The SFFaudio Podcast #562 – READALONG: The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #562 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Terence Blake, and Will Emmons talk about The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Talked about on today’s show:
1957, his first novel, LibriVox.org, Mark Douglas Nelson, Will has reviewed it on Goodreads, the universe is incredibly small (only for people who read books), there are 700 of us on the planet, the intense bookish community, shells, fewer mediums of entertainment, doing other things, more people are doing more sorts of things, as an avid lifelong reader, age vs. distracted, thank you for this podcast, on a scale, producing creative work, #notallkids, going through a consuming phase, use it later on, Stephen King, voraciously, writers in general, responsible for less, a low executive function period, at the grocery store or the news agent, the equivalent of television, designed to be read in a day, 1.7 times speed, deliberate choices, there are so many more ways of spending your free hours, video games, computer games, binging streaming, artificially inflated, newspapers, The Black Cat, some people on the internet disagree, the first Jack London story, the Edgar Allan Poe story, money for story tellers, $1,000 for a love story, writing up a storm, quit being a fish-policeman, one of the richest writers of all time, $31,000 today, a demand for writers, $7,000 a year, Cirsova Magazine, cents per words, my student’s story [sold for $6], Jesse help, Farmer read a lot of stuff, other people’s reviews, the people who don’t like it, how big and rich the world building is, a short and fluffy story, intense world-building, swashbuckling thing, obsessed with a number of topics, cultural differences, linguistics, etymology, how they relate, backstory and pre-history, Jesse’s review from 2006, created on a dare, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, Grover Gardner, a sea of grass on an endless plain, Douglas Niles, a genius man, enslaved and humbled, a lusty but fickle duchess, two demons, his adopted family wants to go with, vintage Poul Anderson, The High Crusade, reverse anticipation, the perfect length for SF, Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, addictively listenable, how good a narrator Mark is, he was going places, nothing good happened to him, the elephant in the room, misogyny, Alan Green’s wife, Amra = Conan, Queen Of The Black Coast, a reversal, if Alan became Alanah, obsessed with sex, different from Heinlein, cool vs. leery, you don’t want to be his cousin is really attractive, a royal gigolo, nothing titillating, unwashed and covered in perfume, the problems of same (in Nepal), Kathmandu showers are bliss, paired with a rando wife, sexy nagging, a strong personality, as the token woman, the whole henpecking thing, with such fun, holding a grudge, the whole henpecked husband act, he’s not a good person, he’s going to abandon his family, he’s not a good person (to start with), he has to be henpecked into it?, a trope in Farmer’s novels, more suspicious, a recurring figure of a nagging wife, a powerful female figure who is basically selfish and evil, Farmer fandom, fans who knew Phil and knew his wife Betty, Phil’s resentment of having to work, something uncomfortable about it, the morally upstanding figure, trying to reform him, she’s going to rule the Grass Sea when he’s gone, almost a reversal, how many children does Conan has?, Conan is a playa, very nubile, its his name or both, Homer (obviously), funny scenes, Odysseus is trapped on an island with a goddess who wont let him go, Calypso, trap the man, the Our Opinions Are Correct podcast, the myth of rugged individualist in science fiction, Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western, Sanjuro and Yojimbo, the Heinleinian competent, examples, Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick, no goddess of wisdom to give him advice, your Phil my Phil, 5 wives and extra girlfriends, authors projecting their own reality into their writing, Brent is a braggart, turns him into an animal, engaging with the idea of individualism, it takes a village to get off a planet, every male fantasy, not only does he get to have sex with a duchess…, the dog hates him, we never see Conan in his own home, wandering the world and conquering it, that whole aesthetic, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, it’s a planetary romance (not a science fiction novel), a hard SF explanation, Paul’s geology brain, that’s brilliant!, it’s like Atlanta (it’s a hub), loved revelations, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Farmer’s “World of Tiers” books, Jack Vance’s Planet Of Adventure, getting ready for book 2, he put so much into the world, there’s a book here that didn’t get written, so many questions left unanswered is a feature, Star Wars is meatgrinding, milking the cow dry, prequels are a bad thing, sequels are a bad thing, Young Indiana Jones, She And Allan is a prequel, the 1980 Flash Gordon Cartoon, the plot of She on Mongo, Rocket Robin Hood, Indiana, a grass sea from Ohio to Nebraska, rolling ships, a fantasy world, a regular sea, the tower of the grass cats, the housecat is named Lady Luck, autobiographical, Philip K. Dick’s cats, this sort of writer, a strange reality, the thing that makes you enjoy it so much, Burroughs fanzines, 1912, the most interesting pulp you’ll ever see, John Carter is a really good movie, you’d be foolish NOT to do it as a show, endless stuff to work with, Carter Of Venus, he’s built up a whole world, the TV and the games, take our time, playing music, games and games and games, massive decline (of movies in theaters), the percentage of the population, there’s too many books to read, that shame is hard to get over, the culture that some readers have, we’re the elite because we read books, the elite class buy books but not to read, the nouveau riche, like a super-genius like those of old, they think gibbon is a monkey, coming to France was good because there’s less production, reading philosophy in French, science fiction in English, little domains, a supplementary force is needed to make you read today (podcasts and blogs), I didn’t want to ever reuse a metaphor, a food metaphor, a tasty novel, what a hack (and he’s not even being paid), how much would you need to be paid to write a review on Audible?, people want to be read, a terrible financial situation, how you ruin a good blog, not caring about its legacy, let’s dump all pretense because we can ride on our reputation, pump and dump, the ‘audiobooks aren’t reading’ snobs, I wonder if anybody’s ever thought this before?, did you ever consider that blind people are not able to read with their eyes, they read with their fucking fingers you idiot, you read with your brain, the demand for people to read your stuff, people who write books want to be writers, wow!, he didn’t bother, it has some sort of timeless value, only read from the golden era, Jason Sanford, a list, Ted Chiang, a category error for all of story telling, you can’t understand the present storytelling without understand the earlier storytelling, A Princess Of Mars, a genre conversation, a straw man, a certain couple of science fiction authors, the whole puppies and the neo-pulp, attention vs. cogent argument, fifty years out of date, wider and more diverse than just the pulp of the 40s and 50s, obsessed with the idea of the public domain, dream about Neil Gaiman, I’ve read several books from this century, so many books from 1920 Jesse hasn’t read, we wont know what’s good from 2020, Paul’s job is to help future Jesses, we thank you for your service, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, “your life sucks, man”, Mike Nowak, Hi Mike!, is Mike reading modern stuff?, he likes the golden age stuff, the New Wave, bridges, an anti-John Carter, playing against the tropes, kinda jagged, Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, I think he just ate the dog, the ending, Virgil’s The Aeneid, all the surviving Trojans, Dido is in Carthage, the final stanzas, a broken truce, Aeneas’ savage nature, the brutal master mentality of the Romans is from this, the meter’s not right, because its so horrible, the core epic of the Romans, essential to understanding the Romans, René Girard, we turn their vice into our virtue, Jesus as a prince of peace, I’m all about the peace hippie stuff, because of the previous story, you’d be well advised to have read A Princess Of Mars, superpowers (healing ability), John Carter doesn’t know how old he is, the Wold-Newton theory, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phœnician by Edwin Lester Arnold, Gulliver Of Mars, but he did it better, my dreck is better, “Good afternoon.”, a room full of tharks, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, Maissa has blocked City Of Endless Night by Milo Hasting, people can listen to that podcast…, a bunch of other stuff, marooned on a gravitational island, Disney+, a traditional hero, an analogy with the plains Indians, Schiaparelli, the freighter had unaccountably blown up, mens rea vs. in media res, he’s been there two years, there’s lots of stuff, he took Penelope with him, you really need to read the Odyssey, and the Iliad, and the Aeneid, readers have a responsibility to read wisely, its so good, its Shakespeare with a sense of humour way out in the open, Star Trek II re-imagined trailer, Genesis by God, they needed more lens flare, diminishing the original by existing, rich with a great ending, Hamlet in the original Klingon, The Wind Whales of Ishmael, The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg, a retelling, an interstitial novel, we need more Farmer audiobooks, Dark Is The Sun, the houseboat on the River Styx to nowhere, box office, sloosh, many times over post-apocalyptic landscape, quirky and fun but forgettable, Marissa, powerful and interesting, that’s weird, researching what I should read, connecting with what you want at that time, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn, who is this Hitchcock guy?, choose your own adventure books, You Are a Shark (Choose Your Own Adventure, #45), maybe this has something to do with it, Watchmen, Alan Moore, the HBO show, recreating that exact scene, the symmetry thing, circles, Nite Owl’s Owlmobile, read the fuck out of everything, why V For Vendetta works so well, 1984 + Guy Fawkes + Superheroes + individual responsibilities, a lesser Philip Jose Farmer imitator, hard work, does he deserve all that hard work, the origin of Tar Baby in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Evan listened to Jerusalem twice, you can choose to get married or you can read Alan Moore’s Jerusalem, they’re miners, he didn’t go far enough, Mark Twain, critique of religion, I love you anyway, I’ll go to hell but I better do it anyway, obsession with Conan Doyle, Jesse’s brief understanding of Conan Doyle mania, a really fun and entertaining book, he doesn’t go far enough, Alan Moore + Philip K. Dick mashed together, A.E. van Vogt, The Odyssey + his own life + WWII, what is really important here?, Northumbria? [Northampton], thinks and thinks, the roots of these characters, look at the realpolitik, this superpower available, what would the government actually do?, we all know its bullshit, a fantasyworld, Batman is the government, fundamentally not connected, the X-Men, the relationship between the government’s relationship and the people’s relationship, Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants, Garth Ennis, these days?, researching the fiction vs. researching the reality, Allan Quatermain, H. Rider Haggard, fart jokes for the rich people and high poetry for the poor, too deep for Terence, too many philosophical implications, appendix replaced with a parasite, inspirational for Larry Niven’s Ringworld?, and Protector too, this whole unexplored mythology, civilization and seeding, pre-history, spiritual sequels, The Ringworld Engineers, H. Beam Piper’s Ominlingual, Little Fuzzy, Kelvin Of Otherwhen, Space Viking, a complement, foist, a cult classic, what happened to Seth?, a furry fandom book, Project Gutenberg, a lens through which, what we mean by the word sapience, right minded human benevolence, a philosophical examination on the subject of sapience, transparent plainspoken prose, John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, reboot old obscure books.

The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #409 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan

Podcast

The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #409 – The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, read by Mr Jim Moon. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Paul)

Talked about on today’s show:
1910, obsession, kinda gross, fundamentally based on racism, Jewishness, troublesome, H.P. Lovecraft, a racist filter, horror as fear of the other, the same intellectual climate, racial theory, a sensitivity alarm bell, scare not offend, on the cusp, an off note, Sax Rohmer, yellow peril, Fu Manchu is the hero, the Escape audio drama adaptation, Harlan Ellison, Red Hook territory, uncomfortably of its time, its about race, his friend’s changing disposition, the Saxon Mother vs. the “strong wine of the east”, that logic is still in force, 1/64th Cherokee, if this was set in the highlands…, natural peace, a benevolent supernatural force, white hat vs. black hat, the theme of colonialism vs. race and heredity, imperialism, two-fisted adventure vs. poetry and philosophy and pathos, the landscape, the skyline, the love that Lawson has is reflected by Buchan himself

At midday it cleared, and the afternoon was a pageant of pure colour. The wind sank to a low breeze; the sun lit the infinite green spaces, and kindled the wet forest to a jewelled coronal. Lawson gaspingly admired it all, as he cantered bareheaded up a bracken-clad slope. ‘God’s country,’ he said twenty times. ‘I’ve found it.’ Take a piece of Sussex downland; put a stream in every hollow and a patch of wood; and at the edge, where the cliffs at home would fall to the sea, put a cloak of forest muffling the scarp and dropping thousands of feet to the blue plains. Take the diamond air of the Gornergrat, and the riot of colour which you get by a West Highland lochside in late September. Put flowers everywhere, the things we grow in hothouses, geraniums like sun-shades and arums like trumpets. That will give you a notion of the countryside we were in. I began to see that after all it was out of the common.

beautiful writing, the sensual description of Lawson,

Being a fair man, he was gloriously tanned, and there was a clear line at his shirt-collar to mark the limits of his sunburn. I had first known him years ago, when he was a broker’s clerk working on half-commission. Then he had gone to South Africa, and soon I heard he was a partner in a mining house which was doing wonders with some gold areas in the North. The next step was his return to London as the new millionaire — young, good-looking, wholesome in mind and body, and much sought after by the mothers of marriageable girls. We played polo together, and hunted a little in the season, but there were signs that he did not propose to become a conventional English gentleman. He refused to buy a place in the country, though half the Homes of England were at his disposal. He was a very busy man, he declared, and had not time to be a squire.

a bromance at the least, homoeroticism, nudity or flannels, naked on the veldt, the gorgeousness of the writing, T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, a miniseries on Cecil Rhodes, the empire builder, Rhodesia, like Rhodes Lawson made his money in mining, Buchan knew Rhodes, a giant country estate, Buchan is the name of the unnamed narrator in the audio drama adaptation, biographies, First World War Hidden History blog,, at the center of spying and propaganda, Lord Tweedsmuir, use in a role playing game, Kim Philby, the old boy network, the revolving door policy, no longer conspiracy, no longer tin-foil hat territory, rewarded with the Governorship of Canada, nobility by appointment, “gone to the wall”, with the riff-raff and the hoi-poloi, “gone to seed”, a pun, the fertile and lush garden, the flower of his youth, a railroad from South Africa to Egypt, nursemaided by Rhodes, illness,

Then we went to work to cut down the trees. The slim stems were an easy task to a good woodman, and one after another they toppled to the ground. And meantime, as I watched, I became conscious of a strange emotion.

It was as if some one were pleading with me. A gentle voice, not threatening, but pleading — something too fine for the sensual ear, but touching inner chords of the spirit. So tenuous it was and distant that I could think of no personality behind it. Rather it was the viewless, bodiless grace of this delectable vale, some old exquisite divinity of the groves. There was the heart of all sorrow in it, and the soul of all loveliness. It seemed a woman’s voice, some lost lady who had brought nothing but goodness unrepaid to the world. And what the voice told me was, that I was destroying her last shelter.

That was the pathos of it — the voice was homeless. As the axes flashed in the sunlight and the wood grew thin, that gentle spirit was pleading with me for mercy and a brief respite. It seemed to be telling of a world for centuries grown coarse and pitiless, of long sad wanderings, of hardly-won shelter, and a peace which was the little all she sought from men. There was nothing terrible in it. No thought of wrongdoing. The spell, which to Semitic blood held the mystery of evil, was to me, of a different race, only delicate and rare and beautiful.

poor spirit, parallel to an extinction, running away from the destruction of man, reading the story from Lawson’s point of view, what is he doing there?, an alabaster moon, blood sacrifice, depleting life force, a lonely deity, The Call Of Cthulhu role playing game, a temple ruin, an abandoned mine, a tiki-fetish, some ancient horrible power, maybe we’ve done wrong here,

And then my heartache returned, and I knew that I had driven something lovely and adorable from its last refuge on earth.

the last doorway, the model for this tower, the Great Zimbabwe, where could I read up on that?, a country house with a mock temple: “the folly“, druid orders, cheese rolling, a week later, keeping a secret, dropsy or yellow fever, the revenge of the land, disease, looking down on the tropics, three years, scarfe, natural beauty, that library, the moon of alabaster, the bird statuettes, turtle doves, green doves, auk-like bird carvings, everything is going extinct, the sin at the story’s end, the two-fisted action, shotguns make short work, the birds on the pyre, salting the earth, the Punic wars, improve on Josiah, dynamiting a priceless ancient temple, a “land without history”, purpose of visit: colonialism, sad but true, ancient ruins of Africa, ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, the character names all end in “son”: Lawson, Isaacson, Jobson (the factor), the Hudson’s Bay Company, the East India Company, wagons, more money than the Queen, Ming pots, a night watchman, the natives won’t go to the temple, local folk, indemnification, Adamson, half-English, Biblical naming, The Skids, Richard Jobson, Travers, Lowson, H.P. Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror In Literature, building or rebuilding an ancestral home, The Moon Bog, The Rats In The Walls, they have the exact same structure, illness, lifted up into the sky, Ashtaroth the Moon goddess, Captain Norris, Magna Mater, Exham Priory, “what on Earth is going on here man?”, Out Of The Earth by Christine Campbell Thomson (aka Flavia Richardson), standing stones, mummy fiction, atavism, reverting to ancestral type, seeing things backwards, the industries that allow you to work, an inversion, an environmental horror story, silver bark, a beautiful image, Ishtar -> Ashtaroth, male and female spelling, an interest in weird fiction, one of the big names, scant detail, The Golden Bough, To The Devil A Daughter (1976), Astarte, a punny title, if this is a true story…, the covenant, the “Call of Ashtaroth”, the blood ritual, body horror, a psychic impasse, a taste, is there more than one force at work?, Of Withered Apples by Philip K. Dick, an apple tree, a bad farm, eating a withered apple is a bad move, the call of nature, it wants you, its using you, the last portal through, not of this Earth, a moonbeam, She by H. Rider Haggard, elegiac and wistful, a pleasure to read, layers and layers, old school weird fiction, layers of questioning and ambiguity, homages and reinterpretations, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, no clear lines, ambiguity comes to the fore, vs. early 20th century polemic, it would be an amazing comic book, visually stunning, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the albatross of The Thirty-Nine Steps, literary highways and byways, The Moon Endureth, Christopher Hitchens essays,

“In a remarkable short story, ‘The Grove of Ashtaroth,’ the hero finds himself obliged to destroy the gorgeous little temple of a sensual cult, because he believes that by doing so he will salvage the health and sanity of a friend. But he simultaneously believes himself to be committing an unpardonable act of desecration, and the eerie voice that beseeches him to stay his hand is unmistakably feminine.”

-Christopher Hitchens (The Atlantic Monthly, March 2004)

The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan illustrated by Jesse

Astarte

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #376 – READALONG: Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #376 – Jesse, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada talk about Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne.

Talked about on today’s show:
title variations, they don’t go to the center of the Earth, Arne Saknussemm, Lit2Go, the Tim Curry narration, how did the paperwork get out of the Earth?, he was too specific, the knife, what happened to Arne Saknussemm?, barometer, manometer, dead servants, taciturn servants, would you like some bacon cooked on the lava (magma), overdosing on adaptations, comic adaptations, the 2008 Brendan Fraser version (3D movie), fluffy, the nephew-uncle dynamic, a page turner, adding a female expeditionary member, inspiration vs. adaptation, inspired by this book, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the same setup, irascible professors, going for a girl, a forerunner (a person who went before), Maplewhite vs. Saknussemm, dinosaurs, underground journey, subterranean, fun, huge science expositions, Around The World In Eighty Days, the Fantastic Voyages (or Journeys) series, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Five Weeks In A Balloon, Jules Verne wrote 66 novels!, one of the things he’s doing, visit every place in the world and characterize every nation, Germans and Icelanders and Danes, national personalities, everyone is a cartoon, “stereotype”, a crazy uncle, a light comedy, science vs. adventure, Verne takes us on tours, touring Copenhagen, vicarious travel, adventurous passion, not to poop all over this book, At The Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs, this book is missing a 12-foot giantess cave-girl girlfriend, standing on the ceiling of the basement, a vast hollow sphere, Pluto and Porcupine (the roman equivalent of Persephone), Jules Verne’s spelling of Edgar Allan Poe (he called him Edgard Allan Poe), referencing everything, The Sphinx In The Ice, Verne was Poe’s #1 fan, a beautiful tradition, The Green Girl by Jack Williamson, biological phases compared to geological phases, looking at the stars and the earth you’re looking backward in time, the science, the original french version of this book was in 1864, 10 years later the relationship with Germany is fundamentally different, the mechanistic world, 10 years made a hell of a difference, this is a very international book, the humor, I was in love with her, “you could say I adored her (if any such word exists in the German language)”, he’s right about us, Verne is very sly, just like the professor, languages, Verne’s dad tried to make him a lawyer, trying not to be provincial, Virgil and Homer and Shakespeare, “You monument to ignorance”, a zinger in every chapter, “great as it is that asylum is it is not big enough to contain all of Professor Lidenbrock’s madness”, you have no vision, “I care nothing about seeing magnificent spectacles”, a walking tour of Copenhagen, crawling up the stairs, Axel’s maturity (or lack thereof), the names, Henry vs. Axel, Lidenbrock vs. Hardwigg, the different translations [the Professor’s name is a pun], a secret history, the Saknussemm document becomes the Jules Verne novel in the 2008 movie, the 1959 movie makes the professor Scottish, translations and adaptations to make it more relevant for the audience, Gretchen -> Grauben -> Gretel, bad translations, learning about eiderdown and eiderdown hunters, stealing nest fluff, the science is pretty damn good, you can’t have an adventure to the center of the Earth if the Earth’s center is hot, EVIDENCE!, “everyone is laughing at me, here’s a pterodactyl”, “science is composed of errors, but errors that are right to make”, the ball-lightning, St. Elmo’s fire, the compass problems, almost realistic, Stromboli was Tolkien’s model for Mount Doom, we will not tell them how we actually got here, they said they were shipwrecked (and it is kind of true), dense with humour, history, architecture, an enduring classic, Hans was the opposite of the uncle, characters exchanging personalities, a process of maturation, an inveterate coward and then he craters, the seeds of what he will become, Axel will become like his uncles when he grows older, Verne shows a character’s worst and best sides, a giant fur covered creature pounding his chest -> it’s King Kong!, 16 foot giant bones discovered, a skull the size of a Volkswagen, a moral panic, a real newspaper article, Jesse does an Icelandic accent, The Odyssey, like Professor Challenger, The Poison Belt, aliens, Hans has to get paid every Sunday, Icelandic life is hard, Icelanders are Eskimos without the benefits of being Eskimos, Master, Verne’s racism is a sympathetic racism, Conan Doyle’s internationalism is very different, Burroughs’s characterization, what Verne is doing is cool, I’m not usually the persons who says: “You know what this needs? More romance”, mineralogists, all good characterization, Conan Doyle’s cute cynicism, Burroughs’s hero characters find girls and have them lay some eggs, H. Rider Haggard’s lost worlds were in Africa, adventure types, She!, The People Of The Mist, a White Goddess among the Zulu people, this is sort of Vernianian: science, history, literature and reveling in that knowledge, The Mysterious Island, a parody meme -> Mysterious Island, Nellie Bly, pretending to be insane to see what life in an asylum is like, Librivox, what it’s like to live in Mexico, back when newspapers paid reporters to investigate things, BBC, gravity in the center of the Earth would pull you in every direction, BBC Radio 4: In Our Time on the Earth’s core, biology is taught wrong, there names are what they do, telling rocks apart at a glance, smell, sound, taste, rocks can be tested it with your body, on the final exam in geology they give you a tray full of rocks, the ferrous iron taste of the water, Hans brock water, flood that whole compartment (luckily it was the size of the Earth), draining the Mediterranean, Verne is the second most translated author in the world, looking at it from our perspective today, Ben Hur, Lew Wallace, do your own abridging.

Scholastic - A Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne - cover art by Mort Kuntsler

A Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne - T618

Journey To The Center Of The Earth - adapted for BOYS' LIFE (1995)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth - illustrated by Jim Thiesen

Journey To The Center Of The Earth - illustrated by Journey To The Center Of The Earth - illustrated by Patrick Whelan

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #361 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #361 – Jesse, Bryan Alexander, Mr Jim Moon, and Paul Weimer talk about The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges

Talked about on today’s show:
the dream of Bryan Alexander, the nightmare that is Paul, 1940, 1962, almost a disaster, this story hit them like ton of bricks, Frankenstein, disturbing, a simple plot, leading you in circles, rising action, the horrible Freytag pyramid, creating a person out of dreams, a Joseph Campbell plot, learning Spanish, listen to the negatives, no one was unaware that the silent man, the unanimous night, it claustrophobic cloaks, the beginning of Moby Dick, in The Garden Of Forking Path, Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris, the circularity of the text, there is no “collected works” of Borges, Broges’ translations, the language of doppelgangers, the father and son angle, a mediation on parenthood, a god of fire, if Eric Rabkin were here, Prometheus, realizing you’re a dream, a trapped figure in endless circularity, parenting, once the colour of fire and now that of ashes, a grey man under unknown leaves, tributaries of sleep, weaving a rope of sand, coining the faceless wind, a folkloric reference, a Cornish legend, The Lottery Of Babylon, the company knows all, a ruin of a religion that somehow comes true, the most difficult task a man could undertake, an infinite amount of time for the hairs on the arm, not the god of the bible, food and figs, a dream god, a hilarious line from Celephais, I’m a prodigious dreamer, a dream man who dreams a dream man into existence, a dream written down, meta accusations in the post modern school, a hero to post-modern thinkers, The Babylonian Lottery, where the Zend language, characteristics of a society, too much leprosy, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, the moonness was going above the river, the beautiful language of a dream, Voltaire’s Zadig, a fake Babylon, the book of Zend, The Library Of Babel, real world Greek, this river, bamboo canoe, other burned temples, H. Rider Haggard, double negative, Xenophon’s Anabasis, 10,000 mercenaries, epic adventure, populated or unpopulated, in the aftermath of disaster, Detroit, Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings, yet another abandoned village, The Warriors (1979), an optimistic version of New York, being a vegetarian, Frankenstein’s creature is a vegan, he’s got to dream some meat into being, this is Abel not Cain, where the story really gets cooking, his body is a temple, dialectic dreams, clouds of taciturn students, interpolate him into the real world, a man lecturing the clouds, The Boy Who Disappeared Clouds by Lawrence Block, seeing images in the clouds, people are like clouds in dreams, a two sided coin, the dialectics, dissection theater, in the Gnostic cosmogonies, a red Adam who cannot stand, the world was created by the demi-urge, Valis by Philip K. Dick, addendum to the creation story, Lilith, the red mercury story (a geopolitical urban legend), alchemical texts, a locked Wikipedia entry, the cold fusion of terrorism, a golem, a man made out of clay but without a soul, Adam of dust, Adam of dreams, the wizard is the dreamer, again Frankenstein, why would it have been better?, Edgar Allan Poe’s William Wilson, H.P. Lovecraft’s Hypnos, doppelganger fiction, mirrors, Borges’ philosophy of Poe’s Composition, the literary equivalent of Escher, more like Lovecraft than Dick, aristocratic families, grandparents who were big into books, loved suits, loved their hometowns, Buenos Aires, a love of reading, wrote about writing, letter writers, connected with their readers, strange visionary figures, gregarious men, authors confused (conflated) with his own characters, complex truth and curious parallels, beauty, meaning and the belief in the power of story, how we make sense of the universe and how we interpret knowledge, both seeking to blow minds, Borges read Lovecraft, There Are More Things by Jorge Luis Borges is dedicated to Lovecraft, arguing with Lovecraft, cosmic is the word (not eldritch) or dream, The Call of Cthulhu, interpolate connects us to Dick as well, a bit of sense data, we don’t see just by having the world come into our eyes, we also project, the story is not complete, filling in the steps between fire and grey, Dick, Borges, and Lovecraft are working the world in a different way showing us their dreams, what would a Borgesian city in Kadath (the Dreamlands) look like?, Inception is a Borgesian story, far more concreteized, a heist, the grey man kissed the mud, the blades which were lacerating his flesh, the brambles delacerated his flesh, where did the blades come from?, what is certain, there’s something on the bank injuring him (or the blades are in him already), the crown of thorns, the temple was crowned, from out of the south, almost biblical, interesting, the plaything of forces far greater than he can comprehend, mental terror, the incessant trees, obligation, inconsolable shriek, the birdless morning, the phoenix, the tiger is man, Tyger Tyger, horses as a symbol of force, power, dynamism, and nobility, horse or tiger, domesticated vs. wild, super enigmatic yet we know exactly what happened, the creation of the heart, the moon, fourteen lucid nights, from lucidity to obscurity?, meticulous love, to rectify it with a glance, invoking the name of a planet, Mars?, Venus?, Mercury?, it could be the penis, much more meticulous from, the innumerable hair was the most difficult task, full moon?, starting the cycle again, the circularity of the ruins, re circularity, a disc vs. an amphitheater, the geography of the Library of Babel, a torus, the bottom of an amphitheater, it’s a magic spell, Lovecraft fandom, Cthulhu prayer breakfast, Borges was the darling of the literary set when he was alive, the New American Library edition, Borges is still a god of modern literature, intertextuality, Borges’ made up quotes and citations, Ibid by H.P. Lovecraft, a parody of 19th century scholarship, the adventures of a man’s skull, groundhogs worshiping a skull as a deity, the sense of humour, S.T. Joshi, a classic schoolboy error, BBC Radio documentary, humour in Borges, loops and whorls, sophisticated humour, blades vs. brambles, Poe the prankster, Herman Melville, extraordinary sentences, puckish and wry, apotheosis.

The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges - illustrated by Jesse

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #303 – READALONG: The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #303 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe

Talked about on today’s show:
1838, Poe’s only completed novel, Paul’s Poe years, The Tell-Tale Heart, a macabre sort of phase, Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny, fix-ups, Premature Burial, Ms. Found In A Bottle, The Oblong Box, The Gold Bug, secret codes, Poe is old and public domain and not particularly racist, The Pit And The Pendulum, the Poe theme, the death of a beautiful woman is conspicuous by her absence, the meta-commentary, Tristram Shandy, The Cask Of Amontillado, a dog named Tyger (burning bright?), William Blake, Jules Verne, An Antarctic Mystery, Ms. Found In A Copper Cylinder, Antarctica, “Ms. Found In A…”, “it was begun to have been serialized”, fake stories as true stories, Captain Cook’s Antarctic expeditions, “a labyrinth of lumber”, how to load a ship, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Washington Irving, SF as a generally American phenomenon, a slow creep of fantastic elements, full-blown surrealism, the drinking, on the Grampus, dressing like a ghost, another phantom in white, “Mr. Pym is not available”, a genuine narrative, missing islands, a metaphor for alcoholism, sailing in a storm, half-sunk/drunk, echoes, the plague ship, the Penguin, echoes, all these lies, a note from the Wikipedia entry, fictional analogues for real events, autobiographical drinking, The Lighthouse by Edgar Allan Poe (a fragment), “I expected to inherit some money”, money problems, “he’s pouring his troubles into this manuscript”, this is Poe’s version of Dude, Where’s My Car?, an unreliable narrator, an excellent story, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, albatrosses, thematic similarities, they eat many birds, “an unmentionable thought”, subsequent cannibalism, the same ghost ship as in Rime?, Antarctic spirits, H.P. Lovecraft, the subtitle:

Comprising the Details of Mutiny and Atrocious Butchery on Board the American Brig Grampus, on Her Way to the South Seas, in the Month of June, 1827. With an Account of the Recapture of the Vessel by the Survivers; Their Shipwreck and Subsequent Horrible Sufferings from Famine; Their Deliverance by Means of the British Schooner Jane Guy; the Brief Cruise of this Latter Vessel in the Atlantic Ocean; Her Capture, and the Massacre of Her Crew Among a Group of Islands in the Eighty-Fourth Parallel of Southern Latitude; Together with the Incredible Adventures and Discoveries Still Farther South to Which That Distressing Calamity Gave Rise.

who wrote the subtitle?, they didn’t have the concept of spoilers, the opposite of a spoiler, The Savage Land (Marvel Universe), Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Land That Time Forgot, a hollow earth theory, this is a Science Fiction book in a strange sense, what’s with the multi-layered coloured water?, the strange creatures, the creature’s corpse in the white waters, is Australia a place?, At The Mountains Of Madness, why Poe is not in outer space, basically these Antarctic people are aliens, this is very Stanley G. Weinbaum (A Martian Odyssey), Michael Moorcock’s Seas Of Fate, H. Rider Haggard, duplicitous natives in the black land, what will be in the white lands?, a heavily read book (in the 19th century), The House Of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, when Lovecraft describes it…, haunted by the architecture of homes, Lovecraft’s description of Pym:

“In the Narrative of A. Gordon Pym the voyagers reach first a strange south polar land of murderous savages where nothing is white and where vast rocky ravines have the form of titanic Egyptian letters spelling terrible primal arcana of earth; and thereafter a still more mysterious realm where everything is white, and where shrouded giants and snowy-plumed birds guard a cryptic cataract of mist which empties from immeasurable celestial heights into a torrid milky sea.”

pouring into the hollow Earth?, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, At The Earth’s Core, Kublah Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, leaving the ending open to the reader, how will he get back to Nantucket?, the names A. Gordon Pym and E. Allan Poe, framing devices, The Turn Of The Screw, a framing device gives the reader an extra distance, The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad, Robert Silverberg’s The Secret Sharer, the southern polar bear, “Tekeli-li, tekeli-li.” the face of an open book, downy feathers, what does it mean?, whiteness, philological scrutiny, “white-phobic”, the audiobook narration, copyright, a total Poe thing to do, Poe loved cryptography, Poe would be writing in Elvish, a font nerd, hanging out with Charles Stross and Alan Moore, can you imagine Poe at a Worldcon?, a drunkard’s story, shoplifting at The Innsmouth Bookshop, Fungi From Yuggoth XV: Antarktos:

Deep in my dream the great bird whispered queerly
Of the black cone amid the polar waste;
Pushing above the ice-sheet lone and drearly,
By storm-crazed aeons battered and defaced.
Hither no living earth-shapes take their courses,
And only pale auroras and faint suns
Glow on that pitted rock, whose primal sources
Are guessed at dimly by the Elder Ones.

If men should glimpse it, they would merely wonder
What tricky mound of Nature’s build they spied;
But the bird told of vaster parts, that under
The mile-deep ice-shroud crouch and brood and bide.
God help the dreamer whose mad visions shew
Those dead eyes set in crystal gulfs below!

the black cone, the primal sources, Lovecraft quoting himself, that shrouded white figure, “Tekeli-li don’t kill the albatross”, Lemuria, Thule, the novel as a journey, how do you return from the surreal?, what happened to Tyger?, they ate him!, Dirk Peters (so manly he has two penises), Tyger’s collar, someone was going to drown the dog, poor Tyger, a horrendously awful horrifying experience, when Paul Theroux visited Jorge Luis Borges he read him The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket, Borges thought Pym was Poe’s greatest work, the interest in the meta, strange runes, Lovecraft was a teetotaler, deep into madness (not drunken madness), genetic disease or confronting reality, The Call of Cthulhu, dreams, a fever dream?, forgetting, a change in tenses, the missing two or three final chapters, Xeno’s paradox, a Mercator map, and Greenland, is that all racism?, “a nautical negro”, Toni Morrison, the black cook, don’t go into a tiny box-canyon with natives of any colour, scrupulously honest, earlier bushwhacked voyagers, going piratical?, going whaling?, the mutiny, Mr. Starbuck, why is Pym stowing away in the first place?, the captain that ran them down was drunk, boating skills, Treasure Island, Augustus’ father, the inexplicable weevils, “taking liberally from the spirits”, this narrative is full of holes, a free sea voyage, Pym is a teenager, everybody has a boat on Nantucket, an adventure of a lifetime, Pym is “not available”, Jeremiah N. Reynolds, Poe’s last word was “Reynolds”, a possibly apocryphal story, Mocha Dick, the long conversation of conversation of Science Fiction, Moby Dick is in dialogue with Pym and Mocha Dick, bibliographic archaeology, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, in a dinghy, considering cannibalism, drawing straws, “and dropped like stones”, did their bones dropped likes stones?, the narrator becomes more and more unreliable, dis-masted, a teetotaler who drinks only coffee.

The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket - subtitle

The Narrative Of A. Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe - 1902 illustration by Frederick Simpson Coburn

The Narrative Of A. Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe - 1902 illustration by Frederick Simpson Coburn

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #274 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family
The SFFaudio PodcastEldritch Tales by H.P. LovecraftThe SFFaudio Podcast #274 – Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Gildart Jackson (this audiobook comes to us courtesy of Blackstone Audio’s Eldritch Tales). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (28 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Samantha Wikan

Talked about on today’s show:
The story was also published as Arthur Jermyn and The White Ape, Weird Tales, 1921, The Wolverine, the 1980s, “that’s not a big deal”, “our more enlightened times”, Lovecraft’s letter to Weird Tales, Rhodesia, “the Dark Continent”, “our brothers and sister in the jungle”, racism, Allan Quatermain, telegraphing the twist, is Lovecraft making a joke?, a more horrific reading, no Elder Gods, no Dreamlands, atavism and degeneration, great grandmother was a gorilla, miscegenation, bestiality, Dagon, Shadow Over Innsmouth, atavism, losing sanity points, Sir Wade Jermyn (African explorer with a “Portuguese wife” -> Philip Jermyn (a very agile sailor) -> Robert Jermyn (an anthropologist) -> Nevil Jermyn (runs off with a dancer) – > Alfred Jermyn (joins the circus) -> Arthur Jermyn (the poet scholar), Lovecraft became despondent when his family had to leave their home, Lovecraft’s mom said he was “exceedingly ugly”, Lovecraft’s father (died in an asylum), a tainted heritage, fear of degeneration, the ape goddess, diluting the noble bloodline, Arthur was the most unattractive one that was allowed out of the bedroom, Nevil’s siblings, a music hall singer of “unknown origin”, a lack of respect for the lower classes, below or above one’s station, a common sailor, the gamekeeper’s daughter, Winesburg, Ohio, Ray Bradbury’s inspiration for The Martian Chronicles, who is telling this story?, “demoniacal hints”, oppressive science, a future echo to Pickman’s Model, squamous eldritch adjectives, a gentleman in a club, “the gorilla boxing match death”, a smoking jacket holding court, clubman tales, Lord Dunsany, Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales Of The White Hart, Isaac Asimov’s The Black Widowers Club, Supernatural (1977 BBC TV series), “the club of the damned”, blood freezingly funny, “really ugly or unconventionally beautiful”, Arthur’s life story is quite sad, we really empathize with Arthur Jermyn, Victorian society, aren’t we all Arthur?, a lot of people probably don’t like the idea we are related to apes, maybe we should reject it even though its true, Douglas Adams “Earthmen are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them around to dinner”, digital watches, the ape city, hybrids, what of the other side?, S.T. Joshi’s reading, “that last clause is critical”, the white apes as the missing link, “the entire white race”, the only explanation, miscegenation assumes certain things, eugenics, “he married that ape”, “he made an honest ape of her”, the illustration from Weird Tales, how pretty was she?, the community’s contempt, judgements from a group of racist assholes, “that being said I’d rather be a poet than a sailor”, the butler, the servants, the black nanny, “the aged Soames”, the 1993 comic book adaptation by Stephen Phillip Jones, the visitor named “Seaton”, the only one who survives is Alfred, the adaptation goes off on this weird tangent -> The Terror Of Blue John Gap (first published in 1910), Samuel Seaton is in both stories (The Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family and The Terror Of Blue John Gap, She by H. Rider Haggard, a more realistic version of that story, Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the lost city of Opar (a lost colony of Atlantis), the John Carter books, this story is underrated, the humour and the pathos, not going into purple overdrive, the Jorkens tales, dry British wit, take off the Cthulhu blinkers, Jesse would like Mr Jim Moon to read aloud The Terror Of The Blue John Gap, Blue John (the mineral), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “obviously its insane”, Heart Of Darkness , Henry Morton Stanley, Dr. Livingston, Penny Dreadful is a mash-up of late 19th century horror fiction, Timothy Dalton plays a kind of Allan Quatermain kind of character, Mina Harker, demon possession, “raping their way across Africa”, the Grand Tour, “sending sons to the colonies for hunting, drinking, and whoring”, Sir Wade is the White God, the Congolese natives’ stories are all true, what’s in the box?, two statues?, a subterranean ocean, a fish man?, “I’m your great grandfather boy”, the Spawn of Cthulhu, “Deep Ones can mate with any species”, when we read Lovecraft we do a disservice to force connections to the Cthulhu Mythos, presenting it as a theory, “the locket!”, “what’s in the locket?”, the locket was empty, they threw the locket in a well, interpretations, stopping the spread vs. just being horrified, putting them over the percentage, “they had to make it not be”, having an ancestor delivered to your door, “Sir Wade collected things one wouldn’t ordinarily collect”, what did he bring back?, tending away from the Cthulhu Mythos, Cthulhu plushie, Lovecraft would never have said: “Sanity points?! Great idea!”, The Hound by H.P. Lovecraft (and it’s black museum), Lovecraft used the Necronomicon as “a backdrop and a reference and a flavour”, appreciating the stories as stories, it’s touching!

The White Ape - illustration by William F. Heitman

The Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft - art by Wayne Reid

The Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft (1993 Caliber Comics) art by Wayne Reid

Posted by Jesse Willis