The SFFaudio Podcast #456 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

Robert E. Howard's The Vale Of Lost Women
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #456 – The Vale Of Lost Women by Robert E. Howard, read by Todd McLaren (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Mark Finn.

Talked about on today’s show:
Magazine Of Horror, Spring 1967, the worst Conan story?, his Conan career nadir, 300+ stories, 23 Conan stories, not 1/10th of his total output, 12 years, really interesting, racially objectionable material, worth talking about, reading it slowly, a good close-up look at the disgusting ideas, is it more sexist than it is racist?, so much sexism, point of a sword, Hyborian sexism, egregious descriptions, the comic book adaptation, three paragraphs vs three pages, an interminable extermination, a “slaughter”, letters to August Derleth, a historical incident in Texas, the abduction of Cynthia Parker, an epic 8 page recounting, The Searchers (1956), Breckenridge Elkins, The Horror From The Mound, the Kushites are Comanches with the serial numbers filed off, he Conans-it-up, ethnic cleansing, John Wayne, historical antecedents, cranking history backward 14,000 years, Vendhya (India), [insert colour of skin] dog, was this story meant to be seen, was it rejected by Farnsworth Wright?, Howard’s trunk, Gnome Press, L. Sprague de Camp, he Conan-ed them, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Argosy, Red Nails, money owed, the Zenith of the Conan stories, favourite versus best?, a claustrophobic feeling, Queen Of The Black Coast, Beyond The Black River, the guy that everybody’s heard of, rape allegations, Conan’s moral code, holding the guy’s head, disingenuous, gorgeous slaughter, hyperbolic-kinetic prose, even when he’s bad he’s pretty damned good, some exciting prose, Ophir’s analogue, Jeffrey Shanks, he just stole that, it sounds cool, she’s white he’s white and they’re in Africa, the valley women are not black they’re brown-skinned, beautiful and horrible, the Lovecraftian god, Rogues In The House, a monkey who puts on a cloak and becomes a man, when Edgar Allan Poe did it, monkey battle!, Thak (a demi-human ape), Worms Of The Earth, bad writers describe characters looking at themselves in the mirror, from Livia’s eyes, she’s the racist as much as Conan (if not more), Livia’s looking for agency, Livia plays up the racist angle, strikes a bargain, what the heck is going on in The Vale Of Lost Women?, turned into white flowers, Apollo and Daphne, “ravishers”, a suicide situation, lilies rather than lotuses, a dream-like state, fleeing rapists, no escape, a man fighting a god, some sort of a Nietzschean, many marriages, bridal raiding parties, did Matt ravish his wife, symbolic ravishing!, a beautiful token ceremony, that’s what you get when you read 1930s pulp magazines, overstating the fantasy element, Conan The Barbarian #104, a deus ex machina, turned into a laurel tree, a Shakespearean scholar, another attempt to pitch to Farnsworth Wright, an extra $25, Seabury Quinn’s low-grade bondage vs. Howard’s high-grade bondage, the lesbian kiss, Sword Woman, men coming together, the only thing between Jesse and Batman is a big pile of money, X-Men, Watchmen, not just a bunch of white people hitting each other, santizing the really offensive stuff, Howard’s really interested in race, different culture, spending time with people with different cultural interests, living his life, Age Of Conan, it’s not wealth accumulation, its living life to the lees, positive and negative experiences, black characters, Marvel Comics, Mort and Saul, issues 60-100, three issues after Belit’s death scene, the brown women on the splash page look exactly like Belit, giant mirths and giant melancholies, flipping out like ninjas, thinking about things in their context (permissible over the age of 40), ebony skinned and wooly haired, racialism as short hand, The Scrolls Of Skelos, The Nemedian Chronicles, Hawks Over Outremer, Black Canaan, very romantic, barbarism, anthropology, the 1982 movie, holy shit! this is awesome!, Savage Sword Of Conan, bloodier violence and sexier sex, the movies and Dungeons & Dragons, Appendix N, Barry Windsor Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Howard Pyle, beautiful city-scapes, divers hands, Roy Thomas, careful not to show the blood, that’s a dude’s head, showing a kind of real reality that makes you not want to join the army, Sgt. Rock, the comic text is incredibly faithful (and so are the images), fur underwear model, furry loincloth, he’s pulls off the furry loincloth, nude women and nude men, gossamer material clinging to heaving bosoms, if this was a writing podcast, this story is completely broken because it is two stories pasted together, a weird balance, Jesse’s looking at it as a balance between the male and female, an editors eyes, sword and sorcery randomness, even the horse is male, the “bed” of the valley, the velvet sward, going to sleep, The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, an amazing first draft, southwestern themes, 8 paragraphs of smiting and killing, The Hyena, “blacks” are “natives” in the Magazine Of Horror, “black sluts” vs. “native sluts”, “wench”, a doughy white guy from Texas, a powerful agent of change, keeping his own moral compass, throwing philosophy down, The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune is a Philip K. Dick story with King Kull, “women are as cheap as plantains in this land and their willingness or unwillingness matters as little”, “the human mind clings unconsciously to familiar values and ideas even amongs surroundings and conditions alien and unrelated to those environs to which such values and ideas are adapted”, pg 55 and 56, “She was stunned by the realization that nothing hinged upon her at all. She could not move men as pawns in a game. She herself was the helpless pawn.”, absurdity, “customs differ in various countries”, Conan is an iconoclast, part of what makes Conan so attractive, that would be uncivilized, “Truces in this land are made to be broken.”, “what would be blackest treachery in another land is wisdom here.”, Realpolitik, force is the only source of power, a way to manipulate people, “homestay”, the only power you have is what you can seize, the cute button ending, the ending of Red Nails, a super-feminist (in a certain sense), a “Red Wedding” situation, accelerating the pace, colour, he loves red and black more than white, crimson, limned, chiaroscuro, a poetic economy, drawing your own conclusions, “a flitting white ghost in a realm of black shadows and red flame”, Livia’s escape, “her toes sprang high”, Yakima Canutt, the Red Sonja movie, Jason Momoa, born on a battlefield, storytelling, Oliver Stone, “Fuck, that’s good writing!”, showing another Cimmerian is a big mistake, a gloomy place, from the darkness, a land of melancholia, The Tower Of The Elephant, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Sergio Leone, a walking “walking-the-earth trope”, it weaves its own spell, [Akira] Kurosawa motifs, Thulsa Doom, Conan The Adventurers, a sudden moral imperative, Conan The Usurper, the Del-Rey editions, the pastiche dilutes the amazingness, The Curse Of The Monolith by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, you can totally feel it, thoughtful discussion, defending Howard’s honour, a productive discussion, standing in the corner and taking notes, going in with low expectations, Mark’s challenge, The Black Stone, Worms Of The Earth, any of Howard’s humour work,

The Vale Of Lost Women

The Vale Of Lost Women

Roy Thomas - from Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 13

The Vale Of Lost Women - Conan and Livia

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #236 – AUDIOBOOK READALONG: The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #236 – The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard, read by Paul Boehmer (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Savage Tales Of Solomon Kane). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (60 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Bryan Alexander

Talked about on today’s show:
Second-to-last Solomon Kane story chronologically, “Red Shadows” and “Wings of the Night” close contenders for Solomon Kane stories, the latter featuring harpies from Jason and the Argonauts, history of Solomon’s staff explained in other stories, fetishes (not THAT kind!), juju stick, magical weapons, Wandering Star edition illustrated by Gary Gianni, comic book adaptations, vampire-slaying, story uncharacteristically well-plotted including foreshadowing, “plains and hills full of lions” oh my!, lion sleeping habits, “Africa is full of never-explained mysteries” excuses plot holes, prefigures Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld movies, one of few stories to depict ‘nation of vampires’, Kiss of the Vampire (film), Transylvania, homeopathic symbolism, sex sells, ‘Howardian damsel in distress’, voodoo, feminization of the jungle, homoerotic undertones, Howard biography Blood and Thunder by Mark Finn, post-Colonial critique, vampires in fiction oscillate between sexualized and homicidal, Stephen King slams Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight vampires, Nosferatu (relatively unknown at the time of this story’s writing) introduced the idea that sunlight kills vampires, the Devil as source of Kane’s lustful urges, “Howard doesn’t do metaphors very well”, vampire-zombie continuum, Howard as great visual writer, animal characteristics ascribed to Kull and Conan but not Kane, snake imagery (related to serpent in Garden of Eden?), Slave Coast, vultures, nature of the soul, “Rogues in the House” (written in one sitting while Howard had a headache), the dangers of over-interpreting Howard, Howard’s subconscious, early 20th-century magazines preoccupied with race, Cosmpolitan (it was once a literary magazine), race hierarchy, Solomon Kane less racist than Howard himself, racial hierarchy, Berbers, Solomon Kane’s conflicted personality, the New Model Army, Howard’s characters are solitary, Puritans, Kane has a death wish, Kane’s celibacy, significance of Solomon Kane’s name, Ben Jonson satirizes Puritan names (in Bartholomew Fayre), so does Terry Pratchett (in Lords and Ladies, Mormonism, concept of congregation of all believers, English Civil War and its sects, Grendel in Beowulf as descendant of Cain, Sandman comics, Kane is “always on the road”, Matthew Hopkins witchfinder general, wood imagery, we learn what a palaver is, The Dark Tower series, temptation, inquisition, H. P. Lovecraft, cohesion of Howard’s works, history of the English language, George Harrison’s coyright infringement, parallel evolution in fiction, Clark Ashton Smith, Charles Baudelaire, genocide, the importance of a shared reader-author premise, shared cultural values, Hitler, The King in Yellow, Woodrow Wilson was a racist, zombies vs. animals.

The Hills Of The Dead - Illustration by Greg Staples

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead

Solomon Kane's Fetish Staff

Solomon Kane in Africa

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard - illustration by Hugh Rankin from Weird Tales, August 1930

ad for The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard from WEIRD TALES, July 1930

ad for The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard from WEIRD TALES, July 1930

The Hills Of The Dead - illustrated by Gary Gianni

Posted by Seth Wilson

The SFFaudio Podcast #173 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #173 – A Thousand Deaths by Jack London, read by Julie Hoverson (of 19 Nocturne Boulevard). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (29 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, Julie Hoverson, and Matthew Sanborn Smith

Talked about on today’s show:
Jack London’s first professional sale, “the hirsute fruit”, the LibriVox version, is the protagonist supposed to be female?, “I don’t know what’s real”, a disintegrated Saint Bernard, a Freudian story, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, vivisection on a South Pacific Island, a mad scientist, oedipal literature, London’s own life, H.P. Lovecraft, re-animation, archaic language, Frankenstein, a well educated sailor with an interest in science, obliquely obtuse, The Call Of The Wild, peregrinating, “overly smarty-pantsy”, is it all a dream?, a conscious death, horror, drowned sailors owe their revivers, Poultrygeist, the catalyst event, “an amoral scumbag”, Phineas Gage, blowing smoke up the near drowned, the disintegration door, Doctor Manhattan, Fallout: New Vegas, the disintegration ray, dis-integrate, anti-gravity, electrolysis, synthetic clothing, “animal charcoal”, The Shadow And The Flash is Jack London’s take on The Invisible Man, not just dogs and boats, London’s Polynesian stories, sink the Farallones, San Francisco, suspended animation, chest tampering, death vs. approaching death, drowning vs. poisoning, exploring the boundaries of death, Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, zombies, coffin bells, meteor insurance, “I brought you in [to this world] and I can take you back out”, Bill Cosby, Jack London’s writing voice, action³, verb heavy vibrancy, a raging socialist, is it interesting or is it good?, lockjaw, psychological damage, the ending is ambiguous, a dilettante and a wastrel, do deaths mature you?, an inversion of the prodigal son, what would Eric S. Rabkin say about this story?, time travel, early Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe -> Fitz-James O’Brien -> Lord Dunsany -> William Hope Hodgson -> Ambrose Bierce, “gonzo”, “where do your ideas come from?”, There’s a Crapp For That, picturemypoo.com, eww, Flatliners, spiritualism vs. materialism, ghosts, patents, olympics, Julie Hoverson’s copyright, patent and trademarks podcast?, shotgun shelled powered battering ram, Julie Hoverson is incredibly busy, thanks Julie!, Jonathan Davis, “don’t surprise the actors”,

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFSignal Podcast (Episode 070): Panel Discussion of Favorite Podcasts

SFFaudio Online Audio

SFSignal PodcastSFSignal Podcast #70 features me and six other folks very quickly discussing Science Fiction (and other) podcasts. Unfortunately I think a lot of the best stuff came after the actual podcast ended. At least that’s the part of the discussion I enjoyed most. As a part of that I also invited Matthew Sanborn Smith to participate in an upcoming new releases and recent arrivals podcast.

In episode 70 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars: Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones, and do you listen to fiction podcasts?

Have a listen |MP3| or subscribe: http://www.sfsignal.com/podcast.xml

I took notes and think I got most of the podcasts that were mentioned:

Me:
The Cthulhu podcast
Lightspeed magazine podcast
Forgotten Classics
The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
Gweek
HuffDuffer.com

Fred Kiesche (of the Lensmen’s Children blog):
Escape Pod
Beware Of The Hairy Mango
The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
The History Of Rome
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
The Incomparable! podcast
Geek Life
Writing Excuses
Adventures In SciFi Publishing
The Tolkien Professor
The D6 Generation
The Nerdist
The Command Line
Living Proof Brewcast
365 Days Of Astronomy
Spark
Quirks And quarks
The Naked Scientist

Jeff Patterson (of the Gravity Lens blog):
The Nerdist
-The Doctor Who Cast
RiffTracks
Changesurfer Radio

John DeNardo (of SFSignal.com):
Functional Nerds
Beware Of The Hairy Mango
Notes From Coode Street
StarShip Sofa
The Skiffy And Fanty Show

Paul Weimer (of Blog, Jvstin Style):
Russian Rulers Podcast
Ancient Rome Refocused
Heatflash
the Speculate! Podcast
Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me
Three Moves Ahead

Matthew Sanborn Smith (of Beware Of The Hairy Mango podcast):
StarShip Sofa
The Tobolowsky Files
Tank Riot
Around Comics
RadioLab
Lightspeed
The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
Luke’s Creative Podcast
Dunesteef
Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas
I Should Be Writing

Patrick Hester (of SFSignal.com):
Seattle Geekly
Dragon Page
Adam Carolla
Slice Of SciFi
The Babylon Podcast
The Geekdad
Mac Tech Break
Podiobooks.com

Posted by Jesse Willis

Cossmass Infinities On the Air

SFFaudio Online Audio

Cossmass Infinities, a new monthly science fiction and fantasy podcast magazine is now available!

Cossmass Infinities 1
Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range
Written by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Read by Paul W Campbell

Death comes swiftly on the teddy bear range when the night devils’ silhouettes mar the purpling sky. I shiver in the chill nightfall. Muffin turns his back to me, lights a cigarette as if to ward off the darkness.

“Get the little ones inside,” I say. “We’re burning the fires bright tonight.”

At our feet, the wind blew in a piece of red yarn tangled in a few strands of yellow fur. After a quiet couple of weeks the bastards are feeding again.

We’re looking forward to great stuff from this one, which is produced and published by Paul W Cambell at Cossmass Productions.

Cossmass Infinities Podcast Feed: http://cossmass.co.uk/series/infinities/feed

Posted by Scott D. Danielson