The SFFaudio Podcast #108

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #108 – Jesse talks with Trent Reynolds (of The Violent World Of Parker blog) about Donald E. Westlake’s Hard Case Crime novel 361 (available as an audiobook from BBC Audiobooks America).

Talked about on today’s show:
Richard Stark, the meaning of the title “361“, Roget’s Thesaurus entry #361, “killer’s don’t run around with a thesaurus”, Hard Case Crime, The Hunter, George Washington Bridge, New York, Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books blog‘s review of 361, Westlake and the USAF, Backflash, Westlake loves theatre people, actors, Hollywood, “dangerous and scary”, Stark had fans in prison, Parker vs. Dortmunder, The Man With The Getaway Face, revenge, stoic vs. existential, our podcast on Memory by Donald E. Westlake, Gregg Margarite, finding purpose in the purposeless world,

“Yeah. All right, this is what I’ve been thinking. To begin with, every man has to have either a home or a purpose. Do you see that? Either a place to be or something to do. Without one or the other, a man goes nuts. Or he loses his manhood, like a hobo. Or he drinks or kills himself or something else. It doesn’t matter, It’s just that everybody has to have one or the other.”

drinking, “there’s no one more pissed off than this guy”, “the drifter mentality”, how Westlake handles supporting characters, the lawyer’s secretary, the cowardly private detective, honesty vs. duplicity, hardboiled vs. noir, House Of Lords (whiskey), get a job at Walmart vs. take over the mob, Florida, Bill’s suicide, going on a drunk, identity, solider vs. airman, he’s not his father’s son, he’s not his brother’s brother, Charles Ardai, the absence of women, the Hard Case Crime cover (by Richard B. Farrell), Lawrence Block, “A Sound Of Distant Drums” is a long running literary joke, Westlake characters generally read paperbacks, Paul Kavanagh novels, Not Comin’ Home To You, Such Men Are Dangerous, a purposeless ex-military guy living on a deserted island in the Florida Keys, The Green Eagle Score, The Black Ice Score, The Blackbird, Grofield, University Of Chicago Press editions with introductions by Lawrence Block, Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr’s “Burglar” books, murder mystery vs. identity mystery, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, did Westlake mature out of Parker?, Flashfire, Jason Statham as Parker, Payback, The Hunter, The Man With The Getaway Face, The Mourner, The Score, Two Much, Cops And Robbers by Donald Westlake, the way Westlake paints characters, The Hot Rock, humorous writing, the competent Parker vs. the hapless (bad luck) Dortmunder, Robert Redford, What’s The Worst That Could Happen, The Comedy Is Finished, Donald E. Westlake: an annotated bibliography by David Bratman, coffee, Idi Amin, sadly there is no biography of Donald E. Westlake, Matthew Scudder’s drinking problem, Eight Million Ways To Die, Telling Lies For Fun And Profit: A Manual For Fiction Writers, Lawrence Block should write a Parker book, race-walking, LawrenceBlock.com, Dan Simmons, Garry Disher, Hard Case, “361 is as hard-boiled as fiction comes”, Jim Thompson, The Jugger, Stephen King’s Misery is a spiritual successor to The Jugger, the pragmatism of celebrity/writer privacy, wheelbarrows full of books, too much of a good thing: “too many fans can interfere with your operation”, receiving unsolicited books, advanced reading copies, “it really clarifies your understanding of what your purpose is if you are confronted by a barrage of things that aren’t your purpose”, book tours do two things: sell books and reward the readers, Sheldon Lord, Lawrence Block’s sleaze books are coming to ebook, Random House, Lynn Monroe, Hellcats And Honey Girls, Subterranean Press, Robert Silverberg, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Triumph Of Evil, Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab, A Drop Of The Hard Stuff, Getting Off by Lawrence Block (Jill Emerson).

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #104

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #104 – Scott, Jesse, and Gregg Margarite talk about two Robert Sheckley short stories, Untouched By Human Hands (aka One Man’s Poison) and Seventh Victim.

Talked about on today’s show:
extravaganza vs. jamboree vs. hootenanny, the absent article, The Tenth Victim, Is That What People Do? The Selected Stories Of Robert Sheckley, “one man’s poison is another man’s meat”, writing with your mind, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Gregg has been on many bloody campaigns with his typewriter, Scott loves the pen and notebook, Jesse uses a camera, whiteboard technologies, our podcast about FOOD, Douglas Adams, “Sheckley is not as vaudevillian as Adams”, Tom Baker’s Doctor Who, The Pirate Planet, a building shaped like a doughnut, “food-worthy”, c-rations vs. sea rations, “fill all your stomachs and fill them right”, Hellman and Casker, how do you determine food from non-food, chemists have horribly burnt tongues, Geology exams require the use of tongues, giggling food, drinking vs. being drunk, short stories should throw off sparks, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Untouched By Human Hands was sixty years ahead of its time, Laurel And Hardy vs. Gilligan’s Island, the SyFy channel is sixty years behind the times, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Robert A. Heinlein, copyright, Mickey Mouse vs. Mighty Mouse, keeping murder alive, Sheckley’s late career, Stanton Frelaine = Stand In the Free Lane?, The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, The Lifeboat Mutiny by Robert Sheckley, The Leech, Warrior Race, Watchbird, La Decima Vittima, Marcello Mastroianni, New York, World War IV, World War VI, feminism, Mindswap, the economy in Seventh Victim, wordlbuilding in a short story, Spotters, Morger, the Tens Club, a game where people kill people, “there is no such thing as human rights”, are these rights not self-evident?, thou shalt not kill/murder, “the age of the half-believer”, Catholicism vs. protestantism, cherry-picking the beliefs from the old and new testament, the three legs of the scientific method (rational, empirical, scholastic), fads, should we require a degree in science to wear a lab-coat?, cargo cults, philosophy, the Emotional Catharsis Bureau, “damn women”, “gladiatorial events complete with blood and thunder”, does a desire to murder start wars?, Gregg thinks we are vehicles for genes, Professor Eric. S. Rabkin, Genesis, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is aggressiveness (or competition) a requirement to move on, the Space Race, the architects of tech during WWII, Michael Faraday isn’t getting any royalties, copyright vs. copyfight, seek technology got a patent!, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, guaranteed minimum income, William Shakespeare, West Side Story, “there are only seven stories [basic plots]”, “we stray”, Frelaine’s reaction to the suicidal Victim, the purpose of catharsis, the deep unsatisfaction of an unfinished play, an unrequited kill, how many [TV] series are canceled before their plots unfold? (too many), Dexter vs. Babylon 5 vs. Lost, Game Of Thrones, Drive, The Wire is deeply unsatisfying every episode, ambivalent storytelling, “you can’t fix this neighborhood, move.”, The Corner, Firefly and Serenity, “he had a plan”, how to watch Babylon 5, what is the message of Seventh Victim, X-Minus One, Battlefield 2, do violent video games (and computer games) reduce violence?, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, Killer: The Game Of Assassination, Gregg wants it with collateral damage.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #097 – READALONG: The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #097 – Scott and Jesse talk with Luke Burrage about about two short stories: The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges |ETEXT| and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick |ETEXT|. The audiobook edition of The Garden Of Forking Paths can be found in the Penguin Audio audiobook Jorge Luis Borges: Collected Fictions.

Talked about on today’s show:
The virtues of short stories, metafiction, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, If magazine, Anthony Boucher, The Garden Of Forking Paths, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, espionage, fantasy, alternate history, WWI, “start the scene as close to the action as possible”, labyrinth, recursion, the Wikipedia entry on The Garden Of Forking Paths, choose your own adventure, parallel worlds, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Necronomicon, H.P. Lovecraft, “The Garden of Forking Paths is an incomplete, but not false, image of the universe as Ts’ui Pên conceived it.”, why doesn’t Luke review short stories on SFBRP?, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun, Labyrinths: Selected Stories And Other Writings by Jorge Louis Borges, A Solar Labyrinth by Gene Wolfe, “dense as in wonderfully deep”, Penguin Audio, Collected Fictions by Jorge Louis Borges, how are Fair Game and The Garden Of Forking Paths connected?, “how you read a story matters to your understanding of a story”, Professor Anthony Douglas, “An immense eye gazed into the room, studying him.”, The Twilight Zone, “The damn thing was looking at me. It was me it was studying.” Douglas’s voice rose hysterically. “How do you think I feel — scrutinized by an eye as big as a piano! My God, if I weren’t so well integrated, I’d be out of my mind!”, Colorado, “we are the face in the sky staring down at this paper”, physics, the observer effect, the wave function collapses, Schrödinger’s cat,

“What is Doug? About the best nuclear physicist in the world. Working on top-secret projects in nuclear fission. Advanced research. The Government is underwriting everything Bryant College is doing because Douglas is here.”

“So?”

“They want him because of his ability. Because he knows things. Because of their size-relationship to this universe, they can subject our lives to as careful a scrutiny as we maintain in the biology labs of — well, of a culture of Sarcina Pulmonum. But that doesn’t mean they’re culturally advanced over us.”

“Of course!” Pete Berg exclaimed. “They want Doug for his knowledge. They want to pirate him off and make use of his mind for their own cultures.”

“Parasites!” Jean gasped. “They must have always depended on us. Don’t you see? Men in the past who have disappeared, spirited off by these creatures.” She shivered. “They probably regard us as some sort of testing ground, where techniques and knowledge are painfully developed — for their benefit.”

big brother, 1984, “money and sex and food”, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Fredric Brown, Space by James A. Michener, Apollo 18, payoff first – ironic twist next, Dick vs. Borges, is Dick cynical?, mountains and religion, the atmosphere is an ocean of air around the Earth, “Colorado is the shallows in the Earth.”, what does ample mean?, science fiction, “Ts’ui Pên was a brilliant novelist, but he was also a man of letters who doubtless did not consider himself a mere novelist.”, is Dick taking the piss?, high-minded Science Fiction, what is the significance of the title Fair Game?, this is not a podcast for people aren’t going to read the books, “I think Philip K. Dick bases all of his stories on his own life.”, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, Luke’s novels, is Luke as clever as PKD and Borges?

Looks like it was inspired by Fair Game by Philip K. Dick

Burrage:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #095

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #095 – Jesse talks with Professor Eric S. Rabkin about an alternate history novel: SS-GB by Len Deighton.

Talked about on today’s show:
alternate history, Luke Burrage, “if it leaves a lasting impression that says something about its artistic character”, why write alternate history, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, historical fiction, 1941 vs. 1978, what is the relationship between Science Fiction and detective fiction, tales of ratiocination, Fatherland by Robert Harris, the Fatherland TV movie, BBC audio drama, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, what would it be like under Nazi rule?, utopia vs. dystopia, fantasy, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Karl Marx, “alternate history does what Science Fiction does without pretending to set it in a logical future – it sets it in a logical past”, racism, bureaucracy in 1978 London, Michael Caine, Operation Sea Lion, why did Len Deighton set SS-GB in 1941?, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, are historical forces inevitable?, fate and destiny in alternate history, the great man vs. social forces, Adolph Hitler, Alexander The Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, the individual vs. the community, Douglas Archer, if there was a just war it was WWII, the Holocaust, collecting militaria, Spain’s fascist dictatorship, the tale of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, John le Carré, Agatha Christie, complicated vs. simple (le Carré vs. Christie), fathers and sons, historical fiction, The Battle Of Britain, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, when you’re helping the bad guys aren’t you one of them?, King George VI is a MacGuffin, The King’s Speech, Mackenzie King, police are the most cynical people in the world, the role of ambiguity in fiction, Channel Islands, every fiction is alternate history, is history a collection of things that happened or is it forces and rules?, The Sun Also Rise by Ernest Hemingway, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Startide Rising by David Brin |READ OUR REVIEW|, uplift, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, disarming puns, Arma virumque cano, “I can’t imagine anyone smarter than me”, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Remains Of The Day, Pavane by Keith Roberts, Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, Inglourious Basterds vs. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Most Powerful Idea In The World by William Rosen, steam engines (and atmospheric engines).

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #094 – READALONG: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #094 – Jesse talks with Julie Davis and Gregg Margarite about Audible.com’s audiobook of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (as narrated by David Hyde Pierce)

Talked about on today’s show:
MindSwap by Robert Sheckley (SFFaudio Podcast #076), Laputa, Lilliput, acting like a Fox News commentator, the new movie version of Gulliver’s Travels, scatological humor, Spark Notes on Gulliver’s Travels, the history of censoring Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver’s Travels illustrations, essays about farts, high-heels and the low heels (are Tories and Whigs) vs. the big endians and the small endians (are protestants and Catholics), the definition of satire is that the story is so clever you don’t recognize it, comparing Mark Twain to Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain’s new/old autobiography, Grover Gardner, is there a biography of Jonathan Swift?, Jonathan Swift was a cleric?, too many atheist ministers in the Anglican church, The United Kingdom is a theocracy, A Modest Proposal, Swiftian sermons, Ireland, Queen Anne, Audible.com’s edition of Gulliver’s Travels, Jorge Luis Borges, he lies in all possible directions at once, difficulties with pronunciation, how long until the release of The Zombies Of Blefuscu?, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Brobdingnag (land of the giants), Gulliver in Lilliput is every little boy’s fantasy (Gulliver is like Godzilla), is there a uniting theme to each section?, “your massive manliness”, an inventory of contents of Gulliver’s pockets, Gulliver’s pocket-watch is his god, the most immediate way to go to prison is to act as if the time is not what the consensual hallucination that is Standard Time isn’t, time, the humor doesn’t translate well to video, the Ted Danson Gulliver’s Travels miniseries, The Scarlet Letter, Ten Things I Hate About You, The Taming Of The Shrew, Easy A, a visual/literary double entendre, a well shot bon mot, John Cassavetes, The Tempest, Hellen Mirren as Prospero, Ian McKellen’s Richard III, Forbidden Planet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brick, Westerns, Firefly, remix culture = culture, Dante’s Inferno, Sergio Leone, virtuous pagans, Laputa (is Ireland), floating islands (and flying islands), Isaac Asimov’s annotated Gulliver’s Travels, science, the vaccine-autism link debacle, the proper procedures for science (ask questions don’t), marble pillows, “people are people are people”, Balnibarbi, Bangsian Fantasy, Luggnagg, Pushing Daisies, Torchwood, John Irving’s The World According To Garp (and the Robin Williams movie version), the unfortunately immortal Struldbrugs, the Struldbruggian mark reminds us of Logan’s Run, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, Houyhnhnms, Edo Japan, Fumi-e, making fun of the travelogue, Stockholm syndrome, wearing yahoo skins, Gulliver is a cipher, existentialism, the waiter lives in bad faith, “don’t put down SparkNotes”, the romantics, who are the yahoos really?, “what you’re actually supposed to do in life”, “our faculties are fit like a horse’s are for running…”, “since we’re talking about finding the meaning of life…”, “and now the religious fanatic part starts to come out…”, pushing atheism on other people by denying their gods (like Zeus), Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical atheism is an oxymoron, ‘you can’t reason somebody out of something they weren’t reasoned into’, a misogynist’s club, the problem with polytheism, “people reading the astrology section of the newspaper are going to get us all killed”, rating the classics, dissecting a snowflake with a sledgehammer, books that teach you how to be seditious are extremely valuable, Dante Alhegeri’s Inferno, cognitive dissonance, why South Park is so important (it’s seditious), The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Simpsons, “critical thinking” means it is really important that you think, Craftlit, The Turn Of The Screw, Earth Abides, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell |READ OUR REVIEW|, the Epic Of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, Julie is appreciative of the Socratic SFFaudio style, A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke, the meaning of catholic is universal, orthodox Catholic vs. unorthodox Catholic (cafeteria Catholic vs. conservative Catholic), an open source view of God (via mgfarrelly in a Boing Boing comment), Taylor Kent’s “if you don’t know Jesus you’re screwed” outro, Scientology, was the virgin Mary a surrogate mother?, Gregg expects to be in purgatory, The Book Of Eli, The Road, Mad Max, “the thing that is not” (lies), utopia, “words are the root of all problems as in we don’t match them to reality very well”, The Invention Of Lying, Ricky Gervais, Earth Abides, In Brouge, “that was the most moral extreme violence I’ve ever seen”, Belgium.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

P.A. Staynes' illustration of Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

The Servants Drive A Herd Of Yahoos Into The Field

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #091

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #091 – Scott and Jesse talk about the new Audible Frontiers audiobook Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, The Godwhale by T.J. Bass, Half Past Human by T.J. Bass, overpopulation, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, FROMATES (“Friends of Man and the Earth” – an anti-technology group of eco-terrorists), arcology, Todos Santos, Los Angeles, California, are arcologies a stepping stone to generation starships?, SimCity 2000, Sid Meier’s Civilization, architecture + ecology = arcology, Coruscant (the city planet), Tantor (the elephant), Trantor (the city planet), Tantor Media, Mega City One (Judge Dredd), being a free accountant for the government, bylaws vs. customs and culture, engineering, “we can’t write a story that is just setting”, Luke Burrage (of SFBRP), is a cruise ship an arcology?, the reality of reality vs. the dreams of utopia, “Crisis in utopia…”, existing means interacting, the hermit kingdoms, transportation, Zipcar, cultural vs. technological developments, living differently in an urban environment, arcology as shopping mall, security conscious vs. security theater, safety as a selling point, TSA, terrorism, a Heinleinian uncomfortablenesses, THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION, “humanity is more than just one type of person”, what’s wrong with Oath Of Fealty, not unrealistic vs. realistic, eco-terrorism, resentment and the response to resentment is yucky in Oath Of Fealty, what are the references to blacks and lesbians doing in this book?, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, “the Disney connection”, Disney World, Walt Disney, Epcot, gated communities, Celebration (Florida), brain drain, Canadian immigration policy (is draining the third world of its best educated), colonizing Mars, Jerry O’Neill’s space colonies, “not anything like reality”, overpopulation, community tool libraries, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Stephen Hawking, NASA spinoffs, spiritual reasons for space travel, Beijing olympics opening ceremony, cut the defense budget to actual defense, “we need an alien threat”, China’s moon program, McMurdo Station (Antarctica), Herzog’s Encounters At The Of The End Of The World, the Canadian (Sir George Reedy) is the most unrealistic thing in Oath Of Fealty, there are no knights for Canada, the Order Of Canada, the case of Conrad Black, House Of Tones blog (interview with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), the role of GOOD editors, Robert A. Heinlein did the editing on The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (!), series aren’t a new thing, Anne Of Green Gables, The Great Brain, Tarzan, the Barsoom series, The Wizard Of Oz, expecting the series and not demanding the series is the cart leading the horse, John Joseph Adams (should be a guest on the SFFaudio Podcast), Orson Scott Card as an editor, Technovelgy.com’s Oath Of Fealty entry, the audiobook version of Oath Of Fealty, GLADOS, Portal, artificial intelligence, the speech recognition on the Google App is amazing (!), Google Goggles, cyborg, “BrainPal”, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, telling Oath Of Fealty from a different POV, check out the DRAMATIS PERSONAE for Oath Of Fealty below, this book needs more average folks, Cory Doctorow, “a lot more agitation and a lot less Heinlein”, do it as a YA novel, UCLA, the Weather Underground, drink coffee while you waldo on the moon, slidewalk, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Pournelle.

The Todos Santos Arcology from the cover of the 1986 Pocket Books paperback

Dramatis Personae
Joe Dunhill — Probationary Officer, Todos Santos Security
Isaac Blake — Lieutenant, Todos Santos Security
Preston Sanders — Deputy General Manager, Todos Santos Independency
Tony Rand — Chief Engineer, Todos Santos
Arthur Bonner — General Manager, Todos Santos
Frank Mead — Comptroller, Todos Santos
Delores Martine — Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Todos Santos
Barbara Churchward — Director of Economic Development,Todos Santos
MacLean Stevens — Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
Sir George Reedy — Deputy Minister of Internal Development, Canada
Genevieve Rand — Tony Rand’s former wife .
Alice Marie Strahler — Executive Assistant to Tony Rand
Allan Thompson — Student
Sandra Wyatt — Assistant General Manager, Todos Santos
James Planchet — City Councilman, Los Angeles
Mrs. Eunice Planchet — James Planchet’s wife
George Harris — Businessman and convicted tax evader
Thomas Lunan — Newsman
Amos Cross — Chief, Todos Santos Security
John Shapiro. LLD. — Counsel, Todos Santos
Samuel Finder, M.D. — Medical Resident, Todos Santos
Hal Donovan — Lieutenant, Robbery/Homicide, Los Angeles Police Department
Cheryl Drinkwater — Todos Santos resident
Armand Drinkwater — Waldo Operator
Glenda Porter — Tattoo Artist
Sidney Blackman — District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
Penelope Norton — Judge, Superior Court, State of California
Phil Lowry — Newsman
Mark Levoy — Publican; former Yippie
Ronald Wolfe — General, American Ecology Army
Arnold Renn, Ph.D. — Professor of Sociology, UCLA
Rachael Lief — Bulldozer operator
Mrs. Carol Donovan — Lt. Donovan’s wife
Vito Hamilton — Captain, Todos Santos Security
Vincent Thompson — Subway mugger

Posted by Jesse Willis