The SFFaudio Podcast #586 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Tree Of Life by C.L. Moore

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #586 – The Tree Of Life by C.L. Moore; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 10 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons and Trish E. Matson

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, October 1936, what a good issue this is, how many podcasts based on stories in this issue?, Lloyd Arthur Ashback, The Lost Temple Of Xantoos by Howell Calhoun, Robert Block, Witch-Burning, The Lost Door by Dorothy Quick, Mark Twain, Earle Pierce Jr., Red Nails by Robert E. Howard, the final Conan story while he’s alive, R.E.H. by Robert H. Barlow, The Secret Of Kralitz by Henry Kuttner, Arthur Conan Doyle, a lot for your money, The Shadow, Motor Stories, True Detective, Northwest Smith stories, worldbuilding, Rainbow Mars by Larry Niven, corrupt the planet, elves, diminished, our swashbuckling hero, connections, Philip Jose Farmer’s authorized Tarzan novel: The Dark Heart Of Time, a crystal tree, a civilization built around it, trees, a pocket universe ruled by a being that created the universe, ultimately easy to deal with, Jirel Of Joiry, Shambleau, succumbing to the wiles of a woman (who is not a woman), an anti-climactic ending, as an introduction, it has the virtue of being public domain, LibriVox, what she does with the language, not very much happens, mostly description, very Robert E. Howard like, the colour and the emotion, what actually happens, crashed, he’s basically Han Solo, a Mandalorian episode, no Chewie here, more pathetic than Chewie, a million year old ruined city, the Patrol, the well, a fake crying lady, reaching back into his brain vocab book, a missing bit, sacrificing a few of the forest people, through a monumental effort of will, he shoots it in the trunk/roots, very metaphorical, a dream sequence, the mushroom expression of the thing that is Thag, give him a sword, half of Conan stories, fights a god, a girl to be saved and a girl that’s evil (and jealous of Conan’s gf), Jesse’s least favourite part of Game Of Thrones, a really long story for the amount of activity that happens, a laser beam battle, a tribal war, it feels very long, the repetition, the same strange word again, incongruity, incredulous, making it more ornate and then colouring in, how it feels rather than what you see, a queer sort of music, intolerable beauty, that piercing strength, purple prose, its all about the dwelling in that feeling, the description of bodies, moonstone eyes, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, The Tyger by William Blake, my dead friend Gregg Margarite, “went lurking” a verb now used,

“went lurking” is a verb now used by people who only know each other via newsgroups – can mean, stopped responding to email or threads, also usable to describe people have have possibly died – so that’s how I will now describe my friends who I know have died

-they “went lurking”

Where do they lurk? Under what circumstances do they stop lurking? This sounds like a story waiting to be written.”[email protected]

Now they ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-winds, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka in the sealed and unknown valley of Hadoth by the Nile, at least… for now.

referencing The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft whenever possible, The Number Of The Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, it’s a (Philip Jose) Farmer book, its not a great book, “I’m going to do nostalgia”, 666 dimensions, WOW, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, 1979/80, revisiting some feelings, self-indulgent and incestuous, Lazarus Long, Mike the computer, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Glory Road, tour de Heinlein, enjoyed reading it, living my life and reading this book, it shouldn’t exist, the Exegesis of Robert A. Heinlein, science fictional concepts, watch out for femme fatales, “I’ll try”, a character development, a bottle episode, a standalone, the way Red Nails ends, Queen Of The Black Coast, go have one of his gigantic melancholies, “harry the coast of Kush”, a sense of optimism, this is not really science fiction, more like Star Wars, sword and planet, science fantasy, a romance, more weird, a setting beyond the Earth, its totally weird, there’s this god and this wizard, Conan, The Lost Valley of Iskander by Robert E. Howard, broody and thinky, Windwagon Smith, Philip Jose Farmer’s Windwagon Smith, Frank Leslie Illustrated, The Steam Man Of The Prairies, Tom Swift And His Electric Runabout, Around The World In 80 Days, Planes, Trains And Automobiles (1987), an Ice Sledge, Dragonlance DL6: Dragons Of Ice, could this really work?, Lawrence Watt-Evans’ Windwagon Smith And The Martians, a mashup, Northwest Smith and Windwagon Smith, Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides, pirates and voodoo, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Lord Dunsany’s A Story Of Land And Sea, Thomas Windwagon Smith, 1854 newspaper accounts, the prevailing winds blow in the wrong direction, a legal document with silver ink on blue paper, adapted into a comic (Eclipse’s Orbit), recorded into an audiobook, reasons to contact Ray Bradbury, Twelve Kings In Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu, Paul Bunyan, American myths, where’s Philip Jose Farmer when we need him?, American Mythos, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Smith is that name, Joe Anybody, C.L. Moore’s afterword for Shambleau And Other Stories, a red figure running, N.W. Smith, a third character was needed, Yarol is an anagram for the typewriter, North-West recurs, North West Territory, North-West Passage, the Northwest Rebellion, Northwest Of Space, do you remember when I was a kid?, Grizzly Adams, recreating the Garden of Eden with a bear,

The Lost
Temples of Xantoos

By HOWELL CALHOUN
Celestial fantasies of deathless night, Enraptured colonnades adorned with pearls, Resplendent guardians of crimson light, Expanse of darkness silently unfurls Among colossal ruins on this shore, That once was purled by Xantoos’ rolling seas; Nothing remains upon this barren core Of Mars, but your palatial memories.

Your altars and magnificent black gods Still flash beneath the sapphire torches’ flames, The fragrant ring of sacred flowers nods Beneath the monstrous idols’ gilded frames. Your jeweled gates swing open on their bands Of gold; within, a lurid shadow stands.

John Carter, Northwest Smith, this Sea that once was (now dry), abandoned city, vocabulary practice, retelling without having read, mixing and remixing, when you put Burroughs out into the world…, more sharp, more poisonous, it sticks with you, Blake inspired, the syntax, part of the fun, reading deeply, what haunts authors, the sea is an image in Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick, C.L. Moore is more commercially minded, Robert E. Howard was willing to write for anybody, Henry Kuttner, he’s kinda like Robert E. Howard, first fanmail, ‘she’s hiding her identity behind her initials’, a more common thing to do, a trend that happened, the sexism was not real in Weird Tales, some womens names were hidden by initials, the readership was almost equally female, boys and girls and women and men of all ages, more female poets, 30% female story authors, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Seabury Quinn, Lovecraft’s semi-beef with Farnsworth Wright, No Woman Born by C.L. Moore, gynoid body please, rings of metal, conveying the woman that she used to be, Science Fiction 101 aka Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, Fondly Fahrenheit, Day Million, No Woman Born, The Monsters, Jack Vance, no time to read for anything except for the podcast, the difference between podcasts and reviews, the firehose is the fifty firehoses, I would love to help, 17th century novels and poetry nobody reads, a lot of dross, gender stereotyping, kind of a doofus as opposed fascist, compilation of trailers, Siren, Odysseus and the Sirens story, a classical trap,
a fundamental misunderstanding people have been having since the mid-19th century, what evolution, a show about mermaids set in 2020, I despair for our species, that’s why we have problems, FreeForm, filmed 10 feet from my mom’s house, Apple TV+ a fourth grade student investigating a murder as an accredited journalist, its not aimed at humans, its like a kitten detective, a serious show, Encyclopedia Brown, Love Is Blind, marriage, they’re all fake, artificial drama, the consequences, why did you bring this white guy home, a TV whore, an intellectually morally bankrupt decision, abuse, Will to to blame, subordinating themselves for infamy, The Running Man by Stephen King, The Prize Of Peril by Robert Sheckley, Das Millionenspiel, traumatized by the indignities, doing your spirit wrong Will, Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan, facial tattoos, scarification, SoundCloud rapper is a culture, earlobe stretching, lip stretching, group identity by shared pain, everything’s crazy in the shade of The Tree Of Life, were in the Thag bubble, their story is a lot richer, snuggled up or running screaming, the lie of this story, he never really got out that’s why this is the last story, he’s a white man, he’s fine, a semi-desperate criminal, why people fundamentally reject the death of Han Solo, when Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes, remember Spock?, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, give Mirror Universe Spock a shave, killing Kirk, a generational changing of the guard, gone down with the Enterprise, a twitter argument,

@SFFaudio Feb 8 [2020]
time to face the truth:

STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) looks better and better and better as the years go by

at some point it will be better than VOYAGE HOME (1986) and yes, inevitably, even WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

Star Trek 1 is an art film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969), how you know you’re in a Russian art film, a big idea, everybody agrees, VGER, Milton and Moby Dick and Shakespeare, themes, everything, meanwhile in the darkness Star Trek I is getting better and better, gaining more gravity with time, why they changed the uniforms, its Frankenstein, try the computer down, we can be friends, The Changeling, Voyage Home is so much fun, some lady who’s a cat, Assignment: Earth, “exact change”, too much LDS, while ST1 is a better film, Star Trek IV is more fun, retcon things, Jesse’s ratings of the Superman movies.

The Tree Of Life by C.L. Moore

The Lost Temples Of Xantoos

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #092

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #092 – Scott and Jesse talk about audiobooks, the recent arrivals and the new releases. We also talk about big box bookstores, comics, and classic audiobooks

Talked about on today’s show:
Blackstone Audio, Somewhere In Time, Richard Matheson, self-hypnosis as time travel, lame covers, “melancholy but not depressing”, Stir Of Echoes by Richard Matheson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Other Kingdoms, Bronson Pinchot, Stefan Rudnicki, Journal Of The Gun Years, Earthbound, Stir Of Echoes 2 – still stirring echoes?, The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card, i’m always in favour of secret libraries, RadioArchive.cc, a dramatization of Fahrenheit 451, To Catch A Thief, Thief, James Caan, Spencer Tracy, Grace Kelly, France, BBC audio dramas don’t take a lot of risks, the virtues and vices of experimental audio drama, conservative audio dramas, Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg, “memory cubes in a massive library”, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Arte Johnson, Valentine Pontifex, The Space Dog Podcast #003 (vintage 1982 Silverberg), Silverberg’s 1970s Science Fiction hiatus, “trilogies are ill-conceived”, The City Of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers, Paul Michael Garcia, anagrams, “fructodism”, Terry Pratchett, Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher, book translation is re-writing a book, Cornelia Funke, The Thief Lord, The Dragonheart, Inkheart, reading books in translation, The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz, The Way Back, Declare by Tim Powers, Simon Prebble, coded messages, Kim Philby, the Spanish Civil War, are there soccer podcasts?, there are lots of them, Scott is a Liverpool fan, multiple readers, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, Grover Gardner, Fire Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci, Kirby Heyborne, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow|READ OUR REVIEW|, “audiobooks have never been healthier”, Audible Frontiers, subscription book clubs, the last first Heinlein book, For Us The Living by Robert A. Heinlein, Venus by Ben Bova, Blackstone Audio doesn’t give up on series, crazy collectors, Books On Tape, what happened to BOT?, Random House, Listening Library, Macmillan Audio, Brilliance Audio, Amazon.com, Chapters bookstores in British Columbia have very tiny audiobook sections, Barnes & Noble doesn’t love audiobooks either, Borders has a better selection, Logan, Utah, Idaho Falls, Idaho, The Walking Dead – Volume 1, zombies, Robert Kirkman, horrible zombie audiobook, Poul Anderson, Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (the subject of an upcoming readalong?), Larry Niven called it “a masterpiece”, Macmillian Audio exclusively on Audible.com, Shades Of Milk And Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, Jane Austen, The Elephant To Hollywood by Michael Caine, What’s It All About by Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling, , Nancy Kress, Probability Moon, Infinivox, The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford, “surreal, unsettling, and more than a little weird”, models are incredibly interesting, SimCity, Civilization, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, John Scalzi, The Android’s Dream, Agent To The Stars, Wil Wheaton, Dancing Bearfoot, Just A Geek, Why I Left Harry’s All-Night-Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt-Evans, the SFSignal Mind Meld on the best audiobooks of all time, Scott likes Fantasy (and Science Fiction), Jesse likes Science Fiction (and Fantasy), The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year 1989, The Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Children Of Men by P.D. James (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, Mind Slash Matter by Edward Wellen (Durkin Hayes) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, Sci-Fi Private Eye ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Dercum Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick (Blackstone Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ringworld by Larry Niven |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Reel Stuff edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Minority Report And Other Stories by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|, Two Plays For Voices by Neil Gaiman (Seeing Ear Theatre / Harper Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ender’s Game (25th Anniversary Edition) by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 1 by H.P. Lovecraft (Audio Realms) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan (Infinivox) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Blake’s 7 – Audio Adventures (Trilogy Box Set) (B7 Media) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart |SFFaudio Podcast #073|, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison |READ OUR REVIEW| The Prestige by Christopher Priest |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell |READ OUR REVIEW|, Legends: Stories by the Masters of Fantasy, Volume 4 (containing The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Voice from the Edge Vol. 1: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison |READ OUR REVIEW|, Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast by Eugie Foster |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lawrence Santoro, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison are their own genre, The Moon Moth, sociological Science Fiction, the George R.R. Martin Dreamsongs collections, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey’s The Runners Of Pern, Jesse is reading a lot of comics, the Fresh Ink Online podcast, G4 vs. G4TechTV, Attack Of The Show, Penn Jillette’s video podcast, sound seeing tours (a now defunct trend in podcasting), Blair Butler, Tamahome2000, Goodreads.com, Neil Gaiman, Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?, getting into comics, Garth Ennis, Gregg Rucka, Cory Doctorow’s praise of Y: The Last Man on BoingBoing.net, Y: The Last Man is really addictive, Kansas, Batwoman: Elegy, Rachel Maddow,

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th CenturyThe Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century
By various; Read by various
4 Cassettes – 6 Hours [Unabridged]
Publisher: Dove Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 0787116807
Themes: / Science Fiction / Magical Realism / Aliens / Time Travel / Parallel Worlds / Space Travel / Mutation / Nuclear Winter /

What would a long time SF fan consider a collection called The Greatest Science Fiction Stories Of The 20th Century when none of the stories would make his top ten list, and some aren’t even SF? In this case, I consider it a very good collection of stories. If anything, this seems a collection of well-read and written, but randomly chosen, speculative fiction stories.

Clearly intended to present a wide variety of “Science Fiction,” this audio-anthology has neither theme nor consistency but it doesn’t need them. The stories, with only two exceptions, are quite entertaining. They are all extremely well read, my quibble with a poor attempt at an accent notwithstanding, ranging from Harlan Ellison’s wonderfully passionate reading of his story to Nana Visitor’s aesthetically perfect interpretation of “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”

Each story is briefly commented on below.

“Jeffty Is Five”
By Harlan Ellison; Read by Harlan Ellison
Reality is distorted around a boy who doesn’t age. This is Magical Realism, not SF, but an amazing story nonetheless. Ellison’s response to the bitter cynicism of modernity will tear at the core of your soul unless A) you’re very young or B) you don’t have a soul. The best story in the collection.

“Twilight”
By John W. Campbell; Read by Richard McGonagle
A good early SF story but not quite great. It feels a bit to much like Wells’ The Time Machine, but it entertaining enough. A retelling of a time traveler’s visit to the twilight of humanity.

“The Ones Who Walk Away Fom Omelas”
By Ursula K. Le Guin; Read by Nana Visitor
Virtually everyone knows this Fantasy, again not SF, story. It has all the strengths and weakness of Le Guin’s writing, amazing authorial voice and great storytelling, but a strong tendency to be overly didactic to the point of sanctimoniousness. Still as with most of her stories, the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses.

“Bears Discover Fire”
By Terry Bisson; Read by Arte Johnson
Bears start using fire in an otherwise normal Kentucky. This Magical Realism, not an SF. This story was the only one that bored me. It also had my only, relatively minor, reading complaint. The reader’s Kentucky accent is a bit off and sounds a bit condescending.

“The Crystal Spheres”
By David Brin; Read by Alexander Siddig
A very interesting, though highly implausible, story about a universe in which all stars are encircled by invisible, impenetrable, crystal spheres.

“That Only a Mother”
By Judith Merril; Read by Terry Farrell
Due to radiation poisoning, a baby is born mentally gifted but physically impaired. A disturbing, unpleasant story that is only marginally SF.

“Allamagoosa”
By Eric Frank Russell; Read by James A. Watson
Wonderful over-the-top humor. This story of a spaceship facing an inspection while missing an offog, an item no one knows what is, is a gem.

“Tangents”
By Greg Bear; Read by Melissa Manchester.
A boy can see into the the fourth physical dimension and a scientist helps him play music for the beings there. Interesting enough, but forgettable.

“The Nine Billion Names of God”
By Arthur C. Clarke; Read by Alexander Siddig
Tibetan monks have a computer print out all the names possible names of God with the intent of fulfilling the purpose of creation. Good enough but not even Clarke’s best short story.

“Huddling Place”
By Clifford D. Simak; Read by David Ackroyd
In a future with robots and space travel agoraphobia has become a serious threat. This story would have been just acceptable filler except for the fact that in this story from 1944, Simak predicts the internet, though he describes it in terms of a television with knobs.

“Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Diner”
By Lawrence Watt Evans; Read by Wil Wheaton
A fun, interesting take on the the idea of parallel universes. Certainly an enjoyable story.

“Fermi And Frost”
By Frederik Pohl; Read by Denise Crosby
Icelanders face the prospects of nuclear winter in the post-apocalyptic tale. A good downbeat story to balance some of the lighthearted stories.

Conclusion: This is a very good anthology. It definitely isn’t a collection of the best stories, but it may be the best collection of stories available. Highly recommended.

I started reviewing this collection on the expectation that it was out of print and I would have to recommend Amazon or eBay as a source of a used cassette copy. So imagine my surprise when a mere day after finishing it, I hear an Audible.com ad for it on Pseudopod. So, it is easily available for those interested.

Posted by David Tackett