The SFFaudio Podcast #211 – Beside Still Waters by Robert Sheckley, narrated by Julie Davis. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (9 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Julie Davis, and Rose Davis.
Talked about on today’s show: Futurama, The Odyssey, Argos (Odysseus’ dog), a cup of sadness, depressing and beautiful, packed in sensitivity, The Status Civilization by Homer, Ray Bradbury, Amazing Stories, cold war worries, racism, Genesis, Psalms, Philip K. Dick, Eric S. Rabkin, there is no truth about what’s really happening in fiction, the final arbiter is the word, Martha, the 23rd psalm, Martha’s story, Julie’s patron saint, an expensive ointment, this slab of rock, “no girl he had ever known”, make a C.L.A.I.M., how many characters are in this story?, three?, Four?, robots, it was always night on Martha, everything is alive, Look! Language!, bedtime forever, Charles is Adam, a man created in the image of man, God isn’t interested in girls, the father he had never known, the “immaculate” shack, God is hard to find, the pallor of space, deprogramming the slave circuit, Willis the robot, the etymology of Charles (coming from Carl), the robot is a “free man”, …, “he restoreth my soul”, “I will fear no evil”, graveside usage, Robert Alter’s translation of Genesis, familiar yous, soul vs. spirit vs. breath vs. ghosts, God breathes, Gospel of John, Pentecost, neither water nor air, Martha’s tapped out, a Wall-E situation, was Charles sent by God?, was he an Angel?, once we start down the name path…, Mother Theresa, the guest/host relationship, God as the shepherd, in the shadow of death, flail and crook, rod and staff, Charles as Mark’s better self, Science Fiction, Martha as bitter, the “black tamed soil”, Martha as one, the Aramaic meaning, baby name websites, prefigurement, Exodus, graveyards, the purpose of slabs in graveyards, R.U.R. by Karel Čapek, Galactic Pot-Healer, Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe, Don Quixote, “over the mountains of the moon”, it was not good for Man to be alone, bone of his bones, the end miracle, something from outside of the story, rusted servos, “Where’s my hankie?”
Just in, this very interesting anthology, edited by Stefan Rudnicki! I couldn’t find a Table of Contents on this package or on the Audible site, so I included it below. Why don’t audio publishers find the Table of Contents important when it comes to anthologies and collections? Because… THEY ARE.
After seeing the contents, I’m eager to dive into this. Oliver Onions, Guy de Maupassant, Harlan Ellison, John Crowley… Harlan Ellison reading John Crowley… this is terrific!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION Lofty Ambitions by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison
PART 1: THE MYTHS WE LIVE BY A Youth In Apparel That Glittered by Stephen Crane, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem) After the Myths Went Home by Robert Silverberg, read by Stefan Rudnicki Novelty by John Crowley, read by Harlan Ellison Pan And The Firebird by Sam M. Steward, read by Stefan Rudnicki Murderer, The Hope Of All Women by Oskar Kokoschka, performed by cast The Touch Of Pan by Algernon Blackwood, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Lost Thyrsis by Oliver Onions, read by Roz Landor The Bacchae (excerpt) by Eurpides, performed by cast
PART 2: MYTHS THAT BITE A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman, read by Stefan Rudnicki Mystery Train by Lewis Shiner, read by John Rubenstein Continued On The Next Rock by R.A. Lafferty, read by Stefan Rudnicki Diary Of A God by Barry Pain, read by Enn Reitel The Repairer of Reputations (excerpt) by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki An Inhabitant Of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce, read by Danny Campbell The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, read by Arte Johnson
PART 3: SHOCKING FUTURES Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem) City Come A’Walkin (excerpt) by John Shirley, read by Don Leslie A Pail Of Air by Fritz Leiber, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Machine Stops (excerpt) by E.M. Forster, read by Roz Landor Looking Backward and Equality (excerpts) by Edward Bellamy, read by David Birney Gulliver’s Travels (excerpt) by Jonathan Swift read by Scott Brick Utopia (excerpt) by Sir Thomas More, read byChristopher Cazanove Monument To Amun by Queen Hatshepsut, read by Judy Young
PART 4: TRAVELING FOOLS La Bateau Ivre by Arthur Rimbaud, read by Stefan Rudnicki Inspiration by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Bones Do Lie by Anne McCaffrey, read by Stefan Rudnicki A Princess Of Mars (excerpt) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by John Rubinstein The Great Stone Of Sardis (excerpt) by Frank R. Stockton, read by David Birney Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (excerpt) by Lewis Carroll, read by Michael York Diary Of A Madman (excerpt) by Nicolai Gogol, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Inferno (excerpt) by Dante, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Odyssey of Homer (excerpt), read by David Birney
PART 5: TRANSFORMERS The Stolen Child by William B. Yeats, read by Stefan Rudnicki The Porcelain Salamander by Orson Scott Card, read by Gabrielle de Cuir Let’s Get Together by Isaac Asimov, read by Arte Johnson Dracula (excerpt) by Bram Stoker, read by Simon Vance Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (excerpt) by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by John Lee Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, read by Gabrielle de Cuir Frankenstein (excerpt) by Mary Shelley, read by Stefan Rudnicki0\ * The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh (Traditional English Fairy Tale), read by Judy Young A Midsummer Night’s Dream (excerpt) by William Shakespeare, performed by cast The Ballad of Tam Lin (Celtic ballad), read by Stefan Rudnicki Metamorphosis (excerpt) by Ovid, read by Cassandra Campbell
PART 6: REST IN PIECES
Hearse Song The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki The New Testament: Revelations (excerpt), read by Stefan Rudnicki The Colloquy of Monos & Una by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir From the Crypts of Memory by Clark Ashton Smith, read by Danny Campbell The Comet by W.E.B. DuBois, read by Mirron Willis Sand (excerpt) by Stefan Rudnicki, performed by cast Transience by Arthur C. Clarke, read by Bahni Turpin The Illusionist by Gareth Owen, read by Stefan Rudnicki Unchosen Love by Ursula K. LeGuin, read by Stefan Rudnicki In Lonely Lands by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison News from Nowhere (excerpt) by William Morris, read by Stefan Rudnicki
PART 7: COMMENTARIES The Special And General Joys of Science Fiction by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 by Elliott Engel, read by Gabrielle de Cuir Adolescence And Adulthood In Science Fiction by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Talked about on today’s show: The Odyssey, mead, Recorded Books Modern Scholar series, Michael D.C. Drout, Norsemen in the Mediterranean, “embarrassingly subservient to their women”, Miklagard, Russia and the Rus, Vikings -> Normans -> Britons -> Crusaders, the fall of Rome, Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition by Howell D. Chickering, Jr., the king of the blanekty blanks, Seamus Heaney translation, popularity of Beowulf, the Icelandic Sagas, Greeks vs. Romans vs. Scandians, more mead halls, fewer philosophical schools, guardsman vs. tutors, action vs. xenia, thanes just wanta band up, “they’re Klingons”, The 13th Warrior, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton, biker gangs, Hrothgar, Scyld Scefing, Unferth (un + frith = “mar peace”), Herot, the challenging retainer who gives the hero a sword, the swimming contest, Beowulf (the 2007 Roger Avary/Neil Gaiman adaptation), the visual composition, Babylon 5, Wiglaf, “badasses must compete”, Eric S. Rabkin, nine hours underwater, Grendel -> Grendel’s Mom -> The Dragon, the hoards, “a story to tell while you’re drinking mead”, “story is at the primacy”, “she’s got tentacles!”, the spawn of Cain, “Cain’s clan”, Beowulf is a poem about pagans by a Christian, the historicity of Beowulf (literally “bee” + “wolf” = “bear”), The Iliad, The Odyssey, historical King Arthur, J.R.R. Tolkien, what kind of poetry is it? It’s EPIC!, Tantor Media’s version of Beowulf (translated by Francis B. Gummere), the LibriVox version of Beowulf, Brian Murphy, “whale road” vs. “whale path”, Kevin Crossley-Holland, “foundling” vs. “waif”, Caesar -> Kaiser and Czar, The Hobbit is like Beowulf told to children, rapine warriors vs. cute dwarves, The Lord Of The Rings, golden rings and magic swords, breaker of swords, visual parallels Grendel’s arm + socket -> Beowulf’s arm + socket, “movies excel at visual metaphors”, “the thirteen dwarfs is not a good idea”, heavy going, watch the movie first then read the poem, Beowulf’s death, “often when one man follows his own will many are hurt”, “his high destiny”, a Talmud for Beowulf, having it every way, arguing the Bible, the etymology of “Homer”, we’re fans, Brendan Gleeson, Wiglaf’s choice, why Grendel’s got a grudge, monsters as externalizations of horror within, Viking men and their bastard sons, kings need heirs, the sins of the father (and Original Sin), the family of Cain, why did Cain kill Abel, capturing the reasons hidden within the story, Robert Zemeckis, adaptations of Beowulf, why put Beowulf in the future, the Christopher Lambert Beowulf, The Monarch Of The Glen by Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things, Grendel by John Gardner, Eaters Of The Dead |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Herot Series by Larry Niven, Steve Barnes, and Jerry Pournelle, Sons Of Anarchy, Hamlet, overturning the mead benches, named swords, Hrunting
The SFFaudio Podcast #182 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the sixth of a six part series, about the books XXI, XXII, XXIII and XXIV of The Odyssey by Homer.
Talked about on today’s show:
The E.V. Rieu translation and the , The Great Bow, Odysseus Strings His Bow, The Battle In The Hall, Slaughter In The Hall, Odysseus And Penelope, The Great Rooted Bed, The Feud Is Ended, Peace, flexing that bow, canny suitors, does Penelope know what’s going on?, the Wikipedia entry for The Odyssey (and the Slaying Of The Suitors):
The next day, at Athena’s prompting, Penelope maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus’ bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then turns his arrows on the Suitors and with the help of Athena, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, he kills all the Suitors. Odysseus and Telemachus hang twelve of their household maids, who had betrayed Penelope or had sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the goatherd Melanthius, who had mocked and abused Odysseus. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She is hesitant, but accepts him when he mentions that their bed was made from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the Odyssey, and the rest to be an interpolation.
The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes, who likewise accepts his identity only when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him.
The citizens of Ithaca have followed Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their leader points out that Odysseus has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to give up the vendetta, a deus ex machina. After this, Ithaca is at peace once more, concluding the Odyssey.
Melanthius prompts his own mutilation, a mutilating evil dude, “horror swept through the suitors”, on the question of the axe heads, the “battle master”, “cased in bronze”, a “turbid jet” of blood, how awesome would it be to see a bardic performance of The Odyssey?, Sir Ian McKellen, the compliant bard, the ancient Greek holy books, the host-guest relationship, the morality of killing your house-guests, why should you read The Odyssey? Because it doesn’t present a world classifiable into good and evil, the inviolability, Iranian hospitality, how Iranians talk (a circuitous path to making a point), why can’t Odysseus even trust his dad?, the primacy of patriarch, the killing of the twelve maidens, what is the moral message?, an unjustified liar, Agamemnon ghost, “that Penelope’s pretty great”, “talk about odd behavior”, the immovable (marriage) bed, an olive tree, “the gods have made you daft”, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, Odysseus in Antarctica?, Odysseus runs his life crazily, Odysseus’ name means “trouble”, impiety to Polyphemus, the Trojan War was Odysseus’s fault, a kind of comedy like Voltaire’s Candide, a satire of The Odysseus, True History by Lucian of Samosata, “the natural ending”?, Athena’s solution, the end of The Stand by Stephen King, is the deus ex machina ending satisfying?, Poseidon’s rage, the Norweigan version of The Odyssey (Beowulf), the Beowulf movie, Beowulf is tough braggart but is not wise, melancholy gods, the hero is the villain, the merciless Odysseus, the unquestionable Odysseus.
The SFFaudio Podcast #172 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the fifth of a six part series, about the books XVII, XVIII, XIX and XX of The Odyssey.
Talked about on today’s show:
Scott is struck, building tension, the nurse, “to be wroth against”, Eumaeus, names are handy, Hiro Protagonist, Neal Stephenson, parody, William Gibson, Eurycleia, Odysseus rolls a saving throw against a stool, first bum fight in literature, twinning, Odysseus is Athena’s avatar on Earth, The Iliad vs. The Odyssey, being of two minds, gods as metaphors, externalization, a primitive version of Matthew 25:40, “my good for nothing belly”, appetites, metastory, the tip jar is open, Turkic and Gaelic bards, Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, “reached for the good things close at hand”, “Odysseus Goes To Town”, Eric Shanower, Argos (the hound), “the black hand of Death”, it’s not an anti-slavery polemic, the washing of the feet, the stringing of the bow, Julian Jaynes’s idea about The Iliad and The Odyssey and consciousness, Penelope is just as smart as Odysseus, the prelude to the crisis, the walls turn red, Yuri Rasovsky’s The Odyssey, Blackstone Audio.
The SFFaudio Podcast #166 – Jesse, Luke Burrage, and Eric S. Rabkin discuss, at length, the SFF FORMS (Short Story, Novella, Novellete, Novel, Fix-up, Trilogy, World). Here’s the premise:
Science Fiction Forms: Short Story, Novella, Fix-Up, Novel, Trilogy, and World. Respectively, they might be exemplified thus: Short Story (“Mars Is Heaven!“), Novella (“Flowers for Algernon“), Fix-Up (The Martian Chronicles, which contains a revised version of “Mars Is Heaven!” or The Seedling Stars, Accelerando, and Beggars In Spain, all of which began as novellas), Novel (originals, like 1984, and derivatives like Flowers for Algernon or Varley’s novel Millennium coming from his short story “Air Raid“), Trilogy (original Foundation series), World (the ultimate Foundation world or Heinlein’s Future History [shared with others] or Banks’s Culture or LeGuin’s Hainish series [created just for the authors, but let’s not forget about fan fiction]). What are the special challenges and rewards in reading and writing in these diverse forms? What special challenges or rewards attend on reusing material in another form? Is the formal plasticity of SF unique among literary genres?
Talked about on today’s show:
Eric’s suggestion, literature with a capital “L”, The Dead by James Joyce, The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Luke’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, the format, the themes, the variability of short story form, the feghoot, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Accelerando, Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang, The Tower Of Babel, stripped away vs. embellished to the nth degree, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Understand by Ted Chiang, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat, fantasy, the unexplicit story, valid reactions, the etymology of “text”, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, a persuasive existential journey, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, San Fransisco, short stories as objects of frivolity or training, the brilliance of an idea is not always enough, a novel can act as a community to an individual, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury vs. The Fireman by Ray Bradbury, is the novel inherently more participatory than a short story?, the failure of technology vs. the power of nature, The Masque Of The Red Death, teaching Science Fiction with short stories and novels, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame (Volume 1), the composite novel, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, A.E. van Vogt, the fix-up, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Accelerando by Charles Stross, Lobsters by Charles Stross, the cat changes function, “an intellectual framework”, Robert A. Heinlein’s future history, the composite novel, Isaac Asimov, future history vs. psychohistory, Michael Moorcock, I, Robot, Robbie, the three laws, Stephen Byerly and Susan Calvin, unAsimovian assumptions, the full dose of SF, Reason, The Evitable Conflict, is Stephen Byerly a robot or a man?, the Mérode Altarpiece (a medieval iconographic trope), art history, Luke doesn’t think Asimov is that clever, R. Daneel Olivaw, the three laws are fairytale laws, positronic brains are positive, the three laws are for people (not just robots), The Bicentennial Man, Asimov’s powers, Asimov’s business acumen, Brandon Sanderson, shared worlds, gods, Mormonism, Daniel Clowes, The Death Ray, Elantris, “The Alexandria Quartet” by Lawrence Durrell, reading The Martian Chronicles backwards, Luke’s fiction, Alastair Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street Irregulars, whodunit ain’t the attraction, The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, a matter of cutting, A Clockwork Orange, it’s better without the extra chapter, the commercial effect (or the effect of commercialism), popular literature, the flabby novel, Robert J. Sawyer, Hominids, Calculating God, William Shakespeare, The Royal Ontario Museum, horse evolution, God needs a starship!?, where to find a paleontologist, “a hundred pages of nothing happening”, a circular argument, writing to the story’s demands, Kevin J. Anderson, commercial constraints shouldn’t be points of pride, the thickness of books, The Lord Of The Rings, does more succinct = more better?, novellas are novels with threads missing?, The Hobbit, the ambition of the author, Luke is rejecting the basic premise, The Stand by Stephen King, is it a better story short or long?, changes and updates and additional material, don’t let Asimov near a typewriter unless you want something written, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke, The City And The Stars, expanding everything, Monster Story, “it came to me in a dream”, Minding Tomorrow, Nightfall (the short story) vs. Nightfall (the novel), “it’s a lot like a perfectly nice novel that eventually becomes a masterpiece”, The Lion of Comarre, it’s not a commercial podcast, a civil rowdiness, Eric’s Coursera course: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, rechunking, forums, essays, 18,000 registered students, University of Michigan, only the competitors are qualified to judge the competitors, a history of the U.S. Civil War, Luke’s kitchen, grades, “there is no absolute abstract grade for anything”, Science Fiction and Politics (Courtney Brown), the governor of a steam engine, Luke confuses two professors, “yes, by golly, that was a very good thing of it’s kind”, The Odyssey by Homer, a foundational classic, The Bible, the Benjamin Franklin bible, there should be an SFBRP review of The Odyssey, Luke’s Matthew Mark Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, Joseph Campbell, time for coffee!