The SFFaudio Podcast #580 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #580 – Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (42 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
Wonder Stories, June 1935, 1939, 1949, the only text you should be reading is the original, dead guy friend of mine, Gregg Margarite, trim ankles, the board of trade, to make real a dream, what you hate is conquered, compressed for space, Startling Stories publication, the Scientifiction Hall Of Fame, busts of Poe, Wells, Doyle and Verne, stand the test of time, this is the “subscribe and hit the little bell” of the era, we are those people they’re talking about, an incredibly important story, Weinbaum would have been a much bigger name, from Louisville, Kentucky, Will’s a baby, A Martian Odyssey, so pioneering, here’s what an alien would look like, wrinkles on his head, again and again, super-cartoonish, an early cyberpunk story, philosophical questions, all about that, he does it all without computers, he’s inventing virtual reality, bio tech, his explanation, Marissa, 1990 VR, computer games, this is a computer game, blowing heat cool and scent on your face, the idea of getting yourself into the matrix, just the tip of the iceberg, he’s doing a bunch of impossible things, no body suit, its all in your head, its all scripted, Call Of Duty single player on rails, Fallout, nobody, wanderer, gender neutral, in Mass Effect your last name is always Shepherd, does Galatea have a history, does she have volition, she’s just an NPC, he put all that shit in here in 1935, you cooperated, self-hypnosis, Paul felt it, buying into the illusion, Paul did it to himself, eXistenZ (1999), Inception (2010), the laws of their land, programming rules, yo, just on the tip of her lips, she’s all ROM she has no RAM, prefigures emotionally unhealthy attachments, Kreiger’s Waifu on Archer, 29 or 30 year old bachelor, sexy ankles, drunk in Central Park, he falls in love with this NPC, the intellectual frameworks, they’re just like us just a little more racist, the actress is a real person, she’s an undergraduate, I can make my real life this game, grokked it as well then?, she makes a plan to leave the land (like her mom) by dying, an NPC character to refuse her programming, in dying she may be able to escape, paracosma is “the world beyond”, our world is the fallen world, the shadow realm, bullshit laws, shitty jobs, no big deal, he’s got other liquids, did she exist before he went into the matrix?, how the whole story started, our gnome/elf, a deliberate word choice, wearing the camera on his head like a google car, filming VR sex, short guys, dejected, it doesn’t scale, (and IRL VR doesn’t scale), the positive, the electrolysis, why VR isn’t as popular in our world, Burke, Professor Ludwig, Mad King Ludwig, Weinbaum’s very erudite, Greek roots, sat down in a chair, the girlfriend experience, a dating sim, romantic training, filming at his campus near Chicago, saying things not in his own voice, maybe the program that he’s running has a memory, the backstory about the mother, she broke the law, the previous guy, my destiny is to have a female baby girl also called Galatea, things we can’t talk about, its not just a story about cool VR, The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens, a science fiction way of getting into the fantasy realm, a nymph, a dryad, givem a break, super-rich full, secondard world stuff, its SCIENCE FICTION, Planet Stories, tech consequences, gravity, how mass works, social relations, rocketships, an alien worm come to earth, becoming interstellar, space opera (vs horse opera), Edgar Rice Burroughs’ barsoom, genuine science fiction, if you don’t read this, a Hugo Gernsback magazine, GENUINE SF, almost in a way H.G. Wells doesn’t do, previewing things that are possible, thinking about computer programming without computers, thinking out of the box, what alien minds could be like, human psychology in relation to a conceivable, Plato’s cave, truly speculative, a utopia, totally not a utopia, what sells in games, Strange Brigade, co-op The Mummy, first person shooter, the opposite of the a first person shooter, sword fighting games, boxing games, violence based games, The Long Dark, making coffee and chopping wood, the reason I can’t sell this, the program is wrong, really interesting things about sexuality, gender selection and gene mixing, a clone of her mom, no disease, no need for genetic diversity, more impervious to diseases, you don’t need social cohesion with an infinite number of valleys, WWI sim, the wrong program, an echo of Eden, to leave means you can’t return, the perfect place, a fantasy, it represents a pre-state, even plants are in competition, representing the womb, the womb’s a nice place, are there any animals, bird-song but no birds, she doesn’t know any of those, the whole universe of that world doesn’t have them, it doesn’t obey the rules of our reality, ultimately underneath everything, to avoid the problems of clones, Paul’s head cannon, he’s romancing his own niece, for show, he you wanna meet my niece?, in the Glorantha role playing universe…, she’s looking for someone to pollinate her, Will doesn’t know what ‘too far’ is, a sign of the current moment, none of the plants are plants, club-mosses, another world, a dangling thread, the fictional universe within the story, immersive experiences, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, the other men, relating on the level of taste, radio that send taste to your hands, the radio-bliss, very bad, communists, don’t do it, everyone wanted to get in on the radio-bliss, is there a difference between the fictional universe and the real life?, this actress who played this character I fell in love in, this magic liquid, I’m going to move to New Zealand and marry Lucy Lawless, a whole other level, willing suspension disbelief, not our words, passively accepting the words, his words are not in his voice, how did he film himself?, a whole other level, the silver weaver, he’s both, wow, Lucon the grey weaver, philometrios the measure of my love, a lot of water in this story, he let himself grow old, Robert Nozick’s experience or the pleasure machine, ethical hedonism, pleasure is the good, value theorists, classical utilitarians, hedonism is defeated, would we prefer the machine to real life?, an overriding reason, philosophy is very behind science fiction these days, a philosophy generator, the movie adaptation of this story we read, the 1980s classic: Mannequin (1987), the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor doesn’t like girls, he idealizes a woman, a statue comes to life, two other stories, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, a reversal of this story, The Painter of Dead Women by Edna Worthley Underwood, a serial killer, that same attitude, some deranged sex maniac, he ignores her to death, statuesque women, a perennial theme (The Smart Set, January 1910), engaging with obsessing over the beauty of women, that really old deep story, Robert W. Chambers, how did the artist do that, a still photograph into a digital painting, copying and creating and transferring ideas, how the liquid positive works, photographic techniques, motion pictures, talkies, it’s like that, what about this story?, every drop has the whole story, every drop of the guava juice that I’m drinking tastes like guava juice, her milky white skin, the milky colour of the liquid in the goggles, he really did know what he was doing, he wasn’t looking for what the market was saying, an idea man, we were hurt by his death, a tragedy, Campbell’s influence, so much fucking telepathy, the same bunk, they didn’t know it at the time, they didn’t think what they were talking about was bunk, race science, Charles Murray’s IQ theory, eugenics mania, race is as bad a concept as we’ve had in science, phlogiston, nobody ever gets upset somebody used to be a phlogiston theorist, ether theory, plate tectonics, the expanding universe, nobody cancels them, not knowing how oxygen works, the consequence are not the same, the white man’s burden, self-justifying, Russiagate stuff, if you buy into it at all, all we can do is try to deprogram you, you’re choosing to be fooled, they’re not communists, “adversaries”, massive consequences to mistaken beliefs, the heat death of the universe is so far away, Tau Zero by Poul Anderson, Paul got the gist, flavour text, trim ankle flavour, a comic adaption, Graphic Classics, Marvel adaptation, a 70s Curtis magazine, Jack Vance, Lester Del Rey, L. Sprague de Camp, Kim Stanley Robinson, time to research into his other stuff, Dawn Of Flame, The New Adam, his isfdb.org, mars, alien, telepathy, alien ecology, space pirates, silicon life, tidal locking, doppelganger, fatalism, passivity, mutation, collective consciousness, intelligent plants, more time spent reading A Martian Odyssey, a separate thread, classic twitter, modern stuff and old stuff, W. Scott Poole, the name change of Matheson, this bothered me, but not a lot, the show doesn’t have the horror tone, Potter-world feel, Netflix is for kids, Russian Doll, a woman caught in a time loop, all Jesse’s students under 20, Locke & Key, kids are more resilient to fictionalized violence and horror than what adults think they’re able to handle, adults triggers, Jesse warped and weird, horror is for simulating trauma, we didn’t talk about spoilers don’t spoil.

Pygmalion's Spectacles

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #577 – READALONG: I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #577 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein

talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, July – December 1970, Robert A. Heinlein talking to himself, is this a kissing book?, sex talk, is there a person who doesnt get kissed, she had babies with the judge, my wife lets me kiss 10% of women, saving the incest for later books, a 1980s book, right after some of the big books, Friday is the last good Heinlein novel then he went crazy, 4 years after Frederik Pohl’s Day Million, only recommended as an artifact, rolling my eyes, listening at double speed, essentially the same thing over and over again, ultimatum, if you don’t do x I will fire you and leave the country, everybody is the same person, really glad Evan’s going to be on for this one, the world rather than the guy taking over the world with the talk – endless talk, its a guy who wants everything to be about him, I fell in love with lawyer, injecting myself with my own sperm, the biggest ego trip on the planet by the biggest asshole in the world, having Jake’s baby, he has it every way, socially it’s Jake’s baby, through his entire catalogue, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, Variable Star, closing on the worst, kinda interesting, way too fucking long, sigh, Evan despaired half way through when he’s already impregnated himself, there’s wonderful stuff here, being a document of the sexual revolution, forward thinking, keeping up with the trans-movement, you are your physical body, an internal self, (s)he performs as a woman, physicality, the Wikipedia entry is very short, a threesome, Eunice before she is murdered is swinging, Johan Sebastian Bach Smith, we’re from Mars, really cool stuff, less meetings would have helped Stranger In A Strange Land, get off the poolside bench and go get a job, their job is to talk with the sex crazed maniac, not through the news clips, very modern, all about billionaires and what they want, everything is a billion percent corrupt, very realistic, abandoned areas, what she thinks her job is is to perk up the disabled ancient corpse man, dress up as sexy as she can, before she dies, I don’t trust it, if you read this subversively, it becomes even more insidious, the worst thing about Heinlein, rape fantasies and child molestation, the conversations he has with himself, reading Larry Niven, everything seems to be working out, motivated by slightly different things, its sick and yet he really is on to somethings, the very strong class and financial stratification of society, the .001%, is this world really that bad?, where’s the rest of this society?, ending with Malthus, Mathusean arguments are stupid, The Population Bomb, Star Trek, The Mark Of Gideon, Stand On Zanzibar, Make Room, Make Room, geography, the water wars that are going to come, resource wars, Quantum Of Solace, invisible car, a problem of distribution, some of the least informative and least interesting part of the book, everyone was wrong at the time, pervasive throughout the book, the bugging, surveillance, he’s a brinksman, not everybody is you Heinlein, you can’t deal with everybody that way, wherever we go we take our phone, the universal communication device, more important that any piece of clothing or your house, universal bugging, rich people and royals, a member of the wedding party is sent to Canada, very fetching, your going to go to Canada to throw off the scent, every fucking relationship is tainted with money, the most ethical person in the book, he tries not to be corrupted by it, money is a problem, another theme that’s going on in here, rich people can’t and don’t have friends, it’s true, assets relationships and opportunities, body organs replaced, Bug Jack Baron by Norman Spinrad, Eunice’s soul, it has no connection, he wanted a threesome in his brain, a swinger book, they have sex with everybody except for the grandkids, the grandkids are “monsters”, how did that happen?, who caused that?, inveigle and puppet everybody’s life around him, they’re not competent, their all murderers and their black guys, I kiss them, let him save souls and I look sexy in this shirt don’t I?, is Heinlein addressing this in any sort of self-conscious way?, repossessing an employee of mine’s body, take her name, am I like Eunice, after you paddle me on the bottom in the way that I like, FUCK YOU ASSHOLE, so annoying man, people shouldn’t read Heinlein cause he’s so fucking annoying, Harriman never thought about that, Number Of The Beast, set in a dystopia that he caused by him and a few other people like him, my Clinton organization, you’re the one doing that, become a vegan like me!, strontium 90 in the Chinese milk, nuclear war, all the good stuff is made in China, this book needs to be Neuromancered, all he can do is threaten people with his money, build some fucking roads and infrastructure, constantly calling him “boss”, S&M language, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Sir Boss, boss instead of master, a very difficult book, novella length, an amazing explosion of ideas as in Day Million, reality bombs, if you were going to film this it would be a nightmare, endless dialogue scenes, the action all happens off-screen, nothing exciting going on, conversations in different lawyers offices, seriously? you’re, honor cherish and obey my husband, he’s not a good a person, this dude was into these ideas so early, All You Zombies is a transsexual story, he’s his own grandpa hahaha, he’s a guy from Missouri in 1907, if he was born in the 70s…, a heterosexual man interested in being a woman, heterosexual man becomes a heterosexual woman, gay street back and forth, omnisexual, he marries another old man, “born in the wrong body”, put into your right body, he’s thinking through these ideas out there on his own, Venus Plus X, [Myra Breckinridge (1970)], dresses and cuddling, the male gaze, do what thou wilst, sexual libertarianism, communities and movement cultures, really interesting, Evan’s been around this planet 40 some times, the self goes away, actors can act in a role, Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlisle,

Sartor Resartus (meaning ‘The tailor re-tailored’) is an 1836 novel by Thomas Carlyle, first published as a serial in Fraser’s Magazine in November 1833–August 1834. The novel purports to be a commentary on the thought and early life of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (which translates as ‘god-born devil-dung’), author of a tome entitled Clothes: Their Origin and Influence, but is actually a poioumenon. Teufelsdröckh’s Transcendentalist musings are mulled over by a sceptical English Reviewer (referred to as Editor) who also provides fragmentary biographical material on the philosopher. The work is, in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more generally. However, Teufelsdröckh is also a literary device with which Carlyle can express difficult truths.

this book sounds really fun, the clothes make the man, he’s wearing a white labcoat so its okay he’s putting his finger in my butt, a yellow vest, wearing a blue shirt at Best Buy, putting on the wrong uniform, girls protesting a rule they’re not allowed to wear pants to school, talking about a body as a piece of clothing, this suit’s looking better and better, just like Brad Pitt’s, meat sleeve, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, Case’s contempt for the flesh in Neuromancer, Linda Nagata, does this make me transsexual?, strip away the entire body, ultimately he concludes it wont work, the old transhumanist argument, Transmetropolitan, robot eyes, synesthetic neurons, we are what’s out there, the oppression of women throughout history is largely due to their bodies (not their femininity), a patriarchal society?, the Teresues myth, Strange Days (1995), the working title of Blade Runner?, the ship of Theseus, Bryan Alexander, I’ve had this axe my whole life I’ve been chopping trees with it every day this is the third time I’ve replaced the handle and the third time I’ve replaced the axehead, Jason Thompson’s adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft, what makes it valuable to me, if they market it properly, this famous dude named Jesse, an association copy!, this is a SPECIAL comic, The Pro by Garth Ennis, The Boys, my 30 year old car has every part replaced, two ships of Theseus, identity is a fictional concept or one that only applies with brains, 2 Os stuck together, ultimately any particular atom is not different than any other atom like it, the trial, the hearing, the (Trump) impeachment, yeah don’t care, from a poor person’s point of view, done to a poor person, exploring the same ideas, getting his sex jollies from everybody he meets, lets emigrate to the Moon, The Wizard Of Oz, this feels strange and skeevy, what the fuck man?, the Tin Woodsman (Nick Chopper), he eventually chops his own head off, eventually in the Oz series all of the cutoff armed and legs are rejoined into a golem, the better claim, what make a person a person a character, the cloning stuff, there isn’t really a good cloning novel, the idea of dealing with this concept and ultimately bullshit, Moby-Dick, an onion with no center, as you grow in life, greener or browner, all a mistake, an action adventure contest, put the key in the slot before the bomb blows up, if you met twins, Nine Lives by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Future Is Female, her second story is public domain, all these clones are having sex with each other, totally unequal power dynamics, how Joe was raised, his mom is a wino, Joe’s illiterate, his more artistic end of himself, not good at shopping, he’s the worst Heinlein when it comes to selling his books, Soylent Green (1973), its perfectly legal, Saul and Charleston Heston are in a gay love story, super-powerful, how could I know, a wonderful scene, a great book and also a terrible book that nobody should read, I remember regretting reading it, he had peritonitis while writing this, why this book is badly edited, why do you have these endless scenes of dialogue of going on forever?, the whole Moon thing, they’re all connected, a few hundred people there, frontier hypothesis, very Philip K. Dick, this tired old earth, that’s Elon Musk, yo, 1% are gonna move to Mars and leave us in our abandoned areas, a pipe dream, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, invite Elon Musk, I got lots of podcasts I want to listen to, Red Mars justifies its bulk, a few meetings in there, Jesse is not a fan of meetings, Mars was big in the 90s, Red Planet, a three month sabbatical from Heinlein, I wanna assassinate this Johann smith, the corruption, the billionaire class, Jeffrey Epstein, Joe was adopted by a painter who used him as a sex slave, no pants Smith, I might be a bitch but I’m not a cunt, I’m not a slut I’m a tart there’s a difference, the iteration, tarts give it away, he’s exploring, this sounds real bad, have you thought about the power dynamics here?, sounds like real bad fucking shit, this is not cool, we’re all consenting adults here, a very rich old dude gathering up congresspeople and senators and supreme court justice, this is not an equal relationship, literally pure evil, so selfish, I wanna be those people, you should be stripped of your powers, what you’re doing is monstrous, driving through in your armored cars, its NOT OK BOOMER, a powerful ideas man, Jesse benefited from it the first time, now I am an Ayn Randian, the last issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, you couldn’t pay me to read Ayn Rand, understand this dangerous concept, take in Heinlein’s idiocy, this astounding piece of exploration you’re going to get on this subject, I don’t wanna ever see a desk again, where Heinlein spent his time, it doesn’t ever say where it was, California?, no go zones, a compound for rich shoppers to visit, the speakeasy, the number of times he complains about chairs, how the chairs are very uncomfortable, 1980s baroque, Chinese screen, Chinese obligation, now I’m stuck in this chair, Heinlein’s office, a perfect unobtrusive secretary, panty ruffle, very buxom secretaries, the original Total Recall, they changed the title, the chair and the pain, the word cloud, OLD is the biggest one, SEX, LIPS, CAT, a book without a cat, giving away cats, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, an old man on a space station, he’s also James Bond, how similar Heinlein is to Philip K. Dick, self confessional, its all about fertility as usual, Heinlein’s sterile, the estate is a trust, meeting with lawyers and doctors, that striving for immortality in ANY way, the kid from Mars, a son who died in some stupid war, it doesn’t matter Paul, I know who it is, these granddaughters aren’t biologically his, clones himself in multiple ways, his own mother and father, all very deeply psychological, why this guy is interesting to read, it isn’t generic shit, the expressing of unspeakable irrational striving, his DNA wrote this book, whaddya want that sounds terrible, he’s exhausting, I’m glad he’s dead, am I wrong?, The Three Musketeers, Paul’s weird head-canon, Heart And Souls (1993), Luke Burrage’s head cannon, did he strip the kid of the money?, the major takeaway, money’s going to the Moon, the Moon is the baby, the Moon and the Moon landings are his baby, Destination Moon (1950), we can do this shit, he really was the leading exponent of this idea of SPACE PROGRAM, The Return Of William Proxmire by Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, was he sterile because of all the STDs? the swinging for other ways?, super-super-important for him, maybe if I was my wife, kinda weird, not entertaining, you really should, we’re really fucking selfish and crazy, read it at double speed, Evan recommends this book, if youre interested in ideas this has them, sit on my lap, I will only marry you if you only, don’t make me be this intimate with you, I’m glad I’ve read it I’m glad I’m finished reading it.

I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein

I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein

I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein WORD CLOUD

Heinlein's Desk in 1986

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #576 – READALONG: The Many-Colored Land by Julian May

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #576 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe about The Many-Colored Land by Julian May

Talked about on today’s show:
an unsolicited Patreon plug, now you know, now Jesse is beholden to Paul, special members only episodes, The Many Colored Land, the Patreon, Jesse doesn’t want to reward anybody for anythings, take suggestions from Patrons, Office Hours, Evan’s office hours, Evan’s decline is an ascension, Jesse’s university career, ideas throwin’ down, door open, Discord, Paul derailed us, why did Jesse agree to it?, by spoiling he interested, Luke Burrage’s review, Jesse wrote about Julian May in 2012, leaving science fiction, a young published author and then a thirty year gap, The Dune Roller, Tales Of Tomorrow, The Cremators (1972), pretty sure this book is written by a girl, really weird, not a good book for a lot of the book, what this book is, SUPER-AMBITIOUS and kinda-almost pulls it off, a great mind, did it come out of gaming?, a role-playing game style writing, this book has everything in it, a potpourri, an encyclopedia, if she was a really good writer this could be on the scale of Tolkien, tell me one thing this book doesn’t do, time travel, space aliens, telepathy, elves, portals, megafauna, magic, clerics, fighters, Sarban, the wild hunt, way too much, bursting with ideas, I can explain everything, nine more books, Jack the Bodiliess, will-o’-the-wisp, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast, Jim Moon is a treasure for our time, this great research, fulfilling bits of history, the Mediterranean basin is empty, filling the basin, Down In The Bottomlands by Harry Turtledove, she’s doing everything, she made a dress for a convention and then tried to figure out who would have worn it, people making costumes of future people, a book about Robert E. Howard’s geography of Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age, Europe from 10,000 years, a dragon in Red Nails, wizardry, NO BUT WITH SCIENCE, she tries to rationalize it, a map of genre, issues, what genre is this book supossed to be?, pseudo-science fiction, psionics as magic, origin of the Celtic mythology, the Pliocene Companion, as soon as the torc was introduced, it has ODIN in it, Aiken Drum, the science fiction mindset, WOW, AMAZING!, if this book was written today…, she coulda tightened this up, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the psychic interrogations, that’s insane, an introduction, 1981, that’s impossible, all the character classes, it feels ten years later, her pseudonym list is all male, as J.C. May, Weird Tales, C.L. Moore, he was a dude using a female pseudonym, genre expectations, a lot like Ringworld and Dream Park, really interested in gender, women’s sexuality and reproduction, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Pamela Sargent, its in the air, the birth control pill changes everything, she goes there, the setup, that wasn’t the book I signed up for, that’s what they thought too, pre-caveman, prehistoric adventures, fighting off smilodons, the galactic milieu, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, more motley, a blank slate, the baggage of human history, the prologue, the utopian aspect, a conservative element, something (not quite) reactionary, ethnic enclave planets, Transmetropolitan, what kind of society will these misfits create, the DM says “Haha! Switched ya!”, this has random encounters, very much like Riverworld, famous characters, the big dumb object here is Earth, rejuvenation, psychic vampires, the psychic shit, this shit from Astounding, it was totally bullshit, they thought it might be real, parapsychology, Ghostbusters is the last gasp of it being a phenomena, they’re discontinuing his research is because its bunk, a guy who used to work in remote viewing, no need for satellites, a guy in a room in Langley and we bring him a sandwich, they didn’t know it was discredited in the 50s, a news story, coffee is bad for you, this back and forth, clearly phlogiston, you idiots it was oxygen the whole time, the plate tectonics theory, what he didn’t have was the data to back it up, nobody mentions plate tectonics, how much geology, this gate can only be here, The Last God, the map in the back, have you ever seen a river?, they don’t know what they’re doing, she’s doing everything, too ambitious, it explains everything, wouldn’t it be cool if…, hello fairy, people living in caves full of uranium, change your lifestyle in order to not be mutants, these are goblins, not just Tolkien goblins but also Goblin Market by Christian Rossetti, goblins, tempting with a plate full of fruit, be a brood mare for her reproduction, Julian May is a vast reader and she wants to include it and explain it all and it mostly works, this book is not for me, a GURPS version, lift large, designed for role-playing, character creation, their stats are amplified by their torq, LARPing, L. Sprague De Camp, the Society For Creative Anachronism, Planescape and Dark Sun, Space: 1889, Spelljammer, so grounded in geology, of its time, she’s reading science fiction, its not outsider science fiction, woolly mammoths and then we’re done, she revels in it, the giant sloth gets left all by its lonesome, Evan was into the cenozoic, Jesse was a silurian man, when people think about ancient life on earth, trilobite, I love me some ferns, yo, giant sloth tunnels, untooled scratches, living in them for centuries, that’s the excitement of science fiction, the size of the universe, if this isn’t something you think about everyday poor you, this is FUNDAMENTAL to…, no, dude you can’t believe how big the universe…, poor donkey, in sympathy with the animal, the great unconformity, a plot with an empire that needs to be overthrown, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Mound, a whole civilization under the earth, Lovecraft’s utopia, I signed up for a ghost that haunts a tomb, ten thousand times bigger, she doesn’t leave any room for anything else, there are no traditions that didn’t start with this (in Europe), what is luck?, what if you have a culture based on fear?, five or six major themes, at least twenty things she’s dealing with and trying to think about, the juggling’s pretty good, Tolkien loves the forest but he doesn’t invent whole new trees, “operant”, oh god this is just technobabble, initiative has a whole set of connotations if your not a RPGs, a republican talking point, para-psychological powers, a ticking clock, big fights at the ends of books and movies, still pretty good, a wonderful stew, its 16 hours, Neal Stephenson, Dune Roller, a gothic setup, a tonne of pent up ideas, it came out in a huge geological sized flood, going through the Black Forest, all the different mushrooms, Hansel and Gretel time, very Bros. Grimm, go to Doggerland, Albion, and what would be France, the power, misfits with different weapons and armor, their murder hobos, player characters, he can’t be socialized, euthanasia or life imprisonment or exile, a slave-society, the core element, why does she go with grey?, Plato’s Republic, bronze, Plato is the original racist, the cops, the golden dude are philosophers, the TV series Spartacus, guidebooks on how to manage your slaves, reading so much Stephen King, adaptations of Carrie, in the aftermath, we gotta control women, after Roe vs. Wade, psychic powers, Firestarter, King never dropped that theme: the desire of states to control the exceptional, The Running Man, comprehensive lengths, the antecedents of everything, the book cover, she thought they were cool, what if…, six million year gap, aboriginal Australia, a hugely rich history, many more different kinds of mythological systems, in comparison, New Guinea, geographical vs. geological, it worked itself out, silly explanations, a one way time machine, questions back and answers back, lockboxes, what colour are woolly mammoth tusks?, a whole amber explanation, the plot doesn’t allow it, Halloween and May Day, reverses, like a role playing game, a cleric who can heal people, a paladin, a hunter, a pirate, a thief, this is what I do, yo, Will Emmons’ question, Neuromancer as a first science fiction book,

since you asked…

I say that DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP is not anything like “hard SF”

and neither, really, is FOUNDATION

FOUNDATION is interesting (and foundational) but not great

ANDROIDS *is* great and one shld probably be a connoisseur of SF before reading it

really hard question, I usually like to think of SF as something you read from earlier to later – give a sample size of TWO books liked – and TWO disliked – that said, and even with @PrinceJvstin worries in mind

…I would still recommend HEINLEIN – he’s not HARD SF, and he really is SF – HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL is a good starter book

if you don’t like HEINLEIN I think you don’t really like SF – he was made of SF

dont start with any random Heinlein tho – BIG MISTAKE

MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS

and

STARSHIP TROOPERS

are good choices – will make you argue with HEINLEIN which is what a lot of later writers are doing in their books, arguing with HEINLEIN :)

YES, and i would say in that order, but put another book as palate cleanser in between

there’s a whole series of books that are connected to STARSHIP TROOPERS – ENDER’S GAME, ARMOR and going backwards to KIPLING’S poem M.I.

my point is…, going down a hole, a callback to science fiction, hollow earth, people having sex in Stromboli, a very famous science fiction novel by Jules Verne: Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Iceland, a little sex scene, this is all her, there is almost no visual SF at this point, working on a masters degree, very rich, let’s do a 16 hour book, dense even though it doesn’t feel that dense, not just more Tolkien, science fiction-ish, science fiction tropes, pseudo-scientific explanations, the crown, a magic system, H.G. Wells’ Floor Games, wargaming, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, in role playing time you build role playing games, Jesse’s repeating because Julian was repeating herself.

Map of Northwestern Europe during the Pliocine epoch

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #570 – READALONG: The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #570 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Olav Rokne talk about The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Talked about on today’s show:
1952, the great Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, gravitas, how much should we think of it as a great book?, 100 best novels 1946-1987, number 12 amongst fantasy novels, a fantasy novel or a science fiction novel, an alternate history kick, The Man In The High Castle, Harry Turtledove, The Guns Of The South, Lest Darkness Fall, Bring The Jubilee, For Want Of A Nail by Robert Sobel, here today in 2019?, Axis victory novels, In The Presence Of Mine Enemies, techno veneer, the toxic nostalgia at the heart of fascism, the rejection of modernity, sylvan existence, mythologizing of the past, neo-feudalism, 100 years after reign?, The War For German Rights, not that far from our future, 2030s, Fuhrer means God now, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, kinda like Sliders, barely even know who Hitler was, the SS rituals, race theory, eugenics, genetic engineering, lions and dogs, vegetarian vs. Hermann Goering’s aesthetic, a symbolism book, vs. Albert Speer’s vision, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland by Robert Harris, Nazi-world, an analog for life behind the Berlin Wall, Kit, slightly tweaking the ideology, the world we don’t see, what makes it such an intriguing book, tech, the support system for a game preserve on a private estate, the horror of a Nazi regime, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, the body horror, fear horror, a Gothic castle, an anticipation not fully fulfilled, the Wild Hunt, was it real or was it all a delusion?, Deities & Demigods, the Huntmaster, Thor, driving game, myths versus legends, hearing the horn, join the hunt or become one of the hunted, pre-fascism, Herne The Hunter, inarticulate dread, fantastic stories, The Hounds Of Zaroff aka The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, unencumbered from morality, a throwback, not the only one, Hans von Hackleburg, the curse of the Baskervilles, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, an evil morality, inferring the system, a strong warning, people who have suffered gender or race based violence, Allan’s fears, creeped, sexism, misogynist, anti-human, women are turned into cats and men are turned into hounds, a vegetarian argument, Pierre Boulle’s Planet Of The Apes, the difference between of human and prey, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, the framing story, a four hour audiobook, 42 minutes into the book, almost 1/4 of the story is the frame, two narrators, authenticated, kinda fun, The Wolf or The White Wolf by Guy de Maupassant, a wonderful funny horrible story, kill everything, a true story of France, strangles it “gently”, true from one end to the other, less about gender than it is about class, Reichmaster of Forests, the cat girls and the fiance in the frame, it could be interpreted that way, the descriptions of meat were stomach churning, “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”, The Yellow Book (magazine), the book inside the book, the yellow 90s, a decadent book, Wayne June, $1.50 in 1895, a book for artists and high class folks, before he’s arrested and thrown in prison he’s playing a game, An Ideal Husband, The Importance Of Being Earnest, powerful versus popular, when Hillary Clinton was on Saturday Night Live, they pull their punches, Trump has been on Saturday Night Live, too thin skinned, more thin skinned, if you offend too much you’re going to get in trouble, going to far, Sinéad O’Connor, too true, not politic, a vegetarian propagandist book, I’m not so sure, the cat, a metonym for his wife, Kit, why doesn’t he want to tell her?, some distant 100 year old future, a screed against an activity she so enjoys, the terror, a world famous hunter, trophy room, a bridge too far, what is animal and what is human, a lot of science fiction, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells but with Nazis, vivisection, The Time Machine, unreliable narrators, Wells allusions, another thread, utopian futures, the Bellamy school, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, The Living, Just Imagine, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy (2006), Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, it’s a happy liberal future inside the city and homeless and we don’t spend time with the homeless people who are outside the city everybody is super happy enjoying their fancy clothes with robots and they spend time in outer space fighting Ming The Merciless and then outside the city we never talk about those dirty disgusting folks, it’s the same thing, clones of each other, a Marxist analysis of Gil Gerard’s Buck Rogers, intellectual property, we haven’t had a Space: 1999, a good point, the Dille family trust, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, we don’t need more Buck Rogers, overdosed on Superman, When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, the sequel, that Galt’s Gulch stuff, we are the elites, this lifeboat is for us, that comedy movie 2012 (2009) an unofficial reboot, Elon Musk is like Heinlein, Wernher von Braun was a fuckin SS nazi, D.D. Harriman, we don’t cut anything, dancing around The Sound Of His Horn, aged more in the last 25 years than in its first 40, more dated now, the ponderousness, become more of its time, flowery beautiful description, oooh this stuff is wonderful, the material is perfect for what it is, maybe its the relationship people have to it, imagine reading The Man In The High Castle in the 1960s, WWII was that much closer, its only aged in its relationship to us, a piece of art rather than a commercial work designed to put bums in seats, much more intellectual despite physical, spectacle, Blumhouse horror torture porn, the first Saw movie, the explanation is not the point the exclamation point was the point, the novel medium, dwelling more on certain paragraphs and certain sentences, immerse in Allan’s plight, feel his fear and apprehension, spend more time noticing connections between the outer narrator’s story and the inner narrator’s story, academic theses that nobody reads vs. big long blog posts that analyze the shit out of stuff, so many things in the meals in the hall the torchbearers, is that what I think it is?, trussing up the girls they’ve hunted as if they’re going to eat them, its not cannibalism its more like sadism and rape, the gentlemanly country estate of England vs. Nazi baronial estate, the two teams that went to war, the two cages (the POW camp and the estate), the games that they play within, another camp on the outside, concentration camps, slave labour employed, servants vs. slaves, not so much “you need to become a vegan, today” vs. considering the feelings of others, otherkin, a call for empathy, dwelling on the results of war and that setting, more connections sparking away, reading it in paper, not an easy book if you get squicked out, surgically modified, running to fat, brain surgery, bred, what’s happening to Kit, sent for reeducation, something to practice on, utopias and dystopias, all a part of a flow, patterns repeating throughout, in a dystopian novel it feels like everything is frozen, here’s a society that is perfected, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, lots of little shitbirds fucking things up, we’re in a system headed in a good direction, Nineteen-Eighty Four, Brave New World, the resistance was gelded, News From Nowhere by William Morris, everybody should be an artist, The Wood Beyond The World, a rural paradise, adding a lot of filigrees to their hoes, a science fiction fantasy, things can’t change, we have that within us too, cultivating good habits, coming to a steady state, we’ve refined our morality, we’re refined our diets, and we’ve brushed our hair in just the right way, Francis Fukuyama’s the end of history, NATO’s still a thing, yup, life’s ridiculous, people can be cruel, Jesse doesn’t visit the United States, when Peter Watts got the shit kicked out of him at the border, if you give in, drawing lines in the sand, a job in Texas, if Bernie wins, the abuses heaped upon the Nazis are justified, a personal story, personally suffered, one nice way to read it, a walking dream, walking across Eastern Europe, he walks 100 years into the future, a daydream, he spins up the whole story, has this happened more than once to him?, falling back into fairy, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, no fay element, Paul is arguing against himself, Thomas the Rhymer, mental illness, we don’t have perfect access to that, Oberon and Titania, torches as an affectation, plastic cup technology, high quality clothing, rich folks, not about the Nazis, what they did in Africa, you can’t really tell stories about swaths of people, stories about individuals, those personal relationships with a culture, without that frame the story doesn’t work very well, he is questioning hisself, speculating about Sarban’s knowledge of the crimes of the British Empire, parallels, Great Britain’s colonial history vs. the crimes of the Nazis, surveillance, no conscious critique of the British, what is our relationship to hunting, they do it unconsciously, a turkey hunt, why there are no lions, bears, and wolves in England, the gauleiter’s fake hunt, hunting fish in a barrel, mini-golf hunting, Barkerville, British Columbia, you pay for the pan the bag and the trough, a fake experience, not training, an ersatz experience, the reichforester has contempt for everybody around him, why is it like that?, a Medieval Times restaurant in Nazi Germany, its good to go out for a walk, a safe walk in nature, Mark Twain: golf as a good walk ruined, facial hair, the incarnation of the wildness, I will save you for another moon, a Nazi Utopia is a dystopia for the reichforester (he’s a manager at Disneyworld), I didn’t expect it to be like this, its different, what Sarban means: the kind of storyteller who traveled with caravans and entertained the travelers with stories, what Homer was, he’s basically a bard, a diplomatic career in the Middle East, how short it is, all the more plausible, you have your coffee you have your smoke, how to classify it, a horror book, no visceral reaction, Olav went vegetarian, no vegetables at that banquet, the dressing up of the game, two does, its not clear, on purpose, dehumanizing the pray, more dreamlike and more fey, the Star Wars experience in Disneyworld, a Star Wars store, a Star Wars lightsaber, the Batman costume with Batman’s face on the shirt, he’s not having fun, its not for him, Universal Studios’ Miami Vice experience, a spectacle vs. a ride, a cool idea, all of the jousting is every night, they’re actors, striving for utopia, regularize things, make things improved, best practices, self-driving cars, one day…, a trap, a fantasy we fall into, it fails to be a classic on a few levels, very affecting, a rich text, an intellectual experience, it doesn’t need to be that long, how much not spent in the actual world, where is the divergence point?, it doesn’t want or need to explore that, if it had been written in the 1890s, Prussian or Russian nobleman, it’s not about Nazis its about people, humans are fuckin weapons, dealing with things that have agency, what makes a bad society is having lots of people trending towards badness, not even saying that foxhunting is bad, Mike Vendetti, The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, people in power are fuckers, the cat’s name is Jan Smuts, best buds with Winston Churchill, both of them were in concentration camps in South Africa, Prime Minister of South Africa, maybe it is a critique, John Buchan’s The Grove Of Ashtaroth, in the hands of John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir), yellow 90s ruin, the last place on earth for this goddess to inhabit, it does matter, how we come out of the inner frame, who named that cat?, where is that damn cat?, let it out, why the outer narrator doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t tell her this story, Aneurin Bevan (father of the NHS), fascism is the future refusing to be born, toxic nostalgia.

The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #559 – READALONG: Torchship by Karl K. Gallagher

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #559 – Jesse, Terence Blake, and Fred Heimbach talk about Torchship by Karl K. Gallagher

Talked about on today’s show:
suggested out of the blue, modern, always a mistake, it wasn’t so bad, limited tastes, getting the elephant out of the room, why is the author writing it?, the real values of real science fiction, away from diversity bullshit, a conscious effort, the intro music, the plot, Firefly, The Expanse, almost Firefly fanfiction, worse in every respect, Firefly as fantasy, hard SF in TV does it exist?, the difference between hard science vs. hard engineering, you can have one thing, the HARD side, a fantasy Firefly overlay, navigating by the seat of your pants, the ability to learn shit, we’re not adapted, an explanation to the audience, linked star systems, a gray goo story, run amuck, a past apocalypse, the betrayal worlds, linked in a chain, high governmental control (the fusion) vs. libertarian (the disconnect), the TFS (terraforming), Butlerian Jihad minus the mentats, the slipstick and instinct, still governments, libertarian-ism is a strange phenomenon, The Unincorporated Man, poorly written, the premise, crackerjack, one of the oldest tropes in SF, Buck Rogers scenario, Citizen Of The Galaxy, The Door Into Summer, Just Imagine (1930), The Marching Morons, Idiocracy (2006), why libertarians like it, other than amongst the billionaire jet set (planetary citizens), Ron and Rand, concern with freedom, one strand of anarchism, capitalist Darwinian ideology, Fred has leaned that way, marijuana referenda, getting people to come out and vote and donate, drug legalization, mental illness, why you need regulation, Amsterdam, a subsidiarian, local governments, the centralizing tendency of power, debates with Americans, Ayn Rand, the seeds are baked in to the USA, the American Revolution sorting hat sent the whigs one way and the tories the other, peace order and good government, liberty equality and fraternity, you’re not the boss of me, France as the USA’s twin, aspects, no libertarian candidates, this phenomenon, their many levels of governments, Justin’s magic wand, edibles will be fine, what does all this have to do with Karl J. Gallagher’s book, Robert A. Heinlein, beloved by libertarians, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, it feels that way, Paul were he not in Nepal…, in the good ways it felt like a Heinlein book, more episodic, written as episodes, his publisher, his wife did the narration, Kelt Haven Books, the modern publishing techniques, fuck the industry, do everything to make money, Fred’s writing group, all public, bitching in public, The Elf Trap vs. the Fred trap, Fred’s short story Rocket Raising is actually pretty good, a Christian based science fiction podcast, Jesse’s complaints, the narrator adds sound effects, it doesn’t “improve” audiobooks to add sound effects, Amish science fiction, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, an Amish romance in space, early adopters (of solar panels), barn phones, dangerous for Jesse, a fix-up, Kikuyu, the juju man runs the computer, recreating the golden period of pre-contact, sexism, a failed utopia, really powerful, taking shit seriously, the pull of the gs, “grounding us”, more like George R.R. Martin, Jesse doesn’t read series, Mike Resnick’s Starship series, dialogue and character, just like our heros in here, not so much Larry Niven as Heinlein via way of Firefly, a breezy read, going back to Earth, treasure hunting, religious cultists, utterly delusional, the rising tension, reading on Kindle, when Fred got excited, abandoned Earth scenario, a sub-genre of dystopia, “the Earth that was”, the terraforming woman, more complexity, 1.5x speed, sometimes necessary, the big mistake, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, pilgrimage to Earth, a Lincoln coin, a toxic mess, The Impossible Planet, Wall-E, an Idiocracy scenario, THE most important science fiction, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, with a different disposition, a garbage can that delivers itself to the curb, once we get UBI going, when Andrew Yang is president, concentrating on the important things whatever the fuck they are, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, weird wifi problems, censorship, abandoned earth stories, good stuff to watch, Daily Science Fiction!, voracious, 490 words long, you can put it out in two tweets, suppressing the urge, how it’s constructed, he adds to the world enough, a very Heinleinian scene, 100% corrupt, you buy your senate seat, more honest, the (US) next presidential election, Elizabeth Warren, who owns you, the British system, you buy your majorship, officers and enlisted men comes from class, that system has persisted, a lot of it is still class, Mel Gibson’s PBS documentary series Carrier, totally class based, broken homes, finding success, what this book turns out to be…, rebels against the government, Dortmunder, officious evil empire, smugglers, fugitives, on the side of good, when the navy shows up, Reivers, competency porn, I want the navy to win, a costly victory, “make me a sandwich”, the positive version of a dogwhistle, knowyourmeme, playing off the sexist trope, lemme mansplain it to you, some of the playful humour, other meta-moments, aren’t we all cool living in the 20teens section, reading older stuff, appreciating, The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu, so racist, the Yellow Peril is throughout that period, I see what you’re doing there, Jesse is not fully equipped for the modern stuff, what the fuck was dabbing, a dance move (not important), why do they do it?, because it’s a meme, humans are not equipped to do that in space, its impossible?, they did that with airplanes, more force and more rapidity, evasive actions in space, a fantasy element, trick-shot shooters, shooting arrows with their foot, the archery expert [Howard Hill] for The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938), that thing upstairs is a computer, humans are good at throwing, how much we appreciate free-shots, dexterity and accuracy, a nice dream, Terence might be right, Lunar Lander, libertarian flying, if Karl were here to defend himself…, a genuine rocket scientist, bending possibilities, the place to start, the Apollo calculator couldnt be infected with an AI, ballistic computers, a fire control computer, where the love of the slipstick shows up, that competency porn aspect, shoe a horse and plow a field and calculate, climate science, systems science, Galileo, correlating lots and lots of data, a paradigm shift, she’s doing the calculations and she eyballed it and was off by five percent, we don’t have that tech (for the engines), converting mass directly to energy, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, objections to The Martian, how to treat Mars, burial of ice on the asteroid, pre-Terence, Citizen Of The Galaxy, a whole espionage aspect, his boss is a spymaster, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, the Finnish torchship operators, spreading genes, Jared Diamond’s Upheaval: Turning Points For Nations In Crisis, the Winter War, not getting totally destroyed, the bravery of the Finns against the Soviets, admiration, the ship’s spirit (sisu), Abdul joins the crew, a set of roots, a free trader, The Rolling Stones (aka Space Family Stone), the crew of the Fives Full is chosen family, a poker reference, the MS Burrito, the food on the ship, the menus, lasagna, casseroles, meatloaf, algae cakes and algae cookies, Terence loves algae, Korean seaweed aka gim, jokes and sex scenes, character based, a better continuation of firefly, we’re never spoon-fed anything, reaction mass, water as a shield, hard science fiction more focused on characters than normal, some gimmes, galactic rocket ports, just an excuse to get out the slipsticks, because magic happened, magic portals, Neal Asher, we’re getting 5% smarter, we should freeze him, we should freeze ourselves, artificial gravity, sociological science fiction, soft science fiction, crash couches, too extreme gravities, forty gravities, centrifuge experiments, the cushioning effect, the waterbed from Stranger In A Strange Land, do you want to raise your children on this planet?, in the Firefly universe, all in one solar system, Goldilocks zones, the stone family flying around the solar system, flat-cats, the tribbles on Star Trek, try to find a tramp freighter today, Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), an independent cargo ship, whahappen?, international capitalism ate em all, another fantasy element is that you can have a Millennium Falcon style independent operator, economies of scale, positing a war surplus, DC Dakotas, over time they’re replaced by DHL and FedEx, if you don’t look at the boom and bust cycle of industries you’re being as naive as thinking kings will be kings forever, the rise of fascism, we’re past fascism, many ways of getting things wrong, Babylon 5, the old ones, Minbari are elves don’t you see, he doesn’t fuck it up, that’s pretty good, a lot of modern stuff, Napoleonic era shit, Elizabeth Bear, The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, there’s this lady who really likes horses, the author likes horseback riding, an excuse to do horseback riding, there’s books for that, relationship fiction, good book, other audiobooks?, graduate school papers, forum flames, after action reports, this is his first novel, sestina (a complicated poetical form), “Lost War”, no such thing as bad publicity, uninformed anonymous nonsense, we’re already a discriminating audience, business model, designed to fit into a certain market that exists, almost all books are like that, good luck, who the fuck are you kidding?, ebook vs audiobook revenue, Fred’s not at liberty, spreadsheets, genre discipline, packaging, self-promoting, easier up front when you fit premarketed, movie title theory, I can sell this movie based Axis Of Evil, something in the public consciousness, Ghostbusters (again), half-sold your product, audible.com, using credits, a disposition for a certain length of novel, dollars per hour, Player Unknown Battlegrounds stats 1,800 hours, computer games are your real enemy, what the length of book should be per credit, they’re buying it like rice, series are better for authors (monetarily), pre-sold your audience, string em all together, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, market deformations, if you’re a regular person, regular listeners know Jesse is a lunatic, more irregular listeners, different audiences, how did Terence find the SFFaudio Podcast (other than awesome)?, ten years ago, it becomes nebulous, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, good ideas and doesn’t understand humans, an AI trying to simulate human emotions, all the stuff that’s going, a pretty hard SF writer approaching making a living, he’s got a plan and he’s trending upward, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, Alastair Reynolds, cosmic scope, Karl Gallagher is in the middle, a hard slides approach, Iain M. Banks, everyone likes libertarianism, anything bad about it is an exception, libertarian tropes, the gun range, a fetishism of Americans, a fetish, like collecting books, a John Galt planet, I’m not listenin’ to nobody cuz they’re not listening to my metal screeds, China doesn’t like libertarianism, libertarianism is for 12 year old boys, it doesn’t make sense once you start thinking about it, a continuum, are you sure using political power is the right approach, his wife looks like an owl, Newt Gingrich is fucking idiot, Newt read a book once, he has principles, he’s consistent, how can I enrich myself and my family?, how can I wave the flag bigger?, motivated by fear vs. motivation by greed, the people running for president, Biden, Trump, why does everybody hate Jimmy Carter so much?, he said some things people didn’t want to hear, didn’t start any wars, we need to be self-sufficent, tightening our belts, doubled down on the petro-dollar, ‘everything will be perfect forever’, massive inflation and helicopters crashing, deregulating the airlines, of all the presidents in the last little while, personal corruption, we gotta starve the beast because the beast is being milked, the role that corporations play, Jesse’s ideology is criticizing other ideologies, the two Communist parties in Canada, vote anarchist, joining the solipsistic brotherhood.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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