The SFFaudio Podcast #576 – READALONG: The Many-Colored Land by Julian May

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #576 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe about The Many-Colored Land by Julian May

Talked about on today’s show:
an unsolicited Patreon plug, now you know, now Jesse is beholden to Paul, special members only episodes, The Many Colored Land, the Patreon, Jesse doesn’t want to reward anybody for anythings, take suggestions from Patrons, Office Hours, Evan’s office hours, Evan’s decline is an ascension, Jesse’s university career, ideas throwin’ down, door open, Discord, Paul derailed us, why did Jesse agree to it?, by spoiling he interested, Luke Burrage’s review, Jesse wrote about Julian May in 2012, leaving science fiction, a young published author and then a thirty year gap, The Dune Roller, Tales Of Tomorrow, The Cremators (1972), pretty sure this book is written by a girl, really weird, not a good book for a lot of the book, what this book is, SUPER-AMBITIOUS and kinda-almost pulls it off, a great mind, did it come out of gaming?, a role-playing game style writing, this book has everything in it, a potpourri, an encyclopedia, if she was a really good writer this could be on the scale of Tolkien, tell me one thing this book doesn’t do, time travel, space aliens, telepathy, elves, portals, megafauna, magic, clerics, fighters, Sarban, the wild hunt, way too much, bursting with ideas, I can explain everything, nine more books, Jack the Bodiliess, will-o’-the-wisp, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast, Jim Moon is a treasure for our time, this great research, fulfilling bits of history, the Mediterranean basin is empty, filling the basin, Down In The Bottomlands by Harry Turtledove, she’s doing everything, she made a dress for a convention and then tried to figure out who would have worn it, people making costumes of future people, a book about Robert E. Howard’s geography of Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age, Europe from 10,000 years, a dragon in Red Nails, wizardry, NO BUT WITH SCIENCE, she tries to rationalize it, a map of genre, issues, what genre is this book supossed to be?, pseudo-science fiction, psionics as magic, origin of the Celtic mythology, the Pliocene Companion, as soon as the torc was introduced, it has ODIN in it, Aiken Drum, the science fiction mindset, WOW, AMAZING!, if this book was written today…, she coulda tightened this up, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the psychic interrogations, that’s insane, an introduction, 1981, that’s impossible, all the character classes, it feels ten years later, her pseudonym list is all male, as J.C. May, Weird Tales, C.L. Moore, he was a dude using a female pseudonym, genre expectations, a lot like Ringworld and Dream Park, really interested in gender, women’s sexuality and reproduction, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Pamela Sargent, its in the air, the birth control pill changes everything, she goes there, the setup, that wasn’t the book I signed up for, that’s what they thought too, pre-caveman, prehistoric adventures, fighting off smilodons, the galactic milieu, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, more motley, a blank slate, the baggage of human history, the prologue, the utopian aspect, a conservative element, something (not quite) reactionary, ethnic enclave planets, Transmetropolitan, what kind of society will these misfits create, the DM says “Haha! Switched ya!”, this has random encounters, very much like Riverworld, famous characters, the big dumb object here is Earth, rejuvenation, psychic vampires, the psychic shit, this shit from Astounding, it was totally bullshit, they thought it might be real, parapsychology, Ghostbusters is the last gasp of it being a phenomena, they’re discontinuing his research is because its bunk, a guy who used to work in remote viewing, no need for satellites, a guy in a room in Langley and we bring him a sandwich, they didn’t know it was discredited in the 50s, a news story, coffee is bad for you, this back and forth, clearly phlogiston, you idiots it was oxygen the whole time, the plate tectonics theory, what he didn’t have was the data to back it up, nobody mentions plate tectonics, how much geology, this gate can only be here, The Last God, the map in the back, have you ever seen a river?, they don’t know what they’re doing, she’s doing everything, too ambitious, it explains everything, wouldn’t it be cool if…, hello fairy, people living in caves full of uranium, change your lifestyle in order to not be mutants, these are goblins, not just Tolkien goblins but also Goblin Market by Christian Rossetti, goblins, tempting with a plate full of fruit, be a brood mare for her reproduction, Julian May is a vast reader and she wants to include it and explain it all and it mostly works, this book is not for me, a GURPS version, lift large, designed for role-playing, character creation, their stats are amplified by their torq, LARPing, L. Sprague De Camp, the Society For Creative Anachronism, Planescape and Dark Sun, Space: 1889, Spelljammer, so grounded in geology, of its time, she’s reading science fiction, its not outsider science fiction, woolly mammoths and then we’re done, she revels in it, the giant sloth gets left all by its lonesome, Evan was into the cenozoic, Jesse was a silurian man, when people think about ancient life on earth, trilobite, I love me some ferns, yo, giant sloth tunnels, untooled scratches, living in them for centuries, that’s the excitement of science fiction, the size of the universe, if this isn’t something you think about everyday poor you, this is FUNDAMENTAL to…, no, dude you can’t believe how big the universe…, poor donkey, in sympathy with the animal, the great unconformity, a plot with an empire that needs to be overthrown, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Mound, a whole civilization under the earth, Lovecraft’s utopia, I signed up for a ghost that haunts a tomb, ten thousand times bigger, she doesn’t leave any room for anything else, there are no traditions that didn’t start with this (in Europe), what is luck?, what if you have a culture based on fear?, five or six major themes, at least twenty things she’s dealing with and trying to think about, the juggling’s pretty good, Tolkien loves the forest but he doesn’t invent whole new trees, “operant”, oh god this is just technobabble, initiative has a whole set of connotations if your not a RPGs, a republican talking point, para-psychological powers, a ticking clock, big fights at the ends of books and movies, still pretty good, a wonderful stew, its 16 hours, Neal Stephenson, Dune Roller, a gothic setup, a tonne of pent up ideas, it came out in a huge geological sized flood, going through the Black Forest, all the different mushrooms, Hansel and Gretel time, very Bros. Grimm, go to Doggerland, Albion, and what would be France, the power, misfits with different weapons and armor, their murder hobos, player characters, he can’t be socialized, euthanasia or life imprisonment or exile, a slave-society, the core element, why does she go with grey?, Plato’s Republic, bronze, Plato is the original racist, the cops, the golden dude are philosophers, the TV series Spartacus, guidebooks on how to manage your slaves, reading so much Stephen King, adaptations of Carrie, in the aftermath, we gotta control women, after Roe vs. Wade, psychic powers, Firestarter, King never dropped that theme: the desire of states to control the exceptional, The Running Man, comprehensive lengths, the antecedents of everything, the book cover, she thought they were cool, what if…, six million year gap, aboriginal Australia, a hugely rich history, many more different kinds of mythological systems, in comparison, New Guinea, geographical vs. geological, it worked itself out, silly explanations, a one way time machine, questions back and answers back, lockboxes, what colour are woolly mammoth tusks?, a whole amber explanation, the plot doesn’t allow it, Halloween and May Day, reverses, like a role playing game, a cleric who can heal people, a paladin, a hunter, a pirate, a thief, this is what I do, yo, Will Emmons’ question, Neuromancer as a first science fiction book,

since you asked…

I say that DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP is not anything like “hard SF”

and neither, really, is FOUNDATION

FOUNDATION is interesting (and foundational) but not great

ANDROIDS *is* great and one shld probably be a connoisseur of SF before reading it

really hard question, I usually like to think of SF as something you read from earlier to later – give a sample size of TWO books liked – and TWO disliked – that said, and even with @PrinceJvstin worries in mind

…I would still recommend HEINLEIN – he’s not HARD SF, and he really is SF – HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL is a good starter book

if you don’t like HEINLEIN I think you don’t really like SF – he was made of SF

dont start with any random Heinlein tho – BIG MISTAKE

MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS

and

STARSHIP TROOPERS

are good choices – will make you argue with HEINLEIN which is what a lot of later writers are doing in their books, arguing with HEINLEIN :)

YES, and i would say in that order, but put another book as palate cleanser in between

there’s a whole series of books that are connected to STARSHIP TROOPERS – ENDER’S GAME, ARMOR and going backwards to KIPLING’S poem M.I.

my point is…, going down a hole, a callback to science fiction, hollow earth, people having sex in Stromboli, a very famous science fiction novel by Jules Verne: Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Iceland, a little sex scene, this is all her, there is almost no visual SF at this point, working on a masters degree, very rich, let’s do a 16 hour book, dense even though it doesn’t feel that dense, not just more Tolkien, science fiction-ish, science fiction tropes, pseudo-scientific explanations, the crown, a magic system, H.G. Wells’ Floor Games, wargaming, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, in role playing time you build role playing games, Jesse’s repeating because Julian was repeating herself.

Map of Northwestern Europe during the Pliocine epoch

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #570 – READALONG: The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #570 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Olav Rokne talk about The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Talked about on today’s show:
1952, the great Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, gravitas, how much should we think of it as a great book?, 100 best novels 1946-1987, number 12 amongst fantasy novels, a fantasy novel or a science fiction novel, an alternate history kick, The Man In The High Castle, Harry Turtledove, The Guns Of The South, Lest Darkness Fall, Bring The Jubilee, For Want Of A Nail by Robert Sobel, here today in 2019?, Axis victory novels, In The Presence Of Mine Enemies, techno veneer, the toxic nostalgia at the heart of fascism, the rejection of modernity, sylvan existence, mythologizing of the past, neo-feudalism, 100 years after reign?, The War For German Rights, not that far from our future, 2030s, Fuhrer means God now, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, kinda like Sliders, barely even know who Hitler was, the SS rituals, race theory, eugenics, genetic engineering, lions and dogs, vegetarian vs. Hermann Goering’s aesthetic, a symbolism book, vs. Albert Speer’s vision, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland by Robert Harris, Nazi-world, an analog for life behind the Berlin Wall, Kit, slightly tweaking the ideology, the world we don’t see, what makes it such an intriguing book, tech, the support system for a game preserve on a private estate, the horror of a Nazi regime, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, the body horror, fear horror, a Gothic castle, an anticipation not fully fulfilled, the Wild Hunt, was it real or was it all a delusion?, Deities & Demigods, the Huntmaster, Thor, driving game, myths versus legends, hearing the horn, join the hunt or become one of the hunted, pre-fascism, Herne The Hunter, inarticulate dread, fantastic stories, The Hounds Of Zaroff aka The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, unencumbered from morality, a throwback, not the only one, Hans von Hackleburg, the curse of the Baskervilles, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, an evil morality, inferring the system, a strong warning, people who have suffered gender or race based violence, Allan’s fears, creeped, sexism, misogynist, anti-human, women are turned into cats and men are turned into hounds, a vegetarian argument, Pierre Boulle’s Planet Of The Apes, the difference between of human and prey, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, the framing story, a four hour audiobook, 42 minutes into the book, almost 1/4 of the story is the frame, two narrators, authenticated, kinda fun, The Wolf or The White Wolf by Guy de Maupassant, a wonderful funny horrible story, kill everything, a true story of France, strangles it “gently”, true from one end to the other, less about gender than it is about class, Reichmaster of Forests, the cat girls and the fiance in the frame, it could be interpreted that way, the descriptions of meat were stomach churning, “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”, The Yellow Book (magazine), the book inside the book, the yellow 90s, a decadent book, Wayne June, $1.50 in 1895, a book for artists and high class folks, before he’s arrested and thrown in prison he’s playing a game, An Ideal Husband, The Importance Of Being Earnest, powerful versus popular, when Hillary Clinton was on Saturday Night Live, they pull their punches, Trump has been on Saturday Night Live, too thin skinned, more thin skinned, if you offend too much you’re going to get in trouble, going to far, Sinéad O’Connor, too true, not politic, a vegetarian propagandist book, I’m not so sure, the cat, a metonym for his wife, Kit, why doesn’t he want to tell her?, some distant 100 year old future, a screed against an activity she so enjoys, the terror, a world famous hunter, trophy room, a bridge too far, what is animal and what is human, a lot of science fiction, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells but with Nazis, vivisection, The Time Machine, unreliable narrators, Wells allusions, another thread, utopian futures, the Bellamy school, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, The Living, Just Imagine, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy (2006), Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, it’s a happy liberal future inside the city and homeless and we don’t spend time with the homeless people who are outside the city everybody is super happy enjoying their fancy clothes with robots and they spend time in outer space fighting Ming The Merciless and then outside the city we never talk about those dirty disgusting folks, it’s the same thing, clones of each other, a Marxist analysis of Gil Gerard’s Buck Rogers, intellectual property, we haven’t had a Space: 1999, a good point, the Dille family trust, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, we don’t need more Buck Rogers, overdosed on Superman, When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, the sequel, that Galt’s Gulch stuff, we are the elites, this lifeboat is for us, that comedy movie 2012 (2009) an unofficial reboot, Elon Musk is like Heinlein, Wernher von Braun was a fuckin SS nazi, D.D. Harriman, we don’t cut anything, dancing around The Sound Of His Horn, aged more in the last 25 years than in its first 40, more dated now, the ponderousness, become more of its time, flowery beautiful description, oooh this stuff is wonderful, the material is perfect for what it is, maybe its the relationship people have to it, imagine reading The Man In The High Castle in the 1960s, WWII was that much closer, its only aged in its relationship to us, a piece of art rather than a commercial work designed to put bums in seats, much more intellectual despite physical, spectacle, Blumhouse horror torture porn, the first Saw movie, the explanation is not the point the exclamation point was the point, the novel medium, dwelling more on certain paragraphs and certain sentences, immerse in Allan’s plight, feel his fear and apprehension, spend more time noticing connections between the outer narrator’s story and the inner narrator’s story, academic theses that nobody reads vs. big long blog posts that analyze the shit out of stuff, so many things in the meals in the hall the torchbearers, is that what I think it is?, trussing up the girls they’ve hunted as if they’re going to eat them, its not cannibalism its more like sadism and rape, the gentlemanly country estate of England vs. Nazi baronial estate, the two teams that went to war, the two cages (the POW camp and the estate), the games that they play within, another camp on the outside, concentration camps, slave labour employed, servants vs. slaves, not so much “you need to become a vegan, today” vs. considering the feelings of others, otherkin, a call for empathy, dwelling on the results of war and that setting, more connections sparking away, reading it in paper, not an easy book if you get squicked out, surgically modified, running to fat, brain surgery, bred, what’s happening to Kit, sent for reeducation, something to practice on, utopias and dystopias, all a part of a flow, patterns repeating throughout, in a dystopian novel it feels like everything is frozen, here’s a society that is perfected, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, lots of little shitbirds fucking things up, we’re in a system headed in a good direction, Nineteen-Eighty Four, Brave New World, the resistance was gelded, News From Nowhere by William Morris, everybody should be an artist, The Wood Beyond The World, a rural paradise, adding a lot of filigrees to their hoes, a science fiction fantasy, things can’t change, we have that within us too, cultivating good habits, coming to a steady state, we’ve refined our morality, we’re refined our diets, and we’ve brushed our hair in just the right way, Francis Fukuyama’s the end of history, NATO’s still a thing, yup, life’s ridiculous, people can be cruel, Jesse doesn’t visit the United States, when Peter Watts got the shit kicked out of him at the border, if you give in, drawing lines in the sand, a job in Texas, if Bernie wins, the abuses heaped upon the Nazis are justified, a personal story, personally suffered, one nice way to read it, a walking dream, walking across Eastern Europe, he walks 100 years into the future, a daydream, he spins up the whole story, has this happened more than once to him?, falling back into fairy, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, no fay element, Paul is arguing against himself, Thomas the Rhymer, mental illness, we don’t have perfect access to that, Oberon and Titania, torches as an affectation, plastic cup technology, high quality clothing, rich folks, not about the Nazis, what they did in Africa, you can’t really tell stories about swaths of people, stories about individuals, those personal relationships with a culture, without that frame the story doesn’t work very well, he is questioning hisself, speculating about Sarban’s knowledge of the crimes of the British Empire, parallels, Great Britain’s colonial history vs. the crimes of the Nazis, surveillance, no conscious critique of the British, what is our relationship to hunting, they do it unconsciously, a turkey hunt, why there are no lions, bears, and wolves in England, the gauleiter’s fake hunt, hunting fish in a barrel, mini-golf hunting, Barkerville, British Columbia, you pay for the pan the bag and the trough, a fake experience, not training, an ersatz experience, the reichforester has contempt for everybody around him, why is it like that?, a Medieval Times restaurant in Nazi Germany, its good to go out for a walk, a safe walk in nature, Mark Twain: golf as a good walk ruined, facial hair, the incarnation of the wildness, I will save you for another moon, a Nazi Utopia is a dystopia for the reichforester (he’s a manager at Disneyworld), I didn’t expect it to be like this, its different, what Sarban means: the kind of storyteller who traveled with caravans and entertained the travelers with stories, what Homer was, he’s basically a bard, a diplomatic career in the Middle East, how short it is, all the more plausible, you have your coffee you have your smoke, how to classify it, a horror book, no visceral reaction, Olav went vegetarian, no vegetables at that banquet, the dressing up of the game, two does, its not clear, on purpose, dehumanizing the pray, more dreamlike and more fey, the Star Wars experience in Disneyworld, a Star Wars store, a Star Wars lightsaber, the Batman costume with Batman’s face on the shirt, he’s not having fun, its not for him, Universal Studios’ Miami Vice experience, a spectacle vs. a ride, a cool idea, all of the jousting is every night, they’re actors, striving for utopia, regularize things, make things improved, best practices, self-driving cars, one day…, a trap, a fantasy we fall into, it fails to be a classic on a few levels, very affecting, a rich text, an intellectual experience, it doesn’t need to be that long, how much not spent in the actual world, where is the divergence point?, it doesn’t want or need to explore that, if it had been written in the 1890s, Prussian or Russian nobleman, it’s not about Nazis its about people, humans are fuckin weapons, dealing with things that have agency, what makes a bad society is having lots of people trending towards badness, not even saying that foxhunting is bad, Mike Vendetti, The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, people in power are fuckers, the cat’s name is Jan Smuts, best buds with Winston Churchill, both of them were in concentration camps in South Africa, Prime Minister of South Africa, maybe it is a critique, John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, in the hands of John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), yellow 90s ruin, the last place on earth for this goddess to inhabit, it does matter, how we come out of the inner frame, who named that cat?, where is that damn cat?, let it out, why the outer narrator doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t tell her this story, Aneurin Bevan (father of the NHS), fascism is the future refusing to be born, toxic nostalgia.

The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #565 – READALONG: Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Talked about on today’s show:
and today we’re reading…, John Bloodstone, an old science fiction novel, why wouldn’t I read this book?, public domain, never heard of this guy, Science Stories, February 1954, house names or pseudonyms, tiers of science fiction magazines, armchair fiction, digging into the issue, the cover has nothing to do with the contents of the story, a brilliant 45,000 word novel, a singular spaceship, J. Allen St. John, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan, Warlord Of Mars, The Moon Maid, a Burroughsian planetary romance, splash page, the creature, his former lover, a precursor, L. Sprague de Camp’s Viagens Interplanetarias, against the rules, find each other attractive, tentacles out of eyebrows, an ancient spaceship, the subjugated people have invented gunpowder, backgrounded to Garthanas’ story, what Paul would be thinking about Jesse would be thinking about the worldbuilding, how little this book has been published, it does was it says on the tin, a man off his world (or not our world), the ending, a solar system with two and a half inhabitable planets, Thronas is the fifth world, Carson of Venus, Hamardeen, the math and the names, a panspermia story, dinosaur time, Dalathasheen, Haven, Adamas, a tropical haven, a vast natural garden which they named…, Atlantis,

Their dreams of old we, too, have known,
But we are flesh and they are
stone,
And Yesterday is dust…

just some rando, a weird way to start a story, Tolkien, narrator Tim Harper, preeeety good job, so good, very specific vocab, names of days, all of the logic, names of ranks, layer up this world, as logical and rational as possible, lovely detail, the amphitheater, very vivid, very colourful, a real sense of embodiment, the interests of the author, elf names, etymological construction to the names of things, the measuring system, worldbuilding and making a whole universe (or solar system) for a FIVE HOUR BOOK, and to make the story work as well, the same trick over and over: a secret identity, he’s teaching us, you like Twelfth Night, you like Shakespeare, he’s turning evil, what if I’ve been rooting for a monster this whole time, that’s good writing, the AI of the ship, the metal god, a very early AI, from such an oblique angle, The Great C by Philip K. Dick, he Kirks the computer, I love that idea, the computer doesn’t say, if Kirking is a verb, apparently Gene Roddenberry was a fan, “I’d stand in a line in the rain for one of Stu Byrne’s stories”, back when Paul was young and strong, Thundarr The Barbarian Garth Ennis, one of the many many rip-off’s if Conan, make the show to sell the toys, unpublished Tarzan novel, fan fiction, the Pellucidars, the Barsoom books, male romancesque, lost to time, when the book is THIS interesting, the archaeology of this sort of thing, born in 1911, Jam Packed with Burroughs, more of the same, He-Man, She-Ra, Red Sonja (from the comics), filed-off serial numbers, friendship works differently in Burroughs-world, honor-based friendship, more sex and drinking, more carousing, no animal friend, no Woola, The Green Odyssey, a loving-parody-comedy vs. straight-up, Michael Moorcock, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hard to escape the orbit of Burroughs, S.M. Stirling, Tantor Media, The Sky People, In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings, he goes wide, characterizing the responses to Burroughs, dinosaurs on Mars, Leigh Brackett, aliens, A World Of Difference by Harry Turtledove, a collapsed empire, the golden ship is a great piece, with that ending he’s cutting off all the sequels, what it turns this book into is a science fiction book of the mainstream type, acceleration, artificial gravity, a force of nature like the tides, the worship of many many gods, how much work he put into this, not a work of slapdashery, Goodreads reviews, the used bookstores podcast, Goodreads is owned by Amazon, many moral hazards in the universe, AbeBooks is owned by Amazon, Byrne is from St. Paul,

It has all the hallmarks of a hastily-written product plus one whose creator has a very specific beginning and endpoint in mind and is working to bridge the two. Byrne occasionally has to paste in the gaps with backstory or offstage events–clearly he was not going to go back and revise–and this leaves the impression that more interesting things are happening to more interesting people while Garthanas is standing around waiting or being talked to.

The story is also strangely unspecific about the context. It’s implied that the oppressed Harmarians are some kind of ethnic minority who are slowly being deported to planet Hamardeen (Mars) because the Thronasians would prefer to be served by the unpredictable and violent nonhuman polar inhabitants, but nobody says this and it is not explained clearly. The half-explanations conspire to baffle and not tantalize with unseen depths.

“Space barbarians” is arrived at uniquely, with a robotic Golden Ship left behind by an earlier civilization. It is a tragedy that this is the only remnant of super-science and one wonders what more Byrne could have added to liven up this story.

The final moments, as it starts to wrap up, do achieve power. Byrne finally has a specific vision with a specific end goal and Garanthas is in place to witness it all and to act appropriately. But the overall impression is less “tale of multigenerational tragedy” than “muddled mess”.

hanging out with a Roman slave who knows how the Roman Empire works, a case of reviewism, a disease that effects many reviewers, space barbarians, a trope, maybe it needed more pondering, a lot of battle scenes, before we talk about the art, action packed, almost the script for Buck Rogers, so many court scenes, sneaking around inside of a space ship, a Star Wars (1977) level of action, kissing, intrigue, how you are when you come to something, a serious problem when they do reviews a lot, IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, he’s writing to his own conclusion, award winning is a bad word in Jesse’s mind, The Aquiliad: Aquila In The New World by S.P. Somtow, you need to know what the author is doing, answers to What If, the artist knew truth, the only person better at sculpting than me is my master, a very small pair of worlds, another connection to Star Wars, hello Jupiter, reading into it, he wanted to have philosophy in it without getting into it, a thinker king like King Kull, appreciating the art, about that meditation, a John Carter who is appreciating the martian sculptures, normally that’s us when reading the books, the statue at the end, it’s in that opening song, a future echo, an echo of the past, Battlestar Galactica, page 13, we are flesh and they are stone, playing with, the word “Truth”, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Ozymandias by Horace Smith, On A Stupendous Leg Of Granite…, hubris is a great problem, uh huh and yup and we’re going to be the same way, more political, Lovecraftian vs. science fictional, that projection, Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia, the journals and a report about what’s going on in North America, Planet Of The Apes, fast paced, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, so many great books that are just hidden away, ratings are a part of the problem of reviewism, star ratings, clouding judgement, it straight jackets you, the pain management chart, hangnail 1, gaping flesh wound from sword stab 8, a standard of one person, the way Luke Burrage justifies his rating system, this is not a classic like a The House On The Borderland, The Time Machine, more worldbuilding than The Green odyssey, Tolkien vs. Narnia, portal fantasy vs. secondary world, six hours well spent, thank you to Tim Harper,

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

The SFFaudio Podcast #501 – READALONG: The Book Of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #501 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June talk about The Book Of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Talked about on today’s show:
1972, nominated for…, it doesn’t feel like a science fiction book at all, a small book, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, winning author, feels like a Lawrence Block book, the Lawrence Block genre, the same writing system, magazines and paperbacks, a prolific writing machine, four a year or five a week, pseudonyms, erotica, mysteries, a writer’s writer, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, the kind of paperback you read with one hand, paying markets, popular writers, you can feel it, it didn’t keep it up, keeping up the pace, it doesn’t feel like a fantasy either, genre adjacent, secret history, come from Atlantis, can we trust that monk?, anything?, inside the compound, exactly halfway through, another kind of book, the Wikipedia entry, a happy roadtrip movie, a Quentin Tarantino, the route they took, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Route 66, bildungsroman, American road-trip, Route 666, the TV show, what kind of book this is, no one reads as many old magazines as Jesse does today, ads for the Rosicrucian, the pyramids, astounding wisdom, astral projection, you may walk on the surface of the Sun!, the free book, secret society, AMORC, what secret power did they possess?, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, a full and peaceful life, power on this earth, primetime for cults, hey baby we’re going to the desert, dropping out, a book about a cult, unadvertised, that kind of immortality, laying out plans, stuck in this vastness, unrealistic expectations, when I get immortality, studying music for 30 years, walk across Asia, Larry Niven’s immortal characters, Louis Wu, a fashion maven, a hermit in a cave, the attraction of this book, stupid guys in college, naive, spew on it, a quest, eternal life, existential philosophy, seeking meaning, personal devils, the rubric, a cosmic accident, worth the risk, significance for your life, underlying outline, couched in the 70s, pretty accurate, when this book was new, time under my belt, he knew his existential philosophy, this book lives and dies on the fact there’s no Wikipedia, Scientology, getting off the bus to Hollywood, some friendly guy, working on myself, help me get jobs, the death wish thing, it doesn’t happen on screen, uninteresting lives, Jesse is Eli, homosexual, no trust fund, confess that later, reality shows and Big Brother, William Friedkin, a horror story, thinking during the book, Oliver, ’70s randy dudes, a lot of sex, not very SFy, cutting edge back then, drugs, pulp sci-fi, my faith wavered, the shrill laughter of Satan, do you think you’ve gained anything here?, the icy future, this image, the desert as one of the poles, an empty blasted world, a strange backsliding, oh god, you felt it to then?, the voice of doubt, the thing that you seek, skull mask, sullen girl, the heavy breasted succubus, the thing you seek, the House of Skulls, a hawk in the blue sky, hawk you will die and I will live, of this I have no doubt, I understand, life eternal we offer thee, a horror story ending, as much as it is disquisition on existentialism, prescribing vs. describing, I reject your victory, are these guys 25,000 years old?, an afterword, tell us the secret, I wasn’t there, ambiguity, the path of existentialism, belief, salvation, if you have a philosophical bent, in to being outraged, problematic scenes, I raped my sister, completely free of any of those concerns, he’s not trying to make it a movie, free love, a less apologetic culture, one review, this isn’t the only way to practice homosexuality, a gay friendly book, not shy or ashamed, never felt preached to, there’s these dudes, who’s telling this story, snarking on each other, getting it right and wrong, a psychological study, four narrators, not buddies, same basic age, hard to distinguish when not talking about themselves, Stefan Rudnicki, they’re the same guy, aspects of the same guy, the skull with the faces, without the flesh on it it is just a skull, each of those skulls had a face, working on a Freudian analysis, flowery metaphor, the right symbol for immortality, not immortality in Heaven, a horror immortality, the ending, in too deep, the sunk cost fallacy, that’s what this is about?, spicy vegetarian meals forever, a really old thing, memento mori, to contemplate your mortality, skulls under our faces, carrying death within us, Lent, from dust you came, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, candy skulls, Hamlet, I knew him Horatio, I kissed these lips, how great a work is man, I’m on a horror train come with me, sorry Ophelia, two fall away two move forward, four confession, the sacrifice and the murder, who is going to be killed?, who is going to kill themselves?, sharp, into overdrive, Oliver was the one, Eli was going to kill himself, a neurotic nebbish, game this out, expectations gone awry, Ariel, Random Walk by Lawrence Block, meanwhile in Kansas, really evil characters, these two forces come together, it is about walking, power walker (racewalker), speedwalking, a sports commentator, the normal human activity, chasing at a leisurely pace, endurance running, human physiology Wayne, local stray animals, escaping predators, getting places, an excuse to get exercise, walking (and hiking) is associated with thinking, meaning comes to him, gaining interest over time, The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham, Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Denholm Elliot, a WWI book, a trip to Asia, I’m a yogi, having meaning, it pisses everybody else off, from their point of view, crime novels, the Bernie Rhoddenbar books, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, Eight Million Ways To Die, the Matt Scudder series, A Walk Among The Tombstones, really good at brutal, Liam Neeson, alcoholism, a philosophy behind him, putting bullets in people occasionally, 1944, a sense of maybe not is all right with existence, ideas of the East, a weird category, not a lot of mystical powers, is there anything in here that is proof of some fantastic element, not good proof, on the razor’s edge between reality and something beyond, Poul Anderson’s Boat Of A Million Years, what does this all mean?, just sayin’, mixed success, the end of chapter nine, Jesse trying to dominate everything, the frater Anthony, go off into the desert and bury your friend, a librarian who keeps track of the local cults, they’re never coming back, when the cops come…, we have two, oh shit, keeping those hands off, their techniques, what are the ladies doing there, is there a book of skulls for women, four ladies on a road trip, a jump forward in time, porridge again for breakfast, skyscars, A Canticle For Leibowitz by American writer Walter M. Miller Jr., a great idea for a novel, quick edit that part out, possibilities, Larry Niven, the flipside of death, the men who live forever, The Draco Tavern, a story for ever vocab work, attaching meaning, ephemeral, a fifth Doctor episode, thing that doesn’t last very long, a three day old newspaper, all these skulls, all the idiots who came to this cult, two for every four, so fucking bored, same society, is Clark Gable still making movies?, Avengers: Infinity War, Footloose, the remake, Flashdance, cheerleader movies, Bring It On, Turn It Up, end of Chapter 9, Richard Nixon, bumptious, the true genius of the race, clerisy, a Lincoln Continental, flogging us towards sundown, a thing writers writers do all the time, a book I was reading not long ago, metaphor, the bleak Kalahari, the realities of the desert, the beautiful one, the clown, the hunter, the headman, Yatesian counter rotating gyres, ideational vs. operational, a stable group, the state, the hunter, the church, the art, and I the clown, a summary of their book in their book, I was reading this book lately and I’ll tell you how shitty it was, Ned and Eli, the shaman, the religion, Ned is the art, the leadership and the hunter, given up the things that connect them to the outside, people who live in the mind, meditating all day long, that makes sense, an existentialist end in view, the church and art, the speculative and self expressing parts of identity, Søren Kierkegaard, personal identity, the father of existentialism, a core value, an actual philosophy, here is a way towards answer, damn this shit is hard, we got to find something to do, Albert Camus, the myth of Sisyphus, life is absurd, pointless futile labour, find your own meaning, The Stranger, The Rebel, The Fall, the only thing left to us is suicide and I hope you consider it, the only practicing Catholic, St. Louis whore sex, the inner thoughts, powerful stuff, this actually happened, four science fiction writers in a car, a very North American thing, the road trip novel, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, Paul Theroux, Anthony Bourdain, The Old Patagonian Express, Siberia, landscape, flashbacks, Eli is a fraud, they’re young college kids, James Joyce, critical essays, flowery description, bullshit, personal demons, a metaphor for his entire life, his how life was inauthentic, the murder, you can see why, don’t threaten my escape, the part of the ritual, the receptacle, a side benefit, a very well written book, the 9th secret, the rich guy, Oliver, a shameful gay dalliance, denying his authentic self, the non-PC part of the book, the people who are upset about things, a very real cultural attitude, bred for richness, 100 a week, 18,000 years, pride, the tallness that I have, a short book, a slim volume from the ’70s, as always, a preview of Robert Silverberg’s return to Lord Valentine’s castle, Majipoor Chronicles, Dying Inside, The Stochastic Man, Lord Valentine’s Castle, what a cool world, a series back then, a series today, Nightwings, the future city of Rome, the mouth, Hero Of The Empire, Roma Eterna, a young man who wants to start a new religion, keep the empire going, Harry Turtledove, fighting Persia all the time, Through Darkest Europe.

The Book Of Skulls (1979)
The Book Of Skulls (1981)
The Book Of Skulls
The Book Of Skulls (1972)
The Book Of Skulls

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #496 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #496 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, and Paul Weimer talk about new books, audiobooks, and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
a full size show, paperbooks, audiobooks newly released, stacking on desks and shelves, books a week, piling up, send me stuff season, a tonne of books being published, everybody needs publicity, organized by publisher, St. Martin’s Press, advanced readers copy, Deep Silence by Jonathan Maberry, Joe Ledger, Julie Davis, mail it to Julie, Julie’s reviews on Goodreads, a prolific reviewer, Maze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear, techno-thriller, retro virus, Coldfall Wood by Steven Saville, Henre The Hunter, William Shakespeare, haunting the forest outside of Windsor Castle, how to organize, piles, too many to read, Shaun Duke, Tor.com, three novellas, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Running Man (by Stephen King), The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, The Black God’s Drums, The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, Irene Gallo, H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford, a novella, are they listening to my podcast, William Morrow, Ahab’s Return, Or The Last Voyage, the premise of Moby-Dick, The Coode Street Podcast, the best of the year so-far, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, Harper Voyager, Dragonshadow by Elle Katharine White, A Study In Honor by Claire O’Dell, near future SF, civil war, a great cover, 11 hours, a mystery, world-building, a series, Temper by Nicky Drayden, similar to South Africa, twins, 14 hours, evocative of the works of…, annoying Jesse, everything in the kitchen sink, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, And The Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee, 1,300 newly released audiobooks, when SFFaudio Podcast started, drowning in books both good and bad, moving product, no way to keep up, a podcast listener, Tantor Audio, Blackstone Audio, The Best Of Subterranean edited by William Shaffer, Ursula K. Le Guin’s collected short fiction, The Way Of The Shield by Marshall Ryan Maresca, all-paladin-like, The Silver Scar by Betsy Dornbusch, Boulder, Colorado, post-apocalyptic Earth, The Tomorrow Factory, Pinnacle City, The Rising Moon, The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, The Things, The Island, Blindsight, Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys, Who?, totally do-able, Planet Stories, March 1953 by William Tenn, Gardner F. Fox, Robert Moore Williams, Ross Rocklynne, Radio Archives, the height of the science fiction magazine era, the plateau, a great way to spend six hours, Archangel by William Gibson and Michael St. John Smith, audio drama, time travel, WWII, alternate future and past, Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead edited by Gordon Van Gelder, stories by K.G. Anderson, Richard Bowes, Elizabeth Bourne, Scott Bradfield, J.S. Breukelaar, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Becca Caccavo, Don D’Ammassa, Stephanie Feldman, Eric James Fullilove, Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Leslie Howle, Matthew Hughes, Janis Ian, Michael Kandel, Thomas Kaufsek, Paul La Farge, Yoon Ha Lee, Michael Libling, Heather Lindsley, Lisa Mason, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, James Morrow, Ruth Nestvold, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Marguerite Reed, Robert Reed, Madeleine E. Robins, Jay Russell, Geoff Ryman, James Sallis, J.M. Sidorova, Brian Francis Slattery, Harry Turtledove, Deepak Unnikrishnan, TS Vale, Leo Vladimirsky, Ray Vukcevich, Ted White, Paul Witcover, N. Lee Wood, Jane Yolen, dystopia, A Choice Of Gods by Clifford D. Simak, a lot of Simak from Audible Studios, the central intelligence of the universe, Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton, John Lee, Tantor Audio, Tamahome, how do you write that much?, Neal Stephenson, this thing called the internet, when does he sleep?, children’s fantasy novels, in 25 years he’s written 15 (BIG) books, short stories too, a prodigious output, The HPLHS adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories are on Audible, CDs vs. props, separate props, the deluxe editions, printed ephemera, Tantor.com, Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson, the full KSR experience, The Invincible by Stanisław Lem, everybody needs a little Lem, The Cyberiad, Dichronauts by Greg Egan, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Maissa Bessada, with a parasite, changing the laws of physics, not meant for audio, a very Greg Egan trick, review like mad, podcasts, Wooden Overcoats, a comedy on a Channel Island, rival funeral homes, narrated by a mouse, quite delightful, The Monster Hunters, a Marvel Comics audio drama, Wolverine: The Long Hunt, full of ads, is it worth it? tell Jesse, sort of X-Files-y, Serial Box podcast, worth a listen for horror fans,

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #457 – READALONG: The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #457 -Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Talked about on today’s show:
1975, not his real name, tabula rasa, genre movies, WWII movies, the 1970s, Where Eagles Dare (1968), Admiral Canaris, the framing device, stumbling over a mystery, “a false document”, the research frame, a secret history, Michael Crichton, John Carter (2012), putting yourself in the frame, Eaters Of The Dead, extensive footnotes, on the copyright page, one of the citations is from the Necronomicon, Ash by Mary Gentle, the onion layers, changes, a compressed time-frame?, Liam Devlin, Molly Prior, an editing-budget problem, Michael Caine, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, an IRA meeting, Donald Sutherland, tics on screen, we only had two days, the preamble, Dakota, interesting parallels, everyone on Earth knows this phrase in 1976, similarly audacious, a suppressed truth, a false truth, flat-earthers, if monkeys could talk, how many colonels do we have in this book?, Steiner, the American colonel, three kinds of veteran, Larry Hagman, a thankless task, Kelly’s Heroes (1970), incompetent vs. hyper-competent, non-Nazi, two polarities, uber-experienced, Robert Duvall, Max Radl, professional competence, dying, the priest, Joanna Grey, the brother-sister duality Philip and Pamela, Himmler-Churchill, the trickiness of Churchill, “Action This Day”, Colonel Pitts is the worst, Devlin is devilish, the last adventurer, the BBC audio drama, kidnap Hitler, The Eagle Has Flown, Michael Caine gets first billing, why Steiner is so charismatic, Steiner gets his shot at the fake Churchill in the movie, he dies with (as far as he knows) having completed his mission, media hype, giant Swastika on every cover, iconic hateable, Cross Of Iron (1977), panzer guys on retreat, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz’s SS Colonel Hans Landa, good Germans, no graphics, Squad Leader, Lucasfilm games’ Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain, when people don’t know what the fuck they are talking about (when you shouldn’t read their book), the Pentagon, building up a beautiful picture, Otto Skorzeny, parallels are so interesting, German and American parents, releasing the hostages, why are you German?, why are you the bad guy?, Computer Ambush, Harry Turtledove, Skorzeny gets to be awesome, seeing the parallels, Prussian style military officer, if we’re going to have WWII movies, other parallels, a love child, Charles Dickens, being Irish and English, dealing with backstory, Steiner’s father story, a major general, back details, Joanna Grey’s backstory, did you think the Nazis invented concentrations camps?, Robert Duvall steals the film, get your family out, Jung and synchronicity, providence, the hand of the author, what if?, The Man In The High Castle, almost everything is lifted, Warn That Man (1943), Went The Day Well? (1942), play by mail, a distant world, the candy bar as the reveal, an obscure movie with a great plot, Jack Higgins was a kid during WWI, his breakthrough novel, a huge hit, the sweet spot for WWII paperbacks, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, how are children dealt with in this book, upping her age, the two children, fate and synchronicity, accident, revealing his true nature in the doing, none of this is history, chronologically broken, Steiner saves the Jewess, a material difference, a useless gesture, “Kill Churchill? When we’ve already lost the war?!”, synchronicity has lined it up, an opportunity to do something special, his smoking-his drinking-his hand-he’s dying, some purpose, battle-tested, an ignoble death, 1943, North Africa, Italy, commandos, the Dieppe Raid, a pent-up inferiority complex, none of them has ever been in battle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the wrong mission, back and forth, undercuts or enhances, it would not have worked…even if…, what was the purpose of WWII, nobody got what they wanted, a grotesque, a miniature version of the war itself, Wehrmacht draftees, countries get away from people, the government is doing things in your name that you don’t approve, “register to vote”, his other books, this is THE Jack Higgins novel, meta-commentary, in the hands of fate, when I got put into this book, I have to do my job, a continual suicide mission, the Channel Islands, caring and doing research, why the records don’t appear, “a true story”, The Andromeda Strain, building up the idea, copyright page and footnotes, a hoaxer-conspiracy guy, citations, archive.org and newspapers.com, just fucking with us, Erich von Däniken, sea-floor deposition, Ogopogo, Sasquatch, cryptoids, Seanan McGuire, an immortal single sea-serpent, could you write this book today?, for people who know, that was weird, Steen Hansen, Today I Learned, o-rings on the Space Shuttle, a short period before, how can you have anybody who has any cultural memory, there’s no one in the Pentagon…, the dinosaur bones of the period after, the cultural legacy, none of these movies are on Netflix, almost no movies that aren’t from the 2000s, they don’t even have a DVD, vicissitudes of streaming availabilities, Westworld, how do you culturally institute this, movies on TV is cheap content, VHS, wanting to see movies from before you were born is a strange, it extends to books as well (in the science fiction book reading community), out of the bounds of this movie, out of date by a decade or more, goodness, The City And The Stars, Ringworld, Dune, it is better to mine the past than to sieve the present, that they bothered to even finish an old book is a good sign, exploring the boundries of what makes something interesting as a good book, its really mysterious, false documentation (or documentation in general), A Plague Of Giants, the framing story, where and when and why, the second person narrative, SS-GB, Fatherland by Robert Harris, did this really happen?, he knows all that, the British Freicorp, they chose unwisely, can’t be de-Nazified, Harvey Preston, sexual assault, who is the traitor?, what does a traitor look like?, the uniforms, a disguise, when Otto Skorzeny was put on trial, “we did the same thing”, during the Battle Of The Bulge, they’re cheating in an honorable way, asking us what makes something noble or legit in war?, this town is pretty horrible, condoning Molly’s mistreatment, “none of your business”, “God bless all here”, the local bully, no policemen in this town (in the book), “male privilege”, sexual assaults are implied, that’s somebody’s family member, a feud, exile was the traditional way, a “pierced eardrum”, a very big book, in sympathy with pretty much everybody, only Himmler comes off really bad (played by Donald Pleasance), Escape From New York is kind of this book!, such a good point, Snake Plisken is Steiner, he’s a traitor, the audio drama of Escape From New York by Bill Hollweg, robbing the Federal Reserve in a dystopia makes him a hero, Nazi Germany is a dystopia, very Snake Plisken, badge patches, reputation: “I heard you were dead.”, taking real life situations and circumstances, incredibly interesting parallels that mirror, a masterful novel, exactly the right recipe, connections to all sorts of stuff far beyond WWII.

POCKET BOOKS - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

The Eagle Has Landed

LISTEN FOR PLEASURE - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Posted by Jesse Willis