The SFFaudio Podcast #610 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Hunter by Andre Norton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #610 – Star Hunter by Andre Norton; read by Leonie Rose

This unabridged reading of the story (3 hours 37 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and J. Manfred Weichsel talk about Starhunter by Andre Norton

Talked about on today’s show:
Ace Double d-509, Voodoo Planet, 1961, Planet Of Alien Monsters!, a thrill packed account, an interstellar safari, All Cats Are Gray, plotting, geography, this planet somewhere east of the Sierra Madre, a planetary romance, Burroughs’ Africa, Colorado-y, southern Appalachians, water cats, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, relationships vs. biome, safari planet, the sounds of little animals, its the seas are so shallow, Beast Master by Andre Norton, Eye Of The Monster, The Sioux Spaceman, it feels like a series book, space buffalo trap, the sloth people, the takeaway, colonial planets, the county library, The Crystal Gryphon, Quag Keep, bait and switch, Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, a lost heir in space story, the alien mystery was not even solved, People Of The Crater, Star Born, the preliminary art, Jesse is always seduced by the art, a big hole, a famous science fiction writer, Tarzan as a scam (Tarscam), reframe it from the boy’s POV, Lovecraft’s The Outsider, YOU ARE LORD GREYSTOKE!, every time there’s a piece of technology in this story it fails, the alien field, nevermind about that, as a piece of science fiction all the technology is basically useless, let’s have the kid genetically tested, a half-assed plan, a D&D character rolling a 1, provide complications and fill pages, compare this to Kim and The Jungle Book, Citizen Of The Galaxy, Romulus and Remus, my Robot Jox (1989) movie was not inspired by Transformers, I can do that, an heir to something greater, the greatest spy in the Great Game, a mop boy, a dive bar on a cantina planet, part of this Mandalorian religion, a drugged cup of joe, the fake lost heir, intrigue on an alien planet, maybe they’ll find the actual boy, a The Prince And The Pauper situation, writing it over the weekend and handing it in, the Time Trader novels, could Paul draw a map of where they go and what the geography is?, a safari for what?, that looks like a great book, hiding in the foreground, TECHNOLOGY!, sloth man, even the sloth kid doesn’t get the star treatment, spy vs. spy stuff, in the background of the universe, it could have been a cool story, their sociology their anthropology, if you have a science fiction premise, implanting memories in people’s minds, what would that mean?, I am from the future and here is my rocketship to take you to the Moon, promises to the reader, skeptical straight from the getgo, the sloth people, this should be some sort of mirror to our hero, what is he doing there?, turns out nothing important, (drawing Jesse in), aliens secretly running a planet, the Jack Vance Planet Of Adventure novels, Fredric Brown’s Arena, that story is all symbols, a plastiform hand just like Luke Skywalker, Cool!, make him cool!, gentlefemme, one of the things she’s famous for, pardon Paul’s language, economic classes, ethnic groups, an external mystery or threat, Jumanji, Finnish for God, why?, how much drug taking is going on, maybe this *IS* the Great Game, sort of a YA novel, the relationship that Kipling had to his wetnurse, an analog for him, sympathy for the lower classes, of earth stock, because billionaires, a fascinating universe hidden behind the meandering weak plot, special skill, now he wants revenge, it doesn’t work, what was all that for?, an episode of Johnny Quest, if you follow it closely, the art of Johnny Quest, for small children, disrespectful to children, Lord Tyger by Philip Jose Farmer, create a Tarzan in real life, an interesting premise, counting on Farmer for more fun, more interesting than fun, decepticons stuff, Farmer doesn’t know what he’s doing, explanation (don’t care so much), heavy at points, sexual violence, what Tarzan would be like in real life, bad things, a bad person, lynching black men who killed his man, an aesthetic choice, chaste on camera, the whole wild child phenomenon is fascinating, when these things happen, it has happened many times, parents abandoning children, adopted by animals, a logic to it, what is what we do to all our pets, domesticating them as a part of the family, my furbabies, dogs are a part of out society, we have capabilities that they don’t, why Jesse?, I know how it ends, Jesse has his own systems, everybody is immoral in this book, the systems they live within are immoral, sloth guy, that’s a lie, totally immoral, that’s the name of the book, he feels guilty about it, the kid has no future anyway, killed in a bar fight, there’s another way to run this, Andre Norton tries for a saving throw, c’mon man, going along with it would be immoral, you can’t lie to animals exactly, maybe Will would look at it from a legal POV, what are they liable to be charged with?, unlawful confinement, the police’s involvement, condoned by the state, intelligence circles, that’s all they do, yo, programming people, kidnapping, a capital crime, the quasi-police, entrapment, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, ok I’m writing a book this weekend, a Norton quirk, criminals are heroes in the past, Robin Hood, Suicide Squad, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, in the news this week, statues getting pulled down, they were given statues, Winston Churchill, you can’t be a good person and run the empire, the only good person, he’s vying for power?, Jesse can be wrong about books, The Mound by Zealia Bishop and H.P. Lovecraft, maybe totalitarianism and…, the gaining of knowledge is the only thing worth doing, I was promised a headless ghost living in a mound, that’s shit, their heads are inside their torsos, fine here’s your book, dismiss Norton as not worth reading, this is her worst book, Sea Siege is worse, that’s not cool, a nuclear war, trails and goes nowhere, the scene on the cover is fairly early in the book, some ace books, The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick was written to order, a philosophical meditation on the meaning of weapons, it tricked me, the power of a really good cover, when you were young, on an island with no electricity, Smaug sitting on that pile sold me, John’s selling his book based on the cover, the promise of the cover, Lawrence Block doesn’t make bad books, this speaks to me, Jon’s first science fiction book Starman Jones, an aerospace museum gift shop, there’s a little monkey guy on the cover, there’s always Starman Jones, an up and comer, Red Planet, their best friend Willis, a YA thing, the hero or heroine and his furry companion, Star Beast, a pet in the family, we should have just read that, Star Beast is fun, how the economy works, the avuncular wisdom of Heinlein, off planet, these are competing books on the used bookstore bookshelf, more of the same (more cool interesting stuff), more of the stuff you love, Animal Kingdom, crime, Isaac Asimov, Donald E. Westlake, Larry Niven, playing fair, The Long Arm Of Gil Hamilton, Blaking Bad, there is a kind of detachment once you realize the government isn’t going to help you, a quasi dystopia, that perfect setup, he did the right thing, his students are making fun of him, I’m going to use my skills for evil, your background premise, it shows the deficiency even more, orphanages, debatable, unchecked institutions, surplus kids dropped off on people’s doorsteps, orphan trains, WWII, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Ellen Barkin, a family of adult boys, they all hate the mom, willing to kill people, they have a lot of money, you cant go to the cops or the church or the neighbors, sharpen some weapons, put some food aside for a rainy day, following a situation like that, The Shield, he gets a desk job, a weird kind of punishment, at least he’s not happy, the audience for that show is all the people who don’t have that day job, what do you think Andre Norton is thinking, the drugs and the orphans, a massive dystopia outside the tiny little view of it, expand please, the traumas of the post war moment are right under the surface, America in 1961, before the War on Poverty programs, back from WWII and the Korean War, taking turns at the uncle’s house, the backdrop, our society, in this strange sci-fi setting, plenty of orphans, Fake Heiress, another survival technique, assumed identity, past the Mississippi be a different person, Henry Morton Stanley, Joseph Conrad, ornamental last names, the morality of big game hunting, accidentally hunt humans, trophy hunting, grandbosses, contact protocols, implied shooting of aliens, another technology failure, this stuff never fail, there’s only a few of them, a class thing, the guides, the rich guy doesn’t need the food, this trap may be there to kill water cats (over hundreds of years), very small planet, passive fishing, shortly thereafter the megafauna disappear, anything we cant domesticate becomes food, having a distaste for big game hunting, ridiculous and stupid, maybe hippos are yummy, a taste problem, go read a book yo, just something to do, like jetskiing, what the billionaire class does, I must have my water cat, rich clueless idiot tourists, the collector who wants to classify every butterfly, on the level intellectually of really liking go-carts, a very basic visceral thrill, something to brag about, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, he’s exactly like Zaroff now, this is his castle now, that’s a Jesse thought, Jesse just wants to hunt people, check it out, Trish has a different conclusion, the most popular download, more than a quarter of a million downloads, the Russian angle, a 1924 story, his noble seat, now he’s gone too far, Shiptrap Island, a different show, recommendations, Sneaky Pete, bonds vs. bail bonds, satisfying, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, great great great, Jo Walton review, doppelgangers, earth stock vs. space stock, compact vs. elongated, The Smoke Ring, The Integral Trees, big ideas, small plot problem, their tree is falling apart, those big ideas sure are big, we squeezed this very slim volume dry, something she does often, it is not PC, it is PC, it can be both, identifying with the natives, an anti-colonial novel, The Sioux Spaceman his hawk-man style costume, a very political book, she changed her name to match her pseudonym, that sounds like fun book, it sounds like Star Trek, investigate the universe and fix it all up, a stagnant galaxy, a Foundation TV show, let’s get on this spaceship and have a conversation, one day there should be books in a library, on the other side of the galaxy, one day there will be a Mule, that will be important, Paul Krugman must be wetting his pants, a superhero movie about The Mule, the I, Robot (2004) movie, The Naked Sun, a murder mystery.

Andre Norton's Star Hunter - preliminary art by Ed Emshwiller

Star Hunter by Andre Norton

ACE DOUBLE D-509 - Star Hunter by Andre Norton

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The SFFaudio Podcast #539 – READALONG: The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #539 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Talked about on today’s show:
All-Story Weekly, August 9 – September 6, 1919, a little too familiar with it, Bruce Wayne’s parent’s murder in Crime Alley, Batman’s origin story, Joe Chill, Zorro, like the gospels, apocryphal, the 1940s Batman, The Mark Of Zorro (1920), Gotham, Christian Bale, The Mark Of Zorro (1940), Tyrone Power, what a man!, oh I know this one, a revelation, I hate you now, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., such a good movie, twisting his own arm, silent movies, mouthing at each other, dubbing, lip reading, the year after the serial, identical plot, the action sequences are so good, Antonio Banderas, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), all the movie beats, one of those translation things, Don Diego Vega, a foppy guy, really into slight of hand, something that’s stuck with every subsequent production, The Disney, the 1974 TV movie remake using the same script and music, Frank Langella as Zorro, a strange choice, a board on the back of her head, visualizing the text, the beginning, middle, and end of his character, this handkerchief is turned into a flower, have you seen this one?, finger curlicues to show excitement about this kiss, the first United Artists movie, Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), a half mask like Batman, Zorro is the spot in between everything that came before and superheroes as we know them, Who was America’s first superhero, Tornado is the Batmobile, the dynamic duo, Alfred, a dual identity, The Scarlet Pimpernel, adventures in America, Americans can eat it up, California, westerns, I’m earning a living so I’m writing it all, he wrote lots of pulp, the elements, better than a western, help the poor, the beautiful woman, choose her own path, 1909, supposed to be a surprise, you were spoiled for it, the text doesn’t tell you, the reveal here is at the end, at what point does it become clear, four minutes later, a physical face to look at, the powers of Batman, an acrobat, jumping and swinging, in real life you have to wear a full mask, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, no one will want to read it if it is spoiled, retconned right away, he captured lighting in a bottle and people want more lightning, like heaven on Earth, his secret lair, not a Batcave it’s a Foxcave, every superhero who is not superman, Bruce Banner, angry guy, he’s always angry, an issue with both, Zorro is the good guy because he’s fighting an unjust government, Batman’s doing the government’s job for them, a folk hero, being mean to the natives, when don’s have their taxes raised to high, Batman’s psychology, crazy criminals, a child of The Scarlet Pimpernel, unjust to the rich people, his posse is the sons of the dons, the families being oppressed, the focus around the family, the good aristocrat being oppressed by the government, the government is completely corrupt, Zorro as a libertarian hero?, an Ayn Randian hero, oh god!, the servant is both deaf and dumb, the Disney version he’s mute (not deaf), he’s everywhere, indio?, interesting to think about, pre-1849 California, the placenames and the missions, what’s the population?, fighting for justice, it’s all about blood, blood is everywhere, 1820 or so, blood x 79, 1,300 people, after the gold-rush, Julie’s read historical fiction, a backwater of Mexico, right across the street from the tavern, a phrase that was used in the period, WWI, writers read stuff, 1920s magazines, what decade based on the ads, fads that rise and fall, the 19teens and 1920s, eugenics theory, standard straight up racism, I’d rather marry a native than marry you, an insult, here’s how low I’ll go, badly OCR’d, the natives are on the bottom, less and less emphasized, you are of excellent blood, of the best blood in the land, class structure, a Vega when he takes a mate, woman-trading, some choice in the matter, historically accurate, its not super-super-clear what he is at first, he’s a robber, Zorro is already known, he’s already a legend, I was fifteen I saw something bad happen, two different aspects, Batman doesn’t rob the robbers, he’s Robin Hood at that point, a redistributor of wealth, Jesse James, Billy The Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, sticking it to the man, if he weren’t a fictional character, we’ve been trained by reality, killing people, Batman doesn’t kill, Zed not Zee, Zedero, Sgt. Gonzales, Captain Ramos, you’re not who I thought you were, a comedy relationship, Commissioner Gordon, he’s worse than the governor, sir leave this house right now, where not to me, quasi-rapist, he deserved his fate, he bought him his drinks, Sgt. Schultz is the same character, Hogan’s Heroes, a send-up of Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Escape From Sobibor, subverting the Nazis by staying in the camp, TV crossover, how does the timeline work?, the ridiculousness of Batman, most of the good super-hero writers have to avoid that sort of thing, zipping people, Catherine Zeta-Jones, its a cartoon, you can’t take Batman super-seriously, Arkham Asylum, Watchmen [and The Boys], The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the plot of Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, very funny, a tense line between serious and comedic, The Mask Of Zorro is a rebooting, Zorro makes a mockery of the soldiers, in the book he has a pistol, Sgt. Gonzales is a blustering fool of a character, physically comedic, a comic figure, he threatens death to people all day long, derailed for six months, my beautiful soul what have I done to it?, added to and polished up, suddenly he’s an 1820 superhero, Pirate Batman, The Lego Batman Movie (2017), he’s Robin Hood, reality is not as it is, formulating a plan, right from the start, he got his superpowers in the army, Captain America, romance, a ladies’ man, he’s the man all women want, he’s Tyrone Power and he knows it, the audio drama, Val Kilmer, Armin Shimmerman was terrific, Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside, he’s the Friar Tuck character, the same role, the Frey gets his licks in, serialized stories, they’re in Spanish California, he hides Maid Marian, a three hour audio drama for a six hour book, the framing, you’re buying drink, you want to know about Zorro?, at the end, Val Kilmer is about to reveal his identity, that’s another story, the change that had to happen, superheroes are not one offs they are continuous, the whole writing problem, writing for series, every book after that his identity is secret, Superman has a different origin, Captain America is an interesting case, recruiting and selling warbonds, all the things they did to recruit people for WWI and sell war bonds, pickle-helmet, a captured u-boat you could tour in Central Park during WWI, except for Dr Manhattan, masked vigilantes, Night Owl sits in his lair all day, kinda sad, the fundamental concept, they’re making fun of it, a very fine line, no the Batman you know, the 1989 reboot, where does he get those wonderful toys, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, nipples for George Clooney’s Batman, Holy rusted metal, Batman!, I’m walking out of the theater, there’s no winking, he’s not super-handsome, he did the adaptation, Robert Pattinson, a different way of running things, I’m gonna go practice my swordsmanship, reveling in that, this is a MOVIE!, Elevated short film, Vincenzo Natali, Cube (1997), set in an elevator, a student film, there’s something outside the elevator, when you make it a feature, most people read novels, once you get into that novel thing you sort of want more, the mask and the slight of hand stuff, this is why people get excited about film and making movies, cute and interesting, its not Zorro, a red flower, Zorro is a fox, the fox personality, Lady Zorro, Queen Of Swords, Jack Of All Trades, all so good, all died too soon, Bruce Campbell, the perfect combination of humour and physicality, that swagger, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), training scenes with Anthony Hopkins, the head in the jar, how many Zorro products there are, comics, the Disney colourized TV series looks terrible, Guy Williams, very Disney, the sidekick, his version of sign-language, sound effects, heavily music’d, a half-hour format, a cartoon, well done, Desilu, The Wild Wild West, it became a good show, Robert Conrad, you gotta see the show, there’s a fine line between ridiculous and perfect, they went the other way, all these things you see as a ridiculous, a subversive reading, is Batman just crazy and he’s the one in Arkham Asylum?, a spy-show and a western show merged together, you like James Bond and you like Westerns, this is that, so villainous, that Batman element pulled-back a little bit, a few gadgets, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, the bumbling character, The Avengers, Diana Rigg, so quirky, its not romantic but its not not-romantic, Mrs. Peel, the ridiculous stuff but in a serious way, Moonlighting, they broke the formula, he stumbled into something, perfectly serviceable entertainment for 1920, the Zorro Legion, all the dons put on masks, I’m Spartacus, the opening of The Mask Of Zorro, I’m ZORRO!, Batman comics in the 1970s, they have to work through all these ideas, better in the original, a ridiculous little coda, the self-made, the little boy’s dream, the right age for it, he held onto it and perfected it, B.J. , Meal mush and goatsmilk!, sounds like breakfast, an interstellar version of Zorro, planetary romance, A Princess Of Mars, feels very open and similar, so imagination, what are the possibility around every corner, The Pirates Of Ersatz, dual identity, back to my birth-planet, how could people have missed that opportunity, the same ending (its over), I stared a series, a retcon, a tiny little infodump at the end of the book, the Frailes (Franciscans), I pretended to have a small interest in life, horsemanship, in secret, go to Tibet and study with ninjas, that’s a prequel, San Juan Capistrano, in the middle and the end of his story, designed to be a reveal, all will be revealed, this is a mystery, give us another mystery!, deliberately cruel, the whole thing was a big wink, about expectations, the reader is rewarded for the knowledge that they already had, what’s in this chapter, what’s going to come next, spoiler soapbox, go back to favourite chapters, chapter titles as a guides, The Lord Of The Rings, children’s books, a preview, an affectation, a movie about a book being read to a kid, Dread Pirate Roberts, playing with the tension between, why Deadpool is such a great character, Fred Savage, Wilfred Brimley, Misery, when you’re reading Prisoner Of Zenda you’re taken away with a wink wink, in our post modern era, go look at Shakespeare, breaking the fourth wall all day long, a bunch of tropes and ridiculousness, that perfect path between the ridiculous and what we want from a story, story solving problems, doing all that work for Jesse, The Princess Bride is Zorro, essentially, the same spirit, Julie will allow it, if Julie were Jesse’s judge, would Paul be legalistic, when somebody lies people gets really upset, seems reasonable, repentance is important, a kind of conservationism, strict father conservatism, a gut reaction, don’t fritter away your money, do you’re research, I don’t really care about the details, a narrow escape, nope, none of that, wait I can explain, exactly, where’s my gavel, there’s a podcast there, hot takes, duly noted, Canadaland, a podcast format, we don’t have time to do all of it, what’s really important, this is an interesting story, nope not having any, half-price bookstore, Jenny Colvin’s speed dating with books, she’s reading books about every country in Asia, the Hmong, extra time, she’s just a reading machine, help with the curse, Alta California, Baja California, a poor choice, a Hmong movie, endogamous, hmoung the highest, Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Ethiopian population of Minneapolis, Toronto, Gran Turino (2008), Captain Phillips (2013), bitter flavours, we’re done.

The Mark Of Zorro - adapted by Yuri Rasovsky

Guy Williams and Johnston McCulley

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #428 – READALONG: Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Podcast
Lawrence Block's Burglars Can't Be Choosers
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #428 – Jesse and Maissa Bessada talk about Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block.

Talked about on today’s show:
1977, a Matt Scudder book: A Walk Among Among The Tombstones, cut-up women, he most brutal book Maissa’s ever read, sex, comedy and mystery, a treasure hunt, little gems, is that ever cool!, the 2 cassette audiobook (heavily abridged), just under six hours, it percolated along, coffee drinking, word humour and word play, why I love to read Lawrence Block books, 11 books in the series, 4 short stories, percolating dialogue, an Agatha Christie style mystery, Lawrence Block is an excellent narrator, you’re intellectually engaged, turning the horror of crime into a cozy murder mystery, a magician, sleight of hand, false directions, The Purloined Letter, the Blackstone Audio afterword, maybe I’ll try crime, everything you see on the page is Block’s brain, sparkling personality, Bernie doesn’t age, his burglar charms, Ruth Hightower, you can call me Roger, subsequent books, a front for a burglary business, Block’s dialogue and writing, the whole back end, seeing things we’re not allowed to see, what is happening?, the psychology of the character is a mystery to himself, Carolyn the lesbian poodle groomer, Carolyn is the Watson to Bernie’s Sherlock, it always was a parody, that love of books, contemplating a life of crime, Robin Hood, what kind of dog?, maybe a stuffed dog, no shedding, it’s obvious who the murderer is, carefully set like a jewel, a lot is unconscious, Ruth’s the murderer, suspects, some lurker in the shadows, how small New York is, it fits to Agatha Christie neat, that’s the genre, he’s playing totally by the Hal Clement rules, Mission Of Gravity, Two If By Sea, putting all the evidence before us, a particular hobby horse, The Burglar Who Liked To Quote Kipling, Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, Piet Mondrian, baseball, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, The Burglar In The Library, locked room murder mystery, The Burglar In The Rye, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons, told in first person, Like A Thief In The Night, A Bad Night For Burglars, from this character’s point of view, fitting in to one area of art or collecting, this is the theater one, everybody’s an actor, everybody in the book has another name or a hidden identity, Lauren, the 85 bucks, a burglar code of ethics, “I never believed in overlooking cash”, choices, the cop costume, which one is the real burglar?, they totally switch, Wesley Brill, playing “the heavy”, he’s lost his skill, this is the book where he gets his skill back, writing fiction is a kind of magic, losing the magic, Lawrence Block is always retiring from writing, staying in hotels, breaking into his own hotel room, writers who write for a living, Bernie’s lifestyle is Block’s lifestyle, going through a divorce, moving to California, an amazing soup of goodness, he’s a soup fiend, he’s also the “Man In The Middle”, Russian dolls, why isn’t this book much better known, Burglar (1987), gender swapped, Bobcat Goldthwait, too much in the words, it would make a great comic, imagery, exposition is not great for comics, a Hercule Poirot ending, Penguin Audio audiobooks, Richard Ferrone’s narration, Recorded Books, masks, Roger Armitage, they’re lying to each other, call me “Wes”, John Wesley, oh there you are!, fake names, really recognizable, how you know someone, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, The Maltese Falcon (1941), two guys looking for the bird, the rara avis, the pear shaped man, a pre-telling, Ms. Brill by Katherine Mansfield, an ESL teacher in France, creating an internal life, an active imagination, moth powder, his yacht, a fried whiting, a flounder, a fox stole, honey cake, Maissa misread it, Reading, Short And Deep, Julie Hoverson’s narration of Ms. Brill, a little box room, Lawrence Block were you inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s story…?: No., a brill is a fish, the ermine toque = fur hat, knocked on the nose, everything is reflecting everything else, without even having read it, echoes of brill, Goldilocks, archetypes, Bernie assumes Ruth has a husband, Ellie, cheating, the ultimate woman, Darla Sandoval, he hasn’t cheated…yet, his cop costume, you don’t even need those burglar’s tools, a break in as a sexual thing, the ability to open locks, modelling a life on Bernie Rhodenbarr, locks and keys, how many passwords, one password, power and speed, a ream of keys, access, keys are responsibilities that weigh you down, physically and metaphorically, memorization, having lockpicks, lockpicking, water my plants, his burglary life, Mrs. Hesh, power is attractive, like sexual triumph, tumblers finishing, he doesn’t want it to be too clear, on the tip of understanding, “I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here”, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, a true consulting detective, Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe is a cogitating machine, perfect recall, fine living, food, a reveal, parceled out, we get all of the story, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle getting bored of the form, we are Bernie’s Watson, The Silver Blaze, he totally cheated us, cheating, honest cheating cops, the person behind everything, the second gun, triggering, a real play?, second cabbie, James Garner, “Sound Of Distant Drums”, phrases, things that suggest, suggesting rather than saying, a certain feeling, Block is a master manipulator, you flinched, he charmed me out a lot of money, playing a role from the very beginning, he’s an actor, really great, incredibly enjoyable, examining the furniture, shaking out the books, so much in there, intellectual exercise, whodunit?, if you want to know about Watergate now’s the time to read about it, wait twenty years, a good mystery novel gives you all the facts, I feel like Ray Kirschmann, we were totally cheated, a bed is a bed is a bed, no bed of roses, set apart from our world, everybody smokes, no internet, cellphones, computers, answering services, the world has been transformed, visiting a simpler time, sexism of the period is quaint, slightly askew.

POCKET BOOKS - Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Posted by Jesse Willis

Audio drama review: Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse by Richard Carpenter

SFFaudio Review

Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The ApocalypseRobin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse
By Richard Carpenter; Performed by a full cast
2 Hours – CD or Digital Download [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Spiteful Puppet
Published: June 30, 2016

England in the reign of King John and a dark force is intent on conquest. Only the hooded man can stand against it… The church lies impotent at the mercy of the Pope and the interdict against the kingdom. With the people living in fear and a series of disappearances that threaten the very fabric of noble society, Robin ‘i’ the hood and his band of outlaws must race to rescue the past so that the future may be protected. A journey to Huntingdon and beyond Sherwood will see them battle their most dangerous enemy yet as Herne’s son faces The Knights of the Apocalypse…

If you close your eyes you’ll see it – it being a new two part episode of the classic ITV television series Robin Of Sherwood, minus the grainy 16mm film stock. From the opening Clannad theme – you’ll see it all – that brightly lit forest green, those grey stone castles and churches, the flashing swords, the flying arrows. You’ll of course hear them all too.

Early into The Knights Of The Apocalypse we learn that England is suffering under the “Interdict”, a punishment of all of England for King John’s offence of the Catholic Church. This really happened. The titular Knights of the Apocalypse, though fictional, are said to be a breakaway branch of the Knights Templar – and the ultimate historical destruction of the Templars is very effectively retroactively-foreshadowed in this production.

The two hours, in two parts, had me struggling with the heroes, thinking deep thoughts, rallying against the heavy hand of oppression, chuckling at the baddies, laughing with the heroes, worried at what might possibly happen next, then heart-warmed, and ultimately delighted at the lightfooted sweep all the little details added up to. This is an epic as big as The Swords Of Wayland and as revolutionary as Robin Hood And The Sorcerer.

Barnaby Eaton-Jones, the producer, seems to have made it his mission to make The Knights Of The Apocalypse as true to the original show as humanly possible. Soliciting initial funding using an indiegogo campaign, Eaton-Jones paired a script by the now deceased Richard Carpenter, Robin Of Sherwood‘s creator (he also wrote some of the show’s finest episodes), and tracked down every living member of the original cast to this production. The result is truly tremendous! It is amazing to hear the voices of that old cast once again – Mark Ryan (the brooding Saracen swordsman Nasir), Ray Winstone (forever the hot-headed Will Scarlet), Clive Mantle (smiling and gentle Little John), Jason Connery (that noble second incarnation of Robin, the hooded man), curly haired Judi Trott (voicing the summer maid of Sherwood, Marian), Phil Rose (the friendly friar, Tuck), and Peter Llewellyn Williams (Much, the simple miller’s son).

A lot of folks probably think of Alan Rickman as the most iconic Sheriff of Nottingham – he was terrific – but for me the worst (and by that I mean best) Sheriff of Nottingham will always be Nickolas Grace. Grace is back to his old tricks; playing that cowardly cartoon of law, that malefactor of injustice, all the while wonderfully dripping contempt and venom from every sour word. We get Grace in several scenes, including some with his equally contemptible brother, the Abbot Hugo, played wonderfully once again by Philip Jackson. A few of the voices are new, filling in for the deceased Robert Addie (Guy of Gisbourne) and Daniel Abineri (Herne, now played by his son). But we also get some audio drama stars like Colin Baker and Terry Molloy playing guest villains.

The Knights Of The Apocalypse is a magical experience. Its story will satisfy, so much so that it could slip-in right next to that final TV episode that aired June 28, 1986. No, this is not a reboot, not re-imagining, not a rerun – this is a reunification. You’ll be reunited in righteous camaraderie with the merry folk of Sherwood – doing the work that must be done, for the good of the people, and breaking the law as needs must.

In reading some of the other early reviews I think they’ve short-shrifted both the historicity and the timeliness (or maybe the timelessness) of what’s going on in The Knights Of The Apocalypse. This really isn’t just a story about how a cute cult TV show got a little fan service 30 years after the last episode aired. No, this is a story about power, politics, economics, about religion. This is a story about class and class struggle, human virtue and human vice. For who is King John, that off-screen terror, if not the hubristic government the governs for the rich and not for all? Who is the Sheriff of Nottingham if not a cynical functionary enforcing the unjust laws unequally, and for his own gain? And why is it, exactly, that an old folktale about a band of heroes who break the law for the good of the people so very, very resonant exactly 30 years (or approximately 550 years) after they were first told?

Here’s a recent piece of publicity:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Robin Of Sherwood: Knights Of The Apocalypse

SFFaudio News

Robin Of Sherwood: The Knights Of The Apocalypse

“The 1980s television classic Robin of Sherwood is making a comeback to audio. The original cast – including Ray Winstone, Jason Connery, Clive Mantle, Judi Trott and Nickolas Grace – will reunite for a one-off audio adventure, The Knights of the Apocalypse. It will be released in early 2016.
The Knights of the Apocalypse was penned after the end of the television series by the creator of Robin of Sherwood, Richard Carpenter, but never filmed. In tribute to Carpenter, who died in 2012, all profits will go to his favourite charities. Robin of Sherwood fans can help bring the story to life, and receive exclusive rewards, by donating towards production costs through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo from September 15th 2015.
The feature-length story will be produced by Bafflegab Productions, producers of audio series The Scarifyers (as heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra), Hammer Films audio anthology Hammer Chillers, and The Brenda and Effie Mysteries, starring Anne Reid (winner of the Gold New York Radio Award for Best Audiobook 2015)”

-from the press release

The Indiegogo campaign wbegins today: http://igg.me/at/robin-of-sherwood

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #331 – READALONG: The Lord Of The Rings (Book 4 of 6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #331 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Lord of the Rings Book IV (“The Journey To Mordor”) by J.R.R. Tolkien (aka the second half of The Two Towers).

Talked about on today’s show:
Book 4, from The Taming Of Smeagol to the end of The Two Towers, or “Don’t get tangled-up with a spider”, or “Frodo slogging through the marshes forever”, or “nothing but a bunch of people walking”, Jesse’s least favorite, so gloomy, poems, flora, fauna, stew, Julie thinks it’s necessary, encounters, the overall gloom, the purification of Frodo, also Sam, carry-on and finish-off, Sam as the hero, Sam telling the story, Sam is the lowest of the low, the evolution of Sam, Sam is jealous of Gollum, Jesse loves the meta-stuff, “Mr Frodo, sir”, Smeagol must save them both, once upon a time, “Tell me more about Sam, dad.”, the huge elf warrior, Gollum’s story, we’re never the villain, what inspired Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains, seeing it from the orcs’ point of view, how well structured, looking forward and looking back, nuanced and multi-layered, Tolkien’s reputation, a very black and white moral sensibility…, the other point of view, the creation of orcs, Melkor, one of the seven gods of Middle Earth, the blight of Mordor, the flowers on the crown, dark and light, Frodo and Gollum, old and beautiful vs. old and pitiable, they could have been each other, the argument between Gollum and himself, the editing, why is Gollum bad, stinker and slinker, Sam’s apology to Smeagol, Smeagol is passive aggressive, the timing as the greatest tragedy of the whole book, Cory Olsen, the lost opportunity, twisting the promise, what the ring has promised him, Gollum the great could eat fish three times a day!, his modest dreams, like a dog off a leash, he’s like a dog in every way, guilty dogs, dogs turning on their masters, fish are sweet to Gollum, everything that we like he hates, calling Gandalf’s words to mind, the big picture, the eye is looking for you, Smeagol’s contribution, even the worst evil, chance if chance you call it, diverting evil to good, the deal with Faramir, another structural thing, three travelers in a land, Riders Of Rohan, who be you, it is totally a mirror, Aragorn and crew, revealing vs. being discovered, the righteous, blindfolded again, a foreshadowing of Éowyn, well the Rohirrim are great but…, bear that in mind, Faramir’s mind reading power, who are the Númenóreans?, Jesse thinks it is wisdom, not so much about race, it’s because he’s full of lore, the mind reading thing, Galadriel’s telepathy, “No”, “come hither”, ESP?, character vs. race, country first (Borimir) vs. wisdom first (Faramir),

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.

this is the guy, the BBC radio drama, you ran all the way to me!?, Tolkien is teasing us, an echo of Galadriel, grey eyes glinting, not if I found it on the highway, “It’s not a romance novel, Julie.”, “Wow, what a guy!”, David Wenham, Aragorn is a ranger of the North and Faramir is a ranger of the South, Sam’s oliphant, what false promises did Sauron make to these guys?, dressed like Robin Hood and the merry men of Sherwood, one of the most religious things in The Lord Of The Rings, a meeting in the secret lair, Sam’s overspeaking reflecting Frodo’s overspeaking back in the Prancing Pony, heart over head, another geographical reflection, behind a waterfall, Helm’s Deep, seeing Rohan, seeing the storm, the dark skies, Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul, the chapter titles, The Passage Of The Marshes, The Black Gate Is Closed, Of Herbs And Stewed Rabbit, ruin the conies, the homely things, pots and pans, the phial of Galadriel, the Checkov’s shotguns, the belt that Borimir was given, the magic items, used once, Hobbits learn to cook before they speak, the rope!, Shelob stings Frodo like when Frodo is stung by the morgul blade back at Weathertop, running blindly on the bridge, Cirith Ungol, Shelob is Ungoliant’s daughter, the children of Shelob inhabit Mirkwood, South African spiders, how many time has the ring been worn?, Bilbo at the party, Frodo at the Prancing Pony, Frodo at Weathertop, Frodo at Amon Hen, Frodo at Borimir’s confrontation, Sam at Shelob’s lair, the ring’s effect on Sam, different people are effected differently by the ring, Frodo’s power with the ring would be to command, the ring is like a computer, if you think google is the internet…, the ring gives invisibility as a basic power, it gives Sam the power of sharp hearing and translation, Frodo can see more, Sam’s superpower is listening (he was an eavesdropper), as they approach Mordor the ring gets heavier and more powerful, leap from a precipice into a fire, it also blinds Frodo, the ring’s perception, “the master’s back”, because it is linked to Sauron, like a dog?, back to the magic items, if you play Dungeons and Dragons, a bow of plus to killing orcs, even Borimir’s gift, Sam’s dirt, Frodo’s phial, Sting from Frodo to Sam, leaving the Mithril armor, and then there’s the rope, the tying of the rope, is it a magic rope?, Galadriel’s rope?, that’s not her gift, words have power, another manifestation, “We got rope” [says some random elf], cloaks, rope, and bread, who is following?, is Gollum really allergic to the rope, if somebody tied me up, he can’t eat the lembas, he hates light, the ropes, and the nice things, climbing down Dracula-style, he knows his knots, the mystery from the previous, what happened to the entwives?, back in the Green Dragon Inn, “oh those tales”, the Ents tell where the Entwives went, the Brown Lands are brown, Jesse found a thread somewhere on the internet, Teleporno, a lot of digital ink was spilled, the last paragraph of page 258, just after watching the storm, “the skirt of the storm”, primed for finding the entwives, looking at Fanghorn,

At last they were brought to a halt. The ridge took a sharper bend northward and was gashed by a deeper ravine. On the further side it reared up again, many fathoms at a single leap: a great grey cliff loomed before them, cut sheer down as if by a knife stroke. They could go no further forwards, and must turn now either west or east. But west would lead them only into more labour and delay, back towards the heart of the hills; east would take them to the outer precipice.

“There’s nothing for it but to scramble down this gully, Sam,” said Frodo. “Let’s see what it leads to!”

“A nasty drop, I’ll bet,” said Sam.

The cleft was longer and deeper than it seemed. Some way down they found a few gnarled and stunted trees, the first they had seen for days: twisted birch for the most part, with here and there a fir-tree. Many were dead and gaunt, bitten to the core by the eastern winds. Once in milder days there must have been a fair thicket in the ravine, but now, after some fifty yards, the trees came to an end, though old broken stumps straggled on almost to the cliff’s brink. The bottom of the gully, which lay along the edge of a rock-fault, was rough with broken stone and slanted steeply down. When they came at last to the end of it, Frodo stooped and leaned out.

ties it too a stump, got this rope from the elves, oh I don’t want it elf rope behind, the rope is not magic, not really high fantasy, the birch stump untied the rope!, the last of the entwives, Frodo and Sam aren’t looking out for the entwives, “10 points for creativity”, a structural argument, they untie their bonds and sit down on a stump, answering any and every question, Julie goes with Tolkien’s answer, Jesse argues for the book over the author, here’s proof that the entwives are there, every time Galadriel’s name gets mentioned, the last thing he says is Galadriel and he strokes the rope, there is no truth of the matter, we cannot go to Middle Earth except by reading this book, Jesse keeps marshaling the argument, “you will find friends”, “Elrond is right”, two hobbits sit down on a stump and are taken by a tree, on the edge of a forest, symmetrically it works, an undefeatable argument unless, if were trying to solve mysteries…, the fragrant area, it used to be, this place had its history too before it was the Brown Lands, there are things we don’t know and things Tolkien didn’t know about it, world-build the hell out of it, structurally: the time, a three day foot journey to the west and a three day foot journey to the east, near simultaneous action, the end of page 70, even the wind is mapped out, Emun Myul, “almost felt you liked the place?”, a magic talking tree, the final nail in the coffin, the birch, the word book comes from the word birch, bravo bravo, the mystery is left there, when we were talking about the word stuff, Tom Bombadil,

‘It’s a trap!’ said Sam, and he laid his hand upon the hilt of his sword; and as he did so, he thought of the darkness of the barrow whence it came. ‘I wish old Tom was near us now!’ he thought. Then as he stood, darkness about him and a blackness of despair and anger in his heart, it seemed to him that he saw… a light in his mind, almost unbearably bright at first…. Far off… he saw the Lady Galadriel… in Lórien, and gifts were in her hands. And you, Ring-bearer, he heard her say, remote but clear, for you I have prepared this.

and that happens again, Sam brings light by thought, the big theme, with this phial, brandishing this light, intolerable light, unbearable light, the infection of light, Frodo asleep becoming a phial of light, Sam seeing it in Frodo, Frodo fading?, Frodo purified?, light going through him, the pincushion effect!, Frodo the white, the trend of weariness, the fate of all the elves, Mythgard Academy, that’s a choice, The Choices Of Master Samwise, you noodle!, everything that happens in the last book, foolish choices (wise choices), signing a contract you haven’t read, who would have the ring now?, somebody cut this open, the orcs had orders, in the floaty ghosty of the eye, the black hand only has four fingers, does Sauron have a body?, rolling Frodo into a ditch, all my choices have proved ill, what good lay in choice?, the very last map in The Two Towers, the wetwang and the entwash, Rohan, the new book The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski, telling the story of The Inklings, Lewis’ atheism and conversion, intertextuality, reading each other’s minds, Eagle And Child pub, Hugo Dyson, an alternate theory on the entwives, the vocal mannerisms of treebeard are those of C.S. Lewis, the question is not: “where are the entwives” but rather “where are our husbands?”, Dorothy L. Sayers, a male exclusive club, christian apologetics, a shoo–in.

UNICORN - The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
MAGNUM - The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
UNICORN - The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by Jesse Willis