Reading, Short And Deep #403
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
Born Of Man And Woman was first published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Summer 1950
The SFFaudio Podcast #744 – The Skull by Philip K. Dick – read by Scott Miller for the Lost Sci-Fi Podcast. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (58 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Scott Miller
Talked about on today’s show:
The Lost Sci-Fi Podcast, Vintage Sci-Fi on YouTube, look up The Skull, 50 episodes, multiple short stories in one episode, super-short sci-fi stories, rave reviews, SFFaudio.com was broken, mostly not broken, the PDF Page, a long list of things you should record, great recommendations, sci-fi guru, just over 10 years ago, to get into it, a couple of good attempts, worthwhile, insulting by not praising, Jesse from the past, Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man, a religious revolutionary from 1960s, The Variable Man, this weird category, unsympathetic, a hunt, his most technically astounding like stories, more pure Philip K. Dick, Paycheck, boob action, a big sweaty hair guy, he’s not a hunter, he’s not a criminal, H.P. Lovecraft, Dunsany or Poe, his own feelings, trying to write an Astounding story, stories are better than novels (plot wise), a really awesome and interesting, themes and ideas wise, undercooked, fleshing this out, maybe he thought he nailed it, read the whole thing, from start to finish, fascinating, Karl Marx, bearded, communism!, fascinating, old enough to vaguely remember, commie madness, narrated, fell in love with it, Human Is, a lot different, kinda dark, kill somebody, a fascinating story every way you can possibly find, why is Conger’s first name Omar as opposed to John?, or James, John Connor, Jesus Christ, a Jesus story, oh man that story’s so good, guy goes back in a time machine looking for the historical Jesus, makes a stink about a shepherd who’s also a fisherman, nailed on a cross, Mary and Joseph, Jesus is intellectually disabled, he is the guy he goes looking for, really cool, trips over himself, the relgious aspect, the plot for The Terminator, trucks and explosion, James Cameron, Harlan Ellison, who he was ripping off, beat for beat and scene for scene, Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, Alien and Aliens, beats played against, why is The Skull the influence?, creating the guy he’s sent back by, the variation is God to Jesus vs. Jesus to Jesus, Paul didn’t see it, killing Mary to prevent Jesus, a thin read, Ellison’s Soldier, Demon With A Glass Hand, both are cited, Soldier (1998), to kill Jesus, the Roman Empire hires him to kill himself, this peace religion that’s screwing up, the savior of mankind, Cameron was wrong, general science fiction and a couple of stories by Harlan Ellison, part of the story of The Terminator, the time travel aspect, time vortex, back in time, Scott chose Paul’s side, Evan doesn’t care, they both exist, earlier than everybody else, pairs well with Prominent Author, religious ideas, earlier stories, naturalistic explanations, writing the Bible, dictating the bible from memory, really funny, the whole thing is for the joke, the context is this mundane, a commuter story, what Dick was trying to do, later Gnosticism, weird Valis nonsense, luddism, peace culture, where human progress comes from a lot on the frontier, stagnation, when the frontier dies, the bad guys, the empire, we’re in a cul de sac because of this religion, sympathy with the empire, fearful of stagnation, The Variable Man, Mr. Spaceship, Dr. Futurity, a weird death cult, based on violence vs. based on peace, restoring a culture of conflict, 200 years of peace is bad, they need to get rid of the dumb people, the survival of the fittest, a rejection of public life, apolitical people, a fascist idea, Conger’s reaction, you’re not a believe in this religion, fearful of some of its mysteries, those burning things on the wall, I don’t know, braziers, an unholy person, they’ve broken into this church and stolen Jesus’ bones, the ending, he’s the guy he’s waiting for, if I was this guy, I was confronted with my own skull, a comedy, the reason you keep a skull on your desk, there is no escaping death, thinking deeply, the religious teachings, why did Jesus act that way?, he’s got a piece of god in him, sacrificing himself, this fate, there’s peace in that, the evil AI plot, 1952, his fourth story, Roog, The Little Movement, Expendable, and Beyond Lies The Wub, a little alienating, stories about abortion, a technical achievement, the setup, the execution, the setting, the 1960/61, gives some lady a heart attack, science fiction explanation for resurrection, slem gun, a religious ecstasy, my lighter malfunctioned, swamp gas, the speech vs. what people remember from what he said, peace and non-violent action, the statement that gets remembered, those who killed will die, gallows humour, really ironic, Christ’s statements, if were were to read Jesus’ statements from a different point of view, unedited/unexpurgated, councils, tossed out, assuming a historical Jesus, the gospels, Omar Khayyam, Omar means long lived, Conger?, conquer?, too normal a name, Costa Rica, an exotic middle name, Jerome, a saint, raised Catholic, saints names, in hindsight, an animal, an eel, long lived eel, snakey shaped, an ouroboros or an infinity symbol, Karl Glogauer, a carpenter, the shining man, Joe, the communist element, interested in communism, he’s from Oregon, set in California, Colorado?, where the first church was founded, the jail where they kill him, arrested from being a communist, red scare, those reds, report anything strange or unusual, he’s not wearing a mask, he’s refusing a vaccination, how long?, the red scare is over in 1970, Nixon is going to China, movements, Black Panthers, the relationship is different, disentangling of the American left from Moscow, left movements, its gonna continue, reporting his fellow Californians he’s worried he’s a communist, the authorities and the people, waiting, a good fight, they had heard about the incident at the fountain, religious ecstasy, he’s gotta beard, police, closer and closer, one of the men tossed something at him, a rock, he smiled, don’t you have any bombs, throw a bomb, let em have it, toss a few a bombs, Colorado, 1960, burn him at the stake or we want change, the knife’s edge, kill the witch or embrace change, I have a gun he says, its a metaphor they think, my sword of truth, I bring not peace but an invisible sword, they want a leader, a subversive story, they’re interested in communism, he’s got a beard, a phenomenon, wearing beards is back in fashion, a mustache is strange, beards are in, beards are out, beards are back, beatnik beards, long pants will work for me, the only guy on TV with a mustache, copycats, clean shaven Space: 1999, the Klingons are, fashion has changed in the Federation, grapple with his religious beliefs, pioneering stuff, Behold The Man but better, more science fictional, Paul was convinced, monochromatic, The Age Of Faith by Will Durant, the furious number of sects, subdivisions, religions don’t remain unified, 200 years of Islam, get each other excommunicated, the first church, that’s not how religion works, Phil, he’s kind of like a Leigh Brackett hero, in prison for breaking the blockade, a trapper, grew up on Mars and the Mountains of the Moon, fur trapping stuff to Earth, this is not a well read man, defiant of Earth secular authority, resisting non-violently, mining that, in contrast to the people of 1960, anti their government, in favour of their government, their goading him, clever, the different social groups, 1961 and 1960s, underneath the surface, Small Town, Time Out Of Joint, paranoia, interested, why is she there?, why is this beautiful young woman at my door?, swami, a speech impediment, a future accent, not conforming, check his ID, First Blood (1982), a fantasy of we treated our veterans badly, what if there’s a reason people are acting this way, interesting and subtle, this joke element, anxiety about stagnation, hence the need for war, his ultimate answer, another solution, kill Sir Francis Drake, that weird collection of strange stories, author insert, when he grows a beard: I’m turning into Karl Marx, hitting on high school girls, the wife stuff, trial wife, his mistress, a product of that religion, how does that extract, Scott Danielson teaches new adherents, derived from the Bible, quite a stretch, he says a few words, very Heinleinian, Robert Silverberg, month wife, swapping wives, commodified, contractual, The Crack In Space, marriages around him, serial monogamy, four trial wives, the stuff about the universe, the newspaper, when he goes to the library, Cooper Creek, a flower in here, a set of symbols, flower, skull, an hourglass or an infinity symbol, the girl is supposed to be that, what the beef is about, the chocolate, older guy lusting after this young girl, comparatively lustless to his other stuff, teenage girls, the creeps, when you speak those words, he’s looking at her, the man looked him over critically, it was warm, the little kerosene heater, in her flowered dress, its a good room, Mrs. Appleton, another biblical thing, Chicago, the middle west, no foreigner, its part of the United States, he’s dumb, he’s ignorant, his words are profound, a riddle, an odd paradox, a funny joke, they laughed faintly nervously, they would puzzle over it, very neat, why Philip K. Dick is remembered, just really good, what happened to the skull he carried with him?, what happened to the slem gun, the time machine itself, something in his belt, the crystal cage, The Crystal Crypt, a pink beam style image, work it out, very biblical, per-ordained, he was the sacrificial lamb, exactly like Jesus, the major action of this is religious ecstasy for a second, car chases, false memories, at what point did you realize, pretty early, read so much science fiction, it is the obvious twist (now), Kyle Reese doesn’t know he’s the father of John Connor, but John Connor knows, sending his only dad, half way through the story, he didn’t notice the teeth?, he never studied the skull carefully before hand, Scott I’ve invented a time machine, go back and kill Hitler!, time travel stories are all over, repeat ideas, the original The Time Machine story, time travel paradoxes, Philip K. Dick is underrated, Valis this and Ubik that, Three Stigmata, Hugo or Nebula or whatever, other than Galactic Pot-Healer, everyone of his short stories is better than every novel, focused in on short sci-fi, outside of Isaac Asimov, the number one seller, Bradbury received more acclaim than Dick, people love Philip K. Dick, more comments and emails, only 130, commercially viable, its personal, Prominent Author, picture the guy near the end, with his shoulder thrust back, so proud of his work, what Dick does, I can see him in the church, a grotto, early Christian underground, catacombs, Beyond Lies The Wub, even if students don’t know what happened they still like it, consciousness transference, he’s eating himself, Jesus taking the eucharist, when the priest comes by eat the cracker and drink the grape juice, what does this mean?, Of Withered Apples, what a great story!, can I go play with my tree?, his brain was weird, pre-wired for weirdness, his earliest letters (to his mom), trying to get out of gym class, Mom, send my pills, CBD oil, sad to narrate, The Crawlers, it’s a hitter, it hits, take a break man, not something you want to hear, how dare you do this to me, The Pre-Persons, abortion trucks, Evan could handle it, Will, his girlfriend/wife wanted or got an abortion, get a bren gun and lay in wait at an abortion clinic,
Past the grove of cypress trees Walter — he had been playing king of the mountain — saw the white truck, and he knew it for what it was. He thought, That’s the abortion truck. Come to take some kid in for a postpartum down at the abortion place.
And he thought, Maybe my folks called it. For me.
He ran and hid among the blackberries, feeling the scratching of the thorns but thinking, It’s better than having the air sucked out of your lungs. That’s how they do it; they perform all the P.P.s on all the kids there at the same time. They have a big room for it. For the kids nobody wants.
Burrowing deeper into the blackberries, he listened to hear if the truck stopped; he heard its motor.
“I am invisible,” he said to himself, a line he had learned at the fifth-grade play of Midsummer Night’s Dream, a line Oberon, whom he had played, had said. And after that no one could see him. Maybe that was true now. Maybe the magic saying worked in real life; so he said it again to himself, “I am invisible.” But he knew he was not. He could still see his arms and legs and shoes, and he knew they — everyone, the abortion truck man especially, and his mom and dad — they could see him too. If they looked.
If it was him they were after this time.
He wished he was a king; he wished he had magic dust all over him and a shining crown that glistened, and ruled fairyland and had Puck to confide to. To ask for advice from, even. Advice even if he himself was a king and bickered with Titania, his wife.
I guess, he thought, saying something doesn’t make it true.
his parents, my god!, don’t do this to me!, Paul was at worldcon at the time, Joanna Russ, get Scott all depressed again, there’s nothing else like it in science fiction, That Only A Mother by Judith Merril, mutant babies, Richard Matheson, close to done, be depressed in future, The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff, Hugo worthy, lady business, compile suggestions, the podcasting group who host that spreadsheet, funny jokes, Paul, sexist, puerile, potentially eligible, Become A Teapot, Ex Urb Ad Astra, Hugo Girl, when is Scott going to get his nomination?, the problem is you have to be active in promoting yourself, put on three medals and parade down the street, The Story-Teller by Saki, look at those cows, that story sucks!, obedient and neat and never asked for ice cream after dinner, sent to a garden, this story is not good, a wolf shows up, there were no pigs in the garden that day, hiding in a bush, the wolf eats her, the finest story ever told, about being good and what makes a good story, genuine and interesting and scary rather than good for you, Robert A. Heinlein book club, Octothorpe, content warning for this episode: capitalism, content warning every episodes, falling out of boats, are you kidding me, The Octopus by Frank Norris, clean vs. explicit, the students spread rumors, listening for the swearing, all informers, feet on the desk, what happened to Conger, operating in a communist country, mad because in Calgary, Alberta, his main thing, WithoutPapersPizza, Trudeau is a communist, grade 10 stuff, this is really wild, worse than I thought it would be, California common core, really right wing stuff, if they are both, anti-communist, Stalin-Hitler pact, they’re going to do communism, the holodomor, terror famine in Ukraine, use over time, why is this suddenly so exciting, gotta distract, Nazis in Ukraine, the Gulag, all countries have prisons, world history standards, the Chinese Civil War, political and economic upheavals, its a revolution, reducing this history, the last famines, and never again, famines in British India, a comic book artist who quit DC, Superman with a protest sign, Babylon Bee, a big talker, parents from Libya, join my anti-socialist social club, truth, justice, and the American way, until they killed Gaddafi, this woke agenda, trying to jazz him up with no cape, interesting to somebody, the reason his dad was not welcome in Libya, highest standard of living in Africa, upset Cubans in Florida, health outcomes, if you look at GDP in the Mao era, development outcomes, built hospitals, universities, analyze the causes of the cold war, so blatant, still occupied by the United States, talk about a client state, when we do it it is not bad, whoever wrote this is not seeing a big thing right in front of him, appeasement bad, trying to avoid a war, the lesson we learned is he shouldn’t have done that, more like Churchill, hard to understand, so out of date, read a book, a school textbook from the 1970s, not Zhukov, leaving a lot of stuff out, the human cost of war, write essays?, show they learned through assessment, the Yalta pact, economic recoveries, biased in every aspect, the “free world”, within the context of this you could do a lot of fun stuff, bring us into space, you have to defeat the Nazis so you can Operation Paperclip them, very noisy here, different space, dog barking, economic policies, absence of free press, Stalin targeted them on purpose, liquidating the kulaks, cultural revolution, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada took some immigrants, my parents…, we’re getting their story, victims tell their story, being cut-off from his family, a country controlled by a domestic government, improving public education and health outcomes, against an entrenched state bureaucracy, the Shanghai Commune, Democracy vs. Communism, what do we call a society we’re in right now?, the concept of totalitarianism, the Axis of Evil, they don’t like freedom, authoritarian, you can’t protest, you have your bank account seized, you have to have something injected into your body, to make cash, capitalism is authoritarianism, all you need is a job to know that, triggers a meeting, make it better for the kids, nothing is going to change, unprofessional behavior, they don’t want Evan, resigned for spite, minimize your expenses, head of the social studies, administrative stuff, nod and smile, making their lives miserable, interesting debates, can’t we all get along I need this job, this is all real stuff, who cares?, what does it matter if the kids learn propaganda, that autism thing coming out, they don’t care about this stuff, the education business, we wanna have standards based assessment, it shouldn’t take as long as the second world war, The Shining is a good show, that first Heinlein juvenile, a lot of stories, Beyond This Horizon, a good long run, novellas, Universe, Common Sense, mostly a novel guy, like Philip Dick that way, Requiem, If This Goes On, sometimes its just a cigar, an insurance story, Let There be Light, patents something or doesn’t patent something, a black box, I don’t need to patent it, inaccessible to them, more like the cotton gin, a copyright guy, in the business, legally married, Fredrich Engles [worked in a factory owned by his father], he’s a human being, Karl Marx did speculation, pretty poor, fuck you do what I say, slave, being a hypocrite is a big deal, trying to live in a society, cheap labour to exploit, hold their visas over, to keep body and soul together, Thomas Jefferson.
Talked about on today’s show:
non-fiction, explain what horror is, what is horror?, King has a lot of good stuff in this book, very casual, easy listening, frothy, an anti-academic style, high school teacher and university lecturer, a chip on his shoulder, It, not enough theme, drawn from life, incidents, a book he wrote later, Misery, the dead cat, Stand By Me (aka The Body), “Lovecraft was a racist”, “Stephen King was an is a shitlib”, conservative, bad takes in general, did you just say Lovecraft was a bad poet?, good ideas, Clark Ashton Smith’s poetry, American Liberals, vote blue no matter who, call for you favourite candidate, makin calls for Joe Biden, talking back to the Black Panthers, King is obsessed with Sputnik, obsessed with JFK, he’s dumb, a fear of political radicals, Randall Flagg, political buttons, a chaos agent, Nyarlathotep, a proud liberal, liberals are fucking idiots, when he got rich, get isolated, an op-ed called Guns by Stephen King, started off well, worn assertions, just got tired of the topic after the first cup of coffee wore off, technical complaints, this Rittenhouse thing, Boogaloo Bois, not a smart or a wise man, the worst case for making guns illegal, Biden got shat all over, other trials going on, inequities in the judicial system, public pressure, the video is exculpatory, “crossed state lines”, gut feeling reaction, where we start to go wrong, a good way of dismissing him, why did he bring that up?, paranoia, boomers, if Johnson had run again in 1968, a quantum leap moment, the Patty Hearst stuff, he lives in the public culture, Carrie, he’s not an idiot, he’s really good at making fun of people, image poems, little horror stories, not just movies, the fiction section, drifted into movies a lot, sitting in the movie theatre, the Sputnik announcement, that’s only horror if you think the United States is the good guy, thinking it through in writing, a broad outline, conspiracy dismissal of facts on the ground, Fred Hampton, extrajudical murder, playing for team America, a nice country(side), Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Jack Finney, it comes from the same place, social horror, The Amityville Horror, the fear people have about investing in real estate, The Money Pit (1986), how children believe in magic, adult horror, my life is going to leave me, I’m going to lose my job, this is not a disciplined book, Supernatural Horror In Literature, some similarities, the fiction of his lifetime, 1950 to 1980, 1880 to 1930, Dionysian horror, terror, horror, gross-out, how much he researched it, approaching it like a researcher, his love of B-movies, I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957), Lovecraft Explainers, “he was a horror writer”, the cosmic, through the idea, the house never dreamed, it saw reality as it is, Salem’s Lot,
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.
ghost don’t exist except where human brains are, a guy with an axe!, a guy with a machete!, chainsaw, reflecting starlight and fears, a literary theory that authors apply, Poltergeist (1982), Bag Of Bones, a buried corpse, noisy ghost vs. spectre, descending levels, 1. terror. 2. , 3. gross-out., see the monsters, At The Mountains Of Madness, he knows Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick, the Dick horror stories, The Father Thing, The Hanging Stranger, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Eye In The Sky, two levels: child, adult, caring about vampires, the horror of bills, financial stuff, what kids are like, those kids all grew up, Joe, semi-good takes, regress himself, afraid of the wrong things, what is it that makes someone capable of writing this stuff, the child in their eyes, author portraits, something in Peter Straub’s eyes, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, King’s take on Robert E. Howard, The Crabs, The Rats, The Blob (1958), danger in enjoying b-movies, his movie analysis is somehow connected to getting his writing done, getting you into the heads of characters, cinematic influence, watching a bad movie with a good scene, a frisson, your teacher wants you to hit these 6 bullshit points, know what your teacher wants, writing for himself, not hitting series very often, the pull from publishers, in syncopation with a large part of the reading audience, Hollywood, MGM is going to go out of business, they’re not very good at making movies, it drives you up the wall, movies and storytelling, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and The Outer Limits, Pigeons From Hell, Thriller, an old plantation house, axed in the head, like a folktale, Hansel And Gretel, a famine, a horrible truth, why its always the stepmom, the evil witch is the stepmom, dad went along with it, the story dominates rather than the character, built this podcast around audio, audio drama, radio drama, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Suspense, revelations of horror through the medium of audio drama, Alien (1979) is so dark, it is not obvious in the movie, when watching a b-movie, only the things that you’re given give you the picture, a revival of audio drama as podcasts, genuine practitioners, Julie Hoverson’s 19 Nocturne Boulevard, comics, Philips and Brubaker’s Reckless, superheroes are stupid, the comics medium, a skill, training on watching a play, Arch Oboler, The Mist in 3D sound, a white blackness, hysteria, “I’m going to let a little of you out”, connecting to your anxieties, a healthy interest in horror, 1399 episodes, the Vietnamese refugees and the Metric System!, Alfred Bester, Fondly Fahrenheit, perspective is important, what the mutilation looks like, what the bad guy did to the kid, a guy without the internet, getting the materials and doing the research has never been easier, Starlog magazine, as good as it is without the internet, updated in a few places, an hour of introductory material, you can agree with him or not, like a utuber, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, the tarot, the ghost story, the werewolf, the vampire, thing with no name, the technological horror, the outside evil, the thing from within, The Horror At Party Beach (1964), Ghost Story by Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson, male anxiety, a feminist reading, the woman’s domain (the house), child molester truck driver, its all about him, apolitical, exploring the agenda (with no agenda), horrors and the terrors, the cat, the bird, the spider, I Am Legend, my personal psychiatric reaction, revisiting the child molester moment with The Talisman, I strictly AC (or DC), straight, a boomer phrase, he uses everything, seeing Revival in Danse Macabre, the horrible death, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, where Thinner came from, fantasy, Matheson is using 20th century magic, bug spray and radiation, The Amityville Horror (1979), Ira Levin, a dabbler in science fiction, an outsider, hanging out with the gutter people, 70s technothriller or urban gothic, This Perfect Day, Rosemary’s Baby, satirist, standing toe to toe with 1984 and Brave New World, doubling down on the utopia, The Giver, a dystopia by way of utopia, “Wood, Wei, Christ, and Marx”, do the genre, more like H.G. Wells, the pulps, mainstream fiction, and literature, the paperbacks on the shelves, snubbed by the best people, anything Asimov wrote, Harold Robbins, Taipan, James Michener, airport fiction, Tom Clancy’s spot, Evan’s podcast, Henry James, The Turn Of The Screw, high-end highbrow fiction doing lowbrow fiction, where the gutter starts or ends, he lives in the (movie) gutter, the shudder pulps, Weird Tales, horror fetishing, the cover, the scantily clad woman, torture fiction, cults, satanic panic, weird menace, Pulpcovers.com, man pulp magazines, I escape the Nazi dagger girls, “true stories”, some guy saw an SS wife one time, tapping into a mental space men are into, horror seems to be more popular with women than with men (compared with other genres), watching b-movies on first date, the amusement park roller coaster, terror as you feel you are going to die, you don’t go to a horror movie by yourself, reading a book with somebody is weird, a cheap place to go get cash, Stephen King readers are women (too), Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, going for horror, Touched By An Angel, bad attitude, Michael Landon, mad scientist, when humans were werewolves, killing spree, the puberty experience, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, the horror of embarrassment, the mirror, the plot is he’s really ugly, very simple, you’re going to be my assistant, a new race of superhumans to save the earth, young dead people!, collecting body parts, a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein, teenagers are not juvenile delinquents, King signed up for the society he was in, his grandfather with no teeth, sane but incomprehensible, they had a dental program, satellites are useful in space, never class resentment, the rats in the cellar, Graveyard Shift, clean the basement, taken from his own life, progressively bigger rats, this boss sucks, always very personal, Road Work fails, existential crisis unconnected to the bill of goods that is the American dream, the conservatism of horror and Alice In Wonderland, this modernist direction, if things go wrong, if a plague destroys 99% of the people, Lovecraft definitely has that, we don’t want to pick at that (science) scab, his fanzine was The Conservative, Bobby Derie’s tweets, 133 slaves in his will to gift to family members, people still have that same idea, more brownouts, drive a body, things as they are or things better, gas prices, electric cars, groups of people who are pouring co2 into the environment, The Ministry Of The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, the capitalist system forces you to go where the work is, psychopathy of recycling, this responsibility was shifted to me, tend your own garden, those plastic measures being pushed and pushed and pushed, guillotines are carbon neutral, the great straw debate, carry around metal straws, like straws are the big problem on the planet, something you can push on to the consumer, The Troop by Nick Cutter, to fulfill a kind of niche of that horror experience you get at a movie, a gross out, terror, body horror, contamination, how Jack Finney’s The Third Level, Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, a book begging to be filmed, in service, accept your crappy role in your life, fantasy, The Wheel Of Time fantasy TV series, 909 pages, long fantasy series are to escape from the mundanity of your job, the shared survival experience, horror being different, Lord Of The Rings, supernatural elements, magic, a secondary world, low fantasy, fantasy set in our world, the supernatural intruding on our life, On Writing, James Herbert’s The Fog, as close to a supernatural experience as you can imagine, a rational explanation in the idea of the story, terrifying, when you see the world as it truly is, not mediated by your fantasies, Lovecraft’s opening the window, the geometry doesn’t work, the rules of the world don’t work anymore, in dreams we find our way through, it wasn’t a question, he knows that he’s bullshitting, to strawman it, he knows on some level he’s wrong, the wrong messaging, we need to lie to the kids, he’s writing lies most of the time, children create their own kind of magic, the sneezing powder works against the monster (because they believe it), how society and parents deliberately lie to the kids, based on his own experiences, the reader knows its a lie, the Sputnik story, was it constructed?, that really happened to him, stories he’d have told himself over and over again, the hiking story, King on twitter, strawmanning in order to denounce, you need to have a fantasy to not go insane, a theory of reality, constructing the argument, Star Trek episode, Counselor Troi, his wife’s reaction to Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, Sliver, a satire not considered a satire, Prometheus Award, libertarian science fiction, Heinlein’s Friday, Samuel Delany, Time Square Red Time Square Blue, F. Paul Wilson, Margaret Atwood, can you be a shitlib and a libertarian?, fear of radical institutional change, West Wing episodes, Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, an American export, State Of Fear by Michael Crichton, ecoterrorists using untraceable drones, buying trucks, underground people, freedom fighter, there’s probably a term he would prefer?, liberal, People Of The Black Circle by Robert E. Howard, Klim’s Journey, Midwich Cuckoos, The Pre-Persons, Croatoan by Harlan Ellison, aborted fetuses, Captain Jellico tweets, the new Stephen King covers are all horrible except for Hard Case Crime, Four Past Midnight, whoever Chomper is he’s wrong, Space Prison by Tom Godwin, science fiction prison, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, 14,000 years ago, politicians willing to go to war over it, 54/40 or fight, PUBG with Americans who don’t read, “Trump’s my guy”, they’ll think he’s Mexican, ex-military, control systems, 3D printing, Dungeons & Dragons, really into games, Norther Saskatchewan, the difference in lifestyles between the Canadians and the Americans, I hate to do this but I need money (for his cat), Patreon for my life, 21st century capitalism doesn’t hit everybody in the mail, mandates, Fauci and Pelosi, smashed in the midterms, banning cars would save lives, gas prices in France, Fight Club and Breaking Bad being expressions of fascism, this is a reality, Game Of Thrones is cultural feudalism, the Queen tweets, the Queen is “entering a new phase”, Charles III, some kind of consort, William and the brats, killing your sister, Princess Eugenie, Prince Andrew went to Fuck Island, that’s the lady that owns this country.
Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond Fantasy Fiction, September 1953, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, Margaret St. Clair, Upon The Dull Earth, a sister magazine to Galaxy, a mirror universe to Astounding and their fantasy magazine: Unknown, 2017, a popular story, a rural fantasist, Expendable, the war against the ants, what makes that a fantasy, the birds can also talk, a psychology story, The Cosmic Puppets, spiders, The Hanging Stranger, pure horror, The Father Thing, a mental illness story, king of the trolls, a tragedy, he kills his best friend, a similar scene, an Invasion Of The Body Snatchers story, the stories being circular, the most horrific thing imaginable, maybe its an ad, every hand is against him, a metaphor for communism taking over, not believing in the Red Scare, the parallel, none of the elves have names, brought in and taken away on litters, the title works the same way, there are two hanging strangers and two kings of the elves, Philip K. Dick doesn’t start with “I’m going to write for a market”, working out ideas over space of thirty pages, compelled to do these things, exploding with ideas, this is my attempt to explore, exploring the psychology of other people and animals, Shadrach Jones, Irish names, Welsh names, Phineas Judd, Dan Green, a Colorado setting, Philip K. Dick was the king of the elves, a town full of men, no females in the story, how do the elves replicate?, binary fission?, The Hobbit, Larry Niven, their empire is diminished, the René Auberjonois narration, laughing, the economics of this story, how many people are like this in our world, his skin is dark, is Shadrach black?, the (aborted) Disney adaptation, ultimately deep down this is NOT a happy story at all, hard to find a Disney princess in this story, violating the whole premise, nature stuff, fairies, another layer of analysis, the way people treat Shadrach, I’m king of the elves, Texaco Gas or King Of The Elves Gas, if this was a real thing, a whole different kind of story, about the landscape of Colorado, men who don’t get married go crazy, lonely, set in their ways, an H.P. Lovecraft Dreamlands story done through the Philip K. Dick lens, Lord Dunsany, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, a delusion that ends in violence, bloody hands, H.L. Gold wanted a happy ending, a tacked on ending after the pagebreak, H.P. Lovecraft, The Rats In The Walls, the original ending, it was quite a battle wasn’t it, the real ending, the elves are Philip K. Dick’s cats, he’s got a bunch of cats, curled up on the carpet, cultivating this fantasy in his head, enough for one old man, magazines, some of the lore of elves, Ireland, watching for something to come, a strong opening,
IT WAS RAINING and getting dark. Sheets of water blew along the row of pumps at the edge of the filling station; the tree across the highway bent against the wind.
Shadrach Jones stood just inside the doorway of the little building, leaning against an oil drum. The door was open and gusts of rain blew in onto the wood floor.
he lights up a cigar,
“Darn,” he said. “What a night!” Rain buffeted him, wind blew at him. He looked up and down the highway, squinting. There were no cars in sight. He shook his head, locked up the gasoline pumps.
why is he tensing?, an epileptic fit, water running, white noise, patterns and shapes to be found, the information being generated, the reason he’s locked the door, anticipation as projection, how seeing works, philosophy, one is a pyramid and one is ball, seeing with hands vs. seeing with eyes, two tiny figures in the rain, limp and sodden, they might have worn brightly covered clothes, their swords are gold, dressed in gray, I’m the king of the elves and I’m wet, where the audience laughs, “forlornly, silently”, the Philip K. Dick trademark: a description and then two adverbs, we don’t notice how well written it is, glittering brightly, “honked thinly, impatiently”, “silently, grimly”, clients is the word we’re looking for, don’t use OVERUSE adverbs, Elmore Leonard’s style, said is transparent, its amazing, advice to stop amateur writers from overusing, its not about filling pages, isn’t this novel -> oh my god what am I reading?, sad mental illness, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the town and the time, a few days pass, he’s doing it for attention, he doesn’t think much of it, cars might come, quotidian concerns, spending time with mentally ill people, not actual, it throws you out, a boy who exhales carbon monoxide, monkey on a skateboard, his friend Phineas, come in for a coffee, go home and have a hot bath, why did this relationship sour so?, talking him down, how his ears and face and hands looked, back to perception, the change comes slowly (dementia), heavy and brutal, yellow and coarse like parchment, back to Evan’s hometown, seeing them differently for a moment, an actual psychological phenomenon, he sees them at night, they sleep in his bed, a solemn circle, a Philip K. Dick sentence, is the dead body still upstairs?, when you’re in a dream, generating library books, delusions are beliefs about the reality of the world, reality fills in better than brains can, building details are returnable to, not enough lore, nameless elf soldiers, a nameless elf king, the faces of the elf soldiers were serious and concerned, democracy, as our old king lay dying, very Philip K. Dick, important all right, he spoke the name, they don’t know his name, cats turning up and adopting a human, cats lording it over, Sugar Ridge, Route 20, the Endless Road, world building is not the issue, its a spontaneous delusion hinting itself into existence, the walk home and the rain, “I’m wet”, a super sad story, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Pop Richey, half name and half description, Lucky story, everybody is a leprechaun, a lot of hands in this story, great murderous shovel hands, shovel nails, above the filling station the sun shone high, Ford truck, a flivver later, what did you say, slender deft fingers, a giant earlobed horror, a faceless creature to be destroyed, level boss, if you’re going to kill somebody you don’t want to know their name, the transformation,
He restored his glasses to his nose and smoothed what remained of his hair into place.
his friendly neighbour, when the Moon sets, warming up, what festering resentment suddenly came forth, the insanity defense, a barrel stave, who had motive here?, there’s no motive here, black people being oppressed by white people in the United States, both of them had stones laid in front of their homes, the flat stone steps, unhappy and cold (just like him), the first of the flat stone steps, the old oak tree,
Shadrach went on up the steps, his lips pressed tight. When he reached the top of the stone steps, the last rays of sunlight had already faded. It was night.
the next time we see stones, his chest rose and fell painfully, reasons for shaking your head, the tacked on ending, his gas station vs. his home, so much about the landscape (and weather), near some trees, the Disney stuff, the isolation, the environment, the wind, the rain, out of the basement, the garage, The Builder, a PTSD story, Noah’s insane, the economics of this all, the interstate system, Robert Moses, destroying a community, thinking about the suburbs, the automobile, the changing landscape of America, Radiator Springs in Cars (2006), the Bates Motel, The Commuter, commentary on suburban sprawls, dark bent over things, a flood of dark creatures, the colour of Phineas’ skin, Shadrach In The Furnace by Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside, spending time with Philip K. Dick short stories is super rewarding, some of his novels are TRIUMPHS, short stories as polished gems of gorgeousness, the psychology of a man in his time, Puttering About In A Small Land, in the book of Daniel, three Jewish boys who refused to bow down, King Nebuchadnezzar, slightly different than our story here, Daniel’s wild, there’s no such thing as a false prophet, no boobs in this story, the Moon and the bleak sky, more coffee, a cup of hot chocolate, this coffee sure tastes good, human kipple, the leftovers of those who are not moving on to the west.
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,
The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.
meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.
Posted by Jesse Willis