The SFFaudio Podcast #719 – READALONG: The Star King by Jack Vance

Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Cora Buhlert talk about The Star King by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul will answer to no other name, Cora was Popeye, not that Robby the Robot, riffing, Paul’s fifth or sixth time, the perfect excuse, something weird that happened, the “the” was dropped, The Wankh, a naughty word, dropping the definite article, the Edmond Hamilton, the series, a British paperback from 1973, Strange Case, people want to add the the in, when people are speaking they will often omit the the, Stefan Rudnicki, a more attacky angle, 1964 review by Robert Silverberg, a bad novel, embarrassing, a blown up novelet, “excerpts”, great name, that’s not how it happened, the thin rickety story, an instrument of vengeance, too implausible for words, incredible density, taking little or no action, glimpse tantalizingly, a limp stuttering revenge story that slogs on and on, entitled to slip now and again, distinctly human, weird aliens, sub-minion, stabbed by one of the dryads, slightly off, the back cover blurb spoils the whole thing, revealed very early, not that early, contempt and lust, a peace-abiding man, four humans and a star king, an “object lesson”, vengeance became Gerson’s sole objective, appetite for human slavery, Poul Anderson, Jesse kinda agrees with Silverberg, almost no SF content, dating and mystery solving, the mystery element, The Moon Moth, it’s the culture of the planet, the plot to solve the mystery is just an excuse, Sirene, mentioned in this book, what sparked you about this book?, is this an amazing book, Vance’s typical poetic style, Asimov adding quotations from The Encyclopedia Galactica, science fiction mysteries, romantic subplot, not hard SF, Silverberg is right about the initial planet, dryads, its a setting for the beginning and the end of the book, those names a really good, that’s a way to go, for example, the calendar is restarted at zero, 1492, writing for an American audience, find a new passage to India, it doesn’t pay off in any way, oh you’re a pirate, you’re a slaver, jokes, a torture slave, it isn’t an analogy, worldbuilding details, not everything needs to have a purpose or be an analogy, a lot of the things in here, writing it by the seat of his pants, serialized over two issues in Galaxy, it does feel padded, where’s the science fiction element, social science fiction, such a step down from The Moon Moth, this is gonna get good at some point, the revenge plot, all five guys could have been hunted down in this one book, maneuvering, kinda lazy, dating, sitting in the office, it doesn’t feel like science fiction, very surprised, set in space, a little bit of tech here and there, planet names, cute, a science fiction setting vs. a science fiction plot, set in the American west, a viable story, science fiction with something else, leaning into the genderlessness, their motivations are different than those and mine, figuring out who’s who, they’re sort of officious, told from alternating POVs, not a Campbellian alien, better than men, Kerth susses, an interstellar murderer, an interstellar assassin for justice, the girl in the Game Of Thrones series, killing evil people, more of that, not knowing who the five are, Smade’s Tavern, follow the timeline, five names, getting suspicious, the rest of the series, a giant wide universe, by coincidence or chance, it takes time, a mystery investigation plot, the weakest of the books, he knows what he’s doing, how am I arranging these plots, the weakest of the Demon Princes book, diminishing returns, a page turner, in what sense better?, less fumbling around, clumsy, the idea you can spoil things, Robinson Crusoe chapter titles:

Start In Life
Slavery And Escape
Wrecked On A Desert Island
First Weeks on the Island
Builds a House – the Journal
Ill and Conscience-Stricken
Agricultural Experience
Surveys His Position
A Boat
Tames Goats
Finds Print of Man’s Foot on the Sand
A Cave Retreat
Wreck of a Spanish Ship
A Dream Realised
Friday’s Education
Rescue of Prisoners from Cannibals
Visit of Mutineers
The Ship Recovered
Return to England
Fight Between Friday and a Bear

Chapters in The Hobbit: from the late 17th century, slightly popular, a quite common style, skip right to the chapter you haven’t read yet, 1719, not having chapter titles is a mistake, ooh that sounds interesting, read the chapter titles first as a kid, they used to have chapter titles, the default is not, Roast Mutton Riddles In The Dark, Queer Lodgings, sometimes it helps your memory of the book, when you’re dealing with a mystery, not knowing who the killer, playing against the detective, a fair play mystery, Agatha Christie, knowing who did it, the Columbo formula, a book-like tradition, an inverted mystery, there are exceptions, how’s he going to figure this out, which of these three guys is the alien, a fifth or more of the book, the girl romance, she’s kidnapped, a McGuffin, it has to do with it being a series, “soft science ficition” is psychology, sociology, wallpaper science fiction, cozies, police procedurals, Ed McBain, it isn’t focused on mystery, riding along with this guy, background that fills in the details, Robert Silverberg’ review of Son Of The Tree, ceaselessly inventive, so individual is his manner, long noveletes, complete in one issue, Standard Publications, a gaggle of reader departments, 25 cents!, his most fertile period, The Houses Of Iszm, going back to trees, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, the same basic outline, more delightful, two swift marvelous, not available as audiobooks, the novelet format and not being series are strikes against them, advertising the next books in the series, 111 pages and 112 pages vs. 158 pages, the difference is he adds some expanded material, where that year 1492 came in, an expansion to capitalize on a new market, Ace Doubles, Son Of The Tree, approximately the same length (32,000 words), his loves’ heart, the plot dynamics of the exploration people here, personal fiefdom, to spoil it, Subterranean Press, 22,000 words (+8,000 words), a monopoly on living houses, Sainh, the seeds of the rubber tree, silkworms, coffee beans, people smuggling plants across borders to break monopolies, spinning up worldbuilding, he loves to build his worlds, the IPCC, how these worlds work, enjoying the universe, tourism of the weird societies, Chai, the Grand Tour novels, the plot of The Moon Moth, the plot of Paul’s role playing game, many ways of being human, better than humans, their competitiveness with each other, parthenogenesis means you can’t be cuckolded easily, sexual conquests, eighteen babies out of their armpits, a short novel by an author who is pretty bad, Lester Del Rey, incompetent writing (or just bad), Lin Carter was an enthusiast, H.P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard, deep inside of his core he has a grinding stone that’s throwing out sparks, a guy who liked those guys (and didn’t have a horrible childhood), enthusiasm for some sort of science fiction idea in a setting, on Mars, plotting vs. ideas, The Sky Is Falling, MAGABOOK paperbook, making the words flow, pages turn vs. oh that was clunky, workmanlike, operating in the science fiction end, the wallpaper is ugly in his world, always delivers actual SF, awesome soft SF, The Potters Of Frisk, really disappointed, read the series multiple times, Dune by Frank Herbert, Paul got it young, hit a wall, Vance was difficult to find for a while, Dying Earth, dated science, nonsense technobabble, the crew of the ship have no idea how the thrusting works, how cars and planes work, how the car engine works, he knows he’s not doing hard SF, retro technology, a telephone booth, feels more modern than it is, a great movie or TV series, lots of makeup, tint her skin, problems of racism, skin dye, a disguise, for fashion, the Civil Rights era, footage of protests, not a political book, independent police, the Pinkertons, privatized police forces, that makes sense, To Live Forever by Jack Vance, dealing with an interesting theme: immortality, social credit score, empathy with your clone, the exploration was very important, a very solid SF novel, is it an SF wallpaper book?, Scott’s really really enjoying the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, integral to the plot, late season Orville episodes, an on off romance, she’s really strong, technically that’s different alien cultures, but not really, the focus on the romance, a Star Wars style battle, 10 minutes of Naboo fighters in trenches, not understanding, Mr Data has a phaser, Mr Spock was in this book, Dr. Spock, how many siblings have spock have at this point?, Michael who is adopted, Spock’s family tree, Amanda Grayson, Perrin is the replacement, the movie was so bad, Star Trek 4 was a such a great movie I’ll go see Star Trek 5, these fucking marshmallow jokes suck, Scott banging his head, I hate this movie, if we looked at it now our standards are so low now, Star Trek 1 gets better every year, Star Trek 3, Star Trek 2, Star Trek 6, the Star Trek next generation movies are bad too, dune buggies, enemy dune buggies, they beam down and then walk, Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), a talking car, you know what this gothic romance needs? more dune buggies!, that’s not what it’s about, Okuda designing a screen for a dune buggy, The Killing Machine by Jack Vance, planet bound, The Five Gold Bands aka Space Pirate, Science Fiction 101 or Worlds Of Wonder edited by Robert Silverberg, Startling Stories, criticism of capitalism and colonialism, brass bra babes, bug-eyed monsters, Thrilling Wonder Stories, entertaining, sales, unfairly forgotten, Tschai is a compilation of the Planet Of Adventure novels, sociological science fiction, the Lyonesse trilogy, discussed on occasion, Fuck Me Up Vance Knock Out Baby, Jack does It, Man I Love Sports, following their own bugbears, I’m going to read the series, too many names to remember, a terrible review don’t listen to me, narrator issues, consumer reviews, semi-professional reviewers, was Silverberg grumpy when he wrote that?, angry that books were so shitty, saying the same things over and over again, Piers Anthony and John Norman, Lin Carter is dead, the lowest ratings you’ve ever given, hurting someone who is still alive, calm down, someone didn’t like your book, calling their baby ugly, differentiating a story from a person, review their good books not their bad books, promoting things that are good vs. tearing down things that are bad, pissing on their baby, what’s the purpose of reviewing, it worked way to well, the initial motivation, talking about ideas in the book, why is it a bad book, an intellectual exercise, if you know the author it feels problematic, very successful and insecure, being honest, the new upcoming Prime Tolkien show, they paid people to be excited, hiring people to say good things is intellectually dishonest and lucrative, a huge thing (not for books), written by the author under pseudonym, what makes August Derleth a scumbag, doing a disservice to your idealized reader, holding your tongue, tell the truth at all times?, many techniques to avoid lying, throw some sparklers into the air, I just got this new hairpiece: how does it look?, if your world will fundamentally crumble, smart people will learn to not ask questions of people who give honest answers, Cora’s hair is long, hair braided to her tailbone, if that old woman can have long hair, there is a problem in the industry of reviewing, doing a disservice to our idealized reader, what things do I want to see in a review?, what the reviewer thinks the book could be or could have been, reviewing serves multiple functions, ratings do not, unuseful, when many thousands rate, dismissing things immediately, no one is rating honestly, Paul’s trip to Oregon, nagging the ratings, Paul got his revenge, what they asked for and not what they wanted, Goodreads is more critical than Amazon, books no on the market, is my number ok?, the more popular the book…, a perfect 5, the bigger the number of people having reviewed it, reviewing for IMDB, a ranking, anything under 5 is a shit movie, very close to 7, IMDB got bought out and you can’t trust reviewing, review bombing, the Marvel movies and Marvel series, the 2016 Ghostbuster movie, how hot someone is, Top Gun: Maverick, super-propagandy and still good, why we must rely, PC Gamer magazine’s wonderful giant reviews, Rogue One, blind black man actor [Denzel Washington], Gary Whitta, a western, science fiction wallpaper, fantasy, vision from god, The Book Of Eli (2010), a very solid script, many boffins died, the pacing is good, amazing essays, what good essay writing is, laugh at the games that are badly put together, half percentage points, inflation, a then living author, a slap in the face, who would have been served by him saying nothing?, a smaller world now, fistfights at Worldcon, fuck off into the sun, Blasters Of Forever by Cora Buhlert, who would it serve?, incensed, an MA in English, hating academics, lesson learned: don’t mention MAs, obvious an idiot, talk about you pets or children, author bios, which German army?, compulsory military service, its about identity, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, what Paul would think of it, pro-choice, what do you think your future in streaming is?, your audience will snitch on you, cracker is a slur, nudity will get you banned, who’s this person?, she has an MFA, a video editor for a streamer, why is MFA in her twitter bio, that’s her identity, that’s who they are, Anthony Rapp, a union rep, what he’s known for, he doesn’t identify it, Hugo finalist and pronouns, Jesse’s identity is a joke, what people care about, Robert A. Heinlein’s twitter bio: Libertarian onetime socialist, Elon Musk Fanboy, Former Naval Officer, writer, a good series of tweets, fake up some twitter bios for dead science fiction authors, emojis in their twitter bios, Ukraine Flag, Dove, Pirate flag?, a red spot means annoying person, COVID lockdown enthusiast, a German flag or Swedish flag, hammer and sickle, tomato, green vengetable, sunny symbol and aloha flower, a camera emoji, Vale of Garnath in Amber, I know don’t live in Lankhmar, the Plaza of Dark Delights, my German fan, huge in Germany, Germans read a lot of science fiction, Connor is an import, Mirko’s the original, an undertaker by profession, hilarious, the most suitable profession, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, any real stories?, Lovecraft can be funny, dry wry humour, next level hilarious.

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

The Star King by Jack Vance EMSH art

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #673 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #673 – Inside Earth by Poul Anderson – read by Phil Chenevert. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novelette (2 hours 3 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons

Talked about in today’s show:
Inside Earth by Poul William Anderson, Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1951, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Beetlejuice Bridge by William Tenn, Nice Girl With Five Husbands by Fritz Leiber, Galaxy vs. Astounding vs. Planet Stories, a good reason to do a podcast, the content, its disturbing, extremely though provoking, racism, imperialism, presented in what Science Fiction does, pulling away from humanity for a second, thinking about a lot of things, isn’t this nifty, strands of thought, the libertarian camp, utopia, doing what the humans do, Will’s agenda, can’t trust them, what the message is, The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964), part of the empire, Romanizing barbarians, unity, slavery of humanity, in a terrarium, indoctrinated, deprogrammed vs. programmed, interesting nuances, Valgonians, the best versions of themselves, who is defining best?, races and cultures and creeds, made into a Jew, a Norwegian, Levinson, comments throughout, written by the seat of his pants?, doubts about their plan, a poor plan?, infiltration, against their own people, The Americans, on the cover, a scene not even set on Earth, inside earth culture, fallen in love with a human, feelings for Barbara, get over his backstory of his dead wife, I was Earthling, being restored to normal, as complete and scarless, I’d be human again, the Klingons think they’re human, later Star Trek episodes, surgically altered humans and Klingons, nose ridge addition, convergent evolution, the Federation works like the Empire does here, Enterprise, guided on your tricycle, the Valgonian Empire, “slant eyed” is unfortunate, “it’s a very diverse empire”, two ways of looking at science fiction: 1. telling us about ourselves 2. how things could be, an analogy for something happening in the world vs. the Star Trek plan, how often Mr. Spock is an alien, Balance Of Terror, a WWII submarine vs. destroyers story, suspicious of Mr. Spock, Mrs. Spock is above suspicion, the actor’s a Jew but not the character, can we trust our Japanese soldiers?, can we trust our Navajo translators?, can we trust our German population?, war having a common enemy, this melting plot, the lack of skepticism on the part of our narrator, reeducation camps will work?, remake Afghanistan, 100% on board with it, I want another kid, they’ll sterilize me, its good to sterilize people, eugenics, hereditary taints, in 1951 its still there, how genetics work, the spirit bears, the same species as black bears, blonde hair isn’t a defect we think, but something definitely are, these people are resistant to a disease, genetic diseases, Huntington’s disease, Robert J. Sawyer, that level of protection against a fairly common disease, beneficial, neutral, or bad, in the scope that we have now, the Hari Seldon plan is never wrong, dentists who are social engineers, Will had to brush his teeth so he wouldn’t get sterilized, an uplift story, cultural uplift, the [David] Brin stories, Jesse didn’t start WWII, a certain set of people, the controls of power, Justin Trudeau is more responsible for climate change than I am, he solar system was in disarray, what’s the story this week, Afghanistan wins again!, we need to civilize them, two trillion dollars investment lasted a week, Hamid Karzai hugging the Taliban leaders, its liberation, just like the Russians, the British, Alexander the Great, very naive, a travelogue for something that happens a lot, something cops do all the time, infiltrate organizations, Martin Luther King, cops in the Environmental movement having children with people, he put her back on the list, oh he’s going with her, she’ll hate me for years (but its for his own good), the original plan, we’re going to the concentration camp together, meta evidence, just a reeducation camp or a death camp?, why is this report being told, a quasi-official report, bed talk, flying by the seat of his pants, who go into deep?, crushed and reeducated, oops, Poul Anderson tragedy, what it means to be a Valgonian, maybe he wants to take the punishment?, Dominic Flandry, agent for a galactic empire, what else are you going to do?, better than anarchy, disillusionment with empire, the strongest case, how Valgonian soldiers treat earth Terries, the SS showing up in Paris, Resistance movies set in occupied France, the occupied French people, we train them to be rude, treat the people nicely, don’t call them ragheads, be courteous, apparently not racist at all, play that up, super-interesting, the United Nations, a psychotechnic league story, Anderson’s political beliefs, world government, from pro-UN to anti-UN, its empire, the UN as a governing body for the world, while this is happening in Afghanistan, “it’s going to be really weird when in 6 months this podcast comes out”, Ender’s Game, H.G. Wells’ martians in The War Of The Worlds, I have no race prejudices, a menace to the peace of the galaxy, the lesser empire, no inferior races but only more or less advanced ones, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, clashing for a difference in philosophy, the lies we tell ourselves about WWII, we won the war, its all about Europe, 80% of Germans were killed by the Russians, D-Day, one of the many many lies we tell ourselves about WWII, that was the just war, we have some doubts about the nuking of humans, firebomb the civilians all to death, WWI civilian casualties vs. WWII civilian casualties, A Bright Shining Lie (1988), Col. John Paul Vann, a true believer, a civil war for the liberation of a country from its occupiers, propping up the South Vietnam government is like propping up Karzai, how long?, centuries, thousands of years, Will is very shy but has ideas, pull together ideas, social engineering, where science fiction comes from: put smart people in front of dumb people, Paul says Will needs to read The Marching Morons (Jesse agrees, and says it is a bad story), we’ll be welcomed as liberators, top down speeches, always another excuse as to why we have to keep doing the war, this is just a story, this position in science fiction that is uncritical of technocracy and experts knowing what is better than other people, narcotic gas is like daddy coming to take the toys away, the most disturbing part of the story, paternalism, the general premise of the relationship with Barbara, lovey dovey story (been lying to her the whole time), she’s supposed to hate him for years she can’t help it, paternalism even in his romantic relationship, get queasy, a very interesting story, not the most well thought out story ever, an underground agent’s thoughts, its going to make me suffer when I flip on these people, a price you pay that your bosses don’t pay, hence promoted two ranks, an abstract evil, the meta-dialogue, what these titles mean, it even meant something, just sounds that came out of people’s mouths, an eagerness close to hero-worship, the colonel, if you use the language enough you get to believe it yourself, what does West Point teach its officers, engineering and road building and well digging, a tweets abandoning the Kurds, what the internal politics of the two parties will use against each other, using the Kurds against Bush, against Biden, woefully obtuse or lying or stupid, “abandon” or “support” the Kurds, now Jesse gets it, are their Valgonian factions pro or against, just the party line, if you’re people who are doing this, orders, we need a win hear, go take a building, you don’t need to know and you can’t inquire, a submission, its all lie, Jesse’s meta-text, maybe this is more sophisticated than it looks, Barbara’s picture, on page 35, she looks like a robot, she looks like a Stepford wife, our hero with the mohawk, ramrod straight, staring into space, she’s from an old family, she’s rich, he’s marrying into this old rich family, a wander the Earth guy, whose going to be top dog, a best friend he punches out, dirty ’30s hobo story, an awful lot of tramping going on on Earth, we’re told there’s no homelessness and no hunger anymore, only tackling inherent racism, the difference between the original Star Trek and the Next Generation, it comes back in Deep Space Nine, and to our profit, Voyager, the Maquis is the more sophisticated reading, admirals are almost always wrong, “the war is winnable”, the Thomas Friedman unit, Matt Taibbi, writing “the next six months will tell” for twenty years, New York Times columnists being consistently wrong for twenty years, your job pitch, returning to the story, time as a tramp and a steel worker and his time hanging out around Barbara’s house, it sounds like he’s trying to blow his cover, a very strange tonal note, let’s go kill a Valgonian vs. I try to be fair to everyone, class, we need to cultivate the elite of earth, help the Terries become whatever they need to be, at some point in the future, the Ferengis are going to become part of the Federation, the Dominion is the evil version of the Federation, our union that is called the Federation, the details on that, genetically engineered enforcers, their ultimate motivation, the solids don’t like shapeshifters, the Klingons and the Romulans can get along because they have four limbs and a head, Odo is an infiltration unit, the evil humans, we need to be incredibly skeptical of power, an endless fleet of admirals, policy this and plan that, you can’t trust it, as a provocateur isn’t to just start the wars its to include, the January 6th [*insurrection*] was infiltrated, the Whitmer kidnapping plot was infiltrated, a very flawed hero, should we have any respect for him?, the greater good going to be achieved or is this the occupation of the Philippines, enhanced interrogation for the greater good, kind of naive, a fun adventure vs. a guide for thought, in the thinking department, kind of juvenile?, written to quickly for pay?, Anderson is always competent but has no style, Philip K. Dick has weird grammatical stuff, H.P. Lovecraft has his own quirks, a Scandinavian, thematic, robots and boobs and weird grammar, the ideas flow very easily, internal monologue, the king of clarity is Asimov, Asimov is very simple, Anderson is a little silly, the muscles removed from his ears so they wouldn’t wiggle anymore, silliness and tragedy, the dead wife, Flight To Forever, super-nova class warships, a doomed romance, Tau Zero, a happy ever after polygamy story at the cost of the universe: “it was worth it”, fan theories, how the Klingons got that way, arguing for hours, page 36 (23 of the PDF), still capitalists and communists, a million petty divisions, an alien firm but just rule, why we have to be there, they’re so divided unlike us, that’s the way you have to run things, the messiness is what they’re against, what horrifies people the most on the deep web, the bottom of the iceberg of the deep web, whatever google has on its how page, way down deep, underneath all the car accidents and horror body porn, art pieces, tones and two color bars intersecting with each other, Voynich manuscript style websites, where’s the search bar, it needs to be ordered, spell everything the same way everyone else does, you are forced to go to school, you don’t want to live a disordered life do you?, you can’t make your own letter and put it in your own sentences, speech precedes the alphabet, this is the one way and the only way, we’re building roads and building bridges, the ultimate problem here, what does that education camp do, regular propaganda, it has to be felt, the weird bard symbolize all the races, the black site torture facilities, conform, A Clockwork Orange, Alex is a psychopath and a rapist, will should have a notebook, don’t impose a notebook on him, orthography is important, communicating efficiently with others, Sequoyah the Cherokee people, we will preserve our language by making it readable, the G8, all the people wearing suits, the Mao suit, the respectable white shirt and a tie and a jacket, Qaddafi, to honor his heritage, putting on that three piece suit to become legit, the Saudis don’t do that, a subversion with in the text (not on purpose), a psyop, Jesse doesn’t trust a plan, Qanon, foolish to trust any sort of authority, sunlight and cameras all over everybody’s business, a panopticon facing at the guards and their bosses, your average Valgonian, the stupid Section 31, the deep state doesn’t acknowledge their secret police, the FBI is not secret police, police are in other countries, they do the same job as the secret police, thought provoking but not a thought leading story, were you surprised to see the words sluts in 1951, sluts are good, what of it, how did he get away with that?, working class women with low morals, hair like molten golden, blonde or red-haired, the stepford type, Poul Anderson’s personal life, Astrid Anderson, Greg Bear, science fiction royalty, no kings or queens please, the cover picture, is one of these our guy?, Barbara is in the red dress, our guy is in the grey suit, more like a hive than a rebel base, a big conspiracy, the Valgonian conspiracy, the official line and what everybody knows, the official plan doesn’t seem to be like what everybody knows, talking to actual anarchists, we know the cops are trying to infiltrate us, dead give away you’re a Fed, looking for traitors, its sorta incoherent, an accelerationist theory, voting for Trump will make the thing that the United States come fast, tearing off the bandaid vs. slowly peeling it off, a faction of Christianity, Justin Trudeau, we need the funding from this pipeline to fight climate change, Jesse predicts the 2021 Canadian federal election results [sadly, accurately 5 weeks before it happened], not enough hope, what’s their hit rate, the domino theory, fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here’, the Taliban vs. Boogaloo Bois, joining the rebel alliance vs. subverting the rebel alliance, a fixup?, it was all a lie!, we aren’t told what I was told we were, a worthy read, Phil Chenevert made it very easy reading. Horace Gold, best of Galaxy (The Galaxy Reader), its a good story, needs a little something, what the point was, Terrie Like Me, an exploration of colonialism, the British in India, it doesn’t line up, the stratification, a copy of Britain, getting an upper middle class going, physically bigger, they’re cold because they’re red Scandinavian with mohawks, to fry an egg, pajamas and tea and curry and eastern mysticism, what do the Valgonians get?, why you have to be so occupy-y, buy into the empire, they want to pull their troops away, we don’t want to be occupying you but you still need us, we’re going to choose your rebellion leader for you, Karzai’s a trustworthy guy, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s retrieval artist series, alien laws, The Disappeared, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, apotheosis, science fiction properties, The Way Of The Pilgrim by Gordon Dickson, Jesse is ruined, smaller versions of us, you’re not worthy, the Dread Empire series by Walter Jon Williams, a parody of Paul’s writing would need “Shenanigans Happen” “you have to tweet that”, Will is sated by this conversation.

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Inside Earth by Poul Anderson

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #667 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #667 – The Wonderful Adventures Of Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold – read by Phil Benson. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (15 hours 47 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons.

Talked about on today’s show:
1890, The Illustrated London News, the ERBzine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, September 1945, a pattern, the book was difficult, incidents happen, Phra has a servant strangle a dude, who could forget that scene?, the love of his red-haired life, a lot of strangling going on, Gulliver Of Mars by Edwin Lester Arnold, definitely shorter, a pretty impressive magazine, there’s money in these illustrations, a 1960s BBC audio drama, 114,000 word version vs. the 90,000 word version, Everett Franklin Bleiler, farmer in Canada, journalist, time travel via reincarnation, H. Rider Haggard, he gets his head lopped off, he’s in a certain time and then he comes back, he sleeps, Rip Van Winkle, bodily resurrected, why they think he’s a saint, C.M. Kornbluth’s The Marching Morons, Buck Rogers, to cover it in enough detail to know what its about, Jesse’s game is very off, Blodwin, a witch princess bought from pirates, sacrificed by the druids, his strange change, a magical serpent that will take him through time, present at the Norman conquest, the late Tudor Times, poison, a mid Victorian blusterer, Haggard’s worst, as a collector, is Blodwin a witch?, coming back as a ghost, magical powers, suicide, the Twelfth Night sequence, charmed, really fun, beautiful, hey, this tastes bitter, not great, studying for vocabulary, what’s a “virago”?, “kirtle”, what are “kine”?, kine are cows, corn = grain, long and tedious, longer than it needed to be, a Haggard rip-off?, Haggardish, pseudo mysticism, talking to a Buddhist about this book, Theosophy, woo woo, he likes kissing more than Haggard does, so much focused on the romance, romance being kissing vs. romance being exotic locations and ancient mysteries, like Indiana Jones with way more kissing, to be very sentimental about English, Paul is upset at Jesse, She, love triangle, guilt, Casca The Eternal Mercenary, Jesus curses him, he can’t be killed, a Saxon noble, Highlander: The Series, a mythology of that person, accents are changing and languages are drifting, almost a comedy, we’re way more with it than he is, maybe *this* is happening, the other characters are more interesting than Phra, tracking the legend of this guy, so doofusy, people would make note and they do, a saint, there is no plot outside of the character having these incidents, the grey man, all this time I missed it!, a result of serialization?, the last Phoenician, no swearing by Canaanite gods, Boat Of A Million Years by Poul Anderson, an more sophisticated version of this, Bram Stoker’s Jewel Of Seven Stars, Katharine Kerr, Claire O’Dell, done better by better writers, talk about TV, Forever Knight, a vampire cop in Toronto, New Amsterdam via @pulpcovers, katanas and ninjas and samurai, katanas are out and giant manga anime swords are in, Paul used a gladius in his past life, The Immortal, Washington Irving, going under the hill and coming out in another time, this book is ok, exciting parts, scenes and images and premises, the steam-engine monster, like a videogame, cut-scene, disjointed, lots of tributes, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, looking for stuff to roast, Ivanhoe is pro-everything, one of the themes is slavery, you’re buying a slave cuz she’s pretty, why didn’t he just kill the pirate?, kill the bastard, Phra is an asshole, he’s a monarchist, he’s an imperialist, slave life, Girth, H. Rider Haggard is adventure today, Walter Scott is hey these were beautiful times, slavery was fine and cool, an eternal mercenary, swearing themselves to whatever local government is around to keep the status quo, there’s always an elite, adopted the manners of a knight, in this mission you’re going to go be a knight, times with this country lady, he’s becoming the wise old man as he’s grown up, written at the height of Empire, would you read another?, not a blind buy, Lepidus The Centurion: A Roman Of Today, an individuation story, more of that, the same idea, past life shit, why isn’t Paul isn’t obsessed with ancient Aztecs?, writing as thinking, really good writing as telepathy, Arnold wanted to be a Saxon lord, the Lord of the Hunt, enjoying courtesy, dispensing courtesy to strangers, freeing all their serfs, it’s what a man can do, orientalist, a good insult, how people lived and thought in 1890, wine gets better with age forever, old stories always get better as we get distance from them (as a piece of interest), as close to time travel as we can really get, he’s going to go to the future!, as told Arnold him by Phra, 1921 to 2060, write some Phran (Phra fan fiction), Barenaked Ladies; It’s All Been Done, Will is from the 1990s, “Weird Al” Yankovic is very meta, The Big Bang Theory, a space opera.

Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold - New York Putnam

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

Famous Fantastic Mysteries - Phra The Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

H. M. Paget illustration for THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PHRA THE PHOENICIAN

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The SFFaudio Podcast #662 – READALONG: Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #662 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Lawful Good, a novella, 1953, 1961, Appendix N, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, garish sky, the alignment stuff in D&D, the axes on the alignment, true neutral, lawful, neutral, chaotic, cosmic battle, all the problems Jesse had with Dungeons & Dragons, its ideology, a war between the baddies and the goodies, the lawful forces and the forces of discord, implying our reality, mapped as evil, our swanmaid, lots of grey, the framing story, playing the lawful good role in both worlds, hence he’s a paladin, everybody has to pick an alignment, neutral evil thief and a lawful good paladin, deliciously great roleplay, sticks in their mud, a good role player takes that to heart, character drama, flexible morals, against the enemy of his god, an impediment to the adventure and the swashbuckling vs. character dramas, so codified, the rules are there to be discarded, the rules are there to help you, the one true way, a meta-game, applying it to human beings, Captain America is Lawful Good, Spiderman is just plain good, everything is way more complicated than that, the nine different possibilities, Odo in the top left hand corner, Gul Dukat in the bottom right hand corner, Quark is neutral good, what constitutes these things, a grievance against Gary Gygax, this whole matter of France mythology, Charlemagne, Anthony Boucher’s introduction, “the possible and the impossible”, science fantasy, Groff Conklin, Great Folk Epic, The Vault Of Time, H. Rider Haggard, The Incomplete Enchanter, Fletcher Pratt, L. Sprague De Camp, Roland, travel between worlds, taking from Matters, martial paladin focused, a different kind of heroism, riddles, the outer narrator, not that great a book, a grab bag of different adventures, the order of the episodes, the creatures in the woods, a bear, a lion, an owl, material to furnish, very cozy, bookending the story, Edgar Rice Burroughs, later serialized in F&SF: Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, a dwarf and a lady princess, transported to a fairy realm, more playfully comic, not a humour piece, the portal aspect, a museum in England, more of a satire, a fantasy romp, does Jesse just not like fantasy?, unstructured, romping around, referencing, Graustark, another Zenda ripoff, playing around, a quest, The Wizard Of Oz, he stole that too, a crossover episode, more time with the Dane bicycling around Europe, WWII adventures, chaos vs. law, a force for law in all the worlds, he had saved Niels Bohr, the audiobook, Bronson Pinchot, a slog via text, Huckleberry Finn, accents in the text, Danish accent?, the drift, an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, the dumb Scandinavian, pumps you up like McBain, read more H. Rider Haggard, Eric Brighteyes, the point of the story, a straightforward muscleman, the ladies think he’s very sexy, be a sophisticate, ElvenQuest, one of the these fantasy authors, eight book in the series, contempt for his audience, the “chosen one”, his dog is transformed into a human, all about the stereotypes, the fantasy enchanted forest with a silly name, the trolls work the same in both ways, about the tropes, the evil point of view, he’s got your eyes, the ur version of that, if you make it a comedy…, humorous but not a comedy, Stephen Mangan, the Dirk Gently TV show, problematic stuff?, the Swanmaiden, cat-fighting, every D&D player, troll regeneration, Tolkien’s trolls in The Hobbit, entertaining, the Wild Hunt, fatalistic pessimism, elegiac, The Broken Sword, contemplative vs. upbeat, things to notice, Bertrand Russell, Logical Positivism, this is a real guys, this is real guys, most things in philosophy are massive failures, history is the study of failures, reaching in a way that Dunsany doesn’t, going Catholic in the end, he’s picking a team, Christianity is a true religion, assuming medieval role, team order, he believes in beer, kind of all over, crafting vs. spinning, Tolkien vs. Anderson, crafted vs. a product of craft, a Poul Anderson Planet Stories story, going in to fight chaos, the length?, the werewolf and the witch and the nixie, collecting a crew, the dwarf just shows up, the Muslim knight, Papillon, no payoff, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, a satire, the analog for Papillon, mental energy, maybe mind was transferred into the body of another guy, what is the explanation?, magic, interesting, not just a secondary world fantasy, not enough to justify anything, why do I need this entrance into this world?, a payoff in a meta-way, konking, Guardians Of The Flame by Joel Rosenberg, the opening sequence and the first episode of the Dungeons And Dragons cartoon, I know spells I guess, hey look there’s Tiamat, a lost Scandinavian epic, writing in that vein, the meta-setup, quasi-science, a grab bag of different ideas, Vancian magic, Jeffro Johnson’s Appendix N, finally the explanation, the ideology of alignment, if we impose this on the system, Darth Vader is Lawful Evil, Jabba is Chaotic Evil, Anakin as a kid is Neutral?, can kids have alignment?, age of maturity age of reason, suddenly I’m neutral evil, something wrong with this system, Hoger?, name conveniently placed on the saddle, saddlebag stuff, not the most law-abiding type, the outer-narrator’s explanation, God has provided, the “balance” of the Force, like magic, implying the universe comes up with that, a meta-flaw, as soon as Obi Wan Kenobi spins up a bunch of lies, Ming the Merciless, a roguish guy, neutral good, when Obi Wan was lying to you he was doing it for a good reason, Yoda on Dagobah, Zen koans, don’t go into that cave, don’t save your friends, that stuff was stupid, tear it all down, abandoning the alignment system is so meta, we need it to to have a film, a conflict of good vs. evil is replaced by a conflict with the alignment system itself, broken from the beginning, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are thieves, neutral at best, Paul’s range of alignment only includes good and neutral, are there people who you want to spend time with who play lawful evil?, tear it all down, for NPCs, if we go to Ivanhoe, the restoration of law, fighting an evil law makes you chaotic, confine the alignment system to lawyers offices, the Duke boys on The Dukes Of Hazzard, Boss Hogg is evil but lawful, want to steal Daisy Duke’s cutoffs, the top of their car is evil, what knights really are, they’re samurais, very egoistic, the heraldic crest, all very fun, villain means serf, taking the sides of the elites, ultimately there’s something wrong, fantasy is dangerous, God brought him his horse, hence his conversion to Catholicism, when God gives Jesse a horse he’ll have to convert to Catholicism, the super-fantasy element, the escapist element, what he was doing in his own life was interesting enough, finding a way back, looking through Grimoires, shouted out in The Number Of The Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, a podcast we recorded seven months ago, The Pursuit Of the Pankera, giant problems, way longer, all science fiction and fantasy is in it, they 666 worlds, parallel universes, more time on Barsoom, more time in Oz, E.E. Doc Smith’s Galactic Patrol, not your best intro to Heinlein, go with Glory Road or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, the book that broke Paul, Star Ship, Tau Zero, Sargasso Of Lost Starships, Flight To Forever, Brain Wave, The High Crusade, a fun idea story that’s not too long, Virgin Planet, terrorbirds, The Golden Slave, Lord Of A Thousand Suns, Out Of The Iron Womb, Swordsman Of Lost Terra, Tiger By The Tail, stuck into Thieves’ World, Inside Earth by Poul Anderson.

SPHERE - Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #654 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #654 – Star Ship by Poul Anderson; read by Paul Harvey (for LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 32 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, Fall 1950, the description therein, The strangest space castaways of all!, weirdly medieval, the life-boat cracked up, an AI that rebelled against them, this episode of Star Trek Voyager, all simulation, Paul unleashed, “The Paradise Syndrome”, not good depictions of Native Americans, C.J. Cherryh’s the Foreigner series, 12 novels vs. 90 minutes, padded vs. lean and mean, the backstory is all in here, a two part Voyager episode, Star Trek The Next Generation, an episode of The Orville, time works differently down there, Interstellar (2014), “Blink Of An Eye”, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, “Mad Idolatry”, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Ted Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God, accelerated rate vs. accelerated time, all they needed was a remote control, Aliens (1986), the orbiting Sulaco, their away mission included the entire crew, Apollo 11, you gotta leave Michael Collins up there, subspace vortex, your people with your equipment, one in a billion chance, one ion storm, wrong timeline?, what Heinlein did, Poul Anderson’s complete psychotechnic league, the third story, Flandry, egalitarian, looser, Sandra Miesel, Startling Stories, Winter 1955, back in the early 1940s Robert A. Heinlein let it be known, The Snows Of Ganymede, a bare outline, fantasy and prophecy, the first 250 years, 2875, The Star Ways, some of them are as yet unwritten, Cold Victory wasn’t published until the 1980s, Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Arnold J. Toynbee, anthropoid robot invented, anti-robot riots, a historical view, a me discovering this, psychodynamics was created, the early death of Dwight D. Eisenhower. U.S. Socialism in the 1950s, like Asimov’s psychohistory, influence government policy and popular attitudes, his own Foundation, uncomfortable questions, realism vs. idealism, Anderson’s political beliefs, he reversed his strong support for the United Nations, more cynical, cycles of history, libertarian?, internationalist, individualist, any other stories, a reversal of The High Crusade, capes, cannons, siege engines, medieval futuristic, Jack Vance, only three generations, a mix of elements, The Dragon Masters, worldbuilding happened outside of the plot, like reading Heinlein, he has a plan, Friday is set in the same universe as Farmer In The Sky, part of a greater universe, reading his openings more than once, nobody with amnesia,

With sunset, there was rain. When Dougald Anson brought his boat in to Krakenau harbor, there was only a vast wet darkness around him.

the aliens when we get to them, fur with clothes, he swished his tail, my gosh look at that alien!,

The Khazaki was humanoid, to be sure—shorter than the Terrestrial average, but slim and lithe. Soft golden fur covered his sinewy body, and a slender tail switched restlessly against his legs. His head was the least human part of him, with its sloping forehead, narrow chin, and blunt-muzzled face. The long whiskers around his mouth and above the amber cat-eyes twitched continuously, sensitive to minute shifts in air currents and temperature. Along the top of his skull, the fur grew up in a cockatoo plume that swept back down his neck, a secondary sexual characteristic that females lacked.

the original art, it just looks like a mohawk, this picture is from right near the end of the story, funny things going on in the background, a little post-medieval, the Khazaki – Kozakis – Cossacks, in the analogue that is Poul Anderson’s brain, Japanese, Scandanavian guy, lucky, plot magic, a lot of females, Ching Chun Chen aka Ensign Kim, taught astrogation from her grandfather, our Conan figure, prematurely old looking, a forehead scar, had many women attracted to him (including the native women), L. Sprague de Camp, rishathra, cultural vs. wenching,

He looked away, his face hot in the gloom, realizing suddenly why Masefield Carson hated him. Briefly, he wished he hadn’t had such consistent luck with women. But the accident that there was a preponderance of females in the second and third generations of Khazaki humans had made it more or less inevitable, and he—well, he was only human. There’d been Earthling girls; and not a few Khazaki women had been intrigued by the big Terrestrial. Yes, I was lucky, he thought bitterly. Lucky in all except the one that mattered. Right after, Anse felt a small hand laid on his arm. He looked down into the dark eyes of DuFrere Marie. She was a pretty girl, a little younger than he, and until he’d really noticed Ellen he’d been paying her some attention.

“I don’t care about equality,” she whispered. “A woman shouldn’t try to be a man. I’d want only to cook and keep house for my man, and bear his children.”

It was, Anse realized, a typical Khazaki attitude. But—he remembered with a sudden pity that Carson had been courting Marie. “This is pretty tough on you,” he muttered. “I’ll try to see that Carse is saved…. If we win,” he added wryly.

“Him? I don’t care about that Masefield. Let them hang him. But Anse—be careful—”

a very Conan guy, escape to the moon, I was promised a STAR SHIP, not a science fiction story in its main action, that’s what Planet Stories is about, the whole purpose is to get to another place, fun, planetary romance, a novelty, Planet Stories is way ahead, picking up on Science Fiction in the 1950s, maybe there’s something to this stuff, as opposed to romance or railroad or baseball fiction magazines, extrapolative science fiction, some real thing behind it, some scientific idea, the reason we like Dragon’s Egg, if we had a neutron-star, put in a ton of brain work, the speed of their metabolism, how do I tell it as a story, all that brainwork lends some sort of truth to the story, a mediocre story, still good, he has some stuff going on in his mind, the struggle we’ll see between the Soviets and the United States, the Moon is a tangible object in the sky, plot the mountains of the Moon, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, the Mesklinites, we’re gonna be friends, a very masculine story, give me your sword,

He added, after a moment: “A man has to stand by his comrades.”

Janazik nodded, very slowly. “Give me your sword,” he said.

“Eh?” Anse looked at him. The blue eyes were unseeing, blind with pain, but he handed over the red weapon. Janazik slipped his own glaive into the human’s fingers.

Then he laid a hand on Anse’s shoulder and smiled at him, and then looked away.

We Khazaki don’t know love. There is comradeship, deeper than any Earthling knows. When it happens between male and female, they are mates. When it is between male and male, they are blood-brothers. And a man must stand by his comrades.

they don’t have any gays on this planet, a dozen words for betrayal but not a single word for love, teach me this earth thing you call kissing, humans have to teach sex to the aliens, in the Doctor Who universe, unusual on Earth, you have sex all the time?, what’s wrong with you?, build a rocket, there is this past, the first space-boat, a vivid past, Jerry Pournelle’s King David’s Spaceship, bootstrap a spaceship, you can’t colonize us, quasi-medieval, ran in the same circles, so many ideas, starships won’t even be necessary, Peter F. Hamilton, wormhole on Mars, Pandora’s Star, rockets that grow like trees, Beowulf Schaeffer, engineered by the Pak?, interesting tidbit, fishbowl helmet, any way to get to space, living and working in space, to go to another place, international space station, The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, space is the absence of a place, what if…, raiding across the galaxy, I could make this go another way, fun stuff, similar situation, somehow the humans are the dominant ones, take out our macbooks and upload a virus, Independence Day 2 (2016), hey that H.G. Wells and the War Of The Worlds thing?, I’m doing that, a computer virus, a fun movie, waiting for the Americans doing something, Independence Day: UK, when talking to Julie Davis, the Russians won WWII in Europe, Operation Market Garden, Western front vs. Eastern front, we gotta get the Chinese market, throw in a Chinese character, Dwayne Johnson, a scene set in Seoul, Skyscraper (2018), it lands badly, if you’re building the rocket ship, spoilers and scoops and pinstripes on a rocket, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, only 90 minutes, a very small story, a little planetary romance, detailed backstory that the author knows and we can surmise, a good outline, a couple of Heinlein stories, the rise of the prophet, the crazy years, with a science fiction setting, a standard Green Odyssey sort of story, Conan/action, blood brothers, pirates, a barbarian by comparison, ringmail, a blonde mane, a sword, a higher gravity planet, how it got to be as fine as it is for a very pulpy story, really obsessed with Iceland?, he makes it work, obsessed with the norther lands, an Icelandic saga, The Man Who Came Early, Poul Anderson’s answer to Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, detail and place, I’m only going to tell stories set in the Black Forest, scandinavian history, Star Ways, he’s not top tier, consistently never terrible, Andre Norton, how did he manage to make a good story?, leaning on Conan, leaning on the same things, one of the reasons we know Howard writes so well, leaning heavily on history, almost never has magic as a major function, an evil wizard whose casting a spell, this tower is made of magic, fighting a literal god, leaning on the science, that is beauty, that’s poetic, NESFA, serviceable, very watered down mead, Njáls Saga, Netflix watch party, the Skiffy and Fanty people, Ragnarok, the final verdict, oh shit we gotta write a whole series, Netflix is planetary, Norsemen, funny silly stuff, leaning heavily on the facts of Norwegian life, its legit, the gutter of pulp, weak ass stories, a Conan pastiche, Tarzan, Hour 25, Sherlock Holmes, novels and collections, Delenda Est, the time patrol stories, more coming our all the time, the good news, finally hitting gutenberg, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Jeffro Johnson, The Broken Sword, Appendix N, a book of reviews, what they contributed to Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, Jack Vance’s magic system, if you’re a dungeon master, lift from these guys, Jerome Bixby, The Man From Earth (2007), Star Trek actors sitting in a room for 90 minutes, an ideas guy, Planet Stories, all Star Trek things, four episodes of the original Star Trek, ideas are incredibly important for science fiction, nice prose vs. characters, a crappily written story that’s interesting, a first contact protocol, teleportation aka transporters, Star Trek basics, Star Trek ideas in non-Star Trek stories, “By Any Other Name”, “Mirror, Mirror”, goateed Spock, “Day Of The Dove”, “Requiem For Methuselah”, “Galileo Seven”, a shuttle, “Metamorphosis”, mate with the giant guys who throw rocks, The Twilight Zone, “It’s A Good Life”, a good ideas story, his two tricks, somehow you can get a career, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, a staple of Jesse’s diet, a Poul Anderson, a Ray Bradbury Podcast: Bradbury 100, Science Fiction 101, more general, the Silverberg anthology (Worlds Of Wonder), an introduction to Science Fiction, old stuff, current stuff, future stuff, looking back over your life, you tripped and fell into an open grave, at night, on a Thursday, this is a good podcast, distilled it down, a novelette, Paul’s having a brain freeze because of Covid-19 and the vaccine for same, will Scott ban himself from the Baen forums, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal, Trump should make a militia, Harold Lamb, historical fiction guy, Marching Sands, Omar Khayyam: A Life, Genghis Khan: King Of All Men, need more Rubáiyát in my life, the LibriVox version is preferable, Cirsova, Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, astral projection, a professional narrator, leverage more stuff, our narrator today, like Jesse reading, the majority are pretty good, share the wealth, if pizza was still under trademark, Pizza authorized restaurant, no cheerios pizza!, let our pizzas free, champagne, parmesan, Cheddar, let people make their own pizzas, we’ve had a pizza flourishing, the ketchup on hot-dogs, its allowed, the right condiments for hotdogs, don’t lock down my hot dog, The Ship Of Ishtar by A. Merritt, Planet Stories series, Sword Of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackets, Robots Have No Tails by Leigh Brackett, Stefan Rudnicki, Johnny Heller, Nightfall And Other Stories, 40 or 50 titles, more officially public domain, 1923 was a cutoff until 2 years ago, the late 1920s pretty soon, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leonardo Dicaprio (the short guy from Titanic), push books to sell to the high schools, oh shit the copyright’s expiring, the Philip K. Dick estate, the Folio Society collection of The Complete Short Stories of Philip K. Dick, Bryan Alexander, a monstrosity, $750 for four books, Jesse’s complaints are legion, Americans tend to do that, the artistic objects, collecting old things, a half million dollar revenue project, does not include Dick’s juvenile, a handful or two handfuls not in there, lazy as fuck, the colours are fluorescent, commissioning new art, too highbrow and too generic, The Infinites, Colony, a pointless argument, people like art, these are objections for collection, like buying a sculpture, a phenomenon in art, this is a way of storing value, artificial scarcity, art as one object, not for the billionaires, above the funko pop level, The Book Of The New Sun, a new Tor version, zener card symbols are public domain, this is bad cover art, is art objective or subjective, a minimalist room, Scott doesn’t complain about art, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Kivrin, $750!, Subterranean Editions, The Best Of David Brin, The Best Of Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress.

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #651 – READALONG: Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #651 – Jesse and Alex talk about Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Talked about on today’s:
Brandon Porter, complaints about the audiobook, missing footnotes, appendixes C and D, Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979, page 224, who the hell are these guys, there’s Tolkien, John , Andrew J. Offutt, Fltcher Pratt, Face In The Frost, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, reading ideas, Paul Weimer, opposed to Castalia House, John C. Wright, chips on both guys shoulders, misplaced chips, not wanting to participate in some books, Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy, Oryx And Crake, too stuck up, complaining the whole time, authors we want nothing to do with, oh you’re a genius Margaret!, Jesse hates her, a book of book reviews, a Christian, Margaret St. Clair, “milieu”, halberd, when you learn things from books, as a professional narrator, names in fantasy books, not having pronunciation in mind, apostrophes, Tolkienesque words, all the role playing games, Gamma World, Traveler, Pathfinder, The Call Of Cthulhu, Car Wars, GURPS, the core rule books, modules, more time reading the books than playing the game, his thesis, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just Tolkien and it was never meant to be, fundamentally misunderstand the game, how clerics show up, Galadriel with cup of healing water, organized religion was missing from Middle Earth, the Hobbits don’t go to church, Denethor, heathen kings of old, worshiping, he’s a dictator, one of many inspirations, quotes, the Conan section, pastiches, Gary Gygax, the original Howard Conan wasn’t available to Gygax, people kown Conan, most people’s views of Lovecraft are just wrong, The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair and The Sign Of The Labrys, inspiration, my love my father showed when I was a tad, cloaked old men who could grant wishes, dauntless swordsman, E.C. Comics, the Satanic Panic, juvenile delinquents, ample helpings of fantasy, Andrew Lang, the Brothers Grimm, of particular inspiration, pluck kernels, good reading!, DeCamp, Pratt, Jack Vance, A. Merritt, these will help you make your gaming better, the original AD&D, a collaborative storytelling effort, dice rolling and stats, min-max munchkin play, you have to have read a bunch of stories, things you should be building on, the players limitations make the gaming less good than it could be, most of these books were on the shelf in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Williamson, publishing, the changing media, talking about movies and TV shows and computer games, pop culture is POPULAR, Stranger Things, True Detective, True Crime, locking a kid in the closet with no books, D&D has become its own incestuous thing, Forgotten Realms, wide open fantasy sandbox, engines to make other games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pool Of Radiance, Pool Of Darkness, Wizardry (on the Apple II), Fallout 3, step out into the wasteland, dependent on a really good Dungeon Master, adventures around every corner, the dialogue tree comes out, I wanna save this farmer, I wanna steal the farmer’s pants, the immaturity of the players, DMing is a skill, like Frisbee, cooperative, THACO, Star Trek Voyager, Naomi Wildman, a kid’s adventure holodeck program, nerfed, magical forest, Neelix, the creatures of the forest recognize Janeway, the ideal form of Dungeons & Dragons, your inventory, torch schedule, Darkest Dungeon, you have enough torches, the rope store, Fallout‘s inventory system, the creativity and the flow, how do we let our players have that same kind of adventure, domain play, tier 1 play, a town or country you kind of run, spouses and retainers, a bigger magic sword, New Vegas, post apocalyptic, stories around every corner, bottlecap currency, what we want is the story, whatever mechanics are there, leveling up, new spells new attacks more attacks, achievement unlocked, a real scholar now, awards, you’re a real boy now, army promotions, Eisenhauer is needed, a false understanding of what we’re here to do, the sense of awe, the first time playing Dungeon & Dragons, lead figures, carrying about what colour dice they have, getting a glimpse of Tsathoggua through a keyhole, console games, computer games, like reading a really good book but completely different, I killed a demon, I am a demon, a more advanced version of cops and robbers, go down to the basement, these dice say I hit you for double damage, FPS, all shooting games, Portal, it breaks what you thought was possible, The Long Dark, making mittens, zen meditative, achieving balance, murder hobos, wilderness adventure, one dungeon, not a lot of dragons, two dragons in twenty years, what we need to do as dungeon masters, what players need to do as players, can I stab this or set it on fire, a character with massive charisma, make friends with the monsters, combat oriented, the epic moments, inter-dimensional travel, you can become a god, Leah Libresco [Back Again From The Broken Land], intelligence, wisdom, strength, in real life, we don’t have the player character sheet at all, keep it under the hood, extra speech options, you are less involved, do you even lift, bro?, a suit of armor because suit of armor, Age Of Conan, I got a dagger, a fur diaper, and maybe some boots, a flagon of wine and a girl, World Of Warcraft, mount armor, change the world, Knights Of The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, guilds, all these titles, oh you wanted to buy bread?, the game doesn’t care, when games are capable of caring, an anti-perk: gravedigger, the orc said: I know you of old…, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a one way gate to the Pliocene, exporting criminals to the past, giant toadstool forests, megafauna, visiting aliens with psychic powers, almost all based on Julian May’s interest in geology and history, the Wild Hunt, accommodateable, straight sci-fi, all through the lens of Tolkien, Greyhawk and Dragonlance, Krynn, kinder instead of hobbits, dragon people, Vancian magic, you don’t understand the building blocks, to have the internet back then, so much is public domain, a blogpost in 2014, so much of it has never been republished, what is actually great, what’s being pushed by a publisher, the cult of the new, nothing from before 1987, The Professionals (1966) with Lee Marvin, Dave Arneson, self-enforcing mythology, Charisma Zero (2013), a player is getting divorced, the hipster is way to cool, what made him a loser, some genuine reality going on there, its a lifestyle, live and breathe Dungeons & Dragons is kinda sad and kinda amazing, the first modules, GenCon, where’s Wisconsin, Tomb Of Annihilation, a meat grinder simulator, Jason Thompson’s D&D module poster maps, 37 species of zoogs, the dreamlands, there used to be kinds of stories, it can’t be done without irony anymore, no-one can write it that way anymore, subverting expectations, a lack of planetary romance, August Derleth, The Trail Of Cthulhu, more of what you had, a magic wand, take what you can get, sad puppies, the Hugo Awards contest, John C. Wright, the popular clique, your ability to get into people’s hands, a list of old books, old fiction, some of them sounded pretty weak, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, cigaretty voice, World Of Teirs by Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner F. Fox, a really innovative way, a very small organization, I want more people to read Gardner F. Fox, connected to comics, Crom his Conan ripoff, old-school pulp author, only five?, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, The Moon Moth, The Dragonmasters, Planet Of Adventure, a kind of depth to his worlds, a plaster castle held up by two by fours vs. a velvet tapestry with a stone wall with grout made from goblin bones, sketching out a world with a few lines, footnotes, Jorge Luis Borges, granular detail, Philip K. Dick wrote a lot about spies, Mr Jim Moon’s show on Piper In The Woods, set in the pacific during WWII, Seabees, I’m a plant, how dryads reproduce, Typee by Herman Melville, a garden of Eden, it takes 20 minutes to build a house vs. pull ropes and get hit with the lash all day, Poul Anderson, The High Crusade is so fun, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, Dwellers In The Mirage by A. Merritt, vikings at the North Pole, ragging on Michael Moorcock, why people liked Elric, navel gazing, so sad, I murdered a bunch of people now I’m sad about it, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, Manly Wade Wellman, A Martian Odyssey, fabulously science fictional, spaceships, a virtual reality story in the 1930s, totally inspirational reading, Andre Norton, read this list as inspiration for your own campaign, the concept of this book, the foundations most people don’t realize are there, this is where I got some ideas, ruleset, where do all the other rules plug in, the monks were added because kung-fu was so popular, illuminating a manuscript vs. a Shaw Brothers character, more books like this, as we discussed in October, a book of Star Trek literary references posts, Arena by Fredric Brown, microphones for eyes, Darmok, Gilgamesh + Arena, Picard would, post-scarcity communist future allows us to read Gilgamesh and archaeology, lifts from literature, lifts from themselves, that idea worked, lets do our version of it, Stuart J. Byrne, he Kirked the computer, V’Ger, The Changeling, Nomad, his influence shows up in the first star trek, The Doomsday Machine, Fred Saberhagen, the Berserkers, hey I read Tolkien and I have a elves and goblins in a forest, break out of that mold, Portal 2, the Logic Bomb, this sentence is false, the cake is a lie, it becomes more of what it is, Doom and Wolfenstein and Spear Of Destiny, its short, literally out of the box thinking, it’s amazing, things can be different, a tavern with an old man giving you a mission, Lord Dunsany’s The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, The Book Of Wonder, gnoles vs. gnolls, Jesse’s favourite kind of Dungeons & Dragons, Thief, old game books, like choose your own adventure with dice, play honest with the book, the gap between the two, a regular novel is completely linear, game books, told in second person, we are so luckly right now, scanning books, finding them and buying them, way more of this and a lot less Tolkien ripoffs, a late 80s, really grimdark, Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein, you can just read Scalzi, you don’t need to read Heinlein, 2,000 pages of his inspired by Starship Troopers book, Farmer In The Sky, every book was different, why do we have to have another series?, that publishing drive, a sequel hook, advertising a one-off book, “listen Larry Niven if you write just one more Ringworld book we can bring Ringworld back into print”, from 1979 onward, The Martian by Andy Weir, only four or five years old, these things did happen, thinking along parallel lines, the requisite map, you just told me you know noting and I don’t need to read you, that’s just geography, picking up these cues, treating it like a science, arbitrary rules, Lost, what’s in the hatch?, that Sullivan guy, just good set dressing, J.J. Abrams has not content, M. Night Shyamalan, Heroes went nowhere, Star Wars and Star Trek, we as readers need to be chintzy with our attention, where are your bonafides, that’s not how you pronounce Suleiman the magnificent, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, egret vs. eaglet, we’re conjuring up things with our mouths, a Savage Sword Of Conan plot, Finnish Eskimos? The Summi?, favourite campaigns, a buried dead god they’re trying to resurrect, a turn based dungeon crawl, a quasi-medieval setting, the sanity system, confronted by trauma, gain a mania or a depressive problem, prayer or tavern or wenching, all narrated by Wayne June, The Ancestor is evil, from The Rats In The Walls, Darkest Dungeon 2, computer games tend to get better, becoming more what they are, a hybrid experience.

Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson

Dungeon Master's Guide

@Algncs' Appendix N Bookshelf

Appendix N by Gary Gygax

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