The SFFaudio Podcast #598 – READALONG: The Mist by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #598 -Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe, Mr Jim Moon, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about The Mist by Stephen King

Talked about on today’s show:
Dark Forces, 1980, Skeleton Crew, 1984 audio drama, Meatball Fulton, the 2007 movie adaptation, the terrible TV adaptation, a German audio drama?, who doesn’t like Stephen King?, America’s greatest popular novelist, people don’t like Stephen King’s endings, his narration tool, awesome endings, eucatastrophe, everything published until he turned 14, same, similar, Insomnia, changing style, the best time to read Stephen King is when it’s too young to be appropriate, Marissa’s eyes were opened, the scales were lifted from your eyes, mimetic fiction, a bridge novelist, a weird continuity, Mr Jim Moon’s bookshelves, the book cover of Carrie, New English Library, what the hell is the shining?, the psychic power, Salem’s Lot, Christmas and birthdays, a binge, a glut, a fear of big books, reading on Kindle, Terry Pratchett, highlighting observations, a heat map, your Dean Koontzs and James Herberts, very well put, tied up in audio, superior audiobooks, the most popular adaptation among fans, The Stand, Frank Muller, the different seasons, The Dark Tower, the Frank Muller narrated version of The Mist, the artist is mentioned, Hieronymus Bosch, Paul’s Stephen King’s experience, Firestarter in Omni Magazine, the Stephen King lake (there’s always something in that lake), Jesse is averse to popular, Cujo, The Running Man, Jesse is worried that his thesis is right, wise or wry observations of human behavior, King is telling us, a Hitchcock ending, a found document, The House On The Borderlands, the framing device, Lovecraft gets a shout-out, meta-mentioned, aliens, why Stranger Things was so popular, all those things that people are highlighting in Stephen King books, instinctually, amp up the drama, three sips of his beer, drinking beer all the whole day, out of alcoholism, cheating on his wife, he shoots his whole family, its transferred, making the main character less of an asshole, its okay that he cheats on his wife, hardscrabble, movie posters, The Dark Tower and The Thing, a more appealing protagonist, the sexual politics of this, moralistic about monogamy, the centerpiece of the drama, in his thoughts a little bit, the mom is missed more than the wife, replacement moms, replacement wife, the four bullets, we’re left to decide, seeing the book in relief, Darabont’s a hack, The Green Mile, Weird Tales, 1937, an error in the film, so faithful to the book in dialogue, the extra soldier, the neighbour is black, The Shawshank Redemption, a definitive ending, a noir ending makes it all the better, concretely solid as a story, A Quiet Place, the hear you instead of sniffing you, all these zombie stories, at least three actors from The Walking Dead, a distillation of so much, The Mist is a ground level version of The Night Wire by H.F. Arnold, the most popular story in Weird Tales ever, an internal monologue, reporting what it’s like to die, the foibles of all the people in the grocery store, “Food House”, a very choice decision, this is all happening out there, the emotional drama, why Stephen King translates so well to film, a skull-face, it amps up your eeuughs, the people dont trust each other, Mrs. Carmady, we see ourselves in her, a difference between the text and the movie, Christianity and folk stuff, psychic, frustrating, crazy fundamentalism, insidious in the book, recent events, people are that stupid here and now, unacknowledged psychics, The Dead Zone, nobodies who rise to political power, Under The Dome, fear of political zealots and cults, a great Covid story, we’re leaving, King read this stuff, *I AM INSPIRED BY THIS*, H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene’s The Horror At Martin’s Beach, what’s identical is us viewing, it’s not about upper class and lower class, out-of-towners vs. locals, the boundary dispute starts off the story, what’s so cool, his psychology is all over the page, Philip K. Dick, very instinctually, my magic spell words, I drink too much, one for the road, drink more beer, some people know they have drinking problems, at the end of Skeleton Crew there’s a note on how it was written, taking this event from your own life, a very methodical way, great details, observant touches, the class tensions, John Updike, built on this interesting fusion, he isn’t an occult researcher, he’s just a dude, a painter, he paints his picture for us, wherever their faithful, the name of the car is the same kind of car, International Harvester Scout vs. Toyota Landcruiser, a very specific region and mental state, a pseudo-explanation for why all this stuff is happening, the secret military base, we need this scenario, lined up for toilet paper, who’s not wearing a mask, follow the rules, how all of this works, what was the right thing for me to do, going to the drugstore, what was the best thing anyone could have done in this scenario, drink beer, play pinochle, a metaphor for the Vietnam War, these experiences, the atmosphere of 1980s, ultimately they’re fighting the Soviets, he’s actually speaking to a particular set of events for people who are not responsible directly, a nostalgia hit, there’s much more to it than the politics, he writes about where he knows, a temperature map, bad political takes on twitter, he’s a boomer, the Vietnam War and John F. Kennedy, 11-22-63, they’ve held up so well, Danse Macabre, the Patty Hearst case, a global pandemic, a very specific moment, 1990, a late 70s story, he didn’t revise it enough, the Symbionese Liberation Army, copy and replace, written right after The Stand, Bird Box, an invasion from outside, usually after the events, the explanation for why the monsters are the way they are, Project Arrowhead, overheard at the library, what you hear is going on, no one is responsible, we’re all responsible, “nobody knew”, “no one could have foreseen this”, why the TV show is terrible, scattering the people, the monsters in the mist, an alternative ecosystem in which we are made irrelevant, The Men In The Walls by William Tenn, a cool idea, are the evils in the grocery store are manifested by the monsters in the mist (in the TV show adaptation), King has them completely separated, they’re not here to eat us, that’s how they are, Mrs. Carmody isn’t right, cosmic indifference causes beer drinking, its all for nothing, why King is better at this, he understands this on the cellular level, a reflection on his own psychological experience with it, the family dog didn’t want to be that way, down the same path, Dark Tower 6 or 7, move between these worlds, a retcon, a mistake, Dark Tower 3, these institutions, North Central Positronics, how institutions appear in King’s early fiction, the storm is what caused it, The Men Who Stare At Goats, if you look at their CV, [Prof. Courtney Brown] working on remote viewing, failing upward, now I teach kids, The Window by H.P. Lovecraft, in Fungi From Yuggoth,

The house was old, with tangled wings outthrown,
Of which no one could ever half keep track,
And in a small room somewhat near the back
Was an odd window sealed with ancient stone.
There, in a dream-plagued childhood, quite alone
I used to go, where night reigned vague and black;
Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack
Of fear, and with a wonder each time grown.

One later day I brought the masons there
To find what view my dim forbears had shunned,
But as they pierced the stone, a rush of air
Burst from the alien voids that yawned beyond.
They fled – but I peered through and found unrolled
All the wild worlds of which my dreams had told.

that piercing, this curious monkey thing, roll our tanks into Moscow behind their lines, if he could have waited a few minutes he this whole story made no sense, his school shooting book [Rage by Stephen King], he’s thinking about killing his family, the army comes in and fixes things, undermining the cynicism, that he didn’t kill himself, he shot his son after abandoning his wife, he went there, that Chinatown (1974) ending, compare this to The Shawshank Redemption‘s ending, the mist just goes away, I think those tentacles came out of that beer can, the trucks, the woman who left right away, locals who had made better decisions, the politics of it are quite interesting, the military guys are wearing masks, its a gas causing hallucinations, an extra, faceless government guys, the Iraq quagmire, the surge will work, the military was cleaning up, burning cocoons off the trees, they’re saving the people, pretty powerful, Scott was not pleased by the ending in the theater, “we went straight to the bookstore from the theatre”, Stephen King’s hopeful ending, something drastic, the psychic part, a dire situation, it might not be real, he thought he heard the word “Hartford”, there’s no narrator in the audio drama, we’re just being show the sound, like a microphone in the pocket of one of the characters, eliminating his own hope, saving them from the horror, pro-hope, I would rather sit here for a minute, I guess we gotta do it, they were safe for a minute, the whole point of this exercise is doomed, not consistent with King’s character as a writer, Pet Semetary, evil is defeated provisionally, they’re so faithful up to the tone of the book up to that point, the ending of Salem’s Lot is the beginning, he doesn’t want to go to that very bleak ending, collecting graffiti from the bathroom stalls of truck-stops, the maid will find it, his notebook saves this guy’s life, an optimistic happy ending, a real phenomenon, all these gun deaths, assault style rifles, avoid breaking down the gun deaths, most US gun deaths are suicides, if you have drugs in your house, we have these states where we change, things will look better in the morning, son, “I was as honest as I could be”, not wiser (they just have more experience), here have a hug, a confection, Castle Rock, exploiting or adapting, wasn’t that part cool, it has the shining music, a kid like in Stand By Me, E.T., straight from his unconscious, he’s not constructing it using a plot generator, a car really obsessed, a superhuman level of attention to detail, a kid crying in the sandlot, the boathouse, wonderfully modeled, a Parliament cigarette, Pepsi, Purina, what it was like to be a middle class American in 1980s, this is not how the world is now, Castle Rock does a better job of getting King (like Darabont does), characters, memorable characters, It, the most accurate depiction of 12 year olds, still accurate at 38, people do that and there isn’t always consequences, every transgression is punished, punished for an act of mercy, Mrs. Carmody would have been right, movies for adults, The Big Chill, suburban adultery, closely observed modernist fiction, lets go on vacation, these dark thoughts on the road, the best depictions of being a writer, why you need that axe, if I can just change stuff up I can finish the book, I’m outlining a new writing project and four months of peace and quiet are what I need, from the very first scene, this Jack Torrence is absolutely crazy, vs. a descent into madness, moral corruption, Kubrick’s film is great, ghosts are allowed to be in novels, the New York Times review of Dark Forces, cinematic writing, is there a story he’s produced that hasn’t been adapted at least once, Revival is going to be adapted, is it because his writing is so cinematic?, the King name, pacing and people, so much happens in the last hour, the audio drama skips the first two chapters, the 1984 text adventure computer game, missing the foundation, an excellent artifact, many many audio dramas available, the 1980s was dry as hell, Fred Greenhalgh and Radio Drama Revival, so innovative, don’t short shrift the audio drama, that 3-D effect, this is really scary, you’re in that grocery store with those people, ‘there’s something in the mist and it looks like this’, Maissa Bessada, its definitely scary, in a film, all those eggs inside that guy, some great effects, a little bit of Aliens (1986) in there, the spiders are on our side, an alien ecology, what is their vegetation, the vegetation doesn’t spill in, The War Of The Worlds, triffids, he’s about the psychology, psychic plants, From A Buick 8, the architecture of the car is all wrong, Thomas Jane, one of the monsters is a D&D one, if Stephen King had been born Stephina King, that’s a guy thing, facts about the cars, being that he’s a dude, old cars from the 50s, an AMC AMX, it looks so cool, it would be different if he was a woman, if he had a female brain, what would those obsessions be, obsession with duck breeds, “what’s with the doilies, ladies?”, video games have really changed people’s brains, game clothes, their obsessions are going to be different, he tends to be very contemporary, Cell, a cellphone used as a flashlight, now nobody has flashlights, the mist knocked out the signal, the radio, “the internet’s out, what can we do!?”, Jesse’s favourite scene, I’m going to get you a Spider-Man, a Spider-Man and an Incredible Hulk too!, sitting on the dock for a few hour with a comic book, totally absorbed, something for the dentist to work on later.

The Mist by Stephen King - read by Frank Muller

The Mist In 3D Sound

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

ALL AMERICAN
Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

ECLECTIC AFFINITIES
Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

AMUSEMENTS, ANNOYANCES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

LEGACIES OF TOTALITARIANISM
Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

WORDS’ WORTH
When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo – on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals from Random House Audio

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Poe's Children, ed by Peter StraubPoe’s Children: The New Horror, an Anthology
Ed by Peter Straub, Read by Various
12 CD’s – 15.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED SELECTIONS]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739375990

A first-rate anthology of stories by writers that editor Peter Straub calls “literary writers and genre writers at the same time”. Here’s the full Table of Contents:

Introduction by Peter Straub, read by Don Leslie
“The Bees” by Dan Chaon, read by Mark Deakins
“Cleopatra Brimstone” by Elizabeth Hand, read by Ann Marie Lee
“The Man on the Ceiling” by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, read by Don Leslie and Donna Rawlins
“Body” by Brian Evenson, read by Lincoln Hoppe
“Louise’s Ghost” by Kelly Link, read by Rebecca Lowman
“Leda” by M. Rickert, read by Lincoln Hoppe, Rebecca Lowman, Mark Bramhall, Dominic Hoffman, and Donna Rawlins
“The Two Sams” by Glen Hirschberg, read by Mark Deakins
“Notes on the Writing of Horror: A Story” by Thomas Ligotti, read by Lincoln Hoppe
“Little Red’s Tango” by Peter Straub, read by Dominic Hoffman
“The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet” by Stephen King, read by Mark Bramhall
“Missolonghi 1824” by John Crowley, read by John Lee
“Insect Dreams” by Rosalind Palermo Stevenson, read by Cassandra Campbell
 
 
Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James LucenoStar Wars: Millennium Falcon
Read by James Luceno, Read by Marc Thompson
8 CD’s – 10 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739377130

Two years have passed since Jacen Solo, seduced by the dark side and reanointed as the brutal Sith Lord Darth Caedus, died at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina, Sword of the Jedi. For a grieving Han and Leia, the shadow of their son’s tragic downfall still looms large. But Jacen’s own bright and loving daughter, Allana, offers a ray of hope for the future as she thrives in her grandparents’ care. And when the eager, inquisitive girl, in whom the Force grows ever stronger, makes a curious discovery aboard her grandfather’s beloved spacecraft–the much-overhauled but ever-dependable Millennium Falcon–the Solo family finds itself at a new turning point, about to set out on an odyssey into uncertain territory, untold adventure, and unexpected rewards.
 
 
Widows of Eastwick by John UpdikeWidows of Eastwick
Read by John Updike, Read by Kate Reading
9 CD’s – 11 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739370797

More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick (also available Unabridged from Random House Audio). The three divorcées–Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie–have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden of Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.
 
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #011 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #011 – in which our desperate heroes attempt to display the manliness and fortitude, listing all the recent arrivals, and some recent listens.

Talked about on today’s show:
audiobooks, epic fantasy, science fiction, The Runelords, David Farland, Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Dragonheart, Todd McCaffery, Pern, Penguin Audio, Jim Butcher, Codex Alera, Furies of Calderon, Kate Reading, Random House Audio, The Widows Of Eastwick, John Updike, Peter Straub, Poe’s Children – an anthology, Stephen King, Star Wars – Millennium Falcon, James Luceno, Macmillan Audio, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Michael Kramer, Richard Stark, Books On Tape, Frank Herbert, Heretics Of Dune, the Alan Smithee version of Dune (1984), Neal Stephenson, Anathem (28 CDs long!), The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Ender In Exile, Orson Scott Card, Team America World Police, Sherlock Holmes Theatre, Yuri Rasovsky, audio drama, 2000X, Repent Harlequin Said The Tick-Tock Man, Harlan Ellison, Mercedes Lackey, Foundation, Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind, Legend Of The Seeker, SFSignal.com, iTunes, Infinivox, Guest Law, John C. Wright, Audio Realms, Shadow Kingdoms, Robert E. Howard, Fallout 3, and Team America: World Police‘s song we’re gonna need a montage!

Posted by Jesse Willis