The SFFaudio Podcast #581 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #581 – The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Mr Jim Moon

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1929, The Silver Key, a cameo by a bearded Gnorri, a cameo appearance, with The Silver Key on the mind, a whole theory, symmetry, flying vehicle, each of the wings represents an aspect of human existence, left on the dreaming room floor, Jesse had not read it, some theories from the conscious world, dream theories, a chronology, up for debate, 1919, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Dream-Quest Of Randolph Carter, cyclical element, a time loop, a time travel story, changes his life for the better, a better life, go with it, carter on the second loop, E. Hoffmann Price’s suggested sequel, living concurrently, a sequel, violently disliked by readers, which story was the most popular, no mention, willing to think it was a bad story, the HPLHs podcast episode, Kenneth Hite, a lot like a lot of other Lovecraft stories, The Tomb, outright references, the Great Cypress Swamp, who is the narrator of this story?, now it is agreed, the narrator is a friend of his, another dreamer, I shall ask him when I see him, a certain dream city, there are twists of time and space, the narrator himself is a dreamer, a mysterious Indian swami, a conclave of interested parties, an elderly eccentric of Rhode Island, Ward Phillips, still alive in another dimension, reigned as king, living a dream while you’re reading it, a personal crisis story, super sad, he’s become disenchanted with reality, disenchanted with his dreamworld, he’s philosophizing in fiction, the idea of a man whose pretending to act like he fits into a society, trapped in the is role, well meaning philosophers, I had this amazing dream, let’s get some Freud going here, maybe they know what theyre talking about, stamping out his imagination, he puts away his childish things, don’t be silly, a cultural shift to modernism, Clark Ashton Smith, fashions abruptly changed in the 1920s, esoteric and opulent prose, a brutalist style, poems about the automobile, we don’t have time for fairy glades and flights of fancy, early cubism, we need a tonne of grey and it ought’nt look like anything, a man out of time, after WWI, devoted to science, the over-extension of science to snuff out imagination, even knowing science takes away the beauty of it, science vs. fantasy, in stark contrast, two sides to Lovecraft, the dreamquest stuff and deep time and space, they’re doing so correctly, we’re fooling ourselves, the grinding of the wheel (grinds slow but fine), the depths of space and the depths of time, the womb-like dreamlike childhood innocence, reading his poetry, trying to reconcile the two, is Leslie S. Klinger going to do a third book?, where did this all come from?, its beautiful, a weird connection between the softness of the moss and the harsh reality of the gears, novels of the normal of the mainstream, well received by the empty herd?, a mimicing of the mimetic fiction, burning his manuscripts, his relationship with Weird Tales, Farnsworth Wright, give us your favourties, the more controversial shit you put into a show the more comments you get, disliked or not understood?, take your frogmen, Wright had a chip on his shoulder, The Loved Dead, Julia Morgan recorded one, the drawings Clark Ashton Smith did, a lot more sex in his stories…, The Evil Dead (1981), a guy on twitter (Bobby Derie), a disdain for the flesh, Case from Neuromancer, meat that gets you into cyberspace, playing PUBG, how funny Lovecraft is, Reading, Short And Deep, The Dream, Maurice Winter Moe, masturbation scenes, Unda; Or The Bride Of The Sea, if you go to YouTube, Jonathan Swift, very mocking poems, she gets out the chamber pot, smells and sounds, Strephon And Chloe, such cleanliness from brow to heel, no noisome whiffs, to make maid’s water, what poetic strains, he’s got stuff, remember that Swift is a minister, Hymen, Strephon had long perplexed his brains, to keep them sweet, the narrator intruding, the nymphs may smell it, can such a deity endure, lighting shot from Chloe’s eyes, forbid your daughters guzzling beer, in evil plight, what causes wind, think what evils must ensue, carminative and diuretic, fortune still assist the bold, even lambs fly the butcher, incredibly raunchy, a 1731 wedding toast, Strephon and Celia, The Lady’s Dressing Room, the kind of humour Lovecraft appreciates, not nice but funny, turning his own mockery on himself, how shallow, those pompous ideas, far less worthy of respect, some deep dark sad stuff, hitting us right where we live, in this way he became a kind of humorous, holy shit, in the first days of his bondage, the gentle churchly faith, only on closer view, the owlish gravity of sordid truth,

In the first days of his bondage he had turned to the gentle churchly faith endeared to him by the naive trust of his fathers, for thence stretched mystic avenues which seemed to promise escape from life. Only on closer view did he mark the starved fancy and beauty, the stale and prosy triteness, and the owlish gravity and grotesque claims of solid truth which reigned boresomely and overwhelmingly among most of its professors; or feel to the full the awkwardness with which it sought to keep alive as literal fact the outgrown fears and guesses of a primal race confronting the unknown. It wearied Carter to see how solemnly people tried to make earthly reality out of old myths which every step of their boasted science confuted, and this misplaced seriousness killed the attachment he might have kept for the ancient creeds had they been content to offer the sonorous rites and emotional outlets in their true guise of ethereal fantasy.

making me very sad, Celephaïs, Lord Dunsany, they’re real tied together, why this so painful, he’s doing a Philip K. Dick, he’s writing about himself, strongly autobiographical, hanging out with dryads,

Once in his ascent Randolph crossed a rushing stream whose falls a little way off sang runic incantations to the lurking fauns and aegipans and dryads.

what’s so painful about this story, making himself whole again, finds this key, he returns to childhood, its even worse, we’re happy at the end of Celephaïs, because its so real, it’s traumatic, Ask Lovecraft, some of you have asked me about The Silver Key, my grandfather Whipple had a key, a silver key wrapped in a parchment, what does this key open?, that really gets the basis behind this, this key only locks the place where the key is locked, the key is a way to get into the imagination and childhood, the wisdom of children, Kids Say The Darndest Things, “Biden’s kinda creepy”, his cousin, the very mundane things, an odd gift of prophecy, the connection between science fiction and the imagination, Day Million, exercising his imagination in a disciplined and an undisciplined way, sorta subtle so not loved, a sad circular story, the silver key gives you the power to do again, memories altered accordingly, you better appreciate what you have now, take it all in, you wont get to got there again, sit you down wisdom, living in nostalgia is super sad, pathetic, given that opportunity could anyone resist it?, how exiting things are when you’re a kid, there’s no way you could go back, nostalgia is a mistake, a push pull, experiences we want to re-embrace, New Zealand, I’m so depressed, it only goes one way, projecting into the future, if you want to live today you should spend all your time studying history, the CORONA virus, studying the SARS epidemic, studying vs. living in the past, noticing people tweeting dreams, go with the lava flow, Mom, tweeting dreams, kids today who are not under the vice of the church, they do have a big hat, surrounded by people who say you fantasy stories are garbage, write about people getting divorced and drinking less, where these stories are living, how much smell came into this, smell is super-associated with memory and nostalgia, I can still smell Hawaii, thinking about that photo, what you do more and more as time goes by, only the adults are capturing that, the massive innocence, the loss of innocence, so sad, Jim was 50 last year, a museum piece, I’m not going to be stuffy and crusty, fidget spinners, I remember when all that was fields, the world you grew up with is gone, WWI was this big hinge point, disillusioned with science, where is the hope?, William Blake accused Isaac Newton unweaving the rainbow, how wonderful it is to make something up, it IS magic, Alan Moore, magic is the original art, this story vs something I watched on the news, all just delusion, why not create new fantasies, its all kind of the same shit, getting mastery, BBS (bulletin board systems), getting all that equipment together (today), not a Yithian thing, his acceptance of the changing nature, fidget spinners are not cool, Paul does fidget, the disgust in Jesse’s voice, not making it better, the amaranthine wine from Atlantis that you drink and get depressed, reading the Statement Of Randolph Carter, based on the opposite, you need to study more math, he slams hard truths, the key is the only real thing in the universe, the proseyness of life, as middle age hardened upon him, why shouldn’t you spend all your time in the VR machine, matted hair, spending time in the meat space, my friends!, some sort of sadness there, talking about the darkness is comforting, being in a creative space, a solace from someone long dead, racism in this, his family his namesake, not everything about Lovecraft is based on race, that fear and horror of race is tied up with the meatspace and not the dreamworld, Pickman transformed into a ghoul, Jim’s show on The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying on the mask of the monster for yourself, if you’re a vampire you can stay up all night, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, still painting I see, stupid human, God’s real I’ll take you to his house!, a hysterial way, that humour that fun and delight in the strange and the weird, never happier than when he’s found a new author, when he’s sharing it, a real fan, what’s that giant essay for?, Supernatural Horror In Literature, his literary inspirations, the horror of dark monsters, by god they’re amazing, a flip-flop in Fungi From Yuggoth, Lovecraft criticism down the wrong path, looking at his bookshelf, he wrote horror fiction because he was a horror fan, some liquid he’s going to kill himself, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, She by H. Rider Haggard, Horace Baboon Holly, the handsomest man in Europe, just go with it, the Scopes monkey trial, a monkey’s grandchild, its a science story, a tension between a love of science and its acknowledgements about its reality around us and this imaginative space that’s all about art (and almost commerce), no algorithm or formula for a good story, writing to a formula, I think I see a formula, a pastiche or unworkable, finding their own voice and formulas, such a scientist, science is good for explaining this amount of reality, perception of beauty, a meaning in and of itself, appreciating it in and of itself, a far more interesting story than Jim first took it for, rethinking how you think about Lovecraft, shake the de Camp off, Robert E. Howard, remove the traditional blinkers, he’s a thinker on the page, calling him a horror writer is very limiting, writing about philosophy, spinning up scenarios, not easily classifiable, almost no tentacles, how poetic the lines are, that jarring bit of dialogue, Randy!, Howie!, the phonetics, dunt and wold, haint she tuld you, mooning around in that snake den, tea-parties with dryads, like a tea ceremony, the Alexa device, this is really big Jesse, it’s all proprietary, Six Or Seven Sentence Stories, little silly stories are really fun, half the delight of Jesse’s life, a dangerous pig with pants, weird vocab words, somehow you can make them connect, the connections are very deep within, its reflected, a Chinese myth, there’s a story there, he has not chained his fortune to some marketplace, where’s Lord Of The Rings II?, a polite gentleman, trying to chase the market, the purity there is unbelievable, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, arabian knights, fistfights and swordfights, a delight, saw raw and pure, unashamed, not a good book, so entertaining, harness this imagination, inside a sturcture like a poem, revels in the language and the words and the construction, that same unadulterated pure imagination fantasy, he hasn’t been shamed out of it, the documentary The Emperor Of Dreams, Hippocampus Press.

Hugh Rankin illustration for The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft
Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #578 – READALONG: She by H. Rider Haggard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #578 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about She by H. Rider Haggard

Talked about on today’s show:
how hard it is to listen to podcasts, 12 hours, jam packed with ideas, all the movies, both audio dramas, comic books, a cartoon adaptation, sloshing together, starting with the ending, Job not Job, Job died, the everydayman, he has a very specific descendant: Sam Gamgee, less pleasant language, racist assumptions, she’s evil, they don’t see it, get the elephants out of the room, not a racist book at all, four movies, the 1925, the 1935, the 1965, the 2001, the 1909, the 1984, the Flash Gordon episode, great perfect film, Will is a troll, laying out Jesse’s case, none of the adaptations are faithful, the 2006 audio drama, Tim Mcenery (from Blackadder), a very wise person wrote it, compressing 12 hours down into 2, they don’t usually set it in Africa, Samarkand, filmed in Bulgaria, set in the Arctic, what were they thinking?, silent, Bulgarian extras, Ultima Thule, themes, shells of locations, the UK, the backstory, out of Africa and Greece and Egypt, this visit to Zanzibar, the land of Kor, Egyptian Arabic Black, even more fictional, Natal, South Africa, they’re basically Tharks, Ayesha is Princess of Helium, the prototype to Galadriel, she’s Circe, an immortal wizard, the 2006 audio drama, Mohamed was killed off, the brown man in the hot pot, they fear for their own lives, cannibals, they attempt to come to Job and Holly and Leo come to his rescue, defending their own from being anthropophaged, revenge, resentful of the orders of She, not allowed to eat the whites, killing people in anticipation of being cooked, a cartoon, two explorers in pith helmets in a cauldron, its more complex than that, its not focused on race, what what?, delightful and not racist, the fictional people who live around Kor, the descendants who intermingled and degenerated, racial degeneration, the inversion of British customs, eminently civilized, one of the savage tropes, you’re reading that in, every couple of hundred years we slaughter them, this is a book about gender and gender relations not about race, not especially racist, snow white, she has ivory breasts, the whiter you are the more beautiful you are, that’s gender not race, she’s an evil white goddess, white savior syndrome, colonialist themes, he’s pretty conscious of a lot of things, a vehicle for the tropes, this myth of Africa, the inversion of our customs, an inversion of our hospitality, The Africa That Never Was by Dorthy Hammond and Alta Jablow, a justification for colonialism, literary sensationalism, titillating enough, a literary theme, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, a vivid new variation, the negation of European values, semi-matriarchal culture, the two who are noble savages, one of the best characters in the novel, my baboon, falsify it, cannibalism as mythological, ritualistic cannibalism of loved ones, headhunting, all over the world, its wonderful to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood, a sexy subject, Melville’s most famous book (in his lifetime), when that book blew up, amazing story, everyone else is doing the cannibalism, he didn’t have anything good to say about Irishmen and Greeks, unpleasant passages, thieves and sneaks, our insular prejudices are most of them based on common sense, these black gentry, fit for muck, thinking during the book, so beautiful, a compliment, he looks English, droopy or something?, race science and social darwinism, his weak genes give out, stronger genes, a perfect time, yucky racism instances, totally obsessed with this trio, a board game, Horace “Baboon” Holly, Leo is a lion, Job is a pig, going back to Circe, SHE is a snake, undulating, both become obsessed with her, a terrible beauty, massive one page notes, IMMORTALITY, how it got into H. Rider Haggard’s hands (as the editor), THE FLAME, MUMMIFICATION, a bonfire, mummies for firewood, the mummy craze, mummydust as medicine, when we do it its cool, driving Job to the hotpot, when Odysseus lands, pigs at the dinner table, never explained in the story are the wolves and lions, enslaved to Circe, tame, women being dominant, different kinds of cultures, Philip K. Dick’s Strange Eden, tamed by the witch, the first WAND as a magical instrument, there’s no monkey or ape on Circe’s island, Horace studies ancient languages, a keen mind and a freaky body that’s reminding everyone of Darwin, let’s go look at each other in the mirror, so interesting, Ayesha does the same thing to Holly, look at you and look at me, your quasi-son, never explicitly explained, why does she die, yo?, providence, has she done it before?, she hasn’t been back there, dancing in the flames, the flames vs. the gauze, she’s wrapped like a mummy, literally wrapped, veiled in every respect, she’s TOO pretty, TOO beautiful, makes men stupid and men evil, she has Darth Vader powers, she’s an evil Jedi, she can kill people with a look, why does Leo go on this trip?, his name means avenger, he doesn’t act like he’s out for revenge, the mystery, all the women love him already, fawning women, terrible for him, a rebellion against his adoptive father, Horace gets excited about all the good shooting down there, youth being inquisitive, he ends up fulfilling his atavistic destiny, she’s getting him back, showing that vision, Christopher Lee, he’s been wizarded, Peter Cushing doesn’t look like a baboon (he looks like a greyhound), Ayesha shows up in three other books, Ayesha: Return Of She, Tibet, Lost Horizon, She And Allan, contrived reason to visit Kor, uppity Zulu woman, an H. Rider Haggard trope, a desire to love native women, unnatural and doomed, they’re all wearing the ring of power, they’re all turning into Saruman, the Haggard/Tolkien connection, C.S. Lewis, the White Witch is based on She, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, similar in the face, the year this story is set, martini rifle, Zulu (1964), the book ends 22 years after the events started, there and back again (two years), the play in the caves, the whole lost civilization thing, Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym, Conan, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, something even older, Plato and Atlantis, Philip Jose Farmer, when the Sahara was green, there were dinosaurs there, H. Beam Piper’s Omnilingual, the pots and heads, and the pot sherd, Plato’s the Myth Of The Cave, group-think, religion, the 17th of March 2029, the scarab, the ancient connection, Kor as Pompeii, one note on lost race – lost colony, ancient active civilizations, Mormonism, Andrew Jackson on the Indian mounds, the great Zimbabwe, it has to be an ancient race of white people, race sciences, an ancient white source, Hadon Of Ancient Opar, Time’s Last Gift, the green Sahara, a deity in that pantheon, a rumour of Her in Tibet, in the framing, they’re planning to go off to the East, James Hilton’s Shangri-La (Lost Horizon), Iron Fist, influential on Henry Miller, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, H.P. Lovecraft,

The romantic, semi-Gothic, quasi-moral tradition here represented was carried far down the nineteenth century by such authors as Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Thomas Preskett Prest with his famous Varney, the Vampyre (1847), Wilkie Collins, the late Sir H. Rider Haggard (whose She is really remarkably good),

Lovecraft favourites, holy shit! that’s a Lovecraft line, Algernon Blackwood, a survival of a hugely remote period, and called them gods, She is a Goddess, She talks a lot about death and change, Shadow Out of…, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil, his peculiar personal appearance, peculiar features, learning was in his blood, the Congo region, supposed antiquities, Observations On Several Parts Of Africa, when in his cups, under a Congo moon, abysmal treasure vaults, even a Pliny, weird cravings (carvings), his grandmother in her box, the Horace Holly story, he looks like a monkey, this horrible truth revealed to us via Darwin, Ayesha is lily white flames and gauze, this tension between atavism (reversal to type), get your breeding right, the super-concerns of 19th century people, racism as a reaction…, lichy ancestors, Innsmouth, race-mixing, interbreeding with fishmen is a problem, mind-transference, Cushing and Lee and Ursula undress, after WWI why?, Roxanne, The Man Who Would Be King, the Mountains Of The Moon in Uzbekistan?, blowing minds, as if nothing has ever happened, North By Northwest (1959), Paul’s case, blonding her up, reasons for being blonde, our racialization of Arabs, the money shot, her raven hair over her white porcelain body, the whole hair thing, Galadriel and Gimli, Tolkien’s version of immortality, let’s just go off to the West, Primeval Thule, drug addict elves, high on lembas, black milk, types of immortality in She, reincarnation, a Greek who’d falling in love with an Egyptian, Ayesha as Cleopatra, would Haggard have cared or known?, that Egyptian asp, a callback vs. a throwback, the death glance, though at times they sleep and are forgotten, how enchanting some of the language is, poetic level language, written in six weeks, the original serialization in The Graphic, The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Victorian photoshop, fake documentation, verisimilitude, a true document!, when She actually shows up, dreams and visions, the lessons of Jurassic Park and Jaws, everybody speaks English, the 2006 audio drama, the translation, a ton of poetic repetition, all these conversations are happening in ancient Arabic, Holly is the main character, she leaned back on the couch, oh man, things upon the earth though knowest not, Jews, there be a thing called Change, three times 2,000 years have passed, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, the body moves, She’s force powering him back to life, what does this all mean?, she burns up the corpses and steps into the flame, stranger is my name, here I tarry, why dost though believe, the beauty of Helen, wisdom of Solomon, that ye cal death, barbarians lower than beasts, in the original book, you can’t look at god, Moses is permitted to see his hind parts, a Lovecraft swoon, beautiful and terrible, all about Jesus, her historical connection, Horace talking, she’s a wizard, she’s a lich, Wisdom’s Daughter, she’s travelling around like a wizard, gone for a whole generation, force glance, laser eyes, why the book is so fun, She’s that living connection, The Boat Of A Million Years, Jesse is sorry he has to read so much, they’re rivals for her affection, all about chosen family, you’ve been kidnapped, long strong arms, a martini rifle and a revolver, he’s got a good heart, a good word for Job, the mark of civilization is not knowledge but compassion, it’s fine she killed my wife, this section is insane, the terror of the leaping flame, the wise sadness of the tombs, all metaphor, the white shroud she wore, lovely tempting womanhood, she’s a virgin, so my Holly, the lagnuage is biblical, Allan Quatermain and Solomon Kane, I’m inclined to flattery, now my waist, this golden snake that is to large, she doesn’t like her clothes, that lady has a wasp waist, huge baboon hands, he has to squeeze her a bit, oh Holly, I am but a man!, Heaven knows what she was, I worshiped her as never woman was worshiped, what about gay men?, so horribly wonderfully, She is so fuckin evil, She cast a spell on him, the sight is sweet, the dear pleasure that is our sex’s only right, a buttoned down Cambridge don, century days, she’s lonely, she doesn’t have any books, spend all your days getting paler and paler talking to corpses, she has her TV, it is no life, She says She’s in Hell, a good thing for everybody, I’m going to England and replace Queen Victoria, it’s Dracula, Anno: Dracula, this book is really influential, the only thing comparable, an adventure of history, Jules Verne’s extraordinary voyages, Roman guards, the 2nd Brenda Fraser Mummy movie, riffing off of She, Mountains Of The Moon (1990), Burton and Speake, Stargate: SG-1, why its important to have diversity in its command structure, Space Vampires aka Lifeforce (1985), female seductresses, women’s rights, the Victoria stuff, you can betray your queen, what the hell are we accepting them for, foisting kids and relatives, The Rock, its really important: this is about class, Sam Gamgee is a servant, this race thing is used to divide us, when She says want me to kill her now, should I kill him now?, Kylo Ren and evil vs. good, how formative, an early adventure quasi-fantasy, its all science, rules for what you can see in the glass, she’s elf so she has magic, now I know how this works, what are they gonna do for twelve hours, Maissa had no idea what was coming, wow!, so lyrical, metaphysical, all the Lost World books are here, finding a fount, needed wanted more of it, his first big hit, She is what he would be remembered for, Indiana Jones did that, Rumpole Of The Bailey, the comic, Horace isn’t baboon enough, I wreath a corona around his head, what makes this book so good, Horace Holly’s a great character to see it through, why didn’t you choose Horace?, She does choose him in a way, why She chose Leo, its all about the physical beauty, her whole basis for him, he was pretty, I poured all my love into her, more importantly you’re ugly, which of them is actually ugly, Ayesha is the most monstrous hollowed out garbage person, a whole level of how do you judge a person, this person looks like they’ve had too many sandwiches, you might want to marry a supermodel, hockey shoes, beauty vs. personality and principles, abandoning principles, Horace sees his adopted son as a rival, he fantasizes about polyamory, she’s saving herself for the guy she murdered 6,000 years ago, hidden herself in a tomb, a pyramid, a story of horror, at the end of the 1919 hardcover:

To H. R. H.

Not in the waste beyond the swamps and sand,
The fever-haunted forest and lagoon,
Mysterious Kor thy walls forsaken stand,
Thy lonely towers beneath the lonely moon,
Not there doth Ayesha linger, rune by rune
Spelling strange scriptures of a people banned.
The world is disenchanted; over soon
Shall Europe send her spies through all the land.

Nay, not in Kor, but in whatever spot,
In town or field, or by the insatiate sea,
Men brood on buried loves, and unforgot,
Or break themselves on some divine decree,
Or would o’erleap the limits of their lot,
There, in the tombs and deathless, dwelleth SHE!

a life after its life, its an immortal book!, the Citadel of Truth, the Goddess of Truth, the dead orb above and the dead city below, long departed glory, their all mummified, they worshiped Truth to much, styling herself as the goddess of Truth, She dies after getting what She wants, the 1935 ending, immortality’s all great and that, the hope we might be reunited again, traditional Christian belief, pushing it away, forever in Heaven, the inverse of Heaven, if She keeps coming back, every sequel, a metaphysical aspect, a theosophical aspect, vehicles for philosophizing about man’s place in the universe, a sock puppet for H.R.H.’s theosophical ideas, what is the novel actually doing?, maybe a stand-in for H.R.H., so surprising, what’s the meta-text?, the Victorians and the things they didn’t want to face, compartmentalizing, he is his life, a very English thing, let’s go see this movie (because I need spend time with a human), my only friend, dying wish, you’re not fit for society so you may as well raise my son, almost homoerotic, appreciating a male form without being totally gay, basically bribes him, a bizarre opening, Christoph Waltz, I’ve been watching you for two years, why you don’t get married right away, gauzey goggles, a vision, gametes gotta gamete (meet), that outer society, women choosing the men, social security, a social safety net, a nanny state, goats, a communitarian society, why we need to expand the public domain, the writer gets paid, Andrew Yang ‘1K, bro’, Playstation 5, there are alternate ways, how writers gotta be paid, living authors should be paid royalties for your works (unless you’re in a country that cant access them for legal reasons), going away from a money based society, the average Canadian writer gets paid $7k per year, free healthcare, how the postal workers in Yugoslavia had their own vacation spot, why not do that?, postal workers aren’t going away anytime soon, alternative forms, the artificial scarcity system, you clearly haven’t listened to my piracy, join my pirate team!, let’s do these shares out equally, with the internet now, the amounts of research we are able to do for this book are insane, spend more time not doing horrible things for cash, bodies rented out for paying the rent, alternate, mercy killing, maybe rose twitter knows what its doing.

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from The Graphic

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from the 1919 book publication

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Marvel Classics 24 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #573 – READALONG: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #573 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1974, shocked to say, a very very good novel, the top half, mostly rambling, necessary rambling, hyper-competent mechanic and plot shit, a good thing?, rambly bits, cut a scene with Ruth Ray, the thesis of the book, unredacted French, Dr. Bloodmoney, one chapter that’s out of order, chapter 4 vs chapter 6, this is out of order!, just run with it, a more linear story, episode 353, January 25, 2016, pre-Evan, 2017, an easy find, how good is this?, a depressing 2 hour show, hopeful elements, glimmers of hope, A Scanner Darkly, police state, back to back, start at the end, the epilogue, happily ever after, what happens, why did he do it this way?, the notes on the Philip K. Dick fans page, he doesn’t normally do this, everybody and everything, making fun of happily ever after, humans’ relationship to narrative, trying to understand what is, what meaning is, what truth is, its about love, WHO you’re loving, exploring love, objects of love, collected and respected, kind of silly, this is what happened to the gun, the 22 derringer pistol, lead slug weapons, assumed wisely, a prop in the bachelor’s quarters of some minor official, a private collection of modern poverty, and loved, objects having their own ending, THE blue vase, THE derringer, philately, a stamp as a weapon, it does make sense to love particular objects, John Dowland’s lute music, Buchman’s a fan, deleting the music, why Philip K. Dick loved it, a piece of abstract music, music criticism thing,

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their last fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.

Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days, my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my deserts, for my deserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.

Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to contemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world’s despite.

very dark, abstract vs. concrete, love is tied up with death, Jason Taverner, better not to have a pet, better not to have a wife, children, the love of a parent for a child is all one way, better not to have a child, if you keep cutting love out of your life, the meaning of life and reality and, the only thing that’s real is love, isn’t this a crime?, a hard scene to read, if its consenting,can you consent at that age, this is adult this isnt, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year old cousin, age of consent was 14 in Canada, the super-Christian cop, Jesus and his love are very valuable (as I arrest you), failing at the institutional understanding of police, the bad guy, the whole long story of being demoted and working to help people in the concentration camps, as the novel progresses Felix becomes the protagonist, Vulcan’s Hammer, Vulcan’s Hammer, so clearly Buchman’s story, making that metaphor manifest, a different arc, learning about different kinds of love, ending in a tragedy, suicide, weird stuff, when he first meets Rachel, in panic mode after having a big fight with his wife, Ruth Ray, I’ve just been drugged with a fatal toxin, so many girls in this, she mistakes him for a student, he’s like 40, a subculture of anti-government forces, they don’t want to go to Vietnam, actively opposed to it, a famous school shooting, a life chain of people around the Pentagon, analyze this world as a dystopia, the quibbles and automated pictures, the fourth D in 4D pictures is the smell, still using records, what your profession is, student means rebel or revolutionary, forced-labour camps, they’re not that bad, the word campus and camp, campus as bases, 1/4 of Terra’s forced labour camps (more like death camps), only during the second civil war, those blacks in the camps, the effete pale clammy students living beneath the campus areas, camps must operate at a profit, how prison works, “barn”, a tattered rubber ball, shafts of light scampered all through him, kibbutzim, sub-surface, they’re C.H.U.D.S., all the children of natives sent to residential schools, a forced labour camp, massive abuse, physical sexual and psychological abuse, it took forever for this horrible system to end, are there people like Felix in the system trying to make things better, good policeman end up getting fired for trying to do the right thing, how the media works, conform and go along, 15minutes per year you’re allowed to say something true and that you care about, what country you’re in, institutions can’t love you, pretending to play by the rules but still a good person (on the inside), have you been offended by anything that’s happened so far, Philip K. Dick’s experience, the FBI gave Philip K. Dick driving lessons, quitting when given horrible orders, how Jesse quit jobs, tormented, whistle-blowers and leakers, disillusioned with the system, Edward Snowden, massive fraud and abuse, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, the Pentagon Papers, disillusioned true believers, go along to get along or quit, the play of the institution vs. the love of an individual, what does the black man at the gas station think, I didn’t get you’re note, a little heart with an arrow, emoji, something weird happened, not the first black man we’ve seen, a negro crossing the street, they’re protected now like the whooping crane, the slums of Watts proper, overflowing ashcans, drab painted Coca-Cola signs, an elderly black man crossed, an odd emotion, so few blacks alive now, Tidman’s sterilization bill, the timeline, a helluva lot of shit happened between 70 and 80, you just murdered a dude, you can’t jeer at them, and rightly so, the majority of silencers (the silent majority?), a black boy to play with, their birth coupon, two adults one child, ingenious, he solved the race problem alright, he sells headphones, do you know where this place is so I can show you where I live, bio-feedback headphones, plugging into the pornphone orgy internet, he has three children, late night calls, you’re feeling down at the mouth, that note, put your arms around me like a child would, you want to not be by yourself late at night, of the poem, John Downland’s song, he can’t speak, whats going on on his face?, yes I agree completely, I can dig it, you can meet my wife and my kids three in all, going into another universe (through drugs), changes reality for you and the people you’re thinking about, bisexual vs. lesbian, dude I don’t know what’s going on, the incestuous part, a lesbian organization, going to Borneo, it was a mistake, the law has been repealed?, he had them back in the 1960s?, set in 1988, 47 minus 20, they’re living at home, a very subtle sign that Dick is undercutting again, proposing ideas and then the reality of how it work was not how we thought, the onion, the true nature of reality, that Buchman doesn’t respond to the fact of the three kids, the love of children, this soliloquy here, we get the bow tied off with the drug explanation, The Electric Ant, a great concept in philosophy: solipsism, a sticky note that says soft drink stand, subjectivity in the drugs, Faith Of Our Fathers, Eye In The Sky, when Philip K. Dick went to France, you’re the greatest writer ever, the cab driver, I’m a famous writer, never heard of them, a YouTube celebrity, I watch all of Scotty Kilmer videos, millions of downloads and you’ve never heard of them, pocket celebrity, he’s not in the system, almost all of this happened, cannibalized from his own life, Waking Life (2001), a preamble to a dream, what can he do?, this is in my book too, and then he wrote VALIS, the names matching up, a massive number of notes and letters on the Philip K. Dick fans page, Swedish translator, I considered it perfect and finished, ten rewrites, monumental!, turned out to be sentimental, any bite any grit, so strange, his best, no good, done, not done, a feature and a bug of Philip K. Dick, those three children must be adults by now because they’re born in the sixties, what is reality, sometimes its that, where you meet a stranger at a gas station, the kind of love where you have sex with a group of strangers on the phone, the 10 different kinds of love, a lotta different weird kind of love, taboo love, married 21 times, for the 51st and final time, the number of countings, a jibe at his own marriages, Elizabeth Taylor’s seven husbands and eight marriages, as long as her pets, serial relationships, love and grief, I don’t want the grief, the policeman’s tears for strangers, absolute empathy, why we can’t laugh off the phone sex orgies, black box, Counterclock World‘s religion, the gestalt at the end of Galactic Pot-Healer, different collective experiences, Now Wait For Last Year, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Perky Pat, Jason Tavern vs. Jason Taverner, his arrest forms, the pols (police), the private security guard is called a cop, Wyoming, a diesel engine mechanic, a lot for the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, quibbles are cheap used cars, beer and warmth and coziness, Mr. Tavern is a warm man, Phil Gigante’s shame and dis-personing as a narrator, sexual conviction, DOESN’T IT?, the odor of onion and hot-sauce in every direction, best read again as a paperback, Philip K. Dick’s descriptions of reality, a poet of description, a police flipflap wobbled overhead, what happened to the actual Jason Tavern the mechanic, plastic surgery (a lie), used to be very ugly, Joe Cinadella, the Italian truck driver, Juliana’s camouflage, his fake Italian accent is not real, Philip K. Dick: a philosopher of fiction, the epilogue, what my mistake is: there is no happily ever after, 11 more revisions, there’s never a final a wiping of the hands, always something able to be revisited, real for a moment, however the drug’s supposed to work, it changes everybody else’s perceptions, making it into a film, have Conan O’Brien playing Conan O’Brien, get George Clooney to play George Clooney, magnetic and charismatic, before Clooney was just another shitty answer with a handsome face, how to take a good photo, that weird lit up look, he never tries to show he’s a great singer by actually singing, the name of the song: Nowhere Nothing Fuckup, a lot of swearing, that meta-phenomena, distinctly non-named, like Clem Fandango, what of Felix’s name, Felix Buchman is bucking the system?, Alys Buchman, you’re in a dystopia with a whole history, some government trying to overthrow another part of the government, like in Vulcan’s Hammer, in Marissa’s and Jesse’s top five Philip K. Dick novels, late Dick, the late Dick problem: VALIS and Divine Invasion, Our Friends From Frolix Eight, Orpheus With Clay Feet, originally published in Escapade magazine, published under the pen name “Jack Dowland”, one of Philip K. Dick’s many heroes was a 16th century lutist, a bored man visits a time travel tourist agency, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein and Jack Dowland?, the magazine may not actually exist, the story’s first publication may not exist, a competitor to playboy, a slick, hoping to read it, King Of The Elves, Rene Auberjonois, Odo on Deep Space Nine, about mental illness, a fantasy story, Francis Stevens’ The Elf-Trap, a movie that died, Paul Giamatti is a Philip K. Dick stand-in, The Owl In Daylight, Beyond Fantasy, a good follow-up for Philip K. Dick, were running out of novels, A Scanner Darkly, a biographical, don’t bother with The Divine Invasion, the titles sometimes elude, A Maze Of Death, Philip K. Dick, Marissa was living in Germany when we started, what is this?, Jesse is a pretty great artist, going to the bar for the drugs with a kid, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, don’t leave it to years between novels, Philip K. Elves, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, this is a LibriVox recording all LibriVox recordings are in the public domain, everything made of art on the earth, sorry about that, so sad, the geography of religion, market forces, leading students to death, Chinese students suicide rates, flipping out and killing themselves, She by H. Rider Haggard, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, he becomes a heterosexual woman, totally worth reading, Heinlein is a giant greater than Asimov is, being provocative in your fiction, that ardent passion, in the halls of worldcon, Evan groks that, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Marissa would be like: this is trippy, what podcasting’s for?, you want to do your homework, you need an excuse to go out hiking, Jesse’s sister’s daughter’s dog, Paul’s video of a sliding bus.

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said WORDCLOUD

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Chris Moore

Posted by Jesse Willis

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