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

Podcast

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

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

The Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan

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The SFFaudio Podcast #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

Army Men

100pc Toy Soldier Set With Footlocker

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Reading, Short And Deep #298 – From The Tomb by Guy de Maupassant

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #298

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss From The Tomb by Guy de Maupassant

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

From The Tomb was first published in Le Gaulois, July 14, 1884

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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Reading, Short And Deep #269 – The Diary Of A Madman by Guy de Maupassant

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #269

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Diary Of A Madman by Guy de Maupassant

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Diary Of A Madman was first published in French as “Un Fou” in Le Gaulois on September 2, 1885.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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Reading, Short And Deep #215 – The Mystery by Guy de Maupassant

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #215

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Mystery by Guy de Maupassant

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Mystery aka The Hand aka The Englishman was first published as La Main in the Sunday, December 23, 1883 issue of Le Galois.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #196 – Dressing-Up by W.R. Burnett

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #196

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Dressing-Up by W.R. Burnett

Dressing-Up was first published in Harper’s, November 1929.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson