The SFFaudio Podcast #590 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #590 – Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis; read by Kathy Wright. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 10 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding Stories, February 1930, the second issue, the subtitle, slimemold and flivver, super-science, there’s a reason we don’t SUPER-SCIENCE stories, this whole issue is on LibriVox.org, Into Space by Capt. S.P. Meek, here’s some volume for you, a retelling of The First Men In the Moon by H.G. Wells, a one bullshit gimme, not a scientific bone in the actual, bullshit science is everywhere in this story, launch into a defense of this story, an interesting story, a very silly story, intended, she’s kinda silly, between Frankenstein and 2001: A Space Odyssey, an evolutionary destiny to be god-like, can we create a better kind of person through science, the ideology of science, a Fantastic Voyage quality, hey have you read this Science article, a scary looking beautiful man, Antarctica, the fourth dimension, everything this exists, how deranged these experiments are, a crazy romp, it lives on in comics, Superman, Superboy, Superdog, villain mustaches, a good silent movie, a good bad movie, Captain America is a product of super science, one of the first super hero story, so amazing, Francis Stevens invented the superhero in 1904, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, Sampson, bitten by a radioactive spider, unique, the fun, very sensuous bodies, lips, splattered with startling features, people are so beautiful they are magnificent scenery, getting into arguments on twitter, attacking Lovecraft for being racist, she fundamentally misunderstands, genetics and evolution, Philip K. Dick’s The Infinities, teleological evolution, racism is tied up with an evolutionary ladder, Evan’s podcasts on H.P. Lovecraft (the sea and forgetting), racism is bullshit, there is no end state, no perfection, humpbacked German scientist, the first creature that crawled out of the sea was a Man, man is going to evolve into God, all life is a part of an experiment, her bursting ideas, the solar powered helicopter, everything turns gray, new scientific ideas that are not really science, if you get a life ray you get a death ray, she’s like Ed Wood, hilarious, earnest, not hard SF, a science fable, the overreach of the German scientist, they’re all chill about it, Adam and Eve at the end, she’s the anti-eve, Lilith, She‘s Ayesha, so funny, somebody’s head has been on this pillow, hey let’s build igloos and live on penguins, yo-yo-y, the Savage Land, a continuation of the Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton’s The People Of The Crater, its all there, madcap bursting at the seams with concepts, she’s juggling, a low mileage, life-ray, super-race, solar sphere, telepathic, death-ray, superman, LibriVox, invisible man, time travel, an unconventional form of invisibility, telepathy, the story needs an interlocutor, Ed Wood needs to do the narration, this perfect black age woman, she had the good genes, keeping his disability, hilarious and amusing, like a kitten being angry at you, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is an evil book, a new race of people who are superior to you, they’re eugenically more pure, none of the defects that we have, only for the richies, the liberal elites vs the basket of deplorables, Plan 9 From Outer Space is not a good plan for the space program, this is 1930s, what sexual selection is for, modern science is permitting the unfit to live, she doesn’t even get Paradise Lost, its 9 hours, comedic on purpose, a story with a happy ending in marriage, The Tempest has the greatest fart jokes on the planet, a slef concisncous commediane , Heard In A Grocery, The White Wizard, her letter to Weird Tales, the happiest days of the month for me, The Woman Of The Wood by A. Merritt, The Moon Bog, The Outsider, The Dreamer of Atlânaat by E. Hoffmann Price, Dwellers In The House, White Lady, a hunch nose, he smells bad, an Arabic scholar judge, it goes without saying, courting the judge’s daughter, personality change, its a Lovecraft ripoff, split people into multiple bodies, a happy ending, burn down the house that all the book were in, chaste and tortured romance, they don’t have houses, our whole lifestyle, we’re locked up in our houses, you need a gym membership, more logical, that’s crazy, a role playing game plot, Spirit Of The Century, E.E. “Doc” Smith, “they’ve adapted”, “only human ingenuity”, technobabble heavy Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will’s definition for super-science: science is part of modern mythology, the mythological power of science, fantastic and godlike things, The Flash, magic with science as the explanation, an ideological component, GURPS,

‘“Superscience” technologies violate physical laws – relativity, conservation of energy, etc. – as we currently understand them. (…) By definition, it is impossible to set a firm TL for superscience – we might discover faster-than-light travel tomorrow, a thousand years from now, or never. Equipment TLs are always debatable, but superscience TLs are arbitrary.

The Super-Friends wiki,

Super-Science is a term that refers to any type of science that is considered beyond that of the normal mainstream science. The Raven was a super-scientist, but his experiments were considered unethical.

a great episode, erasing the Super-Friends from the timeline, The Boys From Brazil, Teen Titans, Nazis are a combination of throwbacks to medievalism and super-science, In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Eagles or Legions, 2,000 year old consequences, they’re their own people, a moral screed against Romans by Romans, German psychology of the 20th century before and after WWII, the chances of finding a couple Germans hiking in the mountains of British Columbia, blue eyed and yellow haired, he’s got the WILL!, the classification system, novel and cute hunchback, she would get destroyed if she was used in a touchstone, a womanthology, forgotten, wrong about everything, not a single correct move in any scene, the right guy, he’s a dilettante who doesn’t have a job because he has good genes, what about Mary?, she’s not beautiful so we don’t care, Friedrich Engels’s common-law wife, what’s going on psychological here?, dude, it’s so obvious, interested in girl stuff, this handsome handsome man, a middle-class housewife, totally fun to hang out with, disabuse her of her eugenics beliefs, almost everybody was ideologically deranged, H.G. Wells’ The Country Of The Blind, a lost world story, different kinds of assholes, H.G. Wells assholes vs. H.P. Lovecraft assholes, Æpyornis Island, that’s my ride, this æpyornis comes out, taking on Will’s mannerisms, …the one eyed man is king, sight (which is not a thing), these two growths in the front of your face, a scientific story, sickle cell anemia and malaria, its a mistake, Huntington’s disease seems to be bad, way to sophisticated for Sophie Wenzel Ellis, one thing everyone sort of got wrong, “survival of the fittest”, social Darwinism, there is no path that we’re on that is going towards a destiny, you don’t need breeding if you have a life-ray, confronted in the raw, Jesse went to university for 16 years, cloning, Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, cloning doesn’t make any sense on a large scale because of , Hitler’s clone army, monocultures are terrible, what genetic diversity is for, this problem with bananas, sexual selection is about diversity, stupid but fun, emerald ash borers, tree farming, economically too, no ventilators, British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve, you’re setting yourself off for a massive die-off, trying to diversify, riding the wave, stuff is complex, complex is hard to explain, its a bush not a ladder, seed pods, Paul is right again, an alternative to this story, eugenics and race stuff, Milo Hastings’ City Of Endless Night, all coincidence and fortuitousness, a pandemic and a plague and we’re all gonna die, how come he can fly, its not the right (or fruitful) critique of this story, it might reinforce your distorted ideas, now that its so silly its mostly harmless, the ubermensch, Superman: Red Sun, a great super-science ending, the story ideologically undermines itself to work as a story, inching himself towards godhood, we’re meant to be gods, horrible people who needed to be destroyed, watching the gods destroy themselves, a viewpoint character, René Girard, distracted boyfriend meme, Where No Man Has Gone Before, very super-sciency-stupid, but what does it mean?, this is inevitable, you can not rush it otherwise you will get monsters, Babylon 5, supercharged psi-guy, I’ll see you again in a million years, down the tubes, supercharged by Vorlons, another Star Trek: Voyager episode, when Paris goes to super-warp and becomes a lizard, retconing conversations with your mother, when Larry David was a writer on Saturday Night Live, pretended it never happened, George Costanza quits his job, that’s gaslighting so don’t do that, this really terrible Star Trek episode, another really annoying novel by Kurt Vonnegut (Galapagos), Margaret Atwood, humans as sea-lions flopping around on the beach, when Olaf Stapledon does it it’s cool, Will thinks seal people are a good idea, push straight through, a silly silly book, Maissa defends Kurt Vonnegut 100%, feted in a way that Jesse doesn’t think is reasonable, when Jesse watches an Ed Wood movie, he is dead, we must honour him by never talking about him again, day six I got displaced from time, I ran myself to my destruction, my humpbacked’s father: Jesse, Harrison Bergeron, The Marching Morons.

Heard In A Grocery by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis - Astounding, February 1930

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Reading, Short And Deep #099 – The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #099

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce

The Damned Thing was first published in Tales From New York Town Topics, December 7, 1893.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #238 – AUDIOBOOK: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Podcast

H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #238 – The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, read by Cathy Barratt (for LibriVox.org).

This audiobook, 4 hours 35 minutes, is complete and unabridged.

Griffin, a scientist, devoted himself to research into optics – he invented a chemical that could change his body’s refractive index to that of air – he absorbs no light, he reflects no light – he is completely invisible.

First published in Pearson’s Magazine, June 12, 1897.

The Invisible Man - illustration by Dino Castrillo and Rudy Mesina

The Invisible Man arrives - illustration by Val Mayerik and Dan Atkins

The Invisible Man - illustration by Val Mayerik and Dan Atkins

And Now Do You See What I Am, Idiots?

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells - POCKET CLASSICS

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

SFFaudio Online Audio

If I had to name the one story that’s influenced my reading, and thinking, most in last couple of years I’d name The Horla by Guy de Maupassant. It possesses my mind like a dark and deep tunnel running through my imaginative landscape – if you haven’t heard it yet you should. Below you’ll find my preferred version, but there are more readings, and adaptations HERE – and we did a whole podcast about it, that’s HERE.

One new thing though is this |PDF| which I made from a scan of an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries – it features the 1911 George Allan England translation.

LibriVoxThe Horla
By Guy de Maupassant; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 11, 2009
First published in Gil Blas; Oct 26, 1886.

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’ve posted about this story before. It’s worth posting about again and again. What’s new now is this reading, which is PUBLIC DOMAIN, and therefore extremely handy. Included also, for the first time, is some really stunning art!

I’ve also added a PDF, for handy printing!

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien

"In Five Minutes We Had A Plaster Mold Of The Creature"

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien - illustration from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1949

What Was It? by Fitz-James O'Brien - from A Stable For Nightmares, 1896

LibriVoxWhat Was It?
By Fitz-James O’Brien; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 2006
|ETEXT|
One of the earliest known examples of invisibility in fiction is What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – He’s been called “the most important figure after Poe and before Lovecraft” and this story serves as a kind of a bridge between the supernatural and the scientific, between the likes of de Maupassant’s The Horla and Wells’ The Invisible Man.
First published in Harper’s Magazine, March 1859.

Here’s a |PDF| complied from the Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1949 publication.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Shadow And The Flash by Jack London

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Shadow And The Flash by Jack London

Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1948 COVER - The Shadow And The Flash by Jack London

Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1948 - The Shadow And The Flash by Jack London

Here’s one of Gregg Margarite’s earliest narrations for LibriVox. Because it was so early it sounds like one of his more amateur recordings – mostly because Gregg reads it too fast. But one thing that didn’t really change, that needed no refinement, his skill at picking stories to record. This Jack London short story is fun Science Fiction. It’s about a pair of nearly identical, ferociously competitive, brothers. The tale was written in 1902, five years after The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, was published as a novel.

Indeed, the plot is rather … how shall I put this ? … familiar ? … with the The Invisible Man. But that’s okay as there’s a line aknowledging it by one of the brothers. At least it’s a hat-tip in that direction. But instead of one mad scientist as in Well’s novel, we have two in The Shadow And The Flash – in fact were they a pair of superheroes (or supervillains) that’d be each of their names (The Shadow and The Flash) as they get their powers from the way they approached the problem of invisibility – that is to say from opposite ends, as it were.

It was at about seven minutes in before the story really took off – here’s the part that grabbed me:

Lloyd warmed to the talk in his nervous, jerky fashion, and was soon interrogating the physical properties and possibilities of invisibility. A perfectly black object, he contended, would elude and defy the acutest vision.

“Color is a sensation,” he was saying. “It has no objective reality. Without light, we can see neither colors nor objects themselves. All objects are black in the dark, and in the dark it is impossible to see them. If no light strikes upon them, then no light is flung back from them to the eye, and so we have no vision-evidence of their being.”

“But we see black objects in daylight,” I objected.

“Very true,” he went on warmly. “And that is because they are not perfectly black. Were they perfectly black, absolutely black, as it were, we could not see them—ay, not in the blaze of a thousand suns could we see them! And so I say, with the right pigments, properly compounded, an absolutely black paint could be produced which would render invisible whatever it was applied to.”

“It would be a remarkable discovery,” I said non-committally, for the whole thing seemed too fantastic for aught but speculative purposes.

LibriVoxThe Shadow And The Flash
By Jack London; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 12, 2009
A tale about two brothers who take different routes to achieving invisibility, as narrated by their best friend. First published in The Bookman, June 1903. Later published in The Windsor Magazine, October 1904, and in Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1948, Leoplan #502 (May 18, 1955).

Here’s The Windsor Magazine edition |PDF|, here’s the Famous Fantastic Mysteries edition |PDF|, and here’s a Spanish translation from Argentina’s Leoplan |PDF|.

Illustrations from The Windsor Magazine publication:
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration from The Windsor Magazine
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration from The Windsor Magazine
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration from The Windsor Magazine
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration from The Windsor Magazine

Virgil Finlay’s illustration from Famous Fantastic Mysteries:
Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1948 - The Shadow And The Flash illustration by Virgil Finlay

Raul Valencia’s illustrations from LeoPlan 502:
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration by Raul Valencia
The Shadow And The Flash - illustration by Raul Valencia

Posted by Jesse Willis