The SFFaudio Podcast #680 – READALONG: The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #680 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
published in a book, Heinlein almost always renewed his copyrights, no great interior art, boardrooms and offices, spacecrafts and diamonds, Pike’s Peak, Harriman pointing and winking, underground bunker wife, dissemble to his wife (again), the covers, Jesse is not a philatelist, numismatics, Paul’s not keeping up with philately, Brewster’s Millions (1985), Charade (1963), forever stamps, “here’s the extras from my collection, son”, Canada Post, Star Trek, Superman, Captain Canuck, Archibald Lampman, Lawrence Block, when not killing people, grandpas working on it, a moment of history that’s captured, the Apollo 11 launch, here at the blast-off, then you become a famous serial killer, acquires value, a first day cover is infinite cachet, mail fraud, legit fraud, shading the truth, 6+ button, Moka Cola, x-fuel, bribing judges left and right, philatelic stores are done through the mail, a license to print money, has government value, its almost you could pay your taxes in stamps, mostly selling intangibles, TV advertising rights, the actual physical object, it plays an important role, they also forget to put him in, meta-framing, there are no intentions its all Heinlein, Harriman is the stamps, an excuse for him to go to the Moon, he’s been defrauded, he knew what he was doing, Requiem by Robert A. Heinlein, The Man Who Sold The Moon is a prequel to Requiem, his heart is bad, a spit and gumball guy, barnstormers, he gets to the moon and dies on the Moon, maudlin and schmaltz, they bury him on the Moon, an oxygen bottle is his headstones, Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa, glad did I live and gladly dive, the hunter home from the hill, TIA (pre-heart attack), Job: A Comedy Of Justice, long pig, Farah Mendlesohn, Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Weird Al Yankovic, poingiant, The Green Hills Of Earth, sentimental vs. excessively sentimental, hear the voice of Robert A. Heinlein, what does his voice sound like?, Heinlein with Arthur C. Clarke commenting on Apollo 11, so excited, change the date of humanity, today is the year zero, a Moonbase, Mars, off to the solar system, it did not work out how he wanted, how Elon Musk would like Space X to be, a private space program (not subsidized by the government), why we’re doing this show, billionaires going to so called space, Musk doesn’t go up with his rockets, aptain Kirk in space, a fascinating footnote to history, “I don’t wish any harm to William Shatner”, clapping for celebrities, on the backs of poor people, the government’s involvement is nil, the regulation agency for the fuel and the stamps, the real reason we have space exploration (is military expenditure), commerce and bootstrapping and loans, Space X, their one and oly client (uther than Musk’s side-business) is the government, NASA being defunded, capitalism eating itself, me too companies, Blue Origin/Virgin, not even orbital, extended vomit comet stuff, checkboxing, things to do, a conga-line of people up to Mt. Everest, I went to space, save Maissa’s sensibilities, dickswining, putting Musk at the back of the guillotine line, we will coup whoever we want, he wants to do what he wants to do, Jeff Bezos and the Virgin Guy [Richard Branson], what’s different about the D.D. Harriman like figure of Elon Musk, his wild dreams, he put a car in space, the product that is Elon Musk, you get the product that is him, when you buy a Tesla you buy into a piece of musk, Chevrolet Volt, Teslas everywhere, these other kinds of cars are stupid, electric cars are cooler, D.D. Harriman is not an engineer, dirty tricks, fucks over his wife and partners, right up to mail fraud, the most prosecutable crime, you’re crossing the biggest baddest bitch in the room (the government), people standing around, 12 Angry Men-style, do it in black and white, don’t put out this manifesto in the world, Elon Musk reads this story, he is this story, I got my own emerald mine, PayPal, I’m gonna go to the fuckin’ Moon, that single-mindedness, who do I have to fuck to get this to happen, something deeply sick, a sociopath, who did they get to the American Moon program [Wernher von Braun], the Soviet space program, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan, Sergei Korolev, Comrade we’re doing Moon program, the sociopath that is the American government, certified denazified, SS tattoos, when NASA had his own rocket program, come look, we’re going to name this one Enterprise, Desilu Studios in the 1960s, Galaxy Quest (1999), you thought Idiocracy (2006) wasnt a true story, Red Plenty, Ascent by Jed Mercurio, a secret history of the Soviet Moon Program, Stalingrad, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, he’s got a camera, he dies on the Moon, that struggle, technical problems that need to be solved, Pike’s Peak is not ideal, Panama or Florida, he lives there, you should launch from near the equator, its not all about the engineering, the technical problems will not happen unless I get the sizzle, leveraging the government, people get inspired to do stuff, 1950/1949, seventy years for that vision to start to come true, a failure of Heinlein’s imagination, an ideology, space might become a frontier in the Cold War, he goes into the newspaper with a hammer and sickle on, that’s the media, the ideology is government is not the solution, purposely bypass, the only purpose of the government is the stamps, government is in the way, let me loose, Musk will not get to space without a contract to service the ISS, the Chinese Russian International space station, oh please private business, not a good Chinese accent, not good to do either accent, fail better, release all of your failures, greatness out of badness, Chris Hadfield, Marc Garneau, The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield, he sings/writes/takes picture, never a Mountie, F-16 fighter pilot, Heinlein’s future history, wildly wrong, seventy years later, Canada was created out of a railroad scheme, if we build this railroad, it makes more sense to be late, it makes more sense to be overbudget, government expenditure is the best way to make money always, Contact (1997), Carl Sagan was a bit naive, his big problem in that book was the religious figure, communication from aliens would languish for hundreds of years, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, leaving government out in an ideological way, squid-like vampire sucking, bribes most judges, why it has hate, powerful and therefore important, this manifesto turned into a movie, The Turner Diaries [by William Luther Pierce], Pallas by L. Neil Smith, corporations colonizing an asteroid, the government is evil bad an corrupt, that’s “freedom”, For All Mankind, Skylab was a sideshow, the alternative to GPS [is “GLONASS”], Russia has a very small GDP and yet they somehow seem to keep their rocket and GPS programs going, tax breaks for the 1%, we’re selling seats on this thing, selling seats on Russian launches, sell-outs, now NASA focuses on probes, what’s cape Canaveral, Maissa saw a Falcon Heavy launch, like a fireball going up into the sky, it was like a sword of the archangel Gabriel, Chris Hadfield’s Wikipedia entry, government propaganda, Canada has plastic money, you can wash your money in the sink, when the government is in control, tests, skills, loyal, I’m gonna hand pick my son, comparatively, I’m going and my brother, did the cowboy hat go up with him, I found these in the stratosphere, 10th birthday party, we’re going to make two corporations, put all the debts onto that company and keep all the assets in this company, to bilk the investors, defraud collectors, defrauds the boy scouts, always be honest, when it really counts fuck anybody, not bragging as much as stating facts, its a real sad thing, the naked horror, going to Mars, ginning up a war with the Martians, another song reference, not much of a Rocket Man, the Moon can control the Earth, Musk’s dream of Mars, Musk has made a big dent in the world, the guillotine party, give him some ice cream, somewhat mitigated badness, an earnest desire for extension, the Moses reference was telling and touching, dialing in the prophecy, Moses is denied the promised land, the Post Office was God, a very strange interpretation, it kinda fits, Butler, Missouri, religious fanaticism, a more sympathetic character, Musk is all me me me but he still hasn’t gone to space, a one way mission to Mars, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, a lot of dummies, depressive and pessimistic, not good in two ways, a lot of people think it is real, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is a troubling book, like Ayn Rand but more current, super-evil, people who are just better than you, a “Fans are Slans” style story, special people, this mass of black or white people who need to die, Hitler’s manifesto book, the argument that it makes is what makes it evil, what’s cool about the X-Men, Magneto and The League Of Evil Mutants, its a fantasy, if you have brain you need to sleep, they’re more elite than you, they studied harder than you, Justin Trudeau’s 1.2 million dollar trust fund, face-painting costume, gets to be prime minister when his dad dies, novels vs. novellas, Our Opinions Are Correct: “Heinlein is turgid”, this novel, you should just read Scalzi, women would be present, Harriman’s wife, couldn’t give Harriman a baby, lives in Colorado, just the Heinlein story, Heinlein’s infertility, Friday, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, ret-con, I’m not really sexist, standard Heinlein, very incestuous, rehabilitates Harriman’s story, she’s not important to this story, how important the Post Office, don’t go against the government interest, you can use the Soviets as a whipping tool to et the media, a military industrial complex vs. a space industrial complex, Ospreys and F-22s, “defense”, you can sell people on fear, the commies in Russia today, China wants to take Taiwan, the Alpha Centurians are stealing our precious bodily fluids, space fear, the Coca Cola corporation, Dr. Strangelove (1964), another novel, Firestar by Michael Flynn, female entrepreneur capitalist, Elon Musk but not as evil, Flynn’s views on education, a shooting star, the comet would be good at this point, a dinosaur apocalypse is needed, digitize it and get it up to the moon, NFTs, bitcoin is currency, pre-orders equal love, the character’s supposed to be sympathetic, space space space, fighting in the Balkans, quasi-libertarian is (mostly) evil, in the 90s Paul’s politics were not as enlightened as now, public schools vs. private schools, save a few, no offense, some offense, slap in the face no offense, we need to face facts, this has been a blueprint for people, echoes with what’s going on, what other books are lurking effecting people’s reality, some phenomenon happening on the earth, Asimovs and Heinleins, Bezos vs. Musk, I gotta focus on my plan, set up a Foundation somewhere, Paul Krugman thinks he’s Hari Seldon, I’m a psycho (historian), too good for Jesse, Sir there’s somebody waiting to see you, a historical setting, Overlord (2018), tell me a lie story, who has women in their space program?, the Soviets, part of their ideology is women ARE equal, team human, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series, the Mercury 13, what if we weren’t super sexist?, a country that has to turn less sexist, Luke Burrage’s SCIENCE FICTION BOOK REVIEW PODCAST review of The Calculating Stars, the Nazis didn’t want women fighting, making strudel and soldiers, not caring about certain facts about ballistics, how many stages the rockets needs to be, recycling the capsule from a previous rocket, designing the capsule for the lifting device, Musk’s plan, a fuel tank with a little spaceship on the end, get this, this story was written before the actual Moon program, whether the fuel will ignite from gamma rays, how can we not care about those details, Heinlein cared so much he kinda made it happen, John F. Kennedy was trying to direct the military industrial complex into an Olympics style competition, for all mankind, now there’s a Space Force, the instincts to restrain insanity have gone away, more and more in the Harriman situation, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the Law Of The Seas, the Americans never ratify, a Dutchman named Hugo Grotius, why don’t we just be tolerant?, no torturing people, that’s all gone now, public schools are terrible, Jesse a nihilist, human civilization, asteroid/meteor/comet, When Worlds Collide, Rogue Planet, not focusing on the ballistics?, Jesse prefers to read books that are out of print?, public domain, [is Jesse an obscurantist?], gotta winnow, Will’s initial Heinlein journey, a deathmarch?, stop doing that, he’s got the goods, The Star Beast, would D.D. Harriman sell N.F.T.s, what wouldn’t he do to get to the Moon?, he wouldn’t break his word to a person, personal loan, personal honor, down the slippery slope lying road, skirting that line, NFTs are a scam, Tulipmania, Odo and Quark, Jesse doesn’t Grok what its about, you should sell some SFFaudio listener NFT, Philip K. Dick drawings NFTs?, the motivation is the mistake, an artificial scarcity, not for hateful means, the Kingdom of Redonda, M.P. Shiel was crowned King of Rednoda as a boy, this rapist plagiarist, its a scam that has legs, pretty sure these are NFTs, Vincent Price as a lord of Redonda, basically NFTs could be anything, software license keys, why do we want that?, infinitely replicable, why do we want to make it scarce, Substack will integrate NFTs, a technology that we don’t have a use for, your password for your account, the jpegs are largely useless proof of concepts, etherium wallet, software should be free, digital clothing for their avatars, PUBG, a book takes paper, sewing, glue, and trucks, stupid and wrong and evil, Elon Musk needs lithium for his car batteries not because he likes couping people, the purity of the goal, Bezos’s pure goal is *ME*, the people climbing Everest, me shaking Obama’s hand, flying back to Kathmandu, helicopter rides for everybody, why Shatner going to space is a marker as a society, government control of how we spend and communicate, the jpg thing is ridiculous.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #679 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Last Of The Masters by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #679 – The Last Of The Masters by Philip K. Dick – read by Mike Vendetti. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Mike Vendetti.

Talked about on today’s show:
Orbit Science Fiction, Volume 1, No. 5, 1954, the Philip K. Dick estate is a fuckin liar, copyright office, like a leak (of a public document), hand written lies are kinda shocking, Imaginative Tales, November 1955, when it happens over and over again it isn’t an honest mistake, its called fraud, Mike is donating it to Jesse!, nice guy together, anarchists on twitter, mutual aid, a commercial reality, submitting ourselves to Jeff Bezos’ reign, a resource the Jesse Trove and the Mike Well, no pledges or suing, this overarching evil government, so applicable today, vaccinated, bacteria masked, it sounds like they’re the ones with the weapons, outside the Master’s domain, the village up ahead, the children started dying, the anarchist world, the milk, the well, the season change, natural immunity?, not answered in the story, pick a team, the robot or the anarchist’s league, we’re divided, getting into Dick’s head, is the state his wife again?, this utopian dream, somebody has to cook my dinner, the weight of Dick’s body, been in hospital, moving somebody out of a bed, an ancient robot, Vulcan’s Hammer, Talby, a motorcycle to throw his weight around, The Great C, James P. Crow, repurposed, the interior world, The Valley Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, removing his eyes, a story about hubris, ambivalent, different rules, they’re sending armies but there’s no-one to fight, The Walking Dead, recent military history, Spanish vs. Aztecs, different conceptions about how war is fought, slaves vs. slaughter, it wasn’t horses or guns it was attitude, the Chinese vs. the Mongols, The Art Of War by Sun Tzu, the Vietnam War in 1965, no nation has ever gained by entering a prolonged war, Afghanistan, Mike is 80, still in Korea, the profits are not for the state, where did this come from, July 15, 1953, people rising up and killing their governments all over the planet, a Boogaloo Boi on twitter, they’re not interested in giving us nice things, an alternative uTube called Means TV, Teenage Stepdad, you’re getting owned, what happened there, a self-own, Seize The Memes, the philosophy, “I Haz Diarheha And A Boaner”, if you spell it wrong the smart people will correct you and that’s called engagement, bottom up engagement, the way Boogaloo Boi militias work is use memes as a shibboleth, the Proud Boys leader is an FBI informer, a free association, the league, a mistake, a robot and a civilization mistake, “an agent” is someone acting on someone else’s behalf, how the Mormons go, an operator, searchin out the last states, there’s a test, talking to the citizens of this town, how the war against governments happened, East Germany, Poland, it was France first, France survived without a government for a month in 1968, Murray Bookchin’s The Third Revolution, the Eastern Block against their dominators, in the States and Russia, root and branch, a planned economy, a decrepit guy (robot), destroying atomic weapons, make war no more, the government is causing war, a rationalist straw man, simply diverting, effervescent with ideas, entertaining vs. interesting, a faux macho sequence, when they film this stupid story, its Taken (2008), I have a very special set of skills (confronting a bureaucracy), The Variable Man, a little virus, sniffing around for government, agents from the enclave are in the bar, what causes the collapse, getting rid of the nukes, civilizations, North Korea, Iran, Libya, your neighbours are the Mongols, no government vs. conscription, fed up, agriculture, James C. Scott’s Against The Grain: A Deep History Of The Earliest States, Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed, the origins of agriculture, a continuity from hunter gatherers, an ecological response, grains that mature at the same time, that can be stored, taxed, and transported, bushels, shifting cultivation strategies, we study states because that’s what we have records for, a minuscule footnote in the human experience, stateless societies, the anarchists are right to , Jared Diamond on the shapes of continents, when do the non-farmers enter the picture, the mongol hordes, when they take over parts of France, Caesar’s texts about the Gauls and the Germans, look what he said about us, Evan taught world history for many years, the silk roads, tributary relationships, the nomadic people vs. the sedentary civilization, four times in Chinese history, stateless or quasi-stateless, their cultural identity depended on them forming states, looking at that out world, why does the farmer want to sell them water, pinks?, 50 dollar bills, pink slips, who issues this stuff, our anarchist who gets killed, the sheep are chewing the grass too low, accidentally or all part of an argument, mech stuff, mechanistic civilization, a lawyer a doctor and some books, what do you need a lawyer for?, sold a piece of real estate for some yellow slips, I’ve never paid for anything in my whole life, how do you sell land without a state and land records?, no property rights without states, the Code Of Hammurabi, family based rights to hunter gather on the Kalahari, not alienable, protecting your cow, they didn’t try to kidnap the governor (Whitmer) of Michigan, not a race war a civil war, Boys vs. Bois, if your tattoos say fuck the police, protection for Black Lives Matters protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, how to join antifa, show up dressed in black, that was a government, Rittenhouse [wasn’t] a Boogaloo Boi, Mike lives in a red area of Colorado, open carry, real thick glasses and a gun, from a kid to a threat, the extraordinary thing, confronting the police with actual firearms, they’re not Black Panthers, seems right wing to Evan, the left wing vs. right wing decision, equality vs. hierarchy and tradition, Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke debate, anti-vaxx people in the red states, the most virulent, the Fauci ouchie, horse dewormer [Ivermectin], what the state is proposing, the internet in 1918, Jesse has studied this extensively, this exact conversation with Paul Weimer, there are forces that want to control how we respond to stealing our shit, Ivermectin is a generic [patent expired], the new vaccines are all patented, “science” is closed and for profit, billionaires are made on selling to the government, hard to handle, a study on Ivermectin on the NIH meta-analysis, should we study Ivermectin more?, moderate certainty evidence, apparent safety and low cost, news sports and COVID (on your phone), for dogs and horses and , horse aspirin, a Nobel prize for its use in humans, a prophylactic and a treatment for COVID, a brand new study, a cabal of giant evil drug companies, Jesse’s mom was in hospital for 3 weeks as a result of her 2nd COVID shot, you don’t need masks, lying on TV, lie to me now and lying in the past doesn’t matter, willy nilly dosing, horses are much bigger than humans, shitting out the lining of their stomachs, a little investigation shows that was false, a totem of a certain skepticism that might be irrational, a mini-stroke, all the beds were taken up by unvaccinated COVID patients, a Pfizer pill, what is a government for and why do we trust it, not just for the trading of land, rely on my good friend Mike, laws that apply to everybody, the arms and legs of government, Bohrs, that’s a weird name, 200 years and ego got into it, a guy creeping around ladies hospital rooms, Fowler, the knowledge without the creep, was the ego originally programmed, Dick’s rules of robotics: 1. the programming of the robot is not what the outcome will be, The Monkey’s Paw, Isaac Asimov, programming a bureaucratic robot, a DMV agent, guess I gotta rebuild the state, surplus population, insect-like airships, massive military vs. Bernie Buff memes, asymmetrical warfare, set in Virginia, Fairfax, Evan’s tri-racial isolates, resource importation, how a religious organization is an alternative to a nation state, Souvenir by Philip K. Dick, The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, feudal obligations, fish don’t talk about water, the prison is novel, prison vs. the school system, the Children’s Crusade, invade Palestine, I get to kill that’s awesome, the way Mormons operate, white shirt and tie, agents of the Mormon church, if they want to be LDS they are required, a non-state actor, the League Of Nations, superman is not the leader of the Justice League he’s just the most famous member, league chairmen, Super Friends, the Justice Society vs. the Justice League, team anarchist vs. team justice, an official history, Mike was at a hockey game…, Mike tests well, drafted vs. enlisted, choice not chance, the buddy plan, Fort Carson, get a [COVID] shot or lose your job, born into the state, are there options now?, inconvenient to not be a member of a state, stateless people, Tolby and Bohrs are both big, he rubbed his big hands together, a few games of throw with the local peasants, some of those village wenches, tired of doing nothing, the big commercial centers, some mecho stuff, things made by machine, horse, crude plow, that’s a nice town, they’re pilgrims, ironite walking staffs, are these anarchists a de-facto government?, the girl impaled by the branch, they set us free!, we don’t pay for anything, two lank men, identification, sealed plastic cards, AL, even the girl?, Sylvia, Upon The Dull Earth, girlfriend is a witch, Penn and Sylvia, languid greed, head tax, we don’t pay tax, its like the League is the government now, I’m so paranoid now kill everyone on the suspicion list, the robot sleeps, the robot has a desk, Weather Underground, organizations where the government isn’t doing its job properly, the history of Switzerland, surrounded by countries they are not allied with, bad immigration policies, marriage between homosexuals in 2021, the only thing mined in Switzerland is salt, government acting like an insurance company, chem and bacteriological weapons, probing for spies, neither team is good, roving gangs, the Oath Keepers, Special Forces Motorcycle Club, keep the peace, protect property, Three Percenters, you meme, a Hawaiian shirt covered with military gear, an anti or ironic uniform, Hells Angels, drug trafficking and gun violence, ex-military, ex-bomber pilots, Sons Of Anarchy, hangaround is a rank, a rocker patch vs. fully patched, initiations, Under And Alone [by William Queen], exclusionary measures, the cops are always trying to infiltrate you, you have to know the real history of the anarchist league, study in our camp, a fun story, effervescent with ideas, a weird kind of story, odd compared to other science fiction stories, pops in his brain, more like politics, what’s our relationship with other humans, super creative, Dick ratting out one of his friends, he likes the taste of boot, Fredric Jameson, Stanisław Lem was the competition, projection, almost from Tolby’s perspective, sweaty boobs, a random image of a woman that’s just one big breast, that whole thing on the wall is Philip K. Dick’s brain, trees around?, action set piece stories are his worse stories, what kind of message would this story send if filmed, they won’t deal with public health properly, the heat, global warming, 200 years later, the mechanistic society, he wrote it in the summer, that ugly wallpaper Bohrs woke up to is the wallpaper Dick’s wife put up, how these guys made their living, how much thought did he put into this, Edgar Allan Poe, mostly writing about states, how societies function, reactionary moralistic state, The Man Who Japed, The World Jones Made, randomocracy, Solar Lottery, he really tries to describe an anarchist world, not a goal but an opposition, I see you complaining about capitalism but yet you live in a capitalistic society, not fighting stupid wars, it made some guy really wealthy and proved something to his dad, explanations, the way pirate ships and this podcast is done, quartermaster, not trying to be a leader, organization, Blake’s 7 is about a prison break from a Nineteen Eighty-Four/Brave New World society, they never take orders from Blake, the way a family is run, go live with mom for a while, early states laws, making fathers and husbands the head of the family, compared to Tahiti, the matrilineal system, property, something scarce to pass on to your son, unless they go on Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, the bloody sheet nonsense, the veil, all about paternity certainty, my glass is empty, fill it up, he’s like an occupying army, its like the anarchist league actually runs things, militia, “the thrice damned Second Amendment”, a podcast without Paul, the mafia as a state, they do the lottery, an obsession with centrality, all power is centralized, “you no supeek mafia”, side-government, like the KKK or Hamas, you don’t hang up on me, you need to investigate this, the UN Gang, if you don’t have services from government, keeping us divided, playing up racism to avoid class solidarity, poor people are almost everybody you’ve ever met, “government should be like an insurance company that you never think about and don’t pay very much into”, some prevention of invasion, overseas adventures, Philip K. Dick is not a very wise man but a very interesting thinker, very sparky brain, it somehow works as a story, short stories vs. novels, Now Wait For Last Year, the decrepit leader, essential and decrepit, through his decrepitude, the USA has been governed by the decrepit, was Eisenhower really ill that week?, a criticism of the Cold War buildup, Project: Plowshare and The Zap Gun, they develop the weapons, turning weapons into toys, the F-35, M-1 Abrams, it is just stuff in magazines and books, commodities, the microwave came out of war tech, standing in front of radar dishes and warming up, radar ranges, two Dicks in a row, Evan needs to do the Heinlein critique, not in the tank for Tanstaafl, standing up for the Social Credit Heinlein, who are the true heirs of Heinlein. I heard he was turgid, you can just read Scalzi now, he processed everything, taking back Lovecraft (away from Lovecraft).

The Last Of The Masters by Philip K. Dick

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The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #562 – READALONG: The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #562 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Terence Blake, and Will Emmons talk about The Green Odyssey by Philip José Farmer

Talked about on today’s show:
1957, his first novel, LibriVox.org, Mark Douglas Nelson, Will has reviewed it on Goodreads, the universe is incredibly small (only for people who read books), there are 700 of us on the planet, the intense bookish community, shells, fewer mediums of entertainment, doing other things, more people are doing more sorts of things, as an avid lifelong reader, age vs. distracted, thank you for this podcast, on a scale, producing creative work, #notallkids, going through a consuming phase, use it later on, Stephen King, voraciously, writers in general, responsible for less, a low executive function period, at the grocery store or the news agent, the equivalent of television, designed to be read in a day, 1.7 times speed, deliberate choices, there are so many more ways of spending your free hours, video games, computer games, binging streaming, artificially inflated, newspapers, The Black Cat, some people on the internet disagree, the first Jack London story, the Edgar Allan Poe story, money for story tellers, $1,000 for a love story, writing up a storm, quit being a fish-policeman, one of the richest writers of all time, $31,000 today, a demand for writers, $7,000 a year, Cirsova Magazine, cents per words, my student’s story [sold for $6], Jesse help, Farmer read a lot of stuff, other people’s reviews, the people who don’t like it, how big and rich the world building is, a short and fluffy story, intense world-building, swashbuckling thing, obsessed with a number of topics, cultural differences, linguistics, etymology, how they relate, backstory and pre-history, Jesse’s review from 2006, created on a dare, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, Grover Gardner, a sea of grass on an endless plain, Douglas Niles, a genius man, enslaved and humbled, a lusty but fickle duchess, two demons, his adopted family wants to go with, vintage Poul Anderson, The High Crusade, reverse anticipation, the perfect length for SF, Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, addictively listenable, how good a narrator Mark is, he was going places, nothing good happened to him, the elephant in the room, misogyny, Alan Green’s wife, Amra = Conan, Queen Of The Black Coast, a reversal, if Alan became Alanah, obsessed with sex, different from Heinlein, cool vs. leery, you don’t want to be his cousin is really attractive, a royal gigolo, nothing titillating, unwashed and covered in perfume, the problems of same (in Nepal), Kathmandu showers are bliss, paired with a rando wife, sexy nagging, a strong personality, as the token woman, the whole henpecking thing, with such fun, holding a grudge, the whole henpecked husband act, he’s not a good person, he’s going to abandon his family, he’s not a good person (to start with), he has to be henpecked into it?, a trope in Farmer’s novels, more suspicious, a recurring figure of a nagging wife, a powerful female figure who is basically selfish and evil, Farmer fandom, fans who knew Phil and knew his wife Betty, Phil’s resentment of having to work, something uncomfortable about it, the morally upstanding figure, trying to reform him, she’s going to rule the Grass Sea when he’s gone, almost a reversal, how many children does Conan has?, Conan is a playa, very nubile, its his name or both, Homer (obviously), funny scenes, Odysseus is trapped on an island with a goddess who wont let him go, Calypso, trap the man, the Our Opinions Are Correct podcast, the myth of rugged individualist in science fiction, Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western, Sanjuro and Yojimbo, the Heinleinian competent, examples, Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick, no goddess of wisdom to give him advice, your Phil my Phil, 5 wives and extra girlfriends, authors projecting their own reality into their writing, Brent is a braggart, turns him into an animal, engaging with the idea of individualism, it takes a village to get off a planet, every male fantasy, not only does he get to have sex with a duchess…, the dog hates him, we never see Conan in his own home, wandering the world and conquering it, that whole aesthetic, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter, it’s a planetary romance (not a science fiction novel), a hard SF explanation, Paul’s geology brain, that’s brilliant!, it’s like Atlanta (it’s a hub), loved revelations, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Farmer’s “World of Tiers” books, Jack Vance’s Planet Of Adventure, getting ready for book 2, he put so much into the world, there’s a book here that didn’t get written, so many questions left unanswered is a feature, Star Wars is meatgrinding, milking the cow dry, prequels are a bad thing, sequels are a bad thing, Young Indiana Jones, She And Allan is a prequel, the 1980 Flash Gordon Cartoon, the plot of She on Mongo, Rocket Robin Hood, Indiana, a grass sea from Ohio to Nebraska, rolling ships, a fantasy world, a regular sea, the tower of the grass cats, the housecat is named Lady Luck, autobiographical, Philip K. Dick’s cats, this sort of writer, a strange reality, the thing that makes you enjoy it so much, Burroughs fanzines, 1912, the most interesting pulp you’ll ever see, John Carter is a really good movie, you’d be foolish NOT to do it as a show, endless stuff to work with, Carter Of Venus, he’s built up a whole world, the TV and the games, take our time, playing music, games and games and games, massive decline (of movies in theaters), the percentage of the population, there’s too many books to read, that shame is hard to get over, the culture that some readers have, we’re the elite because we read books, the elite class buy books but not to read, the nouveau riche, like a super-genius like those of old, they think gibbon is a monkey, coming to France was good because there’s less production, reading philosophy in French, science fiction in English, little domains, a supplementary force is needed to make you read today (podcasts and blogs), I didn’t want to ever reuse a metaphor, a food metaphor, a tasty novel, what a hack (and he’s not even being paid), how much would you need to be paid to write a review on Audible?, people want to be read, a terrible financial situation, how you ruin a good blog, not caring about its legacy, let’s dump all pretense because we can ride on our reputation, pump and dump, the ‘audiobooks aren’t reading’ snobs, I wonder if anybody’s ever thought this before?, did you ever consider that blind people are not able to read with their eyes, they read with their fucking fingers you idiot, you read with your brain, the demand for people to read your stuff, people who write books want to be writers, wow!, he didn’t bother, it has some sort of timeless value, only read from the golden era, Jason Sanford, a list, Ted Chiang, a category error for all of story telling, you can’t understand the present storytelling without understand the earlier storytelling, A Princess Of Mars, a genre conversation, a straw man, a certain couple of science fiction authors, the whole puppies and the neo-pulp, attention vs. cogent argument, fifty years out of date, wider and more diverse than just the pulp of the 40s and 50s, obsessed with the idea of the public domain, dream about Neil Gaiman, I’ve read several books from this century, so many books from 1920 Jesse hasn’t read, we wont know what’s good from 2020, Paul’s job is to help future Jesses, we thank you for your service, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, “your life sucks, man”, Mike Nowak, Hi Mike!, is Mike reading modern stuff?, he likes the golden age stuff, the New Wave, bridges, an anti-John Carter, playing against the tropes, kinda jagged, Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, I think he just ate the dog, the ending, Virgil’s The Aeneid, all the surviving Trojans, Dido is in Carthage, the final stanzas, a broken truce, Aeneas’ savage nature, the brutal master mentality of the Romans is from this, the meter’s not right, because its so horrible, the core epic of the Romans, essential to understanding the Romans, René Girard, we turn their vice into our virtue, Jesus as a prince of peace, I’m all about the peace hippie stuff, because of the previous story, you’d be well advised to have read A Princess Of Mars, superpowers (healing ability), John Carter doesn’t know how old he is, the Wold-Newton theory, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phœnician by Edwin Lester Arnold, Gulliver Of Mars, but he did it better, my dreck is better, “Good afternoon.”, a room full of tharks, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, Maissa has blocked City Of Endless Night by Milo Hasting, people can listen to that podcast…, a bunch of other stuff, marooned on a gravitational island, Disney+, a traditional hero, an analogy with the plains Indians, Schiaparelli, the freighter had unaccountably blown up, mens rea vs. in media res, he’s been there two years, there’s lots of stuff, he took Penelope with him, you really need to read the Odyssey, and the Iliad, and the Aeneid, readers have a responsibility to read wisely, its so good, its Shakespeare with a sense of humour way out in the open, Star Trek II re-imagined trailer, Genesis by God, they needed more lens flare, diminishing the original by existing, rich with a great ending, Hamlet in the original Klingon, The Wind Whales of Ishmael, The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg, a retelling, an interstitial novel, we need more Farmer audiobooks, Dark Is The Sun, the houseboat on the River Styx to nowhere, box office, sloosh, many times over post-apocalyptic landscape, quirky and fun but forgettable, Marissa, powerful and interesting, that’s weird, researching what I should read, connecting with what you want at that time, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn, who is this Hitchcock guy?, choose your own adventure books, You Are a Shark (Choose Your Own Adventure, #45), maybe this has something to do with it, Watchmen, Alan Moore, the HBO show, recreating that exact scene, the symmetry thing, circles, Nite Owl’s Owlmobile, read the fuck out of everything, why V For Vendetta works so well, 1984 + Guy Fawkes + Superheroes + individual responsibilities, a lesser Philip Jose Farmer imitator, hard work, does he deserve all that hard work, the origin of Tar Baby in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Evan listened to Jerusalem twice, you can choose to get married or you can read Alan Moore’s Jerusalem, they’re miners, he didn’t go far enough, Mark Twain, critique of religion, I love you anyway, I’ll go to hell but I better do it anyway, obsession with Conan Doyle, Jesse’s brief understanding of Conan Doyle mania, a really fun and entertaining book, he doesn’t go far enough, Alan Moore + Philip K. Dick mashed together, A.E. van Vogt, The Odyssey + his own life + WWII, what is really important here?, Northumbria? [Northampton], thinks and thinks, the roots of these characters, look at the realpolitik, this superpower available, what would the government actually do?, we all know its bullshit, a fantasyworld, Batman is the government, fundamentally not connected, the X-Men, the relationship between the government’s relationship and the people’s relationship, Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants, Garth Ennis, these days?, researching the fiction vs. researching the reality, Allan Quatermain, H. Rider Haggard, fart jokes for the rich people and high poetry for the poor, too deep for Terence, too many philosophical implications, appendix replaced with a parasite, inspirational for Larry Niven’s Ringworld?, and Protector too, this whole unexplored mythology, civilization and seeding, pre-history, spiritual sequels, The Ringworld Engineers, H. Beam Piper’s Ominlingual, Little Fuzzy, Kelvin Of Otherwhen, Space Viking, a complement, foist, a cult classic, what happened to Seth?, a furry fandom book, Project Gutenberg, a lens through which, what we mean by the word sapience, right minded human benevolence, a philosophical examination on the subject of sapience, transparent plainspoken prose, John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, reboot old obscure books.

The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – READALONG: Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:

Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.

dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:

“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”

the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.

Virgil Finlay illustration of Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

PAPERBACK LIBRARY - Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Virgil Finlay illustration of The Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Lock In by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton

SFFaudio Review

Lock In by John ScalziLock In
By John Scalzi; Narrated by Wil Wheaton
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date:
[UNABRIDGED] – 10 hours

Themes: / virus / near future / body swapping /

Publisher summary:

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the bestselling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent—and nearly five million souls in the United States alone—the disease causes ‘Lock In:’ Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as ‘Haden’s syndrome,’ rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an ‘integrator’—someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated. But ‘complicated’ doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery—and the real crime—is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

Lock In is a solid book that has some good action, a bit of mystery, and a solid dose of politics thrown in. The story moves at a rapid pace and Scalzi clearly put some thought into the implications of the world he created. Some of the technology and mysteries that come as revelations are a bit obvious but the story is still a lot of fun. Scalzi also includes a short story (which was also released for free online) that explores the back story leading up to this book. I read that story before this one but I don’t think it would make a big difference reading it before or after since Scalzi explains what’s going on really well. I hope he writes more stories in this world.

The general premise is that a disease/virus spreads wildly and leaves a decent portion of the population “locked in”. Those that are “locked in” are completely aware of everything but can’t move, not even to blink their eyes. People affected by this condition are commonly referred to as “Haydens”. Technology has come up with a solution to this problem by implanting neural networks in the minds of Haydens that allow them to live a virtual life or live through a Threep, a robot they control (yes that name comes from C-3P0 of Star Wars). Everything was built up with the help of government funding but those funds are being cut now and haydens aren’t happy. We start the story following Chris, a rather famous hayden, on his/her first day working for the FBI.

With the change in government funding, there are lots of politics at work in the story. People want to cure the disease to free the people trapped in their bodies but some haydens insist they don’t need a cure. Non-haydens think they’re at a disadvantage to people who can do the same work without physically doing it themselves. Haydens are mad about cuts to public funding that will make it hard for them to get by. Companies are working all different angles to turn a profit. A lot of it is interested, some of it is a little too close to current political events and agendas that it might bother people who read to get away from stuff like that.

The story is structured almost like a mystery in that bad things are happening and they don’t totally make sense. The main character is investigating what’s going on as more and more details are revealed along the way. I thought a number of those revelations were obvious from the beginning and making them revelations instead of common knowledge in that world is a bit contrived, but that might just be because I’m a software engineer. In any case, just think of it like watching a Die Hard movie – go along for the ride, suspend belief a bit, and enjoy yourself.

As for the audio side of things, Wil Wheaton did a great job as usual. I haven’t encountered a book read by him that I didn’t like and hearing he narrated something automatically makes me more interested in giving something a try. The gender of the main character is never actually revealed so there are two audiobook versions featuring a male or female reader. That makes no difference in the story whatsoever so just pick a reader you like and go with it. If you didn’t hear that the gender wasn’t mentioned, you’d just as soon assume Chris to be the gender of the narrator.

Posted by Tom Schreck