review for SFBRP, Robert A. Heinlein, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov (and Robert Silverberg) is bad, Isaac Asimov has ideas to spare, the Wikipedia entry for The End Of Eternity, “what clever idea can I use, in time travel, that hasn’t been used before”, time loops, time barriers, “are you your own grandpa?”, Poul Anderson’s time corps, bureaucracy, how does time travel work?, time travel is discovered, eternity is a place outside of time, powering a time travel technology is easy if you can time travel, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the “kettle”, Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder, A Gun For Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp, time lords?, Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick, Back To The Future, remembering the works of culture and developments in realities that no longer exist, 13 different versions of the complete works of William Shakespeare, the academic background of professorial jockeying, are there two different endings for The End Of Eternity?, being outside of time, “the outside of the inside of eternity”, the malleability of reality through time travel, a limited butterfly effect, the inertia of history, killing Hitler, William The Conqueror vs. King Harold Godwinson, Genghis Kahn’s descendants, computers (the vocation) vs. computers (the devices), technicians don’t get any respect, “They feel an unspoken collective guilt which causes them to scapegoat the ‘Technicians’, the experts who actually execute Reality Changes by doing something that will alter the flow of events.”, a caste system, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, making changes by setting your mind to it, Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Harlan is a bit of a dim bulb, Demolition Man, time travel as a secret (paralleling magic as a secret), The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, mutable realities, the grandfather paradox, unmanipulated reality, alternate history, Sidewise In Time by Murray Leinster, later Heinlein novels, unrestricted freedom in multiple realities can be extremely disheartening, Groundhog Day, infinite universes are boring, By His Bootstraps by Robert A. Heinlein, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, making a knot out of your own timeline, giving a young William Shakespeare a copy of The Complete Works Of Shakespeare, motherless objects and motherless ideas, giving your younger self an object (or advice), multiple timelines, “if that’s possible then that’s not possible”, time traveller’s convention, BoingBoing’s time travelers (I and II), European Juggling Convention 2003, Time Travel #2 Advanced Time Travel Techniques, Paradoxes For Beginners, Harlan Ellison, Murder At The ABA by Isaac Asimov, Darius Dust (dry as dust), Tales Of The Black Widowers, sexism, women are not suitable time travelers, an apocryphal tale of the Obamas, energy bodies, sending a message from the past to the future, you have an energy body but paper magazines?, a future vs. the future, The Door Into Summer, Escape Pod’s recording of All You Zombies, Asimovian characters, The End Of Eternity is about Earth, House Of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, something so big and so mind bogglingly complex, SFFaudio Podcast #073 George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides, “Gregg Margarite and that other guy (Jesse) are losers”, batshit theories, Eric S. Rabkin, Adam and Eve, fairy tales, sex, “the unconscious does exist”, Luke’s original fiction, “we do these podcasts for ourselves”, interesting bullshit, Luke’s Creative Podcast (with Gregg Margarite), “make your own podcast if you don’t like one.”
The SFFaudio Podcast #145 – Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Jesse, Tamahome, Professor Eric S. Rabkin and Jenny discuss Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. |ETEXT|
Talked about on today’s show:
Tam can’t trust anyone over 25, Jesse’s review in 2008, re-reading Little Brother in 2012, South Carolina, did Jenny vote Herman Cain (Stephen Colbert)?, SOPA/PIPA, non-fiction essay combined with YA, cliche, didacticism vs. propaganda vs. agitprop, we loved the infodumping, the underlying Oedipal structure, Robert A. Heinlein, libertarian bent, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes, ‘this book has well devolved mythic structure’, levers vs. buttons, relevance, Homer, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the future of money, Luke Burrage’s review of Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom, money is hard to understand, Little Brother is a call to arms, National Defense Authorization Act (suspending habeous corpus as outlined in Article One of the United States Constitution), Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Ms. Galvez’s Social Studies class, history, Heinleinian straw men vs. Doctorowan straw men, DHS, TSA, pebbles in your shoes, gait recognition, Oedipus = lame-foot, Charles Walker, the yippies, “this is a masterwork”, Jesse hates sequels, will the sequel to Little Brother deliver anything like what we might expect?, idea based writing vs. character based writing, w1n5t0n, trust, Marcus’ moral problem (RFID cloning without consent for the “greater good”), what act of violence is allowable?, moral relativism, the ends vs. the means, adolescence, “when is it time to overthrow the government?”, treason, Jenny makes “a gorgeous point”, Cory Doctorow’s choice to set Little Brother in, Law & Order (Lenny Briscoe), British North American Act, Canada didn’t have a bill of rights until 1981, The Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Canada’s founding fathers are not demi-gods, Byron Sonne, G-20, is Little Brother a libertarian book?, “freedom is something you have to take for yourself”, Friedrich Hayek, Prometheus Award, the government of California is the hero (or the CHP), authority tries to perpetuate itself, UC Berkley, sex, juvenile vs. YA, “we live on Mars but we keep our houses extremely hot”, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, The Dervish House, Ready Player One, The Diamond Age, Eric makes a minor discovery, Big Brother -> Little Brother, Star-Begotten by H.G. Wells has the origin of “Big Brother”, Olaf Stapledon, “man is the boy who won’t grow up”, Spanish Civil War, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (aka The Children Of The Damned), The Iron Heel by Jack London, comparing Doctorow with London, what is propaganda?, pamphleteering, Joseph Goebbels, Eric thinks etymologically, propagation and ideology, the Wikipedia entry on propaganda, is The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress propaganda?, “Oceania is now”, more strawful men, Sinclair Lewis, agitprop fiction, Science Fiction, “it’s a call to arms”, being a hacker, “go forth and hack my children”, “pay attention”, Gitmo by the bay, Iraq, Hacking The X-Box, Mac vs. PC ads, the hacker ethic is the science ethic, LARPing, “just to be smarter about the world around me”, alternative schooling, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), SkyTrain, The People Mover (The DPM), jitney, first person perspective, how to care, the terrorism detector and super-AIDS, Jane Jacobs, Jenny’s favourite character was Andrew, crystallizing the Oedipal issues, the Scoville scale, “the word is mister”, Ange vs. mom, The Tempest, severe haircut lady’s sadism, The Dark Knight Returns, is there a hero-normative angle?, The Puppet Masters, Friday, Have Spaceship-Will Travel, the ideal audience, Good Night Moon, Kirby Heybourne’s narration, transitional objects, Cory’s analogies are wonderful, taking a hiatus from Science Fiction, a pleased (but silent) smile, Jesse still has all his LEGO, a balding grey haired kid, Paranoid Linux, Jenny is ambivalent about whether she is of two minds, that couldn’t really happen here … could it?, Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom, the closer you get to power the more obvious it becomes, idelogical blindness, Drew wants to be able to believe, “He loved big brother.”
The 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 Hobbes‘ Leviathan, “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.
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.
1. 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 .
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.