The SFFaudio Podcast #583 – READALONG: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #583 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Talked about on today’s show:
1924, anglo-english? (anglo-irish), a famous fantasy novel, first Dunsany, put off by the preface, scaring readers away, the fields we know, don’t worry, apologizing, tounge in cheek, the narrative voice, “in our day”, a reflection towards the reader, who comes before Dunsany?, fairy tales, the Saga of the Volsungs, before Tolkien, before Lewis, before Robert E. Howard’s Conan, George MacDonald, like urban fantasy of today but not urban, The Encyclopedia Of Fantasy, polder, absorbed into fairy, the tragedy of this book, mixed feelings, a merging, a marriage, aimed poetry, when the witch creates the sword, as much magic as we have, all this magic and all that magic, a column of zeroes, the cleverness of Lord Dunsany, now you’re gone, a repeating motif or theme, The Wonderful Window, from far off Baghdad, the terrible bullshit job he has in the city, the way you get into the fantastic realms is through our world,

“Nobody can tell you about that sword all that there is to be told of it; for those that know of those paths of Space on which its metals once floated, till Earth caught them one by one as she sailed past on her orbit, have little time to waste on such things as magic and so cannot tell you how the sword was made, and those who know whence poetry is, and the need that man has for song, or know any one of the fifty branches of magic, have little time to waste on such things as science, and so cannot tell you whence its ingredients came.”

asteroid metal from outside our world, meteoric iron, its magical yo, stronger than bronze swords, an ongoing theme, clarified and made concrete, we wanna be ruled by a magical lord, be careful what you wish for, a Monkey’s Paw wish, My Talks With Dean Spanley by Lord Dunsany, Dean Spanley (2008), a visiting swami, the transmigration of souls, a welsh spaniel, the joys of sniffing, how he thought of his previous master, the reason Dean Spanley is a priest is his idea of master, such a good boy he was promoted, not a takedown of religion, reincarnation, not typical of his work, what he’s good at, poking ideas, the solid writing, that mythic quality, The Book Of Wonder, Sidney Sime, capturing lightning in a bottle, scenes that are like that, the characters are little dolls, the troll coming to our experiencing the fields we know, watching time, here’s our clever joke, the Pope has a unicorn horn, it all refers back to the preface, Italo Calvino and Michael Chabon, bemusing, a parliament of trolls, infusing the trolls with trollishness, Gentlemen Of The Road, a fantasy without the magic, a road movie, Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, Shakespeare’s Planet, Over The Fields And Through The Woods, the magic door quality, portal fantasy, the silver wall, a wall of magic, that final rune, the mythic quality, Elric Of Melniboné, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, every five lines or so, The Odyssey, rosy fingered dawn, waystations, totems, consciously doing, Don Rodriguez: Chronicles Of Shadow Valley, fields we know, the gentle waves, elfland washing forward like a wave, incredibly subtle, too deep or he didn’t put it in, The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap, The Silver Key, OMG this guy Dunsany!, the half-penny papers, talking about sports, projecting a kingdom on the landscape, camel trains, Hanwell, Bedlam, Arkham Asylum, “go to pretty bed now”, tragic, his name is kinda weird, Shap -> shape -> Lord Shaper, shap -> the husk of silkworm, the home for a transformation, a nice little story, resonances so strong, these stories will stay with you even if you don’t think they will, where does magic come from?, magic as a limited resource, why 3?, Orion, she wants some things, what is he coming across, he encountered a toy he had as a child, snippets of conversation, wistful memories like lost things, this foreign thing, what’s going on in the heads of the people, its made magical and she’s a witch, just three runes, Jesse teaches magic, too young for essay writing, spellcasting, connotation and denotation, the rule of three, threefold magic, it just works, and you can’t question it, the Three Little Bears in Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, its not falsifiable, politics, the magical words without any substance [Pete Buttigieg], nonsense poetry, the sounds, that repetition, if I tell you three times its true, he’s a word magician, a spellcaster, we four are already in this world, a bookbuyer, not a reader of The Sketch or The Smart Set, your terrible commute to work, that Ballantine publication, “Adult Fantasy”, all his characters are adults who live in a fantasy world somehow connecting with it, we’re not in the perfect position to appreciate it, Neil Gaiman’s preface to The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a rich red wine, trust the book, a true magician practitioner, Alan Moore can’t really believe what he’s saying, “I’m a magician”, sometimes the spells don’t work, ingredients/elements/components, you just heard it, there’s this powerful word you can use to solve your problem, training wheels sort of writing, when you uses this magic word, once per essay, the word is: “indeed” says “yes, I agree with myself”, its actually true, if you break the spell, Rumplestiltskin, names have power, true names, the original Lin Carter introduction, Beyond The Fields We Know by Lin Carter, the 18th baron of the ancient line, a 12th century fortress, among hills rich, William the Bastard, steeped in a golden legend, a sensitive poet, a huntsman, one jump ahead of the Nazis, scores of plays, volumes of verse, a complete translation of Horace, with a quill pen, Eaton and Sandhurst, a full exciting and adventurous life, he didn’t have to work, his last speaking tour of America, H.P. Lovecraft, spelling Edgar Allan Poe wrong, YWHA, tall, slender, erect, ruddy apple cheeks, a sloppy baggy suit, deeply moved, linked to greatness, the death of Tennyson, L. Sprague de Camp, William Morris, the single greatest influence, The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Dunsanian influence, Jack Vance, Jorkens Tales, Arthur C. Clarke, Tales of the Draco Tavern by Larry Niven, Thieves’ World, Lin Carter’s self-boosterism, the Appendix N podcast, he doesn’t mind telling you he’s read all these great books, Dungeons And Dragons, a long neglected masterpieces, May 1924, passages of amazing power, scintillates, into the twilight meadows of fairy, a high land near the thunder, to gather the thunderbolts, from under the cabbage leaves, a stylistic experiment of subtlety, the marriage was doomed from the beginning, welding the two elements, one of the last great masters of English prose, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, August Derleth, Lin Carter knew his limitations and was happy to be in the room, Neil Gaiman is a magician, tuckerized, the wordspells, Paul Cornell, what’s he going to say to me, he doesn’t know us, The Graveyard Book, now we’re selling it on eBay, a spiritual figure, this aura, the main character (The Sandman) looks a lot like him, he uses his magic for good, that level, test a thesis, the fantasy author who is successful is a magician, Philip K. Dick is a philosopher, an alchemist?, good SF is idea filled, Arthur C. Clarke is the most religious science fiction writer, Olaf Stapledon, Gene Wolfe, Doris Lessing, metaphors are magic, once you start arguing for not facts, whose magic better, can I dispel this with a word, magic is dangerous, making you think things are the way they aren’t, philosophy of science fiction, Hal Clement, a very narrow branch of philosophy, a great connection between mystery fiction and science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun, philosophy is the magic of science fiction, the magical thinking of SF, to broaden your point, a supplementary, its a better dig, I’m polishing up what you’re doing, distracted (not subtracted), the philosophy of science fiction, playing the role of magic in a fantasy, philosophy in its earliest form is science, lets look at this snail here, nautiluses, mushroom eyes, incredibly ancient and weird, another kind of magic, a way of knowing, the difference between knowledge and story is lore, not subject to the same rules as science, this is the way we do it, analyzing jokes, just keep using it, sometimes jokes don’t have a normal structure and still work, something profoundly philosophical in the way magic is used in this novel, tongue in cheek, making a statement about the world as it is, trying to convert people to his belief system, be enchanted with the world that we have, Dean Spanley as a puppy, enthusiastic, born a famous lord?, a beagle in a previous life, Orion playing a role outside of this book, he mounts a stag on his head, its the Wild Hunt, Herne the Hunter, Deities & Demigods, The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban, veganism, its a new movement, when Will came of age in 2005, vegetarian, the RSCPCA, he’s like a bad man, he’s not a common Irishman, he took a bullet to the head in the Easter Rising, everybody’s full of contradictions, the rich of the late 19th and early 20th, vigorous and interesting people, chessmaster, the Boer War, WWI, go into business, a strange phenomenon, Upstairs, Downstairs except fancy (Downton Abbey), a flourishing in people who have the ability to not worry about cashflow, we have it a lot more and a lot less, that enthusiasm is something we can have, a rising religion, a 1911 issue of The Sketch, The Smart Set, The New Yorker, Winston Churchill in the witness chair, a bank heist, a maxim machine gun, movies made out of it, explaining the plot, anarchists and vegetarians go together, Eric and Evan are also vegetarians, i think about it, something like that, a philosophical position, a following on, 19th century vegetarianism, vegan bodybuilders are a thing, a ground up, so many people who are not religious, the same kind of assurance, I wanna be a good person, what are the rules for me, all these guys at the gym buffing themselves up, when the cannibalism religion comes in the vegans will be the premium beef, so yummy, sustainable, the free range eggs taste better, from Lord Dunsany to cannibalism, out of elfland and into neverneverland, cannibalism from Jesse’s id, the thighbone of a materialist, denying the duality of spirit and matter, an anti-materialist novel, poking and playful, the ancient magazines, Richard Dawkins on eugenics (it could would work), people can go off, new proposal for assigning alignment outside of role playing games, he’s not Chaotic Good,

Historied Historian
Agendaed Historian
Agendaed Historian (Niall Ferguson)

Unlawful Vegan
Unlawful Omnivore
Lawful Cannibalism

Libertarian Buffet-enthusiast
Truly Principled
Polite Chaos-agent

“would you come out please, we need to burn your house down”, read his short stuff, The Highwaymen by Lord Dunsany, definitely against the Man, totally normal, an archbishop, from the ghost’s POV, on attack on authority and an upholding of authority, I’m a rich guy and I can tell these lesser people how to live their lives, sensitive to the needs of the working man, a duality and a sensitivity, the Parliament Of Erl, a misadventure, “the common people get ideas, women are voting, my god!”, the czar’s been overthrown, the result is folly, the alternative is guillotines, the mega-guillotine patent, Guillotine 2020, Bernie is my compromise candidate, how can it continue as it is, until the revolution comes, you can put it down, the British ruling class, hence their still having a monarchy, they’re still lording it up, because of that sensitivity, Churchill is a mass of contradictions, a lust and enthusiasm for life, he didn’t find a war he didn’t like, terribly outrageous, semi-competence and full competence, of you time and of your class, wearing a yellow vest, Kenya, second sons, respecting the lust for life, a more compassionate version of it, people are kind dangerous, a crow with a knife, crow with knife now reformed is father, bears, tigers are beautiful, mercifully killed suddenly by a tiger, the flourishing we see is in tension with the fantasy world, a new kind of flourishing not previously available to the common man, there’s a guy who knows where his towel is, a couple of Star Trek 2 cassette audiobooks, a tidal wave endlessly wave, a wall of magic, the killing of the unicorn, a narwhal horn, the death of innocence, the killing’s cool?, The Book Of The New Sun, Shadow Of The Torturer, hunters are obsessed with the things they prey on, the role of hounds and dogs, part of his vigorous spirit, PUBG is a murder simulator, the temptation to kill is very strong, a kind of fight or flight thing, this could be the end, not even the winning, a 100% real, that vigour that chase that victory, its built into your cells, the most beautiful thing and I’m going to kill it, the great white hunter, you can deny it, and it can be cultivated, hunters everywhere, transforming a desire to kill, that’s why they’re called shots, trophy hunting, undeniable, the hunter, Joe Rogan, you can be an oppressor and an uplifter, will-o-wisps, war, this weird conflict, venerable traveler, star naked, it was a troll that had tricked them, tricksters tricked, fairy tale creatures, a unified thing, so early, The Shadow Of Yesterday, ratkin, an interesting mechanic, the animated Return Of The King, Jesse would become a beaglekin, sniffing at gates and bases of trees and jumping over pots, Jesse really enjoyed the troll.

Ballantine - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

BB - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Posted by Jesse Willis

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 #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 #575 – READALONG: Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #575 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
Super Science Stories, November 1950, atomic energy, atomics, Joe Haldeman’s The Accidental Time Machine, did he know about it?, The Last Man On Earth, Writers Of The Future, Volume 23, Audible Studios, Primetime by Douglas Texter, when you’re a writer you stop reading everything, reading and writing don’t go together (simultaneously), publications, huge gap, why doesn’t he go back in time?, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, geology tells us the earth is supergoddamnold, evolution isn’t a ladder, social and technological development isn’t a ladder, evolution doesn’t have a pinnacle, the far future, our SFFaudio journey, The Boat Of A Million Years, Highlander without the sword-fighting, traveling one year every year into the future, last good standalone novel, Brain Wave, they don’t loop, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, further in the future, extra homework, the the Futurama episode that’s an adaptation of Flight To Forever, a mathy physicsy thing, a backwards time machine, even the gods, the giraffes have taken over the earth and enslaved humanity, Back To The Future, Doc Labyrinth, Doc Brown, a time machine has to look cool, out of the future, the car is hot or cold, upgrading your time machine, Mr Fusion, nuclear plutonium, vacuum tubes, warming up the time machine, spare parts, what’s strange about it, nods to space opera for nor reason, when it was written, a lady princess running around telling everyone what to do, princess vs. empress, he does (or doesn’t) forget about Eve, Eve’s dead he can move on, a red-headed strong woman, Paul fell in love with her, oh that’s silly, sword and planet, Buck Rogers, weird alien ruins, ups and downs, a picaresque, different sorts of realities, Leela and Fry’s love story, a message to Fry in the future, Cavern On The Green, how the cave is formed over millions of years, the ability to send a message to a future, a thing to be gotten back, she has no agency in the story itself, love stories give meaning to a meaningless universe, Project Pendulum by Robert Silverberg, tied to Heinlein, Time Of The Twins, Poul Anderson’s version of spending time with the Morlocks and the Eloi, how many times they’re attacked for being time travelers, time travelers are dangerous, how did the gods know to keep going?, loop again, stop with the city of the Yithians, The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, the first intelligent inhabitants of the Earth, that cosmic element, beyond physical needs and sexuality, they wanna document everything, correlate all the contents of anomalies, doing a little work to explain how the city of the gods knows that time is cyclical, is time cyclical?, the evidence of his time travel is absent, Sam is gonna die, that makes Paul sad, Professor Farnsworth has to make a quick stop to disintegrate Hitler, Elanor Roosevelt, keep looping, Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder, another science fiction time travel premise, lifting all the great ideas of science fiction, addicted to Futurama, Andrew J. Offutt’s My Country, Right Or Wrong, a pretty good story, hanged in 1986, building the world you’re trying to prevent, the time machine knows what it’s doing, wreck vs. spoil, the same physical location, wandering the hills and looking at rocks can have profound philosophical implications, all living things take a little bit of time to grow, the physical size of the universe is massively important to finding our place in existence, for love, a comedy piece, physics students writing theses, a student at MIT, standalones, Forever Peace, Forever Free, keys to every lab, he spun that up, a love story circle, the Time Traveler from The Time Machine, that idea of loss, a small enough scale to be emotionally resonate with, that’s a role playing game, that’s not a story, usually Jesse wants things to be shorter, The Inner Light (Star Trek: The Next Generation), experiences, weird little touches, xeno-archaeologists, a funny review on Goodreads,
Paul Bryant’s Goodreads review, sf-novels-aaargh,

Saunders (a scientist) : Let’s go 100 years into the future in our dodgy time machine to do some science!

Hull (another scientist): Okay boss.

Eve : Don’t be long! Missing you already!

They arrive in the year 2073!

There is fighting. One of them is killed.

Saunders : Oh no, it turns out the time machine can only go 30 years backwards! I must go forwards again until I find a time when they have the technology to fix this, otherwise I will never see my Eve again. Eve! Eve! Eve!

The Year 2500.

Saunders : Can you fix my machine?

Man : Glurble flert myoop barflurt.

Saunders : Not much use. Off I go again.

The year 3799.

Saunders : Hello! Where am I?

Alien : This is the planet Sol, a minor member of the Galactic Federation, a peaceful organisation run by infinitely wise beings.

Saunders : Who is Galactic President?

Alien : We located the DNA of the greatest of your presidents and cloned him up the wazoo and here he is again, President Donald Trump.

Saunders: I’m outta here.

The year 4500. Bang! Crackle!

Saunders : No good. That Galactic Empire didn’t last all that long.

The year 67,121. Tinkle tankle, tinkle tankle.

Saunders : This looks better. Hello?

Girl in immodest dress: Hey toots.

Saunders: Have youse guys invented backwards time travel yet?

Girl : No, mate, what you have to do is you have to go right round and then it all comes back again, like it says in the Upanishads, or was it Kahil Ghibran, I can never remember.

Saunders: Er, what do you mean, go right round?

Girl : Oh, you know, really a long way forward, to the end of the universe, then keep going, don’t turn left or right, just straight on, and you’ll come to another big bang.

Saunders: Another big bang? Are you sure?

Girl: Yes, really, then you keep going and you’ll find that it all sort of repeats the first big bang and so on and so forth.

Saunders: Well, okay, I’ll try.

Three trillion plus 1973 years later.

Bringgg! The time machine reappears in the laboratory ten minutes after it left.

Eve : Oh hello, you’re back already.

the big bang hadn’t been invented yet, pretty good, pretty interest, an artifact of science fictional elements, Scott really liked it, the length that’s appropriate, not yet novel time, public domain, John W. Michaels aka Mike Vendetti, raids the PDF Page, more neglected than it should be, problematic vs. entertaining, sad story, I’ll Be Waiting For You When The Swimming Pool Is Empty by James Tiptree, Jr., PaperbackSwap, the number one reason to move to the United States: the US Postal Service, media mail, much more alien, language shifts, look at the actual text, the psychic machine, how language was going to change, the commercial interests, certain sort of stuff, maybe 11 books long, a mimeograph machine inside their heads: Brandon Sanderson, physically sell more product, cool despite the commercial limitations, he’s not thinking of the market, it’ll happen to sell too, owes a debt, once you start thinking about any science fictional concept, spinning up all sorts of cool ideas, L. Sprague de Camp’s Language For Time Travelers, he can speak galactic, an invented language in his head, not English forever,

If u were transported 1000 years back in time, and were given ure exact present knowledge of history and technology what job would you be most qualified for?

, there would be no jobs, cook and fish, Paul would be doomed, no skills the Sioux would find useful, Lest Darkness Fall, Mark Twain, The Man Who Came Early, bumbling in dark ages Iceland, why can’t he implement these technologies, the booming god voice, its not the knowledge of how the mechanisms work, how to make it a commercially successful market, who’s your market, Guns Of The South by Harry Turtledove, double entry bookkeeping, Luke Burrage could keep his old job, midwives, grooms for horses, veterinarians, being burned at the stake for a living, Will would be a monk with a wife, a copyist, trapped somewhere baking or making cheese, Karl K. Gallagher, maybe qualified as a sailor, a curiosity and a maybe a burden, Minnesota, walking 1,500 miles in socks, we do know what 1,000 years in the past was like, going into the future is much more science fictional, what ideas can be exploded, the Silurians, more crab and the beach, the Star Trek future, missing out by reading more Philip K. Dick, captain kirk was a film genre, did Philip K. Dick watch Star Wars (1977), this book is too short.

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 #565 – READALONG: Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Talked about on today’s show:
and today we’re reading…, John Bloodstone, an old science fiction novel, why wouldn’t I read this book?, public domain, never heard of this guy, Science Stories, February 1954, house names or pseudonyms, tiers of science fiction magazines, armchair fiction, digging into the issue, the cover has nothing to do with the contents of the story, a brilliant 45,000 word novel, a singular spaceship, J. Allen St. John, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan, Warlord Of Mars, The Moon Maid, a Burroughsian planetary romance, splash page, the creature, his former lover, a precursor, L. Sprague de Camp’s Viagens Interplanetarias, against the rules, find each other attractive, tentacles out of eyebrows, an ancient spaceship, the subjugated people have invented gunpowder, backgrounded to Garthanas’ story, what Paul would be thinking about Jesse would be thinking about the worldbuilding, how little this book has been published, it does was it says on the tin, a man off his world (or not our world), the ending, a solar system with two and a half inhabitable planets, Thronas is the fifth world, Carson of Venus, Hamardeen, the math and the names, a panspermia story, dinosaur time, Dalathasheen, Haven, Adamas, a tropical haven, a vast natural garden which they named…, Atlantis,

Their dreams of old we, too, have known,
But we are flesh and they are
stone,
And Yesterday is dust…

just some rando, a weird way to start a story, Tolkien, narrator Tim Harper, preeeety good job, so good, very specific vocab, names of days, all of the logic, names of ranks, layer up this world, as logical and rational as possible, lovely detail, the amphitheater, very vivid, very colourful, a real sense of embodiment, the interests of the author, elf names, etymological construction to the names of things, the measuring system, worldbuilding and making a whole universe (or solar system) for a FIVE HOUR BOOK, and to make the story work as well, the same trick over and over: a secret identity, he’s teaching us, you like Twelfth Night, you like Shakespeare, he’s turning evil, what if I’ve been rooting for a monster this whole time, that’s good writing, the AI of the ship, the metal god, a very early AI, from such an oblique angle, The Great C by Philip K. Dick, he Kirks the computer, I love that idea, the computer doesn’t say, if Kirking is a verb, apparently Gene Roddenberry was a fan, “I’d stand in a line in the rain for one of Stu Byrne’s stories”, back when Paul was young and strong, Thundarr The Barbarian Garth Ennis, one of the many many rip-off’s if Conan, make the show to sell the toys, unpublished Tarzan novel, fan fiction, the Pellucidars, the Barsoom books, male romancesque, lost to time, when the book is THIS interesting, the archaeology of this sort of thing, born in 1911, Jam Packed with Burroughs, more of the same, He-Man, She-Ra, Red Sonja (from the comics), filed-off serial numbers, friendship works differently in Burroughs-world, honor-based friendship, more sex and drinking, more carousing, no animal friend, no Woola, The Green Odyssey, a loving-parody-comedy vs. straight-up, Michael Moorcock, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hard to escape the orbit of Burroughs, S.M. Stirling, Tantor Media, The Sky People, In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings, he goes wide, characterizing the responses to Burroughs, dinosaurs on Mars, Leigh Brackett, aliens, A World Of Difference by Harry Turtledove, a collapsed empire, the golden ship is a great piece, with that ending he’s cutting off all the sequels, what it turns this book into is a science fiction book of the mainstream type, acceleration, artificial gravity, a force of nature like the tides, the worship of many many gods, how much work he put into this, not a work of slapdashery, Goodreads reviews, the used bookstores podcast, Goodreads is owned by Amazon, many moral hazards in the universe, AbeBooks is owned by Amazon, Byrne is from St. Paul,

It has all the hallmarks of a hastily-written product plus one whose creator has a very specific beginning and endpoint in mind and is working to bridge the two. Byrne occasionally has to paste in the gaps with backstory or offstage events–clearly he was not going to go back and revise–and this leaves the impression that more interesting things are happening to more interesting people while Garthanas is standing around waiting or being talked to.

The story is also strangely unspecific about the context. It’s implied that the oppressed Harmarians are some kind of ethnic minority who are slowly being deported to planet Hamardeen (Mars) because the Thronasians would prefer to be served by the unpredictable and violent nonhuman polar inhabitants, but nobody says this and it is not explained clearly. The half-explanations conspire to baffle and not tantalize with unseen depths.

“Space barbarians” is arrived at uniquely, with a robotic Golden Ship left behind by an earlier civilization. It is a tragedy that this is the only remnant of super-science and one wonders what more Byrne could have added to liven up this story.

The final moments, as it starts to wrap up, do achieve power. Byrne finally has a specific vision with a specific end goal and Garanthas is in place to witness it all and to act appropriately. But the overall impression is less “tale of multigenerational tragedy” than “muddled mess”.

hanging out with a Roman slave who knows how the Roman Empire works, a case of reviewism, a disease that effects many reviewers, space barbarians, a trope, maybe it needed more pondering, a lot of battle scenes, before we talk about the art, action packed, almost the script for Buck Rogers, so many court scenes, sneaking around inside of a space ship, a Star Wars (1977) level of action, kissing, intrigue, how you are when you come to something, a serious problem when they do reviews a lot, IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, he’s writing to his own conclusion, award winning is a bad word in Jesse’s mind, The Aquiliad: Aquila In The New World by S.P. Somtow, you need to know what the author is doing, answers to What If, the artist knew truth, the only person better at sculpting than me is my master, a very small pair of worlds, another connection to Star Wars, hello Jupiter, reading into it, he wanted to have philosophy in it without getting into it, a thinker king like King Kull, appreciating the art, about that meditation, a John Carter who is appreciating the martian sculptures, normally that’s us when reading the books, the statue at the end, it’s in that opening song, a future echo, an echo of the past, Battlestar Galactica, page 13, we are flesh and they are stone, playing with, the word “Truth”, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Ozymandias by Horace Smith, On A Stupendous Leg Of Granite…, hubris is a great problem, uh huh and yup and we’re going to be the same way, more political, Lovecraftian vs. science fictional, that projection, Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia, the journals and a report about what’s going on in North America, Planet Of The Apes, fast paced, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, so many great books that are just hidden away, ratings are a part of the problem of reviewism, star ratings, clouding judgement, it straight jackets you, the pain management chart, hangnail 1, gaping flesh wound from sword stab 8, a standard of one person, the way Luke Burrage justifies his rating system, this is not a classic like a The House On The Borderland, The Time Machine, more worldbuilding than The Green odyssey, Tolkien vs. Narnia, portal fantasy vs. secondary world, six hours well spent, thank you to Tim Harper,

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John