The SFFaudio Podcast #655 – Gulliver Of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold; read by James Christoper. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (6 hours 6 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada
Talked about on today’s show:
Lieut. Gulliver Jones: His Vacation, Richard Lupoff, this is amazing!, I’m going to change the name, the spelling on Gullivar vs. Gulliver, this modern decadent age, Gulliver’s Travels, more subtle, Lieut. Jones Of Mars, the author is not American, Edwin Lester Arnold, subtitled His Vacation, he’s vacated his premises and he’s nowhere to be found, listened twice, Jesse’s not a re-reader, read and listened, looking at the etext, listening is reading (tho not identical), reading with your fingers, reading with your eyes, reading with your ears, reading aloud, what colour is sorrel, a reddish horse colour, did you have a chance to look at the comics?, Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars, horror, westerns, kung-fu comics, Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, the barbarians push, Conan The Barbarian, Savage Sword Of Conan, now is the time when we do barbarians, Thongor, Thundaar, Crom the Barbarian, John Carter, DC/Marvel, Roy Thomas, competition for DC’s Edgar Rice Burroughs, American military officers on Mars saving princesses (or semi-saving princesses), the magic carpet becomes a floating disc, Lupov is a magic wizard, an inside joke, chestnut coloured, a green vegetable, the comic book adaptation, Jesse was lied to, not a rival for A Princess Of Mars, a well meaning bumbling doofus, he bumbles his way across the planet, open to a sequel, sequel possibilities, The Prisoner Of Zenda, John Carter (2012), The Pursuit OF The Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein, The Number Of The Beast, a queen dowager, basically around Barsoom, adventures on Mars for fun, low stakes, influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs, set on Mars, Planet Stories, 1905, 1911, having it set on Mars, Dynamite Comics crossover between Edgar Rice Burroughs and Gulliver Of Mars, the two Marses, the White Apes, the Tharks, the Red People, laying eggs, an alien planet, they seem to have pigs and horses, identical to Earth, disappointing, Earth analogue, She by H. Rider Haggard, the book within the book: The Secrets Of The Gods, first they came to Earth as Isis and Amon, populating these planets, Stargate, Paul fell into Jesse’s trap, how did you like this book, Maissa kinda liked it, a mishmash, Arabian Knights, a magic carpet, adventure to adventure, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, it didn’t feel science fictiony, similar to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, it was ok, it entertained Paul for 6 hours, the mundanity of Mars, a missed opportunity, he doesn’t know about the two moons, a comet that gives off heat and causes a drought, the hurtling moons in the sky, a sword over his head and two moons, super-naked, Mars is hot!, deserty tropical weather, Paul is more wrong and Maissa is wrong too, super-duper interesting, a satire, what is it a satire of?, chapter 2, this is not Mars of Barsoom, much more like H.G. Wells, the boy who he lands on, Ahn, takes him like a cigar and plunks him down on Mars, bounced onto a boy giving a lecture on gravity, they tumble down a hill together, that lecture’s over, they explore the society, she’s a priestess, a slave and a girl, the hither and the thither societies, this guy’s a doofus, weird situations, what is Jesse missing, how many flowers show up in the story, convolvulus (bindweed), his very antipode, Princess Heru, pulling a blue convolvulus bud to pieces, the language of flowers, most flowers have other names, the colours of flowers, marriage bonds, a golden pool and a silver fish, a scene as good as any in A Princess Of Mars, which implies delight to these people, he’s just a dumb strong American, fairly honest and very hungry, the drawer, these peace soaked triflers, slowly pulling a convolvulus bud to pieces, what things look like, to see the decadent ruined empire that is the hither people, endless food and no need to work, taking tribute, the story of Athens and Crete and the Minotaur, the Theseus story, a railroad kind of role playing game, find the key to unlock the door, an azure convolvulus flower, some barbarous and barren district (the United States), growing their boats, a repeated theme, the gentle damsel, damsel flies, pallid flowers, blazing like a bonfire, the heiress was swept aside, dragging Heru with them, her milk white arms, her face as lovely as a convolvulus flower, all was piece hear, the sky a lovely lavender, heavy scented convolvulus flowers, a skiff with a half dozen rowers, unconscious loveliness, tiny little detailed threads, he’s making fun of something, its definitely making fun of or engaging with The Time Machines, the Eloks and the Morloi (Eloi and Morlocks), Paul has read The Time Machine, Stephen Baxter’s authorized sequel, the official manga version of Anne Of Green Gables, she’s huge in Japan, normal time travel stories, most are to the past, the very first place he goes to is a future England the workers of the UK have turned into the Morlocks, mechanism vs. poetry, their entire world is a garden they don’t know how to take care of, the Morlocks tend them like sheep, the underclass now physically eat the upper class, those who went to university and studied poetry and their brains grew smaller, making dynamos and fixing trains, the slaves and the regular people, the slaves have no slave-masters, the priestesses of immaculate conception of humanity, the guardians of the great hopes and longings, triflers, dominoes coming down, evolution going backwards, their society became slothful, popular at the turn of the 20th century, the United States is Gulliver Jones, he’s a sailor, the water, he has to chase him down and wrestling him to the ground, he learned wrestling from the Chinese, he pulls out his sword and plants it in the ground and claims it for the United States, John Carter is not satire, going in the wrong direction thinking its an allegory for something, told from the point of view of a Brit, this up and comer, an ancient society with castles and palaces and tonnes of resources, they don’t have money, the marriage ceremony was fascinating as an idea, the hither people know money exists, the Canadian health care, wait in line for 3-4 5-6 hours, we are aware that things cost money but it doesn’t hurt us in the same way, see this as a non-currency society, plagued for endless ads for drugs, its insane in the United States, they have an economy they have to worry about, a terrible useless king has to give tribute to the thither people, the hairy barbarians, one female, we’re going to beat you about the head, Gulliver spends the majority of the story in barbarian lands, he meets a woodcutter who wants to fight him, they keep thinking he’s a ghost, we’re missing something huge going on in this book, a graduate thesis that would pay off in incredible dividends, a lot of girls, I have to ask you a personal question: be you a dude or be you not a dude?, nice to meet you, he loses everybody, a lady on an island, she’s cooking food in a pot, he drinks the entire stew, he at her fish, where they’re growing boats, imagine you’re a hunter gatherer in South America and plucked you into 1840s UK, wow, I’m a fish out of water, these gourd plants to make some navies, he’s a dumb sailor, what the implications, food grow without weeds, boats decanted from moulds, they’re all my boat, rideshares in the Netherlands, he’s trying to pay for everything with his buttons, it could be gold, the most interesting thing that happened to me, another guy just like me from the blue planet, he can barely get two words out a week and he’s all wispy, super-rich, almost none of it is science ficiton, picaresque bildungsroman, Jack Vance, Planet Of Adventure, suppressed by all others, one of the similarities, the palace library, a book being used as a mousetrap, given the gift of speech, he doesn’t have the gift of reading, all really awesome, straight out of the Bible, so boring, the breakfast gong sounds, let’s read more, key to understanding what reality is vs. breakfast, abusing an ancient tome, a baby or a puppy with a Gutenberg bible, heir to an ancient empire, the yellow dressed slaves, a brass bikini and yellow skin, not a good fit with Barsoom and John Carter, a satire like Gulliver’s Travels, the description of the carpet, the veil that separates the known from the unknown was rent, reviews behind paywalls, Evert Bleiler, Science Fiction The Early Years, 1990, science fantasy, interplanetary romance, a sea-dog, Polly Brown, a stange old man, a carpet with a sense of hummour, a simulacrum of a star map, a Schiaparellian Mars, telepathy, my teacher said the same thing, a romance with the Princess Heru, rigs the drawing, engaged for a year, King Hath, the tributary arrangement with the woodmen, the most beautiful woman with the court, the city of Seth, too drunk, the meat of the book, various perils, entombed in ice, he loots her remains too, he’s a bad guy, pretending to be a spirit, two tasks, his previous grave-robbing, Jones’ lust sated, taken by the slaves, the magic carpet transports him back to New York, promoted, off on a colossal bender, deflecting javelins by the power of will, Egypt, a trivial worked, badly planned, badly written, not proven, The Encyclopedia Of Fantasy, 1997, the common influence of Haggard’s She, not really trying, he tries, playful, philosophical devices as props, restlessness dissatisfaction, rein, The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician, an unsuccessful farmer in Canada, a TV show adaptation, trivial, badly planned, badly written, the land of the dead, he keeps encountering females, he sees a princess on a raft, she falls on him, she’s dead, attacked by corpses, frozen people, a glacier of dead people, the baubles that come off the fingers, his rooming house, his land lady, steak and red tomatoes the colour of sunset, he eats a lot, missing buttons, his pants slid down a mountainside, I’ve been promoted, a good candidate, write the story don’t focus too much on the girl, a number of meta-peices, this book would not be in your hands picked up from a Broadway bookstall, worthy of another read, a map of the planet, conflating trivial vs. fun, its not Moby-Dick, Gulliver’s Travels is fun and not trivial, the marriage stuff, I don’t mind reading about Mary Sue characters, Mary Sutopias, other ideas on how to live, feudalism,
I am less bothered by Mary Sue characters than I am by stories set in Marysutopia. A lot of classic SF suffers from that. Authors created societies in which their own personal preferences became the social norms.
Heinlein’s like maybe we could have weird kinds of marriage, how weird it would be to have marriage shuffled like that every year, post-apocalyptic, memory wiped every four years, an idea book, the gourd boat seeds, he got a tour, I picked up the seeds that the lady showed me, he keeps looking in his pockets, his belt pouch, finds the tailors’ bills, the pips of an orange that Polly had thrown at him, a hopeless romantic, how’s the economy work?, how do family and raising kids work, look young until they grow old and suddenly die, mentally a child, super-powers, it has got to be satire, deeper than most seem to want to credit as middling adventure romp, another whole book, trying to turn it into, with a six-shooter, he has a sword but he doesn’t hit people with it much, Jack Burton in Big Trouble In Little China (1986), one of the best movies ever made, orientalist, Kurt Russell, he thinks he’s the hero, the movie acts like he’s the hero but he’s the comic sidekick, David Lo Pan, misunderstanding what the movie is doing, he arrives on a magic carpet, who was the guy?, the carpet and the locket, it went nowhere, it went into his pocket, he could have another adventure, Gulliver on Venus, Gulliver on Ganymede, bumble through more things, why you have to read Gulliver’s Travels, shownoting something from 6 months ago, the horse people, Planet Of The Apes, all he wants to do is spend time taking care of his horse, watching the horrible things happening on the news, you can really rely on your garden, utter contempt for humans, admiring the horses so much, the GULLIVER’S TRAVELS miniseries (1996), Silverlock by John Myers Myers, a ken doll for rich lady giants, placed between their breasts, savage takedown, how did this get on the schedule?, too much of a lead time?, even if Paul listened 6 months later, they’re already on they’re next writing, let me tell you about the book I’m reading now, what we were thinking 6 months ago, laughing or crying at jokes, what things were like 6 months ago, what things were like in 1905, oh professors of later day, so much per unit, an audiobook for this bike journey, back to electric cars, he tries to pay her for the inflation, a babelfish equivalent, huge mistake, everybody had clothing on (fucking stupid), number 1 mistkae: Dejah Thoris had clothes on, Disney Princesses, clothes for the ken doll of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, when he goes swimming he takes off his uniform, he’s drowning!, even ghosts want to kill themselves, a huge meal of elk, deer, and something very much like salmon, I had to go save a princess on another planet with a magic carpet, telepathy and simplicity, Sola is a slave like Ahn is a slave, minor mind powers, the warring groups, the books are so different, apples and potatoes, Creatures On The Loose, he’s a Vietnam vet!, a former marine instead of a sailor, a snarky attitude, he actually says he was a soldier prior to being a sailor, up for promotion, his folly, a terrible mission, maybe more important than we know, audio of Phra The Phoenician?, yay! suspended animation!