The SFFaudio Podcast #559 – READALONG: Torchship by Karl K. Gallagher

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #559 – Jesse, Terence Blake, and Fred Heimbach talk about Torchship by Karl K. Gallagher

Talked about on today’s show:
suggested out of the blue, modern, always a mistake, it wasn’t so bad, limited tastes, getting the elephant out of the room, why is the author writing it?, the real values of real science fiction, away from diversity bullshit, a conscious effort, the intro music, the plot, Firefly, The Expanse, almost Firefly fanfiction, worse in every respect, Firefly as fantasy, hard SF in TV does it exist?, the difference between hard science vs. hard engineering, you can have one thing, the HARD side, a fantasy Firefly overlay, navigating by the seat of your pants, the ability to learn shit, we’re not adapted, an explanation to the audience, linked star systems, a gray goo story, run amuck, a past apocalypse, the betrayal worlds, linked in a chain, high governmental control (the fusion) vs. libertarian (the disconnect), the TFS (terraforming), Butlerian Jihad minus the mentats, the slipstick and instinct, still governments, libertarian-ism is a strange phenomenon, The Unincorporated Man, poorly written, the premise, crackerjack, one of the oldest tropes in SF, Buck Rogers scenario, Citizen Of The Galaxy, The Door Into Summer, Just Imagine (1930), The Marching Morons, Idiocracy (2006), why libertarians like it, other than amongst the billionaire jet set (planetary citizens), Ron and Rand, concern with freedom, one strand of anarchism, capitalist Darwinian ideology, Fred has leaned that way, marijuana referenda, getting people to come out and vote and donate, drug legalization, mental illness, why you need regulation, Amsterdam, a subsidiarian, local governments, the centralizing tendency of power, debates with Americans, Ayn Rand, the seeds are baked in to the USA, the American Revolution sorting hat sent the whigs one way and the tories the other, peace order and good government, liberty equality and fraternity, you’re not the boss of me, France as the USA’s twin, aspects, no libertarian candidates, this phenomenon, their many levels of governments, Justin’s magic wand, edibles will be fine, what does all this have to do with Karl J. Gallagher’s book, Robert A. Heinlein, beloved by libertarians, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, it feels that way, Paul were he not in Nepal…, in the good ways it felt like a Heinlein book, more episodic, written as episodes, his publisher, his wife did the narration, Kelt Haven Books, the modern publishing techniques, fuck the industry, do everything to make money, Fred’s writing group, all public, bitching in public, The Elf Trap vs. the Fred trap, Fred’s short story Rocket Raising is actually pretty good, a Christian based science fiction podcast, Jesse’s complaints, the narrator adds sound effects, it doesn’t “improve” audiobooks to add sound effects, Amish science fiction, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, an Amish romance in space, early adopters (of solar panels), barn phones, dangerous for Jesse, a fix-up, Kikuyu, the juju man runs the computer, recreating the golden period of pre-contact, sexism, a failed utopia, really powerful, taking shit seriously, the pull of the gs, “grounding us”, more like George R.R. Martin, Jesse doesn’t read series, Mike Resnick’s Starship series, dialogue and character, just like our heros in here, not so much Larry Niven as Heinlein via way of Firefly, a breezy read, going back to Earth, treasure hunting, religious cultists, utterly delusional, the rising tension, reading on Kindle, when Fred got excited, abandoned Earth scenario, a sub-genre of dystopia, “the Earth that was”, the terraforming woman, more complexity, 1.5x speed, sometimes necessary, the big mistake, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, pilgrimage to Earth, a Lincoln coin, a toxic mess, The Impossible Planet, Wall-E, an Idiocracy scenario, THE most important science fiction, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, with a different disposition, a garbage can that delivers itself to the curb, once we get UBI going, when Andrew Yang is president, concentrating on the important things whatever the fuck they are, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, weird wifi problems, censorship, abandoned earth stories, good stuff to watch, Daily Science Fiction!, voracious, 490 words long, you can put it out in two tweets, suppressing the urge, how it’s constructed, he adds to the world enough, a very Heinleinian scene, 100% corrupt, you buy your senate seat, more honest, the (US) next presidential election, Elizabeth Warren, who owns you, the British system, you buy your majorship, officers and enlisted men comes from class, that system has persisted, a lot of it is still class, Mel Gibson’s PBS documentary series Carrier, totally class based, broken homes, finding success, what this book turns out to be…, rebels against the government, Dortmunder, officious evil empire, smugglers, fugitives, on the side of good, when the navy shows up, Reivers, competency porn, I want the navy to win, a costly victory, “make me a sandwich”, the positive version of a dogwhistle, knowyourmeme, playing off the sexist trope, lemme mansplain it to you, some of the playful humour, other meta-moments, aren’t we all cool living in the 20teens section, reading older stuff, appreciating, The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu, so racist, the Yellow Peril is throughout that period, I see what you’re doing there, Jesse is not fully equipped for the modern stuff, what the fuck was dabbing, a dance move (not important), why do they do it?, because it’s a meme, humans are not equipped to do that in space, its impossible?, they did that with airplanes, more force and more rapidity, evasive actions in space, a fantasy element, trick-shot shooters, shooting arrows with their foot, the archery expert [Howard Hill] for The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938), that thing upstairs is a computer, humans are good at throwing, how much we appreciate free-shots, dexterity and accuracy, a nice dream, Terence might be right, Lunar Lander, libertarian flying, if Karl were here to defend himself…, a genuine rocket scientist, bending possibilities, the place to start, the Apollo calculator couldnt be infected with an AI, ballistic computers, a fire control computer, where the love of the slipstick shows up, that competency porn aspect, shoe a horse and plow a field and calculate, climate science, systems science, Galileo, correlating lots and lots of data, a paradigm shift, she’s doing the calculations and she eyballed it and was off by five percent, we don’t have that tech (for the engines), converting mass directly to energy, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, objections to The Martian, how to treat Mars, burial of ice on the asteroid, pre-Terence, Citizen Of The Galaxy, a whole espionage aspect, his boss is a spymaster, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, the Finnish torchship operators, spreading genes, Jared Diamond’s Upheaval: Turning Points For Nations In Crisis, the Winter War, not getting totally destroyed, the bravery of the Finns against the Soviets, admiration, the ship’s spirit (sisu), Abdul joins the crew, a set of roots, a free trader, The Rolling Stones (aka Space Family Stone), the crew of the Fives Full is chosen family, a poker reference, the MS Burrito, the food on the ship, the menus, lasagna, casseroles, meatloaf, algae cakes and algae cookies, Terence loves algae, Korean seaweed aka gim, jokes and sex scenes, character based, a better continuation of firefly, we’re never spoon-fed anything, reaction mass, water as a shield, hard science fiction more focused on characters than normal, some gimmes, galactic rocket ports, just an excuse to get out the slipsticks, because magic happened, magic portals, Neal Asher, we’re getting 5% smarter, we should freeze him, we should freeze ourselves, artificial gravity, sociological science fiction, soft science fiction, crash couches, too extreme gravities, forty gravities, centrifuge experiments, the cushioning effect, the waterbed from Stranger In A Strange Land, do you want to raise your children on this planet?, in the Firefly universe, all in one solar system, Goldilocks zones, the stone family flying around the solar system, flat-cats, the tribbles on Star Trek, try to find a tramp freighter today, Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), an independent cargo ship, whahappen?, international capitalism ate em all, another fantasy element is that you can have a Millennium Falcon style independent operator, economies of scale, positing a war surplus, DC Dakotas, over time they’re replaced by DHL and FedEx, if you don’t look at the boom and bust cycle of industries you’re being as naive as thinking kings will be kings forever, the rise of fascism, we’re past fascism, many ways of getting things wrong, Babylon 5, the old ones, Minbari are elves don’t you see, he doesn’t fuck it up, that’s pretty good, a lot of modern stuff, Napoleonic era shit, Elizabeth Bear, The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, there’s this lady who really likes horses, the author likes horseback riding, an excuse to do horseback riding, there’s books for that, relationship fiction, good book, other audiobooks?, graduate school papers, forum flames, after action reports, this is his first novel, sestina (a complicated poetical form), “Lost War”, no such thing as bad publicity, uninformed anonymous nonsense, we’re already a discriminating audience, business model, designed to fit into a certain market that exists, almost all books are like that, good luck, who the fuck are you kidding?, ebook vs audiobook revenue, Fred’s not at liberty, spreadsheets, genre discipline, packaging, self-promoting, easier up front when you fit premarketed, movie title theory, I can sell this movie based Axis Of Evil, something in the public consciousness, Ghostbusters (again), half-sold your product, audible.com, using credits, a disposition for a certain length of novel, dollars per hour, Player Unknown Battlegrounds stats 1,800 hours, computer games are your real enemy, what the length of book should be per credit, they’re buying it like rice, series are better for authors (monetarily), pre-sold your audience, string em all together, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, market deformations, if you’re a regular person, regular listeners know Jesse is a lunatic, more irregular listeners, different audiences, how did Terence find the SFFaudio Podcast (other than awesome)?, ten years ago, it becomes nebulous, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, good ideas and doesn’t understand humans, an AI trying to simulate human emotions, all the stuff that’s going, a pretty hard SF writer approaching making a living, he’s got a plan and he’s trending upward, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, Alastair Reynolds, cosmic scope, Karl Gallagher is in the middle, a hard slides approach, Iain M. Banks, everyone likes libertarianism, anything bad about it is an exception, libertarian tropes, the gun range, a fetishism of Americans, a fetish, like collecting books, a John Galt planet, I’m not listenin’ to nobody cuz they’re not listening to my metal screeds, China doesn’t like libertarianism, libertarianism is for 12 year old boys, it doesn’t make sense once you start thinking about it, a continuum, are you sure using political power is the right approach, his wife looks like an owl, Newt Gingrich is fucking idiot, Newt read a book once, he has principles, he’s consistent, how can I enrich myself and my family?, how can I wave the flag bigger?, motivated by fear vs. motivation by greed, the people running for president, Biden, Trump, why does everybody hate Jimmy Carter so much?, he said some things people didn’t want to hear, didn’t start any wars, we need to be self-sufficent, tightening our belts, doubled down on the petro-dollar, ‘everything will be perfect forever’, massive inflation and helicopters crashing, deregulating the airlines, of all the presidents in the last little while, personal corruption, we gotta starve the beast because the beast is being milked, the role that corporations play, Jesse’s ideology is criticizing other ideologies, the two Communist parties in Canada, vote anarchist, joining the solipsistic brotherhood.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #558 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #558 – The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Marissa VU, Wayne June, and Terrence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
Sonia H. Greene, The Invisible Monster, Weird Tales, prenuptial contract, courtship, the sea is New York, drugged to New York, interesting, Lovecraft components, Lovecraft skeleton, originally titled, a much last apt title, you never find invisible things, Lovecraft’s commonplace book, [entry 51: Enchanted garden where moon casts shadow of object or ghost invisible to the human eye.], The Moon Bog, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, the Moon as a giant egg, “I have never heard an even approximately adequate explanation of the horror at Martin’s Beach.”, the baby, the mother, a single eye, another invisible something, my fancy conjured up still another eye, the eye is the Moon, everybody is assuming its the mom, where does it say it in the story, deep grief, Iron Shadows In The Moon, the father, how do they know its a baby, it had its baby teeth, the layering, small for a cosmic being, demi-cosmic, that new baby smell, not very scientific, the most amazing discrepancies, Captain Orne, if Eric [Rabkin] was here, it rained for forty nights, taxidermied, P.T. Barnum, a mermaid is a seal grafted on to a baby, DC horror comics from the 1970s, I want comics god-damn it, True Ghost Tales, Minnesota, bigfoot displayed in a van, a monkey suit with modifications, “The object was some fifty feet in length, of roughly cylindrical shape, and about ten feet in diameter. It was unmistakably a gilled fish in its major affiliations; but with certain curious modifications, such as rudimentary forelegs and six-toed feet in place of pectoral fins, which prompted the widest speculation.” selling hokum,

The naturalists had shown plainly that it radically differed from the similarly immense fish caught off the Florida coast; that, while it was obviously an inhabitant of almost incredible depths, perhaps thousands of feet, its brain and principal organs indicated a development startlingly vast, and out of all proportion to anything hitherto associated with the fish tribe.

John Lilly‘s communications with dolphins, sons of Poseidon, a species, cyclops kitten, a half-god, his out, his wife wrote that part, the depths of the oceans being unexplored they harbour life-forms that have one eye, bioluminescence, otherworldly, monster ideas from the depths of the sea, symmetry is for weaklings, scientific men are people who work for Orne, fakes, but not this time, revenge mom, The Beast (1996), William Petersen, Beast by Peter Benchley, no mothering instinct, projection by the readers and Sonia Greene, the evil men who stole the baby, Captain Orne as Ulysses, a mythological interpretation, the old one version of Poseidon, we’re bringing the female idea to it, a trope, throughout nature, bear cubs, the daddy bear gives no shits, dads don’t care, human vs. animal, dads do care, almost nothing happens, stylistic preparation, a real life event, a simple horror story, a cosmic dimension, a moralistic dimension, two different readings, Ridley Scott thought Deckard was a replicant, eternal revenge, a purpose so revolting to my brain, revenge isn’t revolting, collateral damage, all humanity was guilty, a species wide revenge, humans all look alike, my fifty foot baby, what humans do, all the wolves are killed for the crime of one wolf, a storm came twice, wrapping up his business, he’s ornery, “get revenge”, its planned all this out, set aside your propensity for disbelief, here she/he/it comes, make the presence known, grieving and scheming, you killed my baby and now you’re throwing shit at me?, an inordinate indication of intelligence, an article by Professor Alton about hypnotic powers not being confined to recognized humanity, there trickled upon my ears the faint and sinister echoes of a laugh, only humans and hyenas, they laugh at anything, a sad laugh, read it with skepticism, what is the horror?, is it the thing?, or was it that people were frozen?, electricity explains it, hacksaw to the hempen line, there is no hempen line, that’s their interpretation, a proposed theory, what if there was never a line to begin with, physically hooking on to people, less about the specific thing in the water, the way the Moon plays on the water, everybody is turned into frogs, the Moon was about a foot above the water, a coin at arms length, from what angle?, phenomenological vs. actual, what’s that over there?, the moon looks gigantic, its about the hypnotism theory, why the people fail to act, that’s the horror, a huge part of the horror, if we read it that way the invisible monster is us, retire to your room, the narrator’s perspective, death march, resigned to fate, so real and creepy, not calling for help, not struggling, looking back over their shoulders in fear, a perfect description of this universe,

And as I gazed out beyond the heads, my fancy conjured up still another eye; a single eye, equally alight, yet with a purpose so revolting to my brain that the vision soon passed. Held in the clutches of an unknown vise, the line of the damned dragged on; their silent screams and unuttered prayers known only to the demons of the black waves and the night-wind.

a cluster of religious stuff, the voice of heaven resounded with the blasphemies of hell, ventriloquism, a cyclopean din, her pallid beams, a whirlpool, the narrator laughing, that interpretation, the hyena is laughing because its sad, even creepier, gallows humour, forelegs, one big eye, a laugh?, angler-fish, glowing eyes, feet on the chest, what it’s all for?, sure you did, bub, they know about the fishy tribes, Martin’s Beach has hills with cabins, veranda, a vacation spot, the rich above, the poorer below, above and below,

It was in the twilight, when grey sea-birds hovered low near the shore and a rising moon began to make a glittering path across the waters. The scene is important to remember, for every impression counts. On the beach were several strollers and a few late bathers; stragglers from the distant cottage colony that rose modestly on a green hill to the north, or from the adjacent cliff-perched Inn whose imposing towers proclaimed its allegiance to wealth and grandeur.

the horror is is the coverup by the hotel, the same dynamic you see in Jaws, the corporate is the horror, Aha, I got the formula now!, community vs. the individual, what the fuck happened, everybody’s involved, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, Professor Anthony Douglas, numerous grunts, his ample middle, a nuclear scientist in Colorado, gold bars on the side of the road, this is the weirdest thing, he’s in his easy chair, an eye the size of the entire sky, any giant sky monsters over Colorado?, Fair Game on SickMyDuck.narod.ru:

Shapes. Two enormous shapes squatting down. Two incredibly huge figures bending over. One was drawing in the net. The other watched, holding something in its hand. A landscape. Dim forms too vast for Douglas to comprehend.

At last, a thought came. What a struggle.

It was worth it, thought the other creature.

Their thoughts roared through him. Powerful thoughts, from immense minds.

I was right. The biggest yet. What a catch!

Must weigh all of twenty-four ragets!

At last!

Suddenly Douglas’s composure left him. A chill of horror flashed through his mind. What were they talking about? What did they mean?

But then he was being dumped from the net. He was falling. Something was coming up at him. A flat, shiny surface. What was it?

Oddly, it looked almost like a frying pan.

it doesn’t make any sense as science fiction, what’s funny is the set-up, how he’s fat, this is the sea’s revenge for fishing, it isn’t specifically about this one animal, the sea doing what we do to it, look at the tuna cans, line and pole tuna, industrialized fishing, still another reading, the Moon in relation to its proximity to the water, the gravitational pull of the Moon, The Other Gods, a lot going on, its not as crappy as it looks, William Shakespeare, as flies to wanton boys as are we to the gods, the line is flypaper, why are they pulling, someone needed rescuing, insidious, human instinct in propensity to rubberneck, cheap houses near the sea, at least some of the people came from the rich area, Weird Talers: Essays On Robert E. Howard And Others by Bobby Derie, a blog post with a letter from Sonia Greene, he was never kissed by any woman, The Private Life Of H.P. Lovecraft, Carol Weld, happily ever after (sort of), its all right there in the setup, a little softer than Lovecraft’s usual, 15 adjectives about how horrible everything is, the rest doesn’t take that statement seriously, its lacking that indifference, there’s definitely some bellows, very humanish, the easy reading is that it’s a revenge tale, my Twitter friend Jason Thompson’s illustrations, a couple on the beach, the moon low in the sky next to the fish monster, there’s some sort of massive connection, a big round thing in the sky that YOU can see, it is an eye, paranoia, ‘And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you’, human history’s relationship without the Moon, telescope, when you look at the moon, you can see mountains, it is another place, another world, comforting and horrifying, how important the universe is as a reality, profits, dancing, cottages, cars, a speck in the sea of black infinity, its hard to understate, the cosmic layer, the moon as a character, the Moon is the mother, opening a path, a way, a lane, calling down to the depths, opening the people to an influence from another reality, the bridge of moonbeams in The White Ship, I am Basil Elton,

I am Basil Elton, keeper of the North Point light that my father and grandfather kept before me. Far from the shore stands the grey lighthouse, above sunken slimy rocks that are seen when the tide is low, but unseen when the tide is high. Past that beacon for a century have swept the majestic barques of the seven seas. In the days of my grandfather there were many; in the days of my father not so many; and now there are so few that I sometimes feel strangely alone, as though I were the last man on our planet. … Very brightly did the moon shine on the night I answered the call, and I walked out over the waters to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams. The man who had beckoned now spoke a welcome to me in a soft language I seemed to know well, and the hours were filled with soft songs of the oarsmen as we glided away into a mysterious South, golden with the glow of that full, mellow moon.

the opening, Sonia writing in the mom part, Lovecraft writing the Moon part, layers, cynical thing, clusters of adjectives, satanic and demonic, the more religious cosmology, regular folks, weird letters received, all recapitulated in the Peter Benchley, conferences, inspiring of, A Tropical Horror by William Hope Hodgson, architeuthis, giant squid, the title, self reference, your average bear does’t have a Lovecraftian world-view, the most amazing discrepancies, no common bond, differing reports, a widely witnessed phenomenon, a tremendous difference, everybody’s unreliable, what the hell did they see?, weirder stuff happens under the Moon, Slavoj Žižek, conceiving and Žižek, Lovecraft was the terrible thing, and vice versa, a problem of habituation, kinda sick, this is going to be better for you, Virginia, he could’ve moved with her, I got all my friends and my (podcasting club), the Kalem Club, unrecorded podcasts, an anthology of just Moon stories, power of the moon, the Moon doing a ton of heavy lifting, imagine that line goes all the way out to the Moon, we can get there its just incredibly hard, gravitons are definitely a real thing, it has phases, without the Moon, what would you even look at, its so important, it looms large (especially when near the horizon), we hide from it in our cities and our houses.

Jason Thompson's (MOCKMAN) illustration of The Horror At Martin's Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Posted by Jesse Willis

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

Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #550 – READALONG: A World Of Talent by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #550 – Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Terence Blake talk about A World Of Talent by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, October 1954, MASTERPIECE!, copyright stuff, really angry, starts off really well, an autistic son wandering around his own house, no humour, big noodle, candy from out of nowhere, fighting between a husband and a wife, novel-like, 42 pages, mutant stories, Psi-Man Heal My Child, The Golden Man, the mutant is something that we should fear and will replace humanity, The Crawlers, aborted fetuses, a mundane threat, cruelty, the wife is so difficult, Terence’s first read, full of interesting ideas, John W. Campbell’s editorial note about The Legion Of Time, the stories are the mutants, a big mutation, small mutations vs. big mutations, Galaxy mutated away from the John W. Campbell model, Philip K. Dick was diagnosing the nazi side of John W. Campbell, the naive idea of the superman, we read it as creatures, Slan as the perfect example, this is the future, no one can write about the future of man without talking about PSI, this isn’t science, the beginning of the movie Ghostbusters, a buxom young lady, parapsychology, there’s no evidence for it, its all bullshit, the X-Men, such a good allegory, Slan is a terrible allegory, John W. Campbell was a fucking idiot, a chauvinist, broken ideas, the Dean drive and Dianetics, we the readers of science fiction , Isaac Asimov’s Super Quiz, excluding the sports and movies, Jesse is a super-genius, if Slan is not science fiction as an imagination of thwat the future is…, a metaphor, taking it more seriously, homo superior, Deadpool (2016), H.L Gold wrote under the name Campbell in Astounding, stodginess, analyzing Dick’s own psychology, mental disability, games, another theme, its in the art, the big chess piece, a pretty damn terrific ending, what’s going to happen next?, in the context of Philip K. Dick’s life, marriage problems, should we put him in a special school?, the way the whole story opens and closes, as an autism story, Martian Time-Slip, Earth is thinking of eradicating all the mutants and post humans on Mars, murdering all the kids, the plots are very different but the background is similar, the global intrigue vs. the personal, getting his wife back, his son turned into a god, Adjustment Team, most people won’t notice, one of the futures will go the right away, a lot of arrows could point to this story, Avengers: Endgame, Infinity War, looks at all the different futures, picking and choosing of timelines, she’s alive in all the other timelines, a distant and arbitrary god (with a dad), it doesn’t help poor Big Noodle, an allegorical aspect, just naive, stupid, we don’t know what Philip K. Dick’s image of revolution was, an element of resistance, drug dealers as a resistance to the state, Our Friends From Frolix-8, The Simulacra, The World Jones Made, seizing hold of the means of production and the power apparatus, the meta-humans, the Maoist idea, creating the new means of production, toying with both ideas, Fairchild’s vision, a multicultural prosperous society, genetic purity, post-colonial struggles, a Hindu-Muslim secular state, ethno-nationalist movements, anti-colonial stuff, theme: Earth is invaded by aliens who the majority of people welcome, mut = mutants, norms = people without psi-powers, precogs, anticipating bickering, a funny situation, the kid’s acting weird, “try to hold an objective orientation”, people as blotches of colour and a cacophony of noise, a philosophical objective orientation, blobs spread out in spacetime, a very clunky robotic speech, War-Game, The Game-Players Of Titan, games are serious, if that true…, acting like a god, giving money from the bank in monopoly, if games are serious…, games as a model for reality, cheating is acting as a god, Small Town, disgruntled husband, I don’t like all these casinos as an bars, a really interesting theme that goes all his stuff, Cosmic Puppets, the one with the Bevatron, Eye In The Sky, I don’t like to think about sex so now nobody has genitals, there was a revolution against a king in England, the outside perspective on the American Revolution, fast forward a couple hundred years and there’s another country in Europe, this repressive government IS John W. Campbell, all mutants are positive mutants, Impostor, if you were in the room long enough with John W. Campbell and you had your ideas totally marshalled, I have a new way of solving my own mental problems, of course!, all the things we did with physics we’re now going to do with the mind!, If, I don’t have a problem with mutants (because my own son is a mutant), I need to think about it, he goes both ways on mutants, the pretend supermen in Nazi Germany, imagine what the real supermen could do, Amazon Prime’s The Boys, dickish humans, the mundane mutant, Captive Market, instead of stopping a nuclear war, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, his mechanical computer shrink, figuring out the next fashion, Galactic Pot-Healer, Tim seeing the Others, more different from humans than the mutants are, reading Frank Herbert after Dune Messiah, God Emperor Of Dune, artificial intelligences, anticipated in the Dick story, favourizing the creation of anti-PSI talents, short circuiting each other, blur or block psionic powers, Dune was published in Astounding, everything that Campbell was looking for, it’s all mushrooms, maybe he didn’t like yoga, Alfred Bester, Babylon 5‘s PSI-CORP, Philip K. Dick’s PSI-CORP, surveillance capitalism, the corporations that supply the CIA and the NSA are actually running things, you don’t see the machinations or the hands, how all of this works, the plot stuff vs. the personal story, doing some exploration, John W. Campbell set the table in this totally unscientific idea, maybe we’re defining these terms too strongly, Jesse is a precog (just not a very good one), how we dominate the world, that’s the insurance industry, Foundation by Isaac Asimov is precognition on a macroeconomic scale, China’s on the rise, China’s massive population and old infrastructure, reading history, if you think about it that way (especially the way we define it), hard to falsify, studying parapsychology, if you don’t really understand how science really works, Karl Popper, Khunian normal science, Popperian revolutionary science, philosophy of science, spiritual stuff, how to deal with the pain of reality, a philosophical fiction writer, there’s no science in this story at all, birth defects, just evolution, the new men, the evolution of human intelligence, there not on spice, Mentats, Numen = numinous?, the opening is really well written, Jesse reads the opening, this is what we previewed half an hour ago, a lot of weird smells, corpsman, I don’t fully trust the corps, at age 20 something happens, Progeny, military camp/residential school, it comes up again and again, norm and psi-guests, an objective narrator, Philip K. Dick style, in the melee, nothing existed there, robots everywhere, is this a key party?, why is that line in there?, sour like spoiled milk, The Father-Thing situation, this sets up so much for what goes on later, the left and the right, the beginning and the end of the timeline, its a stranger’s home, wander around looking for something interesting, a ghost, no wonder he acts so weird, to give pleasure to Evan (anti-pleasure), VALIS is the anti-surveillance society, Ubik, the witch in this story, he gives her a token, the bedroom’s not occupied yet, now she’s mad at him, you’re not supposed to bring them home, there’s literally some cheating going on, what kind of party is this an analogy for, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, a bunch of patients of a psychiatrist conspiring to rebel against their doctor, a wife-swapping world, let’s talk about Big Noodle for a minute, a picture on page 21 of the PDF, Jesse thought he had no bones, the power of telekinesis and teleportation, is that why he’s a big blob?, you can predict the future (because you write science fiction), an allegory of the defense department, he literally is the defense department, the way he talks, Eisenhower’s farewell address, he was president from 1953 to 1961, The Hood Maker episode of Electric Dreams, Jesse talking to Julie Davis, shuts down and collapses the whole thing, “Imagine if the ants are talking about me!”, Jesse recapitulates the plot of Expendable, his whole world collapses, Misadjustment, the women just block it, the opposite of Tessa (Kleo), BoingBoing.net’s motto is “Happy Mutants”, homo superior, meta-humans, post-humans, meta-beings, a time traveler, All You Zombies, Predestination (2014), The Big Time by Fritz Leiber, Alfred Korzybski’s animals are space binders and humans are time binders, possibility binders (science fiction), a feminist equivalent, Charlie Jane Anders’ Six Months Three Days, you see I was right, gaslighting as reality bending, Francis Fukuyama, thinking about his theory on autism, two theories, open to all sense data, seeing other aspects that we can’t see, they’re not stupid just cognitively different, how they will be when they’re dead, she’s gonna be dead soon, the skull beneath the face, momento mori, a totemic limitation, he’s always talking about the “tomb world”, people die, what’s next?, why stories can be beautiful like that, Philip K. Dick can make a random crappy story really good, but in real life…, the mundane allegory, with an act of will you can make a difference, by an act of creativity you can inject at some moments anti-entropy, acting like Cornell West, is this even a science fiction story, meta-fantasy exploration of philosophical ideas and bullshit science fiction ideas, the very end of Martian Time-Slip, the significance of the return, closure,

We are better off not being able to look ahead, she said to herself. Thank God we can’t see.

a vision and a return, what parents of autistic kids are worried about, pretty traumatizing.

A World Of Talent by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #549 – READALONG: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #549 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

Talked about on today’s show:
a question on Twitter, Julie, how it even got on the schedule, A Good Story Is Hard To Find (110), June 2015, Mark Woodword, how we’ve never heard of this book, Julie’s mom, very weird, a near masterpiece of Science Fiction, Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth, David Bowie, not about music, Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, one PDF on the PDF Page, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, post apocalyptic, a post-capitalist society, a post-scarcity society, a downer, a slow slow slide into the long dark night, uplifting (also), the state of humanity, they way he reveres reading, enjoy an omelette, re-watching Star Trek, the Animated Series, The Next Generation, it gets better, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Yang, take away all goals, stripping us of our humanity, drugs, hippies, an anti-marijuana book, a critique of the hippies, silent movies, a world you didn’t know, when this old man dies, a different view, Spoforth, pensioning off Paul, reading is not valued, Paul teaches Mary how to read, looking for pornography, he was teaching pornography and mindfulness, a savage critique, who’s the mockingbird?, he wants to know what’s going on, genuine examples of humanity, Julie is being so mean to Paul, Paul in the book, Bentley, spaw-forth or spoof-forth (and multiply), struck to the heart, revealed as the villain, he’s not even sure it’ll work, kill humanity to kill ones’ self, kinda dark, sympathetic, did he intend to kill the child right from the start?, detector, a lot of twists, no diary, a hard shift, switches to Mary Lou, I don’t like this book anymore, not who I imagined her to be, love as a projection, maybe she was blind to herself, or emotionally repressed, when he gets thrown in prison, hanging out with the baleens, a horror novel, shifting around, an impressive world, standard mainstream good writing, built up this whole world, premises are revealed to us, is he a bad guy, an abortionist, destroy humanity, he didn’t invent the system, he’s cursed with an inability to die, massive, a total dystopia, Brave New World‘s children, Huxley was optimistic, self immolation, political protest, a political act, a religious act, a sacrifice, people can’t string ideas together, going to the same cafe, they’re singing, what is the motivation, psychology, Annabelle, SEARS as a church, A Boy And His Dog (1975), a revelation, different genres, my pet Biff, New York City, the Adam and Eve theme, story is how we find truth, books get us in touch with other minds, what a masterpiece, have you got to the monkey bacon yet?, bacon for monkeys?, clever ideas going on, a lot of biblical stuff, this is Jonah, he’s vomited out, the thought buses are like the friends in Job, they’re something else, that thought wasn’t finished, the true inhabitants of the city, a line relevant to our times, cars were promulgated by a cabal of oil manufacturers, dealing with the consequences of a world we never made, a mass transportation system, look very deeply back at old stuff at the time, reading TV Guide from 1980, it’s fascinating, yo, a good magazine about the technology of TV, what television will be like in 1990, they kinda nailed it, gay behavior will be more popular, the trends we see here, the 1980 Olympics in Russia, the invasion of Afghanistan, anyone who would invade Afghanistan is obviously a monster, the fossils of a previous generation, A Streetcar Named Desire, streetcars around the world, one more reason to go to Nice (France), I say that in Jes(t), she picks a fruit, its artificial, what they’re being taught in school, quick sex is best, it comes from the same place, reconstructed all the greatness in science fiction, a mainstream book with a deeply science fiction world behind it, the zoo is all fake, even the children are fake, the Adam and Eve thing, when he comes back to Marylou, Jesus!, Mary, the notion of felix culpa (the fortunate fall), remembering her action, he explicitly remembers, it isn’t going to be as bad as you think, thank you Terence, so loaded, Spoforth is a good carpenter, the poem from T.S. Eliot, the songful simian, a Christ figure, the little sparrow, like the end of Blade Runner when Roy Batty dies, the same problem in the other direction, a sort of love, joy, compassion, influenced?, a lot of Philip K. Dick elements, artificial emotions, the symmetry trick that works every time, it’s beautiful, an act of mercy and love, the poor guy, condemned to Hell on Earth, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, I Am, keep sliding towards oblivion, actively seeking death, the mercy that he wants the mercy he’s trying to give humanity, the behavior of humans is not good, an Arthur C. Clarke vibe, The City And The Stars, that world is perfectly broken, the only thing you can do is appreciate the abstract, blotchy moving colour shapes and sounds, no more music, the heart and the center of the book, the robot toaster factory, a whole novel, a mindless parody of productivity, those grey uniformed sub-morons that all look like Peter Lorre, and then he fixed them, suddenly people are getting toasters again, the warmth and the light (a preview), its a rebirth, what happened in real-life that you didn’t see on twitter, looking for stuff on Netflix, Year One (2009), cave man comedies, fur bikinis, One Million B.C. (1940), science fiction stories, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling, The Wonderstick by Stanton A. Coblentz, the wonder of the wheel the wonder of the stick, a retelling of the bible, Harold Ramis plays Adam, David Cross is Kane as Paul Rudd is Abel, that tree of knowledge, only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods, that’s really powerful, all the characters, Simon, the alternative father for Marylou, why she’s so different, monstrous and straight out of Brave New World, we recognize all this biblical stuff, you get both, there’s gotta be something out there, an The Brick interview with Walter Tevis, it felt very Lawrence Block-y, “Mockingbird’s about coming out of alcoholism.”, “But I don’t do any outlin­ing. I don’t do any researching. I was tempted while writing Mockingbird to start watching silent movies, you know, and see if I could pick some interesting stuff to use, and I realized that would’ve been just a dodge to avoid the type­writer. So I never research anything.”

LD: You paint a pretty bleak picture in terms of lit­eracy in Mockingbird.

WT: It comes from twenty-five years of being an English teacher.

RW: Do you see a decline in literacy? I do, but do you?

WT: Oh, you hear about it a lot. Yes, I’ve seen it a bit, but my private experience as an English teacher has been that Americans don’t read books. They didn’t read books in 1949 when I started teaching. They don’t read books now Television did make a difference. It deepened the slack of the slackjaws and gave another great quantity of garbage for people to fill their lives with. But, you know, there was other garbage around before television. Mockingbird does sometimes, I think, weaken into an attack solely on television and on the modern world, and “weaken” I say because I’m not completely convinced of all those things that I say. But what I am convinced of is that it is very bad for people to find substitutes for living their lives, and that’s what I hope I do say, and say well, from time to time in the book.

reading is the tool that opened up his mind and taught him how to think, a photograph of notes to the editor, the surprise that she’s going to narrate, destructive to our view of his wonderful relationship, she came to appreciate him, he forgot her too, what they had wasn’t super-deep, she was Dante’s Beatrice, Edward Hopper, there’s no door in Nighthawks, alone together, some lady sitting on a bed looking out a window, beautifully painted, what makes us care about his paintings is the emotions in these characters, the emotions that make Hopper’s paintings so powerful, a criticism of the kind of television being shown in the book, stimulating arrangements of color form and design, the psychedelic, Tevis’ take on Hopper’s quote, yeah exactly, four things you can get from films (books), manipulating one’s mental states, a means of learning something about the past, why memory is not enough, sympathizing with other people from other times, knowing about other people’s feelings you discover your own feelings, he captures that experience, jokes from 200 years ago, a line that crystallizes something you’ve always known but never seen before, before Plato, the only book he never reads is Gone With The Wind, See Spot Run, the alphabet is arbitrarily ordered, this is science fiction, the scene in Frankenstein where the creature learns how to read and speak, Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, his creation book (Frankenstein’s lab notes), this is a Frankenstein-fixed story, the creation of the world, how to service robots and thought-buses, a masterpiece, nature is always pulled in, puzzling over how to fix the thought-bus, a large dramatic spiderweb, the moon, made of pure light, the elaboration and power of life that could make such a design, this makes me feel something, Julie’s favourite Psalm is Psalm 19, so mysterious, the way you hold that cup, so much bigger, the human experience, he wrote it for us, the earlier scene with the spiderweb, the court is a plastic building, you go clean the judge’s face, yellow powder, they all have the same look on their face, the system turns on and gears up, other prisoners, the prison sequence, I didn’t see this coming, Belasco, tattoos, Queequeg!, rule breakers, paintings of trees and birds, have a fire on the beach, as free as people in that world can be, a temptation to stay there?, the escape itself, a community of people to help him toughen up, the beginning of his journey, The Handmaid’s Tale. reading is powerful, the way we got there, our own fucking laziness, go along get along, rage rage rage against the machine, read a fucking book, you’ll like it it’s good, not just shore-dinners, a so coddled society, memorizing your life, a kind of writing, a book that feels like its in dialogue with Fahrenheit 451, drop out communities, finding the libraries (it’s treasure!), insistence of family and community, Annabelle becomes his mother, enriched by other communities, great risks to my individuality, the robots who taught me, yup, individualistic, you’re not letting me help anyone, a balance, a really good job of pointing that stuff out, it doesn’t feel like a sermon, super-funny, Buster Keaton, he’s baptized in the mall, the SEARS (catalogue) was a big part of Jesse’s life in 1980, a book of pictures of things, the world in the background economically makes sense, could you game in this world?, a survival game, rebuild society, back to board-games, Scrabble, role-playing games, a very New York thing to do, California, The Last Chase (1981), how the credit card system worked, the pricing, what are they teaching in those classrooms?, yoga and meditation?, sopors, soma, give yourself to the screens, Terence is right!, social media, stream everything, everybody is literate now (to read stop signs and instructions), people who never read anything (maybe a magazine once a year), a super-nice person, what is wrong with you, there are these parallel societies, Anabelle is that representation, part of this is looking at creativity, Spoforth wasn’t creative but he learned, Exhalation Stories: (The Lifecycle Of Software Objects) by Ted Chiang, the whole him trying to find his earlier incarnation, recapture what he had lost from his earlier mind, in the dream, its a baby, just before he dies, the missing peice in the puzzle of his dream, in Westworld for recipe for an intelligent robot is a reverie, the reverie we get from literature, its made him more human, he’s trying trying trying, another element of information, what humanizes him, he felt love, the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, I love you, still strange, the mockingbird sings from the edge of the woods, Scott Danielson, “Whose woods these are I think I know”, the mockingbird is the creative artist, always in association with creativity, a deepening sadness, more creative than we give him credit for?, the boy’s drawings, it works on multiple levels, the fake, the marginal, mocking, a mockery of a man, the emotions of a man and he can’t connect, this mock level, mockingbird songs, things stung together, Tevis is the mockingbird, there’s this hybridization, a very literary book, To Kill A Mockingbird, it sings its heart out, to deal with race again, is it because you’re a black man, it’s 1978, the most advanced beautiful man ever, he was the pinnacle and they made him a black man, still enslaved, in his dream his feet are white, Typee by Herman Melville, an Anabelle like character, only one person’s working hard all day line, Bentley see this as an injustice, is it an injustice?, her choice, making something of value, cooking is work, its still good to feed the kids (even if they can’t thank you), making the mistake of thinking humans are all one way, objectivism, let’s be greedy together, reading Ayn Rand, is Anthem a rip-off of We, moms being moms, I’m a loner, everybody’s talking to each other all the time, invading privacy is the worst thing, it was the robots that did it, the society happened almost by accident, quite beautiful, we fall into the trap of amusing ourselves to death, John Savage likes pain, they twist it against him, “that’s illegal”, those people are all around us, he had his stash, dumping herself full of Valium, him living in her house, thank your mom for us, how many people heard about it through you through her through this podcast, Marissa would have been here very happily, the Westworld connection, good choice, thank you!

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

The SFFaudio Podcast #543 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Defenders by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #543 – The Defenders by Philip K. Dick; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (50 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Marissa Vu, Evan Lampe and Terence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, January 1953, self-submitted, H.L. Gold, Ed Emshwiller, 100 Pages Of At A Time episode 6 of the Philip K. Dick book club, The Penultimate Truth, The Mold Of Yancy, The Unreconstructed M, Deus Irae, different themes, the only idea that survives, different argument, a purity to The Defenders, a fable, monologues from robots, normalized, sitting with the idea, watching a short film (or television episode) vs. a film, participating in a different way, he’s retelling Plato’s The Myth Of The Cave, dwelling, a fundamental point, page 12, Taylor nodded, the peep slot, a world where no life could exist, bullshit, the story doesn’t fit, what Taylor is thinking, under the delusion, that’s fake, camouflage, still eating the blue pill, the red pill, the most famous modern reworking of Plato’s cave: The Matrix (1999), Philip K. Dick’s omniscient narration is complicit, how newspapers work, I don’t think that’s true, truth bombs, fake news, in its pure state, a slot in a lead wall, Russians pasted in Moscow, that’s CNN, the newspaper, and its all fake, epistemology, externalizing the internal, initial thoughts, the media, Dick’s first comment on the media, why they seem so different, it’s humans who use these leadies as serfs, exploiting those on the bottom, assholes or not, smashing human nature to get to some kind of utopia, humans exploiting humans, seeing The Penultimate Truth as a sequel to The Defenders, those on the outside are exploiting those on the inside, a mature and sophisticated version of Isaac Asimov’s robots, loopholes, caretakers for mankind’s spaces while they get their shitty ideas out of their heads, Philip K. Dick grew up during WWII, how this story starts off, reading the newspaper, homeopapes, everything’s getting shittier, the quality of the paper goes down, happy to get any paper, you can’t complain, a delight and a reminder, a conflict within Taylor, pro pro-war, the public persona, otherwise you’re a traitor, the radio drama adaptation differences, forbidden romance, there’s no daughter, there’s a wife, the role of the wife, the a-level robot, Mary is more evolved, us against them, the next step up before universal solidarity, how Dick’s wives appear in these stories, a minor antagonist to the main character, Misadjustment, she seems to get in the way, an annoyance, feeding back to Dick’s relationships, you shouldn’t be so bitter, once you go up there, he was shocked, at the breakfast table with his newspaper and his coffee, this whole thing is fake, if you go out to that shack…, god! it’s true!, you’re going to lose your mind, don’t believe the robots, the robots are under a delusion about humanity, fatigue and disinterest, a utopia as a homogenous culture, identical laws, one ID card for every America, a steady state, if everything is Microsoft, war is better than one user log-in, Asimov’s psychohistory, the robots have humanity wrong, a telling of Nick Bostrum, AI, the paperclip problem, make people happy = take control of our minds (horribly), perverse interpretation, Elon Musk’s fear of AI, AI’s not the boogeyman, one of the Scooby Doo gang, logic tree, that’s no thing to fear, I Am Mother (2019), decanting zygotes, regular skeptical Jesse, 15,000 days later, this is not the first kid, sometimes they just don’t care about shit like that, can liquid nitrogen make glass more brittle?, if you’re paying attention to the details of a story…, humans are so fucking stupid, failing ethical exams, the Russian fox experiment, Moon (2009), low budget science fiction good stuff, Philip K. Dick is wrong, they can lie but they can’t kill, the Asimov defect, weakening the second law, ruthlessness, the long-winded a-level robot, to order the lives of human beings, stories are three levels (vs. adaptations as two levels), a virtual reality game, illusion vs. the truth, not-a, working out what it would mean if you say this…, the three laws are laws for people, what is an order?, an urgent request, guides for moral behavior, lying as more acceptable than killing, they’re whole interactions are one big lie, all the little lies, their ends justify the means, when you change who it is and what they’re relationship is to others you see a change in the meanings of the words, four Russian soldiers, bender-pistols, slem-gun, all men, some more humans hatch out, their wormholes, in the radio drama, can we get married and have babies?, repopulating the Earth, her enemy, not Russians (Asians), a female as the lead changes the tone, its about reproduction, what motherhood means, sometimes she’s scary and sometimes she kind, a nod to Blade Runner, the dog as a figment of her imagination, the relationship humans have to pets, putting down pets vs. putting down humans, fur-babies, not our servants and not our masters, like Sky-Net but overly motherly, it’s all about power relations, the robots manipulate in a kind of a chess game, interesting stuff, trying to create empathy (or foster it) using anti-empathetic means, a great reversal, do the robots wither away?, keep a watch out?, eight years, faking the news, they become slaves again, The Zap Gun aka Project Plowshare, straight out of the newspapers, we need to take the weapons of war and turn them into the tools of peace, materiel, DC-4s as civilian transport aircraft, letting the humans become exhausted, something to this, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Supernova In The East, there was no stopping the Japanese empire, cultural zeal for expansion, a feudal society to an industrial power, all throughout the bureaucracy, how much terror and horror happened in WWII, within Japan, getting weary, let’s tire of this war, Afghanistan’s war doesn’t tire, Taylor is starting to feel it, he’s a writer in the novel, the rhetorizer, a new artioforg liver, the Yance-man, such a great Cold War story, its all in the open in The Zap Gun, the chosen consumer, a brilliant way, magazines about weapons, obsessed with war, a gun nut, all the needs are being met (all without war), Steen cares about this sort of stuff, the cost of F-35s is always going up, F-16s, F-18s, F-14s, f-15, $89.2 million each, the history of firearms, the M-16 vs. the AK-47, doing it out in the open, the M-1 Abrams tanks, there hasn’t been a tank battle since Iraq War I, A-10s, its all done out in the open, people don’t care, how much you exhaust in war production, how far the British Empire fell after WWII, they gave away the whole empire on a point of pride, British rationing (until 1956 not the 1960s), the 1990s Outer Limits episodes, robots with a utopian vision, a reactionary coup, the robot will fill in for you, replacing the father, reimposing the patriarchal family, Sales Pitch, tehcnology changes the attitudes of people, now we can go to space again, obsessed with the frontier as an escape, a reactionary agenda, Family Values, =lull=, annoying Evan, just to displease you, the pink light is the leady without radioactivity, discovering the beautiful world of love and empathy, the VALIS experience, a literal incarnation, our world is fake, the danger of a new dogmatic illusion, the commander, just an observer, breaking through the veil, until there’s a rooster crowing, Franks, explaining what the Soviet Union was, page 8, ascending out of the Tom Mix vault, Moss nodded, the stage trap, the idea of a stage, all the world’s a stage for them, those city videos, all the reports, all the samples, reverse Westworld, playing along, the horrible world, workers were everywhere, the labor corps, slaves, build V-2 rockets, what’s life like for regular folk in this world?, the stage was deafening with noise, rock and lead, lead and rock, a description of what’s going on on the surface of the Earth, what it’s like in the North Pacific right now, a lethal desert of slag, the red sun, something metallic stirred, constructed with feverish haste, the hellscape we get in Second Variety, the mine, the claws, the hellscape of The Terminator future, infiltrators covered with real human flesh!, all fake, a lot of interesting play, afraid of the stages, scary, our own minds looking out at the universe from our own senses, page 10, indirect evidence, a smell-o-printer, a VR one, blasting heat at your face, simulation, I don’t see reality as it is…, proprioception, our world in reality, the homunculus issue, Men In Black, sweeping all the problems into that little man, the leadies as senses, let’s test that idea again, we’re being lied to about reality, deep down its a really interesting science fiction, science, epistemology story, where are the c-class leadies?, taking care of the water-mains, their in the narrative rooms, how they make mistakes in the propaganda, forgetting to bathe the representatives in radioactives, making apologies, trying to protect the humans, the truncated first law.

Galaxy, January 1953 - Illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Italian cover mirroring The Defenders

Posted by Jesse Willis