The SFFaudio Podcast #673 – Inside Earth by Poul Anderson – read by Phil Chenevert. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novelette (2 hours 3 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons
Talked about in today’s show:
Inside Earth by Poul William Anderson, Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1951, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Beetlejuice Bridge by William Tenn, Nice Girl With Five Husbands by Fritz Leiber, Galaxy vs. Astounding vs. Planet Stories, a good reason to do a podcast, the content, its disturbing, extremely though provoking, racism, imperialism, presented in what Science Fiction does, pulling away from humanity for a second, thinking about a lot of things, isn’t this nifty, strands of thought, the libertarian camp, utopia, doing what the humans do, Will’s agenda, can’t trust them, what the message is, The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964), part of the empire, Romanizing barbarians, unity, slavery of humanity, in a terrarium, indoctrinated, deprogrammed vs. programmed, interesting nuances, Valgonians, the best versions of themselves, who is defining best?, races and cultures and creeds, made into a Jew, a Norwegian, Levinson, comments throughout, written by the seat of his pants?, doubts about their plan, a poor plan?, infiltration, against their own people, The Americans, on the cover, a scene not even set on Earth, inside earth culture, fallen in love with a human, feelings for Barbara, get over his backstory of his dead wife, I was Earthling, being restored to normal, as complete and scarless, I’d be human again, the Klingons think they’re human, later Star Trek episodes, surgically altered humans and Klingons, nose ridge addition, convergent evolution, the Federation works like the Empire does here, Enterprise, guided on your tricycle, the Valgonian Empire, “slant eyed” is unfortunate, “it’s a very diverse empire”, two ways of looking at science fiction: 1. telling us about ourselves 2. how things could be, an analogy for something happening in the world vs. the Star Trek plan, how often Mr. Spock is an alien, Balance Of Terror, a WWII submarine vs. destroyers story, suspicious of Mr. Spock, Mrs. Spock is above suspicion, the actor’s a Jew but not the character, can we trust our Japanese soldiers?, can we trust our Navajo translators?, can we trust our German population?, war having a common enemy, this melting plot, the lack of skepticism on the part of our narrator, reeducation camps will work?, remake Afghanistan, 100% on board with it, I want another kid, they’ll sterilize me, its good to sterilize people, eugenics, hereditary taints, in 1951 its still there, how genetics work, the spirit bears, the same species as black bears, blonde hair isn’t a defect we think, but something definitely are, these people are resistant to a disease, genetic diseases, Huntington’s disease, Robert J. Sawyer, that level of protection against a fairly common disease, beneficial, neutral, or bad, in the scope that we have now, the Hari Seldon plan is never wrong, dentists who are social engineers, Will had to brush his teeth so he wouldn’t get sterilized, an uplift story, cultural uplift, the [David] Brin stories, Jesse didn’t start WWII, a certain set of people, the controls of power, Justin Trudeau is more responsible for climate change than I am, he solar system was in disarray, what’s the story this week, Afghanistan wins again!, we need to civilize them, two trillion dollars investment lasted a week, Hamid Karzai hugging the Taliban leaders, its liberation, just like the Russians, the British, Alexander the Great, very naive, a travelogue for something that happens a lot, something cops do all the time, infiltrate organizations, Martin Luther King, cops in the Environmental movement having children with people, he put her back on the list, oh he’s going with her, she’ll hate me for years (but its for his own good), the original plan, we’re going to the concentration camp together, meta evidence, just a reeducation camp or a death camp?, why is this report being told, a quasi-official report, bed talk, flying by the seat of his pants, who go into deep?, crushed and reeducated, oops, Poul Anderson tragedy, what it means to be a Valgonian, maybe he wants to take the punishment?, Dominic Flandry, agent for a galactic empire, what else are you going to do?, better than anarchy, disillusionment with empire, the strongest case, how Valgonian soldiers treat earth Terries, the SS showing up in Paris, Resistance movies set in occupied France, the occupied French people, we train them to be rude, treat the people nicely, don’t call them ragheads, be courteous, apparently not racist at all, play that up, super-interesting, the United Nations, a psychotechnic league story, Anderson’s political beliefs, world government, from pro-UN to anti-UN, its empire, the UN as a governing body for the world, while this is happening in Afghanistan, “it’s going to be really weird when in 6 months this podcast comes out”, Ender’s Game, H.G. Wells’ martians in The War Of The Worlds, I have no race prejudices, a menace to the peace of the galaxy, the lesser empire, no inferior races but only more or less advanced ones, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, clashing for a difference in philosophy, the lies we tell ourselves about WWII, we won the war, its all about Europe, 80% of Germans were killed by the Russians, D-Day, one of the many many lies we tell ourselves about WWII, that was the just war, we have some doubts about the nuking of humans, firebomb the civilians all to death, WWI civilian casualties vs. WWII civilian casualties, A Bright Shining Lie (1988), Col. John Paul Vann, a true believer, a civil war for the liberation of a country from its occupiers, propping up the South Vietnam government is like propping up Karzai, how long?, centuries, thousands of years, Will is very shy but has ideas, pull together ideas, social engineering, where science fiction comes from: put smart people in front of dumb people, Paul says Will needs to read The Marching Morons (Jesse agrees, and says it is a bad story), we’ll be welcomed as liberators, top down speeches, always another excuse as to why we have to keep doing the war, this is just a story, this position in science fiction that is uncritical of technocracy and experts knowing what is better than other people, narcotic gas is like daddy coming to take the toys away, the most disturbing part of the story, paternalism, the general premise of the relationship with Barbara, lovey dovey story (been lying to her the whole time), she’s supposed to hate him for years she can’t help it, paternalism even in his romantic relationship, get queasy, a very interesting story, not the most well thought out story ever, an underground agent’s thoughts, its going to make me suffer when I flip on these people, a price you pay that your bosses don’t pay, hence promoted two ranks, an abstract evil, the meta-dialogue, what these titles mean, it even meant something, just sounds that came out of people’s mouths, an eagerness close to hero-worship, the colonel, if you use the language enough you get to believe it yourself, what does West Point teach its officers, engineering and road building and well digging, a tweets abandoning the Kurds, what the internal politics of the two parties will use against each other, using the Kurds against Bush, against Biden, woefully obtuse or lying or stupid, “abandon” or “support” the Kurds, now Jesse gets it, are their Valgonian factions pro or against, just the party line, if you’re people who are doing this, orders, we need a win hear, go take a building, you don’t need to know and you can’t inquire, a submission, its all lie, Jesse’s meta-text, maybe this is more sophisticated than it looks, Barbara’s picture, on page 35, she looks like a robot, she looks like a Stepford wife, our hero with the mohawk, ramrod straight, staring into space, she’s from an old family, she’s rich, he’s marrying into this old rich family, a wander the Earth guy, whose going to be top dog, a best friend he punches out, dirty ’30s hobo story, an awful lot of tramping going on on Earth, we’re told there’s no homelessness and no hunger anymore, only tackling inherent racism, the difference between the original Star Trek and the Next Generation, it comes back in Deep Space Nine, and to our profit, Voyager, the Maquis is the more sophisticated reading, admirals are almost always wrong, “the war is winnable”, the Thomas Friedman unit, Matt Taibbi, writing “the next six months will tell” for twenty years, New York Times columnists being consistently wrong for twenty years, your job pitch, returning to the story, time as a tramp and a steel worker and his time hanging out around Barbara’s house, it sounds like he’s trying to blow his cover, a very strange tonal note, let’s go kill a Valgonian vs. I try to be fair to everyone, class, we need to cultivate the elite of earth, help the Terries become whatever they need to be, at some point in the future, the Ferengis are going to become part of the Federation, the Dominion is the evil version of the Federation, our union that is called the Federation, the details on that, genetically engineered enforcers, their ultimate motivation, the solids don’t like shapeshifters, the Klingons and the Romulans can get along because they have four limbs and a head, Odo is an infiltration unit, the evil humans, we need to be incredibly skeptical of power, an endless fleet of admirals, policy this and plan that, you can’t trust it, as a provocateur isn’t to just start the wars its to include, the January 6th [*insurrection*] was infiltrated, the Whitmer kidnapping plot was infiltrated, a very flawed hero, should we have any respect for him?, the greater good going to be achieved or is this the occupation of the Philippines, enhanced interrogation for the greater good, kind of naive, a fun adventure vs. a guide for thought, in the thinking department, kind of juvenile?, written to quickly for pay?, Anderson is always competent but has no style, Philip K. Dick has weird grammatical stuff, H.P. Lovecraft has his own quirks, a Scandinavian, thematic, robots and boobs and weird grammar, the ideas flow very easily, internal monologue, the king of clarity is Asimov, Asimov is very simple, Anderson is a little silly, the muscles removed from his ears so they wouldn’t wiggle anymore, silliness and tragedy, the dead wife, Flight To Forever, super-nova class warships, a doomed romance, Tau Zero, a happy ever after polygamy story at the cost of the universe: “it was worth it”, fan theories, how the Klingons got that way, arguing for hours, page 36 (23 of the PDF), still capitalists and communists, a million petty divisions, an alien firm but just rule, why we have to be there, they’re so divided unlike us, that’s the way you have to run things, the messiness is what they’re against, what horrifies people the most on the deep web, the bottom of the iceberg of the deep web, whatever google has on its how page, way down deep, underneath all the car accidents and horror body porn, art pieces, tones and two color bars intersecting with each other, Voynich manuscript style websites, where’s the search bar, it needs to be ordered, spell everything the same way everyone else does, you are forced to go to school, you don’t want to live a disordered life do you?, you can’t make your own letter and put it in your own sentences, speech precedes the alphabet, this is the one way and the only way, we’re building roads and building bridges, the ultimate problem here, what does that education camp do, regular propaganda, it has to be felt, the weird bard symbolize all the races, the black site torture facilities, conform, A Clockwork Orange, Alex is a psychopath and a rapist, will should have a notebook, don’t impose a notebook on him, orthography is important, communicating efficiently with others, Sequoyah the Cherokee people, we will preserve our language by making it readable, the G8, all the people wearing suits, the Mao suit, the respectable white shirt and a tie and a jacket, Qaddafi, to honor his heritage, putting on that three piece suit to become legit, the Saudis don’t do that, a subversion with in the text (not on purpose), a psyop, Jesse doesn’t trust a plan, Qanon, foolish to trust any sort of authority, sunlight and cameras all over everybody’s business, a panopticon facing at the guards and their bosses, your average Valgonian, the stupid Section 31, the deep state doesn’t acknowledge their secret police, the FBI is not secret police, police are in other countries, they do the same job as the secret police, thought provoking but not a thought leading story, were you surprised to see the words sluts in 1951, sluts are good, what of it, how did he get away with that?, working class women with low morals, hair like molten golden, blonde or red-haired, the stepford type, Poul Anderson’s personal life, Astrid Anderson, Greg Bear, science fiction royalty, no kings or queens please, the cover picture, is one of these our guy?, Barbara is in the red dress, our guy is in the grey suit, more like a hive than a rebel base, a big conspiracy, the Valgonian conspiracy, the official line and what everybody knows, the official plan doesn’t seem to be like what everybody knows, talking to actual anarchists, we know the cops are trying to infiltrate us, dead give away you’re a Fed, looking for traitors, its sorta incoherent, an accelerationist theory, voting for Trump will make the thing that the United States come fast, tearing off the bandaid vs. slowly peeling it off, a faction of Christianity, Justin Trudeau, we need the funding from this pipeline to fight climate change, Jesse predicts the 2021 Canadian federal election results [sadly, accurately 5 weeks before it happened], not enough hope, what’s their hit rate, the domino theory, fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here’, the Taliban vs. Boogaloo Bois, joining the rebel alliance vs. subverting the rebel alliance, a fixup?, it was all a lie!, we aren’t told what I was told we were, a worthy read, Phil Chenevert made it very easy reading. Horace Gold, best of Galaxy (The Galaxy Reader), its a good story, needs a little something, what the point was, Terrie Like Me, an exploration of colonialism, the British in India, it doesn’t line up, the stratification, a copy of Britain, getting an upper middle class going, physically bigger, they’re cold because they’re red Scandinavian with mohawks, to fry an egg, pajamas and tea and curry and eastern mysticism, what do the Valgonians get?, why you have to be so occupy-y, buy into the empire, they want to pull their troops away, we don’t want to be occupying you but you still need us, we’re going to choose your rebellion leader for you, Karzai’s a trustworthy guy, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s retrieval artist series, alien laws, The Disappeared, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, apotheosis, science fiction properties, The Way Of The Pilgrim by Gordon Dickson, Jesse is ruined, smaller versions of us, you’re not worthy, the Dread Empire series by Walter Jon Williams, a parody of Paul’s writing would need “Shenanigans Happen” “you have to tweet that”, Will is sated by this conversation.