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 #600 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #600 – Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Maureen O’Brien. This is an unabridged reading of the story (3 hours) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939, The Black Flame, Fantastic Story, Spring 1952, The Margret Of Urbs story, kind of done, a story about a guy going into an empire and fuckin it up, headfaking, he’s a Conan figure, what was this about, what is freedom?, is freedom worth it?, better off not being free, helping overlords, the dawn of what?, just a bad book?, expectations, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, people wanted Typee, Shakespeare’s meditations, what humans are doing, how foolish we all are, I wanted a cartoon, Weinbaum redoing H. Rider Haggard’s SHE in a science fiction mode, Black Margo, is he her puppet?, the last paragraph, he was silent the whole way through, its not Hull Tarvish’s story, he knows his audience, you’re mostly men, kids, girls, women, there are other people other than men, mom beefs, cuz I’m not a girl, men and women are equal under the law (but not in interests), upper body strength and ability to bear children, biological differences in her brains, snakes, birds, dogs, if you’re a man reading science fiction stories, dual wielding blasters, that looks cool, how much smoking was going on, lung cancer, is this a fantasy then?, both ways, I like fightin’ and I don’t kill women, this Ayesha character, this cursed immortal, a vampire story, they’re both cursed, one of the old lovers, what this book is really about, whatchu gonna do with your life?, to use the planet as your pillow, conquer?, something to while away the years, they’re not evil, as merciful as they can, Napoleon goes in and liberates, the mighty ancient civilization, he’s the half-brother, The Black Flame, setup for the backstory, a philosophical planetary romance set on earth, sword and sandal, what you know, what you should want, what you should do, the evil empire moving north out of New Orleans headed for New York, the work of the book, a civilizing force, but they’re cursed, his mom baked him some bread, epic fantasy, he leaves a stone hut, another woman’s stone hut, its a circle, a regular person’s brush with Alexander the Great’s sister, the sexual tension, divided in loyalties and divided in desire, given two choices, the mortal girl vs. the immortal woman, it judo flips us from where we begin, nice blade trade me for it, we’re all set up for trampling an evil empire down, are you sure that’s what you want to do with your life, son?, an anti-war story, why did WWI and WWII happen?, they engineer a plague that kills 60% of people, land reforms, build roads, Hull Tarvish isn’t the bad guy because he’s us, very subtle, America falling, Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, Greek speaking invaders, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, Theodore Judson’s Fitzpatrick’s War, trying to put the US back together, internationalist, the whole world, N’Orleans, Ouroboros the world girdling snake, no worlds left to conquer, unhealthy personal behavior, drunken brawls, Hull Tarvish comes from a stable home, sow his oats, get his manhood on, fightin’, old man coach, a mistake rebellion, a reverse of the [U.S.] Civil War, these exotic figures, evil witch of a sister, they forgive him for his stupidity, why we needed Will: a barefoot bumpkin from the holla, philosophical after becoming king, what kingly and queenly activities are like, a line against becoming powerful, appreciate birdsong a good drink and time with your family, everything is science, a fantasy setting a fantasy setup, science and engineering behind all of this stuff, Lindbird is probably fictional, maybe he flew, microwave technology, beam energy, through air but not fog, he’s got rules, we are mistaken, Jesse was very impressed, we don’t know how the immortality happened, one tiny little thing, they’re sterile, where’d it come from, 100 years where no book was written, too big, She learned these things as a science, 12 hours vs. 3 hours, remember out point of view, an illiterate, a viewpoint to this world, he doesn’t ask a lot of smart questions, Weinbaum knows, teaching the reader a lesson, a mortality thing going on here, how many times does he escape death, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, on vacation in Austria in a canoe, it happened hundreds of years ago, we can’t understand it, we’re not worthy?, she puts his hands on her neck and says “squeeze” the flame, the dawn of the flame, this black flame of hair, this attraction of a moth to a flame, drawn to the flame over and over again, in his arms, in his manly form, she sees a possibility of her being killed, ultimately they have death wishes, Hull Tarvish has a definite life wish, experience, have fun, not even a real battle, she’s dead inside, her conquering, bringing civilization back, bringing civilization back, she’s Prometheus, why is that?, he has an interest in her as a sister, half brothers have half interests, a mated pair, that’s my sister, retelling this novel from a female pov, that male female thing, she wants to be attractive, what does Joaquin, male and female psychology, usually the way this works in a traditional story: a young man finds a princess, assassinate a princess, the forgiving nature and whim of that princess, they’re to the focus of the wisdom that Weinbaum is trying to struggle to, a very philosophical book, a lot of conversations, talking with this immortal, She in SHE is evil, Black Margot is bored, a severe case of “is that all there is?”, a narrow escape for Hull Tarvish, cursed to be one of the mercenaries in this growing army, the footnote at the end, an anonymous volume, Loves Of The Black Flame, the very first Conan story, Phoenix On The Sword, the Black Dragons, Game Of Thrones, this is somebody very close, told far in the future, one incident in Princess Margot’s life, ancient St. Louis, both terms as anachronism, wicked world metropolis, a very thin slice of an incident, page 105, a bit unusual, the history weirdness of this story, a fake history of the future, a salacious history, the atomic rocket crashings, if Weinbaum had lived, The Black Flame, Sam Moskowitz, Satellite, December 1956, is Weinbaum overblown?, a diminishing pool of readers, Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories, Astounding, “thought variants”, Charles D. Hornig, so new, so breezy, readers were unreserved in their enthusiasm, John Taine, Jack Williamson, Ray Cummings, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, A Martian Odyssey, The Wizard Of Oz, stylistic magic, Tweel, paradoxical actions, the interplanetary strange encounter tale, the silicon monster hat burped bricks, wheeling rubbish, a tentacled plant with wish fulfillment images, “I saw with pleasure someone had last escaped… -H.P. Lovecraft”, A. Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, a chemical engineer, The Lady Dances by Marge Stanley, a woman’s name as a byline, The Mad Brain and The New Adam, an operetta, Omar The Tentmaker, Helen Weinbaum, Graph, $55, Solar Sail Service, Mortimer Weisinger, Ralph Milne Farley, Circle Of Zero, a strangely acceptable trick, The Valley Of Dreams, Julius Schwartz, Flight On Titan, knife-kites, whiplash trees, tread-worms, Parasite Planet, Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame, the outre creatures, The Lotus Eaters, a warm blooded plant, Oscar, a series of questions and answers, under the influence of the narcotic spore, pontifical inertia, Pygmalion’s Spectacles, The Worlds Of If, The Ideal, virtual reality, Prof. Van Manderpootz, what would happen if…, synoptic, reading Weinbaum right, the attitudinizer, seeing the world through the mind of others, humour and style, a philosopher was at work, a masterful short novel, a woman of extraordinary beauty, The Milwaukee Fictioneers, the Radio Pirates and others, Amazing Stories, a former Wisconsin senator, True Gang Life, Yellow Slaves, Smothered Seas, formula material or go unpublished, The Planet Of Doubt, Weinbaum could do no wrong, the animated linked sausages of Uranus, The Adaptive Ultimate, Weinbaum had been “typed”, John W. Campbell, Jr., Don A. Stuart, almost plotless travelogues, David H. Keller’s Life Everlasting, one of his favourite authors, a tubercular girl, the ability to defeat death, dramatized on the radio, Tales Of Tomorrow, She Devil (1957), so adaptable, tonsil extraction, Proteus Island, imitation pneumonia, x-ray treatments, The Red Peri, a woman space pirate of phenomenal cunning, The Adaptive Ultimate, super-woman, a subconscious wish to meet a woman his intellectual equal, Smothered Seas, The Mad Moon, a semi-intelligent rat, minor masterpiece, Ralph Milne Farley, The Dictator’s Sister, Ray Palmer, Charles D. Hornig, 15 month after his first science fiction story appeared…, surrounded by radiance, The Weinbaum Memorial Volume, high poetry in the closing passages, maybe Einar is immortal, The Circle Of Zero, it should be read, an undersea wall, Real And Imaginary, Brink Of Infinity, The Tenth Question by George Allan England, he wrote it for himself, The Revolution Of 1980, transgender dictator, no end to his last stories, Tidal Moon, The New Adam, Edgar Rice Burroughs, fatal passion for a woman, morbidly fascinating, so gay a frolic, The Dark Other, Graph, Green Glow Of Death, Eric Frank Russell, Henry Kuttner, John Russell Fearn, Philip Jose Farmer’s The Lovers, before the curtain descended, a poem, a little long, 45 minutes of reading Sam Moskowitz, Ted Chiang, really thinking about the details, the attraction of the woman, Margot springboarded into another character, sometimes people are wrong about stuff, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, just trying to sell magazines, suddenly flip, angrily ranting, screaming and yelling in a foreign language, a story needs to be parsed, better thinking about it rather than reading it, Maureen O’Brien, back in 2004.

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Dawn Of Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum - Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #035

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #035 – Jesse and Scott talk new releases and recent arrivals with 2 of the 3 internet celebrities that were on last week’s podcast:

Gregg Margarite (LibriVox.org narrator and book coordinator),

and Luke Burrage (professional juggler and host of the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast) discuss…

Talked about on today’s show:
recent arrivals and new releases, Audible.com, The Fountains Of Paradise, A Fall Of Moondust, Arthur C. Clarke, space elevator, Dyson sphere, augmented reality, William Gibson’s Virtual Light |READ OUR REVIEW|, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, audiobook narration, The Prisoner, disaster, The Poseidon Adventure on the moon, the “BRADBURY 13” radio drama series, A Sound Of Thunder [BRADBURY 13] based on the story by Ray Bradbury, A Gun For Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp, A Galaxy Trilogy Vol. 3 includes (Giants From Eternity by Manly Wade Wellman, Lords Of Atlantis by Wallace West, City On The Moon by Murray Leinster), Tom Weiner, Hater by David Moody, apocalypse, zombies, Stephen King’s Cell |READ OUR REVIEW|, Left 4 Dead, what makes zombies so compelling?, Of Bees And Mist by Erick Setiawan, book reviewing (using stars or scores), Metacritic.com, A Dribble Of Ink, Subterranean Press, The Sharing Knife Vol. 4 Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse Of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold |READ OUR REVIEW|, Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster, Alien by Alan Dean Foster, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Predator by Paul Monette, The Abyss by Orson Scott Card, The Abyss (the movie), endings, the goldfish effect, Science Fiction exposes you to a world, Fantasy immerses you in a world, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss, The Terror by Dan Simmons, abridgements, Simon Vance, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Q Squared by Peter David, John de Lancie, LibriVox.org, Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 025, Belonna Times, Brigands Of The Moon by Ray Cummings (read by Seth1864), The Pirates Of Erzats by Murray Leinster (read by mylantus), slide rules and calculators and abucci, Korean finger counting, Photoshop as a calculator, what jugglers are like, sculptor Jonathan Borofsky, The Pleasure Of My Company by Steve Martin, Magic square, Benjamin Franklin, Mandelbrot set, an entire issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science – September 1930 as an audiobook, the Speech Accent Archive. An excerpt from Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster (the audiobook novelization of the 2009 film)

Posted by Jesse Willis

Happy Public Domain Day 2008!

SFFaudio Commentary

CopyrightWatch.caSince the inception of the SFFaudio in 2003, and especially since the SFFaudio Challenge back in 2006, there have been many queries directed my way about copyright. I’ve had no formal training, but having a blog and getting questions about it means I’ve had to learn quite a bit about it. Copyright is a form of protection grounded in law granting original works of artistic creation protection for a set period. Various copyright laws are in force in many countries of the world. One source I’ve found for my own country is the indispensable CopyrightWatch.ca blog. As today is the first of 2008, this day marks the birth of many new public domain works. As CopyrightWatch author Wallace McLean points out “thousands, indeed millions, of creative works from the collective cultural past of our little planet and its many countries [become] Public Domain [today] in most countries of the world” That makes January 1st a birthday party of sorts! Included amongst the newly public domain works are some by notable SFF authors. Here are a few of the details from the extensive post on the blog…

In the largest bloc of countries of the world, with the majority of the world’s population, the general copyright term of life+50 expired no later than midnight this morning for the works whose author, or last-surviving of multiple authors, died in 1957. These works, which have passed out of copyright and become part of our commonly-held cultural heritage, include works of art and literature, accounts of discovery and adventure, biographies and autobiographies, scientific and philosopical treatises, film and theology, architecture and poetry; in short, products of the human mind in every medium, in every field of creativity, discovery, and endeavour.

The life+50 class of the newly-Public Domain includes:

The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord DunsanyAnglo-Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany

Brigands Of The Moon by Ray CummingsAmerican pulp sci-fi author Ray Cummings

And many more!




The second-largest bloc in the world copyright map, with about half the countries of the life+50 universe, is the life+70 universe, which includes much of Europe (this means that works by authors, or last-surviving authors, who died in 1937 are now public domain in the life+70 countries. Authors or other creators of “works” who died in 1937) include:

The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. LovecraftAmerican fantasy and science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft

Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens by J.M. BarrieScottish novelist and dramatist J.M. Barrie

And many more!


In the United States, unpublished works by the life+70 class of authors are also in the public domain as of today, joining published works by the same authors, if published before 1923. Published works by those auhors, if published after 1922, may still by under copyright in the U.S. In Canada and the United Kingdom, however, the situation is reversed. While published works by authors who died 50 or more years ago are public domain in Canada (or more than 70 years ago in the U.K.), unpublished works, such as letters and other papers, are still under copyright in Canada for works by authors who died after 1949, and in the U.K. for unpublished works by all authors, no matter how long ago they died. This anamolous class of unpublished works will not see their British Public Domain Day until January 1, 2039, or in Canada until January 1, 2049, unless and until the Parliaments of the two countries finally see fit to eliminate this confusing and culturally counterproductive bit of legislative stupidity.

Also entering the public domain around the world today are works of anonymous or pseudonymous authorship which were published in 1957 (or whichever other year applies according to your local copyright term for such works.)

But let us nevertheless pause to celebrate the gains that the public domain has made today, in Canada and throughout the world. It’s your past, your cultural heritage, your public domain. Promote it, celebrate it, and use it, or we will lose it.


Happy Public Domain Day 2008! If you start making audiobooks or audio dramas out of these author’s works let me know. I’ll make links!

Posted by Jesse Willis