The SFFaudio Podcast #687 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #687 – People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard; read by Mark Nelson

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 34 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, Alex, and Connor Kaye.

Talked about on today’s show:
when “the”, Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Savage Sword Of Conan adaptation, 116 page adaptation, feeling that text raw, the 1982 Conan movie is a really good movie, lifting a lot from this, it is all of the Howard stories, our counter hero is done with you now, spear through his gut, Thulsa Doom, come to me my child, the magic system, the snake transformation, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Robert E. Howard’s Greatest Conan Story, what you like about Conan, political wheeling and dealing, how to make your writing better, the three ways of viewing movies, the auteur theory, the star theory, the genre theory, Poe copy, looking for Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane, more paid by the word than usual, rushing through it, broad strokes and hinting, Conan The Buccaneer by Lin Carter and Fritz Leiber, cool intrigue, when the Devi, really good chess movement, Planet Of Iron Shadows?, Iron Shadows In The Moon, pirates, how the story actually works, three adaptations, Ablaze’s French translation, Dark Horse, Marvel’s full SSOC adaptation, gorgeous, atmospheric, action panels, covered in veils and things, trades clothes with the hill woman, smoky mystic, half naked before and half naked again, Alfredo Alcala’s inks are unfinished, John Buscema’s pencil’s, rocks are beautiful, scales and turbans and clouds of dust, the decline in comics, what happened to comics, Ablaze is muddy looking, sorta manga style, when they get angry people go manga, his proportions are wrong, he looks like a mutant, a cartoon aesthetic, not enough nudity, butt and sideboob, her regression scene, one of the best scenes in all of Conan, Skull-Face, “I’ve kissed ladies from Hell”, so good, the shell of the story, the Devi is on a revenge quest, Conan is trying to be a leader, admitting responsibility towards his men, the mark of a leader, Queen Of The Black Coast is run by Belit, Yezdigerd, why all of this plot is happening, agents, Thoth Amon, the King of Turan, gaining the kingship not administering the kingdom, betraying and intriguing, the names, servants of the seers, a little carelessness, action, Conan is very Conan, stupid magic belt, Yasmina, Evan shares a lot of Trish’s views, political factions and relations, who is loyal to who, that really long climax, the transformation into the bird, the forces of sorcery, decadent empire and barbarism, the class element, Gitara, what is Gitara’s motivation to convert Green Turban, does she really love him?, I’ll make you king, outside of her powers, you’re a powerful man, he could have challenged me, both baddies, they’re both slaves, Howard is ambivalent about a lot of things Evan isn’t, smashing elites, the individual within a corrupt society, forge an empire of our own, you’re powerful and I’m tricky, an underdetermined character, a Great Game story, Iraqis, pre-Iraq, Afghulis, Iranistanis, what’s missing is he doesn’t get to fight a tiger, giant snakes, giant eagle, Conan is never really in India, Kull fights tigers, a wizard dressed up as a tiger, a book of essays about Robert E. Howard, real geography, Himalayas, the Zaibar Pass is the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan, an El Borak story with Conan, is Turan Persia or Turkey?, the Vilyaet Sea, the Aral Sea not the Black Sea, Iron Shadows In The Moon, mid northern asia border with Europe-ish, Buddhist evil priests, The Nine Billion Names Of God by Arthur C. Clarke, they’re from the Mysterious East, out of The Shadow, anti-Buddhists, a Fu Manchu style Buddhists, red dust and blue dusts, prayer wheels, a perfectly calm, Buddhist sash thing on his head, he’s a lich, a lecherous lich, catch the Devi, the genre vs. the medium, it feels like a serial but it isn’t a serial, Flash Gordon serials, lets make this longer, feeling the drag, Vale Of Lost Women cooks, the ending is pristine, I’ve still got men, the dog attacking a guy is there to fill pages, a bunch of challenges, a boss fight, that’s how you get paid, a D&D module, the belt of magical resistance, Conan doesn’t have a magic sword or a loyal horse, its wielded by Robert E. Howard, the “Atlantean sword” shit, Conan fights a giant magnet, Conan fighting a polar bear, Conan has to fight magic because its Weird Tales, the power of evil wizards moving the plot, you’re to stupid to know what it is: $250 vs. $50, four parallel characters, Yasmina’s vs. Gitara’s third eye (her Bindi), the loss of vocabulary is palpable, “lambent”, pages of no dialogue and no text, great, good, bad, and terrible all on one page, three shadows and a nightstand, elf-style ears and facial piercings, its a reveal he’s a lich, no I’m just a man but I command demons, the psychological torture of living through reincarnation cycles, she’s humbled, household drudgery, back beyond the dimmest dawn, skin clad, looms, dragged, the bite of the lash, the bloody block, Alfredo Alcala, Big John Buscema, are doing it without reference materials, two words for throw, he hurl throwed, Savage Sword was the Golden Age, Roy Thomas, Ernie Chan (Chua), a decline and a decline and a decline, we think it is the character that we like, hard to sell an El Borak story?, some bias against going to places and learning things, Thomas Jane, handsome actor, a local sidekick, demons and armies and the , The Fire Of Ashurbanipal, Steve Clarny, Swords Of Schaharazar, Hawks Of The Hills, The Lost Valley Of Iskander, lost valley trope, The Lost Valley, Temple Of Doom doesn’t exist without this story, guy has his heart ripped out, modeled on the movies, some ladies in the jungle, snake footage, magic items in the bible, an excuse to go to India and China, visiting a place but not as tourists, the gross out scenes, presented with food that you can’t eat, Stephen Spielberg’s ex-wife is the kid character, Short Round is our viewpoint Mary Sue, the stupid and the smart the cool and the uncool, pairing Conan up with a bunch of regulars, Crom is a repeating character, why Evan is having trouble finding something to say, Howard’s philosophy is not intellectual as it is honorable, when confronted with the problem of her clothes are on, a man should kill a woman if she’s too dangerous, slaps her on the butt and she accepts it as a complicated, doing the monkey dance, how do I as an individual interact with the world, why Yasmina is such a good character, the Conan Destroyer princess, human beings acting in the world, when Green Turban refuses to die, you get him for me, ate his salt, Solomon Kane is insane and there are no demons (but he’s doing his best), I guess I have to use this magic staff, why these weird plots happen, doomed hirelings, they’re fucked and they know it, coming away with a philosophy of what his ideas are, how to live in the world in the moment, his feminist moment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as to Yasmina, a classist person, not thrilled to be slapped on the butt, an appreciation not a denigration, not a fan of royalty, The Hour Of The Dragon, Xaltotun is the best villain, plans, give me your horse and I’ll save you, we can’t get married, chief of the guard, there are customs, we’ll work it out, I have a very nice harem you can be a part of, she literally kills him, horrible childbirths in her retrogression, silly putty, she knew the agonizes of childbirth, Solitude Of Self, individual struggle with nature that women experience but men don’t, Russian roulette, Robert E. Howard is not wedded to Conan the way we are, the last set of stories were Conan tales, had he lived, classifying his stories by character, that poem is really hot (or rough), Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, the star is the important thing, the new Dune half movie, a bunch of models, Dark Horse, people standing in scenic locations, no text scrawl, no banquet scene, the beats of the action, it doesn’t capture what is the story, the monster beats, Robert e. Howard philosophy infodumps, the descriptions, C.L.A.I.M.: Character Language Allusion Imagery Message, what is the message of the new Dune movie, Sardukar complaining about things, explaining the weirding way in a film, transmuting poison in your body, showing buffed up people, who wants to do a Conan story vs. who wants to do a Robert E. Howard story, thinking of the setting and the setup, marketing purposes, scenes, ideas, and philosophy too, a princess who has been captured by a cult, Thulsa Doom’s cult, Red Nails, Valeria, mostly Belit, The Tower Of The Elephant, Oliver Stone and John Milius, to string the plot together, the weirding modules in the first Dune (1984) movie, Conan isn’t a character in the stories as much as they are stories with Conan in them, a backstory, an unhappy brooding king, By This Axe I Rule, tidbit of philosophy, listen to the philosophers, he kills the judge, trying to connect all the stories together, they don’t really understand, it isn’t just swords and giant snakes, an individual with an unhelpful god, treat it like an auteur rather than a star, Quentin Tarantino movies in different genres, telling yarns, the fun action adventure stuff, an idea somewhere in it, how to relate to women, he likes hot women, rape and threats of rape, how to relate to the weaker sex, be a man about it, the barbarian from outside, the savage vs. the barbarian, his own code, the distinction Lovecraft didn’t get, he’s the Jordan Peterson of Weird Tales, a moral code, a set of attitudes, what is, a magic system, hypnotism, a set of tricks that they work, an illusion?, a lock of hair, autosuggestion, he’s not as afraid of them, magic works on success, D&D rolling a 1, illusionists, the dog outside of the temple eating the offal, he is defeatable, becoming an eagle, we needed a tiger, fingernails, how witches work in the real world, my penis doesn’t work anymore, somebody’s balls swelled up, superstition makes you more superstitious, people are suggestible, your milk goes sour, they can kill the king with a lock of his hair (when the stars are right), his cortisol levels are high, fleeing the village, Khemsha, stampeded by Conan’s horse, his magic doesn’t matter, stepped on by a horse, a knife is a hardy incantation, hey Gitara how do you like that ride on our air horse?, cloud things, whirling dervishes, Paul got his 3rd shot, Gibraltar has 130% vaccination and full of COVID, like a magic charm, if we are to believe the science, sympathetic magic, why things happen as they do, really ugly, an earthquake in Haiti is punishment from God, magical thinking vs. Jack Vance style spells, propaganda techniques, the Lisan al Gaib, fighting the unbelievable, his muscles are bigger, beginner’s luck, confidence in the steel, the riddle of steel, the hand that wields the steel, only this you can trust, surrogate dad (James Earl Jones), so deluded, the real magic, women going through the streets of England putting white feathers on men during WWI, an attitude as well as knowledge, be an empiricist vs. be a rationalist, spinning up bullshit, Plato, the gold blooded and the silver and the bronze, this person is a natural slave, a natural leader, what makes the Devi divine is that her dad was the Rajah, Yasmina Devi, Genghis Khan, a backwards translation, through myth and 10,000 years she’s a goddess now, revenge is her god, the audiobook is a bit hard to follow, what all the factions were and what they wanted, a slow story, the middle section, people reading this in the 1930s knew what lambent is, H. Rider Haggard, we’ve become illiterate, the minimalist and conversational style, for a low class culture, mass market, people loved it, Savage Sword has awesome vocab on every page, we know she’s sad and worried about her son because she’s crying, we need big chunks of text, narration in movies is good, trying to explain a complex, know then it is the year 10,191, plans within plans wheels within wheels, just read the book, the ornithopters are better, they should have been birds not dragonflies, the ornithopter looked like a hawk, so forgettable, the fur diaper, neat and not tattered, he brushed his fur diaper that day, not in league with the devil, Kevin Sorbo’s Kull movie, Red Sonja (1985), supposed to be a comedy, fantastic bad, that scene is in here, Evan’s podcast, the Robert E. Howard Lovecraft letters, Pigeons From Hell was adapted for Thriller, stars two white guys, a black legend (folk tale), sleeping in an old plantation house, interesting revenge (symbolically), more pathos to that story, Hansel And Gretel has a sense, people were acting badly, Almuric, one big chunk, restricted zone, some time next year, Klim’s Journey Under The Ground, in the 18th century twice, Caleb Williams by William Godwin, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein’s boy scouts gone wrong in space, revelry, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, Connor doesn’t live on twitter, deep and rich, lemmee give you this magic belt made from Stygian lady’s hair, Alex’s ancestor was convicted of witchcraft in New France, cursed her womb by cutting a piece of her hair off, convicted and exiled, killed by Indians, 12 more kids, 11 kids, he might have actually been a witch, Alex’s last name is “Lich”, in the family archives, a convicted witch, Joan Of Arc, what a jerk, villains in Alex’s family, When Time Turned by Ethel Watts Mumford, like Back To The Future without a Delorean, The Clock That Went Backwards by Edward Page Mitchell, Reading, Short And Deep, set in the Netherlands, written disposably, half of Wisconsin, really well written, a historical siege scene, all the tropes (from 1881), Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, The Ganymede Takeover, Benjamin Franklin, The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, WWII and boxing journalism, Henry James, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, trying to make it hard for you to understand, An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, the Civil War, Stephen Crane, Walt Whitman, make bank, Jack London, Herman Melville, lunchtime upside down, Solomon’s Gold, overwhelmed with work, a month on Egypt, classroom management, the students disrespect Evan, dig into their computer, insane coworkers, Evan can’t out himself as a freak (yet), Ancient Egypt, bad textbook, Kufu was a cruel pharaoh, the poor didn’t need mummification because they were buried in shallow graves, its not a work of love, Works Progress Administration, I’ve been told that Biden is the new FDR, Walker Evans taking photographs of people working in Walmart and living in the vans, New Deal money putting artists and musicians to work, all the bridges were built in the 1930s, interviewing former slaves, giving money to rich people, the vaccine mandate is exactly that, government research money, an NFT game, blockchain, “we got funded”, it sounds like a scam, web 2.0 was a scam, Pets.com, why Elon Musk is so rich, Bezos sells servers to the US government, planting the seeds, omicron variant, Foster, You’re Dead by Philip K. Dick, booster shots in perpetuity, fear moves money better than anything else, you can’t mandate, a healthy response, the weird nanny state in Taiwan, the pet industry, pet nannies, licensing pet nannies, I’m an unlicensed pet nanny, you need the barbarians to sweep in, wipe away (some) of the old, clean up your own room (style of thinking) vs. communism will solve all our problems, these emerging men, you need to get your house in order, stupid when off topic smart when on topic, trad dads, interpreting the bible, funny Bible stories, a book of fairy tales, Howard is highly influenced by the Bible, The Song Of Solomon, three volumes with big print.

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

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Reading, Short And Deep #318 – Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #318

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Fishhead was first published in The Cavalier, January 11, 1913.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

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The SFFaudio Podcast #656 – READALONG: To Live Forever by Jack Vance

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #656 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about To Live Forever by Jack Vance

Talked about on today’s show:
the Evan, the Lampe, just the one name?, get into someone else’s body, 1957, Paul’s suggestion, why did we settle on this one?, 1956, Planet Of Adventure, The Star King, Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson, the magic use that’s not religious magic use, the Dying Earth, set in the USA?, the counties, Malthusian crisis, Soylent Green, Stand On Zanzibar, consumers vs. producers, exploitation, the bosses take it all, Make Room Make Room, “The Conscience Of The King”, Star Trek, the (birth control) pill, Paul Erlich, the Green Revolution, Japan, cohorts, The Mote In God’s Eye, we’re worried we’re rabbits and then we’re worried we’re pandas, a real news story, perverse incentives, perverse understanding of reality, not worrying about their old age, a social safety net, fertility rates, standard of living, baby factories, birth control shots, (in)fertility in Zimbabwe, Harry Harrison, Robert Bloch, repression and expansion, the age of chaos, The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick, finding the frontier, escaping a limited population, really this is all artificial, a retitling as Clarges, serious problems, spinning up a society, really into masks, The Moon Moth, masked societies, a good metaphor, Borges is all about the labyrinth, a murder mystery, a lot going on in a short book, the core exploration of the psychology, the five strata, gleigs?, brood, wedge, errant, amaranth, a false reality, the last city, the whole planet is available, why are they overpopulated, Glade?, he’s set it up wrong, a false premise, fashion, the conservatism of societies, dystopia, Billennium, The Space Merchants, the idea of slope, a free enterprise system, the Star Enterprise, “Critical Care” (episode of Star Trek: Voyager), the hypospray, The Shadow, a medical patented object, oil injection accidents, needle shots, medical stuff, psychiatry, Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, the hospital, the carnival, an analogy for our world, an elite class, extra good education at Yale vs. the poors, nobody is living forever, empathizing with a clone of themselves, empathize with humanity as a whole, something of a classic, win or overturn the system, overtake or knock over, the Demon Princes novels, revenge, Gavin Waylock, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, disrupting society by taking the rules really seriously, the actuarium, the accounting system, an unsustainable system, life extension by medical care, the allocator, slope and wedge, emergency care for people at the bottom, John Hopkins for those at the top, tooth implants, hairplugs, if this was a Brave New World story, John Savage, the outcast society as a threat, the carnival is the safety valve, another Star Trek episode, The Purge, carousel in Logan’s Run, lives of decadence, the assassins, the same world, the Sandman is the assassin, an exploration of a dystopia coded as a utopia, when Jesse goes to a job, what gives slope?, a group of elites who give their kids money and jobs, Hunter Biden, does he actually have slope?, or is the system rigged?, how many papers he’s written, a group of people doing their job perfectly, if you’re looking for corruption that’s where it is, kind of like capitalism, Monopoly, capitalism defenders (rising tide lifts all boats), a gripe with planned economies, slightly conservative, not pro-communism, he’s making his own world, he’s not talking about us, what deserves slope, a talented accordion player won’t give you slope (Weird Al Yankovic), Evan’s not earning slope, Michio Kaku, a string theorist, popular science futurism, a way to make money, string theory is not science (because it is not testable), drilling down its bullshit, he’s just absolutely wrong, does he get slope?, did this guy have slope?, we are told innovation is always happening, great tech, the reactions, the witherers and the weirds, Jesse’s seen them on twitter, herbivore men in Japan, I never saw him I hate that guy, just playing games, I got my waifu pillow, Magnus Panvidya is a witherer, a famous boogaloo boi, a national security threat, ironic proud boys, no ideology, we don’t like the way things are, our goal, are you communists?, what unites us is objecting to the system, imagine future capitalism, ports, what are the ports for?, they don’t have anything, what makes you a witherer and not a weird, I put on an ironic voice, getting paid poorly, just trying to live in a world they never made, recreated our reality, the beatniks, science fiction fans, cosplayers, Jesse is not trying to get external slope, the vision of history looking back, PHDs, degrees of difficulty, ladder climbing, on the rowing machine on the stationary bike, an 1980s movie, Bright Lights, Big City (1988), the insane asylum, symptom, maybe I’ll be an assassin, not reflective of actual progress, not curing patients, treatment coefficient, social credit in China vs. Social Credit in Canada (and what Heinlein was talking about), debts are more brutal in China, business loans, Conrad Black aka Lord Black of Black Harbour, he’s rich so his criminality doesn’t matter, Lavoisier and Hooke and Einstein and Huxley, definitely earned slope, literally cloning themselves, what we all should say, Robert J. Sawyer, in just a few years we’re going to have the bio-medical technology will prevent us from ever dying, live forever as a robot, we are all mortal creatures and will die, a non-infinite supply of life, this system is bullshit, live well during the time you have, go off into the wilderness, back to the land movements, a lot of people stayed, carnival is a vacation, Jesse doesn’t take vacations, the literary interpretations of carnival, Mikhail Bakhtin, carnival theory, the Venetian Masquerade, putting the mask on, performative transgressivism, the Masonic Lodges, costume, the fez, the apron, all cultures have this, the setup and the interest of the book, a tension that leads to the climax, 2,000 amaranth get elevated, Bonfire Of The Vanities, when Captain Picard puts on his speedos, that is his carnival, everyone wants to wear the uniform, Troi and Barkley, when Captain Janeway is on the holodeck with her holographic boyfriend, recreation, on vacation on an actual planet vs. cosplaying on the holodeck, Risan sex workers, Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle, clothes making you a different person, the lab coat makes you a scientist, you become the Star Trek Communist, a shining suit of armor, putting on a personality, why people change their names, a new identity, the Douggie Fresh story, more of the sacraments, jealousy is a sin, a legitimate response by children, choosing your own name, Miami Vice, interacting with our identity, a Superman costume, changing your gender, your haircut, these are all weirds, upturn reality vs. a response to a reality I don’t like, one is not personal, Gavin Waylock (Warlock), Gulliver Of Mars, amaranth is unfading, why did he do it?, she recognized him for what he was, his reading on her, very clever, playfulness, I went to the carnival to blow off some steam, the sex worker recognized me now I have to destroy her, he was hiding as a carnival barker, playing possum, going to party, hey guy do you want to party?, a euphemism, revelry masking escape, maybe all Vance is like this?, we don’t see his thoughts, the way he did it, not a Jesse book, not a book of ideas, a lot of fun, the weird economy, no offense, a fancy dinner book vs. a popcorn book, Sin Hellcat was fun, The Stainless Steel Rat, a slippery space con man, SF stuff, on the edge, set on Earth, Robert Jordan epics, secondary world fantasy, getting what the author is spinning up, no criticism of our reality, Tolkien is not about our world, a criticism of war and industrialization, he’s working on his own shit, an elaborate backstory, a mild mannered Hobbit, a tapestry, the class system, Mister Frodo, a mimicing, let’s get out of our world, such a complex system mirrors our society, bringing democracy to the world, people who can’t afford housing get tattoos, he’s not doing us, really fun and interesting, the world is amazing, too big of a world, he loved to world build, a generation starship, geography, the Lyonesse novels, a decadent society?, a barbarian invasion, what Lovecraft would do, Robert E. Howard would have a lot to say, a thesis, everything is decadent is a Vancianism, not sustainable, a catalyst, scholars in Finland or whatever, a bunch of references to the Dying Earth books, the Baktinian lens, this desire to put on masks, to be equal (if just pretend), a safety valve, the Zelazny title, Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon, you don’t own your own body any more, ultra capitalist future, people at the bottom who never apply for brood, only 20 years, the incentive is not that great, our Jacinth, a martin is an animal, she has most of my memories, Glarks!, if not on the tenure track, its publish or perish (literally perish), Bryan Alexander, looking at the future of post-secondary education, the future is very grim, queen sacrifice, we exist in a system where if you’re an adjunct professor you get paid minimum with a title, a bluechek and no pay, automatically suggested for followers, the system is not what it once was, prominent counterexamples, Harvard’s infinite money supply, people at the back of the (academic train): “c’mon run you can make it”, the student loan boost was another scam, these losers?, sitting around after getting their PHD and drinking beer in their house, we need a historian, thirty years down the road, a whole stint in Ghana, hiring the college guys, draft dodgers from the 70s still working the university mines, we lost a lot by whatever we did to fuck up the universities, a Bryan question, not all administration, money has been shifted towards administration, the factory workers not getting paid, well meaning but useless, more instruction and books, a good library and good professors, top 50 or top 100 schools, this doesn’t tell you much, who makes these assessments, they just look at the ranking, go to a warm university, instruction will always suffer, put your lectures on YouTube, tier 1 sports, corporatization of universities, you paid a fucking lot of money to be exposed to Schopenhauer, going into massive debt, university was basically free, jobs were plentiful and paid well, a house and a car, somewhere between 1900 and 1979 they made universities a priority and everybody got an education, a dying clown show, more like carnies, the most innovative technologies, the House of Truth, the Hall Of Revelation, kill frogs, try to steal rings from people, we never got to see inside the one he was shilling for, the House of Life, really good with names and words, the flavour, wordplay, how people rank books, one of those great old paperbacks from the 50s 60s and 80s, wow that was really interesting, dogs vs. gems, his third novel, how many stars out of the the entire galaxy?, 1 star taken off because no kissing.

DAW BOOKS - To Live Forever by Jack Vance

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The SFFaudio Podcast #609 – READALONG: Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #609 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
Curt Clark, Jesse’s favourite writer?, talkin bout Westlake, Lawrence Block, 1967 ACE paperback, less than a finger thick, Paul’s reaction, the audiobook is much abridged, that’s what they did back then, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, the Columbia House, the Science Fiction Book Club, Scott’s origins (YouTube), night and day, all the anarchist stuff is not in the audiobook, the CBR, how vast a difference, about 70% of the book is cut out, the history, an experiment in anarchism, this is really bad anarchism, into two cassettes, Tomorrow’s Crimes by Donald E. Westlake, when Westlake quit science fiction, it could have been half of an Ace double, a super-interesting guy, Chuck Wendig, Under An English Heaven, a weird writer, peripheral writings, characterization and crime, Xero, I’m not sitting around bragging, no place for it?, I cannot sell good science fiction, John W. Campbell, gatekeepers, science fiction’s lost is crime’s gain, Analog, a side bit character, $450, the economics of writing science ficton, a go fund me, one of the most popular science fiction writers, a kickstarter to make ends meet, how good this book is, subjective reactions, rafts of stuff, the anarchy and the philosophical, the butchery is surgical, a very good abridgement, Stefan Rudnicki, decisions being made, only a few characters, this guy just gave up, rewriting the book, Westlake doesn’t waste words, parsimoniously, Westlake’s trademark: the movement of hands, the whole tell, Richard Stark, a fast writer, Man Of Action, December 1960, supplementary homework, Or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry, 270 years old, an editor getting pitched, in 1823 he almost died, November of 1954, a highly political story, it makes a point, Who are the heirs of Patrick Henry?, Robert A. Heinlein, a libertarian, the founding fathers, it is a good book, he’s fudging a little bit, another version of The Call Of The Wild, he think he’s the toughest dog around, over the horizon, the uninhabitable zone, John Thornton, men are dangerous and dogs are subservient to men, the king of the slaves, Buck doesn’t talk or think in words, Buck did not read the newspapers, the house slave, the top dog, his true nature, the man is a man, Rolf Malone, he basically murders a dude, so shocking, our main character is an evil murderer, his real reason for coming to the planet, the society, he kills dozens and dozens of people, he wants to kill the planet, Lybia, would people be like this?, Newton’s first law, Malone was the external force, that one strangling hand, Cloak Of Anarchy by Larry Niven, the origins, Mikhail Bakunin, an insurrectionary anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, how cooperative systems can exist, post-scarcity, the conquest of bread, an anarchist utopia, corporations came, anarcho-capitalism, slavery without a state, marriage without states, a meta-element, a whole series of novels, Cockaigne, a prison planet where the natives cant leave, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World‘s reservation, the U.C. is interfering with the running, the immigration official, a very unwise priest, Dracula, Jonathan Harker, The Woman In Black, repossess a computer, being sent to be killed, these are my people, the corporations run this planet, an economic shit zone, the offworlders moved in, in the hands of profit-seekers, anarchism sounds really great its gonna get co-opted by corporations, no government that can hold the corporations accountable, pirates eating into their slavery business, the polities, guns, who is a slave in a west African society, state making taking place, more laws that lead to more people being criminals to make them slaves, definitely the political, extracting the resources from Anarchaos, Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, get the pronouns right, a big multi-national corporation and a nation, a body, it has arms, if this was a completely cut-off planet, its supposed to be a failed utopia, how Westlake cheats, the star is Hell, the names of the cities, Ulich and Nigh, Cockaigne is middle ages fantasy of young monks, Valhalla, afterlife places, tidally locked, the temperature, 29 Celsius, how the ecosystem can work, The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders, a drug that can take away his responsibility, we can trust what he’s saying or what he’s doing, the femme fatale, time itself, usual rituals, Will should have some thoughts about this book, the hard science is not what this novel is about, an anthropological big think, soft science, Vietnam after they win the war, the Chinese path, the worker state welcomed investment back in, how can this little socialist utopia exist?, purposely isolated, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), self-reliance, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, how respectful of physical space, Texas with no rangers, a comedy, the products of the authors, a long time ago this planet had some sort of galactic relationship with the other planets, Atlanta, an airport hub, a straight-up planetary romance, not a fun adventure planet with cool creatures, the hovels, this tradition, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick, a fix-up novel, an asteroid terraformed into ancient Kenya, the mundumugu witch-doctor, the Transmetropolitan reservations, the Coventry reservation, the Westlake Review, Westlake was interested in SF, Nackles, anti-Santa Claus, Xmas, it’s not me it’s you, what this book is an indicator of, we withdraw our society from you, society and individual and crime, how Jesse wants to frame this story, John Savage, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, a kind of similar relationship, that savage lifestyle, she’s non-functional, nice food, a soft bed, new clothes, a shower, to be drugged up and not be, might makes right, colours in this book, the red light of Hell, a single name, Ice or Sledge, a Disneyland Chenzen special economic zone, an Alaska, a free extraction zone, cesspools and tailings, where the animals went, no mention of race, the state of nature argument, a raw canvas, an anarcho-syndicalist utopia for about 15 minutes, big offshore corporations, what anarchism is, in what circumstances could it work, that premise, the post-apocalyptic works, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Walking Dead, big walls, in a context, a rich network with other groups, a different kind of slavery, the kind of slavery that parents have to children or to family, the relationship between marriage and slavery, the Roman Empire, Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber, go to the neighbouring community and get some girls, the caveman cartoon, the carrying over the threshold, the collar around the neck kind of slavery, women can be slaves but not men, he’s a bad dude, go wherever you want, exporting troublemakers, exporting their worst corporations, Jerry Pournelle’s CoDominium books, hello Australia, the west, Evan kinda likes this model, where all the wild ones are, The Many-Colored Land by Julian May, exporting of excess population, the Greeks were doing it with their colonies, an alternative to prisons, Siberia!, an open-air prison, Escape From New York, how shocked were you all when Malone gets his hand cut-off early in the book?, The Dark Tower, unless it gets infected…, he gets his brother’s college ring back, the ring finger of his left hand, some guy chewing on his hand, the limited contact we have with the natives, youre my slave now (cuz I found you in a ditch), you’re my brother or you’re my son, their aren’t teams and syndicates other than corporations, who is keeping the stuff like that?, the slum-dwellers from being unionized, doubly abridged, so heavy and dark, slightly higher gravity, the gravity thing, a subversion of a traditional planetary romance, subversion, confederate veteran, John Carter, weighted down morose lethargic, mentally and physically, the Colonel’s secretary, A Princess Of Anarchaos, the planet killed Gar, and two women, his mind flex, give me a planetary romance exploring an idea, a sixties slim paperback, full of SF ideas, Humans by Donald E. Westlake, angels are real, a very experimental writer, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, crime books, very philosophical, those crime books can be very philosophical, what makes crime bad?, killing’s just something you do, fearful for my own life, an imposition on their liberty, a pure goal oriented…, Parker is deluding himself, he wants to kill vs. he wants the action, why we’re reading it, find his brother’s killer, he didn’t have the stomach for it, feeling sorry for himself, now I have to kill the whole planet, essentially a villain, there is no hero, Jesse loves the ending, eighteen hours and twenty three minutes, oh shit, kill a whole lot of people, Morogeth, revenge on the actual people who killed his brother, the heart of the monetary system, rot in its own juices, absurd anarchy with some protective colony, how the story started, the boredom of travel by shuttle, Rolf I’m going to have a second chance, the only real relationship he has, the only person he respected, the only person he admired, a reverse inversion of this, from the other side, Fight Club, another political book, man’s relationship to himself, how’m I spossed to live now in this modern world with Ikeas, Fight Club 2, the comic book sequel, tear it all down, Phail and Gar, met across a loaded gun, Phail -> veil?, the names are weird, the veil of rule of law, pull the veil away, the naked relationship, the look in Colonel Whistler’s eyes, Anarchaos was a cancer, thus the suitcases, that promise, voyages to seven planets, the other planets in the UC system, Jack Vance, The Moon Moth, a planet full of people wearing masks all the time, The Lego Movie (2014), Cloud Cuckoo Land, framings and levels, interpreting what’s going on, a popular genre in the middle ages, young monks, writing poems, satirizing their lives,Land of Cokaygne

There is another abbey nearby,
a great nunnery in fact,
up a river of sweet milk,
where there is great plenty of silk.
When the summer’s day is hot,
the young nuns take a boat,
and go forth on that river
rowing with oars and steering.
When they are far from the abbey,
they undress to play,
and jump into the water
and swim secretly.
The young monks who see them
get ready and start out
and come to the nuns immediately,
and each monk takes one for himself
and carries his prey away quickly
to the great grey abbey,
and teaches the nuns a prayer
with their legs up and down in the air
The monk that can be a good stallion
and knows where to put his hood
he can easily have
twelve wives each year.

the power of translation, the power of writing, the power of reading, goddamn it I’m a monk, the nuns in that nearby abbey are quite sexy, it rains cheese from the sky, a comedy reaction to the difficulty, the place where they took his weapons away, richness that went into this, he loved the process of creation, Planet Of Adventure by Jack Vance.

Ace F-421 - Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake
Ace F-421 Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake

Donald Westlake's Anarchaos - illustration by Patrick Dean

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The SFFaudio Podcast #558 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #558 – The Horror At Martin’s Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft; read by Martin Reyto (for Legamus.eu). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Marissa VU, Wayne June, and Terrence Blake

Talked about on today’s show:
Sonia H. Greene, The Invisible Monster, Weird Tales, prenuptial contract, courtship, the sea is New York, drugged to New York, interesting, Lovecraft components, Lovecraft skeleton, originally titled, a much last apt title, you never find invisible things, Lovecraft’s commonplace book, [entry 51: Enchanted garden where moon casts shadow of object or ghost invisible to the human eye.], The Moon Bog, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, the Moon as a giant egg, “I have never heard an even approximately adequate explanation of the horror at Martin’s Beach.”, the baby, the mother, a single eye, another invisible something, my fancy conjured up still another eye, the eye is the Moon, everybody is assuming its the mom, where does it say it in the story, deep grief, Iron Shadows In The Moon, the father, how do they know its a baby, it had its baby teeth, the layering, small for a cosmic being, demi-cosmic, that new baby smell, not very scientific, the most amazing discrepancies, Captain Orne, if Eric [Rabkin] was here, it rained for forty nights, taxidermied, P.T. Barnum, a mermaid is a seal grafted on to a baby, DC horror comics from the 1970s, I want comics god-damn it, True Ghost Tales, Minnesota, bigfoot displayed in a van, a monkey suit with modifications, “The object was some fifty feet in length, of roughly cylindrical shape, and about ten feet in diameter. It was unmistakably a gilled fish in its major affiliations; but with certain curious modifications, such as rudimentary forelegs and six-toed feet in place of pectoral fins, which prompted the widest speculation.” selling hokum,

The naturalists had shown plainly that it radically differed from the similarly immense fish caught off the Florida coast; that, while it was obviously an inhabitant of almost incredible depths, perhaps thousands of feet, its brain and principal organs indicated a development startlingly vast, and out of all proportion to anything hitherto associated with the fish tribe.

John Lilly‘s communications with dolphins, sons of Poseidon, a species, cyclops kitten, a half-god, his out, his wife wrote that part, the depths of the oceans being unexplored they harbour life-forms that have one eye, bioluminescence, otherworldly, monster ideas from the depths of the sea, symmetry is for weaklings, scientific men are people who work for Orne, fakes, but not this time, revenge mom, The Beast (1996), William Petersen, Beast by Peter Benchley, no mothering instinct, projection by the readers and Sonia Greene, the evil men who stole the baby, Captain Orne as Ulysses, a mythological interpretation, the old one version of Poseidon, we’re bringing the female idea to it, a trope, throughout nature, bear cubs, the daddy bear gives no shits, dads don’t care, human vs. animal, dads do care, almost nothing happens, stylistic preparation, a real life event, a simple horror story, a cosmic dimension, a moralistic dimension, two different readings, Ridley Scott thought Deckard was a replicant, eternal revenge, a purpose so revolting to my brain, revenge isn’t revolting, collateral damage, all humanity was guilty, a species wide revenge, humans all look alike, my fifty foot baby, what humans do, all the wolves are killed for the crime of one wolf, a storm came twice, wrapping up his business, he’s ornery, “get revenge”, its planned all this out, set aside your propensity for disbelief, here she/he/it comes, make the presence known, grieving and scheming, you killed my baby and now you’re throwing shit at me?, an inordinate indication of intelligence, an article by Professor Alton about hypnotic powers not being confined to recognized humanity, there trickled upon my ears the faint and sinister echoes of a laugh, only humans and hyenas, they laugh at anything, a sad laugh, read it with skepticism, what is the horror?, is it the thing?, or was it that people were frozen?, electricity explains it, hacksaw to the hempen line, there is no hempen line, that’s their interpretation, a proposed theory, what if there was never a line to begin with, physically hooking on to people, less about the specific thing in the water, the way the Moon plays on the water, everybody is turned into frogs, the Moon was about a foot above the water, a coin at arms length, from what angle?, phenomenological vs. actual, what’s that over there?, the moon looks gigantic, its about the hypnotism theory, why the people fail to act, that’s the horror, a huge part of the horror, if we read it that way the invisible monster is us, retire to your room, the narrator’s perspective, death march, resigned to fate, so real and creepy, not calling for help, not struggling, looking back over their shoulders in fear, a perfect description of this universe,

And as I gazed out beyond the heads, my fancy conjured up still another eye; a single eye, equally alight, yet with a purpose so revolting to my brain that the vision soon passed. Held in the clutches of an unknown vise, the line of the damned dragged on; their silent screams and unuttered prayers known only to the demons of the black waves and the night-wind.

a cluster of religious stuff, the voice of heaven resounded with the blasphemies of hell, ventriloquism, a cyclopean din, her pallid beams, a whirlpool, the narrator laughing, that interpretation, the hyena is laughing because its sad, even creepier, gallows humour, forelegs, one big eye, a laugh?, angler-fish, glowing eyes, feet on the chest, what it’s all for?, sure you did, bub, they know about the fishy tribes, Martin’s Beach has hills with cabins, veranda, a vacation spot, the rich above, the poorer below, above and below,

It was in the twilight, when grey sea-birds hovered low near the shore and a rising moon began to make a glittering path across the waters. The scene is important to remember, for every impression counts. On the beach were several strollers and a few late bathers; stragglers from the distant cottage colony that rose modestly on a green hill to the north, or from the adjacent cliff-perched Inn whose imposing towers proclaimed its allegiance to wealth and grandeur.

the horror is is the coverup by the hotel, the same dynamic you see in Jaws, the corporate is the horror, Aha, I got the formula now!, community vs. the individual, what the fuck happened, everybody’s involved, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, Professor Anthony Douglas, numerous grunts, his ample middle, a nuclear scientist in Colorado, gold bars on the side of the road, this is the weirdest thing, he’s in his easy chair, an eye the size of the entire sky, any giant sky monsters over Colorado?, Fair Game on SickMyDuck.narod.ru:

Shapes. Two enormous shapes squatting down. Two incredibly huge figures bending over. One was drawing in the net. The other watched, holding something in its hand. A landscape. Dim forms too vast for Douglas to comprehend.

At last, a thought came. What a struggle.

It was worth it, thought the other creature.

Their thoughts roared through him. Powerful thoughts, from immense minds.

I was right. The biggest yet. What a catch!

Must weigh all of twenty-four ragets!

At last!

Suddenly Douglas’s composure left him. A chill of horror flashed through his mind. What were they talking about? What did they mean?

But then he was being dumped from the net. He was falling. Something was coming up at him. A flat, shiny surface. What was it?

Oddly, it looked almost like a frying pan.

it doesn’t make any sense as science fiction, what’s funny is the set-up, how he’s fat, this is the sea’s revenge for fishing, it isn’t specifically about this one animal, the sea doing what we do to it, look at the tuna cans, line and pole tuna, industrialized fishing, still another reading, the Moon in relation to its proximity to the water, the gravitational pull of the Moon, The Other Gods, a lot going on, its not as crappy as it looks, William Shakespeare, as flies to wanton boys as are we to the gods, the line is flypaper, why are they pulling, someone needed rescuing, insidious, human instinct in propensity to rubberneck, cheap houses near the sea, at least some of the people came from the rich area, Weird Talers: Essays On Robert E. Howard And Others by Bobby Derie, a blog post with a letter from Sonia Greene, he was never kissed by any woman, The Private Life Of H.P. Lovecraft, Carol Weld, happily ever after (sort of), its all right there in the setup, a little softer than Lovecraft’s usual, 15 adjectives about how horrible everything is, the rest doesn’t take that statement seriously, its lacking that indifference, there’s definitely some bellows, very humanish, the easy reading is that it’s a revenge tale, my Twitter friend Jason Thompson’s illustrations, a couple on the beach, the moon low in the sky next to the fish monster, there’s some sort of massive connection, a big round thing in the sky that YOU can see, it is an eye, paranoia, ‘And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you’, human history’s relationship without the Moon, telescope, when you look at the moon, you can see mountains, it is another place, another world, comforting and horrifying, how important the universe is as a reality, profits, dancing, cottages, cars, a speck in the sea of black infinity, its hard to understate, the cosmic layer, the moon as a character, the Moon is the mother, opening a path, a way, a lane, calling down to the depths, opening the people to an influence from another reality, the bridge of moonbeams in The White Ship, I am Basil Elton,

I am Basil Elton, keeper of the North Point light that my father and grandfather kept before me. Far from the shore stands the grey lighthouse, above sunken slimy rocks that are seen when the tide is low, but unseen when the tide is high. Past that beacon for a century have swept the majestic barques of the seven seas. In the days of my grandfather there were many; in the days of my father not so many; and now there are so few that I sometimes feel strangely alone, as though I were the last man on our planet. … Very brightly did the moon shine on the night I answered the call, and I walked out over the waters to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams. The man who had beckoned now spoke a welcome to me in a soft language I seemed to know well, and the hours were filled with soft songs of the oarsmen as we glided away into a mysterious South, golden with the glow of that full, mellow moon.

the opening, Sonia writing in the mom part, Lovecraft writing the Moon part, layers, cynical thing, clusters of adjectives, satanic and demonic, the more religious cosmology, regular folks, weird letters received, all recapitulated in the Peter Benchley, conferences, inspiring of, A Tropical Horror by William Hope Hodgson, architeuthis, giant squid, the title, self reference, your average bear does’t have a Lovecraftian world-view, the most amazing discrepancies, no common bond, differing reports, a widely witnessed phenomenon, a tremendous difference, everybody’s unreliable, what the hell did they see?, weirder stuff happens under the Moon, Slavoj Žižek, conceiving and Žižek, Lovecraft was the terrible thing, and vice versa, a problem of habituation, kinda sick, this is going to be better for you, Virginia, he could’ve moved with her, I got all my friends and my (podcasting club), the Kalem Club, unrecorded podcasts, an anthology of just Moon stories, power of the moon, the Moon doing a ton of heavy lifting, imagine that line goes all the way out to the Moon, we can get there its just incredibly hard, gravitons are definitely a real thing, it has phases, without the Moon, what would you even look at, its so important, it looms large (especially when near the horizon), we hide from it in our cities and our houses.

Jason Thompson's (MOCKMAN) illustration of The Horror At Martin's Beach by Sonia Greene and H.P. Lovecraft

Jason Thompson sketch for The Horror At Martin's Beach

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #183 – The Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #183

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask Of Amontillado was first published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, November 1846.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson