The SFFaudio Podcast #633 – READALONG: The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #633 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about the The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s idea, TBR [to be read], book 2 in a series, standalone, Culture books, a giant black hole, 10 book series, Inversions, culture tech, Transitions, the book to read, Consider Phlebas, Excession, shared universe, unsympathetic protagonist, Gurgeh, is that what we want from a main character?, being nice, reading about unpleasant people doing evil things, horrible people doing horrible things, our very few rules, flawed, spoiler rules, a spoiler and a save it for the podcast, how could you spoil that doesn’t have that content, a moral failing on Will’s part, we’re all healing, the definition of the culture, post scarcity, dangerous, Evan Lampe is very dry, honest feelings he was trying to share illegally, no laws, social customs, sincere, a serious book, not just entertainment, serious ideas, its both, political philosophy, up against a galactic empire, aimed in his sights, the ending, an inferno of fire, science fictional empires are not the target, what ruling class is like, the Epstein stuff, the private island, the blackmail, deviations we want to do, games, if you want a house, with no money and no possessions, gambling, no money or excess money, throughout the book, about economics, if games have options to make the stakes higher Jesse always wants it, Enemy Territory, friendly fire on, one life to live, no respawns, Roguelikes, Ironman Mode, gluttons for punishment, a legitimate game, a game within my own game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the excitement of potential loss or even ruin, a further extreme, good at exploring the topic its talking about, the player is getting played (by everyone), he’s playing himself, a really good book and a really bad book, why people like reading the series, Luke Burrage talking about this series, feeding the wrong part of my brain, the comforting stuff, a utopia, a fake utopia, the Culture is Heaven, everybody has a guardian angel, under the cloak of science fiction, Banks is using rules, lightspeed rules, people without a terminal, they send a rocket to save you, designed to be heaven, ooh its so fun, its like a rot, its a bad apple, its like satire, where we’re headed, so incredibly great, if you one and done it, a little more tongue in cheek, the impossibility he’s playing with, poked fun of, he’s doing it, he’s having his cake and eating it too, everybody who wants to change genders whenever they want to, you can have anything you want, the bullshit is consistent (therefore interesting), book after book set in the same place, Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, outside the ship problems, the coziness of The Next Generation, its a TV show, they’re dealing with it in an hour or 40 minutes, this is soaking in it, dangerous, they’re striving, a satire of a goal, Gulliver’s Travels is a satire of us, Gulliver’s Travels 2: The New Boogaloo, make money, its a good book, the tendencies in it are towards series, Jesse can blame Iain Banks, I was just following the trends, a writer’s gotta eat, in the culture he wouldn’t have written other culture books, is the culture a satire of itself?, yes, projecting his own values, what’s he’s good at, what’s useful about this book, criticism of the results of that kind of society, an anarchist or libertarian communist society, there’s no king, the tyranny of structurelessness, they’re benign, this is God, what about when earthquakes happen and babies die, doing a satire, relishing the experience of satirizing, the tendrils, the seduction, like reading Lord Of The Rings, its fun to go to Bree, benignant, conquering vs. toppling vs. annexing, regime changing, because they’re good, Gaddafi is a bad man, they need to be liberated, the drone, the horror that capitalism has wrought, mercantilism, bamboozles, blackmailed, secret police, they tricked one of their pets into doing a show, he suspects, puppetting, annoying, cast out of heaven, I had to steal the money otherwise I would be embarrassed, they played him, snookered, the fun-house mirror of the empire, the empire is more honest, naked power structures, a benign autocracy, he volunteered, the pushing is so wimpy, he wants to get invited to parties, he would lose his status, labeled as a cheater, he would get fewer papers published, he’s convinced to go, it was still his choice, he might kill himself if he was revealed, they’re going to make it your choice, that’s why we’re pets, our own enslavement to them, we’ve done it to ourselves, no civic virtue, a spy service, the super powerful people manipulate the weak people, he’s got PTSD, he lives in a cushion, ground fine, he gets sacrificed, another series that ran way to long, the journey was worthwhile, Ringworld, Louis Wu was tricked into doing what he wants, the luckiest girl on the planet, a big dumb object vs. our contemporary planet, three sexes, really its Earth, customs, a culture, friendly (not an empire), they kill you with kindness, physically worse things, King Midas, he got overexcited about the one thing he was passionate about, what are you gonna do in a society, go into games and live there, living to play, you gotta go build some LEGO, creative work, art, he knows what he’s doing, really smart, like Charles Stross plus Larry Niven plus Olaf Stapledon, well expressed, he ended up seducing himself, why Jesse avoided it in the first place, worth studying, Will has endless time, the whole Babysitter’s Club, Shelfwear, the Starship series by Mike Resnick, lotta good dead writers, Star Trek with Captain Kirk saying fuck the federation, succulent, more like Horatio Hornblower, he can’t keep writing and make me read more of them, the prequel to The Lord Of The Rings TV series, exploration of post-scarcity, this is not achievable, ship-bound, the black black sky, the kids equivalent of ten forward, you want to have your family with you, almost killed every episode, that move is interesting, privileging audiobooks over TV shows, Jesse might be snobbish, novellas and novelettes were the perfect length for science fiction, idea fiction, Olaf Stapledon wrote books not novels, this is a good book, soak in the playing of the game, the meta-game, a lot of gold, books are incredibly powerful, danger manifesting, misunderstanding of reality, this is not a heroic age, the individual is obsolete, no one person can have any real effect anymore, a terrible heaven, you go up into the sky you sit on a cloud and play a harp, he is empty, succumbs to the temptation, Paul’s totally right, they seem a lot like children, university people in our society, neuroses, a new type of brain, change your brain chemistry, a total lack of meaning in your life, an indictment, in the context of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, useful aspects of socialism, it shares a flaw, both novels fail to consider the emotional political and moral hazards, the polity in the Culture is less naive, a hundred years of thinking about utopias, a response to Looking Backward, our rosy heavenly future, the fringes of the Culture, seems kind of slow, he gets his own ship, drones are like regular people, put to sleep for seven hundred years, I’ll wait a couple years and get Use Of Weapons, the frontiers of utopia, if this was a one and done book, it feels good, some importance, he got seduced, read about series books, Jesse has read a fuckton of science fiction, meta-textual evidence, why didn’t Jesse pick up Iain M. Banks before this, State Of The Art audio drama, Jesse had a feeling it would be what it is, what people are saying about a book, looking for excuses not to read something (to read something in its place), something of value, you’ve heard how that director works, you can suss out what movies are worthy of your attention, 1988, still of value, much in favour of series, coming at it from a writerly perspective, super-smooth writing, more of a grift, Jesse doesn’t want to be comfortable, Looking Backward is lame in many ways, it leaves out race, black people not mentioned at all, huge massive flaw, its not comforting, Jesse doesn’t want to be comforted, I’m shaken to my core, the story, thought provoking, goals, your phone, are they really making your life better, you have a really good time in Los Vegas, whaddaya say wifey?, spoken highly of, highly regarded, go to Rome have a great time, you don’t live in the Culture, a money aspect, more though provoking stuff, audiobooks out quite early, Peter Kenny, a long book, 16.5 hours, a meditation on all games, something to think about, a phenomenon happening under the sun, all reality is a game, by being unknowable, the possibility of change, victory, time is one of the rules, The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick, what games are and what they mean, Fair Game, sending board games to the Earth, Monopoly, The Game Players Of Titan, real estate developers, stock market, they can do whatever they want, rules for the plebs and rules for us, punished by the emperor, the rules are overthrown, you become the emperor, education and taking tests, help students game the tests, the SAT, how the Chinese government has run itself for the last 5,000 years, something to be worried about, a masterful job, a solid take on what gaming is and the motivation behind it, Elizabeth Bear, Ancestral Night, modern 2020 politics, giving healthcare to everybody, way cheaper, Machine, James White’s Sector General novels, plenty of AIs, taking on Iain Banks, the genre conversation, if this Iain M. Banks goes on…, Architects Of Memory by Karen Osborne, meta thinking, evocative and fecund, psychological realism, when the apex who had made the body bet realized he was going to lose, really fruitful, the kinds of things you do to make the world a better place, a regular dude, somebody’s in charge, that spaceship, surplus from the war, what is Iain M. Banks trying to say here, if you wanted to make an informed decision, spy novelists, supporting a cultural boycott of Israel, South Africa, an international solidarity activist, a political Douglas Adams, his intellect is in the same area, Monty Python-esque fatalism, trying to intellectualize his way out of it, making really solid points, that dangerous word again, Paul doesn’t agree with the word “danger”, Communist Manifesto is only a book, Mein Kampf only a book, interesting but not important, a guidebook kind of, a fountainhead, a prose poem, avoiding writing, it feels like there could have been something more, life in the Culture, amuse yourself for three hundred years and then get shot into the sun by your own choice, no difference in the brains, they’re all people, othering robots, bringing them down to their level, can you have a benign heaven with a god who isn’t smarter than you?, they don’t run heaven, impinging on Scott territory, a secularization of heaven, reading for pleasure is a seduction, what will result if you gave into that temptation, making a reading choice is not political, reading a series is not good, the decline, market forces, realpolitik and economics, not the ideal, Paul is making Jesse’s argument for him, Beggars In Spain is an evil book, Nancy Kress, she’s chosen the darkside, made horrible consequences palatable, a novel like Starmaker, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Jesse’s criticism of series is well grounded, more enriching, widely and deeply, perilous, words are powerful Paul, Paul wants an off-ramp for a first book in a series, lure, feeling this stress, its okay to make it addictive, when did Dan Simmons jump the shark?, Olympos, the analogy, from series lasting too long, compelling you to read more, a nefarious thing, how Lost sucked so many TV show people in, enamoured with his idea, detective books, literary fiction, very impressive, a high complement, why series happen, we elect a really good king, four more year for you King, a few dynasties go by and we’re chopping people’s heads off, at the risk of provoking Jesse to keep going, adverse consequences, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, its the meta-game, a playground in which he can do satire forever, why Tom Clancy is still producing from beyond the grave, ownership, Neil Gaiman doesn’t milk, don’t read the first volume, the horror host, more like The Twilight Zone, Anansi Boys, whatabout this?, you already did that bud, A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, break em in half, a reversal, please don’t annex us, we recommend, the dangers involved, he’s ultimately won over to the Culture, choose to become a robot, that’s what people want, how dear he, he’s very wise in his book writing decisions, the paths we set our feet down, make a rule for yourself make a rule for everybody, the categorical imperative, Immanuel Kant, is it okay for me to kill?, is it okay for me to lie to my kids?, its for everybody, a case by case basis, he didn’t want to keep writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide books, you keep using that word, he has no respawn, he got two series, he was a big brain, we’re way over on the tipping scale, all I want is healthcare, what’s the right word? [silence] The Last Dangerous Visions, J. Michael Straczynski, regular visions, vague visions, one last significant work by Harlan Ellison, the executor for the estate, those middle seasons of Babylon 5 were so good, a half-assed 2 actors and a greenscreen.

The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

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Reading, Short And Deep #201 – The Faithful by Lester del Rey

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #201

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Faithful by Lester Del Rey

The Faithful was first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the story.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #529 – READALONG: Typee by Herman Melville

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #529 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about Typee by Herman Melville

Talked about on today’s show:
a peep at Polynesian life, 1846, in which the protagonist is eaten, the island itself is non-fiction, Paul’s theory, Melville wanted to talk about the non-fictional aspects, how horrible western society was treating the islanders, this is not right, his most popular book (in Melville’s life), drawn from life, no one liked his imaginative stuff, the introduction, it proved to be popular on board ship, doth he protest too much?, the appendix, what the French are doing, what’s going to happen?, Evan’s first three podcasts episodes, his time amongst the cannibals, improved style (not improved microphone), writing scripts, 200 episodes, starting with the Lovecraftian element, the South Seas as a place where the Deep Ones made a deal, Dagon, biographies of Melville, lifestyle, wealthy families in decline, Edgar Allan Poe, a genetic East Coast elite white guys, a history of whaling, a literary genetic connection, Chapter 21, one day in returning…, Stonehenge, the druids, peculiar construction, so profound is the shade, he doesn’t believe the natives built these constructions, divine origins, an extinct and forgotten race, musing at the pyramid of Cheops, built upon massive stone foundations, the burying grounds, the race has deteriorated, habitual indolence, incontestable marks of great age, under the direction of Monu, dedicated to the immortal wooden idols, are there stone foundations all over the Marquesas?, this is a book about labour, Pierre and Confidence Man, Herman Melville Wants You To Quit Your Job, Bartleby, The Scrivener, one of the last places colonized by humans, a metaphor?, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the white Sphinx is a symbol for us, it baffles us, deep time, a post scarcity society, Hawaii, ravaged by colonialism, breadfruit, the mom, no resentment, profiting from previous generations, universal basic income, young people like tattoos!, colonial gaze, work is going on, not the work we’re used to, alien, salmon runs in the Pacific North West of North America, how much of this story is true?, only there for four weeks vs. four months, why do they want to keep Tomo?, endo vs. exo eating, cannibalism is real, the parallels between the beginning and the middle, Melville is so funny, a delight to read, the lack of food on the ship, poor Pedro the one rooster who ends up in a coffin under the Captain’s vest, all the French ships, taboo, Tomo and Toby, fleeing servitude, fleeing their tribe, deserters, why don’t they want them to flee?, no lack of food, pig and breadfruit and coconut, a long history of indigenous history taking in runaway slaves, John Jewitt, Maquinna, Nootka Sound, the Mourning Wars, Iroquois, you are now uncle Joe (who died), the same phenomenon, all the attention he gets, seen in relief, character list, bathe his body, a local celebrity, in a post scarcity environment, novelty and celebrity, social capital, I know Wayne June!, flee my tribe, all his fears of being cooked, Moby-Dick, Queequeg, selling his heads, essentially married, a delight, Fayaway, tattoos, do your face, in the tribe, becoming one of them, he can never go back, hilarious, a blank canvas, they’re not going to eat him, pantomime, the valley of the Hapars, they’ll eat you, they can’t be trusted, maybe that was Toby, an equivalent of Toby, endocannibals, preserving the spirit and the flesh, the cracker and the wine, she Jesse fear Paul, transubstantiation, concretized, perpetuated dogma, an innate sense of the value of humans, preserving your relationship to your loved ones, a beautiful thing, had the captain kept on his journey, the raft of the Medusa, what happened to the other guys?, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, the narrator ate one of the survivors of the shipwreck, cannibal sailors, Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land, a sacrament, Mike broth, journeys in the Pacific, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Chapter 26, the descriptive chapter titles, the marriage system on Nuku Hiva, popping the question, tedious courtships are unknown, a very tender age, a frolic of the affections, of graver years, as harmonious as so many turtles, supplementary husbands, no wife has less than two husbands, the matrimonial yoke, Marissa VU, 1970s, the roots of Science Fiction, a Silverberg story, a month-wife, what gender relations will be like when you get down the road from birth control, if you don’t like your husband…, a house-raising, this Garden of Eden, a fucking warship, thinking long and hard, as soon as the missionaries come, prostitution, a metaphor for transition, corrupted and twisted, the missionary gaze, the material reality of colonialism, the mosquitoes, flies, not utter heaven, it probably gets hot, a foil for European sexuality, Denis Diderot’s The Supplement For The Voyage Of Bougainville, French and Tahitan societies, women are not considered property, 1780s, those Enlightenment people, Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead, no property transfer, the slaving system, exogamy, no formal manumission, fix the guns, make the pop-guns, a novelty, an exciting item, the humans have great value in themselves, what’s really going on there, roving feet, greener grasses everywhere, Omoo, his name is Typee, taken to the court of a Polynesian princess, I’ll just be your dude, white people hanging out, behold the glorious result, Christian worship, Honolulu, draught horses, evangelizing beasts of burden, your money, you in your salons, Christianize the Pacific, not doing any good, you’re doing wrong here, the devestation of the pacific, what’s about to happen, six French warships, claim it for the Republic, Liberty, enslave and make an empire, middle 1840s, Empire’s on the books now, The White Pacific: U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas After the Civil War Paperback by Gerald Horne, the sea-otter fur trade, claims to have eaten Captain Cook’s big toe, white people parties, the flavour of Captain Cook’s toe, the full barrel, a great adventurer, what a shame, fantasize about writing, Magellan killed by the Filipinos and Cook killed by the Hawaiians, Captain George Vancouver, a feat of imposture, medieval relics, the effect of this book, the heads, The Red One by Jack London, the ancient astronauts idea, New Guinea, oral cultures, flexible stories, losing the knowledge of what was known, but gaining value, Bros. Grimm, ossified or concretized, creepy pastas, taking away the sharp edges, Tangled 2, Frozen 2, Moana (2016), for kids, if you’re interested in the frontier, how do the women get anywhere, an arbitrary tabu, [Jesse was thinking of a story entitled The Victim from Space by Robert Sheckley] Robert Silverberg’s Worlds of Wonder, Science Fiction 101, the narrator’s from Earth, giant paws, second pulse of migration, The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, Don’t Forget To Kill Your Wife by Robert Silverberg, a satire of conventions, Colony by Philip K. Dick, I Trusted The Rug Completely by Robert Silverberg, the Pacific is the vastness of space, an alien culture, as alien as anything we’ve ever seen (that’s sentient), first contact, Beyond Lies The Wub, Martian go-birds, the consequences of eating wub, rocket ships and technology, the ideas that are being explored, The Bones Of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan, the vastness of time and space, King Kamehameha, this nice tourist place, The Brady Bunch goes to Hawaii, a cursed idol, Uncle Tom’s Planet, one thing we know about science fiction writers (they were readers at one time), James P. Crow by Philip K. Dick, dealing with the past in their own stories, as close to Philip K. Dick as you can find, a pretty weird guy, how many stages the rocket has, just a guy who likes writing and likes ideas, not as obsessed with boobs, the sociology of what’s going on in a culture, Bring Me The Head Of Prince Charming, Roger Zelazny, Human Man’s Burden, The Native Problem, distant seas of talking, one of Evan’s favourite passages, climate change, China, Taiwan, not having a job is a humiliating state, make peace with consumption, a lot of moralism, anxiety about consumption, have fewer people, abolish the suburbs, Chapter 31, the girls again, dressing their fair and abundant locks, bathing five times a day, coconut oil, hair gel, the wages of living in this kind of world, not even a podcast even, or writing a book, or writing music, what will we do when we don’t have work?, the Puritan work-ethic, the Green New Deal, people need a job, people need meaningful work, a lot of nail salons, pet stores, pet waxing, no bookstores, a little puppy time, what kids want to do, some girls just don’t go outside, a local dude who wanted to look really fair, Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1957, restless blue-grey seas, a secret desire to be dead, a woman who loves truly and well, I’m through wasting my time, the sin against her father, the most precious thing a woman can give a man (a painful death), the ethos you’ve stepped into, long-pig (human meat), a Warner Bros. cartoon, the volcano god, Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick, Circe, transforming men into animals, why pigs?, the point of that story, other animals mentioned, lions, big cats, wolves, Brent is served meat and bread, is Circe turning men into pigs so she could eat them?, tastes like pork, Silverlock by John Myers Myers, what would have happened to Odysseus?, a fox, trickster, working out his own ideas, such a weird story, a fantasy with a science fiction setting, Piper In The Woods by Philip K. Dick, it could never work as an Electric Dreams episode, Evan is obsessed with work, maybe its a very Melville story, indigenous person, something very appealing about this, that colonial gaze, academic-y terms, Orientalism by Edward W. Said, witches, forming covens, In Thessaly by Clark Ashton Smith, The Golden Ass, transformation into animals, from the 2nd Century, inset tales, Scheherazade, Chaucer, story with the story, Borges, we’re lucky to live in such times, Evan needs to escape work, guaranteed basic income, too hung up on work, rich people bore Evan, Evan’s students resist it, sailor in a land full of Typees, in Marseilles the men are just sitting around drinking coffee all day, the labour movement, 8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for what we will, working three jobs, she’s not bragging, the fundamental disconnect, industry, economy, hard work, saving, the more moral meaning, these have to be abolished, a cultural revolution, back in China, picking on the Buddhist monks, post scarcity communism, the clock and the time discipline, knights fighting snails, The Myth of the Machine by Lewis Mumford.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #498 – READALONG: The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #498 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, and Marissa VU talk about The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven

Talked about on today’s show:
novella sorta, Odyssey, thinking back, telling about the books, the interesting things in the books, hard Fantasy, mana, the problems of depletion, the wheel spell, a skull, so fun, the whole spoiler phenomenon, spoiler people get uptight as they age, kids are little scientists, tell me more, they walk on clouds, unicorns were a thing, the explanation, in different cultures, is spoiler sensitivity cultural, the joy of getting there, Snotgirl, Jesse’s worst sin this year, treasuring the experience of discovery, extra jalapenos, “surprise me!”, in the early days of Paul’s life, Not Long Before The End, What Good Is A Glass Dagger?, The Wishing Game, The Burning City, The Burning Tower, same universe, ancient Los Angeles, the political messaging gets really ham-handed, the IRS is bad, later books are co-authored, the ideas vs. the execution, Scott’s view, so smart, preppin’ for a podcast, the magazine version, the art is so good, it felt like trying to extened a really good story premise, the similarities to Ringworld, a big dumb object in the sky (the Moon), we’re going to need a god, before they get to the god, the denouement, poor Wavyhill, immortality, screaming for thirty years, Protector, how idea heavy his stuff is, the little consequences, a cultural legacy, some people still believe in magic, he’s retconned our magic-free universe with a universe full of magic, he sees like other people do, true for all humanity, kinda sexist, the Moon is magic, when we achieve that as a species, worldsnake, amoeba used to be huge monsters, the Grey Ooze, the gelatinous cube, where Gary Gygax got the idea, the goo, vacuoles, translucent, holding the goo, one of the first words we all say as babies, a giant tardigrade, The First Fossil Hunters by Adrienne Mayor, a protoceratops fossil, gryphons, why we dig them up today, page 46, the size of houses, there that’s what I’m talking about, the children of the first god, the Crawling Chaos, fire vs. magic, so much work, good additions, fire is technology, elves are all gone because they are powered by magic and fire, Avengers: Infinity War, mixing in Doctor Strange, created at the point of creation of the universe, The Key To Time, a purpose, characters with different skills, the fire and the magic, a god in the form of Thor, different skill sets, a real issue, a dying earth story, we live in the dead Earth, the setup and the premises, Warlock vs. Wavyhill, a wolfwere, please tell me more, a wolf that’s really a man, magic dead zones, a snail dragon, some hidden stuff, Neuromancer, a ROM, Dixie Flatline, a book about hackers, hackers can do magic, cyberpunk role-playing game scene, the Magic: The Gathering cards, Larry Niven backwards, a Niven disc, the NetRunner collectible card game, very clever, he’s systematized magic where everything is possible, using limited resources, peak oil problem, what a big idea, The Magic May Return, Fred Saberhagen, Poul Anderson, Mildred Downey Broxon, Roger Zelazny, meteor bombardment, this is cute, emphasize the right words, page 8, chapter 2, an Asian infestation of vampires, “gone mythical”, the crater is old, Fistfall, at this point in the book, a mountain, a village, the moon, it’s not two wizards, we’ve got three…, the Three Magi!, what he was going for, that kind of retelling, happening in the background, the kind of book that will reward careful reading, I need to see a wizard, the opening with the raft and the collapse of Atlantis, why Atlantis sunk, I can solve that, tectonically unstable, the payoff, the centaur can’t survive without the magic, the image, climate change, images in the news, too real, Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, a post apocalyptic landscape where the magic has returned, the sixth world, Lucifer’s Hammer, Fist Of God, Inferno, Dante’s Inferno, the structure, he’s old, Planet Stories, The Dancers by Margaret St. Clair, Blue Hours Suspense audio drama series adaptation, waiting for the dawn, a new Eden, the premise, the belief of the dancers, the last uncontacted tribe was shown the error of their ways, who knows what hold the Moon up?, philosophy of science, uniformity, six weekends on the Moon, explanations for why our explanations don’t work, I’ve solved everything in hard Science Fiction, but you haven’t solved unicorns, Svetz, time travel stories, Moby-Dick, running into fantasy, into a fantastical past, a collection of short stories, Rainbow Mars, a seed from Yggdrasil, A Wolf In My Time Machine, manna in fantasy, manna’s from heaven, Maori culture, as a unit of magic, magic as sustenance, a shout out to Australia and New Zealand, emigrate to Australia, super-yummy, “try the moa, it’s great!”, the aborigines, the Dreamtime, this fits in with my explanation, Master Of The Maze by Avram Davidson, been not from, Maori cultural practices, reciprocal obligations, Jesse explains the potlatch, depleting your production, you have power, an economic cultural mixer, what commerce can do, nobody would be productive if they didn’t have money, the communication of debt, honor, they owe you and you own them, Washington State, banned, spiritual power, gods and spirits, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, that is magical in a certain sense, motivating without money, economics as debt not as currency, a theme in a lot of Niven’s work, solving ideas, 13,000 B.C., geography, Doggerland is still above the waves, exploring the changes, the unstated name is Robert E. Howard, his Hyborian age, Acheron, King Kull was an Atlantean, a philosopher king in a magic heavy universe, Kull The Conqueror (1997) movie is fairly faithful, Kevin Sorbo, The Good Place, funny dialogue, a good sense of humour, the relationship he has with women, typical, the right Niven characters together, Louis, Speaker, and Nessus, damn hard SF, character low, having motivation, the baddie, the worlds first necromancer, is Wayvhill the badguy?, a heist that goes wrong, very Joseph Campbell-y, dealing with the epic, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, Orolandes said, the skulls, “I wish…”, what was Clubfoot wishing for?, the last great sorcerer, a diminishment and a sadness, wishes don’t come true anymore, now I’m sad, thanks Paul, Antarctica, you wish upon a star, he’s not spelling it all out but he’s pointing to it, that’s the joy, Merlin, he ages backwards, they have these spells, Mirandees hair colour, from black to white, the vampire spell, good stuff, a very nice exercise, throwing Larry Niven into Hell, totally worthwhile, the original short was withdrawn for consideration for a Hugo, fantastic, Marissa is going mythical.

Odyssey, Summer 1976

Boris Vallejo cover for The Magic Goes Away

Skull Of Wavyhill

The Magic Goes Away - Chapter 8

Nevinyrral's Disk from Magic: The Gathering

NetRunner card NevinYrral

DC Comics - Larry Niven - The Magic Goes Away

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #493 – READALONG: Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #493 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer talk about the Tau Zero by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, a storylet, a novelette, a novella, To Outlive Eternity, the title is a “SPOILER!” for the novel’s premise, the revised title, surprises, how it ends, keeping it hard SF, suddenly a fantasy, its not Earth, dragons, genetics, some resonance with Genesis, keeping it plausible, as hard as he could possibly make it, cosmic background radiation, relativistic speeds, Bussard ramjets, overestimating interstellar hydrogen, beyond the boundaries of the universe, great detail, world building loving detail, faster and faster, no big crunch, dark matter/dark energy, sadder and darker, a disaster book, 2.5-3 hours in, the narrator, the singing of the poetry, a conspiratorial voice, a slow start, accelerating, the format mirrors the speed of the ship, we’re on a planet – the end, starting 10 years into the novel, “they were doomed to roam space for all eternity” – people didn’t care about spoilers in 1967, what am I doing when they’re not doing disaster stuff, the other element of SF, is all of this about birth control?, the consequences of the pill, Catholic boys, ethics of relationships, were it written today…, not equal representation, is Jesse unfair to today’s science fiction?, dealing with this a lot, jealousy, relationships, conversations about who is sleeping with who, the subplot about a lady getting pregnant, sexual revolution, new when he wrote it, novel for the people then, a colonization program, something that Heinlein has dealt with, Larry Niven, psychology, feels like a Frederik Pohl novel, sensory deprivation, secrets, gotta fill those pages somehow, a back seat to step up, the characters are so bad, 25 men 25 women, 10 is too many, as Scott thinks about the book, things happening to the ship, the lives of the people on board, a few eye rolling things, 50 years ago, and even the women would be able to do this, we gotta have a party, these are human needs, a lot of that was uninteresting, it didn’t ring true, told from the wrong point of view, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, a similar setup, a murder mystery, told from the A.I.’s POV, a reason to care, Swedes in space, hanging out at cafes, a whole novel, Sweden’s going to become the Roman Empire, a major figure in science fiction, the way Anderson goes after Scandinavian stuff in there, Roger Zelazny, Irish mythology, fear not Paul, Iceland, how this world was developing, the history of the Roman Empire, Dominic Flandry, The Psychotechnic League, world government, space traders in space, two future histories, Baen Books, what kind of Poul Anderson you want, Lenora Christine, a prison biography, Denmark, resonance for the plot, a poem, Aniara by Harry Martinson

Aniara is an effort to “[mediate] between science and poetry, between the wish to understand and the difficulty to comprehend.” Martinson translates scientific imagery into the poem: for example, the “curved space” from Einstein’s general theory of relativity is likely an inspiration for Martinson’s description of the cosmos as “a bowl of glass.” Martinson also said he was influenced by Paul Dirac.

he’s influenced by stuff, sagas, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Planet Stories, Boat Of A Million Years, 1970, nominated fro a Hugo, Ringworld, vestigial, aliens, you don’t say “I love characters”, you like his aliens and his scale of ideas, a big idea at its core, reproductive freedom, Hal Clement, Robert Silverberg, William Tucker, a new audiobook, exploring Poul Anderson, Bronson Pinchot, The Broken Sword, Flandry stories, connecting with Anderson, The High Crusade, along the same lines, Writers Of The Future Volume 23, (2007), Primetime by Douglas Texter, a time machine that can only go forward in time, watching history pass, 10 minutes long, 1955, Flight To Forever, forward to the future, helping a star empire out, The Accidental Time by Joe Haldeman, done twice, our tau is approaching zero, maybe the whole purpose of the novel: meaning, thinking about people back on Earth, how there’s no meaning to anything, they’re journey on the spaceship is of no value in itself, commuter bus value, keeping your regular goals in order, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, travel for work vs. travel for tourism, newness, the journey was the point of it, the Paris Metro, did you feel this in the book?, the existential angst people are suffering from, the boring opening scene, a celebrity at the cafe, underdeveloped?, looking at our own lives, headed toward that goal, lonely at the goal’s end, after this I’ll do that, on to the next thing, what our purpose is, a shift, a lot to explore there, a breakthrough of some kind, hobbies, fighting with foils, what with the dragons there now…, meaning in progeny, passing all this knowledge down, a religious book, a whole abortion debate, seven months pregnant, the problem of resources, an actual debate, earwax and toenails, recycling, a discussion about resources and meaning, unlimited births, how people in regular life find meaning, Scott has kids and found meaning, there’s something going on, an epic time scale, the end is rushing towards us, an act of faith, too short for Scott?, a philosophical novel, what is meaning?, what is purpose?, the prefect setting to explore that, removing the things we all assume, “libertarian” is a slur, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, neoliberalism, neoconservationism, women can sleep with who they want, with only 50 people how could you not be communist?, no room to be libertarian, more rightward drifting over time, hard to imagine a libertarian generation starship, a generation starship that orbits one star, this concept of libertarianism is nearly confined to the United States, a scandophile?, the rude American, who is funding this spaceship?, the cultural dominant country, the international crew, dragon bone work, their new world, a premonition about standing on a hill, that which is spread out before you, a man stood with his woman, cinnamon, iodine, and horses, poetic beautiful, the ending is the best part of the book, the existential worries just disappear, it’s gone for the reader, sleeping too much, what is the purpose of existence?, you can’t just watch old movies – that’s no way to live, heavy metals, we’re not saying were not going to not have nuclear war, a new beginning is all you need to get rid of that existential god, “here you go, bud”, one of the amazing things about the Fallout games, Fallout 3 and 4, and New Vegas, that sense of a new beginning, a sense of freedom, an invisible wall, I can go any direction, I have my own fate in my own hands and I can see ahead of me, being presented with the New Earth, you can’t recapture that except by playing another game, why the ending works really well.

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 015

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 pages 28 an 29

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 39

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis