The SFFaudio Podcast #474 – READALONG: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

May 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #474 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
1963, 1964, better in memory?, horrible, so good, annoying, if you were to find these books in the public domain, editing out the annoying parts, Heinlein can’t help himself, re-reads, trying to focus on the good things, what huh?, what are you doing here, not quite proper, cross-universe stories, eternal jams, a sequel to Glory Road, Fate’s Trick by Mathew J. Castella, “A Crossroads Adventure”, a 14 book series, Robert Silverberg, Xanth, Majipoor, Jody Lynn Nye, Steven Brust, choose your own adventure books, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, as close to a choose your adventure as Heinlein came, Have Space Suit-Will Travel, Ellen Kushner, weird conclusions, TV Tropes is Wikipedia for tropes, a tribute novel, those books I read as a kid, Dagwood sandwich, good art, brain uploading, the egg, an African American protagonist?, the F&SF covers, Robin Hood-looking dude, surprise Filipino, Tunnel In The Sky, set in the then contemporary world, cultural assumptions, Oscar Gordon, no evidence for that in the book, have you got to the part with the realization yet?, the big surprise, the key scene in this novel, the opening quotation, George Bernard Shaw, his experience with the Dural customs and morality, author tract, the broader setting seems only to exist to praise the authors views, crappy dialogues, “I’m going to spank you”, somebody’s personal morality is tripped and triggered, obsession, its in every book, “I’m going to marry you…no we can’t get married” for 14 pages, losing control, Iowa to Colorado, the banality of Iowa, the first publication introduction, figure skater, cat-midwife, Isaac Asimov, Starship Soldier, an adventure story, a romance, other worlds – other manners, full of references, incredibly brilliant, wrong in so many ways, it’s not that I haven’t had sex with a married man’s wife under his own roof…, he wanted to be a wife-swapper, baked in so deeply, the whole universe of Nivea, Heinleinian fantasy land, the island in France, le minimum, nudism, he can’t help but talk about it all the time, nudity and nudity taboos, A Princess Of Mars, the conventions of American morality are wrong, freely given, “I’m a dirty tramp” every three pages, objectified and off-put at the thought of a spanking, a male fantasy novel written by a man who wanted to be a woman and be spanked, characters vs. speeches, a libertarian fantasy world, no need for police and taxes, Irish Sweepstakes, unsubtle digs, sad and ridiculous, silly empress stuff, royalty can work really well, Heinlein signed a document that was in favor of continuing the Vietnam War, until what time?, G.I. benefits, Singapore, Europe, hanging-out with hairy hippies, being spat upon, infantry, the U.S. Navy, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, a homeless Vet, questions his own sanity, visiting his parents, taking away the last two paragraphs, weird morality, misunderstanding what women want, sword spanking with specific swords, why am I being exposed to this, not so good with the flashing, Friday, more tightly controlled, a lot of time sitting around the castle, the actual adventure we get, dragons, the whole tower thing, a really good sword-fighting scene, all the references, who the swordsman (the never born) was Cyrano de Bergerac, it just so happens, good writing, Chapter 11 ends with a fateful scene, read the motto star, while we live let us live, again with the swords, jump high, another gate or doorway, The Door In The Wall by H.G. Wells, intermittent mental illness, a green door, a wonderful fantasy world, a beautiful elven lady much older than himself, a doorway to another universe, the inspiration for all of these styles of story, he wishes that he was there, opens himself to the possibilities, just a deluded man, playing, so many stories of this ilk, hard going, Stranger In A Strange Land is lawyers talking about morality with ladies serving them coffee, the Eater of Souls, Carcassonne, fly to the Moon, the play, replete with references, the thuddingness of the third act, Silverlock by John Myers Myers, To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, very swashbuckly, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the three women who want to bed him (the three bears), the horned ghosts, the horned goats, tilting at windmills, Don Quixote style, Neverwhere is how we got here, homeless and crazy, a roc’s egg, a likely wench, slow wings of the albatross, Prester John, eating the lotus in the land of always afternoon, the world sucks, a fantasy world for Heinlein, Neil Gaiman’s kinds of characters, the pixie girl, the blank Neil Gamian character, the funny character with a haircut, masturbatory, the kind of conflicts that Heinlein’s character have is a kind of horror, abused by his government, killing little brown brother, a sadder ending, connecting everything, the Heinlein Cinematic Universe should not exist, The Number Of The Beast, he thinks its cool, Jesse doesn’t care how many Manuel Garcia shows up in other books, not a fantasy novel, all the magic is math, “you don’t have the math yet, son”, the giant troll, a great scene, a pair of greasy hands, peak Heinlein efficiency, are you a coward?, brilliant, being manipulated for the better part of a decade, the scope, how many near Oscar Gordons are wandering the Earth, Rufo, as voiced by Bronson Pinchot, a funny sidekick, I invented it!, giving Eisenhauer advice on D-Day, the structure feels identical (to Neverwhere), tested at Blackfriars station, a psycho-ward, lederhosen and an aloha shirt and nothing else, ugly Americans, screw the draft, so wise, democracy is foolish, apply that to foreign policy, we made our commitments, national glory, honour and glory, we screwed up, you break it you bought it, more wasted lives, the longest war in American history, taking over the French fuck-up, not a book of wisdom, a book of adventure, so good when he’s good and so terrible when he’s terrible, working it out in his own head?, he loves his country so much, very progressive in strange ways, not racist, looking at a mirror too much, looking at it as a libertarian book, frustrating, oh god!, once the adventure is over, sentence by sentence writing, a mistake, visiting a barony, guests and heroes, Edgar Allan Poe, Casey At The Bat, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, why?, because!, fixing that mistake, sleeping with women, what is necessary in one world, wherever Heinlein’s character’s wander, same sex relations, a little lesbianism, no offers of young men, more universes under her belt, a running unfunny joke, earlier Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, Philip K. Dick, questionable morality, cheating, bows and swords, lady’s got her eggs frozen (for later decanting), wacky stuff, fertility clinics, every book, Podkanyne Of Mars, interested in fertility, fertility treatments in the mid 20th century, something that ate at him?, “I’m sterile”, “I’m going to have your baby”, “does that make me a minx? does that make me a bitch?” why are we doing this to the listener, Mythgard Academy shouldn’t do Heinlein, hurts peoples brains, birth control, women must be putting out all the time, yours is the weird universe, for such a brilliant guy, the ridiculous false-conflict conversations are almost unbearable, forgetting about the stuff, rationalizing, read him when you’re young, the problematic stupid and clunky, Heinlein is in decline, the Coode Street Podcast, bookstores don’t carry older stuff anymore, for the best?, Maureen Speller, studying Heinlein, University Of Illinois Press, what about the juveniles?, the YA, better YA being written, “less problematic”, a lot of great protagonist storytelling with capital S capital F SCIENCE FICTION, Isaac Asimov, Rocketship Galileo, the science fiction mindset, playing a game of Science Fiction, Mr. Science Fiction, Heinlein’s not doing allegory ever, hard SF, “here’s how rocketships work, boys”, if people don’t read Moon Is A Harsh Mistress the world is a much worse place, Heinlein is great!, what makes somebody worth talking to is they’ve read a lot of books, The Hunger Games is okay but Tunnel In The Sky is better, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, recycling characters, Heinlein has something really special, maybe there’s other books out there for me, Heinlein really knows how to convey a certain 1950s mindset that “SCIENCE IS REALLY IMPORTANT”, engineering students, breaking out the slide-rule, the Popular Mechanics style of can-do-ism, a not user repairable world, helping you as a person, the danger of Dungeons & Dragons, critical in all sorts of areas, tributes to Heinlein, there’s something about him and his mindset, a I Love Heinlein show, somehow irrelevant, deep dive into genre history, thirty years and forty years after publication, reading a book, that’s not how people read books anymore, cultural transmission, peer generation vs. top down generation, popular, a good old fashioned marketing campaign, Harry Potter, the epitome and ur example, what kid’s going to pick up Starman Jones?, that’s not marketing, we made a lot of money selling those books, a bottom up, will you in thirty years, Harry Potter ultimately nothing like Heinlein, within the set-up, however it works, spending time on Mars, he’s interested in that, The Expanse novels, Jesse’s not going to read them, anti-gravity, Ian Macdonald’s Luna: New Moon, Artemis by Andy Weir, Luke Burrage’s review, if you want to understand what life on the Moon’s like, digging those tunnels, Gentlemen, Be Seated, let’s explore and see what is consequent, that’s wrong and Heinlein is the one who taught Jesse that, historical perspective, not the best move, not reflective of the field, Anne Of Green Gables, fantasy novels are generally timeless, science fiction (when it ages), what the heck is this?, a theoretical?, James Davis Nicoll, no good way to feel your way into it, The Lord Of The Rings, why are there no girls in this book?, most people who are real readers are real weirdos, the only reason Paul and Jesse met, omnivorous and fast vs. slow and ponderous, most of Jesse’s student’s don’t read anything, a worse person without Heinlein, if they were public domain, the power of Lovecraft, everybody who read his stuff at the time H.P. Lovecraft was alive loved his stuff, this is stuff you should bounce off harder than anything, the vocabulary and the racism, a massive decline in Heinlein’s stuff, some corporation, there’s no champion for Heinlein, wonderful and terrible, getting a copy, Jesse has never seen a Kindle in real life, a great and terrible novel, in ten years, so many good scenes!

Glory Road - illustrated by Bruce Pennington

AVON - Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #460 – READALONG: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

February 12, 2018 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #460 -Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada talk about Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Talked about on today’s game:
the television series, Lenny Henry, Chef, tribes of homeless people in London, the novel, a little sandwich, what book would you take to a desert island?, The Sandman, not the way that things usually run, in the back of Paul’s mind, a full and visceral fall into London Below, the audio drama, Paul buys too many ebooks and audiobooks, Paul’s poor little TV, a new life in the world below, the sewer folk, the comic book adaptation, sadly and tragically, Glen Fabry, Preacher, DC Vertigo, Door has a keyhole over her eye, a completely different vision, insane, shot on videotape, early Doctor Who, Paterson Joseph, Mr Croup and Mr Vandermar, working hard to say bad things about Neverwhere, a children’s book for adults (true about everything Neil Gaiman writes), a metaphor for homelessness, Mr Stockton, Richard’s career as a security analyst, a metaphor for going inside yourself, looking for a critique, real damn good, a sketch, suggesting rather than telling, when Gaiman goes spare he goes better, Charles Dickens, here comes the pressure, the new illustrated edition, William Morrow Harper Collins, Chris Riddell, illustrations throughout, long noses, an eye, a branch twining through the pages, taking you down into it, the Angel Islington, Door is a child, Anesthesia, parallel characters, packed with illustrations, old-wordiness, “entwined”, Jesse’s book fell through the cracks, allusions to semi-mythical literary stuff, referencing earlier materials, The Graveyard Book, The Lord Of The Rings, Alice In Wonderland, Coraline, WONDERFUL, Neil Gaiman tattoos, we completely agree Neil Gaiman is awesome, Gaiman speaks to people, The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, why is it called Neverwhere?, physical place that has never existed in time, that fairy tale fantasy title, Stardust, reflective, gods and angels, pixie-like elfin girls, killers with knives, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, a murder of a family, a knife in the darkness, the backstory of this book, getting the same stuff in a different package, writing about marriage, a hand in the darkness, consider how London Below works, an unperson, utterly cut-off, social interaction, hitting Paul in the feels, nobody gives a damn if I live or die, tapping into fundamental fears, deep and true mythic social stuff, the beginning and the end, so much really works, very H.P. Lovecraft, Celephaïs by H.P. Lovecraft, disconnection with reality, the doubt, the ordeal, the trial, a subversion reading that’s IN the text, on the train platform, suicide, potent stuff, if they wanted to film it again today, too sensitive, romanticizing homelessness, if you’ve ever gone camping, romantic in the theoretical or in retrospect but there’s no romance in reality, too empathetic, an issue, defenses built up, its very very hard, people are strong even when they’re strong in the wrong ways, a problem you can’t easily fix, homelessness, many kinds of failures, Jessica’s reaction to Door’s body lying there, getting taken, a horrible thing to say “the all have homes, really”, generosity of strangers, it depends on how sympathetic you are, the book version, Jessica is not a monster, misplaced priorities, interested in the wrong things, exemplars of humanity, Aurora, Ontario, bags bags bags, she’s starving, “no thank you, I’m fine”, housing costs, pets, smoking, not enough money, schizophrenia, forbearance, neat hoarding, Jesse doesn’t have any doilies, if you don’t have a plant there’s something wrong with you, if you are not able to conform yourself, if it was not for a social safety-net more would be homeless, falling through the cracks of the bureaucracy, not a romantic story of homelessness, Lir (the musician), you always need another favour in you pocket, I don’t think he’s 100% reputable, rats and fur, a good craftsman, well polished, his turns of phrase are virtually perfect, a long list of things that are in (or not) a room, how Croup and Vandermar are alike, who they are without how they came to be, a very small world, Hunter, a little bit “dodgy” in the same way rats are a little bit covered in fur, How The Marquis Got His Coat Back, the Marquis de Carabas is from Puss In Boots, the sewer as a river, a non-existent person, the last door is opened by the Marquis, its clear to Paul, mutual friends, the Marquis came back from the dead, Richard left and returned, we’re going to lie-in, seeing it all laid out, Dante’s Inferno, the Marquis is like Virgil, Dracula, Frankenstein, Transformers, a tiny bit from the audio drama, the 15th century, they’re time travelling psychopaths, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, Valdemar wants “Dead things. Extra teeth.”, we’ve never killed a marquis before, Men?, if you prick us do we not bleed?, no, the timelines, his watch and his debit card stop working, bubbles in time and space, three thousand years ago, the remnants of a Roman legion still camped, more fantastical elements, more 12th century England, no allowance for Jesse, Jesse was in competition with homeless people, Dungeons & Dragons modules, a quasi-homeless industry, if you want to help the homeless increase the bottle deposit, 2018 vs 1980 money, people don’t like to be condescended to, Jesse’s penurious poorness, a trunk full of bottles is a treasure, they wear weird clothes, pushing shopping carts around, its not only about homelessness, choosing your own way to live, Richard’s apartment is taken away, he has a duty to his fiance but a greater duty to a stranger, there re just some things that are wrong, the difference between rude and cruel, we’re dangerous as humans, you have to be sensitive, invisible people, standing at an intersection asking for money, you have to look away, horror, too sensitive a soul, the people who don’t see it, when Jessica sees and can almost remember Richard’s name, is Mr Stockton an angel in the world above?, angel investor, the restoration of an angel, a kind of underdeveloped parallelism, a media guy, Rupert Murdoch, he’s a monster, “I’m in banking”, oh my god…how can you live like that?, being Neil Gaiman, being Maissa, being a creator of a whole universe of characters is fun, choosing a life of mystery and adventure, a life of horror, a recipe for making money, Jessica is more down that path, no pet names, choosing you life, pre-history, the trolls he has on his desk, that’s lampshaded, TV Tropes, Spaceballs, replacing an actor, Iron Man, “I’m here, get over it”, you look different, no answer, that’s how you write the story, the fortuneteller, destiny, the trolls, his new office, the nice cup of tea, Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, talk about the mice, vastly intelligent pan-dimensional beings, the rats, ratty, Neil Gaiman’s book about Douglas Adams, “yes, this!”, zany but controlled, Gaiman has much more discipline than Douglas Adams, procrastinating, Dirk Gently, Last Chance To See, Starship Titanic, the very Englishness, the parallels that happen, the incompetent of the group, Arthur Dent, madcap adventure, Richard levels up, surviving the ordeal, he had empathy for himself, like Door’s sister, the bracelet, the level of humanity, Jesse am unashamed about reading this urban fantasy, the number of times “duck” comes up, “duck under”, like water off an oiled duck, poor towel substitutes, a small yellow rubber duck, inside the silver box, another velvet, a duck’s egg, why are there so many ducks in here?, a weird little affectation, somewhere in between the size of a duck and a planet, plotting’s not my thing, let’s see where this goes, Gaiman can do it line after line, incredibly talented at the job of knowing how to tell the story, being Neil Gaiman, Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police novels, a cameo.

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere Issue 1 Page 10

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (Preferred Text)

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere BBC Radio Drama

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #459 – READALONG: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

February 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #459 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Davis talk about The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, subverting expectations, thriller philosophical novel adventure fantasy, a book about anarchists (not really), hot topic, pre-WWI, bring down the system, everybody is a dynamiter, Michael Collins, if you don’t seem to be hiding nobody hunted you out, anarchy against anarchy, the Orson Welles adaption, easier to understand, one female character in the book and she shows up on the last page, Mercury Theater, Welles as Sunday, evil or good?, wine commercials, this old fat guy talking about wine, large people refracted through later media, Gilbert in The Sandman is G.K. Chesterton, confession, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, because it has detectives in it?, sudden reveals, that person is not an anarchist either, the same trick over and over, the Professor, the Marquis, the Father Brown mysteries, Miss Marpole, Reading Short and Deep, The Angry Street: A Bad Dream by G.K. Chesterton, like Scrooge, a very interesting guy, a very rare bird, a conservative intellectual, explaining a lot of what’s going on, The Tremendous Adventures Of Major Brown, The Game (1997), sympathetic to anarchism, the ISIS of its day, submitting to ISIS, its not a critique of anarchism at all, a caricature of anarchists as terrorists, non-violent anarchism, a classic problem, non-terroristic anarchism, fantastic turns of phrase, lampshaded, lighting a lamp against the darkness, a fun romp, the reality of police going after subversive groups, it’s about God, and your relationship to Him and yourself on Earth, Chesterton’s fence, an axiom, a principle, completely reasonable, why conservationism should be the default, he’s so persuasive and witty, these are the kinds of conservatives Jesse is afraid of, the Catholic in Julie, the wisdom of the ages, a noble ideal, Terry Pratchett, Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman, “a man who really knew what was going on”, he dresses kind of goth-y, carrying a sword-cane, the people he admired carried sword-canes, Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, a dog named Bounce, Dante’s Inferno, a great age of satire, turning things upside down, laughing, I love lists, a poet who loves lists, arch-humour, that young man, wild white hat, a cause of philosophy in others, a preview of the ending, Scott couldn’t stand this book, Julie was enchanted by it, its unfixed, there’s no grounding, the duel scene, removing parts of his body, he’s a robot, he’s disassembling himself, a little too far?, Scott is a writer, writers reviewing fiction books, how it was constructed, the subtitle: “A Nightmare”, this is a fantasy, this is a fantastic village, this isn’t real, Dante’s Paradisio, this is just allegorical, that’s hilarious, Scott was raised Catholic, Julie (like Chesterton) was a convert, going all the way, a different kind of reader, the cosmos had turned upside down, looking at everything from the back, where the book’s theme is made manifest, this is what I mean, The Everlasting Man, H.G. Wells, proof, a little dig on evolution, shaking the reader, you have no firm fixed ground, wherever you land you’ll find God, “They said my very walk was respectable, and that seen from behind I looked like the British Constitution”, ridiculous, the conservative view, not a poet who is a poet, the common working man, no peasant wants anarchy, every millionaire is at heart an anarchist, plutocrats as anarchists, WTO protests, agent provocateurs, during the Black Panther era, policeman in disguise: let’s blow stuff up, energetic FBI contributions, kind of Philip K. Dickian, a completely different reveal, A Scanner Darkly, Bob Arctor, Robert Downey, Jr., did Philip K. Dick read this book?, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?‘s fake police station, is Sunday Jesus Christ?, Sunday is God, dressed in the disguise that reveal them as who they really are, pantheists, when men wake up, beautiful nature, a garden, the unmasking, the garden may be Gethsemane, 33 pieces of paper of no value, the question of betrayal, of all days of the week, Rosamund, at the end of time, Heaven is somewhere in Normandy, the marchers, what’s going on?, they all admit they have one hope, the man in the Black Chamber, such a conservative fantasy, secret policeman, the trailer for the 2016 movie adaptation, Nazis and fascists, how could you do a straight up adaptation of this?, Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days In Mayhem, Dracula marries Queen Victoria, anarchists against Dracula and the vampire elite, a concentration camp holding Sherlock Holmes, Gilbert and Sullivan, a weird detective story about soap operas, the way Sunday is depicted, some of the ways that Sunday is described, he swooned, Sunday is both the Devil and God, looking at him from his hind-parts, kinda weird, the pure good thing, many out loud laughs, “He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else.”, his turns of phrase, why Chesterton is loved by Gaiman and Pratchett, the same kind of wry comedians, easy to get along with, shall we go out and have dinner together now?, isolation, twice two is 2,000 times one, George Bernard Shaw, ‘too see you’d think Britian was in a famine – to see you you’d think we’d know why’, fun and dangerous, WWI, a white feather, The Four Feathers, wearing their white feathers proudly, making another joke about being fat, “anarchists!”, what does that have to do with… Bryan?, Gavrilo Princip was not an anarchists (he was a Nationalist) but he was called one, anticipation of WWI, a glimpse of the desire for violence, Teddy Roosevelt, the older detective, detecting pessimists, discovering a crime in a book of sonnets, really funny, Charles Stross’ laundry series, surveillance and data analysis for pre-crime, chilling, why he’s a dangerous guy, defending the indefensible, he spells it out so clearly, do we all know what’s going on here, the book starts with a poem, looking at it in sentences,

“A cloud was on the mind of men
And wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul
When we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity
And art admired decay;
The world was old and ended:
But you and I were gay;

he’s conflating nihilism and decadence and decay with anarchism, The Decline Of The West, The War Of The Worlds, a grim vitality, “what do you want? martyrs!”, written as a cure for melancholy, An Anatomy Of Melancholy, reading melancholic writers, lassitude, making you thoughtful, flashy, so light in its stated topic, if this was written today…, Britain’s who travel to the Middle East to join ISIS, a pacifist book, pro-life, imagining the bomb going off, the value of each human life, Isaac Asimov, violence as the last refuge of the incompetent, chances, who is the man in the black room?, he’s the Alpha and the Omega, in Syria the war is winding down, a 90% decrease in violence, why did the Vietnam War happen, big agents doing things, why does this anarchist council exist?, I can’t believe that any common man would support, a certain class of people thought it would be honourable or profitable, a different subject for the book, a secret agent style version of this book, Moriarty, Fu Manchu, the daughter of the Dragon, a boogeyman, Fu Manchu is trying to overthrow the British occupation of China, a sympathy argument for Fu Manchu, Pan-Asia, Genghis Khan, turnabout is fairplay, pot kettle black, Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, Captain Nemo, his mother was a hardcore Stalinist, she was convinced Stalin the great hero of the 20th century, Dorothy Day, attacking organized religion, Marx, neither god nor master, a coherent argument to make, James Dean or Marlon Brando, Kryten in Red Dwarf, mere willingness is the final test, a lengthy lecture on the history of anarchism, Mary Woolstencraft’s husband, Things As They Are; Or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, Parents And Children aka Fathers And Sons, what’s more useful a painting or a pair of shoes, a near contemporary, an active Russian thing, Dan Schwent, really different, almost not a novel, it is a dream, nightmare, The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, that moment, that vertiginous moment, deciding to go another way, setting up these moments, as participators or adaptors, a bunch of people who are wrong about everything, a council, there’s no predominant day of the week, I have to do a podcast on Sunday, it needs to be scheduled, the Club Of Queer Trades stories, how does the schedule happen?, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman was inspired by G.K. Chesterton’s The Napoleon Of Notting Hill,

“a novel written by G. K. Chesterton in 1904, set in a nearly unchanged London in 1984.

Although the novel is set in the future, it is, in effect, set in an alternative reality of Chesterton’s own period, with no advances in technology or changes in the class system or attitudes. It postulates an impersonal government, not described in any detail, but apparently content to operate through a figurehead king, randomly chosen.”

not really science fiction, radical!, not a fan of revolutions, loving Americans, one conservative to think about, The French Revolution, The Russian Revolution, The American Revolution, Queen Elizabeth II is on my money, Tories fled to Canada, Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts, the Tories (political party), Canada’s history as a defense against American radicalism, a distorted perspective, Jesse ruined it, not the first nor the last time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime ministers are not that important, the Premier of British Columbia is John Horgan.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #448 – READALONG: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #448 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1954, a reconstruction of a Norse Saga with Dungeons & Dragons elements, Scott loved it, Jesse found it terrible, and Paul has read it thrice, what would have happened…, Eric Bright Eyes by H. Rider Haggard, idiots and assholes and magic, low magic, striving toward wisdom, the nuclear weapons of magic, Odin, sacrificial Paul, the rules, in the realm of mythology, Beowulf, The Lord Of The Rings, Michael Moorcock’s Elric Of Melnibone, archetypes and gods, greater and deeper, mythic vs. inspired by myth, the language was amazing, Jesse’s not saying much, directly inspired by Beowulf, The Völsunga Saga, an insight into 1000 year old society, The Odyssey, the characters tended to not be very wise, semi-historical, Ragnar Lodbrook, simile nice, toning down the massive metaphors, more about power than it is about ideas, the whole magic sword thing, magic items, H.P. Lovecraft, huge and menacing and powerful and on the edge of our ability to perceive, Skafloc, drawing runes, there’s a demon in here, cursed staves, Dreams In The Witch House, his counterpart (his changeling), screwed at birth, cursed in a Greek or Norse way, more action, not an idea book, all about the ideas, The Forever War, the ideas are not front in center, you can’t touch iron, that’s the rule!, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, werewolves, becoming an outlaw, becoming savage, why is he a werewolf, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, not unlike the world was viewed, the revised edition, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, the 1971 revision (made it worse), Gollanz’s reversion, ‘I welded the Broken Sword back together’, a ‘Book For The Blind’ narration, luke warm, The High Crusade, Three Hearts And Three Lions, a WWII officer dropped into the land of fairy, the plot of the Wonder Woman movie, for copyright reasons?, fiddling, the language in this book, poetry, evocative descriptions, half converted Christians, a ghost tells them, that’s the rules, her brother her lover, that’s the tragedy, echoes, the ending was rushed, Valgard, killed by the device, E.F. Bleiler, noir, doomed from the beginning, the characters doom themselves vs. their doomed because of their destiny, why is this happening?, he calls to the raven, hey there’s a battle down the road, dude!? why did you do that?, James M. Cain, for no good reason, stirring the same area of Scott’s brain, pale recreation of Tolkien, thinking about the meta-aspect, that GRAVITAS, WWII, truth, the eternal verities, the truth of story, poetic truth, philosophers, a truth and a resonance, Dunkirk, its hard to criticize anything that is tongue-in-cheek, the bad geography of Middle Earth (Tor.com), philology, Frank Herbert, geology and ecology, monsters doing monstrous things to each other, what makes them powerful, Marissa, imagine you’re copy-editing someone’s work, fixing a falsity, the Goodreads reviews, the reviews of Beowulf, what’s the Bible’s Goodreads reviews, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, the epic vs. the novel, ringing false, is this a high fantasy book?, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, science vs. magic, lets shoot the fireballs at each other, Robert E. Howard, the magic sword mentality, Excalibur and King Arthur, his human thews (though very jaguar-like), the strength of 10-hill giants, a really problematic definition, epic vs. sword and sorcery, about scale and stakes, who is casting the fireballs, “an Atlantean Sword”, the magic is in his manliness, about willpower, born to be screwed, the characters don’t seem to know themselves, they are almost pre-conscious, The Odyssey, I’ve made mistakes – I’m going to make more – and here I go, sticking with the tradition he is writing in, that northern tradition, the Neil Gaiman movie script adaptation of Beowulf, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, set in Iceland, Henry Treece’s Viking Trilogy, on the PDF Page, Viking Dawn, The Road To Miklagard, Viking Sunset, Beothuk, throw down some quotes, a sequel hook, Ragnarok, the unfinished comic book adaptation from the 1960s, good stuff, a book full of sadness, “whence came you hither, fawn?”, the sacred grove, the dryad screams, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, arbitrary rules, the White Christ, real gods vs. fake gods, who and how much power a particular name has, see American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, Carcassonne, Kentucky, why are some characters not allowed to touch iron?, that’s the rules, the afterword, a science fiction-y take, when he isn’t being playful, Three Hearts And Three Lions, marrying science fiction with fantasy, how they can intertwine and make sense of each other, when the Devil shows up, Dante (Alighieri), “the White Christ, time and love”, I knew him of old in my incarnation of Loki, things as other things, fairies from China and India, a very old idea, that’s some deep stuff right there, elf girlfriends vs. human girlfriends, mocking eyes, “oh, you’re one of thooose guys”, “like calls to like”, cold mystery, adopted by elves, mythic, Dragon Magazine, some of the cartoons, straight out of Elric (and this), intelligent swords, willful swords, when you’re sword has a higher intelligence that you do, a tragedy, where’s my place in this world, where’s my place in a Norse saga?, sword dances, a novel for Dungeons & Dragons players, “Brutal, romantic and tragic. no cute hobbits.”

Ballantine Books - The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1961) fanzine illustration

comic book adaptation of The Broken Sword

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson - Italian

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Boris Vallejo illustration of The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #445 – READALONG: Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

October 30, 2017 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #445 – Jesse, Paul, Mr Jim Moon, and Bryan Alexander talk about Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Talked about on today’s show:
1918, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1970, Friend Island, interview with a sea-woman, “peace ships”, women are grizzled teetotallers, The Elf-Trap, Carcassone, Kentucky, Carolina, so obscure, an artists colony, she’s kind of like a female Lovecraft, hidden beyond normal perceptions, Gertrude Mable Barrows Bennett, A. Merritt, pure raving pulp, impressive, giant narrative yank, Neal Stephenson, a little Tim Powers-y, lost civilization, H. Rider Haggard, come back to haunt him, the lost city, strangled to death by a python, Boots = Colin, character names, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, a Doctor Moreau in the suburbs, very melodramatic, a giant killer ape called “Genghis Khan”, a sub-sub genre of killer gorillas, the whole Aztec mythology, a sub-boss, a strangely international novel, the Irish nature of the heroes, Mexico present and past, a whole raft of gods, Egyptian and Japanese gods, undisciplined, scene by scene, two dudes wandering through the desert, The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Stifel, a created creature, a man without a soul, pirates, machine gunning scenes, mixing it up, completely spurious quote from H.P. Lovecraft, the elder gods called out, “wonderful and tragic allegory… amazing, thrilling”, The Curse Of Yig, strange monsters, mad science and ancient sorcereies, a bizarre fungal-oid process, The Shunned House, always bringing it back to the domestic, the female characters are at least as powerful as the male, a house attacked, a domestic dispute, the manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the Goodreads summary:

Two adventurers discover a lost city in the Mexican jungle. One is taken over by an evil god while the other falls in love with a woman from Tlapallan. Back in the states, the possessed man begins to use magic to mutate civilians. The other walks away, but the pair must duel in the end.

dry and desiccated hills, romance, Julie Davis:

“This is a very enjoyable combination of lost world, Lovecraftian monsters, H.G. Wells, and (of course!) a romance. I especially liked the fact that the people who believe the supernatural reality the fastest are Irish. They are used to their Celtic gods and tales, natch!”

the Rabid Puppies, a light quick and very praising review, undisciplined, what does this mean?, it’s like Eden, there’s a snake, foreshadowing, not well planned out, because it was serialized…, how much did Stevens know, wading around in Aztec mythology, Deities & Demigods, Doctor Who: The Aztecs, sharing a cup of chocolate, the look on Hartnell’s face, Aliette de Bodard, the mindset of a priest of an Aztec god, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, Q (1982), Amy H. Sturgis, cave-men days, the reversal of The Time Machine, The Daleks, a beautiful allegory, a bottle episode, Marco Polo, dropped into an alien culture, a description from Barbara of what the Aztec culture was like, Temple Of Evil, a garden for the retirees, retirement age of 52, a plurality of viewpoints, save them from Cortez, profoundly affected, Quetzalcoatl has 400 hit points and infinite movement, the Irish aspect, as readers of Lovecraft know…, immigration restriction, Irish heroes, extra big, extra strong, extra smart, the Irish cop, tough and sarcastic, Robert E. Howard, Dorothy Macardle’s The Uninvited, the Celtic connection to all things bogey, bugaboos, our “Nordic character”, you can’t shoot that, Sven Bjornsen and his wife Astrid, the Norse as the ideal, the Nazis, Lovecraft’s respect for the Scandinavians, the strange pacings, a kaleidoscope, the plot was getting away from her, the classic cliffhanger, Tlalpan, Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, Montezuma’s failure to act, Cortez as a canny operator, Francisco Pizarro, the British and French and Portuguese in India, set between two small towns that don’t exist, Steven’s husband, the domestic spheres, household events, going through doorways, a lot of doorway stuff, liminal, wrong-footing, a civil war, the Cortez moment, almost a retelling, booted out, a sense of something else, this isn’t a triumphant colonial novel, The Man Who Would Be King, the white hounds, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the place of black and red, the skin colour of the household, the “greaser”, The Electric Executioner by Adolphe de Castro and H.P. Lovecraft (is TERRIBLE!), are the hounds the disease?, the Wild Hunt, elves, lost world, strange city, Jack Vance, the black stone of evil incarnate, Robert E. Howard-y vs. Edgar Rice Burroughs-y, adventure pulp, domestic supernatural, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, Chapter 6: The Black Eidolon, unevenly constructed paragraphs, kind of weird, always going back to the bungalow and the veranda, being a wife means being in a home, Philip K. Dick’s characters hang out in southern California, there’s something meta about everything she does, too diverse?, a boldy feminist piece, Fahrenheit 451 has gravitas because it’s dystopic, The Hitchhikker’s Guide’s To The Galaxy, Harry Harrison, John Scalzi, comedic science fiction novels, falling absolutely flat, playing with our expectations, closing towards the end, leaving Talapalan, back to domestic concerns, the power of Dracula, Undine, ancient Mexican deities and monsters, 1918, invasion, Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, Great Work Of Time by John Crowley, a steam-punk utopia, a gorgeous writer, a haunting writer, it turns on Rhodes, what’s up with Anne Of Green Gables?, parallels, Chapter 24, a reversal of the first scene, the kitchen sink, a weird balance between the Irish Celtic and the Aztec and the Mexican, Neil Gaiman-y, H.P. Lovecraft would have taken her to task over her structuring, disconcerting and unfamiliar, Doctor Reed’s compound, fungous creatures shaped by thoughts, albino marsh, a red flap, a gold chair, fortress of fear, one of the problems, Thor has a hammer, a twin, the complexity, the collapse of Aztec civilization, the Norns vs. the Fates, Cold War 2.0, Greek and Roman mythology, Latina and Greek, Pallas Athena, different periods, semi-appropriating, Theseus, different emphases, Greco-Roman culture, feudalism, The Marriage Of Cadmus And Harmony by Roberto Calasso, genre history, bursting with intelligence and ideas.

Virgil Finlay illustration of Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

PAPERBACK LIBRARY - Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Virgil Finlay illustration of The Citadel Of Fear by Francis Stevens

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #439 – READALONG: The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

September 18, 2017 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #439 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer discuss the novella entitled The Fifth Head Of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

Talked about on today’s show:
Serberous?, the novella (not the whole book), maybe an accident maybe on purpose, very-Wolfeian, Orbit 10 edited by Damon Knight, fixup vs. novel?, V.R.T., to fully understand…, you need them all together, error or on purpose, many moons ago, novella is the perfect length for any Science Fiction work, read in publication order, old home week, Ender’s Shadow, Ender’s Game, cheating, the Alzabo Soup podcast, The Book Of The New Sun, condensed and distilled, Jorge Luis Borges <- I like what that guy's doing, I'm going to do me some of that -> George R.R. Martin, reader doing the heavy lifting, A Song Of Ice And Fire, almost a fantasy novel, a cloning story, Jack Vance, far future where science has become magic, the Dying Earth subgenre, no magic going on?, the sentences are full of magic, what does the title mean, is the reader the fifth head?, The Black Gate blog post, this story is a combination lock that allows many different combinations, info-dumping, somebody is a clone or a mirror or a part of his imagination, an unreliable narrator, a really good sign, this is Gene Wolfe’s thing, perfect memory, no memory, a consistent memory, how accurate are the details?, how many characters are there?, number five, is one of the characters is “Gene Wolfe”?, the father, the brother (David), the aunt, the lady in pink, the other clone in the warehouse, the four-armed dude is a character, the robot (Mr Millions), Marsh, the anthropologist, the brothel, how its revealed, he has been in prison, the only complete arc, we must infer the rest of them, the death of the father, Christopher Nolan should direct it, it is a complete work or it will be, clones of the same person, hinkey, hokey, or odd, all the books in the private library were written by his father, going to the Ws, very meta, are you a Nigerian prince? Jesse will believe you (for a minute), he is really old, which body did all the typing and research, daily dissertations, studying particular subjects (to be filled in in the labyrinth), The Library Of Babel, the only thing we know about readers is that they like books, writers are readers too, the ultimate fantasy is the place where all the stories are found, cloning to write, cloning to read, what’s up with the late night interrogations, is he psychoanalyzing?, or studying?, voight-kampff tests, what makes something or someone real?, Infinivox, Robert Reed’s Guest Of Honor, there was no quintessential cloning novel, why she is guest of honour, everybody is immortal, he could be downloading, being able to read three books at the same time, David isn’t one of the clones is he?, he escapes, theory and conjecture, nothing more than personality test?, gaining insight into himself, he’s clearly cloned a lot, “failures”, a slave who looks like him, four arms vs. five heads, societal cloning, impressions, “questionable things”, a brothel, a Frankenstian lab, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Littlefinger and Varos from Game Of Thrones, all sorts of play, what the kid’s doing with the frogs, experimenting with all the different ways of living and making life, mirrors and labyrinths, why he lives in a brothel, financial motivations, slave dealing, endless cycle, the Greek Tragedy elements, unfortunately that’s how the prophecy goes, genes are destiny, escaping the trap and escaping the cycle, A Song Of Ice And Fire, castrated folks, incest, pretty interesting, Nightflyers, Sandkings, that hardness, slavery and murder, colonization, genocide, colonialism, what information can we glean, the plastic replicas of the aboriginal stone tools, pre-stone tool culture, is Veill’s hypothesis correct?, does it matter?, good questions, John Marsh or a version of John Marsh, sending messages in the prison…to who?, the third novella, only identified as numbers, more to unlock, 666 to jump up on the stage, Hell, Hell is a stage, the theatre, the woman guard, what are the different theories on the title?, Maitre, the five clones, the maidenhead (virginity), bars and locked doors, suddenly he’s a mad scientist, the slave market visits, the great grandfather, a ROM?, reliability of information, why who is an abbo is important, robot protector, robot tutor, seemingly no emotions, very Christopher Nolan, if Gene Wolfe is the name of 5, one is a mirror of the other, one is a mirror of Earth and one is a mirror of Hell, one way of writing a story summary, what is the metaphor of the stage?, why is the stage stuff in there?, there’s stuff they want you to see, there’s a bunch going on back stage, a facade, the name of the house, The House Of The Dog, base and primal, a sexual position, what the significance of the stone tools (that are actually plastic), John V. Marsh, the significance is overblown because it is the only thing leftover, the kid then confabulates the culture, is David smarter or wiser?, when our father interviews you what does he call you?, escaping the traps, reading Odysseus, the cyclops, don’t give your name, the intertextual references, H.P. Lovecraft, Vernor Vinge, feeling like fantasy, part of the play, nurture vs. nature, it’s all fate, doomed, a metal prison, we seek self knowledge, why we seek, the little ape, we wish to discover why we fail, another reflection, the mirror world you can’t go to, to step through the looking glass, a myth or a fairy tale, trying to connect with the world of myth and legend, quest, maitre means head, like a head of a hotel, so cool, the theories of what is going to happen in Game Of Thrones, Martin’s plans, “interesting”, what bones were put into the soup, how the meal is going to digest, a very complex set of flavours, the anise, the bacon, mixed beans, a very hearty hearty meal, How To Read Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman:

1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.

2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It’s tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.

3) Reread. It’s better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.

5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It’s a knife-throwing act, and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes, earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn’t mind. Gene is throwing the knives.

6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.

7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw in the mirror that night.

9) Be willing to learn.

the dogs always stand in, how the red woman and her prophecies play out, king’s blood, a victim of her own witchery, a deep analysis of the opening credits of the Game Of Thrones TV series, it’s not really a map, it’s an inverse orrery, mechanistic movement, behind the scenes, a Dyson’s sphere, when Winterfell falls, a nice metaphor for the creation of a secondary world, Lord Dunsany’s The Wonderful Window, Golden Dragon City, ways of reading, different methods and techniques with which to approach, an interview with Gene Wolfe, the Korean War, once you think you’re smart that’s when they get you, getting killed shows that you’re not smart, I’m a much more literary man, it’s about the love of writing, how ethereal or gossamer Borges stuff is, how it connects to us, it can live without us reading, a story being spun, its the yarn itself, it needs us more than Borges’ stuff does, what would make a failed Gene Story would look like, that’s his brand, Stanisław Lem’s One Human Minute, a cute thought, a professor of 1920s and 1830, a more broad education, the Wikipedia entry for 1908, when you read the Wikipedia entry for 2017 in 100 years…, Durham Stevens, super-deep, The Island Of Doctor Death And Other Stories And Other Stories, he knew exactly what he was doing, a confluence of events, a critical hit, stumbled upon, its not an accident, Faulkner’s The Sound And The Fury, Proust, questions of identity, Sandman, he has always been a really good guy to following the reading of, Douglas Adams, look at this, his essays about Edgar Allan Poe, an even better non-fiction writer than a fiction writer, a book of essays, a mini essay about cities in SimCity 2000, a little Easter Egg, “ruminate”, A View From The Cheap Seats, Philip Reeve, The Hungry Cities Chronicles, The Wind From A Burning Woman (collection) by Greg Bear, this is Lankhmar, Dungeons & Dragons, a city adventure, behind every door is another potential story, a tiny little slice, fully expanded, Fritz Leiber’s not as good as I want him to be, next level stuff, Gene Wolfe never won a Hugo, there’s no justice, you know nothing, Nebulas, who is our best writer?, no official audiobook version, Audible.com, the best of Gene Wolfe on audio is a good idea, a hard no, off the Wolfe subject.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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