The SFFaudio Podcast #697 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Almuric by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #697 – Almuric by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye

This unabridged reading of the story (5 hours 28 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, Connor Kaye, and Cora Buhlert

Talked about on today’s show:
probably not by H.P. Lovecraft, by Robert E. Howard and possibly others, poo-pooing, some serious ending issues, the real probic question, sort of made up, Golden Fleece, 1939, Oriental Stories/Magic Carpet, less magic, a historical fiction magazine, Gates Of Empire by Robert E. Howard, 1975, another story set in the Saladin Egyptian Caliphate eras, a crusader King, really enthusiastic, Almaric, a historical figure, characters of similar names, two different Almarics or Almurics, he liked the name, Thok/Thak/Grak, the best Robert E. Howard pastiche ever or he’s making fun of him, muscular scenes, more Howardian, Howard does Howard really well, how much was Howard responsible, the letters, too on point, except the ending, dissertation on howard’s thought presented as a story, these themes, tell a lot more, it tells the thesis pretty exclusively, the issue, a sketch that someone else put together, a first draft?, Patrice Louinet, the manuscript is lost, 1934, Drums of Tombalku, Hour Of The Dragon, Otis Adelbert Kline, suspect infodumps, Daniel Look, Howard Days, stylometry, wordcounter.net, using math, Conan pastiches, specific words, scarlet or citadel, the and of or from and to, classifies Fritz Leiber stories as Fritz Leiber stories, a sword and Planet Guy, Francis Hard, Farnsworth Wright, not wholly complete, multiple drafts, the April 1939 issue of Weird Tales, the ending was taken from the inference about the beginning, the way the story ends is not compatible with the way the story starts, relating the story we are about to receive, The Lighthouse (2019), an unfinished short story by Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Bloch, a whole novel inspired by the short story, too horrible to relate, if you look deep into what they’ve written, why did they write that, brushing their teeth and looking in the mirror, everything is there for a purpose, the finishers of Almuric, looking deep into the story, anathema to a Howard ending, bring civilization to these barbarians, parts of this are definitely suspect and the ending is wholly suspect, seeking to join the society, artificial, not Howardian, the goorahs, Acher, Koth, Cimmeria is from The Odyssey, Afghulis in Afghulistan, Stygia, certain passages, Robert E. Howard had a hand in this, The Garden Of Fear, a tower, winged people, something about elephants, Solomon Kane story Wings In The Night, The Moon Of Skulls, a vampire queen wants to have sex with Solomon Kane, sacrificed at the full moon, Garden Of Evil by Margaret St. Clair, Vale Of Lost Women, a winged guy and a bunch of flower ladies, images that haunt him, so much more like Edgar Rice Burroughs than anything else by Robert E. Howard, The Gods Of Mars, Warlord Of Mars, a self-destruct mechanism, a nuke, a 1939 nuke, elder god type monster, Otis notes, literary manager, ripoffs of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Buccaneers Of Venus, Kline got the cover, Almuric didn’t get the cover, Everill Worrell, A Witch Shall Be Born, The Slithering Shadow, the fingerprints of A Princess Of Mars, the mechanism to get to mars is minimized, how Esau Cairn gets to Almuric is never explained, cliffhangery, every time he gets knocked on the head, two sequences being carried aloft, he even comments on this, my third time in captivity, very very very Howardian, the opening is pretty strong, on the run from corrupt civilization, corruption and civilization are the same thing for Robert E. Howard, Connor’s credulity, that doesn’t seem like something Robert E. Howard would write, a first draft, the repetition of verbs, I caught up a shield, I rushed to finish this story, Howard was not a find and replace guy, scarlet, showing not telling, the writing style, I have only a dim memory, several things happened at once, we gotta find a way to fix this, fist fighting, mundane terrestrial stories, it could have been written by anybody, Steve Costigan it’s not, those infodumps, notes, essays, The Hyborian Essay, that’s his research, Howard doesn’t do infodumps, research notes, now I shall give you a lengthy infodump, the thematic infodumps, this is why civilization os not the proper place for human beings, mastery of the human form and human strength, doing Burroughs, put Otis to work, Farnsworth Wright, good editor bad writer, Paul Ernst, Seabury Quinn, commenting on the stories, this Francis Hard (Farnsworth Wright) guy is terrible, nobody copyright renewed this story, authors tend to make a claim, Wright and Kline both died young, as much or more of Robert E. Howard has come out since his death as during his life, decade after decade, the first major thing after his death, not in the Del Rey editions?, Bobby Derie, Howard Andrew Jones, James Allison stories, Phoenix On The Sword, he’s always dying, an outer narrator, some adventures in a faraway place or a far distant time, dispensing with the idea, in Earth history, Kull is Atlantean, pre-cataclysmic civilization, how to get into it, this is a fantasy book, terms to explain it to ourselves, secondary world, Tolkien, The Hobbit, most attributed to Burroughs, gods and names are pretty much the same, the river Yag, the land of Yog, didn’t finish mapping it all, a lot of Howard’s setup, how did you enjoy it as a book? vs. how it was constructed?, a bit over a hundred pages, the scale, assaulting the city, Robinson Crusoe feel to it, battling with baboons in the wilderness, how much we enjoy it related to how much Howard was in it, Pirates Of Venus, an editorial for Weird Tales, a mission statement for Weird Tales, fantasy, science fiction, and horror, The Weird Tales Story edited by Robert Weinberg, The Dark Man Journal, ape men, sexual dimophism, bub, Howard loved apes!, no ape-women, pulp science fiction, suspect, all of the Conan comics, a way to make you turn pages, you can’t kill the guy, sheer force of numbers, The Scarlet Citadel, Hour Of The Dragon, detective fiction, gassed, hit on the head, most of that’s bad, it makes it suspect, the Howardian content is so high, the pastiche worker, pretty good, The Garden Of Fear is a really good story, a fanzine, recycle scenes, not unwilling to recycle, Almuric Role Playing Game setting, kickstarted style art, races of Almurica, Dogheads, Akki, it’s gotta be, jaegers, hunters, Germans in Texas, a Lebanese shopkeeper in Cross-Plains, pre-chat, how surprised would you be if in 1961 he converts to Islam?, slave-trading is evil, muslim sidekicks, El Borak, he loves swearing by gods, and there’s no god greater than Allah, if only for the aesthetics, Muhammad Ali, some kind of Islamic rally, individualism, protestant, too community based, Allah knows, this big guy in the sky, He exists, swearing to various gods, why Solomon Kane is so attractive, his belief makes him attractive, challenged all the time, my sacred staff, an evil voodoo thing, it’s beyond me, the god of my people, the religious fanatic, the nicest puritan you’ll ever meet, he likes animals, he thinks you’re an evil demon, the Gent From Bear Creek stuff, semi-embedded in a community, out from society, why the novel was abandoned, ends with peace and harmony and a new golden age?, there’s no permanence in dog-brotherhood, ape-brothers, the relationship with the women, Kull has Brule, standing next to Conan is not good, women can survive but we never see them again, a reset button, a comic book sequel Almuric, the Iron Hand Of Almuric, what’s left to say, the golden skinned ladies, copper skin, see the sexual dimorphism there, particular word choices, name choices, Altha, Alpha, a slave girl, Theta, a #LegCling, pulsing, thews, I could feel her heart, her quick pants of fright, what Howard would do, an interesting dynamic, the crudity of the men in her culture, a bit weird, he crushed her to his body, his writing of women improves, his Mexican prostitute sex, she wants to die rather to live out of place in her world, born ahead of her time vs. his being born in the past, a woman with agency, she knows what she doesn’t want, has to get rescued all the time, transitional Howard, Valeria from Red Nails vs. Belit, topless, died of sunburn, some nudity in this book, the Jirel Of Joiry stories, his Dark Agnes stories, Red Sonja, Zenobia, bears comparison, Cairn, The Cairn On The Headland, how dumb are you?, I’m looking for you, that lack of agency, out of character, Howard in a certain sense, Cairn has Howard’s fists but his brains are inadequate to the task, played for comedy, Steve Costigan, very fluffy, what Evan suspects, you’re both a liar and a coward, as all men know, knotty fist, a dozen feet away, moderate corporal correction, it wasn’t the punching, that is NOT Howard, he would never say that, Conan wont defend himself, L. Sprague De Camp had Conan spank his kid, the evil queen is going to spank her maid, women attack other women, Lesbia, Howard had no idea how lesbians worked, was Margaret Brundage bisexual?, not much attention given to men, less than half written by Howard?, the H.P. Lovecraft revisions, stylometry, editorial notes, a copyedit job, what other scholars said, too direct, someone wanted to present Howard’s thesis, too much telling not enough showing, way down on the list of Howard you should spend any time on, a Howard completionist, a pallid substitute, this is not crackin, not actively annoying, inoffensive, a little offensive, the character is endorsing it, beyond the pale, a twitter argument with a shitlib or someone here, Conan being a socialist or a communist, Conan The Socialist by Cora Buhlert, primitive societies, primitive communism, no thing is owned by one person, no one here is allowed to starve, you can’t own stuff in those types of cultures, hunter gatherer, counting coup, a social game that has rules, reputation, The Black Stranger, The Treasure Of Tranicos, famines, storehouses full of grain, I used my sword and my fists, he gives away his prize, the end of every Conan story, losing all the money at the end, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, botom up heroes, even Kull is a usurper, from the working class, a queen who has lived for 600 years, a lady who’s up, bottom up rather than top down, she’s a slaver, certain phrases and scenes, the structure is way less so, more of the framing device, the political boss, it wasn’t relevant, it was though, more like a Jack London story, urban fantasy, samurai cannibal book, The Mucker, The Monster Men, The Efficiency Expert, The Garden Of Fear feels way more substantial, the flowers are symbolic, where’s the symbolism in here?, some furry guys, red peoples and white apes, pure escapism, Howard has an agenda, and axe to grind, he’s passionate about it, I’m going to demonstrate my beliefs to you through story, Hour Of The Dragon is brimming with anger, a metaphor for the rise of fascism in Europe, Benito Mussolini, I will make you hurt, this one is fun, it doesn’t have anything deeper to say, do better, Connor, top tier Howard, Galactic Journey, lost along away, sword and planet, Will has read a lot worse than this, this isn’t dreck, statements of philosophy, the space babe, they create the new society, a planetary romance ending, the violence was a little over the top, a score of wounds, so parodied, Wolverine, recuperative powers, super-tough, “my immense recuperative powers”, crucified, he sleeps it off, he puts his leg in the water to stop the bleeding, a fun story, way better material, the density level, word choices, Howard writes like a poet, Spear And Fang aint beautiful, in his mid-twenties and approaching his 30, a natural writer in his prime wrote some notes, The Wicked Clergyman by H.P. Lovecraft, the worst Lovecraft story there is that he wrote, the comic book adaptations, Epic Illustrated 2-5 issues, Dark Horse sequel, Roy Thomas and Mark Winchell, wont somebody stop Roy Thomas, Ironhand Of Almuric, Gardner F. Fox style, dense prose, Tim Conrad, too much prose, mostly retired, of all the Conan co-authors, those big text boxes, he doesn’t fuck around with the prose, adapted to a Conan story, Arabian adventures, an effect of Conan fever, 1961, Ace, a Frazetta cover, Jack Gaughan, tonnes of very small slim paperbacks from the 1970s, looking in second hand bookstores, pretty obscure for a famous book (of Howard’s), how impactful the stories were, riding the name, why the role playing game exists, fuckin cool, Strange Detective, where he’s getting published, Adventure, volume, Fight Magazine, Jack Dempsey’s Fight Magazines, Sam Walser is Robert E. Howard, Spicy magazines, reading the Spicy magazines, embarrassing, hit after hit after hit author, who wouldn’t want this issue?, great reprints, great Virgil Finlay art, Spicy Adventure, Francis X. Gordon, not everything came out in the 70s, El Borak stories, the James Allison stories, The Howard Foundation, no print editions?, save it for the Garden Of Fear, the intro with the dying protagonist, H.P. Lovecraft and Virginia Jackson’s The Crawling Chaos, The Star Rover by Jack London, Howard bookshelf, erotica, working with an existing trope, how we get to the world, modern sword and planet stories?, using a rocketship to get there, astral projection had made irrelevant by V-2s, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincy, unheard of roads, overdose, our outer narrator, let me tell you of the secret of the world, the “Great Secret”, observatory!, telescopist!, no better alternative, telescopy hut, a flight through space, The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, the same martians, the inference, how we get from there to here, shot through the telescope, a teleporter, Professor Hildebrand, how he gets the story, what we’re reading, teleportation across time?, driven out of Europe into Africa, the last of the monkey-apes, people with wings, Conan The Barbarian, #9, winged ears, The Tower Of The Elephant, a dumbo captured by a wizard, another yag-yog, a giant spider, missing the giant snake, obsessed with evolution, she read Darwin, the bat-people, cutting off their wings, controlling rivals?, female Kizinti are dumb and pregnant, a podunk town, eugenics was a hot topic, the Howard-Lovecraft letters, decades of eugenics programs, sterilization, Esau Cairn is not a thinker, a naked savage, on the ladder of evolution, parody of Robert E. Howard, silks and steel and stone towers, tell not show, it had his name on it, playing it fast and loose, stuck it together, SCOOP!, Clifford Ball, a would be Conan, The Thief Of Forthe, what you expected Conan to look like, no substitute, this Clifford Ball guy, Henry Kuttner, attitude, Robert E. Howard has a big chip on his shoulder, Kuttner had a different chip on a different shoulder, Z.B. Bishop writes as good as Lovecraft!, disposable popcorn, it has the signs but lacks the heft, AI audiobooks, Seabury Quinn audiobooks, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Agatha Christie with supernatural elements, Murder On The Links, a ripoff of Jewel Of Seven Stars, the alpha and the notetaker, August Derleth, Jules De Grandin and Doctor Trowbridge, occult detectives, the John Thunstone stories, the Netflix section for reality TV, people who liked science fiction, good at marketing, Clark Ashton Smith had no hand in fixing this story, The Maze Of Maâl Dweb, The Flower-Women, C.L. Moore would have been better, the Charlton Comics adaptation, all rip-offs of Tarzan, after the puLps died comics took over, Sheena, Ka-Zar, too much, Conan goes to the Center of the Earth, Tarzan on the Moon, Bran Mak Morn and Kull, Kings Of The Night, Worms Of The Earth, Conan or THE Conan, a guy goes into a cave, Conan was his ancestor, Leigh Brackett, criminal on Venus, Lorelei Of The Red Mists, Ray Bradbury, homage, how much we got out of this, meta-talk, some sort of emotional attitude towards reality, it sparks, sometimes stories are abandoned for a reason, fascinating fragments, how hilarious it would be reading Ray Bradbury doing planetary romance, he does weird things she wouldn’t do, killed in WWII, where the Bradbury begins and the Brackett stops, nostalgic, The Small Assassin, a guy’s afraid of the wind, phonecalls make a guy’s life a living hell, dead undersea soldiers, two episodes in the can, quite a buffer, The Planet Stories Podcast, Connor needs a podcast, The Wind In The Portico by John Buchan, No-Man’s Land by John Buchan, hence listening to David Brin, almost like a podcast on YouTube [CONNOR’S YOUTUBE VIDEO ESSAY PODCAST FEED IS: HERE], keeping to a specific theme, old school podcasts, Mr Jim Moon is doing witches this year, a lot of not Science Fiction, the Horrorbabble guys, Evan’s podcast uses podbean, Evan has 787 podcast episodes out, the American Civil War, 4 continents represented, a Taikonaut, Starlink satellites, clutter up the sky, beloved by cats, mutant cats for our future, psychic cats know when we’re feeling vulnerable, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, novel after novel, until Jesse dies or Eric dies, to do two podcasts a week, when I’m feeling weak, hoping that something is going to be good, a six month backlog, take a vacation from recording, don’t silence, don’t de-platform, i’m not Whoopi!, Cora was on the Dickheads podcast talking into The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett, the Appendix N Book Club podcast.

Almuric by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES - illustration by Virgil Finlay

Almuric by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES

Almuric by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES

Almuric by Robert E. Howard - WEIRD TALES

Why Weird Tales? by Otis Adelbert Kline - from WEIRD TALES, May June July 1924

Almuric - illustration by Ken Kelly

Almuric - illustration by Gaughan

Epic Illustrated - ALMURIC

DARK HORSE - Almuric - Tim Conrad

ACE F-305 - ALMURIC by Robert E. Howard

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The SFFaudio Podcast #651 – READALONG: Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #651 – Jesse and Alex talk about Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Talked about on today’s:
Brandon Porter, complaints about the audiobook, missing footnotes, appendixes C and D, Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979, page 224, who the hell are these guys, there’s Tolkien, John , Andrew J. Offutt, Fltcher Pratt, Face In The Frost, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, reading ideas, Paul Weimer, opposed to Castalia House, John C. Wright, chips on both guys shoulders, misplaced chips, not wanting to participate in some books, Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy, Oryx And Crake, too stuck up, complaining the whole time, authors we want nothing to do with, oh you’re a genius Margaret!, Jesse hates her, a book of book reviews, a Christian, Margaret St. Clair, “milieu”, halberd, when you learn things from books, as a professional narrator, names in fantasy books, not having pronunciation in mind, apostrophes, Tolkienesque words, all the role playing games, Gamma World, Traveler, Pathfinder, The Call Of Cthulhu, Car Wars, GURPS, the core rule books, modules, more time reading the books than playing the game, his thesis, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just Tolkien and it was never meant to be, fundamentally misunderstand the game, how clerics show up, Galadriel with cup of healing water, organized religion was missing from Middle Earth, the Hobbits don’t go to church, Denethor, heathen kings of old, worshiping, he’s a dictator, one of many inspirations, quotes, the Conan section, pastiches, Gary Gygax, the original Howard Conan wasn’t available to Gygax, people kown Conan, most people’s views of Lovecraft are just wrong, The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair and The Sign Of The Labrys, inspiration, my love my father showed when I was a tad, cloaked old men who could grant wishes, dauntless swordsman, E.C. Comics, the Satanic Panic, juvenile delinquents, ample helpings of fantasy, Andrew Lang, the Brothers Grimm, of particular inspiration, pluck kernels, good reading!, DeCamp, Pratt, Jack Vance, A. Merritt, these will help you make your gaming better, the original AD&D, a collaborative storytelling effort, dice rolling and stats, min-max munchkin play, you have to have read a bunch of stories, things you should be building on, the players limitations make the gaming less good than it could be, most of these books were on the shelf in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Williamson, publishing, the changing media, talking about movies and TV shows and computer games, pop culture is POPULAR, Stranger Things, True Detective, True Crime, locking a kid in the closet with no books, D&D has become its own incestuous thing, Forgotten Realms, wide open fantasy sandbox, engines to make other games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pool Of Radiance, Pool Of Darkness, Wizardry (on the Apple II), Fallout 3, step out into the wasteland, dependent on a really good Dungeon Master, adventures around every corner, the dialogue tree comes out, I wanna save this farmer, I wanna steal the farmer’s pants, the immaturity of the players, DMing is a skill, like Frisbee, cooperative, THACO, Star Trek Voyager, Naomi Wildman, a kid’s adventure holodeck program, nerfed, magical forest, Neelix, the creatures of the forest recognize Janeway, the ideal form of Dungeons & Dragons, your inventory, torch schedule, Darkest Dungeon, you have enough torches, the rope store, Fallout‘s inventory system, the creativity and the flow, how do we let our players have that same kind of adventure, domain play, tier 1 play, a town or country you kind of run, spouses and retainers, a bigger magic sword, New Vegas, post apocalyptic, stories around every corner, bottlecap currency, what we want is the story, whatever mechanics are there, leveling up, new spells new attacks more attacks, achievement unlocked, a real scholar now, awards, you’re a real boy now, army promotions, Eisenhauer is needed, a false understanding of what we’re here to do, the sense of awe, the first time playing Dungeon & Dragons, lead figures, carrying about what colour dice they have, getting a glimpse of Tsathoggua through a keyhole, console games, computer games, like reading a really good book but completely different, I killed a demon, I am a demon, a more advanced version of cops and robbers, go down to the basement, these dice say I hit you for double damage, FPS, all shooting games, Portal, it breaks what you thought was possible, The Long Dark, making mittens, zen meditative, achieving balance, murder hobos, wilderness adventure, one dungeon, not a lot of dragons, two dragons in twenty years, what we need to do as dungeon masters, what players need to do as players, can I stab this or set it on fire, a character with massive charisma, make friends with the monsters, combat oriented, the epic moments, inter-dimensional travel, you can become a god, Leah Libresco [Back Again From The Broken Land], intelligence, wisdom, strength, in real life, we don’t have the player character sheet at all, keep it under the hood, extra speech options, you are less involved, do you even lift, bro?, a suit of armor because suit of armor, Age Of Conan, I got a dagger, a fur diaper, and maybe some boots, a flagon of wine and a girl, World Of Warcraft, mount armor, change the world, Knights Of The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, guilds, all these titles, oh you wanted to buy bread?, the game doesn’t care, when games are capable of caring, an anti-perk: gravedigger, the orc said: I know you of old…, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a one way gate to the Pliocene, exporting criminals to the past, giant toadstool forests, megafauna, visiting aliens with psychic powers, almost all based on Julian May’s interest in geology and history, the Wild Hunt, accommodateable, straight sci-fi, all through the lens of Tolkien, Greyhawk and Dragonlance, Krynn, kinder instead of hobbits, dragon people, Vancian magic, you don’t understand the building blocks, to have the internet back then, so much is public domain, a blogpost in 2014, so much of it has never been republished, what is actually great, what’s being pushed by a publisher, the cult of the new, nothing from before 1987, The Professionals (1966) with Lee Marvin, Dave Arneson, self-enforcing mythology, Charisma Zero (2013), a player is getting divorced, the hipster is way to cool, what made him a loser, some genuine reality going on there, its a lifestyle, live and breathe Dungeons & Dragons is kinda sad and kinda amazing, the first modules, GenCon, where’s Wisconsin, Tomb Of Annihilation, a meat grinder simulator, Jason Thompson’s D&D module poster maps, 37 species of zoogs, the dreamlands, there used to be kinds of stories, it can’t be done without irony anymore, no-one can write it that way anymore, subverting expectations, a lack of planetary romance, August Derleth, The Trail Of Cthulhu, more of what you had, a magic wand, take what you can get, sad puppies, the Hugo Awards contest, John C. Wright, the popular clique, your ability to get into people’s hands, a list of old books, old fiction, some of them sounded pretty weak, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, cigaretty voice, World Of Teirs by Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner F. Fox, a really innovative way, a very small organization, I want more people to read Gardner F. Fox, connected to comics, Crom his Conan ripoff, old-school pulp author, only five?, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, The Moon Moth, The Dragonmasters, Planet Of Adventure, a kind of depth to his worlds, a plaster castle held up by two by fours vs. a velvet tapestry with a stone wall with grout made from goblin bones, sketching out a world with a few lines, footnotes, Jorge Luis Borges, granular detail, Philip K. Dick wrote a lot about spies, Mr Jim Moon’s show on Piper In The Woods, set in the pacific during WWII, Seabees, I’m a plant, how dryads reproduce, Typee by Herman Melville, a garden of Eden, it takes 20 minutes to build a house vs. pull ropes and get hit with the lash all day, Poul Anderson, The High Crusade is so fun, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, Dwellers In The Mirage by A. Merritt, vikings at the North Pole, ragging on Michael Moorcock, why people liked Elric, navel gazing, so sad, I murdered a bunch of people now I’m sad about it, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, Manly Wade Wellman, A Martian Odyssey, fabulously science fictional, spaceships, a virtual reality story in the 1930s, totally inspirational reading, Andre Norton, read this list as inspiration for your own campaign, the concept of this book, the foundations most people don’t realize are there, this is where I got some ideas, ruleset, where do all the other rules plug in, the monks were added because kung-fu was so popular, illuminating a manuscript vs. a Shaw Brothers character, more books like this, as we discussed in October, a book of Star Trek literary references posts, Arena by Fredric Brown, microphones for eyes, Darmok, Gilgamesh + Arena, Picard would, post-scarcity communist future allows us to read Gilgamesh and archaeology, lifts from literature, lifts from themselves, that idea worked, lets do our version of it, Stuart J. Byrne, he Kirked the computer, V’Ger, The Changeling, Nomad, his influence shows up in the first star trek, The Doomsday Machine, Fred Saberhagen, the Berserkers, hey I read Tolkien and I have a elves and goblins in a forest, break out of that mold, Portal 2, the Logic Bomb, this sentence is false, the cake is a lie, it becomes more of what it is, Doom and Wolfenstein and Spear Of Destiny, its short, literally out of the box thinking, it’s amazing, things can be different, a tavern with an old man giving you a mission, Lord Dunsany’s The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, The Book Of Wonder, gnoles vs. gnolls, Jesse’s favourite kind of Dungeons & Dragons, Thief, old game books, like choose your own adventure with dice, play honest with the book, the gap between the two, a regular novel is completely linear, game books, told in second person, we are so luckly right now, scanning books, finding them and buying them, way more of this and a lot less Tolkien ripoffs, a late 80s, really grimdark, Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein, you can just read Scalzi, you don’t need to read Heinlein, 2,000 pages of his inspired by Starship Troopers book, Farmer In The Sky, every book was different, why do we have to have another series?, that publishing drive, a sequel hook, advertising a one-off book, “listen Larry Niven if you write just one more Ringworld book we can bring Ringworld back into print”, from 1979 onward, The Martian by Andy Weir, only four or five years old, these things did happen, thinking along parallel lines, the requisite map, you just told me you know noting and I don’t need to read you, that’s just geography, picking up these cues, treating it like a science, arbitrary rules, Lost, what’s in the hatch?, that Sullivan guy, just good set dressing, J.J. Abrams has not content, M. Night Shyamalan, Heroes went nowhere, Star Wars and Star Trek, we as readers need to be chintzy with our attention, where are your bonafides, that’s not how you pronounce Suleiman the magnificent, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, egret vs. eaglet, we’re conjuring up things with our mouths, a Savage Sword Of Conan plot, Finnish Eskimos? The Summi?, favourite campaigns, a buried dead god they’re trying to resurrect, a turn based dungeon crawl, a quasi-medieval setting, the sanity system, confronted by trauma, gain a mania or a depressive problem, prayer or tavern or wenching, all narrated by Wayne June, The Ancestor is evil, from The Rats In The Walls, Darkest Dungeon 2, computer games tend to get better, becoming more what they are, a hybrid experience.

Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson

Dungeon Master's Guide

@Algncs' Appendix N Bookshelf

Appendix N by Gary Gygax

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The SFFaudio Podcast #650 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #650 – The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick; read by Ian Bradford Ngongotaha Pugh. This is an unabridged reading of the story (49 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:
Planet Stories, January 1954, his first big year, The Variable Man, junky stories, really simple, too simple, if somebody did something, Philip K. Dick was not a wise man, the reader is stupid, negging, read all of Philip K. Dick except for his kid’s stories and his posthumous stuff, a world encapsulated in a globe, Stability, 1987, written in 1947 or earlier, a lot of weirdness, miniaturization, what goes on (or in) the Rhetorizer, looking at somebody’s desk, a paperweight, stapler, paperclips, a fan blowing air over your desk, worlds in a bottle, Paul explains worlds in a bottle, escaping the mundanity of a desk job, St. Elsewhere, Homicide: Life On The Street, [Tommy Westphall], when the liberation from horrible work comes, shake it up, a little world, god power, Kandor, repressed, Supergirl, aliens from Mars, Martians Come In Clouds, Fortress Of Solitude, if Kandor was decanted, a city full of immigrants, worried about status, the Japanese immigration policy is xenophobic, what’s in the briefcase, gimmicky futuristic desk stuff, office supplies, a theme hidden in other Philip K. Dick stuff, Paycheck, ridiculous and awesome, what the hell is this?, writing off part of you life, a secret meaning, from a timescoop, hidden memory, missing memory, a fiddly little concept, I wonder if it has secret meaning!, momentary escape, the nuclear bomb, destruction, a flash of light, connected to the nuclear, connected to the cold war, it’s still WWII, fragile dystopia,The Man Who Japed, War Game, Monopoly as an alien invasion, taking the mundane and making it fantastic, this stick is a sword, watch out for the pinecone grenade, the framing device, twist stories, too neat, it doubles back on itself, why is he doing this?, a bunch of people on a plane, the plane is forced back down, cops on the bus for a shoplifter, a standard writing technique, supposed to be spies, not professional spies, they execute the job perfectly, no operational control, super incompetent recruitment, doofuses, they tell it for no reason, we’re all on the same team (Earthers), twigged into, Evan should have picked up on, stark terror ruled the inner-flight ship, Mars-Terra, inter-national, inner solar system?, the black clad leiter, what the hell is a leiter, Gauleiter, district leader, these are the Nazis, they’re looking like the SS, redskinning themselves, dressing up as locals, they’re wearing shorts, leiderhosen, did you see the woman, she was very attractive, the breasts get mentioned, figures of fear, a half dozen in the glass tomb, half their leaders, Nazi imagery, we’re supposed to be on the side of the Earthers, no death’s head on their uniform cap, leiter = leader and ladder, Martians in disguise, Inglourious Basterds (2009), Standartenführer = standard leader, written for a market that includes Planet Stories, the context for the magazine vs. the political context, recruitment, victory gardens, embedded in the war, on the granular level of regular people, block leiters, block warden, disseminate propaganda for 60-80 households, Nazi officials, we are holding a rally, keeping notes on all the families, really horrible, a (school) class snitch, little Johnny: look at that squirrel, little Sally informs the teacher, snitch culture, the violence of the state, that central vision, the local costumes, the flavour of the city and the people, the village is a shithole, a pig’s sty, the leadership is very technically savvy, bronze age, this man has never shaved his face with a Martian stone, how did Mars get that way, Babylonians, Sumerians, an ancient sun-baked city, a city seldom seen, an iron hand, black priests with rods of fire, the Terran senate, Erick and the two behind him, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, deep in enemy territory, what’s so ridiculous about the story, “Thacher”, it makes sense, Philip K. Dick is a real smart guy, a thatcher makes a cover, he’s a martian, white-face, a really fake beard, the red skin, the movie adaptation, these are supposed to humans who emigrated to Mars long ago, predating humans?, Ray Bradbury, colonists later turning against Earth, a standard theme in Science Fiction, Elon Musk’s Mars colony, a vast wall, it felt the wind and sun for centuries, the technology level, an hour from Mars to Earth, all they have to do to look like Martians, Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper, several hours of audio drama, a history of the Suez crisis and how it was connected to the European Union, the British seized Suez, not a normal colony, to control trade, this story is ultimately about financial position, Mars will have to do what Terra asks, commercial demands felt, quite a story, an interesting technology to preserve cities from war, reducing a whole library, microfilm, make something that was tiny big, the important contents, the data, the information, the images, using it for ransom, ransoming all the people in that city, there is no war yet!, this is what the Japanese did, the sneak attack, the stab in the back, Pearl Harbour, how dare they!, annexing the Sudetenland, for interplanetary trade, the British the Americans, the Japanese forcing trade on China by seizing ports, the leadership on Earth vs the leadership on Mars, the short film, double down on the Nazis, no nuance there at all, most Philip K. Dick doesn’t adapt well, some telepathy wandering around with the cops, The Hood Maker, the block warden, the test, the box is a character, THE TRUTH, HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH, YES, THAT IS THE TRUTH, so easily fooled, pinwheeling your arms, how cops justify stuff, his head connected with my baton, I didn’t *destroy* the city, are they okay?, the walk up to the city, joining the caravan, not horses not camels (hoofers), the problem with this as an adaptation, they just tell when they should have operational security, when you do some crime and you tell all your friends, why this is in there, based on a book, based on a year spent with the homicide unit in Baltimore, David Simon, a sales pitch that works every time, a person confronted by the cops, sitting in the squad car, a human being asking your questions, some mental problems, ROTC for ten minutes, H.P. Lovecraft couldn’t finish high-school due to a nervous breakdown, tests are stressful, its very easy to crack, LAWYER, I want a lawyer, a cop’s job is not to help you, entrap you, catch you speeding, they’re whole thing is putting people in prison, you’re on a bus, like a passenger on a plane, three spies, more likes Hans Landa, testament to how Philip K. Dick feels, coups attempted all the time, a bunch of mercenaries sent into Venezuela, what’s in your briefcase, let’s just drink, very Philip K. Dick pressure, fundamentally broken at that point, spoilers in general, the first time Marissa read it, the reveal, there’s not really anything else, stressed out by seeing SS uniforms on film, Movie Tone News, the stress level is incredible, where’s the mall?, legal requirements, what’s in your bag?, some drug, open alcohol, what have you been drinking tonight?, not the story itself, its the logic of the building of the story, a real phenomenon, one of his weakest stories, do you know how fast you were going?, please confess, why would you do that?, questions bring stress, lying is something you learn, lying is a stage of development, who knocked over the milk?, the dog knocked over the milk, Werwile of The Crystal Crypt by Gardner F. Fox, hashtag boobtube, women in test tubes, in comics, I underestimated him, if you have a family who loves you, most people don’t read, Paul can read for himself, enjoying a story together, watching a TV show together, playing computer games, you can ask your mom to read it, adorable, Jesse’s mom was not a fan of that story, Harry Turtledove, reading The Iliad for fun, what we did for entertainment before radio and TV, designed to be read aloud, reading Oscar Wilde, reading an audiobook, most people’s interactions are through the audio medium, its not that weird, unlocks the lady in the jar, a retelling of SHE by H. Rider Haggard, she knows everything, some good ideas, three planets, throne planet, laboratory planet, arsenal planet, a Marvel movie final fight scene, the big boss fight, great writing for the first 4 pages, transformed language, half-Borg and half-Vulcan, Seven Of Nine, she gets damseled, suitable for marriage now, pretty funny stuff, a lot of bad writing in the middle, there’s no reason or explanation for it being a “Werwile”, a god named Grock, lots of great vocab words, there’s a scene that is almost identical, the dressing up in native costume and joining a caravan heading to a city, Dick’s first sale that was published was to Planet Stories [Beyond Lies The Wub], studying the market, reading the story in context, that cyclopean look to the city, a market that he understood, if you can get into Fantasy & Science Fiction, one story into Astounding (Imposter), another weak connection, The Twilight Zone, Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?, more like a Fredric Brown, palate cleansers between bigger stories, dressing up as a native, joining a caravan, fun, what a lot of Planet Stories is about, playing dress-up and hide and seek, hey dad what’s that little snow-globe you keep on your desk, hey look at all the dead bodies floating around in the water, HBO MAX, the Watchmen sequel series, Don Johnson, cool in the 1980s, our heroine superhero cop, team blue, her snooper x-ray device, a secret panel with a KKK uniform behind it, he’s got the black clad leiter uniform in the closet, he’s the Thacher character, he used it to improve himself within the party, a Voight-kampff test, an IQ test, doing the latrines or calculating ballistics, the social hierarchy within the Martian society, William Gibson’s technology not being evenly distributed, they half to come to the city to have their marriage performed, an official has to do it, grey robes he never takes off and will be buried in, awesome costumes, the fear of totalitarian style government, accede to our demands, that’s empire, Evan, you need to trade with us on our terms, you take this opium, you need to give us gold, that’s extraction, the villagers aren’t cowed, good breeding stock, very Nazi, what’s the point of governments counting marriages, you belong to us, official breeding programs, shcakc up with every girl he wants to get into the pants of, marry all of them, Dick took serial monogamy very seriously, worried about being cuckolded, Beyond The Door, worth reading despite being weak, unpolished Dick, there was no polish on The Unteleported Man aka Lies, Inc., just stapled together, Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt was a much worse story, the tonal shift, a suitable bride having her superior mind wiped, Planet Stories are fun even when the stories are very weak.

Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt by Gardner F. Fox

The Crystal Crypt and Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt

The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick

The Crystal Crypt [2013 short film]

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The SFFaudio Podcast #496 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #496 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, and Paul Weimer talk about new books, audiobooks, and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
a full size show, paperbooks, audiobooks newly released, stacking on desks and shelves, books a week, piling up, send me stuff season, a tonne of books being published, everybody needs publicity, organized by publisher, St. Martin’s Press, advanced readers copy, Deep Silence by Jonathan Maberry, Joe Ledger, Julie Davis, mail it to Julie, Julie’s reviews on Goodreads, a prolific reviewer, Maze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear, techno-thriller, retro virus, Coldfall Wood by Steven Saville, Henre The Hunter, William Shakespeare, haunting the forest outside of Windsor Castle, how to organize, piles, too many to read, Shaun Duke, Tor.com, three novellas, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Running Man (by Stephen King), The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, The Black God’s Drums, The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, Irene Gallo, H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford, a novella, are they listening to my podcast, William Morrow, Ahab’s Return, Or The Last Voyage, the premise of Moby-Dick, The Coode Street Podcast, the best of the year so-far, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, Harper Voyager, Dragonshadow by Elle Katharine White, A Study In Honor by Claire O’Dell, near future SF, civil war, a great cover, 11 hours, a mystery, world-building, a series, Temper by Nicky Drayden, similar to South Africa, twins, 14 hours, evocative of the works of…, annoying Jesse, everything in the kitchen sink, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, And The Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee, 1,300 newly released audiobooks, when SFFaudio Podcast started, drowning in books both good and bad, moving product, no way to keep up, a podcast listener, Tantor Audio, Blackstone Audio, The Best Of Subterranean edited by William Shaffer, Ursula K. Le Guin’s collected short fiction, The Way Of The Shield by Marshall Ryan Maresca, all-paladin-like, The Silver Scar by Betsy Dornbusch, Boulder, Colorado, post-apocalyptic Earth, The Tomorrow Factory, Pinnacle City, The Rising Moon, The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, The Things, The Island, Blindsight, Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys, Who?, totally do-able, Planet Stories, March 1953 by William Tenn, Gardner F. Fox, Robert Moore Williams, Ross Rocklynne, Radio Archives, the height of the science fiction magazine era, the plateau, a great way to spend six hours, Archangel by William Gibson and Michael St. John Smith, audio drama, time travel, WWII, alternate future and past, Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead edited by Gordon Van Gelder, stories by K.G. Anderson, Richard Bowes, Elizabeth Bourne, Scott Bradfield, J.S. Breukelaar, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Becca Caccavo, Don D’Ammassa, Stephanie Feldman, Eric James Fullilove, Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Leslie Howle, Matthew Hughes, Janis Ian, Michael Kandel, Thomas Kaufsek, Paul La Farge, Yoon Ha Lee, Michael Libling, Heather Lindsley, Lisa Mason, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, James Morrow, Ruth Nestvold, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Marguerite Reed, Robert Reed, Madeleine E. Robins, Jay Russell, Geoff Ryman, James Sallis, J.M. Sidorova, Brian Francis Slattery, Harry Turtledove, Deepak Unnikrishnan, TS Vale, Leo Vladimirsky, Ray Vukcevich, Ted White, Paul Witcover, N. Lee Wood, Jane Yolen, dystopia, A Choice Of Gods by Clifford D. Simak, a lot of Simak from Audible Studios, the central intelligence of the universe, Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton, John Lee, Tantor Audio, Tamahome, how do you write that much?, Neal Stephenson, this thing called the internet, when does he sleep?, children’s fantasy novels, in 25 years he’s written 15 (BIG) books, short stories too, a prodigious output, The HPLHS adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories are on Audible, CDs vs. props, separate props, the deluxe editions, printed ephemera, Tantor.com, Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson, the full KSR experience, The Invincible by Stanisław Lem, everybody needs a little Lem, The Cyberiad, Dichronauts by Greg Egan, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Maissa Bessada, with a parasite, changing the laws of physics, not meant for audio, a very Greg Egan trick, review like mad, podcasts, Wooden Overcoats, a comedy on a Channel Island, rival funeral homes, narrated by a mouse, quite delightful, The Monster Hunters, a Marvel Comics audio drama, Wolverine: The Long Hunt, full of ads, is it worth it? tell Jesse, sort of X-Files-y, Serial Box podcast, worth a listen for horror fans,

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax (from AD&D’s original Dungeon Masters Guide)

SFFaudio Commentary

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide by Gary GygaxGary Gygax, co-creator of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons added, on page 224 of the 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide, a list of “Inspirational And Educational Reading.”

Long out of print, but still incredibly relevant, this list of inspirations for the phenomenon that is Dungeons & Dragons, and role-playing games in general, deserves to be better known. There is a Wikipedia entry for the “sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons”, but there’s nothing like looking at the real thing.

So, here it is in it’s entirety, following it you will find hypertext links to the Wikipedia entries for the specifically mentioned novels and collections (when available).

Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax

Appendix N lists the following authors and works:

Poul AndersonTHREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
John BellairsTHE FACE IN THE FROST
Leigh Brackett
Fredric Brown
Edgar Rice Burroughs – “Pellucidar” Series; Mars Series; Venus Series
Lin Carter – “World’s End” Series
L. Sprague de CampLEST DARKNESS FALL; FALLIBLE FIEND; et al.
[L. Sprague] de Camp & [Fletcher] Pratt. “Harold Shea” Series; CARNELIAN CUBE
August Derleth
Lord Dunsany
P. J. [Philip Jose] Farmer – “The World of the Tiers” Series; et al.
Gardner [F.] Fox – “Kothar” Series; “Kyrik” Series; et al.
R.E. [Robert E.] Howard – “Conan” Series
Sterling LanierHIERO’S JOURNEY
Fritz Leiber – “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” Series; et al.
H.P. Lovecraft
A. MerrittCREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; [The] MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al.
Michael MoorcockSTORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” Series (esp. the first three books)
Andre Norton
Andrew J. Offutt – editor SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Fletcher PrattBLUE STAR; et al.
Fred SaberhagenCHANGELING EARTH; et al.
Margaret St. ClairTHE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
J.R.R. TolkienTHE HOBBIT; “Ring Trilogy” [aka The Lord Of The Rings]
Jack VanceTHE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al.
Stanley [G.] Weinbaum
Manly Wade Wellman
Jack Williamson
Roger ZelaznyJACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” Series; et al.

Now with regards to the audio availability of the works and authors on this list I have composed the following set of notes:

Too few of the novels and collections specifically mentioned above are or ever have been audiobooks. But, there are several that have: the two Jack Vance books, the Tolkien books, of course, and Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword is available from Downpour.com (narrated by Bronson Pinchot). Unfortunately very few of the remaining bolded titles are in the public domain. One of the interesting exceptions is The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, which is available from LibriVox and narrated by veteran narrator Mark Douglas Nelson.

Of the series, those are the ones mentioned in quotes, I recommend Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first Pellucidar novel, At the Earth’s Core which is available from narrator David Stifel’s site – we also have a podcast discussion of that book HERE. And we did a show on A Princess Of Mars, which is the first audiobook in what Gygax calls the “Mars series.” The audiobook is HERE and the podcast is HERE.

Andre Norton’s work is actually well represented on LibriVox.org, have a look HERE.

Several of Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” collections were produced by Audible, HERE. But several of the stories are also public domain and are available on our PDF Page, for turning into audiobooks or podcasts!

Roger Zelazny’s first Amber series book was once available with Roger Zelazny’s narration, today Audible.com has the original ten book series as narrated by Allesandro Juliani.

As for H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Lord Dunsany, we have done several audiobooks of their stories for The SFFaudio Podcast, available on Podcast Page, so that’s a good place to start.

Further recommendations would have me point you towards the excellent small press audiobook publisher Audio Realms, which has the majority of the great Wayne June’s readings of H.P. Lovecraft. They also have two volumes of Robert E. Howard’s “Weird Works.” Even more Robert E. Howard is available from Tantor Media.

I should also point out that most of the authors listed in Appendix N are now represented somewhere on our PDF Page, a page made up of U.S. public domain stories, poems, plays, novels, essays and comics. Please make some audiobooks, audio dramas, or podcasts from them! We will all be all the richer for it.

Posted by Jesse Willis