The SFFaudio Podcast #498 – READALONG: The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

November 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #498 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU talk about The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
novella sorta, Odyssey, thinking back, telling about the books, the interesting things in the books, hard Fantasy, mana, the problems of depletion, the wheel spell, a skull, so fun, the whole spoiler phenomenon, spoiler people get uptight as they age, kids are little scientists, tell me more, they walk on clouds, unicorns were a thing, the explanation, in different cultures, is spoiler sensitivity cultural, the joy of getting there, Snotgirl, Jesse’s worst sin this year, treasuring the experience of discovery, extra jalapenos, “surprise me!”, in the early days of Paul’s life, Not Long Before The End, What Good Is A Glass Dagger?, The Wishing Game, The Burning City, The Burning Tower, same universe, ancient Los Angeles, the political messaging gets really ham-handed, the IRS is bad, later books are co-authored, the ideas vs. the execution, Scott’s view, so smart, preppin’ for a podcast, the magazine version, the art is so good, it felt like trying to extened a really good story premise, the similarities to Ringworld, a big dumb object in the sky (the Moon), we’re going to need a god, before they get to the god, the denouement, poor Wavyhill, immortality, screaming for thirty years, Protector, how idea heavy his stuff is, the little consequences, a cultural legacy, some people still believe in magic, he’s retconned our magic-free universe with a universe full of magic, he sees like other people do, true for all humanity, kinda sexist, the Moon is magic, when we achieve that as a species, worldsnake, amoeba used to be huge monsters, the Grey Ooze, the gelatinous cube, where Gary Gygax got the idea, the goo, vacuoles, translucent, holding the goo, one of the first words we all say as babies, a giant tardigrade, The First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor, a protoceratops fossil, gryphons, why we dig them up today, page 46, the size of houses, there that’s what I’m talking about, the children of the first god, the Crawling Chaos, fire vs. magic, so much work, good additions, fire is technology, elves are all gone because they are powered by magic and fire, Avengers: Infinity War, mixing in Doctor Strange, created at the point of creation of the universe, The Key To Time, a purpose, characters with different skills, the fire and the magic, a god in the form of Thor, different skill sets, a real issue, a dying earth story, we live in the dead Earth, the setup and the premises, Warlock vs. Wavyhill, a wolfwere, please tell me more, a wolf that’s really a man, magic dead zones, a snail dragon, some hidden stuff, Neuromancer, a ROM, Dixie Flatline, a book about hackers, hackers can do magic, cyberpunk role-playing game scene, the Magic: The Gathering cards, Larry Niven backwards, a Niven disc, the NetRunner collectible card game, very clever, he’s systematized magic where everything is possible, using limited resources, peak oil problem, what a big idea, The Magic May Return, Fred Saberhagen, Poul Anderson, Mildred Downey Broxon, Roger Zelazny, meteor bombardment, this is cute, emphasize the right words, page 8, chapter 2, an Asian infestation of vampires, “gone mythical”, the crater is old, Fistfall, at this point in the book, a mountain, a village, the moon, it’s not two wizards, we’ve got three…, the Three Magi!, what he was going for, that kind of retelling, happening in the background, the kind of book that will reward careful reading, I need to see a wizard, the opening with the raft and the collapse of Atlantis, why Atlantis sunk, I can solve that, tectonically unstable, the payoff, the centaur can’t survive without the magic, the image, climate change, images in the news, too real, Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, a post apocalyptic landscape where the magic has returned, the sixth world, Lucifer’s Hammer, Fist Of God, Inferno, Dante’s Inferno, the structure, he’s old, Planet Stories, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, Blue Hours Suspense audio drama series adaptation, waiting for the dawn, a new Eden, the premise, the belief of the dancers, the last uncontacted tribe was shown the error of their ways, who knows what hold the Moon up?, philosophy of science, uniformity, six weekends on the Moon, explanations for why our explanations don’t work, I’ve solved everything in hard Science Fiction, but you haven’t solved unicorns, Svetz, time travel stories, Moby-Dick, running into fantasy, into a fantastical past, a collection of short stories, Rainbow Mars, a seed from Yggdrasil, A Wolf In My Time Machine, manna in fantasy, manna’s from heaven, Maori culture, as a unit of magic, magic as sustenance, a shout out to Australia and New Zealand, emigrate to Australia, super-yummy, “try the moa, it’s great!”, the aborigines, the Dreamtime, this fits in with my explanation, Master Of The Maze by Avram Davidson, been not from, Maori cultural practices, reciprocal obligations, Jesse explains the potlatch, depleting your production, you have power, an economic cultural mixer, what commerce can do, nobody would be productive if they didn’t have money, the communication of debt, honor, they owe you and you own them, Washington State, banned, spiritual power, gods and spirits, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, that is magical in a certain sense, motivating without money, economics as debt not as currency, a theme in a lot of Niven’s work, solving ideas, 13,000 B.C., geography, Doggerland is still above the waves, exploring the changes, the unstated name is Robert E. Howard, his Hyborian age, Acheron, King Kull was an Atlantean, a philosopher king in a magic heavy universe, Kull The Conqueror (1997) movie is fairly faithful, Kevin Sorbo, The Good Place, funny dialogue, a good sense of humour, the relationship he has with women, typical, the right Niven characters together, Louis, Speaker, and Nessus, damn hard SF, character low, having motivation, the baddie, the worlds first necromancer, is Wayvhill the badguy?, a heist that goes wrong, very Joseph Campbell-y, dealing with the epic, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, Orolandes said, the skulls, “I wish…”, what was Clubfoot wishing for?, the last great sorcerer, a diminishment and a sadness, wishes don’t come true anymore, now I’m sad, thanks Paul, Antarctica, you wish upon a star, he’s not spelling it all out but he’s pointing to it, that’s the joy, Merlin, he ages backwards, they have these spells, Mirandees hair colour, from black to white, the vampire spell, good stuff, a very nice exercise, throwing Larry Niven into Hell, totally worthwhile, the original short was withdrawn for consideration for a Hugo, fantastic, Marissa is going mythical.

Odyssey, Summer 1976

Boris Vallejo cover for The Magic Goes Away

Skull Of Wavyhill

The Magic Goes Away - Chapter 8

Nevinyrral's Disk from Magic: The Gathering

NetRunner card NevinYrral

DC Comics - Larry Niven - The Magic Goes Away

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #128 – The Leather Funnel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

July 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #128

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Leather Funnel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Leather Funnel was first published McClure’s Magazine, November 1902.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #120 – Sis’ Becky’s Pickaninny by Charles W. Chestnutt

May 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #120

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Sis’ Becky’s Pickaninny by Charles W. Chestnutt

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Sis’ Becky’s Pickaninny was first published in Conjure Woman, 1899.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #474 – READALONG: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

May 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #474 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
1963, 1964, better in memory?, horrible, so good, annoying, if you were to find these books in the public domain, editing out the annoying parts, Heinlein can’t help himself, re-reads, trying to focus on the good things, what huh?, what are you doing here, not quite proper, cross-universe stories, eternal jams, a sequel to Glory Road, Fate’s Trick by Mathew J. Castella, “A Crossroads Adventure”, a 14 book series, Robert Silverberg, Xanth, Majipoor, Jody Lynn Nye, Steven Brust, choose your own adventure books, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, as close to a choose your adventure as Heinlein came, Have Space Suit-Will Travel, Ellen Kushner, weird conclusions, TV Tropes is Wikipedia for tropes, a tribute novel, those books I read as a kid, Dagwood sandwich, good art, brain uploading, the egg, an African American protagonist?, the F&SF covers, Robin Hood-looking dude, surprise Filipino, Tunnel In The Sky, set in the then contemporary world, cultural assumptions, Oscar Gordon, no evidence for that in the book, have you got to the part with the realization yet?, the big surprise, the key scene in this novel, the opening quotation, George Bernard Shaw, his experience with the Dural customs and morality, author tract, the broader setting seems only to exist to praise the authors views, crappy dialogues, “I’m going to spank you”, somebody’s personal morality is tripped and triggered, obsession, its in every book, “I’m going to marry you…no we can’t get married” for 14 pages, losing control, Iowa to Colorado, the banality of Iowa, the first publication introduction, figure skater, cat-midwife, Isaac Asimov, Starship Soldier, an adventure story, a romance, other worlds – other manners, full of references, incredibly brilliant, wrong in so many ways, it’s not that I haven’t had sex with a married man’s wife under his own roof…, he wanted to be a wife-swapper, baked in so deeply, the whole universe of Nivea, Heinleinian fantasy land, the island in France, le minimum, nudism, he can’t help but talk about it all the time, nudity and nudity taboos, A Princess Of Mars, the conventions of American morality are wrong, freely given, “I’m a dirty tramp” every three pages, objectified and off-put at the thought of a spanking, a male fantasy novel written by a man who wanted to be a woman and be spanked, characters vs. speeches, a libertarian fantasy world, no need for police and taxes, Irish Sweepstakes, unsubtle digs, sad and ridiculous, silly empress stuff, royalty can work really well, Heinlein signed a document that was in favor of continuing the Vietnam War, until what time?, G.I. benefits, Singapore, Europe, hanging-out with hairy hippies, being spat upon, infantry, the U.S. Navy, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, a homeless Vet, questions his own sanity, visiting his parents, taking away the last two paragraphs, weird morality, misunderstanding what women want, sword spanking with specific swords, why am I being exposed to this, not so good with the flashing, Friday, more tightly controlled, a lot of time sitting around the castle, the actual adventure we get, dragons, the whole tower thing, a really good sword-fighting scene, all the references, who the swordsman (the never born) was Cyrano de Bergerac, it just so happens, good writing, Chapter 11 ends with a fateful scene, read the motto star, while we live let us live, again with the swords, jump high, another gate or doorway, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, intermittent mental illness, a green door, a wonderful fantasy world, a beautiful elven lady much older than himself, a doorway to another universe, the inspiration for all of these styles of story, he wishes that he was there, opens himself to the possibilities, just a deluded man, playing, so many stories of this ilk, hard going, Stranger In A Strange Land is lawyers talking about morality with ladies serving them coffee, the Eater of Souls, Carcassonne, fly to the Moon, the play, replete with references, the thuddingness of the third act, Silverlock by John Myers Myers, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, very swashbuckly, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the three women who want to bed him (the three bears), the horned ghosts, the horned goats, tilting at windmills, Don Quixote style, Neverwhere is how we got here, homeless and crazy, a roc’s egg, a likely wench, slow wings of the albatross, Prester John, eating the lotus in the land of always afternoon, the world sucks, a fantasy world for Heinlein, Neil Gaiman’s kinds of characters, the pixie girl, the blank Neil Gamian character, the funny character with a haircut, masturbatory, the kind of conflicts that Heinlein’s character have is a kind of horror, abused by his government, killing little brown brother, a sadder ending, connecting everything, the Heinlein Cinematic Universe should not exist, The Number Of The Beast, he thinks its cool, Jesse doesn’t care how many Manuel Garcia shows up in other books, not a fantasy novel, all the magic is math, “you don’t have the math yet, son”, the giant troll, a great scene, a pair of greasy hands, peak Heinlein efficiency, are you a coward?, brilliant, being manipulated for the better part of a decade, the scope, how many near Oscar Gordons are wandering the Earth, Rufo, as voiced by Bronson Pinchot, a funny sidekick, I invented it!, giving Eisenhauer advice on D-Day, the structure feels identical (to Neverwhere), tested at Blackfriars station, a psycho-ward, lederhosen and an aloha shirt and nothing else, ugly Americans, screw the draft, so wise, democracy is foolish, apply that to foreign policy, we made our commitments, national glory, honour and glory, we screwed up, you break it you bought it, more wasted lives, the longest war in American history, taking over the French fuck-up, not a book of wisdom, a book of adventure, so good when he’s good and so terrible when he’s terrible, working it out in his own head?, he loves his country so much, very progressive in strange ways, not racist, looking at a mirror too much, looking at it as a libertarian book, frustrating, oh god!, once the adventure is over, sentence by sentence writing, a mistake, visiting a barony, guests and heroes, Edgar Allan Poe, Casey At The Bat, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, why?, because!, fixing that mistake, sleeping with women, what is necessary in one world, wherever Heinlein’s character’s wander, same sex relations, a little lesbianism, no offers of young men, more universes under her belt, a running unfunny joke, earlier Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, Philip K. Dick, questionable morality, cheating, bows and swords, lady’s got her eggs frozen (for later decanting), wacky stuff, fertility clinics, every book, Podkanyne Of Mars, interested in fertility, fertility treatments in the mid 20th century, something that ate at him?, “I’m sterile”, “I’m going to have your baby”, “does that make me a minx? does that make me a bitch?” why are we doing this to the listener, Mythgard Academy shouldn’t do Heinlein, hurts peoples brains, birth control, women must be putting out all the time, yours is the weird universe, for such a brilliant guy, the ridiculous false-conflict conversations are almost unbearable, forgetting about the stuff, rationalizing, read him when you’re young, the problematic stupid and clunky, Heinlein is in decline, the Coode Street Podcast, bookstores don’t carry older stuff anymore, for the best?, Maureen Speller, studying Heinlein, University Of Illinois Press, what about the juveniles?, the YA, better YA being written, “less problematic”, a lot of great protagonist storytelling with capital S capital F SCIENCE FICTION, Isaac Asimov, Rocketship Galileo, the science fiction mindset, playing a game of Science Fiction, Mr. Science Fiction, Heinlein’s not doing allegory ever, hard SF, “here’s how rocketships work, boys”, if people don’t read Moon Is A Harsh Mistress the world is a much worse place, Heinlein is great!, what makes somebody worth talking to is they’ve read a lot of books, The Hunger Games is okay but Tunnel In The Sky is better, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, recycling characters, Heinlein has something really special, maybe there’s other books out there for me, Heinlein really knows how to convey a certain 1950s mindset that “SCIENCE IS REALLY IMPORTANT”, engineering students, breaking out the slide-rule, the Popular Mechanics style of can-do-ism, a not user repairable world, helping you as a person, the danger of Dungeons & Dragons, critical in all sorts of areas, tributes to Heinlein, there’s something about him and his mindset, a I Love Heinlein show, somehow irrelevant, deep dive into genre history, thirty years and forty years after publication, reading a book, that’s not how people read books anymore, cultural transmission, peer generation vs. top down generation, popular, a good old fashioned marketing campaign, Harry Potter, the epitome and ur example, what kid’s going to pick up Starman Jones?, that’s not marketing, we made a lot of money selling those books, a bottom up, will you in thirty years, Harry Potter ultimately nothing like Heinlein, within the set-up, however it works, spending time on Mars, he’s interested in that, The Expanse novels, Jesse’s not going to read them, anti-gravity, Ian Macdonald’s Luna: New Moon, Artemis by Andy Weir, Luke Burrage’s review, if you want to understand what life on the Moon’s like, digging those tunnels, Gentlemen, Be Seated, let’s explore and see what is consequent, that’s wrong and Heinlein is the one who taught Jesse that, historical perspective, not the best move, not reflective of the field, Anne Of Green Gables, fantasy novels are generally timeless, science fiction (when it ages), what the heck is this?, a theoretical?, James Davis Nicoll, no good way to feel your way into it, The Lord Of The Rings, why are there no girls in this book?, most people who are real readers are real weirdos, the only reason Paul and Jesse met, omnivorous and fast vs. slow and ponderous, most of Jesse’s student’s don’t read anything, a worse person without Heinlein, if they were public domain, the power of Lovecraft, everybody who read his stuff at the time H.P. Lovecraft was alive loved his stuff, this is stuff you should bounce off harder than anything, the vocabulary and the racism, a massive decline in Heinlein’s stuff, some corporation, there’s no champion for Heinlein, wonderful and terrible, getting a copy, Jesse has never seen a Kindle in real life, a great and terrible novel, in ten years, so many good scenes!

Glory Road - illustrated by Bruce Pennington

AVON - Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein's GLORY ROAD - Fantasy & Science Fiction, July1963

Robert A. Heinlein's GLORY ROAD - Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1963

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #470 – READALONG: The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

April 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #470 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
1950, novel/collection, The Moon Moth, a story suite, self-contained, a great book of language, the excellent prismatic spray, travertine, lapis lazuli, Hollywood, a black dragonfly, I hate the world and everything in it, Dungeons & Dragons, the Demon Princes novels, the Planet Of Adventure novels, a second order of facts, the richness of the language, the amoral characters, would you have dinner with any of these characters?, role-playing, the final descent, weird and wondrous, defined by this book, future echoes, The Matrix is a dying earth story, accessing certain special moves, fighting machines, the magic system, a 9th level spell, Bigby’s Grasping Hand, Tenser’s floating disc, the same recipe, magic missile, jamming in five spells (instead of four), so fun, a little bit of FOMO, re-memorizing spells, making magic controllable, it’s OP (overpowered), super hero movies, Heroes, origins stories, Mazarian, the Excellent Prismatic Spray, the Omnipotent Sphere, unceasing, a list of the spells, tomes, there’s no actual incantation, spell words and tongue twisters, Latin spell names, a great idea, how Harry Potter’s spells work, the orcs are coming, colour and action, Paul plays mages a lot, a callow youth, being indoctrinated into Dungeons & Dragons, being like Jesus means no stabbing, just swinging my arm, twisted logic, Gandalf has a big long sword, to balance out the classes, to balance, niche protection, cramming for your spell exams, Paul’s showing his geekiness, Dragon Magazine, you could swing that stupid sword around, why you gonna carry that giant sword?, a profound effect upon hundreds of thousands of people’s lives for decades and decades, pretty amazing, pure luck, strange creatures, demons, this is just like home, the plot lines do not closely follow, there’s no taverns, a conman thief, go find this museum, not standard D&D quests, Liane gets what he deserves, Chun the Unavoidable, torturing an innocent couple, so fun to read, such a prat, when Bryan bowed out, an in-joke within the campaign, the perversity of the Dungeon Master, suggested stats, other planes of existence, appearing from behind a tapestry, The Princess Bride, a passion for eyes, the dragonfly riders, a vial of oil, shrinking Paul, don’t trust anything, a Vancian point of view, judging the worst beauty contest of all time, Poul Anderson, the deep blue sky of Earth, a pocket dimension, T’sain, is he trying to make a girl?, vats, T’sais, Turjan, Pandelume, The Handmaid’s Tale, making women in bottles, alchemy, homunculi, chemical products, we’re nearly there with lab grown meats, everything is ugly is ugly even beautiful things are uglier, she finds the world a bitter place, dire malevolence, use of language, eructate, a poem about burps, a burping tree, women server me some wine and make the eighteen motions of allurement, interesting as a concept, the opposite of innocence, everyone is corrupt, there’s only loss, what re they going to do, living inside their tanks and know that’s where they’re at now, the middle of the Dying Earth ideas, Darkness by Lord Byron, E.R. Eddison,

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash—and all was black.

pretty gruesome, the year without a summer, Mary Shelley, Krakatoa, a dream and not a dream, it’s just everyday, this is not a young earth, not a new idea, Shakespeare’s fairies and Tolkien’s Middle Earth, from the fairy or elven point of view, a growing tide of darkness and ignorance, our deepest oldest fear, the end times, the end days, this is how we live now, the twilight days, the environmental stories in the news, we’re kind of fucking this up, “I just use as much plastic as possible”, an uplifting book, so dark but funny and uplifting, running the Museum of Man, that’s not how people actually are, the ideas of a book, these are the waves coming in, the beach, not the normal Jesse book, a very Clark Ashton Smith prose poem style, Zothique, a conduit, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, even the robots are tired, Mr Jim Moon, The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson, 17th century language, pseudo-biblical language, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess Of Mars, something distinctly moving, the unromantic and unpoetic among readers, an insanely strange book, H.G. Wells, The Cave Of Time, resurrected at the end of time, Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer, a lot of celebrities, Richard Burton, everybody who ever was, Mark Twain, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Hermann Göring, TV adaptations of the Riverworld series, at the end of history, so sad, still striving, The Book Of The New Sun, The Book Of The Long Sun, Gene Wolfe, he’s an apprentice torture but his true passion is rape, ornate strange language, brilliant, interesting, frustrating, and wonderful, a massive undertaking, the book of gold, Paul’s book of gold: The Amber Chronicles, The Hobbit, this is amazing!, the one book that made Marissa get super-excited about reading: Cujo by Stephen King, it’s almost never laser guns, I’ve done questionable things, Rutger Hauer, creators, but also great things, Blade Runner is a dying earth story, infectious imagery, neo-noir, film dystopia, there are no heroes (really), everything is falling apart, the creatures are no longer biological, Blade Runner: 2049, a down and depressing future dystopia, what we think of doing well now, the Marvel movies, short term thinking, how well the money’s doing, long lived lives, John W. Campbell’s Night, hard Science Fiction, Michael Moorcock, the Hawkmoon books, C.J. Cherryh, George R.R. Martin, The City At The End Of Time by Greg Bear, an amazingly powerful book, The House On The Borderland, an interesting sub-genre, the language of cant, I babble in an unknown tongue, even the prophets are corrupt and fake.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #466 – READALONG: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

March 26, 2018 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #466 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa, talk about Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.

Talked about on today’s show:
clones, doppelgangers, eidolons, 2014, the 2018 movie, gifting the book, Finch, City Of Saints And Madmen, new weirdness, The New Weird, The Weird, appreciating the book, appreciating the movie, understanding why people talk about the book and the movie the way they do, justifying their ratings, framing it wrong, the Wikipedia entry, The New Yorker, Area X as a hyperobject, Paul would know, big dumb object, Ringworld, Rama, going into it and experiencing it, the original and the interpretation, what?!!?, better experienced as audiobook, the cool thing about the audio version (it is ephemeral), you can’t skip or skim sex scenes, a dream like quality to the words, pronunciation, how things read on the page, The Man Who Japed, juveniles = Juvenal(s), fucking with the reader by changing the text in a kind of fungal growth, experimental, fairly successful, not easily digestible, the book is a manifestation of Area X itself, screwing with the readers’ heads, Alex Garland, seeing the movie first and then reading the book, Blade Runner: 2049, the theater experience, the painful trauma of childbirth, Sunshine, a science fiction movie that doesn’t care about science at all, Ex Machina, nuking the sun back into starting?, the metaphor for Sunshine, not a good idea for a movie, Solar Crisis (1990), Hard Sun, doing good things with bad ideas, not a perfect movie, interpretation, we can’t do that, narrator, from an internal point of view, a kind of version, inspired by, the book is all about words, no big piles of documents to read, The Man In the High Castle show, pointing to something without saying what it is, an art film for a mainstream audience, Andrei Tarkovsky, expectations, characters with names, outside of Area X, setting expectations, imagine its a different expedition, the tower the tunnel, Steen, what do you remember about it?, it’s “this kind of book”, no proper nouns in the whole book, signposts on your journey, taking down all the signposts, a sign there’s no signposts, an initial “S”, Ghostbird, Area 51, a word you use in place of a word, Operation Overlord, H-Hour, D-Day, designed to prevent you from knowing, in the mode, shift gears, losing your spot, so dreamlike, hypnotic, hypnosis, as a trope, hypnosis was huge in Science Fiction for decades, not a Science Fiction book, who likes this book, literary fiction, very lit-fic, horror elements, weird fiction, a reworking of The Willows, inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Conan Doyle, Supernatural Horror In Literature, something more than secret murder and bloody bones, a certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer unknown forces, the assaults of chaos and the demons of unplumbed space, an attack on the fixed laws of nature, a wrinkle in reality, what’s it like to experience that, if you squint a little bit, a metaphor for the scientific process, scientists, AR-15 or M-16s, a nod back to the book, everybody has one, the same uniform, a military expedition but twisted in a certain sense, the second and third books, cancer as a motivation, the disintegrating marriage, having an affair, pathetic and sad, set a little bit into the future, any evidence that it is set into the future, everything in the book is completely without specificity, he went through it with a comb and took away information, the word Lovecraft loves to use “certain”, a great adjective, the pig creature is a bear in the movie, Vietnam War upside down and inside out, the biologist is in love with the swimming pool, the characters in the film are cannon fodder, the conversation in the boat, taking away the centrality of character, a framing story, Benedict Wong, the tie-up scene, her fingerprints are moving, a lift from The Thing (1982), paranoia and suspicion, really bullshit, they’re all on Xanax, passion about biology and ecosystems, we only see the Xanaxed version on the characters in the film, we don’t see what the love, sympathy isn’t enough, evoking place, the black pine forest, a derelict lighthouse, untroubled landscape, Florida or the Georgia coast, filmed in England, cool ideas, Southern Reach, SR, an institution, two things that don’t tell you what they are, the same time zone, a lack of specificity,

“After leaving Vienna, and long before you come to Budapest, the Danube enters a region of singular loneliness and desolation, where its waters spread away on all sides regardless of a main channel, and the country becomes a swamp for miles upon miles, covered by a vast sea of low willow-bushes. On the big maps this deserted area is painted in a fluffy blue, growing fainter in color as it leaves the banks, and across it may be seen in large straggling letters the word Sumpfe, meaning marshes.”

the crawler, the thing without the name, the Swede, the narrator’s name, as if he is in the room, utterly transformed, just that, I am not returning home,

“See,” he said quietly, “the victim that made our escape possible!”

And when I peered across his shoulder I saw that his stick rested on the body of a man. He turned it over. It was the corpse of a peasant, and the face was hidden in the sand. Clearly the man had been drowned, but a few hours before, and his body must have been swept down upon our island somewhere about the hour of the dawn—at the very time the fit had passed.

“We must give it a decent burial, you know.”

“I suppose so,” I replied. I shuddered a little in spite of myself, for there was something about the appearance of that poor drowned man that turned me cold.

The Swede glanced up sharply at me, an undecipherable expression on his face, and began clambering down the bank. I followed him more leisurely. The current, I noticed, had torn away much of the clothing from the body, so that the neck and part of the chest lay bare.

Halfway down the bank my companion suddenly stopped and held up his hand in warning; but either my foot slipped, or I had gained too much momentum to bring myself quickly to a halt, for I bumped into him and sent him forward with a sort of leap to save himself. We tumbled together on to the hard sand so that our feet splashed into the water. And, before anything could be done, we had collided a little heavily against the corpse.

The Swede uttered a sharp cry. And I sprang back as if I had been shot.

At the moment we touched the body there rose from its surface the loud sound of humming—the sound of several hummings—which passed with a vast commotion as of winged things in the air about us and disappeared upwards into the sky, growing fainter and fainter till they finally ceased in the distance. It was exactly as though we had disturbed some living yet invisible creatures at work.

My companion clutched me, and I think I clutched him, but before either of us had time properly to recover from the unexpected shock, we saw that a movement of the current was turning the corpse round so that it became released from the grip of the willow roots. A moment later it had turned completely over, the dead face uppermost, staring at the sky. It lay on the edge of the main stream. In another moment it would be swept away.

The Swede started to save it, shouting again something I did not catch about a “proper burial”—and then abruptly dropped upon his knees on the sand and covered his eyes with his hands. I was beside him in an instant.

I saw what he had seen.

For just as the body swung round to the current the face and the exposed chest turned full towards us, and showed plainly how the skin and flesh were indented with small hollows, beautifully formed, and exactly similar in shape and kind to the sand-funnels that we had found all over the island.

“Their mark!” I heard my companion mutter under his breath. “Their awful mark!”

And when I turned my eyes again from his ghastly face to the river, the current had done its work, and the body had been swept away into mid-stream and was already beyond our reach and almost out of sight, turning over and over on the waves like an otter.

all the evidence is gone, the explanation in the movie is as much The Colour Out Of Space as it is the novel Annihilation, 12 expeditions, the shimmer is gone, possibilities, the asteroid, something extraterrestrial struck the lighthouse, the “S” word, he’s not her husband, he’s the duplicate, the shimmer in the eyes, more subtle, the thing he’s doing, a comet, meteorite, dwarf planets and planets, Ceres, a meteorite vs. comet, the object is white, aiming at something, the earth is a giant egg and the comet is a sperm, a tunnel and tower, slipping into Eric Rabkin mode, designed to be seen in the unconsciousness (if not the consciousnesses), a tunnel and a tower, becoming a being, fungus all over the walls is white, cell division, an egg developing into a person, cancer, ovarian cancer, the all women cast!, what is it like to have a being growing inside of you that is a mutation of you, the childless relationship, off to fight in Pakistan again, reunited, the happy ending is a new beginning, isn’t pregnancy scary, the real immortality cells can have, cancer vs. a baby, kinds of immortality, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the film works at what it’s doing, the movie is a prism for the book, a very filmic version of the book, it couldn’t be an audio drama, very very very metaphorical, a comic book version, in the backgrounds, Alex Garland’s story, the words scrawled in the tower/tunnel,

“Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.”

dreamlike biblical word salad, going to that church, its just weird, negative reviews of the book, you’re never going to get an explanation, very meta, the narration is unreliable, or the universe is unreliable, she’s in a coma, none of this is happening, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, Providence, seeing sexuality in everything, Rapunzel is only a sex story, hair growth like plant growth, a retelling of the Garden of Eden, underneath a lot of stuff is sex, about the cosmic, makes Jesse sad, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, a big stream of white cats up to the Moon, a sex dream, once you start looking, what it makes us different from rocks, the formation of rocks, we can’t compare ourselves to electrons, not mammal sex, why that weird world salad sentence, a tunnel, spiraling, a helix, just words, words are magic in the same way that genes are magic, let’s write some words, what does it mean?, certain coding, creating and casting a spell, speech-writing, amino acids into creatures who build and use firetrucks, this is literally Marissa’s job, where the spell is breaking, a piece of tape, seeing the book as a text in reference to texts and weird fiction, the word “thing”, that’s why the word shows up in so many weird fiction stories, uncanny horror, between fantasy and science fiction, body horror, Re-Animator, coming back to life as parts, seeing those fruiting bodies on the dead corpses, let’s take some samples, guts fall out, the more Marissa learns about biology the more grossed out she gets, designed to, very very movie, intestines, fear, scary gross out scene, Aliens (1986), the perfect film movie for what it is, taking certain aspects of Alien and amps them up, Terminator 2 is a remake of Terminator, Hudson becomes the hero, switching over to science mode, horror mode, you’re allowed to switch around as much as you want, why so many love it and hate it, contamination story, pregnancy story, creeping dread, taking all that potential out, taking it as it is, watch the movies first, preferring the text, reading the subtitles, as a film the characters are Xanaxed humans, placing themselves in our reality, are you polishing your Pashtun?, grounding, the Southern Reach is a metaphor for the continual war on terror?, 17 years in, he should have made it a real art film, unrelatable, are we all 12 years old?, being talked down to, people on CNN, everything that isn’t set in the shimmer hurts the film, the environmental disaster, a military screw up, Stephen King (The Mist), angry at the movie, a slow creeping dread, so disappointing, the plants that look like people, the twinned dears with flower antlers, very excellent language, the hints about the journals, this is all in a journal, that’s the moment they knew the most, are they losing information, we start with more information, if you re-edited the film, we all lost time, this is the afterlife, this is dream state, if I was religious I would read everything that way, the pool, the pond, tower tunnel, how her husband was traumatized by something in childhood and it was a film, the shownotes for the Altered Carbon show, how memory works, how important childhood memory is for laying your personality down, what memories are even real, that was a different person, the crisis actor thing, misremembered, .005% error margin, interrupting an attempted murder, strangling and cover in blood, missing limbs, the screaming thing in the bushes, self-reinforcing, the spiral of words, in 10 or 20 years, Authority by Jeff VanderMeer, an agency in dysfunction, Kafkaesque, so mundane, The Castle, in second person, sudden jarring cries, dripping out, the, the movie poster’s tagline “fear what’s inside”, psychological head-space fear, flowers sprouting from her arms, the better parts of the film, filmic explanation, the anthropologist in the tunnel/tower, the psychologist, did she lie?, that’s a story, the story doesn’t make sense as a straight up story, hypnosis as used in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, very science fictional, The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, [Jesse has already done a show on it], a decent movie and an even more interesting book, Marissa wants Jesse to read the sequels, a marketing gimmick, readings for podcasts, revisiting as a concept, three big pieces of a puzzle, what’s wrong with the word “spoiler” is the word has the opposite meaning (for Jesse), knowing more makes Jesse more interested, the lady goes off in a boat (maybe), and leave her journal behind (maybe), it would be much better as a found footage movie shot on videotape, shaky-cam, The Ritual (2017), four guys go out for a hike in the woods, a psychological haunting that happens, not being able to act, the psychology works amazingly better, Norse mythology, a hike movie (!) Marissa’s in!, Swedish mountains, we’ve been completely destroyed, why is called Annihilation?, special pleading, “nihil” means nothing and “a” means not – annihilation is a nothing of a nothing, titles are important, the trigger word, The Slithering Shadow by Robert A. Howard, something to talk about over beers, having something to do is really important in a world with no meaning, Jesse has nothing in common with his students, the only thing we really share is the text, before and after class, having that ritual of three interesting things, Matchstick Men, there’s no heaven, try to get through it until the cancer comes, less Xanax more coffee, The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson, a becalment, do you have any food, a ship covered in fungus, an island covered in fungus, eating the fungus, becoming the fungus, the pool body,

Posted by Jesse Willis

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