The SFFaudio Podcast #668 – READALONG: The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #668 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Marissa VU, and Will Emmons talk about The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Talked about on today’s show:
1983, time travel fantasy novel, awards, Bronson Pinchot, the best narrator there is, he’s actor good, the accents and the emotions, Grover Gardner, a chameleon, his timing, his best self, Jonathan Davis, mostly fiction, Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop, The Bronson Pinchot Project, renovating a whole town, Marissa’s pick (along with Scott), a good idea, the stack of to-be-reads, Will’s first Tim, an addictive quality, stuck in time, body parts disappearing, I’m gonna get kidnapped, get murdered, the evil clown, a “generous” book, Last Call, Declare, Gene Wolfeish, gaps in history, a supernatural explanation for an oddity, On Stranger Tides, Homer’s The Odyssey, the Fisher King, Egypt, voodoo magic, World Fantasy, a friend of Philip K. Dick’s, an entertaining person, have this book not be fiction, everything that’s coming, great for readers because it allows us to participate in the book, ripped off many times, so Call Of Cthulhu, body switching, more setups than payoffs, a big long book, connections, obviously obsessed, the Cold War, 1800s, Las Vegas in the 60s 70s, always some magic, the Tim Powers genre, all the research first, weird facts, building the plot to that string of history, William Ashbless, entwined with Coleridge, Dean Koontz’ The Book Of Counted Sorrows, The Stress Of Her Regard, the William Ashbless wikipedia entry, not a romantic poem, walks in the countryside, kind of predictable, James Blaylock, had you said the Blaylock, hideously deformed, the poetical efforts of our deformed friend, The Digging Leviathan by James Blaylock, enjoying himself immensely, good fake romantic poetry, Lord Byron, Marcus Aurelius, the whole frame of the river being frozen with a shotgun pattern in it, Kubla Khan, drowning, the juice of paradise, the milk of the poppy, the visitor from Porlock, opening in Egypt, The Twelve Hours Of The Night, also inspired by the plot, interesting historical facts, this meta stuff, invented and written by no-one, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, that meta-play, why this book works, that playfulness, if you like role-playing games and magic, entertaining, skating through it, the 17th century trip, the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, a little ice age, its dangerous to do these things, other stories set in this universe, is that what we want more of?, Dog-faced Joe, Anubis, expecting a lot more Egyptian stuff, set in the London Hoboverse, a hobo simulator: Hobo: Tough Life, steampunk, there’s practically no steam in this at all, that meeting hall, the thieves guild, very Dungeons & Dragons, the grifter’s guild, playing up to Charles Dickens’ pre-Victorian England, ahistorical or super-historical, the Punch & Judy show, how people engage with puppets, when a puppet calls you out and you get mad at the puppet, ventriloquist dummy, there’s nothing funnier than that, these puppets are more than puppets, steal all this for your D&D campaign, Call Of Cthulhu, Vampire The Masquerade, is Dog-faced Joe Anubis?, making Egypt for Egyptians, time gates, weird powers, cursed with lycanthropy, a magical disease, make Egypt great again, P. Djèlí Clark, Anubis’s heiroglpyh: a pen or a feather a wavy line a box or a cup a bird or a jackal (or a wolf), where’s my Anubis content?, other expeditions, secret history stuff, images produced for this book, a wall, Anubis, somebody passing through a gate within Anubis, he’s the god of Death, Dog-faced Joe is immortal, live your life backwards, become the richest person ever, rule the earth, wills (and testaments) are a way of extending your life beyond your life, their will lives on, their estate has a founding document, a very Egyptian thing, totally looted, all the big graves are looted, a little bit to be said about why the magic works in the timegaps, the manna is higher, very Larry Niven-esque, very Tim Powers-y, playing by a different set of rules, maybe a little more cringey, Jesse doesn’t think about Declare ever, Fred Heimbach, dark evil forces, allows participation in the reading, On Stranger Tides, Elizabeth Bear, Will’s extra homework: a Laser Book: Blake’s Progress by Ray Nelson, a giant battle scene, a thousand wives fighting a thousand lizard gods, if you ate some of William Blake’s brain, his poetry proves he is a time traveler, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, John Keats, the pre-Joycean fellowship, Mary Shelly, John Polidori, romanticism and science fiction go together, the break between realism and science fiction, they know about science but they don’t choose to be clinical, the romantics fit, Ozymandius by Percy Shelley, One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, medieval urban fantasy, We Are Seven by William Wordsworth, buried twelve steps from your door, struggles with depression, 2006, Gentlemen Bastards, secondary world novels, The Sin In The Steel by Ryan Van Loan, The Councillor by E.J. Beaton, books in other worlds, all the dwarves and elves, building up a secondary world, Rocky XVIII, Star Trek, all the movies in the Enterprise database, The Strange Case Of Mr. Cigars, Bride Of Chaotica, reverse lore, where were all the books Bilbo was reading in Rivendell, do the Rohirim don’t know how to write?, memorized poems, the aliens from Galaxy Quest (1999), Andy Serkis recording The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, Alternate Routes by Tim Powers, Earthquake Weather, Expiration Date, Forced Perspective, its the communists [at Baen] demanding series, latter day sequels, an Anubis Gates story, Subterranean Press, Philip K. Dick, weird inklings, Lego versions, The Laughing Dead (1989), priests and nuns oh my, fun book, the dwelling, under 15 hours, novellas are the best, let the cat in.

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers - illustration by Zeljko Pahek

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The SFFaudio Podcast #635 – READALONG: Sin Hellcat by Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #635 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson talk about Sin Hellcat by Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake

Talked about on today’s show:
get Jesse, signature sign-off, Evan has no enemies, 1962, sexually frustratedly desperate, women dropping out, not a good book for me, VR sickness, movement sickness, reading with one hand, listening to this book, laughing out loud, the marital rape scene, get through this thing, i don’t like this book, plow through it, Helen, marrying, having affection for this kid, more money, Jesse can explain it all, the biggest hole in this book, a faulty horrible person, how they end up together, by either of those writers, a naughty romp, astonished by how dreary a lot of it is, his Madison Avenue adventures, casual homophobia, don’t judge it too harshly, two men working in an industry, film students who get hired for a job to shoot some movies (pornography), this is how they made a living, a lot of Lawrence Block’s life, more information about the writing of it, his own publishing company, commissions, is this a book by you?, John Dexter, Andrew Shaw, house names, the Allan Smithee, Nightstand Books, traveling salesman, the wrong back cover, gimme a sex book, stepsisters, stepmoms, frigid wife, lustful wanton, her passion locked within her, unnatural wants, Jodie, wild nights, sin and passion, money hungry soul, lustful wanton, no interest in talking about his wife, a bad polarity, each author, digressing, the way they wrote these, taking turns, they’ve got the cover, they’ve got the premise, 4.5 hours long, trying to avoid writing that chapter, the book starts splitting, kidnap a kid and take him to South America, the flashbacks, was this one you wrote?, I don’t believe so, who’s that?, not fair to Jody, one lust-filled orgy, observe the naked woman, a very strange market, silly, stupid, immoral, more like a Lawrence Block fan, the Chip Harrison books, the Matthew Scudder books, the Bernie Rhodenbarr, the Evan Tanner books, the Keller books, Small Town, kinky sex, pegged, live in ignorance, a good book, non-series books, No Score, a quest to lose his virginity, Chip Harrison Scores Again, a sex romp, a Rex Stout Nero Wolfe mystery comedy, Make Out With Murder, The Topless Tulip Caper, Archie Goodwin, just hilarious, a mystery series, its funny, not a book designed to be read more than 50 years later, still readable, a casual fag, slut talk, the rape scene, a requirement of them getting paid, every scenario, a whole lot of modern readers will not enjoy it, dreary in places, the 1950s consumerism, how to sell it, he’s in advertizing, the car he’s driving, the house, ennui, a successful post-war American man, unfulfilled, the boomers, a novel of the sexual revolution, younger people are having more fun than you, a consumer good, not fulfilling enough, the sexual escapades, caperish, their descriptions of things, ridiculous but fun, Brazil, surprise, the kid didn’t sound like a human being, an adult pretending to be a kid, so cartoonish, like The A-Team, those corporate shenanigans don’t matter, Mad Men, one ad firm, escape the banality of his existence, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, an extra scene where he has sex with his neighbours wife, funny lines, if this is a good plot, its a checkbox, adultery with a red-headed neighbour, the drama at the ad firm, betrayal, the author changes his mind, we’re going a different way, The Challenge From Beyond, a round-robin, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Belknap Long, Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, A. Merritt, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Murray Leinster, like playing tennis and not frisbee, Naked Came The Manatee, Elmore Leonard, a meta-story, nobody wants to write this shit, we got enough, still generally pleasurable to read, Greenwich Village sex books, 69 Barrow Street, romance, Deathlands, saving the compound, preppers, remember Blockbuster Video, that section used to exist in bookstores, Pulp Fiction (book store), pornographic enjoyment, shoe brushes, not design, like a newspaper, the library doesn’t keep a copy, dime novels, books not read by people who study literature, Mechanic Accents by Michael Denning, a history of the dime novel, this working class, escapism, historical interest, not reading this stuff [is dangerous], Leopold Bloom, Ulysses by James Joyce, Block is very interested in having sex as a theme in his books, the third Burglar book, The Poodle Factory, she’s the John Watson, Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, a sex book, Westlake lasted a little longer in Science Fiction, disposable paperback books, I write for money, Lawrence Block talking about Donald Westlake, Hard Case Crime, writing with him, a novel about Bob Hope, The Comedy Is Finished, Memory, if it had sold he’d have explored that genre, the publisher said write more of this I can sell more of this, experimenting in the background, Ariel, Random Walk, racewalking, stamp collecting, he writes about what he knows, avenues that are explainable, a weird industry, not J.K. Rowling level of popularity, a guy who starts walking, maybe he’s Jesus (but probably not), collecting followers, a weird idea for a book, to see what sells, a comedic writer with a dark half, A Walk Among The Tombstones, the Matthew Scudder series, an ex-hooker, he knows a lot about sex, he did write these books, a new Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake book, its about the shaping of the industry, he’s still alive and still writing, still putting books out, super-anti-Trump, still engaged, his newsletter is his prose, every once in a while there’s a new Westlake coming out, Lawrence Block is in change of his estate, wrassle control, Westlakes’ stuff is less out there, more people in charge of making decisions, understanding story better, understanding writing better, understanding genres, Nancy Drews are formulas, a cozy feeling, space opera, interstellar stuff, pre-loaded, I feel cheated, the cozy chair, read for pleasure, it can be escape, this genre is very biological, the “biological relief” genre, you wrote a book over a weekend in the 1960s, the third novel, the best of the three, Circle Of Sinners, Hal Dresner, an apprenticeship for Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, lesser writers, 1959, the Hotel Rio, until we had a book, A Girl Called Honey, we stopped when we had a book, “To Don Westlake and Larry Block who introduced us”, $600, So Willing, not a lot of money, Hellcats And Honeygirls, Subterranean Press, a disposable story, fascinating, the used bookstore, you have to ask for them at the specialty bookstore, reading old Playboys, the sex in here is very well written, a sex scene, they don’t know, tab a into slot b, when these guys write those scenes, a nipple here or there, a talent for writing, some very clever wordplay, sex in audiobooks is harder to skim, maybe 10 sex scenes, perfectly good scenes, going to the hotel, the squeaky noises on the bed, a honeytrap, why did he ever marry Helen?, the pleasures of the virgin bride, why?, a lot of people do inexplicable things, to explain why he couldn’t annul the marriage, not a sexy scene at all, the Jewish secretary, she’s got claws, designed to sell to everybody, you’re an old sultan and I’m a young boy, I’m pregnant, designed to sell to everybody, this is the wrong kind of sex for me, frigid, getting somebody’s rocks off, the legality then and now, talking about all the abortions and condoms, right before the birth control pill, “a thingy”, got a baby in her, you feel dirty when you write it that’s why you don’t put your name on it, a lot of excuses, these are fantasy books, it doesn’t go in that direction at all, an original thinker, dark eyed boys, staying at the YMCA, lesbian pulp, gay pulp was not as big, straight pulp, cover up the fact that its a man, most women are probably not masturbating to romance novels, the Deathlands and Wasteland novels, masturbating while holding a gun, sexuality is a lot freer now, pornography is available, free online, there’s no guilt in this book, the culture behind this genre, it is a confessional, Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex And The Single Girl, the Kinsey Report, based on interviews, who do you have sex with?, Dr. Alan E. Nourse, being honest about it, coming out, Helen being frigid is that she’s not interested in men, bodily functions are a disgusting, angel whore territory, loveable whores, a gothic romance, this book of checkmarks, it seems to follow genres, cartoon porn, fake superhero porn movie, The Boys, A Train does a B train, a license to write about all the weird sexual behaviors, a Doctor Pseudonym, a scientific thing, sexual perversion among the hippies, a whole genre in the 1960s, we don’t have these sex books, in the 1930s, these special books, French Follies, manuals on how to do stuff, the intersection between industry and popular culture, books serve a function, how liberated everybody is from guilt feelings, that’s liberating, religious hangups, fairly sophisticated, understanding reality, you should read a romance novel, as a genre they’re not good, gun polishing books, no intellectual heft, that’s what reading should be about, rocketships and rayguns, saying the opposite, science fiction, here’s a way of understanding reality, this particular instance of this fact about reality is important to this story, that’s science fiction, doing another kind of science fiction, Aurora, busting balloons, what’s the reason people don’t like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, interstellar travel, expanding possibilities, this gigantic part of science fiction: forget about it, the novel’s message is you’re a bad person, anything like Star Trek isn’t science fiction (of a certain type), it hurts in the same was as The Cold Equations does, shrill evil, bad characterization, felt attacked, mundane SF, a manifesto of that movement, is it likely we are going to be travelling to other stars?, generation ships?, walling off, sense of wander, fixing earth and making Earth better, Time Out Of Joint‘s message, one happy world, standing in opposition, protesting a little too much, it strikes too close to the heart, fascists going to space, we shouldn’t be Nazis and go out to space, Philip K. Dick, all a boondoggle, they were conquerors when they left, the grand project of colonizing another planet, we can’t live there, Elon Musk wants to move to Mars, is he deluded, what would Paul say?, from an objective point of view, fix our own planet, Earth will be fine, that’s the reality, there’s no Earth 2, the “Goldilocks zone”, ooh its a possibility, lottery tickets, its not made for us, we have a life support system in our bodies, space mining, maybe they’ll mine the Moon, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, but why?, 2312, The Green Earth, human colonies across the inner solar system, Icehenge, it has to be something new, a new social system, the problem with Elon Musk, laying keels for starships, Matchess , dilithium crystals are bullshit, keep our feet on the ground, leave the rest of the universe to itself, an impoverishing view, a bad person for liking space opera, the emergent message of the novel, rebuild the earth, science fiction is always about us at the end of the day, when SF isn’t about us, Ted Chiang, the reason he does those aliens, isn’t it weird we can’t communicate with animals, what is communication?, a subset of us, language and time are connected, dogs don’t understand pointing, an invisible line, Arrival, Story Of Your Life, The Great Silence, I wrote this big book to disabuse you of a false belief you have about reality, space opera is bullshit, The Mandalorian, different ways of living, you’re not allowed to watch Star Trek because its unrealistic, following the rules of physics, its painful, they don’t want math to be true, F=MA, you got a certain kind of cancer you’re gonna die, from the book:why the great silence exists, life is a planetary expression, is he wrong?, too – far – away, its something you need to hear, a way of coping, this is the pain that H.P. Lovecraft felt and is true, Douglas Adams, the comedy isn’t finished, some UFO pictures, it’d be cool but just ain’t true, can I still enjoy this thing?, you’re deluding yourself, magic is bullshit, reading fantasy, should we not read J.R.R. Tolkien?, space opera is fantasy, medicine, Kim Stanley Robinson, very fruitful, this book pressed Paul’s button, almost like a religious belief, they don’t grow their own food, O’Neil Cylinder, water’s being recycled from your poo, if we get post-scarcity, the keel’s not the problem, a car in space, cars drive on roads yo, putting a teapot in orbit around Jupiter, no deckplates with artificial gravity, a metaphor, why Star Trek: Discovery doesn’t make any sense, it aint science fiction, its just drama, why its no good, prestige TV might be reaching its limit, they’re not interested in anything except people’s feelings and emotions are drama, old Dexter, noticing it everywhere, its really grating in Star Trek: Picard and Discovery, we weren’t on the starship for his tea Earl Grey Hot, imagine conducting foreign policy without couping other countries, why its horrible, working through his trauma, General Hospital, life is mostly mistakes, the counter keeps going up, I’m being wrong on the internet, you are your worst critic, don’t take Kim Stanley Robinson personally, reviews from strangers, external affirmation is dangerous, not being a real fan, the Hugo nomination, is this good, I’m improving, Jesse knows he’s not the greatest cartoonist, draw a little Groo, Sergio Aragones, those star reviews, Paul takes pictures at the wrong time, a false conclusion, Evan’s teaching art history, Byzantine is worse than Medieval art, what was considered good art, art is chaos now, in the Dutch republic in the 18th century, there is no real, Jason Thompson, The Strange High House In The Mist, the US Department Of The Interior, there’s lot of different ways of doing stuff, if you don’t do well with a beard shave your head, “real photographers”, one perfect shot, how dare you sir, all sorts of different place, talking across continents, Treknomics, applying this stuff to our own planet, the economics of Star Trek, Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, you have any eyeballs, you have no nerves, psychological torment, today’s novels are way too long, they want three books 800 pages long, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, an 1800 word story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Stand, non-cringey sex scenes, he’s a committed monogamist, Block is the Jew, incidental to his sexual adventures, wrong about politics, you can like somebody who has bad opinions about stuff, some New Yorker article, “Imma letchoo finish, but Edward Page Mitchell has one of the best cases for this title.” The Man Without A Body by Edward Page Mitchell, A Quest to Discover America’s First Science-Fiction Writer, 1877, hard SF, a talking head, how’s Birch?, really bitey, very vocal, brotherns and sisterns, an interesting conversation, no humans were injured in the making of this book.

Sin Hellcat by Andrew Shaw

Hellcats And Honeygirls by Lawrence Block nd Donald E. Westlake

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The SFFaudio Podcast #496 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #496 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, and Paul Weimer talk about new books, audiobooks, and audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
a full size show, paperbooks, audiobooks newly released, stacking on desks and shelves, books a week, piling up, send me stuff season, a tonne of books being published, everybody needs publicity, organized by publisher, St. Martin’s Press, advanced readers copy, Deep Silence by Jonathan Maberry, Joe Ledger, Julie Davis, mail it to Julie, Julie’s reviews on Goodreads, a prolific reviewer, Maze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear, techno-thriller, retro virus, Coldfall Wood by Steven Saville, Henre The Hunter, William Shakespeare, haunting the forest outside of Windsor Castle, how to organize, piles, too many to read, Shaun Duke, Tor.com, three novellas, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Running Man (by Stephen King), The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark, The Black God’s Drums, The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, Irene Gallo, H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford, a novella, are they listening to my podcast, William Morrow, Ahab’s Return, Or The Last Voyage, the premise of Moby-Dick, The Coode Street Podcast, the best of the year so-far, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, Harper Voyager, Dragonshadow by Elle Katharine White, A Study In Honor by Claire O’Dell, near future SF, civil war, a great cover, 11 hours, a mystery, world-building, a series, Temper by Nicky Drayden, similar to South Africa, twins, 14 hours, evocative of the works of…, annoying Jesse, everything in the kitchen sink, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, And The Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee, 1,300 newly released audiobooks, when SFFaudio Podcast started, drowning in books both good and bad, moving product, no way to keep up, a podcast listener, Tantor Audio, Blackstone Audio, The Best Of Subterranean edited by William Shaffer, Ursula K. Le Guin’s collected short fiction, The Way Of The Shield by Marshall Ryan Maresca, all-paladin-like, The Silver Scar by Betsy Dornbusch, Boulder, Colorado, post-apocalyptic Earth, The Tomorrow Factory, Pinnacle City, The Rising Moon, The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, The Things, The Island, Blindsight, Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys, Who?, totally do-able, Planet Stories, March 1953 by William Tenn, Gardner F. Fox, Robert Moore Williams, Ross Rocklynne, Radio Archives, the height of the science fiction magazine era, the plateau, a great way to spend six hours, Archangel by William Gibson and Michael St. John Smith, audio drama, time travel, WWII, alternate future and past, Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead edited by Gordon Van Gelder, stories by K.G. Anderson, Richard Bowes, Elizabeth Bourne, Scott Bradfield, J.S. Breukelaar, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Becca Caccavo, Don D’Ammassa, Stephanie Feldman, Eric James Fullilove, Ron Goulart, Eileen Gunn, Leslie Howle, Matthew Hughes, Janis Ian, Michael Kandel, Thomas Kaufsek, Paul La Farge, Yoon Ha Lee, Michael Libling, Heather Lindsley, Lisa Mason, Barry N. Malzberg, David Marusek, Mary Anne Mohanraj, James Morrow, Ruth Nestvold, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Marguerite Reed, Robert Reed, Madeleine E. Robins, Jay Russell, Geoff Ryman, James Sallis, J.M. Sidorova, Brian Francis Slattery, Harry Turtledove, Deepak Unnikrishnan, TS Vale, Leo Vladimirsky, Ray Vukcevich, Ted White, Paul Witcover, N. Lee Wood, Jane Yolen, dystopia, A Choice Of Gods by Clifford D. Simak, a lot of Simak from Audible Studios, the central intelligence of the universe, Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton, John Lee, Tantor Audio, Tamahome, how do you write that much?, Neal Stephenson, this thing called the internet, when does he sleep?, children’s fantasy novels, in 25 years he’s written 15 (BIG) books, short stories too, a prodigious output, The HPLHS adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories are on Audible, CDs vs. props, separate props, the deluxe editions, printed ephemera, Tantor.com, Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson, the full KSR experience, The Invincible by Stanisław Lem, everybody needs a little Lem, The Cyberiad, Dichronauts by Greg Egan, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, Maissa Bessada, with a parasite, changing the laws of physics, not meant for audio, a very Greg Egan trick, review like mad, podcasts, Wooden Overcoats, a comedy on a Channel Island, rival funeral homes, narrated by a mouse, quite delightful, The Monster Hunters, a Marvel Comics audio drama, Wolverine: The Long Hunt, full of ads, is it worth it? tell Jesse, sort of X-Files-y, Serial Box podcast, worth a listen for horror fans,

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #120

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #120 – Scott, Jesse and Tamahome talk to Allan Kaster, the editor of the new audiobook collection The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction 3.

Talked about on today’s show:
Infinivox, post-singularity, Mars, talking animals, emperors, will the post-singularity fiction subgenre be over by 2040?, Charles Stross, Gardner Dozois, post singularity is the magic of Science Fiction, Robert Reed, Under The Moons Of Venus by Damien Broderick, talking dogs, “I didn’t like it in a Science Fiction way”, detective fiction, insanity and crazy people, The Emperor Of Mars by Allen M. Steele, a tribute to martian fiction, the Asimov’s reader’s Award, Emperor Norton of the United States, Asimov’s, Analog and F&SF are now available in the Kindle store, ebooks (and emags) with ads, Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Stephen King, Flowers For Algernon, Subterranean Online, Lightspeed magazine, Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain by Yoon Ha Lee, Clarkesworld, The Things by Peter Watts, Elegy For A Young Elk by Hannu Rajaniemi, the Science Fiction boom is here, Fantasy, a blossoming of novellas, PS Publishing, Subterranean Press, novellas make for an excellent idea delivery mechanism, Prime Books, The Year’s Best Science Fiction And Fantasy 2011, Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle Of Software Objects, Stories Of Your Life and Other Stories by Ted Chiang, Infinivox will have a new collection of Science Fiction novellas in the fall: The Year’s Top Short SF Novels, The Things by Peter Watts (read by Kate Baker), The Emperor Of Mars was on Tony Smith’s StarShip Sofa (read by Quartershare author Nathan Lowell), John Carpenter’s The Thing movie vs. John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?, Howard Hawks, re-working Science Fiction’s legacy fiction in new stories, the stinger comes from sympathizing with a horrible monster, communion, the Shirley Jackson award, Re-Crossing The Styx by Ian R. MacLeod, Scott likes Noir, Double Indemnity, zombies, “even though they’re dead they need entertainment”, The Love Boat, Tom Dheere, he always gets the Science Fiction vocab pronunciation right, Eight Miles by Sean McMullen, Australia, the best story in Analog last year (was Eight Miles), steampunk, is steampunk SF?, steampunk-ish, an Asian cover, Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain by Yoon Ha Lee is ornate and literary SF (and kind of Ted Chiang-like), there’s a logic going on, The Shipmaker by Alliette de Bodard, Nicola Barber, Larry Niven’s Star Trek episode (The Slaver Weapon), Kzinti are in the Star Trek universe, we need another good Science Fiction (TV) series, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown, Neil Gaiman, Doctor Who, Babylon 5 was our last best hope for SF on TV, A Letter From The Emperor by Steve Rasnic Tem, fun with mind-wiping, emotional stingers, Adrift by Scott D. Danielson, emotional vs. intellectual SF, bureaucracy doesn’t end, there are lots of lost packets between planets, it derives its power from the characters rather than from the intellectual points, intellectual stimulation vs. emotional stimulation, Elegy For A Young Elk by Hannu Rajaniemi, consciousness-uploading, it’s comic book like, a bit like Dan Simmons, Alone by Robert Reed, the prolific Robert Reed, God-Like Machines edited by Jonathan Strahan, Alastair Reynolds’s Troika is in there too, A History Of Terraforming by Robert Reed, Dead Man’s Run by Robert Reed, Marrow by Robert Reed, an old-fashioned Science Fiction story writer, SFBRP #008 Luke’s review of Marrow, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Starship Vectors edited by Allan Kaster, SFSignal’s review of Starship Vectors, The Shipmaker by Alliette de Bodard, The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, mutant children are shipped off into the universe to fall in love with their crews, giving birth to a cyborg, Shipmaker reminded Tam of Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler, was dramatized on 2000X, how do you read/listen to anthologies?, is there any chance of doing a year’s top ten 1961? 1965?, how about the top ten of the 1960s?, Charles Stross, A Colder War by Charles Stross |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lobsters by Charles Stross |READ OUR REVIEW|, Accelerando by Charles Stross, “Please Alan, fulfill my hopes and dreams.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal by Robert E. Howard

SFFaudio Online Audio

If you’re looking to add a Robert E. Howard story to your reading library, but don’t want to get started down the Conan path, look no farther than The Fire Of Asshurbanipal. It was the cover story for the December 1936 issue of Weird Tales!

Weird Tales December 1936 - The Fire Of Asshurbanipal by Robert E. Howard

WEIRD TALES The Fire Of Asshurbanipal - illustration by J. Allen St. John

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal was sold posthumously to Weird Tales by Howard’s father, then the only surviving member of Howard’s immediate family. The story features a pair of adventurers. One is an American, named Steve Clarney, and the other is an Afghan named Yar Ali. They make a fun pair.

Eric Wilkerson‘s depiction of Clarney, for the Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game, makes Clarney look like Indiana Jones (minus the whip), and that’s not wholly wrong. But Clarney isn’t an archaeologist, though he and Yar Ali are treasure hunters, and the period and setting is pretty close.

Eric Wilkerson's depiction of Steve Clarney

It is available in print as a part of easily the Ballantine Del Rey collection called The Horror Stories Of Robert E. Howard (ISBN: 0345490207); there was also a pair of deluxe releases by Subterranean Press. And most importantly there is a wonderful professionally narrated audiobook edition available from Tantor Media (it’s read by the talented Robertson Dean):

Horror Audiobook - The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard by Robert E. HowardThe Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Robertson Dean
2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 24 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audiobooks
Published: 2010
ISBN:
Sample |MP3|

The paper editions feature two stunning images from the story by Greg Staples.

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal as illustrated by Greg Staples

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal art by Greg Staples

Interestingly, a different version of the same novelette, The Fire of Asshurbanipal, was published in more recent times as a straight adventure story (same characters but minus the supernatural elements). That fantasy-free version and can be found in another Ballantine Del-Rey collection entitled El Borak And Other Desert Adventures (ISBN: 034550545X).

El Borak And Other Desert Adventures

And that one includes wondrous illustrations by the master of comic book covers Tim Bradstreet.

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal illustration by Tim Bradstreet

The Fire Of Asshurbanipal illustration by Tim Bradstreet

And the version available on Gutenberg Australia’s website is, of course, the original Weird Tales version, complete with references to the Necronomicon, Yog-Sothoth and other sundry Cthulhu mythos details. And that’s the version which has recently been podcast by FNH’s Cthulhu Podcast.

Cthulhu PodcastThe Fire of Asshurbanipal
By Robert E. Howard; Read by FNH
2 MP3 files – Approx. 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Cthulhu Podcast
Podcast: June 2011
|ETEXT|
First published in the December 1936 issue of Weird Tales.
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

I think I first read this story about twenty-five years ago, and remembered it as a gripping adventure yarn with a fairly strong Lovecraftian feel. I picked it up second hand, in a used bookstore in a handsomely covered collection of ‘weird’ Howard stories called Wolfshead (ISBN: 055312353X). In that 1979 book, there is an excellent introduction by Robert Bloch in which he argues that the “stylistic excesses” found in Howard’s stories, like The Fire Of Asshurbanipal, can be “easily excused” because within Howard’s writing “lurks a dark poetry, and the timeless truth of dreams.”

That still sounds right to me. The Fire Of Asshurbanipal is exciting, happily and ornately adjectival, and carries about with it a heft that most adventure fiction can’t really come close to matching. Listening to this podcast edition I’ll admit it possesses a raw power that I still appreciate even today, much later in life. What jars most, of course, is the prominent position given to race, the reliance on instinctual knowledge, and the repeated use of jungle cat metaphors (which feel particularly out of place in the Arabian desert setting).

Over on the Black Gate blog Ryan Harvey argues that The Fire Of Asshurbanipal is cut from the same cloth as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines and Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King. I agree.

If you’re looking for more stories like The Fire Of Asshurbanipal I highly recommend another novelette, of more recent vintage, that follows in the tradition very well – That’d be Charles Ardai’s Nor Idolatry Blind the Eye (available in audio as a part of the Audio Realms audiobook Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear |READ OUR REVIEW| and as an |ETEXT|).

For those who are more comics inclined, check out Joseph Remy’s 40 page webcomic adaptation of The Fire Of Asshurbanipal which begins |HERE|.

And in case you were wondering, the Asshurbanipal of the title was a 7th century BC Neo-Assyrian king famed for the creation of the Library of Ashurbanipal which held among its collection the Epic Of Gilgamesh. It is reported that Alexander the Great, upon seeing the great library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, was himself inspired to create his own library and that one became perhaps the most famous library of all.

Detail from the Paul Lehr’s cover for Wolfshead:

Wolfshead cover illustration by Paul Lehr

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Where are all the Ted Chiang audiobooks?

SFFaudio Commentary

Ted Chiang (portrait by Arturo Villarrubia)

Ted Chiang, perhaps the greatest living Science Fiction writer, has very little of his excellent fiction (a dozen stories, novellettes and novellas) available in the audio format. That is a bitter, bitter shame. It is my hope this post will help change that.

Lamentably, no Ted Chiang audiobooks have ever been commercially released. There are, however, several podcast sources for readings and the BBC commissioned an unabridged recording of Understand (which has been occasionally rebroadcast).

Below is a chart detailing all of Ted Chiang’s published fiction.

Audio (YES/NO):Title:Original Publication:MP3: – Audio Publisher:Notes:

NoTower Of Babylon – Omni, November 1990 – novelette
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NoDivision By ZeroFull Spectrum 3 (1991) – short story

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YesUnderstand – Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, August 1991 – BBC Radio 7 – occasionally rebroadcast on BBCR7, read by Rashan Stone, novelette

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NoStory Of Your LifeStarlight 2, (1998) – novella

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NoThe Evolution Of Human Science (aka Catching Crumbs From The Table) – Nature, June 1, 2000 – short story

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NoSeventy-Two LettersVanishing Acts (2000) – novella

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YesHell Is The Absence Of GodStarlight 3 (2001) – |MP3| – Podcastle – read by James Trimarco, bad sound quality, novelette

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NoLiking What You See: A DocumentaryStories of Your Life and Others (2002) – novelette

_______________

YesWhat’s Expected Of Us – Nature, July 5, 2005 – |MP3| – StarShip Sofa – read by Julie Davis, short story

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YesThe Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate – Subterranean Press (2007) – StarShip Sofa – |MP3| – read by J.J. Campanella, novelette

_______________

YesExhalationEclipse 2, 2008 – |MP3| or |MP3| – StarShip Sofa / Escape Pod – read by Ray Sizemore, short story

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NoThe Lifecycle of Software Objects – Subterranean Press (2010) – novella

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Posted by Jesse Willis