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.
The 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
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.
The 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).
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!
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.
The SFFaudio Podcast #277 – The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany; read by John Feaster. This is an unabridged reading of the story (11 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and John Feaster.
Today’s podcast is sponsored by Downcast, a terrific podcast app for iPhone and iPad.
Talked about on today’s show:
Saturday Review, February 4th, 1911, the secret story behind of all of modern fantasy, do you listen to podcasts?, our SPONSOR: Downcast, an app for iPhone and iPad, small size, big impact, location based downloading, a super-customized experience, audio drama, The Red Panda Adventures, Decoder Ring Theater, Downcast allows you to lock episodes, the key to understanding, the beginning of binge-watching, Sidney Sime, The Book Of Wonder by Lord Dunsany, its criminal that Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, a new podcast idea, Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, take up this mantle, Gary Gygax, Dunsany’s last champion, Poul Anderson, John Bellairs, Leigh Brackett, Frederic Brown, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, August Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner Fox, Robert E. Howard, Sterling Lanier, Fritz Leiber, H.P. Lovecraft, A. Merritt, Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, Andrew J. Offutt, Fletcher Pratt, Fred Saberhagen, Margaret St. Clair, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Vance, Stanley Weinbaum, Manly Wade Wellman, Jack Williamson, Roger Zelazny, let’s understand it, S.T. Joshi, “the death of wonder”, bullshit, the inaccessibility of our fantasies, did the Arabic man see Golden Dragon City?, wouldn’t we see something different?, “the magi”, the Scheherazade salesman, its about writing fantasy, its about reading fantasy, reading life and real life, getting addicted to Game Of Thrones, it seems like it is about television, serial fiction, the August days are growing shorter, winter is coming, George R.R. Martin, prose poems, deft brushstrokes, a more devastating fairy tale, is the window a metaphor within that world, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, the yellow robes, mood and temperament, what would Oprah see?, a soap opera, silent pictures, the constellations, The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, science fiction, Jesse’s pet theory on the opening credit sequence of Game Of Thrones, the four houses, dragons and bears, orrery, Ptolemy vs. Copernicus, epicycles, orbital clockworks, Ringworld by Larry Niven, the inside of a Dyson sphere, Westeros, a fish-eye lens, a D&D style hex system, the mechanistic unplaying of the plot, it’s not a half-assed Tolkien, HBO, a metaphor for The Wonderful Window, maybe it’s a bowl?, a fantastically wealthy Lannister home?, that guy’s based on The Kingpin, credit sequence, Dexter‘s morning routine, murdering coffee, “oh my god it’s over”, envisioning greater lives, some guy in Golden Dragon city is looking through a window at 1911 London, Lion City (London), make it WWI, the zeppelin terror, had it been written a few years later would we not assume the red bear as Communist Russia, escape to the secondary world, beaten down into the proper shape for Business, capital “B” business, “a touch of romance”, daydreaming, a frock coat, a bookstore, “emporium”, Walmart as a soul crushing emporium, howling newsboys, the birds in the belfries, “the seven”, analogues for priests and nuns, dragons the most evocative fantasy animal, a silver field, what prompts the destruction of Golden Dragon city, Darkon (2006), LARPers, interesting, good, and sad, fantasy lives on the weekend, a cardboard factory, typical American upper-lower class jobs, religion, plunking away god-dollars, the popular conception of D&D, video games, Elvis’ hips, KISS, better jobs, Detroit in ruins, work, podcasts to stave off the rats gnawing, John’s gaming group, soul crushing and beautiful, Edward Plunkett, H.G. Wells, toy soldiers, the start of modern war-gaming, empire, “this dang story”, 14th century Hungary, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway, names, Friend, Spork, Carmilla (is a savory name), carnstein (flesh-stone), Mergin and Chater -> margin and cheater?, a used bookstore business is not one designed to make money (precisely), Chapters, the artificial love of books, the way Scrooge would run his business, the one room apartment, “tea-things”, we ended on a happy note, fantasy and escapism, there’s not much else past The Silmarillion, Elmore Leonard, Jack L. Chalker‘s last unpublished book, old-fashioned TV watching (no recording), “this window goes nowhere”, Mr. Sladden’s destruction of the window is better than had it been broken by someone else, the scent of mysterious spices, a breath of Golden Dragon City.