The SFFaudio Podcast #610 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Hunter by Andre Norton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #610 – Star Hunter by Andre Norton; read by Leonie Rose

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 37 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and J. Manfred Weichsel talk about Starhunter by Andre Norton

Talked about on today’s show:
Ace Double d-509, Voodoo Planet, 1961, Planet Of Alien Monsters!, a thrill packed account, an interstellar safari, All Cats Are Gray, plotting, geography, this planet somewhere east of the Sierra Madre, a planetary romance, Burroughs’ Africa, Colorado-y, southern Appalachians, water cats, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, relationships vs. biome, safari planet, the sounds of little animals, its the seas are so shallow, Beast Master by Andre Norton, Eye Of The Monster, The Sioux Spaceman, it feels like a series book, space buffalo trap, the sloth people, the takeaway, colonial planets, the county library, The Crystal Gryphon, Quag Keep, bait and switch, Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, a lost heir in space story, the alien mystery was not even solved, People Of The Crater, Star Born, the preliminary art, Jesse is always seduced by the art, a big hole, a famous science fiction writer, Tarzan as a scam (Tarscam), reframe it from the boy’s POV, Lovecraft’s The Outsider, YOU ARE LORD GREYSTOKE!, every time there’s a piece of technology in this story it fails, the alien field, nevermind about that, as a piece of science fiction all the technology is basically useless, let’s have the kid genetically tested, a half-assed plan, a D&D character rolling a 1, provide complications and fill pages, compare this to Kim and The Jungle Book, Citizen Of The Galaxy, Romulus and Remus, my Robot Jox (1989) movie was not inspired by Transformers, I can do that, an heir to something greater, the greatest spy in the Great Game, a mop boy, a dive bar on a cantina planet, part of this Mandalorian religion, a drugged cup of joe, the fake lost heir, intrigue on an alien planet, maybe they’ll find the actual boy, a The Prince And The Pauper situation, writing it over the weekend and handing it in, the Time Trader novels, could Paul draw a map of where they go and what the geography is?, a safari for what?, that looks like a great book, hiding in the foreground, TECHNOLOGY!, sloth man, even the sloth kid doesn’t get the star treatment, spy vs. spy stuff, in the background of the universe, it could have been a cool story, their sociology their anthropology, if you have a science fiction premise, implanting memories in people’s minds, what would that mean?, I am from the future and here is my rocketship to take you to the Moon, promises to the reader, skeptical straight from the getgo, the sloth people, this should be some sort of mirror to our hero, what is he doing there?, turns out nothing important, (drawing Jesse in), aliens secretly running a planet, the Jack Vance Planet Of Adventure novels, Fredric Brown’s Arena, that story is all symbols, a plastiform hand just like Luke Skywalker, Cool!, make him cool!, gentlefemme, one of the things she’s famous for, pardon Paul’s language, economic classes, ethnic groups, an external mystery or threat, Jumanji, Finnish for God, why?, how much drug taking is going on, maybe this *IS* the Great Game, sort of a YA novel, the relationship that Kipling had to his wetnurse, an analog for him, sympathy for the lower classes, of earth stock, because billionaires, a fascinating universe hidden behind the meandering weak plot, special skill, now he wants revenge, it doesn’t work, what was all that for?, an episode of Johnny Quest, if you follow it closely, the art of Johnny Quest, for small children, disrespectful to children, Lord Tyger by Philip Jose Farmer, create a Tarzan in real life, an interesting premise, counting on Farmer for more fun, more interesting than fun, decepticons stuff, Farmer doesn’t know what he’s doing, explanation (don’t care so much), heavy at points, sexual violence, what Tarzan would be like in real life, bad things, a bad person, lynching black men who killed his man, an aesthetic choice, chaste on camera, the whole wild child phenomenon is fascinating, when these things happen, it has happened many times, parents abandoning children, adopted by animals, a logic to it, what is what we do to all our pets, domesticating them as a part of the family, my furbabies, dogs are a part of out society, we have capabilities that they don’t, why Jesse?, I know how it ends, Jesse has his own systems, everybody is immoral in this book, the systems they live within are immoral, sloth guy, that’s a lie, totally immoral, that’s the name of the book, he feels guilty about it, the kid has no future anyway, killed in a bar fight, there’s another way to run this, Andre Norton tries for a saving throw, c’mon man, going along with it would be immoral, you can’t lie to animals exactly, maybe Will would look at it from a legal POV, what are they liable to be charged with?, unlawful confinement, the police’s involvement, condoned by the state, intelligence circles, that’s all they do, yo, programming people, kidnapping, a capital crime, the quasi-police, entrapment, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, ok I’m writing a book this weekend, a Norton quirk, criminals are heroes in the past, Robin Hood, Suicide Squad, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, in the news this week, statues getting pulled down, they were given statues, Winston Churchill, you can’t be a good person and run the empire, the only good person, he’s vying for power?, Jesse can be wrong about books, The Mound by Zealia Bishop and H.P. Lovecraft, maybe totalitarianism and…, the gaining of knowledge is the only thing worth doing, I was promised a headless ghost living in a mound, that’s shit, their heads are inside their torsos, fine here’s your book, dismiss Norton as not worth reading, this is her worst book, Sea Siege is worse, that’s not cool, a nuclear war, trails and goes nowhere, the scene on the cover is fairly early in the book, some ace books, The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick was written to order, a philosophical meditation on the meaning of weapons, it tricked me, the power of a really good cover, when you were young, on an island with no electricity, Smaug sitting on that pile sold me, John’s selling his book based on the cover, the promise of the cover, Lawrence Block doesn’t make bad books, this speaks to me, Jon’s first science fiction book Starman Jones, an aerospace museum gift shop, there’s a little monkey guy on the cover, there’s always Starman Jones, an up and comer, Red Planet, their best friend Willis, a YA thing, the hero or heroine and his furry companion, Star Beast, a pet in the family, we should have just read that, Star Beast is fun, how the economy works, the avuncular wisdom of Heinlein, off planet, these are competing books on the used bookstore bookshelf, more of the same (more cool interesting stuff), more of the stuff you love, Animal Kingdom, crime, Isaac Asimov, Donald E. Westlake, Larry Niven, playing fair, The Long Arm Of Gil Hamilton, Blaking Bad, there is a kind of detachment once you realize the government isn’t going to help you, a quasi dystopia, that perfect setup, he did the right thing, his students are making fun of him, I’m going to use my skills for evil, your background premise, it shows the deficiency even more, orphanages, debatable, unchecked institutions, surplus kids dropped off on people’s doorsteps, orphan trains, WWII, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Ellen Barkin, a family of adult boys, they all hate the mom, willing to kill people, they have a lot of money, you cant go to the cops or the church or the neighbors, sharpen some weapons, put some food aside for a rainy day, following a situation like that, The Shield, he gets a desk job, a weird kind of punishment, at least he’s not happy, the audience for that show is all the people who don’t have that day job, what do you think Andre Norton is thinking, the drugs and the orphans, a massive dystopia outside the tiny little view of it, expand please, the traumas of the post war moment are right under the surface, America in 1961, before the War on Poverty programs, back from WWII and the Korean War, taking turns at the uncle’s house, the backdrop, our society, in this strange sci-fi setting, plenty of orphans, Fake Heiress, another survival technique, assumed identity, past the Mississippi be a different person, Henry Morton Stanley, Joseph Conrad, ornamental last names, the morality of big game hunting, accidentally hunt humans, trophy hunting, grandbosses, contact protocols, implied shooting of aliens, another technology failure, this stuff never fail, there’s only a few of them, a class thing, the guides, the rich guy doesn’t need the food, this trap may be there to kill water cats (over hundreds of years), very small planet, passive fishing, shortly thereafter the megafauna disappear, anything we cant domesticate becomes food, having a distaste for big game hunting, ridiculous and stupid, maybe hippos are yummy, a taste problem, go read a book yo, just something to do, like jetskiing, what the billionaire class does, I must have my water cat, rich clueless idiot tourists, the collector who wants to classify every butterfly, on the level intellectually of really liking go-carts, a very basic visceral thrill, something to brag about, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, he’s exactly like Zaroff now, this is his castle now, that’s a Jesse thought, Jesse just wants to hunt people, check it out, Trish has a different conclusion, the most popular download, more than a quarter of a million downloads, the Russian angle, a 1924 story, his noble seat, now he’s gone too far, Shiptrap Island, a different show, recommendations, Sneaky Pete, bonds vs. bail bonds, satisfying, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, great great great, Jo Walton review, doppelgangers, earth stock vs. space stock, compact vs. elongated, The Smoke Ring, The Integral Trees, big ideas, small plot problem, their tree is falling apart, those big ideas sure are big, we squeezed this very slim volume dry, something she does often, it is not PC, it is PC, it can be both, identifying with the natives, an anti-colonial novel, The Sioux Spaceman his hawk-man style costume, a very political book, she changed her name to match her pseudonym, that sounds like fun book, it sounds like Star Trek, investigate the universe and fix it all up, a stagnant galaxy, a Foundation TV show, let’s get on this spaceship and have a conversation, one day there should be books in a library, on the other side of the galaxy, one day there will be a Mule, that will be important, Paul Krugman must be wetting his pants, a superhero movie about The Mule, the I, Robot (2004) movie, The Naked Sun, a murder mystery.

Andre Norton's Star Hunter - preliminary art by Ed Emshwiller

Star Hunter by Andre Norton

ACE DOUBLE D-509 - Star Hunter by Andre Norton

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The SFFaudio Podcast #609 – READALONG: Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #609 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
Curt Clark, Jesse’s favourite writer?, talkin bout Westlake, Lawrence Block, 1967 ACE paperback, less than a finger thick, Paul’s reaction, the audiobook is much abridged, that’s what they did back then, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, the Columbia House, the Science Fiction Book Club, Scott’s origins (YouTube), night and day, all the anarchist stuff is not in the audiobook, the CBR, how vast a difference, about 70% of the book is cut out, the history, an experiment in anarchism, this is really bad anarchism, into two cassettes, Tomorrow’s Crimes by Donald E. Westlake, when Westlake quit science fiction, it could have been half of an Ace double, a super-interesting guy, Chuck Wendig, Under An English Heaven, a weird writer, peripheral writings, characterization and crime, Xero, I’m not sitting around bragging, no place for it?, I cannot sell good science fiction, John W. Campbell, gatekeepers, science fiction’s lost is crime’s gain, Analog, a side bit character, $450, the economics of writing science ficton, a go fund me, one of the most popular science fiction writers, a kickstarter to make ends meet, how good this book is, subjective reactions, rafts of stuff, the anarchy and the philosophical, the butchery is surgical, a very good abridgement, Stefan Rudnicki, decisions being made, only a few characters, this guy just gave up, rewriting the book, Westlake doesn’t waste words, parsimoniously, Westlake’s trademark: the movement of hands, the whole tell, Richard Stark, a fast writer, Man Of Action, December 1960, supplementary homework, Or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry, 270 years old, an editor getting pitched, in 1823 he almost died, November of 1954, a highly political story, it makes a point, Who are the heirs of Patrick Henry?, Robert A. Heinlein, a libertarian, the founding fathers, it is a good book, he’s fudging a little bit, another version of The Call Of The Wild, he think he’s the toughest dog around, over the horizon, the uninhabitable zone, John Thornton, men are dangerous and dogs are subservient to men, the king of the slaves, Buck doesn’t talk or think in words, Buck did not read the newspapers, the house slave, the top dog, his true nature, the man is a man, Rolf Malone, he basically murders a dude, so shocking, our main character is an evil murderer, his real reason for coming to the planet, the society, he kills dozens and dozens of people, he wants to kill the planet, Lybia, would people be like this?, Newton’s first law, Malone was the external force, that one strangling hand, Cloak Of Anarchy by Larry Niven, the origins, Mikhail Bakunin, an insurrectionary anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, how cooperative systems can exist, post-scarcity, the conquest of bread, an anarchist utopia, corporations came, anarcho-capitalism, slavery without a state, marriage without states, a meta-element, a whole series of novels, Cockaigne, a prison planet where the natives cant leave, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World‘s reservation, the U.C. is interfering with the running, the immigration official, a very unwise priest, Dracula, Jonathan Harker, The Woman In Black, repossess a computer, being sent to be killed, these are my people, the corporations run this planet, an economic shit zone, the offworlders moved in, in the hands of profit-seekers, anarchism sounds really great its gonna get co-opted by corporations, no government that can hold the corporations accountable, pirates eating into their slavery business, the polities, guns, who is a slave in a west African society, state making taking place, more laws that lead to more people being criminals to make them slaves, definitely the political, extracting the resources from Anarchaos, Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, get the pronouns right, a big multi-national corporation and a nation, a body, it has arms, if this was a completely cut-off planet, its supposed to be a failed utopia, how Westlake cheats, the star is Hell, the names of the cities, Ulich and Nigh, Cockaigne is middle ages fantasy of young monks, Valhalla, afterlife places, tidally locked, the temperature, 29 Celsius, how the ecosystem can work, The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders, a drug that can take away his responsibility, we can trust what he’s saying or what he’s doing, the femme fatale, time itself, usual rituals, Will should have some thoughts about this book, the hard science is not what this novel is about, an anthropological big think, soft science, Vietnam after they win the war, the Chinese path, the worker state welcomed investment back in, how can this little socialist utopia exist?, purposely isolated, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), self-reliance, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, how respectful of physical space, Texas with no rangers, a comedy, the products of the authors, a long time ago this planet had some sort of galactic relationship with the other planets, Atlanta, an airport hub, a straight-up planetary romance, not a fun adventure planet with cool creatures, the hovels, this tradition, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, a fix-up novel, an asteroid terraformed into ancient Kenya, the mundumugu witch-doctor, the Transmetropolitan reservations, the Coventry reservation, the Westlake Review, Westlake was interested in SF, Nackles, anti-Santa Claus, Xmas, it’s not me it’s you, what this book is an indicator of, we withdraw our society from you, society and individual and crime, how Jesse wants to frame this story, John Savage, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, a kind of similar relationship, that savage lifestyle, she’s non-functional, nice food, a soft bed, new clothes, a shower, to be drugged up and not be, might makes right, colours in this book, the red light of Hell, a single name, Ice or Sledge, a Disneyland Chenzen special economic zone, an Alaska, a free extraction zone, cesspools and tailings, where the animals went, no mention of race, the state of nature argument, a raw canvas, an anarcho-syndicalist utopia for about 15 minutes, big offshore corporations, what anarchism is, in what circumstances could it work, that premise, the post-apocalyptic works, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Walking Dead, big walls, in a context, a rich network with other groups, a different kind of slavery, the kind of slavery that parents have to children or to family, the relationship between marriage and slavery, the Roman Empire, Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, go to the neighbouring community and get some girls, the caveman cartoon, the carrying over the threshold, the collar around the neck kind of slavery, women can be slaves but not men, he’s a bad dude, go wherever you want, exporting troublemakers, exporting their worst corporations, Jerry Pournelle’s CoDominium books, hello Australia, the west, Evan kinda likes this model, where all the wild ones are, The Many-Colored Land by Julian May, exporting of excess population, the Greeks were doing it with their colonies, an alternative to prisons, Siberia!, an open-air prison, Escape From New York, how shocked were you all when Malone gets his hand cut-off early in the book?, The Dark Tower, unless it gets infected…, he gets his brother’s college ring back, the ring finger of his left hand, some guy chewing on his hand, the limited contact we have with the natives, youre my slave now (cuz I found you in a ditch), you’re my brother or you’re my son, their aren’t teams and syndicates other than corporations, who is keeping the stuff like that?, the slum-dwellers from being unionized, doubly abridged, so heavy and dark, slightly higher gravity, the gravity thing, a subversion of a traditional planetary romance, subversion, confederate veteran, John Carter, weighted down morose lethargic, mentally and physically, the Colonel’s secretary, A Princess Of Anarchaos, the planet killed Gar, and two women, his mind flex, give me a planetary romance exploring an idea, a sixties slim paperback, full of SF ideas, Humans by Donald E. Westlake, angels are real, a very experimental writer, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, crime books, very philosophical, those crime books can be very philosophical, what makes crime bad?, killing’s just something you do, fearful for my own life, an imposition on their liberty, a pure goal oriented…, Parker is deluding himself, he wants to kill vs. he wants the action, why we’re reading it, find his brother’s killer, he didn’t have the stomach for it, feeling sorry for himself, now I have to kill the whole planet, essentially a villain, there is no hero, Jesse loves the ending, eighteen hours and twenty three minutes, oh shit, kill a whole lot of people, Morogeth, revenge on the actual people who killed his brother, the heart of the monetary system, rot in its own juices, absurd anarchy with some protective colony, how the story started, the boredom of travel by shuttle, Rolf I’m going to have a second chance, the only real relationship he has, the only person he respected, the only person he admired, a reverse inversion of this, from the other side, Fight Club, another political book, man’s relationship to himself, how’m I spossed to live now in this modern world with Ikeas, Fight Club 2, the comic book sequel, tear it all down, Phail and Gar, met across a loaded gun, Phail -> veil?, the names are weird, the veil of rule of law, pull the veil away, the naked relationship, the look in Colonel Whistler’s eyes, Anarchaos was a cancer, thus the suitcases, that promise, voyages to seven planets, the other planets in the UC system, Jack Vance, The Moon Moth, a planet full of people wearing masks all the time, The Lego Movie (2014), Cloud Cuckoo Land, framings and levels, interpreting what’s going on, a popular genre in the middle ages, young monks, writing poems, satirizing their lives,Land of Cokaygne

There is another abbey nearby,
a great nunnery in fact,
up a river of sweet milk,
where there is great plenty of silk.
When the summer’s day is hot,
the young nuns take a boat,
and go forth on that river
rowing with oars and steering.
When they are far from the abbey,
they undress to play,
and jump into the water
and swim secretly.
The young monks who see them
get ready and start out
and come to the nuns immediately,
and each monk takes one for himself
and carries his prey away quickly
to the great grey abbey,
and teaches the nuns a prayer
with their legs up and down in the air
The monk that can be a good stallion
and knows where to put his hood
he can easily have
twelve wives each year.

the power of translation, the power of writing, the power of reading, goddamn it I’m a monk, the nuns in that nearby abbey are quite sexy, it rains cheese from the sky, a comedy reaction to the difficulty, the place where they took his weapons away, richness that went into this, he loved the process of creation, Planet Of Adventure by Jack Vance.

Ace F-421 - Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake
Ace F-421 Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Donald Westlake's Anarchaos - illustration by Patrick Dean

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

Podcast

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

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

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

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

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

On The Make by John D. MacDonald

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The SFFaudio Podcast #579 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #579 – The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake; read by Winston Tharp (for LibriVox.org). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (38 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, October 1961, a very good issue, Cordwainer Smith, Frederik Pohl, Fritz Leiber, Frank Herbert, Robert Bloch, Jack Sharkey, Willy Ley, a lot of engineering and planning, I love Westlake’s writing so much, reach out and kiss you, the first paragraph, that put the roof on the city, Eric S. Rabkin, “transformed language”, transforming an idiom for a science fiction setting, the opposite of Poe or Lovecraft, ornate, dense, oblique, frothy, characterization, perfect voice for it, he was dangerously insane, including my date with my girl, a post-apocalyptic dystopia that ends on a very sour note (for the reader), a nice trick he pulled, he gets over it very easily, cleavage girls, contract marriages, no-p (no progeny), p and not p, natural deductive and axiomatic logic, math for sentences and paragraphs, useless and yet…, an underlying current that’s rather deep, Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth, The Defenders, leadies vs. ore-sleds, a retelling of the myth of the cave from Plato’s Republic, a metaphor for having conversations with people, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the mentality of the people, The Ax by Donald Westlake, a very funny sad scary book, very political, it wouldn’t have felt political at the time, artifacts, the massive trope or overpopulation, arcology, a condo, the projects, the justification for why would be reading a crime novel, he quit science fiction, Xero (magazine), very true of most science fiction writers, Joe Haldeman cant make a living at it, a sad reality of the industry, solid ideas, from a very different angle, Wool by Hugh Howey, mainstream science fiction with this wonderful aspect, Robert Sheckley, he’s poking fun at everything all along the way, delights in enjoying how ridiculous life is, makes kids enjoy science fiction, a great infodump on page 183, it flows just beautiful, a nation 200 hundred stories high, occasional spies, external dangerous lurking at the back of our minds, the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war, irony and humour, treated to such flowy goodness, the whole story’s greatness, you could make this as a student film, three or four actors, so good, an efficeny of science fiction, a real shame he quit science fiction, Doctor Killybilly, William = strength and protector, why did they do this?, our judo flipping instructor, where the outside is unknown and secretly not bad, Logan’s Run, the Fallout games, High-Rise by J.G. Ballard, The Luckiest Man In Denv by C.M. Kornbluth, why are the Russian oligarchs so much work than the Bloomberg oligarchs, can it be explained, circular, imaginary enemies, WWI (the ignoble nobleman’s war), The Westlake Review blog, WWII (the racial non-racial war), WWIII (the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war), tactical nuclear weapons, MacArthur, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, good strategy, your focus narrows, situational awareness, tunnel vision, engaged with a twitter thread, this happens to countries (not just people), they found his car, the army men, kind of incompetent, aiming the elevator at the army, starve-em-out, Edmund Rice, the right focus, his apartment is falling apart, the window doesn’t work, his single egg, rationing, chicory coffee, he cant imagine a different life, at the bottom of the apartment building, slag, it dumping of their ore car slag, piling up, if this goes on they will be buried, Idiocracy (2006), Javelin missiles sent to Ukraine, attacking Trump from the right (instead of the left), making more nukes?, if we have WWIII it will be stupid, howitzer line of sight nukes, they did it on purpose, somebody is lying, West End Games’ RPG Paranoia, it’s cool to think about, page 193, terror, horror, dizziness, do you see that green?, the power of suggestion, agoraphobia, The Caves Of Steel, his girlfriend, so obsessively worried about punctuality, PTSD, ore-sleds are just like people?, they have so little, they focus on the tiniest things, get Jesse hiking more, kidnap victims, Stockholm Syndrome for a whole nation, he’s like Canada, the sky isn’t falling, he’s a humanitarian, a dangerous criminal, an illegal immigrant, he puts us in the situation right with the guy, page 179, that horrible egg, gaspingly transparent window, its better to look inward, a whimsical approach, a romantic approach, I can’t live without you at the moment, will you be provisionally mine?, I’m going to be needing a wife for at least a year or two, I moved like a whirlwind, that was wrestling, that was judo, that was karate, he just killed the guy who was trying to help him, Paul plugs a book: Mazes Of Power by Juliette Wade, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, three extra zeros, advertising for coffins, a prospector wanders out of the New Mexican desert, humans are complete asses, under the roof, she refused at length and descriptively, any number of girls, I was a hero, they even gave me a medal, not licensed for progeny, this is our reality, living in bubbles, elaborate defenses, that’s what this is really good at, what’s going in the sixties, what its for, its about the psychology of our own human silliness, delightfully frothy, that first giant step, man got a hotfoot, he ran back with the tale between his legs, Neil Armstrong, images of flame, page 189, you’ve crawled into your caves, a well appointed cave, Outside, the same thing, always the same stupidity, the long slow painful creep of progress, a lot longer than it took to go right back into the cave again, how long people had without useful technologies, the cave is a metaphor for your set of beliefs, cut out the information coming from the outside, he wants to eat the fake news, he’s blocking people on twitter, you’re cancelled, cancer culture, once you start blocking…, he thinks what he hears in the building, what the army tells them, radiation proof cars, why should we?, don’t you ever wanna look at that guy’s voting record?, cutting off, dis-empowering yourself, you’re walking into the slaughterhouse, don’t listen to him, feels like there’s very little here, just another science fiction story, substantial power, if it were novel length, that experience, The Defenders is the same story from another point of view, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, eggs, don’t shill for Instant Pot until they sponsor the podcast, the free range ones, orange yolks, you can taste the difference, a sad thought, that’s your allotment, the staircase, using the staircase is a transgressive act, do you need a stairway in a mausoleum, by 2000 everybody lived in projects, his grandparents?, three generations?, distorted stories, the history lesson, the old folks home, genetically unsuitable, what makes him unsuitable?, do you want to breed smarter people, suggested by the story but not in the story, we see two of them, the number of actors you need: two guys and a lady who comes in on skype, a tight dystopia, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, co-opted, Westlake was a Manhattanite, New York as a horizontal arcology, the El or the subway, you can walk three blocks, rush hour, you have ruined my life, the spy is a little more reliable, bad for you, a monster behind that dumpster, the big Donald Westlake hits, The Risk Profession, LibriVox, space insurance, the two sides of Westlake, oh man, situational jokeyness, the Dortmunder books, The Hook, Memory, Charles Ardai, Christa Faust’s Money Shot, like Kill Bill, Hard Case Crime, at least sixty novels, Anarchaos, a very slim volume, so many good books, Somebody Owes Me Money, a crime syndicate, wherever he takes you on a journey, still fun, he still makes it work somehow, so funny with his characterization, Greg Bear is the opposite of Donald Westlake, we build the whole thing, you don’t leave him for a second, the way Shakespeare was gifted, a massive loss for Science Fiction, Smoke, endlessly silly ideas beautifully demonstrated, how many movies are made out of Westlake’s stuff, foreign homages, 41 credits as a writer, The Hot Rock, The Grifters, Payback, Jimmy The Kid, Diff’rent Strokes, A Slight Case Of Murder, James Cromwell as the detective, Cops And Robbers, Point Blank, Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, he’s king of like Stephen King, Stephen King loves Westlake, Richard Bachman is named after Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Magnum, P.I., a crisp clear writer, Lawrence Block, fifteen years of great reading.

The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

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The SFFaudio Podcast #549 – READALONG: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #549 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Talked about on today’s show:
a question on Twitter, Julie, how it even got on the schedule, A Good Story Is Hard To Find (110), June 2015, Mark Woodword, how we’ve never heard of this book, Julie’s mom, very weird, a near masterpiece of Science Fiction, Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth, David Bowie, not about music, Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, one PDF on the PDF Page, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, post apocalyptic, a post-capitalist society, a post-scarcity society, a downer, a slow slow slide into the long dark night, uplifting (also), the state of humanity, they way he reveres reading, enjoy an omelette, re-watching Star Trek, the Animated Series, The Next Generation, it gets better, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Yang, take away all goals, stripping us of our humanity, drugs, hippies, an anti-marijuana book, a critique of the hippies, silent movies, a world you didn’t know, when this old man dies, a different view, Spoforth, pensioning off Paul, reading is not valued, Paul teaches Mary how to read, looking for pornography, he was teaching pornography and mindfulness, a savage critique, who’s the mockingbird?, he wants to know what’s going on, genuine examples of humanity, Julie is being so mean to Paul, Paul in the book, Bentley, spaw-forth or spoof-forth (and multiply), struck to the heart, revealed as the villain, he’s not even sure it’ll work, kill humanity to kill ones’ self, kinda dark, sympathetic, did he intend to kill the child right from the start?, detector, a lot of twists, no diary, a hard shift, switches to Mary Lou, I don’t like this book anymore, not who I imagined her to be, love as a projection, maybe she was blind to herself, or emotionally repressed, when he gets thrown in prison, hanging out with the baleens, a horror novel, shifting around, an impressive world, standard mainstream good writing, built up this whole world, premises are revealed to us, is he a bad guy, an abortionist, destroy humanity, he didn’t invent the system, he’s cursed with an inability to die, massive, a total dystopia, Brave New World‘s children, Huxley was optimistic, self immolation, political protest, a political act, a religious act, a sacrifice, people can’t string ideas together, going to the same cafe, they’re singing, what is the motivation, psychology, Annabelle, SEARS as a church, A Boy And His Dog (1975), a revelation, different genres, my pet Biff, New York City, the Adam and Eve theme, story is how we find truth, books get us in touch with other minds, what a masterpiece, have you got to the monkey bacon yet?, bacon for monkeys?, clever ideas going on, a lot of biblical stuff, this is Jonah, he’s vomited out, the thought buses are like the friends in Job, they’re something else, that thought wasn’t finished, the true inhabitants of the city, a line relevant to our times, cars were promulgated by a cabal of oil manufacturers, dealing with the consequences of a world we never made, a mass transportation system, look very deeply back at old stuff at the time, reading TV Guide from 1980, it’s fascinating, yo, a good magazine about the technology of TV, what television will be like in 1990, they kinda nailed it, gay behavior will be more popular, the trends we see here, the 1980 Olympics in Russia, the invasion of Afghanistan, anyone who would invade Afghanistan is obviously a monster, the fossils of a previous generation, A Streetcar Named Desire, streetcars around the world, one more reason to go to Nice (France), I say that in Jes(t), she picks a fruit, its artificial, what they’re being taught in school, quick sex is best, it comes from the same place, reconstructed all the greatness in science fiction, a mainstream book with a deeply science fiction world behind it, the zoo is all fake, even the children are fake, the Adam and Eve thing, when he comes back to Marylou, Jesus!, Mary, the notion of felix culpa (the fortunate fall), remembering her action, he explicitly remembers, it isn’t going to be as bad as you think, thank you Terence, so loaded, Spoforth is a good carpenter, the poem from T.S. Eliot, the songful simian, a Christ figure, the little sparrow, like the end of Blade Runner when Roy Batty dies, the same problem in the other direction, a sort of love, joy, compassion, influenced?, a lot of Philip K. Dick elements, artificial emotions, the symmetry trick that works every time, it’s beautiful, an act of mercy and love, the poor guy, condemned to Hell on Earth, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, I Am, keep sliding towards oblivion, actively seeking death, the mercy that he wants the mercy he’s trying to give humanity, the behavior of humans is not good, an Arthur C. Clarke vibe, The City And The Stars, that world is perfectly broken, the only thing you can do is appreciate the abstract, blotchy moving colour shapes and sounds, no more music, the heart and the center of the book, the robot toaster factory, a whole novel, a mindless parody of productivity, those grey uniformed sub-morons that all look like Peter Lorre, and then he fixed them, suddenly people are getting toasters again, the warmth and the light (a preview), its a rebirth, what happened in real-life that you didn’t see on twitter, looking for stuff on Netflix, Year One (2009), cave man comedies, fur bikinis, One Million B.C. (1940), science fiction stories, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling, The Wonderstick by Stanton A. Coblentz, the wonder of the wheel the wonder of the stick, a retelling of the bible, Harold Ramis plays Adam, David Cross is Kane as Paul Rudd is Abel, that tree of knowledge, only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods, that’s really powerful, all the characters, Simon, the alternative father for Marylou, why she’s so different, monstrous and straight out of Brave New World, we recognize all this biblical stuff, you get both, there’s gotta be something out there, an The Brick interview with Walter Tevis, it felt very Lawrence Block-y, “Mockingbird’s about coming out of alcoholism.”, “But I don’t do any outlin­ing. I don’t do any researching. I was tempted while writing Mockingbird to start watching silent movies, you know, and see if I could pick some interesting stuff to use, and I realized that would’ve been just a dodge to avoid the type­writer. So I never research anything.”

LD: You paint a pretty bleak picture in terms of lit­eracy in Mockingbird.

WT: It comes from twenty-five years of being an English teacher.

RW: Do you see a decline in literacy? I do, but do you?

WT: Oh, you hear about it a lot. Yes, I’ve seen it a bit, but my private experience as an English teacher has been that Americans don’t read books. They didn’t read books in 1949 when I started teaching. They don’t read books now Television did make a difference. It deepened the slack of the slackjaws and gave another great quantity of garbage for people to fill their lives with. But, you know, there was other garbage around before television. Mockingbird does sometimes, I think, weaken into an attack solely on television and on the modern world, and “weaken” I say because I’m not completely convinced of all those things that I say. But what I am convinced of is that it is very bad for people to find substitutes for living their lives, and that’s what I hope I do say, and say well, from time to time in the book.

reading is the tool that opened up his mind and taught him how to think, a photograph of notes to the editor, the surprise that she’s going to narrate, destructive to our view of his wonderful relationship, she came to appreciate him, he forgot her too, what they had wasn’t super-deep, she was Dante’s Beatrice, Edward Hopper, there’s no door in Nighthawks, alone together, some lady sitting on a bed looking out a window, beautifully painted, what makes us care about his paintings is the emotions in these characters, the emotions that make Hopper’s paintings so powerful, a criticism of the kind of television being shown in the book, stimulating arrangements of color form and design, the psychedelic, Tevis’ take on Hopper’s quote, yeah exactly, four things you can get from films (books), manipulating one’s mental states, a means of learning something about the past, why memory is not enough, sympathizing with other people from other times, knowing about other people’s feelings you discover your own feelings, he captures that experience, jokes from 200 years ago, a line that crystallizes something you’ve always known but never seen before, before Plato, the only book he never reads is Gone With The Wind, See Spot Run, the alphabet is arbitrarily ordered, this is science fiction, the scene in Frankenstein where the creature learns how to read and speak, Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, his creation book (Frankenstein’s lab notes), this is a Frankenstein-fixed story, the creation of the world, how to service robots and thought-buses, a masterpiece, nature is always pulled in, puzzling over how to fix the thought-bus, a large dramatic spiderweb, the moon, made of pure light, the elaboration and power of life that could make such a design, this makes me feel something, Julie’s favourite Psalm is Psalm 19, so mysterious, the way you hold that cup, so much bigger, the human experience, he wrote it for us, the earlier scene with the spiderweb, the court is a plastic building, you go clean the judge’s face, yellow powder, they all have the same look on their face, the system turns on and gears up, other prisoners, the prison sequence, I didn’t see this coming, Belasco, tattoos, Queequeg!, rule breakers, paintings of trees and birds, have a fire on the beach, as free as people in that world can be, a temptation to stay there?, the escape itself, a community of people to help him toughen up, the beginning of his journey, The Handmaid’s Tale. reading is powerful, the way we got there, our own fucking laziness, go along get along, rage rage rage against the machine, read a fucking book, you’ll like it it’s good, not just shore-dinners, a so coddled society, memorizing your life, a kind of writing, a book that feels like its in dialogue with Fahrenheit 451, drop out communities, finding the libraries (it’s treasure!), insistence of family and community, Annabelle becomes his mother, enriched by other communities, great risks to my individuality, the robots who taught me, yup, individualistic, you’re not letting me help anyone, a balance, a really good job of pointing that stuff out, it doesn’t feel like a sermon, super-funny, Buster Keaton, he’s baptized in the mall, the SEARS (catalogue) was a big part of Jesse’s life in 1980, a book of pictures of things, the world in the background economically makes sense, could you game in this world?, a survival game, rebuild society, back to board-games, Scrabble, role-playing games, a very New York thing to do, California, The Last Chase (1981), how the credit card system worked, the pricing, what are they teaching in those classrooms?, yoga and meditation?, sopors, soma, give yourself to the screens, Terence is right!, social media, stream everything, everybody is literate now (to read stop signs and instructions), people who never read anything (maybe a magazine once a year), a super-nice person, what is wrong with you, there are these parallel societies, Anabelle is that representation, part of this is looking at creativity, Spoforth wasn’t creative but he learned, Exhalation Stories: (The Lifecycle Of Software Objects) by Ted Chiang, the whole him trying to find his earlier incarnation, recapture what he had lost from his earlier mind, in the dream, its a baby, just before he dies, the missing peice in the puzzle of his dream, in Westworld for recipe for an intelligent robot is a reverie, the reverie we get from literature, its made him more human, he’s trying trying trying, another element of information, what humanizes him, he felt love, the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, I love you, still strange, the mockingbird sings from the edge of the woods, Scott Danielson, “Whose woods these are I think I know”, the mockingbird is the creative artist, always in association with creativity, a deepening sadness, more creative than we give him credit for?, the boy’s drawings, it works on multiple levels, the fake, the marginal, mocking, a mockery of a man, the emotions of a man and he can’t connect, this mock level, mockingbird songs, things stung together, Tevis is the mockingbird, there’s this hybridization, a very literary book, To Kill A Mockingbird, it sings its heart out, to deal with race again, is it because you’re a black man, it’s 1978, the most advanced beautiful man ever, he was the pinnacle and they made him a black man, still enslaved, in his dream his feet are white, Typee by Herman Melville, an Anabelle like character, only one person’s working hard all day line, Bentley see this as an injustice, is it an injustice?, her choice, making something of value, cooking is work, its still good to feed the kids (even if they can’t thank you), making the mistake of thinking humans are all one way, objectivism, let’s be greedy together, reading Ayn Rand, is Anthem a rip-off of We, moms being moms, I’m a loner, everybody’s talking to each other all the time, invading privacy is the worst thing, it was the robots that did it, the society happened almost by accident, quite beautiful, we fall into the trap of amusing ourselves to death, John Savage likes pain, they twist it against him, “that’s illegal”, those people are all around us, he had his stash, dumping herself full of Valium, him living in her house, thank your mom for us, how many people heard about it through you through her through this podcast, Marissa would have been here very happily, the Westworld connection, good choice, thank you!

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

The SFFaudio Podcast #514 – READALONG: Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #513 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Galaxy July and September 1972, 41 years old, out of context, people getting grumpy, autobiographical?, writing himself into his book, unnerving, “problematic”, you wont like anything, very well written, censoring oneself, all internal thoughts, a thoughtful interesting book, an interior book, racial slurs, the fakest parts are the plot points, going around in elevators, how other people perceive him at parties, the Lumumba incident, getting beaten up, ghosting student essays, websites that advertise these services, students required to submit, text comparison, tuning the voice, Columbia University, a cat and mouse game, young and strong, failing powers, a real person, the most clumsy, detecting lies, becoming telepaths, getting vibes, a metaphor for (if not science fiction), curious, casual or romantic or natural experiments, the drug scene, trapped in our own heads, comparing actions with words, complaining about the essay, super-resentful, this is not going to work out well, he’s broke all the time, so dependent on his powers, how to deal with somebody, the whole Kitty storyline, Ted Chiang’s Understand, invisible to the superpower, a cheat or not a cheat, “defend”, a science fiction novel in which the narrator is uninterested in the rules behind it, the author hasn’t revealed the rules to the narrator, he’s AM and she’s FM, undistinguished in everything, she doesn’t put up a defense, paranoid, unlock her telepathic mind, a crepazoid being creepy, annoying, bringing your psychiatry on your wife, Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, what makes that a fantasy book, a fascinating attraction, would she have read this?, an avid reader in the 1970s, one of Silverberg’s best, as a metaphor, superbpaper.com, need help with your assignment, “we can write any paper on any subject on any deadline”, $29 per page, testimonials, making people have skills, Jesse has a lot of homework to do, Jesse’s not doing this for money, Jesse has the telepathy within narrow range, I’m dignified, he’s barely in the economy, people thinking sentences in their head, “he thinks in French”, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, a shared document, Nixon shows up in a motorcade, if this book is a metaphor, trying to be telepathic with a later audience, Isaac Asimov, Lawrence Block, they communicate their ideas super-clearly, Greg Bear’s ideas, to him it makes sense, writing as telepathy, a writer’s inability to write, the autobiographical elements, things get thin until the 1980s, there’s life inside, the life may return, a massive output from the 1950s through the 1960s, the next novel is Lord Valentine’s Castle (eight year’s later), The Stochastic Man, Shadrach And The Furnace, The Book Of Skulls, like 50 stories in 1956, the same if not more, the magazine industry, Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, sleeze novels, writing pornography, that wonderful sequence, hopping from mind to mind, the bee, the girl, the farmer, the full fulmination of his power, why its a tragic story, wunderkind, a pathetic shlub, cheat his way through life, stockbroker, Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields, inside information, insider trading, Dr. Hitner, the radio drama adaptation, read comic books and enjoy myself, when he gets into a fight, telegraphed, a rag-doll to be tossed about, have sex with girls is his major ambition, Paul’s own life, why Jesse has to make such pains to distinguish himself, volatile, a lot of parallels here, supermen aren’t going to be what you think they are, in dialogue with Slan by A.E. van Vogt, “slans are schlubs”, every allusion and reference, poets, painters, playwrights, philosophers, scientists, replete with thinking about books, a very philosophical novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, The Hampdenshire Wonder by J.D. Beresford, semi-autobiographical, Arthur C. Clarke, he lives in our universe, a little bit too recursive, the 2001 BBC radio drama adaptation, rather condensed, he works at a bookshop, translated into an adaptation, if people complain…, Harlan Ellison and Silverberg, how much filler material they could add, the Aeschylus essay, the Franz Kafka essay in full, The Castle and The Trial, padding, fun reading, recycle some material, so fun to do that, a sad and depressing book?, tonally depressing, comparing your own life to Selig’s, The Book Of Skulls, holding back information, a very good writer, a promise to the reader, when is he composing this narrative?, nicely constructed, a blank in his history, distancing himself from himself, cheating, things are a little tight this month, because he’s given something early on in his life, manipulating the moment, if you only have 40 minutes to tell the story, the car section of the bookstore, definitely gay, the musclemen section of the bookstore, a repressed homosexual, the dean, how far you’ve fallen, this guy’s pathetic, reading about rocketships and robots, that actually hits home, he’s doing bad work for money, prostitution, his nephew, meeting Kitty on the street, so many girlfriends, I didn’t get your number but you weren’t there anyway, many many other uncles, here’s a picture of a bomb blowing somebody up, Judith probably told him to say that, the necessity of the face and the smile is the new truth, he could see beneath that truth, they’re told to smile, seeing below the surface is a grim reality, self-motivated, if you can take that away, they’re delighted to meet you, “I feel your pain.”, disdain for politicians, a very nice character piece on why it might not be so great to be telepathic, almost like growing up and not being a liar, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, “Selig’s Complaint”, Silverberg could exist without Heinlein, parallel tracks (not tracts), Judith Beheading Holofernes, parallels with Judith of the bible, a nice jewish girl’s name, Zelig (1983), first observed at a part by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the secret history of reality, Selig’s death would mean almost nothing, an incredibly underwhelming superpower, the new wave, Alfred Bester, diddly shit, the jive-speak voice, keeps failing, Jesse wrote a lot of reviews, if its just a book, if its just a book then the temptation is to shit on it, baggage of your own, the demand for reviews, writing is a superpower you can waste by using a metaphor too much, sick of the treadmill, SFSignal doesn’t blog anymore (except on Twitter), gone to be a farmer, a different and happier place, the books doesn’t stop, new or underappreciated, still a good book, slightly less stuck in its time, the black dialogue is slightly different now, a historical piece, the power of the book is still with it, having lived through things and done things, “had I read it way back when”, a book for middle aged science fiction readers, they’ll feel it, hey kids you’re going to love Dying Inside!, when you’re young you read books differently, the depth of Selig’s plight, outright sexism, a pathetic character, once you’re inside somebody’s head you pretty much have to forgive them for everything, the crisis crisis, Airplane! (1980), I speak jive, subtitles, the sentences make sense, Diff’rent Strokes, cultures with different languages and vocabularies, well worth it.

Dying Inside from Galaxy, July 1972

Dying Inside from Galaxy, September 1972

Caedmon Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside (1979)

Frank Kelly Freas illustration of Dying Inside

Posted by Jesse Willis