The SFFaudio Podcast #457 – READALONG: The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

January 22, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #457 -Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Talked about on today’s show:
1975, not his real name, tabula rasa, genre movies, WWII movies, the 1970s, Where Eagles Dare (1968), Admiral Canaris, the framing device, stumbling over a mystery, “a false document”, the research frame, a secret history, Michael Crichton, John Carter (2012), putting yourself in the frame, Eaters Of The Dead, extensive footnotes, on the copyright page, one of the citations is from the Necronomicon, Ash by Mary Gentle, the onion layers, changes, a compressed time-frame?, Liam Devlin, Molly Prior, an editing-budget problem, Michael Caine, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, an IRA meeting, Donald Sutherland, tics on screen, we only had two days, the preamble, Dakota, interesting parallels, everyone on Earth knows this phrase in 1976, similarly audacious, a suppressed truth, a false truth, flat-earthers, if monkeys could talk, how many colonels do we have in this book?, Steiner, the American colonel, three kinds of veteran, Larry Hagman, a thankless task, Kelly’s Heroes (1970), incompetent vs. hyper-competent, non-Nazi, two polarities, uber-experienced, Robert Duvall, Max Radl, professional competence, dying, the priest, Joanna Grey, the brother-sister duality Philip and Pamela, Himmler-Churchill, the trickiness of Churchill, “Action This Day”, Colonel Pitts is the worst, Devlin is devilish, the last adventurer, the BBC audio drama, kidnap Hitler, The Eagle Has Flown, Michael Caine gets first billing, why Steiner is so charismatic, Steiner gets his shot at the fake Churchill in the movie, he dies with (as far as he knows) having completed his mission, media hype, giant Swastika on every cover, iconic hateable, Cross Of Iron (1977), panzer guys on retreat, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz’s SS Colonel Hans Landa, good Germans, no graphics, Squad Leader, Lucasfilm games’ Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain, when people don’t know what the fuck they are talking about (when you shouldn’t read their book), the Pentagon, building up a beautiful picture, Otto Skorzeny, parallels are so interesting, German and American parents, releasing the hostages, why are you German?, why are you the bad guy?, Computer Ambush, Harry Turtledove, Skorzeny gets to be awesome, seeing the parallels, Prussian style military officer, if we’re going to have WWII movies, other parallels, a love child, Charles Dickens, being Irish and English, dealing with backstory, Steiner’s father story, a major general, back details, Joanna Grey’s backstory, did you think the Nazis invented concentrations camps?, Robert Duvall steals the film, get your family out, Jung and synchronicity, providence, the hand of the author, what if?, The Man In The High Castle, almost everything is lifted, Warn That Man (1943), Went The Day Well? (1942), play by mail, a distant world, the candy bar as the reveal, an obscure movie with a great plot, Jack Higgins was a kid during WWI, his breakthrough novel, a huge hit, the sweet spot for WWII paperbacks, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, how are children dealt with in this book, upping her age, the two children, fate and synchronicity, accident, revealing his true nature in the doing, none of this is history, chronologically broken, Steiner saves the Jewess, a material difference, a useless gesture, “Kill Churchill? When we’ve already lost the war?!”, synchronicity has lined it up, an opportunity to do something special, his smoking-his drinking-his hand-he’s dying, some purpose, battle-tested, an ignoble death, 1943, North Africa, Italy, commandos, the Dieppe Raid, a pent-up inferiority complex, none of them has ever been in battle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the wrong mission, back and forth, undercuts or enhances, it would not have worked…even if…, what was the purpose of WWII, nobody got what they wanted, a grotesque, a miniature version of the war itself, Wehrmacht draftees, countries get away from people, the government is doing things in your name that you don’t approve, “register to vote”, his other books, this is THE Jack Higgins novel, meta-commentary, in the hands of fate, when I got put into this book, I have to do my job, a continual suicide mission, the Channel Islands, caring and doing research, why the records don’t appear, “a true story”, The Andromeda Strain, building up the idea, copyright page and footnotes, a hoaxer-conspiracy guy, citations, archive.org and newspapers.com, just fucking with us, Erich von Däniken, sea-floor deposition, Ogopogo, Sasquatch, cryptoids, Seanan McGuire, an immortal single sea-serpent, could you write this book today?, for people who know, that was weird, Steen Hansen, Today I Learned, o-rings on the Space Shuttle, a short period before, how can you have anybody who has any cultural memory, there’s no one in the Pentagon…, the dinosaur bones of the period after, the cultural legacy, none of these movies are on Netflix, almost no movies that aren’t from the 2000s, they don’t even have a DVD, vicissitudes of streaming availabilities, Westworld, how do you culturally institute this, movies on TV is cheap content, VHS, wanting to see movies from before you were born is a strange, it extends to books as well (in the science fiction book reading community), out of the bounds of this movie, out of date by a decade or more, goodness, The City And The Stars, Ringworld, Dune, it is better to mine the past than to sieve the present, that they bothered to even finish an old book is a good sign, exploring the boundries of what makes something interesting as a good book, its really mysterious, false documentation (or documentation in general), A Plague Of Giants, the framing story, where and when and why, the second person narrative, SS-GB, Fatherland by Robert Harris, did this really happen?, he knows all that, the British Freicorp, they chose unwisely, can’t be de-Nazified, Harvey Preston, sexual assault, who is the traitor?, what does a traitor look like?, the uniforms, a disguise, when Otto Skorzeny was put on trial, “we did the same thing”, during the Battle Of The Bulge, they’re cheating in an honorable way, asking us what makes something noble or legit in war?, this town is pretty horrible, condoning Molly’s mistreatment, “none of your business”, “God bless all here”, the local bully, no policemen in this town (in the book), “male privilege”, sexual assaults are implied, that’s somebody’s family member, a feud, exile was the traditional way, a “pierced eardrum”, a very big book, in sympathy with pretty much everybody, only Himmler comes off really bad (played by Donald Pleasance), Escape From New York is kind of this book!, such a good point, Snake Plisken is Steiner, he’s a traitor, the audio drama of Escape From New York by Bill Hollweg, robbing the Federal Reserve in a dystopia makes him a hero, Nazi Germany is a dystopia, very Snake Plisken, badge patches, reputation: “I heard you were dead.”, taking real life situations and circumstances, incredibly interesting parallels that mirror, a masterful novel, exactly the right recipe, connections to all sorts of stuff far beyond WWII.

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The Eagle Has Landed

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Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC R7 & RA.cc: Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

October 10, 2009 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7So in following up on that terrific new dramatization of The Most Dangerous Game, you know the one I told you about the other day, I’ve come across a novel with a similar theme. Indeed, this is a novel with a similar legacy to that of Richard Connell’s short story. Consider this…

“One should always hunt an animal in its natural habitat; and the natural habitat of man is – in these days – a town. Chimney pots should be the cover, and the method, snapshots at two hundred yards. My plans are far advanced. I shall not get away alive, but I shall not miss; and that is all that matters to me any longer.” – Rogue Male

Similar to The Most Dangerous Game hey?

But as to the legacy – let me offer these…

First up we need to consider in reverse chronological order David Morrell‘s 1972 novel, First Blood, and the subsequent movie of the same name. Said Morrell: “When I started First Blood back in 1968, I was deeply influenced by Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male.”

That’s a very strong recommendation in itself.

Then there was a 1976 TV-movie version starring Peter O’Toole (I also recall seeing it advertised as airing on A&E television network back in the 1990s)….

And lastly, in the video department, there was a 1941 film version (directed by Fritz Lang) put out under the title Man Hunt

As to the audio, I did a search of that handy dandy resource RadioArchive.cc and found there a lovely UNABRIDGED reading of Rogue Male, a novel that was commissioned (and recently re-aired) on BBC Radio 7. I’ve just finished listening to it and I highly recommend it!

SERIOUSLY, be sure give this one a try. It’s totally gripping from the first sentence on. It holds your attention with a combination of great narration (by Michael Jayston), excellent writing (by Geoffrey Household) and historical relevance. It has a feel of a historical novel – giving you a sense of the time and the culture – whilst also meditating on the human mind – especially decision making. It’s not unlike Ken Follett‘s Eye Of The Needle or The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins – it’s that good.

One thing that Rogue Male has, that those others lack, is a nice human-animal friendship. This is essentially a hunting story, rather than a spy story, so it is more singularly focused on those themes and less externalized. I’ve never read a story that depicts what it’s like to stalk an animal (be it human or otherwise) better than this novel does.

Here’s what one of the commenters on the torrent thread said about it:

“This simply has to be one of the best ‘reads’ I will have in 2008. The reader is brilliant and the story suspenseful beyond belief. I listened to it in bed and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout every chapter. Thanks for upping it. This is already in my top 10 audio experiences of all time.”

Rogue Male by Geoffrey HouseholdRogue Male
By Geoffrey Household; Read by Michael Jayston
15 Broadcasts – Approx. 6 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: 2004
Told in first person by the protagonist, an un-named British sportsman, sets out to see whether he can successfully stalk and prepare to shoot a European dictator. Supposedly interested only in the hunt for its own sake, he convinces himself that he does not intend to actually pull the trigger. First published in paperbook form in 1939.

And, there was a BBC radio drama version too (also available at RadioArchive.cc)!

BBC Radio 4Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 90 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: 1989
Starring Simon Cadell and David Googe.

Other radio drama adaptations include:

SuspenseSuspense – Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: December 31st 1951
Provider: Archive.org
Stars Herbert Marshall and Ben Wright.

Everything For The BoysEverything For The Boys – Rogue Male
Based on the novel by Geoffrey Household; Adapted by Arch Oboler; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]*
Broadcaster: NBC Radio
Broadcast: 1944
Starring Ronald Colman and Ida Lupino.
*This is a lost broadcast, no known copies now exist.

And I should also mention, that a sequel, Rogue Justice, first published in 1982, was also broadcast on BBC Radio 7 earlier this year as a five-part abridged reading (also read by Jayston).

Neat eh?

Posted by Jesse Willis