The SFFaudio Podcast #633 – READALONG: The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #633 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about the The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s idea, TBR [to be read], book 2 in a series, standalone, Culture books, a giant black hole, 10 book series, Inversions, culture tech, Transitions, the book to read, Consider Phlebas, Excession, shared universe, unsympathetic protagonist, Gurgeh, is that what we want from a main character?, being nice, reading about unpleasant people doing evil things, horrible people doing horrible things, our very few rules, flawed, spoiler rules, a spoiler and a save it for the podcast, how could you spoil that doesn’t have that content, a moral failing on Will’s part, we’re all healing, the definition of the culture, post scarcity, dangerous, Evan Lampe is very dry, honest feelings he was trying to share illegally, no laws, social customs, sincere, a serious book, not just entertainment, serious ideas, its both, political philosophy, up against a galactic empire, aimed in his sights, the ending, an inferno of fire, science fictional empires are not the target, what ruling class is like, the Epstein stuff, the private island, the blackmail, deviations we want to do, games, if you want a house, with no money and no possessions, gambling, no money or excess money, throughout the book, about economics, if games have options to make the stakes higher Jesse always wants it, Enemy Territory, friendly fire on, one life to live, no respawns, Roguelikes, Ironman Mode, gluttons for punishment, a legitimate game, a game within my own game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the excitement of potential loss or even ruin, a further extreme, good at exploring the topic its talking about, the player is getting played (by everyone), he’s playing himself, a really good book and a really bad book, why people like reading the series, Luke Burrage talking about this series, feeding the wrong part of my brain, the comforting stuff, a utopia, a fake utopia, the Culture is Heaven, everybody has a guardian angel, under the cloak of science fiction, Banks is using rules, lightspeed rules, people without a terminal, they send a rocket to save you, designed to be heaven, ooh its so fun, its like a rot, its a bad apple, its like satire, where we’re headed, so incredibly great, if you one and done it, a little more tongue in cheek, the impossibility he’s playing with, poked fun of, he’s doing it, he’s having his cake and eating it too, everybody who wants to change genders whenever they want to, you can have anything you want, the bullshit is consistent (therefore interesting), book after book set in the same place, Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, outside the ship problems, the coziness of The Next Generation, its a TV show, they’re dealing with it in an hour or 40 minutes, this is soaking in it, dangerous, they’re striving, a satire of a goal, Gulliver’s Travels is a satire of us, Gulliver’s Travels 2: The New Boogaloo, make money, its a good book, the tendencies in it are towards series, Jesse can blame Iain Banks, I was just following the trends, a writer’s gotta eat, in the culture he wouldn’t have written other culture books, is the culture a satire of itself?, yes, projecting his own values, what’s he’s good at, what’s useful about this book, criticism of the results of that kind of society, an anarchist or libertarian communist society, there’s no king, the tyranny of structurelessness, they’re benign, this is God, what about when earthquakes happen and babies die, doing a satire, relishing the experience of satirizing, the tendrils, the seduction, like reading Lord Of The Rings, its fun to go to Bree, benignant, conquering vs. toppling vs. annexing, regime changing, because they’re good, Gaddafi is a bad man, they need to be liberated, the drone, the horror that capitalism has wrought, mercantilism, bamboozles, blackmailed, secret police, they tricked one of their pets into doing a show, he suspects, puppetting, annoying, cast out of heaven, I had to steal the money otherwise I would be embarrassed, they played him, snookered, the fun-house mirror of the empire, the empire is more honest, naked power structures, a benign autocracy, he volunteered, the pushing is so wimpy, he wants to get invited to parties, he would lose his status, labeled as a cheater, he would get fewer papers published, he’s convinced to go, it was still his choice, he might kill himself if he was revealed, they’re going to make it your choice, that’s why we’re pets, our own enslavement to them, we’ve done it to ourselves, no civic virtue, a spy service, the super powerful people manipulate the weak people, he’s got PTSD, he lives in a cushion, ground fine, he gets sacrificed, another series that ran way to long, the journey was worthwhile, Ringworld, Louis Wu was tricked into doing what he wants, the luckiest girl on the planet, a big dumb object vs. our contemporary planet, three sexes, really its Earth, customs, a culture, friendly (not an empire), they kill you with kindness, physically worse things, King Midas, he got overexcited about the one thing he was passionate about, what are you gonna do in a society, go into games and live there, living to play, you gotta go build some LEGO, creative work, art, he knows what he’s doing, really smart, like Charles Stross plus Larry Niven plus Olaf Stapledon, well expressed, he ended up seducing himself, why Jesse avoided it in the first place, worth studying, Will has endless time, the whole Babysitter’s Club, Shelfwear, the Starship series by Mike Resnick, lotta good dead writers, Star Trek with Captain Kirk saying fuck the federation, succulent, more like Horatio Hornblower, he can’t keep writing and make me read more of them, the prequel to The Lord Of The Rings TV series, exploration of post-scarcity, this is not achievable, ship-bound, the black black sky, the kids equivalent of ten forward, you want to have your family with you, almost killed every episode, that move is interesting, privileging audiobooks over TV shows, Jesse might be snobbish, novellas and novelettes were the perfect length for science fiction, idea fiction, Olaf Stapledon wrote books not novels, this is a good book, soak in the playing of the game, the meta-game, a lot of gold, books are incredibly powerful, danger manifesting, misunderstanding of reality, this is not a heroic age, the individual is obsolete, no one person can have any real effect anymore, a terrible heaven, you go up into the sky you sit on a cloud and play a harp, he is empty, succumbs to the temptation, Paul’s totally right, they seem a lot like children, university people in our society, neuroses, a new type of brain, change your brain chemistry, a total lack of meaning in your life, an indictment, in the context of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, useful aspects of socialism, it shares a flaw, both novels fail to consider the emotional political and moral hazards, the polity in the Culture is less naive, a hundred years of thinking about utopias, a response to Looking Backward, our rosy heavenly future, the fringes of the Culture, seems kind of slow, he gets his own ship, drones are like regular people, put to sleep for seven hundred years, I’ll wait a couple years and get Use Of Weapons, the frontiers of utopia, if this was a one and done book, it feels good, some importance, he got seduced, read about series books, Jesse has read a fuckton of science fiction, meta-textual evidence, why didn’t Jesse pick up Iain M. Banks before this, State Of The Art audio drama, Jesse had a feeling it would be what it is, what people are saying about a book, looking for excuses not to read something (to read something in its place), something of value, you’ve heard how that director works, you can suss out what movies are worthy of your attention, 1988, still of value, much in favour of series, coming at it from a writerly perspective, super-smooth writing, more of a grift, Jesse doesn’t want to be comfortable, Looking Backward is lame in many ways, it leaves out race, black people not mentioned at all, huge massive flaw, its not comforting, Jesse doesn’t want to be comforted, I’m shaken to my core, the story, thought provoking, goals, your phone, are they really making your life better, you have a really good time in Los Vegas, whaddaya say wifey?, spoken highly of, highly regarded, go to Rome have a great time, you don’t live in the Culture, a money aspect, more though provoking stuff, audiobooks out quite early, Peter Kenny, a long book, 16.5 hours, a meditation on all games, something to think about, a phenomenon happening under the sun, all reality is a game, by being unknowable, the possibility of change, victory, time is one of the rules, The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick, what games are and what they mean, Fair Game, sending board games to the Earth, Monopoly, The Game Players Of Titan, real estate developers, stock market, they can do whatever they want, rules for the plebs and rules for us, punished by the emperor, the rules are overthrown, you become the emperor, education and taking tests, help students game the tests, the SAT, how the Chinese government has run itself for the last 5,000 years, something to be worried about, a masterful job, a solid take on what gaming is and the motivation behind it, Elizabeth Bear, Ancestral Night, modern 2020 politics, giving healthcare to everybody, way cheaper, Machine, James White’s Sector General novels, plenty of AIs, taking on Iain Banks, the genre conversation, if this Iain M. Banks goes on…, Architects Of Memory by Karen Osborne, meta thinking, evocative and fecund, psychological realism, when the apex who had made the body bet realized he was going to lose, really fruitful, the kinds of things you do to make the world a better place, a regular dude, somebody’s in charge, that spaceship, surplus from the war, what is Iain M. Banks trying to say here, if you wanted to make an informed decision, spy novelists, supporting a cultural boycott of Israel, South Africa, an international solidarity activist, a political Douglas Adams, his intellect is in the same area, Monty Python-esque fatalism, trying to intellectualize his way out of it, making really solid points, that dangerous word again, Paul doesn’t agree with the word “danger”, Communist Manifesto is only a book, Mein Kampf only a book, interesting but not important, a guidebook kind of, a fountainhead, a prose poem, avoiding writing, it feels like there could have been something more, life in the Culture, amuse yourself for three hundred years and then get shot into the sun by your own choice, no difference in the brains, they’re all people, othering robots, bringing them down to their level, can you have a benign heaven with a god who isn’t smarter than you?, they don’t run heaven, impinging on Scott territory, a secularization of heaven, reading for pleasure is a seduction, what will result if you gave into that temptation, making a reading choice is not political, reading a series is not good, the decline, market forces, realpolitik and economics, not the ideal, Paul is making Jesse’s argument for him, Beggars In Spain is an evil book, Nancy Kress, she’s chosen the darkside, made horrible consequences palatable, a novel like Starmaker, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Jesse’s criticism of series is well grounded, more enriching, widely and deeply, perilous, words are powerful Paul, Paul wants an off-ramp for a first book in a series, lure, feeling this stress, its okay to make it addictive, when did Dan Simmons jump the shark?, Olympos, the analogy, from series lasting too long, compelling you to read more, a nefarious thing, how Lost sucked so many TV show people in, enamoured with his idea, detective books, literary fiction, very impressive, a high complement, why series happen, we elect a really good king, four more year for you King, a few dynasties go by and we’re chopping people’s heads off, at the risk of provoking Jesse to keep going, adverse consequences, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, its the meta-game, a playground in which he can do satire forever, why Tom Clancy is still producing from beyond the grave, ownership, Neil Gaiman doesn’t milk, don’t read the first volume, the horror host, more like The Twilight Zone, Anansi Boys, whatabout this?, you already did that bud, A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, break em in half, a reversal, please don’t annex us, we recommend, the dangers involved, he’s ultimately won over to the Culture, choose to become a robot, that’s what people want, how dear he, he’s very wise in his book writing decisions, the paths we set our feet down, make a rule for yourself make a rule for everybody, the categorical imperative, Immanuel Kant, is it okay for me to kill?, is it okay for me to lie to my kids?, its for everybody, a case by case basis, he didn’t want to keep writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide books, you keep using that word, he has no respawn, he got two series, he was a big brain, we’re way over on the tipping scale, all I want is healthcare, what’s the right word? [silence] The Last Dangerous Visions, J. Michael Straczynski, regular visions, vague visions, one last significant work by Harlan Ellison, the executor for the estate, those middle seasons of Babylon 5 were so good, a half-assed 2 actors and a greenscreen.

The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

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The SFFaudio Podcast #552 – READALONG: City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #552 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings

Talked about on today’s show:
another book with that title, Preston/Child, True Story, June 1919-November 1919, Children Of Kultur, revisions, pictures, pretty amazing book, blown away, more 19th century than early 20th, the chapter titles, more Victorian than Edwardian, so much effort, spoilers for each chapter, Paul fell into it, anticipating, a ruby necklace metaphor, a confrontation, the real Karl, undercooked, bought-off with jewelry, that’s the misogyny speaking, attention to the plot, how is this guy’s german that good, the number of fingers in Inglourious Basterds, just go with it, a treasure trove, it’s amazing, a late Verne?, global hegemony, the ideas!, very forward thinking, he got Nazis exactly right (it’s crazy!), there complete ideology, there breeding programs, their final solution, clearly it was in the culture already, Mein Kampf, Jesse’s hate list includes Bernarr Macfadden, Jesse holds him largely responsible for P.E. class, Physical Culture, an anti-vax column, eight kids with names starting with the letter “b”, Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hasting, “I’m buff, I’m going to live forever”, nutritious breakfast snacks, smoking constantly, anticipating a war between the USA and Japan, aircraft carriers, flat-top ships, under house arrests, obscenity, a beauty contest, all this shit is interconnected, eugenics, Macfadden was a bad guy, scolding the federal government, an extensive amount of research, more science fiction, deep into chicken breeding, THE TALE OF THE ORIENT’S INVASION OF THE OCCIDENT, AS CHRONICLED IN THE HUMANICULTURE SOCIETY’S “HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY”, maybe someone on LibriVox, she was really good, obscure vocab, USA’s war with Japan, USA’s war with Germany, a cold war after WWIII, the German monarchy, the communists, Maximum German Expansion in the Second World War (1988), League Of Nations, again, did Hitler read this book?, a reflection of American propaganda about Germany, an extant philosophy, distilling and capturing an actual strain of pre-fascism and pre-Nazism, the House of Hohenzollern, the workers, the weird, Germany’s 1919 failed workers revolution, the Wiemar Republic, William the Great (aka William II), if Heinlein was doing it, zeroing in on the origins of fascism, Evan’s favourite book on this: Fascism by Mark Neocleous, the worker’s revolution is inevitable, the general strike, the centrality of will and struggle, working class resentment, Das Kapital by Karl Marx, Benito Mussolini, these ideas were floating around, something changed, the enlightenment framework, fin de sicile pessimism, Arditi, the CSA vs. the Union, resentment, echoes long after, the strongest fascist movements were losers, Hungary, Austria, Germany, where Hitler came from, people hearing him speak, all my friends died and this is the shit we have to eat?, Italian fascism, there is no action that can have no consequence, you can’t just suppress and hide the shit that you’ve done, Germany will rise again, entirely foreseeable, the logic, the natural masters of the Earth, science and industry, the subtle explanation for the power dynamic, 300 million people in Berlin, that ray, the worker controls the society in the way the king doesn’t, science advisors to the king, an alternate universe version of our Nazis, this is also Saudi Arabia, 15,000 members of the Saudi Royal family, analyzing it from a feminist perspective, control of women bodies, in what sense are the women free?, super-interesting science fiction (and tech-free), breeding and nutrition, perfect himself, eat the right foods, vegetarianism, scientific management of breeding programs, Germany’s obsession with it, Nazi breeding programs, Himmler was a chicken farmer, Gregor Mendel, former chicken farmer, get a few hens together, an egg a day, evolutionarily wasteful, costly to the chicken, getting that much calcium together, one of Milo Hastings patents, a million egg incubator, a [fascinating] fact about eggs, baby chicks are hot, birds are hotter than mammals, waste heat from late eggs to heat early eggs, a machine, a grey goo problem (but with chickens), what the breeding program is, Ford’s scientific management of a factory floor, apply it to the human production industry, social policy, married couples were forgiven loans when they had four children, early on, the map of the levels in the Syracuse newspaper, 147 children, one cock for a whole bunch of viable hens, roosters wanna kill each other, why so few women, no time spent with kids, the Lebensborn 1935-1945, these aren’t families, the visit to the school, the teaching methods, that classroom is insane, genocide, a mandatory pork eating law, an emigration policy, its hard to get people to leave, Jews in Shanghai, John Rabe, a WWII show, German jews, Polish jews, gassing people in trucks, taking German interests and beliefs, Germans were really into chemistry, lens-grinding, alchemy, synthetic drugs, synthetic gasoline, coal into gasoline, raw material under Arctic ice?, the main character is a chemist, chemically produced food, modern processed foods, petroleum products turned into food, lab-grown meat, he isn’t making this shit up, a replicator, what does Evan make of the factory strike, Germans went on strike a lot, true to life, depoliticized the working class through voting, the whole philosophy of the state was really well thought out and fascinating, socialist, elections every year, just like us, lands of the inferior races, movement cultures, struggle is important, solidarity, divide and conquer, the power and importance of solidarity in achieving goals, fascinating and true to life, workers don’t strike in China, workplace democracy, the propaganda is complete, the education is by movies, they do their education through video, books are for the officers, the propaganda department, a science fiction movie of what it will be like when we conquer the rest of the world, one of the members of ABBA, bringing the Aryan north into Germany, a mixer, you better have a good reason, the endless war of conquering the earth, very widespread, pseudo-scientific breeding, germ-plasm, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the Master of Hatcheries, making workers genetically suitable for their jobs, Bernard Marx (Bernarr?), man most responsible for gyms, William Hope Hodgson, BOOM, an amazingly fascinating cultural artifact, was this mentioned in The Ministry Of Truth?, listener suggested?, a reference to Bellamism, another Bellamy echo, rationing vs. cornucopia, once there’s post-scarcity…, robber barons, the money is for attracting women, there’s no point in money, a million marks you can’t spend, buy her a necklace, strange economics, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, Ruritanian romance, a blending of Bellamy with a Ruritanian fantasy, it’s all a dream, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, more competent than the person he replaced, a whole thing about creativity, that’s science fiction thinking, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, by Hal Clement, reading hard SF, social science fiction, he’s basically fucking nailing Nazi Germany because he’s really thinking through…, the people who are pushing eugenics, I have an evil plan…, sterilizing native people, its fucking evil, I’m going to do zis, he’s just a chicken farmer tapping into what’s in the air, H.G. Wells’ stuff, The Land Ironclads, tanks, WWII is all about tanks, you can’t take land with airplanes, you can’t win without tanks, all those people who died from tanks, Fortnite, kids don’t know what a fortnite is, World Of Tanks, he’s pretty much describing tanks, what it would mean to the tactics, what science fiction is, Jules Verne, there’s all sorts of consequences to that, the ending, Evan’s proper ending for this book, this guy really loves his new job, he meets the emperor, he gets promoted, he wins these awards, the Royal level, he’s going to marry someone in the royal family, a memoir of someone who has lived his whole life in the upper echelons, the safety valve, a ticket for the first show, the glory of the dynasty, turning away from his United Statesians, found amongst the papers of a traitor, the library, the rise of the anti-Nazis, working in the system, we’re living in insanity world, the number of people internally, so rudely signed out, all of Jesse’s diatribes, anti-Nazis, the army and the navy, the submarine stuff is very German, Valkyrie (2008), when FDR is on the rise, the Business Plot, Smedley Butler, happening again, educated folks who are trying to be reasonable, how can that go on Saudi Arabia, a royal problem, carbon problem, Hong Kong, Janette Eng’s Hugo acceptance speech, 40% of China’s income was generated in Hong Kong now it’s 2%, a lot of upset folks, how do you negotiate your way out of that, Woodrow Wilson’s official state racism, the 14 points and the League Of Nations, take note of the tiny detail trends, Hastings’ alternate history, a lot of blame towards the USA and the League Of Nations, a dangerous situation, LibriVox narrator Kate Follis, Algernon Blackwood, E.F. Benson, A Little Book Of Profitable Tales, follow the amateur narrators, “George Guidall can do no wrong!”, Frank Muller, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, when Mr Wednesday came back, he’s back!, a terrible motorcycle accident, don’t ride motorcycles, addicted to audiobooks, audiobooks are very addictive, Luke Burrage, Jesse’s mom is reading Clark Ashton Smith’s novel TWO BLACK DIAMONDS, Arabian Nights, Clark Ashton Smith: Emperor Of Dreams, “magnificent!”, a lot more to say, a strength of worldbuilding, take this man to the hospital, sneaking on board the submarine, how he got him in there, a coincidence, his own face on the dead body, a tradition behind it, an excuse to do that, News From Nowhere by William Morris, get in there and tell that story, really good, a lot of tension, oh my god, investigate himself, a whole adventure, the title change, kultur, this Brute Beast, WWI pickle helmets, treating them like Nazis, more technically correct, one more thing, a confession, we were all fooled by the girl who borrowed the book, that same feeling, our last big surprise book, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, betrayal, soooo on point, being assertive, making a persons way in a terrible situation, sitting around this virtual table, I didn’t like your little book (we don’t like her because she doesn’t like reading), it makes sense, give herself some dignity, that’s what I do, yo, a singer but her voice wasn’t good, an actress but she had no empathy, a tradition femme fatale, parallel, there’s this woman out there who knows him really well, why are you going to the women’s level, he needs socialization, barracks situations, assimilating so well, Maissa was supposed to join us, “Yes alas – although I didn’t really like endless night – although that would probably have made interesting conversation.”, did she finish it?, up to a third of the way through, it might be an evil book, not ultimately an evil book, it just has features, its not propaganda that’s trying to promote autocracy, the anti-Nazi characters, characters who are into the system, what makes it a dystopia exactly?, if you really had this situation, synthesizing and rationing, withholding information, a good follow up to this, on the list of approved books for LibriVox, Thea Von Harbou’s Metropolis, Fritz Lang and Thea Von Harbou, speaking to the audience, a bias against silent films, a trial, watching I, Claudius (shot on videotape), the audio drama adaptation of Metropolis, so many parallels to what’s going on, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a girl who sparks an interest, was Metropolis, the audio drama is so good, it’s cyberpunk, a BBC production, super-great, astoundingly great, totally idea based, the depth of power an hour long program is able to achieve, this guy’s really tantalizing me, two assignments for Kate Follis: please spend 6 months of your life recording for us, a YouTube version of it, a great read!, ever since we read the Ministry of Truth, gender politics, Dollar Hen by Milo Hastings, the bible of chicken rearing, if the weather is too cold for raising hens just move away, good advice, public domain, chickens are super-easy food, urban (and suburban) chicken farming, hipster farming, BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder, coyote raids, free eggs, sharem and givem away and sellem, the permaculture people, sustainable vs. industrial means, red peppers and hot peppers, a styrofoam tray, students were hostile, you’re not helping us Evan, give us the keys to Harvard, we (the Chinese) don’t have time to fuck around with hippie shit, industrialize and build up your industry, the Chinese communist party (20 million?), inequality in China is on par in the United States, pro and anti-Chinese demonstrations, funded by the Chinese government, the Falun Gong, there’s good evidence, Taiwan, liberty vs. authoritarianism, Jimmy Lai and John Bloton, neo-liberals, all the allies are pretty gross, a better hope, the future of the left in Hong Kong, Democracy Advocate: bread and roses, the Communist Party of Canada, a moral and economic failure, defining poverty, the number of students, recruiting foreign teachers, form a fucking union, things are so unequal in China, state socialism doesn’t work, an anti-authoritarian complex, the oranges, the greens, the blues, the reds, the blues, some tie between not ruining the rivers, you can be pretty stupid and be an environmentalist, libertarianism is an immature philosophy, anarchist people to follow, fucking stupid memes, the Solarpunk Anarchist on Facebook, Murray Bookchin, social ecologist, leftists groups, Stalinist, weak socialists, not pushy enough, the NDP, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, universal pharmacare, voted to bomb Libya, the Christopher Hitchens left, liberty is a better foundation for socialism, Max Blumenthal, more bars open, pretty fuckin secular, don’t make me go to your church, the story on Syria, a comic book reading communist lawyer (Will Emmonsky) from Kentucky, Elizabeth Warren vs. Bernie Sanders, having principles, the pitchforks are coming, she’s a capitalist to her bones, Sanders’ movement, smart people in the elite realize you’ve got to do something to stop the pitchforks in the next few years, the last choice if Biden fails, Southern redneck communists, anarchists, your dudes, disarming the working class is a bad idea, is the working class becoming more fascist?, crazy people with guns, naked guy with a gun, the Black Panthers position, the John Brown Gun Club, super-principled, against the bad stuff, Jacobin Magazine, somebody is going to be president next year, in change of the U.S. empire, Elizabeth Warren blows like reed in the wind, Bernie Sanders IS principles, Mitt Romney’s whole thing was “I have good hair”, Hillary had writing off people, just listen, be honest, reading about it from the outside, I got mine jack, how you end up like this, racist white coal miners who worked with black coal miners, why Fred Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and the Chicago police, what’s really going on about racism, racism is a way to divide people who have things in common, history, PBS’ Carrier, almost no one is racist, south asian kids, what kids do, looking for differences, exercise of power, racism is best flourishing when there’s top down stuff, remembering being racist as a kid, I did not want to be considered a dark person, “the darkies”, he’s fucking it up, New Zealand, Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, anti-racist books, what the fuck, the most anti-racist, Steen becomes incensed, subject to racism and racist, being in a culture by a majority, being more humble, being ensconced in it, xenophile, Jesse’s mom is kind of a weird lady, barfi, here I am in my anti-racist bubble, cultural issues, a cultural problem, leaning towards communism, principled ideas, libertarian, Ron Paul, reading conservative stuff, flags, Burkean conservatives, inherited rights, the logo of the Communist Party of Canada, black conservatives, public schools and land reform, cultural conservatism, respect but reject, the populous right, drugs, science, production, knowledge, this book’s got us thinkin, social cooperation, their examples are so stupid, so divorced from reality, what do you think about Japan?, Scotty Kilmer, very practical advice, a British motorcycle, a Suzuki copy of a British motorcycle, knock-off cars in China, a Chinese Jeep Wrangler, Philip K. Dick novel, Japanese copy of a British destroyer, iterating after copying, Huawei, Japan has seen that, isn’t that China’s future?, Japan’s funny history, a mature industry, so weird, almost no foreign cars (or products) in Japan, isn’t there something there?, super-racist too, Japanese homesteaders, going back to the land in Japan, who needs Infinity Stones just wait, a fast forward version of something, China and Korea, the Korean birthrate, a demographic transition, capitalism could find a way, Marissa has one projector, a monitor, Jesse has 11 monitors, the Impossible burger, Beyond Meat, half the pigs in the world are consumed in China, a vegetarian going back to meat, a bar meatzvah, the suffering that animals face, unprincipled on many other things, Eric Rabkin is a vegetarian, jerked tofu, an ethics class, that was horrific, no problem with death, the cruelty is not in us its in our nature, tigers are not unethical, they care a lot about food, giving up french fries, how to make a dinner without meat, the opposite of a foodie, Hitler was a vegetarian, he loved his dog, its kind of a religion, playing PUBG with Peruvians, xenophile, the Indian-English accent, reviews of science fiction, vegan, vegans who go to the gym, I’m 58 look at me, so gross, vegan tattoos, those pants, we are the one crucifying Christ through the rape of the Earth, ?, weird Catholic ecology, look at that guy, he’s a fruitarian, what you eat is magic, I’m gonna live forever because I’m pure, Bill Maher, scorn, I live in this society, if I were a cave-man…, go off to Nassau and be a pirate, you really can’t opt-out, are your clothes made by slaves?, violating intellectual property laws, what does it matter where its made?, what does it matter where its manufactured, books are printed in China, nobody trusts the food industry in China, wont that all be fixed in 20 years, production matters, Karl Marx, the magic of currency, commodity fetishism, a show on bitcoin, hidden by the market, such a time investment, pick your battles, arbitrary, I was a fool to be in the apple system for as long as I was, don’t fall into the trap even farther, this sneaking idea, systems and institutions can’t love you, I don’t wanna give Jeff Bezos my money, Jimmy Pattison.

City Of Endless Night - review

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #383 – READALONG: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #383 – Jesse, Bryan Alexander, and Steen Hansen talk about The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.

Talked about on today’s show:
1969, before the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, contemporary critics, SF critics vs. mainstream critics, the defense of the ghetto against interlopers, Ray Bradbury, Doris Lessing, a deep feeling, spoiling the book, showing what was wrong with it, getting the facts wrong, interpretation, Luke Burrage reviewing, Robert J. Sawyer, bad writing, had they done nothing … nothing would have happened, the mutation, the Wildfire facility, Star Trek, scientists out for the good of humanity, self-destruct sequences, MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction, every nuclear sub movie, film-like, The Ipcress File by Len Deighton, airport fiction tropes, hyper competent high level government high tech mcguffins, brain-washing, novel -> film, written for film?, ER, picky fiddly science and bureaucratic operation, killed or useless, trusted scientists to save the world, ruthlessly hard science, Hollywood couldn’t make this movie now, restrained, chilly, the gender swap, Robert Wise, Shirley Jackson, The Haunting Of Hill House, Alfred Bester, a document dump, classified material, overloading the reader with verisimilitude, Eaters Of The Dead by Michael Crichton, The Thirteenth Warrior, Vikings, Russians and Byzantium, completely bullshit, Mr. Bullshit, regular SF vs. techno-thriller, a yummy INFODUMP, nobody had a definition for life, black cloth, a watch, a piece of granite, pure Science Fiction, Bryan’s mind destroyed at age 8, binary numbers, lasers vs. darts, Larry Niven, 24, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Steen welcomes our robot overlord, high-scale AI, Iain M. Banks, humans as pets, humans as cogs, I Have No Mouth And I must Scream, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, Dante Alighieri, lost race, the descent into Hell, from red to blue, the harrowing of Hell, a cold war story where the Russians aren’t the bad guys, The Bedford Incident, James Follett’s The Light Of A Thousand Suns, set in the recent past, the shotgun approach, Margaret Atwood, picking and choosing at the buffet table, dedicated to A.C.D., M.D. -> Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle -> Dr. Michael Crichton, “not a new story”, the glowing review in Life magazine, a retelling of The Blob, the Technovelgy, auto-doc, the suppressed cancer drug, Jensen Pharmaceuticals, gut flora, nudity and ass-grabbing, rectal suppository, astro-Tang, coffee, all that cleaning, they’re too holy, the five levels is a gimmick, the leveling, it’s bullshit!, we all know we have to wash our hands, the Wikipedia entry for the Airport Genre

Airport novel(s) represent a literary genre that is not so much defined by its plot or cast of stock characters, as much as it is by the social function it serves. An airport novel is typically a fairly long but fast-paced novel of intrigue or adventure that is stereotypically found in the reading fare offered by airport newsstands for travelers to read in the rounds of sitting and waiting that constitute air travel.

Rudyard Kipling’s fiction was published as a railway magazine, the origin of pulp fiction, The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille, the opening to The Strain, having the reins of political power at your fingertips, in the 2008 miniseries remake, back stories/love stories, a muddy anti-science mess, pre-Apollo -> Watergate -> conspiracy theories, the technical glitch (paper between the bell and the striker), germ warfare?!, the remake of The Manchurian Cantidate, the films and adaptations reflect the times, the 2008 version is super-militarized, X-18, F-4 phantoms, Dracula, the long gothic tradition of found documents, Plan 9 From Outer Space, a cold war document, The Parallax View, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Crichton like Spielberg loves power, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, medical people as superheroes, uber-expert scientists, power fantasy fiction, scepticism of power, image Michael Crichton at a Science Fiction convention, the immune reaction, You are not of the body!, techno-thrillers, why Ian Fleming’s James Bond books became so popular, JFK, Ronald Reagan was a big fan of Tom Clancy, The Hunt For Red October, Reagan based foreign policy of Red Storm Rising, Jack Ryan was a wonk Navy -> CIA agent -> CIA Director -> President, Firefox, political fiction written for a jet-set audience, conservative Heinleinian, Andromeda Strain cosplay?, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, SF writers save the world from alien invasion, science matters vs. science fiction, the first biology crisis, outflanking the ghetto, the 2006 Worldcon, Greg Benford, Greg Bear, David Brin, thinking up scenarios, if I was a terrorist how would I destroy the the United States, Wildfire, Cold War contingency planning, the Rand Corporation, the odd-man out element, his name was Hall but should have been Corridor, does this make sense?, the odd man is gay?, The Odd Couple, gay coding?, gay men are most likely to turn off nukes?, The Great Train Robbery, timing pacing planning tricking, that roller-coaster spark, opening observation, we are always observing, fun fiction for Henry Kissinger and the jet set, bureaucrats of a class, this function material is reflective, Science Fiction writers are poor, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake, Isaac Asimov, a biology book, Paul Di Filippo, bio-punk, Ribo-funk, The Bay (2012), The Hot Zone, the wet science, cloning, the neglected science, Coma, Protector by Larry Niven, how electron-microscopes work, crystallography, “it mutated”?!?!?, that was odd, it’s communicating with itself, block-chain virus, deep hurting, The Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, medicine without silicon, the Patriarchy, The Highest Frontier, Blood Music by Greg Bear, a Halo novel, The Wind From A Burning Woman, a “wild” writing style, bio is hard to do, Pontypool, prions, the worst part of The Walking Dead, we’re all infected, a symbol for regular death, Titan by John Varley, a 100ft tall Marilyn Monroe monster, The Satan Bug by Alistair Maclean (1962), where does the techno-thriller begin, a precursor to techno-thriller, The Stolen Bacillus by H.G. Wells, a really obvious anarchist, Wells defused the whole genre for sixty years, The Food Of The Gods, a convincing linguistic maneuver, fawning of technology bureaucracy power and the function of government, a stack of Jane’s Fighting Ships, the Sputnik shock, British invasion novels, Tom Clancy as a zombie brand, special helicopter trip, massive government expenditure for the competent man, an empty jetliner, vicarious thrill, power fantasy, “he’s the most important person right now”, this is our bailiwick!, nice and short, Dean Koontz, Phantoms, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Ghost Fleet by August Cole and P.W. Singer, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child books, no CRISPR, China is no Soviet Union, futurism, education moves so slowly, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, an X-Box with Paranoid Linux, Reamde by Neal Stephenson, a Kurt Vonnegut vibe, a Welsh Muslim terrorist, like pornography you know a techno-thriller when you see it.

The dedication for The Andromeda Strain

title page for The Andromeda Strain

Algis Budrys review of The Andromeda Strain

Life Magazine review of The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain - illustration by Dusty Abell

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - Random House Audio read by Chris Noth

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #350 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #350 – Jesse, Scott, Jenny, and Tamahome talk about new audiobook releases and recent audiobook arrivals.

Talked about on today’s show:

Childhood’s End, The Expanse, The Magicians book adaptions on Syfy tv, Caprica, Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, Alien by Foster is Scott’s favorite adaptation, Scott liked the Revenge of the Sith audiobook, The Tunnel Under the World by Frederik Pohl, (circled back to the Childhood’s End adaption), Arthur C. Clarke’s Guardian Angel, the original short story, on the pdf pageKing of Shards by Matthew Kressel, Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, is it a literary marvel?, Golden Fleece by Robert. J. Sawyer is a murder mystery on a generation starship, Sawyer’s dinosaur book End of an Era, cover of Far-SeerThe Long List Anthology [of Hugo nominations], The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 5, audiobooks are the new ebooks, audio that comes before print, Welcome to Night Vale:A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, zombies are mentioned, A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe, sounds like Dixie Flatline from NeuromancerThe Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson, The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher, scary fables, The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, the lost episode about On Stranger Tides, I reviewed itPenric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold, old audiobooks on cassette, a whole lotta Philip K. Dick short stories, what is the order?, how to consume short story collections, alien sex books!, approaching 100% PKD audio saturation, Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein, has a feisty girl, humble-bragging, 19 Great Northern Audio titles, The Coming by Joe Haldeman, why Haldeman is good for Jesse’s brain, skim reading, SFBRP #294 – Elizabeth Moon – Trading in Danger

far-seer
Science Fiction Alien Sex Anthologies

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #314 – READALONG: Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #314 – Jesse, Jenny, and Paul talk about Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1990, what was it about this book…, nothing much happens, utopia, utopian novels generally don’t exist, Brave New World, conflict, the only death in the book, if it was a literary novel, Ramona’s thighs, almost a perfect novel, “constructed”, softball, batting a thousand, light symbolism, Tom in Switzerland, so much to think about during the lazy days, a magical transformation, fascinatingly insightful, what human beings are trying to do all the time, “that’s the novel I wanted to read”, a tryptic, The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast, three Californias growing out of the 1980s, cyberpunk, Orange County, TSA, the water situation, Chinatown, machinations, evil corporations, KSR is a really smart guy, a genuine world, comparing to Heinlein’s bad guys, conflict (or lack thereof), why theater is fun, wrestling!, softball, his Mars books, baseball as a metaphor, small ball, a small ball utopia, the October of his own utopia, what are utopia, an almost meta-SF novel, Utopia by Sir Thomas More, “must redefine utopia … the process of making a better world … struggle forever”, 2065, a bigger theater, fewer baseball diamonds, starting from scratch won’t work, there’s a lot of work to be done, an underpopulated world, how we got there, emigration to Space, the understated Mars landing, the drought in California, climate change (global warming), Antarctica, Worldcon 2006, Anaheim, Luke Burrage’s review of The Gold Coast, he’s sophisticated, Shaman, the four shamanic elements: air/earth/fire/water, sooo well constructed, the mask party, great magic bullshit, not The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Prisoners Of Gravity, Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman, tackling a really substantial subject, an almost bullet-proof approach, the economy doesn’t work and the geology doesn’t work (in The Lord Of The Rings), the housing situation, Viking style or Haida style, its all fashion, the defining look of how any utopia can work, the economic model, socialism, Stephen Harper, [Kim Stanley Robinson] has thought of everything, the black banks, some sort of federal system?, the New Oregon Trail?, a local government utopia, it’s a certain kind of communism, Alfredo, labour taxation, another junction box, there’s still money but nobody is talking about it, the scene at the fire, the community is the fire department, no police, what do you do with criminals?, exile, Amish communities exist at the sufferance of the surrounding state, they’ve got Skype/Facetime, we have to not hate our brothers around the world, sister cities, delegations, Paul takes exception, Minneapolis, magnifying certain aspects (and shrinking others), the Greens have had there day, what’s going to happen, where’s the public library?, an ebb and flow, drag racing, Oscar’s interests, neighbors invading is the only possible hole, an ecological society, an ecology of local systems, by not competing in the way that some can compete you’re going to get crushed, if the utopia is unstable…, Kevin as the catalyst, small solutions, a feel good message, the Athenian polis approach to community, who started that fire?, the evil mustachio thing, if we asked KSR, he’s earned that, A Short Sharp Shock, the kerosene … who did it?, a happy death, let’s spend some time here, When Tam asked: “Does it get less boring?”, going back to work, how to deal with reality, moderation in all things including moderation, smoking, Kim Stanley Robinson is incredibly wise, a very wise book, relationship stigmas have been done away with, casual but not disposable, no ideology, take out the thing that you like, whatever system they seem to have…, the inevitable swinging of a pendulum, Arthur C. Clarke’s The City And The Stars (aka Against The Fall Of Night), frozen in time with a focus on art, Nineteen-Eighty Four and Brave New World are forever dystopias, “interpenetration”, a metal ceramic material, Oscar’s hike, going for walks, reality entering a body, we are a part of our environment, a religious moment, the mask party, as a motif word, every part of the community interacts, they live inside each others’ homes, a great scene of Alfredo and Kevin working shoulder to shoulder, Rattlesnake Hill is a symbol for Kevin, that’s no human nature, Jenny’s visits to former utopian society, the Shaker village in Kentucky, New Harmony, Indiana, we’re living in a utopia, how many times have you guys run for city council, campaigning is not fun, trying to convince people door to door is a horrible job, maybe its time, it IS what he’s saying, a bitter pill, KSR’s bio, Jesse’s mom, tons of meetings, we tried to go to a movie theater, the inertia of a city council is less, “turning the ship”, Jenny’s really good example, Greencastle, Indiana, no discrimination if you do business with the city, Our Angry Earth by Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov, get organized, maybe that sense of mobility is the problem, love the place you’re at, utopia is not a destination it’s an activity, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, staying where you were born, it goes both ways, Ted Cruz, subversive groups, Anonymous, different strategies, Last Week Tonight, Jon Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, dick pics, high-minded people are all sold, does this program have your dick pick?, you need a comedian, LIBERTY!, go with the dick pic.

Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #285 – READALONG: The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Triptree, Jr.

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #285 – Jesse, Scott, Luke, and Jenny talk about The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Triptree, Jr.

Talked about on today’s show:
Alice Sheldon, why no audiobook?, how James Triptree, Jr. died, the award, the Virginia Kidd agency, the PDF version, who owns it?, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips, Her Smoke Rode Up Forever, she was a spy, Racoona Sheldon, a murder/suicide or a suicide pact?, nearly blind, what would Seth think of that?, Huntington D. Sheldon, OSS -> CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Jesse is glad “new wave” is dead, re-reading, you must pay close attention, grammar, a potential audio version, caps and italics, Scott’s proto-cyberpunk, story summary, holographic TV, a “waldo” system, product placement advertizing, the 1998 TV adaptation for Welcome To Paradox (was very faithful), emotional, internal, the weird framing style device, is it NEW WAVE?, J.G. Ballard, an ancient version of the singularity, the reader needs to do a lot more work, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, who is the narrator talking to?, “Listen zombie, believe me…”, the truth is in question, Scott is falling down the Jesse Well, Evel Knievel, media and money, someone goes time traveling, the sharp faced lad, Luke goes biblical, why do we need firm ground?, P. Burke, a media controlled dystopia, post-modern stream of consciousness, its set in the 1970s, “Nixon Unveils Phase 2”, a loopy temporal anomalyizer project, bringing the horrible future into being, investment opportunities, what do people do in this future?, the Wikipedia entry on product placement, “gods”, media consumers, Kyle Marquis @Moochava tweet: “Yearly reminder: unless you’re over 60, you weren’t promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go.”, dystopic is this?, reserving the word dystopia, “a bad place”, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a world community, “the world is a dystopia for poor people”, buying into it, required consumption, a softer opt-in dystopia, Wool by Hugh Howey, the lack of truth, the six people in the GTX tower, Rupert Murdoch, government control vs. corporate control, biography of Anonymous, Wikileaks, Amazon.com, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Russia, Jony Ive, Jeff Bezos, Google, this one person, this relationship, the emotional part of the story, a suicide attempt, “her eyes leak a little”, the godlings, media stars, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the family and the fourth wall, a tax-dodge marriage, the narrator is full of contempt for everything, a soap opera and the show around that, Jean Harlow‘s story, the actress in that movie vs. the person in that life, her Prada bag, her Jimmy Choo, her iPhone 6, the meta-story, the movies remind us why they’re famous, South America, they’re just shows that happen to love soap (not soap operas), another allusion, Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson, Rima the Bird Girl, Audrey Hepburn, tragic end, “your brain is a dystopia for you”, tragedy, what of the empty body?, the best expression of the system, a plastic brain, a red herring?, was she trying to kill her biological body?, plugged in emotionally, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, old man becomes young woman, grandfatherly lust, P. Burke thinks she is Delphi, The Matrix, if this is the start of the technology, The Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, vat-grown avatars, Wii miis, World Of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, unique trumps beauty, the second smartest man in the world, scars are cool, trans-humanism, did anyone enjoy this book (story)?, Jenny loves this story, Scott liked it, the value of short fiction, James Triptree, Jr. writing is not like other people’s, it feels like an artifact, hey you daddy-o, Luke is the dissenting voice, Luke doesn’t like short fiction very much, Rudy Rucker’s Software and Wetware, Cory Doctorow, the futuristic patois, Luke doesn’t like the punk in cyberpunk, “it kind of just flops there”, KCRW’s Bookworm, Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose, using people, “the real hairy thing…love?”, the narrator’s cynicism, Isaac Asimov’s thoughts on New Wave, New Wave as the literary version of SF, style over content, what Rudy Rucker was doing, what is the first cyberpunk book?, Anne McCaffrey’s short story The Ship Who Sang, what it’s not, who wants straightforward?, addressing the reader directly, Peter Watts, infodumping, “As you know Jim…”,

On this day I want to tell you about, which will be about a thousand years from now, there were a boy, a girl and a love story. Now although I haven’t said much so far, none of it is true. The boy was not what you and I would normally think of as a boy, because he was a hundred and eighty-seven years old. Nor was the girl a girl, for other reasons; and the love story did not entail that sublimation of the urge to rape and concurrent postponement of the instinct to submit which we at present understand in such matters. You won’t care much for this story if you don’t grasp these facts at once. If, however, you will make the effort, you’ll likely enough find it jam-packed, chockfull and tiptop-crammed with laughter, tears and poignant sentiment which may, or may not, be worth while. The reason the girl was not a girl was that she was a boy.

“There’s a great future there”, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, it’s not a time travel story?, newspapers, typewriters, telegrams, has writing gotten worse or is it just evolving?, brid -> bird, Luke thinks it’s all cyclical, this is just another princess, this is Princess Diana’s story, we are complicit, the message, everyone should have to read the news in a second language, being two steps removed from current events, the value of the short story (it’s short), speed dating books, good luck.

The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Triptree, Jr.

Rima the bird girl

Posted by Jesse Willis