The SFFaudio Podcast #113

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #113 – Jesse and Eric S. Rabkin talk about Stupidity and Intelligence in Science Fiction (and Fantasy).

Talked about on today’s show:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse, Fantasia, Christopher Marlowe‘s The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Brothers Grimm Clever Hans (the fairy tale), Clever Hans (the horse), War With The Newts by Karel Čapek, Excerpt from (Book Two – Up the Ladder of Civilisation), trephination, “there are some things man was not meant to know”, evil science and evil scientists, R.U.R., Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is an egotist whereas the creature wants community, Chapter 11 of Frankenstein, intellect vs. empathy, “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of knowledge which I sought.”, the ideology of intelligence is suspect, Gulliver’s Travels, Laputa, philosophers, The Clouds by Aristophanes, “head in the clouds”, BBC Radio dramatization of Lysistrata, The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, “the big bang”, telepathy, Gregg Margarite, “Genius in not a biological phenomenon.”, “stupid people can have smart babies and smart people can have stupid babies”, eugenics, sterilization programs, “we know so little about what we mean by intelligence”, “we breed against the outliers”, “If I see further than others it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”, Sir Isaac Newton, Newton vs. Leibniz, Darwin vs. Wallace vs. Darwin’s grandfather, Robert A. Heinlein, “steam engine time”, Columbus and the egg, humans (persons) can compound our intelligence, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Charly, “we shouldn’t define humanity by our intelligence”, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, flowers from Weena, “fundamental humanity has to do with emotion and not intelligence”, He, She and It by Marge Piercy, programming a robot with stories, Yod is a robot-like golem, “it was immoral to create a conscious weapon”, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Eric is the world’s least reliable critic of The Doomsday Book, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, philosophy of science, the meaning of weapon, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, tool vs. weapon, “we have one mad scientist after another”, Gojira!, Ozymandias, Watchmen, Understand by Ted Chiang, “talking to babies”, “if everyone in the world around you is an idiot…what kind of relationship can you have with the world”, His Masters Voice by Stanisław Lem, Hogarth is an incredibly intelligence person, Edgar Allan Poe, Audible Frontier’s Solaris: The Definite Edition, The Futurological Congress, Isaac Asimov, Eric puts on his professorial hat, nous, the etymology of the word “intelligence”, Asimov reads between the lines for you, the etymology of the word “stupid”, what’s with the word “sentient” in Science Fiction?, Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, ansible, “sentience is the bag that we put all our coding for equally human”, was Larry Niven the prime promulgator of the SF version of “sentience”?, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, “words are a map on the world”, The Time Machine, evolution and the clash of the classes, Wells respects the intelligence of his readers, Morlocks vs. Eloi, the King James version of the Bible, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani“, Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories, “whizz bang sensofwunda”, The New Accelerator by H.G. Wells, “the warp drive is not important”, “the ansible is not important”, “we are all time travelers”, “in Wells’ greatest works he leaves some part of the story open”, “but whether this was a reprieve for us or them only time will tell”, Experiment In Autobiography by H.G. Wells, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain”, Friedrich Schiller, reporters became cynical now they just go see what’s happening on Facebook, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth is public domain, much of Kornbluth is PD because he died so young, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, Idiocracy, stupid people have lots of (stupid) babies (?), what’s wrong with The Marching Morons?, PLENTY!, “The Marching Chinese”, Thomas Robert Malthus, eugenics and dysgenics, what ties do genetics and intelligence have?, a very high fraction of American presidents have been left handed, immigrant groups produce terrific comedians, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, storing up ideas for my “word hoard”.

The Marching Chinese

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #103

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #103 – Scott, Jesse, Eric S. Rabkin and Luke Burrage talk about FOOD in Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is rather unpleasantly like being drunk.

Talked about on today’s show:
Luke’s got a twelve hour hunger, fairy tales, Fantasy, food sharing is coming to know the alien, what food is served in a Canadian restaurant?, Kwakiutl vs. Kwakwaka’wakw, pemmican, voyageurs, THE YELLOW PERIL podcast (The SFFaudio Podcast #051), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s creation was a vegetarian, Paradise Lost, Genesis, Cain vs. Abel, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, the three stages of eating: veggies -> meat -> people, aliens, crazy vs. odd, inedia (fasting), breatharianism, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, inspired by spirits, Neuromancer, communion, puns, Foods of the Gods: Eating And The Eaten In Fantasy And Science Fiction (Proceedings Of The J. Lloyd Eaton Conference On Science Fiction And Fantasy Lite) edited by Eric S. Rabkin, Gary Westfahl and George Edgar Slusser, more puns, The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem, consuming books, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Michael Kandel, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, evolution and food, food in pill form, Tang, Firefly, Science Fiction: prediction of the future vs. sign of the future, jetpacks, capsulized food is symbolic, lembas is super-power bread, energy drinks, food as a representation of our relationships with our bodies, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, yet more puns, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, food and pretty dresses, baking and bread have deep roots, Voyage To The Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac, no one ever sees a baker eating, food imagery, the centrality of bread in SFF only matches that of religion, the bread yes – the blood no, Osiris, Egypt, Greece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, List of races and species in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the babel fish, “it’s not the babel worm”, fish as a symbol, Pythagoras, professor smackdown, Tower Of Babel, food and sexuality, urban romance, Eat Prey Love, “man does not live by bread alone” vs. “forbidden fruit”, bread as technology, breadfruit, the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge vs. the tree of immortality vs. the rubber tree, Trantor, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Coruscant, Star Wars, Sam Parkhill, The Off Season by Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles, the best hot dog stand on Mars, The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, the national food of America is the hot dog, the hot dog is the symbol of America, Manhattan, “hot dog stands all the way down”, meat paste, man as food, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Alien, The Logic Of Fantasy by John Huntington, cannibalism, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch, The Screwfly Solution by James Triptree Jr., Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, further punning, vat grown meat, breeding animals to be less intelligent, a very meaty topic, Caviar by Theodore Sturgeon, vegetarianism, Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton, Luke is on the wrong side of meat history, being as unnatural as possible is what makes us human, a continuing journey towards humanity (marching on our stomachs?), social animals, mothers make food for you – witches make food of you, choosing not to eat meat vs. choosing to be monogamous, dolphin eating habits (are they porpoiseful eaters?), eating dolphin is out of line (for Luke), exploring the possibilities of empathy, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, empathy vs. compassion, Technovelgy.com’s entry on food, an overly inclusive notion of what constitutes invention, CBC Spark, visiscreens and visiplates, Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, Technovelgy needs more wiki, Wikipedia is endlessly useful, automated restaurant, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, food has functions beyond just sustaining our bodies, George Birdseye, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, coffee, sharing meals via Skype.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Mrs. Shelley by Lucy Madox Rossetti (a biography of Mary Shelley)

SFFaudio Online Audio

I cannot wholeheartedly recommend you listen to this biography of Mary Shelley. There’s far too much surmising and a great deal too much imagining what Mary Shelley’s life was like for my taste. And while it’s true that we probably know a great deal more about Mary Shelley’s life now, than her biographer knew at the time of the writing, Mrs. Shelley feels as if it was written as a writing assignment, rather than a work of keen interest. Further, the author, Lucy Madox Rossetti, takes it upon herself to do a kind of literary criticism of Shelley’s fiction in the biography! I find it rather catty, and given even my limited understanding of the subject (Mary Shelley), I suspect Rossetti it is badly informed. Take this bit, written about Shelley’s The Last Man, as a for instance:

To give an adequate idea of genius with all its charm, and yet with its human imperfections, was beyond Mary’s power. Adrian, the son of kings, the aristocratic republican, is the weakest part, and one cannot help being struck by Mary Shelley’s preference for the aristocrat over the plebeian. In fact, Mary’s idea of a republic still needed kings’ sons by their good manners to grace it, while, at the same time, the king’s son had to be transmuted into an ideal Shelley. This strange confusion of ideas allowed for, and the fact that over half a century of perhaps the earth’s most rapid period of progress has passed, the imaginative qualities are still remarkable in Mary. Balloons, then dreamed of, were attained; but naturally the steam-engine and other wonders of science, now achieved, were unknown to Mary. When the plague breaks out she has scope for her fancy, and she certainly adds vivid pictures of horror and pathos to a subject which has been handled by masters of thought at different periods.

It’s writing like that makes you wonder why she bothered writing the book at all. And Lucy Madox Rossetti is just plain wrong about some of it. Thomas Newcomen, the father of the atmospheric engine (steam-engine) created his apparatus almost a century before Mary Shelley was even born.

One saving grace, if this audiobook has one, are the capsule synopses of Shelley’s many novels and stories. They are actually rather handy!

But, to the biography, the fact remains this is the only public domain biography of Mary Shelley yet available on LibriVox. Until a better one appears we will have to make do with…

LibriVoxMrs. Shelley
By Lucy Madox Rossetti; Read by various
29 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 13, 2010
Mrs. Shelley is a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley, author of Frankenstein and other works, wife of Percy Shelley, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin who penned The Vindication of the Rights of Women, and daughter of William Godwin, a philosopher and novelist. The life of this woman, who at nineteen wrote a story that has become a part of everyday culture, is its own story to tell. The author, Lucy Madox Brown Rossetti, was the daughter of the artist Ford Madox Brown and the wife of William Michael Rossetti of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4231

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Amy Gramour, [email protected], Andreia, teanah and J.M. Smallheer]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Media: FREE AUDIOBOOK: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, as read by Simon Vance

SFFaudio Online Audio

Tantor MediaTantor Media, one of the coolest of the big audiobook companies, is offering a FREE MP3 DOWLOAD, complete and unabridged, of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus. It’s read by the excellent Simon Vance!

Details are as follows:

“The free download is for personal use only and is not for commercial distribution. Limit one download per customer. Offer ends 10/31/2010.”

As with last time, this might take a little hoop jumping. I had a lot of difficulty getting access to my account. After going through the recovery process, to reset my password, I found I couldn’t enter my name in the “Full Name” field. So, I used another email address and made a new account. That solved it!

TANTOR MEDIA - Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus by Mary ShelleyFrankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus
By Mary Shelley; Read by Simon Vance
DOWNLOAD – Approx. 8 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 2008
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering “the cause of generation and life” and “bestowing animation upon lifeless matter,” Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts. However, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein. Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? And how far can we go in tampering with Nature?

Tantor Halloween 2010 - FREE Mary Shelley's Frankenstein AUDIOBOOK

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #077 – READALONG: Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #077 – Jesse talks with Julie Davis and audiobook narrator Wayne June about Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.

Talked about on today’s show:
AudiobookCase.com, Fred Godsmark, Audio Realms, Wayne June is “naturally creepy”, narrating audiobooks is hard work, how do you read to people?, word pronunciation and Lovecraft’s invented language, I, Cthulhu by Neil Gaiman, Gaiman is a modern master, The Rats In The Walls by H.P. Lovecraft |READ OUR REVIEW|, devolving and retro-volving and retro-retrogression, “it’s a sentence but what does it mean?”, H. Beam Piper, reading for the ear, reading aloud is a juggling act, physical copies of audiobooks vs. downloads, The Essential Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde: The Definitive Annotated Edition edited Leonard Wolf, Kevin J. Anderson on Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, as a parable for addiction, the temperance movement, religion, “an almost theological work [or treatise]”, “the war in the members”, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde as an homunculus, Mr. Utterson, Cain’s heresy: “I am not my brother’s keeper.”, Dickensian writing, Charles Dickens and Henry James, how evil is Mr. Hyde?, what about those vague debaucheries?, the Greek origin of the word “obscene”, Lovecraft’s indescribably unspeakable prose, The Statement Of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft, The Thing From Another World, Michael Caine and Cheryl Ladd version of Jekyll & Hyde, The Story Of The Door, the difference between doing good and not doing evil, evil as being self-centered (and prideful), natural selection vs. evolution, ladders vs. branches, progression vs. change, evolution vs. free will, the notoriously optimistic Victorians, Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Hulk and Two-Face, Brad Strickland on Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Marxist and feminist critiques, BBC Radio 4 radio drama version of Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, Let The Right One In (movie) vs. Let The Right One In (book), Poole (the butler), Inspector Newcomen, Jekyll (Je-Kill, I-Kill, Jackal), Forrest J. Ackerman‘s real middle name, Geek-ill, Edinburgh, Soho, a “fine bogey dream”, cocaine usage in the 19th century, Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell, Jayne Slayre (The Literary Classic…with a Bloodsucking Twist) by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin, Assam And Darjeeling by T.M. Camp |READ OUR REVIEW|, zombies and vampires, The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer |READ OUR REVIEW|, mindless sexualized creatures, if you were an urban fantasy author what would you bring together and what would your urban fantasy name be?, the science of lycanthropy vs. the science of zombification, airships, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Jim Butcher, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, parallel worlds, proto-urban fantasy, Territory by Emma Bull, The Castle In Transylvania by Jules Verne, Melville House books, translated by Charlotte Mandel, can you do a Transylvanian accent?, Amy H. Sturgis, calling Jules Verne a Science Fiction writer is probably inaccurate, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg is the most English of all Englishmen, The Vampyre by John William Polidori, Ken Rusell’s Gothic, Switzerland, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe, the strange case of Strange Case, “it’s full of Octobery goodness.”

Airmont - Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Classics Illustrated - Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Dr. Jekyl And Mr. Hyde - Chapter 9 - The Transformation In Dr. Lanyon's Office - illustration by William Hole

The Twilight Zone 14 - Robert Louis Stevenson

Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Posted by Jesse Willis

AudiobookSync.com: 18 FREE Audiobooks (2 per week over the summer)

SFFaudio Online Audio

OverDrive Media Console

Here’s a promotion that, if you’ve got a Mac or Windows machine, and are in the mood to jump through a couple of hoops, you’re sure to appreciate. And, you can start at it right now.

Starting today there are two FREE MP3 audiobooks available, per week, throughout the summer. This comes courtesy of a new website called AudiobookSync.com.

To get the audiobooks you must download the “Overdrive Media Console.” Then you’ll have to give your name and an email address. It’s a bit of a muddle on the site itself, but after clicking around for five minutes or so I think I’ve got the process completely streamlined in my notes below.

First, if you don’t have it already, you’ll need to download the OverDrive Media Console
MAC |HERE|
Windows |HERE|

After it is installed you’ll need to go to the…

First Download page |HERE| to fill in your details

and then, after that’s started, go to the…

Second Download page |HERE| and repeat the process.

Be sure to take careful note where the files are set to download to. Mine defaulted to a folder called:

\My Media\MP3 Audiobooks\”

There’s also a promise of more audiobooks, week by week, throughout the month of July. And at least some of them are definitely worth getting!

Here’s the complete release schedule:

Hachette Audio - Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson TANTOR MEDIA - Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyAvailable July 1 – July 7
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson [ABRIDGED]
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [UNABRIDGED]

Available July 8 – July 14
Over the End Line by Alfred C. Martino
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Available July 15 – July 21
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Available July 22 – July 28
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Available July 29 – August 4
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Available August 5 – August 11
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Available August 12 – August 18
Beastly by Alex Flinn
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Available August 19 – August 25
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Available August 26 – September 1
Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Posted by Jesse Willis