The SFFaudio Podcast #578 – READALONG: She by H. Rider Haggard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #578 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about She by H. Rider Haggard

Talked about on today’s show:
how hard it is to listen to podcasts, 12 hours, jam packed with ideas, all the movies, both audio dramas, comic books, a cartoon adaptation, sloshing together, starting with the ending, Job not Job, Job died, the everydayman, he has a very specific descendant: Sam Gamgee, less pleasant language, racist assumptions, she’s evil, they don’t see it, get the elephants out of the room, not a racist book at all, four movies, the 1925, the 1935, the 1965, the 2001, the 1909, the 1984, the Flash Gordon episode, great perfect film, Will is a troll, laying out Jesse’s case, none of the adaptations are faithful, the 2006 audio drama, Tim Mcenery (from Blackadder), a very wise person wrote it, compressing 12 hours down into 2, they don’t usually set it in Africa, Samarkand, filmed in Bulgaria, set in the Arctic, what were they thinking?, silent, Bulgarian extras, Ultima Thule, themes, shells of locations, the UK, the backstory, out of Africa and Greece and Egypt, this visit to Zanzibar, the land of Kor, Egyptian Arabic Black, even more fictional, Natal, South Africa, they’re basically Tharks, Ayesha is Princess of Helium, the prototype to Galadriel, she’s Circe, an immortal wizard, the 2006 audio drama, Mohamed was killed off, the brown man in the hot pot, they fear for their own lives, cannibals, they attempt to come to Job and Holly and Leo come to his rescue, defending their own from being anthropophaged, revenge, resentful of the orders of She, not allowed to eat the whites, killing people in anticipation of being cooked, a cartoon, two explorers in pith helmets in a cauldron, its more complex than that, its not focused on race, what what?, delightful and not racist, the fictional people who live around Kor, the descendants who intermingled and degenerated, racial degeneration, the inversion of British customs, eminently civilized, one of the savage tropes, you’re reading that in, every couple of hundred years we slaughter them, this is a book about gender and gender relations not about race, not especially racist, snow white, she has ivory breasts, the whiter you are the more beautiful you are, that’s gender not race, she’s an evil white goddess, white savior syndrome, colonialist themes, he’s pretty conscious of a lot of things, a vehicle for the tropes, this myth of Africa, the inversion of our customs, an inversion of our hospitality, The Africa That Never Was by Dorthy Hammond and Alta Jablow, a justification for colonialism, literary sensationalism, titillating enough, a literary theme, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, a vivid new variation, the negation of European values, semi-matriarchal culture, the two who are noble savages, one of the best characters in the novel, my baboon, falsify it, cannibalism as mythological, ritualistic cannibalism of loved ones, headhunting, all over the world, its wonderful to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood, a sexy subject, Melville’s most famous book (in his lifetime), when that book blew up, amazing story, everyone else is doing the cannibalism, he didn’t have anything good to say about Irishmen and Greeks, unpleasant passages, thieves and sneaks, our insular prejudices are most of them based on common sense, these black gentry, fit for muck, thinking during the book, so beautiful, a compliment, he looks English, droopy or something?, race science and social darwinism, his weak genes give out, stronger genes, a perfect time, yucky racism instances, totally obsessed with this trio, a board game, Horace “Baboon” Holly, Leo is a lion, Job is a pig, going back to Circe, SHE is a snake, undulating, both become obsessed with her, a terrible beauty, massive one page notes, IMMORTALITY, how it got into H. Rider Haggard’s hands (as the editor), THE FLAME, MUMMIFICATION, a bonfire, mummies for firewood, the mummy craze, mummydust as medicine, when we do it its cool, driving Job to the hotpot, when Odysseus lands, pigs at the dinner table, never explained in the story are the wolves and lions, enslaved to Circe, tame, women being dominant, different kinds of cultures, Philip K. Dick’s Strange Eden, tamed by the witch, the first WAND as a magical instrument, there’s no monkey or ape on Circe’s island, Horace studies ancient languages, a keen mind and a freaky body that’s reminding everyone of Darwin, let’s go look at each other in the mirror, so interesting, Ayesha does the same thing to Holly, look at you and look at me, your quasi-son, never explicitly explained, why does she die, yo?, providence, has she done it before?, she hasn’t been back there, dancing in the flames, the flames vs. the gauze, she’s wrapped like a mummy, literally wrapped, veiled in every respect, she’s TOO pretty, TOO beautiful, makes men stupid and men evil, she has Darth Vader powers, she’s an evil Jedi, she can kill people with a look, why does Leo go on this trip?, his name means avenger, he doesn’t act like he’s out for revenge, the mystery, all the women love him already, fawning women, terrible for him, a rebellion against his adoptive father, Horace gets excited about all the good shooting down there, youth being inquisitive, he ends up fulfilling his atavistic destiny, she’s getting him back, showing that vision, Christopher Lee, he’s been wizarded, Peter Cushing doesn’t look like a baboon (he looks like a greyhound), Ayesha shows up in three other books, Ayesha: Return Of She, Tibet, Lost Horizon, She And Allan, contrived reason to visit Kor, uppity Zulu woman, an H. Rider Haggard trope, a desire to love native women, unnatural and doomed, they’re all wearing the ring of power, they’re all turning into Saruman, the Haggard/Tolkien connection, C.S. Lewis, the White Witch is based on She, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, similar in the face, the year this story is set, martini rifle, Zulu (1964), the book ends 22 years after the events started, there and back again (two years), the play in the caves, the whole lost civilization thing, Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym, Conan, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, something even older, Plato and Atlantis, Philip Jose Farmer, when the Sahara was green, there were dinosaurs there, H. Beam Piper’s Omnilingual, the pots and heads, and the pot sherd, Plato’s the Myth Of The Cave, group-think, religion, the 17th of March 2029, the scarab, the ancient connection, Kor as Pompeii, one note on lost race – lost colony, ancient active civilizations, Mormonism, Andrew Jackson on the Indian mounds, the great Zimbabwe, it has to be an ancient race of white people, race sciences, an ancient white source, Hadon Of Ancient Opar, Time’s Last Gift, the green Sahara, a deity in that pantheon, a rumour of Her in Tibet, in the framing, they’re planning to go off to the East, James Hilton’s Shangri-La (Lost Horizon), Iron Fist, influential on Henry Miller, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, H.P. Lovecraft,

The romantic, semi-Gothic, quasi-moral tradition here represented was carried far down the nineteenth century by such authors as Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Thomas Preskett Prest with his famous Varney, the Vampyre (1847), Wilkie Collins, the late Sir H. Rider Haggard (whose She is really remarkably good),

Lovecraft favourites, holy shit! that’s a Lovecraft line, Algernon Blackwood, a survival of a hugely remote period, and called them gods, She is a Goddess, She talks a lot about death and change, Shadow Out of…, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil, his peculiar personal appearance, peculiar features, learning was in his blood, the Congo region, supposed antiquities, Observations On Several Parts Of Africa, when in his cups, under a Congo moon, abysmal treasure vaults, even a Pliny, weird cravings (carvings), his grandmother in her box, the Horace Holly story, he looks like a monkey, this horrible truth revealed to us via Darwin, Ayesha is lily white flames and gauze, this tension between atavism (reversal to type), get your breeding right, the super-concerns of 19th century people, racism as a reaction…, lichy ancestors, Innsmouth, race-mixing, interbreeding with fishmen is a problem, mind-transference, Cushing and Lee and Ursula undress, after WWI why?, Roxanne, The Man Who Would Be King, the Mountains Of The Moon in Uzbekistan?, blowing minds, as if nothing has ever happened, North By Northwest (1959), Paul’s case, blonding her up, reasons for being blonde, our racialization of Arabs, the money shot, her raven hair over her white porcelain body, the whole hair thing, Galadriel and Gimli, Tolkien’s version of immortality, let’s just go off to the West, Primeval Thule, drug addict elves, high on lembas, black milk, types of immortality in She, reincarnation, a Greek who’d falling in love with an Egyptian, Ayesha as Cleopatra, would Haggard have cared or known?, that Egyptian asp, a callback vs. a throwback, the death glance, though at times they sleep and are forgotten, how enchanting some of the language is, poetic level language, written in six weeks, the original serialization in The Graphic, The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Victorian photoshop, fake documentation, verisimilitude, a true document!, when She actually shows up, dreams and visions, the lessons of Jurassic Park and Jaws, everybody speaks English, the 2006 audio drama, the translation, a ton of poetic repetition, all these conversations are happening in ancient Arabic, Holly is the main character, she leaned back on the couch, oh man, things upon the earth though knowest not, Jews, there be a thing called Change, three times 2,000 years have passed, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, the body moves, She’s force powering him back to life, what does this all mean?, she burns up the corpses and steps into the flame, stranger is my name, here I tarry, why dost though believe, the beauty of Helen, wisdom of Solomon, that ye cal death, barbarians lower than beasts, in the original book, you can’t look at god, Moses is permitted to see his hind parts, a Lovecraft swoon, beautiful and terrible, all about Jesus, her historical connection, Horace talking, she’s a wizard, she’s a lich, Wisdom’s Daughter, she’s travelling around like a wizard, gone for a whole generation, force glance, laser eyes, why the book is so fun, She’s that living connection, The Boat Of A Million Years, Jesse is sorry he has to read so much, they’re rivals for her affection, all about chosen family, you’ve been kidnapped, long strong arms, a martini rifle and a revolver, he’s got a good heart, a good word for Job, the mark of civilization is not knowledge but compassion, it’s fine she killed my wife, this section is insane, the terror of the leaping flame, the wise sadness of the tombs, all metaphor, the white shroud she wore, lovely tempting womanhood, she’s a virgin, so my Holly, the lagnuage is biblical, Allan Quatermain and Solomon Kane, I’m inclined to flattery, now my waist, this golden snake that is to large, she doesn’t like her clothes, that lady has a wasp waist, huge baboon hands, he has to squeeze her a bit, oh Holly, I am but a man!, Heaven knows what she was, I worshiped her as never woman was worshiped, what about gay men?, so horribly wonderfully, She is so fuckin evil, She cast a spell on him, the sight is sweet, the dear pleasure that is our sex’s only right, a buttoned down Cambridge don, century days, she’s lonely, she doesn’t have any books, spend all your days getting paler and paler talking to corpses, she has her TV, it is no life, She says She’s in Hell, a good thing for everybody, I’m going to England and replace Queen Victoria, it’s Dracula, Anno: Dracula, this book is really influential, the only thing comparable, an adventure of history, Jules Verne’s extraordinary voyages, Roman guards, the 2nd Brenda Fraser Mummy movie, riffing off of She, Mountains Of The Moon (1990), Burton and Speake, Stargate: SG-1, why its important to have diversity in its command structure, Space Vampires aka Lifeforce (1985), female seductresses, women’s rights, the Victoria stuff, you can betray your queen, what the hell are we accepting them for, foisting kids and relatives, The Rock, its really important: this is about class, Sam Gamgee is a servant, this race thing is used to divide us, when She says want me to kill her now, should I kill him now?, Kylo Ren and evil vs. good, how formative, an early adventure quasi-fantasy, its all science, rules for what you can see in the glass, she’s elf so she has magic, now I know how this works, what are they gonna do for twelve hours, Maissa had no idea what was coming, wow!, so lyrical, metaphysical, all the Lost World books are here, finding a fount, needed wanted more of it, his first big hit, She is what he would be remembered for, Indiana Jones did that, Rumpole Of The Bailey, the comic, Horace isn’t baboon enough, I wreath a corona around his head, what makes this book so good, Horace Holly’s a great character to see it through, why didn’t you choose Horace?, She does choose him in a way, why She chose Leo, its all about the physical beauty, her whole basis for him, he was pretty, I poured all my love into her, more importantly you’re ugly, which of them is actually ugly, Ayesha is the most monstrous hollowed out garbage person, a whole level of how do you judge a person, this person looks like they’ve had too many sandwiches, you might want to marry a supermodel, hockey shoes, beauty vs. personality and principles, abandoning principles, Horace sees his adopted son as a rival, he fantasizes about polyamory, she’s saving herself for the guy she murdered 6,000 years ago, hidden herself in a tomb, a pyramid, a story of horror, at the end of the 1919 hardcover:

To H. R. H.

Not in the waste beyond the swamps and sand,
The fever-haunted forest and lagoon,
Mysterious Kor thy walls forsaken stand,
Thy lonely towers beneath the lonely moon,
Not there doth Ayesha linger, rune by rune
Spelling strange scriptures of a people banned.
The world is disenchanted; over soon
Shall Europe send her spies through all the land.

Nay, not in Kor, but in whatever spot,
In town or field, or by the insatiate sea,
Men brood on buried loves, and unforgot,
Or break themselves on some divine decree,
Or would o’erleap the limits of their lot,
There, in the tombs and deathless, dwelleth SHE!

a life after its life, its an immortal book!, the Citadel of Truth, the Goddess of Truth, the dead orb above and the dead city below, long departed glory, their all mummified, they worshiped Truth to much, styling herself as the goddess of Truth, She dies after getting what She wants, the 1935 ending, immortality’s all great and that, the hope we might be reunited again, traditional Christian belief, pushing it away, forever in Heaven, the inverse of Heaven, if She keeps coming back, every sequel, a metaphysical aspect, a theosophical aspect, vehicles for philosophizing about man’s place in the universe, a sock puppet for H.R.H.’s theosophical ideas, what is the novel actually doing?, maybe a stand-in for H.R.H., so surprising, what’s the meta-text?, the Victorians and the things they didn’t want to face, compartmentalizing, he is his life, a very English thing, let’s go see this movie (because I need spend time with a human), my only friend, dying wish, you’re not fit for society so you may as well raise my son, almost homoerotic, appreciating a male form without being totally gay, basically bribes him, a bizarre opening, Christoph Waltz, I’ve been watching you for two years, why you don’t get married right away, gauzey goggles, a vision, gametes gotta gamete (meet), that outer society, women choosing the men, social security, a social safety net, a nanny state, goats, a communitarian society, why we need to expand the public domain, the writer gets paid, Andrew Yang ‘1K, bro’, Playstation 5, there are alternate ways, how writers gotta be paid, living authors should be paid royalties for your works (unless you’re in a country that cant access them for legal reasons), going away from a money based society, the average Canadian writer gets paid $7k per year, free healthcare, how the postal workers in Yugoslavia had their own vacation spot, why not do that?, postal workers aren’t going away anytime soon, alternative forms, the artificial scarcity system, you clearly haven’t listened to my piracy, join my pirate team!, let’s do these shares out equally, with the internet now, the amounts of research we are able to do for this book are insane, spend more time not doing horrible things for cash, bodies rented out for paying the rent, alternate, mercy killing, maybe rose twitter knows what its doing.

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from The Graphic

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from the 1919 book publication

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Marvel Classics 24 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #275 – READALONG: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Podcast

Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #275 – Jesse and Mr Jim Moon discuss Ivanhoe: A Romance by Sir Walter Scott

Talked about on today’s show:
1820, the Tantor Media audiobook as read by Simon Prebble, 3 comic book adaptations!, the July 2014 BBC Radio 4 adaptation (1hr), General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, immensely important, Wamba and Gurth, looking at adaptations, refinement, Robin Hood (1973), the splitting of the arrow, a willow wand, daring-do fiction, archery, folktale, Will Scarlet splits the arrow in the Queen Katherine Ballad, the historical inaccuracies, Rob Roy, a plump text, King Richard and Friar Tuck, The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare, a very Shakespearean novel, pithy and punchy, dialogue and banter, The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, fully motivated characters, Athelstane, colour cloaks, where does Isaac stat at Ashby?, Chapter 2 Gurth is “this second Eumaeus”, Ivanhoe is a retelling of Odysseus’ return to Ithaca, the usurpation, the governance of Scotland, the Saxons as the Scots under the English yoke, Loxley, Prince John, King John, Magna Carta, robber barons, Brian de Bois-Guilbert (wants Rebecca), Reginald Front-de-Boeuf, “Front of Beef” (wants Isaac’s money), Maurice de Bracy (wants Rowena), war and God, the 1997 BBC TV adaptation of Ivanhoe, an Arthurian style obsession, the reconciliation, Athelstane is almost a Hobbit, Athelstane death is a comedic version of a Guy de Maupassant or Edgar Allan Poe premature burial story, The Fall Of The House Of Usher done as farce, Monty Python And the Holy Grail, surprisingly few deaths, “boys own adventure”, The A-Team, Ulrica’s death, the the Waverley Novels, almost a Fantasy, magic, The Prisoner Of Zenda, venison, the Douglas Fairbanks Robin Hood, the Black Knight – who could it be?, how easy would the disguises be seen through in 1820, bigger than Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, stage adaptations, Waverley places around the world, Abbotsford, British Columbia is named (in part) after Sir Walter Scott’s home, Ivanhoe’s popularity in the southern United States, invasion, slavery and chivalry, underselling the power of fiction (as compared with non-fiction), On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin, The Communist Manifesto, Tolkien, understanding fiction, the revelation of truth through fiction, novels were once quite novel, the need for novels, models of action, 1984 changes, helps and improves you, “what is honorable action?”, the power of oaths, rapacious acquisition vs. honorable service, the destruction of the Templars, banishment was a harsh punishment, an obsession with love, Rebecca is the female Ivanhoe, the role of the Jews in the book vs. the adaptations, banking, this is not an anti-Semitic book (shockingly), the coin counting scene, the roasting scene, Friar Tuck is super-anti-Semitic, Churchill’s background, why is it that English were not as anti-Semitic as most of Europe?, a zeitgeisty historical novel, looking at the present through a historical lens, puffy, the level of intellect is very high – the etymology of pig, Lincoln Green, the final battle, a powerfully intellectual book for a piece of fiction, mid-19th century fiction isn’t as punchy, wit and intelligence in peasant characters, J.K. Rowling must have read Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott’s was “the Wizard Of The North”, Cedric <-the name comes from this book, "freelance" <-lances for hire, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Robin Hood (Ridley Scott), Robin Hood’s nom de guerre, ITV’s Robin Of Sherwood <- both Robin Hood mythologies are in it!, the "Dread Pirate Roberts", a good knight but a bad king, pagan gods, Herne the Hunter, Ivanhoe popularized the Middle Ages, Arthurian scholarship, folk customs, the ancient Egypt craze, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, a big powerful book, A Song Of Ice And Fire is kind of the anti-Ivanhoe, the Dunk And Egg stories, surprisingly modern, the symmetry of Ivanhoe, a tonic for gallstones, HBO should commission Ivanhoe, the 1952 version, the 1982 version, Ciarán Hinds, Mark Hamill, Kevin Costner vs. Alan Rickman, a noir ending averted.

Rebecca and Ivanhoe - illustration by C.E. Brock (1905)

Ivanhoe illustrated by Clarence Leonard Cole (1914)

Ivanhoe illustrated by Maurice Greiffenhagen

Ivanhoe illustrated by Maurice Greiffenhagen

Ivanhoe illustrated by Maurice Greiffenhagen

ad for Ivanhoe from Good Housekeeping, August 1952

Posted by Jesse Willis

William Tenn has died

SFFaudio Online Audio

“There’s too much beauty in religion to let go of it just because you don’t believe in god.”
-William Tenn

SFSignal.com is reporting that William Tenn has just died. You won’t find much written about Tenn (or his alter ego Philip Klass) on the internet. I figure that’s mostly because he wasn’t a very prolific novelist (the default format for most fiction readers). But if you like SF he’s probably someone you should know about.

I think I first read Tenn back in the early 1990s. It may have been his story The Liberation Of Earth. I really got into Tenn in 2004.

Back in 2004 podcasting hadn’t really started. LibriVox.org didn’t exist and audio fiction on the internet was actually quite hard to find. One of the best stories I found back then, and one of my favorite stories that I discovered by chance, was On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi! by William Tenn. I reviewed it in 2004 |READ OUR REVIEW|.

The story was recorded as part of an interview with David Garland of WNYC’s Spinning On Air. Astonishingly, the ancient file and directory are still there and still online at WNYC’s website. But, like almost all audio back in the bad old days of the interweb it was in the still nigh-unworkable REALAUDIO FORMAT. Getting it to work may still be a serious problem – it didn’t work for me without some serious fiddling. Here’s the hour long show |REALAUDIO|

In the WNYC interview Tenn describes himself “an enlightened pessimist” and “a skeptic in every way.”
But that may be under-stating it. He may be best described as a combination of Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain – but working primarily as a satirist in the field of Science Fiction.

His novel, Of Men And Monsters, is a truly terrific read and would make a wonderful audiobook.

It takes place in the future where the Earth has been invaded by giant aliens who have destroyed most of humanity. People now live in the walls of the aliens homes like mice divided into different groups and tribes where two types of religions have branched out; one that is devoted to technology from the past and the other that is trying to learn and decipher the aliens’ technology. [summary by Cynical-C]

Also available, via the Orthopedic Horseshoes podcast, are some snippets from Confluence 2008
with William Tenn talking about Theodore Sturgeon. |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi! by William Tenn

On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi!
By William Tenn; read by William Tenn
56 minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: WNYC Radio [“Spinning On Air” with host David Garland].
Published: Nov. 22nd 2002 [LISTEN TO THE ARCHIVED SHOW IN REALAUDIO at WNYC]
Themes: / Science Fiction / Satire / Humor / Jews / Religion / Venus /

“Milchik, the TV repairman, speaks for all Jews on Venus and in the Universe.”

William Tenn (aka Philip Klass), gets the royal treatment he so well deserves on David Garland’s WNYC radio show. Remarkably well prepared, Garland teases out some delightful and informative anecdotes and stories from Tenn, it makes for a riveting interview. Garland has also seen fit to gift us with a delectable reading of one of Tenn’s stories read by the author himself!

William Tenn’s stories always have the same effect on me, as the story progresses a smile grows wider and wider across my face. On Venus, We Have A Rabbi! is laugh out loud funny. Perhaps knowledge of Jewish history would be helpful, I don’t know, but I enjoyed the heck out of it. And thankfully unlike another WNYC reading, this novelette is free of music, Tenn’s hilarious reading of his own story is almost perfect. He stumbles only once over one word, but otherwise he reads his tale like a professional narrator.

I sure hope Garland keeps up the great programming. Radio like this makes me wish I lived in New York.

Posted by Jesse Willis