The SFFaudio Podcast #539 – READALONG: The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #539 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Julie Davis talk about The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Talked about on today’s show:
All-Story Weekly, August 9 – September 6, 1919, a little too familiar with it, Bruce Wayne’s parent’s murder in Crime Alley, Batman’s origin story, Joe Chill, Zorro, like the gospels, apocryphal, the 1940s Batman, The Mark Of Zorro (1920), Gotham, Christian Bale, The Mark Of Zorro (1940), Tyrone Power, what a man!, oh I know this one, a revelation, I hate you now, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., such a good movie, twisting his own arm, silent movies, mouthing at each other, dubbing, lip reading, the year after the serial, identical plot, the action sequences are so good, Antonio Banderas, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), all the movie beats, one of those translation things, Don Diego Vega, a foppy guy, really into slight of hand, something that’s stuck with every subsequent production, The Disney, the 1974 TV movie remake using the same script and music, Frank Langella as Zorro, a strange choice, a board on the back of her head, visualizing the text, the beginning, middle, and end of his character, this handkerchief is turned into a flower, have you seen this one?, finger curlicues to show excitement about this kiss, the first United Artists movie, Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), a half mask like Batman, Zorro is the spot in between everything that came before and superheroes as we know them, Who was America’s first superhero, Tornado is the Batmobile, the dynamic duo, Alfred, a dual identity, The Scarlet Pimpernel, adventures in America, Americans can eat it up, California, westerns, I’m earning a living so I’m writing it all, he wrote lots of pulp, the elements, better than a western, help the poor, the beautiful woman, choose her own path, 1909, supposed to be a surprise, you were spoiled for it, the text doesn’t tell you, the reveal here is at the end, at what point does it become clear, four minutes later, a physical face to look at, the powers of Batman, an acrobat, jumping and swinging, in real life you have to wear a full mask, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, no one will want to read it if it is spoiled, retconned right away, he captured lighting in a bottle and people want more lightning, like heaven on Earth, his secret lair, not a Batcave it’s a Foxcave, every superhero who is not superman, Bruce Banner, angry guy, he’s always angry, an issue with both, Zorro is the good guy because he’s fighting an unjust government, Batman’s doing the government’s job for them, a folk hero, being mean to the natives, when don’s have their taxes raised to high, Batman’s psychology, crazy criminals, a child of The Scarlet Pimpernel, unjust to the rich people, his posse is the sons of the dons, the families being oppressed, the focus around the family, the good aristocrat being oppressed by the government, the government is completely corrupt, Zorro as a libertarian hero?, an Ayn Randian hero, oh god!, the servant is both deaf and dumb, the Disney version he’s mute (not deaf), he’s everywhere, indio?, interesting to think about, pre-1849 California, the placenames and the missions, what’s the population?, fighting for justice, it’s all about blood, blood is everywhere, 1820 or so, blood x 79, 1,300 people, after the gold-rush, Julie’s read historical fiction, a backwater of Mexico, right across the street from the tavern, a phrase that was used in the period, WWI, writers read stuff, 1920s magazines, what decade based on the ads, fads that rise and fall, the 19teens and 1920s, eugenics theory, standard straight up racism, I’d rather marry a native than marry you, an insult, here’s how low I’ll go, badly OCR’d, the natives are on the bottom, less and less emphasized, you are of excellent blood, of the best blood in the land, class structure, a Vega when he takes a mate, woman-trading, some choice in the matter, historically accurate, its not super-super-clear what he is at first, he’s a robber, Zorro is already known, he’s already a legend, I was fifteen I saw something bad happen, two different aspects, Batman doesn’t rob the robbers, he’s Robin Hood at that point, a redistributor of wealth, Jesse James, Billy The Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, sticking it to the man, if he weren’t a fictional character, we’ve been trained by reality, killing people, Batman doesn’t kill, Zed not Zee, Zedero, Sgt. Gonzales, Captain Ramos, you’re not who I thought you were, a comedy relationship, Commissioner Gordon, he’s worse than the governor, sir leave this house right now, where not to me, quasi-rapist, he deserved his fate, he bought him his drinks, Sgt. Schultz is the same character, Hogan’s Heroes, a send-up of Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Escape From Sobibor, subverting the Nazis by staying in the camp, TV crossover, how does the timeline work?, the ridiculousness of Batman, most of the good super-hero writers have to avoid that sort of thing, zipping people, Catherine Zeta-Jones, its a cartoon, you can’t take Batman super-seriously, Arkham Asylum, Watchmen [and The Boys], The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, the plot of Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein, very funny, a tense line between serious and comedic, The Mask Of Zorro is a rebooting, Zorro makes a mockery of the soldiers, in the book he has a pistol, Sgt. Gonzales is a blustering fool of a character, physically comedic, a comic figure, he threatens death to people all day long, derailed for six months, my beautiful soul what have I done to it?, added to and polished up, suddenly he’s an 1820 superhero, Pirate Batman, The Lego Batman Movie (2017), he’s Robin Hood, reality is not as it is, formulating a plan, right from the start, he got his superpowers in the army, Captain America, romance, a ladies’ man, he’s the man all women want, he’s Tyrone Power and he knows it, the audio drama, Val Kilmer, Armin Shimmerman was terrific, Stefan Rudnicki, Dying Inside, he’s the Friar Tuck character, the same role, the Frey gets his licks in, serialized stories, they’re in Spanish California, he hides Maid Marian, a three hour audio drama for a six hour book, the framing, you’re buying drink, you want to know about Zorro?, at the end, Val Kilmer is about to reveal his identity, that’s another story, the change that had to happen, superheroes are not one offs they are continuous, the whole writing problem, writing for series, every book after that his identity is secret, Superman has a different origin, Captain America is an interesting case, recruiting and selling warbonds, all the things they did to recruit people for WWI and sell war bonds, pickle-helmet, a captured u-boat you could tour in Central Park during WWI, except for Dr Manhattan, masked vigilantes, Night Owl sits in his lair all day, kinda sad, the fundamental concept, they’re making fun of it, a very fine line, no the Batman you know, the 1989 reboot, where does he get those wonderful toys, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, nipples for George Clooney’s Batman, Holy rusted metal, Batman!, I’m walking out of the theater, there’s no winking, he’s not super-handsome, he did the adaptation, Robert Pattinson, a different way of running things, I’m gonna go practice my swordsmanship, reveling in that, this is a MOVIE!, Elevated short film, Vincenzo Natali, Cube (1997), set in an elevator, a student film, there’s something outside the elevator, when you make it a feature, most people read novels, once you get into that novel thing you sort of want more, the mask and the slight of hand stuff, this is why people get excited about film and making movies, cute and interesting, its not Zorro, a red flower, Zorro is a fox, the fox personality, Lady Zorro, Queen Of Swords, Jack Of All Trades, all so good, all died too soon, Bruce Campbell, the perfect combination of humour and physicality, that swagger, The Mask Of Zorro (1998), training scenes with Anthony Hopkins, the head in the jar, how many Zorro products there are, comics, the Disney colourized TV series looks terrible, Guy Williams, very Disney, the sidekick, his version of sign-language, sound effects, heavily music’d, a half-hour format, a cartoon, well done, Desilu, The Wild Wild West, it became a good show, Robert Conrad, you gotta see the show, there’s a fine line between ridiculous and perfect, they went the other way, all these things you see as a ridiculous, a subversive reading, is Batman just crazy and he’s the one in Arkham Asylum?, a spy-show and a western show merged together, you like James Bond and you like Westerns, this is that, so villainous, that Batman element pulled-back a little bit, a few gadgets, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, the bumbling character, The Avengers, Diana Rigg, so quirky, its not romantic but its not not-romantic, Mrs. Peel, the ridiculous stuff but in a serious way, Moonlighting, they broke the formula, he stumbled into something, perfectly serviceable entertainment for 1920, the Zorro Legion, all the dons put on masks, I’m Spartacus, the opening of The Mask Of Zorro, I’m ZORRO!, Batman comics in the 1970s, they have to work through all these ideas, better in the original, a ridiculous little coda, the self-made, the little boy’s dream, the right age for it, he held onto it and perfected it, B.J. , Meal mush and goatsmilk!, sounds like breakfast, an interstellar version of Zorro, planetary romance, A Princess Of Mars, feels very open and similar, so imagination, what are the possibility around every corner, The Pirates Of Ersatz, dual identity, back to my birth-planet, how could people have missed that opportunity, the same ending (its over), I stared a series, a retcon, a tiny little infodump at the end of the book, the Frailes (Franciscans), I pretended to have a small interest in life, horsemanship, in secret, go to Tibet and study with ninjas, that’s a prequel, San Juan Capistrano, in the middle and the end of his story, designed to be a reveal, all will be revealed, this is a mystery, give us another mystery!, deliberately cruel, the whole thing was a big wink, about expectations, the reader is rewarded for the knowledge that they already had, what’s in this chapter, what’s going to come next, spoiler soapbox, go back to favourite chapters, chapter titles as a guides, The Lord Of The Rings, children’s books, a preview, an affectation, a movie about a book being read to a kid, Dread Pirate Roberts, playing with the tension between, why Deadpool is such a great character, Fred Savage, Wilfred Brimley, Misery, when you’re reading Prisoner Of Zenda you’re taken away with a wink wink, in our post modern era, go look at Shakespeare, breaking the fourth wall all day long, a bunch of tropes and ridiculousness, that perfect path between the ridiculous and what we want from a story, story solving problems, doing all that work for Jesse, The Princess Bride is Zorro, essentially, the same spirit, Julie will allow it, if Julie were Jesse’s judge, would Paul be legalistic, when somebody lies people gets really upset, seems reasonable, repentance is important, a kind of conservationism, strict father conservatism, a gut reaction, don’t fritter away your money, do you’re research, I don’t really care about the details, a narrow escape, nope, none of that, wait I can explain, exactly, where’s my gavel, there’s a podcast there, hot takes, duly noted, Canadaland, a podcast format, we don’t have time to do all of it, what’s really important, this is an interesting story, nope not having any, half-price bookstore, Jenny Colvin’s speed dating with books, she’s reading books about every country in Asia, the Hmong, extra time, she’s just a reading machine, help with the curse, Alta California, Baja California, a poor choice, a Hmong movie, endogamous, hmoung the highest, Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Ethiopian population of Minneapolis, Toronto, Gran Turino (2008), Captain Phillips (2013), bitter flavours, we’re done.

The Mark Of Zorro - adapted by Yuri Rasovsky

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #538 – AUDIOBOOK: The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #538 – The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, read by Barry Eads.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 hours 22 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox. The Curse Of Capistrano was first serialized in 1919.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

All-Story Weekly, August 9, 1919 -The Curse Of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #398 – READALONG: Ringworld by Larry Niven

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastHotspur Publishing - Eat Fish And Die by S. Ron MarsThe SFFaudio Podcast #398 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa discuss Ringworld by Larry Niven

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Hotspur Publishing’s Eat Fish And Die (book 3: Hook, Blind and Stinker narrated by Eric Pollins), a satiric military SF audiobook series.

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, many people have a problem with this book, issues, classic big dumb object, the book hasn’t changed, oh bad, with live in very sensitive times, political correctness, totally unacceptable jokes, ‘Teela was one of the few women crying doesn’t make ugly’, “so I don’t rape Nessus”, joking and laughing, regaining confidence, is Teela a damsel in distress?, a hole in the Ringworld, luck, she isn’t saved by a man, a trope subverted, Candide, blind faith, rising up, worldbuilding, jaded spacer, quasi-murderous kzin, cowardly Nessus, N-Space, an author plot device, not so cool, Prill, Ascension, Jesse begins apologizing for Larry Niven’s, breaking Paul’s bubble with a fan favourite: Firefly, a lot of sex, defined as a concubine, 40 people on the ship, overly sensitizes, picks at people’s mind, every woman has a tasp within her if she knows how to use it, where are the vampires and ghouls, The Ringworld Engineers, he’s a wirehead, drugs, retesting, a stimulating environment, puppeteer is puppeteer, where’s the outrage over the puppeteer immorality, looking at the book the wrong way, if that’s your takeaway from that scene, let it go, non-sentience and the non-sentient females, Louis Wu’s freezer family, sentient is an interesting world, Philosophical zombies, Westworld!, Ex Machina, man creator creating a woman for sex, addressing a real thing, hard facts that people don’t like to think or talk about, differences between the genders, not being shy, gender switch Louis and Teela’s genders, non-reproductive sex, the intersection between reproduction and sex and gender, a biological fact, why do we go to the puppeteer world, motivated by breeding licenses, he has a beautiful woman’s voice(s), horror acts, I’m going to murder you, when you live in a society that has solved all the gender problems…, as a plot device, the whole book is “spoiled” on the cover and the back, it’s very interesting and let’s explore, in order to have a reason there have to be a series of coincidences, a treatise on fate and destiny, exploring through the story, she just needs to meet a man?, do you have any free will, the puppet strings of fate, the god gambit, she’s going to be alive for 20,000 years, Teela becomes a “protector”, retconing, Protector by Larry Niven, a 1 to 1 scale map of the Earth, Mars, after the Halo generation, trouble picturing it, a true fact, bigger than our imagination, the orbit of the Earth around the sun, did the Lying Bastard make the Fist Of God, the comet defense system, the shadow square wires, Earth has natural mechanisms for keeping itself in balance, there’s no maintenance crew for the Ringworld, laser taboo, Ringworld is so inconceivably big and the whole is not very big in comparison, plug the hole, the center cannot hold, things fall apart, entropy, the sunflower problem, ecology, the ring foundation material being exposed, no real geological activity, preventing the seas from being silted, all the systems that are needed to be maintained, good job Earth!, the Aral Sea, the Earth society, the homogenization of the world, Beirut looks like Budapest, Munich resembles Cairo, transfer booths and stepping discs vs. Skype, a global culture, people in other countries can be in the same room, the lucky ones, every number in South America, Louis is a big mix, Larry Niven is hilarious, Louis Wu and his Motley Crew, French and Chinese, a chrome yellow mandarin, so racist?, just a fashion, Teela was blue, globalism happens, google translate, the Larry Niven’s flashcrowd stories, not the Organlegger stories, not Known Space, flash zombie mobs, revolutions, 2000+ veterans heading to Standing Rock, North Dakota, not through the mainstream media, a slow motion flash mob, thinking about technology the way Larry Niven does, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, how are fly-cycles powered?, concepts or technologies from Ringworld, Neutron Star, Beowulf Shaeffer, my greatest hits of technology ideas, the Ansible (an anagram for Lesbian), Orson Scott Card, General Products Hull, anti-matter, Slaver stasis field, World Of Ptavvs, selecting for luck, a stupid (smart) idea, we don’t have a complete picture of reality, they’re using a different theory, manipulating probabilities, the Scarlet Witch and Gambit, there is no actual book from god, running a crazy (interesting) experiment with an infinite amount of puppeteers, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, sex solving all problems, Babylon 5, bonobo references, sexing your ways out of problems, obsessed by sex, anyone alive has someone in their family interested in sex, a science fan, something to think about, when did Isaac Asimov become interested in sex?, a good thing, the problems with it are so negligible, the fans of Ringworld are insanely interested in it, browbeaten into writing the sequels, a natural school learned from, booster-spice is straight out of Dune, ragweed, the Chaosium Ringworld RPG, Teela brown is well educated, bundled in with the luck, does having experience pain help with empathy?, the Ringworld foundation material, the way Douglas Adams explains how big space is doesn’t give you the same sense, this thing is really, really big, a barbarian swordsperson on a quest, he’s Don Quixote and she’s Sancho Panza, super-funny, “he stopped having sex with me when he found out about you”, almost every culture has done that in most of human history, a collapsed civilization, he knows magic, people barter with people, he’s honourable, stupid honour, she’d be ruining him, keep him the noble idiot that he is, wandering the Ringworld forever, that’s why there is a game about this world, Stellaris, the puppeteer world, leaf-eaters for lunch, “my love”, sexism is based on the distinguishment between male and female, races aren’t real, genders are real, French-ness, epicanthic folds, the end of racism, we all speak Interworld, there goes Firefly again, Joss Whedon, this is why you should pillory Niven: Wu travels the wrong direction for his birthday, “endlessly teased”, the Earth spinning the wrong direction, Niven has tapped into something amazing with Ringworld, a TV adaptation, how to depict the Ringworld on screen, mostly conversations about technical problems and possible solutions, that’s so interesting, the cloud over the city, it looks like a cloud?, that variable sword, Jesse does the voices, Louis the mediator, a xenophile, cool!, real racism, that’s racist!, Speaker’s viewpoint, Nessus’s character is brilliant, [“Write me a creature who thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man.”], Meskalanites as Yankee traders, the same story (in structure), what antlers are for, they’re cowards (cautious), they always attacked before they were ready, masterful foreign policy, sock-puppets, it’s both, the Outsiders, slave and food out of everybody, 350 pages, The Wizard Of Oz plot, Maissa’s theory: Teela is Dorothy, the Puppeteer is the Cowardly Lion, Sunflowers instead of Poppies, Louis is Dorothy, Teela as the Tin-Man, Prill as the Wizard, a road trip, it kind of looks like The Wizard Of Oz, Speaker as Tony the Tiger, anachronisms, when you make a kizinti laugh that’s going to be your last joke, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Starfleet Battles, drone warfare, an Enterprise made out of General Products hulls, a BDO, a BDO capper, invented and solved in one book, Gregory Benford, Bowl Of Heaven, Jesse engineer’s a dyson’s sphere without artificial gravity (using Ringworld tech), The Smoke Ring and The Integral Trees, low-tech characters lack a scientific education, Rammer is not known space story, a horrible dystopia, the corpsicles, sticking it to the man, A World Out Of Time, always weird sexual things, totally forgivable, setting Samuel DeLany aside, biological differences in the genders create biological imperatives, women seem to like to take care of babies that come out of their bodies, why do you think that is?, snakes don’t take care of their babies, a biological reason, snakelets take care of themselves, men seem to find women scarce and women seem to find men plentiful, these are facts, that’s what people do, recreation and reproduction, birth control technology has fundamentally changed human relations, walking around in bags, repressed technology, Jesse is going to get into trouble, protecting the make libido, horror stories, a culture of repression, from a biological stance, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, changelings, Rapunzel, Prof. Eric S. Rabkin, this totally a sex story, women always know who their children are and men don’t, the motivation behind horrible, men spread genetic material without cost but for women it is highly costly, the cuckoo, feeding baby birds is physically high cost, divorce in the age of social safety net, charged words, in defense of poor Larry Niven, sexist, colouring the re-reading, trapped in the police jail, flying the Improbable, put a ring around it, a fundamental disregard for women, a lessering of women, little low affect Hal Clements, he’s a man, books written by women, good books, an exercise in making characters, being unable to fully model, a callousness, plot movers to opposed to people, Prill is at a disadvantage, if you’ve been worshiped for a long time, non-violation of the Prime Directive, violated many times, Speaker as a male god, it doesn’t count on Ringworld, very worldist!, vampires and hominids, the lack of diversity, human speciation on the Ringworld in The Ringworld Engineers, bribed with Boston lettuce, less diamond so chaff, mining metaphors, one-and-done-it.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #353 – READALONG: Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #353 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
Or How We Got Along After The Bomb, a Nebula Award Nominee?, why this novel?, Now Wait For Last Year, The Man In The High Castle, the ideas are awesome, confusingly written, before the bomb, the earlier atomic blast, jumping back and forth without warning, a subtle change, quasi-flashbacks, a straightforward timeline, jumping between the characters, head hopping, Hoppy Harrington, the Dick themes, Bill’s ability, getting confused, body-switching, consciousness projection, who is Bill?, the parasitic twin brother, Beyond Lies The Wub, the captain is gone, a theme in this story (other than with Bill), telekinetic ability, taking Walt Dangerfield’s place, a weird comedy bit, impressions, is anybody in that satellite at all?, it sounds like him, is Hoppy dead?, he went to Heaven (the satellite), the audiobook narrator’s (Tom Weiner’s) interpretation, bad writing?, dear god!, psychoanalysis, creepy, a mad god resentful of his treatment, the killing of Bluthgeld, something very cool going on, the reason we read Philip K. Dick novels, the Philip K. Dick radio (and other audio interviews), Dick was easily manipulated, you’re an alcoholic, getting into jewelry, a super-impressionable guy, a Zelig, a very human thing (multiplied), Jesse has reviewed himself out, Jesse’s review of Dr. Bloodmoney: a radio repairman with no limbs…, a big fish in a small pond, what Dick knows, an avid mushroom picker, interacting with themselves, a talking sheepdog, Stuart McConchie’s horse, cheating wives, the dog, the rat that plays a nose-flute, he stole the story … but it became part of him (and thus his story), he is a part of her, he is literally inside of her, when someone tells you a story…, classic Dick touches, Cheyenne, a pastoral existence, like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge, they’re crunching their granola, playing video games while listening to audiobooks, Fallout 3, full of mutants, a bit of racism, the second novel with a phocomelus protagonist, Deus Irae by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny, supernatural powers, some life crisis, lifts from stories, The Great C, Of Withered Apples, “In Earth’s Diurnal Course”, a title for marketing, Dr. Strangelove, Bluthgeld as Henry Kissinger, Operation Paperclip, Robert McNamara, bone viruses, gooks, the half-baked, Marissa’s Fallout game, post-nuclear war, E-Day (Emergency Day), starts and ends on a morning, one of PKD’s tricks, Vulcan’s Hammer, Now Wait For Last Year, re-resonance, mutants going about their business, thing about the freaks, being that had been fused together, kind of beautiful, the rat pulling a little cart, one of the rat traps is also scurrying, the pizza rat meme, food and other essentials, radiation tablets, the mutants will be fine, the cats, cats start planning and scheming, Paul’s pic of the Roman cat, Mike Cole, ancient history, dancing pigeons, it sang for it’s supper, ruins inhabited by cats, Villa Appia, a rabbit, rabbits in the ruins, Hoppy’s plan, Looper, telekinetic powers, Hoppy is kind of like the Rainmaker, he heals a watch-spring, Galactic Pot-Healer, a technopath, recycling ideas, School For Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough, Brian K. Vaughn’s Ex Machina, the power to command mechanical objections, superhero comics, consistency, Mr. Pistorius (gets murdered), Bluthgeld is insane right?, does he have abilities?, if there is a viewpoint character… Mary Sueing?, Dick is Bluthgeld, we get deep inside his mind, the switch between dialogue and inner monologue, responsibility, his mistaken calculation, you can take it ambiguously, a catalyst for changing the world, his name, Dick likes German names, Mister Jack Tree, Mister Tree, jackfruit, the story of Odin (hung on a tree for nine days), myster tree?, there’s something central about him, undercooked, Hoppy’s desires and plans drive the plot, goals and ambitions, did Hoppy cause the war?, why am I eating this rat?, money is useless, a hoarder, cigarettes, coffee, Philip K. Dick predicted video games, the bottlecaps (are money), a haorder style game, Stuart McConchie is a modern game player, crafting, the boss, a real life boss, very autobiographical, did Dick know an armless and legless person?, Dick’s obsession with his dead twin sister, the whole “I can see into the land of the dead” thing, monstrous children, rock paper scissors, an angry little child, a snail, real senses, the owl, into Hoppy, where did Hoppy go?, into Dangerfield, Dangerfield had something growing inside him, California, so sad, his wife’s still up there with him, another drug overdose, marriage, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Little Movement by Philip K. Dick, Toy Story, Jesse explains the plot of The Little Movement, kinda freaky, an alien invasion fleet, the other toys, the kid is freaked out, everything is going wrong, a very dark Toy Story, by breaking the fourth wall he’s broken a rule, “that’s this book, kinda”, …because I like Germans, so many cool ideas, confusing, so many people, the central axis of what’s happening, Bonnie’s sleeping around, typical PKD wife stuff, petty office politics after the end of the world, post-apocalyptic travel is hard, Russians and Japanese on Catalina, on the other hand…, it’s not all bad, he’s going to automate his cigarette stuffing, hippies hanging out and doing hippy stuff, more about the alcohol, this podcast is petering out, sorry Mr. PKD, it’s not a great book, not the greatest bull-session ever, that sheep dog with no money, catch the stick, good comedy, kind of tragic, he is a monster (but you feel for him), a really good set-up, he got mistreated, surviving and not becoming bitter about it, Dangerfield isn’t bitter, what do they do in Russia, maybe there’s a bunch of other satellites up there, why did this get a Nebula nomination?, we are happy to have read it, whatever’s next on out list…

ACE - Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick
Peter Elson illustration of Doctor Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher

SFFaudio Review

The Age AtomicThe Age Atomic (Empire State #2)
By Adam Christopher; Performed by Phil Gigante
Publisher: Brilliance Audio[UNABRIDGED] – 10 hours

Themes: / parallel universe / urban fantasy / superheroes / detectives / noir / airships /

Publisher summary:

The Fissure connecting the alternate New York to its counterpart has vanished, plunging the city into a deep freeze. The people are demanding a return to Prohibition and rationing as energy supplies dwindle. Meanwhile, in the real 1954 New York, the political dynamic has changed. Nimrod finds his department subsumed by a radical new group, Atoms For Peace, led by the mysterious Evelyn McHale. Their goal is simple: total conquest – or destruction – of the Empire State. Adam Christopher returns with the thermonuclear sequel to Empire State – the superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.

The Age Atomic continues where Empire State left off. Some time has passed since the events of Empire State but the fissure has disappeared from the Empire State. Since the fissure in Battery Park is the source of sustenance to The Empire State, the climate begins to edge toward an ice age as time goes on. While this is happening, Rad Bradley uncovers a plot involving robots. On the other side of the fissure in New York City, a mysterious blue woman made purely of energy (I’m looking at you Watchmen) heads up a secret organization that seems to be researching Empire State technology for no good.

It would be hard to comment on this book without comparing it to Empire State. The Age Atomic is a little lighter on the detective noir and heavier on the robots, airships, and odd superheroes. I found the story much easier to follow than it’s predecessor because the plot was a bit more direct and the character’s loyalties weren’t in such a state of flux. I enjoyed the book more because of these differences – especially the more straight forward plot.

In the end, the book was a fun listen, the characters were enjoyable, and I had some serious flashbacks of Watchmen (down to the blue energy character). I especially like Captain Carson/Nimrod as the old-timey adventurer and would love to see a book involving his adventures. I would recommend this book to people who like comic books, robots, super heroes, and detective stories…or at least a decent subset of that group.

As for the audiobook performance, Phil Gigante did a great job as usual. He was easy to understand and did some good voices for the different characters. I also found this book much easier to audiobook than it’s predecessor because of the straightforward plot. I didn’t feel the need to back up as if I missed anything this time around.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of Empire State by Adam Christopher

SFFaudio Review

Empire State by Adam ChristopherEmpire State (Empire State #1)
By Adam Christopher; Performed by Phil Gigante
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 12 hours

Themes: / parallel universe / urban fantasy / superheroes / detectives / noir /

Publisher summary:

The empire state is another New York,. It’s a parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple. It’s a city where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes who once kept the streets safe have fallen into deadly rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York… until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants. Playing on the classic Gotham conventions of the Batman comics and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, debut author Adam Christopher has spun a smart and fast-paced superhero-noir adventure that will excite genre fans and general readers alike.

Empire State is a novel that sounds really great in concept but comes off a bit confusing in execution. This novel has it all – superheroes, detective noir, gangsters, prohibition, robots, alternate dimensions, you name it. If any or all of that sounds cool to you, this may be a book for you.

The story generally takes the form of a detective noir once you get into it except that the story’s perspective does not only stick with the detective all the time. As with detective noir stories, you don’t know who is on which side all the time and things are slowly revealed as the story unfolds. Unfortunately, the story became confusing as things developed and the loyalties and motivations of characters seemed constantly in flux. The characters didn’t have a whole lot of depth past being exactly what you’d expect from their role in the story (detective, gangster, old-timey adventurer, reporter, etc). Despite the confusion, I really liked the ideas and world that Christopher created in this novel. The world of the Empire State is a dark, foggy equivalent of New York that had me picturing scenes from Dick Tracy. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Christopher does in this world.

Phil Gigante did a great job narrating Empire State. Voices for different characters were distinct and gave a great vocal aspect to the nature of the character being done. That said, I don’t know if I would actually recommend this as an audio book. There were quite a few times I wanted to rewind a bit because I had no idea what just happened (I actually did rewind a few times which is rare for me). I think the ability to easily look back a page or two in a book would probably have helped with the confusion.

Posted by Tom Schreck