The SFFaudio Podcast #662 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson.
Talked about on today’s show:
Lawful Good, a novella, 1953, 1961, Appendix N, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, garish sky, the alignment stuff in D&D, the axes on the alignment, true neutral, lawful, neutral, chaotic, cosmic battle, all the problems Jesse had with Dungeons & Dragons, its ideology, a war between the baddies and the goodies, the lawful forces and the forces of discord, implying our reality, mapped as evil, our swanmaid, lots of grey, the framing story, playing the lawful good role in both worlds, hence he’s a paladin, everybody has to pick an alignment, neutral evil thief and a lawful good paladin, deliciously great roleplay, sticks in their mud, a good role player takes that to heart, character drama, flexible morals, against the enemy of his god, an impediment to the adventure and the swashbuckling vs. character dramas, so codified, the rules are there to be discarded, the rules are there to help you, the one true way, a meta-game, applying it to human beings, Captain America is Lawful Good, Spiderman is just plain good, everything is way more complicated than that, the nine different possibilities, Odo in the top left hand corner, Gul Dukat in the bottom right hand corner, Quark is neutral good, what constitutes these things, a grievance against Gary Gygax, this whole matter of France mythology, Charlemagne, Anthony Boucher’s introduction, “the possible and the impossible”, science fantasy, Groff Conklin, Great Folk Epic, The Vault Of Time, H. Rider Haggard, The Incomplete Enchanter, Fletcher Pratt, L. Sprague De Camp, Roland, travel between worlds, taking from Matters, martial paladin focused, a different kind of heroism, riddles, the outer narrator, not that great a book, a grab bag of different adventures, the order of the episodes, the creatures in the woods, a bear, a lion, an owl, material to furnish, very cozy, bookending the story, Edgar Rice Burroughs, later serialized in F&SF: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, a dwarf and a lady princess, transported to a fairy realm, more playfully comic, not a humour piece, the portal aspect, a museum in England, more of a satire, a fantasy romp, does Jesse just not like fantasy?, unstructured, romping around, referencing, Graustark, another Zenda ripoff, playing around, a quest, The Wizard Of Oz, he stole that too, a crossover episode, more time with the Dane bicycling around Europe, WWII adventures, chaos vs. law, a force for law in all the worlds, he had saved Niels Bohr, the audiobook, Bronson Pinchot, a slog via text, Huckleberry Finn, accents in the text, Danish accent?, the drift, an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, the dumb Scandinavian, pumps you up like McBain, read more H. Rider Haggard, Eric Brighteyes, the point of the story, a straightforward muscleman, the ladies think he’s very sexy, be a sophisticate, ElvenQuest, one of the these fantasy authors, eight book in the series, contempt for his audience, the “chosen one”, his dog is transformed into a human, all about the stereotypes, the fantasy enchanted forest with a silly name, the trolls work the same in both ways, about the tropes, the evil point of view, he’s got your eyes, the ur version of that, if you make it a comedy…, humorous but not a comedy, Stephen Mangan, the Dirk Gently TV show, problematic stuff?, the Swanmaiden, cat-fighting, every D&D player, troll regeneration, Tolkien’s trolls in The Hobbit, entertaining, the Wild Hunt, fatalistic pessimism, elegiac, The Broken Sword, contemplative vs. upbeat, things to notice, Bertrand Russell, Logical Positivism, this is a real guys, this is real guys, most things in philosophy are massive failures, history is the study of failures, reaching in a way that Dunsany doesn’t, going Catholic in the end, he’s picking a team, Christianity is a true religion, assuming medieval role, team order, he believes in beer, kind of all over, crafting vs. spinning, Tolkien vs. Anderson, crafted vs. a product of craft, a Poul Anderson Planet Stories story, going in to fight chaos, the length?, the werewolf and the witch and the nixie, collecting a crew, the dwarf just shows up, the Muslim knight, Papillon, no payoff, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, a satire, the analog for Papillon, mental energy, maybe mind was transferred into the body of another guy, what is the explanation?, magic, interesting, not just a secondary world fantasy, not enough to justify anything, why do I need this entrance into this world?, a payoff in a meta-way, konking, Guardians Of The Flame by Joel Rosenberg, the opening sequence and the first episode of the Dungeons And Dragons cartoon, I know spells I guess, hey look there’s Tiamat, a lost Scandinavian epic, writing in that vein, the meta-setup, quasi-science, a grab bag of different ideas, Vancian magic, Jeffro Johnson’s Appendix N, finally the explanation, the ideology of alignment, if we impose this on the system, Darth Vader is Lawful Evil, Jabba is Chaotic Evil, Anakin as a kid is Neutral?, can kids have alignment?, age of maturity age of reason, suddenly I’m neutral evil, something wrong with this system, Hoger?, name conveniently placed on the saddle, saddlebag stuff, not the most law-abiding type, the outer-narrator’s explanation, God has provided, the “balance” of the Force, like magic, implying the universe comes up with that, a meta-flaw, as soon as Obi Wan Kenobi spins up a bunch of lies, Ming the Merciless, a roguish guy, neutral good, when Obi Wan was lying to you he was doing it for a good reason, Yoda on Dagobah, Zen koans, don’t go into that cave, don’t save your friends, that stuff was stupid, tear it all down, abandoning the alignment system is so meta, we need it to to have a film, a conflict of good vs. evil is replaced by a conflict with the alignment system itself, broken from the beginning, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are thieves, neutral at best, Paul’s range of alignment only includes good and neutral, are there people who you want to spend time with who play lawful evil?, tear it all down, for NPCs, if we go to Ivanhoe, the restoration of law, fighting an evil law makes you chaotic, confine the alignment system to lawyers offices, the Duke boys on The Dukes Of Hazzard, Boss Hogg is evil but lawful, want to steal Daisy Duke’s cutoffs, the top of their car is evil, what knights really are, they’re samurais, very egoistic, the heraldic crest, all very fun, villain means serf, taking the sides of the elites, ultimately there’s something wrong, fantasy is dangerous, God brought him his horse, hence his conversion to Catholicism, when God gives Jesse a horse he’ll have to convert to Catholicism, the super-fantasy element, the escapist element, what he was doing in his own life was interesting enough, finding a way back, looking through Grimoires, shouted out in The Number Of The Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, a podcast we recorded seven months ago, The Pursuit Of the Pankera, giant problems, way longer, all science fiction and fantasy is in it, they 666 worlds, parallel universes, more time on Barsoom, more time in Oz, E.E. Doc Smith’s Galactic Patrol, not your best intro to Heinlein, go with Glory Road or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, the book that broke Paul, Star Ship, Tau Zero, Sargasso Of Lost Starships, Flight To Forever, Brain Wave, The High Crusade, a fun idea story that’s not too long, Virgin Planet, terrorbirds, The Golden Slave, Lord Of A Thousand Suns, Out Of The Iron Womb, Swordsman Of Lost Terra, Tiger By The Tail, stuck into Thieves’ World, Inside Earth by Poul Anderson.
The SFFaudio Podcast #648 – The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs; read by Delmar H. Dolbier. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (9 hours 16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Alex.
Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in All-Story, 1914 and 1915, reasons for confusion, the first half of this book is The Mad King, the second half is Barney Of Beatrice, follow ups, The Eternal Lover, some Tarzan action, Barney’s sister, the reincarnation of a cave man, who is this person, a spark, literary universe, paired the spares, paired with an unfrozen caveman, least favourite ERB, comparisons to The Prisoner Of Zenda, A Princess Of Mars, The Mucker, Robert E. Howard’s The Black Stone, H.P. Lovecraft, a stupid bet, honor, Barney has principles, Paul!, a no shaving contest, a true hero, never compromise, keeping in bearded and mustached, part of the genre, it tells you everything about Burroughs and Barney Custer, by reputation, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, whoa its Tarzan, before him stretched, the adjoining roof, clambering to the heights, he’s just swinging, Barney Custer invented parkour, the way the doubling was handled, the dependence on random chance, easily fixed with five minutes of work, his father was a soldier of fortune, a little background, car crashes, his car lands on the king, a eugenicist, princess genes, Colonel Custer, Custer was loser, fought against unbeatable odds, the rep he had, character flaws built right in, Barney is more prudent, The Efficiency Expert, the Austrian firing squad, the Serbian resistance, random luck, language, the shopkeeper spoke really good German, a German state, why this book isn’t as great as it should be, Rupert Of Hentzau, a guy going to an Eastern European country from England, a Germanic state, past Austria, he goes home, every year after, a rose kissed by his princess girlfriend, the best bad guy from the first book, a rogue, he’ll happily betray you and laugh about it, the first half of this book is the complete novel of Anthony Hope’s ZENDA and the second half maps to the second book RUPERT OF HENTZAU, the honorable thing to do, a scandal, one of his ancestors stole away a princess, cousins of the princess, the flaw in the first book is the sequel, going back and fixing the kingdom again, he leaves Lutha, that’s why this book is not as good as it should be, pathetic corrupt Europeans going to war, vs. the Americans know what to do, handwaved in the first, this king is bad from the start, a weak coward, a two-hander, the timing, March 21, 1914, serialized over three issues in 1915, WWI, Serbia, an analogy for World War I, the Black Hand, retconned, the location of Lutha comes in the second half of this book, 1-12 and 1-13, sneaks into a war torn country, the first half is set in at least 1913 the second half is set in August 1914, Anthony Hope’s novel is a fantasy, a portal fantasy, the Emperor of Austria/Hungary, not fully unified, two books in one book, from a fantasy into a John Buchan story (like The Thirty Nine Steps), the meld is ok, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Genovia, the novel is dated after a couple of years, Bulgaria, right at the heart of WWI, Casablanca (1942), Lichtenstein, Andorra, European principalities, the White Raja Of Sarawak, Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel, adopting foreigners as their kings, pistols, horses, and an automobile and an airplane, and artillery, does Zenda have two F-16s? does Lutha have Migs?, “He Conquered A Dyak Army And Turned All Borneo Into His Private Kingdom”, Pacific castaways, little kings, Omoo by Herman Melville, Typee, The Man Who Would Be King, trophy dwarves and trophy whites, Amazing!, a second son of a British lord, family bastards, kinda legit, so many layers of mirrors, falling asleep in a field, at the very core, its a guy who comes from the peerage vs. son of a farmer, a princesses husband, everybody is on the same level (theoretically), how beautiful the women were, his car and his guns, a princess equivalent of his mom, he reverses the story, he’s ruling as Barney, a legit claim, ultimately he’s a king, blood, right, [marriage], decorum, deed, spanking the Austrian army, we know, his princess is his legitimation, fun and interesting, a funny situation, an American repudiating a system of equality, the King’s Word Is Law, pretty horrible, Burroughs isn’t focused on that, American virtues, pluck and attitude, the fantasy coming an reasserting, always acting honorably, avoids lying, the king wills this, the blood of the royals runs through my veins, the way Burroughs wrote this, I’m not sure which guy is doing what, Barney being merciful (by not killing him) is actually cowardice, the play of which guy are we actually looking at, they look identical but the King is a little pudgier, they look identical in the second book, they look similar in the first book, except when he smile sneers, Dave (1993), the princess is Sigourney Weaver, he runs an employment agency, Jesse’s not an American, American gyms, Americans practiced circumcision, are Evan and Alex and Paul circumcised?, William Kellogg, less common, lets talk about your penis some more, a Germanic king of eastern Europe, The Return Of Martin Guerre, my foreskin got shot off, mapping moles on the kings back, Natalie Zemon Davis, Human Is by Philip K. Dick, also a Deep Space Nine episode (the Pah-wraiths), Keiko comes back bad, we need the bad angels, a person looking exactly like another person, first cousins, little bit legit, the book can still work as a whole novel, the weld is not perfect, why the book isn’t as good as it should be, Robin Hood in the mountains, instantly bandits, war leader, sneaking into the country, belt full of guns, for reasons, so many sneaking ins, the spy that looks like the girl’s boyfriend, Stephan, a double, she sold him out, he’s cuddling her, frees the prisoners, randomly survived being shot, the Serbian spy, a ragtag militia, the writers’ room on this one was out to lunch, I’m just going to die, funny comedy, they’re gaslighting each other but they don’t want to be, you’re mad, our hero Barney, stealing a car, scenes that don’t go anywhere, the first half is one issue, the second half is three issues (so all cliffhangers), the coincidences are artificial, iron things out, funny and cute vs. Lord Of The Rings, chess pieces moving around, from Sword And Sorcery to High Epic Fantasy, two teams, the evil team, a Mexican standoff, the six vs. the ten, the princess shuttling between them, inkeepers and inkeepers daughters, a cozy Doctor Who episode, Star Trek, expands out, sentence by sentence writer, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, more American exceptionalism, the boss vs. the king, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, a failure, falling asleep vs. being hit on the head, falls asleep surrounded by corpses, a satire or a parody, earnest and honorable, participates in whatever’s going on, what makes him awesome, able to ride a horse, good with a sword, bringing democracy to Lutha, bringing democracy to Barsoom, The Pursuit Of The Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein, tourism, exploitation, a very strange sequence in a very strange book, Blackadder Series 3, Rowan Atkinson, American TV Shows One Episode Of A Time is Evan’s other podcast, George III, WWI, descending in status, a descent, Duel And Duality, who gets to be king, ridiculous, upheaval and murder, Alexander the Great’s generals, second sons of farmers, every tenth child goes off to the church, Crusader Kings, crusader monks, clerical work, clerk and clark, the plotting of the book, does the first half work on its own, tracks the guy half-way around the world, randomly, a small continent.