Reading, Short And Deep #375
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Everything And Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
Everything And Nothing was first published in Spanish in Versión, Autumn 1958.
This unabridged reading of the story (7 hours 3 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Connor Kaye.
Talked about on today’s show:
1907, semi-autobiographical novel, he kills himself at the end, the Lord Dunsany introduction from 1954, narrating audiobooks, a writer of note himself, surprisingly lucky in a way that Machen was not (not just being born a lord), Machen made his money as a journalist, editor, a job here and there, inheriting money from relatives, that allowed him to write, how else do you get the time to write, Lovecraft’s struggles, walking, The Silver Key, ancient Greeks and Romans, The Watcher By The Threshold, the veil, the secret world behind the veil, the colour of that world (is red), the furnace and the fire, light and colour and emotion, a very odd book, this book is a real trip, maybe Machen’s masterpiece, bigger in scope but also very intimate, take out all the parts about the struggle of writing, if condensed down, what makes it into a novel, bounced off this book, what is going on in this book, no clear plot at the start, not having anybody support that, Mark Nelson: fantastic, Mark Nelson has good taste and picks good stuff to narrate, Machen is a tough writer, he’s dense, floating on a river and sensations happen, Mrs. Gibbon and Annie were more important than we thought, the faun on the hill, by the end you understand, the first reading through, the focus is strange, Ambrose Bierce is perverse, Mark Twain, the least understandable way is the best way, this book has its own reading list, Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe, this is my guy, Poe and me are best buds, making gold out of letters on pages, even Lovecraft is easier, Lovecraft doesn’t throw us red herrings, a series of red herrings (the troubles of life), significant as a life trauma (not a plot point), incidents from Lucians life, The Cosy Room, a lot of rooms, he really knows place, exhausting your body walking and coming to a space, he can’t look at certain things in the room, the level distance from the harsh realities, I’m an alien, I’m much higher above looking down, a nice coping mechanism, boys torturing insects, they don’t feel pain anyways, the puppy torture scene, kids are like that, Out Of The Earth, bloodlust of children causing WWI, strange connections, put on the button that says “current thing”, Russians are evil now, very interesting but very difficult, get your trigger warning out, how disassociated Lucian is, I wanted to shake him, he didn’t do anything, talking about it, he has to be aloof from these things, so disconnected from what was happening around him, considering the rest of this story, he is the puppy, he feels, he is a victim, the owner of the puppy, she is the one who comforts him, the girl that becomes his religion, the puppy scene is incredible,
The leader saw the moment for his master-stroke. He slowly drew a piece of rope from his pocket.
“What do you say to that, mun? Now, Thomas Trevor! We’ll hang him over that there bough. Will that suit you, Bobby Williams?”
There was a great shriek of approval and delight. All was again bustle and animation. “I’ll tie it round his neck?” “Get out, mun, you don’t know how it be done.” “Is, I do, Charley.” “Now, let me, gwaes, now do let me.” “You be sure he won’t bite?” “He bain’t mad, be he?” “Suppose we were to tie up his mouth first?”
The puppy still fawned and curried favor, and wagged that sorry tail, and lay down crouching on one side on the ground, sad and sorry in his heart, but still with a little gleam of hope; for now and again he tried to play, and put up his face, praying with those fond, friendly eyes. And then at last his gambols and poor efforts for mercy ceased, and he lifted up his wretched voice in one long dismal whine of despair. But he licked the hand of the boy that tied the noose.
the core problem for all of us, we are the ones who inflict pain, monsters and boys, trying to be kind to everyone, in the city, that quality of generosity, the most beautiful, Annie, a servant girl, Master Lucian, when he meets her in the lane, reverse double leg cling, she caresses his head, the published book with stuff stolen from his book, once something is published, no one wants any of that, something we both do and something that we do to others, it’s amazing, here read my book, they cant see the garbage that they’ve written, they can only see , why would I bother that something isn’t published?, the worst baseball player ever, keep going johnny you can do it!, the cultural movement, late 90s, the rise of self-help, you can do anything, every person can be the best at something they are capable of being, liking to run, long legs and pain inside that can only be healed by having a gold medal around your neck, a horrible reality of the world, a coming of age story, realization of your own limitations is coming of age, a painful aspect, the pain of sexuality, the horniest boy ever, his fellow kids, him alone spinning up his own theories, lusting after almost ethereal objects, highly romantic sense of the world, working class people who don’t give a shit, let’s get trashed, the 12 year old and the 15 year old, going for long walks, idealizing women, under the surface, we don’t know him that well except where his actions bubble up against reality, there is feeling there, when he tries to share his book with people, do pretty flowers, some people are trying to help him, unwillingness to deviate, he’s gifted, he knows he’s gifted, a lot of alchemy symbolism, words are magical, the ability to provoke and control emotions, making people more subject to what they are, mostly used for evil, when he first sees that book with his stuff published in it, validated, apathetic, he’s proud of it, making it all about money, he needed the validation, a stage that a lot of authors get stuck in, the ideas are going to be stolen, Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), you gotta sue, a Guy De Maupassant story was totally ripped-off, sold to weird tales, The Tortoise Shell Comb, An Apparition, a cavalry officer, comb my hair for me, if you were Guy De Maupassant, Banksy?, give your mom a book you wrote, a dishonesty of the known relationship, do the esoteric stuff not the commercial stuff, the anti-Edgar Rice Burroughs, kind of suceeds, it’s a victory?, a lot of Lovecraft in this character, the young writer, the particular personality type, unbending, committing to a vision, not compromising, he got that book, a funny line they always say about Lovecraft, so many beans, accentuates the victory, we can’t even read the fucking thing, and yet it’s a victory, who is it a victory for?, a victory for Lucian, overdosing on morphine, Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater, ladies of sorrow, horror movies, Suspiria (1977), a bestseller, How I Smoked Crack And Lived To Tell About It, that French guy who loved Poe, Les Fleurs Du Mal, Suspiria De Profundis, Charles Baudelaire, insight into his mind, an unreliable narrator?, he’s hiding something from us, he has the shakes, smoking a ton of tobacco, overdosed, an addict, emotionless, he probably doesn’t want to masturbate, doesn’t have the materials, burying thoughts in physical weariness, piercing his own body with burrs, a recognized mental illness symptom, cutting, hare shirts, impure thoughts, the fetish, unhealthy, complex organisms in a complex society, get a real job, follow my advice, very real, who’s to say they’re not right?, the middle road, Lucian chose complete dedication art, bending like a reed in the wind, no goals, getting you killed, going along with the current, part of the problem for individuals, living in a society with mass hysteria, why do we have to have that war on another continent, an alliance treaty with France and Russia, white chicken feathers, the current thing, almost a statement, Trevor Towers, Celephais?, sleepwalks off a cliff, a triumph but only from his point of view, capitalism’s threat: knuckle under or become homeless, peruse artistic endeavors, Machen survived where Lucian didn’t, another way he could have gone, this is what could have happened to me, idealistic, circumstances were slightly different, early 2000, Richard K. Morgan, conflict investment, Market Forces, caught up in Netflix deals, ultimately the opposite of the Stephen King/Lovecraft route, success can be something that can hurt you as well, The Bowmen, jotted off in five minutes, the Ghost of Kyiv, the Angel Of The Mons, attestations, Bryan Alexander, Colonel Tomb laughs at this from his grave, just has to be true stories, Vietnamese fighter pilot, Colonel Toon, WWII, Panfilov’s 28 Men (2016), War Thunder, how dare you say that, it’s important!, bullshit made of wholecloth, the rolling thunder of this truth being needed, if Machen had any kind of cultural impact, debunking it, it’s true that it would be good for morale, Rape Of Belgium, these brave Belgian boys, we need them to be hard done by, raped by the pre-Nazis, ginning up anger, encouraging recruitment, a fundamental lie at base, there’s a veil between reality and how we see reality, the veil is real, willful blinders, the noble lie, telling truths, from genuine situations, confabulating slightly, Philip K. Dick’s characters are autobiographical, Horselover Fat, A Scanner Darkly, putting himself on the list, sometimes we slip through, a very odd book, John Steinbeck, East Of Eden, magnum opus, frustrating and meandering, not page turners, ethereal feeling, the veil between reality, The White People, The Great God Pan, monologue about what is reality, investing the time and energy, it feels pretty long, Charles Dickens is very engaging, floating down a river, Machen loves his descriptions of nature, at the fort on the hill, descriptions of the trees and nature, crafted, did this actually happen to Machen as a boy?, ecstatic experience, on drugs, what makes you go back there, how small you are, connection, he tried it with a novel, alcohol, the invention of gin, counter-reaction, massive social impacts, China’s reaction to computer games, a three hour limit, internet games, solo game disconnected from the internet, single player games now require an internet connection, Civilization 2, Roblox, Minecraft, set in its period (late 19th century), love of literature and great texts, 18th century authors knew what was going on, Kublai Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, knight vs. wight, Tolkien leftovers, because it’s archaic, a horny young man and an idealized woman, a femme fatale story, it destroys him, dissociates, his ideal woman, Annie as a person, as a part of his imagination, the Roman fort, being a Roman senator, the Roman temples of D.C., we are just as great (corrupt) as they were, a false reality, I’m wearing a business suit, folk horror, how women are depicted in folk horror, pagan motifs, witchcraft, blindsided, when Miss Gibbons died, a very fairy tale scene, he’s the wolf, Annie was a witch, unholy wedding, explicitly magical aspects, seduction, the magic is in the men, brain chemicals, the shapely waist, her skin, the Platonic ideal, in the air in the period, Mr. Skelmersdale In Fairyland by H.G. Wells, I’m ruined now, transformed him, it isn’t played for laughs, The New Accelerator, The Invisible Man, comic possibilities everywhere, bittersweet, a triumph as a tragedy, a silk purse of a sow’s ear, lemonade from lemons, the slippery idea of the ideal world or woman, when we read Lovecraft that’s the absent part, Edgar Allan Poe, the ideal woman is the dead woman, she can never be limited by reality (growing old, not being smart enough, fighting), the Baudelaire way, beautiful cruelty, life is cruel, damaged people managing their trauma (in ways other than alcohol), a moment later, joy and happiness, drunk on love, bronze hair, come for a walk with me, a statue, very Greek, his visions, there was death in the woman’s face, she had indeed, the brink of utter desolation, a sex scene too, the carpet matches the drapes, a very sexual novel for a guy who’s so chaste, he falls asleep on the hill, none of them are real and all of them are, is this kid mentally ill?, the end of Dagon, he’s seeing the thing he’s fearful of in himself and not recognizing it, a troubled kid, maybe it’s like he has down syndrome or he’s autistic, kindness, the world is retarded and not him, he’s so extreme in his uncompromisingness, expressed as greatness, isolation, pushes him to the brink, again he was astray in the mist, splendid as Rome, terrible as Babylon, the place of eternal gloom, ring within ring, circle within circle, high writing, the sanctuary of the infernal right, wresting, muscles that could throw down mountains, a flaring street, naphtha fires, pure poetry, dusky figures, a noise like a chant of the lost, orgy, bronze hair, a gulf of darkness, all symbolism, precious robes, the room!, a vapour of the grave, horrible caresses, the matted thicket, the desire rose up like a black smoke, amazing, she lures him, he forces himself upon her, she turns into a very bad trip, exaltation to pain and torture, the elm tree was riven, Lucian is a good name, the tumult and the shock came as a sudden murmur, he overdosed, is he chasing the dragon?, are all of these dreams on the hill?, his dependence on tobacco, a symbol for a later addiction, walking to get rid of his energy, thick black tobacco to cloud his mind, he chases her across a landscape that is not a city, a difficult triumph, no one else is wealthier for it, a vast silence overwhelmed him, Ex Oblivione, dissolving into the Realm of the Forms, a temporary escape from reincarnation, The Novel Of The White Powder, going to seed or dissolution, a continuous issue, Lovecraft was a teetotaler, the other way you can go, morphine?, The Green Meadow, ecstatic states, walking to exhaustion, a difficult topic, there’s truth everywhere in it, sloppy racism, the primitives being in touch with sensations and sense, barbarian hating civilization, Robert E. Howard, nine times, barbarians, pleasantly, prigs perfected, joyous manly young fellows, raped?, devious backstreets, the respectable inhabitants are barbarians, The Lost Club, a Weird Tales reprint, The Lost Room by Fitz James O’Brien, places that go missing, The Music Of Erich Zann, The Lost Street [by ], a strange experience, experiencing weirdness, N, a more definite divide between fantasy and reality, a magical world intruding upon London, The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany, does he go through it?, Golden Dragon City, Game Of Thrones, the only guy with HBO in 1902, Dunsany had it much easier, a crazy man confronts Dunsany in a restaurant, I just make them up you see, the story that is described is one Dunsany wrote, as extreme as Dunsany gets, not quite on the level of Guy de Maupassant, rigid principles, flowery words and a suit, a lifestyle that could so endanger them, is N unfinished?, a warning story, prurient interest in seeing how far one can descend, reality TV shows, I’m not that depraved, morbid curiosity, not edifying curiosity, The Cosy Room And Others, Hippocampus Press, The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft, nothing of Lovecraft is copyrighted, you don’t know how many letters he wrote where he put a poem in for a newborn baby’s birthday, so nested and so rich with vocabulary, a werewolf story, Psychopompos, exhausting a sonnet, more time invested in reading Clark Ashton Smith is a good thing, if this is Machen’s worst I want to read more, difficult, The Shining Pyramid, tiny details that fly by, The Unknown World, May 15 – June 15, 1895, Robert E. Howard wrote way more than H.P. Lovecraft did, the vastness of his other work, popular for his supernatural stories, Robert W. Chambers flips a switch, the opposite of what Lucian does, The Secret Glory, The Three Impostors, a fix-up, chasin a dragon out of the window, spent it all on insane asylums, The Horla, Maupassant rented a hot air balloon to promote a book, before airplanes, The Troop by Nick Cutter, trained up and fought a poet to promote his book, Uwe Boll, Ed Wood, completely talentless, maybe he just got past it, self-awareness is a stumbling block, Ed Wood (1994), found family, he has an eye and no talent, as innocent as a war veteran could be, a go getter, $5, Golan Globus Theatre podcast, the Tijuana Bible, historical records we need to have preserved, what Julian needed (was printed pornography), Conquering Goddess, it needs to be fully illustrated, BDSM, Robert E. Howard, nudy pulps before Playboy, the first Playboy with Marilyn Monroe, weird repression, Penthouse, happening but hidden away, human nature never changes, more evidence that this is how we have always been, embarrassing, left out in the woods, pre-WWII, this is somebody’s great grandma, challenged one of his critics to a boxing match, if he won the boxing match, you won the fight therefore, dueling, humour was our way of escaping bullies, laughter is disarming, intellectual overpowering, more than halfway through (life), a very thinly veiled autobiography, drawing on his own experience, a lot of philosophy, writerly philosophy, more about writing than it is about mysticism, why Maupassant wrote weird fiction, Maupassant’s career, A Piece Of String, A Ball Of Fat, a Star Trek episode [The Galileo Seven], hypocrisy, my servants are stealing from me, I am my servant, these terrible experiences he must relate, very healthily not on Twitter, No Man’s Land by John Buchan, Esteban Maroto, Australian youtube audiobook narrator, Steve Parker audiobooks, simple guy: likes audiobooks, iPads, Randall’s Round, you should always record, The Wind In The Portico, The Temple Of Death by A.C. Benson, 23 temples, spread out the Buchan, doing the same authors but not back to back, The Horror Horn by E.F. Benson, a yeti story in Switzerland, The Inn by Guy De Maupassant, the horror of being alone, afraid of a lot of stuff, The Terror, Who Knows?, the little shop dwarf, his homunculus, “oh monsieur, all your furniture is gone”, this is alarming, the furniture is the faculties of his mind, all metaphorical, symbolist, a good discussion of a complex book.
The SFFaudio Podcast #684 – The Strange High House In The Mist by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Gordon Gould. This is an unabridged reading of the story (18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Jason Thompson
Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, October 1931, rather different, this guy has a family, a series of wellness checks, some tea, knock knock knock, old people are the gateway to the mystic, an old sailor, worldbuilding, Granny Orne (The Shadow Over Innsmouth), The Terrible Old Man, written in 1926, the Klinger anthologies, Kadath, The Horror At Red Hook, He, walking tours of New York, back in Providence, Sonia Greene, Pickman’s Model, Kingsport, a 17th century city, temporal geographies, set in the modern era, architecture, clothing, tudor clothing, maratime connections, 17th and 18th century, The Festival, the third family, the masks and the religious ceremony, underground temple visit, the modules for Call Of Cthulhu, the graveyard, burrows under the graveyard, Indians, sea-folk, Portuguese sailors, a love letter to the sea, between the woods and the sea, positive and uplifting, Olney, he made a friend vs. damned for all time, the sea is faery, horror, a dream story, the Brown library, a fantastic short story by me, like a fantasy, dream-like, raining down dreams, very poetic, improving the language, old replaced with ancient, the original Weird Tales publication, white and feathery, the rim of all the earth, the rim of all earth, a deliberate repeat, its brothers the clouds, conchs and seaweed cities, laden with lore, the solemn bells of the bouys tolled-free in the aether of faery, forgetting and then remembering, when Olney begins learning, Olney’s supposition, faultless, dark skinned, a sailor, a demigod of some kind, he flew in there, he’s airing out the place, sailing the abysses of heaven, a great disposition, Lovecraft’s mystic friend stories, an essay about friendship, a literary trope, super-best friends, an awareness of queerness, a pre-homophobic era, The Rim Of Morning by William Sloane, we were super close friends (not in a weird way), not that kind of too close, don’t grow Granny Orne under the bus, the wife’s name doesn’t matter, male male, immediate bromance, Cool Air, Dr. Munoz, Hypnos, dangerous friendships, friends in his bottles, Robert E. Howard, everybody’s super-religious, indoctrinated by the horrors, stupid pedantic, taboo and scary and yuck, a communicable level, a delight, a lot of people thought he was a weirdo, it wasn’t always easy, they’re not gay for each other all the time, something we think about a lot, evidence please, he makes really good friends, huggings and walkings, taking women on walks, the pink beam moment in Philip K. Dick’s life, ankh moment, Lovecraft’s Kingsport, Marblehead, cruising those streets, Orne looking down, Jason Thompson’s changed the focus to home, the subconscious reading, the doormat, what he is thinking subconsciously, dwelling differently, he left some of himself up there, he’s a philosopher, unlike the tourists, unlike the locals, a chasm, he leaves a note to his wife, he comes back in the morning, experiences with the friend, like him with a beard, the doubles in Hypnos, admirable doubles, in comes Poseidon, Nodens, the diadem of father Neptunes and tritons and naiads, back to Olney, a boring philosopher, The Shadow Out Of Time, a nice little frame, having to pay his mortgage, the bored students, “Nargasucket Bay”, Randolph Carter in The Silver Key, his eyes, plant monsters, the blueberries and briars, set in August, The Festival is set at Christmas, April, we need a Granny Orne story for autumn, she’s got a gambrel roofed house, the idols, immortality, an undeniable theme, The Thing On The Doorstep, The Alchemist, Cool Air, The Tomb, page 14, the life of the mundane, alone high on a mountain peak communing with that which is beyond, the abysses above and below, what planets tell planets, romance is something we can delight in, coffee is great an all (its not an end in itself), coffee is an end in itself, appreciating of the beauty, where his spirit dwells within the house, its a party, a joyous mystic brotherhood, a community of dreamers beyond, friendship and joy, they’re not made of the gossips, lore, lore is something you learn from a local, one of the longest tunnels in North America, there’s a silver mine, water street and ship street, nothing you will learn in those schools, that book needs to be handed to you by one who knows, wiggling at the windows, a hand reaches out and pulls him through, come in come in, don’t try and housebreak him, a very positive and uplifting story, almost completely devoid of horror, the introduction of the supernatural into your life, the ending with the kids, a new kind of unfear, the horror of parents seeing kids playing videogames or social media, my kid is not conforming, generational curiosity, hereditary, The Other Gods, thrown up into the sky, the apprentice survivor, soul trapped in fairyland, the weird shadow against the windows, Futurama, Kif with more fingers, alcohol, going on a bender, bottles everywhere, he resumes his life, a large tradition, H.G. Wells’ Mr. Skelmersdale In Fairyland, La Belle Dame Sans Mercy by John Keats, a powerful and amazing place, fairies are tricksters, he’s lost something, the children have gained the spirit that he’s left, the caves leviathan, raining down as dreams, vernacular knowledge, Ex Oblivione, that whiteness, a black canvas over the rim of the world, the realm of the forms, Lovecraft doing another kind of reincarnation, small changes, the young men, young folk, aspects of sexism, highlights, the symbolist painters, an old man digging a grave, wheat stalks growing in the winter, the gravedigger’s space, an angel with black wings, time has come, the children hearing the music, polyps, venturesome youths, a light may be gone from their eyes, barnacles, humans coming out, a tie of the sea, connected to us, these things are fantastic in our youth, a book of gods, is there a god of forklifts?, the goddess of the sewers, going up there to play, what makes them responsible adults, the horror, they’re playing the Dungeons & Dragons, they’re going to summon demons, return to childhood, less literal, very symbolic, adulthood is being a barnacle (stuck in place), oysters on the rocks, being sedentary, stuck in place, oppositional elements, elfin horns rang over the ocean, elfin things hiding, looking with the right eyes, old and sad, like Lovecraft wearing glasses and signing, drinking, spaghetti, fairyland but straightedge, nightgaunts, sea creatures, The White Ship, Celephais, afraid but still finding beauty, the horror of danger, the horror of revelation, the celestial city in our mind, From Beyond, beautiful, what the sing brings, immigrants, weird smelly fish things, leave the sea alone, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (2008), fantasy sea imagery, Wagnerian moments, sea-fairies, the castle, the graphic novel, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, the same gods, everybody’s adaptations of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, using Lovecraft’s words, his cap, the sign you’re an adult, kids can’t be held responsible for their hats, hat callback, a ray of hope, he stays in the dreamlands, returned to a mundane life, less irresponsible on the weekends, go work for a law firm, any sort of horrible job, pressure, finding the way to be, a gentleman has a car and a driver and a house and not just a room, keep that initial dream alive, how to avoid a mid-life crisis, a kiddie thing to do, how life should be all the time, a series of mundane commutes to work, the mundanity of a terrible commute, massively depressed, blunt and grim, Thomas Ligotti-like, called back again to the horror of flesh, why keep picking at this scab?, Dagon, sleep is oblivion and the Dreamland, describing an experience in words is difficult, more like computer gaming or a great story, not getting out of bed, the place where oblivion can be found, having the experience even if you don’t remember it has to count for something, a general anesthetic doesn’t dull the pain, it makes you forget it, its about Lovecraft’s marriage and place in life when he wrote it, their body lives on and does all the responsible things that bodies do, conflicting desires, that normal life, talk to ancient sea-captains and gods, cut away from Nodens, help me fight the frogpeople, a sense of responsibility, afraid to disappoint, the body remains but the soul escapes, his doppleganger [has] to stay on the world, the soul of Olney, an apocalyptic conclusion, use anything to escape reality, you can have it both ways, closeted gay, queer in a broad sense, the sequence where he talks, sea-creatures getting forked and speared, going through a temple, Gulliver’s Travels, The Drowned Giant by J.G. Ballard, Towing Jehovah by James K. Morrow, snowglobes polyping, a bivalve’s foot, this what they talked about, hardness and liquidity, an hourglass, Ernst Haeckel’s sea-life illustrations, constellation like gods making gestures, the opening sentence is missing a comma, In the morning comma, how grammar works, why didn’t he fix that?, make somebody read it the way you want it to be read, explicitly, where is the comma?, morning mist still, the same morning mist, a cycle, the skydial, what is obscured, paying attention to the missing comma, Aeneid, noir unending or unfinished?, how do you know that?, it flows faster, to what’s in the mist, doing its work, a little curiosity, something to note, more about Granny Orne, solitary figures, she has to be something, he consults them, bachelors or bachlorettes and widows or widowers, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, essential saltes, the made up name of one of his friends?, the really young people and the really old people, a Stephen King thing, the old standing watch, one of the definitions of fantasy, where is the magic, the hole in reality where magic creeps in, the magic of childhood, drugs, old age, the ancient past, the sea, where the sea leads, a widows walk on one of the gambrel, shipping out for Herman Melville stories, why bouys are important, conflating the sound of the buoys with other things, a lighthouse for sound, something is happening, an inference, what’s going on in the sea, the lampreys and the fish, the fisherfolk, the shells, the bubbles and the copulation, that mysterious mass, Marblehead with an added grey frozen wind cloud pointing to space, this vast connection, a bottomless pit, infinity, the sky is an abyss, pointing us up and pointing us down, creatures near the coastline, philosophy for the fisherfolk, ascending, astronomy, what’s going on on Pluto, the magic of science, why reading Lovecraft is joyful in a story like this, the North side of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, ascent and experience with the other, the view back down, The Tomb, Kadath and Celephais, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, The Beast In The Cave, insubstantial as a story, The Alchemist, about sexuality, H.P.L. (fanzine), Freudian analysis of H.P. Lovecraft stories, body hair, colouring the images, what happens, literally set in a dreamland, what going into a fairyland does to a person, very biblical, set in the age of myths, high house studio, fairly wise use.
Talked about on today’s show:
1983, time travel fantasy novel, awards, Bronson Pinchot, the best narrator there is, he’s actor good, the accents and the emotions, Grover Gardner, a chameleon, his timing, his best self, Jonathan Davis, mostly fiction, Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop, The Bronson Pinchot Project, renovating a whole town, Marissa’s pick (along with Scott), a good idea, the stack of to-be-reads, Will’s first Tim, an addictive quality, stuck in time, body parts disappearing, I’m gonna get kidnapped, get murdered, the evil clown, a “generous” book, Last Call, Declare, Gene Wolfeish, gaps in history, a supernatural explanation for an oddity, On Stranger Tides, Homer’s The Odyssey, the Fisher King, Egypt, voodoo magic, World Fantasy, a friend of Philip K. Dick’s, an entertaining person, have this book not be fiction, everything that’s coming, great for readers because it allows us to participate in the book, ripped off many times, so Call Of Cthulhu, body switching, more setups than payoffs, a big long book, connections, obviously obsessed, the Cold War, 1800s, Las Vegas in the 60s 70s, always some magic, the Tim Powers genre, all the research first, weird facts, building the plot to that string of history, William Ashbless, entwined with Coleridge, Dean Koontz’ The Book Of Counted Sorrows, The Stress Of Her Regard, the William Ashbless wikipedia entry, not a romantic poem, walks in the countryside, kind of predictable, James Blaylock, had you said the Blaylock, hideously deformed, the poetical efforts of our deformed friend, The Digging Leviathan by James Blaylock, enjoying himself immensely, good fake romantic poetry, Lord Byron, Marcus Aurelius, the whole frame of the river being frozen with a shotgun pattern in it, Kubla Khan, drowning, the juice of paradise, the milk of the poppy, the visitor from Porlock, opening in Egypt, The Twelve Hours Of The Night, also inspired by the plot, interesting historical facts, this meta stuff, invented and written by no-one, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, that meta-play, why this book works, that playfulness, if you like role-playing games and magic, entertaining, skating through it, the 17th century trip, the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, a little ice age, its dangerous to do these things, other stories set in this universe, is that what we want more of?, Dog-faced Joe, Anubis, expecting a lot more Egyptian stuff, set in the London Hoboverse, a hobo simulator: Hobo: Tough Life, steampunk, there’s practically no steam in this at all, that meeting hall, the thieves guild, very Dungeons & Dragons, the grifter’s guild, playing up to Charles Dickens’ pre-Victorian England, ahistorical or super-historical, the Punch & Judy show, how people engage with puppets, when a puppet calls you out and you get mad at the puppet, ventriloquist dummy, there’s nothing funnier than that, these puppets are more than puppets, steal all this for your D&D campaign, Call Of Cthulhu, Vampire The Masquerade, is Dog-faced Joe Anubis?, making Egypt for Egyptians, time gates, weird powers, cursed with lycanthropy, a magical disease, make Egypt great again, P. Djèlí Clark, Anubis’s heiroglpyh: a pen or a feather a wavy line a box or a cup a bird or a jackal (or a wolf), where’s my Anubis content?, other expeditions, secret history stuff, images produced for this book, a wall, Anubis, somebody passing through a gate within Anubis, he’s the god of Death, Dog-faced Joe is immortal, live your life backwards, become the richest person ever, rule the earth, wills (and testaments) are a way of extending your life beyond your life, their will lives on, their estate has a founding document, a very Egyptian thing, totally looted, all the big graves are looted, a little bit to be said about why the magic works in the timegaps, the manna is higher, very Larry Niven-esque, very Tim Powers-y, playing by a different set of rules, maybe a little more cringey, Jesse doesn’t think about Declare ever, Fred Heimbach, dark evil forces, allows participation in the reading, On Stranger Tides, Elizabeth Bear, Will’s extra homework: a Laser Book: Blake’s Progress by Ray Nelson, a giant battle scene, a thousand wives fighting a thousand lizard gods, if you ate some of William Blake’s brain, his poetry proves he is a time traveler, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, John Keats, the pre-Joycean fellowship, Mary Shelly, John Polidori, romanticism and science fiction go together, the break between realism and science fiction, they know about science but they don’t choose to be clinical, the romantics fit, Ozymandius by Percy Shelley, One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, medieval urban fantasy, We Are Seven by William Wordsworth, buried twelve steps from your door, struggles with depression, 2006, Gentlemen Bastards, secondary world novels, The Sin In The Steel by Ryan Van Loan, The Councillor by E.J. Beaton, books in other worlds, all the dwarves and elves, building up a secondary world, Rocky XVIII, Star Trek, all the movies in the Enterprise database, The Strange Case Of Mr. Cigars, Bride Of Chaotica, reverse lore, where were all the books Bilbo was reading in Rivendell, do the Rohirim don’t know how to write?, memorized poems, the aliens from Galaxy Quest (1999), Andy Serkis recording The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, Alternate Routes by Tim Powers, Earthquake Weather, Expiration Date, Forced Perspective, its the communists [at Baen] demanding series, latter day sequels, an Anubis Gates story, Subterranean Press, Philip K. Dick, weird inklings, Lego versions, The Laughing Dead (1989), priests and nuns oh my, fun book, the dwelling, under 15 hours, novellas are the best, let the cat in.
Talked about on today’s show:
an unsolicited Patreon plug, now you know, now Jesse is beholden to Paul, special members only episodes, The Many Colored Land, the Patreon, Jesse doesn’t want to reward anybody for anythings, take suggestions from Patrons, Office Hours, Evan’s office hours, Evan’s decline is an ascension, Jesse’s university career, ideas throwin’ down, door open, Discord, Paul derailed us, why did Jesse agree to it?, by spoiling he interested, Luke Burrage’s review, Jesse wrote about Julian May in 2012, leaving science fiction, a young published author and then a thirty year gap, The Dune Roller, Tales Of Tomorrow, The Cremators (1972), pretty sure this book is written by a girl, really weird, not a good book for a lot of the book, what this book is, SUPER-AMBITIOUS and kinda-almost pulls it off, a great mind, did it come out of gaming?, a role-playing game style writing, this book has everything in it, a potpourri, an encyclopedia, if she was a really good writer this could be on the scale of Tolkien, tell me one thing this book doesn’t do, time travel, space aliens, telepathy, elves, portals, megafauna, magic, clerics, fighters, Sarban, the wild hunt, way too much, bursting with ideas, I can explain everything, nine more books, Jack the Bodiliess, will-o’-the-wisp, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast, Jim Moon is a treasure for our time, this great research, fulfilling bits of history, the Mediterranean basin is empty, filling the basin, Down In The Bottomlands by Harry Turtledove, she’s doing everything, she made a dress for a convention and then tried to figure out who would have worn it, people making costumes of future people, a book about Robert E. Howard’s geography of Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age, Europe from 10,000 years, a dragon in Red Nails, wizardry, NO BUT WITH SCIENCE, she tries to rationalize it, a map of genre, issues, what genre is this book supossed to be?, pseudo-science fiction, psionics as magic, origin of the Celtic mythology, the Pliocene Companion, as soon as the torc was introduced, it has ODIN in it, Aiken Drum, the science fiction mindset, WOW, AMAZING!, if this book was written today…, she coulda tightened this up, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the psychic interrogations, that’s insane, an introduction, 1981, that’s impossible, all the character classes, it feels ten years later, her pseudonym list is all male, as J.C. May, Weird Tales, C.L. Moore, he was a dude using a female pseudonym, genre expectations, a lot like Ringworld and Dream Park, really interested in gender, women’s sexuality and reproduction, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Pamela Sargent, its in the air, the birth control pill changes everything, she goes there, the setup, that wasn’t the book I signed up for, that’s what they thought too, pre-caveman, prehistoric adventures, fighting off smilodons, the galactic milieu, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, more motley, a blank slate, the baggage of human history, the prologue, the utopian aspect, a conservative element, something (not quite) reactionary, ethnic enclave planets, Transmetropolitan, what kind of society will these misfits create, the DM says “Haha! Switched ya!”, this has random encounters, very much like Riverworld, famous characters, the big dumb object here is Earth, rejuvenation, psychic vampires, the psychic shit, this shit from Astounding, it was totally bullshit, they thought it might be real, parapsychology, Ghostbusters is the last gasp of it being a phenomena, they’re discontinuing his research is because its bunk, a guy who used to work in remote viewing, no need for satellites, a guy in a room in Langley and we bring him a sandwich, they didn’t know it was discredited in the 50s, a news story, coffee is bad for you, this back and forth, clearly phlogiston, you idiots it was oxygen the whole time, the plate tectonics theory, what he didn’t have was the data to back it up, nobody mentions plate tectonics, how much geology, this gate can only be here, The Last God, the map in the back, have you ever seen a river?, they don’t know what they’re doing, she’s doing everything, too ambitious, it explains everything, wouldn’t it be cool if…, hello fairy, people living in caves full of uranium, change your lifestyle in order to not be mutants, these are goblins, not just Tolkien goblins but also Goblin Market by Christian Rossetti, goblins, tempting with a plate full of fruit, be a brood mare for her reproduction, Julian May is a vast reader and she wants to include it and explain it all and it mostly works, this book is not for me, a GURPS version, lift large, designed for role-playing, character creation, their stats are amplified by their torq, LARPing, L. Sprague De Camp, the Society For Creative Anachronism, Planescape and Dark Sun, Space: 1889, Spelljammer, so grounded in geology, of its time, she’s reading science fiction, its not outsider science fiction, woolly mammoths and then we’re done, she revels in it, the giant sloth gets left all by its lonesome, Evan was into the cenozoic, Jesse was a silurian man, when people think about ancient life on earth, trilobite, I love me some ferns, yo, giant sloth tunnels, untooled scratches, living in them for centuries, that’s the excitement of science fiction, the size of the universe, if this isn’t something you think about everyday poor you, this is FUNDAMENTAL to…, no, dude you can’t believe how big the universe…, poor donkey, in sympathy with the animal, the great unconformity, a plot with an empire that needs to be overthrown, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Mound, a whole civilization under the earth, Lovecraft’s utopia, I signed up for a ghost that haunts a tomb, ten thousand times bigger, she doesn’t leave any room for anything else, there are no traditions that didn’t start with this (in Europe), what is luck?, what if you have a culture based on fear?, five or six major themes, at least twenty things she’s dealing with and trying to think about, the juggling’s pretty good, Tolkien loves the forest but he doesn’t invent whole new trees, “operant”, oh god this is just technobabble, initiative has a whole set of connotations if your not a RPGs, a republican talking point, para-psychological powers, a ticking clock, big fights at the ends of books and movies, still pretty good, a wonderful stew, its 16 hours, Neal Stephenson, Dune Roller, a gothic setup, a tonne of pent up ideas, it came out in a huge geological sized flood, going through the Black Forest, all the different mushrooms, Hansel and Gretel time, very Bros. Grimm, go to Doggerland, Albion, and what would be France, the power, misfits with different weapons and armor, their murder hobos, player characters, he can’t be socialized, euthanasia or life imprisonment or exile, a slave-society, the core element, why does she go with grey?, Plato’s Republic, bronze, Plato is the original racist, the cops, the golden dude are philosophers, the TV series Spartacus, guidebooks on how to manage your slaves, reading so much Stephen King, adaptations of Carrie, in the aftermath, we gotta control women, after Roe vs. Wade, psychic powers, Firestarter, King never dropped that theme: the desire of states to control the exceptional, The Running Man, comprehensive lengths, the antecedents of everything, the book cover, she thought they were cool, what if…, six million year gap, aboriginal Australia, a hugely rich history, many more different kinds of mythological systems, in comparison, New Guinea, geographical vs. geological, it worked itself out, silly explanations, a one way time machine, questions back and answers back, lockboxes, what colour are woolly mammoth tusks?, a whole amber explanation, the plot doesn’t allow it, Halloween and May Day, reverses, like a role playing game, a cleric who can heal people, a paladin, a hunter, a pirate, a thief, this is what I do, yo, Will Emmons’ question, Neuromancer as a first science fiction book,
since you asked…
I say that DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP is not anything like “hard SF”
and neither, really, is FOUNDATION
FOUNDATION is interesting (and foundational) but not great
ANDROIDS *is* great and one shld probably be a connoisseur of SF before reading it
really hard question, I usually like to think of SF as something you read from earlier to later – give a sample size of TWO books liked – and TWO disliked – that said, and even with @PrinceJvstin worries in mind
…I would still recommend HEINLEIN – he’s not HARD SF, and he really is SF – HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL is a good starter book
if you don’t like HEINLEIN I think you don’t really like SF – he was made of SF
dont start with any random Heinlein tho – BIG MISTAKE
MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS
are good choices – will make you argue with HEINLEIN which is what a lot of later writers are doing in their books, arguing with HEINLEIN :)
YES, and i would say in that order, but put another book as palate cleanser in between
there’s a whole series of books that are connected to STARSHIP TROOPERS – ENDER’S GAME, ARMOR and going backwards to KIPLING’S poem M.I.
my point is…, going down a hole, a callback to science fiction, hollow earth, people having sex in Stromboli, a very famous science fiction novel by Jules Verne: Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Iceland, a little sex scene, this is all her, there is almost no visual SF at this point, working on a masters degree, very rich, let’s do a 16 hour book, dense even though it doesn’t feel that dense, not just more Tolkien, science fiction-ish, science fiction tropes, pseudo-scientific explanations, the crown, a magic system, H.G. Wells’ Floor Games, wargaming, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, in role playing time you build role playing games, Jesse’s repeating because Julian was repeating herself.
Posted by Jesse Willis