The SFFaudio Podcast #642 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #642 – The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hours 34 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Alex and Connor Kaye.

Talked about on today’s show:
Oriental Stories, Winter 1932, 9 issues, a spinoff of Weird Tales, G.G. Pendarves, Hung Long Tom, Otis Adelbert Kline, The Dragoman’s Jest, the kock-off Edgar Rice Burroughs, E. Hoffman Price, Magic Carpet, 5 issues, the Arabian Nights theme, historical fiction, what kind of stories they’re publishing, guys with scimitars, yellow peril, the mystical east, Orientalism, Australian stories, the land of upside down, the exotic, Outback Tales, Bush Tales, shaggy dog stories, time wasters, folklore, folktales, bush poetry, don’t worry Trish, North-West Adventures, Yukon Tales, Jack London made that genre, American movie productions set, I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven, the last frontier, She in the Arctic, that excitement about Antarctica, Hawks Of Outremer, Robin Hood, King John, the crusades and the crusader states, a lot of work, the research for Oriental tales was too much work, battle scenes, historical errors?, Saladin’s a real guy, a shoutout to Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, Swords Of Shahrzar, there’s a lot going on in here, the twist ending, why it didn’t grab you, Jewels Of Gwahlur, a completely different kind of mode, transferring information, giving what you need for what he’s going to do, we need a map, El Borak, The Fire Of Asshurbanipal, the 1982 Conan movie, Subotai is in this, Baibars, Gerry Lopez, Lopez, lifts from other Robert E. Howard stories, deep in your soul, make it part of your life, A Witch Shall Be Born, Hour Of The Dragon, Tower Of The Elephant, a Kull villain, dressed like a mongol, what happened to Baibars in real life, a king by his own hand, Oliver Stone or John Milius, there is no one Conan story, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit for this scene, giant snake, an amalgam of Howard’s themes and ideas, the wheel of pain, we don’t know who the hero of our story is, that mode, is the hero Baibars, its a ruse, a castle full of Arabs, “this is a ruse”, this is a trick, the trick happened earlier, not a mystery exactly, we’re not supposed to know, our reveal is a supposition of reality, Haroun, Harold Lamb, why it feels like it doesn’t work, our Irish lord fleeing despair in Europe for relief in the east, a historical supposition, he’s making an argument, the protagonist vs. the viewpoint character, rising around for three chapters until the plot hook, it bounces from castle to castle, all this stuff didn’t happen over night, what’s the time frame of this story, we need a map and a timeline, from Egypt to Palestine, the first invasion, the subsequent invasion, historical about Baibars, Kingdom Of Heaven (2005), the reveal was amazing, he was my taskmaster, I was his body servant, I hate that guy, I am not Haroun, a really interesting thing that he’s done, really impersonal, a bigger scoped story, the fall of kingdoms, Howard works best at the personal level, the undercooked personal level, the knight who secretly betrayed him, a prophecy, twice as long, the lady knight thing was so out of nowhere, that plot arc, a bit out of place, why it doesn’t work as well as Hawks Of Outremer, not much of a payoff for any of the characters, the romance plot ends in tragedy, it can’t be told from his POV, we want to want him to win, pulling itself in several different ways, everything that happens in it is historically accurate, a scar on his face, involved in many intrigues in his life, going amongst the people to spy, what made him such a rags to riches story, an indentured slave, the schools, a northern barbarian, blue eyed, pale skin, chopping skills, 1,000 sword swings a day, kinda hard to understate, he thinks of himself as an Irishman, him confronting the east, why the mongols were stopped, how come the hordes didn’t take over the Arab empire, Baibars stopped them, he took a crusader state and teamed up against the mongols, team-up, wow!, the opposite of Saladin, Saladin is noble, Baibars is cunning, quarterstaff, neither of us will ever be able to dominate the other, when our hero dies, that scar on his face like Kull, Howard projecting himself against a historical figure, an different kind of defeat, Cahal, kay-hal?, his kingdom is the dark side of the moon, he kinda gets what he wants: an end to himself, he came here because he couldn’t go home, he’s seeking death, you can’t defeat me, I see you as a fellow person, a terrible defeat for Cromac Fitzgeoffrey, he clawed him, the only way Howard could engage, more than the end he wants, western civilization will crush Islam in 1,000 years, talking with Evan Lampe about Robert E. Howard’s letters to H.P. Lovecraft, within his stories, Lovecraft was never effected by Howard, Howard was very effected by Lovecraft, barbarians, barbarianism is the norm (not civilization), putting myself up against any historical figure, an intellectual heavyweight from a small town, such an insight into Howard’s psychology, the technical need, it isn’t a classic of Robert E. Howard, the scimitar with the scarlet flying, the babies being spitted, the bar fight, the Roy Thomas written Savage Swords, it doesn’t flow in the way we want it to, another way to do it, unless he abandons the thesis, the Irish viewpoint character, when the Mongols hit eastern Europe, these sons of slaves, disinherited before he was born, dies of a poisoning not meant for him, Haroun, Baibars is not the leader of Egypt, he’s not yet the leader of Egypt, info dump drops are 100% accurate, all these kingdoms, the Syrians and the Egyptians, imagine Canada trying to jump into the fight on January 6th, to get up to speed, who the sides are, relatively painless, if flows perfectly, the common enemy, a bit more messy, the craftsmanship, getting the writing done, the European inset, given the people he’s chosen to write about, he wanted to be as accurate as possible (or so it seems), Conan wouldn’t react the same way, a kingly figure who is worthy, who is Conan’s greatest adversary?, not Thulsa Doom, a monkey with a cape, his own lust, a doomed character, a femme fatale story, he’s so bitter at the beginning so revealed at the end, uncharacteristically Robert E. Howard, does he notice her at the beginning?, he looks into the visor, pulled back almost like a woman, he zones out a little bit, a giant army is coming, we should run, the great oaf, a slender knight, a rough red beard, a Vanir, something slumbering, man, where have I seen you before?, shadowed eyes, a thousand racing chaotic thoughts, an almost womanish gesture of rebuke, distracted by the Odin swearing assistant, Howard’s red herring is literally red haired, the ending works for Jesse, why it is not THE classic of Robert E. Howard stories, with the reveal and the supposition, growing mustachios, Connor read this for us, what’s the time period, the final battle is 1244, a year, six months, time to grow a mustache, Jerusalem, from Cairo to Damietta to Jerusalem, with a bandit far to the east, at least six months, seven chapters, how do you tell this story if you’re trying to be accurate, Die Hard (1988), these guys are gonna hang out and have adventures together, Marvel Team-Up, Green Lantern – Green Arrow, Hard Travelin’ Heroes, these two titans testing each other, team up for one battle, the double reveal of the masked night, strangled by the concept, the thesis, make this story longer, a modern fantasy novel, a novel length story spending more time with each of the characters, impersonating a man, tell it from her point of view, Will really liked this story, Vikings, go back in time, cut people up, lets have a hitting contest, Christopher Lee is a pirate, the Spanish Armada, a punching contest, The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964), PTSD in those days, drink each other under the table with fermented milk, a character that we don’t understand any better having read this story, different personas to live their lives, shocking and amazing and why are they doing it?, a lot of disguises, Eleanor, trying to fix this story, make it shorter or longer, the Eleanor plot arc, make it episodic, chunks, Akbar, start, middle, and end, episodes, add in something in the middle, uncharacteristic, make baibars more empathetic to see something from his perspective, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, only technically true, different perspective characters (all Baibars!), a unique idea for a series of stories, could I beat Baibars in a fight, it would be a tie!, I would be his equal!, I would be his match!, overstating the case, the sub-thesis, 100 years later in the history, the crusader states are in decline, Red Cahal rode, Tyre, Jaffa, Acre, Hospitallers and Templars, the Teutonic knights invaded Russia and Poland, spread Christianity and stamp out paganism, to stabilize his rule, pay off his guys, keep the mongols out, the fading kingdom, suicidal, at least a year, full of difficult pronunciations, living by his wits on the edge of his sword, a predatory nose, a haunt of poverty, weeds grew rank, lizards, the echoing emptiness, no gaily clad pages, a reiver’s hold, how does a noble house go down?, it just takes time, arguing so hard with Lovecraft, really interesting vs. rousing adventure, a good miniseries, his femme fatale who betrayed him, too short for what its trying to do, more resonant, he had to do so much infodumping, skillfully done, Hour Of The Dragon, the downer ending of Hawks Of Outremer, the same setup, his brother is dead so he’s sad, a gracious enemy vs. a devious enemy, strategist, leading incredibly heavily on a romance, I’ve heard stories about you tell me if they’re true, different media, in a TV show, techniques, what Shakespeare does on stage is so what you can’t do, an audio drama would need a narrator, a text crawl, its setup a lot like a mystery, Dashiell Hammett style, going around and getting beat up to solve a mystery, a recitation of facts is not a story, Shanghai, Shadow Of The Vulture, the Siege of Vienna, Magic Carpet, Red Sonja, a revenge arc, first concubine of the sultan, that bitch betrayed all of Europe, a red headed wanton, down the road in history, a generic Howard guy, a Howard woman who never needs to be rescued, what the Jews and Syrians were wearing in the street, different Irish guards, this guy’s young!, Dark Valley Destiny by Catherine Crook de Camp, Jane Whittington Griffin, L. Sprague de Camp, a photographic memory, an inability to not remember things like dates of purchases, Marilu Henner’s memory [hyperthymesia], a major facility, he was 30, being towards death, Bill Hollweg, Edgar Rice Burroughs, part of the attraction to Bill was these feelings, racial memory, events in your ancestor’s past, a guy who becomes Conan, Jack London, the Celt’s facility with language, Before Adam, The Call Of The Wild‘s race memory, reverting to one’s ancestor, the definitive word, White Fang, The Sea Wolf, savouring, Jack London’s one of the best writers ever, as I’m flying across the street having been hit by a bus I’ll be screaming “I should have read the memory”, an eidetic memory, worth reading (at least once), expensive bon bons, don’t read every Conan story back to back, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the beats, 1995 – 2021, The Sowers Of The Thunder volumes from the 1970s, The Sword Of Shahrazar, Skull Face, the most racist, Howard doing Fu Manchu, an Atlantean priest, now Will is sold, a Famous Fantastic Mysteries podcast, Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, Almuric, something wrong about the ending, May June July August, Connor needs to do the one about the Polish lady, Leigh Brackett, doomed cult ideology, Outpost On Io, Chief O’Brien is not super-doomed, he likes being doomed, virtual reality prison for 40 years, oh I’m a robot, Philip K. Dick’s Impostor, the Gary Sinise movie sucks so bad, a giant chase sequence with Ice Cube in the middle, we like O’Brien, we know O’Brien, more Irish fated ill guys, other gloomy Irishmen characters, The Terror by Dan Simmons, The Coming Race, too long, another true story that’s been modified slightly to make it weird, except for the giant polar bear monster spirit, maybe that’s why the expedition was so doomed, tinned meat contaminated with lead, a supernatural element, the HBO biopics were really kind of depressing, real life is much harsher than stories are generally, spice it up with the fantastic it becomes more spritely and less dour, lets the medicine go down, the slash fiction, an archive of our own, they fall in love, some hot gay sex, grasping that pole (so to speak), take us through your inspiration for your story, where the slash fiction lives, post your own fan fiction, a good tagging system, Of Stray Cats And Lost Kings by galerian_ash, comments and kudos, rather shocking, the red cat is adorable, red head, its a metaphor, gold hair tinged with read, the Dane, Oh, and I love the bit about the stray cat staying,

What wonderful tension you hold here between Cahal and Baibars. It’s such a classic situation, but you’ve made it fresh and new here, and I particularly like your emphasis on a lack of personal hatred. I find myself sympathising with Baibar’s honourable patience and Cahal’s tussle with himself, and thus your resolution is both hard-won and satisfying. I did like the little details that worked to reveal each character, too – paticularly Barbar’s “let’s ride!”. What else would a warrior from the steppes say?

– on a completely different note, it was delightful to learn about Baibars’ cat garden in Cairo, and to discover that the cats of Torre Argentina and the Mosque Aziz Mahmud Hudayi have such noble heritage. Thank you for that!

what his name means, what was missing from the story!, the most Howard thing, Cahal was like a bear, the male gaze, male gay vs. lesbian stuff, some of it was poetry, the explicit lesbian poetry, explicitly lesbianism in Weird Tales, whipping and lesbians goes together, ruffled a few feathers, Gay Orientaled Stories, Spicy Tales he told, The Dragon Of Kao Tsu by Robert E. Howard, September 1936 Spicy and Juvenalia, Mexico, all over the world, its possible he didn’t even know how to swim, a powerhouse.

extras at 6 minutes so far

Oriental Stories - The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

Roy G. Krenkel, 1975 Donald M. Grant Edition -The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #261 – The Case Of The Wandering Red Head by Leigh Brackett

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #261

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Case Of The Wandering Red Head by Leigh Brackett

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Case Of The Wandering Red Head was first published in Flynn’s Detective Fiction, April 1943.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #589 – TOPIC: WORLDCON 2020

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #589 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Trish E. Matson, Evan Lampe, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about WorldCon 2020.

Talked about on today’s show:
WorldCon had some panels, Hugo Awards 2020, George R.R. Martin, 3.5 hours long, we love the stories but maybe on a panel, Robert Silverberg, Jeannette Ng Astounding Award Speech that won a Hugo, Alec Nevala-Lee on John W. Campbell, bottle of scotch, Retro Hugos 1945, magazines in 1945, rules for Best Series Hugo, Arkham House, hero pulps, continue the Retro Hugos?, Leigh Brackett, Clifford Simak, C.L. Moore’s “No Woman Born”, New Zealand authors, Sir Julius Vogel Awards, Vogel Award voting packets, where was New Zealand in the award ceremony, WorldCon is a fan convention, WorldCon is a party put on by fans that we get to attend, gravitation field has shifted, mispronouncing names, award shows in general, Hugos are often tedious, fanzines have been buried – now they are all available, DIY History, University of Iowa, Leigh Brackett’s The Science Fiction Field, lists, Pellucidar better than Derleth’s contribution to Cthulhu Mythos, audience for younger writers, affording new books, R.F. Kuang, Poppy War, Lovecraft Country, The City and the City, libraries, a 35 cent book should today be $3.50, successful writers doing Patreons to help ends meet, Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire, local conventions, S.B. Divya, Becky Chambers, “Run-Time”, “To Be Taught, if Fortunate”, Wayfarers Trilogy, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, afrofuturism, Who Fears Death, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, Tade Thompson’s Rosewater, 2006 Worldcon, David Brin, “Killer B’s And A V”, Brin, Benford, Bear, Vinge, Karl Schroeder, get New Zealand another one, WorldCon bids, Chicago, Saudi Arabia, not feeling safe to go places, Dublin, should WorldCon have some kind of minimum standards of safety for attendees or trust voters to reject unsafe places, Memphis, Chengdu, China, travel to the United States, always expensive to go somewhere when you’re poor, kudos to CoNZealand volunteers, con panels are like podcasts every hour, Prisoners of Gravity, Fritz Leiber, Kim Stanley Robinson, doing research, lack of recordings of panels, loss of oral history of the genre, dealer’s room, do we have to have conventions?, environmental costs, Olympics ought to have one Olympic village at Athens and use it every 4 years, face to face has advantages, any future bids should include plans for a healthy and vigorous virtual component, Jesse likes podcasts better, comments better on Zoom than in person because no hijacking, Discord was used as if it were the hotel, breaking news: panels will be archived at Toronto’s Merrill Collection, CoNZealand Fringe panels, Gary K. Wolfe, near future SF, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, The Population Bomb, near future SF tends to be cautionary, writing more positive futures, Joe Haldeman, F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, print!, the masquerade, Alec Nevala-Lee on feelings about award name change, a new Hugo category “Best Non-Fiction Work” where scholars can be recognized, what he is writing now, Buckminster Fuller, Syndromes short story collection, thanks to WorldCon volunteers.

Posted by Jesse Willis
Become a Patron!

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

Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The SFFaudio Podcast #351 – READALONG: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #351 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

Talked about on today’s show:
1953, Philip Marlowe, the long answer is no, The Big Sleep, “noir”, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder, Elliot Gould, abridgements, long or too long, spending time with the detective, forgetting about plot, Ray Porter, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett, The Big Sleep, the book, the 1978 audio drama (90 minute), the Japanese 5-part miniseries, the recent BBC audio drama, the 1973 movie, overdosed on goodbyes, this is not a noir book, typically hardboiled is with detectives, noir is typically not with detectives, hardboiled vs. noir, Greek tragedy, a basic distinction, poisonville, a certain lack of hope, the detective with a heart of gold, Mickey Spillane, the anti-Philip Marlowe, being more cynical, more punchy, twisted, he’s hitty, Chandler’s best lines, how many times “goodbye” comes up, see you in a line-up, you never say goodbye to the cops, this is just quiet enough, cynicism, he cares too much, do you ever get paid?, $1,200 in the bank, he’s got a portrait of Madison, “I’m a romantic Bernie”, “the smear”, coffee, the little wake, a mystery, remember that pigskin suitcase?, pigskin gloves, the central mystery, who murdered Terry Lennox’s wife, Wade’s wife, his test, I wish I could have killed them both at once, Sylvia, he couldn’t perform?, a more successful version of herself, femme fatale, muddled by drugs, a Linda Loring, throwing the suitcase, that’s the suitcase, Sylvia’s face, is that something Eileen could do?, she’s like the worst thing in her life, when you go crazy mad, caught in a lie, what about the blood?, we infer she beat Sylvia to a bloody pulp, why would she lie?, she wants to make it seem more real, my husband shot her then beat her, emotion and drugs, the 1973 movie, the Elliot Gould movie, the Q&A with Elliot Gould, diverged, plot and tone, weird and good, lighthearted and noir, script by Leigh Brackett (of Empire Strikes Back), a return to Los Angeles, Eileen is still alive in the movie, a conspiracy, Mrs. Wade is in love with Terry Lennox (and married to him as well), she despises him (or is she lying?), Eileen blames Sylvia for everything, the cool thing about this book is that it is very open, experiencing the mystery (rather than solving), just supposition, the mailbox, its almost as if the Mexican Terry Lennox doesn’t know what’s going on, a rotter from the beginning, what we read a lot of these books for, the mystery as the vehicle, Derek Jacobi reading The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, there’s a humanity to this, making different choices when in custody, Marlowe saw something in Lennox worth redeeming, if Bryan Alexander were here…, because it is a war book, huuuuhhhn, 1920s book by authors who survived WWI, which regiment was Lennox in?, the SAS in 1942 in Norway, taxi drivers and cops are vets, Chandler’s Marlowe is a vet, using the terminology, the one thing that is left unsaid, why is Terry Lennox acting this way?, his wife, he’s a wastrel, how the other characters react to Terry Lennox, the criminal in Los Vegas, Randy Starr, Manny Menendez, there’s no need, why didn’t you call sooner?, the reason he’s got those scars on his face, against my better judgement, picking up a wounded warrior, he does that for all kinds of people, Double Indemnity wasn’t fueled by war, where does that go into Some Like It Hot?, Terry Lennox is a bookend, pointing fingers and taking names, drugs and partying and corrupt police, why the analogy doesn’t work, the guy who’s not fighting during the war, James M. Cain, about rich selfish people who are wasting their lives, the plot, throwing them into relief, the contrast, seeing Terry Lennox lying on the road, what Terry Lennox has those scars for, the Japanese version, everything is inverted, he can’t be an American soldier, the enemy is the Russians, a different spin on it, dealing in the results of war, post-traumatic stress syndrome, over-the-top, over-saturated lighting, a lot of coffee, a comic book adaptation, answering unanswered questions, sympathetic, Candy is Julie’s favorite character, the war is central to the Japanese adaptation, reading it now, the first four or five Robert B. Parker Spencer books, The Godwulf Manuscript, a war novel, The Guns Of Navarone, The Lord Of The Rings as a way of dealing with WWI, talking about other things, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, what it was like to be in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944, it was like being homeless, hoping the supply train is going to come through, why is he getting drunk all the time, hidden secrets and identities, there’s something about Marlowe, a survivor of the war of life, the drunk tank, the POW camp, Chandler thinks this is his best book, taxi drivers reading escapist science fiction magazines, if I was in that kind of condition…, we’re all in the same army, just want to make things right, to try and set some sort of reset, fix things, once in a long while you get dead, a load of grief and a bit of money, stopping the entropy, why can he not have a normal life any more, it’d be reductionist to say it was about war, post-war USA had a hell of a lot of drinking, half gin and half Rose’s lime juice will still get you soused (a gimlet), autobiographical (Chandler’s wife was dying while he was writing The Long Goodbye), author talks, Chandler is showing us a complete look at detective work and all that it takes, they’ve all got a scam going, sold his soul to the company store, his journalist friend, working the problem, Idle Valley (where the rich people live), Marlowe as an ex-drunk, what the drunk-tank is like, the life of an alcoholic, Chandler had drinking issues, a recovering alcoholic, more coffee than gin, the 1973 movie scene, “let’s get drunk”, trying to find the truth, the F. Scott Fitzgerald connection, The Last Tycoon, more idle rich, Wade writes historical romance (instead of detective fiction), translating to Japanese culture, hentai, taking off the layers of dresses (a woman who has never taking a bath), hanging out with Wade, self-destructive not wife-destructive, he didn’t kill that woman, an incompetent femme fatale, might-have been sort of a hooker, Wade brought her out of the gutter, their Mexico is Taiwan, a period piece, he was driving an American car (left hand drive), they must have had fedoras and gimlets, a jazz version of, “it’s okay with me”, hash-brownies, Arnold Schwarzenegger with a mustache, it WASN’T okay with him, justice, Eileen Wade got to sit with it, dispensing justice, somehow it is the same story, in cahoots with the gangsters, political gain, why did Marlowe abandon Terry at the very end, re-question, red-herrings (or not red-herrings), re-framing everything, that’s how we actually live (unlike a Scooby Doo ending), I would never have come out had you not smoked me out, he puts stuff out there, I was in the commandos, you’re not hear anymore, as elegant as a fifty-dollar whore, prove to me you’re not that way, “that was the last I saw of him”, he had a chance to become better, wanting to see the truth done and the innocent people taken care of, detectives poke at things, there’s nothing inside, two empty people, one filling with alcohol one filling with drugs, both ruined by the war (or whatever), the perpetual human problem, what’s the hole that’s left inside, ya ya ya ya ya ya, full of really good quotes, Chapters (Canadian book store), this book is so much fun, [we quote from the book], one for Julie, one for Seth, a briefcase one, at the bar it was always five in the afternoon, Terry Lennox became a Mexican, a Mexican syncopation to his speech, how refreshingly unconcerned about political correctness, when a Mexican…, sooo racist, sooo genderist, it’s of the the time, the fact that he’s got a knife, a little more granular sense that he’s a little person, there’s no fake characters, heart of gold vs. cynicism, how far am I gonna go with this?, the way they dealt with each other (in the Japanese adaption), you would clean the war off me, a relationship of debt, subtitles with footnotes, the second time through, little bits of description, a bird chirping, the car was gone, a red oleander bush, a baby mockingbird, a single harsh warning chirp, birds have to learn too, priming you for all sorts of things, it’s rich, it works on more than one level, so much of their time, how much is a sandwich, drinking their night away, they didn’t think about it the way they do now, the movie Airplane!, he has a drinking problem, flashbacks to the war (WWII), out of context it’s hilarious, it still sort of true, we’re always going to have the cultural baggage, none of Jesse’s students know who the Flintstones are, Flitstone vitamins is an echo of The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, reading a book like this is kind of like time travel, tiny houses with orange trees in Los Angeles, L.A. Noire (PC game), the game reconstructs a huge part of Los Angeles, the Grand Theft Auto games, Chinatown, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, playing the game is kind of like revisiting that period, oh hey I’m in the middle of an investigation here, games vs. books, Robert B. Parker co-wrote the final Marlowe book Poodle Springs, Ray Porter’s narration, female voices, the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry, the Mexican characters, Elliot Gould’s narrations, nicely abridged, he’s a weird speaker, a Robert Altman movie, what is lost was all those Chandlerisms, a collapse of characters, well what have you got now, the movie starts with a cat, Michael Connelly, there’s something cool happening in that 3 o’clock in the morning, the cat abandons him, the cat is Sylvia Lennox, you can’t lie to a cat, they demand truth, the sunrises and the sunsets in the Japanese version, the colour of a sunset and a Japanese print, the things that they take, two BBC radio adaptations, a LIVE TV movie in 1954 (now lost).

Pocket Books - The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler - Illustrated by Tom Dunn

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax (from AD&D’s original Dungeon Masters Guide)

SFFaudio Commentary

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide by Gary GygaxGary Gygax, co-creator of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons added, on page 224 of the 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide, a list of “Inspirational And Educational Reading.”

Long out of print, but still incredibly relevant, this list of inspirations for the phenomenon that is Dungeons & Dragons, and role-playing games in general, deserves to be better known. There is a Wikipedia entry for the “sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons”, but there’s nothing like looking at the real thing.

So, here it is in it’s entirety, following it you will find hypertext links to the Wikipedia entries for the specifically mentioned novels and collections (when available).

Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax

Appendix N lists the following authors and works:

Poul AndersonTHREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
John BellairsTHE FACE IN THE FROST
Leigh Brackett
Fredric Brown
Edgar Rice Burroughs – “Pellucidar” Series; Mars Series; Venus Series
Lin Carter – “World’s End” Series
L. Sprague de CampLEST DARKNESS FALL; FALLIBLE FIEND; et al.
[L. Sprague] de Camp & [Fletcher] Pratt. “Harold Shea” Series; CARNELIAN CUBE
August Derleth
Lord Dunsany
P. J. [Philip Jose] Farmer – “The World of the Tiers” Series; et al.
Gardner [F.] Fox – “Kothar” Series; “Kyrik” Series; et al.
R.E. [Robert E.] Howard – “Conan” Series
Sterling LanierHIERO’S JOURNEY
Fritz Leiber – “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” Series; et al.
H.P. Lovecraft
A. MerrittCREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; [The] MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al.
Michael MoorcockSTORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” Series (esp. the first three books)
Andre Norton
Andrew J. Offutt – editor SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Fletcher PrattBLUE STAR; et al.
Fred SaberhagenCHANGELING EARTH; et al.
Margaret St. ClairTHE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
J.R.R. TolkienTHE HOBBIT; “Ring Trilogy” [aka The Lord Of The Rings]
Jack VanceTHE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al.
Stanley [G.] Weinbaum
Manly Wade Wellman
Jack Williamson
Roger ZelaznyJACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” Series; et al.

Now with regards to the audio availability of the works and authors on this list I have composed the following set of notes:

Too few of the novels and collections specifically mentioned above are or ever have been audiobooks. But, there are several that have: the two Jack Vance books, the Tolkien books, of course, and Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword is available from Downpour.com (narrated by Bronson Pinchot). Unfortunately very few of the remaining bolded titles are in the public domain. One of the interesting exceptions is The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, which is available from LibriVox and narrated by veteran narrator Mark Douglas Nelson.

Of the series, those are the ones mentioned in quotes, I recommend Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first Pellucidar novel, At the Earth’s Core which is available from narrator David Stifel’s site – we also have a podcast discussion of that book HERE. And we did a show on A Princess Of Mars, which is the first audiobook in what Gygax calls the “Mars series.” The audiobook is HERE and the podcast is HERE.

Andre Norton’s work is actually well represented on LibriVox.org, have a look HERE.

Several of Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” collections were produced by Audible, HERE. But several of the stories are also public domain and are available on our PDF Page, for turning into audiobooks or podcasts!

Roger Zelazny’s first Amber series book was once available with Roger Zelazny’s narration, today Audible.com has the original ten book series as narrated by Allesandro Juliani.

As for H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Lord Dunsany, we have done several audiobooks of their stories for The SFFaudio Podcast, available on Podcast Page, so that’s a good place to start.

Further recommendations would have me point you towards the excellent small press audiobook publisher Audio Realms, which has the majority of the great Wayne June’s readings of H.P. Lovecraft. They also have two volumes of Robert E. Howard’s “Weird Works.” Even more Robert E. Howard is available from Tantor Media.

I should also point out that most of the authors listed in Appendix N are now represented somewhere on our PDF Page, a page made up of U.S. public domain stories, poems, plays, novels, essays and comics. Please make some audiobooks, audio dramas, or podcasts from them! We will all be all the richer for it.

Posted by Jesse Willis