The SFFaudio Podcast #709 – Souvenir by Philip K. Dick; read by Mike Vendetti
This unabridged reading of the story (31 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Mike Vendetti
talked about on today’s show:
Fantastic Universe, October 1954, editorial introductions, the teaser, Williamson’s World, logically motivated self-interest, admired and widely read, blind self seeking, the editor, Leo Margulies, robes and university campuses, Upon The Dull Earth, cedars and walking around, attention span, a typical Philip K. Dick story, questioning the logic and assumptions of empire, Dick is criticizing the galactic polity, they literally nuke the planet, they genocide them, without irony, the Empire Of Man by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, by any means necessary, destroy the village in order to save it, homogeneity, Time Out Of Joint, one happy world, alignment, technology, a repressive troweling to a bland sameness, really ideological, eight things, gunboat diplomacy for cultural hegemony, if you don’t share those values, should information be shared, inventions being public domain, share all inventions across cultures, choosing technology, the Amish engagement with technology, an unexamined choice, globalization, one big world, the end of history, should cultures keep pace, AP Human Geography, who’s making these metrics?, the goal of all societies, the UN Human Development Index, is Williamson’s World post scarcity, they seem to LARP, the Klingons are an advanced post-scarcity society that got bored and started to LARP, a lot of time on their hands, the frontier, Mr. Spaceship, the way out of cultural decadence, the silk road, interesting fusions and developments, the Ming dynasty, crafts, back to Galactic Pot-Healer, make that jewelry, The Man In The High Castle, infantryman, page 48, ten minutes later, Corporal Pete Matson, blast rifle, instructions will follow from his relay web, the hill disintegrated into dust, his supple body alert, airborne, perfectly good spacecraft, ROTC class, dropped his wooden gun and never came back, Starship Troopers before Starship Troopers, the dream of all those generals during the atomic years, people living on Mars, what we see going on in Ukraine, Sun Tzu: you don’t destroy the fortress you want to own or inhabit, what Putin has done in Ukraine, The Art Of War by Sun Tzu, 3,000 year old wisdom, like there’s nothing of value there, hey honey what are you doing back, two souvenirs, planting his nuke mines, bought them from people on the planet, the wooden cup, nothing remains, surprise!, Pete!, special leave, 48 hours, suitcase, souvenir gathering, a Japanese head in their dufflebag, I’ll take what you want, did he buy the bolt of cloth?, spoils of war, dufflebag, a travelling salesman, more explicit, more like a business, strictly business, how’s school, another cold, military secret, a handmade wooden drinking cup, something that reminds you of a different place, he writes whole stories based on a tiny little incident, a snowglobe story, The Crystal Crypt, the writing shack, there’s no different place, where would he have picked that up?, an archaic word, how plausible this story’s premise is, Paycheck, these little tangible objects are really significant and substantial, no other authors are interested in, the everyday object on the mantle that has profound implications, obsessive interest in art, the creation and repairing of ceramics, the fake guns, the authentic and the inauthentic, the jewelry, yin yang symbols, you contemplate this thing and it can shift your reality, a fascinating philosophical topic, that’s to drink out of, plastic cups, a great folded cloth, “picked this up cheap”, contraband, you’re not supposed to have a Japanese soldier’s head in your dufflebag, everybody’s doing, a whole different world, a whole different concept, Pete Matson beamed, foreign lands, Paul banned from an Italian McDonalds, the shame, not our world, what the internet relay, Roger’s Lecture, Dark Eyed Girl, electric cars, relay coordinates, you hooked on to the web, the internet in 1954, a regulated internet, this is the technology, no need to replicate an experiment, no time to do that, all cultures have to keep up, the Amish, they’re always saying here’s a new technology, cell phone? what is this English technology, we’ve seen the internet and we’re not that into it, discord, get off discord this is class, the greatest thing ever, why aren’t you on tic tock?, snapchat, growing up in a culture, I’m accustomed to the uniform galactic culture, relay = internet, a radically different social stage, a brief story, an infodump (page 44), a hundred people can’t manage, weaving and dyeing, communication and sewage and medical agencies, terra of the 21st century, an archaic culture, co-ordinated, we prefer it, keep pace with the general trend, a uniformity of development, integrates the valued factors, the machine is the development of the tool, power ratio, tools into machines, if you reject machinery you reject man’s essential key, accepting all technology, rejecting your essential nature, genocide a planet for being Amish, a sentimental interest in the novel, the unique, the handmade, cheap food, a schism, reconcile do our two things, automate my entire home, local folk dances are inferior, country granola cruncher, let Alexa run your house, handicrafts in the basement, driven by a robot pilot, ladies dried up and old and hot and young, local food, here are our demands, ham fisted story, novel length ideas in a super short story, new car every four years, planned obsolescence, tube era vs. transistor era, repairshop, illegal to fix your own stuff, a plastic cover under the hood to make it look neat, a German automaker, hoods are only to be opened at the dealer, a sealed iPhone, don’t fix it throw it away, credit for a new phone, stuck in the eco-system, we’ll fucking nuke you, larping around, duels, clan, a medieval Westworld, Williamson Jr., self-aware much, Gene Williamson, land and women, prestige, like the medieval jousts, separate deity?, a vague animism, we retire, some kind of dancing, we devote a lot of time producing drama, murals, rough wood, we have a big pigment industry, materials for doing their art, really self-aware, Worf: “I’m going to have to have my head ridges pumped up by Doctor Pulaski after this shift. Captain, you may be interested in how my head ridges are a tradition going back several generations”, fatalistic, nobody who is an animist says I’m a vague animist, primitive rockets, the head of the family, we all go get ourselves kid for no reason, Dr. Futurity, zapped to the future, Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, indians going back in time, everyone’s young, as soon as they get sick or injured they just die, best gametes, static and stagnant culturally, live to fight clan battles, samurais from middle ages Japan, the reality their born into, Tokugawa samurais are larping, bureaucratic jobs, dandies going to opera, what turns them into the Japanese of WWII, banzai charges, a very dangerous larp, married to a kamikaze (he didn’t come back), come back with your shield or on it (Spartan culture), where’s my rumspringa, so superior a place?, we’re hyper-competent, move to Cuba, people actually do move to Cuba, Korean war-era crime novels, some people didn’t just come back, they just stayed in Korea as defectors, defectors effect you, emigrating out of your country, what is so awesome over there that I need to go?, you can’t move into Japan, what is it?, is their culture superior, you’re not even allowed to question, where did you get that material, this will spark something, a party conversation, the seed, U.S. government doesn’t care about the amish, still lots of things to bulldoze, the Amish engage (vs. embrace) capitalism, Amish trucks, choosing to not engage with capitalism, immune to gas prices, they make their own fertilizer, a sketch, very good story by Mr. P.K. Dick, so different, such weird characters, steal him away and have sex with him, we’re a patriarchy, we’re in a patriarchy and I’m the head of the household, Roger and Matson, take issue, a homogeneous culture, ancient Rome, different cultures to deal with, what’s Dick’s impression of the Roman Empire, the black iron prison, the Roman Empire never ended, universal homogeneous culture, who’s a Roman, everyone who is not a slave is made a citizen, too harsh on Dick, Arnold J. Toynbee, problems with Toynbee, a Prester John story, if we found Prester John’s story today, Wakanda except its Prester John, a capitalist realism, aren’t these people quaint, they are the fifth block, Traveller (RPG), seeded throughout the galaxy, a giant galactic empire, as man does, culture shock, colonizing the galaxy, here’s the pioneer, Roanoke colony suddenly reappeared, the premise of the story, we’d destroy anything to avoid war, bickering provinces, we lack the vary concept of variation, the idea itself must remain unknown, semantic correlates, hints and verbal leads, the logic of the nation state, language politics, you must learn the national language, a bit preposterous at times, at work in many nation states, war is a result of cultural difference, absolutely not true, child brides, keeping everything the same, what do they have these patrol ships for?, its not war when we are nuking our own people, pax Britannica, police action in Asia, Mike you wanna come?, MacArthur, nation states make this case all the time, we must supress cultural difference, body bags, in terms of bloodshed, melting pot vs. mosaic (multiculturalism), festival du bois, traditional costumes, rustic music, french immersion schools, official, cultural homogenization, a less bulldozery method, cultural funds through the government, application for government funding for your culture is a big thing in Canada, gamefied, doing it on your own, nuances that don’t fit into Philip K. Dick’s story, the hammer of overseas gunboat diplomacy, cultural holiday, earth day (April 22), suppressing Lenin’s hundredth birthday?, the population bomb, you poor have to have fewer children, arbor day, making earth day for the whole plane, plant trees, may day, investigate it, way to conspiracy theory, Lenin was a big deal in the Soviet Union, celebrations for their heroes, 4/20, apply for money to get your giant marijuana cigarette, conspiracies actually do happen, Hunter Biden’s laptop, its a private company, posting something that was true, it was conspiracy fact, who are you going to believe me or your lying eyes, a quagmire, we were always doing it, fewer people are drinking the kool-aid, Jonestown as a larp, a dead action role playing game, 20th century Bushido code, after WWII Bushido, revive this Bushido spirit, seppuku, yakuza, government checks, an alternative way to go, Hells Angels spelled their name wrong, we know we don’t care, they like it, they have to egage with capitalist realism, we know we are drinking ourselves to death but we like it, going through with things, commitment we can appreciate,
Yakuza guy: “Yes I know I don’t have to cut off my finger because my boss told me I did a bad job on whatever assignment I was given, but I already have…a full body sleeve of tattoos so I might as well snip it off. Because what is the other way to go? I don’t want to play League of Legends all day and Wordle’s just not doing it for me.”
, Masons, Elks, Shriners, fraternal organizations have gone belly up, the motorcycle clubs keep going, special forces motorcycle clubs, subversive people, since they did away with the draft, a military of mercenaries, you can’t afford to get out, you make too much money, become a consultant, another word for a mercenary, fantastic!
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