The SFFaudio Podcast #637 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: In The Clutch Of The War-God by Milo Hastings

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #637 – In The Clutch Of The War-God by Milo Hastings – read by Kate Follis, for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of novelette (1 Hour 46 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Bryan Alexander, Trish E. Matson and Kate Follis.

Talked about on today’s show:
Physical Culture, July – September 1911, the US vs. Japan in the war in the Pacific, a lot about exercise, why this story is so weird, overall impressions of a terrible book, maybe its kayfabe, in a heavy metal voice, who is the war god?, its a metaphor, Jesse thought there’d be a guy, the Emperor of Japan, the Emperor of the United States, who’s in the clutch of the war god?, yellow peril, City Of Endless Night, so interesting, written so quickly, serialized as he’s writing it, not paid off, Ethel has to write a letter, interracial marriage, one issue to discuss, Mrs. Oshima, a happy fruitful marriage, the Shōwa period, the big firm industrialization, the Russo-Japanese War, hence conflict, what the heck happened to Hawaii, not a state yet, set in 1958, astonishingly optimistic, no major wars for 50 years, Latin American revolutions, the Soviets, the Russians, the Nazis, H.G. Wells, an English dilettante vegetarian, The Strand, unclimable mountains, Little Mother Up The Mörderberg by H.G. Wells, Swiss hotels, they all hated me because I was a vegetarian, one of those annoying preaching vegetarians, outdoor exercise, plasmon, in the back, yeasts and pastes and kelloggs, supplement culture, more fit, not just male gym rats, female oriented, other 1911 issues, all the women are fit, 1911 yoga, a baby with a dumbell, reproduction, super-eugenics based, the purity of their race, race purity, eventually the soviets will not be so interested in, surprisingly modern, coming out the same movement, under Bernarr Macfadden, Milo Hastings’ editor, being outside, genetically pure, super cereals, Bovril, east Asia, a worldwide movement, Ling Long magazine, Sixteen, girl’s health, swimsuits, always women, we need to uplift these people for the health of the nation, how these ideas took off in Japanese history, the intro, Liberty, a competitor to Time, Cosmopolitan, one of many he edited, strange story of another day, the ultimate effect, self-satisfied complacency, sustained til the very, rough outline, he lived the stuff he was writing, all buffed up, a strong-man, he believed all this stuff, so annoying and so important, a fraudster, lies about his circulation, Ghost Stories, one Robert E. Howard story, a boxing ghost story, photo illustrations, some lady, a bedstead, supposedly true, geared toward women with a male audience, Il Duce (Benito Mussolini), up in the business, 16 kids starting with the letter B, urinary tract infection, a very important figure, he kept Milo Hastings working, why it is so wonky, chickens, the brood of the wargod, wasteful farmer class, 23 million, that’s bonkers, the Hudson River, they moved the Battery for no reason, Lower Manhattan, the neighbourhood, where’s that water going, a surprise, our quasi-hero, the Regenerationist Magazine, hero editor, a political movement, how weird the combination of ideas, socialism, admiration, positive gazing at the Japanese system, the mirror to Ethel, kimono, unresolved sexual tension, appreciation of the Japanese culture, no makeup, the editorial voice of Hastings, American sinews, vigour of the product of their loins, artifical food, they’re talking about us, tight fitting clothing, diseased and destitute, unsanitary, another movement, prostituted science, Dr. Pepper, doped and perfumed, advertising, very heavily advertising, perfumes and cosmetics, interracial marriages were uneugenic and hence immoral, Japan doesn’t accept immigrants, the problem here is not Japan needs oil, the Texas oil-fields, they need breathing room, new lands for their healthy Japanese babies, Japan’s birthrate, almost nobody fears, over production, population bomb, too many babies, the opposite, Isaac Asimov’s and Frederik Pohl’s Our Angry Earth, Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax, old Japanese woman, body servant, an example of progressive fiction, the run up to prohibition, every bad guy’s a drunk, old liquors, wet vs. dry, drunken Americans and teetotaler Japanese, Kate Follis joining us, make it a good story, awful as a book, full of terrible ideas, a plot, it moved along, Proof Listener at LibriVox, City Of Endless Night, its really about the world, how did this come about?, recommended by Kate’s dad, what else has this writer done, Dollar Hen, a how to manual for backyard chickens, the connecting tissue between these two books, an ex-inspector of poultry for the government, the Milo Hastings Show, eggs change temperature as they develop, using late cycle eggs to incubate early cycle eggs, using waste heat, another egg joke, constantly pumping out eggs, fascinating stuff, Bernarr MacFadden, weird fetishes, your interest in this is going to turn out really bad, anti-vaxxer, anti-FDR, trying to be incredibly influential in US politics, the original Jack Lalanne, Liberty, November 1940, reasons to be concerned about vaccines, falsifying circulation figures, I Lost 40 Pounds In My Garden (that was careless of you), how I’m Training My Children, the Massie Affair, Benito Mussolini, a bad guy, Michio Kaku, lying about stuff to sell his latest book, in 1900 , platforming, you don’t call him on it, he needs to be countered, eugenics is evil, really dangerous, really dark roads, forced sterilizations, it happens in prison now, it could have been much more, Japanese samurai cannibals, The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the same stuff, Hastings is full of ideas, seems to lack the space (and perhaps the planning), astonishing stuff, cultural distinctions between Japan and the US, the Japanese way of life, racial fear, attraction and fear, anti-foreign riots, the Boxer Rebellion, The Decline Of the West by Oswald Spengler, 1922, always this fear, anxiety about being replaced, subtitled: The Tale of the Orient’s Invasion of the Occident, as Chronicled in the Humaniculture Society’s “History of the Twentieth Century”, Japan is ready and doing things we aren’t doing, we need to wear looser robes, a healthy outdoors, M*A*S*H, nudism, nudist colonies, keeping ourselves healthy and beautiful, land for their babies, breathing room, that’s what healthy societies want to do, take a piece of Texas, the way things looked, consolidation of the West, before the dust-bowl, especially verdant, empires, Camp Of The Saints by Jean Raspail, Europe invaded by African and Asian immigrants, feinting towards Panama, planting seeds, wasn’t allowing immigration, boat full of immigrants turned back, the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907, the Chinese Exclusion Act, The King In Yellow, H.P. Lovecraft, 1960s, the shocking nature, the Okies make it to California, so easy to grow, he can’t resist, homesteading, aircraft carriers, the Wright Brothers, how aircraft can dominate forces on the land, flat-tops, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, breeding out the continent, yellow peril-ish, the start of a novel, a great premise of the story, early 20th century culture, just go to Wikipedia and pick a year, and pick a day, March 30, 1908, Durham Stevens assassination, wars still raging 20 years after they’d started, changed the nature of public focus, making friends with the Japanese, Midway (2019), planetary society, an inevitable clash, can’t just hand over the empire, publicly assassinated, what you’re doing overseas, suddenly a reveal, Americans aren’t focuses on foreign policy, really what matters is what they do with the military, domestic policy, my vote doesn’t count, what a story like this is really interesting for, a grain merchant killed in a dynamiting, Dan Carlin’s Supernova In The East, the Japanese Army and Japanese Navy in conflict with each other, teasing that out, somewhat relatable character, maybe I could learn to fly, a feminist angle, flying for the newspaper, stealing gasoline and food at gun point, a really good story here, the choice of the protagonist, if it had a male protagonist would he be a resistor from the beginning, they like athletic women, you need to do kickboxing, beautiful like me, Bernarr flexes, I Grouched Myself Into A Divorce, we;re getting there, Yawning Your Way To Health, the Acme of Physical Perfection, flexes his pecs, Do You Glow With Health?, Virex, violet rays, a crossover audience, metaphysical fitness, bodies not landscapes, what you put in your body, the truth about marijuana, Finding America’s Most Beautiful Women, When Is Marriage Sin?, this is what you do instead of going to church, walking dogs is a kind of church (very ritualistic), we need things to believe in, not spiritual, raising a healthy baby, pseudoscience, related to science, maybe violet rays do something, flower garden, healthily brown, reading a French novel (is bad), she tosses it aside, til up their gardens, cultivating the beautiful, the Hitler Youth, the Boy Scouts, scary stuff, the backlash against digital technology, Sherry Turkle, social and mobile, another anti-trust suit against Facebook, you don’t want to be downstairs playing Dungeons & Dragons, play football, you don’t want to be 4F, Captain America, bone spurs, F is like fail, you’re not fit enough to be killed, the Universal Army, the free healthcare you need, not eugenically pure enough, make them even more fit, Corporal Klinger, 1A, Black Hawk Down (2001), a modern American draft, the Progressive Era, WWI, the Wilsonian dream, the perverse progressivism, No Magic Bullet: A Social History Of Venereal Disease In The United States Since 1880 by Allan M. Brandt, the quadriplegic do not qualify for service, how the Empire can continue as it is, in case, you can’t hold territory with drones, starve the population, this book certainly brought out a few things, attempted rape, unrealistically gentle, we could poison cities, the scientist we’re supposedly following, what was the plan, the roller control GPS system, gyro stabilized GPS, Japanese scientists are a trope, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar by Francis Stevens, first superhero origin story, has the power of Samson, not finished, The Wind Rises (2013), Anthony Fokker, they had the best planes but their fuel was so bad, a massive interest in science and technology, the scientist here had a role to play, a basket, the number of hours in the air, grandson of the author, he should be known, a country under Berlin, the Third Reich but with royalty, producing under stress, cognitive dissonance, The City In The Middle Of The Night, he happens to look exactly like…, a phenomenon of books back then, Ruritanian Romance, a wonderful trope, relinquish the power, these whining dogs, commercial work, YA novels, love the old stories, The Mystery of the Fifteen Sounds by Van Powell, Planet Stories, the ninteen-teens, very focused on socialism, Mystery Boys and Sky Scout books, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, public domain reading is much more fun, less back and forth with the author, too whiny, much appreciated, everybody who works at LibriVox is wonderful, Planet Stories podcast, THIS issue of Planet Stories, book coordinators, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, how much content has hit in the last month and half, the OCR is the hard part, you just have to trust Jesse, Internet Archive, this ancient science fiction, definitely speculative fiction, Vegan Death Metal Chef, chop the carrots, Cookie Monster is Death Metal, plant rice, Kate Follis is really good, so many people are talented with their voice, this is the free culture, the post-scarcity world is coming through Gutenberg and LibriVox.

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

In The Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hastings

Bernarr Macfadden

Michio Kaku

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The SFFaudio Podcast #351 – READALONG: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #351 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

Talked about on today’s show:
1953, Philip Marlowe, the long answer is no, The Big Sleep, “noir”, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder, Elliot Gould, abridgements, long or too long, spending time with the detective, forgetting about plot, Ray Porter, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett, The Big Sleep, the book, the 1978 audio drama (90 minute), the Japanese 5-part miniseries, the recent BBC audio drama, the 1973 movie, overdosed on goodbyes, this is not a noir book, typically hardboiled is with detectives, noir is typically not with detectives, hardboiled vs. noir, Greek tragedy, a basic distinction, poisonville, a certain lack of hope, the detective with a heart of gold, Mickey Spillane, the anti-Philip Marlowe, being more cynical, more punchy, twisted, he’s hitty, Chandler’s best lines, how many times “goodbye” comes up, see you in a line-up, you never say goodbye to the cops, this is just quiet enough, cynicism, he cares too much, do you ever get paid?, $1,200 in the bank, he’s got a portrait of Madison, “I’m a romantic Bernie”, “the smear”, coffee, the little wake, a mystery, remember that pigskin suitcase?, pigskin gloves, the central mystery, who murdered Terry Lennox’s wife, Wade’s wife, his test, I wish I could have killed them both at once, Sylvia, he couldn’t perform?, a more successful version of herself, femme fatale, muddled by drugs, a Linda Loring, throwing the suitcase, that’s the suitcase, Sylvia’s face, is that something Eileen could do?, she’s like the worst thing in her life, when you go crazy mad, caught in a lie, what about the blood?, we infer she beat Sylvia to a bloody pulp, why would she lie?, she wants to make it seem more real, my husband shot her then beat her, emotion and drugs, the 1973 movie, the Elliot Gould movie, the Q&A with Elliot Gould, diverged, plot and tone, weird and good, lighthearted and noir, script by Leigh Brackett (of Empire Strikes Back), a return to Los Angeles, Eileen is still alive in the movie, a conspiracy, Mrs. Wade is in love with Terry Lennox (and married to him as well), she despises him (or is she lying?), Eileen blames Sylvia for everything, the cool thing about this book is that it is very open, experiencing the mystery (rather than solving), just supposition, the mailbox, its almost as if the Mexican Terry Lennox doesn’t know what’s going on, a rotter from the beginning, what we read a lot of these books for, the mystery as the vehicle, Derek Jacobi reading The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, there’s a humanity to this, making different choices when in custody, Marlowe saw something in Lennox worth redeeming, if Bryan Alexander were here…, because it is a war book, huuuuhhhn, 1920s book by authors who survived WWI, which regiment was Lennox in?, the SAS in 1942 in Norway, taxi drivers and cops are vets, Chandler’s Marlowe is a vet, using the terminology, the one thing that is left unsaid, why is Terry Lennox acting this way?, his wife, he’s a wastrel, how the other characters react to Terry Lennox, the criminal in Los Vegas, Randy Starr, Manny Menendez, there’s no need, why didn’t you call sooner?, the reason he’s got those scars on his face, against my better judgement, picking up a wounded warrior, he does that for all kinds of people, Double Indemnity wasn’t fueled by war, where does that go into Some Like It Hot?, Terry Lennox is a bookend, pointing fingers and taking names, drugs and partying and corrupt police, why the analogy doesn’t work, the guy who’s not fighting during the war, James M. Cain, about rich selfish people who are wasting their lives, the plot, throwing them into relief, the contrast, seeing Terry Lennox lying on the road, what Terry Lennox has those scars for, the Japanese version, everything is inverted, he can’t be an American soldier, the enemy is the Russians, a different spin on it, dealing in the results of war, post-traumatic stress syndrome, over-the-top, over-saturated lighting, a lot of coffee, a comic book adaptation, answering unanswered questions, sympathetic, Candy is Julie’s favorite character, the war is central to the Japanese adaptation, reading it now, the first four or five Robert B. Parker Spencer books, The Godwulf Manuscript, a war novel, The Guns Of Navarone, The Lord Of The Rings as a way of dealing with WWI, talking about other things, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, what it was like to be in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944, it was like being homeless, hoping the supply train is going to come through, why is he getting drunk all the time, hidden secrets and identities, there’s something about Marlowe, a survivor of the war of life, the drunk tank, the POW camp, Chandler thinks this is his best book, taxi drivers reading escapist science fiction magazines, if I was in that kind of condition…, we’re all in the same army, just want to make things right, to try and set some sort of reset, fix things, once in a long while you get dead, a load of grief and a bit of money, stopping the entropy, why can he not have a normal life any more, it’d be reductionist to say it was about war, post-war USA had a hell of a lot of drinking, half gin and half Rose’s lime juice will still get you soused (a gimlet), autobiographical (Chandler’s wife was dying while he was writing The Long Goodbye), author talks, Chandler is showing us a complete look at detective work and all that it takes, they’ve all got a scam going, sold his soul to the company store, his journalist friend, working the problem, Idle Valley (where the rich people live), Marlowe as an ex-drunk, what the drunk-tank is like, the life of an alcoholic, Chandler had drinking issues, a recovering alcoholic, more coffee than gin, the 1973 movie scene, “let’s get drunk”, trying to find the truth, the F. Scott Fitzgerald connection, The Last Tycoon, more idle rich, Wade writes historical romance (instead of detective fiction), translating to Japanese culture, hentai, taking off the layers of dresses (a woman who has never taking a bath), hanging out with Wade, self-destructive not wife-destructive, he didn’t kill that woman, an incompetent femme fatale, might-have been sort of a hooker, Wade brought her out of the gutter, their Mexico is Taiwan, a period piece, he was driving an American car (left hand drive), they must have had fedoras and gimlets, a jazz version of, “it’s okay with me”, hash-brownies, Arnold Schwarzenegger with a mustache, it WASN’T okay with him, justice, Eileen Wade got to sit with it, dispensing justice, somehow it is the same story, in cahoots with the gangsters, political gain, why did Marlowe abandon Terry at the very end, re-question, red-herrings (or not red-herrings), re-framing everything, that’s how we actually live (unlike a Scooby Doo ending), I would never have come out had you not smoked me out, he puts stuff out there, I was in the commandos, you’re not hear anymore, as elegant as a fifty-dollar whore, prove to me you’re not that way, “that was the last I saw of him”, he had a chance to become better, wanting to see the truth done and the innocent people taken care of, detectives poke at things, there’s nothing inside, two empty people, one filling with alcohol one filling with drugs, both ruined by the war (or whatever), the perpetual human problem, what’s the hole that’s left inside, ya ya ya ya ya ya, full of really good quotes, Chapters (Canadian book store), this book is so much fun, [we quote from the book], one for Julie, one for Seth, a briefcase one, at the bar it was always five in the afternoon, Terry Lennox became a Mexican, a Mexican syncopation to his speech, how refreshingly unconcerned about political correctness, when a Mexican…, sooo racist, sooo genderist, it’s of the the time, the fact that he’s got a knife, a little more granular sense that he’s a little person, there’s no fake characters, heart of gold vs. cynicism, how far am I gonna go with this?, the way they dealt with each other (in the Japanese adaption), you would clean the war off me, a relationship of debt, subtitles with footnotes, the second time through, little bits of description, a bird chirping, the car was gone, a red oleander bush, a baby mockingbird, a single harsh warning chirp, birds have to learn too, priming you for all sorts of things, it’s rich, it works on more than one level, so much of their time, how much is a sandwich, drinking their night away, they didn’t think about it the way they do now, the movie Airplane!, he has a drinking problem, flashbacks to the war (WWII), out of context it’s hilarious, it still sort of true, we’re always going to have the cultural baggage, none of Jesse’s students know who the Flintstones are, Flitstone vitamins is an echo of The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, reading a book like this is kind of like time travel, tiny houses with orange trees in Los Angeles, L.A. Noire (PC game), the game reconstructs a huge part of Los Angeles, the Grand Theft Auto games, Chinatown, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, playing the game is kind of like revisiting that period, oh hey I’m in the middle of an investigation here, games vs. books, Robert B. Parker co-wrote the final Marlowe book Poodle Springs, Ray Porter’s narration, female voices, the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry, the Mexican characters, Elliot Gould’s narrations, nicely abridged, he’s a weird speaker, a Robert Altman movie, what is lost was all those Chandlerisms, a collapse of characters, well what have you got now, the movie starts with a cat, Michael Connelly, there’s something cool happening in that 3 o’clock in the morning, the cat abandons him, the cat is Sylvia Lennox, you can’t lie to a cat, they demand truth, the sunrises and the sunsets in the Japanese version, the colour of a sunset and a Japanese print, the things that they take, two BBC radio adaptations, a LIVE TV movie in 1954 (now lost).

Pocket Books - The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler - Illustrated by Tom Dunn

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #280 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Völsungasaga

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #280 – Völsungasaga translated by Eiríkr Magnússon and William Morris; read by Corpang (of LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the saga (4 hours) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Seth, and Mr Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
anonymous, 1000 AD, Beowulf, Germanic myth collection, Volsung Dynasty, quick character changes, irrational logic, biblical similarities, Sigurd, echoes of myths, family relationships in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Tales of Dragons, a hodgepodge of influences, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, dramatic events, wolves, half-historical and half-saga storytelling, origin from Homeric Myths, odes, cyclical time, less Christian influences than other written sagas, a source or influences on stories and also influenced by earlier sagas, Vikings on History Channel, moral lessons to be awesome, unconsciousness of glorious kings with immoral actions, The Old Testament, hierarchy of power, jealousy of wealth and power, Medieval Japan, neighbor relationships, attitudes toward prophesy and fate, stoicism and acceptance, Odin Mythology, simple naming of characters, absence of fear of death, reincarnation, female equality, werewolves, Roman Mythology, frequent raiding, laws protecting wolves, wolves as outlaws, Caligula, power creates rules, Christian epics with Christian rule system, power of sacrifice, irrational idea of original sin, The New Testament subverting the idea of superiority, master morality and the slave morality, a lot of similarity to Beowulf, a source for education and entertainment, reason for being dramatic, 13th century literature, history in a very vague and incorrect way, more atrocity earlier in the saga, parallel between fantasy and real life, Story of Attila, transmission of knowledge, Haida Gwaii’s similarity to Vikings, We are really here for the gold!, names of dwarfs, broken names, obsession of money creates craziness, atrocity and craziness as history, story created before medieval nobility, morality as generosity, guest morality, Richard Wagner, being near Vikings is dangerous, endurance of pain as superior, no laughs and mild jokes in Volsunga saga, disrespect is bad, burial traditions create conflict, William Morris, the absence of slaves in Tolkien Fiction, free society.

The Worm Fafnir illustrated by Lancelot Speed

Sigmunds Schwert illustration by Johannes Gehrts

Ramsund Carving

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

SFFaudio Review

Kafka on the ShoreKafka on the Shore
By Haruki Murakami; Performed by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 6 August 2013
ISBN: 9780804166553
[UNABRIDGED] – 19 hours, 2 minutes
Excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / cats / helpful librarians  / metaphysical reality / Japan /

Publisher summary:

This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle–yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.

I went on a Murakami reading binge in 2009, and suddenly found myself hitting a wall. What I had started out loving started to overwhelm and suffocate me. I knew I needed a break from him for a while.

I did take a break from the break to read 1Q84, which I really enjoyed. As I listened to the audiobook of this novel, I found myself wishing I’d read this prior to 1Q84. Some of the themes are the same, and I don’t just mean the silly themes like cats and pasta and music, but shifting realities and not being sure about who you are on many levels. They seem more concise in this novel, and I think having this experience first would have made 1Q84 even better.

This past year, Random House has been putting many of Murakami’s works out on audio, so I jumped at the chance to listen to this one as I had not yet read it in print. I enjoyed the audio production immensely. The two narrators bring completely different feelings to the different sections, and the novel shifts back and forth between the narratives of Kafka and Nakata. I enjoyed the haven of the library and the very helpful librarian, but that might have been the only moment of reality in this book.

Murakami always sends me off to listen to music, not just by work but certain performances of a work. I spent several afternoons listening to the Archduke Trio (Beethoven) as performed by the “Million Dollar Trio.” Great stuff.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

The SFFaudio Podcast #229 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #229 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Paul Weimer talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s show:
Tam is back, Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore, magic realism, Japan, kafkaesque, surrealism, 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, pretty books, Chip Kidd, rice paper, Requiem by Ken Scholes, Julie Davis, Tor, magic staff, earth in the future, The Steel Remains, “oh crap this is the future”, Gene Wolfe, Happy Hour In Hell by Tad Williams, Bobby Dollar, The Dirty Streets Of Heaven, urban fantasy, demoness tangling, Lankhmar, urban fantasy => a certain kind of fantasy, noir/detective => hardboiled, Otherland, Luke Burrage, cats, “the Walter Jon Williams effect”, MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, mostly dystopian, Oryx and Crake, quasi-humans, The Year Of The Flood, genetic engineering, racoon-pigs, storytelling mode, listening at 2X speed, competitive debate, Margaret Atwood’s preview of a review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, a sequel to The Shining, Atwood’s weakness for horror and terror, “because he’s Stephen King”, Will Patton, “don’t judge me people”, is there a stigma in literary circles?, Zoomer magazine’s profile of Margaret Atwood as “Queen Of The Nerds”, Twitter, tweetalong?, a genuine literary reputation, poetry, Orson Scott Card, does it matter?, dystopia, Dreamscape Audiobooks, The Night Lands by William Hope Hodgson, The House On The Borderlands, a very daunting book, big and ambitious, Lovecraftian?, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, Earth Abides, class, mainstream post-apocalypse, Alas Babylon by Pat Frank, a toothless grandfather, Drew Ariana, Goslings by J.D. Beresford, plague talk!, The Children Of Men, Y: The Last Man, the newspapers, HiLoBooks, “Radium Age” Science Fiction, Gweek, The Road To Science Fiction, classicism, sexism, barbarism, The Iron Heel, numeracy and literacy, the size of the universe or the age of the Earth, Simon & Schuster Audio, Rivers by Michael Farris Smith, Jenny loves destroying the earth, wiping the slate clean, Fallout, Tobias Buckell, Interrupt by Jeff Carlson, Hunter Davis, Brilliance Audio, simultaneously published with print, Neanderthals, the pronunciations, Robert J. Sawyer, Discover Magazine, literally means not literally anymore, it’s figuratively raining cats and dogs, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, Julie Davis, Simon Vance, science fiction thrillers, John Scalzi, plague, space elevator, working for the enemy?, a compressed schedule, writing 2X, a first novel!, military SF, “we’ve complinished everything”, Reflex by Steven Gould, Jumper, the physical audiobook industry (is it mostly for libraries), Paperback Audio, William Dufris, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, innate teleportation, the Jumper movie, Portal, post-humans, Nightcrawler without the bad smell, BAMFless, The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle, Ralph Lister, no introductions makes Jesse sad, are there audio previews?, Affliction: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel (#22) by Laurell K. Hamilton, The Lord of Opium (Matteo Alacran #2) by Nancy Farmer, The Midnight Heir (Bane Chronicles #4) by Cassandra Clare and Sara Rees Brennan, building on The Hunger Games, Untouchable (Immortals After Dark #8) by Kresley Cole, Robert Petkoff, The Hunt or Capture, the reality TV version of The Hunger Games in The Hunger Games would be very boring, The Truman Show would be a very boring show to actually watch, in fiction the TV shows are without narrative, TVtropes show with an show, Hamlet, William Shakespeare did meta 500 years ago, epic traditional fantasy, traditional epic fantasy marriage, Crown Thief (Tales Of Easie Damasco #2) by David Tallerman, Giant Thief, sword and sorcery, golem or gollum?, Witch Wraith: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Rosalyn Landor, , “Tolkien with the serial numbers filed off”, “its all about the elfstones”, The Lord Of The Rings, questing, trilogy vs. endless series, the Wikipedia entry for Shannara, a magical cataclysm, “a richer broader universe”, Revolution, S.M. Stirling, Robert Jordan, the Dragonlance series, Daniel Abraham, subverting the quest trope, The Eye Of The World, George R.R. Martin, gathering forces and subverting expectations, children’s fantasy, Roald Dahl, Matilda is read by Kate Winslet!, the musical of Matilda, The Twits, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator Futurama, Fry and the Slurm factory, Gene Wilder, great character names!, Dickensian names, The BFG, biography, crime, thriller, JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation Of A Man And The Emergence Of A Great President, Death Angel (Alexandra Cooper #15) by Linda Fairstein, The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth, George Guidall, “now it’s personal”, Penguin Audio, adding heat urgency of character development, adding a baby, Breaking Bad babies, the invisible baby or worse the artificially aging child syndrome, Mork & Mindy, Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, 30,000 years ago, prehistorical romance, hard edged scientific, Clan Of The Cavebear, Monsters Of The Earth by David Drake, Seanan McGuire, Soldier by Harlan Ellison, The Terminator, The Outer Limits, James Cameron, Philip Wylie, Tomorrow!, John Wyndham, When Worlds Collide, The Answer, nuclear war with angels, The End Of The Dream, The Murderer Invisible.

Dreamscape Audiobooks - Goslings by J.D. Beresford

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

SFFaudio Review

A Wild Sheep Chase coverA Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel
By Haruki Murakami; Read by Rupert Degas
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: August 2013
ISBN: 9780804166539
[UNABRIDGED] – 9 hours, 38 minutes
Excerpt: |MP3|

Themes: / fantasy / sheep / surreal thriller /

Publisher summary:

It begins simply enough: A twenty-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.

In Haruki Murakami’s seductive novel A Wild Sheep Chase, Murakami spins a yarn (see what I did there) around such issues as personal identity and the meaning of life.  Sound complicated?  No not really… well maybe a little, but it all depends on how deep you want to dive and how long you wish to hold your breath.  Do you need to be a trained philosopher and English/lit major to decipher the subtle beauty of this novel?  No, but it doesn’t hurt either.

Murakami’s ability to word-paint vivid autumn colors through brushed scenery of green grass and sunburnt leaves only pales to his talent of sketching his wintered black and white landscapes of rain soaked city nights and the lonely dark of death.  For the most part, I was rolling along really enjoying the ride.  When I reached the end, everything shifted and the true weight of what this story is about settled deep around me like an endless snow.  Lulling, dulling, and soothing the reader until who we are is reflected in a grimy mirror.  The I becomes you, the you becomes we, the we becomes… a sheep?

Here’s all you need to know.  Don’t get hung up on the whole “A sheep inside of me” thing or the uncountable mentions of a “dead whale’s penis,” just go with the flow and ride the tide.  Permit the current to carry you along and let loose your anchor and just drift.

Rupert Degas acting as narrator is brilliant.  Let me say this again.  Rupert Degas as narrator is brilliant.  I haven’t heard a reader narrate something so clean and true since I listened to Frank Muller narrate All Quiet on the Western Front or I Heard the Owl Call My Name.  Rupert Degas delivers a reading that sooths the ear while making Murakami’s narrative dance like maple leaves in a September breeze.

If you can’t tell, I found this to be a damn fine book.  I enjoyed the subtle layering of philosophy and critical theory.  I found the narrative captivating once I “let go.”  Hmmm, might this be a reflection of life?  Is life better consumed if one can let go from time to time with the understanding that time itself is an unanswered question of experienced interpretation?  Maybe…  Maybe so maybe no but still, this was a pleasure to read.

Posted by Casey Hampton.