The SFFaudio Podcast #696 – READALONG: The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #695 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Trent Reynolds talk about The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, paperback or hardcover?, it’s better if it is a paperback, not by Westlake, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block, while burgling, on the run, five pages before the end, what the mystery was and how all things came to be, a subgenre between Westlake and Block, little excerpts, a real book, Block introduced Jesse to Westlake, from reading a series, self-flagellation, a movie the very next year, a Frazetta cover, a pretty bad movie, an episode of The Monkees, sets in relief author choices, the jacket that goes missing, heroin, literal cash, a million dollars, a typical Hollywood move, a cargo ship filled with cash, massive stakes inflation, our hero is a murderer, grave-digging was one thing, a functionary of the institution, an apparatchik of the organization, he’s redeemed, he gets out, he goes to California, he abandons his month, tell us more about your mafia connections, heat of the moment self-defense vs. deliberate planned murder, Gravito, all fun mafia stuff, over his shoulder for the entire book, comedic, tightrope walk, a Westlakeian attitude, how he can get himself out of this lifestyle he’s in, Westlake’s view of the world is very funny, human absurdity, a caper, the big send off, definitely fun, as a person living in the world, reconcile, a lot of books like this, most of the [Richard] Stark books, Paul felt bad for him, framed for something he didn’t do, go get the world, we should have trouble, 20 years after The Sopranos, a very old book, kids have turned to glue, white slavery, prostitution, running girls, subverting the religion, the roads are bad, a Protestant a Catholic funeral, if it was a less naturally gifted writer, less absurd it would be more disturbing, heightened reality, the laws of physics still work in this place, he rolls out of a moving car, a missed opportunity, Westlake adaptations to film, The Stepfather (1987), The Grifters (1990), Jim Thompson, the novel medium, one little sequence, when he wakes up in the bed with the widow, dream sequence, a frame-shift, kneeling, this guy is really old, a young vigorous guy, the fish-eye, so talented, looking in a mirror, those details mark out Westlake, great language, this guy’s a killer, future comic novels, mildly funny, more sympathetic, robbing an orphanage, a conscious move, dead serious, the desperate circumstances, keystone cops, intrusive music in bad movies in the 1960s, CW shows, music over conversation, ruinous, a detective story, phone calls, inherent in the absurdity of the situation, in real life, a phone tag conversation, it’s one of those days, like candy, Westlake’s thoughts on society are all over the page, a few years ago, all the potholes are marked, New York City, all of these things feed into reflections, how city management could be done, corruption at the airport, hashmarks up and down his uniform, the yellow brick novel, Dancing Aztecs, what it all means, the title is kind of misleading, Weekend At Bernie’s, Weekend At Bernie’s II, every decision is bad, they make the jack brown in the movie, low rez, brown for shitty, a red herring, the title, we never see the body, somebody moved it at some point, Al Engel, Aloysius, Mr. Kan, a lot of widows (fake and real), The Busie Body, a 1709 play, Susanna Centlivre, the venice carnival, gigolo, all these people wanting to get with each other, everybody is in everybody’s bedroom, kinda similar, a French farce, I’m busy, nosing into other people’s business, an older meaning, nosy Parker, 17th century meaning, sexually active, she’s a busy body, a kissing book, Gentleman Prefer Blondes [subtitled: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady by Anita Loos], a new release on LibriVox, Marilyn Monroe, a musical, a flapper prostitute’s POV, super funny, a blank book, a funny cutesy attitude, super-naive, inference work, she’s a busybody, a lot of gentleman callers, one sex scene, this woman who keeps showing up, the list of suspects, who framed him?, he didn’t play fair, you don’t feel cheated though, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), I recognize you, dinner, very small payoffs, low stakes, the threat of California, Dolly, Brody who’s a body we never see, a light confection, a nephew novel, Somebody Owes Me Money, The Organization, yeaah, pushing towards, a replacement for government, it used to be there was always big hits all the time, now that things are organized, a warlord, turned into a bureaucracy, things settle down, the origins of government, before the progressive era in the United States, the mafia providing social welfare, why Sicily is important, when the cops won’t give satisfaction, the competition, the government has a monopoly on violence, coercion, threats, asking, and paying, a second government, Engle, he’s not a murderer he’s just a soldier, Secret Service, doing his duty, they are crime books, twisted, Callahan, bribed, lots of cops are on the take, Serpico and all these other stories, paying attention to tiny details, reading the paper and seeing how things actually work, we don’t need to know his service history, a very subtle take, the insurance angle didn’t come up until the end, the fake widow, this was just honest insurance fraud, Double Indemnity, Black Widow (1987), Debra Winger and Theresa Russell, the eraser, marrying her way to riches, the great personality, neo noir, she disappears from the bathroom, he’s a great card player, the book’s greatest weakness, the funeral parlor employee, suspicious as hell, in a more mature Westlake book, the reader expects a cutesy flirty relationship, the resume sticker, the romantic love interest was behind it all, too obvious, they’re going to hook up later, the restaurant that used to be a barn, wagonwheels on the wall, workmanlike, great scenes, the explanations, Dortmunder books, long for the content, like a ping pong ball bouncing around New York, he wasn’t really steering his ship, a lair, a manipulator, thin, The Producers, a blueprint for Dortumnder, driven by circumstances, Westlake calls the tune and the characters dance the jig, recurring motifs, government is incompetent and/or corrupt, Cops And Robbers, two cops decide to supplement their income, playing both sides, moral judgement, he’s a criminal!, profiting off of death and misery, making a mockery of religion and subverting good order, good gags out of the prostitution angle, the heroine character, she gets away with it, leaving the life of prostitution when she got married, run away, one of the best tricks in the novel, a lifestyle that’s somewhat voluntary, sexual rewarding, she writes a nice note, he’s a thinker, he isn’t just punching a clock here, Humans, a fireman at Chernobyl, what does it all mean, the early days of the web, please enter, “I believe my subject is bewilderment, but I could be wrong?”, isn’t it weird we live this way that we do?, this mob world is normal, aren’t you surprised?, a bizarre situation, there’s something wrong with the world, get back in the good books, be chairman himself!, get back to normal, a pretty happy ending, an exhausted guy gets out of the thing that exhausts him, the organization put him through the ringer, pursing the widow instead of Dolly, she’s got the money, get away to Hawaii, escape the system, parallel motivations, his face was disfigured, his head was burned off, does Engel have an angle, just a name, the Brody/body, what’s his angle?, sometimes Rose is a man, this Rose person, comedic, laughing out loud, almost productive in death as he was in life, 5 books since 2008, a manuscript for a Henry Winkler production, Call Me A Cab, Redbook, eBay, $1550, $79, Redbook is the woman’s magazine, Bluebook was a men’s magazine, Yellowbook, Australian Woman’s Weekly, in Westlake’s writing career, a break from Parker, Campus Lovers, Campus Lovers, The Man With The Getaway Face, you can imagine this book ending today (as a series), change the ending and give me one a year, like a shark, emotionless vs. driven by revenge, standalones, Castle In The Air, John Scalzi comes to mind, feature not bug, what does that do for the author?, flex some other muscles, designed not to be a series, the characters are exhausted, gone off with the widow, they’ve got the money, it’s the principal, smart, 6’1, his hair colour, he’s heterosexual, he has a mom, Grofield, full time actor, part time heister, this was a character that could work, a person to see the world through, he’s not like Parker, he’s not a turncoat, a lens through which they see the world, answering the phone: California, Westlakeian humour, subtle fun, maybe’s he’s going to be a milkman, Richard Pryor, charisma, Soylent Green (1973), it’s whats for dinner, standard in American crime fiction, all the institutions are corrupt from top to bottom, chess, locked room mysteries, the social aspects, Dashiell Hammett, everyone is dirty, notable, talking to booksellers, filed under mystery, Agatha Christie style, Mysterious press, these are crime books, classifying, where to put Two Much, to get it in the bookstore section, put a dragon on the cover it’s fantasy, put a gun on the cover: mystery, a spaceship = science fiction, a heaving bosom -> romance, always slotted in as a mystery writer, much more about crime, slices of life of people in the crime industry, quotidian, a bank job, always in the background, the reality, this is business, why are you so weird, thinking weird thoughts that come across as not weird, what his philosophy is or are, the robustness of the descriptions of things, what we call in fantasy “worldbuiklding”, the geography of New York, fabulous, mixing drinks, how much scotch does this guy drink?, it was the sixties and he was on the run, God Save The Mark, Oliver Wyman rage quit twitter, an excuse, The Spy In The Elevator, it would be crime not to do it, on the heels of it, 3 or 4 a year in early years, They Also Serve, Tomorrow’s Crimes, the Starship Hopeful series, Call Him Nemesis, a pulp hero kind of deal, this is a holdup, it was in IF.

Highbridge Audio - The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake

The Busy Body (1967)

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 1 of 3

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 2 of 3

The Busy Body - Australian Woman's Weekly - Part 3 of 3

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The SFFaudio Podcast #628 – READALONG: Rage by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #628 – Jesse and Evan Lampe talk about Rage by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

Talked about on today’s show:
Richard Bachman, Getting It On, not what I thought it would be, a school shooter book, only two people, a lot less group therapy, The Breakfast Club where the teacher gets shot, Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick, working his real life problems, psychologically traumatized by growing up, On Writing, Danse Macabre, single mom, he was witness, assuming schools are different today, out of the institution, it is not like it was, way less, psychological bullying, the teachers are the prison guards, you don’t squeal, it really is a prison, obsessed with bullying, It, the whole town is kind of sick, Carrie, seems kind of unrealistic, pervasive evil, neutral or brutal, The Long Walk, Roadwork, The Running Man, Thinner, The Regulators, parallel to Desperation, Blaze, one of his more Philip K. Dickian novels, an official photo of Richard Bachman, Richard Stark and Donald Westlake, everything comes out like Bach, The Dark Half, Thad Beaumont, told the father, comic crime, a Navy or Marine recruiter, a helluva lot of psychology, a very strange book, why this stuff happens, school shootings make a lot of sense, you can’t leave, if you can’t escape you lash out, the centerpiece of young people’s lives, if you do have rage inside you, projected at your guards and fellow prisoners, the math teacher, the narrator viewpoint character has something wrong with him (and also grievances), how what people say and do haunt people, too grown up?, particularly sophisticated, Stephen King re-reads, this isn’t there anymore, his kids are a little too grown up?, they aged the kids up, magic, things that 11 year olds believe that 14 year olds don’t, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, infantilizing young people, its too late, a lot of truth in this book, so pervasive in the culture, The Shining, the father figure, the genealogy of evil, he’s an alcoholic, mother issues, family issues, cycles of horror, every 28 years, brainwashing her daughter, something King grappled with for decades, written in high school, contemporary references, the math teacher is a monster, he’s being haunted, he doesn’t attack the students, fellow prisoners, prisoners of their nation, prisoners of their community, prisoners of their religion, social stigma of being a slut, backstory, telling ghost stories, takes on the role of teacher, they get it on, getting passed all the bullshit and the horror and secrets that are making their lives miserable, pedagogy, industry standard, what do you think, let’s engage on this, he’s a better teacher, facilitate learning among students, I’m at BU now, The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, raw and short, 211 pages, just over 5 hours in the audiobook, one long walk, The Long Walk, only 100 people do it each year, virtually everyone fills out that form, a physical checkup, to do with the draft, the war, the guy who sells books to the school, his dad’s a creepy fuck, walking from Maine to Boston, there’s no end point, that’s life, a metaphor for life, very dark, it transforms itself rather oddly, why he withdrew the book, shooting up your school, kind of like a play, we learned something here today, another trope of his, seductive leader, Randall Flagg in The Stand, shining is King’s psychic ability, Charlie Decker shines, a very good book, an interesting book, this peculiar institution is ongoing, its global, when Jesse’s tutoring, realizing to them individually, the ability to get inside the kid’s head, building up skills and information, teaching them to ride bikes (with sentences, or analysis), use the magic words, a skill set you’re trying to impart, roll call, escaped for the day, Jesse has had good teachers, forced to be there, why or what was happening, you’re not allowed to skip, game the system, school was punishment, university was completely different, they take an exam at the beginning of the book, all the other kids are dressed down, you idiots, there’s no test, in a more horrible environment, modelling what they’re doing, you can’t do that with a whole classroom full of kids, they don’t know what they don’t know, its impossible, a disaster, 35 kids in a class, 20 is conceivable, some teacher who are capable of great work in the classroom, your attention is so divided, how normal animals work, mom bears eat blackberries, there’s no school for animals, a flock of birds, a herd of sheep, what we’re doing kind of is institutionalizing a thing, artificial parent, sometimes they’re horrible, their litters are to big, more malevolent, your pay determines how valuable you are, Elon Musk must be a genius because he’s so rich, the teacher has the right answer, showing your work, trains us for capital industrial society, obedience, the humanities (are to blame), S.E. Hinton, these are your great writers, these are your national heroes, expanding the hero set as we become more woke, an immigrant culture, 1870s, this twitter thing that happened S.E. Hinton author of The Outsiders, really good reads, reassign what you were assigned, about young kids, a JD novel, apparently alive, my students love your novel, thank you for your beautiful work, they can read a book, graphic novel, she’s a snob, a hierarchy of art, novels aren’t at the top, short stories, novellas, plays, TV movies, podcasts can be pretty amazing, her objection is interesting, make kids not hate school by showing school is totally hateable, empathizing with people of general good character (in poor circumstances), a teacher handing out copies of Rage, self-banned, shooters with this book in their locker, lifting the scales, this institution is super pervasive, half online, Michel Foucault, prison, asylum, institution, to serve modernity, the history of the prison, China, 80 years old, jail, confinement is the punishment, copying the west, public schools are very very new, what are we going to do with them, a fake labour market, what’s an alternative to prisons, tutoring is an alternative, monasteries, apprentices, student loans and free college, the industry needed skilled workers, cobblers or bakers, funded by taxpayers, the bosses don’t pay for it, it has never been the standard, why the university feels so different, exams and attendance, the lecture hall vs. the classroom, you can feel it, truancy officers, hall passes, the school to prison flow, black people in the States, being uppity in school, uppity into school, a feeding system for prison, residential schools were super-evil, away from their parents, their language, physical and sexual abuse, the legacy is not good, you can generationaly heal, Joe Hill, other problems, your society isn’t just your parents, recruitment for the war machine, another institution, professional soldiers and standing armies, clans and border incursions, the legacy of institutions gets deep inside, roots that are hard to see, penetrating layers of psychology, we’re in that forest, cultural interrogation, the asylum, Nurse Ratched, watch it if you want, asylums are the go to place for horror, reform out, group homes and group therapy, the abuses were so horrible, generational desensitization, co-op homeschooled, the default is the parent is a religious nut, overly protective, wonky, hippie, regular parents are desensitized, how crappy school is, just a thing you have to do, all sorts of things to hate about the institution, the only exception is politicians, a badge of honor, I went to a public school, I suffered with all you plebs, Pete Buttigieg, the psychological impact of not going to school, South Park pandemic special, psychological damage for *not* going to school?, watching YouTube videos, there’s a Philip K. Dick novel, The Long Walk was a depressing grind, there is no liberation, this is a liberation book, electroshock therapy, psilocybin, megadoses, parental expectation, what they think education is, what education actually is, memorization, maybe there’s a better way, use is the better way, start using those vocab, silly at the beginning, problems in the world you would like to communicate, we won’t like the ranking, it gets in students heads too, inured to education, but I don’t want to spoil it for you, becoming institutionalized, that mental illness thing, if he can’t break the system then what he did was horrible, did the prison guards have it coming?, getting up at 5am, the kids are overworked, they don’t have a life outside of school, that’s bad, we should all be in jail for child abuse, in a few hundred years, those overseers were as much to blame, strong union in British Columbia, criticize the curriculum, English 10, Shakespeare’s amazing, fill in the blanks, essays, online schooling, more common, self-paced, a list of books you need to read and reflect on in your writing, which character said this?, guess what the writer of the exam said was the right answer, get a stack of book, you’re gonna dig this book, not interested in reading at all, everybody has to be a novel reader, the problem with grading, art history in-class analysis, cultural, thematic, evaluation, judging a slug on how well it climbs trees, who can climb trees best, he chooses the math teacher, you have to have a certain level of math, math is really important and really interesting, if you’re a sailor, if you’re an engineer, a contractor, a cashier, quadratic equations, whose ever used Euclid, prove angles on a triangle, its interesting, let’s keep this idea and system alive, I’m for this thing, you don’t have to be an expert on Ancient Egypt, what school should be is a buffet, they can pursue it at a higher institution, in high school science we dissect animals, prepared slides, not literally science, pushing the boundaries of what we know, experimentalized, that’s not what you’re doing that’s not your job, Jesse teaches essay writing, the essay format was very popular in the 16 to 18th centuries, essay writing in first grade, did King do a disservice to humanity by self-banning this book, as a school shooter book, group therapy, he’s a horrible person, he uses foul language, Red Letter Media’s review of The Friday The Thirteenth sequels, should we ban slasher films?, slasher films are awesome, the close observer, other King books are so much worse, Apt Pupil is way worse, the new right, neo-nazis, a Nazi who got away, worse characters, he’s a popular writer, quoting Wikipedia, the Virginia Tech shooter, Cain Rose Up, Guns, the preface to Blaze, does it save lives?, the Columbine high-school massacre, Columbine by Dave Cullen, Bowling For Columbine (2002), what they always do in the media, Doom causes school shootings, blaming Dungeons & Dragons, Tom Hanks becoming mentally ill by playing D&D, Evan’s pastor, C.S. Lewis is okay, you shouldn’t do this: Jesus, another institution, sexual repression, the concerns of people’s reputations, what the truth is, all sorts of stuff, I’m not a devil worshiper surprisingly, what actually happened, folie à deux, Klebold and Harris, warning signs, the police fucked it up real good, school lockdowns, lockdown is not a good idea, a kind of mania for control, punishment, unquestionable policies, playing with guns, buying guns, making explosives, hate for people, extreme hate for people, the reason she was killed, are you a christian, she said yes, how the United States works, what Colorado was, Mork And Mindy was set in Boulder, a big Air Force state, military education, Robert A. Heinlein near Cheyenne, this mountain central state, a new western frontier, a batman movie shooting, a different kind of state, religion, school, military, set beliefs, you don’t fit into those, resentment can build up, boys are good at killing people because they have hands, machetes, it’s one way to go, its kind of like cancer, if you have enough cells you’re going to get it, Richard Bachman’s book are not the key to the school shootings, understandable, that person who he was, he was very angry, he was full of horror at reality, he reserves his anger for Trump now, this viewpoint character is most like the author, not the book Jesse was expecting, Pinter-like, its never gonna be a TV movie, getting out graduating and telling the truth, everybody masturbates, I’m a virgin, a good read, an interesting read, you shouldn’t skip rage, teenage sexuality, the one hold out, he’s a mirror to the narrator, male vs. female sexuality, there’s so much moralism about sexuality in King’s early work, alcoholism, drugs, Doctor Sleep, Revival, recovery narrative, monogamy, The Stand, 99.9% of Americans die, good wins out, THIS IS MY WOMAN, moralistic about monogamy, he’s taking what he likes from the institution, this is literally the problem, raging against the institutions all around him, The Running Man is such an awesome critique of American capitalism, Christian moralizing is not for me, some religious leader didn’t like the way the institution was running things, a lack of long term vision, seems like a nice guy, the killings, should I do a show on this?, Jesse was worried, Jesse shouldn’t worry, other problems that he’s ignoring, he has a legitimate grievance, make it about veganism, crazy people, TV shows, leaders on television, not so subtle hints, legacy of horror, changing the reality violently, an incident in a fictional character’s life, the loyal friend who is going to come visit him, getting some truth out and making people feel better, we all pee, she doesn’t pee or poo, you can’t admit to something like that, could have happened in a church, going postal, workplace shooting, interesting book, fits so smoothly into Stephen King’s other works, literally defying King, a 2012 Guardian review, asked Stephen King, what cowed media we have, fucking terrible journalism, its very impressive, 1966, good job Stephen King.

Signet - Rage by Richard Bachman

Signet - Rage by Richard Bachman

New English Library - Rage by Richard Bachman

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The SFFaudio Podcast #516 – READALONG: The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #516 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Maissa Bessada, and Evan Lampe talk about The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Talked about on today’s show:
1920, serialized with wonderful illustrations, WWI, volunteer hospital dispensary, Cynthia, Dashiell Hammett, Dick worked in a repair shop, H.P. Lovecraft never left his house, the best selling novelist of all time, Shakespeare, pretty impressive, go back to the start, so polished, Sherlock Holmes, her first dog was named George Washington, Agatha Christie: surfer, her house was named Styles, her husband had an affair, she mysteriously disappeared, Curtain, the template for her later books, a court case, gathering everyone together in the library, Captain Hastings, his brother she kept in a basket, Oscar Wilde, interactive, written on a wager, the ideal detective story, what really made her reputation, what she’s created here is something people really liked, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, an intellectual game you play with yourself, Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin, the novelized form of a game that can only be played between a reader and an author, a sudoku puzzle, “cosy” murders, Mr Jim Moon’s shows on Choose Your Own Adventure books, props, the map of the house, the fragment of the will, play along at home, tremendously cool, an ahead of its time idea, Dell mapbacks, Avon mapback, a very American cover, Marilyn Monroe, the layout of styles, who’s lying, American hardboiled, so detached, emigres, the corrupt police department, everyone’s dirty, Raymond Chandler, a body, a motive, more escapist than fantasy literature, who killed this nice lady, who started this goddamned war that’s killing everybody, Bryan Alexander, it can’t but help talk about WWI, pro-war rallies, patriotic Belgian refugees, the rape of Belgium, an offer to write propaganda, unemployed uppercrust guys, Inspector Japp is not the right class, I much prefer the Belgies, aint your ordinary run of foreigners, noir books, James M. Cain, the murderers are the main characters, suspense, game-playing fantasy, if you could do anything after the war, I’d like to be a detective (like Sherlock Holmes), Jesse ruins the show, 15 Agatha Christies, read like popcorn, so relaxing, so untaxing, turn on my brain more, Chandler, the breakdowns of people’s lives and marriages, Hastings is sort of a flake, offers to marry the first lady who starts crying in front of him, an odd scene, someone might take you up on it, failed romance, the promise that made Agatha Christie very wealthy, there could be more of these adventures, like Arthur Conan Doyle, Miss Marple, problems from success, an outsider’s view of something very inside, Murder In Mesopotamia, Murder On The Orient Express, this is where Agatha Christie wrote, basing it on her own experience, losing money, murder for revenge, murder for love, murder for money, mostly money, Evelyn Howard, playing housemaid, a con-artist, American hardboiled evil characters, The Postman Always Rings Twice, the estate is a diner in California, the Howard and Inglethorp relationship, the intricacy of the plotting, double jeopardy, civics class, this cleverness, like a puzzle, The Simple Art Of Murder by Raymond Chandler, the authentic flavour of life, begging the question, a really long game, deeply embedded, impressively patient, on vacation in Dartmoor, The Hound Of the Baskervilles, the isolated house, a convoluted plot to disinherit somebody, red herrings, almost efficient, legitimated, the spy, the escaped lunatic, thrown off the scent, not the way murders actually take place, the Khashoggi assassination, reading too many Agatha Christies, lured into an embassy, a hit team, a lot more grubby, Jesse wrecks the podcast again, real life murders, John Haigh, the next rung on the ladder, when bodies are dissolving, poison is her trademark, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books, the American response to Christie and Holmes, “I suppose you’re wondering why I gathered you all here”, the real murderer is revealed, the consulting detective, kinda strange, kinda weird, no matter where he goes people die, Miss Marple, Angela Lansbury’s Murder She Wrote, the most prolific serial killer, the title, all the mysterious affairs, Dorcas, Jonathan Fast, a strange SFy name, don’t write notes to your gf, they would have got away with it if it wasn’t for Poirot, an antecedent in Sherlock Holmes, leaning on an intellectual heavyweight, Hastings has his heart too much on his face, a vague suspicion of everything, the game is under foot, how self-aware this is, I’m a kind of literary detective, Tommy and Tuppence, this is a thing in this world, her second husband was an archaeologist, ahead of her time on the meta-stuff, more than 60 novels, Philip K. Dick had 40 novels, this drive to write, Stephen King’s legacy, Mr Jim Moon’s Stephen King shelves, back to King, The Running Man, The Long Walk, a straight-up metaphor for life, from the alien perspective, newsreel footage from the 1930s, wearing a hat, Our Dumb Century, “Man Ventures Outside Hatless”, sunglasses replaced hats, the fossil of a whole fleshed out society that existed, John Buchan, the politics, Belgian refugees, the Poirot TV show, a French detective, a detective has to have a quirk, McCloud, Cannon, Ironsides, quirks, a cup of hot chocolate to get the little grey cells working, an outsider who brings insight into the cases, tapping into the same thing Jane Austen does, closely observing society, classes, a close up focus, shared DNA, upper classes, seeing the dirty laundry, quaint and cozy, later books, the interwar years, a very static world, the way class works in England, hardboiled novels, a more liquid environment, you get to ignore class conflict and unions, inheritance, always on vacation, the investigation is into people’s character, whether Mr Darcy is a jerk, whether this man is suitable for marriage, an orphan who gets adopted, seven Belgians, the audio drama, her patriotic poem, go fight in the war and get killed, the Napoleonic wars, detachment makes them popular, an escape, her perspective, poisoning thousands (with her words), toured the world, staying at the Ritz, Jack London, send me to the worst part of town, The People Of The Abyss, those who don’t live off of the investments of their grandfather, the best selling novelist of all time is a woman, she’s the J.R.R. Tolkien of the mystery, Alfred Hitchcock, The Feminization Of American Culture by Ann Douglas, Mary Wollstonecraft, women should marry their friends, poetry is peacock feathers, “dude this will get you chicks”, a valuable skill, not our world, the amazing thing about humans is we’re not as visual as we think we are, we live in the world of words, Lovecraft’s spells, false realities, oral cultures, languages and literary traditions, a bookshelf is case of spellbooks, a certain kind of magic, the primary medium, music, idea based SF vs. cozy based mystery solving, politicize Dick’s works, the worst sin she commits, pure escapism, detached relationships, there’s a wall all the way through it, a big circle, skating along the perimeter, look for the things that aren’t there, children, all adult children, Hallowe’en Party, Mr Jim Moon’s Halloween researches, a wonderful childhood, the money went away, WWI pilot, a little too attractive, he’s too pretty, that famous disappearance, the darkest incident in a person’s life, public crisis, so guarded in her interview, the worst incident in Philip K. Dick’s life, the lowest point of people’s lives, a very very very famous writer, a fulfilling life, a life well led, the adaptations, Japanese mysteries, the audio drama vs. the TV adaptation, really well put together, seeing the mustache, whole mediums come in, Maissa’s audio drama video, a poolside infodump, Big Finish, the modern novel is showing some signs of wear, new technologies, a VR story industry, streamer media, Twitch, what the kids are doing, kind of like podcasting in realtime, celebrities, content creators, Deadmau5, Dr DisRespect, performing and talking, whatever medium in 50 or 60 years they’ll be doing documentaries about these people, not only for children, livestreaming, drawing, a new medium, magazines, what we imagined 2019 would be like, it was not this, the war is barely there in the book, adaptions play up the war, she plays down the war, The Mousetrap is excellent, a great sense of humour, everybody did it.

Pan - The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Pan - The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #476 – READALONG: Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #476 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Evan Lampe talk about Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Future Science Fiction, June 1954, the notes that PKD wrote, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, in the late ’70s, The Exegesis, remembering vs. projecting, his revised ending, he doesn’t understand the mindset he was in when he wrote it, really sensitive, obsessed with tiny little details, his wives and wive characters, what this story is really about, why he doesn’t like the ending, the adaptations, the radio drama, the Electric Dreams adaptation, loose, they’re trying to figure it out, messing up, suddenly the UK doesn’t know how to do science fiction at all, plots vs. scenes, not well thought through, as it was unfolding, doing so much, no through-line, unified thought, why is it called Crazy Diamond?, Jesse doesn’t listen to music, noticing music, colonized by music, chamber music was important to PKD, little details, the name of the boat, John Dee vs. John D., John Dowland, one of two pseudonyms PKD, sixteenth century lute music, Jack Dowland, Jacks and Jills, androids and gynoids, their replicants, what’s wrong with androids?, throwaway technology, what is this story about?, by attacking it from the outside we can work our way in, homages or in-jokes or fanservice, a FASRAD mention, I had a dream, dreams have their opposite meaning?, no coda, thematic overlap, Easter eggs and thematic episodes, entropy, the shoreline, artificial world, a construct, The Truman Show, hoping for a reveal, holding the record, the world is sterile and fake, diners and McDonald’s, fake but they know it is, no growing your own food, understanding this episode, why is their a pig lady?, to make it quirky, just a pig-lady to talk to, the ending is terrible, interesting but they don’t really understand what they’ve got, action movies, ways of adapting these things, callbacks and nods to other shows, 1950s stories, straight up adaptations, Double Indemnity, James M. Cain, let’s do a gender swap with the ending, the girls are teamed up against the guy, it doesn’t make any sense, all the IVF treatments, as a whole it is a failure, useful for analyzing the story, a lead in, escape, El Dorado, Cockaigne, Ultima Thule, 2050 is a nightmare but 1950 is perfect, Time Out Of Joint, near and dear to Dick’s heart, something static that has to be escaped from, the frontier, The Man Who Japed, Solar Lottery, political dystopia, Vulcan’s Hammer, Doctor Futurity, stagnation, on the right page, the third choice is suicide, relentless advertising, a fourth choice, none of this, the way our ancestors lived, no stove, the proper choice, imposing our intellect, the proper choice is to buy the FASRAD, the FASRAD would liberate her, Evan’s podcast: American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time), interpretation based on life experience and life goals, Rorschach, Evan’s plan is to buy land in Wisconsin, homesteading, a Pink Floyd song, rubbing his record, no attribution on the label, all very interesting, musical flatulence, erotic loveplay, personalized google ads, does this happen to you?, gastric processes, bully crossed nag,

“Men!” an unctuous voice thundered on all sides of him. “Banish internally-caused obnoxious odors forever. Removal by modern painless methods of the gastrointestinal tract and substitution system will relieve you of the most acute cause of social rejection.” The visual image locked; a vast nude girl, blonde hair disarranged, blue eyes half shut, lips parted, head tilted back in sleep-drugged ecstasy. The features ballooned as the lips approached his own. Abruptly the orgiastic expression on the girl’s face vanished. Disgust and revulsion swept across, and then the image faded out.

brutal!, so funny, what is the solution?, to replace your intestines with a plastic chute, the skin salon and the hair salon and the nail salon, less animals, prettier and less farty, what ads are for, having your least used eye replaced with a augmented reality google glass, being replaced by your robot, the real threat to Ed Morris is the robot is going to replace him as the husband and at his job, how did this story come into existence?, door-to-door salesperson, fuck you go away I don’t want to hear it, really good at sales, Immanuel Kant would say, a means to an end, Jesse consistently the worst salesperson, robots that endlessly horribly peruse you, they have no feeling, vacuum sales and repair, door to door vacuum sales, learning to repair vacuum cleaners, you’re going to be amazed, Electrolux, FASRAD-style, this wonderful delightful machine, the Jones’ will be so jealous, the job of a husband, a threat to him as a man, no kids, impotence, the PKD-stand in character, the “mute” button, there’s something fascinatingly interesting about this story, we need these appliances, there are advantages to living in the city, a really horrible house-guest on coke, machines need to shut up, totally relating to this story, DVDs and Blu-Rays, the mandatory FBI warning, the state advertising itself, is their anything you can’t do, I’d be insane to buy you, they follow you around until you die, our life, Twitter isn’t the real world, electricity and central heating isn’t the real world, a certain kind of reality, the real world is inaccessible, the reality of bots, ad blockers, the most insidious ads, comments, favouriting everything, falsely identifying people at bots, bots can’t care, a means to an end, the horrible thing about about robots as sales people, the horrible ending, stuck in that loop, military, a whole different track, tapes, bot-like behavior, you’re the product!, soldier versions, replacing humans (or men) in their places of work, Jesse is worried about his dishwasher taking over the podcast, finding yourself as friendship with a bot, ego growing for years, Blade Runner androids are emotionally stunted, they can care about stuff, a horribly wonderful ending, a horror ending, Ed abandoned his wife, empty an vacant, the horror of the world, night and darkness and cold wind, a good night’s sleep, all day, all night, sheer dress, when you’re far away you can see her shapely form, things are worse when you get up close, translucent up close, farther away it is sheer, when married couples go on dates why do they dress up?, right about the story, the story is all about gender, proving his masculinity to the robot, paying on installments, becoming middle aged, he’s worried about being replaced, automation, the Trump voters, what the market says is productive labour, with [Karl] Marx, a philosopher in the morning a fisherman in the afternoon, what to make of our lives when not tied to the market, a liberatory technology, as a labour historian, 35 years of exhaustion, automation as liberation, undermining this particular story, other robots pause, a good story for looking at our reality today, people will be lining up at the Apple store, the door-to-door sales technique, the product is a good one if you can tone down the mouth, working in a sales room, being unable to defend yourself against a sales-person, falling into traps, learning the skills, a sales person is a person, the L.A. Festival of Books, people on scripts, easily influenced, full of compassion for people, bizarre question, do you like books?, I like to eat animals to punish them, do you know how many fish are in this jar?, the Consumer Electronic Shows, booth babes, reviewing video cards, the mid-America Truck Show, catching a booth babe on her lunch break, they can turn it off (a lot of them), there’s never a point when the FASRAD says “when you buy me I’ll shut up”, commuting is a whole thing, the process of driving down the road, Puttering About In A Small Land, a massive amount of stress, the most fearful driver on the road, very important, how many times coffee and mashed peas, big boobs, advertising, commuting, a device that makes you read your boss’ mind, it’s telepathy, seeing the scene with PKD behind that dashboard, honking horns, 60 million miles a second, The Jetsons, as close to pure comedy, the “Doc Labryinth” stories, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, the self-driving car, hypno-motor control, Elon Musk, advertising as a whole, performed a crucial function in democracy, inexpensive or free media, TV and radio advertising, the buyer-seller relationship, ensuring media is distributed to people, BFM radio station ads, enjoyable ads, movie trailers, when the money is going to be expensive, the Superbowl ads, write something that people won’t hate, why isn’t everyone crazy in my particular way, Adbusters magazine, Occupy Wall Street, getting information to people who need it, the Tide ads, don’t eat the Tide Pods, new Coke vs. old Coke, who’s setting the agenda, that is horrible, that’s mind control and it works, we’re poor everyone else is rich, how come your phone is nicer than mine, you cannot understate how powerful advertising is, advertising paid for media that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, the other stuff subsidized the news, CNN doesn’t seem to have reporters outside of their studios, their product is fear, who can we hate this week?, political parties paying for newspapers, magazines without ads, CBC, BBC, the Age Of Persuasion, Network (1976), The Jimmy Dore Show episode in which Ed Schultz explains how he got fired, the system is all set up, six media companies own everything, adding oxygen to an anaerobic environment, the ad breaks, out of the goodness of their anonymous hearts, they are controlling us, political advertising, doing ads for The SFFaudio Podcast, ads for vodka, ad for gas remedy, ad boob extender, quivering breasts, a comedy piece he also enjoys, your wife is sexually attractive but not so intellectual, Sally swept into the room her breasts quivering with excitement, don’t be a dick, given the world we live in, public funding for media, even PBS and NPR have been captured, as soon as you step out of propaganda you know what not propaganda is, is this really a big deal?, how everybody thinks, so tailored to your inadequacies, Structube, an online furniture company, structural tubing, that is the bots, because they are literally robots, the FASRAD can never quit, generic shitty advertising, tampon ads, Maybelline, Minority Report (2002), Facebook, Pure New Zealand, googling murder weapons and IVF stuff, the 13 twitter trolls that swung the election that the 6 billion in free advertising didn’t do, how robots were going to save the world, the way robots are running our world, not the kind we envision, value of labour, bots are working for corporations and institutions, a Roomba, Roombas going door to door selling their services, Jack London, The Iron Heel, Everhart, you’re just Luddites, private hands own the robots, a type of socialism, the people have to control the robots, 200 years in the future,

“Trans-Solar Products greets you!” an immense voice boomed in his ear. Morris groaned and hunched down in his seat. He was getting near Terra; the barrage was increasing. “Is your tension-index pushed over the safety-margin by the ordinary frustrations of the day? Then you need an Id-Persona Unit. So small it can be worn behind the ear, close to the frontal lobe –“

is that an ad blocker?, anti-anxiety, cigarettes and coffee, the mood organ from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, we wouldn’t have a lot of PKD stuff if he wasn’t so stressed out, a science fiction comedy, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, weird stressed out and paranoid, a moral judgement, don’t take the Soma, Bryan Alexander is a jet-setting homesteader, the dream of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is fulfilled with Wikipedia, the novelty hasn’t worn off, Verne Troyer is trending, we are becoming subject to what Google wants us to search for, we’re getting shaped, the anticipating is making things harder, a very good story, the story is very meaty, resonance, the two illustrations by Luton, a giant beckoning woman in space, Blade Runner: 2049, the FASRAD, you’re going to buy me!, this stubborn looking dude, great illustrations, how other people interpret, what they’re seeing in it, was Solar Lottery‘s cover was commissioned then the story was written around it, The Zap Gun, the darkness of the world, fiddling with shoelaces useless, what inspired a scene-let, you’ll feel better after you’ve turned responsibility for me, they took the other ending, Sally becomes Ed, the inversion, they’re muddled, so much in here, I’m sure it will mean something, it fell apart, Annihilation (the movie and the book), the moving tattoo, that movie works because they had a plan, plans are made in the process of editing, a committee, what if there’s a heist!?, the Robin Hood thieves in the forest, why is that there? No reason, what the hell are the QCs, are we all really dumb, going senile, how this world they live in works, why is the food rotting, entropy, Ubik, sometimes a thug or a hood will attack a person at night, The Hood Maker, the twin Beetles, twin broken down trucks, what’s the boss doing, you stopped the crime and then the crime happens?, playing him out?, the editing and the script doesn’t, drugged up by the drugs in the commercials you don’t notice, there’s only one fence in England, do these stories work in England, more French than English, everything’s so fucking small, one foot square garden, they don’t have a living room, there’s a bar in the house, and a den, these stories do not work in U.K., Western and mid-Western America, cedars, the dismal night wind, the radiant lens, Upon The Dull Earth, part of the issue, a cultural mis-translation, too American for a British production, The Impossible Planet, a cup of tea (not a cup of coffee), the most widely used legal brain-stimulant, the smoking rates in Taiwan, cigarette smoking around the world.

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Luton

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #451 – READALONG: Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #451 – Jesse, Paul and Marissa talk about Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1985, 1957, a magnificent novel!, struggling through, Paul is not a fan, opinions about this book, Marissa really enjoyed it, problems, interesting, not a mainstream book, marriage and cheating, Jesse’s gutter definition of mainstream, it has them all beat, an existential novel, mainstreaminess, dread, creeping social order dread, where did it start to go wrong for Paul, why am I listening to this book, technical difficulties, the opening, the school, why am I listening to this?, mimetic fiction, I’m not interested in this, there’s no hook, their lives, the son, the poor victim, Roger recapitulates, his mother-in-law, the inevitability of the break-up of the marriage, his third time, failed relationships, spending time with these people, they’re awful awful, flip-flopped, disregarding the content of the novel…, badly composed Philip K. Dick novels, he’s really smooth, most beautiful in a few places, a way for Paul to get through this novel, Jesse’s last theory, the Mexicans are not really Mexicans (they’re Martians), what the heck are you talking about, Martian Time-Slip, his autistic son, he gives his son to the Martians, put on the lap of one of the hitchhikers, psychology, moving to Chicago with a load of stolen televisions, a secret science fiction novel, becoming a science fiction novel for a moment, at the point where it would spin fantastic… its averted, ruminating and undercutting, when Jesse reads and Isaac Asimov mystery, mind bendy, under Galactic Pot-Healer, no access to higher beings or aliens who live across the street, Lord Running Clam, well and truly lost, there’s no way out other than to move about, Puttering About vs. puttering around, what is this thing about, its not really about anything, when Virginia talks about her husband, she’s made this mistake, the mores of the 1950s, waiting for her husband to screw up, Roger is a prat, they’re all Philip K. Dick, Mrs. Alt, the teachers are all robots, The Simulacra, the math teacher, the horses, the character realization is amazing, all real people, the TV repairman, R. Childan from The Man In The High Castle, a fascinating book for anybody who wants to go deep on Philip K. Dick, you have to let it hypnotize you, bootstrapping opportunities, being in the right mood for things, if you classify this book differently, this is a crime novel scene, they commit adultery and that’s a crime, James M. Cain, adulterous relationships, the Greek fate track they get on, a car-wreck of murder and sex and love, if I was in this car…, tearing him down, he married into this, there’s no escape, a horror, a horrible human being, horrible people, being terrorized and terrified and having no escape, good writing, feeling something coming, a payoff, what all the school means, what (other than the fact that this actually happened) does this mean?, like he was experiencing this stuff, screw you all, feeling the tedium, attention to detail, open and closed to the experience, little kid psychology, sometimes adults have a greater wisdom and experience than the kid, an emotional sponge, to get that cheque, Mrs Alt is a change, the chickens and the eggs, that chicken scene is straight out of The Father Thing, old and mouldy and rotten down to the center of the earth, its turning science fiction its turning fantasy, its turning PKD!, his brother, a multiple reality thing, it wouldn’t take much to flip it into a science fiction story, Paul remembers he hated mimetic fiction, A New Apartment, I hate these people, Paul nearly failed reading in seventh grade (because of the books they gave him), A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, mis-classified, listening to my neighbours talking about their marriage, the periodness of it, a picture of the 1950s that is so complete, immersed into the 1950s, oh this is a real place, this is a real time, so many scenes, The Hanging Stranger, the basement, everything in his 1950s town is exactly the same except for the corpse hanging from a lamp post, lynching, transparency into a social reality, the racism, he didn’t mutter it quietly enough, teeth flying all over the street and he deserved it, seeing the consequence, it felt so real, so visceral, what happened?, explaining to his wife, refusing to go to the dentist like a little kid, new horrors to come, he’s constantly putting himself into these horrible situations, how great is the rage trip?, raging at the whole world, every middle class white guy’s fear, the emotional experiences, perfectly encapsulated, maybe this was written by a woman, Liz is a fantasy character, Upon The Dull Earth, digging the trench, all the other stories reflected, a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, a waking dream, in a very PKD sense, you can’t tell which universe you’re in, the photographs, so amazing, Time Out Of Joint, we don’t want to live in the world where PKD became a successful mainstream writer, decaying royalties, he is a success in this world, being recognized during his lifetime, worth digging out, he’s such a great idea man that his work will live on past his mere boring and terrible existence, mainstream writers that have wasted their lives, Martian Time-Slip can’t exist without this mundane book, squint a little bit, the PKD genre, the shoe-repair boy, none of them can hear me, our perceptions of reality, it felt like it was about to turn into a science fiction novel, almost a witch, a sorceress, Roger’s seeing something in her, children and schizophrenics, a secret brother living inside, an asshole father, an amazing horror story, Tony And The Beetles, what does this mean, Evan Lampe American Writers: One Hundred Pages At A Time podcast, kids, an empathetic sponge, where it turns into a science fiction novel for a moment, the stamp collection, dad did they use stamps in Roman times, I think I have one, that’s the end of that scene, where’d that come from and where did it go?, the denouement of so many Philip K. Dick novels, Ubik, that is the turn, how often Jesse talks to kids, its almost like they have schizophrenia, I think my feet are on fire, they sound insane, what if that’s true?, the fact that he thinks he has a Roman stamp is true in that moment, those little touches are what make this a great, great book, eliciting the sense of existential dread, I might read another mainstream Philip K. Dick, The Man Whose Teeth Were Exactly Alike, the premise is like nothing, horrible people, I love reading about these fuck-ups, asshole after asshole, Stephen King, Nelson De Mille, a Goodreads review by Hyzenthlay:

The worst part of having a favourite author who died before you started reading him is that eventually you will run out of new reading material. The best part of that favourite author being Philip K Dick is that he was prolific as fuck AND he has so many books that are only recently coming back into print and/or being published posthumously for the first time that even though I’ve been reading him for 20+ years, I still haven’t run out of new-to-me shit to read.

Puttering About in a Small Land is one of those mythical PKD volumes I searched used book stores and thrift shops for for years. It was first published in the mid-80s, following Dick’s death, then went out of print for almost three decades cos there was never much call for his literary fiction. It’s not sexy enough to be referred to in hushed reverential tones like a DADoES or mind-fucky enough to be a scholarly treatise on humanity and reality like the VALIS trilogy.

It’s a quiet book, dealing with adultery and retail. It’s undeniably an early Dick book, exploring what exactly it means to be human; to feel eternal, knowing all this pain is an illusion. The prose and style will be familiar to anyone who’s read more than a handful of his books or short stories, but it’s not one of his Big Damn Idea books.

I feel I’m not explaining myself very well.

If you’re a genre fan thinking to dabble in Dick, don’t start here. [Waves hand] This is not the book you’re looking for. You go read something else (if you don’t want to start with the usual suspects, I applaud you and would recommend The Penultimate Truth, Dr Bloodmoney or The Cosmic Puppets), cos you will likely find this book’s slightly plodding pace infuriating.

If you’re a litfic reader, looking to broaden your reading horizons, you *could* give this one a go. Maybe only if you’re already into mid-20th Century Americana, though. This might not be the best starting point. You’d be better served picking up Confessions of a Crap Artist or Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (which, yes, is genre fiction, but ONLY JUST).

Fellow Dickheads? Obviously you need to read this. After Milton Lumky (who knew typewriter sales would be so compelling?). You might hate it, but your need for completion will compel you.

TL;DR This book isn’t for you. Or you. Or you. But it might be for YOU.

stealth sex scenes, she’s consuming him, a spider crawls on her hip, a great review, Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, Mario Puzo’s Fools Die,

Puttering About In A Small Land by Philip K.Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #438 – READALONG: Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #438 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis, and Rose discuss Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett.

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul’s adventures in Australia and New Zealand adventures, all of Middle Earth, 1929, Black Mask, 1928, Yojimbo (1961), A Fist full Of Dollars (1964), Last Man Standing (1996), William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, Walter Hill, the Continental Op, a mystery (kind of), history retold in a rhyming fashion, what is the motivation of our unnamed protagonist?, to straighten up the town, Poisonville doesn’t treat him right, poison, compare to The Maltese Falcon, Tishiro Mifune, Sanjuro, mulberry field, motivated to make money, a good heart, The Glass Key, a common type of plot, third or fourth tier, the history of Hammett himself, motivation for a masterless samurai, all the reports he’s not sending, the old man, at a higher level, he knows deep down, in his right mind, that laudanum dream, gin and laudanum, from Adams apple to ankles, wait what?, corruption, bootlegger, gambler, no takes-backsies, Elihu, no personal stake, he doesn’t like them, I’m just mean enough, no no, because Dashiell Hammett wanted it to be novel length, corrupt police, rotten to the core, ostensibly to clean up the town, still echoing back, personal glee, burn it to the ground, echoed and repeated, they beat up his car (instead of his burro), a Clint Eastwood look-a-like, Sergio Leone, a very American iconic character, why that’s necessary, from a first person perspective, how reliable is the narrator?, I couldn’t tell the bosses that, the murder, as faithful as the third person descriptive, upset, not a normal code, no one did right by him, the Pinkertons, motivated by a real incident, what he was involved in, it doesn’t fit otherwise, he’s lying to his corporation, he’s trying to make his country better, a communist, corrupted government, when you say involved, Butte, Montana, the wobblies, a great metaphor, “involved”, they weren’t “detecting”, in this period and at that place, union busting, private contractors, Carnegie, steel workers, the strikers had to do their own bleeding, the standoff at Standing Rock, North Dakota, infiltrators, the 1920s, union vs. magnate battles, wield the might of a mercenary force, boxing match, the bloodiest, his noodle, body parts, awesomely described, what a wordsmith, a red haired mucker, “a shoit”, richardsnary, so much information in so few words, a mucker is a tough guy, Edgar Rice Burroughs, coming out of the war, underemployed, ride the rails, the good squad or the anti-goon squad, all over the world the Industrial Workers Of The World, a fight between the gilded age owners and the workers, beautiful cynicism, an acknowledged literary landmark, the first hard-boiled detective book?, no softening to this, Dinah Brand, no one remembers his (?) name, Carroll John Daly, Borderlands, the peace summit in The Godfather, the Fallout series, in 2010 Playboy made an MMO called Poisonville, Grand Theft Auto, super-iconic, their sheriff is weak, the Japanese take, the decline of the old way, only a visit from the overarching government can stop the violence, the Mexican and gun-running and rum-running, all rum-runners, horrible corruption within every layer of government, incredibly oppressive, mapping all the streets, Hurricane Road, Mountain View, Dell Mapbacks, a real living place from in the book, 40,000 people, Scott’s mind’s eye, an amazing amount of criminal activity, Ogden, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, railroad hubs, the richest hill on earth, what downtown Butte looks like, the city wasn’t pretty, gaudiness, yellow smoked into uniformed dinginess, perfect, the old man in bed, The Big Sleep, who employs these detectives, it feels quite different from later P.I. novels, how modern, a throwback, the cynicism and the coolness and the alcohol, every page is soaked in gin, soaked in a corpse, prohibition, unpleasant whiskey, the femme fatale character, coarse hair, an unbecoming wine color, you’re legs are too fat, the best Poisonville has to offer in women, an old case, so undesirable, all she cares about is money, did you expect differently, always about the expense account, $200.10, she takes the dime,

“You’re drunk, and I’m drunk, and I’m just exactly drunk enough to tell you anything you want to know. That’s the kind of girl I am. If I like a person, I’ll tell them anything they want to know. Just ask me. Go ahead, ask me.”

she is poison, the poison pill, the kid who is in love with her, he can kill for her, Walter Neff, Double Indemnity, no runs there, Barbara Stanwyck, James M. Cain, petty, horrible human beings who somehow find each other, Ronin (1998), a way out, he has to live there, The Hidden Fortress, the Western in Feudal Japan, the humour is against the violence, the literal Red Harvest he sows and then reaps, exactly parallel, the Star Wars cantina scene, brutality, we’ve become soft, a genre, conventions, all the drinking, that’s what you do when you can’t escape, if you’re not half in the bag when you meet her, more alcohol, really odd, some of it fat, judging everyone’s height, continually yanking you back to reality, unromantic and ugly, Edward G. Robinson, middle aged, he’s seen a lot of mileage, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Blade Runner, the look and the corruption, Blood Simple, M. Emmet Walsh, the corrupt cop, he’s not even a boss!, the visit to the big boss up in the tower, the femme fatale turns out to be a robot, The Postman Always Rings Twice, uncombed hair, greasy and dirty and horrible, you’re compelled and you can’t stop, Rose’s favourite Hammett book, unrelenting, he uses what they care about to tear them down, Dan Rolf, if he got fired, his code and only his code, the simple case, the blood simple speech, that is the most personal we ever hear from the Continental Op, dear readers, the joy he takes, he remembers who all of them are, so much in such a short amount of time, hero progression, Continental Op -> Sam Spade -> The Thin Man, extraordinarily human, not very likeable, his wife, moral qualms, I’m gonna sit here and drink, very genre focused, we’re not going to experience exactly the same things, the people who own everything,

For forty years old Elihu Wilson…had owned Personville, heart, soul, skin and guts. He was president and majority stock-holder of the Personville Mining Corporation, ditto of the First National Bank, owner of Morning Herald and Evening Herald, the city’s only newspapers, and at least part owner of nearly every other enterprise of any importance. Along with these pieces of property he owned a United States senator, a couple of representatives, the governor, the mayor, and most of the state legislature.

look what your father’s got his fingers in, so perfect, a lot tighter, having two gangs, playing both sides against the middle, a bit too complex, what ruins Last Man Standing, the music is so good in Yojimbo and A Fistful Of Dollars, starts and ends violence, from light comedy to brutal man-slaying, conventional narration, Bruce Willis’ voice-over, Julie likes the original cut of Blade Runner, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, not all narration (hash tag?), feeling the way he reacts, poking a face in, I don’t really care whose doing what, I stepped into the room the way my foot would, buckets of blood, it shouldn’t be faithfully adapted, read the short stories, well conceived, well written, it doesn’t matter where you grab it, the audiobook narrator Richard Ferrone, Lawrence Block, first person narration, conspiratorial whispering narration, told in confidence over a cup of coffee in Hopper’s Nighthawks.

CHIVERS Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Posted by Jesse Willis