The SFFaudio Podcast #095


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #095 – Jesse talks with Professor Eric S. Rabkin about an alternate history novel: SS-GB by Len Deighton.

Talked about on today’s show:
alternate history, Luke Burrage, “if it leaves a lasting impression that says something about its artistic character”, why write alternate history, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, historical fiction, 1941 vs. 1978, what is the relationship between Science Fiction and detective fiction, tales of ratiocination, Fatherland by Robert Harris, the Fatherland TV movie, BBC audio drama, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, what would it be like under Nazi rule?, utopia vs. dystopia, fantasy, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Karl Marx, “alternate history does what Science Fiction does without pretending to set it in a logical future – it sets it in a logical past”, racism, bureaucracy in 1978 London, Michael Caine, Operation Sea Lion, why did Len Deighton set SS-GB in 1941?, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, are historical forces inevitable?, fate and destiny in alternate history, the great man vs. social forces, Adolph Hitler, Alexander The Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, the individual vs. the community, Douglas Archer, if there was a just war it was WWII, the Holocaust, collecting militaria, Spain’s fascist dictatorship, the tale of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, John le Carré, Agatha Christie, complicated vs. simple (le Carré vs. Christie), fathers and sons, historical fiction, The Battle Of Britain, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, when you’re helping the bad guys aren’t you one of them?, King George VI is a MacGuffin, The King’s Speech, Mackenzie King, police are the most cynical people in the world, the role of ambiguity in fiction, Channel Islands, every fiction is alternate history, is history a collection of things that happened or is it forces and rules?, The Sun Also Rise by Ernest Hemingway, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Startide Rising by David Brin |READ OUR REVIEW|, uplift, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, disarming puns, Arma virumque cano, “I can’t imagine anyone smarter than me”, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Remains Of The Day, Pavane by Keith Roberts, Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, Inglourious Basterds vs. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Most Powerful Idea In The World by William Rosen, steam engines (and atmospheric engines).

Posted by Jesse Willis

An upcoming readalong: Len Deighton’s SS-GB

SFFaudio News

In SFFaudio Podcast #051 we talked to Professor Eric S. Rabkin. In that show he mentioned a novel which will be the subject of an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast readalong (scheduled to be recorded in mid-February). That 1978 novel is this book:

SS-GB by Len Deighton

SS-GB depicts a Britian under Nazi occupation. It sounds rather similar to two other novels, Robert Harris’ Fatherland and Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle. More specifically, it is set in alternate history world in which Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion) was a complete success. The novel begins in November 1941, nine months after a German invasion led to the British surrender. Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, a British homicide detective assigned to Scotland Yard, is called in to investigate a murder.

Cool huh? I’m afraid that the audiobook is currently out of print – bringing it new attention may rectify that – but, the paperbook is readily available at paperbook stores.

Here is the printed matter preceding Chapter 1 of SS-GB:
Surrender Of Britain To Germany - February 1941

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 7 and Radio 4: Fatherland and You’re Entering The Twilight Zone

SFFaudio Online Audio

SFFaudio’s covert agent in the U.K., codenamed “Roy”, has dug up some very interesting intel and delivered it to our email dead drop:

“As you said on SFFAudio that you liked Anton Lesser in the Falco series, you may want to note that he stars in the five part serialisation of Robert Harris’s Fatherland running on BBC7 this week (this serialisation from 1998 is actually an extended version of the 2 hour play first broadcast on R4 in 1997). You may not have spotted this as it is not in the daily dedicated ‘7th Dimension’ slot.”

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7Beginning on Monday and running daily, BBC7 is airing their adaptation of Robert Harris’ bestselling novel Fatherland. This powerful and award winning drama, examines an alternate history in which the Nazi empire never fell. The setting is 1960s Berlin, on the cusp of Hitler’s 75th birthday. Dramatised and produced by John Dryden, it stars Anton Lesser and Andrew Sachs. This will definitely be one to catch via the Listen Again service!

BBC Radio Drama Fatherland by Robert HarrisFatherland
Based on the novel by Robert Harris; Performed by a full cast
5 Parts – Approx. 2.5 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
BROADCAST: Monday September 7 – Friday September 11 @ 1.30pm, 8.30pm and 1.30am (UK time)
Nazi Germany has won the war. Churchill is living in exile. King Edward and Queen Wallis are puppet monarchs of the UK. It is 1964, a week before Hitler’s 75th birthday. Anton Lesser stars as the Berlin detective called to investigate the suspicious death of a retired German senior civil servant.

Also on the schedule…

You're Entering The Twilight Zone (Radio Times - Jeremy Aspinall)BBC Radio 4There’s a new documentary called You’re Entering The Twilight Zone, which looks back at the venerable The Twilight Zone franchise. It airs on BBC Radio 4 next week. It’s a 30 minute doc that sounds very solid so I’ll be adding this to my Radio Downloader subscription too. It airs September 15th 2009 on BBC Radio 4 @ 11:30 (U.K. time).

“Alan Dein explores the classic American television series The Twilight Zone, as well as the life and imagination of its creator, Rod Serling.

Fifty years ago, Serling ushered audiences into a new realm of light and shadow. He had already electrified the new medium of television with his powerful dramas and their explorations of race, morality and capitalism, but now he offered glimpses of American dreams and nightmares.”

[Thanks Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis