The SFFaudio Podcast #652 – READALONG: Farmer In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #622 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson talk about Farmer In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
1950!, serialized in Boys’ Life, August – November 1950, its about farming, Ganymede, there’s no bad guys, there’s no conflict, no villians, boy against nature, father son conflict, annoyed at the annoying people, takers and bureaucrats, less bureaucracy hate than usual, a little lecture, the senator got him in, ultimately they will fail in life, the evolution in action argument, who is financing all of this, self-financing, the meta-economic stuff, Tunnel In The Sky, a Star Trek episode, boy and girl scouts, girls do something, Patty was a hard ass bitch vs. Patty was competent, Mrs. Schultz, in the domestic sphere, a big surprise, he chooses not to go to school, subversive, very unHeinlein, so scouty, we’re improving, were becoming disciplined, were footsoldiers for empire, a number of surprises, the twins are going to go to Earth to go to school, the Turner thesis, the frontier, why school is not necessary, so much about scouting, when the frontier was already closed, middle class, progressive, urban America, the Baden Powell scouts, the Boer War, you get to shoot at people, what little boys want to do, go out in the woods and hit things, a special two finger salute, listen to the older boys, Brownies leveled up to Girl Scouts, that Euro American tension, the Malthusian logic, pressures back on Earth, building colonies, like America up to the end of the 19th century, the progressive era, Jeffersonians, the Louisiana Purchase, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, Elks, civic organizations, Paul was born and raised in New York City, I get to wear a belt with a pouch on it!, you have to buy your own uniform, you buy those badges?, you have to earn them and then you have to buy them, I need comics, swear allegiance to the queen, the motto or slogan, god and country, scout rallies, jamborees, an organization what was quasi-paramilitary, get involved in the community, the cadets, air cadets, sea cadets, ROTC, being a grunt digging ditches and burning latrine shit, a career resume, how to become elites, gliding in gliders, pushing people into a system of rank and authority, this is a scam, how did Evan get out of this cult?, I’m going to get my merit badges, coincidence, making our hero a hero, when the meteorite hits the spaceship, alien artifacts on Ganymede, a pro-Scout perspective, he’s lost so much, Peggy has been lost, he’s gonna get Gretchen, bothered by poor Peggy, poor Poddy, killing off the girls, somebody needs to be refrigerated, Paul, replaced with twin boys, they literally do Scouting, field patrols, some doofus on a tractor, they help old ladies across the road, can-do, he wore his uniform against his skin, his bones are in the scouts, appendicitis, be interactive in the world, pull out your whistle, what those merit badges are for, start fires when your plane crashes in the middle of the woods, exemplifying the Boy Scout mentality, go back to the meetings, very American foreigners, the Japanese Scout, Douglas MacArthur Okajima, a Russian kid, the German family next door, the triumph of the American future, a super-dystopia on Earth, this apartment didn’t have any windows, burning the dinner plates, a bad PKD future, Evan was triggered by Malthusian Earth, the Population Bomb, that horrible Star Trek episode, worked for China, too many people, 55 million Californians vs. 39.5 million, the stores have food, wrong about all sorts of stuff, the only version of birth control humanity will ever have is wars, Heinleinian old men characters, one of them is growing a beard, you did your calculations all off screen bud, what drives Jesse up the wall about Heinlein, how often an alignment of Jupiter’s moons, just because it was cool?, a Ganymede quake, Mars and Venus in alignment, earthquakes and tidal waves, astrological implications, what’s missing from this colony is religion, no churches, for a frontier society it is a giant lack, the good salt of the earth colonists, deliberate, they bring it into the war, if the colonists did it on purpose…, nobody else is talking about it, a deliberate oversight (choice), respecting silly traditions, that’s just how people are, they’re all scouts together, that’s their religion, Golgotha, he gets the tractor and smashes Golgotha, Armageddon, the only tree on the planet is an apple tree, and they chop it down and burn it, The Most Beautiful Tree On Ganymede, we did not bring weeds, a lot of things to like, ecology, we know what we’re doing, rabbits, dumb it down, weeds are anything don’t want, marijuana on Ganymede, impressively self confident, got rid of lockjaw, how agriculture is these days, GMO seeds, a broader issue, if you don’t know why you need clover, the scene on Ganymede vs. the scene on Earth, an immigrant lens, the space border, the boys dorm, endless food, food porn, a couple of hints, another very boy scouts sort of scene, captain’s mast, Star Trek Voyager, Tuvok gets promoted, Paris gets demoted, 30 days in solitary confinement, the federation is a nightmare, all of the food was not treebourne, ground food, strawberries, hand pollinate, their bees cant fly,

Listen to this: For breakfast we had corn cakes with syrup and real butter, little sausages, real ham, strawberries with cream so thick I didn’t know what it was, tea, all the milk you could drink, tomato juice, honey-dew melon, eggs—as many eggs as you wanted.

There was an open sugar bowl, too, but the salt shaker had a little sign on it; DON’T WASTE THE SALT.

There wasn’t any coffee, which I wouldn’t have noticed if George had not asked for it. There were other things missing, too, although I certainly didn’t notice it at the time. No tree fruits, for example—no apples, no pears, no oranges. But who cares when you can get strawberries and watermelon and pineapples and such? There were no tree nuts, too, but there were peanuts to burn.

Anything made out of wheat flour was a luxury, but you don’t miss it at first.

Lunch was choice of corn chowder or jellied consomme, cheese souffle, fried chicken, corned beef and cabbage, hominy grits with syrup, egg plant au gratin, little pearl onions scalloped with cucumbers, baked stuffed tomatoes, sweet potato surprise, German-fried Irish potatoes, tossed endive, coleslaw with sour cream, pineapple and cottage cheese with lettuce. Then there was peppermint ice cream, angel berry pie, frozen egg nog, raspberry ice, and three kinds of pudding—but I didn’t do too well on the desserts. I had tried to try everything, taking a little of this and a dab of that, and by the time desserts came along I was short on space. I guess I ate too much.

so good at it,

The first supper was mushroom soup, baked ham, roast turkey, hot corn bread with butter, jellied cold meats, creamed asparagus, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, spinach with hard boiled egg and grated cheese, corn pudding, creamed peas and carrots, smothered lettuce and three kinds of salad. Then there was frozen custard and raisin pudding with hard sauce and Malaga and Thompson grapes and more strawberries with powdered sugar.

Besides that you could drop around to the kitchen and get a snack any time you felt like it.

lumberjack food, tilling the fields, planetary disaster, on a scale that’s hard to replicate, rain and snow, sublimation, Fritz Leiber’s A Pail Of Air, the bowels of a skyscraper, endless layers of blankets, an amazing story, if you’re Pluto, Titan’s atmosphere, liquid methane or nitrogen lakes, from its semi-terraformed state to its original state, -70 fahrenheit to -20 fahrenheit, this is an awesome book, the tacked on ending (was good!), the whole sister killing thing, the father – son conflict, Anne and George, call me Bill, a modern civilization thing?, he calls him Dad to us, he addresses him as George, a formal relationship, never?, you knew her name but you never used it, if you want to make a point, just mom and dad, almost never, running a business, focuses the relationship with the customer, its about power, you get a name before your parents get name, if certain circumstances apply, maturity and growing up, being a caregiver to your parents, asserting power, he’s right a lot, his dad is an incompetent cook, wasting rations, he lapses, growing up with depression era parents or grandparents, the household books, little Billy’s bike got a puncture, everything gets recycled, you scrape that bowl to the bottom, money doesn’t grow on trees, I just want to have an allowance like all my friends, that Golgotha rock, the same thing happens to his uniform, the rubber pillow, it was all rags, he cut off all the badges but he threw away the uniform, a home-made patch, imagining a sash, symbolically interesting, his merit badge exams, a maturing metaphor, the Soviet WWII veterans for VE day, so many badges they have to put it on both sides of their chests, grade inflation, give em another badge, I’m subverting the boy scouts, man, you can just be a farmer, Evan Lampe needs to do a Heinlein readthrough as a podcast, themes and hobby horses, like Philip K. Dick and H.P. Lovecraft, Between Planets, who your audience is, older and later?, Blue Book Magazine, not the onlt thing he wrote for Boys’ Life, Tramp Space Ship, the literal inspiration for Tribbles, Flat Cats, Space Family Stone, The Rolling Stones, a space opera radio drama, a used space ship, industrious children, Europa is next, Pigs Is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler [not O. Henry], an unlimited amount of guinea pigs, hence the tribbles, Tenderfoot In Space is set on Venus, Tenderfoot -> Eagle Scout, you can wield a hatchet without killing anyone, the new scout handbook, all girls troops in the BSA, not a merger, trans scouts of America, atheist scouts, a list of things scouts need to be, you cant be reverent if you’re irreverent, a vocal atheist, tiger cubs (kindergarten), early indoctrination, Red Dawn (1984) is a very Heinleiny movie, strong women still subservient to the men, no line marriages, the Mongols, Cubans parachuting in to Colorado, the Nicaraguans and the Cubans take over the United States, they can camp all weekend, you’re never gonna catch my sons, out there in the woods and they are Eagle Scouts, a weird analogy for Afghanistan, the North Koreans invaded the United States, for movieland reasons, an Australian remake of Red Dawn [Tomorrow, When The War Began (2010)], we people of the hardscrabble lands know how to take are of ourselves, obedience to authority, love of country and love of the countryside, faking the homeless experience, the war experience, a lot of marching, a line of guys walking into the forest, WWII was a lot like being homeless, but with hot food, without the political an historical context, looking through the catalogue, there was something wrong about it from the beginning, there’s no boy scout tax, pre-pandemic, cadets standing in uniform outside of grocery stores, food banking, bottle drives, trying to sell oil change certificates, child labour sucks, rich families buy all the girl scout, cookies, a troop of boy scouts in the girl scouts, its not fair, when she’s selling cookies, book points, government bureaucracy, pioneers need good neighbours vs. absolute self-reliance, specialization is for insects, no good waiting for the government to provide soil, his straw man, Noisy, he never gets his revenge, kids today don’t understand violence [says old man Jesse], getting over it vs. turning the other cheek, Hank was the bad guy, go over the speed limit and lie about it, he eventually is the ally, go and hang out with the captain, Heinlein is so good, the same kid, they do the same things, tons of pets, i can’t give you my fish, the horse in Between Planets, the girls are irrational, our hero Billy or William is oblivious to girls, more oblivious, put them in a bag, is he wrong?, girls and boys should be put in a bag, the German household next door, the family stuff, George drops it, Bill pouts until he gets his way, George drops it again, Bill pouts again, leave his son behind, people are not one thing no matter what you are, bad at communication, Ann and George, Have Space Suit—Will Travel, no cupboards, our kind of food, processed food, the bounty planet, living formally, good characterization, so neat with some of his straw men, the dad was so intent on Bill going to school, get everything he could out of Earth, be a professor like his dad, the step-relationship, so many separations, until she is refrigerated, how much happens, how good the writing is, skillfully done, entertaining and interesting, for novels Jesse likes Heinlein best, somebody online said it was a bad book [correction: Joachim Boaz said it was a “blah” book], really good philosophy stuff, the crystals, he can’t see what’s in the cave, it seems to have legs, 38 legs, tractor?, spaceship hangar, the world is open, really really good, top notch, atmosphere plant, our slow space program, the Voyager probes, the ruined planet is the asteroid belt, a petty hobby horse, regular intervals of planets and then this missing one, its a mystery, one more point of science, back to back to back, 40 novels tons of short stories, in Requiem, Tenderfoot In Space, is there a more American author than Heinlein?, Hemingway is international, Mark Twain, Hemingway is cosmopolitanism, the soil of Missouri, a fetish for Joan of Arc, James Fennimore Cooper, the modern stuff, a fetish for the new, H.P. Podcraft’s episodes on Voltaire’s Candide, hilarious all the way through, not a commercial product in the same way as a lot of stuff, Evan’s restrictions, a leading candidate, mainstream writers, Steinbeck, Heinlein’s speaking to a lot of issues those guys don’t do, the power plants, atomic power, an atmosphere shield, fusion? the radiation level on Ganymede is too high for humans, a little handwavy, Rocket Ship Galileo, there’s Nazis on the Moon!, sub-Antarctic French islands, Space Nazis!, fight the Nazis on the fucking moon!, the frontier and the sea, following where the text take him, libertarianism, in some respects it is gross, Reason TV, a mock libertarian PBS, approx 70%, Fraggles: “you have right to put anything in your body”, SOCIALISM!, free speech, associating with neighbours, hospitalizations, there’s no mention of pay, the community pays, the barn raising, a cooperative nature, cooperative clans, I was promised X, Y, and Z, I refuse to do work, we will feed your family, you can go eat rocks, he’s an adult he can fend for himself, personal responsibility to stop the drug war in Central and South America, straw men characters, given we have to deal with people, reason with them, the alternative is violence or shunning or deporting or locking them up, excessive, he broke the prime directive, this water planet was being ruined by their own environmental policies, solitary for 30 days!, Pen Pals, the Prime Directive loophole, lots of people on Voyager who have no rank, she takes orders from Harry Kim, the Doctor doesn’t have a rank, Neelix doesn’t have a rank, Kes didn’t have a rank, not passengers, Maquis badges, helpful for us as viewers, who are you new actor of the week?, Chakotay’s side, we’ve transitioned out of this episode, some good episodes of Enterprise, stupid decisions, a country and western theme instead of some horns?, a whole bunch of mistakes, savoring Voyager, Red Letter Media on Star Trek The Next Generation, The Naked Now, Darmok, The Inner Light, ideas, they’d have to make it way stupider, the value of boy scouts, commanding voice, be prepared, punch that little kid in the face several times, the environmental disaster, a novel structure, how the gravity works, gravity plates, the gravity plates never turn off, TV is not smart enough to handle what Heinlein’s putting down, Red Planet, a case for a kissing book, Take Back Your Government, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Tunnel In The Sky, Star Beast, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, Sixth Column, Anarchaos by Donald E. Westlake, The Puppet Masters, Beyond This Horizon, The King Of The Mazy May by Jack London, Nothing Ever Happens On The Moon, The Rolling Stones, Roadwork by Richard Bachman, Gullivar Of Mars.

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Boys' Life August to November 1950 - Satellite Scout by Robert A. Heinlein

Farmer In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

FARMER IN THE SKY by Robert A. Heinlein

Danny Flynn cover art for FARMER IN THE SKY by Robert A. Heinlein

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The SFFaudio Podcast #651 – READALONG: Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #651 – Jesse and Alex talk about Appendix N: The Literary History Of Dungeons & Dragons by Jeffro Johnson

Talked about on today’s:
Brandon Porter, complaints about the audiobook, missing footnotes, appendixes C and D, Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979, page 224, who the hell are these guys, there’s Tolkien, John , Andrew J. Offutt, Fltcher Pratt, Face In The Frost, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, reading ideas, Paul Weimer, opposed to Castalia House, John C. Wright, chips on both guys shoulders, misplaced chips, not wanting to participate in some books, Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy, Oryx And Crake, too stuck up, complaining the whole time, authors we want nothing to do with, oh you’re a genius Margaret!, Jesse hates her, a book of book reviews, a Christian, Margaret St. Clair, “milieu”, halberd, when you learn things from books, as a professional narrator, names in fantasy books, not having pronunciation in mind, apostrophes, Tolkienesque words, all the role playing games, Gamma World, Traveler, Pathfinder, The Call Of Cthulhu, Car Wars, GURPS, the core rule books, modules, more time reading the books than playing the game, his thesis, Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just Tolkien and it was never meant to be, fundamentally misunderstand the game, how clerics show up, Galadriel with cup of healing water, organized religion was missing from Middle Earth, the Hobbits don’t go to church, Denethor, heathen kings of old, worshiping, he’s a dictator, one of many inspirations, quotes, the Conan section, pastiches, Gary Gygax, the original Howard Conan wasn’t available to Gygax, people kown Conan, most people’s views of Lovecraft are just wrong, The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair and The Sign Of The Labrys, inspiration, my love my father showed when I was a tad, cloaked old men who could grant wishes, dauntless swordsman, E.C. Comics, the Satanic Panic, juvenile delinquents, ample helpings of fantasy, Andrew Lang, the Brothers Grimm, of particular inspiration, pluck kernels, good reading!, DeCamp, Pratt, Jack Vance, A. Merritt, these will help you make your gaming better, the original AD&D, a collaborative storytelling effort, dice rolling and stats, min-max munchkin play, you have to have read a bunch of stories, things you should be building on, the players limitations make the gaming less good than it could be, most of these books were on the shelf in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Williamson, publishing, the changing media, talking about movies and TV shows and computer games, pop culture is POPULAR, Stranger Things, True Detective, True Crime, locking a kid in the closet with no books, D&D has become its own incestuous thing, Forgotten Realms, wide open fantasy sandbox, engines to make other games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pool Of Radiance, Pool Of Darkness, Wizardry (on the Apple II), Fallout 3, step out into the wasteland, dependent on a really good Dungeon Master, adventures around every corner, the dialogue tree comes out, I wanna save this farmer, I wanna steal the farmer’s pants, the immaturity of the players, DMing is a skill, like Frisbee, cooperative, THACO, Star Trek Voyager, Naomi Wildman, a kid’s adventure holodeck program, nerfed, magical forest, Neelix, the creatures of the forest recognize Janeway, the ideal form of Dungeons & Dragons, your inventory, torch schedule, Darkest Dungeon, you have enough torches, the rope store, Fallout‘s inventory system, the creativity and the flow, how do we let our players have that same kind of adventure, domain play, tier 1 play, a town or country you kind of run, spouses and retainers, a bigger magic sword, New Vegas, post apocalyptic, stories around every corner, bottlecap currency, what we want is the story, whatever mechanics are there, leveling up, new spells new attacks more attacks, achievement unlocked, a real scholar now, awards, you’re a real boy now, army promotions, Eisenhauer is needed, a false understanding of what we’re here to do, the sense of awe, the first time playing Dungeon & Dragons, lead figures, carrying about what colour dice they have, getting a glimpse of Tsathoggua through a keyhole, console games, computer games, like reading a really good book but completely different, I killed a demon, I am a demon, a more advanced version of cops and robbers, go down to the basement, these dice say I hit you for double damage, FPS, all shooting games, Portal, it breaks what you thought was possible, The Long Dark, making mittens, zen meditative, achieving balance, murder hobos, wilderness adventure, one dungeon, not a lot of dragons, two dragons in twenty years, what we need to do as dungeon masters, what players need to do as players, can I stab this or set it on fire, a character with massive charisma, make friends with the monsters, combat oriented, the epic moments, inter-dimensional travel, you can become a god, Leah Libresco [Back Again From The Broken Land], intelligence, wisdom, strength, in real life, we don’t have the player character sheet at all, keep it under the hood, extra speech options, you are less involved, do you even lift, bro?, a suit of armor because suit of armor, Age Of Conan, I got a dagger, a fur diaper, and maybe some boots, a flagon of wine and a girl, World Of Warcraft, mount armor, change the world, Knights Of The Old Republic, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, guilds, all these titles, oh you wanted to buy bread?, the game doesn’t care, when games are capable of caring, an anti-perk: gravedigger, the orc said: I know you of old…, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, a one way gate to the Pliocene, exporting criminals to the past, giant toadstool forests, megafauna, visiting aliens with psychic powers, almost all based on Julian May’s interest in geology and history, the Wild Hunt, accommodateable, straight sci-fi, all through the lens of Tolkien, Greyhawk and Dragonlance, Krynn, kinder instead of hobbits, dragon people, Vancian magic, you don’t understand the building blocks, to have the internet back then, so much is public domain, a blogpost in 2014, so much of it has never been republished, what is actually great, what’s being pushed by a publisher, the cult of the new, nothing from before 1987, The Professionals (1966) with Lee Marvin, Dave Arneson, self-enforcing mythology, Charisma Zero (2013), a player is getting divorced, the hipster is way to cool, what made him a loser, some genuine reality going on there, its a lifestyle, live and breathe Dungeons & Dragons is kinda sad and kinda amazing, the first modules, GenCon, where’s Wisconsin, Tomb Of Annihilation, a meat grinder simulator, Jason Thompson’s D&D module poster maps, 37 species of zoogs, the dreamlands, there used to be kinds of stories, it can’t be done without irony anymore, no-one can write it that way anymore, subverting expectations, a lack of planetary romance, August Derleth, The Trail Of Cthulhu, more of what you had, a magic wand, take what you can get, sad puppies, the Hugo Awards contest, John C. Wright, the popular clique, your ability to get into people’s hands, a list of old books, old fiction, some of them sounded pretty weak, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, cigaretty voice, World Of Teirs by Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner F. Fox, a really innovative way, a very small organization, I want more people to read Gardner F. Fox, connected to comics, Crom his Conan ripoff, old-school pulp author, only five?, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, The Moon Moth, The Dragonmasters, Planet Of Adventure, a kind of depth to his worlds, a plaster castle held up by two by fours vs. a velvet tapestry with a stone wall with grout made from goblin bones, sketching out a world with a few lines, footnotes, Jorge Luis Borges, granular detail, Philip K. Dick wrote a lot about spies, Mr Jim Moon’s show on Piper In The Woods, set in the pacific during WWII, Seabees, I’m a plant, how dryads reproduce, Typee by Herman Melville, a garden of Eden, it takes 20 minutes to build a house vs. pull ropes and get hit with the lash all day, Poul Anderson, The High Crusade is so fun, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, Dwellers In The Mirage by A. Merritt, vikings at the North Pole, ragging on Michael Moorcock, why people liked Elric, navel gazing, so sad, I murdered a bunch of people now I’m sad about it, Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson, Manly Wade Wellman, A Martian Odyssey, fabulously science fictional, spaceships, a virtual reality story in the 1930s, totally inspirational reading, Andre Norton, read this list as inspiration for your own campaign, the concept of this book, the foundations most people don’t realize are there, this is where I got some ideas, ruleset, where do all the other rules plug in, the monks were added because kung-fu was so popular, illuminating a manuscript vs. a Shaw Brothers character, more books like this, as we discussed in October, a book of Star Trek literary references posts, Arena by Fredric Brown, microphones for eyes, Darmok, Gilgamesh + Arena, Picard would, post-scarcity communist future allows us to read Gilgamesh and archaeology, lifts from literature, lifts from themselves, that idea worked, lets do our version of it, Stuart J. Byrne, he Kirked the computer, V’Ger, The Changeling, Nomad, his influence shows up in the first star trek, The Doomsday Machine, Fred Saberhagen, the Berserkers, hey I read Tolkien and I have a elves and goblins in a forest, break out of that mold, Portal 2, the Logic Bomb, this sentence is false, the cake is a lie, it becomes more of what it is, Doom and Wolfenstein and Spear Of Destiny, its short, literally out of the box thinking, it’s amazing, things can be different, a tavern with an old man giving you a mission, Lord Dunsany’s The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, The Book Of Wonder, gnoles vs. gnolls, Jesse’s favourite kind of Dungeons & Dragons, Thief, old game books, like choose your own adventure with dice, play honest with the book, the gap between the two, a regular novel is completely linear, game books, told in second person, we are so luckly right now, scanning books, finding them and buying them, way more of this and a lot less Tolkien ripoffs, a late 80s, really grimdark, Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein, you can just read Scalzi, you don’t need to read Heinlein, 2,000 pages of his inspired by Starship Troopers book, Farmer In The Sky, every book was different, why do we have to have another series?, that publishing drive, a sequel hook, advertising a one-off book, “listen Larry Niven if you write just one more Ringworld book we can bring Ringworld back into print”, from 1979 onward, The Martian by Andy Weir, only four or five years old, these things did happen, thinking along parallel lines, the requisite map, you just told me you know noting and I don’t need to read you, that’s just geography, picking up these cues, treating it like a science, arbitrary rules, Lost, what’s in the hatch?, that Sullivan guy, just good set dressing, J.J. Abrams has not content, M. Night Shyamalan, Heroes went nowhere, Star Wars and Star Trek, we as readers need to be chintzy with our attention, where are your bonafides, that’s not how you pronounce Suleiman the magnificent, Shadow Of The Vulture by Robert E. Howard, egret vs. eaglet, we’re conjuring up things with our mouths, a Savage Sword Of Conan plot, Finnish Eskimos? The Summi?, favourite campaigns, a buried dead god they’re trying to resurrect, a turn based dungeon crawl, a quasi-medieval setting, the sanity system, confronted by trauma, gain a mania or a depressive problem, prayer or tavern or wenching, all narrated by Wayne June, The Ancestor is evil, from The Rats In The Walls, Darkest Dungeon 2, computer games tend to get better, becoming more what they are, a hybrid experience.

Appendix N by Jeffro Johnson

Dungeon Master's Guide

@Algncs' Appendix N Bookshelf

Appendix N by Gary Gygax

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The SFFaudio Podcast #648 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #648 – The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs; read by Delmar H. Dolbier. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (9 hours 16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Alex.

Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in All-Story, 1914 and 1915, reasons for confusion, the first half of this book is The Mad King, the second half is Barney Of Beatrice, follow ups, The Eternal Lover, some Tarzan action, Barney’s sister, the reincarnation of a cave man, who is this person, a spark, literary universe, paired the spares, paired with an unfrozen caveman, least favourite ERB, comparisons to The Prisoner Of Zenda, A Princess Of Mars, The Mucker, Robert E. Howard’s The Black Stone, H.P. Lovecraft, a stupid bet, honor, Barney has principles, Paul!, a no shaving contest, a true hero, never compromise, keeping in bearded and mustached, part of the genre, it tells you everything about Burroughs and Barney Custer, by reputation, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, whoa its Tarzan, before him stretched, the adjoining roof, clambering to the heights, he’s just swinging, Barney Custer invented parkour, the way the doubling was handled, the dependence on random chance, easily fixed with five minutes of work, his father was a soldier of fortune, a little background, car crashes, his car lands on the king, a eugenicist, princess genes, Colonel Custer, Custer was loser, fought against unbeatable odds, the rep he had, character flaws built right in, Barney is more prudent, The Efficiency Expert, the Austrian firing squad, the Serbian resistance, random luck, language, the shopkeeper spoke really good German, a German state, why this book isn’t as great as it should be, Rupert Of Hentzau, a guy going to an Eastern European country from England, a Germanic state, past Austria, he goes home, every year after, a rose kissed by his princess girlfriend, the best bad guy from the first book, a rogue, he’ll happily betray you and laugh about it, the first half of this book is the complete novel of Anthony Hope’s ZENDA and the second half maps to the second book RUPERT OF HENTZAU, the honorable thing to do, a scandal, one of his ancestors stole away a princess, cousins of the princess, the flaw in the first book is the sequel, going back and fixing the kingdom again, he leaves Lutha, that’s why this book is not as good as it should be, pathetic corrupt Europeans going to war, vs. the Americans know what to do, handwaved in the first, this king is bad from the start, a weak coward, a two-hander, the timing, March 21, 1914, serialized over three issues in 1915, WWI, Serbia, an analogy for World War I, the Black Hand, retconned, the location of Lutha comes in the second half of this book, 1-12 and 1-13, sneaks into a war torn country, the first half is set in at least 1913 the second half is set in August 1914, Anthony Hope’s novel is a fantasy, a portal fantasy, the Emperor of Austria/Hungary, not fully unified, two books in one book, from a fantasy into a John Buchan story (like The Thirty Nine Steps), the meld is ok, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Genovia, the novel is dated after a couple of years, Bulgaria, right at the heart of WWI, Casablanca (1942), Lichtenstein, Andorra, European principalities, the White Raja Of Sarawak, Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel, adopting foreigners as their kings, pistols, horses, and an automobile and an airplane, and artillery, does Zenda have two F-16s? does Lutha have Migs?, “He Conquered A Dyak Army And Turned All Borneo Into His Private Kingdom”, Pacific castaways, little kings, Omoo by Herman Melville, Typee, The Man Who Would Be King, trophy dwarves and trophy whites, Amazing!, a second son of a British lord, family bastards, kinda legit, so many layers of mirrors, falling asleep in a field, at the very core, its a guy who comes from the peerage vs. son of a farmer, a princesses husband, everybody is on the same level (theoretically), how beautiful the women were, his car and his guns, a princess equivalent of his mom, he reverses the story, he’s ruling as Barney, a legit claim, ultimately he’s a king, blood, right, [marriage], decorum, deed, spanking the Austrian army, we know, his princess is his legitimation, fun and interesting, a funny situation, an American repudiating a system of equality, the King’s Word Is Law, pretty horrible, Burroughs isn’t focused on that, American virtues, pluck and attitude, the fantasy coming an reasserting, always acting honorably, avoids lying, the king wills this, the blood of the royals runs through my veins, the way Burroughs wrote this, I’m not sure which guy is doing what, Barney being merciful (by not killing him) is actually cowardice, the play of which guy are we actually looking at, they look identical but the King is a little pudgier, they look identical in the second book, they look similar in the first book, except when he smile sneers, Dave (1993), the princess is Sigourney Weaver, he runs an employment agency, Jesse’s not an American, American gyms, Americans practiced circumcision, are Evan and Alex and Paul circumcised?, William Kellogg, less common, lets talk about your penis some more, a Germanic king of eastern Europe, The Return Of Martin Guerre, my foreskin got shot off, mapping moles on the kings back, Natalie Zemon Davis, Human Is by Philip K. Dick, also a Deep Space Nine episode (the Pah-wraiths), Keiko comes back bad, we need the bad angels, a person looking exactly like another person, first cousins, little bit legit, the book can still work as a whole novel, the weld is not perfect, why the book isn’t as good as it should be, Robin Hood in the mountains, instantly bandits, war leader, sneaking into the country, belt full of guns, for reasons, so many sneaking ins, the spy that looks like the girl’s boyfriend, Stephan, a double, she sold him out, he’s cuddling her, frees the prisoners, randomly survived being shot, the Serbian spy, a ragtag militia, the writers’ room on this one was out to lunch, I’m just going to die, funny comedy, they’re gaslighting each other but they don’t want to be, you’re mad, our hero Barney, stealing a car, scenes that don’t go anywhere, the first half is one issue, the second half is three issues (so all cliffhangers), the coincidences are artificial, iron things out, funny and cute vs. Lord Of The Rings, chess pieces moving around, from Sword And Sorcery to High Epic Fantasy, two teams, the evil team, a Mexican standoff, the six vs. the ten, the princess shuttling between them, inkeepers and inkeepers daughters, a cozy Doctor Who episode, Star Trek, expands out, sentence by sentence writer, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, more American exceptionalism, the boss vs. the king, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, a failure, falling asleep vs. being hit on the head, falls asleep surrounded by corpses, a satire or a parody, earnest and honorable, participates in whatever’s going on, what makes him awesome, able to ride a horse, good with a sword, bringing democracy to Lutha, bringing democracy to Barsoom, The Pursuit Of The Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein, tourism, exploitation, a very strange sequence in a very strange book, Blackadder Series 3, Rowan Atkinson, American TV Shows One Episode Of A Time is Evan’s other podcast, George III, WWI, descending in status, a descent, Duel And Duality, who gets to be king, ridiculous, upheaval and murder, Alexander the Great’s generals, second sons of farmers, every tenth child goes off to the church, Crusader Kings, crusader monks, clerical work, clerk and clark, the plotting of the book, does the first half work on its own, tracks the guy half-way around the world, randomly, a small continent.

The Mad King And Barney Custer Of Beatrice by Edgar Rice Burroughs - ALL-STORY WEEKLY

The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1926)

The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs - Frank Frazetta 1963

The Mad King (BACK OF THE PAPERBACK)

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The SFFaudio Podcast #646 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #646 – Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick – read by Ian Bradford Ngongotaha Pugh. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (31 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.

Talked about on today’s show:
Orbit, December 1953, copyright clearances, a comic book adaptation, BIPOC, very countryist of you, IBPOC, who gets to be included, LGBTQ2S+, a council that meets in the sewers beneath New York City, can Jesse be included?, parentage, black vs. coloured, then most obvious, latinx, 25% of the community is aware of it, approx 5% use it, Tony’s dad, that’s our word, you beetle lover, Pasudeti’s point of view, very different, similar themes, goodreads, three Os with a little line dancing over it, 3.5 stars, ratings out of stars, one of the most different Philip K. Dick stories, the literary agency that gave it a G or a G+, classify it, feel about it, Mike Resnick, Birthright: The Book Of Man, dooming humanity, enslaved and subjugated, teetering point, where we came from, Seven Views Of Olduvai Gorge, bootstrap up themselves to sentience, mankind are assholes, India’s rise against the British, decolonization, Rhodesia, Kenya, leibensraum, you can’t live on Earth anymore, how far they spread, other Orion planets, a huge crisis, we must move out just to survive, a theme in Dick’s novels, The Variable Man, Mr. Spaceship, The World Jones Made, this expansion of humanity, this intimate way, what he thought were friends, his community, this way, this angle, Time Out Of Joint, Arthur C. Clarke, Omni Magazine, it doesn’t seem inevitable, doom, one battle, the tide has turned, they’re evacuating the planet, evacuating the city, beetle riots and mobs, being psychohistorians, this is stolen ground, in the long term, no forever in the long term, the SMLA agency, “pedestrian”, “rather corny stuff”, “pretending to be impressive”, not your favourite, my knee, earnest, certain works are the greats, they don’t understand it, seeing Jesse’s own reactions, why is this ok?, The Crystal Crypt, humans leaving Mars, Earth spies steal a city, black clad leiters, Philip K. Dick is doing something, our hero in this story, Tony Rossi, Italian, Anthony, Italians play a role, make a little list, Roog, Cardossis, a real house and a real dog, The Man In The high Castle, Joe Cinadella, Now Wait For Last Year, always on about the Italians, my best friend was Italian!, the Japs, victory gardens, a German last name, Philip K. Dick’s father, a gas mask, everybody knows what your name is, Dick is a pretty funny name, where this story is really set, he was never decolonized, double envelopment, seeing his story in print there, American tank gives piggy back ride to nip tank, growing up during the war, during the Italian Campaign, Sicily, the Italians change size, Benito Mussolini, again The Hanging Stranger, an analogy, the number of military bases in Italy today, between 3 and 100, growing up on a military base, that’s actually what we see, he puts on his spacesuit, I’m going out to play, school 4 hours a day 6 days a week (online), a mandatory lift from a beetle, the B-slur, humans automatically get rides, a polite boy, an attractive telepathic female, the robot carries his bag, his friends reject him, you suck, fuck you, they throw rocks at him, not suitable for human life, recovery mode, his EEP (his robot dog), a heat ray, no blood, Tony’s visor fogs up, we’re on the run now, a really weird story, read the words and bounced off, how amazing the amount of planetary world building goes on, the flux winds, trudging through sands, almost like Cuba, freighters that have been changed, they have an empire, a really amazing world, told from the POV of someone least able to tell us about it, threatens to beat his son, that threat from the parents, Martians Come In Clouds, the external colonizers, the monsters are the humans, he’s 11 in that story and 10 in this story, we know he’s reading the newspaper, he has to flip through the newspaper, everybody would know what’s going on, his sensitivity level is through the roof, John W. Campbell, a metaphor for sensitivity, insensitive to his parent’s racism, working on projects with them, polite and friendly, they turn on a dime, all of a sudden, this Japanese friend, the next day Pearl Harbor happens, the stab in the back, unprovoked attack, high rhetoric for Pearl Harbor, a participant in this hate, reflecting upon it and thinking about it, a twitter thread about this story, an interesting comparison to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a movie of no note, a very powerful book, a war story told from the point of view of a boy, special kids, super-soldiers in a war against the buggers, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, funny name, accident, human inability to recognize they were like them, stolen ground, a thoughtful guy, a relgious guy, anti-gay vs. homophobic asshole, taking his religion seriously, pressing Paul’s buttons, all his hate non-violent, sexual preference, sexual tension between the young pasudeti woman and young Tony on the bus, Catholicism’s official policy on homosexuality, dodging it, still evolving, dealing with intellectual inconsistencies, when Tony is being attack for his species, why he would feel hurt, physically assaulted, a terrible law imposed on them, an occupying force, settlers, stolen ground, we’re here because we’re stronger, a meeting of an elite at a university, introductions degrees, acknowledge the place that they’re in is on unceded territory, on Dakota land, I’m headed back to Europe, this is stolen ground, there’s no place for Jesse to go, the Earth is uninhabitable, something deep inside this, all the ships that come from Europe or Asia, the Vietnam War, “doesn’t resonate in a particular way yet (but I think it will), I was thinking about the end of the Vietnam War and the aircraft carriers, the images of aircraft, perfectly good helicopters, being pushed off to make room for more people, this is 1975, and they’re just like trying to get every person who was a quote unquote collaborator, that’s not my word, but somebody who is going to get persecuted or
prosecuted for collaborating with the Americans out and into the United States to safety, right? Those people can’t go back. I guess this is sorta how the Cubans feel, in southern Florida, or whatever. So there’s some sort of resonance going on there and that’s … this is not a
story that can be judged on a score out of five, because its not trying to win a contest its trying to express a very, very specific kind of concern. It’s a very strange story.”, subsequent books, how do you reconcile the idea of your country and community being taken from and genocided to take that land, they ain’t giving it back, a nice worldbuilding, Eastward Ho! by William Tenn (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1958), really dark, world history, the century of Ethnic Cleansing (the 20th century), the Acadians, Armenia, Pakistan – India, decolonization efforts, Zanzibar, the rights of indigenous people vs. ethno-nationalism, they physically come and ethnically cleanse you, some cop shows up, little Johnny has to leave to a camp, Germans and Italians, Germans ethnically cleansed from Europe after the war, 12 million people, Prussia, German enclaves, all over the world, a whole bunch of Germans shipped to Australia during WWII, the Dunera Boys, enemy aliens, hate causes that, they don’t wear a pickle helmet, Paul’s family name pronunciation changed, based on hate, racism, the George Takei, the Star Trek guy, Star Trek was trying to break up that idea of racism, Kenyan, they had a Jewish captain and a Jewish first officer, one world government, ethnic identities but not ethno states, Harry Kim is from Denmark, so weird to have a nuanced very strange little idea, an anti-happy ending, Tony is turned from being a happy little boy playing with his friends to a bitter boy who could be fighting the pasudeti soon, sufficient lengths to show these bug-like aliens have their own ethnic slur for humans (white-grubs), not a militaristic culture, swapped military equipment, armed freighters, those beetles shooting down our boys from armed-freighters, to think of those Germans shooting down my boy, some rando, strategic bombing, is it okay for us to bomb cities?, coup any attempts at change, ask the city fathers of Carthage, economic and social control of Sicily, the Phoenicians, a commercial empire, mercenaries, raise more legions, delda est, Delenda Est by Robert E. Howard, culture is important, the humans remind Evan of the Romans, on the planet for 14 years, slaves and land, citizenship, the best way of analyzing it, he’s set it in space, the barbarians are retaking the land, now taking Rome, cynicism about the humans, designed to be humans are always the same wherever we go, he ain’t wrong, nobody’s mad at Genghis Khan the way they’re mad at Hitler, betrayed by his friends at school, his haircut, Cato was in favour of genocide, its so long ago, ultra-right nationalists, SPQR, trolls, we don’t have to go back too far, victims and oppression, Israel, reparations for slavery, continue cancelling people, cancelling Genghis Khan, cancel Thomas Jefferson, re-contextualizing, less hagiography more history, the 1619 project, first grade, early American history, conservatives react badly, Irish drafted into the US army and sent to fight in Mexico, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, all this land was stolen, a war of imperialist conquest, most people aren’t in academic environments, Tom Berenger, One Man’s Hero (1999), HBO movies, we don’t care about you, a pretty compelling example, the two state solution, good luck with that, a one state solution, secular power-sharing, still in ethno-nationalist, a lot of support for it, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, punishment, on this planet, its not even habitable, his parents gave him an EEP, a cute robot dog (also a killing machine bodyguard), electronic extermination pet?, a truck ride in the Man In The High Castle, everything in this story is Italian, regular people, if Jesse lived in Italy and there’s a military base right beside me, a military transport that ran over a Korean school girl, the Catholic church’s solution to problem priests, resentment, you’re a nice guy and everything but get the fuck out of here, Okinawa, the Taiwanese will take those bases, it isn’t pedestrian, there’s a lot of walking in this story, not even a real grapefruit he’s eating, a lot of walking, a regular old story about a guy who goes for a walk, a kind of tree, a kid rejected on the school yard, what colour his spacesuit is, its bizarre and fascinating, people read Philip K. Dick backward, I like LSD, they like Ubik, this doesn’t have that stuff, the Jupiter symphony by Mozart, they don’t understand, the beat vs. the lyrics, all the words passed into my eyes, trying to make money, Jesse read a ton of science fiction, nobody else writes about kids, middle grade fiction, Schooled by Gordon Korman, school books, the short story fiction markets from the 1950s, the short story market is basically dead, it was always adult, in science fiction?, Stephen King, he does kids really well, how many H.P. Lovecraft stories? [The Silver Key], the pasudeti kids, they’re building a space station, the childhood of slaves, plantations were not segregated, the childhood aspect, stolen childhood, playing with the black slaves, this facade doesn’t work anymore, even without the defeat, equals, power over them, a cusp of awakening, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, like Robert E. Howard, you take your place as the lord of the manor, they need to know their place, you can free some of them when you die, she smiled faintly, she knows what’s going to happen, Tony was troubled and uncertain, to the place where his friends lived, an immense bengalo tree, a domed city, B’Prith, his eep, “how are things?”, fine, their shells had not hardened, they’re the grubs, they could hop and skip around still, such a great writer, “what’s the matter”, Llyre, what are you all mad about, the war again, his anger burst up, it was fine, sure, the heart of the story, being affected by what’s going on in the news, when 9/11 happened, all those arab kids endlessly prosecuted and persecuted, both, getting attacked for nothing they did, we do it to ourselves, he’s capturing something, the antithesis of pedestrian, so wrapped up in its own explanations, sorry about the genocide, gotta be nice to the Indians now, this is a very extraordinary story, how could you rate this?, it makes sense to compare it, it doesn’t make sense to rate, trying to classify things, the instinct to rate, The Father-Thing was sold to the highest market, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Philip K. Dick is so important because he’s doing things nobody else is doing, starting with Valis, I dig drugs, The Crystal Crypt is almost impenetrable, could be years, Evan’s podcast on this story, the one state solution, the no state solution, most of the West Bank is colonized, the beetles would be the majority, a detour, The Wild One (1953) with Marlon Brando, The Red Dwarf version of the movie, personality on screen, I love you johnny, based on a short story about a real incident, took over the town, a “riot”, a photograph, a phenomenon in the 1950s, the juvenile delinquents, Rebel Without A Cause (1955), James Dean, the biker gangs started after WWII, ex-bomber pilots all PTSD, living the wild lifestyle, the 1%ers, outlaw motorcycle gangs, they don’t fucking care about your fucking laws, I don’t like no cops, I don’t make no deals with cops, this is a reaction, when you come back from the war traumatized, unless you’re a psychopath, drinking, not obeying, not old enough to be a soldier, his ROTC didn’t last very long, too sensitive, a universal draft, arguing about it at the kitchen table, we know exactluy what’s going on, but Tony doesn’t know, his dad threatens to beat him, if this is your target and you hit your target, that movie makes no sense, a warning to our society, the disclaimer, the least wild person in the whole movie is the wild one, calm down, have a seat, have a drink, how high his voice is pitched, a homoerotic relationship, somebody throws a tire iron at him, his bike runs over an old man, the whole point of this movie, it doesn’t give you a clue, they don’t understand it at the time, why these biker gangs existed, cops are authority, fascinating psychology, a post traumatic stress society.

Tony And The Beetles by Philip K. Dick

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The SFFaudio Podcast #645 – READALONG: Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #645 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Bryan Alexander, and Will Emmons talk about Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Talked about on today’s show:
a book, not a novel, a fairy tale, is it a novel?, the novel format is old and no longer novel, a thread back to The Efficiency Expert, The People’s The People’s Republic Off Walmart, Four Futures, Trekonomics, Looking Backward, The Coming Race, The Iron Heel, a utopian international experiment, Karl Marx, things out of books, that terrible Vril book, THIS IS REAL!, Marxism vs. Vrilism, the worst takes on communism and the Soviet Union, a nice feel, a meditation, a very personal book, the different socialist personality types, taking personal responsibility for what happened in the Soviet Union, the blood clogging the drain, Pete Seeger, apologizing for Stalin, baiting people to defend death camps, Carl Davidson, Students For A Democratic Society, something her regrets, Democratic Kampuchea, Cambodia, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, very touching, one man’s personal meditation about his feelings about socialism, does the dog die at the end?, writing into the newspaper, more atheism, unschooled in things can hit on stuff, whether there will be mental illness under socialism, what’s truly painful about what happened in the soviet union, millenarianism, I’m for the end of the world, our religious history, colonial South Africa, they killed all their cows, trying to end the, 2012 (2009) is a comedy, Greenland (2020) is even funnier, the sad part, magical thinking, religious thinking, QAnon, the Millerites, the great disappointment, group magical thinking, a harbinger figure, 12th imamism, how this will be understood in 1,000 years, Saint George, an issue in the collective mind, Trump will be a kind of figure like a Saint George, Babylon 5, The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars, the magical tablecloth, the seven league boots, the invisible cap, a protest letter, shut up and say nothing you’ll be fine, how long can this magic work, straight to the Soviets, Uighurs, Venezuela, do you think you’ll do it better this time, 100 years of building socialism, the worst version, industrializing quickly, the high cost, the book is focused on the 50s and 60s, the break from Stalin, Khrushchev, the utopian drive, the dream, GDP data, defeating the Nazis, industrialization, a weird idea for a novel, a weird beast, exactly on the same topic, a command economy, a planned economy, putting politics in command of the economy, Dracula, Kim Stanley Robinson, science fiction and historical novels are similar, 19th century social novel, very satisfying, the dream behind it, Ernst Bloch, better sausage, the framing of a fairy tale, something Disney never touches (hunger), Hansel and Gretel is about hunger, a house made of food, you become the food, the primal level, a genius move, Ivan is the Russian version of Jack, Lois McMaster Bujold, John Brunner, Stand On Zanzibar, a meta-level, John Dos Pasoss, Soviet film and literature, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Russian humour, Jacobin, Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski, linear programming, Verso sales, the Soviet Union as a corporation, the math wasn’t there, what’s always left out is the other player, Cuba, embargoed from the world and yet somehow they are still communist, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evident in all sorts of places, a thesis, where were the Russians were not really successful, Russian cars, everybody is competing, hard top argue that Russian military aircraft are worse, SU-27, the Steel Eaters (the military industrial complex), the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union was terrible at consumer goods, the kitchen debate, The Death Of Stalin (2017), Steve Buscemi, Network (1976), linear programming charts, lets address that idea, the problems of world communism, pro-american?, what small countries do, Vietnamese glasnost, Spains’ Mondragon, Mondragon vs. neo-liberals, a gleam of hope, not Stalinist, if Lenin or Stalin hated you…, Robin Williams, Russians jokes don’t have a punchline, the blackmarketeer, the buyer agent, standing in for a helluv a lot of people, very real, one of Jesse’s students, an unofficial offer from Harvard, this is the goal of every Chinese mom, hey I’m very happy to say my son is at Oxford, access to the reins of power, you’re one of us now, do amazingly well on the exams, you pay for it, legacy, something like an economy and rigged in the same way, Operation Varsity Blues scandal, just the tip of the iceberg, novelistic, demanding behavior, the scam artists, elaborate, my daughter is a professional rower, very real, when he gets picked up by the cops, a shakedown, a lashing out, a beat-down, spontaneous?, special arrangement shit, what greases the wheels, Pete Buttegieg, that’s very very real, a weird economy with perverse incentives, exploited effectively and efficiency, it is objectively interesting to see polite people interact with impolite people, why it is a compelling story, attempting a little Marxism, a system is going to be dynamic, look at the contradictions, the criminals became the main economy, China is the 70s and the 50s, automatically give birth to robust black market sectors, the education industry, Felicity Huffman, a bunch of rich people need to get their kid into a university, users and offerers of services, hire a Jesse, what Evan’s school does, more counselors than teachers, grade inflation, begging for grades, pressure from the bosses, top 50 or top 100 schools, they don’t really deserve it, the Svoiet Union’s education system, you can’t do humanities, more engineering, philology, a flood of highly competent flood, cancel cultures, the problem with cancel culture is it doesn’t cancel enough, during the purges, during the War, killing people and expanding operations, massively expanding education, massively educating in the sciences, so many programmers coming out of the former Soviet Union, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Kolyma Tales, the NRA (under FDR), an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Nog, “Treachery, Faith And The Great River”, Sisko’s desk, Picard’s desk, Jesse spends a lot of time reading, in the military, Parker’s backstory, he was selling jeeps to the Nazis, common throughout any system, external pressure keeps the people more united, the Cold War was not as pressured as we might thing, making the system work despite the problem, a lot of merit to what Marx was saying, part 4, this problem comes up, spread out the pain, prisoner’s dilemma, side quest with the police, The Wire, mandates from the top, middle managers, its kid of universal, this book doesn’t explain why all this failed, not buying the plan completely, some PUBG rando starts talking about communism, its becoming a genuine option at this point, the forever war in Afghanistan, their war in Afghanistan was too much, when the top people don’t care, the description of Kruschev, Stalin I really cares a lot, Kurschev: I care too, I’m more of an ideas man, I’m a psychology guy, Ronald Regan, George H. Bush, back to being competent, Obama’s latest 25 hour book, the clown president, no one is arguing isn’t demented, why communism talk is spreading now, the book is talking about private desires and private pleasures, overall despair at the broader systems, climate change, economic inequality, the cold war training (indoctrination), Firefox (1982) with Clint Eastwood, Gorky Park (1983), all a fantasy, in the movies its always winter in Russia, Galena’s giving birth, suffering in childbirth, give us morphine, pain in childbirth is capitalist propaganda, my husband is powerful you better give me morphine, corruption, one of the most important scenes in the book, a symbolic summing up, this really painful thing, she just breaks, this is what happens to the communists, relying on lies to ration goods, a very human thing, if that’s the attitude it’s not going to work, can they successfully manage information, free-market theorists, Ludwig von Mises, progress in women’s rights, childbirth plummeting, hero-mother, pleasure, physical goods, practical healthcare, housing, the replicators, industrial replicators, a machine that can solve your wants, 100% free when you show up, what is a little bit hard to understand, oversell on medical services, you have to be your own advocate, it helps to be vocal, I’m going to call my MP, hospital managers don’t want to deal with that shit, home-care, more and more disabled people have the ability to hire and fire their own employees, I need my butt wiped every day (not every second Tuesday), a mixed system, not top down bureaucracy, do what you want you know what you need, people are desperate, the current system of capitalism fuckin sucks, the industrialized countries are least interested in market reforms, a decline, its going to be guillotines and a revolution, time to revisit why socialism never happened in America works, the frontier, the Red Scares, running out of explanations, Russia Russia Russia!, the Democratic party, quashing its left flank, Occupy protestors, Woodrow Wilson, the populists, trans-partisan and anti-elite, upset with the status quo, Joe Biden, suspicious and skeptical, Pavlovian when it comes to socialism, Putin is communist, an old habit, reflexive, moronic, people under 50, what Scandinavia has, Canada, we’re going to flee to if X becomes president, closing comments from Francis Spufford, gender, teaching at an AP center in China, Human Geography, 6 kids vs. 3, Israel and Idaho, going through modernity, land reform, marriage law, revolutionary in terms of gender, no fully liberated, the education themes, Lenin’s parents, Philly Socialists, a public service program called Red Plenty, In hopes of 21st century socialism, the economist and the apparatchik, conscious arranger, Olaf Stapledon.

The Magic Tablecloth

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

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The SFFaudio Podcast #642 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #642 – The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard; read by Connor Kaye

This unabridged reading of the story (1 hours 34 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Alex and Connor Kaye.

Talked about on today’s show:
Oriental Stories, Winter 1932, 9 issues, a spinoff of Weird Tales, G.G. Pendarves, Hung Long Tom, Otis Adelbert Kline, The Dragoman’s Jest, the kock-off Edgar Rice Burroughs, E. Hoffman Price, Magic Carpet, 5 issues, the Arabian Nights theme, historical fiction, what kind of stories they’re publishing, guys with scimitars, yellow peril, the mystical east, Orientalism, Australian stories, the land of upside down, the exotic, Outback Tales, Bush Tales, shaggy dog stories, time wasters, folklore, folktales, bush poetry, don’t worry Trish, North-West Adventures, Yukon Tales, Jack London made that genre, American movie productions set, I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven, the last frontier, She in the Arctic, that excitement about Antarctica, Hawks Of Outremer, Robin Hood, King John, the crusades and the crusader states, a lot of work, the research for Oriental tales was too much work, battle scenes, historical errors?, Saladin’s a real guy, a shoutout to Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, Swords Of Shahrzar, there’s a lot going on in here, the twist ending, why it didn’t grab you, Jewels Of Gwahlur, a completely different kind of mode, transferring information, giving what you need for what he’s going to do, we need a map, El Borak, The Fire Of Asshurbanipal, the 1982 Conan movie, Subotai is in this, Baibars, Gerry Lopez, Lopez, lifts from other Robert E. Howard stories, deep in your soul, make it part of your life, A Witch Shall Be Born, Hour Of The Dragon, Tower Of The Elephant, a Kull villain, dressed like a mongol, what happened to Baibars in real life, a king by his own hand, Oliver Stone or John Milius, there is no one Conan story, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit for this scene, giant snake, an amalgam of Howard’s themes and ideas, the wheel of pain, we don’t know who the hero of our story is, that mode, is the hero Baibars, its a ruse, a castle full of Arabs, “this is a ruse”, this is a trick, the trick happened earlier, not a mystery exactly, we’re not supposed to know, our reveal is a supposition of reality, Haroun, Harold Lamb, why it feels like it doesn’t work, our Irish lord fleeing despair in Europe for relief in the east, a historical supposition, he’s making an argument, the protagonist vs. the viewpoint character, rising around for three chapters until the plot hook, it bounces from castle to castle, all this stuff didn’t happen over night, what’s the time frame of this story, we need a map and a timeline, from Egypt to Palestine, the first invasion, the subsequent invasion, historical about Baibars, Kingdom Of Heaven (2005), the reveal was amazing, he was my taskmaster, I was his body servant, I hate that guy, I am not Haroun, a really interesting thing that he’s done, really impersonal, a bigger scoped story, the fall of kingdoms, Howard works best at the personal level, the undercooked personal level, the knight who secretly betrayed him, a prophecy, twice as long, the lady knight thing was so out of nowhere, that plot arc, a bit out of place, why it doesn’t work as well as Hawks Of Outremer, not much of a payoff for any of the characters, the romance plot ends in tragedy, it can’t be told from his POV, we want to want him to win, pulling itself in several different ways, everything that happens in it is historically accurate, a scar on his face, involved in many intrigues in his life, going amongst the people to spy, what made him such a rags to riches story, an indentured slave, the schools, a northern barbarian, blue eyed, pale skin, chopping skills, 1,000 sword swings a day, kinda hard to understate, he thinks of himself as an Irishman, him confronting the east, why the mongols were stopped, how come the hordes didn’t take over the Arab empire, Baibars stopped them, he took a crusader state and teamed up against the mongols, team-up, wow!, the opposite of Saladin, Saladin is noble, Baibars is cunning, quarterstaff, neither of us will ever be able to dominate the other, when our hero dies, that scar on his face like Kull, Howard projecting himself against a historical figure, an different kind of defeat, Cahal, kay-hal?, his kingdom is the dark side of the moon, he kinda gets what he wants: an end to himself, he came here because he couldn’t go home, he’s seeking death, you can’t defeat me, I see you as a fellow person, a terrible defeat for Cromac Fitzgeoffrey, he clawed him, the only way Howard could engage, more than the end he wants, western civilization will crush Islam in 1,000 years, talking with Evan Lampe about Robert E. Howard’s letters to H.P. Lovecraft, within his stories, Lovecraft was never effected by Howard, Howard was very effected by Lovecraft, barbarians, barbarianism is the norm (not civilization), putting myself up against any historical figure, an intellectual heavyweight from a small town, such an insight into Howard’s psychology, the technical need, it isn’t a classic of Robert E. Howard, the scimitar with the scarlet flying, the babies being spitted, the bar fight, the Roy Thomas written Savage Swords, it doesn’t flow in the way we want it to, another way to do it, unless he abandons the thesis, the Irish viewpoint character, when the Mongols hit eastern Europe, these sons of slaves, disinherited before he was born, dies of a poisoning not meant for him, Haroun, Baibars is not the leader of Egypt, he’s not yet the leader of Egypt, info dump drops are 100% accurate, all these kingdoms, the Syrians and the Egyptians, imagine Canada trying to jump into the fight on January 6th, to get up to speed, who the sides are, relatively painless, if flows perfectly, the common enemy, a bit more messy, the craftsmanship, getting the writing done, the European inset, given the people he’s chosen to write about, he wanted to be as accurate as possible (or so it seems), Conan wouldn’t react the same way, a kingly figure who is worthy, who is Conan’s greatest adversary?, not Thulsa Doom, a monkey with a cape, his own lust, a doomed character, a femme fatale story, he’s so bitter at the beginning so revealed at the end, uncharacteristically Robert E. Howard, does he notice her at the beginning?, he looks into the visor, pulled back almost like a woman, he zones out a little bit, a giant army is coming, we should run, the great oaf, a slender knight, a rough red beard, a Vanir, something slumbering, man, where have I seen you before?, shadowed eyes, a thousand racing chaotic thoughts, an almost womanish gesture of rebuke, distracted by the Odin swearing assistant, Howard’s red herring is literally red haired, the ending works for Jesse, why it is not THE classic of Robert E. Howard stories, with the reveal and the supposition, growing mustachios, Connor read this for us, what’s the time period, the final battle is 1244, a year, six months, time to grow a mustache, Jerusalem, from Cairo to Damietta to Jerusalem, with a bandit far to the east, at least six months, seven chapters, how do you tell this story if you’re trying to be accurate, Die Hard (1988), these guys are gonna hang out and have adventures together, Marvel Team-Up, Green Lantern – Green Arrow, Hard Travelin’ Heroes, these two titans testing each other, team up for one battle, the double reveal of the masked night, strangled by the concept, the thesis, make this story longer, a modern fantasy novel, a novel length story spending more time with each of the characters, impersonating a man, tell it from her point of view, Will really liked this story, Vikings, go back in time, cut people up, lets have a hitting contest, Christopher Lee is a pirate, the Spanish Armada, a punching contest, The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964), PTSD in those days, drink each other under the table with fermented milk, a character that we don’t understand any better having read this story, different personas to live their lives, shocking and amazing and why are they doing it?, a lot of disguises, Eleanor, trying to fix this story, make it shorter or longer, the Eleanor plot arc, make it episodic, chunks, Akbar, start, middle, and end, episodes, add in something in the middle, uncharacteristic, make baibars more empathetic to see something from his perspective, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, only technically true, different perspective characters (all Baibars!), a unique idea for a series of stories, could I beat Baibars in a fight, it would be a tie!, I would be his equal!, I would be his match!, overstating the case, the sub-thesis, 100 years later in the history, the crusader states are in decline, Red Cahal rode, Tyre, Jaffa, Acre, Hospitallers and Templars, the Teutonic knights invaded Russia and Poland, spread Christianity and stamp out paganism, to stabilize his rule, pay off his guys, keep the mongols out, the fading kingdom, suicidal, at least a year, full of difficult pronunciations, living by his wits on the edge of his sword, a predatory nose, a haunt of poverty, weeds grew rank, lizards, the echoing emptiness, no gaily clad pages, a reiver’s hold, how does a noble house go down?, it just takes time, arguing so hard with Lovecraft, really interesting vs. rousing adventure, a good miniseries, his femme fatale who betrayed him, too short for what its trying to do, more resonant, he had to do so much infodumping, skillfully done, Hour Of The Dragon, the downer ending of Hawks Of Outremer, the same setup, his brother is dead so he’s sad, a gracious enemy vs. a devious enemy, strategist, leading incredibly heavily on a romance, I’ve heard stories about you tell me if they’re true, different media, in a TV show, techniques, what Shakespeare does on stage is so what you can’t do, an audio drama would need a narrator, a text crawl, its setup a lot like a mystery, Dashiell Hammett style, going around and getting beat up to solve a mystery, a recitation of facts is not a story, Shanghai, Shadow Of The Vulture, the Siege of Vienna, Magic Carpet, Red Sonja, a revenge arc, first concubine of the sultan, that bitch betrayed all of Europe, a red headed wanton, down the road in history, a generic Howard guy, a Howard woman who never needs to be rescued, what the Jews and Syrians were wearing in the street, different Irish guards, this guy’s young!, Dark Valley Destiny by Catherine Crook de Camp, Jane Whittington Griffin, L. Sprague de Camp, a photographic memory, an inability to not remember things like dates of purchases, Marilu Henner’s memory [hyperthymesia], a major facility, he was 30, being towards death, Bill Hollweg, Edgar Rice Burroughs, part of the attraction to Bill was these feelings, racial memory, events in your ancestor’s past, a guy who becomes Conan, Jack London, the Celt’s facility with language, Before Adam, The Call Of The Wild‘s race memory, reverting to one’s ancestor, the definitive word, White Fang, The Sea Wolf, savouring, Jack London’s one of the best writers ever, as I’m flying across the street having been hit by a bus I’ll be screaming “I should have read the memory”, an eidetic memory, worth reading (at least once), expensive bon bons, don’t read every Conan story back to back, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the beats, 1995 – 2021, The Sowers Of The Thunder volumes from the 1970s, The Sword Of Shahrazar, Skull Face, the most racist, Howard doing Fu Manchu, an Atlantean priest, now Will is sold, a Famous Fantastic Mysteries podcast, Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, Almuric, something wrong about the ending, May June July August, Connor needs to do the one about the Polish lady, Leigh Brackett, doomed cult ideology, Outpost On Io, Chief O’Brien is not super-doomed, he likes being doomed, virtual reality prison for 40 years, oh I’m a robot, Philip K. Dick’s Impostor, the Gary Sinise movie sucks so bad, a giant chase sequence with Ice Cube in the middle, we like O’Brien, we know O’Brien, more Irish fated ill guys, other gloomy Irishmen characters, The Terror by Dan Simmons, The Coming Race, too long, another true story that’s been modified slightly to make it weird, except for the giant polar bear monster spirit, maybe that’s why the expedition was so doomed, tinned meat contaminated with lead, a supernatural element, the HBO biopics were really kind of depressing, real life is much harsher than stories are generally, spice it up with the fantastic it becomes more spritely and less dour, lets the medicine go down, the slash fiction, an archive of our own, they fall in love, some hot gay sex, grasping that pole (so to speak), take us through your inspiration for your story, where the slash fiction lives, post your own fan fiction, a good tagging system, Of Stray Cats And Lost Kings by galerian_ash, comments and kudos, rather shocking, the red cat is adorable, red head, its a metaphor, gold hair tinged with read, the Dane, Oh, and I love the bit about the stray cat staying,

What wonderful tension you hold here between Cahal and Baibars. It’s such a classic situation, but you’ve made it fresh and new here, and I particularly like your emphasis on a lack of personal hatred. I find myself sympathising with Baibar’s honourable patience and Cahal’s tussle with himself, and thus your resolution is both hard-won and satisfying. I did like the little details that worked to reveal each character, too – paticularly Barbar’s “let’s ride!”. What else would a warrior from the steppes say?

– on a completely different note, it was delightful to learn about Baibars’ cat garden in Cairo, and to discover that the cats of Torre Argentina and the Mosque Aziz Mahmud Hudayi have such noble heritage. Thank you for that!

what his name means, what was missing from the story!, the most Howard thing, Cahal was like a bear, the male gaze, male gay vs. lesbian stuff, some of it was poetry, the explicit lesbian poetry, explicitly lesbianism in Weird Tales, whipping and lesbians goes together, ruffled a few feathers, Gay Orientaled Stories, Spicy Tales he told, The Dragon Of Kao Tsu by Robert E. Howard, September 1936 Spicy and Juvenalia, Mexico, all over the world, its possible he didn’t even know how to swim, a powerhouse.

extras at 6 minutes so far

Oriental Stories - The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

Roy G. Krenkel, 1975 Donald M. Grant Edition -The Sowers Of The Thunder by Robert E. Howard

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