The SFFaudio Podcast #618 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Risk Profession by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #618 – The Risk Profession by Donald E. Westlake; read by Gregg Margarite (for LibriVox.org). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 4 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
authors like Westlake, seeing the ending coming, Amazing, March 1961, which ending?, a cynical person, when you’re a lawyer…, lawyer brain, ruining your enjoyment?, you feel smart, reading mysteries, ahead of the curve, forgetting the ending every time, a double twist ending, Westlake is amazing, his most Amazing story, he doesn’t like his boss but he puts up with him, fire and theft in New York, space missions, a meta-story, Westlake’s career, a crime story, a locked room mystery, a series, he could easily lose all the money, a triple twist ending, there could have been!, planned all along, contingency plans for everything, he was planning this forever, cleverer than they knew, the worldbuilding, this could have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, they don’t seem to have the internet, real last name, Ab and Jafe and Ged, an Expanse story, space stations around Earth, a colony on Luna, a gold rush story, The Expanse, what’s driving this?, brilliant people going out to make their money, Jesse can explain it all, they shrivel up, not mostly Australians, mostly Americans, obsessed with the country in which he lives, The Spy In The Elevator, the theme about government, a hands-off government, the Double RP deal, uninsurables, very rapacious capitalism, definitely his signature, handwriting analysis is not as robust as people want it to be, a part of our toolkit, he actually did sign it, this retirement plan, cash return form, well…there’s a law, they wouldn’t give money if they didn’t have to, the corruption somehow didn’t work that day, the insurance lobby, an insurance investigator, a hidden theme, Evan Lampe’s podcast on Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick is obsessed with the frontier, Lovecraft: forgetting and the sea, Westlake is obsessed with insurance, Somebody Owes Me Money, a nephew novel, this weird phenomenon, characterization, the best insurance policy, it seems like if I go with this plan…, why is this in here?, calling Paul Westlake up, his first published story as a professional, government is insurance, helping me not worry about stuff, what taxes are insurance payments, health care, car insurance, the army, in tight alliance with our neighbours, what the RCMP is for, thinking of government as insurance, we have to defend this, Corona virus, starving to death, that payment is insurance, keeping the system stable, an evil universe, anybody who cheats on their CERB is going to be investigated, UBI, telling the company being afraid of its boss, an insight into a terrible, who is the government an insurance policy for?, insurance for the employers, the primary beneficiaries are the stock owners, the WE fake charity, speaking fees, a $14,000 vacation for a minister, if the stockholders are not the general public then they are working for a subset of them, the cynicism is not the focus, an Agatha Christie style locked-room mystery, if it was the government…, the last book, Anarchaos, the absence of insurance companies, a possibility of taking your crime with you, government ideas, ethics, if he wasn’t so greedy, he wouldn’t have gotten away with it, that Scooby Doo ending, alive and in France, they all look exactly the same, Atronics, Chemisant, Ludlum, they sound like things we would get, company towns, how it worked in Anarchaos, Vicco, Kentucky, a ghost town called IOCO (Imperial Oil Company), all the way from Trinidad?, Alcan, through the panama canal, that’s where the power is, if the company goes out of business, those fly-over states, bringing mining back, northern Minnesota, Westlake is incredibly subtle, if you look for the signs, standout lines, there he is, he’s kind of a ghost, the description of the boss and his hands, always smooth, skepticism, the spaceship west of Cairo, the good ship Demeter, g-sickness pills, I was as sick as a dog, as depressing as Turkish bath with all the lights on, a welder’s practice range, a transparent dome would have been more fun, cheap iron, polishing his own spacesuit’s inside, debris, shit orbiting earth, paint chips, some physics problems, jollier, scooters and tuggers, industry troopers, capitalism, the winners of capitalism, square corners painted olive drab, International Atronics Incorporated, high wages, how do you make a vacuum tube?, the tech of the now, he’s putting it in your hand, dribbled down the elevator, the opening of Anarchaos, a milk run, other adventures, Martians, alien insurrections, you don’t even notice, Westlake has opted out, high school, air-force, a Snow top, a white helmeted MP, a set of background for his writing career, hints as to what was striking him, The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark, plastic surgery, Will needs to read that book, falling in love with the author, the driver was an ex-communist party enforcer, Parker was in WWII, be a thief, Westlake started in law enforcement, healthcare, hunger, being in the army is being in a socialist state, he’s a cop in a socialist state, your health insurance, your housing, most people never think about it, Westlake is some kind of weird intellectual, his only way to make a living is to tell people lies, the more interesting your lies are the better your living, my god this is good!, psycho-analyzing his own thing, there’s some substance to it, Tomorrow’s Crimes, the closest to a crime story, a philosopher of crime, he got a lot of letters from prison, prisoners loved his crime books, rats, pulling the perfect job is amazing, once you can’t turn to the cops for help you’re always on his own, he can’t trust his partners, he murders the taxi-man, he’s here to enact his power fantasy in a libertarian state, yay!, a funny way of thinking of what he’s doing, how do you survive in the 20th century?, why would he leave SF?, not financially viable, series is where the money is, science fiction is kind of the opposite of series, its finished, Melinda Snodgrass, fulfilling a role were; not supposed to have, science fiction can be applied to any literary genre, Isaac Asimov, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, we know him from his SF, movies, a tonne of crime, a mystery set in a science fiction universe, I can make the rules, The Caves Of Steel, people don’t go outside, The Hole Man by Larry Niven, Paul’s theory of mysteries, a fair mystery, there’s two suits sitting there, he red-herring’d it, polished his silvered faceplate visor, where the whole thing started, built the whole story around the image, gold in the NASA suits, gold vs. silver, 30 pieces of silver, a different Adams, a lot of domes, the scooters are domes, the asteroid city dome, Finder by Suzanne Palmer, an Apollo Program, understatement, its egg shaped body, green, very army, “the windshield” translucency, floating forever, foreshadowing, we’re him, our hero Jed, he took so long to come home, Will’s a little acquisitive, really empathizing with this story, giant pile of metal, an intellectual exercise, you’re feeling like the guy, Will’s a little bit different than Jesse, an office job, petty bourgeois technician, a life of quiet desperation, Fight Club, breaking his own identity, identity switching, A Bullet For Cinderella, the cultural universe it comes out of, John D. MacDonald, we should eventually do all of the Westlake novels, The Green Eagle Score, the titles run in streaks, Parker robs an air force base, army guys, that rock concert sure is loud, think of all the money from the concessions, scores, a couple of decades between books, see the pattern?, he’s just being playful, he’s a hunter, then he becomes a shark, eventually he gets married, just keep me in flowers and champagne, they start getting silly, he’s got a real sense of humour, cuz sharks don’t laugh at jokes, funny doings, isnights into a person’s character by reading essentially throwaway stories, different from making a movie or a TV show, one person generally, a sense of through-line, wouldn’t you rather know what H. Rider Haggard was thinking than some adaptation of his novel?, too ponderous, Edgar Rice Burroughs, limited success, the way Frankenstein movies gets Frankenstein so wrong, the smartest man who ever lived, I Tarzan you Jane, “Fire bad” vs. soliloquy, learned to speak and read through a crack in a wall, you can’t see those hand gestures, those wry lines, all these flavours of cocktails, bitter but also delicious, rye, very fluffy, it feels so fluffy, so good!, reading Lester Del Rey, so hamfistedly bad, he’ll get you drunk you don’t even know you’re drinking, terribly clunky, For I Am A Jealous People by Lester Del Rey, he’s good at lifting, The Faithful, Reading, Short And Deep, uplifted dogs, dog pilots with surgically altered hands, the last man has died, a very Will story, uplifted gorillas, so badly written, that’s kinda super-racist right there, so hamfisted, a green and lovely world, Man’s creation, worship the memory, Who Can Replace A Man by Brian Aldiss, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, WWI, Lester Del Rey is making moves, here’s four more 10 hour novels, Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle, City by Clifford Simak, Desertion by Clifford Simak, Cemetery World, animal stuff, we go sideways, this is a dog man, James Powell, 130 stories, A Dirge For Clowntown, Inspector Bozo, a world worry down on his luck aging clown detective, a clown police procedural in a clown universe, his clown wife, the clowns are the white people, the other race is the mimes, mime on mine violence, Discworld novels, not a fantasist in a normal sense, its just so weird, its its own literary thing, The Code Of The Poodles, episode 81, humorous fantasy crime, The Friends Of Hector Jouvet, A Pocketful Of Noses, a unique voice, Ed Wood, pre-everybody.

The Risk Profession by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #609 – READALONG: Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #609 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
Curt Clark, Jesse’s favourite writer?, talkin bout Westlake, Lawrence Block, 1967 ACE paperback, less than a finger thick, Paul’s reaction, the audiobook is much abridged, that’s what they did back then, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, the Columbia House, the Science Fiction Book Club, Scott’s origins (YouTube), night and day, all the anarchist stuff is not in the audiobook, the CBR, how vast a difference, about 70% of the book is cut out, the history, an experiment in anarchism, this is really bad anarchism, into two cassettes, Tomorrow’s Crimes by Donald E. Westlake, when Westlake quit science fiction, it could have been half of an Ace double, a super-interesting guy, Chuck Wendig, Under An English Heaven, a weird writer, peripheral writings, characterization and crime, Xero, I’m not sitting around bragging, no place for it?, I cannot sell good science fiction, John W. Campbell, gatekeepers, science fiction’s lost is crime’s gain, Analog, a side bit character, $450, the economics of writing science ficton, a go fund me, one of the most popular science fiction writers, a kickstarter to make ends meet, how good this book is, subjective reactions, rafts of stuff, the anarchy and the philosophical, the butchery is surgical, a very good abridgement, Stefan Rudnicki, decisions being made, only a few characters, this guy just gave up, rewriting the book, Westlake doesn’t waste words, parsimoniously, Westlake’s trademark: the movement of hands, the whole tell, Richard Stark, a fast writer, Man Of Action, December 1960, supplementary homework, Or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry, 270 years old, an editor getting pitched, in 1823 he almost died, November of 1954, a highly political story, it makes a point, Who are the heirs of Patrick Henry?, Robert A. Heinlein, a libertarian, the founding fathers, it is a good book, he’s fudging a little bit, another version of The Call Of The Wild, he think he’s the toughest dog around, over the horizon, the uninhabitable zone, John Thornton, men are dangerous and dogs are subservient to men, the king of the slaves, Buck doesn’t talk or think in words, Buck did not read the newspapers, the house slave, the top dog, his true nature, the man is a man, Rolf Malone, he basically murders a dude, so shocking, our main character is an evil murderer, his real reason for coming to the planet, the society, he kills dozens and dozens of people, he wants to kill the planet, Lybia, would people be like this?, Newton’s first law, Malone was the external force, that one strangling hand, Cloak Of Anarchy by Larry Niven, the origins, Mikhail Bakunin, an insurrectionary anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, how cooperative systems can exist, post-scarcity, the conquest of bread, an anarchist utopia, corporations came, anarcho-capitalism, slavery without a state, marriage without states, a meta-element, a whole series of novels, Cockaigne, a prison planet where the natives cant leave, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World‘s reservation, the U.C. is interfering with the running, the immigration official, a very unwise priest, Dracula, Jonathan Harker, The Woman In Black, repossess a computer, being sent to be killed, these are my people, the corporations run this planet, an economic shit zone, the offworlders moved in, in the hands of profit-seekers, anarchism sounds really great its gonna get co-opted by corporations, no government that can hold the corporations accountable, pirates eating into their slavery business, the polities, guns, who is a slave in a west African society, state making taking place, more laws that lead to more people being criminals to make them slaves, definitely the political, extracting the resources from Anarchaos, Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, get the pronouns right, a big multi-national corporation and a nation, a body, it has arms, if this was a completely cut-off planet, its supposed to be a failed utopia, how Westlake cheats, the star is Hell, the names of the cities, Ulich and Nigh, Cockaigne is middle ages fantasy of young monks, Valhalla, afterlife places, tidally locked, the temperature, 29 Celsius, how the ecosystem can work, The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders, a drug that can take away his responsibility, we can trust what he’s saying or what he’s doing, the femme fatale, time itself, usual rituals, Will should have some thoughts about this book, the hard science is not what this novel is about, an anthropological big think, soft science, Vietnam after they win the war, the Chinese path, the worker state welcomed investment back in, how can this little socialist utopia exist?, purposely isolated, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), self-reliance, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, how respectful of physical space, Texas with no rangers, a comedy, the products of the authors, a long time ago this planet had some sort of galactic relationship with the other planets, Atlanta, an airport hub, a straight-up planetary romance, not a fun adventure planet with cool creatures, the hovels, this tradition, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, a fix-up novel, an asteroid terraformed into ancient Kenya, the mundumugu witch-doctor, the Transmetropolitan reservations, the Coventry reservation, the Westlake Review, Westlake was interested in SF, Nackles, anti-Santa Claus, Xmas, it’s not me it’s you, what this book is an indicator of, we withdraw our society from you, society and individual and crime, how Jesse wants to frame this story, John Savage, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, a kind of similar relationship, that savage lifestyle, she’s non-functional, nice food, a soft bed, new clothes, a shower, to be drugged up and not be, might makes right, colours in this book, the red light of Hell, a single name, Ice or Sledge, a Disneyland Chenzen special economic zone, an Alaska, a free extraction zone, cesspools and tailings, where the animals went, no mention of race, the state of nature argument, a raw canvas, an anarcho-syndicalist utopia for about 15 minutes, big offshore corporations, what anarchism is, in what circumstances could it work, that premise, the post-apocalyptic works, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Walking Dead, big walls, in a context, a rich network with other groups, a different kind of slavery, the kind of slavery that parents have to children or to family, the relationship between marriage and slavery, the Roman Empire, Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, go to the neighbouring community and get some girls, the caveman cartoon, the carrying over the threshold, the collar around the neck kind of slavery, women can be slaves but not men, he’s a bad dude, go wherever you want, exporting troublemakers, exporting their worst corporations, Jerry Pournelle’s CoDominium books, hello Australia, the west, Evan kinda likes this model, where all the wild ones are, The Many-Colored Land by Julian May, exporting of excess population, the Greeks were doing it with their colonies, an alternative to prisons, Siberia!, an open-air prison, Escape From New York, how shocked were you all when Malone gets his hand cut-off early in the book?, The Dark Tower, unless it gets infected…, he gets his brother’s college ring back, the ring finger of his left hand, some guy chewing on his hand, the limited contact we have with the natives, youre my slave now (cuz I found you in a ditch), you’re my brother or you’re my son, their aren’t teams and syndicates other than corporations, who is keeping the stuff like that?, the slum-dwellers from being unionized, doubly abridged, so heavy and dark, slightly higher gravity, the gravity thing, a subversion of a traditional planetary romance, subversion, confederate veteran, John Carter, weighted down morose lethargic, mentally and physically, the Colonel’s secretary, A Princess Of Anarchaos, the planet killed Gar, and two women, his mind flex, give me a planetary romance exploring an idea, a sixties slim paperback, full of SF ideas, Humans by Donald E. Westlake, angels are real, a very experimental writer, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, crime books, very philosophical, those crime books can be very philosophical, what makes crime bad?, killing’s just something you do, fearful for my own life, an imposition on their liberty, a pure goal oriented…, Parker is deluding himself, he wants to kill vs. he wants the action, why we’re reading it, find his brother’s killer, he didn’t have the stomach for it, feeling sorry for himself, now I have to kill the whole planet, essentially a villain, there is no hero, Jesse loves the ending, eighteen hours and twenty three minutes, oh shit, kill a whole lot of people, Morogeth, revenge on the actual people who killed his brother, the heart of the monetary system, rot in its own juices, absurd anarchy with some protective colony, how the story started, the boredom of travel by shuttle, Rolf I’m going to have a second chance, the only real relationship he has, the only person he respected, the only person he admired, a reverse inversion of this, from the other side, Fight Club, another political book, man’s relationship to himself, how’m I spossed to live now in this modern world with Ikeas, Fight Club 2, the comic book sequel, tear it all down, Phail and Gar, met across a loaded gun, Phail -> veil?, the names are weird, the veil of rule of law, pull the veil away, the naked relationship, the look in Colonel Whistler’s eyes, Anarchaos was a cancer, thus the suitcases, that promise, voyages to seven planets, the other planets in the UC system, Jack Vance, The Moon Moth, a planet full of people wearing masks all the time, The Lego Movie (2014), Cloud Cuckoo Land, framings and levels, interpreting what’s going on, a popular genre in the middle ages, young monks, writing poems, satirizing their lives,Land of Cokaygne

There is another abbey nearby,
a great nunnery in fact,
up a river of sweet milk,
where there is great plenty of silk.
When the summer’s day is hot,
the young nuns take a boat,
and go forth on that river
rowing with oars and steering.
When they are far from the abbey,
they undress to play,
and jump into the water
and swim secretly.
The young monks who see them
get ready and start out
and come to the nuns immediately,
and each monk takes one for himself
and carries his prey away quickly
to the great grey abbey,
and teaches the nuns a prayer
with their legs up and down in the air
The monk that can be a good stallion
and knows where to put his hood
he can easily have
twelve wives each year.

the power of translation, the power of writing, the power of reading, goddamn it I’m a monk, the nuns in that nearby abbey are quite sexy, it rains cheese from the sky, a comedy reaction to the difficulty, the place where they took his weapons away, richness that went into this, he loved the process of creation, Planet Of Adventure by Jack Vance.

Ace F-421 - Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake
Ace F-421 Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

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Reading, Short And Deep #205 – The Doomdorf Mystery by Melville Davisson Post

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #205

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Doomdorf Mystery by Melville Davisson Post

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Doomdorf Mystery was first published in The Saturday Evening Post, July 18, 1914.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #455 – READALONG: The Moon Moth by Jack Vance

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #455 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Bryan Alexander talk about The Moon Moth by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s game:
1961, dude!, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, the Seeing Ear Theatre adaptation, a setting and a culture and an experience, not very science fictiony, no weird transhumanism, deep interesting cultures and settings, more in the fantasy, a science fiction setting but it feels like fantasy, anthropological science fiction, Rite Of Passage by Alexi Panshin, Dune by Frank Herbert, goblins, the fantasy element of the masks, are you bold enough to wear a sea-dragon conquerer mask?, the adaptation follows the plot fairly faithfully, other POVs, a little more linearly, the ambassador’s folly, a masterful adaptation, like nothing we’ve ever seen before, it feels relaxing, gorgeous description, the plot is very stressful, how does this work?, the Larry Niven of economics and culture, high praise, Haxo Angmark, a Vance specialty (names), stealing his “money belt”, Cory Doctorow’s wuffie, so fascinating, I want to walk these streets, my father is a magistrate, a very libertarian society, Texas, L. Neil Smith, no expansionism, the night men, like a role-playing game, cannibalize whatever’s on the shore, indigenous people, captured by the night men!, social status, far weirder than any kind of Marxian communism, when he’s embarrassed about the fish with a face in the water, he’s acculturating to the culture, “religious convictions”, sticky and annoying like a thistle, the philology of our language and hacked it, Edwer Thissle, David D. Levine’s Tk’Tk’Tk’, what Jesse senses what walking the streets of Japan would be like, a dystopia, no government, it all comes down to violence, a very humble mask, how Saudi society works, a married couple would never show their faces to each other, a mock mask?, the afterword, clothes and nudity, the slaves are for having sex with, Jesse has questions, “I’ve been working on it for seventeen years”, a public ledger (like blockchain), a robot, electronic devices, an electric instrument, practically speaking, a bat-belt full of tiny musical instruments?, ornate and complex, the aliens are humans right?, orcs?, a weird human culture, the four outsiders, essentially humans (with pale faces), the consular representative, an anthropologist, Thomas Piketty, how do you have trade with these folks?, a trade port, fun to imagine, maybe you have people who hold value (for trade), expatriates, I will return you to the islands if you don’t obey me, food is incredibly plentiful, kind of like Venice, imaging Venice the whole time, the Dunsanian stories by H.P. Lovecraft, or Idle Days On The Yann by Lord Dunsany, the fantastic orient?, what Korea would be like from an Italian point of view, some happy fools have opened up a bookstore, people don’t want books, nail salon, skin salon, hair salon, tooth whitening, did you see a man come in here and did he take something?, why Steen was mad at somebody, he’s not acting like a Canadian, everyone in the states is so rude, so apologetic, if you don’t acknowledge how terrible you’ve been, an immoral slouch, Iranians have a way of talking around a subject (and will become annoyed when Jesse doesn’t understand), what would it have taken?, a kind of meritocracy, how reputation works in the States, infamous, Chelsea Manning, going from being a reviled traitor to having cachet, a celebrity in need of a couch, their visit to me makes me higher in the society, I gave Al Pacino a place to sleep for the night because his car broke down, how selfies work, some percentage of people want their picture taken with celebrities, our strakh in our culture is attention, Instagram people without their Instagram filters, Sirene is 1000 years in our future, free stuff, stereotypes about New Zealanders, people love Kiwis, an alien as a woman (than as a foreigner), cultural baggage, James Clavell’s Shōgun miniseries adaptation, feudal Japan, swaggering samurais, you’re disgusting and hairy, easing us into it, learning Japanese, the cultural barrier, Jesse’s strahk level plummets, the murder mystery aspect, brilliant!, the weak part, subtle or detailed, an excel sheet, a locked planet or locked houseboat mystery, Robert van Gulik, the whole murder mystery detective genre, you participate in the solving of the mystery, almost there, Judge Dee, like Sherlock Holmes but set in Ming China, a rich and decadent society, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series, there is a structural class system, you guys are building one, number one in plutocrats!, Upstairs Downstairs, Downton Abbey, their highest hope, falling from class position, how one gets raised out of the strakh level you’re born in to, how people change classes, sociology and anthropology, the business department, Jesse is insulting someone, everybody can be a manager, this story raises so many questions about our own societies, it is not a mirror to us, StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith, obsessed with the baroque, in the way that Tolkien is obsessed, the ornate social structures, The Potters Of Frisk, Planet Of Adventure, a tapestry of different cultures, unlock the puzzle of the culture, powned!, one delicious five volume package, what are Vance’s literary roots, science fiction friends, Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert, diverse life experience, California, sui generis, the Demon Princes novels, phone booth, his roots are not in the Clarkeian-Sturgeonian tradition, The Dying Earth, one book leads to another book, Paul got lucky, getting the urge, the BBC In Our Time on Moby Dick, the whiteness of the whale, the pasteboard masks, Philip K. Dick, Halloween, thing are quite different, we wear a mask that blinds us to the world, we wear a mask that blinds us to us, Herman Melville, hijab, it plays to the base, what would it be like to be in a world, this is a very weird world, what form of popular entertainment is being satirized, opera, music, scary talented, an operatic world, musical accompaniment, 24/7 opera, the first audio drama Marissa enjoyed, in the audiobook, an animal!, Marissa got into it, Bryan is nodding, a metaphor for getting used to a new society, a metaphor for learning a foreign language, that sense of fear, a classic mystery novel, almost a western, John D. MacDonald, plotting was the hard thing, gathering the tools up to bluff your way through, what is the author thinking, what are they trying to do, isn’t wonderful to think about beautiful dead women, I think the mystery is the plot, what would it be like where nobody has any identity except what they say is their identity, nicely shoehorned, wow! look at this world, its the one with the masks, Marissa used to be so shy, if you’re in anyway alien or introverted this is playing with the fear of that, fear of bureaucracy, at the mercy of the killer, a judo flip, Vance always has a sardonic sense of humour, The Dying Earth, civilizations rising and falling, magic, Chun the unavoidable, one of the greatest villains, a sub-genre, Hothouse by Brian Aldiss, Clark Ashton Smith, Last Castle, The Dragon Masters, I want more, so much is in it and it has a plot too?, more Vance on the schedule, the orbits that writers move in, the focus on language, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, transformed language, Isaac Asimov, a total twin of science fiction, we do this job, we engage in the reality, fantasy as escape, working it out, this is the anthropology section of the lirbary, the soft sciences, Larry Niven did too much of it, there’s nothing more to say at the moment, if its not bio – what else you got?, genetics and epigenetics, philosophical science fiction, Mack Reynolds, a post-scarcity society, a great problem to have, nobody is starving to death, cheap food, a rich society, wearing the right suit, look at Bill Maher in his french cuffs, its a $5,000 suit, they look like clowns out of their context, the hair and makeup departments, that’s what all the slaves are doing on Sirene, hair and nails, tuning the instruments,

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

The Moon Moth - illustration by Dick Francis

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #428 – READALONG: Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Podcast
Lawrence Block's Burglars Can't Be Choosers
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #428 – Jesse and Maissa Bessada talk about Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block.

Talked about on today’s show:
1977, a Matt Scudder book: A Walk Among Among The Tombstones, cut-up women, he most brutal book Maissa’s ever read, sex, comedy and mystery, a treasure hunt, little gems, is that ever cool!, the 2 cassette audiobook (heavily abridged), just under six hours, it percolated along, coffee drinking, word humour and word play, why I love to read Lawrence Block books, 11 books in the series, 4 short stories, percolating dialogue, an Agatha Christie style mystery, Lawrence Block is an excellent narrator, you’re intellectually engaged, turning the horror of crime into a cozy murder mystery, a magician, sleight of hand, false directions, The Purloined Letter, the Blackstone Audio afterword, maybe I’ll try crime, everything you see on the page is Block’s brain, sparkling personality, Bernie doesn’t age, his burglar charms, Ruth Hightower, you can call me Roger, subsequent books, a front for a burglary business, Block’s dialogue and writing, the whole back end, seeing things we’re not allowed to see, what is happening?, the psychology of the character is a mystery to himself, Carolyn the lesbian poodle groomer, Carolyn is the Watson to Bernie’s Sherlock, it always was a parody, that love of books, contemplating a life of crime, Robin Hood, what kind of dog?, maybe a stuffed dog, no shedding, it’s obvious who the murderer is, carefully set like a jewel, a lot is unconscious, Ruth’s the murderer, suspects, some lurker in the shadows, how small New York is, it fits to Agatha Christie neat, that’s the genre, he’s playing totally by the Hal Clement rules, Mission Of Gravity, Two If By Sea, putting all the evidence before us, a particular hobby horse, The Burglar Who Liked To Quote Kipling, Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, Piet Mondrian, baseball, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, The Burglar In The Library, locked room murder mystery, The Burglar In The Rye, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons, told in first person, Like A Thief In The Night, A Bad Night For Burglars, from this character’s point of view, fitting in to one area of art or collecting, this is the theater one, everybody’s an actor, everybody in the book has another name or a hidden identity, Lauren, the 85 bucks, a burglar code of ethics, “I never believed in overlooking cash”, choices, the cop costume, which one is the real burglar?, they totally switch, Wesley Brill, playing “the heavy”, he’s lost his skill, this is the book where he gets his skill back, writing fiction is a kind of magic, losing the magic, Lawrence Block is always retiring from writing, staying in hotels, breaking into his own hotel room, writers who write for a living, Bernie’s lifestyle is Block’s lifestyle, going through a divorce, moving to California, an amazing soup of goodness, he’s a soup fiend, he’s also the “Man In The Middle”, Russian dolls, why isn’t this book much better known, Burglar (1987), gender swapped, Bobcat Goldthwait, too much in the words, it would make a great comic, imagery, exposition is not great for comics, a Hercule Poirot ending, Penguin Audio audiobooks, Richard Ferrone’s narration, Recorded Books, masks, Roger Armitage, they’re lying to each other, call me “Wes”, John Wesley, oh there you are!, fake names, really recognizable, how you know someone, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, The Maltese Falcon (1941), two guys looking for the bird, the rara avis, the pear shaped man, a pre-telling, Ms. Brill by Katherine Mansfield, an ESL teacher in France, creating an internal life, an active imagination, moth powder, his yacht, a fried whiting, a flounder, a fox stole, honey cake, Maissa misread it, Reading, Short And Deep, Julie Hoverson’s narration of Ms. Brill, a little box room, Lawrence Block were you inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s story…?: No., a brill is a fish, the ermine toque = fur hat, knocked on the nose, everything is reflecting everything else, without even having read it, echoes of brill, Goldilocks, archetypes, Bernie assumes Ruth has a husband, Ellie, cheating, the ultimate woman, Darla Sandoval, he hasn’t cheated…yet, his cop costume, you don’t even need those burglar’s tools, a break in as a sexual thing, the ability to open locks, modelling a life on Bernie Rhodenbarr, locks and keys, how many passwords, one password, power and speed, a ream of keys, access, keys are responsibilities that weigh you down, physically and metaphorically, memorization, having lockpicks, lockpicking, water my plants, his burglary life, Mrs. Hesh, power is attractive, like sexual triumph, tumblers finishing, he doesn’t want it to be too clear, on the tip of understanding, “I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here”, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, a true consulting detective, Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe is a cogitating machine, perfect recall, fine living, food, a reveal, parceled out, we get all of the story, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle getting bored of the form, we are Bernie’s Watson, The Silver Blaze, he totally cheated us, cheating, honest cheating cops, the person behind everything, the second gun, triggering, a real play?, second cabbie, James Garner, “Sound Of Distant Drums”, phrases, things that suggest, suggesting rather than saying, a certain feeling, Block is a master manipulator, you flinched, he charmed me out a lot of money, playing a role from the very beginning, he’s an actor, really great, incredibly enjoyable, examining the furniture, shaking out the books, so much in there, intellectual exercise, whodunit?, if you want to know about Watergate now’s the time to read about it, wait twenty years, a good mystery novel gives you all the facts, I feel like Ray Kirschmann, we were totally cheated, a bed is a bed is a bed, no bed of roses, set apart from our world, everybody smokes, no internet, cellphones, computers, answering services, the world has been transformed, visiting a simpler time, sexism of the period is quaint, slightly askew.

POCKET BOOKS - Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #402 – READALONG: A Maze Of Death by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #402 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Marissa, talk about A Maze Of Death by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, one of Marissa’s favourites, get going, where is he going with this?, ohhhkay, Do Androids and Ubik, Morbid Chicken, similar scenes, the space jalopy scenes, this guy is crazy, the Philip K. Dick fans page, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Conspiracy ’87: “…Robinson came up with some refreshingly intriguing ideas. For instance, he sees Dick in A MAZE OF DEATH, deliberately murdering the cast of characters he has used in his books, and grown sick of since SOLAR LOTTERY. There is a different, new cast after MAZE”, the bevatron, various realities, dying one by one, hating each other for their worlds, that house!, all the religions in a blender, a signpost, The Cosmic Puppets, this far and no farther, endlessly spinning wheels about what God is like, prayer transmissions, the Walker On Earth, Seth has ascended, virtual reality, dolphin people, Kurt Vonnegut wrote that book: Galapagos, cynical, he’s going to bite his tongue off, sea-lion people, Margaret Atwood, Oryx And Crake, an episode: Books Jesse Hates, recycled or re-themed, the tench things: T.E.N.C.H. = tensions, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, Alfred Bester, I can’t stand you ANYMORE!, so depressing, stuck in a bottle forever, a Hell, Seth Morley escapes Hell, suicide, “oh god, that’s life!”, and then we play videogames and read books, Faith Of Our Fathers, which is the reality, overlapping possibilities, the weird gnostic twist, purposely plunging into fake reality, a metaphor, drug addiction, Seth Morely’s apotheosis, Delmak-O, is it too soon to bring up The Matrix?, the machines tried to give humans paradise, you weren’t satisfied with it, acting out, it’s a “dead star” not a “black hole”, right to the edge, it literally would be hell, Event Horizon, frozen forever, the Disney movie The Black Hole (1979), they wished they had had star wars, an R2-D2 character, Maximilian, see the movie anyway, a really fun kid’s movie, Roddy McDowell, Anthony Perkins, the overture, Virtuality, a murder happens, a Civil War world, a holodeck, musician/superhero, sounds Philip K. Dicky, follow me down the rabbit hole, Paul’s guess, “Heading for a lawsuit…”, “ripped off from Joe Haldeman’s SF novel “Old Twentieth”, Frozen Journey by Philip K. Dick (1980), you are in a faulty cryonic suspension, Vanilla Sky, Abres Los Ojos, in Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, the Walker On Earth as the protagonist, I don’t trust Philip K. Dick, interpretations, we’re all the Walker On Earth, they’re all Dick, I have to sleep with all the men, he really loves women, unrealized motivations, group therapy, couples therapy, so impressionable, empathizing with everybody’s point of view, he’s working out his own psychology, seeing one person’s attempt to reconcile all the weirdness that’s in his mind, H.P. Lovecraft, that’s his psychology, always being honest, this is what fascinates and obsesses them, PKD doesn’t like it either, “this is life we’re all sort of trapped in orbit around a dead star”, “why the fuck did you do that, you asshole?”, we’re so annoying, escaping to heaven, Heaven would be the most boring fucking place in the entire universe, change, coming to appreciate it, they’re all blurring together, The Game-Players Of Titan, haning out with people who are annoyed with each other, Philip K. Dick’s Agatha Christie novel, Ten Little Indians, Murder On The Orient Express, wow I had no idea this was coming!, “click here for a big spoiler”, too dense or too sick, did you realize what was going on beforehand?, Paul started to suspect, is this an Eye In The Sky sort of thing?, red herrings, a government experiment, an oceanologist and no ocean, an economist, their concentrating all the idiots together, a bunch of people with degrees they couldn’t use, a noser, a squib, a punishment planet, I don’t think Philip K. dick knows what’s going to happen, take me to my last destination, this has Printers in it, a hint early on where the conversations repeat, 1977, kind of like this podcast, it’s long and everybody’s babbling away, just like the podcast, you’re thrown a little bit, what is going on?, an author’s forward,

AUTHOR’S FOREWORD

The theology in this novel is not an analog of any known religion. It stems from an attempt made by William Sarill and myself to develop an abstract, logical system of religious thought, based on the arbitrary postulate that God exists. I should say, too, that the late Bishop James A. Pike, in discussions with me, brought forth a wealth of theological material for my inspection, none of which I was previously acquainted with.

In the novel, Maggie Walsh’s experiences after death are based on an L.S.D. experience of my own. In exact detail.

The approach in this novel is highly subjective; by that I mean that at any given time, reality is seen–not directly– but indirectly, i.e., through the mind of one of the characters. This viewpoint mind differs from section to section, although most of the events are seen through Seth Morley’s psyche.

All material concerning Wotan and the death of the gods is based on Richard Wagner’s version of Der Ring des Nibelungen, rather than on the original body of myths.

Answers to questions put to the tench were derived from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes.

“Tekel upharsin” is Aramaic for, “He has weighed and now they divide.” Aramaic was the tongue that Christ spoke. There should be more like him.

what the hell does this mean?, it’s the Gotterdammerung!, this lady’s an embodiment of Freya, that guy’s an embodiment of Thor, archetypes of Biblical characters, the table of contents:

1 In which Ben Tallchief wins a pet rabbit in a raffle.
2 Seth Morley finds out that his landlord has repaired that which symbolizes all Morley believes in.
3 A group of friends gather together, and Sue Smart recovers her faculties.
4 Mary Morley discovers that she is pregnant, with unforeseen results.
5 The chaos of Dr. Babble’s fiscal life becomes too much for him.
6 For the first time Ignatz Thugg is up against a force beyond his capacity.
7 Out of his many investments Seth Morley realizes only a disappointing gain– measured in pennies.
8 Glen Belsnor ignores the warnings of his parents and embarks on a bold sea adventure.
9 We find Tony Dunkelwelt worrying over one of mankind’s most ancient problems.
10 Wade Frazer learns that those whose advice he most trusted have turned against him.
11 The rabbit which Ben Tallchief won develops the mange.
12 Roberta Rockingham’s spinster aunt pays her a visit.
13 In an unfamiliar train station Betty Jo Berm loses a precious piece of luggage.
14 Ned Russell goes broke.
15 Embittered, Tony Dunkelwelt leaves school and returns to the town in which he was born.
16 After the doctor examines her X-rays, Maggie Walsh knows that her condition is incurable.

maybe all this stuff did happen!, other realities, the economist goes broke, that’as another Philip K. Dick novel: The Cosmic Puppets, true in a metaphorical way, he’s playing a game, Jesse unearths a mysterious object, Rupert, stories told in four levels, “In Which Rupert Finds A Lost Boy” rhyming couplets, prose text, leveling of reading, on one level it’s a murder mystery (and science fiction novel), if you play long enough with Philip K. Dick…, a long game, not the book to start with, late Dick but not bad at all, the comedy and the descriptions and atmosphere of the planet, more polished, Three Stigmata, communities of protagonist, reading about a bunch of dickheads, he’s kind of an asshole sometimes, stressing each other out, the original title: The Hour Of The Tench, the manuscript, no revision, no moving things around, no third and fourth drafts, getting it right the first time, knowing how to hit the beats, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, how well the topic can be played out, a cute topic won’t be a great novel, as he was going it developed into that and started playing it up, How I Rose From The Dead And So Can You, forty god-worlds, mot-scientific means, a big clue, a biblical number, rather than revise, interplaneast and interplanwest, Dick loves Germany, Waking Life, are you the story?, he’s living the books, why is he always obsessed with printers?, their all in an insane asylum, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, little cups with pills, where do the pills come from?, when they don’t work properly and make me feel weird, buy a new car and suddenly entropy happens, the fight against entropy, the Printers are cool because…, other writers or Star Trek deal with replication, what will that do to the economy, a post scarcity future, anti-entropy machine: DNA, I make a kid and he’s not a little mini-me, even this awesome amazing thing that is life even it can’t win, every printer we’ve ever met in any story has been a dying printer, like fairies they’re always dying, deep and creepy, the computer is the Bible, the Bible as our programming, everything is decaying but not the ink, he’s taking it from another Bible: the I, Ching, Jesse’s understanding of how church works, throwing the yarrow stalks, don’t do two shows in the row exactly the same, a good fruitful passage, that’s the mystery of God!, Kings 2:4, it’s no John 3:16, Paul the altar boy, that’s the way its going to be, Jesse’s 4am dream, saving the end for the morning of, in a diner in Orange County, living in a Philip K. Dick (played by Antonio Banderas), a 1950s everyone has a special uniform world, cafe/restaurant/bookstore, a bag with two copies of A Maze Of Death, I’m pretty sure the last two chapters are going to reveal something to me, Antonio Banderas Philip K. Dick sort of smiled, just like in Delmak-O, that was only way this book could be adapted, what’s wrong with Philip K. Dick movie adaptations…, there’s no music swelling, A Scanner Darkly, successful, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Philip K. Dick can never be faithfully adapted, Adaptation, it made sense in the dream, a theory as to what’s going on in the book, that’s essentially what the dream is, an internet of dreams, the collective bevatron worlds of this dream, isolated invented worlds, a hall of puppets, Mormonism, experimenting with religions, Roger Zelazny’s Amber, Tickleufarsen, the Walker On Earth is real, he wants to believe in Jesus, stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire (and helped by Jesus), Jesus Christ is a character (like Batman), Constantine and Council of Nicea, why religious revolutions happen, this Jesus Robin Hood figure, how is Donald Trump gonna go to heaven?, PKD is the Walker On Earth for the characters in A Maze Of Death, inviting a meta-interpretation, a philosopher who uses 1950 and 1960 paperbacks to do philosophy, possibility vs. technology, the Printer is the important part, in a peripatetic Socrates and Plato kind of way, that’s why he (Dick) is immortal, Marilyn Monroe can be reconciled, the coffee machines and the computers, Google T.E.N.C.H., that’s what we’re all striving for, the ink stays, the WORD lives on, 1s and 0s, what really happened, he saved them all, ridiculous but also true, the Total Dick-Head Blog, the cook changes, oh yeah I’m the cook, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, we knew it from the colour of the couch, new knowledge, the game he’s always playing, it’s so subtle, nice catch!, totally re-readable, we did a show.

A Maze Of Death by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Bob Pepper

Posted by Jesse Willis