The SFFaudio Podcast #649 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #649 – The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (37 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Tony De Simone

Talked about on today’s show:
Star Trek Wars podcast, Tony’s pick, Pygmallion’s Spectacles, Weinbaum, Gregg Margarite, thematic resonances, interestingly similar, three Professor Van Manderpootz, big lib goggles, a little dated, male female relations, of its time, a strong male gaze, in the context of this story, he uses his gaze to create the ideal woman, an absolute cad, out for girls, not empathetic, defeated by reading the story, the girl puts her face in the oven, her male ideal, the uncle in Pygmallion’s Spectacles, Albert Ludwig, another European scientist type, inflated ego and opinion, Gregg had great taste in Science Fiction, like Wayne June, reads like a robot, straight narration vs. performance narration, Mark Twain, treating it like a serious hobby, Acoustic Pulp (Gregg Margarite’s blog listing his recordings), a really great idea man, a tradition, Philip K. Dick has a Van Manderpootz style character, scolded and cajoled, Doc Brown from Back To The Future, Doc Labyrinth, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, from this tradition, a fine and upstanding tradition, philosophical stuff, the middle one, Worlds Of If, Dixon Wells, how things might have happened differently, the Mirror Universe, the subjunctivisor, stand alone but in sequence, the perfect woman, she married the pilot, how the male gaze is done by the female, the secretary through the eyes of the janitor, you notice it is fun, its incredibly deep, a magazine named after, What IF…, If This Goes On…, projecting into the future, from 2014-2015, the great stock market crash of 2009, a lot of smoking, incredible output, the perfect, John Rawls veil of ignorance, a good happy and non painful life, its ridiculous, three new particles, really early technobabble (in service), Plato and The Republic, we all want justice, what is justice?, doing right to your friends and doing harm to your enemies, to be virtuous in all actions, where learning comes from, our reality is a shittier version of the perfect, the trauma of childbirth gave you amnesia, learning is actually remembering, what makes a chair a chair is we know it from the ideal of the chair, why we recognize things, instinctual fears, the perfect house, Poe wrote a whole essay about the perfect room, psychons, that hairstyle is more attractive, big hair and shoulder pads, Miami Vice, generated by the things exposed to in youth, active in advertizing from 25 years ago, Somewhere In Time (1980), Jack Finney is sooo nostalgic, Midnight In Paris (2011), nostalgia as a receding window, Ray Bradbury is sooo nostalgic, an idealization of a perfect time in the past, Halloween, he lives there, he dwells there, a place where he was, how he was, only if you believe in this idea of the perfect, an exploration and a ridiculing of the perfect, anything after 1899 was uninteresting, movies from the 1970s vs. stories from the 1970s, the perfect girl, her costume, cuirasses are back in fashion, body armor and shorts, standard from 1930s magazines, Return Of The Jedi, Leia’s costume is 1930s brass braziers, a male Jabba gaze, long sensuous hair tentacles, what makes Star Wars work so well is its coming out and a harkening back, the serials and the pulps, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, wearing swords and cuirasses, flying vehicles and Ming the Merciless, an inconsequential comedy piece, there is this perfect woman out there for me, a new reality, very subtle, an examination of the phenomenon and a dismissal of it, an element of Van Manderpootz, he tells us he’s smart, his wiseness is not as high as his smartness, taking the robot apart, his plan went afoul, the cover of Wonder Stories, its in the story (just not the focus), they idealized it, a guy sticking his head into a cannon, people with TV heads, robosaurus, if he had built it it would have been a disaster, the ideal predator for an urban jungle, the tradition going back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the message of Frankenstein is if you’re going to have kids don’t abandon them, embracing the and, the most discussed one, 1. there are some things man was not meant to know!, 2. playing God is wrong, connected to making babies, God is making babies, creating Hell on Earth, instead of living peacefully in heaven forever, adaptations (the movies), hubris, show off his intelligence, of that ilk, driven to defeat death, a creature that is immortal, the creature punishes him, if you get a dog don’t abuse it, rejected by society, our hero is a little bit too ditzy, he’s not committed (even to showing up on time), so distraught he starts showing up to work on time, oh I know that girl, her second husband (she’s had seven), an object of massive desire, brilliant as he is, he makes a good uncle, the relationship between Doc Brown and Marty McFly, the circular loop, it doesn’t make sense to look at as a Heinleinian loop, Predestination (2014) and All You Zombies, the avuncular uncle, Doc I need more power, the same comedic relationship, getting in bed with the Libyans, the same story a different phenomenon, public domain heroes, John R. Peirce’s The Higher Things, Harry Harrison, romances, I I Dixon Wells, Heloise And Alebard, from the medieval time period, a missed opportunity, a very Star Trek thing to do: Newton, Hawking, Tpau of Vulcan, the iceberg approach, A Pale Light In The Black by K.B. Wagers, the only music is Star Trek is jazz, classical, and Klingon opera, Dixon Hill, the ideal romance, Marty McFly isn’t that interested in science, Sophie Wenzel Ellis, tragic romances, the real answer, Creatures Of The Light by Sophie Wenzel Ellis, a eugenicist, pile on pile on pile on pile on, extra stuff at the beginning, Aucassin and Nicolette, auggh gasoline!, fixed eyes or fixed cameras, phone camera AI, categorizing and tagging, blinders and a mirror, what does this heterosexual young man see?, dating dancers, what other people thought was the perfect woman, nothing about her brain, Weinbaum is very wise, it feels so easy but it is super deep, Dawn Of Flame, a plague in the 2020s, The Black Flame, Kentucky, Black Margo, conquering the world for good, as very poignant piece vs. clinical and cute, wise, wistful, our naive hero, he’s literally teaching us, he taught so many people what science fiction could be, read more Weinbaum, he wrote a lot for a guy who didn’t live very long, Ray Bradbury is genuine and enthusiastic, love and reverence for poetry and prose, the least political writer, cars and trains, The Pedestrian, Fahrenheit 451 seems very political, book burning vs. the danger of television, a magic way to get to Mars, never learned to live (living in Los Angeles) is pretty weird, The Small Assassin, the image of a homicidal baby, Pet Semetary by Stephen King, revealing truths, making the wisdom go down very easy, a jerk vs. a ditz, he could literally destroy the planet, killing machines, the robot is probably named after Isaac Newton, a Jew, Ray Bradbury’s obsessions are kind of what people wanted, that small town vibe, a nice way of thinking of reality, Disney’s Up is too nostalgic for Jesse, noir fiction, hard SF, hard boiled, well written and easy to take in, A Martian Odyssey, a Star Trek bridge crew, each alien is different, silicon based lifeforms, how a bird would think, H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds, they’re comprehensible, based in threes, vampires, what would happen to people as we evolved, taking in your food through your skin, grey aliens.

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

 WONDER STORIES, September 1935 - The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum - illustration by Frank R. Paul

The Ideal by Stanley G. Weinbaum - interior illustration by Frank R. Paul

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Reading, Short And Deep #294 – Flowering Evil by Margaret St. Clair

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #294

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Flowering Evil by Margaret St. Clair

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Flowering Evil was first published in Planet Stories, Summer 1950

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #292 – The Clock That Went Backward by Edward Page Mitchell

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #292

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Clock That Went Backward by Edward Page Mitchell

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Clock That Went Backwards was first published in The Sun (New York), September 18, 1881

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

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The SFFaudio Podcast #644 – READALONG: Martians Come In Clouds by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #644 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe a talk about Martians Come In Clouds by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Fantastic Universe, June – July 1953, read before?, Second Variety and Other Stories, moments used in The World Jones Made, gelatinous blobs, xenophobic violence, overtly political, the translated titles, Philip K. Dick’s submitted title “The Buggies”, the memorability of the stories, how important it is for the story, a pretty simple story, sits his kid down, kid goes for a walk, he sees a buggie, they kill a buggie, what the father saw, his reaction, if we cut out the whole middle section that would change the story radically, why cant we assume the martians are speaking to all the people, a lot darker, how its supposed to be read, its not about the boy, everybody is the same way, the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, “Rigid”, newspapers, of the period, familiar, finding the title, the canned dutch ham, a very Philip K. Dick move, the couch, where Philip K. Dick lived in Berkley when he was 11 years old, 1212 Walnut Street, Berkeley, California, Bubber and The Cookie Lady, every tree name, visually inspirational, tree and forest street, Douglas, palm trees, Vermont Street, maple syrup, we are in once upon a time land, Hansel And Gretel, once upon a time land, the suburbs are a forest, garages, buses, even more chilling, mining his own youth, conjure up, where the buggie lands, a shout out to The Father Thing, Ralph Drake, like a dried up thing you’d find in a garage, the evergreens, something moved, a combination of Los Angeles and Seattle (in climate), walking home from school, the childhood thing, spiders with them, it becomes like the world, yellow light inside, dark and menacing, wailing, trees and detritus, “the Ditch”, a tangle of forest and trees, it felt big, explore and delve in, Paul was smol (with big eyes), some beautiful parallels, why Jesse recommends Dick as a writer, what say Barnes, they already tore it up, poking it down with a pole, what?, spider-web, what they see in the bamboo, a tree covered in a web, very nebulous, a giant nest for the eggs of some sort of insect, they eat the whole tree (every leaf), just a little while, 99.9% chance something like this happened in his neighborhood, political, so many spiders in Philip K. Dick, stop pulling those legs off, Phil, feeling awful, so sensitive, super-sensitive, trained by Philip K. Dick, the brutality of the humans is evident from the beginning of the story, grim-faced and trembling, what was the fear caused by?, the vision the buggie gives to our main character, a lecture from his dad, you mind what your father tells you, the biggest whipping, I’ll get washed, be yelly, a whole other educational scene at the end, violence, externalizing violence away from the family, punch him on the shoulder, no reaction, very normalized, dirt on his cheek, his hair is tousled, did he get that at school?, these are free range kids, a more innocent time, the stranger danger is the humans, outsiders coming in, more subtle, I wonder where it will end?, a dying planet, their perception of it, Dick’s intention, the efforts of blacks to get into the suburbs, Lovecraft Country, they’re more organized this time, like leaves, you get out the long pole (aka the rake), gosh!, Will Emmons, what is it about?, it’s about communism, it’s about communists, another Red Scare, the insanity of McCarthyism, from Truman to Eisenhower and VP Tricky Dick, the war, communism is everywhere, what broke the fever, what the buggie is trying to say, I’m trying to be transparent here, on metal disks in the middle of the ocean, fuck off!, get a fireman and burn it to death, looking below, you could put any group in there, immigrants, aliens come in caravans, imploring, begging, permission, mobs and police, the violent culture, indoctrination, if it was an adult, this is how you learn to be a racist, those are the others, see how we treat that person, what you need to understand, boy, like little sponges, your religion, being afraid of outsiders, the programming, numb them to the violence, picnics at a lynching, take you pet to the vet, associating the positive with going out, spay you, the really spooky part, capturing this programming, how you program a society, how you program people, little Jimmy, sad, a tragedy, take anybody’s permission, he should have found the dog in Roog, genetically programmed to bark at strangers, the house came with a dog, a rundown house and a rundown dog, get used to communists, this is a sad story, we should be sympathetic to these beings, it would help a living being, we don’t understand it, whatever it is we’re blind to, the structure does the job of what Philip K. Dick is trying to say, Hartley Construction, Western Lumber, his chest swelling, Frank Hendrix was from Missouri, Jack Green, Green thumped Ted on the back, chip off the old block, coffee, not one damned bit, all aglow with reflected glory, the kid was scared shitless, the analogy of the barking dog, he’s lying to himself about what his son felt, what he does with his trembling hands, a very Philip K. Dick move, blowing smoke in a grey mist, what’s for dinner, he presents something, lets sit with that for a while, another Philip K. Dick-ism, Lena, nineteen hundred and fifty eight, mid sixties, early seventies, what the Martians are presenting, a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre adaption of The Prisoner Of Zenda, commercial radio drama, the ads and the news, a news station with an audio drama, how different the United States is today, the metric system, the refugee immigrants from Vietnam, this failed war, we gotta take out people with us, the communists will gettem, a wave of immigration from Europe, The Hounds Of Zaroff aka The Most Dangerous Game, a White Russian count in the Caribbean, a combination of a natural image like the fall, a “long pole”, what the pole is for, they get torches and more gasoline, pure evil, and everybody’s good with it, a Japanese fighter pilot parachuting down over San Francisco bay, The Battle Of Los Angeles, shelling the sky over Hollywood, what would the people do, people falling out of the sky, they’re spies, the cruelty just under the surface, the Comic Code Authority, no impugning police officers, judges, or politicians, built into the programming, a false reality story where everyone is in on it, the kids talk just like the adults, I wanna see one, I wanna get one, reflected glory, if you’re a person who doesn’t feel fear you’re not a person, you gotta listen to me boy, is he’s old enough, you run, you tell the authorities, inside of him he was shown something that shook him to his core, there’s something wrong with you, you go to church, masturbation will put you in hell, I resist, I’m a good person, a transmutation, curious, happy go lucky, he transmutes what he heard about the buggies, he transmutes his fear into hate and then lies about his motivation, human beings favourite hobby, what about the vision, a dying Mars trope, dead spiders lodged in cracks, layer after layer, where have we seen this before, the Vaults from Fallout, The Penultimate Truth, into these bunkers to slowly wither away, give up that industrial way of life, it is not without risk to bring immigrants into your society, but there are rewards too, that distant green sphere, dried out blind husks, be waterspiders, we can’t have them breeding, your civic duty, stab him with a pitchfork, make you doubt the war is a good idea, subversive, scarier, xenophobic, who is doing the programming, shown pictures of them at school, listens to the TV murmuring to itself, television, the TV is programming them, most of them are already rounded up, the warm bright living room, Jimmy imagines what his parents are doing at home, a frigid wind, reading the newspaper, fixing dinner, the friendly yellow homey warmth, the home being a center of warmth and caring, the garage is where you find father things and poles for raking leavers, the neighbourhood, the things up on the roof, the things up in the tree, very powerful, it seems insubstantial, he nails it perfectly, super-talented writer, writing about stuff other people are not interested in, writing about children, Evan’s show on this story, the relationship between children and parents, Stephen King, more optimism in King, corrupted by society, Project Earth, Tony And The Beetles, The Cosmic Puppets, Of Withered Apples, can I go outside and play with my tree?, newspaper x6, when you’re a kid everything is new, delivering newspapers, a needed commodity, gasoline over newspapers, how newspapers work, if you deliver the newspaper late, the generalized value, as opposed to a book, what’s happening now, how to think now, whenever the New York Times puts out a headline that’s ridiculous, get 650,000 people killed, its in the newspaper, how Nineteen Eighty-Four works, we get rid of old newspapers, you wrap fish in newspapers, you wrap newspapers and fish, dried up and useless, the newspaper needs to be burned to prevent archiving, down the memory hole, the last of the buggies, completely forgotten, a horror story, remember that time our ancestors genocided the neanderthal, the megafauna extinctions, mysteriously they disappeared, as we’re carrying around our knife all covered in blood: “I can’t image what happened to them.”

1212 Walnut Street - Philip K. Dick's house when he was 11

Martians Come In Clouds by Philip K. Dick

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Reading, Short And Deep #288 – The Jelly-Fish by David H. Keller

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #288

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Jelly-Fish by David H. Keller

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Jelly-Fish was first published in Weird Tales, January 1929

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

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Reading, Short And Deep #287 – Who Destroyed The Earth? by Robert Wolf Emmett

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #287

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Who Destroyed The Earth? by Robert Wolf Emmett

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Who Destroyed Earth? was first published in Maclean’s, January 1, 1955

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!