The SFFaudio Podcast #715 – READALONG: The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

The SFFaudio Podcast

Jesse, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

Talked about on today’s show:
1955, Edmond Hamilton’s wife, her other family, her parents, when they were courting, brought her back a little to late, a California person, a home outside of California, set in space, The Long Goodbye, The Big Sleep, detective California books, Californian detectives, westerns, super-religious, post-apocalyptic, the craft of it, the heat of the farm, the dust of the road, the mob scenes are scary, well executed, very believable, small town, city, island, religious craziness, nutzoid about religion, very well written, easy to follow, nice characterization, a slick writer of people, The Queer Ones, the Rediscovery anthology, small town atmosphere, gossipy, rural small town, a very American book, dying of cancer and radiation sickness, the fallout would have gotten them, a limited nuclear war, mutations, iodine, cesium, if you omit certain lines, Robert A. Heinlein, the viewpoint characters are not sophisticates in this stuff, a fear, a taboo, grandma remembers the mutations, dead babies, cancers, we could squint that away, the Radium Girls case, Isaac Asimov, skeptical of nuclear energy, life will go on, John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, Amish or Mennonites, big cities have been destroyed, a line about France, the Soviets are the likeliest suspects, could have been South Africa (probably wasn’t), some years mentioned early, a barn built in 1952, 1854, 100 years in the future?, are people living extra-long?, didn’t understand the length of time, how long a century is, rural people, life organized by seasons, Esau flushed a little, on the gable end, four numbers, 1952, before even Gran was born, the meeting house (a church), down behind the lilac bushes, 1842, a child’s POV, the unreliable narrator, they have these dreams of what this technology was, radio, memories of having things nice, now they’re all Mennonites and they don’t like it, mechanical engineers with electricity, church oppression is physical, the warehouse burning, burning the whole town down, upsetting, a weird rural mindset, comes from the parents, enforced through children, restrictive, 11km from Bremen city center, traveled as a kid, visiting Disney World, don’t talk about Disney World (that’s bragging!), the 1968 anti-Vietnam war America is Evil generation, they all have leprosy in India, does not fit our worldview, this American experience, Doukhobours, Guatemala, Russia, biggest city in North Carolina, Presbyterian church, southern Baptists, fundamentalists, was Will a city boy?, the Creation museum, a monument to ignorance, evolution is a lie, dinosaurs on Noah’s ark, Leviathan and Behemoth were dinosaurs, plants aren’t actually alive, American Protestantism, fear of science, an alternative authority, the insidious part, they’re challenging the authority that I have as a mean bastard to discipline people, for adults its not the same, they lock you in there, indoctrinated, go about your business, forming your understanding of reality, Len and Esau, sinning by getting the radio, the wrong type of religious meeting, stealing books, no education, everything out of the bible except for math (sums), someone might build an atomic bomb again, deliberately kept stupid, an Amish exception, kept down by the schooling, Catholic areas, Lutherans are nice mellow progressive people, occasional throwback, rural Bavaria in the 1950s, weird American churches, religious nutcases, the Catholic thing, the opposite book to this A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., monks preserving knowledge, Davy by Edgar Pangborn, mutants too, more about power than science or anti-science, making your own carts, they control the books, who stole the books?, more about power than denial of science, what bartertown?, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), two men enter one man leaves, George Miller, some wonderful tropes, methane, escaping from a cult, tragedy, lifestory, living in tragic times, a coming of age book, ridiculous task, wise adults, we don’t have an army, helping kids out, wrongthink, muddle through, always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, build a city, refuge is destroyed, bottom up government oppression, five warehouses make a city, 200 houses and 1000 people, a local judge, the judge seems reasonable, Hofstadter, the mob itself, Dulinsky, just trying to do capitalism, believable, too believable, nothing good happens to anybody, they abandon their families, finding love, never returning to Piper’s Run, fanaticism, they do it to themselves, the return of the prodigal son, a horrible biblical story, pillar of salt, a sinner, dabbling with forbidden knowledge, quaint and harmless and peaceful, pacifist, new ishmaelists, The Walking Dead, the group who live with the zombies, take the discipline, hypocritical, demanded as tribute, how they freeze to death, race and genocide stuff, people who’ve been made homeless, live on the charity of us hardworking farmers, the dirty thirties, leeches vs. our duty, oppressed by the past, oppression from the law, use the fruits of knowledge, a stick, maybe Len and Esau could end up with those people, awfully close, too faint praise, the hopes that we have are destroyed, nothing good happened, quick fixes and Edens to escape to, their own kind of cult, don’t give yourself false hopes, you’re going to have to work for stuff, disappointing things in politics, reversions and regressions, the long cycle of things, working continually towards progress, a life of working towards better things, the Foundation from [Isaac Asimov’s Foundation] Foundation, working on this one specific problem, a bunker of some kind, conventional fossil power, a force field that stops fusion and fission, magical thinking, nuclear bombs bad vs. nuclear energy good, the Windscale fire, anti-nuclear power, opposed hated disliked, coal power, a fairly overcast country, solar power, co-generation, nuclear power is against god, getting to the library, they have a radio, getting power from the radio waves themselves, finding the mysterious box, an allegory for growing up in the radio age, screenwriter, a radio kid, mysterious transmissions, a form of education, the magic of radio, The Adventures of Fatty Finn, soap box racing, drawn from her own life experience, public domain clearances, noticing a pattern, her copyright renewed works got by a bank, the executors of their estate, the bank got Leigh Brackett’s retro-Hugos?, the first solo-work nominated for a Hugo by a woman, Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, a very good book, The End Of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, a Kuttner/Moore story, women only exist to be wives, cover city, enlightened change, no women scientists, get married stat, Gran is amazing, deferring to the kid’s dad, hopes and dreams, the tragedy of this book, better ask your pa, that red dress, music and clean toilets, ice cream, chocolate rabbits at Easter, water that ran out of shiny faucets, two faded sparks, “flat-hat”, a red dress and a TV, a good world, it ended because it was evil, the world that was, hold her tongue and bow her head, great writing, post-war American dream, electric power, the great game changer, telephones, it wasn’t that great a time for women either, kicked out and sent back to the home, suburban towns, women scientists in the 1950s, in crisis times, the COVID pandemic, childcaring, why they didn’t have any kids, 2015, Kinsman, Ohio, Star Wars fans, where the force awoke for the series first sequel, her summers, The Big Sleep (1945) Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye(1973), Batman, more than 20 summers, Hamilton’s sisters, 1946, a century and a quarter, deer and woodchucks, I work in a small white wooden room, old boys book, a mug from “Duke”, John Wayne, the Vindicator, The Long Tomorrow is about the Kinsman house, the Canfield fair, age 13, Howard Hawks, No Good For A Corpse, William Faulkner, lovers of that genre, Ray Bradbury, Lorelei Of The Red Mists, buy a convertible and drive it all summer, Ed and Leigh, 1963 Corvette Stingray, Superman bought that corvette!, they were tied to their typewriters, “it’s good to be home”, writing under deadline, strikingly ordinary, Hatari (1962), round the world cruise, dig up the turnips, Yoda gift bags, what a charmed childhood, the cancer hit her, that first script is on the internet, so very Planet Stories, the small towns in this book, through a child’s eyes, delightful for them, a luxury sports car, the edge of fertility, they’re having fun, writing action adventure superheroes, Will has read some of Edmond Hamilton’s Superman comics, Under The Red Sun, zany post apocalyptic journey, robots of the people that he knew, he’s got a beard, Metropolis is destroyed, in a box somewhere, Krypton, my hair and nails have grown, under Earth’s yellow sun…, shaving with eyelasers and a mirror, inconsistent continuity, Edmond Hamilton, The Star Kings, Jack Vance, Captain Future stories, an anime series, Star Trek reruns, Space: 1999, Moonbase Alpha, The Daughter Of Thor, a polar expedition with a semi-frozen queen with a pet tiger, half vikings, Fantastic Adventures, Weird Tales, E.E. Doc Smith, unreadable, Crashing Suns, Interstellar Patrol, Brackett was a better writer, one of the best writers of the Golden Age, Clifford D. Simak, C.L. Moore, July 18th is Edmond Hamilton Leigh Brackett Day, Robert E. Howard Days, Cross Plains, Texas, Youngstown, if this her most depressing one, mostly shorter length, her mysteries, The Long Goodbye (1973) is so good, a noir ending, Elliot Gould, a jazz movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Altman, the role of his life, so 70s, so weird, Humphrey Bogart, cat action, be up for it, a delight, a long and lazy movie, what kind of movie is this?, rotating crime shows, working class cop, no dialogue for five minutes, shocking German swear words, set the deal with United Artists, not exactly my idea of Philip Marlowe, a technical problem of this enormous, involution and convoluted, side tangents, its all getting to the thing, both California of the period, MASH, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Robert Altman, still working, very elderly now, Bosch, renting movies based on actors, The Silent Partner (1978), Margot Kidder, so many great movies, fall into a wonderful world, A Bridge Too Far (1977), WWII movies, Operation Market Garden, take too many bridges, Die Brücke (1959), very depressing, war is evil, war: don’t do it, we still need them, a high point in the late 50s to the mid 60s, The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly wrote both series, Leigh Brackett’s great, read everything by her, get your hands a copy of The Long Tomorrow, Hatari (1962), Rio Bravo (1959) and Rio Lobo (1970), Faulkner, write a screenplay, Bogart made everything better, Elliot Gould playing Eric John Stark.

The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

Action Comics, 300

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The SFFaudio Podcast #600 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #600 – Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Maureen O’Brien. This is an unabridged reading of the story (3 hours) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939, The Black Flame, Fantastic Story, Spring 1952, The Margret Of Urbs story, kind of done, a story about a guy going into an empire and fuckin it up, headfaking, he’s a Conan figure, what was this about, what is freedom?, is freedom worth it?, better off not being free, helping overlords, the dawn of what?, just a bad book?, expectations, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, people wanted Typee, Shakespeare’s meditations, what humans are doing, how foolish we all are, I wanted a cartoon, Weinbaum redoing H. Rider Haggard’s SHE in a science fiction mode, Black Margo, is he her puppet?, the last paragraph, he was silent the whole way through, its not Hull Tarvish’s story, he knows his audience, you’re mostly men, kids, girls, women, there are other people other than men, mom beefs, cuz I’m not a girl, men and women are equal under the law (but not in interests), upper body strength and ability to bear children, biological differences in her brains, snakes, birds, dogs, if you’re a man reading science fiction stories, dual wielding blasters, that looks cool, how much smoking was going on, lung cancer, is this a fantasy then?, both ways, I like fightin’ and I don’t kill women, this Ayesha character, this cursed immortal, a vampire story, they’re both cursed, one of the old lovers, what this book is really about, whatchu gonna do with your life?, to use the planet as your pillow, conquer?, something to while away the years, they’re not evil, as merciful as they can, Napoleon goes in and liberates, the mighty ancient civilization, he’s the half-brother, The Black Flame, setup for the backstory, a philosophical planetary romance set on earth, sword and sandal, what you know, what you should want, what you should do, the evil empire moving north out of New Orleans headed for New York, the work of the book, a civilizing force, but they’re cursed, his mom baked him some bread, epic fantasy, he leaves a stone hut, another woman’s stone hut, its a circle, a regular person’s brush with Alexander the Great’s sister, the sexual tension, divided in loyalties and divided in desire, given two choices, the mortal girl vs. the immortal woman, it judo flips us from where we begin, nice blade trade me for it, we’re all set up for trampling an evil empire down, are you sure that’s what you want to do with your life, son?, an anti-war story, why did WWI and WWII happen?, they engineer a plague that kills 60% of people, land reforms, build roads, Hull Tarvish isn’t the bad guy because he’s us, very subtle, America falling, Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, Greek speaking invaders, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, Theodore Judson’s Fitzpatrick’s War, trying to put the US back together, internationalist, the whole world, N’Orleans, Ouroboros the world girdling snake, no worlds left to conquer, unhealthy personal behavior, drunken brawls, Hull Tarvish comes from a stable home, sow his oats, get his manhood on, fightin’, old man coach, a mistake rebellion, a reverse of the [U.S.] Civil War, these exotic figures, evil witch of a sister, they forgive him for his stupidity, why we needed Will: a barefoot bumpkin from the holla, philosophical after becoming king, what kingly and queenly activities are like, a line against becoming powerful, appreciate birdsong a good drink and time with your family, everything is science, a fantasy setting a fantasy setup, science and engineering behind all of this stuff, Lindbird is probably fictional, maybe he flew, microwave technology, beam energy, through air but not fog, he’s got rules, we are mistaken, Jesse was very impressed, we don’t know how the immortality happened, one tiny little thing, they’re sterile, where’d it come from, 100 years where no book was written, too big, She learned these things as a science, 12 hours vs. 3 hours, remember out point of view, an illiterate, a viewpoint to this world, he doesn’t ask a lot of smart questions, Weinbaum knows, teaching the reader a lesson, a mortality thing going on here, how many times does he escape death, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, on vacation in Austria in a canoe, it happened hundreds of years ago, we can’t understand it, we’re not worthy?, she puts his hands on her neck and says “squeeze” the flame, the dawn of the flame, this black flame of hair, this attraction of a moth to a flame, drawn to the flame over and over again, in his arms, in his manly form, she sees a possibility of her being killed, ultimately they have death wishes, Hull Tarvish has a definite life wish, experience, have fun, not even a real battle, she’s dead inside, her conquering, bringing civilization back, bringing civilization back, she’s Prometheus, why is that?, he has an interest in her as a sister, half brothers have half interests, a mated pair, that’s my sister, retelling this novel from a female pov, that male female thing, she wants to be attractive, what does Joaquin, male and female psychology, usually the way this works in a traditional story: a young man finds a princess, assassinate a princess, the forgiving nature and whim of that princess, they’re to the focus of the wisdom that Weinbaum is trying to struggle to, a very philosophical book, a lot of conversations, talking with this immortal, She in SHE is evil, Black Margot is bored, a severe case of “is that all there is?”, a narrow escape for Hull Tarvish, cursed to be one of the mercenaries in this growing army, the footnote at the end, an anonymous volume, Loves Of The Black Flame, the very first Conan story, Phoenix On The Sword, the Black Dragons, Game Of Thrones, this is somebody very close, told far in the future, one incident in Princess Margot’s life, ancient St. Louis, both terms as anachronism, wicked world metropolis, a very thin slice of an incident, page 105, a bit unusual, the history weirdness of this story, a fake history of the future, a salacious history, the atomic rocket crashings, if Weinbaum had lived, The Black Flame, Sam Moskowitz, Satellite, December 1956, is Weinbaum overblown?, a diminishing pool of readers, Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories, Astounding, “thought variants”, Charles D. Hornig, so new, so breezy, readers were unreserved in their enthusiasm, John Taine, Jack Williamson, Ray Cummings, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, A Martian Odyssey, The Wizard Of Oz, stylistic magic, Tweel, paradoxical actions, the interplanetary strange encounter tale, the silicon monster hat burped bricks, wheeling rubbish, a tentacled plant with wish fulfillment images, “I saw with pleasure someone had last escaped… -H.P. Lovecraft”, A. Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, a chemical engineer, The Lady Dances by Marge Stanley, a woman’s name as a byline, The Mad Brain and The New Adam, an operetta, Omar The Tentmaker, Helen Weinbaum, Graph, $55, Solar Sail Service, Mortimer Weisinger, Ralph Milne Farley, Circle Of Zero, a strangely acceptable trick, The Valley Of Dreams, Julius Schwartz, Flight On Titan, knife-kites, whiplash trees, tread-worms, Parasite Planet, Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame, the outre creatures, The Lotus Eaters, a warm blooded plant, Oscar, a series of questions and answers, under the influence of the narcotic spore, pontifical inertia, Pygmalion’s Spectacles, The Worlds Of If, The Ideal, virtual reality, Prof. Van Manderpootz, what would happen if…, synoptic, reading Weinbaum right, the attitudinizer, seeing the world through the mind of others, humour and style, a philosopher was at work, a masterful short novel, a woman of extraordinary beauty, The Milwaukee Fictioneers, the Radio Pirates and others, Amazing Stories, a former Wisconsin senator, True Gang Life, Yellow Slaves, Smothered Seas, formula material or go unpublished, The Planet Of Doubt, Weinbaum could do no wrong, the animated linked sausages of Uranus, The Adaptive Ultimate, Weinbaum had been “typed”, John W. Campbell, Jr., Don A. Stuart, almost plotless travelogues, David H. Keller’s Life Everlasting, one of his favourite authors, a tubercular girl, the ability to defeat death, dramatized on the radio, Tales Of Tomorrow, She Devil (1957), so adaptable, tonsil extraction, Proteus Island, imitation pneumonia, x-ray treatments, The Red Peri, a woman space pirate of phenomenal cunning, The Adaptive Ultimate, super-woman, a subconscious wish to meet a woman his intellectual equal, Smothered Seas, The Mad Moon, a semi-intelligent rat, minor masterpiece, Ralph Milne Farley, The Dictator’s Sister, Ray Palmer, Charles D. Hornig, 15 month after his first science fiction story appeared…, surrounded by radiance, The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, high poetry in the closing passages, maybe Einar is immortal, The Circle Of Zero, it should be read, an undersea wall, Real And Imaginary, Brink Of Infinity, The Tenth Question by George Allan England, he wrote it for himself, The Revolution Of 1980, transgender dictator, no end to his last stories, Tidal Moon, The New Adam, Edgar Rice Burroughs, fatal passion for a woman, morbidly fascinating, so gay a frolic, The Dark Other, Graph, Green Glow Of Death, Eric Frank Russell, Henry Kuttner, John Russell Fearn, Philip Jose Farmer’s The Lovers, before the curtain descended, a poem, a little long, 45 minutes of reading Sam Moskowitz, Ted Chiang, really thinking about the details, the attraction of the woman, Margot springboarded into another character, sometimes people are wrong about stuff, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, just trying to sell magazines, suddenly flip, angrily ranting, screaming and yelling in a foreign language, a story needs to be parsed, better thinking about it rather than reading it, Maureen O’Brien, back in 2004.

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #536 – AUDIOBOOK: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #536 – The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, read by James Christopher.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (1 hours 54 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox. The Scarlet Plague was first published in 1912.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

The Scarlet Plague By Jack London - 1913 serialization

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #509 – READALONG: Autofac by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #509 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about Autofac by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul is pizzled, a novellette, Galaxy, November 1955, an episode of Electric Dreams, not as terrible, low standards, serious problems, the most redeemable, redeeming aspects, why we have to have cunnilingus scenes for no reasons, to care about characters we don’t care about, a naked one for a change, in charge of the sex situation, an agenda, the last five (or three years), except on Game Of Thrones, they really laid this shit on heavy, the gender of the hacker character doesn’t matter to the story, sex scenes hurt the story, a double twist ending, abberant from the story, something completely different, breaking the fourth wall, directed at the TV audience, I know you need the sex scene so here it is, Black Mirror, Metalhead, could be set in the same world, a sequel world, boyfriend is a librarian, robots can’t have children, are they on a loop, meaning and purpose and existence drops away, doomed every other robot to extinction, the same conversation, as soon as you start thinking about it it breaks down, a happy ending, this is just as bad as the actual story, way worse than the ending in the book, going to the stars, that primitive existence, already cut-off, horses and sad chickens, human animals again, degrading, the ending, human civilization is being propped up, sliding right into the toilet, back to pre-barbarism, a nuclear war, how well are humans going to survive, doomed hunter gatherer tribes, the alternative presented in the TV show, hippie buses, we could store that data electronically, nobody’s getting older, the guy with a limp, she cuts her own head open, Rust, Isaac Asimov, the robots can’t move anymore, what’s going to happen next, I wanna watch that episode, they set up a whole premise, she left behind the two guys, she’s kind of a monster, using people as a means to an end, lying to the robot, the logic bomb, other than that she’s a monster, a consequentialist ethic, all over the world, by ending that autofac, robot communities, my community matter and everybody else doesn’t, duplicate communities, one node, only one autofac in the TV adaptation, the rest of the world is dead, she’s doomed the last beings on the planet, waiting for their amazon deliveries, watching it on Amazon Prime, people think this is a story about Amazon, you can’t communicate with the postman, leave it under the eave next time, those punchcards, soiled, missing a part, dealing with bureaucracy, kind of a reverse cargo cult story, people trying to stop the automated deliveries, why do they want to stop it?, they’re fucking robots, they’re polluting everything, wresting the means of production back from the autofac, polluting and ruining the planet, resonating a little better, not amazon not capitalism, the unstoppable beast, the system that’s broken is humanity, the cargo cults in the Pacific, Seabees, vastly unfamiliar, giant birds, “CARGO”, wonderful goodness, not well represented in the family of man, educated in the United States, Hawaii, a remote atoll, grasp the full industrial might, if you raise the American flag, an aircraft shaped object out of wicker, prosperity, manna from heaven, if the forms are followed, why are they rejecting this, Puerto Rico, what is happening in the story (sorta), you can’t beat capitalism by talking to your non-voting representative, control of the means of production, a really interesting story, blowing up Amazon headquarters, a pretty top down organization, if it’s head robot was not in charge, are profits are temporary, Boston Tea Party, boycotts, South Africa, Apartheid, moving for reconciliation, had the humans not catalyzed this particular conflict, needing the resources, tasty titanium, a stellar opening scene, acting as if the milk tastes terrible, a fabulous sequence stupidly replaced, harpoon, why is she wearing the little round sunglasses, supposed it look steampunk, jumpsuits and truck with no cab, mad at the milk, angry at the truck, it would take some imagination, the lazy version, this makes it connected to the world of SkyNet, The Terminator movies, a much more bleak human future, one AI and youre done, we’ve made ourselves destruction, “it’s worse than that” (as Bryan Alexander) would say, not the premier object of interest, we’ve made ourselves into rats or pigeons, this Marxist aspect to Philip K. Dick, man the tinkerer, once we’re totally consumers we might as well be robots, they are robots, you’re not allowed to tinker with your iPhone or your John Deere tractor, pre-computers, a modern car, Charles Stross, an iPad needs to be taken to a wizard, Evan’s right, commercial culture, semi-artificial, you are kind of an android, Reading, Short And Deep, But Who Can Replace A Man by Brian Aldiss, massive collapse, stuck out in the universe, find new value, a lone surviving human, “Yes master, immediately.”, maybe we don’t need to have man, Rust by Joseph E. Kelleam, an abject figure, as the big machines bore slowly down on him, his countenance was ravaged by starvation, right back into slavery, in their quest to find meaning, they just leave them behind, “good luck, brother”, telling these stories from different directions, not completely hopeless, recreated life, life is an an anti-entropy, DNA can do it, solving problems, plastic houses and buckets of milk, little robot versions of themselves, Steam, a reddit thread, Factorio, a horrible premise, use up all of its resources,a planet destruction games, SimCity, Civilization, a factory that makes more factories, a brilliant ending, Asimov’s 3 laws, The Defenders, the Leadies, The Penultimate Truth, The Electric Ant, Westworld as an adaptation of The Electric Ant, seeing reality as it is, transparent head, lights in their heads, Ex Machina (2014), she blanches when she’s exposed to the truth, smashes the capsule, she’s a really good actor?, all part of the ruse, just to trick the audience, a stupid line to justify the shower sex scene, the robot visitor, that whole visualization, why does she look like that, they’re probably experimenting with sex robots, how unsexy the autofac (story) robots, that hawk, a sex act, changed by its environment, a little vent shooting out seeds, a very nice reveal, an uncontrollable system like capitalism or a von Neumann, a grey goo story, FEMA automated, how Haiti is so badly done, the NGOs help so hard that basically everybody’s worse off than they were, culture-jam, jam up the works, the agency and the action, you fake a natural disaster, almost what happened in Somalia, the warlords laid a trap, Black Hawk Down (2001), change the game in the local area, Iraq, under continual occupation since 2003, massive forces that you cannot comprehend, the industrial capacity millions and millions and millions of times bigger than your little atoll, an agenda you cannot fathom or control, more relevant than ever, seeing through a glass clearly, the vines that were growing, weeds, things taking over, how Philip K. Dick talks about children, Ray Bradbury, obsessed with insects, the bugs, insects like in Second Variety, a sequel, tinnily above O’Neal’s head, slag and ruin, sickly stalks, rat colonies, radiation, birds, little details, a really good writer, not a clunky writer, description, evocative, the kind of contrast Dick is always doing, conversations vs. perception, really good timing, slapping at a mosquito, receptors fully extended, the search bug fitted perfectly, a vague tub, Expendable, ants on his lawn, a talking spider in his house, in our vast war against the insects, how the birds are watching and twittering, cockroaches, figurative robotic cockroaches, a moth, in the moth ridden darkness of the night, peering, planning,tungsten seeking food, into the shadows of the thick packed vines, it builds itself a little coffin, high on amphetamines, little touches, a groundbreaking novelette, long sentences, the factory representative had arrived, the insect tech, The Simulacrum, The Man Who Japed, the Minority Report movie, artificial bees, something to consider, quasi-human, a biped chassis, testimony to nature’s efficiency, lady in a catsuit, a gender, a testament to the times we live in, quite a production, dramatic, sound and fury that comes to nothing, community meetings, a bunch of people disagreeing, a common goal, so unimportant Philip K. Dick didn’t bother to point to it, Judith O’Neal, the metallic paper, six words, the Kansas City settlement, no fluttering breasts, big excitement, they are placing the orders, back-order sheets, almost like you’re living in Puerto Rico, factory analyzed needs, ALL SHIPMENTS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, we got what we wanted didn’t we?, exactly the kind of relationship the native people of B.C. had when they traded with the Hudson’s Bay Company, rifle skill, bow skill, NAFTA, the Trans Pacific Partnership, unable to participate, very political and very insightful story, BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve, another pipeline from Alberta, almost a trade war, pollution, that’s what this story’s all about, capitalism and independence, the beaver trappers, more effective more efficient, trapped, once you have a rifle, opening by each of the directors, Travis Beecham, a machine doing exactly what its creators meant it to do, The Monkey’s Paw, a technological parable, we’re fighting our own nature, what he’s saying sounds awesome, creating the demand for the process it wants to do, expanding markets, a good story for the 1950s, manufacturing markets, creating more demand to fulfill the runaway production, everyone is dead from the war, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, what we do, creating fake demand, funny characters, angsty wives, almost poetic, again with the vines, the Philip K. Dick Rhetorizer, it remained inert totally unresponsive, rigid, sore and unshaven chin, they’re taking over the world!, shapeless piles, a different mode, in its cocoon, a vent, an ovipositor, a terrific story, they give up, that age of mankind is over, spread out into the university, that would be neat, is he being ironic?, the nozzle continued to spurt out its torrent of metal seeds, a metaphor, predicting the present, Teslas into orbit for no reason, new markets for cars in out space, a terrific science fiction writer when he wants to be, his novels, humans and their relationships to each other, flat characters, a character, working through those ideas, a different mode, a downer ending, Juno Temple, Emily Zabriske, mining borax, Alice in wonderland?, replaced, took away from the power of the idea, cute but doesn’t make any sense, it works at the moment, not a classic, they’re not trying to make you think that, we shouldn’t like that, a better story, very dark, a real monster, brutal, a coldly calculating witch, on her plate, she doesn’t care about her two companions, you have to presume she disabled the bombs, why does she need to bring them?, they’re there as distraction, she kills her old boyfriend, the humanoid killbot, weird machines hunting down people, the difference in writing, an economy of storytelling, in black and white, inevtiably taken on a terrible journey, an action sequence before meetings, if you were grading all the television, they’re not A students, making excuses, terrible assignment, they’ve gotta have a nude scene a kill bot and a harpoon, the same premise, three guys standing around and we don’t know why, get ready, follow the plan, pretending the milk tastes terrible, something’s wrong with the milk, their semantic sensibilities, a performance designed to achieve something, massive success, a massive failure, a great setup and premise, in a science fiction story, too expensive to film, visual effects way more expensive, druggie glasses, a whole steampunk vibe, I’ve never seen a film people pretending milk taste bad and then talking to a truck, a guy getting into an argument with his toaster or door, a classic scene, could have been amazing, they’re just hippies, the meetings, factions and conflict, Dr. Bloodmoney, they had to kill that teacher, post-apocalyptic literature, how they deal with it in The Terminator series, John Connor aka JC aka Jesus Christ, bottom up order, fascist dystopia, the female doing the exact same thing, have sex with her robot boyfriend in the shower, he doesn’t even have any books, the books she was collecting up, a Borges, this is what they do to show they’re intellectual, books are never ever mentioned in the original short story, agency, other novels and stories do that, it isn’t a criticism of Amazon really, “one day we will be Amazon!”, a critique of capitalism.

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #127 – Darkness by Lord Byron

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #127

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Darkness by Lord Byron.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Darkness was first published in 1816.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Good Morning, Midnight

SFFaudio Review

Good Morning, MidnightGood Morning, Midnight
By Lily Brooks-Dalton; Narrated by John H. Mayer and Hillary Huber
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 9 August 2016
[UNABRIDGED] – 8 hours, 39 minutes

Themes: / post-apocalypse / apocalypse / arctic / astronaut / science / literary /

Publisher summary:

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

Review:
Isolation, loneliness, facing down death. This book contains two interwoven narrative threads. One belongs to an aging astronomer named Augustine. The other thread belongs to an astronaut named Sullivan. Something bad appears to have happened, and Augustine chooses to remain at a remote Arctic base as everyone evacuates. Sullivan is on her way back to Earth from Jupiter when Mission Control goes dark.

The premise is appealing. I have a fondness for cold and hard distant landscapes. The arctic and space is ripe and powerful for story. Lily Brooks-Dalton writes a strong opening and a heck of an ending. It is a successful ending as it turns me inward. I am still thinking about… well, no spoilers.

I felt Sullivan’s narrative thread was stronger and better written. As character, she is more round and engaging than Augustine, at least for me. Most of my complaints are founded in my own study of writing and story, and may not be fair or interesting to the general reader. As characters go, Augustine was a disappointment, but Sullivan and her crewmates more than compensated. As noted, I felt the beginning and ending was especially well crafted, but the middle seemed to lag, and the writing here didn’t feel as refined. This leads me to my biggest bug, and this is pacing. I felt that too much of this story was back on its heels, and while this certainly can be metaphor to mirror an inward introspective sense of self and life and universe, at times this slowness pulled me from story. I also would have appreciated a deeper excavation of setting.

Audiobook:
This has two narrators, one for each story thread. John H. Mayer handles Augustine’s portion, and Hillary Huber takes care of Sullivan’s. I usually dislike more than one narrator, as I feel it runs the risk of getting in the way of what is being read, but this was handled quite nice, and I have no real complaints about the decision to use two readers. Both Mayer and Huber were pleasing and I found each voice suited the character. My only issue came with Huber’s accents. There is a South African, Russian, and an American Midwest accent that are rendered a tad dramatic. I think we can agree that this is a small thing, but it still kind of bugged me, and pulled me out of the moment.

This is a solid 3.5 out of 5, and I think if I weren’t so hyperaware of craft and story as story for story’s sake, I’d probably nail a 4 out of 5 on this book. In short, this is a fine book, and if you are at all interested by what this seems to be about, I think you’ll genuinely like it, a lot.

Posted by Casey Hampton.