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

Podcast

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

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

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

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

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Weird Tales The People Of The Black Circle

Ken Kelly - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #16 - John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala - People Of The Black Circle

SSOC #17 - People Of The Black Circle

ABLAZE (Ejikure cover) People Of The Black Circle

DARK HORSE - People Of The Black Circle

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The SFFaudio Podcast #686 – READALONG: Danse Macabre by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #686 – Jesse and Evan Lampe talk about Danse Macabre by Stephen King

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.

Danse Macabre by Stephen King

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #684 – AUDIOBOOK/READLONG: The Strange High House In The Mist by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #684 – The Strange High House In The Mist by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Gordon Gould. This is an unabridged reading of the story (18 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Jason Thompson

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, October 1931, rather different, this guy has a family, a series of wellness checks, some tea, knock knock knock, old people are the gateway to the mystic, an old sailor, worldbuilding, Granny Orne (The Shadow Over Innsmouth), The Terrible Old Man, written in 1926, the Klinger anthologies, Kadath, The Horror At Red Hook, He, walking tours of New York, back in Providence, Sonia Greene, Pickman’s Model, Kingsport, a 17th century city, temporal geographies, set in the modern era, architecture, clothing, tudor clothing, maratime connections, 17th and 18th century, The Festival, the third family, the masks and the religious ceremony, underground temple visit, the modules for Call Of Cthulhu, the graveyard, burrows under the graveyard, Indians, sea-folk, Portuguese sailors, a love letter to the sea, between the woods and the sea, positive and uplifting, Olney, he made a friend vs. damned for all time, the sea is faery, horror, a dream story, the Brown library, a fantastic short story by me, like a fantasy, dream-like, raining down dreams, very poetic, improving the language, old replaced with ancient, the original Weird Tales publication, white and feathery, the rim of all the earth, the rim of all earth, a deliberate repeat, its brothers the clouds, conchs and seaweed cities, laden with lore, the solemn bells of the bouys tolled-free in the aether of faery, forgetting and then remembering, when Olney begins learning, Olney’s supposition, faultless, dark skinned, a sailor, a demigod of some kind, he flew in there, he’s airing out the place, sailing the abysses of heaven, a great disposition, Lovecraft’s mystic friend stories, an essay about friendship, a literary trope, super-best friends, an awareness of queerness, a pre-homophobic era, The Rim Of Morning by William Sloane, we were super close friends (not in a weird way), not that kind of too close, don’t grow Granny Orne under the bus, the wife’s name doesn’t matter, male male, immediate bromance, Cool Air, Dr. Munoz, Hypnos, dangerous friendships, friends in his bottles, Robert E. Howard, everybody’s super-religious, indoctrinated by the horrors, stupid pedantic, taboo and scary and yuck, a communicable level, a delight, a lot of people thought he was a weirdo, it wasn’t always easy, they’re not gay for each other all the time, something we think about a lot, evidence please, he makes really good friends, huggings and walkings, taking women on walks, the pink beam moment in Philip K. Dick’s life, ankh moment, Lovecraft’s Kingsport, Marblehead, cruising those streets, Orne looking down, Jason Thompson’s changed the focus to home, the subconscious reading, the doormat, what he is thinking subconsciously, dwelling differently, he left some of himself up there, he’s a philosopher, unlike the tourists, unlike the locals, a chasm, he leaves a note to his wife, he comes back in the morning, experiences with the friend, like him with a beard, the doubles in Hypnos, admirable doubles, in comes Poseidon, Nodens, the diadem of father Neptunes and tritons and naiads, back to Olney, a boring philosopher, The Shadow Out Of Time, a nice little frame, having to pay his mortgage, the bored students, “Nargasucket Bay”, Randolph Carter in The Silver Key, his eyes, plant monsters, the blueberries and briars, set in August, The Festival is set at Christmas, April, we need a Granny Orne story for autumn, she’s got a gambrel roofed house, the idols, immortality, an undeniable theme, The Thing On The Doorstep, The Alchemist, Cool Air, The Tomb, page 14, the life of the mundane, alone high on a mountain peak communing with that which is beyond, the abysses above and below, what planets tell planets, romance is something we can delight in, coffee is great an all (its not an end in itself), coffee is an end in itself, appreciating of the beauty, where his spirit dwells within the house, its a party, a joyous mystic brotherhood, a community of dreamers beyond, friendship and joy, they’re not made of the gossips, lore, lore is something you learn from a local, one of the longest tunnels in North America, there’s a silver mine, water street and ship street, nothing you will learn in those schools, that book needs to be handed to you by one who knows, wiggling at the windows, a hand reaches out and pulls him through, come in come in, don’t try and housebreak him, a very positive and uplifting story, almost completely devoid of horror, the introduction of the supernatural into your life, the ending with the kids, a new kind of unfear, the horror of parents seeing kids playing videogames or social media, my kid is not conforming, generational curiosity, hereditary, The Other Gods, thrown up into the sky, the apprentice survivor, soul trapped in fairyland, the weird shadow against the windows, Futurama, Kif with more fingers, alcohol, going on a bender, bottles everywhere, he resumes his life, a large tradition, H.G. Wells’ Mr. Skelmersdale In Fairyland, La Belle Dame Sans Mercy by John Keats, a powerful and amazing place, fairies are tricksters, he’s lost something, the children have gained the spirit that he’s left, the caves leviathan, raining down as dreams, vernacular knowledge, Ex Oblivione, that whiteness, a black canvas over the rim of the world, the realm of the forms, Lovecraft doing another kind of reincarnation, small changes, the young men, young folk, aspects of sexism, highlights, the symbolist painters, an old man digging a grave, wheat stalks growing in the winter, the gravedigger’s space, an angel with black wings, time has come, the children hearing the music, polyps, venturesome youths, a light may be gone from their eyes, barnacles, humans coming out, a tie of the sea, connected to us, these things are fantastic in our youth, a book of gods, is there a god of forklifts?, the goddess of the sewers, going up there to play, what makes them responsible adults, the horror, they’re playing the Dungeons & Dragons, they’re going to summon demons, return to childhood, less literal, very symbolic, adulthood is being a barnacle (stuck in place), oysters on the rocks, being sedentary, stuck in place, oppositional elements, elfin horns rang over the ocean, elfin things hiding, looking with the right eyes, old and sad, like Lovecraft wearing glasses and signing, drinking, spaghetti, fairyland but straightedge, nightgaunts, sea creatures, The White Ship, Celephais, afraid but still finding beauty, the horror of danger, the horror of revelation, the celestial city in our mind, From Beyond, beautiful, what the sing brings, immigrants, weird smelly fish things, leave the sea alone, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (2008), fantasy sea imagery, Wagnerian moments, sea-fairies, the castle, the graphic novel, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, the same gods, everybody’s adaptations of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, using Lovecraft’s words, his cap, the sign you’re an adult, kids can’t be held responsible for their hats, hat callback, a ray of hope, he stays in the dreamlands, returned to a mundane life, less irresponsible on the weekends, go work for a law firm, any sort of horrible job, pressure, finding the way to be, a gentleman has a car and a driver and a house and not just a room, keep that initial dream alive, how to avoid a mid-life crisis, a kiddie thing to do, how life should be all the time, a series of mundane commutes to work, the mundanity of a terrible commute, massively depressed, blunt and grim, Thomas Ligotti-like, called back again to the horror of flesh, why keep picking at this scab?, Dagon, sleep is oblivion and the Dreamland, describing an experience in words is difficult, more like computer gaming or a great story, not getting out of bed, the place where oblivion can be found, having the experience even if you don’t remember it has to count for something, a general anesthetic doesn’t dull the pain, it makes you forget it, its about Lovecraft’s marriage and place in life when he wrote it, their body lives on and does all the responsible things that bodies do, conflicting desires, that normal life, talk to ancient sea-captains and gods, cut away from Nodens, help me fight the frogpeople, a sense of responsibility, afraid to disappoint, the body remains but the soul escapes, his doppleganger [has] to stay on the world, the soul of Olney, an apocalyptic conclusion, use anything to escape reality, you can have it both ways, closeted gay, queer in a broad sense, the sequence where he talks, sea-creatures getting forked and speared, going through a temple, Gulliver’s Travels, The Drowned Giant by J.G. Ballard, Towing Jehovah by James K. Morrow, snowglobes polyping, a bivalve’s foot, this what they talked about, hardness and liquidity, an hourglass, Ernst Haeckel’s sea-life illustrations, constellation like gods making gestures, the opening sentence is missing a comma, In the morning comma, how grammar works, why didn’t he fix that?, make somebody read it the way you want it to be read, explicitly, where is the comma?, morning mist still, the same morning mist, a cycle, the skydial, what is obscured, paying attention to the missing comma, Aeneid, noir unending or unfinished?, how do you know that?, it flows faster, to what’s in the mist, doing its work, a little curiosity, something to note, more about Granny Orne, solitary figures, she has to be something, he consults them, bachelors or bachlorettes and widows or widowers, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, essential saltes, the made up name of one of his friends?, the really young people and the really old people, a Stephen King thing, the old standing watch, one of the definitions of fantasy, where is the magic, the hole in reality where magic creeps in, the magic of childhood, drugs, old age, the ancient past, the sea, where the sea leads, a widows walk on one of the gambrel, shipping out for Herman Melville stories, why bouys are important, conflating the sound of the buoys with other things, a lighthouse for sound, something is happening, an inference, what’s going on in the sea, the lampreys and the fish, the fisherfolk, the shells, the bubbles and the copulation, that mysterious mass, Marblehead with an added grey frozen wind cloud pointing to space, this vast connection, a bottomless pit, infinity, the sky is an abyss, pointing us up and pointing us down, creatures near the coastline, philosophy for the fisherfolk, ascending, astronomy, what’s going on on Pluto, the magic of science, why reading Lovecraft is joyful in a story like this, the North side of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, ascent and experience with the other, the view back down, The Tomb, Kadath and Celephais, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, The Beast In The Cave, insubstantial as a story, The Alchemist, about sexuality, H.P.L. (fanzine), Freudian analysis of H.P. Lovecraft stories, body hair, colouring the images, what happens, literally set in a dreamland, what going into a fairyland does to a person, very biblical, set in the age of myths, high house studio, fairly wise use.

The Strange High House In The Mist from Weird Tales, October 1931

The Strange High House In The Mist - from the comic by Jason Thompson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #675 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #675 – Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings – read by Richard Kilmer. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (4 hours 5 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in Astounding Stories Of Super Science, Sept – November 1930, The Girl In The Golden Atom, The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O’Brien, antisemitism precedes other forms of European racism, 600 stories, avoiding Cummings, full of shitty writing, the assistant to Edison, Huxley’s lab assistant, learned science from Darwin’s bulldog, science science science vs. invention, very pulpy, not awesome pulpy, filler, why is it this long?, the reading doesn’t help, the setting is interesting, is the setting that interesting?, it should be, a South American country, ecological disaster, bandit planet, a dull read, why pulp gets a bad name, the characters, a terrible book, acknowledging an error, how do you know?, should Ray Cummings be canceled?, not interesting enough to cancel, the years have canceled him, for those who managed to struggle through the audiobook and are now listening…, reading from E.F. Bleiler, science fiction and weird fiction, Science Fiction The Gernsback Years (page 87), entry 298, economic espionage and intrigue, 2020, north of Puerto Rico (dry sea bottom), Nerita, almost any word you can think of is a village in India, the National Detective Service, a lowlands bandit, mercury smuggling?, Spawn, Debeer, the ending is predictable, pure adventure, super-radio, light rays bent by magnetic fields, the lowland concept, more on this economic relation, a thug of the powerful state, colonial setting, there to take a child bride, Harry Turtledove, Down In The Bottomlands, set in a dry Mediterranean, a geographical lesson, where are the rivers, the seas, the lakes, what does this do to the rainfall, radioactive mercury, just a gimmick, its filler, get out from under Hugo Gernsback and get out under John W. Campbell, uncontroversial, I want you to think harder about this, getting tied up every few pages, a western movie serial, helicopter/airplane, secret gear, he fights science pirate, going to the kernel of the concept, better Ray Cummings, Phantoms Of Reality, different worlds at different vibrational wavelengths, you go to a weird little planet and weird little things happen, dies 1957, not able to adapt himself, about 350 1945-1942, 750 stories in all, a whole bunch of awesome concepts, three or four interesting ideas, like South America, an enforcer of empire, Jetta’s not even sexy, half mermaid?, she’s illiterate, when did the seas go down, a mercury rush, no Indians at the bottom of the sea, no displaced mermen?, what caused it?, one story and one book, Til A’ The Seas by Robert Barlow, a last man, pretty well done, H.P. Lovecraft helped polish it, the imagery is beautiful, Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, Olaf Stapledon-y, set at the bottom of the ocean, one of the biggest writers of the period, Cornell Woolrich, read him because you like tension, H.G. Wells, E.E. Doc Smith, the action sequences of Star Treks, lots of beams, wrist controls, they just invented force fields, Scotty trying to invent force fields and warp drive during the battle, Ted Chiang, Larry Niven, a lot more like Stanley G. Weinbaum and a lot less like John W. Campbell, the deGernsbacking, there was no sense that the reforms were needed, make me a serial out of it, why pulps get a bad name, Buck Rogers style serials, everything’s weird and there’s a lady and he needs to adapt, Flash Gordon, the slicks did it with essentially Superman’s origin story, Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie’s When Worlds Collide, the exact same plot as 2012 (2009), everything is cliche, a Wonder Woman fetish person, the electrodes on the skin does it for Will, he’s getting a little tingle, that black knife, if it had been 1 hour long, somebody other than Ray Cummings, we learned something, there’s a reason he’s receded, what made pulps disposable, fiction magazines are sort of gone, alternate history, time travelers bring Kalashnikov to South during the U.S. Civil War, Adaptation by Mack Reynolds, how bad John W. Campbell was, a communist getting purchased by a fascist, a red brown alliance, not actually a fascist, Black Man’s Burden, Samuel Delaney is not a John W. Campbell writer, ornate?, do you believe a man at his word, he vibes with Mack Reynolds, colonial Africa, not trying to praise the white man, deep in his dementia, more New Wave than science fiction of the kind Weinbaum was doing, competing theses, a think piece that doesn’t and does resolve, a goofy concept, chill out for a few generations, the Aztec level of civilization at the time of Cortez’s contact, the Italian city states (late medieval early modern period), the Pedagog, state socialism or free market capitalism, the power goes to their heads, the natives run them out of town, a planned economy vs. a free market economy, it argues with the idea that only American style colonialism is good, productivism, forces of production Marxism, the natives appreciate, we’ll consider joining you, the capitalists and the socialists team up, free nations, science fiction writers for an against the Vietnam War, Howard vs. Lovecraft, the origins and the results and what it means for human nature, barbarism vs. civilization, Robert A. Heinlein, is barbarianism our natural state?, competing in the same pages, this story is my argument, we’re after mercury and its being smuggled, why?, don’t care, the only woman at the bottom of the well, that’s why I’m going on this adventure, radiumized!, the Star Trek, Kirk on a motorcycle, Red Matter has nothing to do with science fiction, not idea struggling, what did Evan say about this story?, contextualize it for us?, empire maybe, Wizard In Glass: Dark Tower 4 by Stephen King, an agent of a declining state, fantasy Mexico, a 14 or 15 year old sexy and brave character, the concubine of the mayor, a frontier region secretly in rebellion against the Empire, cool Stephen King stuff, criminal frontier full of bandits, smugglers, science pirates!, lots here about technology and the state, Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott, a letter, Ray Cummings should stay in Ray Cummings’ grave, a Lovecraft explainer explainer, explaining Lovecraft to his or her liberal friends, Lovecraft Mythos explainer, this phenomenon, dig up the bones of a guy who was dead before their grandma is born, The Painful Threshold: Why We Can’t Stop Flogging Lovecraft’s Dead Bloated Corpse, why Lovecraft Country is good and Lovecraft is bad, fox spirits, a new Netflix series with a Henry Kuttner and two H.P. Lovecraft stories, Graveyard Rats, Cool Air and The Statement Of Randolph Carter, Guillermo del Toro, missing the class analysis, Bobby Derie, Jesse has never met a racist reader, what was his cat’s name, hahahah, at the end of the serial of Jetta, the Invisible X-Fliers, October 1930, 2021, the Anti-War Department of the United States of Department, the defense department, mechanical invisibility, many men, great scientific discoveries, a new combination of older seemingly impractical knowledge, steal all the right stuff, making the inefficient efficient, almost no role in the book, bending of light rays, the cloaking device from Star Trek, the Martel Effects, two real kinds of currents, pseudoscience technobabble, camouflage style invisibility, Jack London’s rip off of The Invisible Man, Discover is Star Trek and Star Trek is science fiction, warp drive, not totally void of ideas, spore drive, warp drive, transwarp drive, transwarp conduits, the journey to get to the story, The Devil In The Dark, the last of her kind, mining some shit that doesn’t exist, silicon based life form and can we exist with a native population are two radical ideas, mind melds aren’t real, “NO KILL I”, Konglish, bringing in the Klingons again, bringing in the Romulans again, as if Spock is a traitor, who cares about Romulans?, there’s nothing there, we’ve dug you up we’ve had your cadaver trial and found you wanting, she liked to look at pictures in a book, I don’t know about this reading stuff, he’s black (with no skin and a republican too?), Todd McFarlane, blew up the comics industry, too obvious?, no secret keys to the name, a Volkswagen named after the character?, designed to be disposable.

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

Jetta Of The Lowlands by Ray Cummings

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The SFFaudio Podcast #674 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #674 – The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft – read by Steve Mann. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (8 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Trish E. Matson, and Jason Thompson

Talked about on today’s show:
The Tryout, November 1920, Weird Tales, Fantastic Novels, Hannes Bok, a girl or a young woman, cats looking very satisfied with themselves, 3 pages or 8 minutes, 88 shows mentioning The Cats Of Ulthar, most of them are not in English, the best introduction to Lovecraft, a lot of little things that work as an introduction, witches, wandering weirdos, foreigners, geographies, are the couple witches?, they’re witch-ish, ogres, frightening, can this be read subversively, sorry Trish, why is this such a popular story, the narrator is present, a murder mystery, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, popular to least popular, At The Mountains Of Madness, this fictional list, Old Bugs, The Wicked Clergy Man, a scultping contest, this story sucks, the sound of the bees, the beekeeper tells the narrator, who tells the story, we know, what do you remember?, the reason people don’t like that story is they don’t get it, telegraphed from the beginning, the wrath of Bast, super-simple, people love cats, has cats in the title, not that much racism in it, the mysterious dark foreigners are the good guys sort of, catskins nailed all over the wall, eating them?, a meanspirited old couple, what people in the town are saying, hiding the truth, we gotta burn these manuscripts, a push pull, the beetles, scarabs, Dreamlands, what of their spirits?, did the cats steal their souls?, sucking the baby’s breath, activating the cats, the circularity, who is the narrator?, purring before the fire, the last image of the story (in Jason’s adaptation), sexily vs. hungrily, the dog lies patiently until it starves to death, the cat will eat you, a village full of cats ate a couple, the heroes are the cats, the moral simplicity of an EC comic, questioning the validity of the human eating cats, all he did was jaywalk, The Terrible Old Man, home invade a pirate from 3 centuries ago, gypsies vs. travelers, the Roma people of Europe, India and Alexander the great, the India connection, where the word Egypt comes from Menes, pre-Egyptian, another possible source, the dark wanderers in Idle Days On The Yann by Lord Dunsany, turban wearing, such frightened and passive people, live in a hovel, they’re treated like witches, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret Murray, Christians who believe in , a fairy tale, Diodorus Siculus heard it from some crocodile god priests, all the things that are being described, not only Bast, their quiet mien, the referent is missing, the mother of all these cats?, before and beyond human Earth history, definitely (kind of) in the Dreamlands, Polaris on its own, Meroe, Nubia, a lost port mentioned in the Bible, the connections come later, ex post facto in the Dreamlands, resurrect them?, every cat was back, dead or busy feasting, telling fortunes, investigate the cotter’s cottage, still extant cats, cats on a mission, dream like, dream logic, reason to be skeptical, the villagers are always getting it wrong, sacrificed, coyotes are a serious issue, real life experience, gossip, baseless, the villagers sicced this little boy and his magic on that couple and got even though they are innocent, gullible gods, tricking the gods, they show up in the sky, Scooby Doo, no Nancy Drew activities, the follow up to the Cats Of Ulthar, the gods fucked up, the fallibility of the divine, the Greek gods every day of the week, I want vengeance, a devotee, his parents are already dead, almost like a storm, the gods are obedient to those who are believe in them, vernacular tradition, non-institutionalized beliefs, passed on by spoken words, the common people know about it, the Esoteric Order Of Dagon has some metal plates they pass around, folktales before they get written down, the opening sentence, Skai, the Yann river, no man may kill a cat, the species is male?, who are we?, retconned around Kadath time, the past vs. a dream, if only the dream had been set not in ancient Greece, the fairytalishness, the realm of myth, long ago and far away as many fairy tales say, who the narrator is usually matters, the wagon leaving the town, a tour of Innsmouth, the burgers, why are you telling me all their names, look at the list of characters who show up, sustaining a mood, he’s trying to tell us about the purpose of this law is, why?, the burgers pass a law, it becomes a folk belief, mouths to feed, bag in the river, the story of Moses, this Egyptian quality, Egypt is the breadbasket for Rome, food is wealth, the mousers vs. the pets, eatin the rodents that will eat your grain, myth vs. propaganda, what a stan is, Lovecraft is a cat stan, not the dogs of Ulthar, what do dogs do, dogs bark, bears three days a week, there to protect to the property, hungry bears, many many odes to cats, cat love, propaganda for cats, a wish fulfillment story, that tiny black kitten, cat lives are worth more than human lives to Lovecraft, the roving folk, Egyptians in all but name, their magic, their magic show, Evan’s story about losing his cat, knowing how devious Lovecraft can be, The Rats In The Walls has a cat, Delapore eats another man, still defending them, a swarm of rats, the cat is the hero, you’re crazy man, “I, as a cat, will not support this cannibalism”, Jesse derailing, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe, your house burned down because of a cat, The Raven, working on a psychological level, why does it take so long to get to the point, so obviously put together that way, an untrustworthy story, Evan is neutral, the townspeople are dumb, no police arresting people for killing cats, what scarabs were, we don’t know what scarabs are, amulets placed in the wrappings, tradable items, we don’t know why they’re there, Egyptology, Egytpomania, another Egypt-ism, eating of the dead, a cleansing of the evil of what they did, the cleansing mechanism, not a memorable story,

On a verdant slope of Mount Maenalus, in Arcadia, there stands an olive grove about the ruins of a villa. Close by is a tomb, once beautiful with the sublimest sculptures, but now fallen into as great decay as the house. At one end of that tomb, its curious roots displacing the time-stained blocks of Pentelic marble, grows an unnaturally large olive tree of oddly repellent shape; so like to some grotesque man, or death-distorted body of a man, that the country folk fear to pass it at night when the moon shines faintly through the crooked boughs. Mount Maenalus is a chosen haunt of dreaded Pan, whose queer companions are many, and simple swains believe that the tree must have some hideous kinship to these weird Panisci; but an old bee-keeper who lives in the neighboring cottage told me a different story.

a shared studio, the townspeople report, such good friends, the story of the fall,

However, the Syracusans obtained after a while a very splendid statue in Athens, and the Tegeans consoled themselves by erecting in the agora a marble temple commemorating the gifts, virtues, and brotherly piety of Musides.

city vs. country, one is better than the other,

But the olive grove still stands, as does the tree growing out of the tomb of Kalos, and the old bee-keeper told me that sometimes the boughs whisper to one another in the night wind, saying over and over again. “Oida! Oida!—I know! I know!”

hiding the truth The White Ape The Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family, to hide the truth, his grandma was a monkey, there’s sometimes a key, sometimes they are straightforward?, half more again as complex as this one?, The Street, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Whisperer In Darkness, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Lurking Fear, pay attention, beefy guys, he needs a lot of meat, The Strange High House In The Mist, a lot of weird stuff happens, not straightforward but simple, this outside frame, we’re not supposed to trust, picky about his own work, Philip K. Dick, a personal favourite, S.T. Joshi, walks in the forest, letters about cats, the College Street address, a gang of feral cats living on his roof, if Lord Dunsany the dog guy meets the cat guy, Dean Spanley, a great sense of humour, The Book of Wonder, a randy centaur, Bride Of The Man-Horse, its the getting there that’s fun part, how men should court women, how centaurs get their brides, a Dunsany imitation in terms of style, 7-10 minutes to read, ebullient detail, once per week, The Idler, filling pages for the idle rich, not the ideal Weird Tales story, a Clark Ashton Smith adaptation, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, a retconned cosmology, The White Ship and Celephais, a cats themed comic anthology, a comic twist at the end, these smiling cats, ambiguous intent, lest they kill us, who is this law for?, how the Ultharians feel about it, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, the most dreamlandsy one, chronologically, its before people, almost like he’s talking to Robert E. Howard in that one, the psychology is implicit, sometimes a story is just a story, readers in the 1920s, that level of morbidity is day to day for us, extra gross for 1920s readers?, Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe, too gross, Wastelands by W. Scott Poole, horror has its birth after WWI, the symbolists, The Troop by Nick Cutter, PG-13, this is not supposed to be a horror story, folktales and household tales, more than humans, add more magic to the story, drag out linger, so much detail, Sergio Aragonés, some guy with nemes on, a German beer stein, there’s beer, what they’re making with those crops, a pseudo Germanic look for Ulthar, the curls of an Egyptian, ankh everywhere, two gods, Ibis, the staff is an open mouth with teeth, Lovecraft foreshadows with a magic spell, repetition a symmetrical thing, all the animals are playing cutesy roles, a wellness check, a kind of horror, a mode, terrible youth trauma, return to the Dreamlands role playing game, their giant noses and their blank eyes and their implements, for the people are simple, four cats suckling, a sphinx, all ayres book of dallaire book of Greek and Norse myths, Echidna the mother of monsters, weird slug woman, the baby hydra and the baby sphinx, exiled to a cave, Cerberus is a they, tentacles, gimme milk gimme milk, added blood, you have to love them anyways, licking their genitals, motherhood is difficult for humans!, firm but gentle, the cats of Saturn, a gamification thing, Jason’s drawing game, Mangacon Cartooner, like Pictionary but producing comics, get the most fame points possible, you have to sell out to whatever trend, so meta, Evan made a huge mistake, fan service, obsession cards, giant sword, three point landing, gamifying his own letters, worldbuilding, the Lovecraft industry is a huge industry, uncountable unnameable, you play dreamers, drawn from Dunsany, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, the sanity mechanism, go mad or die, memory resources, spend memories, performing marvels, Randolph Carter lost his memories of Providence, creating monsters out of the air, dream logic, Carter remembers he can speak nightgaunt, he always spoke nightgaunt, coincidental magic, conjuring cats, what’s the core activity?, go on dream quests, fairy tale style quests, breaking the pillars of Dreamland, as a responsible dreamer, a plague of fairies, word currency, 300 word cards, make little speeches, blasphemous, wonder, and road, an excuse to be eloquent, the Jack Vance role playing game, The Dying Earth, interesting and fun, dialogue with each other, why don’t you try to make friends with these ghouls?, Horror On The Hill, charisma rolls, neanderthals on the team, DREAMRPG.com, look at this art, its stunning!, that lady with a mask, the watchseller selling digital clocks!, The Call Of Cthulhu: Dreamlands, modern tech doesn’t work, its infinite, continually expanding, the distance between spaces grows greater and greater, like the distances between the stars, low tech vs. modern tech, in Jason’s headcanon…, stuck in the Dark Ages, an existential ramble, a zoog hiding in curtain by the hookah, some lich guy hanging out, the attention to tiny details, “yeah, she’s a medusa what of it?”, where I go to get my equipment for my dreamquest, this is awesome awesome dreamstuff, semi-announced, an Edgar Allan Poe module, an Oz module, Dreamland, Ulalume, a list of dreamers and stats for them, outside of time, they’re dreamselves, established in Celephais, a message in a bottle from two centuries later, Fungi From Yuggoth: Continuity, dream psychiatrist stories, Dreamscape, Inception, trying to tap into deep time (eternity), the Jungian dreamlands, Lovecraft’s conception of the cosmos as an eternal machine, mechanistic, grinding towards the heat death, paradoxes, all night and all day, Jamieson by Margaret St. Clair, just happy to be there, a kind of a Jorkens style story, through the hole in the wall, tiny little grape press, forever cursed to walk the earth, basuto wood and moon grapes for the moonwine, straight out of dreamquest, Dunsany style, epic mythological vs. Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman goofy, Paul’s play by email diceless RPG: Strange Bedfellows, set in the world of Roger Zelazny, expanding into a dreamspace, stealing shamelessly, contact the dreamer, Kij Johnson’s Dream-Quest Of Vellitt Boe, a complete stylistic pastiche, The Riverbank by Kij Johnson (a stylistic doppleganger of The Wind In The Willows), when those letters come out, his family is very rich, what dirt he has, is there anybody that’s better documented than Lovecraft?, thank you, kid oriented D&D stuff.

The Cats Of Ulthar by H.P. Lovecraft

Hannes Bok - The Cats Of Ulthar

Hannes Bok - The Cats Of Ulthar

Jason Thompson - The Cats Of Ulthar

Echidna

Jason Thompson - The Cats Of Ulthar

Jason Thompson - The Cats Of Ulthar

Frej Agelii- The Cats Of Ulthar

Jesse Willis - The Cats Of Ulthar

-Seo Yung - The Cats Of Ulthar

Jacen Burrows - The Cats Of Ulthar

Jason Thompson - Gathering Of Beasts

Jason Thompson - Dreamland City

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The SFFaudio Podcast #671 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Watcher At The Threshold by John Buchan

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #671 – The Watcher At The Threshold by John Buchan – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (55 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Connor Kaye

Talked about on today’s show:
Harper’s, December 1900, distraight is a word, distraight is distracted, hearth, fucking deep!, the reference level, operating on a different continent, an earlier period, Supernatural Horror In Literature, August Derleth, The Lurker at the Threshold, the first half, Evan’s bike, prepared for the subtext, folk horror as a genre, the earliest examples of folk horror, a weird tales with hints of folk horror, so good, its hard, nothing happens in this story, coffee and dinner, a restaurant in a small town nearby, an email or something, better than a lot of Lovecraft stories, kinda banal on the service, a friend going around the bend, that moment on that ride together, the evening in the library, Roman history, Roman law, just a few paragraphs, all this happens in the very very end of the story, scenes we can read out, way deeper, hallucinating a little bit, clearer simpler movie, The Grove Of Ashtaroth, no girl, set in Africa (probably Rhodesia), Roman/Scottish folk horror, Semitic folk horror, dynamite and shotgun everything, a descent into a cave, Ash Tree Press, another of Buchan’s weird tales No Man’s Land, take the best scenes in making a comic, a dog cart and a lady at the door, don’t look at that sculpture over there, the narrator is a bit odd, the narrator is a lawyer on vacation, he’s come from Norway, a storycap, in love with his cousin, our narrator is not interested in the story (as much as his cousin), he’s kinda dumb but good at dropping all the hints, the opening, 189_, why is he hiding the year from us, a “true story”, the footnote also makes it a “true story”, lustful after a cousin, I can take her away from here and we can be together (and dump this guy), a familial duty, a former love, she was better off to marry him, he was in love with her, there to service her needs (not his), there’s some sort of underlying thing going on, where he got this from, underdeveloped for a modern audience, not a rip-roaring, The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, this mid-Atlantic region, Buchan has read Poe, a great setup, what kind of disease does this guy have?, a venereal disease, no successful treatment for the Maupassant disease, The Horla etc., syphilis, a disease of the heart, his left side, always talking about woodcocks, a hillclimb?, billiards, our narrator is dumb, a “sun-worshipper”, the moor is indistinct, he’s not a weird fiction fan, Ladlaw, his disastrous trip to Norway for the hunting, never explained, grumpy the whole time, the case is not going well, eager to get back, too weird for me, I can’t solve it, way to uncomfortable, compared with the fresh highland glen all was chilly and dull and dead, a very bad temper, other John Buchan works, the Clan Roydens, you know the house., who is he talking to?, on the moors, walks and hunts and fishes, pleasant people in the house, a fortnight in Norway, overly dramatic, he just likes shooting, when we finally get to the letter, a PS and another PS, my affectionate cousin, laidlow, Bob is terribly ill and I’m crazy, it is not doctor’s business, he’s dying, she has the same infection, a whole other level to his researches playing a role, shotgunning a goddess, 100% supernatural vs. a supernatural story (a possession story) and venereal disease, Barry Pain, laurels, death figure and life figure, Madam Blavatsky and the Theosophists, a symbolist painting, talking about his left side, kinda dumb, its the devil, in the universe of the story, Justinian making a deal with the devil, Laidlaw, Sybil, Theodora, hip deep in Theosophy, Falun Gong, congregationalist church with theosophy on the side, why this story is so weird, technical things, why is Lovecraft so racist, not everybody was into Theosophy, not ancient Biblical stuff, very specifically about Justinian, law school for a minute, he doesn’t read that much, I’m not going to tell you the story as he said it, set it down exactly as it is said, our narrator than the audience, John Buchan is laying it down so heavy, page 802, three fools alone in the dank upland, gobbling his food and getting scared at his napkin, a mad tea party with a vengeance, the doormouse and the hatter, Alice In Wonderland, Theodora -> a doormouse -> a watcher by the threshold, watching her husband at the threshold of death, very atmospheric and moody, gruesome and spooky, they don’t have any ducks for me to shoot, The Tomb, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, details about ancient defensive structures, a Yithian taking him over?, a reincarnation?, a past life exposed by this illness?, what he’s been doing, it used to be full of books about badminton, neat and scholarly (I hated it), horses and shooting, how much time doing Lovecraftian research, the secret history of Justinian, all real books, roll against Library Science, made a deal with the devil, The Thing On The Doorstep, The Shadow Out Of Time, the relationship between Scotland and Justinian, the Roman Inheritance: Christianity and Law, Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni, confronted by every aspirant, really lame spirituality, it covers everything, Justinian and Theodora are both saints, how they’re really rotten, an evil whore actress, an egoist, how much labour is involved in keeping the estate up, the town is full of poor people, a groom, the employee, they want to go on vacation, a class criticism, the narrator is unaware of class, Robert -> Robin, his sinister side, more bookish, Justinian’s bust, the spirit of Justinian was inside the bust?, the footnote, sleeping trouble, Delacroix Byzantium, the intertextual, The Horla theory, the disease that shall not be named, infected with Justinian’s disease, right up to but not including Scotland, The Rats In The Walls, 18th century England and Rome, John Buchan was an imperialist, WWI, The Thirty Nine Steps, on the path of being responsible for the extinction of a goddess, friends at school, some sort of fascinating connection, “going to seed”, they come into their flower and then go to seed, seedy = disreputable, why Poe and Lovecraft are so different, there are bigger issues than girls, the role of Justinian, he’s a Lovecraftian character, the most basic interpretation, the same spirit or demon, he recognized his own symptoms, Secret History by Procopius, this is an echo of that, textual verification, an amorphous shadow, the divide between the spiritual world and the modern reality, something’s attached to him through that divide, sundown syndrome, you lawyers, sounds like Lovecraft talking, this Mannan, the real landscape, the red earth and the red rock and the red streams of the hills, a new gospel, it would kill materialism, the poets who have deified nature, the profundity, the shaggy somber eyed forefather, wise wise, a queer land nowadays, inscrutable, an important part of this story, reading it literally, the Howard Lovecraft debate about civilization, law tames it, the Mad Hatter, the basic laws of the Enlightenment, 1900, fin de siecle, the yellow nineties, at a precipice, a gilded age, hints of Nietzsche, law can save us, getting that empire back, why is the land red red red, what’s missing is all the people, the Picts, what we think they were like, druids vs. the national spirit of Germany, Tacitus, Buchan’s a Scot who’s part of Empire, servants of Empire, this Empire shit is really bad, keeps the books on rich people’s investments, Montrose by John Buchan, the Jacobites are mentioned, a billiards game sort of story, I would show you the back of simple nature, the groom, I must have speed or go mad, til the ghoulish elder world, a solitary lit window, the red desert?, we’re having trouble picking it all up, putting all the work in, not filmable, a comedic narrator character, I’m a simple guy, I just like shooting things, how’s he gonna help?, the house literally cracks apart and collapses into the surrounding tarn, a metaphor for venereal disease, where are the kids in this family?, the house of MORE, the end of the cycle of empire, we’ve reached our peak, its all downhill from there, Buchan is very much like Ladlaw, photos of Buchan as Governor General in Canada, all the native tribes, Indians, Innu, and Inuit, when the royals come to Canada, you’re a part of the tribe now, a plains Indian headdress, the royal estate, the natives have a closer relationship to Britain than Canada does, Lord Beaverbrook, neo-Jacobites, the Stuart heirs, the divine right of kings, the Scottish kings, political conservatism, send him to Australia, in a way that the Welsh aren’t, engineers of Empire are Scottish, Airstrip One etc., either Scottish independence or a Jacobite restoration, more Buchan, The Green Wildebeest, No Man’s Land by John Buchan, way out into the moors of Scotland, Picts, Worms Of The Earth by Robert E. Howard, brutal but also wise, action packed!, less deep?, he got a writing career in addition, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a potboiler, parallel to this house of More, page 805, the actress harlot devotee, shapeless thing at his side, he dumb, the man in the chair before me, grim earnest, nonsense or no, devilish fancy, two inappropriate laughs, you doofus, he’s a real jerk, horribly anxious, giggling to himself, so insensitive, camped out outside the library, its the devil, oh, you’re serious, always dismissing, wry senses no jokes, clever wordplay, we see it as funny because of our distance, mooching, his ecosystem, Clan Roydens, his Lovecraftian universe, being a Scottish Lord, filing off the serial numbers, a very realistic story, for money, endless vacation time, non-productive lords, a slight realization, all built on labour and the deaths of people who lived here, the official histories are followed by the secret histories, a small incident among upper class twits, a hypocrite but he admits it, subversive in the sense that these upper class people are fucked, Will Emmons says science fiction comes in lots of different flavours but fantasy is for elitists, an Irish Lord and an Oxford don, diplomat, soldier, and writer, he’s solid, Ambrose Bierce is so subversive of his own text, all irony all the time, he’s having fun, William Gibson is always talking about what things are made of, an ironic overlay, adventurey overlay, stymied at all opportunities, a weird thing to do to your story, what the hell is this, so different and boring (comparatively), Supernatural Horror In Literature, his weirdest story, the atmosphere is great, The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher, what is weird?, what is eerie?, the moor is eerie, this vast empty thing, the situation with Ladlaw was weird, leave it and never resolve, you should know what these things are, no resolution, publishers probably hate that, available as an audiobook, tackling many different films and TV shows and books, Prester John by John Buchan.

The Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan

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