The SFFaudio Podcast #498 – READALONG: The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

November 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #498 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU talk about The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
novella sorta, Odyssey, thinking back, telling about the books, the interesting things in the books, hard Fantasy, mana, the problems of depletion, the wheel spell, a skull, so fun, the whole spoiler phenomenon, spoiler people get uptight as they age, kids are little scientists, tell me more, they walk on clouds, unicorns were a thing, the explanation, in different cultures, is spoiler sensitivity cultural, the joy of getting there, Snotgirl, Jesse’s worst sin this year, treasuring the experience of discovery, extra jalapenos, “surprise me!”, in the early days of Paul’s life, Not Long Before The End, What Good Is A Glass Dagger?, The Wishing Game, The Burning City, The Burning Tower, same universe, ancient Los Angeles, the political messaging gets really ham-handed, the IRS is bad, later books are co-authored, the ideas vs. the execution, Scott’s view, so smart, preppin’ for a podcast, the magazine version, the art is so good, it felt like trying to extened a really good story premise, the similarities to Ringworld, a big dumb object in the sky (the Moon), we’re going to need a god, before they get to the god, the denouement, poor Wavyhill, immortality, screaming for thirty years, Protector, how idea heavy his stuff is, the little consequences, a cultural legacy, some people still believe in magic, he’s retconned our magic-free universe with a universe full of magic, he sees like other people do, true for all humanity, kinda sexist, the Moon is magic, when we achieve that as a species, worldsnake, amoeba used to be huge monsters, the Grey Ooze, the gelatinous cube, where Gary Gygax got the idea, the goo, vacuoles, translucent, holding the goo, one of the first words we all say as babies, a giant tardigrade, The First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor, a protoceratops fossil, gryphons, why we dig them up today, page 46, the size of houses, there that’s what I’m talking about, the children of the first god, the Crawling Chaos, fire vs. magic, so much work, good additions, fire is technology, elves are all gone because they are powered by magic and fire, Avengers: Infinity War, mixing in Doctor Strange, created at the point of creation of the universe, The Key To Time, a purpose, characters with different skills, the fire and the magic, a god in the form of Thor, different skill sets, a real issue, a dying earth story, we live in the dead Earth, the setup and the premises, Warlock vs. Wavyhill, a wolfwere, please tell me more, a wolf that’s really a man, magic dead zones, a snail dragon, some hidden stuff, Neuromancer, a ROM, Dixie Flatline, a book about hackers, hackers can do magic, cyberpunk role-playing game scene, the Magic: The Gathering cards, Larry Niven backwards, a Niven disc, the NetRunner collectible card game, very clever, he’s systematized magic where everything is possible, using limited resources, peak oil problem, what a big idea, The Magic May Return, Fred Saberhagen, Poul Anderson, Mildred Downey Broxon, Roger Zelazny, meteor bombardment, this is cute, emphasize the right words, page 8, chapter 2, an Asian infestation of vampires, “gone mythical”, the crater is old, Fistfall, at this point in the book, a mountain, a village, the moon, it’s not two wizards, we’ve got three…, the Three Magi!, what he was going for, that kind of retelling, happening in the background, the kind of book that will reward careful reading, I need to see a wizard, the opening with the raft and the collapse of Atlantis, why Atlantis sunk, I can solve that, tectonically unstable, the payoff, the centaur can’t survive without the magic, the image, climate change, images in the news, too real, Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, a post apocalyptic landscape where the magic has returned, the sixth world, Lucifer’s Hammer, Fist Of God, Inferno, Dante’s Inferno, the structure, he’s old, Planet Stories, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, Blue Hours Suspense audio drama series adaptation, waiting for the dawn, a new Eden, the premise, the belief of the dancers, the last uncontacted tribe was shown the error of their ways, who knows what hold the Moon up?, philosophy of science, uniformity, six weekends on the Moon, explanations for why our explanations don’t work, I’ve solved everything in hard Science Fiction, but you haven’t solved unicorns, Svetz, time travel stories, Moby-Dick, running into fantasy, into a fantastical past, a collection of short stories, Rainbow Mars, a seed from Yggdrasil, A Wolf In My Time Machine, manna in fantasy, manna’s from heaven, Maori culture, as a unit of magic, magic as sustenance, a shout out to Australia and New Zealand, emigrate to Australia, super-yummy, “try the moa, it’s great!”, the aborigines, the Dreamtime, this fits in with my explanation, Master Of The Maze by Avram Davidson, been not from, Maori cultural practices, reciprocal obligations, Jesse explains the potlatch, depleting your production, you have power, an economic cultural mixer, what commerce can do, nobody would be productive if they didn’t have money, the communication of debt, honor, they owe you and you own them, Washington State, banned, spiritual power, gods and spirits, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, that is magical in a certain sense, motivating without money, economics as debt not as currency, a theme in a lot of Niven’s work, solving ideas, 13,000 B.C., geography, Doggerland is still above the waves, exploring the changes, the unstated name is Robert E. Howard, his Hyborian age, Acheron, King Kull was an Atlantean, a philosopher king in a magic heavy universe, Kull The Conqueror (1997) movie is fairly faithful, Kevin Sorbo, The Good Place, funny dialogue, a good sense of humour, the relationship he has with women, typical, the right Niven characters together, Louis, Speaker, and Nessus, damn hard SF, character low, having motivation, the baddie, the worlds first necromancer, is Wayvhill the badguy?, a heist that goes wrong, very Joseph Campbell-y, dealing with the epic, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, Orolandes said, the skulls, “I wish…”, what was Clubfoot wishing for?, the last great sorcerer, a diminishment and a sadness, wishes don’t come true anymore, now I’m sad, thanks Paul, Antarctica, you wish upon a star, he’s not spelling it all out but he’s pointing to it, that’s the joy, Merlin, he ages backwards, they have these spells, Mirandees hair colour, from black to white, the vampire spell, good stuff, a very nice exercise, throwing Larry Niven into Hell, totally worthwhile, the original short was withdrawn for consideration for a Hugo, fantastic, Marissa is going mythical.

Odyssey, Summer 1976

Boris Vallejo cover for The Magic Goes Away

Skull Of Wavyhill

The Magic Goes Away - Chapter 8

Nevinyrral's Disk from Magic: The Gathering

NetRunner card NevinYrral

DC Comics - Larry Niven - The Magic Goes Away

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #493 – READALONG: Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

October 1, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #493 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer talk about the Tau Zero by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, a storylet, a novelette, a novella, To Outlive Eternity, the title is a “SPOILER!” for the novel’s premise, the revised title, surprises, how it ends, keeping it hard SF, suddenly a fantasy, its not Earth, dragons, genetics, some resonance with Genesis, keeping it plausible, as hard as he could possibly make it, cosmic background radiation, relativistic speeds, Bussard ramjets, overestimating interstellar hydrogen, beyond the boundaries of the universe, great detail, world building loving detail, faster and faster, no big crunch, dark matter/dark energy, sadder and darker, a disaster book, 2.5-3 hours in, the narrator, the singing of the poetry, a conspiratorial voice, a slow start, accelerating, the format mirrors the speed of the ship, we’re on a planet – the end, starting 10 years into the novel, “they were doomed to roam space for all eternity” – people didn’t care about spoilers in 1967, what am I doing when they’re not doing disaster stuff, the other element of SF, is all of this about birth control?, the consequences of the pill, Catholic boys, ethics of relationships, were it written today…, not equal representation, is Jesse unfair to today’s science fiction?, dealing with this a lot, jealousy, relationships, conversations about who is sleeping with who, the subplot about a lady getting pregnant, sexual revolution, new when he wrote it, novel for the people then, a colonization program, something that Heinlein has dealt with, Larry Niven, psychology, feels like a Frederik Pohl novel, sensory deprivation, secrets, gotta fill those pages somehow, a back seat to step up, the characters are so bad, 25 men 25 women, 10 is too many, as Scott thinks about the book, things happening to the ship, the lives of the people on board, a few eye rolling things, 50 years ago, and even the women would be able to do this, we gotta have a party, these are human needs, a lot of that was uninteresting, it didn’t ring true, told from the wrong point of view, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, a similar setup, a murder mystery, told from the A.I.’s POV, a reason to care, Swedes in space, hanging out at cafes, a whole novel, Sweden’s going to become the Roman Empire, a major figure in science fiction, the way Anderson goes after Scandinavian stuff in there, Roger Zelazny, Irish mythology, fear not Paul, Iceland, how this world was developing, the history of the Roman Empire, Dominic Flandry, The Psychotechnic League, world government, space traders in space, two future histories, Baen Books, what kind of Poul Anderson you want, Lenora Christine, a prison biography, Denmark, resonance for the plot, a poem, Aniara by Harry Martinson

Aniara is an effort to “[mediate] between science and poetry, between the wish to understand and the difficulty to comprehend.” Martinson translates scientific imagery into the poem: for example, the “curved space” from Einstein’s general theory of relativity is likely an inspiration for Martinson’s description of the cosmos as “a bowl of glass.” Martinson also said he was influenced by Paul Dirac.

he’s influenced by stuff, sagas, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Planet Stories, Boat Of A Million Years, 1970, nominated fro a Hugo, Ringworld, vestigial, aliens, you don’t say “I love characters”, you like his aliens and his scale of ideas, a big idea at its core, reproductive freedom, Hal Clement, Robert Silverberg, William Tucker, a new audiobook, exploring Poul Anderson, Bronson Pinchot, The Broken Sword, Flandry stories, connecting with Anderson, The High Crusade, along the same lines, Writers Of The Future Volume 23, (2007), Primetime by Douglas Texter, a time machine that can only go forward in time, watching history pass, 10 minutes long, 1955, Flight To Forever, forward to the future, helping a star empire out, The Accidental Time by Joe Haldeman, done twice, our tau is approaching zero, maybe the whole purpose of the novel: meaning, thinking about people back on Earth, how there’s no meaning to anything, they’re journey on the spaceship is of no value in itself, commuter bus value, keeping your regular goals in order, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, travel for work vs. travel for tourism, newness, the journey was the point of it, the Paris Metro, did you feel this in the book?, the existential angst people are suffering from, the boring opening scene, a celebrity at the cafe, underdeveloped?, looking at our own lives, headed toward that goal, lonely at the goal’s end, after this I’ll do that, on to the next thing, what our purpose is, a shift, a lot to explore there, a breakthrough of some kind, hobbies, fighting with foils, what with the dragons there now…, meaning in progeny, passing all this knowledge down, a religious book, a whole abortion debate, seven months pregnant, the problem of resources, an actual debate, earwax and toenails, recycling, a discussion about resources and meaning, unlimited births, how people in regular life find meaning, Scott has kids and found meaning, there’s something going on, an epic time scale, the end is rushing towards us, an act of faith, too short for Scott?, a philosophical novel, what is meaning?, what is purpose?, the prefect setting to explore that, removing the things we all assume, “libertarian” is a slur, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, neoliberalism, neoconservationism, women can sleep with who they want, with only 50 people how could you not be communist?, no room to be libertarian, more rightward drifting over time, hard to imagine a libertarian generation starship, a generation starship that orbits one star, this concept of libertarianism is nearly confined to the United States, a scandophile?, the rude American, who is funding this spaceship?, the cultural dominant country, the international crew, dragon bone work, their new world, a premonition about standing on a hill, that which is spread out before you, a man stood with his woman, cinnamon, iodine, and horses, poetic beautiful, the ending is the best part of the book, the existential worries just disappear, it’s gone for the reader, sleeping too much, what is the purpose of existence?, you can’t just watch old movies – that’s no way to live, heavy metals, we’re not saying were not going to not have nuclear war, a new beginning is all you need to get rid of that existential god, “here you go, bud”, one of the amazing things about the Fallout games, Fallout 3 and 4, and New Vegas, that sense of a new beginning, a sense of freedom, an invisible wall, I can go any direction, I have my own fate in my own hands and I can see ahead of me, being presented with the New Earth, you can’t recapture that except by playing another game, why the ending works really well.

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 015

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 pages 28 an 29

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 39

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #490 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Human Is by Philip K. Dick

September 10, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #490 – Human Is by Philip K. Dick, read by Julia Morgan (this audiobook comes to us courtesy of Morgan Scorpion). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (33 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe, and Julia Morgan

Talked about on today’s show:
Startling Stories, Winter 1954, what is human?, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, empathy, Lester is a horrible person, Lester wants to kill human beings, the alien is too good to be true, getting Lester back, a kid and a kitten, the illustration, I know how this story was created, at his typewriter, shut up I’m typing!, PKD is Lester, poking fun at his own obessiveness, the nagging wives, the annoying wives, this time he’s the guy who’s the dick, Evan’s notes, the four stories: Out In The Garden, Beyond The Door, Of Withered Apples, neglected wife and aloof husband, an affair with a non-human entity, what was he going through?, The Father-Thing, the Husband Thing becomes human, what you think of the title, questioning the meaning of the title, “handsome is as handsome does”, don’t judge by the looks, it always applies, you’re looking very handsome, great language, Lester Herrick came back from Rexor 4 a different man, robant, Jill gaped, you’re looking lovely, do I smell a delicious repast warming on the hearth?, he’s always playing a game of whose telling the story, the narrator can change sides, watch out for my tiger!, the tiger did this, it’s just an alley cat, human is as human does, a Devonshire lady, stupid is as stupid does, Forrest Gump (1994), the lurking background sexual motivation missing from the adaptation, Beyond The Door, a child comes into the story, “a friend”, a rival for the wife’s affections, the brother, human beings are more complicated than just sex, underneath all that technology and gender roles, sexual jealousy, Julia doesn’t see it, Marissa doesn’t see it, Paul can see a longing, a longing for a child, Out In The Garden, a kid and a garden, a god or an animal, Leda And The Swan by W.B. Yates, the old college friend, Jesse thinks this really happened, PKD got jealous, you have to make allowances after all he’s a scientist, wife leaving her husband, your still classed as sexually adequate aren’t you?, handing the boy over to the government when they’re old enough, communal spartan living, Progeny, an autistic kid in the family, you think a lot of children, Gus loves to go visit you, I’ve had fun, almost the opposite, this isn’t about sex but he’s waiting it equally, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a porn addiction story, when women complain about men watching porn, romance fiction, what these aliens do, the odd diction, an ideal abstraction, books mostly, romantic novels, 19th century Jane Austen, another PKD story, astronauts who died in space and return and are arrested, a poor copy, aliens invading as door-to-door salesman, aliens trying to mimic humans, Impostor, Spencer Olham, he passes her test, this is not a story about empathy, Dick is wrong again (about his own stories), programmed automaton, acting kind, being kind without empathy, not faking, differentiating the real without an internal narrative, Jesse’s snobbyness, reviews of the Human Is episode, she chose her own personal preference to allow the invasion of the Earth, her false testimony, infiltrating Earth, the Rexorian Lester is wonderful, super creepy, she’s got his love, this is exactly how women get into bad relationships, at best it will be like Helen O’Loy, the TV version ups the stakes, the missing child, the substitute child, the little Gussy needing to come over there, how the brother is, he’s distancing himself from his sister, his job as a lawyer, the otter slide, an annuzlement, he’s going to live with them, the jealously flipped over, defensive of the original Lester, you think a lot of children, there’s no question whether he is or isn’t the alien, super-wise advice, yeah he has a big nose but look how good he is with kids, how cold blooded is that?, beautiful on the inside, Centauran parasitic life, merely an opinion, another robot, robants everywhere, a robot who becomes malicious, where’s Gussy’s mom, what does the mom think about that?, what happens to Jill after this?, you can divorce people, Philip K. Dick’s life story, the five wives of PKD, just a bad day?, you’re a monster, too many amphetamines, he makes poisons, he’s just the worst, a scientist who makes toxins, military role, a weird profession, designed to make us hate him, less believable, straight up adaptation, now clear out of here, the reports are stories, his cheeks flushed his eyes sparkled, the most explicit version of the wife as a child, Upon The Dull Earth, Jill’s heart was like lead, sit in the garden, bring your tiger, Vidsender is Skype, nobody speak, he gets a letter from Donald A. Wollheim, off to the shack in the back yard to write a novel, the portrayal of these child wives, the wives of the 1960s,Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Now Wait For Last Year, 1959, Cleo and Anne, a 1950s wife with no child and no responsibilities, finding pleasure and life elsewhere, we know what she wants, she wants a family, the proxy child is available, how I keep the family whole, those toxic little stories you write, it feels like journal entries turned into science fiction, such a sensitive guy, overwhelmed with guilty, February 2, 1953, the 1955 FBI visit, Eye In The Sky, in keeping with, driving lessons, something Paul would say, individuals amongst them are doing good work, not pertinent, Terry Carr, The Ganymede Takeover, you fellas at Ace, I’m embarrassed by this story, they didn’t hand out the best stories, a future season?, radical fixing, maybe, I have not really changed my views, the quality of kindness, rocks and sticks and metal, always talking about empathy, William James pragmatism, what’s on the surface, telling over time, not enough time with new Lester, anything you wish whatever will make you happy, conmen say that, worried about Jill, just run you don’t need another man right now, especially an alien man, her only refuge, lush and green, smells good, compared to where he comes from, they’re out in the garden, Frank is very honest, mushroom sauce and steak stored under the house, the second interview with the brother, I did notice he was getting fatter, the coffee and the rolls and the ice-cream, how Lester and the stove get up to all sorts of things, he’s cheating on his wife with the stove now, that was a sex line, and now he’s romantic, you’re eyes are like virgin pools, the sex scenes in the TV adaptation, Paul liked it, ok, preposterous, due process, a military court, she tricks them with a sixth grade logic puzzle, courtroom fell for it, they set up a straw man to knock down, a good excuse for a softcore porn movie, the sets and the costumes, stupid high heeled shoes, an option for the uniform, not a good adaptation, not a good show, why does that happen?, why is she on the treadmill all the time?, to show she’s not moving with her relationship, sexual liaisons with costumed strangers, lesbianism, the explanation not an excuse, lets invert everything but not the most important thing, why is the director the wife now?, set in 2520, our present cultural values, women should be empowered and have loving husbands, everybody in the military, what’s missing in the story, ever gender is flipped, militaristic, law and order for the rich, flipping the genders of the husband and the wife, the set design, I’d like to have that apartment, a gorgeous closet, a home gym, the Maze, fancy clothying and stabbing each other, am I insane or is this terrible?, adding the big stakes, what you want out of a spouse, missing the heart of the story, if they hadn’t added everything they added, no softcore scenes in The Twilight Zone, how many lesbian episodes, audience expect filler and gender balanced, Black Mirror doesn’t, cheap sex and war, Bryan Cranston’s soulful eyes, uniformly good acting, the start with the shittiest script imaginable, he loves these metaphors, he retains all the memories and yet his emotions are changed, in the story he retains none of the memories, Hugh Jackman as a time traveler in Kate And Lepold (2001), a romance fantasy, Outlander, why did they change the guy’s first name, changes for changes sake, following the slipstream, in Charlie Brooker’s shadow, Ronald D. Moore, getting the most bang for their buck, our turn now girl power, Bryan Cranston as the wife, problematic, swapping everything, switching the emotions, if you’re gonna mess with the structure then change everything, from warm to cold, the story fall apart, the story that Philip K. Dick wrote was so good, ideal visions of themselves, what’s the ideal man supposed to be like?, so many perfect women stories, if you just flip everything the story becomes pointless, that whole sequence in the underground, the missing element from the story is the child, non of the stories in the adaptations (so far) have dealt with children, a Stephen King story written by Philip K. Dick, like It, Robert A. Heinlein, weird kids, the system or the older people are repressing opportunity, impenetrable for adults, Crack In Space is the novel for the millennials, the brown people, Martian Time-Slip, Galactic Pot-Healer, Nick And The Glimmung, autistic boy, adult bullies and jerks, problematic humans, what’s best for the kid, how to raise and educate children, the Jovians are sending board games to earth, War Game, obsessed with children, Isaac Asimov, full of children, they don’t get what he’s about, a pecuniary decision, not a good introduction to Philip K. Dick at all, if this is your introduction to Philip K. Dick you’d think PKD was obsessed with soft-core sex scenes, psychic sex, a man interested in women, borrowing from other stories, resources, empire, the TV adaptation picked out the word “metaphor” and now the aliens are metamorphs, this story is a metaphor for a husband-wife relationship, they won’t even talk about children, you be you, what does that have to do with, Jesse can’t tell what the TV adaptation’s metaphor, The Father-Thing vs The Father Thing, Foster You’re Dead, The Hanging Stranger, all of that stuff is not in the story, top half, irritated by everything they added to it, why not just do this thing and set it in the 1950s future, 1950s weirdness, computers but not in the house, robants that run on punchcards, the aesthetic of the Fallout games, all the TVs are cathode ray, the Philip K. Dick rehtorizer, getting up to all sorts of no-good with the oven, your’e cooking now, I’ve got a bun in the oven, coffee for the rhetorizer, Lester was so indifferent to pleasure he wants his food intravenously, Paul’s re-litigation, he wasn’t bad enough, working harder at making him odious, Major Dad, sirloin steak medium, Counter-Clock World, he has trouble with his pipe, a great comedy piece, it’s funny on the page, a suburban regular girl, perfect alien comedy, perfect comedy, My Favorite Martian, sucking all the humour out of these, Crazy Diamond was supposed to be funny, you can’t have sexy time and comedy?, Sales Pitch was easily a comedy, crapsack earthworld, The Outer Limits, Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven, The Human Operators by Harlan Ellison and A.E. Van Vogt, mean robots, they don’t care about science fiction, military stuff is not even his thing, the material they’re going to use to fix the atmosphere, oil?, being imperialistic, fascistic human government, amping up the sympathy for the Rexorian, the morality of empire, not even sex just dress-up, random strangers, the secretary/assistant, underwritten, the scene that was cut, she’s genetically matched up with him and they have no children, this report on Betelgeuse XI, Fomalhautan fossils, a lawyer for ICE or the Border Patrol, outside of Earth you got to Gitmo, laziness or terrible supervision, shot in black in white in a fallout future 1950s, an episode of The Twilight Zone that never happened, framing devices, make this story live.

Human Is by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #475 – READALONG: Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

May 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #475 – Jesse, Paul Weimer and Maissa Bessada talk about Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

Talked about on today’s show:
1980, hard science fiction, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, first contact, the surface of a neutron star, moving the idea Forward, 2016, Tantor Media, this is a terrific book, a Jesse book, big ideas, the human characters, the ideas of this book, how do you do biology on a neutron star, a civilization running much faster, the writing brought it down, the TV Tropes page, minor details like plot and character, very heavily written, really different aliens, a culture, a society, an arc of civilization, from the Stone Age to the Space Age, the religious subplot, forgive them they know not what they do, the Wikipedia entry, this isn’t a metaphor for us, I’m doing a little thing here, the sex scenes are hilariously interesting, all of my egg sacs, body-stiffening, touching all the sensitive parts, under their eyes, I haven’t drooled that way since I was an eggling, made of neutronium, the opposite of Star Trek, The Orville, Star Trek: Voyager, they surpass us, the way the cheela deal with the humans, a slow robot for fast humans, early culture and early problems, visiting H.G. Wells’ writing career, the hominids, cave man society, cave cheela, inventing math, seeing how you can get from there to here, agrarian farming, the tasting plates, knots, the 2001: A Space Odyssey moment, Thus Spake Zarathustra, putting on a book like a new pair of pants, in the constellation of Draco, 30au, more poignant now, giving up on the space program, set in 2020-2050, the Soviet Union, neither government is willing to spend the money, a spacefaring civilization, an old relic of a book, a big dumb object, how the cheela perceive reality, this is amazing!, magnetic lines, the hard direction, bootstrapping that, seeds, full of idea science fiction, what I want from my science fiction, slowing down, let it wash over you, hard to understand, carrying a slide-rule around while you listen, problems that need solving, trusting Forward’s math, getting the gist, loving science, not about bullshitting, why they would visit the neutron star, mechanically putting the plot together, delivering the ideas, “a textbook on neutron star physics disguised as a novel”, monopole technology, a theoretical concept, handy for Larry Niven novels, Infocom’s Starcross, mining monopoles, what are monopoles?, regular matter, 80s novels, generating monopoles from monopoles, nuclear fusion, if we had a hammer…, a bonanza of hard science fiction and medium soft medium hard sf boiling around in the 1980s, space opera, napoleonic war in space, technologies, math is a kind of technology, James Burke’s Connections, the creation and invention of tools, how the airplane got made, streamline the parts, a made up rhyming history of our technology, dismissing new tech that is unuseful now (is a mistake), blockchain technology, valuable properties, cryptocurrency, inventing or discovering an element or a property, wait 50 years, when you’re zipping through time, million times faster, turns, a guy with a sword, Maissa got knocked out, knocky, no leftover sexism, predominantly female, failed tyrant queen, immortality by vegetation, barracks emperors, megalomaniac, kill all the scientists if they fail, eating their dead, they’re not humans, Soother separating her eggs from the others, Pink Eyes, a religious conversion, out in the desert for 40 turns, laugh out loud moments, the antics of these tiny cute weird creatures, nobody’s getting married, their culture is based on their biology, their biology is based on their chemistry, their chemistry is based on their physics, minimal ecosystem, Flatland: A Roamance Of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot, afraid of math, written by A Square, invasion, straight lines are females, invasion literature, a Cosmos episode, The Orville, our world is shaped like an egg, having a ball, real worldbuilding, long rectangular lines, big and sticky, Eric Rabkin, thousand, why is the world named mescaline?, a math book, what beings would have to be like at the surface level, a thousand times faster, slow as in stupid, turning up the speed, 1.5 times speed, gear up (with a lot of coffee) operating at a higher speed, certain countries, the day seems to go longer, we are able to operate at a higher speed, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, getting certain things done, running around naked, crystalline vegetable matter, they don’t have oral communication at all, tremor sense, marching up the hill, give your peace cry, don’t get punctured by a woman, how would this work?, no wheels, a game of Civilization, many barbarians to conquer, sad news, curing breast cancer, flood her with x-rays, Robert L. Forward died of cancer, you don’t need a sequel, we didn’t need that, planting little clues, “here read this!”, no Prime Directive, Machiavelli, Napoleon, just a phase, Larry Niven, Lucifer’s Hammer, Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Charles Sheffield, John Campbell would have loved it, Frank Herbert, more interested in ideas than anything else, let’s go on another adventure with the serial numbers filed off, the same but different, psychological thrillers, the fan of real science will love a book like this, narrator Todd McClaren, funny and hilarious, very sexy grains of sand that want to be sandwiched, Downpour.com, I really like Dragon’s Egg, take a book and pass it to your friend and they like it, the joys of an author and their work, I need more rubles for computer time, a good mix of people, pretty cute tuckerizing, more messed up, if a neutron star entered the solar system, robot space probes, no Hoffmann transfer orbits, all Greek?, anecdotal scenes, superconductivity, this is a vacuum, aerospace physicists, extracting electrical energy from the vacuum by cohesion of charged foliated conductors, Hendrik Casimir, the Casimir effect, quantum vacuum fluctuations, getting energy from nothing, free energy from reality, as we go…, spending money, dropping more dumb bombs, never look forward, seeing more clearly when you look backwards, why were we so obsessed with that thing at that time, what’s this like?, kind of silly, energy levels, regenerating, wish fulfillment, seeing changes in its society, Olaf Stapledon, blowing along through geologic time, struggling against, they’re vegetables?!, god hand-wavy world creation, how to get the kind of brains we have, advancing when going in the hard direction, we have overcome to advance, I’m not getting this, cuneiform accounting a brilliant book.

Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward, 1980

Tantor Media - Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward

Figure 1 - Dragon's Egg

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #474 – READALONG: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

May 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #474 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
1963, 1964, better in memory?, horrible, so good, annoying, if you were to find these books in the public domain, editing out the annoying parts, Heinlein can’t help himself, re-reads, trying to focus on the good things, what huh?, what are you doing here, not quite proper, cross-universe stories, eternal jams, a sequel to Glory Road, Fate’s Trick by Mathew J. Castella, “A Crossroads Adventure”, a 14 book series, Robert Silverberg, Xanth, Majipoor, Jody Lynn Nye, Steven Brust, choose your own adventure books, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, as close to a choose your adventure as Heinlein came, Have Space Suit-Will Travel, Ellen Kushner, weird conclusions, TV Tropes is Wikipedia for tropes, a tribute novel, those books I read as a kid, Dagwood sandwich, good art, brain uploading, the egg, an African American protagonist?, the F&SF covers, Robin Hood-looking dude, surprise Filipino, Tunnel In The Sky, set in the then contemporary world, cultural assumptions, Oscar Gordon, no evidence for that in the book, have you got to the part with the realization yet?, the big surprise, the key scene in this novel, the opening quotation, George Bernard Shaw, his experience with the Dural customs and morality, author tract, the broader setting seems only to exist to praise the authors views, crappy dialogues, “I’m going to spank you”, somebody’s personal morality is tripped and triggered, obsession, its in every book, “I’m going to marry you…no we can’t get married” for 14 pages, losing control, Iowa to Colorado, the banality of Iowa, the first publication introduction, figure skater, cat-midwife, Isaac Asimov, Starship Soldier, an adventure story, a romance, other worlds – other manners, full of references, incredibly brilliant, wrong in so many ways, it’s not that I haven’t had sex with a married man’s wife under his own roof…, he wanted to be a wife-swapper, baked in so deeply, the whole universe of Nivea, Heinleinian fantasy land, the island in France, le minimum, nudism, he can’t help but talk about it all the time, nudity and nudity taboos, A Princess Of Mars, the conventions of American morality are wrong, freely given, “I’m a dirty tramp” every three pages, objectified and off-put at the thought of a spanking, a male fantasy novel written by a man who wanted to be a woman and be spanked, characters vs. speeches, a libertarian fantasy world, no need for police and taxes, Irish Sweepstakes, unsubtle digs, sad and ridiculous, silly empress stuff, royalty can work really well, Heinlein signed a document that was in favor of continuing the Vietnam War, until what time?, G.I. benefits, Singapore, Europe, hanging-out with hairy hippies, being spat upon, infantry, the U.S. Navy, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, a homeless Vet, questions his own sanity, visiting his parents, taking away the last two paragraphs, weird morality, misunderstanding what women want, sword spanking with specific swords, why am I being exposed to this, not so good with the flashing, Friday, more tightly controlled, a lot of time sitting around the castle, the actual adventure we get, dragons, the whole tower thing, a really good sword-fighting scene, all the references, who the swordsman (the never born) was Cyrano de Bergerac, it just so happens, good writing, Chapter 11 ends with a fateful scene, read the motto star, while we live let us live, again with the swords, jump high, another gate or doorway, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, intermittent mental illness, a green door, a wonderful fantasy world, a beautiful elven lady much older than himself, a doorway to another universe, the inspiration for all of these styles of story, he wishes that he was there, opens himself to the possibilities, just a deluded man, playing, so many stories of this ilk, hard going, Stranger In A Strange Land is lawyers talking about morality with ladies serving them coffee, the Eater of Souls, Carcassonne, fly to the Moon, the play, replete with references, the thuddingness of the third act, Silverlock by John Myers Myers, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, very swashbuckly, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the three women who want to bed him (the three bears), the horned ghosts, the horned goats, tilting at windmills, Don Quixote style, Neverwhere is how we got here, homeless and crazy, a roc’s egg, a likely wench, slow wings of the albatross, Prester John, eating the lotus in the land of always afternoon, the world sucks, a fantasy world for Heinlein, Neil Gaiman’s kinds of characters, the pixie girl, the blank Neil Gamian character, the funny character with a haircut, masturbatory, the kind of conflicts that Heinlein’s character have is a kind of horror, abused by his government, killing little brown brother, a sadder ending, connecting everything, the Heinlein Cinematic Universe should not exist, The Number Of The Beast, he thinks its cool, Jesse doesn’t care how many Manuel Garcia shows up in other books, not a fantasy novel, all the magic is math, “you don’t have the math yet, son”, the giant troll, a great scene, a pair of greasy hands, peak Heinlein efficiency, are you a coward?, brilliant, being manipulated for the better part of a decade, the scope, how many near Oscar Gordons are wandering the Earth, Rufo, as voiced by Bronson Pinchot, a funny sidekick, I invented it!, giving Eisenhauer advice on D-Day, the structure feels identical (to Neverwhere), tested at Blackfriars station, a psycho-ward, lederhosen and an aloha shirt and nothing else, ugly Americans, screw the draft, so wise, democracy is foolish, apply that to foreign policy, we made our commitments, national glory, honour and glory, we screwed up, you break it you bought it, more wasted lives, the longest war in American history, taking over the French fuck-up, not a book of wisdom, a book of adventure, so good when he’s good and so terrible when he’s terrible, working it out in his own head?, he loves his country so much, very progressive in strange ways, not racist, looking at a mirror too much, looking at it as a libertarian book, frustrating, oh god!, once the adventure is over, sentence by sentence writing, a mistake, visiting a barony, guests and heroes, Edgar Allan Poe, Casey At The Bat, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, why?, because!, fixing that mistake, sleeping with women, what is necessary in one world, wherever Heinlein’s character’s wander, same sex relations, a little lesbianism, no offers of young men, more universes under her belt, a running unfunny joke, earlier Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, Philip K. Dick, questionable morality, cheating, bows and swords, lady’s got her eggs frozen (for later decanting), wacky stuff, fertility clinics, every book, Podkanyne Of Mars, interested in fertility, fertility treatments in the mid 20th century, something that ate at him?, “I’m sterile”, “I’m going to have your baby”, “does that make me a minx? does that make me a bitch?” why are we doing this to the listener, Mythgard Academy shouldn’t do Heinlein, hurts peoples brains, birth control, women must be putting out all the time, yours is the weird universe, for such a brilliant guy, the ridiculous false-conflict conversations are almost unbearable, forgetting about the stuff, rationalizing, read him when you’re young, the problematic stupid and clunky, Heinlein is in decline, the Coode Street Podcast, bookstores don’t carry older stuff anymore, for the best?, Maureen Speller, studying Heinlein, University Of Illinois Press, what about the juveniles?, the YA, better YA being written, “less problematic”, a lot of great protagonist storytelling with capital S capital F SCIENCE FICTION, Isaac Asimov, Rocketship Galileo, the science fiction mindset, playing a game of Science Fiction, Mr. Science Fiction, Heinlein’s not doing allegory ever, hard SF, “here’s how rocketships work, boys”, if people don’t read Moon Is A Harsh Mistress the world is a much worse place, Heinlein is great!, what makes somebody worth talking to is they’ve read a lot of books, The Hunger Games is okay but Tunnel In The Sky is better, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, recycling characters, Heinlein has something really special, maybe there’s other books out there for me, Heinlein really knows how to convey a certain 1950s mindset that “SCIENCE IS REALLY IMPORTANT”, engineering students, breaking out the slide-rule, the Popular Mechanics style of can-do-ism, a not user repairable world, helping you as a person, the danger of Dungeons & Dragons, critical in all sorts of areas, tributes to Heinlein, there’s something about him and his mindset, a I Love Heinlein show, somehow irrelevant, deep dive into genre history, thirty years and forty years after publication, reading a book, that’s not how people read books anymore, cultural transmission, peer generation vs. top down generation, popular, a good old fashioned marketing campaign, Harry Potter, the epitome and ur example, what kid’s going to pick up Starman Jones?, that’s not marketing, we made a lot of money selling those books, a bottom up, will you in thirty years, Harry Potter ultimately nothing like Heinlein, within the set-up, however it works, spending time on Mars, he’s interested in that, The Expanse novels, Jesse’s not going to read them, anti-gravity, Ian Macdonald’s Luna: New Moon, Artemis by Andy Weir, Luke Burrage’s review, if you want to understand what life on the Moon’s like, digging those tunnels, Gentlemen, Be Seated, let’s explore and see what is consequent, that’s wrong and Heinlein is the one who taught Jesse that, historical perspective, not the best move, not reflective of the field, Anne Of Green Gables, fantasy novels are generally timeless, science fiction (when it ages), what the heck is this?, a theoretical?, James Davis Nicoll, no good way to feel your way into it, The Lord Of The Rings, why are there no girls in this book?, most people who are real readers are real weirdos, the only reason Paul and Jesse met, omnivorous and fast vs. slow and ponderous, most of Jesse’s student’s don’t read anything, a worse person without Heinlein, if they were public domain, the power of Lovecraft, everybody who read his stuff at the time H.P. Lovecraft was alive loved his stuff, this is stuff you should bounce off harder than anything, the vocabulary and the racism, a massive decline in Heinlein’s stuff, some corporation, there’s no champion for Heinlein, wonderful and terrible, getting a copy, Jesse has never seen a Kindle in real life, a great and terrible novel, in ten years, so many good scenes!

Glory Road - illustrated by Bruce Pennington

AVON - Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein's GLORY ROAD - Fantasy & Science Fiction, July1963

Robert A. Heinlein's GLORY ROAD - Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1963

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #469 – READALONG: The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

April 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #469 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Luke Burrage talk about The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

Talked about on today’s show:
1897, why it made a little splash when it landed, alien invasion, society falling apart, The Walking Dead, invasion novels, The Battle Of Dorking, properties and adaptations and allusions and alliterations, Orson Welles, War Of The Worlds: The Series, isfdb.org,

An English astronomer, in company with an artilleryman, a country curate, and others, struggle to survive the invasion of earth by Martians in 1894. Thirty five million miles into space, a species of Martians sets eyes on planet earth. With their own planet doomed for destruction, the Martians prepare to invade. Their weapons are ready and their aim is ruthless. The war of the worlds is about to begin.

a look backwards, Orson Welles’ The War Of The Worlds radio drama, future events, unfolding in real-time, instantaneous travel from Mars, the 2005 movie adaptation, buried, ridiculous, cannon shots rather than rockets, Robert H. Goddard, fix the physics, a pretty damn amazing book, philosopher-writer, a certain speculative writer, a final structure not unlike Martian, the Pall-Mall Budget, Nov. 16, 1893, Punch, natural selection, a cardinal necessity, “teacher and agent of the brain”, The Man Of The Year Million by H.G. Wells, can you satirize a satire and then go on to make it serious?, Ape Man Space Man, 9 days later, nutritive fluid, early in his career, the most published author alive, the artilleryman, the revolution, a realization, the future, The Time Machine, Weena, the Eloi, the Morlocks, little details, a wife!, a romance rescue version, John Wyndham, what the world will be, sprouting many tripods, derivations and inspirations, his most influential story, how science fictiony it was, a novel with science in it, Larry Niven invasion of the Earth book, the ramifications, filling in the technology and physiology, The First Men In The Moon, how the machines work, The Crystal Egg, The New Review, May 1897, a Palantir, an Ansible

An antique dealer finds out that one of his items(the crystal egg) allows views from a high post into alien life scenes. Upon close inspection, small lifeforms and structures can be seen inside the egg. With the help from the protagonist it can be determined from clues that the egg is in fact a viewer, and that he is viewing scenes from Mars.

a teaser for the novel, League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, it feels still current, getting flying machines from the Martians, diggers, kits, autofacs, black dust, up close, fighting suits, Starship Troopers with aliens in exo-suits, Armor, The Forever War, an inversion, graceful machines, lumbering hulks, the brother sequence, stuck in a house being a mouse, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The World concept album, the 1953 movie, why we should care about these character, between me and my brother I know everything, it feels like what it’s like to have your country invaded, becoming a refugee for the space of the book, it’s not our military might, Independence Day (1996), taking the first person point of view, if Tom Cruise doesn’t see it we don’t see it, the Pearson’s serial illustrations, squids or octopi, he was writing about writing about it, the main character is H.G. Wells, his brother is H.G. Wells’, Horsley Common, Woking, characters from his own life, the curate, a savage attack on organized religion, dangerous, the curate is coming apart, God is not an insurance agent, Monty Python, the narrator calls on God and thanks God, science vs. formalized religion, how we think, strip-away, the illustrations, what the movie does, Henrique Alvim Corrêa’s illustrations, Tintin as a horror show, the arm reaching into the house, we will become rats, the art, interpretation, a new BBC TV adaptation, Roman legions, it’s about EMPIRE, why it is set in the USA in the 20th and 21st century, the criticism of EMPIRE, being brought low, Return Of The Jedi, striking at the head of the greatest Empire of the time, an island is defensible, the navy must be defeated, by 2005 the world market for films is much bigger, if they can do it we did it, undermines the whole satire, it looks terrible, force fields and weird energy weapons, the super-science!, the briefing sequence in the 1953 movie, green gasses, a new element that combines with argon, science-based, the heat beams, artillery, a first strike mentality, subtly mentioned, they’re going for Venus, so many subtitles, desiccated bipedal bodies from Mars, if only, not just insane, in a hole, starved, blind, deaf, guy with a sword, hot shit, a class story, fit for this new environment, an alternate ending, great illustrations, the artilleryman’s underground London world, the gulf between reality and dreams, walks, breaks, cards, the imagination, your job is to pick the right boots, taking over a fighting suit, the concentration camps, a huge alternate vision, Julianne, The Sleeper Awakes, a utopia, a dystopia, images of a future from a madman, empathize and appreciate and disdain, psychology, not a one note character, when calamity strikes, living underground, a whole hidden society, Ewoks aren’t the best example, a circle of resistance, not realistic, the biggest exodus of human kind, no resistance, Wells had a lot of women, they used to skedaddle off to work, for fear they’d get dismissed, fear of the backstreets, one little miserable skedaddle, exiling weaklings, the eugenics, survivalists/white supremacists, weak or silly, ought to die, “to live and taint the race”, “clean minded women”, “no rolling eyes”, on the team, racism?, class based, the most prolific author of his era, on his second wife, a draper’s assistant, the way writers look at things, how is it that people are so insecure, in their mousy little way, the tunnel is in the wrong spot, Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, class-oriented, the Chauffeur tribe, almost no people get names, Ms. Elphinstone and Mrs. Elphinstone, Tim Robbins is a combination of the curate and the artilleryman, PG-13 vapourized, the illustrations for Jeff Wayne’s musical version, the Earth covered in red weed, the fertilizer is human blood, the book is brutal, unworthy and uncharitable characters, the final image, the narrator (looking like H.G. Wells) haunted by corpses and the fighting machines, a war book, baskets of human bodies, the tentacle lights moving up and down, wholesale slaughter, the black outline, directly referencing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first book Paul read for SFFaudio, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, so racist and sexist, my thoughts had taken voice, the importance of sound, uula ulla, a mystery, a distress beacon, a death cry, an alarm, an average of 2.5 participants, Wells is a master craftsman, mean characters doing questionable things, writing what you see, retelling the story with sound, horrific, really scary, silence as a scary thing, the coulours and the dust, the crawling creeping nature of it all, what’s going on with the dog, The Spotted Dog, a dog-cart, a yelping dog, a lost retrieving dog, a howling dog, a good dog, man’s best friend doesn’t know what’s going on, a hoe-down, very American, a nurse’s uniform, weird reality, a Mexican character, disconnection, a horse, crows, a veneer over our reality, how things really are, peppered with dogs, paint by numbers writing, the unexplained, copying another novel, there for an unconscious purpose, stealing from a jewelry shop, a richness to deserted London, wives, his cousin, Heinlein’s redheads, too creepy, visually designed to create the disaster movie industry, showing this whole genre inspired by it, the ur text, the basis for other exploration, the taproot that everything references back to, Doctor Who, Planet Of Evil, Forbidden Planet and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, we men with our bicycles, guns and sticks and so forth, mere brains, appliances, the dominant feature: the wheel (is absent), we’ve made the world conform to the wheel, putting on suits, everything is suit for them, an umbrella is part of you, the fighting machines are holding their equipment, the machine is a suit of clothing, driving a car, I swerved, we become one with the car, all about brain, the philosophy of The Fast And The Furious, Pacific Rim, Daleks, all in favour of giant monster battles, tension and drama, learning to juggle, why there are no wheels on Mars, in the Amazon jungle, the Incas, salt flats, His Dark Materials, Jesse invented an alien bird, thinking through all, the necessary requirements, which is more efficient soaring or propellers, rotation, bicycles, nothing evolved from an air creature, a sea based system, propellers handier in the sea, squid, a bacteria with a propeller, greasing the alien bird’s wheel, 10 years in, The Time Machine, why did Jesse put it off so long?, head canon vs. head cannon, Cybermen, why is Doctor Who so good?, they’re stealing from the best!, aliens invading London, the danger and value of…, subversive, intelligent, the Tardis is taken away to engage with the world, never any sexual tension between the character and the companions, a “silly kid’s show”, Christopher Eccleston, Peter Capaldi, stealing from Lovecraft, the most brilliant science fiction show ever, Pyramids Of Mars, alien robots, Egyptian deities, Genesis Of The Daleks, not like Teletubbies, putting The Time Machine on the schedule?, re-reading, one and done, live with the consequences, Annihilation,

H.G. Wells' The Man Of The Year Million, 1893

H.G. Wells' The Man Of The Year Million, 1893

1,000,000 A.D. from Punch, November 25, 1893

War Of The Worlds - Horsell Common - illustration by Peter Goodfellow

Posted by Jesse Willis

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