The SFFaudio Podcast #689 – READALONG: The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #689 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Trish E. Matson discuss The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Talked about on today’s show:
we’re all taking the black pill today, The Day Of The Triffids, Chrysalids, Margaret Atwood, she’s on the stamps now, first president of Canada, just birthed a new monarch, stealing from Barbados, very John Wyndham, cozy catastrophe, Brian Aldiss, the John Carpenter movie, John Carpenter’s The Village Of The Damned, In The Mouth Of Madness, more sinister, surprised and pleased, the 1960 movie and the BBC audio drama, all the homework, the sequel movie, its in the public imagination, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, this book is very very dark, nicely mannered, really dark, escape to New Zealand, where they are accepted, the main character doesn’t blow himself, darker than how it ends on the page, most of the book, pods, every recorded place, the implication, we’ll be back, you’re going to kill us, picking up on the hints, what people get wrong, they make a big deal about the hands being cold on the initial night, zapped, fiddling with their hands, a symptom, based on both, it was cold, worst John Carpenter movie ever, Ghost Of Mars, Vampires, a good bad movie, Kirstie Alley was terrible, she looks nervous, Christopher Reeve is mostly just tall, David being different, not hive mind across genders, an excuse to get a kid away, Virginia Madsen, maybe goodness can survive, you need to feel suffering and loss in order to be a good person, dwelling in the graveyard, “the one who’s made for me”, they don’t gestate inside of themselves, probes, the aliens were not human shaped, the actual aliens, breaking the rules, Seanan McGuire, an ambush predator, Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim, Sarah Selby, very much X-Men, derivative of the period of mutants, New Mutants, the origin of this novel, The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick, sparkly skin, weird hair, xenogenesis, parthenogenesis, not marketed as Science Fiction, hard SF, how to setup societies, a very talky book, how to believe things, what to act on, mass hysteria, clipping a kid, the current real problem in society of doctors not believing women and people of color, swallowing it in little bits and pieces, we’re the ones eating that barley sugar, set in the 1990s, abortion is available on demand, home abortions, taking very hot baths, hanging themselves, Roe V. Wade, $6000 a month, you can abort with us, an on purpose death, pickle it, an alien, handled very badly, deftly handled, all euphemism, have a nice cup of tea, cuckolded, this book cuckolds women as well as men, the Zeleby nose, experimenting with this idea, a dog version of an alien in Alien 3 (1992), asking and answering questions, was it an alien spaceship that landed in the middle of the town, a deliberate landing, remote villages, on different dates, one ship on a mission, time taken between the needles, the kids don’t lie, refusing to answer, the behavior of cuckoo birds, sibling eggs, you’re just genes, your instinct is to kick the other eggs out of the nest, you mature faster, you’re meaner, you’re more aggressive, the sympathetic mother POV, mothers (and sometimes fathers) must be doting, you must live as the jungle does, sugar coating it, trying to tell us something about ourselves, it is not an allegory, our relationship to our children and each other and how we interact with the world around us, the cows start giving birth to strange looking cows, cows and dogs, we think of ourselves as top cow, we do that to dogs and cows all the time, we treat them the way aliens are treating us, this book is very old, women of child bearing age are implanted, a 17 year old, as young as 9, British nutrition in the 1950s, get the right pickles, girl power!, dreams: keep your baby, how are they going to handle it?, why won’t they do twelve year olds, perfectly accurate biology would be too toxic, some people think we couldn’t handle it, we don’t like thinking about it, guy shotguns himself after shotgunning a kid in the head, 1950s people vs. 2022 people, what about all the women who are women who weren’t born women, a trans man with a uterus, they won’t touch it in the show, there’s a difference between scientific accuracy and being an asshole, biology trumping everything, we need more sugar or it will be rejected, its medicine, facing facts as they are vs. believing what they want, the big lie and the big truth, COVID, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, over in China something bad is happening, rust on wheat and rye, the stuff that keeps the topsoil from disappearing, a planetary catastrophe, hoarding, a veneer, a busy body, amped up, starvation, the safe zone, turning on a group that is outside of us, when the Russians nuke their small town, atomic cannons, Starship Troopers, Ogre, Ogle, the grange, like Hermione Granger, time to pay up, the Lord owns your land, the bailiff, the Lord hall, the kids move into the Lord’s hall, the serfs are denied movement off of the land, an accidental metaphor, the narrator is talking about his wife, because it was my birthday, John Wyndham is the main character, everything is soft, pleasant, lobster and chablis as Wheelers, Ustinov’s latest extravaganza, enjoyed the bathrooms, fascination with other people’s plumbing, why did they have to zap the birds, whatever living thing, which one of theses looks like its in charge?, speculation, this is God, can we disprove it?, a lab test, divine punishment, barrenness vs. fecundity, the greater god: the God of the universe, H.G. Wells, I’m doing an H.G. Wells story, colonialism coming back to bite you in the ass, what we do to the Earth, nature finds a way, Jurassic Park, stupid humans find a way to fuck themselves, we can fuck ourselves, an infodump philosophy dump, mother nature being misnamed, a book about infanticide, Charles Stross, Nyarlathotep, a nanny for supes, Now We Are Nine, Christopher Robin, emphasizing the two hive minds, chapter titles, No Entry To Midwich, All Quiet, Midwich Revisited, Midwich Comes To Terms, Matters Arising, Interview With A Child, Impasse, Ultimatum, Zeleby Of Macedon, all of the Spartans, Leonidas, assassinated by whom, who will rid me of my awful husband, what happens in this chapter, he kills himself, a suicide bombing, the right an proper thing to do, right?, by the standards of homo sapiens, I want humans to win, a primitive matter, will you agree to be superseded?, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, one collective Adam and one collective Eve, what’s the appropriate action?, you can’t take the law into your own hands?, a stiff police officer, playing an interesting game, an alien invasion story that’s an examination of the humans, the primitives, esquimaux, Monlogia, Russia, the iron curtain, sleeping with demons, a second crop to come?, in Australia they all mysterious died, a dingo virus?, why they didn’t put all their eggs in one basket, they lay their eggs wherever there is a willing basket, words, Midwich, wich = a bundle of thread (a nest?) or an old English settlement, all of them were midwich, little nests, are they keeping track, this is how we do it, droppin their spores, fire and forget, lay and forget, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, something going on the 1950s, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, communism?, collective individuality, collectivism, trends in science fiction, we talk about stuff, fleeing the cities, jamming the highways, in Washington, DC, meanwhile in Kentucky…, 1930s science fiction, Stanley G. Weinbaum, will this book have the international aspect?, what does that do to the story?, this is a resource for exploitation, not because they’re humans in need of money, resources to exploit, getting the birth rate up, soldiers, armies, the children’s desks, mini office desks, lots of good framing by Carpenter, the house from Halloween, recycled from The Fog, the house looks like a cuckoo clock, zoom in and pull back, popping out like a cuckoo clock, the audio of a cuckoo, the word cuckoo, it isn’t a crazy bird, perfectly natural, a gaslighting bird, the baby doesn’t say I’m one of you, the behavior that is not learned (its genetic), “crazy”, “insane” as a legal term, crazy means “don’t understand”, very efficient, cruel, women are supposed to act a certain way, time to kill, time to take whatever pill, he did the right thing for the survival of the (human) species, an alternative, this is Ceti Alpha Five, genetic better humans, cruelty is as old as life, barley coloured, a bullseye, the sequel movie, set around the same period, Children Of The Damned (1964), the aunt, just a blonde, the audio drama was excellent, they forgot about the first movie, a UN guy giving intelligence tests in Britain, unmarried prostitute, go get killed in a tunnel, respective London embassies, the barn or the grange, a church, a dog they can command, to harness the power of these kids, use these kids as cold war weapons, more sympathetic in the second movie, varied skin and hair colours, batch two they blend in better now, can’t we all get along, leave us alone but bring us food, a screwdriver, a metaphor for tools, a knife is good for stabbing and cutting, knife technology implies knife fights, using people as tools is immoral, countries using people as population for their offices, to service the capitalism, blackpilling, they don’t teach field-hand skills, typing?, teaching about the Aegean, some island somewhere, if nations use people as tools that’s wrong, that’s why the cuckoo people are bad, using us the same way we use animals, the cuckoo people are to blame (but the kids aren’t), you can’t easily kill the kids, we’re here to be killed, why are you here?, we don’t know, why are any of us here?, the second movie was solid, as a reflection, a little unrealistic, a counterbalance, behind the Iron Curtain, left with a lot of questions, the new Doctor Who episode, fashioning the Doctor’s companions into weapons, shaping people to do things, is it right?, an amoral alien with alien ideals, space hobo, The Littlest Hobo, Patrick Troughton, the show has evolved, the second movie is a reaction to the first, that’s their reaction to this idea, the sign of a really good book, an abandoned sequel, she definitely knows about science fiction, Chrysalids is (was) assigned in school in Canada, Chocky, The Trouble With Lichen, slow down the aging process, Quirks And Quarks, The Outward Urge, The Kraken Wakes, Stowaway To Mars, off-earth, Tyrant And Slave Girl On Planet Venus, Wonder Stories, the sucess Wydham had in the UK, zilcho reputation in short stories, the market, the town he moved to, thought out the plot of his next book, what kind of a setting for a story would this be, writers are very strange people, Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block, writers who only do writing for their job, tapped into the psychology of 1950s Britain, why did that happen?, destroyed industry and commerce, I thought they won WWII, a devastating peace, used themselves up winning the war, really good aircraft industries, what point are you trying to make here, Jesse?, what happened to the Empire?, Australians were mailing care packages to England in the 1950s, paying back some loans, the war had to be fought, Hitler was a bad guy?, how did it get started in the first place, the Treaty of Versailles, prideful assholes , there’s always a connection, benign censorship, when we do the censorship its benign, about power relations, you are just a thing to be manipulated, objects vs. subjects, no birth control is not allowed, the House of Lords?, oh its cute, he’s leading up to that ending, means to ends, a glancing reference to the Dionne quintuplets, the dirty newspapers, don’t embarrass the government, Wyndham thought about a lot of things, it isn’t about entertainment, super-cozy, it feels mainstream, a pyrotechnic ending, Stephen Fry does English women so well, a wonderful narrator to listen to, Jim Dale, a delightful reader, a Homer for our times, a poet from 10,000 BC, a very literate fellow, super-fresh audiobook, the SKY tv adaptation [then forthcoming], a known name, hosting TV and radio shows, [here’s Jesse’s scan of the paperback], scanning difficulties, make your own version of John Wyndham’s the Midwich Cuckoos, The Twilight Zone, It’s A Good Life, Jerome Bixby, its a good thing you took mommy’s mouth, that’s a good thing, Wandavision, 1953, something in the water, it was injected into them, Philip K. Dick, Jerome Bixby, John Wyndham, Robert A. Heinlein, cosmic rays have come into our brains, world events, Jack Finney, it wasn’t a bad review, Eric S. Rabkin, YouTube video viewer counts vs. like counts vs. comments, almost nobody comments on anything, Gresham’s Law, comments, 70 emails an hour, boner increaser is where the money is, so you don’t have a lot of cuckoos in your nest, cuckoos and cuckolding, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, super-short, he gives her a cuckoo clock, why was everybody in the 1950s into cuckoo-clocks?, why did your grandparents have cuckoo clocks?, fuck those British guys, 2 seater sports cars, cultural output, 60s British TV and movies, the British Invasion, Hammer Horror, Doctor Who, shot on video tape, high class acting and really good writing, supported by the British tax-payer, medical coverage, marmite and vegimite, is it vegan?, Veganism, guess what decade Veganism started in, 1944 in England, making a virtue of a necessity, a vegetarian movement, movements, seedlings, 25 founding members, a newsletter, the official vegetarian zine, and cheese or eggs, fish, a section just for them, the first three letters and the last three letters veganism, sanivore, what veganism is, does anybody know these amazing facts?, a fascinating history, people are starting weird cults and organization and religions, trampled on seedling, big giant unweildly organization, fruitful and bountiful, sometimes religious, a reaction against farming practice, physical culture magazines, modeling the perfect body, the perfect woman, the perfect dude, body sculpting, going to the gym is a spiritual belief, look pretty, eugenics, percolating in the background, take the black pill, read the Wikipedia entry pill, following the links through, how to look at reality, bringing it back somehow, Michael Pare’s character, I’m driving so don’t distract me so I’ll crash, I’ll quit smoking when you decide to get pregnant, helium, a big smoking pile of smoke (he broke his word), what you put in your body, females feeling what males could feel like, Prometheus (2012), cuckolded as a species, the woman’s instinct and the men’s instinct, you did wonderfully, I feel like I’ve done something wrong by telling them to keep their babies, Angela’s speech, well written, thoughtful, weird science fiction pulpy short stories, Arthur C. Clarke prose, cosy literate, something different about the British mid-1950s science fiction, Brian Aldiss, who are the damned?, a terrible title, how damned shows up a lot, swearing in the title, Fuck The Movie, biblical, The Midwich Cuckoos is not a good movie title, a children’s movie about little birdies, the British book industry, Children Of The Damned is even more confusing, damned to live on the Earth, a podcast listener, two dinosaurs are looking at the fireball, what do you suppose that is Steven? nice!, life causes more suffering than happiness, we are born to be cowards and cling to live, we lack the crucial choice, thank you for the stimulating conversation, radically alter the climate, wanna get some lunch, sure, Paul would not have worried, is it dark tho?, a reflection of reality that we have, Existential Comics #423, a webcomic, something even darker, goes back in time to the womb and he kills himself, a Quantum Leap suicide, The Butterfly Effect (2004) extended director’s cut guy, Ashton Kutcher, Journeyman, trying to reboot Firefly, how long did it take Star Trek to get a reboot, Wesley’s shirt and haircut was 1980s, cut things in, is there a pill list?, this is what people do instead of having decent lives, incels, fatalism, a fun conversation about nihilism, the hardest to swallow red pill, depraves you, comedic, Kevin, the blue pill implies the existence of the red pill, a narrative process of creation, its all alright, Maissaville, a nice surprise, not very blackpillish, a really nice tweet, hybridmind, you can’t have parthenogenesis, Jesus was secretly a chick, clones so we don’t have to happen, centrifuge, clone army, monocultures are vulnerable to diseases, just backstory, old profitable books from the 50s, Smithsonian.

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #585 – READALONG: The King Of The Elves by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #585 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about The King Of The Elves by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond Fantasy Fiction, September 1953, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, Margaret St. Clair, Upon The Dull Earth, a sister magazine to Galaxy, a mirror universe to Astounding and their fantasy magazine: Unknown, 2017, a popular story, a rural fantasist, Expendable, the war against the ants, what makes that a fantasy, the birds can also talk, a psychology story, The Cosmic Puppets, spiders, The Hanging Stranger, pure horror, The Father Thing, a mental illness story, king of the trolls, a tragedy, he kills his best friend, a similar scene, an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers story, the stories being circular, the most horrific thing imaginable, maybe its an ad, every hand is against him, a metaphor for communism taking over, not believing in the Red Scare, the parallel, none of the elves have names, brought in and taken away on litters, the title works the same way, there are two hanging strangers and two kings of the elves, Philip K. Dick doesn’t start with “I’m going to write for a market”, working out ideas over space of thirty pages, compelled to do these things, exploding with ideas, this is my attempt to explore, exploring the psychology of other people and animals, Shadrach Jones, Irish names, Welsh names, Phineas Judd, Dan Green, a Colorado setting, Philip K. Dick was the king of the elves, a town full of men, no females in the story, how do the elves replicate?, binary fission?, The Hobbit, Larry Niven, their empire is diminished, the René Auberjonois narration, laughing, the economics of this story, how many people are like this in our world, his skin is dark, is Shadrach black?, the (aborted) Disney adaptation, ultimately deep down this is NOT a happy story at all, hard to find a Disney princess in this story, violating the whole premise, nature stuff, fairies, another layer of analysis, the way people treat Shadrach, I’m king of the elves, Texaco Gas or King Of The Elves Gas, if this was a real thing, a whole different kind of story, about the landscape of Colorado, men who don’t get married go crazy, lonely, set in their ways, an H.P. Lovecraft Dreamlands story done through the Philip K. Dick lens, Lord Dunsany, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, a delusion that ends in violence, bloody hands, H.L. Gold wanted a happy ending, a tacked on ending after the pagebreak, H.P. Lovecraft, The Rats In The Walls, the original ending, it was quite a battle wasn’t it, the real ending, the elves are Philip K. Dick’s cats, he’s got a bunch of cats, curled up on the carpet, cultivating this fantasy in his head, enough for one old man, magazines, some of the lore of elves, Ireland, watching for something to come, a strong opening,

IT WAS RAINING and getting dark. Sheets of water blew along the row of pumps at the edge of the filling station; the tree across the highway bent against the wind.

Shadrach Jones stood just inside the doorway of the little building, leaning against an oil drum. The door was open and gusts of rain blew in onto the wood floor.

he lights up a cigar,

“Darn,” he said. “What a night!” Rain buffeted him, wind blew at him. He looked up and down the highway, squinting. There were no cars in sight. He shook his head, locked up the gasoline pumps.

why is he tensing?, an epileptic fit, water running, white noise, patterns and shapes to be found, the information being generated, the reason he’s locked the door, anticipation as projection, how seeing works, philosophy, one is a pyramid and one is ball, seeing with hands vs. seeing with eyes, two tiny figures in the rain, limp and sodden, they might have worn brightly covered clothes, their swords are gold, dressed in gray, I’m the king of the elves and I’m wet, where the audience laughs, “forlornly, silently”, the Philip K. Dick trademark: a description and then two adverbs, we don’t notice how well written it is, glittering brightly, “honked thinly, impatiently”, “silently, grimly”, clients is the word we’re looking for, don’t use OVERUSE adverbs, Elmore Leonard’s style, said is transparent, its amazing, advice to stop amateur writers from overusing, its not about filling pages, isn’t this novel -> oh my god what am I reading?, sad mental illness, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the town and the time, a few days pass, he’s doing it for attention, he doesn’t think much of it, cars might come, quotidian concerns, spending time with mentally ill people, not actual, it throws you out, a boy who exhales carbon monoxide, monkey on a skateboard, his friend Phineas, come in for a coffee, go home and have a hot bath, why did this relationship sour so?, talking him down, how his ears and face and hands looked, back to perception, the change comes slowly (dementia), heavy and brutal, yellow and coarse like parchment, back to Evan’s hometown, seeing them differently for a moment, an actual psychological phenomenon, he sees them at night, they sleep in his bed, a solemn circle, a Philip K. Dick sentence, is the dead body still upstairs?, when you’re in a dream, generating library books, delusions are beliefs about the reality of the world, reality fills in better than brains can, building details are returnable to, not enough lore, nameless elf soldiers, a nameless elf king, the faces of the elf soldiers were serious and concerned, democracy, as our old king lay dying, very Philip K. Dick, important all right, he spoke the name, they don’t know his name, cats turning up and adopting a human, cats lording it over, Sugar Ridge, Route 20, the Endless Road, world building is not the issue, its a spontaneous delusion hinting itself into existence, the walk home and the rain, “I’m wet”, a super sad story, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Pop Richey, half name and half description, Lucky story, everybody is a leprechaun, a lot of hands in this story, great murderous shovel hands, shovel nails, above the filling station the sun shone high, Ford truck, a flivver later, what did you say, slender deft fingers, a giant earlobed horror, a faceless creature to be destroyed, level boss, if you’re going to kill somebody you don’t want to know their name, the transformation,

He restored his glasses to his nose and smoothed what remained of his hair into place.

his friendly neighbour, when the Moon sets, warming up, what festering resentment suddenly came forth, the insanity defense, a barrel stave, who had motive here?, there’s no motive here, black people being oppressed by white people in the United States, both of them had stones laid in front of their homes, the flat stone steps, unhappy and cold (just like him), the first of the flat stone steps, the old oak tree,

Shadrach went on up the steps, his lips pressed tight. When he reached the top of the stone steps, the last rays of sunlight had already faded. It was night.

the next time we see stones, his chest rose and fell painfully, reasons for shaking your head, the tacked on ending, his gas station vs. his home, so much about the landscape (and weather), near some trees, the Disney stuff, the isolation, the environment, the wind, the rain, out of the basement, the garage, The Builder, a PTSD story, Noah’s insane, the economics of this all, the interstate system, Robert Moses, destroying a community, thinking about the suburbs, the automobile, the changing landscape of America, Radiator Springs in Cars (2006), the Bates Motel, The Commuter, commentary on suburban sprawls, dark bent over things, a flood of dark creatures, the colour of Phineas’ skin, Shadrach In The Furnace by Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside, spending time with Philip K. Dick short stories is super rewarding, some of his novels are TRIUMPHS, short stories as polished gems of gorgeousness, the psychology of a man in his time, Puttering About In A Small Land, in the book of Daniel, three Jewish boys who refused to bow down, King Nebuchadnezzar, slightly different than our story here, Daniel’s wild, there’s no such thing as a false prophet, no boobs in this story, the Moon and the bleak sky, more coffee, a cup of hot chocolate, this coffee sure tastes good, human kipple, the leftovers of those who are not moving on to the west.

The King Of The Elves by Philip K. Dick from BEYOND Fantasy Fiction, September 1953

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #310 – READALONG: Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #310 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1957, more Dick than non-Dick, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Valis, Dick off the rails, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, a Bevatron is a thing, if you die in an unreal world does it have gravitas?, the gravitas comes with escape, puzzle solving vs. mortal peril, simulated lives, anime, Ergo Proxy, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light, the days of episodic TV, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, eight worlds?, religious, Victorian world, horror world, communist world, mental beliefs, Mysterium by Robert Charles Wilson, gnostic Christianity, Bábism, Bahá’í religion, Harry Turtledove, Yazidis, the connection to languages, Hamilton’s religiosity, Ohm’s Law, a car manual as a prayer book, the whole place gets damned, angels, a cartoon of the Victorians, a horse wearing trousers, a cow did something very natural, abolishing, censorship world, the narrator, deleting things from the universe, metals!, they’ll kill the universe, the Star Trek: The Next GenerationRemember Me“, Delirious (1991), a house that eats people, the carpet licked them back, a consensual hallucination, role-playing game style, Chapter 14, the walls sweated saliva, The Twilight Zone: The Movie, It’s a Good Life by Jerome Bixby, banished to cartoon world, excrete some buttons on the back porch, a man-hater, middle-aged man dandruff, seeing miracles everywhere, seeing everyone as a predator, the cat!, Ninny Numbcat, a kind of peristaltic wave, “praying that it could be killed”, the most horrific thing ever, the Damon Knight story Four In One, gestalt, projecting on to the world, poor people, very odd, the Freudian psychology of it, a perverse pleasure, one of Dick’s themes, sexless creatures, playing records as a euphemism, wives are pretty rare, Dick’s perfect woman, being a communist, so McCarthyistic, the Red Scare, the super-patriots are the most easily manipulated, Total Recall, an errant earwig, oh heavens!, just a co-incidence, are they still trapped in the Bevatron?, how they make anime show titles, random, why do they keep looking at their food?, confusing and mysterious, René Descartes, cogito ergo sum, ergo = therefore, Django Wexler, boring and illogical, stilted conventions?, visual grammar, Yes Minister, the economy in The Fellowship Of The Ring, no anime Jesse has seen has an economy, gold pressed latinum, making the viewer at ease with thigh length boots, trapped in a universe that makes no sense, Skiffy and Fanty, Ghost In The Shell, Akira, Akira Kurosawa, Summer Wars, The Wings of Honnêamise, a weird logic, the Electronics Development Agency, phone lines to God, the visit to God, a Fall, the mundanity of Earth, the Book of Acts, inflating and deflating worlds, The Father-Thing, Invaders From Mars, The Hanging Stranger, feeling sexy, enjoying the prudish world, storks!, Santa Claus style lies, sublimating the urge for sex, the bowerbird, animal art, Shakespearean sonnets are about seduction, a playful book, a day off of work to take a cat to the pet show, a spinning-up of a world, rejecting the premises, Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Emma Thompson.

Ace - Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick
Ace - Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick
URANIA - Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick's Eye In The Sky - Ace Books
Urania - Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick (ITALIAN)

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #248 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Goliah by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #248 – Goliah by Jack London; read by Gregg Margarite. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (57 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Bryan Alexander, Seth, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Colossus: The Forbin Project; title’s reference to biblical Goliath; story’s title a reference to the famous Pacific steam ship; colonial capitalism; the story’s Gilded Age context; child labor; Eugene Debs and American socialism; Karl Marx; Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan; the story’s fictional energon evocative of Transformers energon; Nikola Tesla; Goliah has a palantir; Goliah as Santa Claus; the story’s invented island Palgrave in the South Sea; parallels to London’s other speculative fiction including The Iron Heel; the story’s unreliable narrator; Asgard; origin stories and foundation myths; nineteenth-century racism rears its ugly head again; Übermenschen; contempt for military and militarism; The Unparalleled Invasion; Seth works too hard; the theoretical increase of productivity through automation; 1984Twilight casting a sparkly shadow over modern culture; Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward as a possible influence; Karl Marx’s German Ideology; the importance of laughter; Herland; the story as a response to nihilism; similarities between Guy de Maupassant and Friedrich Nietzsche; The Scarlet PlagueCanticle for Leibowitz; the medieval investiture controversy; animal metaphors in Goliah; accurate predictions of World War I; structural similarity to the Book of Job; “you don’t get a lot of laughter in the Old Testament”; Arslan by M.J. Engh; The Bookman literary magazine; It’s a Good Life by Jerome Bixby; steampunk by tag cloud; we make a dismal attempt at discussing the Stock Market; the dark underbelly of Goliah’s utopia; the unrealistic perpetuation of a utopia; Autofac and Pay for the Printer by Philip K. Dick; With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Lenin’s dying wish; Jules Verne; Goliah relinquishing power; Hot Fuzz; more on the palantir and the NSA; “grumblers grumble”; attitudes toward the criminally insane; “Goliah has spoken”; nukes not MOOCs; Cuban Missile Crisis; Douglas MacArthur biography American Caesar by William Manchester; Doctor Who episode “The Happiness Patrol”; Japanese Manga Death Note; the “bread and roses” U.S. labor strike contemporary with Jack London; the Pax Romana; The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker, a discourse on lethal violence; the Franco-Prussian War; Earle Labor’s Jack London: An American Life available in audio.

Colossus The Forbin Project

Posted by Jesse Willis

It’s A Good Life by Jerome Bixby

SFFaudio Online Audio

It's A Good Life by Jerome Bixby

It's A Good Life by Jerome Bixby - illustration by Quinn

It's A Good Life by Jerome Bixby - illustration by Quinn

It’s A Good Life is a 1953 short story by Jerome Bixby. Set in the small town that used to be in Ohio. It’s entire population loves and fears three year old Anthony Fremont. Anthony is omnipotent.

This story has been adapted several times by The Twilight Zone. The original series did a very faithful adaptation, a sequel episode, “It’s Still A Good Life“, featured a grown-up Anthony and his daughter. There was also an adaptation within Twilight Zone: The Movie. Even The Twilight Zone radio drama series adapted it.

Here’s the audiobook, as podcast in two parts on Rick Jackson’s The Time Traveler Show (along with an interview with the narrator, William Dufris).

The Time Traveler Show PodcastIt’s A Good Life
By Jerome Bixby; Read by William Dufris
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| – Approx. 2 Hours 4 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The Time Traveler Show
Podcast: August 2006
Anthony Fremont can go anywhere he wants, he can read thoughts, he can project sensory information, he can create, he can destroy, he can mold reality, he can kill. Anthony Fremont is three years old. First published in Star Science Fiction Stories No.2.

Podcast feed:

http://www.timetravelershow.com/shows/feed.xml

Here’s a |PDF| made from the publication in Science Fantasy, #16, 1955.

Posted by Jesse Willis