The SFFaudio Podcast #500 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada talk about The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
Talked about on today’s show:
So it goes, the natives don’t like Paul, stop raping, a novella, dense, Again, Dangerous Vision edited by Harlan Ellison, out like a rocket, commissioned in the ’70s, the introduction and the afterword, easy to write, a boss with ulcers, lacking charity, anthropology, an army planet, a metaphor for Vietnam, wood, sawmill workers, not all that it was, Dump Island, ansible, gender, the role of women, the whole Biblical thing, a Prometheus story, The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison, Avatar (2009), Dances With Wolves (1990), thinking in the shower, The Power Of Kroll, a giant Cthulhu monster, nasty colonizers, Creechies, Ben and Sam, Gunga Din, Rudyard Kipling, strange conclusion, a lover of the exotic, unconscious of his own hypocrisy, a really good writer, very praising, effortless and beautiful to read, two pieces of yesterday, a ship-load of women, a crop failure, tame this planet, smiling jiggling line of little figures, effortless, The Lathe Of Heaven, Portland, the geography on New Tahiti, mostly ocean, how can you have a northwest corner?, all kinds of jungle, temperate rainforest, things don’t start growing on your purse, Costa Rica, clothes never dry, go naked, beautiful beyond words, life expressing itself in every corner, sound-wise, bugs and birds and frogs, the smells the sights the sounds, confronted and embraced, exhausting and wet, insects are the measure of how much life is going on, horrible insects, the giant red deer, fish, squirrels, her boss, it had been done before, come from Earth about a million years ago, monkey, her Hanish-verse, names of trees, a conspiracy, right but wrong, if you listen to those E.T.s, everything from sex to thumbtacks, gook, creatures!, green fur, super-asshole, Davidson, a split-rail fence, first reefer of the day, it might have been Idaho in 1950, a distant bird, what is undeveloped, so connected to the Lathe Of Heaven, you can’t beat them, round up the ringleaders and threaten to give them hallucinogens, from Selver’s point of view, dreams, that’s implied, a built up culture, oblique glimpses, another guy named Orr, cool!, training to dream, they never sleep, a broken sleep cycle, cat-nap your way through life, active dreaming, forges, wheels, helicopters, and laser guns, the good news about reading Ursula Le Guin, witch-doctors, the men’s lodge, lord dreamer, tell me about your dream Selver, killing all the guys at Smithcamp, a stepping stone, in the pre-story, a hot afternoon with two prostitutes, 220 other women, aliens came, “went spla”, how could they be to blame, a god, a Promethean technology, ideas as weapons, Jack Vance, weaponizing a culture by means of ideas, had he learned to kill his fellow men, an infection, a foreign plague, a psychological psionics, a raincoast, a physical change to the landscape, the same is happening to Davidson, your thinking gets all screwed up, hard to know, company, helicopter logging, by that point in the story, they’re kinda loose, lumberjacks and flapjacks, chopping down trees, wearing high heels, a looseness to the military, captain vs. colonel, the army and creechies, a whole section, the ansible anagram, two different directions, the U.N., smash the radio, how a place affects you, with your person and your purse, Collapse by Jared Diamond, the Medieval warm period, unsuitable ways, winter is coming, refusing the ways of the Inuit, Thailand, the hotel food, the hotel water, the Hilton is not Thailand, rejecting the whole part of the plot, the smash, transmitting false information, this machina ex machina, answerable within your own lifetime for what you did, the League Of Worlds, administering the American Empire, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, NAFAL, the economics, luxury goods, a kid in Chicago, rats, a nightmare, a powerful image, the Tet offensive, who the creechies are, deforestation, defoliant, massive swaths, agent orange, under that plan, Brazil, another dead Earth, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a minor story, city?, warrens, Sarnath, India, H.P. Lovecraft, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, summary, subject to interpretation, Jason Thompson‘s adaptation, isolation, solitary, an out, I’m a god you’re a god, going native, bringing life back, a backdoor, maybe in 20 or 30 years, what will happen when I die?, the gift of killing, always touching each other, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, go me!, murder has no reason, what’s going to happen?, interest in dreams and reality, everybody knows Scott, how simple truth was, famous for flying, if we knew what everything was, perception errors, what the word dream means in this context, dreaming the previous days information, pieces of yesterday, paying attention to it, great detail, every time we go to sleep its like we’re rebooting, hard to see the difference between, alternate New York City, what is a book if not a dream, it has no physical consequence excepting piling up, Karl Marx changed the world, George Orwell, taken from the world and then dream, her dreams are more real than she is now, Philip K. Dick’s dreams are more real than he is now, dreamed into existence, an E.E.G. subject, the Parthenon to a mud-hut, the aboriginal cultural of Australia, the Dreamtime, counting coins, shared dreaming, trees communicating to each other, considered as the trees, page 35, things looked pretty neat for a logging camp, endless meaningless, in your face and in your eyes, corruplast, eaten by the jungle, a permanent stain, being newed again, the world is always new, the creechie women, why the women listen, the afterword, the boss is a man, he didn’t want to play, he wanted to moralize, he was a man, when women are taking more assertiveness with their role in society, what feminists should be looking up to, the role of gender, The Left Hand Of Darkness, a lot of tea, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, too much kicking, what makes a gender role a gender role, captured incredibly well, George Orr, murder and revolution, a feminist streak, the ecological devastation, an act of rape, this is a new time for the world, at the farthest grows the Tree where the fruit ripens, the roots are deeper than the forest, no evidence that the creechies aren’t human, Colonel Dong, not really about Vietnam, every kind of human is represented (other than women), Euraf, Asian, all in destruction together, ill, bowels, water illness, when you go to the jungle you get bit, Selver’s name, self, selfish, subversive, kinda Buddhist, Taoist beliefs, Tibet, the land of Buddhists, Tibetans who resisted with weapons, shooting at your enemy, submission poses, certain traditions, surrender symbols, it doesn’t have answers, a lot of questions, terran man is clay, they are trees, Earth is rock and static, Trees have roots and grow and are more interconnected, not as rich as Dune by Frank Herbert, the desert planet, Waterworld (1995), the culture is deceptively rich, a pretty high rung, a good writer, CBC radio’s Vanishing Point adaptation from 1989, too much screaming, we don’t see it, straight from the book, very faithful, singing = screaming, a weird noise, a fantasy set in a rainforest, played on the title, probably pulling, urination, not concepts!, language!, reading books, no censorship, hygienic homosexuality, sure he’s a 20th century tough guy, what does that mean?, she’s way ahead of the curve, so ahead of its time, straight on with what is a gender role, this metaphor, what does that mean?, why Ursula Le Guin has a prominent position, always interested in interesting stuff, a pipe-smoker, just Gandalf, pipeweed.
Talked about on today’s show:
1933, Ira Levin, Gladiator, the first superhero novel, Odd John by Olaf Stapledon, Superman, fleeing a dead world, the sequel: After Worlds Collide, the illustrations in The Passing Show (magazine) serialization, not the only ship, Bronson Beta, Blue Book, the very last page (February 1933), “these daring pilgrims”, remake a world, George Pal’s plans for a sequel, Cecil B. DeMille’s plans for a film, Pal’s would pale, the official adaptation is the least good adaptation, that crappy matte shot, Ransdall smooching his girl while flying his aircraft, Guardians Of The Galaxy, his Kryptonian origin story, spinoffs, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, football, a religious moment, good birth and breeding, the W.A.S.P., precursors and follow-ups, an amazing book, its hard to gage how big a book it was, the “queen of the pulps”, the premier way of getting (fiction) content to the people, the middle of The Depression, daily life-sucks, the Roosevelt administration, the work programs, making the unemployed work, is it simpler than that?, Arkham House, The Outsider And Others by H.P. Lovecraft, maybe it helps to have something worse in mind, The Star by H.G. Wells, Nemesis by Isaac Asimov, Finis by Frank Lillie Pollock, gravitational waves, earthquakes, cooking the earth (microwave style), a long tradition, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, biblical collections, A Pail Of Air and The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, Deluge (1933), S. Fowler Wright, the motif of the destruction of of Fantastic Universe, a thugee-romance plot, Meteor (1979), Sean Connery as an SDI scientist, Armageddon, Independence Day, Twitter, Fred, Deep Impact (1998) started life as a remake of When Worlds Collide, the crowning adaptation of is 2012 (2009), so ridiculous, it knows its stupid, the ‘neutrinos mutated’, Battlefield Earth is Ed Wood with a budget, The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010), Lars Von Trier’ Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst and Keifer Sutherland, Forge Of God by Greg Bear, “I have bad news.”, rescued by good aliens, watching the destruction of the Earth, Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall, fan fiction of themselves, Hammer Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, the evolution of the plot ideas, so heavy, the religious elements, her name is EVE, Joyce, handing out sandwiches, the zillionaire, a plane-load of money, an iconic scene, why 2012 works so well, the Russian billionaire and his family, how ambivalent I feel, the role of government, what made Robert A. Heinlein wrote, super-Ayn Rand-y, The Fountainhead, robust and austere, strange-y, a broken-ness, who is funding this?, everybody is working for free, how do you get truckloads and truckloads to a certain place, economics do matter, everybody is working for free, a new metal, the nice horror tour, where did the fuel come from, if Heinlein were writing it, all in secret, how Maissa saw it, tidal waves, weird side digression, The Last Car Chase (1981), Lee Majors, Steve Austin, two theories, one funny, one dark, nouveau riche, old fortunes, just arranged, shiny upstarts get their comeuppance, steel furnaces, punishing the parvenus, so not democratic, Galt’s Gulch, we know better, the magic metal, our ingenuity, weird sexual purity, part of the old money righteousness, South Africa in 1933, no more lions, rich white guys in South Africa, Chapter 8: Marching Orders For The Human Race, ugly houses, the spawn who inhabited it, pollution, 125th street in New York (Harlem), immigration bans, the Lovecraftian racial horror moment, “God himself had sickened with their selfishness”, squalid horror, the golden age of eugenics, the “Jap”, purifying the race, a giant eugenics exercise, even if a cashless economy you have to trade, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, a conspiracy, the first episode of The X-Files, the paean to the Vanderbilt family, set in the mid-20th century, his sister went to school with my mother, the elite, should Jesse bring it up?, huh this is a novel for Hillary voters, its the east coast elites, what is everybody’s problem? why can’t they vote for the right person?, WWI, lining up the machine guns and mowing down the plebes, retreating to their spacecraft and cooking the earth of all the people, a fantasy of many people, it is good to escape the death of the Earth, 2012 addresses all the horror vs. Deep Impact (the government is here to save you), the heroes in space, pathos, way to much love with MSNBC, saccharine horror, cynical comedy, the Paris Hilton looking girl, even Oliver Platt (the baddie) is just trying to get shit done, even the billionaire comes off pretty well, really fun, such a page turner, it’s so good (but it doesn’t deserve it), where are all the rats?, back to World War I, the Noah thing, open the doors, the billion dollar ticket, James Cromwell’s character is a whistleblower, the truth needs to come out, secretary of finance, thinking about the economics, the word “Tony”, our hero from every Robert Heinlein story, “Tony, I’m explaining the plot, Tony.” Tony is slang for expensive, what makes it so gripping, the premise, none of the characters are worth caring about, from Deluge to Meteor, a disaster movie without screen stars, the idea is primary, a race, Edwin Balmer was editor of Red Book magazine, they know how to spin a story, Wilkie Collins: make the worry, make them wait, make them weep, Dunkirk (2017), a ticking clock, what’s in the box?, un-bribe-able, doing this story today, how academia doesn’t matter, the professors, a chief scientist at a chemical company, a private observatory, universities as research machines (since WWII), scary politics, in 1933 the USA had unions, the Battle Of Blair Mountain, the lurking socialism, Eugene Debs, labour unrest, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we’re noble, machine gun them, then burn them, but we’re nice, the same stories are told again and again, choosing who gets to go in the Ark, Tasha Yar gives her baby to Frodo Baggins, black presidents, black Presidents, grounded in individual details, apocalypses are always about escape, an escape from communism, shade thrown on the French and the Germans, the french turn to fascism, planting the French flag for comedic effect, nationalism, labour without labour, race without race, the religious sanction, George Pal’s The War Of The Worlds, the book is big and broad and deep, 44 people and a dog, a dog in 2012 and Independence Day, for they were walking hand-in-hand, a road, the ribbon of it ran right and left, by what hands and for what feet, through Eden took their solitary, a yellow brick road, Tony the guy with no brain, they’re in Oz, the souls of those a hundred million years dead, a Nineveh a Sargon?, the fate of our world, human with bodies like our own?, The Ring, a curse, so tempting, William Blake’s The Tyger, what dread hand and what dread feet, they are the tiger, when the stars threw down their spears, what did the people on this other planet do to be knocked out of their orbit and frozen, how god has graced us with his goodness, us east coast elites, the whole universe , she has a right to my vote, Heinlein can’t be right and Rand can’t be right, it’s just too simple (but its so fun), business and military, more sex and nudeness, the love triangle, oh Tony can’t you understand I can’t make decisions for the future, the other rocket, the other half of the plane in Lost, the setup is so good, one bizarre detail, Chapter 21: Diary, the insulation (books), a first edition of Shelley, a cute idea?, the 2012 movie picks it up, John Cusack’s character, Chewitel Ejifor’s character, Yellowstone, loaded up with the signs of the elites, isn’t it funny that there’s one copy of this books and it just so happens…, in 2012 under a pile beer bottles and bourbon bottles and a copy of Moby Dick, Robert Duvall reads Moby Dick in Deep Impact, ambivalence about lots of things but everybody agrees Moby Dick is terrific, a stand in for god, providing the bees and the books, a distasteful task in the sequel, The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle, a story about mercy, saving the kids, little moments of mercy, women doing men’s jobs, France, canaries, the radium girls, how women get the vote, when they come for our women, women as possessions, triumph of the patriarchy, the proles are coming for our women, racist and sexist, an atomic rocket in 1932, not even a nuclear reactor has been invented yet, the Chicago Pile, ten years later, Rocketship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein, space-Nazis, so early!, countdown clocks, a race for everything, side quests, a lot being told, the illustrations, this book feels huge, 150 pages in the serial, complementing content, Eve’s mother gets killed, how quickly the veneer of civilization gets ripped off, Augustine, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster Book by Rebecca Solnit, Bronson: the son of a brawny man, the anticipation of total war, U.S. nationalization, Prohibition, beer makers, say nothing bad about the government law, human cogs, price fixes, holding the masses, Oliver Platt’s mom in 2012, Tony’s so angsty about his mom, he wants to kill, the mobilization doesn’t matter, the migration is for nothing, the President and his cabinet in Kansas, the plebeian thing, rules for them, dignified in their way, terrorizing the plebeians, Téa Leoni’s character’s mom and dad in Deep Impact, tons of connections, waiting for the wave to come, Roland Emmerich and Harold Klausner, The High Crusade, The Thirteenth Floor, a schlockmeister of the highest order, the cultural baggage of the legacy of films gets into you whether you’ve seen them or not, you have Casablanca lurking in your cultural DNA, nobody complains we’ve already seen this movie, the end of the world blah blah blah, this novel is at the center, Noah’s Flood, Gilgamesh, wiping out the Earth for 5,000 years.
The SFFaudio Podcast #434 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Julie Davis and Maissa Bessada talk about The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet
Talked about on today’s show:
Peter Lorre is not in Dracula, 1929, Black Mask, Sam Spade, The Dain Curse, 1941 movie, Star Trek: The Next Generation: “The Big Goodbye”, Mr Leech, Laurence Tierney, Cyrus Redblock, Sindey Greenstreet, Gutman, Brigid O’Shaughnessy, The Black Bird (1975), Wilmer, The Twilight Zone, Effie Perine, his mom is his secretary, watching for kicks, seeing the bird in colour, Satan Met A Lady (1936), the BBC Saturday Night Theatre adaptation, John Huston, Constantinople became Istanbul, we disagreed!, too right to fool with, we agreed!, Raymond Chandler vs. Dashiell Hammet, same genre, so heavy on description, a Pinkerton man, doing the right thing (for different reasons), hard-boiled to the core, a narrow code, moral problems, big on description and framing scenes, immersed into the world by following the words, seeing the movie in the book, seeing the power, an ‘impatient grimace’ is stage direction, text devoted to description, the opposite of a Philip K. Dick novel, what film does, the scene where Bogart leaves after pretending to be angry, that shaking hand, best screenplay adaptation, unlike Philip Marlowe, who is the homophobe? the author or the character or both or neither?, a perspective, we notice like she does, don’t blame me for being a fake, is there a homophobe?, Brigid is baiting Cairo, the one you couldn’t make, when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it, you could make a strong case, Jesse was baiting, what Spade is doing, who is the gay man in this story, Wilmer gets the slurs, Joel Cairo, smells of gardenia, fruity, a Greek passport, speculation that Gutman is gay, a gay gang or a queer gang, genial, William Dufris’ narration of the novel, thinking for oneself, a blonde Satan, the teeth thing, a trademark, Humphrey Bogart, another kind of gay man, “the boy” “Wilmer you’re like a son to me, but sons can be replaced. There’s only one Maltese Falcon”, a really strange family, where Julie goes for her gay family information, Wesley Crusher’s mom, touching Picard, a weird family meeting in Picard’s ready room, the Klingon, Data the Pinocchio character, the characters in the holodeck story, the detective friend, all after “the item”, what makes the dynamic so awesome, the highest point in the film, “I spent 17 years looking”, let’s go to Constantinople, Peter Lorre has purpose and meaning, they invite Spade to come along, the movie makers loved, it the audience loved it, and that’s how we get Casablanca, reuniting over and over, three kinds of men, the tough cynical tough guy with a code, the sycophant (the leech), I need you stand with your hands behind your neck, every future episode, that pistol, that is why we love Joel Cairo, the Gutman Sidney Greenstreet is so dynamic, I love talking to a man who loves to talk, the palming of the $1,000 bill, I have to have my games, apologizing while insulting, the key to his relationship with Wilmer, Gutman loves manipulation, find me a character that isn’t manipulating, even Effie is manipulating, everybody is manipulating everybody, what the hell!?, a hetero sort of version of the gay team, Archer’s cheating, there’s a woman out here, she’s a spectacularly bad judge of character, everybody is cynically manipulating everybody else, even the cops are in on it, the Star Trek adaptation, sharing pickled pig feet, not with those caps, here to offer insight, Julie’s going to disagree halfway through, why does this novel work so well, as opposed to any of the other Dashiell Hammett novels, chasing a whatsit, almost identical plots: Ronin (1998), an international cast, San Fransisco, “I need a kiss”, everybody is manipulating each other, the great whatsit, the McGuffin, Mike Spillane a glowing suitcase, the room lights up and you’re face comes off, Pulp Fiction, why does this all resonate, in a world without God we do not have any purpose for existence, the price of the Maltese Falcon goes up and up and up, it could be worth an infinite amount of museum, something worth chasing after, maybe my life can regain a purpose, we get a sense of ‘oh yes, this is something can chase after’, why we love they don’t kill Gutman is they are allowed to go one along with their quest, that god shaped hole, high five, Scott! Scott!, the Flitcraft case in chapter 7, looking at it very obliquely, death is real, not the life he wants, he recreates the life he was living, the proper pronunciation of “Spokane”, what’s the point of the Flitcraft story, Spade telling a story, fleshing Spade out, how Spade wound up in San Fransisco, coming out of the mists, backstories, a ball of snow rolling down a hill, Cairo’s backstory, that’s why he’s a private detective, captured by pirates, lost in France for history, not Mr Wells’ history, a history of humanity, a micro-story,
He knew then that men died at haphazard like that, and lived only while blind chance spared them.
“It was not, primarily, the injustice of it that disturbed him: he accepted that after the first shock. What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs, he had got out of step, not into step, with life. He said he knew before he had got twenty feet from the fallen beam that he would never know peace again until he had adjusted himself to this new glimpse of life. By the time he had eaten his luncheon, he had found his means of adjustment. Life could be ended for him at random by a falling beam: he would change his life at random by simply going away. He loved his family, he said, as much as he supposed was usual, but he knew he was leaving them adequately provided for, and his love for them was not of the sort that would make absence painful.
how perfectly fascinating, she’s always lying, Tacoma, you’re never going to change, she doesn’t get it, I’ve lied so long I don’t know how to do anything else, s specific note, a specific word, thank you for saying “fuck”, this book had censorship, the word “gunsel”, punk, a male prostitute or sex slave, projecting homophobia, a back and forth exchange, in the lobby of a hotel, “the fairy”, New York aren’t you, Baumes’ rush (the 1920s equivalent of the three strikes law), bums and hobos and gunsels, shove off, you can tell G I said so, he never brings his eyes up, he’s almost not there, shove off, performance art, that would go over big on 7th avenue, censorship, sailors, where sailors go to pick up…, to shake loose information, he’s employing homophobic language to provoke, Miskatonic.org Rara Avis (the rare bird), bulletin boards, amateur scholars, he can’t act, a Lux Theatre adaptation, Hollywood actors recreating movies as radio dramas, Edward G. Robinson as Sam Spade, a strange line, You’re the sister of the boy who stood on the burning deck, Casabianca, we don’t know how Casablanca came to be, a great classic out of a filler, a wonderful confluence of events, strange international relations, Vichy France, the Nazis, that great speech, a romantic positive speech, come around to me in 20 years, do you think either one of them loved each other?, his philandering, they’re all angels, what does love leave to them, he’s the hetero version of Cairo, sent to sleep with the Russian, a fun speech (pure bullshit), the ending of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful…, Jesse’s independent research, the letter of transit is the Maltese Falcon, they ripped this off!, a solid but unspectacular hit, a work of genius, standing the test of time, you’re principles, she’s worth and so is the boyfriend, cipher, what does that amount to?, not a hill of beans (in this crazy world), here’s my code, I’m not playing the sap for you, low spirits, by late 1941, the cynicism, a comedy by accident, comedy, you’ll forgive me but it’s not good for me to be alone with you, poor Joel Cairo, we can give up you, it’s really striking when they replicate that relationship, Spade made a cigarette, Lauren Bacall, a kind of remake of Casablanca, To Have And Have Not, Bold Venture, Slate Shannon and Sailor Duvall and King Moses, set in Havana, playing to type, ideas vs. character, a story full of ideas – but demonstrated, Hammett leaves you to put it together, what was going on his head?, Red Harvest, even leaner, his style is amazing, he’s super-smart, he doesn’t put genius into the characters, people make movies about his life, fought in both WWI and WWII, evil mercenaries operating for giant evil corporations, Lillian Hellman, HUAC, throw a veteran of two world wars thrown in prison as “unamerican”, The Thin Man, The Adventures Of Sam Spade, talking everybody’s space away, the original Rat Pack, Errol Flynn, Eva Gardner, quite a pack, the den mother, a good to do list for anybody, she’s wise beyond her years, self-possessed, a match for any man, You Must Remember This podcast: Bogie Before Bacall, Bacall After Bogie, so 1945, asking Peter Lorre for dating advice, another really wise guy, better five good years than nothing, go for it you idiot!