The SFFaudio Podcast #557 – READALONG: Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #557 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Julie Davis talk about Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, sequels, 500 short stories, The House Party At Smoky Island, Weird Tales, Canada, the show is always being made, a running joke, the only thing we know how to produce, Little House On The Prairie, so much drama!, every time she learns to do something…, relatively violence free, emotional scarred, deep consequences, carrot, all this baggage, just that carpet bag, her imagination, her red hair, horrible manners, how’d you like…, Anne’s temper, a similar setup, Marilla tells her own stories, she’s nothing otherwise, the new Netflix adaptation, Anne With An E, CBC, within 5 minutes…, PTSD, Anne being beaten by the previous family, you could read it that way, the take in 2019, each reiteration brings something different (something present within the society too it), in the next generation she’ll be a mentally ill child, her character vs her upbringing, Julie was being too modern, cruel self-revelation, 1935, along with Clark Ashton Smith and Seabury Quinn, a quaint little ghost story, riding on her coattails, famous in her lifetime, Charles Dickens level famous, documentaries, tourists to Prince Edward Island, made beautiful, the romance of Anne, her describing and renaming, the reason the Japanese want to go there, the Germans want to come to British Columbia and Alberta for the mountains, still a legacy of tourists from 100 years ago, the level of impact, how can Jesse ignore it?, there’s no SF in this but there’s plenty of F, The Blue Castle, my chest is hurting, heart problems, you can tell it was written by the same person, take that everybody, banned for featuring an unwed mother, undressing religious hypocrisy, sold out in Poland, countries grabbing on, unusual circumstances, flouting all the conventions, being taught to live within the conventions, worth a read, Muskoka, why is this such a popular book, it’s charming, why has it lived so long?, a first girl power book, Katniss’ predecessor, the ridgepole, outside of her time for what a girl might or could do, a girl book, Jesse’s cousin, seeing oneself in the book, what is it that happens in the story, we are introduced to the place, she’s from Nova Scotia, suff to look at -> all dialogue, Anne talking continuously, vs. Olaf Stapledon, is she a pioneer, or the opposite of a pioneer, what we’re seeing in Anne is L.M. Montgomery, the main character is a writer and an imagine-er, you don’t have to have red hair to like Anne, celebrating imagination and the plucky spirit, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, she’s counter revolutionary, she’s entering an institutionalized world, not the frontier epoch, a sadder story, educate the imagination out, oh my god, is this for real, “imagin” continuous until the last few chapters, 177 times, she is creating the entire description of reality, the cherry tree, wouldn’t it be romantic to sleep in the cherry tree, Matthew has even less imagination than Marilla, we are the viewpoint characters, unrestricted and uncontrolled, all within the context of NOT rebelling, she’s the opposite of a rebel or a revolutionary or a pioneer, the book is pioneering, she grows up to be the school teacher, she grows up to be a church goer, she could have, she aint for women’s liberation, a girl ought to take the religion of her mother and the politics of her father, she hasn’t gotten in to trouble for so long, she might become the school teacher who inspired them, clearly she’s going to marry Gilbert someday, in family, community, and friends, in getting older, imagination of a child vs. institutionalization, the moment Evan felt saddest is when Anne stopped doing the story club, the testing is more important, Evan teaches in China, whatever imagination they’ve ever had the institution has beat out of them, collectively we’ve lost a lot, Evan gets all the conformists, Jesse gets all the rejects, the Canadian school system vs. the Chinese school system, Chinese kids taking Mandarin in Canadian schools, that’s what happens to everybody, robotics with LEGO, LEGO Logo for Apple IIe, there’s something changed within me, insanely imaginative, the more rigorous you are in having to meet expectation, recite and regurgitate and pass the test, giving up and muddling through, the opposite of the frontier, the Philip K. Dick stories, new grounds to start a new life in, he goes into the space and he goes into the future, how many natives are mentioned in this story?, zero, rural farming, a setting for this girl and the imagination, she really was that girl in every sense, whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry, later writings and love life, Montogmery wrote extensively about her infatuations, per-obsessing, this is a girl thing, now that you’ve stepped on my trap i’m going to spring it, Conan the Barbarian is the male equivalent of Anne Of Green Gables, the poetry of Robert E. Howard is incredibly beautiful, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, dogs don’t have thumbs, the new children of men, story idea vs. terrible writing, Hungor Beowulf The Forty-First, a monkey named Ptolemy, this ambiguous and strange character, trying to write stories for Conan, a new Anne Of Green Gables cover with Anne with blonde hair, in the 1970s they gave Conan had a mustache and people were not having it, in July of 2019 they used the word “ass” twice, a word Howard would never have used, mighty thews, Conan is “The Cimmerian”, we never meet another Cimmerian, a stranger from outside dropped into plots, he’s the variable man, he’s thing that makes the thing happen as it does, Anne is conforming to the society, Conan comes into a society and fucks it up, how many times did people say this girl is special, Jesse is comparing the wrong things, she’s Tom Sawyer but she’s not Huck Finn, Tom’s going to end up a lawyer, for boys the going out and adventuring things and breaking things and being badass, Anne’s always doing it within that community, Anne doesn’t sail off into the western sunset, The Storytelling Animal, story is what defines us as human beings, we think in stories, the teacher was determined that there were no gender differences, and its not universal, not every girl is an Anne, she wanted to divorce and be a good life, interestingly documented, I can’t believe I’m married to this doofus who wont read books, depressed for different reasons, the Rape of Belgium, the images put into her head, go to fight the evil that is the Germans, the meat-grinder that is WWI, he’s not reading the newspaper, she raises the Russian flag over the house, she’s blind to the fact that this is propaganda, her imagination, tempering down her imagination, a restriction, Marilla’s so soft, when she loses the broach, showing Marilla’s internal conversation, here are the conventions, how do I deal with this, we thought Rachel Lynd was a monster (at first), a woman who’s a bit mouthy (but a good person), helping change the people around her, this is how we live, this is not a fantasy novel its about a girl with a fantastic imagination, Pippi Longstocking, help Diana cultivate her imagination, Marilla and Matthew have their imagination expanded, maybe we could keep her, rein it in or let it go, the haunted wood quote:

“Nobody,” confessed Anne. “Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted. All the places around here are so–so–commonplace. We just got this up for our own amusement. We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it’s so gloomy. Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things. There’s a white lady walks along the brook just about this time of the night and wrings her hands and utters wailing cries. She appears when there is to be a death in the family. And the ghost of a little murdered child haunts the corner up by Idlewild; it creeps up behind you and lays its cold fingers on your hand–so. Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it. And there’s a headless man stalks up and down the path and skeletons glower at you between the boughs. Oh, Marilla, I wouldn’t go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything. I’d be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me.”

“Did ever anyone hear the like!” ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb amazement. “Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your own imagination?”

“Not believe exactly,” faltered Anne. “At least, I don’t believe it in daylight. But after dark, Marilla, it’s different. That is when ghosts walk.”

Stephen King, It, the reason kids are attracted to this monster is because they have imagination, if Stephen King was your dad, adults are afraid of the mortgage and kids are afraid of the vampire and the werewolf, Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, in this house there are many keys, the Head Key, a key of imagination a key of memory, the explanation, a gothic house with many gables, expanding battery issues, only the kids can see that the keys are there, as soon as you age out you forget that all these events happened, Welcome To Lovecraft, Joe Hill gets what his father was trying to say, getting to the imagination, we don’t know why Conan left Cimmeria, huge mistake, just wrong, you’ve misunderstood, she cuts off all her hair and she buys a blond wig, she romanticizes her hair, deeply in touch with the desires and interests with girls, dresses and sleeves didn’t and don’t interest Maissa, it has more than just typical person, she’s an absolute character, what happened to Marilla, they’re brother and sister?, why didn’t they have any children, they’re barren, siblings?!, it wouldn’t change very much, why are this brother and sister living together alone, set in the 1870s, settled in the 1840?, Montgomery was raised in P.E.I. by her grandparents, she came from away, there isn’t a lot of sexy time with Matthew and Marilla, courting never came to Matthew, Marilla did what Anne did: spurn a boy and never forgive him, great characters, Diana’s there and we get some sense of her, the boy living in Anne’s house gets almost no attention, why is the boy not important, they must have an outhouse (because its not romantic), there are just some things we don’t talk about, choosing what to focus on, the pies that tasted bad, the pigtails incident, the dresses with the poofy shoulders, all sorts of stuff happening that she doesn’t focus on, finding the way for how Anne ended up there, the blame is so diffused, the right age, the book takes place over about five years, it feels right, a perfect novel, there’s not a note off, read all the Dragonlance novels, all the Green Knowe novels, all the Nancy Drews, all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew is like Anne Shirley, she goes to somebody’s house and makes sandwiches, investigate, her dad gave her a car, very conformy, her friend George, more like ambrosia, Jesse’s grandmother, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Pilgrim’s Progress, Heather at CraftLit podcast, what do you do for your family or her community, the storytelling element, the prayer, yours truly, Anne Shirley, we feel the rightness of that, experience nature as “the flash” while walking in nature, her own innate religion, the fairies, the dryad bubble, she doesn’t know what a dryad is, a natural spirit searcher, Psalm 19, the heavens are telling the glory of God, without saying a word they cry out who made them, the various ways you can experience this, she’s a churchgoing woman but she gets a lot of headaches, she has the opposite of PTSD, if trends continue, Cordelia Montmorency, Anne of Shirley is her deadname, she HAS beautiful auburn locks, so many freckles, don’t remind me of what I actually have, “hey! you’re bald!”, please call me Cordelia, you don’t get any guff if you’re a Steve or a Gary, I’m making myself over, there is a restraint on the kind of fantasy that’s available to you, she makes a huge mistake without having any kind of check on it, she has children because that’s what girls do, her imagination gives her ideas about what is or what could be, the original Lucy was a crazy girl with this vivid imagination, being who she was, maybe Marilla is a much wiser person, she should be so thankful, when I have a child I’m naming her Genevieve, I’m naming my son Solomon Kane, Julianne, that’s low class, Maissa changed her name, do something about this, Maissa went through school as Lisa, Jagmeet Singh’s book, his parents were immigrants from the Punjab (India), Jimmy, the sense you should conform, making interest out of whatever it is that’s different, Anne is proactive, Anne doesn’t take guff, she’s defensive, she has trauma in her past, there’s no formal adoption, go to the orphanage and get a slave, the literal orphan was L.M. Montgomery, she’s an outsider and also not, red headed not even stepchild, a very strange kind of family, she’s a commodity at first, girls raised to taking care of children, there’s still no consent involved, under that same system, we’re going to keep you, fear of abandonment, is Little Orphan Annie a satire, Daddy Warbucks, an Evan comic strip, inspired by the formula Ann orphan stories, Ann is a plain name, raven haired locks, confident and capable when outside of the school room, I misjudged you, the different psychologies of men and women and dolls and spaceships, dolls and spaceships, lets play houses, lets play, boys like to chase girls and girls like to be chased, gothic romance covers, a house or a castle with a high window with, women with great hair running away from castles, this legacy, women leaving the home and becoming another family, baked into culture and genes, tapping into something, one of the things they take at school is physical culture, tied with eugenics, the revival of the Olympics, a movement afoot, there’s this legacy, culture response to what came before, corsets, if there’s no other reason to read it it is a cultural artifact, preserves and apple blossoms and influenza, not a realistic orphan, unwanted babies, her orphaning is dignified, the romance of this story, a Dickensian story, the two previous families, being raised by hand, why Anne would have been so grateful, there’s something about this [that’s] The Wizard Of Oz, best of all was coming home, there’s no place like home, the teacher laughs at all the wrong times,

“I wrote it last Monday evening. It’s called ‘The Jealous Rival; or In Death Not Divided.’ I read it to Marilla and she said it was stuff and nonsense. Then I read it to Matthew and he said it was fine. That is the kind of critic I like. It’s a sad, sweet story. I just cried like a child while I was writing it. It’s about two beautiful maidens called Cordelia Montmorency and Geraldine Seymour who lived in the same village and were devotedly attached to each other. Cordelia was a regal brunette with a coronet of midnight hair and duskly flashing eyes. Geraldine was a queenly blonde with hair like spun gold and velvety purple eyes.”
“I never saw anybody with purple eyes,” said Diana dubiously.
“Neither did I. I just imagined them. I wanted something out of the common. Geraldine had an alabaster brow too. I’ve found out what an alabaster brow is. That is one of the advantages of being thirteen. You know so much more than you did when you were only twelve.”

I’m keeping my thoughts for myself now, the biography of H.P. Lovecraft show, he had a detective agency and a fort, letting you imagination lie fallow for a while, she won the award, you can’t only do one thing, not just the writing, my fallow time, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations In Crisis by Jared Diamond, parallels between nations and individuals, let your brain figure it out, worrying, should you worry over it, you just fixed your own doorhandle, you’ve got through this crisis before, are there any better parents than Marilla and Matthew?, her job is to raise her and his job is to appreciate her, chocolate sweeties, parsimonious, when Anne’s learning to bake, that penny pinchingness, there was three dresses, there are legitimate economic concerns that are baked into this story, taking on a girl is an extravagance, if this was a pure fantasy, girl power!, why has she got that sword?, crossbows are simple, its all a certain kind of unreal fantasy, they did live there and there was this, going to New Zealand to see Middle Earth, they needed to rebuild it, the uncle pulled down the house because too many visitors were coming to see it, the C.L. Moore Jirel of Jory stories, The Black God’s Kiss, she uses a kiss to kill him, a lady’s weapon, Henry Kuttner, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Napoleonic war with Dragons, Charles Ardai, the dragon demands a virgin, Mark Twain’s friendship with Dorothy Quick, Agatha Christie, there’s a whole other world of writing that has nothing to do with J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Adams, a daddy-daughter relationship, he’s a sympathetic character, the dad is the doting father and the mom is the strict one, a huge commitment, aloof mom, that’s a different book, do you think Anne is the idealized Lucy?, she really had no where to go, isn’t Huckleberry Finn a fantasy novel?, the novel is great, it’s just not revolutionary, is it a fantasy novel?, there’s a limit to its “girl power” aspect, the opposite of a radical novel, she was the standout character in the town, he’s got to have his own story in real life, where are his parents?, go to the Yukon and find gold, he IS Jack London for all we know, a good book.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #201 – The Faithful by Lester del Rey

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #201

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Faithful by Lester Del Rey

The Faithful was first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #193 – A World Of Sound by Olaf Stapledon

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #193

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss A World Of Sound by Olaf Stapledon

A World Of Sound was first published in Hotch Potch, 1937.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #545 – READALONG: Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #545 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

Talked about on today’s show:
cobber, guv’nor, tinhorn, ex-firster, a contemptible person, the Australian etymology, comrade, a revolution book, profound and deep and amazing, not the greatest science fiction novel ever written, no illusions, leg-clining, leg cling is the best part, ridiculous, weirdness, Helen O’Loy, Nerves, shaping the paperback industry, in the mood for something like, dig deep to keep going, 1.2x speed, police yourself, eastern USA accent?, perfectly adapted to the novel, implacable, a bulldozer through the plot, a fast read, a sweet-spot for science fiction novels, the period, what he’s doing, where this book fits in science fiction, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress but on Mars with more Mickey Spillane, more like tar than noir, Julie likes Maissa’s spirit, the same scenario over and over, Groundhog Day, shaking people down and breaking heads, a 15 page short story, Philip St. John was editor of several magazines, praising his own novel in the editorial, defending the novel against critics, fired from Future Publications, juggling everything, editorials, writing short stories and essays for four magazines, writing the novel while publishing it, a three part serial turns into four, people hate the serial, some people love them, he doesn’t really know where its going to end, this is gonna be okay (and then it fell apart), noirish style, the same trick over and over again, cop tinhorn fighter, Mercury mines, a punched mealticket, what the repetition does, not a fan of security, maybe…, Honest Izzy, didn’t pay-off, why did I get dragged through all this?, why you should be excited to buy this magazine, Van Lihn, a convincing picture of a planet, we were enjoying it, super-sloppy, not detail oriented?, its all getting done badly, apologizing, the height of the massive growth of science fiction magazines, as a product of that period, Dickens did that, he knew his prolific output, Elizabeth Gaskell, the motivation of Shelia, putting a gang together, why she attacked Gordon and was crying, in debt, sold as a slave, this is for what you did to Hilda, as a defense mechanism he hid all his soft feelings behind a tough mechanical exterior, a machine devoid of feeling, too much?, the fix-up, taking stuff in and take stuff out, chapter titles, chapter two is missing, police your prose, “Girl Gangs Of Marsport”, John W. Campbell, appreciating Campbell, the Del Rey books, his fourth wife, he’s a fucking liar, Erik Van Lihn, his Wikipedia entry, a professional liar, the closing editorial, “but it could happen”, happy to see it’s end, a darn fine yarn, doesn’t anyone like it, terrible as a whole, fun bits, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it should have been about Mother Corey, pulpy, the agent of change is a ex-boxer ex-gambler ex-cop ex-whistleblower, a yellow journal, benign agency, a traitor, if you squint a bit or your sick its not that bad, Durance, prison planet, done RIGHT, Australia as prison colony experience, a gloss of paint rather than thinking about ideas, Jerry Pournelle’s Co-Dominion, Sparta (prison planet), he could have done a lot more with this, less than the sum of its parts, what this podcast might be doing, what science fiction is, exploring the things Jesse’s interested in, the South Pacific in the 1830s (without spaceships), set on Mars with rockets and domes and superchargers, not science fiction, an editorial in Science Fiction Quarterly, February 1957, Robert W. Lowndes, P. Schuyler Miller, “The Reference Library”, good heavens!, Bridey Murphy, a suspense story, that’s a crime busting tale, where is the science fiction, it didn’t need to be set on Mars, gangs of New York, westerns, a lawless wild west story, almost no concrete ideas that are particularly speculative, something that Eric (Rabkin) taught Jesse, transformed language, The Teaching Company, an impression of the world in which you’re living, Cuddles, he sands the dishes for her, pioneer stories, designed to give you an impression of a whole world in the background you don’t see in the text, what makes it really science fiction is that it has ideas, so scattershot, he doesn’t follow through, Olaf Stapledon, no characters, idea after idea after idea, what science fiction might be, science is ways of knowing, he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he starts, a Philip K. Dick trick: he makes it symmetrical, the plot and the beatings and the dome punching, goddamned communists!, how do revolutions happen?, interesting as an artifact, imperialism, why certain things look like, a Big Big World, continents and countries and resources, why are people doing X, Y, or Z?, geography and resources, WWII, why are things happening this way, that’s where the oilfields are, like the game Settlers Of Catan, life outside of Marsport, Komarr, Lois McMaster Bujold, which is it?, changing from paragraph to paragraph, he’s going to derail an already overly long book, heartland hinterland, the Canadian experience, the resources for the USA, branchplantism, car factories in Ontario, Canada as a the hinterland for the United States’ heartland, the outsiders and the insiders, there’s a dystopia on Earth that we don’t get to see, a corrupt journalist who did a little too much actual journalism, something about his personality, he’s not an upright guy looking for the truth, corrupt but not completely corrupt, the heroes are the agency, East Germany, everyone has a secret badge, we’re gonna eat strawberries and cream, White Tiger (2012), this Jesus figure, t-34s, praying to the god of tanks, a very strange Russian movie, Duel (1971) TV movie, The Haunted Tank, why?, Ok?, The Killer Angels, two strange scenes at the end, a long scene with Hitler, the unconscious desire of Europe, is that the European psyche?, the audience?, equally baffling, unconditional surrender, talking about the food, the Russians bring in desert, what is this?, strawberries and cream, come the revolution we’ll all eat strawberries and scream, the revolution has come, when the revolution comes, a downtrodden people, what the rich people always have, playing all these ideas out, why it is a weak science fiction novel, you’re like Judas, they stuck in his throat, the methods used betray the ideals, that’s what we like about Gordon: he uses all the wrong means, the thirty pieces, none of it makes any sense, he’s busy in the kitchen and some things are burning, James Blish’s review: it’s naturalism but not realism, unpleasant matter, a normal sexual relationships, a bundling scene, they kiss, a normal reaction, goes nowhere, the naughty parts for a 1953 science fiction audience: salacious, Samuel Beckett, trance writing, humourless, the voting chapter, vote early and often, Alfred Bester could hold it together, the difference between a great writer and a medium writer, I’m expecting people to pick up…, roiling around, tossed salad and scrambled eggs isn’t revolutionary, Les Misérables, about redemption?, building something together, a change of mind, it’s horribly written, women’s psychology in the fifties, lock this room for a week, how little depth it has, you seem alright in a way, your boots, arranged marriage, if a lady tries to stab you or breaks a bottle over your head she likes you, a book club, five hours like eons, Jesse made Wayne June read the 60 hour Jerusalem by Alan Moore, and Evan has already finished it, baseline science fiction, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, picking vs. talent, don’t even try to defend it, shotgun, the setup and the dome and the boots, and we’re all spy, what about the drugs?, street drugs, they’re all starving to death, social control, undercooked, ideas he doesn’t do anything with, we should read Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, why books used to have chapter names, editing out the “this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain”, editing, so amazing, first published in 1980, Julie’s mom loves Alfred Bester, on Earth and so good, a nebula nominee, doable, electric bliss, Jesse has pirate powers, spoiled it!, plus five stars, The Rosie Project, The Man Who Fell To Earth, a book about chess, Squares Of The City by John Brunner, Jesse is the best ever.

Del Rey - Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey

POLICE YOUR PLANET - Emsh prelim

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #542 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Exhalation: Stories: What’s Expected Of Us by Ted Chiang

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #542 – What’s Expected Of Us from Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang; This is an unabridged reading of What’s Expected Of Us (6 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Penguin Random House Audio audiobook of Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang.

participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, Wayne June, and Terence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
his second collection, 17 years to come out, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, squint hard, a lot of them have a focus on children, he had some kids?, a theme, teaching and growing, parenting, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, a science fiction story with mimetic fiction problems, Dacy’s Patent Automatic Nanny, childrearing, not the major theme, background thought processes, fate and destiny, an abiding theme, care and caring, finding truths closer to home, The Great Silence, dissecting one’s own brain, straight up science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, you fools, you’re wasting your life, Paul could rant, set on spaceships, making sense of reality, a test subject for another star, they’re all standouts, its not our universe, a creationist universe, a dread discovery, the center of the universe is elsewhere, Earth as a prototype for someone else, an epistolary manner, a crisis of faith, Poul Anderson, a mixed relationship, life after death, finding a way to be comfortable with that fact, approaching the subject of entropy, the universe is winding down, nobody is going to live forever, comforting ideas, all just whistling past the graveyard, a positive conclusion about it, how do you look into the abyss and come away with a happy attitude, be happy on the way down, Oomphalos, I’m in charge now, now she has free will, he explores free will from every direction, the audiobook from Tantor, it took a long time for audiobooks to become the dominant medium for people who actually read, I don’t get many ideas, most reviewers on YouTube: booktubers?, a whole universe of people, people who read books are really weird, every week you wanna be reading a new book? what a weirdo, the New York Times bestseller, books not designed to be read, overwritten, as any right thinking person would, these should be longer, very presumptuous, I want more of this, throwing down idea much bigger than the package he places them in, Wayne liked the shortest stories best, educated super-intelligent, deep thought, rigorous self-examination, tedious, on and on and on, 48 minutes, The Lifecycle Of Software Of Objects, concentrated science fiction, two drops in a cup of water, what it means, navel, center, a role playing anecdote, the enemy is the they (the center of the universe), we’re the center of the universe, The Middle Kingdom, Middle Sea, everywhere is the center, everybody’s stupid because their vision is so limited, a young earth, a parallel in our own history, reason for belief, mummies with no navels, obviously not created, his guiding philosophy, if there was a miracle, its on rails, preodomites, other people, The Truth Of Fact The Truth Of Feeling, deeply profound, a Black Mirror episode, some colonial guy getting colonized, writing and reading, auto text generator, no periods, Roman monuments used dots not spaces, pre-modern Chinese, getting it from context, cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs, right in Jesse’s zone, Bros. Grimm concertizing, once in book form, Jesse doesn’t really take notes, one of the things going on, going back to an oral culture, Socrates, cost effective, the Romans were into copying and photo-copying each other’s works, questioning the nature of truth and reality, really cool, what truth is, Scott and Jesse conversations on truth, people complaining about truth, he’s more truthful about his lying, politician lying, not a wise man, wiser than some of the fools that have been so smart in the past, he was not the same, name recognition, you know exactly what his motivation is, truth is not one thing, your own memory of what reality was, science as being replicable, that whole diatribe, truth is that what is, there is an objective truth, we hope, touch the Eiffel Tower, a subjective conclusion, the objective truth, defining truth, relativistic, its subtle, tirade harangue fulmination, discursive, who designed it?, maybe he stole that plan, the more you don’t examine and are unable to reexamine stuff…, religious truth, truths which motivation action, William James, pragmatism, because it was false, smoke sacrifice to the gods was meaningless, intersecting with other science fiction stories, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, king of your own planet, a real estate story, jack hammering off the coast of Labrador, a Nazi universe, Genghis Khan, mythological pseudo-historical figure, the universe does and doesn’t care about you, making a connection with science, those most interested in religion were scientists, Isaac Newton, the original Bible Code person, the impact might have been diluted, these people don’t die, there is no biology, this culture built up around air-stations, eating as a cultural event, if you get this you can tell the story, The Nine Billion Names Of God and The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, sacrificed, hits Paul in the feels, the three narcissistic wounds, Sigmund Freud, the Earth is not the center, Darwin and evolution, that the ego thinks it is free is an illusion, strong with archaeological proofs, freedom, no final answer, interesting concepts, Olaf Stapledon, a whole book from one paragraph of Starmaker, Jorge Luis Borges, The Library Of Babel, standing room for sleeping, why this illusory duplication, this is not our world, there’s no food, they’re more like robots in a certain sense, all the argon is coming to them from something beneath them, who invented the robots?, a blank slate, the robot equivalent, an analogy of the heat death of the universe, “we existed we were real”, a self contained universe, a navel gazing story, working the same theme, Jesus in South America (the God of Dreams) [The Circular Ruins], teaching the A.I.s consciousness, self-dissecting, a good example that doesn’t exist in the same way as ours does, the transference between universes, the prism, Anxiety Is The Dizziness Of Freedom, Until The End Of The World (1999), replaying your dreams, so much about them, the perfect obsessive movie for you, gazing into who you are, the machine allows you to navel gaze, fomo = fear of missing out, the grass is greener, a simple idea, fragmenting kaleidoscopic versions of reality, only a few months old and it was going up in value, diminishing returns, amazing sparky thoughts, pirated songs, I’d make so much money, information is the only thing passed between universes, copyrighted specifically for you, the same wound, possible yous, not being paralyzed, why not?, one of me is going to do it, destroys your ordinary criteria for action, a high dose of neg-entropy, the school shooters, what effect would it have, Jesse derives solace from being (sort of) a determinist, science fiction about the difficulty of weather prediction, are there more murders now?, outliers, fads, more of the same, All The Myriad Ways by Larry Niven, you might lose your will to do things, What’s Expected Of Us, whichever universe you’re in, Vanessa, an unstable person, Counterpart, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, as Evan pointed out on his podcast, the universe is very small, seeing what’s going on outside, they’re all blending together, he thought he had done so much work, that’s much to harsh, words can sometimes resonate very deeply, the non-simple truth, a reality we are distantly connected to, poor connections, emergent things, to know what truth is (is tough), a longer meditation, the longest thing he’s ever written, either these people are wasting their lives or we’re all wasting our lives, where’s the truth there WAYNE?, to leap into agnosticism, relate to our interpretation of reality, we can only do what we can do, the motif of harmful sensation, The Imp Of The Perverse, physical or mental damage you can suffer, explicitly shoutsout to H.P. Lovecraft, akinetic mutism, won’t or can’t speak or won’t or can’t move, the motif of harmful sensation, a truly convincing argument that life is pointless might qualify, it doesn’t matter, a thread running through (or more than one), Ted Chiang has got a brain, the Lovecraftian horror, like a cognitive plague, a thought that explores the thinker, a Godel sentence, I try to act as if or rather action happens, pretend you have free will, believing the lie is the only way to avoid this waking coma, civilization relies on self-deception (perhaps it always has), The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate, living it, this universe might have slipped into equilibrium with nothing more than a quiet hiss, that in itself is beauty, in the next bottle over, the Complete Works of Shakespeare except it’s “Shmamlet”, the meaning is fake, Paul’s fear, robot descendants,

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

not a horror story but a science fiction truth, truths always in refinement, David Hume, past behavior, Robert Wright’s interview with Ted Chiang, The Story Of Your Life, a silly seeming story, Arrival, are you going to roll up into a little ball or are you going to affirm it?, the pharmacon, poison and medicine, make you a paralyzed mute or a creative, it takes all that time or that care to make that stuff literary, Wayne’s in a little ball, Wayne’s gonna complain, some stuff’s going to happen, get some jokes in there, WTF, we’re all gonna be specks in a layer of basalt, Tony C. Smith’s StarShipSofa, a Ted Chiang fan forever now, four stories, nested stories, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Garden Of Forking Paths, you can read it forever, a story that’s circular, in the exact middle you have a point around which everything swirls, the knowledge for where the treasure under the tree came from, super symmetrical, so wonderful, a time travel story in which there’s no technological difference, no traditional time travel tropes, there’s no predicting eclipse, he steals from himself, he predicts the albino baby and gets out of prison, The Diamond Necklace or The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, there’s the pit of despair, the story is the treasure, we as the prince get the benefit, why the title is Exhalation: Stories, The Great Silence, John Paul Sartre with possible worlds, Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny, whatever works is true, the suppression of this technology because of the ruling class, nowhere for that to go, a remaking of humanity, thinking about childrearing while childrearing, mimetic fiction is all about divorces, my experience with my marriage, different parents have different levels of interest in their own child’s rearing, would have benefited the working class, the washing machine is liberatory, television as the babysitter, smartphones, is that wrong, a typical Ted Chiang thing, an actual syndrome: psychosocial dwarfism, growth hormones stop operating, emotional malnutrition, not an ideal human state, really bougie, homeschooling, unschooling, the class dimension, a survival strategy, a metaphor for public schooling, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, Nanny by Philip K. Dick, the planned obsolescence angle, aloof parents, more attached to the nanny than to the parents, gladiatorial nannies, what if they trigger while raising the kids, if you follow police state logic, hands are dangerous weapons, tape their mouths up, and kill everybody (to be safe), the rational childcare device, a more cutesy vignette

reading, or being read, Ted Chiang stories, is like quaffing pure liters of undiluted SCIENCE FICTION from the fount in which it was first forged. And I tell you, without hyperbole, that Science Fiction absolutely cannot die as long as TED CHIANG lives and writes it.

asking and posing the big questions, natural science, parallel universes, asking questions, collecting and systematizing, that guy we didn’t like, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, “proving things”, weapons of mass destruction, 17 intelligence agencies, how can we falsify this?, holy shit he was right!, thought experiments, thinking them through completely, exploring a philosophical point, you can’t do it with mimetic fiction, what happens if…, that’s what they all are, the author afterwords offer insight, that I’m taking my head apart scene, a reverse infodump, we can’t understand ourselves, arguments like proverbs (suck), limiting understanding, refusing that limit, there’s no Godellian self-impossibility, what Dick does, almost like a drug metaphor, the thought’s he’s having and the thoughts he’s expressing, if you want to get into a big fight, tell me my hand is not my hand, memory, Hal, the difference, Ted Chiang doesn’t have this paranoia, adjacent to technology, the guy measuring the ether, how do we know what we know, the art installation for The Great Silence, Alex the talking parrot, very emotional, their beak is kind of their hand, emotional realities, those Alex videos, a whole other mind we have access to through regular English, these humans are looking for intelligence in the universe, the search for terrestrial intelligence, pretty cool, kinda heartbreaking, the whole Alex thing, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams, Arecibo, it hears the voice of creation, the lasting breath, spirit as the breath of God, the breath is not me, he’s having it both ways, these copper plates, audio versus text, in another five years, Wayne would personally recommend the book and the audiobook, here’s where I got the idea, at the end of every story, as a collection, this book we can hand off to people, I feel stupid when I’m reading stupid, reading this makes me feel like I’m the genius that I am, I’m sophisticated, I’m so stupid, not having brilliant ideas all day long, a guy practicing his words for his sermon, thinking on aloud, thinking on paper, writing therapy, cast them out of you, people are made of stories.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #522 – READALONG: Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #522 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Amy H. Sturgis talk about Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee

Talked about on today’s show:
Alex Nevala-Lee, a book and an audiobook, thinking about legacies, thinking about audiobooks before, the original cool guy, adorable, its nice to be read to, 100 pages of footnotes, Evan, your book doesn’t exist as an audiobook, nobody wants to read anymore, Evan’s gotten to the stage, reading history books, non-fiction is so good on audio, rekindling pleasure, everything is cited, really he said that?, “Fuck, Eando Binder!”, “lambasted dianetics”, its all cited, 13 hours, not padded, way too long, more about their sexual problems, wife-swappin’ again, a problem for a lot of books, so easy to read, just have a little listen, so engrossing, so well written, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, the Navy yard, commentary on the stories, I Will Fear No Evil, John W. Campbell is important, Ben Bova, two confusing awards, Hugo Gernsback needs his own version of this, the one person who is completely missing from this book is H.G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, what about this?, Jesse’s complaints are not very legit, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, modern science fiction, the intellectual historian, markets for genres, the 20s-30s-40s, the Cold War, turn towards nativism, a profound effect, the Science Fiction League, a self-aware community, WWII, a fledgling dialogue, this revolution, connecting SF with science, Microcosmic God, this is on Campbell, distinctly American?, issues sent as ballast to the UK, all the foreign editions of Astounding, the British fanzines, Hugo was nuts for electronics, we’re going to invent our own televisions, home amateurs, ham radio operators, the science fiction reader, Tom Swift, the edisonade, fertile soil, the radio boys, Electronic Experimenter, a pulp fiction collection, reading Amazing vs. reading Astounding, technical drawings and weird editorials, not only space opera, The Electrical Experimenter, Larry Niven, they’re weird dudes, a pathetic figure, a tragedy, a mire of pseudoscience, Asimov’s biography, Heinlein’s letters, no no, a horror suspense movie, uplifting, it worked on Heinlein, Asimov was his own little being, the tragedy is coming, blind spots and prejudices, good fiction and good science, the new wave, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, a machine for generating analogies, he’s given them the tools to push back against him, still influential, descent into pseudoscience and self delusion, Asimov’s preface to Dangerous Visions, we’re the squares, the passing of the torch, the sexual revolution, a cultural revolution vibe, Asimov was a square, “I fuck a lot, man.”, almost sexless, The Gods Themselves, weird alien sex, Heinlein’s weirdness, a lot of revealing things, the role of the wives, a biography of Kay (Catherine) Tarrant, spelling the names, Campbell wasn’t needed, behind the scenes, Astounding is so important, still under copyright, Heinlein getting mad at Campbell, Philip K. Dick has one story in Astounding, what’s going on?, Impostor, Campbell wanted superhumans, The Golden Man, a superhuman idiot, writing in reaction to it, Galaxy Magazine, H.L. Gold’s aesthetic, Campbell didn’t take Alfred Bester!, a gatekeeper, Frederik Pohl, how important The Cold Equations is, you have to keep re-writing this until you get it right, what it does, this is what we are talking about, this is how far we can go, a Star Trek story, here is an episode of something that we can imagine happening, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, what Campbell was aiming at, a study in what editors can do, seeding the same idea multiple times, turning Asimov down, how would that intelligence work?, a black POV character, a leap of imagination, racism and homophobia as compartmentalization, Dune World by Frank Herbert, Mack Reynolds, Black Man’s Burden, Commune: 2000, the problem is scarcity (there is none, except in jobs), universal basic income, it didn’t matter to you that the kid was Filipino, what the difference between a rationalists and empiricists, here’s how drunk driving should work, you’re not clear yet, a technical journal, that’s not how science works, how science works, grinding lenses, Verne -> submarines, Wells -> warplanes, Campbell -> atom bombs, science fiction leading the science, a legacy, Rocket Ship Galileo, Tom Swift in the Rocket Age, Nancy Drew is not the same, Nazis on the moon, action fun excitement, Elon Musk, pushing in all directions, badly inspired, Paul Krugman, Asimov’s Foundation series, a weird tension, the scientific approach to all things, psychology, a desire to make everything scientific, A.E. Van Vogt, enough to be dangerous, enthusiasm for the ideas didn’t follow through to the methodology, we can make this science too, Hubbard had no interest in science (or science fiction, really), Heinlein’s failing, Asimov was a sexual asshole, a tragic figure, Heinlein falls for Hubbard because he had a uniform, a lying used car salesman, cults, its not about your intelligence, lacking critical thinking, charisma doesn’t translate from the page, judging eyes, I no longer trust you, the worst insult Heinlein could ever give anybody, broken legs and gonorrhea, the asshole sections of Jesse’s email, Heinlein was really blinded by patriotism, the Vietnam War, we need a renaissance for the Heinlein juveniles, Farnham’s Freehold makes a lot more sense now, trying to make a point about Campbell being wrong, hopeful commentary, not including Hubbard, the serpent in the garden, transformative, “the competent man”, competitors and community members, we’re doing something that’s important, the conversations we’re having are important, they hung together for decades, personal loyalty, trolls, the story of the first Worldcon, women nurturing men who were nurturing other men, Donald A. Wollheim was a better troll than anyone living today, contributing something positive, Mimic, he bought a lot of Philip K. Dick, Asimov as a youth, your idea of heaven, the power of picking up one of these magazines, the one thing missing from this book is the history of the covers, the art, fill the space, a little bit of technology, pitch me three new magazine, Weird Tales, tiny little things, when H.P. Lovecraft turns down the editorship of Weird Tales, what would we have or what would we be missing?, a magazine with a legacy, Elon Musk is a Heinleinian character, old letters pages are fossils, D.D. Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon, a trap, not hard enough on the Soviets!, a whole lifetime of a really complicated human being, the whole point, the functionalist stuff sounds like Campbell, creativity doesn’t work that way, how writing works, The Trouble With Tribbles, everything is in reaction, H.G. Wells doesn’t seem to have a massive precursor, The Time Machine, Last And First Men, Olaf Stapledon, Starmaker, those men are heroes, page 370 and 371, Barry M. Malzberg, sympathize with his critics, the question of victimization, a problem solving medium, not everyone is a hero, the way science fiction is today, science fiction should explore everything, schlubs, we all live in a world that’s increasingly become science fictional, Wells’ heroes are assholes, the New Wave pushes back against the Campbellian revolution, J.G. Ballard, mistrust of the meta-narrative, setting up things that come later, wanting 15 other books to be written, a companion volume on the Futurians, creating editors, Judith Merrill, here’s another community, C.M. Kornbluth, glimpses, Arena by Fredric Brown, The Orville is new Star Trek: The Next Generation, the a plot and the b plot, season 8 Next Generation, Enemy Mine, Hell In The Pacific, Lee Marvin, no alien movie, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Space: 1999, The Most Dangerous Game, Predator, somebody sitting around, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the b-plot, The Corbamite Maneuver, The Kobayashi Maru, Amy’s Looking Back At Genre History, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, always asking questions, how do you know, a meta-story, it’s about what happens when you read Astounding, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin is a retelling of Microcosmic God, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Hal Clement, science fiction luminaries, missing an ode to Hal Clement, the chapter titles, Who Goes There?, it doesn’t give you what you want, Don A. Stuart, Twilight, two types of storytellers, historical narratives, a remarkable achievement, history is a pruning job, a really important book, more books just like this, every time we say “Astounding” take a drink, endnotes, bibliography, a gift that’s going to keep on giving, what happens after this, some editor discovered or promoted Dashiell Hammett, Black Mask, railroading magazines, westerns, isn’t Analog still going today?, finally why this magazine called Analog?, it’s a metaphor, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, factless, Willy Ley, trying to make the reality behind science fiction more real, giving writers a grounding, Asimov: what a man!, writers who are complaining about low pay rates, E.E. Doc Smith, the Dean drive, a reactionless space drive, more biographies of these pulp era mags, The World Of Nitrogen, The Realm Of Measures, Asimov On Numbers, super-clear writing, Campbell’s book of collected editorials, Lecherous Limericks, bra-snapping and carrying on, Annoted Gulliver’s Travels, a writing and learning machine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, mysteries, the joy of reading and the joy of writing, his mind was always elevator, that kind of curiosity is so rare, he wanted to know the answers to everything, a powerful force in reality, The End Of Eternity, a fun book.

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Posted by Jesse Willis