Reading, Short And Deep #395
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss A Literary Nightmare by Mark Twain
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
A Literary Nightmare was published in Atlantic Monthly, February 1876.
talked about on today’s show:
Space Science Fiction, May 1953, usual playfulness, written for the market, military guys, Imposter by Philip K. Dick, Imposter (2012), shield technology, replicants (androids), implanted memories, how many Philip K. Dick stories have androids in them?, an abiding theme, foregrounded or backgrounded, robot balls, little boys, wounded soldiers, beautiful women, they’re fighting each other now, evolution, Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, the 1995 movie Screamers, aging special effects, very very faithful to the story, an alien planet (not Earth), “trade federation”, new Cold War, sympathetic Ivans, colonel not major, the double twist ending, something Dick would have been happy with, the hand slash, even more human, it was a different time, in the 1990s a sponge-bath was romance enough, that’s all it takes Paul, movie reality, Phillip K. Dick read (and loved) the script, a tremendous shriek, “better than my original story”, which ending is he happy about?, “I’m an andorid”, David’s robot teddy bear, Teddy Ruxpin conquers the Earth, The Little Movement by Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick fans site, Dan O’Bannon, filmed in Quebec, Alien (1979), he really got SF and PKD, a remake?, the sequel, one teddy bear vs. the world, a teddy bear with an autofac, the premise of The Little Movement, Lifeforce (1985), Space Vampires, Total Recall, the red cigarettes, keeping all the smoking, a solider thing, senet (an ancient Egyptian board game), Peter Weller, Mozart, long hair music, Don Giovanni, good writing, tossing the coin, the chips, swords instead of claws, better than expected, complete rubbish, “and me too!”, greenlit because of Blade Runner and Total Recall, the sequel movie: Screamers: The Hunting, and the sequel story Jon’s World, the female lead, LV386, Sirius 6B, how do we raise the stakes?, the script from Aliens jammed into the Screamers story, tying back to Dan O’Bannon, no-James Cameron, Hendrickson killed himself, Peter Weller acts as Sigourney Weaver for Screamers: The Hunting, as you do, time travel and a lobotomized boy, one of Philip K. Dick’s worst stories, definitely interesting (but a bad story), deconstructing the ending, an unpolished story, why the knobs and turrets?, well actually the submarine was blah blah blah, underlines and notes, more for the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, session writing, “rigid”, Jon the boy, an autistic kid (son or neighbor?), the lobotimization was kinda random, going back in time to get the plans for the artificial brain, stories set after nuclear wars, happy go lucky mutants, grey dust, ash and pain, the wheel was a good thing, wheels on tanks and wheelbarrows, recreating the brains, Asimov robots, Elon Musk, high-brows, Ex Machina (2015), A.I. (2001), crapsack future, puttering along, Millennium by John Varley, Captive Market by Philip K. Dick, Marissa has met such psychic time travelers in Los Angeles, The Terminator, Screamers and Second Variety lead to The Terminator, what are the claws if not Terminators?, infiltration units, Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese), hypnagogic dream flashbacks, they bleed (they’re cyborgs), a natural extension, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, Oblivion (2013), Battlestar Galactica‘s cylons (are claws), a long lost colony of Earth, the lobotomized kid baggage, licked the proclivity, unconnected thoughts, preferring illusion to reality, the world of ultimate reality, terror of the world, the harsh world of reality, beyond and above, paths for people to walk, men and women in robes, not like our cities, the best lobotomist, shadows of the ultimate reality, fucked with reality, a utopian paradise that’s fictional, recursive, if Dick was still alive he would have mined these stories for a novel, a Jon’s World podcast, more than four varieties, a parallel time sense, Philip K. Dick talking about himself, whole new lines of speculation, other futures, the visions of the eternal unchanging, this story exists out of time, THIS world, Greek oracles, prophecy in general, this crazy story, if you want to call it a story, on a tour bus through PKD’s mind, jazzy, totally not resolved, the trees beyond the ship, evergreen trees, briefcase, why is he taking the briefcase?, discussing things, metaphysical things, temper tantrums or whatever it is, PKD’s idea of utopia, robes instead of t-shirts, deer running free, we’re supposed to see this vision as suspect, steel isn’t just for tanks, the clean utopia is an artificial vision, horror movies, the horrible burning, it was worth it, escaping into an artificial reality, they’re all escaping the horror of their lives into Jon’s world, yeah we’ve all got to get lobotomized, in an insane asylum drooling, we’re the apex predator, the ending for Brazil (1985), a couple of weeks ago a kid was mauled by a bear near Jesse, nature wants to fucking kill you, the garden of Eden is a myth, bad affectation, the word lobotomy is scary, seizures vs. visions, religious ecstatic tradition, tribal society, Vikings, vikings a native North Americans with steel, Progeny by Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip, a false impression of PKD, a Philip K. Dick action story ends with a guy sitting on a park bench, Second Variety is so good but less interesting than Jon’s World
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #334 – The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne; read by Fred Heimbaugh. This is an unabridged reading of the story (50 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Fred.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Pioneer, March 1843, a Hawthorne Poe fest, contemporaries, The Scarlet Letter, a quote by Poe about Hawthorne, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, well known?, why this story Fred?, he’s obsessed with sin, sociopaths, trigger warnings, neurosis, shame, luck, shaped by sin, a mark upon the family, subconscious Freudian messages, Commentary Magazine, Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature by Gary Saul Morson, textual density, vocab, Lovecraft poems, Fungi From Yuggoth poems, harbours, kids are now shuttled between school the home and the mall, ranting against Hawthorne, The House Of The Seven Gables, revolutions in 20th century literature, Ernest Hemingway, the show don’t tell revolution, Hawthorne is the telling-est teller who ever telled, the right attitude toward sin, the two facedness of people, Hawthorne is attacking late stage decadent Puritanism, a homosexual vibe, what is the lesson?, science reaches too far?, Gothic horror, the evil wizard or the mad scientist, science as the channel to unlimited power, elixirs, potions, not even futuristic, Georgiana, Aminadab?, where is this story set?, Aylmer’s castle, Aylmer’s wealth, a compartmentalized life, from the third person POV, the host narration, obsession, the left side, the sinister side, she’s been marked, in the dream, chemical means, pre-Darwin, “I’ve got these old books”, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a natural philosopher, science vs. alchemy vs. magic, Isaac Newton, almost as if he was Ben Franklin, electricity, many suitors, Aylmer’s wooing, is Aylmer gaslighting Georgiana?, she’s reading, a Medieval heroine, a character of of Greek mythology, is a sex-change story?, is this a boob-job story?, envy, the tips of two small fingers, she’s compared to a marble statue, small pox scars, Marilyn Monroe‘s beauty mark, does positioning matter?, Supernatural Horror And Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, a meditation on obsession, many uninteresting analysis, so little action, beyond the sexual interpretation, Hawthorne doesn’t seem all that prudish, how far can you go in purist of perfection in a fallen world, a mark of original sin, wanting knowledge (of good and evil?), the sin of disobedience, Frankenstein and Aylmer are reading the same books, the process of creating a man in Frankenstein, the lightning bolt, Luigi Galvani, grave-robbing, Paracelsus, the gold thing is your way of getting funding, when writing a grant…, this might lead to a cure for cancer(!), alchemy as a religion, The Cask Of Amontillado, Eric S. Rabkin, “the niter, it grows”, Montresor or Fortunato, niter, growing human shaped things inside of bottles, poisons, psychology and the occult, the difference between alchemy and science is openness, the Royal Society, Harry Potter’s school, there have to be muggles, magically oblivious, J.K. Rowling, natural greed, the ethic of sharing knowledge, France’s version of the Royal Society, like the obsession with “open source” or the “public domain”, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, sooo lifelike, sooo beautifully painted, Gothic horror, the evil mad scientist is destroyed by the power he unleashes, The Portrait Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the ending, what is Hawthorne saying?, was Aylmer’s attempt doomed from the beginning?, Jesse’s mom, one of the most important powers of a teacher, she has “THE VOICE”, Muad’dib (Paul Atredies), Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, a profound revelation, philosophy and critical thinking, vitamins are bullshit, fish oil woke Fred’s brain, North America has the world’s most expensive urine, religion wants you to take it on authority, bronze age holy texts, religion as book club where you only ever read one book (or just listen to a guy who did), cynicism or wisdom, loyalty to the organized religion of your family, inherited religions, fundamentalist belief systems, the narcissism of small differences, splintering, revolting revolutionaries, purity of doctrine, young earth creationists, Catholicism as an almost ethnicity (an identity), Hawthorne as a stopgap between H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley, the murky origins of Science Fiction, Dante, Lucifer frozen in the ice, a Gothic ghost story, Frankenstein’s obsession is with defeating death, too in love with science, Hawthorne’s message is like: “don’t drink too much”, Greek symposia, what really happened at a Greek symposium, “write drunk and edit sober”, The Odyssey, mixing water with wine, getting plastered is a sign on unmanning, the Greek obsession was with finding the moderation between too little and too much, what was Hephzibah’s sin?, her sin is being too worried about sin, “you will eat blood”, public shaming is a little much, be moderate with your casting of sin, John Wesley, a healthy functioning society, wealth corruption, falling into decadence, the protestant work ethic is kicking-in, Guggenheim, ransoming the grandchild, leaving it all to art, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Fred’s all time favourite Science Fiction novel: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, how do we raise the next generation?, a supercharged Kindle, matter compilers, Star Trek‘s replicator, eating green sludge, window panes made out of pure diamond, handmade hipsters, how you raise the next generation in a wealthy society, we are unimaginably wealthy, are Japan’s young people uninterested in sex?, Richard Dawkins on Twitter, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, Gothic-y, Science-y, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, a great inventor, Neoterics, he’s stealing their ideas, the ultimate mad scientist story, following in the tradition, somatoypes, ectomorph (Aylmer), mesomorph (Aminidab), endomorph (Jesse), it’s a scam!, Hillary Clinton, the Ronald Reagans of the world, this is astrology, people think that once you’ve got a word for something you understand it, wearing the mask long enough…, IQ tests, quantification, any time we think we understand the most complex thing in the universe…, there really is a subconscious, tweeting dreams, psychology, the book club with only one book in it, The Great Courses (The Teaching Company), Eric S. Rabkin, survey courses, kooky specializations, the best way to learn, the perennial student, taught not to learn, philosophy of art, credentialism, Jesse can guess the exact words in a student’s vocabulary, guess your weight or age, how Jesse gets work, gaming credentialism, no high school diploma, a contempt for institutionalized learning, a play-by-the-rules personality, grade inflation, what did Mussolini do?, intimidation vs. cultivation, give the students the experience of reading, reading as a meeting of minds, defending a dissertation, essays, we’re obsessed with essays (for the wrong reason), ohhh spoilers!, the big problem with almost any media, “I don’t want to spoil it for you.”, testing is easier, a kind of objectivity, don’t blame the actors for shitty Hollywood movies, status is society, education as the cultivation of minds, there aren’t enough people who are willing to rebel!
Posted by Jesse Willis
Tantor Media has 45 MP3 audiobooks on sale for $6.99 each. The complete list is below. We discovered this after finding out that the 35% discount code, posted about yesterday, didn’t work on Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. The 35% off coupon code is only for titles that are regularly priced. But this is actually wonderful news as $6.99 is more than 65% off the regular price!
As you can see I’ve linked to the first three but if you see a title you like below that isn’t linked, do a search for it in the Tantor site, HERE. Some of the titles appear to have broken links when you do a search and then click directly on the Tantor Download button (like Terra Incognita) but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it. Click through on the title itself, then you should be able to see the “add to cart” beside where it says “audio download” and $6.99. This new MP3 download is new to Tantor and they’re still working out the kinks.
Dies the Fire (#1 Emberverse series) by S.M. Stirling
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
The Bloody Crown Of Conan by Robert E. Howard
The Conquering Sword Of Conan by Robert E. Howard
Hitler’s War (#1 War That Came Early series) by Harry Turtledove
Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Angelic by Kelley Armstrong
Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Kitty And The Silver Bullet
The Phoenix Transformed
Enemies Of The People
Mind Wide Open
The Worst Hard Time
Three Cups of Tea
My Horizontal Life
How Doctors Think
Why Women Have Sex
The Lady Queen
Persona Non Grata
Worse Than War
Nothing To Lose, Everything to Gain
The Education Of A British-Protected Child
Magic Bites (#1 Kate Daniels series)
Dead Men’s Boots
Dead Girls Dance
Posted by Jesse Willis
The chance to plug my favorite CBC podcast twice within the span of two weeks is a rare event. IDEAS does not often offer SFFaudio related programmes, but the latest entry in The Best Of Ideas podcast reveals a slight connection that’s just too good not to mention. The lecture, by none other than Richard Dawkins, is called Queerer Than We Suppose: The Strangeness Of Science.
This lecture was conducted on October 21st 2006 under the auspices of the Beatty Memorial Lecture as conducted at McGill University. The Beatty Memorial Lecture was created in 1952 to honour the legacy of McGill Chancellor Sir Edward Beatty.
You’ll find only tangential Sience Fiction references in the lecture itself |MP3|. Dawkins quotes from Douglas Adams – illustrates how quantum mechanics and its alternative explanations, “Many Worlds Interpretation” and “Copenhagen Interpretation” seem less like Science and more like Science Fiction to us. Indeed, quantum mechanics and natural selection are ripe fodder for Speculative Fiction. For natural selection think of Rudy Rucker’s Ware Tetralogy. For Quantum mechanics you need only think of George Alec Effinger‘s Schrodinger’s Kitten, Robert J. Sawyer‘s Neanderthal Parallax trilogy or any of the multitude of Parallel Universe stories all the way back to Murray Leinster‘s 1933 tale Sidewise In Time. I won’t try to digfest it all for you, check it out for yourself via direct download |MP3|. Or by pasting this feed into your podcatcher: