The SFFaudio Podcast #663 – Murder In The Gunroom by H. Beam Piper – read by Anthony Wilson. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (6 hours 46 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer and Trish E. Matson.
Talked about on today’s show:
1953, a dedication, Colonel Henry W. Shoemaker, WWII, 1947, post-WWII, German stuff, The Prisoner, the mind-switching, consciousness swapping vs. body swapping, heil, the US is going crazy right now, Shicklegruber’s war, ink stained, Corporal Kavalein, an insufflator, m’god sarge, lousy with prints, half the wehrmacht, war crimes commission, if published today, the sting or the bite, historical novels, references, half of average readers, The Hill’s Rising with Ryan Grim explaining how WWII worked, the reason we fought WWII, the Russians did that, ignorance of history is ubiquitous, Civilization games, nobody knows all of Egyptian history, nobody can keep up, recording, She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, the Mongol dynasty in China, two ways of reading this book, a locked room mystery book, Agatha Christie style, its a cozy, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, his first novel, more about firearms than it is about mysteries, poisons, all Christie does is poisons, a WWI nurse, medicines are poisons, a slow acting agent, gun collecting, a setup for a series, a business owner vs. a private detective, the exception that will always happen, detectives who work for him, posing as a butler, more Rex Stouty or Nero Wolfey, amateur detectives, Miss Marple, Poirot, as a detective mystery novel, locked room mysteries, know who the murderer a page before, playing a game with the author, a good writer can pull it off for the reader, Murder By Death (1976), a game you play solo, a historical document of 1947, a window into time, reading books like this is understanding 1947 in no other way, three major things going on, smoking, they must all stink so bad, drinking, how much of an alcoholic are you?, a nymphomaniac and a dipsomaniac, guns, the subset of people involved, a stamp collecting society, what person would us a collectible stamp, hence it was the butler, Charade (1963), Randall Garrett’s Napoli Express, a massive conspiracy by everyone, The Orient Express, equal reason to keep silent, having fun, self-parody, Jesse has the science on spoilers, some people don’t believe in science, masterfully handled for a first novel, digressions, sociological societies, less than 7 hours, a science fiction writer, they’re all him, what Piper’s life actually was like, was his first name Horace?, co-authored Piper’s first publication, Army intelligence guy, killed some Nazis, a stand in for Shoemaker, only pistols, the evolution of the pistol, the crooked arms merchant named Price?, Rivers, Lord Rivers, Richard III, creative about their backstories, a foreign dignitary, Pennsylvania history and folklore, marrying to wealth, railroad company, hanging out with a gun collector, bachelor, hanging out in the gunroom, why his name is in the dedication, why this colonel gets a colonelcy, a gentlemanly thing to do, Rand seems to not want to lie, misleading vs. lying, approaching with one of his many hats, general semantics, World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, a lot of Aristotle or Aristotelian thinking, its bullshit, important for Piper, use this method and you will be able to solve this mystery, more was than is, Alfred Korzybski, whatever them is, social and personal problems solvable, a messianic flavour, the one true way, dismissed in the 1960s, Science And Sanity An Introduction To Non-Aristotelian Systems, a plenum of some values, academic speak for I don’t know what I’m talking about, trying to make this a general semantics mystery novel, since that’s what the book is about, example: the word “unicorn”, it has a little beard, it smells nice, it has cloven hooves, vampire, a pejorative, a mythical creature, a bat from South American, in you images are conjured up that we should care about and try to understand, writing some kind of hobbyhorse, you can read it as a straight mystery, a lot of Rand’s detection starts with a lot of assumptions, he’s objectively correct in his universe, talking about the client, he judges her to be worthy, Tri-State Detective Agency, Jefferson Davis Rand, Ayn Rand + Jefferson Davis, some very American things going on, some guns, the NRA all over this, that’s investigation isn’t it, totally unbelievable, Gladys Fleming, the principles of general semantics, an untenable position, she’s a good chess player, when he’s talking to the science fiction author, I write for Astonishing Stories, don’t worry about the title (its just traditional), in 1947 Piper is not a known Science Fiction writer, useful for plotting, reading Astounding, John W. Campbell, this Dianetics is terrific!, this must be true!, too deep in the subject and not enough skepticism, S.I. Hayakawa, so practical and smart, the assessment of the gun estate, the executrix, the lawyer, being setup, its all right, super-competent, almost Heinleinian, not smarmy where a Heinleinian superman, technically bulletproof, carrying two pistols around randomly, this is also how he died, suicide, a strange echo, he would have written a note, Jesse’s general semantics hat, “gun violence”, he violently combed his mustache, he violently pet his dog, target shooting as violence, hunting animals, “putting to sleep”, euphemisms control our minds, conjuring up images of school shootings, homicides of other people, having access to firearms, completely natural, the parallels between H. Beam Piper and Robert E. Howard, the world does not cater to being a professional writer, losing their mothers, not a good industry, Weird Tales was not on a great financial footing, the paperback market, co-authorship, smoke or drink themselves to death, a lubrication to suicide, the oily rag, homicide of the self, brain fodder, a foreshadow, human beings seem to be the only animals prone to suicide, reach out and get help, a touchy and untalked about subject, a bad theory, Jim Jones’s thing, Heaven’s Gate, the connection between self-image and suicide, an absolute gentleman, an unmarried man’s man, the dream of H. Beam Piper, kind to widows, appreciating a woman who knows how to handle a firearm, turning down money and jobs at will, keep some shred of dignity, bachelor life vs. married life, irreconcilable, Nero Wolfe likes to play with his orchids, he’s rude, Archie Goodwin, ice cream, beer, the cozy aspect, hanging out with a Mary Sue character, the author is playing fair, going to Rivers’ shop, blackmail or coerce, trigger to the plot, seeing inside his head after a scene happens, not a plotting mistake, how well put together this plot is, monologues about guns, a huge audience for guns, goodreads reviews, a temporary problem on LibriVox, HOW. DARE. YOU., how to turn dropbox mp3s into a podcast HuffDuffer.com), thinking about this question, eliding gives a false image of the past, Overlord (2018), a black sergeant commanding white US Airborne soldiers, representation, Jews and Indians, a lot of what happens in fiction is idealization, private detectives do exist, an armoured car guy, the pre-mix, the corporate shenanigans, insider trading, a conflict of interest, very realistic, the relationship to the cops, the class stuff, the replacement butler, colleagues and friends with the boss, black people in this book, the whole thing is a fantasy, a reality for some people, hanging out with rich people -> rich people problems, fantasy situations, a very meta-book, one and done, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Our Man Bashir“, a holodeck adventure, Bashir’s cover identity is a rich playboy, more fun to write about a country house mystery, a cozy, the deep underbelly, Mike Hammer, hard-boiled, James Bond in the movies, Roger Moore is always smirking, a comedy in essence, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Renfaires have no mud farmers, pick your fantasy world, a brightly coloured disease free Renaissance, gay space communism, Carrie Vaughn’s Questland, a Dreampark scenario, the great appeal of Westworld, we get to dwell with the workers, the elites who rape and kill and swagger, sickos who wanna live there, treating what are essentially human beings as objects, getting into these metastories, general semantics will not get us out of WWIII, a little bit of perspective, letting shows peter-out…
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