The SFFaudio Podcast #583 – READALONG: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #583 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Talked about on today’s show:
1924, anglo-english? (anglo-irish), a famous fantasy novel, first Dunsany, put off by the preface, scaring readers away, the fields we know, don’t worry, apologizing, tounge in cheek, the narrative voice, “in our day”, a reflection towards the reader, who comes before Dunsany?, fairy tales, the Saga of the Volsungs, before Tolkien, before Lewis, before Robert E. Howard’s Conan, George MacDonald, like urban fantasy of today but not urban, The Encyclopedia Of Fantasy, polder, absorbed into fairy, the tragedy of this book, mixed feelings, a merging, a marriage, aimed poetry, when the witch creates the sword, as much magic as we have, all this magic and all that magic, a column of zeroes, the cleverness of Lord Dunsany, now you’re gone, a repeating motif or theme, The Wonderful Window, from far off Baghdad, the terrible bullshit job he has in the city, the way you get into the fantastic realms is through our world,

“Nobody can tell you about that sword all that there is to be told of it; for those that know of those paths of Space on which its metals once floated, till Earth caught them one by one as she sailed past on her orbit, have little time to waste on such things as magic and so cannot tell you how the sword was made, and those who know whence poetry is, and the need that man has for song, or know any one of the fifty branches of magic, have little time to waste on such things as science, and so cannot tell you whence its ingredients came.”

asteroid metal from outside our world, meteoric iron, its magical yo, stronger than bronze swords, an ongoing theme, clarified and made concrete, we wanna be ruled by a magical lord, be careful what you wish for, a Monkey’s Paw wish, My Talks With Dean Spanley by Lord Dunsany, Dean Spanley (2008), a visiting swami, the transmigration of souls, a welsh spaniel, the joys of sniffing, how he thought of his previous master, the reason Dean Spanley is a priest is his idea of master, such a good boy he was promoted, not a takedown of religion, reincarnation, not typical of his work, what he’s good at, poking ideas, the solid writing, that mythic quality, The Book Of Wonder, Sidney Sime, capturing lightning in a bottle, scenes that are like that, the characters are little dolls, the troll coming to our experiencing the fields we know, watching time, here’s our clever joke, the Pope has a unicorn horn, it all refers back to the preface, Italo Calvino and Michael Chabon, bemusing, a parliament of trolls, infusing the trolls with trollishness, Gentlemen Of The Road, a fantasy without the magic, a road movie, Clifford Simak, The Goblin Reservation, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, Shakespeare’s Planet, Over The Fields And Through The Woods, the magic door quality, portal fantasy, the silver wall, a wall of magic, that final rune, the mythic quality, Elric Of Melniboné, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, every five lines or so, The Odyssey, rosy fingered dawn, waystations, totems, consciously doing, Don Rodriguez: Chronicles Of Shadow Valley, fields we know, the gentle waves, elfland washing forward like a wave, incredibly subtle, too deep or he didn’t put it in, The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap, The Silver Key, OMG this guy Dunsany!, the half-penny papers, talking about sports, projecting a kingdom on the landscape, camel trains, Hanwell, Bedlam, Arkham Asylum, “go to pretty bed now”, tragic, his name is kinda weird, Shap -> shape -> Lord Shaper, shap -> the husk of silkworm, the home for a transformation, a nice little story, resonances so strong, these stories will stay with you even if you don’t think they will, where does magic come from?, magic as a limited resource, why 3?, Orion, she wants some things, what is he coming across, he encountered a toy he had as a child, snippets of conversation, wistful memories like lost things, this foreign thing, what’s going on in the heads of the people, its made magical and she’s a witch, just three runes, Jesse teaches magic, too young for essay writing, spellcasting, connotation and denotation, the rule of three, threefold magic, it just works, and you can’t question it, the Three Little Bears in Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, its not falsifiable, politics, the magical words without any substance [Pete Buttigieg], nonsense poetry, the sounds, that repetition, if I tell you three times its true, he’s a word magician, a spellcaster, we four are already in this world, a bookbuyer, not a reader of The Sketch or The Smart Set, your terrible commute to work, that Ballantine publication, “Adult Fantasy”, all his characters are adults who live in a fantasy world somehow connecting with it, we’re not in the perfect position to appreciate it, Neil Gaiman’s preface to The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, a rich red wine, trust the book, a true magician practitioner, Alan Moore can’t really believe what he’s saying, “I’m a magician”, sometimes the spells don’t work, ingredients/elements/components, you just heard it, there’s this powerful word you can use to solve your problem, training wheels sort of writing, when you uses this magic word, once per essay, the word is: “indeed” says “yes, I agree with myself”, its actually true, if you break the spell, Rumplestiltskin, names have power, true names, the original Lin Carter introduction, Beyond The Fields We Know by Lin Carter, the 18th baron of the ancient line, a 12th century fortress, among hills rich, William the Bastard, steeped in a golden legend, a sensitive poet, a huntsman, one jump ahead of the Nazis, scores of plays, volumes of verse, a complete translation of Horace, with a quill pen, Eaton and Sandhurst, a full exciting and adventurous life, he didn’t have to work, his last speaking tour of America, H.P. Lovecraft, spelling Edgar Allan Poe wrong, YWHA, tall, slender, erect, ruddy apple cheeks, a sloppy baggy suit, deeply moved, linked to greatness, the death of Tennyson, L. Sprague de Camp, William Morris, the single greatest influence, The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Dunsanian influence, Jack Vance, Jorkens Tales, Arthur C. Clarke, Tales of the Draco Tavern by Larry Niven, Thieves’ World, Lin Carter’s self-boosterism, the Appendix N podcast, he doesn’t mind telling you he’s read all these great books, Dungeons And Dragons, a long neglected masterpieces, May 1924, passages of amazing power, scintillates, into the twilight meadows of fairy, a high land near the thunder, to gather the thunderbolts, from under the cabbage leaves, a stylistic experiment of subtlety, the marriage was doomed from the beginning, welding the two elements, one of the last great masters of English prose, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, August Derleth, Lin Carter knew his limitations and was happy to be in the room, Neil Gaiman is a magician, tuckerized, the wordspells, Paul Cornell, what’s he going to say to me, he doesn’t know us, The Graveyard Book, now we’re selling it on eBay, a spiritual figure, this aura, the main character (The Sandman) looks a lot like him, he uses his magic for good, that level, test a thesis, the fantasy author who is successful is a magician, Philip K. Dick is a philosopher, an alchemist?, good SF is idea filled, Arthur C. Clarke is the most religious science fiction writer, Olaf Stapledon, Gene Wolfe, Doris Lessing, metaphors are magic, once you start arguing for not facts, whose magic better, can I dispel this with a word, magic is dangerous, making you think things are the way they aren’t, philosophy of science fiction, Hal Clement, a very narrow branch of philosophy, a great connection between mystery fiction and science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun, philosophy is the magic of science fiction, the magical thinking of SF, to broaden your point, a supplementary, its a better dig, I’m polishing up what you’re doing, distracted (not subtracted), the philosophy of science fiction, playing the role of magic in a fantasy, philosophy in its earliest form is science, lets look at this snail here, nautiluses, mushroom eyes, incredibly ancient and weird, another kind of magic, a way of knowing, the difference between knowledge and story is lore, not subject to the same rules as science, this is the way we do it, analyzing jokes, just keep using it, sometimes jokes don’t have a normal structure and still work, something profoundly philosophical in the way magic is used in this novel, tongue in cheek, making a statement about the world as it is, trying to convert people to his belief system, be enchanted with the world that we have, Dean Spanley as a puppy, enthusiastic, born a famous lord?, a beagle in a previous life, Orion playing a role outside of this book, he mounts a stag on his head, its the Wild Hunt, Herne the Hunter, Deities & Demigods, The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban, veganism, its a new movement, when Will came of age in 2005, vegetarian, the RSCPCA, he’s like a bad man, he’s not a common Irishman, he took a bullet to the head in the Easter Rising, everybody’s full of contradictions, the rich of the late 19th and early 20th, vigorous and interesting people, chessmaster, the Boer War, WWI, go into business, a strange phenomenon, Upstairs, Downstairs except fancy (Downton Abbey), a flourishing in people who have the ability to not worry about cashflow, we have it a lot more and a lot less, that enthusiasm is something we can have, a rising religion, a 1911 issue of The Sketch, The Smart Set, The New Yorker, Winston Churchill in the witness chair, a bank heist, a maxim machine gun, movies made out of it, explaining the plot, anarchists and vegetarians go together, Eric and Evan are also vegetarians, i think about it, something like that, a philosophical position, a following on, 19th century vegetarianism, vegan bodybuilders are a thing, a ground up, so many people who are not religious, the same kind of assurance, I wanna be a good person, what are the rules for me, all these guys at the gym buffing themselves up, when the cannibalism religion comes in the vegans will be the premium beef, so yummy, sustainable, the free range eggs taste better, from Lord Dunsany to cannibalism, out of elfland and into neverneverland, cannibalism from Jesse’s id, the thighbone of a materialist, denying the duality of spirit and matter, an anti-materialist novel, poking and playful, the ancient magazines, Richard Dawkins on eugenics (it could would work), people can go off, new proposal for assigning alignment outside of role playing games, he’s not Chaotic Good,

Historied Historian
Agendaed Historian
Agendaed Historian (Niall Ferguson)

Unlawful Vegan
Unlawful Omnivore
Lawful Cannibalism

Libertarian Buffet-enthusiast
Truly Principled
Polite Chaos-agent

“would you come out please, we need to burn your house down”, read his short stuff, The Highwaymen by Lord Dunsany, definitely against the Man, totally normal, an archbishop, from the ghost’s POV, on attack on authority and an upholding of authority, I’m a rich guy and I can tell these lesser people how to live their lives, sensitive to the needs of the working man, a duality and a sensitivity, the Parliament Of Erl, a misadventure, “the common people get ideas, women are voting, my god!”, the czar’s been overthrown, the result is folly, the alternative is guillotines, the mega-guillotine patent, Guillotine 2020, Bernie is my compromise candidate, how can it continue as it is, until the revolution comes, you can put it down, the British ruling class, hence their still having a monarchy, they’re still lording it up, because of that sensitivity, Churchill is a mass of contradictions, a lust and enthusiasm for life, he didn’t find a war he didn’t like, terribly outrageous, semi-competence and full competence, of you time and of your class, wearing a yellow vest, Kenya, second sons, respecting the lust for life, a more compassionate version of it, people are kind dangerous, a crow with a knife, crow with knife now reformed is father, bears, tigers are beautiful, mercifully killed suddenly by a tiger, the flourishing we see is in tension with the fantasy world, a new kind of flourishing not previously available to the common man, there’s a guy who knows where his towel is, a couple of Star Trek 2 cassette audiobooks, a tidal wave endlessly wave, a wall of magic, the killing of the unicorn, a narwhal horn, the death of innocence, the killing’s cool?, The Book Of The New Sun, Shadow Of The Torturer, hunters are obsessed with the things they prey on, the role of hounds and dogs, part of his vigorous spirit, PUBG is a murder simulator, the temptation to kill is very strong, a kind of fight or flight thing, this could be the end, not even the winning, a 100% real, that vigour that chase that victory, its built into your cells, the most beautiful thing and I’m going to kill it, the great white hunter, you can deny it, and it can be cultivated, hunters everywhere, transforming a desire to kill, that’s why they’re called shots, trophy hunting, undeniable, the hunter, Joe Rogan, you can be an oppressor and an uplifter, will-o-wisps, war, this weird conflict, venerable traveler, star naked, it was a troll that had tricked them, tricksters tricked, fairy tale creatures, a unified thing, so early, The Shadow Of Yesterday, ratkin, an interesting mechanic, the animated Return Of The King, Jesse would become a beaglekin, sniffing at gates and bases of trees and jumping over pots, Jesse really enjoyed the troll.

Ballantine - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

BB - The King Of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #580 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #580 – Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (42 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
Wonder Stories, June 1935, 1939, 1949, the only text you should be reading is the original, dead guy friend of mine, Gregg Margarite, trim ankles, the board of trade, to make real a dream, what you hate is conquered, compressed for space, Startling Stories publication, the Scientifiction Hall Of Fame, busts of Poe, Wells, Doyle and Verne, stand the test of time, this is the “subscribe and hit the little bell” of the era, we are those people they’re talking about, an incredibly important story, Weinbaum would have been a much bigger name, from Louisville, Kentucky, Will’s a baby, A Martian Odyssey, so pioneering, here’s what an alien would look like, wrinkles on his head, again and again, super-cartoonish, an early cyberpunk story, philosophical questions, all about that, he does it all without computers, he’s inventing virtual reality, bio tech, his explanation, Marissa, 1990 VR, computer games, this is a computer game, blowing heat cool and scent on your face, the idea of getting yourself into the matrix, just the tip of the iceberg, he’s doing a bunch of impossible things, no body suit, its all in your head, its all scripted, Call Of Duty single player on rails, Fallout, nobody, wanderer, gender neutral, in Mass Effect your last name is always Shepherd, does Galatea have a history, does she have volition, she’s just an NPC, he put all that shit in here in 1935, you cooperated, self-hypnosis, Paul felt it, buying into the illusion, Paul did it to himself, eXistenZ (1999), Inception (2010), the laws of their land, programming rules, yo, just on the tip of her lips, she’s all ROM she has no RAM, prefigures emotionally unhealthy attachments, Kreiger’s Waifu on Archer, 29 or 30 year old bachelor, sexy ankles, drunk in Central Park, he falls in love with this NPC, the intellectual frameworks, they’re just like us just a little more racist, the actress is a real person, she’s an undergraduate, I can make my real life this game, grokked it as well then?, she makes a plan to leave the land (like her mom) by dying, an NPC character to refuse her programming, in dying she may be able to escape, paracosma is “the world beyond”, our world is the fallen world, the shadow realm, bullshit laws, shitty jobs, no big deal, he’s got other liquids, did she exist before he went into the matrix?, how the whole story started, our gnome/elf, a deliberate word choice, wearing the camera on his head like a google car, filming VR sex, short guys, dejected, it doesn’t scale, (and IRL VR doesn’t scale), the positive, the electrolysis, why VR isn’t as popular in our world, Burke, Professor Ludwig, Mad King Ludwig, Weinbaum’s very erudite, Greek roots, sat down in a chair, the girlfriend experience, a dating sim, romantic training, filming at his campus near Chicago, saying things not in his own voice, maybe the program that he’s running has a memory, the backstory about the mother, she broke the law, the previous guy, my destiny is to have a female baby girl also called Galatea, things we can’t talk about, its not just a story about cool VR, The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens, a science fiction way of getting into the fantasy realm, a nymph, a dryad, givem a break, super-rich full, secondard world stuff, its SCIENCE FICTION, Planet Stories, tech consequences, gravity, how mass works, social relations, rocketships, an alien worm come to earth, becoming interstellar, space opera (vs horse opera), Edgar Rice Burroughs’ barsoom, genuine science fiction, if you don’t read this, a Hugo Gernsback magazine, GENUINE SF, almost in a way H.G. Wells doesn’t do, previewing things that are possible, thinking about computer programming without computers, thinking out of the box, what alien minds could be like, human psychology in relation to a conceivable, Plato’s cave, truly speculative, a utopia, totally not a utopia, what sells in games, Strange Brigade, co-op The Mummy, first person shooter, the opposite of the a first person shooter, sword fighting games, boxing games, violence based games, The Long Dark, making coffee and chopping wood, the reason I can’t sell this, the program is wrong, really interesting things about sexuality, gender selection and gene mixing, a clone of her mom, no disease, no need for genetic diversity, more impervious to diseases, you don’t need social cohesion with an infinite number of valleys, WWI sim, the wrong program, an echo of Eden, to leave means you can’t return, the perfect place, a fantasy, it represents a pre-state, even plants are in competition, representing the womb, the womb’s a nice place, are there any animals, bird-song but no birds, she doesn’t know any of those, the whole universe of that world doesn’t have them, it doesn’t obey the rules of our reality, ultimately underneath everything, to avoid the problems of clones, Paul’s head cannon, he’s romancing his own niece, for show, he you wanna meet my niece?, in the Glorantha role playing universe…, she’s looking for someone to pollinate her, Will doesn’t know what ‘too far’ is, a sign of the current moment, none of the plants are plants, club-mosses, another world, a dangling thread, the fictional universe within the story, immersive experiences, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, the other men, relating on the level of taste, radio that send taste to your hands, the radio-bliss, very bad, communists, don’t do it, everyone wanted to get in on the radio-bliss, is there a difference between the fictional universe and the real life?, this actress who played this character I fell in love in, this magic liquid, I’m going to move to New Zealand and marry Lucy Lawless, a whole other level, willing suspension disbelief, not our words, passively accepting the words, his words are not in his voice, how did he film himself?, a whole other level, the silver weaver, he’s both, wow, Lucon the grey weaver, philometrios the measure of my love, a lot of water in this story, he let himself grow old, Robert Nozick’s experience or the pleasure machine, ethical hedonism, pleasure is the good, value theorists, classical utilitarians, hedonism is defeated, would we prefer the machine to real life?, an overriding reason, philosophy is very behind science fiction these days, a philosophy generator, the movie adaptation of this story we read, the 1980s classic: Mannequin (1987), the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor doesn’t like girls, he idealizes a woman, a statue comes to life, two other stories, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, a reversal of this story, The Painter of Dead Women by Edna Worthley Underwood, a serial killer, that same attitude, some deranged sex maniac, he ignores her to death, statuesque women, a perennial theme (The Smart Set, January 1910), engaging with obsessing over the beauty of women, that really old deep story, Robert W. Chambers, how did the artist do that, a still photograph into a digital painting, copying and creating and transferring ideas, how the liquid positive works, photographic techniques, motion pictures, talkies, it’s like that, what about this story?, every drop has the whole story, every drop of the guava juice that I’m drinking tastes like guava juice, her milky white skin, the milky colour of the liquid in the goggles, he really did know what he was doing, he wasn’t looking for what the market was saying, an idea man, we were hurt by his death, a tragedy, Campbell’s influence, so much fucking telepathy, the same bunk, they didn’t know it at the time, they didn’t think what they were talking about was bunk, race science, Charles Murray’s IQ theory, eugenics mania, race is as bad a concept as we’ve had in science, phlogiston, nobody ever gets upset somebody used to be a phlogiston theorist, ether theory, plate tectonics, the expanding universe, nobody cancels them, not knowing how oxygen works, the consequence are not the same, the white man’s burden, self-justifying, Russiagate stuff, if you buy into it at all, all we can do is try to deprogram you, you’re choosing to be fooled, they’re not communists, “adversaries”, massive consequences to mistaken beliefs, the heat death of the universe is so far away, Tau Zero by Poul Anderson, Paul got the gist, flavour text, trim ankle flavour, a comic adaption, Graphic Classics, Marvel adaptation, a 70s Curtis magazine, Jack Vance, Lester Del Rey, L. Sprague de Camp, Kim Stanley Robinson, time to research into his other stuff, Dawn Of Flame, The New Adam, his isfdb.org, mars, alien, telepathy, alien ecology, space pirates, silicon life, tidal locking, doppelganger, fatalism, passivity, mutation, collective consciousness, intelligent plants, more time spent reading A Martian Odyssey, a separate thread, classic twitter, modern stuff and old stuff, W. Scott Poole, the name change of Matheson, this bothered me, but not a lot, the show doesn’t have the horror tone, Potter-world feel, Netflix is for kids, Russian Doll, a woman caught in a time loop, all Jesse’s students under 20, Locke & Key, kids are more resilient to fictionalized violence and horror than what adults think they’re able to handle, adults triggers, Jesse warped and weird, horror is for simulating trauma, we didn’t talk about spoilers don’t spoil.

Pygmalion's Spectacles

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #575 – READALONG: Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #575 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
Super Science Stories, November 1950, atomic energy, atomics, Joe Haldeman’s The Accidental Time Machine, did he know about it?, The Last Man On Earth, Writers Of The Future, Volume 23, Audible Studios, Primetime by Douglas Texter, when you’re a writer you stop reading everything, reading and writing don’t go together (simultaneously), publications, huge gap, why doesn’t he go back in time?, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, geology tells us the earth is supergoddamnold, evolution isn’t a ladder, social and technological development isn’t a ladder, evolution doesn’t have a pinnacle, the far future, our SFFaudio journey, The Boat Of A Million Years, Highlander without the sword-fighting, traveling one year every year into the future, last good standalone novel, Brain Wave, they don’t loop, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, further in the future, extra homework, the the Futurama episode that’s an adaptation of Flight To Forever, a mathy physicsy thing, a backwards time machine, even the gods, the giraffes have taken over the earth and enslaved humanity, Back To The Future, Doc Labyrinth, Doc Brown, a time machine has to look cool, out of the future, the car is hot or cold, upgrading your time machine, Mr Fusion, nuclear plutonium, vacuum tubes, warming up the time machine, spare parts, what’s strange about it, nods to space opera for nor reason, when it was written, a lady princess running around telling everyone what to do, princess vs. empress, he does (or doesn’t) forget about Eve, Eve’s dead he can move on, a red-headed strong woman, Paul fell in love with her, oh that’s silly, sword and planet, Buck Rogers, weird alien ruins, ups and downs, a picaresque, different sorts of realities, Leela and Fry’s love story, a message to Fry in the future, Cavern On The Green, how the cave is formed over millions of years, the ability to send a message to a future, a thing to be gotten back, she has no agency in the story itself, love stories give meaning to a meaningless universe, Project Pendulum by Robert Silverberg, tied to Heinlein, Time Of The Twins, Poul Anderson’s version of spending time with the Morlocks and the Eloi, how many times they’re attacked for being time travelers, time travelers are dangerous, how did the gods know to keep going?, loop again, stop with the city of the Yithians, The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, the first intelligent inhabitants of the Earth, that cosmic element, beyond physical needs and sexuality, they wanna document everything, correlate all the contents of anomalies, doing a little work to explain how the city of the gods knows that time is cyclical, is time cyclical?, the evidence of his time travel is absent, Sam is gonna die, that makes Paul sad, Professor Farnsworth has to make a quick stop to disintegrate Hitler, Elanor Roosevelt, keep looping, Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder, another science fiction time travel premise, lifting all the great ideas of science fiction, addicted to Futurama, Andrew J. Offutt’s My Country, Right Or Wrong, a pretty good story, hanged in 1986, building the world you’re trying to prevent, the time machine knows what it’s doing, wreck vs. spoil, the same physical location, wandering the hills and looking at rocks can have profound philosophical implications, all living things take a little bit of time to grow, the physical size of the universe is massively important to finding our place in existence, for love, a comedy piece, physics students writing theses, a student at MIT, standalones, Forever Peace, Forever Free, keys to every lab, he spun that up, a love story circle, the Time Traveler from The Time Machine, that idea of loss, a small enough scale to be emotionally resonate with, that’s a role playing game, that’s not a story, usually Jesse wants things to be shorter, The Inner Light (Star Trek: The Next Generation), experiences, weird little touches, xeno-archaeologists, a funny review on Goodreads,
Paul Bryant’s Goodreads review, sf-novels-aaargh,

Saunders (a scientist) : Let’s go 100 years into the future in our dodgy time machine to do some science!

Hull (another scientist): Okay boss.

Eve : Don’t be long! Missing you already!

They arrive in the year 2073!

There is fighting. One of them is killed.

Saunders : Oh no, it turns out the time machine can only go 30 years backwards! I must go forwards again until I find a time when they have the technology to fix this, otherwise I will never see my Eve again. Eve! Eve! Eve!

The Year 2500.

Saunders : Can you fix my machine?

Man : Glurble flert myoop barflurt.

Saunders : Not much use. Off I go again.

The year 3799.

Saunders : Hello! Where am I?

Alien : This is the planet Sol, a minor member of the Galactic Federation, a peaceful organisation run by infinitely wise beings.

Saunders : Who is Galactic President?

Alien : We located the DNA of the greatest of your presidents and cloned him up the wazoo and here he is again, President Donald Trump.

Saunders: I’m outta here.

The year 4500. Bang! Crackle!

Saunders : No good. That Galactic Empire didn’t last all that long.

The year 67,121. Tinkle tankle, tinkle tankle.

Saunders : This looks better. Hello?

Girl in immodest dress: Hey toots.

Saunders: Have youse guys invented backwards time travel yet?

Girl : No, mate, what you have to do is you have to go right round and then it all comes back again, like it says in the Upanishads, or was it Kahil Ghibran, I can never remember.

Saunders: Er, what do you mean, go right round?

Girl : Oh, you know, really a long way forward, to the end of the universe, then keep going, don’t turn left or right, just straight on, and you’ll come to another big bang.

Saunders: Another big bang? Are you sure?

Girl: Yes, really, then you keep going and you’ll find that it all sort of repeats the first big bang and so on and so forth.

Saunders: Well, okay, I’ll try.

Three trillion plus 1973 years later.

Bringgg! The time machine reappears in the laboratory ten minutes after it left.

Eve : Oh hello, you’re back already.

the big bang hadn’t been invented yet, pretty good, pretty interest, an artifact of science fictional elements, Scott really liked it, the length that’s appropriate, not yet novel time, public domain, John W. Michaels aka Mike Vendetti, raids the PDF Page, more neglected than it should be, problematic vs. entertaining, sad story, I’ll Be Waiting For You When The Swimming Pool Is Empty by James Tiptree, Jr., PaperbackSwap, the number one reason to move to the United States: the US Postal Service, media mail, much more alien, language shifts, look at the actual text, the psychic machine, how language was going to change, the commercial interests, certain sort of stuff, maybe 11 books long, a mimeograph machine inside their heads: Brandon Sanderson, physically sell more product, cool despite the commercial limitations, he’s not thinking of the market, it’ll happen to sell too, owes a debt, once you start thinking about any science fictional concept, spinning up all sorts of cool ideas, L. Sprague de Camp’s Language For Time Travelers, he can speak galactic, an invented language in his head, not English forever,

If u were transported 1000 years back in time, and were given ure exact present knowledge of history and technology what job would you be most qualified for?

, there would be no jobs, cook and fish, Paul would be doomed, no skills the Sioux would find useful, Lest Darkness Fall, Mark Twain, The Man Who Came Early, bumbling in dark ages Iceland, why can’t he implement these technologies, the booming god voice, its not the knowledge of how the mechanisms work, how to make it a commercially successful market, who’s your market, Guns Of The South by Harry Turtledove, double entry bookkeeping, Luke Burrage could keep his old job, midwives, grooms for horses, veterinarians, being burned at the stake for a living, Will would be a monk with a wife, a copyist, trapped somewhere baking or making cheese, Karl K. Gallagher, maybe qualified as a sailor, a curiosity and a maybe a burden, Minnesota, walking 1,500 miles in socks, we do know what 1,000 years in the past was like, going into the future is much more science fictional, what ideas can be exploded, the Silurians, more crab and the beach, the Star Trek future, missing out by reading more Philip K. Dick, captain kirk was a film genre, did Philip K. Dick watch Star Wars (1977), this book is too short.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #574 – AUDIOBOOK: Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #574 – Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson, read by John W. Michaels (aka Mike Vendetti).

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (2 hours 13 minutes) comes to us courtesy of Mike Vendetti! Flight To Forever was first published in Super Science Stories, November 1950.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

Virgil Finlay art for Flight To Forever by Poul Anderson

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #535 – READALONG: The Pirates Of Ersatz by Murray Leinster

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #535 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Julie Davis, and Terence Blake talk about The Pirates Of Ersatz by Murray Leinster

Talked about on today’s show:
The Pirates Of Zan, translation, there’s no planet named Ersatz, inferior substitute, pirate planet, a terrible pirate, a great pirate, a successful pirate, replacement pirates, Darth pirates, actors, so fun, The people of Walden are pirating themselves, Zan pirates, regular boring farming, he wanted adventure, cover with a slide rule in his teeth, he wanted to be an engineer, climbing into the boat, a stun pistol, Jesse read it 10 years ago, forgettable fun, comic novels, The Incomplete Enchanter by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper, between the two poles, Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, a road trip, a means of pointing out flaws in society, “audiobooks are books, Paul”, back when Jesse was angry about stuff on the internet, the same Kurt Vonnegut story: 2BOR02B, where the PDF Page came from, The Aliens by Murray Leinster read by Julie Davis, Forgotten Classics, you’re welcome for the audiobook, the Astounding book, a nominee for the Hugo, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Sirens Of Titan, definitely written for John W. Campbell, the competent man, a comedic novel, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, there are better con-men novels, with less infodumping, his tricks, not cheating as much as we might guess, Jesse is not an electrical engineer, everything is wirelessly charged, this is all very plausible (in theory), everyone is getting cooked with microwaves, magnetic coils, how romantic, a Tesla thing, a wireless radio without a battery, the radio waves themselves are the power, Julie wants no more details, the central problem and its resolution, a “death ray”, being set-up, an unintended consequence, he wrapped it up nicely, virtually in suspense, the political/sociological heft, a little too pat, the ambassador and the grandfather are the Heinlein characters, the mental wisdom for Hodan, oh yeah, gotta bunch of wisdom to instill in this kid, Walden Pond, here’s what comes from too much peace, stasis, civilization, the most civilized planet, frontier mentality, tranquilizing society, taking Oxycontin in their main hobby, the Captain Kirk of their society, an agent of chaos, he facilitates, some more of the embassies, the kind of Earth empire (not even a confederation), a larger universe, central authority, feudal chaos, different polities, a space patrol, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, green-skinned aliens, the Krishna novels, fauna and flora, legalistic arguments down to a fine art, culturally sophisticated, the lord of this and the king of that, the bride of our hero, “this is the woman for you, dude”, the angriest woman in the universe, Chekov’s gun, Netta, the glamour of being associated with a pirate, cowing the barbarians, she wants to make a nice girl out of me, speaking of gender, the Gendered Text Project, suddenly everything’s different, when Bree Hodan…, she was a delightful girl, the weirdest one, it changes the feel, a basic romance, non-binary, Bryn, hir room, zee went to bed, hir ambitions, zee’d be well to do, such prospects made for good sleeping, grandPARENT, what does this do to the original story, kind of like a Conan story, the fools all around them, a softer Conan story, a very weird concept (with that in mind), the male version of the book, Thor is female (or was), a female Wolverine, a novel of a capable man, a capable woman (a Mary Sue), unlikeable, fun and helpful, what happens to your perception, Derek was almost like a female character to begin with, backing into the piracy, originally funnier, who wants to go off an be a civil engineer?, messing around, a new company comes out, ebooks, the Adult version of Harry Potter, Harriet Potter, does that inform your writing, copyright laws, we need a new clause, Indian films, Ghajini (2008) is the Hindi version of Memento (2000), non-creative, zero-respect, the point of writing a book, nyah nyah nop eugh, Julian Assange being taken out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, shelter, citizenship, citizenship revoked, “crime”, the science fiction romp frothiness vs. realpolitik, could that fictional embassy possibly exist?, how striking, shimmying down a rope, heat guns, a very Cory Doctorow thing, flashmobs, an ad on Craigslist: white wig and blue shirt, 10,000 Julian Assanges, embassy intrigue, not that kind of science fiction (really serious about politics), an adventure story, razed in a day, England and embassies, not so much pirates, Pirates Of Darth, the Danegeld, some viking will take them up on it, semi-civilized, William the Bastard, invading a neighbouring island (England), the really fun part, the homeless people are his fleet, sense of empathy, he’d been cheated, so angry, with the insurance, the bonuses, it’s his character, a soft-hearted pirate, why’d you come to a poor place, the poor will give you everything, the underclass, high fleet admiral, against the elites, the Walden society is fucked up, Robert E. Howard’s theories about civilization and barbarism, built-up capital, addiction and getting servants in to pick your crops, a built-in establishment likes they way things work out for them, not everyone is equally powerful, cops vs. judges, a critique of 1959 USA, a lot of lines like this, a lot of frothiness, the background buildup in the philosophy of the world, in cahoots, in support of that system, from the fourth paragraph, good writing, quite pretty, the highest in the Nurmi cluster, a supply of tranquilizers, the tigers aren’t after us at this very moment, blackbears aren’t super-dangerous, a bear up stuck in a tree, wealthy humans getting excited about a bear, so few bear skeletons found in trees, would they notice with one hand clapping?, straight thinking is a delusion, real things aint simple, aint clear, make it as complicated as you can, isn’t that the way, we’ll just do this to do that, that bit of wisdom, how politicians get out of hot water, death ray vs. he literally fell out of a tree, tying everything back in, luring them into understanding how it works, using them as a means to his end, in dealing with other peoples problems you can solve your problems, a helluva lot better neighbour, its not your business, US public healthcare would force Canada to go left, Jagmeet Singh, the US government can’t administer Medicare very well, corruption, we have to up our game, Jesse is not wrong, Canada defines itself in opposition to the USA, Nice, France, from the outsiders outsiders point of view, how clear that question was, 42, Twitter as a medium of links and pictures, Gilles Deleuze, the grandfather’s idea, piracy is good for the economy, things only work because they break down, piracy is a good think, a timid introverted poor student from Australia who went to France, a powerful thinker, what old guys thought might make sense, that history of failure is fascinating, see where someone else made this mistake a long time ago, 1987, an English teacher in a technical high-school, terminal, a couple of hours of philosophy a week, six or seven hours a week, general culture, written in the 1950s, this depiction of piracy, stasis vs. disorder, a product of its time?, relative stability, would people go for it?, a precarious situation, does this novel work today, Frederik Pohl, P. Schuyler Miller, adventure yarning, of piece of lightweight for entertainment purposes only, sneaks up on you, something funny about the names, Hodan like Odin, Bran, brain vs. brawn, Darth is dearth, things with the names, order and chaos, no longer applicable, capitalism is based on producing as much disorder as possible, Crim is the ultimate capitalist, Walden is sublimation, full of crackpots, for spite, a subtle sort of hidden intellectual side to the story, spot on, John Clute, “a competent but unremarkable space opera”, a series of planetary romances, The Odyssey, picaresque, Penelope isn’t delightful so he goes back with Circe, coming to mind, stasis vs. richness, Jesus: feel sorry for the rich man, a cyclical need, Jesse wants to read more of these, other Leinsters, The Forgotten Planet, A Logic Named Joe, Journey To Barkut, William F. Jenkins, one of the earliest science fiction writers of the pulp era, making a living, Police Your Planet by Lester del Rey, Badge Of Infamy, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, humans are pretty funny, a smelly barbarian queen, he delicately disassembled, a very nice sweeping line, one could spend a lifetime, absolutely true, industriously reading pirated books, so important, torrent site, not available in his region, deathbed conversion, sin-eater, something real about the piracy thing, the title is already a parody (of The Pirates Of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan), making fun of the romantic idea of piracy, the pirate nation known as the United States, Fred Himebaugh’s pirate novel (with Blackbeard as president), USA maintains a shit list, yo ho ho and a bagful of books, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings by Tom Shippey, viking is a verb, you get a song out of it, heroic lifestyle, the Wild West, threats vs. warnings, we need an audiobook of this book, the last John W. Campbell story, angels, Alec Nevala-Lee, philosophy as a sort of science fiction, people are complex numbers existing on an imaginary axis, a last joke, Campbell’s definition of science fiction, non-philosophy, he’s gone beyond everyone, September 1971, On The Nature Of Angels, a pun, the really sad part, adhering the copyright law is hurting people, playing a little bit fast and loose, makes sense, a “sample”, pirates are nice folks, generally helpful, helping the insurance industry, Walden to the nth level, sad story for them, romance adventure and derring-do, The Runaway Skyscraper by Murray Leinster, stf = scientificition, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, 40 years later, 1919 – 1959, LibriVox, on the lam, The Creatures Of The Abyss, good basic pulp-type story, Sidewise In Time, passenger pigeons are back, pulpy goodness, alternate histories, Star Trek, First Contact, here’s an idea, poor Tom Godwin couldn’t write his way out of a wet paper bag, thick accent that infests every sentence, getting more Leinster up.

Ace Books, 66525, The Pirates Of Zan

The Pirates Of Zan, 1974

Kelly Freas' The Pirates Of Ersatz

Piratefleet Over Darth

ACE Books D-403, The Pirates Of Zan

The Pirates Of Zan, 1989

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #525 – READALONG: The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

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

Talked about on today’s show:
a novella from Space Science Fiction, September 1963, illustrations, going deep into Philip K. Dick, wanting to like it, recapping Evan’s thematics, big data, blinkered, as art, so many important elements, starting where he ended up, shifting realities, what is human?, the frontier, labour and the meaning of labour, interesting authoritarian dystopias, anti-Orwellian, Solar Lottery, The Man Who Japed, direct democracy, optimism, they have the whole universe open to them, the narrowmindedness of Cold War thinking, the first tinkerer hero, an average putterer, preternatural in fixing or degraded skills?, preposterousness, the generalist vs. the technocrat, academia limits you, narrow corridors of specialization, I know more than you and there’s no way you can reach, getting ahead of Paul, write a sonnet, build a wall, solve equations, pitch manure, specialization is for insects, esoteric order, intellectuals vs. academics, feted, he’s great!, how Philip K. Dick doesn’t fit into his own environment, what is this all about?, what’s happened, his car breaks down, “I’ll have a look”, how can we possibly move to a new place, “My god! This is amazing!”, The Golden Man, completely like a chickenhead, functionaries, coffee and boobs and that’s it, the proto-tinkerer, Time Pawn or Doctor Futurity, time travel, saying something about the interaction with specialization, the “genius bar”, “geniuses” being slightly more than minimum wage, Jesse ruined the show, Robert McNamara, The Fog Of War (2003), a numbers game, true to life, not guiding the policy, Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), letting the spreadsheets dictate, the tyranny of the computer, hydraulic empires, China, the nature of the infrastructure, Arnold J. Toynbee, Dune, one small intrusion, no variables allowed, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven, Stability, Meddler, Paycheck, competence porn, House Of Cards, Sherlock Holmes, almost any John Scalzi protagonist, Breaking Bad, he’s doing science!, so awesome to see it, oh my god we’re going to do some science, helium has these properties!, black boxy, the kid’s vidsender, a genetic freak, he is the hydraulic empire, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Little Black Bag, such a competent bag, competence satire, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster, is a vizsender facetime?, this is public domain, the visuals, lemmee fix that, a real robot now, fantasy real objects, stories with games, War Game, trying to invade the Earth using board games, sitting down to play, Monopoly is a capitalism simulator, the purpose of Monopoly, toys and game and hyper-competence, fixing things for coffee and donuts, no vivid mental life, the Pole, Soviet scientist, Sergei Korolev, expansion, why do we never see the Centaurans?, Traveler, a decaying empire, The World Jones Made, imperial ambition, Oregon trail, the noser or the jitney, a used car lot, Mimsy Were The Borogoves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, a mirroring, a conversation, Waterspider, Astounding, 3-D movies every night, The Variable Man, the old time pre-cog who wrote it, The December 1962 IF, a meta-story, commenting on his own work, Orpheus With Clay Feet, We Can Build You, a reference to Nanny, pre-cogs are science fiction writers, how to build the future, welding skills?, soldering skills?, the ultra-competent handyman, shoe a horse and run a government, fantasy as the main element, Reading, Short And Deep, Strange Eden, slem ray vs. r-pistol, asshole braggart character, tame animals, there’s a lady, a retelling of the Circe episode, Jesse just lights up, getting those rocket ships off the ground, Beyond Lies The Wub, a pig with a ghost inside it (that wants to talk about philosophy), so weird and obsessive, The Gun, The Defenders, an elaborate bureaucracy, meetings, no love interest, it reads like a script, dropping bombs on a guy with a horse and cart, Mr. Spaceship, weapons of war, a dying scientist, a vehicle of exploration, The Defenders, a trans-humanist force, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, shell people, “you can be beautiful”, they have longings, Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson, the cripples, colonization, Dick’s first long fiction, how to put things together, novel structure, the coffee, the boobs, the trail of Philip K. Dick, the characters are lacking, irritable anxious weird dudes, I want my comedy, Evan thinks Galactic Pot-Healer is Dick’s novel (for a deep philosophy on work), the jokes, the silly stuff, you went there didn’t you, the compatibility test, spending the time, reading it is a pleasure, intellectual stuff, themes, no pleasure, elegance, beauty, Earth against the others, who is the aging empire here?, the British, the Nazis, vundervepons, invasion board, the big board, The Penultimate Truth, fake work, fake war, are they the Japanese?, Philip K. Dick’s childhood poems, Aunt Flo judging his work, weeks and weeks and weeks of newspapers, war war war war domestic domestic domestic, American tank giving Japanese tank a piggy-back ride, The Man In The High Castle, the role of war, the war of munitions, the war of industry, we can win WWII no problem, here’s a Japanese intern(ee) that was murdered, The Simulacrum, Reinhardt, Reinhard Heydrich, the Wannsee Conference, the calculation, spreadsheets were involved, Supernova In The East, anti-war in Japan, elan, The Crystal Crypt, a snowglobe story, the Black Clad Leiters, Nazis on Mars, childhood trauma, reflecting, what if me and my fellow writers are pre-cogs, nobody else uses pre-cogs, Null-A, a parody of the plots of The Pawns Of Null-A, Null-P, Think Like A Dinosaur by James Patrick Kelly, what if…, The Great C, work as therapy, art therapy, what’s your therapy?, occupational therapy, Dick being a bit of a pre-cog, find work you love, find pleasure in your work, fantasy, Taiwan, work should be enjoyable, work being meaningful, a euphemism, a way of tricking yourselves, kindergarten, lunch is coming and take your pills, universal basic income, getting paid in coffee and a sandwich, the lack of ability to fix things, openable phones, a plastic cover over the engine of modern cars, alienated from the ability to fix your own stuff, walking towards this Philip K. Dick future, the whole Amish thing, human scale technology, Murray Bookchin, anarchism, the light switch as consent, thinking through the technologies we choose, obsessed with tiny houses, being “off grid”, growing the fuel for the horses, compressed air technology, social ecology, the kind of guy they don’t talk about in school, Towards A Liberatory Technologies, post hole diggers, this would make a good movie, very visual, Molly Jojez has blue skin, they always adapt the wrong stories, a failed experiment, Idiocracy is The Marching Morons, Mark Twain, a reverse Connecticut Yankee, Flight Into Forever by Poul Anderson, the heroic past, Little, Big: Or, The Fairies’ Parliament by John Crowley, return of the king, The Skull, Paycheck, Captive Market, All You Zombies, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, social credit, socreds, Alberta, ancient political ideas, neo-liberalism, an interesting thinker, mostly wrong about everything, The Number Of The Beast, time and space and universes, Barsoom and Oz, Sliders with sex, we need utopias, solar punk, green shoots away from this grim dark, post apocalyptic story, Netflix, lots and lots of science fiction and almost all post-apocalyptic, zombies, an anarchist take on a post apocalyptic story, Doctor Bloodmoney, dog eat dog vs. human eat horse, a thing for horsemeat, another thing for the rhetorizer, Horselover, why is he murdering the horses?, Confessions Of A Crap Artist, weird conspiracy theories, another meta observation, pseudo-science magazines, a Dianetics scene, a misfit, the competent man stuff, his answers are all wrong, interesting in their absence, there’s no explosion, not acceptable for a film, that’s not the problem he’s interested in, true wub!

Posted by Jesse Willis