The SFFaudio Podcast #687 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #687 – People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard; read by Mark Nelson

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 34 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, Alex, and Connor Kaye.

Talked about on today’s show:
when “the”, Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Savage Sword Of Conan adaptation, 116 page adaptation, feeling that text raw, the 1982 Conan movie is a really good movie, lifting a lot from this, it is all of the Howard stories, our counter hero is done with you now, spear through his gut, Thulsa Doom, come to me my child, the magic system, the snake transformation, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Robert E. Howard’s Greatest Conan Story, what you like about Conan, political wheeling and dealing, how to make your writing better, the three ways of viewing movies, the auteur theory, the star theory, the genre theory, Poe copy, looking for Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane, more paid by the word than usual, rushing through it, broad strokes and hinting, Conan The Buccaneer by Lin Carter and Fritz Leiber, cool intrigue, when the Devi, really good chess movement, Planet Of Iron Shadows?, Iron Shadows In The Moon, pirates, how the story actually works, three adaptations, Ablaze’s French translation, Dark Horse, Marvel’s full SSOC adaptation, gorgeous, atmospheric, action panels, covered in veils and things, trades clothes with the hill woman, smoky mystic, half naked before and half naked again, Alfredo Alcala’s inks are unfinished, John Buscema’s pencil’s, rocks are beautiful, scales and turbans and clouds of dust, the decline in comics, what happened to comics, Ablaze is muddy looking, sorta manga style, when they get angry people go manga, his proportions are wrong, he looks like a mutant, a cartoon aesthetic, not enough nudity, butt and sideboob, her regression scene, one of the best scenes in all of Conan, Skull-Face, “I’ve kissed ladies from Hell”, so good, the shell of the story, the Devi is on a revenge quest, Conan is trying to be a leader, admitting responsibility towards his men, the mark of a leader, Queen Of The Black Coast is run by Belit, Yezdigerd, why all of this plot is happening, agents, Thoth Amon, the King of Turan, gaining the kingship not administering the kingdom, betraying and intriguing, the names, servants of the seers, a little carelessness, action, Conan is very Conan, stupid magic belt, Yasmina, Evan shares a lot of Trish’s views, political factions and relations, who is loyal to who, that really long climax, the transformation into the bird, the forces of sorcery, decadent empire and barbarism, the class element, Gitara, what is Gitara’s motivation to convert Green Turban, does she really love him?, I’ll make you king, outside of her powers, you’re a powerful man, he could have challenged me, both baddies, they’re both slaves, Howard is ambivalent about a lot of things Evan isn’t, smashing elites, the individual within a corrupt society, forge an empire of our own, you’re powerful and I’m tricky, an underdetermined character, a Great Game story, Iraqis, pre-Iraq, Afghulis, Iranistanis, what’s missing is he doesn’t get to fight a tiger, giant snakes, giant eagle, Conan is never really in India, Kull fights tigers, a wizard dressed up as a tiger, a book of essays about Robert E. Howard, real geography, Himalayas, the Zaibar Pass is the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan, an El Borak story with Conan, is Turan Persia or Turkey?, the Vilyaet Sea, the Aral Sea not the Black Sea, Iron Shadows In The Moon, mid northern asia border with Europe-ish, Buddhist evil priests, The Nine Billion Names Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, they’re from the Mysterious East, out of The Shadow, anti-Buddhists, a Fu Manchu style Buddhists, red dust and blue dusts, prayer wheels, a perfectly calm, Buddhist sash thing on his head, he’s a lich, a lecherous lich, catch the Devi, the genre vs. the medium, it feels like a serial but it isn’t a serial, Flash Gordon serials, lets make this longer, feeling the drag, Vale Of Lost Women cooks, the ending is pristine, I’ve still got men, the dog attacking a guy is there to fill pages, a bunch of challenges, a boss fight, that’s how you get paid, a D&D module, the belt of magical resistance, Conan doesn’t have a magic sword or a loyal horse, its wielded by Robert E. Howard, the “Atlantean sword” shit, Conan fights a giant magnet, Conan fighting a polar bear, Conan has to fight magic because its Weird Tales, the power of evil wizards moving the plot, you’re to stupid to know what it is: $250 vs. $50, four parallel characters, Yasmina’s vs. Gitara’s third eye (her Bindi), the loss of vocabulary is palpable, “lambent”, pages of no dialogue and no text, great, good, bad, and terrible all on one page, three shadows and a nightstand, elf-style ears and facial piercings, its a reveal he’s a lich, no I’m just a man but I command demons, the psychological torture of living through reincarnation cycles, she’s humbled, household drudgery, back beyond the dimmest dawn, skin clad, looms, dragged, the bite of the lash, the bloody block, Alfredo Alcala, Big John Buscema, are doing it without reference materials, two words for throw, he hurl throwed, Savage Sword was the Golden Age, Roy Thomas, Ernie Chan (Chua), a decline and a decline and a decline, we think it is the character that we like, hard to sell an El Borak story?, some bias against going to places and learning things, Thomas Jane, handsome actor, a local sidekick, demons and armies and the , The Fire Of Ashurbanipal, Steve Clarny, Swords Of Schaharazar, Hawks Of The Hills, The Lost Valley Of Iskander, lost valley trope, The Lost Valley, Temple Of Doom doesn’t exist without this story, guy has his heart ripped out, modeled on the movies, some ladies in the jungle, snake footage, magic items in the bible, an excuse to go to India and China, visiting a place but not as tourists, the gross out scenes, presented with food that you can’t eat, Stephen Spielberg’s ex-wife is the kid character, Short Round is our viewpoint Mary Sue, the stupid and the smart the cool and the uncool, pairing Conan up with a bunch of regulars, Crom is a repeating character, why Evan is having trouble finding something to say, Howard’s philosophy is not intellectual as it is honorable, when confronted with the problem of her clothes are on, a man should kill a woman if she’s too dangerous, slaps her on the butt and she accepts it as a complicated, doing the monkey dance, how do I as an individual interact with the world, why Yasmina is such a good character, the Conan Destroyer princess, human beings acting in the world, when Green Turban refuses to die, you get him for me, ate his salt, Solomon Kane is insane and there are no demons (but he’s doing his best), I guess I have to use this magic staff, why these weird plots happen, doomed hirelings, they’re fucked and they know it, coming away with a philosophy of what his ideas are, how to live in the world in the moment, his feminist moment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as to Yasmina, a classist person, not thrilled to be slapped on the butt, an appreciation not a denigration, not a fan of royalty, The Hour Of The Dragon, Xaltotun is the best villain, plans, give me your horse and I’ll save you, we can’t get married, chief of the guard, there are customs, we’ll work it out, I have a very nice harem you can be a part of, she literally kills him, horrible childbirths in her retrogression, silly putty, she knew the agonizes of childbirth, Solitude Of Self, individual struggle with nature that women experience but men don’t, Russian roulette, Robert E. Howard is not wedded to Conan the way we are, the last set of stories were Conan tales, had he lived, classifying his stories by character, that poem is really hot (or rough), Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, the star is the important thing, the new Dune half movie, a bunch of models, Dark Horse, people standing in scenic locations, no text scrawl, no banquet scene, the beats of the action, it doesn’t capture what is the story, the monster beats, Robert e. Howard philosophy infodumps, the descriptions, C.L.A.I.M.: Character Language Allusion Imagery Message, what is the message of the new Dune movie, Sardukar complaining about things, explaining the weirding way in a film, transmuting poison in your body, showing buffed up people, who wants to do a Conan story vs. who wants to do a Robert E. Howard story, thinking of the setting and the setup, marketing purposes, scenes, ideas, and philosophy too, a princess who has been captured by a cult, Thulsa Doom’s cult, Red Nails, Valeria, mostly Belit, The Tower Of The Elephant, Oliver Stone and John Milius, to string the plot together, the weirding modules in the first Dune (1984) movie, Conan isn’t a character in the stories as much as they are stories with Conan in them, a backstory, an unhappy brooding king, By This Axe I Rule, tidbit of philosophy, listen to the philosophers, he kills the judge, trying to connect all the stories together, they don’t really understand, it isn’t just swords and giant snakes, an individual with an unhelpful god, treat it like an auteur rather than a star, Quentin Tarantino movies in different genres, telling yarns, the fun action adventure stuff, an idea somewhere in it, how to relate to women, he likes hot women, rape and threats of rape, how to relate to the weaker sex, be a man about it, the barbarian from outside, the savage vs. the barbarian, his own code, the distinction Lovecraft didn’t get, he’s the Jordan Peterson of Weird Tales, a moral code, a set of attitudes, what is, a magic system, hypnotism, a set of tricks that they work, an illusion?, a lock of hair, autosuggestion, he’s not as afraid of them, magic works on success, D&D rolling a 1, illusionists, the dog outside of the temple eating the offal, he is defeatable, becoming an eagle, we needed a tiger, fingernails, how witches work in the real world, my penis doesn’t work anymore, somebody’s balls swelled up, superstition makes you more superstitious, people are suggestible, your milk goes sour, they can kill the king with a lock of his hair (when the stars are right), his cortisol levels are high, fleeing the village, Khemsha, stampeded by Conan’s horse, his magic doesn’t matter, stepped on by a horse, a knife is a hardy incantation, hey Gitara how do you like that ride on our air horse?, cloud things, whirling dervishes, Paul got his 3rd shot, Gibraltar has 130% vaccination and full of COVID, like a magic charm, if we are to believe the science, sympathetic magic, why things happen as they do, really ugly, an earthquake in Haiti is punishment from God, magical thinking vs. Jack Vance style spells, propaganda techniques, the Lisan al Gaib, fighting the unbelievable, his muscles are bigger, beginner’s luck, confidence in the steel, the riddle of steel, the hand that wields the steel, only this you can trust, surrogate dad (James Earl Jones), so deluded, the real magic, women going through the streets of England putting white feathers on men during WWI, an attitude as well as knowledge, be an empiricist vs. be a rationalist, spinning up bullshit, Plato, the gold blooded and the silver and the bronze, this person is a natural slave, a natural leader, what makes the Devi divine is that her dad was the Rajah, Yasmina Devi, Genghis Khan, a backwards translation, through myth and 10,000 years she’s a goddess now, revenge is her god, the audiobook is a bit hard to follow, what all the factions were and what they wanted, a slow story, the middle section, people reading this in the 1930s knew what lambent is, H. Rider Haggard, we’ve become illiterate, the minimalist and conversational style, for a low class culture, mass market, people loved it, Savage Sword has awesome vocab on every page, we know she’s sad and worried about her son because she’s crying, we need big chunks of text, narration in movies is good, trying to explain a complex, know then it is the year 10,191, plans within plans wheels within wheels, just read the book, the ornithopters are better, they should have been birds not dragonflies, the ornithopter looked like a hawk, so forgettable, the fur diaper, neat and not tattered, he brushed his fur diaper that day, not in league with the devil, Kevin Sorbo’s Kull movie, Red Sonja (1985), supposed to be a comedy, fantastic bad, that scene is in here, Evan’s podcast, the Robert E. Howard Lovecraft letters, Pigeons From Hell was adapted for Thriller, stars two white guys, a black legend (folk tale), sleeping in an old plantation house, interesting revenge (symbolically), more pathos to that story, Hansel And Gretel has a sense, people were acting badly, Almuric, one big chunk, restricted zone, some time next year, Klim’s Journey Under The Ground, in the 18th century twice, Caleb Williams by William Godwin, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein’s boy scouts gone wrong in space, revelry, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, Connor doesn’t live on twitter, deep and rich, lemmee give you this magic belt made from Stygian lady’s hair, Alex’s ancestor was convicted of witchcraft in New France, cursed her womb by cutting a piece of her hair off, convicted and exiled, killed by Indians, 12 more kids, 11 kids, he might have actually been a witch, Alex’s last name is “Lich”, in the family archives, a convicted witch, Joan Of Arc, what a jerk, villains in Alex’s family, When Time Turned by Ethel Watts Mumford, like Back To The Future without a Delorean, The Clock That Went Backwards by Edward Page Mitchell, Reading, Short And Deep, set in the Netherlands, written disposably, half of Wisconsin, really well written, a historical siege scene, all the tropes (from 1881), Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, The Ganymede Takeover, Benjamin Franklin, The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, WWII and boxing journalism, Henry James, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, trying to make it hard for you to understand, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, the Civil War, Stephen Crane, Walt Whitman, make bank, Jack London, Herman Melville, lunchtime upside down, Solomon’s Gold, overwhelmed with work, a month on Egypt, classroom management, the students disrespect Evan, dig into their computer, insane coworkers, Evan can’t out himself as a freak (yet), Ancient Egypt, bad textbook, Kufu was a cruel pharaoh, the poor didn’t need mummification because they were buried in shallow graves, its not a work of love, Works Progress Administration, I’ve been told that Biden is the new FDR, Walker Evans taking photographs of people working in Walmart and living in the vans, New Deal money putting artists and musicians to work, all the bridges were built in the 1930s, interviewing former slaves, giving money to rich people, the vaccine mandate is exactly that, government research money, an NFT game, blockchain, “we got funded”, it sounds like a scam, web 2.0 was a scam, Pets.com, why Elon Musk is so rich, Bezos sells servers to the US government, planting the seeds, omicron variant, Foster, You’re Dead by Philip K. Dick, booster shots in perpetuity, fear moves money better than anything else, you can’t mandate, a healthy response, the weird nanny state in Taiwan, the pet industry, pet nannies, licensing pet nannies, I’m an unlicensed pet nanny, you need the barbarians to sweep in, wipe away (some) of the old, clean up your own room (style of thinking) vs. communism will solve all our problems, these emerging men, you need to get your house in order, stupid when off topic smart when on topic, trad dads, interpreting the bible, funny Bible stories, a book of fairy tales, Howard is highly influenced by the Bible, The Song Of Solomon, three volumes with big print.

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Ken Kelly - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #17 - People Of The Black Circle

ABLAZE (Ejikure cover) People Of The Black Circle

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The SFFaudio Podcast #682 – READALONG: The Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree, Jr.

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #682 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree, Jr.

Talked about on today’s show:
Racoona Sheldon, Analog, June 1977, special women’s issue, Eyes Of Amber by Joan D. Vinge, Analog, not just for men, Ben Bova, a 1970s thing, Women Destroy anthologies, all Harlan Issue, throw all the women in one basket, J. Michael Straczynski, a sausage fest, representation by gender, a piss per job, one woman per this episode, making room for women, what her logic was, Angel Fix, to suit different markets?, James Tiptree, Jr had to intervene on behalf of Racoona Sheldon, Robert Silverberg had to make a huge apology, it was very clear James Tiptree, Jr. was a man, the Andre Norton story, she was not hiding, a quasi-medieval romance, rationalization, this story is about rationalization, the whole religious cult element, super hard SF, as a historian, certain biological experiences (like love), fairly universal across humanity, across time however…, culture, movies, love songs, something physically is changing in these men, all the cultural baggage would be dispensed, morality wouldn’t win out?, the first time a zombie wakes up, turning some aspect up to 11, to set the society’s norms, urges, the story of Adam and Eve, uncomfortable, people use it for whatever they want, good science fiction, why Jesse likes adaptations, The Twilight Zone adaptation, the new Dune movie, The Masters Of Horror adaptation, the 90210 guy and Elliot Gould, commas missing in the PDF, the narrator of the story has comma problems but the characters writing the letters don’t, her diary entry, a fun format, enough material for a hefty novel (or a quintology), if Steven Baxter wrote this story, a hard topic to fully satisfy everybody with, like H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, horrific, creeping dread, clamping down on the news [censorship], the horror of the nice rational scientist, feels himself changing and can’t stop it, bestial/primal instincts, awakened by the aliens, existential dread, we are the monsters, we’re all going to die, humanity is going to kill itself, people do it to themselves, completely chilling, On And Off A Mountain Road, metaphors, cursed film episode Cigarette Burns, a slasher, the focus is on the micro, the outer image, Alan in Colombia, his job is what the aliens do to us,

the 2019 reboot of THE TWILIGHT ZONE has an episode called “NOT ALL MEN” which is credited to Heather Anne Campbell

it seems to be an uncredited remake of the MASTERS OF HORROR episode “THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION” scripted by Sam Hamm

Not All Men / The Screwfly Solution

except the latter is an adaptation of a 1977 story by James Triptree, Jr.

and the former isn’t

evidence:

Both have family dinner parties

The Screwfly Solution DINNER

Both have cakes with words written on them (“welcome home” and “happy birthday”)

Not All Men DINNER

Both have women being murdered by men

Both have the military showing up

Both have atypical meteors showers

and

Both have their respective blonde female protagonists driving around by day, and being chased by night, in identical yellow Volkswagen Beetles

on the left TWILIGHT ZONE on the right MASTERS OF HORROR

Not All Men / The Screwfly Solution BEETLES

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION is biological Science Fiction and visceral Horror – an alien invasion story like THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G. Wells, as intellectually rigorous, but brutal, scary, and gripping

NOT ALL MEN is decidedly not – it is almost a comedy, but there are no laughs

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION suggest we are victims of biology

NOT ALL MEN suggest everyone has a choice and most men choose to be bad

the MASTERS OF HORROR episode makes a character from the short story gay, and makes him resistant to the biology that effect most men

the TWILIGHT ZONE episode has a gay character who chooses to be resistant

and both have females disagreeing, in their yellow Volkswagen beetles, about how to understand what is happening to the men around them

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION is full of conscientious men and women, scientists, trying to figure out what is happening and how to help their families and the world

NOT ALL MEN has basically no scientists (@ the end, maybe?) but has a marketing company doing some sciencey or something?

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION has the most brutally noir ending imaginable, an ironic one given the characters we follow around for the story, perhaps the last woman alive on earth watching the new tenants of Earth arriving and knowing humanity is finished

NOT ALL MEN ends with a deus ex machina, with cops or the army saving our viewpoint characters, fade to black

blood tests turn up nothing

a twist ending that throws out the main idea they’ve been pushing (the red meteors were a red herring)

there a line at the end of the episode that supposedly explains it all:

“The meteors…they were a placebo.”

then we get the cut-rate Rod Serling closing narration:

Jordan Peele (cut rate Rod Serling)

“Tonight, Annie Miller found herself in the center of a mysterious and violent epidemic. What she encountered was no material disease but rather a plague of conscience. One that gave men permission to ignore decency, consent, and fear. And tonight, all it took was a few an
innocuous little rocks to turn men into monsters here in the Twilight Zone.”

at one point during the craziness in the streets one guy says

“Fuck your feelings”

And this is the level of analysis and writing we are dealing with.

more than 2000 imdb ratings for each

IMDB RATINGS

4.8/10 for THE TWILIGHT ZONE “Not All Men”

6.4/10 for MASTERS OF HORROR “The Screwfly Solution”

Finally, both were filmed in British Columbia

THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION is set in several places, including Texas, Michigan, and British Columbia

i don’t think we know where NOT ALL MEN is set (other than a really lame corner of The Twilight Zone)

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, Volkswagen Beetle, understanding the point of the original, we might be unable to control ourselves vs. choosing to be bad, just attacking, just aggro, one of these is science fiction and the other is something else, nightmares, mass hysteria and people’s choices or an alien disease, the hope of the species, woken from crazy aggressive killings, In The Mouth Of Madness (1994), The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, a meme vs. an enzyme or a hormone, social pressures vs. biological pressures, do you read Sutter Cane?, if so you’re infected, the reason I’m killing you is because you’re a communist or a homosexual, explaining inexplicable impulses, a phenomenon we see in reality, Trump as a symptom, the Cult of Adam, “angels”, interesting things in a compressed space, Dracula, the epistolary format, the personal and the broader picture, different perspectives, perfectly expressed, something terrible is happening in England, layers and layers of intertextuality, this is all a suicide note, yesterday I saw an angel, a real estate agent, a devastating last line, all the adults over six years old, feral kids, like a lot of Star Trek episodes, we did it to ourselves!, higher doing what we do to lower or higher species, Huston, Huston, Do You Read?, gender dynamics, women disposing of men, this thing called kissing, Y: The Last Man, a response to When It Changed by Joanna Russ, ovafusion, all female civilization, Sheri S. Tepper, a whole genre conversation, The Children Of Men by P.D. James, The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro, gender reversed romance plots, men are the hysterical, the second most dangerous primate, another primate note, the rhesus monkeys, spider monkeys, chimpanzees, biological similarity, not well discussed at the dinner table, mating behaviors, Fritz Leiber, opinions from twitter, wishing people would read it, even the uninfected nodded and saw the killing as natural, the result is extermination, God’s will, committees, kill camps, bad things are happening, no one in authority, the mundane aspect, being called to Florida, a car flotilla [aka a convoy], the NIH, Triptree lived in Washington, D.C., her husband and her were both CIA, part of the interest here, Deep Impact (1998), a bunch of people in a control room, the media, something weird is happening in India, 150 adulteresses in Saudi Arabia, very similar headlines, “so-called Sharia Law”, Michael McKean (of Spinal Tap), #YesAllWomen, scarier and scarier every day, an over-reading, anonymous submission, George Sand, other reasons, “trans-phobic”, whatever else, transphobic by structure, a binary opposition of genders, gender binarism is real and meaningful, structurally queasy, men as naturally pedophilic, socially compelled into a straight marriage, there’s a lot there, you gotta consider the context of the story, Heinlein was, reading transphobia into texts [from 1977], Trish is cancelled, a failure of imagination, phobia is without meaning, outside the scope of what she’s exploring, how they turn on the boys, a non-binary view of sexuality, reading too much into this?, aggression hacked sexuality, a less binary reading of sexuality, she’s thinking super-hard, what is sexuality?, this strange focus on a part of science that doesn’t get a lot of attention in Science Fiction, our hero Alan, his relationship with his wife, it gets hot, he starts fantasizing on the airplane, crushed the Coke can, you need to kill me if I show up, I should throw this knife away, really good hard SF, he knows there’s something wrong with him, he should kill himself, killing (and possibly raping) his own daughter, slightly misreading what’s going on, the chase mentality is real, ovulation in some animals needs this, kinda Kinsey, the weaker have been killed, artificial wombs, Podkayne Of Mars, freeze your zygotes, Lois McMaster Bujold, people’s wrong takes, the most devastating counterargument to #NotAllMen, they are connected, an expression, traction after #MeToo, the defensive reaction, downgrading the impact of #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter vs. #BlueLivesMatter, sarcastic uses, #AllMen, aggressive seeds, bombing Dallas, men are evil, seeds of violence, misogynistic in structure, a jihad against women, in order to do evil is to choose evil, we are biologically determined, human beings are more than their biology, condemned by our biology, its not a disease, on the ground, isn’t it horrifying that we are biologically determined?, the hashtag vs. the Twilight Zone episode of the same name, explicitly rejecting Tiptree Jr.’s idea, we should summon the will, what if we are biologically determined to do everything, an MRNA injection, a hard bitter pill to swallow, what the story is suggesting, it helps Scott make choices, seeing this in all its horror, if we don’t have choices in reality, the illusion of choices?, what about the screwflies?, they’re just flies, we write stories, we’re not as complicated as we think, slaves to our hormones, he doesn’t kill himself, noir, not pulling its punches, biological determinism or mostly biologically determined?, influenced by stories, closer to chimps or rhesus monkeys, bonobos?, sex as a way of saying hello, a dispute over a sandwich settled by sex, institutions and ideology shape how we interpret and overcome biological, the birth control pill, change society, what science fiction is, geology, how old the Earth is, life-changing, a very good science fiction story, harder than H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds [not The Time Machine], take the war to Mars, maybe somebody’s working on something somewhere, so good, 1 hour to read, that fake stuff that’s 16 books long, fake science, 2 north 75 degree west, anthropology, WHO inoculations, just watched an episode of Masters Of Horror, Cordwainer Smith, off in Africa with her parents, the horse latitudes, bringing experience to the table, its not because she’s a girl, long short story format, The Women Men Don’t See, The Woman Who Was Plugged In, semi-interesting, externalize evil, religions antagonists fighting god, the devil is trying to put bad thoughts in your head, avoiding responsibility, easier, Alcohol Anonymous’ plan, accept the higher power because you’re weak, these religious pamphlets make so much sense, Genesis 3:16, women: feel the pain of childbirth and obey your husbands, short stories are a technology for delivering ideas, don’t be anti-good story, some people are willing to put anything into their bodies, good short SF is a vaccination against long terrible series that do you wrong.

The Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree, Jr.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #673 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #673 – Inside Earth by Poul Anderson – read by Phil Chenevert. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novelette (2 hours 3 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons

Talked about in today’s show:
Inside Earth by Poul William Anderson, Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1951, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Beetlejuice Bridge by William Tenn, Nice Girl With Five Husbands by Fritz Leiber, Galaxy vs. Astounding vs. Planet Stories, a good reason to do a podcast, the content, its disturbing, extremely though provoking, racism, imperialism, presented in what Science Fiction does, pulling away from humanity for a second, thinking about a lot of things, isn’t this nifty, strands of thought, the libertarian camp, utopia, doing what the humans do, Will’s agenda, can’t trust them, what the message is, The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964), part of the empire, Romanizing barbarians, unity, slavery of humanity, in a terrarium, indoctrinated, deprogrammed vs. programmed, interesting nuances, Valgonians, the best versions of themselves, who is defining best?, races and cultures and creeds, made into a Jew, a Norwegian, Levinson, comments throughout, written by the seat of his pants?, doubts about their plan, a poor plan?, infiltration, against their own people, The Americans, on the cover, a scene not even set on Earth, inside earth culture, fallen in love with a human, feelings for Barbara, get over his backstory of his dead wife, I was Earthling, being restored to normal, as complete and scarless, I’d be human again, the Klingons think they’re human, later Star Trek episodes, surgically altered humans and Klingons, nose ridge addition, convergent evolution, the Federation works like the Empire does here, Enterprise, guided on your tricycle, the Valgonian Empire, “slant eyed” is unfortunate, “it’s a very diverse empire”, two ways of looking at science fiction: 1. telling us about ourselves 2. how things could be, an analogy for something happening in the world vs. the Star Trek plan, how often Mr. Spock is an alien, Balance Of Terror, a WWII submarine vs. destroyers story, suspicious of Mr. Spock, Mrs. Spock is above suspicion, the actor’s a Jew but not the character, can we trust our Japanese soldiers?, can we trust our Navajo translators?, can we trust our German population?, war having a common enemy, this melting plot, the lack of skepticism on the part of our narrator, reeducation camps will work?, remake Afghanistan, 100% on board with it, I want another kid, they’ll sterilize me, its good to sterilize people, eugenics, hereditary taints, in 1951 its still there, how genetics work, the spirit bears, the same species as black bears, blonde hair isn’t a defect we think, but something definitely are, these people are resistant to a disease, genetic diseases, Huntington’s disease, Robert J. Sawyer, that level of protection against a fairly common disease, beneficial, neutral, or bad, in the scope that we have now, the Hari Seldon plan is never wrong, dentists who are social engineers, Will had to brush his teeth so he wouldn’t get sterilized, an uplift story, cultural uplift, the [David] Brin stories, Jesse didn’t start WWII, a certain set of people, the controls of power, Justin Trudeau is more responsible for climate change than I am, he solar system was in disarray, what’s the story this week, Afghanistan wins again!, we need to civilize them, two trillion dollars investment lasted a week, Hamid Karzai hugging the Taliban leaders, its liberation, just like the Russians, the British, Alexander the Great, very naive, a travelogue for something that happens a lot, something cops do all the time, infiltrate organizations, Martin Luther King, cops in the Environmental movement having children with people, he put her back on the list, oh he’s going with her, she’ll hate me for years (but its for his own good), the original plan, we’re going to the concentration camp together, meta evidence, just a reeducation camp or a death camp?, why is this report being told, a quasi-official report, bed talk, flying by the seat of his pants, who go into deep?, crushed and reeducated, oops, Poul Anderson tragedy, what it means to be a Valgonian, maybe he wants to take the punishment?, Dominic Flandry, agent for a galactic empire, what else are you going to do?, better than anarchy, disillusionment with empire, the strongest case, how Valgonian soldiers treat earth Terries, the SS showing up in Paris, Resistance movies set in occupied France, the occupied French people, we train them to be rude, treat the people nicely, don’t call them ragheads, be courteous, apparently not racist at all, play that up, super-interesting, the United Nations, a psychotechnic league story, Anderson’s political beliefs, world government, from pro-UN to anti-UN, its empire, the UN as a governing body for the world, while this is happening in Afghanistan, “it’s going to be really weird when in 6 months this podcast comes out”, Ender’s Game, H.G. Wells’ martians in The War Of The Worlds, I have no race prejudices, a menace to the peace of the galaxy, the lesser empire, no inferior races but only more or less advanced ones, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, clashing for a difference in philosophy, the lies we tell ourselves about WWII, we won the war, its all about Europe, 80% of Germans were killed by the Russians, D-Day, one of the many many lies we tell ourselves about WWII, that was the just war, we have some doubts about the nuking of humans, firebomb the civilians all to death, WWI civilian casualties vs. WWII civilian casualties, A Bright Shining Lie (1988), Col. John Paul Vann, a true believer, a civil war for the liberation of a country from its occupiers, propping up the South Vietnam government is like propping up Karzai, how long?, centuries, thousands of years, Will is very shy but has ideas, pull together ideas, social engineering, where science fiction comes from: put smart people in front of dumb people, Paul says Will needs to read The Marching Morons (Jesse agrees, and says it is a bad story), we’ll be welcomed as liberators, top down speeches, always another excuse as to why we have to keep doing the war, this is just a story, this position in science fiction that is uncritical of technocracy and experts knowing what is better than other people, narcotic gas is like daddy coming to take the toys away, the most disturbing part of the story, paternalism, the general premise of the relationship with Barbara, lovey dovey story (been lying to her the whole time), she’s supposed to hate him for years she can’t help it, paternalism even in his romantic relationship, get queasy, a very interesting story, not the most well thought out story ever, an underground agent’s thoughts, its going to make me suffer when I flip on these people, a price you pay that your bosses don’t pay, hence promoted two ranks, an abstract evil, the meta-dialogue, what these titles mean, it even meant something, just sounds that came out of people’s mouths, an eagerness close to hero-worship, the colonel, if you use the language enough you get to believe it yourself, what does West Point teach its officers, engineering and road building and well digging, a tweets abandoning the Kurds, what the internal politics of the two parties will use against each other, using the Kurds against Bush, against Biden, woefully obtuse or lying or stupid, “abandon” or “support” the Kurds, now Jesse gets it, are their Valgonian factions pro or against, just the party line, if you’re people who are doing this, orders, we need a win hear, go take a building, you don’t need to know and you can’t inquire, a submission, its all lie, Jesse’s meta-text, maybe this is more sophisticated than it looks, Barbara’s picture, on page 35, she looks like a robot, she looks like a Stepford wife, our hero with the mohawk, ramrod straight, staring into space, she’s from an old family, she’s rich, he’s marrying into this old rich family, a wander the Earth guy, whose going to be top dog, a best friend he punches out, dirty ’30s hobo story, an awful lot of tramping going on on Earth, we’re told there’s no homelessness and no hunger anymore, only tackling inherent racism, the difference between the original Star Trek and the Next Generation, it comes back in Deep Space Nine, and to our profit, Voyager, the Maquis is the more sophisticated reading, admirals are almost always wrong, “the war is winnable”, the Thomas Friedman unit, Matt Taibbi, writing “the next six months will tell” for twenty years, New York Times columnists being consistently wrong for twenty years, your job pitch, returning to the story, time as a tramp and a steel worker and his time hanging out around Barbara’s house, it sounds like he’s trying to blow his cover, a very strange tonal note, let’s go kill a Valgonian vs. I try to be fair to everyone, class, we need to cultivate the elite of earth, help the Terries become whatever they need to be, at some point in the future, the Ferengis are going to become part of the Federation, the Dominion is the evil version of the Federation, our union that is called the Federation, the details on that, genetically engineered enforcers, their ultimate motivation, the solids don’t like shapeshifters, the Klingons and the Romulans can get along because they have four limbs and a head, Odo is an infiltration unit, the evil humans, we need to be incredibly skeptical of power, an endless fleet of admirals, policy this and plan that, you can’t trust it, as a provocateur isn’t to just start the wars its to include, the January 6th [*insurrection*] was infiltrated, the Whitmer kidnapping plot was infiltrated, a very flawed hero, should we have any respect for him?, the greater good going to be achieved or is this the occupation of the Philippines, enhanced interrogation for the greater good, kind of naive, a fun adventure vs. a guide for thought, in the thinking department, kind of juvenile?, written to quickly for pay?, Anderson is always competent but has no style, Philip K. Dick has weird grammatical stuff, H.P. Lovecraft has his own quirks, a Scandinavian, thematic, robots and boobs and weird grammar, the ideas flow very easily, internal monologue, the king of clarity is Asimov, Asimov is very simple, Anderson is a little silly, the muscles removed from his ears so they wouldn’t wiggle anymore, silliness and tragedy, the dead wife, Flight To Forever, super-nova class warships, a doomed romance, Tau Zero, a happy ever after polygamy story at the cost of the universe: “it was worth it”, fan theories, how the Klingons got that way, arguing for hours, page 36 (23 of the PDF), still capitalists and communists, a million petty divisions, an alien firm but just rule, why we have to be there, they’re so divided unlike us, that’s the way you have to run things, the messiness is what they’re against, what horrifies people the most on the deep web, the bottom of the iceberg of the deep web, whatever google has on its how page, way down deep, underneath all the car accidents and horror body porn, art pieces, tones and two color bars intersecting with each other, Voynich manuscript style websites, where’s the search bar, it needs to be ordered, spell everything the same way everyone else does, you are forced to go to school, you don’t want to live a disordered life do you?, you can’t make your own letter and put it in your own sentences, speech precedes the alphabet, this is the one way and the only way, we’re building roads and building bridges, the ultimate problem here, what does that education camp do, regular propaganda, it has to be felt, the weird bard symbolize all the races, the black site torture facilities, conform, A Clockwork Orange, Alex is a psychopath and a rapist, will should have a notebook, don’t impose a notebook on him, orthography is important, communicating efficiently with others, Sequoyah the Cherokee people, we will preserve our language by making it readable, the G8, all the people wearing suits, the Mao suit, the respectable white shirt and a tie and a jacket, Qaddafi, to honor his heritage, putting on that three piece suit to become legit, the Saudis don’t do that, a subversion with in the text (not on purpose), a psyop, Jesse doesn’t trust a plan, Qanon, foolish to trust any sort of authority, sunlight and cameras all over everybody’s business, a panopticon facing at the guards and their bosses, your average Valgonian, the stupid Section 31, the deep state doesn’t acknowledge their secret police, the FBI is not secret police, police are in other countries, they do the same job as the secret police, thought provoking but not a thought leading story, were you surprised to see the words sluts in 1951, sluts are good, what of it, how did he get away with that?, working class women with low morals, hair like molten golden, blonde or red-haired, the stepford type, Poul Anderson’s personal life, Astrid Anderson, Greg Bear, science fiction royalty, no kings or queens please, the cover picture, is one of these our guy?, Barbara is in the red dress, our guy is in the grey suit, more like a hive than a rebel base, a big conspiracy, the Valgonian conspiracy, the official line and what everybody knows, the official plan doesn’t seem to be like what everybody knows, talking to actual anarchists, we know the cops are trying to infiltrate us, dead give away you’re a Fed, looking for traitors, its sorta incoherent, an accelerationist theory, voting for Trump will make the thing that the United States come fast, tearing off the bandaid vs. slowly peeling it off, a faction of Christianity, Justin Trudeau, we need the funding from this pipeline to fight climate change, Jesse predicts the 2021 Canadian federal election results [sadly, accurately 5 weeks before it happened], not enough hope, what’s their hit rate, the domino theory, fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here’, the Taliban vs. Boogaloo Bois, joining the rebel alliance vs. subverting the rebel alliance, a fixup?, it was all a lie!, we aren’t told what I was told we were, a worthy read, Phil Chenevert made it very easy reading. Horace Gold, best of Galaxy (The Galaxy Reader), its a good story, needs a little something, what the point was, Terrie Like Me, an exploration of colonialism, the British in India, it doesn’t line up, the stratification, a copy of Britain, getting an upper middle class going, physically bigger, they’re cold because they’re red Scandinavian with mohawks, to fry an egg, pajamas and tea and curry and eastern mysticism, what do the Valgonians get?, why you have to be so occupy-y, buy into the empire, they want to pull their troops away, we don’t want to be occupying you but you still need us, we’re going to choose your rebellion leader for you, Karzai’s a trustworthy guy, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s retrieval artist series, alien laws, The Disappeared, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, apotheosis, science fiction properties, The Way Of The Pilgrim by Gordon Dickson, Jesse is ruined, smaller versions of us, you’re not worthy, the Dread Empire series by Walter Jon Williams, a parody of Paul’s writing would need “Shenanigans Happen” “you have to tweet that”, Will is sated by this conversation.

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #669 – READALONG: The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #669 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

Talked about on today’s show:
The Magic Goes Away, more Barnes than Niven?, collaborations, Burning Mountain, The Moon Bowl by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, the bowlverse is unapproved, the book title, that’s a good title!, some adventure on the high seas, maritime book, Scott was not fond, a homage or a throwback to old sword and sorcery, not a lot there, Scott soft take, Niven has never grown past 12 years old, Paul was sadly underwhelmed, distasteful politics, a chore to get through, a lack of…, neat ideas, explorations of the consequences, the decline and fall of the magic empire, except for the stealing from the future, undercooked, Trish: it felt “like competent fan fiction”, all these tensions, a hacky ending for everyone, noir is the opposite of fan fiction, kill Captain Kirk in the first scene and say he’s dead forever, not expecting that much, the last or the most recent in a long series, doesn’t have the magic of the earlier books, the opening dedication: To my copious array of cousins, Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard, hey cousins, we all inherited a fortune, Niven’s contribution, not Niven heavy, Street Lethal, Lion’s Blood, Zulu Heart, alternate history, the black plague, slaves from Europe to Africa, interesting ideas, smooth competently written vs. Greg Bear, Donald Westlake or Lawrence Block, good plotting good characterization, everybody has a negative take except for…, second or third order implication, “this fantasy is not hard enough!”, up to the point they arrive in Shrike, other than stuff happening, the Scott rule was co-opted from Jesse, what Jesse has done to Scott, A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, Scott has successfully pointed at something, a stuff happening book, there’s a lot of them, sub-series, a fix-up, The Burning City, 1969 – 1980, The Golden Road, chronologically closest to our own time, human sacrifice, necromancy, Atlantis sank, pockets of manna, just the setting, oh the sea!, manna in the ocean, more interesting than some random fantasy, treat magic as a science, phlogiston theory, bad science theories, is it rocks or is it space?, is it in material or position?, Roger Zelazny, meteorite bombardment, the magic sword is a meteoric iron sword, what about the ocean?, the water cycle, continental shelves and island, what makes a book good, participate in the book, some writers are bad at telling stories, thus he crossed the room, let the imagination get going, participating in the world, maybe that…, more of a stuff happens book, The Seascape Tattoo 2, revisiting a familiar idea, relatively short, the character jokes, all the cringey elements, the Larry Nivenisms, things that will get you canceled, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, 12 year old Niven vs. Neutron Star Niven, what is there was a way for us to trust each other wink wink, Niven on the phone: hey what if…, the princess tries to rescue herself, a Barnes thing, Ever After (1998), Paul signed up for the wrong book, a little bit Niven like: when the barmaid has a pivot waist, flexible women, pliable women, nipples didn’t go sprung, the relationship between Aros and his pseudo-mom and pseudo-dad, Eros vs. Aros, so decisively, did they chop it off?, somebody had to die, back to the kingdom, find the woman, abrupt?, a pretty bad Andre Norton novel Star Hunter, a kid gets kidnapped and brainwashed, the fake heir, an old trope, waaaay better, too rushed, the relationship between the wizard and Aros, cozy in the end, the end of Dagon (2001), it fits his arc, the sea-peoples, the end of Star Wars (1977) everybody gets a medal, Chewie: hey where’s my medal?, the robots just get a nice polish, Jade, she’s not his mom?, he has a story, he’s Azteca, his tattoos and his scars, who am i without my scars?, who are you without your trauma?, the horror of dementia, in practicing for his role, he becomes his role, those connections are potential real vs. the fake grift, bicycles, cannon, pistol, characterization, a Larry Niven fantasy world potentials are much greater, the Lord Of The Rings series just set in Middle Earth, the estate is not the caretaker, these are the rules, this is the premise, caves, tanks, a good plot idea, pretty interesting, oh, this is that!, Aros is the Conan figure, The Scarlet Citadel and Hour Of The Dragon, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber, a conman team, the wizard trainee, that’s cute, as analogs, some Robert E. Howard names in here: the bad lady/man wizard, Belit, through Conan’s eyes, a river that has bad stuff coming out of it, the mer-folk, the octopeople, an octopus showing a face on its body, effluent from a factory, coal tar, a deliberate plan or just an externality from capitalism, the poisoned river, poison sounds bad, the boxing match sailor, Dorgan the first mate, the nephew of the captain, kinda dumb, that’s a Dennis Dorgan, presented with possibilities, fun?, the Red Nun the Red Priestess in A Game Of Thrones?, a nun costume, nuns are just Halloween costumes, a Rolodex full of nuns, binders full of nuns, not a complete waste of time, its about philosophy, King Kull, almost no action, how do I exist?, is this solipsism, there are forces in the world that want you to obey, what happens at the end of every Conan episode, the anomaly, he goes into a wizard house and there’s a monkey in there, monkeys shouldn’t get too uppity, its anti-Dungeons & Dragons, Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, it’s the things, new armor, new mount, set dressing, the exercise of philosophy, how to be, analyzing books, a hero’s arc, find a home, Conan is completely unreal, trying to live like Conan is impossible, even Grizzly Adams had a bear, you must live in some sort of community, Conan would never be a tax-collector, thief, reiver, tax-collector?, referencing The Burning City, tax-farming, the traditional way of tax collection, corruption that’s out in public, if this is our Conan figure, he’s against civilization, top down telling people how to be, how the Conan stories work, Conan fan fiction about King Conan, The Hour Of The Dragon, the Eisenhower/JFK figure, FDR, a less dead Julius Caesar or JFK, How To Become A Tyrant, a Zenda situation, possibilities were amazing, a found family story, the hint was enough, when Aros feels this, Kasha, quite interesting, the battle sequences with the grubs, the politics of the city were interesting, the kids on the street, a puppet king, continuing to play dumb, pivoting hips, every character has something going, Jesse was kinda impress, a fantasy with a plot, entertaining’s not enough, engaging, an appetizer vs. a full meal, this all works on its own, all new characters, a nice balance, Not Long Before the End, a magic user and a swordsman team up, if you’re going to do a TV show do this book, graphic and cinematic, Magic Goes Away as an art film, steampunk show, they have the technology, if you’re going to steal go right to the source, a Turner And Hooch tv series, a different way of telling stories, ok as a novel, much better (as a potential) with the same material, to call it entertaining is an insult, paddleball, its a thing people do, grokking a great book, returning to the status quo, what TV fundamentally understands, Blindspot, how you get to season 7 of Prison Break, NCIS, CSI, we’re solving mysteries with tech, Locard’s principle, Tom Hanks and a dog, you can fail upward very easily in Hollywood, spending time in Larry Niven’s playground, the Road of Kings, we did Dream Park and found it wanting, pre-holodeck, Westworld (1973).

The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

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The SFFaudio Podcast #665 – READALONG: Revival by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #665 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about Revival by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
2014, pushing it, the Lovecraft connection, the dedication, I was already seduced from before, the dedication:

“This is for the people who built my house: Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Donald Wandrei, Fritz Leiber, August Derleth, Shirley Jackson, Robert Bloch, Peter Straub, and ARTHUR MACHEN, whose short novel ‘The Great God Pan‘ has haunted me all my life”

literally responsible for building this book, Shelley, Stoker, Bloch, the fake Latin title, works the psychological horror mindset, slightly misremembering what that book has in it, the mad scientist, what’s beyond the veil, planting the seeds and the seeds don’t fully grow, more Shelley than Machen, if the pastor were the viewpoint character, it takes forever, teases the cosmic horror, W.W. Jacobs, W.F. Harvey, August Heat, Guy de Maupassant, Edward D. Hoch, mystery magazines, Startling Mystery Stories, Health And Knowledge, the “mysteries” of the worm, religious stlye mysteries, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, is reality as we think it is?, weird fiction from before Weird Tales, The Faceless Thing, the old house, the collapsing house, an old woman, the horror of childhood becomes a lifescar, he thinks he killed her, he was the one that killed her, guilt, ghost, setting the stage, worth the journey, personal horror vs. cosmic horror, the terrible sermon, I’ve been lying to you, a crisis of faith (a revelation of the reality of the Earth), the visions at the end, the ants, the human connections, that downer ending, opening argument, the audiobook, a few moments, all guitarists have a limp fish handshake, putting your brain in the characters brain, pretty good, therapy vs. an asylum, a flubbed ending, a psychic shockwave, The Call Of Cthulhu, an inevitability, not strong enough, the gun with five bullets shot out, one bullet left in Chekhov’s gun, a very Lovecraftian homage, that weird long pacing, hypnotized by the autobiography stuff, more horror, waiting for the other shoe to drop, the car accident, such a cool moment, ghoulishly enjoying the description, he needs to grow up, evil villains, a heroic moment, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, an evil alchemist, Victor Frankenstein, the mysteries of Joseph Curwen, a mini list, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, a curious case, an insane asylum, back country folk, The Lurking Fear, From Beyond, become super-thin, the servants have left, the pastor and the 6 year old boy, Herbert West–Reanimator, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, fear -> follow, fractured himself, Hypnos, pulsars, black holes to the true reality, all up in Hypnos, Ex Oblivione, the key, from nothing into nothing, to the null, plays towards, life is the only way to escape the horror that death will bring (and drugs), escorted to the Other Gods, become a lich, Cool Air, life is punctuated by puppies and butterflies and nice sandwiches, feeling pain all the time and everything’s horrible, a blasted wasteland, The Black Hole (1979), Bloodborne, the protagonists are old, Pet Semetary, death is better, a side effect, “you brought me back it’s fucking horrible, I’ve seen beyond!”, you fucking monster!, he doesn’t share his research, root childhood trauma, symbolic lightning strike, a conventional morality play, why his wife is punished, red herring, the alcohol in the glove compartment, ideas of addiction, from what we see of her life, I drank because you hit me or I was a lesbian or whatever, being a lesbian in the end, Imma woke now!, small towns and rumors, symbolic mirroring, to avoid the nightmares, an electrical storm in the brain, the problem of evil, tornadoes, True Detective, Rustin Cohle is Thomas Ligotti, a truth that makes me feel bad, talkin to boomers, John Brennan is a monster, terrible truth, where’s the lie?, deluded the whole time, people over there are dying, that original cosmic horror is 100% real, why his wife could be drinking, the lies that everyone lives in small towns, a way of lashing out, you’re making me feel bad, rye or bourbon, too painful, The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Al Pacino’s monologue (God is a sadist), the unvarnished character, where did the secret come from to begin with?, how and why, he’s not menacing, the narrator’s memory, a more menacing light, the shotgun method, 2013, a lot of this could be unreliable, he found himself doing this, murder, where is this document going?, a creation of the creative process, still thinking about the magic, professional reviewers talking about the ending being screwed up, the actual ending, visiting his brother in Hawaii, becoming the next Jacobs, left with an unfinished story, its weird, they don’t know what he’s referencing here, Elizabeth Hand, Quatermass And The Pit, the funeral shading of Arthur Miller’s tragedy, atavistic pleasure, don’t look behind you, “a bit odd”, “a turn for the ridiculous”, “a little silly”, a slow build, a shaggy dog story, sprawling voice, a leisurely stroll towards eventual horror, such a cool idea, this stormcloud full of horror, Wayne June was a musician forever, limp handshakes, they’re all Innsmouth look guys, that opioid crisis, pain management gone wrong, the fifth business, The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, story construction tropes, why Jesse thinks he’s a super-genius, green doors are magic doors, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, a beautiful garden, a nice lady sitting on a throne, tigers and lions and wolves [actually just two panthers], a book with his life, popped out outside the wall, the point of the story is mysterious, what lies beyond, connected to childhood and personal obsession, when he’s constructing the hill for his soldiers to fight on, a footlocker, his sister kisses him, his favourite present, the krauts can hide in there, the crumbling house, the lightning rod, the cave of shadows, the house of shadows, Skull Mountain, Goat Mountain, the interleaving of themes, the ants, he’s having sex with her on the mattress and there’s a black ant crawling over the mattress, we’re all just like ants, a more subversive way of reading, being drones in our lives, Earth and existence is Hell, Null and Beyond as Hell, an afterlife, not everybody sees the same thing, heroin addiction, “something happened”, his hand is raised up, naked with one sock on stabbing a fork into his arm, post-hypnotic suggestion, gives him a glimpse through the keyhole, brain surgery, the witness, we’re going to see via her what lies beyond, prions up in her brain, a window to that alternate reality, the black paper sky, a long line of marching soldiers, what he’s been programming himself to believe, Kult (RPG), a scary fundamental truth people don’t want to really talk about, there is no immorality or horror on Mars, all the other planets with no life, no pain, feral kittens, a beautiful murderer, we’re going vegan, I don’t want to contribute to the pain of this world, tigers are compelled to have babies, we are the demons of Hell, trying to mitigate some of the horror, trying to make the cat vegan, there is no real escape, we are deluding ourselves, do as little harm as a conscious being, its wrong for me to murder people, that gift of knowledge thing, Marissa found her cat’s diary, she’s a bad person but she doesn’t know that, let the cat out of the bag, we never think about it, we are so versed in the horror of reality, having kids is a horrible responsibility, even worse you’ll give pain, The Place Of Pain by M.P. Shiel [is a rip-off of The Moon Stricken by Bernard Capes], he enjoys hikes, there’s a waterfall, a natural telescope, what was going on on the moon, the Moon is dead and just a mirror for looking at Earth, a headless squirrel, enjoying its nuts, hoping it doesn’t rot under there, the beauty of the babies, Stephen King always avoids talking about the real issues, not really a problem in this world, Ray Bradbury’s carnies, oatmeal cookies, nowhere in this book is a demand for healthcare, comfort food, the major business of the fifth business is health care, Oral Roberts, fake medicine, Trump rallies, revival meetings, electricity bleach same difference, Nyarlathotep, like Tesla, Menlo Park, 14 hours, maybe Tesla isn’t a thing, he’s asking us to do google searches, he’s inviting us to say this is real, the narrator is apolitical, music and girls and army men and cars, in the heroin and oxycontin crisis, everybody is independent, boomer obsessions, meant to feel real, other connections to King things, Joyland, Dark Tower connections, the unfound door, Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, doors in the Dark Tower, move people between worlds, portals, a door that lets you go where you want, a universal door, Salem’s Lot, a horrible monologue, shattered faith, confronting the Dracula, enter into Roland’s world, the fallen preacher redeeming himself, There Are Doors by Gene Wolfe, a novel of obsession, green doors, like memory of Dinosaurs, the bottomless ocean of a magic forest, the irradiate refuge of sleep, under strange stars, what’s cool about reading weird fiction is its almost like the promise of the secrets of the universe, then…, we’re tapping into our own psychology, why do people fly when they’re in dreams, flying dreams, Paul’s dreams, Samuel R. Delany, a keyword search of a thousand dreams, combining real life interests and real life worries with symbolic universal, what is important about green?, how people depict it on the cover, always a church with a steeple, their church had no steeple, lightning is very important, before the novel started, near the resort where the rich people live, the only politics is all about distribution, a lot of the covers have crosses, the crucifix, not really a Christian book, praising God, praising Jesus, little toy Jesus, a red desert, the telephone poles that look like the cross, there’s no people, artists tasked with giving this book a cover, Marissa wishes it wasn’t true, deluxe versions with beautiful interior art, a nice book cover, had not Evan been pushing it with the magic words, where’s the climax of the story, in the Catskills, The Lurking Fear, the Martense’s old mansion was repurposed, resorts in the Catskills, weird joy, Paul skiing, speaking of Paul, that name is not an accident, Daniel, peripheral characters, Astrid Soderbergh, the fundamental mistake of not putting people in the scene, a family walking towards the church, connecting to our realities, changing colours, Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown, a Stonehenge style pagan temple, the prologue, there’s a secret that will be revealed, more SF than the opening might lead you to believe, based on a weird story, the Binding of Isaac, God says: realllly?, God says: jk, sky god with his electrical bolts, an electrical aspect, the stuff about the eels, the transfiguration, skull mountain (Golgotha), Marissa’s favourite review, atheists should be terrified of this novel, a trend on Twitter, hey and check out my Instagram, be seen, the latest Stephen King book is out John 11:12, why Evan likes to go to baseball games, John 3:16, how the Mormons send their kids off, preach the word, all your eyeballs are looking this way?, photoboming, N by Stephen King, an experience that leads to OCD, The Music Of Erich Zann, That is not dead which…, he remembered it, the quote is about Cthulhu, Paul would say Astrid was bisexual (not a lesbian), she loves cigarettes more than anything, aging, hey you’re bald now, you got really fat, did *I* change that much?, really good, really talented, a downer, always was bi, his sister kisses him, he loves his mother, discomfort, life pain, it could have been a greater novel, background life, the null mother, his visions of his family and the cake and the ant, this is The House On The Borderlands I am forever mindblown, better on the second read, such a wonderful villain, many many searches, most people don’t read, the amount ink spilled on whether the movie is going to get made or not, pages and pages, what’s about the actual book, certain scenes, the lightning rod, the terrible sermon, life slices, the mystery, he hadn’t done any research, fake surgeries, little Bradbury, too much play on the term itself: “revival”, playing to the title, its a metaphor, to condense it, the letter about Astrid brings him to Tempest Mountain, a TV series about Jacob, they’ll fuck it up, The Troop by Nick Cutter.

Revival by Stephen King

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The SFFaudio Podcast #662 – READALONG: Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #662 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Lawful Good, a novella, 1953, 1961, Appendix N, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, garish sky, the alignment stuff in D&D, the axes on the alignment, true neutral, lawful, neutral, chaotic, cosmic battle, all the problems Jesse had with Dungeons & Dragons, its ideology, a war between the baddies and the goodies, the lawful forces and the forces of discord, implying our reality, mapped as evil, our swanmaid, lots of grey, the framing story, playing the lawful good role in both worlds, hence he’s a paladin, everybody has to pick an alignment, neutral evil thief and a lawful good paladin, deliciously great roleplay, sticks in their mud, a good role player takes that to heart, character drama, flexible morals, against the enemy of his god, an impediment to the adventure and the swashbuckling vs. character dramas, so codified, the rules are there to be discarded, the rules are there to help you, the one true way, a meta-game, applying it to human beings, Captain America is Lawful Good, Spiderman is just plain good, everything is way more complicated than that, the nine different possibilities, Odo in the top left hand corner, Gul Dukat in the bottom right hand corner, Quark is neutral good, what constitutes these things, a grievance against Gary Gygax, this whole matter of France mythology, Charlemagne, Anthony Boucher’s introduction, “the possible and the impossible”, science fantasy, Groff Conklin, Great Folk Epic, The Vault Of Time, H. Rider Haggard, The Incomplete Enchanter, Fletcher Pratt, L. Sprague De Camp, Roland, travel between worlds, taking from Matters, martial paladin focused, a different kind of heroism, riddles, the outer narrator, not that great a book, a grab bag of different adventures, the order of the episodes, the creatures in the woods, a bear, a lion, an owl, material to furnish, very cozy, bookending the story, Edgar Rice Burroughs, later serialized in F&SF: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, a dwarf and a lady princess, transported to a fairy realm, more playfully comic, not a humour piece, the portal aspect, a museum in England, more of a satire, a fantasy romp, does Jesse just not like fantasy?, unstructured, romping around, referencing, Graustark, another Zenda ripoff, playing around, a quest, The Wizard Of Oz, he stole that too, a crossover episode, more time with the Dane bicycling around Europe, WWII adventures, chaos vs. law, a force for law in all the worlds, he had saved Niels Bohr, the audiobook, Bronson Pinchot, a slog via text, Huckleberry Finn, accents in the text, Danish accent?, the drift, an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, the dumb Scandinavian, pumps you up like McBain, read more H. Rider Haggard, Eric Brighteyes, the point of the story, a straightforward muscleman, the ladies think he’s very sexy, be a sophisticate, ElvenQuest, one of the these fantasy authors, eight book in the series, contempt for his audience, the “chosen one”, his dog is transformed into a human, all about the stereotypes, the fantasy enchanted forest with a silly name, the trolls work the same in both ways, about the tropes, the evil point of view, he’s got your eyes, the ur version of that, if you make it a comedy…, humorous but not a comedy, Stephen Mangan, the Dirk Gently TV show, problematic stuff?, the Swanmaiden, cat-fighting, every D&D player, troll regeneration, Tolkien’s trolls in The Hobbit, entertaining, the Wild Hunt, fatalistic pessimism, elegiac, The Broken Sword, contemplative vs. upbeat, things to notice, Bertrand Russell, Logical Positivism, this is a real guys, this is real guys, most things in philosophy are massive failures, history is the study of failures, reaching in a way that Dunsany doesn’t, going Catholic in the end, he’s picking a team, Christianity is a true religion, assuming medieval role, team order, he believes in beer, kind of all over, crafting vs. spinning, Tolkien vs. Anderson, crafted vs. a product of craft, a Poul Anderson Planet Stories story, going in to fight chaos, the length?, the werewolf and the witch and the nixie, collecting a crew, the dwarf just shows up, the Muslim knight, Papillon, no payoff, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, a satire, the analog for Papillon, mental energy, maybe mind was transferred into the body of another guy, what is the explanation?, magic, interesting, not just a secondary world fantasy, not enough to justify anything, why do I need this entrance into this world?, a payoff in a meta-way, konking, Guardians Of The Flame by Joel Rosenberg, the opening sequence and the first episode of the Dungeons And Dragons cartoon, I know spells I guess, hey look there’s Tiamat, a lost Scandinavian epic, writing in that vein, the meta-setup, quasi-science, a grab bag of different ideas, Vancian magic, Jeffro Johnson’s Appendix N, finally the explanation, the ideology of alignment, if we impose this on the system, Darth Vader is Lawful Evil, Jabba is Chaotic Evil, Anakin as a kid is Neutral?, can kids have alignment?, age of maturity age of reason, suddenly I’m neutral evil, something wrong with this system, Hoger?, name conveniently placed on the saddle, saddlebag stuff, not the most law-abiding type, the outer-narrator’s explanation, God has provided, the “balance” of the Force, like magic, implying the universe comes up with that, a meta-flaw, as soon as Obi Wan Kenobi spins up a bunch of lies, Ming the Merciless, a roguish guy, neutral good, when Obi Wan was lying to you he was doing it for a good reason, Yoda on Dagobah, Zen koans, don’t go into that cave, don’t save your friends, that stuff was stupid, tear it all down, abandoning the alignment system is so meta, we need it to to have a film, a conflict of good vs. evil is replaced by a conflict with the alignment system itself, broken from the beginning, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are thieves, neutral at best, Paul’s range of alignment only includes good and neutral, are there people who you want to spend time with who play lawful evil?, tear it all down, for NPCs, if we go to Ivanhoe, the restoration of law, fighting an evil law makes you chaotic, confine the alignment system to lawyers offices, the Duke boys on The Dukes Of Hazzard, Boss Hogg is evil but lawful, want to steal Daisy Duke’s cutoffs, the top of their car is evil, what knights really are, they’re samurais, very egoistic, the heraldic crest, all very fun, villain means serf, taking the sides of the elites, ultimately there’s something wrong, fantasy is dangerous, God brought him his horse, hence his conversion to Catholicism, when God gives Jesse a horse he’ll have to convert to Catholicism, the super-fantasy element, the escapist element, what he was doing in his own life was interesting enough, finding a way back, looking through Grimoires, shouted out in The Number Of The Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, a podcast we recorded seven months ago, The Pursuit Of the Pankera, giant problems, way longer, all science fiction and fantasy is in it, they 666 worlds, parallel universes, more time on Barsoom, more time in Oz, E.E. Doc Smith’s Galactic Patrol, not your best intro to Heinlein, go with Glory Road or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, the book that broke Paul, Star Ship, Tau Zero, Sargasso Of Lost Starships, Flight To Forever, Brain Wave, The High Crusade, a fun idea story that’s not too long, Virgin Planet, terrorbirds, The Golden Slave, Lord Of A Thousand Suns, Out Of The Iron Womb, Swordsman Of Lost Terra, Tiger By The Tail, stuck into Thieves’ World, Inside Earth by Poul Anderson.

SPHERE - Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson

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