Reading, Short And Deep #365 – Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #365

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

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Alethia Phrikodes was first published under this title in Weird Tales, July 1952.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #719 – READALONG: The Star King by Jack Vance

Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Star King by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul will answer to no other name, Cora was Popeye, not that Robby the Robot, riffing, Paul’s fifth or sixth time, the perfect excuse, something weird that happened, the “the” was dropped, The Wankh, a naughty word, dropping the definite article, the Edmond Hamilton, the series, a British paperback from 1973, Strange Case, people want to add the the in, when people are speaking they will often omit the the, Stefan Rudnicki, a more attacky angle, 1964 review by Robert Silverberg, a bad novel, embarrassing, a blown up novelet, “excerpts”, great name, that’s not how it happened, the thin rickety story, an instrument of vengeance, too implausible for words, incredible density, taking little or no action, glimpse tantalizingly, a limp stuttering revenge story that slogs on and on, entitled to slip now and again, distinctly human, weird aliens, sub-minion, stabbed by one of the dryads, slightly off, the back cover blurb spoils the whole thing, revealed very early, not that early, contempt and lust, a peace-abiding man, four humans and a star king, an “object lesson”, vengeance became Gerson’s sole objective, appetite for human slavery, Poul Anderson, Jesse kinda agrees with Silverberg, almost no SF content, dating and mystery solving, the mystery element, The Moon Moth, it’s the culture of the planet, the plot to solve the mystery is just an excuse, Sirene, mentioned in this book, what sparked you about this book?, is this an amazing book, Vance’s typical poetic style, Asimov adding quotations from The Encyclopedia Galactica, science fiction mysteries, romantic subplot, not hard SF, Silverberg is right about the initial planet, dryads, its a setting for the beginning and the end of the book, those names a really good, that’s a way to go, for example, the calendar is restarted at zero, 1492, writing for an American audience, find a new passage to India, it doesn’t pay off in any way, oh you’re a pirate, you’re a slaver, jokes, a torture slave, it isn’t an analogy, worldbuilding details, not everything needs to have a purpose or be an analogy, a lot of the things in here, writing it by the seat of his pants, serialized over two issues in Galaxy, it does feel padded, where’s the science fiction element, social science fiction, such a step down from The Moon Moth, this is gonna get good at some point, the revenge plot, all five guys could have been hunted down in this one book, maneuvering, kinda lazy, dating, sitting in the office, it doesn’t feel like science fiction, very surprised, set in space, a little bit of tech here and there, planet names, cute, a science fiction setting vs. a science fiction plot, set in the American west, a viable story, science fiction with something else, leaning into the genderlessness, their motivations are different than those and mine, figuring out who’s who, they’re sort of officious, told from alternating POVs, not a Campbellian alien, better than men, Kerth susses, an interstellar murderer, an interstellar assassin for justice, the girl in the Game Of Thrones series, killing evil people, more of that, not knowing who the five are, Smade’s Tavern, follow the timeline, five names, getting suspicious, the rest of the series, a giant wide universe, by coincidence or chance, it takes time, a mystery investigation plot, the weakest of the books, he knows what he’s doing, how am I arranging these plots, the weakest of the Demon Princes book, diminishing returns, a page turner, in what sense better?, less fumbling around, clumsy, the idea you can spoil things, Robinson Crusoe chapter titles:

Start In Life
Slavery And Escape
Wrecked On A Desert Island
First Weeks on the Island
Builds a House – the Journal
Ill and Conscience-Stricken
Agricultural Experience
Surveys His Position
A Boat
Tames Goats
Finds Print of Man’s Foot on the Sand
A Cave Retreat
Wreck of a Spanish Ship
A Dream Realised
Friday’s Education
Rescue of Prisoners from Cannibals
Visit of Mutineers
The Ship Recovered
Return to England
Fight Between Friday and a Bear

Chapters in The Hobbit: from the late 17th century, slightly popular, a quite common style, skip right to the chapter you haven’t read yet, 1719, not having chapter titles is a mistake, ooh that sounds interesting, read the chapter titles first as a kid, they used to have chapter titles, the default is not, Roast Mutton Riddles In The Dark, Queer Lodgings, sometimes it helps your memory of the book, when you’re dealing with a mystery, not knowing who the killer, playing against the detective, a fair play mystery, Agatha Christie, knowing who did it, the Columbo formula, a book-like tradition, an inverted mystery, there are exceptions, how’s he going to figure this out, which of these three guys is the alien, a fifth or more of the book, the girl romance, she’s kidnapped, a McGuffin, it has to do with it being a series, “soft science ficition” is psychology, sociology, wallpaper science fiction, cozies, police procedurals, Ed McBain, it isn’t focused on mystery, riding along with this guy, background that fills in the details, Robert Silverberg’ review of Son Of The Tree, ceaselessly inventive, so individual is his manner, long noveletes, complete in one issue, Standard Publications, a gaggle of reader departments, 25 cents!, his most fertile period, The Houses Of Iszm, going back to trees, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, the same basic outline, more delightful, two swift marvelous, not available as audiobooks, the novelet format and not being series are strikes against them, advertising the next books in the series, 111 pages and 112 pages vs. 158 pages, the difference is he adds some expanded material, where that year 1492 came in, an expansion to capitalize on a new market, Ace Doubles, Son Of The Tree, approximately the same length (32,000 words), his loves’ heart, the plot dynamics of the exploration people here, personal fiefdom, to spoil it, Subterranean Press, 22,000 words (+8,000 words), a monopoly on living houses, Sainh, the seeds of the rubber tree, silkworms, coffee beans, people smuggling plants across borders to break monopolies, spinning up worldbuilding, he loves to build his worlds, the IPCC, how these worlds work, enjoying the universe, tourism of the weird societies, Chai, the Grand Tour novels, the plot of The Moon Moth, the plot of Paul’s role playing game, many ways of being human, better than humans, their competitiveness with each other, parthenogenesis means you can’t be cuckolded easily, sexual conquests, eighteen babies out of their armpits, a short novel by an author who is pretty bad, Lester Del Rey, incompetent writing (or just bad), Lin Carter was an enthusiast, H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard, deep inside of his core he has a grinding stone that’s throwing out sparks, a guy who liked those guys (and didn’t have a horrible childhood), enthusiasm for some sort of science fiction idea in a setting, on Mars, plotting vs. ideas, The Sky Is Falling, MAGABOOK paperbook, making the words flow, pages turn vs. oh that was clunky, workmanlike, operating in the science fiction end, the wallpaper is ugly in his world, always delivers actual SF, awesome soft SF, The Potters Of Frisk, really disappointed, read the series multiple times, Dune by Frank Herbert, Paul got it young, hit a wall, Vance was difficult to find for a while, Dying Earth, dated science, nonsense technobabble, the crew of the ship have no idea how the thrusting works, how cars and planes work, how the car engine works, he knows he’s not doing hard SF, retro technology, a telephone booth, feels more modern than it is, a great movie or TV series, lots of makeup, tint her skin, problems of racism, skin dye, a disguise, for fashion, the Civil Rights era, footage of protests, not a political book, independent police, the Pinkertons, privatized police forces, that makes sense, To Live Forever by Jack Vance, dealing with an interesting theme: immortality, social credit score, empathy with your clone, the exploration was very important, a very solid SF novel, is it an SF wallpaper book?, Scott’s really really enjoying the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, integral to the plot, late season Orville episodes, an on off romance, she’s really strong, technically that’s different alien cultures, but not really, the focus on the romance, a Star Wars style battle, 10 minutes of Naboo fighters in trenches, not understanding, Mr Data has a phaser, Mr Spock was in this book, Dr. Spock, how many siblings have spock have at this point?, Michael who is adopted, Spock’s family tree, Amanda Grayson, Perrin is the replacement, the movie was so bad, Star Trek 4 was a such a great movie I’ll go see Star Trek 5, these fucking marshmallow jokes suck, Scott banging his head, I hate this movie, if we looked at it now our standards are so low now, Star Trek 1 gets better every year, Star Trek 3, Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, the Star Trek next generation movies are bad too, dune buggies, enemy dune buggies, they beam down and then walk, Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), a talking car, you know what this gothic romance needs? more dune buggies!, that’s not what it’s about, Okuda designing a screen for a dune buggy, The Killing Machine by Jack Vance, planet bound, The Five Gold Bands aka Space Pirate, Science Fiction 101 or Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, Startling Stories, criticism of capitalism and colonialism, brass bra babes, bug-eyed monsters, Thrilling Wonder Stories, entertaining, sales, unfairly forgotten, Tschai is a compilation of the Planet Of Adventure novels, sociological science fiction, the Lyonesse trilogy, discussed on occasion, Fuck Me Up Vance Knock Out Baby, Jack does It, Man I Love Sports, following their own bugbears, I’m going to read the series, too many names to remember, a terrible review don’t listen to me, narrator issues, consumer reviews, semi-professional reviewers, was Silverberg grumpy when he wrote that?, angry that books were so shitty, saying the same things over and over again, Piers Anthony and John Norman, Lin Carter is dead, the lowest ratings you’ve ever given, hurting someone who is still alive, calm down, someone didn’t like your book, calling their baby ugly, differentiating a story from a person, review their good books not their bad books, promoting things that are good vs. tearing down things that are bad, pissing on their baby, what’s the purpose of reviewing, it worked way to well, the initial motivation, talking about ideas in the book, why is it a bad book, an intellectual exercise, if you know the author it feels problematic, very successful and insecure, being honest, the new upcoming Prime Tolkien show, they paid people to be excited, hiring people to say good things is intellectually dishonest and lucrative, a huge thing (not for books), written by the author under pseudonym, what makes August Derleth a scumbag, doing a disservice to your idealized reader, holding your tongue, tell the truth at all times?, many techniques to avoid lying, throw some sparklers into the air, I just got this new hairpiece: how does it look?, if your world will fundamentally crumble, smart people will learn to not ask questions of people who give honest answers, Cora’s hair is long, hair braided to her tailbone, if that old woman can have long hair, there is a problem in the industry of reviewing, doing a disservice to our idealized reader, what things do I want to see in a review?, what the reviewer thinks the book could be or could have been, reviewing serves multiple functions, ratings do not, unuseful, when many thousands rate, dismissing things immediately, no one is rating honestly, Paul’s trip to Oregon, nagging the ratings, Paul got his revenge, what they asked for and not what they wanted, Goodreads is more critical than Amazon, books no on the market, is my number ok?, the more popular the book…, a perfect 5, the bigger the number of people having reviewed it, reviewing for IMDB, a ranking, anything under 5 is a shit movie, very close to 7, IMDB got bought out and you can’t trust reviewing, review bombing, the Marvel movies and Marvel series, the 2016 Ghostbuster movie, how hot someone is, Top Gun: Maverick, super-propagandy and still good, why we must rely, PC Gamer magazine’s wonderful giant reviews, Rogue One, blind black man actor [Denzel Washington], Gary Whitta, a western, science fiction wallpaper, fantasy, vision from god, The Book Of Eli (2010), a very solid script, many boffins died, the pacing is good, amazing essays, what good essay writing is, laugh at the games that are badly put together, half percentage points, inflation, a then living author, a slap in the face, who would have been served by him saying nothing?, a smaller world now, fistfights at Worldcon, fuck off into the sun, Blasters Of Forever by Cora Buhlert, who would it serve?, incensed, an MA in English, hating academics, lesson learned: don’t mention MAs, obvious an idiot, talk about you pets or children, author bios, which German army?, compulsory military service, its about identity, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, what Paul would think of it, pro-choice, what do you think your future in streaming is?, your audience will snitch on you, cracker is a slur, nudity will get you banned, who’s this person?, she has an MFA, a video editor for a streamer, why is MFA in her twitter bio, that’s her identity, that’s who they are, Anthony Rapp, a union rep, what he’s known for, he doesn’t identify it, Hugo finalist and pronouns, Jesse’s identity is a joke, what people care about, Robert A. Heinlein’s twitter bio: Libertarian onetime socialist, Elon Musk Fanboy, Former Naval Officer, writer, a good series of tweets, fake up some twitter bios for dead science fiction authors, emojis in their twitter bios, Ukraine Flag, Dove, Pirate flag?, a red spot means annoying person, COVID lockdown enthusiast, a German flag or Swedish flag, hammer and sickle, tomato, green vengetable, sunny symbol and aloha flower, a camera emoji, Vale of Garnath in Amber, I know don’t live in Lankhmar, the Plaza of Dark Delights, my German fan, huge in Germany, Germans read a lot of science fiction, Connor is an import, Mirko’s the original, an undertaker by profession, hilarious, the most suitable profession, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, any real stories?, Lovecraft can be funny, dry wry humour, next level hilarious.

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

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The SFFaudio Podcast #716 – READALONG: The Shining by Stephen King

Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about The Shining by Stephen King.

Talked about on today’s show:
1977, horror novel, fourth most popular fantasy novel, third novel, the novel that made him a household name, Carrie (1976), the same year, the book was 1975, his breakout, Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, Salem’s Lot, Stephen King, “shut-up you shitlib, stick to producing movies!”, his primary job was film producer, which has more production credits, hilarious, Michael Crichton effect, director and producer and writer, looming large from beyond the grave, Westworld, cartoons, Stephen King TV shows, new Stephen King shows streaming somewhere, Lisey’s Story, The Stand, George R.R. Martin, video game writer, comfortable with TV, how easy it is to produce TV shows money wise, he likes writing a lot, worldbuilding, things that will get him canceled, the magical negro, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, an American cultural phenomenon, if he wrote this today, that 70s jive talk, at the end, Doc is on the dock, he’s getting brown, very brown, the surrogate father figure, the kiss, the big shining talk, who is Stephen King in this book, he’s clearly Jack, kills himself off, why this book is super popular, how he put it all together, lifting ideas from literary sources, a big long very readable book, kinda early, Revival, relationships with ants and wasps, kids are literally closer to the ground than adults so they think about insects more, playing with their trucks, Marissa hiking by herself, major toddlerhood, we’re so proud we’re erect, his kids are always really terrific, so easy to read his books, identifying with the kids, we’re meant to identify with Doc, he’s our surrogate, Jack is more interesting to follow, a better adventure, failing at everything, they seduce him, the ghosts, money laundering, how they get him, repair his family, redeemed, the negative things in ourselves, super-flawed fucked up dude, we can relate to that, the scenes of domestic abuse, not so happy marriage, Jack Torrence has that too, the sin of the father, really uncomfortable for Paul, an imperfect family and childhood, why this book is and how it works, Danny’s power was the problem, a nexus, a big battery, it happened the year before, the previous caretaker and family, unnamed shining characters, every character shines, The Dead Zone has an unacknowledged shining character, you shine, your mom shines too (all mothers do, a little), throughout his writing, some sort of psychic spectrum, a Stephen King super-power roll playing game, The Dark Tower, breakers, telepathy, what good writing is: telepathy, a person far away in time and space, write really good, what just happened?, how is this happening, what is happening, a superpower Stephen King literally has, holy shit!, the way he does this, without a single bump, a human being like me, we think we can understand other people, doing it in fiction, his meta, the nagging wife, my mom is worse, she’s terrific, his grandmother’s house, somehow we’ve vacuumed out the psychic stuff, a weird cook who wants to abduct their son, he wants to rescue the kid, call it The Overlook Hotel, mental illness and alcoholism, where it is at his weirdest, find a stash, conjured out of the ether, capable of creating real physical damage to Danny, Doctor Sleep, his solution to everything, why this book is so Stephen Kingy, the plot, references, Guy De Maupassant’s The Inn, Switzerland, there’s dogs, have somebody there over the winter (as a caretaker), cabin fever, the same basic plot, how Stephen King fill those pages, all the family history, and the history of the Overlook, I’m so far ahead, flowed so easily, he makes long writing feel like easy writing, backwards and forwards in time, the car accident with the bike, jumping out of the main narrative, building the whole world, fleshed out, his pacing, perfect pacing, so engrossing, the set piece scenes, such a big piece of the story is just two pages, very impressive, table setting, a crucial scene, Jack versus the hedge animals, the way it sneaks up on you, slowly going insane, King or Torrence or the hotel, intrusive thoughts, a jingle, a phrase, intrusive negative thoughts, somebody from outside is putting words into his head, horribleness tempered, a big apology to his wife, “I know I shouldn’t have hit Joe that way. I’ve got to stop drinking”, Campbell Scott, a David Mamet actor with dry affect, no ill effect on the writing, straight reading vs. performance, other influences, The Mask Of The Read Death: A Fantasy by Edgar Allan Poe, masques vs. mask, what the hell is it about, the coloured rooms, at the beginning of the pandemic, cloistered in an abbey, out comes the red death, why there’s a whole bunch of rooms that are different colours, the movie filmed at the actual place King is basing it on, the ballroom has bat doors, The Colorado Lounge, the deal he made, its about class, the elite cant keep out the trauma of the working class, you can’t wall it away, that Phil Ochs song Ringing Of Revolution, when climate change happens, bunkers in New Zealand, The Sphinx, dominated by the reveal, the unmasking, in Robert W. Chambers, I wear no mask, The Yellow Sign, hints of Lovecraft, Jack as an opener, ultra-terrestrial horror, it’s Danny’s fault, Paul sees himself as Danny, a consequence of him being there, he can’t control it, “please abduct me, Dick”, he’s lying to him, 217, you’ll see really bad things there, thinking at him, Dick buys the vowel, he’s the one who knows the most, fainting spells in Germany, the clock almost striking midnight, forward in time, ghosts, not a contamination story, the hotel is destroyed at the end, teachers think is very important, some online webstudy course, arranged in a row from east to west, Blue (Birth), Purple (Growth), Green (Spring and youth), Orange (Summer and autumn), White (Old age), Violet (Impending death), Scarlet/Black (Death), a sergeant in the army, the summertime caretaker, fallen from his higher class, make sure you look out for The Rats In The Walls, a once high estate that needs to be maintained lest it fall, this is what I am reduced to, constant swearing, Wendy, when her husband swears to much, “prick”, hitting the student, I didn’t play with the timer, yeah I did, unreliable narrator, distrust the entire book, Stephen King being highly manipulative of us (and himself), I drink because you’re a bitch, Stephen King is doing self-analysis, so real, quitting smoking, an excuse to have a cigarette, what the fuck am I doing?, addiction brain, what the effect of physical isolation is, cut-off from other human beings for months on end, who’s to blame?, Jesse wants to imagine how this book would work without woowoo, a pure horror novel, a fantasy novel, Stephen King imitators, Nick Cutter’s The Troop, pure body horror, two things going on, his peanut butter in his zebra sauce, magic spell: Stephen King’s a good writer, college kids on a camping weekend, marriage breakdown and addiction, Philip K. Dick’s Puttering About In A Small Land, Out In The Garden, the wife’s been cheating on him with the Sun, I need to sell fantasy and I want to work out my stress about my wife cheating on me, The Dark Tower, literally met a werewolf, Hunger Games style, successfully spun up, the fear of your anger at your kids, such a cool scary thing to write about, such a change in your life, blaming the kid, obligation, responsibility, anxiety, Wendy’s mom, imagine if instead of Jack dying he lives, the relationship that Wendy has with her mom, psychologically abusive, you can’t lover her you have to love her, REDRUM is MURDER backwards, blood thirstiness, the wash of blood, symbolic, an alcoholic, she has a bad marriage, once she had the kid…, she chose a broken person to have a kid with, forever joined by the kid, how could she go back to him?, if I don’t stop drinking I’m going to have to kill myself, self-analysis, Jack is about him and the path he was on, the other drunk, Al: “stay dry”, class, drawn from life, bonding over drink, John Barleycorn by Jack London, drinking is a social custom, binding and destructive, on the same team, a judge, the board of directors, bonding through alcohol, the favours are running out, Evan’s theory, he’s trying to be fired, self-sabotage, ironically this time…, imagine there is no shining, a whole other thread, the imaginary friend who is real, an old trope, Harvey (1950), Ted (2012), Drop Dead Fred (1991), Mr. Lupescu by Anthony Boucher, Thus I Refute Beelzy by John Collier, the insanity children are allowed to have, a book about mental illness, Lovecraftian, classic mental illness, you didn’t tell me this hotel was used by criminals, Richard Nixon stayed in the hotel, an unreasonable phonecall, he’s quasi-blackmailing, not modern Stephen King shitlibbery, we bury the truth, we destroy the truth, we make it not real, Dick lies to his boss, as honest as he can be without getting fired, suicide, murder, sex-trafficking, we never find out how she paid, being a cursed place, Evan thinks that characters are shiners and breakers, a guy gives Dick a sweater and a can of gasoline, another shiner, they’re all shiners, haunted, “it’s the same criticism that Stephen King always has: there’s a fundamental flaw in American society, it’s class, and we can’t talk about it”, Red Room, it could have gone a whole bunch of different ways, no dangling threads, Hill House, the Marsten house in Salem’s Lot, it’s not the hotel that is making him make that call, trying to free himself and save his family, it’s hard to read it, drunken phonecall, late night phone call, go sleep it off, acting out with a really good reason for it, The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft, Tony is the future Danny, consciously bringing that in, winding up a clock vs. opening a door, a father figure, abusive father, reiterating that with his kid, aping the words of his father, spectacles into the mashed potatoes with blood on them, a coping mechanism, Jack gets what he wants, on the roof, distracted by the wasps, they bug him, the bug bomb, another case of I didn’t adjust the timer (but actually did), he wanted to have his son stung, we’re going to sue, focus on the kid, shifting the blame, it’s not me it’s your stutter!, the play is the book within the book, The King In Yellow, all work and no play, a good reading of what’s happening in here, understanding himself, a play about him and his abuse of a kid, his play sucks, he knows the play sucks, this is all you need to make this excellent book, what does Stephen King do instead of exposing American corruption and American kleptocracy and American sin? he makes it personal, he doesn’t expose the history of the Overlook Hotel, instead he exposes a family, we can all muddle through somehow, everything will be okay, exposes it to the readers, making it fuzzy, better at history, revealing the history, let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out, the attempt to repress, when teenage Marissa first read it: this is a critique of American capitalism, he goes the opposite direction, literally hiding the message in favour of a psychic family, the boiler is his temper, Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester, which of us I am anymore, that duality within Jack Torrence, keep the temperature from blowing, everything he does could be automated, going down there twice a day, even days and odd days, it’s not a real job, a warm body, very symbolic, he gets stuck down there, the Jesse voices are back, don’t look at these very important papers!, grinding Excedrins all day, they taste bitter, very well put together book, too well put together?, a famous hit, The Stand, his short stories, kaboom, 1408, the room is evil on its own, John Cusack, doesn’t need any priming, a lot of love to be had in the little stories, The Night Flier, a vampire who has an airplane, very personal, they’re all personal, Revival is almost philosophical and mature, dealing/dealt, digging real deep in this one, Danny’s gonna be six, way to bright for a six year old, because he shines, oh, he’s a delayed reader, so urgent to read, his adaptors usually pick the wrong ages, Joe Hill’s [Locke & Key] Welcome To Lovecraft, replaced him with August Derleth [or Richard Matheson?], the essence of shitlibbery, a racist, a liar, a thief, all can see the magic, lifting that from his father, bring a key near somebody’s head, a really cool premise, kids can have magic, starmetal/evil shoggoths, a fundamentally interesting thing, they won’t follow through, you know what the problem is but then choose to go the other way, a good book, maybe why he is a genre, not treated like a gutter guy, not treated like a literary genius, Upton Sinclair style guys, they frown on Stephen King, jealousy, so successful, people like Stephen King, no cachet with King as with other writers, some people are prejudiced, literary snobs, not the American classic, a weird Stephen King thing, blood elevator, guy with an axe, the sitting in the car and talking to the old black man, knows what’s up with Danny, Dr. Sleep, Danny’s 35, Dick Halorhan had died, the Overlook ghosts had followed him, he’s an alcoholic, a job at a hospice, Kevorkian style, a good service, being preyed on by psychic vampires, get back his mojo and save the day, people trying to live off of boomers, resistant to sequels, able to stay alive for centuries, a multiverse, that’s not publisher demand, writer you want to read, Greg Bear, not well constructed, he falls into the trap, I need to write Halo novels, a trilogy, following the market, Stephen King has the market, The Dark Tower along with Dune got Marissa into science fiction, the one with the train, 3 ends on a cliffhanger, it’s all done, 1,350,000 words, after the accident, why would he write them all in one year, George R.R. Martin, I can’t do that to my legacy, 224 pages vs. 845 pages, 4,316 pages for The Dark Tower, have Eric retire or die, take a couple of weeks off to read the book about Allen Dulles, I can’t read an 800 page book, we have split up a book, Dune, The Lord Of The Rings, The Odyssey, Evan’s podcast’s premise, once you start something you’re stuck with it, I have to only wear short socks, 300 years ahead, take a holiday, sleep and go to the gym, everyone who is capable should do what they’re good at, the Zizek book, it has happened, you shouldn’t do that, a vacation implies your ideal life is not being lived, a different temporary life, there are wrong things to do, The Sea Wolf by Jack London, the Star Trek Sex Book, recover, Jesse likes computer games, Project Zomboid, zombie survival isometric, get ready for the zombie apocalypse, sounds great, very dangerous, Fallout 4 til 5am, be moderate in your behavior, taking a vacation from the things that are good, Jesse is not sure series are a good idea at all, a satisfying book in and of itself, Don Mark Lemon, recharge your batteries, Jesse’s just being real, Jesse’s mom, people die and you should plan for it.

The Shining Limited Edition Artwork Portfolio

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The SFFaudio Podcast #712 – READALONG: Strawberry Spring by Stephen King

 

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #706 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about Strawberry Spring by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
Ubris, Fall 1968, pornography magazines, men’s magazines, set in the 70s, the audio drama, the audiobook is 24 minutes, seeds, the ads are horrendous, iheartradio, the style of the audio soundscape, music and soundbed all the time, phones are constantly ringing, all the standard audio drama stuff, stressful, a traumatizing podcast experience, ads would wreck your life, crawling to more podcasts, random jump in ads, worth my time, we will never put an adskipper into my podcast, we are the manufacturer of televisions that won’t make a mute button, very obtrusive short ads, there’s so many good podcasts, of these 20 great podcasts, who has the time?, how stories are put together, one big ad-free file, the spiking pain sound, they destroyed their own artwork, network deal, I Hate Ads Network, jumping back and forth in time, very linear, takes place over the course of an evening, describing the landscape as he walks, their favourite, the worst thing by Stephen King, not his best serial killer story, really good at the short stories, sharper work, Night Shift, journeyman, 20 stories, the stuff that didn’t make the cut, picked for a feel, an E.C. Comics kind of vibe, the Cryptkeeper, really pulpy and fun, the Night Shift narration, Graveyard Shift, rats have evolved in the sub-basement, having so much fun, The Man Who Loved Flowers, Boogeyman, ambiguous ending, The Good Marriage, Full Dark, No Stars, Night Surf, hanging out on the beach, they sacrifice a guy, this is well written, reading to enjoy or reading for a podcast, The Mangler, Trucks, Lawnmower Man, Children Of The Corn, 1975, 1968, a little subtle point, a re-write, the Cavalier publication, set in the 1970s after 8 to 10 years, recalling the events at a campus in the 1960s, Ubris bud, Stephen King is so collectible, we’re seeing his gloss on his original story, similar in plot to Alfred Bester’s Fondly Fahrenheit (in reverse), every time it gets to hot, smelling the sea through the sewer, wife abuser, car accident in the fog, traumatized, fog in a Stephen King story, obsession with fog, who doesn’t have an obsession with fog, All The Myriad Ways by Larry Niven, changing the narrator, like a werewolf story, a phrase, Cycle Of The Werewolf, the answer is always yes, Bernie Wrightson art, showcase, the order, the plot, the crippled boy being the hero, very King, a disabled child, an interesting idea, Silver Bullet (1985), Creepshow Stephen King, let’s get together, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, it’s not me, early Stephen King, it doesn’t feel awesome, so short, without comparing the two texts, we’re never going to see this in a collection, a picture of Stephen King holding a shotgun, Study Dammit, insane hippie with a shotgun, Stephen King of today, that wildness that’s inside him, a good story, polished later King, a proposal for a column, the campus newspaper, rejected along with a request for a date, the ending is clearly forecast, the amazing last line, Campus Life, Hearts In Atlantis, blow their scholarships playing hearts all the time, I Know What You Need, someone who shines, an incel stories, to manipulate a woman, mismatched socks, doesn’t take care of himself, he knows what she needs, Everything’s Eventual, 1997, so simple, why is it springheeled jack?, 1819, 1830s, mass hysteria, urban legend, looking in the wrong direction, making a folk tale out of the murderer, expecting someone to jump out, expecting more jumping, prodigous feats of jumping, seven league boots, The Strange Affair Of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder, Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne, a time traveler, The Time Traveler’s Wife, the deliciousness of enjoying, Springheeled jack research, 1838, leaf springs vs. coil springs, he looks like the devil, horns, fingernails, a cape, a moral reinforcement, a laser of evilness, a free spirit, damn the consequences, Indian Summer, Halloween, how to do Halloween, unlike Christmas, wassailing songs, Halloween is done by children, hopscotch, a thing that kids do, the Spring Jack, a license to be wild, Jack the Ripper, Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Wisconsin, no other suspects, fangs, description of the first girl who dies, a weird contradictory mix, a serial where we’ve forgot, the added material makes it confusing, most stories are at least 40 minutes or an hour, more characters (suspects), yes, she was at the next table, she wore granny glasses and had a good figure, most promiscuous girl on campus, ugly but cute, it was strawberry spring, the temperature 480 degrees deliciously Fahrenheit, steal from Alfred Bester, a masterpiece for the ages, when you compare them, this is good, how do you make your game so much more amazing, the Quentin Tarantino knock off, the feet, a good story for a young writer, that’s good writing, a lot of adverbs, Gale = wind, a rabbit’s foot key-chain he pounced, reading it charitably, the narrator is playing a game with us (the reader), my wife is upset, that lovely creeping fog, the lovely shadows without, such an ugly word “trunk”, I think so too, he’s been caught, a good interpretation, his dad hit his mom, more concrete, we see dudes like that in the world, jilted, bear re-reading, a subversive reading, expectation, drawn from life, an accidental Pickman’s Model, the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, a breakaway, repeats, animal sciences, to protest the war, ha ha, the cryptic note, the campus right-wingers, outside agitators, Unlikely Fame: Poor People Who Made A Difference by David Wagner, heavily involved, fractured after the 1968 Democratic convention, civil rights groups, SCLC, breaking up or broken up?, more radical voices, civil rights groups, similar in strategy, confrontational, black power organizations, more northern and urban, student movements, Maoist groups, Democratic Socialists, how are we going to talk about this, talking politics, its all over this story, the reason people are reading it, an old Jack London story, used as a study text, used in English classes, a big clamour for it, Reading, Short And Deep, a knock-on effect, or a long tail, this doesn’t suck!, why Stephen King’s so great, he’s their gateway drug, hooking people into reading, substantial, light, The Shining, I can’t believe how good the writing is, so much electricity, come look at me, out on the balcony at 2am, the complete experience, you get lost in it, the worst is totally good, what do you make of the politics, a teaching university, the animal sciences parking lot, veterinary school, New Sharon teacher’s college, agricultural science is for crops, livestock, for farmers, how to solve problems with your livestock, raising of things to be slaughtered, for purposes of slaughtering, she wasn’t an animal sciences student, all good stuff, when night came, moving silent and white, the fog is spring jack, slow as cigarette smoke, out of joint, strange, magical, The Grinder, hard clear starriness, ancient gutters, you half expected to see Frodo or Sam, a druid circle, a fairy rings, enjoying a Tolkien experience, pastoral, Gollum’s there too, a bear, a wildcat, nature thinks your food too, super-obvious, a lack of other characters, how rather than if, when we jump to 1971, obviously he’s the killer, in the photo, oh is he the killer?, as if he was there, her eyes were sparkling, students who haven’t read a lot of Stephen King, stories can do this?!, the story didn’t need the narrator to be the murderer, cycles, nostalgia for college, fog really fucks up people and makes people murder each other, correlation but no mechanism, just an incel, he has a wife at the end, incels can have wives too, don’t talk to me right now I’m in an incel fog, other bodies, leaving a trail, worried about his wife, A Good Marriage, a box of 80 drivers licenses, the new Dexter TV show, exactly the same stuff, upstate New York, collecting of souvenirs, the story is the souvenir, listening to everybody’s rumours, “hi” extra loud, the monster behind the face, this is the guy who is very worried about gun violence, self-canceled [Rage], he’s got this monster inside him, how do you do such horrible stories, I like scaring myself, I just like being scared, she humiliated me, I could kill her, no no the fog the fog, romancing it, that Joe Rogan clip about Stephen King, full of these demons (drugs and alcohol and hostility to his family), recent Stephen King, Richard Bachman is under the surface of a lot of Stephen King’s works, Revival, Jesse’s never read The Shining, triggered Marissa, the second half of his career, Dreamcatcher, Doll’s House, pure book, the short films for Strawberry Spring, pacing timing, Stephen King’s saturation point, two or four or five television shows, let’s just do The Shining by itself, Stanley Kubrick, meat enough on these potatoes, opportunity to correct that defect, a college course on American Horror.

Study, Dammit!

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The SFFaudio Podcast #711 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft

The SFFaudio Podcast
The SFFaudio Podcast #711 – The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft – read by Gregg Margarite. This is a complete and unabridged reading of story (1 hour 7 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Connor Kaye, and Jason Thompson.

Talked about on today’s show:
a book in 1928, Weird Tales, October 1937, the S.T. Joshi, a posthumous story of immense power, The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard, it’s been only 15 years since Robert E. Howard’s death, so fucked up, Evan’s podcast about it, Wayne June’s version for Audio Realms, he’s the best narrator for this, why is Poe in this?, he’s really into Poe, wooing, definitely probably didn’t notice this house, irony is seldom absent, what’s happening structurally, somebody buries somebody beneath the floorboards, a lady in a house down the street, two main characters who are bachelors obsessed with a house, what happens to the uncle, he’s killed, he’s homicided by his uncle, six carboys of acid, structurally its very much like The Tell-Tale Heart, ha ha ha I’m doing Poe, stronger or equal to anything Poe ever wrote, tops, weirdness and horror, one of his underrated stories, this isn’t in any of them, a little longer, the buildup, the backend, the release of the tension, very genealogical (hence kind of dull), now that Jason’s a parent, child deaths, everyone dies, everyone goes insane, tragic and emotional events in dry synopses, melodrama, some of his best deep dives into the history of a place and a character, He, using architecture to dig into the history of places, time travel, walking tours, Etienne Roulet, some of the best stuff in the story, the history and ownership of the house, windows, working class experience of horror, the way knowledge is communicated, the grapevine telegraph, so many echoes of other stories, which ones are not included, The Statement Of Randolph Of Carter, The Lurking Fear, the shadow on the mantelpiece, two guys sleeping in a house with disturbing nightmare dreams, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Colour Out Of Space, body horror, inverted, a material that goes into living things and pumps it up vs. removing something from living things and making it worse, a disgusting factor in the plants, vampirized vs. injected with tainted materials, vaguely traditional ghost stories, The Unnamable, crazy ghosts, extremely , vital force and attenuated matter, shapeless blobs, shapeless ghost monsters, we see an elbow, two feet in diameter, biceps, he seems to have been growing, they buried a titan, looking into the pit before pouring, Lovecraft knows what’s under there but we only get to see the elbow, a research story, the Indian graveyard, the town graveyard, Elihu Whipple, tricorn hats mad at him, cutting hearts out to kill vampires, a werewolf story from France, his uncle’s really into it, one of these goings back in time, he’s already tipped his hand, archaeological digging is really fun, atmosphere building, a very WWI exhumation of bodies buried, chronologically, nesting, Russian nesting dolls, Carrington brought something back, buried in the basement like a treasure, Jack Roulet, put on trial in France, half-werewolf half-vampire, 16th century people, more vampiric than it is werewolf, drawn to the land, a deeper history here, the entity, live in their own soil, a Dracula story as well, excavated their ancestor, their personal cemetery, we must destroy the memory, fainted suggestive sympathy for the monster, evil wizards, killed by a mob, hostile or seeking self-preservation, being buried alive, preserved himself in his last moments, the creature is alive, whatever it is, The Dweller by H.P. Lovecraft (Fungi From Yuggoth, #31), there’s something under the ground, a yellow day, the factory, pipes are croaking, alive down there but asleep, half-life, undead, growing in size, he’s not just pale he’s translucent, something softer than dirt, a folded stovepipe but rubbery-er, a hard turn materialistic science fiction, a gratuitous body count, we need a flamethrower, a crooke’s tube, like a cathode Ray tube, powerful batteries, positron emitters from Ghostbusters, backpack cyclotron, gas mask, a shovel and some acid, proton packs, so cool, ghost hunting shows, I’m getting em radiation, a great short film, two ghost hunters, 12 minutes long, pretty terrific, the possession, the way the possession works, the vampure thingy is stealing people, vital life essences, they are the haunters of the house, Slither (2006), an alien comes to Earth, a consciousness, monstrous body horror creature, James Gunn, a zombie aspect, sickly and dying get glassy eyed and try to bite, a completely different take, early vampire mythology, get really bloated in their coffins, a corpse being bloated from decomposing, absorbing some life force and getting bigger and bigger, feeding on life-force, a giant, if they hadn’t of stopped it, deleting it, it could have woken up and been a Clark Ashton Smith story,

Antarktos by H.P. Lovecraft
Deep in my dream the great bird whispered queerly
Of the black cone amid the polar waste;
Pushing above the ice-sheet lone and drearly,
By storm-crazed aeons battered and defaced.
Hither no living earth-shapes take their courses,
And only pale auroras and faint suns
Glow on that pitted rock, whose primal sources
Are guessed at dimly by the Elder Ones.

If men should glimpse it, they would merely wonder
What tricky mound of Nature’s build they spied;
But the bird told of vaster parts, that under
The mile-deep ice-shroud crouch and brood and bide.
God help the dreamer whose mad visions shew
Those dead eyes set in crystal gulfs below!

something frozen under the ice that’s going to come out,

The House
By H.P. Lovecraft

’Tis a grove-circled dwelling
Set close to a hill,
Where the branches are telling
Strange legends of ill;
Over timbers so old
That they breathe of the dead,
Crawl the vines, green and cold,
By strange nourishment fed;
And no man knows the juices they suck from the depths of their dank slimy bed.

In the gardens are growing
Tall blossoms and fair,
Each pallid bloom throwing
Perfume on the air;
But the afternoon sun
With its shining red rays
Makes the picture loom dun
On the curious gaze,
And above the sween scent of the the blossoms rise odours of numberless days.

The rank grasses are waving
On terrace and lawn,
Dim memories sav’ring
Of things that have gone;
The stones of the walks
Are encrusted and wet,
And a strange spirit stalks
When the red sun has set,
And the soul of the watcher is fill’d with faint pictures he fain would forget.

It was in the hot Junetime
I stood by that scene,
When the gold rays of noontime
Beat bright on the green.
But I shiver’d with cold,
Groping feebly for light,
As a picture unroll’d—
And my age-spanning sight
Saw the time I had been there before flash like fulgury out of the night.

the accompanying illustration, what is feeding the plants is a coffin, thinking layers, spirals up and down the house, beneath the ground floor, five chapters?, the occupation, the kitchen is in the basement, where the servants are going crazy, neighbouring houses are never effected, the fungus are the reaching out, black mold fucking up people’s lungs, a fungus vampire, spores are bad for your lungs, bad dreams, a toxic house, toxic mold, a ghost story, titan in the basement, tightness of The Terrible Old Man, some really awesome action, fun research in the middle, a happy ending (other than the uncle being dead), gets away with murdering his uncle, his hat is lying there, slime stained underwear, Cool Air, The Thing On The Doorstep also has a hat involved, melting, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, Body Melt (1993), just as tasteful, The Velveteen Rabbit lady, keep shunning that house, something physical, Hill House is just an evil house, the Marsten House, the Overlook Hotel, into science, Stephen King is not a scientist at all, a psych figure, Poltergeist (1982), buried indians, a suburban house built upon them, the Narragansett Indians, reduced to one man’s research, creepy houses, designate them, made up, based on rumor, the rumors are always true in Lovecraft, the rumors are revelatory, always in the right, true in the game vs. true in the stories, red herrings are only there to improve the story, not to fuck up the story (in good writing), Lovecraft knows what he’s doing, why these guys are unmarried, it’s not their house, what are you doing?, a funny line, my nerves were so shattered I had to write some poems, made me feel better, not the standard dude, the uncle is the stand in for Lovecraft’s grandfather, Elihu Whipple, maternal grandfather, a mixture of a few different family members, one of his uncles, a memorial for his uncle, a dedication to Lovecraft’s own grandfather, a bachelor, shed some tears, he’d still be alive with me here today, another statement (to the police or his own lawyer), to explain the missing uncle, he and Carrington Harris, he can partially backup my story, give an alibi, here’s the keys, all the equipment, fought in the Civil War, lickety split, a doctor in the Civil War, a lot of nautical stuff, a history of the United States, a break with the past, the ship being burned in 1772, set in 1919, 1920, the Klinger anthology, marginal notes, decoded it, made the timeline then wrote the story, some even and now we’re going into the deep history of this, the history of the house (vs. the history of the man), the timeline is very similar, colonial America, maritime history, Georgian America, a Mercy Dexter in this story, the names, Pelleg Harris, Moby-Dick, this is Lovecraft’s take on The House Of The Seven Gables, drink blood, a nice old lady who likes baking cookies, set in a basement, a dusty old house, no monster in the sub-basement, what this has that that doesn’t is a payoff to the awesome setup, The Undying Thing by Barry Pain, born as a werewolf, underground stuff is awesome, crashing down like, the tell-tale elbow, the weirdest part, the vampire loins, it could be anything, planting the seeds early, the apple trees are giving out small sweet apples, enjoys thinking about the house, a vampire in the basement at one point, becoming degraded, Evan needs to do a series on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hepzibah’s gingerbread cookies, more like this, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, get out of New England, escape this past and move on, go to the frontier, I’m going to fix up this nice old house, look at my ancient furniture matches the sideboard, the fanlights are amazing, he should’ve stopped at this house, unremarkable, sinister in his description, exuding a sinister aura, a nice house he appreciated, night black deeds, unnaturally steep roof, corpse fed, the septic tank, rank, a big shit, a physical force, lush, rheumy eyed grass, really gross, the roots of the tree still form the shape of elbows, fingers, still here, but the evil’s gone, a body horror story, a generation of horror, six-seven generations, still-births, on the face of the uncle, hosing down with the proton pack, going Tell-Tale Heart, melted his uncle, yellow gas, he passes out, his gas-mask fails him, the crookes tube has no effect, an old wooden house, a wet house, using flamethrowers inside a house, military flamethrowers, no cameras to document, 12 minutes, an adaptation, good music, this shunned story, the Taiwan lockdown continues, 50 people are moderately sick, people are less crazy [in British Columbia] here now, antibodies test, PCR tests, working from home, people are over it, the first big outbreak, 23-24 million people in Taiwan, there are more people in Taiwan than Australia, crammed in there, size of Australia vs. size of Taiwan, 215 times bigger, so sparse, easier to quarantine, China’s density, hardcore lockdowns in China, Australia: “once we’re vaccinated we’ll just open up”, political, the end of a career, stories from Shanghai, Tasmania is almost twice as big as Taiwan, shipping the vaccinated to Tasmania, Australia shipping refugees to Christmas Island, on the opposite side of the planet, Paul is getting shutout, Like A Thief In Broad Daylight by Slavoj Žižek, spit-all over, so excited, amped up, touching his nose, his brain is redlining, so prolific and fun, Living In The End Times, film criticism, a public intellectual, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, The Screwfly Solution, tripping over her name, The Mystery Of Sylmare, Strawberry Spring, Marissa VU is editing a magazine, lots of time for Jesse’s nonsense, Babbitt up next, The Thing In The Woods, both good and bad news, bad news is bad, good news is German, podcast Cora time, time zone, double good news, disarray, a working holiday, au pair, a tutor for babies, GCHQ doing more evil analysis, the secret cover, Alex from Pulpcovers, NLAWs, 33 billions for Ukraine is 33 billion for the industry, extend a proxy war, 1963-75?, leftover NAZIs with NLAWs, all that money goes to the militias, the alternative, two shitty options, who do you want to be your master?, literally occupied, the Donbas and Crimea, there’s been a war there since 2014, active troops, special operations (not rolling tanks), this is how we make our money, turning off the spigot of Afghanistan, tic tok, $1 for Ukraine added toy your bill, would you like to donate this money to Children’s Hospital, a parasite business, universal healthcare, don’t you have any charity?, automated tips, for the wait staff, a shifting, public goods, care for children who are ill, from government responsibilities, floods, another bloody wave of floods, the charity drops off, Peter Dutton set up go fund me, trained that way, the World Economic Forum, Justin Trudeau, his deputy prime minster, Klaus Schwab, instant disqualification, Bill Gates’ bad press, Elon Musk, fan or stan?, in the guillotine line, Joe Rogan, a mansion, the largest landholder of croplands in the U.S.A., an attack vector, fancy cars, he’s the billionaire who hasn’t gone to space, Bezos Beelzebub, asmodeus, he’s like Tiamat, ok?, Tiamat is female and not a they them, pre-biblical, prioritize, No-Man’s Land by John Buchan, finger bandaid, a baby on each knee screaming in German, a walled city, uberroads, autobahns, ultraroads, Mr Jim Moon, Darlington, a small town in central England, a saga on YouTube and Twitter, political, PayPal cancelling people’s access to their accounts, Russian affiliated media, NFTs, the NFT weirdos, purchasing using crypto, Elon Musk was an early investor in PayPal, Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime, awesome covers of pulp-style paperbacks, a mix of new and old, Fifty To One by Charles Ardai, the correct vision, why Elon is good too, he has passion for things, he wants to go to Mars, he likes fast cars, interested in everything, who else is making satellite internet?, a lot of change in the world, wanting power, I don’t want nice, I want rockets, anti-union, unions limit power, Toyota, responsibility, not just extracting value, we want workers to be self-actualized, the money compensation is there because the job isn’t fun, given Jesse’s awesomeness, we start with the worst not the richest, Bill Gates, locked-down, this guy with no medical degree has vast control, he stole a computer program, ruthlessness, tiger-eye, hiring a lot of engineers, who has changed cars more?, my Bill foundation, you still shorting Tesla stock?, how to lose a boner fast, he’s trolling the right people, Trump has the right enemies, Julius Caesar had the right enemies, I can see the vast appeal, lying to our faces without a sense of humour, his worst tweet: we will coup whoever we want, reins of power vs. power players, what has Microsoft done for you lately?, they got Skype, did they improve it, still free, an inertia, Discord has been cancelling people, the healthiest ecosystem is still Microsoft, sail across the pacific ocean with a granola bar, Mac’s walled garden, organize, dos a dos Ace Double style, Strange Embrace, Robert McGinnis, leg lengths, long necks, Michael Whalen, fucking fantastic covers, the name of the author, an amazing cover, where in the culture it sits, 2012, 361 by Donald E. Westlake, The Girl Who Electrified Tesla, Gun Honey, modern day pulp adventure, the Gabriel Hunt series, Robert E. Howard style, dangerous book for boys, Glen Orbik, very El Borak, he has the right taste and is enthusiastic about getting things done, The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, Joyland, Later, all the Donald E. Westlake, nice length, The Gods Of Bal-Sagoth by Robert E. Howard, The Black Stranger, he’s like Skeletor except cool, Max Allan Collins, the Quarry series,

The Shunned House - illustration by Virgil Finlay

The Shunned House - illustration by Otto Bumberger

The Shunned House - illustration by Muzski

135 Benefit Street - The Shunned House

135 Benefit Street - The Shunned House

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The SFFaudio Podcast #708 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #708 – The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood; read by Amy Gramour

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 59 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Bryan Alexander

Talked about on today’s show:
The Lost Valley and Other Stories, isfdb.org, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1944, great Matt Fox illustrations, canoes, portage, chasin the wendigo, northern minnesota, portedge vs. port-ahhj, defago, a french canadian accent, when you get your canoe out of the lake and walk overland carrying it, Lewis In Clark, they’re northwest passage moment, how non-wendigo-like this wendigo is, The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, the answer is no, is this story weird or is it eerie?, eerier than it is weird?, that fascination, the pull into the horror, a weird feature, easy to conflate the two, an eerie scene, a weird movie, unusual and strange, eerie is on its own orbit, absence vs. presence, seeing it from near Defago’s pov, witnessing with their nose and ears, super-cool, page 61, a failure of absence or a failure of presence, somebody’s talking but your can’t hear them, the absence of the voice, nested story, five guys, off by himself or with a wendigo, the mystery is what is actually happening to him, Easter sunday, the wendigo is Jesus with his feet of fire, tracks becoming like each other, the transformation stuff, so curious, The Willows, a lot more racist, the characters or the author, onto the author, casually thrown in there, the real mythological wendigo, ideas about how the land is empty, places where no one has ever been, natives all up in these areas, untouched by man, pre-Columbus, controlled burns, managed, untrammeled wilderness, this part of Austria that is completely untouched (since the Roman era), building it up vs. ignorance, hyper-maximialized, wendigo psychosis (phenomena), explanations for what happens when one goes wendigos, the Weird Studies podcast, out of Ontario, an incident in 2008, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Edmonton, in the right area, a carnival barker, “Vince” Weiguang Li, creepy pastas, decapitated and displayed a severed head, consuming some flesh, he plead non compos mentis, an article writer was worried that he may have caused it by speaking the word wendigo, magical thinking, people react, yellow blue flag in bio vs. going to Ukraine to join the fight, Stephen King banned one of his own books (because it was tied to school shootings), this is what I’ve been thinking about, the guy was crazy, technical difficulties, the people who lived in this area, an explanation for strange behavior, he went bersark, in times of abundance, the skinwalker, Ravenous (1999), plenitude vs. starvation, the climate change community, a sick society, suddenly your head’s being cut-off, triggered by real information, fight for the good guys, if you had just written that story, have your book in their locker (or at home), guilt and fear, mythological vs. rational, what stars did I change to change reality, an interesting take what the difference is, a lot more like a visit to fairyland, taken away by the fairies, transformed into a changeling, Connor MacLoud was my kinsman, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the hill is made of the corpses of many many, relish sweet and bitter dew, an essentially cool idea, uninterested, the feet of fire is not in the canon (of the mythology), frostbitten and worn away feet, Algernon Blackwood came to Canada, engaging with the landscape, a ghost story, A Haunted Island, a ghost in the bed, that which has happened or will happen, Accessory Before The Fact, native spirituality or native legend, equally evocative descriptions, listening forest, walking around in the forest, spooky fallen trees, a boat on the lake, being in the woods, is it authentic to any native experience?, a colonialist work, the height of Britain’s imperial power, away from the populace near the U.S. border, Blackwood was fascinated with nature, Arthur Machen, the dramatic power, successive isolation, more and more depopulated, more and more alienated, gorgeous terms, a little more unsettling, the Johnny Cash song, Bryan knows it’s connected, great sentences, the party round the blazing fire, recent moose discovering itself, word turns, musin up the fac, a sulky silence, Punk was washing up the dishes, the stars were brilliant in a sky quite wintry, the silence of the vast listening forest stole forward and enveloped them, no-one troubled to stir it, stealthy ice, a wonderful set of sentences, why Lovecraft likes this, about mood, complex moods vs. complex ideas, companionable silences, structural relationship, being offended, little nothing for the outer story, who’s this narrator, the least communicative character, smart character, the wind comes and stirs up that fire, Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s dark and stormy night, the weather is affecting the people, the landscape turns these people into the things they become, caught up in a spell, an inversion of fake realism, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, the climax, please come down, stage setting, stage directions, irrational laugh of horror, distinctly audible, circle of light, stumbling motion, motionless and dumb, withered, violent action, hewn of stone, stricken children, The Blair Witch Project, crunching the frozen snow, measured and pitiless approach, cursed, bends reality, appearances and postcards, distortion of Defago’s body, at length the darkness, terribly conceived, a figure, zone of uncertain light, spasmodic motion of a thing moved by wires, it was a man, a skein of horror, three pairs of eyes shone through it, robots and things, do you think it’s the wendigo?, his feet, something horrible with his feet, something dark and oddly massed where moccasined feet, covered it with a blanket, yanked away, not a normal french name, a bundle of sticks, fire, they replace your baby with something that isn’t your baby, corn dollies, True Detective, stick dollies, Downs syndrome, magical requirements of the spell, a mockery of the man who was taken away, visiting via him, back to the real guy, telepresence, its a puppet, stop motion animation, slightly more jaggy, Simpson watching close behind him, the impression of a mask, black and diabloical, revealed in utter nakedness, biologically inhabited, totally erased, possession, becoming wendigo, trying to start a fire, eaten away from the inside, a matchstick lit from the bottom, gravity, as a phenomenon, literal fire or frostbite, what is the wendigo doing across the landscape, people love to draw the wendigo, an outline, a vague figure, Roof Bear, picking up Coffee Cat, the opposite of warmth, dropping frost, what does the wendigo eat, it eats moss, moose, the moose is hunting them, the spirit of winter, the spirit of the land, uninhabited because of how harsh it is, the moose finds them, why it has horns, human scale, antlers, Cernunnos, the deer/elk god of Celtic mythology, the hunt, a hunting expedition

When Did I Go? by Jesse:
My hike through the subarctic foothills that summer suddenly turned sinister when the bridge I had meant to cross was suddenly washed out by a late spring flood.

I’d begun my trek west through northern Alberta and into its border in the North-West Territories in late May, back when my skin was sallow, and my hair short.

Now, in late June, my hair was in my eyes as I thought I should return to that last homely shack I’d seen, the one with the collapsed verandah, just thirteen kilometers back.

My feet felt hot as I turned on the trail where the three lonely larches had turned a lovely and sickly green, that shack held nothing, nothing but a history, a history of this lonely landscape, as it was perfectly placed to shelter me and my needs.

And as I approached the sagging shanty I noticed again that broken sign on the trail’s bed, flipped it over, saw a new growth of lichen had obscured a few of the obscene words scrawled upon its pitted surface.

As I read the words aloud to myself and the wind under those familiar twilight stars I began my hysterical laughter: “Yukon run, butt chew can’t hide from the THING inside” it read.

And as I threw the sign to my feet and crawled under that broken and redolent verandah into what was once my home, I smiled, cracked open my preserves, and began feasting on the salted man-meat I’d made on my last trip through.

THE END

stealing a little, the unconscious, explaining why people do things is hard, explicit, we have a theory, this is the wendigo, how do we know?, feeling hysterical, went out for a pee, the outer narration is very unsympathetic, he’s cheating, the landscape, somebody’s mouse, a companion sentence, the personification of inanimate things, the landscape is doing something for our experience, scent and smell, what he smells like, the wendigo smells acrid, like lion, musky, lions don’t eat moss, like a living animal, off by 7, food and fire, inwardness, “something he called a wendigo”, mental excitement, that extraordinary odour, pungent, 50 Island Water, a foolish avowal, the preposterous language, an exact miniature likeness, a wholly incredible distance, the fiery tinge in the snow, hesitant on the one and sure on the other, I’m in my right mind now, steam?, char?, burnt off, stumps, do we even see?, lying and concealing, the effect upon the reader, H.P. Lovecraft, its surrogate, you see it by its scent, its effect in the ground, tracks leading through a field, up into the sky, on the treetops, Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire, a religious and sexual vision, covers, down down down I went, mythic ring, not quite as awesome as The Willows, Mr Jim Moon, “the ghost man”, the British love their ghost stories, a Christmas tradition, M.R. James, Henry James, a nested narrative, people going away from civilization into the wild, into a Canadian canoe, birch bark canoe, so light, so lovely, make one?, a skin of birch, chopping, marking the trees, so I can find my way back, Hansel and Gretel, blazing the trees, a nice pun, it’s going to hear me, structured, 5 to 2 to 1, 1 to 2 to 5, like the Apollo missions, that style of a story, Operation Black Buck, the Falkland Island War, the fuel planes refueling each other, such a massive distance, this expedition into the wilderness, an telescoping antenna, what was in contact, as it collapses back down, that story structure, how did he manage to do it just this well, an extraordinarily good story, an oblique angle, public domain stories, what responsibility in republishing a public domain story, the PDF Page, Wayne June read a story by Lovecraft, Mr. Niggerman vs. Mr. Blackman, The Rats In The Walls, Jesse’s responsibility, directly offended, present reality as it is as it was, fix history by taking out the icky bits, a terrific story, people’s fixations change, some words are taboo, those words have been replaced, earliest publications whenever possible, taking out illustrations, see the original context, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, there’s a joke in the first line that tells you, The Gift, “In the present volume”, taking out information or lying, the racist character or the racist author, replacing Nigger Jim with Robot Jim, not everybody starts in a position of complete knowledge, this particular story, the n-word popping up, the turd in the punchbowl, thrown in here randomly (seemingly),

He watched the men a moment longer before diving into the stuffy tent where Simpson already slept soundly. Hank, he saw, was swearing like a mad African in a New York nigger saloon; but it was the swearing of “affection.” The ridiculous oaths flew freely now that the cause of their obstruction was asleep. Presently he put his arm almost tenderly upon his comrade’s shoulder, and they moved off together into the shadows where their tent stood faintly glimmering.

the progressive era was the most racist point in American history, meet up in Burlington, struck by the senses, key plot points, the conclusion ends on sense, “He knew what it all meant. Défago had ‘seen the Wendigo.'”, is sound the only trustworthy sense in the story, this is a cube, put in my hand, a scent can be mysterious, pulp mill towns, Thunder Bay, if you live there you don’t notice it, smell is literally invisible, desensitized to it, no need to present this to the brain, hearing a sentence, sight is something we question, smell is less reliable than hearing, sight is more reliable than hearing and scent, putting it in your hand is the most reliable, manuscript found in a bottle, we’re physically holding it, what we’re left with, reversing the human experience, sight and sound, because we don’t have the embedded, me our your lying eyes, we might have a verbal agreement, might hold up in court, send me a fax with your signature on it, makes it real, hearsay, I had a whiff that he was a serial killer, undergrad English majors to lawyers, Nunavut territory hunt, Paul comes back with an armful of fish, the senses are crucial, the unreality of this story, by eating the liver of a polar bear, ecological literary criticism, vegan diet, killing and living on animals, death by starvation, that dependence, “He realized his own utter helplessness. Only Défago, as a symbol of a distant civilization where man was master, stood between him and a pitiless death by exhaustion and starvation.”, the wood, there to eat, an emblem of community’s starvation or too much food, getting the right amount of food to live on, insatiable greed hungry excess, gluttony greed and excess, Blackwood out hunting and canoeing, a leftover from the coureur de bois era, Punk is a crazy name, Tonto, Vivian, a UK name, a boy named Sue, back to Johnny Cash, turnabout is fairplay, poor Marissa, Jesse, Paul, and Bryan, how bad Vermont internet was, what is our duty?, in podcasting terms, in fifty years what are people going to want to have from this podcast?, to understand us better, the latest Dan Carlin podcast interview, Hardcore History Addendum, when a war is happening today, Ukraine, how will people fifty years from now understand us better, Edgar Allan Poe, in the year 18__, be as faithful and understanding as you can, the long tail of the audience, the tail is much longer than that first week, 70 years late would be fine, a perishable age, all your DMs are going to be destroyed, all the ephemeral messages, text chats, podcast resilient, what happened to all the blogs?, the revised manuscript for his new book, possible extinction of the human race, a great conversation, cell phone as a hotspot, a good trick, why does Vermont internet suck so much, for profit telcos, repeated screwups, terrain, lots and lots of woods, small mountains, the wendigo interfering with our podcasts, a bad internet weather day, Elon Musk satellite internet, moving into the forest, pre-Starlink satellite internet, Starlink sent to Ukraine, 2g speed with Russian forces, Crimea, re-annexation, support for Assad in Syria, implausible, Strawberry Spring, Everything’s Eventual, a Spingheeled Jack story, an eerie phenomenon, peak up, the basketball game experiment, if you could only have one author on a desert island, Lawrence Block, re-read and find new things, Gene Wolfe, Cavalier, you can buy Hugo awards on ebay, No-Man’s Land, Uluru, it belongs in a museum!, heist story in which plucky band of wokesters steals all the stuff from the British museum and give them back, cynical Cirsova guy, ladies need eyebrows, the Elgin marbles, Greece is in such, privileging nation states, totem poles in England, trophies, the obelisk, the duly elected government, Aswan Dam, future us’ problem, claims lose power over time, shipping stuff back, without context, “here are the Elgin marbles, ha!”, a thorny problem, when Greece takes Big Ben, the Mexicans who now run England (with Russian accents), Jesse’s mom is moving, Vancouver Island is for retired people, YouTube photographers, videos, Amanda and Gavin, YouTubers tubing together, Nova Scotia is cheaper, seeing icebergs, an Israeli 7.62, Shaun Duke.

Lynd Ward art for The Wendigo

Lynd Ward art for The Wendigo

The Wendigo art by Matt Fox from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Wendigo art by Matt Fox from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

Wendigo - frequency: Unique - from Dragon Magazine, issue 38

Roof Bear, Coffee Cat, Wendigo

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