Five Free Favourites #14: Jesse’s Five Favourte SFFaudio Podcast READALONGS (of the first 100 shows)

SFFaudio Online Audio

It probably sounds arrogant to talk about SFFaudio’s own podcast being my favourite podcast. It may sound that way, but it also happens to be what I really think. Not only is recording the podcast the highlight of my week, it’s also my favourite podcast to listen to when it comes out on Mondays. In our first 100 SFFaudio Podcast episodes there dozens and dozens of episodes that I can recall in great depth, episodes where I learned something interesting and had a whole lot of fun while doing so. We talked to some truly amazing people and talked about great ideas in SFF. SFFaudio Podcast episodes come in several flavours, but amongst them I think my favourite kind of show is our READALONGS. READALONGS are essentially our book club show, where we pick an audiobook (or paperbook), and discuss it in great detail. There have been more than thirty READALONGS so far and I’m convinced it would be hard to find a single dud amongst them. Here are five of my favourite readalongs from our first 100 episodes.

Five Free Favourites

The SFFaudio Podcast1. The SFFaudio Podcast #050 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
This list isn’t in order of preference, but rather of chronology. That said, if I had a gun to my head I might pick this episode as my personal favourite. This is a book that just had two participants, Scott and me. When I think of our friendship over the last decade I think of this episode. Scott says that this is the episode where the show “shifted gears” and I think he’s right. The show starts with a clip from Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture entitled Masterpieces Of The Imaginative Mind .

The SFFaudio Podcast2. The SFFaudio Podcast #056 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley
The episode with the most participants, there are six: Scott, myself, Rick Jackson, Gregg Margarite, Jerry Stearns and Julie Davis. Normally we try to avoid having that many people in one show, but for this episode I think it mostly worked. Also, the book was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Robert Sheckley. If you end up liking this episode check out #076 in which we discuss Sheckley’s Mindswap.

The SFFaudio Podcast3. The SFFaudio Podcast #064 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Now this episode is cool for a number of reasons. One is that it’s an episode with both Julie Davis and Luke Burrage in the same episode (something that’s happened only twice). Alfred Bester is one of my favourite writers and this novel is one of the best Science Fiction books I’ve ever read. We all brought something to the table for this episode and we all walked away richer for it.

The SFFaudio Podcast4. The SFFaudio Podcast #073 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
This episode has both Luke Burrage and Gregg Margarite. We discussed one of the best novels I’d never read before. This is also one of the longest episodes, coming in just shy of two hours. I came away from this book and this wonderful conversation both a smarter person and a wiser man.

The SFFaudio Podcast5. The SFFaudio Podcast #082 – |MP3|-|POST| – READALONG: Memory by Donald E. Westlake
This episode saw the first appearance of Trent Reynolds, from The Violent World Of Parker. The novel, by one of my favourite authors, was wonderfully noir and we discussed its every turn and twist with a kindly eye. With Trent’s help (and that of Gregg Margarite’s) I walked away from this episode knowing we’d done a very good job. I was happily depressed for the following week.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #134 – READALONG: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #134 – Jesse, Scott, Tamahome, Eric S. Rabkin, and Jenny talk about The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Talked about on today’s show:
the upside-down dog cover, Jesse doesn’t like the cover, Eric finds hidden meaning in the cover, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is it mainstream or a mystery or YA?, Asperger’s or autism?, what is it like to be inside another person’s head?, generates tolerance, Elaine’s post on TED Talk: Elif Şafak on The Politics Of fiction, neurotypical characters, extraordinary abilities and extraordinary deficits, Constituting Christopher: Disability Theory And Mark Haddon’s by Vivienne Muller, Scott loves lists, the reader is ahead of the narrator, unreliable narrators, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, mystery vs. family drama, Oedipus, “Sophocles not Freud”, Christopher Robin, (Winnie The Pooh), “there is something naively wonderful going on”, information vs. meaning, who did it? vs. why did it get done?, moving from what to why, Eric found the book joyful and uplifting, at the end?, abusive vs. human vs. murderous, PETA would not be pleased, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, Occam’s Razor, “now I know what box they fit into”, Cinderella, the Grimm Brothers, Jesse loves the infodumps, the asides are a highlight, where is Siobhan?, the Recorded Books audiobook version has a great narrator (Jeff Woodman), prime numbered chapters, are the pictures necessary?, Orion (the hunter in the sky), the most common word in the book is ‘and’, “he’s adding things up”, “this is a very true book”, “lies expand infinitely in all directions”, what Science Fiction and mystery look for, “sometimes people want to be stupid”, prime numbers are like life, rationalism vs. empiricism, Christopher yearns for uniqueness, right triangles, the appendix (is not in the audiobook), the brown cow joke, unreliable narrator, Conan Doyle’s beliefs, information vs. understanding, Harriet The Spy, dude don’t stab people, “a tag cloud of the novel”, Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “Repent Harlequin!”, Said The Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison, sense of wonder, Toby the rat (Algernon), Uncle Toby, The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, the poet “does not number the streaks of the tulip 18th century”, The History of Rasselas by Samuel Johnson, Candide by Voltaire, books inside books, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, Jo Walton’s Among Others, the third season of Star Trek, art making reference to itself, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Star Trek‘s third season, Spectre Of The Gun, “we just need the skeleton to tell the story”, “most of the protagonists in Science Fiction novels don’t read Science Fiction”, Jenny’s review of Ready Player One, The Emperor Of Mars by Allen_Steele (audio link), standing the test of time, Jesse’s extended metaphor about winnowed books washing up on beaches 100 years later, Eric is reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, propaganda melodrama, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, Light In August by William Faulkner, the humanizing influence, comparing The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time with The Speed Of Dark, the novel’s form shapes the novel market, Jesse thinks series hurt readers, wondering what’s going to happen next vs. what idea is being explored, the value of series, the train trip, the maths exam, “the walls are brown”, in Science Fiction metaphors are real, clarified butter and clarified mother, the word “murder”, Julie Davis’s reading of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Carrot Juice Is Murder by Arrogant Worms, the fairy tale that is Sherlock Holmes, is the father good?, a clarified father, Jesse was tricked into reading this book, Jenny likes Margaret Atwood’s trilogy, “get ‘im Jenny”, Oryx And Crake, H.G. Wells didn’t need any sequels!, sequel is as sequel does, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Godfather, the market rules, the world building is the point (for series and authors), Agatha Christie, The Tyranny Of The “Talented” Reader, The Wheel Of Time by Robert Jordan, has Neuromancer by William Gibson passed it’s prime? (tune in next week to find out), Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Jesse looks to books to deliver on ideas (not to make time pass).

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #133 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Beyond The Black River by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #133 – Beyond The Black River by Robert E. Howard, read by Todd McLaren (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Conquering Sword Of Conan). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novelette (2 Hours 29 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse and Tamahome).

Talked about on today’s show:
Todd McLaren, Conan’s voice is confident, Balthus is the Jimmy Olsen to Conan’s Superman, Robert E. Howard’s avatar in Beyond The Black River is Balthus, “the damnedest bastard who ever lived”, “buckets of mead”, a noble death, a prominently displayed dog, barbarism vs. civilization, Red Nails, “the viking hat”, The Savage Sword Of Conan, Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Tam is a Conan novice, The Last Of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, western, “alabaster skin”, the triumph of Barbarism (is the coda for the story), Texas, would the 1% agree with Howard?, Picts, the world of Hyboria, Cimmeria was a real place, history, historical romance, physical display, don’t overblow the homo-eroticism, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, autodidacts, Margaret Atwood’s interview on CBC’s Q, “occasionals”?, Walt Whitman and Henry James, The Turn Of The Screw, sword and sorcery, did Howard invent the barbarian as a character?, Genghis Khan, forbidden knowledge, Howard and Jack London, The Call Of The Wild, California, Alaska, Yukon, slavery, civilization to barbarism, “a Conan dog”, atavism, Zogar Sag is the Jesus to Jhebbal Sag’s God, secret language magic, secret symbols, Conan The Barbarian, Conan is at the height of his power, atavistic magic, “what was I missing”, chatty Conan, Brian Wood’s new Conan comic (adapting Queen Of The Black Coast), Barry Windsor Smith, “he’s busy getting revenge”, a distillation of what’s in the stories, Conan and the philosophers, Oliver Stone and John Milius, Conan The Destroyer, sword vs. sorcery, Berserk (manga), “if you were in the Hyborian age which god would you worship?”, “a Klingon god”, “who is the good guy in Beyond The Black River?”, why does Conan side with the Aquilonians?, “swarthy white men”, Conan is bronzed by the sun not swarthy, end the Jersey Shore references, “this is a war story”, Conan doesn’t believe in an external valuation, why is there only one Devil?, Gullah the Gorilla God – the hairy one who lives on the moon, Africa, Aquilonia is France, Hyboria is Europe, Hyperborea (boreal + hyper = far north), Stygia = Egypt, Texas history, the Picts are the Comanche in this story, Julius Caesar, degenerating white men, Kull, Brule The Spearslayer, “noble savage”, a “symphony of racism”, Bran Mak Morn: The Last King by Robert E. Howard, Kings In The Night, The Whole Wide World, The One Who Walks Alone by Novalyne Price Ellis, Vincent D’Onofrio as Robert E. Howard channeling Conan, photographs of Robert E. Howard, Howard was a LARPer, “Howard was a rough-hewn intellectual”, boxing, gun culture vs. cat culture, WWII, Lidice, “even a white man’s dog is worth more than seven Picts”, Bill Hollweg’s Queen Of The Black Coast audio drama, would Beyond The Black River make a good audio drama?, Lou Anders’ Hollywood Formula doesn’t work here, philosophy of the woods, audiobooks and comics are better than movies, SSOC #26 & #27, Dark Horse’s Savage Sword Of Conan, Volume 3, ostrich feathers tell a story, a frontier story, Weird Tales covers by Margaret Brundage, the Hulk, supple, Red Nails would be a good readalong, laser beams and dinosaurs.

TANTOR MEDIA - The Conquering Sword Of Conan by Robert E. Howard

Weird Tales - Beyond The Black River by Robert E. Howard - illustration by Hugh Rankin

Weird Tales - Beyond The Black River by Robert E. Howard - illustration by Hugh Rankin - "Fierce joy surged through him."

Beyond The Black River - illustrated by John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Beyond The Black River - illustrated by John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Beyond The Black River - illustrated by John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Beyond The Black River - illustrated by John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #132 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG – Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #132 – a complete and unabridged reading of Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, read by Pat Bottino. The audiobook is followed by a discussion of the story. Participants include Scott, Jesse, and Tamahome.

Talked about on today’s show:
The July 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, the questionable authorship, Worlds Of Wonder: Exploring The Craft Of Science Fiction edited by Robert Silverberg (aka Science Fiction 101), this is a really really really Science Fiction story (soft SF), sociology, psychology, politics, Scott didn’t like it (at first), Robert Silverberg’s essay Home Is The Hunter: The Triumph Of Honest Roger Bellamy, Central Park in New York, an alien mindset, philosophy, “why do you want things?”, the accumulation of things, “the ultimate gathering of stuff”, glass vs. plastic, immortality, “the Bellamy within”, caring about posterity, “victory over self”, rejecting the premise, Hunters are trained from the age of six, television, “the most powerful man in New York”, boxing’s ranking system, being Honest Roger Bellamy is akin to being Brad Pitt, “incentives change constantly”, “not in this age of science”, populi, “a post scarcity society”, sometimes he wears a hare shirt, “women weaken knees”, fratricide, A.E. Housman’s Home Is The Sailor, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Requiem, home is death, compare it to Philip K. Dick, “plenty deep”, the loss of love (in favour of discipline and obedience), girls were turned out into the populi, ancient history, Ancient Rome, Sparta (had a Spartan lifestyle), the Agogae system, Crypteia (secret society/secret police), Helots, Frank Miller’s 300, is Roger Bellamy crazy?, why did the Spartan’s live as they did? the Peloponnese, the Persian Empire, their culture, the Protestant work ethic, “idle hands”, his self esteem is tied to the number of heads he holds, if you could have anything…, “I want a machine that can make me money”, after you collect everything you want what is left to want?, a “status” society, a trustworthy criminal in a world without material want, is Roger Bellamy happy? Has he triumphed?, happiness is “the exercise of vital powers, through lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope.”, workaholics, Steve Jobs, satisfaction vs. happiness, why the death of a young person is a tragedy, “I did not really want to kill”, brainwashing vs. culture, what makes you rich is the number of heads you hold, “I have more points than you”, “most kills badge”, turning the infinitely reproducible into scarcity (grinding), “there’s no deeper explanation”, gold farming, Cory Doctorow’s For The Win, Occupy Earth, hunting for friends on facebook, the ultimate in keeping up with the Joneses, the shrinking (but still comfortable) middle class, the great depression, the great machine is society, “we have all the high fructose corn syrup we need.”
Home Is The Hunter- illustration by Ashman from Galaxy July 1953

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #130 – READALONG: Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #130 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Jenny discuss Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley.

Talked about on today’s show:
uppity damn robots, hilarious characterization, soulless robots, Galaxy Magazine September 1956, Star Trek, Harry Mudd, Sears Roebuck catalogues, freeze dried vs. flash frozen, Kiln People by David Brin, The Twilight Zone episode “The Lonely“, robot wives, manufactured fingernails, center of gravity, “could she have been a robot?”, Gunga Sam the foreman robot, duenna is Portuguese for chaperone, Gunga Din, the Writing Excuses podcast with Lou Anders, HuffDuffer, John Scalzi, Casablanca, The Dark Knight, Edward Flaswell, “Sure pal. Sure.”, Frontier Bride, mail order bride, freeze dried preacher, programmed by “a human supremacist of the most rabid sort”, was Flaswell talked into feeling bad, what is the Human Man’s Burden?, is it all a marketing ploy?, The Mote In God’s Eye, the Gold Rush, why is the combustion god?, “Him strong him good, believe me brothers, it is even as I say.”, Rudyard Kipling poem’s The White Man’s Burden, the justification for empire, satire, the page 99 illustration, labeling people, ultra deluxe model bride, “oil glistened on their honest faces”, Tama can prove the robots are having sex, “in their carefree robot fashion”, a series of robots on the moon ordering from Sears Roebuck catalogues (15 F&SF covers by Mel Hunter), Charles van Doren, face-parts, “the robot frontier”, Asteroids in fiction (Wikipedia entry), TZ ep.: “Two“, Dumb Martian by John Wyndham, TZ ep.: “The Lateness Of The Hour“, android vs. gynoid, Firefly, Gunga Sam knows best, Sheila was down-selling herself, this is a feminist story?, Human Man’s Burden could be a cartoon, Kindles/Xboxes/Wiis/PS3s are sold as cheaply as possible because of the profit being in the media they play, iTouch vs. iPhone, free robots in our homes selling moon makers and solidovisions, nesting dolls, Human Man’s Burden probably isn’t public domain, Psycho by Robert Bloch, The Status Civilization, Seventh Victim, Mindswap, Warrior Race, The Space Merchants, Blackstone Audio, Charles Stross, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan.

ISFDB publication history for Human Man’s Burden HERE.

Human Man's Burden by Robert Sheckley - Page 95 - Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, September 1956

Human Man's Burden by Robert Sheckley - ilustration by Weiss

Sears Roebuck Ordering Robot - Art by Mel Hunter

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #127 – READALONG: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #127 – Jesse, Scott, Tamahome, and Prof. Eric S. Rabkin discuss Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End (no apostrophe).

Talked about on today’s show:
“Welcome to our belief circle”, pronouncing “Vinge”, why Eric picked the book, how to appreciate it, Jesse: “I’m not super impressed”, the Neuromancer connection, Robert Gu (the grouchy poet), The Rabbit, mind control, “affiliances”, this book is happy, “it’s a noir book (Neuromancer)”, the nature of Rabbit, the book is told in free indirect style (vs 3rd person limited vs 3rd person omniscient) (I guess “3rd person limited omniscient” is a contradiction), Sherlock Holmes, POV of Rabbit, a missing MacGuffin, we spoil both Neuromancer and Rainbows End, the book’s other inspirations, Alice In Wonderland, projected realities (belief circles), Vinge: “a very mellow extrapolation”, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (huh?), Mike the computer, the Jewish doxie of shim sung, Jesse: “I’m liking it more”, the original novella Fast Times At Fairmont High, Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice (sexy!), The Bear Came Over The Mountain by Alice Munro, nursing homes, “a proto-typical mainstream story”, no one likes Robert Gu, Rollback by Robert Sawyer, Vinge’s writing strengths, “big steaming mounds of infodump”, Faulkner’s Light In August, Away From Her (film of Munro story), let’s hear it for Canada, Dune, “The Doomsday Machine” (Star Trek), Saberhagen’s Berserkers, “destruction of the past for the future”, libraryoem = human genome, “tempest in a teapot”, the Geisel Library is named after Dr. Seuss, biological vs technical, “visceral”, The Space Merchants, Terry Pratchett, “DRM’d to the bone”, is it a dystopia?, reach out and touch someone, the word “apostrophe” in poetry, “that’s an extra cuteness”, the absent transitive like “do you ride?”, How do you write good science fiction?, Robert A. Heinlein, Virtual Light, Google Goggles app, Layers app, A Christmas Carol, The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain, “the snake of knowledge”, Eric takes notes when he reads, taking notes in an audio book (the Audible app can, Eric), ebook vs paper book, search skills, letmegooglethatforyou.com, Eric’s computer has all the answers, The Diamond Age, politics, Winston Blount, Miri, growth, Xiu Xiang, “Rainbows End is a pot of gold”, a heavenly minefield, rebirth, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke.

doomsday machine

Posted by Tamahome