The SFFaudio Podcast #471 – Out Of The Earth by Arthur Machen; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (21 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Mr Jim Moon.
Talked about on today’s show:
the proper pronunciation of Machen, Arthur Llewellyn Jones, Up Under The Roof by Manly Wade Wellman, apprentice journalist, The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, The Lost Club, Reading, Short And Deep, identicals, a Hellfire Club, a big scary black book, never heard from again, a very weird story, truly as the first weird fiction author, Edgar Allan Poe, cosmicism, Mr Weird, H.P. Lovecraft, “it is this”, M.R. James, bedrock authors, Machen lived this stuff, a real-life magical society, the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, W.B. Yates, a genuine mystic, landscape, in the modern world people see things on the surface and don’t apprehend the meaning, meta narrative, the interior story, so deeply framed, so nested, the hoopla surrounding The Bowmen, it’s not the story, the story is not the story, the story is the effect of the story, embarrassed by the story, a disappointment, surprisingly funny, a bit of whimsy, the early weeks of WWI, a ray of hope, taken as a genuine report from the front line, the Angel of the Mons, fighting the tide, how rumours take hold without any evidence, “snow on your boots”, reading it a straight up, a weird meta-fiction, pre-Borges, this sounds familiar, so popular, side projects, tales, stories, a meme, fascinating, how many Machens?, not a good story, T.P.’s Weekly, November 22nd, 1915, the retreat from Mons (August 1914), September 1914, six months later, weird podcasts, Tin Foil Hat Podcast, part of being an adult is being interested in the truth, conspiracy, half of capitalism, Clinton and Pizzagate, really fucked up things going on in government, punishment for plebs, a Clinton, New York child sex scandal, in the memory, it couldn’t be killed, all the letters Machen got, death threats, bottom up stories and top down stories, Russia! Russia! Russia!, collaborating or colluding, a conspiracy theorist, the person who testified who can’t be found, the Russian rumor, reports of Russian troops seen in Britain, a plague of spies, Cossacks at train stations heading south, a huge flap, a third myth, the Rape of Belgium, a rumour among German troops, resisting the invasion, buckets full of eyes, necklaces of German soldiers’ eyeballs, breasts cut off, every conceivable atrocity, a British censor on war time reports, the liars did very well, James Hayward’s Myths And Legends Of The First World War, German corpse factories, “the vile Hun”, fake news, the horrible little children, the Edwardian equivalent of the internet, into the papers in a round about fashion, how the nature of rumor and myth begins, transmitted in times of uncertainty and trouble, official news sources, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, they’re all correct, CIA infiltration of news agency [and MI5 screening of BBC], a lack of news, filling the gap with whatever they can find, the whole Russia story, 13 Russian trolls, Facebook ads, “the big gotcha moment”, the Internet Research Agency, in the business of trolling (for money), fake accounts, we have these rubes, for commercial purposes, Trump somehow helped the Russians hack the DNC servers?, borders mean nothing to the ultra-rich, puppets, Bernie-bro,
“army recruiters reported problems in explaining the origins of [WWI] in legalistic terms” hence an evolution in tactics, or different tactics for different classes, or the intellectual vs. the visceral
posters from 1914 and 1918
Seventy years ago your great-grandfathers and their great-grandfathers signed a document that made certain guarantees about Belgium’s neutrality.
Remember when the Germans raped their way through Belgium
this was Pearl Harbor!, why this story is so relevant, the thing that is the story, a powerful point about war, Morgan the childlike man, Castle Coch, the Red Keep, read about Belgium, and think they could haven been more than five or six years old, they were to ear what slime is to the touch, blasphemies struck like blows, a swarm of noise-some creatures, children with old men’s faces, one paragraph, Morgan to dream of Avalon, to purge himself of the fuming corruption of the streets, is this a true story?, places that are deprived and poor, the underwolves, super-predators, the Central Park five, seven fold increase in prison population, harvesting slaves, whatever new drug it is, top down or bottom up, moral panics, juvenile delinquents, hoodies, chavs, thuggish people, picked up by politicians, class war, welfare is for crack and knives, mainstream news, rock and roll, Beatles records, video nasties, horror comics, Dungeons & Dragons, video game violence, Trayvon Martin, manipulate the facts, the funny children, is Machen starting another story?, this is how I make this stuff up, the myth of the JD (juvenile delinquent), teddy boys, rockers, mods, a Bank Holiday British tradition, Quadrophenia, arguments about-for-and-against education, bad seeds, evil children, The Midwich Cuckoos, teenage hoodlums, Graham Greene’s The Destructors, free rides, sticking it to the man, sense of power, community centers, midnight basketball, psychology, the irresistible impulse to knock over a house of cards, the impulse for destruction, they just came in from Siberia, a train ride from Scotland, the British, Americans, and Canadians invade Siberia to try to reverse the Russian Revolution, The Sandbaggers, the rumour becomes the reality, wanting to believe the legend, not caring about evidence, fossilized in this story, what Robert E. Howard calls the little people, elves and trolls and gremlins, from fantasy to fake news, fake fairies, a strange new power, The Novel Of The Black Seal, The Novel Of The White Powder, Panther paperback, terrible cruel dwarf elves, the horror of war, he took a long time to get there, what’s this mention of Belgium, the worst swearword known in the galaxy, a weird momentum, the story has to keep replicating, the introduction to The Bowmen And Other Stories, the answer of course is in the question, struggles in truth in news, false, the seedbed for new conspiracy theories, official unknown sources, trying to fill dead air, Mr Jim Moon’s Folklore On Friday articles, Krampus, absolute bullshit, Mr Jim Moon’s shows on Halloween, the received wisdom is always wrong, a new dark age, perceiving reality, where this story is set, who’s saying it, there are so many narrators, real places, Glastonbury Tor, Morgan le Fay, the myth of Avalon seems to be a bottom up story, Geoffrey Of Monmouth, Mallory, John Boorman’s Excalibur, a gel filter, the land of the fairy, Morgan le Fay is she has sex with her half brother, Mordred is killed by Arthur, Arthur is wounded and goes to the island of Avalon where he is healed by his sister and the mother of his child, how you get out of the horror of the Belgian horror, internecine war, the Kaiser and the Czar hugging each other.
The SFFaudio Podcast #407 – The Ego Network by Paul K. Willis was first broadcast on CBC Radio in the Spring of 1987 (airing on the weekend variety show, The Entertainers, hosted by Stan Carew).
“The chances are good that you’ve never heard of The Ego Television Network. caters to the world’s elite. There’s a reason for that, your’e not important enough.The Ego Television Network caters to the world’s political elite, the movers and shakers, the leaders of nations. This program offers a rare glimpse into that most private of networks, you are about to see television as you’ve never seen it before. You may never see its like again, but you will never forget The Ego Network.”
Featuring a TV morning show with Ferdinand Marcos and Jerry Falwell, a Billy Ocean ad for The Betty Ford Clinic, a game show with Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini, want ads from Idi Amin, Queen Elizabeth II, and Rudolf Hess. Mikhail Gorbachev’s game show (sponsored by the AK-47). And there’s Margaret Thatcher’s cooking show. PLUS: Muammar Gaddafi, Pik Botha, Nelson Mandela, Neil Kinnock, Jacques Chirac, and His Imperial Majesty [Jean-Bédel] Bokassa I, Emperor of Central Africa by the will of the Central African people, united within the national political party, the MESAN!
Paul K. Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
Cordwainer Smith’s first story, Fantasy Book, Frederik Pohl, roughness but with power, space is not for humans, A Game Of Rat And Dragon, a cool cat story, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, a bit romantic with a cat, cyborgs, habermans, cranching, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (aka Cordwainer Smith), was that a Mandarin fingernail?, Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, a specialist in propaganda, the spacers union, On The Waterfront, merchant marine (but super respected), all scanners are habermans but not all habermans are scanners, pork chops have gone extinct, The Instrumentality Of Makind series is set between 2000-8000 A.D. (with Scanners Live In Vain at 6000 A.D.), a rocketry problem, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Call Me Joe, the first post-singularity story, what will it be like when I have Google installed in every part of my body, chest box and instruments, Steve Austin, there’s something symbolic going on, the TV Tropes entry is like a cynical version of the Wikipedia entry, Adam Stone, half-Chinese, somebody from the South, Nazis, anti-Semitic feeling, J.J. Pierce, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, can’t taste, can’t smell, can’t feel, can’t hear, practicing facial expressions, a U.N. of spacers, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, romantic not symbolic, Mr. Spaceship by Philip K. Dick, habermans vs. scanners, the dregs of society, no computers in the future, whatever the instrumentality is, Martel’s wife is very patient, honor, China, eunuchs, samurai means to server, ronin, a very Asian story, Game Of Thrones, respect not money, an alienness of outlook, love, duty, and humanity = I surrender, 20th century Asian history, reading Scanners Live In Vain as an editor, the opening and the ending, a cynical ending, a little injection of Philip K. Dick, The Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, the graphic novel version, Martel as Edward Snowden, the NSA as the scanners, Fight Club, Alfred Bester, what’s the “the up and out”?, they have Etch A Sketches, the unforgiven, the “great pain of space”, Think Blue, Count Two, sleeper ships, an organic computer, Philip K. Dick’s question was ‘how do I know what’s real?’, “the First Effect”, reading authors, “writing is telepathy” (Stephen King, On Writing), a weird heightened operatic style, a mythical style?, “here’s to the habermans up and out”, a schizoid class, text message style, you don’t want or need an electronic teapot, brown betty, a bot-net in the refrigerator, my tootbrush is communicating with me!, firefly toothbrushes, a useful trap, when the technology enters your body, ice-cream.
Nazi Eyes On Canada Produced by J. Frank Willis; Performed by a FULL CAST 2 Cassettes – Approx 2 Hours [UNABRIDGED] Publisher: Scenario Productions Published: 2000 ISBN: 1894003136 Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / World War II / Propaganda /
1942. From the West, from the East, the war draws near to Canadian shores. Canada is saying goodbye to her sons who are off to serve in all parts of the world. Taxes, the restrictions on unessential services, and the re-allocation of man power bring the war into the life of every Canadian. But Canadians are still living in relative luxury, and they still hold fast to the greatest of blessings – freedom. “Nazi Eyes on Canada” shows how all this would have changed in the Nazi lust for power on the North American continent had been fulfilled.
Nazi Eyes On Canada was a dramatized radio series produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Radio) during Canada’s fourth year in World War II. Its purpose was not so much to entertain as to sell war bonds, the rationale being ‘if you buy war bonds you’ll prevent the Axis powers from winning the war as depicted in these dramatizations’. The series was inspired by a German publication (contemporary to the time) written by a Nazi spy who used the alias “Colin Ross”. Ross traveled throughout Canada in the 1930s assessing the military and industrial capacity of Canada for a Nazi think tank. The purpose was to investigate first-hand the strategic requirements for an eventual North American invasion. Based on Ross’ reports, Nazi Eyes On Canada depicts exactly what such a Nazi occupation by the Third Reich would mean for the average Canadian. Broadcast over five weeks, each week looked at a particular province under the heel of the fascist jackboot: Episode 1: Ontario, Episode 2: Alberta, Episode 3: New Brunswick, Episode 4: British Columbia and Episode 5: Saskatchewan. Scenario Productions has also included a speech by then Prime Minister of Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King which serves as an introduction to the series.
This is one of the most unusual radio drama series I’ve ever heard. It puts big Hollywood stars, CBC staffers, and regular citizens together for each episode. CBC announcer Lorne Greene works with the likes of Helen Hayes, Quentin Reynolds, Vincent Price and Orson Welles! One factoid not mentioned in the liner notes of Scenario Productions’ two cassette version is that Orson Welles showed up late to the live broadcast of episode five. Welles had been at the rehearsal but at airtime he was nowhere to be found, so producer J. Frank Willis had to imitate Welles until he showed up during the third scene – something to listen for.
I found the series on the whole deeply disturbing. It was effectively scary and fascinating at the same time. But I have many reservations about it. Nazi Eyes On Canada is poorly written, jingoistic and commercial. The real life Canadian citizens (who get tell us their responses to the dramatization of their lives under Nazi occupation) read their lines woodenly. Much repetition is made with regards to the source material – to be expected I guess as they were originally broadcast a week apart. But the worst part of the experience was the blatant racism displayed during Episode 4. That episode is set in Vancouver, which in Colin Ross’ book would be given to Germany’s Axis ally the Empire of Japan, along with all lands west of the rocky mountains. So during Episode 4 we are invited to visit Vancouver under Imperial Japanese occupation. Unlike the Nazis who though are portrayed as thoroughly evil, the Japanese are painted evil by nature and are implied to be ‘a deceptive yellow race’. Such racist filth absolutely disgusted me.
But it wasn’t just this broadcast. During the time of the live airing of Nazi Eyes On Canada in 1942, widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in British Columbia led to internment of all Japanese males between the ages of 14 and 45. In 1942 Canada set up eight internment camps in the interior of British Columbia where over a nine month period 22,000 innocent Canadian Japanese were locked up for racist reasons. Make no mistake; it was racism pure and undiluted. German Canadians were not subjected to the same treatment.
So what exactly makes this science fiction?
Well for one thing Philip K. Dick’s excellent The Man in the High Castle uses the exact same premise and if that isn’t science fiction my name is J.R.R. Tolkien. The projection into the future as depicted in Nazi Eyes On Canada is an earmark of SF too. But most importantly this vintage radio drama series does what the greatest works of science fiction do; preventing the future. It’s a good thing so many Canadians bought war bonds, because expansionist fascism was defeated in no small part because of it. It is just too bad we didn’t have more science fiction dealing with racism before the Second World War. Science fiction isn’t a cure-all, but it is the vaccination against future horrors we can foresee. But you have to hear its message to be protected.