The SFFaudio Podcast #558 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #558 – The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Marissa VU, Wayne June, and Terrence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
Sonia H. Greene, The Invisible Monster, Weird Tales, prenuptial contract, courtship, the sea is New York, drugged to New York, interesting, Lovecraft components, Lovecraft skeleton, originally titled, a much last apt title, you never find invisible things, Lovecraft’s commonplace book, [entry 51: Enchanted garden where moon casts shadow of object or ghost invisible to the human eye.], The Moon Bog, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, the Moon as a giant egg, “I have never heard an even approximately adequate explanation of the horror at Martin’s Beach.”, the baby, the mother, a single eye, another invisible something, my fancy conjured up still another eye, the eye is the Moon, everybody is assuming its the mom, where does it say it in the story, deep grief, Iron Shadows In The Moon, the father, how do they know its a baby, it had its baby teeth, the layering, small for a cosmic being, demi-cosmic, that new baby smell, not very scientific, the most amazing discrepancies, Captain Orne, if Eric [Rabkin] was here, it rained for forty nights, taxidermied, P.T. Barnum, a mermaid is a seal grafted on to a baby, DC horror comics from the 1970s, I want comics god-damn it, True Ghost Tales, Minnesota, bigfoot displayed in a van, a monkey suit with modifications, “The object was some fifty feet in length, of roughly cylindrical shape, and about ten feet in diameter. It was unmistakably a gilled fish in its major affiliations; but with certain curious modifications, such as rudimentary forelegs and six-toed feet in place of pectoral fins, which prompted the widest speculation.” selling hokum,

The naturalists had shown plainly that it radically differed from the similarly immense fish caught off the Florida coast; that, while it was obviously an inhabitant of almost incredible depths, perhaps thousands of feet, its brain and principal organs indicated a development startlingly vast, and out of all proportion to anything hitherto associated with the fish tribe.

John Lilly‘s communications with dolphins, sons of Poseidon, a species, cyclops kitten, a half-god, his out, his wife wrote that part, the depths of the oceans being unexplored they harbour life-forms that have one eye, bioluminescence, otherworldly, monster ideas from the depths of the sea, symmetry is for weaklings, scientific men are people who work for Orne, fakes, but not this time, revenge mom, The Beast (1996), William Petersen, Beast by Peter Benchley, no mothering instinct, projection by the readers and Sonia Greene, the evil men who stole the baby, Captain Orne as Ulysses, a mythological interpretation, the old one version of Poseidon, we’re bringing the female idea to it, a trope, throughout nature, bear cubs, the daddy bear gives no shits, dads don’t care, human vs. animal, dads do care, almost nothing happens, stylistic preparation, a real life event, a simple horror story, a cosmic dimension, a moralistic dimension, two different readings, Ridley Scott thought Deckard was a replicant, eternal revenge, a purpose so revolting to my brain, revenge isn’t revolting, collateral damage, all humanity was guilty, a species wide revenge, humans all look alike, my fifty foot baby, what humans do, all the wolves are killed for the crime of one wolf, a storm came twice, wrapping up his business, he’s ornery, “get revenge”, its planned all this out, set aside your propensity for disbelief, here she/he/it comes, make the presence known, grieving and scheming, you killed my baby and now you’re throwing shit at me?, an inordinate indication of intelligence, an article by Professor Alton about hypnotic powers not being confined to recognized humanity, there trickled upon my ears the faint and sinister echoes of a laugh, only humans and hyenas, they laugh at anything, a sad laugh, read it with skepticism, what is the horror?, is it the thing?, or was it that people were frozen?, electricity explains it, hacksaw to the hempen line, there is no hempen line, that’s their interpretation, a proposed theory, what if there was never a line to begin with, physically hooking on to people, less about the specific thing in the water, the way the Moon plays on the water, everybody is turned into frogs, the Moon was about a foot above the water, a coin at arms length, from what angle?, phenomenological vs. actual, what’s that over there?, the moon looks gigantic, its about the hypnotism theory, why the people fail to act, that’s the horror, a huge part of the horror, if we read it that way the invisible monster is us, retire to your room, the narrator’s perspective, death march, resigned to fate, so real and creepy, not calling for help, not struggling, looking back over their shoulders in fear, a perfect description of this universe,

And as I gazed out beyond the heads, my fancy conjured up still another eye; a single eye, equally alight, yet with a purpose so revolting to my brain that the vision soon passed. Held in the clutches of an unknown vise, the line of the damned dragged on; their silent screams and unuttered prayers known only to the demons of the black waves and the night-wind.

a cluster of religious stuff, the voice of heaven resounded with the blasphemies of hell, ventriloquism, a cyclopean din, her pallid beams, a whirlpool, the narrator laughing, that interpretation, the hyena is laughing because its sad, even creepier, gallows humour, forelegs, one big eye, a laugh?, angler-fish, glowing eyes, feet on the chest, what it’s all for?, sure you did, bub, they know about the fishy tribes, Martin’s Beach has hills with cabins, veranda, a vacation spot, the rich above, the poorer below, above and below,

It was in the twilight, when grey sea-birds hovered low near the shore and a rising moon began to make a glittering path across the waters. The scene is important to remember, for every impression counts. On the beach were several strollers and a few late bathers; stragglers from the distant cottage colony that rose modestly on a green hill to the north, or from the adjacent cliff-perched Inn whose imposing towers proclaimed its allegiance to wealth and grandeur.

the horror is is the coverup by the hotel, the same dynamic you see in Jaws, the corporate is the horror, Aha, I got the formula now!, community vs. the individual, what the fuck happened, everybody’s involved, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, Professor Anthony Douglas, numerous grunts, his ample middle, a nuclear scientist in Colorado, gold bars on the side of the road, this is the weirdest thing, he’s in his easy chair, an eye the size of the entire sky, any giant sky monsters over Colorado?, Fair Game on SickMyDuck.narod.ru:

Shapes. Two enormous shapes squatting down. Two incredibly huge figures bending over. One was drawing in the net. The other watched, holding something in its hand. A landscape. Dim forms too vast for Douglas to comprehend.

At last, a thought came. What a struggle.

It was worth it, thought the other creature.

Their thoughts roared through him. Powerful thoughts, from immense minds.

I was right. The biggest yet. What a catch!

Must weigh all of twenty-four ragets!

At last!

Suddenly Douglas’s composure left him. A chill of horror flashed through his mind. What were they talking about? What did they mean?

But then he was being dumped from the net. He was falling. Something was coming up at him. A flat, shiny surface. What was it?

Oddly, it looked almost like a frying pan.

it doesn’t make any sense as science fiction, what’s funny is the set-up, how he’s fat, this is the sea’s revenge for fishing, it isn’t specifically about this one animal, the sea doing what we do to it, look at the tuna cans, line and pole tuna, industrialized fishing, still another reading, the Moon in relation to its proximity to the water, the gravitational pull of the Moon, The Other Gods, a lot going on, its not as crappy as it looks, William Shakespeare, as flies to wanton boys as are we to the gods, the line is flypaper, why are they pulling, someone needed rescuing, insidious, human instinct in propensity to rubberneck, cheap houses near the sea, at least some of the people came from the rich area, Weird Talers: Essays On Robert E. Howard And Others by Bobby Derie, a blog post with a letter from Sonia Greene, he was never kissed by any woman, The Private Life Of H.P. Lovecraft, Carol Weld, happily ever after (sort of), its all right there in the setup, a little softer than Lovecraft’s usual, 15 adjectives about how horrible everything is, the rest doesn’t take that statement seriously, its lacking that indifference, there’s definitely some bellows, very humanish, the easy reading is that it’s a revenge tale, my Twitter friend Jason Thompson’s illustrations, a couple on the beach, the moon low in the sky next to the fish monster, there’s some sort of massive connection, a big round thing in the sky that YOU can see, it is an eye, paranoia, ‘And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you’, human history’s relationship without the Moon, telescope, when you look at the moon, you can see mountains, it is another place, another world, comforting and horrifying, how important the universe is as a reality, profits, dancing, cottages, cars, a speck in the sea of black infinity, its hard to understate, the cosmic layer, the moon as a character, the Moon is the mother, opening a path, a way, a lane, calling down to the depths, opening the people to an influence from another reality, the bridge of moonbeams in The White Ship, I am Basil Elton,

I am Basil Elton, keeper of the North Point light that my father and grandfather kept before me. Far from the shore stands the grey lighthouse, above sunken slimy rocks that are seen when the tide is low, but unseen when the tide is high. Past that beacon for a century have swept the majestic barques of the seven seas. In the days of my grandfather there were many; in the days of my father not so many; and now there are so few that I sometimes feel strangely alone, as though I were the last man on our planet. … Very brightly did the moon shine on the night I answered the call, and I walked out over the waters to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams. The man who had beckoned now spoke a welcome to me in a soft language I seemed to know well, and the hours were filled with soft songs of the oarsmen as we glided away into a mysterious South, golden with the glow of that full, mellow moon.

the opening, Sonia writing in the mom part, Lovecraft writing the Moon part, layers, cynical thing, clusters of adjectives, satanic and demonic, the more religious cosmology, regular folks, weird letters received, all recapitulated in the Peter Benchley, conferences, inspiring of, A Tropical Horror by William Hope Hodgson, architeuthis, giant squid, the title, self reference, your average bear does’t have a Lovecraftian world-view, the most amazing discrepancies, no common bond, differing reports, a widely witnessed phenomenon, a tremendous difference, everybody’s unreliable, what the hell did they see?, weirder stuff happens under the Moon, Slavoj Žižek, conceiving and Žižek, Lovecraft was the terrible thing, and vice versa, a problem of habituation, kinda sick, this is going to be better for you, Virginia, he could’ve moved with her, I got all my friends and my (podcasting club), the Kalem Club, unrecorded podcasts, an anthology of just Moon stories, power of the moon, the Moon doing a ton of heavy lifting, imagine that line goes all the way out to the Moon, we can get there its just incredibly hard, gravitons are definitely a real thing, it has phases, without the Moon, what would you even look at, its so important, it looms large (especially when near the horizon), we hide from it in our cities and our houses.

Jason Thompson's (MOCKMAN) illustration of The Horror At Martin's Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #203 – The Dream by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #203

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Dream by H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

The Dream may have been first published in The Tryout, September 1920.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #555 – READALONG: Shadows In The Moonlight by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #555 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Terence Blake, Mark Finn, Alex talk about Shadows In The Moonlight aka Iron Shadows In The Moon by Robert E. Howard

Talked about on today’s show:
trademark, registered, copyright, Vale Of Lost Women, rattle Mark’s cage, red caped monkey, more construction, more constructed, barbarism vs. civilization, propagandizing this idea, the middling Conan, formula, Rogues In The House, the beginning of the greatest hits album, if he were Aerosmith this would be “Walk This Way”, touchstones, essential elements, the damsel in distress, bloody trail of vengeance, piracy, savage ape, supernatural menace, what do you want from a Conan story, a representative story, there’s wizardry, dream magic, this is what Conan is all about, this is what Conan does, if there was a snake, squirmed an burrowed like a snake, the comics, it starts similarly to Red Nails, the end of the beginning, fruit, giant monster, alone in the wilderness, why did you run out of this jade palace, the Garden of Eden, Queen Of The Black Coast, monkey monsters, a forbidden place, working through, this is what manly men act like, this is what a man is, where Olivia looks at the two jungle creatures, how they’re alike, Shah Amurath, barbarian in response, a Cimmerian vs. the Cimmerian, a response to what he and Lovecraft were arguing over, Howard thought Lovecraft was smarter than him, test those theories, page 30, was there a serpent in..?, PulpCovers doesn’t want to be PC, without judgement but with a pattern, unashamed of being a manly man, pirate costumes, carrying a gun around, chivalrous towards women, Lovecraft is a gentle-man (a gentlemen), what a man is, Terence territory, a pre-philosophy for manhood, the way men love Conan, doing ablutions, iron thews, a male and female gaze, ewww gross, powerful, Tweets Of High Adventure, tweet length prose, every sentence has the language, art, unashamed, its all pure, Vale Of Lost Women is “problematic”, a distilled essence, no casual Conan readers, in for penny in for a pound, this masculinity, did he have a choice in Texas in the 1920s?, acceptable work for a man, vocational training, taking a day job, begging letter, worst fucking human being ever, the boxing stories, bareknuckle boxing, intellectual conversation, never about particulars, newspaper stories to back up their thought processes, news clipping, the only way to run a city, the story in the boat, in the prose, we don’t sell our children, stories of Comanche, a warts and all presentation, ethnic cleansing, riding with the Cherokee, a mindset, an ideal, there are no rules right now, Gertrude Hemken loved Conan, studying philosophy, Nietzsche, John Milius and Oliver Stone, Conan The Barbarian (1982), a through line, sitting in the agora listening to the philosophers, life is an illusion then I’m an illusion too, Solomon Kane is the religious philosopher, scenes of melancholy, a debate on masculinity, a constructed virtue, the body or the mind, the idea of the wild and nature, Lovecraft’s wild, you’ve got the wild inside you, human beings , women are shapely, every muscle is supple, pantherish, his scabbard purrs, it comes from silk, a relationship between what shah Amurath vs. the ape vs. Conan, toxic masculinity, I’m a barbarian buy I’m not a monster, a king of Akif, Turanians vs. Hyrkanians, Hyrkanians are a race and Turanians are a nationality, the Persian Gulf vs. the Caspian Sea vs. the Black Sea, maps of Hyboria, Vedyha is India, Khitai is China, the islands of Mu, filling in the historical record, a starting place, walk these things back into the Hyborian age, analogs, she’s a devi not a rani, he needs a Mediterranean, adventure locations, a pirate this week, the Kozaki are the Cossacks, the Mongols, Red Sonja vs Red Sonya, her sister’s a real person, her father’s a real person, Haws Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard, Mark wrote the afterword, the Punisher in armor, the Cormac Fitzgeoffrey stories, the same emotional space, riding out on the steppes, Oriental and Middle Eastern adventures, Flesh + Blood (1985), Rutger Hauer and Jenifer Jason Leigh, the Dark Horse Comics adaptation, the art, Olivia doing the narration doesn’t make sense, 2 and half days, the confrontation in the reeds is one of Howard’s best scenes, you really hate that guy, when he’s getting chopped to bits, Olivia has two dreams, when Conan’s rowing and the other in the ruined temple, a prologue, what her dream is, the negroes who aren’t negroes, not-kushites, black and made of iron, what does it mean?, expressing their otherworldliness, black statutes but not statues of black people, an artificially baroque language, some sort of race thing, the golden youth, possibly raped, the sky reflected in the water, both a sea and a lake, one third the salinity of the rest of the oceans, flying through the sky, she’s describing it to Conan, she’s supposed to be telling Conan’s story, we shouldn’t be inside her head and not past tense, he can’t hold down a job, pillage a few towns over, holding out for a management position, wear sandals to tread the jeweled thrones, the blue of the sea, mirrors of stars, a phantasmal oarsmen, a quiet slumber, his iron thews, that female gaze, shying away from Robert E. Howard, annoyed by the mire, unmanned by bugs, how far a man can throw a stone, showing off his thews, testing his theory, she’s traumatized, a princess laid low to the status of a slave, a couple (at the end), not telling fairy stories, men and women equally tough in a fight, Ronda Rousey, women are subject to male violence, a romance (an adventure) out of horrible circumstance, we’re not used to today, Yemen right now, 70-80 year old text, a historical basis for women adventurers, easy to gravitate to, Joan of Arc, the women pirates, women doing what men do, he’s not pulling this stuff out of his butt, Howard’s historical stories, Conan was a commercial endeavor, pulp era titillation, why Margaret Brundage did those covers, Seabury Quinn, when he comes back, the women have changed positions, evil queens, swordswomen, a shift in agency, in the Dark Horse adaptation, in the actual story it’s all her, saving him in order to save himself, Valeria is competition for Conan, Red Sonja’s character is mostly that, equally wily, Olivia is just a regular person, crawling into that den of pirates, how tortured they have been, the male version of Olivia, Conan knows everybody, Sergius, a boss fight, the TV tropes for this story, three point landing, divine right of kings, Conan the rules lawyer, Tim Truman’s Dark Horse comics adaptation, a defense of the switch to Olivia’s POV, the thing that Conan did, the guy in the story that everybody’s heard about, getting into it, Conan’s perspective, the disembowelment, seeing that same scene again from that POV, the Roy Thomas adaptation is not to add any words, Roy Thomas is amazing when he captures Howard’s prose, the new Marvel travesty (Conan The Barbarian and Savage Sword Of Conan) “ass” is used twice in July 2019 issue, cur, dog, slut, special language, Island of the Temple Statues, why that change, it changes the dynamic, hard not cruel, quartering, “quarter? I’ll give you quarter!”, Olivia’s really active, this formula, beautiful babe in distress, check off those boxes, you can take my stories or leave them, playing it up, why the text feels so weird, three set pieces, don’t forget the giant ape, strung like beads on a string, Conan on a weekend, they should hire the person who runs Conan The Salaryman, how it resonates with Paul, flipping your desk, Thor: The Dark World (2013), adjectives attitude and viewpoint on the world, Frank Miller’s Sin City, Conan in a noir story, just a crazy guy (with a code), code vs. philosophy, a personal moral compass, allowing for an exception, Conan is his own arbiter, there’s always an angle to be played, we can take Conan at his word but nobody else can, Olivia over his shoulder and he’s running away, high heels vs. mountain cat, the only thing that can unman me is mosquitoes, a supple ass, those outside, too nice a guy, Gertrude Barrows Bennett, faces and asses?, girls like prepping, men like to be thought of as competent, how to be, how to be a man, the right attitude, its more like…, why does Howard never take us to Cimmeria?, the whole point is to see a man out of his element and see how he should act, those roving feet, something powerful about that idea, how to be a man, “what’s real, man?”, it’s good to have skills, the prose is gorgeous, the unnamed monkey, we need to talk about the parrot, bad biology, if this is near the tropics, New World parrots are colourful, a thousand year old parrot, Jesse wasted his time, the parrot as the harbinger, the chorus, we got the idea, if Howard had seen a parrot, Da Vinci’s Demons, the communist memes, some Nazi left over from WWII is giving a speech, justifications for tweets, macaw, why he put it in this fantasy world, research is hard, fantasy world, letters to Harold Lamb in ADVENTURE, it’s so good, a fruit they’ve never seen before, there’s a dinosaur in it, getting snakes wrong, a failure of the work, a fringe moment, the new Age Of Conan Belit comic is shit, a ship at full sail in a storm hidden in a harbour with gunports, Baggywrinkles by Lucy Bellwood, a sailor’s story should be written and drawn by people familiar with ships, Lovecraft defends him as a poet, his poetry is beautiful, 700 poems!, the complete poetry of Robert E. Howard, Cimmeria, some great lesbian stuff, the alliteration and rhythm, the lull of the rowing, he was fantastic at it, how he did it, looking at meters and couplets, Howard intuited, his prose has that richness, scenes of horrible violence, kings dying from poison, beauty in the savagery, why nobody has been able to write a convincing Conan story, the vocabulary and the rhythm, Howard was able to write Lovecraft stories, a different disposition, The Black Stone, The Challenge From Beyond, Queen Of The Black Coast, the language is the main character, the checkpoints could be seen as mechanical, a complex story, an inspiration to early Dungeons & Dragons, mixing and matching, skill checks, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, not enough angry monkeys, Giant Ape, kobolds, why does he like monkeys so much, is Howard wrestling with Darwin, Thak, Moon Of Zimbabwe, he doesn’t like to come out of the forest, gorillas, base emotions, Howard’s stance on mankind, cycles of history, that backslide into savagery and barbarism, Thak wants to be a man, a ladder you can climb, Gulka the Gorilla Slayer, gorilla as a stand in for the lecherous intentions of people of colour, to refute Darwin and prop up racism, that wonderful willful disconnect to justify a bad belief system, using the stories of the bible and the trappings as a weight of authenticity, The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, from the monkey’s POV, the sailor who brought him to France, dragon, flying monkeys in Queen Of The Black Coast, a thing in culture at the time, King Kong, The Uncharted Isle by Clark Ashton Smith, the Hippocampus Press documentary: Clark Ashton Smith: Emperor Of Dreams, Dagon, a per-Atlantean civilization, babies sacrificed to a gorilla god, an Atlantean dream story, monkeys are in the air man, The Wizard Of Oz, a phenomenon, everybody got gorillas on the brain, gorilla suits, a course correction after the 1970s, Planet Of The Apes, Sailor Steve Costigan stories, an animal reflection, using natural terms, why Solomon Kane is always a wolf, El Borak is fast and deadly, hawk noses, vulpine eyes, connecting to a larger natural world, sacrificing something superior to them, the psychological basis for bullfighting, suppleness vs. strength, he wins with dexterity as much with strength, he’s upped his wisdom, his constitution, he can lie in a snowbank, the Tibetan monks, the yoga of inner heat, pro-nature, Conan is a part of nature, Lovecraft as a nature as a scary other, nature with gambrel roofs nearby, how much was Howard out in boats, a rural existence, hiking and camping, New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns, Galveston, Texas, how he writes about stuff, the Walden variety of gentlemen on holiday, longhand letters, the things some writers will do not to finish a story, going back to it vs. being out of it, getting past miscegenation, deep ones, Cthulhu, shapeless formless, slithering shadow, in Howard’s world, the last of their kind, the end of the age of megafauna and megaflora, he’s still working on his monkey ideas, fringe science, discredited anthropological stuff, one of the greatest magazines ever printed, a whole series about the Kozaki, a fight with Yildiz, making whole connections by people who can capture the voice, The Scarlet Citadel, this guy’s lived a life, I’m gonna git Conan, we can fill in that stuff for ourselves, the best thing about Conan, he’s the least asshole asshole in the room, why he’s in a bad mood, I already told him I wasn’t going to do it, Black Gate blog, Hither Came Conan, The God In The Bowl, the one with the snake god, barbarism vs. civilization, the reason why you have them in so many of the stories, Farnsworth Wright, in the first 11 Conan stories, issue 21 of the Dark Horse series, the reason Olivia was sold, the Queen of Ophir, undercutting the idea, ABlaze‘s Conan series, Jesse will fight that monkey god, Terence doesn’t hang out in the French comic book stores, more spare more simple, a feminist ending, I want to sail the seas with you, I will bring you with me, Conan, “I will make you the king of this inland sea, Conan”, it ends with the parrot, scorch king Yildiz’ pantaloons, John Bolton anti-Iranian propaganda, People Of The Black Circle, the Persians as the bad guys in western history, Howard’s sympathies, “Oriental Adventures”, the El Borak stories, throwing the Brit under the bus, every man has the capacity to be a shithead, shithead or victim, the compass needle, the course correction, melded with a dark god from an ancient tomb, Conan as the antidote for too much corruption, where the politics comes in, Conan The Cimmerian, Tomas Giorello, you gotten soften, unexpectedly cheerful, if this was happening in the 1990s, the Del Rey Conans, disengage the De Camp and Lin Carter, pop-culture Conan fighting pop culture Wolverine, Savage Avengers, the onramp, CHiPs , you’re sullying the legacy, deeply understanding and respecting the prose, how the fuck can they get away with this?, an editorial failure, she has the voice in her head, that it’s funny, we need thews and no ass, the recipe, Red Sonja with Roy Thomas and Esteban Maroto, it will get cancelled, By Crom, Shel Kahn’s Conan Is My Spirit Animal, attributed to Genghis Kahn, what is best in life, coffee, women lamenting, pulp magazine philosopher, Philip K. Dick as a paperback philosophy, what these weird guys spread across the United States, everybody should be lucky enough to have access.

Boris Vallejo cover for Iron Shadows In The Moon

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #553 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #543 – The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens; read by Josh Roseman.

This unabridged reading of the story (51 minutes) comes to us from the Protecting Project Pulp podcast is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Terence Blake and Fred Heimbaugh

Talked about on today’s show:
Argosy, July 5, 1919, Fantastic Novels, Virgil Finlay, elvish or trappy, a fizzy wine, the colour of the wine is golden, yellow, gold, fin de sicile, The King In Yellow, the 1890s is yellow, the Yellow Peril, Yellow Journalism, the Gilded Age, yellow road, yellow mud, white robe, honeysuckle, very image based, the blue of her scarf, her brother is Elfo?, the invitation, white and silver, signifies for the opening and the closing scenes, the effect of the nested narratives, an outer outer outer narrator (Francis Stevens), old wives’ tales, recrudescence, related by a well known specialist in nervous diseases, the doubling or tripling, Dr. Locke?, prescription for me?, Wharton is the inner narrator, Theron Tademus, a listener, a comedy?, why don’t you read this to me?, Locke is a fool!, I don’t need to hear any more of this, the best part is coming up, a sex story, pretty chaste, two roads diverged, the negro caretaker, a yellow track and the other goes to Carcassonne, a Carolina mountain road, a confusion in his own mind, the gypsy camp vs. the artist’s camp, a tripling of reality, two Reading, Short And Deep podcast, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, The Rutted Road by H.P. Lovecraft, a very sly and sneaking poem, written for a friend, walking tours of England, the power of a poem, everybody has Fred’s take, everybody else doesn’t understand it, being playful, close to the message of The Elf Trap, he met death (or something), his physical form is destroyed, very Lovecraftian in the non-tentacled way, Celephaïs, The White Ship, happy or sad ending?, happy in the way people joining a cult are happy, evil or good or other, categories that can truly escape the good evil polarities, a valedictorian speech, I took the harder path, me looking down my nose at the snobs, career choices, very meta, more gloomy, Terence has heard the podcast on it, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, 1820, Marissa is excluded, a gender queer fluid, they’re elves, that line from Aliens (1986) about Arcturian poontang, John Waterhouse, an interesting name, the best social interaction he’s ever had, so striking how, racist sounding, a bit of a dick, ripe for the picking, science vs. romanticism, he’s a microscopist (a cytologist), setting you up, life and feeling and warmth, science is basically a dead bug pinned to a card with a latin inscription underneath it, the limitations and the ugliness, the blindness of his scientific vision, the simplest interpretation, there’s a trap, the iron trap vs. the silver trap, it can re-get ya, a community, crafts (vs arts), a bit of fun, bringing an easel on a manhunt, hilarious, he could have been taken away by either group, the “rural ruins” kick (#ruralruins on Twitter), old wooden barns, collapsing barns, the appeal of melancholy ruins, now is the time to start photographing them, Southern Michigan, ex-urban, cornfield, the southern exposure, Minnesota, a going native story?, if Evan were here…, Typee by Herman Melville, beautiful clean, the white ivory flute, tending his disgusting grandmother, clean beautiful people, pretty colours, he needs somebody to break him out of his crabbed world of scientific examination, his passion for science, a tension, a fit of pique, she’s racist, terrible relationship, you’ve got to stay with me forever, that yellow dog, cur, mutt, mongrel, wearing the elf-glasses, a silver bell, everything that’s inviting him in is yellow, everything turns to gold instead of yellow, honey wild and manna dew, roots aren’t sweet, root beer tastes like medicine, it tastes like Chinese medicine, the etymology of drug, Buckley’s Mixture, relish sweet, this switch, everything that’s horrible becomes wonderful, he doesn’t have thought in his head, uh huh, and how much can you sell it for?, there’s something fundamentally wrong in his life, his Doctor’s name, how important names are, John Locke has the most beautiful signature, freshwater goldfish, dysteria, out of the loop, he almost escapes, his racism, their skin is whiter, he sees them in this white way, science sobers him, he’s very unwell, there’s something unwell in science at this time, mongrelizing, everybody’s suffering from Russia-gate-ism, how many rubles did you get paid?, here’s Nazism in 1919, racial theories and breeding programs, it was in the water and everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid, Irish travelers, the black servant, the airy fairy artist community, the sheriff with a posse, if Mr Jim Moon was here, midsummer, a nightwalk, a misreading, a morning walk, up all night, instead of through telescopes he’s looking through microscopes, Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Wonder Stories, June 1935, Galatea, The King In Yellow story that’s the opposite, Robert W. Chambers, The Elf King, belle epoch Paris, Virgil Finlay, he put on the glasses and fell in love with a dream, A Martian Odyssey, Fitz James O’Brien, The Diamond Lens, super-racism, The Atlantic (1858), the best microscope ever, falls in love with a little tiny lady, SCIENCE!, “Dysteria ciliata. Dysterius giganticus”, his love for the microscopic world, what the painter sees, seeing things as generalities on the surface vs. details in the lens, clumsiness, largeness, the anvil, Tolkien elves, frills and paisley, the blending of crafts and arts, William Morris, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a reaction against science, poems about butterflies, you can love science AND poetry, William Blake, double vision, Auguries Of Innocence by William Blake, behind that is a veil, a hidden life of their own, Theron learns double vision, the elves inside the gypsies, a whole world, there Elva is blind, twofold vision, monsters that want eat him and liberators who want to free him, what does he bring to the table?, culture and community, 37 year old professor, infertility, outsiders, his charismatic attitude?, he brings novelty, something fresh and different, an Elva shaped hole, time is different for her, telepathically grooming Wharton, soulless, he’s lost his soul, big clumsy hulking brutes, an outsider without a soul, indeterminate, maybe they trapped him because he was trappable, is she a Scientologist, Projecting Project Pulp, Mech Muse, too early in podcasting?, more audiobooks, if Fred follows through, Unseen, Unfeared by Francis Stevens, spiritual themes, blogs are good but suppressed by Google, Tellers Of Weird Tales, Terence E. Hanley, death dealing shells, light over darkness, dark fantasy, a 21st century and academic conceit, one of the simplest of Stevens stories, built like a puzzle box, relativity, analytic cubism, where lies reality, a happy ending?, a pleasant reading experience, could have been written only by a woman, a deeper meaning in the man’s name, Jesse’s theory, Theron Tademus, tall?, hunter?, animal, tadpole, mouse, tall tailed mouse, mousetrap, she’s playing with it, pointing, the hunter and the hunted, not necessarily a happy ending, we praise thee oh god, he trusts science, he trusts her, he loses his last name in her world, they need some tall genes, one good name was good enough for one good person, a coordinate system, binomial nomenclature, Carcosa?, fantasy engaging with science fiction, Brigadoon, he has never danced or loved, beyond the veil, the deeper reality of the spirit, love and art triumph over materialism, the sky blue scarf, you’re all alike, you love is for gold (or freedom), she enslaves people, saved from science, his red notebook, looking at flowers in the forest with your girlfriend, beckoning him, driving Jesse mad, Carcassonne is a famous tourist trap, a medieval walled town, the tabletop game, it’s a trap, traps can be beautiful, a Florida based Star Wars Disney park, $40 light-saber, the rural ruins of Star Wars, tourist ruins, dinosaur ruins, South Dakota, Rapid City, north of Mount Rushmore, the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is in Kentucky, about as rural-ruiny as it can get, did she go there?, is this a true story, Carcassonne post office, a train stop maybe, America is filled with failed towns, Carcassonne Road, Carcassonne Community center, trampoline and a pool, an unincorporated village, if you squint and take off your classes, once every hundred years, if you’re Blakeian enough you can see it, there’s a guy who saw things differently, angels in the fields with the workers, something pagan about Elva, the Cathars, Kingsport, took the train into Asheville, something happened, I want to believe, Thousand Sticks, Mount Blackmore, American flag, Google Maps was magic, guess where in the world, the signage is in Spanish, we have magical powers our parents didn’t have, in the per-internet age, the state library in the capital of West Virginia, wait for the internet, lost and suppressed by google, if you know the address (the magic word) you can find it on the WayBackmachine, Protecting Project Pulp, Friend Island, a male reporter, women control the world, the grim and gritty sea-side tea house, an old sailoress, the only ships are trading ships or peace ships, shipwrecked on a man on an island and the island is female, Mother Nature is angry, funny on purpose, we need a president, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t that good, Hillary Clinton, policies and intentions matter, what is he basing that on?, hello Keats, much more arguable, male gazing, if you read it as a subversive ending, femme fatale, Black Widow (1987), Bound (1996), if it were written by, squamous squalid, not enough degeneration, love of place, very subtle, entertaining, so well put together, this story is cool, all that nesting of reality, it doesn’t tell you this is what happened, something artificial about the outer narrator, why do you need these characters, Edith Wharton, to make it seem more journalistic, framing stuff, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, about 60% is framing (and its all front framed), a turreted room, armorial trophies and portraits, falling in love with a portrait, there’s no outer frame, all set-up, Jesse cant remember the name of Henry James, The Others (2001), The Turn Of The Screw, take it as journals like Lovecraft, My name is Jervas Dudley, framing as throat clearing, imagine this was true, we’ve been trained, The House On the Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, Rene Girard, triangular desire, scapegoats, mimetic desire, taking on the object of desire of someone else, aggression, Trump, Peter Thiel, advertising and Facebook, this is how their manipulating, writing about advertising, they use it all day long, I wanna be like them, BMW ads, projecting yourself into the vehicle, “ultimate driving machine”, the object of desire, we keep changing sympathies, I have a story to tell, he had a story to tell, he tells it to another guy, lampshading, who are we sympathizing with, that complication, perspectivizing through, filtering through, Rashomon effect, three visions of the dog, The Blair Witch Project, Scooby Doo, the whole point is the Gothic explique, gothic time!,

THE chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe.

Jesse’s amazing news, The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges, change the trend, if they’re so impatient, if you don’t hook them in the first paragraph they’re going to walk, the perception in publishing, a whole bunch of readers who liove the slow build, the publishers are enforcing that rule, its anti-science fiction, Inconstant Moon a line only written by Larry Niven (or Jerry Pournelle), that ending line, Footfall, the humans are more conquery and tankie, giant elephants, The Tower Of The Elephant by Robert E. Howard, an adulteration, why are we being told this, changing microscope magnifications, micrometer, a blurry chaos becomes crystal clear, The Outer Limits, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Wondersmith, How I Overcame My Gravity, What Was It?, a haunted boarding house, smoking opium in the backyard, an invisible creature, plaster of Paris, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant.

The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens - Illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Kingdom Come State Park near Carcassonne, Kentucky

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #189 – Nostalgia by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #189

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Nostalgia by H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Nostalgia may have been first published in The Phantagraph, July 1936

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #542 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Exhalation: Stories: What’s Expected Of Us by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #542 – What’s Expected Of Us from Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang; This is an unabridged reading of What’s Expected Of Us (6 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Penguin Random House Audio audiobook of Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang.

participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Wayne June, and Terence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
his second collection, 17 years to come out, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, squint hard, a lot of them have a focus on children, he had some kids?, a theme, teaching and growing, parenting, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, a science fiction story with mimetic fiction problems, Dacy’s Patent Automatic Nanny, childrearing, not the major theme, background thought processes, fate and destiny, an abiding theme, care and caring, finding truths closer to home, The Great Silence, dissecting one’s own brain, straight up science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, you fools, you’re wasting your life, Paul could rant, set on spaceships, making sense of reality, a test subject for another star, they’re all standouts, its not our universe, a creationist universe, a dread discovery, the center of the universe is elsewhere, Earth as a prototype for someone else, an epistolary manner, a crisis of faith, Poul Anderson, a mixed relationship, life after death, finding a way to be comfortable with that fact, approaching the subject of entropy, the universe is winding down, nobody is going to live forever, comforting ideas, all just whistling past the graveyard, a positive conclusion about it, how do you look into the abyss and come away with a happy attitude, be happy on the way down, Oomphalos, I’m in charge now, now she has free will, he explores free will from every direction, the audiobook from Tantor, it took a long time for audiobooks to become the dominant medium for people who actually read, I don’t get many ideas, most reviewers on YouTube: booktubers?, a whole universe of people, people who read books are really weird, every week you wanna be reading a new book? what a weirdo, the New York Times bestseller, books not designed to be read, overwritten, as any right thinking person would, these should be longer, very presumptuous, I want more of this, throwing down idea much bigger than the package he places them in, Wayne liked the shortest stories best, educated super-intelligent, deep thought, rigorous self-examination, tedious, on and on and on, 48 minutes, The Lifecycle Of Software Of Objects, concentrated science fiction, two drops in a cup of water, what it means, navel, center, a role playing anecdote, the enemy is the they (the center of the universe), we’re the center of the universe, The Middle Kingdom, Middle Sea, everywhere is the center, everybody’s stupid because their vision is so limited, a young earth, a parallel in our own history, reason for belief, mummies with no navels, obviously not created, his guiding philosophy, if there was a miracle, its on rails, preodomites, other people, The Truth Of Fact The Truth Of Feeling, deeply profound, a Black Mirror episode, some colonial guy getting colonized, writing and reading, auto text generator, no periods, Roman monuments used dots not spaces, pre-modern Chinese, getting it from context, cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs, right in Jesse’s zone, Bros. Grimm concertizing, once in book form, Jesse doesn’t really take notes, one of the things going on, going back to an oral culture, Socrates, cost effective, the Romans were into copying and photo-copying each other’s works, questioning the nature of truth and reality, really cool, what truth is, Scott and Jesse conversations on truth, people complaining about truth, he’s more truthful about his lying, politician lying, not a wise man, wiser than some of the fools that have been so smart in the past, he was not the same, name recognition, you know exactly what his motivation is, truth is not one thing, your own memory of what reality was, science as being replicable, that whole diatribe, truth is that what is, there is an objective truth, we hope, touch the Eiffel Tower, a subjective conclusion, the objective truth, defining truth, relativistic, its subtle, tirade harangue fulmination, discursive, who designed it?, maybe he stole that plan, the more you don’t examine and are unable to reexamine stuff…, religious truth, truths which motivation action, William James, pragmatism, because it was false, smoke sacrifice to the gods was meaningless, intersecting with other science fiction stories, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, king of your own planet, a real estate story, jack hammering off the coast of Labrador, a Nazi universe, Genghis Khan, mythological pseudo-historical figure, the universe does and doesn’t care about you, making a connection with science, those most interested in religion were scientists, Isaac Newton, the original Bible Code person, the impact might have been diluted, these people don’t die, there is no biology, this culture built up around air-stations, eating as a cultural event, if you get this you can tell the story, The Nine Billion Names Of God and The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, sacrificed, hits Paul in the feels, the three narcissistic wounds, Sigmund Freud, the Earth is not the center, Darwin and evolution, that the ego thinks it is free is an illusion, strong with archaeological proofs, freedom, no final answer, interesting concepts, Olaf Stapledon, a whole book from one paragraph of Starmaker, Jorge Luis Borges, The Library Of Babel, standing room for sleeping, why this illusory duplication, this is not our world, there’s no food, they’re more like robots in a certain sense, all the argon is coming to them from something beneath them, who invented the robots?, a blank slate, the robot equivalent, an analogy of the heat death of the universe, “we existed we were real”, a self contained universe, a navel gazing story, working the same theme, Jesus in South America (the God of Dreams) [The Circular Ruins], teaching the A.I.s consciousness, self-dissecting, a good example that doesn’t exist in the same way as ours does, the transference between universes, the prism, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, Until The End Of The World (1999), replaying your dreams, so much about them, the perfect obsessive movie for you, gazing into who you are, the machine allows you to navel gaze, fomo = fear of missing out, the grass is greener, a simple idea, fragmenting kaleidoscopic versions of reality, only a few months old and it was going up in value, diminishing returns, amazing sparky thoughts, pirated songs, I’d make so much money, information is the only thing passed between universes, copyrighted specifically for you, the same wound, possible yous, not being paralyzed, why not?, one of me is going to do it, destroys your ordinary criteria for action, a high dose of neg-entropy, the school shooters, what effect would it have, Jesse derives solace from being (sort of) a determinist, science fiction about the difficulty of weather prediction, are there more murders now?, outliers, fads, more of the same, All The Myriad Ways by Larry Niven, you might lose your will to do things, What’s Expected Of Us, whichever universe you’re in, Vanessa, an unstable person, Counterpart, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, as Evan pointed out on his podcast, the universe is very small, seeing what’s going on outside, they’re all blending together, he thought he had done so much work, that’s much to harsh, words can sometimes resonate very deeply, the non-simple truth, a reality we are distantly connected to, poor connections, emergent things, to know what truth is (is tough), a longer meditation, the longest thing he’s ever written, either these people are wasting their lives or we’re all wasting our lives, where’s the truth there WAYNE?, to leap into agnosticism, relate to our interpretation of reality, we can only do what we can do, the motif of harmful sensation, The Imp Of The Perverse, physical or mental damage you can suffer, explicitly shoutsout to H.P. Lovecraft, akinetic mutism, won’t or can’t speak or won’t or can’t move, the motif of harmful sensation, a truly convincing argument that life is pointless might qualify, it doesn’t matter, a thread running through (or more than one), Ted Chiang has got a brain, the Lovecraftian horror, like a cognitive plague, a thought that explores the thinker, a Godel sentence, I try to act as if or rather action happens, pretend you have free will, believing the lie is the only way to avoid this waking coma, civilization relies on self-deception (perhaps it always has), The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, living it, this universe might have slipped into equilibrium with nothing more than a quiet hiss, that in itself is beauty, in the next bottle over, the Complete Works of Shakespeare except it’s “Shmamlet”, the meaning is fake, Paul’s fear, robot descendants,

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

not a horror story but a science fiction truth, truths always in refinement, David Hume, past behavior, Robert Wright’s interview with Ted Chiang, The Story Of Your Life, a silly seeming story, Arrival, are you going to roll up into a little ball or are you going to affirm it?, the pharmacon, poison and medicine, make you a paralyzed mute or a creative, it takes all that time or that care to make that stuff literary, Wayne’s in a little ball, Wayne’s gonna complain, some stuff’s going to happen, get some jokes in there, WTF, we’re all gonna be specks in a layer of basalt, Tony C. Smith’s StarShipSofa, a Ted Chiang fan forever now, four stories, nested stories, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Garden Of Forking Paths, you can read it forever, a story that’s circular, in the exact middle you have a point around which everything swirls, the knowledge for where the treasure under the tree came from, super symmetrical, so wonderful, a time travel story in which there’s no technological difference, no traditional time travel tropes, there’s no predicting eclipse, he steals from himself, he predicts the albino baby and gets out of prison, The Diamond Necklace or The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, there’s the pit of despair, the story is the treasure, we as the prince get the benefit, why the title is Exhalation: Stories, The Great Silence, John Paul Sartre with possible worlds, Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny, whatever works is true, the suppression of this technology because of the ruling class, nowhere for that to go, a remaking of humanity, thinking about childrearing while childrearing, mimetic fiction is all about divorces, my experience with my marriage, different parents have different levels of interest in their own child’s rearing, would have benefited the working class, the washing machine is liberatory, television as the babysitter, smartphones, is that wrong, a typical Ted Chiang thing, an actual syndrome: psychosocial dwarfism, growth hormones stop operating, emotional malnutrition, not an ideal human state, really bougie, homeschooling, unschooling, the class dimension, a survival strategy, a metaphor for public schooling, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, Nanny by Philip K. Dick, the planned obsolescence angle, aloof parents, more attached to the nanny than to the parents, gladiatorial nannies, what if they trigger while raising the kids, if you follow police state logic, hands are dangerous weapons, tape their mouths up, and kill everybody (to be safe), the rational childcare device, a more cutesy vignette

reading, or being read, Ted Chiang stories, is like quaffing pure liters of undiluted SCIENCE FICTION from the fount in which it was first forged. And I tell you, without hyperbole, that Science Fiction absolutely cannot die as long as TED CHIANG lives and writes it.

asking and posing the big questions, natural science, parallel universes, asking questions, collecting and systematizing, that guy we didn’t like, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, “proving things”, weapons of mass destruction, 17 intelligence agencies, how can we falsify this?, holy shit he was right!, thought experiments, thinking them through completely, exploring a philosophical point, you can’t do it with mimetic fiction, what happens if…, that’s what they all are, the author afterwords offer insight, that I’m taking my head apart scene, a reverse infodump, we can’t understand ourselves, arguments like proverbs (suck), limiting understanding, refusing that limit, there’s no Godellian self-impossibility, what Dick does, almost like a drug metaphor, the thought’s he’s having and the thoughts he’s expressing, if you want to get into a big fight, tell me my hand is not my hand, memory, Hal, the difference, Ted Chiang doesn’t have this paranoia, adjacent to technology, the guy measuring the ether, how do we know what we know, the art installation for The Great Silence, Alex the talking parrot, very emotional, their beak is kind of their hand, emotional realities, those Alex videos, a whole other mind we have access to through regular English, these humans are looking for intelligence in the universe, the search for terrestrial intelligence, pretty cool, kinda heartbreaking, the whole Alex thing, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams, Arecibo, it hears the voice of creation, the lasting breath, spirit as the breath of God, the breath is not me, he’s having it both ways, these copper plates, audio versus text, in another five years, Wayne would personally recommend the book and the audiobook, here’s where I got the idea, at the end of every story, as a collection, this book we can hand off to people, I feel stupid when I’m reading stupid, reading this makes me feel like I’m the genius that I am, I’m sophisticated, I’m so stupid, not having brilliant ideas all day long, a guy practicing his words for his sermon, thinking on aloud, thinking on paper, writing therapy, cast them out of you, people are made of stories.

Posted by Jesse Willis