The SFFaudio Podcast #155 – READALONG: Five Nebula Nominated Short Stories


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #155 – Jenny, Tamahome, and Jesse talk about the five Nebula 2011 nominated short stories for which there are audio versions.

Talked about on today’s show:

the Clarkesworld one was too quiet (by the way, we use Levelator), April Fools jokes fall out of date, The Cartographer Wasps And The Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu, Jenny’s favorite, it’s science and it’s fiction but is it science fiction?, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “nerdy mapmakers”, Ottoman Empire, Jenny is into language, ‘thrumming’, revolution, The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, Tam was moved to tweet it, Jhumpa Lahiri and first generation Americans, do we need the fantastic part?, Mike Resnic-y, workshop stories, “he’s such a tool”, movie version?, Asian magic realism, the owl on Home Depot, Murakami, Jesse likes Leggos, childhood, Jesse please explain Mama, We Are Zhenya by Tom Crosshill, Tam sounds just like narrator Stefan Rudnicki, quantum mechanics, author’s blog post about the story, intellectual heft, it’s a five year old, Flowers For Algernon, head-eating clouds, Lost, YA novel about singularity, superpowers, and giant robots, author was a nuclear operator, Zhenya is everywhere, and now with a slightly older child — Movement by Nancy Fulda, we’ve read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time |OUR READALONG|, “temporal autism”, we’ve also read Speed Of Dark |READ OUR REVIEW| so we are autism experts, or Asperger’s?, Daniel Tammet and prime numbers, “she doesn’t want new shoes”, father’s bug killer, (note: here I got E. Lily Yu mixed up with Yoon Ha Lee’s Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain from Sffaudio 120, here’s the full text and audio from Lightspeed), Her Husband’s Hands by Adam-Troy Castro, horror, SUPER CREEPY DO NOT WANT, the hyphen in the author’s name was originally a typo, Chiller Theater, war, The Hand with Michael Caine, Guy De Maupassant, House of Holes by Nicholson Baker, Bianca’s Hands by Theodore Sturgeon (podcasted by Spider Robinson), It by Sturgeon, some story about brains, eyes, and taste buds, Pruzy’s Pot (podcasted by Spider Robinson) has a monster under the toilet that does things, we make our Nebula picks and predictions, a moving story about ponies from last year, Kij Johnson, a story about sex with an alien, which story will be remembered in ten years? Toy Story III with immigrants, we will discuss Among Others by Jo Walton, sexy Welsh accent in the audiobook, Tam’s amazing Welsh accent, waiting for Jo’s series on Hugo-nominated novellas, get off my lawn with your books series’s!, how to find good stories/books, Christopher Priest’s amazing post, anything good after 1950?, Stories by Neil Gaiman and Alan Sarrantonio, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains |READ OUR POST|, Joe Landsdale on novels

crosshill novella cover

Posted by Tamahome

Entilted Opinions: The Disenchantment and Re-Echantment Of The World

SFFaudio Online Audio

Entitled Opinions (about life and literature)Entitled Opinions is a radio program (and podcast) from Stanford university’s radio station KZSU. In discussion from a program in May 2009 are the editors of
The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age: Joshua Landy (a professor of French at Stanford) and Michael Saler (professor of history at the UC Davis). Together they are responding to Max Weber’s famous statement:

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization, and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world.’ —Max Weber

This concept, disenchantment (entzauberung), was introduced by Weber to describe the character of his modernized, and increasingly secularized society, where scientific understanding had become more highly valued than religious belief. In their discussion Saler and Landy ask questions like:

‘Do all philosophical inquiries begin in wonder?’

‘Why does Science Fiction take off as a genre?’

‘Can we replace God and the Devil with Sherlock Holmes’ rationality and Moriarty’s criminality?’

‘Is the hierarchy of Middle Earth something we’d like to see in our world?’

It’s a fascinating discussion! |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Master Of Space And Time by Rudy Rucker

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Master of Space and Time by Rudy RuckerMaster of Space and Time
By Rudy V. B. Rucker; Read by Scott Grunden
5 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781433207709
Themes: / Science Fiction / Humor / Physics / Quantum Mechanics / Alternate Universe / Time Travel / Robots /

“Madcap inventor Harry Gerber is hopeless when it comes to surviving in the real world. So he uses his genius to twist the laws of science and create his own tailor-made universe.”

Joe Fletcher has a 9-to-precisely-5 job at Softtech, a crappy software company in New Jersey. He hates his job, so much so he’s programmed a piece of software to alert him to the precise nano-second of the completion of his requisite 40 hours a week. On one particular Friday in the futuristic 1990s Joe hoofs it out to the company parking lot for the commute home only to find his former partner, Harry Gerber, an “out-of-it” genius inventor waiting for him. Joe hadn’t seen Gerber, his former partner in their bankrupt engineering firm, in more than a year so he’s rather surprised to see a two-inch tall Harry sitting on the steering wheel of his 1956 Buick. In fact, after closer inspection there are a whole swarm of tiny Harrys in the Buick. Some are standing on the gearshift, others are running around on the dashboard, each is smaller than the next. The Harrys tell Joe about the machine that they will assemble on Saturday that will make them both masters of space and time by Sunday afternoon. Most important for Joe, Harry and his girlfriend, the improbably named Sondra Tupperware, they’ll need to get some red gluons – a kind of subatomic particle found only below the “Planck threshold.” The “blunzer” – the device in question, will grant them the ability to do absolutely anything by just mentally manipulating the very nature of reality – and they know it will work since it already has!

Rudy Rucker is playing with old Heinleinian tropes to good comic effect in Master Of Space And Time. On offer is an homage to The Puppet Masters and I Will Fear No Evil, the former being an alien invasion by brain slugs, the latter being about a man who gets the ultimate in transgendered wishes. There’s lots of original material here too, the writing is Hard SF-lite with lots of physics for undergraduates. It comes off as a comic version of the ultimate power fantasy, or as an SF take on the old “three wishes” tales. One other bit of fun, the chapter names are all either self-referential or jokey. On the net there seems to be quite a bit of controversy about the religious and sexual aspects of the book. I found it hard to understand why that would be – the accusations of ‘homophobia’ and a ‘high-handed, anti-christian’ attitude seem pretty insubstantial, at least based on the content of the novel I was listening to. The whole caper is fun, unpredictable and fast moving. It makes for a breezy listen – it won’t blow your mind, but it will entertain.

In Master Of Space And Time narrator Scott Grunden has some of the funniest lines ever read in an audiobook. At one point early in the novel he’s performing the sounds of a ginormous iguana-cum-Godzilla, (WHEEEENK-WHEEEENK- WHEEEENK! GUH-ROOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOO!) the scene goes on an on. Another treat, at the point at which Joe is switched bodily into his idea of the most sexy woman in the world Grunden changes his voice even when his cadence doesn’t. It pleases the heck out of me that Blackstone is venturing a little farther back in time for many of its new Science Fiction additions. Master Of Space And Time was first published in the 1984, I had no clue it even existed until this audiobook edition came out. Look for a film version of Master Of Space And Time sometime in 2009 with a screenplay by Daniel Clowes of Ghost World fame.

Posted by Jesse Willis