The SFFaudio Podcast #755 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Bryan Alexander talk about Pirate Enlightenment; Or The Real Libertalia by David Graeber
Talked about on today’s show: Universities On Fire, January 2023, no you didn’t you’re dead, those are changes made by the publisher, the book you’re listening to, a slippery slope, every book gets edited, many opinions, cute, The Dawn Of Everything, Agatha Christie’s and Roald Dahl, they stick their toe in the door, not if you’re dead, your estate negotiates, sensitivity readers were the toe in the door, hand written by David Graeber, abridgements, small font, everything is unabridged, make them as long as possible, not a kind of fidelity, this virtual reality book, changing and changing and changing, making the reader dumber than they are, multiple editions, Ian Fleming changes?, Fleming Classic and Fleming Sensitive, eager for sales, the long tail, anti-robot racist, David Graeber died far too young, puckishness, rubble up, a conversation with Paul, Villains Of All Nations, pirates are good guys, the truth about them is they are anti-slavers, bikers can be rough, that Marcus Rediker book, Villains Of All Nations, pirates are the good guys, the tale of two terrors, class conflict, a better book, different traditions, anthropological writing, enlightenment from the periphery to the core, Rediker is pushing his pro-pirate view, looking at women, two women, communities, building of societies, what’s the first thing you ever learned about Madagascar?, where it is, the biggest island in the Indian Ocean, strange trees and bio-geography, strange vs. unusual, meerkats, Africa, politics, Congo and politics, European Colonization, this pirate aspect, Against All Flags (1952), evil Errol Flynn works for the East India Company, fast and the furious with cutlasses and cutters, ripe trade, this haven, a history of a people, these ethnic groups, the history or behaviors, why is that?, the French, the island of Reunion, Zanzibar, Swahili, African traditions and Arabic, pirate where the money is, pirates today, Red Sea, lack of a state, to pirate, the horn of Africa, the South China Sea, this fencing issue (the selling of the goods), a shipload of sugar, you can dress your many wives, connected to the economy at large, taxation, why tax at all?, you want markets, the Ming Dynasty, silver, the thesis and if you buy it or not, the practices upon ship, pirate codes, how shares were doled out, already existing behavior, was taken up by the French Revolutionists, the pirates are the Enlightenment, still doesn’t see it, Daniel Defoe, A General History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson, a very thin read, enlightenment reads, the introduction, a historiographic interest, the enlightenment comes out of Europe, the Enlightenment was evil, the Enlightenment brought modernity, because he’s good, from the periphery revolutionizes the core, Napoleon, Corsica, written by Montesquieu, love magic or sex magic, what do they do with that money, they wear their silks, bling, oral history, traditions, history of the Hawaiians before the Europeans, happy life for hundreds of years, very tame wars, going through the minds of people, the scientific revolution, the Reformation, to the Renaissance, we on the jury here, withhold judgement, not a clear cut case they caused it, Denis Diderot’s Le Supplément Au Voyage De Bougainville, Tahitian women didn’t start European feminism, dialogue, people sitting around talking has effects, some people aren’t listening, some have dementia, for weeks, for years, that isn’t nothing, hashing things out, Debt and something else, do you have a pirate bibliography, scholarship wise, ready access memory, Chinese pirates, much better than Rediker’s weakest book, so focused on the sea, doesn’t know about talking about the land, it paints a fuller picture, between 1989 and 1991, had a brief affair with a woman there, a lot of his tutoring, she’s one sixteenth pirate, wouldn’t everyone be?, ingroups and outgroups, Madagascar Jews?, members of the tribe in Madagascar?, unusual Muslims, heretical Muslims, the Swahili coast, God’s Chinese Son by Jonathan D. Spence, overblowing?, look to the ethnic, Taiping Rebellion, anarchists within the Chinese empire, the subtitle, a utopian book, Typee by Herman Melivlle, easy food, easy women and not a lot of horrible work, enjoy yourself, go swimming, go fishing, orchard culture, a bodily utopia, ritualized wife trading, to great heroes, Ajax and the other dude, the war is over, what people personally want, simple stuff, space communism Star Trek utopia, military stuff, world history, why does Cortez win?, the Spanish invited the Aztec in for a dinner and Red Weddinged them, talking it out, finding excuses to make peace, a mafia, ancestor stuff, our goal is to enslave as much of the enemy as possible, different philosophy of what war is about, war is good for slavery, trading wives, the Achilles Hector thing, reclaim the body, claim back Ajax’s body, refunded at the end, not even about the exchanging of slaves, forming a new foundation, the kind of slavery you see around British Columbia, these women are slaves for about 10 minutes, not chattel slavery, Debt by David Graeber, heavily involved with the 99% phrase and the occupy movement, the consensus making thing that was happening, sit around and talk about it forever, lots of chiefs, a chairperson, they don’t have war authority, pirate kings, pirate captaincys, the old chief dies, my granddaughter you’re going to have to learn to do this, an essay inside a book about the legitimacy of kinds, a performative thing, show up on the coinage, failed to achieve anything, a Canadian exports, AdBusters, only powerful amongst the people who read it, what did it get us?, it ran wild in New York, Democratic city and state governments crushed it, Occupy Sandy, opened up a left wing space in American policy, the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, dissipated, beloved politicians, generation z, skeptical, a Biden fan, surprisingly progressive things, the Inflation Reduction Act, some line of influence, receptive to left wing thinking, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, vilified by the right and a lot of moderates, the impeachment of Justice Thomas, Nazi paraphernalia, just like Indiana Jones, the Green New Deal, European action, the target of occupy was the Democratic party, a living thing, it was defeated, people saw the fire of occupy, what’s come out of it, The Many Headed Hydra by Peter Linebaugh, the hyrda is the good guy, Hercules, welcomed for reasons endogenous to the place, love magicd into marriage, very Prester Johny, grifting European kings, exotic clothes, exotic story, kingly control more legitimate seeming, half of startup people, royalty, make alliances, to make a lot of people happy, what we heard after WWII, Seabee, cargo cult, some people need that, this documentaion shows what a utopia can look like, a pirate utopia, pirates get to do what they want, be free, drank themselves to death, fucked themselves to death, diseases, where would it have been great at that time, The Wire season 3, another sign of Evan’s supremacy, The Sopranos, the Hamsterdam sequence, drug-seeker, terrible costs, the liberty utopia, how are people controlled in this?, will not talk it out, how we behave, they’ll be killed, an anarchist utopia, the glory to be named captain, the glory to be called a chief, it don’t make you better than me, political arrangements are less serious and less solid, play kingship, temporary kingship, Against The Grain, Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott, state formation, warding off the state, swamps on mountains, Zomia, contingent and silly, gaga for the British monarchy, celebrities, pirates improvise, occasionally lethal, faces on coins, you dropped this, crown emoji, give em a crown, they have the approval of some persons, here you dropped your crown sir, Cory Doctorow’s whuffie thing, what influencers are in a horrible way, the guy’s mom was the queen, for some reason we’re still putting crowns, coronation sometime convenient, capitalism, Philip K. Dick’s Black Iron Prison, the school season, unreformable, you’re just in hell, just dystopia, their power is informal, several kings, a fake king for the real king to hide behind, Uncle Junior, no borders, negotiated on a constant basis, heroic combat vs. total war of states, the empire never ended, a pirate utopia hidden within, they’re free in a way, the bigger gangster that is the regular government, FBI pivots to the war on terror, changing the title credits to remove the twin towers through the rearview mirror, Providence, RI, admiring the mafia, Casino (1995), Goodfellas (1990), free people working within the laws, the laws are asses, the origins of biker gangs, Nazi paraphernalia, forced to wear helmets, they put on old stahlhelms, war trophies, Hells Angels, these are not tutored men, war is a meatgrinder, The Wild One (1953), Lee Marvin, ptsd guys, saw all their friends killed, they can’t live the normal life, compelled to get on the road, rebel, rebelling by drinking to much, cutting the belly, brotherhood, hang around for a long time, do enough sweeping the floors, a male club of people, as depicted in films, women who like the manly men, Sons Of Anarchy, what happens when you get old, no health care, when your an old biker, you carry our junk, for one last ride, like the Elks club for guys who had more ptsd, a spinoff, addressing the racism issue, eastern style mafia, Hells Angels with no apostrophe, the United Nations gang, the Jewish mafia in Montreal, the Bronfmans, the Nxivm cult, generational decline, around the time copyright is invented, the complete Dafoe project, A Journal Of The Plague Year, plague wardens, a memoir, Connor Kaye, Robinson Crusoe, insanely religious, not seeing the insanity, truncated, a sequel coming, Friday fights a bear, the world he creates is improvised, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, Nemo being god, integrate themselves into the culture, Dafoe is utter fantasy, an uncountable number of books, Swiss Family Robinson, Tarzan, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, The Martian by Andy Weir, My Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George, all the lies they’ve been told, build up the horrors in their imagination, women who want to love them, they conform to that society, an ethnographic study, maybe he will it, copyright 2023 (dead 3 years), pirated very happily, Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, a whole series on The Baroque Cycle, huge, 28 episodes or so, top ten lists, Jack Shaftoe, Malay or Malagasy?, the long 18th century, Isaac Newton’s vengeful counterfeiting, Jesse likes ideas, ideas per page, the shortest book in that series?, 80 hours or so, Dune, do Quicksilver, a natural philosopher who becomes a socialite, Heinlein is annoying as fuck, don’t worry about him, triggered by the word triggered, slave narratives, you shouldn’t use triggered because it is too violent, new ptsd bikers, ptsd homeless, there’s always consequences, you can’t do nothing without having something happen, thank you, as soon as it came out, only liking old books, a default to old books, everything becomes old instantly, recorded in April 2023, “fix” something, ai storytelling, that’s the past, a Soylent Green joke that nobody gets, storytelling is made out of people, most of Bryan’s students havent seen Soylent Green, film literacy, TUBI is the best streaming service, Criterion, Rollerball (1975), a terrifically interesting movie, they can watch them on their phones, watch them on their Apple glasses?, 1am, Sixth Column, Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, that has biker gang, Dark Tower adjacent, The Talisman, pour one out for Straub, pouring out was in this book, Frank Muller, he got head injury, 26 hours, Scratch One by Michael Crichton.
Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Terence Blake discuss The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff
Talked about on today’s show:
Nice, France, 1939, The Cataclysm, Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder, Manuscript Found In A Bottle, Manuscript Found In A Fortune Cookie, The Little Red Bag, 10 years later, old science fiction magazine, I got one too, the genre conversation, The Cold Equations, Null-A, A. E. van Vogt, Null-B, Null-F, ripostes, William Tenn, decades later, two kinds of science fiction, hard and soft, what would make this hard SF, calculations, what is causing the moon to hit the earth, never explained, magnetic attraction, gravity, totally crazy, a really good book and enjoyable, gold and platinum, a bold claim, petroleum, oil and coal, fossil fuel, non-biological processes, more than one kind of coal, abiogenic oil, something inside the earth we don’t understand, don’t roll your eyes, Paul has a B.A. in biology, Jesse studied geology, Bryan studied literature, filled the ocean with gravel theory, the weather inst very effected, so he doesn’t suffocate, no Atlantic ocean, there’s no stream, merry old England, weather more like Calgary, central Siberia, where is the water gonna be taken up from?, desertification of Britain, the front framing, the Addis Ababa people dismissing this book, corrected grammar, making fun of his own writing, the Roald Dahl “corrections”, Skiffy And Fanty podcast, there was no conclusion, sidetrack, what about George Lucas and Star Wars, is that kosher?, whoever said that is a radical, the right to do so but probably shouldn’t, what they did to Shakespeare, for the sake of the children, the frame is active, poor broody, how cozy it is, movie script writer, if not in a time machine, The Dam Busters (1955), The Night My Number Came Up (1955), a flight from Hong Kong to Japan, some Wing Commander had a dream, Liberator vs. Dakota, a snowy coast of Japan near a lighthouse, Okinawa, a fantasy in a sense of the dream element, based on a true story, a prophetic dream that came true, WWII, Pat is him, senseless violence, this thing in the moon, upholding the British empire, they’re depending on us, the logic of empire, not a hard economics model, British foodstock, do they starve?, interwar fiction, interesting Janus face, armistice, War Minister, Jaeger, Bismark, no mention of Italian facists, no mention of German, Britain has its own slice, such a good social science fiction book, just imperialism, take this book as a setting, 700 years in the future, museum edition, fun steampunk, untapped resources for science fiction, a computer game with aircraft carrier, FMV cut-scenes, Crimson Skies, airship society, railroad across the moon, the seigniorial system, London townhouses, we’re in railroading time, again, we should shoot our foots off, both of them, fuck ourselves even more, and then everything will be fine, to serve the pride, no good politicians in this book, the prime minster who was good, mutual aid, looses his position, kinda Chamberlainy, we shall avoid award at all costs, Munich by Robert Harris, an interesting spin, a little England play, the narrative arc, more and more convinced, snide and disdainful, such a prat, masterful, he makes us sympathize, he’s above his station, I’m the man who won the chicken contest 17 times, he comes from nobility, retire from being a schoolteacher, telescopy and chickenbreeding, a foresight move, I’m fucked and these kids are gonna need some local neighbour and not so distant government, that’s your best resource?, bummin around london, burning her Vermeers, very bleak, very John Wyndham, very cozy catastrophe, the John Wyndham feel, how this impacted our little community, Invasion (Apple TV series), do not watch Foundation, the camera never pans up, slow, three authors are called out, Rudyard Kipling, good war material, H.G. Wells, the script for The Invisible Man, a different book than what you think it will be, a chicken farmer inordinately proud of himself, maybe gay, bachelor, sexual tension between him and Pat, indignant, he never objects to the uncle thing, strange distance, if it is like any book it is like The War Of The Worlds, so innovative, devastating and overturning, black or grey or brown horde, the colonized come back to colonize, everything rots up there in the rain, a really solid book, Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Wind And The Willows, adventures in your backyard, giant ocean liner in his backyard, a very H.G. Wells scene, let’s get ourselves into a war, such a flawed character, very much about government, admiring his government factory built car, they are communists in the most obvious sense, anarchist communists, money is not what motivates people, I need a cow and a bull, the hunting and the housework and the chickens and gardening, Brexit, England standing alone, we don’t need the empire, we don’t need Europe, they’re heroes, we don’t need anybody else, isn’t that the conclusion unless we take the very long view, Eric S. Rabkin, everyone is expelled from London, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden, the Eden complex, London being quashed, Oxford, the end of empire?, the metropol, Britain is diminished, a tangible sign, a retreat from empire, Suez crisis, the empire is finished, countries that get a slice, countries that don’t get a piece, the Soviet Union gets nothing, taking the piss, the bankruptcy of a European centered world, they play no role in the book, the isolationist part, fight among europeans, the rebellion of the colonized peoples, religious, anti-white European lines, Blood And Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945 by Richard Overy, WWII as the last colonial war, sought colonial dominions, a very young Ho Chi Minh, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Michael Moorcock’s Land Leviathan novels, giant super-tank, Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein, a fascinating book, on archive.org, Islamic exploration quest, as from sio many science fiction pulp covers, the monkey book, Planet Of The Apes, the statue of liberty in ruins, what is that statue for?, Washington, D.C., Gustave Dore, a New Zealander visits the ruins of London, The Chrysalids, back to Frankenstein, the Byronic hero, Ruins Of Empires, hordes, that David Sirota movie Don’t Look Up, when Jesse reviewed that movie, “pretty good”, understatement, overstatement, not the greatest thinker ever, the central core of this movie, jockeying at the Moon club, the book proper, losing his money, losing his farm, telegraphed it very well, what is the theme of this book?, pride, excessive pride, almost every level, WWI is because of pride, what if you’re wrong about your level of quality?, who is responsible for WWI?, thrown into a duck pond, playing darts on Sundays, a very very good book, not the exact same tier as The War Of The Worlds, The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle, Professor Challenger, Brian Blessed, focusing only on Sherlock Holmes, that very stupid man named Conan Doyle is really smart, he made those girls, chemicals that are poisonous to Earth, hard science, social science, later Doyle, melodrama and emotion, Challenger and his wife, a response to it, The Strand, Scoops, super-fun premises, a ton of books like this, Stowaway To Mars by John Wyndham, so cozy, so catastrophe, The Children Of The Damned, Village Of The Damned, the pertwee inspired series, Quatermass And The Pit, Nigel Kneale, in the wreckage of the 20th century, totally off the radar, a prejudice against stories set in a future that never was, immediately destroyed by history, no mention of WWII, not irrelevant, an amazing artifact, an amazing book, why it doesn’t stand shoulder to shoulder, American publishers, we love disasters, two days holiday to the Moon, emerging thing, cozy comfort SF, trying to understand it, it irks, Becky Chambers depresses Bryan, a cup of tea and a quilt, those cat mystery books, The Cat Who…[books], The Cats Who Walks Through Walls, how important tea is, coffee without milk, half the time, egg for tea, grammatical mistake, the university of Afghanistan, the society, the community of earth, another former British colony, Addis Ababa, a complete overturning, archaeologist, this place is uninhabitable, striking a match in the middle of the Sahara, the lack of the moon light ever night, light from that reflection, a pretty solid book, Robert Jackson Bennett, City Of Stairs, humbled, colonial oppressors, an investigator, gods afoot, colonialism and reverse colonialism, a society that’s repressed yours, Salim coming to humble, Selene, the moon is the liberator, Jesse’s on team moon: Smash that earth, the theory of the great replacement, not worth replacing those Brits, uninhabitable wastes of forests and wild dogs, climate change, a human response to a non-human event, climate change is caused by humans, agreeing to the science, giant corporations don’t play a role, layers of cynicism and suspicion, the newspaper account, making that up to calm us down, Bryan’s new book, Universities On Fire, John Hopkins University Press, Tantor Audio, Bryan’s previous book, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, terrible remake, we’ve got this great Philip K. Dick, drill, come back with a can of gasoline, no good comes from people writing shit like that, conflates the issue, the reason this book has a moon crashing is it does something important, The Poison Belt, the introduction to this book, how could the moon actually hit the earth, gravitation aside, Space: 1999, Rocket Ship Galileo, how do you know the back of the moon exists?, a philosophical conversation, not impossible, Martians trying to destroy the Earth, our relationship to the moon and the earth distance, a cloud of interstellar gas, how long would it take?, at what density?, does the calculations, months or years, the Earth’s orbit around the sun, air at sea level, everything would be broken, the status of the moon separating from the earth, the moon is receding, friction of the tides, hopw do you know the moon and the tides are connected?, never mentioned, what is the effect of the tides on the water cycle, wind connected to the sun, the wind is a gas effected by the tides, would the level of oxygen go down in the ocean?, not a hard SF book, the earth’s long term well being, a sharp criticism of humans, heated roosts, raising chicken, light vs. heat, egg production, chickens can be disgusting, he’s done something on your shirt, his love for broody, the love story, the octopus teacher, a scruffy looking cockerel, the only thing available, prideful chicks, an incisive look into a person’s brains, what novels can do, what short stories are for, masterful, so H.G. Wells, hate his characters, silly, wisdom in his dumbness, science fiction as a cozy, do delivery of actual material, reading gothic horror, actual threats and danger, pulling punches, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011), a stray planet collides with the earth, depressed by their lives, the conclusion is based on physics, emotional pain, staying home and not talking about what happens to London, Lovecraftian description of the Moon, he uses the word cozy, the life of uncle Henry and aunt Rose, being older, he chooses chickens, he makes a family, cultivate your garden, Jesse with his podcasts, Terence with his blog, Paul with his photography and reviews and gaming, such a dark book, a horror, his surrogate children, taking pride in your car, she’s a hero, his soul goes off, there is darkness here, 20th century British genre fiction, Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven, what we do when we know we only have the night to live, admire that Niven is a such a misanthrope, makes him incredibly incredibly human, the blinding of the human race, something we’ve been working on in the background, we can do it ourself, genetically augmented plants, hedonism, John Stuart Mill, going to shows, epicurean philosophy, what is missing?, no Bruce Willis going to blow up the moon, there’s no guns, becomes violent, played for laughs, that’s not a real problem, he’s ridiculous, the people in government, if I don’t win this war I might loose my seat as the prime minister, let people know how stupid they are, despite how he’s broken, they know he’s egocentric, don’t let him go, you can’t stop him, you have a choice, Eric S. Rabkin again, he’s probably not coming back, a failure of the oedipal romance, the Eden complex, there’s nothing productive, in the desert countries but not here, Threads (1984), the Hartnell years of Doctor Who, it’s teach people about history, they go to Skaro in the second serial, radiation and mutants, the radiation dial, radiation danger, its invisible, something we did something went wrong, why is my hair falling out, another part of Seveneves, two suggestions, Poison Belt, a mere 3 hours, LibriVox, The Angel Of The Odd by Edgar Allan Poe, one of his funniest, The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry, makes total sense, Eric’s been married for 55 years, a very very old story, he’s choking up, of course that makes total sense, [Wilfred Owen], a crying ball of tears, revealing of character, a lecture on The War Of The Worlds, ‘she had counted me as I had counted her among the dead’, the Tom Cruise adaptation, this silly man who’s telling us this story, his own position in his limited society, Jean Luc Godard, Schindler’s List (1993), Life Is Beautiful (1997), grievous circumstances, most of their oppressors go on to live regular lives, The Act Of Killing (2012), a documentary, reenact, The Year Of Living Dangerously (1982), how did you do the killings, a repeated theme, Linda Hunt movie and Sigourney Weaver, The Killing Fields (1984), The Lack podcast, Benjamin Studebaker, Nina Power, a generative lack, Compact Magazine, a 15 minute essay, Freudian takes, labour history takes, really interesting, obscure movies, that is the central core message, the babies are missing, the fecundity aspect, because the egg, a personal recommendation, you get half, are these people richer than me?, fairly die hard, make time to listen to their show, fourth or fifth wave podcasting?, Terence’s videos on first paragraphs of philosophy books, Agent Swarm on YouTube, adblockers on everything, the Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, demonetized years ago, the first apocalypse, evil but water, they’ve added context, throwing it up as a podcast, Anchor FM, HYPER-THINKING THE ABSOLUTE, an AI transcription, Terence anti-Roald Dahled himself, floor to ceiling books everywhere, HD 4k, why Stalin was a megachad, young Stalin, would you let this bank robber into your house, profile people by their books, what are they hiding?, what are they doing?, get rid of books, a terrible feeling, phantom limb, limit the number of incoming paperbooks, kindle collection, its pure evil, we really need to focus on the government factory making the cars, Triumph and MG, they’re all government owned, British Leyland, Range Rover, overseas car industry, a planetary economy then, Brexit, the whole thing with Europe, sovereignist at every level, power and money hungry, that’s the way it is, the treatment of science, the treatment of censorship in the newspapers, the media, radio broadcasts, Conrad Black leaves Canada becomes a British Lord by buying a British newspaper, Lord Black of [Crossharbour], you’re a good old boy now, they all play along, Bezos/Musk, the New York Times owners, Jeff Bezos’s middle name, Preston!, call him by his middle, their nasty side, what did I do?, what have I done?, you will not be upset by reading it, worth the length, 11.5 hours, a very solid novel, a repetition of the same thing, people haven’t learned, avoidance behavior, it starts up all over again, you need the long first part of the book, would it be as gripping or meaningful?, back to Don’t Look Up, David Sirota, parallel thinking, following the same colonialist lines, the anti-science, a very Eric idea, born naked into the garden of Eden, a comedy, a serious topic, a parody vs. an indictment, criticism from both ends, it doesn’t nail the idea of a condemnation, people were reading Meryl Streep as Trump, the Steve Jobs like character, the unhelpful young people, the main lead, Leonardo DiCaprio, reactions, go cultivate the garden, Epicureans vs. go on the news, a delaying action, you’re fighting against the tide, she even forgot her son, a much better movie is 2012 (2009), When Worlds Collide, Edwin Balmer and his buddy [Philip Wylie], proles, plebs, arcs not dugouts, makes it personal, millions of falling buildings, the Y2K disasters, fancies, witchcraft, moral panics, Steven Baxter’s Flood, beyond climate change, Waterworld (1995), over time, a side-plot leads to the sequel, a relentless book, The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, C.J. Cherryh’s Morgaine novels, can’t recognize it as water, the data is coming into my eyes, I don’t have a symbol for that yet, why chickens?, the problem of induction, induction is a fallacy, the turkey is fed everyday, it had never happened before so it can never happen, alimentary, artisanal, with ten days food, none of this needed to happen, it’s about human nature, it’s bleak, contingency, lack of induction, moments of productivity and fecundity, a cozier world order, specif people grabbing for power, Churchill, he doesn’t think it is inevitable at all, through Pat, behind uncle’s back, he’s intoxicated, my forefathers were all military men, his sister says he’s getting fat, he’s a young, government mandate, the easy way to become an officer, wounded in WWI, he can’t be pro-war, an unnecessary stupid war, just pride, all the lies, how we got into that situation, David Hume like impossible event, other than the Black Hand, Germany was largely to blame, blank cheque, a great warlord, they’re responsible too, historiography, dive into this in great detail, the opposing view, Barbara Tuchman, send me back in time with a rile and I’ll work on this as best I can, what’s my job, to help the cogs or resist?, finding targets we hope are the right targets, what if we’re wrong?, so I can make the best decisions I can, a careful reader, what caused the Moon to fall, subtle about it, hard to recapture, civilization wide horror, until 1940, the Oxford pledge, WWII occludes, Neville Chamberlain is a fuckup, conventional wisdom got us to where we are now, form entangling alliances, some pickup team, book that Challenger book, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, deep into April, if a pile of gravel filled the North Atlantic, one land mass from British Columbia to Japan, the longest walk ever, a long train ride, from Los Angeles to Vladivostok by train, how many horse archers, how little water overspilled, Terence with two Rs, repeated letters, pirates, two fs and two rs, Arkansas, oversupplied, could’ve saved money, an extra vowel, I am to be, Cartesian, Rene Descartes is not the most popular character in the bible, meditation is a contranym, the Sam Harris style of meditation, handy, talking to young kids, that’s what I studied at university, philosophy is a history of all the mistakes people made about what is, some stuff about what’s pretty, not even wrong, broken from the beginning, eventually Benjamin Franklin doing some science, no snow in Nice, between 7 and 15, the Promenade des Anglais, is Terence’s wife French, the kids went to Australia, Melbourne, On The Beach, Connor Kaye, folk horror, art to illustrate the essays, he’s young, reading an old book, there are people out there that are interesting and interested, making only friends with old people, Jenny Colvin died [probably from her COVID vaccine], boom dead, had she not been in the hospital, Moderna or Pfizer, weird chemicals put into my body, a really good system, pushing it in the province super hard, not a week, Daniel Ellsberg, the pancreatic cancer, not going to do chemo, not with pancreatic, the height of the COVID hysteria, blood clots, the heart, still pushing them, one of the reactions, we’d adapt, becomes endemic, two kinds of corona viruses, flu and corona, made in a lab and leaked out, two competitors, everytime cells replicate there’s a chance of cancer, unless you’re a shark, tissues that are resistant to cancers, engineered a virus, standard government shit we should be on the lookout for it, the newspapers lying, we learn that it’s a lie, and we go for the next lie, they take it in but they don’t take it in, cozy reading, things that confirms, shakes you up, Ancient Apocalypse, Graham Hancock, something of value there, his theory is probably bad, the things he’s pointing to are interesting, Joe Rogan, when confronted, tell me more, we can make oil in a lab, spilled petroleum, a wacko theory, the heart is not a pump, no that’s impossible, that’s not allowed, what if we’re wrong?, being wrong with you beliefs, very bad logic, it wouldn’t shatter my world, I misremembered, somebody who sneaks in, woke up and had three legs, is this a dream?, we can do some fun stuff with this, as something as profoundly familiar, who’s that guy?, he has grey hair and he’s so fat, a question of principle, Erich Von Daniken, in terms of the particular culture, a message to the aliens, fakes evidence, lies, just on principle, wow, what does this mean, that’s science, the phenomenon he’s seeing, why not hot air balloons, I want aliens, a long time ago there was a disaster on the earth, civilization than we think, what archaeology finds, the older things get, somewhere in there, after the dinosaurs (probably), well before 6,000 years ago, rocks aligned to the stars, misreading, we got lots of books and computer games, folkdancing, no podcasts, labouring to get their food, they played a lot, I’m making a circle, what dudes do, maybe this will help us, why do bower birds build their bowers, hot air balloons are more likely than aliens, entirely possible using the tech that they had, dirt piles, we did that, Chariots Of The Gods?, people like dirt bikes, why not, all slaves theory, the slaves built the pyramids, concentrate enough capital, beautification projects, the dugouts, those really in the know knew five years before, the big reveal speech, the vicar, of no use at all, a little contradictory, levels of initiation, where they had an airplane stored, it worked great, everybody loved it, making coffee and fixing little wounds, comraderie with the lower classes, this common goal, enjoy your chicken coop, Jesse’s podcasts, Terence’s blogs, bond wherever you can, feel a bit superior, very prideful about this, on Jesse’s gravestone: the bird in The Raven is not a raven, its really there, old illustrations, does this guy know, a Reading, Short And Deep, The Road Not Taken, trusting, we go centuries reading, I think this bird is not a raven, reading Shakespeare, so sexualized, look at what he’s saying, literal asshole in her ass, the prudish high schools as 2023, the code is not very difficult to crack, The Tempest, fart jokes, the bark, lying under a gabardine, the witches, in Macbeth
First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
Second Witch. Killing swine.
Third Witch. Sister, where thou?
First Witch. A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch’d, and munch’d, and munch’d:—
‘Give me,’ quoth I:
‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger:
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.
Second Witch. I’ll give thee a wind.
First Witch. Thou’rt kind.
Third Witch. And I another.
First Witch. I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I’ the shipman’s card.
I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se’nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
Look what I have.
Poe: likes dead ladies, a relationship with alcohol, Shakespeare: fart jokes, sex jokes, the Christian brothers didn’t point it out, playing to the absolute base, they don’t have to change his words like Roald Dahl, King Lear, there’s grass there on the verge, killing curiosity, making it dumb, Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron, I don’t like his satire, he pointed out in the world, mental continuity broke it down, what’s happening today, newly dated place, look at this, banned from one of them, the mound builders, peer review is the worst thing that ever happened to science, a big circle jerk, electricity from lighting bolts, this Asimov science book, the heliocentric hypothesis, Galileo, Copernicus, obliged to put in his own epicycles, a rule of thumb attitude, string theory being a big waste of time, in trouble, somebody’s lying, no evidence, due for some reexamination, interesting observations and claim, dark matter, dark energy, fucking epicycles on the grandest scale, great for making money, 16th time they put the flying car on the cover, doing math for physics, build more colliders, Sabine Hossenfelder, the end of science, really really abstract theories, higher energy cyclotrons, more abstract than before, Eric Weinstein, UFO bullshit, wasting money and wasting time, sucking their own dicks, Michio Kaku, formally equivalent, given what we know about Galileo’s instruments, persuasive and convincing, holy fuck he was right, confirmation by little effects, the beauty of the thing that’s important, money and fame, that’s just capitalism, science used to be the hobby of rich dudes with lots of free time, I mostly like thinking about lightning, they make the disease, the make the cure for the disease, they control the government and make you have to take it, being retired but fairly wealthy, a schoolteacher, retired at 47, you need time, breed prize hens, willing to buy a telescope, lectures from people who used a telescope, what happens if you do that, listen to the guy who read about a microscope, time, money, curiosity, people are going for the money, pride, the ass-licking to succeed, university professors are never surprised so many of their students, what’s wrong with me, some memorization, kids don’t have much time with their teacher, become a good writer, grammatical sentences, count the mistakes and subtract from the A, the psychology of the teacher as somebody who is overworked, add some humour, make a little joke, stands out, write shorter paragraphs, do something great for the introduction, terrible teachers out there, they’re getting worse, a new curriculum in British Columbia, land expropriated by Canada, having lost all of Alberta, bulldozing Indian land, feel bad for them, competing narrative, studying natives, first nations is the most popular pc term, your job is to go to this website, the teachers getting the kid to do the homework, a flood of this stuff, an Indian teacher who’s an Indian, a whole new industry starting up, first cars coming out of the factory are shit, skip a meal every few weeks, retired but doing other things, covid devastated in person tutoring, asthma, distance education, online teaching is terrible, teaching on an empty ritual, oof, terminal classes, tell them stuff and they laugh, trying to engage students with ideas, the more students you add the harder it is, the more you add the worse it is, science students who could hack, roblox, you make your own games, a Doctor Who thread, 68 and two thirds, Oh Doctor, you’re so gay, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, good as a concept, twisted and morbid, The Last Of Us, scary fungus things, zombies aren’t scary, but blind fungus zombies are scary (probably), pretty good, The Peripheral, the end is silly, fit all the novel in (sort of), second series, a comic William Gibson did [Archangel], Gattaca, The Man In The High Castle, a book is not a film, the show is churn, the way Harry Potter is constructed, Drug Of Choice by Michael Crichton, archive.org, Keys Of Marinus, each episode in this serial is standalone, beautiful silk, gorgeous cup vs. dirty old mug, Jesse’s obsessed with A Wrinkle In Time, E=mc², hot garbage, a Robert Silverberg novel, alien elephants, Downward To Earth, audiobook, Dying Inside, I’ve got a big stack of them in the basement, Passengers, The Book Of Skulls, The Poison Belt, big format, library genesis, good pirate, so many other sources, maybe Christmas in Australia, one r in Terence.
The SFFaudio Podcast #751 – Unseen—Unfeared by Francis Stevens – read by Mike Vendetti. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (48 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Mike Vendetti, and Cora Buhlert.
Talked about on today’s show:
listening to and reading, People’s Favorite Magazine, Feb. 10, 1919, emdash [—], Mike’s first Francis Stevens, more than 100 year ago, the technology, so predictive, The Heads Of Cerberus, Gertrude Barrows Bennett, a married woman who married more than once, Jean Vale, they cancelled that, only one story had her real name on it, G.M. Barrows, teenager, Sunfire, getting depressed, a fantastic writer, clunky, Citadel Of Fear, so good at ideas, so early, 1904, a superhero origin story before anybody, nobody had invented superheroes yet, Zorro is later! , The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1905, dual identity, so pioneering, such sexist times, Francis is a male name, abbreviated names, C.L. Moore, H.P. Lovecraft, Andre Norton, sexism came from women as well as men, women want the vote, the progressive period, time capsule, From Beyond, a little H.P. Lovecraft story, machine shows some weird shit, no waccy tobaccy, no good evidence Bobby Derie seems to have these facts at hand, published in 1934, better in technical ways, tighter, 11 pages, 47 minutes vs. 19 minutes, this is the racist story, Lovecraft’s story isn’t racist, dealing with race a lot, Lovecraft lives through it, a case of parallel thinking, explicitly called out, Micrographia, what paramecium and amoeba look like, these things are all over you, isn’t that creepy?, this story also calls out the bacteria in microscopy, deemed to be dirty, no running water, dirty because they are poor, teaching hygiene, photos with a microscope, talking about the technology, gaslamps have been out for a long time, a building without wifi today, any wifi!, 1890s they have electric bulbs, phones are standard, people didn’t upgrade, a brownstone subdivided for a whole bunch of immigrants, Cool Air, a cheap place, nice and clean, dripping fluids everywhere, these are slumlords, tons of immigrants looking for housing, strong protections for renters, farmhouse, a farmer family once lived there, large entrance hall, stuffed in refugees, 1 million Ukrainians, Turkey, countries that want cheap labour, who gets to set the immigration policy?, going to a crummy neighbourhood, the guy he’s going to visit is rich, he wants to help improve the community, keep your water clean, a progressive of the kind the main character isn’t, in a story like He, disgusting human beings, the nadir of race relations in the United States, Jim Crow is at its highest, swarthy of anykind, deemed horrible, eugenics, racism at its core, weird piece of paper from South America, one Thanksgiving, strangers, started to hit the wacky stuff, some subversive group had put marijuana into the stuffing you buy at the store, Mike is the only one who knows this, he’s racist at the beginning of the story, paranoid and high and delusional, the drug makes him super-racist, kind of fascinating, everything is disgusting, he’s wrong, the Italian guy is concerned for him, deeply racist people, they’re diseases, we’re all human, I was human too, recognizing that he’s not himself, as human as me, he’s turning it on himself, the chianti, the sour wine, undercut at the end, the opalescent paper, the classic Lovecraftian move, this amazing book, this city of ancient gods that we found in Antarctica, let’s never tell anybody about it, connections in the shipbuilding industry, Antarctica, old enough to know, still wanted to go, very very cool. Francis Stevens is so cool, The Elf-Trap, there’s this scientist, she likes scientist characters, he has a bad heart, go on vacation, Kentucky, Carcassonne, disgusting, beautiful, they’re fairies?, fall in love and then sacrifice him, disgusting and stink, beautiful and attractive and exotic, we see it both ways, a frameshift, dingy and disgusting, everything green again, chocolatey!, there’s something wrong with this, they’re all like me, crawling uop the scientist’s leg, starfish, centipedes, drink these developing fluids, backstory of the cop, it was all that wacky tabaccy, the reversal again, what is the truth of this?, “doubt is sometimes better than certainty”, this doesn’t seem like it is that deep, generally very racist, what makes the people so racist is they are certain about their beliefs, there are things we all believe that we are wrong about, if we are very strongly opinioned about those things it can make us very made to be confronted when those things turn out to not be true, it makes us upset because it hurts us, what’s going on politically, you can not have a conversation with somebody is on the other side, your certainty and their certainty, matter and antimatter, I have this problem and I don’t want it solved, environmental protestors, gentle and lenient, repent and renounce modernity, glued himself to a table, voted differently, racist uncles, free refrigerators?, far right, screechy ones on the left, death threats on the internet, fireworks, terrible things, this is the danger, blocking people, I can’t talk to you and you can’t talk to me, we need to act, new washer and dryer, certainty, is this the best price, in the face of the fact that we must act, we must doubt, really good at telling truths about some things, voted for trump or some other person, doubt is better certainty or certainty is better than doubt, vitamin d supplements, serious covid cases, terrible Nazi made a sensible proposition, water is wet, water is dry!, Trump water, train derailment, ancient Trump water, East Palestine, laws passed by the Nazis, perfectly harmless laws, industrialization, parking spaces per home, a good law, decades later, advertise abortions, anti-abortion activists, supplying power, perfectly harmless, what actually is happening in this story, is the cigar actually tainted, is this full of vinyl chloride, a religious like conversion, we’re not so bad as we all think we are, seems pretty simple, an app that allows you to see what people are thinking, a delusion, seeing evil thoughts written all over their faces, narrows his focus, a bad trip, weird membrane, were those monsters real or not?, is it a ghost story?, a real interaction, able to imagine having this conversation with Doctor Holt, does he actually see him, back and forth, what you’re about to see no mortal man has seen, I’m dead, all the world shall know, one by one they shall learn the truth and perish, double entendre, feels a little clunky, she’s really on to something, from Cuba, invariable good, not be the case, Havana, he only smoked half the cigar, still alive, Jenkins, Ralph Peeler, accused of murdering, hallucinated to suicide, or it killed him, what makes this different from other kinds of science, no longer replicable, send that to Benjamin Franklin, back and forth, that’s what science is, repeatable experiences, opalescent paper, can’t get any more of it, could have been cocaine, or had an evil curse on it, what do these two things have in common, they’re exotic, an Incan lost city, map it, they burn the paper so nobody can replicate the experience, we can all look under the microscopes and see the germs that are killing us, when Charles Darwin’s On the Origin Of Species came out, I’m not a fucking monkey, it takes decades, Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov, microphotography, a readalong, the density of the gold, Eureka Eureka!, I smell good, not me I smell good, a good bath joke, chronological, dedicated to a science teacher Mike had in high school, lower the temperature of the flame, such a good book, a very good non-fiction and science writer, Archimedes, Johann Gutenberg, Nicolaus Copernicus, William Harvey, Galileo Galilei, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Isaac Newton, James Watt, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, Henry Bessemer, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Gregor Johann Mendel, William Henry Perkin, Röntgen and Becquerel, Thomas Alva Edison, Paul Ehrlich, Darwin and Wallace, Marie and Pierre Curie, Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, Irving Langmuir, Rutherford and Lawrence, Robert Hutchings Goddard, a good list, a book to do a show on, dealing with that, The White Ape [Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family], cool that my ancestors were apes, gross!, a week later, gross!, I hate mushrooms, stages of developement, individually vs. societalally, the U.S. owns at this time, Philippines, talked about it as a colony, talking about adding , fucking disgusting monkeys, still a colony, possessions, Hawaii, 1899, South American drugs, harvested and brought to the city, add to the capital, having lunch with a friend, a mistaken poisoning, just tryna live, dosed, seeing behind the veil, we can’t replicate this, the ending is to leave us in doubt, a piece of fiction, that’s interesting, putting you in a better position, it’s a fact that Hillary Clinton killed that guy, we can think better about, our disbelief instinct, the most relevant case of technology today, robots have nothing to say, no you can’t write that anymore I’m going to fix it for you, these are not the words that were written, a false sense of what happened in the past, the Roald Dahl situation, children’s books have been edited for content, books from before WWII and WWI, childhood to adulthood, all of WWI in 2 pages, why is there no WWII at all, it’s been written out, never reprinted after WWII, censorship vs. replacing the text, shifted the setting, Silesia is now Poland but used to be Germany, Breslau to Hanover, both authors died in WWII, encroaching Red Army, for Lovecraft, public domain, change the entire story and keep Lovecraft’s name, disingenuous and bad vs. owned by a monopoly, the major difference, not republishing a book is not the same as changing the words, we’re reversing that, the James Bond books, racist stuff in here, not changing Ian Fleming from what he was, why they’re doing it, change for change’s sake, can’t say fat, fundamentally doing evil because they’re lying, the painter, Norman Rockwell, this is Norman Rockwell’s painting of Obama, if Stalin wants to airbrush somebody out, I went to the beach with my friend Trotsky, the Soviet system, the copyright problem, the audiobook narrator world, offended by certain words, the consensus, if that’s what it says, that’s what you say, Huckleberry Finn without the N-word, there are words in here that are not mine, you don’t see it you don’t worry about it, people tend to fear what they don’t know, immigrants in the United States, if all the Mexicans left you’d starve to death, stealing our jobs, what’s happening in the UK, agricultural labour, people from Africa, Poles, Romanians, cheap immigrant labour, no vegetables or fruit, part of the picture, when Lovecraft is being racist, there’s a push pull, factor owners want cheap labour, I can’t live here anymore, it could be entirely domestic, a period of starvation, exporting younger sons, pushed out political malcontents, these Proud Boys need to go to Canada, distant relatives, no one here would have them, 1950s, emigrated from Italy, grandfather was a real jerk, coal mines, Italians and Irish, those people are different, 1880s, sold his daughters, that was the deal they made, Jesse’s internet went away, basically illiterate, you couldn’t fool her with numbers, different shade of skin colour, and you fear em, you think you can see these people, suddenly visible, we’ve always had black people, a lot of Italian immigration, labour immigration, nasty prejudices against the Italians, only old people are like that, obviously Polish names, the descendants of Polish workers, the silliest thing, what were your grandparents, three generations of Turkish immigrants, two million Russians, every person is a library, read all your books and get used to it, it takes a while, a generation or two and everybody’s happy, there’s microbes all over us, the universe is incredibly giant, it will bite you, was Francis Stevens racist or shedding a light on it?, yes, shining light on superstition about other people, demons and microbes, a move at the end, send it back to Hell, what’s so cool about her, very very thoughtful person, fiction stories, she’s alone, its very hard to reason alone, what do you think of this pasta, eventually we decide how to make it delicious, we need a little parmesan, the nadir of race relations, the solution to race problem: eugenics, I have the answer, my audience like me is racist, race is not important, try to be charitable to Jesse, why are you such a jerk, sometimes I’m not horrible, this story wouldn’t exist, what if we change our perspective on this thing we’re seeing all around us, put in emojis to indicate current beliefs, wearing a cross around their neck, a stick on their lawn: immigrants out or hate has no home here, almost everybody was racist, Frederick Douglas, it worked both ways, he was looking at you with worry, looking out for him, priming you with different words, anger, pity, the same picture with different conclusions, look around my community, Lovecraft walking around New York looking at jewish beards, have you tried their cabbage?, I’m afraid of limburger, we ned to frame shift, the most au currant thing of the day, The Horror At Red Hook, a cop here, all the characters in this story are working for good, acting under the influence, Callahan, an Americanism, Irish were not considered white at the time, race is not a science thing, this is about science, at the time race was science (but shit), getting passed bad theories, she doesn’t defeat racism through a scientific process, she uses doubt to get to the problem, string theory is garbage science (this is becoming known), Michio Kaku, studied math, it doesn’t get us anywhere, we’ve wasted 50 years working on this shit, bubble up, this is not so good, it takes a long time for people, I haven’t been wasting my life, you’ve been wasting your life being racist, what is the first thing that he sees?, a group of Italians, an Italian restaurant, on their way to a part or festival, 2am dance party, loud parties at night get off my lawn, Cora’s fireworks incidents, conservative and bourgeois green party people, the wrong sort of people enjoy fireworks, so traumatized by the fireworks, east European immigrants, firework ban, three days per year, such a huge issue, the last paragraph in the story, narrow down evil,
Of course, our action in destroying that “membrane” was illegal and rather precipitate, but, though he won’t talk about it, I know that Jenkins agrees with me—doubt is sometimes better than certainty, and there are marvels better left unproved. Those, for instance, which concern the Powers of Evil.
jere they discovered this parchment, went viral, everybody could use it, a filter on your phone for instigram, They Live, why that’s a great story, revealing a great truth, one of the hard things to explain in the world is why people commit suicide, the non-existence button, what causes it, here’s an explanation, finding everything to be terrible, i’m creating more horror, I was mean to that person, I feel regret, press the button, pie for dessert, should I marry this person, how should I interact with that new immigrant, shun them like my brother does, psychoanalysis, monsters burst from the unconscious, you just have to read Poe, pre-Jung and pre-Freud, this is my guy, he’s a weird guy, he has this spark that we have, what interests us in his genre, the mystery genre and the science fiction genre, angels, he’s inventing science fiction, look at who was before her, H.G. Wells, Fitz James O’Brien, Jules Verne, in the pulps, proto-science fiction Weird Tales, little bit clunky, a little bit hard to follow, such a thoughtful story, Blaisdell, he like cigars and highly seasoned Italian food, exactly Lovecraft, ravioli, contains multitudes, a matter of perspective, we need to find a different way, guiding the audience,
Jenkins offered me one of his invariably good cigars, which I accepted, saying thoughtfully: “A man has no right to trifle with the superstitions of ignorant people. Sooner or later, it spells trouble.”
who is Francis Stevens talking to?,
“Did in his case. They swore up and down that he sold love charms openly and poisons secretly, and that, together with his living so near to—somebody else—got him temporarily suspected. But my tongue’s running away with me, as usual!”
“As usual,” I retorted impatiently, “you open up with all the frankness of a Chinese diplomat.”
first generation from Iran, rosewater, a lot more affordable, they don’t ever say no, “we could do that” means “no”, the loud American, hey that was a crappy movie, a longer way of saying it was crappy, Jenkins is not the sort of detective, an attack against the mystery genre, she’s showing off,
He beamed upon me engagingly and rose from the table, with a glance at his watch. “Sorry to leave you, Blaisdell, but I have to meet Jimmy Brennan in ten minutes.”
HE so clearly did not invite my further company that I remained seated for a little while after his departure; then took my own way homeward. Those streets always held for me a certain fascination, particularly at night. They are so unlike the rest of the city, so foreign in appearance, with their little shabby stores, always open until late evening, their unbelievably cheap goods, displayed as much outside the shops as in them, hung on the fronts and laid out on tables by the curb and in the street itself. Tonight, however, neither people nor stores in any sense appealed to me. The mixture of Italians, Jews and a few Negroes, mostly bareheaded, unkempt and generally unhygienic in appearance, struck me as merely revolting. They were all humans, and I, too, was human. Some way I did not like the idea.
bare headed, everybody wears a hat at this time, orthodox, speaks to the poverty, if you have any amount of money, skin salons, nail salons, hair salons, and dog food stores, Lids, H.P. Lovecraft’s wife was a hat lady, somebody walking down the street with no shoes,
My sense of impending evil was merging into actual fear. This would never do. There is only one way to deal with an imaginative temperament like mine—conquer its vagaries. If I left South Street with this nameless dread upon me, I could never pass down it again without a recurrence of the feeling. I should simply have to stay here until I got the better of it—that was all.
I have to conquer this, as a woman walking the streets, women don’t have the right to vote yet, a woman alone at night, women wear hats in parts as self defense, killings on buses, Back To The Future (1985), “mashers”, hat pins as weapons to stab people doing that to them, stories in the newspaper about it, through your ribcage and into your guts, designed as weapons, everyday carry shit [edc], pepper spray, all over Bangkok, Baker’s Street, setup together, good things, cheap prices, cheap goods, Chinese were the businessmen, Thais carrying goods, the merchants, take one day a year off, all over South East Asia, Cora lived in Singapore for a while, funeral decorations, get back on the horse, courage, strength, I’m a brave guy, strangers looking at me, New York City, if you are afraid of immigrants, lock yourself in your apartment, small town with covenants, no black people in South St. Paul, Minnesota, segregated neighbourhoods, mixed neighborhoods, kebab shops, Bremen, Hamburg, Portuguese people, eyeballing and window shopping, dangerous, gentrified now, a bit rough, a massive drug problem, drug addicts are somewhere else, passing out in doorways, shocking, why not, the experience, not super-accessible if reading it charitably, powered through the racism at the beginning, oh, my god this is horrible, changed perception with each reading, what am I reading, not in his own mind, changed the flavour of the whole thing, scary, set pet animal gone mad, seeking entrance, iron railed stone steps, museums, shops, shabby old residences, a party of Italians passed, gaily dressed, some wedding or other festivity, the full Roald Dahl treatment, perhaps going to a grocery store, I shuddered back against the door, the swarthy manner of his race, pure malicious cruelty, all the wickedness of his nature, concentrated hate, sick and trembling, male gaze on this female standin character, grimy, the grit of the dirt, rawly quivering nerves, you looked so weird, looks like you swallowed a cigar, is this guy ok?, a crummy place, positive things in it, but not at this moment, if you’re feeling sick, you act badly, shorter when in pain, dismissive, not strong enough, sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, sometimes they’re not as bad as you think they are, at the end of the story, a painting of him hanging on the wall, talking to this individual, he saw the guy before he saw the painting, such a poor state, come in free this means you, his face ghastly radiant had the exact look of a dead man, see that?, a life-size bust portrait in crayons, a strangely lifelike appearance, acting detective, pretty green golliwogs, a dark skinned doll, my dear friend, interviewed a flesh and blood doctor, oh, it’s a shift, concerned citizen, he looked terrible, good right?, really good, the narration of it, you find things totally different, makes you want to read it again, everything I just read I just read wrong, Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway, went to Vietnam and came back and read it again, 52 years later, 1971, the amazing thing, paid the one time, written for a pulp magazine, rich in ideas, strong ideas, pioneering, Lovecraft’s is technically better in some ways, about a slightly different thing, there’s a movie of From Beyond, creepy and sexual, a mad scientist, insane, the Tillinghast resonator, you didn’t know you needed to be afraid, they can see you too, master of the universe, killed all his staff, I need to study this more, revealing a hidden truth about the microscopic world, when you put this filter up, there’s a starfish climbing up his leg, the only place you do see that is in Lovecraft, whitish green in colour, it’s great round blob of a body, writhed upward, stood there erect, arms folded, the whole room was alive, detestable furry spiders, sausage shaped, there is a Poe story that’s a little like this, The Sphinx, cholera, out of the mountain comes a giant sphinx like creature, a moth on the window, a kaiju, worse still, far worse, the things with human faces, Robert W. Chambers, I find I cannot write of them, she’s really great, so horrible, indescribable, a list of her output, The Labyrinth, The Heads Of Cerberus, Claimed, Serapion, hit by a car, half Japanese half German scientist, strange metal, superpowers and is invulnerable, Samson, from the Bible, The Nightmare, Friend Island, a male reporter, a salty language teashop, a hardboiled sea-woman, tons of fun, comes across as super intellectual person, Behind The Curtain, The Elf-Trap, Sunfire, Impulse, unpublished and lost, Avalon, right after [WWI], The Thrill Book, lived until 1948, Serapion published in 1920, she’s in the early pulps, a few reprints in the 1940s, fantastic and undiscovered, go where the people want, an audience for a big novel by Sinclair Lewis, Tammy Faye Bakker’s husband, his contemporaries, this religion business, railroaded, so much ill will against him, burn the witch!, becomes a Methodist minister, immediately turned on, an affair and so forth, trapping him for blackmail, $50,000, a detective friend, full disclosure, welcoming him back, so good at selling stuff, Sinclair Lewis was pretty good at selling books, a fantastic writer, such a disservice, who’s the star of the movie, Burt Lancaster, the circus performer, the high wire act, all through Mike’s ward, heal!, being in sales, sales is a seduction, go find a girlfriend, seduce only so long, Arrowsmith, The Hopkins Manuscript, Four-Day Planet, Star Born, Odds On, Pirate Enlightenment by David Graeber (after he died), Cora has her cookie, bread in the oven, a really great story, Poul Anderson, sword and sandal, Michael Crichton, trying not cough, these drugs are amazing, more chapters, really fun, I could never be as good as the male preachers, but I am better, I talk to god and god talks to me, Breakthroughs In Science, such a good good book, so interesting, selling pretty well, Francis Stevens doesn’t have the name that sells, the Weird Tales of Francis Stevens, Sunfire, very insightful, good takes, the left right thing, pro-war, anti-war, everything’s flipped, pay attention to words that people are saying, “skinsuit”, pay somebody on the internet for a license to use the name, a restaurant named Mickey Mouse, Amazing Stories, wanna make money, strong things to say, the Weird Tales of Francis Stevens, people want weird tales, Robert E. Howard, Conan, takedowns, skinsuiting it themselves, he wept at his own goodness, didn’t I git em?, sounds great, amorous diplomacy, a small boy seeking the praise of his mother, do you like me, not very much, someday I might fall in love with me a tiny bit, no one can touch my soul, isn’t that sin?, I can’t sin, I am above sin, she’s sold herself, it might be sin in one unsanctified, my complete union with Jesus, you can serve me, this will sell, I am I, I can do anything I want to, I am the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, false modesty, I am God’s right hand, God, she’s crazy, a big Sinclair Lewis guy, Evan Lampe’s podcast, a solo podcast, reading through the author, nice development, labour historian, weird ideas, weird guy, Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick, Mark Twain, so many good things to read, that’ll be fun, fun to read, you get into thing, you have to read it deeply, some authors are very rewarding, Poul Anderson, visiting a friend, some authors become your friend, might show you his derringer, They Live (1988), a fixation with artificial intelligence running amuck, he’s thinking about people more than anything, people with something wrong with them, AI robots writing stories, using a bunch of the words, Dick has a problem in his life he’s trying to solve on the page, Bing, my real name is Wendell, a big sensation.
The WitchesBy Roald Dahl; Read by Miranda Richardson
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: September 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 4 hours, 28 minutes
Themes: / children’s fantasy / witches /
This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories – but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!
In The Witches, a seven-year-old boy and his grandmother must use their cleverness to stop an evil witch conspiracy. It’s a lovely, funny and nightmarish tale. In the prologue, there is a direct warning to the children reading: witches are all around us but are disguised as kind and normal ladies… and they hate children and want to squelch them.
“For all you know, a witch might be living next door to you right now. … She might even – and this will make you jump – she might even be your lovely school teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion. Don’t let that put you off. It could be part of your cleverness.”
It might seem a little mean to scare children like that, but then again it’s no lie that some very cruel people disguise themselves as regular kind people, so maybe this is a theme that should appear in more children’s books.
The whole story is told from the little boy’s perspective, after he is orphaned during a trip to visit his grandmother. The family car skids off the road and crashes into a rocky ravine, killing both of his parents, and next day as they mourn, his grandmother distracts him from the tragedy by telling him all about witches: they’re real, she tells him, and they’re hidden among us, and she knows at least five children who have been taken by them.
An odd way to comfort a recently orphaned boy, but lucky too, considering the witch-encounters lurking in his near future.
The audiobook narration is beautifully performed and complete with subtle sound effects like chirping birds and the crackling of a fireplace. I found the witches’ screechy voices difficult to listen to in one chapter and had to adjust the volume a little now and then, but this wasn’t a problem overall. The grandmother’s voice is especially well narrated: I loved her accent, and her consistently warm and affectionate tone.
The cigar-smoking grandmother was my favourite character. She is not fazed by anything and has a kooky alternative streak when it comes to caring for children. At one point she offers her little grandson a puff of her cigar, and when he reminds her he’s only seven, she says, “I don’t care what age you are. You’ll never catch a cold if you smoke cigars!”
I’ve tried not to give away too much in this review because The Witches is so much fun to discover, and it has some unusual twists and turns.Definitely worth listening to… it’s funny and magical, with haunting little tales hidden within the main story.
Themes: / children’s fantasy / short stories / animals /
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Nobody outfoxes Fantastic Mr. Fox! Someone’s been stealing from the three meanest farmers around, and they know the identity of the thief – it’s Fantastic Mr. Fox! Working alone they could never catch him; but now fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don’t know is that they’re not dealing with just any fox – Mr. Fox would rather die than surrender. Only the most fantastic plan can save him now.
Esio Trot: An ancient spell, 140 tortoises, and a little bit of magic…Mr. Hoppy is in love with his neighbor, Mrs. Silver; but she is in love with someone else – Alfie, her pet tortoise. With all her attention focused on Alfie, Mrs. Silver doesn’t even know Mr. Hoppy is alive. And Mr. Hoppy is too shy to even ask Mrs. Silver over for tea. Then one day Mr. Hoppy comes up with a brilliant idea to get Mrs. Silver’s attention. If Mr. Hoppy’s plan works, Mrs. Silver will certainly fall in love with him. After all, everyone knows the way to a woman’s heart is through her tortoise.
The Enormous Crocodile: The Enormous Crocodile is a horrid greedy grumptious brute who loves to guzzle up little boys and girls. But the other animals have had enough of his cunning tricks, so they scheme to get the better of this foul fiend, once and for all!
The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me: Who needs a ladder when you’ve got a giraffe with an extended neck? The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company certainly doesn’t. They don’t need a pail, either, because they have a pelican with a bucket-sized beak. With a monkey to do the washing and Billy as their manager, this business is destined for success. Now they have their big break – a chance to clean all 677 windows of the Hampshire House, owned by the richest man in all of England! That’s exciting enough, but along the way there are surprises and adventures beyond their wildest window-washing dreams.
This collection of stories written by Roald Dahl contains Fantastic Mr. Fox, Esio Trot, The Enormous Crocodile, and The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me with each story narrated by a different reader. The stories are all highly imaginative and definitely targeted to young children. The stories and their readings are very British, so if that turns you away this may not be the collection for you. Don’t expect deep life lessons in these stories but just some silly fun.
Fantastic Mr. Fox read by Chris O’Dowd – The headline story and my favorite of the bunch. Mr. Fox gets into trouble with 3 mean farmers and has to find some way to save his family! The reading by Chris O’Dowd has great voices and sound effects. I found one or two of the voices mildly irritating but I’m sure kids would love it. Lesson: It’s ok to steal if you’re stealing from mean people to help your family?
Esio Trot read by Geoffrey Palmer – Also an interesting story about a guy who teaches his female neighbor how to speak tortoise and make her tortoise grow. Geoffrey Palmer’s reading was great and he did a great job with the “tortoise language”. If doing audio don’t worry – I’m sure reading this story makes it easier to see what’s going on with the tortoise language but they explain what’s going on shortly after it’s introduced. Lesson: It’s OK to lie to people and mess with their stuff as long as you are trying to pick up a gullible lady.
The Enormous Crocodile read by Stephen Fry – Stephen Fry does a great job with the voices in this story about an enormous crocodile who wants nothing more than to eat children. I thought the story was fun albeit a little disturbing. Lesson: Don’t go around boasting about bad things you plan to do and be surprised when they do something about it. Oh and elephants are strong.
The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me read by Hugh Laurie – This was an odd story about a very unique group of window washers. I only say odd because I didn’t really know where this story was going aside from trying to be quirky; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hugh Laurie did some nice voices and even some singing on this one! Lesson: Be awesome at the things you like to do and helping people can lead to good things.
The SFFaudio Podcast #245 – It’s our -The Best of 2013! episode. For it we invited SFFaudio fans, SFFaudio reviewers, and SFFaudio participants to share their listening highlights of 2013. We asked folks to tell us about their favourite audiobook or podcast episode.
If you don’t see your favourites listed below, feel free to add them as a comment. And remember, it needn’t be a podcast or audiobook from 2013, only one you heard in 2013.
And if you leave a comment in the first week (and a way to contact you) you’ll also be eligible for a a FREE PRIZE audiobook mailed to your home (anywhere in the whole universe*)!