The SFFaudio Podcast #660 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #660 – Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville; read by Bob Neufeld

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 53 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Marissa VU, and Will Emmmons

Talked about on today’s show:
A Story Of Wall Street, Putnam’s Monthly, November and December 1853, college and high school, fucking great, so funny, very humorous, no joke, Seinfeld style, sad and existential, struggles with depression, is Bartleby depressed?, what was Melville trying to say, different ways of reading, a moment of silence for all the poor kids in school, 4 minute explainers on youtube, hard to classify, a weird tale like you would get in Weird Tales, cadaverous, Fitz-James O’Brien, Franz Kafka, kafkaesque, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, its a piece of science fiction, Bartleby is an android, Star Trek’s Data, radioactive suitcase, the ghost story angle, the most important way of reading it, its all about the lawyer, the other clerks, Ginger Nut, John Jacob Astor, I prefer not to pay, other people are inscrutable, master of chancery, work ethic, real estate law, Turkey is drunk by noon, Nippers, low wages, allowed to listen to music, ginger cakes, useless in the afternoons, Nippers is a criminal, capitalism, before the clock took over, working on Saturday, time and motion studies, a copyist pretending to be an attorney, the Roman patron system, seedy coats, great language, McTeague by Frank Norris, practicing dentistry without a license, The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville, a lot to glean, I am a rather elderly man, writing for an audience, other biographies, the law copyists, physical xerox machines, monk work, reading aloud, take student texts with punctuation, perfection in sentences, a creative work vs. copying from one document to another, divers histories, other law copyists, an irreparable loss to literature, the original sources aka him, the second part of the serialization of the story, this kind of artifact, serialized over two months, Bartleby’s previous career, most lawyers want to be writers, imprimus, the easiest way of life is the best, unambitious lawyers, a snug retreat, a snug business among rich men’s bonds, keeping track of rich people’s money, an eminently safe man, a nice pun, the late John Jacob Astor, all the negatives, prudence, method, not unemployed in my profession, a rounded and orbicular sound to into it, rings like unto bullion, complimenting himself, John Jacob Astor the first, how old this story is, the story is set way earlier, an interesting pacific connection, trans-continental, 1848, Astoria, the incensed landlord, a metaphor for the United States, fugitive visits, Bartleby like an Indian who refuses to leave to go to the reservation, named after an act of enclosure, walls, the dead letter office metaphor, Touched By An Angel, a Christian show, the science fiction equivalent is Quantum Leap, The A-Team, solving problems with guns, the Hallmark Channel, Christian niceness, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Dear John I miss you, items, your job is to open up the letter, any objects in the mail, a ring or money or tires is then auctioned off, unrequited letters, instead of reading and deleting letters you copy letters, reading the contents, contracts between billionaires, what debt is owned to whom, reading Bartleby as a dead letter, he has no place to go, there is no dead letter office for humans, taken to the prison, the grub man, he’s a person not a letter, the focus on Bartleby as the main character is not as interesting, he’s the one with the problem: Bartleby, he’s a weird employer because he cares about his employees a lot, fighting the system, stalkers, roses and letter, not leaving someone alone and being outside their place, playing with social norms, interest becomes stalker, no women in this story, Ginger Nut as a woman, Bartleby (2001), a zombie apocalypse done through sound, Pontypool (2008), Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess, when you hear certain words on the television, earworms, things are going to change, a bit of visual or auditory information can change the world, what makes it existential, he’ll just stand there, won’t do anything, embarrassment, amazingly passive, as a strategy of work resistance, Office Space (1999), most employers, The Last Article by Harry Turtledove, he tolerates him vs. he escapes, rather move himself than move Bartleby, prefer, the way his hands are, behind the screen, so handy to me, I had in hand, my right hand sideways, nervously extended, in this very attitude did I sit, imagine my surprise, rallying my stunned faculties, prefer not to?, are you moonstruck?, Žižek, backwards grammar, ending with a preposition, plaster of paris Cicero, this is very strange, had his face been any different he would have fired him, what do you think about what this guy’s doing?, our narrator is allowing this to happen, ah Bartleby, ah humanity!, Bartleby is in such a horrible position, this is our situation, the main character wants to be fired, this guy’s got spunk!, I’m going to need you to go ahead and…, upper management hears you’re an up and comer, the other authority figures in the story, King Of The Hill, Dale Gribble likes firing people, maybe Evan understands American history, the institutions aren’t there, SWAT the employees, dump the vagrants, when the cops hung up on Jesse, wrote a stern email to the chief constable, the busybody was just making trouble, a local crime gang, not SWATing people as much, the normal response is to give up, if you invent the post office, some items are undeliverables, setting up policies, an Indian with no band, mentally ill but not causing a disturbance, just not going home, he has no home, you can’t do that with people, what makes our unnamed lawyer protagonist so strange is that he cares about Bartleby, we put ourselves into capitalism, feeling spicy at work, ginger is a hot spice, he whom it would relieve, charity, pallid hopelessness, continually handling these dead letters, the finger it was meant for moulders in the grave, hope for those who died un-hoping, these letters speed to death, hopelessness and misfortune, one of Melville’s kids killed himself with a gun at home, Melville worked at the customs house, what we know of Melville’s going to sea, he needs to get to sea because the land is not for him, Typee, malingering or mutiny or deserting, Evan’s YouTube video: Herman Melville Wants You To Quit Your Job, Mardi, failing to find paradise, screw all this, Whitejacket, Redburn, Moby-Dick, bored from his normal life, disappearing from the novel, just there to tell the story, what are you doing here, sitting on the banister, the cause of great tribulation, a clerkship in a drygoods store, too much confinement, a bartender’s business, Nippers is always adjusting his work table, Joe Piscopo, no standing desk like Rumsfeld, trying time trying to entertain, I like to be stationary (stationery), I am bound to quit the premises myself, not wholly indulged before, go home with his boss, like a force of nature, he’s like a letter that’s a human, he can’t say where he needs to go, Melville’s first attempt to write a short story, I prefer not to, the driving thesis of Paul’s professor, here we are, when Paul was young and callow, confronted by reality, I know I’m talented I know I have the goods, some time goes by people catch up to what he’s doing, why his story is being taught in school, appreciating it at as piece of art, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, I Have Placed My Sickness Upon You by Karin Tidbeck, Frritt-Flacc aka The Ordeal Of Doctor Trifulgas aka Dr Trifulgas by Jules Verne, volcanic France, what the fuck is this?, there’s a document involved, it means something, The Lost Room by Fitz-James O’Brien, about our mental condition, metaness, what does Wall Street have to do with it?, balancing out his other employees, its wrong to read it from its wrong, it must happen daily, he’s his own doctor and he’s having a heart-attack, have we exhausted Bartleby?, religious stuff, the lawyer is a messed up guy, this uncanny guy, he stopped working because his eyesight was bad, this earworm of I prefer not to, they’re making fun of him, they’re making fun of the lawyer, they’re bullying him, the drunk is funny, their solidarity is with their boss, false solidarity, the boss’ neuroses, in the Tombs, I know who you are, I know what this place is, Bartleby gets it, the antagonist, not a good place, the military angle, he’s been drafted into the army, we’d like you to go shoot that man, he’s seen the Lovecraftian document, the horror behind the veil, being like a cadaver, weird trick, Ginger Nut, Bartleby only eats ginger nut and cheese, he’s called to go get them, Coffee Boy, why is Turkey called Turkey?, dies of starvation, Nippers is the eating of food, the religious aspect, moral suasion, act like a Christian, charity, governed by paternalism, as resistance strategy, the reform era, 1830s-1840s, the Second Great Awakening, reforming American sins, perfecting American society, the anti-flogging campaign, vagrancy, part of the that culture, are your eyes recovered?, in word will you do anything at all?, behind a blind, the tragedy of the unfortunate Adams the unfortunate Colt, his fatal act, had that altercation taken place in the public street, doubtless of dusty haggard of appearance, a murder, A kills C, Bartleby (B), I grappled him and threw him, recalling the divine inter-junction, ye love one another, a great safeguard to its possessor, a murder for charity’s sake, drowning my exasperated feelings, benevolently construing his conduct, he has seen hard times and ought to be indulged, charity is the answer, if I focus on charity I won’t kill him, a servant to John Jacob Astor, Upstairs, Downstairs , Highclere Castle, servants and rich people in a period setting, Downton Abbey, know her place, they need to know their place, but there’s dignity in working for good people above us, in doing our jobs well we become elevated, you know its fucking evil, she’s lying to herself, ground up by the music hall industry, wenching, seeing the household from both POVs, the head butler, a lot like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we are meant to be outraged by it, I feel unplaced in the world, I feel unmoored, Bartleby is moored, the judgement of history, Edgar Allan Poe’s life, “no, no, no, guys, I’m great”, we don’t have infinite time, made to punish children, a deflection, another form of property ownership, northern firms involved in slavery, what this person’s business is, he’s not an abolitionist, when the suing comes, they’re not copying out literature or love poetry, their literal job is photocopier, why he likes copying at first, gaining information, read back what you’ve already written, as a re-reader, checking someone else’s work, One Hour Photo (2002), a kind of stalker, so late in the lifecycle of the film camera, taking your work to seriously, too solitary in your work, what were you thinking when the lawyer finds the door locked, I’m not ready yet, what was he doing in there?, in public records, pretending he’s a music producer, this is an impropriety on his part, is our lawyer married?, I’m bringing a strange Bartleby home, the first moment of aggression, he’s not aggressive at all, he’s very ethereal, maybe he’s playing VR or something, Bliss (2021), Paul got baited and switched, Owen Wilson as Bartleby, Crispin Glover, David Paymer, Glen Headley, Maury Chaykin, there’s no audience for this really good movie, made for schools, some menace there, Dickensian, Dickens isn’t philosophical enough for this, the names, the sense of humour, very much like a weird tale, the uncanny, The Paradise Of Bachelors And the Tartarus Of Maids, pale women in a paper factory, put together a new issue of Weird Tales just out of Herman Melville stories.

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #650 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #650 – The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick; read by Ian Bradford Ngongotaha Pugh. This is an unabridged reading of the story (49 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, January 1954, his first big year, The Variable Man, junky stories, really simple, too simple, if somebody did something, Philip K. Dick was not a wise man, the reader is stupid, negging, read all of Philip K. Dick except for his kid’s stories and his posthumous stuff, a world encapsulated in a globe, Stability, 1987, written in 1947 or earlier, a lot of weirdness, miniaturization, what goes on (or in) the Rhetorizer, looking at somebody’s desk, a paperweight, stapler, paperclips, a fan blowing air over your desk, worlds in a bottle, Paul explains worlds in a bottle, escaping the mundanity of a desk job, St. Elsewhere, Homicide: Life On The Street, [Tommy Westphall], when the liberation from horrible work comes, shake it up, a little world, god power, Kandor, repressed, Supergirl, aliens from Mars, Martians Come In Clouds, Fortress Of Solitude, if Kandor was decanted, a city full of immigrants, worried about status, the Japanese immigration policy is xenophobic, what’s in the briefcase, gimmicky futuristic desk stuff, office supplies, a theme hidden in other Philip K. Dick stuff, Paycheck, ridiculous and awesome, what the hell is this?, writing off part of you life, a secret meaning, from a timescoop, hidden memory, missing memory, a fiddly little concept, I wonder if it has secret meaning!, momentary escape, the nuclear bomb, destruction, a flash of light, connected to the nuclear, connected to the cold war, it’s still WWII, fragile dystopia,The Man Who Japed, War Game, Monopoly as an alien invasion, taking the mundane and making it fantastic, this stick is a sword, watch out for the pinecone grenade, the framing device, twist stories, too neat, it doubles back on itself, why is he doing this?, a bunch of people on a plane, the plane is forced back down, cops on the bus for a shoplifter, a standard writing technique, supposed to be spies, not professional spies, they execute the job perfectly, no operational control, super incompetent recruitment, doofuses, they tell it for no reason, we’re all on the same team (Earthers), twigged into, Evan should have picked up on, stark terror ruled the inner-flight ship, Mars-Terra, inter-national, inner solar system?, the black clad leiter, what the hell is a leiter, Gauleiter, district leader, these are the Nazis, they’re looking like the SS, redskinning themselves, dressing up as locals, they’re wearing shorts, leiderhosen, did you see the woman, she was very attractive, the breasts get mentioned, figures of fear, a half dozen in the glass tomb, half their leaders, Nazi imagery, we’re supposed to be on the side of the Earthers, no death’s head on their uniform cap, leiter = leader and ladder, Martians in disguise, Inglourious Basterds (2009), Standartenführer = standard leader, written for a market that includes Planet Stories, the context for the magazine vs. the political context, recruitment, victory gardens, embedded in the war, on the granular level of regular people, block leiters, block warden, disseminate propaganda for 60-80 households, Nazi officials, we are holding a rally, keeping notes on all the families, really horrible, a (school) class snitch, little Johnny: look at that squirrel, little Sally informs the teacher, snitch culture, the violence of the state, that central vision, the local costumes, the flavour of the city and the people, the village is a shithole, a pig’s sty, the leadership is very technically savvy, bronze age, this man has never shaved his face with a Martian stone, how did Mars get that way, Babylonians, Sumerians, an ancient sun-baked city, a city seldom seen, an iron hand, black priests with rods of fire, the Terran senate, Erick and the two behind him, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, deep in enemy territory, what’s so ridiculous about the story, “Thacher”, it makes sense, Philip K. Dick is a real smart guy, a thatcher makes a cover, he’s a martian, white-face, a really fake beard, the red skin, the movie adaptation, these are supposed to humans who emigrated to Mars long ago, predating humans?, Ray Bradbury, colonists later turning against Earth, a standard theme in Science Fiction, Elon Musk’s Mars colony, a vast wall, it felt the wind and sun for centuries, the technology level, an hour from Mars to Earth, all they have to do to look like Martians, Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper, several hours of audio drama, a history of the Suez crisis and how it was connected to the European Union, the British seized Suez, not a normal colony, to control trade, this story is ultimately about financial position, Mars will have to do what Terra asks, commercial demands felt, quite a story, an interesting technology to preserve cities from war, reducing a whole library, microfilm, make something that was tiny big, the important contents, the data, the information, the images, using it for ransom, ransoming all the people in that city, there is no war yet!, this is what the Japanese did, the sneak attack, the stab in the back, Pearl Harbour, how dare they!, annexing the Sudetenland, for interplanetary trade, the British the Americans, the Japanese forcing trade on China by seizing ports, the leadership on Earth vs the leadership on Mars, the short film, double down on the Nazis, no nuance there at all, most Philip K. Dick doesn’t adapt well, some telepathy wandering around with the cops, The Hood Maker, the block warden, the test, the box is a character, THE TRUTH, HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH, YES, THAT IS THE TRUTH, so easily fooled, pinwheeling your arms, how cops justify stuff, his head connected with my baton, I didn’t *destroy* the city, are they okay?, the walk up to the city, joining the caravan, not horses not camels (hoofers), the problem with this as an adaptation, they just tell when they should have operational security, when you do some crime and you tell all your friends, why this is in there, based on a book, based on a year spent with the homicide unit in Baltimore, David Simon, a sales pitch that works every time, a person confronted by the cops, sitting in the squad car, a human being asking your questions, some mental problems, ROTC for ten minutes, H.P. Lovecraft couldn’t finish high-school due to a nervous breakdown, tests are stressful, its very easy to crack, LAWYER, I want a lawyer, a cop’s job is not to help you, entrap you, catch you speeding, they’re whole thing is putting people in prison, you’re on a bus, like a passenger on a plane, three spies, more likes Hans Landa, testament to how Philip K. Dick feels, coups attempted all the time, a bunch of mercenaries sent into Venezuela, what’s in your briefcase, let’s just drink, very Philip K. Dick pressure, fundamentally broken at that point, spoilers in general, the first time Marissa read it, the reveal, there’s not really anything else, stressed out by seeing SS uniforms on film, Movie Tone News, the stress level is incredible, where’s the mall?, legal requirements, what’s in your bag?, some drug, open alcohol, what have you been drinking tonight?, not the story itself, its the logic of the building of the story, a real phenomenon, one of his weakest stories, do you know how fast you were going?, please confess, why would you do that?, questions bring stress, lying is something you learn, lying is a stage of development, who knocked over the milk?, the dog knocked over the milk, Werwile of The Crystal Crypt by Gardner F. Fox, hashtag boobtube, women in test tubes, in comics, I underestimated him, if you have a family who loves you, most people don’t read, Paul can read for himself, enjoying a story together, watching a TV show together, playing computer games, you can ask your mom to read it, adorable, Jesse’s mom was not a fan of that story, Harry Turtledove, reading The Iliad for fun, what we did for entertainment before radio and TV, designed to be read aloud, reading Oscar Wilde, reading an audiobook, most people’s interactions are through the audio medium, its not that weird, unlocks the lady in the jar, a retelling of SHE by H. Rider Haggard, she knows everything, some good ideas, three planets, throne planet, laboratory planet, arsenal planet, a Marvel movie final fight scene, the big boss fight, great writing for the first 4 pages, transformed language, half-Borg and half-Vulcan, Seven Of Nine, she gets damseled, suitable for marriage now, pretty funny stuff, a lot of bad writing in the middle, there’s no reason or explanation for it being a “Werwile”, a god named Grock, lots of great vocab words, there’s a scene that is almost identical, the dressing up in native costume and joining a caravan heading to a city, Dick’s first sale that was published was to Planet Stories [Beyond Lies The Wub], studying the market, reading the story in context, that cyclopean look to the city, a market that he understood, if you can get into Fantasy & Science Fiction, one story into Astounding (Imposter), another weak connection, The Twilight Zone, Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?, more like a Fredric Brown, palate cleansers between bigger stories, dressing up as a native, joining a caravan, fun, what a lot of Planet Stories is about, playing dress-up and hide and seek, hey dad what’s that little snow-globe you keep on your desk, hey look at all the dead bodies floating around in the water, HBO MAX, the Watchmen sequel series, Don Johnson, cool in the 1980s, our heroine superhero cop, team blue, her snooper x-ray device, a secret panel with a KKK uniform behind it, he’s got the black clad leiter uniform in the closet, he’s the Thacher character, he used it to improve himself within the party, a Voight-kampff test, an IQ test, doing the latrines or calculating ballistics, the social hierarchy within the Martian society, William Gibson’s technology not being evenly distributed, they half to come to the city to have their marriage performed, an official has to do it, grey robes he never takes off and will be buried in, awesome costumes, the fear of totalitarian style government, accede to our demands, that’s empire, Evan, you need to trade with us on our terms, you take this opium, you need to give us gold, that’s extraction, the villagers aren’t cowed, good breeding stock, very Nazi, what’s the point of governments counting marriages, you belong to us, official breeding programs, shcakc up with every girl he wants to get into the pants of, marry all of them, Dick took serial monogamy very seriously, worried about being cuckolded, Beyond The Door, worth reading despite being weak, unpolished Dick, there was no polish on The Unteleported Man aka Lies, Inc., just stapled together, Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt was a much worse story, the tonal shift, a suitable bride having her superior mind wiped, Planet Stories are fun even when the stories are very weak.

Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt by Gardner F. Fox

The Crystal Crypt and Werwile Of The Crystal Crypt

The Crystal Crypt by Philip K. Dick

The Crystal Crypt [2013 short film]

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The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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

The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban - cover by Richard Powers

SPHERE - The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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