The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price

The SFFaudio Podcast #791 – Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, read by Ben Tucker (for LibriVox). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 29 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Jonathan Weichsel

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, July 1934, a lot of Lovecraft, The City, a nice little poem, kind of a Christmas story, a miracle happens in the winter garden, blooming flowers, holly and hollyberries, a little Christmas image, The Nameless City, one of his terrific stories, The Outsider, so sequelly, all the greatest hits, the pillars in Irem, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Festival, The Silver Key, a lot more, Hypnos, spheres of reality out in space, what happened here, hey I love you fiction, favourite Lovecraft story, a long correspondence, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, visit him in New Orleans, he had a car, give it a go, play with his ideas, supportive of that, Crypt Of Cthulhu, 6000 words, as he is wont to do, less than 50 words of mine left, keep the core concepts, the facets, the ultimate gates, very theosophical ideas of souls being reincarnated, scattered all through time, ran with them, the missing link between Dreams In The Witch House and The Shadow Out Of Time, everybody in the room in Carter, matrilineal related, a Sackville-Baggins sort of scene, not huge into Lovecraft, stupendous, they’re ok, the plastic and the dream world, weird cosmic, weird juxtaposition, more artificial in the sequel, you know what I love is character, the idea, a book about a guy who remisces too much about his childhood, does dreamwork, The Tomb, super-lonely and isolated, he is wrong, some aspect of him is trying to be another aspect of him and be him, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, am I not myself?, Harley Warren always dominated me and I feared him, trying to recapture golden youth, a startraveler and an immortality, is the guide he has a night gaunt?, what night gaunts do, maybe that’s even Carter, gone beyond the ultimate gate, he’s every character in the book, By His Bootstraps or All You Zombies, any females in this book at all?, yithians have no gender, a repeat of the scene with the camera in a different place, come with me, ok, ugly, at the very end, goes in a circle, Farnham’s Freehold, The Door Into Summer, he steals his own car, less time travel, about the frame, does it help the story?, okay but how does this Indian guy know this story, annoyed rather than made curious, disappointed in it, being a teenager, the lore, little glimpses and hints, it’s not a Call Of Cthulhu or a Pickman’s Model, very Dreamlandsy, Dreamlands 2.0, completely cosmic, drawing a lot of these ideas from, Philip K. Dick kind of cosmic encounter, Agatha Christie style denouement, Poirot, like Glass Onion, Randolph Carter behind the mask, mittens?, cheapens the other ones, The Festival, this friendly guy behind the mask, invites you into his house for Christmas, he’s not human, a King In Yellow situation, that’s not as good, mythos, some basic, R’lyeh gets a mention, nods to other stories, super-cosmic mystical context, awesome and terrible, not alien monsters, weird things in robes in cosmic hyperspace, a bit new age, alienation, cozy alienation, everybody is everybody else, a source of real horror stories, the new horror, the next horror, the greater horror, no evil here, the annihilation of ego and self, Ex Oblivione, a mini-version of The Silver Key, it’s great to be non-existent, thrust into a body once again, re-incarnation is the horror, writ large, everybody gets to be a king, more fanboy than it should, Lovecraft’s literary manifesto, a character based on him, we lose that in the sequel, it doesn’t feel like Lovecraft really, he’s made himself the chosen one by being such a prodigious dreamer, other people around the table, dividing the estate and getting the money, a more traditional narrative, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician, 1890, reincarnation, The Star Rover by Jack London, experiencing life on earth, his own past, nostalgia, other worlds and living on other worlds, The DreamQuest Of Unknown Kadath, going to space, 100,000 years, a rocket ship and cloak yourself, through other dimensions, astral plane and the ethereal plane, Hell is not down it is out, another planet, that’s what this book is, having fun with this, Randolph Carter is his stand-in, Samuel Loveman, bits added, The Unnameable, some milksops complained, The Loved Dead is so funny, mad recluse who was incredibly uptight, he seems like just a regular writer, good at selling stories, his interests are in here as well, loving time, a phrase that only repeats twice, the unknown outer sky, in the context of the story, about self-revelation, losing the amnesia that you had, an astonishing achievement, a lot of repetition, to make it more clear?, saying the same thing twice, a very similar form of repetition, when he went long, saga mode, it doesn’t quite work, less the sum of their parts, the structure of the story gets a bit too loose, a lot of action, not orchestrated, run to the end now, a torrent of images, when Jesse co-writes with somebody, not trying to steal the show, to help someone else, a fan boy, the Lovecraft legacy, Stephen King’s It, told through the mode of Stephen King, collaborations, The Mound, Zealia Bishop, bombarded with all these images, what it would be like to float disembodied through the cosmos, layers of reality, to what effect?, the same effect by having a montage, you don’t actually have to show it, flip between them, he does do this at points, I spent 10,000 years on this planet, pick one idea to develop, oh that’s a story I’ve read, an annotated one, this is a reference to some other story, I love you work, I wrote this thing, oh my dear boy, out of control, writing for me, writing for someone else, they have a hand in it, a failure on Lovecraft’s part, shorter, comic book adaptations, you’re better off sticking to the team, The Nameless City is so solid, it turns into The Silver Key, this is really good, an inherited view, that terrible biography by L. Sprague De Camp, the proper Lovecraft, not right at all, it could be Cthulhu if you want it to be, not a word misplaced, it’s building, where is this going, he’s gonna crawl out of here, at the end how is he even telling this story, some cop comes up in the park in the middle of the night and pokes a bum with a nightstick, sleep it off, fun things in it, cozy, not the Lovecraft that Jesse really really loves, a masterful self-analysis, an adventure with some of the ideas, the math stuff that’s in here, more successful in some ways, Magic Carpet Magazine, Spicy Detective Stories, Spicy Western, published in the 1970s, a renaissance in the 60s and the 1970s, I’ve got some new stuff, The Devil Wives Of Lee Fong, his lovely wives were really serpent demons, 1979, alive til 1988, either in Weird Tales or Oriental Stories, a much more felxible and salability, co-writing, Adolphe De Castro, a sudden scene where it’s actually good, back to the crap writing, since you don’t pay me, fix the punctuation and the grammar, cthulhu monster, competent, with great taste, more to be said, disappointed, don’t read sequels, maybe there’s something great in it, gonna forget it, missing that x-factor, that one is beautiful, true beauty in it, how much nostalgia is poured into it, that aspect, somebody from the past is trying to dominate you, that isn’t in here, Randolph Carter’s back because they don’t want Bag End to be sold, bodiless, using it like a magic wand, a lot in here, you don’t think of Lovecraft this way, such a different portait of the time, the 1920s and the 1880s, Steinbeck, The Grapes Of Wrath, the Dustbowl, makes you look at history different, one of the great benefits of reading Lovecraft, the reality that was his, the racism is what most people latch on to, some of that in them too, where is his power coming from, way more horrific, says the occasional word we don’t like, didn’t hurt anybody, very kindly, [Lovecraft Country] a way to get angry about stuff, this is beautiful picture, how cozy his youth was, for us to time and space travel, Providence, Boston, Randolph Carter was richer, a dilettante who can go on adventures, he had a car, there’s King Carter, Kuranes, to reign as a king, 11 beings from earth, 7 of them humans, half of those guys are carter (if not more), there is a gold piece in here, a cool idea, so filled out and so decorated and so checkboxy, collaborative works that are good, more responsible, just the premise, picked up and ran with it, more out of it, just doesn’t pull everything together, a structural pacing problem, heavy metal, heavy rock, ding ding ding ding ding ding ding, once it gets up to speed, gone to 11, no where else fore the story to go, after the cosmic voyage sequence, an invasive demon, great wizards, getting notes, a precis of the story, feeling it sentence by sentence, the descent, blind and then he see, revelation, all being told in past tense, one guy at the meeting, if you insist on proof I’ll give it, Clark Asthon Smith does this a lot, Sadastor, an incubus makes a succubus have a baby, everybody’s evil, they like evil, a flight of imagination, as a decorous thing, what August Derleth is doing, all connected into one big thing, the easy instinct, the Cthulhu Mythos section of Deities And Demigods, takes the mystery and delight away, take the dreamlike quality and make it plastic, one big pantheon, Abdul Alhazred, the more constrained, who tore Abul Alhazred apart?, the alligator cat bulldog people, it’s symbolic, his yogsothery, happy to contradict himself, built that in as a feature not a bug, the real bad boy was Lin Carter, couldn’t leave a reference alone, dim visions through the window, size, weight, eye colour and phone number, editorial introduction, an utterly amazing novelette, so far transcendence human experiences, titanic!, for sheer imaginative daring, the joint product, rejected originally?, some sort of fight going with Farnsworth Wright, a beef against Lovecraft since the beginning, not been able to produce a magazine, most of them are dross but you have to fill pages, competent but not memorable, everybody has their thing, if he could just bring himself to move to Chicago, editing a magazine of weird fiction, no, can’t do it, editing a magazine, the problem is he’s kind of broken, broken is a way that is beautiful, able to do some great work even when he has nothing to say, seeing greatness in other people’s writing, other than taking Lovecraft, in the early issues of Weird Tales, occasional gems from unknowns, fanboys and girls of Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn on the cover?, not commercial at all, wary of taking on the role of editor, rejecting stories by people he liked, not the same guy, he’s so fuckin weird guys, he can’t do some things, his first fictions to weird tales, take em or leave em, these are pieces of art, live on beans rather than compromise his artistic vision, the City Of Singing Flame, not a real sequel, a semi-sequel, Jungle Jitters, the Action Girls, a movie within the world of the book, rethinking a lot, this scene goes here, tedious busy work, that first revision is where the magic happens, Mr Jim Moon as a podcaster, more than the regular, the monster movies, 17 weeks homework, that one sounds great, wish there was a checklist, audio of Jim Moon stories into the feed, dabbled with writing, took stock, about 20 now, a new ghost story for Christmas, releasing them on your podcast, no spelling for these things, pioneering a lot of stuff, podcasts that come and go, the best of the 2020s, doing your own thing, an interesting phenomenon, don’t know what everyone else is doing, research, writing the music, coding and design work, coding and designing for your own podcast, chasing trends, a true crime podcast, BBC is producing another Lovecraft story that’s not Lovecraft at all, comedians get their shows announce their dates and interview each other, releasing your fiction through your podcasts, 3 shows released today, the audio advent calendar, The Signalman, a Commentary Club episode, most of December off, a lot of catch-up to do, transcribe podcasts, so much work already done, ghost stories, general weird fiction, a novel in 31 parts, huge narrative chunks, a cozy zombie story, Beating The Bounds, a Christmas sequel, Cirsova magazine, an anthology called Mighty Suns Of Hercules, write a few short stories, magazine credits, a fun way to get your stories out, Anvil Magazine, it feels good to get published in a good magazine, doing it very differently, Hypnobobs, 15 years now, scrolling back 17 years on a weekly show, The Adventures Of F. Bolger, the hobbit who stays behind, waves goodbye to the other hobbits, he goes shopping sees farmer maggot, gets some pipe weed, runs into some ringwraiths, they have a smoke, don’t know nothing about Mr. Frodo, huddling like it’s COVID, the other Hobbits come back and completely ignore him, Pippin and Merry are a foot taller each, a cozy story, a cozy fantasy, Thomas Burnett Swann, centaurs, fauns, nymphs, panisci, satyrs, and they all have sex, a professor in Florida, studied ancient stuff, most of his books were not published until the last few years of his life, 1967, archive.org, published in the U.K., compared to J.R.R. Tolkien, a connection there, too risque for swan, Henry Treece, The Viking Trilogy, viking kid joins crew of vikings to viking, a quasi-fantasist, The Green Man, 1968, sword and sorcery and savagery in King Arthur’s time, Piers Anthony, how can I make this popular?, a good amount of sex, cuter, funnier, a classical feel, more conventional, too weird for a lot of people, weirded out, uptight, A Spell For Chameleon, bawdy humour, grotesquery, ribald jokes, a coming of age story, you say people…, mythological creatures, everybody has a magic power, gonna be banished, exiled from the land, a classical setup for a myth, Joseph Campbell, The Weirwoods, laughed out loud many many times, there’s no way to read this without thinking its supposed to be funny, pure treasure, very subtle, an irony there, almost all Eddy, other people are allowed to write terrific stories too, Pity Me! by Bertha Russell, sex with the dead bodies, a Spanish lady had died, get the goop in, she fell on me and she was alive, I finished the job for you, let me tell you about how depraved I am, a tombstone for his writing desk, nothing funnier, got Weird Tales in trouble, pulled from the newsstands, Eleonora, The Canal, Everil Worrell, angry a long time ago, what Evan said, the tightness, more free flowing, it must exist, a PDF of The Green Man, unjustly forgotten, a lot of historical fiction, considered juvenile, caveman boy story, C.S. Lewis gets all the rest, no champion, the estate is defunct, get neglected, it’s not fair, treasure that’s hidden, in a limbo, we need more Henry Treeces, more Swanns, you do need a champion, Edgar Rice Burroughs has Moorcock, Nevil Shute doesn’t need a champion like Henry Treece does, little dog for a last walk, big snow, a good book, had a lot of fun with that one too, guy goes for a hike in California, discovers a weird spot, ends up in another dimension, a moth to the flame thing, more coffee and more sandwiches, discovering a whole other moth people and aliens, throwing themselves into the fire, The Bright Illusion by C.L. Moore, Logan’s Run, more Howard than any of them, that kind of fantasy, Lord Dunsany, so weird cosmic and trippy, an emotional core, goes to that cursed thread, Cultural Critic, 25 books that should be on every school curriculum but isn’t, The Gulag Archipelago, I think I can dismiss this list, 75 hours long, twitter accounts fishing for attention, not making serious suggestions, exercise account, makes fun of these things, getting his account banned, a way to have fun, 25 more books, is this a list this person has read?, Think And Grow Rich, Guns, Germs And Steel, a list of books, how to do 17 crunches, post a wrong answer to get a right answer, playing for engagement, why would you retweet that Jesse?, part of conversation we’re already having, this isn’t nonsense, more like hyperbole, every school child should read the history of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, a really good way to send links, things to scan, people to be on a podcast, Alex P., interesting tweets, manga mindset, good to be in touch, a cynicism that isn’t depressing, skepticism, Robert Ingersoll, that’ll make you cynical, a fellow who you can really see is not lying, Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, Ingersoll quotes, a Christmas Sermon, totally depraved, tormented in eternal fire, against organized religion, as an adult, how to deal with bad ideas, you literally have to learn that, why kids learn to lie, just like the sun being in the sky, child abuse, harmful and hurtful, when people don’t have full access to the facts, learn intellectual self-defense, people who are miserable, things imposed on them that they have no defense against, how gender affects climate and climate affects gender, everybody’s good at the table, falsities, Sylvester Stallone is frozen, goes into the future, Demolition Man (1993), people don’t know how to deal with violence, they predicted, the plot is stupid but the world is quite interesting, form a cult and takeover the world, create a lot of weird beleifs that make absolutely no sense, cut people off from everyone else, very insular, dietary restrictions on them, bottom up, these ideas come from the internet, from the media, magazines and articles and tv shows and movies, I’m gonna be a vegan, comes out of vegetarianism, being closer to god, deprecating the body, animals are nice and cute, why should we eat them, you’re a meat eating animal, how do you reconcile this?, they might not know it comes from an animal, nobody says, meat that I slaughter myself, a slaughter house is really depressing environment to work-in, scream and die, somebody will lose a finger, that’s not the end of the story, just one thin that’s happening.

Through The Gates Of The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #767 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Charwoman’s Shadow by Lord Dunsany

The SFFaudio Podcast

The SFFaudio Podcast #767 – The Charwoman’s Shadow by Lord Dunsany, read by Michelle Fry for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the book (7 hours, 40 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Trish E. Matson, and Scott Danielson

Talked about on today’s show:
rhymes with rainy, mainly falls on the plainy in Spainy, the main character’s name, a question, was he Catholic?, set in Spain, a man of all seasons, both sides of the Irish civil war, his heart is Irish, seated in Ireland, historically wealthy and famous, kinsmen of a Catholic saint, a crosier head, a staff with a hook at the top, buck you to hard, quite a bit of Dunsany, Reading, Short And Deep, mind would wander away, caught up in his curly-cues of ideas, a super simple plot, The Book Of Wonder Stories, Wizard demands somebody’s shadow for services rendered, Jorge Luis Borges story, writing at length later, 1926, January 2023, more as the years go by, other public domain already, better at length?, the exact same content, soak in with a short, beautiful writing, Jesse doesn’t care about plot, it’s a good book, Trish and Scott loved it, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, Penguin Book edited by S.T. Joshi, he is quite good, excellent themes, where the plot went, Jesse had no clue, oblivious, she’s too old him, she’s of the wrong class for him, once he gets a look at her silhouette, Ramone Alonzo Matthew Mark Luke John, trying to help other people, being a knightly hero, spending time with the ladies, a very strong will, moved by pity, he doesn’t understand at first, misery, swears to help her, quixotic, the Spain setting, a Don Quixote character, young and doofusy, romances of other heroes, not a bad thing, choose your heroic quests carefully, Persuasion by Jane Austen, being part of this society, doing his duties, the Jane Austen structure, beyond this wood we set much by gold, beyond this wood lies error, evil magician, stories about genies giving us three wishes, focused on the wrong thing, the evil wizard that’s not so evil, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Northanger Abbey, a fun writer, her own genre, true with Dunsany as well, so many gems of Dunsany in this, the opening, meta openings, the image of the man crossing the landscape, talking to his dad, not playing ball anymore, son, you gotta earn some money, the priests have told you that money is filthy, for good crops to grow they have to have something filthy in their roots, the guy who takes care of our horses, they get paid once a year, we live on rocky ground, the father is wise, the sister seems to be wise, everybody is wise except for our doofusy young man, he’s just young, it’s great to spend time at the knee of Lord Dunsany, the master before Ramon Alonzo shows up, elixir vitae, resounding stairs, whatever the rats might dare, golden key, a lock he turned only once every thirty years, little curtains the spiders had drawn across it, alone with the Moon, age worn steps of oak, free from its foibles, unyoked by its causes, fresh and keen, the nimble alertness of youth, a well wrought rapier coming to its first war, feeling the new generation, the newer ones, refreshing, rattling to the older generations, cast off the generation he’s in and become part of the new one, interesting concepts, love the language, so many pleasant digressions to follow along with, sending out the shadows, far beyond the outer planets, the Lovecraft element, the torment that that causes, her name was Anemone, the narrator, she’s the main character, her backstory drives a lot of what’s going on, we would have recognized you, the house with the lit window, the money is long gone, regretting letting her go, such a great backstory, he’s lifting a curse, he tricked her into giving up her shadow, her youth and beauty, Duckweed, revealing of the wizard, above, he’s not in it for her body, he’s in it for her shade, certain demons have no shape, Ariel and Caliban, servants or slave, to commune with Yuggoth, what the gossip is on Pluto, the genre of this, clearly a fantasy, magic for science, boring thing: transmutations of metals, Chapter 12, had you anonymized this book, it’s clearly obvious who wrote this,

Ramon Alonzo pondered bitterly: he had sold his shadow for gold, and now gold was not needed.

He had not yet learned the whole art of transmutation. Would the magician give back his shadow?

And Mirandola must have her love-potion, and the charwoman have her shadow out of the box. He had much to do if his plans were to come to fruition.

Back he went to the gloomy room that was sacred to magic. “I have no need of gold,” he said.

“It is a worthless metal,” replied the magician. “The philosophers sought it for the interest they took in re-arranging the element. But the stuff itself was nought to them. They buried it where I have said, and have often warned man of its worthlessness; in testimony whereof their writings remain to this day.”

“I would learn no more of it,” said Ramon Alonzo.

“No?” said the magician.

“I pray you therefore give back my shadow,” he said.

“But it is my fee,” said the magician.

“I would learn other things,” said the young man, “for other fees. But this fee I pray you return.”

“Alas,” said the magician, “you have learned much already.”

“Of this matter nothing,” said Ramon Alonzo.

“Alas, yes,” replied the magician. “For you have learned the oneness of matter, and that there is but one element. And this is a great secret to the vulgar, who believe there are four. And doubtless they will, in their error, discover even more than these four before ever they come to learn that there is but one, which you have learnt already, and this is my fee for it.” And he stooped and rapped the shadow-box somewhat sharply.

“You gave me a shadow to wear in its place,” said the young man.

“I will make you a longer one,” replied the magician.

Ramon Alonzo saw that words would not do it, and that whatever he said would be verbally parried with skill.

“Then give me a love-potion,” he said.

“I do not dispense these things,” said the magician haughtily.

“Then teach me how they are made, and not the making of gold.”

The magician pondered a moment. It was all one to him. He had his fee safe in the shadow-box. He despised equally gold and love, and cared not which he taught. Some etiquette he had learned from some older magician seemed to prompt him to give something for his fee.

“Gladly,” he answered briefly.

Then Ramon Alonzo sat down without a word, thinking of Mirandola.

He had never enquired the reason of anything that she asked for. It was Mirandola, with eyes like a stormy evening. Thoughts passed behind those eyes such as never visited him. Mirandola knew. It is hard to say how the flash of those eyes swayed him. He never sought to know, and never questioned Mirandola’s demands.

“By the admixture of crocodile’s tears with the slime of snails,” came the voice of the Master, “the basis of all love-potions is constructed. Unto this is to be added a powder, obtained by pounding the burned plumage of nightingales. Flavour with attar of roses. Add a pinch of the dust of a man that has been a king, and of a woman that has been fair two pinches, and mix with common dew. Do this by light only of glow-worms and saying suitable spells.”

Ramon Alonzo, following the gestures that the Master made as he spoke, saw on the shelves the ingredients that he mentioned. He saw a jar holding attar of roses beside one named “Dust of Helen.” He saw two jars side by side called “Dust of Pharaoh” and “Dust of Ozymandias,” one of them probably Rameses. He saw a vial labelled “Crocodile’s Tears.” All that he needed seemed there; outside in the wood the glow-worms burned, and there were plenty of snails.

The lesson went on drearily, the magician intoning various spells that the young man learned by heart or believed he learned, and naming alternative ingredients that had of old been used in more torrid lands. Of the ingredients Ramon Alonzo was so sure that no mistake was possible; if ever he erred at all it was with the spells.

guided by the plot, really good movie or an episode of a show, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Rejected Sorcerer (aka El Brujo Postergado Borges) story, a trail of flowered footsteps, finally a reason for CGI (removing a shadow), the uncanny, Michelle Fry from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hints of irony,

Delightfully imaginative, somewhat similar to Dunsany’s blockbuster fantasy novel, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter (and published just two years after it), this equally entertaining, verbally voluptuous tale brings us in touch with the heraldry, artistry, and superstitions of the bygone Golden Age of Spain; with the magical arts of ancient times– alchemy, wizardry, potions, forest creatures that go bump in the night, quests for esoteric knowledge, use of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Catholic church’s war against the ‘Black Art”. Above all, Dunsany explores the many mysterious properties of shadows, and warns what havoc might befall you if you lose yours. Published in 1926.

ruminating on the word “shadow”, an exotic location, the rolling out of the panisci and the change of age, he went therein and the golden age was over, the best age ever?, silver age comics, a place he can set his stories, the wizard is doing philosophy, Raistlin from the Dragonlance books, much more playful, a curious music, the scurry of little things, all manner of magical things, all the children of Pan, landscape talk, the sale of pasturelands, the rocky terrain, why people go through forests, a fictional spain, Averoigne of Clark Ashton Smith, they lost their minds as should we, the girls ran screaming from him, in myth and stuff, Dracula, in myth, a spirit or a ghost, that doesn’t cast a shadow, demons didn’t cast shadows, shadow means soul, a shade, fits him with a shadow, a very sharp knife, our shadows grow and contract, the science element, the regular people are smart, a close reading of Lovecraft stories, the regular people are always right, communing with devils, all the rumors are true, what magic is, communicate with things on other planets, like a lich I live forever, because she’s had her shadow removed she’s not aging, Tithonus, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, a happy romantic ending, the shadow cast the body, flips what reality is, the shadow would take the shape of the body, very Catholic, working these idea minds, everybody in this book is clever, working information, Scott would love this book, so used to hearing confessions, set in Spain, we don’t have wizards in Ireland, wizards in Wales, the tone would have been different, exotic Spain, Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley, 1922, 1926, no excuses not to do it now, LibriVox, Ballantine Adult Fantasy, The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt, the Lin Carter introductions, not the world’s greatest writer, has good taste, an enthusiast, bringing attention, we can trust everything he suggests, publication order, The Wood Beyond The World by William Morris, 1894, an artist writing a book, the wallpaper guy, Scott is 55, hard science fiction, matured into fantasy, hard science fiction is simple and fun, here’s a big dumb object, what do you think about that?, Spin, they’re hard to make and hard to make good, Childhood’s End, go onto Netflix and type in science fiction, set in the future, heist in a science fiction background, the real what if kinda stuff, Westerns, watched all the submarine movies, these are old books that have stood the test of time, Shakespeare’s Planet, Invitation To The Game, how short it was, it says VR on the tin, there are still good books to be found, looking up a famous author that writes something you’re interested in, Dunsany wrote a ton, lesser works, In A Dim Room, nailed this concept, tricked me, what a gifted writer, knowing how to not overstay your welcome in sentences, the digressions are handled, speaking true things in those asides, there’s no lies in here, this is the way the world is, this is the way people are, descriptions of things, descriptions of rooms, the spiderwebs, she doesn’t clean the spiderwebs on the curtains, going back to his spidery bedroom, dust, dust as a theme, shadow is all over this book, a constant word, implying age, a magical component, dust can obscure, the one element, the essence of beautiful woman, simple dew, both water, master of many other things, the master of language, sit there spellbound,

“Never again,” she said, “never again. It lay over the fields once; it used to make the grass such a tender green. It never dimmed the buttercups. It did no harm to anything. Butterflies may have been scared of it, and once a dragon-fly, but it did them never a harm. I’ve known it protect anemones awhile from the heat of the noonday sun, which had otherwise withered them sooner. In the early morning it would stretch away beyond our garden right out to the wild; poor innocent shadow that loved the grey dew. And in the evening it would grow bold and strong and run right down the slopes of hills, where I walked singing, and would come to the edges of bosky tangled places, till a little more and its head would have been out of sight: I’ve known the fairies then dance out from their sheltered arbours in the deeps of briar and thorn and play with its curls. And, for all its rovings and lurkings and love of mystery, it never left me, of its own accord never. It was I that forsook it, poor shadow, poor shadow that followed me home.

fakes, I need a gimmick, how do I make this simpler, what are some basic things people can relate to, look at your shadow, kids goes to sleep, literally doing magic, her curls are being played with fairies, congratulated themselves and felt the need to never write again, thoughtful digression, so readable, as simple a story you can get, that twist, why isn’t he worried about his own shadow, doesn’t even have a name, it fits, the question, leaving the scene and coming back, we grow into understanding what this book was about, her shadow was right in the title, rummaging in the shadow box, I know who that is, we’re slightly smarter than Ramon Alonzo, the love potion, her suitor, the brother doesn’t doesn’t need the money, the potion goes awry, tolerance engendered, nurses him back to health, the switcheroo, expecting the reader to be wiser than Ramon Alonzo, not a children’s book, Farmer In The Sky or Charwoman’s Shadow, mature enough, a love potion for his sister and some gold for his dad, too mature in a large sense, the subjects, to sophisticated in its simplicity, what makes The Hobbit or The Lord Of The Rings fun, dragons, gold!, all the sodas, all the comic books, have you noticed how rocky our fields are, your sister isn’t going to dowry herself, stories of childhood, we were all once children, that incredible playfulness, so reminding of childhood, adults enjoy reading books written for the YA market, T. Kingfisher, Ursula Vernon’s A Wizard’s Guide To Defensive Baking, Loadstar Award, reading it to children, a book written for children that adults can appreciate, a Jane Austen knockoff, Jane Austen with Cinderella, hitting all those fun beats, an unconsciousness, the author is unwilling to confront this?, yes, keep your class, modern colloquial attitudes, that’s kinda weird, the answer is no, aiming for the feeling of those things that I like, comedic elements, horrific elements, declaring war against wizards, a class that gets blamed in the siege in this city, using discrimination against others, the presumed ideal audience has the characters slightly older than you, children’s YA, too good a writer, the disposable forgettable, material that we burn through early on, pick any year that you were alive as a person, movies that would be important later on, its iconicness, name it and the associations come up, I’m smarter than I was, noticing the author, John Carpenter’s whatever it is, adults in touch with their youthfulness, boring for kids, too digressive, indulgent, a suitable student, a stage he goes through, technically an evil wizard, rocket fuel is needed, when you take your dog to the vet, how he acts, just doin what wizards do, TV Tropes, affable evil, so focused on tropes, totally fun, every scene is full of tropes, it was all a dream, Shakespeare, 17 book titles, from other character’s POV, the priest’s POV, the dog’s POV, A Night In The Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, Smoke And Shadows by Tanya Huff, a shadow lord, possess people and do other things, The Silmarillion, how Sauron is a character, the ringwraiths are only shadows, without their clothes and horses they don’t exist, back to be reclothed, written for children, overlays a shadow, the shadow of an actual dragon passing over the water, some dwarfs want their money vs. make things right, the gold that glitters on the ring, the same idea mines, working real pure material, I want heists!, gay pirates on a heist!, Ronin (1998), international criminals chasing a suitcase, a McGuffin, these are great action sequences, these car chases are terrific, an opening sequence, a series of tropes, real attention, power corrupts people, we do need some money, son, fun stuff, why I think we like him, wizards don’t exist!, dealing with real themes, he does so much with a tiny idea, holding on to with stories like this, storytelling, since the beginning, something mythic and deep that really appeals, foundational, David Mamet, French action movies, Sean Bean, spies betraying each other, running around not knowing what you’re running around for, an action movie saying fundamentally we don’t know what we’re doing on this planet, being lied to by ourselves and by our governments, con-men movies, people lying to themselves movies, Homicide (1991), who killed somebody, a mistake early on, pulls the rug out from under, go back to basics, in a way that Shakespeare does, the big prop in Othello is a handkerchief, it all hangs on a handkerchief, swordfights, good storytelling, Wikipedia stuff, Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence, Olaf Stapledon, at their best at short stories, $165, 83 pages, Anamnesis press, so many cool books, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Julie Davis, 6 books, Mary Shelley has other books, a legacy that big, 6 books that were all great, modern Stephen King, Westlake wrote 60-70 books, a writer’s writer vs. a regular writer, low output, Ted Chiang, long may he live, he needs a good 75 years or so, whatever pace he wants, how can I help make sure he stays alive, would that help, send some vitamins, here’s a helmet, Extrapolation, inter-library loan, fanzine packaging, two dude contemporaneous for a period, both in issues of F&SF, a really long life, 1878-1957, Lovecraft was very short, a farther distant past, all of WWII, the Boer War, Dunsany was in the 2nd Boer War, Robert E. Howard died at 30, 4 or 5 feet, Robert E. Howard is at least double that, started later and had a way bigger output, commercial purposes, much rather be writing letters, I have a demon inside me and that demon must be served, you gotta kill yourself, an astounding number of Robert E. Howard stories, keep turning up new Robert E. Howard stories, his output was such, places he sold, trunks full of unsold stories, unfinished, finished by other people, Austen died at 41, unfinished novel, Emily Dickinson, Tor.com, Tales From The White Heart, Draco Tavern, The Black Widowers, Jorkens (Lord Dunsany), club stories, and Jorkens said, In A Dim Room, thrilling tales, I cannot be held responsible, a thrilling story of India, running away from a tiger, that would change the game, he can smell the tiger, the floor of the cave is very smooth, many paws for many years, you are talking to a ghost, he had me, he tricked me, he’s a good tricker, fables from the Fountain, homage, an anthology of British writers, The 9 Billion And First Name Of God, everybody loves those guys, Foundations Friends, The Originist by Orson Scott Card, loved and enjoyed, Farnham’s Freehold, Heinlein rhymes with grime, father’s day Brunch, playing D&D lately, the whole family plays, the starter pack, Dragon of Icespire Peak, more adventures in book form, that’s cool, in Hades right now, an Edgar Allan Poe module, pretty swordless, there’s a troll, The Call Of Cthulhu starter set, online group, I died once, how hard it was to shoot somebody, it went horribly wrong for me, how immersive it is, how into it you can get, during college, nothing, conventions, GenCon every year, a zombie apocalypse, a female scientist, military people, Delta Green?, I cooked the food and had long ago run out of meat and was using zombies, so immersive, a notch better than even reading a story, grow up, get old, kids grow up, get old, now you have to enough people to form a party, sit back and relax, good job, thank you sir, have a great day.

The Charwoman's Shadow by Lord Dunsany

The Charwoman's Shadow - HERRING

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The SFFaudio Podcast #734 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard


The SFFaudio Podcast #734– The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novella (3 hours 30 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Trish E. Matson, Connor Kaye, Alex, and Cora Buhlert.

Talked about on today’s show:
with changes, Fantasy, February 1953, Gutenberg Australia, some art, is that supposed to be Conan, always cleanshaven, he has a knife so he would have shaved, buck naked, a great costume, Conan has a hat!, Conan cosplays, a blue jacket with silver buttons, a lacquered hat, researching hats, 100 years out of date, a pirate hat, the Del Rey edition, Gregory Manchess, Irene Gallo, the comic adaptation, an adaptation of the L. Sprague de Camp, he never gets the hat, inferior version, more authentic and more Robert E. Howard, pirate sword, broadsword, Villains Of All Nations by Marcus Rediker, piracy in the golden age, Howard doesn’t care about piracy as much as storytelling, how terrible De Camp is when he puts his hands on Conan, respectful of the lady’s title, not within his character, he’s not a classist, protective not deferential, Gary Gianni, the pirate sword, full pirate, his hat is a girl named Tina, tricorn hat, not recognizable, not normally naked with a loincloth, armour, Conan doesn’t have its own look, fur diaper, barechested, entering dynamically into the argument, the manor house is the ship wreckage, not a cutlass, par for the course, a hundred years earlier sword in Conanland, well worth getting, original typescripts, great illustrations, introductory essays, the title, Treasure Of Tranicos, the appeal, which is the more Howard Conan title?, not evocative, Swords Of The Red Brotherhood, slowly over the course of a week, who the Black Stranger was, think of how many times some stranger shows up, also refers to Conan, three pirates, the busiest beach in Pictland, so full of coincidences, what? who’s this?, built this castle, there’s a black stranger on the beach, a whipping scene, some Pict’s head comes flying out of nowhere, black hair, black skin, Thoth Amon, gladly excised, a drinking party where everybody’s frozen, he’s having fun, he’s pulling a Rings Of Power, is this hobbit Sauron?, left as an exercise for the reader, he is the author insert, his clothes are described awesomely, stepping out of the shadows, Conan, who else?, Blackbeard, famous pirates stepping out of history, that’s the gimmick is going for, all after the treasure, the misunderstanding of what Howard is doing, I can fix it, a very abrupt ending, the comic’s ending, a bag of jewels, that’s when men of civilized lands want, the speech, I’m gonna go be a pirate again, the demon has been destroyed, finance a revolution, his Conan chronology, the story doesn’t need this, Howard didn’t care about the myth arc, it weakens the story, strengthens its position in the myth arc, de Camp is good if he does his own thing, he cannot impersonate Howard’s writing, his rewrite detracts from the story, a weird twist in Conan’s story, Beyond The Black River, he feels ready, maybe somebody needs to go fix this, maybe a year, runs through the Pict wilderness, off we go, carefree younger bloodthirsty pirate Conan, why he thought that, didn’t fit his character, a line of paperbacks he wants to push, numbers on the spine, collect them all, a way for him to make money, it’s better now I improved it, Jesse the Cimmerian, the Black Vulmea version, you might get sued, perfectly legal, the name change, Verezano, what August Derleth did to H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, all the stories are separate, the milieu, loosely connected, Jules de Grandin, a reference back to an earlier, “complete in this issue”, the promise, a Varney the Vampire, I hate waiting that week, anthology series vs. the appeal of series, sold out that week, massive problems finding copies of Weird Tales in Cross Plains, loose series, what happened so far, they’re the thing that keeps your reading, 3.5 hours, a substantial chunk of Weird Tales, Famous Fantastic Mysteries [or Fantastic Novels], too long, Red Nails was split, the whipping scene, Howard specialists, Bobby Derie, how absolutely terrified, an urbane cultured individual, a descent into madness, not very weird, supernatural elements, a historical story, a straight pirate story, unsold Kull stories, relistening to prepare, where Conan really enters the story (at the 2 hour point), The Cromcast, Rusty Burke, their pre-chat is at the beginning, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in real-life pirates never buried their treasure, their whole deal, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were wrong about pirates, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968), they live a brief life, they want some earthly pleasure, a very unrealistic portrayal of pirates of the golden age, Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser, they wenched, it they drank it, the ISIS flag, found family vs. war against the world, anti-slavery, becoming a free man, they’re going to want to have me as a captain, a captain is elected, democracy and everybody having their share, they need me for navigation, Conan is not a class guy, he’s a race guy, in Queen Of The Black Coast, we get it wrong, she rules the seas, worshiped of the goddess, Valeria is another pirate, like Mary Read, a classic ancient roman dictator, The Isle Of Pirate’s Doom, quartermaster, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Master Of The Ballantrae: A Winter’s Tale, playing a game like in The Slithering Shadow, a gothic novel, supernatural seeming events, a giant slug monster, frog-monster, black heart, A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare, a coming together, sack of gold very small, woman on the arm, Tina is the hardest to explain story character, a prophetic gift, uncanny, what’s going on the beach, she sees, more plot device than character, a whipping scene, child characters, he liked children (not that way), Solomon Kane, The Moon Of Skulls, a kid he knew?, a Nathaniel Hawthorne sort of story, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a story set in a witch worried land, in the wilderness, the conception of a daughter out of wedlock, the scarlet A, why is that?, just a way to pad out the book, he’s read a book, what can I do with this, about men, our Duke runaway, civil war, no matter who wins the house and the land is saved, a lord who has runaway from his land to escape a demon, manifested, two demons, the collapse, Thoth is the black man, he sent the demon, in the comic book adaptation, a silver candelabra at the demon, in the original it is a silver bench weighing 100 pounds, what makes this a weird story is two things, the frozen men, the poisonous air, playing a role as in Nathaniel Hawthorne, the idea that people think there are supernatural elements, demons in the woods, Arabian Nights, folktales, the Mary Celeste, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, eerie circumstances, Beyond The Black River, just a great story, tacked on, otherwise Farnsworth Wright, sold into slavery, a juju man?, African voodoo priest, the central character, the game he’s playing, who is the central character, the count’s story, after he’s hung himself, the demon made him do it, tear him apart, if this was The House Of The Seven Gables, a a mouthful of blood, a curse on the family, something you internalize, externalize the demon, a slug/frog monster in the basement, an amazing scene, it might all of been in his head, kicking him into the fireplace, a superstition barbarian, knew the Picts pretty well, the shape of a man but the shadow was not that of a man, very against the Picts, he would kill us but he wouldn’t leave another white man to die amongst the Picts, the mythology and lore, in a cage in an toucan or eagle tribe villages, listening carefully, they’re neighbours, ancient rivalry, the Hyborian lands are basically Texas, in league with the Picts, you don’t understand , a feud older than the world, you know your enemy, traded from one to the other, tangling with each other, the Atlantean, geography is very important, Aquilonia is France, Nemedia is Germany, Zingara is Spain, Shem is Israel, Stygia is Egypt, do you have a map of the Hyborian lands, every issue of every Conan comic, a little splash of blood, just fucking terrible, Koth is south of this place, Bossonian Marches, and Poitain, a giant forest, a temperate rainforest, David J. West, bring to me your grey squirrel knowledge, a jungle off of France, it’s all Texas, get drunk and have sex with women, New Orleans, Tulane University, Cimmeria, Dark Valley, lots of trees so depressing, you bring your depression with you, buckskin, Hawkeye, Natty Bumbo, The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, the difference between Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, jokes written for an individual, not meant for publication for everyone, same stories same ideas, Robert E. Howard is like a sponge, his ideas, he’s doing somebody else’s work, Thunder River, a very Texas names, toponyms, character names, he doesn’t care, how much time did he spend on that map, exactly straight lines, why does the German border with France look the way it does?, it used to be the ocean, it helps dictate so much, one of the first nation states, the ancient inhabitants of Scotland, his overall attitude is exactly the same as the timeline, is the story good?, indistinctness, a really nice fantasy story, the maps in books is a newish invention, it’s Tolkien, the timeline, that timeline, The Phoenix On The Sword, don’t read them in order, Conan Of The Isles, a finite amount of time, so many adventures that happened, there can always be more, it’s mythical rather than historical, Conan is an old guy in a tavern telling stories about his life, I was king of Aquilonia once, listening to old frontierspeople, P. Schuyler Miller’s Probable Outline Of Conan’s Career, savage sword is in this, very broad strokes, and then an age of man passed, story notes, Almuric, a massive infodump, four or five pages of explaining, the decamp rewrite, connects us to the next story and the next book, extrapolation, in the fur diaper every single time, slightly different breeks, he’s hard on his clothes, The God In The Bowl, just stepped out of the cradle, climbs up a tower and kills an elephant and buys a drink and a hat, Afghulistan, silk, knee-breeches, a gay pride parade, made up by Frank Frazetta, he was really good at it, Margaret Brundage’s Conan looks malnourished, default D&D barbarian, we forget how little people read Howard, a long stretch where he wasn’t a thing, Frazetta, De Camp, and Lin Carter, the comics, a little Gnome Press, Lancer and Ace, the comics define that image, as opposed to the text, how excited Savage Sword Of Conan readers, the Conan movie is coming, he’s got a broadsword, a fur diaper, his super-hero costume, the S on his shirt, the underwear, and a cape, cowl with ears, serial, something we never see in American television, Doctor Who, film serials, The Lone Ranger, 52 episodes a season, they never connect, Batman (the Adam West TV show), two-parter, 77 Sunset Strip, Babylon 5‘s serialized arc, Twin Peaks was a weird fiction soap opera, a soap opera, hyper-reality, sexual molestation, deep horror, heavy for today, a father molests his daughter, L.A. Law, a crime drama, final exam, eating crisps, back to the story, the things that make this story work, how stories should be, people think that they can fix it, let me tell you how to open a story, before chapter one, the log walls of the manor walls he had built, his hard earned security, where the darkness seemed thicker than elsewhere, limp with damp sweat, a bluish glow, even in his swoon, what does that add to the story?, Conan fans, oh, it’s a conan story, having Conan in it, Beyond The Black River, Wolves Beyond The Border, Valeria, The People Of The Black Circle, posthumous collaborations with Robert E. Howard, August Derleth’s career, a tension between the audience, a fan petition to reshoot the ending of a movie, what we want from Conan or Robert E. Howard stories, all the arguing and infighting, two different pirates, some kind of code, what is a truce?, I have a ship, how are we going to resolve this, the cabbage, wolf, and sheep, other people reacting to Conan, I don’t want you on my ship, you will to turn my ship against me, preconceptions, the Schwarzenegger movies, three terrible people, fascinating characters, Black Colossus, weird intrigue, Yasmina, doesn’t want to fight a bunch of wizards, letting go of your preconceptions, different than in other stories, more raw and less sympathetic, willing to take advantage of other people, is the character always like this?, The Hour Of The Dragon, written after, similar personalities, really cynical, not very sympathetic, you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, not sad about it, even the women and children massacred at the end, the young man and the dog, not even a likeable dog, a terrible dog, collect some Pict heads for the dog, the character we’re getting, younger, more selfish, the oldest Conan, among the first written, Zenobia the slave, a noblewoman, he needs to flee, go without me I’ll just slow you down, I’m gonna come back, I’m going to remember it, this honour, another adventure, that sense of responsibility, come back for them, the ladies of his court are being debauched by Nemedians, being King pushed him, The Phoenix On The Sword, this weird dream, I don’t care about all this king stuff, absolutely furious, horrible stuff happening, why the barons are not taking responsibility for it, did his personality stand out?, Queen Of The Black Coast Conan, he’s in pirate mode, they’re all in the game, the wildcard, who else am I supposed to root for?, sweep the board, Knives Out (2019) Robert E. Howard style, he never tries to take advantage of them, not very honourable, Pool Of The Black One, he’s done it before, washes up on a pirate ships, take over pirate ships, he’s first mate, Iron Shadows In The Moon, slave mutiny, go back to your villages, myth busted, Connor’s thesis, women and children without names, fairly innocent people, they’re all foolish because they followed this mad count, why it’s his story, that’s how we shouldn’t read it, the Jeremy Brett adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, they opened almost every episode NOT with Sherlock Holmes, consultation, when Conan Doyle gets tired of Sherlock Holmes stories, weirder, where Watson is almost the only character, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, 221 Baker St., we see some weird things happen, that preview is saying “this is the important part”, what makes series popular, The Twilight Zone, an amazing afterlife, as the reboots have shown, a serialized mystery murder series that sustained, an Alan Moore style iconic character, a professional entertainment show, we don’t criticise the author on stage, editing it for television, good writing, where Conan is reintroduced, two other pirates have shown up on the beach, being Weird Tales readers,

A man strode out from the hangings that masked a chamber door, and advanced toward the table without haste or hesitation. Instantly he dominated the group, and all felt the situation subtly charged with a new, dynamic atmosphere.

The stranger was as tall as either of the freebooters, and more powerfully built than either, yet for all his size he moved with pantherish suppleness in his high, flaring-topped boots. His thighs were cased in close-fitting breeches of white silk, his wide-skirted sky-blue coat open to reveal an open-necked white silken shirt beneath, and the scarlet sash that girdled his waist. There were silver acorn-shaped buttons on the coat, and it was adorned with gilt-worked cuffs and pocket-flaps, and a satin collar. A lacquered hat completed a costume obsolete by nearly a hundred years. A heavy cutlass hung at the wearer’s hip.

‘Conan!’ ejaculated both freebooters together, and Valenso and Galbro caught their breath at that name.

‘Who else?’ The giant strode up to the table, laughing sardonically at their amazement.

Conan The Salaryman, the favourite pronoun for Conan, the thrillpoint, those amazing reveal scenes, that word “stranger” comes up 18 times, “The Coming Of The Black Man”, a pretty good story, the best of the unsold stories, The Vale Of Lost Women is better, Conan fights a god, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Niord, Amra, The God In The Bowl, he’s playing games with literature, it’s time to do a detective story, Conan does Agatha Christie, an investigator, this mysterious murder case, a locked room murder, Mary Roberts Reinhart, the snake did it, The Speckled Band, Rogues In The House, Edgar Allan Poe’s Rue Morgue story, the monkey did it, sardonic, having fun making his own version of somebody else’s story, L. Sprague De Camp in fighting against the story, read the stories individually on their own, the order they are written, Man Eaters Of Zamboula, the best story of all of them, Red Nails, ambitious, it’s got a dinosaur, it’s got lasers, the laser wands are hard to beat, decadent, doing black lotus all day, a practice run for Red Nails, one big thing that shocked Jesse, railing against, pirate ship lay at anchor (full sails), always put gunports, we get this line, saw them drawing barrels of wine, if I had a hundred men, there goes a rocket from the red hand, they have rockets!, part of the argument that had been made, redone as Conan, part of the argument, the video comments, [Karl Edward] Wagner, magic or alchemy, even if they had black powder, a very modern term, feels kind of jarring, weird glowing gems, radium, radiation sickness, one city that developed way to fast, his version of The Time Machine, Morlocks and Eloi, evolution is real, shaking me to my core, a rocket from the red hand, Black Colossus, a practical pirate ship, a rocket store, Rocket Outlet, rockets imply Gandalf, the rocket passes with the sound of an express train, a football, Tolkien, a clock on his mantle, evokes westerns, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, the Picts are Indians, moccasins and tomahawks, Normandy or Brittany, toucans are not a European bird, grey squirrels are not a European squirrel, The Brain Eaters by Frank Belknap Long, the Mi-go, Robert Bloch, The Were-snake, a famous piece of art from Weird Tales, Clark Ashton Smith, The Isle Of Pirates Doom, a Poseidonis story, A Voyage To Sfanamoe, super-scientists the only island of Atlantis that has yet to sink, naturally, blind and deaf mute slaves, they fly off to Venus, they map Earth before they live, old men with five foot beards, evil twins, Dr Seuss like animals, one of them sprouts a flower from his hand, die painlessly, the whole story, they die horribly, The Forbidden Forest, becomes enflowered, monster flowers, the evil garden, organs turned into plants, he’s gone, a new Robert E. Howard story, wow this is amazing, Conan By Tweet, The Country Of The Knife, El Borak, Complete Stories Magazine, August 1936, every chapter has a title, a Jane Austen and Cinderella ripoff, super-classist, Keeping The Castle by Patrice Kindl, a YA, 2012, very well done, hate the stepsisters, some over the shoulder stuff, a feature not a bug sort of thing, Disney princesses, his character doesn’t matter very much, her unique goodness, the prince is faceblind, matrimony choices, she’s short, a weird feature if it is a feature.

THE BLACK STRANGER facsimile typescript

The Black Stranger - art by Orban

The Black Stranger - art by Orban

The Black Stranger - art by Gary Gianni

The Black Stranger - art by Gary Gianni

The Black Stranger - art by Manuel Perez Clemente

The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard

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The SFFaudio Podcast #687 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #687 – People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard; read by Mark Nelson

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 34 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, Alex, and Connor Kaye.

Talked about on today’s show:
when “the”, Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Savage Sword Of Conan adaptation, 116 page adaptation, feeling that text raw, the 1982 Conan movie is a really good movie, lifting a lot from this, it is all of the Howard stories, our counter hero is done with you now, spear through his gut, Thulsa Doom, come to me my child, the magic system, the snake transformation, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Robert E. Howard’s Greatest Conan Story, what you like about Conan, political wheeling and dealing, how to make your writing better, the three ways of viewing movies, the auteur theory, the star theory, the genre theory, Poe copy, looking for Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane, more paid by the word than usual, rushing through it, broad strokes and hinting, Conan The Buccaneer by Lin Carter and Fritz Leiber, cool intrigue, when the Devi, really good chess movement, Planet Of Iron Shadows?, Iron Shadows In The Moon, pirates, how the story actually works, three adaptations, Ablaze’s French translation, Dark Horse, Marvel’s full SSOC adaptation, gorgeous, atmospheric, action panels, covered in veils and things, trades clothes with the hill woman, smoky mystic, half naked before and half naked again, Alfredo Alcala’s inks are unfinished, John Buscema’s pencil’s, rocks are beautiful, scales and turbans and clouds of dust, the decline in comics, what happened to comics, Ablaze is muddy looking, sorta manga style, when they get angry people go manga, his proportions are wrong, he looks like a mutant, a cartoon aesthetic, not enough nudity, butt and sideboob, her regression scene, one of the best scenes in all of Conan, Skull-Face, “I’ve kissed ladies from Hell”, so good, the shell of the story, the Devi is on a revenge quest, Conan is trying to be a leader, admitting responsibility towards his men, the mark of a leader, Queen Of The Black Coast is run by Belit, Yezdigerd, why all of this plot is happening, agents, Thoth Amon, the King of Turan, gaining the kingship not administering the kingdom, betraying and intriguing, the names, servants of the seers, a little carelessness, action, Conan is very Conan, stupid magic belt, Yasmina, Evan shares a lot of Trish’s views, political factions and relations, who is loyal to who, that really long climax, the transformation into the bird, the forces of sorcery, decadent empire and barbarism, the class element, Gitara, what is Gitara’s motivation to convert Green Turban, does she really love him?, I’ll make you king, outside of her powers, you’re a powerful man, he could have challenged me, both baddies, they’re both slaves, Howard is ambivalent about a lot of things Evan isn’t, smashing elites, the individual within a corrupt society, forge an empire of our own, you’re powerful and I’m tricky, an underdetermined character, a Great Game story, Iraqis, pre-Iraq, Afghulis, Iranistanis, what’s missing is he doesn’t get to fight a tiger, giant snakes, giant eagle, Conan is never really in India, Kull fights tigers, a wizard dressed up as a tiger, a book of essays about Robert E. Howard, real geography, Himalayas, the Zaibar Pass is the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan, an El Borak story with Conan, is Turan Persia or Turkey?, the Vilyaet Sea, the Aral Sea not the Black Sea, Iron Shadows In The Moon, mid northern asia border with Europe-ish, Buddhist evil priests, The Nine Billion Names Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, they’re from the Mysterious East, out of The Shadow, anti-Buddhists, a Fu Manchu style Buddhists, red dust and blue dusts, prayer wheels, a perfectly calm, Buddhist sash thing on his head, he’s a lich, a lecherous lich, catch the Devi, the genre vs. the medium, it feels like a serial but it isn’t a serial, Flash Gordon serials, lets make this longer, feeling the drag, Vale Of Lost Women cooks, the ending is pristine, I’ve still got men, the dog attacking a guy is there to fill pages, a bunch of challenges, a boss fight, that’s how you get paid, a D&D module, the belt of magical resistance, Conan doesn’t have a magic sword or a loyal horse, its wielded by Robert E. Howard, the “Atlantean sword” shit, Conan fights a giant magnet, Conan fighting a polar bear, Conan has to fight magic because its Weird Tales, the power of evil wizards moving the plot, you’re to stupid to know what it is: $250 vs. $50, four parallel characters, Yasmina’s vs. Gitara’s third eye (her Bindi), the loss of vocabulary is palpable, “lambent”, pages of no dialogue and no text, great, good, bad, and terrible all on one page, three shadows and a nightstand, elf-style ears and facial piercings, its a reveal he’s a lich, no I’m just a man but I command demons, the psychological torture of living through reincarnation cycles, she’s humbled, household drudgery, back beyond the dimmest dawn, skin clad, looms, dragged, the bite of the lash, the bloody block, Alfredo Alcala, Big John Buscema, are doing it without reference materials, two words for throw, he hurl throwed, Savage Sword was the Golden Age, Roy Thomas, Ernie Chan (Chua), a decline and a decline and a decline, we think it is the character that we like, hard to sell an El Borak story?, some bias against going to places and learning things, Thomas Jane, handsome actor, a local sidekick, demons and armies and the , The Fire Of Ashurbanipal, Steve Clarny, Swords Of Schaharazar, Hawks Of The Hills, The Lost Valley Of Iskander, lost valley trope, The Lost Valley, Temple Of Doom doesn’t exist without this story, guy has his heart ripped out, modeled on the movies, some ladies in the jungle, snake footage, magic items in the bible, an excuse to go to India and China, visiting a place but not as tourists, the gross out scenes, presented with food that you can’t eat, Stephen Spielberg’s ex-wife is the kid character, Short Round is our viewpoint Mary Sue, the stupid and the smart the cool and the uncool, pairing Conan up with a bunch of regulars, Crom is a repeating character, why Evan is having trouble finding something to say, Howard’s philosophy is not intellectual as it is honorable, when confronted with the problem of her clothes are on, a man should kill a woman if she’s too dangerous, slaps her on the butt and she accepts it as a complicated, doing the monkey dance, how do I as an individual interact with the world, why Yasmina is such a good character, the Conan Destroyer princess, human beings acting in the world, when Green Turban refuses to die, you get him for me, ate his salt, Solomon Kane is insane and there are no demons (but he’s doing his best), I guess I have to use this magic staff, why these weird plots happen, doomed hirelings, they’re fucked and they know it, coming away with a philosophy of what his ideas are, how to live in the world in the moment, his feminist moment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as to Yasmina, a classist person, not thrilled to be slapped on the butt, an appreciation not a denigration, not a fan of royalty, The Hour Of The Dragon, Xaltotun is the best villain, plans, give me your horse and I’ll save you, we can’t get married, chief of the guard, there are customs, we’ll work it out, I have a very nice harem you can be a part of, she literally kills him, horrible childbirths in her retrogression, silly putty, she knew the agonizes of childbirth, Solitude Of Self, individual struggle with nature that women experience but men don’t, Russian roulette, Robert E. Howard is not wedded to Conan the way we are, the last set of stories were Conan tales, had he lived, classifying his stories by character, that poem is really hot (or rough), Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, the star is the important thing, the new Dune half movie, a bunch of models, Dark Horse, people standing in scenic locations, no text scrawl, no banquet scene, the beats of the action, it doesn’t capture what is the story, the monster beats, Robert e. Howard philosophy infodumps, the descriptions, C.L.A.I.M.: Character Language Allusion Imagery Message, what is the message of the new Dune movie, Sardukar complaining about things, explaining the weirding way in a film, transmuting poison in your body, showing buffed up people, who wants to do a Conan story vs. who wants to do a Robert E. Howard story, thinking of the setting and the setup, marketing purposes, scenes, ideas, and philosophy too, a princess who has been captured by a cult, Thulsa Doom’s cult, Red Nails, Valeria, mostly Belit, The Tower Of The Elephant, Oliver Stone and John Milius, to string the plot together, the weirding modules in the first Dune (1984) movie, Conan isn’t a character in the stories as much as they are stories with Conan in them, a backstory, an unhappy brooding king, By This Axe I Rule, tidbit of philosophy, listen to the philosophers, he kills the judge, trying to connect all the stories together, they don’t really understand, it isn’t just swords and giant snakes, an individual with an unhelpful god, treat it like an auteur rather than a star, Quentin Tarantino movies in different genres, telling yarns, the fun action adventure stuff, an idea somewhere in it, how to relate to women, he likes hot women, rape and threats of rape, how to relate to the weaker sex, be a man about it, the barbarian from outside, the savage vs. the barbarian, his own code, the distinction Lovecraft didn’t get, he’s the Jordan Peterson of Weird Tales, a moral code, a set of attitudes, what is, a magic system, hypnotism, a set of tricks that they work, an illusion?, a lock of hair, autosuggestion, he’s not as afraid of them, magic works on success, D&D rolling a 1, illusionists, the dog outside of the temple eating the offal, he is defeatable, becoming an eagle, we needed a tiger, fingernails, how witches work in the real world, my penis doesn’t work anymore, somebody’s balls swelled up, superstition makes you more superstitious, people are suggestible, your milk goes sour, they can kill the king with a lock of his hair (when the stars are right), his cortisol levels are high, fleeing the village, Khemsha, stampeded by Conan’s horse, his magic doesn’t matter, stepped on by a horse, a knife is a hardy incantation, hey Gitara how do you like that ride on our air horse?, cloud things, whirling dervishes, Paul got his 3rd shot, Gibraltar has 130% vaccination and full of COVID, like a magic charm, if we are to believe the science, sympathetic magic, why things happen as they do, really ugly, an earthquake in Haiti is punishment from God, magical thinking vs. Jack Vance style spells, propaganda techniques, the Lisan al Gaib, fighting the unbelievable, his muscles are bigger, beginner’s luck, confidence in the steel, the riddle of steel, the hand that wields the steel, only this you can trust, surrogate dad (James Earl Jones), so deluded, the real magic, women going through the streets of England putting white feathers on men during WWI, an attitude as well as knowledge, be an empiricist vs. be a rationalist, spinning up bullshit, Plato, the gold blooded and the silver and the bronze, this person is a natural slave, a natural leader, what makes the Devi divine is that her dad was the Rajah, Yasmina Devi, Genghis Khan, a backwards translation, through myth and 10,000 years she’s a goddess now, revenge is her god, the audiobook is a bit hard to follow, what all the factions were and what they wanted, a slow story, the middle section, people reading this in the 1930s knew what lambent is, H. Rider Haggard, we’ve become illiterate, the minimalist and conversational style, for a low class culture, mass market, people loved it, Savage Sword has awesome vocab on every page, we know she’s sad and worried about her son because she’s crying, we need big chunks of text, narration in movies is good, trying to explain a complex, know then it is the year 10,191, plans within plans wheels within wheels, just read the book, the ornithopters are better, they should have been birds not dragonflies, the ornithopter looked like a hawk, so forgettable, the fur diaper, neat and not tattered, he brushed his fur diaper that day, not in league with the devil, Kevin Sorbo’s Kull movie, Red Sonja (1985), supposed to be a comedy, fantastic bad, that scene is in here, Evan’s podcast, the Robert E. Howard Lovecraft letters, Pigeons From Hell was adapted for Thriller, stars two white guys, a black legend (folk tale), sleeping in an old plantation house, interesting revenge (symbolically), more pathos to that story, Hansel And Gretel has a sense, people were acting badly, Almuric, one big chunk, restricted zone, some time next year, Klim’s Journey Under The Ground, in the 18th century twice, Caleb Williams by William Godwin, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein’s boy scouts gone wrong in space, revelry, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, Connor doesn’t live on twitter, deep and rich, lemmee give you this magic belt made from Stygian lady’s hair, Alex’s ancestor was convicted of witchcraft in New France, cursed her womb by cutting a piece of her hair off, convicted and exiled, killed by Indians, 12 more kids, 11 kids, he might have actually been a witch, Alex’s last name is “Lich”, in the family archives, a convicted witch, Joan Of Arc, what a jerk, villains in Alex’s family, When Time Turned by Ethel Watts Mumford, like Back To The Future without a Delorean, The Clock That Went Backwards by Edward Page Mitchell, Reading, Short And Deep, set in the Netherlands, written disposably, half of Wisconsin, really well written, a historical siege scene, all the tropes (from 1881), Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, The Ganymede Takeover, Benjamin Franklin, The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, WWII and boxing journalism, Henry James, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, trying to make it hard for you to understand, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, the Civil War, Stephen Crane, Walt Whitman, make bank, Jack London, Herman Melville, lunchtime upside down, Solomon’s Gold, overwhelmed with work, a month on Egypt, classroom management, the students disrespect Evan, dig into their computer, insane coworkers, Evan can’t out himself as a freak (yet), Ancient Egypt, bad textbook, Kufu was a cruel pharaoh, the poor didn’t need mummification because they were buried in shallow graves, its not a work of love, Works Progress Administration, I’ve been told that Biden is the new FDR, Walker Evans taking photographs of people working in Walmart and living in the vans, New Deal money putting artists and musicians to work, all the bridges were built in the 1930s, interviewing former slaves, giving money to rich people, the vaccine mandate is exactly that, government research money, an NFT game, blockchain, “we got funded”, it sounds like a scam, web 2.0 was a scam, Pets.com, why Elon Musk is so rich, Bezos sells servers to the US government, planting the seeds, omicron variant, Foster, You’re Dead by Philip K. Dick, booster shots in perpetuity, fear moves money better than anything else, you can’t mandate, a healthy response, the weird nanny state in Taiwan, the pet industry, pet nannies, licensing pet nannies, I’m an unlicensed pet nanny, you need the barbarians to sweep in, wipe away (some) of the old, clean up your own room (style of thinking) vs. communism will solve all our problems, these emerging men, you need to get your house in order, stupid when off topic smart when on topic, trad dads, interpreting the bible, funny Bible stories, a book of fairy tales, Howard is highly influenced by the Bible, The Song Of Solomon, three volumes with big print.

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Ken Kelly - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #17 - People Of The Black Circle

ABLAZE (Ejikure cover) People Of The Black Circle

DARK HORSE - People Of The Black Circle

People Of The Black Circle FRENCH

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The SFFaudio Podcast #583 – READALONG: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #583 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Talked about on today’s show:
1924, anglo-english? (anglo-irish), a famous fantasy novel, first Dunsany, put off by the preface, scaring readers away, the fields we know, don’t worry, apologizing, tounge in cheek, the narrative voice, “in our day”, a reflection towards the reader, who comes before Dunsany?, fairy tales, the Saga of the Volsungs, before Tolkien, before Lewis, before Robert E. Howard’s Conan, George MacDonald, like urban fantasy of today but not urban, The Encyclopedia Of Fantasy, polder, absorbed into fairy, the tragedy of this book, mixed feelings, a merging, a marriage, aimed poetry, when the witch creates the sword, as much magic as we have, all this magic and all that magic, a column of zeroes, the cleverness of Lord Dunsany, now you’re gone, a repeating motif or theme, The Wonderful Window, from far off Baghdad, the terrible bullshit job he has in the city, the way you get into the fantastic realms is through our world,

“Nobody can tell you about that sword all that there is to be told of it; for those that know of those paths of Space on which its metals once floated, till Earth caught them one by one as she sailed past on her orbit, have little time to waste on such things as magic and so cannot tell you how the sword was made, and those who know whence poetry is, and the need that man has for song, or know any one of the fifty branches of magic, have little time to waste on such things as science, and so cannot tell you whence its ingredients came.”

asteroid metal from outside our world, meteoric iron, its magical yo, stronger than bronze swords, an ongoing theme, clarified and made concrete, we wanna be ruled by a magical lord, be careful what you wish for, a Monkey’s Paw wish, My Talks With Dean Spanley by Lord Dunsany, Dean Spanley (2008), a visiting swami, the transmigration of souls, a welsh spaniel, the joys of sniffing, how he thought of his previous master, the reason Dean Spanley is a priest is his idea of master, such a good boy he was promoted, not a takedown of religion, reincarnation, not typical of his work, what he’s good at, poking ideas, the solid writing, that mythic quality, The Book Of Wonder, Sidney Sime, capturing lightning in a bottle, scenes that are like that, the characters are little dolls, the troll coming to our experiencing the fields we know, watching time, here’s our clever joke, the Pope has a unicorn horn, it all refers back to the preface, Italo Calvino and Michael Chabon, bemusing, a parliament of trolls, infusing the trolls with trollishness, Gentlemen Of The Road, a fantasy without the magic, a road movie, Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, Shakespeare’s Planet, Over The Fields And Through The Woods, the magic door quality, portal fantasy, the silver wall, a wall of magic, that final rune, the mythic quality, Elric Of Melniboné, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, every five lines or so, The Odyssey, rosy fingered dawn, waystations, totems, consciously doing, Don Rodriguez: Chronicles Of Shadow Valley, fields we know, the gentle waves, elfland washing forward like a wave, incredibly subtle, too deep or he didn’t put it in, The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap, The Silver Key, OMG this guy Dunsany!, the half-penny papers, talking about sports, projecting a kingdom on the landscape, camel trains, Hanwell, Bedlam, Arkham Asylum, “go to pretty bed now”, tragic, his name is kinda weird, Shap -> shape -> Lord Shaper, shap -> the husk of silkworm, the home for a transformation, a nice little story, resonances so strong, these stories will stay with you even if you don’t think they will, where does magic come from?, magic as a limited resource, why 3?, Orion, she wants some things, what is he coming across, he encountered a toy he had as a child, snippets of conversation, wistful memories like lost things, this foreign thing, what’s going on in the heads of the people, its made magical and she’s a witch, just three runes, Jesse teaches magic, too young for essay writing, spellcasting, connotation and denotation, the rule of three, threefold magic, it just works, and you can’t question it, the Three Little Bears in Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, its not falsifiable, politics, the magical words without any substance [Pete Buttigieg], nonsense poetry, the sounds, that repetition, if I tell you three times its true, he’s a word magician, a spellcaster, we four are already in this world, a bookbuyer, not a reader of The Sketch or The Smart Set, your terrible commute to work, that Ballantine publication, “Adult Fantasy”, all his characters are adults who live in a fantasy world somehow connecting with it, we’re not in the perfect position to appreciate it, Neil Gaiman’s preface to The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a rich red wine, trust the book, a true magician practitioner, Alan Moore can’t really believe what he’s saying, “I’m a magician”, sometimes the spells don’t work, ingredients/elements/components, you just heard it, there’s this powerful word you can use to solve your problem, training wheels sort of writing, when you uses this magic word, once per essay, the word is: “indeed” says “yes, I agree with myself”, its actually true, if you break the spell, Rumplestiltskin, names have power, true names, the original Lin Carter introduction, Beyond The Fields We Know by Lin Carter, the 18th baron of the ancient line, a 12th century fortress, among hills rich, William the Bastard, steeped in a golden legend, a sensitive poet, a huntsman, one jump ahead of the Nazis, scores of plays, volumes of verse, a complete translation of Horace, with a quill pen, Eaton and Sandhurst, a full exciting and adventurous life, he didn’t have to work, his last speaking tour of America, H.P. Lovecraft, spelling Edgar Allan Poe wrong, YWHA, tall, slender, erect, ruddy apple cheeks, a sloppy baggy suit, deeply moved, linked to greatness, the death of Tennyson, L. Sprague de Camp, William Morris, the single greatest influence, The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Dunsanian influence, Jack Vance, Jorkens Tales, Arthur C. Clarke, Tales of the Draco Tavern by Larry Niven, Thieves’ World, Lin Carter’s self-boosterism, the Appendix N podcast, he doesn’t mind telling you he’s read all these great books, Dungeons And Dragons, a long neglected masterpieces, May 1924, passages of amazing power, scintillates, into the twilight meadows of fairy, a high land near the thunder, to gather the thunderbolts, from under the cabbage leaves, a stylistic experiment of subtlety, the marriage was doomed from the beginning, welding the two elements, one of the last great masters of English prose, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, August Derleth, Lin Carter knew his limitations and was happy to be in the room, Neil Gaiman is a magician, tuckerized, the wordspells, Paul Cornell, what’s he going to say to me, he doesn’t know us, The Graveyard Book, now we’re selling it on eBay, a spiritual figure, this aura, the main character (The Sandman) looks a lot like him, he uses his magic for good, that level, test a thesis, the fantasy author who is successful is a magician, Philip K. Dick is a philosopher, an alchemist?, good SF is idea filled, Arthur C. Clarke is the most religious science fiction writer, Olaf Stapledon, Gene Wolfe, Doris Lessing, metaphors are magic, once you start arguing for not facts, whose magic better, can I dispel this with a word, magic is dangerous, making you think things are the way they aren’t, philosophy of science fiction, Hal Clement, a very narrow branch of philosophy, a great connection between mystery fiction and science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun, philosophy is the magic of science fiction, the magical thinking of SF, to broaden your point, a supplementary, its a better dig, I’m polishing up what you’re doing, distracted (not subtracted), the philosophy of science fiction, playing the role of magic in a fantasy, philosophy in its earliest form is science, lets look at this snail here, nautiluses, mushroom eyes, incredibly ancient and weird, another kind of magic, a way of knowing, the difference between knowledge and story is lore, not subject to the same rules as science, this is the way we do it, analyzing jokes, just keep using it, sometimes jokes don’t have a normal structure and still work, something profoundly philosophical in the way magic is used in this novel, tongue in cheek, making a statement about the world as it is, trying to convert people to his belief system, be enchanted with the world that we have, Dean Spanley as a puppy, enthusiastic, born a famous lord?, a beagle in a previous life, Orion playing a role outside of this book, he mounts a stag on his head, its the Wild Hunt, Herne the Hunter, Deities & Demigods, The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban, veganism, its a new movement, when Will came of age in 2005, vegetarian, the RSCPCA, he’s like a bad man, he’s not a common Irishman, he took a bullet to the head in the Easter Rising, everybody’s full of contradictions, the rich of the late 19th and early 20th, vigorous and interesting people, chessmaster, the Boer War, WWI, go into business, a strange phenomenon, Upstairs, Downstairs except fancy (Downton Abbey), a flourishing in people who have the ability to not worry about cashflow, we have it a lot more and a lot less, that enthusiasm is something we can have, a rising religion, a 1911 issue of The Sketch, The Smart Set, The New Yorker, Winston Churchill in the witness chair, a bank heist, a maxim machine gun, movies made out of it, explaining the plot, anarchists and vegetarians go together, Eric and Evan are also vegetarians, i think about it, something like that, a philosophical position, a following on, 19th century vegetarianism, vegan bodybuilders are a thing, a ground up, so many people who are not religious, the same kind of assurance, I wanna be a good person, what are the rules for me, all these guys at the gym buffing themselves up, when the cannibalism religion comes in the vegans will be the premium beef, so yummy, sustainable, the free range eggs taste better, from Lord Dunsany to cannibalism, out of elfland and into neverneverland, cannibalism from Jesse’s id, the thighbone of a materialist, denying the duality of spirit and matter, an anti-materialist novel, poking and playful, the ancient magazines, Richard Dawkins on eugenics (it could would work), people can go off, new proposal for assigning alignment outside of role playing games, he’s not Chaotic Good,

Historied Historian
Agendaed Historian
Agendaed Historian (Niall Ferguson)

Unlawful Vegan
Unlawful Omnivore
Lawful Cannibalism

Libertarian Buffet-enthusiast
Truly Principled
Polite Chaos-agent

“would you come out please, we need to burn your house down”, read his short stuff, The Highwaymen by Lord Dunsany, definitely against the Man, totally normal, an archbishop, from the ghost’s POV, on attack on authority and an upholding of authority, I’m a rich guy and I can tell these lesser people how to live their lives, sensitive to the needs of the working man, a duality and a sensitivity, the Parliament Of Erl, a misadventure, “the common people get ideas, women are voting, my god!”, the czar’s been overthrown, the result is folly, the alternative is guillotines, the mega-guillotine patent, Guillotine 2020, Bernie is my compromise candidate, how can it continue as it is, until the revolution comes, you can put it down, the British ruling class, hence their still having a monarchy, they’re still lording it up, because of that sensitivity, Churchill is a mass of contradictions, a lust and enthusiasm for life, he didn’t find a war he didn’t like, terribly outrageous, semi-competence and full competence, of you time and of your class, wearing a yellow vest, Kenya, second sons, respecting the lust for life, a more compassionate version of it, people are kind dangerous, a crow with a knife, crow with knife now reformed is father, bears, tigers are beautiful, mercifully killed suddenly by a tiger, the flourishing we see is in tension with the fantasy world, a new kind of flourishing not previously available to the common man, there’s a guy who knows where his towel is, a couple of Star Trek 2 cassette audiobooks, a tidal wave endlessly wave, a wall of magic, the killing of the unicorn, a narwhal horn, the death of innocence, the killing’s cool?, The Book Of The New Sun, Shadow Of The Torturer, hunters are obsessed with the things they prey on, the role of hounds and dogs, part of his vigorous spirit, PUBG is a murder simulator, the temptation to kill is very strong, a kind of fight or flight thing, this could be the end, not even the winning, a 100% real, that vigour that chase that victory, its built into your cells, the most beautiful thing and I’m going to kill it, the great white hunter, you can deny it, and it can be cultivated, hunters everywhere, transforming a desire to kill, that’s why they’re called shots, trophy hunting, undeniable, the hunter, Joe Rogan, you can be an oppressor and an uplifter, will-o-wisps, war, this weird conflict, venerable traveler, star naked, it was a troll that had tricked them, tricksters tricked, fairy tale creatures, a unified thing, so early, The Shadow Of Yesterday, ratkin, an interesting mechanic, the animated Return Of The King, Jesse would become a beaglekin, sniffing at gates and bases of trees and jumping over pots, Jesse really enjoyed the troll.

Ballantine - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

BB - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #456 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

Robert E. Howard's The Vale Of Lost Women
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #456 – The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard, read by Todd McLaren (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Mark Finn.

Talked about on today’s show:
Magazine Of Horror, Spring 1967, the worst Conan story?, his Conan career nadir, 300+ stories, 23 Conan stories, not 1/10th of his total output, 12 years, really interesting, racially objectionable material, worth talking about, reading it slowly, a good close-up look at the disgusting ideas, is it more sexist than it is racist?, so much sexism, point of a sword, Hyborian sexism, egregious descriptions, the comic book adaptation, three paragraphs vs three pages, an interminable extermination, a “slaughter”, letters to August Derleth, a historical incident in Texas, the abduction of Cynthia Parker, an epic 8 page recounting, The Searchers (1956), Breckenridge Elkins, The Horror From The Mound, the Kushites are Comanches with the serial numbers filed off, he Conans-it-up, ethnic cleansing, John Wayne, historical antecedents, cranking history backward 14,000 years, Vendhya (India), [insert colour of skin] dog, was this story meant to be seen, was it rejected by Farnsworth Wright?, Howard’s trunk, Gnome Press, L. Sprague de Camp, he Conan-ed them, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Argosy, Red Nails, money owed, the Zenith of the Conan stories, favourite versus best?, a claustrophobic feeling, Queen Of The Black Coast, Beyond The Black River, the guy that everybody’s heard of, rape allegations, Conan’s moral code, holding the guy’s head, disingenuous, gorgeous slaughter, hyperbolic-kinetic prose, even when he’s bad he’s pretty damned good, some exciting prose, Ophir’s analogue, Jeffrey Shanks, he just stole that, it sounds cool, she’s white he’s white and they’re in Africa, the valley women are not black they’re brown-skinned, beautiful and horrible, the Lovecraftian god, Rogues In The House, a monkey who puts on a cloak and becomes a man, when Edgar Allan Poe did it, monkey battle!, Thak (a demi-human ape), Worms Of The Earth, bad writers describe characters looking at themselves in the mirror, from Livia’s eyes, she’s the racist as much as Conan (if not more), Livia’s looking for agency, Livia plays up the racist angle, strikes a bargain, what the heck is going on in The Vale Of Lost Women?, turned into white flowers, Apollo and Daphne, “ravishers”, a suicide situation, lilies rather than lotuses, a dream-like state, fleeing rapists, no escape, a man fighting a god, some sort of a Nietzschean, many marriages, bridal raiding parties, did Matt ravish his wife, symbolic ravishing!, a beautiful token ceremony, that’s what you get when you read 1930s pulp magazines, overstating the fantasy element, Conan The Barbarian #104, a deus ex machina, turned into a laurel tree, a Shakespearean scholar, another attempt to pitch to Farnsworth Wright, an extra $25, Seabury Quinn’s low-grade bondage vs. Howard’s high-grade bondage, the lesbian kiss, Sword Woman, men coming together, the only thing between Jesse and Batman is a big pile of money, X-Men, Watchmen, not just a bunch of white people hitting each other, santizing the really offensive stuff, Howard’s really interested in race, different culture, spending time with people with different cultural interests, living his life, Age Of Conan, it’s not wealth accumulation, its living life to the lees, positive and negative experiences, black characters, Marvel Comics, Mort and Saul, issues 60-100, three issues after Belit’s death scene, the brown women on the splash page look exactly like Belit, giant mirths and giant melancholies, flipping out like ninjas, thinking about things in their context (permissible over the age of 40), ebony skinned and wooly haired, racialism as short hand, The Scrolls Of Skelos, The Nemedian Chronicles, Hawks Over Outremer, Black Canaan, very romantic, barbarism, anthropology, the 1982 movie, holy shit! this is awesome!, Savage Sword Of Conan, bloodier violence and sexier sex, the movies and Dungeons & Dragons, Appendix N, Barry Windsor Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Howard Pyle, beautiful city-scapes, divers hands, Roy Thomas, careful not to show the blood, that’s a dude’s head, showing a kind of real reality that makes you not want to join the army, Sgt. Rock, the comic text is incredibly faithful (and so are the images), fur underwear model, furry loincloth, he’s pulls off the furry loincloth, nude women and nude men, gossamer material clinging to heaving bosoms, if this was a writing podcast, this story is completely broken because it is two stories pasted together, a weird balance, Jesse’s looking at it as a balance between the male and female, an editors eyes, sword and sorcery randomness, even the horse is male, the “bed” of the valley, the velvet sward, going to sleep, The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, an amazing first draft, southwestern themes, 8 paragraphs of smiting and killing, The Hyena, “blacks” are “natives” in the Magazine Of Horror, “black sluts” vs. “native sluts”, “wench”, a doughy white guy from Texas, a powerful agent of change, keeping his own moral compass, throwing philosophy down, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune is a Philip K. Dick story with King Kull, “women are as cheap as plantains in this land and their willingness or unwillingness matters as little”, “the human mind clings unconsciously to familiar values and ideas even amongs surroundings and conditions alien and unrelated to those environs to which such values and ideas are adapted”, pg 55 and 56, “She was stunned by the realization that nothing hinged upon her at all. She could not move men as pawns in a game. She herself was the helpless pawn.”, absurdity, “customs differ in various countries”, Conan is an iconoclast, part of what makes Conan so attractive, that would be uncivilized, “Truces in this land are made to be broken.”, “what would be blackest treachery in another land is wisdom here.”, Realpolitik, force is the only source of power, a way to manipulate people, “homestay”, the only power you have is what you can seize, the cute button ending, the ending of Red Nails, a super-feminist (in a certain sense), a “Red Wedding” situation, accelerating the pace, colour, he loves red and black more than white, crimson, limned, chiaroscuro, a poetic economy, drawing your own conclusions, “a flitting white ghost in a realm of black shadows and red flame”, Livia’s escape, “her toes sprang high”, Yakima Canutt, the Red Sonja movie, Jason Momoa, born on a battlefield, storytelling, Oliver Stone, “Fuck, that’s good writing!”, showing another Cimmerian is a big mistake, a gloomy place, from the darkness, a land of melancholia, The Tower Of The Elephant, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Sergio Leone, a walking “walking-the-earth trope”, it weaves its own spell, [Akira] Kurosawa motifs, Thulsa Doom, Conan The Adventurers, a sudden moral imperative, Conan The Usurper, the Del-Rey editions, the pastiche dilutes the amazingness, The Curse Of The Monolith by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, you can totally feel it, thoughtful discussion, defending Howard’s honour, a productive discussion, standing in the corner and taking notes, going in with low expectations, Mark’s challenge, The Black Stone, Worms Of The Earth, any of Howard’s humour work,

The Vale Of Lost Women

The Vale Of Lost Women

Roy Thomas - from Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 13

The Vale Of Lost Women - Conan and Livia

Posted by Jesse Willis