The SFFaudio Podcast #522 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Amy H. Sturgis talk about Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee
Talked about on today’s show:
Alex Nevala-Lee, a book and an audiobook, thinking about legacies, thinking about audiobooks before, the original cool guy, adorable, its nice to be read to, 100 pages of footnotes, Evan, your book doesn’t exist as an audiobook, nobody wants to read anymore, Evan’s gotten to the stage, reading history books, non-fiction is so good on audio, rekindling pleasure, everything is cited, really he said that?, “Fuck, Eando Binder!”, “lambasted dianetics”, its all cited, 13 hours, not padded, way too long, more about their sexual problems, wife-swappin’ again, a problem for a lot of books, so easy to read, just have a little listen, so engrossing, so well written, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, the Navy yard, commentary on the stories, I Will Fear No Evil, John W. Campbell is important, Ben Bova, two confusing awards, Hugo Gernsback needs his own version of this, the one person who is completely missing from this book is H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, what about this?, Jesse’s complaints are not very legit, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, modern science fiction, the intellectual historian, markets for genres, the 20s-30s-40s, the Cold War, turn towards nativism, a profound effect, the Science Fiction League, a self-aware community, WWII, a fledgling dialogue, this revolution, connecting SF with science, Microcosmic God, this is on Campbell, distinctly American?, issues sent as ballast to the UK, all the foreign editions of Astounding, the British fanzines, Hugo was nuts for electronics, we’re going to invent our own televisions, home amateurs, ham radio operators, the science fiction reader, Tom Swift, the edisonade, fertile soil, the radio boys, Electronic Experimenter, a pulp fiction collection, reading Amazing vs. reading Astounding, technical drawings and weird editorials, not only space opera, The Electrical Experimenter, Larry Niven, they’re weird dudes, a pathetic figure, a tragedy, a mire of pseudoscience, Asimov’s biography, Heinlein’s letters, no no, a horror suspense movie, uplifting, it worked on Heinlein, Asimov was his own little being, the tragedy is coming, blind spots and prejudices, good fiction and good science, the new wave, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, a machine for generating analogies, he’s given them the tools to push back against him, still influential, descent into pseudoscience and self delusion, Asimov’s preface to Dangerous Visions, we’re the squares, the passing of the torch, the sexual revolution, a cultural revolution vibe, Asimov was a square, “I fuck a lot, man.”, almost sexless, The Gods Themselves, weird alien sex, Heinlein’s weirdness, a lot of revealing things, the role of the wives, a biography of Kay (Catherine) Tarrant, spelling the names, Campbell wasn’t needed, behind the scenes, Astounding is so important, still under copyright, Heinlein getting mad at Campbell, Philip K. Dick has one story in Astounding, what’s going on?, Impostor, Campbell wanted superhumans, The Golden Man, a superhuman idiot, writing in reaction to it, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold’s aesthetic, Campbell didn’t take Alfred Bester!, a gatekeeper, Frederik Pohl, how important The Cold Equations is, you have to keep re-writing this until you get it right, what it does, this is what we are talking about, this is how far we can go, a Star Trek story, here is an episode of something that we can imagine happening, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, what Campbell was aiming at, a study in what editors can do, seeding the same idea multiple times, turning Asimov down, how would that intelligence work?, a black POV character, a leap of imagination, racism and homophobia as compartmentalization, Dune World by Frank Herbert, Mack Reynolds, Black Man’s Burden, Commune: 2000, the problem is scarcity (there is none, except in jobs), universal basic income, it didn’t matter to you that the kid was Filipino, what the difference between a rationalists and empiricists, here’s how drunk driving should work, you’re not clear yet, a technical journal, that’s not how science works, how science works, grinding lenses, Verne -> submarines, Wells -> warplanes, Campbell -> atom bombs, science fiction leading the science, a legacy, Rocket Ship Galileo, Tom Swift in the Rocket Age, Nancy Drew is not the same, Nazis on the moon, action fun excitement, Elon Musk, pushing in all directions, badly inspired, Paul Krugman, Asimov’s Foundation series, a weird tension, the scientific approach to all things, psychology, a desire to make everything scientific, A.E. Van Vogt, enough to be dangerous, enthusiasm for the ideas didn’t follow through to the methodology, we can make this science too, Hubbard had no interest in science (or science fiction, really), Heinlein’s failing, Asimov was a sexual asshole, a tragic figure, Heinlein falls for Hubbard because he had a uniform, a lying used car salesman, cults, its not about your intelligence, lacking critical thinking, charisma doesn’t translate from the page, judging eyes, I no longer trust you, the worst insult Heinlein could ever give anybody, broken legs and gonorrhea, the asshole sections of Jesse’s email, Heinlein was really blinded by patriotism, the Vietnam War, we need a renaissance for the Heinlein juveniles, Farnham’s Freehold makes a lot more sense now, trying to make a point about Campbell being wrong, hopeful commentary, not including Hubbard, the serpent in the garden, transformative, “the competent man”, competitors and community members, we’re doing something that’s important, the conversations we’re having are important, they hung together for decades, personal loyalty, trolls, the story of the first Worldcon, women nurturing men who were nurturing other men, Donald A. Wollheim was a better troll than anyone living today, contributing something positive, Mimic, he bought a lot of Philip K. Dick, Asimov as a youth, your idea of heaven, the power of picking up one of these magazines, the one thing missing from this book is the history of the covers, the art, fill the space, a little bit of technology, pitch me three new magazine, Weird Tales, tiny little things, when H.P. Lovecraft turns down the editorship of Weird Tales, what would we have or what would we be missing?, a magazine with a legacy, Elon Musk is a Heinleinian character, old letters pages are fossils, D.D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon, a trap, not hard enough on the Soviets!, a whole lifetime of a really complicated human being, the whole point, the functionalist stuff sounds like Campbell, creativity doesn’t work that way, how writing works, The Trouble With Tribbles, everything is in reaction, H.G. Wells doesn’t seem to have a massive precursor, The Time Machine, Last And First Men, Olaf Stapledon, Starmaker, those men are heroes, page 370 and 371, Barry M. Malzberg, sympathize with his critics, the question of victimization, a problem solving medium, not everyone is a hero, the way science fiction is today, science fiction should explore everything, schlubs, we all live in a world that’s increasingly become science fictional, Wells’ heroes are assholes, the New Wave pushes back against the Campbellian revolution, J.G. Ballard, mistrust of the meta-narrative, setting up things that come later, wanting 15 other books to be written, a companion volume on the Futurians, creating editors, Judith Merrill, here’s another community, C.M. Kornbluth, glimpses, Arena by Fredric Brown, The Orville is new Star Trek: The Next Generation, the a plot and the b plot, season 8 Next Generation, Enemy Mine, Hell In The Pacific, Lee Marvin, no alien movie, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Space: 1999, The Most Dangerous Game, Predator, somebody sitting around, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the b-plot, The Corbamite Maneuver, The Kobayashi Maru, Amy’s Looking Back At Genre History, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, always asking questions, how do you know, a meta-story, it’s about what happens when you read Astounding, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin is a retelling of Microcosmic God, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Hal Clement, science fiction luminaries, missing an ode to Hal Clement, the chapter titles, Who Goes There?, it doesn’t give you what you want, Don A. Stuart, Twilight, two types of storytellers, historical narratives, a remarkable achievement, history is a pruning job, a really important book, more books just like this, every time we say “Astounding” take a drink, endnotes, bibliography, a gift that’s going to keep on giving, what happens after this, some editor discovered or promoted Dashiell Hammett, Black Mask, railroading magazines, westerns, isn’t Analog still going today?, finally why this magazine called Analog?, it’s a metaphor, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, factless, Willy Ley, trying to make the reality behind science fiction more real, giving writers a grounding, Asimov: what a man!, writers who are complaining about low pay rates, E.E. Doc Smith, the Dean drive, a reactionless space drive, more biographies of these pulp era mags, The World Of Nitrogen, The Realm Of Measures, Asimov On Numbers, super-clear writing, Campbell’s book of collected editorials, Lecherous Limericks, bra-snapping and carrying on, Annoted Gulliver’s Travels, a writing and learning machine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, mysteries, the joy of reading and the joy of writing, his mind was always elevator, that kind of curiosity is so rare, he wanted to know the answers to everything, a powerful force in reality, The End Of Eternity, a fun book.
The SFFaudio Podcast #519 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about new paperbooks, audiobooks, audio drama, and comics.
Talked about on today’s show:
it stacks up, yo!, a book for review?, 10-15 books a week!, Mr Slow, a good result, Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee, Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty To Hollywood by J. Michael Straczynski will be narrated by Peter Jurasik, no Centauri accent, a yummy sausage, why do book titles end :A Novel, making yourself more fancy, a literary pretension, The Luminous Dead: A Novel?, Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan, a rhyme or reason to their thinking, serious literature, why do we need to know that?, the middle initial, affectation, pen names, standard hat, maybe it works?, superpower, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast review of Thin Air, mean Martian tunnels, two books in one box, a duology that came together, Markswoman and Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra, secondary world fantasy, audio of the first book, 11 hours, The Luminous Dead: A Novel by Caitlin Starling, it sounds good, caving on a foreign planet, spelunking, The Descent (2005), caves of New York, Minnesota, South Dakota, maps and caves, two cool maps, Dungeons & Dragons maps, The Nameless City by H.P. Lovecraft, Annihilation, The Martian, Adenrele Ojo, The Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix E. Harrow, portal fantasy, H.G. Wells’ The Door In The Wall, time travel stories as portal fantasies, Dilation by Max Hochrad, very high level, what exactly is going on, a much bigger world than we get to see, world-building to serve the story, an elf on a log, the trailer for Dilation, Do You Want To Know More?, B7 Media, Spiteful Puppet did Robin Of Sherwood audio drama, Big Finish, new Doctor Who, so many Doctors, more visually going on with sound, BBC iPlayer Radio App or BBC Sounds, The Prisoner is really good, sitting with the ideas, Patrick McGoohan, it becomes existential, exploration, the purpose and meaning of things, Mabinogi, ancient Welsh mythology, spending time 1000 years ago, the only thing comparable in North America is the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, The Lurking Fear audio drama is coming this summer, C.H.U.D.s, more audio drama, so much great audio drama is being made, our job, there’s too much, an intended 1984 dystopia, what exactly is going on, Dragonshadow: A Heartstone Novel by Elle K. White, The Coming Storm by Mark Alpert, feeling like a techno-thriller, political dystopic, climate change, Travelers, Tom Clancy books, turn that flag upside down, House Of Cards, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin, the TV adaptation, the Michael Praed movie of Nightflyers (1987), Children Of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children Of time, how Paul manages to read paperbooks, no time for papercomics, UK authors, is there more money in audio than in paper?, only in audio releases, Audible.ca vs. Audible.com, The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden, Pandora’s box, The Phantom Empire 1935 serial, a western science fiction, Flash Gordon 1936 serial, yellowfacing, and Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu, Machete, Hobo With A Shotgun, he’s from Mongo, Last Tango In Cyberspace: A Novel by Steven Kotler, something William Gibson wrote about a protagonist named “Case” (or Cacye), coolhunters, leaning tight, The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde, magical jewels and people who resonate with them, a fun read, We Are Mayhem by Michael Moreci, Black Star Renegades, everybody likes Star Wars right?, robots and space battles, a 5 page glossary, a galactic rebellion, its exactly Star Wars, doing it your own way, since watching The Orville, Star Trek: Discovery‘s bad writing and not caring about science, Star Wars has a lot of baggage, killed off on a whim, Mark Hamill, answering honestly, wipe the slate clean, I shouldn’t walk out of the Star Wars experience and say “Really?”, going down the midichlorian walk, like Dune but awful, Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, just change the VIN, what a concept!, they don’t need Klingons, The Orville is great science fiction, I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist, epic fantasy, The Rage Of Dragons by Evan Winter, epic fantasy, a peculiar audiobook, Jesse’s mom does not know him, A Peculiar Curiosity by Melanie Cossey, speaking of being read to…, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Rainn Wilson, for adults?, jumping to the island of conclusions, Paul would not say no, For The Killing Of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones, The Three Musketeers meets the Chronicles of Amber, Paul does pre-orders, deep explorations are not always needed, looking for fun, fantasy fun, an oversized hardcover from AfterShock Comics Out Of The Blue by Garth Ennis and Keith Burns, the war between, The Punisher, Nick Fury, TKO Presents, Sara by Garth Ennis and Steve Epting, Marvel Comics, Conan The Barbarian, Savage Sword Of Conan, Age Of Conan: Belit, Belit’s adventures as a young princess, why always starting as princesses?, go a-reaving, The Savage Sword Of Conan: The Original Marvel Years 1000 pages, Roy Thomas, new stuff from old stuff, Fleet Of Knives by Gareth L. Powell, Embers Of War, its better than it sounds, Ack-Ack Macaque, lots-o-fun, space opera, Powers Of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Ásmundsson, R.C. Bray, a little bit of sexiness, a strange sidebar, The Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion, Titan Books, he or she is doing everything, maybe its a house name, the technospace where you get house names to narrate, face-swap -> audio-swap, the Christopher Lee narrating a book from 2029, creepy cool, Chatting Science Fiction: Selected Interviews From The Hour Of The Wolf, WBAI, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Samuel R. Delany, Cory Doctorow, Ray Bradbury, Nalo Hopkinson, Peter S. Beagle, China Mieville, Orson Scott Card, Lucius Shepard, Nancy Kress, Ken Liu, Charlie Jane Anders, Genevieve Valentine, Susanna Clarke, Connie Willis, a curiosity, Larry Niven books turning to audiobooks, A Gift From Earth, World Of Ptavvs, Bronson Pinchot, The Moon Maze Game a new Dream Park novel, Grover Gardner, a new cover, our show on Dream Park, Inconstant Moon, a classic, Steve Barnes, The Seascape Tattoo, The Magic Goes Away episode, All The Myriad Ways, The Secret Of Black Ship Island, Jerry Pournelle, The Burning City pissed Paul the beep off, blunt and pointed, senility setting in, Building Harlequin’s Moon, Brenda Cooper, does it spark delight?, terraforming, everyone starts regressing, Brenda Cooper does good writing with Larry Niven, set in the Ringworld universe, The Integral Trees, The Smoke Ring, physics problems, an adventure to explore what ideas Larry Niven has spun up, you definitely need to do this one and here’s why:, Bowl Of Heaven, The Very Best Of the Best: 35 Years Of The Year’s Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, Nancy Kress, Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, Pat Cadigan, 3 2 1, Exhalation: Stories By Ted Chiang, a new collection of Ted Chiang, Random House Audio, some copy that lives up to the hype, Ted Chiang: A Novel, Tony C. Smith’s StarShip Sofa podcast, an amazing story, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, standard Ted Chiang awesomeness, every three or four years he writes a story, the anti-Ken Liu, finally justified, REAL science fiction, GENUINE, “proto-technology of nano-realms”, Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paul’s in a mood, INTERSTELLAR VOYAGES ARE IMPOSSIBLE, a hard truth, Aurora, the Chinese are going to the Moon, a really, really good writer, Jesse is so slow, In The Land Of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi, Steven Crossley, pub tales, Dunsany is beautiful to hear, Clark Ashton Smith, funny and bittersweet tragic fun, LibriVox, one of these books, Who? by Algis Budrys, The Man In The Iron Mask, never made the A-team, the low end of the b-team, his biggest home run, 6 hours long, this ridiculous Cold War, propaganda, there was no “missile gap”, irrelevant and completely relevant again, Rogue Moon, an evil game show?, adapted into the film Moon (2009), hmmmmm.
The SFFaudio Podcast #513 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Galaxy July and September 1972, 41 years old, out of context, people getting grumpy, autobiographical?, writing himself into his book, unnerving, “problematic”, you wont like anything, very well written, censoring oneself, all internal thoughts, a thoughtful interesting book, an interior book, racial slurs, the fakest parts are the plot points, going around in elevators, how other people perceive him at parties, the Lumumba incident, getting beaten up, ghosting student essays, websites that advertise these services, students required to submit, text comparison, tuning the voice, Columbia University, a cat and mouse game, young and strong, failing powers, a real person, the most clumsy, detecting lies, becoming telepaths, getting vibes, a metaphor for (if not science fiction), curious, casual or romantic or natural experiments, the drug scene, trapped in our own heads, comparing actions with words, complaining about the essay, super-resentful, this is not going to work out well, he’s broke all the time, so dependent on his powers, how to deal with somebody, the whole Kitty storyline, Ted Chiang’s Understand, invisible to the superpower, a cheat or not a cheat, “defend”, a science fiction novel in which the narrator is uninterested in the rules behind it, the author hasn’t revealed the rules to the narrator, he’s AM and she’s FM, undistinguished in everything, she doesn’t put up a defense, paranoid, unlock her telepathic mind, a crepazoid being creepy, annoying, bringing your psychiatry on your wife, Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, what makes that a fantasy book, a fascinating attraction, would she have read this?, an avid reader in the 1970s, one of Silverberg’s best, as a metaphor, superbpaper.com, need help with your assignment, “we can write any paper on any subject on any deadline”, $29 per page, testimonials, making people have skills, Jesse has a lot of homework to do, Jesse’s not doing this for money, Jesse has the telepathy within narrow range, I’m dignified, he’s barely in the economy, people thinking sentences in their head, “he thinks in French”, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, a shared document, Nixon shows up in a motorcade, if this book is a metaphor, trying to be telepathic with a later audience, Isaac Asimov, Lawrence Block, they communicate their ideas super-clearly, Greg Bear’s ideas, to him it makes sense, writing as telepathy, a writer’s inability to write, the autobiographical elements, things get thin until the 1980s, there’s life inside, the life may return, a massive output from the 1950s through the 1960s, the next novel is Lord Valentine’s Castle (eight year’s later), The Stochastic Man, Shadrach And The Furnace, The Book Of Skulls, like 50 stories in 1956, the same if not more, the magazine industry, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, sleeze novels, writing pornography, that wonderful sequence, hopping from mind to mind, the bee, the girl, the farmer, the full fulmination of his power, why its a tragic story, wunderkind, a pathetic shlub, cheat his way through life, stockbroker, Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields, inside information, insider trading, Dr. Hitner, the radio drama adaptation, read comic books and enjoy myself, when he gets into a fight, telegraphed, a rag-doll to be tossed about, have sex with girls is his major ambition, Paul’s own life, why Jesse has to make such pains to distinguish himself, volatile, a lot of parallels here, supermen aren’t going to be what you think they are, in dialogue with Slan by A.E. van Vogt, “slans are schlubs”, every allusion and reference, poets, painters, playwrights, philosophers, scientists, replete with thinking about books, a very philosophical novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, The Hampdenshire Wonder by J.D. Beresford, semi-autobiographical, Arthur C. Clarke, he lives in our universe, a little bit too recursive, the 2001 BBC radio drama adaptation, rather condensed, he works at a bookshop, translated into an adaptation, if people complain…, Harlan Ellison and Silverberg, how much filler material they could add, the Aeschylus essay, the Franz Kafka essay in full, The Castle and The Trial, padding, fun reading, recycle some material, so fun to do that, a sad and depressing book?, tonally depressing, comparing your own life to Selig’s, The Book Of Skulls, holding back information, a very good writer, a promise to the reader, when is he composing this narrative?, nicely constructed, a blank in his history, distancing himself from himself, cheating, things are a little tight this month, because he’s given something early on in his life, manipulating the moment, if you only have 40 minutes to tell the story, the car section of the bookstore, definitely gay, the musclemen section of the bookstore, a repressed homosexual, the dean, how far you’ve fallen, this guy’s pathetic, reading about rocketships and robots, that actually hits home, he’s doing bad work for money, prostitution, his nephew, meeting Kitty on the street, so many girlfriends, I didn’t get your number but you weren’t there anyway, many many other uncles, here’s a picture of a bomb blowing somebody up, Judith probably told him to say that, the necessity of the face and the smile is the new truth, he could see beneath that truth, they’re told to smile, seeing below the surface is a grim reality, self-motivated, if you can take that away, they’re delighted to meet you, “I feel your pain.”, disdain for politicians, a very nice character piece on why it might not be so great to be telepathic, almost like growing up and not being a liar, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, “Selig’s Complaint”, Silverberg could exist without Heinlein, parallel tracks (not tracts), Judith Beheading Holofernes, parallels with Judith of the bible, a nice jewish girl’s name, Zelig (1983), first observed at a part by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the secret history of reality, Selig’s death would mean almost nothing, an incredibly underwhelming superpower, the new wave, Alfred Bester, diddly shit, the jive-speak voice, keeps failing, Jesse wrote a lot of reviews, if its just a book, if its just a book then the temptation is to shit on it, baggage of your own, the demand for reviews, writing is a superpower you can waste by using a metaphor too much, sick of the treadmill, SFSignal doesn’t blog anymore (except on Twitter), gone to be a farmer, a different and happier place, the books doesn’t stop, new or underappreciated, still a good book, slightly less stuck in its time, the black dialogue is slightly different now, a historical piece, the power of the book is still with it, having lived through things and done things, “had I read it way back when”, a book for middle aged science fiction readers, they’ll feel it, hey kids you’re going to love Dying Inside!, when you’re young you read books differently, the depth of Selig’s plight, outright sexism, a pathetic character, once you’re inside somebody’s head you pretty much have to forgive them for everything, the crisis crisis, Airplane! (1980), I speak jive, subtitles, the sentences make sense, Diff’rent Strokes, cultures with different languages and vocabularies, well worth it.
Talked about on today’s show:
Paul is pizzled, a novellette, Galaxy, November 1955, an episode of Electric Dreams, not as terrible, low standards, serious problems, the most redeemable, redeeming aspects, why we have to have cunnilingus scenes for no reasons, to care about characters we don’t care about, a naked one for a change, in charge of the sex situation, an agenda, the last five (or three years), except on Game Of Thrones, they really laid this shit on heavy, the gender of the hacker character doesn’t matter to the story, sex scenes hurt the story, a double twist ending, abberant from the story, something completely different, breaking the fourth wall, directed at the TV audience, I know you need the sex scene so here it is, Black Mirror, Metalhead, could be set in the same world, a sequel world, boyfriend is a librarian, robots can’t have children, are they on a loop, meaning and purpose and existence drops away, doomed every other robot to extinction, the same conversation, as soon as you start thinking about it it breaks down, a happy ending, this is just as bad as the actual story, way worse than the ending in the book, going to the stars, that primitive existence, already cut-off, horses and sad chickens, human animals again, degrading, the ending, human civilization is being propped up, sliding right into the toilet, back to pre-barbarism, a nuclear war, how well are humans going to survive, doomed hunter gatherer tribes, the alternative presented in the TV show, hippie buses, we could store that data electronically, nobody’s getting older, the guy with a limp, she cuts her own head open, Rust, Isaac Asimov, the robots can’t move anymore, what’s going to happen next, I wanna watch that episode, they set up a whole premise, she left behind the two guys, she’s kind of a monster, using people as a means to an end, lying to the robot, the logic bomb, other than that she’s a monster, a consequentialist ethic, all over the world, by ending that autofac, robot communities, my community matter and everybody else doesn’t, duplicate communities, one node, only one autofac in the TV adaptation, the rest of the world is dead, she’s doomed the last beings on the planet, waiting for their amazon deliveries, watching it on Amazon Prime, people think this is a story about Amazon, you can’t communicate with the postman, leave it under the eave next time, those punchcards, soiled, missing a part, dealing with bureaucracy, kind of a reverse cargo cult story, people trying to stop the automated deliveries, why do they want to stop it?, they’re fucking robots, they’re polluting everything, wresting the means of production back from the autofac, polluting and ruining the planet, resonating a little better, not amazon not capitalism, the unstoppable beast, the system that’s broken is humanity, the cargo cults in the Pacific, Seabees, vastly unfamiliar, giant birds, “CARGO”, wonderful goodness, not well represented in the family of man, educated in the United States, Hawaii, a remote atoll, grasp the full industrial might, if you raise the American flag, an aircraft shaped object out of wicker, prosperity, manna from heaven, if the forms are followed, why are they rejecting this, Puerto Rico, what is happening in the story (sorta), you can’t beat capitalism by talking to your non-voting representative, control of the means of production, a really interesting story, blowing up Amazon headquarters, a pretty top down organization, if it’s head robot was not in charge, are profits are temporary, Boston Tea Party, boycotts, South Africa, Apartheid, moving for reconciliation, had the humans not catalyzed this particular conflict, needing the resources, tasty titanium, a stellar opening scene, acting as if the milk tastes terrible, a fabulous sequence stupidly replaced, harpoon, why is she wearing the little round sunglasses, supposed it look steampunk, jumpsuits and truck with no cab, mad at the milk, angry at the truck, it would take some imagination, the lazy version, this makes it connected to the world of SkyNet, The Terminator movies, a much more bleak human future, one AI and youre done, we’ve made ourselves destruction, “it’s worse than that” (as Bryan Alexander) would say, not the premier object of interest, we’ve made ourselves into rats or pigeons, this Marxist aspect to Philip K. Dick, man the tinkerer, once we’re totally consumers we might as well be robots, they are robots, you’re not allowed to tinker with your iPhone or your John Deere tractor, pre-computers, a modern car, Charles Stross, an iPad needs to be taken to a wizard, Evan’s right, commercial culture, semi-artificial, you are kind of an android, Reading, Short And Deep, But Who Can Replace A Man by Brian Aldiss, massive collapse, stuck out in the universe, find new value, a lone surviving human, “Yes master, immediately.”, maybe we don’t need to have man, Rust by Joseph E. Kelleam, an abject figure, as the big machines bore slowly down on him, his countenance was ravaged by starvation, right back into slavery, in their quest to find meaning, they just leave them behind, “good luck, brother”, telling these stories from different directions, not completely hopeless, recreated life, life is an an anti-entropy, DNA can do it, solving problems, plastic houses and buckets of milk, little robot versions of themselves, Steam, a reddit thread, Factorio, a horrible premise, use up all of its resources,a planet destruction games, SimCity, Civilization, a factory that makes more factories, a brilliant ending, Asimov’s 3 laws, The Defenders, the Leadies, The Penultimate Truth, The Electric Ant, Westworld as an adaptation of The Electric Ant, seeing reality as it is, transparent head, lights in their heads, Ex Machina (2014), she blanches when she’s exposed to the truth, smashes the capsule, she’s a really good actor?, all part of the ruse, just to trick the audience, a stupid line to justify the shower sex scene, the robot visitor, that whole visualization, why does she look like that, they’re probably experimenting with sex robots, how unsexy the autofac (story) robots, that hawk, a sex act, changed by its environment, a little vent shooting out seeds, a very nice reveal, an uncontrollable system like capitalism or a von Neumann, a grey goo story, FEMA automated, how Haiti is so badly done, the NGOs help so hard that basically everybody’s worse off than they were, culture-jam, jam up the works, the agency and the action, you fake a natural disaster, almost what happened in Somalia, the warlords laid a trap, Black Hawk Down (2001), change the game in the local area, Iraq, under continual occupation since 2003, massive forces that you cannot comprehend, the industrial capacity millions and millions and millions of times bigger than your little atoll, an agenda you cannot fathom or control, more relevant than ever, seeing through a glass clearly, the vines that were growing, weeds, things taking over, how Philip K. Dick talks about children, Ray Bradbury, obsessed with insects, the bugs, insects like in Second Variety, a sequel, tinnily above O’Neal’s head, slag and ruin, sickly stalks, rat colonies, radiation, birds, little details, a really good writer, not a clunky writer, description, evocative, the kind of contrast Dick is always doing, conversations vs. perception, really good timing, slapping at a mosquito, receptors fully extended, the search bug fitted perfectly, a vague tub, Expendable, ants on his lawn, a talking spider in his house, in our vast war against the insects, how the birds are watching and twittering, cockroaches, figurative robotic cockroaches, a moth, in the moth ridden darkness of the night, peering, planning,tungsten seeking food, into the shadows of the thick packed vines, it builds itself a little coffin, high on amphetamines, little touches, a groundbreaking novelette, long sentences, the factory representative had arrived, the insect tech, The Simulacrum, The Man Who Japed, the Minority Report movie, artificial bees, something to consider, quasi-human, a biped chassis, testimony to nature’s efficiency, lady in a catsuit, a gender, a testament to the times we live in, quite a production, dramatic, sound and fury that comes to nothing, community meetings, a bunch of people disagreeing, a common goal, so unimportant Philip K. Dick didn’t bother to point to it, Judith O’Neal, the metallic paper, six words, the Kansas City settlement, no fluttering breasts, big excitement, they are placing the orders, back-order sheets, almost like you’re living in Puerto Rico, factory analyzed needs, ALL SHIPMENTS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, we got what we wanted didn’t we?, exactly the kind of relationship the native people of B.C. had when they traded with the Hudson’s Bay Company, rifle skill, bow skill, NAFTA, the Trans Pacific Partnership, unable to participate, very political and very insightful story, BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve, another pipeline from Alberta, almost a trade war, pollution, that’s what this story’s all about, capitalism and independence, the beaver trappers, more effective more efficient, trapped, once you have a rifle, opening by each of the directors, Travis Beecham, a machine doing exactly what its creators meant it to do, The Monkey’s Paw, a technological parable, we’re fighting our own nature, what he’s saying sounds awesome, creating the demand for the process it wants to do, expanding markets, a good story for the 1950s, manufacturing markets, creating more demand to fulfill the runaway production, everyone is dead from the war, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, what we do, creating fake demand, funny characters, angsty wives, almost poetic, again with the vines, the Philip K. Dick Rhetorizer, it remained inert totally unresponsive, rigid, sore and unshaven chin, they’re taking over the world!, shapeless piles, a different mode, in its cocoon, a vent, an ovipositor, a terrific story, they give up, that age of mankind is over, spread out into the university, that would be neat, is he being ironic?, the nozzle continued to spurt out its torrent of metal seeds, a metaphor, predicting the present, Teslas into orbit for no reason, new markets for cars in out space, a terrific science fiction writer when he wants to be, his novels, humans and their relationships to each other, flat characters, a character, working through those ideas, a different mode, a downer ending, Juno Temple, Emily Zabriske, mining borax, Alice in wonderland?, replaced, took away from the power of the idea, cute but doesn’t make any sense, it works at the moment, not a classic, they’re not trying to make you think that, we shouldn’t like that, a better story, very dark, a real monster, brutal, a coldly calculating witch, on her plate, she doesn’t care about her two companions, you have to presume she disabled the bombs, why does she need to bring them?, they’re there as distraction, she kills her old boyfriend, the humanoid killbot, weird machines hunting down people, the difference in writing, an economy of storytelling, in black and white, inevtiably taken on a terrible journey, an action sequence before meetings, if you were grading all the television, they’re not A students, making excuses, terrible assignment, they’ve gotta have a nude scene a kill bot and a harpoon, the same premise, three guys standing around and we don’t know why, get ready, follow the plan, pretending the milk tastes terrible, something’s wrong with the milk, their semantic sensibilities, a performance designed to achieve something, massive success, a massive failure, a great setup and premise, in a science fiction story, too expensive to film, visual effects way more expensive, druggie glasses, a whole steampunk vibe, I’ve never seen a film people pretending milk taste bad and then talking to a truck, a guy getting into an argument with his toaster or door, a classic scene, could have been amazing, they’re just hippies, the meetings, factions and conflict, Dr. Bloodmoney, they had to kill that teacher, post-apocalyptic literature, how they deal with it in The Terminator series, John Connor aka JC aka Jesus Christ, bottom up order, fascist dystopia, the female doing the exact same thing, have sex with her robot boyfriend in the shower, he doesn’t even have any books, the books she was collecting up, a Borges, this is what they do to show they’re intellectual, books are never ever mentioned in the original short story, agency, other novels and stories do that, it isn’t a criticism of Amazon really, “one day we will be Amazon!”, a critique of capitalism.
The SFFaudio Podcast #490 – Human Is by Philip K. Dick, read by Julia Morgan (this audiobook comes to us courtesy of Morgan Scorpion). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (33 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe, and Julia Morgan
Talked about on today’s show:
Startling Stories, Winter 1954, what is human?, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, empathy, Lester is a horrible person, Lester wants to kill human beings, the alien is too good to be true, getting Lester back, a kid and a kitten, the illustration, I know how this story was created, at his typewriter, shut up I’m typing!, PKD is Lester, poking fun at his own obessiveness, the nagging wives, the annoying wives, this time he’s the guy who’s the dick, Evan’s notes, the four stories: Out In The Garden, Beyond The Door, Of Withered Apples, neglected wife and aloof husband, an affair with a non-human entity, what was he going through?, The Father-Thing, the Husband Thing becomes human, what you think of the title, questioning the meaning of the title, “handsome is as handsome does”, don’t judge by the looks, it always applies, you’re looking very handsome, great language, Lester Herrick came back from Rexor 4 a different man, robant, Jill gaped, you’re looking lovely, do I smell a delicious repast warming on the hearth?, he’s always playing a game of whose telling the story, the narrator can change sides, watch out for my tiger!, the tiger did this, it’s just an alley cat, human is as human does, a Devonshire lady, stupid is as stupid does, Forrest Gump (1994), the lurking background sexual motivation missing from the adaptation, Beyond The Door, a child comes into the story, “a friend”, a rival for the wife’s affections, the brother, human beings are more complicated than just sex, underneath all that technology and gender roles, sexual jealousy, Julia doesn’t see it, Marissa doesn’t see it, Paul can see a longing, a longing for a child, Out In The Garden, a kid and a garden, a god or an animal, Leda And The Swan by W.B. Yates, the old college friend, Jesse thinks this really happened, PKD got jealous, you have to make allowances after all he’s a scientist, wife leaving her husband, your still classed as sexually adequate aren’t you?, handing the boy over to the government when they’re old enough, communal spartan living, Progeny, an autistic kid in the family, you think a lot of children, Gus loves to go visit you, I’ve had fun, almost the opposite, this isn’t about sex but he’s waiting it equally, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a porn addiction story, when women complain about men watching porn, romance fiction, what these aliens do, the odd diction, an ideal abstraction, books mostly, romantic novels, 19th century Jane Austen, another PKD story, astronauts who died in space and return and are arrested, a poor copy, aliens invading as door-to-door salesman, aliens trying to mimic humans, Impostor, Spencer Olham, he passes her test, this is not a story about empathy, Dick is wrong again (about his own stories), programmed automaton, acting kind, being kind without empathy, not faking, differentiating the real without an internal narrative, Jesse’s snobbyness, reviews of the Human Is episode, she chose her own personal preference to allow the invasion of the Earth, her false testimony, infiltrating Earth, the Rexorian Lester is wonderful, super creepy, she’s got his love, this is exactly how women get into bad relationships, at best it will be like Helen O’Loy, the TV version ups the stakes, the missing child, the substitute child, the little Gussy needing to come over there, how the brother is, he’s distancing himself from his sister, his job as a lawyer, the otter slide, an annuzlement, he’s going to live with them, the jealously flipped over, defensive of the original Lester, you think a lot of children, there’s no question whether he is or isn’t the alien, super-wise advice, yeah he has a big nose but look how good he is with kids, how cold blooded is that?, beautiful on the inside, Centauran parasitic life, merely an opinion, another robot, robants everywhere, a robot who becomes malicious, where’s Gussy’s mom, what does the mom think about that?, what happens to Jill after this?, you can divorce people, Philip K. Dick’s life story, the five wives of PKD, just a bad day?, you’re a monster, too many amphetamines, he makes poisons, he’s just the worst, a scientist who makes toxins, military role, a weird profession, designed to make us hate him, less believable, straight up adaptation, now clear out of here, the reports are stories, his cheeks flushed his eyes sparkled, the most explicit version of the wife as a child, Upon The Dull Earth, Jill’s heart was like lead, sit in the garden, bring your tiger, Vidsender is Skype, nobody speak, he gets a letter from Donald A. Wollheim, off to the shack in the back yard to write a novel, the portrayal of these child wives, the wives of the 1960s,Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Now Wait For Last Year, 1959, Cleo and Anne, a 1950s wife with no child and no responsibilities, finding pleasure and life elsewhere, we know what she wants, she wants a family, the proxy child is available, how I keep the family whole, those toxic little stories you write, it feels like journal entries turned into science fiction, such a sensitive guy, overwhelmed with guilty, February 2, 1953, the 1955 FBI visit, Eye In The Sky, in keeping with, driving lessons, something Paul would say, individuals amongst them are doing good work, not pertinent, Terry Carr, The Ganymede Takeover, you fellas at Ace, I’m embarrassed by this story, they didn’t hand out the best stories, a future season?, radical fixing, maybe, I have not really changed my views, the quality of kindness, rocks and sticks and metal, always talking about empathy, William James pragmatism, what’s on the surface, telling over time, not enough time with new Lester, anything you wish whatever will make you happy, conmen say that, worried about Jill, just run you don’t need another man right now, especially an alien man, her only refuge, lush and green, smells good, compared to where he comes from, they’re out in the garden, Frank is very honest, mushroom sauce and steak stored under the house, the second interview with the brother, I did notice he was getting fatter, the coffee and the rolls and the ice-cream, how Lester and the stove get up to all sorts of things, he’s cheating on his wife with the stove now, that was a sex line, and now he’s romantic, you’re eyes are like virgin pools, the sex scenes in the TV adaptation, Paul liked it, ok, preposterous, due process, a military court, she tricks them with a sixth grade logic puzzle, courtroom fell for it, they set up a straw man to knock down, a good excuse for a softcore porn movie, the sets and the costumes, stupid high heeled shoes, an option for the uniform, not a good adaptation, not a good show, why does that happen?, why is she on the treadmill all the time?, to show she’s not moving with her relationship, sexual liaisons with costumed strangers, lesbianism, the explanation not an excuse, lets invert everything but not the most important thing, why is the director the wife now?, set in 2520, our present cultural values, women should be empowered and have loving husbands, everybody in the military, what’s missing in the story, ever gender is flipped, militaristic, law and order for the rich, flipping the genders of the husband and the wife, the set design, I’d like to have that apartment, a gorgeous closet, a home gym, the Maze, fancy clothying and stabbing each other, am I insane or is this terrible?, adding the big stakes, what you want out of a spouse, missing the heart of the story, if they hadn’t added everything they added, no softcore scenes in The Twilight Zone, how many lesbian episodes, audience expect filler and gender balanced, Black Mirror doesn’t, cheap sex and war, Bryan Cranston’s soulful eyes, uniformly good acting, the start with the shittiest script imaginable, he loves these metaphors, he retains all the memories and yet his emotions are changed, in the story he retains none of the memories, Hugh Jackman as a time traveler in Kate And Lepold (2001), a romance fantasy, Outlander, why did they change the guy’s first name, changes for changes sake, following the slipstream, in Charlie Brooker’s shadow, Ronald D. Moore, getting the most bang for their buck, our turn now girl power, Bryan Cranston as the wife, problematic, swapping everything, switching the emotions, if you’re gonna mess with the structure then change everything, from warm to cold, the story fall apart, the story that Philip K. Dick wrote was so good, ideal visions of themselves, what’s the ideal man supposed to be like?, so many perfect women stories, if you just flip everything the story becomes pointless, that whole sequence in the underground, the missing element from the story is the child, non of the stories in the adaptations (so far) have dealt with children, a Stephen King story written by Philip K. Dick, like It, Robert A. Heinlein, weird kids, the system or the older people are repressing opportunity, impenetrable for adults, Crack In Space is the novel for the millennials, the brown people, Martian Time-Slip, Galactic Pot-Healer, Nick And The Glimmung, autistic boy, adult bullies and jerks, problematic humans, what’s best for the kid, how to raise and educate children, the Jovians are sending board games to earth, War Game, obsessed with children, Isaac Asimov, full of children, they don’t get what he’s about, a pecuniary decision, not a good introduction to Philip K. Dick at all, if this is your introduction to Philip K. Dick you’d think PKD was obsessed with soft-core sex scenes, psychic sex, a man interested in women, borrowing from other stories, resources, empire, the TV adaptation picked out the word “metaphor” and now the aliens are metamorphs, this story is a metaphor for a husband-wife relationship, they won’t even talk about children, you be you, what does that have to do with, Jesse can’t tell what the TV adaptation’s metaphor, The Father-Thing vs The Father Thing, Foster You’re Dead, The Hanging Stranger, all of that stuff is not in the story, top half, irritated by everything they added to it, why not just do this thing and set it in the 1950s future, 1950s weirdness, computers but not in the house, robants that run on punchcards, the aesthetic of the Fallout games, all the TVs are cathode ray, the Philip K. Dick rehtorizer, getting up to all sorts of no-good with the oven, your’e cooking now, I’ve got a bun in the oven, coffee for the rhetorizer, Lester was so indifferent to pleasure he wants his food intravenously, Paul’s re-litigation, he wasn’t bad enough, working harder at making him odious, Major Dad, sirloin steak medium, Counter-Clock World, he has trouble with his pipe, a great comedy piece, it’s funny on the page, a suburban regular girl, perfect alien comedy, perfect comedy, My Favorite Martian, sucking all the humour out of these, Crazy Diamond was supposed to be funny, you can’t have sexy time and comedy?, Sales Pitch was easily a comedy, crapsack earthworld, The Outer Limits, Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven, The Human Operators by Harlan Ellison and A.E. Van Vogt, mean robots, they don’t care about science fiction, military stuff is not even his thing, the material they’re going to use to fix the atmosphere, oil?, being imperialistic, fascistic human government, amping up the sympathy for the Rexorian, the morality of empire, not even sex just dress-up, random strangers, the secretary/assistant, underwritten, the scene that was cut, she’s genetically matched up with him and they have no children, this report on Betelgeuse XI, Fomalhautan fossils, a lawyer for ICE or the Border Patrol, outside of Earth you got to Gitmo, laziness or terrible supervision, shot in black in white in a fallout future 1950s, an episode of The Twilight Zone that never happened, framing devices, make this story live.