The SFFaudio Podcast #606 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #606 – Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens; read by Mary Jo Escano.

This unabridged reading of the story (29 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Famous Fantastic Mysteries, All-Story Weekly, the original, Mary Jo Escano, Connor Kaye, an inversion of The Cask Of Amontillado, unhinged, paranoid, the slight, Reading, Short And Deep, The Purloined Letter, hiding something in plain sight, C. Auguste Dupin, Voltaire’s Zadig, the origin of Sherlock Holmes, a couple of lines in Latin, a story from ancient Greece, like most people, the content of the letter, blackmail, Poe is so twisted, feed the child to the parent, revenge, the general outline Fortunato is unlikely, don’t tread on me, a foot stamping on a snake, coded, carnival day, the way the story is framed, you who know me so well, a return to the frame, fifty years, confess to a murder crime, confessing to his confessor, a little twist, an unrepentant evil fuck, bad deal, Poe is very revengy, Francis Stevens, Terrence E. Hanley’s blog, the math, the golden age for SF is 12, a new edition of Poe came out when Francis Stevens was 12, H.G. Wells, a number of Poe stories, read and listened, a whole other story, every single line, incredibly interesting how much work each little thing does, densely short, idea matrix, dream, didn’t feel cheated, Castalia House, more Lovecrafty, Schrodinger’s Beatrice, a back frame, The Turn Of The Screw, the dream thank god was a lie, what was the dream, both, this avenging poison, really questioning, this is an actual dream Francis Stevens had, Lovecraft’s letters, Jesse’s dreams, this thesis, dreams and creative writing are basically the same thing, multiple passes, the power of dreams, if that’s not the case, that’s how the narrator tells the story, dreams are very slippery things, worried that something in the dream is reality, what you feared, neglecting pets [sooo neglecty], undo, what is actually real, everyone they say has a streak of incipient madness, the potentiality, Beatrice wants a divorce, Santallos, she was going for italiante, Spanish background, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, a mummy in his house, read stories then write based on prominent, at 3am on your birthday, a very long dream

Dreamt I traveled to a small island nation, a tourist destination, &took the usual tourist trap tour with a semi-stranger. He’d lured me there like Harley Warren, with hints& half-promises about some semi-history some semi-mythology of that island nation. A Twitter acquaintance, I was his Randolph Carter, his audience and student. We toured the caves with the others, but at a certain passage broke with the group and wound down tunnels of the known path. There he pointed out subtle signs no local guide would mention or noticed. A glyph here, a scratch there. And eventually he showed me the wall which concealed that culminating theory, or so he said. I feared my Carter might be his Fortunato and said so. But his knowing laugh reassured and also frightened me. He asked my help in rolling the wall, a large round rock, aside and I did, and with my small extra strength added to his the wall moved. We pass into the passage beyond and found evidence that the island’s rumors about a great power once visiting but somehow sparing them the devastation of similar remote island nations to be literally true. For beyond that wall we found a small group of skeletons seated round in a ring. Each a cup in their bony hands. Each cup contained a reddish residue and as I [p]awed and sniffed at the bottle between them my semi-acquaintance explained the scene to me. They’d crashed their ship upon the island’s rocky shores, he said, after being wrecked upon them by a swirling tempest. But surviving and being provisioned, their leader, a ship’s surgeon told the poxxy crew they could expect a rescue and relief. But this had been a ruse for the surgeon somehow knew that his European crew carried a disease too deadly to be treated on the isolated natives of this island nation and so instead he’d planned a party where in truth he’d drugged their wine, and collapsed the cave wall behind which lay this sordid scene.

I sat there stunned.

How could this Twitter acquaintance know all this about this hidden history, this suicidal plan, this involuntary pact, this truly tainted tontine in which all its members had only learned their fate at the hands of their deceaser doctor who himself imbibed the tainted wine?

Again

my Twitter acquaintance, nigh a friend, laughed and explained his morbid methodology.

And as I heard his terrible words, and sniffed again at that reddish residue I realized that the island’s isolated events and the ships surgeon from long ago were less a quaint [story] than a repeating pattern and as this realization dawned upon me and he laughed the final words I heard that round rock roll back into place as I awoke to write these words.”

no joke, experience the horror, deliberative cruelty, a wind so strong, a bunch of images, quite interesting, now I’ve gone too far, that happens in this story, really cool, Poe-esque, less something to be proud of than to be interested in, How Jesse Dreams podcast, 6 weird words,

HIS GREAT GRANDSIRE’S WILL by Jesse
Upon the death of his despised great grandfather, the portly boy was surprised to learn he had been bestowed his mouldering ancestral estate, consisting of a remote mountain fortress, a deep black lake, and crumbling thatch-roofed stables.
Yet when he first visited that stone citadel, that deep still tarn, and those rotting horse stalls, the ample boy was not particularly impressed with his great grandsire’s wizardry.
But the more he investigated that ancient demesne the more the big boy came to appreciate his great grandfather’s antiquarian peculiarities.
So it was particularly poignant when one November evening the rotund boy was plumbing the depths of the manor’s many cellars when, after sliding aside a purple velour curtain, he discovered the shriveled and still swinging corpse of his great grandfather in a magnificent rocking chair.
Shocked, but no longer surprised, the seemingly faithless boy instantly kicked his old ancestor’s body out of the chair, draped that sumptuous violet hanging about his still plush shoulders, seated himself, laughed and began to rock.
When in the spring sunshine they eventually found him in that basement of that shining citadel, the boy’s body was dry and desiccated, the stables had been rebuilt, the lake was lush with lively loons, and a freshly empty casket lay resplendent in an upper turret.
THE END

Jesse writes better in his dreams, the original Virgil Finlay illustration, having Poe on your mind, a Poe-ish story, in your reading gets inside of you, how this story was constructed, a cliche, and it was all a dream, genuinely what it is, it feels like it was written by a woman, the way he talks about the other male, the female gaze, he sat in the woman’s chair, he wishes he could see himself, his litheness of his body, its almost like a gay thing, sometimes Jesse’s not in his own dreams, third person dreams, an expy, Maissa doesn’t know whose in her dreams, interfering with access, designed to be forgettable, kettle on the stove, dream memory would harm reality if it persisted, looking for the cat you’ve never owned, maladaptive, I must be enjoying it while its happening, try to hold on to dreams, free association, a deliberately difficult order, the arbitrariness of dreams, how could this work?, writing your way out of it, plotters vs. pantsers, writing by the seats of your pants, the unpublished first novel of Clark Ashton Smith (The Black Diamonds), a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, an old castle, rotting tapestry, another dinner, there’s wrestling, a mysterious letter delivered by a bird, you are now my enemy, forsworn, no explanation, this wonderful imagination, he’s got the right attitude, the font is too small, why it is a dream story, she read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and she had this dream, her own personal psychology, Poe’s life, his parents, his adoptive family, super-randy, romanced everybody around, you better straighten up, defiant, West Point, excelled and kicked out, a trouble maker, Tomahawk Poe, how mean he was, Baltimore Gazette, trouble holding a job, alcoholic, Poe’s executor was his enemy, Poe was not a normal person, Francis Stevens was a normal person (extraordinarily gifted), not a Harlan Ellison type, Poe would be very tiring, we have to work with this guy, he’s the son of the boss, the narrator is upset by the actions he thought he took, he didn’t kill Beatrice, but he thought about it, jealousy, putative lover, yay my marriage failed, easy come easy go (but its not that easy), the timing of this story, 1918 vs. 1922, King Tut’s tomb, waves of Egyptmania, a little premature, The Mummy, 1940, its very short, subtle, authentic, she was 34 when this story came out, the bulk of her stories appear The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, the superhero Sampson, the very first superhero story, super-science, comic-booky, unrelated experiments, all of the metal, vibranium or adamantium, like Captain America, tremendous strength, the mythological character, written when she was a teenager, she’s got something, a real dynamism, it feels clunky at the beginning, it’s a short story, to be sure of my visitor, this is all planned, our friend, our Beatrice, it throws you off, a blast of sharp November air, each purple curtain, from Poe, ah distinctly I remember, wrought its ghost upon the floor, burn, I had to throw my weight upon the door, the storm without (he thinks), you’re very cautions, a password, this house stands somewhat alone, thieves everywhere, full of import, a feat of considerable muscles, sarcophagus, yes, the woman it contains, don’t you agree?, counterfeited a shudder, mummy horror, selling everything, tear jars and tombstones, a meme, drinking a cup full of “liberal tears”, making light, that relationship, neglecting his wife, another Poe story, The Oval Portrait, her name is not insignificant, trying to escape a bad relationship, she just wants to have it quits, the kind of chair that women love but most men loathe, like a cat, occasional blundering candor, the litheness of his body, why does he want to be understood?, with a single exception, the entire lot is going to the dealers, the costume of the mummy, he’s transferred his affection, very weird, where is Beatrice, a sea-cruise, another Poe story, The Oblong Box, its a coffin, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the coffin as a flotation device, she’s in her boudoir?, we don’t know, what’s behind the curtain?, what is the curtain?, the dream?, the space between life and death?, the rosy velour curtain, constantly billowing, a rose coloured sail, must be a door behind there, huh?, my voice checked him, are you quite strong enough to close that door, chin on shoulder, his face seemed scarcely familiar?, what door is it?, his eyes fled mine, the invading winds, Annabelle Lee, you feel like you’re with them, heft to the things, the foot of the gilded case, gilded cage, a prisoner of his own thoughts and his own fear and his own making, he can’t escape them, a repulsive fantasy, yes?, you are too lovely Beatrice, you shall have your freedom, the father’s friend sent the wine, a very female story, kill with poison, enemy and himself, a murder suicide, none of us are going to survive that night, The Sleeper, a story not just a description, by the tomb by the sea by his Annabelle Lee, big frost ship poem, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, you’re walking down the highway, who are you?, its a story of necrophilia, a dude like Romeo outside of a house, she’s either dead or asleep, The Sleeper, curtains, superhard to understand, a nice tomb (she deserves it), to hear the echo (that’s a ghost), the horror of your loved one being dead, your in-laws, if Beatrice is to die, she should be given the most grand tomb imaginable, the mummy’s tomb, be with her (kinda), definitely thinking about it, the underdog stand, one more try, my father’s jealous blood, the mummy or his wife?, he was paying more attention, let her mate with who she would, my brown perfect princess of the Nile, as I had seen it in my vision, did he do that?, he was prepping, prepping for the murder, so good, page 41, erect in the doorway, more beautiful, bound across her bosom, amulets, the amulet of purity of the heart, Dante Alighieri, lost in the dusk of her hair, the flesh of any of us three, what he says about her hair, pallor, an interesting growth, the billowing of the titular curtain, the same totem, the catacombs, a distraction to Fortunato, the niter, it grows, an indication of growth in death, bird poo, an alchemical idea, crystalline growth, do you notice the curtain it blows?, half the estate, even to the sarcophagus itself, the unclosed frozen eyes, a motif used again again, Dream-Land, there the king hath forbid the uplifting of the fringed lid, the courtesy due a guest, a gauge, a measure of his suffering, drive home the jest, you’re joking with me, dressed in motley, a jester, Beatrice had seen, Romeo And Juliet, Pyramus and Thisbe, any use, the melting pot of dissolution, almost Lovecraftian, you asked what door, there are doors and doors dear, charming friend, close it now in my face, wither you have, the heavy heavy door of the Osiris, very cool story, so many layers, more notes from Connor, pretty much a reasonable person, to consummate their affair, juicy horror elements, without plot being committed, a reasonable person, your writing sucks, dude, a magician’s act, the whole dream is a magic trick, the stage assistant has not been sawn in half, a comparison between Beatrice and the dead princess, changed vs. unchanging, the dead princess, he can project all his stuff onto her, no, no I hate those, watching movies with his mummy bride, their all independently wealthy, take your stuff home to work with you, one story in Weird Tales, Sunfire, running out of Francis Stevens to read, alas!, three stories to go, The Thrill Book, Impulse, set in the Society Islands Of The South Pacific, how much we will enjoy this story, completely gone, Friend Island, make sure you keep a copy, and that’s that, evocative, stuff to say, Unseen—Unfeared, Google Books, one photo of Francis Stevens (unattributed), why she stopped, some falling out with her kid, alternative dates for her birth and death, changed her name again?, R.M. Burrows, with women its hard, Lovecraft’s name is unusual, we don’t quite have the technology yet, new stuff gets scanned, 1948 newspaper Washington, D.C., Book Club called The Outsiders, first order of business, write a stern letter to the government, Weird Tales was banned in Washington, D.C., “different stories”, like a television channel, “The Unique Magazine”, those misfits, the weird stories, this isn’t a science fiction story, its not even a fantasy story, a horror story, a Poe story, not following a particular set of tropes, why I like Francis Stevens.

Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens - Illustration by Virgil Finlay

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The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

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The SFFaudio Podcast #584 – JASON THOMPSON

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #584 – Jesse talks with the great Jason Thompson, he of mockman.com

Talked about on today’s show:
you and me and how things go, Joe Rogan, based on guests, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, Alex Jones, what is up with this guy?, everybody’s got there issues, interviews suck, hard hitting, Jesse’s not here to take Jason down, an excuse to make friends with people on the internet, too prolific a tweeter, wonderful and strange things, man eating plant images, such an old trope, avoid crusty tropes, a story set in Cuba, what keeps Jesse going, what inspires Jesse, what drives Jesse, such a good media, covering all the senses, late to the party for The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, the Dunsany biography by Mark Amory, huge gaps, doesn’t care about Dunsany’s dream stories, family anecdotes, NecronomiCon, a biographer who liked fiction, Pathways To Elfland, together they make one good book, a great cover, Frank Kelly Freas, Tim Kirk, I don’t like your stuff, Jesse didn’t grow up with manga, Jesse’s niece, first of all its backwards, anime, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Lovecraft being a racist, anything that exists and is really ongoing, Hong Kong action movies, Akira Kourasawa movies, Gou Tanabe’s Lovecraft, publishers, save money by redrawing the Japanese sound effects, Shonen Jump, this cool thing, cool hipster (save money), seeing your work mirror imaged, seeing the flaws, your face from an unexpected angle, we’re here for digression, a cultural shift within a tiny subculture, The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft, the moral, strikingly different people, the title and the library and the castle, a different personality, Celephaïs and The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap, Neil Gaiman’s Lord Shaper, the word crap and crappy, the husk, the shell, gone into the dreamrealm, the cliffs at Trevor Towers, Dunsany did have more than the shallow entertainment value he was successful at, the preface is to help ease people into it, a normal English village just a few miles from the border with Elfland, 1911 issues of The Sketch, facing illustrations, the halfpenny papers, one of the cool dynamics, escape into dreamworld, wealthy people problems, ennui, meaninglessness, so good with names, all the names, so good, name arcs, goofy names, a little bit of a mythos, semi-serious, Episode 12: Miss Cubbidge And The Dragon Of Romance, How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon The Knolls, Tommy Tonker, the whole gnolls thing, gnomes + trolls, The Man Who Sold Rope To The Gnoles by Margaret St. Clair (Idris Seabright), a Jerusalem artichoke made out of Indian rubber, California, the 2nd half of the 20th century, Philip K. Dick, Clark Ashton Smith, Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor Of Dreams, Lovecraft: Fear Of The Unknown, working to be edified, arts/literature/education, lifelong learning, be reading all the time, what was going on, Arkham House, Ballantine paperbacks, historical non-fiction, read the shortest stories, stick-figure astronauts, pushing the PDF Page, read it from the original source, we read the stories as they appeared, all of the bonus things, editorial introductions, illustrations, old things are cool, J.R.R. Tolkien -> Conan comics -> Robert E. Howard -> H.P. Lovecraft -> Clark Ashton Smith, Fungi From Yuggoth, gone beyond, 1 year old baby, prose poems, prose pastels, The Nightmare Lake, the most complex rhymes scheme, difficult to understand, a series of images, you’re seeing his dreams, as dense as anything you’ve read in prose, the HPLHS’ Lovecraft’ commonplace book, Jesse’s big into dreams, understanding your own psychology, lucid dreaming, fairy tale dream sense, a faraway magical land, bits and pieces of everyday life, dream reading/watching/RPGing, the best way to determine if you’re in a dream, such a prodigious dreams, my dreams exceed ALL other dreams, there’s books in your dreams, blurry, a foreign language, the first sentence, so obvious, generating that amount of detail and perceiving it, your GPU, fog in an old 3D game [isometric], how to record dreams, patterns, Tetris dreams, picture plants with white grubs on them, get the grubs off, The King In Yellow, Edgar Allan Poe, a trans-woman, Dreamland-like dreams, the name of two streets or the name of the town, Jesse waited five years to talk to Jason, Francis Stevens’ The Citadel Of Fear, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, super-science, giant laser guns from the Moon, a Japanese-American scientist, a style and a genre, the very first super-hero story, an irreplicable experience, that mad-scientist, you should be called “Sampson”, 30 years before Batman, Argosy, 1904, Robin Hood, Zorro, Thor, the actual generation of a Daredevil style meta-human, the origin issue, The Elf-Trap, Friend Island, a visionary, correspondence with other writers, somebody appreciates what I’m doing, there’s good things here, female SF authors are not as common, arguing with people on twitter, depending on the genre, the Love pulps are all women, Frank Belknap Long, gothic romance, female authors in Weird Tales, C.L. Moore, A.C. Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, initials are not necessarily hiding gender, Leigh Brackett, Ursula K. Le Guin, more than 50% women writers in SFF, Jeff Vandermeer, Ted Chiang, medieval travel narratives, Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle, a fake book review as a novel, Don Quixote, Dreamquest, Roy Thomas, it eventually becomes wordless, the narrator was too startled to speak, The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, the language is the barrier, the spanking scene, Charles Baudelaire, he has sex with a shark, Marquis de Sade style sexuality, how do I deal with the rape scene?, Azathoth as vision of god, Jason is not independently wealthy, Hodgson doesn’t have the name, Les Chants De Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont, Kickstarter, Lovecraft adjacent, a children’s book comic, YA comics, comics about mid-1800 super-villains, expectations, a bland porridge, reined in, cool stuff that makes kids interested, drawing in the margins, WWII, the best way to educate soldiers, the most economic and best way to teach soldiers to clean their rifles was to draw comics, carefully draw the bold back, why comics are so beloved by children, comics teach words through context, reading manga, what are they saying?, the sound of a scream, favourite writers, what are you not tweeting about, D&D module maps, torture chambers, a 20 year commitment, for those who are listening, ancient travel narratives, Marco Polo, Journey To The West, maps are kind of comic-like, a spatial narrative, there’s a lot you can leave out, the Dreamlands Map, revisions, the geography is not defined, all the capitalized words, Dunsanian easter eggs on the edges, Chaosium, The Field Guide To The Dreamlands, Sidney Sime’s map of Dunsany’s Dreamlands, its set in England (sort of), actual geography, expectations, changed placenames, snatch away the fruit of the fruits of others labour, copying is what we should all be doing, how it got made, no longer the product of a god, the product of a flawed god called Man, you develop your own or stop doing it, Gary Myers’ Dreamlands stories, The House Of The Wyrm, a YA novel, Kij Johnson’s The Dreamquest Of Vellitt Boe, a story of description and travel, the spirit of the story, for time to winnow away that which is unimportant, lots is interesting after 1900s, focusing on the public domain, making a short film out of this story, Henry Treece, The Green Man, a children’s adventure, a prehistorical romance, cave kids, The Viking Trilogy, Viking Dawn, The Road To Miklagaard, Viking Sunset, Asterix, Getafix, how did this translate, Tintin, Lucky Luke, Captain Haddock is an alcoholic, the movie adaptation, true to the original works, Tales Of The Gold Monkey, every 1930s serial trope, Magnum, P.I., a hot aircraft, three jam-packed stories, Canadian public domain, why aren’t people doing more, Vouldir, Sidney Sime museum, Virgil Finlay, scratchboard, why the lines look the way they do, using the same models, why I can’t draw hands, going to art school would probably have helped, practice, practice, practice, the smell of Used Bookstores.

Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea by Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson's Map Of The Dreamlands

The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath And Other Stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Jason Thompson

Mockman's map of Tomb Of Horrors

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #573 – READALONG: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #573 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1974, shocked to say, a very very good novel, the top half, mostly rambling, necessary rambling, hyper-competent mechanic and plot shit, a good thing?, rambly bits, cut a scene with Ruth Ray, the thesis of the book, unredacted French, Dr. Bloodmoney, one chapter that’s out of order, chapter 4 vs chapter 6, this is out of order!, just run with it, a more linear story, episode 353, January 25, 2016, pre-Evan, 2017, an easy find, how good is this?, a depressing 2 hour show, hopeful elements, glimmers of hope, A Scanner Darkly, police state, back to back, start at the end, the epilogue, happily ever after, what happens, why did he do it this way?, the notes on the Philip K. Dick fans page, he doesn’t normally do this, everybody and everything, making fun of happily ever after, humans’ relationship to narrative, trying to understand what is, what meaning is, what truth is, its about love, WHO you’re loving, exploring love, objects of love, collected and respected, kind of silly, this is what happened to the gun, the 22 derringer pistol, lead slug weapons, assumed wisely, a prop in the bachelor’s quarters of some minor official, a private collection of modern poverty, and loved, objects having their own ending, THE blue vase, THE derringer, philately, a stamp as a weapon, it does make sense to love particular objects, John Dowland’s lute music, Buchman’s a fan, deleting the music, why Philip K. Dick loved it, a piece of abstract music, music criticism thing,

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their last fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.

Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days, my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my deserts, for my deserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.

Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to contemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world’s despite.

very dark, abstract vs. concrete, love is tied up with death, Jason Taverner, better not to have a pet, better not to have a wife, children, the love of a parent for a child is all one way, better not to have a child, if you keep cutting love out of your life, the meaning of life and reality and, the only thing that’s real is love, isn’t this a crime?, a hard scene to read, if its consenting,can you consent at that age, this is adult this isnt, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year old cousin, age of consent was 14 in Canada, the super-Christian cop, Jesus and his love are very valuable (as I arrest you), failing at the institutional understanding of police, the bad guy, the whole long story of being demoted and working to help people in the concentration camps, as the novel progresses Felix becomes the protagonist, Vulcan’s Hammer, Vulcan’s Hammer, so clearly Buchman’s story, making that metaphor manifest, a different arc, learning about different kinds of love, ending in a tragedy, suicide, weird stuff, when he first meets Rachel, in panic mode after having a big fight with his wife, Ruth Ray, I’ve just been drugged with a fatal toxin, so many girls in this, she mistakes him for a student, he’s like 40, a subculture of anti-government forces, they don’t want to go to Vietnam, actively opposed to it, a famous school shooting, a life chain of people around the Pentagon, analyze this world as a dystopia, the quibbles and automated pictures, the fourth D in 4D pictures is the smell, still using records, what your profession is, student means rebel or revolutionary, forced-labour camps, they’re not that bad, the word campus and camp, campus as bases, 1/4 of Terra’s forced labour camps (more like death camps), only during the second civil war, those blacks in the camps, the effete pale clammy students living beneath the campus areas, camps must operate at a profit, how prison works, “barn”, a tattered rubber ball, shafts of light scampered all through him, kibbutzim, sub-surface, they’re C.H.U.D.S., all the children of natives sent to residential schools, a forced labour camp, massive abuse, physical sexual and psychological abuse, it took forever for this horrible system to end, are there people like Felix in the system trying to make things better, good policeman end up getting fired for trying to do the right thing, how the media works, conform and go along, 15minutes per year you’re allowed to say something true and that you care about, what country you’re in, institutions can’t love you, pretending to play by the rules but still a good person (on the inside), have you been offended by anything that’s happened so far, Philip K. Dick’s experience, the FBI gave Philip K. Dick driving lessons, quitting when given horrible orders, how Jesse quit jobs, tormented, whistle-blowers and leakers, disillusioned with the system, Edward Snowden, massive fraud and abuse, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, the Pentagon Papers, disillusioned true believers, go along to get along or quit, the play of the institution vs. the love of an individual, what does the black man at the gas station think, I didn’t get you’re note, a little heart with an arrow, emoji, something weird happened, not the first black man we’ve seen, a negro crossing the street, they’re protected now like the whooping crane, the slums of Watts proper, overflowing ashcans, drab painted Coca-Cola signs, an elderly black man crossed, an odd emotion, so few blacks alive now, Tidman’s sterilization bill, the timeline, a helluva lot of shit happened between 70 and 80, you just murdered a dude, you can’t jeer at them, and rightly so, the majority of silencers (the silent majority?), a black boy to play with, their birth coupon, two adults one child, ingenious, he solved the race problem alright, he sells headphones, do you know where this place is so I can show you where I live, bio-feedback headphones, plugging into the pornphone orgy internet, he has three children, late night calls, you’re feeling down at the mouth, that note, put your arms around me like a child would, you want to not be by yourself late at night, of the poem, John Downland’s song, he can’t speak, whats going on on his face?, yes I agree completely, I can dig it, you can meet my wife and my kids three in all, going into another universe (through drugs), changes reality for you and the people you’re thinking about, bisexual vs. lesbian, dude I don’t know what’s going on, the incestuous part, a lesbian organization, going to Borneo, it was a mistake, the law has been repealed?, he had them back in the 1960s?, set in 1988, 47 minus 20, they’re living at home, a very subtle sign that Dick is undercutting again, proposing ideas and then the reality of how it work was not how we thought, the onion, the true nature of reality, that Buchman doesn’t respond to the fact of the three kids, the love of children, this soliloquy here, we get the bow tied off with the drug explanation, The Electric Ant, a great concept in philosophy: solipsism, a sticky note that says soft drink stand, subjectivity in the drugs, Faith Of Our Fathers, Eye In The Sky, when Philip K. Dick went to France, you’re the greatest writer ever, the cab driver, I’m a famous writer, never heard of them, a YouTube celebrity, I watch all of Scotty Kilmer videos, millions of downloads and you’ve never heard of them, pocket celebrity, he’s not in the system, almost all of this happened, cannibalized from his own life, Waking Life (2001), a preamble to a dream, what can he do?, this is in my book too, and then he wrote VALIS, the names matching up, a massive number of notes and letters on the Philip K. Dick fans page, Swedish translator, I considered it perfect and finished, ten rewrites, monumental!, turned out to be sentimental, any bite any grit, so strange, his best, no good, done, not done, a feature and a bug of Philip K. Dick, those three children must be adults by now because they’re born in the sixties, what is reality, sometimes its that, where you meet a stranger at a gas station, the kind of love where you have sex with a group of strangers on the phone, the 10 different kinds of love, a lotta different weird kind of love, taboo love, married 21 times, for the 51st and final time, the number of countings, a jibe at his own marriages, Elizabeth Taylor’s seven husbands and eight marriages, as long as her pets, serial relationships, love and grief, I don’t want the grief, the policeman’s tears for strangers, absolute empathy, why we can’t laugh off the phone sex orgies, black box, Counterclock World‘s religion, the gestalt at the end of Galactic Pot-Healer, different collective experiences, Now Wait For Last Year, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Perky Pat, Jason Tavern vs. Jason Taverner, his arrest forms, the pols (police), the private security guard is called a cop, Wyoming, a diesel engine mechanic, a lot for the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, quibbles are cheap used cars, beer and warmth and coziness, Mr. Tavern is a warm man, Phil Gigante’s shame and dis-personing as a narrator, sexual conviction, DOESN’T IT?, the odor of onion and hot-sauce in every direction, best read again as a paperback, Philip K. Dick’s descriptions of reality, a poet of description, a police flipflap wobbled overhead, what happened to the actual Jason Tavern the mechanic, plastic surgery (a lie), used to be very ugly, Joe Cinadella, the Italian truck driver, Juliana’s camouflage, his fake Italian accent is not real, Philip K. Dick: a philosopher of fiction, the epilogue, what my mistake is: there is no happily ever after, 11 more revisions, there’s never a final a wiping of the hands, always something able to be revisited, real for a moment, however the drug’s supposed to work, it changes everybody else’s perceptions, making it into a film, have Conan O’Brien playing Conan O’Brien, get George Clooney to play George Clooney, magnetic and charismatic, before Clooney was just another shitty answer with a handsome face, how to take a good photo, that weird lit up look, he never tries to show he’s a great singer by actually singing, the name of the song: Nowhere Nothing Fuckup, a lot of swearing, that meta-phenomena, distinctly non-named, like Clem Fandango, what of Felix’s name, Felix Buchman is bucking the system?, Alys Buchman, you’re in a dystopia with a whole history, some government trying to overthrow another part of the government, like in Vulcan’s Hammer, in Marissa’s and Jesse’s top five Philip K. Dick novels, late Dick, the late Dick problem: VALIS and Divine Invasion, Our Friends From Frolix Eight, Orpheus With Clay Feet, originally published in Escapade magazine, published under the pen name “Jack Dowland”, one of Philip K. Dick’s many heroes was a 16th century lutist, a bored man visits a time travel tourist agency, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein and Jack Dowland?, the magazine may not actually exist, the story’s first publication may not exist, a competitor to playboy, a slick, hoping to read it, King Of The Elves, Rene Auberjonois, Odo on Deep Space Nine, about mental illness, a fantasy story, Francis Stevens’ The Elf-Trap, a movie that died, Paul Giamatti is a Philip K. Dick stand-in, The Owl In Daylight, Beyond Fantasy, a good follow-up for Philip K. Dick, were running out of novels, A Scanner Darkly, a biographical, don’t bother with The Divine Invasion, the titles sometimes elude, A Maze Of Death, Philip K. Dick, Marissa was living in Germany when we started, what is this?, Jesse is a pretty great artist, going to the bar for the drugs with a kid, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, don’t leave it to years between novels, Philip K. Elves, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, this is a LibriVox recording all LibriVox recordings are in the public domain, everything made of art on the earth, sorry about that, so sad, the geography of religion, market forces, leading students to death, Chinese students suicide rates, flipping out and killing themselves, She by H. Rider Haggard, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, he becomes a heterosexual woman, totally worth reading, Heinlein is a giant greater than Asimov is, being provocative in your fiction, that ardent passion, in the halls of worldcon, Evan groks that, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Marissa would be like: this is trippy, what podcasting’s for?, you want to do your homework, you need an excuse to go out hiking, Jesse’s sister’s daughter’s dog, Paul’s video of a sliding bus.

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said WORDCLOUD

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Chris Moore

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #570 – READALONG: The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #570 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Olav Rokne talk about The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Talked about on today’s show:
1952, the great Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, gravitas, how much should we think of it as a great book?, 100 best novels 1946-1987, number 12 amongst fantasy novels, a fantasy novel or a science fiction novel, an alternate history kick, The Man In The High Castle, Harry Turtledove, The Guns Of The South, Lest Darkness Fall, Bring The Jubilee, For Want Of A Nail by Robert Sobel, here today in 2019?, Axis victory novels, In The Presence Of Mine Enemies, techno veneer, the toxic nostalgia at the heart of fascism, the rejection of modernity, sylvan existence, mythologizing of the past, neo-feudalism, 100 years after reign?, The War For German Rights, not that far from our future, 2030s, Fuhrer means God now, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, kinda like Sliders, barely even know who Hitler was, the SS rituals, race theory, eugenics, genetic engineering, lions and dogs, vegetarian vs. Hermann Goering’s aesthetic, a symbolism book, vs. Albert Speer’s vision, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland by Robert Harris, Nazi-world, an analog for life behind the Berlin Wall, Kit, slightly tweaking the ideology, the world we don’t see, what makes it such an intriguing book, tech, the support system for a game preserve on a private estate, the horror of a Nazi regime, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, the body horror, fear horror, a Gothic castle, an anticipation not fully fulfilled, the Wild Hunt, was it real or was it all a delusion?, Deities & Demigods, the Huntmaster, Thor, driving game, myths versus legends, hearing the horn, join the hunt or become one of the hunted, pre-fascism, Herne The Hunter, inarticulate dread, fantastic stories, The Hounds Of Zaroff aka The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, unencumbered from morality, a throwback, not the only one, Hans von Hackleburg, the curse of the Baskervilles, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, an evil morality, inferring the system, a strong warning, people who have suffered gender or race based violence, Allan’s fears, creeped, sexism, misogynist, anti-human, women are turned into cats and men are turned into hounds, a vegetarian argument, Pierre Boulle’s Planet Of The Apes, the difference between of human and prey, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, the framing story, a four hour audiobook, 42 minutes into the book, almost 1/4 of the story is the frame, two narrators, authenticated, kinda fun, The Wolf or The White Wolf by Guy de Maupassant, a wonderful funny horrible story, kill everything, a true story of France, strangles it “gently”, true from one end to the other, less about gender than it is about class, Reichmaster of Forests, the cat girls and the fiance in the frame, it could be interpreted that way, the descriptions of meat were stomach churning, “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”, The Yellow Book (magazine), the book inside the book, the yellow 90s, a decadent book, Wayne June, $1.50 in 1895, a book for artists and high class folks, before he’s arrested and thrown in prison he’s playing a game, An Ideal Husband, The Importance Of Being Earnest, powerful versus popular, when Hillary Clinton was on Saturday Night Live, they pull their punches, Trump has been on Saturday Night Live, too thin skinned, more thin skinned, if you offend too much you’re going to get in trouble, going to far, Sinéad O’Connor, too true, not politic, a vegetarian propagandist book, I’m not so sure, the cat, a metonym for his wife, Kit, why doesn’t he want to tell her?, some distant 100 year old future, a screed against an activity she so enjoys, the terror, a world famous hunter, trophy room, a bridge too far, what is animal and what is human, a lot of science fiction, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells but with Nazis, vivisection, The Time Machine, unreliable narrators, Wells allusions, another thread, utopian futures, the Bellamy school, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, The Living, Just Imagine, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy (2006), Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, it’s a happy liberal future inside the city and homeless and we don’t spend time with the homeless people who are outside the city everybody is super happy enjoying their fancy clothes with robots and they spend time in outer space fighting Ming The Merciless and then outside the city we never talk about those dirty disgusting folks, it’s the same thing, clones of each other, a Marxist analysis of Gil Gerard’s Buck Rogers, intellectual property, we haven’t had a Space: 1999, a good point, the Dille family trust, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, we don’t need more Buck Rogers, overdosed on Superman, When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, the sequel, that Galt’s Gulch stuff, we are the elites, this lifeboat is for us, that comedy movie 2012 (2009) an unofficial reboot, Elon Musk is like Heinlein, Wernher von Braun was a fuckin SS nazi, D.D. Harriman, we don’t cut anything, dancing around The Sound Of His Horn, aged more in the last 25 years than in its first 40, more dated now, the ponderousness, become more of its time, flowery beautiful description, oooh this stuff is wonderful, the material is perfect for what it is, maybe its the relationship people have to it, imagine reading The Man In The High Castle in the 1960s, WWII was that much closer, its only aged in its relationship to us, a piece of art rather than a commercial work designed to put bums in seats, much more intellectual despite physical, spectacle, Blumhouse horror torture porn, the first Saw movie, the explanation is not the point the exclamation point was the point, the novel medium, dwelling more on certain paragraphs and certain sentences, immerse in Allan’s plight, feel his fear and apprehension, spend more time noticing connections between the outer narrator’s story and the inner narrator’s story, academic theses that nobody reads vs. big long blog posts that analyze the shit out of stuff, so many things in the meals in the hall the torchbearers, is that what I think it is?, trussing up the girls they’ve hunted as if they’re going to eat them, its not cannibalism its more like sadism and rape, the gentlemanly country estate of England vs. Nazi baronial estate, the two teams that went to war, the two cages (the POW camp and the estate), the games that they play within, another camp on the outside, concentration camps, slave labour employed, servants vs. slaves, not so much “you need to become a vegan, today” vs. considering the feelings of others, otherkin, a call for empathy, dwelling on the results of war and that setting, more connections sparking away, reading it in paper, not an easy book if you get squicked out, surgically modified, running to fat, brain surgery, bred, what’s happening to Kit, sent for reeducation, something to practice on, utopias and dystopias, all a part of a flow, patterns repeating throughout, in a dystopian novel it feels like everything is frozen, here’s a society that is perfected, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, lots of little shitbirds fucking things up, we’re in a system headed in a good direction, Nineteen-Eighty Four, Brave New World, the resistance was gelded, News From Nowhere by William Morris, everybody should be an artist, The Wood Beyond The World, a rural paradise, adding a lot of filigrees to their hoes, a science fiction fantasy, things can’t change, we have that within us too, cultivating good habits, coming to a steady state, we’ve refined our morality, we’re refined our diets, and we’ve brushed our hair in just the right way, Francis Fukuyama’s the end of history, NATO’s still a thing, yup, life’s ridiculous, people can be cruel, Jesse doesn’t visit the United States, when Peter Watts got the shit kicked out of him at the border, if you give in, drawing lines in the sand, a job in Texas, if Bernie wins, the abuses heaped upon the Nazis are justified, a personal story, personally suffered, one nice way to read it, a walking dream, walking across Eastern Europe, he walks 100 years into the future, a daydream, he spins up the whole story, has this happened more than once to him?, falling back into fairy, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, no fay element, Paul is arguing against himself, Thomas the Rhymer, mental illness, we don’t have perfect access to that, Oberon and Titania, torches as an affectation, plastic cup technology, high quality clothing, rich folks, not about the Nazis, what they did in Africa, you can’t really tell stories about swaths of people, stories about individuals, those personal relationships with a culture, without that frame the story doesn’t work very well, he is questioning hisself, speculating about Sarban’s knowledge of the crimes of the British Empire, parallels, Great Britain’s colonial history vs. the crimes of the Nazis, surveillance, no conscious critique of the British, what is our relationship to hunting, they do it unconsciously, a turkey hunt, why there are no lions, bears, and wolves in England, the gauleiter’s fake hunt, hunting fish in a barrel, mini-golf hunting, Barkerville, British Columbia, you pay for the pan the bag and the trough, a fake experience, not training, an ersatz experience, the reichforester has contempt for everybody around him, why is it like that?, a Medieval Times restaurant in Nazi Germany, its good to go out for a walk, a safe walk in nature, Mark Twain: golf as a good walk ruined, facial hair, the incarnation of the wildness, I will save you for another moon, a Nazi Utopia is a dystopia for the reichforester (he’s a manager at Disneyworld), I didn’t expect it to be like this, its different, what Sarban means: the kind of storyteller who traveled with caravans and entertained the travelers with stories, what Homer was, he’s basically a bard, a diplomatic career in the Middle East, how short it is, all the more plausible, you have your coffee you have your smoke, how to classify it, a horror book, no visceral reaction, Olav went vegetarian, no vegetables at that banquet, the dressing up of the game, two does, its not clear, on purpose, dehumanizing the pray, more dreamlike and more fey, the Star Wars experience in Disneyworld, a Star Wars store, a Star Wars lightsaber, the Batman costume with Batman’s face on the shirt, he’s not having fun, its not for him, Universal Studios’ Miami Vice experience, a spectacle vs. a ride, a cool idea, all of the jousting is every night, they’re actors, striving for utopia, regularize things, make things improved, best practices, self-driving cars, one day…, a trap, a fantasy we fall into, it fails to be a classic on a few levels, very affecting, a rich text, an intellectual experience, it doesn’t need to be that long, how much not spent in the actual world, where is the divergence point?, it doesn’t want or need to explore that, if it had been written in the 1890s, Prussian or Russian nobleman, it’s not about Nazis its about people, humans are fuckin weapons, dealing with things that have agency, what makes a bad society is having lots of people trending towards badness, not even saying that foxhunting is bad, Mike Vendetti, The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, people in power are fuckers, the cat’s name is Jan Smuts, best buds with Winston Churchill, both of them were in concentration camps in South Africa, Prime Minister of South Africa, maybe it is a critique, John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, in the hands of John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), yellow 90s ruin, the last place on earth for this goddess to inhabit, it does matter, how we come out of the inner frame, who named that cat?, where is that damn cat?, let it out, why the outer narrator doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t tell her this story, Aneurin Bevan (father of the NHS), fascism is the future refusing to be born, toxic nostalgia.

The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #208 – The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar by Francis Stevens

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #208

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar by Francis Stevens

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar was first published in Argosy, March 1904.

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Posted by Scott D. Danielson