The SFFaudio Podcast #185 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Christine A. Miller (of Escape-Suspense.com) talk about the two CBS radio drama anthology series, Escape and Suspense. But first we play two shows: From the series Escape – Treasure, Inc., and from Suspense – Always Room At The Top.
Talked about on today’s show: Escape-Suspense.com, adapted scripts vs. original scripts, Escape vs. Suspense, John and Gwen Bagney, layer upon layer of double-cross, the hopeless ending, what is Clive’s motivation?, a femme fatale, exotic locales, these shows still work 50+ years on, Christine is an episode historian (not a radio historian), Pursuit, Romance, are you looking for Three Skeleton Key?, the use of radio drama in middle schools, The Most Dangerous Game, Archive.org, Edgar Allan Poe, The Hitchhiker, Lucille Fletcher, the Mercury Theatre, Sorry, Wrong Number, running out of shows, San Francisco, the Field Trip app, a lonely workplace is great for radio drama, “don’t think about it at all, just do it”, bad episodes, the movie star connection, Vincent Price, Lux Radio Theater, anthology series, an anthology mystery vs. Law & Order, the format, killing characters, ripped from the headlines, Earth Abides (was done as a two part adaptation), George R. Stewart, The Scarlet Plague, Jack London, San Fransisco as a setting, Man Alive, the Ferry Building, is Always Room At The Top set in New York?, La Mirada, “it could only happen in the world of Suspense?”, Jack Webb, Wally Maher, Anne Baxter, pacing like The Front Page, “business workplace episodes”, mistreated employee episodes, reaching for the 47%, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (Ambrose Bierce), remakes remakes remakes, appointment radio, The Country Of The Blind (H.G. Wells), Favorite Story, Plunder Of The Sun (David F. Dodge), Hard Case Crime, Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, The Rim Of Terror, The Killer Mine (Hammond Innes), “Nancy Drew with adults”, those impossible to get books, The Quick And The Dead by Vincent Starrett (Arkham House), Cornell Woolrich.
The SFFaudio Podcast #180 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny Colvin talk about The Death Of Grass by John Christopher.
Talked about on today’s show:
post-apocalyptic, John Christopher’s real name was Samuel Youd, also known as No Blade of Grass, an anti-pot novel?, “it’s not my idea of a good time”, Stephen King’s The Stand, it’s almost like a play, there is a BBC audio drama adaptation, why not fish?, the Inuit, apocalyptic expert Jenny weighs in, John is like a feudal lord, moral lines are crossed, John’s transformation, the terrible 1970 movie version, “why hello I think I will come with you”, the cons of agriculture, Jenny’s quinoa granola, just drop a few bombs, can’t they make Soylent Green?, potatoes can let you down, real African grass virus, Paolo Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl, famines today, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides |OUR READALONG|, David Pringle’s Science Fiction: The Best 100 Novels 1949-1984 and The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction, John Joseph Adams’s Wastelands, Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon, Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, LeVar Burton loves it, women in the novel, Stockholm syndrome, The Walking Dead, “Dun dun dun!”, “maybe Luke can re-edit it”, Starship Troopers, Doomsday Preppers
The SFFaudio Podcast #166 – Jesse, Luke Burrage, and Eric S. Rabkin discuss, at length, the SFF FORMS (Short Story, Novella, Novellete, Novel, Fix-up, Trilogy, World). Here’s the premise:
Science Fiction Forms: Short Story, Novella, Fix-Up, Novel, Trilogy, and World. Respectively, they might be exemplified thus: Short Story (“Mars Is Heaven!“), Novella (“Flowers for Algernon“), Fix-Up (The Martian Chronicles, which contains a revised version of “Mars Is Heaven!” or The Seedling Stars, Accelerando, and Beggars In Spain, all of which began as novellas), Novel (originals, like 1984, and derivatives like Flowers for Algernon or Varley’s novel Millennium coming from his short story “Air Raid“), Trilogy (original Foundation series), World (the ultimate Foundation world or Heinlein’s Future History [shared with others] or Banks’s Culture or LeGuin’s Hainish series [created just for the authors, but let’s not forget about fan fiction]). What are the special challenges and rewards in reading and writing in these diverse forms? What special challenges or rewards attend on reusing material in another form? Is the formal plasticity of SF unique among literary genres?
Talked about on today’s show:
Eric’s suggestion, literature with a capital “L”, The Dead by James Joyce, The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Luke’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, the format, the themes, the variability of short story form, the feghoot, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Accelerando, Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang, The Tower Of Babel, stripped away vs. embellished to the nth degree, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Understand by Ted Chiang, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat, fantasy, the unexplicit story, valid reactions, the etymology of “text”, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, a persuasive existential journey, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, San Fransisco, short stories as objects of frivolity or training, the brilliance of an idea is not always enough, a novel can act as a community to an individual, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury vs. The Fireman by Ray Bradbury, is the novel inherently more participatory than a short story?, the failure of technology vs. the power of nature, The Masque Of The Red Death, teaching Science Fiction with short stories and novels, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame (Volume 1), the composite novel, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, A.E. van Vogt, the fix-up, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Accelerando by Charles Stross, Lobsters by Charles Stross, the cat changes function, “an intellectual framework”, Robert A. Heinlein’s future history, the composite novel, Isaac Asimov, future history vs. psychohistory, Michael Moorcock, I, Robot, Robbie, the three laws, Stephen Byerly and Susan Calvin, unAsimovian assumptions, the full dose of SF, Reason, The Evitable Conflict, is Stephen Byerly a robot or a man?, the Mérode Altarpiece (a medieval iconographic trope), art history, Luke doesn’t think Asimov is that clever, R. Daneel Olivaw, the three laws are fairytale laws, positronic brains are positive, the three laws are for people (not just robots), The Bicentennial Man, Asimov’s powers, Asimov’s business acumen, Brandon Sanderson, shared worlds, gods, Mormonism, Daniel Clowes, The Death Ray, Elantris, “The Alexandria Quartet” by Lawrence Durrell, reading The Martian Chronicles backwards, Luke’s fiction, Alastair Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street Irregulars, whodunit ain’t the attraction, The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, a matter of cutting, A Clockwork Orange, it’s better without the extra chapter, the commercial effect (or the effect of commercialism), popular literature, the flabby novel, Robert J. Sawyer, Hominids, Calculating God, William Shakespeare, The Royal Ontario Museum, horse evolution, God needs a starship!?, where to find a paleontologist, “a hundred pages of nothing happening”, a circular argument, writing to the story’s demands, Kevin J. Anderson, commercial constraints shouldn’t be points of pride, the thickness of books, The Lord Of The Rings, does more succinct = more better?, novellas are novels with threads missing?, The Hobbit, the ambition of the author, Luke is rejecting the basic premise, The Stand by Stephen King, is it a better story short or long?, changes and updates and additional material, don’t let Asimov near a typewriter unless you want something written, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke, The City And The Stars, expanding everything, Monster Story, “it came to me in a dream”, Minding Tomorrow, Nightfall (the short story) vs. Nightfall (the novel), “it’s a lot like a perfectly nice novel that eventually becomes a masterpiece”, The Lion of Comarre, it’s not a commercial podcast, a civil rowdiness, Eric’s Coursera course: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, rechunking, forums, essays, 18,000 registered students, University of Michigan, only the competitors are qualified to judge the competitors, a history of the U.S. Civil War, Luke’s kitchen, grades, “there is no absolute abstract grade for anything”, Science Fiction and Politics (Courtney Brown), the governor of a steam engine, Luke confuses two professors, “yes, by golly, that was a very good thing of it’s kind”, The Odyssey by Homer, a foundational classic, The Bible, the Benjamin Franklin bible, there should be an SFBRP review of The Odyssey, Luke’s Matthew Mark Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, Joseph Campbell, time for coffee!
Discussed on the show: A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, a flexible chronology, Luke’s first Isaac Asimov review for SFBRP, Robert A. Heinlein, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov (and Robert Silverberg) is bad, Isaac Asimov has ideas to spare, the Wikipedia entry for The End Of Eternity, “what clever idea can I use, in time travel, that hasn’t been used before”, time loops, time barriers, “are you your own grandpa?”, Poul Anderson’s time corps, bureaucracy, how does time travel work?, time travel is discovered, eternity is a place outside of time, powering a time travel technology is easy if you can time travel, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the “kettle”, Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder, A Gun For Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp, time lords?, Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick, Back To The Future, remembering the works of culture and developments in realities that no longer exist, 13 different versions of the complete works of William Shakespeare, the academic background of professorial jockeying, are there two different endings for The End Of Eternity?, being outside of time, “the outside of the inside of eternity”, the malleability of reality through time travel, a limited butterfly effect, the inertia of history, killing Hitler, William The Conqueror vs. King Harold Godwinson, Genghis Kahn’s descendants, computers (the vocation) vs. computers (the devices), technicians don’t get any respect, “They feel an unspoken collective guilt which causes them to scapegoat the ‘Technicians’, the experts who actually execute Reality Changes by doing something that will alter the flow of events.”, a caste system, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, making changes by setting your mind to it, Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Harlan is a bit of a dim bulb, Demolition Man, time travel as a secret (paralleling magic as a secret), The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, mutable realities, the grandfather paradox, unmanipulated reality, alternate history, Sidewise In Time by Murray Leinster, later Heinlein novels, unrestricted freedom in multiple realities can be extremely disheartening, Groundhog Day, infinite universes are boring, By His Bootstraps by Robert A. Heinlein, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, making a knot out of your own timeline, giving a young William Shakespeare a copy of The Complete Works Of Shakespeare, motherless objects and motherless ideas, giving your younger self an object (or advice), multiple timelines, “if that’s possible then that’s not possible”, time traveller’s convention, BoingBoing’s time travelers (I and II), European Juggling Convention 2003, Time Travel #2 Advanced Time Travel Techniques, Paradoxes For Beginners, Harlan Ellison, Murder At The ABA by Isaac Asimov, Darius Dust (dry as dust), Tales Of The Black Widowers, sexism, women are not suitable time travelers, an apocryphal tale of the Obamas, energy bodies, sending a message from the past to the future, you have an energy body but paper magazines?, a future vs. the future, The Door Into Summer, Escape Pod’s recording of All You Zombies, Asimovian characters, The End Of Eternity is about Earth, House Of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, something so big and so mind bogglingly complex, SFFaudio Podcast #073 George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides, “Gregg Margarite and that other guy (Jesse) are losers”, batshit theories, Eric S. Rabkin, Adam and Eve, fairy tales, sex, “the unconscious does exist”, Luke’s original fiction, “we do these podcasts for ourselves”, interesting bullshit, Luke’s Creative Podcast (with Gregg Margarite), “make your own podcast if you don’t like one.”
It probably sounds arrogant to talk about SFFaudio’s own podcast being my favourite podcast. It may sound that way, but it also happens to be what I really think. Not only is recording the podcast the highlight of my week, it’s also my favourite podcast to listen to when it comes out on Mondays. In our first 100 SFFaudio Podcast episodes there dozens and dozens of episodes that I can recall in great depth, episodes where I learned something interesting and had a whole lot of fun while doing so. We talked to some truly amazing people and talked about great ideas in SFF. SFFaudio Podcast episodes come in several flavours, but amongst them I think my favourite kind of show is our READALONGS. READALONGS are essentially our book club show, where we pick an audiobook (or paperbook), and discuss it in great detail. There have been more than thirty READALONGS so far and I’m convinced it would be hard to find a single dud amongst them. Here are five of my favourite readalongs from our first 100 episodes.
1. The SFFaudio Podcast #050 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
This list isn’t in order of preference, but rather of chronology. That said, if I had a gun to my head I might pick this episode as my personal favourite. This is a book that just had two participants, Scott and me. When I think of our friendship over the last decade I think of this episode. Scott says that this is the episode where the show “shifted gears” and I think he’s right. The show starts with a clip from Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture entitled Masterpieces Of The Imaginative Mind .
2. The SFFaudio Podcast #056 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley
The episode with the most participants, there are six: Scott, myself, Rick Jackson, Gregg Margarite, Jerry Stearns and Julie Davis. Normally we try to avoid having that many people in one show, but for this episode I think it mostly worked. Also, the book was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Robert Sheckley. If you end up liking this episode check out #076 in which we discuss Sheckley’s Mindswap.
3. The SFFaudio Podcast #064 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Now this episode is cool for a number of reasons. One is that it’s an episode with both Julie Davis and Luke Burrage in the same episode (something that’s happened only twice). Alfred Bester is one of my favourite writers and this novel is one of the best Science Fiction books I’ve ever read. We all brought something to the table for this episode and we all walked away richer for it.
4. The SFFaudio Podcast #073 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
This episode has both Luke Burrage and Gregg Margarite. We discussed one of the best novels I’d never read before. This is also one of the longest episodes, coming in just shy of two hours. I came away from this book and this wonderful conversation both a smarter person and a wiser man.
5. The SFFaudio Podcast #082 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Memory by Donald E. Westlake
This episode saw the first appearance of Trent Reynolds, from The Violent World Of Parker. The novel, by one of my favourite authors, was wonderfully noir and we discussed its every turn and twist with a kindly eye. With Trent’s help (and that of Gregg Margarite’s) I walked away from this episode knowing we’d done a very good job. I was happily depressed for the following week.
As one of the people behind SFFaudio, a website devoted to SFF in the audio format, this is about the hardest question you could possibly ask me. I can’t even begin to start ranking all the gloriously wonderful audio I’ve had the honor of listening to over the last 20 years (unless you count SFFaudio as exactly that). But, I can throw out some titles that are absolutely terrific!
Since I began listening in earnest (around 1991), and to make it manageable, I’ll limit myself to just one audiobook (or audio drama) per year (sorted by publication date). To make it even easier, I’ll list only commercial productions – we have plenty of love for podcasts and other amateur audio on SFFaudio.com. For starters check out our series called Five Free Favourites.
1991: The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year 1989 (Dercum Audio – ISBN: 1556561431)
1992: The Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1993: The Children Of Men by P.D. James (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1994: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Time Warner – ISBN: 9781570420528)
1995: Mind Slash Matter by Edward Wellen (Durkin Hayes) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1996: Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (Blackstone Audio – ISBN: 0786110546)
1997: Sci-Fi Private Eye ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Dercum Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1998: Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick (Blackstone Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1999: Ringworld by Larry Niven |READ OUR REVIEW|
2000: The Reel Stuff edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg |READ OUR REVIEW|
2001: Minority Report And Other Stories by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|
2002: Two Plays For Voices by Neil Gaiman (Seeing Ear Theatre / Harper Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2003: The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|
2004: Ender’s Game (25th Anniversary Edition) by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|
2005: The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 1 by H.P. Lovecraft (Audio Realms) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2006: The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan (Infinivox) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2007: Blake’s 7 – Audio Adventures (Trilogy Box Set) (B7 Media) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2008: The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2009: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Audible Frontiers/Brilliance Audio ) |SFFaudio Podcast #073|
2010: The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison |READ OUR REVIEW|