The SFFaudio Podcast #649 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #649 – The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (37 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Tony De Simone

Talked about on today’s show:
Star Trek Wars podcast, Tony’s pick, Pygmallion’s Spectacles, Weinbaum, Gregg Margarite, thematic resonances, interestingly similar, three Professor Van Manderpootz, big lib goggles, a little dated, male female relations, of its time, a strong male gaze, in the context of this story, he uses his gaze to create the ideal woman, an absolute cad, out for girls, not empathetic, defeated by reading the story, the girl puts her face in the oven, her male ideal, the uncle in Pygmallion’s Spectacles, Albert Ludwig, another European scientist type, inflated ego and opinion, Gregg had great taste in Science Fiction, like Wayne June, reads like a robot, straight narration vs. performance narration, Mark Twain, treating it like a serious hobby, Acoustic Pulp (Gregg Margarite’s blog listing his recordings), a really great idea man, a tradition, Philip K. Dick has a Van Manderpootz style character, scolded and cajoled, Doc Brown from Back To The Future, Doc Labyrinth, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, from this tradition, a fine and upstanding tradition, philosophical stuff, the middle one, Worlds Of If, Dixon Wells, how things might have happened differently, the Mirror Universe, the subjunctivisor, stand alone but in sequence, the perfect woman, she married the pilot, how the male gaze is done by the female, the secretary through the eyes of the janitor, you notice it is fun, its incredibly deep, a magazine named after, What IF…, If This Goes On…, projecting into the future, from 2014-2015, the great stock market crash of 2009, a lot of smoking, incredible output, the perfect, John Rawls veil of ignorance, a good happy and non painful life, its ridiculous, three new particles, really early technobabble (in service), Plato and The Republic, we all want justice, what is justice?, doing right to your friends and doing harm to your enemies, to be virtuous in all actions, where learning comes from, our reality is a shittier version of the perfect, the trauma of childbirth gave you amnesia, learning is actually remembering, what makes a chair a chair is we know it from the ideal of the chair, why we recognize things, instinctual fears, the perfect house, Poe wrote a whole essay about the perfect room, psychons, that hairstyle is more attractive, big hair and shoulder pads, Miami Vice, generated by the things exposed to in youth, active in advertizing from 25 years ago, Somewhere In Time (1980), Jack Finney is sooo nostalgic, Midnight In Paris (2011), nostalgia as a receding window, Ray Bradbury is sooo nostalgic, an idealization of a perfect time in the past, Halloween, he lives there, he dwells there, a place where he was, how he was, only if you believe in this idea of the perfect, an exploration and a ridiculing of the perfect, anything after 1899 was uninteresting, movies from the 1970s vs. stories from the 1970s, the perfect girl, her costume, cuirasses are back in fashion, body armor and shorts, standard from 1930s magazines, Return Of The Jedi, Leia’s costume is 1930s brass braziers, a male Jabba gaze, long sensuous hair tentacles, what makes Star Wars work so well is its coming out and a harkening back, the serials and the pulps, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, wearing swords and cuirasses, flying vehicles and Ming the Merciless, an inconsequential comedy piece, there is this perfect woman out there for me, a new reality, very subtle, an examination of the phenomenon and a dismissal of it, an element of Van Manderpootz, he tells us he’s smart, his wiseness is not as high as his smartness, taking the robot apart, his plan went afoul, the cover of Wonder Stories, its in the story (just not the focus), they idealized it, a guy sticking his head into a cannon, people with TV heads, robosaurus, if he had built it it would have been a disaster, the ideal predator for an urban jungle, the tradition going back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the message of Frankenstein is if you’re going to have kids don’t abandon them, embracing the and, the most discussed one, 1. there are some things man was not meant to know!, 2. playing God is wrong, connected to making babies, God is making babies, creating Hell on Earth, instead of living peacefully in heaven forever, adaptations (the movies), hubris, show off his intelligence, of that ilk, driven to defeat death, a creature that is immortal, the creature punishes him, if you get a dog don’t abuse it, rejected by society, our hero is a little bit too ditzy, he’s not committed (even to showing up on time), so distraught he starts showing up to work on time, oh I know that girl, her second husband (she’s had seven), an object of massive desire, brilliant as he is, he makes a good uncle, the relationship between Doc Brown and Marty McFly, the circular loop, it doesn’t make sense to look at as a Heinleinian loop, Predestination (2014) and All You Zombies, the avuncular uncle, Doc I need more power, the same comedic relationship, getting in bed with the Libyans, the same story a different phenomenon, public domain heroes, John R. Peirce’s The Higher Things, Harry Harrison, romances, I I Dixon Wells, Heloise And Alebard, from the medieval time period, a missed opportunity, a very Star Trek thing to do: Newton, Hawking, Tpau of Vulcan, the iceberg approach, A Pale Light In The Black by K.B. Wagers, the only music is Star Trek is jazz, classical, and Klingon opera, Dixon Hill, the ideal romance, Marty McFly isn’t that interested in science, Sophie Wenzel Ellis, tragic romances, the real answer, Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis, a eugenicist, pile on pile on pile on pile on, extra stuff at the beginning, Aucassin and Nicolette, auggh gasoline!, fixed eyes or fixed cameras, phone camera AI, categorizing and tagging, blinders and a mirror, what does this heterosexual young man see?, dating dancers, what other people thought was the perfect woman, nothing about her brain, Weinbaum is very wise, it feels so easy but it is super deep, Dawn Of Flame, a plague in the 2020s, The Black Flame, Kentucky, Black Margo, conquering the world for good, as very poignant piece vs. clinical and cute, wise, wistful, our naive hero, he’s literally teaching us, he taught so many people what science fiction could be, read more Weinbaum, he wrote a lot for a guy who didn’t live very long, Ray Bradbury is genuine and enthusiastic, love and reverence for poetry and prose, the least political writer, cars and trains, The Pedestrian, Fahrenheit 451 seems very political, book burning vs. the danger of television, a magic way to get to Mars, never learned to live (living in Los Angeles) is pretty weird, The Small Assassin, the image of a homicidal baby, Pet Semetary by Stephen King, revealing truths, making the wisdom go down very easy, a jerk vs. a ditz, he could literally destroy the planet, killing machines, the robot is probably named after Isaac Newton, a Jew, Ray Bradbury’s obsessions are kind of what people wanted, that small town vibe, a nice way of thinking of reality, Disney’s Up is too nostalgic for Jesse, noir fiction, hard SF, hard boiled, well written and easy to take in, A Martian Odyssey, a Star Trek bridge crew, each alien is different, silicon based lifeforms, how a bird would think, H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, they’re comprehensible, based in threes, vampires, what would happen to people as we evolved, taking in your food through your skin, grey aliens.

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

 WONDER STORIES, September 1935 - The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum - illustration by Frank R. Paul

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum - interior illustration by Frank R. Paul

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The SFFaudio Podcast #621 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #621 – The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the story (2 hours 47 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Jonathan Juett

Talked about on today’s show:
how to pronounce his name (mack-in is fine), a short story, The Whirlwind, 1890, The Great God Pan and The Inmost Light, a confusing horror story, the Jeffrey Epstein of the 1890s, not what Juett thought it was about, fantasy, a science fiction horror, a capital S on Science, a mad scientist, a metaphor, a symbol, more Alan Moore than Hellboy, pretty timely, the abuse of underage girls, people getting suicided, not getting prosecuted, a conspiracy, a direct response to Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson pulls his punches, he tramples a boy, a mystery, the secret of the story (Jekyll and Hyde were the same person), it’s a science fiction story!, the way this book is structured, the structure Dracula uses, Bram Stoker, down and up through time, a fixup, its disconnected, a more ethical and pleasant book, evil island, revenge, Prince Andrew, surprising it was written when it was written, a shocking book to read, Mr Jim episode 7, 2015, Aleister Crowley, our perceptions of what the Victorians were really like is broken, sex and drugs, Oscar Wilde, getting on the private plane with Clinton and going to that sex island, suicided in prison, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, research ability, type “Pan” into google, the drawings were not allowed to see in the book, the horror that totally effects Lovecraft, From Beyond, The Dunwich Horror, fucking with stuff inside your skull, Dr Raymond, cutting the corpus callosum, very minor brain surgery, the pineal gland, The Tomb, the panisci and the nymphs, Wasteland by W. Scott Poole, The Bowmen, kind of like Alex Jones except as an author, pizzagate, Hillary Clinton, New York, a game of telephone, focused on the wrong things, he wrote a fiction piece, republishing, changing the details, Q Anon and 4 Chan, WWI, having snow on your boots = he’s a Russian, in responses to the bowmen, Russian troops being landed in Scotland and on their way to London now, cultural legacies of weird wacky conspiracy theories, rumours, ill repute, a reputable public face, an association we think is a problem, what is now the first chapter, what is the third chapter, written in a single evening, it opens and it closes, an unsatisfactory resolution, no longer a being like we want her to be, the girl belongs to the witness, the witness is there to witness, the consent problem, problematic, “even if the worst happened”, “her life is mine”, he’s evil, Going Aquatic Apeshit, Capital is the narrator of the book, The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh, Francis Bacon, The Horror At Red Hook, of this length and of this quality, The Undying Thing by Barry Pain, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, a werewolf story, a cursed lineage story, this veil beyond, these yellow books, a critical biography of Arthur Machen: Arthur Machen, Weaver Of Fantasy by William Francis Gekle, so elliptically, a Welsh childhood, London, a story that took bottom up support, the people want this to be true, an anecdote from WWI, the ghosts of the Agincourt bowmen, god is on our side, witnesses, within six months its out of his hands, transferred into WWII, one of his shittiest stories, a fantasia, childhood and reminiscence, The Lost Club, club society, gentleman’s clubs, the Hellfire Club, The Cosy Room, the fear of being hung, Out Of The Earth, Arthur’s castle, the war has turned the country evil, a reality behind the veil, folk beliefs, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret Murray, witches were real, peasant people cast magic, heterodox beliefs, occult traditions, networked, The Call Of Cthulhu, The Festival, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dunwich Horror, networks of vernacular knowledge is the real tentacle running through H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, the horseshoe on the door, embracing whatever folklore’s out there, the Bros. Grimm, Aarne-Thompson index, so many of the characters suffer from faceblindness, three is a magic number, these are lessons, knowledge being imparted, stories full of dwarves, Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves, Aladdin is only in the European version of 1,001 Nights, The Tinder-box by Hans Christian Anderson, behavior test, how to act and how to be, Hansel And Gretel, the step-mother is the witch, illiterates educating their children, sex clubs, capitalism unrestrained, a powerful woman at his side, a very intellectual guy, a kind of play and a kind of reality (he knows is fake), The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, the meaning of the word “turgid”, swollen, congested, distended, it’s a slur, Lovecraft is complicated, striving for a common reality, a literary technique, a feature not a bug, a misunderstanding, byzantine, this cosmic dimension, class, sexuality, gender, look how divided the city is, why you need to be spoiled on it, the Victorians can’t go there, Escher, the veil runs through the entire story, there’s one story, Jesse is a supergenius and everybody needs to know, The Tree, its a murder mystery, The Unnameable, Cotton Mather, just got raped by Pan, two artists, the narrator learns of the two artists from a beekeeper, why does this story suck so much, a secret story inside, the bees know, the interpretation (his friend’s art is better than his), he hid it so well you don’t even know its there, nature knows, you have to know how to interpret it, every time we’re going to get a revelation the words are whispered, never another good night in your life, From Beyond, a metaphor and a symbol, the symbolists, The Hound, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Robert W. Chambers, The Yellow Sign, The King In Yellow, the Yellow 90s, I love this suggestion, it matches our perception, a symbol behind the veil, Pan is not like the other gods, Stephen Fry’s Mythos, the word panic, The Origins Of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner, a war between them in the mythology, sky gods vs. earth gods, The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle, when the surgery is about to be done, Clark, green velvet chair, whatever gas, another way of reading it is the brain surgery is on Clark, see reality for what it is, reality distortion, another Austin, Miss Penclosa, sulfuric acid, this powerful woman in London society, dispelling the idea of this being an attack on new womens’ power, a product of male predation, there’s a lot to think about, in a more subtle way, a social critique like that of The Time Machine, born victimized, Morlocks aren’t the bad guys, becoming monstrous, Weena and the Eloi, there’s no judgement, satirizing vs. critiquing, the old Doctor Who, playing up to Juett, Man-Thing, The Devil In The Dark, The Horta vs. The Horla, can’t they all get along?, if this goes on…, why we should all read science fiction, the consequences of unchecked untruth is, not really fantasy at all, its science fiction, misunderstanding who this god is, the truth of the reality is horrible, Thomas Ligotti, sympathy, lifting the veil on the society, vote for Biden everything will be okay, put on the They Live sunglasses, the reverse of the removing of the veil, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, imagine how much people would read it if it was public domain…, visit sickmyduck.narod.ru, stop listening to this podcast, one last connection, disgusting (a book published in the last 30 years), heedlessly, Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, those materials were destroyed, the monstrous woman has to be destroyed, paternal figure takes advantage of someone under their care, three stories, it has to percolate up on its own, bottom up pressure, you need to spoil it for me, all these guys are jerks, young women get revenge on bad fathers, Captain Nemo is the secret hero, a bad dad, like Goliah or Colossus, Raʼs al Ghul type character, Poison Ivy, anti-imperialism, an internationalist, Canadian lumberjacks, a brown dude wearin a turbin yelling at people torpedoin ships, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne, Robur The Conqueror, that book’s a series, In Search For The Castaways, The Mysterious Island, the end of Nemo’s career, a sikh, N by Stephen King, one of the greatest horror stories ever written in the English language, Revival by Stephen King, devotes his whole life to studying electricity, do the Frankenstein thing, Sleepwalkers, Flatliners (1990), Stand By Me, a report on the afterlife, similar in feel, Angel Heart (1987), fear of miscegenation, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a modern setting, race relations, Crossroads (1986), Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs, Jesse wants to be edified, not merely enjoy things, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), no Pan in it at all, is this a kissing book?, you just don’t want to know where the kiss is being kissed, not a good touch, Robert A. Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil, afraid of what he might say, no one else needs to read Heinlein because I read him, before we become beasts.

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

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Reading, Short And Deep #247 – Into Space by S.P. Meek

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #247

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Into Space by S.P. Meek

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Into Space was first published in Astounding, February 1930.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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The SFFaudio Podcast #590 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #590 – Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis; read by Kathy Wright. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 10 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding Stories, February 1930, the second issue, the subtitle, slimemold and flivver, super-science, there’s a reason we don’t SUPER-SCIENCE stories, this whole issue is on LibriVox.org, Into Space by Capt. S.P. Meek, here’s some volume for you, a retelling of The First Men In the Moon by H.G. Wells, a one bullshit gimme, not a scientific bone in the actual, bullshit science is everywhere in this story, launch into a defense of this story, an interesting story, a very silly story, intended, she’s kinda silly, between Frankenstein and 2001: A Space Odyssey, an evolutionary destiny to be god-like, can we create a better kind of person through science, the ideology of science, a Fantastic Voyage quality, hey have you read this Science article, a scary looking beautiful man, Antarctica, the fourth dimension, everything this exists, how deranged these experiments are, a crazy romp, it lives on in comics, Superman, Superboy, Superdog, villain mustaches, a good silent movie, a good bad movie, Captain America is a product of super science, one of the first super hero story, so amazing, Francis Stevens invented the superhero in 1904, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, Sampson, bitten by a radioactive spider, unique, the fun, very sensuous bodies, lips, splattered with startling features, people are so beautiful they are magnificent scenery, getting into arguments on twitter, attacking Lovecraft for being racist, she fundamentally misunderstands, genetics and evolution, Philip K. Dick’s The Infinities, teleological evolution, racism is tied up with an evolutionary ladder, Evan’s podcasts on H.P. Lovecraft (the sea and forgetting), racism is bullshit, there is no end state, no perfection, humpbacked German scientist, the first creature that crawled out of the sea was a Man, man is going to evolve into God, all life is a part of an experiment, her bursting ideas, the solar powered helicopter, everything turns gray, new scientific ideas that are not really science, if you get a life ray you get a death ray, she’s like Ed Wood, hilarious, earnest, not hard SF, a science fable, the overreach of the German scientist, they’re all chill about it, Adam and Eve at the end, she’s the anti-eve, Lilith, She‘s Ayesha, so funny, somebody’s head has been on this pillow, hey let’s build igloos and live on penguins, yo-yo-y, the Savage Land, a continuation of the Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton’s The People Of The Crater, its all there, madcap bursting at the seams with concepts, she’s juggling, a low mileage, life-ray, super-race, solar sphere, telepathic, death-ray, superman, LibriVox, invisible man, time travel, an unconventional form of invisibility, telepathy, the story needs an interlocutor, Ed Wood needs to do the narration, this perfect black age woman, she had the good genes, keeping his disability, hilarious and amusing, like a kitten being angry at you, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is an evil book, a new race of people who are superior to you, they’re eugenically more pure, none of the defects that we have, only for the richies, the liberal elites vs the basket of deplorables, Plan 9 From Outer Space is not a good plan for the space program, this is 1930s, what sexual selection is for, modern science is permitting the unfit to live, she doesn’t even get Paradise Lost, its 9 hours, comedic on purpose, a story with a happy ending in marriage, The Tempest has the greatest fart jokes on the planet, a slef concisncous commediane , Heard In A Grocery, The White Wizard, her letter to Weird Tales, the happiest days of the month for me, The Woman Of The Wood by A. Merritt, The Moon Bog, The Outsider, The Dreamer of Atlânaat by E. Hoffmann Price, Dwellers In The House, White Lady, a hunch nose, he smells bad, an Arabic scholar judge, it goes without saying, courting the judge’s daughter, personality change, its a Lovecraft ripoff, split people into multiple bodies, a happy ending, burn down the house that all the book were in, chaste and tortured romance, they don’t have houses, our whole lifestyle, we’re locked up in our houses, you need a gym membership, more logical, that’s crazy, a role playing game plot, Spirit Of The Century, E.E. “Doc” Smith, “they’ve adapted”, “only human ingenuity”, technobabble heavy Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will’s definition for super-science: science is part of modern mythology, the mythological power of science, fantastic and godlike things, The Flash, magic with science as the explanation, an ideological component, GURPS,

‘“Superscience” technologies violate physical laws – relativity, conservation of energy, etc. – as we currently understand them. (…) By definition, it is impossible to set a firm TL for superscience – we might discover faster-than-light travel tomorrow, a thousand years from now, or never. Equipment TLs are always debatable, but superscience TLs are arbitrary.

The Super-Friends wiki,

Super-Science is a term that refers to any type of science that is considered beyond that of the normal mainstream science. The Raven was a super-scientist, but his experiments were considered unethical.

a great episode, erasing the Super-Friends from the timeline, The Boys From Brazil, Teen Titans, Nazis are a combination of throwbacks to medievalism and super-science, In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Eagles or Legions, 2,000 year old consequences, they’re their own people, a moral screed against Romans by Romans, German psychology of the 20th century before and after WWII, the chances of finding a couple Germans hiking in the mountains of British Columbia, blue eyed and yellow haired, he’s got the WILL!, the classification system, novel and cute hunchback, she would get destroyed if she was used in a touchstone, a womanthology, forgotten, wrong about everything, not a single correct move in any scene, the right guy, he’s a dilettante who doesn’t have a job because he has good genes, what about Mary?, she’s not beautiful so we don’t care, Friedrich Engels’s common-law wife, what’s going on psychological here?, dude, it’s so obvious, interested in girl stuff, this handsome handsome man, a middle-class housewife, totally fun to hang out with, disabuse her of her eugenics beliefs, almost everybody was ideologically deranged, H.G. Wells’ The Country Of The Blind, a lost world story, different kinds of assholes, H.G. Wells assholes vs. H.P. Lovecraft assholes, Æpyornis Island, that’s my ride, this æpyornis comes out, taking on Will’s mannerisms, …the one eyed man is king, sight (which is not a thing), these two growths in the front of your face, a scientific story, sickle cell anemia and malaria, its a mistake, Huntington’s disease seems to be bad, way to sophisticated for Sophie Wenzel Ellis, one thing everyone sort of got wrong, “survival of the fittest”, social Darwinism, there is no path that we’re on that is going towards a destiny, you don’t need breeding if you have a life-ray, confronted in the raw, Jesse went to university for 16 years, cloning, Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, cloning doesn’t make any sense on a large scale because of , Hitler’s clone army, monocultures are terrible, what genetic diversity is for, this problem with bananas, sexual selection is about diversity, stupid but fun, emerald ash borers, tree farming, economically too, no ventilators, British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve, you’re setting yourself off for a massive die-off, trying to diversify, riding the wave, stuff is complex, complex is hard to explain, its a bush not a ladder, seed pods, Paul is right again, an alternative to this story, eugenics and race stuff, Milo Hastings’ City Of Endless Night, all coincidence and fortuitousness, a pandemic and a plague and we’re all gonna die, how come he can fly, its not the right (or fruitful) critique of this story, it might reinforce your distorted ideas, now that its so silly its mostly harmless, the ubermensch, Superman: Red Sun, a great super-science ending, the story ideologically undermines itself to work as a story, inching himself towards godhood, we’re meant to be gods, horrible people who needed to be destroyed, watching the gods destroy themselves, a viewpoint character, René Girard, distracted boyfriend meme, Where No Man Has Gone Before, very super-sciency-stupid, but what does it mean?, this is inevitable, you can not rush it otherwise you will get monsters, Babylon 5, supercharged psi-guy, I’ll see you again in a million years, down the tubes, supercharged by Vorlons, another Star Trek: Voyager episode, when Paris goes to super-warp and becomes a lizard, retconing conversations with your mother, when Larry David was a writer on Saturday Night Live, pretended it never happened, George Costanza quits his job, that’s gaslighting so don’t do that, this really terrible Star Trek episode, another really annoying novel by Kurt Vonnegut (Galapagos), Margaret Atwood, humans as sea-lions flopping around on the beach, when Olaf Stapledon does it it’s cool, Will thinks seal people are a good idea, push straight through, a silly silly book, Maissa defends Kurt Vonnegut 100%, feted in a way that Jesse doesn’t think is reasonable, when Jesse watches an Ed Wood movie, he is dead, we must honour him by never talking about him again, day six I got displaced from time, I ran myself to my destruction, my humpbacked’s father: Jesse, Harrison Bergeron, The Marching Morons.

Heard In A Grocery by Sophie Wenzel Ellis

Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis - Astounding, February 1930

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The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #439 – READALONG: The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #439 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer discuss the novella entitled The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

Talked about on today’s show:
Serberous?, the novella (not the whole book), maybe an accident maybe on purpose, very-Wolfeian, Orbit 10 edited by Damon Knight, fixup vs. novel?, V.R.T., to fully understand…, you need them all together, error or on purpose, many moons ago, novella is the perfect length for any Science Fiction work, read in publication order, old home week, Ender’s Shadow, Ender’s Game, cheating, the Alzabo Soup podcast, The Book Of The New Sun, condensed and distilled, Jorge Luis Borges <- I like what that guy's doing, I'm going to do me some of that -> George R.R. Martin, reader doing the heavy lifting, A Song Of Ice And Fire, almost a fantasy novel, a cloning story, Jack Vance, far future where science has become magic, the Dying Earth subgenre, no magic going on?, the sentences are full of magic, what does the title mean, is the reader the fifth head?, The Black Gate blog post, this story is a combination lock that allows many different combinations, info-dumping, somebody is a clone or a mirror or a part of his imagination, an unreliable narrator, a really good sign, this is Gene Wolfe’s thing, perfect memory, no memory, a consistent memory, how accurate are the details?, how many characters are there?, number five, is one of the characters is “Gene Wolfe”?, the father, the brother (David), the aunt, the lady in pink, the other clone in the warehouse, the four-armed dude is a character, the robot (Mr Millions), Marsh, the anthropologist, the brothel, how its revealed, he has been in prison, the only complete arc, we must infer the rest of them, the death of the father, Christopher Nolan should direct it, it is a complete work or it will be, clones of the same person, hinkey, hokey, or odd, all the books in the private library were written by his father, going to the Ws, very meta, are you a Nigerian prince? Jesse will believe you (for a minute), he is really old, which body did all the typing and research, daily dissertations, studying particular subjects (to be filled in in the labyrinth), The Library Of Babel, the only thing we know about readers is that they like books, writers are readers too, the ultimate fantasy is the place where all the stories are found, cloning to write, cloning to read, what’s up with the late night interrogations, is he psychoanalyzing?, or studying?, voight-kampff tests, what makes something or someone real?, Infinivox, Robert Reed’s Guest Of Honor, there was no quintessential cloning novel, why she is guest of honour, everybody is immortal, he could be downloading, being able to read three books at the same time, David isn’t one of the clones is he?, he escapes, theory and conjecture, nothing more than personality test?, gaining insight into himself, he’s clearly cloned a lot, “failures”, a slave who looks like him, four arms vs. five heads, societal cloning, impressions, “questionable things”, a brothel, a Frankenstian lab, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Littlefinger and Varos from Game Of Thrones, all sorts of play, what the kid’s doing with the frogs, experimenting with all the different ways of living and making life, mirrors and labyrinths, why he lives in a brothel, financial motivations, slave dealing, endless cycle, the Greek Tragedy elements, unfortunately that’s how the prophecy goes, genes are destiny, escaping the trap and escaping the cycle, A Song Of Ice And Fire, castrated folks, incest, pretty interesting, Nightflyers, Sandkings, that hardness, slavery and murder, colonization, genocide, colonialism, what information can we glean, the plastic replicas of the aboriginal stone tools, pre-stone tool culture, is Veill’s hypothesis correct?, does it matter?, good questions, John Marsh or a version of John Marsh, sending messages in the prison…to who?, the third novella, only identified as numbers, more to unlock, 666 to jump up on the stage, Hell, Hell is a stage, the theatre, the woman guard, what are the different theories on the title?, Maitre, the five clones, the maidenhead (virginity), bars and locked doors, suddenly he’s a mad scientist, the slave market visits, the great grandfather, a ROM?, reliability of information, why who is an abbo is important, robot protector, robot tutor, seemingly no emotions, very Christopher Nolan, if Gene Wolfe is the name of 5, one is a mirror of the other, one is a mirror of Earth and one is a mirror of Hell, one way of writing a story summary, what is the metaphor of the stage?, why is the stage stuff in there?, there’s stuff they want you to see, there’s a bunch going on back stage, a facade, the name of the house, The House Of The Dog, base and primal, a sexual position, what the significance of the stone tools (that are actually plastic), John V. Marsh, the significance is overblown because it is the only thing leftover, the kid then confabulates the culture, is David smarter or wiser?, when our father interviews you what does he call you?, escaping the traps, reading Odysseus, the cyclops, don’t give your name, the intertextual references, H.P. Lovecraft, Vernor Vinge, feeling like fantasy, part of the play, nurture vs. nature, it’s all fate, doomed, a metal prison, we seek self knowledge, why we seek, the little ape, we wish to discover why we fail, another reflection, the mirror world you can’t go to, to step through the looking glass, a myth or a fairy tale, trying to connect with the world of myth and legend, quest, maitre means head, like a head of a hotel, so cool, the theories of what is going to happen in Game Of Thrones, Martin’s plans, “interesting”, what bones were put into the soup, how the meal is going to digest, a very complex set of flavours, the anise, the bacon, mixed beans, a very hearty hearty meal, How To Read Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman:

1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.

2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It’s tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.

3) Reread. It’s better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.

5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It’s a knife-throwing act, and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes, earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn’t mind. Gene is throwing the knives.

6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.

7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw in the mirror that night.

9) Be willing to learn.

the dogs always stand in, how the red woman and her prophecies play out, king’s blood, a victim of her own witchery, a deep analysis of the opening credits of the Game Of Thrones TV series, it’s not really a map, it’s an inverse orrery, mechanistic movement, behind the scenes, a Dyson’s sphere, when Winterfell falls, a nice metaphor for the creation of a secondary world, Lord Dunsany’s The Wonderful Window, Golden Dragon City, ways of reading, different methods and techniques with which to approach, an interview with Gene Wolfe, the Korean War, once you think you’re smart that’s when they get you, getting killed shows that you’re not smart, I’m a much more literary man, it’s about the love of writing, how ethereal or gossamer Borges stuff is, how it connects to us, it can live without us reading, a story being spun, its the yarn itself, it needs us more than Borges’ stuff does, what would make a failed Gene Story would look like, that’s his brand, Stanisław Lem’s One Human Minute, a cute thought, a professor of 1920s and 1830, a more broad education, the Wikipedia entry for 1908, when you read the Wikipedia entry for 2017 in 100 years…, Durham Stevens, super-deep, The Island Of Doctor Death And Other Stories And Other Stories, he knew exactly what he was doing, a confluence of events, a critical hit, stumbled upon, its not an accident, Faulkner’s The Sound And The Fury, Proust, questions of identity, Sandman, he has always been a really good guy to following the reading of, Douglas Adams, look at this, his essays about Edgar Allan Poe, an even better non-fiction writer than a fiction writer, a book of essays, a mini essay about cities in SimCity 2000, a little Easter Egg, “ruminate”, A View From The Cheap Seats, Philip Reeve, The Hungry Cities Chronicles, The Wind From A Burning Woman (collection) by Greg Bear, this is Lankhmar, Dungeons & Dragons, a city adventure, behind every door is another potential story, a tiny little slice, fully expanded, Fritz Leiber’s not as good as I want him to be, next level stuff, Gene Wolfe never won a Hugo, there’s no justice, you know nothing, Nebulas, who is our best writer?, no official audiobook version, Audible.com, the best of Gene Wolfe on audio is a good idea, a hard no, off the Wolfe subject.

Posted by Jesse Willis