The SFFaudio Podcast #637 – In The Clutch Of The War-God by Milo Hastings – read by Kate Follis, for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of novelette (1 Hour 46 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Bryan Alexander, Trish E. Matson and Kate Follis.
Talked about on today’s show:
Physical Culture, July – September 1911, the US vs. Japan in the war in the Pacific, a lot about exercise, why this story is so weird, overall impressions of a terrible book, maybe its kayfabe, in a heavy metal voice, who is the war god?, its a metaphor, Jesse thought there’d be a guy, the Emperor of Japan, the Emperor of the United States, who’s in the clutch of the war god?, yellow peril, City Of Endless Night, so interesting, written so quickly, serialized as he’s writing it, not paid off, Ethel has to write a letter, interracial marriage, one issue to discuss, Mrs. Oshima, a happy fruitful marriage, the Shōwa period, the big firm industrialization, the Russo-Japanese War, hence conflict, what the heck happened to Hawaii, not a state yet, set in 1958, astonishingly optimistic, no major wars for 50 years, Latin American revolutions, the Soviets, the Russians, the Nazis, H.G. Wells, an English dilettante vegetarian, The Strand, unclimable mountains, Little Mother Up The Mörderberg by H.G. Wells, Swiss hotels, they all hated me because I was a vegetarian, one of those annoying preaching vegetarians, outdoor exercise, plasmon, in the back, yeasts and pastes and kelloggs, supplement culture, more fit, not just male gym rats, female oriented, other 1911 issues, all the women are fit, 1911 yoga, a baby with a dumbell, reproduction, super-eugenics based, the purity of their race, race purity, eventually the soviets will not be so interested in, surprisingly modern, coming out the same movement, under Bernarr Macfadden, Milo Hastings’ editor, being outside, genetically pure, super cereals, Bovril, east Asia, a worldwide movement, Ling Long magazine, Sixteen, girl’s health, swimsuits, always women, we need to uplift these people for the health of the nation, how these ideas took off in Japanese history, the intro, Liberty, a competitor to Time, Cosmopolitan, one of many he edited, strange story of another day, the ultimate effect, self-satisfied complacency, sustained til the very, rough outline, he lived the stuff he was writing, all buffed up, a strong-man, he believed all this stuff, so annoying and so important, a fraudster, lies about his circulation, Ghost Stories, one Robert E. Howard story, a boxing ghost story, photo illustrations, some lady, a bedstead, supposedly true, geared toward women with a male audience, Il Duce (Benito Mussolini), up in the business, 16 kids starting with the letter B, urinary tract infection, a very important figure, he kept Milo Hastings working, why it is so wonky, chickens, the brood of the wargod, wasteful farmer class, 23 million, that’s bonkers, the Hudson River, they moved the Battery for no reason, Lower Manhattan, the neighbourhood, where’s that water going, a surprise, our quasi-hero, the Regenerationist Magazine, hero editor, a political movement, how weird the combination of ideas, socialism, admiration, positive gazing at the Japanese system, the mirror to Ethel, kimono, unresolved sexual tension, appreciation of the Japanese culture, no makeup, the editorial voice of Hastings, American sinews, vigour of the product of their loins, artifical food, they’re talking about us, tight fitting clothing, diseased and destitute, unsanitary, another movement, prostituted science, Dr. Pepper, doped and perfumed, advertising, very heavily advertising, perfumes and cosmetics, interracial marriages were uneugenic and hence immoral, Japan doesn’t accept immigrants, the problem here is not Japan needs oil, the Texas oil-fields, they need breathing room, new lands for their healthy Japanese babies, Japan’s birthrate, almost nobody fears, over production, population bomb, too many babies, the opposite, Isaac Asimov’s and Frederik Pohl’s Our Angry Earth, Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax, old Japanese woman, body servant, an example of progressive fiction, the run up to prohibition, every bad guy’s a drunk, old liquors, wet vs. dry, drunken Americans and teetotaler Japanese, Kate Follis joining us, make it a good story, awful as a book, full of terrible ideas, a plot, it moved along, Proof Listener at LibriVox, City Of Endless Night, its really about the world, how did this come about?, recommended by Kate’s dad, what else has this writer done, Dollar Hen, a how to manual for backyard chickens, the connecting tissue between these two books, an ex-inspector of poultry for the government, the Milo Hastings Show, eggs change temperature as they develop, using late cycle eggs to incubate early cycle eggs, using waste heat, another egg joke, constantly pumping out eggs, fascinating stuff, Bernarr MacFadden, weird fetishes, your interest in this is going to turn out really bad, anti-vaxxer, anti-FDR, trying to be incredibly influential in US politics, the original Jack Lalanne, Liberty, November 1940, reasons to be concerned about vaccines, falsifying circulation figures, I Lost 40 Pounds In My Garden (that was careless of you), how I’m Training My Children, the Massie Affair, Benito Mussolini, a bad guy, Michio Kaku, lying about stuff to sell his latest book, in 1900 , platforming, you don’t call him on it, he needs to be countered, eugenics is evil, really dangerous, really dark roads, forced sterilizations, it happens in prison now, it could have been much more, Japanese samurai cannibals, The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the same stuff, Hastings is full of ideas, seems to lack the space (and perhaps the planning), astonishing stuff, cultural distinctions between Japan and the US, the Japanese way of life, racial fear, attraction and fear, anti-foreign riots, the Boxer Rebellion, The Decline Of the West by Oswald Spengler, 1922, always this fear, anxiety about being replaced, subtitled: The Tale of the Orient’s Invasion of the Occident, as Chronicled in the Humaniculture Society’s “History of the Twentieth Century”, Japan is ready and doing things we aren’t doing, we need to wear looser robes, a healthy outdoors, M*A*S*H, nudism, nudist colonies, keeping ourselves healthy and beautiful, land for their babies, breathing room, that’s what healthy societies want to do, take a piece of Texas, the way things looked, consolidation of the West, before the dust-bowl, especially verdant, empires, Camp Of The Saints by Jean Raspail, Europe invaded by African and Asian immigrants, feinting towards Panama, planting seeds, wasn’t allowing immigration, boat full of immigrants turned back, the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907, the Chinese Exclusion Act, The King In Yellow, H.P. Lovecraft, 1960s, the shocking nature, the Okies make it to California, so easy to grow, he can’t resist, homesteading, aircraft carriers, the Wright Brothers, how aircraft can dominate forces on the land, flat-tops, Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth, breeding out the continent, yellow peril-ish, the start of a novel, a great premise of the story, early 20th century culture, just go to Wikipedia and pick a year, and pick a day, March 30, 1908, Durham Stevens assassination, wars still raging 20 years after they’d started, changed the nature of public focus, making friends with the Japanese, Midway (2019), planetary society, an inevitable clash, can’t just hand over the empire, publicly assassinated, what you’re doing overseas, suddenly a reveal, Americans aren’t focuses on foreign policy, really what matters is what they do with the military, domestic policy, my vote doesn’t count, what a story like this is really interesting for, a grain merchant killed in a dynamiting, Dan Carlin’s Supernova In The East, the Japanese Army and Japanese Navy in conflict with each other, teasing that out, somewhat relatable character, maybe I could learn to fly, a feminist angle, flying for the newspaper, stealing gasoline and food at gun point, a really good story here, the choice of the protagonist, if it had a male protagonist would he be a resistor from the beginning, they like athletic women, you need to do kickboxing, beautiful like me, Bernarr flexes, I Grouched Myself Into A Divorce, we;re getting there, Yawning Your Way To Health, the Acme of Physical Perfection, flexes his pecs, Do You Glow With Health?, Virex, violet rays, a crossover audience, metaphysical fitness, bodies not landscapes, what you put in your body, the truth about marijuana, Finding America’s Most Beautiful Women, When Is Marriage Sin?, this is what you do instead of going to church, walking dogs is a kind of church (very ritualistic), we need things to believe in, not spiritual, raising a healthy baby, pseudoscience, related to science, maybe violet rays do something, flower garden, healthily brown, reading a French novel (is bad), she tosses it aside, til up their gardens, cultivating the beautiful, the Hitler Youth, the Boy Scouts, scary stuff, the backlash against digital technology, Sherry Turkle, social and mobile, another anti-trust suit against Facebook, you don’t want to be downstairs playing Dungeons & Dragons, play football, you don’t want to be 4F, Captain America, bone spurs, F is like fail, you’re not fit enough to be killed, the Universal Army, the free healthcare you need, not eugenically pure enough, make them even more fit, Corporal Klinger, 1A, Black Hawk Down (2001), a modern American draft, the Progressive Era, WWI, the Wilsonian dream, the perverse progressivism, No Magic Bullet: A Social History Of Venereal Disease In The United States Since 1880 by Allan M. Brandt, the quadriplegic do not qualify for service, how the Empire can continue as it is, in case, you can’t hold territory with drones, starve the population, this book certainly brought out a few things, attempted rape, unrealistically gentle, we could poison cities, the scientist we’re supposedly following, what was the plan, the roller control GPS system, gyro stabilized GPS, Japanese scientists are a trope, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar by Francis Stevens, first superhero origin story, has the power of Samson, not finished, The Wind Rises (2013), Anthony Fokker, they had the best planes but their fuel was so bad, a massive interest in science and technology, the scientist here had a role to play, a basket, the number of hours in the air, grandson of the author, he should be known, a country under Berlin, the Third Reich but with royalty, producing under stress, cognitive dissonance, The City In The Middle Of The Night, he happens to look exactly like…, a phenomenon of books back then, Ruritanian Romance, a wonderful trope, relinquish the power, these whining dogs, commercial work, YA novels, love the old stories, The Mystery of the Fifteen Sounds by Van Powell, Planet Stories, the ninteen-teens, very focused on socialism, Mystery Boys and Sky Scout books, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, public domain reading is much more fun, less back and forth with the author, too whiny, much appreciated, everybody who works at LibriVox is wonderful, Planet Stories podcast, THIS issue of Planet Stories, book coordinators, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, how much content has hit in the last month and half, the OCR is the hard part, you just have to trust Jesse, Internet Archive, this ancient science fiction, definitely speculative fiction, Vegan Death Metal Chef, chop the carrots, Cookie Monster is Death Metal, plant rice, Kate Follis is really good, so many people are talented with their voice, this is the free culture, the post-scarcity world is coming through Gutenberg and LibriVox.
Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond Fantasy Fiction, September 1953, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, Margaret St. Clair, Upon The Dull Earth, a sister magazine to Galaxy, a mirror universe to Astounding and their fantasy magazine: Unknown, 2017, a popular story, a rural fantasist, Expendable, the war against the ants, what makes that a fantasy, the birds can also talk, a psychology story, The Cosmic Puppets, spiders, The Hanging Stranger, pure horror, The Father Thing, a mental illness story, king of the trolls, a tragedy, he kills his best friend, a similar scene, an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers story, the stories being circular, the most horrific thing imaginable, maybe its an ad, every hand is against him, a metaphor for communism taking over, not believing in the Red Scare, the parallel, none of the elves have names, brought in and taken away on litters, the title works the same way, there are two hanging strangers and two kings of the elves, Philip K. Dick doesn’t start with “I’m going to write for a market”, working out ideas over space of thirty pages, compelled to do these things, exploding with ideas, this is my attempt to explore, exploring the psychology of other people and animals, Shadrach Jones, Irish names, Welsh names, Phineas Judd, Dan Green, a Colorado setting, Philip K. Dick was the king of the elves, a town full of men, no females in the story, how do the elves replicate?, binary fission?, The Hobbit, Larry Niven, their empire is diminished, the René Auberjonois narration, laughing, the economics of this story, how many people are like this in our world, his skin is dark, is Shadrach black?, the (aborted) Disney adaptation, ultimately deep down this is NOT a happy story at all, hard to find a Disney princess in this story, violating the whole premise, nature stuff, fairies, another layer of analysis, the way people treat Shadrach, I’m king of the elves, Texaco Gas or King Of The Elves Gas, if this was a real thing, a whole different kind of story, about the landscape of Colorado, men who don’t get married go crazy, lonely, set in their ways, an H.P. Lovecraft Dreamlands story done through the Philip K. Dick lens, Lord Dunsany, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, a delusion that ends in violence, bloody hands, H.L. Gold wanted a happy ending, a tacked on ending after the pagebreak, H.P. Lovecraft, The Rats In The Walls, the original ending, it was quite a battle wasn’t it, the real ending, the elves are Philip K. Dick’s cats, he’s got a bunch of cats, curled up on the carpet, cultivating this fantasy in his head, enough for one old man, magazines, some of the lore of elves, Ireland, watching for something to come, a strong opening,
IT WAS RAINING and getting dark. Sheets of water blew along the row of pumps at the edge of the filling station; the tree across the highway bent against the wind.
Shadrach Jones stood just inside the doorway of the little building, leaning against an oil drum. The door was open and gusts of rain blew in onto the wood floor.
he lights up a cigar,
“Darn,” he said. “What a night!” Rain buffeted him, wind blew at him. He looked up and down the highway, squinting. There were no cars in sight. He shook his head, locked up the gasoline pumps.
why is he tensing?, an epileptic fit, water running, white noise, patterns and shapes to be found, the information being generated, the reason he’s locked the door, anticipation as projection, how seeing works, philosophy, one is a pyramid and one is ball, seeing with hands vs. seeing with eyes, two tiny figures in the rain, limp and sodden, they might have worn brightly covered clothes, their swords are gold, dressed in gray, I’m the king of the elves and I’m wet, where the audience laughs, “forlornly, silently”, the Philip K. Dick trademark: a description and then two adverbs, we don’t notice how well written it is, glittering brightly, “honked thinly, impatiently”, “silently, grimly”, clients is the word we’re looking for, don’t use OVERUSE adverbs, Elmore Leonard’s style, said is transparent, its amazing, advice to stop amateur writers from overusing, its not about filling pages, isn’t this novel -> oh my god what am I reading?, sad mental illness, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the town and the time, a few days pass, he’s doing it for attention, he doesn’t think much of it, cars might come, quotidian concerns, spending time with mentally ill people, not actual, it throws you out, a boy who exhales carbon monoxide, monkey on a skateboard, his friend Phineas, come in for a coffee, go home and have a hot bath, why did this relationship sour so?, talking him down, how his ears and face and hands looked, back to perception, the change comes slowly (dementia), heavy and brutal, yellow and coarse like parchment, back to Evan’s hometown, seeing them differently for a moment, an actual psychological phenomenon, he sees them at night, they sleep in his bed, a solemn circle, a Philip K. Dick sentence, is the dead body still upstairs?, when you’re in a dream, generating library books, delusions are beliefs about the reality of the world, reality fills in better than brains can, building details are returnable to, not enough lore, nameless elf soldiers, a nameless elf king, the faces of the elf soldiers were serious and concerned, democracy, as our old king lay dying, very Philip K. Dick, important all right, he spoke the name, they don’t know his name, cats turning up and adopting a human, cats lording it over, Sugar Ridge, Route 20, the Endless Road, world building is not the issue, its a spontaneous delusion hinting itself into existence, the walk home and the rain, “I’m wet”, a super sad story, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Pop Richey, half name and half description, Lucky story, everybody is a leprechaun, a lot of hands in this story, great murderous shovel hands, shovel nails, above the filling station the sun shone high, Ford truck, a flivver later, what did you say, slender deft fingers, a giant earlobed horror, a faceless creature to be destroyed, level boss, if you’re going to kill somebody you don’t want to know their name, the transformation,
He restored his glasses to his nose and smoothed what remained of his hair into place.
his friendly neighbour, when the Moon sets, warming up, what festering resentment suddenly came forth, the insanity defense, a barrel stave, who had motive here?, there’s no motive here, black people being oppressed by white people in the United States, both of them had stones laid in front of their homes, the flat stone steps, unhappy and cold (just like him), the first of the flat stone steps, the old oak tree,
Shadrach went on up the steps, his lips pressed tight. When he reached the top of the stone steps, the last rays of sunlight had already faded. It was night.
the next time we see stones, his chest rose and fell painfully, reasons for shaking your head, the tacked on ending, his gas station vs. his home, so much about the landscape (and weather), near some trees, the Disney stuff, the isolation, the environment, the wind, the rain, out of the basement, the garage, The Builder, a PTSD story, Noah’s insane, the economics of this all, the interstate system, Robert Moses, destroying a community, thinking about the suburbs, the automobile, the changing landscape of America, Radiator Springs in Cars (2006), the Bates Motel, The Commuter, commentary on suburban sprawls, dark bent over things, a flood of dark creatures, the colour of Phineas’ skin, Shadrach In The Furnace by Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside, spending time with Philip K. Dick short stories is super rewarding, some of his novels are TRIUMPHS, short stories as polished gems of gorgeousness, the psychology of a man in his time, Puttering About In A Small Land, in the book of Daniel, three Jewish boys who refused to bow down, King Nebuchadnezzar, slightly different than our story here, Daniel’s wild, there’s no such thing as a false prophet, no boobs in this story, the Moon and the bleak sky, more coffee, a cup of hot chocolate, this coffee sure tastes good, human kipple, the leftovers of those who are not moving on to the west.