The SFFaudio Podcast #629 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Rastignac The Devil by Philip José Farmer

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #629 – Rastignac The Devil by Philip José Farmer – read by Gregg Margarite for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (1 Hour 58 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Fantastic Universe, May 1954, no illustrations, a French publication, big long mustache, lion statue, a spirit coming out of the lion, all metaphorical, or a particular satire, an elaborate joke, would make a great cartoon, Fords and Renaults with feet, my Renaut is tired, interesting and imaginative, only for students of the genre, not a good entry point, unlikeable characters, exploring ideas in a jokey way, a satire of a certain thing, a little piece of history, 19th century French adventure literature, The Three Musketeers, making fun of or having fun with, the playful joking, more exploration, particular institutions, Jesse is not an expert on the French Revolution, pre-revolutionary France, the three institutions, political points, non-political points, the last three paragraphs, bad news for Trish and Will, Skin, a substitute for a conscience, Candide by Voltaire, the old evil of alcohol, they plunged into the whirlpool, the discussion philosophical, front loading the infodump, this is a novel but I can’t sell it as a novel, Christopher Paul Carey, this is in the public domain, not happy with it, enough material, more material than The Green Odyssey, a stock for a soup, The Lovers, 1952, the parent of the bug-woman, New Gaul, the Beautiful Land, why there’s so much material here, the Israeli Confederation, what makes the story work, her stuff is in Hebrew, true history that was corrupted devolved knowledge, just another interesting , The Lovers (the 58 page), A Woman A Day, Moth And Rust, World Of Tiers, Barsoom on one level, ancient Greece, Doc Savage, Tarzan, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, always exploring some sort of cool idea, how to knit it together, an interesting book, not fully grasped, The Three Musketeers, he says what he means, the skins were our consciences, the French Revolution is happening at the end of this story, I’ve got quite a gloss on that, specifically a Science Fiction story, changelings, a lot of metaphor happening, fairy tale, eating meat turns you violent, unshakeable belief, the openings, after the editorial introduction, Rastignac had no Skin., reading aloud in your inner mind, having no skin and being happy, deep underground, very very very playful, why are you telling us all this, pulling the rug out from under you every sentence, wordplay, see what the consequences of that are, the King’s Muckateers, three prison escapes is illegal, a chronic stiff neck, his philosophy of violence, an attack on the church, an embrace of the church, what happened to the Church of England, gay priests, atheist priests, we’re all on the same team, Anglican equivalents in Canada, when will the NDP be neo-liberally corrupt, just give it time, everything becomes corrupt and then there’s a revolution, the blood drinking, a metaphor, eternal life through drinking blood, Catholics, not eating meat is common in religions, not made explicit enough, Jesse doubts he’s not smart enough, watching Spaceballs and never having seen Star Wars, Blazing Saddles vs. Men In Tights, Jesse feels like Worf in Sherwood Forest, I am not a merry man, a canon of these kinds of stories, not good at limiting himself to one thing, The Other Log Of Phileas Fogg, just read it as an amusing little jaunt, planetary romance, generations later, different planet, the downed spaceman, a promise unfulfilled, with the six ships in the sky orbiting, why six?, that number is to refer to something, what’s happening in France today, why their culture is so heavily effected, how long a legacy, wash over, a dutch standup, something wrong with the text, ebook editions, Despoilers Of The Golden Empire by Randall Garrett, a spaceborn retelling of the conquest of Mexico, Star Trek, they’re obviously inferior, thus died Francisco Pizarro, there’s no such thing as spoiling it, Frank Kelly Freas, they didn’t believe in spoilers back then, we cant even tell them apart, it writes itself, a good science fiction metaphor gets behind your defenses in a way direct assaults can’t, that’s a metaphor, what is the philosophy of violence, lenient government that allows underground cells, literally laissez-faire, what’s true, free speech vs. actually killing people vs. overthrowing institutions, fish not meat, his buddy, Ssassaror, the changeling thing, residential schools, there’s no exchange, a kind of critique of religion, a Voltaire like character, revialed, exiled and revered, something very basic, daring to be a revolutionary, a free speech system, rejecting the church, rejecting the skin, its a vampire, acting like a parent, a superego, alcohol, in vino veritas, he’s got a skinful, glimpses of light, pre-revolutionary France, powerful church, distant king, nobody’s the good guy, Jesse doesn’t get it, Lusine, husband trying to abandon his native wife, he’s attracted to her because he’s repulsed by her, irredeemable, a conversation that absolved her of her sins, supporting her father, Rastignac’s approval, she’s deranged throughout the entire story, Jesse doesn’t even get the title, cognac, we don’t feel alcoholism, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, perfectly, special attention, its actually a satire of temperance, the long legacy of temperance, teetotaling, much better understood, on the head of a keg of alcohol, not an accident, best understood through the light of his excuse, he blames it all on alcohol, a real phenomenon, who’s responsible?, AA, the higher power is attached to your body, created by the government and tended by scientists, is alcohol the devil, Balzac uses Rastignac in a number of stories, a letter that’s me talking about…, perfectly enjoyable on its own, the car chase, infodump vs. action, the jump button, an elite car, Renault because its funny, he’s just playin, people who are in cultures, eternal things, everything is cultural, mutable, a linguistic expert…,

Everybody knew the Church had been outlawed a long time ago because it opposed the use of the Skins and certain other practices that went along with it. So, no sooner had that been done than the Ssassarors, anxious to establish their check-and-balance system, had made arrangements through the Minister of Ill-Will to give the Church unofficial legal recognizance.

who are they, do they have to be anyone?, the Minister of Ill-Will, accuracy in naming?, the containment strategy, if you want to go to Oxford you have to become an Anglican, dilutes the meaning, religious whackjobiness, a more honest system, the government persecutor, Ministry of War, in our self-deluded society, the Ministry of Defense, the War Department, truth in the naming, we won’t launch any aggressive wars, unk-unks, Secretary of Defense, sec-def, just going to the meeting is the corruption, we end up where we are, a news report about all the wars, it just doesn’t happen anymore, isn’t that interesting, an interesting point he’s making, Jesse feels it but doesn’t fully grok it, Jesse wishes there was a podcast that could totally explain it, Will is still trying to grok it, LibriVox, Heel, it needs to be brought to the surface, Easter eggs, a narrative you can enjoy, a bit of fun, this should be longer vs. this should be shorter, almost none of it goes deeper, an amazing dystopian device, biology, an amazing novel, a trilogy or a series, wrong skin, half skin, linked to all the other skins, its brilliant, its your culture, how that even happened, getting that idea into the SF arena, you have to wear this parasite, that he never calls it out like a parasite, interesting effects, biological adjustment, Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild, “Rastignac was sure… something”, it is definitely something, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, amazing scenes, building up a world, he doesn’t have a good explanation, he’s a seat of his pants guy, a core reveal, a Philip K. Dick short story, an amazing thing (and then there’s nothing), everybody dies and wakes up in Riverworld, a metaphor for being born on Earth, Hermann Goering, Mark Twain, this caveman dude, Richard Burton, no satisfactory reveal, genes wanna make more genes is not narratively interesting (it is narratively sad), free floating as true (even though it was false), how many Riverworld books, offered him too much money so he wrote book 5, what the point, ethical aliens, reach enlightenment and join this oversoul, hints, The Dark Design, a pointless war, a point about war, the blimp woman, the only queer character in any Philip Jose Farmer story, has dated Jack London before, secret truth, this book has no point, the ending of Rastignac is really good, so condensed, it needed to be way longer, curlicues and ornate spins, interesting vs. amazing, what people say about The Lovers, everyone looks like a sphinx and is a hermaphrodite, 1950s, 1960s, Joe Lansdale, Farmer’s electric brain, had Farmer submitted a script to Star Trek, a fanzine article, every week you got to a new planet (unless there’s a space anomaly), the planet of the counting coup black people, the plains Indians and the Moors, how do you deal with a culture that’s different, the presenting of a weird culture, because of his electric brain, the angst driving Farmer’s writing, he’s wearing the skin, I’ve been a god this whole time, The Rebels Unthawed, The Shadow Of Space, if you go really fast you gain mass, bigger than the universe, Sketches Among The Ruins Of My Mind, Farmerphile, issue 9, gems within,

Rastignac became brisk. He said, “We go to your castle, Giant. We use your smithy to put sharp points on our swords, points to slide through a man’s body from front to back. Don’t pale! That is what we must do. And then we pick up your goose that lays the golden eggs, for we must have money if we are to act efficiently. After that, we buy—or steal—a boat and we go to wherever the Earthman is held captive. And we rescue him. “And then?” said Lusine, her eyes shining with emotion.

“What you do then will be up to you. But I am going to leave this planet and voyage with the Earthman to other worlds.”

Silence. Then Mapfarity said, “Why leave here?”

“Because there is no hope for this land. Nobody will give up his Skin. Le Beau Pays is doomed to a lotus-life. And that is not for me.”

Archambaud jerked a thumb at the Amphib girl. “What about her people?”

“They may win, the water-people. What’s the difference? It will be just the exchange of one Skin for another. Before I heard of the landing of the Earthman I was going to fight no matter what the cost to me or inevitable defeat. But not now.”

Mapfarity’s rumble was angry. “Ah, Jean-Jacques, this is not my comrade talking. Are you sure you haven’t swallowed your Skin? You talk as if you were inside-out. What is the matter with your brain? Can’t you see that it will indeed make a difference if the Amphibs get the upper hand? Can’t you see who is making the Amphibs behave the way they have been?”

Rastignac urged the Renault towards the rose-colored lacy castle high upon a hill. The vehicle trotted tiredly along the rough and narrow forest path.

Philip K. Dick fun stuff, this is a scene from something that’s been re-imagined, this is an adventure story, a noisy car, dense and foggy, a very peaceful planet, stealing of babies is fine, because they don’t have alcohol?, a whole lot of levels, wanna mess up your life go to the bar and get in a barfight, liberté, égalité, fraternité, why is the Earth woman in this story?, a common plot element, it doesn’t need to be here, it doesn’t add anything to the story, that leads to a way off, spark a revolution, a chinwag about stuff, he started a riot, a promise of more alcohol?, where’s the evidence for that?, that would just be amazing, how to accept the skins, a classic of science fiction (in terms of ideas), adopt our ways, a YA Farmer book, super-rich and yet not satisfactory, a psychedelic art comic or cartoon art style, re-imagine it, very visual, without any piece of art to guide us, a LEGO line, very appealing to children of all ages, epees, rapiers, a coach Renault with a working jump button, a rosy coloured lacy castle, the underground cell set, the greatest LEGO movie ever, LEGO New Gaul, with so many good ideas, alas, but still, Trish would like to recommend a complete inversion of this story, Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin, becoming uninhabitable, centuries later…, live cooperatively and save the planet, these people are crazy they’re bad they’re obviously inferior and you need to leave”, on Audible, standalone, generally a recommendation, people are paying attention to this story, The Blasphemers, Phil is really neurotic about religion, semi-autobiographical reflections about things, have the children going to church, Phil’s lifelong battle with predestination and Hell (being traumatizing), trying to find a way to relate, Farmer almost became a Scientologist, you have to leave your wife, Sufi stuff, an extended metaphor for some aspect of Sufism, semi-podcasting life, be interesting, be interested, he’s writing stuff for sale but that’s only half of the reason he’s writing it, he was always working on something, working on your philosophical ideas, ambivalent about religion, fascinated and always searching, uniquely American, specifically intensified in American life, religious freedom, fractalization of churches, some weird religion is starting up, Falun Gong, New York, propaganda newspaper, the counter arm of the anti-Chinese government.

Fantastic Universe, May 1954

UTOPIA - Rastignac The Devil by Philip Jose Farmer

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The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #533 – READALONG: Alien by Alan Dean Foster

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #533 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Maissa Bessada, Bryan Alexander and Evan Lampe talk about Alien by Alan Dean Foster

Talked about on today’s show:
the novel, the movie, Black Destroyer by A.E. van Vogt, Planet Of The Vampires, It: The Terror From Beyond Space, A.E. van Vogt’s Voyage Of the Space Beagle, a remake?, not the same story, a ripoff, Aliens (1986), a scene by scene recreation, every scene in Alien is also in Aliens, a climbing-in, a precious living thing, the countdown, “you now have four minutes”, written the same way, the same language, a betrayal, its not the robot, the company betrays them again (the same motivation), Dallas egg banks, the cocoon scene, there’s nothing in Aliens that isn’t in Alien, Prometheus (2012) rips off alien six ways to Sunday, Ridley Scott only has one story, exploding ships, a betrayal by the android, Easter Sunday, an Easter Egg hunt, we can’t escape the story, the reason it all works, the movie is astounding, Captain Marvel (2019), delete from human consciousness, the essential gothic character, William Gibson’s script for Alien 3, Audible’s audio drama of Alien 3, the comic script, the Wolverine podcast, David Fincher, some ideas, all the Christ imagery, a point it can’t support, a great egg hunt, the Gothic roots, a haunted house, the practical escape, all the horrible things that are happening are all true, a haunted ship, Ash is Mother’s loyal servant, Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, Sulaco, the tip-off, money, haunted house logic, low up the haunted house (in American gothic), family secrets and deviant sexuality, juicy Freudian goodness, white fluid, various forms of rape, Parker’s nest, pornography on the walls, pornography magazine, paralleled by what happened earlier in the film, and what happens next, how well thought through everything is, differences, that liquid spurting, a robot, a political flavour, the last great 1970s sci-fi movie, a labour movie, compensation, Karel Čapek, a seamen’s story, space truckers, truckers vs. seamen, merchant marine, a share system, getting that ship to shore, delivering oil, a banality to their presence in space, they’re not explorers, they’re not scientists, they’re workers, they’re not colonists, even more explicit, Dan O’Bannon’s script, the destruction sequence, tweeting out lines and screenshots, singing a little song, lucky star, the HORROR of the breathing, the HORROR of the body, contrasted with Star Wars and Star Trek, a working class and dirty future, the grunts, the Company, they’re murderers, they’re scum!, part of the power of the film, more an more unequal, more and more plutocratic, how many years passed, still trying to make a super-weapon, the textural feel of it, the computer interactions, shoulder patches, badges, coffee cups, beer cans, little details, that world-building, Aliens was filmed in the UK, Weyland-Yutani, British-Japanese, we’re living in that trans-national corporation future, registered out of the Solomon Islands, Antarctica, none of it comes as a surprise, they presumably know, surprises in a legitimate way, that breathing, the last 20 minutes, breathing and running and sweating, you become her, there’s no datadump or infodump, ratcheting up the tensions, characters, setting, meeting their demise, a shriek and its gone, Lambert, harsh and different, one key theme is body-horror, squirm-inducing, Roger Corman, Inseminoid (1981), H.R. Giger, how horrible the aliens can be, a worm under human skin, embracing what you fear, cuddle with it, Stephen King writes so much horror because he’s so afraid, Danse Macabre, Foster didn’t have access to the film, THE THING looked like the hand of a skeleton, The Thing, very Campbellian, lifting from Lovecraft, In The Walls Of Eryx, a horror guy, a science fiction guy, a weird fiction guy, disrespect of man as a being, the original script, religious icons in the derelict, tentacles, the same plot as Alien, Mars, very similar, the ship acts more like a submarine, being confined to the ship, it looks very high budget, they use the bridge twice, they use the mess hall twice, they’re getting their value for money, a Heinleinian-style rocketship, every surplus WWII weapon, a bazooka, pineapple grenades, a crewful of men and two women, these women scientists are serving lunch, they have some sort of a relationship, what happens in Alien, as it appears in the film, women have become equal, all of the characters are very similar, riggghht, we didnt think they were going to change the lead, kickass women leads, a whole new industry of slasher movies, we don’t know Ellen Ripley is the lead character until they’res no one else left, Sleepaway Camp (1983), final girl, the plot of Alien had already happened at the beginning of the movie, 10 Little Indians style, connecting back, they mimic us, her name is Ripley… believe it or not, the gendering of this, a mini Bechdel test, reducing genders, we get those anyway, when Lambert is attacked, overtly sexual, overtly biological, even worse, the scariness, pregnancy makes Kane very hungry, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, Planet Of The Vampires (1965), Mario Bava, Black Sunday (1960), space madness, awful and brilliant, the navigator scene, the costumes, the colour is so lurid, fantastic!, the gender play, a scene missing from the book, the space-jockey, in and out, the book’s ending, it sits in your mind, this is and is not explained, it seems to be growing out of the chair, the bio-mechanical idea, blending into the machinery, Aliens Vs. Predator, the life-cycle of the alien, Farscape, Babylon 5, the vorlons, truly alien, its not THE alien, is it a noun or an adjective, it doesn’t tell you what is going on, Alien 2 (1980), The Thing (2011) the prequel, this circularity, the actress is trying to escape this endless cycle, Caligula, Sisyphean, the same horror, saving (Davy) Jones, killing the cat, a whole thing with screenwriters, cats are predators, ship’s cat, killing all the mice, its just what they do, the cat and the alien looking at each other, humans not at the top of the food-chain, the cat is a stand-in for us, what are they doing there?, for the pure science, all about the science, Ian Holm, Bilbo is the badguy, Big Night (1996), he would have made the best dreamer, hinted at or explicit, petroleum engineer, one more Gothic theme, death and decay, a celebration of entropy, less energy in the system, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, all that wealth, any vampire story, 7 canisters of cn-20, Hudson is Parker, nuke the entire site from orbit, Burke, a substantial dollar value attached to it, the true enemy, a goddamned percentage, Burke, Ash, Easter, the true enemy is not the alien, a manager, a desolate planet, Tumbbad (2018), a period horror film, the terror of money, back to Conrad, The Secret Sharer, the literary roots are substantial, Dan O’Bannon, Dark Star, hard science fiction, the landing sequence, Aliens as an action film (Rossatron), cornbread, a last supper, the food’s not that bad, genuine shock, scream queen, Veronica Cartwright, frozen, the horror, not a fault, seeing it in the theaters, ushers were fainting, leaving the theater to vomit, Bryan saw it the opening weekend, May 1979, running from the theater, a simpler time, visually shocking, its a chicken egg, the posters are lame, hiding everything, the music, what is this?, Blade Runner (1982), Vintage Season by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner, Blue Thunder (1983), helicopter genre, a show built around a car, Magnum, P.I., subversive, about surveillance, innovative and interesting, Roy Scheider, Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Lifeforce (1985), Return Of The Living Dead (1985), Total Recall (1990), Screamers (1995), Second Variety by Philip K. Dick, Bleeders (1997), The Lurking Fear by H.P. Lovecraft, Heavy Metal (1981), the professional reviewers didn’t like it, the current aesthetic, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, a problem for a lot of reviewers, perfect for a young person, look at me aren’t I horrific, the wonders that some things present irrespective to what you bring to judging them, such an amazing experience, following politics for a living makes you wrong about everything, feeling the temperature of reality, foolish professionalism invades everything, invading academia, what they want, a model in your mind of what needs to be there, being open to things, corporatism, the faceless (inhuman) faces of the company, it can’t care it can’t love it’s perfect like the monster, “Jesse, you admire it, don’t you?” “He admires its purity.”, a cat named Ash, the fluffiest nicest cat, blending horror and science fiction, rip-offs, Event Horizon (1997), lost footage in Romania, Dead Space, Halo, Mass Effect, Leviathan (DLC for Mass Effect 3), Alien: Isolation, DLC Crew Expendable, recreating the whole set for the game, so terrifying, VR on PlayStation 4, Doom: Alien TC, shareware, The Expanse, The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling, eject myself, exhausting, a workout, the opening, doing novelizations, the start, written in three weeks, “You must understand”, dreaming professionally, most organized of all artists, he’s talking about writing novelizations, Splinter In The Mind’s Eye, how you end up reading novelizations, you’re rejected because you’re too young, the W.H. Smith’s, reading novelizations out of spite, denied, the power of books, books are less censorable, why Jesse loves ThePirateBay.org so much, spending so much time in second hand bookstores, serial killer books, a way to avoid censorship of parents and society, society, not even the government, a ratings board, cartel, how the Comics Code Authority worked too, the way the internet’s going, certain things are unacceptable, we get crushed like the crew, an escape, thoughts beyond Alien, so fun, thank you!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #411 – READALONG: The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #411 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, Maissa and Bryan Alexander discuss The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Imagination, Stories Of Science Fiction and Fantasy, July 1955, his most obscure story, a great random story, everything he touches is chromium, the robot, metallic, on the fence, the commute disk, the invisible safety rail, flying carpets, reading the newspaper, he completed the load, beautiful writing,

EARTH TILTED toward six o’clock, the work-day almost over. Commute discs rose in dense swarms and billowed away from the industrial zone toward the surrounding residential rings. Like nocturnal moths, the thick clouds of discs darkened the evening sky. Silent, weightless, they whisked their passengers toward home and waiting families, hot meals and bed.

the ground, Detroit, ashes and cinders, this is the bus guys, Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler, a post apocalyptic story, Butler like Dick had to take the bus a lot, I like philosophy and music, he’s invented the strip mall, the counselor (charlie), do all the other stores have robots in them too?, weird touches, a boy and a girl making love, from the 1950s, he’s a sexual man, on point for everything happening right now, basically conapts, beauty of clunkiness,

Through the thin walls of the bright little dining room came the echoing clink of other families eating, other conversations in progress. The tinny blare of tv sets. The purr of stoves and freezers and air conditioners and wall-heaters.

you can really feel the world, the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, the disgusting beauty of bodies, the bullshit idea, the brother in law,

Across from Walsh his brother-in-law Carl was gulping down a second plateful of steaming food.

and then:

It was true. Walsh gazed unhappily past his son, into the days that lay ahead. He saw himself involved in endless wretched situations like the one today; sometimes it would be Naturalists who attacked him, and other times (like last week) it would be enraged Purists.

being contrary, arguing both sides, the Horney amendment and the Butte petition, having your sweat glands removied, teeth whitened, no balding for you sir, we’re going underground, smaller portions, relating to this story after living in Hollywood, two kinds of people, half want to be dirty and bald and fat, oh no!, the B-Ark from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, something of Socrates dying here, tearing up the get out of jail free card, cold beams, frozen and then reduced to basic mineral elements, thisis the kind of act they freeze you for, millions of cryo-units,

the analyst sat back and gave a low, soundless whistle. “That’s a felony, Don. They’ll freeze you for that; it’s a provision of the new Amendment.”

the robot psychologist, a suitcase called Dr. Smile, A. Lincoln, Simulacrum, horrible and awesome,

“Don,” it called heartily. “Come on in and sit down.”

He entered and wearily seated himself. “I thought maybe I could talk to you, Charley,” he said.

“Sure, Don.” The robot leaned forward to see the clock on its wide mahogany desk. “But, isn’t it dinner time?”

“Yes,” Walsh admitted. “I’m not hungry. Charley, you know what we were talking about last time… you remember what I was saying. You remember what’s been bothering me.”

“Sure, Don.” The robot settled back in its swivel chair, rested its almost-convincing elbows on the desk, and regarded its patient kindly. “How’s it been going, the last couple of days?”

“Not so good. Charley, I’ve go to do something. You can help me; you’re not biased.” He appealed to the quasi-human face of metal and plastic. “You can see this undistorted, Charley. How can I join one of the parties? All their slogans and propaganda, it seems so damn — silly. How the hell can I get excited about clean teeth and underarm odor? People kill each other over these trifles… it doesn’t make sense. There’s going to be suicidal civil war, if that Amendment passes, and I’m supposed to join one side or the other.”

Charley nodded. “I have the picture, Don.”

“Am I supposed to go out and knock some fellow over the head because he does or doesn’t smell? Some man I never saw before? I won’t do it. I refuse. Why can’t they let me alone? Why can’t I have my own opinions? Why do I have to get in on this — insanity?”

The analyst smiled tolerantly. “That’s a little harsh, Don. You’re out of phase with your society, you know. So the cultural climate and mores seem a trifle unconvincing to you. But this is your society; you have to live in it. You can’t withdraw.”

Walsh forced his hands to relax. “Here’s what I think. Any man who wants to smell should be allowed to smell. Any man who doesn’t want to smell should go and get his glands removed. What’s the matter with that?”

“Don, you’re avoiding the issue.” The robot’s voice was calm, dispassionate. “What you’re saying is that neither side is right. And that’s foolish, isn’t it? One side must be right.”

did we not hear this in 2016?, it was the news channels, Hey Don!, an intellectual virgin,

“I have a right to hold my own ideas.”

“No, Don,” the robot answered gently. “They’re not your ideas; you didn’t create them. You can’t turn them on and off when you feel like it. They operate through you… they’re conditionings deposited by your environment. What you believe is a reflection of certain social forces and pressures. In your case the two mutually-exclusive social trends have produced a sort of stalemate. You’re at war with yourself… you can’t decide which side to join because elements of both exist in you.” The robot nodded wisely. “But you’ve got to make a decision. You’ve got to resolve this conflict and act. You can’t remain a spectator… you’ve got to be a participant. Nobody can be a spectator to life… and this is life.”

at his own advice, this is life,

“You mean there’s no other world but this business about sweat and teeth and hair?”

the third option, prescient of his own fiction, that channel didn’t make any sense, wait a second she’s getting paid to say that!, the robot’s umblical, he controlling institutions of society (Fox News and MSNBC), so creepy, a freaky world, on the nose, about any two parties or topics, the life extension program, Chew-Z vs. Can-D, a reaction against consumerism,

“I wish they’d get it over with, once and for all,” Betty complained. “Was it always this way? I don’t remember always hearing about politics when I was a child.”

men uncomfortable in their bodies, the beautiful androids of Marissa’s neighborhood, an alien philosopher pig (Beyond Lies The Wub), flabby, a tuft of the rough hair, a tear rolled down the wub’s cheek and splashed on the floor, you’re fat!,

“They didn’t call it politics, back in those days. The industrialists hammered away at the people to buy and consume. It centered around this hair-sweat-teeth purity; the city people got it and developed an ideology around it.”

Betty set the table and brought in the dishes of food. “You mean the Purist political movement was deliberately started?”

“They didn’t realize what a hold it was getting on them. They didn’t know their children were growing up to take such things as underarm perspiration and white teeth and nice-looking hair as the most important things in the world. Things worth fighting and dying for. Things important enough to kill those who didn’t agree.”

“The Naturalists were country people?”

“People who lived outside the cities and weren’t conditioned by the stimuli.” Walsh shook his head irritably. “Incredible, that one man will kill another over trivialities. All through history men murdering each other over verbal nonsense, meaningless slogans instilled in them by somebody else — who sits back and benefits.”

big-endians and the little-endians, Babylon 5‘s Drazi, Green. Purple!, we all have this, eyebrow threading, every unit, a nail salon, a dental salon, a hair salon, the alcohol store, no bookstores, the dog’s cant smell bad either, waste excretion tubes, still suits Dune by Frank Herbert, Counter-Clock World, hairless future humans, transcending the body, hatred of the body, consciousness uploading, The Quiet American by Graham Greene, eating vitamin paste, so ridiculous, trying to sell this story, this is not a New Yorker story, a satire, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift,

The police spread efficiently into the room. Standing around the immobile Carl, they examined him briefly, then moved away. “No body odor,” the police sergeant disagreed. “No halitosis. Hair thick and well-groomed.” He signalled, and Carl obediently opened his mouth. “Teeth white, totally brushed. Nothing non-acceptable. No, this man is all right.”

WWII, torchlight rallies, 1984, the Anti-Sex League, I’m proud of my smell, untenable, re-education, dying for the right to not care, bound up with belief, “red hair and beer-swollen features”, a plutonium ring, depleted uranium, a sissy kissing purist (turning us all into women), putting on make-up, why? why are we doing this to ourselves, Axe Body Spray, high-heels were invented for men in the 18th century French courts, you’re lucky we’re on the internet, on behalf of society, Code Red, billowing scent clouds, bread and coffee, a fun story to teach to kids, what is the illustration supposed to mean?, is it supposed to be symbolic?, two giant arms, nothing that happens in the story, low stakes, of our reality, mimics so much of what you’re seeing in the media, you lib-tard, you cuck, you’re thallamicly oriented, the animals vs. the lilies, that’s the rhetoric, you call this a peaceful protest, windows smashed, great damage done, Can a robot think for a man?, rejecting the robots advice, not caring, playing within the rules of the society, what people don’t like about Trump, you can’t say it that way, his political incorrectness is what people find offensive, in this story, in our reality, on the purist side, the sound of people chewing, don’t chew in her presence, last thoughts?, Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut, snarky vs. full horror, Vonnegut starts with horror and then goes tricky, a double take, such a funny story, how easy it is to completely brainwash people,

Walsh waved gratefully. “Thanks,” he called up. “I appreciate that.”

“Not at all,” the gray-haired man answered, cheerfully examining a broken tooth. His voice dwindled, as the disc gained altitude. “Always glad to help out a fellow…” The final words came drifting to Walsh’s ears. “… A fellow Purist.”

“I’m not!” Walsh shouted futilely. “I’m not a Purist and I’m not a Naturalist! You hear me?”

a total Dick move, Beyond The Door, do you think it was suicide?, I didn’t mean that…, but nobody heard him,

“I’m not,” Walsh repeated monotonously, as he sat at the dinner table spooning up creamed corn, potatoes, and rib steak.

Philip K. Dick food, what side is the mother on?, you can’t vote, a card carrying boot-stamping member, the left handed party and the right handed party, star-bellied Sneetches, Star Trek, endlessly fighting for all eternity.

The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick - pg. 86

The Chromium Fence by Philip K. Dick - illustration

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #233 – READALONG: Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #233 – Scott, Luke Burrage, and Jenny talk about Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Talked about on today’s show:
Where’s Jesse?, Eric S. Rabkin, SPOILER TERRITORY, Jenny loves post-apocalyptic dystopian novels, it ends with more questions than answers, a man wandering on the shore, a back and forth structure, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, big disease, a week, Jimmy’s story, the story of the apocalypse, pigoons and rakunks, The Year Of The Flood, corporate compounds, New New York, dystopia, a future world and then an apocalypse, Octavia Butler, religion, Parable Of The Sower, a parallel story with backstory and humor, a sermon and a hymn by God’s gardeners, the audiobook, a planned trilogy?, the Culture series by Iain M. Banks, extinctathon, Madadam, expert splicers, a hacker genius, the world’s best ever minds, the floor model crakers, war is misplaced sexual aggression, they could eat their own poop, it seems like Jimmy survived through the plague because he wasn’t entirely human, he doesn’t have the right smarts, creating a creation myth, the blood and roses game, nothing was a mystery anymore, yup and tick, Quicktime Osama, Civilization V, is Oryx really Oryx?, SPOILER, “I’m counting on you.”, “If only he’d paid attention to his fridge magnets.”, the way that Jimmy comes to conclusions is kinda different, “he knew why he picked Oryx”, the First Law series, Joe Abercrombie, the music at the end of the audiobook started way too early, narrator Campbell Scott, Jenny hates the convenience of canned and frozen food, wolvogs, any other complaints?, Luke really didn’t like reading about people getting off on child pornography, Jimmy is obsessed with having people tell them stuff while he’s having sex with them, Atwood’s larger point, nighty-night.com, satire, in other parts of their brains and gonads, a big turn off, do I really have to listen to this now?, why is Crake destroying humanity?, neuronormative, there will be no child abuse, random levels of technology, a good novel, good Science Fiction?, technology, DVDs, most SF writers know, Colossus: The Forbin Project,

“Although ‘MaddAddam’ is a work of fiction, it does not include any technologies that do not already exist, or bio-beings that do not already exist, are not under construction, or are not possible in theory.”

it didn’t feel intentional, it felt clunky and badly thought out, Margret Atwood doesn’t want to call it Science Fiction, she’s just not interested, a lot different in tone and feel than most SF, the Booker prize list, this is a book about humans, super-reductive, what does it tell us about humanity?, social Science Fiction, this is pretty bad Science Fiction (but a good novel), the Science Fiction falls out of Crake’s brain, J.G. Ballard, Jenny’s book club experience, boycotted, people refusing to read Oryx And Crake because it is SF, SF lumpers try to deny, Star Wars isn’t SF, a literature of ideas, “the fear of this battlestation”, a perfect description of SF, literary fiction that’s SF, Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Luke doesn’t like sub-genres, gmail has tags, assigning, where do you shelf it?, in the modern world a book can be shelved in many shelves, Goodreads, own-poetry-unread, STAR RATINGS!, the Force is a fantasy element, “oh, here’s another Death Star.”

Jimmy's Father Worked For Organ Farms Inc. by Mat Roff

Jimmy Went In To See The Pigoons by Jason Courtney

Oryx And Crake illustration by Jeremy Wheeler

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #193 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #193 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny, talk about audiobooks, the RECENT ARRIVALS and the NEW RELEASES.

Talked about on today’s show:
the last new releases episode was in October, Amazing Spider-Man #700 (final) is creepy, Spider-Man writer gets death threats, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond is paleo, Jenny’s research paper on music from birdsong and waterfalls, Jon Catler’s microtonal Birdhouse album, Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson (Zombie P.I.), necro-maniac what’s that?, the next one has Tam’s name all over it, Chicks Kick Butt by Caine and Hughes, butt not ass?, Jenny is not Harriet Klausner, Jenny’s term “speed dating books”, The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle, the ‘skrayling’ creature, Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer, are we worried about Area 51?, Scoundrels: Star Wars by Timothy Zahn (author of the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy), sounds like Oceans Eleven, “create suspense through problems not death”, Fantastic Imaginings edited by Stefan Rudnicki |OUR POST|, from Guy de Maupassant to Arthur C. Clarke, (22 hours), Fritz Leiber writes science fiction?, and now New Releases, Audible’s Rip-Off! project uses famous first lines from stories, which stories were the inspirations?, The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers, Jenny’s review from her blog, “don’t have sex or you’ll die!”, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont |PDF| (Number 12 Looks Just Like You on The Twilight Zone), Liking What You See by Ted Chiang, we are beauty experts, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler (dramatized on 2000X), Kindred by Octavia Butler (audiodrama links here), Jenny brings up The Cleansed apocalyptic audiodrama without our prompting |OUR DISCUSSION WITH THE CREATOR|, be a prepper, we explain Forgotten Realms to Jenny, kinder means children in German, Brilliance is Audible, R.A. Salvatore was a bouncer, The Wheel Of Time by Brandon Sanderson is the last book, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven (we’ll do a READLONG of it with Scott on 1/20/13), sounds like Spider-Man, Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton, Toby Longworth blogs about narrating Great North Road, like the movie The Hidden, Tam asks for a new world federation of e-media, Neil Gaiman to give up book tours, Tim Ferriss doesn’t book tour, there’s a ton of new Mike Resnick, his Kirinyaga has African culture

Spider-Man

Posted by Tamahome