The SFFaudio Podcast #653 – READALONG: Roadwork by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #653 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Mr Jim Moon, and Connor Kaye talk about Roadwork by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

Talked about on today’s show:
1981, 1977 was a difficult year for King, quotidian, repertoire, daily or ordinary, where he goes to the gun store, blow up your house like everyone does, contemporary fiction, talking to his dead son, contemporary drama, first Bachman, a decent amount of King, that mode of King, psychological drama, internal psychological state, King novels that are classified as horror than are totally mundane, Night Shift, serial killers, mob bosses, marginal aspects of society, somewhere in the horror genre, Henry James, mimetic fiction, Philip K. Dick’s non-SF work, a confessional, grapples with sanity, Kafka, Polanski’s Repulsion (1965), Graham Greene novels, Taxi Driver (1976) is a social horror movie, running with it, a destination, putting himself on that path, he couldn’t tell us, no good reason, the Why Bachman essay, share the art with people, a weird way of approaching things, The Running Man, Rage, self-banning, Seuss self-banning, utterly banable, more common, death by cop, suicide by cop, SWATing people, the van at the end, things have progresses or degenerated or gone down the road, an existential novel, a rare sub-genre, A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, like he did mushrooms, reexamining his life, crash the midlife crisis book, Fools Die by Mario Puzo, an overlay of magic, Las Vegas, meeting a girl, having a friend, smoking cigarettes, I am the master of magic, Falling Down (1993), so many things that are the same, he attacks the road, Nazi paraphernalia, just trying to get home, roadwork ahead, walking across Los Angeles, a very American sort of story, gang members, his mother in law, his wife and his kid, Robert Duvall is the police officer with his last day on the job, the major takeaway, fired from his “D-Fens” job, building missiles for the United States, the Korean shop owner, how much money the United States has given to Korea?, a black comedy, the same ending, the reason the road is being made, the government needs to spend the money or it doesn’t have it next year, Soviet Russia, the enemy is capitalism and existential angst, you know why he did what he did, King makes it incredibly plain, he fucked up, he thought if he follows the American dream everything would be good, a tumor the size of a walnut, his life is a miscarriage, his life is an abortion, this anguish, the terror of our own freedom, the burden of freedom, a space for freedom, Camus and The Stranger, he finds freedom, Connor’s interpretation, his inability to adapt to changing circumstances, suburban angst, this mentality, a breakdown, feeling the same way, dissatisfied with their own life, things were better before, spilled the beans, things used to be so much better, he’s a MAGA, he’s not alone, now I understand why school shootings happen, literally what happens, you shot my brother, the cigarettes, cancer sticks, the other cancer in this book, the cancer of him and television, television is under assault, he smashes the TV, the core of the love relationship of their life, working together in a marriage, the glue that holds him together, afternoon soap operas, Merv Griffin, the mediator of this family, Jesse’s mom thought TV is evil, all advertising is evil, the news is all propaganda, all cops shows are propaganda, reality is much more complex, sitting down and watching TV is not the solution to any problem you can possibly imagine, watching TV alone is really sad, a pixie girl, manic dream pixie girl, she’s on her own life course, the junior laundry guy, don’t go down this path its a trap, ask me how I know, she wants to watch Star Trek, it isn’t just Wagon Train to the stars, Lorne Greene advertising his new cop show, read a Ray Bradbury novel (or short story), its addictive and dangerous, the lowest point of the book is masturbating in front of the TV watching Merv Griffin and eating a TV dinner, The Mangler, Lovecraft’s the Cthulhu mythos, an industrial laundry, his first adult protagonist, The Long Walk, The Running Man, when King’s mother died (mid twenties), the folly of youth, a 20 year old getting into the mind of a middle age, weird books, mimetic fiction, Tom Clancy, what is the Soviet version of this book?, at the core and the target, I will advance in this career at this industrial laundry, his former boss, paying back the loan, this is why when the laundry is going to be taken apart, the overboss, I’m disappointed in you Dawes, chances of advancement, a decimal place on the spreadsheet, he’s the only one who can see reality for what it is in this book, the gangster, the dork and the fruitcake, what a doofus, why do I like a guy who I can’t understand, comes around to his point of view, the gas crisis, why am I listening to this again?, Ezra Kline interviewed Ted Chiang, the questions were bad, a good definition of why fantasy and science fiction from each other, science fiction has the potential to not be a metaphor, Kim Stanley Robinson, it isn’t some spiritual revision, terraforming mars, red skinned aliens on Mars, here we have a character in an existential crisis, there was an energy crisis, the car lot, he can sell the Vegas but no the Cadillac, rationing, being a trained dog, the Vietnam War, more roads for more cars, a stimulus, its infrastructure, this is what we’re going to do and this is a good thing, sometimes correct, incorrect for individuals, his house, his business, his marriage are being demolished, the bitch the gangster talks about, very instinctually awesome, what is Paul talking about, the same headspace, the school shooter kid, fuck you I’m not doing what you’re saying, Network (1976), the location of this book, stagflation, the boom of the New Deal flattened into a blah, a malaise, investment properties, cars in the garage, new TVs, October 1973 – January 1974, when Philip K. Dick reviews his own novel, some terrible author has planned out my life and put me on this path and fuck him, he was in the Poe society, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, The Outsider, Harlan Ellison, I want you to punch that Ticktock man, Logan’s Run (1976), late for lunch, The Roads Must Roll, a fictional city?, on the way to Chicago, Ohio or Indiana, the hitchhiker, so many themes or motifs, the electricity costs, at the end of the line, deliberate fuck yous, a 2021 novel, running around without a mask, coughing on people, his anger is not at human beings, a very Catholic book, he digs Catholic, all those lots, Methodist, fallen priests, the street preacher, Salem’s Lot, Wolves Of The Calla, goes to work with the poor directly, the society lady’s party, girls have to stick their dicks in people’s mouths, horror stories, new years eve parties, trying to heal the world, reins of power, fuck this shit, an excuse not to kill yourself, your body is going to rot, I can’t lie to you, he tries not to lie to people, this type of character is very very common, the original paperback cover, he’s the cop, the competent one there, he’s not competent at all, trying to find meaning, on a bunch of dangerous and bad paths, he inconvenienced some people, Jack Daniels, reinforce the point that he’s making, even the wife seems better off without him, the gangster gives him the green light is a more honest character, outside the system, that turning point, a shift between ordinary run business vs. the corporate system, the perfect artificial life form that’s alien, Charles Stross, Ted Chiang’s not worried about AI, self-interested individuals, people didn’t used to be as self-interested, looking at the bigger picture, looking long-term, a big amoeba, an alien life form, mindless fashion, a shift from direction, family, mindless, not run by anybody, a big audiobook guy, before Audible was a thing, Music For Pleasure -> Listen For Pleasure -> Durkin Hayes -> DH Audio -> out of business, paperback audio, to generate more money so you can expand, build an new warehouse, terrible mistakes, content Jesse couldn’t sell, out of the hands of a person, buying up whole categories and genres of titles, this happens again and again, nobody loves laundry, loving clean sheets, the hotel sheets, the restaurants, on time and clean, the technical reasons, too far away, the efficiencies, the gains in efficiencies, it was his family, that boss took an interest in him, cared about him, the cop is retiring, his daughter died of SIDS, daughter themes, I never liked you, the retiring Robert Duvall never swears, a corporate climber, a formal relationship, they don’t want a hassle, here’s your coffee, he wants them to admit it, they’re gaslighting him and everyone, this capitalist horror system they’ve somehow fallen into is bullshit, I just want to know do you really care, ultimately no I don’t care, when you get cancer and you go to the doctor, are you really sorry or is this what you do everyday, have a good day, wow, painful, invested heavily in the American Dream, now there’s stagflation and the dividends are not paying, the most American writer: Robert A. Heinlein, Stephen King gives him a good run for his money, the nitty gritty of characters and experiences, very subtle, if he wasn’t such a popular author he’d be the darling of scholars, masterfully done, all instinctual, a bit of a slog, how masterful King is with the internal dialogue, it continues to move, day to day, a forward momentum, a doomclock, the Tuesday afternoon that never ends, an acceleration towards the end, Paul started feeling better, just the audio, the text -22 and counting, D-Day, it’s coming, little details that fill in the questions, that party, his friend who has the party, nice language about tripping on his mouth, d r o p, why did he take that drug?, those trips are designed to break you out of whatever rut you’re in, it didn’t work, or maybe it did work, really worried about suicide, he’s lying to himself, this alternative life for him, almost like the cancer is in him, he’s got a compulsion, he’s on this track, a path of self-destruction, don’t take the mescaline, get yourself back on track, compulsively and unconsciously taking decisions, you’d be a really good bowler, he didn’t need to watch more TV, it told him lies, nobody else is obsessed with TV, a Kingism, reading everything, he reads people’s cigarettes, branding, obsession, N, more obsessed with brand names, TV is sucked, The Glass Teat, reading Harlan Ellison when you’re 14, an eyeopener, pardon Paul’s language, the Dickhead’s show on Galactic Pot-Healer, dudes getting a book, appreciating a book the right way is a kind of a tragedy, writers could almost make livings, all writers, Langhorn J. Tweed, Paul knows a lot of them, some of them are rich and live off of investment properties, the rare exception, writing TV shows and making perfectly great livings, the actual novel and short story writing people can’t make a living from writing, a book that wasn’t written, he’s this weirdo writer, somehow able to do the thing people were able to do in the past, a professional writer, doing something of value, a kind of despair that most Americans and most people under capitalist, Mr Jim Moon’s patreon support, something outside, a lot worse off Mr Jim Moon?, Skeleton Crew’s introduction, why’d you bother with short stories, Steve?, you’re a clockwork monkey, he wanted people to read the books, good job I didn’t kill anybody, you’re interested, it gives value meaning satisfaction, for the love of sharing things, once you’re forced to make it your main profession, I need to make enough money to survive for the next month, market research, you don’t need to read Heinlein, making something that’s marketable, a compulsion, the opposite of a recipe, an intersection there, the realpolitik of having to pay the electric bill, what will my agent and publisher accept?, tricky things, the expansion of the number of books being published, publisher merging, consolidating, self-published stuff, a lot of content, underneath it all you’re a sharecropper for Bezos, the mediums, The Exorcist, barfs all over the place, and the priest can’t help, the meta on this book is really amazing, no forums, newspaper, radio, TV, record players, book store, today we have, what are Jesse’s students doing?, League Of Legends, free games, streaming, an increasingly smaller medium, people still like horses, people needed to know about horse shit, short stories are incredibly fringes, poetry journals, YouTube and Twitch content, this angst has been transferred to other places, podcasts are still on an upward arc, novels are on the decline now, short stories peaked in the 1950s and are on the steady decline, novels are on the decline, has broadcast TV gotten better or worse?, we’re in a something else, the media people consumed, magazines are almost gone, podcasts producing classic literature, we’re never going to give up on stories, he’s producing enough, original fiction, audio dramas in podcasting, carpetbaggers moving into podcasts, how do I make money off of this, inventing podcast dramas, there’s nobody to check their claims, the media now work for the giant corporations/the government, all a conspiracy to extract value, they sell it to you in lies, everything will be fine, he likes his suburban home, wonderful, horrible, struggling with reality, he got bought out, this terrible loss of his child, continuing in stasis, he can’t move on, what he’s stuck with, while he’s been grieving, who is this guy he’s talking about, is he schizophrenic?, middle names, such easy flow, well that was a clunky sentence, Kingisms, literary style, a slightly different Bachman style, repeat phrases, song lyrics, Fred and George, TV characters, repartee, dialogue with each other, internal development or decline, these same touchstones, the same song, or brand, or characters, tons of reviews of Stephen King stuff in the booktube environment, 6 minutes on this book, books that should have been Bachman books, Revival by Stephen King, Blaze by Stephen King, namedropping Lovecraft and Machen, fifth business, carnies, the trope of the mad scientist, made it totally realistic and totally believable, a mad scientist novel, Cujo, makes you feel dirty, split authors, Seanan McGuire, Mira Grant, A. Deborah Baker, branding, in the introduction, never lying, why Rage was out of print, not worried about being canceled, not having it on his conscience, suicide by cop people, the power of TV and media to influence people, a New York Times podcast, true crime podcasts, true crime/journalism podcasts, Derek Chauvin trial, make money off the gruesome interest, The Caliphate Podcast, all lies, the OJ Simpson trial, seven dancing its, Lorne Greene’s new cop show, random thoughts, he’s being shaped by what he sees, flipping scene, a suicide scene, in 100 years, an academia we won’t understand, blockchain version of academia, blockchain degrees, Jesse is a heretic, how good King was at doing this thing, the psychological underpinnings, tapping into something that’s real, accurate, Paul feels called out, always on about going down to Mexico and shooting zebra, a good time, that place in Mexico, stocked, a planned experience, a simulation, how much time we spend in games, drugstores in the 1970s, a spinner rack full of thin novels, you can’t review this with stars, I give it 6.7 out of ten, how could it have been a better book about killing yourself?, needed more cops killed?, he’s not really that immoral, barely a crime book, needs to be done, he detonated it himself at the end, he wanted to blow it all up, if he had nukes, this explains a lot of people, that guy in New Orleans, 2020 Nashville bombing, Oklahoma City Bombing, Anthony Quinn, a copy of Bachman’s novel?, 9/11 conspiracy, a conspiracy by the government?, the moon landing conspiracy theory, reptilian conspiracy theory, ufo conspiracy theories, reptoids, Atlantis, L.A. tunnels, The Shadow Kingdom by Robert E. Howard, weird and weird fiction, its a metaphor, why it has power, the dragons of ancient european mythology, he’s stealing our girls, he won’t share, redistribute the wealth, Jack Of Shadows by Roger Zelazny, mentioned in Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson, Beowulf scripted by Neil Gaiman, hyperbole, management makes things seem fake, a McDonalds equivalent, his whopper, this is supposed to look like that, food commercials, they have to use real food, mashed potatoes in place of ice cream, its all fake, everything is an illusion, there is no such thing is death, if Stephen King wasn’t so good at writing he might have blown something up, he didn’t kill anyone, its wrong to kill people, we gotta be real here, people reacting against being lied to and gaslit, another case, the Killdozer case, Theodore Sturgeon, he built a bulletproof killdozer, Marvin Heemeyer, Kentucky is for school shootings and Colorado is for rampages, I think God will bless me, notes found by investigators, zoning grudges, sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things, found in an altar, he’s tapped into something real, smoke from a campfire at all hours, they don’t want to escalate it, he’s got a brain injury, live and let live, people can be scary, muddle through somehow, he wouldn’t sell, why does everyone think he doesn’t move?, his castle, the castle doctrine, this is your life, to move an older person is traumatic, stairs or access or neglect, a mental trauma, we’re not just physical stuff, the rational thing to do, its gotta be done, there is no person there, “mistakes were made”, who made those mistakes?, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the problems in the seventies was the government was interested in infrastructure, something we don’t hear as much about, eminent domain, the most obvious example of not letting people be, they want to bulldoze his life, his network of friends family neighbours, definitely Network, 6 killdozers out of 10.

Roadwork by Stephen King

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #632 – READALONG: Blade Runner (1997) by Westwood Studios

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #632 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, talk about the 1997 Westwood Game computer game of Blade Runner

Talked about on today’s show:
1997, Good Old Games GoG, PCs, old games on new computers, what style of game is it?, another excuse to talk about Blade Runner, very happily, years later…, Marissa’s introduction to Blade Runner and Philip K. Dick, a point and click adventure, first person shooter, make your guy walk across the room, a meditative game, Myst, King’s Quest, Police Quest, graphics, these are sets, its all Blade Runner, the sounds of Blade Runner, the mood of Blade Runner, its always raining, go through the sewer again, its still a story, still storytelling, replayable, 10 hours, a wordless walkthrough, somewhere deep in the operating system, a designer’s cut, different things that can happen, the sets are the same, randomized at the start, what you’re uncovering, replicant or not a replicant, Jesse likes being one of the horrible creatures he’s killing, Ray, the things we thought were cool in the game, the esper, so fun, so cool, the gun part of the game is the least good part of the game, the interactions, the surprises, moving towards a particular answer, NieR:Automata, different endings, work your way down, an ending you want, 13 or 26 endings, moonbus, shoot them all right before the end, good job slick, killing replicants, the ending from the theatrical cut of Blade Runner, The Shining, a happy ending, the weird fake happy ending of Brazil, drive off with the 14 year old sex slave gynoid, drive off with the adult replicant, drive off alone, the moonbus ending, a hard game to find out what you’re missing, unrelenting in a way games were back then, you had to know DOS, VGA graphics, the moonbus track, that can’t be me, wait a second I might not be what I think I am, is it a real dog?, we’ll see, Deckard and Gaff, little people, landed off the coast, that moonbus, a parallel story to the movie, a lot more world building than we see in just the world , for example the cheese, did you find the cheese?, real cheese in her fake jerked chicken, food and meat, Mercerism, everybody in this society must be vegan, animal murder, this game is a bridge between the movie and the original novel, the people who made this game paid fucking attention, Philip K. Dick’s other novels, robot Lincoln, We Can Build You, Clovis is the Ray Batty of this story, the actors, James Hong as the eye guy, Jeff Garland, Brion James at the Yukon Hotel, Tortoise? What’s that?, he’s only 4 years old, J.F. Sebastian, the movie brings back memories of the game, the wok restaurant, landing on the police headquarters, Tyrrel’s sunlit room, a lot of sewers, the music, the enhancement, the background voices are all separated out, very grainy, graininess, a whole “enhance” meme, a wonderful wonderful game, nostalgia, its too smooth, claymation smooth, 8-bit love, impressionism, they have the ability to do it another way and are choosing not to, more like a novel, more like a story, walkthrough vs. play, that’s what I look like, Blade Runner 2049, unresolved plot threads, full of cutscenes, form of dialogue, change your demeanor, Fallout 3 and 4 and New Vegas, conversation wheels, good cop bad cop random cop, the more options you’re given the more immersed you are, you can put yourself in there, look Marissa you’re in the book!, Ray McCoy, we just get into this when reading novels or playing games, away from Paul’s life, obsessively strange, a rat you have to shoot, frustrated or playing around, what makes it more immersive, we theoreticalize our own behavior in the real world with no saves, if I just rewound five minutes, somethings that humans do, an important and human thing, why stories are so important to us, immersive in a different way, mid-1990s cut-scenes, Mass Effect, Call Of Duty, get over with the briefing, saving, give kids computer games for school, sometimes bad things happen, I didn’t want to be a murderer of all these replicants, what good relationships are, can I take that back, a meta-consciousness, abusive to an animal one time, endangered by the narratives we tell ourselves, meta-cognize, a pretty terrible story, the immersion level is so incredible, I’ve unlocked something, I’ve got a lot of suspects, oh, I’m smart, notebooks and maps for video games, manuals, helplines, Zork, Invisclues, copy protection wheels, Space Quest, incorporate horrible copy protection schemes into the gameplay, Starflight, a black map with red ink, a level of writing very focused on making gameplay aspects cool, a little subgame, the arcade, Red Alert: Command And Conquer, games of the period, Street Fighter, a spinner flying simulator, a very old fashioned VR game, a Moonbus game!, The Electric Ant, other Blade Runner games, Blade Runner Revelations, fiddly, he’s got a bomb in there, Google Daydream, a revelation, oh I see how it went, great storytelling, point and click adventures, this format, solving a murder, you’re a murderer, corruption and double dealing, very noir, hunting down and executing escaped slaves, how vegan this society must be, we have to infer that there’s no shrimp, fake insects for fake snakes, artificial goat, artificial cow, simulated feelings, we’ve thought our way out of feeling bad, R2D2 and C3PO are slaves, restraining bolts, wiping memories, breaking up families, they’re droids, skinjobs, SJs, time in a movie is immersive, that extra length of time, you’re world is changed, you’ve had an experience, the re-playable thing, shifty or grumpy?, shoot them, a found family, the evil human who has collaborated in the destruction of a people, go with the replicants, they’re underground railroad, only one years old, empathy towards to these semi-living creatures who didn’t ask to be born [like us], Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, how are we going to treat other people, other beings, Jesse’s dishwasher is his slave, the more feedback we get from it, puppies struggle, The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks, uncovering, side-quest, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, spend a little time thinking about the construction of the world, its the world, the basic premises of what’s going on, robots to replace ecosystems, make everybody slaves, the euphemisms, retirement, always missing the pet-shop scene, fewer sewers, $10 on Good Old Games, the walkthroughs, its more like you get to stand on a balcony in Blade Runner Los Angeles, looking up All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) on DoesTheDogDie, J.S. Sebastian is vet tech for a fake animal place, very solid, Maggie!, ridiculous, clunky early videogame logic, incredibly passive in a certain sense but it doesn’t feel that way, the writers and executors of the game thought really hard about how to make it an experience and not a product, the faithfulness, wandering around the Bradbury Building, the soundscape is amazing, real-life locations, another medium, such a good idea as a show, different kinds of games, less story, The Last Of Us, good story is more important than almost anything else, PC Gamer magazine, Gary Whitta, Star Wars: Rogue One, Denzel Washington, The Book Of Eli, meditating on what good storytelling is in games, how to make the story really interesting for your participating audience, why is this story good?, narrative design in video games, hearing game designers talk about story, the audience’s mind, pushing essay writing, more essays Jesse, understand whether the game is worth buying or not, writing designed to create interest in something, school uniforms are a good idea, Battle Royale Games are here to stay (or a passing fad), why essay writing is interesting, a form of expression, a medium, a whole cultural legacy designed to fill a function, being wry and sly and ironic, what the difference between an 85 and 86 would be, reading the article and seeing the pictures, show me that gameplay is the thing that it has, Sid Meier’s CIVILIZATION has the gameplay, playing with people you know, Scriptlock podcast, 2049 took inspiration from this game?, a few of the vibes?

Blade Runner 1997

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #415 – READALONG: Speech Sounds by Octavia E. Butler

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #415 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa, and Jenny Colvin discuss Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler

Talked about on today’s show:
Asimov’s Science Fiction, Mid-December 1983, longer forms, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, the Patternist novels, the scene on the bus, Parable Of The Sower, Parable Of The Talents, Kindred, Sisters Of The Revolution, The Evening And The Morning And the Night, disease, bio Science Fiction, the virology labs, Xenogenesis trilogy, aliens, breeding humans, public transportation science fiction stories, Philip K. Dick, Los Angeles, The Commuter, Ray Bradbury, The Pedestrian, interacting with the public, The Chrysalids, The Day Of The Triffids, The Walking Dead, how this world got to be how it is, slowly interrogate, her central thesis: civilization = communication, how does the bus driver get paid?, what percentage of the population died?, a normal route, one guy is the bus system, how does Obsidian get paid?, paid in sex?, post-apocalypse reveling Jenny, the creepy smelly wordless cult leader, how many women could speak?, right handed men, feminism, creepy men creeping on women, play dumb and pack a gun, our zombies are different, unique special snowflake zombies, body language, was it the Soviets?, you think you’re better than me?, a perfect nightmare of Hell, the law of the jungle, Obsidian is mentally impaired, if there ever was going to be a TV adaptation they’d call it “The Silence”, au contraire, standing spear-carrier, a swapped languages Vietnam War movie [subsequent research turns up no evidence that this film exists], everyone else is an alien to everbody else in this world, romance as opposed to SF, not certain of her own impairment, memory, they just needed audiobooks, jibber-jabber speech sounds, it just meant nothing, dah dah dah, could you still speak?, when the deaf speak, if you can’t speak can you understand your own thoughts, strokes, aphasia, communication by singing, Oliver Sacks, the afterword, visiting her dying friend, popular science of the 1980s, a science fiction epidemic, being a lefty or a righty, the rage, so primal, primal instincts, you’re all hairless chimpanzees, pre-human, the one element of humanity is your name, book-cart or book-truck, books as fuel, cake or oven, a teacher and protector, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, it was language that turned her around, savouring the words, society in general, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, The Iron Heel not the Iron Fist, limited intellect and language, the Red Death, life before the plague, the breakdown of society, pandemics empowering the lower classes, a liberation from the burden of history, chauffeur, taking on a harem, reconstructing the low being brought up, The Walking Dead, scavenging silently, a Garden Of Eden, so messy, blow it up and start fresh, divine retribution, like the Tower of Babel, bulldoze 2017 and start again, the toddlers are immune, the story is unfinished and we have to finish it for ourselves, the Rosetta Stone, deciphering Linear B (the language of the Minoans), how important illustrations are, Aztec and Mayan hieroglyphs, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by , talking to other book people, Reading Envy isn’t Reading Rage, transcribing music without the western music notation system, what happens next?, the music analogy, a hopeful story, a hopeful ending, book people are focused on the reading, burned abandoned buildings, sex in public, highly depopulated, women seeking protectors, maybe he’d meet someone else, sadness, if this was a TV show, how would deaf people be affected?, isn’t sign-language simply another language, H.G. Wells’ The Kingdom Of The Blind, is the gesturing center the same as the speech center?, fMRI, Letters To [Octavia] Butler, Letters To Triptree, bias and prejudice, how can people think like this?, using words in ways they can’t be used, using words as gestures, Twitter as the aggressive gesture, big ideas in a short space, a conspiracy that’s happening (long names on Twitter), seeing metaphors everywhere.

Speech Sounds by Octavia E. Butler

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #352 – TOPIC: Doors, Gates, and Portals (and Rubicons)

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #352 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Prof. Eric S. Rabkin talk about doors, gates, and portals (and rubicons)

Talked about on today’s show:
thinking about doors, individual phenomena, a phenomenological way, white and purity, water, Edmund Husserl, an intensional act of consciousness, the conquistadors, when did WWII happen?, what kind of a phenomenon is a door?, doors are artificial, Narcissus and the lake, a boundary, passages for the whole body, windows, two-way passages, quicksand, horizontal movement, four qualities, the story of Oedipus, the riddle of the Sphinx, man -> mankind, the founding myth of Western culture, Aristotle, from one world to another, Eric in his professorial mode, the word world, were = man, the age of Man, in the world of…, the social domain that human beings create for themselves, prisons, doors as phenomena are artificial boundaries between two different worlds, social changes from one side of a door to another, doors as a phenomenon represent changes from consciously defined worlds, outdoors vs. indoors, inside and outside the gingerbread house, the morning thesis, the idea for this show, windows as opposed to doors, The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany, wanting to turn windows into doors, a rich example, sliding doors vs. sliding windows, in Science Fiction…, Robert A. Heinlein, defining the writing style of Science Fiction, the ideal Science Fiction sentence, Beyond This Horizon, “The door dilated and a voice from within said ‘Come in Felix.'”, wasting energy, one little change makes it a Science Fiction world, Heinlein invented the word “slideway”, Friday, from the reader’s armchair world it the fantastic world, folklore, liminality, crossing rivers, wandering into the forest, a wild world with gods and monsters, agrarian rural society -> industrial living, the wardrobe, The Door In The Wall, The Gable Window by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth, Dreams In The Witch-house, a locked-room mystery, The Secret Garden, a Wellsian door in the wall, what’s behind the door could be anything, mythical monsters, vampires need your permission to cross your threshold, Dracula comes in through the window, defying gravity and the phenomenology of windows, an instant subliminal marker, ho ho ho, Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, the lore of changelings, leaving the house by the chimney, Little Red Riding Hood, “dispatched by typical female means” (cooking), Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, Alice is fantasizing before she leaves the bank of the river, the river side is a liminal domain, dazing, daisies, crossings, protective imagination, opening the door for a sequel, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a girl named Door, London’s underclass, being homeless is living outdoors, a hunter named Hunter, Door’s father is Lord Portico, a door back into Heaven, another rich text, worlds within worlds, the word hinge, ideas hinge upon something, stiles aren’t like doors, stiles don’t have hinges, lichgates and side doors to churches, the dead enter the church through a different door than the living, The Superstitious Man’s Tale by Thomas Hardy, shades of everybody, fourteen saints, a holiday in Germany, the blood of a sacrificial lamb, Exodus, keeping death from the door, all saints day, Jack-O-Lanterns scare off the returning dead, nature, walking through a gate, spirits pass through, how do gates function in keeping out the spirits of the dead, gates as territorial boundaries, “you come in through here”, the laws of territoriality, a keeper of the gate, the gate is the cover of the book, the door is what we cross “Once upon a time…”, “the second page of the first paragraph of a famous book”, why round?, why the exact center?, why green?, Eric’s eyes are green, The Door In The Wall has a green door, magic doors are often green, The Magic Door The Green Door (aka The Little Green Door) by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, horrible and messy and smelly, fundamental jokes in the Shrek series, Shrek is green too, kids love farts, About Time (2013), Domhnall Gleeson going through doors, “doors are amazing”, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, the Chinese Scholar’s garden at Snug Harbour cultural center, moon gates, gates post signs, gates offer viewpoints, from The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

the mouth as a door for voice and wisdom (and later a gate for flies and maggots), orifices, doors are artificial, eyes as windows, windows as natural, calm water as a window, the night sky as a window into the universe, window = wind and eye, a metaphor switching meaning, a heart is like a pump and a pump is like a heart, Babylon 5, star-gates, the Twilight Zone show inside Futurama: The Scary Door, Fredric Brown: “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. there was a knock on the door.”, William F. Nolan’s the door problem, a seventy-foot bug, the imagination trumps revelation, film, Shiley Jackson’s The Haunting Of Hill House (in the book and the film), banging vs. knocking, the unopened door, the end of The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, The Psychoanalysis Of Fire by Gaston Bachelard, “fire: fine servant, horrible master”, poor little rich boys, the ultimate irony: Arbeit Macht Frei, an open gate, the phenomena interpenetrate, Rubicon (lost and found), The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, “h amount of fuel will not power an EDS with a mass of m plus x”, uni-directional time travel as a kind of rubicon, Julius Caesar’s crossing, Alea iacta est (“The die is cast”), suicide, Jean Paul Sartre, Rip van Winkle, rubicons are natural, driving in Los Angeles county, counties and shires divided by rivers, the mouth as a (mostly) one way door into the body, Protector by Larry Niven, the tree of life root is a one way door (a rubicon), The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, The Ring, the River Styx, ancient heroes and gods crossing back and forth across the river Styx, biological machines, Jesus Christ’s tomb door, a locked room mystery, doubting Thomas, The Cold Equations as a demarcation between materialist SF and all other kinds, rejecting the premise of the story, two kinds of laws, “Marilyn willingly walks into the airlock and is ejected into space.”, myth vs. hard Science Fiction vs. soft Science Fiction, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, a few examples in literature, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, seven gates to Hell in Pennsylvania, Hell, Michigan, Audie Murphy’s To Hell And Back, a rubicon as an irrevocable choice, The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, Will cutting portals to other realms, “the ability to create portal given to someone on the cusp of puberty”, age 21 (given the key to the door), Key to the city, garter -> gate, barbicans, walled homes in the northern Mediterranean, doors within doors, protected by the laws of the city, the freedom of the city given to military units, Janus -> January, a two faced god and the god of doors, the doors to the temple of Janus are closed, open cities, Brussels, the locking of doors, growing up in New York you’re never fully at peace, living in Strawberry Point, Iowa, wifi open vs. wifi encrypted, wardriving, keeping the door open, the subspecies, dutch-doors, squeaky hinges, a door that opens up, China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh, “falling backwards into a world in which a consciousness extends infinitely in all directions”, “the phenomenology changes the epistemology”, ontological differences, The Star Rover by Jack London, a portal to other places and times via astral projection, even in confinement one can find ways out, The Demolished Man The Stars My Destination, Hypnos by H.P. Lovecraft, the restriction of the coffin of the body, jaunting, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Twilight Zone episode The Hunt, a country bumpkin -> a rural American, all dogs go to heaven, gatekeepers and doorkeepers, porter, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, wine drinkers and beer drinkers, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, was anything down that hatch on Lost?

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

Podcast

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

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #300 – READALONG: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #300 – Jesse, Jenny, and Paul talk about Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Talked about on today’s show:
Jenny Beta+, Paul (caste unknown), f-minus, double plus, A-, Beta-, 1932, double plus good, a different dystopia, Orwell read Brave New World, the Aldous Huxley radio drama (CBS Radio Workshop), negative utopia, Nineteen-Eighty Four is hella-dystopia, Paul has read Brave New World five times, drugs and sex and happiness, conditioning, programming, society engineered, identifying with Bernard, Helmholtz, the Falkland Islands, Huxley’s introduction to the CBS Radio Dramatization, 200 years (not 600) in the future, why so obsessed with Henry Ford?, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei, Henry Ford as a political and intellectual force, efficiency, modernization, consumerism, pricing the model-t, absenteeism equals losses, Brave New World‘s society is about production efficiency, the 1998 TV movie, what society really is, no Helmholtz, Henry Foster, Lenina, Peter Gallagher, the 1980 TV movie, 1990s hipsters, the reservation, white trash zone, the outlands of Zardoz with mini-vans, The Children Of Men, Los Angeles, very few deviations in the 1980 TV movie, pushing the Shakespeare connection, whatever happened to Lenina?, a definite weakness, Mustapha Mond gave John Savage the conflict he really wanted, I want to be unhappy, the ultimate political act, the suicide solution, the little boy with the cotton balls in his ears, the hope for reform, the stability of the society, an interesting change, how unstable is the social structure, more soma, more conditioning, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven, hydrolic empires, John as a catalyst, society returns to normalcy, soma rations forever, freethinkers are sent to outlying islands, an Omni magazine story about dissident clones being killed again and again, Edge Of Tomorrow (2014), cloning novels, this is the cloning novel, “it’s clones all the way down”, the caste-system tells us this is a dystopia, seeing the world from the alpha point of view, betas vs. alphas, are betas autistic?, the 1998 adaptation, intelligent, high-producing, and efficient, mentored and disciples, sex-slaves and baby-makers, good tech, the Malthusian belt, helicopters, WWII, a proto-flying car, their Model-T, the sign of the T, “switching on the synthetic music”, the visual medium, the character names, Bernard Marx probably isn’t named after Groucho Marx, Bernard is pathetic by the end, George Bernard Shaw, Lenin -> Lenina, Darwin Bonaparte, Mustafa Mond <- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, so much Shakespeare, the audiobook is a weird experience, an infantilized world, I drink to the greater being, the plot, the scent organ, the feelies, the perfume tap fauceting cologne all day, drinking fountains full of Shasta, a constantly refilled mini-bar, the economy in Brave New World, overturning the soma tables, want what you can have, deltas, epsilons, the purple eyes, Amazon Prime for soma tablets, drone delivery, Lenina’s obsession, chastity means neurasthenia, plenty of pleasant vices, “engaging”, oiling the machine, a male fantasy utopia, women never say no, “promiscuity is a citizen’s duty”, no females above beta (in the book), yellow from lupus, social hierarchy, male dominance, John the Savage is sexist too, a product of Huxley’s time, a flash of semi-nudity, why the book gets banned -> children engaging in erotic play, the downfall of TV movie versions, how the world is, books old ideas and marriage are pornographic, “motherfather!”, “fight!”, “hate!”, everyone comes from a bottle, mother as a dirty word, outed as a father, a shameful thing, Miguel Ferrer was re-engineered as a delta, a Machiavellian character turned into a smiling idiot, Linda’s story, the reaction to her appearance, the Death Center, ice-cream when someone dies, such strong pathos, death brings us phosphorus, the 1998 Linda, Tommykins, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, the first test-tube baby, birth control, freemartins, a sterilization bonus, Brave New World Revisited (is non-fiction), Walden Two by B.F. Skinner, an expanding horrible utopia, growing up in the soviet union what would we think of Brave New World?, power and control, I love Big Brother, rewind ten years, people are drugging themselves up with drugs TV and the internet, a spy-biography, why don’t they care more about the outlying society, communism, when everyone shares the vision, a step to becoming Mustapha Mond, 1984-ish, assimilation has a cost, the island of all alphas, engineered to be in that place, the temptation of the reader is subversive, are we doing this stuff?, I wanna be more like Helmholtz, Marx gets co-opted by Mond, the shit-disturbers become the leaders in This Perfect Day, you have to see it to believe it, look we’re in the future!, a sick enjoyment, no sense that this world can be destroyed, the benefit of social instability, why Shakespeare is still relevant, we have the analogues for kings and merchant princes, the feelies, a cross-between pornography and reality television, Idiocracy (2006), Three Weeks In A Helicopter, farts, one human need, surrogate pregnancy, violent passion surrogate, The Prisoner‘s secret club within a club, more surreal than it is about something, spies be weird, suddenly in dreamland with giant breasts chasing you down the beach, the world is still for men, we’ve done We and Nineteen Eighty Four

Brave New World (1980)

Posted by Jesse Willis