The SFFaudio Podcast #484 – The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

July 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast
The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #484 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, Luke Burrage, and Evan Lampe talk about The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Luke Burrage, Evan Lampe

Talked about on today’s show:
Amazing Stories, March and May 1971, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, the best way to be right more often is to change your mind a lot, different futures, eerily close in some ways, the opposite of this book is Nancy Kress’ Beggars In Spain, questions vs. answers, immoral vs. nice, a very evil book, some facts about sleep, lack of sleep, eliminating sleep, a horror show, Randian superhumans, robots, being robots who grind other humans into powder, A.E. Van Vogt, when fans are slans, not as a science fiction but as a fantasy book, Philip K. Dick, scientific explanations, the aliens, a fantasy book about a guy dreaming science fiction, calling out science fiction in science fiction, Star Wars, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the tropes of pulp science fiction, the 1980 TV adaptation, changes for changes sake, a good adaptation, the 2002 remake, they drop the “the” and the philosophical stuff, dying dream, WWIII, as he’s dying in a nuked Portland, Rumble In The Bronx, Mount Hood, volcanoes, Mount St. Helens, Mount Baker, how Mount Hood looms over the book, what makes it the classic that Jesse thinks it is, the first half vs. the back half, battling for control, the narrative goes off the rails because it’s needed, two bad utopianists, central planning, life goes on, Orr being passive, “George Orr” vs. “John If”, Haber is a verb, to express the existence of something, the perfect tense, future tense, Orr is wishy washy, using to perfect, cute, Lalashe, coward, an insect, a black widow spider, she click-clacked and snapped, changing reality, everyone’s skin colour goes grey, to have…or, the genie problem, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, in imperfect dreamer, world peace (through war), no racism, overpopulation, internal vs. external, aliens ex machina, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, from ideas to reality, dreams -> reality, nightmare -> reality, Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the historical context, Stand On Zanzibar, Make Room! Make Room!, The Population Bomb, Star Trek, The Mark Of Gideon, The Conscience Of The King, Malthusian worries, people as consumers vs. people as producers, did Le Guin by into it?, Orr bought into it, it’s all about power and checking privileges, a diploma on his wall, a button on his desk, turned into an asshole and a user, somebody to use, a tool, Immanuel Kant, means to an end, what if there is no end, all we have is the means, the categorical imperative, subscribing to a particular morality, Haber is gaslighting Orr, civil rights, the dynamic between Orr and his psychotherapist, if this was expanded out it would be a dystopia, mild punishment for drug crimes, mandatory therapy, a little bit Brave New World, protein rations, climate change, the end of chapter one, the GPRT drivers, people on basic support, pretending that starvation is scurvy, at least they have unions, pre-Ronald Reagan, the logo of the white hand and the black hand are shaking, the anti-war movement, the end of the ’60s, wish for peace on earth (get war in space), simplistic anti-war ideas, asshole vs. misguided, wasting time on means, the consent form, the abuses of hypnosis, hypnosis as a device, Robert A. Heinlein, experimenting on patients, he hides his assholishness, getting violent, rejecting the second reality, it ISN’T morally ambiguous, Haber is so real, evil in our reality, what actual evil people do, belligerence, Haber’s arrogance, who was responsible for killing 5/6th of the population, how the establishment is: satisfied with the way things are, everything is getting better and better for Haber, why people are confused about Haber being a bad guy is because Orr is confused, he’s not curing me he’s encouraging me, being evil is using someone as a means to an end, rationalizing for evil, lying, the most insidious evil shit, why people stay in abusive relationships, compulsory voluntary therapy, blaming himself, hypnosis vs. persuasiveness, he wants another doctor, he wants help, what a medical ethicist would say, anti-psychiatry thinking, modern Scientologists, Dick thought this true, he’s not a mad scientist, his science as a means, his ends are good, aren’t they?, he’s right to go to a lawyer, so subtle, not everyone sees, the subtlety of Le Guin vs. the hammer of Kress, the most Philip K. Dick novel by Le Guin, out Philip K. Dicking Philip K. Dick, Ubik, Maze Of Death, PKD vibes, PKD and Le Guin went to the same school, a staunch advocate of Dick, one of the best novels, we are in danger of breaking the book by taking it apart too much, how different it is from Dick, feeling like a Dick plot, there’s no humour in this book, insectoid clicky boobs with a chitinous sheen, of course its a horse, funny vs. jokes, the focus on the power dynamic as a horror, sympathy for a horrible dictator, talking about that horse, Philip means “horse lover”, how George Orr lives his life, the homosexuality, dope, very advanced, no fear of bisexuality, NOT problematic, a very 70s way of talking, a 21st century book, the radiation, set a little in the future, undoing problems, mutating, the psychology of the horse and the mountain, erupting, everything’s beneath the future, evidence looms large, right out the window, only when Orr becomes upset, running away to his cabin, triple crown, Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, corruption, a horse of corruption, is Orr naming it in his dream?, if you don’t treat it as a simple fantasy, is Orr’s brain creating the backstory, choosing between different quantum futures, switching dimensions, how Haber explains it, what does he know?, he’s confabulating it, this is a book about dream, dreaming about this podcast, less LEGO than in the dream, absolutely necessary, completely mysterious, we’ve all had that feeling, angry at someone all day, waking up stressed out, what is the reality, Jesse is sometimes surprised to hear his own name, explaining away the painting, that is not normal, it used to be a view of Mount Hood, the influence of Dick, the power dynamic, The Man In The High Castle, when you read a Philip K. Dick book you can imagine him writing it with a smirk on his face, this feels more dignified, the Laozi, Zhuangzi, Taoism, H.G. Wells, the quotes, too many, so on the nose, the book is prescriptive, in what universe are these quotes relevant?, why isn’t Shakespeare talking about bug-people and aliens?, my pigtail points to the sky, buttocks into a cartwheel, freeing of the bond, accepting the life that comes to you, guiding the reader, breaking the fourth wall, spoiling the effect of the book, The Beatles, she was making it a “greater book” but “diminished it”, more subtle, the I Ching, the characters are learning from the quotes, had the quotes been changing…, “Shotgun Funeral”, the character list that’s messed up, Brandon Sanderson, a missed opportunity, Ubik, advertisements, influencing the characters vs. influencing the readers, look at all these cool quotes I found, “dream quotes”, doing a service, narrative thrust vs. narrative wander, Bertrand Watson, Margaret Killjoy, this is almost an H.P. Lovecraft stories about dreams, Hypnos, drug taking and dreams, a strain of Lovecraftian stories with the horrible machines, From Beyond, Tillinghast’s device, Eight O’Clock In The Morning by Ray Nelson, transparent skin, birds, gross!, Herbert West: Re-Animator, the lesser figure, the passive witness, the dreamer himself, reluctant fascination than actual inclination, the power of dreams, dreams written down, had H.P. Lovecraft written this novel, what’s missing from this book, what’s missing from this book: lucid dreaming, continuing the dream, watching two episodes of a TV series over the space of days, Luke’s lucid knife fight dream, narrative control, did I dream dreaming, George Orr was so wishy-washy, falling under Haber’s sway, spineless characters, weak men, too average, Idiocracy, the most average person, did he make himself the most average man in the world?, which was is the causation, personality inventories, gaslighting, the augmentor, he’d never actually given it any thought, the lay-word sane, your median, by the end of the novel he’s called an artist, he’s a draughtsman at the beginning, grabbing the world by our hands, a celebration of human agency, creativity, character growth, Sidewise In Time by Murray Leinster, living with the pieces, the opening paragraph from Hypnos, Baudelaire:

“Apropos of sleep, that sinister adventure of all our nights, we may say that men go to bed daily with an audacity that would be incomprehensible if we did not know that it is the result of ignorance of the danger.”
—Baudelaire.

May the merciful gods, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore. Fool that I was to plunge with such unsanctioned phrensy into mysteries no man was meant to penetrate; fool or god that he was—my only friend, who led me and went before me, and who in the end passed into terrors which may yet be mine.

the audacity of this guy, we are gods, we are the creators of our own reality, dreams reveal truth, teaching things we shouldn’t know about ourselves, terror about knowledge, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, Thomas Ligotti, an early pioneer in a horror people don’t want to know about: science is true, the comfort of ignorance, melancholy characters, The Dispossessed, the novel is not about that, power relations, conversations where someone is playing a game, handcuffed together, it’s almost like they’re married, why change the lease 33 year lease to a 10 year lease, the age at which Christ died, no resonance, credited as a consultant (not a scriptwriter), Luke would give it 3.5 stars, the lips within the curly beard, then this world will be like heaven and the men will be like gods, the other paid no heed, volcanoes emit fire, fascinating, he has the beard, we are already (like gods), we can already do this, Le Guin is very good at not telling but indicating the direction, signposts on the road, course correcting, why Jesse loves Philip K. Dick, he always doesn’t give you what you want, the setup, Lester Del Rey, designed while it was being written, Jesse has four copies of The Left Hand Of Darkness, when you think of Le Guin this isn’t the book you think of, a step below greatness, the author is visible, here are the ideas I’m playing with, psychiatry as the mains science of the book, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, psychiatry is less science than economics (the dismal science), how primitive psychotherapy worked in the 1970s, A.I. super-intelligence, turned into paperclips, the greatest good for the greatest number, humans into widgets, anti-utilitarianism, how Orr is upset when his girlfriend is gone, not black and not white, it’s worth it, grey not pink not purple, pink dogs, Loving vs. Virginia, she’s not scoring points, a lot of books seem to think they’re the ones who invented being cool, I wanted to show a lot of diversity, rainbow unicorns, representation is overstated, go for ideas, a response to race as a problem, racism is historically contingent, 17th century, let’s talk about this a bit more, slavery, Doctor Futurity, breaking up into new clans, clans are a real thing, speciation, mountain lions and valley lions, family behavior, SNCC, integrationist model for overcoming racism, to solve racism by making everyone the same colour, if he was a PKD protagonist, why the genders are the way they are, Orr was a woman (never mind), the secretary/assistant, the aunt that gets deleted in the first dream, a retcon?, sexually predating on her own family, if Orr was a woman and that was an uncle…, exploring sexuality in other books, Orr had to be a male, male manipulation of women, Lalashe, the most PKD character, starts as a negative, a persona she can take it off, turtle shaped aliens, do they even have a planet?, allowing pink dogs to exist, reality will cover its tracks, when Evan is talking to his students, the origin of the prison, imagining alternative to prisons, the Romans didn’t have prisons, exiles, fines, crucifixion, it has always been this way, a historical invention, The Word For World Is Forest, weird side-bar, The Word For World Is Rainforest, back to PKD, a one sentence defense of utilitarianism, critical of bad and stupid utilitarianism, defer to John Stuart Mill, the problem of the pleasure wizard, Jesse thinks of himself of as a pleasure wizard, think about kids, they haven’t read any books, or seen any movies, you’re going to watch Snow White, god-like power, children are not best able to marshal resources, The Good Place, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, way cleverer than Jesse thinks, Jesse hates the word spoiler, Jesse doesn’t trust people, “type it Paul!”, that’s cute, someone fools you it doesn’t mean they’re cleverer than you, intellectual journey, repetition, American Made (2017), Barry Seal, Hitler loses WWII is not a spoiler, is this Good Place better than Willa Cather?, time commitment, The Americans, look at it from the Soviet point of view, the ending was terrible because the bad guys were let go?, how we won World War II, the more you learn about the soviet end of the war, Canada boasts it had the second biggest navy in the world, gravitas, we can’t know, modern things, at the end of history, stagnating in place, the idea of the novel, historicity, podcast as a genre was completely unimaginable thirty years ago, still mysterious, how many music podcast are there?, it’s not a rights issue, Mr Jim Moon, The Lathe Of Heaven, With A Little Help Of My Friends, @SFFaudio “full film”, complete versions of non-public domain films, nobody cares, commercial concerns, podcast medium is fundamentally different, radio is almost all music, BBC is different, CBC is different, you have to keep it short, Joe Rogan’s three hour shows.

The Lathe Of Heaven - Illustrations by Michael Kaluta

The Lathe Of Heaven - Illustrations by Michael Kaluta

The Lathe Of Heaven - SF Masterworks

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #370 – READALONG: The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick

May 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #370 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
a terrible funny book, contemporary American politics, Jim Briskin, a bunch of stoners going out to dinner, political sophisticates, the ending, PKD is sick of his own story, precedents, Cantata 140, Johann Sebastian Bach’s When Sleepers Awake, H.G. Wells, seeing it from the wrong end, time travel, putting people into suspended animation, poor political intrigue, House Of Cards, what America is really about, racism and class, the cols and the jerries and the bib, why are they called bibs?, most bibs are cols, cols = coloureds (non-whites), jerries = geriatrics, Robert A. Heinlein, other themes, Dr. Futurity, two books smooshed together, that was a funny two books, other books on this theme, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, you can own an entire empty Earth, aliens come to visit, the sleepers, Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, a sense of deep time, the beginning of this book, so racist, not as racist as it sounds, Herb Lackmore, get an abortion, a “wheel” is a car, more of a U.S. thing, the United States stands in for the entire Earth, an economics issue, other countries have had this problem in the past, England (the enclosures), they sent them to Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, we don’t have that frontier, Dick nailed the economic problems of the early 21st century, a clunky 1960s novel, fun-house mirror prescience, seeing through a Scanner Darkly, white vs. black election, Trump supporters, C.L.E.A.N., the Tea Party, the KKK, super racist organization, interesting payoffs, the pekes (Peking man), sloping foreheads, racism vs. speciesism, and the moral of this story is…, Bill Smith walks into the room, even more hilarious, this whole incident will fade out of reality, whatever political scandal is happening this week…, nothing comes of it, how you gonna terraform Uranus?, a gigantic problem, what happens?, frustrating, but we love it, that mutant peke, even the space brothel comes back online, everybody hit the reset button, like a Star Trek episode, the Prominent Author by Philip K. Dick is entirely explained within The Crack In Space, a jiffy scuttler, Terran Development, Mary (again), “I’m thinking of writing a sequel”, a very funny joke, God is the most prominent author, an almost Jim Briskin, he was a “newsclown”, Stand-by, What Will We Do With Ragland Park?, interesting SFF audios, precognitive songs, weird, The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, a flaming red wig, the Philip K. Dick fan page notes, Ace Books changed the title, the title is a double-entrendre, “The Golden Door”, very American, they hate sex and they love it, where’s our flying taxi to take us to our brothel in space, a giant boob in space, bootleg organs, nothing came of that, Doctor Who, Revelation of the Daleks, consumer resistance, are you sure want to do this?, Vanilla Sky, Abres Los Ojos, the two political parties, the Liberal Republicans and the Conservative Socialists, possibly the worst book by Dick, not the book to start with, full of lots of ideas and humour, George Walt (the wind god), he’s a libertarian, see what you get, one long rambling set-up, you can’t live in this novel, Dr. Futurity, a valuable and valueless skill, bonkers, more repairmen, fewer presidents, The Simulacra, they’re all blending together, The Man Who Japed, Vulcan’s Hammer, The Cosmic Puppets, Solar Lottery, Eye In The Sky, these are the golden books, somehow they all got published, Now Wait For Last Year, a floppy fruit salad, he was attempting a trick, it didn’t work, wub fur pajamas, advertising on the doors, like Minority Report‘s ads (the movie), Mr American Buisness, my “golden door”, the Statue of Liberty’s poem:

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

that’s why, the abortion therapist wife, we’re supposed to empathize with the cols, if he had had another pass at this…, flying to the coast of the new world, a new Normandy invasion, how many D-Days, Neanderthal strivings are modest, The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett (a sequel of sorts), Stephen Baxter doesn’t write comedy, if this is his worst it does not turn us off at all, clunky and malformed like the brow ridges on a peking man, a slight vacation from our own broken crazy world, the audiobook, the narrator made one character sound like Ronald Regan, Eric Dawe, a few jiggling boobs, almost no women, this novel doesn’t pass any tests.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1964 - Cantata 140 by Philip K. Dick - illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick - Ace Books F-377

The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Chris Moore

Ace Books 12126 The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick

MAGNUM - The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #346 – READALONG: The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick

December 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #346 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa and Luke Daniels talk about The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
When did Luke record The Man Who Japed?, a spate of Dicks, a good six months, generic knowledge, Dick’s writing is like Jack Kerouac’s, Now Wait For Last Year, Dick’s favorite The Man Who Japed, not Marissa’s favorite The Man Who Japed, post nuclear war, censorship and morality, the three-way war before Earth the Starmen and the Reegs, JJ-180, swimming through time, Eric Sweetscent, Alan Purcell, minor-Dick, it’s a big jape, the novels blend together, classic Dick, Allen’s ambivalence, it feels long for a short book, the corporate stuff, Dick’s women are never “flat” they are either “dumpy or perky”, girls and gals, full present or drugged up there’s always a wife, they love each other, loyal and sweet, home development, something pedantic and yet timely, something you’ve never seen, what’s happening in China at the time, living in a condo…, when I first moved into my conapt, a note under the door, “you have ruined my marriage”, using new found powers to search for nude women, you teach a man how to fish he has sex with that fish, council meetings, gossip, condominium apartments, how do people live together, overpopulation world, his bedroom turns into a kitchen, she’s putting her clothes in the oven, Billenium by J.G. Ballard, Make Room Make Room by Harry Harrison, Hokkaido is a radioactive wasteland, Newer York vs. New New York, drugs, how Dick writes the book, undercooked, free will, “it just happened”, a former NHL enforcer, the psychiatrist, memory, A Scanner Darkly, his propaganda job, the juveniles (the robots), “inDickitave”, a society running on fumes, extra-Solar colonies, you don’t want to stand all the way do you?, the big jape, how Dick’s vocab works, the title if it was written today “The Man Who Punked”, the alternate reality, Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime, the consequences here, the ending, the faces of the teenagers, as a narrator, what is Allen seeing in the faces of those teenagers?, Allen was always trying to protect people, immigration to Canada in 1988, how harsh the immigration officials were, skimming off the cream, oh you’re an audiobook narrator… ok, a couple Brit narrators are up in the seed vault in Svalbard, The Prisoner episode “A Change Of Mind”, unmutual, conforming drugs, writhing, adultery can get you kicked out of your lease, Mao as Major Streiter, The Three Body Problem, The Red Violin, juveniles -> Juvenal (the Roman satirist), teenagers as opposed to juveniles, the Cultural Revolution was pushed by kids, everything pulling toward the center, The Americans, the world “soviet” means committee, the cohorts (are kids), how Nazi Germany worked, Nazi youth in The Netherlands, kids acting like little-SS, witch hunts, more American than Dick admits, V, a very soft version, no-death camps, slave labour, nobody watches TV in the colony worlds, the spire and the statue of Major Streiter, Colonel Gaddafi character, General Washington and the Washington Monument, can you imagine state TV making fun of Ronald Regan, humour vs. the dictatorship, every authoritarian government, Mr. Whales is rewarded with another apartment, oomphalos, the center, the more morec you are, anti-morec, in anticipation of the big jape…, Dick japes the reader, active assimilation, the cultural revolution, like evil-BBC, the poll, this is the emperor’s new clothes, Jonathan Swift, it’s something Ronald Regan would do!, if it was good enough for the founding fathers…, if John Adams and the founding fathers were all cannibals, it was a different time, he was really good to his slaves (food), turning it into a joke, society is obsessed with propriety, is this the start of the fall of this society, dystopia, optimistic ending, when the cohorts arrived their reaction was to laugh, “Repent Harlequin!” Said The Tick-Tock Man by Harlan Ellison, like Metropolis, infected with laughter, this happens all the time in SF, science fiction like satire, Dick was going on and on about not being a Marxist, timelessness, a crapsack world, a tiller, The Space Merchants, that’s Madison Avenue taking over society, food isn’t really food anymore, the food is always in quotation marks, simulated “baked Alaskan”, we have all the things he was writing about, an artificial meat, tofu has long been with us, simulant meat, Secret Army, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, this isn’t real coffee, WWII is the really big start of all artificial foods, chicory coffee, after WWII Korea and Japan get Spam, Spam restaurants, Minnesota is the home of Spam, it reminds you of your youth, coming to love the crappy stuff that you have, we come to love the crappy worlds Dick creates, the radioactive island, Hokkaido is full of ideas, where’s the government?, society is just kind of null, not total totalitarianism (bottom up), there isn’t a death in the book, a surprisingly soft dystopia, busy-bodied woman, anything over 20mph is terrifying, milquetoast, The Coming Of The Quantum Cats by Frederik Pohl, a pro-Muslim Christian American theocracy, a prim 38mph, the Harvard Law review (on the Black Market), I The Jury by Mickey Spillane, “I Shot Her In The Uterus”, The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, Guy de Maupassant, “breasts like two cones of white marble”, James Joyce, $10,000 for Ulysses, the sickness, The Grifters, Donald Westlake, how to advance your career in business by killing people, the mental health planet, an alternate world that’s not real, “but I only have $50!”, the missing 15,000 words, getting stuck in debt is a kind of dystopia, Mavis, taking care of cows, clean activities, soul sucking grinding horrible, the interrogation that happens there…, full of resentment, anonymous accusers, an open marriage, a c-class Dick novel, needs a little more spiced, not fully poached,

It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant
of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself…

and

Pathic men that pretend to be moral exemplars are much worse than those who are open about their proclivities.

he’s talking about Republicans, the “wide stance”, puritanism, strider -> Streiter, making choices, that’s what this book is about, just wing it, self-assured hubris, “he’s an idea, not a man”.

The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick
Le Profanateur by Philip K. Dick
Word Cloud for The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick
The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick - Cast Of Characters

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

March 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Terms of EnlistmentTerms of Enlistment
By Marko Kloos, read by Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 28 January 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 8 discs; 11 hours

Themes: / military sf / basic training / overpopulated earth / battle armor combat / aliens /

Publisher summary:

The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price . . . and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.

The genre is Military SF. The year is 2108. Andrew Grayson, a welfare kid from the slums, enlists in the armed forces, and the journey begins.

In Terms of Enlistment, Marko Kloos fails to score any points for originality. But I’m okay with that, and you should be too. Yes, Kloos appears to reboot Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. So much so, that some of the similarities are awkward and eerie (see basic training and the coed showers). The big difference between Heinlein and Kloos is that Heinlein was deliberately hyperbolic, whereas Kloos is not. In Heinlein’s universe, humanity fights bugs. With Kloos, we see an overpopulated Earth, the Chinese and Russians still battle the West, and humans have begun to colonize other worlds; we are the bugs now.

Kloos writes in the present tense, and barring a few anachronistic banana peal phrases, the writing is solid and strikes a brisk pace. I liked discovering a narrative where future humans have shed Earth’s gravity but still cling to terrestrial grudges. Kloos doesn’t write a unified humanity gathered in a handholding sing-along, rather, government’s war over resources, and the only way out is bound to military service or the space colony lottery.

I listened to the audiobook, and Luke Daniels delivers another standout reading. Keep up the good work, Mr. Daniels. Each audio cd begins and ends with a musical track overlay, and while it doesn’t completely ruin the audiobook experience, the music is distracting.

If you’re a fan of Military SF, battle armor, and combat, then you’ll probably enjoy this book. Be aware that this story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which is picked up in Lines of Departure, the second book in this series by Marko Kloos. No spoilers here, but I absolutely love the aliens that Kloos creates.

Posted by Casey Hampton.

The SFFaudio Podcast #129 – READALONG: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

October 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #129 – Jesse, Tamahome, Julie and Jenny discuss the Audible Frontiers audiobook of The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Aliens, first contact, alien aliens, Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evil genius inventor, a society in a bottle, how do we figure out which information is true, L.J. Ganser, “Fyunch(click)”, space empire, the Horse-Head Nebula, the depth of the alien alienness, who has free will in The Mote In God’s Eye?, “there was little of free will in an engineer”, “humans have free will – we know that”, Ron Paul has gone Crazy Eddie, Outies, The Gripping Hand, Renner is an independent minded contrarian, the CoDominium Series, “an American eagle holding the hammer and sickle”, MacArthur and Lenin, brownies, espionage, Sally never questioned her Fyunch(click), the characters are peripheral to the novel’s power, Niven and Pournelle arguing with each other, perfunctory romance, The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Treehouse of Horror VII, god games, Populous, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Master Of Orion, Science Fiction is not really about the future it’s about the present (except for Niven/Pournelle books), Protector by Larry Niven (in which humans are infantilized aliens), “only bad girls take birth control”, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God’s Eye is a yellow peril story!, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, gunboat diplomacy, “China has fake Apple stores”, the exotic East, “I asked myself … would that be so bad?”, “they’re not evil, they’re just our enemies”, Declare by Tim Powers, Soviet goals, “every place should be communist”, Russia vs. The USA, an unsustainable quarantine, this book is really about “the pill”, overpopulation, Malthus, Moties are people too (at least most of them are), a non-ideological clash of species, what “sentient” means, Eric S. Rabkin, do they have souls?, is it “scientifically proven” that an untrained kitten can never hunt?, “I don’t eat monkeys”, “nuclear war is the continuation of evolution by other means”, the long pig, is there an unused Chekov’s Gun in this book?, ozone smells good, imitations and perma-smiles, anti-yellow peril blinders, John W. Campbell, “give me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man”, “if only the humans wee more human.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #091

January 17, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #091 – Scott and Jesse talk about the new Audible Frontiers audiobook Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, The Godwhale by T.J. Bass, Half Past Human by T.J. Bass, overpopulation, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, FROMATES (“Friends of Man and the Earth” – an anti-technology group of eco-terrorists), arcology, Todos Santos, Los Angeles, California, are arcologies a stepping stone to generation starships?, SimCity 2000, Sid Meier’s Civilization, architecture + ecology = arcology, Coruscant (the city planet), Tantor (the elephant), Trantor (the city planet), Tantor Media, Mega City One (Judge Dredd), being a free accountant for the government, bylaws vs. customs and culture, engineering, “we can’t write a story that is just setting”, Luke Burrage (of SFBRP), is a cruise ship an arcology?, the reality of reality vs. the dreams of utopia, “Crisis in utopia…”, existing means interacting, the hermit kingdoms, transportation, Zipcar, cultural vs. technological developments, living differently in an urban environment, arcology as shopping mall, security conscious vs. security theater, safety as a selling point, TSA, terrorism, a Heinleinian uncomfortablenesses, THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION, “humanity is more than just one type of person”, what’s wrong with Oath Of Fealty, not unrealistic vs. realistic, eco-terrorism, resentment and the response to resentment is yucky in Oath Of Fealty, what are the references to blacks and lesbians doing in this book?, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, “the Disney connection”, Disney World, Walt Disney, Epcot, gated communities, Celebration (Florida), brain drain, Canadian immigration policy (is draining the third world of its best educated), colonizing Mars, Jerry O’Neill’s space colonies, “not anything like reality”, overpopulation, community tool libraries, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Stephen Hawking, NASA spinoffs, spiritual reasons for space travel, Beijing olympics opening ceremony, cut the defense budget to actual defense, “we need an alien threat”, China’s moon program, McMurdo Station (Antarctica), Herzog’s Encounters At The Of The End Of The World, the Canadian (Sir George Reedy) is the most unrealistic thing in Oath Of Fealty, there are no knights for Canada, the Order Of Canada, the case of Conrad Black, House Of Tones blog (interview with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), the role of GOOD editors, Robert A. Heinlein did the editing on The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (!), series aren’t a new thing, Anne Of Green Gables, The Great Brain, Tarzan, the Barsoom series, The Wizard Of Oz, expecting the series and not demanding the series is the cart leading the horse, John Joseph Adams (should be a guest on the SFFaudio Podcast), Orson Scott Card as an editor, Technovelgy.com’s Oath Of Fealty entry, the audiobook version of Oath Of Fealty, GLADOS, Portal, artificial intelligence, the speech recognition on the Google App is amazing (!), Google Goggles, cyborg, “BrainPal”, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, telling Oath Of Fealty from a different POV, check out the DRAMATIS PERSONAE for Oath Of Fealty below, this book needs more average folks, Cory Doctorow, “a lot more agitation and a lot less Heinlein”, do it as a YA novel, UCLA, the Weather Underground, drink coffee while you waldo on the moon, slidewalk, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Pournelle.

The Todos Santos Arcology from the cover of the 1986 Pocket Books paperback

Dramatis Personae
Joe Dunhill — Probationary Officer, Todos Santos Security
Isaac Blake — Lieutenant, Todos Santos Security
Preston Sanders — Deputy General Manager, Todos Santos Independency
Tony Rand — Chief Engineer, Todos Santos
Arthur Bonner — General Manager, Todos Santos
Frank Mead — Comptroller, Todos Santos
Delores Martine — Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Todos Santos
Barbara Churchward — Director of Economic Development,Todos Santos
MacLean Stevens — Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
Sir George Reedy — Deputy Minister of Internal Development, Canada
Genevieve Rand — Tony Rand’s former wife .
Alice Marie Strahler — Executive Assistant to Tony Rand
Allan Thompson — Student
Sandra Wyatt — Assistant General Manager, Todos Santos
James Planchet — City Councilman, Los Angeles
Mrs. Eunice Planchet — James Planchet’s wife
George Harris — Businessman and convicted tax evader
Thomas Lunan — Newsman
Amos Cross — Chief, Todos Santos Security
John Shapiro. LLD. — Counsel, Todos Santos
Samuel Finder, M.D. — Medical Resident, Todos Santos
Hal Donovan — Lieutenant, Robbery/Homicide, Los Angeles Police Department
Cheryl Drinkwater — Todos Santos resident
Armand Drinkwater — Waldo Operator
Glenda Porter — Tattoo Artist
Sidney Blackman — District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
Penelope Norton — Judge, Superior Court, State of California
Phil Lowry — Newsman
Mark Levoy — Publican; former Yippie
Ronald Wolfe — General, American Ecology Army
Arnold Renn, Ph.D. — Professor of Sociology, UCLA
Rachael Lief — Bulldozer operator
Mrs. Carol Donovan — Lt. Donovan’s wife
Vito Hamilton — Captain, Todos Santos Security
Vincent Thompson — Subway mugger

Posted by Jesse Willis

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