The SFFaudio Podcast #614 – READALONG: The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #614 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons talk about The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Talked about on today’s show:
Vrill, Paul’s kind of joke, anonymously in 1871, highly influential novel, a rival for Dickens, Theosophists and the Nazis, an underground dystopia utopia from the 19th century, a little butter, a giant infodump with wings, nice first draft bud now write an adventure set in that place, cool idea it sucked as a book, abandon all of the things that were stupid, stupid but compelling, so many people were stupid to think this was amazing, Looking Backward, 90% of the book is describing that place, a thought experiment, a sociological novel, an American point of view, when these people come out of the work we’re fucked, a pro-American point of view, its a satire, making fun of the narrator, these jokes don’t land, why its so ironic, the ultimate error, he didn’t think it through, the background Silmarillion material for another book, etymology, nomative and genative cases, a local angle, the Secretary for the Colonies in the 1850s, a Whig and a conservative, Colonel Moody (Port Moody), as a colonial dude he is always looking outward, how societies should be run, how great American democracy was, for example two of my own brothers just paid $30,000, from infancy their handed pistols, they treat men like women, not even a science fiction novel, there’s these big birds, they wear their wings around, and there’s this metal, he doesn’t have midichlorian vril veins, that staff, magic wands, some tie to Circe, a strong will, a Sumuerian goddess, a wand as opposed to a staff, satirical in setup, how many other good books their are that are ripping this off, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, Nazi world underground, the magic is eugenics, also eugenics, zapping babies, electromagnetism, Faraday, the age of the Earth, why Evan wanted his wife on the show, an influence on H.P. Lovecraft, there’s a scientific culture, the elements, Vril is not treated as magic, electricity, mental power, a pseudoscience, Vril has long long legs, still with us today, BoVril, essence of beef, bullion, bovine + vril = Bovril, soda pop, wonder drugs, healthenize your body, cereals, physical culture, a discipline, a BBC piece, pre-Nazi Germany was into it, the British were into it, you just have to breathe through your nose, improve your life by breathing through your nose, a superior, yoga, its good to exercise their body, big muscular lady arms and legs, continual calm exercise, why is he focused so much on that?, everybody knows god is 100% real, a very specific other world, making fun of Christianity, my dad wants me to kill you, we could go together, I’ll kill myself too, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, one place underground, on the way down, the passage had been zapped before, zap the hole closed, why do they have wings?, The Menace From Earth by Robert A. Heinlein, the lower gravity on the Moon would allow human flight, they’re angels, higher beings, those Nordics have as much as 1% angel in them, back to the Nazis, more Darwinian, neanderthal blood, Jesse is a bit too hard on the whack-jobs, Alcoholics Anonymous, its bullshit but there’s something to it, acupuncture, needles and a massage, William James, social movements, devil worship, concrete manifestations, witches, Margaret Murray, if yoga helps you, namaste, you went in skeptical to your back treatment, its not all in your head, center your prana, Paul, feel better at your desk job, yogic flyers, exoticness, cult or belief system, unfalsifiable, a popular cult, also a political party, anti-enlightenment, Willy Ley, Astounding, May 1947, Pseudoscience in Naziland, the shotgun technique, John W. Campbell, full of stereotypes, the Russian a vodka bottle, the Frenchman a woman, the German, magic, in the days before the Nazi, Ariosophy, Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, Albrecht Dürer, I can’t stand that man’s smell, various races have different smells, “society for truth”, “power”, a British state secret, surely the Roman’s had it, contemplating the structure sliced in halves, looking at the outer world, a whackjob cult, Nazi and SS stuff was Bulwer-Lytton telling us a truth hidden in fiction, ancient aliens, ancient Egypt, this a box that existed, maybe it is a gateway to another dimension, Madame Blavatsky, She by H. Rider Haggard, The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle, past life regression, I was a priest in Atlantis!, seeing how there’s two of us now…, if everybody has past lives…, we were both Cleopatra, more an more animal life dies, furries, the relationship between Theosophy and this book, root races, Hyperboreans, Lemuria, Egypt in the Americas, the Thule Society, cultural zeitgeist, the Q (anon) for theosophy, Amazing Stories, a thirst for this stuff, Raelians, the Northwest Passage, a vital and firm belief, expedition after expedition, the climate at the time, why did they act on this faith belief, Terra Australis Incognita, societies within the culture, The Terror, the H.M.S. Terror, most everybody died, tins being full of lead, the funding for the expeditions were crowdsourced, start a war with Russia, a grift that they sold themselves them into, who take there orders from…, the Nazis wanted to expand their territories the way the Vrilya, a blueprint for Thule society beliefs, there are books that get written and people adopt them as a belief system, why utopian fiction is so different, the means and reins of power, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, with these expedition, to get to the China market, Hudson’s Bay Company, Pacific island possessions, propping up the Empire in the Pacific, it doesn’t cost you anything to invade Russia, they didn’t run into a continent full of people with tanks, China’s colonial system (with credit and ports), the Belt and Road initiative, the different Lovecraft collaborations, ghost writing, a three sentence idea, Underwhelming Scares, where did this ghost come from?, zombies, slaves, rising and falling empires, a decadent declining society, no art, no culture, gladiator fights, bodily abilities, Lovecraft and machine culture, they don’t make any new music, mummer plays, news: “bears in the woods”, get your 72 dark eyed houris, so sex randy in the afterlife, kingdom of heaven forever, own planet, what you gonna do there?, seems kinda stale, Job: A Comedy Of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein, talking about politics a little bit, the kids do the work, an uninspired utopia, no vigour, nukes, elevators, wings, Choose Your Own Adventure, One thing disturbs you…, sterile utopia is dystopia, Nazis and the United States, the Lovecraft utopia Jesse likes is the Yithian one, field researchers, when not cataloguing and cross-referencing, all over space and time, The Roller Coaster by Alfred Bester, a terrible boring underground heaven, everybody is the same, if your kid is a little bit ugly (or birth defect) they destroy it, we know how great they are because there are no policemen, the explanation for the economy is very very poor, an economy in heaven is BS, Underground Kingdom by Edward Packard, a higher species of life, Pellucidar, Edgar Rice Burroughs, by way of the men and the women, 45-50% of the book, you’re revealing things about yourself, Bulwer-Lytton likes masculine women, she hangs up her wings forever, its about Victorianism, just reverse the genders and it makes a lot more sense, really good at pretending to be good at the stupid hobbies of their husbands, he’s satirizing normal bourgeois marriage, Arkham Librarian (Rebecca Baumann on twitter: @arkhamlibrarian), Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the Mahars are all women, dominating with mental powers, looking at his own wife askance, I might be the colonial minister but my wife is running my life, the psychological influence this is operating under, what happened is…, cool cool cool, the same protagonist as our unnamed protagonist but a successful imperialist, the light explanation sucks in The Coming Race, Thomas More’s Utopia, an inner moon, John Cleves Symmes, Jr., it DID exist, Jesse is obsessed with weird islands, Kerguelen Islands, Thule, in Poe, there are these places, they’re in the literature, this isn’t coming from bullshit, which one is the ultimate Thule, six days north of Britain by sea, Orkney, Faroe Islands, why people grift themselves into believing the Necronomicon is a real book, it becomes critical thinking, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, not everybody twigs, how democracy was going to take over the world, old men should act like young kids, democracy democracy democracy, Monroe Doctrine, Bulwer-Lytton as a defender of the Victorian marriage, mutah marriage, a loophole for prostitution, making this the norm, propaganda, every romantic comedy should have a post credit scene where a man moves into a mancave, Robert Silverberg, my month wife…, Donald E. Westlake’s The Spy In The Elevator, Temporary Wife, Vril stuff is kinda like power, keep things as they are, this group of greater people, satirizing religion, an unhappy result, lebensraum, Greek colonies, earthquake damage, an alien planet, under a particular mountain, a fairy sense, the little people, elves, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne, dinosaurs, tigers, the parasite tiger, the parasite parasite tiger, Stromboli, the cartoon of Journey To The Center Of The Earth, all the scholars are female, what is he saying there?, parasitism, the descendants from frogs, what is he saying?, the batrachian-ness of this species, birds as symbols, frogs and salamanders are down and dirty in the muck, birds sing and frogs croak, aware of what Darwin’s laying down, the moral debate about how the frogs should be interpreted, an academic argument, its incredibly rich (whatever it is), some Victorian thing hit right on the nose (that we’re not able to follow), scientists and philosophers have argued each other in circles, tadpoles are totally perfect, a conversation about decadence, simple vs. complicated, moralists and naturalists, the vast superiority of the frog, the monkey trial, still talking about it on the TVs (racism), they think that race is a thing, an ascent and descent, a footrace up a ladder of evolution, filling all the niches, all of this shit is bullshit, ethnic types, rare genetics, like that of a red-man, beardless, gravity and quietude of orientals, male and female look more or less alike, most big sex animals have the females bigger, hyenas, sperm competition, rams, gorillas, peacocks are all display, different kinds of competitions, proof that your genes are shit, drinking contests, drinking diesel to show how tough he was, the point of alcohol contest, “honest signals”, baby springboks, a way of indicating your material is good, buff your muscles, rug your head, subconsciously indicating your quality, challenging all sorts of assumptions, I blushed like a girl when the girls complimented me on my choice of clothing, back to the gorillas, competing physically to dominate the harem, they’ve evolved incredibly tiny penises, gender dimorphism, sperm competition, whose gonna mount who?, what’s the point of a family in this world?, a fertility rate of 1, the female pursuit, immediately submissive, a whack idea, he’s having his cake and eating it too, a male fantasy, Y: The Last Man, Philip K. Dick’s Doctor Futurity, why feminists like birth control, disempowering men, Lois McMaster Bujold, artificial wombs, the pill was not banned, abortions have been with us a lot longer than the pill, the brutal unthinking mythology about what religion has to say, bypassing the gut response, Mormonism came into existence when coffee was a thing, alcohol is ancient, marijuana, taboo-ish, bypassing the objection of killing a baby, something Bulwer-Lytton wouldn’t have, Make Love Not War: The Sexual Revolution, An Unfettered History by David Smith Allyn, once you have the photocopier quill copyists are out, post-scarcity, printing press restrictions, a license to get a printing press, the power, the pill (so concealed) bypasses all the previous setup defenses a society has made, how does Saudi Arabia hand the pill?, a post-1970s catholic priest do?, what’s your advice, priest?, approved of or not, traditional patriarchal society, birth control in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), I’m only going to have another kid if you do X, Y and Z, in the west, they way we treat doctors as a priest class, these documents that allow people to do things they wouldn’t allow other people to do, men and women had equal access, there was no intellectual momentum behind its banning, people working the religious grift are not the swiftest, look at this and look at that, is he making fun of science?, a giant lizard, they destroy crops, they’re not vegans, they add a little fruit to it, milking goat-like non-goats, Hitler being a vegetarianism, an intellectual tradition, veganism is less intellectual than vegetarianism, we examined your teeth, Jesse knows a lot of veggies, Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History Of Vegetarianism From 1600 To Modern Times by Tristram Stuart, bad for the planet, going to the teeth stuff, we’re not evolved to have wheels, evolved to cook our meat, sugar and fat, keep it in the freezer, phrenology, ridiculous 19th century bullshit, our bearded hero wearing a tunic, dominate him like a child, a refined look, AND she’s a vegetarian,

amativeness – the arousal of feelings of sexual desire. sexiness, amorousness, eroticism, erotism. concupiscence, physical attraction, sexual desire, eros – a desire for sexual intimacy. carnality, lasciviousness, lubricity, prurience, pruriency – feeling morbid sexual desire or a propensity to lewdness.

something phrenologists were obsessed with, playing with actual people (vs just playing with skulls), a practical working phrenologist needed to be quick on his feet if their head didn’t fit, the ultimate protestants, puritanical protestants clearing the land, admiring or ambivilating?, a dystopia, poking fun of the Americans, the racism that elinates native population, coitus reservatus, Rosicrucians, ancient knowledge, super-human geniuses of history, Jesse can’t stop harassing Wayne June with Rosicrucian ads, AMORC, Doctor Climber, misues of sex energy, “Dianism” (Sex Magick), the war is now on Wikipedia, revision wars, whose ridiculous system of fake religion is better, the Rosicrucians (at least) didn’t kill millions of people, a particular moment and particular conditions, reading it today, Richard Wagner, the Meistersinger of Nürnberg, buying Goya beans to show support, more chaff than clarity, we might not get She, this stuff is in the air, so many precursors, stuff is happening right now that we cant see for what it is, they’re doing THAT kind of crazy thing, some traditions can last a long time, what new pieces of information are coming into the public consciousness, evolution, electricity, and deep time, the flood pushed them below ground, how recently we realzied how old the earth is, Lovecraft is two things, geology and the biggness of the universe, both of those things make you small, the sea, the sea is vast, cosmic horror writ small, the genetic racism stuff, mixing of inferior and superior, The Festival, maritime connections, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, the Dreamlands, we’re there, the underground stories are a precursor or related to time travel stories, going back to Verne, how do they get all their oxygen from, don’t think about it, Jesse, 1780s, the discovery, nobody wants to get into fights with Jesse about phlogiston, phlosgisticated and dephlogisticated, a fluid that can be transferred between air and objects, no crusades or jihads about phlogiston, it wasn’t fundamentally changing our conception of ourselves, that kind of resistance, your point is Darwin, this information doesn’t need to be suppressed, I need the stuff that’s in the air to live, we are lying to ourselves all the time by using metaphors, oxygen causes cancer, a lack of it causes immediate death, sushi is a food that makes you healthy, sushi is full of heavy metals which makes you die, the frog is being dephlogisticated under the vacuum pump, oxymoron, oxy means sharp, moron means dull, why etymology is incredibly important, oxy-gen, hydro-gen, heli-um, the shitty logic (is the history), one of the names in here, Tyee [a Chinook word drawn from the Nuu-chah-nulth language], a princess of Helium, a weird love hate relationship, you were doomed to be exterminated from the beginning, a grand tapestry, the great chain of being (and your not believing), no skepticism in their relgion, literally one of the arguments for the existence, I can conceive of a being that which non-greater can be conceived, a god who works Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, Descartes, St. Anselm, Ontological argument, philosophy as close-up magic, Platonism, if bigness is a form, a nice explanation for why monotheism is incredibly popular, two guys in Asia meet at a campfire, Conan The Barbarian (1982), Subotai, your god lives under my god, your guy got sacrificed on the cross, a giant that’s 800 feet tall, not subject to kryptonite, but he also has a natural power like Green Lantern, yeah well my God exists, its very silly, it tricked people for a couple hundred years, cogito ergo sum, I can trust my senses, kind of Him, the people who are giving the money to the relgious people, can I marry this lady if I say these special words?, the bumps on her noggin make her really sexy.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #363 – READALONG: The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #363 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein.

Talked about on today’s show:
1951, the really annoying way Heinlein does things, Paul’s main Heinlein phase (in the late 1980s), when Paul was ten, Time Enough For Love, Expanded Universe, the basic parts of a Heinlein novel (in terms of characters), the Heinleinian triad, the young talented protagonist, the older wise crotchety man, and the red headed woman character, who The Man In The High Castle was, when Dick writes a novel…, when Heinlein writes a novel…, methamphetamine is 100% non-habit forming (?!), Jesse is uncomfortable with surety, Heinlein exudes surety from every pore of his body, orbital mechanics, what women want, Bruce Jenner’s gender switch, Heinlein’s politics, black people, women should be raised up in society, homophobia, Mary’s super-power is gaydar, homosexuality, asexuality, marriage, men and women are identical, “of course husband”, the alien is the husband, the structure, the final chapter, in case the mission to Titan fails, message in a bottle storytelling, first person perspective, surety undercuts it, has Dick ever written in first person?, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Hanging Stranger, identical paranoia, how much he hates the Soviets, Heinlein was rabidly anti-communist, in the commissar’s office, WorldCon, God help us all, he was right but…, imagine if this novel is a metaphor for communism, the Second Red Scare, Soviet and Chinese communism, WWWII, Manhattan crater and Washington crater, projecting brawn, getting tanks to North America, the evil of the puppet master aliens, orgies on TV is bad, also gladiatorial combat, they kill cats!, no effect on Soviet Russia, hygiene, scabies and lice, parasitism, cranked up to 13, Saddam Hussein, U.S. politics, if it were re-written today…, core fears, 24 was that, looking at the structure, avenging the cats and dogs, a master of the craft, Luke Burrage, that is good writing, so different from Philip K. Dick’s books, a straight line vs. how did I get here, all the sins that Time Enough For Love, naked people standing around in cushioned apartments talking about legal matters regarding the decanting of babies while a cat walks into the room, get passed the cat, Pirate the cat, casual nudity, Eric S. Rabkin, making it absolutely necessary that the society go nudist (and never go back), Hyperpilosity by L. Sprague de Camp, combs, even in Heinlein’s kids books, in their dome homes the heat is cranked up, was Heinlein a nudist?, Hollywood, downhill after The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, I Will Fear No Evil, an old white guy living in the body of a young black woman, the US Navy, hate and love for the military, this weird guy from Missouri writes his consciousness into his books, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, Friday, rape, when Heinlein talks about rape…, an artificial person, an inferiority complex, a fascinating society, the movie of The Puppet Masters, the fun stuff, the cat, the alien was kissing, being devoured by a woman, Eric Thal opens his mouth whenever possible, Sam, Mary, why does everyone hate this movie so much, Donald Sutherland, Keith David is always fun, unlike every X-Files this was competent, yeah look it’s a fake, the slugs are really smart, were they smart?, the sequence where Sam first gets a slug on his back is one of the best bits of Science Fiction, its almost as if he doesn’t know, more insidious and more scary, tying it all together, helicopter vs. skycar, Heinlein loves incest, they do juice you up, the addiction metaphor, had Dick developed it…, an Olympic athlete, what’s undercooked, who is in charge of their own minds, choices under some conditions but not under others, if we all had slugs on our backs…, getting married to Mary, love of a good woman ends addiction, black and white, Joe Cinidella is actually Italian until he becomes a Nazi, a flipped switch, turning on the waterworks, operating as a slug, Glory Road, set in fairlyand, Nebraska, all about the contract, an ambivalent relationship with marriage and law, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, alpha husbands and beta wives, primae noctis, you get into their psychology, really weird people, WWII and methamphetamines, go pills, tempus fugit, chasing the cat, is Heinlein challenging us?, Star Trek: Operation: Annihilate (aka Planet of the Pancakes), Maissa Bessada, resetting the show at the end of the episode, another point of Vulcan physiology, Kirk’s brother is named “Sam”, Mary is the vessel for world piece, Heinlein sued the makers of The Brain Eaters, Star Trek: The Next Generation, there’s no money until the Ferengi show up, Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy of the post scarcity economy, maybe women did act that way in the 1950s, a sequel in which Mary is saved from her marriage, 1980s tropes, sex scenes, Mission Impossible movies, developing out of taboos, the PG-13 effect, “they’re boffing, ok”, Alien, giant penis monster, Aliens, James Cameron’s problems with Harlan Ellison and The Terminator, The Outer Limits, The Brain Eaters, lifting things out of literary SF, Avatar is very good lifting, redoes the the first movie and the first, Luc Besson, The Professional, adding a baby doesn’t make things better, Ellen Ripley, the corporate military mission, Newt (from Aliens) is Mary (from The Puppet Masters), garbage bunk vs. good orbital mechanics, feral child, the structure is the same, spacesuit -> fighting suit, ejecting from the ship -> ejecting from the planet, a powerful story, Alien 3, Paul fulminates, the nine day fever (Venusian Jungle Fever), encephalitis, The Puppet Masters is a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, here’s how I would do it, H.G. Wells was a cynical asshole, monstrous, liars, jerks, and racists, our CIA operatives know what they’re doing, the NSA, “you just killed a guy for no reason”, it isn’t uncaring wisdom that save humanity it’s man’s ingenuity, root em out and kill em all, it’s the end of Starship Troopers, the Elves of Titan, Independence Day aliens, Welcome to Earth scene, Have Space Suit, Will Travel, Willy Wonka-style, a space alien cop (the Mother Thing), “who lives like that?”, if Heinlein had had a kid, the serial was slightly rewritten by Horace Gold, the unexpurgated version, 1980s movie style, a hook-up with an anonymous blonde from a bar, the trope for James Bond, Virginia Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, it is not better, weird names, Biblical names, Mary’s real name, Sam’s real name is Elihu, in the Book of Job, Elihu’s big speech

Elihu states that suffering may be decreed for the righteous as a protection against greater sin, for moral betterment and warning, and to elicit greater trust and dependence on a merciful, compassionate God in the midst of adversity.

putting us on the right path, x is so bad that we have to put all our trust in…., our precious bodily fluids, if Heinlein were alive today…, Ray Bradbury, the NSA, anarchism, Mary’s backstory, the Whitmanites, an explicit mention of the Doukhobors, Heinlein just likes nudity, Heinlein likes his women to older or a lot younger, physically young but actually older, a young secretary with an old man’s brain, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, lots of surgeries or whatever, shrugging it off, a different experience than back in the day, you must read ancient authors, for another podcast, you don’t know SFF if you don’t read…, shame at not reading The War Of The Worlds, can you find Heinlein books at new bookstores?, Alfred Bester is great but he wrote two books, genre defining or pioneering, well-written idea SF, almost no science, a bit of politics, marriage, you don’t know SFF if you havent read a Heinlein novel, a long discussion for another time.

The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
Galaxy - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein - illustration by Don Sibley
PAN Science Fiction - The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
The Puppet Masters - MOVIE
The Puppet Masters - Illustration by Barclay Shaw

Posted by Jesse Willis