The Music Of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Music Of Erich Zann is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most popular short stories (it runs just 3,450 words).

The Music Of Erich Zann - illustration by Andrew Brosnatch

Here are the opening lines:

“I have examined maps of the city with the greatest care, yet have never again found the Rue d’Auseil. These maps have not been modern maps alone, for I know that names change. I have, on the contrary, delved deeply into all the antiquities of the place, and have personally explored every region, of whatever name, which could possibly answer to the street I knew as the Rue d’Auseil. But despite all I have done, it remains an humiliating fact that I cannot find the house, the street, or even the locality, where, during the last months of my impoverished life as a student of metaphysics at the university, I heard the music of Erich Zann.

That my memory is broken, I do not wonder; for my health, physical and mental, was gravely disturbed throughout the period of my residence in the Rue d’Auseil, and I recall that I took none of my few acquaintances there. But that I cannot find the place again is both singular and perplexing; for it was within a half-hour’s walk of the university and was distinguished by peculiarities which could hardly be forgotten by any one who had been there. I have never met a person who has seen the Rue d’Auseil.

The Rue d’Auseil lay across a dark river bordered by precipitous brick blear-windowed warehouses and spanned by a ponderous bridge of dark stone. It was always shadowy along that river, as if the smoke of neighboring factories shut out the sun perpetually. The river was also odorous with evil stenches which I have never smelled elsewhere, and which may some day help me to find it, since I should recognize them at once. Beyond the bridge were narrow cobbled streets with rails; and then came the ascent, at first gradual, but incredibly steep as the Rue d’Auseil was reached.”

And the Rue d’Auseil, by the way, translates to “street of the threshold” – most appropriate.

Public domain:

LibriVoxThe Music Of Erich Zann
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Cameron Halket
1 |MP3| – Approx. 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 19, 2008
|ETEXT|
A student of philosophy is forced, by lack of funds, to to take lodgings in a run down rooming house in a strange part of Paris. First published in National Amateur (March 1922), then later in the May 1925 issue of Weird Tales.

Creative Commons:

PseudopodEpisode #100 – The Music Of Erich Zann
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by B.J. Harrison
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Pseudopod
Podcast: July 25th, 2008

Commercial audiobook:

Horror Audiobooks - The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 4 - The Rats In The Walls, The Shunned House, The Music Of Eric ZahnThe Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft, Volume 4: The Rats In The Walls, The Shunned House, The Music Of Eric Zann
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Wayne June
3 CDs – 2 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Realms
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1897304242
|READ OUR REVIEW|

Discussion:

H.P. Lovecraft Literary PodcastEpisode #23 – The Music Of Erich Zann
Participants Chris Lackey, Chad Fifer and Andrew Leman
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [DISCUSSION]
Podcaster: H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
Podcast: September 12, 2010

Other:

The Music Of Erich Zann

There is a very good comics adaptation, by writer Roy Thomas and artist Johnny Craig, done for issue #5 (June 1970) of Marvel Comics’ Chamber Of Darkness (the title was changed to The Music From Beyond).

Here’s a disturbingly wordless stop motion animation adaptation:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Thing On The Roof by Robert E. Howard

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Thing On The Roof by Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard sold The Thing On The Roof, a thirteen page horror story, to Weird Tales for $40. It is one of his Cthulhu Mythos Tales. As such it is set within the universe created by H.P. Lovecraft. I think I first encountered it in David Drake’s 1986 Baen Book Cthulhu: The Mythos And Kindred Horrors. But, after looking through my Robert E. Howard paperbacks collection I note that it was also hidden within my 1976 Zebra edition of Pigeons From Hell, edited by Glenn Lord . Can you believe The Thing On The Roof wasn’t listed on the table of contents?!?!

Was that supposed to be funny? An easter egg?

Strangely, The Thing On The Roof features a book collector who’s after a book that doesn’t have all of its contents either. Or maybe this mystery is indicative of something just a little more sinister. I’m seeing more odd parallels here. See, my avocation has been book collecting ever since I visited the Yucatan! And there’s a creepy stone object I got while down in Mexico – maybe it’s cursed?

Stone Object From Mexico

Wait, who is that clomping on my apartment door? I better finish this post before I answer it.

To sum up, The Thing On The Roof is available, complete and unabridged, over on the Cthulhu Podcast. It is read by FNH, who also recorded The Insidious Doctor Fu Manchu awhile back. Highly recommended:

Cthulhu PodcastThe Thing On The Roof
By Robert E. Howard; Read by FNH
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Cthulhu Podcast
Podcast: May 15, 2011
|ETEXT|
An archaeologists, and book collector, is asked by an old rival to find a copy of the obscure first edition of Friedrich Wilheim von Junzt’s Nameless Cults. He may live to regret the favour. First published in the February 1932 issue of Weird Tales.

Podcast feed:

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/cthulhupodcast

Also, check out the excellent Roy Thomas adaptation done for Marvel Comics’ Chamber Of Chills issue #3 back in 1972 (available at the Diversions Of The Groovy Kind blog):

Chamber Of Chills #3 - The Thing On The Roof adapted by Roy Thomas and Frank Brunner

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Fredric Brown’s Eternal Arena

SFFaudio Commentary

For nearly a year I’ve been studying the extensive influence of Fredric Brown’s 1944 short story, Arena. It took a recent article, on roughly the same topic, over on the excellent bare•bones e-zine blog, to prompt me to actually finish writing up this post – which is essentially a collection of inspired by and/or similar stories. That other post, by Jack Seabrook, mostly covers the Outer Limits‘ response to Arena – which is something that I’ve only briefly mentioned. Seabrook’s article and the thoughtful comments it’s spawned are well worth looking at |HERE|. One of the comments there also points out the connection to Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game (but that’s another post altogether). My post on Arena begins here:

Arena (noun) – [Latin harēna, arēna, sand, a sand-strewn place of combat in an amphitheater, perhaps of Etruscan origin.] -1. An enclosed area, often outdoor, for the presentation of spectacular events -2. The part of a Roman amphitheater that was covered with sand to absorb the blood spilled by the combatants.

The SFFaudio Podcast #051 had a brief primer, by Professor Eric S. Rabkin, on Fredric Brown‘s spectacular short story Arena. Rabkin pointed out the curious description of the alien, and the year in which the story was first published (1944). The story being a fascinating metaphor for the Pacific War. The description of the alien, a “red sphere with several dozen fully retractable thin tentacles” is nicely comparable it with the Imperial Japanese battle ensign…

War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army:

War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army

Now if we keep looking for symbols, we can certainly find them. Take the blue sand of the arena itself. If Carson represents the USA, and the alien represents Japan, would the pervasive blue sand not therefore be representative of the Pacific Ocean? Of course it would!

Next, check out the original story, available in an unabridged audiobook version created by Rick Jackson (aka The Time Traveler) for The Time Traveler Show podcast…

The Time Traveler - Arena by Fredric BrownArena
By Fredric Brown; Read by William Spurling
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The Time Traveler Show
Podcast: July 23rd, 2006
The mysterious Outsiders have skirmished with Earth’s space colonies and starships. Their vessels are found to be faster and more maneuverable, but less well armed. Survivors of these encounters are able to provide little other information about the enemy. Fearing the worst, Earth builds a war fleet. Sure enough, scouts report a large armada approaching the solar system. Earth’s defenders go to meet them. All indications are that the two fleets are evenly matched. First published in the June 1944 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine.

Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams
Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams
Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams
Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams
Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams
Fredric Brown's Arena - illustrated by Williams

In the comics department, there was a 1976 Marvel Comics magazine adaptation in Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction. Of it, Pete Doree (Of The Bronze Age Of Blogs) sez:

Arena is one of my all-time favourite one-off comic stories, from Roy Thomas’ short-lived Worlds Unknown. Rascally Roy obviously liked it as much as me, as he reprinted it in the last issue of his b/w follow up Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction. What I like about it is that it’s storytelling pared right down to the bone: One man. One monster. Winner takes all. It’s that simple, and that elegant. The set up is so primal that you’re practically dealing in archetypes. Plus you get the amazing pairing of John Buscema & Dick Giordano on art. It was adapted from a story by Frederic Brown, a great old school sci-fi writer.”

Marvel Comics - Worlds Unknown - Issue 4 - Arena by Fredric Brown

And, check out this editorial from Marvel Comics issue 4 of Unknown Worlds:

Worlds Unknown (#4) Editorial - Science Fiction And Me by Gerry Conway

Keeping with the art theme, there’s Boris Vallejo’s depiction from the March 1977 Starlog Magazine printing of Arena (more on that |HERE|):

Starlog Magazine - March 1977- Arena - Illustration by Boris Vallejo

TV, movies and other SF authors also seem to have taken inspiration or paralleled Fredric Brown’s Arena too:

Star Trek: Arena:

Outer Limits: Fun And Games:

The one man against one man theme, as developed in Arena, departed the SF genre entirely with the 1968 film Hell In The Pacific. The movie stars Lee Marvin and Tishiro Mifune as shot down American and Japanese fighter pilots who make WWII more personal.

The meme sunk to its lowest low with the frighteningly awful (and least faithful) variation in “The Rules Of Luton” episode of Space 1999.

Space: 1999 - The Rules Of Luton

The meme transmogrified back into a man vs. alien confrontation for Barry B. Longyear’s 1979 novella Enemy Mine. Willis Davidge, a human fighter pilot, is stranded along with Jeriba Shigan, a Drac, on a hostile alien planet foreign to them both.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine - September 1979

TOR DOUBLE #6 - Enemy Mine by Barry B. Longyear

The movie version of Enemy Mine, 1985, magnified the allegory with a theme of racial brotherhood.

In 1989, Star Trek: The Next Generation first adopted the idea for an episode entitled “The Enemy“.

Another variation, in 1991, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Darmok” nearly eliminates the physical conflict, replacing it with an intellectual puzzle on the difficulties of communication.

Star Trek: Enterprise, in an attempt to recycle every previous Star Trek series plot, did their own take with the 2003 episode entitled Dawn:

Update:

David Schleinkofer illustrated the Reader’s Digest Edition of Arena in the early 1980s:

Arena as illustrated by David Schleinkofer for Reader's Digest

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #080

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #080 – Jesse talks with Eric Shanower, the cartoonist for Marvel Comics’ The Wizard Of Oz series and Image Comics Age Of Bronze: The Story Of The Trojan War (available at HungryTigerPress.com).

WATCH OUT FOR THE FALSE ENDINGS!

Talked about on today’s show:
Artist Skottie Young, L. Frank Baum, black and white comics vs. color comics, colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Classics Illustrated, the Tin Woodsman‘s story, Eric’s obsession with Oz, Oz is the first American fantasy, the Emerald City, Marvel Illustrated, DC’s Vertigo imprint, Roy ThomasThe Iliad, Age Of Bronze: The Story Of The Trojan War: The Thousand Ships, comics inspired by audiobooks, The March Of Folly: From Troy To Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman, the many and varied stories of the Trojan War, Conan comics, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, Roy Thomas, marketing and promoting comics, Image Comics, comicbook end matter, maps, genealogical charts, pronunciation guides, bibliographies, Cressida’s star-fixation, the absence or presence of the supernatural, Homer’s The Iliad, Troilus and Cressida, where is the Trojan Horse?, Homer’s The Odyssey, The Judgement Of Paris, is there a tongue theme going on?, a seven part series, the industry trending from single issue comics to graphic novels, Garth Ennis’ Battlefield series, would a colour Kindle reinvigorate single issue comics?, Throwaway Horse, annotating comics, James Joyce‘s Ulysses (digital annotated), annotating The Age Of Bronze, re-coloring The Sandman, visiting the real Troy (in Asia Minor), the magnificent Windy Ilios, the Lion Gate at Myceane, the geography and economy of ancient Troy, portraying Odysseus’ madness, distracting Agamemnon, Homer’s dog (Argos), a very very old dog, listening to audiobooks, George Guidall’s reading of The Iliad (Recorded Books), The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, historical fiction, Audible.com, Aeneas and The Aeneid, WATCH OUT FOR THE FALSE ENDING!, LibriVox.org, Iambik Audio, Paul Auster, City Of Glass, the listening habits of artists, It’s Superman by Tom De Haven, Blackstone Audio, paranormal romance, The Book Of Illusions by Paul Auster, Hunt Through The Valley Of Fear by Gabriel Hunt (aka Charles Ardai), Hard Case Crime, Memory by Donald E. Westlake, Jim Thompson’s The Grifters, Fools Die by Mario Puzo, I thought George Guidall could do no wrong until he read a Lillian Jackson Braun audiobook, RadioArchive.cc, audiobook torrent sites, Conan Properties International, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Skype screen sharing, The Guns Of August by Barbara Tuchman, Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, Michael Jayston, LOOK OUT – THERE’S ANOTHER FALSE ENDING!, a costumed Halloween party, Frog Went A-Courting, the frog vs. the prince, A New Brain, vampires vs. zombies, going zombie, dinosaur Halloween costumes, making costumes is hard!, the Shaggy Man, The SFFaudio Challenge, The 4th SFFaudio Challenge on BoingBoing.net, The Mysteries Of Paris by Eugene Sue, The Wandering Jew by Eugene Sue, Hugh
McGuire, the number of listeners to the SFFaudio Podcast is insane, the difference between a professional narrator and an amateur narrator is that the amateur narrator gets to choose his books, Gregg Margarite, Edith Nesbit, pronunciation and inflection are important, music and sound effects in audiobooks is wrong, Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time, Peter Pan, multiple narrators for plays, audio drama, BBC, quality control in comics, cartoonists are better off today than ever before, Sturgeon’s Law, superheroes in comics, why podcast discussions are better than radio interviews, commercial concerns.

Image Comics - Age Of Bronze The Story Of The Trojan War by Eric Shanower

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxAt 110 years old The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (aka The Wizard Of Oz), is one of the few children’s classic novels, that children read, and that WAS a children’s novel from the very beginning. Today a tour through the kids literature section of your local big box bookstore will probably turn up a dozen or so “classic novels” that purport to be ‘kid lit’ of some sort. For publishers what makes them ‘children’s classics’ is that they are public domain and they have recognizable titles. Few were written with actual children in mind, and due to the age many can use an English language that’s so archaic as to be hard for many adults to read. Not so with The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. Sure it’s public domain too, but unlike most it was actually written with children wholly and completely in mind, unlike say, The Call Of The Wild, Frankenstein or Dracula.

In a 1975 essay entitled The American Grimm, comics legend Roy Thomas describes L. Frank Baum as the New World’s successor to “Hans Christian Anderson” and “The Brothers Grimm”. Writes Thomas:

“After trying his, hand at both acting and journalism, Lyman Frank Baum decided to create a unique Americcan fairy tale which did not owe its entire existence and background to the European tradition of goblins, witches, elves and the like. To do this, he set the beginning and ending of his story (which was originally called simply The Emerald City and at one point even From Kansas To Fairyland) in the heart of the American prairie. Of course. he didn’t completely keep out the witches.”

The Free Listens blog rates LibriVox’s audiobook version, as narrated by J. Hall, rather highly! Consider:

“J. Hall narrates the book with a pleasant American accent that would be at home at NPR. This isn’t a professional reading; Hall has several minor stumbles and he doesn’t attempt distinguishing voices for the characters. However, these minor faults can be easily overlooked when one considers the excellent pacing and emphasis with which Hall reads. The recording is free of any background sound, but has a compressed sound when played at higher volumes, perhaps due to noise filtering. All in all, this is a excellent choice if you’re looking for a recording of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz that comes without silly voices or overacting.”

LIBRIVOX - The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
By L. Frank Baum; Read by J. Hall
1 |M4B| File, 25 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 10, 2007
The timeless story of the Wizard Of Oz. Follow Dorothy as she leaves Kansas for Oz on a cyclone. She meets many strange, and wonderful people and creatures along the way. Enjoy it again with your children and family.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Map Of The Marvelous Land Of Oz (art is credited to Ed Hannigan)

"We're Off To See The Wizard..." (Art credited to John Romita)

[via Free Listens]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #049

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #049 – Jesse and Scott talk about recent arrivals, new releases, audiobooks, podcasts and plenty more!

Talked about on today’s show:
SFFaudio.com is 7 years old, So I Married An Axe Murder, San Fransisco, California, Alcatraz, recent arrivals, Brilliance Audio, military SF, Fearless: The Lost Fleet Book 2 by Jack Campbell, space opera, Gene Roddenberry‘s Andromeda, Buck Rogers, Live Free or Die: book 1 in the Troy Rising series by John Ringo, Paperback Digital, Cally’s War by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane |READ OUR REVIEW|, John Ringo can give his books away and sell books too, Time’s Eye: A Time Odyssey Book 1 by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, it’s not a sequel it’s an “othrquel“, time is orthogonal to space (in relativity theory), Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, benevolent aliens, malevolent aliens, H.P. Lovecraft, The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. Gallun, LibriVox, Gregg Margarite, time travel, Blackstone Audio, Identity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer, Mars, consciousness uploading/downloading, Treason by Orson Scott Card, A Planet Called Treason by Orson Scott Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Spider Robinson, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|, copyright, copyfight, the philosophy of art, The Graveyard Book |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Harry Potter, The Dark Is Rising, A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, ripping off Heinlein is legit when you are Spider Robinson, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, new releases, Wonder Audio, The Men Return & Worlds Of Origin by Jack Vance, Brilliance Audio, The Songs Of Dying Earth: Stories In Honor Of Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe, David D. Levine, Tk’Tk’Tk’ by David D. Levine, The Moon Moth by Jack Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|, Suldrun’s Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc by Jack Vance, Swimming Kangaroo Books, Need For Magic by Joseph Swope, BBC Audiobooks America, Great Classic Science Fiction: Eight Unabridged Stories, Forgotten Classics podcast talks James Gunn’s The Road To Science Fiction series, paperback book bags, A Game Of Thrones coming to HBO, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, Roy Dotrice, John Lee, Shogun (the TV miniseries), FlashForward, Stephen King’s Storm Of The Century, 1408, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Steve, The First by Matt Watts |READ OUR REVIEW|, @ the CBC store, radio drama, post apocalypse, humor, Canadia: 2056 |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Chronicles Of Solomon Kane, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Robert E. Howard, The Iliad, Ralph Macchio, Red Shadows by Robert E. Howard, religion, Solomon Kane, The Punisher.

Posted by Jesse Willis