The SFFaudio Podcast #784 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Skull-Face by Robert E. Howard

The SFFaudio Podcast #784 – Skull-Face by Robert E. Howard, read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the book (4 hours, 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Connor Kaye, Alex, Trish E. Matson, and Jonathan Weichsel

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, October and December [1929], The Return Of Skull-Face, by Robert E. Howard AND Richard A. Lupoff, open for a sequel, paid by the word, hoping for a sequel, a bold statement, incredibly clear, the Mary Sue character is Steve Costigan, semi-modern world, super punch powers, a different same guy, WWI shell-shocked veteran, more, Conan in a cave, not the same as Sailor Steve, a wanderer with no ties, expecting Zuleika to die, a shell-shocked Stephen, The Insidious Doctor Fu Manchu, very similar, Seven Footprints To Satan by A. Merritt, he’s Satan, New York, missions, wear the ape suit, kill the guy, the ape suit, Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Curse Of The Golden Skull, a Lemurian sorcerer, [The Howard Collector (#9), Spring 1967], he’s already got the idea, Elmore Leonard, Karen Makes Out -> Out Of Sight, facesucking happens, kisses George Clooney, Double Entendre, a little pause, story proper, a huge mistake, a Poe poem fragment, Thule rhymes with newly, a misnumbered chapter, such a relish and enthusiasm to your voices, growl y work, soliloquy, throws himself at the bars, all poems?, Talbot Mundy, one Swinburne, a lot of Chesterton, Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam, magic shadow shapes that come and go, directly quoted, oh there it is!, the epigraph of the very first chapter, right up front, internal comparison, look at the two, more than 10 years, Fu Manchu continues for about 40 years, movies get a hold of Fu Manchu, Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu, Thanksgiving, still hope for Fu Manchu, The Mandarin from Marvel, the Johnny Quest TV show, Doctor Zen, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Ming The Merciless, the Klingons, the yellow peril stereotype, Kaiser Wilhelm II, excuses to conquer things, justification for what Fu Manchu is doing, the supposed heroes are archaeological graverobbers, pillaging of archaeological, the James Bond books, the opium wars, European exploitation in Asia, go Fu go!, the unmitigated better, a problem in this book, Skull-Face is racist, turn my blacks and my browns and my yellow, pan-Asian co-prosperity sphere, we’ll chop your heads up, empire no matter where it goes and what it does, playing these oppressed people against each other, seize power for himself, you white people, Howard was smarter, Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft think about their racism a lot, Steve work for this guy, he just saved you from hashish addiction, you don’t have PTSD anymore, the Irishmen who is the American who is Robert E. Howard, allies himself with the British Empire, conflicted here, to flourish, not that detailed, you could have been a king, the sequel book, curious, slash Skull dash Face, the flawed hero, legitimate grievances, Skull Face is Atlantean, as only Robert E. Howard can do, a living mummy, The Hour Of The Dragon, mummified, Acheron, LV-426, Richard Shaver, the prophet, Lemuria, Mu, Thule, amazing poem, Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe, the farther last l, out of of space and out of time for the rest of the poem, read more Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, a John Buchan adventure that turns, who is the boss of the network I’m working for, a secret police officer, a smart and funny man, exotic Asian adventures, completely forgotten, having a lot of fun putting this together, playing in someone else’s sandbox, The Black Stone, what if it was Call Of Cthulhu, I read this story by my body, Tuesday class, D&D, wrote up a module, a rip off of the opening of this book, three boys, a recent realms war, hashashiri, an opium like propdict, marks their hands with a trilobite, steal some royal jelly, the unguent, to enhance his mumminess, train tracks walking from home Taito Bandito, directly inspired by, wrote down a dream,

dreamt the alien invasion of the earth began through vapes. dissatisfied humans got addicted to cheap alien vapes smuggled in from “outside”. incompetent earth govts couldn’t stop the smuggling. eventually the poors of earth preferred the alien health care plan that came with… …cheap vapes. the earth govts and their media lapdogs were playing up lies about health care concerns about the alien vapes, but were so corrupt and the lies so obvious that only a puritanical few bought into it. and when any of these got sick they took the alien health care. […] through human fronted proxies the aliens plowed profits from their vapes into real estate and started selling cheap housing to poors. 2 year mortgages. this really got earth’s human overlords mad. after 7 years, the aliens had successfully taken over the earth and most humans… …were absolutely fine with it.

didn’t think anything of it, smoking hashish, basically opium, is it possible to get addicted to hashish, concentrated marijuana tar?, withdrawal symptoms, brain fog vs. physically debilitating, martini withdrawal, cigarette withdrawal is intense, a headache, why hashish?, assassin, the same story almost as the old man in the mountain, People Of The Black Circle, Marco Polo, the old man in the mountain, a fantasy land, I have the power to send you to heaven, recruited to be an assassin, completely correct, why this story feels its substantial, Omar Khayyam (1957), the world trade center attacks, 77 houris, mixing them together, his first choice, chasing the dragon, Lord Dunsany talking about Lord Dunsany, I just came from the world you created, told like a straight story, the response to stories in The Book Of Wonder, the inspiration for Lord Dunsany style stories, eastern exotic sounding places, aiming for with the girl, Zuleika, white enough, a much more detailed racist, it’s a science, I’m a scientist, not just a wizard, recruiting business, one time dose reducer, get you addicted to another drugs, makes your arms strong, lacking something a little bit, the main character is telling his own story, our drug addicted PTSD hero is telling his story, the descriptions of things are more serviceable, he’s not a poet, published during his lifetime, not even the height of his popularity, Almuric, kinda sad, awesome beautiful description, kicks along, this Gordon character, the stand-in for Petrie and Naismith, amateur detectives/spies, secret police work in reality, go to Oxford, meet your friends, cut up the middle east, as a Robert E. Howard representative story, can’t fully root for the good guys team, chooses the wrong side, he likes his girl, being in the arms of a beautiful girl who he loves and trusts, a strong character, brave, initiatve, saves his butt a couple of time, animal magnetism, he got beefy arms, beefy guns, how quickly he blows through the layers of conspiracy and worldbuilding, secret catacombs under London, the Cult Of The Scorpion, pre-Adamite, any other author, we’re just going, The Shadow Kingdom, They Live (1988), also Plato, the myth of the cave, William Shakespeare, Philip K. Dick, a conspiracy against a footsoldier, a flawed character, too awesome, Solomon Kane’s flaw is he’s insane, he’s a religious whackjob, God’s vengeance on earth, a vessel, that just makes it better, a poem with Solomon Kane, a historical incident, The Hills Of The Dead, flying vampires, holding the Staff of Solomon, Dennis Dorgan or the Mountain Man stories, he’s fixed of that, who’s going to cut up Africa, the tattoo on his hand, a mission to impersonate somebody, ape suit, catacombs are fine, coulda gone so hard, could gone the extra way, cut my own path with my girl, living as a hermit in a cave, living in Celephais, a dead bum in the ocean, gone mad, the end, kinda pulpy at the end, from the very top tier, colourful muscular description, so morally degenerate, my morals had been so beaten, go through some struggle, survive drug withdrawl, willing to die to keep the girl alive, moving on, a ticket to solve his addiction problem, willing to go against Skull-Face, he should have been more conflicted about it, serpent men are not so bad, a lot shorter, saved Skull-Face’s life, we’re square now, you’ll be my slave forever, A Witch Shall Be Born, favourite Conan, he’s not Conan, Kull would be pondering, am I a shadow?, this is all weird, kind of is, supposed to be a realistic story, not this pure force of will, not even Sailor Steve, they search the mummy case, poking at it, hey you just let him go, mesmerism, a great scene, we as the audience know this is Skull-Face, let me look at this sarcophagus, just a dead body, can’t possibly be him, a little down on the art, page 33 of the 46 page one in Famous Fantastic Mysteries, in the foreground, looking very Aryan, over the shoulder of horror, supposed to be a horror story, how to make Skull-Face in the canny valley, skeleton with a bit of skin, an acquired taste, Hugh Rankin is not great, appreciate them, Conan By Tweet, muddy looking, they’re stylized, a sketch, not the same kind of line work as you see in Finlay, a legitimate master, quickly and cheaply, the opening art, scraggly nails, the Fu Manchu vibe, Egyptian for a while, the man who came from the sea will be their god, so good, the dry run for this, literally yellow, parchment like bones, the eyes are very sunken, you can’t understate how awesome, hot under the collar, presumed to be Zuleika, black people, an arab looking dude, and the web, this is the threat, all these races are against the Anglo-American global empire, more cartoony, I don’t like Skull-Face anymore, WWI, Big Trouble In Little China (1986), his best movie, the funnest, wry and clever, playing with tropes, this plot in a large sense, David Lo Pan, Fu Manchewy, marry a girl with green eyes, get his body back, so charismatic, fish out of water, friends with some Chinese guy, not my culture, fumbling and tumbling, he thinks he’s the white savior, he’s the sidekick viewpoint character, starts like a Lovecraft story, why did a whole block of Chinatown explode, Zugartha?, the adventure isn’t over, underground tunnels, black blood of the earth, drink this potion, skepticism of any authority, tied with humour, Howard would have liked Carpenter’s stuff, into conspiracies, conspiracy minded, do the blood test, put on these glasses, drink the potion as you’re going down in the elevator, Eight O’Clock In The Morning by Ray Nelson, The Ten O’Clock People by Stephen King, action sequences, They Live works as the premise, putting on a monkey suit, he’s smart because he looked at his shoes, why isn’t this a better known story?, the 15th thing you would mention, so much other stuff, for other authors, the standard is so high, prejudice against it because it is a pastiche, angling for a certain market, the most successful author of the time, Seabury Quinn, The Vampire Master, Agatha Christie meets this trope, Cora, a reference to Edgar Wallace, Boby Derie, the ideas that carry you not the prose, like a rollercoaster, the smear of not completed by Robert E. Howard maybe, no comic book, no movie, no TV show, a race war with the brown people, a very controversial movie, the new Fall Of The House Of Usher on Netflix, Evan Lampe, Mike Flanagan, Edgar Allan Poe checklist, The Haunting Of Hill House, Shirley Jackson, cheapens his own work, a hill haunted house, no modern writer can write in someone else’s shoes, modern to its bones, can’t adapt someone else’s work, post-modern, not such a problem, so pervasive, everybody is doing it, William Gibson, same with Sword & Sorcery, Fritz Leiber was good, an exception, two Conans!, one is small one is big and they like girls!, there is a dangerous threat to white supremacy, a threat to democracy, a threat to the west, a threat to the rules based older, not international law, aka we say what goes, thinking white supremacy is bad, George W. Bush, make democracy happen, Professor Moriarty starting WWI, something similar here, start a war for reasons, I’m leading the brown races into victory, hah! suckers I’m not actually Egyptian, deciding where to put the twist, good things and the bad things, anticipating what the students like, there’s a beautiful woman: the master needs you, the 9 year old thinks girls are yuck, all identical beautiful daughter, a blue stripe a yellow stripe, everybody gets a love interest, champion you to her father, having so much fun with this story, you want to have an introduction to Robert E. Howard, a lot of understanding, take it at face value, a college student, do you think this is his most racist story?, Black Canaan, The Hyena, where this story fumbles a little, Limehouse, only 48 houses, not at his strongest when not describing Texas, New Orleans, the book research showing, beautifully told, the East of Africa, the racism, super-racist, a werewolf story, a were-hyena, tricking his acolytes, Hasim, a brute, so is the Afghani henchman, disposable characters, a rich field, the assumption that it would work, all those people, undead Atlantean necromancer, such a bad enemy, the situation in Djibouti, in 1977 the French said…, France is like yup, just looking at the history, a home invasion, almost a century goes by, divesting of colonies, gun pointed at the floor right now, this guy isn’t leaving, mutual security, a treaty between two equal countries, hey Italians, Italy sits on the couch with a big gun, Russia would you like a military base next to France?, within walking distance from each other, at what point did that independence come filling the house with potential foes, right near the Suez canal, Panama Canal, Noriega stopped talking orders, they don’t call it that anymore, revolt against the guy who won’t leave your country, not the ideal leader, so vague, grow a lot of bananas?, more sarcophaguses out there, the first one to awaken, if this was a movie, the last shot would be a bunch of sarcophagus floating, the sequel comes out and it, this time a lesbian Skull-Face, licked together, on youtube, commenting and liking, released as one audiobook, as fast as possible, an American accent, getting tired, the accent slipping off, are they called thick accents?, strong accents, not a very sweaty Australian accent?, Crocodile Dundee was ocker Australian?, British texan accent, when you think of horror books, Razorback, so many great Australian horror movie, The Cars That Ate Paris (1974), art film Paris, a car movie, an Australian biker movie, specializing in car chases, terrorizing gangs of bikers, Soylent Green (1973), a Volkswagen beetle with spikes coming out of it, gang takes over town movie, Christine, Trucks, Dead End Drive-In (1986), aka regular Australia right now, juvenile delinquents, Brave New World but with movies, dystopian drive-in, escape the drive-in, so many good films, so lucky, whatever video stores, a lot of video stores, previously not rewound, a big thick thousand page book of every movie on VHS, so much treasure, do a rental, nightmare, late fees, when you buy a movie, come back never, a great pleasure we still kind of have, so hard to search through now, JustWatch service, Plex, pirate any movie you want, Tubi has the best set of movies, Prime’s pretty good, Netflix, Shudder, Razorback (1984), Stone (1974), Bubba Zanetti’s my hero, Cinefamily, victims of the me too movement, are you an attractive woman, still can’t get work, secret job, all the shareholders (board?) got an anonymous email about an anonymous woman, a non-profit, Alamo Draft House, things to pirate, if you could choose only one country per decade, Americans made a lot of good movies at one point, Britain made some good movies, an exciting time for world cinema, each country wanted to be that new dominant, Italian movies, French producers, American actors, Dreamspeaker, (CBC tv Movie 1976), they adopt him, runaway kid who burns things down, sympathetic judge, that was unexpected, mute companion slash husband, put in a tree and let their corpse be eaten by birds, a Vancouver Island bases sort of story, Thunderbird blanket, a pretty brutal ending, a TV movie that came out on TV in the 1970s, child suicide, kid strangling himself, dies of broken heart, this is impossible, Jesse loved it, Chief Dan George, George Clutesi, Kelly (1981), realistic vs. Hollywood ending, about the horrible institution that school is, her blind friend, sets fires to things, go live with your dad, robs a bank, these two movies so like each other, kids being institutionalized, people like a happy ending, times for certain mediums of art, that was Jonathan, Dead Calm (1989), boat sabbatical and Billy Zane shows up, music in the 1970s, The Beatles, the next big thing, unique and original music, one guy would become the next big thing, a bit too calculated, new service bringing in tons of cash, throwing money at weird things, get a hit with any of these things, a short period of experiment, the president show, House Of Cards, Robin Wright Penn turns to the camera, a condemnation of the actor, a meta-thing, grievance on screen, all the 1980s movies, Stranger Things, Extraction (2020), a low budget action horror movie, Prey (2022)?, Slash/Back (2022), one of three Canadian territories, Nunavut, Yukon, North-West Territories, so much heart, some social issues, tremendous fun to watch, Reservation Dogs, APTN, The Beachcombers, a fun discussion, Wolfen (1981), Poltergeist (1982) with skyrises, irony, Whitley Strieber, 80s UFOlogy, considering doing a podcast, write my book, the picture that Alex is going to delete, a Yeti Nano, Elgato low profile mic arm, iphone 11, upgraded, android guy, more thinkpads, working for Lenovo, a T510, Skylark Dequesni, start wt, pocketknifes, arm a youth gang, brand new keyboard, lowprofile mechanical, cherry ultralow profile, $99, swing over, Blue now owned by Logitech, it’s Swiss!, $20, XP was running, downgraded, 7 was good, law firm as the head of IT, bought out, three month notice, wind everything down, a ton of laptops with no legal owner, shrug, cases and cases, they go in waves, what laptop should I get?, LGR (Lazy Game Reviews), old computer hardware, 45 hours researching laptops, modular, no glue, fixup and give to homeless person, engage that much with the local homeless, Connor must run a laptop, a little bit of noise, from the fan, too intense, good specs for processing videos, limit the processor, 10% of its power, put it across the room, connecting it to a monitor, quickly edit things, a luxury, if you travel, a suitcase style computer, everythings embeded like a tick, millions of files, half-processed, these torrents are on this harddrive, Gulliver Of Mars, The Languages Of Pao, a Don Pendleton, Thunderball, From Russia With Love, came from Trish, Eaters Of The Dead, a fun book, look how thin it is, Sands Of Mars, The Song Of The Whip, cylindrical black thing, the one with the martini, deleted by now, wireless hockeypuck, lightbar, brand and product number, scrutinizing the photo, two middle names, investment companies, hey we’ve been hacked, very popular, it doesn’t take up any deskspace, electric standing desk, cable managment, Uplift desk, an old Ikea Jerker, you should make a website for this there’s money top be made, servicing these desks, facebook page and reddit threads, these desks dont die, super-customizable, modular like Lego, standing desks didn’t exist, they were not an idea yet, sit-stand desks at work, back problems, you shouldnt be sitting for 8 hours a fuckin day, sat with a rigid back, you know actually it’s good to slouch a bit, lied to their whole life, running around with sticks in the forest, thrown into a canoe taken to a farm, left in the library for 18 hours, students that can’t recognize animals, schools so fucked up, scare them straight, its like prison, homeschooling, grow up without huge neurosis and giant deficits, Poland farm work, the culture in this small village is so fucked up, next generation of toxic bullshit, a lot of bullying, the Aryan Nations gang, prison mentality, a daypass to go home, traumatized, empire building, told one thing as a kid, margarine is for lubricating metal at a cheaper price, I Can’t Believe We Were Lied To, the irony of life, plastic bag tablet to dye it, the butter lobby, mush it together, whenever the topic came up, hasn’t grown any mold on it, something you can eat and not die from, a rock will pass through you, not something that’s supposed to be in a human body, food pyramid, students back to back, early Russian Revolution history, the three precursors to the NKVD, Kadets, three political parties vying for power in 1919, designed to show how the Russians were bad, the old curriculum, the regular history of India, massacre in Amritsar, policy of being evil, decided to breakup the country, this is the British doing that, divide and conquer, we don’t learn that much, a hateon for the Russians, 2014, the Holodomor entering Canadian curriculum, have them read The Gulag Archipelago (is 75 hours), there’s a prison system, not a complete picture, the focus is on the things you want to make them think, The Trail Of Tears, why school is evil, testing you on the adherence to these lies, what next?, There Werewolf Of Ponkert by H. Warner Munn, The Devil’s Elixir by E.T.A. Hoffmann, unabridged, wacky stuff, may need more time, books to do, Februrary next year, that coffee bud, vodka, loosens you up, maybe the show wouldn’t be so good.

Skull-Face illustration by Hugh Doak Rankin

Skull-Face - illustration by Hugh Doak Rankin

Skull-Face - illustration by Hugh Doak Rankin

Ken Kelly - Skull-Face

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #783 – READALONG: Ill Met In Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber

Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Trish E. Matson, and Jonathan Weichsel talk about Ill Met In Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber

Talked about on today’s show:
F&SF, 1970, the first story comes forty years later, almost 50 years, Cora’s article, a huge span of time, friend of the podcast, Flame And Crimson by Bryan Murphy, a couple of decades off, revived later, a friend by cooreespondence, role playing by letters, amazingly common, Patricia Reid and whatsername, reprints in books, a response to what’s going on in Weird Tales, Conan, super-coszy Conan, a Conaesque setting, cozy, how rich the world is, Mouser’s girlfriend, silk, an ermine wrap, a snowserpent fur stole, wizard’s familiar, half earthstuff and Nehwon, not meant to be read with your mouth, read with your eyes, inspired by years and years, defining cozy, opposition to hardboiled, tough detective in a seedy city, Lawrence Block’s burglar books vs. the Scudder books, Agatha Christie precedes , Lillian Jackson Braun, too cozy, this has both, a hardboiled ending, nice cozy setting, all dying of lung cancer, London fog, the geography is well stated, the lowlands, Doggerland, northern barbarian, southern guy, supposed to be their first adventure, archetypes, Swords And Deviltry, The Snow Woman, one of the many many public domain ones, finding a narrator, not told in order, filling in the corners, the comic, there’s a lot, at least double Robert E. Howard Conan stories, The Circle Curse, The Bleak Shores, wandering in the wilderness, drill down into the geography and the story, by the time we get to this, cursing to their respective gods, read and loved Conan, Lovecraft’s letters to Clark Ashton Smith, playing a game of role playing as if they’re wizards, an almost impenetrable poem, a letter written inside of the book, what the referent was, here’s a book that we could have written, two of the gods in this universe, seven eyes vs. no eyes, split Conan up into two, northern barbarian vs. Shadizar thief, Robert E. Howard seems to hate magic, oh this again, a little more than a little more, ooh magic that’s that scary stuff, physically taxing, this magic of the world, fun characters, funhouse mirrors of each other, the city, the setting, as rich as the characterization, the archetypal fantasy city of Dungeons & Dragons, Sherlock Holmes stories, The Red Headed League, The Man With The Twisted Lip, thrown in jail for murdering himself, a gentleman’s salary, enriching the underworld, he’s brought the underworld to the surface, really do the lords run the city, cultivating their thievery, come and pluck it again, Zamboula, not as good as this, more muscular and beautiful prose, better characterization of the characters and the world, a city boy, he loves this horrible place, the beggars guild, the thieves guild, Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Tim Powers, girlfriend wants revenge, appear gallant, impress my new boyfriend, she’s the cause of the doom, murdered in one of their homes, not killing mongoose, not killing the thieves, a hardness, reading this the wrong way, reading short stories symbolically, how it was encoded, a miniature, the home that the Mouser has made, the whole thing’s rotting, the carpet thief and the rug merchant and the candle plucker, a fairy world to keep his fairy in, she’s was actually much harder than he wanted her to be, shrewdness and cynicism, coddling, her father’s torture chamber, knows more than his protagonists do, writing women with limited roles, what women get to do and don’t get to do, had to go a certain way, almost inevitable that the women get fridged, some alternative thing, disgusted with their drunken revels, more forgivable, known chronology, which would be a better story?, a joke ending, the harder ending, the men don’t come off to well, drunk all the time, their decision making, the deftness and dexterity, very Dungeons & Dragonsy, pre-D&D, Gygax was pulling on stuff, an Appendix N story, this is the good ones, transcribing a D&D campaign, the DM and the player, when the saving throws fail, in a spectacularly heroic way, epic, comic irony, thieves and counter-thieves, all about corruption, papering over the floors, by spreading the weight and money around the corruption seems lessened, all these rats, super-rich, every tunnel has a story, every sewer, the way the pillars are constructed, the armoured car attack, the peripheral hirelings, basically a perfect story for what it’s doing, not a footfault, two hours and fifty minutes, half of a Tor double, won the Hugo for the previous year, Ship Of Shadows, science fictiony psychological, a talking cat and werewolves, Clifford Simaky, pretending to be statues, pretending to be blind, more realistic as beggars, levels of irony, embracing, making the movie Chinatown cozy, guild beggars, my sacred butt, grown folk go blind, mindful of things as they really are, talking about readers as well, rooting for these thieves, they kill a 10 year old, that’s fine, plunging his named sword into the kid, that’s good writing, the level of description, the last year of Lovecraft’s life, one big long description, all the doors are open, missing in modern fiction, beautiful description of a rotting corpse, a big sprawling mess, dim alley, 70s batman comics, make Arkham, corrupt, the original Batman, big into Batman in the 1970s, sinking into a swamp, that richness of description, the destruction, quasi medieval city, ringing its firebell, burning down a district of the city, purify it, these are not heroes, counter-thieves, outside the union guys, a labour story, too corrupt, everything is corrupt in this world, all the thieves in Lankhmar are homegrown, the Conan excuse, The Tower Of The Elephant, I’m a Cimmerian I can climb stuff, pot-bellied master thief, team-up and immediately killed, there’s never a story where you see another character return, Valeria, Belit, to come back, it’s a team-up, two heroes, Green Arrow and Batman teaming up, a team-up issue, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, the instinct people want to go with, Conan, even Kull has Brule the Spear-Slayer, always alone in the end, even the the girls are dead and they swore off the city of Lankhmar, fate that these two guys are together, instantly recognize each-other, same weird plans, thinking about each other, a bromance, big fans, Savage Sword Of Conan, the letters column, Harry Fischer, best thing to be a thief, came up with that plan independently, very silly, had the author chosen a different pair, Fissif and Slavas, working within the system, he likes being afraid, they love their work, being in this gang is cool, not to home of nagging wife and squealing child, enough effort into creating the other characters too, the wizarding stuff, pouring on the wizard, put a knife between his shoulder-blades, inner thoughts of the wizard, horrified by his clubhands, magic has a cost, ableism, other signs, revulsed by it, revolted by what he does not how his hands look, parallel this with a Guy de Maupassant style figure wracked by syphilis, this is the cost of sexing around, the cost of magic in this world is yet another of the corruptions, damaged by her hatred, that that’s what caused her death, the only thing that’s pure and nice is the friendship of our heroes, climbing into a rathole and making it cozy, withering your arm etc., not mention it, all the good things in here, the agency that the women have, the world is different in the 1970s, not-super-sexist, disgusting ableism, sacrificing body parts for the power of magic, people have different ideas, birth defect, high level spells cost you, a duel with a wizard, a wizard-off, a lighting spell, Mouser knows, he grounded himself, pretty clever, one’s better with language, strong and quick, they have the same stats in different places, the character sheets, slightly higher constitution, same wise, dexterity 18, human maximum, you could predict this, Gygax’s numbers, three stories into book 2, Jonathan Davis was the narrator, the art for the audiobook sucks, the best sword and sorcery stories, C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry stories, back into blogs again, the last story in the book, he’s filling in the corners, a hobbit’s second breakfast, Fantastic, Brian Murphy’s list, order of publication, Eric Brighteyes by H. Rider Haggard, She, The Sword Of Welleran, The Ship Of Ishtar by A. Merritt, Tolkien before Tolkien, Dwellers In The Mirage, inter-war writers, so many like that, The Moon Pool, the Munsey magazines, hard to generate interest, what is that Lovecraft thing?, the Conan movie, for this group, reprint series, rekicked back into gear, Seven Footprints To Satan, a silent movie, captive in a mansion, gambling, giant stairway, giant metaphor for the stockmarket crash, 97 pages, Creep, Shadow!, A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, incredible Virgil Finlay art, The Woman In The Wood, How We Found Circe, The Shadow Kingdom, The Tower Of The Elephant, Beyond The Black River, Red Nails, tortured by his apprentice for hundreds of years, The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht, an adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera, an organization, the Thieves’ World books, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, secret societies, literally underground, the smoke and the backstory for why everybody wears black and grey, so cosy, one Trish would like to live in, do you want to play the Lankhmar open world, a new startup for an open Thieves World, in an ironic way, a little post-modern, how ironic it would be if, the same way that killing that kid is fine, I gotta little crazy and I killed a 10 year old, so artificial, not even a hint this is 10,000 years ago, definitely not Earth, a secondary world, so secondary, Denethor seems to be going on and on about something, I don’t want to be a Boromir, no messages taken, when you read Conan, Howard has a hobby horse, an idea he’s dealing with, secondary world creation for fun, don’t get roaring drunk, don’t make promises you’re going to regret, corked jugs, get drunk is the message, follow the Persian custom, they don’t actually eat anything, wine fortified with brandy, small beer splashing, wine spritzer, dainty, order a Gray Mouser on, The Tale Of Satampra Zeiros by Clark Ashton Smith, Jason Thompson’s adaptation to comics, actually tentacles, sexy tentacles, Cora Buhlert’s essay Black God’s Shadow: Or Overcoming Trauma As A Core Theme Of Sword And Sorcery, a really good essay, lost his wife, so relatable, gloomy and depressing, the end of Red Nails, they’re just starting their lives, gloomy Guses, gigantic melancholics and gigantic mirth, emotionally powerful, Luke Burrage is getting tired of reading squeecore and torwave books, heists and trauma, consolation, there are other girlfriends, a whole world of adventure to be had, drink you latte and pet a cat, cosy to hardboiled, experience this noir things, sad and happy, Judgement Night, a princess in a warrior society, a woman for one night, pleasure planet, pleasure moon, loves the enemy now, a very C.L. Moore thing, very romantic, a little Campbell, less poetic and flowery, different themed rooms, chasing him through the planet, destroying all these romantic rooms, going up in dust, Dragon Moon by Henry Kuttner, not as mean as Bester, pretty mean, Fury, a dome beneath the surface of Venus, a totalitarian society, Stefan Rudnicki narrating, 27 pages and took the cover, inside has interior art by Hannes Bok, Atlantis, princess, viking dude, a dragon, the Wild Hunt, a quote from G.K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, named chapters, we need to get an audiobook of that done, a novella or novelette, spread it around, Liane The Wayfarer by Jack Vance, Dying Earth, Poul Anderson, The Tale Of Hauk, The Broken Sword, Melnibone, The Dreaming City, Sailor On The Seas Of Fate, Bazarr Of The Bizarre, opens with a snowball fight, Frost Giant’s Daughter lacks snowball fights and skiing, the wrapping, well met, a rotten thing you carpet over and wrap it in silks, oh, right, gloomy and bad, the phraseology, Fantastic Stories Of Imagination, people loved illustrating these stories, prelims, how about this for the cover?, Robert E. Howard illustration, 10,000 people painting Conan, few Solomon Kane, lots of Red Sonja, even the rejects are amazing, a walking statue, the rejected cover, the very first story?, Adept’s Gambit, Karl Edward Wagner, a darker version of Conan, medieval England, a werewolf story, Two Sought Adventure, first one wrote, two left, David Drake, Imaro by Charles Saunders, first book was shitcanned by the publisher, Conan in Africa, 11 hours 33 minutes, with introduction by Charles de Lint, a third of the way through the list, writing that book, taken up by that, ages ago, an RSS feed that works, a keyboard that came out in 2015, watch youtube videos on it, a clock, an RSS catcher built into the keyboard, subscriptions, it was wiped out, I was there, Gandalf, substack is doing its best, what we really want is RSS back, they tend not to get supported, patiently waiting for Paul to start a Substack, problems with the owners of Substack, happily disconnected, next evolution of blogging, it was pointed out that neo-Nazis were using it, TERFs and other fun people, donates money to holocaust deniers, how do we get away from owners?, google dominates but it doesn’t own email, torrents, Cory Doctorow just wrote a book about that sort of thing, The Internet Con: How To Seize The Means Of Computation, plugs are good, Saber And Shadow by S.M. Stirling and Shirley Meier, a gender flipped Ill Met In Lankhmar, neither lady has pants, long sleeved tunics and no pants, they’re into each other, corruption comes from the top, unpleasant fanatics that don’t mind killing many many people, the nobles are corrupt, Earth many millennia later, homeless wanderers, red maned, just so we know, a creature of knives and magic, no ebook or audiobook, Discworld, Terry Pratchett, other comps, Scott Lynch’s The Lies Of Locke Lamora, felt like a YA, The Hammer And The Blade by Paul S. Kemp, a fixup, Scylla’s Daughter, now it is all novels, if you’re in fantasy and science fiction conversations, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, a quarterly blog, Tales From The Magician’s Skull, Goodman Games, they exist, people who buy things on Amazon, it needs physical distribution, Sword And Sorcery Magazine, September 2023, New Edge, a lot of places to read it, was sword & sorcery ever mainstream?, when Howard was writing, Fight Stories, Top-Notch, Action Stories, DAW books, very geeky, offshoot of psychedelic and heavy metal culture, most people don’t read any books, Readers Digest Condensed books, Michael Crichton, Nora Roberts, books need trimming, the movies were huge, theatrical to video, Xena and Hercules, gotta prep, you can talk all your Jesse talks to much talk.

TOR DOUBLE - Ill Met In Lankhmar

Ill Met In Lankhmar COMIC

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #415 – Morella by Edgar Allan Poe

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #415

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Morella by Edgar Allan Poe

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Morella was first published in The Southern Literary Messenger, April 1835.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #414 – The Curse Of The Golden Skull by Robert E. Howard

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #414

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Curse Of The Golden Skull by Robert E. Howard

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Curse Of The Golden Skull was first published in The Howard Collector, No. 9, Spring 1967.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #767 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Charwoman’s Shadow by Lord Dunsany

The SFFaudio Podcast

The SFFaudio Podcast #767 – The Charwoman’s Shadow by Lord Dunsany, read by Michelle Fry for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the book (7 hours, 40 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Trish E. Matson, and Scott Danielson

Talked about on today’s show:
rhymes with rainy, mainly falls on the plainy in Spainy, the main character’s name, a question, was he Catholic?, set in Spain, a man of all seasons, both sides of the Irish civil war, his heart is Irish, seated in Ireland, historically wealthy and famous, kinsmen of a Catholic saint, a crosier head, a staff with a hook at the top, buck you to hard, quite a bit of Dunsany, Reading, Short And Deep, mind would wander away, caught up in his curly-cues of ideas, a super simple plot, The Book Of Wonder Stories, Wizard demands somebody’s shadow for services rendered, Jorge Luis Borges story, writing at length later, 1926, January 2023, more as the years go by, other public domain already, better at length?, the exact same content, soak in with a short, beautiful writing, Jesse doesn’t care about plot, it’s a good book, Trish and Scott loved it, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, Penguin Book edited by S.T. Joshi, he is quite good, excellent themes, where the plot went, Jesse had no clue, oblivious, she’s too old him, she’s of the wrong class for him, once he gets a look at her silhouette, Ramone Alonzo Matthew Mark Luke John, trying to help other people, being a knightly hero, spending time with the ladies, a very strong will, moved by pity, he doesn’t understand at first, misery, swears to help her, quixotic, the Spain setting, a Don Quixote character, young and doofusy, romances of other heroes, not a bad thing, choose your heroic quests carefully, Persuasion by Jane Austen, being part of this society, doing his duties, the Jane Austen structure, beyond this wood we set much by gold, beyond this wood lies error, evil magician, stories about genies giving us three wishes, focused on the wrong thing, the evil wizard that’s not so evil, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, Northanger Abbey, a fun writer, her own genre, true with Dunsany as well, so many gems of Dunsany in this, the opening, meta openings, the image of the man crossing the landscape, talking to his dad, not playing ball anymore, son, you gotta earn some money, the priests have told you that money is filthy, for good crops to grow they have to have something filthy in their roots, the guy who takes care of our horses, they get paid once a year, we live on rocky ground, the father is wise, the sister seems to be wise, everybody is wise except for our doofusy young man, he’s just young, it’s great to spend time at the knee of Lord Dunsany, the master before Ramon Alonzo shows up, elixir vitae, resounding stairs, whatever the rats might dare, golden key, a lock he turned only once every thirty years, little curtains the spiders had drawn across it, alone with the Moon, age worn steps of oak, free from its foibles, unyoked by its causes, fresh and keen, the nimble alertness of youth, a well wrought rapier coming to its first war, feeling the new generation, the newer ones, refreshing, rattling to the older generations, cast off the generation he’s in and become part of the new one, interesting concepts, love the language, so many pleasant digressions to follow along with, sending out the shadows, far beyond the outer planets, the Lovecraft element, the torment that that causes, her name was Anemone, the narrator, she’s the main character, her backstory drives a lot of what’s going on, we would have recognized you, the house with the lit window, the money is long gone, regretting letting her go, such a great backstory, he’s lifting a curse, he tricked her into giving up her shadow, her youth and beauty, Duckweed, revealing of the wizard, above, he’s not in it for her body, he’s in it for her shade, certain demons have no shape, Ariel and Caliban, servants or slave, to commune with Yuggoth, what the gossip is on Pluto, the genre of this, clearly a fantasy, magic for science, boring thing: transmutations of metals, Chapter 12, had you anonymized this book, it’s clearly obvious who wrote this,

Ramon Alonzo pondered bitterly: he had sold his shadow for gold, and now gold was not needed.

He had not yet learned the whole art of transmutation. Would the magician give back his shadow?

And Mirandola must have her love-potion, and the charwoman have her shadow out of the box. He had much to do if his plans were to come to fruition.

Back he went to the gloomy room that was sacred to magic. “I have no need of gold,” he said.

“It is a worthless metal,” replied the magician. “The philosophers sought it for the interest they took in re-arranging the element. But the stuff itself was nought to them. They buried it where I have said, and have often warned man of its worthlessness; in testimony whereof their writings remain to this day.”

“I would learn no more of it,” said Ramon Alonzo.

“No?” said the magician.

“I pray you therefore give back my shadow,” he said.

“But it is my fee,” said the magician.

“I would learn other things,” said the young man, “for other fees. But this fee I pray you return.”

“Alas,” said the magician, “you have learned much already.”

“Of this matter nothing,” said Ramon Alonzo.

“Alas, yes,” replied the magician. “For you have learned the oneness of matter, and that there is but one element. And this is a great secret to the vulgar, who believe there are four. And doubtless they will, in their error, discover even more than these four before ever they come to learn that there is but one, which you have learnt already, and this is my fee for it.” And he stooped and rapped the shadow-box somewhat sharply.

“You gave me a shadow to wear in its place,” said the young man.

“I will make you a longer one,” replied the magician.

Ramon Alonzo saw that words would not do it, and that whatever he said would be verbally parried with skill.

“Then give me a love-potion,” he said.

“I do not dispense these things,” said the magician haughtily.

“Then teach me how they are made, and not the making of gold.”

The magician pondered a moment. It was all one to him. He had his fee safe in the shadow-box. He despised equally gold and love, and cared not which he taught. Some etiquette he had learned from some older magician seemed to prompt him to give something for his fee.

“Gladly,” he answered briefly.

Then Ramon Alonzo sat down without a word, thinking of Mirandola.

He had never enquired the reason of anything that she asked for. It was Mirandola, with eyes like a stormy evening. Thoughts passed behind those eyes such as never visited him. Mirandola knew. It is hard to say how the flash of those eyes swayed him. He never sought to know, and never questioned Mirandola’s demands.

“By the admixture of crocodile’s tears with the slime of snails,” came the voice of the Master, “the basis of all love-potions is constructed. Unto this is to be added a powder, obtained by pounding the burned plumage of nightingales. Flavour with attar of roses. Add a pinch of the dust of a man that has been a king, and of a woman that has been fair two pinches, and mix with common dew. Do this by light only of glow-worms and saying suitable spells.”

Ramon Alonzo, following the gestures that the Master made as he spoke, saw on the shelves the ingredients that he mentioned. He saw a jar holding attar of roses beside one named “Dust of Helen.” He saw two jars side by side called “Dust of Pharaoh” and “Dust of Ozymandias,” one of them probably Rameses. He saw a vial labelled “Crocodile’s Tears.” All that he needed seemed there; outside in the wood the glow-worms burned, and there were plenty of snails.

The lesson went on drearily, the magician intoning various spells that the young man learned by heart or believed he learned, and naming alternative ingredients that had of old been used in more torrid lands. Of the ingredients Ramon Alonzo was so sure that no mistake was possible; if ever he erred at all it was with the spells.

guided by the plot, really good movie or an episode of a show, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Rejected Sorcerer (aka El Brujo Postergado Borges) story, a trail of flowered footsteps, finally a reason for CGI (removing a shadow), the uncanny, Michelle Fry from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hints of irony,

Delightfully imaginative, somewhat similar to Dunsany’s blockbuster fantasy novel, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter (and published just two years after it), this equally entertaining, verbally voluptuous tale brings us in touch with the heraldry, artistry, and superstitions of the bygone Golden Age of Spain; with the magical arts of ancient times– alchemy, wizardry, potions, forest creatures that go bump in the night, quests for esoteric knowledge, use of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Catholic church’s war against the ‘Black Art”. Above all, Dunsany explores the many mysterious properties of shadows, and warns what havoc might befall you if you lose yours. Published in 1926.

ruminating on the word “shadow”, an exotic location, the rolling out of the panisci and the change of age, he went therein and the golden age was over, the best age ever?, silver age comics, a place he can set his stories, the wizard is doing philosophy, Raistlin from the Dragonlance books, much more playful, a curious music, the scurry of little things, all manner of magical things, all the children of Pan, landscape talk, the sale of pasturelands, the rocky terrain, why people go through forests, a fictional spain, Averoigne of Clark Ashton Smith, they lost their minds as should we, the girls ran screaming from him, in myth and stuff, Dracula, in myth, a spirit or a ghost, that doesn’t cast a shadow, demons didn’t cast shadows, shadow means soul, a shade, fits him with a shadow, a very sharp knife, our shadows grow and contract, the science element, the regular people are smart, a close reading of Lovecraft stories, the regular people are always right, communing with devils, all the rumors are true, what magic is, communicate with things on other planets, like a lich I live forever, because she’s had her shadow removed she’s not aging, Tithonus, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, a happy romantic ending, the shadow cast the body, flips what reality is, the shadow would take the shape of the body, very Catholic, working these idea minds, everybody in this book is clever, working information, Scott would love this book, so used to hearing confessions, set in Spain, we don’t have wizards in Ireland, wizards in Wales, the tone would have been different, exotic Spain, Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley, 1922, 1926, no excuses not to do it now, LibriVox, Ballantine Adult Fantasy, The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt, the Lin Carter introductions, not the world’s greatest writer, has good taste, an enthusiast, bringing attention, we can trust everything he suggests, publication order, The Wood Beyond The World by William Morris, 1894, an artist writing a book, the wallpaper guy, Scott is 55, hard science fiction, matured into fantasy, hard science fiction is simple and fun, here’s a big dumb object, what do you think about that?, Spin, they’re hard to make and hard to make good, Childhood’s End, go onto Netflix and type in science fiction, set in the future, heist in a science fiction background, the real what if kinda stuff, Westerns, watched all the submarine movies, these are old books that have stood the test of time, Shakespeare’s Planet, Invitation To The Game, how short it was, it says VR on the tin, there are still good books to be found, looking up a famous author that writes something you’re interested in, Dunsany wrote a ton, lesser works, In A Dim Room, nailed this concept, tricked me, what a gifted writer, knowing how to not overstay your welcome in sentences, the digressions are handled, speaking true things in those asides, there’s no lies in here, this is the way the world is, this is the way people are, descriptions of things, descriptions of rooms, the spiderwebs, she doesn’t clean the spiderwebs on the curtains, going back to his spidery bedroom, dust, dust as a theme, shadow is all over this book, a constant word, implying age, a magical component, dust can obscure, the one element, the essence of beautiful woman, simple dew, both water, master of many other things, the master of language, sit there spellbound,

“Never again,” she said, “never again. It lay over the fields once; it used to make the grass such a tender green. It never dimmed the buttercups. It did no harm to anything. Butterflies may have been scared of it, and once a dragon-fly, but it did them never a harm. I’ve known it protect anemones awhile from the heat of the noonday sun, which had otherwise withered them sooner. In the early morning it would stretch away beyond our garden right out to the wild; poor innocent shadow that loved the grey dew. And in the evening it would grow bold and strong and run right down the slopes of hills, where I walked singing, and would come to the edges of bosky tangled places, till a little more and its head would have been out of sight: I’ve known the fairies then dance out from their sheltered arbours in the deeps of briar and thorn and play with its curls. And, for all its rovings and lurkings and love of mystery, it never left me, of its own accord never. It was I that forsook it, poor shadow, poor shadow that followed me home.

fakes, I need a gimmick, how do I make this simpler, what are some basic things people can relate to, look at your shadow, kids goes to sleep, literally doing magic, her curls are being played with fairies, congratulated themselves and felt the need to never write again, thoughtful digression, so readable, as simple a story you can get, that twist, why isn’t he worried about his own shadow, doesn’t even have a name, it fits, the question, leaving the scene and coming back, we grow into understanding what this book was about, her shadow was right in the title, rummaging in the shadow box, I know who that is, we’re slightly smarter than Ramon Alonzo, the love potion, her suitor, the brother doesn’t doesn’t need the money, the potion goes awry, tolerance engendered, nurses him back to health, the switcheroo, expecting the reader to be wiser than Ramon Alonzo, not a children’s book, Farmer In The Sky or Charwoman’s Shadow, mature enough, a love potion for his sister and some gold for his dad, too mature in a large sense, the subjects, to sophisticated in its simplicity, what makes The Hobbit or The Lord Of The Rings fun, dragons, gold!, all the sodas, all the comic books, have you noticed how rocky our fields are, your sister isn’t going to dowry herself, stories of childhood, we were all once children, that incredible playfulness, so reminding of childhood, adults enjoy reading books written for the YA market, T. Kingfisher, Ursula Vernon’s A Wizard’s Guide To Defensive Baking, Loadstar Award, reading it to children, a book written for children that adults can appreciate, a Jane Austen knockoff, Jane Austen with Cinderella, hitting all those fun beats, an unconsciousness, the author is unwilling to confront this?, yes, keep your class, modern colloquial attitudes, that’s kinda weird, the answer is no, aiming for the feeling of those things that I like, comedic elements, horrific elements, declaring war against wizards, a class that gets blamed in the siege in this city, using discrimination against others, the presumed ideal audience has the characters slightly older than you, children’s YA, too good a writer, the disposable forgettable, material that we burn through early on, pick any year that you were alive as a person, movies that would be important later on, its iconicness, name it and the associations come up, I’m smarter than I was, noticing the author, John Carpenter’s whatever it is, adults in touch with their youthfulness, boring for kids, too digressive, indulgent, a suitable student, a stage he goes through, technically an evil wizard, rocket fuel is needed, when you take your dog to the vet, how he acts, just doin what wizards do, TV Tropes, affable evil, so focused on tropes, totally fun, every scene is full of tropes, it was all a dream, Shakespeare, 17 book titles, from other character’s POV, the priest’s POV, the dog’s POV, A Night In The Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, Smoke And Shadows by Tanya Huff, a shadow lord, possess people and do other things, The Silmarillion, how Sauron is a character, the ringwraiths are only shadows, without their clothes and horses they don’t exist, back to be reclothed, written for children, overlays a shadow, the shadow of an actual dragon passing over the water, some dwarfs want their money vs. make things right, the gold that glitters on the ring, the same idea mines, working real pure material, I want heists!, gay pirates on a heist!, Ronin (1998), international criminals chasing a suitcase, a McGuffin, these are great action sequences, these car chases are terrific, an opening sequence, a series of tropes, real attention, power corrupts people, we do need some money, son, fun stuff, why I think we like him, wizards don’t exist!, dealing with real themes, he does so much with a tiny idea, holding on to with stories like this, storytelling, since the beginning, something mythic and deep that really appeals, foundational, David Mamet, French action movies, Sean Bean, spies betraying each other, running around not knowing what you’re running around for, an action movie saying fundamentally we don’t know what we’re doing on this planet, being lied to by ourselves and by our governments, con-men movies, people lying to themselves movies, Homicide (1991), who killed somebody, a mistake early on, pulls the rug out from under, go back to basics, in a way that Shakespeare does, the big prop in Othello is a handkerchief, it all hangs on a handkerchief, swordfights, good storytelling, Wikipedia stuff, Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence, Olaf Stapledon, at their best at short stories, $165, 83 pages, Anamnesis press, so many cool books, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Julie Davis, 6 books, Mary Shelley has other books, a legacy that big, 6 books that were all great, modern Stephen King, Westlake wrote 60-70 books, a writer’s writer vs. a regular writer, low output, Ted Chiang, long may he live, he needs a good 75 years or so, whatever pace he wants, how can I help make sure he stays alive, would that help, send some vitamins, here’s a helmet, Extrapolation, inter-library loan, fanzine packaging, two dude contemporaneous for a period, both in issues of F&SF, a really long life, 1878-1957, Lovecraft was very short, a farther distant past, all of WWII, the Boer War, Dunsany was in the 2nd Boer War, Robert E. Howard died at 30, 4 or 5 feet, Robert E. Howard is at least double that, started later and had a way bigger output, commercial purposes, much rather be writing letters, I have a demon inside me and that demon must be served, you gotta kill yourself, an astounding number of Robert E. Howard stories, keep turning up new Robert E. Howard stories, his output was such, places he sold, trunks full of unsold stories, unfinished, finished by other people, Austen died at 41, unfinished novel, Emily Dickinson, Tor.com, Tales From The White Heart, Draco Tavern, The Black Widowers, Jorkens (Lord Dunsany), club stories, and Jorkens said, In A Dim Room, thrilling tales, I cannot be held responsible, a thrilling story of India, running away from a tiger, that would change the game, he can smell the tiger, the floor of the cave is very smooth, many paws for many years, you are talking to a ghost, he had me, he tricked me, he’s a good tricker, fables from the Fountain, homage, an anthology of British writers, The 9 Billion And First Name Of God, everybody loves those guys, Foundations Friends, The Originist by Orson Scott Card, loved and enjoyed, Farnham’s Freehold, Heinlein rhymes with grime, father’s day Brunch, playing D&D lately, the whole family plays, the starter pack, Dragon of Icespire Peak, more adventures in book form, that’s cool, in Hades right now, an Edgar Allan Poe module, pretty swordless, there’s a troll, The Call Of Cthulhu starter set, online group, I died once, how hard it was to shoot somebody, it went horribly wrong for me, how immersive it is, how into it you can get, during college, nothing, conventions, GenCon every year, a zombie apocalypse, a female scientist, military people, Delta Green?, I cooked the food and had long ago run out of meat and was using zombies, so immersive, a notch better than even reading a story, grow up, get old, kids grow up, get old, now you have to enough people to form a party, sit back and relax, good job, thank you sir, have a great day.

The Charwoman's Shadow by Lord Dunsany

The Charwoman's Shadow - HERRING

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #746 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Shadows In Zamboula by Robert E. Howard


The SFFaudio Podcast #746 – Shadows In Zamboula by Robert E. Howard – read by Mark Nelson for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour, 26 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Connor Kaye, Alex, and Cora Buhlert

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, November 1935, The Man-Eaters Of Zamboula, a better title?, conforms to the Weird Tales title aesthetic, the problem, a second meaning, shadows is nebulous, cannibals, all in one night, just before dusk, the evening, a little sleep, a naked lady, a little adventure, buys a horse, leaves town, the magic ring, a roomful of gold, it makes a person irresistible to the opposite sex, lesbians are acknowledged, a gay subtext in one scene, the strangulation, Baal-Ptor, any temple wench, devil dick, the Hannuman temple, a penis, a strangle-off, his boss calls him that, that’s pretty gay, a great scene, I started with babies, and he dies, pro-cannibal, who is put in what position and why, Mark Nelson, Aram Baksh, Ralph Bakshi?, a lot of mistakes in various people’s analysis, he’s not bearded in Savage Sword, the Ablaze, he’s a bum, they’re companions, Bedouin, a middle eastern , they’re on a team, stole a horse from the satrap, don’t stay there, hookah bar, gambling den, the sword maker’s bazaar, yelp reviews, unchronicled adventures, random desert tribes, the kind of thing he tends to do, Doctor Who, for plot purposes, what city it was supposed to be, Constantinople, the western edge of Turan, Mosul, Palmyra, the comic version, Conan recognized her from the start, assumptions, 2nd to last Conan stories, he knows what’s up, full of things that should trigger people and alleviate those things, supple warriors, hawk-faces, the lords of Zamboula, ancient glories, over reading much, glowering about ancient glories, flaunting their myriad colours, loving, towers and minarets, an infodump we need to be surprised lady, judging, smote is a negative, they’ll think he’s a wizard and eat Paul, delighted as all heck, but it might stink, open sewers, third world places, Kathmandu and Nepal, loud, the Ottoman Empire, multiculturalism, hybrids and mongrels, Cross Plains, Texas, modern day Lebanon, influenced the crusader stories, cities are described negatively, civilization is corrupt, what’s cool about this story, everybody’s got their angle, subsidize sales by selling the stuff of his guests, Robert Bloch, an H.H. Holmes story, Solomon Kane, A Rattle Of Bones, The Inn In The Spessart aka The Spessart Inn by Wilhelm Hauff, join our gang or we’ll kill you, film adaptation, how they got put into that position, meat as part of their religion, let out at night like cats, steal from their masters, as they should, our heroine, they’re too valuable, they’re our property, Zamboula is dependent on their slaves, let them eat travelers and street people, Nefertari, secure her position, what happened and her story, she makes it up on the spot, the Ablaze adaptation, literally naked, her hair is covering stuff, a standard trope, the R-rated, a loin cloth, we never see a nipple, important to understand, of course we want titillation, her clothes would giver her away, silken robe, a slave who’s mute, she’s just lied to that guy, you can trust him he’s not a man-eater, Aram Baksh gets his tongue cut off, don’t eat me!, the moral, the better put together this story is, a murder mystery, set piece scenes, a conan pastiche person, The Curse Of The Monolith just rips off that hole idea, magnetic table, the Virgin Conan The Barbarian computer game, a worldwide phone company, a DOS game, a bridal sword, live out the fantasy, Virgin Bride, a bug, what we see in the Conan movie, what’s in the comics, somebody did some research, you’d lose your sword, slip that ring off the finger, he doesn’t tell us until the end, very well put together, looking for something, Conan has already stolen it, worldbuilding and setting, oh yeah that’s right, back to Paul in a flash, an article, Charles R. Saunders, quibbles, all of Sword And Sorcery, as a black person, fascinated by Africa, boxing fans, a bad website, Howard vs. Lovecraft and Clark Asthon Smith, Black Gate, Bob Byrne, Steven H. Silver, why Man Eaters Of Zamboula is the best of all time, the most quintessential, is that defensible?, the most Conan of the Conan stories, best ever written, best story of all time, compelling points here and there, part of a contest they’re having, when you’re arguing for something like that, worse stories by Robert E. Howard, worried about getting this one, a terrific story, Vale Of Lost Women, with some issues, a higher high within it, this isn’t even close, Red Nails, Queen Of The Black Coast, what happens, become more refined, word choices, a mighty theme, the theme in here is strong, what you need to do in life is be the smartest man in the room and have strong hands, offering sex, this story undercuts our expectations and goes away with a bag of cash, getting tired of writing Conan, an amazing finish, really interesting thesis in the center, laser beams, magnets, electrical magnets, the magic in here, science, superscience, radium gems, the priest is all gadgets, toned down, science or magic, cannibal slaves, the colours are more muted than other Conan stories, the setting, he gambled it away, he knew what he was doing, brawn, smarts and skill, a complete Conan, a stupid brute, play dumb, subvert your expectations, fresh to civilization, a Conan who’s seen some things, wily Conan, miles under his belt, confident enough in himself, professional strangler, an intense scene, Conan the conartist, The Jewels Of Gwahlur, Pelishtim, the mercenaries that guard the city, Nefertari, Nefartinti, Stygian, worships Set, the monkey god, on the cover of Savage Sword, clothes on and blonde, the scary monkey god, his representative, his boss,lusting after our girl, Yog, the Darfari slave god, Crom, Erlik, competing ideologies, some to swear with, strong demands, promote human happiness, sacrifices, go to the casino and lose all your cash, every man the strengths of his hands, a god for atheists, cosmicism without reference to the cosmic, prayer doesn’t make any sense, what would Evan say?, what the slaves are thinking, it fuckin sucks to be a slave but we get to have a religion, foreign bastards who are enslaving us, I’m the guy who sells you bodies to eat, they want to revolt, leave the citizens away, their shields on their back, the most powerful woman in the city, Hanuman’s temple, the heart of the story, marble walls, there’s no gate, each building has its own wall, horns, an Agatha Christie sort of scene, barbarian senses, a high perception tense, the reason he has such good hand sensing is because he’s a meat-eater, not a human meat eater, to get revenge, a man-eater too, a secret door, a giant hand, little maze, our guy sitting on a divan, back and forth allusions, The Odyssey, the guest host relationship, a really big theme, a bad relationship with the guest or the host, when they get broken bad things happen, the host comes home, Circe’s island, turn my men not into pigs, a reinforcement of this value system, how to be in a person’s space, that’s what we have here, taken by many different owners, a rival, this door is barred from the inside, climb over the wall, that pit, the slaves can leave the city, they can’t leave, they’ll die, imagine this: and we do, sexual stuff, dragon fight, stuck in somebody else’s feud, more adventures, a central core, he’s really saying something here, who else can do that with this material?, role playing things, Stygian origins, Turan, nightstalking Darfari cannibals, covetously eyes, intrigue and adventure, compared to Shadizar the Wicked, a spider god at the center of it, John Milius stole from every story, he stole from the best, Set’s temple, springing up in all the cities nearby, a power struggle, I salute you, I got a job for you, go get my daughter, snake vs. elephant, sneak into the temple, the satrap is going to be happy, rage induced coma, captain of the guard, its a job, she dosed him, she’s bad, everybody here is bad, a woman naked in the city, slightly deceiving, I’m sorry I lied to you, Conan doesn’t react, Conan doesn’t ever lie, not being chivalrous, nobody has any honour, he saves her from the cannibals, they were stealing her, if they ate the mistress, supplant the satrap, ruled by his mistress, went wild and tore her clothes off, street bum prophesying doom, his hand on Conan’s arm, speaking to him as a brother, a mini-version of the whole piece, his instinct for story is better than almost anybody, writing for a particular market, the chapters and the headings and the nude scene, the scenes that he has to have, the girl threatened by a magician, a similar scene, this ancient mummy, People Of The Black Circle, pretending to be a statue, clothes swap, a whipping scene or something, if he doesn’t get the cover he doesn’t get the bonus, magic, not in The Hour Of The Dragon, all the cities have wizards, John Dee scrying on his mirror, they fucked up, resurrection is a bad plan, that’s how Christianity started, self-ressurection, Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, a pretty damn good story, the Ablaze adaptation, naked the whole story, the art, black god, wonderfully portrayed, undialogued pages, Æon Flux, she looked off the whole book, to actually depict it, naked as the day she was born, a person naked in an unwalled city, at the end, she drops her lover off, is it because every piece of clothing would give away who she is?, giving Margaret Brundage a chance, the cover with the cobras, not unusual for her, how she normally dresses, that very pale skin, on a pirate ship topless, pale is beauty, the guy grew up in Texas, not a wise idea, shock the other guys by flashing them, she’s acting as a goddess, the colour distinction, the palest of pale skins with black hair, Cora is trying to make it make sense, a magic toe ring, breast bobbing, at night, hide from the Pelishtim, when we see the guy’s eyes, contrast with Conan, gets a feel, resisting eating her, playing off each other, lascivious men, the priest wants her to be his, a friend who says look bud, a man who drinks to much is crazy, tearing her clothes off, minutes ago, dragged away from his own bed, not the first time it happens to him, Black Colossus too, a nice theme, as is the reader, puts off his vengeance, a side story, get your priorities straight, save the boyfriend, kill this priest, her motivation is no one can no, I need an outsider, Vera Cruz (1954), Burt Lancaster at his hottest, don’t do that movie with Burt Lancaster, Gary Cooper, he’ll blow you off the screen, old cracked faced men in westerns, way more charismatic, the main attraction, the plot is kinda similar, mercenaries from the American Civil War, working for Emperor of Mexico, an Austrian guy, see each other at this dance, a beef with a high mucky-muck, the glove, you’re not even important, give each other the chin nod, the Kirk and Bones gif, Denise Darcel, Sara Montiel, cowboys not European royalty, why westerns are really cool, stole a horse, shooting each other in the streets, the Winnetou stories, River Of No Return (1954), Duel In The Sun (1946), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), meta-westerns, a baby across the desert, when is Connor gonna do Howard’s western stories?, how many westerns there were, Steve Costigans, Breckenridge Elkins, his bread and butter, better and more promptly, Action Stories, Fight Stories, a bigger market, niche, how many western TV shows, a legacy, leftovers, westerns now, spaghetti westerns, silent westerns, Western Von Gestern, what Alex Baldwin tried to do, the way TV was supposed to look, westerns or war movies, all the men were old, pulp westerns, Zane Grey novels, short stories from the pulps, something you have to come to appreciate, a set of tropes, its a genre, values that are different, follow the law, follow orders, soccer match on Christmas, what happened to the guys who did it?, war movies serve a purpose, westerns are bottom up, American mythology, do they study SF at university now?, do they study westerns?, Astounding is the training for our engineers, leave town, go to the west, a national mythology, looking backwards, Clint Eastwood, looking at the future, a generation after the west was closed out, the kids or the grandkids of the generation being portrayed, they don’t study romances at university, specialized academics, finding a science fiction class was pretty hard, the Women’s Studies, looking down because it is bottom up, and some women, Range Romances, one of the longest running pulps, Railroad Stories, railroad fiction, you want a union? fuck you, good pay, high tech, like being a truck driver, dangerous, long hours, no time off, bad healthcare, Germany vs. Australia, considered a good job, a secure job, capitalism hasn’t taken over Germany completely, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper, four weeks in a row, people have weird desires, women, man, The Venom Business by Michael Crichton, Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein, Unseen-Unfeared by Francis Stevens, The Hopkins Manuscript, Alec Nevala-Lee, The Crawlers by Philip K. Dick, The Golden Slave by Poul Anderson, off to farmville, Skull Face, a Steve Harrison story Names In The Black Book, Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber, never been done before, don’t waste Connor, on Conan duty or Robert E. Howard duty, The Thing On The Roof, a cool description, hear the nipples on the roof, Robert E. Howard doing H.P. Lovecraft, “Hooves In The Night”, Unaussprechlichen Kulten, German speakers, a Justin Joffrey poem, August Derleth, wonky, Canadian public domain, M.S. Corley art, comic book adaptation, a Marvel Chillers version, weird tales sort of material, you get hooked, Howard via Conan, gonna make you a Nazi, Lancer paperbacks, really good, pastiche, boxers who go sailing, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, based on publication date and renewal, nothing to do with death, Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Condé Nast, work for hire, hero pulps, written under house names, Howard horror, Pigeons From Hell, Old Garfield’s Heart, Steve Costigan, Francis X. Gordon, a useful resource, Mark Finn, the far future, The Devil’s Elixir by E.T.A. Hoffmann, an early robot story, The Sandman, ignore the interesting good for the dull, unsuitable for teenagers, 12 hours 24 minutes, four months, E.T.A. Hoffmann and Edgar Allan Poe, doppelgangers, this story is that story minus all the long parts, The Oval Portrait, a lot of overlap, Poe inspired The Student Of Prague (1913), retreat on the shore of Lake Geneva, Bohemian ghost stories, German romanticism and gothic literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Influence Of E.T.A Hoffmann On Edgar Allan Poe, Connor is sick, regular sick, Hard Case Crime, epub or mobi or PDF, Google Books, look at screens all day long, screens less, had you not known a pirate…, 3kb, a remainder bookstore, ebook device technology, eink colour is not rich, snow?, vasculitis, autobahn, bahn means train.

Shadows In Zamboula - ad from WEIRD TALES

Shadows In Zamboula - Margaret Brundage cover for WEIRD TALES

Shadows In Zamboula - Vincent Napoli illustration from WEIRD TALES

Shadows In Zamboula - art by Margaret Brundage

Shadow-God Of Zamboula

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN - Shadows In Zamboula

Neal Adams and Tony DeZuniga - SAVAGE SWORD

ABLAZE - The Man-Eaters Of Zamboula

CIMMERIAN: The Man Eaters Of Zamboula - art by Mike Krome

Shadows In Zamboula by MLPeters (DeviantArt)

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!