The SFFaudio Podcast #675 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #675 – Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings – read by Richard Kilmer. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (4 hours 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Astounding Stories Of Super Science, Sept – November 1930, The Girl In The Golden Atom, The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O’Brien, antisemitism precedes other forms of European racism, 600 stories, avoiding Cummings, full of shitty writing, the assistant to Edison, Huxley’s lab assistant, learned science from Darwin’s bulldog, science science science vs. invention, very pulpy, not awesome pulpy, filler, why is it this long?, the reading doesn’t help, the setting is interesting, is the setting that interesting?, it should be, a South American country, ecological disaster, bandit planet, a dull read, why pulp gets a bad name, the characters, a terrible book, acknowledging an error, how do you know?, should Ray Cummings be canceled?, not interesting enough to cancel, the years have canceled him, for those who managed to struggle through the audiobook and are now listening…, reading from E.F. Bleiler, science fiction and weird fiction, Science Fiction The Gernsback Years (page 87), entry 298, economic espionage and intrigue, 2020, north of Puerto Rico (dry sea bottom), Nerita, almost any word you can think of is a village in India, the National Detective Service, a lowlands bandit, mercury smuggling?, Spawn, Debeer, the ending is predictable, pure adventure, super-radio, light rays bent by magnetic fields, the lowland concept, more on this economic relation, a thug of the powerful state, colonial setting, there to take a child bride, Harry Turtledove, Down In The Bottomlands, set in a dry Mediterranean, a geographical lesson, where are the rivers, the seas, the lakes, what does this do to the rainfall, radioactive mercury, just a gimmick, its filler, get out from under Hugo Gernsback and get out under John W. Campbell, uncontroversial, I want you to think harder about this, getting tied up every few pages, a western movie serial, helicopter/airplane, secret gear, he fights science pirate, going to the kernel of the concept, better Ray Cummings, Phantoms Of Reality, different worlds at different vibrational wavelengths, you go to a weird little planet and weird little things happen, dies 1957, not able to adapt himself, about 350 1945-1942, 750 stories in all, a whole bunch of awesome concepts, three or four interesting ideas, like South America, an enforcer of empire, Jetta’s not even sexy, half mermaid?, she’s illiterate, when did the seas go down, a mercury rush, no Indians at the bottom of the sea, no displaced mermen?, what caused it?, one story and one book, Til A’ The Seas by Robert Barlow, a last man, pretty well done, H.P. Lovecraft helped polish it, the imagery is beautiful, Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, Olaf Stapledon-y, set at the bottom of the ocean, one of the biggest writers of the period, Cornell Woolrich, read him because you like tension, H.G. Wells, E.E. Doc Smith, the action sequences of Star Treks, lots of beams, wrist controls, they just invented force fields, Scotty trying to invent force fields and warp drive during the battle, Ted Chiang, Larry Niven, a lot more like Stanley G. Weinbaum and a lot less like John W. Campbell, the deGernsbacking, there was no sense that the reforms were needed, make me a serial out of it, why pulps get a bad name, Buck Rogers style serials, everything’s weird and there’s a lady and he needs to adapt, Flash Gordon, the slicks did it with essentially Superman’s origin story, Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie’s When Worlds Collide, the exact same plot as 2012 (2009), everything is cliche, a Wonder Woman fetish person, the electrodes on the skin does it for Will, he’s getting a little tingle, that black knife, if it had been 1 hour long, somebody other than Ray Cummings, we learned something, there’s a reason he’s receded, what made pulps disposable, fiction magazines are sort of gone, alternate history, time travelers bring Kalashnikov to South during the U.S. Civil War, Adaptation by Mack Reynolds, how bad John W. Campbell was, a communist getting purchased by a fascist, a red brown alliance, not actually a fascist, Black Man’s Burden, Samuel Delaney is not a John W. Campbell writer, ornate?, do you believe a man at his word, he vibes with Mack Reynolds, colonial Africa, not trying to praise the white man, deep in his dementia, more New Wave than science fiction of the kind Weinbaum was doing, competing theses, a think piece that doesn’t and does resolve, a goofy concept, chill out for a few generations, the Aztec level of civilization at the time of Cortez’s contact, the Italian city states (late medieval early modern period), the Pedagog, state socialism or free market capitalism, the power goes to their heads, the natives run them out of town, a planned economy vs. a free market economy, it argues with the idea that only American style colonialism is good, productivism, forces of production Marxism, the natives appreciate, we’ll consider joining you, the capitalists and the socialists team up, free nations, science fiction writers for an against the Vietnam War, Howard vs. Lovecraft, the origins and the results and what it means for human nature, barbarism vs. civilization, Robert A. Heinlein, is barbarianism our natural state?, competing in the same pages, this story is my argument, we’re after mercury and its being smuggled, why?, don’t care, the only woman at the bottom of the well, that’s why I’m going on this adventure, radiumized!, the Star Trek, Kirk on a motorcycle, Red Matter has nothing to do with science fiction, not idea struggling, what did Evan say about this story?, contextualize it for us?, empire maybe, Wizard In Glass: Dark Tower 4 by Stephen King, an agent of a declining state, fantasy Mexico, a 14 or 15 year old sexy and brave character, the concubine of the mayor, a frontier region secretly in rebellion against the Empire, cool Stephen King stuff, criminal frontier full of bandits, smugglers, science pirates!, lots here about technology and the state, Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott, a letter, Ray Cummings should stay in Ray Cummings’ grave, a Lovecraft explainer explainer, explaining Lovecraft to his or her liberal friends, Lovecraft Mythos explainer, this phenomenon, dig up the bones of a guy who was dead before their grandma is born, The Painful Threshold: Why We Can’t Stop Flogging Lovecraft’s Dead Bloated Corpse, why Lovecraft Country is good and Lovecraft is bad, fox spirits, a new Netflix series with a Henry Kuttner and two H.P. Lovecraft stories, Graveyard Rats, Cool Air and The Statement Of Randolph Carter, Guillermo del Toro, missing the class analysis, Bobby Derie, Jesse has never met a racist reader, what was his cat’s name, hahahah, at the end of the serial of Jetta, the Invisible X-Fliers, October 1930, 2021, the Anti-War Department of the United States of Department, the defense department, mechanical invisibility, many men, great scientific discoveries, a new combination of older seemingly impractical knowledge, steal all the right stuff, making the inefficient efficient, almost no role in the book, bending of light rays, the cloaking device from Star Trek, the Martel Effects, two real kinds of currents, pseudoscience technobabble, camouflage style invisibility, Jack London’s rip off of The Invisible Man, Discover is Star Trek and Star Trek is science fiction, warp drive, not totally void of ideas, spore drive, warp drive, transwarp drive, transwarp conduits, the journey to get to the story, The Devil In The Dark, the last of her kind, mining some shit that doesn’t exist, silicon based life form and can we exist with a native population are two radical ideas, mind melds aren’t real, “NO KILL I”, Konglish, bringing in the Klingons again, bringing in the Romulans again, as if Spock is a traitor, who cares about Romulans?, there’s nothing there, we’ve dug you up we’ve had your cadaver trial and found you wanting, she liked to look at pictures in a book, I don’t know about this reading stuff, he’s black (with no skin and a republican too?), Todd McFarlane, blew up the comics industry, too obvious?, no secret keys to the name, a Volkswagen named after the character?, designed to be disposable.

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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

Podcast

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

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

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Autofac by Philip K. Dick - Galaxy, November 1955

Posted by Jesse Willis