The SFFaudio Podcast #522 – READALONG: Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #522 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Amy H. Sturgis talk about Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

Talked about on today’s show:
Alex Nevala-Lee, a book and an audiobook, thinking about legacies, thinking about audiobooks before, the original cool guy, adorable, its nice to be read to, 100 pages of footnotes, Evan, your book doesn’t exist as an audiobook, nobody wants to read anymore, Evan’s gotten to the stage, reading history books, non-fiction is so good on audio, rekindling pleasure, everything is cited, really he said that?, “Fuck, Eando Binder!”, “lambasted dianetics”, its all cited, 13 hours, not padded, way too long, more about their sexual problems, wife-swappin’ again, a problem for a lot of books, so easy to read, just have a little listen, so engrossing, so well written, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, the Navy yard, commentary on the stories, I Will Fear No Evil, John W. Campbell is important, Ben Bova, two confusing awards, Hugo Gernsback needs his own version of this, the one person who is completely missing from this book is H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, what about this?, Jesse’s complaints are not very legit, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, modern science fiction, the intellectual historian, markets for genres, the 20s-30s-40s, the Cold War, turn towards nativism, a profound effect, the Science Fiction League, a self-aware community, WWII, a fledgling dialogue, this revolution, connecting SF with science, Microcosmic God, this is on Campbell, distinctly American?, issues sent as ballast to the UK, all the foreign editions of Astounding, the British fanzines, Hugo was nuts for electronics, we’re going to invent our own televisions, home amateurs, ham radio operators, the science fiction reader, Tom Swift, the edisonade, fertile soil, the radio boys, Electronic Experimenter, a pulp fiction collection, reading Amazing vs. reading Astounding, technical drawings and weird editorials, not only space opera, The Electrical Experimenter, Larry Niven, they’re weird dudes, a pathetic figure, a tragedy, a mire of pseudoscience, Asimov’s biography, Heinlein’s letters, no no, a horror suspense movie, uplifting, it worked on Heinlein, Asimov was his own little being, the tragedy is coming, blind spots and prejudices, good fiction and good science, the new wave, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, a machine for generating analogies, he’s given them the tools to push back against him, still influential, descent into pseudoscience and self delusion, Asimov’s preface to Dangerous Visions, we’re the squares, the passing of the torch, the sexual revolution, a cultural revolution vibe, Asimov was a square, “I fuck a lot, man.”, almost sexless, The Gods Themselves, weird alien sex, Heinlein’s weirdness, a lot of revealing things, the role of the wives, a biography of Kay (Catherine) Tarrant, spelling the names, Campbell wasn’t needed, behind the scenes, Astounding is so important, still under copyright, Heinlein getting mad at Campbell, Philip K. Dick has one story in Astounding, what’s going on?, Impostor, Campbell wanted superhumans, The Golden Man, a superhuman idiot, writing in reaction to it, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold’s aesthetic, Campbell didn’t take Alfred Bester!, a gatekeeper, Frederik Pohl, how important The Cold Equations is, you have to keep re-writing this until you get it right, what it does, this is what we are talking about, this is how far we can go, a Star Trek story, here is an episode of something that we can imagine happening, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, what Campbell was aiming at, a study in what editors can do, seeding the same idea multiple times, turning Asimov down, how would that intelligence work?, a black POV character, a leap of imagination, racism and homophobia as compartmentalization, Dune World by Frank Herbert, Mack Reynolds, Black Man’s Burden, Commune: 2000, the problem is scarcity (there is none, except in jobs), universal basic income, it didn’t matter to you that the kid was Filipino, what the difference between a rationalists and empiricists, here’s how drunk driving should work, you’re not clear yet, a technical journal, that’s not how science works, how science works, grinding lenses, Verne -> submarines, Wells -> warplanes, Campbell -> atom bombs, science fiction leading the science, a legacy, Rocket Ship Galileo, Tom Swift in the Rocket Age, Nancy Drew is not the same, Nazis on the moon, action fun excitement, Elon Musk, pushing in all directions, badly inspired, Paul Krugman, Asimov’s Foundation series, a weird tension, the scientific approach to all things, psychology, a desire to make everything scientific, A.E. Van Vogt, enough to be dangerous, enthusiasm for the ideas didn’t follow through to the methodology, we can make this science too, Hubbard had no interest in science (or science fiction, really), Heinlein’s failing, Asimov was a sexual asshole, a tragic figure, Heinlein falls for Hubbard because he had a uniform, a lying used car salesman, cults, its not about your intelligence, lacking critical thinking, charisma doesn’t translate from the page, judging eyes, I no longer trust you, the worst insult Heinlein could ever give anybody, broken legs and gonorrhea, the asshole sections of Jesse’s email, Heinlein was really blinded by patriotism, the Vietnam War, we need a renaissance for the Heinlein juveniles, Farnham’s Freehold makes a lot more sense now, trying to make a point about Campbell being wrong, hopeful commentary, not including Hubbard, the serpent in the garden, transformative, “the competent man”, competitors and community members, we’re doing something that’s important, the conversations we’re having are important, they hung together for decades, personal loyalty, trolls, the story of the first Worldcon, women nurturing men who were nurturing other men, Donald A. Wollheim was a better troll than anyone living today, contributing something positive, Mimic, he bought a lot of Philip K. Dick, Asimov as a youth, your idea of heaven, the power of picking up one of these magazines, the one thing missing from this book is the history of the covers, the art, fill the space, a little bit of technology, pitch me three new magazine, Weird Tales, tiny little things, when H.P. Lovecraft turns down the editorship of Weird Tales, what would we have or what would we be missing?, a magazine with a legacy, Elon Musk is a Heinleinian character, old letters pages are fossils, D.D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon, a trap, not hard enough on the Soviets!, a whole lifetime of a really complicated human being, the whole point, the functionalist stuff sounds like Campbell, creativity doesn’t work that way, how writing works, The Trouble With Tribbles, everything is in reaction, H.G. Wells doesn’t seem to have a massive precursor, The Time Machine, Last And First Men, Olaf Stapledon, Starmaker, those men are heroes, page 370 and 371, Barry M. Malzberg, sympathize with his critics, the question of victimization, a problem solving medium, not everyone is a hero, the way science fiction is today, science fiction should explore everything, schlubs, we all live in a world that’s increasingly become science fictional, Wells’ heroes are assholes, the New Wave pushes back against the Campbellian revolution, J.G. Ballard, mistrust of the meta-narrative, setting up things that come later, wanting 15 other books to be written, a companion volume on the Futurians, creating editors, Judith Merrill, here’s another community, C.M. Kornbluth, glimpses, Arena by Fredric Brown, The Orville is new Star Trek: The Next Generation, the a plot and the b plot, season 8 Next Generation, Enemy Mine, Hell In The Pacific, Lee Marvin, no alien movie, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Space: 1999, The Most Dangerous Game, Predator, somebody sitting around, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the b-plot, The Corbamite Maneuver, The Kobayashi Maru, Amy’s Looking Back At Genre History, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, always asking questions, how do you know, a meta-story, it’s about what happens when you read Astounding, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin is a retelling of Microcosmic God, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Hal Clement, science fiction luminaries, missing an ode to Hal Clement, the chapter titles, Who Goes There?, it doesn’t give you what you want, Don A. Stuart, Twilight, two types of storytellers, historical narratives, a remarkable achievement, history is a pruning job, a really important book, more books just like this, every time we say “Astounding” take a drink, endnotes, bibliography, a gift that’s going to keep on giving, what happens after this, some editor discovered or promoted Dashiell Hammett, Black Mask, railroading magazines, westerns, isn’t Analog still going today?, finally why this magazine called Analog?, it’s a metaphor, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, factless, Willy Ley, trying to make the reality behind science fiction more real, giving writers a grounding, Asimov: what a man!, writers who are complaining about low pay rates, E.E. Doc Smith, the Dean drive, a reactionless space drive, more biographies of these pulp era mags, The World Of Nitrogen, The Realm Of Measures, Asimov On Numbers, super-clear writing, Campbell’s book of collected editorials, Lecherous Limericks, bra-snapping and carrying on, Annoted Gulliver’s Travels, a writing and learning machine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, mysteries, the joy of reading and the joy of writing, his mind was always elevator, that kind of curiosity is so rare, he wanted to know the answers to everything, a powerful force in reality, The End Of Eternity, a fun book.

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #470 – READALONG: The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #470 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
1950, novel/collection, The Moon Moth, a story suite, self-contained, a great book of language, the excellent prismatic spray, travertine, lapis lazuli, Hollywood, a black dragonfly, I hate the world and everything in it, Dungeons & Dragons, the Demon Princes novels, the Planet Of Adventure novels, a second order of facts, the richness of the language, the amoral characters, would you have dinner with any of these characters?, role-playing, the final descent, weird and wondrous, defined by this book, future echoes, The Matrix is a dying earth story, accessing certain special moves, fighting machines, the magic system, a 9th level spell, Bigby’s Grasping Hand, Tenser’s floating disc, the same recipe, magic missile, jamming in five spells (instead of four), so fun, a little bit of FOMO, re-memorizing spells, making magic controllable, it’s OP (overpowered), super hero movies, Heroes, origins stories, Mazarian, the Excellent Prismatic Spray, the Omnipotent Sphere, unceasing, a list of the spells, tomes, there’s no actual incantation, spell words and tongue twisters, Latin spell names, a great idea, how Harry Potter’s spells work, the orcs are coming, colour and action, Paul plays mages a lot, a callow youth, being indoctrinated into Dungeons & Dragons, being like Jesus means no stabbing, just swinging my arm, twisted logic, Gandalf has a big long sword, to balance out the classes, to balance, niche protection, cramming for your spell exams, Paul’s showing his geekiness, Dragon Magazine, you could swing that stupid sword around, why you gonna carry that giant sword?, a profound effect upon hundreds of thousands of people’s lives for decades and decades, pretty amazing, pure luck, strange creatures, demons, this is just like home, the plot lines do not closely follow, there’s no taverns, a conman thief, go find this museum, not standard D&D quests, Liane gets what he deserves, Chun the Unavoidable, torturing an innocent couple, so fun to read, such a prat, when Bryan bowed out, an in-joke within the campaign, the perversity of the Dungeon Master, suggested stats, other planes of existence, appearing from behind a tapestry, The Princess Bride, a passion for eyes, the dragonfly riders, a vial of oil, shrinking Paul, don’t trust anything, a Vancian point of view, judging the worst beauty contest of all time, Poul Anderson, the deep blue sky of Earth, a pocket dimension, T’sain, is he trying to make a girl?, vats, T’sais, Turjan, Pandelume, The Handmaid’s Tale, making women in bottles, alchemy, homunculi, chemical products, we’re nearly there with lab grown meats, everything is ugly is ugly even beautiful things are uglier, she finds the world a bitter place, dire malevolence, use of language, eructate, a poem about burps, a burping tree, women server me some wine and make the eighteen motions of allurement, interesting as a concept, the opposite of innocence, everyone is corrupt, there’s only loss, what re they going to do, living inside their tanks and know that’s where they’re at now, the middle of the Dying Earth ideas, Darkness by Lord Byron, E.R. Eddison,

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black.

pretty gruesome, the year without a summer, Mary Shelley, Krakatoa, a dream and not a dream, it’s just everyday, this is not a young earth, not a new idea, Shakespeare’s fairies and Tolkien’s Middle Earth, from the fairy or elven point of view, a growing tide of darkness and ignorance, our deepest oldest fear, the end times, the end days, this is how we live now, the twilight days, the environmental stories in the news, we’re kind of fucking this up, “I just use as much plastic as possible”, an uplifting book, so dark but funny and uplifting, running the Museum of Man, that’s not how people actually are, the ideas of a book, these are the waves coming in, the beach, not the normal Jesse book, a very Clark Ashton Smith prose poem style, Zothique, a conduit, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, even the robots are tired, Mr Jim Moon, The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, 17th century language, pseudo-biblical language, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess Of Mars, something distinctly moving, the unromantic and unpoetic among readers, an insanely strange book, H.G. Wells, The Cave Of Time, resurrected at the end of time, Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer, a lot of celebrities, Richard Burton, everybody who ever was, Mark Twain, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Hermann Göring, TV adaptations of the Riverworld series, at the end of history, so sad, still striving, The Book Of The New Sun, The Book Of The Long Sun, Gene Wolfe, he’s an apprentice torture but his true passion is rape, ornate strange language, brilliant, interesting, frustrating, and wonderful, a massive undertaking, the book of gold, Paul’s book of gold: The Amber Chronicles, The Hobbit, this is amazing!, the one book that made Marissa get super-excited about reading: Cujo by Stephen King, it’s almost never laser guns, I’ve done questionable things, Rutger Hauer, creators, but also great things, Blade Runner is a dying earth story, infectious imagery, neo-noir, film dystopia, there are no heroes (really), everything is falling apart, the creatures are no longer biological, Blade Runner: 2049, a down and depressing future dystopia, what we think of doing well now, the Marvel movies, short term thinking, how well the money’s doing, long lived lives, John W. Campbell’s Night, hard Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock, the Hawkmoon books, C.J. Cherryh, George R.R. Martin, The City At The End Of Time by Greg Bear, an amazingly powerful book, The House On The Borderland, an interesting sub-genre, the language of cant, I babble in an unknown tongue, even the prophets are corrupt and fake.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #447 – READALONG: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #447 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Talked about on today’s show:
1974, if everybody in the modern era writes like him…, depth beyond the good writing and the ideas, what does it MEAN?!, a straightforward 1970s novel, ever further into the future, future-shock, war, Ken Burn’s Vietnam documentary series, accelerated time, mid-2016 and now, WHAT the bleep has HAPPENED?, clown show, a politically traumatic time, 1967-1968, 1968-1969, Paul is my senior, draft dodgers taught Jesse, “not my president, hashtag”, leaving the USA for Canada, they stayed, making a peep, the elites (or quasi-elites) might have to go, the real plutocrats always found a way out, Jimmy Carter, McCain, John Kerry, that trick still works, the Russia thing, collusion, what skills does he bring to the table?, the John Podesta emails, Bill and Hill Clinton, flipped the script, they swift-boated him, a perennial technique, bringing it back to the book, all weird, another tour, all word, Earth is a dystopia, Earth became Texas, the first section, training on Charon, power-armor, technology, silly and weird predictions, Mogadishu, Somalia, the farm, lawless Horn of Africa, the center cannot hold, ever expanding military, no health-care for the mom, death-panel, trying to figure out what’s going on in the mind of the author, an analogy, this is why people sign back up (go on another tour), going back and forth, the big takeaway, oh, my mom’s gay, everybody’s gay!, everybody’s multi-racial now and I’m the queer, that’s interesting, now everybody is a clone, a hyperbolized version of the political changes, Cassius Clay -> Muhammad Ali (and great) -> now he’s a war-resister, the kind of military SF, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Armor by John Steakley, Old Man’s War, ooh it’s a twist (he’s not even white!), the movie adaptation of Starship Troopers, doing something slightly different, following forward, Jesse’s a big fan of the montage, tedium mixed with fear and shock, the military-industrial complex, romance novels for men, a focus on the specs of the pistols, the serial numbers on their special hand-grips, what gets them going in the night, he did a lot of math, gravity curves, MIT, political stripes, the legalization of cannabis, the acceptance of homosexuality, having latent feelings, a little looser, among those artist types, he’s the “old queer”, a funny twitter conversation: what’s really lacking today…, VHS vs DVD, we’ve become more prudish, conservative marketing, “no, we’ve lost context”, sexist!, homophobe!, “a latent heterosexual”, whenever you put a pressure on a large group of people results happen, everybody in our society is gay now, isn’t that interesting, look at the way we’re living now, the lack of context rule, when Potter converts to heterosexuality…, he’s not trying to target the audience of today, Heinlein was a weird guy, the way he obliquely attacks problems, no qualms about this book, an asexual cyborg, Forever Free, Forever Peace is excellent (Paul doesn’t like it), all about drone warfare, more artificial, The Accidental Time Machine, funny and delightful, Haldeman on Prisoners Of Gravity, he won everything (it was political), overwhelming, a thoughtful and reasonable guy, four serials of this book, Analog, Hero, “Screw you, sir!” -> “Fuck you, sir!”, Robert A. Heinlein’s naval service, a deep respect for the military, a hippie planet called “Middle Finger”, it starts with a “fuck you” and ends with a “Middle Finger”, Mandela’s psychological profile, leading from a position of empathy and ideas (instead of will), how the Marxist soldier during the Spanish Civil War would do business, ambiguous (ambivalent) feelings, Mike Vendetti, not something you take lightly, his emotions in his tweets, he’s got mixed feelings, a big mistake!, this war didn’t need to happen, ultimately the lesson, “support our troops”, taking a knee, a conflation with honouring the military, into the arms of the other f-word (fascism), a very nice point, politicians manipulating the people is nothing new, actual journalism with a critical eye, both Gulf Wars, “embedded with the troops”, stories in a patriotic light, propaganda, still happening today, Brian Williams’ ‘beauty of our missiles’, this book misses, told tightly from Mandella’s POV, the veterans are toured around the world, the comic book adaptation of The Forever War by Marvano (artist), Gay Haldeman (translation) and Joe Haldeman (script), Titan Comics, he stacked the deck, a counter-pole, there’s nothing here, the serialization, We Are Very Happy Here, necessary for serialization, a plot contrivance, 84-year old moms, joining the army for financial reasons, Marygay’s mother and father, true for the people of Somalia, pirates don’t do piracy for the sea-shanties, manipulated for our benefit, in the tradition of Starship Troopers (and not in the tradition), Heinlein’s generation vs. Haldeman’s generation, war with aliens, we become the alien, “you don’t understand politics”, why veteran are the only people are allowed to vote, politics of the era of Nixon vs. the politics of the era of Roosevelt, a “take that”, there was a revolt of veterans on earth at one point, the Bonus Army, the Revolutions Podcast, support our troops is a whip, the American support of the French in Vietnam, depending on how you calculate, a sunk cost fallacy, JFK needed to keep the war going past the next election, we can only badly infer it, what Jesse appreciated about Ender’s Game, a wish-fulfillment avatar for 13 year old boys, a lot of time in the online forums, reading a really deep reddit post, why that book is powerful, and here’s what’s missing, the general is a child, it kind of explains the real life generals, Netflix’s thinly veiled McCrystal biopic, there’s no job to be finished, there are no victory conditions, a frameworks for continuous unending war, without a draft it is an endlessly churning meat-grinder, a constant war economy, the government is being fleeced of its coffers by war profiteers, why is my standard of living falling?, pointing out the unfair, labeling it is not the solution, the Las Vegas shooting, “this is an act of domestic terrorism!”, we’re going to calm things down, slave revolts are not terrorism, labels are not the issue, the guns and the access to them are a bigger issue, people get caught up on the words and identity politics, sidestepping racism, sexual norms, a made-up name, he dodged the question, the charge of racism, google n-gram, nobody got suddenly racist, when they do the movie, Channing Tatum, they made a decision, socioeconomic status, a person’s story, the Ender’s Game movie, Johnny Rico is Filipino from South America, Ensign Kim is Scandinavian!, is it a weakness that the novel doesn’t explore racism?, a beautiful time capsule, Mandella’s psychology, Doctor Potter: I’m not prejudiced, the soldiers he was fighting beside were all his team and the fear of the enemy was more important than the colour of the skin of the soldier in the fox-hole with him, a media construction, real human beings, outside your bubble and your fears, deep deep resentment, prejudices of all kind, lived experience, ameliorating intolerance, a chance to grow and understand, an overoptimistic story?, a combat team, it treats racism as settled, let’s deal with homosexuality, Heinlein on homosexuality, a greater representation of gender-queer characters (male vs. female), painful and uncomforting, seeing the flaws within yourself, he’s a dude telling his own story, Diana, Margay gets her own standalone story, Spider Robinson, many changes, an excised fourth part, people read science fiction the wrong way, dangerous territory, Jesse you should read this this and this, this is a story of a dude like this…, reading off in my own direction, books written before I was born, reading the books written by the readers of recent books, unlike other genres (with the exceptions of mystery and crime), science fiction is a series of conversations between stories, your going to be missing a large part of the story, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, gay characters in a story is passe, I don’t read the stories for the characters at all, reading it for the societies, reading it for the science, I want to see my values reflected, the battle on that last planet, where’s the rest of the story, why people read science fiction (other than to see their values relfected), world-building, effusive for Ringworld, literal world-building, reading to see representation, an era of character based, having not seen themselves they want to see themselves reflected, a sense of wonder, Paul Atreides is someone Paul could sink into, a white male protagonist, they’re not the classic, how cool the other stuff in that book is, why am I having a whispered conversation with this weird lady in my bedroom, kids never pay attention to the author until you graduate from that, cover artists, aha!, this other thing: the author, this Miguel Ferrer is the actor (not the writer), Tom Cruise movies have no writers, the French focus on the film director, it’s not the characters to me, what makes science fiction so different, soft science fiction, looking at trends and forces, here’s a society with a guaranteed annual income, he’s probably male, that Mack Reynolds novel stands out because it is representing me, the scarcity of jobs is important, world-building enough to spend, there’s no one true way to read science fiction, to misquote Rudyard Kipling, alien planets, we get to see Heaven (a paradise planet), we get to see life on a little planet in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, a deep dive into William Mandella, academic to grunt, what a soldier’s life is like, waiting in a time, a lover or a nurse, reading for the Marygay-William relationship, the Church of Science Fiction, if you read it for the romance you’re going to be disappointed, a Heinleinian bit, looking it as a modern book, are there books still to be written in this conversation?, how Jesse would film the novel, people don’t just live happily ever after, H.E.A. (a romance term), Jonathan and Gary of the Coode Street podcast, how you want to slice it, Linda Nagata’s The Last Good Man, the “Red” series, in this particular thread, digitizing The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, Le Guin doing Philip K. Dick, a great appreciator of PKD’s writing, she’s trying to have a conversation with Philip K. Dick, the Lovecraft conversation is so loud and churning, fulminating, denouncers, he’s now at max volume, how many sequels to Innsmouth, Ben Bova, a legacy of Analog and Astounding, John W. Campbell seemed to interfere, a pretty stupid man in many respects, the telepathic (psionics), add some bullshit element and you’ll get a sale, nobody writes those (psionics) books anymore, Julian May’s intervention novels, The Many Colored Land, August Derleth, not only a bad writer (a bad person), show me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man, nicely reflected in what happens to the humans, you poor deluded human, Murray Leinster, A Martian Odyssey Stanley G. Weinbaum, an important story, H.G. Wells, I’ve got these great ideas and this piece of paper, thinking through the ideas, tell a story based on that world, what makes Dune so great, a gender-swapped version of Dune, monks instead of nuns, set on a waterworld?, this book has something for everybody.

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

Hero by Joe Haldeman - Analog June 1972 - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

We Are Very Happy Here by Joe Haldeman - Analog, November 1973

End Game by Joe Haldeman - illustration by Vincent Di Fate - Analog, January 1975

End Game by Joe Haldeman - illustration by Vincent Di Fate - Analog, January 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

You Can Never Go Back by Joe Haldeman - Amazing, November 1975

Titan Comics - The Forever War - Issue 5

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #437 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Turning Wheel by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #437 – The Turning Wheel by Philip K. Dick, read by Mike Vendetti (this audiobook comes to us courtesy of Mike Vendetti). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (52 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, Marissa, and Mirko Stauch.

Talked about on today’s show:
clearness be with me, novelette, Science Fiction Stories, issue 2, 1954, the far future of The Faith Of Our Fathers, an ambush ending, Brian Aldiss, I wish he wasn’t on speed, adrenaline or heroin hit, really funny, the most hilarious thing ever, walking around Hollywood, cruel glee, Sigma 2 Foxtrot, full of ideas, building a world step by step, small hints, not Dick’s best story, The Philip K. Dick Fans page, baffled by, pointing to something, the plot, what are we supposed to make of the ending, another turn of the wheel, penicillin, a return to reality, false beliefs, the next world, the tinkerists, a parade, a secular meeting, taken on too much, a racist and anti-racist story, awkwardness in his own body, PKD was a cauc, an interest in the numinous, a repairman, ambivalence, crapsack future, post apocalyptic dystopia, a Yellow Peril story, Indians ascendant, the lowly caucs, rotations of karma, circles within circles, humour, the PKD stand-in character, “my mind is still impure”, denial of education, entertainment, food, bardley class, some sort of satire, Scientology, Dianetics, A.E. van Vogt, John W. Campbell, there’s not much science in it, self-helpy, therapy replacement, psychotherapy for the afflicted, did Dick ever go to a Scientology meeting, Lawrence Sutin, phhh, Elron Hu (Bard), pretty crazy, in the center, e-meters, Aleister Crowley, apocryphal stories, Lester del Rey, founding a religion, Michael Shermer, the Robert A. Heinlein anecdote, the Harlan Ellison anecdote, what is religion for?, The Man In The High Castle, even the caucs of Detroit, the colonial governor, what is the purpose of religion?, how strange a man, a born liar, a similar mentality to Trump, a serious mental illness, a system, persuasion, the appeal of any religion, offering answers, tradition, social structure, what do they say?, they look with their blank stares, creepy, free test, no eye contact, Sung Wu, this is what the real world’s like, so much fear, it will jangle you, deprogrammed, the medicine, bad days, mental crisis, free floating anxiety, existential angst, this electronic device is not going to hurt you, free (at first), haters, every cult, the Westboro Baptists, Cults!, rusty and unoiled, a jammed disposal slot, any stable society is menaced by cults, are we stable society, teetering on the brink, blind to the rot, rationalize, this is fine, do not repair, do not fix, shooting bullets with a rusty gun, deterministic nature of their faith, predetermined, divine will, a cheap argument, the lowest class, off to Spain, a silent messenger, the basic catechisms, busy mixing, a hairy cauc sweating and galumphing around like a neanderthal, one of PKD’s wives must have called him an neanderthal, Mary And The Giant, technos, pale and unhealthy like nocturnal insects, othering the Caucasians, I’m pretty hairy myself, lascivious looks, human dimensions, incessant whining, laughing and wincing, full of hypocrisy, the robots, “clearness be with you”, welded to its waist, some tinkerist, a plow, legacy leftovers, the TV repairman part of PKD, science is good and engineering is great aspect, hoping for recycling, monorails everywhere, nuclear war, open sores, farming the ruins of Detroit, a cool image, Time Pawn, revisions, world-building, wanted more meat, nicotine or copper, insecticide, our brothers, reacting to Eastern Mythology, gnostic, I Ching, of course not, reading the Dick’s Exegesis, jangled with spirits of murders, Thetans, I wanna murder you right now, not my best self, externalize, a lascivious bastard, getting clear, on a spectrum, mental issues, so productive, maybe this will work, a marketable madness, negative thoughts, that’s the bad part, panic attacks, agoraphobia, depressions, the link between graphomania and mental depression, you wouldn’t see anything, sitting on Philip K. Dick’s shoulder, across the street with binoculars, it must be frightening, nobody has the answer, a powerful ending, a lot of reflection of our society, making animals suffer is bad, sorry spider, take it to the limit, hairy and sweaty, ultimately we’re smart and we have science and engineering, he ultimately believes that American industrialism is a good thing, penicillin is awesome, his only real giant point, its about empathy, kipple or gubble, back into organized states, old religions, a new world order, out of the ruins of the old society, deeply symbolic, they could make the same mistake, primitively wise, they suborn ’em, expiration dates on drugs, unpacking the brushed over, how do we know that it works?, a poor little fly on an alien planet, a self-deluded cult that’s taken over the world, we have no guarantees, to reboot Scientology, it would be VR, you’re jangled!, VR as a treatment for PTSD, I remember all of Blade Runner, I don’t need to watch it again, the Vangelis soundtrack, the cause of my jangles, that room, put yourself in a basket, the Mercer cult machine, no decent self-respecting woman, incredibly hairy, like apes!, ape-like, dealing with racism, a yellow man criticizing white men, a white ascendancy, a horizontal ascendancy, we’ll have to share the same outhouse, oh my Hubbard!, the black empathy box, Wilbur Mercer, an Empathy box, an E-Box, the virtual reality of Perky Pat, a regular person, you have to have so much knowledge going in, Roog, deciding to become a vegetable, what is he saying here?, did his wife say something to him?, why would anyone publish this?, no movie will be made of this (as it is), wishing it were a lot longer, Piper In The Woods, the Green Man, what’s he getting at here?, New Wave, why is that guy doing that?, is he New Wave before his time, Gonna Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, things are like huh, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, pre-inoculated for the changes to come, a boy goes to prison for treason and comes out a girl (Chelsea Manning), turmoil and rage, I was thinking about this two decades ago, fifty years ago, a story aimed squarely at the heterosexual male, stick with me, still a love story, there’s something going on there, not meant for the ages, for lining your bird cage with, we’re clear, and marked as suppressive persons, vegans, what you gonna stop eating fruit, totally put off, kind of cute, The Misfits, is abstaining from alcohol a religion, not having to lie, the religious fervor has passed, 27 year old Toyota,

Posted by Jesse Willis

audio dramas of John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?

SFFaudio Online Audio

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

An alien being is found frozen in the ice of Antarctica. When it is thawed, it awakens, to become a threat to the small base camp. In fact, it’s a threat to all life on earth, as it can change shape and absorb the life and bodies of every living thing it comes in contact with.

Though the original story of Who Goes There?, by John W. Campbell, has been adapted to film four times there have also been radio and audio drama adaptations.

The first was for a 1950s series entitled Exploring Tomorrow, hosted by Campbell himself, it was broadcast under the title “The Escape” – unfortunately it is a “lost” episode of that series. No recordings are known to exist.

Next, and arguably the best adaptation, is the 2002 version for the BBC Radio 4 series Chillers. Adapted by Mike Walker, it is faithful to the story except for making the Antarctic expedition British. |MP3|

A 2012 adaptation, for an aborted series called “Must Be Nice“, was adapted by Clay Dugger. It is rough, an amateur production, but not wholly unlistenable. |MP3|

The 2013 Suspense (revival) adaptation is by John C. Alsedek and Dana Perry-Hayes. It is very, very good, but bear in mind it may be too frightening to listen to at night:

Below, and at the top of the post, are the original illustrations accompanying the story’s first publication in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1938:

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

Posted by Jesse Willis