The SFFaudio Podcast #602 – READALONG: An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #602 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson

Talked about on today’s show:
a huge post script, some Latin, darkness, the poetry of Catullus, the afterlife, is this all about gender, Ex Oblivione by H.P. Lovecraft, a Platonic explanation, uses drugs, a Dreamlands story, set in the Dreamlands, The Cats Of Ulthar, The Quest Of Iranon, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, that horrible Heinlein novel, I Will Fear No Evil, yelling at Heinlein the whole time, kissing, a synonym for kissing, old married couples, a synonym for soul, spirit, aspire, expire, inspire, exhaling, the breath being the soul, very basic, Christian theologians, a Vorkosiverse reference, Barrayar, how deep is this book?, The Undying Thing, Paul in another form, frustrating, where to go with its gears, supernatural events out of nowhere, contact from beyond the grave, philosophy and medical science, not totally out of nowhere, she was physically changing, the metamorphosis, mind-body relationship, how does the mind control the problem, the change in mind affects the body, the mind IS separate from the body, cheated, the railway accident, can Alice be Alice again, Alice Daniel, bored, interesting, Strange Case Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, he wants to part (by walking over kids), very banal Victorian stuff, wills, blackmail, dressing like a man, a mystery, men didn’t understand women at all, up on a pedestal, wanting to wear men’s clothes, freedom of movement, the woman becoming the man, a sort of queer story about transformation, the exciting undercurrent, a subtextual reading, deep into the subtext, reading it subversively, was there a murder?, a chivalrous man, their class relationship, emotional relationship (or lack there of), underground family secret, basically The Hound Of The Baskervilles but literally supernatural, some sort of sin tainting the genetics, divine retribution, by murder and theft, I am due elsewhere, he was killed twice, who smashed up all the equipment, we don’t see it on screen, Jesse’s reading, class revenge and gender swap, with our stupid narrator, so timorous, so conventional, a tool of the person who wants something, the two protagonists, we see so little from her point of view, The Thing On The Doorstep makes these things much more explicit, very subtle, The Moon-Slave, fairy tale France, The Glass Of Supreme Moments, Guy de Maupassant, a less passionate Philip K. Dick, an envious student, an Ayesha kind of figure, ascending through the fireplace, the way to read it, a glimpse of reality, dying of smoke inhalation, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, very interested in women, a princess who does not want to marry, a garden labyrinth, either Pan or the Devil, a story about menstruation, very subtle and very sensitive, the Victorians didn’t have twitter so they could focus pretty well, a contemporary review, The Sketch, cars, tires, women flying airplanes, high tech fun toys, Lord Dunsany, an unattributed review from June 4th, 1911, poets nowadays are tired, Science is assertively awake, the origins of Life, the purposes of Death, Poetry, the determination of the ego, in what does your self consist?, preserved in an asylum, the man’s self still persists, after luncheon, souls or selves, wropped in unscientific mystery, the kind of craft one would expect as a craftsman like the author, the character names, Alice In Wonderland, her Miss Lade, what has been mislaid?, laden, her soul weight is doubled at one point, Daniel = god is my judge, doing a good job, son of the earth, the will the estate, bundling the mom off to New York, background, Daniel’s interest in food, a point or a thesis, what humankind’s souls are, a Frankenstein story, scorned by his peers, a happy soldier, an Igor who’s also his wife, it feels “boring”, the book doesn’t have any the stuff we care about until half-way in, distracted by the blackmail, the Salvation Army, the other transformation, he’s trynna save his soul, is he wrong?, his blackmailer’s accusations, he was a bad dude, he musta lead thousands astray, a projection of his own guilt, our viewpoint character, the empty protagonist, he’s quite witty, as men get older they’re more likely to become neat, the phone calls, off to the countryside, a country home, killed on the way, train “accident”, this is too early for that person to have died, all part of a scheme, the premise, how exchanges of souls work, anesthetized too, the smoke as an anesthetic, a hypnogogic state, a story about immortality and avoiding death, transferring your consciousness into another person, a whole new life, Altered Carbon, a story about class, methuselahs never lack for bodies, an evil plan, revenge, the female spirit inside the physical brain of an old man, the haircolour change, Tuvix, Star Trek: Voyager, actor contracts, an answer to that question, the Federation seems really nice all the time, fucked up things in Federation culture, only normal from an American point of view, Star Trek: Picard, two hours of analysis and sensitivity reading, crossing the streams, The Boy Who Really Got It by Jesse, The End?, Daniel Dennett, a Twitter beef with Sam Harris, wrong about everything, a theory about what consciousness is, consciousness transference, Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer, the center of narrative gravity, a teapot, a uranium block glued to a teapot, anything with mass has a center of gravity, Rene Descartes, Phineas Gage, looking for a particular part of the brain, best mic, drop in history, souls aren’t real, a Douglas Adams reference, dreams where dead people come, a very cool dream, jellyfish style thing, you’re not dead, I got eaten by this monster thing, would you be back alive again the way you were, shot in the head, personality change, our spirit is physiological, its a software thing, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, the software is the hardware, silly theories about what sleep is for, all the studies looking for souls, a phone call in the middle of the night, spiritualism, Doyle wanted to believe, massive character flaw, giving money to grifters, a cultural judgement, this thread of mind-transference, quasi-spirtuality to scientific, they thought they were high tech doing spirtualism, Ghostbusters, psychokinetic energy, Dan Akroyd believes in that stuff, ghost hunting, hunting bigfoot is for exercise, playing a culturally important role, the essential work of ghost hunting, not reading enough books, religious people, rejecting the vast reality of the human experience, a character flaw Jesse is proud of, Evan’s missing out on, William James, Contact, Arthur C. Clarke, conflating vs. mentioning, materialist, Robert Sheckley, Gregg Margarite, Mindswap, picaresque, bildungsroman, travel to mars, vacation to Mars through consciousness transference, swapping genders and species, The Strange (RPG), he roamed the stars in a borrowed body searching for his own, pretty funny, a prurient 12 year old, the sexual aspect of switching bodies, like Dollhouse, back to the book, Compton the narrator, with eye-rolling frequency, too French, floppy tie, disgusted by music-hall female impersonators, tidying away this mystery, beloved research, historical letters from the Peninsular War, this great mystery of life, a rather revolting annoyance, humours essays, social satire, people who try not to be like other people are very tiresome (hipsters), another comic book biography of H.P. Lovecraft, translated from French, some factual errors, a really interesting letter Lovecraft wrote in the Omaha Bee, what does this mean?, his father sold some property there?, what does Compton do when not doing blackmail?, a bunch of letters from Wellington, a really publicly important thing, the equivalent of Churchill, the word, Evan!, after you die you can still have your will done in a WILL, it’s amazing, a part of somebody’s consciousnesses, what you’re doing is evil Will, Cecil Rhodes, an evil alliance that kinda worked out, Henry Ford’s estate, being an executor is a burden, harm through social structures, the fairer sex, why she wants to be a man, Barry Pain is very good at not making it super-obvious, the ratings are very high, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, he’s going to his death in a calm and nice way, there’s a poignancy, his personal world is going to end, The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, which is the best Ringworld book?, they get progressively worse, diminishing returns, Larry Niven, self-criticism, take lessons, sometimes people write about stuff, the best general history of The Reformation, getting all corrupt, a very Douglas Adamsy thing, More Of God’s Greatest Mistakes, a trilogy in 5 parts, exchange of dogs, a subsequent chapter, hinted very strongly, the face being disfigured was deliberate, transferred into another body, Jesse wants to read it subversively, Trish didn’t see it at all, in cases of supermen stories, breaking it down, Captain America: The First Avenger, the hydra guys, bald guy actor, the recipe can’t be repeated, one and done, Stanley Tucci, Big Night (1996), once the equipment is destroyed, who wants to do this again?, is Jesse crazy?, accursed of murder, she burned her hair in the oven, covering up, smells bad, a lotta lies, Compton is incompetent, a window on events almost too passively, a distraction, British murder mysteries, inheritance of property, the whole book is a distraction to Compton, coming to terms with death, literally doing what Frankenstein wants to do: defeat death, abandoning progeny, both ghosts, all delusions, another lie, incurious, covering up, if this was a true story, he’s a briber, he doesn’t do anything immoral, he’s trying to be dispassionate, I found I had a lot more friends than I though I did, hilarious, if you buy a beach house you suddenly find you have a lot of relatives, upperclass twits, who are their patients?, paying off, class stuff, drinking to much, gambling debts, class concerns going up and down, rich people’s problems, the exploitation of a nice person, a more sinister story than it looks and feels, proposing a term, back and forth, social customs, the science fictional aspects, the main aspects, a tragedy of manners, not a comedy of manners, what gives the story its juice, weird customs and judgements, what they say about each other when their not around, I’ll tell him what you said, you see that in science fiction too, space opera, who’s on the cover, who’s being looked at, that’s a really striking cover, that lady is our subject (object), A Princess Of Mars, her husband is the subject of the sentence and she’s the object, who’s that behind her, his tie is not that floppy, looking at her askance, sort of faded, astral projection, he’s got some doubt in his mind, the mom, what is she in there for?, what’s the point of that?, the governess, light and fluffy, pairings we want to see, European princesses, my son should marry her, he’s an up and comer, servants are sources of amusement, golf cartoons, Trump golfing when 100,000 people were dead, Jimmy Carter was near the bottom, a business man’s thing, money money money, ground Alice, her accent changed, London accent to upper-crust accent, so malleable, why he’s choosing her, he really likes the apartment, access to materials, disgraced, moving people away, they’re betrothed, she thinks it is for Alice’s health, supposed to be read subversively, he doesn’t kick his audience in the balls and run off he tweaks their nose, people need Paul, he’s the nexus the axis the axel.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #591 – READALONG: The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #591 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and David Agranoff talk about The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

Talked about on today’s show:
three terribly scanned issues of Astounding, illustrations, a quick OCR, minor revisions, the introductory material, arguing with his critics and conceding a point, very Aristotelian, Damon Knight, a lot to eviscerate, a terrible book, one of those famous essays, David is forgiving, the good things that it inspired, why Marissa needed to be on this one, Philip K. Dick, Solar Lottery is basically World Of Null-A fanfic, Vulcan’s Hammer, the competent man porn, The Variable Man, The Golden Man, pre-verbal, all instinct, Vogt literally told Dick to write novels, the level of influence, plotting is terrible, Slan, van Vogt’s plotting philosophy: every 900 words plot twist, The Purge, The Hunger Games, Jesse will like this, no law in the opening, who is fit to live on Venus, putting it in communist terms, approaching full communism, full blown Null-A, general semantics, its not as stupid as it sounds, Bertrand Russel version, natural deductive logic, logical positivism, lefty peacenik thinks world’s problem can be solved by understanding sentences, two right wings of the same party, words have power, the word “cat”, pussy, feline, black cat, cursed, witch’s familiar, the power of synonyms, a feature of those things, be gaslit, fall into traps, Alfred Korzybski, mistaken silly ideas, the solution is silly, Olaf Stapledon and group minds, an idea we had to explore, a grift, L. Ron Hubbard’s grift, the aims that the people have behind these systems, not everybody operates on the same level, Robert A. Heinlein is believing this shit, Heinlein is very thoughtful, weird ways of living, to confined in the cultural mean of those around them, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, a future fans will be slans argument, Friday, Mr. Twocanes, join those supermen, Heinlein rejecting his own earlier embrace of general semantics, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, notice how it hasn’t taken over everything, Rosicrucians, go to church, he just kills dozens and dozens of people, how language effects your nervous system and decision making process, it knows what its trying to do, that ending, writing to the conclusion, why is this novel so bad, Astounding had a lot of shitty stories, its not that good, it has a status that is large, Dune, The Left Hand Of Darkness, Dune is a really good version of The World Of Null-A, basically yoga of the mind, shitty plot, the first time he’s killed, the equivalent of Star Trek: Picard, more and more churning, a Flash Gordon serial, John W. Campbell, supermen, Anthony Boucher, the corona virus pandemic, WWII, a letter from an SF author in Germany, V-2, rattling, rattle city, the guy is wrong about everything, moving through a liquid at a very high speed, a complete and crazy novel, A.E. van Vogt was Philip K. Dick’s idol, tanks getting piggy-back rides, the best defense, Knight rescinded his criticism, don’t judge it based on novel standards, an experimental novel, an action yarn, why he is, all these dudes really believed in the superman ideology, I don’t know it who I am, it barely has a plot, The Green Odyssey is a good book, an important book that is bad vs. an unimportant book that is good, influencing a slew of things, am I really married to the presidents’ daughter, she keep comings back, its like a dream, Jesse’s dream:

Dreamt I followed loud music, taking a shortcut home from my late night retail job, and found myself at a Carib Zombi takeout shak. Shamblers were everywhere, going in and out. I recognized one employee & ordered the SPECIAL. Another, a real freak, touched me, his corrupted flesh infecting mine. I told him to back off as where he touched me my flesh came away. He laughed and spoke a creole phrase under his fetid breath. I put on my own creole accent and gave him the counter response as he shambled away. More order came, and I took it to go. Spicy takeout.

most stuff shouldn’t be novels, cosmic jerrybuilder, this is what happens in the story, why all these plot twists don’t make any sense, unpuzzling is harder, what a convoluted mess it is, predicting the sequel, hilariously bad plotting, adding to the insanity, the ideas at the heart of it are really interesting, there are some things that have some value, the Promethean attitude about humanity, historicizing and contextualizing mental illness, go-sane, all who don’t practice are insane, structural problems, political problems, Michel Foucault, mental discipline, ulcers, Illness As Metaphor by Susan Sontag, repression causes cancer, HIV = excess and immorality, August 1945, SCIENCE TO COME, ulcers, if I pray for you you’ll get better, psycho-medical therapy, insulin shock therapy, what he does consistently, so common among science fiction writers, Robert J. Sawyer, all bullshit, the race is fairly indestructible but our present culture is finished, not a very Null-A thing to say, opened the realm of wonder, John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum, a fork, a Superman Returns, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Black Destroyer, Alien (1979), an amnesia, interesting as opposed to shitty, the shitiness supports its thesis, animals don’t time bind, why Picard is shitty, remember how he got over those things, he found his brother in his vineyard and had a good cry, what was the whole thing about the Star Trek universe, being petty about jobs, the subersion we have in Deep Space Nine, labour problems, the only thing that supports Picard being a good show, I think Picard has dementia, why its a Don Quixote style show, all of this shit only makes sense only if its a dementia show, all the stuff that would support, we have a history and a memory, why antisemitism was so strong in Germany, there’s no morality involved in a tiger eating a deer, the least Null-A thing about Null-A, how humans are different from animals, put your hand in the box, testing Paul’s humanity, animal cultural legacies, skills that they can pass along, social ecology, Murray Bookchin, we create communities, we are able to carry on ideas, monogamy, Commando (1985) should be thought of as garbage, being entertained, David highlighted the shit out of Null-A, the most intense evisceration, an attack on literary grounds, at war with dictatorships, The Weapon Shop, his plots do not bear examination, sentences, Philip K. Dick at his worst, Joseph Conrad, two thoughts: like Flash Gordon and therefore it is trash, investigate that, the zig-zaggyness, extreme dissociative events, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, what a book is is what you take it to be, Joe Cinnadella is so fucking interesting because he was an Italian and a Nazi and a truck driver, any reading when citing sources within the text is legit, the way we are like Rick Deckard, oh my fucking god, he’s seeing inside my head, regular junky astounding stuff, Will has terrible taste, this book is stupid and interesting, reviews with star ratings, Sophie Wenzel Ellis’ story, junky pulpy thrown together bits, Lovecraft doesn’t care about markets at all, so market oriented it was not meant to be read after it was published, distracted from his market goal, those dignified realism books that nobody likes, Clark Ashton Smith poetry, what Will likes about it is its a super-science story, read Solar Lottery next, defend Will’s taste, 4 Gosseyns out of 5, a weapon called the vibrator, ridiculous space opera, you have to consider when it was written, Martian Time-Slip, laying in bed reading Null-A, a valid thing to think about, back to mental illness, WWII veterans, a social context to sanity, shell shock, PTSD, war created mental illness, maybe it’s all in the context, The Myth Of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz, a funnier book, a jarring book, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, corporations corrupting governments, the senator from Coca-Cola, giant chickens, an amazingly interesting book, really funny, Gravy Planet, the military industrial complex is going to make so much money, very Robert Sheckley in comedy terms, societal problems, history is a series of fucking errors, here’s how you’re wrong, why Isaac Newton is interesting, Newton’s Cannon by J. Gregory Keyes, when we get telepathy, his 75-year old man self, they’re thinking the same thoughts, the exact same thought at the exact same time, solving the same problem, when you go into Heinlein, Grok fills a function that isn’t a word we already have, we all grok this book pretty well, water brother let me tell you this is not the best drink available, when he’s trying to convince himself to kill himself, Paul’s issues, the original Gosseyn was Jesus, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Alas, All Thinking! by Harry Bates, a historical document, what do you make of the quotes at the beginning of every chapter, chapter 18, “feast upon shadows”, pearls of wisdom, general semantics, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz vs. Isaac Newton, Dianetics is a fork, we randomize it, The Game-Players Of Titan as the stock market and predicting Wall Street as games and tricks, political anarchism, Ursula K. Le Guin, Norman Spinrad, gated community socialism, the Galt’s Gulch planet, The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, mutual aid, 600 years of games, Vulcan’s Hammer, just looking at the cover, hardcover (legit) vs. paperback (trash), Jesse only likes garbage, the good art and the bad art, commercially available, the smart people say that it’s good, direct to VHS movies from the 1990s, Noah’s Ark with Sodom and Gomorrah scene, Ed Wood, they don’t care they don’t know they don’t give a fuck, Above Suspicion (1995), A Slight Case Of Murder (1999) TV movie, aiming high with no skills, big swings, the economics of Star Trek: Picard, Quentin Tarantino, The Unteleported Man vs. Lies, Inc., this is a good attempt, it did what it wanted to do, be careful what you put into the world, future reprints, a catalyst and an exemplar, pulp science fiction, Robert E. Howard really holds up, surprisingly terrible, Clifford D. Simak, Isaac Asimov, he’s pre-Dick but without the natural gift, John the Baptist, Dick Christ, Mysterious Galaxies in San Diego, there’s a reason he doesn’t need to know about it, if you like out of date sci-fi, showing how general semantics and science fiction are tied together, H.L. Drake, why Heinlein is so interesting, he’s fundamentally right, there’s something to it and its really stupid, nothing’s new under the sun, practicing the art of reading science fiction for decades and decades, all the sound and fury all around us, as part of their identity vs. a fact about their history, being out of the loop by not practicing the art of reading science fiction, anti-bodies against surprised, forseen vs. predicted, plague, thousands of plague stories, Carriers (2009), how the United States is going to be in 9 months, the USG shit the bed, The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, were just gonna have to let a couple million people go, top 10s, The Naked Sun, The Sphinx by Edgar Allan Poe, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, history is your proof against cycles, terrible dead ends, 277 years ago in where Vancouver is now, Philip K. Dick becomes more and more relevant and A.E. van Vogt becomes less and less relevant, thrash metal, PKD is covering Null-A, the opposite of academia, it is education for podcasters and podcast listeners, Donald A. Wollheim, Evan’s cat’s name is Rusty Cohle, also the Will book, Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn Of Flame, fired no job jobless, we wont need lawyers in our new Null-A society, be more like Saul Goodman.

William Frederick Timmins art for The World Of Null-A on the cover of Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

ACE - D-31 - The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

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The SFFaudio Podcast #578 – READALONG: She by H. Rider Haggard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #578 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about She by H. Rider Haggard

Talked about on today’s show:
how hard it is to listen to podcasts, 12 hours, jam packed with ideas, all the movies, both audio dramas, comic books, a cartoon adaptation, sloshing together, starting with the ending, Job not Job, Job died, the everydayman, he has a very specific descendant: Sam Gamgee, less pleasant language, racist assumptions, she’s evil, they don’t see it, get the elephants out of the room, not a racist book at all, four movies, the 1925, the 1935, the 1965, the 2001, the 1909, the 1984, the Flash Gordon episode, great perfect film, Will is a troll, laying out Jesse’s case, none of the adaptations are faithful, the 2006 audio drama, Tim Mcenery (from Blackadder), a very wise person wrote it, compressing 12 hours down into 2, they don’t usually set it in Africa, Samarkand, filmed in Bulgaria, set in the Arctic, what were they thinking?, silent, Bulgarian extras, Ultima Thule, themes, shells of locations, the UK, the backstory, out of Africa and Greece and Egypt, this visit to Zanzibar, the land of Kor, Egyptian Arabic Black, even more fictional, Natal, South Africa, they’re basically Tharks, Ayesha is Princess of Helium, the prototype to Galadriel, she’s Circe, an immortal wizard, the 2006 audio drama, Mohamed was killed off, the brown man in the hot pot, they fear for their own lives, cannibals, they attempt to come to Job and Holly and Leo come to his rescue, defending their own from being anthropophaged, revenge, resentful of the orders of She, not allowed to eat the whites, killing people in anticipation of being cooked, a cartoon, two explorers in pith helmets in a cauldron, its more complex than that, its not focused on race, what what?, delightful and not racist, the fictional people who live around Kor, the descendants who intermingled and degenerated, racial degeneration, the inversion of British customs, eminently civilized, one of the savage tropes, you’re reading that in, every couple of hundred years we slaughter them, this is a book about gender and gender relations not about race, not especially racist, snow white, she has ivory breasts, the whiter you are the more beautiful you are, that’s gender not race, she’s an evil white goddess, white savior syndrome, colonialist themes, he’s pretty conscious of a lot of things, a vehicle for the tropes, this myth of Africa, the inversion of our customs, an inversion of our hospitality, The Africa That Never Was by Dorthy Hammond and Alta Jablow, a justification for colonialism, literary sensationalism, titillating enough, a literary theme, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, a vivid new variation, the negation of European values, semi-matriarchal culture, the two who are noble savages, one of the best characters in the novel, my baboon, falsify it, cannibalism as mythological, ritualistic cannibalism of loved ones, headhunting, all over the world, its wonderful to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood, a sexy subject, Melville’s most famous book (in his lifetime), when that book blew up, amazing story, everyone else is doing the cannibalism, he didn’t have anything good to say about Irishmen and Greeks, unpleasant passages, thieves and sneaks, our insular prejudices are most of them based on common sense, these black gentry, fit for muck, thinking during the book, so beautiful, a compliment, he looks English, droopy or something?, race science and social darwinism, his weak genes give out, stronger genes, a perfect time, yucky racism instances, totally obsessed with this trio, a board game, Horace “Baboon” Holly, Leo is a lion, Job is a pig, going back to Circe, SHE is a snake, undulating, both become obsessed with her, a terrible beauty, massive one page notes, IMMORTALITY, how it got into H. Rider Haggard’s hands (as the editor), THE FLAME, MUMMIFICATION, a bonfire, mummies for firewood, the mummy craze, mummydust as medicine, when we do it its cool, driving Job to the hotpot, when Odysseus lands, pigs at the dinner table, never explained in the story are the wolves and lions, enslaved to Circe, tame, women being dominant, different kinds of cultures, Philip K. Dick’s Strange Eden, tamed by the witch, the first WAND as a magical instrument, there’s no monkey or ape on Circe’s island, Horace studies ancient languages, a keen mind and a freaky body that’s reminding everyone of Darwin, let’s go look at each other in the mirror, so interesting, Ayesha does the same thing to Holly, look at you and look at me, your quasi-son, never explicitly explained, why does she die, yo?, providence, has she done it before?, she hasn’t been back there, dancing in the flames, the flames vs. the gauze, she’s wrapped like a mummy, literally wrapped, veiled in every respect, she’s TOO pretty, TOO beautiful, makes men stupid and men evil, she has Darth Vader powers, she’s an evil Jedi, she can kill people with a look, why does Leo go on this trip?, his name means avenger, he doesn’t act like he’s out for revenge, the mystery, all the women love him already, fawning women, terrible for him, a rebellion against his adoptive father, Horace gets excited about all the good shooting down there, youth being inquisitive, he ends up fulfilling his atavistic destiny, she’s getting him back, showing that vision, Christopher Lee, he’s been wizarded, Peter Cushing doesn’t look like a baboon (he looks like a greyhound), Ayesha shows up in three other books, Ayesha: Return Of She, Tibet, Lost Horizon, She And Allan, contrived reason to visit Kor, uppity Zulu woman, an H. Rider Haggard trope, a desire to love native women, unnatural and doomed, they’re all wearing the ring of power, they’re all turning into Saruman, the Haggard/Tolkien connection, C.S. Lewis, the White Witch is based on She, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, similar in the face, the year this story is set, martini rifle, Zulu (1964), the book ends 22 years after the events started, there and back again (two years), the play in the caves, the whole lost civilization thing, Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym, Conan, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, something even older, Plato and Atlantis, Philip Jose Farmer, when the Sahara was green, there were dinosaurs there, H. Beam Piper’s Omnilingual, the pots and heads, and the pot sherd, Plato’s the Myth Of The Cave, group-think, religion, the 17th of March 2029, the scarab, the ancient connection, Kor as Pompeii, one note on lost race – lost colony, ancient active civilizations, Mormonism, Andrew Jackson on the Indian mounds, the great Zimbabwe, it has to be an ancient race of white people, race sciences, an ancient white source, Hadon Of Ancient Opar, Time’s Last Gift, the green Sahara, a deity in that pantheon, a rumour of Her in Tibet, in the framing, they’re planning to go off to the East, James Hilton’s Shangri-La (Lost Horizon), Iron Fist, influential on Henry Miller, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, H.P. Lovecraft,

The romantic, semi-Gothic, quasi-moral tradition here represented was carried far down the nineteenth century by such authors as Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Thomas Preskett Prest with his famous Varney, the Vampyre (1847), Wilkie Collins, the late Sir H. Rider Haggard (whose She is really remarkably good),

Lovecraft favourites, holy shit! that’s a Lovecraft line, Algernon Blackwood, a survival of a hugely remote period, and called them gods, She is a Goddess, She talks a lot about death and change, Shadow Out of…, Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn And His Family, and Arthur Jermyn soaked himself in oil, his peculiar personal appearance, peculiar features, learning was in his blood, the Congo region, supposed antiquities, Observations On Several Parts Of Africa, when in his cups, under a Congo moon, abysmal treasure vaults, even a Pliny, weird cravings (carvings), his grandmother in her box, the Horace Holly story, he looks like a monkey, this horrible truth revealed to us via Darwin, Ayesha is lily white flames and gauze, this tension between atavism (reversal to type), get your breeding right, the super-concerns of 19th century people, racism as a reaction…, lichy ancestors, Innsmouth, race-mixing, interbreeding with fishmen is a problem, mind-transference, Cushing and Lee and Ursula undress, after WWI why?, Roxanne, The Man Who Would Be King, the Mountains Of The Moon in Uzbekistan?, blowing minds, as if nothing has ever happened, North By Northwest (1959), Paul’s case, blonding her up, reasons for being blonde, our racialization of Arabs, the money shot, her raven hair over her white porcelain body, the whole hair thing, Galadriel and Gimli, Tolkien’s version of immortality, let’s just go off to the West, Primeval Thule, drug addict elves, high on lembas, black milk, types of immortality in She, reincarnation, a Greek who’d falling in love with an Egyptian, Ayesha as Cleopatra, would Haggard have cared or known?, that Egyptian asp, a callback vs. a throwback, the death glance, though at times they sleep and are forgotten, how enchanting some of the language is, poetic level language, written in six weeks, the original serialization in The Graphic, The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Victorian photoshop, fake documentation, verisimilitude, a true document!, when She actually shows up, dreams and visions, the lessons of Jurassic Park and Jaws, everybody speaks English, the 2006 audio drama, the translation, a ton of poetic repetition, all these conversations are happening in ancient Arabic, Holly is the main character, she leaned back on the couch, oh man, things upon the earth though knowest not, Jews, there be a thing called Change, three times 2,000 years have passed, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, the body moves, She’s force powering him back to life, what does this all mean?, she burns up the corpses and steps into the flame, stranger is my name, here I tarry, why dost though believe, the beauty of Helen, wisdom of Solomon, that ye cal death, barbarians lower than beasts, in the original book, you can’t look at god, Moses is permitted to see his hind parts, a Lovecraft swoon, beautiful and terrible, all about Jesus, her historical connection, Horace talking, she’s a wizard, she’s a lich, Wisdom’s Daughter, she’s travelling around like a wizard, gone for a whole generation, force glance, laser eyes, why the book is so fun, She’s that living connection, The Boat Of A Million Years, Jesse is sorry he has to read so much, they’re rivals for her affection, all about chosen family, you’ve been kidnapped, long strong arms, a martini rifle and a revolver, he’s got a good heart, a good word for Job, the mark of civilization is not knowledge but compassion, it’s fine she killed my wife, this section is insane, the terror of the leaping flame, the wise sadness of the tombs, all metaphor, the white shroud she wore, lovely tempting womanhood, she’s a virgin, so my Holly, the lagnuage is biblical, Allan Quatermain and Solomon Kane, I’m inclined to flattery, now my waist, this golden snake that is to large, she doesn’t like her clothes, that lady has a wasp waist, huge baboon hands, he has to squeeze her a bit, oh Holly, I am but a man!, Heaven knows what she was, I worshiped her as never woman was worshiped, what about gay men?, so horribly wonderfully, She is so fuckin evil, She cast a spell on him, the sight is sweet, the dear pleasure that is our sex’s only right, a buttoned down Cambridge don, century days, she’s lonely, she doesn’t have any books, spend all your days getting paler and paler talking to corpses, she has her TV, it is no life, She says She’s in Hell, a good thing for everybody, I’m going to England and replace Queen Victoria, it’s Dracula, Anno: Dracula, this book is really influential, the only thing comparable, an adventure of history, Jules Verne’s extraordinary voyages, Roman guards, the 2nd Brenda Fraser Mummy movie, riffing off of She, Mountains Of The Moon (1990), Burton and Speake, Stargate: SG-1, why its important to have diversity in its command structure, Space Vampires aka Lifeforce (1985), female seductresses, women’s rights, the Victoria stuff, you can betray your queen, what the hell are we accepting them for, foisting kids and relatives, The Rock, its really important: this is about class, Sam Gamgee is a servant, this race thing is used to divide us, when She says want me to kill her now, should I kill him now?, Kylo Ren and evil vs. good, how formative, an early adventure quasi-fantasy, its all science, rules for what you can see in the glass, she’s elf so she has magic, now I know how this works, what are they gonna do for twelve hours, Maissa had no idea what was coming, wow!, so lyrical, metaphysical, all the Lost World books are here, finding a fount, needed wanted more of it, his first big hit, She is what he would be remembered for, Indiana Jones did that, Rumpole Of The Bailey, the comic, Horace isn’t baboon enough, I wreath a corona around his head, what makes this book so good, Horace Holly’s a great character to see it through, why didn’t you choose Horace?, She does choose him in a way, why She chose Leo, its all about the physical beauty, her whole basis for him, he was pretty, I poured all my love into her, more importantly you’re ugly, which of them is actually ugly, Ayesha is the most monstrous hollowed out garbage person, a whole level of how do you judge a person, this person looks like they’ve had too many sandwiches, you might want to marry a supermodel, hockey shoes, beauty vs. personality and principles, abandoning principles, Horace sees his adopted son as a rival, he fantasizes about polyamory, she’s saving herself for the guy she murdered 6,000 years ago, hidden herself in a tomb, a pyramid, a story of horror, at the end of the 1919 hardcover:

To H. R. H.

Not in the waste beyond the swamps and sand,
The fever-haunted forest and lagoon,
Mysterious Kor thy walls forsaken stand,
Thy lonely towers beneath the lonely moon,
Not there doth Ayesha linger, rune by rune
Spelling strange scriptures of a people banned.
The world is disenchanted; over soon
Shall Europe send her spies through all the land.

Nay, not in Kor, but in whatever spot,
In town or field, or by the insatiate sea,
Men brood on buried loves, and unforgot,
Or break themselves on some divine decree,
Or would o’erleap the limits of their lot,
There, in the tombs and deathless, dwelleth SHE!

a life after its life, its an immortal book!, the Citadel of Truth, the Goddess of Truth, the dead orb above and the dead city below, long departed glory, their all mummified, they worshiped Truth to much, styling herself as the goddess of Truth, She dies after getting what She wants, the 1935 ending, immortality’s all great and that, the hope we might be reunited again, traditional Christian belief, pushing it away, forever in Heaven, the inverse of Heaven, if She keeps coming back, every sequel, a metaphysical aspect, a theosophical aspect, vehicles for philosophizing about man’s place in the universe, a sock puppet for H.R.H.’s theosophical ideas, what is the novel actually doing?, maybe a stand-in for H.R.H., so surprising, what’s the meta-text?, the Victorians and the things they didn’t want to face, compartmentalizing, he is his life, a very English thing, let’s go see this movie (because I need spend time with a human), my only friend, dying wish, you’re not fit for society so you may as well raise my son, almost homoerotic, appreciating a male form without being totally gay, basically bribes him, a bizarre opening, Christoph Waltz, I’ve been watching you for two years, why you don’t get married right away, gauzey goggles, a vision, gametes gotta gamete (meet), that outer society, women choosing the men, social security, a social safety net, a nanny state, goats, a communitarian society, why we need to expand the public domain, the writer gets paid, Andrew Yang ‘1K, bro’, Playstation 5, there are alternate ways, how writers gotta be paid, living authors should be paid royalties for your works (unless you’re in a country that cant access them for legal reasons), going away from a money based society, the average Canadian writer gets paid $7k per year, free healthcare, how the postal workers in Yugoslavia had their own vacation spot, why not do that?, postal workers aren’t going away anytime soon, alternative forms, the artificial scarcity system, you clearly haven’t listened to my piracy, join my pirate team!, let’s do these shares out equally, with the internet now, the amounts of research we are able to do for this book are insane, spend more time not doing horrible things for cash, bodies rented out for paying the rent, alternate, mercy killing, maybe rose twitter knows what its doing.

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from The Graphic

She: A History Of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard from the 1919 book publication

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Stories By Famous Authors Illustrated No. 3 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Marvel Classics 24 - She by H. Rider Haggard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #565 – READALONG: Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Talked about on today’s show:
and today we’re reading…, John Bloodstone, an old science fiction novel, why wouldn’t I read this book?, public domain, never heard of this guy, Science Stories, February 1954, house names or pseudonyms, tiers of science fiction magazines, armchair fiction, digging into the issue, the cover has nothing to do with the contents of the story, a brilliant 45,000 word novel, a singular spaceship, J. Allen St. John, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan, Warlord Of Mars, The Moon Maid, a Burroughsian planetary romance, splash page, the creature, his former lover, a precursor, L. Sprague de Camp’s Viagens Interplanetarias, against the rules, find each other attractive, tentacles out of eyebrows, an ancient spaceship, the subjugated people have invented gunpowder, backgrounded to Garthanas’ story, what Paul would be thinking about Jesse would be thinking about the worldbuilding, how little this book has been published, it does was it says on the tin, a man off his world (or not our world), the ending, a solar system with two and a half inhabitable planets, Thronas is the fifth world, Carson of Venus, Hamardeen, the math and the names, a panspermia story, dinosaur time, Dalathasheen, Haven, Adamas, a tropical haven, a vast natural garden which they named…, Atlantis,

Their dreams of old we, too, have known,
But we are flesh and they are
stone,
And Yesterday is dust…

just some rando, a weird way to start a story, Tolkien, narrator Tim Harper, preeeety good job, so good, very specific vocab, names of days, all of the logic, names of ranks, layer up this world, as logical and rational as possible, lovely detail, the amphitheater, very vivid, very colourful, a real sense of embodiment, the interests of the author, elf names, etymological construction to the names of things, the measuring system, worldbuilding and making a whole universe (or solar system) for a FIVE HOUR BOOK, and to make the story work as well, the same trick over and over: a secret identity, he’s teaching us, you like Twelfth Night, you like Shakespeare, he’s turning evil, what if I’ve been rooting for a monster this whole time, that’s good writing, the AI of the ship, the metal god, a very early AI, from such an oblique angle, The Great C by Philip K. Dick, he Kirks the computer, I love that idea, the computer doesn’t say, if Kirking is a verb, apparently Gene Roddenberry was a fan, “I’d stand in a line in the rain for one of Stu Byrne’s stories”, back when Paul was young and strong, Thundarr The Barbarian Garth Ennis, one of the many many rip-off’s if Conan, make the show to sell the toys, unpublished Tarzan novel, fan fiction, the Pellucidars, the Barsoom books, male romancesque, lost to time, when the book is THIS interesting, the archaeology of this sort of thing, born in 1911, Jam Packed with Burroughs, more of the same, He-Man, She-Ra, Red Sonja (from the comics), filed-off serial numbers, friendship works differently in Burroughs-world, honor-based friendship, more sex and drinking, more carousing, no animal friend, no Woola, The Green Odyssey, a loving-parody-comedy vs. straight-up, Michael Moorcock, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hard to escape the orbit of Burroughs, S.M. Stirling, Tantor Media, The Sky People, In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings, he goes wide, characterizing the responses to Burroughs, dinosaurs on Mars, Leigh Brackett, aliens, A World Of Difference by Harry Turtledove, a collapsed empire, the golden ship is a great piece, with that ending he’s cutting off all the sequels, what it turns this book into is a science fiction book of the mainstream type, acceleration, artificial gravity, a force of nature like the tides, the worship of many many gods, how much work he put into this, not a work of slapdashery, Goodreads reviews, the used bookstores podcast, Goodreads is owned by Amazon, many moral hazards in the universe, AbeBooks is owned by Amazon, Byrne is from St. Paul,

It has all the hallmarks of a hastily-written product plus one whose creator has a very specific beginning and endpoint in mind and is working to bridge the two. Byrne occasionally has to paste in the gaps with backstory or offstage events–clearly he was not going to go back and revise–and this leaves the impression that more interesting things are happening to more interesting people while Garthanas is standing around waiting or being talked to.

The story is also strangely unspecific about the context. It’s implied that the oppressed Harmarians are some kind of ethnic minority who are slowly being deported to planet Hamardeen (Mars) because the Thronasians would prefer to be served by the unpredictable and violent nonhuman polar inhabitants, but nobody says this and it is not explained clearly. The half-explanations conspire to baffle and not tantalize with unseen depths.

“Space barbarians” is arrived at uniquely, with a robotic Golden Ship left behind by an earlier civilization. It is a tragedy that this is the only remnant of super-science and one wonders what more Byrne could have added to liven up this story.

The final moments, as it starts to wrap up, do achieve power. Byrne finally has a specific vision with a specific end goal and Garanthas is in place to witness it all and to act appropriately. But the overall impression is less “tale of multigenerational tragedy” than “muddled mess”.

hanging out with a Roman slave who knows how the Roman Empire works, a case of reviewism, a disease that effects many reviewers, space barbarians, a trope, maybe it needed more pondering, a lot of battle scenes, before we talk about the art, action packed, almost the script for Buck Rogers, so many court scenes, sneaking around inside of a space ship, a Star Wars (1977) level of action, kissing, intrigue, how you are when you come to something, a serious problem when they do reviews a lot, IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, he’s writing to his own conclusion, award winning is a bad word in Jesse’s mind, The Aquiliad: Aquila In The New World by S.P. Somtow, you need to know what the author is doing, answers to What If, the artist knew truth, the only person better at sculpting than me is my master, a very small pair of worlds, another connection to Star Wars, hello Jupiter, reading into it, he wanted to have philosophy in it without getting into it, a thinker king like King Kull, appreciating the art, about that meditation, a John Carter who is appreciating the martian sculptures, normally that’s us when reading the books, the statue at the end, it’s in that opening song, a future echo, an echo of the past, Battlestar Galactica, page 13, we are flesh and they are stone, playing with, the word “Truth”, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Ozymandias by Horace Smith, On A Stupendous Leg Of Granite…, hubris is a great problem, uh huh and yup and we’re going to be the same way, more political, Lovecraftian vs. science fictional, that projection, Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia, the journals and a report about what’s going on in North America, Planet Of The Apes, fast paced, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, so many great books that are just hidden away, ratings are a part of the problem of reviewism, star ratings, clouding judgement, it straight jackets you, the pain management chart, hangnail 1, gaping flesh wound from sword stab 8, a standard of one person, the way Luke Burrage justifies his rating system, this is not a classic like a The House On The Borderland, The Time Machine, more worldbuilding than The Green odyssey, Tolkien vs. Narnia, portal fantasy vs. secondary world, six hours well spent, thank you to Tim Harper,

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

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 #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