The SFFaudio Podcast #790 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sword Of Welleran by Lord Dunsany

The SFFaudio Podcast #790 – The Sword Of Welleran by Lord Dunsany, read by Ed Humpal (for LibriVox). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott Danielson, Maissa Bessada, and Jonathan Weichsel.

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, and other stories, great sword and sorcery books, Brian Murphy, a Penguin edition, In The Land Of Time, some fantasy role playing games, fantasy tropes, an intelligent sword, a sword with a soul inside, prose poetry, how to make writing better, at every opportunity, consonance and assonance back to back, very distinctive, so dense, so much, you need the space, take them in more slowly, 34 minutes, feels like a couple hours, a spell that he’s casting, repetition, ideas, who is I?, he’s the dreamer who is proud of his dreaming, sit before my fire asleep, draw away from the face of god, is this dreamer god?, the world that he’s spinning up, somebody bigger than time, somebody omniscient, the city, these dudes from a long time ago, everything’s dreamy, a nice and soft hard shift, thieves going to be executed, check out the city as spies, thieves, criminals as the protagonists, some sort of sense of honour, The Highwaymen, The Wonderful Window, he can almost smell the bakers and spice merchants, a hint of the smell, sat down by the fire, a nice dog at his feet, a long list of heroes, don’t forget Welleran, Young Iraine, a depth of history, Mermina, somnolence, a memory mumbley word that you remember, a Dreamlands, centered in a city, barbarians around, sing the praises of Welleran weaponless, protected by these old heroes, Roald, this thing that poets do, claim to be visionaries, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, smoking opium, a knock on the door, the vision was gone, after the fact, the game these poets are playing, are they?, part of the fiction of the story?, he’s playful, jumps out the window and runs down the street, The Hashish Man, it was not that at all, I do it with hashish, I know Bathmoora well, different brain, doing it as a poem, composed in the way, not so much about meaning as it is about feeling, The Irish Times review, baffling, strange but captivating, Seejar and Sejar-Ho, virtually identical to each other, a little dialogue, one-act plays, servants, listen to the piano, let’s put on a play, four characters, roll through the story, some resonance here, Dan Carlin’s latest, Twilight Of The Aesir, the Byzantines in 941, the Keivan Rus, Finnish, Oleg, Ayegar, was a great city, they think of themselves as Romans, 1000, years later, Constantinople, Istanbul, as if we had gone to heaven, unbelievable, full of heroes as it once was, field a thousand ships and 40,000 troops against the city, the leadership digs out mothballed wooden ships, animal heads, open mouths, unleash Greek fire, they didn’t know that was a thing, that was invented 300 years ago, they still had the tech, ended with a treaty, won the battle, the plot of this, an old city, decadent, tired sleepy citizens, wary barbarians, are they as tough as they say they are?, no reference, weird awesome fantasy, resonated deep, this change that occurred, the place that everyone fought for 100 years ago, like the heroes did in the past, lamenting how evil the sword was, they would have lost their city, people have funny ideas, interesting coming from the narrator, the interesting comment from the god, the heroes existed to defend this place, it doesn’t even occur to them to defend the place, once they have victory, this sword is evil, what was the alternative, this generational change, the change in values, resonates today for obvious reasons, floating around in our culture right now, the whole city was the product of the sword, the swords that wanted all of this, an anti-war story, the men that never would have lived, the gardens that didn’t grow, if you go back further when they built the city, the wish of the city or the wish of the sword, anti-war in the face of destruction, a very fascinating idea, very conflicted, I’m not supposed to like the people, the ending would be the surprise, Lovecraft, The Doom The Came To Sarnath, a civilization they genocide, salamander people from the moon, didn’t know much about fire, become incredibly decadent, a possible reading, if we lean on the idea that the sword has a soul, not to make friends, to kill, on page 30 of the PDF, drew round about him the huge red cloak around him, and and now, Roald’s dreams to him to the sword, in thy hand, it is a good sword to hold, take up the sword of Welleran, cajoled, we can lean on this idea, doing the defense of the city, enstatued, sword under glass, the unarmed singer, patrols the city, are they wiser than we think they are?, Maissa’s right, taken them back, defending the city, the lament at the end, another line, about paradise, like a warm fire, a great anthem, a stillness full of lights, what art thou thy shimmering thing, layers on, blending the characters, the god of the story, really interesting, how Dunsay led his life, 1918ish, the Irish Civil War, pro-British domination of the Irish, but he does it, a poet and a hunter and an appreciator of many things, the hero reborn, he’s the guy who takes up the sword when no one else will, part of the story is hilarious, a series of heroes, their souls leaving their bodies, their horses are freed, inspired by a dream, stay under glass, held off for 300 years by rumour, look they’re still there, confirm that their not dead, the robbers were wrong, they touch the statue, puts his eyes on the cloak, touches the mane of the horse, the colours of the different materials, alabaster, marble, sable, jasper, Clark Ashton Smith, the beauty of the material, a message under there, what kinda enemies, Lord Dunsany’s gonna get canceled, it’s not London, has resonance for all people, the slaughter, we blame the sword, it doesn’t wash clean of blood, even Roald is possessed, have they overcome their decadence, an outside spirit inside of themselves?, the right lesson, heroes will always rise, young Irane, double letters, two Ls two Os, a new thought came into the heart of Merimna’s people, when England needed to rise, the spirit of the people rose up in the personification of Churchill, why did Welleran wear the great red cloak, the way of Welleran, back to his mother’s house, almost a religious fervor, patriotism, a more general reading, holding of the sword, dropped the swords, the right reaction, right to be horrified by what they had done, they did what they had to do, simulation theory, NPCs running around in a simulation, way ahead of himself, the good and correct thing, defend the empire against the barbarians, lazy or dreamers, languorous, goes to the sun, it’s cute because it wants to kill, the reason it’s pawing, excited by the images, this is the leader we need right now, being pad to shill, like we’re all addicts, WWI, The Bowmen by Arthur Machen, charge into machinegun fire, we still have our fingers, this is a true story, we must believe in this story, no, it’s a true story, it has to be true, we have god on our side, angels of our ancestors, that’s crazy, they need it to be true, when signing up for the army, Audie Murphy, these classic wars, picking up the same uniform, pure fantasy, where do these heroes come from, he becomes Welleran, Roald would be added to the list, Arthurian legend, we need FDR to come back and fulfill his fourth term, mythological heroes are going to return one day, the puritan work ethic, they’re kind of lax, they’re sleeping too much, moved by this story, parallels today, what do people say?, a difficult week, Jonathan’s mom had a stroke, rehab, with stuff this old, other than Brian Murphy on us, a famous name from so long ago, only as an old writer, so fantastic, there’s no genocide, a defense of the city, he kisses the sword with his lips, battle sweat, more like possession, nervousness, something he needs, keeping it close, our hands can hold swords no more, go among dreams, take the old swords, the mouth the the ravine, make him take my sword, they were all tricked too, the city is hot, the gods made the city hot, go out now into the desert, for fear of the desert robbers, sent up a fever over it, what was the alternative, they’re going to sack the city, rising them from slumber, rise up and protect yourselves, coming from the right place, deceived or pushed into doing this, violence, under barbarian rule tomorrow, it is confusing, it all is ambiguous, kinda like gods now, the beautiful buildings, the architecture, an excellent point, defend the architecture that the heroes love, Roald and his mom, every page has gold on it, invoking the name, aka I’m Welleran, the savage lusting sword that had thirsted for a hundred years, warm blood all about it, the joy of the swimmer, living for long in a dry land, Welleran lives!, the exulting, the sword singing softly to itself, violence and lust for blood, poured into the depth of the darkness, gleaming blue, gleaming red, the whole battle, thrust through, they blame it on the weapon, really quite choice, it makes sense, in his castle, Morton Drax, ancestors, popish plot, sitting in his house, dog at his feet, drowsing, a burglar at the window, he’s got a pipe wrench, one of his ancestor’s guns, shoots the bad, rifle, what have you done?, bad gun!, sleep soundly, not that this is a true story, decadent guy, armorial trophies, a morality there, not everything ideal all the time, when it is necessary we reach for the sword, fighting for the wrong side, where does his title come from, anglo-irish lord, aristocratic, beautiful architecture, subhuman, he has to, Star Trek, the Irish reunifcation of 2024, proven wrong once and for all, Roland, rolled in, all one, he does roll out like a Transformer, transformed, The Song Of Roland, 11th century Frankish Challenge story, the Stephen King book, the poem, more innocent, more Roald than Welleran, sounds nice, the most jarring of the names, rhymes, they pair together, no sense of an ocean nearby, surrounded on four sides, this is not how great cities come to be, Paris, generally they’re coastal cities, London, Russia has no natural boundaries, what Russia does, create a buffer, back and forth, conquering the neighbouring lands, everything taken back, historical parallels, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, one of the historical sieges of Vienna, Red Sonja has a real sister, the star of that story, mostly swords still, becoming mercenaries for a decadent city, for the love of battle and personal reasons, Rogatino, contemporary with Conan, Hyrkania, sometimes Russia sometimes Ukraine, sounds like a guy’s name, sounds like a British name, Wayland, Weiland, sounding eastern, playing some sort of game in dreaming up this city, how civilization is, the truth of that story, making a scapegoat of the sword, blaming, not have the equipment taken by the barbarians, the deep ravine, horses let to roam free, a wound that won’t close, on his way to the deep ravine to die, his soul leaves his body but he continues to ride, bones in the ravine, there’s something in there, Roald touches the horse and the man in the same way, seeing with your hand, dark, night, they’re all asleep in the Dreamlands, the story of the horse, pastiche of dreams with a simple story, bowed to the ground, horse’s hoof, poetry poetry poetry, quite cold, the terrible hand of Welleran, he was marble too, the figure of fear, heard the guard, you may sing of Welleran, still restless in the night, naught can save your city, the two spies went back alive, were wont to go back, hid themselves away, that only live a day, so beautiful, pure poetry, the story is solid, how come you don’t write like that Jonathan?, everyone has their own unique voice, classic satire, we can appreciate it, I would have preferred to have a different style, die and be reborn, we can fake it, who else could have written this?, lost in eddies different, Lovecraft’s agenda is always pointed, resentment built into it, often based on being poor, it’s not fair that I’m poor, cutesy and cuddly axes, he is traumatized not at all, a dark sense of humour, he turns the light away from the dark scenes, Clark Ashton Smith is sex mad, a shapely shape, incubi and succubi, like a Weichsel story, understanding who the writer was, trauma or non-trauma, debates about AI art, a this year thing, the fascination people have with the artist or the writer, born into wealth and privileged, born to illiterate parents, different experiences, ai traumas, aristocratic literature, what is the struggle that Dunsany had?, live up to ancestors, equal to almost every task, immediately becomes poor, Poe is easy, tries to woo every woman on the planet, chessmaster, fencing master, officer, lord, hunter, winner, I like art, I like funny cute stories, isn’t this cute?, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, head wound, living a pretty great life, invented some game, a healthy dream life, extremely fertile imagination, Jorkens stories, kind of a joke, Herman Melville, supergay but not traumatized by it, George MacDonald, children’s literature, for adult amusement, people make kids read classic works, Black Beauty, a reflection of his room, trying to see each other, Alice In Wonderland, C.S. Lewis?, Lewis Carroll, it was never for children, The Hobbit is for children (8 year olds), The Lord Of The Rings is for slightly older children (10 year olds), very rich, compare Dunsany to Tolkien,

TOLKIEN: Dunsany, your stuff is not rigorous enough to really tell a story in a secondary world one needs a new language, a backstory to explain the gods and demons to haunt a world, a rich tapestried backstory for world building [runs off to Silmarill for a while]

DUNSANY: I like the sound of these words together and so I built a city, dome on dome and pile on pile.

[CLARK ASHTON SMITH: ok, but what materials are that city made from? what chalcedony? what ebon fanes? and in those fanes what arabesques whose numberless, unwonted hues..]

what day of week each Hobbit is where vs. a sketch, out and onto paper, next story, a stylistic choice, the dreamlike quality, Aragorn son of Arathorn, ephemeral, out of fashion and not as well loved, why had he picked that one, on the list, the lasting impact, the sword that has a soul, a whole Elric series, Stormbringer, Audio Realms, what a beautiful ones that was, adding background stuff to a reading, that’s where Wayne June came from, his readings of Lovecraft, very scarce, very expensive, difficult/impossible to adapt to other media, would make a great cartoon, a great comic, do a lot of his words, lots of voice over narration, not having their words, how they fucked up the latest Dune, Jessica has to cry all the time, see their eyes brighten up, you can see the hands crawling up the statue, the reaction in the eyes, not the mode we’re in right now, expressionism in film, somebody could do it, on Prime, dramatic interpretation to individual scenes, frame the story, My Talks With Dean Spanley (2008), Star Wars, based on other films, film noir, short stories or novels, the exceptions are very rare, Casablanca, based on a play, somebody saw a movie once, not looking at the original material, Harlan Ellison essay, The Words In Spock’s Mouth, create in totality, “fans” such as yourself, slave for three months, god knows who all else, politely told to screw off, a fleeting commodity, the credit he gets when the segment is show, how could you be so ignorant, we all start off that way, this one has a dragon on the cover, that one has spaceship, they’re both good covers, somebody’s name, match the name not the picture, a million axes to grind, when do most people stop reading? as children, people are still reading (their phones), reading comments, the most striking weird thing of our age, a chat window rushing up the screen, thousands of children saying lol, what about blah blah blah trigger word, dip into the river, the writing vs the reading, the quantity of the writing vs. the quality, can’t fathom it, the medium specifically of streaming, lol and emoji and trigger word, a question that gets lost, every medium is completely different, you can record a livestream and make it a podcast, a livestream and a youtube and a podcast, all the same content, why are we doing this weird thing of caring about old books, we used to be normal for hundreds of years, now we’re something else, found ourselves invaded by barbarians who are incomprehensible, this person was honest enough to oput his ghost writer on the cover, Peter Mansbridge has a new book out, on TV for 40 years as a newsreader, credibility with the boomers, the dominant medium, no real trauma, you know why he’s writing, he thinks he’s an artist, satisfaction out of his shitty life, very good question, for pleasure?, its fun, wealthy writers are very rare, the wealthiest journalist, A. Merritt, Edgar Rice Burroughs, some ghost writing for very rich people, typical of rich people, writing is a helluv a lot of work, he writes poetry, this is a story, read it as a story, not just look at the sound, images, telling a story in a very short and beautiful space, paying for music, lower class to want to make money off of your writing, he didn’t need the money, driven by pleasure it seems, a story that tells itself, he wrote some novels, Books Of Wonder, The Gods Of Pegana, chamber plays, he wrote those, what the aristocrats did, a sinister motive, be popular at parties, [The Idler] the ads for it are for very expensive cars and airplanes, one page stories, eligible women to marry and what their titles are, a diversion, the receiving of the paycheck, a pursuit of people needed money, he put his name on it, so did Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft, sex poems, he has the talent, he likes what his pen can do, compare Dunsany and Robert E. Howard, an axe to grind, barbarism vs. civilization, a decorative axe, an evil axe, Dungeons & Dragons, even sting gets a name, legends behind every sword, name one of Conan’s swords, any sword, any horse, making money, all up in the air, that aloofness doesn’t resonate, we’re there, Flame and Crimson: A History of Sword-and-Sorcery, Eric Brighteyes, The Ship Of Ishtar, The Tower Of The Elephant, Dragon Moon by Henry Kutter, Jack Vance, L. Sprague De Camp, Poul Anderson, The Tale of Hauk, Karl Edward Wagner, David Drake, Imaro, pocket protector tells you his era, glasses case, a horrible drunk, a keg of beer in his office, a mane of hair, died from alcohol, an editor at DAW, rediscover forgotten authors, have it as Howard wrote it, concluded in the early 2000s, In A Lonely Place, horror writers, the Tennessee woods, inspired by The King In Yellow, Sticks, Ramsey Campbell, $25,000 a year, $100,000 yearly, property in Jamaica and Ecuador, the handcuffs and the straitjacket and the scullery brush, Travels by Michael Crichton, 15 hours-ish, horrible thanksgiving, they’re lying, the hospital kidnapped me, little writing done, life problems, life gets in the way, back to writing short stories, where the money is, asking about Ace, so long ago, the first thanksgiving and Peter Mansbridge, the propaganda for Thanksgiving is deep in your bones, pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie, slavery, slaves were often cooks, adapted African meals, yams, to serve to their masters, this is cultural appropriation, abolitionist propaganda, toiling for pumpkins, a replacement for the sweet potato pie, well no actually, fighting over this, people don’t change, the symbolism has gone but the food remains, bulgogi, sweet savoury sauce, bought it at Costco, some soup, sweet soup, tasted like plum, Chinese and Korean students, immigrant area outside of New York City, poor Maissa, not a big rosewater fan, put it in rice, dried roses in tea, a very specific Persian, that’s not a feature, Korean bbq, they cook their own food there, moms are always cooking food, a cooking culture, kimchi fridges, cook it on the table, lot and lots of funny, skycat to Cave Girl, Fury by Henry Kuttner, Islamic Development Bank, isdb, May – July 1947, C.L. Moore’s husband, you could only renew in one year, they don’t do it anymore, it’s not libel if it’s true, to bankrupt your opponent, already bankrupt, they’re dumb, having Shambleau renewed pissed Jesse off, Tryst In Time by C.L. Moore, Fury, Carry Me Home, Heir Apparent, Sky Is Falling, Beauty And The Beast, Voice Of Lobster, prolific authors, written under pseudonyms, collected it later, every single story written by Kuttner and Moore, Robert Silverberg, novels on LibriVox, Hemple, he got every word right, a straight reading, it became transparent, limp, a more lilt, had to read it that way, a sound story, The Fairy Chessmen, they did renew a lot, 1947, Harry Harrison, Hell Bath No Fury, 1947, Street & Smith, Lawrence O’Donnell, cigarette ads, first paperback edition, the most popular writing team in science fiction, it’s public domain, other options, FadedPage, Gutenberg, two things that are happening, the library google scan system, if disproven, sue me if you think your right, allows people to share, the DMCA, a funny situation,, etexts of almost all of Philip K. Dick, English and Russian, C.L. Moore, Judgement Night, 1943, a novella, locked away for all the eternity, until the empire collapses, January 2025, compare statement to reality and call Jonathan a prophet, money debasing scheme, that’s like the petrodollar, students were studying hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic, a James Bond novels, part of the problem, they’re good books, the original Epic Of Gilgamesh, a really thin book and half of it is the introduction, Ian Fleming, Live And Let Die, Property Of A Lady, From A View To A Kill, From Russia With Love, has to be on a Canadian server, science fiction adjacent, Fu Manchu, Doctor No, robot hands, a dragon, sexy, cool, half German half Chinese, a sovereign citizen, damaged eyes, an indomitable will, a Robert E. Howard villain character, Ray Cummings, The Girl In The Golden Atom, aliens who want to kidnap all the human women, the Tama books, the serialization, to super science, Fantastic Adventures, viking queen in shining armour, Eskimo dudes, wizard staff, amazing covers, Robert Bloch, what Sam Moskowitz did, for reintroduction later, Famous Fantastic Mysteries anthology, the best of the Munseys, a short story or something, a poem, something nice, giant lady riding a seahorse, pewter pasties and u-boat in the foreground, lady wearing a red mask, eagle on her head, riding a Pegasus, and a pistol in her belt, giant ladies of the sea and submarines, tiger by her side, guy with colt automatic facing her, she’s topless, ladies riding wooly mammoths into cover, add a little lust, draw people in, little people, fairies or leprechauns discover giant lady in waterfall, Lady Godiva at the end of the rainbow, epic fantasy about Lady Godiva, epic in scale, husband’s a lord, ride through town naked on a horse, lock yourselves inside your houses, Circe Lannister style, covers herself with her hair, all of her parts, one guy named Tom, Tom peeps out the window, the etymology of peeping Tom, struck blind, needs some filler, flesh coloured body suit, Lady Godiva of Coventry, Maureen O’Hara, James Alderdice, David J. West, Run If You Can, Owen Dudley, so love, but so bad!, meets a water sprite in a ditch, forced to confront her with a luger, communist pirate radio program, that would be neat, that picture tells a whole story, it raises a question, the story answering the question fulfills the promise of the cover, design based covers, they don’t raise a question, the AI art is getting pretty good, doesn’t generally raise a question, match the cover to something that they wrote, the first thing the reader sees is the cover, that’s a promise, this is what’s in side, quarter pounder with cheese, now it needs a cover, is that what’s in here?, the answer is yes, oh and now I need a cover, psuedoscientific ideas, images and text and fonts, based on a philosophy, illegitimate, on and island with limited electricity, the cover of The Hobbit, what’s this about, will you read it to us, damn, that was good, Tolkien books, it has to be an image, a promise of what is inside, even romance novels, a farm, a fence, a guy riding a horse, communicate what genre the book is, a fence and silo, no rocket in the book, gothic romance, Fabio on a horse, misreading the romance genre, romance readers are more loyal than anybody else, girl porn, we’re ripped off in the science fiction, a book about robots, about an autistic lady, they depict something that’s in the book, but not the tone, the best thing about it was the cover, slapdash, can you make it a novelette, reads like a summary of a story, wasted time, an argument against the illustrated cover, old fashioned books, wanting read a modern book, the ideal reader, some people bought them, wanted to be in the in group, Barack Obama’s autobiography, not secure in your identity as an adult, you think he’s contemptible, retarded or secure in their adulthood, no good comics anymore, big pot belly, curly long hair tied into a pony tail, they only collect the covers now, Red Sonja, I should be reading this, getting pissed off, the writing is not Howard, very John Buscema, Jim Zub doesn’t have the problems Robert E. Howard, Dunsany doesn’t need trauma, romantic poets, nobody reads them, having a connection to nature, hard to penetrate poems, The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe, either a guy sitting outside a lady’s house, sneaks into the house, looks at her dead body, the trauma of death, beautiful dead woman, very accessible, what makes something really hot is that it’s out now, these pulp revivalist, The Cromcast, his trauma is in the stories, an axe to grind, five or six things, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit And The Pendulum (a terrible story), suspense piled on, well done for what it is, Morella is way better, what axe they have to grind, anti-catholic prejudice, what does he linger on, the walls are closing in, covered in rats, The Raven, Annabelle Lee, The Bells, Berenice is pretty nice Chris Sempter (Poe Museum guy), a harsh grating, the fiery walls, fainting into the abyss, Toledo, we don’t know anything about his sins, saved by the protestants, he’s an atheist, always talking about angels, consecrated her body to worms and heaven, guy loves his wife, he loves her beautiful smile, smashes her teeth out, symbolic of her, monomaniac, now she’s toothless, a very Jonathan story, the four paragraphs that are left out of later publications, this story got a lot of negative attention, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, heat brings warmth and warmth brings fire and fire is what this magazine needs, proceeded to do that, writing outrageous stories designed to provoke, put a nude lady on the cover of you book, argues for being outrageous, to sell stories, self-doubt sometimes, go along to get along, pick a genre, memorize the plot beats, followed that advice, don’t trust the experts, 20 books to 50k, that’s a thing there, bragging how much money you make in a month, aquatic animals, on Facebook, not legitimate, a specific graphic, 2 figures a month, a prawn, a lobster, a trout, their analogy is the broken thing, salmon, dolphin, whale, kelpie, kraken, whoever wrote this list is a bad writer, they’re all bad writers, chasing big dollar amounts, propaganda like this, streamers, you know this is streaming right now, thousands of people who want to be streamers and 100 that make a living at it, I’m locked in the house and I like games, free money, those donations are half for me and half for them, sharecropper, tips and tricks to self-publishing, spending more than that on Amazon ads, bragging about their net, bestsellers, The Empyrean #2 – Iron Flame by Rebecca Yaros, 119,000 ratings, campus romance, new Hunger Games book, continue on the path, any good covers on here?, you’re not supposed to stand out you’re supposed to fit in, all a scam, partially a scam, Michael Connelly, Nora Roberts, Suzanne Collins, girls like adventure stories, choosing dresses and choosing boyfriends, readers are getting tired of the series, a certain kind of reader who is autistic, dragons on the cover, what if you just become obsessed with dragons, Anne McCaffrey’s career, all of the Harry Potter series, a new character, Harry Potter rip-off books, readers who just want to read dragon books, to serve the readers, autism is on the rise?, these are the only people left?, other forms of distraction, traditional publishing has moved away from commercial fiction, being very cynical about how to pitch their books, respectable, using their real names sometimes, an executive, Roger Corman was very cynical, his Poe adaptation, Death Race 2000 (1975), invented the formula, young boys will go to the movies with their older brother, girls will go to the movie their boyfriend, a date with a spare, target to your movie to the girlfriend, the target is the older brother, PG-13 was the 80s, gaming society, all these formulas, commission an artist to make a movie poster, which movie do you want to see, Roger Corman movie list, Machete Maidens, Teenage Cave Man, The Fast And The Furious, Star Wars style ripoffs, Alien ripoffs, his Poe movies with Vincent Price, this monologue, The Masque Of The Red Death (1964), a lot of Cannes stuff, a very good artist, a lot of the pulp is the same way, people like trains, a magazine of train stories, artists, the artistry, they’re on the internet, all using pen-names, have integrity, going against the grain of what has been expected during the self-publishing era, unprofessional, oh he’s doing wrong, becoming whales, they’re the lobsters, the Elantris guy, do what he does, the Salt Lake City guy, Brandon Sanderson, not broken the way I need to be to like them, his interests, being forthright and sticking to his guns, like Stephen King: whatever the empire says, actual banned books, using copyright to prevent the spread of Rage, Spielberg re-edited E.T., I regret having made that decision, successful, 1941 (1979), the Battle Of Los Angeles, The Goonies (1985), Richard Donner, written by Stephen Spielberg, An Adventures In Babysitting (1987), asian guy says, and you can’t do generic asian, narrowing it, it never was a great idea, Tarzan takes the feminine world, needs to be rescued, he’s the Miranda, The Tempest, Rapunzel in the tower, Jane is the Prince Charming, Sheena is a gender flip of the gender flip, The Jungle Book, Green Mansions, a gender flipping website, flips Conan to Conana, Pirates Of Ersatz, girls are capable of being inseminated and having a result happen, racist!, biology is important vs. biology is whatever I say it is, she had a boyfriend who was very demure, she’s all aggressive and barbaric, staying at home, it distracted from the story that was originally being told, flipping the gender of Ghostbusters, they’re not redoing a play, they rewrite the script completely, make the characters dumb, the dumbest one was Bill Murray (he was a fake), a girl who is a babysitter, that’s what the idea was, a fuckin stupid idea (unless Jesse is missing something), they’re not going to inseminate their kids, the whole point of the job “babysitter” why maids are called maids and maidens, we need the money for the family, cooking and cleaning and moving things around, now you have to do that for your husband, the male version, these are teenagers, 12 – 13, they get out of the house, keep them out of the liquor cabinet, tape me to the seat, getting them back, what’s going to happen, one of the kids should be older than you, big and strong, it works, like Home Alone, get them back home before the cops get them, set it in Hollywood, get a celebrity to play a celebrity, Alpha Dog (2006), acknowledge the original movie to set the expectations, we know about this other movie, expectations set, things can be fixed, let’s gender flip stuff, a panacea somehow, let’s gender flip Romeo and Juliet, gay men or lesbians, a girl in her balcony, a guy wooing a girl, a gay movie, butch and femme, old couples, people married for seventy years, in real life this happens, lesbian couple sixty years on, that doesn’t work for storytelling, you have to have some differences, what if you don’t believe in differences, flippable on a dime, Will has somebody visiting, a direct message, your politics are always interesting to me, in foreign policy matters you’re basically a tankie, denying the Uyghur genocide, pro-DPRK, anti-sending arms to Ukraine, in other ways your conservative, love Heinlein, vaxx skepticism, trans skepticism, strong opinions of things being for men and women, a little trad for me, a lot more enthusiastic about abortion, it’s fuckn legal up here, it just happens, grew up in a house with women, uncles are different from aunts, people are easily liftable, they’re the same too, arms and legs and pencils, women writers put on a male character, anything is possible, I was told I could be anything I wanted, you’re wrong about that stuff, that’s not normal, weightlifting, the author’s introduction to Slaughterhouse Five, department of anthropology, any thing you study at university that has the words “studies” at the end, science fiction written by women, people have bad ideas, millions of years, get two dogs, lift up the back end and looking, both sharp teeth, people are even more different than dogs, sexual dimorphism throughout the species, the brain is a part of the body, a school shooting, the person who did the shooting was trans, a dude did it, who does school shootings?, dudes, the fucking hormones do shit to your brain, some girls like to wrestle, a female wrestling team at most high-schools?, female basketball players, female football, soccer, lacrosse is a male game as well, lawn hockey, ring hockey, sports teams and interests for girls, kinda weird, adult person, a manifesto, adults going to schools, a graduate of that school going back, something went wrong there a long time ago, dudes tend to do school shootings, poison, most girls don’t shoot, revenge fantasy, feels they were victimized, commit suicide, abandon schools, not a popular idea, doesn’t seem to come up much in the debates, make it more like prison, mandatory universal education, more people reading, be critical of stuff, there are good teachers, there are good prison guards, an English class, we’re writing essays about the books, very much alone in that, the books are boring and stupid, bullshit to write the essays, Jesse loves essays, what purpose to essays serve in our society, they’re punishment, the next six months will tell, the war goes on for twenty years, jerking off the audience, Jonathan Swift, hilarious essay, this is what you should be striving for, structured like an essay, digressions, making fun of the solution being offered, Edgeworks, why are trying to make everybody like Harlan Ellison, there were essayists, that’s 60 years ago, essays are wonderful, some people should write them, teaching them how to organize their thoughts, let’s look at a youtube comment, sometimes they’re well written and badly spelled, people want to communicate, if they spell correctly, intentional misspelling, teh, more high end, tiktok style video, clickbaity stuff, someguy’s building a mechsuit, forthright people who want to express their appreciation, thanks for this video, an answer to your query, what went wrong, they aren’t being graded, mispronounce a word you’ve never spoken, it all goes back to it’s an institution, this is where you go to die, all scary things, the hospital, preschool, a montesorri school, teachers are burdened with 10-20 kids, yellow jackets, hold hands, dealing with a herd, a herd of children needing to be herded, we’re not herd animals, horse and sheep love big groups, you need an uncle a friend and a dad to teach you something, telling 17 guys the same thing, this kid has this problem, needs certain standards to live up to, math, reading, do you think most kids learn to read in school, do most kids learn math in school, the institution is broken, girls are better at doing schools than boys, public school has always been broken, the schools don’t teach, alternative school, the kids who failed or got kicked out, kids liked it a lot more, teachers got it a lot more, we have to punish criminal wrongdoers, before the settlers came in, put you on this island, this is the way we do it, it’s good to have a place where you have the x-ray machine, school is the worst institution, prisoners learn more in prison than in school, got nothing to do, learn trades, car repair, what did people do before school, apprentices, guilds, learn a trade, go into the family business, sailor, tutors and parents, uncles and aunts, primer books, one of the first ESL teachers around, not a single word of English, very nice lady, students loved her, the normal thing, mostly not, teaching a program they disagree with, they’re always looking for teachers, making a new school, pick the team, the same teaching philosophy, struggle through this horrible system, safe babysitting, fun babysitting, 30 or 40 kids in the classroom, socializing, being down by the river washing and singing songs, also Jonathan, not everybody needs to learn to read, to plead to a politician, plead to a judge, bus driver, short order cook, stop signs, functionally literate, they didn’t learn that from school generally, parents, older brother, older sister, uncle, individual tutors, most kids don’t read with their parents, most parents don’t read, why is that, two parents are outside the home a lot, kids being raised by strangers, they’re little fucking sponges, you can see the kid learning shit, you can see massive progress happening, their brains are young and spongy, some tutor needs to be doing this, that value, they don’t have time, they’re addicted to their other things, priorities, if you work an eight hour shift, reading to your kid is not relaxing, when’s that reading happening, grandma’s retired, without an education we wouldn’t have a common culture, the anthem, the history, Shakespeare, no common frame of reference, get things done, because of the internet, micro-culture, jail them harder, didn’t want university to stop, 4 years then you’re done, learning is wonderful, didn’t remember it ten days later, for what purpose, we’re not able to do that now, concrete me, working the census, training, your name and your pronouns, she doesn’t know what a pronouns, now is the time we need to be caring about pronouns, when people were able to communicating, “leading”, that’s a lady, she’s an old lady you can tell by looking at it, the “leader”, enforcing the rules, she’s an institution, the old lady’s way, the government way, strap her in a chair and yell at her about pronouns, certain frames of reference, society to function smoothly, close to a civil war, upset and grumpy, people don’t understand each other, I’m assuming your pronouns are the worst, a humiliation ritual, land acknowledgment, we’re sitting on unceded territory, couched as honouring, leadership classes, a lack of education, we had a way of doing it, a mixed group, they made the movie, the teacher would get very angry, the kids did not take that lesson, a game being played, kids inherently, the way you learn hopscotch, a child culture, using the rules are being used to fuck with the guards, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, picking the worst leaders, failed to correct them, they’re enforcing the way they want to speak, I can’t afford a car, a house, or a kid, I can afford a tattoo and a Starbucks and my pronouns my hair colour and my piercings, an animal trapped in a cage, get rid of all the institutions, for humans health, and hence you defend them, corrupt, a little bit of power, elbow that person down, if I controlled the institutions I would like them very much, sent people to the Moons, did institutions send people to the room, a kind of story about institutions we can tell, why did NASA exist after a certain point, few guys working a console looking at old probes, Elon Musk, whoever’s his estate, companies, Google is in institution now, owns planets, preserve knowledge, grouping together is an institutions, start with a big pile of money, they devolve, The Royal Society, what has it done from us lately, when did the Royal Society get disbanded?, the people in the clouds in Gulliver’s Travels, dot org no less, science book prize, responsible for England’s military might, used to colonize the world, they need to be disbanded, overturning of these things, a Robert E. Howard, you’re the Lovecraft in this, the world needs barbarians, vaccines against COVID-19, shape publish discourse, like that the vaccine doesn’t work?, down with the institutions, nothing but oppress and hold Jonathan back, overproduction of people who think they’re elites, an axe to grind against every institution, do suggest anarchy, know a dude, wants to learn that shit, I’m gonna fix that thing, that’s how you do it, YouTube is a better institution, a tech utopian vision, more on the anarchist, works collectively, the system women lived under in James Tiptree’s Houston, Houston, Do You Read?, very old and needs to be changed, when the whole thing collapses, forcibly disbanded, go up to the doors and start chopping, gets the axe, traditional publishing, they don’t really understand what trouble they’re in, the bottom is going to fall out, New York publishing system, people like Jonathan, the authors that people look up to, books are not going to go away, paperbooks are never going to go away, too good a tech to throw away, merits that can’t be replaced, no tech ever dies, but the dominance does change, most people learn to read somehow, she loves her kids, some have to do it in prison, we gotta face facts, essay writing is not the key to success, blogposts, essays, children being taught them is a mistake, executive summaries, a stupid elected politician, make their shitty decision, a concise essay to read, Trump didn’t like reading them, his genius is being a stupid idiot and trusting his gut, they’re all up their own fucking asses, a bunch of words that mean enemy, no way to plan your society, they’re not as interesting generally, very topical, a fantasy story, very highly influential, Horatio Alger style stories, the least popular podcast you can do, if we were all literary people in coffee houses, we’re on the wrong track, learn how to read essays, we’re going to war with Ukraine, The New York Times, intellectuals in the New Jersey area, you don’t want to rock the boat, how was this useful, was once a great institution, centuries ago, The New York Times book review, obviously trash, a low class font, high fancy script font, a long time, new ones pop up, civilization vs. barbarians, the people online are digital barbarians, faceless hordes.

Welleran And The Sword Of Welleran

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #456 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard


Robert E. Howard's The Vale Of Lost Women
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #456 – The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard, read by Todd McLaren (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Mark Finn.

Talked about on today’s show:
Magazine Of Horror, Spring 1967, the worst Conan story?, his Conan career nadir, 300+ stories, 23 Conan stories, not 1/10th of his total output, 12 years, really interesting, racially objectionable material, worth talking about, reading it slowly, a good close-up look at the disgusting ideas, is it more sexist than it is racist?, so much sexism, point of a sword, Hyborian sexism, egregious descriptions, the comic book adaptation, three paragraphs vs three pages, an interminable extermination, a “slaughter”, letters to August Derleth, a historical incident in Texas, the abduction of Cynthia Parker, an epic 8 page recounting, The Searchers (1956), Breckenridge Elkins, The Horror From The Mound, the Kushites are Comanches with the serial numbers filed off, he Conans-it-up, ethnic cleansing, John Wayne, historical antecedents, cranking history backward 14,000 years, Vendhya (India), [insert colour of skin] dog, was this story meant to be seen, was it rejected by Farnsworth Wright?, Howard’s trunk, Gnome Press, L. Sprague de Camp, he Conan-ed them, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Argosy, Red Nails, money owed, the Zenith of the Conan stories, favourite versus best?, a claustrophobic feeling, Queen Of The Black Coast, Beyond The Black River, the guy that everybody’s heard of, rape allegations, Conan’s moral code, holding the guy’s head, disingenuous, gorgeous slaughter, hyperbolic-kinetic prose, even when he’s bad he’s pretty damned good, some exciting prose, Ophir’s analogue, Jeffrey Shanks, he just stole that, it sounds cool, she’s white he’s white and they’re in Africa, the valley women are not black they’re brown-skinned, beautiful and horrible, the Lovecraftian god, Rogues In The House, a monkey who puts on a cloak and becomes a man, when Edgar Allan Poe did it, monkey battle!, Thak (a demi-human ape), Worms Of The Earth, bad writers describe characters looking at themselves in the mirror, from Livia’s eyes, she’s the racist as much as Conan (if not more), Livia’s looking for agency, Livia plays up the racist angle, strikes a bargain, what the heck is going on in The Vale Of Lost Women?, turned into white flowers, Apollo and Daphne, “ravishers”, a suicide situation, lilies rather than lotuses, a dream-like state, fleeing rapists, no escape, a man fighting a god, some sort of a Nietzschean, many marriages, bridal raiding parties, did Matt ravish his wife, symbolic ravishing!, a beautiful token ceremony, that’s what you get when you read 1930s pulp magazines, overstating the fantasy element, Conan The Barbarian #104, a deus ex machina, turned into a laurel tree, a Shakespearean scholar, another attempt to pitch to Farnsworth Wright, an extra $25, Seabury Quinn’s low-grade bondage vs. Howard’s high-grade bondage, the lesbian kiss, Sword Woman, men coming together, the only thing between Jesse and Batman is a big pile of money, X-Men, Watchmen, not just a bunch of white people hitting each other, santizing the really offensive stuff, Howard’s really interested in race, different culture, spending time with people with different cultural interests, living his life, Age Of Conan, it’s not wealth accumulation, its living life to the lees, positive and negative experiences, black characters, Marvel Comics, Mort and Saul, issues 60-100, three issues after Belit’s death scene, the brown women on the splash page look exactly like Belit, giant mirths and giant melancholies, flipping out like ninjas, thinking about things in their context (permissible over the age of 40), ebony skinned and wooly haired, racialism as short hand, The Scrolls Of Skelos, The Nemedian Chronicles, Hawks Over Outremer, Black Canaan, very romantic, barbarism, anthropology, the 1982 movie, holy shit! this is awesome!, Savage Sword Of Conan, bloodier violence and sexier sex, the movies and Dungeons & Dragons, Appendix N, Barry Windsor Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Howard Pyle, beautiful city-scapes, divers hands, Roy Thomas, careful not to show the blood, that’s a dude’s head, showing a kind of real reality that makes you not want to join the army, Sgt. Rock, the comic text is incredibly faithful (and so are the images), fur underwear model, furry loincloth, he’s pulls off the furry loincloth, nude women and nude men, gossamer material clinging to heaving bosoms, if this was a writing podcast, this story is completely broken because it is two stories pasted together, a weird balance, Jesse’s looking at it as a balance between the male and female, an editors eyes, sword and sorcery randomness, even the horse is male, the “bed” of the valley, the velvet sward, going to sleep, The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, an amazing first draft, southwestern themes, 8 paragraphs of smiting and killing, The Hyena, “blacks” are “natives” in the Magazine Of Horror, “black sluts” vs. “native sluts”, “wench”, a doughy white guy from Texas, a powerful agent of change, keeping his own moral compass, throwing philosophy down, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune is a Philip K. Dick story with King Kull, “women are as cheap as plantains in this land and their willingness or unwillingness matters as little”, “the human mind clings unconsciously to familiar values and ideas even amongs surroundings and conditions alien and unrelated to those environs to which such values and ideas are adapted”, pg 55 and 56, “She was stunned by the realization that nothing hinged upon her at all. She could not move men as pawns in a game. She herself was the helpless pawn.”, absurdity, “customs differ in various countries”, Conan is an iconoclast, part of what makes Conan so attractive, that would be uncivilized, “Truces in this land are made to be broken.”, “what would be blackest treachery in another land is wisdom here.”, Realpolitik, force is the only source of power, a way to manipulate people, “homestay”, the only power you have is what you can seize, the cute button ending, the ending of Red Nails, a super-feminist (in a certain sense), a “Red Wedding” situation, accelerating the pace, colour, he loves red and black more than white, crimson, limned, chiaroscuro, a poetic economy, drawing your own conclusions, “a flitting white ghost in a realm of black shadows and red flame”, Livia’s escape, “her toes sprang high”, Yakima Canutt, the Red Sonja movie, Jason Momoa, born on a battlefield, storytelling, Oliver Stone, “Fuck, that’s good writing!”, showing another Cimmerian is a big mistake, a gloomy place, from the darkness, a land of melancholia, The Tower Of The Elephant, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Sergio Leone, a walking “walking-the-earth trope”, it weaves its own spell, [Akira] Kurosawa motifs, Thulsa Doom, Conan The Adventurers, a sudden moral imperative, Conan The Usurper, the Del-Rey editions, the pastiche dilutes the amazingness, The Curse Of The Monolith by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, you can totally feel it, thoughtful discussion, defending Howard’s honour, a productive discussion, standing in the corner and taking notes, going in with low expectations, Mark’s challenge, The Black Stone, Worms Of The Earth, any of Howard’s humour work,

The Vale Of Lost Women

The Vale Of Lost Women

Roy Thomas - from Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 13

The Vale Of Lost Women - Conan and Livia

Posted by Jesse Willis