The SFFaudio Podcast #506 – READALONG: Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #506 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1953/1954, people and animals getting smarter on the Earth, Space Science Fiction, the 2nd half was never published, the first half is public domain, Greg Bear and Poul Anderson’s daughter, bad logic, a strange curiosity, 1953, oh crap my subscription’s lapsed!, The Escape, putting Poul Anderson on notice!, Scott’s prediction, idea science fiction, fantastic, very good, the reviews, what people love about it, too short?, 164 pages, Archie Brock, Jesse is not here to poop on the book, the imagery, the opening, Ray Bradbury, an elephant, a chimpanzee with a shotgun, these covers are weird, not a novel about an animal uprising, that’s not what you see mostly, didn’t come to fruition, throwaway stuff, a revolution in Africa, a one off, gorillas organizing, Protector by Larry Niven, A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge, the laws of thought in different in different parts of the galaxy, Earth is in the slow zone, stories that nest within this premise, a dampening field was turned off, echoes in other stories about intelligence or stupidity, Anderson didn’t say enough, it wasn’t philosophical enough, the dog, reflection on motivation, reading news reports, the Chinese army has defected, characters coming up with explanations for other characters to shoot down, a shotgun approach, the Goodreads reviews, a good idea for a bunch of different writers to tackle, Mike Resnick can take a bone and chew on it real good, Rachel In Love by Pat Murphy, Flowers For Algernon, a lack of focus, a whole novel about that farm, what does it mean to be smart, people going crazy, its better to be stupid (so as to not be unhappy), a philosophical meditation or exploration, among the scientists, cut the book up, the space stuff is supposed to make us think, is there something that we don’t see?, that’s amazing, no backup systems, no safeguards, an arrogance there, hubris!, racing brains, manic, what about the insects?, the pigs, it almost turned into Animal Farm for a minute, how George Orwell’s novel can be explained, bees, ants, social insects, the higher animals, working at real speed, shrew to humans, reptiles, fish, what about all the aquatic mammals, dolphins and whales, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, he isn’t really interested in the animals except on the farm, 5 times boost, critical mass, let’s explore what intelligence is, is this about school?, more facts, more history, math, train you up, a useful and functional member of society, quitting your job and moving to the country, Clifford D. Simak’s City stories, it’s not a metaphor, what Anderson thinks education is about, they never make the whole planet dumb, a sidebar, save humanity by making it dumb, so 2018, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, an apple the size of a basketball (or bigger), a scientific adventure romance, a fabulation, a fertilizer that boosts production, the ultimate result, a homeostasis, profits are always temporary, no eternal profits (or prophets either), very sparky for ideas, no answers, a real thorny issue, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, Scott is surprised, if you multiply everyone’s intelligence by 5 the system we live in will fall apart, rote jobs, the elevator job, the farm job, Sheila wasn’t very bookish (was looking into the abyss), Jesse doesn’t know what intelligence is, very pleasant house frau, deep conversations, dissatisfied, I don’t want to know, red pill blue pill, is that intelligence, so small, people don’t enjoy things except for food, bad coffee, super geniuses on top of super geniuses, IQ, what IQ tests are, we’ve got morons and we’ve got imbeciles, problematic language, disability to the mean, mental disabilities, mental classes, does existential angst only kick-in at a certain intelligence class?, sphere of influence, put things back the way it was, there wasn’t a universal thesis, intelligence is a bag, this explains voting, you guys aren’t doing it right, “if everybody got a 5x boost Hillary would be president”, why not the American army, ho one gets classified as an officer (vs. a grunt), why is Sgt. Rock a sergeant, the iconic Nick Fury (and his Howling Commandos), the top of the competence chain, he isn’t saying specific, no single thesis, what is intelligence, bad at math good at smelling bullshit, sometimes stupid sometimes smart, gradients or thresholds, here’s a massive effect, why do so many move to the country?, circumstances and limitations, intellectual limitations vs. vs. power limitations, the rabbit has not hand, power and manipulation, no matter how smart dolphins are they don’t impact us?, what’s a dolphin going to do with a ship?, what’s in the black box (underneath)?, Jesse will shut up for a while, no evolutionary pressure to increase intelligence after a certain level, no supersingularity civilizations, humans can now explore the galaxy, what is that going to do?, human-alien relations, story possibilities, now what?, leaving it hopeful at the end, categories of human, the level we used to be, good luck and godspeed, neanderthals and homo sapiens, recolonize the earth, what the pigs have to say about being slaughtered, veganism, pigs are ok to eat because they’re yummy, negotiations, mutually yummy, we’re mutually yummy, chicken eggs, how much is language importance to intelligence?, dogs and pigs and the elephant, a new logical language, natural shorthand, efficiency of communication, pretty hungry, now the sheep knows what’s happening, cows don’t want to go in the slaughterhouse, in the queue, I’ve heard Bessie, what does this mean?, an animal with human level intelligence and no thumbs and no fire, new sets of questions, selection pressure, no hands and no speech, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Startide Rising by David Brin, a driving thesis, it doesn’t really work that way, reading the gossip column, poetry is making her depressed, we need to develop a new philosophy, usually the problems, what is the new relationship on the farm going to be?, what should happen?, should we stop eating meat?, if pigs were intelligent(er), lots of experience with cows, feral pigs in Texas, vegetarianism, dairy, slaughtering animals for meat, another thing Anderson doesn’t think about, what about Africa?, Mountain Lions are lions, they can’t eat vegetables, carnivores, what are the predator prey dynamics, birds of prey, intelligence is associated with hunting, instincts to huddle up and get in the center, runaway or get to the center, hide and kill, wolves, stalk, kill, a major disruptor of ecology, what will the wolves do, Traveller (RPG), the entire Earth’s ecology will be disrupted, what we don’t see, the amount of time spent under tutelage, both kids in college, an empty nest, 18 years in the nest, most animals, insects and snakes never meet their parents, hunting skills, a full fledged member of the group, the cultural tools, linguistic tools, not just for poetry, much more to be said on this topic, a place to spark ideas from, not the end word on it, from Locus magazine, what five books would I like to be remembered for? Tau Zero, Mid Summer Tempest, The Boat Of A Million Year, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Enemy Stars, Brain Wave, what science fiction does best, maybe one more chance, thank you Paul, he didn’t put the High Crusade on the list, Call Me Joe, funny and fun.

Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
Space Science Fiction, September 1953
BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Brain Wave by Poul Anderson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #147 – The Die-Hard by Alfred Bester

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #147

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Die-Hard by Alfred Bester
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Die-Hard was first published in Starburst, 1958.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #500 – READALONG: The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #500 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada talk about The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Talked about on today’s show:
So it goes, the natives don’t like Paul, stop raping, a novella, dense, Again, Dangerous Vision edited by Harlan Ellison, out like a rocket, commissioned in the ’70s, the introduction and the afterword, easy to write, a boss with ulcers, lacking charity, anthropology, an army planet, a metaphor for Vietnam, wood, sawmill workers, not all that it was, Dump Island, ansible, gender, the role of women, the whole Biblical thing, a Prometheus story, The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison, Avatar (2009), Dances With Wolves (1990), thinking in the shower, The Power Of Kroll, a giant Cthulhu monster, nasty colonizers, Creechies, Ben and Sam, Gunga Din, Rudyard Kipling, strange conclusion, a lover of the exotic, unconscious of his own hypocrisy, a really good writer, very praising, effortless and beautiful to read, two pieces of yesterday, a ship-load of women, a crop failure, tame this planet, smiling jiggling line of little figures, effortless, The Lathe Of Heaven, Portland, the geography on New Tahiti, mostly ocean, how can you have a northwest corner?, all kinds of jungle, temperate rainforest, things don’t start growing on your purse, Costa Rica, clothes never dry, go naked, beautiful beyond words, life expressing itself in every corner, sound-wise, bugs and birds and frogs, the smells the sights the sounds, confronted and embraced, exhausting and wet, insects are the measure of how much life is going on, horrible insects, the giant red deer, fish, squirrels, her boss, it had been done before, come from Earth about a million years ago, monkey, her Hanish-verse, names of trees, a conspiracy, right but wrong, if you listen to those E.T.s, everything from sex to thumbtacks, gook, creatures!, green fur, super-asshole, Davidson, a split-rail fence, first reefer of the day, it might have been Idaho in 1950, a distant bird, what is undeveloped, so connected to the Lathe Of Heaven, you can’t beat them, round up the ringleaders and threaten to give them hallucinogens, from Selver’s point of view, dreams, that’s implied, a built up culture, oblique glimpses, another guy named Orr, cool!, training to dream, they never sleep, a broken sleep cycle, cat-nap your way through life, active dreaming, forges, wheels, helicopters, and laser guns, the good news about reading Ursula Le Guin, witch-doctors, the men’s lodge, lord dreamer, tell me about your dream Selver, killing all the guys at Smithcamp, a stepping stone, in the pre-story, a hot afternoon with two prostitutes, 220 other women, aliens came, “went spla”, how could they be to blame, a god, a Promethean technology, ideas as weapons, Jack Vance, weaponizing a culture by means of ideas, had he learned to kill his fellow men, an infection, a foreign plague, a psychological psionics, a raincoast, a physical change to the landscape, the same is happening to Davidson, your thinking gets all screwed up, hard to know, company, helicopter logging, by that point in the story, they’re kinda loose, lumberjacks and flapjacks, chopping down trees, wearing high heels, a looseness to the military, captain vs. colonel, the army and creechies, a whole section, the ansible anagram, two different directions, the U.N., smash the radio, how a place affects you, with your person and your purse, Collapse by Jared Diamond, the Medieval warm period, unsuitable ways, winter is coming, refusing the ways of the Inuit, Thailand, the hotel food, the hotel water, the Hilton is not Thailand, rejecting the whole part of the plot, the smash, transmitting false information, this machina ex machina, answerable within your own lifetime for what you did, the League Of Worlds, administering the American Empire, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, NAFAL, the economics, luxury goods, a kid in Chicago, rats, a nightmare, a powerful image, the Tet offensive, who the creechies are, deforestation, defoliant, massive swaths, agent orange, under that plan, Brazil, another dead Earth, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a minor story, city?, warrens, Sarnath, India, H.P. Lovecraft, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, summary, subject to interpretation, Jason Thompson‘s adaptation, isolation, solitary, an out, I’m a god you’re a god, going native, bringing life back, a backdoor, maybe in 20 or 30 years, what will happen when I die?, the gift of killing, always touching each other, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, go me!, murder has no reason, what’s going to happen?, interest in dreams and reality, everybody knows Scott, how simple truth was, famous for flying, if we knew what everything was, perception errors, what the word dream means in this context, dreaming the previous days information, pieces of yesterday, paying attention to it, great detail, every time we go to sleep its like we’re rebooting, hard to see the difference between, alternate New York City, what is a book if not a dream, it has no physical consequence excepting piling up, Karl Marx changed the world, George Orwell, taken from the world and then dream, her dreams are more real than she is now, Philip K. Dick’s dreams are more real than he is now, dreamed into existence, an E.E.G. subject, the Parthenon to a mud-hut, the aboriginal cultural of Australia, the Dreamtime, counting coins, shared dreaming, trees communicating to each other, considered as the trees, page 35, things looked pretty neat for a logging camp, endless meaningless, in your face and in your eyes, corruplast, eaten by the jungle, a permanent stain, being newed again, the world is always new, the creechie women, why the women listen, the afterword, the boss is a man, he didn’t want to play, he wanted to moralize, he was a man, when women are taking more assertiveness with their role in society, what feminists should be looking up to, the role of gender, The Left Hand Of Darkness, a lot of tea, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, too much kicking, what makes a gender role a gender role, captured incredibly well, George Orr, murder and revolution, a feminist streak, the ecological devastation, an act of rape, this is a new time for the world, at the farthest grows the Tree where the fruit ripens, the roots are deeper than the forest, no evidence that the creechies aren’t human, Colonel Dong, not really about Vietnam, every kind of human is represented (other than women), Euraf, Asian, all in destruction together, ill, bowels, water illness, when you go to the jungle you get bit, Selver’s name, self, selfish, subversive, kinda Buddhist, Taoist beliefs, Tibet, the land of Buddhists, Tibetans who resisted with weapons, shooting at your enemy, submission poses, certain traditions, surrender symbols, it doesn’t have answers, a lot of questions, terran man is clay, they are trees, Earth is rock and static, Trees have roots and grow and are more interconnected, not as rich as Dune by Frank Herbert, the desert planet, Waterworld (1995), the culture is deceptively rich, a pretty high rung, a good writer, CBC radio’s Vanishing Point adaptation from 1989, too much screaming, we don’t see it, straight from the book, very faithful, singing = screaming, a weird noise, a fantasy set in a rainforest, played on the title, probably pulling, urination, not concepts!, language!, reading books, no censorship, hygienic homosexuality, sure he’s a 20th century tough guy, what does that mean?, she’s way ahead of the curve, so ahead of its time, straight on with what is a gender role, this metaphor, what does that mean?, why Ursula Le Guin has a prominent position, always interested in interesting stuff, a pipe-smoker, just Gandalf, pipeweed.

Again, Dangerous Visions - The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

BOOK OF THE ROAD - The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Word For World Is Forest - illustrated by Peter Eleson

Berkley - The Word For World Is Forest

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #144 – The Revolt Of The… by Robert Barr

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #144

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Revolt Of The… by Robert Barr

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Revolt Of The… was first published in The Idler, May 1894.

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

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #494 – AUDIOBOOK: News From Nowhere by William Morris

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #494 – News From Nowhere by William Morris, read by Elizabeth Klett.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (7 hours 15 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.

News From Nowhere was first published as a serial in The Commonweal (The Official Journal Of The Socialist League), January 11th to October 4 1890.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

News From Nowhere by William Morris

News From Nowhere An Epoch Of Rest

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