The SFFaudio Podcast #505 – READALONG: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #505 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Talked about on today’s show:
1894, not a novel, not a collection in the normal sense, Kipling wrote the whole thing for his daughter, a book of children’s stories, died at six years old, when Kipling left India, the Just So Stories, an inscribed edition, the opposite of a sad book, sad or not sad, wonderful or interesting, the law of the jungle, it’s not all Mowgli stories, a natural progression, the first story about the white seal, interacting with men Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Her Majesty’s Servants, distressing, suffering, war, circling back, that’s just life, finding Shangri La, he lead his people to the promised land, his friend’s skin is missing, hard-hearted, beast of burden, the perspective Kipling sympathized with, the lower ranks, the simple working guys, stead in battle, Jesse’s not very quick with the “themes” in the book, obedience, finding your place in society, a template for the Baden Powell scouts, interaction with nature as a system, all these animals are for us to eat, an exemplar, how many tendrils have grown through to our modern day society, Kim, how influential the book is, the Great Game, Tim Powers’ Declare, religious power in the desert, in the background, Hathi Trust, its from this book, (if there is a) God’s work, preserving the ephemera of 19th and 20th century magazines, a scraper, such a good resource, big systems don’t operate for human beings, wow of course, elephants never forget, and they’re wise, you cannot not remember it, Tantor.com, the elephant from Tarzan Of The Apes, the Indian word for elephant, from 0 to 6, relearn all the things that he learned, low-lifes, lesser-down, class stuff, when Mowgli goes to town, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wow, that’d make a good story, Tarzan is Mowgli’s story in Africa, a series of lessons, Tarzan is pure fantasy, a tiger in Africa, colonialism, a fable, a fantasy, not writing from experience, no sympathy and fellow feeling, no existential crisis, lynching, a justified revenge, the scene with the white seal, Mowgli is no king, lessons to learn, that amazing idea, I don’t know where everything came from, a huge splash, the ripples are reaching us today, why is this thing continuing?, that’s why its a book, half the stories aren’t even in the jungle, the law of the jungle, bringing human values into the jungle and taking jungle values out of the jungle, when Dick is on my back, the bullocks: “here’s all we know”, how would they interact with each other, the Emir of Afghanistan, are the beasts as wise as the men?, thus is it done, sucked into the Bollywood musical experience, Lagaan (2001), the desire of the little guy to get out from under, here’s how the British were able to conquer, they obey as men do, Animal Farm, a Mr. Spock haircut, one more author, Jack London, H.G. Wells, stealing from a great, The Call Of The Wild and White Fang, Buck did not read the newspapers, the error of his arrogance, shanghaied!, the most amazing story, Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe, you don’t know what pain is, the pain of the animals, Mowgli’s parenthood, a picture of Kim, all the writers who write really well, the story of Kipling as a boy, taking aspects of his own life and magnifying them, Christopher Nolan’s movie, you monster!, what is true and what is love?, an innate sense, the irony, such a deep love of humanity, the mother wolf, melancholy, the potential of man, super-modern, there’s no distance between me, William Morris, Thomas Mallory, the dosts, distancing grammar, if Riki-Tiki-Tavi was written today, intimate and close, a light and fun one, snake deaths, so evil, they’re good (to eat), just following their natures, this is my job, the perfect look at man and creature together, each following their own natures, his business in life was to fight and eat snakes, being nuzzled in a bag, why people like to hang out with puppies and kittens, he has a place, verandah, tiny little dogs, handbag dogs, a different kind of love, dogs domesticated people, wheat also domesticated people, fruit trees domesticated human, cows and chickens, being on a dog’s level, co-existing, Toomai Of The Elephants, complete domestication, we are witness to the majesty of animals, Elephant Boy (1937), the radio drama, distancing vs. intimate, he writes good, another strain, Cat People (1942), Val Lewton’s The Bagheeta, that’s crazy, The Body Snatcher (1945), I Walked With A Zombie (1943), The Black Bagheela by Bassett Morgan, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein, important and interesting, Extra Credits, Cordwainer Smith, Jerome K. Jerome, The Idler, Vermont, influencing Heinlein, Citizen Of The Galaxy, Stranger In A Strange Land, Virginia Heinlein suggested Heinlein write the Jungle Book except with a boy raised by Martians, H.G. Wells, Charles Stross, Saturn’s Children, a hidden history behind the books were really like, working on something true, working through the ideas, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline, fully illustrated, modern kid’s books (also for adults) that are fully illustrated, a tribute, people who dislike Kipling, “it would be a poor sort of world if one were only able to read authors who expressed points of view that one agreed with entirely. It would be a bland sort of world if we could not spend time with people who thought differently, and who saw the world from a different place.”, too problematic, let’s just read this book, do the life story’s of the authors matter?, O. Henry, The Gift Of The Magi, a criminal fraudster, rewarded and moral to be a fiction writer, Roman Polanski, Chinatown (1974), Arthur Conan Doyle, being modest about your claims about being a super-genius, foolishly doubling down on the ridiculous, Theodore Roosevelt, sometimes we’re just stupid about things, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, fascinated and hopeful, it humanizes them, a troubling trend, don’t watch the news, seeing a whole life, people being thin-skinned, Facebook or Twitter, performative, Logan Paul, famous for nothing, in the 1920s the way these kind of people got attention is they climbed up to the top of a flagpole, reality TV stars, in anticipation of reading The Graveyard Book, A Fine And Private Place by Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, written at age 19, in fantasy circles, Julianne Kutzendorf, working from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, a hidden history of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Juliane Kunzendorf, a Rudyard Kipling poem entitled M.I., the influences known or unknown, poetry, exploding with connections, giant spiderwebs, Saki aka H.H. Munro, Sredni Vashtar, twisted, is Jesse crazy?, reincarnation, an otter, a little brown servant boy, a very Indian concept, an alternative Kipling, charged by a cow, a hedgehog, Rumer Godden, going native, fraternizing with everybody, common experience and childhood, Anne Of Green Gables, Craftlit, H.H. Munro story entitled The Storyteller,

An aunt is travelling by train with her two nieces and a nephew. The children are inquisitive and mischievous. A bachelor is also travelling in the same compartment. The aunt starts telling a moralistic story, but is unable to satisfy the children’s curiosity. The bachelor butts in and tells a story in which a “good” person ends up being devoured by a wolf, to the children’s delight. The bachelor is amused by the thought that in the future the children will embarrass their guardian by begging to be told “an improper story.”

the aunt is an exemplar of a certain kind of person, the short term, bad governorship, being sensitive to the needs of the people you are in charge of, inverting the aunt’s story, horribly good, what a great story!, this story could have happened, managing children, a teaching story, thinking about yourself as an audience.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #123 – Remarkable Story Of Chicken Little by Anonymous

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #123

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Remarkable Story Of Chicken by Anonymous

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Remarkable Story Of Chicken Little was first published in 1840 (in English).

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

BBC Radio 4: Dangerous Visions

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4Dangerous Visions “A season of dramas that explore contemporary takes on future dystopias” is the title for new BBC Radio 4 programming that airs from Saturday June 15 to Friday June 21, 2013.

Here’s the official description:

Alternative worlds dominate radio drama this week. To complement productions of The Drowned World and Concrete Island (next week) by the master of the near future J.G. Ballard, writers imagine their own dystopias in our season Dangerous Visions. As well as the maternal death syndrome threatening the survival of the human race in The Testament Of Jessie Lamb, dramatised from her own novel by Jane Rogers, the original plays ask what happens if sleep is outlawed? If cloning becomes a matter of course, and your loved ones are indistinguishable from their cloned replicants? If North London declares UDI against the wasteland of South London? If human sacrifice becomes an accepted necessity? If one man becomes immortal? Along with other related programmes on Radio 4, 4 Extra completes the season with a chilling new four-part serialisation of William Golding’s classic fable, Lord of the Flies, exploring the very essence of good and evil.

Here are the programs, and related goodness:

Saturday 15th June:

Dangerous Visions: The Sleeper
Radio 4, 1430: A fable for our times. In The Sleeper by Michael Symmons Roberts we see our own society as it is today but with one familiar element removed. This is a Britain in which, decades ago, human beings gradually lost the gift of sleep. With Maxine Peake and Jason Done.

Archive on 4: Very British Dystopias
Radio 4, 2000: Beneath the calm surface of British politics, lurking in the imaginations of some of our leading writers, terrible things have happened. Professor Steven Fielding examines these dystopian visions which have gripped creative and public imaginations.

Lord of the Flies: Fire on the Mountain (part 1 of 4)
Radio 4 Extra, 2300: William Golding’s classic story about a group of boys plane-wrecked on a deserted island. New dramatisation by Judith Adams, with Ruth Wilson narrating.

Sunday 16th June:

Dangerous Visionaries
Radio 4, 1445: As Radio 4 begins its new season of Dystopic Dramas, Dangerous Visions, the playwright and poet Michael Symmons Roberts wonders how close the gap between imagining and living in dystopia actually is.

Dangerous Visions: The Drowned World
Radio 4, 1500: JG Ballard’s story of a scientific mission surveying drowned cities. This is a future where the earth’s atmosphere, and human consciousness, has eroded. Adapted by Graham White.

Dangerous Visions: Face to Face with JG Ballard
Radio 4 Extra, 1800: The late author of Empire of the Sun and many works of speculative fiction reveals his perspective on the world and the media.

Monday 17th June:

Dangerous Visions: The Testament Of Jessie Lamb
Radio 4, 1045/1945, Monday to Friday: Jane Rogers dramatises her award winning dystopian novel about a teenage girl who decides to save humanity. Starring Holliday Grainger as Jessie Lamb.

Dangerous Visions: Billions
Radio 4, 1415: Blake Ritson and Raquel Cassidy star in Ed Harris’s wicked tale of love and deception, in which Mark comes home to find a replacement wife provided by her insurance company.

Tuesday 18th June:

Dangerous Visions: Invasion
Radio 4, 1415: On his return from Mars, Astronaut Kadian Giametti wakes up in quarantine. Slowly he discovers that the world outside his cell has changed beyond recognition.

Wednesday 19th June:

Dangerous Visions: London Bridge
Radio 4, 1415: In Nick Perry’s dark vision of the future, the River Thames has become a border separating the crime-free police state of North London from the lawless slumland of the South.

Thursday 20th June:

Dangerous Visions: Death Duty
Radio 4, 1415: In Michael Butt’s dark vision of the future, a city-state plagued by drought has instituted a system of sacrifice in a desperate measure to bring about rain. With Nicholas Jones.

[Thanks to David and Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #186 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Lady, Or The Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #186 – An unabridged reading of The Lady, Or The Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton (17 minutes), read by David Federman – followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, and Julie Hoverson (of 19 Nocturne Boulevard).

Talked about on today’s show:
Monty Hall, Let’s Make A Deal, a can of sardines, a donkey and a block of hay, the Dungeons & Dragons meaning of “Monty Hall”, use in schools, weighting the scales, what is the character of women?, equally loving and equally jealous, love vs. jealousy, how barbaric are women?, where are the female criminals, a fully barbaric king, trial by ordeal, a box with a viper, a box with a knife, the swift choice, a curious justice system, jaywalking into the people’s court, like father like daughter, women were so emotional, unmodernizable sexism, guilt, there are tigers behind both doors, The Price Is Right, imaginary morality in an imaginary land, fairness conflated with arbitrariness, “when he and himself agreed upon anything”, Julie’s problem with philosophy, game theory, a thought experiment, Ray Bradbury style stories convey Bradburian feelings vs. Rorschachian style stories which elicit only the reader’s feelings, The Discourager Of Hesitancy (a sequel to The Lady, Or The Tiger?), smile vs. frown, Batman, Two-Face’s decisions are not actually coin tosses, The Man in The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, I Ching, “the tiger does not eat the straw because the duck has flown away”, phone psychics should agree with their customers, “the cards are telling me…”, psychics as impartial observers, a Ponzi scheme, selection bias, is it a double bluff?, does the father know that the daughter knows?, what is the punishment for adultery?, obsolete pop-culture, zoot suit riots (not just a joke, seriously), “six of one, half a dozen of the other”, “as snug as a bug in a rug”, we have to invent rug technology, nitpicking, Bugs Bunny dialogue, Max Headroom (is still ahead of it’s time), “blipvert”, They Live, shantytowns in the Regan era, Shock Treatment, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

DC Comics - Unexpected,  Issue 106, Page 11

The Lady Or The Tiger (variation for a story in Amazing) preliminary art by Ed Emshweiller

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

Review of Middle Woman by Orson Scott Card

SFFaudio Review

Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show Audio Bonus - Middle WomanMiddle Woman
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Mary Robinette Kowal
1 MP3 File – 9 Minutes 57 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
Published: March 2006
Themes: / Fantasy / Fable / Dragons / 3 Wishes /Immortality /

This is the second “Audio Bonus” from Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show online magazine, the plan appears to be to offer one bonus MP3 story per issue. Cool!

Orson Scott Card’s short fiction is connected to people in ways that other speculative fiction often isn’t. Realistic character psychology always takes the lead over scenarios, but his scenarios always test his characters’ psychologies – it makes for a special completeness rarely found in Speculative Fiction. Combine this with a refinement of prose, where every word is perfectly placed, and you get a little piece of magic in every OSC story. In this case, “Middle Woman” is a fable style fiction, another variation of that old saw “the three wishes”. Originally published under OSC’s pseudonym “Byron Walley”, it takes the idea of moderation, something almost always absent from fables, and runs with it. It reminded me of a kinder, gentler version of Robert Bloch’s classic That Hellbound Train. Interestingly, it also offers a more restive solution to W.W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw. The setting is Eastern, and given the “middle” of the title I suspect it is working in the ‘middle kingdom’ style of storytelling. Whether I’m right about that or not you’ll have to check it out yourself to decide.

Quite short, only 9 minutes, this is ably read by Mary Robinette Kowal who manipulates her voice in all the right ways to lend classic fairy tale reading to this modern fable. In addition to being a terrific narrator, Kowal is a professional puppeteer who also moonlights as speculative fiction author. “Middle Woman” is the Audio Bonus found in Issue Two of the online magazine Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

DISCLAIMER: Mary Robinette Kowal, when not reading stories aloud is an SFFaudio reviewer.

Posted by Jesse Willis