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

Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #541- READALONG: Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Science Fiction Quarterly, February 1957, until the 80s, pretty damn good, very interesting, the Uncanny X-Men story, Philip K. Dick’s post-human stories, his three laws of the post-humans, mutants, The Golden Man, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, the comic book phenomenon, Paul did, Chris Claremont, The New Mutants, Xavier’s School For Gifted Children, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, The Dark Pheonix Saga, It, Magneto, two philosophies, we are “homo superior”, we are going to replace you, misunderstanding, an exploration of the relationship humans will have to homo superior, Storm and Rogue and Wolverine, showy mutant powers, change the colour of the beach, the Stitcher Wolverine podcasts, you either join the hunt and become Eggerton, castrated or tamed telepaths, help hunt down, teeps, a major Alfred Bester vibe, a major industrialist with a secret trying to avoid being process served, bounty hunters, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension, renegade mages, growing spaceships in his backyard, flying to the moon by flapping his arms, magic is their mutation, The Eyes Have It, mimetic novels (people arguing about who is cheating on who), all this stuff could be taken literally, a classic Philip K. Dick ending (and beginning), clearly a lunatic, love that sting, the radical consensus, a democratic and objective consensus, another shout out to this idea in The Dark Tower by Stephen King, breakers = mutants, did King read Dick?, what authors do, House Of M, no more mutants, Thanos with his snapping, what we’re all trying to do in our lives, Steve Job biography, “reality distortion field”, Jesse’s mom is either human or a mutant, this is about this, analogies for something, no matter how stupid Margaret Atwood is she wrote a good novel, The Public Hating by Steve Allen, 1954, the height of McCarthyism, putting every man against every man, this agency is the FBI, we know from Philip K. Dick’s own life, under investigation, this is also about religion too, utter chaos, Paul DIDN’T repudiate his religion on Twitter, bishop idiot, Julie Davis, a point that’s irrefutable, enjoying Korean and Thai food, veganism, vegetarianism, a set of strictures, a member of three religions simultaneously, incorporating deities, exclusivist, we’re cool with you, you have to pick a team, I really like Apollo today because I’m really into learning, I’m gonna get my wine out and hang out with Pan, a whole world behind the story, enough material for a novel, Eye In The Sky, the Bevatron, that house and that cat, the Bahá’í faith, subjective reality, prayers are answered, Richards, was he admitting to himself that he was a mutant?, invasion of privacy, this story cannot be told as a film, he took off at an incredible rate, the reaction is so strong, very nicely handled, Eggerton did not fly directly home, residential syndromes, robot taxis, Johnny cabs, Electric Dreams, you’ve got to hide it with the text, the vast, niplan?, newspeak, “syndromes” as conapts, notes about character names, Bob Arctor, the commerce institute, Richards = Dick, the mutants are “PKs”, psychokinetic, writers as changers of reality, making people believe in his delusion, quite manipulative, what if I could make them believe, para-keneticist, Doris’ mind, random checknet, was eggerton really PK? the answer is yes, nebulous succubi, he’s on, the gender politics, the immunes are women, fantasy worlds, the women are not biting tonight, so funny, this mutation is solely of the y chromosome, women bursting his bubble, matriarchy, Eggerton is not having it, what’s with the furniture being sexist, Beyond The Door, the gender text project website, The Pirates Of Ersatz, the story becomes insane, a story about gender, men only hope that the baby coming out of their wife’s body is theirs, paranoias that men have, Doris is almost like the main character, Rick Deckard, why did Eggerton miss his appointment, the comic book biography, trouble with the law, why he fled to Canada, on the run, explaining it to himself, something bad happened and he’s missed an appointment, The New Reality by Charles L. Harness, unmake everything, the same dilemma, the Exalted RPG, editorial introduction, the political radical, socialism, anarchism, Nazism, states do this all the time, writing Tienanmen Square out of the history textbooks, the conclusion, a check on the extremes, not a forced political reading, going over the same issues, The Exegesis, why is he obsessed with Nazis?, what do they do when they find a mutant, Richards is executed by Eggerton, there’s no trial, they found out he was a Jew and they executed him, castrati, a musical term, George W. Bush, that whole authoritarian Nazi thing, the anniversary of D-Day, Heritage Minutes, Canadians were fighting in Russia 100 years ago, two sentences if you’re lucky, American military unit mutinies, a shameful event, we can just police ourselves, the insane people know their crazy so they can police themselves, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, the schizoprenics are the artists and creators, two incidents, a big stack of monitors and computers and laptops, the SkyTrain, he think he’s a police officer, a person who believes something, that is reality distortion, the main guy is off, everybody flirts with the idea of solipsism, what if you’re all figments of my imagination?, he’s the only real person, a schizzer, single lane alternating traffic, flag-people, “didn’t you see the sign”, “we’re here for your safety, sir”, “can you call the company?”, I must have done something wrong, she broke reality, solipsism is completely ridiculous, imagining him in this situation, Jerry Seinfeld, noticing things on a granular level, basic expectations, she’s making this impossible, why they have them in pairs, she’s on drugs, whatever was going on made sense to her, we gotta talk about the desk, no page break, cigaret (science fiction spelling?), waitingroom, discarded tapes, bulging ashtrays, the desk hadn’t been able to discourage, the desk is taking it personally, is the desk a she?, a catty desk, what’s with these tapes?, the newspapes, “look lady” the desk said aloud, the desk sighed, I suppose you think that figure of yours, sexist, you ought to be ashamed, an older matronly desk, a double entendre, a great character, turn yourself off, go home for the day Mavis, the ID block is holding a policy level conference in Pittsburgh, a huge ape-shouldered man, Tessa Dick’s YouTube channel, super hairy, we’ve seen this hairy beast before, shaggy and unkempt, food stained sleeves rolled up, eyes dark with industrial cunning, the girl’s purse scattered to the floor, Paycheck, “why didn’t you tell me you were an immune?”, italicized, the girl ignored the desk, Colony, “I trusted the rug completely”, a very sensitive desk, it’s really good!, Marissa likes it even more now that we’ve discussed it, A World Of Talent, mutants and post-humans, anti-precog, anti-PK, the first half of Ubik, there is an audiobook version, put it on the schedule, Slan by A.E. van Vogt, Doris’ husband’s last name is Sorrel, the plant theme, Pay For The Printer, the printers, the machines that can grow things, Autofac, a green thumb thing, points of brilliance in the writing, The Variable Man, on top of the great ideas there’s gorgeous writing, bed-girls in Solar Lottery?, jet setting all over the place, the best food, he doesn’t say what the psychology is, we see what he does, I went on a bender I wonder what that means, he finds out his wife is pregnant and goes on a bender, Game Players Of Titan, there’s this whole world outside of people’s heads, elites, really interesting, just look at the world background in here, it doesn’t feel like a fascist dystopia when you get called before HUAC, why is the title Misadjustment, readjustment?, not a real word, he went to the psychiatrist, got on the bus ride home he starts thinking…, maybe that’s what went wrong, if you apply it to the story, the elites who run this society, the commerce institute, a lobby group, a planned economy, a ten hour work day, an Evan story, what is getting adjusted in this story?, we can change this system, who watches the watchmen?, good god!, the dirty dirty secret of the FBI at the time, J. Edgar Hoover is running the country, he’s the deep state, how he ran things, its our instrument, that was a weird thing, what other people expect of us, a gimp in a box, not the normal, the strange aberration, they kill the aberrant, the instinct, “should I turn around?”, so rich and really short for its richness, other examples of institutionalized power, Robert Moses, The Power Broker: Robert Moses And The Fall Of New York by Robert Caro, these gods, we ourselves are the gods, crazy ideas, you don’t need the state, attending public meetings, school funding meetings, the pressure, somebody informed, what he does with it, he uses everything, obsesses about everything, chewing on it.

Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick

Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick

Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #540 – READALONG: Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #540 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about the NBM Graphic Novel Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi.

Talked about on today’s show:
NBM Graphic Novel, we gotta do this, H.P. Lovecraft, as fascinating as, Evan was disappointed, it’s not Philip K. Dick’s stories, major things missing, the meeting with Ridley Scott, I have my reservations, Dick’s opposition, understanding and insight, who is the audience?, if you know the Easter Eggs…, who is it for?, documentaries about Philip K. Dick, somethin trippy, the visualization of Point Reyes, happy little Philip K. Dick with his science fiction magazines, the chronology, the flashforward, seeing the buildings, the architecture, we’re the audience for the book, so much missing, could it be improved by making it a lot longer?, an outline of events, a primer, a skeleton, the Thoreau one!, being in nature and being self-sufficient, you learn everything about Beethoven, [The Value Of Giving: The Story Of Beethoven by Ann Donegan Johnson and Steve Pileggi], an outline of Marie Curie, [The Value Of Learning: The Story Of Marie Curie by Ann Donegan Johnson and Steve Pileggi], Einstein For Beginners, Marx For Beginners, handing Lovecraft stuff to little kids, Philip K. Dick has teenage ideas, Jesse appreciating seeing the spaces, a secret, really well done, Jacen Burrows, the architecture, a real sense of the neighbourhoods, him at his typewriter, so cool, the very first page, pages unnumbered, December 1981, showing up at some airport with a new girlfriend, Evan is more worried about the script, in the screening room, everytime you turn the page there’s a black ceiling, the last page, March 2, 1982, a model of the neighbourhood, I think Ursula (K. Le Guin) was right, Small Town, living in a set, The Days of Perky Pat, that zoom out, then it’s the world!, every ceiling is black, attention to comics paneling, he was in town when Jesse was conceived, Willis, the skylights look like windows, something you can do in film or comics that you can’t do in a text biography, white, the Platonic thing he’s always thinking about, January 26, 1929, Phil, white space, the symbol for the platonic realm, that white page, outside with Mr. Tagomi, the graphic narrative, the colour, really beautiful, that whole posture and expression, they’re calling my name, Meemaw hiding in the bathroom, footnotes, quotation marks, exact dates, details, no androids, why isn’t there a spider in the mug?, three stigmatic, the same syndrome, focusing on Dick’s late stuff, stealing his mom’s pills, spray, big references vs. smaller stuff, Ubik, Exegesis, she would know he had a lot of wives, 18 year old Tessa sitting on his lap, drawn to the wordless panels, the dialogue was on the nose, stilted, engage and interpret, a little dry, outside of Art Music, better than a photograph, and yet, no TV repair, too short, more of what we’re getting?, Vince, the driving lessons from the FBI agent, you would have some questions, did this happen?, Solar Lottery, that’s a metaphor for his trying to get respectable, the New Statesman, H.G. Wells’ legacy, Tono-Bungay, dissing H.G. Wells was a bad writer, Philip K. Dick was a bad writer, clunky, The Variable Man,

even before the term “SCIENCE FICTION” existed the elites were shitting on SCIENCE FICTION and the people who read it (and the guy who basically invented it)

the literary books, important books about divorces, did he think it was really important – or did he want to change class, pettiness in spending time in his actual life, feeling ambivalent, totally could have happened, maybe that stuff is good, subtle things going on, a scriptural problem, how to solve it, the excitement on Philip K. Dick’s face, the latest issue, A.E. Van Vogt, my kingdom, Return To Lilliput, Gustav Mahler, social anxiety, the judgement of the friend, the average person, appreciating it on a visual level, Jason Eckhardt’s illustrations and the framing device, a show, a stageplay, more information about Lovecraft’s life than we do about Philip K. Dick, our job isn’t to market the book, the Lovecraft biography was densely packed, his interactions with other people, internalization of events, a giant metal face in the sky, these two pages work incredibly well, the lines on the road, a modern setting, running to the shack, the connection, going to visit the father, a real incident, the ex-wife and the kid, Harlan Ellison, these things gotta be explained, who knows what Dangerous Vision is?, Riders Of The Purple Wage and Aye And Gomorrah, fan service, mutual success destroyed, how many scenes when he sits on the couch, sitting at the desk, we just don’t know (about his dad), this isn’t even fan service its just facts, a spit-take, a meet cute, it’s a fact we know about his life, the visualizations of the physical spaces, we don’t know the colour of the couch (unless its a plot point), the visual element, not one of us!, maybe Paul is the audience for this book, his personal life, the general outline, filling in those facts, an interesting visual language, Philip K. Dick’s house, google street view, the post-script, the big shock, stubbled face, standing in the glory of the his 1952-4 publications, The World She Wanted, Science Fiction Quarterly, Jack Vance and Isaac Asimov, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, a real hotel, Out In The Garden, ah ha ha haw, the idea that Sir Francis Drake got as far as these places, Dr. Futurity, time travel, that kind of detail, a little spike of “wow! that’s amazing!”, hey I’ve read your stuff, I guess we have to do that, going out to that shack is terrific, wives leaving him, a lot from Anne’s biography, a lot of letters, how funny he is isn’t in here, this is not a comedy it’s a tragedy, a little bit to self oriented, about his internal stuff, going to a Chinese restaurant, a 1949 store, the weirdnesses’ of H.P. Lovecraft, abbreviations, the snob in Jesse, what’s going on with his mom, yo?, a homosexual hangup, why is his dad absent, because you’re weak, like who?, is his dad gay?, a hidden biography, absent from this book, fatherless, surrounded by women, as a WWI veteran he had a gas-mask that might have frightened Philip K. Dick and sent his mind going, what the authors think the people care about, a good contribution if they could have nailed the later weirdness, those Valis novels, a set of ideas he was playing with, a bit opaque, Philip K. Dick wearing a cowboy suit, a lot of lying in that bed, that focus on the end, lying in bed dying of colon cancer, regular nightwalks, the value of seeing what those houses look like, Steen went to Philip K. Dick’s gravesite, why is he buried in Colorado?, an incident in Vancouver, his whole life is California, two trips to France, Ghost World (2001), Daniel Clowes style, the same kind of lifestyle, hanging out in the suburbs, about some weirdos hanging out, older men and younger women, a slice of the Ghost World comics, Steve Buscemi, that California aesthetic, a vibe that’s different, it’s its own thing, beautiful images, Cleo storming in, a few months later, Cleo what are you doing here?, you promised you’d bring me the car title, going to workshops for him, she’s walking toward the house, a green glow around her head, Jesse reads a lot of comics, if the art is terrible, a very delicate balance, a really good audiobook narrator cannot save a bad book, a number of problems, audience expectation, you should pick it up, you’re welcome!, Evan appreciates the daughters in this, the gun, visiting him in the hospital, when Nancy leaves him, the estate, they’re frauds, everybody is an asshole at some point in their lives, the portrait of a highly complicated man, friendly and difficult, he’s got his demons, I was sexually molested as a child, he might be wrong, that phenomenon, the McMartin trial, Tessa Dick’s YouTube channel, your eyes are closed to your son’s birth defect, to the doctor immediately, I’m in shock, I can’t even drive, this sort of thing is not a sign of divine revelation, bad recollection, Jesse’s recollection about who exactly he’d punched in the face, magic thinking of the horoscope kind, here’s another incident of that, delusions becoming reality, either he infected her or she infected them, a Folie à deux, [Heavenly Creatures 1994] Misadjustment by Philip K. Dick, the trials and tribulations of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, now when what we talk about what Chelsea Manning was doing, she was doing this when she was in the army, they all agree, when we all agree, weird dontcha think?, furry costumes, I’m really a fox, just really weird, a weird guy and a person who isn’t an immune, anti-creativity, the thing kids have that we lose when we grow up, so late in the day, falling out of the immersion, Paul makes a very meta move, a richer character for a life, on the couch a lot, what’s so fascinating about him, how his friends perceived him, tension and conflict, not consistent in real life, really cool, hairy back, that hairy monster, a good book.

Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi

NBM Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography (art from the back cover)

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #185 – Program Notes On A Great Composer by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #185

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Program Notes On A Great Composer by Philip K. Dick

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Program Notes On A Great Composer was first published in The Berkley Daily Gazette, September 22, 1944.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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

Podcast

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #531 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Piper In The Woods by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #531 – Piper In The Woods by Philip K. Dick; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (45 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
a plant named Paul, first published in Imagination, February 1953, the PDF, Introducing the author: Philip K. Dick, comic books, Stirring Science Stories, “There was no limit.”, StF (scientifiction), Faustian!, a medium in which the full play of imagination can operate, social awareness, communications between myself and others, my wife and my cat (Magnificat), a huge desk!, “read and write quite a lot”, public libraries, school libraries, a very young Philip K. Dick, the YouTube audio, nakedly bathing her foot while in a bush a scientist stares at her, baffled by this story, what the hell is going on?, really weird, a take that Jesse could Grok, totally baffled by, what Philip K. Dick was getting at, dreams, a scene not in the story, two trailers for film adaptations, the tone, the French one looked really angry, yelling, episode 9 of Evan’s Philip K. Dick Book Club podcast, about labour, refusal of work tradition, post scarcity philosophy, Paul Lafargue, anarchists, Bertrand Russell, reinvest productivity into leisure, Roanoake, “CROATOAN”, the anti-work tradition, the robot, two robots, a dorm room, a science fiction future, Earth doesn’t have trees anymore, the evolutionary argument, find green beautiful, Savannah grasses, the most beautiful trees are the ones that can be climbed, the Philip K. Dick Rhetorizer, obsession with cedar trees, a beautiful driveway leading up to a house, Upon The Dull Earth, an obsession with trees, orbiting Jupiter, Jesse’s massive theory, the pipers, the girl is a piper(?), Doctor Harris, do you know about the pipers, a native, Martians who came to the asteroids, folklore, we don’t know what’s really going on, what happens in the story, fantasy stories masquerading as science fiction stories, Beyond Lies The Wub, a talking pig, the pig talks about Odysseus and philosophy, weird strange guy, the Ancient Greeks, Strange Eden, tame, this brutish dude, transformed into a tamed animal, Aeëtes is the brother of Circe, Bubber the blubber boy, Return To Lilliput, maybe they’re dryads, the hamadryad, tied to a particular tree, building the base, Pan and the panisci, the pipes of Pan, not paying attention to science, a fantasy set in a science fiction universe, why are they called pipers?, Marissa’s theory, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, like they’re dying, Of Withered Apples, lives in the ground, maybe the forest are all just dead people, the victims don’t eat, the scene at the end with the dirt, sunlight, water, a strange invasion story, the contamination they’re trying to prevent, unrelated plant schemes, to spread the gospel, the line about Tiberius, when Christianity showed up in high places, household slaves of the Imperial family, tutoring the kids, “that’s Jesus!”, Friedrich Nietzsche, “slave morality”, this is GOOD, that was BAD, this is GOOD, “the meek shall inherit the earth works for me”, only in the blood soaked soil of the Roman Empire can a slave morality be so flourishing, a whole cool thing, the Holy Roman Empire, that turn, Doctor Harris’ POV, presumably he knows what’s in his luggage, is he lying there?, a psychological story, dreams, switching genders, every time you see the word “plant” replace it with the “woman”, just why do you think you’re a woman?, a strange phenomenon, how is the psychological happening happening?, a mysterious transformation, more about identity, in our world, the experience as presented, if it was by Heinlein, a few bosom shots, a beauty and grace of movement, secretary just out of school, an invasion story, Paul’s theory, a different set of mythological references, the myth of Endymion, the myth of Actaeon, Atremis and Diana, turned into a stag, his dogs, Martians, a defense of the asteroid by the pipers, quelling them, neutralized, Evan’s take, these workers are infected with the work ethic, the valourization of work, a whole ideology here, full employment, if you’re not in the labour market you’re less, the blessings of work, the fear of everything individual, work giving meaning, so many things going on, it doesn’t tell you what its doing, random stuff, our first victim, blonde, the most bizzaro conversation, it is a comedy, “why do you think you’re a plant”, “I’ve been a plant for several days now”, “I see”, beefy Commander Cox, work was unnatural, contemplate, jet repair, two nurses passed, a jet blast injury, a bovine youth with horned-rimmed glasses, the bovine youth, Philip K. Dick coding-in, I’m doing fantasy right now, cataleptic?, is this on purpose?, it was a warm sunny day, a graceful flowing motion, he is the girl, copper coloured natives, they’re sunbathers, the Coppertone, you’re on your way to your writing shack, there’s a story right there, how do you become one of those people, sunbathing is a vacation thing, the opposite of work, in the military for no reason, M*A*S*H, Corporal Klinger, I need a section 8, maybe he protest to much, an argument against pacifism, they’re deserters, if everybody did what I do, another take on Bartelby, The Scrivner, inscrutable, a law copyist, Bob Cratchet, Scrooge will have to fill out his own eviction notices, a Memorial to the Unknown Deserter, Life Of Philip K. Dick, Anthony Peake suggest that chapter 6 of The Wind Of The Willows by Kenneth Grahame, benign forgetting, “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, the gift of forgetfulness, this hidden memory is The Wind In The Willows, Morpheus in The Matrix (1999), the reviews, there’s a lot of stories like this?, Weltanschauung (worldview), a Promethean aspect to Philip K. Dick, Time Out Of Joint, they’re sunbathing, other people don’t see it as work, idle but doing interesting things, in the beginning was the deed, a pretty good pickup line, obsessed with Faust in the 50s, poppy, goldbricking, “poppycock”, where poppies and grass grew everywhere, Hypnos the god of sleep, Philip K. Dick knows what he’s doing (at least on some level), encoding for us, a story for the reader to try to engage with, rebuffed by the sea, people always point to the twist ending, is it a twist?, somehow confident he’s on the right path, the Pan idea, The Great God Pan, Helen Vaughn out in the woods taking in hard working men, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, its a murder mystery, the two best sculptors, two different ways of getting inspiration for their art, one goes to the city, the other to the grove, a fascinating story, the nature of art, taking inspiration from nature, can’t explain it but knows its necessary, it doesn’t touch on art, dead at night, almost childhood, before you can become creative, absorbing like a sponge, same with Lovecraft, unconsciously thinks of his own early life, a baby lying in the sun, the god of the Sun, Apollo, the goddess Artemis had a relationship with Pan, he’s setting us up, working a psychological idea out, all these different interpretations, they act as nature spirits, the way he comes upon her, a golden snake, Apollo, the Pythias, a connection there, a grey creature, hunt and fish, no written language, a story of Herman Melville’s Typee, where food is plentiful, when you’re having fun at work its play, an AP prep course, what Bob Black calls the Ludic lifestyle, transforming work into play, playful in an aimful way?, we don’t need to do that much, do we need 4% GDP growth?, untied to human labour, you can do it all through finance, labour and income, the whole system is designed to prevent that, vulture capitalism, cutting down a tree is GDP, Paramount and Fox and Disney, the quality of film isn’t going to go up radically but the shuttering of a competitor, seeing the reflections of all this stuff in a story that’s so impenetrable, Beyond The Door, were people knowing exactly what he was doing, a story of cuckolding, Oh my god, encoding a secret story inside the story, just out of reach, that’s how it is anyway, is Diogenes in the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer?, he lived in a pot, he called himself a cynic (a dog), a lower lifeform, being a human is not that great, you want to be on the team that doesn’t get enslaved, if you aren’t building ships and nukes then you are subjects to the whims of those who are, because you weren’t building tanks…, that war lasted 14 years (12 Christmas episodes and Alan Alda’s aging rapidly), the war chews people up, they’re cogs in the machinery, the bovine youth, the psychology, to opt out, to go back to the land, to be off the grid, pacifism does make sense until the tanks start rolling, authoritarianism, a post-colonial criticism of the refusal of work, Souvenir, the same infection, Emma Goldman, history is the tension between the individual and the institution, the WE, its powerful, it can be turned off, plantism is incredibly powerful, the work ethic is way more powerful, the anarchist anti-work argument, Thank You For Calling (2018), worry free live-work centers, its a prison, three squares a day, great food, friends, free healthcare, that evil corporation, a science fiction story, it doesn’t present as such, horsemen, Hiro Protagonist of Snow Crash, interesting and fun, worth watching, the thesis of Office Space (1999), it feels like it takes a lot longer, you feel like you’ve been there before, a pretty impressive feat, something very real, underneath there are a lot of people in those bullshit jobs, things are changing, herbivore men in Japan, Peppa Pig, society folk, the loser dad, Gumball, Rick And Morty, somebody should totally analyze that, they choose not to date, dating training, grass eaters, I can relate to this, the pull back to programming, the psychologist is completely wrong, destroy the pipers, fades into the forest, I’m going to go back to my shed now, “normal work”, his cat’s not sure, big output, the gendered aspect, everything Dick says about women, the idle wife as a trope, Cleo, did they all leave him?, swapped, why we need the biography, Tessa left him, easily lured off into the woods by women, serial monogamy, very serial.

Posted by Jesse Willis