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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The SFFaudio Podcast #640 – READALONG: Wang’s Carpets by Greg Egan

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #640 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson talk about Wang’s Carpets by Greg Egan

Talked about on today’s show:
Greg Bear, its been a while, a story about scientists doing science in a science fiction story, really pleasant, a lot of philosophy and a lot of scientific ideas, establishes themes, distilled, some real questions about the world, many worlds to conquer, sense of wonder, fractals, not conquer, contact is conqueror, very Prime Directivey, a Sterling thing, the Shaper Mechanist stories, biological and technological, parallel lives, they’ve mastered biology, they’re digital, baseline humans, 96 percent of me died, I’m going to mourn that for a while, Borderlands, digistructs, Star Trek, stuck in the buffer, technically this story is really good, not writing problems, digital vs. biological, the CZ folks, there was a reality, not a solipsistic universe, All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein, why Scott is worried (what Scott understood), biological copies, they’re not in a simulation, when they arrive at Vega, another level, one of the reviews, a little bit of Borges, how Set Theory interacts with philosophy, an infinity of numbers, this thing could go on for a while, a bigger infinite set, once you set down this path, interesting to think about what’s going on, rather repulsive, a few shows ago, In The Clutch Of The War God went to Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, the post-human aspect, going post-human, changing your eye stalks, your dad’s third copy of your cousin, sound and fury signifying nothing, the act of looking at mp3 files is copying them, I don’t download I only stream, any actions within a computer are copying actions, going to visit a website is downloading it, big sheets of sugar, it turns out its not alive, turns out its not alive, in the interstices, what’s so interesting about this, kind of like Exhalation by Ted Chiang, these things are going on without us, hard fantasy, its much more like Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, learning the rules of a game, why is he telling me about the emotional relationships between these characters, they don’t have belt pouches and breakfasts, they don’t care whether it is raining, following robots, these are not a metaphor, any sense why Jesse would have a reaction, the message is sad, the people at home are living in VR worlds, step one set back and we’re looking at a short story, yeah within the story it all makes sense, within the story, the story is meta-questioning, somewhere deep in the center, why the search for life is necessary, suicide and emigration, people are excited to hear about life, if this goes on…, the carpets seem to have their own thing going on, exactly like your world, its incestuous, Wang tiles can’t be mirrored, very depressing, here’s the problem, here’s the solution, the problem is present again, escape solipsism with reality exploration, they’re playing proceduraly generated Minecraft, like LEGO, clunky cubic architecture, making calculators and computers that run programs inside of Minecraft, the logic chain, Redstone circuits, and or gates, Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, like the data tape of a Turing machine, if someone had recorded all of our button presses…, control systems, a series of button presses, home computer programming, BYTE Magazine, Ti 99/4A, most people are not going to have access to this story, The Hard SF Renaissance, Mainly Books And Reading Blog, they have their own private language, a thinking machine, its a person, very distanced from the characters, some of them look like butterflies, post-human stuff, a mirror to the world that they’re exploring, the character of Orpheus, there’s no head involved, Cyberpunk 2077, one of the things you can do in the game is you can modify your character, super-customize your character, purple skin and eight fingers per hand, robot legs, eventually you’re just a thing that was a robot, these are not the bodies of the people back on Earth, the thoughts or the Turings of the people, they have votes, nobody would every consider cheating here, the guy who used to be his own son, it is all about the head, ultimately this is a math story, distinct realms, using math to measure reality, digital vs. analog, digital people living in a digital world, stored in pattern buffers, Carter Zimmerman, exploring the physical world vs. we’ve got aliens, so meta and so Borges, a very interesting crystal fractal thing, alienating, reading about others, there’s so much character work, consciousness downloading, Robert J. Sawyer, Four Lords Of The Diamond by Jack L. Chalker, Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, death is not an issue and the biggest issue that ever could be, suicide, immortality, no more copies, downloading memories, a linear existence, explored, tossed-around, really dense, a lot happening, read and listened simultaneously, a different skill, words that give you trouble, spelling, the philosophical exploration, ideas for life, back to Borges, The Library Of Babel, indefinite, infinite, standing room for sleeping, I prefer to dream, a world (not our world), what are in the books, how the world looks, the world consist of rooms, hexagonal, there is not outside world, it could be a giant circle, it could be a carpet, on that water world, some beaches somewhere, the toxic UV, out of contact with the reality of the sun, Plato’s cave creatures, no sense data, social information, a model of the internet, we could hook up webcams, so full, the naming of the planet (Orpheus), he’s despairing, that’s depressing, not a character story, a bit of nostalgia for Paul, all Paul wanted out of science fiction, characters could go hang, their world is presented clinically, they’re there, we’re distanced – like we’re scientists examining them, legitimate emotions, as much as Jesse’s emotions are legitimate, there’s no difference between actual people and fictional people?, an anthropocentric universe, the young earth creationists, The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, these are the worries, the Fermi paradox, subspace chatter, why aren’t the Cardassians yelling at the Klingons, are we the first?, the only?, that’s what they’re saying, mocking, a cause for happiness, hey they discovered life on Mars again!, because there’s some methane, every fifty light years there’s a plankton sheet, fifty light years on there are ones with eyes, fifty light years beyond that there are ones with brains who worry about being alone, their hope, a twofer, a good old fashioned excuse to point to an article of November 1965 issue of Scientific American, Border Guards, David G. Hartwell, the lit crit pov, science as a symbolic construct of language, that’s part of it, are you gonna live you life playing computer games or live a real life, digital clothes for your avatar, the post-human people, the trans-human people, dump these bodies, we’re going to be digital, buy the books, the hard reality is they’re stuck in a meatbody, Kiln People by David Brin, its a metaphor for books, just shoot annoyed clones, typical Brin, I wanna play Minecraft, I left a me in the fridge, Transmetropolitan, robot slaves, you’ve got to have a plot, Raymond Kurzweil, cryonics, I can become younger, self-improvement, augmentation, nano-robot stuff, we do this, cataracts, what you’re claiming to think is consciousness, Evan Lampe, current Klingons aren’t interested in developing science, Klingons are post-human larpers, new fashion, what’s the difference between that and culture, the people who wanna be foxes, furries, unrealistic hope, you’re an ape that can swim and put on clothes and light fireplaces and collect rings, you’re not a bird, you’re not a fish, you’re definitely not going into a chrysalis and coming out a butterfly, 20 spots left in my harem, the more x chromosomes the better, if you have the fallopian tubes, we’re biological, we can’t fully transform from that, Jesse Simulator 1.2, a mistake like warp drive, that’s just gravity assist, Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton, I liked Sliders too, the farcasters in Hyperion, every room on a different planet, which planet does he choose to poop on, how many classes do we have in this story, everybody is equal except how many generation you are, suicide of emigration, what those carpets are doing, that we know of, they don’t have eyes, we come with assumptions, everything that looks at stuff have eyes, trees can detect light, designed to be depressing, these are not supposed to be humans, would you be cool with being a clone?, your clone uncle is now a butterfly, they have Wikipedia, post-scarcity, trans-humanist space journey, you can drink digital root beer and take digital photographs, another rant, AI software used in photos, HDR, slices of the reality that was there, the mark 1 eyeball, cheating, that lady who restored the painting of Jesus to look like a capuchin monkey, this is what Jesus looked like maybe, Paul’s philosophy of photography, that’s not really what you saw, the bad driving out the good, a weird overlay of reality, a watermark, a fascinating discussion, similar arguments in sports, a valid sports participant, a list of things you can’t do, using technology to enhance a performance, SPVIZ runtime, you never could, the Iwo Jima flag raising, manual photograph, choosing where to put and place the camera, it has always been the case you can’t trust the narrative, media literacy, common sense, The Invention Of Lying (2009), its a stage of human development, if I make a scary noise mom thinks I’m in pain, not everything is real, they can edit their personalities, change their dispositions in radical ways, a totalitarian state, I seem to remember that not being the case, so spotty, so useful, have the focused changed, the narrative, so meta, all those sets, if not deliberately, the story itself as part of the story, levels of a story, wholly artificial, a construction that’s interesting to look at, the appeal of sodoku, a logic exercise, a program that will do it in real time, kind of like dominoes, one sided tiles, good story, depressing story, in the Aurora sort of way, maybe that’s why there’s no photo of him, he might be a butterfly, the fundamental constants changed, the Clockwork Rocket series, what if light bends differently, the Greg Egan way.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #573 – READALONG: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #573 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1974, shocked to say, a very very good novel, the top half, mostly rambling, necessary rambling, hyper-competent mechanic and plot shit, a good thing?, rambly bits, cut a scene with Ruth Ray, the thesis of the book, unredacted French, Dr. Bloodmoney, one chapter that’s out of order, chapter 4 vs chapter 6, this is out of order!, just run with it, a more linear story, episode 353, January 25, 2016, pre-Evan, 2017, an easy find, how good is this?, a depressing 2 hour show, hopeful elements, glimmers of hope, A Scanner Darkly, police state, back to back, start at the end, the epilogue, happily ever after, what happens, why did he do it this way?, the notes on the Philip K. Dick fans page, he doesn’t normally do this, everybody and everything, making fun of happily ever after, humans’ relationship to narrative, trying to understand what is, what meaning is, what truth is, its about love, WHO you’re loving, exploring love, objects of love, collected and respected, kind of silly, this is what happened to the gun, the 22 derringer pistol, lead slug weapons, assumed wisely, a prop in the bachelor’s quarters of some minor official, a private collection of modern poverty, and loved, objects having their own ending, THE blue vase, THE derringer, philately, a stamp as a weapon, it does make sense to love particular objects, John Dowland’s lute music, Buchman’s a fan, deleting the music, why Philip K. Dick loved it, a piece of abstract music, music criticism thing,

Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their last fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.

Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days, my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my deserts, for my deserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.

Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to contemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world’s despite.

very dark, abstract vs. concrete, love is tied up with death, Jason Taverner, better not to have a pet, better not to have a wife, children, the love of a parent for a child is all one way, better not to have a child, if you keep cutting love out of your life, the meaning of life and reality and, the only thing that’s real is love, isn’t this a crime?, a hard scene to read, if its consenting,can you consent at that age, this is adult this isnt, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year old cousin, age of consent was 14 in Canada, the super-Christian cop, Jesus and his love are very valuable (as I arrest you), failing at the institutional understanding of police, the bad guy, the whole long story of being demoted and working to help people in the concentration camps, as the novel progresses Felix becomes the protagonist, Vulcan’s Hammer, Vulcan’s Hammer, so clearly Buchman’s story, making that metaphor manifest, a different arc, learning about different kinds of love, ending in a tragedy, suicide, weird stuff, when he first meets Rachel, in panic mode after having a big fight with his wife, Ruth Ray, I’ve just been drugged with a fatal toxin, so many girls in this, she mistakes him for a student, he’s like 40, a subculture of anti-government forces, they don’t want to go to Vietnam, actively opposed to it, a famous school shooting, a life chain of people around the Pentagon, analyze this world as a dystopia, the quibbles and automated pictures, the fourth D in 4D pictures is the smell, still using records, what your profession is, student means rebel or revolutionary, forced-labour camps, they’re not that bad, the word campus and camp, campus as bases, 1/4 of Terra’s forced labour camps (more like death camps), only during the second civil war, those blacks in the camps, the effete pale clammy students living beneath the campus areas, camps must operate at a profit, how prison works, “barn”, a tattered rubber ball, shafts of light scampered all through him, kibbutzim, sub-surface, they’re C.H.U.D.S., all the children of natives sent to residential schools, a forced labour camp, massive abuse, physical sexual and psychological abuse, it took forever for this horrible system to end, are there people like Felix in the system trying to make things better, good policeman end up getting fired for trying to do the right thing, how the media works, conform and go along, 15minutes per year you’re allowed to say something true and that you care about, what country you’re in, institutions can’t love you, pretending to play by the rules but still a good person (on the inside), have you been offended by anything that’s happened so far, Philip K. Dick’s experience, the FBI gave Philip K. Dick driving lessons, quitting when given horrible orders, how Jesse quit jobs, tormented, whistle-blowers and leakers, disillusioned with the system, Edward Snowden, massive fraud and abuse, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, the Pentagon Papers, disillusioned true believers, go along to get along or quit, the play of the institution vs. the love of an individual, what does the black man at the gas station think, I didn’t get you’re note, a little heart with an arrow, emoji, something weird happened, not the first black man we’ve seen, a negro crossing the street, they’re protected now like the whooping crane, the slums of Watts proper, overflowing ashcans, drab painted Coca-Cola signs, an elderly black man crossed, an odd emotion, so few blacks alive now, Tidman’s sterilization bill, the timeline, a helluva lot of shit happened between 70 and 80, you just murdered a dude, you can’t jeer at them, and rightly so, the majority of silencers (the silent majority?), a black boy to play with, their birth coupon, two adults one child, ingenious, he solved the race problem alright, he sells headphones, do you know where this place is so I can show you where I live, bio-feedback headphones, plugging into the pornphone orgy internet, he has three children, late night calls, you’re feeling down at the mouth, that note, put your arms around me like a child would, you want to not be by yourself late at night, of the poem, John Downland’s song, he can’t speak, whats going on on his face?, yes I agree completely, I can dig it, you can meet my wife and my kids three in all, going into another universe (through drugs), changes reality for you and the people you’re thinking about, bisexual vs. lesbian, dude I don’t know what’s going on, the incestuous part, a lesbian organization, going to Borneo, it was a mistake, the law has been repealed?, he had them back in the 1960s?, set in 1988, 47 minus 20, they’re living at home, a very subtle sign that Dick is undercutting again, proposing ideas and then the reality of how it work was not how we thought, the onion, the true nature of reality, that Buchman doesn’t respond to the fact of the three kids, the love of children, this soliloquy here, we get the bow tied off with the drug explanation, The Electric Ant, a great concept in philosophy: solipsism, a sticky note that says soft drink stand, subjectivity in the drugs, Faith Of Our Fathers, Eye In The Sky, when Philip K. Dick went to France, you’re the greatest writer ever, the cab driver, I’m a famous writer, never heard of them, a YouTube celebrity, I watch all of Scotty Kilmer videos, millions of downloads and you’ve never heard of them, pocket celebrity, he’s not in the system, almost all of this happened, cannibalized from his own life, Waking Life (2001), a preamble to a dream, what can he do?, this is in my book too, and then he wrote VALIS, the names matching up, a massive number of notes and letters on the Philip K. Dick fans page, Swedish translator, I considered it perfect and finished, ten rewrites, monumental!, turned out to be sentimental, any bite any grit, so strange, his best, no good, done, not done, a feature and a bug of Philip K. Dick, those three children must be adults by now because they’re born in the sixties, what is reality, sometimes its that, where you meet a stranger at a gas station, the kind of love where you have sex with a group of strangers on the phone, the 10 different kinds of love, a lotta different weird kind of love, taboo love, married 21 times, for the 51st and final time, the number of countings, a jibe at his own marriages, Elizabeth Taylor’s seven husbands and eight marriages, as long as her pets, serial relationships, love and grief, I don’t want the grief, the policeman’s tears for strangers, absolute empathy, why we can’t laugh off the phone sex orgies, black box, Counterclock World‘s religion, the gestalt at the end of Galactic Pot-Healer, different collective experiences, Now Wait For Last Year, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, Perky Pat, Jason Tavern vs. Jason Taverner, his arrest forms, the pols (police), the private security guard is called a cop, Wyoming, a diesel engine mechanic, a lot for the Philip K. Dick rhetorizer, quibbles are cheap used cars, beer and warmth and coziness, Mr. Tavern is a warm man, Phil Gigante’s shame and dis-personing as a narrator, sexual conviction, DOESN’T IT?, the odor of onion and hot-sauce in every direction, best read again as a paperback, Philip K. Dick’s descriptions of reality, a poet of description, a police flipflap wobbled overhead, what happened to the actual Jason Tavern the mechanic, plastic surgery (a lie), used to be very ugly, Joe Cinadella, the Italian truck driver, Juliana’s camouflage, his fake Italian accent is not real, Philip K. Dick: a philosopher of fiction, the epilogue, what my mistake is: there is no happily ever after, 11 more revisions, there’s never a final a wiping of the hands, always something able to be revisited, real for a moment, however the drug’s supposed to work, it changes everybody else’s perceptions, making it into a film, have Conan O’Brien playing Conan O’Brien, get George Clooney to play George Clooney, magnetic and charismatic, before Clooney was just another shitty answer with a handsome face, how to take a good photo, that weird lit up look, he never tries to show he’s a great singer by actually singing, the name of the song: Nowhere Nothing Fuckup, a lot of swearing, that meta-phenomena, distinctly non-named, like Clem Fandango, what of Felix’s name, Felix Buchman is bucking the system?, Alys Buchman, you’re in a dystopia with a whole history, some government trying to overthrow another part of the government, like in Vulcan’s Hammer, in Marissa’s and Jesse’s top five Philip K. Dick novels, late Dick, the late Dick problem: VALIS and Divine Invasion, Our Friends From Frolix Eight, Orpheus With Clay Feet, originally published in Escapade magazine, published under the pen name “Jack Dowland”, one of Philip K. Dick’s many heroes was a 16th century lutist, a bored man visits a time travel tourist agency, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein and Jack Dowland?, the magazine may not actually exist, the story’s first publication may not exist, a competitor to playboy, a slick, hoping to read it, King Of The Elves, Rene Auberjonois, Odo on Deep Space Nine, about mental illness, a fantasy story, Francis Stevens’ The Elf-Trap, a movie that died, Paul Giamatti is a Philip K. Dick stand-in, The Owl In Daylight, Beyond Fantasy, a good follow-up for Philip K. Dick, were running out of novels, A Scanner Darkly, a biographical, don’t bother with The Divine Invasion, the titles sometimes elude, A Maze Of Death, Philip K. Dick, Marissa was living in Germany when we started, what is this?, Jesse is a pretty great artist, going to the bar for the drugs with a kid, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany, don’t leave it to years between novels, Philip K. Elves, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, this is a LibriVox recording all LibriVox recordings are in the public domain, everything made of art on the earth, sorry about that, so sad, the geography of religion, market forces, leading students to death, Chinese students suicide rates, flipping out and killing themselves, She by H. Rider Haggard, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, he becomes a heterosexual woman, totally worth reading, Heinlein is a giant greater than Asimov is, being provocative in your fiction, that ardent passion, in the halls of worldcon, Evan groks that, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Marissa would be like: this is trippy, what podcasting’s for?, you want to do your homework, you need an excuse to go out hiking, Jesse’s sister’s daughter’s dog, Paul’s video of a sliding bus.

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said WORDCLOUD

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Chris Moore

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #527 – READALONG: Herbert West: Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #527 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, Mr Jim Moon, and Evan Lampe talk about Herbert West: Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
Gruesome Tales, Home Brew Magazine, The Lurking Fear, Clark Ashton Smith, the Weird Tales serial, Damon Knight illustrated, Reanimator, assembly, twenty years later, serialized, reading it as a serial, internal summaries, “previously on Re-Animator”, Jeffrey Coombs, Mr Jim Moon’s tin-foil hat theory, the unwilling hero, he hates everybody, Hypnos, no trace of Herbert West, was there ever really a Herbert West?, unlike the movie, sociopathic in his regard for other people, no descent into corruption, the charnel horror, The Hound, aren’t we terrible?, it’s awful, awful really, he never ages, interaction between West and the rest of the world, in an asylum, it makes things fit, he liked the idea so much he wanted to save it for a good story, not junk, only options, changes in Astounding and Amazing, cheap storytelling, pretty amazing, S.T. Joshi, secretly enjoyed writing it, it is fun, progress gone off the rails, its all his fault, the animals, worse and worse, larger transgressions, killing someone, a lizard from New Zealand, indescribable reptile, scientific progression, Frankenstein’s mom died, Star Wars prequels, Darth Vader wants to conquer death, the soul is a myth, no other motivation, a better story about science,

Age has more charity for these incomplete yet high-souled characters, whose worst real vice is timidity, and who are ultimately punished by general ridicule for their intellectual sins—sins like Ptolemaism, Calvinism, anti-Darwinism, anti-Nietzscheism, and every sort of Sabbatarianism and sumptuary legislation.

rub his face in it, thinking of Lovecraft as all the characters, childhood illustrations by Lovecraft, “anglo puritanism”, a war within his own mind, writing as getting out your demons, the solution (vs. the reagent),

It had at first been his hope to find a reagent which would restore vitality before the actual advent of death, and only repeated failures on animals had shewn him…

the Harlem Smoke has forelegs instead of arms, the reagent isnt racist, the character is racist, reality isn’t racist, objects and things, the more you look into it, things to play with, Lovecraft’s racism, pathologizing his writing, secret autobiography, trying to explain away creativity, what if it was this, really interesting, the war in his own mind, going to a play with black actors, C.M. Eddy Jr. Dead Dumb And Blind,

A little after noon on the twenty-eighth day of June, 1924, Dr. Morehouse stopped his machine before the Tanner place and four men alighted.

June 28th 1924, the Democrats not denouncing the KKK, Richard Wagner, race is central to Lovecraft, if you read his letters, to understand lovecraft we have to understand his racism and his racial, black characters in Edgar Allan Poe, The Gold Bug, he’s not interested in race, race is central to everything except for his dream stories, Re-Animator and Bride Of Re-Animator, adding the love element, all the bodies are male, the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre adaption, Dr Gordon Stuart, showing how racist both of the characters are, they lean into it, the factory town part, we’re not supposed to sympathize with these guys, Dan (the narrator character), student loans, Bryan Alexander, they revoke his student loans, the wild monster, straight up murdering a dude, so as I could be witness, ‘you towheaded freak don’t inject me with that needle’, for perverse reasons, a Peruvian civil war, looking at the two films together, quite faithful to the original serial, the women, the love interest, the plagiarist professor, in the Canadian army, what’s in the box?, isn’t he directing the army of the dead?, why would he deliver his own head, the man on the inside

As I have told the police, there was no wagon in the street; but only a group of strange-looking figures bearing a large square box which they deposited in the hallway after one of them had grunted in a highly unnatural voice, “Express—prepaid.” They filed out of the house with a jerky tread, and as I watched them go I had an odd idea that they were turning toward the ancient cemetery on which the back of the house abutted.

Arthur Jermyn, they are always living together, a touch of homo-eroticism, the same streak in Hypnos, the dissociated self, I don’t like the way he’s looking at me, part six is so preposterous,

When I slammed the door after them West came downstairs and looked at the box. It was about two feet square, and bore West’s correct name and present address. It also bore the inscription, “From Eric Moreland Clapham-Lee, St. Eloi, Flanders”.

a Thing On The Doorstep moment, a ghoulish wind of ice, the charnel bowels of a putrescent earth, a horde of silent toiling things, The Black Cat, a set of fingers and an eye, the shout-out to The Rats In The Walls, like an army, a beautiful head made of wax, a mad eyed monstrosity, fabulous abominations, they have servants?, unidentifiable ashes, the Sefton Tragedy, those accursed tomb-legions had not been so silent, the framing story, testimony in exchange for immunity, The Tell-Tale Heart, talking to his own defense attorney, a psychotic break, Guy de Maupassant, Philip K. Dick, Herbert West will hold him, controlled by West, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, a reluctant fascination, if these were case notes, it would be so clear, suicide, at the end of the PDF, BUY WAR BONDS, an unconscious joke by the publisher, who watched the 2017 Italian film?, Jesse’s review: “It has a lot of Italian cafes, some yellow liquid, Italian ladies and men, violins, chain, lots of darkness, a shoutout to Frankenstein, dripping liquids, blood. Waiting for improv class to end and the script to begin.”, 100% accurate, they never read the original story and only ever saw the trailer for Stuart Gordon’s movie, what the fuck is going on, you have never seen three more confused people, what is beyond death, was it a chamber?, was it a non-continuous experience, screaming in rebirth, birth is always painful, Lovecraft is a materialist, they just keep shooting and stabbing each other, death is horrific, limbo, stop motion and black and white, the makeup was good, the film was terrible, death is just the beginning, blame Jesse, Beyond Reanimator, having a female in the story, the Tyler Durden Fight Club story, a love story to the original Re-Animator and Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein, the parts, lobotomies to make the dead controllable, the original film is very interested in Lovecraft’s story, a horror comedy and so is the original, The Loved Dead, he wants to make it with them, Lovecraft had a sense of humour, a very pathologized view of the man, if you read his letters, surprisingly funny, self-deprecating, naughty risque humour, hysterically funny, Barry Norman, this is hilarious, once you start seeing the humour, M.R. James’ jokes, very uptight and very straight-laced, reading Lovecraft, so engaged, engaged with other fiction, One Summer Night by Ambrose Bierce, McCall’s, The Body Snatchers by Robert Louis Stevenson, very very ill, no philosopher was he, pathological indifference, a gigantic negro named Jess, not so populace as its register had shown it to be, pallid and haggard, all eyes and teeth, a missing adventure, working class bodies, Monsters Of The Market: Zombies, Vampires And Global Capitalism by David McNally, capital punishment, Burke and Hare, a Burke-skin book, experimentation on working class people The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, Curwen’s dungeon, they haven’t eaten in hundreds of years, once you’re a reanimated zombie, another Frankenstein reference, James Whale’s Frankenstein, the first of a new race, man becomes god, man should not meddle, remaking James Whale’s Frankenstein, working class victims, a sound animal, more asleep than dead, class anxieties, the silent working class, the first illustration, we laid the specimen on the improvised dissecting table, alien autopsy, the cloaked figure may be the narrator, up is down and black is white, an unreliable narrator in his own testimony, the last sentence, their silent because its an hallucination, for the years that followed, literally the narrator, the patient whose banging his head against the wall, age 12 H.P. Lovecraft illustration [I may have been conflating the source, not even sure it is by Lovecraft or even age 12, here’s the source], sword of puritan ethics, the narrator is not as sure about the afterlife as Herbert West, its in his head, being a gentleman, Randolph Carter, The Hound, not as equally as bad as the other, a bust, Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant, The Horla, all his furniture is leaving his house, it all mysteriously reappeared, the furniture of his mind, if there’s any pattern to H.P. Lovecraft its ending up in an insane asylum, poor H.P. Lovecraft, mom and dad, a common trope, the last confession, “there are demons, honest”, losing your reason, losing who you are, the quality of mental health care, gone to the asylum, not a big fan of doctors, their ethics are somewhat questionable,trust and paranoia, second opinions, the hierarchies in asylums and hospitals, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, bad science, parallels, gruesomeness, is the M. in M. Valdemar a missing word?, a hoax, a japer, The Man Who Japed, a comedy magazine, Grewsome is a pun on Home Brew, getting intoxicated, a magazine of entertainment, a low brow version of The Smart Set, anarchist cookbook territory, charging 25 cents, the slickest fanzine Jesse’s ever seen (if it is a fanzine), a prozine, their version of the internet, homepages vs. letters, a parallel to a slow version of the internet, fan forums, a lot of it is preserved, Stuart Gordon, Robert E. Howard, in the late 60s and early 70s, when Lovecraft hit paperback, beatnik and hippies, fandom/cult, the trailer for the musical theater version of Re-Animator, just as horrific, the sets, the security guard, Boudoir magazine, so distracted with his pornography, in keeping with the serialization, its good comedy.

From The Dark (typescript)

Home Brew, February 1922

Home Brew, June 1922

ReAnimator art by Francesco Francavilla565

tweeten-1558235845582

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #511 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Canal by Everil Worrell

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #511 – The Canal by Everil Worrell; read by Wayne June. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (53 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, and Wayne June

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, December 1927, a vampire story, H.P. Lovecraft, an alternative version of the story’s ending, dynamite vs. a wooden sword, Wikisource, The James Dickey, white caps on the canal, low key, that bitch is getting it, where’s the dynamite?, no secret cavern only opened by a , have I got dementia?, the April 1935 reprint, the Night Gallery half hour TV adaptation, fix Skype, Leonard Nimoy’s directorial debut, shooting day for night, very dream like, 1960s westerns, as bright as daylight, Lesley Ann Warren smokin’ hot, so sexually provocative, her middle name is cleavage, drunk this other dude, red bedspread, evoking the attraction, essentially a skeleton, a heart shaped face, she’s bony, a very well written student, the amount of poetic techniques she uses, super-high level, I didn’t intend that to be poetry, writing a very long suicide note, all these ppp sounds, repetition, the last ravings of a madman, the thing I shall have done, where did the changes come from?, her father has a giant stake, stab me with your giant wooden stake, that’s a lot of symbolism there, do we think that Everil Worrel made those changes?, the whole heroic aspect, in one fell swoop, drama, toned down, beef up the ending?, paid by the word, a Hollwood Blockbuster ending, the camp invasion, bitten by rats, he’s killing everybody, do all the people in the camp die?, infected, he’s a little hard to follow, everybody’s going to die, whoever did this was a monster, a cargo of death, when she first became the thing she is, expiation, redemption, atonement, a very Catholic Christian religious word, it isn’t so much about the girl, the narrator is very Lovecraftian, he loves to be alone, not afraid to being hanging out alone in the dark, meditating in graveyards, night walks, driving out to the countryside, in Paris?, along its left bank?, every canal has a left bank (and a right bank too), fallen into disuse, the River Walk in San Antonio, “Morton”, Hyacinth is slightly better than Lily, she’s telepathic, his name is “Ron”, fishmongers, easier to fit into a half hour, some of the leaps, the 1927 illustration by Hugh Rankin, grease-pencil, a flapper haircut, a dance move, giant bats, “Loathsome shapes flapped through the night along the way that led to the pleasure camps.”, a roadster, a motorboat, early fall?, he’s already got a whole lifestyle going, that smell, what’s going on with the dilapidated buildings, these aren’t gypsies exactly, a recreational thing?, a portable brothel?, pleasure is a weird word, “She’s a vampire. A vampire!, VAMPIRES!”, the storm had a rock hit him in the head, feasting, the more minimal ending, we have to infer how she got there, she commands him to carry her, my father is deaf and he sleeps soundly, metaphors, he sleeps by night, not lying, you sleep soundly, a pique in my voice, always at different times, on guard, she ate a child, the father has to kill her, the father’s story, maybe the father died after?, imagining the backstory, lonely places, she’s an attraction he’d never felt before, a mossy gravestone, did the father invent all that?, global pandemic, I’ve read Dracula, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman, making explicit, one of the few vampire stories in which the narrator is familiar with vampire fiction, running water, the rules, meta-context, genre saavy, two different subgengres, a Robert E. Howard ending, the shorter version is rather Edgar Allan Poe like, which did Lovecraft read, a strong echo of Hypnos and The Hound, one is enthralled to another, ending in the night side of the city, where the nice people don’t go, so many echoes, a city at night, Fungi From Yuggoth was written in December 1929 to early 1930, The Call Of Cthulhu, maybe August Derleth “improved” it, The Grove of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, Dagon, the plunger, the plunger!, not better, more poignant, pointy sword, why is he carrying around a wooden sword?, the wooden sword, decapitated with a Bowie knife, a fudge between the two, The Canal by H.P. Lovecraft, January 1938, Somewhere in dream there is an evil place

Where tall, deserted buildings crowd along
A deep, black, narrow channel, reeking strong
Of frightful things whence oily currents race.
Lanes with old walls half meeting overhead
Wind off to streets one may or may not know,
And feeble moonlight sheds a spectral glow
Over long rows of windows, dark and dead.

There are no footfalls, and the one soft sound
Is of the oily water as it glides
Under stone bridges, and along the sides
Of its deep flume, to some vague ocean bound.
None lives to tell when that stream washed away
Its dream-lost region from the world of clay.

oil, inspired by Worrell, there’s no vampire lady, more architecture based than lady based, less Poey than Frank Lloyd Wrighty, no trace of oil, an image you would think of, like scum, mental oil, Richard Corben’s adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Canal, a mystery city, The Music Of Eric Zann, these mystery cities, a great name for a guy who loves death, poems with this imagery, a river, a canal, or a stream, What The Moon Brings, I hate the moon, The Nightmare Lake, the corpse of a god, a tarn, so brutal, the slime beneath the unmoving waters of the canal, a slimy muddy expanse, The Crawling Chaos, his horror nightmares, The Night Ocean by R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft, to rest a weary mind, the same psychology, The Lake, the most wondrous delight, which version, from Tamarlane And Other Poems,

In youth’s spring, it was my lot
To haunt of the wide earth a spot
The which I could not love the less;
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound.
And the tall pines that tower’d around.
But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot — as upon all,
And the wind would pass me by
In its stilly melody,
My infant spirit would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.
Yet that terror was not fright —
But a tremulous delight,
And a feeling undefin’d,
Springing from a darken’d mind.
Death was in that poison’d wave
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his dark imagining;
Whose wild’ring thought could even make
An Eden of that dim lake.

almost not dark enough to be Poe until the last quarter, a children’s book of Poe’s poems for children, Annabelle Lee, The Loved Dead, a ghostly couple hovering over that lake, two ghosts rather than one, place and fate, I could care less, which vs. witch, under a spell, wild bewildering, bound, Archibald Lampman, multi-valence, bound = tied up = springing = the boundary, this is a suicide note, his youngest young, solace homophone with soul-less, a very Poe poem, the horror of existence, the tremulous delight, that’s night fright or cold, that’s excitement, an amazing suicide note to give to kids to read, all the virtues of suicide, parent teacher meetings, no suicides yet, keeping things in the open, sometimes people go nuts, you need to talk to a doctor, the May 1953 issue of Weird Tales has a letter from Everil Worrell saying how much she enjoyed Lovecraft’s writing, The Supreme Witch, Slime is terrific, cosmic and spatial about the dark ocean, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, The Raft, The Egyptian, The Dream Merchant, agree with Lovecraft’s detractors, Lovecraft vocabulary, “foul mephitic vapours”, horrific ululations, it wasn’t so much Lovecraft did but how he did it, a really good mom, you can be a horrible monster loving graveyard sniffing weirdo and also be a good mom, it gives Wayne hope, you’re going to love The Loved Dead, such a delight to read, so extreme, its not going to show you, on the corpse board, and he’s a serial killer too, Kissed (1996), We So Seldom Look On Love, a tasteful necrophiliac film, actors to play the corpses, a letter story from a 13 year old girl, in love with the corpses, freaky deaky, everybody needs some body to love, the puns about necrophilia.

The Canal by Everil Worrell - Illustrated by Hugh Rankin

NIGHT GALLERY Death On A Barge

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #507 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #507 – Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 36 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Maissa Bessada, and Wayne June

Talked about on today’s show:
aunt?, ownt?, The London Mercury, April 1922, H.P. Lovecraft, pretty damn interesting, is it a ghost story?, Robert Aickman, Fontana Book Of Ghost Stories (Volume 1), M.R. James,, E.F. Benson, Thomas Liggoti, is it a vampire story?, a very successful ghost story, is it a witchcraft story?, necromancy, psychic vampirism, all about mood and sustaining a mood, atmospheric, very, creepiness sneaks in, chills up and down the spine,

“Deserving of distinguished notice as a forceful craftsman to whom an unseen mystic world is ever a close and vital reality is the poet Walter de la Mare, whose haunting verse and exquisite prose alike bear consistent traces of a strange vision reaching deeply into veiled spheres of beauty and terrible and forbidden dimensions of being.”

in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, rumors about an ancient castle under which is a conclave of demons, not truckle with psychological fudging, real life stories, never tipped over the abyss, a feeling of being haunted, the weight of disbelief, monster,

“Of the shorter tales, of which several volumes exist, many are unforgettable for their command of fear’s and sorcery’s darkest ramifications; notably Seaton’s Aunt, in which there lowers a noxious background of malignant vampirism”

Shades Of Darkness adaptation, 9/10ths close to the book, a big switcheroo, switching the roles, dialogue from the story, adaptations are people interpreting, interpretive decisions, the girl Alice, more life to her at the beginning, the casting, what a role, a role of a lifetime, no eating, a mountain of a woman vs. doll-like, that thin and hungry look, her hair, a wig, dark hair, all this history, how intense people are, things going on, the number of parallel things that are happening, the first meeting the second meeting, the school, the strand, creepier, it feels like an actual memoir, weary of for no good reason, Withers, why is he telling this story, a chapter in a memoir, not very good person, Seaton’s not perfect, maybe this aunt is very moral, she does pretty much everything wrong, a huge colossal biotch, from a shit’s point of view, “a creature”, why does she act that way, she’s a prick or in league with the devil, she is a monster (in a any sense of the word), a horrible person, spite, little mind games, this is not Seaton’s story, may ownt, an extraordinary figure, a non-supernatural story, what made a person like this?, maybe she just way to much Lovecraft when she was young, we English, pongo, ape, monkey, bribed every time, some jam, lunch, expensive wine, the everyman, self-involved, does she kill him?, the roles were switched, bells and sparks, that chess scene,

Seaton’s aunt was wearing an extraordinary kind of lace jacket when we sidled sheepishly into the drawing-room together. She greeted me with a heavy and protracted smile, and bade me bring a chair close to the little table.

“I hope Arthur has made you feel at home,” she said, as she handed me my cup in her crooked hand. “He don’t talk much to me; but then I’m an old woman. You must come again, Wither, and draw him out of his shell. You old snail!” She wagged her head at Seaton, who sat munching cake and watching her intently.

his room is full of cages, down at the pond, a dysfunctional family,

“And we must correspond, perhaps.” She nearly shut her eyes at me. “You must write and tell me everything behind the creature’s back.” I confess I found her rather disquieting company. The evening drew on. Lamps were brought in by a man with a nondescript face and very quiet footsteps. Seaton was told to bring out the chess-men. And we played a game, she and I, with her big chin thrust over the board at every move as she gloated over the pieces and occasionally croaked “Check!”—after which she would sit back inscrutably staring at me. But the game was never finished. She simply hemmed me defencelessly in with a cloud of men that held me impotent, and yet one and all refused to administer to my poor flustered old king a merciful coup de grâce.

teaching chess, the aunt and Withers are parallel, Arthur chose him, something of his aunt there, toying and sparing,

“There,” she said as the clock struck ten—”a drawn game, Withers. We are very evenly matched. A very creditable defence, Withers. You know your room. There’s supper on a tray in the dining-room. Don’t let the creature over-eat himself. The gong will sound three-quarters of an hour before a punctual breakfast.” She held out her cheek to Seaton, and he kissed it with obvious perfunctoriness. With me she shook hands.

“An excellent game,” she said cordially, “but my memory is poor, and”—she swept the pieces helterskelter into the box—”the result will never be known.” She raised her great head far back. “Eh?”

It was a kind of challenge, and I could only murmur: “Oh, I was absolutely in a hole, you know!” when she burst out laughing and waved us both out of the room.

immoral behavior, a cloud of men, how she treats her nephew, Withers or Johnson or Wither or Smithers, another dig, tapping into something very British, mirrored, a dishonest narrator, passing judgement on all and sundry, a hideous old beast, she’s not such a bad old stick, a dull stolid chap, what’s expected, a public school attitude, everyone’s a jolly good sort, a mask for bad behavior, a cavalier with the truth, very calculated, foibles of behavior, you are nothing to me, it’s a test, dare you correct an old lady, is she’s too self aware?, if this were a true memoir, they sneak into her room and hide in her closet, too intellectual for her own good, why she’s a miss, about half way through the book,

We turned and walked slowly towards the house, across whose windows I confess my own eyes, too, went restlessly wandering in search of its rather disconcerting inmate. There was a pathetic look of draggledness, of want of means and care, rust and overgrowth and faded paint. Seaton’s aunt, a little to my relief, did not share our meal. Seaton carved the cold meat, and dispatched a heaped-up plate by an elderly servant for his aunt’s private consumption. We talked little and in half-suppressed tones, and sipped a bottle of Madeira which Seaton had rather heedfully fetched out of the great mahogany sideboard.

I played him a dull and effortless game of chess, yawning between the moves he himself made almost at haphazard, and with attention elsewhere engaged. About five o’clock came the sound of a distant ring, and Seaton jumped up, overturning the board, and so ending a game that else might have fatuously continued to this day.

no malice, interpretation, he’s turning into her, becoming more sympathetic to her, my aunt, we lost all our money, fairly obvious, the aunt has spent the inheritance, stopping at the chemists to get rat poison, WHY?, is Seaton trying to kill his aunt?, a half-term holiday, for his own use, another parallel, what’s with the bangle?, only when pirating, a craze for wearing a ring, a craze for wearing bangles, wearing a rubber band as a bangle, a little affectation, a bit of jewelry, more adult, a bit glamorous, to be interesting and opulent, bullying, perfectly horrid, a touch of the tar brush, not white enough, a bit debonair, a bit gypsy,

I can scarcely describe with what curious ruminations I led the way into the faded, heavy-aired dining-room, with this indefinable old creature leaning weightily on my arm—the large flat bracelet on the yellow-laced wrist.

they are isolated, a maiden aunt, a malevolent creature, sometimes people are weird, weird household cultures, lobster mayonnaise, game sausages, the salad is the monster, a gargantuan appetite, you can’t scare me with your ghost stories, I’ll take it, she’s sure to be quite decent to you, code for child sexual abuse, she’s just a woman, does she lie ever?, the eye in the room, is this an Innsmouth story?, a lot of fishy eyes in this story, Irving S. Cobb’s Fishhead, frog boy?, did he go to the pond, or the sea?, her younger brother, she might be being misread, people turning into dust, Seaton is turning into his aunt, something you like to eat, so interesting,

We walked up the village street, past the little dingy apothecary’s and the empty forge, and, as on my first visit, skirted the house together, and, instead of entering by the front door, made our way down the green path into the garden at the back. A pale haze of cloud muffled the sun; the garden lay in a grey shimmer—its old trees, its snap-dragoned faintly glittering walls. But now there was an air of slovenliness where before all had been neat and methodical. In a patch of shallowly-dug soil stood a worn-down spade leaning against a tree. There was an old broken wheelbarrow. The roses had run to leaf and briar; the fruit-trees were unpruned. The goddess of neglect brooded in secret.

the Goddess of neglect, what the hell does that mean?, the whole opposite view of this whole thing, he’s dying, is he digging his own grave?, his way to try to get away, a keen naturalist, he’s making the best of a bad situation, I like wildness, forklift trucks to do her goddamned hair, the keys to his trust fund, salving a scrap of conscience, a bit of a tightfist, the money is running out, nuts and fruit, he doesn’t want to get too fat, tadpoles, between becoming what he’s going to be, the aunt croaks, he will never,

on one memorable occasion went to the length of bestowing on me a whole pot of some outlandish mulberry-coloured jelly that had been duplicated in his term’s supplies. In the exuberance of my gratitude I promised to spend the next half-term holiday with him at his aunt’s house.

expensive madeira, she sounds like a Lovecraft,

She confided in us her views on a theme vaguely occupying at the moment, I suppose, all our minds. “We have barbarous institutions, and so must put up, I suppose, with a never-ending procession of fools—of fools ad infinitum. Marriage, Mr. Withers, was instituted in the privacy of a garden; sub Rosa, as it were. Civilization flaunts it in the glare of day. The dull marry the poor; the rich the effete; and so our New Jerusalem is peopled with naturals, plain and coloured, at either end. I detest folly; I detest still more (if I must be frank, dear Arthur), mere cleverness. Mankind has simply become a tailless host of indistinctive animals. We should never have taken to Evolution, Mr. Withers. ‘Natural Selection!’—little gods and fishes!—the deaf for the dumb. We should have used our brains—intellectual pride, the ecclesiastics call it. And by brains I mean—what do I mean, Alice?—I mean, my dear child”—and she laid two gross fingers on Alice’s narrow sleeve—”I mean courage. Consider it, Arthur. I read that the scientific world is once more beginning to be afraid of spiritual agencies. Spiritual agencies that tap, and actually float, bless their hearts! I think just one more of those mulberries—thank you.

sounding like Thomas Ligotti, everything sucks, the trap of pessimism, a certain truth to it, justification for all manner of barbarity and horror, survival of the fittest, neoliberal morality, atmosphere building, the deaf for the dumb, intellectual pride, what do I mean Alice?, I mean courage, spiritual agencies, an attack on spiritualism, worst wedding toast ever, worst host ever, my child brother died in it, sleep well, how big a deal, another theory, one more of those mulberries, bastard squirrels, almost all vegetation, pop goes the weasel, Babylonian mythology, silkworms, death and rebirth, they spin their own shroud, Seaton should run away, the horse, she never will or she never would, she knows everything we’re doing, is she telepathic?, does she know the boy is buying rat poison?, cages and boxes, a box with a worm in it, role reversal, a switch, something strange happens near the end, off to tea, she calls him Arthur, is that you Arthur?, the ghost of Arthur?, get out, she doesn’t know, she killed him but she doesn’t even know, a voracious appetite, getting psychically fatter, she’s lost her source of food, she’s dying, conversing with the dead, still floating around the house, nothing to feed off anymore, not wholly embodied, that all seeing eye, seeing into other people’s minds, is he first in his class?, maybe if you apply the rules of science it’s almost like she’s in a superposition, the pile of clothes on the floor, the shoes two meters apart pointing at each other, a bundle of clothes, she’s in her room and she’s not in her room, Schrödinger’s Aunt, she’s just a human being, this story does both, a horror story, she’s a vampiric-witch who can talk to ghosts, The Terrible Old Man by H.P. Lovecraft, Spanish gold, easy pickings, bottled souls, old shipmates, three new bottles, his yard, moss covered totemic gods from the South Seas, Smithers Withers Johnson, not wholly of this dimension, why she’s so weird, an alien trapped on Earth, she knows she’s a shit, he does the exact same stuff as she does, not of this earth, a tragedy, the whole takeaway, feeling a little guilt, a life tragedy, nothing but a trap, you’re either a feeder or you’re the food, not an Oscar Wilde, outside of society, so masterfully put together, another way of going, she’s mean because she gives him the small room, who made the room full of cages and boxes, playing goth music all night, all about interpretation, a reflection of me (being in a cage), interesting parallels, a black widow spider, Wayne doesn’t buy that she’s innocent, in league with the devil, what happened to her brother?, a theory for Mr Jim Moon, The Terror Of The Blue John Gap by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, mother of pearl, a monster in the mine, a letter Seaton, Samuel Seaton, the painting on the wall, the one with the eye is S. Seaton, retelling it as a modern story, he has a VIC 20!, security cameras in every room, we have the same kinds of issues and problems today, most manifest in her awareness of what she’s doing, self-conscious, Alice is almost consciousless, did she move away?, who did she escape?, a weird race of two, the deep one crown in a chest of jewlery, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying to find a place to put my sympathy, they’re screwed individually and in combination, All Hallows by Walter de la Mare, a sour church, Blackwood and Machenesque, a BBC Radio abridgement, the story becomes insane without pauses,

you know your space, a powerfully interesting way of writing, layering in themes that are almost ineffable, just words, so much is the way its told, a liberated thoughtful lady, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, occult skill, charged with mockery and bitterness, ruined, processing through a filter of hate, began to play the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata. The piano was old and woolly. She played without music. The lamplight was rather dim. The moonbeams from the window lay across the keys. Her head was in shadow. And whether it was simply due to her personality or to some really occult skill in her playing I cannot say: I only know that she gravely and deliberately set herself to satirize the beautiful music. It brooded on the air, disillusioned, charged with mockery and bitterness. I stood at the window; far down the path I could see the white figure glimmering in that pool of colourless light. A few faint stars shone, and still that amazing woman behind me dragged out of the unwilling keys her wonderful grotesquerie of youth, and love, and beauty. It came to an end. I knew the player was watching me. “Please, please, go on!” I murmured, without turning. “Please go on playing, Miss Seaton.”

No answer was returned to my rather fluttering sarcasm, but I knew in some indefinite way that I was being acutely scrutinized, when suddenly there followed a procession of quiet, plaintive chords which broke at last softly into the hymn, A Few More Years Shall Roll.

what significance did the hymn have for her?

I confess it held me spellbound. There is a wistful, strained, plangent pathos in the tune; but beneath those masterly old hands it cried softly and bitterly the solitude and desperate estrangement of the world. Arthur and his lady-love vanished from my thoughts. No one could put into a rather hackneyed old hymn-tune such an appeal who had never known the meaning of the words. Their meaning, anyhow, isn’t commonplace.

I turned very cautiously and glanced at the musician. She was leaning forward a little over the keys, so that at the approach of my cautious glance she had but to turn her face into the thin flood of moonlight for every feature to become distinctly visible. And so, with the tune abruptly terminated, we steadfastly regarded one another, and she broke into a chuckle of laughter.

engaging with him like an adult, the clothes of a man, his coat is too big for him, so grateful for the invitation, I really appreciate it because I’m dying, the paranoid literal ghost haunted victim of an in-league-with-the-devil-aunt, nothing more than a coffin, my brother William died, there’s hundreds of eyes like that in the house, I shan’t stand it much longer, did Seaton commit suicide?, all my plans are falling into place, the old mulberry jelly trick, we are told he has lavish pocket money, that would be in character, so lonely, the bangle as an amulet against her, Alice Outram, some good stuff, a now lost medieval village in Derbyshire, early 1900s travel, piggy back rides and hiding in closets, candles, a fascinating story, Seaton is definitely a liar, you were supposed to best man, more on the ball, creeped by the aunt, you hypocrite, a mismatch between emotions and what people say, being clever and arch, snarky, is it about control or just being playful, so much free-rangeness, allowed bullying to flourish, snapchat bullying, the mistakes of perception that you have in childhood, a confession story, somewhere in there Withers is having an argument with Seaton, some guilt, mistreating the old bird, what she says, calculated cruelty, emotionally abusive, emotionally neglectful, no sexual or physical abuse, she never lies to him, she never gaslights him, that never happened, you’re wrong, she demeans him, she knows everything that I think and what I do, he’s a squashed human, squashed at school, victimness, uninterested in his emotional being, baby monkeys, the monkey Withers, a monkey in with a tadpole, very subversive, what is the question, what is this story?, not fantasy, not science fiction, definitely weird fiction, vampire is stronger than ghosts (in here), prehistoricism, eternal evil, Silurians (Doctor Who reference), Doggerland, it feels so Lovecrafty because of all the fish, he is doomed, The Rats In The Walls, The Moon Bog, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan,

And again I paused irresolutely a few paces further on. It was not fancy, merely a foolish apprehension of what the raw-boned butcher might “think” that prevented my going back to see if I could find Seaton’s grave in the benighted churchyard. There was precious little use in pottering about in the muddy dark, merely to discover where he was buried. And yet I felt a little uneasy. My rather horrible thought was that, so far as I was concerned—one of his extremely few friends—he had never been much better than “buried” in my mind.

dark!, a dark philosophy,

I was not a man of the world, nor was I much flattered in my stiff and dullish way of looking at things by being called one; and I could answer her without the least hesitation.

“I don’t think, Miss Seaton, I’m much of a judge of character. She’s very charming.”

“A brunette?”

“I think I prefer dark women.”

“And why? Consider, Mr. Withers; dark hair, dark eyes, dark cloud, dark night, dark vision, dark death, dark grave, dark!”

she’s goth, yo,

Perhaps the climax would have rather thrilled Seaton, but I was too thick-skinned. “I don’t know much about all that,” I answered rather pompously. “Broad daylight’s difficult enough for most of us.”

Seaton's Aunt by Walter de la Mare

Posted by Jesse Willis