The SFFaudio Podcast #559 – Jesse, Terence Blake, and Fred Heimbach talk about Torchship by Karl K. Gallagher
Talked about on today’s show:
suggested out of the blue, modern, always a mistake, it wasn’t so bad, limited tastes, getting the elephant out of the room, why is the author writing it?, the real values of real science fiction, away from diversity bullshit, a conscious effort, the intro music, the plot, Firefly, The Expanse, almost Firefly fanfiction, worse in every respect, Firefly as fantasy, hard SF in TV does it exist?, the difference between hard science vs. hard engineering, you can have one thing, the HARD side, a fantasy Firefly overlay, navigating by the seat of your pants, the ability to learn shit, we’re not adapted, an explanation to the audience, linked star systems, a gray goo story, run amuck, a past apocalypse, the betrayal worlds, linked in a chain, high governmental control (the fusion) vs. libertarian (the disconnect), the TFS (terraforming), Butlerian Jihad minus the mentats, the slipstick and instinct, still governments, libertarian-ism is a strange phenomenon, The Unincorporated Man, poorly written, the premise, crackerjack, one of the oldest tropes in SF, Buck Rogers scenario, Citizen Of The Galaxy, The Door Into Summer, Just Imagine (1930), The Marching Morons, Idiocracy (2006), why libertarians like it, other than amongst the billionaire jet set (planetary citizens), Ron and Rand, concern with freedom, one strand of anarchism, capitalist Darwinian ideology, Fred has leaned that way, marijuana referenda, getting people to come out and vote and donate, drug legalization, mental illness, why you need regulation, Amsterdam, a subsidiarian, local governments, the centralizing tendency of power, debates with Americans, Ayn Rand, the seeds are baked in to the USA, the American Revolution sorting hat sent the whigs one way and the tories the other, peace order and good government, liberty equality and fraternity, you’re not the boss of me, France as the USA’s twin, aspects, no libertarian candidates, this phenomenon, their many levels of governments, Justin’s magic wand, edibles will be fine, what does all this have to do with Karl J. Gallagher’s book, Robert A. Heinlein, beloved by libertarians, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, it feels that way, Paul were he not in Nepal…, in the good ways it felt like a Heinlein book, more episodic, written as episodes, his publisher, his wife did the narration, Kelt Haven Books, the modern publishing techniques, fuck the industry, do everything to make money, Fred’s writing group, all public, bitching in public, The Elf Trap vs. the Fred trap, Fred’s short story Rocket Raising is actually pretty good, a Christian based science fiction podcast, Jesse’s complaints, the narrator adds sound effects, it doesn’t “improve” audiobooks to add sound effects, Amish science fiction, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, an Amish romance in space, early adopters (of solar panels), barn phones, dangerous for Jesse, a fix-up, Kikuyu, the juju man runs the computer, recreating the golden period of pre-contact, sexism, a failed utopia, really powerful, taking shit seriously, the pull of the gs, “grounding us”, more like George R.R. Martin, Jesse doesn’t read series, Mike Resnick’s Starship series, dialogue and character, just like our heros in here, not so much Larry Niven as Heinlein via way of Firefly, a breezy read, going back to Earth, treasure hunting, religious cultists, utterly delusional, the rising tension, reading on Kindle, when Fred got excited, abandoned Earth scenario, a sub-genre of dystopia, “the Earth that was”, the terraforming woman, more complexity, 1.5x speed, sometimes necessary, the big mistake, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, pilgrimage to Earth, a Lincoln coin, a toxic mess, The Impossible Planet, Wall-E, an Idiocracy scenario, THE most important science fiction, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, with a different disposition, a garbage can that delivers itself to the curb, once we get UBI going, when Andrew Yang is president, concentrating on the important things whatever the fuck they are, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, weird wifi problems, censorship, abandoned earth stories, good stuff to watch, Daily Science Fiction!, voracious, 490 words long, you can put it out in two tweets, suppressing the urge, how it’s constructed, he adds to the world enough, a very Heinleinian scene, 100% corrupt, you buy your senate seat, more honest, the (US) next presidential election, Elizabeth Warren, who owns you, the British system, you buy your majorship, officers and enlisted men comes from class, that system has persisted, a lot of it is still class, Mel Gibson’s PBS documentary series Carrier, totally class based, broken homes, finding success, what this book turns out to be…, rebels against the government, Dortmunder, officious evil empire, smugglers, fugitives, on the side of good, when the navy shows up, Reivers, competency porn, I want the navy to win, a costly victory, “make me a sandwich”, the positive version of a dogwhistle, knowyourmeme, playing off the sexist trope, lemme mansplain it to you, some of the playful humour, other meta-moments, aren’t we all cool living in the 20teens section, reading older stuff, appreciating, The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu, so racist, the Yellow Peril is throughout that period, I see what you’re doing there, Jesse is not fully equipped for the modern stuff, what the fuck was dabbing, a dance move (not important), why do they do it?, because it’s a meme, humans are not equipped to do that in space, its impossible?, they did that with airplanes, more force and more rapidity, evasive actions in space, a fantasy element, trick-shot shooters, shooting arrows with their foot, the archery expert [Howard Hill] for The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938), that thing upstairs is a computer, humans are good at throwing, how much we appreciate free-shots, dexterity and accuracy, a nice dream, Terence might be right, Lunar Lander, libertarian flying, if Karl were here to defend himself…, a genuine rocket scientist, bending possibilities, the place to start, the Apollo calculator couldnt be infected with an AI, ballistic computers, a fire control computer, where the love of the slipstick shows up, that competency porn aspect, shoe a horse and plow a field and calculate, climate science, systems science, Galileo, correlating lots and lots of data, a paradigm shift, she’s doing the calculations and she eyballed it and was off by five percent, we don’t have that tech (for the engines), converting mass directly to energy, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, objections to The Martian, how to treat Mars, burial of ice on the asteroid, pre-Terence, Citizen Of The Galaxy, a whole espionage aspect, his boss is a spymaster, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, the Finnish torchship operators, spreading genes, Jared Diamond’s Upheaval: Turning Points For Nations In Crisis, the Winter War, not getting totally destroyed, the bravery of the Finns against the Soviets, admiration, the ship’s spirit (sisu), Abdul joins the crew, a set of roots, a free trader, The Rolling Stones (aka Space Family Stone), the crew of the Fives Full is chosen family, a poker reference, the MS Burrito, the food on the ship, the menus, lasagna, casseroles, meatloaf, algae cakes and algae cookies, Terence loves algae, Korean seaweed aka gim, jokes and sex scenes, character based, a better continuation of firefly, we’re never spoon-fed anything, reaction mass, water as a shield, hard science fiction more focused on characters than normal, some gimmes, galactic rocket ports, just an excuse to get out the slipsticks, because magic happened, magic portals, Neal Asher, we’re getting 5% smarter, we should freeze him, we should freeze ourselves, artificial gravity, sociological science fiction, soft science fiction, crash couches, too extreme gravities, forty gravities, centrifuge experiments, the cushioning effect, the waterbed from Stranger In A Strange Land, do you want to raise your children on this planet?, in the Firefly universe, all in one solar system, Goldilocks zones, the stone family flying around the solar system, flat-cats, the tribbles on Star Trek, try to find a tramp freighter today, Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), an independent cargo ship, whahappen?, international capitalism ate em all, another fantasy element is that you can have a Millennium Falcon style independent operator, economies of scale, positing a war surplus, DC Dakotas, over time they’re replaced by DHL and FedEx, if you don’t look at the boom and bust cycle of industries you’re being as naive as thinking kings will be kings forever, the rise of fascism, we’re past fascism, many ways of getting things wrong, Babylon 5, the old ones, Minbari are elves don’t you see, he doesn’t fuck it up, that’s pretty good, a lot of modern stuff, Napoleonic era shit, Elizabeth Bear, The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, there’s this lady who really likes horses, the author likes horseback riding, an excuse to do horseback riding, there’s books for that, relationship fiction, good book, other audiobooks?, graduate school papers, forum flames, after action reports, this is his first novel, sestina (a complicated poetical form), “Lost War”, no such thing as bad publicity, uninformed anonymous nonsense, we’re already a discriminating audience, business model, designed to fit into a certain market that exists, almost all books are like that, good luck, who the fuck are you kidding?, ebook vs audiobook revenue, Fred’s not at liberty, spreadsheets, genre discipline, packaging, self-promoting, easier up front when you fit premarketed, movie title theory, I can sell this movie based Axis Of Evil, something in the public consciousness, Ghostbusters (again), half-sold your product, audible.com, using credits, a disposition for a certain length of novel, dollars per hour, Player Unknown Battlegrounds stats 1,800 hours, computer games are your real enemy, what the length of book should be per credit, they’re buying it like rice, series are better for authors (monetarily), pre-sold your audience, string em all together, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, market deformations, if you’re a regular person, regular listeners know Jesse is a lunatic, more irregular listeners, different audiences, how did Terence find the SFFaudio Podcast (other than awesome)?, ten years ago, it becomes nebulous, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, good ideas and doesn’t understand humans, an AI trying to simulate human emotions, all the stuff that’s going, a pretty hard SF writer approaching making a living, he’s got a plan and he’s trending upward, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, Alastair Reynolds, cosmic scope, Karl Gallagher is in the middle, a hard slides approach, Iain M. Banks, everyone likes libertarianism, anything bad about it is an exception, libertarian tropes, the gun range, a fetishism of Americans, a fetish, like collecting books, a John Galt planet, I’m not listenin’ to nobody cuz they’re not listening to my metal screeds, China doesn’t like libertarianism, libertarianism is for 12 year old boys, it doesn’t make sense once you start thinking about it, a continuum, are you sure using political power is the right approach, his wife looks like an owl, Newt Gingrich is fucking idiot, Newt read a book once, he has principles, he’s consistent, how can I enrich myself and my family?, how can I wave the flag bigger?, motivated by fear vs. motivation by greed, the people running for president, Biden, Trump, why does everybody hate Jimmy Carter so much?, he said some things people didn’t want to hear, didn’t start any wars, we need to be self-sufficent, tightening our belts, doubled down on the petro-dollar, ‘everything will be perfect forever’, massive inflation and helicopters crashing, deregulating the airlines, of all the presidents in the last little while, personal corruption, we gotta starve the beast because the beast is being milked, the role that corporations play, Jesse’s ideology is criticizing other ideologies, the two Communist parties in Canada, vote anarchist, joining the solipsistic brotherhood.
Talked about on today’s show:
London Magazine, 1912, Sunday Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1912 book publication, why hasn’t this been a movie?, totally epic, very filmic, no comic book?, it would be a great comic, the big splash, the reveal, he hasn’t seen a human being in three years, the comic book format reveal, one of Jack London’s best, the first time, not the newest theme, The Last Man by Mary Shelley, The Strength Of The Strong, about the same thing, civilization and how civilizations evolve, The Iron Heel, this managed ordered world, an optimistic narrative, the story is fairly brutal, how the socialist thinking was obsessed with planning and order, social darwinism, rude barbarism?, his greatest?, drama, Martin Eden, John Barleycorn, The Call Of The Wild, he can’t get away from dogs, the dog goes into full atavistic mode, recapitulated, an unwashed barbarian, barbarian grandchildren, taking this story as it is, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, more optimistic, the essential character of this story, end of the world and post apocalyptic stories, endless zombies, a zombie apocalypse with no zombies, fighting off the harsh reality of what its like to go from running water toilet paper hot and cold running ice cream to living off the scraps of the old world, hasn’t seen soap in 60 years, Costco, 500 survivors in the whole world, a lot got burned, the last survivors genre, SCIENCE FICTION doubly, set 100 years from when it is written (2013) and then another 60 years beyond that, so rich in ideas, the future of American from 1912 and in a future far past it, a double critique, inspired by, The Walking Dead is not about class (and little about race), each a race unto themselves, the Aryan sweep is coming again, it did feel white, all about class, on the side of the downtrodden race, humans as basically very terrible, way scarier than a zombie story, zombies as a metaphor, the hordes of people you don’t know, a divisive horror, us and them, killing zombies as a fun thing to do, shambly and slow, not a science fiction story, Jesse’s niece did a course, its about class, so relevant again, the Chauffeur and Vesta van Warden, the luxury airships that the ultra-rich have, we took all the food and left a little bit for our slaves, you don’t understand Hoo-hoo, “slaves”, oh my god, Professor James/John Howard Smith, what’s happening in the states of 1912, a hardening and separating of the classes, medieval or 19th century England, he’s from the upper class, he has three servants, a housekeeper a cook and a chambermaid, at the bottom of the ultra-rich, every inspired by story never talks about class, Buck was a king brought low and turned into a slave, the same thesis, Chauffeur beats his wife, she’s a goddess, that she should be brought so low, an unreliable narrator who is super-reliable, he makes himself so pathetic, nested narrative, he makes himself look bad, everything that happened is what was happening, a super-hard thesis, lets spend time in this universe and see what meaning we, the good the bad and the worst and the best have gone to their eternal rest, the collie dogs are now wolves, that overcoming, back to brute beast, really interesting and fascinating to think about, obsessing with education, trying teach how to count to a billion, so Science Fiction, the courage and heroism of the bacteriologists, WWI imagery, in awe of the education, chapter 6, a day-labourer, the greatest prize next to Vesta, the crude illiterate getting the upper-class woman, huge gaps, not a culture of mass education, Jack London imagined the early 21st century with the working class uneducated, technocratic culture, millions of engineers, not as pessimistic, this is going to happen again, no good thoughts about humanity’s potential, red history, the red plague is people on Earth, population pressure, oozing slowly across to colonize the East, the gunpowder will come, I’m gonna git Granser this gunpowder stuff, the death stick, someday I’ll be boss over the whole bunch of you, the juju magic of the witch-doctor, poor Edwin is gonna be just like his grandpa, he didn’t survive by his book-learning, nothing he did could fix anything, those two automatics (pistols), the only reason he survives is because he’s a human (who can open doors and cans), nothing in his education as literature professor, Terry Nation’s Survivors, The Daleks as an examination of the human future after a future nuclear war, the exact plot of the Scarlet Plague (without the zooming forward), UK “public schools”, we’re all doomed, I don’t know how to smelt, plastic is made out of oil, ‘I have three batteries left. If I don’t find anymore I’ll be deaf.’, part of the education process, take in a profound piece of information and passing it on, the oral tradition, the big thing this story is all about, trying to teach the grandchildren something of value, there are ways of counting what’s beyond your fingers, they’re goat-hearders, is Edwin the smartest?, he’s the most like his grandfather, a medicine man, brute force, a very bleak vision, an English professor, The Sea Wolf, The Iron Heel, social progress is possible, Herbert Spencer, not a good society, obsession with food, post scarcity, civilization has to suppress, a Freudian aspect, training animals, a universe good, something every eater understands, dogs are food motivated, the bear and the wolves, goats, no longer a man of books, carrying coins, carrying teeth, sex and food, Vesta should’ve been mine by rights, he doesn’t stop him, you could never do this in a Hollywood film, save her and himself, he too their child to wife?, Bertha was a hash-slinger (but a good woman-though!), a Lady is a Chauffeur squaw, the opening and the closing, the surf grew suddenly louder, huge sea-lions, he can smell the food cooking, mussels!, he’s all gums now, crying, an empty-crab shell, so happy, his emotional range, really dottering, a beautiful sad story, the old geezer gets more long-winded every day, a small herd of wild horses, a beautiful stallion, horses, the mountain lions, close at hand, the sea-lions bellowing, fought and loved, there’s no victory here, just survival, just other animals, there’s a beauty, there’s a harshness, Earth is coming back, we can have it all year, all the toothsome delicacies are back, the Cliff-House restaurant, what is money?, those little marks don’t mean nothing, in 10,000 years, warning against the medicine men, that’s religion, agriculture, who controls that surplus?, primitive religion, thugs, not the civilization he wants, he predicted Trump!, he predicted Bush, the Board of Magnates, Vesta’s husband, lords of life (and death), stuck-up, some other place to live, sleep in a tree, no person is strong enough, stuck in these systems, kind to the old man, Granser’s going to get to it, his only value is as a storyteller, it won’t be his dayjob, if only a physicist or a chemist had survived, he’s a reliable narrator who is wrong about stuff, conflating food with money, shopping at the organic expensive farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, the poors can’t afford Whole Foods, not amongst the poors, chapter 4, the dean of faculty, full of airships, flying machines, one brave fellow, 300 miles per hour in an aircraft, radio, social systems, the brute reality of nature, the Yukon, what’s so powerful, those prehistorical romances are not just the past, black deaths, we are going to need the skills we don’t have, living off the corpse of the old world, you can’t just trust that Mother Nature is kind, a city is like a giant pampered baby, cuddled and coddled by all the servants going into and out of it, the beauty of nature taking over California again, the monorail, railroad tracks being taken over by tree roots, Life After People, we lost contact with each other, a very slim portion of this future society, teenagers and younger, tending the goats is a job for young boys, the mens’ job is yelling at women and young boys, a reverence for muscles (and punching people), as brown as a berry, a pair of gimlets, an endless series of messages from the outside world, a whole sequence like that in The Call Of The Wild, the coddling of man, the king of the slaves as a dog, as a wolf he’s utterly free but is dependent on his body being strong, doing something that few others do, the boys are the babysitters, thirty years ago people wanted to hear what he had to say, why do you call it Scarlet rather than Red, The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Bliss Carman:
A Vagabond Song
THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
George Sterling, A Wine Of Wizardry, mentioned in London’s biography, poet rich guy, I couldn’t save him, rebelling slaves, the grave tree, toothsome delicacy, fire, how it eats up everybody and turns it to dust, 1914 airplanes, the airships of the rich, Paul talks about the ultra rich bunkers in New Zealand, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, when the economy collapses he’ll have a bolt-hole, the rich all flee to Hawaii in their dirigibles, it went with them and it preceded them, that’s the one that married the baby, the wilds of British Columbia, Mount Shasta, so much to be explored, incredibly visual, really good at writing nature, full of ideas, a crackerjack book, Vesta is a metaphor for the whole thing, as good as you can get for a girl, drowned by her drunken husband for no reason at all, boiling fish chowder in a covered pot, parasol, the destinies of millions such as he she carried in her pink white hand, her private dirigible, to her!, a leper, ascertain the creature’s name, what the plague did to the world, the most brutal of low class uneducated horrors can be masters over a goddess, goddess of the hearth now has to tend the hearth, too small for a class system, just about strength, you’re my wife because I’m stronger, Evan can’t agree with London’s pessimism, Murray Bookchin, imposing on nature the reflections on our own society, domesticating the goats, division of labour, our ability to make cultures, why we can’t have good things, that’s our culture, human nature vs. culture, from first nature (sexual desire) vs. secondary (marriage), Eskimos, transformed nature, what people were saying about paleolithic, right back to where we are, printing presses and newspapers, the end goal, besides printing presses, not a teleology, goat-herders and hunters and trappers, mussels and crabs, started life as an oyster pirate, specialization is what he’s aiming at, the radio drama adaptation, a 2 hour book into a 29 minute show, dropping the framing sequence, hearing the plague is very familiar, The Walking Dead, The Day Of The Triffids, 28 Days Later, the aftermath 60 years later, they’ve run out of bullets and gasoline, the comics, allowing that progression to happen, how does the zombie system work, how do you have a society, join there society (a movie night!), a world that doesn’t exist, born into a world without movies, when all the movie bulbs have burnt out, ya, whatever grandpa, people are mean (and horrible), repression in 2013, a tweet with a guillotine was too radical, all the slaves he’s been repressing are going to come for him, optimistic stories of this ilk, Stephen King’s The Stand is essentially optimistic, the bad guy is the state, good vs. evil, both states suck, the triumph of solidarity, acculturated to states and authority, cultures are cooperative, in a dog eat dog world, calling our friends, exploitation within the system, battered husbands and battered wives, its not me its the corporation you work for, bad guys and good guys, The Day Of The Triffids ending, base instinct is love not hate, we need to recenter, a extremely pessimistic work, David Graeber’s book on debt, barter isn’t the first economy, social debt, everybody knows I gave you this are you going to be that guy that didn’t give it back?, my son loves your daughter, barter is from people used to exchange, the police as the barrier between you and the criminal, going back to hierarchy, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman has fantastic accounting, I made dinner yesterday, bankruptcy, so interesting to think about The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, utopian/dystopian future, forced mental audit, the ultimate invasive, good writing at the end, 24 hours, Evan read it for me!, Ayn Rand took over the U.S. government, “personal responsibility”, capitalism is eating individual human beings from birth!