The SFFaudio Podcast #651 – READALONG: Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #651 – Jesse and Alex talk about Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Talked about on today’s:
Brandon Porter, complaints about the audiobook, missing footnotes, appendixes C and D, Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979, page 224, who the hell are these guys, there’s Tolkien, John , Andrew J. Offutt, Fltcher Pratt, Face In The Frost, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, reading ideas, Paul Weimer, opposed to Castalia House, John C. Wright, chips on both guys shoulders, misplaced chips, not wanting to participate in some books, Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy, Oryx And Crake, too stuck up, complaining the whole time, authors we want nothing to do with, oh you’re a genius Margaret!, Jesse hates her, a book of book reviews, a Christian, Margaret St. Clair, “milieu”, halberd, when you learn things from books, as a professional narrator, names in fantasy books, not having pronunciation in mind, apostrophes, Tolkienesque words, all the role playing games, Gamma World, Traveler, Pathfinder, The Call Of Cthulhu, Car Wars, GURPS, the core rule books, modules, more time reading the books than playing the game, his thesis, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just Tolkien and it was never meant to be, fundamentally misunderstand the game, how clerics show up, Galadriel with cup of healing water, organized religion was missing from Middle Earth, the Hobbits don’t go to church, Denethor, heathen kings of old, worshiping, he’s a dictator, one of many inspirations, quotes, the Conan section, pastiches, Gary Gygax, the original Howard Conan wasn’t available to Gygax, people kown Conan, most people’s views of Lovecraft are just wrong, The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair and The Sign Of The Labrys, inspiration, my love my father showed when I was a tad, cloaked old men who could grant wishes, dauntless swordsman, E.C. Comics, the Satanic Panic, juvenile delinquents, ample helpings of fantasy, Andrew Lang, the Brothers Grimm, of particular inspiration, pluck kernels, good reading!, DeCamp, Pratt, Jack Vance, A. Merritt, these will help you make your gaming better, the original AD&D, a collaborative storytelling effort, dice rolling and stats, min-max munchkin play, you have to have read a bunch of stories, things you should be building on, the players limitations make the gaming less good than it could be, most of these books were on the shelf in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Williamson, publishing, the changing media, talking about movies and TV shows and computer games, pop culture is POPULAR, Stranger Things, True Detective, True Crime, locking a kid in the closet with no books, D&D has become its own incestuous thing, Forgotten Realms, wide open fantasy sandbox, engines to make other games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pool Of Radiance, Pool Of Darkness, Wizardry (on the Apple II), Fallout 3, step out into the wasteland, dependent on a really good Dungeon Master, adventures around every corner, the dialogue tree comes out, I wanna save this farmer, I wanna steal the farmer’s pants, the immaturity of the players, DMing is a skill, like Frisbee, cooperative, THACO, Star Trek Voyager, Naomi Wildman, a kid’s adventure holodeck program, nerfed, magical forest, Neelix, the creatures of the forest recognize Janeway, the ideal form of Dungeons & Dragons, your inventory, torch schedule, Darkest Dungeon, you have enough torches, the rope store, Fallout‘s inventory system, the creativity and the flow, how do we let our players have that same kind of adventure, domain play, tier 1 play, a town or country you kind of run, spouses and retainers, a bigger magic sword, New Vegas, post apocalyptic, stories around every corner, bottlecap currency, what we want is the story, whatever mechanics are there, leveling up, new spells new attacks more attacks, achievement unlocked, a real scholar now, awards, you’re a real boy now, army promotions, Eisenhauer is needed, a false understanding of what we’re here to do, the sense of awe, the first time playing Dungeon & Dragons, lead figures, carrying about what colour dice they have, getting a glimpse of Tsathoggua through a keyhole, console games, computer games, like reading a really good book but completely different, I killed a demon, I am a demon, a more advanced version of cops and robbers, go down to the basement, these dice say I hit you for double damage, FPS, all shooting games, Portal, it breaks what you thought was possible, The Long Dark, making mittens, zen meditative, achieving balance, murder hobos, wilderness adventure, one dungeon, not a lot of dragons, two dragons in twenty years, what we need to do as dungeon masters, what players need to do as players, can I stab this or set it on fire, a character with massive charisma, make friends with the monsters, combat oriented, the epic moments, inter-dimensional travel, you can become a god, Leah Libresco [Back Again From The Broken Land], intelligence, wisdom, strength, in real life, we don’t have the player character sheet at all, keep it under the hood, extra speech options, you are less involved, do you even lift, bro?, a suit of armor because suit of armor, Age Of Conan, I got a dagger, a fur diaper, and maybe some boots, a flagon of wine and a girl, World Of Warcraft, mount armor, change the world, Knights Of The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, guilds, all these titles, oh you wanted to buy bread?, the game doesn’t care, when games are capable of caring, an anti-perk: gravedigger, the orc said: I know you of old…, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a one way gate to the Pliocene, exporting criminals to the past, giant toadstool forests, megafauna, visiting aliens with psychic powers, almost all based on Julian May’s interest in geology and history, the Wild Hunt, accommodateable, straight sci-fi, all through the lens of Tolkien, Greyhawk and Dragonlance, Krynn, kinder instead of hobbits, dragon people, Vancian magic, you don’t understand the building blocks, to have the internet back then, so much is public domain, a blogpost in 2014, so much of it has never been republished, what is actually great, what’s being pushed by a publisher, the cult of the new, nothing from before 1987, The Professionals (1966) with Lee Marvin, Dave Arneson, self-enforcing mythology, Charisma Zero (2013), a player is getting divorced, the hipster is way to cool, what made him a loser, some genuine reality going on there, its a lifestyle, live and breathe Dungeons & Dragons is kinda sad and kinda amazing, the first modules, GenCon, where’s Wisconsin, Tomb Of Annihilation, a meat grinder simulator, Jason Thompson’s D&D module poster maps, 37 species of zoogs, the dreamlands, there used to be kinds of stories, it can’t be done without irony anymore, no-one can write it that way anymore, subverting expectations, a lack of planetary romance, August Derleth, The Trail Of Cthulhu, more of what you had, a magic wand, take what you can get, sad puppies, the Hugo Awards contest, John C. Wright, the popular clique, your ability to get into people’s hands, a list of old books, old fiction, some of them sounded pretty weak, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, cigaretty voice, World Of Teirs by Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner F. Fox, a really innovative way, a very small organization, I want more people to read Gardner F. Fox, connected to comics, Crom his Conan ripoff, old-school pulp author, only five?, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, The Moon Moth, The Dragonmasters, Planet Of Adventure, a kind of depth to his worlds, a plaster castle held up by two by fours vs. a velvet tapestry with a stone wall with grout made from goblin bones, sketching out a world with a few lines, footnotes, Jorge Luis Borges, granular detail, Philip K. Dick wrote a lot about spies, Mr Jim Moon’s show on Piper In The Woods, set in the pacific during WWII, Seabees, I’m a plant, how dryads reproduce, Typee by Herman Melville, a garden of Eden, it takes 20 minutes to build a house vs. pull ropes and get hit with the lash all day, Poul Anderson, The High Crusade is so fun, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, Dwellers In The Mirage by A. Merritt, vikings at the North Pole, ragging on Michael Moorcock, why people liked Elric, navel gazing, so sad, I murdered a bunch of people now I’m sad about it, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, Manly Wade Wellman, A Martian Odyssey, fabulously science fictional, spaceships, a virtual reality story in the 1930s, totally inspirational reading, Andre Norton, read this list as inspiration for your own campaign, the concept of this book, the foundations most people don’t realize are there, this is where I got some ideas, ruleset, where do all the other rules plug in, the monks were added because kung-fu was so popular, illuminating a manuscript vs. a Shaw Brothers character, more books like this, as we discussed in October, a book of Star Trek literary references posts, Arena by Fredric Brown, microphones for eyes, Darmok, Gilgamesh + Arena, Picard would, post-scarcity communist future allows us to read Gilgamesh and archaeology, lifts from literature, lifts from themselves, that idea worked, lets do our version of it, Stuart J. Byrne, he Kirked the computer, V’Ger, The Changeling, Nomad, his influence shows up in the first star trek, The Doomsday Machine, Fred Saberhagen, the Berserkers, hey I read Tolkien and I have a elves and goblins in a forest, break out of that mold, Portal 2, the Logic Bomb, this sentence is false, the cake is a lie, it becomes more of what it is, Doom and Wolfenstein and Spear Of Destiny, its short, literally out of the box thinking, it’s amazing, things can be different, a tavern with an old man giving you a mission, Lord Dunsany’s The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, The Book Of Wonder, gnoles vs. gnolls, Jesse’s favourite kind of Dungeons & Dragons, Thief, old game books, like choose your own adventure with dice, play honest with the book, the gap between the two, a regular novel is completely linear, game books, told in second person, we are so luckly right now, scanning books, finding them and buying them, way more of this and a lot less Tolkien ripoffs, a late 80s, really grimdark, Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein, you can just read Scalzi, you don’t need to read Heinlein, 2,000 pages of his inspired by Starship Troopers book, Farmer In The Sky, every book was different, why do we have to have another series?, that publishing drive, a sequel hook, advertising a one-off book, “listen Larry Niven if you write just one more Ringworld book we can bring Ringworld back into print”, from 1979 onward, The Martian by Andy Weir, only four or five years old, these things did happen, thinking along parallel lines, the requisite map, you just told me you know noting and I don’t need to read you, that’s just geography, picking up these cues, treating it like a science, arbitrary rules, Lost, what’s in the hatch?, that Sullivan guy, just good set dressing, J.J. Abrams has not content, M. Night Shyamalan, Heroes went nowhere, Star Wars and Star Trek, we as readers need to be chintzy with our attention, where are your bonafides, that’s not how you pronounce Suleiman the magnificent, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, egret vs. eaglet, we’re conjuring up things with our mouths, a Savage Sword Of Conan plot, Finnish Eskimos? The Summi?, favourite campaigns, a buried dead god they’re trying to resurrect, a turn based dungeon crawl, a quasi-medieval setting, the sanity system, confronted by trauma, gain a mania or a depressive problem, prayer or tavern or wenching, all narrated by Wayne June, The Ancestor is evil, from The Rats In The Walls, Darkest Dungeon 2, computer games tend to get better, becoming more what they are, a hybrid experience.

Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson

Dungeon Master's Guide

@Algncs' Appendix N Bookshelf

Appendix N by Gary Gygax

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Reading, Short And Deep #281 – The Two Kings And The Two Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #281

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Two Kings And The Two Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Two Kings And The Two Labyrinths was first published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September 1955.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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Reading, Short And Deep #276 – The Three Wishes by Anonymous

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #276

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Three Wishes by Anonymous

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Three Wishes was first published in 1865

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #605 – READALONG: A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #605 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Cat Russell talk about A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Talked about on today’s show:
1955, On The Make, The Girl The Gold Watch And Everything, broken up, Jesse’s back, hardboiled, adventure fantasy, the writing style, the throughline, parallax, Cape Fear, parallels or similarities, a sinister similar story, Deniro, the melodrama, Fitzmartin, a cunning plan, very apocalypse world, the back and forth, before he killed him, you’ve got a character and he wants one thing, he likes killing people, when Tal comes blundering in, one lead or a whole bunch of leads, everytime he goes and talks to somebody, Ruth’s dad, hangin out with losers, one of the dogs died, some blind lady, grade 8 English teacher, organize her photographs, David Mamet, deliberately misunderstanding, we don’t know what he wants and neither does he, the $60,000, find this money, Paul’s only lead, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), I hate my job, he knew himself better, the three male characters in that Korean War POW camp, mistakes vs. stupid actions vs. smart actions, profiting from someone else’s mistakes, the moral line, very noir, a bullet for Cinderella, surprise, the one wielding the bullet, who is on the make?, and Ruth too, Timmy was on the make, Cindy was on the make, upstate New York, place vs. character, a region of the country, the flooded river and the island, a place called Hillston, out of state plates, California, Delaware Street, a map of the town, what’s missing, do Evan’s role, the ones who stayed behind, the middle classes’ malaise with itself, the Korean War, they had such potential, living the American dream and its empty, the Progressives, the Communist Party was underground in the 1950s in the United States, everybody who survived the camp, a lean man with tremendously powerful hands and arms, a Texan and a Marine, hunt down Fitzmartin and kill him, Fitz was not a progressive, appointed committees, assigned responsibilities, retreads, Jap camps, Fitz refused, an animal instinct, icy contempt, tires, drafted into WWII, in a way, the Cold War, a magazine had done the same sort of thing, refused repatriation, turncoats, ignorant, neurotic, the dead were more interesting, whose judgement is this, a middle class judgement of the communists, I’m writing a book, making the notes, what are we reading, fake it until you make it, seeing through it, searching for meaning, a suit he puts on, a private detective, there’s jobs for white guys in the 1950s, a novel about class, Will thinks everything about class, Antoinette, the cover, full hillbilly, hot hillbilly, racism, white trash, very unsavoury, middle class guy has his romp with the proletarian woman, he uses her as a shield, he hates her, middle class bae, it was unconscionable that he didn’t die at the end, Ruth’s gonna die, everything isn’t going to be okay, this society is still depraved, Blue Velvet (1986), all the betrayals he was willing to do, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, John D. MacDonald writes Ringworld novels, the narrator for the audiobook: so good, he does the women really well, the men really well, the radio sound, tones and moods and pacing, Winston Tharp, The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake, top notch, he’s perfect, the angry guy, the people at the diners, the cops, a shoutout to Winston Tharp: great job!, your life is lesser by not listening to the audiobook, a different flavour when somebody else reads it, undercurrent, Hell Or High Water (2016), the decade of despair, pay off the reverse mortgage, Blue Ruin (2013), garbage truck detective, professional and causal reviewers, the pov character is “on the spectrum”, autistic detective, he just happens to be weird, the character doesn’t matter, the country’s falling apart, the police aren’t doing their job, there’s something wrong, a business collapsing, he wants to die, hidden motives, hidden from themselves, the simplest character is Fitzmartin, the daughter of the vet, why isn’t she married?, is she just waiting for the hero to arrive, I like reading books, a lot of people were not good enough (intellectually) for her, the absent owner class, the big bourgeoisie, why do we go to the Korean War again, same reason for the Vietnam War, capitalism and white supremacy, what is a military really, a machine for killing people, the average drafted soldier, how he acts in the camp, Tal’s stated reason, searching for meaning, he’s a year behind, an excuse, Ruth was looking for someone to be her equal, his stated goal was to hunt him down and kill him after, he’s a different kind of turncoat, he’s a turncoat on the species, hunting vs. stumbling, he punched him, a narrative, I told them everything except for this, he’s an unreliable narrator, those are the results, he can move on with his life, the sacrifice of Cinderella, very hard relationship, a hard scene, sending money, she was doing her best, Doyle, a lot of pathos going on, a Scarlett O’Hara vibe, all the other Cindys, the gypsy blooded girl, what’s her fate?, she gets away with nothing, totally noir, it aint that happy an ending, it intentionally creates that illusion, middle class normalcy reasserting itself, she likes to read books, I’m not a female longhair, I’m not one of those people, books like this, propaganda, an ideological statement at the end, a door, a possibility, Tal Howard is a Rorschach test, Mark Twain, it’s very easy to have principles on a full belly, Extracts From Adam’s Journal, the apple, break it slowly, Timmy was a less complicated person than I am, on a physical level, it would have been fine for a time, good talk aka podcasts, beer and bowling and sports page attitude, sticking a pin in him, are you Tal?, is the door open, this guy got the shit kicked out of her, Tal has taken over Timmy’s life, it was too easy for him, had he become, Timmy, all you gotta do is dig it up, Tal Howard evolved, he’s the Timmy who grew up, they might workout, Charlotte is for Timmy, endless yak, television, yellow kitchens, the other women choices, Ruth is similar, wiser, less cruel, he’s just in the cycle, they drink, First Blood (1982), A Dark Place aka Steel Country, intellectually disabled, emotionally disabled, Trump Pence signs, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the chapters are primes, a very very uncool Brick (2005), weirdness and rationalizations, very low ratings, near concern trolling, neo-noir, murder mystery shows, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, plot details vs. this town in the 1950s, hidden from us and yet revealed, metaphors for Tal’s state of mind, all the different aspects of his personality, the lure of being shallow and living in the moment, meaning, she was the treasure, Miss Major, very sympathetic lady, for – personal reasons, he’s not lying, he’s on the edge of immorality, for reasons I do not which to disclose to you, his deeper reasons, he’s obsessed with this girl she doesn’t know, Timmy wasn’t very well when he mentioned this Cindy, those dreadful teeth, the other children used to be horrible to her, they can be little animals at times, the kids today, the science teacher is so philosophical, very ruthless, Antoinette Rasi, after I learned braille, its a graduation picture, a great mass of black hair, half-French half-Italian, her people were very poor, inadequately dressed, a very alive person, across the tracks?, a boat and bait business, the shack is pictured on the cover, she had a black eye, aww, really really good writing, not artificial, who’s reading these books, math, Timmy was gifted at math, everything was too easy, Mr. Leach, not in troubles, federal narcotics people, many collars, criminals of all dimensions, that has the sound of a book, I almost died but not quite, a labour of love, should be treated with all respect, cretins who can multiply two five digits numbers, abnormally normal, creative mathematics, empty cleverness, he never had time, it wasn’t easy at the end, a fellow traveler, this a bad century, one of the faceless ones, something is eating our young, a self-inflicted abortion, those were the good old days, who got the money?, where da money?, everybody should be happy, no technical end, the storm clouds of the sixties, he’s becoming the Tim that should have been, might have been, escape this cycle, be a better man, Timmy represents potential, sleeping with his brother’s wife and stealing his money, this lie about being a writer, John D. MacDonald’s own impostor syndrome?, write to eat, I’m not David Mamet, manipulating figures in math, Fitzmartin uses them as a means to an end, the better person that Timmy should have become, not Macdonald’s first novel, Travis McGee, Lawrence Block, a devoted fan base, colours in the title, Nightmare In Pink, Bright Orange For The Shroud, The Dreadful Lemon Sky, The Cinnamon Skin, Costco, Harry Potter, series books, old books is what we need, Will, The Battle Of Chosin Reservoir, a young back, Evan has a doctorate in knowing stuff, let’s all go to this war, for show, U.N. cover, Taiwan represented China, the Vietnam War, retweeting New York Times, we know the history better than the people of the time know it, seeing it from all sorts of different sides, the job of a historian, reading fiction of the time, what it was like for them, starving in a frozen North Korean prison camp, they’re in it again, motivated by god knows what, he can’t keep his job, the psychology, notice the health, how Tal Howard survived, survivors guilt, taking over Timmy’s role, these three examples of what men can do, be assholes, be apologetic assholes, would you trust those police to help you out, they told him to leave town, private detectives, they were question the authority, the police didn’t do their job, we have a monopoly on violence, a bigger picture, let’s listen to him, good cop bad cop, us vs. them, the anti-communist stuff from this period, $47,000, I can never have too much money, wanting money will kill you, greed is a mortal sin, having money is a safety, The Zahir by Jorge Luis Borges, The Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence, there must be money, he rocks himself to death, stuff people want, their drab contrast, I am noted for my fondness for money, I can never have enough, she could have run over and got it herself, is it a death wish?, her boring ideas, he tries on different women, the dangerous one, drink yourself to death, toe on the trigger, which way do you wanna go?, kinda heavy, he doesn’t seem to feel bad enough, nice book you got here John D. MacDonald, he used her as a human shield, they used each other, equal use, we should strive for better relationships, this is to heavy for Paul, worried this was gonna be a podcast rather than a conversation talking about books, by being generous with our conversations, other people wanna hear about books, even if you’re not participating, that was a really good show you did Evan, everything is podcast, all the tweets, all the DMs, all the salacious details, please troll Jesse, a reality radio show about a book club.

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Gold Medal -A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

On The Make by John D. MacDonald

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The SFFaudio Podcast #553 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #543 – The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens; read by Josh Roseman.

This unabridged reading of the story (51 minutes) comes to us from the Protecting Project Pulp podcast is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Terence Blake and Fred Heimbaugh

Talked about on today’s show:
Argosy, July 5, 1919, Fantastic Novels, Virgil Finlay, elvish or trappy, a fizzy wine, the colour of the wine is golden, yellow, gold, fin de sicile, The King In Yellow, the 1890s is yellow, the Yellow Peril, Yellow Journalism, the Gilded Age, yellow road, yellow mud, white robe, honeysuckle, very image based, the blue of her scarf, her brother is Elfo?, the invitation, white and silver, signifies for the opening and the closing scenes, the effect of the nested narratives, an outer outer outer narrator (Francis Stevens), old wives’ tales, recrudescence, related by a well known specialist in nervous diseases, the doubling or tripling, Dr. Locke?, prescription for me?, Wharton is the inner narrator, Theron Tademus, a listener, a comedy?, why don’t you read this to me?, Locke is a fool!, I don’t need to hear any more of this, the best part is coming up, a sex story, pretty chaste, two roads diverged, the negro caretaker, a yellow track and the other goes to Carcassonne, a Carolina mountain road, a confusion in his own mind, the gypsy camp vs. the artist’s camp, a tripling of reality, two Reading, Short And Deep podcast, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, The Rutted Road by H.P. Lovecraft, a very sly and sneaking poem, written for a friend, walking tours of England, the power of a poem, everybody has Fred’s take, everybody else doesn’t understand it, being playful, close to the message of The Elf Trap, he met death (or something), his physical form is destroyed, very Lovecraftian in the non-tentacled way, Celephaïs, The White Ship, happy or sad ending?, happy in the way people joining a cult are happy, evil or good or other, categories that can truly escape the good evil polarities, a valedictorian speech, I took the harder path, me looking down my nose at the snobs, career choices, very meta, more gloomy, Terence has heard the podcast on it, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, 1820, Marissa is excluded, a gender queer fluid, they’re elves, that line from Aliens (1986) about Arcturian poontang, John Waterhouse, an interesting name, the best social interaction he’s ever had, so striking how, racist sounding, a bit of a dick, ripe for the picking, science vs. romanticism, he’s a microscopist (a cytologist), setting you up, life and feeling and warmth, science is basically a dead bug pinned to a card with a latin inscription underneath it, the limitations and the ugliness, the blindness of his scientific vision, the simplest interpretation, there’s a trap, the iron trap vs. the silver trap, it can re-get ya, a community, crafts (vs arts), a bit of fun, bringing an easel on a manhunt, hilarious, he could have been taken away by either group, the “rural ruins” kick (#ruralruins on Twitter), old wooden barns, collapsing barns, the appeal of melancholy ruins, now is the time to start photographing them, Southern Michigan, ex-urban, cornfield, the southern exposure, Minnesota, a going native story?, if Evan were here…, Typee by Herman Melville, beautiful clean, the white ivory flute, tending his disgusting grandmother, clean beautiful people, pretty colours, he needs somebody to break him out of his crabbed world of scientific examination, his passion for science, a tension, a fit of pique, she’s racist, terrible relationship, you’ve got to stay with me forever, that yellow dog, cur, mutt, mongrel, wearing the elf-glasses, a silver bell, everything that’s inviting him in is yellow, everything turns to gold instead of yellow, honey wild and manna dew, roots aren’t sweet, root beer tastes like medicine, it tastes like Chinese medicine, the etymology of drug, Buckley’s Mixture, relish sweet, this switch, everything that’s horrible becomes wonderful, he doesn’t have thought in his head, uh huh, and how much can you sell it for?, there’s something fundamentally wrong in his life, his Doctor’s name, how important names are, John Locke has the most beautiful signature, freshwater goldfish, dysteria, out of the loop, he almost escapes, his racism, their skin is whiter, he sees them in this white way, science sobers him, he’s very unwell, there’s something unwell in science at this time, mongrelizing, everybody’s suffering from Russia-gate-ism, how many rubles did you get paid?, here’s Nazism in 1919, racial theories and breeding programs, it was in the water and everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid, Irish travelers, the black servant, the airy fairy artist community, the sheriff with a posse, if Mr Jim Moon was here, midsummer, a nightwalk, a misreading, a morning walk, up all night, instead of through telescopes he’s looking through microscopes, Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Wonder Stories, June 1935, Galatea, The King In Yellow story that’s the opposite, Robert W. Chambers, The Elf King, belle epoch Paris, Virgil Finlay, he put on the glasses and fell in love with a dream, A Martian Odyssey, Fitz James O’Brien, The Diamond Lens, super-racism, The Atlantic (1858), the best microscope ever, falls in love with a little tiny lady, SCIENCE!, “Dysteria ciliata. Dysterius giganticus”, his love for the microscopic world, what the painter sees, seeing things as generalities on the surface vs. details in the lens, clumsiness, largeness, the anvil, Tolkien elves, frills and paisley, the blending of crafts and arts, William Morris, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a reaction against science, poems about butterflies, you can love science AND poetry, William Blake, double vision, Auguries Of Innocence by William Blake, behind that is a veil, a hidden life of their own, Theron learns double vision, the elves inside the gypsies, a whole world, there Elva is blind, twofold vision, monsters that want eat him and liberators who want to free him, what does he bring to the table?, culture and community, 37 year old professor, infertility, outsiders, his charismatic attitude?, he brings novelty, something fresh and different, an Elva shaped hole, time is different for her, telepathically grooming Wharton, soulless, he’s lost his soul, big clumsy hulking brutes, an outsider without a soul, indeterminate, maybe they trapped him because he was trappable, is she a Scientologist, Projecting Project Pulp, Mech Muse, too early in podcasting?, more audiobooks, if Fred follows through, Unseen, Unfeared by Francis Stevens, spiritual themes, blogs are good but suppressed by Google, Tellers Of Weird Tales, Terence E. Hanley, death dealing shells, light over darkness, dark fantasy, a 21st century and academic conceit, one of the simplest of Stevens stories, built like a puzzle box, relativity, analytic cubism, where lies reality, a happy ending?, a pleasant reading experience, could have been written only by a woman, a deeper meaning in the man’s name, Jesse’s theory, Theron Tademus, tall?, hunter?, animal, tadpole, mouse, tall tailed mouse, mousetrap, she’s playing with it, pointing, the hunter and the hunted, not necessarily a happy ending, we praise thee oh god, he trusts science, he trusts her, he loses his last name in her world, they need some tall genes, one good name was good enough for one good person, a coordinate system, binomial nomenclature, Carcosa?, fantasy engaging with science fiction, Brigadoon, he has never danced or loved, beyond the veil, the deeper reality of the spirit, love and art triumph over materialism, the sky blue scarf, you’re all alike, you love is for gold (or freedom), she enslaves people, saved from science, his red notebook, looking at flowers in the forest with your girlfriend, beckoning him, driving Jesse mad, Carcassonne is a famous tourist trap, a medieval walled town, the tabletop game, it’s a trap, traps can be beautiful, a Florida based Star Wars Disney park, $40 light-saber, the rural ruins of Star Wars, tourist ruins, dinosaur ruins, South Dakota, Rapid City, north of Mount Rushmore, the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is in Kentucky, about as rural-ruiny as it can get, did she go there?, is this a true story, Carcassonne post office, a train stop maybe, America is filled with failed towns, Carcassonne Road, Carcassonne Community center, trampoline and a pool, an unincorporated village, if you squint and take off your classes, once every hundred years, if you’re Blakeian enough you can see it, there’s a guy who saw things differently, angels in the fields with the workers, something pagan about Elva, the Cathars, Kingsport, took the train into Asheville, something happened, I want to believe, Thousand Sticks, Mount Blackmore, American flag, Google Maps was magic, guess where in the world, the signage is in Spanish, we have magical powers our parents didn’t have, in the per-internet age, the state library in the capital of West Virginia, wait for the internet, lost and suppressed by google, if you know the address (the magic word) you can find it on the WayBackmachine, Protecting Project Pulp, Friend Island, a male reporter, women control the world, the grim and gritty sea-side tea house, an old sailoress, the only ships are trading ships or peace ships, shipwrecked on a man on an island and the island is female, Mother Nature is angry, funny on purpose, we need a president, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t that good, Hillary Clinton, policies and intentions matter, what is he basing that on?, hello Keats, much more arguable, male gazing, if you read it as a subversive ending, femme fatale, Black Widow (1987), Bound (1996), if it were written by, squamous squalid, not enough degeneration, love of place, very subtle, entertaining, so well put together, this story is cool, all that nesting of reality, it doesn’t tell you this is what happened, something artificial about the outer narrator, why do you need these characters, Edith Wharton, to make it seem more journalistic, framing stuff, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, about 60% is framing (and its all front framed), a turreted room, armorial trophies and portraits, falling in love with a portrait, there’s no outer frame, all set-up, Jesse cant remember the name of Henry James, The Others (2001), The Turn Of The Screw, take it as journals like Lovecraft, My name is Jervas Dudley, framing as throat clearing, imagine this was true, we’ve been trained, The House On the Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, Rene Girard, triangular desire, scapegoats, mimetic desire, taking on the object of desire of someone else, aggression, Trump, Peter Thiel, advertising and Facebook, this is how their manipulating, writing about advertising, they use it all day long, I wanna be like them, BMW ads, projecting yourself into the vehicle, “ultimate driving machine”, the object of desire, we keep changing sympathies, I have a story to tell, he had a story to tell, he tells it to another guy, lampshading, who are we sympathizing with, that complication, perspectivizing through, filtering through, Rashomon effect, three visions of the dog, The Blair Witch Project, Scooby Doo, the whole point is the Gothic explique, gothic time!,

THE chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe.

Jesse’s amazing news, The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges, change the trend, if they’re so impatient, if you don’t hook them in the first paragraph they’re going to walk, the perception in publishing, a whole bunch of readers who liove the slow build, the publishers are enforcing that rule, its anti-science fiction, Inconstant Moon a line only written by Larry Niven (or Jerry Pournelle), that ending line, Footfall, the humans are more conquery and tankie, giant elephants, The Tower Of The Elephant by Robert E. Howard, an adulteration, why are we being told this, changing microscope magnifications, micrometer, a blurry chaos becomes crystal clear, The Outer Limits, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Wondersmith, How I Overcame My Gravity, What Was It?, a haunted boarding house, smoking opium in the backyard, an invisible creature, plaster of Paris, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant.

The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens - Illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Kingdom Come State Park near Carcassonne, Kentucky

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The SFFaudio Podcast #542 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Exhalation: Stories: What’s Expected Of Us by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #542 – What’s Expected Of Us from Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang; This is an unabridged reading of What’s Expected Of Us (6 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Penguin Random House Audio audiobook of Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang.

participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Wayne June, and Terence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
his second collection, 17 years to come out, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, squint hard, a lot of them have a focus on children, he had some kids?, a theme, teaching and growing, parenting, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, a science fiction story with mimetic fiction problems, Dacy’s Patent Automatic Nanny, childrearing, not the major theme, background thought processes, fate and destiny, an abiding theme, care and caring, finding truths closer to home, The Great Silence, dissecting one’s own brain, straight up science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, you fools, you’re wasting your life, Paul could rant, set on spaceships, making sense of reality, a test subject for another star, they’re all standouts, its not our universe, a creationist universe, a dread discovery, the center of the universe is elsewhere, Earth as a prototype for someone else, an epistolary manner, a crisis of faith, Poul Anderson, a mixed relationship, life after death, finding a way to be comfortable with that fact, approaching the subject of entropy, the universe is winding down, nobody is going to live forever, comforting ideas, all just whistling past the graveyard, a positive conclusion about it, how do you look into the abyss and come away with a happy attitude, be happy on the way down, Oomphalos, I’m in charge now, now she has free will, he explores free will from every direction, the audiobook from Tantor, it took a long time for audiobooks to become the dominant medium for people who actually read, I don’t get many ideas, most reviewers on YouTube: booktubers?, a whole universe of people, people who read books are really weird, every week you wanna be reading a new book? what a weirdo, the New York Times bestseller, books not designed to be read, overwritten, as any right thinking person would, these should be longer, very presumptuous, I want more of this, throwing down idea much bigger than the package he places them in, Wayne liked the shortest stories best, educated super-intelligent, deep thought, rigorous self-examination, tedious, on and on and on, 48 minutes, The Lifecycle Of Software Of Objects, concentrated science fiction, two drops in a cup of water, what it means, navel, center, a role playing anecdote, the enemy is the they (the center of the universe), we’re the center of the universe, The Middle Kingdom, Middle Sea, everywhere is the center, everybody’s stupid because their vision is so limited, a young earth, a parallel in our own history, reason for belief, mummies with no navels, obviously not created, his guiding philosophy, if there was a miracle, its on rails, preodomites, other people, The Truth Of Fact The Truth Of Feeling, deeply profound, a Black Mirror episode, some colonial guy getting colonized, writing and reading, auto text generator, no periods, Roman monuments used dots not spaces, pre-modern Chinese, getting it from context, cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs, right in Jesse’s zone, Bros. Grimm concertizing, once in book form, Jesse doesn’t really take notes, one of the things going on, going back to an oral culture, Socrates, cost effective, the Romans were into copying and photo-copying each other’s works, questioning the nature of truth and reality, really cool, what truth is, Scott and Jesse conversations on truth, people complaining about truth, he’s more truthful about his lying, politician lying, not a wise man, wiser than some of the fools that have been so smart in the past, he was not the same, name recognition, you know exactly what his motivation is, truth is not one thing, your own memory of what reality was, science as being replicable, that whole diatribe, truth is that what is, there is an objective truth, we hope, touch the Eiffel Tower, a subjective conclusion, the objective truth, defining truth, relativistic, its subtle, tirade harangue fulmination, discursive, who designed it?, maybe he stole that plan, the more you don’t examine and are unable to reexamine stuff…, religious truth, truths which motivation action, William James, pragmatism, because it was false, smoke sacrifice to the gods was meaningless, intersecting with other science fiction stories, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, king of your own planet, a real estate story, jack hammering off the coast of Labrador, a Nazi universe, Genghis Khan, mythological pseudo-historical figure, the universe does and doesn’t care about you, making a connection with science, those most interested in religion were scientists, Isaac Newton, the original Bible Code person, the impact might have been diluted, these people don’t die, there is no biology, this culture built up around air-stations, eating as a cultural event, if you get this you can tell the story, The Nine Billion Names Of God and The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, sacrificed, hits Paul in the feels, the three narcissistic wounds, Sigmund Freud, the Earth is not the center, Darwin and evolution, that the ego thinks it is free is an illusion, strong with archaeological proofs, freedom, no final answer, interesting concepts, Olaf Stapledon, a whole book from one paragraph of Starmaker, Jorge Luis Borges, The Library Of Babel, standing room for sleeping, why this illusory duplication, this is not our world, there’s no food, they’re more like robots in a certain sense, all the argon is coming to them from something beneath them, who invented the robots?, a blank slate, the robot equivalent, an analogy of the heat death of the universe, “we existed we were real”, a self contained universe, a navel gazing story, working the same theme, Jesus in South America (the God of Dreams) [The Circular Ruins], teaching the A.I.s consciousness, self-dissecting, a good example that doesn’t exist in the same way as ours does, the transference between universes, the prism, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, Until The End Of The World (1999), replaying your dreams, so much about them, the perfect obsessive movie for you, gazing into who you are, the machine allows you to navel gaze, fomo = fear of missing out, the grass is greener, a simple idea, fragmenting kaleidoscopic versions of reality, only a few months old and it was going up in value, diminishing returns, amazing sparky thoughts, pirated songs, I’d make so much money, information is the only thing passed between universes, copyrighted specifically for you, the same wound, possible yous, not being paralyzed, why not?, one of me is going to do it, destroys your ordinary criteria for action, a high dose of neg-entropy, the school shooters, what effect would it have, Jesse derives solace from being (sort of) a determinist, science fiction about the difficulty of weather prediction, are there more murders now?, outliers, fads, more of the same, All The Myriad Ways by Larry Niven, you might lose your will to do things, What’s Expected Of Us, whichever universe you’re in, Vanessa, an unstable person, Counterpart, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, as Evan pointed out on his podcast, the universe is very small, seeing what’s going on outside, they’re all blending together, he thought he had done so much work, that’s much to harsh, words can sometimes resonate very deeply, the non-simple truth, a reality we are distantly connected to, poor connections, emergent things, to know what truth is (is tough), a longer meditation, the longest thing he’s ever written, either these people are wasting their lives or we’re all wasting our lives, where’s the truth there WAYNE?, to leap into agnosticism, relate to our interpretation of reality, we can only do what we can do, the motif of harmful sensation, The Imp Of The Perverse, physical or mental damage you can suffer, explicitly shoutsout to H.P. Lovecraft, akinetic mutism, won’t or can’t speak or won’t or can’t move, the motif of harmful sensation, a truly convincing argument that life is pointless might qualify, it doesn’t matter, a thread running through (or more than one), Ted Chiang has got a brain, the Lovecraftian horror, like a cognitive plague, a thought that explores the thinker, a Godel sentence, I try to act as if or rather action happens, pretend you have free will, believing the lie is the only way to avoid this waking coma, civilization relies on self-deception (perhaps it always has), The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, living it, this universe might have slipped into equilibrium with nothing more than a quiet hiss, that in itself is beauty, in the next bottle over, the Complete Works of Shakespeare except it’s “Shmamlet”, the meaning is fake, Paul’s fear, robot descendants,

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

not a horror story but a science fiction truth, truths always in refinement, David Hume, past behavior, Robert Wright’s interview with Ted Chiang, The Story Of Your Life, a silly seeming story, Arrival, are you going to roll up into a little ball or are you going to affirm it?, the pharmacon, poison and medicine, make you a paralyzed mute or a creative, it takes all that time or that care to make that stuff literary, Wayne’s in a little ball, Wayne’s gonna complain, some stuff’s going to happen, get some jokes in there, WTF, we’re all gonna be specks in a layer of basalt, Tony C. Smith’s StarShipSofa, a Ted Chiang fan forever now, four stories, nested stories, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Garden Of Forking Paths, you can read it forever, a story that’s circular, in the exact middle you have a point around which everything swirls, the knowledge for where the treasure under the tree came from, super symmetrical, so wonderful, a time travel story in which there’s no technological difference, no traditional time travel tropes, there’s no predicting eclipse, he steals from himself, he predicts the albino baby and gets out of prison, The Diamond Necklace or The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, there’s the pit of despair, the story is the treasure, we as the prince get the benefit, why the title is Exhalation: Stories, The Great Silence, John Paul Sartre with possible worlds, Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny, whatever works is true, the suppression of this technology because of the ruling class, nowhere for that to go, a remaking of humanity, thinking about childrearing while childrearing, mimetic fiction is all about divorces, my experience with my marriage, different parents have different levels of interest in their own child’s rearing, would have benefited the working class, the washing machine is liberatory, television as the babysitter, smartphones, is that wrong, a typical Ted Chiang thing, an actual syndrome: psychosocial dwarfism, growth hormones stop operating, emotional malnutrition, not an ideal human state, really bougie, homeschooling, unschooling, the class dimension, a survival strategy, a metaphor for public schooling, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, Nanny by Philip K. Dick, the planned obsolescence angle, aloof parents, more attached to the nanny than to the parents, gladiatorial nannies, what if they trigger while raising the kids, if you follow police state logic, hands are dangerous weapons, tape their mouths up, and kill everybody (to be safe), the rational childcare device, a more cutesy vignette

reading, or being read, Ted Chiang stories, is like quaffing pure liters of undiluted SCIENCE FICTION from the fount in which it was first forged. And I tell you, without hyperbole, that Science Fiction absolutely cannot die as long as TED CHIANG lives and writes it.

asking and posing the big questions, natural science, parallel universes, asking questions, collecting and systematizing, that guy we didn’t like, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, “proving things”, weapons of mass destruction, 17 intelligence agencies, how can we falsify this?, holy shit he was right!, thought experiments, thinking them through completely, exploring a philosophical point, you can’t do it with mimetic fiction, what happens if…, that’s what they all are, the author afterwords offer insight, that I’m taking my head apart scene, a reverse infodump, we can’t understand ourselves, arguments like proverbs (suck), limiting understanding, refusing that limit, there’s no Godellian self-impossibility, what Dick does, almost like a drug metaphor, the thought’s he’s having and the thoughts he’s expressing, if you want to get into a big fight, tell me my hand is not my hand, memory, Hal, the difference, Ted Chiang doesn’t have this paranoia, adjacent to technology, the guy measuring the ether, how do we know what we know, the art installation for The Great Silence, Alex the talking parrot, very emotional, their beak is kind of their hand, emotional realities, those Alex videos, a whole other mind we have access to through regular English, these humans are looking for intelligence in the universe, the search for terrestrial intelligence, pretty cool, kinda heartbreaking, the whole Alex thing, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams, Arecibo, it hears the voice of creation, the lasting breath, spirit as the breath of God, the breath is not me, he’s having it both ways, these copper plates, audio versus text, in another five years, Wayne would personally recommend the book and the audiobook, here’s where I got the idea, at the end of every story, as a collection, this book we can hand off to people, I feel stupid when I’m reading stupid, reading this makes me feel like I’m the genius that I am, I’m sophisticated, I’m so stupid, not having brilliant ideas all day long, a guy practicing his words for his sermon, thinking on aloud, thinking on paper, writing therapy, cast them out of you, people are made of stories.

Posted by Jesse Willis