The SFFaudio Podcast #671 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Watcher At The Threshold by John Buchan

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #671 – The Watcher At The Threshold by John Buchan – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (55 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Connor Kaye

Talked about on today’s show:
Harper’s, December 1900, distraight is a word, distraight is distracted, hearth, fucking deep!, the reference level, operating on a different continent, an earlier period, Supernatural Horror In Literature, August Derleth, The Lurker at the Threshold, the first half, Evan’s bike, prepared for the subtext, folk horror as a genre, the earliest examples of folk horror, a weird tales with hints of folk horror, so good, its hard, nothing happens in this story, coffee and dinner, a restaurant in a small town nearby, an email or something, better than a lot of Lovecraft stories, kinda banal on the service, a friend going around the bend, that moment on that ride together, the evening in the library, Roman history, Roman law, just a few paragraphs, all this happens in the very very end of the story, scenes we can read out, way deeper, hallucinating a little bit, clearer simpler movie, The Grove Of Ashtaroth, no girl, set in Africa (probably Rhodesia), Roman/Scottish folk horror, Semitic folk horror, dynamite and shotgun everything, a descent into a cave, Ash Tree Press, another of Buchan’s weird tales No Man’s Land, take the best scenes in making a comic, a dog cart and a lady at the door, don’t look at that sculpture over there, the narrator is a bit odd, the narrator is a lawyer on vacation, he’s come from Norway, a storycap, in love with his cousin, our narrator is not interested in the story (as much as his cousin), he’s kinda dumb but good at dropping all the hints, the opening, 189_, why is he hiding the year from us, a “true story”, the footnote also makes it a “true story”, lustful after a cousin, I can take her away from here and we can be together (and dump this guy), a familial duty, a former love, she was better off to marry him, he was in love with her, there to service her needs (not his), there’s some sort of underlying thing going on, where he got this from, underdeveloped for a modern audience, not a rip-roaring, The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, this mid-Atlantic region, Buchan has read Poe, a great setup, what kind of disease does this guy have?, a venereal disease, no successful treatment for the Maupassant disease, The Horla etc., syphilis, a disease of the heart, his left side, always talking about woodcocks, a hillclimb?, billiards, our narrator is dumb, a “sun-worshipper”, the moor is indistinct, he’s not a weird fiction fan, Ladlaw, his disastrous trip to Norway for the hunting, never explained, grumpy the whole time, the case is not going well, eager to get back, too weird for me, I can’t solve it, way to uncomfortable, compared with the fresh highland glen all was chilly and dull and dead, a very bad temper, other John Buchan works, the Clan Roydens, you know the house., who is he talking to?, on the moors, walks and hunts and fishes, pleasant people in the house, a fortnight in Norway, overly dramatic, he just likes shooting, when we finally get to the letter, a PS and another PS, my affectionate cousin, laidlow, Bob is terribly ill and I’m crazy, it is not doctor’s business, he’s dying, she has the same infection, a whole other level to his researches playing a role, shotgunning a goddess, 100% supernatural vs. a supernatural story (a possession story) and venereal disease, Barry Pain, laurels, death figure and life figure, Madam Blavatsky and the Theosophists, a symbolist painting, talking about his left side, kinda dumb, its the devil, in the universe of the story, Justinian making a deal with the devil, Laidlaw, Sybil, Theodora, hip deep in Theosophy, Falun Gong, congregationalist church with theosophy on the side, why this story is so weird, technical things, why is Lovecraft so racist, not everybody was into Theosophy, not ancient Biblical stuff, very specifically about Justinian, law school for a minute, he doesn’t read that much, I’m not going to tell you the story as he said it, set it down exactly as it is said, our narrator than the audience, John Buchan is laying it down so heavy, page 802, three fools alone in the dank upland, gobbling his food and getting scared at his napkin, a mad tea party with a vengeance, the doormouse and the hatter, Alice In Wonderland, Theodora -> a doormouse -> a watcher by the threshold, watching her husband at the threshold of death, very atmospheric and moody, gruesome and spooky, they don’t have any ducks for me to shoot, The Tomb, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, details about ancient defensive structures, a Yithian taking him over?, a reincarnation?, a past life exposed by this illness?, what he’s been doing, it used to be full of books about badminton, neat and scholarly (I hated it), horses and shooting, how much time doing Lovecraftian research, the secret history of Justinian, all real books, roll against Library Science, made a deal with the devil, The Thing On The Doorstep, The Shadow Out Of Time, the relationship between Scotland and Justinian, the Roman Inheritance: Christianity and Law, Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni, confronted by every aspirant, really lame spirituality, it covers everything, Justinian and Theodora are both saints, how they’re really rotten, an evil whore actress, an egoist, how much labour is involved in keeping the estate up, the town is full of poor people, a groom, the employee, they want to go on vacation, a class criticism, the narrator is unaware of class, Robert -> Robin, his sinister side, more bookish, Justinian’s bust, the spirit of Justinian was inside the bust?, the footnote, sleeping trouble, Delacroix Byzantium, the intertextual, The Horla theory, the disease that shall not be named, infected with Justinian’s disease, right up to but not including Scotland, The Rats In The Walls, 18th century England and Rome, John Buchan was an imperialist, WWI, The Thirty Nine Steps, on the path of being responsible for the extinction of a goddess, friends at school, some sort of fascinating connection, “going to seed”, they come into their flower and then go to seed, seedy = disreputable, why Poe and Lovecraft are so different, there are bigger issues than girls, the role of Justinian, he’s a Lovecraftian character, the most basic interpretation, the same spirit or demon, he recognized his own symptoms, Secret History by Procopius, this is an echo of that, textual verification, an amorphous shadow, the divide between the spiritual world and the modern reality, something’s attached to him through that divide, sundown syndrome, you lawyers, sounds like Lovecraft talking, this Mannan, the real landscape, the red earth and the red rock and the red streams of the hills, a new gospel, it would kill materialism, the poets who have deified nature, the profundity, the shaggy somber eyed forefather, wise wise, a queer land nowadays, inscrutable, an important part of this story, reading it literally, the Howard Lovecraft debate about civilization, law tames it, the Mad Hatter, the basic laws of the Enlightenment, 1900, fin de siecle, the yellow nineties, at a precipice, a gilded age, hints of Nietzsche, law can save us, getting that empire back, why is the land red red red, what’s missing is all the people, the Picts, what we think they were like, druids vs. the national spirit of Germany, Tacitus, Buchan’s a Scot who’s part of Empire, servants of Empire, this Empire shit is really bad, keeps the books on rich people’s investments, Montrose by John Buchan, the Jacobites are mentioned, a billiards game sort of story, I would show you the back of simple nature, the groom, I must have speed or go mad, til the ghoulish elder world, a solitary lit window, the red desert?, we’re having trouble picking it all up, putting all the work in, not filmable, a comedic narrator character, I’m a simple guy, I just like shooting things, how’s he gonna help?, the house literally cracks apart and collapses into the surrounding tarn, a metaphor for venereal disease, where are the kids in this family?, the house of MORE, the end of the cycle of empire, we’ve reached our peak, its all downhill from there, Buchan is very much like Ladlaw, photos of Buchan as Governor General in Canada, all the native tribes, Indians, Innu, and Inuit, when the royals come to Canada, you’re a part of the tribe now, a plains Indian headdress, the royal estate, the natives have a closer relationship to Britain than Canada does, Lord Beaverbrook, neo-Jacobites, the Stuart heirs, the divine right of kings, the Scottish kings, political conservatism, send him to Australia, in a way that the Welsh aren’t, engineers of Empire are Scottish, Airstrip One etc., either Scottish independence or a Jacobite restoration, more Buchan, The Green Wildebeest, No Man’s Land by John Buchan, way out into the moors of Scotland, Picts, Worms Of The Earth by Robert E. Howard, brutal but also wise, action packed!, less deep?, he got a writing career in addition, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a potboiler, parallel to this house of More, page 805, the actress harlot devotee, shapeless thing at his side, he dumb, the man in the chair before me, grim earnest, nonsense or no, devilish fancy, two inappropriate laughs, you doofus, he’s a real jerk, horribly anxious, giggling to himself, so insensitive, camped out outside the library, its the devil, oh, you’re serious, always dismissing, wry senses no jokes, clever wordplay, we see it as funny because of our distance, mooching, his ecosystem, Clan Roydens, his Lovecraftian universe, being a Scottish Lord, filing off the serial numbers, a very realistic story, for money, endless vacation time, non-productive lords, a slight realization, all built on labour and the deaths of people who lived here, the official histories are followed by the secret histories, a small incident among upper class twits, a hypocrite but he admits it, subversive in the sense that these upper class people are fucked, Will Emmons says science fiction comes in lots of different flavours but fantasy is for elitists, an Irish Lord and an Oxford don, diplomat, soldier, and writer, he’s solid, Ambrose Bierce is so subversive of his own text, all irony all the time, he’s having fun, William Gibson is always talking about what things are made of, an ironic overlay, adventurey overlay, stymied at all opportunities, a weird thing to do to your story, what the hell is this, so different and boring (comparatively), Supernatural Horror In Literature, his weirdest story, the atmosphere is great, The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher, what is weird?, what is eerie?, the moor is eerie, this vast empty thing, the situation with Ladlaw was weird, leave it and never resolve, you should know what these things are, no resolution, publishers probably hate that, available as an audiobook, tackling many different films and TV shows and books, Prester John by John Buchan.

The Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan

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The SFFaudio Podcast #531 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Piper In The Woods by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #531 – Piper In The Woods by Philip K. Dick; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
a plant named Paul, first published in Imagination, February 1953, the PDF, Introducing the author: Philip K. Dick, comic books, Stirring Science Stories, “There was no limit.”, StF (scientifiction), Faustian!, a medium in which the full play of imagination can operate, social awareness, communications between myself and others, my wife and my cat (Magnificat), a huge desk!, “read and write quite a lot”, public libraries, school libraries, a very young Philip K. Dick, the YouTube audio, nakedly bathing her foot while in a bush a scientist stares at her, baffled by this story, what the hell is going on?, really weird, a take that Jesse could Grok, totally baffled by, what Philip K. Dick was getting at, dreams, a scene not in the story, two trailers for film adaptations, the tone, the French one looked really angry, yelling, episode 9 of Evan’s Philip K. Dick Book Club podcast, about labour, refusal of work tradition, post scarcity philosophy, Paul Lafargue, anarchists, Bertrand Russell, reinvest productivity into leisure, Roanoake, “CROATOAN”, the anti-work tradition, the robot, two robots, a dorm room, a science fiction future, Earth doesn’t have trees anymore, the evolutionary argument, find green beautiful, Savannah grasses, the most beautiful trees are the ones that can be climbed, the Philip K. Dick Rhetorizer, obsession with cedar trees, a beautiful driveway leading up to a house, Upon The Dull Earth, an obsession with trees, orbiting Jupiter, Jesse’s massive theory, the pipers, the girl is a piper(?), Doctor Harris, do you know about the pipers, a native, Martians who came to the asteroids, folklore, we don’t know what’s really going on, what happens in the story, fantasy stories masquerading as science fiction stories, Beyond Lies The Wub, a talking pig, the pig talks about Odysseus and philosophy, weird strange guy, the Ancient Greeks, Strange Eden, tame, this brutish dude, transformed into a tamed animal, Aeëtes is the brother of Circe, Bubber the blubber boy, Return To Lilliput, maybe they’re dryads, the hamadryad, tied to a particular tree, building the base, Pan and the panisci, the pipes of Pan, not paying attention to science, a fantasy set in a science fiction universe, why are they called pipers?, Marissa’s theory, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, like they’re dying, Of Withered Apples, lives in the ground, maybe the forest are all just dead people, the victims don’t eat, the scene at the end with the dirt, sunlight, water, a strange invasion story, the contamination they’re trying to prevent, unrelated plant schemes, to spread the gospel, the line about Tiberius, when Christianity showed up in high places, household slaves of the Imperial family, tutoring the kids, “that’s Jesus!”, Friedrich Nietzsche, “slave morality”, this is GOOD, that was BAD, this is GOOD, “the meek shall inherit the earth works for me”, only in the blood soaked soil of the Roman Empire can a slave morality be so flourishing, a whole cool thing, the Holy Roman Empire, that turn, Doctor Harris’ POV, presumably he knows what’s in his luggage, is he lying there?, a psychological story, dreams, switching genders, every time you see the word “plant” replace it with the “woman”, just why do you think you’re a woman?, a strange phenomenon, how is the psychological happening happening?, a mysterious transformation, more about identity, in our world, the experience as presented, if it was by Heinlein, a few bosom shots, a beauty and grace of movement, secretary just out of school, an invasion story, Paul’s theory, a different set of mythological references, the myth of Endymion, the myth of Actaeon, Atremis and Diana, turned into a stag, his dogs, Martians, a defense of the asteroid by the pipers, quelling them, neutralized, Evan’s take, these workers are infected with the work ethic, the valourization of work, a whole ideology here, full employment, if you’re not in the labour market you’re less, the blessings of work, the fear of everything individual, work giving meaning, so many things going on, it doesn’t tell you what its doing, random stuff, our first victim, blonde, the most bizzaro conversation, it is a comedy, “why do you think you’re a plant”, “I’ve been a plant for several days now”, “I see”, beefy Commander Cox, work was unnatural, contemplate, jet repair, two nurses passed, a jet blast injury, a bovine youth with horned-rimmed glasses, the bovine youth, Philip K. Dick coding-in, I’m doing fantasy right now, cataleptic?, is this on purpose?, it was a warm sunny day, a graceful flowing motion, he is the girl, copper coloured natives, they’re sunbathers, the Coppertone, you’re on your way to your writing shack, there’s a story right there, how do you become one of those people, sunbathing is a vacation thing, the opposite of work, in the military for no reason, M*A*S*H, Corporal Klinger, I need a section 8, maybe he protest to much, an argument against pacifism, they’re deserters, if everybody did what I do, another take on Bartelby, The Scrivner, inscrutable, a law copyist, Bob Cratchet, Scrooge will have to fill out his own eviction notices, a Memorial to the Unknown Deserter, Life Of Philip K. Dick, Anthony Peake suggest that chapter 6 of The Wind Of The Willows by Kenneth Grahame, benign forgetting, “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, the gift of forgetfulness, this hidden memory is The Wind In The Willows, Morpheus in The Matrix (1999), the reviews, there’s a lot of stories like this?, Weltanschauung (worldview), a Promethean aspect to Philip K. Dick, Time Out Of Joint, they’re sunbathing, other people don’t see it as work, idle but doing interesting things, in the beginning was the deed, a pretty good pickup line, obsessed with Faust in the 50s, poppy, goldbricking, “poppycock”, where poppies and grass grew everywhere, Hypnos the god of sleep, Philip K. Dick knows what he’s doing (at least on some level), encoding for us, a story for the reader to try to engage with, rebuffed by the sea, people always point to the twist ending, is it a twist?, somehow confident he’s on the right path, the Pan idea, The Great God Pan, Helen Vaughn out in the woods taking in hard working men, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, its a murder mystery, the two best sculptors, two different ways of getting inspiration for their art, one goes to the city, the other to the grove, a fascinating story, the nature of art, taking inspiration from nature, can’t explain it but knows its necessary, it doesn’t touch on art, dead at night, almost childhood, before you can become creative, absorbing like a sponge, same with Lovecraft, unconsciously thinks of his own early life, a baby lying in the sun, the god of the Sun, Apollo, the goddess Artemis had a relationship with Pan, he’s setting us up, working a psychological idea out, all these different interpretations, they act as nature spirits, the way he comes upon her, a golden snake, Apollo, the Pythias, a connection there, a grey creature, hunt and fish, no written language, a story of Herman Melville’s Typee, where food is plentiful, when you’re having fun at work its play, an AP prep course, what Bob Black calls the Ludic lifestyle, transforming work into play, playful in an aimful way?, we don’t need to do that much, do we need 4% GDP growth?, untied to human labour, you can do it all through finance, labour and income, the whole system is designed to prevent that, vulture capitalism, cutting down a tree is GDP, Paramount and Fox and Disney, the quality of film isn’t going to go up radically but the shuttering of a competitor, seeing the reflections of all this stuff in a story that’s so impenetrable, Beyond The Door, were people knowing exactly what he was doing, a story of cuckolding, Oh my god, encoding a secret story inside the story, just out of reach, that’s how it is anyway, is Diogenes in the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer?, he lived in a pot, he called himself a cynic (a dog), a lower lifeform, being a human is not that great, you want to be on the team that doesn’t get enslaved, if you aren’t building ships and nukes then you are subjects to the whims of those who are, because you weren’t building tanks…, that war lasted 14 years (12 Christmas episodes and Alan Alda’s aging rapidly), the war chews people up, they’re cogs in the machinery, the bovine youth, the psychology, to opt out, to go back to the land, to be off the grid, pacifism does make sense until the tanks start rolling, authoritarianism, a post-colonial criticism of the refusal of work, Souvenir, the same infection, Emma Goldman, history is the tension between the individual and the institution, the WE, its powerful, it can be turned off, plantism is incredibly powerful, the work ethic is way more powerful, the anarchist anti-work argument, Thank You For Calling (2018), worry free live-work centers, its a prison, three squares a day, great food, friends, free healthcare, that evil corporation, a science fiction story, it doesn’t present as such, horsemen, Hiro Protagonist of Snow Crash, interesting and fun, worth watching, the thesis of Office Space (1999), it feels like it takes a lot longer, you feel like you’ve been there before, a pretty impressive feat, something very real, underneath there are a lot of people in those bullshit jobs, things are changing, herbivore men in Japan, Peppa Pig, society folk, the loser dad, Gumball, Rick And Morty, somebody should totally analyze that, they choose not to date, dating training, grass eaters, I can relate to this, the pull back to programming, the psychologist is completely wrong, destroy the pipers, fades into the forest, I’m going to go back to my shed now, “normal work”, his cat’s not sure, big output, the gendered aspect, everything Dick says about women, the idle wife as a trope, Cleo, did they all leave him?, swapped, why we need the biography, Tessa left him, easily lured off into the woods by women, serial monogamy, very serial.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #416 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Far Below by Robert Barbour Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #416 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander discuss Far Below by Robert Barbour Johnson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, June-July 1939, The Midnight Meat Train, the audio drama from Suspense (Blue Hours), Los Angeles, a truly underground story, how far the infection has spread, like Russian nesting dolls, Pickman’s Model, Pickman’s painting entitled “Subway Accident”, Death Line (1972) (aka Raw Meat), The Terror Of Blue John Gap by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a rabbit warren, movie adaptations, C.H.U.D. (1984), Escape From New York (1981), they’re everywhere, very 80s, atrocious dialogue and logic, an old dodge, John Carpenter, the 59th street bridge, the society of CHUDs, female inmate, a mini-romance, how most people interact with this story, I could barely get through it and I really liked it, weird pacing, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), the camera as observer, Christopher Lee and Donald, “There are monsters in the tunnel inspector!”, a film out of its time, the old boy’s network (is also from Far Below), a mean bully thief sexist, looting the place, two different movies, it somehow works, so garish, quite murky, incredible tunnels in the London Underground, ghost stations, Creep (2004), ghost stories/urban legends, the monsters are descendants of the survivors of a tunnel construction collapse, The Descent (2005), the man aka the cannibal, “mind the doors”, an exploitative horrible monster mess movie, she’s pregnant, keep the community going, a family crypt, a tragedy horror, is Creep (2004) a remake of Raw Meat (aka Death Line)?, where does folklore come from?, a secret medical experiment facility, he’s always preceded by rats, The Graveyard Rats by Henry Kuttner, The Gruesome Book, a race of subterranean beings, a dead body animated by rats, The Gripping Hand and The Mote In God’s Eye, the watchmaker moties, Gremlins (1984), the tendrils out of Lovecraft grow deep, Mimic (1997), Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim, a mad scientist with other responsibilities, giving your right arm, I’m not quite there yet, a reasonable depravity, the Duke Of New York is A#1, a little smoke break, calling forth the CHUDs, we follow Kurt Russell following that guy, Franka Potente looking for George Clooney, empathy for a rapist, it’s all connected, a theme of degeneration in the dark, she’s a bitch, a horrible manipulative person, a nice symmetry, social satire, black humour, this is horrible and great as well, Syria and Russia, this is why the Indians sold Manhattan so cheap, where is The Descent supposed to take place?, they’re albino cave dwellers, Monsters (1990) TV show adaptation of Far Below, The Midnight Meat Train, Clive Barker’s obsession with raw meat, Bradley Cooper, Limitless,
the wrong carriage, butchered bodies, the butcher, the true city fathers, who is the narrator talking to?, you’re going to eat my wife, a choice ending, a deep cut, a new recruit, they weren’t allowed to report on this, a student, a photographer, a vegan, ultra-horror, he’s grain fed!, starting with an image, holding on vs. hanging from, Mahogany, the mythological ferryman, their damnation until they can pass it on, The Books Of Blood by Clive Barker, Dagon (the fanzine), he hadn’t read any Lovecraft at that point, Bryan may have lived Far Below, The Warriors (1979), Death Wish (1974), the Washington, D.C. subway system, Fallout 3, Death Line (Raw Meat) 1972, Escape From New York (1981), C.H.U.D. (1984), sewers, Monsters (1990) TV show, Creep 2004, The Descent (2005), attested by every country in the world and every people, ghouls in the bible?, J.R.R. Tolkien has it, the barrow wights, Edgar Rice Burroughs, white furry monster, the Morlocks, H.G. Wells invented CHUDs (in The Time Machine), The Midnight Meat Train (2008), the vein, going deep, Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne, monks are more heavenly, the Wizard Knight worlds, Gene Wolfe, angels, burrowing into mother earth, the long tradition of the earth as maternal, All Quiet On The Western Front, WWI, Château-Thierry, Verdun, bleed France white, “they shall not pass”, the Balrog, delving too deep, a battlefield map, battlefield commander, Vimy Ridge, 12 kilometers of tunnel, Passchendaele (2008), Thompson, the Maxim gun, domestic life, Carl Akeley, taxidermy, big game hunting, apes, killing a leopard with his bare hands, Indiana Jones, The American Museum Of Natural History’s Akeley Hall, Heart Of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, Friedrich Nietzsche on the abyss, ghouls like in Pickman’s Model, hinting, Pickman’s Model is the fictionalized version of Far Below, part simian part canine part mole, Nyarlathotep darkness, The Rats In The Walls, howling blindly, idiot flute players, the dark pharaoh, August Derleth, Cthulhu Water, The Facts In The Case Of Arthur Jermyn And His Family aka The White Ape, it’s not the family, Greek vs. Biblical, the acme of human progress tears itself to bits, national or familial genealogy, the family business, plump Captain Norris, the Morlock connection, staring into the abyss, the hidden race sub-genre, Richard Sharpe Shaver, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, they colonize us, The Mound by Zealia Bishop and H.P. Lovecraft, an inverted high-tech monstrous civilization, let’s see where it goes, less genetic and more philosophical, the description of the funding, NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker, Tammany Hall, childhood power fantasy, for our own safety, you’d understand, carte blanche, you can’t handle the truth, he’s the bad guy, in the warm light of day, taking precautions, the deepness rotting at the core of the Earth, involving the feds, the classic American cop story, NYC police corruption, Prince Of The City with Treat Williams, the War on Terror, At The Mountains Of Madness, Boston subway stations, Bram Stoker, high-tech, nascent technology, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, the telephone, it’s a tasty story, the thing was upon us, out of the darkness, Supernatural Horror In Literature, I learned a lot from Lovecraft, Quiet Please: The Thing On The Fourble Board, they dug too deep!, listen at night in the basement, things that are digging up, Jon Petwee era, Doctor Who: Inferno, Star Trek’s Mirror, Mirror, the Brigadier’s eyepatch and Spock’s beard, evil Captain Archer, green gas causing degeneration, environmentalism, The Green Death another minging story, The Silurians, Call Ghostbusters (1984)!, Edge Of Darkness (1985), Homer, Polyphemus he only sleeps in a cave, neanderthals, and the niter, it grows!

Far Below by Robert Barbour Johnson

Mister Mystery - The Subway Terror

Escape From New York's CRAZIES

Dead Of Night 3 April 1974

Tomb Of Darkness 9 July 1974

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #248 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Goliah by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #248 – Goliah by Jack London; read by Gregg Margarite. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (57 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Bryan Alexander, Seth, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Colossus: The Forbin Project; title’s reference to biblical Goliath; story’s title a reference to the famous Pacific steam ship; colonial capitalism; the story’s Gilded Age context; child labor; Eugene Debs and American socialism; Karl Marx; Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan; the story’s fictional energon evocative of Transformers energon; Nikola Tesla; Goliah has a palantir; Goliah as Santa Claus; the story’s invented island Palgrave in the South Sea; parallels to London’s other speculative fiction including The Iron Heel; the story’s unreliable narrator; Asgard; origin stories and foundation myths; nineteenth-century racism rears its ugly head again; Übermenschen; contempt for military and militarism; The Unparalleled Invasion; Seth works too hard; the theoretical increase of productivity through automation; 1984Twilight casting a sparkly shadow over modern culture; Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward as a possible influence; Karl Marx’s German Ideology; the importance of laughter; Herland; the story as a response to nihilism; similarities between Guy de Maupassant and Friedrich Nietzsche; The Scarlet PlagueCanticle for Leibowitz; the medieval investiture controversy; animal metaphors in Goliah; accurate predictions of World War I; structural similarity to the Book of Job; “you don’t get a lot of laughter in the Old Testament”; Arslan by M.J. Engh; The Bookman literary magazine; It’s a Good Life by Jerome Bixby; steampunk by tag cloud; we make a dismal attempt at discussing the Stock Market; the dark underbelly of Goliah’s utopia; the unrealistic perpetuation of a utopia; Autofac and Pay for the Printer by Philip K. Dick; With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Lenin’s dying wish; Jules Verne; Goliah relinquishing power; Hot Fuzz; more on the palantir and the NSA; “grumblers grumble”; attitudes toward the criminally insane; “Goliah has spoken”; nukes not MOOCs; Cuban Missile Crisis; Douglas MacArthur biography American Caesar by William Manchester; Doctor Who episode “The Happiness Patrol”; Japanese Manga Death Note; the “bread and roses” U.S. labor strike contemporary with Jack London; the Pax Romana; The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker, a discourse on lethal violence; the Franco-Prussian War; Earle Labor’s Jack London: An American Life available in audio.

Colossus The Forbin Project

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #222 – READALONG: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #222 – Jesse, Jenny, Paul Weimer and Bryan Alexander discuss Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Talked about on today’s show:
The audiobook, Recorded Books, the appendix, The Lord Of The Rings, the feeling in your right hand, a dream-like book, Room 101, a disjointing of time, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Signet Classic, already a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League at 12, a 1971 sex drive, memory, Winston Smith’s obsession with the past, the three traitors, the Soviet Union as applied to Britain, show trials, it is so effective, The Running Man is a prole version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, “WHITMAN, PRICE, AND HADDAD!!! You remember them! There they are now, BASKING under the Maui sun.”, down the memory hole, the brutality of the movies and the applause of the audience, the crushing of weakness, the terrible children, the 1954 BBC TV version starring Peter Cushing, Winston’s own memories of his childhood, did Winston kill his sister, his bowels turn to water when he see a rat, the return of the mother, a bag of decay, the 1984 version of 1984, John Hurt looks like he was born to play Winston Smith, is it Science Fiction?, dystopia, does this feel like Science Fiction?, Social Science Fiction, If This Goes On… by Robert A. Heinlein, Animal Farm, Goldstein’s Book, the re-writing of history, collapsing the vocab, The Languages Of Pao by Jack Vance, Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, The Embedding by Ian Watson, Isaac Asimov’s review of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell imagines no new vices, WWIII, in regular SF we get used to a lack of motifs, the coral, the memories, the place with no darkness, everything is recycled in a dream and people merge, in dream logic 2+2 can equal 5, reduction of the world and the self, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, soma, The Hunger Games, Wool by Hugh Howey, cleaning day, grease, transformed language, a crudboard box, euphony, a greasy world, a comparison to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, We The Living by Ayn Rand, Harcourt Brace, Politics And The English Language by George Orwell, V For Vendetta, Norsefire vs. IngSoc, a circuitous publishing history, crudpaper, prole dialect, part dialect, New Speak, military language, Generation Kill, military language is bureaucratic language, Dune by Frank Herbert, Battle Language, private language, Brazil, the thirteen’s hour, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, victory means shit, Airstrip One, speakwrite, Star Wars, careful worlding, a masterwork, a transformation and an inoculation, watch 1984 on your phone while the NSA watches you watch it, North Korea, “without getting to political”, 2600‘s editor is Emmanuel Goldstein, the traitor Snowden, that’s what this book is, it’s political, The Lives Of Others, hyper-competent, the bedroom scene, “We are the dead.”, how did the picture break off the wall, dream-logic, Jesse knows when he’s dreaming, if you dream a book you must generate the text, dreaming of books that don’t exist, a great sequel to Ringworld?, The Sandman, “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”, O’Brien, Martin, the worst thing is you can’t control what you say when your sleeping, uncanny valley,

Whatever it was, you could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure IngSoc. As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was
his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Polar Express, the book within the book, high end books, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is London the capital of Oceania?, the value of the book, Stephen Fry’s character, a book that tells you only things you already knew, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, the possibilities of other books, supercharged moments in movies, Twelve Monkeys, Dark City, Book Of Dreams, utopias within dystopias, reading in comfort and safety, the golden place, Julia is a pornosec writer, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Processed Word by John Varley, Russian humor, is there really a war?, power is the power to change reality, Stephen Colbert’s truthiness, doublethinking it, the proles seem to be happier, feeling contempt, lottery tickets depress Jesse, “renting the dream”, the proles are obsessed by lotteries, who is the newspaper for?, the chocolate ration, Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History Of The Universe, how stable is Oceania?, guys and Guy, how stable is North Korea?, Christopher Hitchens, there’s no hope in 1984, the subversion mechanism has been subverted, changing human behavior, Walden Two by B.F. Skinner, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, genocide, racial purity, are they bombing themselves?, where does Julia get all her treats?, utopia is a nice cup of coffee, The Principle Of Hope by Ernst Bloch, what’s missing from your life comrade?, is Julia playing a role?, she’s the catalyst for everything, misogyny vs. misanthropy, Nietzsche’s master morality slave morality, political excitement is transformed into sexual excitement, ‘I have a real body it occupies space (no you don’t you’re a fictional character)’, Julia’s punk aesthetic, I love you., she’s the dream girl, the romantic couple that brings down the bad order, The Revolt Of Islam by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Pacific Rim, The Matrix, Equilibrium, Mephistopheles, Mustapha Mond, Jesse thought she was in on it, the prole lady out the window, nature, ragged leafless shrubs, nature has been killed, the Byzantine Empire, the Catholic Church, cult of personality vs. an idoru Big Brother, Eurythmics, we’re nostalgic for the Cold War, the now iconic ironic 1984 Apple commercial, dems repubs NSA, has Britain been secretly controlling the world using America?, George Bernard Shaw, society and politics, SF about the Vietnam War, petition for and against the war, Judith Merril, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, China.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Reader's Digest 1984

Reader's Digest 1984

Reader's Digest 1984

Reader's Digest 1984

Reader's Digest 1984

Mori's 1984

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #116

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #116 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Professor Eric S. Rabkin talk about The Space Merchants (aka Gravy Planet) by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

Talked about on today’s show:
Frederik Pohl’s blog, differences between Gravy Planet and The Space Merchants Coca-Cola vs. Yummy Cola, com-pocalypse (a commercial apocalypse), advertizing, conservationists -> connies (or consies) is an analogue for communists -> commies, Tristan Und Isolde, Costa Rica, Chicken Little, Fowler Shocken, 1950s. Jews in “the Science Fiction ghetto”, H.L. Gold, Phlip Klass (William Tenn), Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, the Wikipedia entry for The Space Merchants, a study guide for The Space Merchants, Levittown, Man Plus, The Merchants War, Pohl’s interest in psychiatry, Gateway, structural problems in The Space Merchants, identity theft, a hero’s journey, The Odyssey, katabasis, banana republic, the United Fruit Company, Cuba, U.S. Marines in Columbia, Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders, Jack O’Shea, little people are the perfect astronauts, pilots tend to be small people, the continuing relevance of The Space Merchants, “transformed language”, The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, “the Glaciers didn’t freeze overnight” (Rome wasn’t built in a day), what side do you oil your bread on, pedaling your Cadillac into the future, are there more cars in the U.S.A. than people?, William Gibson, The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed, corporatocracy, Oliver Stone, does Wall Street run the world or is it Madison Avenue?, representative government per capita (per head) or ad valorem (to value), The Marching Morons, dystopia, utopia, citizen vs. consumer, CBC’s The Age Of Persuasion podcast, the effectiveness of advertizing, feminine hygine products, “it has wings”, coffiest vs. Starbucks, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, how effective is advertizing?, saturation of advertizing vs. the message of advertizing itself, does advertizing work?, who consumes dog food?, soyaburger, Chlorella, algae, soylent red, despite what he says Eric is not a jerk vegetarian, seitan (wheat gluten food), Moby Dick, Mountain Dew in the U.S.A. vs. Mountain Dew in Canada, energy drinks, Jolt Cola, phial vs. vile, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream Of Electric Sheep?, the Penfield Mood Organ, caffeine, Tamahome likes unsweetened chocolate, what did Montezuma drink all day long?, does has the internet lessen the impact of advertizing?, the spillage from penis enhancement, Eric bought a wide cross section of pornography, “genuine spurious placebo”, Boeing “forever new frontiers”, the Dubai Ports controversy, Cisco Systems, I, Robot, Minority Report, gesture recognition, Yelp, Wikileaks: U.S. diplomats pressed Boeing deals, Bombardier, “he came from an old family”, Kennedy, Bush, Heddy and Hester, Hedy Lamarr, Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, The Stars My Destination, “Eight sir, seven sir, six sir, five sir, four sir, three sir, two sir, one. Tenser, said the Tensor, Tenser said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun.” Rebecca Black’s Friday is a train wreck, Arthur C. Clarke‘s Tales From The White Heart, colonizing your brain, “you haven’t read a book until you’ve talked about it”, is solitary reading a different kind of thing than social reading?, satire, Monty Python’s “The Funniest Joke In The World” sketch, advertizing in books, advertizing in paperback novels, propaganda, recommendation vs. advertizing, making something available vs. thrusting it upon you, metaSFFaudio, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell, Flannery O’Connor with zombies, why SFFaudio doesn’t link to Amazon.com, Morning Joe, Fox News, Scott is now a politician, Douglas Adams, political debate being replaced by sound bites, Jon Stewart vs. Sean Hannity, Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, Will Rogers, communication vs. advertizing, jokes are revelations, brand awareness, why do kids want to see Transformers 3?, Cedar Rapids is a coming of age movie about the nature of friendship, why is there no commercial released audiobook of The Space Merchants?, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, Them!, anti-consumerism (anti-Americanism), tobacco packaging warning messages (are ads), the tobacco industry vs. the anti-tobacco industry, church advertizing, Scientology doesn’t sell the same message as many other religions, L. Ron Hubbard, A.E. van Vogt, Dianetics, the premise of Null-A, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Illustrations from the original serialization of Gravy Planet (aka The Space Merchants) in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine’s July August and September 1952 issues:

Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley
Gravy Planet illustrations by Don Sibley

Posted by Jesse Willis