The SFFaudio Podcast #606 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #606 – Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens; read by Mary Jo Escano.

This unabridged reading of the story (29 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Famous Fantastic Mysteries, All-Story Weekly, the original, Mary Jo Escano, Connor Kaye, an inversion of The Cask Of Amontillado, unhinged, paranoid, the slight, Reading, Short And Deep, The Purloined Letter, hiding something in plain sight, C. Auguste Dupin, Voltaire’s Zadig, the origin of Sherlock Holmes, a couple of lines in Latin, a story from ancient Greece, like most people, the content of the letter, blackmail, Poe is so twisted, feed the child to the parent, revenge, the general outline Fortunato is unlikely, don’t tread on me, a foot stamping on a snake, coded, carnival day, the way the story is framed, you who know me so well, a return to the frame, fifty years, confess to a murder crime, confessing to his confessor, a little twist, an unrepentant evil fuck, bad deal, Poe is very revengy, Francis Stevens, Terrence E. Hanley’s blog, the math, the golden age for SF is 12, a new edition of Poe came out when Francis Stevens was 12, H.G. Wells, a number of Poe stories, read and listened, a whole other story, every single line, incredibly interesting how much work each little thing does, densely short, idea matrix, dream, didn’t feel cheated, Castalia House, more Lovecrafty, Schrodinger’s Beatrice, a back frame, The Turn Of The Screw, the dream thank god was a lie, what was the dream, both, this avenging poison, really questioning, this is an actual dream Francis Stevens had, Lovecraft’s letters, Jesse’s dreams, this thesis, dreams and creative writing are basically the same thing, multiple passes, the power of dreams, if that’s not the case, that’s how the narrator tells the story, dreams are very slippery things, worried that something in the dream is reality, what you feared, neglecting pets [sooo neglecty], undo, what is actually real, everyone they say has a streak of incipient madness, the potentiality, Beatrice wants a divorce, Santallos, she was going for italiante, Spanish background, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, a mummy in his house, read stories then write based on prominent, at 3am on your birthday, a very long dream

Dreamt I traveled to a small island nation, a tourist destination, &took the usual tourist trap tour with a semi-stranger. He’d lured me there like Harley Warren, with hints& half-promises about some semi-history some semi-mythology of that island nation. A Twitter acquaintance, I was his Randolph Carter, his audience and student. We toured the caves with the others, but at a certain passage broke with the group and wound down tunnels of the known path. There he pointed out subtle signs no local guide would mention or noticed. A glyph here, a scratch there. And eventually he showed me the wall which concealed that culminating theory, or so he said. I feared my Carter might be his Fortunato and said so. But his knowing laugh reassured and also frightened me. He asked my help in rolling the wall, a large round rock, aside and I did, and with my small extra strength added to his the wall moved. We pass into the passage beyond and found evidence that the island’s rumors about a great power once visiting but somehow sparing them the devastation of similar remote island nations to be literally true. For beyond that wall we found a small group of skeletons seated round in a ring. Each a cup in their bony hands. Each cup contained a reddish residue and as I [p]awed and sniffed at the bottle between them my semi-acquaintance explained the scene to me. They’d crashed their ship upon the island’s rocky shores, he said, after being wrecked upon them by a swirling tempest. But surviving and being provisioned, their leader, a ship’s surgeon told the poxxy crew they could expect a rescue and relief. But this had been a ruse for the surgeon somehow knew that his European crew carried a disease too deadly to be treated on the isolated natives of this island nation and so instead he’d planned a party where in truth he’d drugged their wine, and collapsed the cave wall behind which lay this sordid scene.

I sat there stunned.

How could this Twitter acquaintance know all this about this hidden history, this suicidal plan, this involuntary pact, this truly tainted tontine in which all its members had only learned their fate at the hands of their deceaser doctor who himself imbibed the tainted wine?

Again

my Twitter acquaintance, nigh a friend, laughed and explained his morbid methodology.

And as I heard his terrible words, and sniffed again at that reddish residue I realized that the island’s isolated events and the ships surgeon from long ago were less a quaint [story] than a repeating pattern and as this realization dawned upon me and he laughed the final words I heard that round rock roll back into place as I awoke to write these words.”

no joke, experience the horror, deliberative cruelty, a wind so strong, a bunch of images, quite interesting, now I’ve gone too far, that happens in this story, really cool, Poe-esque, less something to be proud of than to be interested in, How Jesse Dreams podcast, 6 weird words,

HIS GREAT GRANDSIRE’S WILL by Jesse
Upon the death of his despised great grandfather, the portly boy was surprised to learn he had been bestowed his mouldering ancestral estate, consisting of a remote mountain fortress, a deep black lake, and crumbling thatch-roofed stables.
Yet when he first visited that stone citadel, that deep still tarn, and those rotting horse stalls, the ample boy was not particularly impressed with his great grandsire’s wizardry.
But the more he investigated that ancient demesne the more the big boy came to appreciate his great grandfather’s antiquarian peculiarities.
So it was particularly poignant when one November evening the rotund boy was plumbing the depths of the manor’s many cellars when, after sliding aside a purple velour curtain, he discovered the shriveled and still swinging corpse of his great grandfather in a magnificent rocking chair.
Shocked, but no longer surprised, the seemingly faithless boy instantly kicked his old ancestor’s body out of the chair, draped that sumptuous violet hanging about his still plush shoulders, seated himself, laughed and began to rock.
When in the spring sunshine they eventually found him in that basement of that shining citadel, the boy’s body was dry and desiccated, the stables had been rebuilt, the lake was lush with lively loons, and a freshly empty casket lay resplendent in an upper turret.
THE END

Jesse writes better in his dreams, the original Virgil Finlay illustration, having Poe on your mind, a Poe-ish story, in your reading gets inside of you, how this story was constructed, a cliche, and it was all a dream, genuinely what it is, it feels like it was written by a woman, the way he talks about the other male, the female gaze, he sat in the woman’s chair, he wishes he could see himself, his litheness of his body, its almost like a gay thing, sometimes Jesse’s not in his own dreams, third person dreams, an expy, Maissa doesn’t know whose in her dreams, interfering with access, designed to be forgettable, kettle on the stove, dream memory would harm reality if it persisted, looking for the cat you’ve never owned, maladaptive, I must be enjoying it while its happening, try to hold on to dreams, free association, a deliberately difficult order, the arbitrariness of dreams, how could this work?, writing your way out of it, plotters vs. pantsers, writing by the seats of your pants, the unpublished first novel of Clark Ashton Smith (The Black Diamonds), a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, an old castle, rotting tapestry, another dinner, there’s wrestling, a mysterious letter delivered by a bird, you are now my enemy, forsworn, no explanation, this wonderful imagination, he’s got the right attitude, the font is too small, why it is a dream story, she read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and she had this dream, her own personal psychology, Poe’s life, his parents, his adoptive family, super-randy, romanced everybody around, you better straighten up, defiant, West Point, excelled and kicked out, a trouble maker, Tomahawk Poe, how mean he was, Baltimore Gazette, trouble holding a job, alcoholic, Poe’s executor was his enemy, Poe was not a normal person, Francis Stevens was a normal person (extraordinarily gifted), not a Harlan Ellison type, Poe would be very tiring, we have to work with this guy, he’s the son of the boss, the narrator is upset by the actions he thought he took, he didn’t kill Beatrice, but he thought about it, jealousy, putative lover, yay my marriage failed, easy come easy go (but its not that easy), the timing of this story, 1918 vs. 1922, King Tut’s tomb, waves of Egyptmania, a little premature, The Mummy, 1940, its very short, subtle, authentic, she was 34 when this story came out, the bulk of her stories appear The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, the superhero Sampson, the very first superhero story, super-science, comic-booky, unrelated experiments, all of the metal, vibranium or adamantium, like Captain America, tremendous strength, the mythological character, written when she was a teenager, she’s got something, a real dynamism, it feels clunky at the beginning, it’s a short story, to be sure of my visitor, this is all planned, our friend, our Beatrice, it throws you off, a blast of sharp November air, each purple curtain, from Poe, ah distinctly I remember, wrought its ghost upon the floor, burn, I had to throw my weight upon the door, the storm without (he thinks), you’re very cautions, a password, this house stands somewhat alone, thieves everywhere, full of import, a feat of considerable muscles, sarcophagus, yes, the woman it contains, don’t you agree?, counterfeited a shudder, mummy horror, selling everything, tear jars and tombstones, a meme, drinking a cup full of “liberal tears”, making light, that relationship, neglecting his wife, another Poe story, The Oval Portrait, her name is not insignificant, trying to escape a bad relationship, she just wants to have it quits, the kind of chair that women love but most men loathe, like a cat, occasional blundering candor, the litheness of his body, why does he want to be understood?, with a single exception, the entire lot is going to the dealers, the costume of the mummy, he’s transferred his affection, very weird, where is Beatrice, a sea-cruise, another Poe story, The Oblong Box, its a coffin, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the coffin as a flotation device, she’s in her boudoir?, we don’t know, what’s behind the curtain?, what is the curtain?, the dream?, the space between life and death?, the rosy velour curtain, constantly billowing, a rose coloured sail, must be a door behind there, huh?, my voice checked him, are you quite strong enough to close that door, chin on shoulder, his face seemed scarcely familiar?, what door is it?, his eyes fled mine, the invading winds, Annabelle Lee, you feel like you’re with them, heft to the things, the foot of the gilded case, gilded cage, a prisoner of his own thoughts and his own fear and his own making, he can’t escape them, a repulsive fantasy, yes?, you are too lovely Beatrice, you shall have your freedom, the father’s friend sent the wine, a very female story, kill with poison, enemy and himself, a murder suicide, none of us are going to survive that night, The Sleeper, a story not just a description, by the tomb by the sea by his Annabelle Lee, big frost ship poem, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, you’re walking down the highway, who are you?, its a story of necrophilia, a dude like Romeo outside of a house, she’s either dead or asleep, The Sleeper, curtains, superhard to understand, a nice tomb (she deserves it), to hear the echo (that’s a ghost), the horror of your loved one being dead, your in-laws, if Beatrice is to die, she should be given the most grand tomb imaginable, the mummy’s tomb, be with her (kinda), definitely thinking about it, the underdog stand, one more try, my father’s jealous blood, the mummy or his wife?, he was paying more attention, let her mate with who she would, my brown perfect princess of the Nile, as I had seen it in my vision, did he do that?, he was prepping, prepping for the murder, so good, page 41, erect in the doorway, more beautiful, bound across her bosom, amulets, the amulet of purity of the heart, Dante Alighieri, lost in the dusk of her hair, the flesh of any of us three, what he says about her hair, pallor, an interesting growth, the billowing of the titular curtain, the same totem, the catacombs, a distraction to Fortunato, the niter, it grows, an indication of growth in death, bird poo, an alchemical idea, crystalline growth, do you notice the curtain it blows?, half the estate, even to the sarcophagus itself, the unclosed frozen eyes, a motif used again again, Dream-Land, there the king hath forbid the uplifting of the fringed lid, the courtesy due a guest, a gauge, a measure of his suffering, drive home the jest, you’re joking with me, dressed in motley, a jester, Beatrice had seen, Romeo And Juliet, Pyramus and Thisbe, any use, the melting pot of dissolution, almost Lovecraftian, you asked what door, there are doors and doors dear, charming friend, close it now in my face, wither you have, the heavy heavy door of the Osiris, very cool story, so many layers, more notes from Connor, pretty much a reasonable person, to consummate their affair, juicy horror elements, without plot being committed, a reasonable person, your writing sucks, dude, a magician’s act, the whole dream is a magic trick, the stage assistant has not been sawn in half, a comparison between Beatrice and the dead princess, changed vs. unchanging, the dead princess, he can project all his stuff onto her, no, no I hate those, watching movies with his mummy bride, their all independently wealthy, take your stuff home to work with you, one story in Weird Tales, Sunfire, running out of Francis Stevens to read, alas!, three stories to go, The Thrill Book, Impulse, set in the Society Islands Of The South Pacific, how much we will enjoy this story, completely gone, Friend Island, make sure you keep a copy, and that’s that, evocative, stuff to say, Unseen—Unfeared, Google Books, one photo of Francis Stevens (unattributed), why she stopped, some falling out with her kid, alternative dates for her birth and death, changed her name again?, R.M. Burrows, with women its hard, Lovecraft’s name is unusual, we don’t quite have the technology yet, new stuff gets scanned, 1948 newspaper Washington, D.C., Book Club called The Outsiders, first order of business, write a stern letter to the government, Weird Tales was banned in Washington, D.C., “different stories”, like a television channel, “The Unique Magazine”, those misfits, the weird stories, this isn’t a science fiction story, its not even a fantasy story, a horror story, a Poe story, not following a particular set of tropes, why I like Francis Stevens.

Behind The Curtain by Francis Stevens - Illustration by Virgil Finlay

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The SFFaudio Podcast #605 – READALONG: A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #605 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Cat Russell talk about A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Talked about on today’s show:
1955, On The Make, The Girl The Gold Watch And Everything, broken up, Jesse’s back, hardboiled, adventure fantasy, the writing style, the throughline, parallax, Cape Fear, parallels or similarities, a sinister similar story, Deniro, the melodrama, Fitzmartin, a cunning plan, very apocalypse world, the back and forth, before he killed him, you’ve got a character and he wants one thing, he likes killing people, when Tal comes blundering in, one lead or a whole bunch of leads, everytime he goes and talks to somebody, Ruth’s dad, hangin out with losers, one of the dogs died, some blind lady, grade 8 English teacher, organize her photographs, David Mamet, deliberately misunderstanding, we don’t know what he wants and neither does he, the $60,000, find this money, Paul’s only lead, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), I hate my job, he knew himself better, the three male characters in that Korean War POW camp, mistakes vs. stupid actions vs. smart actions, profiting from someone else’s mistakes, the moral line, very noir, a bullet for Cinderella, surprise, the one wielding the bullet, who is on the make?, and Ruth too, Timmy was on the make, Cindy was on the make, upstate New York, place vs. character, a region of the country, the flooded river and the island, a place called Hillston, out of state plates, California, Delaware Street, a map of the town, what’s missing, do Evan’s role, the ones who stayed behind, the middle classes’ malaise with itself, the Korean War, they had such potential, living the American dream and its empty, the Progressives, the Communist Party was underground in the 1950s in the United States, everybody who survived the camp, a lean man with tremendously powerful hands and arms, a Texan and a Marine, hunt down Fitzmartin and kill him, Fitz was not a progressive, appointed committees, assigned responsibilities, retreads, Jap camps, Fitz refused, an animal instinct, icy contempt, tires, drafted into WWII, in a way, the Cold War, a magazine had done the same sort of thing, refused repatriation, turncoats, ignorant, neurotic, the dead were more interesting, whose judgement is this, a middle class judgement of the communists, I’m writing a book, making the notes, what are we reading, fake it until you make it, seeing through it, searching for meaning, a suit he puts on, a private detective, there’s jobs for white guys in the 1950s, a novel about class, Will thinks everything about class, Antoinette, the cover, full hillbilly, hot hillbilly, racism, white trash, very unsavoury, middle class guy has his romp with the proletarian woman, he uses her as a shield, he hates her, middle class bae, it was unconscionable that he didn’t die at the end, Ruth’s gonna die, everything isn’t going to be okay, this society is still depraved, Blue Velvet (1986), all the betrayals he was willing to do, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, John D. MacDonald writes Ringworld novels, the narrator for the audiobook: so good, he does the women really well, the men really well, the radio sound, tones and moods and pacing, Winston Tharp, The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake, top notch, he’s perfect, the angry guy, the people at the diners, the cops, a shoutout to Winston Tharp: great job!, your life is lesser by not listening to the audiobook, a different flavour when somebody else reads it, undercurrent, Hell Or High Water (2016), the decade of despair, pay off the reverse mortgage, Blue Ruin (2013), garbage truck detective, professional and causal reviewers, the pov character is “on the spectrum”, autistic detective, he just happens to be weird, the character doesn’t matter, the country’s falling apart, the police aren’t doing their job, there’s something wrong, a business collapsing, he wants to die, hidden motives, hidden from themselves, the simplest character is Fitzmartin, the daughter of the vet, why isn’t she married?, is she just waiting for the hero to arrive, I like reading books, a lot of people were not good enough (intellectually) for her, the absent owner class, the big bourgeoisie, why do we go to the Korean War again, same reason for the Vietnam War, capitalism and white supremacy, what is a military really, a machine for killing people, the average drafted soldier, how he acts in the camp, Tal’s stated reason, searching for meaning, he’s a year behind, an excuse, Ruth was looking for someone to be her equal, his stated goal was to hunt him down and kill him after, he’s a different kind of turncoat, he’s a turncoat on the species, hunting vs. stumbling, he punched him, a narrative, I told them everything except for this, he’s an unreliable narrator, those are the results, he can move on with his life, the sacrifice of Cinderella, very hard relationship, a hard scene, sending money, she was doing her best, Doyle, a lot of pathos going on, a Scarlett O’Hara vibe, all the other Cindys, the gypsy blooded girl, what’s her fate?, she gets away with nothing, totally noir, it aint that happy an ending, it intentionally creates that illusion, middle class normalcy reasserting itself, she likes to read books, I’m not a female longhair, I’m not one of those people, books like this, propaganda, an ideological statement at the end, a door, a possibility, Tal Howard is a Rorschach test, Mark Twain, it’s very easy to have principles on a full belly, Extracts From Adam’s Journal, the apple, break it slowly, Timmy was a less complicated person than I am, on a physical level, it would have been fine for a time, good talk aka podcasts, beer and bowling and sports page attitude, sticking a pin in him, are you Tal?, is the door open, this guy got the shit kicked out of her, Tal has taken over Timmy’s life, it was too easy for him, had he become, Timmy, all you gotta do is dig it up, Tal Howard evolved, he’s the Timmy who grew up, they might workout, Charlotte is for Timmy, endless yak, television, yellow kitchens, the other women choices, Ruth is similar, wiser, less cruel, he’s just in the cycle, they drink, First Blood (1982), A Dark Place aka Steel Country, intellectually disabled, emotionally disabled, Trump Pence signs, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the chapters are primes, a very very uncool Brick (2005), weirdness and rationalizations, very low ratings, near concern trolling, neo-noir, murder mystery shows, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, plot details vs. this town in the 1950s, hidden from us and yet revealed, metaphors for Tal’s state of mind, all the different aspects of his personality, the lure of being shallow and living in the moment, meaning, she was the treasure, Miss Major, very sympathetic lady, for – personal reasons, he’s not lying, he’s on the edge of immorality, for reasons I do not which to disclose to you, his deeper reasons, he’s obsessed with this girl she doesn’t know, Timmy wasn’t very well when he mentioned this Cindy, those dreadful teeth, the other children used to be horrible to her, they can be little animals at times, the kids today, the science teacher is so philosophical, very ruthless, Antoinette Rasi, after I learned braille, its a graduation picture, a great mass of black hair, half-French half-Italian, her people were very poor, inadequately dressed, a very alive person, across the tracks?, a boat and bait business, the shack is pictured on the cover, she had a black eye, aww, really really good writing, not artificial, who’s reading these books, math, Timmy was gifted at math, everything was too easy, Mr. Leach, not in troubles, federal narcotics people, many collars, criminals of all dimensions, that has the sound of a book, I almost died but not quite, a labour of love, should be treated with all respect, cretins who can multiply two five digits numbers, abnormally normal, creative mathematics, empty cleverness, he never had time, it wasn’t easy at the end, a fellow traveler, this a bad century, one of the faceless ones, something is eating our young, a self-inflicted abortion, those were the good old days, who got the money?, where da money?, everybody should be happy, no technical end, the storm clouds of the sixties, he’s becoming the Tim that should have been, might have been, escape this cycle, be a better man, Timmy represents potential, sleeping with his brother’s wife and stealing his money, this lie about being a writer, John D. MacDonald’s own impostor syndrome?, write to eat, I’m not David Mamet, manipulating figures in math, Fitzmartin uses them as a means to an end, the better person that Timmy should have become, not Macdonald’s first novel, Travis McGee, Lawrence Block, a devoted fan base, colours in the title, Nightmare In Pink, Bright Orange For The Shroud, The Dreadful Lemon Sky, The Cinnamon Skin, Costco, Harry Potter, series books, old books is what we need, Will, The Battle Of Chosin Reservoir, a young back, Evan has a doctorate in knowing stuff, let’s all go to this war, for show, U.N. cover, Taiwan represented China, the Vietnam War, retweeting New York Times, we know the history better than the people of the time know it, seeing it from all sorts of different sides, the job of a historian, reading fiction of the time, what it was like for them, starving in a frozen North Korean prison camp, they’re in it again, motivated by god knows what, he can’t keep his job, the psychology, notice the health, how Tal Howard survived, survivors guilt, taking over Timmy’s role, these three examples of what men can do, be assholes, be apologetic assholes, would you trust those police to help you out, they told him to leave town, private detectives, they were question the authority, the police didn’t do their job, we have a monopoly on violence, a bigger picture, let’s listen to him, good cop bad cop, us vs. them, the anti-communist stuff from this period, $47,000, I can never have too much money, wanting money will kill you, greed is a mortal sin, having money is a safety, The Zahir by Jorge Luis Borges, The Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence, there must be money, he rocks himself to death, stuff people want, their drab contrast, I am noted for my fondness for money, I can never have enough, she could have run over and got it herself, is it a death wish?, her boring ideas, he tries on different women, the dangerous one, drink yourself to death, toe on the trigger, which way do you wanna go?, kinda heavy, he doesn’t seem to feel bad enough, nice book you got here John D. MacDonald, he used her as a human shield, they used each other, equal use, we should strive for better relationships, this is to heavy for Paul, worried this was gonna be a podcast rather than a conversation talking about books, by being generous with our conversations, other people wanna hear about books, even if you’re not participating, that was a really good show you did Evan, everything is podcast, all the tweets, all the DMs, all the salacious details, please troll Jesse, a reality radio show about a book club.

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

Gold Medal -A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald

On The Make by John D. MacDonald

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The SFFaudio Podcast #603 – READALONG: The People’s Republic Of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #603 -Jesse and Evan Lampe talk about The People’s Republic of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Talked about on today’s show:
The People’s Republic of Walmart: How The World’s Biggest Corporations Are Laying The Foundation For Socialism by a couple of dudes, Tantor Audio, that sounds great!, the chinese flag with the Walmart symbol, John Kenneth Galbraith’s New Industrial State, the US economy is planned, American Capitalism, countervailing power, Carnige and J.P. Morgan, only big corporations can manage it and run it, the Adam Smithian idea of the free market, farmer’s co-ops, labour unions, the state, Kaiju battling, a really funny book, this style of humour, they read some books, a lot of facts, this idea of cooperation, as many points for everybody, every player for himself, alliances only temporary, points scored in a cooperative game, Frisbee is a cooperative game, the game is ruined, not ruin your economy, ruin your life, we’re much better at fighting bears when we cooperate, anarchist tid-bits, P.J. Proudhon’s What Is Property, all labour is collective, cobblers, fish-poles, thought experiments, five people on an island, in nature animals do this institutionally, the lone wolf is the starving wolf, beaters, a man hunt, a human hunt, the whole things about humans is the ability to coordinate and plan, I can imagine two years from now, planning for the next day, a book about planning, Cybersyn the Chilean Internet 1971-1973, ARPA, what your goals are, a highly stratified society, you can have that, all a matter of planning, those are all options, massive stratification, YouTube Bad Empanada, explainers on South American countries, Argentina, how Cuba works, Cuba is a planned economy, their next door neighbour is really really mean, steaming from South Africa, if you stop in Havana…, consumer goods from outside of Cuba are highly expensive, if you look at the outcomes, behind the veil of ignorance, good healthcare, education, a house to live in, a job, Cuba has a big big problems, Venezuela’s planning problems are planning problems, Mike Tyson?, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face, no plan survives contact with the enemy, the Soviet Union was not really that well planned, authoritarian political system, authoritarianism makes bad planning, I don’t need to argue anything else, “command economy”, we’re producing tanks, more tanks!, more pig-iron, melting down their cutlery to make more pig-iron, get an A.I. in charge, a weekly poll of top concerns, no politics just moving things along, Jesse’s roommate is a planner for cargo ships, this is happening all over the world, coordinating ship loading, Walmart’s a terrible evil company but they’re a planned economy, you’re going to stock the shelves, oh yeah, of course, both companies benefit (and consumers too), how Costco works, Price Club, wholesale, retailers looking for supplies for their business, a big tub of mustard, a caterer, if there isn’t a company producing a product for the price they want they make that product, the Kirkland brand, one flavour of Mustard, only Heinz Ketchup, why are their prices so low?, they’re determined to make their profit from Membership Renewal, like gym memberships, fifty different choices, Aldi, the way Amazon does it, back to the mom and pop stores, pearl clutching, protests across america, we are recording on May 31, 2020, how much are they paying their workers?, ask me how I know, climate changer, ecology, shipping from big warehouses directly to consumers, books, let’s make Amazon a public utility, the ecological cost for Amazon, a Minneapolis based bookstores, Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s, two bookshops, natural allies, the Amazon model killed used bookstores, PaperbackSwap, Abebooks.com, Chapters (Indigo), fashion retail with a few books, mall bookstores, Waldenbooks, small towns, high speed internet in rural areas, its evil, California, private power generation, rolling brownouts, crown corporations, ICBC, the profits arent driven into the hands of a small select set of stockholders, BC Hydro, New Westminster, Nelson, when things go wrong, COVID, economies of scale, that’s the point, mom and pop generating their own electricity, NASA products, the cellphone technologies, we attribute to Samsung, LG, and Apple, public funding of basic research, the free market for innovation doesn’t pan out, David Graeber, SCRAM jets, satellites, health care, Cuba’s health outcomes, Cuba exports doctors, what we could have had, Bell Labs, corporate tax rates, incentives, pricing companies into the ground, going public, the way Netflix’s shows go, small companies that are growing, hair and nail salons probably don’t need to be crown corporations, responsive to needs vs. to desires, every grocery store deliver, right to the door, it isn’t a question of ideology at all, what John Kenneth Galbraith talked about, oligopolies set prices, input costs, what is the natural (free) labour costs, what does a worker need to have a good life, how do we achieve that?, absence of ideology, if we want to defeat the Nazis, what should we do?, my whole goal is to survive, how will I some how get through this, default modes, a William Jamesian approach, what is true is what works, keep your back to the sea, a whole bunch of plans, the only goal is get that Chicken Dinner, SEARS story was basically like porn, Evan’s grandpa, what happened to SEARS?, applying an ideology, on Mother’s Day they had a motorbike on the cover, internal economy, libertarian ideas in economics are idiotic, why not have every single worker in a factor a free agent?, a factory has to be planned, they point to the Soviet Union, AP Economics, that’s not how it works, movies and podcasts, centrally planning podcasts, planned podcasts are pretty bad, transaction costs, if FREE TRADE is so good…, the dismal science, explainers, you’ve got this human being, getting glucose and oxygen to the right places, multicellular organism, it took billions of years for the unspoken agreements between different species to make the cooperation we see in the forest, howling puppies, coordinating and copying is basically what humans do, social ecology, liberated from many of the constraints of nature, if you’re not in favour of multicellular organisms libertarianism might be for you, not having the technology, big data, Walmart as the vanguard of the new planned economy, SEARS’ business model was broken by its directors, SEARS Catalogue, rural communities, that was their success, the model is not different, the scale and the speed, the recommendation system, early on for the web, writing reviews for IMDB.org, how was your call, giving feedback, Facebook and YouTube are exploiting their content creators, if its a public utility, making PDFs, credit in creation for the public good, MP3s and PDFs, wealth that grows, a disincentive, UBI proposal, reviewing butt plugs for Amazon to make Jeff Bezos rich, things to worry about, we should be acquiring patents as a public, Denis Diderot the encyclopedia, maybe farmers in England can learn from this, all the schematics, this is really needed, YouTube is kind of communist, millions of people uploading to help other people, to each according to their needs, helping Sergey Brin get richer, all profits are temporary, MySpace, deleting channels, archive.org, nobody thinks about this right now, the poor social historians, a new dark age for our descendants, there’s no search engine for 1998, why the Soviet System collapsed, Ronald Reagan’s spending on nuclear weapons isn’t the explanation, 15 ethnostates, The Affirmative Action Empire by Terry Martin, Stalin’s ethnic policy, beating the Nazis, the premiere space power for 30 years, disincentives caused by ideology, the consequences of failure, Twitter and YouTube videos are feedback for discontent, wearing masks in the street, remember Covid-19?, ppe products, the looting is happening on the high end, that one looter who looted a carseat and baby stuff, many people are at the end of their rope, one $1,200 cheque, $2,000 enough isn’t enough, voting for Biden is not going to solve all of these problems, funny, a shoutout for Fredric Jameson’s The Archaeology Of The Future, literary theory, a chapter on Philip K. Dick, An American Utopia: Dual Power And The Universal Army, if they don’t like it they can go back to their shit job at Walmart, conscription prevents people wanting war, Red Plenty by Francis Spufford, a Soviet book, the Soviets were ahead, based on the technology, the history of airplanes, the Wright Bros. design was ok, bicycle guys got the right size engine, James Burke’s Connections, centralized data entry, The Iron Heel by Jack London, lot of long speeches, use progress to usher in socialism, comic book stores are different, comixology, if I was in the bookstore, the same reason libraries don’t stock floppies, modern magazines, teeth whitening spas, you can’t get your car fixed through the mail, ideology is always the enemy, let’s do the reasonable thing, use best practices, government keep you hands off my medicare, we’re mad and worried about the wrong things, look at those looters, the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the universe, Reality Winner, Russian interference in the USA election, people need to know about this, the FBI transcripts, a comic tragedy, a bullshit line of argument, you have to read the actual stuff, don’t just read the news, Jonathan Chait is getting paid to tell to you lies, the violence of the everyday is not acknowledged, 40 years of Neo-liberalism is really bad for you, where you gonna fly when they come for you?, cmon man, by the time people hear this maybe Biden will have fixed everything, beautiful sight, protests, sarcasm, The Onion-style wisdom, politicians pretending to be innocent about demonstrations, the Global Times, socialism with Chinese characteristics are superior for what?, ex-pat attitudes, sucking in their own unique ways, a landmass with a legal system, let’s all federate and get on bitcoin, networks of decentralized communities, Venezuela, Iran is sending them gasoline, leaned to heavily on exports, the recent American mercenary capture, the takewaway, build more tanks, retreat to the Urals, clarifying your own thinking, my world isn’t shaken to my core if my shoes aren’t where i put them, wilful blindness, any blue will do, my country right or wrong, I will never apologize for the United States, if you don’t vote for Biden you’re not black, 20 years after The Wire, police incompetence.

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

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The SFFaudio Podcast #602 – READALONG: An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #602 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson

Talked about on today’s show:
a huge post script, some Latin, darkness, the poetry of Catullus, the afterlife, is this all about gender, Ex Oblivione by H.P. Lovecraft, a Platonic explanation, uses drugs, a Dreamlands story, set in the Dreamlands, The Cats Of Ulthar, The Quest Of Iranon, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, that horrible Heinlein novel, I Will Fear No Evil, yelling at Heinlein the whole time, kissing, a synonym for kissing, old married couples, a synonym for soul, spirit, aspire, expire, inspire, exhaling, the breath being the soul, very basic, Christian theologians, a Vorkosiverse reference, Barrayar, how deep is this book?, The Undying Thing, Paul in another form, frustrating, where to go with its gears, supernatural events out of nowhere, contact from beyond the grave, philosophy and medical science, not totally out of nowhere, she was physically changing, the metamorphosis, mind-body relationship, how does the mind control the problem, the change in mind affects the body, the mind IS separate from the body, cheated, the railway accident, can Alice be Alice again, Alice Daniel, bored, interesting, Strange Case Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, he wants to part (by walking over kids), very banal Victorian stuff, wills, blackmail, dressing like a man, a mystery, men didn’t understand women at all, up on a pedestal, wanting to wear men’s clothes, freedom of movement, the woman becoming the man, a sort of queer story about transformation, the exciting undercurrent, a subtextual reading, deep into the subtext, reading it subversively, was there a murder?, a chivalrous man, their class relationship, emotional relationship (or lack there of), underground family secret, basically The Hound Of The Baskervilles but literally supernatural, some sort of sin tainting the genetics, divine retribution, by murder and theft, I am due elsewhere, he was killed twice, who smashed up all the equipment, we don’t see it on screen, Jesse’s reading, class revenge and gender swap, with our stupid narrator, so timorous, so conventional, a tool of the person who wants something, the two protagonists, we see so little from her point of view, The Thing On The Doorstep makes these things much more explicit, very subtle, The Moon-Slave, fairy tale France, The Glass Of Supreme Moments, Guy de Maupassant, a less passionate Philip K. Dick, an envious student, an Ayesha kind of figure, ascending through the fireplace, the way to read it, a glimpse of reality, dying of smoke inhalation, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, very interested in women, a princess who does not want to marry, a garden labyrinth, either Pan or the Devil, a story about menstruation, very subtle and very sensitive, the Victorians didn’t have twitter so they could focus pretty well, a contemporary review, The Sketch, cars, tires, women flying airplanes, high tech fun toys, Lord Dunsany, an unattributed review from June 4th, 1911, poets nowadays are tired, Science is assertively awake, the origins of Life, the purposes of Death, Poetry, the determination of the ego, in what does your self consist?, preserved in an asylum, the man’s self still persists, after luncheon, souls or selves, wropped in unscientific mystery, the kind of craft one would expect as a craftsman like the author, the character names, Alice In Wonderland, her Miss Lade, what has been mislaid?, laden, her soul weight is doubled at one point, Daniel = god is my judge, doing a good job, son of the earth, the will the estate, bundling the mom off to New York, background, Daniel’s interest in food, a point or a thesis, what humankind’s souls are, a Frankenstein story, scorned by his peers, a happy soldier, an Igor who’s also his wife, it feels “boring”, the book doesn’t have any the stuff we care about until half-way in, distracted by the blackmail, the Salvation Army, the other transformation, he’s trynna save his soul, is he wrong?, his blackmailer’s accusations, he was a bad dude, he musta lead thousands astray, a projection of his own guilt, our viewpoint character, the empty protagonist, he’s quite witty, as men get older they’re more likely to become neat, the phone calls, off to the countryside, a country home, killed on the way, train “accident”, this is too early for that person to have died, all part of a scheme, the premise, how exchanges of souls work, anesthetized too, the smoke as an anesthetic, a hypnogogic state, a story about immortality and avoiding death, transferring your consciousness into another person, a whole new life, Altered Carbon, a story about class, methuselahs never lack for bodies, an evil plan, revenge, the female spirit inside the physical brain of an old man, the haircolour change, Tuvix, Star Trek: Voyager, actor contracts, an answer to that question, the Federation seems really nice all the time, fucked up things in Federation culture, only normal from an American point of view, Star Trek: Picard, two hours of analysis and sensitivity reading, crossing the streams, The Boy Who Really Got It by Jesse, The End?, Daniel Dennett, a Twitter beef with Sam Harris, wrong about everything, a theory about what consciousness is, consciousness transference, Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer, the center of narrative gravity, a teapot, a uranium block glued to a teapot, anything with mass has a center of gravity, Rene Descartes, Phineas Gage, looking for a particular part of the brain, best mic, drop in history, souls aren’t real, a Douglas Adams reference, dreams where dead people come, a very cool dream, jellyfish style thing, you’re not dead, I got eaten by this monster thing, would you be back alive again the way you were, shot in the head, personality change, our spirit is physiological, its a software thing, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, the software is the hardware, silly theories about what sleep is for, all the studies looking for souls, a phone call in the middle of the night, spiritualism, Doyle wanted to believe, massive character flaw, giving money to grifters, a cultural judgement, this thread of mind-transference, quasi-spirtuality to scientific, they thought they were high tech doing spirtualism, Ghostbusters, psychokinetic energy, Dan Akroyd believes in that stuff, ghost hunting, hunting bigfoot is for exercise, playing a culturally important role, the essential work of ghost hunting, not reading enough books, religious people, rejecting the vast reality of the human experience, a character flaw Jesse is proud of, Evan’s missing out on, William James, Contact, Arthur C. Clarke, conflating vs. mentioning, materialist, Robert Sheckley, Gregg Margarite, Mindswap, picaresque, bildungsroman, travel to mars, vacation to Mars through consciousness transference, swapping genders and species, The Strange (RPG), he roamed the stars in a borrowed body searching for his own, pretty funny, a prurient 12 year old, the sexual aspect of switching bodies, like Dollhouse, back to the book, Compton the narrator, with eye-rolling frequency, too French, floppy tie, disgusted by music-hall female impersonators, tidying away this mystery, beloved research, historical letters from the Peninsular War, this great mystery of life, a rather revolting annoyance, humours essays, social satire, people who try not to be like other people are very tiresome (hipsters), another comic book biography of H.P. Lovecraft, translated from French, some factual errors, a really interesting letter Lovecraft wrote in the Omaha Bee, what does this mean?, his father sold some property there?, what does Compton do when not doing blackmail?, a bunch of letters from Wellington, a really publicly important thing, the equivalent of Churchill, the word, Evan!, after you die you can still have your will done in a WILL, it’s amazing, a part of somebody’s consciousnesses, what you’re doing is evil Will, Cecil Rhodes, an evil alliance that kinda worked out, Henry Ford’s estate, being an executor is a burden, harm through social structures, the fairer sex, why she wants to be a man, Barry Pain is very good at not making it super-obvious, the ratings are very high, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, he’s going to his death in a calm and nice way, there’s a poignancy, his personal world is going to end, The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, which is the best Ringworld book?, they get progressively worse, diminishing returns, Larry Niven, self-criticism, take lessons, sometimes people write about stuff, the best general history of The Reformation, getting all corrupt, a very Douglas Adamsy thing, More Of God’s Greatest Mistakes, a trilogy in 5 parts, exchange of dogs, a subsequent chapter, hinted very strongly, the face being disfigured was deliberate, transferred into another body, Jesse wants to read it subversively, Trish didn’t see it at all, in cases of supermen stories, breaking it down, Captain America: The First Avenger, the hydra guys, bald guy actor, the recipe can’t be repeated, one and done, Stanley Tucci, Big Night (1996), once the equipment is destroyed, who wants to do this again?, is Jesse crazy?, accursed of murder, she burned her hair in the oven, covering up, smells bad, a lotta lies, Compton is incompetent, a window on events almost too passively, a distraction, British murder mysteries, inheritance of property, the whole book is a distraction to Compton, coming to terms with death, literally doing what Frankenstein wants to do: defeat death, abandoning progeny, both ghosts, all delusions, another lie, incurious, covering up, if this was a true story, he’s a briber, he doesn’t do anything immoral, he’s trying to be dispassionate, I found I had a lot more friends than I though I did, hilarious, if you buy a beach house you suddenly find you have a lot of relatives, upperclass twits, who are their patients?, paying off, class stuff, drinking to much, gambling debts, class concerns going up and down, rich people’s problems, the exploitation of a nice person, a more sinister story than it looks and feels, proposing a term, back and forth, social customs, the science fictional aspects, the main aspects, a tragedy of manners, not a comedy of manners, what gives the story its juice, weird customs and judgements, what they say about each other when their not around, I’ll tell him what you said, you see that in science fiction too, space opera, who’s on the cover, who’s being looked at, that’s a really striking cover, that lady is our subject (object), A Princess Of Mars, her husband is the subject of the sentence and she’s the object, who’s that behind her, his tie is not that floppy, looking at her askance, sort of faded, astral projection, he’s got some doubt in his mind, the mom, what is she in there for?, what’s the point of that?, the governess, light and fluffy, pairings we want to see, European princesses, my son should marry her, he’s an up and comer, servants are sources of amusement, golf cartoons, Trump golfing when 100,000 people were dead, Jimmy Carter was near the bottom, a business man’s thing, money money money, ground Alice, her accent changed, London accent to upper-crust accent, so malleable, why he’s choosing her, he really likes the apartment, access to materials, disgraced, moving people away, they’re betrothed, she thinks it is for Alice’s health, supposed to be read subversively, he doesn’t kick his audience in the balls and run off he tweaks their nose, people need Paul, he’s the nexus the axis the axel.

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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

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The SFFaudio Podcast #599 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #599 – Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye. This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, Alex, and Connor Kaye

Talked about on today’s show:
Oriental Stories, Spring 1931, Weird Tales, Boom Studios, Mark Finn, Savage Sword Of Conan #222, “freely adapted”, did Connor say Conan?, square cut black mane, lightning blue yes, iron thews, a very unConan conclusion, “sheer weight of numbers”, man against man, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, characters get in the head, ultra-brain damaged, punch drunk, his father was bastard, half norman half celt, a very special story, really interesting, super fun, very manny, Robert E. Howard nerding-out about history, historical references, who was real and who was not, Robert de Vale, Richard Lionheart, Saladin, Mark Finn’s essay, rewriting history in the guise of fiction, the markets are too scanty, if I twist facts too much, my stories center entirely on my conceptions of my characters, writing to a point, pooping on Lovecraft, Howard’s racism, England’s fucked up, Ireland’s fucked up, France is fucked up, religious zealots on a conquering spree, A Means To Freedom, the peopling of the British Isles, anthropology, its all migration, the Normans, two generations away from Vikings, civilization and barbarism, he’s obsessed with it, the German’s the bad guy, entrenched in the blood and the soil, Lovecraft doesn’t really care about characters, we remember Robert E. Howard characters, the themes are always the same, manliness vs gentlemanliness, a character up against them, The Black Stone, Lovecraft couldn’t or didn’t do that, the Saladin movie, Kingdom Of Heaven, Bertran de Born, 1140s-1215, Dante’s Inferno, Gustave Dore, jousting, He nicknamed Richard Lionheart…”Oc-e-Non” (Which translates to “Yes-and-No”),a translation of one of his war poem/songs (by Ezra Pound):

“…We shall see battle axes and swords, a-battering colored haumes and a-hacking through shields at entering melee;
and many vassals smiting together, whence there run free the horses of the dead and wrecked.
And when each man of prowess shall be come into the fray he thinks no more of (merely)
breaking heads and arms, for a dead man is worth more than one taken alive.
I tell you that I find no such savor in eating butter and sleeping, as when I hear cried “On them!”
and from both sides hear horses neighing through their head-guards, and hear shouted “To aid!
To aid!” and see the dead with lance truncheons, the pennants still on them, piercing their sides.
Barons! put in pawn castles, and towns, and cities before anyone makes war on us.
Papiol, be glad to go speedily to “Yea and Nay”, [Richard Lionheart] and tell him there’s too much peace about.”

this is hardcore, yo, the spirit inside of Cormac, war-madness, Apocalypse Now, he’s a ghost, a skull on his shirt and his shield, the West is open, Heart Of Darkness, Cormac is the crazy one, “My most somber character”, an unsalable version of Conan, the story works perfectly without any sorcery (without any sword), spartan in the backgrounds, Joe Jusko‘s covers, an eight page sequence which is almost completely wordless, arms floppin’ off, Medieval castle in Outremer, his hand swelling up like a glove and then exploding, crush the vertebrae, not for the faint of heart, quite vivid, Conan The Salaryman, “the giant”, his catlike slept, pantherish movements, so formidable in battle, he is a fool, a lot of backstory, Robin Hood is running around, the timeline, killed about a people burned a castle, took a sword from a sea-king, a ‘magic’ sword, his true beliefs, he swears by Satan, a symbol of the craziness that is the crusades, Richard is a fool (admirable), I would have you among my men, acting in honour to obey a blood debt, historical fiction, a tiny interregnum between another crusade and another betrayal, everyone is becoming free agents, craft their own little kingdoms, all these bastard sons, what the title means, a girl at the center of the action, a death wish, he’s like The Punisher from the 1190s, a war on crime that will never end, he’s a vigilante, he goes looking for trouble, you broke him, at least one more adventure, Richard Lionheart died in 1199, Saladin’s rule, unhorsed in battle, an Arabian steed and an English warhorse, Saladin was a Kurd, break up the two teams, united in their religion, dismounted?, a french she-knight, a belly fat German, throwing battle axes and lances, that impossible grip, bending the iron bars, this unstoppable Punisher plowing through people, going everywhere trying to make trouble, makes friends with people who are getting into trouble, Howard is so different from Lovecraft, H.P. Podcraft, The Picture Of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Oscar Wilde defeats you using nonsense logic that sounds great, rhetorical flourish vs. rhetorical substance, enough words, time to move, an experiment in manhood, why his stuff is so incredibly powerful, buffin’ up at the gym, military warriors, uncles and advisors and friends, unsurpassed for what it is, walking down the street wearing a time with a notebook and thinking about the stars, the boxing ring, wrestling with what it is to be a man, King Kull is a lot more philosophical than Conan, A Man Returns, were he a total caricature, he thinks its a trick, not just a walking sword, what Europe is like, a feint, betraying fealty, friends betrayed, Queen Of The Black Coast, a big long moral lecture, cleaves the judge’s head, manly loyalty that gets you into wars, the same kind of mentality, the thin blue line, I’m not a knight I’m a lord in my own land, running around in bearskins, philosophizing in fiction about what it is to be a man, the women in the stories are there for addressing men’s duties towards women, ideals of masculinity, a love letter to Saladin, a compeletly different way of being a man, a charismatic chivalrous civilized man, Saladin and Richard, fresh fruit, eat this get better, Joppa, prisoners of war, a Kurd among Arabs, I’m gonna prove you wrong, a Mary Sue, writing about the man he wants to be, strong and chivalrous, kind to his friends and cruel to his enemies, male fantasy,

Cormac glared at him, tensing himself for a sudden leap that would carry the Kurd with him into the Dark. The Norman-Gael was a product of his age and his country; among the warring chiefs of blood-drenched Ireland, mercy was unknown and chivalry an outworn and forgotten myth. Kindness to a foe was a mark of weakness; courtesy to an enemy a form of craft, a preparation for treachery; to such teachings had Cormac grown up, in a land where a man took every advantage, gave no quarter and fought like a blood-mad devil if he expected to survive.

Now at a gesture from Saladin, those crowding the door gave back.

“Your way is open, Lord Cormac.”

The Gael glared, his eyes narrowing to slits: “What game is this?” he growled. “Shall I turn my back to your blades? Out on it!”

“All swords are in their sheaths,” answered the Kurd. “None shall harm you.”

Cormac’s lion-like head swung from side to side as he glared at the Moslems.

“You honestly mean I am to go free, after breaking the truce and slaying your jackals?”

“The truce was already broken,” answered Saladin. “I find in you no fault. You have repaid blood for blood, and kept your faith to the dead. You are rough and savage, but I would fain have men like you in mine own train. There is a fierce loyalty in you, and for this I honor you.”

Cormac sheathed his sword ungraciously. A grudging admiration for this weary-faced Moslem was born in him and it angered him. Dimly he realized at last that this attitude of fairness, justice and kindliness, even to foes, was not a crafty pose of Saladin’s, not a manner of guile, but a natural nobility of the Kurd’s nature. He saw suddenly embodied in the Sultan, the ideals of chivalry and high honor so much talked of—and so little practiced—by the Frankish knights. Blondel had been right then, and Sieur Gerard, when they argued with Cormac that high-minded chivalry was no mere romantic dream of an outworn age, but had existed, and still existed and lived in the hearts of certain men. But Cormac was born and bred in a savage land where men lived the desperate existence of the wolves whose hides covered their nakedness. He suddenly realized his own innate barbarism and was ashamed. He shrugged his lion’s shoulders.

“I have misjudged you, Moslem,” he growled. “There is fairness in you.”

“I thank you, Lord Cormac,” smiled Saladin. “Your road to the west is clear.”

And the Moslem warriors courteously salaamed as Cormac FitzGeoffrey strode from the royal presence of the slender noble who was Protector of the Califs, Lion of Islam, Sultan of Sultans.

that’s the author talking, a lion like roar, Richard the Lionheart is the other lion, wasting all these lives, Robin Of Sherwood, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, maybe their religion aint that bad, reading Howard in comics, its never Cimmeria, interacting with not nice people, he comes from the north, that wanderlust, a lack of the gigantic mirth, that being towards death thing, in search of a calling, he’s clearly looking for someone, we want him to go there, its corrupt, decadence, Bêlit is probably supposed to be Jewish, she’s a Shemite, hawk-nosed Shemites, was so passionate her love, she’s a psycho killer, corruption everywhere, this person is not corrupt, a romance of the westerners towards this history, the propaganda is that he was exceptionally good, Howard inspired by history stories, his themes are not shallow, redeeming features to the latest Marvel Conan?, Conan the Gambler, it just carries you along and you hardly notice the philosophizing, he is so skilled at writing the prose, the dialogue is used in the Boom Studios adaptation, Roy Thomas era of Conan, text boxes, virtually no text boxes, losing all the sidelights that Howard is throwing, it feels like a novel’s worth of material, two major flashbacks, he storms two castle, a really strong workout, a lot of the tension came from Howard’s writing, it ends and you almost want to cheer, Two-gun Bob, His Own Barbarism by Mark Finn, he saw suddenly embodied in the sultan, the Frankish knights, his own innate barbarism and I was ashamed, he’s literally a werewolf, semi-mythological metaphors, Smaug, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien rewriting the Saga of the Volsungs for his own children, Thorin becomes the next dragon, a representation of turning into a dragon, a wolf-like figure, there’s too much peace around, a dead man is worth more than one taken alive, ransom, the butter and the sleeping, propagandistic: let’s do this fucking think, a hype-up, flex contests, let’s get this war on, fuck the money, it feels so fucking good, PUBG, trench warfare, become a wizard (like Evan), become a lich, ways of winning this manhood game, Connor is so lucky to be young and have Jesse giving him his wisdom, Mark Finn, Robert’s relationship with Doctor Howard, I got a $120 for that story, Blood & Thunder The Art & Life Of Robert E. Howard by Mark Finn, Connor’s narration, the voice of Cormac, really fun to narrate, The Blood Of Belshazzar, more of the same?, Magic Carpet Magazine, looking east, Orientalism, the interest in the east, Connor’s big Hippocampus Press purchase, R.H. Barlow, W.H. Pugmire, Clark Ashton Smith, The Tindalos Cycle, John Ajvide Lindqvist, The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith, a Boy’s Own Adventure by a kid who didn’t know what he was doing, ridiculously fun, an enthusiasm, Lovecraft seems to be a fanboy of Clark Ashton Smith, that prose that is a painting, the reds from Robert E. Howard, Scarlet Citadels, Red Shadows, it was a colour but I can’t describe it, four issues on Archive.org, 33 stories up on the PDF Page, The Sowers Of Thunder by Robert E. Howard, set in Otremer, an Irish crusader with a troubled past, maybe Connor’s got another project, talking about manhood, Lovecraft is more correct about the status of masculinity in the 20th century, Lovecraft knows the future is going to be libraries, academics, Lovecraft’s Roman dream, a fantasy of the working class, Wastelands by W. Scott Poole, it doesn’t matter how much you train, what it is to be a man and what it is to be masculine and what it is to be an adult, trophies, the female gaze upon the muscles, female characters who are wimps, the Indiana Jones second movie, Willie Scott’s job is to scream, The People Of The Black Circle, The Hour Of The Dragon, Zenobia, Red Sonja, Valeria from Red Nails, she’s a companion, not a plot object, the exact same plot as Iron Shadows In The Moon, the stupid squire character, Zula, Grace Jones is great, a little horse battle, Conan: The Destroyer is garbage, N’Longa, I need you, I’m yours, if Will were here, Tonto to The Lone Ranger, fifties square, Jay Silverheels, rancher’s daughter needs rescuing, range romance on the edge of civilization, Beyond The Black River, Conan fighting Indians on the frontier, John Carter, Tharks, not having magical element, sword and sorcery, didn’t need an evil wizard, Hashshashin, other than being really strong, Sharpe’s Rifles is historical fiction, that axe-throw was borderline, Harold Lamb, Adventure (magazine), it doesn’t really matter what he applies his writing to, The Tower Of The Elephant, he steals from the best, the puzzle solving, the pathos of the elephant, Almuric, and here’s some fragments, a description of a real town, how the houses loom, those sentences are still him talking, the natural storytelling, a jigsaw puzzle and a protractor, the soul of a poet.

Hawks Of Outremer by Robert E. Howard

Joe Jusko - Hawks Of Outremer

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