An upcoming readalong: Len Deighton’s SS-GB

SFFaudio News

In SFFaudio Podcast #051 we talked to Professor Eric S. Rabkin. In that show he mentioned a novel which will be the subject of an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast readalong (scheduled to be recorded in mid-February). That 1978 novel is this book:

SS-GB by Len Deighton

SS-GB depicts a Britian under Nazi occupation. It sounds rather similar to two other novels, Robert Harris’ Fatherland and Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle. More specifically, it is set in alternate history world in which Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion) was a complete success. The novel begins in November 1941, nine months after a German invasion led to the British surrender. Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, a British homicide detective assigned to Scotland Yard, is called in to investigate a murder.

Cool huh? I’m afraid that the audiobook is currently out of print – bringing it new attention may rectify that – but, the paperbook is readily available at paperbook stores.

Here is the printed matter preceding Chapter 1 of SS-GB:
Surrender Of Britain To Germany - February 1941

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #087 – READALONG: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #087 – Jesse talks with Gregg Margarite and Mark Douglas Nelson (two terrific LibriVox and iambik audiobook narrators) about the Brilliance Audio (Audible Frontiers) audiobook Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

Talked about on today’s show:
SciPodBooks.com (Mark Douglas Nelson’s audiobooks), Mark’s double understanding of Hyperion, “make it internally consistent”, Jurassic Park, living in forward and backward time, “The Scholar’s Tale”, setting reality aside, “why can’t stories be written in less than 600 (or 1100) pages”, “the nomenclature was great”, Hyperion made Gregg sad (it reminded him of Walmart), The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, was Hyperion a near miss?, “The Priest’s Tale”, Robert Sheckley, if they were self contained stories would it have worked better?, The Fall Of Hyperion, comparing the Hyperion Cantos to Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series, “The Diplomat’s Tale”, the stories get worse as you go along, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Slaughterhouse Five |READ OUR REVIEW|, “The Soldier’s Tale”, making a link between sex and violence, Starship Troopers, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad is a good character, “The Poet’s Tale”, Martin Silenus (the Satyr) and Sad King Billy (William XXIII of the Kingdom of Windsor-in-Exile), “The Detective’s Tale” (the long goodbye), cybrids are very cool, John Keats, Ezra Pound, combining a hardboiled/noir detective story with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, talking to dolphins, narrator duties, you don’t fall in love with the client!, “when a detective‘s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it”. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, “The Scholar’s Tale”, Sol Weintraub, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Merlin sickness (Merlin’s disease), David Hume‘s explanation of miracles: a miracle would be “a transgression of a law of nature”, if speculative fiction exists this is what they were talking about, time debt, if anything can happen then I don’t care what happens, the story of Abraham and Isaac (the binding of Isaac), is Hyperion a religious book?, Abraham’s ethics were childish compared to Sol, The river Lethe (was one of the rivers in Hades – it was river of unmindfulness, The Green Odyssey |READ OUR REVIEW|, why was the windwagon late?, Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express and Ten Little Indians, what happened to the Templar?, We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Wizard Of Oz, the confrontation with the Shrike, it’s a grab bag of everything, Simmons must have been inspired by all sorts of sources, the half-hour blender metaphor, Gregg is upset we all came to the same (and correct) conclusion, Simmons set himself a Titanic task with Hyperion, where was the editor?, listening to a multi-voiced audiobook, Full Cast Audio, Hyperion‘s narrators (Marc Vietor, Allyson Johnson, Kevin Pariseau, Jay Snyder, Victor Bevine), having to fend off the legions of audiobook groupies, Gregg gets emails about the pronunciation of “prestidigitation”, the generic American sitcom accent, Norse mythology, Yggdrasil (the world tree), Stephen King’s the Dark Tower series and Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns series, Kevin J. Anderson‘s writing secret (he goes hiking with a voice recorder), Frank Herbert’s Dune, David Lynch’s Dune, Dune Messiah is a let-down but it has the Golah!, Gregg wants a copy of The Orange-Catholic Bible, “would you be a Bene Gesserit or a Mentat?”, Gregg would be a Morlock, look elsewhere for a cannibal podcast, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle‘s Oath Of Fealty, Jonathan Swift‘s Gulliver’s Travels, Julie Davis of Forgotten Classics, Gregg says Julie is really a horse!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #082

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #082 – Jesse talks with Gregg Margarite and Trent Reynolds about the BBC Audiobooks America and Hard Case Crime novel Memory by Donald E. Westlake.

Talked about on today’s show:
Iambik Audio, LibriVox, The Violent World Of Parker, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, The Ax by Donald E. Westlake, The Hook, crime writers who murder each other, the state of the U.S. economy, The Hot Rock, Charles Ardai, this isn’t a normal Donald Westlake book, 18 different dramatic situations, merciless forces, realistic brain damage, amnesia vs. Korsakoff’s syndrome, memory and personality, selfishness, ego, id, superego, cognitive psychotherapy: “flooding“, the philosophy amnesia, Catholicism, if you can’t remember your sins are you a sinner?, New York vs. Jeffords, the big city vs. the small town, acting vs. manual labour, lining-up the archetypes, the predatory agent, the first incarnation of Paul Cole vs. the second incarnation of Paul Cole, “and a lull”, scumbag vs. operator, the square of shiny metal, Westlake’s “Nephew books”, “I’m not a criminal but I have and uncle who is.”, the theme of the book: “people are selfish”, persistent unwanted thoughts, “he’s the surrogate son”, that “mumford” speech, they shrug into their coats and hug themselves, life as narrative, Momento, people would have said Momento is inspired by Memory, noir vs. hard-boiled, “What’s my name?!”, is the main character in a coma?, Nebraska, Iowa, “the mechanics of this novel are not fully understood until the end”, “life is noir hidden by fluffy clouds and puppies”, the Rara-Avis Yahoo! Group, Otto Penzler, there are no happy endings, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, the Glen Orbik cover art for Memory, blindsight, neurological memory problems vs. psychological memory problems, suppressed vs. repressed memories, Oedipus never repressed his memories, Hard Case Crime cover art, Witness To Myself by Seymour Shubin, iambik audio, “desire is the appendix of emotions”, that Westlake smoothness, sowing paranoia, the opposite of paranoia (is pronoia), social groupings, this book made me want to clean my apartment, Westlake’s intellectualism, The Cutie by Donald E. Westlake |READ OUR REVIEW|, Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into The Value Of Work by Matthew Crawford, the condemned man in the mirror, the painfully uncomfortable scenes of Memory, actors must let go to inhabit their characters, the audiobook version of Memory, kudos to Stephen R. Thorne’s narration, straight narration, Neil Gaiman as a narrator, bleak vs. hopeless, the department of narrative and physics, what do you see in the abyss?, “it’s not a who-dun-it, it’s an i-did-it?”

BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA - Memory by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #077 – READALONG: Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #077 – Jesse talks with Julie Davis and audiobook narrator Wayne June about Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.

Talked about on today’s show:
AudiobookCase.com, Fred Godsmark, Audio Realms, Wayne June is “naturally creepy”, narrating audiobooks is hard work, how do you read to people?, word pronunciation and Lovecraft’s invented language, I, Cthulhu by Neil Gaiman, Gaiman is a modern master, The Rats In The Walls by H.P. Lovecraft |READ OUR REVIEW|, devolving and retro-volving and retro-retrogression, “it’s a sentence but what does it mean?”, H. Beam Piper, reading for the ear, reading aloud is a juggling act, physical copies of audiobooks vs. downloads, The Essential Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde: The Definitive Annotated Edition edited Leonard Wolf, Kevin J. Anderson on Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, as a parable for addiction, the temperance movement, religion, “an almost theological work [or treatise]”, “the war in the members”, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde as an homunculus, Mr. Utterson, Cain’s heresy: “I am not my brother’s keeper.”, Dickensian writing, Charles Dickens and Henry James, how evil is Mr. Hyde?, what about those vague debaucheries?, the Greek origin of the word “obscene”, Lovecraft’s indescribably unspeakable prose, The Statement Of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft, The Thing From Another World, Michael Caine and Cheryl Ladd version of Jekyll & Hyde, The Story Of The Door, the difference between doing good and not doing evil, evil as being self-centered (and prideful), natural selection vs. evolution, ladders vs. branches, progression vs. change, evolution vs. free will, the notoriously optimistic Victorians, Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Hulk and Two-Face, Brad Strickland on Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Marxist and feminist critiques, BBC Radio 4 radio drama version of Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, Let The Right One In (movie) vs. Let The Right One In (book), Poole (the butler), Inspector Newcomen, Jekyll (Je-Kill, I-Kill, Jackal), Forrest J. Ackerman‘s real middle name, Geek-ill, Edinburgh, Soho, a “fine bogey dream”, cocaine usage in the 19th century, Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell, Jayne Slayre (The Literary Classic…with a Bloodsucking Twist) by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin, Assam And Darjeeling by T.M. Camp |READ OUR REVIEW|, zombies and vampires, The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer |READ OUR REVIEW|, mindless sexualized creatures, if you were an urban fantasy author what would you bring together and what would your urban fantasy name be?, the science of lycanthropy vs. the science of zombification, airships, Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, Jim Butcher, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, parallel worlds, proto-urban fantasy, Territory by Emma Bull, The Castle In Transylvania by Jules Verne, Melville House books, translated by Charlotte Mandel, can you do a Transylvanian accent?, Amy H. Sturgis, calling Jules Verne a Science Fiction writer is probably inaccurate, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg is the most English of all Englishmen, The Vampyre by John William Polidori, Ken Rusell’s Gothic, Switzerland, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe, the strange case of Strange Case, “it’s full of Octobery goodness.”

Airmont - Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Classics Illustrated - Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Dr. Jekyl And Mr. Hyde - Chapter 9 - The Transformation In Dr. Lanyon's Office - illustration by William Hole

The Twilight Zone 14 - Robert Louis Stevenson

Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Guy Deal illustration of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #076 – READALONG: Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #076 – Jesse talks with Gregg Margarite, Julie Davis and Luke Burrage about Robert Sheckley’s 1966 novel Mindswap.

Talked about on today’s show:
Blackstone Audiobooks audiobook edition of Mindswap by Robert Sheckley, The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley, Rick Jackson’s Wonder Audio version of The Status Civilization, Marvin, existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger, Mars, swapping minds vs. swapping bodies, xenophiles, “metaphoric deformation”, one of the greatest scenes of comedy ever in a novel, mind vs. body, mind vs. brain, consciousnesses and memories, Mindswap is “a subversive ontological satire,” Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, extracting sunlight from a cucumber, “theory of searches”, existentialism for a Science Fiction audience, Voltaire’s Candide, Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, balance is superfluous, “contemplation is the most direct form of involvement (and so it is avoided by everyone)”, Bertrand Russell, New York, solipsism, cognitive dissonance, Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Chekhov’s gun, comedic soliloquies, speaking with a lisp, the twisted world, the interventionist fallacy, the authorial sting, “the ripe greenness of her ovipositors”, Luke defends the honour of the name Kathy, Marvin The Paranoid Android vs. Marvin The Martian, Roland Barthes, absurdity is funny, a pseudo-Gulliver’s Travels, the mechanics of the humor, Gregg’s top five written objects, Laputa, “the pinnacle of satire”, A Modest Proposal, “everything is bullshit”, Dr. Jeykll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (our next readalong), Dracula, Lair Of The White Worm, Ken Russell, Gothic, On The Buses, Africa, “Africa? Where do you mean in Africa?”, Namibia vs. South Africa, Kilimanjaro vs. Everest, a set can’t be a member of itself, “it’s all a big giant steaming pile of absurdity” vs. “the glory and excitement of being alive”, monsignors vs. bishops, “you’re just not in our target market”, “I don’t believe what someone believes has to be true or not”, spiritual experiences vs. explanations of them, there’s a helmet for that (spiritual experiences), the charismatic formula, true vs. honest, Luke’s blog post on spiritual experiences and atheism, Thomas Aquinas, “truth is relative”, Gregg has big sets!, Julie is completely talk-able, Margaret Atwood history denier, the Apollo missions, making stupid easier, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a great aggregator , Glenn Beck’s snakedance, smart people are making the universe complex, “the enemy of nuance” vs. “the enemy of history”, rejecting reality, why they argued with Jefferson, their totally alienable, “this is why I watch 30 Rock“, Kids In The Hall, you have the potential of niche markets, ‘the United States is the greatest country in the world (with the greatest failures and great achievements)’, nobody cares about Africa (or South America), not knowing the Prime Minister of Canada vs. not knowing the Governor of Guam, Peter F. Hamilton’s latest book, a bunch of fun loving existentialists, Sheckley’s short stories, City by Clifford D. Simak (it has conflict), Sheckley at his best is Voltaire and soda (or Voltaire and tonic), Flannery O’Connor, the keyword game, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, art and craft are the same thing, craftsmen aren’t artists, I Hate Music, “I’m NOT tone deaf!”, Charlie Parker, iTunes=music, mp3=music, “it’s like I’m gay and I’m the only one”, This Is Your Brain On Music, Gregg is too emphatic (?), “I – do not – sound – like – William Shatner.”, Weird Al Yankovic, “my guitar is the best girlfriend I ever had.”

Gray Morrow‘s illustrations of Mindswap from the June 1965 of Galaxy:

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Cover

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 7

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP - Page 9

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 27

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 53

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Pages 67 and 85

DELL - Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #073

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #073 – Jesse talks with Luke Burrage and Gregg Margarite about the Audible Frontiers/Brilliance Audio audiobook of Earth Abides by George R. Stewart!

Talked about on today’s show:
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, New York City, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the best post-apocalyptic novel, a lost classic, a calm method of exposition, a student of history, Isherwood Williams, very vivid and deeply imagined, how do you define Science Fiction?, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, philosophical nuts and bolts, the central crisis is left unexplained, the science in Earth Abides, “I understand people better after reading this book”, breeding cycles, Hard Biological Science Fiction, the disappearance of lice, overpopulation of the Earth, is it the author speaking or is it the main character?, ecology, there was no will to power, only a will to live, Baruch Spinoza, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, I can’t believe how long it took the guy to get to the library!, “how to render game”, “there’s lots of library love in this book”, “we’re not going to be the people that we were”, “the characters had to be ignorant out of laziness”, 1947, going to university, mediocrity is well loved, “why is dumb so cool?”, only people who are intelligent enough to ask the question…, does genius beget genius?, is intelligence particularly related to genetics?, nature/nurture, eugenics, is intelligence a particular interest rather than something in the brain?, superior interest vs. superior brainpower, Evie, finding the test, the IQ test, the observer’s position in the universe, “do you think what the government did to Alan Turing was wrong?”, the Apple logo inspired by Alan Turning’s suicide?, snopes.com, I knew I wanted to be friends with Gregg Margarite, LibriVox.org, the San Fransisco tribe, you cannot spoil this book, WWII, cargo cults, “would you ever be a member of a cargo cult?”, Montezuma and Quetzalcoatl, The Gods Must Be Crazy, religion, superstition, pinch your God, if God lived on earth people would break his windows, tribal sociological phenomena, the role of chiefs, the most interesting book about pinching I’ve ever read, “heartwarming pinching”, reading, despondence and acceptance, what does it really matter if humanity is dead?, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, intellectual arguments vs. emotional arguments, it’s very rare to be emotionally affected (to tears) by a book, narrator Jonathan Davis, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, one of the best narrations that I’ve heard, Mike Resnick‘s Starship series, Star Wars, Connie Willis‘ introduction to Earth Abides, Deep Six by Jack McDevitt, “always skip over the introduction”, where does Isherwood’s name come from?, forgetting your own name, the character of Jack, I don’t read for characters, Isherwood thinks he’s an intellectual, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe, The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, “I would have taken out Electromechanical Engineering“, Emm and Ezra, Charlie, George (the carpenter/plumber), “even his dog (Princess)”, a friend’s quiz, people are not just what they know or what they read, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “society is all the different bits and humanity is all the different bits”, adopting leaves as a currency, maybe the whole of Douglas Adams should be treated like a religious text, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is a book about itself, Doctor Who, the dish of the day, other themes in Earth Abides, racism in Lucifer’s Hammer, what race is Emma?, does it matter?, the last American, people who are racist are people talk about race, race is a sociological idea, race is something – but it is not science, “I don’t live the history”, “they need to have somebody who are below them on the ladder”, Fox News, ideological reasons for watching TV, Glenn Beck is Mormon, Mormons believe that the Constitution of the United States was “divinely inspired”, his country is part of his ideology, the reason Orson Scott Card hates gays is because of his belief system, newspapers still have an Astrology section, there is no hegemony in Earth Abides, individuals interacting with one another, “people abide”, are you born of another?, matriarchy vs. patriarchy, “Is it a talisman? a totem? It’s single jack!”, “the power to destroy and drive in a nail”, a genius accident, the word “jack” means “doer”, Jack Bauer, semiotics, Jesus freaks vs. religious freaks, separating the voice of the author from the voice of the main character, The Last Man On Earth, The Last Man On Earth Blog, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Life After People, George R. Stewart wrote a biography of Bret Harte, Harte is far more complex than Louis L’Amour, Oakland, Mark Twain, recording for LibriVox.org, 2BOR02B by Kurt Vonnegut, we all know that Science Fiction has been carrying this burden, iambik audio, recording a 600 page book on the road, $1000 microphone, The Secret Of Kralitz by Henry Kuttner, The Ego Machine by Henry Kuttner, the Del Rey “best of” books, The Best Of Jack Williamson, Frederick Pohl, Luke rates Earth Abides 4.5 out of 5 stars, “it’s good because it’s not very good in this way”, did it achieve what it set out to accomplish, The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson, we are thoroughly impressed, Earth Abides is 13 CDs 15 Hours, time passing, the loss of reading, is literacy in and of itself a good?, giving the book away, separating technique from practical skills, bull dodging, Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison, Soylent Green, get Charlton Heston out of your head but keep Edward G. Robinson, The Omega Man, potential upcoming SFFaudio Readalongs, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, The Man In The High Castle, Do Andoids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Valis, The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer and The Divine Invasion, Leo Tolstoy, the philosophy of art, “the only true art is folk art”, art is an abbreviation of the word artifact, a nuclear bomb is art to me, labor intensive art, venus figures, craft vs. art, I don’t think art has a place in this book?, I’m pretty sure something is going on about art in this book, I see similarities between petroglyphs and Pollock, maybe I was wrong, are we post structuralist, Duchamp, Aristotle’s Poetics, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, David Lynch’s Dune, Laurel and Hardy, Gilligan and the Skipper, Akira Kurosawa, George R. Stewart basically invented the disaster novel, Ordeal By Hunger by George R. Stewart (available from Blackstone Audio).

Posted by Jesse Willis