The SFFaudio Podcast #658 – READALONG: Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #658 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Trish E. Matson talk about Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
mid-1970s, questions, longest novel, why it is so weird?, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1965), Westchester, Pennsylvania, a bold claim, a huge collection, Rat Race (2001), this quasi-genre is called “epic comedy”, The Cannonball Run (1981), Aston Martin DB5, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., a diocese in California, a really stupid movie and really good, atypical for Westlake, a huge cast, funny as heck, ever scene is very Westlake, overall the picture is unWestlakian, 40 people and a hawk, omniscient point of view, chapter titles, the structure, he’s a master at this terrible genre, entertaining, light, Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake, a problem somewhere in New York, Westlake showing us New York, a member of this neighbourhood, everybody in New York is looking for something, the second day of the search, fifteen hours from South America to New York, the inferred bar fight, so good, you could put this right on film, Westlake movies, very filmic stuff, in novels characters would never do this, the master of the novel form, at the height of his writing powers, he’s using his powers for simplistic movie comedy, Cannonball Run is trash, super-cute, he’s enjoying himself, self-indulgent, Farrah Fawcett, they’re inherently bad for you, The Good Place, The Cannonball Run II (1984), Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965), Those Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies (1965), Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly, a plague we’ve gotten through and over, the Harlem Globetrotters on Scooby-Doo, mid-60s into the 80s, the Scary Movie series, parody movies, a cast of famous actors in Airport, the airport sequels, Airplane!, big cast novels, The Gods Must Be Daring (1997), a wonderful assemblage, leaning on ethnic stereotypes, bigoted stereotypes, n-words and other ethnic slurs, how it was back then, we should do better now, Harlem, in the parade of truckbeds going by, a chapterlets from the point of view of the two kids watching the parade, in dialect, the Brer Rabbit stories by Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, Brer Fox he lay low, Brian Holsopple, dynamism, no restrictions, all out zany, so wide so broad, hanging out with Pedro is a book by itself, ravished, so many people end up happy, there’s only one winner, they all had fun in the race, all in the journey, the best episode of Deep Space Nine is about a crew of Vulcans and the Deep Space Nine raggamuffins, they don’t win they declare victory, go back to Quark’s and have a raktajino and enjoy they’re muscles being sore, the familiar plot, the setup, The Fugitive Pigeon, The Maltese Falcon, the Westlake Review blog, The Mourner by Richard Stark, how Westlake often does something, how he created Dortmunder, a comedic scene, derailing your hardboiled protagonists, cozy versions of Stark plots, back to Paul’s poll, side series, sidekick heisters, a criminal job at the airport, he’s a wonderful guy, only the hawk isn’t criminal, so much meta writing, as a professional writer, always looking for ideas, when he hits on an idea, how the aztecs are genuine, how many scenes where suddenly the action stops, a Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure Of The Six Napoleons, the strange circumstances that brought about these events, a squash court for a certain park, congratulating themselves, “I believe my subject is bewilderment”, bewildered by reality, how it could possibly be, sixteen Dancing Aztecs, why are they moving like that, they have a reason, heisted from an ATV by Americans, a British coup in Antigua: Under An English Heaven, Kahawa, a coffee train heist book?, hustling, gritty, only New York, decades ago, Robert Moses, a sense of place, Westlake’s job is to go out in the city and observe and say “wow”, two travelers, places to go in New York, amazing experiences you can have, the real treasure of Westlake, a sanitation worker with a big route, the park on the weekend, the beach in the winter, a billion corners of New York, how many nooks?, various spots that need pooping on, an archaeologist looking at the mid-1970s, the father in Somebody Owes Me Money was always working on the insurance papers, gimme twenty books and only one was written by Westlake I could find it because of characterization, the bewilderment scenes, he must be a private eye, the private eye said, weird glomming on, the mom smells like a tomato, at the park with his kite (on fire), he’s got a B.B. gun, almost like magic realism, you can’t say no to it, the wry affection he holds for most the characters, gentle fun, Jane Austen, “the hero”, he likes them all, gold, how all the different statues got broken, a twist at the ending, 150 pages earlier, the wrong statue, a sleight comic novel of skill and craft, Westlake at the height of his powers, an unreliable narrator, the Westlake review writer is very expert, an FBI agent who had been fired years ago (but thought he was under very deep cover), throw a monkey wrench in, create scenes, Robert Redford is a thief, The Hot Rock (1972), Sidney Potier as an agent trying to stop him, absolutely zany, a filmic only genre translated into a book, something that is difficult to do in a book, the power of his amazing characterization, Westlake showing off, the answer is yes, pretty impressive, Bank Shot, Smoke, The Spy In The Ointment, in dialogue with other authors, Lawrence Block, past comic novels, Art Dodge’s greeting card company, Two Much (1996), Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, the V.S. Goth Cab company, like Edgar Allan Poe the French love Donald E. Westlake, an unauthorized Stark adaptation, big in France, Drowned Hopes is Westlake’s retelling of The Colour Out Of Space by H.P. Lovecraft (kinda, not really), Smoke by Donald Westlake, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, audio doesn’t get archived on the Waybackmachine, ground out of the internet, forever is not as long as we though it was, Travelers Far And Wee by Donald E. Westlake, this explains all the traffic in New York, something that’s easy to miss in Westlake is that he’s very philosophical, he’s surprised he’s an author, the fake publishing agency, its a fuck book, Westlake wrote those, the market’s not there (the Science Fiction market), they all have day jobs, less and less reliant on getting that publisher, where there’s a demand to be an author there’s going to be a scam, these comic crime capers are all about himself, they’re all getting scammed, the wonder, the absolute bewilderment, its unbelievable what people ill trick themselves into doing, calmer and calmer the more they fight, he likes being a cuckold, the other Oscar, best adapted Screenplay, Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me, one of the joys of this podcast, re-reads, the secret of what podcasts are for: its , The Curse Of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, everybody needs a good excuse, Larry Niven, allowable as long as it is homework, a mental block, assignments for podcasts, how many podcast has Scott got going?, two readalongs per month, all in good fun, a Luke Burrage show, Amazon and Google searches have greatly degraded, use an adblocker, adblocker browsers (Brave), the central Andes, the maximum extent of the Aztec Empire, a fictional South American country, what research did he do? his whole life, a Richard Stark novel set of the coast of Cuba, Lawrence Block’s novel Killing Castro, a very political time, he’s really good at hiding the politics, his weird personality, very different from most SF writers, Robert J. Sawyer makes his full time living as an SF writer, wife with a job, lives in a condo, no kids, hundreds seeming thousands of TV writers writing terrible shows and making very good livings, seemingly no interest in books, the history of the 20th century, the Teapot Dome Scandal, all the other people in the family that amounted to zero, billionaire, Elon Musk did something interesting with his money, putting a car in orbit of the earth is stupid but cool, Joachim Boaz writing about Larry Niven’s inheritance “at least he’s honest about it”, stuff on the moon, expanding the Dortmunder world, the recent film adaptation of The Colour Out Of Space, the HPLHS, The Voluminous Podcast: The Letters Of H.P. Lovecraft, little Auggie Derleth, C.L. Moore, the redemption we all wanted him to have, mea culpas, his political transformation, if this is what a conservative sounds like sign me up, economic philosophy, more people of the elite class need to have that feeling in order to change, he thinks he’s better than everyone else, and he’s failing at school, writing a newspaper column as a teenager but can’t finish high school, straight from the source biography, the destruction of Uncle Hugo’s bookstore, the website, H.P. Podcraft has a patreon, Houdini, more professional than premier prestige podcasts, what a triumph their podcast is.

Dancing Aztecs (ITALIAN) by Donald E. Westlake

A New York Dance by Donald E. Westlake

A New York Dance [interior dustjacket] by Donald E. Westlake

Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake

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Reading, Short And Deep #214 – Blood From A Turnip by Jim Thompson

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #214

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Blood From A Turnip by Jim Thompson

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Blood From A Turnip was first published in Collier’s, December 20, 1952.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #170 – Forever After by Jim Thompson

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #170

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Forever After by Jim Thompson

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Forever After was first published in Shock, May 1960.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #108

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #108 – Jesse talks with Trent Reynolds (of The Violent World Of Parker blog) about Donald E. Westlake’s Hard Case Crime novel 361 (available as an audiobook from BBC Audiobooks America).

Talked about on today’s show:
Richard Stark, the meaning of the title “361“, Roget’s Thesaurus entry #361, “killer’s don’t run around with a thesaurus”, Hard Case Crime, The Hunter, George Washington Bridge, New York, Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books blog‘s review of 361, Westlake and the USAF, Backflash, Westlake loves theatre people, actors, Hollywood, “dangerous and scary”, Stark had fans in prison, Parker vs. Dortmunder, The Man With The Getaway Face, revenge, stoic vs. existential, our podcast on Memory by Donald E. Westlake, Gregg Margarite, finding purpose in the purposeless world,

“Yeah. All right, this is what I’ve been thinking. To begin with, every man has to have either a home or a purpose. Do you see that? Either a place to be or something to do. Without one or the other, a man goes nuts. Or he loses his manhood, like a hobo. Or he drinks or kills himself or something else. It doesn’t matter, It’s just that everybody has to have one or the other.”

drinking, “there’s no one more pissed off than this guy”, “the drifter mentality”, how Westlake handles supporting characters, the lawyer’s secretary, the cowardly private detective, honesty vs. duplicity, hardboiled vs. noir, House Of Lords (whiskey), get a job at Walmart vs. take over the mob, Florida, Bill’s suicide, going on a drunk, identity, solider vs. airman, he’s not his father’s son, he’s not his brother’s brother, Charles Ardai, the absence of women, the Hard Case Crime cover (by Richard B. Farrell), Lawrence Block, “A Sound Of Distant Drums” is a long running literary joke, Westlake characters generally read paperbacks, Paul Kavanagh novels, Not Comin’ Home To You, Such Men Are Dangerous, a purposeless ex-military guy living on a deserted island in the Florida Keys, The Green Eagle Score, The Black Ice Score, The Blackbird, Grofield, University Of Chicago Press editions with introductions by Lawrence Block, Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr’s “Burglar” books, murder mystery vs. identity mystery, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, did Westlake mature out of Parker?, Flashfire, Jason Statham as Parker, Payback, The Hunter, The Man With The Getaway Face, The Mourner, The Score, Two Much, Cops And Robbers by Donald Westlake, the way Westlake paints characters, The Hot Rock, humorous writing, the competent Parker vs. the hapless (bad luck) Dortmunder, Robert Redford, What’s The Worst That Could Happen, The Comedy Is Finished, Donald E. Westlake: an annotated bibliography by David Bratman, coffee, Idi Amin, sadly there is no biography of Donald E. Westlake, Matthew Scudder’s drinking problem, Eight Million Ways To Die, Telling Lies For Fun And Profit: A Manual For Fiction Writers, Lawrence Block should write a Parker book, race-walking, LawrenceBlock.com, Dan Simmons, Garry Disher, Hard Case, “361 is as hard-boiled as fiction comes”, Jim Thompson, The Jugger, Stephen King’s Misery is a spiritual successor to The Jugger, the pragmatism of celebrity/writer privacy, wheelbarrows full of books, too much of a good thing: “too many fans can interfere with your operation”, receiving unsolicited books, advanced reading copies, “it really clarifies your understanding of what your purpose is if you are confronted by a barrage of things that aren’t your purpose”, book tours do two things: sell books and reward the readers, Sheldon Lord, Lawrence Block’s sleaze books are coming to ebook, Random House, Lynn Monroe, Hellcats And Honey Girls, Subterranean Press, Robert Silverberg, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Triumph Of Evil, Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab, A Drop Of The Hard Stuff, Getting Off by Lawrence Block (Jill Emerson).

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #090

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #090 – Jesse talks to Hard Case Crime author and editor Charles Ardai.

Talked about on today’s show:
Hard Case Crime, Gabriel Hunt (Hunt For Adventure), BBC Audiobooks America, iambik audio, Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas (aka Charles Ardai), Audible.com, Songs Of Innocence by Richard Aleas (aka Charles Ardai), the best kept secret in the audiobook world, L.J. Ganser, The Confession by Dominic Stansberry, Money Shot by Christa Faust, Noircon, The Bobbsey Twins, Edward Stratermeyer, Titan Books, Choke Hold by Christa Faust, Porn + Mixed Martial Arts, “book reviews aren’t generally found in the adult film industry magazines”, the porn industry vs. newspaper publishing vs. podcasting, the Quarry series, Max Allan Collins, Road To Perdition, Dorchester Publishing, Random House, HCC is a NEW Lawrence Block novel, The Girl With A Long Green Heart, Killing Castro by Lawrence Block |READ OUR REVIEW|, Grifter’s Game |READ OUR REVIEW|, re-numbering the HCC series, “this is a book that demands a naked woman on the cover”, “this the nakedest cover we’ve ever done”, Getting Off by Lawrence Block (writing as Jill Emerson), paperback book, the Gold Medal books, Max Phillips, Dell Mapbacks, Ace Doubles, Robert Bloch, Nightstand Books, Robert McGinnis, Glenn Orbik, an upcoming HCC book (HCC-102) is a collaboration between two major writers one deceased one alive, Memory by Donald Westlake, SFFaudio Podcast #082, there is a ANOTHER NEW unpublished Westlake novel coming to HCC in 2012, The King Of Comedy, Honey In His Mouth by Lester Dent, hard core aficionados, The Dead Man’s Brother by Roger Zelazny, Will Murray, Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Fake ID, Bust, Slide, Max, finding HCC in bookstores will be nearly impossible until January 25th 2011, The Valley Of Fear by A.C. Doyle is a well known public domain novel cleverly disguised (for fun), Gabriel Hunt: Through The Cradle Of Fear by Gabriel Hunt (aka Charles Ardai) |READ OUR REVIEW|, the tradition of dressing up old books with new art – conning the reader into reading classic literature, Edgar Allan Poe, Sherlock Holmes, the most hard-boiled of the Sherlock Holmes novels, the Lion Books edition of Frankenstein, the pulp tradition, being playful with the book-buyer, the first hardcover HCC, Fifty To One by Charles Ardai is a book for bookcovers, Subterranean Press, Otto Penzler, a hardcover edition of Memory by Donald E. Westlake, the new paperbacks (with Titan Books) will be trader-paperbacks, the mass market paperback business is difficult if you’re not named Dan Brown, paperback book collecting is crazy, who is modeling Naomi Novick, the Quentin Tarantino Roast, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Fade To Blonde, Witness To Myself, woman on the cover sells, The Great Gatsby, Cornell Woolrich, Quarry’s Ex, the new sexiness on the covers is because HCC won’t be sold in the mass market format, Jim Thompson, Fright by Cornell Woolrich, Stanley Kubrick commissioned Jim Thompson film script, Richard Stark, Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake |READ OUR REVIEW|, a sequel to Somebody Owes Me Money?, the nephew books, Max Allan Collins, the problem with James M. Cain, Jealous Woman, Sinful Woman, Black Lizard books, The Cocktail Waitress (an unpublished James M. Cain book), John D. MacDonald, knocking my socks half-way off, send Charles Ardai your suggestions and submissions, The Colorado Kid will soon be very hard to find (it is out of print), The Valley Of Fear (the HCC edition is out of print), where are the HCC posters?, HCC t-shirts, Hunt For Adventure will be coming in trade-paperback, Hunt Through Napoleon’s Web, Hunt Among The Killers Of Men, where is the adventure fiction section of bookstores?, “the coffin of Atilla the Hun”, Nor Idolatry Blind The Eye by Charles Ardai, Indiana Jones, Best American Noir of the Century, Otto Penzler’s upcoming adventure anthology, why are there no adventure magazines?, Five Graves To Cairo, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, Argosy, a Gabriel Hunt adventure magazine?, adventure comics?, Prince Of Persia, the Gabriel Hunt bible, Gabriel Hunt fan-fiction is a-ok with Charles Ardai.

The Great Gatsby and Grifter's Game

Frankenstein and The Valley Of Fear (a Sherlock Holmes novel)

Posted by Jesse Willis

9 interesting paperbooks (should they be audiobooks?)

SFFaudio Commentary

There are a ton of cool looking paperbooks in the bookstores these days. Here are 9 paperbooks, that I spotted at Chapters. None of these are available as audiobooks – at least not yet. Should they be? Here’s my take.

#1 – SS-GB by Len Deighton. This was an audiobook, long ago, but it is currently out of print in audio. I have high hopes it will be re-audiobooked sometime in 2011. And I’ll do my darnedest to make it happen.

SS-GB by Len Deighton

#2 – I’m always in favour of audiobooking a paperbook containing both a Donald E. Westlake and a Lawrence Block story. This one would probably have to wait until next November to be a viable audiobook.

Christmas At The Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler

#3 – Best American Noir Century, edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler. What a crazy title! Though I should point out that in the fine print it reads “The Best American Noir of the Century” – This sounds like it would be a very good listen! With stories by Jim Thompson, James M. Cain and more than a dozen others it ought to have a good dispersionary impact. Reading a best of anthology can also give a quick taste of many authors – which leads to a lot more listening. Sadly, most of the stories actually in it are from the end of the 20th century and some of the one’s I recognize aren’t very noir.* – SEE THE COMMENTS

Best American Noir Century edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler

#4 – He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson – Assuming that such a collection is a good idea to begin with (we have a similar one for Jack Vance) – this is a natural to turn audiobook – it does everything that a regular themed anthology does, but it does it with a guy instead of an idea. Opinions?

He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson

#5 – The Sherlockian by Graham Moore – minimalist cover art rarely works for me. This one totally does. Skimming the back of the book, it sounded rather awesome too!

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

#6 – Subtitled “A Medieval Noir” this novel, Jeri Westerson’s Veil Of Lies, might be a more dank and dangerous answer to the cozy Brother Cadfael books. Plus I dig the dude with the dagger.

Veil Of Lies: A Medieval Noir by Jeri Westerson

#7 – And if the first book in the series is audiobook-worthy, why not the second too? Maybe we ought to see how the first goes?

Serpent In The Thorns: A Medieval Noir by Jeri Westerson

#8 – Doing the public domain shuffle this book plucks several of my interests! What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale Of Henry James And Jack The Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen – And check out that gorgeous cover!

What Alice Knew - A Most Curious Tale Of Henry James And Jack The Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen

#9 – Now this one takes the PD mash-up meme just one step too far for me. Adding zombies to The War Of The Worlds? Really? Martians and zombies? The only reason H.G. Wells isn’t turning over in his grave is because he wouldn’t go zombie – ever! I do like the idea of more guts and blood though.

The War Of The Worlds Plus Blood Guts And Zombies by Eric S. Brown

Posted by Jesse Willis