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

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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

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

SFFaudio Commentary

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

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

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

Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax

Appendix N lists the following authors and works:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #278 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany

Podcast

The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany

The SFFaudio PodcastDowncastThe SFFaudio Podcast #277 – The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany; read by John Feaster. This is an unabridged reading of the story (11 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and John Feaster.

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Downcast, a terrific podcast app for iPhone and iPad.

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

Word Cloud for The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany

Game Of Thrones as Golden Dragon City

Masters Of Fantasy - Lord Dunsany by Neil Austin

Posted by Jesse Willis

Hour 25 interview with Jack Vance (from 1976)

SFFaudio Online Audio

Hour 25This 1976 interview was recorded for HOUR 25, a long running Science Fiction radio show broadcast out of KPFK, a Los Angeles radio station. I couldn’t find an MP3 version online, but someone has done up a multi-segmented youtube version. One of the issues discussed is author remuneration. Vance speaks frankly about how even though he is ‘quite an established writer’ in the field of Science Fiction and Mystery, he doesn’t have enough income from either genre. Other reports, also mentioned in the interview, point out that those SF authors (like Isaac Asimov and Lin Carter) who have made a decent living via their writing, made most of that money writing non-fiction articles or selling the movie rights to their fiction. Perhaps even more interesting, near the end of the interview a caller asks if Vance has read A Quest for Simbilis by Michael Shea (a sequel to one of Vance’s own books, it stars a Vance character). In response Vance says that he hadn’t read it but that he’d still given Shea the go-ahead to try to get it published when Shea had asked. Then he invites the caller to write his own sequel! Interesting eh?

Here’s the first vid:

A search of youtube will turn up the rest.

Posted by Jesse Willis