The SFFaudio Podcast #704 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #704 – The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin; read by John Stratton

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hours 2 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin, Jesse’s been wrong about it for years and years, an important story (but not very well written), correct the record, well written but long, very effective, everybody who dislikes The Cold Equations can fight Jesse, Weird Science, May-June, no. 13, 1952, A Weighty Decision by Wally Wood, different enough, the whip hand of John W. Campbell, ghoulish and silly and fun, existential quite smooth, The Cold Calculations by Aimee Ogden, dealing with a different idea, a criticism of the premises, John W. Campbell, once upon a time, had to die, fudging the numbers, the Trolley Problem, why couldn’t there be a third track, not really the point, face the moral calculus, designed to illicit a very specific thing, an idea about reality, long, not that clunky, quite beautiful in places, simple, interesting psychology, a cold story, fiddling with the opening, some dude, it’s a girl, an artifact, silly, if you get pancreatic cancer you’re dead, wish fulfillment, kissed and made better, the pain of life, a lot of people don’t want to be disabused, Santa Claus is real, god will save us, Campbell’s trainee, the numbers are fudged, Capitalist Realism, there is no alternative, Barton is an employee, a quasi-merchant marine, the worldbuilding, not making enough money, the brother’s remittances, shielded from the truth, replacing the kitten, a metaphor for the whole story, trying to shield her from pain, we shield each other from the pain of reality, we’re all going to die, science fiction can do something interesting, more silly, comicy, the medicine, it is a trolley problem, even if it was plagiarized, follow through on you’re fucking idea, don’t tap out, the stupid E.E. Doc Smith, you can’t invent your way out of the laws of fucking physics, daylight bombing raids, the engineering is bad, the reality is correct, thin margins, on the commute, a non-insignificant number, all the EDS shuttles without stowaways are not stories, Stowaway (2021), accidental stowaway, out the airlock, there is no on purpose, nobody is to blame, maybe the sign should have said “you will fucking die”, don’t walk away from that, a beancounter on earth, blame capitalism, the ship can land after all, flip some tables, Mark Fisher, revolution is the alternative, is that really true?, Tom Godwin is wholly responsible, Jack London’s To Build A Fire, Yukon stories, Star Trek V, Star Trek II is a Cold Equations, because katras, euthanasia, a remedy for modern Star Trek, The Wisdom Of The Trail, soft lazy fucks, the white man’s logic, an estimation vs. a calculation, a different moral overlay, a guy who didn’t obey a sign, do not go there, the dog has more wisdom than the man, instinct vs. plan, what it means to disobey a sign, a sign as a piece of wisdom, the fine is the cost of her life, the X Minus One adaptation, a dumb adult, young and therefore innocent, it isn’t “fair”, having the medicine enhances, the reason its a white girl in the story, we as 1950s astounding readers, the kitten is innocent, changing it to a dude, flipping the genders, an adult man vs. a girl Barton, to hit us in the feels to make us understand, if it’s Hitler in the basement, not as many will walk away, the Azov battalion will walk away, both Bushes, eternal?, a sin eater, a more meta-story, a thought experiment, The Good Place, Stalin or any other evil person, a challenge to us to do better, threw in orgies for Evan, drugs, that’s fine, imagine the place that you want, Hitler’s in the closet on the EDS ship, it’s cold in here,

[THE QUICK EQUATION by Jesse

I was not alone.

There was nothing to indicate the fact but the white hand of the tiny gauge on the board before me. The control room was empty cept for me; there was no sound other than the murmur of the drives—but the white hand had moved.

It had been on zero when the EDS launched; now, an hour later, it had crept up. There was something in the supply closet across the room, some kind of a body that radiated heat.

It could be but one kind of a body—a living, human body.

I let my eyes rest on the narrow white door of the closet. There, just inside, another man lived and breathed.

I unholstered my blaster and stood up, facing the door. Maybe it was just a girl, I thought, just some dumb girl who couldn’t read warning signs. That would be bad.

“Come out!” My command was harsh and abrupt above the murmur of the drives.

I thought I could hear a whisper of a furtive movement inside the closet, then nothing.

I visualized the stowaway cowering closer into one corner, suddenly worried by the possible consequences of his stowing away.

“I said out!”

I heard the stowaway move to obey, and I waited with my eyes alert on the door, my hand on the trigger of the blaster.

The door opened and the stowaway stepped through it, smiling. “In Ordnung—ich gebe auf. Was jetzt?”

It was Hitler.

I put him out the airlock.

There was a slight waver of the ship as the air gushed from the lock, a vibration to the wall as though something had bumped the outer door in passing; then there was nothing and the ship was dropping true and steady again.

I shoved the red lever back to close the door on the empty air lock and turned away, to walk to the pilot’s chair with the light steps of a man just doing his duty.

Putting my feet up on the console I thought about those guys on Woden – they sure will be happy to have that vaccine, I thought. I could hear their voices now. And won’t they be surprised to hear about what I did with the stowaway.

THE END]

nice imagery, symbology, a puppet show adapation, a theatrical stage production, the movie and TV adaptations, The Twilight Zone adaptation, hits the points, about an hour vs. 20 minutes, this story is important and also its good, it’s not the physics, the engineering, made lean, disposable, an emergency, an escape pod, objections, a Socratic style dialogue, you’ve fucked it up, you’re gonna think about this, you’re gonna think about that, The Nothing Equation, James Patrick Kelly, responses, an uncomfortable place, a lot of people are unwilling to accept the answer, reject the framing, three dudes, essentially a fridging story, she’s definitely cold, Astounding readers, probably 1950s white men, arranged, sacrificing a young female character for man pain, yup, screwed up (by our current standards), no story can stand that test (being all things to all people at all times), fitting into that sort of tradition, Barton hurts, the brother hurts, Green Lantern’s girlfriend, series (add drama) vs. one and done, laughed out of the room or vilified, what if the one person is your mother, Gwendy’s Button Box by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King, a little girl, workers, an adult man, a 17 year old male, a six year old boy kid, it’s not supposed to be palatable, gender studies and science fiction, Paul is unqualified, we don’t want this story to exist, the reason for trying to undo the story, rejecting the premise to reject the conclusion, who is this for, people who claim to be astounding readers, engineers, it’d be good to have redundant systems, Apollo 13, a cold equation scenario, fuel vs. air, saving three dudes in space, kludging together, failures of imagination (not failures of empathy), empathy informs engineering, the challenger disaster, the o rings, the magic words, poor engineering, a gender response, an engineering response, Gary Westfahl, is he an authority, Cory Doctorow, why do we have these terrible trolleys, why are people tied to the trolley track, its too late to complain about the engineering, this engineering is terrible, margins are thin on the frontier, [had it been lampshaded by the narrator], an excuse, Cory Doctorow, capitalism sucks and then he pulls the lever, it doesn’t deliver the solution, frames, the fucked up nature of the premise, Elon Musk could save us, the technocrats will save us, the profound moral consequences of the world we’ve build up, we all live in Omelas, somehow you benefit from that, the rules of the game, a lot of people are cool with this, their goodness to their own children, quite beautiful, a beautifully written (and simple) story, A Few Good Men (1992), we’re the thin blue line, minimize the whipping at kids in basements, to make you look at the horrible thing you’re willing to live with, puppies, we got yoga, a completely different kind of attack on reality, N.K. Jemisin’s response, diversity and equality utopia, a liberal response, instead of walking away you stay and reform it, you denounce Raytheon, the twitter one by Olav Rokne, nominated, cougars are in, the solution’s in voting, the one about Worldcon, everybody’s choice, taking the piss on people, Facebook says its fine to call for the death of Russians, pointed at Chengdu, File 770 and other forums, their baby in their basement, centers of discussion, silly, that’s going to be nominated for a Hugo, best related work, Natalie Luhrs’ George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Evan’s tweets should be the priority, for worse, I love science fiction: I’m going to read all the Hugo award winners, Luke Burrage reading the Hugos and the Nebulas, not the cream of the crop, its my turn, we love her, David Brin’s bad Hugo winning book, taking turns, conservatives, liberals, Hugo nominators can be very…, Seanan McGuire’s fan base rewards her work, ecosystems, regardless of the merits, an electorate nominating and voting, the Oscar winners, Zero Dark Thirty (2012), snowballing and logrolling, the ones who walk away from the Hugos (walked into the dealer’s room), The Moon Moth by Jack Vance, less and less strahk these days, leftover momentum, momentum, the big game in town, clashing ecosystems, the whole puppy drama, just trying to right the ship?, the nutty nuggets, Brad Torgeson, The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away by Sean Vivier, analog daily science fiction, plotting violence, if only to end the torture of innocence, it has to be a joke, see that mop over in the corner? it’s watching you, I am good person, vote for Democrats, we have top men working on this, violating some of the premises, when AOC was down in Texas and mourning over the fence, a choice satire (or reality), the mixed results, everything on Goodreads is 3.8, we can’t have a rating system, mechanisms other than just writing, ratings break your brain, the incentives screw up the rating systems, we end up arguing over tiny percentage points, PC Gamer, Gary Whitta, Rogue One, The Book Of Eli (2010), debates about points, whether you’re wearing the badge or not, anti-thinking, why writing great reviews is so important, an attack on liberal values, there is a civic element to it, fleeing the country is always an option in a story like that, Paul would like to live in New Zealand, a settler colonial state, more paradise, their kid has two buckets, Maori writers, Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, That Only A Mother by Judith Merrill, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, told from the creature’s point of view, a nudie pic, what a pretty person looks like, a super powerful story, July 1950, horror, monsters, cats, basement, first person POV, diary format, child protagonist, 1996 one had a sexual element, added a bargaining scene, an uncredited adaptation, wrist bracelet thing, she gives the bracelet to Barton, burns, more depth and pathos, the fire is connected to the bracelet, fire rubies, what some writer did, Ursula K. Le Guin talks about the cost, the point of writing is to cause the effect you want it to have, a question rather than a delivery, an idea story, The Cold Equations is a door shut, why does it work so well, she starts in a closet, the white hand, she goes back into a closet, shot off into outer space, the writing is poetic, the sentimentality is through the roof, I will come to you on the wind, an object going ahead, that’s her, very close to the emotions, officious, this horrible bureaucracy, horrible capitalism realism, becoming sex workers outside of Omelas, under capitalism we have to be separated, jobs demand you do this, your economy demands you do this, if you don’t really scrutinize your government, your security depends on us being murderers and torturers, no more complaints about The Cold Equations being a story with bad engineering, Jesse killed everybody, a conceit that you need in a visual story, infodump, it would make a great stage play, that simple set, K.J. Parker’s How To Rule And Empire And Get Away With It, The Prisoner Of Zenda, Double Star, the power of stories, a professional liar, Herman Melville, Sixteen Ways To Defend A Walled City, no magic, Academic Exercises, finding hope in modern stuff, somebody has to winnow, the judgement of time and history, the market demands things Jesse is not willing to accept from the market, George R.R. Martin, the judgement of history, Robert Silverberg on a Writers Of The Future podcast, a juried award, reading the stories blind, an honesty, John W. Campbell (and a lot of people don’t like him), positing with authors, helping write engaging stories, hinted at, the universe is the ultimate judge of everything, the judgement of history so far, when Campbell gets it wrong (Scientology, overpopulation, telepathy), why still talking about The Cold Equations, a great idea story, barely an orgy on the EDS, why wasnt there room for three hookers on this ship?, Mars has got women, a Ferengi Harry Mudd delivering to miners on Stowaway

THE PROFITABLE EQUATION by Jesse

“I was not alone. Aboard the EPS were me, Magda, Ruth, and Eve, three hu-man fee-males I was transporting to a wealthy human mining colony on a planet named Ophiuchus III.

While I was calculating my profits, minus what I would render up to Damon Brool and the Grand Nagus, I had noticed a little white hand on the tiny gauge on the board before me.

The control room was, like I said, empty – except for myself, Magda, Ruth, and Eve.

There was no sound other than the murmur of the drives, and the batting of their long eyelashes—but still that little white hand had moved.

It had been on zero when the EPS had launched from the D’Kora-class ship Krookta – where I’d purchased the shuttle and filled it with just enough fuel to reach Ophiuchus III; but, an hour later, with the Krookta warped away that white hand had crept up, like an Andorian pickpocket.

There had been something in the supply closet across the room, some kind of a body that had radiated heat.

It could be but one kind of a body, I knew – a living body.

I let my eyes rest on the narrow white door of the closet.

There, just inside, another humanoid lived and breathed.

I unspooled my whip, stood up and faced that white door.

‘Come out!’ My command was harsh and abrupt above the murmur of the drives and the sudden pearl clutching of Magda, Ruth, and Eve.

I thought I could hear a whisper of a furtive movement from inside the closet, then nothing.

Nothing. Exactly what my profits would come to if I didn’t get whoever was in there out that closet and off of my EPS!

‘Out, I say!’ I said again.

I heard the stowaway move to obey, and I waited with my eyes alert on the door, one hand on my belt purse, the other clutching the whip.

The door opened and the stowaway stepped through it, she was cowering.

‘I give up,’ she said.

It was a Bajoran female, immodestly dressed from head to foot in thoroughly concealing yet ragged clothing.

She was obviously an escaped slave, probably from Terrok Nor.

I listened to her cry and plead and tell her unprofitable narrative.

Cracking the whip I told her to tell faster. I’d heard much the like before, she wanted to see her brother, capitalism sucks, and so I cracked the whip again, waved it all away, and considered.

Then I asked her a serious question: She had a choice, I told her: life on a remote mining planet with four wealthy hu-man husbands or a quick and utterly unprofitable death in the cold void of space.

She chose wisely, cousin.

Indeed. Oh yes, indeed.

Magda and Ruth are giving me oo-mox as I speak.

I’ve set the EPS autopilot to land on Ophiuchus III.

There’s not enough fuel for this Emergency Profits Ship to land land five hu-man-oids safely so that’s why I am sending you this message, cousin.

I’m sending you the contract details – now.

There.

In mere moments I will be stepping into airlock.

Eve will pull this red lever here and flush me out into space.

The hu-man males on Ophiuchus III were willing to pay an extraordinary price in gold pressed latinum – and for one more female, ooooh cousin.

This means even after your fee, what we kick up stairs to Sector Damon Brool, and even after the Grand Nagus gets his cut, this will be, or rather will have been, my most profitable enterprise ever.”

THE END

the Ferengi can make profits, a chapter for the sex book, Wallace Shawn, I sacrificed myself, the profits are unimaginable, Evan’s Grand Nagus Rom series, reforming Ferengi society, Ferengi liberals, Ferengi , because Leeta is in it, they would just ruin it, file off the serial numbers, The Orville, the side by side Discovery and The Orville, vegan Pizza vs. regular human pizza, vegan shoes, he knew they were poor because they had vegan leather, that Moon Knight show, he’s Egyptian, The Cats Of Ulthar, a long show for a short story, The Tempest, The Weird And The Eerie, Capitalist Realism, Starship Mutiny, The Last Of The Masters, dudes in robes, these people have been cut-off, Colony, cedar tree forests, utopia planet, what Le Guin was doing, Dick is more oblique or unconscious, Souvenir, Williamson’s World, larping different civilization, Dick well, Larry Niven love, they’re both females wearing clothes, Paul is self-loathing, not trolling, in German it’s silent, first names only, a Thai or Vietnamese name, referring to people occasionally, raw war footage, Black Amazon Of Mars, she’s got an axe, a tomb sweeping vacation, Allen Anderson, black tentacles, big axe, Eric John Stark, The Long Tomorrow, C.L. Moore, she smiled and let the wine cup fall, The Doings Of Vigorous Daunt, a billionaire that goes around the world punching people, like Russell Crowe, N.K. Jemison must be smart, a Warren supporter, anti-Bernie, she’s a shitlib, the afrofuturist aesthetic and ideas, unreadable, Out Of The Aeons by Hazel Heald and H.P. Lovecraft, The Man Of Stone, The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy, I snuggled up the corpse and it turned a little rotty, Dan Carlin didn’t know what a quadroon or an octoroon was, clearly he doesn’t watch Archer.

he Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

he Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Freas

A WEIGHTY DECISION by Wally Wood page 8

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin - illustrated by Jesse

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The SFFaudio Podcast #689 – READALONG: The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #689 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Trish E. Matson discuss The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Talked about on today’s show:
we’re all taking the black pill today, The Day Of The Triffids, Chrysalids, Margaret Atwood, she’s on the stamps now, first president of Canada, just birthed a new monarch, stealing from Barbados, very John Wyndham, cozy catastrophe, Brian Aldiss, the John Carpenter movie, John Carpenter’s The Village Of The Damned, In The Mouth Of Madness, more sinister, surprised and pleased, the 1960 movie and the BBC audio drama, all the homework, the sequel movie, its in the public imagination, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, this book is very very dark, nicely mannered, really dark, escape to New Zealand, where they are accepted, the main character doesn’t blow himself, darker than how it ends on the page, most of the book, pods, every recorded place, the implication, we’ll be back, you’re going to kill us, picking up on the hints, what people get wrong, they make a big deal about the hands being cold on the initial night, zapped, fiddling with their hands, a symptom, based on both, it was cold, worst John Carpenter movie ever, Ghost Of Mars, Vampires, a good bad movie, Kirstie Alley was terrible, she looks nervous, Christopher Reeve is mostly just tall, David being different, not hive mind across genders, an excuse to get a kid away, Virginia Madsen, maybe goodness can survive, you need to feel suffering and loss in order to be a good person, dwelling in the graveyard, “the one who’s made for me”, they don’t gestate inside of themselves, probes, the aliens were not human shaped, the actual aliens, breaking the rules, Seanan McGuire, an ambush predator, Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim, Sarah Selby, very much X-Men, derivative of the period of mutants, New Mutants, the origin of this novel, The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick, sparkly skin, weird hair, xenogenesis, parthenogenesis, not marketed as Science Fiction, hard SF, how to setup societies, a very talky book, how to believe things, what to act on, mass hysteria, clipping a kid, the current real problem in society of doctors not believing women and people of color, swallowing it in little bits and pieces, we’re the ones eating that barley sugar, set in the 1990s, abortion is available on demand, home abortions, taking very hot baths, hanging themselves, Roe V. Wade, $6000 a month, you can abort with us, an on purpose death, pickle it, an alien, handled very badly, deftly handled, all euphemism, have a nice cup of tea, cuckolded, this book cuckolds women as well as men, the Zeleby nose, experimenting with this idea, a dog version of an alien in Alien 3 (1992), asking and answering questions, was it an alien spaceship that landed in the middle of the town, a deliberate landing, remote villages, on different dates, one ship on a mission, time taken between the needles, the kids don’t lie, refusing to answer, the behavior of cuckoo birds, sibling eggs, you’re just genes, your instinct is to kick the other eggs out of the nest, you mature faster, you’re meaner, you’re more aggressive, the sympathetic mother POV, mothers (and sometimes fathers) must be doting, you must live as the jungle does, sugar coating it, trying to tell us something about ourselves, it is not an allegory, our relationship to our children and each other and how we interact with the world around us, the cows start giving birth to strange looking cows, cows and dogs, we think of ourselves as top cow, we do that to dogs and cows all the time, we treat them the way aliens are treating us, this book is very old, women of child bearing age are implanted, a 17 year old, as young as 9, British nutrition in the 1950s, get the right pickles, girl power!, dreams: keep your baby, how are they going to handle it?, why won’t they do twelve year olds, perfectly accurate biology would be too toxic, some people think we couldn’t handle it, we don’t like thinking about it, guy shotguns himself after shotgunning a kid in the head, 1950s people vs. 2022 people, what about all the women who are women who weren’t born women, a trans man with a uterus, they won’t touch it in the show, there’s a difference between scientific accuracy and being an asshole, biology trumping everything, we need more sugar or it will be rejected, its medicine, facing facts as they are vs. believing what they want, the big lie and the big truth, COVID, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, over in China something bad is happening, rust on wheat and rye, the stuff that keeps the topsoil from disappearing, a planetary catastrophe, hoarding, a veneer, a busy body, amped up, starvation, the safe zone, turning on a group that is outside of us, when the Russians nuke their small town, atomic cannons, Starship Troopers, Ogre, Ogle, the grange, like Hermione Granger, time to pay up, the Lord owns your land, the bailiff, the Lord hall, the kids move into the Lord’s hall, the serfs are denied movement off of the land, an accidental metaphor, the narrator is talking about his wife, because it was my birthday, John Wyndham is the main character, everything is soft, pleasant, lobster and chablis as Wheelers, Ustinov’s latest extravaganza, enjoyed the bathrooms, fascination with other people’s plumbing, why did they have to zap the birds, whatever living thing, which one of theses looks like its in charge?, speculation, this is God, can we disprove it?, a lab test, divine punishment, barrenness vs. fecundity, the greater god: the God of the universe, H.G. Wells, I’m doing an H.G. Wells story, colonialism coming back to bite you in the ass, what we do to the Earth, nature finds a way, Jurassic Park, stupid humans find a way to fuck themselves, we can fuck ourselves, an infodump philosophy dump, mother nature being misnamed, a book about infanticide, Charles Stross, Nyarlathotep, a nanny for supes, Now We Are Nine, Christopher Robin, emphasizing the two hive minds, chapter titles, No Entry To Midwich, All Quiet, Midwich Revisited, Midwich Comes To Terms, Matters Arising, Interview With A Child, Impasse, Ultimatum, Zeleby Of Macedon, all of the Spartans, Leonidas, assassinated by whom, who will rid me of my awful husband, what happens in this chapter, he kills himself, a suicide bombing, the right an proper thing to do, right?, by the standards of homo sapiens, I want humans to win, a primitive matter, will you agree to be superseded?, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, one collective Adam and one collective Eve, what’s the appropriate action?, you can’t take the law into your own hands?, a stiff police officer, playing an interesting game, an alien invasion story that’s an examination of the humans, the primitives, esquimaux, Monlogia, Russia, the iron curtain, sleeping with demons, a second crop to come?, in Australia they all mysterious died, a dingo virus?, why they didn’t put all their eggs in one basket, they lay their eggs wherever there is a willing basket, words, Midwich, wich = a bundle of thread (a nest?) or an old English settlement, all of them were midwich, little nests, are they keeping track, this is how we do it, droppin their spores, fire and forget, lay and forget, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, something going on the 1950s, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, communism?, collective individuality, collectivism, trends in science fiction, we talk about stuff, fleeing the cities, jamming the highways, in Washington, DC, meanwhile in Kentucky…, 1930s science fiction, Stanley G. Weinbaum, will this book have the international aspect?, what does that do to the story?, this is a resource for exploitation, not because they’re humans in need of money, resources to exploit, getting the birth rate up, soldiers, armies, the children’s desks, mini office desks, lots of good framing by Carpenter, the house from Halloween, recycled from The Fog, the house looks like a cuckoo clock, zoom in and pull back, popping out like a cuckoo clock, the audio of a cuckoo, the word cuckoo, it isn’t a crazy bird, perfectly natural, a gaslighting bird, the baby doesn’t say I’m one of you, the behavior that is not learned (its genetic), “crazy”, “insane” as a legal term, crazy means “don’t understand”, very efficient, cruel, women are supposed to act a certain way, time to kill, time to take whatever pill, he did the right thing for the survival of the (human) species, an alternative, this is Ceti Alpha Five, genetic better humans, cruelty is as old as life, barley coloured, a bullseye, the sequel movie, set around the same period, Children Of The Damned (1964), the aunt, just a blonde, the audio drama was excellent, they forgot about the first movie, a UN guy giving intelligence tests in Britain, unmarried prostitute, go get killed in a tunnel, respective London embassies, the barn or the grange, a church, a dog they can command, to harness the power of these kids, use these kids as cold war weapons, more sympathetic in the second movie, varied skin and hair colours, batch two they blend in better now, can’t we all get along, leave us alone but bring us food, a screwdriver, a metaphor for tools, a knife is good for stabbing and cutting, knife technology implies knife fights, using people as tools is immoral, countries using people as population for their offices, to service the capitalism, blackpilling, they don’t teach field-hand skills, typing?, teaching about the Aegean, some island somewhere, if nations use people as tools that’s wrong, that’s why the cuckoo people are bad, using us the same way we use animals, the cuckoo people are to blame (but the kids aren’t), you can’t easily kill the kids, we’re here to be killed, why are you here?, we don’t know, why are any of us here?, the second movie was solid, as a reflection, a little unrealistic, a counterbalance, behind the Iron Curtain, left with a lot of questions, the new Doctor Who episode, fashioning the Doctor’s companions into weapons, shaping people to do things, is it right?, an amoral alien with alien ideals, space hobo, The Littlest Hobo, Patrick Troughton, the show has evolved, the second movie is a reaction to the first, that’s their reaction to this idea, the sign of a really good book, an abandoned sequel, she definitely knows about science fiction, Chrysalids is (was) assigned in school in Canada, Chocky, The Trouble With Lichen, slow down the aging process, Quirks And Quarks, The Outward Urge, The Kraken Wakes, Stowaway To Mars, off-earth, Tyrant And Slave Girl On Planet Venus, Wonder Stories, the sucess Wydham had in the UK, zilcho reputation in short stories, the market, the town he moved to, thought out the plot of his next book, what kind of a setting for a story would this be, writers are very strange people, Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block, writers who only do writing for their job, tapped into the psychology of 1950s Britain, why did that happen?, destroyed industry and commerce, I thought they won WWII, a devastating peace, used themselves up winning the war, really good aircraft industries, what point are you trying to make here, Jesse?, what happened to the Empire?, Australians were mailing care packages to England in the 1950s, paying back some loans, the war had to be fought, Hitler was a bad guy?, how did it get started in the first place, the Treaty of Versailles, prideful assholes , there’s always a connection, benign censorship, when we do the censorship its benign, about power relations, you are just a thing to be manipulated, objects vs. subjects, no birth control is not allowed, the House of Lords?, oh its cute, he’s leading up to that ending, means to ends, a glancing reference to the Dionne quintuplets, the dirty newspapers, don’t embarrass the government, Wyndham thought about a lot of things, it isn’t about entertainment, super-cozy, it feels mainstream, a pyrotechnic ending, Stephen Fry does English women so well, a wonderful narrator to listen to, Jim Dale, a delightful reader, a Homer for our times, a poet from 10,000 BC, a very literate fellow, super-fresh audiobook, the SKY tv adaptation [then forthcoming], a known name, hosting TV and radio shows, [here’s Jesse’s scan of the paperback], scanning difficulties, make your own version of John Wyndham’s the Midwich Cuckoos, The Twilight Zone, It’s A Good Life, Jerome Bixby, its a good thing you took mommy’s mouth, that’s a good thing, Wandavision, 1953, something in the water, it was injected into them, Philip K. Dick, Jerome Bixby, John Wyndham, Robert A. Heinlein, cosmic rays have come into our brains, world events, Jack Finney, it wasn’t a bad review, Eric S. Rabkin, YouTube video viewer counts vs. like counts vs. comments, almost nobody comments on anything, Gresham’s Law, comments, 70 emails an hour, boner increaser is where the money is, so you don’t have a lot of cuckoos in your nest, cuckoos and cuckolding, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, super-short, he gives her a cuckoo clock, why was everybody in the 1950s into cuckoo-clocks?, why did your grandparents have cuckoo clocks?, fuck those British guys, 2 seater sports cars, cultural output, 60s British TV and movies, the British Invasion, Hammer Horror, Doctor Who, shot on video tape, high class acting and really good writing, supported by the British tax-payer, medical coverage, marmite and vegimite, is it vegan?, Veganism, guess what decade Veganism started in, 1944 in England, making a virtue of a necessity, a vegetarian movement, movements, seedlings, 25 founding members, a newsletter, the official vegetarian zine, and cheese or eggs, fish, a section just for them, the first three letters and the last three letters veganism, sanivore, what veganism is, does anybody know these amazing facts?, a fascinating history, people are starting weird cults and organization and religions, trampled on seedling, big giant unweildly organization, fruitful and bountiful, sometimes religious, a reaction against farming practice, physical culture magazines, modeling the perfect body, the perfect woman, the perfect dude, body sculpting, going to the gym is a spiritual belief, look pretty, eugenics, percolating in the background, take the black pill, read the Wikipedia entry pill, following the links through, how to look at reality, bringing it back somehow, Michael Pare’s character, I’m driving so don’t distract me so I’ll crash, I’ll quit smoking when you decide to get pregnant, helium, a big smoking pile of smoke (he broke his word), what you put in your body, females feeling what males could feel like, Prometheus (2012), cuckolded as a species, the woman’s instinct and the men’s instinct, you did wonderfully, I feel like I’ve done something wrong by telling them to keep their babies, Angela’s speech, well written, thoughtful, weird science fiction pulpy short stories, Arthur C. Clarke prose, cosy literate, something different about the British mid-1950s science fiction, Brian Aldiss, who are the damned?, a terrible title, how damned shows up a lot, swearing in the title, Fuck The Movie, biblical, The Midwich Cuckoos is not a good movie title, a children’s movie about little birdies, the British book industry, Children Of The Damned is even more confusing, damned to live on the Earth, a podcast listener, two dinosaurs are looking at the fireball, what do you suppose that is Steven? nice!, life causes more suffering than happiness, we are born to be cowards and cling to live, we lack the crucial choice, thank you for the stimulating conversation, radically alter the climate, wanna get some lunch, sure, Paul would not have worried, is it dark tho?, a reflection of reality that we have, Existential Comics #423, a webcomic, something even darker, goes back in time to the womb and he kills himself, a Quantum Leap suicide, The Butterfly Effect (2004) extended director’s cut guy, Ashton Kutcher, Journeyman, trying to reboot Firefly, how long did it take Star Trek to get a reboot, Wesley’s shirt and haircut was 1980s, cut things in, is there a pill list?, this is what people do instead of having decent lives, incels, fatalism, a fun conversation about nihilism, the hardest to swallow red pill, depraves you, comedic, Kevin, the blue pill implies the existence of the red pill, a narrative process of creation, its all alright, Maissaville, a nice surprise, not very blackpillish, a really nice tweet, hybridmind, you can’t have parthenogenesis, Jesus was secretly a chick, clones so we don’t have to happen, centrifuge, clone army, monocultures are vulnerable to diseases, just backstory, old profitable books from the 50s, Smithsonian.

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

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The SFFaudio Podcast #653 – READALONG: Roadwork by Stephen King

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #653 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Mr Jim Moon, and Connor Kaye talk about Roadwork by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

Talked about on today’s show:
1981, 1977 was a difficult year for King, quotidian, repertoire, daily or ordinary, where he goes to the gun store, blow up your house like everyone does, contemporary fiction, talking to his dead son, contemporary drama, first Bachman, a decent amount of King, that mode of King, psychological drama, internal psychological state, King novels that are classified as horror than are totally mundane, Night Shift, serial killers, mob bosses, marginal aspects of society, somewhere in the horror genre, Henry James, mimetic fiction, Philip K. Dick’s non-SF work, a confessional, grapples with sanity, Kafka, Polanski’s Repulsion (1965), Graham Greene novels, Taxi Driver (1976) is a social horror movie, running with it, a destination, putting himself on that path, he couldn’t tell us, no good reason, the Why Bachman essay, share the art with people, a weird way of approaching things, The Running Man, Rage, self-banning, Seuss self-banning, utterly banable, more common, death by cop, suicide by cop, SWATing people, the van at the end, things have progresses or degenerated or gone down the road, an existential novel, a rare sub-genre, A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, like he did mushrooms, reexamining his life, crash the midlife crisis book, Fools Die by Mario Puzo, an overlay of magic, Las Vegas, meeting a girl, having a friend, smoking cigarettes, I am the master of magic, Falling Down (1993), so many things that are the same, he attacks the road, Nazi paraphernalia, just trying to get home, roadwork ahead, walking across Los Angeles, a very American sort of story, gang members, his mother in law, his wife and his kid, Robert Duvall is the police officer with his last day on the job, the major takeaway, fired from his “D-Fens” job, building missiles for the United States, the Korean shop owner, how much money the United States has given to Korea?, a black comedy, the same ending, the reason the road is being made, the government needs to spend the money or it doesn’t have it next year, Soviet Russia, the enemy is capitalism and existential angst, you know why he did what he did, King makes it incredibly plain, he fucked up, he thought if he follows the American dream everything would be good, a tumor the size of a walnut, his life is a miscarriage, his life is an abortion, this anguish, the terror of our own freedom, the burden of freedom, a space for freedom, Camus and The Stranger, he finds freedom, Connor’s interpretation, his inability to adapt to changing circumstances, suburban angst, this mentality, a breakdown, feeling the same way, dissatisfied with their own life, things were better before, spilled the beans, things used to be so much better, he’s a MAGA, he’s not alone, now I understand why school shootings happen, literally what happens, you shot my brother, the cigarettes, cancer sticks, the other cancer in this book, the cancer of him and television, television is under assault, he smashes the TV, the core of the love relationship of their life, working together in a marriage, the glue that holds him together, afternoon soap operas, Merv Griffin, the mediator of this family, Jesse’s mom thought TV is evil, all advertising is evil, the news is all propaganda, all cops shows are propaganda, reality is much more complex, sitting down and watching TV is not the solution to any problem you can possibly imagine, watching TV alone is really sad, a pixie girl, manic dream pixie girl, she’s on her own life course, the junior laundry guy, don’t go down this path its a trap, ask me how I know, she wants to watch Star Trek, it isn’t just Wagon Train to the stars, Lorne Greene advertising his new cop show, read a Ray Bradbury novel (or short story), its addictive and dangerous, the lowest point of the book is masturbating in front of the TV watching Merv Griffin and eating a TV dinner, The Mangler, Lovecraft’s the Cthulhu mythos, an industrial laundry, his first adult protagonist, The Long Walk, The Running Man, when King’s mother died (mid twenties), the folly of youth, a 20 year old getting into the mind of a middle age, weird books, mimetic fiction, Tom Clancy, what is the Soviet version of this book?, at the core and the target, I will advance in this career at this industrial laundry, his former boss, paying back the loan, this is why when the laundry is going to be taken apart, the overboss, I’m disappointed in you Dawes, chances of advancement, a decimal place on the spreadsheet, he’s the only one who can see reality for what it is in this book, the gangster, the dork and the fruitcake, what a doofus, why do I like a guy who I can’t understand, comes around to his point of view, the gas crisis, why am I listening to this again?, Ezra Kline interviewed Ted Chiang, the questions were bad, a good definition of why fantasy and science fiction from each other, science fiction has the potential to not be a metaphor, Kim Stanley Robinson, it isn’t some spiritual revision, terraforming mars, red skinned aliens on Mars, here we have a character in an existential crisis, there was an energy crisis, the car lot, he can sell the Vegas but no the Cadillac, rationing, being a trained dog, the Vietnam War, more roads for more cars, a stimulus, its infrastructure, this is what we’re going to do and this is a good thing, sometimes correct, incorrect for individuals, his house, his business, his marriage are being demolished, the bitch the gangster talks about, very instinctually awesome, what is Paul talking about, the same headspace, the school shooter kid, fuck you I’m not doing what you’re saying, Network (1976), the location of this book, stagflation, the boom of the New Deal flattened into a blah, a malaise, investment properties, cars in the garage, new TVs, October 1973 – January 1974, when Philip K. Dick reviews his own novel, some terrible author has planned out my life and put me on this path and fuck him, he was in the Poe society, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, The Outsider, Harlan Ellison, I want you to punch that Ticktock man, Logan’s Run (1976), late for lunch, The Roads Must Roll, a fictional city?, on the way to Chicago, Ohio or Indiana, the hitchhiker, so many themes or motifs, the electricity costs, at the end of the line, deliberate fuck yous, a 2021 novel, running around without a mask, coughing on people, his anger is not at human beings, a very Catholic book, he digs Catholic, all those lots, Methodist, fallen priests, the street preacher, Salem’s Lot, Wolves Of The Calla, goes to work with the poor directly, the society lady’s party, girls have to stick their dicks in people’s mouths, horror stories, new years eve parties, trying to heal the world, reins of power, fuck this shit, an excuse not to kill yourself, your body is going to rot, I can’t lie to you, he tries not to lie to people, this type of character is very very common, the original paperback cover, he’s the cop, the competent one there, he’s not competent at all, trying to find meaning, on a bunch of dangerous and bad paths, he inconvenienced some people, Jack Daniels, reinforce the point that he’s making, even the wife seems better off without him, the gangster gives him the green light is a more honest character, outside the system, that turning point, a shift between ordinary run business vs. the corporate system, the perfect artificial life form that’s alien, Charles Stross, Ted Chiang’s not worried about AI, self-interested individuals, people didn’t used to be as self-interested, looking at the bigger picture, looking long-term, a big amoeba, an alien life form, mindless fashion, a shift from direction, family, mindless, not run by anybody, a big audiobook guy, before Audible was a thing, Music For Pleasure -> Listen For Pleasure -> Durkin Hayes -> DH Audio -> out of business, paperback audio, to generate more money so you can expand, build an new warehouse, terrible mistakes, content Jesse couldn’t sell, out of the hands of a person, buying up whole categories and genres of titles, this happens again and again, nobody loves laundry, loving clean sheets, the hotel sheets, the restaurants, on time and clean, the technical reasons, too far away, the efficiencies, the gains in efficiencies, it was his family, that boss took an interest in him, cared about him, the cop is retiring, his daughter died of SIDS, daughter themes, I never liked you, the retiring Robert Duvall never swears, a corporate climber, a formal relationship, they don’t want a hassle, here’s your coffee, he wants them to admit it, they’re gaslighting him and everyone, this capitalist horror system they’ve somehow fallen into is bullshit, I just want to know do you really care, ultimately no I don’t care, when you get cancer and you go to the doctor, are you really sorry or is this what you do everyday, have a good day, wow, painful, invested heavily in the American Dream, now there’s stagflation and the dividends are not paying, the most American writer: Robert A. Heinlein, Stephen King gives him a good run for his money, the nitty gritty of characters and experiences, very subtle, if he wasn’t such a popular author he’d be the darling of scholars, masterfully done, all instinctual, a bit of a slog, how masterful King is with the internal dialogue, it continues to move, day to day, a forward momentum, a doomclock, the Tuesday afternoon that never ends, an acceleration towards the end, Paul started feeling better, just the audio, the text -22 and counting, D-Day, it’s coming, little details that fill in the questions, that party, his friend who has the party, nice language about tripping on his mouth, d r o p, why did he take that drug?, those trips are designed to break you out of whatever rut you’re in, it didn’t work, or maybe it did work, really worried about suicide, he’s lying to himself, this alternative life for him, almost like the cancer is in him, he’s got a compulsion, he’s on this track, a path of self-destruction, don’t take the mescaline, get yourself back on track, compulsively and unconsciously taking decisions, you’d be a really good bowler, he didn’t need to watch more TV, it told him lies, nobody else is obsessed with TV, a Kingism, reading everything, he reads people’s cigarettes, branding, obsession, N, more obsessed with brand names, TV is sucked, The Glass Teat, reading Harlan Ellison when you’re 14, an eyeopener, pardon Paul’s language, the Dickhead’s show on Galactic Pot-Healer, dudes getting a book, appreciating a book the right way is a kind of a tragedy, writers could almost make livings, all writers, Langhorn J. Tweed, Paul knows a lot of them, some of them are rich and live off of investment properties, the rare exception, writing TV shows and making perfectly great livings, the actual novel and short story writing people can’t make a living from writing, a book that wasn’t written, he’s this weirdo writer, somehow able to do the thing people were able to do in the past, a professional writer, doing something of value, a kind of despair that most Americans and most people under capitalist, Mr Jim Moon’s patreon support, something outside, a lot worse off Mr Jim Moon?, Skeleton Crew’s introduction, why’d you bother with short stories, Steve?, you’re a clockwork monkey, he wanted people to read the books, good job I didn’t kill anybody, you’re interested, it gives value meaning satisfaction, for the love of sharing things, once you’re forced to make it your main profession, I need to make enough money to survive for the next month, market research, you don’t need to read Heinlein, making something that’s marketable, a compulsion, the opposite of a recipe, an intersection there, the realpolitik of having to pay the electric bill, what will my agent and publisher accept?, tricky things, the expansion of the number of books being published, publisher merging, consolidating, self-published stuff, a lot of content, underneath it all you’re a sharecropper for Bezos, the mediums, The Exorcist, barfs all over the place, and the priest can’t help, the meta on this book is really amazing, no forums, newspaper, radio, TV, record players, book store, today we have, what are Jesse’s students doing?, League Of Legends, free games, streaming, an increasingly smaller medium, people still like horses, people needed to know about horse shit, short stories are incredibly fringes, poetry journals, YouTube and Twitch content, this angst has been transferred to other places, podcasts are still on an upward arc, novels are on the decline now, short stories peaked in the 1950s and are on the steady decline, novels are on the decline, has broadcast TV gotten better or worse?, we’re in a something else, the media people consumed, magazines are almost gone, podcasts producing classic literature, we’re never going to give up on stories, he’s producing enough, original fiction, audio dramas in podcasting, carpetbaggers moving into podcasts, how do I make money off of this, inventing podcast dramas, there’s nobody to check their claims, the media now work for the giant corporations/the government, all a conspiracy to extract value, they sell it to you in lies, everything will be fine, he likes his suburban home, wonderful, horrible, struggling with reality, he got bought out, this terrible loss of his child, continuing in stasis, he can’t move on, what he’s stuck with, while he’s been grieving, who is this guy he’s talking about, is he schizophrenic?, middle names, such easy flow, well that was a clunky sentence, Kingisms, literary style, a slightly different Bachman style, repeat phrases, song lyrics, Fred and George, TV characters, repartee, dialogue with each other, internal development or decline, these same touchstones, the same song, or brand, or characters, tons of reviews of Stephen King stuff in the booktube environment, 6 minutes on this book, books that should have been Bachman books, Revival by Stephen King, Blaze by Stephen King, namedropping Lovecraft and Machen, fifth business, carnies, the trope of the mad scientist, made it totally realistic and totally believable, a mad scientist novel, Cujo, makes you feel dirty, split authors, Seanan McGuire, Mira Grant, A. Deborah Baker, branding, in the introduction, never lying, why Rage was out of print, not worried about being canceled, not having it on his conscience, suicide by cop people, the power of TV and media to influence people, a New York Times podcast, true crime podcasts, true crime/journalism podcasts, Derek Chauvin trial, make money off the gruesome interest, The Caliphate Podcast, all lies, the OJ Simpson trial, seven dancing its, Lorne Greene’s new cop show, random thoughts, he’s being shaped by what he sees, flipping scene, a suicide scene, in 100 years, an academia we won’t understand, blockchain version of academia, blockchain degrees, Jesse is a heretic, how good King was at doing this thing, the psychological underpinnings, tapping into something that’s real, accurate, Paul feels called out, always on about going down to Mexico and shooting zebra, a good time, that place in Mexico, stocked, a planned experience, a simulation, how much time we spend in games, drugstores in the 1970s, a spinner rack full of thin novels, you can’t review this with stars, I give it 6.7 out of ten, how could it have been a better book about killing yourself?, needed more cops killed?, he’s not really that immoral, barely a crime book, needs to be done, he detonated it himself at the end, he wanted to blow it all up, if he had nukes, this explains a lot of people, that guy in New Orleans, 2020 Nashville bombing, Oklahoma City Bombing, Anthony Quinn, a copy of Bachman’s novel?, 9/11 conspiracy, a conspiracy by the government?, the moon landing conspiracy theory, reptilian conspiracy theory, ufo conspiracy theories, reptoids, Atlantis, L.A. tunnels, The Shadow Kingdom by Robert E. Howard, weird and weird fiction, its a metaphor, why it has power, the dragons of ancient european mythology, he’s stealing our girls, he won’t share, redistribute the wealth, Jack Of Shadows by Roger Zelazny, mentioned in Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson, Beowulf scripted by Neil Gaiman, hyperbole, management makes things seem fake, a McDonalds equivalent, his whopper, this is supposed to look like that, food commercials, they have to use real food, mashed potatoes in place of ice cream, its all fake, everything is an illusion, there is no such thing is death, if Stephen King wasn’t so good at writing he might have blown something up, he didn’t kill anyone, its wrong to kill people, we gotta be real here, people reacting against being lied to and gaslit, another case, the Killdozer case, Theodore Sturgeon, he built a bulletproof killdozer, Marvin Heemeyer, Kentucky is for school shootings and Colorado is for rampages, I think God will bless me, notes found by investigators, zoning grudges, sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things, found in an altar, he’s tapped into something real, smoke from a campfire at all hours, they don’t want to escalate it, he’s got a brain injury, live and let live, people can be scary, muddle through somehow, he wouldn’t sell, why does everyone think he doesn’t move?, his castle, the castle doctrine, this is your life, to move an older person is traumatic, stairs or access or neglect, a mental trauma, we’re not just physical stuff, the rational thing to do, its gotta be done, there is no person there, “mistakes were made”, who made those mistakes?, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the problems in the seventies was the government was interested in infrastructure, something we don’t hear as much about, eminent domain, the most obvious example of not letting people be, they want to bulldoze his life, his network of friends family neighbours, definitely Network, 6 killdozers out of 10.

Roadwork by Stephen King

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The SFFaudio Podcast #457 – READALONG: The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #457 -Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Talked about on today’s show:
1975, not his real name, tabula rasa, genre movies, WWII movies, the 1970s, Where Eagles Dare (1968), Admiral Canaris, the framing device, stumbling over a mystery, “a false document”, the research frame, a secret history, Michael Crichton, John Carter (2012), putting yourself in the frame, Eaters Of The Dead, extensive footnotes, on the copyright page, one of the citations is from the Necronomicon, Ash by Mary Gentle, the onion layers, changes, a compressed time-frame?, Liam Devlin, Molly Prior, an editing-budget problem, Michael Caine, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, an IRA meeting, Donald Sutherland, tics on screen, we only had two days, the preamble, Dakota, interesting parallels, everyone on Earth knows this phrase in 1976, similarly audacious, a suppressed truth, a false truth, flat-earthers, if monkeys could talk, how many colonels do we have in this book?, Steiner, the American colonel, three kinds of veteran, Larry Hagman, a thankless task, Kelly’s Heroes (1970), incompetent vs. hyper-competent, non-Nazi, two polarities, uber-experienced, Robert Duvall, Max Radl, professional competence, dying, the priest, Joanna Grey, the brother-sister duality Philip and Pamela, Himmler-Churchill, the trickiness of Churchill, “Action This Day”, Colonel Pitts is the worst, Devlin is devilish, the last adventurer, the BBC audio drama, kidnap Hitler, The Eagle Has Flown, Michael Caine gets first billing, why Steiner is so charismatic, Steiner gets his shot at the fake Churchill in the movie, he dies with (as far as he knows) having completed his mission, media hype, giant Swastika on every cover, iconic hateable, Cross Of Iron (1977), panzer guys on retreat, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz’s SS Colonel Hans Landa, good Germans, no graphics, Squad Leader, Lucasfilm games’ Their Finest Hour: The Battle Of Britain, when people don’t know what the fuck they are talking about (when you shouldn’t read their book), the Pentagon, building up a beautiful picture, Otto Skorzeny, parallels are so interesting, German and American parents, releasing the hostages, why are you German?, why are you the bad guy?, Computer Ambush, Harry Turtledove, Skorzeny gets to be awesome, seeing the parallels, Prussian style military officer, if we’re going to have WWII movies, other parallels, a love child, Charles Dickens, being Irish and English, dealing with backstory, Steiner’s father story, a major general, back details, Joanna Grey’s backstory, did you think the Nazis invented concentrations camps?, Robert Duvall steals the film, get your family out, Jung and synchronicity, providence, the hand of the author, what if?, The Man In The High Castle, almost everything is lifted, Warn That Man (1943), Went The Day Well? (1942), play by mail, a distant world, the candy bar as the reveal, an obscure movie with a great plot, Jack Higgins was a kid during WWI, his breakthrough novel, a huge hit, the sweet spot for WWII paperbacks, The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, Inside The Third Reich by Albert Speer, how are children dealt with in this book, upping her age, the two children, fate and synchronicity, accident, revealing his true nature in the doing, none of this is history, chronologically broken, Steiner saves the Jewess, a material difference, a useless gesture, “Kill Churchill? When we’ve already lost the war?!”, synchronicity has lined it up, an opportunity to do something special, his smoking-his drinking-his hand-he’s dying, some purpose, battle-tested, an ignoble death, 1943, North Africa, Italy, commandos, the Dieppe Raid, a pent-up inferiority complex, none of them has ever been in battle, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the wrong mission, back and forth, undercuts or enhances, it would not have worked…even if…, what was the purpose of WWII, nobody got what they wanted, a grotesque, a miniature version of the war itself, Wehrmacht draftees, countries get away from people, the government is doing things in your name that you don’t approve, “register to vote”, his other books, this is THE Jack Higgins novel, meta-commentary, in the hands of fate, when I got put into this book, I have to do my job, a continual suicide mission, the Channel Islands, caring and doing research, why the records don’t appear, “a true story”, The Andromeda Strain, building up the idea, copyright page and footnotes, a hoaxer-conspiracy guy, citations, archive.org and newspapers.com, just fucking with us, Erich von Däniken, sea-floor deposition, Ogopogo, Sasquatch, cryptoids, Seanan McGuire, an immortal single sea-serpent, could you write this book today?, for people who know, that was weird, Steen Hansen, Today I Learned, o-rings on the Space Shuttle, a short period before, how can you have anybody who has any cultural memory, there’s no one in the Pentagon…, the dinosaur bones of the period after, the cultural legacy, none of these movies are on Netflix, almost no movies that aren’t from the 2000s, they don’t even have a DVD, vicissitudes of streaming availabilities, Westworld, how do you culturally institute this, movies on TV is cheap content, VHS, wanting to see movies from before you were born is a strange, it extends to books as well (in the science fiction book reading community), out of the bounds of this movie, out of date by a decade or more, goodness, The City And The Stars, Ringworld, Dune, it is better to mine the past than to sieve the present, that they bothered to even finish an old book is a good sign, exploring the boundries of what makes something interesting as a good book, its really mysterious, false documentation (or documentation in general), A Plague Of Giants, the framing story, where and when and why, the second person narrative, SS-GB, Fatherland by Robert Harris, did this really happen?, he knows all that, the British Freicorp, they chose unwisely, can’t be de-Nazified, Harvey Preston, sexual assault, who is the traitor?, what does a traitor look like?, the uniforms, a disguise, when Otto Skorzeny was put on trial, “we did the same thing”, during the Battle Of The Bulge, they’re cheating in an honorable way, asking us what makes something noble or legit in war?, this town is pretty horrible, condoning Molly’s mistreatment, “none of your business”, “God bless all here”, the local bully, no policemen in this town (in the book), “male privilege”, sexual assaults are implied, that’s somebody’s family member, a feud, exile was the traditional way, a “pierced eardrum”, a very big book, in sympathy with pretty much everybody, only Himmler comes off really bad (played by Donald Pleasance), Escape From New York is kind of this book!, such a good point, Snake Plisken is Steiner, he’s a traitor, the audio drama of Escape From New York by Bill Hollweg, robbing the Federal Reserve in a dystopia makes him a hero, Nazi Germany is a dystopia, very Snake Plisken, badge patches, reputation: “I heard you were dead.”, taking real life situations and circumstances, incredibly interesting parallels that mirror, a masterful novel, exactly the right recipe, connections to all sorts of stuff far beyond WWII.

POCKET BOOKS - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

The Eagle Has Landed

LISTEN FOR PLEASURE - The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire

SFFaudio Review

Half-off RagnarokHalf-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid #3)
By Seanan McGuire; Performed by Emily Bauer and Ray Porter
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: December 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 10 hours, 17 minutes
Themes: / fantasy / urban fantasy / cryptozoology / basilisks / cryptid /

Publisher summary:

What do gorgons, basilisks, and frogs with feathers all have in common? They’re all considered mythological by modern science, and some people are working very hard to keep them that way. Alexander Price is a member of a cryptozoological lineage that spans generations, and it’s his job to act as a buffer between the human and cryptid worlds—not an easy task when you’re dealing with women who have snakes in place of hair, little girls who may actually be cobras, and brilliant, beautiful Australian zookeepers. And then there’s the matter of the murders.…Alex thought he was choosing the easier career when he decided to specialize in non-urban cryptids, leaving the cities to his little sister, Verity. It turns out that he had no idea what he was getting himself into. It’s a family affair, and everyone—from his reanimated grandfather to his slightly broken telepathic cousin—is going to get involved before things get any better.

Half-Off Rangarok is the third book in the InCryptid series and has a change in narrators and locations. No longer are we in New York with Verity but with her brother Alex, in Ohio.

The story line picks up maybe a month or two after book two. Alex Price is living with his grandparents and Sarah trying to have some semblance of a life while overseeing a secret basilisk breeding program. For Alex some things are going well – Sarah is getting better; other things are challenging like keeping secrets from his girlfriend Shelby about who he really is. It all goes downhill when Alex is faced with dead bodies that are turning to stone and the realization someone is trying to kill him too.

This book is interesting with a band of characters. Shelby and the grandparents are total hits. We learn about new cryptids which were kind of fascinating.  Things that I missed were the mice; I liked all of their crazy holidays. While they are in the book it is more like a passing thing. I also preferred the New York setting. This was supposed to be in Ohio but I think the setting could have been anywhere. For me, I had trouble relating.

I listened to the book on audio and the narrator made it feel like the book was evenly paced. His voice was interesting enough to keep me interested without losing me.  I am not sure if it was because I listened to the book on audio verses reading but this book has a different kind of feel. Perhaps this is due to the change in narrator …I cannot really say.

My biggest overall challenge of the book was despite how good the writing is for me there is something missing between characters for some reason I was just not as vested in the outcome.

Still a good read 3 ½ stars

Posted by Dawn V.

The SFFaudio Podcast #322 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #322 – Jesse and Jenny talk about new audiobook releases and recent audiobook arrivals.

Talked about on today’s show:
many sins, paperbooks, The Architect Of Aeons by John C. Wright, Tor Books, The Voyage Of The Basilisk by Marie Brennan, beautiful illustrations and blue text, cover art, a bias against bad art, the way kids talk about book covers, fonts and graphic design, stock photos, don’t mix serif’d fonts, use classic art in the public domain, don’t muddy it up, Graysun Press Class M Exile by Raven Oak, Star Trek, Self Made Hero, I.N.J. Culbard, The Shadow Out Of Time, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dream Quest Of Unknown Kadath, the difficulty of promotion for small press publishers, Horror!, The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker, John Lee, Macmillan Audio, Pinhead, Hellraiser, random bloody body horror, The Midnight Meat Train, Bradley Cooper, the way Clive Barker’s stuff works, Audio Realms, Limbus, Inc. Book 2, a shared world anthology by Jonathan Maberry, Joe R. Lansdale, Gary A. Braunbeck, Joe McKinney, Harry Shannon edited by Brett J. Talley, space for creativity, David Stifel’s narration of The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Island Of Doctor Moreau meets Frankenstein done Burroughs style, The Man Without A Soul, David Stifel knows everything about Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick, Mad Max: Fury Road, 3D is a gimmick, Vampire Horror! by M.R. James, John Polidori, F. Marion Crawford, Anthony Head, M.R. James is the country churchyard ghost story guy, John Polidori was Byron’s Doctor, Mary Shelley won the contest, The Vampyre by John Polidori, Lord Ruthven is kind of based on Lord Byron, an autobiographical fantasy horror, music!, all the good D words, Survivors by Terry Nation, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, who wrote House, M.D.?, writing credit in the UK, a familiar premise, the original TV series and the remake, The Walking Dead, all the fun stuff we like about post-apocalyptic storytelling, simultaneous existence, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, A History Of The World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage, our dependence on grasses, The Road, canned food isn’t a long term plan, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, deer in the woods, the high price put on poaching, the other solution is cannibalism (also not very sustainable), The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, cutting water, this is already how things are, the atomic bomb scenarios are played out, the water problem, the new dust bowl, North Carolina and South Carolina, Seattle and Vancouver, Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick, read by Phil Gigante, a comic version of Doctor Strangelove, Marissa Vu, Paul Weimer, The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson, Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, Luke Burrage’s reviews of the Orange County books, Find Me by Laura van den Berg, silver blisters?, Guy de Maupassant style, The End Has Come edited by Hugh Howey and John Joseph Adams, Carrie Vaughn, Megan Arkenberg, Will McIntosh, Scott Sigler, Sarah Langan, Chris Avellone, Seanan McGuire, Leife Shallcross, Ben H. Winters, David Wellington, Annie Bellet, Tananarive Due, Robin Wasserman, Jamie Ford, Elizabeth Bear, Jonathan Maberry, Charlie Jane Anders, Jake Kerr, Ken Liu, Mira Grant, Hugh Howey, Nancy Kress, Margaret Atwood’s serial, Science Fiction in Space and the Desert, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, read by Mary Robinette Kowal and Will Damron, very sciencey, too many Jesses, Rob’s commute, Nova by Margaret Fortune, read by Jorjeana Marie, a human bomb, Imposter by Philip K. Dick, The Fold by Peter Clines, read by Ray Porter, another Philip K. Dick story called Prominent Author, a joke story, 14 by Peter Clines, Expanded Universe, Vol. 1 by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Bronson Pinchot, Blackstone Audio, Robert A. Heinlein is a weird idea man, Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey, Hachette Audio, Sword & Laser, The Darkling Child (The Defenders of Shannara) by Terry Brooks, read by Simon Vance, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, larger than life voices, The Red Room by H.G. Wells, the accents, BBC audio dramas of James Bond books, the David Niven Casino Royale, The Brenda & Effie Mysteries: Brenda Has Risen From the Grave! (4), Bafflegab, Darwin’s Watch: The Science of Discworld III: A Novel by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, read by Michael Fenton Stevens and Stephen Briggs, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, read by Julia Emelin, The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, read by Davina Porter, Sarah Monette’s The Goblin Emperor, coming of age in a fantasy world, librarians recommend!

The Brenda And Effie Mysteries (4) Brenda Has Risen From The Grave by Paul Magrs

Posted by Jesse Willis