The SFFaudio Podcast #668 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Marissa VU, and Will Emmons talk about The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
Talked about on today’s show:
1983, time travel fantasy novel, awards, Bronson Pinchot, the best narrator there is, he’s actor good, the accents and the emotions, Grover Gardner, a chameleon, his timing, his best self, Jonathan Davis, mostly fiction, Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop, The Bronson Pinchot Project, renovating a whole town, Marissa’s pick (along with Scott), a good idea, the stack of to-be-reads, Will’s first Tim, an addictive quality, stuck in time, body parts disappearing, I’m gonna get kidnapped, get murdered, the evil clown, a “generous” book, Last Call, Declare, Gene Wolfeish, gaps in history, a supernatural explanation for an oddity, On Stranger Tides, Homer’s The Odyssey, the Fisher King, Egypt, voodoo magic, World Fantasy, a friend of Philip K. Dick’s, an entertaining person, have this book not be fiction, everything that’s coming, great for readers because it allows us to participate in the book, ripped off many times, so Call Of Cthulhu, body switching, more setups than payoffs, a big long book, connections, obviously obsessed, the Cold War, 1800s, Las Vegas in the 60s 70s, always some magic, the Tim Powers genre, all the research first, weird facts, building the plot to that string of history, William Ashbless, entwined with Coleridge, Dean Koontz’ The Book Of Counted Sorrows, The Stress Of Her Regard, the William Ashbless wikipedia entry, not a romantic poem, walks in the countryside, kind of predictable, James Blaylock, had you said the Blaylock, hideously deformed, the poetical efforts of our deformed friend, The Digging Leviathan by James Blaylock, enjoying himself immensely, good fake romantic poetry, Lord Byron, Marcus Aurelius, the whole frame of the river being frozen with a shotgun pattern in it, Kubla Khan, drowning, the juice of paradise, the milk of the poppy, the visitor from Porlock, opening in Egypt, The Twelve Hours Of The Night, also inspired by the plot, interesting historical facts, this meta stuff, invented and written by no-one, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, that meta-play, why this book works, that playfulness, if you like role-playing games and magic, entertaining, skating through it, the 17th century trip, the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, a little ice age, its dangerous to do these things, other stories set in this universe, is that what we want more of?, Dog-faced Joe, Anubis, expecting a lot more Egyptian stuff, set in the London Hoboverse, a hobo simulator: Hobo: Tough Life, steampunk, there’s practically no steam in this at all, that meeting hall, the thieves guild, very Dungeons & Dragons, the grifter’s guild, playing up to Charles Dickens’ pre-Victorian England, ahistorical or super-historical, the Punch & Judy show, how people engage with puppets, when a puppet calls you out and you get mad at the puppet, ventriloquist dummy, there’s nothing funnier than that, these puppets are more than puppets, steal all this for your D&D campaign, Call Of Cthulhu, Vampire The Masquerade, is Dog-faced Joe Anubis?, making Egypt for Egyptians, time gates, weird powers, cursed with lycanthropy, a magical disease, make Egypt great again, P. Djèlí Clark, Anubis’s heiroglpyh: a pen or a feather a wavy line a box or a cup a bird or a jackal (or a wolf), where’s my Anubis content?, other expeditions, secret history stuff, images produced for this book, a wall, Anubis, somebody passing through a gate within Anubis, he’s the god of Death, Dog-faced Joe is immortal, live your life backwards, become the richest person ever, rule the earth, wills (and testaments) are a way of extending your life beyond your life, their will lives on, their estate has a founding document, a very Egyptian thing, totally looted, all the big graves are looted, a little bit to be said about why the magic works in the timegaps, the manna is higher, very Larry Niven-esque, very Tim Powers-y, playing by a different set of rules, maybe a little more cringey, Jesse doesn’t think about Declare ever, Fred Heimbach, dark evil forces, allows participation in the reading, On Stranger Tides, Elizabeth Bear, Will’s extra homework: a Laser Book: Blake’s Progress by Ray Nelson, a giant battle scene, a thousand wives fighting a thousand lizard gods, if you ate some of William Blake’s brain, his poetry proves he is a time traveler, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, John Keats, the pre-Joycean fellowship, Mary Shelly, John Polidori, romanticism and science fiction go together, the break between realism and science fiction, they know about science but they don’t choose to be clinical, the romantics fit, Ozymandius by Percy Shelley, One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, medieval urban fantasy, We Are Seven by William Wordsworth, buried twelve steps from your door, struggles with depression, 2006, Gentlemen Bastards, secondary world novels, The Sin In The Steel by Ryan Van Loan, The Councillor by E.J. Beaton, books in other worlds, all the dwarves and elves, building up a secondary world, Rocky XVIII, Star Trek, all the movies in the Enterprise database, The Strange Case Of Mr. Cigars, Bride Of Chaotica, reverse lore, where were all the books Bilbo was reading in Rivendell, do the Rohirim don’t know how to write?, memorized poems, the aliens from Galaxy Quest (1999), Andy Serkis recording The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, Alternate Routes by Tim Powers, Earthquake Weather, Expiration Date, Forced Perspective, its the communists [at Baen] demanding series, latter day sequels, an Anubis Gates story, Subterranean Press, Philip K. Dick, weird inklings, Lego versions, The Laughing Dead (1989), priests and nuns oh my, fun book, the dwelling, under 15 hours, novellas are the best, let the cat in.
The SFFaudio Podcast #657 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe and Will Emmons talk about The Ganymede Takeover by Philip K. Dick
Talked about on today’s show:
Philip K. Dick and Ray Nelson, Philip K. Dick’s font is HUGE and Ray Nelson’s is tiny, very Philip K. Dick, tidied up a lot by Ray Nelson, a device full of microcircuitry, miniaturization, Philip K. Dick’s various flying cars, an ionocraft, even more seedy and disrepair than the first, a shabby little used interior, not apart of the fleet, I’ll convey you to the neegparts, are you safe to ride in?, I do what I like, it’s legal for a class 1 homeostatic mechanism to own a tom, many alarming creaks and clankings, a very Philip K. Dick paragraph, I mean I sort of smell bag, I smell like cat wee, insecure machinery, a robot owns a human being, stupid and hilarious, one of his more competent novels, where the Tennessee thing came from, Blacks and Indians, pretty interesting, not a great book, a prelude, we’re in the takeover, time jump, pre-invasion, Dr. Bloodmoney, supposed to be a sequel to The Man In The High Castle, the Japanese were replaced by the Ganymedians, made Paul uncomfortable, it is what Paul signed up for, Philip K. Dick is not racist, Ray Nelson is not racist, the USA in 1965 was pretty racist, superior and resentful of them, physically beautiful, Counter-Clock World, Our Friends from Frolix 8, why didn’t Evan do this for his podcast?, psychology and psychiatry, YUP is the opposite of NOPE, gender transitions, pronoun stuff, gender transition, oppressor class, what are the NeegParts? Negro Partisans, why Tennessee?, the great mixup, all Black people and Indians in East Tennessee now, Colorado, the neutral zone, the Appalachian Mountains are a wild place, secret agents, the narrators, the audiobook, 2012, Gregg Margarite, Eight O’Clock In The Morning, aftershow talk, Jen Murtha and Steven Davis, dual narrator audiobooks, Jen Murtha does all of the non-dialogue and Steven Davis does everything else, Jesse has no friend in South Africa, Jesse ended up liking it quite a bit, Jen Murtha is laughing a lot, a charming amateur production, having fun doing this, this book hasn’t been published in a long time, no copyright information, 5 and a half hours, chaypter won, a school project?, a pretty good book, the top half of Philip K. Dick novels, Marissa’s favourite version of Philip K. Dick, minimal breasts, obsessed with the one woman in the novel, Percy X, one of them kills her without her dying, kills her with a bust of Sigmund Freud, touch fingertips, the strength of non-sexual touch, vocal jazz thing, a beautiful scene, where Paul Rivers reflects on his sexuality and identity as a man, really sensitive, the men are all horny Philip K. Dick, their descriptions of what a woman is like, the huddling together moment, the individual vs. the gestalt, Galactic Pot-Healer, individuals and identity, A Maze Of Death, a collective experience, obvious in retrospect Percy X is Malcolm X, Perseus?, the occupation is so weird, comedy, petty villainy, the vidphone rang, psychedelic research, always thinking about the United Nations, I’m a sick man, a character who doesn’t want to get out of bed, a device that may be able to stop the invasion of the earth, functionary psychiatry character, they’re all in a crazyhouse together, almost like The Zap Gun, a parody of itself, I’m fulfilling a contract, they took some acid and started messing around, a fairly polished piece, Philip K. Dick is very sloppy, the passages and the ideas, the plot is stupid, some Philip K. Dick short stories are beautiful others are mechanistic, Now Wait For Last Year, Time Out Of Joint, Philip K. Dick isn’t very good at novels, beautiful gems of polished awesomeness, the models of planes, authenticity, replicas and fakes, Nelson forcing Philip K. Dick to explain something (how telepathy works), a theory of human consciousness, a quasi-scientific explanation, bottom half books, here’s the situation: I’ve got all these phrases, technobabble, the psychiatric element, the concept of the Nowhere girl, super-detached, the best girl ever because she doesn’t care about anything, that’s how he sees his wives, the more drugged out and detached they are the more fun they were to hang out with, he wanted the gestalt, female partners, relationships, the aloof woman, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Eye In The Sky (the Bevatron book), a 1989 copy, lacking the gravity and conviction, this Mekkus character is basically a head, wormlike aliens, Dune by Frank Herbert, mostly a head, Dan Dare Pilot Of The Future, the Mekon, turning pages with their tongues, Deus Irae, Tibor McMasters, one of the people you’d see in the asylum, a flotation tank, become a nothing, political stuff, a WIK, a wormkisser, a musicologist, overt resistance to the worms, characterization is unusually weak for Dick, the Hellmachine that distorts reality, all the themes floating around, the experience on the battlefield, Robert E. Lee, the Black Freedom movement, the Vietnam War, the Peace movement, the Civil War, maybe everything kind of exists but we aren’t paying attention to it, a theme from modern fantasy, a little ironic?, a lot of sex in there too, tiny lesbians pulling out people’s facial hair, delusions of grandeur, the old confederate money factory, a fantasy of the old south, another money scene, what’s on the money, historical figures of science and literature, Euros are like that, the Queen and the Prime Ministers and randos to represent science, Franklin and Hamilton, nobody has confidence in these people, appropriate for 2021, maybe 2022 will prove something different, free floating Philip K. Dick parts, he did LSD twice, Ray Nelson was always trying to get Dick going, therapy, psilocybin, mechanically driven drug scenes, large or medium doses, there is no Ganymedian occupation of Tennessee, as a metaphor it doesn’t make any sense, looking at SF as a criticism of society, science fiction is about analyzing today, Ganymedians are Philip K. Dick unable to finish this book and Ray Nelson is Percy X, an idea in mind, what is authenticity mean, finding authenticity, meaning and work, identity and empathy, what’s this book about?, psychiatry is a big theme, psychiatrists trying to control everything, the only free people in the world are up in the hills, sinister, a heavy scene, he beats a robot to death, another Philip K. Dickism: Abraham Lincoln, Robots are not robots, they’re people, an inability to empathize with others, this is boring, Paul Rivers kills Percy X, the free person is killed by the psychiatrist, not many benevolent psychiatrists, We Can Build You, Vulcan’s Hammer, mental asylum planets, distrustful of psychiatrists, Radio Free Albemuth, A. Lincoln Simulacrum, Philip K. Dick’s bathroom tiles, the Dickheads Podcast talks about Divorcepedia, we’re getting two people’s psychology, in that headspace anymore, not so resentful and angry anymore, it isn’t one person’s idea, amazing scenes, California, Tennessee as a myth symbol, very Confederate, Orange County, the San Francisco Bay Area, a backward part of the country?, mostly set in space, in their plush pleasure palaces, people camping in the woods, a bit of Norway, everybody is speaking Norwegian, seeing the password through their eyes, Dick had his wife institutionalized, in a housefire, an important impact on your life, the commitment scene is just like an interlude, mostly dialogue, I wanna be able to commune with another person for reals, fuck it let’s blow up the planet!, what would be the point, becoming interested in the novelties of American culture, getting rooked, a fake tchotchke, Nelson’s first novel, 1963, the inspiration for They Live (1988), We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, We Can Build You (wholesale), responsible, “Mistakes were made.”, somebody made the decision, a guy who wants to be the king, a funny self-sabotage scene, I should be in charge because I’m a clown, Emperor Norton, President Breslin, The Crack In Space, the TV news clown, Tucker Carlson, game show hosts, anyone can be president if he can be president, make him king anyways, I’m a useless clown, I’m a racist slob vote for me, I’m a simple guy, I’m this intellectual who’s better than you, A Face In The Crowd (1957), a very American story, Arkansas, “I’m so exhausted”, “I’m a sick man”, we’re going to set you up, man, they’re in every part of the novel doing something sinister, yeah I smashed her head in but it doesn’t matter, make you feel horrified, the skinning people was pretty nasty, Blacks are called Bucks, Toms are Uncle Toms (sellouts), its all tuck, how good it would feel to roll around on the pelt, these are weird thoughts, he’s the bad guy (kind of), cartoon horror, we don’t need to take this too seriously, the hotel room is great?, you trying to escape from this place?, Ubik, Richard K. Morgan’s Jimmi Hendrix hotel (Edgar Allan Poe in the TV version), idea filled, a literature of ideas, that may be changing, the ideas in here are not potent, more like a regular genre, when people think science fiction fiction today (what Netflix produces), here’s a premise, Three Body Problem, Allan Quatermain, Eric Brighteyes, Vikings are dumb, Paul says we’re done, Evan’s Philip K. Dick podcasts needs addenda, losing track of everything, The Simulacrum, his 1960s books are really well packed, his 70s and 80s books, not as busy, quickfire character changes, very not modern, modern books are technically better, are they as idea packed?, adventure and revenge, trying to be a Norse story, an author’s voice, he’s the dumb blond doing what the witch tells him to, Allan’s Wife, not a good novel to learn real facts about Zulu people, kinda short, main themes.
The SFFaudio Podcast #484 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, Luke Burrage, and Evan Lampe talk about The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Luke Burrage, Evan Lampe
Talked about on today’s show:
Amazing Stories, March and May 1971, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, the best way to be right more often is to change your mind a lot, different futures, eerily close in some ways, the opposite of this book is Nancy Kress’ Beggars In Spain, questions vs. answers, immoral vs. nice, a very evil book, some facts about sleep, lack of sleep, eliminating sleep, a horror show, Randian superhumans, robots, being robots who grind other humans into powder, A.E. Van Vogt, when fans are slans, not as a science fiction but as a fantasy book, Philip K. Dick, scientific explanations, the aliens, a fantasy book about a guy dreaming science fiction, calling out science fiction in science fiction, Star Wars, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the tropes of pulp science fiction, the 1980 TV adaptation, changes for changes sake, a good adaptation, the 2002 remake, they drop the “the” and the philosophical stuff, dying dream, WWIII, as he’s dying in a nuked Portland, Rumble In The Bronx, Mount Hood, volcanoes, Mount St. Helens, Mount Baker, how Mount Hood looms over the book, what makes it the classic that Jesse thinks it is, the first half vs. the back half, battling for control, the narrative goes off the rails because it’s needed, two bad utopianists, central planning, life goes on, Orr being passive, “George Orr” vs. “John If”, Haber is a verb, to express the existence of something, the perfect tense, future tense, Orr is wishy washy, using to perfect, cute, Lalashe, coward, an insect, a black widow spider, she click-clacked and snapped, changing reality, everyone’s skin colour goes grey, to have…or, the genie problem, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, in imperfect dreamer, world peace (through war), no racism, overpopulation, internal vs. external, aliens ex machina, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, from ideas to reality, dreams -> reality, nightmare -> reality, Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the historical context, Stand On Zanzibar, Make Room! Make Room!, The Population Bomb, Star Trek, The Mark Of Gideon, The Conscience Of The King, Malthusian worries, people as consumers vs. people as producers, did Le Guin by into it?, Orr bought into it, it’s all about power and checking privileges, a diploma on his wall, a button on his desk, turned into an asshole and a user, somebody to use, a tool, Immanuel Kant, means to an end, what if there is no end, all we have is the means, the categorical imperative, subscribing to a particular morality, Haber is gaslighting Orr, civil rights, the dynamic between Orr and his psychotherapist, if this was expanded out it would be a dystopia, mild punishment for drug crimes, mandatory therapy, a little bit Brave New World, protein rations, climate change, the end of chapter one, the GPRT drivers, people on basic support, pretending that starvation is scurvy, at least they have unions, pre-Ronald Reagan, the logo of the white hand and the black hand are shaking, the anti-war movement, the end of the ’60s, wish for peace on earth (get war in space), simplistic anti-war ideas, asshole vs. misguided, wasting time on means, the consent form, the abuses of hypnosis, hypnosis as a device, Robert A. Heinlein, experimenting on patients, he hides his assholishness, getting violent, rejecting the second reality, it ISN’T morally ambiguous, Haber is so real, evil in our reality, what actual evil people do, belligerence, Haber’s arrogance, who was responsible for killing 5/6th of the population, how the establishment is: satisfied with the way things are, everything is getting better and better for Haber, why people are confused about Haber being a bad guy is because Orr is confused, he’s not curing me he’s encouraging me, being evil is using someone as a means to an end, rationalizing for evil, lying, the most insidious evil shit, why people stay in abusive relationships, compulsory voluntary therapy, blaming himself, hypnosis vs. persuasiveness, he wants another doctor, he wants help, what a medical ethicist would say, anti-psychiatry thinking, modern Scientologists, Dick thought this true, he’s not a mad scientist, his science as a means, his ends are good, aren’t they?, he’s right to go to a lawyer, so subtle, not everyone sees, the subtlety of Le Guin vs. the hammer of Kress, the most Philip K. Dick novel by Le Guin, out Philip K. Dicking Philip K. Dick, Ubik, Maze Of Death, PKD vibes, PKD and Le Guin went to the same school, a staunch advocate of Dick, one of the best novels, we are in danger of breaking the book by taking it apart too much, how different it is from Dick, feeling like a Dick plot, there’s no humour in this book, insectoid clicky boobs with a chitinous sheen, of course its a horse, funny vs. jokes, the focus on the power dynamic as a horror, sympathy for a horrible dictator, talking about that horse, Philip means “horse lover”, how George Orr lives his life, the homosexuality, dope, very advanced, no fear of bisexuality, NOT problematic, a very 70s way of talking, a 21st century book, the radiation, set a little in the future, undoing problems, mutating, the psychology of the horse and the mountain, erupting, everything’s beneath the future, evidence looms large, right out the window, only when Orr becomes upset, running away to his cabin, triple crown, Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed, corruption, a horse of corruption, is Orr naming it in his dream?, if you don’t treat it as a simple fantasy, is Orr’s brain creating the backstory, choosing between different quantum futures, switching dimensions, how Haber explains it, what does he know?, he’s confabulating it, this is a book about dream, dreaming about this podcast, less LEGO than in the dream, absolutely necessary, completely mysterious, we’ve all had that feeling, angry at someone all day, waking up stressed out, what is the reality, Jesse is sometimes surprised to hear his own name, explaining away the painting, that is not normal, it used to be a view of Mount Hood, the influence of Dick, the power dynamic, The Man In The High Castle, when you read a Philip K. Dick book you can imagine him writing it with a smirk on his face, this feels more dignified, the Laozi, Zhuangzi, Taoism, H.G. Wells, the quotes, too many, so on the nose, the book is prescriptive, in what universe are these quotes relevant?, why isn’t Shakespeare talking about bug-people and aliens?, my pigtail points to the sky, buttocks into a cartwheel, freeing of the bond, accepting the life that comes to you, guiding the reader, breaking the fourth wall, spoiling the effect of the book, The Beatles, she was making it a “greater book” but “diminished it”, more subtle, the I Ching, the characters are learning from the quotes, had the quotes been changing…, “Shotgun Funeral”, the character list that’s messed up, Brandon Sanderson, a missed opportunity, Ubik, advertisements, influencing the characters vs. influencing the readers, look at all these cool quotes I found, “dream quotes”, doing a service, narrative thrust vs. narrative wander, Bertrand Watson, Margaret Killjoy, this is almost an H.P. Lovecraft stories about dreams, Hypnos, drug taking and dreams, a strain of Lovecraftian stories with the horrible machines, From Beyond, Tillinghast’s device, Eight O’Clock In The Morning by Ray Nelson, transparent skin, birds, gross!, Herbert West: Re-Animator, the lesser figure, the passive witness, the dreamer himself, reluctant fascination than actual inclination, the power of dreams, dreams written down, had H.P. Lovecraft written this novel, what’s missing from this book, what’s missing from this book: lucid dreaming, continuing the dream, watching two episodes of a TV series over the space of days, Luke’s lucid knife fight dream, narrative control, did I dream dreaming, George Orr was so wishy-washy, falling under Haber’s sway, spineless characters, weak men, too average, Idiocracy, the most average person, did he make himself the most average man in the world?, which was is the causation, personality inventories, gaslighting, the augmentor, he’d never actually given it any thought, the lay-word sane, your median, by the end of the novel he’s called an artist, he’s a draughtsman at the beginning, grabbing the world by our hands, a celebration of human agency, creativity, character growth, Sidewise In Time by Murray Leinster, living with the pieces, the opening paragraph from Hypnos, Baudelaire:
“Apropos of sleep, that sinister adventure of all our nights, we may say that men go to bed daily with an audacity that would be incomprehensible if we did not know that it is the result of ignorance of the danger.”
May the merciful gods, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore. Fool that I was to plunge with such unsanctioned phrensy into mysteries no man was meant to penetrate; fool or god that he was—my only friend, who led me and went before me, and who in the end passed into terrors which may yet be mine.
the audacity of this guy, we are gods, we are the creators of our own reality, dreams reveal truth, teaching things we shouldn’t know about ourselves, terror about knowledge, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, Thomas Ligotti, an early pioneer in a horror people don’t want to know about: science is true, the comfort of ignorance, melancholy characters, The Dispossessed, the novel is not about that, power relations, conversations where someone is playing a game, handcuffed together, it’s almost like they’re married, why change the lease 33 year lease to a 10 year lease, the age at which Christ died, no resonance, credited as a consultant (not a scriptwriter), Luke would give it 3.5 stars, the lips within the curly beard, then this world will be like heaven and the men will be like gods, the other paid no heed, volcanoes emit fire, fascinating, he has the beard, we are already (like gods), we can already do this, Le Guin is very good at not telling but indicating the direction, signposts on the road, course correcting, why Jesse loves Philip K. Dick, he always doesn’t give you what you want, the setup, Lester Del Rey, designed while it was being written, Jesse has four copies of The Left Hand Of Darkness, when you think of Le Guin this isn’t the book you think of, a step below greatness, the author is visible, here are the ideas I’m playing with, psychiatry as the mains science of the book, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, psychiatry is less science than economics (the dismal science), how primitive psychotherapy worked in the 1970s, A.I. super-intelligence, turned into paperclips, the greatest good for the greatest number, humans into widgets, anti-utilitarianism, how Orr is upset when his girlfriend is gone, not black and not white, it’s worth it, grey not pink not purple, pink dogs, Loving vs. Virginia, she’s not scoring points, a lot of books seem to think they’re the ones who invented being cool, I wanted to show a lot of diversity, rainbow unicorns, representation is overstated, go for ideas, a response to race as a problem, racism is historically contingent, 17th century, let’s talk about this a bit more, slavery, Doctor Futurity, breaking up into new clans, clans are a real thing, speciation, mountain lions and valley lions, family behavior, SNCC, integrationist model for overcoming racism, to solve racism by making everyone the same colour, if he was a PKD protagonist, why the genders are the way they are, Orr was a woman (never mind), the secretary/assistant, the aunt that gets deleted in the first dream, a retcon?, sexually predating on her own family, if Orr was a woman and that was an uncle…, exploring sexuality in other books, Orr had to be a male, male manipulation of women, Lalashe, the most PKD character, starts as a negative, a persona she can take it off, turtle shaped aliens, do they even have a planet?, allowing pink dogs to exist, reality will cover its tracks, when Evan is talking to his students, the origin of the prison, imagining alternative to prisons, the Romans didn’t have prisons, exiles, fines, crucifixion, it has always been this way, a historical invention, The Word For World Is Forest, weird side-bar, The Word For World Is Rainforest, back to PKD, a one sentence defense of utilitarianism, critical of bad and stupid utilitarianism, defer to John Stuart Mill, the problem of the pleasure wizard, Jesse thinks of himself of as a pleasure wizard, think about kids, they haven’t read any books, or seen any movies, you’re going to watch Snow White, god-like power, children are not best able to marshal resources, The Good Place, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, way cleverer than Jesse thinks, Jesse hates the word spoiler, Jesse doesn’t trust people, “type it Paul!”, that’s cute, someone fools you it doesn’t mean they’re cleverer than you, intellectual journey, repetition, American Made (2017), Barry Seal, Hitler loses WWII is not a spoiler, is this Good Place better than Willa Cather?, time commitment, The Americans, look at it from the Soviet point of view, the ending was terrible because the bad guys were let go?, how we won World War II, the more you learn about the soviet end of the war, Canada boasts it had the second biggest navy in the world, gravitas, we can’t know, modern things, at the end of history, stagnating in place, the idea of the novel, historicity, podcast as a genre was completely unimaginable thirty years ago, still mysterious, how many music podcast are there?, it’s not a rights issue, Mr Jim Moon, The Lathe Of Heaven, With A Little Help Of My Friends, @SFFaudio “full film”, complete versions of non-public domain films, nobody cares, commercial concerns, podcast medium is fundamentally different, radio is almost all music, BBC is different, CBC is different, you have to keep it short, Joe Rogan’s three hour shows.
The SFFaudio Podcast #476 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Evan Lampe talk about Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick
Talked about on today’s show:
Future Science Fiction, June 1954, the notes that PKD wrote, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, in the late ’70s, The Exegesis, remembering vs. projecting, his revised ending, he doesn’t understand the mindset he was in when he wrote it, really sensitive, obsessed with tiny little details, his wives and wive characters, what this story is really about, why he doesn’t like the ending, the adaptations, the radio drama, the Electric Dreams adaptation, loose, they’re trying to figure it out, messing up, suddenly the UK doesn’t know how to do science fiction at all, plots vs. scenes, not well thought through, as it was unfolding, doing so much, no through-line, unified thought, why is it called Crazy Diamond?, Jesse doesn’t listen to music, noticing music, colonized by music, chamber music was important to PKD, little details, the name of the boat, John Dee vs. John D., John Dowland, one of two pseudonyms PKD, sixteenth century lute music, Jack Dowland, Jacks and Jills, androids and gynoids, their replicants, what’s wrong with androids?, throwaway technology, what is this story about?, by attacking it from the outside we can work our way in, homages or in-jokes or fanservice, a FASRAD mention, I had a dream, dreams have their opposite meaning?, no coda, thematic overlap, Easter eggs and thematic episodes, entropy, the shoreline, artificial world, a construct, The Truman Show, hoping for a reveal, holding the record, the world is sterile and fake, diners and McDonald’s, fake but they know it is, no growing your own food, understanding this episode, why is their a pig lady?, to make it quirky, just a pig-lady to talk to, the ending is terrible, interesting but they don’t really understand what they’ve got, action movies, ways of adapting these things, callbacks and nods to other shows, 1950s stories, straight up adaptations, Double Indemnity, James M. Cain, let’s do a gender swap with the ending, the girls are teamed up against the guy, it doesn’t make any sense, all the IVF treatments, as a whole it is a failure, useful for analyzing the story, a lead in, escape, El Dorado, Cockaigne, Ultima Thule, 2050 is a nightmare but 1950 is perfect, Time Out Of Joint, near and dear to Dick’s heart, something static that has to be escaped from, the frontier, The Man Who Japed, Solar Lottery, political dystopia, Vulcan’s Hammer, Doctor Futurity, stagnation, on the right page, the third choice is suicide, relentless advertising, a fourth choice, none of this, the way our ancestors lived, no stove, the proper choice, imposing our intellect, the proper choice is to buy the FASRAD, the FASRAD would liberate her, Evan’s podcast: American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time), interpretation based on life experience and life goals, Rorschach, Evan’s plan is to buy land in Wisconsin, homesteading, a Pink Floyd song, rubbing his record, no attribution on the label, all very interesting, musical flatulence, erotic loveplay, personalized google ads, does this happen to you?, gastric processes, bully crossed nag,
“Men!” an unctuous voice thundered on all sides of him. “Banish internally-caused obnoxious odors forever. Removal by modern painless methods of the gastrointestinal tract and substitution system will relieve you of the most acute cause of social rejection.” The visual image locked; a vast nude girl, blonde hair disarranged, blue eyes half shut, lips parted, head tilted back in sleep-drugged ecstasy. The features ballooned as the lips approached his own. Abruptly the orgiastic expression on the girl’s face vanished. Disgust and revulsion swept across, and then the image faded out.
brutal!, so funny, what is the solution?, to replace your intestines with a plastic chute, the skin salon and the hair salon and the nail salon, less animals, prettier and less farty, what ads are for, having your least used eye replaced with a augmented reality google glass, being replaced by your robot, the real threat to Ed Morris is the robot is going to replace him as the husband and at his job, how did this story come into existence?, door-to-door salesperson, fuck you go away I don’t want to hear it, really good at sales, Immanuel Kant would say, a means to an end, Jesse consistently the worst salesperson, robots that endlessly horribly peruse you, they have no feeling, vacuum sales and repair, door to door vacuum sales, learning to repair vacuum cleaners, you’re going to be amazed, Electrolux, FASRAD-style, this wonderful delightful machine, the Jones’ will be so jealous, the job of a husband, a threat to him as a man, no kids, impotence, the PKD-stand in character, the “mute” button, there’s something fascinatingly interesting about this story, we need these appliances, there are advantages to living in the city, a really horrible house-guest on coke, machines need to shut up, totally relating to this story, DVDs and Blu-Rays, the mandatory FBI warning, the state advertising itself, is their anything you can’t do, I’d be insane to buy you, they follow you around until you die, our life, Twitter isn’t the real world, electricity and central heating isn’t the real world, a certain kind of reality, the real world is inaccessible, the reality of bots, ad blockers, the most insidious ads, comments, favouriting everything, falsely identifying people at bots, bots can’t care, a means to an end, the horrible thing about about robots as sales people, the horrible ending, stuck in that loop, military, a whole different track, tapes, bot-like behavior, you’re the product!, soldier versions, replacing humans (or men) in their places of work, Jesse is worried about his dishwasher taking over the podcast, finding yourself as friendship with a bot, ego growing for years, Blade Runner androids are emotionally stunted, they can care about stuff, a horribly wonderful ending, a horror ending, Ed abandoned his wife, empty an vacant, the horror of the world, night and darkness and cold wind, a good night’s sleep, all day, all night, sheer dress, when you’re far away you can see her shapely form, things are worse when you get up close, translucent up close, farther away it is sheer, when married couples go on dates why do they dress up?, right about the story, the story is all about gender, proving his masculinity to the robot, paying on installments, becoming middle aged, he’s worried about being replaced, automation, the Trump voters, what the market says is productive labour, with [Karl] Marx, a philosopher in the morning a fisherman in the afternoon, what to make of our lives when not tied to the market, a liberatory technology, as a labour historian, 35 years of exhaustion, automation as liberation, undermining this particular story, other robots pause, a good story for looking at our reality today, people will be lining up at the Apple store, the door-to-door sales technique, the product is a good one if you can tone down the mouth, working in a sales room, being unable to defend yourself against a sales-person, falling into traps, learning the skills, a sales person is a person, the L.A. Festival of Books, people on scripts, easily influenced, full of compassion for people, bizarre question, do you like books?, I like to eat animals to punish them, do you know how many fish are in this jar?, the Consumer Electronic Shows, booth babes, reviewing video cards, the mid-America Truck Show, catching a booth babe on her lunch break, they can turn it off (a lot of them), there’s never a point when the FASRAD says “when you buy me I’ll shut up”, commuting is a whole thing, the process of driving down the road, Puttering About In A Small Land, a massive amount of stress, the most fearful driver on the road, very important, how many times coffee and mashed peas, big boobs, advertising, commuting, a device that makes you read your boss’ mind, it’s telepathy, seeing the scene with PKD behind that dashboard, honking horns, 60 million miles a second, The Jetsons, as close to pure comedy, the “Doc Labryinth” stories, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, the self-driving car, hypno-motor control, Elon Musk, advertising as a whole, performed a crucial function in democracy, inexpensive or free media, TV and radio advertising, the buyer-seller relationship, ensuring media is distributed to people, BFM radio station ads, enjoyable ads, movie trailers, when the money is going to be expensive, the Superbowl ads, write something that people won’t hate, why isn’t everyone crazy in my particular way, Adbusters magazine, Occupy Wall Street, getting information to people who need it, the Tide ads, don’t eat the Tide Pods, new Coke vs. old Coke, who’s setting the agenda, that is horrible, that’s mind control and it works, we’re poor everyone else is rich, how come your phone is nicer than mine, you cannot understate how powerful advertising is, advertising paid for media that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, the other stuff subsidized the news, CNN doesn’t seem to have reporters outside of their studios, their product is fear, who can we hate this week?, political parties paying for newspapers, magazines without ads, CBC, BBC, the Age Of Persuasion, Network (1976), The Jimmy Dore Show episode in which Ed Schultz explains how he got fired, the system is all set up, six media companies own everything, adding oxygen to an anaerobic environment, the ad breaks, out of the goodness of their anonymous hearts, they are controlling us, political advertising, doing ads for The SFFaudio Podcast, ads for vodka, ad for gas remedy, ad boob extender, quivering breasts, a comedy piece he also enjoys, your wife is sexually attractive but not so intellectual, Sally swept into the room her breasts quivering with excitement, don’t be a dick, given the world we live in, public funding for media, even PBS and NPR have been captured, as soon as you step out of propaganda you know what not propaganda is, is this really a big deal?, how everybody thinks, so tailored to your inadequacies, Structube, an online furniture company, structural tubing, that is the bots, because they are literally robots, the FASRAD can never quit, generic shitty advertising, tampon ads, Maybelline, Minority Report (2002), Facebook, Pure New Zealand, googling murder weapons and IVF stuff, the 13 twitter trolls that swung the election that the 6 billion in free advertising didn’t do, how robots were going to save the world, the way robots are running our world, not the kind we envision, value of labour, bots are working for corporations and institutions, a Roomba, Roombas going door to door selling their services, Jack London, The Iron Heel, Everhart, you’re just Luddites, private hands own the robots, a type of socialism, the people have to control the robots, 200 years in the future,
“Trans-Solar Products greets you!” an immense voice boomed in his ear. Morris groaned and hunched down in his seat. He was getting near Terra; the barrage was increasing. “Is your tension-index pushed over the safety-margin by the ordinary frustrations of the day? Then you need an Id-Persona Unit. So small it can be worn behind the ear, close to the frontal lobe –“
is that an ad blocker?, anti-anxiety, cigarettes and coffee, the mood organ from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, we wouldn’t have a lot of PKD stuff if he wasn’t so stressed out, a science fiction comedy, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, weird stressed out and paranoid, a moral judgement, don’t take the Soma, Bryan Alexander is a jet-setting homesteader, the dream of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is fulfilled with Wikipedia, the novelty hasn’t worn off, Verne Troyer is trending, we are becoming subject to what Google wants us to search for, we’re getting shaped, the anticipating is making things harder, a very good story, the story is very meaty, resonance, the two illustrations by Luton, a giant beckoning woman in space, Blade Runner: 2049, the FASRAD, you’re going to buy me!, this stubborn looking dude, great illustrations, how other people interpret, what they’re seeing in it, was Solar Lottery‘s cover was commissioned then the story was written around it, The Zap Gun, the darkness of the world, fiddling with shoelaces useless, what inspired a scene-let, you’ll feel better after you’ve turned responsibility for me, they took the other ending, Sally becomes Ed, the inversion, they’re muddled, so much in here, I’m sure it will mean something, it fell apart, Annihilation (the movie and the book), the moving tattoo, that movie works because they had a plan, plans are made in the process of editing, a committee, what if there’s a heist!?, the Robin Hood thieves in the forest, why is that there? No reason, what the hell are the QCs, are we all really dumb, going senile, how this world they live in works, why is the food rotting, entropy, Ubik, sometimes a thug or a hood will attack a person at night, The Hood Maker, the twin Beetles, twin broken down trucks, what’s the boss doing, you stopped the crime and then the crime happens?, playing him out?, the editing and the script doesn’t, drugged up by the drugs in the commercials you don’t notice, there’s only one fence in England, do these stories work in England, more French than English, everything’s so fucking small, one foot square garden, they don’t have a living room, there’s a bar in the house, and a den, these stories do not work in U.K., Western and mid-Western America, cedars, the dismal night wind, the radiant lens, Upon The Dull Earth, part of the issue, a cultural mis-translation, too American for a British production, The Impossible Planet, a cup of tea (not a cup of coffee), the most widely used legal brain-stimulant, the smoking rates in Taiwan, cigarette smoking around the world.
The SFFaudio Podcast #422 -Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Marissa talk about The Running Man by Stephen King and The Prize Of Peril by Robert Sheckley
Talked about today’s show:
What’s wrong with society?, Harlan Ellison talking about Stephen King and Robert Sheckley, so eloquent, dismissing Stephen King, The Long Walk, one of the best science fiction books of the 1980s, at the heart of it, the world, when King was hungry and angry, the introduction, giving it away, a pretty extravagant and great ending, he’s old and angry on Twitter now, he talks good, a distant anger, his attiotufe is what makes the book, The Prize Of Peril is a joke, Das Millionenspiel (1970), the Schwarzenegger, turning anger into a farce action comedy, not even a satire, so much hate, shocking lines, smash her and rape her, when King was very poor, Rage, uncomfortable, connections to actual school shootings, bizarre tie between fiction and action, I’m gonna come up to that floor and getcha, pulling books off the shelves, The Dead Zone, the Dead Zone TV show, the world fits this kind of character, psychological, Richard K. Morgan doesn’t write them this angry, Mr. Mercedes, Take The Money And Run, The Hunted, sticking it to the man, “the internet never forgets”, auto-pulldowns by robots, a disturbing show, Myke Cole, without the killing, so freaky, same ethics and motivation, poor people, Jimmy Dore, half of America is poor, Scott would dispute that, it seems high, American poor, healthcare, GoFundMe for healthcare, hoping to put my kids into college, Paul Bishop, everybody loses the money, Big Brother Canada, horror, becoming a homeless person for 30 days, distributing, why did I like this?, interviewing audience members, a War Of The Worlds-effect, cutting to the control room, former CIA, former FBI, former U.S. Marshall, former British intelligence, this isn’t stacked at all, economic incentive, the mother, the book readers are the heroes, The Prize Of Peril, Raeder = Reader, putting ourselves into this situation, the ultimate protagonist, Killian, stick close to your own people, mapping, May of 1958 (everybody’s doing great), real unemployment 24%, I work three jobs, clown for president, the 1970 movie existential interest in, Too Many Cooks, the sponsor of Das Millionenspiel is Stablelite, male enhancement, Stablelite = the stable elite, The Running Man (1987), tracking real-life trends, 1950s = isn’t this funny (a satire), Sheckley was a god in Europe, The Tenth Victim (adapted from Seventh Victim), an assassination game, keeping violence down, Black Mirror: White Bear, X-Minus One, about psychology, the death wish and the life wish, a suicide option, the voluntary suicide act, Prix De Danger, the Sheckley short story, “Hazard”, “Spills”, “Underwater Perils”, “Terroro”, why Marissa loves this podcast, if we go there…, CBC, CTV, remaking American shows, Canadian Idol, people wouldn’t accept, everything commercialized, even Netflix has this, poor loser helpless people, Fear Factor, you haven’t been poor and desperate enough, I’ll just shoot you then, part of the criticism, that feeling, this Stephen King book feels way more relevant today, air pollution, the media, Sam Harris, the attention economy, status, the environmental sub-plot, thinking about and talking about the environment, only for the lip readers, They Live (1988), a spiritual riff, desperately squeezing, the temptation to power motif, we could use you, a three year contract, standard for a network stalker, you do it to your own kind, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Eight O’Clock In The Morning by Ray Nelson, the trickle down economy, the network editing, agreeing on what real is, subtext, looking at SF causally, SF is reflective not predictive, framing, when a hospital gets bombed, Leonard Cohen, “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons”, Brian Williams, how much in the context, humiliating interrogation by professionals, a Japanese game show, Trans-America Ultra Quiz, the look and the inspiration is from Japanese game show, The Hunger Games, what it’s all built from, ancient Rome, the tension, I have no idea what I’m supposed to feel, here’s this phenomenon, non-judgemental, the conclusion is not in the movie, you’re watching the host, through the host’s eyes, the Italian French Russian movie, Le Prix Du Danger (1983), surveillance cameras all over England, mailing in your tapes, at the homeless shelter, the meta-issue, Raeder is the first thing you see in the story, we become the Ben Richards, Richard Dawson, Harlan Ellison doesn’t give you his varnished opinion, The Pest, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, battle royale style, Battle Royale, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, even a frying pan, the war of all against all, Thomas Hobbes, Paul is tribute, first person shooters, so funny so dark, Tag: The Assassination Game, Gotcha! (1985), thinking about fake news, a cartoon for stupid people, so great and stop stupid, Dweezil Zappa, Mick Fleetwood, Stephen King movies are mostly horrible, 1408, The Storm Of The Century, The Shining, The Mist, “Whitman, Price, and Haddad”, basking under the Maui sun, the big lie, when a revolution becomes show business, he’s a game show host, ultimate reality show, Scott has checked out, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger two future governors wrestling each other, wrestling as ballet for big guys, set in 2017, when Killian gets his ending, when the truth is known the people will revolt, no agreement on what the truth is, agreeing on what the facts are, brainwashing, it’s not all bottom down, ignorance at the bottom, the school system is broken, teaching civics, getting a good SAT score, good job vs. good citizens, bubbles, the “freeview”, greater than Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 or The Veldt, subtlety in The Running Man movie, bread and circuses, healthcare too, vacation time, better education, grow our minds, some clean air (or water), automated manufacturing, technicians, robotics, what will society look like in 20 years?, an opportunity, truck driver, work through what it means, truck guard like Mad Max, the reason for pirates in Somalia, dignity, stepping on his own guts, a dignity in defiance, living with your mom in your 40s or 50s or 60s, food riots, nerve gas in the mid-east, protests did not work, a thin scythe, jellyfish slime, and he’s pimping out his wife, is anybody thinking about it, earlier industrial revolutions, a new Roosevelt with a new New Deal, analyzing art, buying literature written by A.I., kiosks and self checkouts, robots cooking the food, nursing the babies, all a prequel to Wall-E, the soft apocalypse, The Machine Stops, to feed their kid, medicine for the kid, people do that, that’s where the sex industry comes from, the power of a pseudonym, Thinner, Donald E. Westlake and Richard Stark, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, embarrassed about, 100% honest, admire them, The Long Walk, Misery, Steve Brown, 1985, real journalism, you can tell, one thing we know about writers is that they used to be readers, Ben Richards is really well read, fuck off and get me some books, a general atomics novel, book reviews, William Shakespeare, off center of Science Fiction, Stephen King is the gateway drug, The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger, Richard from Richard Stark, a Westlake novel about the pseudonym problem, The Hook, writer’s block, the hall of mirrors effect, King has a voice that is different than Koontz and Dick and Lovecraft, other Bachman books, Rage, Thinner, Misery, his biggest fan, writing the novel in the novel, meta, Roadwork, an interstellar bypass without the interstellar, The Bachman Books, Different Seasons, an official photo of Richard Bachman, Philip K. Dick, Four Past Midnight, The Langoliers, Kevin Kenerly was a terrific narrator, George Guidall, American Gods, damn good listen, damn good book, The Millions Game, after death beauty products, the Kling Klang knife company, a knife for killing your wife, Germany in the 70s was a very interesting place.
The SFFaudio Podcast #400 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick
Talked about on today’s show: Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, early crystallized, fantasy, science fiction, a great story, which perspective, Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, a weird gnostic sort of thing, religious and gnostic themes, a scary herald, comforting, the one last comfort, first impressions, kind of amazing, so Philip K. Dick, almost Lovecraftian cosmic horror, politics, some of the best parts of his novels, Mr Lovecraft himself, amazing things to say, 1968, under LSD, written on LSD?, the Philip K. Dick fans website, Latin and Aramaic, a grain of salt and a tab of acid, what a good writer PKD is, the cigar keeps going out, how shocking, this is a retelling of 1984, 1984 meets the Doors Of Perception, Big Brother is God, the dystopia he’s living in, watching TV as a part of the job, reverse cultural imperialism, the ancient art of American steer roping, Julia (from 1984), Tanya, secret societies, being roped into a conspiracy against the part, agitprop, a great cynicism, astoundingly interesting, LSD in the water, anti-psychotic snuff, seeing behind the illusion, one of twelve possible realities, 1984 is not our world, modern politics, customized ads and emails, propaganda, you don’t taste it anymore, the desert of the real, stolen from The Matrix, a terrifying reality, have sex and drugs until you die (the moral of the story), there are things worse than I, what could be worse, very Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, topless and bottomless, glowing boobs, a mutant, low on affect, as horrific as anything in H.P. Lovecraft, powerful imagery, a genius all over the map, neo-Platonism, I am everything, I created the party, I created the anti-party, relativism, no objective reality,
It was terrible; it blasted him with its awareness. As it moved it drained the life from each person in turn; it ate the people who had assembled, passed on, ate again, ate more with an endless appetite. It hated; he felt its hate. It loathed; he felt its loathing for everyone present — in fact he shared its loathing. All at once he and everyone else in the big villa were each a twisted slug, and over the fallen slug carcasses the creature savored, lingered, but all the time coming directly toward him — or was that an illusion? If this is a hallucination, Chien thought, it is the worst I have ever had; if it is not, then it is evil reality; it’s an evil thing that kills and injures. He saw the trail of stepped-on, mashed men and women remnants behind it; he saw them trying to reassemble, to operate their crippled bodies; he heard them attempting speech.
what would be seeing?, it’s metaphor, a return to chaos, like meeting a celebrity and falling under their sway, interesting political, reading Hillary [Clinton] emails, seeing behind the curtain, plans and strategies, when on the drug of reality (instead of the public face of it), seeing everything for what it is, Netflix, London Has Fallen, Channel Zero, ruined for generic Hollywood movies, giving speeches while smashing an enemy in the face, since Independence Day, people watching the movie with us, the proxy for the audience, “we authorized it through the G8”, writing is solving problems, the whole of the movie depends on a tiny little linchpin, it’s all about economics, cartoonish, ISIS and the Saudis and the Clintons, destabilize your enemies and reinforce your allies, some people think that Hillary is the more sane response, behind closed doors speech, a public face and a private face, very pragmatic, she dissembles, since the days of the Roman senate, the veils are lifted, fear has infected them, he has revealed the fakeness all around them, he’s so fake he’s genuine, the clanker, the gulper, the climbing tube, the bird, politics and truth-telling, Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, diving into the greatest depression of your existence, consciousness is an accident of evolution, the atheist existential point, in order to survive emotionally, I want to it to go back the way it was, a gelatinous thing with a million eyes,
And then it ceased talking to him; it disjoined itself. But he still saw it; he felt its manifold presence. It was a globe which hung in the room, with fifty thousand eyes, a million eyes — billions: an eye for each living thing as it waited for each thing to fall, and then stepped on the living thing as it lay in a broken state. Because of this it had created the things, and he knew; he understood. What had seemed in the Arabic poem to be death was not death but God; or rather God was death, it was one force, one hunter, one cannibal thing, and it missed again and again but, having all eternity, it could afford to miss. Both poems, he realized; the Dryden one too. The crumbling; that is our world and you are doing it. Warping it to come out that way; bending us.
the window!, THE WINDOW!, don’t fall on my account,
“Don’t fall on my account,” it said. He could not see it because it had moved behind him. But the piece of it on his shoulder — it had begun to look like a human hand. And then it laughed.
“What’s funny?” he demanded, as he teetered on the railing, held back by its pseudo-hand.
“You’re doing my task for me,” it said. “You aren’t waiting; don’t have time to wait? I’ll select you out from among the others; you don’t need to speed the process up.”
shaking hands with Hillary Clinton, politics can distract us from reality, politics as a filter, seeing the world through a different filter, relativism, that’s why Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary tried to redefine what the drug was doing to you, psychedelic, philosophy, natural experiments, giving a blind person sight and having them recognize what they’d previously recognized with their hands, our minds don’t just take in and process information, drugs break the filters of projection, when you see someone smiling and giving you a message on TV, Barack Obama is a master of this, the TPP, the Dakota Access Pipeline, Bill Maher, The Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, RomneyCare is ObamaCare, the Democrats stole the money and positions from the Republicans, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Hillary workers on TV, exploitation plan, George Carlin and the big club, he’s a socialist of course he’s naive, he met a wood-chipper, who will be to blame?, who will be responsible?, arguing about nothing related to any of the issues that anyone cares about, the absolute benefactor, a Caucasian from New Zealand, it’s icky and you don’t want to deal with it,
“Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unselfconscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.”
the argument goes: lalalalalalal, block it out, we’re not just meat-sacks, Doctor Strange, the terror of the multiverse, atheist = asshole, shining a light on an uncomfortable truth, but we’re happy, I could have steak again, chemtrails are something to worry about, the Kardashians, reality and ignoring things, The Congress (2013), an animated reality, they want the delusion, there are multiple deserts, retreat to the Cambrian, getting mopped up with a towel,
That evening in his small but well-appointed condominium apartment he read over the other of the two examination papers, this one by a Marion Culper, and discovered that it, too, dealt with poetry. Obviously this was speciously a poetry class, and he felt ill. It had always run against his grain, the use of poetry — of any art — for social purposes. Anyhow, comfortable in his special spine-straightening, simulated-leather easy chair, he lit a Cuesta Rey Number One English Market immense corona cigar and began to read.
The writer of the paper, Miss Culper, had selected as her text a portion of a poem of John Dryden, the seventeenth-century English poet, final lines from the well-known “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.”
. . . So when the last and dreadful hour
rumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.
Well, that’s a hell of a thing, Chien thought to himself bitingly. Dryden, we’re supposed to believe, anticipated the fall of capitalism? That’s what he meant by the “crumbling pageant”? Christ. He leaned over to take hold of his cigar and found that it had gone out. Groping in his pockets for his Japanese-made lighter, he half rose to his feet.
then a page break,
At a quarter to three in the morning, as he sat sleepless in the living room of his conapt, smoking one Cuesta Rey Astoria after another, a knock sounded at the door.
When he opened it he found himself facing Tanya Lee in her trenchcoat, her face pinched with cold. Her eyes blazed, questioningly.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he said roughly. His cigar had gone out; he relit it. “I’ve been looked at enough,” he said.
“You saw it,” she said.
She seated herself on the arm of the couch and after a time she said, “Want to tell me about it?”
“Go as far from here as possible,” he said. “Go a long way.” And then he remembered: no way was long enough. He remembered reading that too.
the attempts at distraction failing, the title, the legless war veteran, a full novel’s worth of ideas bubbling,
“We can’t win,” he said. “You can’t win; I don’t mean me. I’m not in this; I just wanted to do my job at the Ministry and forget it. Forget the whole damned thing.”
“Is it non-terrestrial?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Is it hostile to us?”
“Yes,” he said. “No. Both. Mostly hostile.”
when he’s on the ledge, his shoulder has begun to bleed, a stigmata, the anti-god that rules the universe, Prince Of Darkness, the god of The Sims player, we’re evil, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, Philip K. Dick gave the manuscript copy of this story to Ray Nelson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the greatest movies ever filmed, They Live! now has added relevance, is it hostile to us?, it’s not one thing, Nietzsche: “God is dead”, Philip K. Dick: “no, They live.”