The SFFaudio Podcast #589 – TOPIC: WORLDCON 2020

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #589 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Trish E. Matson, Evan Lampe, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about WorldCon 2020.

Talked about on today’s show:
WorldCon had some panels, Hugo Awards 2020, George R.R. Martin, 3.5 hours long, we love the stories but maybe on a panel, Robert Silverberg, Jeannette Ng Astounding Award Speech that won a Hugo, Alec Nevala-Lee on John W. Campbell, bottle of scotch, Retro Hugos 1945, magazines in 1945, rules for Best Series Hugo, Arkham House, hero pulps, continue the Retro Hugos?, Leigh Brackett, Clifford Simak, C.L. Moore’s “No Woman Born”, New Zealand authors, Sir Julius Vogel Awards, Vogel Award voting packets, where was New Zealand in the award ceremony, WorldCon is a fan convention, WorldCon is a party put on by fans that we get to attend, gravitation field has shifted, mispronouncing names, award shows in general, Hugos are often tedious, fanzines have been buried – now they are all available, DIY History, University of Iowa, Leigh Brackett’s The Science Fiction Field, lists, Pellucidar better than Derleth’s contribution to Cthulhu Mythos, audience for younger writers, affording new books, R.F. Kuang, Poppy War, Lovecraft Country, The City and the City, libraries, a 35 cent book should today be $3.50, successful writers doing Patreons to help ends meet, Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire, local conventions, S.B. Divya, Becky Chambers, “Run-Time”, “To Be Taught, if Fortunate”, Wayfarers Trilogy, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, afrofuturism, Who Fears Death, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, Tade Thompson’s Rosewater, 2006 Worldcon, David Brin, “Killer B’s And A V”, Brin, Benford, Bear, Vinge, Karl Schroeder, get New Zealand another one, WorldCon bids, Chicago, Saudi Arabia, not feeling safe to go places, Dublin, should WorldCon have some kind of minimum standards of safety for attendees or trust voters to reject unsafe places, Memphis, Chengdu, China, travel to the United States, always expensive to go somewhere when you’re poor, kudos to CoNZealand volunteers, con panels are like podcasts every hour, Prisoners of Gravity, Fritz Leiber, Kim Stanley Robinson, doing research, lack of recordings of panels, loss of oral history of the genre, dealer’s room, do we have to have conventions?, environmental costs, Olympics ought to have one Olympic village at Athens and use it every 4 years, face to face has advantages, any future bids should include plans for a healthy and vigorous virtual component, Jesse likes podcasts better, comments better on Zoom than in person because no hijacking, Discord was used as if it were the hotel, breaking news: panels will be archived at Toronto’s Merrill Collection, CoNZealand Fringe panels, Gary K. Wolfe, near future SF, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, The Population Bomb, near future SF tends to be cautionary, writing more positive futures, Joe Haldeman, F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, print!, the masquerade, Alec Nevala-Lee on feelings about award name change, a new Hugo category “Best Non-Fiction Work” where scholars can be recognized, what he is writing now, Buckminster Fuller, Syndromes short story collection, thanks to WorldCon volunteers.

Posted by Jesse Willis
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The SFFaudio Podcast #581 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #581 – The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Mr Jim Moon

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1929, The Silver Key, a cameo by a bearded Gnorri, a cameo appearance, with The Silver Key on the mind, a whole theory, symmetry, flying vehicle, each of the wings represents an aspect of human existence, left on the dreaming room floor, Jesse had not read it, some theories from the conscious world, dream theories, a chronology, up for debate, 1919, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Dream-Quest Of Randolph Carter, cyclical element, a time loop, a time travel story, changes his life for the better, a better life, go with it, carter on the second loop, E. Hoffmann Price’s suggested sequel, living concurrently, a sequel, violently disliked by readers, which story was the most popular, no mention, willing to think it was a bad story, the HPLHs podcast episode, Kenneth Hite, a lot like a lot of other Lovecraft stories, The Tomb, outright references, the Great Cypress Swamp, who is the narrator of this story?, now it is agreed, the narrator is a friend of his, another dreamer, I shall ask him when I see him, a certain dream city, there are twists of time and space, the narrator himself is a dreamer, a mysterious Indian swami, a conclave of interested parties, an elderly eccentric of Rhode Island, Ward Phillips, still alive in another dimension, reigned as king, living a dream while you’re reading it, a personal crisis story, super sad, he’s become disenchanted with reality, disenchanted with his dreamworld, he’s philosophizing in fiction, the idea of a man whose pretending to act like he fits into a society, trapped in the is role, well meaning philosophers, I had this amazing dream, let’s get some Freud going here, maybe they know what theyre talking about, stamping out his imagination, he puts away his childish things, don’t be silly, a cultural shift to modernism, Clark Ashton Smith, fashions abruptly changed in the 1920s, esoteric and opulent prose, a brutalist style, poems about the automobile, we don’t have time for fairy glades and flights of fancy, early cubism, we need a tonne of grey and it ought’nt look like anything, a man out of time, after WWI, devoted to science, the over-extension of science to snuff out imagination, even knowing science takes away the beauty of it, science vs. fantasy, in stark contrast, two sides to Lovecraft, the dreamquest stuff and deep time and space, they’re doing so correctly, we’re fooling ourselves, the grinding of the wheel (grinds slow but fine), the depths of space and the depths of time, the womb-like dreamlike childhood innocence, reading his poetry, trying to reconcile the two, is Leslie S. Klinger going to do a third book?, where did this all come from?, its beautiful, a weird connection between the softness of the moss and the harsh reality of the gears, novels of the normal of the mainstream, well received by the empty herd?, a mimicing of the mimetic fiction, burning his manuscripts, his relationship with Weird Tales, Farnsworth Wright, give us your favourties, the more controversial shit you put into a show the more comments you get, disliked or not understood?, take your frogmen, Wright had a chip on his shoulder, The Loved Dead, Julia Morgan recorded one, the drawings Clark Ashton Smith did, a lot more sex in his stories…, The Evil Dead (1981), a guy on twitter (Bobby Derie), a disdain for the flesh, Case from Neuromancer, meat that gets you into cyberspace, playing PUBG, how funny Lovecraft is, Reading, Short And Deep, The Dream, Maurice Winter Moe, masturbation scenes, Unda; Or The Bride Of The Sea, if you go to YouTube, Jonathan Swift, very mocking poems, she gets out the chamber pot, smells and sounds, Strephon And Chloe, such cleanliness from brow to heel, no noisome whiffs, to make maid’s water, what poetic strains, he’s got stuff, remember that Swift is a minister, Hymen, Strephon had long perplexed his brains, to keep them sweet, the narrator intruding, the nymphs may smell it, can such a deity endure, lighting shot from Chloe’s eyes, forbid your daughters guzzling beer, in evil plight, what causes wind, think what evils must ensue, carminative and diuretic, fortune still assist the bold, even lambs fly the butcher, incredibly raunchy, a 1731 wedding toast, Strephon and Celia, The Lady’s Dressing Room, the kind of humour Lovecraft appreciates, not nice but funny, turning his own mockery on himself, how shallow, those pompous ideas, far less worthy of respect, some deep dark sad stuff, hitting us right where we live, in this way he became a kind of humorous, holy shit, in the first days of his bondage, the gentle churchly faith, only on closer view, the owlish gravity of sordid truth,

In the first days of his bondage he had turned to the gentle churchly faith endeared to him by the naive trust of his fathers, for thence stretched mystic avenues which seemed to promise escape from life. Only on closer view did he mark the starved fancy and beauty, the stale and prosy triteness, and the owlish gravity and grotesque claims of solid truth which reigned boresomely and overwhelmingly among most of its professors; or feel to the full the awkwardness with which it sought to keep alive as literal fact the outgrown fears and guesses of a primal race confronting the unknown. It wearied Carter to see how solemnly people tried to make earthly reality out of old myths which every step of their boasted science confuted, and this misplaced seriousness killed the attachment he might have kept for the ancient creeds had they been content to offer the sonorous rites and emotional outlets in their true guise of ethereal fantasy.

making me very sad, Celephaïs, Lord Dunsany, they’re real tied together, why this so painful, he’s doing a Philip K. Dick, he’s writing about himself, strongly autobiographical, hanging out with dryads,

Once in his ascent Randolph crossed a rushing stream whose falls a little way off sang runic incantations to the lurking fauns and aegipans and dryads.

what’s so painful about this story, making himself whole again, finds this key, he returns to childhood, its even worse, we’re happy at the end of Celephaïs, because its so real, it’s traumatic, Ask Lovecraft, some of you have asked me about The Silver Key, my grandfather Whipple had a key, a silver key wrapped in a parchment, what does this key open?, that really gets the basis behind this, this key only locks the place where the key is locked, the key is a way to get into the imagination and childhood, the wisdom of children, Kids Say The Darndest Things, “Biden’s kinda creepy”, his cousin, the very mundane things, an odd gift of prophecy, the connection between science fiction and the imagination, Day Million, exercising his imagination in a disciplined and an undisciplined way, sorta subtle so not loved, a sad circular story, the silver key gives you the power to do again, memories altered accordingly, you better appreciate what you have now, take it all in, you wont get to got there again, sit you down wisdom, living in nostalgia is super sad, pathetic, given that opportunity could anyone resist it?, how exiting things are when you’re a kid, there’s no way you could go back, nostalgia is a mistake, a push pull, experiences we want to re-embrace, New Zealand, I’m so depressed, it only goes one way, projecting into the future, if you want to live today you should spend all your time studying history, the CORONA virus, studying the SARS epidemic, studying vs. living in the past, noticing people tweeting dreams, go with the lava flow, Mom, tweeting dreams, kids today who are not under the vice of the church, they do have a big hat, surrounded by people who say you fantasy stories are garbage, write about people getting divorced and drinking less, where these stories are living, how much smell came into this, smell is super-associated with memory and nostalgia, I can still smell Hawaii, thinking about that photo, what you do more and more as time goes by, only the adults are capturing that, the massive innocence, the loss of innocence, so sad, Jim was 50 last year, a museum piece, I’m not going to be stuffy and crusty, fidget spinners, I remember when all that was fields, the world you grew up with is gone, WWI was this big hinge point, disillusioned with science, where is the hope?, William Blake accused Isaac Newton unweaving the rainbow, how wonderful it is to make something up, it IS magic, Alan Moore, magic is the original art, this story vs something I watched on the news, all just delusion, why not create new fantasies, its all kind of the same shit, getting mastery, BBS (bulletin board systems), getting all that equipment together (today), not a Yithian thing, his acceptance of the changing nature, fidget spinners are not cool, Paul does fidget, the disgust in Jesse’s voice, not making it better, the amaranthine wine from Atlantis that you drink and get depressed, reading the Statement Of Randolph Carter, based on the opposite, you need to study more math, he slams hard truths, the key is the only real thing in the universe, the proseyness of life, as middle age hardened upon him, why shouldn’t you spend all your time in the VR machine, matted hair, spending time in the meat space, my friends!, some sort of sadness there, talking about the darkness is comforting, being in a creative space, a solace from someone long dead, racism in this, his family his namesake, not everything about Lovecraft is based on race, that fear and horror of race is tied up with the meatspace and not the dreamworld, Pickman transformed into a ghoul, Jim’s show on The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying on the mask of the monster for yourself, if you’re a vampire you can stay up all night, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, still painting I see, stupid human, God’s real I’ll take you to his house!, a hysterial way, that humour that fun and delight in the strange and the weird, never happier than when he’s found a new author, when he’s sharing it, a real fan, what’s that giant essay for?, Supernatural Horror In Literature, his literary inspirations, the horror of dark monsters, by god they’re amazing, a flip-flop in Fungi From Yuggoth, Lovecraft criticism down the wrong path, looking at his bookshelf, he wrote horror fiction because he was a horror fan, some liquid he’s going to kill himself, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, She by H. Rider Haggard, Horace Baboon Holly, the handsomest man in Europe, just go with it, the Scopes monkey trial, a monkey’s grandchild, its a science story, a tension between a love of science and its acknowledgements about its reality around us and this imaginative space that’s all about art (and almost commerce), no algorithm or formula for a good story, writing to a formula, I think I see a formula, a pastiche or unworkable, finding their own voice and formulas, such a scientist, science is good for explaining this amount of reality, perception of beauty, a meaning in and of itself, appreciating it in and of itself, a far more interesting story than Jim first took it for, rethinking how you think about Lovecraft, shake the de Camp off, Robert E. Howard, remove the traditional blinkers, he’s a thinker on the page, calling him a horror writer is very limiting, writing about philosophy, spinning up scenarios, not easily classifiable, almost no tentacles, how poetic the lines are, that jarring bit of dialogue, Randy!, Howie!, the phonetics, dunt and wold, haint she tuld you, mooning around in that snake den, tea-parties with dryads, like a tea ceremony, the Alexa device, this is really big Jesse, it’s all proprietary, Six Or Seven Sentence Stories, little silly stories are really fun, half the delight of Jesse’s life, a dangerous pig with pants, weird vocab words, somehow you can make them connect, the connections are very deep within, its reflected, a Chinese myth, there’s a story there, he has not chained his fortune to some marketplace, where’s Lord Of The Rings II?, a polite gentleman, trying to chase the market, the purity there is unbelievable, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, arabian knights, fistfights and swordfights, a delight, saw raw and pure, unashamed, not a good book, so entertaining, harness this imagination, inside a sturcture like a poem, revels in the language and the words and the construction, that same unadulterated pure imagination fantasy, he hasn’t been shamed out of it, the documentary The Emperor Of Dreams, Hippocampus Press.

Hugh Rankin illustration for The Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft
Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #222 – How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped by Katherine Mansfield

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #222

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped by Katherine Mansfield.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped was first published in Rhythm, September 1912.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #537 – READALONG: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #537 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Evan Lampe talk about The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Talked about on today’s show:
London Magazine, 1912, Sunday Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 1912 book publication, why hasn’t this been a movie?, totally epic, very filmic, no comic book?, it would be a great comic, the big splash, the reveal, he hasn’t seen a human being in three years, the comic book format reveal, one of Jack London’s best, the first time, not the newest theme, The Last Man by Mary Shelley, The Strength Of The Strong, about the same thing, civilization and how civilizations evolve, The Iron Heel, this managed ordered world, an optimistic narrative, the story is fairly brutal, how the socialist thinking was obsessed with planning and order, social darwinism, rude barbarism?, his greatest?, drama, Martin Eden, John Barleycorn, The Call Of The Wild, he can’t get away from dogs, the dog goes into full atavistic mode, recapitulated, an unwashed barbarian, barbarian grandchildren, taking this story as it is, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, more optimistic, the essential character of this story, end of the world and post apocalyptic stories, endless zombies, a zombie apocalypse with no zombies, fighting off the harsh reality of what its like to go from running water toilet paper hot and cold running ice cream to living off the scraps of the old world, hasn’t seen soap in 60 years, Costco, 500 survivors in the whole world, a lot got burned, the last survivors genre, SCIENCE FICTION doubly, set 100 years from when it is written (2013) and then another 60 years beyond that, so rich in ideas, the future of American from 1912 and in a future far past it, a double critique, inspired by, The Walking Dead is not about class (and little about race), each a race unto themselves, the Aryan sweep is coming again, it did feel white, all about class, on the side of the downtrodden race, humans as basically very terrible, way scarier than a zombie story, zombies as a metaphor, the hordes of people you don’t know, a divisive horror, us and them, killing zombies as a fun thing to do, shambly and slow, not a science fiction story, Jesse’s niece did a course, its about class, so relevant again, the Chauffeur and Vesta van Warden, the luxury airships that the ultra-rich have, we took all the food and left a little bit for our slaves, you don’t understand Hoo-hoo, “slaves”, oh my god, Professor James/John Howard Smith, what’s happening in the states of 1912, a hardening and separating of the classes, medieval or 19th century England, he’s from the upper class, he has three servants, a housekeeper a cook and a chambermaid, at the bottom of the ultra-rich, every inspired by story never talks about class, Buck was a king brought low and turned into a slave, the same thesis, Chauffeur beats his wife, she’s a goddess, that she should be brought so low, an unreliable narrator who is super-reliable, he makes himself so pathetic, nested narrative, he makes himself look bad, everything that happened is what was happening, a super-hard thesis, lets spend time in this universe and see what meaning we, the good the bad and the worst and the best have gone to their eternal rest, the collie dogs are now wolves, that overcoming, back to brute beast, really interesting and fascinating to think about, obsessing with education, trying teach how to count to a billion, so Science Fiction, the courage and heroism of the bacteriologists, WWI imagery, in awe of the education, chapter 6, a day-labourer, the greatest prize next to Vesta, the crude illiterate getting the upper-class woman, huge gaps, not a culture of mass education, Jack London imagined the early 21st century with the working class uneducated, technocratic culture, millions of engineers, not as pessimistic, this is going to happen again, no good thoughts about humanity’s potential, red history, the red plague is people on Earth, population pressure, oozing slowly across to colonize the East, the gunpowder will come, I’m gonna git Granser this gunpowder stuff, the death stick, someday I’ll be boss over the whole bunch of you, the juju magic of the witch-doctor, poor Edwin is gonna be just like his grandpa, he didn’t survive by his book-learning, nothing he did could fix anything, those two automatics (pistols), the only reason he survives is because he’s a human (who can open doors and cans), nothing in his education as literature professor, Terry Nation’s Survivors, The Daleks as an examination of the human future after a future nuclear war, the exact plot of the Scarlet Plague (without the zooming forward), UK “public schools”, we’re all doomed, I don’t know how to smelt, plastic is made out of oil, ‘I have three batteries left. If I don’t find anymore I’ll be deaf.’, part of the education process, take in a profound piece of information and passing it on, the oral tradition, the big thing this story is all about, trying to teach the grandchildren something of value, there are ways of counting what’s beyond your fingers, they’re goat-hearders, is Edwin the smartest?, he’s the most like his grandfather, a medicine man, brute force, a very bleak vision, an English professor, The Sea Wolf, The Iron Heel, social progress is possible, Herbert Spencer, not a good society, obsession with food, post scarcity, civilization has to suppress, a Freudian aspect, training animals, a universe good, something every eater understands, dogs are food motivated, the bear and the wolves, goats, no longer a man of books, carrying coins, carrying teeth, sex and food, Vesta should’ve been mine by rights, he doesn’t stop him, you could never do this in a Hollywood film, save her and himself, he too their child to wife?, Bertha was a hash-slinger (but a good woman-though!), a Lady is a Chauffeur squaw, the opening and the closing, the surf grew suddenly louder, huge sea-lions, he can smell the food cooking, mussels!, he’s all gums now, crying, an empty-crab shell, so happy, his emotional range, really dottering, a beautiful sad story, the old geezer gets more long-winded every day, a small herd of wild horses, a beautiful stallion, horses, the mountain lions, close at hand, the sea-lions bellowing, fought and loved, there’s no victory here, just survival, just other animals, there’s a beauty, there’s a harshness, Earth is coming back, we can have it all year, all the toothsome delicacies are back, the Cliff-House restaurant, what is money?, those little marks don’t mean nothing, in 10,000 years, warning against the medicine men, that’s religion, agriculture, who controls that surplus?, primitive religion, thugs, not the civilization he wants, he predicted Trump!, he predicted Bush, the Board of Magnates, Vesta’s husband, lords of life (and death), stuck-up, some other place to live, sleep in a tree, no person is strong enough, stuck in these systems, kind to the old man, Granser’s going to get to it, his only value is as a storyteller, it won’t be his dayjob, if only a physicist or a chemist had survived, he’s a reliable narrator who is wrong about stuff, conflating food with money, shopping at the organic expensive farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, the poors can’t afford Whole Foods, not amongst the poors, chapter 4, the dean of faculty, full of airships, flying machines, one brave fellow, 300 miles per hour in an aircraft, radio, social systems, the brute reality of nature, the Yukon, what’s so powerful, those prehistorical romances are not just the past, black deaths, we are going to need the skills we don’t have, living off the corpse of the old world, you can’t just trust that Mother Nature is kind, a city is like a giant pampered baby, cuddled and coddled by all the servants going into and out of it, the beauty of nature taking over California again, the monorail, railroad tracks being taken over by tree roots, Life After People, we lost contact with each other, a very slim portion of this future society, teenagers and younger, tending the goats is a job for young boys, the mens’ job is yelling at women and young boys, a reverence for muscles (and punching people), as brown as a berry, a pair of gimlets, an endless series of messages from the outside world, a whole sequence like that in The Call Of The Wild, the coddling of man, the king of the slaves as a dog, as a wolf he’s utterly free but is dependent on his body being strong, doing something that few others do, the boys are the babysitters, thirty years ago people wanted to hear what he had to say, why do you call it Scarlet rather than Red, The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Bliss Carman:

A Vagabond Song

THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

George Sterling, A Wine Of Wizardry, mentioned in London’s biography, poet rich guy, I couldn’t save him, rebelling slaves, the grave tree, toothsome delicacy, fire, how it eats up everybody and turns it to dust, 1914 airplanes, the airships of the rich, Paul talks about the ultra rich bunkers in New Zealand, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, when the economy collapses he’ll have a bolt-hole, the rich all flee to Hawaii in their dirigibles, it went with them and it preceded them, that’s the one that married the baby, the wilds of British Columbia, Mount Shasta, so much to be explored, incredibly visual, really good at writing nature, full of ideas, a crackerjack book, Vesta is a metaphor for the whole thing, as good as you can get for a girl, drowned by her drunken husband for no reason at all, boiling fish chowder in a covered pot, parasol, the destinies of millions such as he she carried in her pink white hand, her private dirigible, to her!, a leper, ascertain the creature’s name, what the plague did to the world, the most brutal of low class uneducated horrors can be masters over a goddess, goddess of the hearth now has to tend the hearth, too small for a class system, just about strength, you’re my wife because I’m stronger, Evan can’t agree with London’s pessimism, Murray Bookchin, imposing on nature the reflections on our own society, domesticating the goats, division of labour, our ability to make cultures, why we can’t have good things, that’s our culture, human nature vs. culture, from first nature (sexual desire) vs. secondary (marriage), Eskimos, transformed nature, what people were saying about paleolithic, right back to where we are, printing presses and newspapers, the end goal, besides printing presses, not a teleology, goat-herders and hunters and trappers, mussels and crabs, started life as an oyster pirate, specialization is what he’s aiming at, the radio drama adaptation, a 2 hour book into a 29 minute show, dropping the framing sequence, hearing the plague is very familiar, The Walking Dead, The Day Of The Triffids, 28 Days Later, the aftermath 60 years later, they’ve run out of bullets and gasoline, the comics, allowing that progression to happen, how does the zombie system work, how do you have a society, join there society (a movie night!), a world that doesn’t exist, born into a world without movies, when all the movie bulbs have burnt out, ya, whatever grandpa, people are mean (and horrible), repression in 2013, a tweet with a guillotine was too radical, all the slaves he’s been repressing are going to come for him, optimistic stories of this ilk, Stephen King’s The Stand is essentially optimistic, the bad guy is the state, good vs. evil, both states suck, the triumph of solidarity, acculturated to states and authority, cultures are cooperative, in a dog eat dog world, calling our friends, exploitation within the system, battered husbands and battered wives, its not me its the corporation you work for, bad guys and good guys, The Day Of The Triffids ending, base instinct is love not hate, we need to recenter, a extremely pessimistic work, David Graeber’s book on debt, barter isn’t the first economy, social debt, everybody knows I gave you this are you going to be that guy that didn’t give it back?, my son loves your daughter, barter is from people used to exchange, the police as the barrier between you and the criminal, going back to hierarchy, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman has fantastic accounting, I made dinner yesterday, bankruptcy, so interesting to think about The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, utopian/dystopian future, forced mental audit, the ultimate invasive, good writing at the end, 24 hours, Evan read it for me!, Ayn Rand took over the U.S. government, “personal responsibility”, capitalism is eating individual human beings from birth!

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London - Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #498 – READALONG: The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #498 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU talk about The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
novella sorta, Odyssey, thinking back, telling about the books, the interesting things in the books, hard Fantasy, mana, the problems of depletion, the wheel spell, a skull, so fun, the whole spoiler phenomenon, spoiler people get uptight as they age, kids are little scientists, tell me more, they walk on clouds, unicorns were a thing, the explanation, in different cultures, is spoiler sensitivity cultural, the joy of getting there, Snotgirl, Jesse’s worst sin this year, treasuring the experience of discovery, extra jalapenos, “surprise me!”, in the early days of Paul’s life, Not Long Before The End, What Good Is A Glass Dagger?, The Wishing Game, The Burning City, The Burning Tower, same universe, ancient Los Angeles, the political messaging gets really ham-handed, the IRS is bad, later books are co-authored, the ideas vs. the execution, Scott’s view, so smart, preppin’ for a podcast, the magazine version, the art is so good, it felt like trying to extened a really good story premise, the similarities to Ringworld, a big dumb object in the sky (the Moon), we’re going to need a god, before they get to the god, the denouement, poor Wavyhill, immortality, screaming for thirty years, Protector, how idea heavy his stuff is, the little consequences, a cultural legacy, some people still believe in magic, he’s retconned our magic-free universe with a universe full of magic, he sees like other people do, true for all humanity, kinda sexist, the Moon is magic, when we achieve that as a species, worldsnake, amoeba used to be huge monsters, the Grey Ooze, the gelatinous cube, where Gary Gygax got the idea, the goo, vacuoles, translucent, holding the goo, one of the first words we all say as babies, a giant tardigrade, The First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor, a protoceratops fossil, gryphons, why we dig them up today, page 46, the size of houses, there that’s what I’m talking about, the children of the first god, the Crawling Chaos, fire vs. magic, so much work, good additions, fire is technology, elves are all gone because they are powered by magic and fire, Avengers: Infinity War, mixing in Doctor Strange, created at the point of creation of the universe, The Key To Time, a purpose, characters with different skills, the fire and the magic, a god in the form of Thor, different skill sets, a real issue, a dying earth story, we live in the dead Earth, the setup and the premises, Warlock vs. Wavyhill, a wolfwere, please tell me more, a wolf that’s really a man, magic dead zones, a snail dragon, some hidden stuff, Neuromancer, a ROM, Dixie Flatline, a book about hackers, hackers can do magic, cyberpunk role-playing game scene, the Magic: The Gathering cards, Larry Niven backwards, a Niven disc, the NetRunner collectible card game, very clever, he’s systematized magic where everything is possible, using limited resources, peak oil problem, what a big idea, The Magic May Return, Fred Saberhagen, Poul Anderson, Mildred Downey Broxon, Roger Zelazny, meteor bombardment, this is cute, emphasize the right words, page 8, chapter 2, an Asian infestation of vampires, “gone mythical”, the crater is old, Fistfall, at this point in the book, a mountain, a village, the moon, it’s not two wizards, we’ve got three…, the Three Magi!, what he was going for, that kind of retelling, happening in the background, the kind of book that will reward careful reading, I need to see a wizard, the opening with the raft and the collapse of Atlantis, why Atlantis sunk, I can solve that, tectonically unstable, the payoff, the centaur can’t survive without the magic, the image, climate change, images in the news, too real, Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, a post apocalyptic landscape where the magic has returned, the sixth world, Lucifer’s Hammer, Fist Of God, Inferno, Dante’s Inferno, the structure, he’s old, Planet Stories, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, Blue Hours Suspense audio drama series adaptation, waiting for the dawn, a new Eden, the premise, the belief of the dancers, the last uncontacted tribe was shown the error of their ways, who knows what hold the Moon up?, philosophy of science, uniformity, six weekends on the Moon, explanations for why our explanations don’t work, I’ve solved everything in hard Science Fiction, but you haven’t solved unicorns, Svetz, time travel stories, Moby-Dick, running into fantasy, into a fantastical past, a collection of short stories, Rainbow Mars, a seed from Yggdrasil, A Wolf In My Time Machine, manna in fantasy, manna’s from heaven, Maori culture, as a unit of magic, magic as sustenance, a shout out to Australia and New Zealand, emigrate to Australia, super-yummy, “try the moa, it’s great!”, the aborigines, the Dreamtime, this fits in with my explanation, Master Of The Maze by Avram Davidson, been not from, Maori cultural practices, reciprocal obligations, Jesse explains the potlatch, depleting your production, you have power, an economic cultural mixer, what commerce can do, nobody would be productive if they didn’t have money, the communication of debt, honor, they owe you and you own them, Washington State, banned, spiritual power, gods and spirits, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, that is magical in a certain sense, motivating without money, economics as debt not as currency, a theme in a lot of Niven’s work, solving ideas, 13,000 B.C., geography, Doggerland is still above the waves, exploring the changes, the unstated name is Robert E. Howard, his Hyborian age, Acheron, King Kull was an Atlantean, a philosopher king in a magic heavy universe, Kull The Conqueror (1997) movie is fairly faithful, Kevin Sorbo, The Good Place, funny dialogue, a good sense of humour, the relationship he has with women, typical, the right Niven characters together, Louis, Speaker, and Nessus, damn hard SF, character low, having motivation, the baddie, the worlds first necromancer, is Wayvhill the badguy?, a heist that goes wrong, very Joseph Campbell-y, dealing with the epic, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, Orolandes said, the skulls, “I wish…”, what was Clubfoot wishing for?, the last great sorcerer, a diminishment and a sadness, wishes don’t come true anymore, now I’m sad, thanks Paul, Antarctica, you wish upon a star, he’s not spelling it all out but he’s pointing to it, that’s the joy, Merlin, he ages backwards, they have these spells, Mirandees hair colour, from black to white, the vampire spell, good stuff, a very nice exercise, throwing Larry Niven into Hell, totally worthwhile, the original short was withdrawn for consideration for a Hugo, fantastic, Marissa is going mythical.

Odyssey, Summer 1976

Boris Vallejo cover for The Magic Goes Away

Skull Of Wavyhill

The Magic Goes Away - Chapter 8

Nevinyrral's Disk from Magic: The Gathering

NetRunner card NevinYrral

DC Comics - Larry Niven - The Magic Goes Away

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #449 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #449 – Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Oliver Wyman. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Oliver Wyman.

Talked about on today’s show:
100 years old, the beginning, because it is short, At The Mountains Of Madness, the narrator is insane, gone mad with fear, Pete Rawlik, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a great Crispin Glover impersonation, Christopher Walken, the great war was then at its very beginning, pre-Lusitania, the narrator is either British or Canadian or an American working on a British or Canadian ship, inspired by a dream, a Lovecraft-stand-in, internal evidence, a Mid-Atlantic accent, the element of the war, post-traumatic stress, adding ambiguity, illustrations, a LEGO version, on the first page, he’s outside of the boat, “the change happened while I slept”, the heaving vastness of unbroken blue, half-sucked, the surface of the ground matching the undulating black mire, Stranger Things, “the upside-down”, stranded at the bottom of the ocean, being sucked into black slime, how sexual the images are in this, everybody illustrates the creature climbing up the monolith, the one with the monster, an incredibly striking image, a framing story, weeks -> months -> years, three or four years of torture, he was “supercargo”, WWII, The Narrative Of Arthur Goron Pym Of Nantucket, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, two spaceships traveling in intergalactic space crashing into each other, designed to be suspect, “I think I went mad then”, an unprecedented volcanic upheaval, a reverse Atlantean myth, Lemuria, Mu, pre-human horrors, all of this is real, The Uncharted Isle by Clark Ashton Smith, King Kong, a phantasmagoric eternity of delirium, like The Invisible Man, a coming apocalypse, the oars, a style of storytelling, The Red One by Jack London, the big red thing, it feels like a Lovecraft story, shooting giant butterflies or moths, the Atlas moth, a juju man, the heads, a breadfruit tree, loaded with heads, “the red one”, a giant red sphere, an alien spaceship, a super-powerful weird story, nothing is revealed, the most enigmatic story, ancient astronauts were not a thing until after The Red One, stories really, Erich von Daniken’s Chariots Of The Gods and Life After Life, huskies and dying in the snow, White Fang, Call Of The Wild, The Sea Wolf, Jack London’s science fiction, “hard-ass bastards vs. dilettante assholes”, To Build A Fire, a punch to the gut, feeling SFy, the coldness of space reaching down, being tipped away from the sun, hard SF, the guy needs a spacesuit, that feeling when Luke Skywalker gets stuffed into a tauntaun, looking at the world from an alien perspective, the wisdom of men does not extend to all things, Jack London totally an SF guy, The Iron Heel is mostly lectures, back to Lovecraft, the genre of apocalyptic dream fiction, highlights and stars and boxes, “I cannot think of the deep sea”, “water soaked granite”, clams in their clammy beds, sea-cucumber, eating invertebrates, a horseshoe crab, Oliver is not afraid of going in the water, on the dock, de-crabbing his crab trap, good at clamping, tearing the crab apart, pretty horrific, Paul went to the beach in New Zealand, the deep ones were not invading that day, the HPLHS’ Dagon: The War Of The Worlds, reading the ending in a subversive way, I dream of day, in their reeking talons, war exhausted mankind, universal pandemonium, just end this!, bring on the great old ones!, why is he freaked out?, what’s happening with our species right now, if Jesse is right, taking place in 1917, the horrors of trench warfare, end our inhumanity to each other, might as well have the apocalypse, Keith Roberts’ Pavane, Scott and Luke Burrage, fairies, changing history, researching history (instead of watching the news), some dude went crazy in Las Vegas, country music is not for everybody, this story fits in with that, the general tenor, I got to read more about what the unabomber was worried about, hid and read history and do a podcast,

When you have read these hastily scrawled pages you may guess, though never fully realise, why it is that I must have forgetfulness or death.

Lovecraft’s inspiration for writing these stories is dwarfing the horror of reality, somebody is putting a name on it, House Of Cards, I miss when politicians were evil (instead of corrupt and inept), we sympathize with their massive ability (and their massive ambition), a fantasy of competence, Ken Burns’ Vietnam, JFK, Obama, a written narrative, I hear a noise at the door, an immense slippery body, that same scene, jumping out the window, that turn, he’s one of them, a fear that he has within him, knowledge bubbling below the surface but which he can’t put name to, “it shall not find me”, “god, that hand”, “the window, the window!”, being digested slowly, the hand is the hand before him, creepy, totally within the text, pre-Shadow Over Innsmouth, subconsciously he’s thinking of all of this, when doing the modelling of that LEGO, seeing other people’s drawings, a sexuality that’s freaking him out, kissing is somebody putting their mouth on you, when people write about sex, detail by detail, beat by beat, drawing a veil over some of it, the carvings and the bas-reliefs on the monolith, a giant man-like creature fighting a whale, reading this as deep ones, each story is independent, are we supposed to…, what size is this monolith, what size is the creature that most people would call Dagon, dimensions, presumably, Polyphemus-like and cyclopean, definitely huge, it’s his, no man could life that, bronze age tombs, when it comes out of the water, it flung its gigantic scaly arms, a child clinging to its mother, certain measured sounds, is it “in heat”, a Freudian interpretation, “loathsome, it darted like a stupendous monster of nightmares to the monolith, about which it flung its gigantic scaly arms, the while it bowed its hideous head and gave vent to certain measured sounds.” “certain” is very specific and means nothing, a religious chanting, a sexual thing, I remembered little, “I believe I sang a great deal” and laughed oddly when I was unable to sing. I have indistinct recollections of a “I heard peals of thunder”, over reading, certain people (Ollie Wyman), something deep within us, we know it is powerful, its the questions that propel us forward, when he travels over the surface over the land, nowhere were there sea-fowl, a giant white phallus, walk through the mire, unknown to the modern world, decomposing forms of dinosaurs?, a vision of a present?, Doctor Who’s Silurians, this was all fever dream, the storm broke the fever (and the dream), unless you’re Captain Bligh…, in his dream, I want it to be that way, ancient chthonic creatures or all in his head, tending to the more fantastic, especially when the Moon is gibbous, transient surcease (the lost Lenore is always missing from the Lovecraft stories), written for information (or contemptuous amusement), a hideous vivid vision in reply, it manifests itself before him, Gustave Doré, Bulwer-Lytton, Piltdown Man, Paradise Lost, worries about the reception of his work, a real chip on his shoulder, contempt, self-loathing, self-doubt, nobody likes his poems (except for Jesse and Paul), the psychiatrist is “hopelessly conventional”, alienated, Lovecraft is an alien, Sonia Greene would feed him because he was so thin, had never been in an Italian restaurant (age 30), let’s go in for lunch, Lovecraft watches him eat, why open yourself up to criticism, you end up being a Crispin Glover, Willard, a pale gaunt slender man living in his parent’s garret, New York, Chicago, Sonia Greene was a big fan of amateur journalism (blogs and podcasts), earning the equivalent of $100,000 a year, echo-y with later stuff, The Tomb, “I dreamed that the whole hideous crawl”, Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb, the sky is also black, its not Carcosa yet, Marissa wants to go there, bring a gas-mask, bring a camera, a great virtual reality environment, almost nothing happens in terms of choices, the Lovecraft role-playing game, The Nightmare Lake, What The Moon Brings, a recurring dream, lotus-petals, sea-birds circling over something in the water, the brow of a giant statue, he goes mad, if he seas what is beneath the brow it will be the end, the hideous stench of the sea, swimming in black lakes, a little bit freaky, the water is much scarier, VR is the hot new thing, Blackstone Audio’s The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Jerome Bixby’s It’s A Good Life, Roger Zelazny, Bill Mumy, the Joe Dante adaptation, Dawn Of The New Everything: Encounters With Reality And Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier, VPL, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, eating virtual food, screen-time, selling the spiritual aspect, how good are computer games?, mixed reality (augmented reality), Steam’s VR environment, on a catwalk in the bowels of Bespin, unendurable vertigo, The Simpsons living room, Audioshield, it makes me feel I’m in a Steve Ditko Doctor Strange comic, the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, Aces Of The Pacific, a rookie pilot in 1943, why Ollie is an actor, pulling the wool over my own eyes, getting into VR, go for an Occulus or a Vive, a VR Star Trek game, Fallout 4 (VR), Psychonauts, cooking an egg and washing dishes in VR, Vanishing Realms, real fight mechanics, its ready, 1991, huge and clunky, more than a bigger monitor, vector graphics?, Dactyl Nightmare, Dire Straits, Max Headroom, Elite Dangerous, Marissa wants to join the church of VR, skiing, under London Bridge, divining caches, friend MrKawfy on Steam and, the interactive entertainment editor of Creem magazine, that raunchy Doom theme, Serious Sam, chainsaw, was the Far Harbor expansion for Fallout 4 Lovecraftian?, the Pickman’s Model house, the Dunwich Borers, a serial killer, get their shit freaked, what are we doing in here?, the problem Bethesda games is the inventory management, a bane on your existence, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, listening to audiobooks while playing games.

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - WEIRD TALES

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - WEIRD TALES

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke - I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke - I think I went mad then.

Dagon - adapted by Dan Lockwood and Alice Duke "The Window"

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse Willis

Posted by Jesse Willis