Reading, Short And Deep #396
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Narcissus by Clark Ashton Smith
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
Narcissus was published in The Acolyte, Winter 1945.
talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, July – December 1970, Robert A. Heinlein talking to himself, is this a kissing book?, sex talk, is there a person who doesnt get kissed, she had babies with the judge, my wife lets me kiss 10% of women, saving the incest for later books, a 1980s book, right after some of the big books, Friday is the last good Heinlein novel then he went crazy, 4 years after Frederik Pohl’s Day Million, only recommended as an artifact, rolling my eyes, listening at double speed, essentially the same thing over and over again, ultimatum, if you don’t do x I will fire you and leave the country, everybody is the same person, really glad Evan’s going to be on for this one, the world rather than the guy taking over the world with the talk – endless talk, its a guy who wants everything to be about him, I fell in love with lawyer, injecting myself with my own sperm, the biggest ego trip on the planet by the biggest asshole in the world, having Jake’s baby, he has it every way, socially it’s Jake’s baby, through his entire catalogue, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, Variable Star, closing on the worst, kinda interesting, way too fucking long, sigh, Evan despaired half way through when he’s already impregnated himself, there’s wonderful stuff here, being a document of the sexual revolution, forward thinking, keeping up with the trans-movement, you are your physical body, an internal self, (s)he performs as a woman, physicality, the Wikipedia entry is very short, a threesome, Eunice before she is murdered is swinging, Johan Sebastian Bach Smith, we’re from Mars, really cool stuff, less meetings would have helped Stranger In A Strange Land, get off the poolside bench and go get a job, their job is to talk with the sex crazed maniac, not through the news clips, very modern, all about billionaires and what they want, everything is a billion percent corrupt, very realistic, abandoned areas, what she thinks her job is is to perk up the disabled ancient corpse man, dress up as sexy as she can, before she dies, I don’t trust it, if you read this subversively, it becomes even more insidious, the worst thing about Heinlein, rape fantasies and child molestation, the conversations he has with himself, reading Larry Niven, everything seems to be working out, motivated by slightly different things, its sick and yet he really is on to somethings, the very strong class and financial stratification of society, the .001%, is this world really that bad?, where’s the rest of this society?, ending with Malthus, Mathusean arguments are stupid, The Population Bomb, Star Trek, The Mark Of Gideon, Stand On Zanzibar, Make Room, Make Room, geography, the water wars that are going to come, resource wars, Quantum Of Solace, invisible car, a problem of distribution, some of the least informative and least interesting part of the book, everyone was wrong at the time, pervasive throughout the book, the bugging, surveillance, he’s a brinksman, not everybody is you Heinlein, you can’t deal with everybody that way, wherever we go we take our phone, the universal communication device, more important that any piece of clothing or your house, universal bugging, rich people and royals, a member of the wedding party is sent to Canada, very fetching, your going to go to Canada to throw off the scent, every fucking relationship is tainted with money, the most ethical person in the book, he tries not to be corrupted by it, money is a problem, another theme that’s going on in here, rich people can’t and don’t have friends, it’s true, assets relationships and opportunities, body organs replaced, Bug Jack Baron by Norman Spinrad, Eunice’s soul, it has no connection, he wanted a threesome in his brain, a swinger book, they have sex with everybody except for the grandkids, the grandkids are “monsters”, how did that happen?, who caused that?, inveigle and puppet everybody’s life around him, they’re not competent, their all murderers and their black guys, I kiss them, let him save souls and I look sexy in this shirt don’t I?, is Heinlein addressing this in any sort of self-conscious way?, repossessing an employee of mine’s body, take her name, am I like Eunice, after you paddle me on the bottom in the way that I like, FUCK YOU ASSHOLE, so annoying man, people shouldn’t read Heinlein cause he’s so fucking annoying, Harriman never thought about that, Number Of The Beast, set in a dystopia that he caused by him and a few other people like him, my Clinton organization, you’re the one doing that, become a vegan like me!, strontium 90 in the Chinese milk, nuclear war, all the good stuff is made in China, this book needs to be Neuromancered, all he can do is threaten people with his money, build some fucking roads and infrastructure, constantly calling him “boss”, S&M language, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Sir Boss, boss instead of master, a very difficult book, novella length, an amazing explosion of ideas as in Day Million, reality bombs, if you were going to film this it would be a nightmare, endless dialogue scenes, the action all happens off-screen, nothing exciting going on, conversations in different lawyers offices, seriously? you’re, honor cherish and obey my husband, he’s not a good a person, this dude was into these ideas so early, All You Zombies is a transsexual story, he’s his own grandpa hahaha, he’s a guy from Missouri in 1907, if he was born in the 70s…, a heterosexual man interested in being a woman, heterosexual man becomes a heterosexual woman, gay street back and forth, omnisexual, he marries another old man, “born in the wrong body”, put into your right body, he’s thinking through these ideas out there on his own, Venus Plus X, [Myra Breckinridge (1970)], dresses and cuddling, the male gaze, do what thou wilst, sexual libertarianism, communities and movement cultures, really interesting, Evan’s been around this planet 40 some times, the self goes away, actors can act in a role, Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlisle,
Sartor Resartus (meaning ‘The tailor re-tailored’) is an 1836 novel by Thomas Carlyle, first published as a serial in Fraser’s Magazine in November 1833–August 1834. The novel purports to be a commentary on the thought and early life of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (which translates as ‘god-born devil-dung’), author of a tome entitled Clothes: Their Origin and Influence, but is actually a poioumenon. Teufelsdröckh’s Transcendentalist musings are mulled over by a sceptical English Reviewer (referred to as Editor) who also provides fragmentary biographical material on the philosopher. The work is, in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more generally. However, Teufelsdröckh is also a literary device with which Carlyle can express difficult truths.
this book sounds really fun, the clothes make the man, he’s wearing a white labcoat so its okay he’s putting his finger in my butt, a yellow vest, wearing a blue shirt at Best Buy, putting on the wrong uniform, girls protesting a rule they’re not allowed to wear pants to school, talking about a body as a piece of clothing, this suit’s looking better and better, just like Brad Pitt’s, meat sleeve, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, Case’s contempt for the flesh in Neuromancer, Linda Nagata, does this make me transsexual?, strip away the entire body, ultimately he concludes it wont work, the old transhumanist argument, Transmetropolitan, robot eyes, synesthetic neurons, we are what’s out there, the oppression of women throughout history is largely due to their bodies (not their femininity), a patriarchal society?, the Teresues myth, Strange Days (1995), the working title of Blade Runner?, the ship of Theseus, Bryan Alexander, I’ve had this axe my whole life I’ve been chopping trees with it every day this is the third time I’ve replaced the handle and the third time I’ve replaced the axehead, Jason Thompson’s adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft, what makes it valuable to me, if they market it properly, this famous dude named Jesse, an association copy!, this is a SPECIAL comic, The Pro by Garth Ennis, The Boys, my 30 year old car has every part replaced, two ships of Theseus, identity is a fictional concept or one that only applies with brains, 2 Os stuck together, ultimately any particular atom is not different than any other atom like it, the trial, the hearing, the (Trump) impeachment, yeah don’t care, from a poor person’s point of view, done to a poor person, exploring the same ideas, getting his sex jollies from everybody he meets, lets emigrate to the Moon, The Wizard Of Oz, this feels strange and skeevy, what the fuck man?, the Tin Woodsman (Nick Chopper), he eventually chops his own head off, eventually in the Oz series all of the cutoff armed and legs are rejoined into a golem, the better claim, what make a person a person a character, the cloning stuff, there isn’t really a good cloning novel, the idea of dealing with this concept and ultimately bullshit, Moby-Dick, an onion with no center, as you grow in life, greener or browner, all a mistake, an action adventure contest, put the key in the slot before the bomb blows up, if you met twins, Nine Lives by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Future Is Female, her second story is public domain, all these clones are having sex with each other, totally unequal power dynamics, how Joe was raised, his mom is a wino, Joe’s illiterate, his more artistic end of himself, not good at shopping, he’s the worst Heinlein when it comes to selling his books, Soylent Green (1973), its perfectly legal, Saul and Charleston Heston are in a gay love story, super-powerful, how could I know, a wonderful scene, a great book and also a terrible book that nobody should read, I remember regretting reading it, he had peritonitis while writing this, why this book is badly edited, why do you have these endless scenes of dialogue of going on forever?, the whole Moon thing, they’re all connected, a few hundred people there, frontier hypothesis, very Philip K. Dick, this tired old earth, that’s Elon Musk, yo, 1% are gonna move to Mars and leave us in our abandoned areas, a pipe dream, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, invite Elon Musk, I got lots of podcasts I want to listen to, Red Mars justifies its bulk, a few meetings in there, Jesse is not a fan of meetings, Mars was big in the 90s, Red Planet, a three month sabbatical from Heinlein, I wanna assassinate this Johann smith, the corruption, the billionaire class, Jeffrey Epstein, Joe was adopted by a painter who used him as a sex slave, no pants Smith, I might be a bitch but I’m not a cunt, I’m not a slut I’m a tart there’s a difference, the iteration, tarts give it away, he’s exploring, this sounds real bad, have you thought about the power dynamics here?, sounds like real bad fucking shit, this is not cool, we’re all consenting adults here, a very rich old dude gathering up congresspeople and senators and supreme court justice, this is not an equal relationship, literally pure evil, so selfish, I wanna be those people, you should be stripped of your powers, what you’re doing is monstrous, driving through in your armored cars, its NOT OK BOOMER, a powerful ideas man, Jesse benefited from it the first time, now I am an Ayn Randian, the last issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, you couldn’t pay me to read Ayn Rand, understand this dangerous concept, take in Heinlein’s idiocy, this astounding piece of exploration you’re going to get on this subject, I don’t wanna ever see a desk again, where Heinlein spent his time, it doesn’t ever say where it was, California?, no go zones, a compound for rich shoppers to visit, the speakeasy, the number of times he complains about chairs, how the chairs are very uncomfortable, 1980s baroque, Chinese screen, Chinese obligation, now I’m stuck in this chair, Heinlein’s office, a perfect unobtrusive secretary, panty ruffle, very buxom secretaries, the original Total Recall, they changed the title, the chair and the pain, the word cloud, OLD is the biggest one, SEX, LIPS, CAT, a book without a cat, giving away cats, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, an old man on a space station, he’s also James Bond, how similar Heinlein is to Philip K. Dick, self confessional, its all about fertility as usual, Heinlein’s sterile, the estate is a trust, meeting with lawyers and doctors, that striving for immortality in ANY way, the kid from Mars, a son who died in some stupid war, it doesn’t matter Paul, I know who it is, these granddaughters aren’t biologically his, clones himself in multiple ways, his own mother and father, all very deeply psychological, why this guy is interesting to read, it isn’t generic shit, the expressing of unspeakable irrational striving, his DNA wrote this book, whaddya want that sounds terrible, he’s exhausting, I’m glad he’s dead, am I wrong?, The Three Musketeers, Paul’s weird head-canon, Heart And Souls (1993), Luke Burrage’s head cannon, did he strip the kid of the money?, the major takeaway, money’s going to the Moon, the Moon is the baby, the Moon and the Moon landings are his baby, Destination Moon (1950), we can do this shit, he really was the leading exponent of this idea of SPACE PROGRAM, The Return Of William Proxmire by Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, was he sterile because of all the STDs? the swinging for other ways?, super-super-important for him, maybe if I was my wife, kinda weird, not entertaining, you really should, we’re really fucking selfish and crazy, read it at double speed, Evan recommends this book, if youre interested in ideas this has them, sit on my lap, I will only marry you if you only, don’t make me be this intimate with you, I’m glad I’ve read it I’m glad I’m finished reading it.
Posted by Jesse Willis