Reading, Short And Deep #375
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Everything And Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
Everything And Nothing was first published in Spanish in Versión, Autumn 1958.
The 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.
Reading, 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.
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.