The SFFaudio Podcast #663 – Murder In The Gunroom by H. Beam Piper – read by Anthony Wilson. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (6 hours 46 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer and Trish E. Matson.
Talked about on today’s show:
1953, a dedication, Colonel Henry W. Shoemaker, WWII, 1947, post-WWII, German stuff, The Prisoner, the mind-switching, consciousness swapping vs. body swapping, heil, the US is going crazy right now, Shicklegruber’s war, ink stained, Corporal Kavalein, an insufflator, m’god sarge, lousy with prints, half the wehrmacht, war crimes commission, if published today, the sting or the bite, historical novels, references, half of average readers, The Hill’s Rising with Ryan Grim explaining how WWII worked, the reason we fought WWII, the Russians did that, ignorance of history is ubiquitous, Civilization games, nobody knows all of Egyptian history, nobody can keep up, recording, She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, the Mongol dynasty in China, two ways of reading this book, a locked room mystery book, Agatha Christie style, its a cozy, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, his first novel, more about firearms than it is about mysteries, poisons, all Christie does is poisons, a WWI nurse, medicines are poisons, a slow acting agent, gun collecting, a setup for a series, a business owner vs. a private detective, the exception that will always happen, detectives who work for him, posing as a butler, more Rex Stouty or Nero Wolfey, amateur detectives, Miss Marple, Poirot, as a detective mystery novel, locked room mysteries, know who the murderer a page before, playing a game with the author, a good writer can pull it off for the reader, Murder By Death (1976), a game you play solo, a historical document of 1947, a window into time, reading books like this is understanding 1947 in no other way, three major things going on, smoking, they must all stink so bad, drinking, how much of an alcoholic are you?, a nymphomaniac and a dipsomaniac, guns, the subset of people involved, a stamp collecting society, what person would us a collectible stamp, hence it was the butler, Charade (1963), Randall Garrett’s Napoli Express, a massive conspiracy by everyone, The Orient Express, equal reason to keep silent, having fun, self-parody, Jesse has the science on spoilers, some people don’t believe in science, masterfully handled for a first novel, digressions, sociological societies, less than 7 hours, a science fiction writer, they’re all him, what Piper’s life actually was like, was his first name Horace?, co-authored Piper’s first publication, Army intelligence guy, killed some Nazis, a stand in for Shoemaker, only pistols, the evolution of the pistol, the crooked arms merchant named Price?, Rivers, Lord Rivers, Richard III, creative about their backstories, a foreign dignitary, Pennsylvania history and folklore, marrying to wealth, railroad company, hanging out with a gun collector, bachelor, hanging out in the gunroom, why his name is in the dedication, why this colonel gets a colonelcy, a gentlemanly thing to do, Rand seems to not want to lie, misleading vs. lying, approaching with one of his many hats, general semantics, World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, a lot of Aristotle or Aristotelian thinking, its bullshit, important for Piper, use this method and you will be able to solve this mystery, more was than is, Alfred Korzybski, whatever them is, social and personal problems solvable, a messianic flavour, the one true way, dismissed in the 1960s, Science And Sanity An Introduction To Non-Aristotelian Systems, a plenum of some values, academic speak for I don’t know what I’m talking about, trying to make this a general semantics mystery novel, since that’s what the book is about, example: the word “unicorn”, it has a little beard, it smells nice, it has cloven hooves, vampire, a pejorative, a mythical creature, a bat from South American, in you images are conjured up that we should care about and try to understand, writing some kind of hobbyhorse, you can read it as a straight mystery, a lot of Rand’s detection starts with a lot of assumptions, he’s objectively correct in his universe, talking about the client, he judges her to be worthy, Tri-State Detective Agency, Jefferson Davis Rand, Ayn Rand + Jefferson Davis, some very American things going on, some guns, the NRA all over this, that’s investigation isn’t it, totally unbelievable, Gladys Fleming, the principles of general semantics, an untenable position, she’s a good chess player, when he’s talking to the science fiction author, I write for Astonishing Stories, don’t worry about the title (its just traditional), in 1947 Piper is not a known Science Fiction writer, useful for plotting, reading Astounding, John W. Campbell, this Dianetics is terrific!, this must be true!, too deep in the subject and not enough skepticism, S.I. Hayakawa, so practical and smart, the assessment of the gun estate, the executrix, the lawyer, being setup, its all right, super-competent, almost Heinleinian, not smarmy where a Heinleinian superman, technically bulletproof, carrying two pistols around randomly, this is also how he died, suicide, a strange echo, he would have written a note, Jesse’s general semantics hat, “gun violence”, he violently combed his mustache, he violently pet his dog, target shooting as violence, hunting animals, “putting to sleep”, euphemisms control our minds, conjuring up images of school shootings, homicides of other people, having access to firearms, completely natural, the parallels between H. Beam Piper and Robert E. Howard, the world does not cater to being a professional writer, losing their mothers, not a good industry, Weird Tales was not on a great financial footing, the paperback market, co-authorship, smoke or drink themselves to death, a lubrication to suicide, the oily rag, homicide of the self, brain fodder, a foreshadow, human beings seem to be the only animals prone to suicide, reach out and get help, a touchy and untalked about subject, a bad theory, Jim Jones’s thing, Heaven’s Gate, the connection between self-image and suicide, an absolute gentleman, an unmarried man’s man, the dream of H. Beam Piper, kind to widows, appreciating a woman who knows how to handle a firearm, turning down money and jobs at will, keep some shred of dignity, bachelor life vs. married life, irreconcilable, Nero Wolfe likes to play with his orchids, he’s rude, Archie Goodwin, ice cream, beer, the cozy aspect, hanging out with a Mary Sue character, the author is playing fair, going to Rivers’ shop, blackmail or coerce, trigger to the plot, seeing inside his head after a scene happens, not a plotting mistake, how well put together this plot is, monologues about guns, a huge audience for guns, goodreads reviews, a temporary problem on LibriVox, HOW. DARE. YOU., how to turn dropbox mp3s into a podcast HuffDuffer.com), thinking about this question, eliding gives a false image of the past, Overlord (2018), a black sergeant commanding white US Airborne soldiers, representation, Jews and Indians, a lot of what happens in fiction is idealization, private detectives do exist, an armoured car guy, the pre-mix, the corporate shenanigans, insider trading, a conflict of interest, very realistic, the relationship to the cops, the class stuff, the replacement butler, colleagues and friends with the boss, black people in this book, the whole thing is a fantasy, a reality for some people, hanging out with rich people -> rich people problems, fantasy situations, a very meta-book, one and done, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Our Man Bashir“, a holodeck adventure, Bashir’s cover identity is a rich playboy, more fun to write about a country house mystery, a cozy, the deep underbelly, Mike Hammer, hard-boiled, James Bond in the movies, Roger Moore is always smirking, a comedy in essence, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Renfaires have no mud farmers, pick your fantasy world, a brightly coloured disease free Renaissance, gay space communism, Carrie Vaughn’s Questland, a Dreampark scenario, the great appeal of Westworld, we get to dwell with the workers, the elites who rape and kill and swagger, sickos who wanna live there, treating what are essentially human beings as objects, getting into these metastories, general semantics will not get us out of WWIII, a little bit of perspective, letting shows peter-out…
The SFFaudio Podcast #654 – Star Ship by Poul Anderson; read by Paul Harvey (for LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 32 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson.
Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, Fall 1950, the description therein, The strangest space castaways of all!, weirdly medieval, the life-boat cracked up, an AI that rebelled against them, this episode of Star Trek Voyager, all simulation, Paul unleashed, “The Paradise Syndrome”, not good depictions of Native Americans, C.J. Cherryh’s the Foreigner series, 12 novels vs. 90 minutes, padded vs. lean and mean, the backstory is all in here, a two part Voyager episode, Star Trek The Next Generation, an episode of The Orville, time works differently down there, Interstellar (2014), “Blink Of An Eye”, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, “Mad Idolatry”, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Ted Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God, accelerated rate vs. accelerated time, all they needed was a remote control, Aliens (1986), the orbiting Sulaco, their away mission included the entire crew, Apollo 11, you gotta leave Michael Collins up there, subspace vortex, your people with your equipment, one in a billion chance, one ion storm, wrong timeline?, what Heinlein did, Poul Anderson’s complete psychotechnic league, the third story, Flandry, egalitarian, looser, Sandra Miesel, Startling Stories, Winter 1955, back in the early 1940s Robert A. Heinlein let it be known, The Snows Of Ganymede, a bare outline, fantasy and prophecy, the first 250 years, 2875, The Star Ways, some of them are as yet unwritten, Cold Victory wasn’t published until the 1980s, Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Arnold J. Toynbee, anthropoid robot invented, anti-robot riots, a historical view, a me discovering this, psychodynamics was created, the early death of Dwight D. Eisenhower. U.S. Socialism in the 1950s, like Asimov’s psychohistory, influence government policy and popular attitudes, his own Foundation, uncomfortable questions, realism vs. idealism, Anderson’s political beliefs, he reversed his strong support for the United Nations, more cynical, cycles of history, libertarian?, internationalist, individualist, any other stories, a reversal of The High Crusade, capes, cannons, siege engines, medieval futuristic, Jack Vance, only three generations, a mix of elements, The Dragon Masters, worldbuilding happened outside of the plot, like reading Heinlein, he has a plan, Friday is set in the same universe as Farmer In The Sky, part of a greater universe, reading his openings more than once, nobody with amnesia,
With sunset, there was rain. When Dougald Anson brought his boat in to Krakenau harbor, there was only a vast wet darkness around him.
the aliens when we get to them, fur with clothes, he swished his tail, my gosh look at that alien!,
The Khazaki was humanoid, to be sure—shorter than the Terrestrial average, but slim and lithe. Soft golden fur covered his sinewy body, and a slender tail switched restlessly against his legs. His head was the least human part of him, with its sloping forehead, narrow chin, and blunt-muzzled face. The long whiskers around his mouth and above the amber cat-eyes twitched continuously, sensitive to minute shifts in air currents and temperature. Along the top of his skull, the fur grew up in a cockatoo plume that swept back down his neck, a secondary sexual characteristic that females lacked.
the original art, it just looks like a mohawk, this picture is from right near the end of the story, funny things going on in the background, a little post-medieval, the Khazaki – Kozakis – Cossacks, in the analogue that is Poul Anderson’s brain, Japanese, Scandanavian guy, lucky, plot magic, a lot of females, Ching Chun Chen aka Ensign Kim, taught astrogation from her grandfather, our Conan figure, prematurely old looking, a forehead scar, had many women attracted to him (including the native women), L. Sprague de Camp, rishathra, cultural vs. wenching,
He looked away, his face hot in the gloom, realizing suddenly why Masefield Carson hated him. Briefly, he wished he hadn’t had such consistent luck with women. But the accident that there was a preponderance of females in the second and third generations of Khazaki humans had made it more or less inevitable, and he—well, he was only human. There’d been Earthling girls; and not a few Khazaki women had been intrigued by the big Terrestrial. Yes, I was lucky, he thought bitterly. Lucky in all except the one that mattered. Right after, Anse felt a small hand laid on his arm. He looked down into the dark eyes of DuFrere Marie. She was a pretty girl, a little younger than he, and until he’d really noticed Ellen he’d been paying her some attention.
“I don’t care about equality,” she whispered. “A woman shouldn’t try to be a man. I’d want only to cook and keep house for my man, and bear his children.”
It was, Anse realized, a typical Khazaki attitude. But—he remembered with a sudden pity that Carson had been courting Marie. “This is pretty tough on you,” he muttered. “I’ll try to see that Carse is saved…. If we win,” he added wryly.
“Him? I don’t care about that Masefield. Let them hang him. But Anse—be careful—”
a very Conan guy, escape to the moon, I was promised a STAR SHIP, not a science fiction story in its main action, that’s what Planet Stories is about, the whole purpose is to get to another place, fun, planetary romance, a novelty, Planet Stories is way ahead, picking up on Science Fiction in the 1950s, maybe there’s something to this stuff, as opposed to romance or railroad or baseball fiction magazines, extrapolative science fiction, some real thing behind it, some scientific idea, the reason we like Dragon’s Egg, if we had a neutron-star, put in a ton of brain work, the speed of their metabolism, how do I tell it as a story, all that brainwork lends some sort of truth to the story, a mediocre story, still good, he has some stuff going on in his mind, the struggle we’ll see between the Soviets and the United States, the Moon is a tangible object in the sky, plot the mountains of the Moon, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, the Mesklinites, we’re gonna be friends, a very masculine story, give me your sword,
He added, after a moment: “A man has to stand by his comrades.”
Janazik nodded, very slowly. “Give me your sword,” he said.
“Eh?” Anse looked at him. The blue eyes were unseeing, blind with pain, but he handed over the red weapon. Janazik slipped his own glaive into the human’s fingers.
Then he laid a hand on Anse’s shoulder and smiled at him, and then looked away.
We Khazaki don’t know love. There is comradeship, deeper than any Earthling knows. When it happens between male and female, they are mates. When it is between male and male, they are blood-brothers. And a man must stand by his comrades.
they don’t have any gays on this planet, a dozen words for betrayal but not a single word for love, teach me this earth thing you call kissing, humans have to teach sex to the aliens, in the Doctor Who universe, unusual on Earth, you have sex all the time?, what’s wrong with you?, build a rocket, there is this past, the first space-boat, a vivid past, Jerry Pournelle’s King David’s Spaceship, bootstrap a spaceship, you can’t colonize us, quasi-medieval, ran in the same circles, so many ideas, starships won’t even be necessary, Peter F. Hamilton, wormhole on Mars, Pandora’s Star, rockets that grow like trees, Beowulf Schaeffer, engineered by the Pak?, interesting tidbit, fishbowl helmet, any way to get to space, living and working in space, to go to another place, international space station, The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, space is the absence of a place, what if…, raiding across the galaxy, I could make this go another way, fun stuff, similar situation, somehow the humans are the dominant ones, take out our macbooks and upload a virus, Independence Day 2 (2016), hey that H.G. Wells and the War Of The Worlds thing?, I’m doing that, a computer virus, a fun movie, waiting for the Americans doing something, Independence Day: UK, when talking to Julie Davis, the Russians won WWII in Europe, Operation Market Garden, Western front vs. Eastern front, we gotta get the Chinese market, throw in a Chinese character, Dwayne Johnson, a scene set in Seoul, Skyscraper (2018), it lands badly, if you’re building the rocket ship, spoilers and scoops and pinstripes on a rocket, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, only 90 minutes, a very small story, a little planetary romance, detailed backstory that the author knows and we can surmise, a good outline, a couple of Heinlein stories, the rise of the prophet, the crazy years, with a science fiction setting, a standard Green Odyssey sort of story, Conan/action, blood brothers, pirates, a barbarian by comparison, ringmail, a blonde mane, a sword, a higher gravity planet, how it got to be as fine as it is for a very pulpy story, really obsessed with Iceland?, he makes it work, obsessed with the norther lands, an Icelandic saga, The Man Who Came Early, Poul Anderson’s answer to Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, detail and place, I’m only going to tell stories set in the Black Forest, scandinavian history, Star Ways, he’s not top tier, consistently never terrible, Andre Norton, how did he manage to make a good story?, leaning on Conan, leaning on the same things, one of the reasons we know Howard writes so well, leaning heavily on history, almost never has magic as a major function, an evil wizard whose casting a spell, this tower is made of magic, fighting a literal god, leaning on the science, that is beauty, that’s poetic, NESFA, serviceable, very watered down mead, Njáls Saga, Netflix watch party, the Skiffy and Fanty people, Ragnarok, the final verdict, oh shit we gotta write a whole series, Netflix is planetary, Norsemen, funny silly stuff, leaning heavily on the facts of Norwegian life, its legit, the gutter of pulp, weak ass stories, a Conan pastiche, Tarzan, Hour 25, Sherlock Holmes, novels and collections, Delenda Est, the time patrol stories, more coming our all the time, the good news, finally hitting gutenberg, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Jeffro Johnson, The Broken Sword, Appendix N, a book of reviews, what they contributed to Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, Jack Vance’s magic system, if you’re a dungeon master, lift from these guys, Jerome Bixby, The Man From Earth (2007), Star Trek actors sitting in a room for 90 minutes, an ideas guy, Planet Stories, all Star Trek things, four episodes of the original Star Trek, ideas are incredibly important for science fiction, nice prose vs. characters, a crappily written story that’s interesting, a first contact protocol, teleportation aka transporters, Star Trek basics, Star Trek ideas in non-Star Trek stories, “By Any Other Name”, “Mirror, Mirror”, goateed Spock, “Day Of The Dove”, “Requiem For Methuselah”, “Galileo Seven”, a shuttle, “Metamorphosis”, mate with the giant guys who throw rocks, The Twilight Zone, “It’s A Good Life”, a good ideas story, his two tricks, somehow you can get a career, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, a staple of Jesse’s diet, a Poul Anderson, a Ray Bradbury Podcast: Bradbury 100, Science Fiction 101, more general, the Silverberg anthology (Worlds Of Wonder), an introduction to Science Fiction, old stuff, current stuff, future stuff, looking back over your life, you tripped and fell into an open grave, at night, on a Thursday, this is a good podcast, distilled it down, a novelette, Paul’s having a brain freeze because of Covid-19 and the vaccine for same, will Scott ban himself from the Baen forums, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal, Trump should make a militia, Harold Lamb, historical fiction guy, Marching Sands, Omar Khayyam: A Life, Genghis Khan: King Of All Men, need more Rubáiyát in my life, the LibriVox version is preferable, Cirsova, Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, astral projection, a professional narrator, leverage more stuff, our narrator today, like Jesse reading, the majority are pretty good, share the wealth, if pizza was still under trademark, Pizza authorized restaurant, no cheerios pizza!, let our pizzas free, champagne, parmesan, Cheddar, let people make their own pizzas, we’ve had a pizza flourishing, the ketchup on hot-dogs, its allowed, the right condiments for hotdogs, don’t lock down my hot dog, The Ship Of Ishtar by A. Merritt, Planet Stories series, Sword Of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackets, Robots Have No Tails by Leigh Brackett, Stefan Rudnicki, Johnny Heller, Nightfall And Other Stories, 40 or 50 titles, more officially public domain, 1923 was a cutoff until 2 years ago, the late 1920s pretty soon, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leonardo Dicaprio (the short guy from Titanic), push books to sell to the high schools, oh shit the copyright’s expiring, the Philip K. Dick estate, the Folio Society collection of The Complete Short Stories of Philip K. Dick, Bryan Alexander, a monstrosity, $750 for four books, Jesse’s complaints are legion, Americans tend to do that, the artistic objects, collecting old things, a half million dollar revenue project, does not include Dick’s juvenile, a handful or two handfuls not in there, lazy as fuck, the colours are fluorescent, commissioning new art, too highbrow and too generic, The Infinites, Colony, a pointless argument, people like art, these are objections for collection, like buying a sculpture, a phenomenon in art, this is a way of storing value, artificial scarcity, art as one object, not for the billionaires, above the funko pop level, The Book Of The New Sun, a new Tor version, zener card symbols are public domain, this is bad cover art, is art objective or subjective, a minimalist room, Scott doesn’t complain about art, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Kivrin, $750!, Subterranean Editions, The Best Of David Brin, The Best Of Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress.
The SFFaudio Podcast #646 – Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick – read by Ian Bradford Ngongotaha Pugh. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (31 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.
Talked about on today’s show:
Orbit, December 1953, copyright clearances, a comic book adaptation, BIPOC, very countryist of you, IBPOC, who gets to be included, LGBTQ2S+, a council that meets in the sewers beneath New York City, can Jesse be included?, parentage, black vs. coloured, then most obvious, latinx, 25% of the community is aware of it, approx 5% use it, Tony’s dad, that’s our word, you beetle lover, Pasudeti’s point of view, very different, similar themes, goodreads, three Os with a little line dancing over it, 3.5 stars, ratings out of stars, one of the most different Philip K. Dick stories, the literary agency that gave it a G or a G+, classify it, feel about it, Mike Resnick, Birthright: The Book Of Man, dooming humanity, enslaved and subjugated, teetering point, where we came from, Seven Views Of Olduvai Gorge, bootstrap up themselves to sentience, mankind are assholes, India’s rise against the British, decolonization, Rhodesia, Kenya, leibensraum, you can’t live on Earth anymore, how far they spread, other Orion planets, a huge crisis, we must move out just to survive, a theme in Dick’s novels, The Variable Man, Mr. Spaceship, The World Jones Made, this expansion of humanity, this intimate way, what he thought were friends, his community, this way, this angle, Time Out Of Joint, Arthur C. Clarke, Omni Magazine, it doesn’t seem inevitable, doom, one battle, the tide has turned, they’re evacuating the planet, evacuating the city, beetle riots and mobs, being psychohistorians, this is stolen ground, in the long term, no forever in the long term, the SMLA agency, “pedestrian”, “rather corny stuff”, “pretending to be impressive”, not your favourite, my knee, earnest, certain works are the greats, they don’t understand it, seeing Jesse’s own reactions, why is this ok?, The Crystal Crypt, humans leaving Mars, Earth spies steal a city, black clad leiters, Philip K. Dick is doing something, our hero in this story, Tony Rossi, Italian, Anthony, Italians play a role, make a little list, Roog, Cardossis, a real house and a real dog, The Man In The high Castle, Joe Cinadella, Now Wait For Last Year, always on about the Italians, my best friend was Italian!, the Japs, victory gardens, a German last name, Philip K. Dick’s father, a gas mask, everybody knows what your name is, Dick is a pretty funny name, where this story is really set, he was never decolonized, double envelopment, seeing his story in print there, American tank gives piggy back ride to nip tank, growing up during the war, during the Italian Campaign, Sicily, the Italians change size, Benito Mussolini, again The Hanging Stranger, an analogy, the number of military bases in Italy today, between 3 and 100, growing up on a military base, that’s actually what we see, he puts on his spacesuit, I’m going out to play, school 4 hours a day 6 days a week (online), a mandatory lift from a beetle, the B-slur, humans automatically get rides, a polite boy, an attractive telepathic female, the robot carries his bag, his friends reject him, you suck, fuck you, they throw rocks at him, not suitable for human life, recovery mode, his EEP (his robot dog), a heat ray, no blood, Tony’s visor fogs up, we’re on the run now, a really weird story, read the words and bounced off, how amazing the amount of planetary world building goes on, the flux winds, trudging through sands, almost like Cuba, freighters that have been changed, they have an empire, a really amazing world, told from the POV of someone least able to tell us about it, threatens to beat his son, that threat from the parents, Martians Come In Clouds, the external colonizers, the monsters are the humans, he’s 11 in that story and 10 in this story, we know he’s reading the newspaper, he has to flip through the newspaper, everybody would know what’s going on, his sensitivity level is through the roof, John W. Campbell, a metaphor for sensitivity, insensitive to his parent’s racism, working on projects with them, polite and friendly, they turn on a dime, all of a sudden, this Japanese friend, the next day Pearl Harbor happens, the stab in the back, unprovoked attack, high rhetoric for Pearl Harbor, a participant in this hate, reflecting upon it and thinking about it, a twitter thread about this story, an interesting comparison to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a movie of no note, a very powerful book, a war story told from the point of view of a boy, special kids, super-soldiers in a war against the buggers, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, funny name, accident, human inability to recognize they were like them, stolen ground, a thoughtful guy, a relgious guy, anti-gay vs. homophobic asshole, taking his religion seriously, pressing Paul’s buttons, all his hate non-violent, sexual preference, sexual tension between the young pasudeti woman and young Tony on the bus, Catholicism’s official policy on homosexuality, dodging it, still evolving, dealing with intellectual inconsistencies, when Tony is being attack for his species, why he would feel hurt, physically assaulted, a terrible law imposed on them, an occupying force, settlers, stolen ground, we’re here because we’re stronger, a meeting of an elite at a university, introductions degrees, acknowledge the place that they’re in is on unceded territory, on Dakota land, I’m headed back to Europe, this is stolen ground, there’s no place for Jesse to go, the Earth is uninhabitable, something deep inside this, all the ships that come from Europe or Asia, the Vietnam War, “doesn’t resonate in a particular way yet (but I think it will), I was thinking about the end of the Vietnam War and the aircraft carriers, the images of aircraft, perfectly good helicopters, being pushed off to make room for more people, this is 1975, and they’re just like trying to get every person who was a quote unquote collaborator, that’s not my word, but somebody who is going to get persecuted or
prosecuted for collaborating with the Americans out and into the United States to safety, right? Those people can’t go back. I guess this is sorta how the Cubans feel, in southern Florida, or whatever. So there’s some sort of resonance going on there and that’s … this is not a
story that can be judged on a score out of five, because its not trying to win a contest its trying to express a very, very specific kind of concern. It’s a very strange story.”, subsequent books, how do you reconcile the idea of your country and community being taken from and genocided to take that land, they ain’t giving it back, a nice worldbuilding, Eastward Ho! by William Tenn (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1958), really dark, world history, the century of Ethnic Cleansing (the 20th century), the Acadians, Armenia, Pakistan – India, decolonization efforts, Zanzibar, the rights of indigenous people vs. ethno-nationalism, they physically come and ethnically cleanse you, some cop shows up, little Johnny has to leave to a camp, Germans and Italians, Germans ethnically cleansed from Europe after the war, 12 million people, Prussia, German enclaves, all over the world, a whole bunch of Germans shipped to Australia during WWII, the Dunera Boys, enemy aliens, hate causes that, they don’t wear a pickle helmet, Paul’s family name pronunciation changed, based on hate, racism, the George Takei, the Star Trek guy, Star Trek was trying to break up that idea of racism, Kenyan, they had a Jewish captain and a Jewish first officer, one world government, ethnic identities but not ethno states, Harry Kim is from Denmark, so weird to have a nuanced very strange little idea, an anti-happy ending, Tony is turned from being a happy little boy playing with his friends to a bitter boy who could be fighting the pasudeti soon, sufficient lengths to show these bug-like aliens have their own ethnic slur for humans (white-grubs), not a militaristic culture, swapped military equipment, armed freighters, those beetles shooting down our boys from armed-freighters, to think of those Germans shooting down my boy, some rando, strategic bombing, is it okay for us to bomb cities?, coup any attempts at change, ask the city fathers of Carthage, economic and social control of Sicily, the Phoenicians, a commercial empire, mercenaries, raise more legions, delda est, Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, culture is important, the humans remind Evan of the Romans, on the planet for 14 years, slaves and land, citizenship, the best way of analyzing it, he’s set it in space, the barbarians are retaking the land, now taking Rome, cynicism about the humans, designed to be humans are always the same wherever we go, he ain’t wrong, nobody’s mad at Genghis Khan the way they’re mad at Hitler, betrayed by his friends at school, his haircut, Cato was in favour of genocide, its so long ago, ultra-right nationalists, SPQR, trolls, we don’t have to go back too far, victims and oppression, Israel, reparations for slavery, continue cancelling people, cancelling Genghis Khan, cancel Thomas Jefferson, re-contextualizing, less hagiography more history, the 1619 project, first grade, early American history, conservatives react badly, Irish drafted into the US army and sent to fight in Mexico, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, all this land was stolen, a war of imperialist conquest, most people aren’t in academic environments, Tom Berenger, One Man’s Hero (1999), HBO movies, we don’t care about you, a pretty compelling example, the two state solution, good luck with that, a one state solution, secular power-sharing, still in ethno-nationalist, a lot of support for it, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, punishment, on this planet, its not even habitable, his parents gave him an EEP, a cute robot dog (also a killing machine bodyguard), electronic extermination pet?, a truck ride in the Man In The High Castle, everything in this story is Italian, regular people, if Jesse lived in Italy and there’s a military base right beside me, a military transport that ran over a Korean school girl, the Catholic church’s solution to problem priests, resentment, you’re a nice guy and everything but get the fuck out of here, Okinawa, the Taiwanese will take those bases, it isn’t pedestrian, there’s a lot of walking in this story, not even a real grapefruit he’s eating, a lot of walking, a regular old story about a guy who goes for a walk, a kind of tree, a kid rejected on the school yard, what colour his spacesuit is, its bizarre and fascinating, people read Philip K. Dick backward, I like LSD, they like Ubik, this doesn’t have that stuff, the Jupiter symphony by Mozart, they don’t understand, the beat vs. the lyrics, all the words passed into my eyes, trying to make money, Jesse read a ton of science fiction, nobody else writes about kids, middle grade fiction, Schooled by Gordon Korman, school books, the short story fiction markets from the 1950s, the short story market is basically dead, it was always adult, in science fiction?, Stephen King, he does kids really well, how many H.P. Lovecraft stories? [The Silver Key], the pasudeti kids, they’re building a space station, the childhood of slaves, plantations were not segregated, the childhood aspect, stolen childhood, playing with the black slaves, this facade doesn’t work anymore, even without the defeat, equals, power over them, a cusp of awakening, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, like Robert E. Howard, you take your place as the lord of the manor, they need to know their place, you can free some of them when you die, she smiled faintly, she knows what’s going to happen, Tony was troubled and uncertain, to the place where his friends lived, an immense bengalo tree, a domed city, B’Prith, his eep, “how are things?”, fine, their shells had not hardened, they’re the grubs, they could hop and skip around still, such a great writer, “what’s the matter”, Llyre, what are you all mad about, the war again, his anger burst up, it was fine, sure, the heart of the story, being affected by what’s going on in the news, when 9/11 happened, all those arab kids endlessly prosecuted and persecuted, both, getting attacked for nothing they did, we do it to ourselves, he’s capturing something, the antithesis of pedestrian, so wrapped up in its own explanations, sorry about the genocide, gotta be nice to the Indians now, this is a very extraordinary story, how could you rate this?, it makes sense to compare it, it doesn’t make sense to rate, trying to classify things, the instinct to rate, The Father-Thing was sold to the highest market, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Philip K. Dick is so important because he’s doing things nobody else is doing, starting with Valis, I dig drugs, The Crystal Crypt is almost impenetrable, could be years, Evan’s podcast on this story, the one state solution, the no state solution, most of the West Bank is colonized, the beetles would be the majority, a detour, The Wild One (1953) with Marlon Brando, The Red Dwarf version of the movie, personality on screen, I love you johnny, based on a short story about a real incident, took over the town, a “riot”, a photograph, a phenomenon in the 1950s, the juvenile delinquents, Rebel Without A Cause (1955), James Dean, the biker gangs started after WWII, ex-bomber pilots all PTSD, living the wild lifestyle, the 1%ers, outlaw motorcycle gangs, they don’t fucking care about your fucking laws, I don’t like no cops, I don’t make no deals with cops, this is a reaction, when you come back from the war traumatized, unless you’re a psychopath, drinking, not obeying, not old enough to be a soldier, his ROTC didn’t last very long, too sensitive, a universal draft, arguing about it at the kitchen table, we know exactluy what’s going on, but Tony doesn’t know, his dad threatens to beat him, if this is your target and you hit your target, that movie makes no sense, a warning to our society, the disclaimer, the least wild person in the whole movie is the wild one, calm down, have a seat, have a drink, how high his voice is pitched, a homoerotic relationship, somebody throws a tire iron at him, his bike runs over an old man, the whole point of this movie, it doesn’t give you a clue, they don’t understand it at the time, why these biker gangs existed, cops are authority, fascinating psychology, a post traumatic stress society.
The SFFaudio Podcast #611 – Jewels of Gwahlur by Robert E. Howard; read by Phil Chenevert
This unabridged reading of the story (2 hours 5 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Alex.
Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, March 1935, The Servants Of Bit Yakin, The Teeth Of Gwahlur, Farnsworth Wright, the giveaway ending, Conan actually says that, a monster vs. some jewels, an awesome story, a really cool political intrigue story, realpolitik, what country wants to invade what country for what resources, Russia to invade Afghanistan, Americans invade, they want the minerals, a police that believes in the bullshit, we’re going in as liberators!, Conan’s attitude, inhuman ape-ghouls, what an idiot, not a lot of swordfights, any actual magic?, the preserved body, a lich, the ghoul men, C.H.U.D.S, Lovecraftian ghouls, very preserved lives, what did Bit-Yakin even wanna do in there?, food delivery, a shitty life, implied backstory, broad strokes, that scroll, undercuts the interpretation of the vast public, he knows his shit, Conan’s grasp of languages, Bit-Yakin is self-obsessed, the only mummy on the entire granite curtain, the geology of it, Star Hunter by Andre Norton, comic book adaptations, climbing the cliff, a little nichey cave, slightly less sheer, a secret entrance, he’s a hill climber, he just happened to find the only mummy on this 20 km, Jesse’s Monkey’s Paw theory, W.W. Jacobs, a free meal, an elaborate show, mangled in a factory accident, a great con from idea, a whole sea-chest full of monkey’s paws, a reality based story, black magic is real, the way you focus the story tells you what the reality is, the Stygian dude, Thutmekri, there’s mummies at the top of every part of the palisade, this is a con-game story, at the end, Muriella, the Punts they have a thing for an ivory goddess too, Conan needs to be given a house full of gold, the Conquistadors, H. Rider Haggard’s She, a con on us as well, they’re all playing the same game, next village over, the Seven Cities Of Gold, what Robert E. Howard has done here, the icky international, a grifter whose name is Conan, the richest man on the planet or hang out with a sexy girl for a while, I can make use of you, that’s all its for, its the getting not the having for Conan, 40 pairs of red silk breeks, the P. Craig Russell, the fur diaper, iconic, you know who you’re looking at, no heirloomed possessions, just Conan and his black mane and his pantherish thews, his sandeled feet, we get it he’s a panther, tigers, big cats, Kull’s the one with the scar on his eye, Solomon Kane has a hat, Will’s first Conan story, how truly bleak a person Conan is, addicted to risk-taking, the only way he could feel, everything in it, westerns, bleak man comes to town stories, fascinated with the hand of H. Rider Haggard in this story, Ayesha done realistic (its a scam), the ending, the exact same scam in the next country over, pre-ice age Hyborian Africa, racial mythology, Zimbabwe, Shemitish archers, they’re just trying to figure things out (they’re completely wrong), John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, beehive huts, the Cromcast, a white kingdom inside of an African nation, a whole cool thesis, trying to prove to H.P. Lovecraft, its always collapse, civilization is a passing fad, collapse is the real thing, always arguing with Lovecraft, The Shadow Out Of Time, At The Mountains Of Madness, ancient civilizations on Earth, the leftovers, the pyramids, Nubia, pyramidal leftovers, their culture wasn’t a culture of pyramids that’s the only thing left, a long time ago they were really into skulls, a guy who knew how to weave things, collapsed civilizations everywhere, at the bottom of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the mounds of Moundsville, the Mound Builders, Howard’s not wrong (really), Howard’s obsessed by it, layer upon layer, this great Dungeons & Dragons style module, a great scenario to run characters through, a great VR, a great computer game, The Pygmalion’s Spectacles scenario you’d like to do, scaling forbidding crags, if things had worked out slightly differently…, still a threat, issue 25 of Savage Sword 1977, Conan Saga reprint, a very solid adaptation, expressive faces, camera angles, Conan’s sort of the least interesting figure in it, that splash page showing the wall and the temple, the terrific use of the actual Howard prose, colour to a black and white image, the 2006 P. Craig Russell adaptation, the caldera of a volcano, continent sized caldera, Devil’s Tower, a volcanic plug, could something like this exist?, he made it so awesome, the palace of the king, now its all jungle everywhere, green sward, pleasure pavilions, Zhargeba, take some of the teeth, Dagon and Derketta, Palishtim, layers and layers of strata, servants never even given a name, bound magically perhaps against their will, literally happens in this story, #LegCling, that’s the real thing, her costume is magical, Yaleah, you’re a liar, all the oracles are liars, the same costume, a room of sacred vestments, she’s fine, her clothes rot away, her jeweled breastplate, her silk short skirt, run to the closet, doing some work, an instinct, robots left to run a bit too long, what the priests are doing, an ancient system, reliable information from the oracle, what’s the modern version of that?, should we invade Iraq?, what’s the Oracle think?, only the wooden walls will hold?, a great kingdom will fall, Themistocles, the Persians are coming, we’re know for our ships, yo, some horrible political decision, let’s have a task force, white paper, push it off of the schedule, half measure or wholesale, a delaying tactic, hold a referendum, quit the British Empire, some special day for it, Upper and Lower Canada rebellions, Lord Durham’s report, holy shit you guys are totally corrupt, actual autonomy, democracy, everybody in the family of the governor gets to run things, Conan and Howard are mostly right, an actual politician who believes in the system, what gets you killed, by believing in these gods you’re gonna get scammed, have your mineral resources stolen from you, organized religion, Cimmeria, Crom never shows his face, Crom never answers prayers, its hard to remember, in a rural community there’s a ton of pressure to think about god, its not just me, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit’s will, a cool takeaway, Howard is intellectually a heavyweight, how little attention the player character pays to the world building, I have all this backstory, he’s a hack and slash character, The Slithering Shadow, Conan’s not a fan of the railroad, return to the backstory, the ape fantasies here, ape people, half-men, Mangani, super-gorillas all over the place, Atlanteans of Opar, an ape-man aspect, Conan doesn’t care about ape-men, sorta apey, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a Frankenstein-style doctor’s creations, a comic book adaptation, A Man Without A Soul, The Island Of Dr Moreau, pirates, the turn, dude, nobody has a soul, the prose, the opening paragraphs, a much better writer than Burroughs, away and away, the ocean of fronds and leaves, its full of that, Clark Ashton Smith, the color of Conan’s pants, different beats, plenty, that broad lofty hall, a fortune in itself, a series of tweets, every sentence is gorgeous, the part Lovecraft would have loved, the twin arches over the subterranean river, its an Indiana Jones story, the Sankara Stones, The Temple Of Doom, the difference between Indiana Jones and Conan, Conan is Belloc but more competent, she was a Nazi, greed doomed her, a pretty good movie, a steep cliff, a hard climb to save it, there’s a sequel to this, L. Sprague de Camp, The Ivory Goddess, Savage Sword would fill in the gaps, mining little bits, Roy Thomas, much of his career is riding on the coat tails Howard laid down, a Howard Lin Carter joint, the general public, the old used bookstore that doesn’t exist on its own, the dipshit (Fritz Leiber), repetitious and childish a self-vitiating brew of pseudoscience stage illusions, Francis X. Grodon, playing the Great Game better than them, The Hawk Of The Hills, living in a small town, that letter to Farnsworth Wright, burdened down with a bad healthcare system, an only child, his favourite stories were the historical ones, Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser, some random boxing story is good, the Conan that’s presented here, a thoughtful dude, rough and tumble, the fantastic he wrote about is very grounded, The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs, two guys punched each other a lot, Fantastic, May 1968, Will’s assessment: about as good as what Fritz Leiber would writer but better than something C.L. Moore would write, ranking the Conan stories, the middle, the backstory, The Vale Of Lost Women, parked his horse, this story is in real-time almost, if the lions havent eaten him, what are you crying about now, slim shoulders, a Corinthian accent, a valley girl accent, I immediately regret that decision, a lot of philosophy in Conan, Diogenes, Alexander the Great comes to town, get out of my light, I was just enjoying my mug, 2020 is wrecked, if you have a favourite cup, cynicism, skepticism, if you have a favorite and its broken now its sad, I had a cup and then I saw a boy drinking cupping, a tiny house down by a river, a flatline life, John Waterhouse painting, he’s got his scroll, a pile of onions for lunch, collecting to many motorcycles, a parallax on your own life, light enough to see, the worst Conan stories, Red Nails, a furious effort, exotic maniacs and hop-heads, opium dens, snaking through endless corridors, butcher shop carnage and the like, I don’t like Conan stories, The People Of The Black Circles, “All the obscenity and salacious infamy spawned in the muck of the abysmal pits of Life seemed to drown her in seas of cosmic filth.”, all good things, there’s a great scene, tearing a dude like he’s a chicken, cannibalism, Howard slaughtered a chicken, 1 Shadows, 2 Gwahlur, 3 Vale, a solid story, Beyond The Black River, Tower Of The Elephant, what he does there kinda fails, too much magic, a reskin, suiting it to his magazine, bonus for the cover, LibriVox, The Crushing Hands Of Death, Tiger Cat by David H. Keller, apparently people want whipping, whipping scenes, Frank Frazetta’s surefire way of getting on the cover, a documentary about Frank Frazetta, Painting With Fire, Frazetta paints himself (and his wife), Virgil Finlay and Margaret Brundage, the Dark Horse adaptation, he looked young, some of the architecture is good, the jungle valley, @FrazettaGirls, the series sold 10 million copies, the tan looking priests, shying away from the race angle, in 1977 they were aware of different races, Ayesha’s supposed to be an Arab, she should have black hair, a blonde in the movies, a thing in Hollywood, dark foamy hair, proto-greeks, how you describe a Venus, born of the foam of Zeus’ sex with the sea, Chronos, his step-dad, flashbacks, the court intrigue, more faithful to the flow of the story, the way it starts, Howard is a much better plotter than most people, why he didn’t put these scenes them in the story, that narrative technique, a mystery he wants us to be distracted from, a very good mystery writer technique, you can see it in retrospect, incredibly valuable techniques, Lovecraft read a tonne, Howard’s instinct, Spear And Fang, Argosy and Adventure, Harold Lamb, any LibriVox of Harold Lamb?, ask the experts, what kind of swords did they use in 6th century Uzbekistan?, inter-library loans, Howard Andrew Jones, the PDF Page, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Virgil Finlay, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, Arabian Knights set in 1650 Baghdad, a boy’s adventure, literal Dungeons & Dragons style playthrough, an abandoned castle, Zoroastrian?, the Temple of the Fire Worshippers, hitting the Haggard hard, a stern lecture about what he’s going to tell him later, pretending to be black, Scheherazade, are they diamonds?, the briefcase with the glowing object in Pulp Fiction, Orientalism, Shanghai and Afghanistan, Mountain Man by Robert E. Howard.