The SFFaudio Podcast #459 – READALONG: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

February 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #459 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Davis talk about The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, subverting expectations, thriller philosophical novel adventure fantasy, a book about anarchists (not really), hot topic, pre-WWI, bring down the system, everybody is a dynamiter, Michael Collins, if you don’t seem to be hiding nobody hunted you out, anarchy against anarchy, the Orson Welles adaption, easier to understand, one female character in the book and she shows up on the last page, Mercury Theater, Welles as Sunday, evil or good?, wine commercials, this old fat guy talking about wine, large people refracted through later media, Gilbert in The Sandman is G.K. Chesterton, confession, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, because it has detectives in it?, sudden reveals, that person is not an anarchist either, the same trick over and over, the Professor, the Marquis, the Father Brown mysteries, Miss Marpole, Reading Short and Deep, The Angry Street: A Bad Dream by G.K. Chesterton, like Scrooge, a very interesting guy, a very rare bird, a conservative intellectual, explaining a lot of what’s going on, The Tremendous Adventures Of Major Brown, The Game (1997), sympathetic to anarchism, the ISIS of its day, submitting to ISIS, its not a critique of anarchism at all, a caricature of anarchists as terrorists, non-violent anarchism, a classic problem, non-terroristic anarchism, fantastic turns of phrase, lampshaded, lighting a lamp against the darkness, a fun romp, the reality of police going after subversive groups, it’s about God, and your relationship to Him and yourself on Earth, Chesterton’s fence, an axiom, a principle, completely reasonable, why conservationism should be the default, he’s so persuasive and witty, these are the kinds of conservatives Jesse is afraid of, the Catholic in Julie, the wisdom of the ages, a noble ideal, Terry Pratchett, Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman, “a man who really knew what was going on”, he dresses kind of goth-y, carrying a sword-cane, the people he admired carried sword-canes, Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, a dog named Bounce, Dante’s Inferno, a great age of satire, turning things upside down, laughing, I love lists, a poet who loves lists, arch-humour, that young man, wild white hat, a cause of philosophy in others, a preview of the ending, Scott couldn’t stand this book, Julie was enchanted by it, its unfixed, there’s no grounding, the duel scene, removing parts of his body, he’s a robot, he’s disassembling himself, a little too far?, Scott is a writer, writers reviewing fiction books, how it was constructed, the subtitle: “A Nightmare”, this is a fantasy, this is a fantastic village, this isn’t real, Dante’s Paradisio, this is just allegorical, that’s hilarious, Scott was raised Catholic, Julie (like Chesterton) was a convert, going all the way, a different kind of reader, the cosmos had turned upside down, looking at everything from the back, where the book’s theme is made manifest, this is what I mean, The Everlasting Man, H.G. Wells, proof, a little dig on evolution, shaking the reader, you have no firm fixed ground, wherever you land you’ll find God, “They said my very walk was respectable, and that seen from behind I looked like the British Constitution”, ridiculous, the conservative view, not a poet who is a poet, the common working man, no peasant wants anarchy, every millionaire is at heart an anarchist, plutocrats as anarchists, WTO protests, agent provocateurs, during the Black Panther era, policeman in disguise: let’s blow stuff up, energetic FBI contributions, kind of Philip K. Dickian, a completely different reveal, A Scanner Darkly, Bob Arctor, Robert Downey, Jr., did Philip K. Dick read this book?, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?‘s fake police station, is Sunday Jesus Christ?, Sunday is God, dressed in the disguise that reveal them as who they really are, pantheists, when men wake up, beautiful nature, a garden, the unmasking, the garden may be Gethsemane, 33 pieces of paper of no value, the question of betrayal, of all days of the week, Rosamund, at the end of time, Heaven is somewhere in Normandy, the marchers, what’s going on?, they all admit they have one hope, the man in the Black Chamber, such a conservative fantasy, secret policeman, the trailer for the 2016 movie adaptation, Nazis and fascists, how could you do a straight up adaptation of this?, Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days In Mayhem, Dracula marries Queen Victoria, anarchists against Dracula and the vampire elite, a concentration camp holding Sherlock Holmes, Gilbert and Sullivan, a weird detective story about soap operas, the way Sunday is depicted, some of the ways that Sunday is described, he swooned, Sunday is both the Devil and God, looking at him from his hind-parts, kinda weird, the pure good thing, many out loud laughs, “He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else.”, his turns of phrase, why Chesterton is loved by Gaiman and Pratchett, the same kind of wry comedians, easy to get along with, shall we go out and have dinner together now?, isolation, twice two is 2,000 times one, George Bernard Shaw, ‘too see you’d think Britian was in a famine – to see you you’d think we’d know why’, fun and dangerous, WWI, a white feather, The Four Feathers, wearing their white feathers proudly, making another joke about being fat, “anarchists!”, what does that have to do with… Bryan?, Gavrilo Princip was not an anarchists (he was a Nationalist) but he was called one, anticipation of WWI, a glimpse of the desire for violence, Teddy Roosevelt, the older detective, detecting pessimists, discovering a crime in a book of sonnets, really funny, Charles Stross’ laundry series, surveillance and data analysis for pre-crime, chilling, why he’s a dangerous guy, defending the indefensible, he spells it out so clearly, do we all know what’s going on here, the book starts with a poem, looking at it in sentences,

“A cloud was on the mind of men
And wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul
When we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity
And art admired decay;
The world was old and ended:
But you and I were gay;

he’s conflating nihilism and decadence and decay with anarchism, The Decline Of The West, The War Of The Worlds, a grim vitality, “what do you want? martyrs!”, written as a cure for melancholy, An Anatomy Of Melancholy, reading melancholic writers, lassitude, making you thoughtful, flashy, so light in its stated topic, if this was written today…, Britain’s who travel to the Middle East to join ISIS, a pacifist book, pro-life, imagining the bomb going off, the value of each human life, Isaac Asimov, violence as the last refuge of the incompetent, chances, who is the man in the black room?, he’s the Alpha and the Omega, in Syria the war is winding down, a 90% decrease in violence, why did the Vietnam War happen, big agents doing things, why does this anarchist council exist?, I can’t believe that any common man would support, a certain class of people thought it would be honourable or profitable, a different subject for the book, a secret agent style version of this book, Moriarty, Fu Manchu, the daughter of the Dragon, a boogeyman, Fu Manchu is trying to overthrow the British occupation of China, a sympathy argument for Fu Manchu, Pan-Asia, Genghis Khan, turnabout is fairplay, pot kettle black, Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, Captain Nemo, his mother was a hardcore Stalinist, she was convinced Stalin the great hero of the 20th century, Dorothy Day, attacking organized religion, Marx, neither god nor master, a coherent argument to make, James Dean or Marlon Brando, Kryten in Red Dwarf, mere willingness is the final test, a lengthy lecture on the history of anarchism, Mary Woolstencraft’s husband, Things As They Are; Or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, Parents And Children aka Fathers And Sons, what’s more useful a painting or a pair of shoes, a near contemporary, an active Russian thing, Dan Schwent, really different, almost not a novel, it is a dream, nightmare, The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, that moment, that vertiginous moment, deciding to go another way, setting up these moments, as participators or adaptors, a bunch of people who are wrong about everything, a council, there’s no predominant day of the week, I have to do a podcast on Sunday, it needs to be scheduled, the Club Of Queer Trades stories, how does the schedule happen?, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman was inspired by G.K. Chesterton’s The Napoleon Of Notting Hill,

“a novel written by G. K. Chesterton in 1904, set in a nearly unchanged London in 1984.

Although the novel is set in the future, it is, in effect, set in an alternative reality of Chesterton’s own period, with no advances in technology or changes in the class system or attitudes. It postulates an impersonal government, not described in any detail, but apparently content to operate through a figurehead king, randomly chosen.”

not really science fiction, radical!, not a fan of revolutions, loving Americans, one conservative to think about, The French Revolution, The Russian Revolution, The American Revolution, Queen Elizabeth II is on my money, Tories fled to Canada, Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts, the Tories (political party), Canada’s history as a defense against American radicalism, a distorted perspective, Jesse ruined it, not the first nor the last time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime ministers are not that important, the Premier of British Columbia is John Horgan.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #430 – READALONG: The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

July 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDr. Dimension Master Of Spacetime Raising Mullah by S. Ron MarsThe SFFaudio Podcast #422 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, and Paul Weimer talk about The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Hotspur Publishing’s Dr. Dimension Master Of Spacetime Raising Mullah. Written by S. Ron Mars and narrated by Fred Wolinsky, this is a comedic Science Fiction audiobook available now on Audible.com

Talked about on today’s show:
A Canticle For Leibowitz, the framing, a thousand years later, the manuscript, make a universe as a playground to play in, feudal Englishman running rampant in interstellar space, appreciations, Eric Flint, David Drake, Greg Bear, rollicking, Astrid Anderson Bear, a rollicking romp of medieval mayhem, fun Catholicism, A Case Of Conscience where the conscience is a little lose, the horrible movie adaptation The High Crusade (1994), it could make a good movie, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, George Pal, no budget, no script, no director, John Rhys Davies, the trailer, a really good trailer, blue skin, Quest by Poul Anderson, this seems to be the Holy Grail, here’s a story where they tried, a little too sloppy, a gaming system, Ares, Poul Anderson wrote a ton of great stuff, paperback reprints, an upbeat ending, grim or ambiguous, a different tone, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Philip K. Dick’s Waterspider has Poul Anderson as a character, Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson, Avatar with fewer explosions, following in a line with Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, our knowledge, awesome mistakes, no defenses, lucky Scott, fun, super-entertaining, history, a healthy respect for factual history, not technically a lie, Babel, an undercurrent of humour from charging knights to launching nukes with trebuchets, historicity, the fall of Rome, barbarians, the Roman Empire, the creation of the dark ages, their own past and their own future, fiefdoms, the church, practicality, stiff armour costumes, almost a complete retelling of what’s going on in Europe, a local chieftain, keep the system going, pastiche, we have to buy so much, rusty axes, pretty hard to buy, a light touch, undeniably well working, L. Sprague de Camp’s Krishna novels and stories, looking for princesses, green skin aliens, an Easter egg, all their conquests, the crusades, the Wersgorix, defeat the horde of Englishmen, Saracens, ripe for a fall, what made Alexander The Great so great, technical definition: a shitshow, sacking Constantinople, attacking the wrong people, loose collectives, a charitable term, mercenary motivations, the sack of Alexandria, they too the wrong turn, the Northern Crusades, the French Crusades, Baltic pagans, holy wars, Christian jihads, radical extremism combined with mercenary avarice, he must speak Latin because he’s a demon, sharp knives and tortures and laughing, it’s all fake, not being horrified, the entire town from Lincolnshire goes to liberate the Holy Land, an enjoyable romp, edible, digestible, enjoyable, nicely, lightly, briefly, reconstructing scenes, reliability, circumstances, third hand, it’s wonderful to be an Englishman, his declensions are atrocious and what he does to irregular verbs can not be mentioned in gentle company, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, Celts in the stars, Catherine Asaro, Mayans in space, Star Trek, space Romans and space Nazis, the Traveler RPG, Traveler 3000, seeding wolves and humans, plenty of little planets, plucky humans, star empires, elves, wolves in space, building empires, dying in character creation, The High Crusade tactical board game, chits, Avalon Hill, flaws and strengths, tactics, dry ’80s-style war games, actual battles, great cover art, the idea of primitive technology defeating higher technology, Ewoks vs. the Imperial Storm Troopers, Return Of The Jedi, buckskins (Ewok skins), a comic light touch, different kinds of swords, gladius -> longsword -> rapier -> no swords, the heraldry, to learn how to run a spaceship, you don’t even know how to read to learn, ignorance, history, they’re not knowledgeable enough to think they can’t win, hand-to-hand, contrast, thrall army, fort destruction, ionic storm, heresy, playing the heresy card, history, religion, science, space battles, awesome, scenes and jokes, the workings of the physical universe, an inversion, knights with holstered ray guns, laser guns, the English learn quickly, never give up the horses, poor Ansby was left almost deserted, the loading of the ship, a Noah’s Ark story, a good idea, a lot to swallow, so much sugar, worldly goods, what happened to this village?, everybody’s gone, all the cupboards are bare, there’s a story there, “almost deserted”, I’m not getting on this thing!, other races, clever but nuts, the opening framing, a document vs. a novel, The Green Meadow by H.P. Lovecraft and Winifred Virginia Jackson, the most preposterous story ever, alien summer night, socio-technician, modern languages, creatures, thunder and blow-up, hard to believe, no rest for the wicked, impressively ancient, uncials on vellum, a prosaic typescript, home was a long way off, a mystery, pretty cute, they did well, still there, an English Empire stretching down the spiral arm, 2300 A.D., has the Holy Land yet been liberated?, a funny funny book, this book can’t really age, the alien technology of the ship feels very 1950s, their navigator is called an “astrologer”, The Enduring Chill by Flannery O’Connor, Stephen Colbert, a comedian should narrated this novel, John Cleese, the Book For The Blind, massive archives, there has never been a commercial audiobook release of The High Crusade, The Broken Sword, collections, Brain Wave, Tau Zero, Three Hearts And Three Lions, dealing with elves and trolls, Icelandic and Scandinavian myths, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, The Man Who Came Early, dark ages Iceland, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, split time-lines, everything’s short, 180 pages, a big impressive story inside a few number of pages, packing a bigger punch, Harvest Of Stars, these science fiction writers in the 1960s and 1970s were doing idea exploration, The Broken Sword is a classic, Paul will wind up crying again, catharsis, faking us out, “these creatures”, the Owain treachery, the same thing in Quest, double jointed knees, more faithful than everybody else, a planet named Lancaster, there was hardly a peasant who hadn’t been knighted, Alexander’s generals, regional governors founding dynasties, hay stuck in his hair, very strange very funny, the promise of all series novels always offer, all the adventures happen between the page turns, Sir Roger’s cunning, the Wersgorix had no special affection for their birthplace, King John (and the Magna Carta), the rule of law vs. the rule of the word, “don’t you wish you had a plan?”, siege-craft, “when I had been picked up and dusted off”, no simpletons, to reap so rich a harvest, winning with cunning, courage and brute strength, a little pope, the younger people are not careful, Parvus means “little”, my nickname when I was a kid, a good catch, can we trust this document?, of course we have to trust it 100% because it’s cuter that way, why would it lose to anything?, another religious novel, a different kind of humour completely, a very dry humour, what else was nominated?, Rogue Moon by Algis Burdrys, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon, The Longest Voyage, the Tor Double, To Marry Medusa, Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer, mini-tyrannosaurs rex, Galileo, a telescope, his “planet”, Poul Anderson’s inspiration, making marvelous wonders, a great story to build on.

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade - illustration by Larry Elmore

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #405 – READALONG: The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

January 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #405 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa discuss The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
Speaker to Canadians, off the rails, doing a sequel, 1980 follow up to the 1970 novel, was this a good idea?, seeing the Ringworld one more time, fun, Larry Niven was having a lot of fun with it, retcon (retroactive continuity), Teela’s luck, maybe Paul is completely wrong, bad bad Teela Brown, her boytoy, because reasons, becoming a protector, where the luck problem comes in, the fight between Teela, Chmee and Wu is fabulous, luck is directing all these people, re-re-reinterpretation, happily ever after and sequels don’t play nice, luck as a genetically programmable trait is complete bullshit, that’s what’s going to happen, if you’re going to do a sequel…, waiting for Teela to show up, The Ringworld Throne, Louis becomes a protector, take each book on its own, she’s protecting all of the lucky people who are coming after her, cooler in a couple of ways, why Louis had needed to be a droud addict (a wire-head), he was bored in the first book, he’s an addict in the second, a little flashback to the visit of the gardens of the patriarch, “call me Chmee”, the Kzin patriarch’s version of the Smithsonian, happy all the time and hating his life, he can’t have cheese anymore, no more skinjobs or sleeping plates, caught up by the A.R.M., when Louis quits the droud, the only thing that saves him, a brilliant plotter, making choices, having free will (or not), Teela has to double-think her way, he’s the center of his own Ringworld (as an addict) then it flips, the addiction withdrawal was too easy, gorging on tree-of-life, that’s why sequels are a problem, really good writers use up their characters, that’s what makes The Postman Always Rings Twice so great, there aren’t endless sequels to great books, by the end of Moby Dick only one character is still alive, this whole book is retconning, here’s what’s wrong with the Ringworld!, that’s the game in Hard SF, the game he was playing was too big for him (Larry Niven), incorporating criticism, we were wrong about this…, this is a science heavy book, Prill was a liar, the spill mountains, the unclimbable rim mountains became volcanoes (kind of), how terrible this world is, the scrith covered place, we are very lucky to be on an actively-geological plant, we’re lucky to have metal, Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer, an asteroid crash that Mark Twain finds, it’s harder to boil things without metal, a ceramics and alcohol based high-technology, fiddling with the facts of the first book, Paul is more annoyed about the Teela brown transformation, Teela becomes both the hero and the villain kind of, maybe we should have read Protector first, the Pak and the Pak protectors, big science, World Of The Ptavvs, a recap of the premise of Protector, two main characters, unwanted and unexpected uplift, are there any women in there?, Protectors are sexless, talking about the sex in The Ringworld Engineers, rishathra, the Babylon 5 episode with rishathra, the two librarian Wendy and Peter, tell me about the mating practices, we make records (anthropological pornography), Jesse defends Larry Niven again, Wu the silent sexual ambassador, if Louis Wu was a female character…, where’s the same sex rishathra?, an obvious method of birth control, too much of that again, projecting what heterosexual males, I gotta get me a harem, mating uncontrollably, venereal disease is a real problem in our world, no mosquitoes, no venereal disease, the logic behind the sexual practices, the grass eaters, the cow and bull people, how cattle work, the sexual practices of wolves, the going on vacation thing, the terms the field scientists used: sneaky fuckers, another double-think, the lone guy in SF willing to do stuff with this, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, a real reproductive phenomenon, male pregnancy, sympathizing with everyone, males are easily replaced, they way we love our pets, the way he says females should be docile, the third sex of puppeteer, the way females are regarded, he’s a dude from the 1970s whose not trying to be sensitive, some books are male or female, more appealing to males, Niven is so good at thinking, the Wheels Within Wheels chapter, I’m saving this world, when Louis cuts up the hyperdrive, “Come, let us reason together” where is that line from?, the book of Isaiah, God talking to man, playing the god gambit, he turns the tables on the Hindmost, aye aye captain, the Bandersnatchi of Jinx is from Jabberwocky by Louis Carol, Wunderland, the Alice In Wonderland theme from Ringworld, the Peter Pan theme, Louis Wu is Peter Pan (the boy who will never grow up), following Louis out the window into Neverland (of the ship), The Man-Kzin Wars books, why is Speaker’s name Chmee, Smee, tag in the dark, Smee is the bosun to Captain Hook, that’s really clever, turning lead to fuel, the alchemy of the planet, a wild goose chase, the 5% 95% trick, it’s legit!, a strong sense of pathos, every character we’ve met on the Ringworld will die, would you kill everyone you’ve ever met to save 95% of the population?, empathizing with the sunflowers, is life for a year for everyone better?, it could be triple-think, talking about motivation, why do anything, what’s the point of anything, caring for the breeders, protecting her own vs. others, very interesting stuff, Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto, helicopter parenting, you can’t tell me my son’s grades are low, teacher motivation, knuckling under, lowering standards and grade inflation, the Business and Computer Science departments, everyone gets As, only Philosophy was holding out (when Jesse was at university), the mother protecting the young, the bear mother attacks threats to the cub, Free Range Kids, the perception of the threat level is higher, the craziness that happens when the mothering instinct is in charge, imagine Grandma with the powers of Rambo, why Teela is such a fearsome adversary (even when she’s playing to lose), the closest in any other science fiction is in the Banquet Scene in Dune, super-geniuses plotting how to murder each other, literally a role playing game style adventure, totally an RPG player move, where The Ringworld Role Playing Game came from, an nobody noticed he was talking into his hand, layers of fun, two poems,

I. The Book

The place was dark and dusty and half-lost
In tangles of old alleys near the quays,
Reeking of strange things brought in from the seas,
And with queer curls of fog that west winds tossed.
Small lozenge panes, obscured by smoke and frost,
Just shewed the books, in piles like twisted trees,
Rotting from floor to roof—congeries
Of crumbling elder lore at little cost.

I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heap
Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through,
Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.
Then, looking for some seller old in craft,
I could find nothing but a voice that laughed.

II. Pursuit

I held the book beneath my coat, at pains
To hide the thing from sight in such a place;
Hurrying through the ancient harbor lanes
With often-turning head and nervous pace.
Dull, furtive windows in old tottering brick
Peered at me oddly as I hastened by,
And thinking what they sheltered, I grew sick
For a redeeming glimpse of clean blue sky.

No one had seen me take the thing—but still
A blank laugh echoed in my whirling head,
And I could guess what nighted worlds of ill
Lurked in that volume I had coveted.
The way grew strange—the walls alike and madding—
And far behind me, unseen feet were padding.

the first two sonnets from the Fungi From Yuggoth sonnet cycle, some books of elder lore, the audiobook irony, the problems of not having an audiobook version, the connection between finding the old books that reveal the truth about the world (only the machine people know the secret), the cult of knowledge, the paperback cover of Protector, surrounded by ancient tomes, great books make you super-smart, hitting that hard, page 128,

Something leaped from the crest of the next hill over. Green light speared it in midair, and held while the thing flamed and died. So much for Chmeee’s spacesuit. But a flight of hand-sized missiles flew toward the base of the green laser beam. Half a dozen white flashes from behind the rise, and the snap! of lightning striking close, showed that Chmeee had succeeded in turning puppeteer-made batteries into bombs.
Teela was close, and she was using a laser. And if she was circling the pond, just beyond the crest… Louis adjusted his position.
Chmeee’s burnt suit had fallen too slowly. A protector would know it was empty. Cthulhu and Allah! How could anyone fight a lucky protector?

calling on one fictional god and one semi-fictional god, calling on other gods, this is Niven playing a game with us, I like this game, gender does really change peoples minds, seeds and fields to plant, that has consequences in thinking, what do men want?, if you look at history, Genghis had a huge harem, the practice of polygamy, viking practices, is it patriarchy, he’s working it out in this Ringworld scenario, providing grandmotherly wisdom and veteran warriors, a generic love, another plot going on, the Earth is great and Ringworld sucks, Ringworld is a Garden of Eden, all the predators are on one island too far away from the rest of the ringworld, this is the story of the Fall, what is the thing that turns you into a Protector and something hard, the tree-of life root, who do we need right now, climate change, we’re so busy pulling the world apart Bussard ramscoops, Ringworld Engineers as an analogy for Earth, we need some smart bad-ass, monstrous, Justin Trudeau’s not going to solve it and neither will Trump, somebody around here needs to eat some Tree-Of Life Root, there were two trees in Eden, the tree of immortality, longevity vs. fertility, banishment, the fall of the cities, the Puppeteers with their snaky heads did this, they have beautiful voices too, a retcon Paul could accept, interpolating,

The smell of tree-of-life was in Louis’s nose and in his brain. It was not like the wire. Current was sufficient unto itself an experience that demanded nothing further to make it perfect. The smell of tree-of-life was ecstasy, but it sparked a raging hunger. Louis knew what tree-of-life was now. It had glossy dark-green leaves and roots like a sweet potato, and it was all around him, and the taste — something in his brain remembered the taste of Paradise.

panspermia is bullshit, Chariots Of The Gods?, the plot of Battlestar Galactica, thallium oxide, the Bible is a true story … we’ve forgotten, damn that’s good!, still doing good work, adding another ring, who were the first people, the two librarians, they get on an Ark, was Teela one of Louis’ descendants? (dating the great great granddaughter), not Heinlein level incest, if you think incest in Science Fiction that’s Heinlein, male SF writers, set pieces, I love the vampires, undercutting Prill’s one skill, vampire perfume, everything on the map of Mars, they have a gas laser, the taboo against lasers went away, I love the ghouls, keeping it in the family, the ghouls are the secret rulers of the Ringworld, non-sentient male and female, free-will vs. choice, he’s sexy, pheromones for humans, animal free will vs. animal free will, insects that get killed in mating, we were all in that state at some point, all the ideas Niven is playing with, all those ridiculous RPG-like events (the sunflowers and the water condensers), looking for ways to create meaning, a really smart book (and also a trashy sequel), stealing stuff for RPGs, dreaming about protectors, one of Niven’s big ideas, where did all the protectors go?, a question for The Ringworld Throne, making a whole bunch of people soft, nature finds a way, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the hanging people are kind of like the moties, the audiobook narrator didn’t do the Puppeteer contralto, we miss Nessus, the Hindmost is a dick, the tree-of-life virus, where did they go?, Niven didn’t know (in this book), another kind of addiction, their booster spice or their current addiction, a symbiotic virus, who is running the show?, more than Human (or Pak), powerful ideas and powerful characters powerfully motivated, not a wholehearted endorsement.

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

1979 -1980 serialization of THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS by Larry Niven in Galileo

The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven illustrated by Jesse

Ringworld Engineers (Map)

Teela Brown, Louis Wu, Nessus, and Speaker To Animals

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #387 – READALONG: Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #387 – Jesse, Paul, and Julie Davis talk about Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein.

Talked about on today’s show:
Astounding Science Fiction, February, March, April 1956, Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini, making connections, good job, 100% first person, mistaken shallow perception -> deeper understanding, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the LibriVox audiobook levelated and made beautiful, humour, light, twitter conversation “bland” vs. “light”, bubbles along, swashbuckler, Heinlein is that you?, this is a book about politics, here are all the political systems, making fun of Heinlein is very easy, bullheaded, popular quotes, one character sitting in a room and another character walks in and says “no”, refusing, listen to me young man I am the old man and I know best, Heinlein’s negotiation tactic is brinkmanship, it’s not your turn, more about politics and racism and perception (than SF), I think my father would be proud that my life is a work of art, from Lorenzo Smythe’s POV, a failed actor, not a loser, penniless, working as a stripper, the illustrations from the serialization, this is not in the book, non-info-dump info-dumps, Coriolis vs. Coriolanus, narrator Lloyd James, in the voice of Bonforte, a better person or politician than Bonforte, remember Bill, a bunch of people talking on a spaceship, not a juvenile, Hitler, Satan, assuming the attributes of divinity, a politically astute novel, Heinlein’s earlier jobs, owning a silver mine, running for political office, being in the room, libertarian, California state assembly 1948, no prizes for second place in politics, an British parliamentary system, William King Of The Dutch and Emperor of The Earth, Queen Elizabeth II (former Empress), head of state vs. head of government, when you go to visit Lincoln, Lincoln is a God in the temple, larger than life, a Greek temple, The Simpsons, political corruption, the Jefferson memorial, you went to Lincoln first!, understanding why the book is resonant, the emperor of Known Space likes playing with trains, meeting the Queen, no statue for John Major, 100 units in pocket, politics as a team sport vs. saviors, taking care of the day-to-day crap, Primary Colors (1998), John Hightower, I take that on so you can get something done, taking on the mantle of the President, there’s no special charm to Prime Ministers (usually), confidence votes, the show must go on, “always take sides”, the “poltroons”, a second look, the title, human = martian, equality for all, doubling, Lorenzo Smythe = Lawrence Smith, an instinctual hate of the aliens, squiggly arms, hating aliens is racism, the aliens are just Texans, the life wand, induction into the Martian clan, introduction at William’s court, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture on Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, the TV Tropes entry on Double Star, orange morality and blue morality, wise man and straw man, showing up late, a cycle humans keep falling into, a 1970 Double Star cover, a modern art prize (2000 Turner Prize) controversy, Stuckists and Sad Puppies, scale matters (?), Marcel Duchamp, “artist”, Fountain, ponies?, movements for and against, Paul’s biased POV, taking umbrage, Rabid Puppies, SF is overrun with leftists (?), “no award”, like every awards thing, TOR Books, inclusionary authors, Larry Correia’s books, U.S. elections, trying to destroy the system, SJW = social justice warrior, what’s fundamentally interesting about Double Star is that we’re in on a massive fraud to subvert democracy, Humans First, for Jefferson’s sake, takes the facts the same story from the other side: a response book, I don’t want people walking around with open carry for their “life wands”, no guns allowed signs in Texas churches, The Good Wife, the Hillary Clinton – Bill Clinton story, telling lies in public, seeing politics from up close and personal, The West Wing, Dave (1993), a little humour there, “sick”, the wife, a little bit inverted, interesting parallels, taking the role and making it better, he’s better at Bonforte than Bonforte was, to be an actor you have to be every man, I’d like Jack the Ripper, an unreliable narrator, the theatrical way he describes himself, he thinks it’s all true, hyperbolized in some ways, acting with a burst appendix, biology can be conquered by will, ripping off the novel/plot, Moon Over Parador (1988), The Magnificent Fraud (1939), we are rooting for the hero, who is ripping off who?, it depends on what you do with it, To Be Or Not To Be (1942), To Be Or Not To Be (1983), the new Ben Hur, going by Hugos or awards or contests, Connie Willis, the Oscars, Guardians Of The Galaxy, two CG characters and it doesn’t suck?, being burned by award winners, Theeb, a disillusioning moment, boycotting and protesting, N. K. Jemisin, a Heinlein letter, race relations, the lucky ones were the ones that were enslaved, the inciting incident, Heinlein was the most liberal of SF writers, more left than Wells, a Missouri dude who was always into pushing fellow humans, “huh, he’s Filipino”, “he’s not even American!”, Heinlein’s always pushing talking heads that turn out to be diverse, Farnham’s Freehold, time travel, Blacks have taken over the world, castrating the son, cannibals, a less PC version of Planet Of The Apes, the Pierre Boulle book is a comedy (satire), Pierre Boulle, the ending of the Planet Of The Apes is a comedy, sexism, Charlton Heston in the Civil Rights movement, for both martians and men, making peace amongst all, here’s my problem, get in the system, The Fifth Season, where’s the idea?, where’s the idea?, Cory Doctorow does Heinlein in Little Brother, paint by numbers, Robert J. Sawyer, that shows the diversity you find in Toronto, the magic system is based on the manipulation of earth (geological) forces, it’s anti-racist, it’s important to be seeing doing it, more Bonforte than Bonforte, more Heinlein than Heinlein, the one female character, Heinlein doesn’t understand women, criticizing Dickens, he’s terrible at writing other humans, his villains are stick-figures, the old man, the young looking older woman, and the young narrator who has to be taught, transcending limitations, he’s bad at women who aren’t from the 1940s, violence towards women was an everyday thing, assault with violence, not that I laid a finger on her, proper and sensible hitting, the way people talked back then, from the wife-beating 1950s, acting like this guy, no no no no no, totally unrealistic, a six hour book, SFFworld.com, Double Star was written in three weeks, creep in.

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #367 – READALONG: The Prince And the Pauper by Mark Twain

May 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #367 – Jesse, Julie Davis, and Maissa talk about The Prince And the Pauper by Mark Twain.

Talked about on today’s show:
1881, 1882, Julie’s Mark Twain obsession, realistic fiction, children’s literature, reading with teenagers, old books teach you their vocabulary, quasi-historical fiction, Tom Sawyer, something classier, Sir Walter Scott, like Dickens-lite, sooo Dickens!, Huckleberry Finn, young people of all ages, anything public domain was marketed for children, appealing to children, sympathetic characters, lacking wry cynicism, less biting, he’s an anglophile, making points, how do we treat people, trading places, The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, the progress of an author, everybody knows the story, enters the popular culture like a fable, a meta-issue, where’s the science fiction and the fantasy?, Jesse’s thinking, The Prisoner Of Zenda, Ruritania, inspired by, precursors, an immediate classic, that Ringo (1974) movie, Carrie Fisher, that Monty Python thing, so much fun, and his talentless half brother, Vincent Price, John Ritter, chock-full of fun, The Man In The Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, this phenomenon, replacing the king, Citizen Of The Galaxy, the influence of Twain is in SF, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, the Wishbone adaptation, way down into the culture, Dave (with Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver), Moon Over Parador with Richard Dreyfuss, in that continuum, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, research and divergence, footnotes, Edward, Lady Jane Gray, Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror, parrallel worlds, Freaky Friday, so many avenues, Big with Tom Hanks, swapped identity, genre defining, what it says on the tin, parody versions, The Monkees, 25 minutes of ridiculous, The Monkees a fake version of The Beatles, Twain’s Joan Of Arc book, incredibly well plotted, dreaming the life of a king, Tom is the king of Offal Court, crazy, King of the Gamecocks and King Foofoo, Miles Hendon’s story is parallel to Prince Edward’s plot, it goes really deep, Tom’s two sisters, Nan and Bess, Mary and Elizabeth, everybody gets to be king or queen for a day, queen for nine days, Mary’s short reign, Elizabeth’s long reign, a lot of pain and torture and unjust punishment and superstition, the psychological irony, every king should live by the laws of his subjects, the Blue Laws, pardonings, wise judgement, chapter 22/23, not a joke book, situational humour, doing the Robin Hood thing, the Ruffler, a beggar who refuses to beg, threatening the tinker with a soldering iron, a thief who won’t steal, putting a clime on him, a cant term for an ulcer, a slatternly woman and a diseased baby on the side of the road, an here’s the recipe, the mother daughter witches, witchcraft, the wisdom of Solomon from the mouths of babes, foolishly wise, native common sense, hath it always this dread effect?, a parallel scene, when Edward is in gaol as Tom, the crime of being Baptists, who burned?, burned at the stake, Tom had watched a procession, crisp flesh, some gruesome stuff, not a satire, straightforward historical (romanticized), Errol Flynn as Miles Hendon in the 1937 movie, the Oliver Reed movie adaptation (1977), tainted by Ringo, too heavy, Ernest Borgnine, Rachel Welch, interchangeable beauty, you monster!, he’s Errol Flynn-ing it all over the place, a heavy focus on the Miles story, Charlton Heston as Henry VIII, he was every historical male figure, all the time travelers form the 1970s movies, Miles’ brother is sent to the American colonies and becomes a politician, making it more satirical, the 1977 adaptation is very faithful to the novel, comedy, Edith, the children’s hospital, when Twain visited Europe he bought a lot of books, after his ordeal, teachings out of books, The Merchant Of Venice, reading the classics, I’ll make a classic tale, as if it has been with us forever, absolutely historical fiction and yet…, a Disney version, a timeless story, remember the humanity of the people around us, applying your humanity, anchor in reality, the kids, forgoing the crazy laws, I’m going to honor children always, meta-stuff, a short reign, the romantic relationship, she spurns Tom and marries a rich old Earl, Romeo And Juliet, twin brother from another mother, Ivanhoe, close enough, about as far away from SFF as Jesse will go, Moby Dick, Wrath Of Khan, William Shatner is the white whale, Patrick Stewart, the whipping boy, “to cheapen miracles by wasteful repetition”, he’s going places, what do you do with your time?, the Prince’s eyes flashed, speak on, we wade and swim in the canals, reality was so dreary, be careful what you wish for, the grass is always greener, delicious irony, adults child relationships, Mark Twain’s relationship with Dorothy Quick, on a trans-Atlantic crossing, a Disney movie about their relationship, Dorothy Quick was a Weird Tales poet, a New York Times obituary for March 16th, 1962:

DOROTHY QUICK, POET AND AUTHOR
Mystery Writer Dies – Was Friend of Mark Twain

Mrs. Dorothy Quick Mayer of 880 Park Avenue and East Hampton, L.I., a writer who treasured a childhood friendship with Mark Twain, died yesterday at her home here after a long illness.

Miss Quick was a girl of 11 in 1907 when she met the famous author on an Atlantic crossing. She was returning to Plainfield, N.J., from Europe with her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Quick.

Recognizing Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) by his wavy hair and white suit, she walked around and around the deck, passing very slowly by his chair each time, until he finally came over and introduced himself.

“It was the beginning of a friendship that was to last until the very day of his death,” [1910] she recalled in 1954.

After the voyage she received a telegram from Twain asking whether she would prefer as a birthday present “one elephant or 10,000 monkeys.” She replied that she would prefer his books – which he sent her, along with a tiny white elephant.

Her memories of Mark Twain were published last year by the University of Oklahoma Press under the title “Enchantment.”

Miss Quick was married in 1925 to John Adams Mayer, who died in 1940. She continued to write under her maiden name. Her collected poems were published by the University Press, Washington. She also wrote mystery stories and contributed a weekly column for many years to newspapers in East Hampton and Riverhead, L.I.

Since 1960 Miss Quick had been honorary president of the Mark Twain Association of New York. Her other literary memberships included the P.E.N. Club, Pen and Brush, the National League of American Penwomen, the Brooklyn Poetry Circle, Women Poets of New York, and the Society of Composers, Artists and Authors.

over-sexualizing everything, Jack London and H.G. Wells, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, a persuasive fan letter, Poe and Dickens had a private lunch, my pet raven, the end of Barnaby Rudge, a can of leaded paint, Poe had been struggling with a particular poem: The Raven, Dickens is the epitome of success, his reviews, there’s a reason why, put that in, worth a reread!

Mark Twain and Dorothy Quick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #366 – AUDIOBOOK: The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain

April 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #366 – The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, read by John Greenman.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 hours 50 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. The Prince And The Pauper was first published in 1881.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain - illustration by Charles Beck

Posted by Jesse Willis

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