Reading, Short And Deep #339 – I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #339

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud was first published in [William Wordsworth’s] Poems, Volume 2, 1807.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #655 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Gulliver Of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #655 – Gulliver Of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold; read by James Christoper. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (6 hours 6 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Lieut. Gulliver Jones: His Vacation, Richard Lupoff, this is amazing!, I’m going to change the name, the spelling on Gullivar vs. Gulliver, this modern decadent age, Gulliver’s Travels, more subtle, Lieut. Jones Of Mars, the author is not American, Edwin Lester Arnold, subtitled His Vacation, he’s vacated his premises and he’s nowhere to be found, listened twice, Jesse’s not a re-reader, read and listened, looking at the etext, listening is reading (tho not identical), reading with your fingers, reading with your eyes, reading with your ears, reading aloud, what colour is sorrel, a reddish horse colour, did you have a chance to look at the comics?, Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars, horror, westerns, kung-fu comics, Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, the barbarians push, Conan The Barbarian, Savage Sword Of Conan, now is the time when we do barbarians, Thongor, Thundaar, Crom the Barbarian, John Carter, DC/Marvel, Roy Thomas, competition for DC’s Edgar Rice Burroughs, American military officers on Mars saving princesses (or semi-saving princesses), the magic carpet becomes a floating disc, Lupov is a magic wizard, an inside joke, chestnut coloured, a green vegetable, the comic book adaptation, Jesse was lied to, not a rival for A Princess Of Mars, a well meaning bumbling doofus, he bumbles his way across the planet, open to a sequel, sequel possibilities, The Prisoner Of Zenda, John Carter (2012), The Pursuit OF The Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein, The Number Of The Beast, a queen dowager, basically around Barsoom, adventures on Mars for fun, low stakes, influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs, set on Mars, Planet Stories, 1905, 1911, having it set on Mars, Dynamite Comics crossover between Edgar Rice Burroughs and Gulliver Of Mars, the two Marses, the White Apes, the Tharks, the Red People, laying eggs, an alien planet, they seem to have pigs and horses, identical to Earth, disappointing, Earth analogue, She by H. Rider Haggard, the book within the book: The Secrets Of The Gods, first they came to Earth as Isis and Amon, populating these planets, Stargate, Paul fell into Jesse’s trap, how did you like this book, Maissa kinda liked it, a mishmash, Arabian Knights, a magic carpet, adventure to adventure, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, it didn’t feel science fictiony, similar to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, it was ok, it entertained Paul for 6 hours, the mundanity of Mars, a missed opportunity, he doesn’t know about the two moons, a comet that gives off heat and causes a drought, the hurtling moons in the sky, a sword over his head and two moons, super-naked, Mars is hot!, deserty tropical weather, Paul is more wrong and Maissa is wrong too, super-duper interesting, a satire, what is it a satire of?, chapter 2, this is not Mars of Barsoom, much more like H.G. Wells, the boy who he lands on, Ahn, takes him like a cigar and plunks him down on Mars, bounced onto a boy giving a lecture on gravity, they tumble down a hill together, that lecture’s over, they explore the society, she’s a priestess, a slave and a girl, the hither and the thither societies, this guy’s a doofus, weird situations, what is Jesse missing, how many flowers show up in the story, convolvulus (bindweed), his very antipode, Princess Heru, pulling a blue convolvulus bud to pieces, the language of flowers, most flowers have other names, the colours of flowers, marriage bonds, a golden pool and a silver fish, a scene as good as any in A Princess Of Mars, which implies delight to these people, he’s just a dumb strong American, fairly honest and very hungry, the drawer, these peace soaked triflers, slowly pulling a convolvulus bud to pieces, what things look like, to see the decadent ruined empire that is the hither people, endless food and no need to work, taking tribute, the story of Athens and Crete and the Minotaur, the Theseus story, a railroad kind of role playing game, find the key to unlock the door, an azure convolvulus flower, some barbarous and barren district (the United States), growing their boats, a repeated theme, the gentle damsel, damsel flies, pallid flowers, blazing like a bonfire, the heiress was swept aside, dragging Heru with them, her milk white arms, her face as lovely as a convolvulus flower, all was piece hear, the sky a lovely lavender, heavy scented convolvulus flowers, a skiff with a half dozen rowers, unconscious loveliness, tiny little detailed threads, he’s making fun of something, its definitely making fun of or engaging with The Time Machines, the Eloks and the Morloi (Eloi and Morlocks), Paul has read The Time Machine, Stephen Baxter’s authorized sequel, the official manga version of Anne Of Green Gables, she’s huge in Japan, normal time travel stories, most are to the past, the very first place he goes to is a future England the workers of the UK have turned into the Morlocks, mechanism vs. poetry, their entire world is a garden they don’t know how to take care of, the Morlocks tend them like sheep, the underclass now physically eat the upper class, those who went to university and studied poetry and their brains grew smaller, making dynamos and fixing trains, the slaves and the regular people, the slaves have no slave-masters, the priestesses of immaculate conception of humanity, the guardians of the great hopes and longings, triflers, dominoes coming down, evolution going backwards, their society became slothful, popular at the turn of the 20th century, the United States is Gulliver Jones, he’s a sailor, the water, he has to chase him down and wrestling him to the ground, he learned wrestling from the Chinese, he pulls out his sword and plants it in the ground and claims it for the United States, John Carter is not satire, going in the wrong direction thinking its an allegory for something, told from the point of view of a Brit, this up and comer, an ancient society with castles and palaces and tonnes of resources, they don’t have money, the marriage ceremony was fascinating as an idea, the hither people know money exists, the Canadian health care, wait in line for 3-4 5-6 hours, we are aware that things cost money but it doesn’t hurt us in the same way, see this as a non-currency society, plagued for endless ads for drugs, its insane in the United States, they have an economy they have to worry about, a terrible useless king has to give tribute to the thither people, the hairy barbarians, one female, we’re going to beat you about the head, Gulliver spends the majority of the story in barbarian lands, he meets a woodcutter who wants to fight him, they keep thinking he’s a ghost, we’re missing something huge going on in this book, a graduate thesis that would pay off in incredible dividends, a lot of girls, I have to ask you a personal question: be you a dude or be you not a dude?, nice to meet you, he loses everybody, a lady on an island, she’s cooking food in a pot, he drinks the entire stew, he at her fish, where they’re growing boats, imagine you’re a hunter gatherer in South America and plucked you into 1840s UK, wow, I’m a fish out of water, these gourd plants to make some navies, he’s a dumb sailor, what the implications, food grow without weeds, boats decanted from moulds, they’re all my boat, rideshares in the Netherlands, he’s trying to pay for everything with his buttons, it could be gold, the most interesting thing that happened to me, another guy just like me from the blue planet, he can barely get two words out a week and he’s all wispy, super-rich, almost none of it is science ficiton, picaresque bildungsroman, Jack Vance, Planet Of Adventure, suppressed by all others, one of the similarities, the palace library, a book being used as a mousetrap, given the gift of speech, he doesn’t have the gift of reading, all really awesome, straight out of the Bible, so boring, the breakfast gong sounds, let’s read more, key to understanding what reality is vs. breakfast, abusing an ancient tome, a baby or a puppy with a Gutenberg bible, heir to an ancient empire, the yellow dressed slaves, a brass bikini and yellow skin, not a good fit with Barsoom and John Carter, a satire like Gulliver’s Travels, the description of the carpet, the veil that separates the known from the unknown was rent, reviews behind paywalls, Evert Bleiler, Science Fiction The Early Years, 1990, science fantasy, interplanetary romance, a sea-dog, Polly Brown, a stange old man, a carpet with a sense of hummour, a simulacrum of a star map, a Schiaparellian Mars, telepathy, my teacher said the same thing, a romance with the Princess Heru, rigs the drawing, engaged for a year, King Hath, the tributary arrangement with the woodmen, the most beautiful woman with the court, the city of Seth, too drunk, the meat of the book, various perils, entombed in ice, he loots her remains too, he’s a bad guy, pretending to be a spirit, two tasks, his previous grave-robbing, Jones’ lust sated, taken by the slaves, the magic carpet transports him back to New York, promoted, off on a colossal bender, deflecting javelins by the power of will, Egypt, a trivial worked, badly planned, badly written, not proven, The Encyclopedia Of Fantasy, 1997, the common influence of Haggard’s She, not really trying, he tries, playful, philosophical devices as props, restlessness dissatisfaction, rein, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician, an unsuccessful farmer in Canada, a TV show adaptation, trivial, badly planned, badly written, the land of the dead, he keeps encountering females, he sees a princess on a raft, she falls on him, she’s dead, attacked by corpses, frozen people, a glacier of dead people, the baubles that come off the fingers, his rooming house, his land lady, steak and red tomatoes the colour of sunset, he eats a lot, missing buttons, his pants slid down a mountainside, I’ve been promoted, a good candidate, write the story don’t focus too much on the girl, a number of meta-peices, this book would not be in your hands picked up from a Broadway bookstall, worthy of another read, a map of the planet, conflating trivial vs. fun, its not Moby-Dick, Gulliver’s Travels is fun and not trivial, the marriage stuff, I don’t mind reading about Mary Sue characters, Mary Sutopias, other ideas on how to live, feudalism,

I am less bothered by Mary Sue characters than I am by stories set in Marysutopia. A lot of classic SF suffers from that. Authors created societies in which their own personal preferences became the social norms.

Heinlein’s like maybe we could have weird kinds of marriage, how weird it would be to have marriage shuffled like that every year, post-apocalyptic, memory wiped every four years, an idea book, the gourd boat seeds, he got a tour, I picked up the seeds that the lady showed me, he keeps looking in his pockets, his belt pouch, finds the tailors’ bills, the pips of an orange that Polly had thrown at him, a hopeless romantic, how’s the economy work?, how do family and raising kids work, look young until they grow old and suddenly die, mentally a child, super-powers, it has got to be satire, deeper than most seem to want to credit as middling adventure romp, another whole book, trying to turn it into, with a six-shooter, he has a sword but he doesn’t hit people with it much, Jack Burton in Big Trouble In Little China (1986), one of the best movies ever made, orientalist, Kurt Russell, he thinks he’s the hero, the movie acts like he’s the hero but he’s the comic sidekick, David Lo Pan, misunderstanding what the movie is doing, he arrives on a magic carpet, who was the guy?, the carpet and the locket, it went nowhere, it went into his pocket, he could have another adventure, Gulliver on Venus, Gulliver on Ganymede, bumble through more things, why you have to read Gulliver’s Travels, shownoting something from 6 months ago, the horse people, Planet Of The Apes, all he wants to do is spend time taking care of his horse, watching the horrible things happening on the news, you can really rely on your garden, utter contempt for humans, admiring the horses so much, the GULLIVER’S TRAVELS miniseries (1996), Silverlock by John Myers Myers, a ken doll for rich lady giants, placed between their breasts, savage takedown, how did this get on the schedule?, too much of a lead time?, even if Paul listened 6 months later, they’re already on they’re next writing, let me tell you about the book I’m reading now, what we were thinking 6 months ago, laughing or crying at jokes, what things were like 6 months ago, what things were like in 1905, oh professors of later day, so much per unit, an audiobook for this bike journey, back to electric cars, he tries to pay her for the inflation, a babelfish equivalent, huge mistake, everybody had clothing on (fucking stupid), number 1 mistkae: Dejah Thoris had clothes on, Disney Princesses, clothes for the ken doll of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, when he goes swimming he takes off his uniform, he’s drowning!, even ghosts want to kill themselves, a huge meal of elk, deer, and something very much like salmon, I had to go save a princess on another planet with a magic carpet, telepathy and simplicity, Sola is a slave like Ahn is a slave, minor mind powers, the warring groups, the books are so different, apples and potatoes, Creatures On The Loose, he’s a Vietnam vet!, a former marine instead of a sailor, a snarky attitude, he actually says he was a soldier prior to being a sailor, up for promotion, his folly, a terrible mission, maybe more important than we know, audio of Phra The Phoenician?, yay! suspended animation!

Creatures On The Loose, Gulliver Of Mars

Creatures On The Loose, ISSUE 18

Creatures On The Loose, ISSUE 18

Monsters Unleashed

Monsters Unleashed

Gullivar Jones, First Man On Mars

Gulliver Of Mars - illustration by Newton Burcham

Monsters Unleashed, issue 8, Unused Gullivar Jones Splash

Gulliver Of Mars frontispiece by Frank Frazetta

Gulliver Of Mars - 1965 Frank Frazetta cover art

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #164 – The Moon-Slave by Barry Pain


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #164

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Moon-Slave by Barry Pain

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Moon-Slave was first published in the 1901 collection, Stories In The Dark.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #352 – TOPIC: Doors, Gates, and Portals (and Rubicons)


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #352 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Prof. Eric S. Rabkin talk about doors, gates, and portals (and rubicons)

Talked about on today’s show:
thinking about doors, individual phenomena, a phenomenological way, white and purity, water, Edmund Husserl, an intensional act of consciousness, the conquistadors, when did WWII happen?, what kind of a phenomenon is a door?, doors are artificial, Narcissus and the lake, a boundary, passages for the whole body, windows, two-way passages, quicksand, horizontal movement, four qualities, the story of Oedipus, the riddle of the Sphinx, man -> mankind, the founding myth of Western culture, Aristotle, from one world to another, Eric in his professorial mode, the word world, were = man, the age of Man, in the world of…, the social domain that human beings create for themselves, prisons, doors as phenomena are artificial boundaries between two different worlds, social changes from one side of a door to another, doors as a phenomenon represent changes from consciously defined worlds, outdoors vs. indoors, inside and outside the gingerbread house, the morning thesis, the idea for this show, windows as opposed to doors, The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany, wanting to turn windows into doors, a rich example, sliding doors vs. sliding windows, in Science Fiction…, Robert A. Heinlein, defining the writing style of Science Fiction, the ideal Science Fiction sentence, Beyond This Horizon, “The door dilated and a voice from within said ‘Come in Felix.'”, wasting energy, one little change makes it a Science Fiction world, Heinlein invented the word “slideway”, Friday, from the reader’s armchair world it the fantastic world, folklore, liminality, crossing rivers, wandering into the forest, a wild world with gods and monsters, agrarian rural society -> industrial living, the wardrobe, The Door In The Wall, The Gable Window by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, Dreams In The Witch-house, a locked-room mystery, The Secret Garden, a Wellsian door in the wall, what’s behind the door could be anything, mythical monsters, vampires need your permission to cross your threshold, Dracula comes in through the window, defying gravity and the phenomenology of windows, an instant subliminal marker, ho ho ho, Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, the lore of changelings, leaving the house by the chimney, Little Red Riding Hood, “dispatched by typical female means” (cooking), Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, Alice is fantasizing before she leaves the bank of the river, the river side is a liminal domain, dazing, daisies, crossings, protective imagination, opening the door for a sequel, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a girl named Door, London’s underclass, being homeless is living outdoors, a hunter named Hunter, Door’s father is Lord Portico, a door back into Heaven, another rich text, worlds within worlds, the word hinge, ideas hinge upon something, stiles aren’t like doors, stiles don’t have hinges, lichgates and side doors to churches, the dead enter the church through a different door than the living, The Superstitious Man’s Tale by Thomas Hardy, shades of everybody, fourteen saints, a holiday in Germany, the blood of a sacrificial lamb, Exodus, keeping death from the door, all saints day, Jack-O-Lanterns scare off the returning dead, nature, walking through a gate, spirits pass through, how do gates function in keeping out the spirits of the dead, gates as territorial boundaries, “you come in through here”, the laws of territoriality, a keeper of the gate, the gate is the cover of the book, the door is what we cross “Once upon a time…”, “the second page of the first paragraph of a famous book”, why round?, why the exact center?, why green?, Eric’s eyes are green, The Door In The Wall has a green door, magic doors are often green, The Magic Door The Green Door (aka The Little Green Door) by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, horrible and messy and smelly, fundamental jokes in the Shrek series, Shrek is green too, kids love farts, About Time (2013), Domhnall Gleeson going through doors, “doors are amazing”, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, the Chinese Scholar’s garden at Snug Harbour cultural center, moon gates, gates post signs, gates offer viewpoints, from The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

the mouth as a door for voice and wisdom (and later a gate for flies and maggots), orifices, doors are artificial, eyes as windows, windows as natural, calm water as a window, the night sky as a window into the universe, window = wind and eye, a metaphor switching meaning, a heart is like a pump and a pump is like a heart, Babylon 5, star-gates, the Twilight Zone show inside Futurama: The Scary Door, Fredric Brown: “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. there was a knock on the door.”, William F. Nolan’s the door problem, a seventy-foot bug, the imagination trumps revelation, film, Shiley Jackson’s The Haunting Of Hill House (in the book and the film), banging vs. knocking, the unopened door, the end of The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, The Psychoanalysis Of Fire by Gaston Bachelard, “fire: fine servant, horrible master”, poor little rich boys, the ultimate irony: Arbeit Macht Frei, an open gate, the phenomena interpenetrate, Rubicon (lost and found), The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, “h amount of fuel will not power an EDS with a mass of m plus x”, uni-directional time travel as a kind of rubicon, Julius Caesar’s crossing, Alea iacta est (“The die is cast”), suicide, Jean Paul Sartre, Rip van Winkle, rubicons are natural, driving in Los Angeles county, counties and shires divided by rivers, the mouth as a (mostly) one way door into the body, Protector by Larry Niven, the tree of life root is a one way door (a rubicon), The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, The Ring, the River Styx, ancient heroes and gods crossing back and forth across the river Styx, biological machines, Jesus Christ’s tomb door, a locked room mystery, doubting Thomas, The Cold Equations as a demarcation between materialist SF and all other kinds, rejecting the premise of the story, two kinds of laws, “Marilyn willingly walks into the airlock and is ejected into space.”, myth vs. hard Science Fiction vs. soft Science Fiction, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, a few examples in literature, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, seven gates to Hell in Pennsylvania, Hell, Michigan, Audie Murphy’s To Hell And Back, a rubicon as an irrevocable choice, The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, Will cutting portals to other realms, “the ability to create portal given to someone on the cusp of puberty”, age 21 (given the key to the door), Key to the city, garter -> gate, barbicans, walled homes in the northern Mediterranean, doors within doors, protected by the laws of the city, the freedom of the city given to military units, Janus -> January, a two faced god and the god of doors, the doors to the temple of Janus are closed, open cities, Brussels, the locking of doors, growing up in New York you’re never fully at peace, living in Strawberry Point, Iowa, wifi open vs. wifi encrypted, wardriving, keeping the door open, the subspecies, dutch-doors, squeaky hinges, a door that opens up, China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh, “falling backwards into a world in which a consciousness extends infinitely in all directions”, “the phenomenology changes the epistemology”, ontological differences, The Star Rover by Jack London, a portal to other places and times via astral projection, even in confinement one can find ways out, The Demolished Man The Stars My Destination, Hypnos by H.P. Lovecraft, the restriction of the coffin of the body, jaunting, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Twilight Zone episode The Hunt, a country bumpkin -> a rural American, all dogs go to heaven, gatekeepers and doorkeepers, porter, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, wine drinkers and beer drinkers, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, was anything down that hatch on Lost?

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Posted by Jesse Willis