The SFFaudio Podcast #756 – The Crawlers by Philip K. Dick, read by Scott Miller (of The Lost Sci-Fi Podcast). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (22 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.
Talked about on today’s show:
Imagination, July 1954, a month ahead, how the editor describes it, was this the end of mankind?, maybe, given the ending?, no, may be, how humanity is being defined, playing with posthumans, The Golden Man, sex-up our human ladies, A World Of Talent, early mid-50s, tamed, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, predict consumer behavior, sad, pathetic, a break, pre-cogs, Captive Market, make a buck, more pessimistic, what are the crawlers doing?, what are humans doing, living in suburbs, come down from Washington, farming land, driving trucks, a taxi driver, chickens, farming, radiation lab, Vanuatu or wherever they nuked, dark, homo regular, homo superior, homo slow, homo snail, very different, the least humanlike in shape, Big Noodle, essentially different, not like The X-Men, peel off their powers they still feel love, half of the juice of their stories, doesn’t work as a metaphor for racism, X-Men is about racism or gay people, we are people too, government’s involved, schools for them, the Philip K. Dick fan’s archive blog, the original title, Philip K. Dick wanted to call it “Foundling Home”, harder to see without that title, a throwback to the 19th century, orphans, radiation fears, Bikini, people getting radiated, Iraqi children getting birth defects from depleted uranium, what do parents do when their children are mutated?, somebody said something, go have a beer, he went to his typewriter, Doctor Bloodmoney, something real happened to Philip K. Dick,
if u start digging around in the storys PHILIP K. DICK actually rote, rather than the 1s his rep among novel readers &Hollywood present, u’ll find he rote storys nobody wants, ugly little tales with strange extensions &human faces, storys u’ll want hidden away or smashed & buried
nobody says we should all go read…, watch the movie with Nicholas Cage (who can talk), a weird guy in a government cage, weird roles, you would never guess, doesn’t work as an action film, your protagonist is a subject, The Pre-Persons, not a massive market for this kind of fiction, a low end market, the island that they put the kids on, back into the minds of one of these crawlers, inside that mind, the breeding center, strange foreshortened bodies with rigid limbs, the Gulf of Mexico is a big empty, the last two lines, somebody had mashed the throwback, a regular human baby, an abortion story, a communism story, they do cooperate, socialism, the next political stage of humanity, supplant capitalism, will resist with all its efforts, straight Marxist dialectic, Marxist theory, capitalism to communism, prevent the next one from being born, a physical embodiment, they build, a communal society, eventually the work would begin in earnest, what work?, supplanting the previous society, a Cold War story, smash the regular baby, what would the commissars do?, the revolutions in 1968s, as of Dick’s writing, when it comes springing up again, uncompromising terms, a baby capitalist, support Paul’s thesis, the Standard Oil station, Joe Jackson cracked its head with a two by four, Martians Come In Clouds, fearing the other, insect-like, Evan’s 2017 podcast on this story, undercooked, stinging humans, if you’re incredibly slow like in The Day Of The Triffids, running over with trucks, the illustration, an incredible images, flipper arms, a farmer beside his truck, the pasteboard box, through a white painted door, the grandmother, hiding, their own reservation, move all the people away from the radiation plant, they eat plants and leaves, they build nests, like cocoons, from caterpillar to something else, never got any schooling, abandoned, the older ones are darker in colour, institutionally, not from an educated point of view, build or built, toiled joyfully, the material, some juice that’s inside of him, a practice model, Roog, telling a story from a dog’s point of view, curled up inside, he oozed binder fluid, his edifice, almost dust free, drowsy, extended a part of himself, that part watched and listened warily, conscious that from a distance, nobody would guess what lay beneath, very good subtle writing, “taking care” of them, the euphemism, a mom, the large breasts she has, is she suckling this baby, grass in the pasteboard box, not humans but are humans, they do exactly what we do, an autistic son you might say, mothers would just kill their babies, mother animals reject their babies, only two teats, find some other mother with only one baby, cruel nature, infanticide, reflects back earlier on what the teenagers and the adults were doing, an infanticide story not an abortion story, who asked for that?, fallout from WWII’s end, Astounding and John W. Campbell, give me more mutant stories, stories that were variation, variations on Weinbaum stories, people took it literally, Slan is the prototypical example of that, an early Robert A. Heinlein novel, the one with guns [Beyond This Horizon], Lazarus Long’s ancestors, immortal mutants, how’d they get there?, Methuselah’s Children, eugenics, talky in the second half, Sixth Column, They, If This Goes On, Blowups Happen, so much in 1941, pseudonyms, Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, half of the issue would be Heinlein, are these Humanity+, part of progress, hold it a minute, these aren’t humans anymore, instinctual killers, neanderthals, a throwback, infanticide and eugenics, culling carp, sending kids to the pound, animal rights, how humans treat animals, Roog, from children’s pov, otherizing children, control naturals, duels and carrying firearms, armed society, polite society, give me a world where people are brandishing all the time, Sixth Column, fixups and edits, a slippery guy, for our story today, no editor would say…, a story about infanticide, more of a new wave thing, sparking me, he has a problem, infanticide exists and that shatters him, knows a kid, has a kid who has autism, all its hooves, fingers and toes, assessing intelligence, a calf will walk on the first day it is born, ultrasounds, its not infanticide anymore, slightly related, autism, reading Philip K. Dick, perhaps autism overrepresented, had to deal with it somehow, a lawsuit, this [class action] lawsuit, Tylenol, over the counter drugs, the flipper baby in the illustration, thalidomide, limits blood vessel growth, make limbs, huge international story, caterpillar man, no arms and no legs, an economic space, a concentration camp, experience of the mid-20th century, no child left behind, ready for the workforce, obsession with standards, diversity, homogenizing in public education, 80% chance of having Down syndrome, the justification is economic, not a moral choice your making, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker, high rates of infanticide, about the little ice age, monasteries overrun, instinctual, for fun, almost like the Japanese, isolated them, creatures, not getting nursed, not getting dressed, organs in the back of them, pseudopodia, they look like babies, little bit of hair, “moist”, my god!, it’s like a human, are they supposed to be like this?!, essentially butterflies, the stingers, evolution into something else, milk, 20-21 minutes long, a response to Judith Merril’s Only A Mother, 1948, the replacement, no more normal kids being born, a few normal kids, physically deformed by mentally precocious, says the mother, I Am Legend, Richard Matheson, child locked in the basement, diary entries, doesn’t know what mud is, the cruel parents come down and beat the child, oozes green, can climb on the ceiling, Born Of Man And Woman, no social communist implication, working together in a community, not prioritizing one person’s success over another’s, a breeding chamber, are they mammals, are they bees?, humanizing things that are inhuman, showing that we are inhuman in the end, a human being killed by monsters, standard good Philip K. Dick, 1950, fears and worries, all her fingers and toes, pops out and you clean it up, smart, good at drawing, you gotta be a genius to read Philip K. Dick, the best Philip K. Dick, Time Out Of Joint, if she doesn’t like Galactic Pot Healer, kipple and the people left behind, is Harrison Ford an android, not only based on media properties, any duds?, his juvenile, mainstream novels, in the Hugo illuminati, working on the Heinlein thing, N.K. Jemisin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ayn Rand and fascist themes in Heinlein, talking people down on twitter, you want to fight him, that’s not the book, read the book and then you’ll know, Verhoeven turns the dials to 14, trying to solve a problem in the United States, in that book, what he’s arguing, non-war service, peace corp of shit like that, leaders whove never been in the army or navy, the guy with the eyepatch, Tulsi Gabbard, An American Utopia: Dual Power And The Universal Army by Fredric Jameson, universal conscription, use the military, how short WWII was, a 4 year job, put the pacifist in charge of weapons development, reckless wars and foreign adventures, the green transition, everyone has a job, everyone has healthcare, Starship Troopers it’s still a choice, his proposal and commentary, people challenge him, edited by Slavoj Žižek, that shitlib?, neolib?, Exiting The Vampire’s Castle by Mark Fisher, upcoming things, Robert Silverberg’s Down To The Earth, the comic, still wrapped in plastic, inspired by Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer, Heinlein mines Kipling, Silverberg mines Conrad, Mike, libgen (Library Genesis), why you have to have a vpn sometimes, 2 CBRs, it still hates Paul, quite useful, people who want their book promoted this month, the Hugos There podcast, pretty good, David Brin, such a fuckin trainwreck, Seth Heasley, a philosophy podcast [The Partially Examined Life], this is a comedy show, still popular?, Kiln People, why Paul hates Amazon sometime, anything but David Brin, how broken this reality is, Startide Rising is a bad book, stories told from control panels, exhaust the idea superquick, David Weber, Paul needs to have an adblocker, goes to paperbacks, Existence by David Brin, Evan challenging Jesse in direct messages, when feeding animals and dog walking, Jesse is a bad Marxist, a Marxist book, Marx For Beginners, a comic book, not bad, does a pretty good job, what Evan really means, we need more material conditions, Evan wants everyone to be a historian, trends of history, context, greyer, more complex, like this story, a way of looking at it, not a communism story, what’s happening under a woman’s shirt when she’s breastfeeding: that’s communism, not supportive of irredentism, Evan’s middle name is Brinksman, self determination, Taiwan as a neoliberal hellscape, perfectly reasonable, Jimmy Dore thinks Taiwan is part of Taiwan, peace based on national self-determination, countries being occupied by the United States, Richard Nixon made peace, a third of Syria is under US occupation, South Korea, Germany is not be occupied by the United States, black and white, at what point was the Philippines no longer occupied by the United States, Iceland, Italy and France, is Canada occupied by the United States?, not really, NATO is the superstate, if you’ve got foreign troops in your country that have a base, Saudi Arabia, the people vs. the government, Columbia, if you don’t like it they change your government, that’s the problem, if there actual bases, Djibouti, China and the United States, you coup the government, that happened in Australia, probably hasn’t happened in Canada, weak indications, none of this applies to the case here, Taiwan was abandoned, in exchange for peace with China, Taiwan was a security council members, one country doesn’t want that, WWIII, war yes, Jesse is not being consistent, Donbass, Ukraine is a hot topic, if the Scots want independence, Scotland is more competent than England, UK was running the US for a while, you can’t say either countries are in charge, meta empires, military base, dead people from wars, caring about the veterans, farm people go off, Vancouver Island vs. New Caledonia, regional disputes, an intercontinental fight, it’d be bad if China forcibly took over Taiwan, who’s stoking that up, who we talking about, a southern NATO, basically Australian and New Zealand and Japan, the base in Okinawa, Japan has some interest in getting its feet wet, Afghanistan, the Japanese Empire still is, fucking ridiculous, the SDF, constitutionally mandated no war ever again military, waifus, get some vigour back in their loins, if they cross the ocean, we’ll Golden Slave next week, history!, David Milch’s proposal to HBO before he did Deadwood, a police drama in the early Roman Empire, fine I’ll do it in America, the most casual person, Caesar’s Column by Ignatius Donnelly, what a populist is, he was from Minnesota, 1890, not on LibriVox, the Atlantis guy, the Ancient Apocalypse guy [Graham Hancock], CBC Radio Ideas, things you should know if you’re an archaeologist: it’s potsherd not potshard, they’re related, Edgar Cayce, Madame Blavatsky, leads into Lovecraft, early science fiction America, the scholarship on the populist, The People, NO: A Brief History of Anti-Populism guy [Thomas Frank], What’s The Matter With Kansas, Lawrence Goodwyn’s Democratic Promise, silent generation, before the boomers, the new deal generation, lost his contracts, Listen Liberal, you let this happen, a lot of Democrats, Evan is not a Jimmy Dore fan, Russell Brand, Chapo Traphouse guys, ten minutes of knocking it out of the park, he’s absolutely right about the democrats turning, a rejection of the working class, it was open, not well advertized, no problem, Hillary’s gonna be our girl, the original Clinton, back to Carter, maybe 1968, Humphrey or McGovern, Clinton finished the job, Evan likes the thick bois, ignoramus who doesn’t read much and yet, nobody should make stupid mistakes, most people are not historians, withholding judgement, China content, when Nancy Pelosi went over there, unless you’re a little child who doesn’t understand how the world actually works, implying, the vast majority of Taiwanese, remove the China threat, independence, under the Taiwanese government, however Hong Kong’s working out, a second tier city, the housing crisis is worse that anywhere, Singapore, a hot war with nuclear armed countries, whoever starts it is bad, an international movement to recognize Taiwan as a country, Czech or Lithuania, to see what happens, cut relations, how many people wanna leave it, Australia, kinda fucked up, look at England, New Zealand, moving to escape other places, fucked up in different ways, London, live in a cubicle for 4000 pounds a month, more impressed with Paris, trying to make it look like a modern city, French immigrants to Canada, get away from this nuclear testing country, hippies, how you build cities, safe for cyclists, good subways, people had time to enjoy life, worked to death, no garbage cans on the street, the tragedy of the commons, it’s harder to build traditions than it is to make a stupid law, a culture that doesn’t do that, costing too much to clean it up, this excuse, neoliberal cutting the budget, win win, create jobs, China cares about making livable cities, done in authoritarian way, pride, nationalism, its ours, playing a lot of PUBG, matched with a rando, China number 1, China’s the best, a counter to America first, anytime now China’s going to surpass the United States, the population projections, this tictok thing, white women saying they’re Ritalin was being faked, I can’t get the house clean, get their Starbucks, early 2000s shows, The Sopranos, we should all go to therapy, it felt like a throwback, its role is to validate tony, narcissism, all this autism, Jesse gets weird people, this is not from a brain that works properly, a conversation with yourself, maybe it’s schizophrenia, I believe them when I read their tweets, Jesse has different kind of problems, chemicals in general, ingested, capitalism driving us to various disorders, when you start it when you’re 2, people in their 20s are zoomers, ensconced by this solipsistic existence, triggered [by Heinlein’s] They, Common Sense is the bleak one, knock the wifetooth out, the scientific revolution fails, five people escape with five wives each, don’t non-they them shame him [Joe-Jim], hims, the one time he [Heinlein] could have used at they and he didn’t, damn hims, damn they, animal wrangling, chicken crazy, an egg plague, eggs are cheap here [in Canada], Jesse petted three cats at all the feed stores.