The SFFaudio Podcast #483 – READALONG: Kim by Rudyard Kipling

July 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #483 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Talked about on today’s show:
the Forgotten Classics podcast, 1901, 1900, a long book, a picaresque: “relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero”, a rogue, Mahbub Ali, how do we come to this book, Citizen Of The Galaxy is Julie’s favourite Heinlein, stuck in Julie’s brain, enchanted, so thick, so much going on, the clouds parted, the sights and sounds of India are overwhelming, reading Edgar Allan Poe on the page, a style, the big thick novels of today vs. the big thick novels of yesterday, more work to be done in a classic novel, thank you so much, we should talk about it, Jesse is a trickster, reading a book is a lot of work, dropping seeds and seeing if they flower, how could one not like this book?, The Turning Wheel by Philip K. Dick, was Philip K. Dick a Rudyard Kipling fan?, Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick, do you like Yates?, I don’t know I’ve never tried any, do you like Kipling?, I don’t know I’ve never Kippled, Dick’s nod to Lovecraft, an existential crisis, The Man In The High Castle, comedic, jaded teenage students, the plot of Counter-Clock World, Red Dwarf: Backwards, Nodnol, Bulgaria, Chesterton on Dickens, seeing the world backwards, Dick handles it very tastefully, the United States as a Buddhist utopia, begging as a normal and honorable trade, a necessary trade, a very different kind of philosophy, does it depend on who is doing the begging, acquiring merit, catching meals, the author’s perception of Kim, India’s respect for the holy, big blinders, a lot of dialogue and clever wordplay, the 1950 movie adaptation of Kim, the movie was almost unwatchable, Kim is a malefactor, making babies cry, the opposite of ‘the friend of all the world’, stealing, smoking, Dean Stockwell as a small child, Errol Flynn as Ali, Gunga Din, The Jungle Book, racist!, Kipling’s love of India’s diversity, all races do the same thing in their own way, enlightenment and non-enlightenment, respect, Neil Gaiman, vindication!, understanding people from 100 years ago, he has a lot of race in his stories, how caste is everything, special clothing, entitled to certain kinds of respect, Kipling is interested in people, the real racists keep themselves away from the other, spending time with different groups, many merits, racist language, Kim chose the Indian/Tibetan way, the llama, layers, the contrasts between, the Anglican and the Catholic priests, different benevolent approaches, small touches, the River of the Arrow, Man’s desire for freedom from sin, an unrelenting desire, the protestant chaplin, in matters of human affairs the protestant church turns to the catholic church for guidance, loosely translating, a priest who cares about people, cute, trying to become pure, one thing that’s frustrating, so much going on, why the film version can’t work, Kipling’s playing a game with the reader, the whole Great Game aspect, did Kipling coin the phrase “the Great Game”?, everything’s in translation, Urdu, the flaw in what Jesse’s saying, thee not you, the relationship was formalized, Captain Arthur Conolly, exposing the actual workings of the spy system, if the empire of the world was controlled by Buddhism, Tim Powers’ Declare, the Russians and the British trying to control Asia, Declare is brilliant at times, counting magic, escaping the time in which a book is published, modern novel conventions, too long, spy novels, duplicates and doubles, the end of Kim, running out of strength, the third time through, a difficult book, when Kim appeared to be dying, how hard the book is, a kid’s book?, we’re just a lot weaker at reading than our ancestors, sustaining vigorous interest in sentences, why it’s hard to read Poe, its not that we’re incapable of it, looking at Reddit, what books today will be taught in school in twenty years, in Jack London’s lifetime, The King Of The Mazy May by Jack London, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Importance Of Being Earnest, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, teaching candy, The Kite Runner, demanding kids dig deeper, catering to: reading can be fun!, Ready Player One will be taught in school?!, the worst kind of book for Jesse, Julie remembers Donna Summer, almost some nobility to the colonial system, good propaganda, Plain Tales From The Hills, writing for the English, many more of the flaws, the Raj exposed, I loved India, weaving an entertaining spy story throughout it, the spy runner, also an oddity, LibriVox, Adrian Praetzellis, the Naxos audiobook of Kim, good stuff on LibriVox, doing it for love, interpretations, how interesting Kipling’s life is, Kipling thought of himself as a Hindu for the first five years of his life, Kipling’s father was really talented, a documentary about Kipling’s father on YouTube, Kipling’s father was more of a traditional racist, Kipling was an outsider amongst the white people, sent away to boarding school for 11 years, Lahore is now in Pakistan, thick glasses, balance issues, he’s short, the seventy white people who run Lahore, night walks, H.P. Lovecraft, when the night comes to life, smoking opium, the bridge between the white people and the vibrant and fascinating natives, he felt as if he was a prince returning to their own land, like the maharajas who were sent to Eton and returned to India, abused in boarding school, that happens in this book too, mother and sister and aunty, fixing this lull, The Secret Of The Machines, told from the point of view of machines, the things that run modern civilization, we don’t care if you get caught in the gears, the story of robots, a science fiction writer, an inventor of many kinds of writing, Reading, Short And Deep, The Mark Of The Beast, a werewolf story, British drunkards who defile a Hindu god, the Silver Man, going barking mad, the European werewolf story in Colonial India, My Own True Ghost Story, someone is playing billiards next door, like Dickens, telling the story of the people, The Phantom ‘Rickshaw, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, learning to write for the newspapers, the Mark Twain of India, among the cast of thousands, Mahbub Ali, he’s got real influence, its his job to beg, another Catholic connection, its about intention, like the llama, not earning merit, giving alms, St Thomas Aquinas, the poor are always with us, omnipresent, beggars on the road, only giving to the people you know, do you see Christ in them?, giving them great merit, when the llama allows the boy to be trained in the ways of the sahib, becoming a healer, a boy given a gun, the military caliber, a box of healing things, quinine, make a charm for this disease, equivocating, continually struggling, when we get to our Heinlein novel, the modern problem, the old wise men who guide the younger main characters tend to be pontifical rather than self-doubting, Jesse’s grandmother had just finished reading the book, a TV movie withe Peter O’Toole as the llama, is this really a children’s book?, Kimball O’Hara, the choices that Kim made once he understood his place in society, the ways of his childhood, the English couldn’t take it out of him (unlike Kipling), a university dean, lecture tours, marriage, using English in thinking, hypnotism scene, double brained, how hypnotism works, letting yourself play the game, the roller coaster, the only people who dance like a chicken on stage are those who want to dance like a chicken on stage, like Girls Gone Wild videos, a biased picture, we didn’t know that smoking was a bad for you as we do now, everybody back then must have stunk really bad, a very scented era, big mustaches, mutton chops and layers and layers of clothing, clean and odor-free, the Asians don’t go much in for kissing, romantic drama set in China, times and conventions change, a whole weird world that’s always changing, what to call this effect, the fossil of a particular period, so many indications and different directions, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward is a relic from the 1980s, a snapshot, trapped in amber, a pretty good idea of what things are like, what it smelled like and the colours of the saris, invaluable experience, you are edified by reading such a book, a meditation of life and existence, a very unexpected journey, a tour of India, extremes held together by love, the story of younger and elder elephant is told twice, continually meditating upon it, reflecting upon it to Kim again, held together by bonds of love, set free to travel together, transcendence, if you look at the original publication of any Kipling book it always starts with a swastika, co-opting, pilots used the swastika as a symbol of good luck on both sides of WWI, on the begging bowl is a swastika on a lotus leaf, begging for Nazis!, this kind of symbolism, the cover of McClure’s magazine, a circle, a Star of David, an Iron Cross, looking at them in their proper context, the simple honest folk at the bottom of every society, an attack on the attitudes of people who take other people for granted, India as a place of delight and wonders, the Great Road, the road can’t go ever on, finding the river in your own backyard, Kim is Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz set in India.

Classics Illustrated - No. 143 Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Kim by Rudyard Kipling - Classics Illustrated No. 143

Kim by Rudyard Kipling - illustrated by Oliver Hurst

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

September 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

ALL AMERICAN
Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

ECLECTIC AFFINITIES
Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

AMUSEMENTS, ANNOYANCES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

LEGACIES OF TOTALITARIANISM
Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

WORDS’ WORTH
When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo – on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #144 – READALONG: Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley

January 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #144 – Jesse, Tamahome and Gregg Margarite talk about the audiobook of Robert Sheckley’s 1959 novel Immortality, Inc..

Talked about on today’s show:
Time Killer was nominated for a Hugo, the Blackstone Audio audiobook, Sheckley’s family of themes, a collage of images, Immortality, Inc. is a comedy, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, Peter Lorre, Midnight Cowboy, “those are real tears”, a cartoon, Buddhism, reincarnation, the yoga machine, “manipulation catches up to theory”, surviving beyond death, Futurama, suicide booths, New New York, Douglas Adams, Matt Groening, zombies, are we chicking or egging, Mindswap by Robert Sheckley (SFFaudio Podcast #076), Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, “you are not…”, are you your memories?, hundreds of trillions of assumptions, “why did communism fail?”, Tam knits, sweet sweet coffee, Harrison Bergeron, we need the CPU as well as the memory, Gregg would still be Gregg in another body, a body as an automobile for genes, aren’t skills a part of your mind, your memories?, bayoneting skills, Gregg wants longer pinkies, dynamic finger growth is optimal, episodic, the hunt, have the lawyer leave the room, “what if there is nothing more?”, this is a book about death, ghosts, walking through all the explanation for what happens after they die, tomb like an Egyptian, sane ghosts vs. nutjob ghosts, “the competition never ends”, “different dimension, same shit”, “transplant”, a black-market copy of a sensory recording of our hero’s story, interest in the twentieth century is waning, 1950s New York, Jesse has never been to New York, security theater, Gregg promises to take Jesse to New York, a private Winnebago?, the suspension of habeas corpus, Canada is a country that doesn’t work in theory (but works in practice), the United States as a utopian experiment, Australia has mandatory voting, Mayberry, “the right to die”, death is exactly like before you were born, you can only look forward to death, Mark Twain, death is just one damn thing after another, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, Dante’s Inferno, does love conquer all?, Cinderella, happily ever after, arguments that get all of us killed, Pakistan vs. India, tribalism, Ghandi vs. Jinnah, “the enemies of progress”, China, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, ancestor worship, Khmer mythology, Hanuman the monkey king, “reality is only inside you”, are most people half-believers?, Sheckley doesn’t pick one way, did the serialization inform the storytelling, The Status Civilization, Sheckley looks at the world and laughs, there’s no thesis Sheckley is trying to explicate, Sheckley is “a sane Phil Dick”, horror vs. humor, Freejack is a loose adaptation of Immortality, Inc., Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger, the role of the reader, the magic of radio (drama), The World According To Garp (film vs. novel), converting the nonconvertible, a romantic relationship, Aristotle’s Poetics, plot should follow necessarily (or at least probably) from that which came before, Accessory Before The Fact by Algernon Blackwood, “it all happens at the same time”, flat characters vs. round characters, do we live in a serial world?, if Hamlet was a television series, Gilgamesh still works, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry vs. J.J. Abrams, an anthologic approach, Babylon 5 as the counter-example, Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski, Doctor Who, the vehicle of the series, will the dancing toilet paper company care?, Gregg: “I’m no longer god”

The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
The Time Killer by Robert Sheckley - Illustration by Wood
Freejack credits - "Based upon the novel "Immortality, Inc." by Robert Sheckley
Suicide Booth

Posted by Jesse Willis