Talked about on today’s show:
a panel on the New Wave, reading the New Wave, stuck in Jesse’s craw, against movements, cyberpunk, that one William Gibson book, steampunk, as it was happening, H.L. Gold, Galaxy Magazine, John W. Campbell, Analog, not that, Philip K. Dick, Alfred Bester, the label science fiction or fantasy, a reaction, quite impressed, really casual, the way it is written, the plot is pathetic, so meta, SF Impulse, mathematically wrong, 10,000 years from now, 1,000 years, the year 3,000, he’s describing 2019 or 1966, he met a girl and took her phone number, copyright 1966 by Rogue Magazine, a sub-Playboy, all the meta-stuff, just I guy who likes boobs, the whole thing is about sex, a direct injection of ideas, a little red convertible, how angrily you recoil from the page, who wants to read about a pair of queers, so innovative, transgender folks that are pronouns that aren’t male or female, the 1980s, born in 1919, sums up all of the issues we won’t care about, just getting used to the idea, 2012 review, what makes it feel old and dated, dude-bro, the dude-bros are back, the dude-bro phenomenon, click around on YouTube, all sorts of people, anti-gay sentiment from totally gay, women are all about peace, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney’s daughter, this dude whose reading a girlie magazine, interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1981, trending, a phenomenon, the last hurrah, the narrator is criticizing you, everytime there’s an objection, on this way I want to tell you about, a boy a girl and a love-story, none of it is true, undercuts, 137 years old, not a girl, the urge to rape and the urge to submit, psychology, a pedagogical lesson in what SF is, poignant sentiment, it sounds sarcastic and full of cliches, beginning with a hyperbole, just before the singularity, present day concerns, silly requirements long since left behind, the end, Spider Robinson’s podcast on this story, permission to read, what very well may be the ultimate science fiction short story, a lot of competition, edging out a lot of the competitors, more interesting, an introduction to science fiction, Robert Silverberg’s Science Fiction 101, a terrible story
And you—with your aftershave lotion and your little red car, pushing papers across a desk all day and chasing tail all night—tell me, just how the hell do you think you would look to Tiglath-Pileser, say, or Attila the Hun?
boom, he dropped the mic, and walked away saying “I just showed you what science fiction is, yo.”, whisky, shaving everyday, everybody’s all beardy, ride horses and subdue cities, a man sits behind a desk, he bbqs stakes in the back yard, that is fucking weird, some of it is preposterous, the most normal stuff, VR stuff, personality copying, prosthetics, cavities filled, rude parts removed, organs, a new wave retelling of Scanners Live In Vain, Pohl fell in love with Cordwainer Smith, stacking up the famous science fiction writers, eventually you would get to Pohl, he was there the whole time, the opposite of Campbell’s movement, writing and editing magazines, he didn’t do the Moon Landing, with Cyril Kornbluth he wrote The Space Merchants, the Senator from Proctor And Gable, a book for millennials, sleeping on the stairs, near death of capitalism, a near singularity story, Don and his voyages, circled Alpha Centuri, agricultural implements, 10,000 planets, but you don’t care about that either, its people who make stories, making a concession, science fiction has no real characters or character development, full of circumstances, he’s mocking the reader, double meta reverse irony, you think I’m crazy, that part is boring, it doesn’t deliver what the readers want, oh my god, he’s right!, you don’t understand your place, there just different, offhand comments, you might be thinking about, they didn’t care, Dora is a dancer, the audience doesn’t care, you can’t make babies with her, that’s not natural, he responds to every dude-bro idea, “No”, I still don’t like it, Jesse’s two personalities, natural is good bullshit, everything is difference and everything is change, the smell of peanut butter, that she’s got a pelt, lives under the sea, gills, zero-g dancer, capable of deploying more energy that Portugal in a year, she doesnt sweat in the normal way, she’s up to peanut butter, musky honey, she’s more like a beaver or an otter, a platypus, he’s cranching all the time, getting his legs renewed, only the brain feels, the top tier of the middle class, the ads, an MG roadster, tennis rackets, cigars, cars, turtlenecks, a men’s fashion magazine, even the title, he gets about, a naughty wink wink, an aspirational lifestyle magazine, a tame rascal, Dude, Where’s My Car?, The Hangover, hipsters WWII veterans, the many many anthology, Worlds Of Wonder, not for an audience that’s familiar with SF, for the thinking man who has boobs, the cover illustration for SF Impulse, a human female near the horizon, are you guys seeing what I’m seeing, those calypgean hips = nice ass, she has a tail, not literally childbearing, Podkayne Of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein, conceived earlier and decanted later, birthing technology, plausibility, you can’t gill people up anytime soon, beyond the singularity for Jesse, birth control pills changed things a real fuckton, PROFOUND EFFECTS upon everything, thinking about science fiction as NOT about rocketships going to planets, incredibly valuable, its not supposed to be hard SF, an interesting shift, we could have sex for fun, how is this going to go, Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside, a mid-life crisis book, lets dwell with this idea, quite an interesting book, it feels like mainstream fiction, what effect would that have?, he can do whatever he wants, like a crutch…, there’s one person who had a cellphone that’s connected to the internet we have but his battery is getting weaker and weaker, you don’t know how to fix it, imagine you had that superpower for 40 years, and that’s science fiction, everything you know that you think is normal I’m cutting away, all the ground falls out from under you, more Buck Rogery style of story, nobody was writing it at that time, but it was translating into film, once you need Day Million in 1985…, a secret sin, science fiction as the literature of cognitive estrangement, it is but not what you expect, the tears and poignant sentiment, it made her feel sad, intensity of emotion, just their memories of each other, they’re not really human anymore, maybe dying earth, the death of humanity, post-human stories, I don’t get you, a couple texting, c u next time, being unable to understand, an ant on Jesse’s kitchen floor doesn’t know what Jesse’s doing in the next room, magnitude, an ant can’t understand a flea, singularities cropping, we’re not supposed to be able to understand, when the curve suddenly changes direction, artificial intelligence, deciding to give up peanut butter, record it for LibriVox, The Men In The Walls by William Tenn, what the people who were talking, Mankind consisted of 128 people, so vast a horde, sometime ago Earth was invaded by aliens, vast their huge their massive, humans as rats in walls of aliens houses, that change of magnitude, not only in time, an incommunicable difference, Virgil Finlay illustrations, dude, podcast, that’s the one, we can do that then, Of Men And Monsters, even if you’re the only thing in the universe, copies copulating with other copies, they need to meet each other, they met at the encoding room and they blushed, do they have to do it to tape it, making a digital copy of themselves, kids today, looking at their phones lovingly, all that sensory detail with them, they have friends too, passion of kiss in symbolic mathematical form, a residue of flesh or body, supercomputer tinder, when they lived in Seattle with a bunch of friends and dating with OK Cupid, a traditional Hollywood Meet Cute, oh shit vs oh hell, the exhibition has an open fly, balls you say vs rats you say, everything is virtual, dose of fleshiness, masterfully put together, Jesse feels to privileged, that wasn’t universally true, a story from Weird Tales called Pity Me! by Bertha Russell, in 1928, an old man who gets his jollies from having sex with dead bodies, she came back to life, how could this be?, this does not fit, 1920s flappers, great grandma and great grandpa were swingers, “problematic”, losing their jobs, they published that?, have you met a 15 year old, no matter where you go you find humans in time, comforting, they’re just like us but their circumstances are different, that big gap, what the publishing industry is putting out, whatever I’ve been reading recently will inform the plots, whatever you put in you’ll get out, if you only prime yourself science fiction novels you’ll get science fiction novels, read widely, watching science fiction TV and want to write a novel, new drafts coming in, the camera is panning in around things, a new phenomenon too, comics that are written as adaptation to Netflix, the art’s good, designed to be adapted as a Netflix series, what’s new this week, so many show there is no way to keep track, you could never catch up, feeding that hunger mill, all the competition for Netflix is starting this month and next and next year , 40 other shows to buy that day, sometimes that works, give me your most innovative story, he was editor of Galaxy and If: Worlds On Science Fiction, playing to the market, being terrible, they say Netflix on the side, a mill aspect, what the reaction of the New Wave is against, Algis Budrys, regular science fiction of the 30s and 40s and 50s, a monetary currency that had been debased, a bunch of tropes that were all worn out, telepathy, Ray Bradbury would use that same vocabulary and do his own thing with it, Heinleinian style Asimovian stlye, more internal, one human being failing, taking drugs on a ship, Charles Stross, a human observer, Ted Chiang, hermeneutics,
Martel was angry. He did not even adjust his blood away from anger. He stamped across the room by judgment, not by sight. When he saw the table hit the floor, and could tell by the expression on Luci’s face that the table must have made a loud crash, he looked down to see if his leg were broken. It was not. Scanner to the core, he had to scan himself. The action was reflex and automatic. The inventory included his legs, abdomen, Chestbox of instruments, hands, arms, face and back with the Mirror. Only then did Martel go back to being angry. He talked with his voice, even though he knew that his wife hated its blare and preferred to have him write.
“I tell you, I must cranch. I have to cranch. It’s my worry, isn’t it?”
When Luci answered, he saw only a part of her words as he read her lips: “Darling … you’re my husband … right to love you … dangerous … do it … dangerous … wait ….”
He faced her, but put sound in his voice, letting the blare hurt her again: “I tell you, I’m going to cranch.”
set in the same universe, the 1950s housewife, the other Cordwainer Smith story, The Lady Who Sailed The Soul, explain a photograph to a neanderthal, our way of seeing telepathy, we know what they’re thinking, accessible to the inner eye, a perfect reproduction, captures a moment, what difference does it make, everything is fantasy, everything out in the world is projection, fighting in a Battle Royale for a Chicken Dinner, romantic relationships can be…, the encoding room, their friends were there to cheer them on, are the friends physically there?, he’s a star man, on Wednesday, he takes all his friends with him, like Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi?, over there there’s Ben Kenobi, how much is virtual is ambiguous, I saw you on the bus you dropped your glasses, are you looking for me?, never lose those interactions, your ex-wife never becomes your ex-wife, and husbanded, the only thing we’re almost sure of, totally programmed world, atoms all fall down, all the rest could be 100% virtual, sometimes the requirements of the human need for storytelling requires a certain page count, two sentence long story, what day is it?, Day Million, that’s not the way we count, tweaking his audience’s nose, his tongue is firmly planted, these things are coming faster, in your lifetime, the sexy version is “Night Million”, how many words, wordcounter.net, all these things we couldn’t do before except by hand, 2,122 words, 2,500 words, a very cynical view of relationships, that dating farce, the instinct to submit, kinda crass, no chasing, too animal, it really changes things for women, the Vanderbilt on CNN (Anderson Cooper), he comes from billionaire stock, billionaire DNA, gay bath houses and sex sex sex, a very straight gay man, “c’mon man”, the BC Civil Liberties Association, always suing the border customs guys, somebody at the border, philosophy of law, the gay bathhouse phenomenon in Toronto, homosexual men don’t have to worry about babies, as much sex as they want, imagine if women if women don’t need to have babies, as many husbands as they want, it does change the female psychology, females are scarce, get the equipment or marry somebody, it really changes things, you all have to start acting like gay men, the numbers of transitioners, more modest?, more randy?, gay bathouse men from the 1970s, men now living in a woman’s world, modifying their behavior, how people are externally treating them, the whole phenomenon of Saudi Arabia, women in the middle ages in Europe, we gotta keep that all locked down, the whole chastity belt, you can do a lot without electricity,
Talked about on today’s show:
a question on Twitter, Julie, how it even got on the schedule, A Good Story Is Hard To Find (110), June 2015, Mark Woodword, how we’ve never heard of this book, Julie’s mom, very weird, a near masterpiece of Science Fiction, Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth, David Bowie, not about music, Queen’s Gambit, The Hustler, The Color Of Money, one PDF on the PDF Page, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism, post apocalyptic, a post-capitalist society, a post-scarcity society, a downer, a slow slow slide into the long dark night, uplifting (also), the state of humanity, they way he reveres reading, enjoy an omelette, re-watching Star Trek, the Animated Series, The Next Generation, it gets better, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Yang, take away all goals, stripping us of our humanity, drugs, hippies, an anti-marijuana book, a critique of the hippies, silent movies, a world you didn’t know, when this old man dies, a different view, Spoforth, pensioning off Paul, reading is not valued, Paul teaches Mary how to read, looking for pornography, he was teaching pornography and mindfulness, a savage critique, who’s the mockingbird?, he wants to know what’s going on, genuine examples of humanity, Julie is being so mean to Paul, Paul in the book, Bentley, spaw-forth or spoof-forth (and multiply), struck to the heart, revealed as the villain, he’s not even sure it’ll work, kill humanity to kill ones’ self, kinda dark, sympathetic, did he intend to kill the child right from the start?, detector, a lot of twists, no diary, a hard shift, switches to Mary Lou, I don’t like this book anymore, not who I imagined her to be, love as a projection, maybe she was blind to herself, or emotionally repressed, when he gets thrown in prison, hanging out with the baleens, a horror novel, shifting around, an impressive world, standard mainstream good writing, built up this whole world, premises are revealed to us, is he a bad guy, an abortionist, destroy humanity, he didn’t invent the system, he’s cursed with an inability to die, massive, a total dystopia, Brave New World‘s children, Huxley was optimistic, self immolation, political protest, a political act, a religious act, a sacrifice, people can’t string ideas together, going to the same cafe, they’re singing, what is the motivation, psychology, Annabelle, SEARS as a church, A Boy And His Dog (1975), a revelation, different genres, my pet Biff, New York City, the Adam and Eve theme, story is how we find truth, books get us in touch with other minds, what a masterpiece, have you got to the monkey bacon yet?, bacon for monkeys?, clever ideas going on, a lot of biblical stuff, this is Jonah, he’s vomited out, the thought buses are like the friends in Job, they’re something else, that thought wasn’t finished, the true inhabitants of the city, a line relevant to our times, cars were promulgated by a cabal of oil manufacturers, dealing with the consequences of a world we never made, a mass transportation system, look very deeply back at old stuff at the time, reading TV Guide from 1980, it’s fascinating, yo, a good magazine about the technology of TV, what television will be like in 1990, they kinda nailed it, gay behavior will be more popular, the trends we see here, the 1980 Olympics in Russia, the invasion of Afghanistan, anyone who would invade Afghanistan is obviously a monster, the fossils of a previous generation, A Streetcar Named Desire, streetcars around the world, one more reason to go to Nice (France), I say that in Jes(t), she picks a fruit, its artificial, what they’re being taught in school, quick sex is best, it comes from the same place, reconstructed all the greatness in science fiction, a mainstream book with a deeply science fiction world behind it, the zoo is all fake, even the children are fake, the Adam and Eve thing, when he comes back to Marylou, Jesus!, Mary, the notion of felix culpa (the fortunate fall), remembering her action, he explicitly remembers, it isn’t going to be as bad as you think, thank you Terence, so loaded, Spoforth is a good carpenter, the poem from T.S. Eliot, the songful simian, a Christ figure, the little sparrow, like the end of Blade Runner when Roy Batty dies, the same problem in the other direction, a sort of love, joy, compassion, influenced?, a lot of Philip K. Dick elements, artificial emotions, the symmetry trick that works every time, it’s beautiful, an act of mercy and love, the poor guy, condemned to Hell on Earth, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, I Am, keep sliding towards oblivion, actively seeking death, the mercy that he wants the mercy he’s trying to give humanity, the behavior of humans is not good, an Arthur C. Clarke vibe, The City And The Stars, that world is perfectly broken, the only thing you can do is appreciate the abstract, blotchy moving colour shapes and sounds, no more music, the heart and the center of the book, the robot toaster factory, a whole novel, a mindless parody of productivity, those grey uniformed sub-morons that all look like Peter Lorre, and then he fixed them, suddenly people are getting toasters again, the warmth and the light (a preview), its a rebirth, what happened in real-life that you didn’t see on twitter, looking for stuff on Netflix, Year One (2009), cave man comedies, fur bikinis, One Million B.C. (1940), science fiction stories, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling, The Wonderstick by Stanton A. Coblentz, the wonder of the wheel the wonder of the stick, a retelling of the bible, Harold Ramis plays Adam, David Cross is Kane as Paul Rudd is Abel, that tree of knowledge, only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods, that’s really powerful, all the characters, Simon, the alternative father for Marylou, why she’s so different, monstrous and straight out of Brave New World, we recognize all this biblical stuff, you get both, there’s gotta be something out there, an The Brick interview with Walter Tevis, it felt very Lawrence Block-y, “Mockingbird’s about coming out of alcoholism.”, “But I don’t do any outlining. I don’t do any researching. I was tempted while writing Mockingbird to start watching silent movies, you know, and see if I could pick some interesting stuff to use, and I realized that would’ve been just a dodge to avoid the typewriter. So I never research anything.”
LD: You paint a pretty bleak picture in terms of literacy in Mockingbird.
WT: It comes from twenty-five years of being an English teacher.
RW: Do you see a decline in literacy? I do, but do you?
WT: Oh, you hear about it a lot. Yes, I’ve seen it a bit, but my private experience as an English teacher has been that Americans don’t read books. They didn’t read books in 1949 when I started teaching. They don’t read books now Television did make a difference. It deepened the slack of the slackjaws and gave another great quantity of garbage for people to fill their lives with. But, you know, there was other garbage around before television. Mockingbird does sometimes, I think, weaken into an attack solely on television and on the modern world, and “weaken” I say because I’m not completely convinced of all those things that I say. But what I am convinced of is that it is very bad for people to find substitutes for living their lives, and that’s what I hope I do say, and say well, from time to time in the book.
reading is the tool that opened up his mind and taught him how to think, a photograph of notes to the editor, the surprise that she’s going to narrate, destructive to our view of his wonderful relationship, she came to appreciate him, he forgot her too, what they had wasn’t super-deep, she was Dante’s Beatrice, Edward Hopper, there’s no door in Nighthawks, alone together, some lady sitting on a bed looking out a window, beautifully painted, what makes us care about his paintings is the emotions in these characters, the emotions that make Hopper’s paintings so powerful, a criticism of the kind of television being shown in the book, stimulating arrangements of color form and design, the psychedelic, Tevis’ take on Hopper’s quote, yeah exactly, four things you can get from films (books), manipulating one’s mental states, a means of learning something about the past, why memory is not enough, sympathizing with other people from other times, knowing about other people’s feelings you discover your own feelings, he captures that experience, jokes from 200 years ago, a line that crystallizes something you’ve always known but never seen before, before Plato, the only book he never reads is Gone With The Wind, See Spot Run, the alphabet is arbitrarily ordered, this is science fiction, the scene in Frankenstein where the creature learns how to read and speak, Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, his creation book (Frankenstein’s lab notes), this is a Frankenstein-fixed story, the creation of the world, how to service robots and thought-buses, a masterpiece, nature is always pulled in, puzzling over how to fix the thought-bus, a large dramatic spiderweb, the moon, made of pure light, the elaboration and power of life that could make such a design, this makes me feel something, Julie’s favourite Psalm is Psalm 19, so mysterious, the way you hold that cup, so much bigger, the human experience, he wrote it for us, the earlier scene with the spiderweb, the court is a plastic building, you go clean the judge’s face, yellow powder, they all have the same look on their face, the system turns on and gears up, other prisoners, the prison sequence, I didn’t see this coming, Belasco, tattoos, Queequeg!, rule breakers, paintings of trees and birds, have a fire on the beach, as free as people in that world can be, a temptation to stay there?, the escape itself, a community of people to help him toughen up, the beginning of his journey, The Handmaid’s Tale. reading is powerful, the way we got there, our own fucking laziness, go along get along, rage rage rage against the machine, read a fucking book, you’ll like it it’s good, not just shore-dinners, a so coddled society, memorizing your life, a kind of writing, a book that feels like its in dialogue with Fahrenheit 451, drop out communities, finding the libraries (it’s treasure!), insistence of family and community, Annabelle becomes his mother, enriched by other communities, great risks to my individuality, the robots who taught me, yup, individualistic, you’re not letting me help anyone, a balance, a really good job of pointing that stuff out, it doesn’t feel like a sermon, super-funny, Buster Keaton, he’s baptized in the mall, the SEARS (catalogue) was a big part of Jesse’s life in 1980, a book of pictures of things, the world in the background economically makes sense, could you game in this world?, a survival game, rebuild society, back to board-games, Scrabble, role-playing games, a very New York thing to do, California, The Last Chase (1981), how the credit card system worked, the pricing, what are they teaching in those classrooms?, yoga and meditation?, sopors, soma, give yourself to the screens, Terence is right!, social media, stream everything, everybody is literate now (to read stop signs and instructions), people who never read anything (maybe a magazine once a year), a super-nice person, what is wrong with you, there are these parallel societies, Anabelle is that representation, part of this is looking at creativity, Spoforth wasn’t creative but he learned, Exhalation Stories: (The Lifecycle Of Software Objects) by Ted Chiang, the whole him trying to find his earlier incarnation, recapture what he had lost from his earlier mind, in the dream, its a baby, just before he dies, the missing peice in the puzzle of his dream, in Westworld for recipe for an intelligent robot is a reverie, the reverie we get from literature, its made him more human, he’s trying trying trying, another element of information, what humanizes him, he felt love, the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, I love you, still strange, the mockingbird sings from the edge of the woods, Scott Danielson, “Whose woods these are I think I know”, the mockingbird is the creative artist, always in association with creativity, a deepening sadness, more creative than we give him credit for?, the boy’s drawings, it works on multiple levels, the fake, the marginal, mocking, a mockery of a man, the emotions of a man and he can’t connect, this mock level, mockingbird songs, things stung together, Tevis is the mockingbird, there’s this hybridization, a very literary book, To Kill A Mockingbird, it sings its heart out, to deal with race again, is it because you’re a black man, it’s 1978, the most advanced beautiful man ever, he was the pinnacle and they made him a black man, still enslaved, in his dream his feet are white, Typee by Herman Melville, an Anabelle like character, only one person’s working hard all day line, Bentley see this as an injustice, is it an injustice?, her choice, making something of value, cooking is work, its still good to feed the kids (even if they can’t thank you), making the mistake of thinking humans are all one way, objectivism, let’s be greedy together, reading Ayn Rand, is Anthem a rip-off of We, moms being moms, I’m a loner, everybody’s talking to each other all the time, invading privacy is the worst thing, it was the robots that did it, the society happened almost by accident, quite beautiful, we fall into the trap of amusing ourselves to death, John Savage likes pain, they twist it against him, “that’s illegal”, those people are all around us, he had his stash, dumping herself full of Valium, him living in her house, thank your mom for us, how many people heard about it through you through her through this podcast, Marissa would have been here very happily, the Westworld connection, good choice, thank you!