The SFFaudio Podcast #493 – READALONG: Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

October 1, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #493 – Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer talk about the Tau Zero by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
1970, a storylet, a novelette, a novella, To Outlive Eternity, the title is a “SPOILER!” for the novel’s premise, the revised title, surprises, how it ends, keeping it hard SF, suddenly a fantasy, its not Earth, dragons, genetics, some resonance with Genesis, keeping it plausible, as hard as he could possibly make it, cosmic background radiation, relativistic speeds, Bussard ramjets, overestimating interstellar hydrogen, beyond the boundaries of the universe, great detail, world building loving detail, faster and faster, no big crunch, dark matter/dark energy, sadder and darker, a disaster book, 2.5-3 hours in, the narrator, the singing of the poetry, a conspiratorial voice, a slow start, accelerating, the format mirrors the speed of the ship, we’re on a planet – the end, starting 10 years into the novel, “they were doomed to roam space for all eternity” – people didn’t care about spoilers in 1967, what am I doing when they’re not doing disaster stuff, the other element of SF, is all of this about birth control?, the consequences of the pill, Catholic boys, ethics of relationships, were it written today…, not equal representation, is Jesse unfair to today’s science fiction?, dealing with this a lot, jealousy, relationships, conversations about who is sleeping with who, the subplot about a lady getting pregnant, sexual revolution, new when he wrote it, novel for the people then, a colonization program, something that Heinlein has dealt with, Larry Niven, psychology, feels like a Frederik Pohl novel, sensory deprivation, secrets, gotta fill those pages somehow, a back seat to step up, the characters are so bad, 25 men 25 women, 10 is too many, as Scott thinks about the book, things happening to the ship, the lives of the people on board, a few eye rolling things, 50 years ago, and even the women would be able to do this, we gotta have a party, these are human needs, a lot of that was uninteresting, it didn’t ring true, told from the wrong point of view, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, a similar setup, a murder mystery, told from the A.I.’s POV, a reason to care, Swedes in space, hanging out at cafes, a whole novel, Sweden’s going to become the Roman Empire, a major figure in science fiction, the way Anderson goes after Scandinavian stuff in there, Roger Zelazny, Irish mythology, fear not Paul, Iceland, how this world was developing, the history of the Roman Empire, Dominic Flandry, The Psychotechnic League, world government, space traders in space, two future histories, Baen Books, what kind of Poul Anderson you want, Lenora Christine, a prison biography, Denmark, resonance for the plot, a poem, Aniara by Harry Martinson

Aniara is an effort to “[mediate] between science and poetry, between the wish to understand and the difficulty to comprehend.” Martinson translates scientific imagery into the poem: for example, the “curved space” from Einstein’s general theory of relativity is likely an inspiration for Martinson’s description of the cosmos as “a bowl of glass.” Martinson also said he was influenced by Paul Dirac.

he’s influenced by stuff, sagas, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Planet Stories, Boat Of A Million Years, 1970, nominated fro a Hugo, Ringworld, vestigial, aliens, you don’t say “I love characters”, you like his aliens and his scale of ideas, a big idea at its core, reproductive freedom, Hal Clement, Robert Silverberg, William Tucker, a new audiobook, exploring Poul Anderson, Bronson Pinchot, The Broken Sword, Flandry stories, connecting with Anderson, The High Crusade, along the same lines, Writers Of The Future Volume 23, (2007), Primetime by Douglas Texter, a time machine that can only go forward in time, watching history pass, 10 minutes long, 1955, Flight To Forever, forward to the future, helping a star empire out, The Accidental Time by Joe Haldeman, done twice, our tau is approaching zero, maybe the whole purpose of the novel: meaning, thinking about people back on Earth, how there’s no meaning to anything, they’re journey on the spaceship is of no value in itself, commuter bus value, keeping your regular goals in order, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, travel for work vs. travel for tourism, newness, the journey was the point of it, the Paris Metro, did you feel this in the book?, the existential angst people are suffering from, the boring opening scene, a celebrity at the cafe, underdeveloped?, looking at our own lives, headed toward that goal, lonely at the goal’s end, after this I’ll do that, on to the next thing, what our purpose is, a shift, a lot to explore there, a breakthrough of some kind, hobbies, fighting with foils, what with the dragons there now…, meaning in progeny, passing all this knowledge down, a religious book, a whole abortion debate, seven months pregnant, the problem of resources, an actual debate, earwax and toenails, recycling, a discussion about resources and meaning, unlimited births, how people in regular life find meaning, Scott has kids and found meaning, there’s something going on, an epic time scale, the end is rushing towards us, an act of faith, too short for Scott?, a philosophical novel, what is meaning?, what is purpose?, the prefect setting to explore that, removing the things we all assume, “libertarian” is a slur, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, neoliberalism, neoconservationism, women can sleep with who they want, with only 50 people how could you not be communist?, no room to be libertarian, more rightward drifting over time, hard to imagine a libertarian generation starship, a generation starship that orbits one star, this concept of libertarianism is nearly confined to the United States, a scandophile?, the rude American, who is funding this spaceship?, the cultural dominant country, the international crew, dragon bone work, their new world, a premonition about standing on a hill, that which is spread out before you, a man stood with his woman, cinnamon, iodine, and horses, poetic beautiful, the ending is the best part of the book, the existential worries just disappear, it’s gone for the reader, sleeping too much, what is the purpose of existence?, you can’t just watch old movies – that’s no way to live, heavy metals, we’re not saying were not going to not have nuclear war, a new beginning is all you need to get rid of that existential god, “here you go, bud”, one of the amazing things about the Fallout games, Fallout 3 and 4, and New Vegas, that sense of a new beginning, a sense of freedom, an invisible wall, I can go any direction, I have my own fate in my own hands and I can see ahead of me, being presented with the New Earth, you can’t recapture that except by playing another game, why the ending works really well.

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 015

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 pages 28 an 29

TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY - Galaxy June 1967 page 39

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Galaxy August 1967 - TO OUTLIVE ETERNITY

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #473 – READALONG: The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft

May 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #473 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, Marissa Vu, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Hoverson discuss The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
19 Nocturne dot net or dot org, time-traveling, novella, Astounding Stories, June 1936, stricken strucken, the centerpoint for everything that H.P. Lovecraft writes, cats and poetry, cannibalism?, “The Dreamquest Of Unknown Political Economy”, Trantorians, Isaac Asimov, Olaf Stapledon, immense breadth of time, Doctor Who, Albert Finney?, Jack Finney, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Altered Carbon, the Uber economy, the HPLHS adaptation, economist, psychologist, the Foundation series, Jevons, connecting economic cycles with sunspots, cosmic horrors, the Jevons paradox, a dark insight into human nature, Malthus, eugenics, fascistic socialism, The Mound by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop, traumatized by the wrong things, a utopia story, intellectual pursuits, laying some seeds, we wouldn’t notice anyway, 100% nerds, they’re librarians, puritans, an infinite library, Borgesian in its vastness, the spider people, the beetle people, they left their library behind?, Fahrenheit 451, cloud computing, playing around with time, curiously tenacious cellulose fabric, the things under the trap doors, Mencken’s definition of puritanism, World Of Greyhawk, adamantium stone, the Drow, stemming the tide, held at bay, very allegorical, putting down of the dark desires, strange other stories, The Outsider, seeing his form, the horror of seeing your own body, horror, science fiction, evil?, animals, Dreams Of Yith by Duane W. Rimel and H.P. Lovecraft, the rugose cone minds occupy the previous bodies, entitlement, no malice, where the horror is, a horror that nobody can even imagine, talking teapots and singing cats, from a pre-cartoon era, The White People by Arthur Machen, evil is not wickedness, talking rosebushes, airships and submarines, privileges, intellectual adventures, inward bound, what Nathan Peasley’s doing in the age when ferns ruled the earth, meeting with secret cults, generous freaks, how we would treat animals, curiosity rules, putting our minds in a wolfpack, living like a wolf, committing suicide, exercising your rugose body, Red Dwarf’s Mindswap, an exemplary species or individual?, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, Julie’s narration, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, juvenile delinquents, Yithian kids, we’re abused herd animals, The Roller-coaster by Alfred Bester, a Westworld-like kill-torture-sex device, dreams and books and architecture, much nicer, being possessed by a library, do they wipe the minds to protect themselves or to stop messing with the timelines?, WWI, a very different sequel, Gothic tale, haunted house, a haunted basement, where you suppress that what you fear and dread, Earth’s entire history is a Gothic story, The Thing On The Doorstep, consciousness transference, The Tomb, The Nameless City, crawling through tunnels, The Beast In The Cave, At The Mountains Of Madness, resonating with the shoggoths, two levels, more exploration, Professor Dyer, when the Doctor goes to Gallifrey, Gallifreyans are Yithians, meddling, Seeds Of Doom, Genesis Of The Daleks, their Mormon mission, a rite of passage, a fascistic library, we don’t know enough about the slug people, Hammers On Bone by Cassandra Khaw, A Song For Quiet, Weird Detective, investigating a crime, Peasley’s rider went looking for cosmic horror info, access, amnesia, the undercooked conspiracy, the long fingered foreigners, special knowledge, Nyarlathotep, the MiGo, the Cult of Hastur, the Cult of The Yellow Sign, The Repairer Of Reputations, suicide booths, family plots, a hint of a story, family drama buried deep, what must have happened, this is fascinating, my dad has become this alien sociopath, the wife’s story, the son’s story, all Lovecraft so deeply, he was ugly, visage, he’s got a wife, a surrogate child, obsessed with libraries, how the avatar of Peasley’s occupier, A Year Off, the restriction of funds, Quebec or Florida, Antarctica, New York, the love of the home and the desire to explore, how important dream is, what his dreams mean, what Lovecraft’s stuff is all about, obsessed with his dreams, Donald Trump’s twitter account,

From the moment of my strange waking my wife had regarded me with extreme horror and loathing, vowing that I was some utter alien usurping the body of her husband. In 1910 she obtained a legal divorce, nor would she ever consent to see me even after my return to normality in 1913. These feelings were shared by my elder son and my small daughter, neither of whom I have ever seen since.

Only my second son, Wingate, seemed able to conquer the terror and repulsion which my change aroused. He indeed felt that I was a stranger, but though only eight years old held fast to a faith that my proper self would return. When it did return he sought me out, and the courts gave me his custody.

the kid sought him out, there’s a whole novel in there, we have to race past it, Wingate is essentially Lovecraft, Lovecraft’s dad, the mother’s maiden name, we get rid of the women, they don’t understand us, or they understand to much, women are scary, I.N.J. Culbard’s comics adaptation, what that face looks like, drool, I had the most strange expression, a striking face, traumatizing, high on morphine, what the fuck’s going on, if you’re the wife…, the HPLHS adaptation, Al-ice, vestments, pretty amazing, the ending, almost comical, the polypous invisible horror race, an extended descent into the cellar, twist ending, a thousand Twilight Zone imitators, the weakest part of the story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, an Inception level twist, we already knew that,

No eye had seen, no hand had touched that book since the advent of man to this planet. And yet, when I flashed my torch upon it in that frightful abyss, I saw that the queerly pigmented letters on the brittle, aeon-browned cellulose pages were not indeed any nameless hieroglyphs of earth’s youth. They were, instead, the letters of our familiar alphabet, spelling out the words of the English language in my own handwriting.

tentacle-writing, a massive letter to his son, a long boat trip, Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon, abandoning his son, is he going to kill himself?, just fleeing?, everything he imagined actually did happen, the heart of this story, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, reproduction without women, back to the text, self mutilation, giving up everything you’ve been looking for, bad idea, Australia, the biggest spider, am I mistaken in thinking the star headed vegetable carnivores of Antarctica are pretty nice folks?, people is people, racism, discrepancies, how many gay friends, he hates foreigners, anybody he hasn’t met, fear, fear of the unknown, raised so isolated, he is literally The Outsider, a night walk, to clear his mind, seeing people inside having a gay party in a familiar building, he is the horror, a professor of economy who becomes a professor of psychology, a sign of bad character, Darkest Of The Hillside ThicketsThe Shadow Out Of Tim, a marine biologist, made vs. suggested, no Sotho, Nug-soth, we’re going to get magicians back, filed under revisions, a pocket-sized version of Fungi From Yuggoth, high weird, panoramic and picaresque, Ramsey Campbell’s early mythos stories, visions, Campbellian weirdness, surrealism, a giant rolling head, a progression of imagery, the lidded bulbs close heavily once more, somebody’s guarding, the third stanza, a stream of putrefaction, hovering mist, those dead gates, the silver gates of Yith, is Yith the city or the planet, the machines, the secret that would bring the dwellers back, a mirror of what we’re seeing on Earth, another planet, the glowing dome, Lovecraftian key, The Book, at last the key is mine, unseal the lid, they have to do this repression, what does human mean?, eyeless huge and bloated head, striking imagery, Soth = Smith, caged by the great race, whistling horrors, the 9th stanza, carrion eaters, high in the even sky, the beings of Yith, waiting to be eaten, bat winged beings, snouted winged folk, who is doing the dreaming?, is it Peasley?, distilling the lovely imagery of delving, 150 million years ago, the blocky ruins of Interstate State Park, very Yithian, all the gardens, tables and pens and standing desks, their technology, weird mechanical contraption, convex mirrors, the keyboard hasn’t been invented, a clicking conversation, a horror, David Lindsay’s A Voyage To Arcturus, the sense, they possessed many senses, they can’t smell, of the body, more primal, smell seeds and swamps, taste is too close, not intellectual enough, hey all look like they’re wearing dresses, low and body-like, pleasure senses, chocolate, honey makes babies happy, a utopia dystopia based on reading and writing, being able to taste things, mashed potatoes, a secret favourite, he wanted to try everything, no wonder his wife left him, the ideal consumer for British food, a strange story, almost plotless, Neal Stephenson, a mystery at a distance, Jesse was struck, how he found out all his information, he reconstructs the journeys, he goes to all the places, visiting all the libraries, reliving his life, Sweden, he’s done things, two fans, more Lovecraft coming, The Dreams In The Witch-house, Inssmouth, Dunwich, the differnt adaptations, the 1972 Skull Comics adaptation, cute Yithians, the ship’s doctor, action, different ways to do things, Julie’s going to mess people up, told from the women’s point of view, Red Hook, The Music Of Erich Zann, racism, six pages and an eternity, a lot of streetwalking, one of the two Yithian senses.

Graphic Classics - Volume 4 - H.P.Lovecraft: The Shadow Out Of Time adapted by Matt Howarth

The Shadow Out Of Time - adapted by I.N.J. Culbard

HPLHS - Arkham Advertiser, May 16 1908

The Shadow From The Abyss by Larry Todd

The Shadow From The Abyss by Larry Todd

The Shadow From The Abyss by Larry Todd

HPLHS - The Shadow Out Of Time

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of “There Are Things I Want You to Know” about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson and Marie-Francoise Colombani

August 14, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

TANTOR MEDIA - There Are Things I Want You To Know About Stieg Larsson And Me by Eva Gabrielsson and Marie-Françoise Colombani“There Are Things I Want You to Know” about Stieg Larsson and Me
By Eva Gabrielsson and Marie-Françoise Colombani; Read by Cassandra Campbell
5 CDs – Approx. 5 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 21, 2011
ISBN: 9781452652344
Themes: / Biography / Sweden / Family /
Sample |MP3|

There is only one person who can tell Stieg Larsson’s story better than he can, and that is his lifelong companion, Eva Gabrielsson. This is her book.

There is no doubt that writing this book was a blend of catharsis and revenge for Stieg Larsson’s life partner. For the listener it provides deep insights into the man, his habits and his motivations for writing his books. All that annoying coffee drinking in the books actually IS a reflection of Stieg’s own life habits and I now forgive him for the every detailed sip in the books.

I am also left wanting to read the other perspectives on Stieg’s life, in case Eva’s is not objective in her views. It “feels” as though she is truly telling the story of a man who truly brought his fight for justice and morality from his life to his fiction. (There are other biographies out there.) He blended facts and fiction – and for those of us listening from North America – provided a view of political troubles in our idealized Sweden. Eva adds another layer of Swedish conservatism with her difficulties as Stieg’s lifelong partner, having no children, her union went unrecognized by the state and Stieg’s assets were claimed by his almost estranged father and brother.

Of note to you, dear readers, is the fact that both Stieg and Eva were huge Science Fiction fans. If you haven’t dipped into the trilogy yet, Eva’s explanation of Salander’s (the main character) cyborg-like brain in a Pippi Longstocking body with superhuman strength may whet your appetite.

It is clear as Eva’s tale unfolds that she was intimately involved in the unfolding of Stieg’s trilogy. In a way they are her stories too – the books – their children in some odd way. This story may be the story of her custody battle for the rights to finish writing (raise to adulthood) Stieg’s final book, The Vengeance Of God. From listening to her tale and her writing style, I am positive that she will have no difficulty bringing the story to completion, should she be given the opportunity.

The reader, Cassandra Campbell, has been the narrator (or one of) in a host of books I have listened to and enjoyed (especially The Help). I was surprised that she pronounced the Swedish words and places perfectly adding immensely to my enjoyment of this audiobook.

Posted by Elaine Willis

Review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

October 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

WHOLE STORY AUDIO BOOKS - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
By Stieg Larsson; Read by Saul Reichlin
Audible Download – Approx. 18 Hours 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Whole Story Audio Books
Published: May 2009
Provider: Audible.com
Themes: / Mystery / Murder / Intrigue / Political Intrigue / Hacking / Violence / Sex / Sweden / Politics / Feminism /

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own family. He employs journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

Better to read than to listen…maybe. There are too many characters in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and we get to know all their names and all their breakfast habits, no matter how minor a role they play in the story. And like the overdeveloped minor characters, there are also many overly lengthy descriptions and over-described scenes that are not key to the plot. It may be that both the character and the storyline problems that I describe are more distracting in the audiobook version than in the print book. After finishing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I started reading the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, in paperback in order to compare the experiences. I still notice the excessive detail in the paperbook, but it is a more minor annoyance than in the audiobook. At first I thought my discomfort was because The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a translation from Swedish, but I recognized that the translation is seamless. The only other Swedish books, in translation, that I recall reading are those of Astrid Lindgren and, if memory serves, they weren’t nearly as cluttered as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. A quick look at the paperbook edition of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo revealed that the print edition comes with a genealogical table for keeping track of the numerous members of the Vanger family.

On the whole the almost 19 hours of listening is pleasant enough. There is no doubt that the main character is compelling, the plot interesting and that the reader, Saul Reichlin, is brilliant – but as an audio experience it can be daunting – at least without carrying around a character map.

[Here’s one!]

The Vanger Family Tree

Posted by Elaine Willis