The SFFaudio Podcast #488 – READALONG: Dune (Book III of III) by Frank Herbert

August 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #488 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, Bryan Alexander, and Will talk about Dune: Book III “The Prophet” by Frank Herbert aka the third third of Dune.

Talked about on today’s show:
1965, The Santaroga Barrier, El Santos!, Luke Burrage, the worst part of the book, good stuff in here, amazing, stupendous, and really good, not spectacular, the most spectacular, man to man, a knife fight, the sparkling knife fights of conversation, reading the books for the action, an idea person, heavy on the ideas, the setup, the culmination, splayed out, family atomics, Paul’s analysis, which baby to never see again, it isn’t a Dune problem it’s an every book problem, who wants answers?, Herbert’s answers, it can’t exist without the other two, the only movie we should ever talk about, the scenes, the dialogue is all there, what’s missing, there’s a gun that doesn’t go off, very strange, the gun of Count Fenring, denouement, a friend of an emperor, Fenring vs. Paul, “Count Fenring: A Profile”, within his capabilities, not about Paul, this is Count Fenring’s book, this guy’s the one guy that’s never been in my vision, a lot of promise, what kind of power is it going to be?, the power of invisibility, Kwisatz Haderach, Jesse’s twitter profile, who Jesse modeled himself after, I don’t want that mantle, about the accretion of power, why Dune Messiah is such a fantastic book, private language, they did seduce Feyd, the Imperium beyond the Harkonnens, Russian Czar’s abdication, even if Fenring could defeat and kill Paul it wouldn’t stop anything, tapping into the collective consciousness, a Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Handerson quadrology, no attempt has ever been completed, walking wounded, sterile, a could-have-been, a powerless eunuch, forty or fifty pages where Paul isn’t mentioned, worldbuilding, Leto II, Alia lives, seeing all ends, the surfer on the wave, a lot of smart folks anticipating, the flags, C.H.O.A.M. or U.N., does that mean the bombs don’t hurt?, cover, saves the emperor’s life, a beautiful cruel joke, to reign in Hell, soft and wonderful, straight from the Iliad, too comfortable, from their decadence, a callback to the Trojan War, rest and pay taxes, Ottoman Janissaries, going crazy without a purpose, all the what ifs, suppose Paul dies, kill the rest of the universe, a tyrannical genocide, let’s go conquer the galaxy, destroy the spice, galactic civilization collapses, interstellar society, the best possible outcome, a Boethian decision, Book II, parallel structure, ooh I’m smart, happy birthday, it makes you feel like a supergenius, plans within plans feints within feints, combat to the death, another parallel, Feyd tries to take the Baron’s position, Thufir’s blindside, the Baron is so lovably evil (and competent), make Arrakis great again?, gluttonous lust, the slaveboy with a posion stinger in his thigh, let Feyd think that I saw it myself, actually I’m the smart one, Nefud, you still need me, I’m going to show you still need me, I’m going to remember this, the next scene that we never see, killing his harem, to take his punishment, Alia sting, Stilgar’s challenge for Paul’s leadership, should I cut off my right arm, so well highlighted, a fear-power relationship vs. a love-power relationship, the Baron hates truthsayers, the Bush administration, it could be true that’s good enough, truth means nothing, for the sake of tradition, ride the maker, this idea of history or necessity, bought a Bene Gesserit, you pay for that Amazon Echo dot but Amazon should be paying you, you know my tastes, I’m totally gay, the straight up interpretation, I don’t want them spying on me and manipulating me, on the Kinsey scale, other ways of getting semen, one would be valuable for…, advice, I trust them not, changing the subject, when Thufir has a fight with the Baron, there are things that you don’t need to know, Salusa Secundus, that tiny little fact (that the Baron wanted to turn the Arrakis into a prison planet), you fucked up, Rabban has to be cut off, the whole of the missing years, at least three years, the toddler, to save himself from the emperor, how the sardaukar are created, a spare heir, acting instinctually smartly, a political calculation that saves the Emperor’s life, to tame Thufir Hawat, making all the right chess moves, the Baron’s fate is not as forseeable, Baron Harkonnen did nothing wrong!, shall I dispatch her now Emperor, a victory for her brother, the revenge, kills her own grandfather, justice, this poor Baron, still ends up dead, a brilliance to this, easy to dismiss, everybody here is a monster, you should be afraid of Paul, Gurney gets an Earldom, and every surviving Atredies gets a title, Baronets all over the place, massive reward, this victory, the prophet Mohamed, all the Muslim lands, satrapys, Alexander the Great, Leopold II, plundering Africa, squeezing and squeezing, always a touch of the calculated, not from the heart, wanting everyone loyal, I NEED him, he’s a tool, forget the equipment, we need men now, like in the first book, shortly thereafter, not what the old Atredies would have done, regretting the loss of the equipment, the men vs. the equipment, nicely balanced parallel, the appeal of Paul, one of many many games, a fantastic power fantasy, Slan, the X-Men, Kyle MacLachlan, master of the universe, age 14, Achilles was 17 in the Iliad, cheeks too full for the desert, seductive, quietly undermining, if Aragorn was the main character in The Lord Of The Rings, Voltaire, tend your own garden, Irulan, how cruel Paul is to Irulan, I’m gonna treat her so bad baby!, Irulan plotting to kill Paul, the ultimate internal question, religion and politics in the same cart, the ultimate power fantasy for Paul, this quote is fantastic, treating Herbert as non-fiction, the Amish, that orthodox effort, that moment of peace for Paul and Chani, quiet hypocrisy, “terrible purpose” is repeated 23 times, another change, feeling it, a nice lady who has a little test for a little boy, the heat and pain pile, an iconic scene for all of science fiction, I see the truth of it, explosion of realization in the mental sphere, a drug book, Gaius Helen Mohiam appears like a witch, kind of kind, wench poured my water, her apprentice, you disobeyed your orders, until she shows up here at the end, how is she depicted, this child is an abomination!, is it TP? telepathy?, just like when I was getting consciousness uploaded when I was a girl, is she wrong?, mom shouldn’t do drugs when she is pregnant, making the sacrifice, child genius, leading a regiment at age 3, she’s meant to be the bad guy, we’re supposed to recoil, the coming jihad, only a glimpse, the dark future, this desert power, addicted to oil, solar power, Dune solved, when they go too far, only spice powered, no solar, no wind, cutting-off avenues of caught, Jesse is not Elon Musk’s team, artificial intelligence, AI as a weapon, hippy dippy engineering sociologist anthropology guy, terraforming, this is about O.P.E.C., the Hudson’s Bay Company or the East India Company, his stock in CHOAM is forfeit, brutal indignity, title rich and money poor, the role of oil, Butlerian Jihad as a useful phrase, techlash, jihad is not a word that sells well today, biased data, accentuating inequalities, dreadful flavour, future history, Isaac Asimov’s future history, tinkering back towards that, cast away AIs, the decline of Empire, science as priesthoods, that last Cold War, Giving Up The Gun by Noel Perrin, banning crossbows, giving up nuclear stockpiles, blew their noses off, high technology and its opposite, star spanning starcraft and medieval style politics, how Marissa’s games match her audiobooks, Horizon Zero Dawn, a robot safari, retreating from technology, ruins are computer screens, going back to the Amish, Mennonites, weird policy, no electricity, airpower, blenders running on compressed air, technological policies, what are the ramifications of this technology, landline telephones, cellphone technology, Africa’s wired cellular wallets, digital currency based on cellphone credits, what technology will be useful, Canada’s participation in NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, WarGames (1983), nukes, we took the missiles but not the nuclear tips, Defense Minister and Prime Minster of Canada, advice on top secret stuff, managing treaties, political cost, being in NORAD, Iceland’s invasion during WWII, you can have your country back, a giant bully south of the border, obey the will of the giant country, John Diefenbaker, John F. Kennedy, what Syria is all about, the White Helmets, no giant surprise, an actual machine out there doing work, get on board or find a path through, the Bomarc Missile Crisis, the joint strike fighter debacle, if you look at the history of Canada in the right way, a positive force, Pierre Eliot Trudeau was paling around with Castro, a true image, Cuban doctors, plot machinations in the book mirroring a reality happening in the nows, mushrooms, more Marissa territory, hanging out with that worm, a coma for three weeks, some trip, time opening up, a sniff of a new drug, Feyd’s knife’s poison is transmuted, “poison” appears 117 times in Dune, chief poisoner, the Russian doping epidemic, bend over comrade, early on in book three, she took the coffee and sipped it, Frank Herbert’s at a rock concert, tripping out on the floor is transmuting, hot and delicious, room service, heaven for Jessica, she had thought of coffee and it had appeared, Tau, the subtle poison of the spice diet, enlightenment, their minds rejected what they could not encompass, more Slan, the guide, guided through the trip, Joe Rogan, taking the arrogance out of it, training, the etymology of psychedelic, psyche = soul/mind, delos = clarity/manifest, no mischaracterization, pattern recognition enhancement, seeming like a truth, the way the birds fly, “truth” is in the book 90 times, “pattern” comes up 48 times, the pre-spice mass, gathering up the magic mushrooms, a convenience, metaphorical, the power to destroy a thing is the power to control it, heavy shit, super-dark, science fiction genre history, partaking in jaspers, not the full-dune effect, amphetamines or coffee, town awareness, telepathy, drugs as a huge theme, stimulants, barefoot in the head, Robert Silverberg, Norman Spinrad, 1980, super-anti drugs, an exponent of coffee, Neuromancer, case is strung out all the time, reflecting what was happening in the culture, his case officer, Armitage implants a drug neutralizer, the ultimate solution for Reagan, The Hellgramite Method, how Keith Moon of The Who died, suicide, how science fiction shifts, innerspace going from biological to cyberspace, dated in interesting ways, the role of gender, Planet Of The Apes (1963), where Paul rides the sandworm, making the models feel realistic and big, the worm as a dragon, the Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, much of madness more of sin, coffin worm of a dead world, a man making a steed out of a giant god, Reading, Short And Deep, Strange Exodus, gutted cosmic carcass, primal lust, humanity becomes a parasite, the image of man conquering death, it looks like a shot from Dune, a flea on a dog, the ecology, threatening a chain reaction, destroying all the oil like Saddam Huessein during the first Gulf War, not an atomic model, oil and drugs, Jessica’s power to transmute, a superhero story, Doc Savage stuff, if you’re anxious about your body, why Bryan doesn’t like the Lynch movie, minute operations, a weirding module defense in The Appendix show, that interior way, the women dare not look in that place, a place that women can’t go, the balance of the force, controlling the gender of their babies, controlling ovulation, super-yoga, a superpower, ultradiscipline, she didn’t seem to have an inner life, the women in here have huge inner lives, we spend a ton of time in Jessica’s mind, what’s going on in Paul’s mind, he becomes an enigma, the way Jordan Peterson talks about male and female minds, Jessica is a mom then she’s a reverend mom, Paul you do what’s good for you, is her mind expansion there a reflection, if men don’t have father figures, being raised by mothers alone, mothers want to protect their children, toughening, only giving into one instinct, having been tested, why the kwisatz haderach has to be male, the Y chromosome, how midwives are always women, midwives dudes, are male obstetricians uncool?, a caste based thing, training schools, Gurney even went to some school, the Suk school, training academies, he’s a mentat, who is the emperor’s mentat?, male domains and female domains, women’s roles and men’s roles, anthropological science fiction, traditional societies, strict gender roles, a remix of a medieval society, historical framework, Paul as the white savior, a male who solves a female problem, sexism, too easy, how powerful the role of Jessica is, Chani and Jessica and Alia, the brilliant one, the wise one, here too, there has to be a pattern, a version of Dune with Paula Atredies, Leta who bears a daughter, Grass by Sheri S. Tepper, if one was doing a university course on science fiction, one semester for each of Dune’s three books, an amazingly rich text, he’s the baddie, the subversion, from the fourteen year-old’s point of view, a wonderful adventure that makes you feel smart, over and over, a war book, a drug book, history, the Folio Society edition, Scott Lynch, Dracula, Bram Stoker, non of his other books are Dune level, The Dosadi Experiment, Whipping Star, Herbert is playing games of complexity and depth, Gene Wolfe, mind stretching, Samuel Delaney, a mental workout, an emotional workout, The White Plague, The Children Of Men, emotional destruction, taking story into all kinds of places, 159

The Sandworm Strikes - illustration by Ed J. Hannigan

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #476 – READALONG: Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

June 4, 2018 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #476 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Evan Lampe talk about Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Future Science Fiction, June 1954, the notes that PKD wrote, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, in the late ’70s, The Exegesis, remembering vs. projecting, his revised ending, he doesn’t understand the mindset he was in when he wrote it, really sensitive, obsessed with tiny little details, his wives and wive characters, what this story is really about, why he doesn’t like the ending, the adaptations, the radio drama, the Electric Dreams adaptation, loose, they’re trying to figure it out, messing up, suddenly the UK doesn’t know how to do science fiction at all, plots vs. scenes, not well thought through, as it was unfolding, doing so much, no through-line, unified thought, why is it called Crazy Diamond?, Jesse doesn’t listen to music, noticing music, colonized by music, chamber music was important to PKD, little details, the name of the boat, John Dee vs. John D., John Dowland, one of two pseudonyms PKD, sixteenth century lute music, Jack Dowland, Jacks and Jills, androids and gynoids, their replicants, what’s wrong with androids?, throwaway technology, what is this story about?, by attacking it from the outside we can work our way in, homages or in-jokes or fanservice, a FASRAD mention, I had a dream, dreams have their opposite meaning?, no coda, thematic overlap, Easter eggs and thematic episodes, entropy, the shoreline, artificial world, a construct, The Truman Show, hoping for a reveal, holding the record, the world is sterile and fake, diners and McDonald’s, fake but they know it is, no growing your own food, understanding this episode, why is their a pig lady?, to make it quirky, just a pig-lady to talk to, the ending is terrible, interesting but they don’t really understand what they’ve got, action movies, ways of adapting these things, callbacks and nods to other shows, 1950s stories, straight up adaptations, Double Indemnity, James M. Cain, let’s do a gender swap with the ending, the girls are teamed up against the guy, it doesn’t make any sense, all the IVF treatments, as a whole it is a failure, useful for analyzing the story, a lead in, escape, El Dorado, Cockaigne, Ultima Thule, 2050 is a nightmare but 1950 is perfect, Time Out Of Joint, near and dear to Dick’s heart, something static that has to be escaped from, the frontier, The Man Who Japed, Solar Lottery, political dystopia, Vulcan’s Hammer, Doctor Futurity, stagnation, on the right page, the third choice is suicide, relentless advertising, a fourth choice, none of this, the way our ancestors lived, no stove, the proper choice, imposing our intellect, the proper choice is to buy the FASRAD, the FASRAD would liberate her, Evan’s podcast: American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time), interpretation based on life experience and life goals, Rorschach, Evan’s plan is to buy land in Wisconsin, homesteading, a Pink Floyd song, rubbing his record, no attribution on the label, all very interesting, musical flatulence, erotic loveplay, personalized google ads, does this happen to you?, gastric processes, bully crossed nag,

“Men!” an unctuous voice thundered on all sides of him. “Banish internally-caused obnoxious odors forever. Removal by modern painless methods of the gastrointestinal tract and substitution system will relieve you of the most acute cause of social rejection.” The visual image locked; a vast nude girl, blonde hair disarranged, blue eyes half shut, lips parted, head tilted back in sleep-drugged ecstasy. The features ballooned as the lips approached his own. Abruptly the orgiastic expression on the girl’s face vanished. Disgust and revulsion swept across, and then the image faded out.

brutal!, so funny, what is the solution?, to replace your intestines with a plastic chute, the skin salon and the hair salon and the nail salon, less animals, prettier and less farty, what ads are for, having your least used eye replaced with a augmented reality google glass, being replaced by your robot, the real threat to Ed Morris is the robot is going to replace him as the husband and at his job, how did this story come into existence?, door-to-door salesperson, fuck you go away I don’t want to hear it, really good at sales, Immanuel Kant would say, a means to an end, Jesse consistently the worst salesperson, robots that endlessly horribly peruse you, they have no feeling, vacuum sales and repair, door to door vacuum sales, learning to repair vacuum cleaners, you’re going to be amazed, Electrolux, FASRAD-style, this wonderful delightful machine, the Jones’ will be so jealous, the job of a husband, a threat to him as a man, no kids, impotence, the PKD-stand in character, the “mute” button, there’s something fascinatingly interesting about this story, we need these appliances, there are advantages to living in the city, a really horrible house-guest on coke, machines need to shut up, totally relating to this story, DVDs and Blu-Rays, the mandatory FBI warning, the state advertising itself, is their anything you can’t do, I’d be insane to buy you, they follow you around until you die, our life, Twitter isn’t the real world, electricity and central heating isn’t the real world, a certain kind of reality, the real world is inaccessible, the reality of bots, ad blockers, the most insidious ads, comments, favouriting everything, falsely identifying people at bots, bots can’t care, a means to an end, the horrible thing about about robots as sales people, the horrible ending, stuck in that loop, military, a whole different track, tapes, bot-like behavior, you’re the product!, soldier versions, replacing humans (or men) in their places of work, Jesse is worried about his dishwasher taking over the podcast, finding yourself as friendship with a bot, ego growing for years, Blade Runner androids are emotionally stunted, they can care about stuff, a horribly wonderful ending, a horror ending, Ed abandoned his wife, empty an vacant, the horror of the world, night and darkness and cold wind, a good night’s sleep, all day, all night, sheer dress, when you’re far away you can see her shapely form, things are worse when you get up close, translucent up close, farther away it is sheer, when married couples go on dates why do they dress up?, right about the story, the story is all about gender, proving his masculinity to the robot, paying on installments, becoming middle aged, he’s worried about being replaced, automation, the Trump voters, what the market says is productive labour, with [Karl] Marx, a philosopher in the morning a fisherman in the afternoon, what to make of our lives when not tied to the market, a liberatory technology, as a labour historian, 35 years of exhaustion, automation as liberation, undermining this particular story, other robots pause, a good story for looking at our reality today, people will be lining up at the Apple store, the door-to-door sales technique, the product is a good one if you can tone down the mouth, working in a sales room, being unable to defend yourself against a sales-person, falling into traps, learning the skills, a sales person is a person, the L.A. Festival of Books, people on scripts, easily influenced, full of compassion for people, bizarre question, do you like books?, I like to eat animals to punish them, do you know how many fish are in this jar?, the Consumer Electronic Shows, booth babes, reviewing video cards, the mid-America Truck Show, catching a booth babe on her lunch break, they can turn it off (a lot of them), there’s never a point when the FASRAD says “when you buy me I’ll shut up”, commuting is a whole thing, the process of driving down the road, Puttering About In A Small Land, a massive amount of stress, the most fearful driver on the road, very important, how many times coffee and mashed peas, big boobs, advertising, commuting, a device that makes you read your boss’ mind, it’s telepathy, seeing the scene with PKD behind that dashboard, honking horns, 60 million miles a second, The Jetsons, as close to pure comedy, the “Doc Labryinth” stories, The Short Happy Life Of The Brown Oxford, the self-driving car, hypno-motor control, Elon Musk, advertising as a whole, performed a crucial function in democracy, inexpensive or free media, TV and radio advertising, the buyer-seller relationship, ensuring media is distributed to people, BFM radio station ads, enjoyable ads, movie trailers, when the money is going to be expensive, the Superbowl ads, write something that people won’t hate, why isn’t everyone crazy in my particular way, Adbusters magazine, Occupy Wall Street, getting information to people who need it, the Tide ads, don’t eat the Tide Pods, new Coke vs. old Coke, who’s setting the agenda, that is horrible, that’s mind control and it works, we’re poor everyone else is rich, how come your phone is nicer than mine, you cannot understate how powerful advertising is, advertising paid for media that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, the other stuff subsidized the news, CNN doesn’t seem to have reporters outside of their studios, their product is fear, who can we hate this week?, political parties paying for newspapers, magazines without ads, CBC, BBC, the Age Of Persuasion, Network (1976), The Jimmy Dore Show episode in which Ed Schultz explains how he got fired, the system is all set up, six media companies own everything, adding oxygen to an anaerobic environment, the ad breaks, out of the goodness of their anonymous hearts, they are controlling us, political advertising, doing ads for The SFFaudio Podcast, ads for vodka, ad for gas remedy, ad boob extender, quivering breasts, a comedy piece he also enjoys, your wife is sexually attractive but not so intellectual, Sally swept into the room her breasts quivering with excitement, don’t be a dick, given the world we live in, public funding for media, even PBS and NPR have been captured, as soon as you step out of propaganda you know what not propaganda is, is this really a big deal?, how everybody thinks, so tailored to your inadequacies, Structube, an online furniture company, structural tubing, that is the bots, because they are literally robots, the FASRAD can never quit, generic shitty advertising, tampon ads, Maybelline, Minority Report (2002), Facebook, Pure New Zealand, googling murder weapons and IVF stuff, the 13 twitter trolls that swung the election that the 6 billion in free advertising didn’t do, how robots were going to save the world, the way robots are running our world, not the kind we envision, value of labour, bots are working for corporations and institutions, a Roomba, Roombas going door to door selling their services, Jack London, The Iron Heel, Everhart, you’re just Luddites, private hands own the robots, a type of socialism, the people have to control the robots, 200 years in the future,

“Trans-Solar Products greets you!” an immense voice boomed in his ear. Morris groaned and hunched down in his seat. He was getting near Terra; the barrage was increasing. “Is your tension-index pushed over the safety-margin by the ordinary frustrations of the day? Then you need an Id-Persona Unit. So small it can be worn behind the ear, close to the frontal lobe –“

is that an ad blocker?, anti-anxiety, cigarettes and coffee, the mood organ from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, we wouldn’t have a lot of PKD stuff if he wasn’t so stressed out, a science fiction comedy, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, weird stressed out and paranoid, a moral judgement, don’t take the Soma, Bryan Alexander is a jet-setting homesteader, the dream of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is fulfilled with Wikipedia, the novelty hasn’t worn off, Verne Troyer is trending, we are becoming subject to what Google wants us to search for, we’re getting shaped, the anticipating is making things harder, a very good story, the story is very meaty, resonance, the two illustrations by Luton, a giant beckoning woman in space, Blade Runner: 2049, the FASRAD, you’re going to buy me!, this stubborn looking dude, great illustrations, how other people interpret, what they’re seeing in it, was Solar Lottery‘s cover was commissioned then the story was written around it, The Zap Gun, the darkness of the world, fiddling with shoelaces useless, what inspired a scene-let, you’ll feel better after you’ve turned responsibility for me, they took the other ending, Sally becomes Ed, the inversion, they’re muddled, so much in here, I’m sure it will mean something, it fell apart, Annihilation (the movie and the book), the moving tattoo, that movie works because they had a plan, plans are made in the process of editing, a committee, what if there’s a heist!?, the Robin Hood thieves in the forest, why is that there? No reason, what the hell are the QCs, are we all really dumb, going senile, how this world they live in works, why is the food rotting, entropy, Ubik, sometimes a thug or a hood will attack a person at night, The Hood Maker, the twin Beetles, twin broken down trucks, what’s the boss doing, you stopped the crime and then the crime happens?, playing him out?, the editing and the script doesn’t, drugged up by the drugs in the commercials you don’t notice, there’s only one fence in England, do these stories work in England, more French than English, everything’s so fucking small, one foot square garden, they don’t have a living room, there’s a bar in the house, and a den, these stories do not work in U.K., Western and mid-Western America, cedars, the dismal night wind, the radiant lens, Upon The Dull Earth, part of the issue, a cultural mis-translation, too American for a British production, The Impossible Planet, a cup of tea (not a cup of coffee), the most widely used legal brain-stimulant, the smoking rates in Taiwan, cigarette smoking around the world.

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick

Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick - illustration by Luton

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #452 – READALONG: The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

December 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #452 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Talked about on today’s show:
We three met, “a reaction” to The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, I wonder what these guys will think Jesse will think of this book?, idea filled, big ideas, explorations of societies, tons of imagination, successfully modeled my brain, idea after idea after idea, a neutered human, this weird society, the jester, how art works, fear blocked, cut off from the whole universe, reminiscent of Olaf Stapledon, this is Clarke’s Last And First Men, a rewrite of Against The Fall Of Night, Gregory Benford’s sequel, a rethinking of the original book, different Bach fugues, from a writing perspective, more to contribute, the British Interplanetary Society’s webpage, 2013, 1930s, the opening scene, 1935, six versions, Gnome Press, 1953, 1956, the Wikipedia entry, to showcase what he had learned about writing and information processing, in the individual scenes, Diaspar and Lys, the anecdote, different enough, the robot with the mental block is solved in two different ways, to FMRI the robot, robot psychology, so much in this book, Hal 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sentinel, what drove his whole career, Paul is quiet, the Mad Mind of this novel, a battle at the end of eternity, more about computers and artificial intelligence, game theory, they’re not really human at all, they never have a childhood body, they’re never actually human, bio-manufactured like the robots in Westworld, emotionally muted, a whole book for someone else, the lack of love in Diaspar, factoids, John W. Campbell, telepathy, Startling Stories, the fact that everybody is telepathic, Jesse can become telepathic, the only kind of telepathy that makes any sense, modelling, the telepathy doesn’t pay-off, a balance between the world of Diaspar and the world of Lys, civilization vs barbarism, an equal but different, the whole problem of a lack of conflict, an Olaf Stapledonism, an excellent point, biological vs. technological, Apollonian vs. Dionysian, Zardoz is Sean Connery in a diaper, a brute barbarian, weird WTF moments, reborn over and over again, continuity of millennia, the futility of immortality, editing of memories, an inversion of Logan’s Run, a central computer, a society of youth vs. a gerontocracy, perturbing the system, let’s posit a future in which a global catastrophe has happened, a forbidden zone outside, a robot that goes crazy, the back half of Logan’s Run, This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, The Giver by Lois Lowry, how Alvin has tucked away genitals, hairless except for his head, drugs, a flat affect, “Wei, Wood, Marx, and Christ”, Brave New World, “Our Ford”, a factory societies, a dystopia utopia, the RPG elements, Dream Park, “he breaks the railroad”, railroading in RPG terms, the sagas, how this novel works, his adventure outside the city (to the stars), Cthulhu or something?, Lovecraftian elements, “we have lived too long out of contact with reality”, the world shaker, seduced by Lys, a very soft horror, the hermit kingdoms of Korea and China, the treasure ships, forcing trade upon you, an outside force, he’s pre-programmed, he’s the only who isn’t pre-programmed!, even the jesters, a foreshadowing, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, from the robots point of view, their whole undercity, places to dust, do they have their own system?, sitting in the background while Alvin is exploring the depths of the city, how the humans are, intelligence machines looking at art, in other hands (not Clarke’s), how art is chosen, what those pieces of art look like, art without conflict, still life for everyone, no machine may contain any moving parts, Steve Jobs, an oval egg you keep in a drawer and don’t look at, Universe by Robert A. Heinlein, optical fiber, control systems, no repairmen necessary, look at this mural, now the robots have something to do, the bones of old Rome, they don’t know what the word “tomb” means, the Great Ones, the Old Ones, the great race of Yith, a fake out, how the city was constructed, experiences the city of Disapar from a billion years in the past, this is all a dream, I take away the blocks that you have, you are free now, parallels, the difference between the humans and the robots, less hairy, metal?, “Rivets and Trees”, Marissa, HBO’s Westworld, nefarious vs. right and proper, thoughtful and philosophical, humans and robots, Blade Runner, at least one of the characters is an older robot, nuts and bolts inside, three kinds of robots, Diaspar is Westworld’s future by a billion years, guests and staff, now you are Mickey Mouse, the names, diaspora and lis, identity politics of 2017, you can’t use the word tribe, a white male protagonist, is he white?, is he male?, is he human?, a long flowing yellow mane or a curly tight man bun, being human or not, going full Olaf Stapledon, the future history has no bearing on 2017’s obsessions and attitudes, the Long Now Foundation, long term consequences, technological vs. biological, everybody is concerned about that, a Wiki of Ice and Fire, Lys (off the coast of Essos), George R.R. Martin, Dis (a layer of Hell), the heaven where everybody is the same, the city of Dys where everybody is the same, leaving both, the 1980s Alvin the robot submersible, looking for hidden things, playing the sagas, Skyrim, the final scene, in polar orbit, the night was falling, Scott’s entire reading life, sensawunda, seven strange stars arranged in a line, back to Earth, an ever expanding circle of exploration and wonder, among the stars, no eye-rolling, a hero’s journey, circular, an old Locus issue celebrating Robert A. Heinlein, one of the pictures of Heinlein visiting Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka, The Night Flier, a Cessna Skymaster, an incredibly weird guy, Lord Dunsany, he leaves the world, literally on the other side of the world, remarkable, a global influence, an internet like life before that was possible, how amazing his computer is in this, an intelligence machine, a non-distributed and smarter Siri, government by AI, doing stuff with computers that nobody is doing (even Isaac Asimov), what they do rather than how they do it, totally timeless, we’ve gone past atomics, infinity plus one, he knows what computers are about, process information, storage, we are robot computers with biological casings, circuits and synapses, is there anything in this story that feels dated?, holographic projection, unsqueaky chair, amazing!, urtexts, cleanly and generically, the trappings are timeless, their genitals don’t work, sex, kind of interesting, the fish in the sea, a radar operator during WWII, bouncing radar off the Moon, what this technology can do, why are we worrying about breaking these Nazi codes?, a plot, so good, full of ideas, The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke, a lot of Clarke is public domain, The Nine Billion Names Of God, The Star, everyone should read more of Arthur C. Clarke, 4001: A Continuing Of The Odyssey The Should Probably Have Been Left In The Drawer, Rama, Paul has issues with Gregory Benford, stick to the originals, the Black Sun, E.E. Doc Smith, black holes, until Hawking thought about how black holes could evaporate, a really good book, the audiobook, other versions, the one on Audible has music under the narration, the book for the blind version, Northstar Publishing, audiobook rental stores (like Blockbuster), truckers were the original hyper-consumers of audiobooks, women were supposed to have been the ones to make the household magazine purchasing decisions, mainstream, commuters (and everybody) not the women of the house, when Amazing Stories broke into the market, Railroad Romances, Westerns, women wanted to read about science fiction, I’m not a trucker, the BBC audio drama of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, abridged audiobooks, blind people aren’t the only ones who need audiobooks, if you didn’t see them on the shelf, totally out of print, nobody can get this one, a deep cassette hum, Paul’s trip to Yellowstone in 2005 (got him into audiobooks), a great idea, 2003, Audible’s 20th anniversary, before iPods, overseeing the explosion of audiobooks, nothing that isn’t unabridged, audiobooks are mainstream, are more people listening to books than are reading books now, where did you get that time?, double density book-cassettes from Brilliance audio (each channel having one track), apparently cassettes were expensive, CDs are still around, 40 CD audiobooks, Blackstone Audio rentals, Downpour has rentals, Books On Tapes, Audible by mail (Netflix for audio), Recorded Books, a slight competitive advantage, Bryan Alexander.

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

Startling Stories, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

NORTH STAR AUDIO The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #069 – Riya’s Foundling by Algis Budrys

May 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #069

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Riya’s Foundling by Algis Budrys

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Riya’s Foundling was first published in Science Fiction Stories, 1, 1953.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume One: 1: Voyage To Venus, 2: The Red Moon Mystery, and 3: Marooned On Mercury

April 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Big Finish - Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume OneDan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 1, 1: Voyage To Venus, 2: The Red Moon Mystery, and 3: Marooned On Mercury
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: January 2017

Three audio adventures based on the Eagle comic strip “Dan Dare” created by Rev. Marcus Morris, adapted and drawn by Frank Hampson.

Dan Dare - 1: Voyage To Venus

Brilliant test pilot, Dan Dare, is chosen to fly the Anastasia – a new experimental
spacecraft – on its maiden voyage to Venus. This isn’t exploration – it is to make first
contact with a mysterious civilisation that has sent technological secrets as a goodwill
gesture. However, what Dan, Digby and Professor Peabody find on Venus isn’t
goodwill, but a terrifyingly intelligent, cold-hearted ruler, the Mekon. A creature
destined to become Dan Dare’s nemesis – and Earth’s greatest threat…

Dan Dare - 2: The Red Moon Mystery

Unable to return to Earth, Dan Dare and the crew of the Anastasia head to the
desolate planet Mars, where Dan’s estranged Uncle Ivor is part of a research team
working on a top-secret archaeological dig; but when they find the base wrecked and
the scientists missing, Dare, Digby and Professor Peabody soon discover that the Red
Planet is not nearly as dead as everyone thought and that Ivor’s expedition has
woken an army of deadly insect-creatures that threaten to swarm and engulf the
Earth… Dare must stop the aliens, but can he really resort to genocide in order to
save the human race?

Dan Dare - 3: Marooned On Mercury

When a distress call summons the crew of the Anastasia to the burning wilderness of
Mercury, they are reunited with their old ally, Sondar. He tells them of the
beleaguered Mercurians who are held in thrall to a cruel new taskmaster – the
Mekon! The exiled Mekon is rallying his forces, plotting a desperate revenge against
his former homeworld of Venus and his hated enemy, Colonel Dan Dare!

It had been quite some time since I’d heard much about Dan Dare, at least twenty or more years until the classic comic character’s adventures were rebooted by ace author Garth Ennis in 2009 for Dynamite Comics. I was glad to hear that B7 Media, those folks responsible for the terrific Blake’s 7 adventures from a few years back have revived the man with the iconic name: Dan Dare.

Taking advantage of the audio drama format, these three new Big Finish Dan Dare adventures are truly terrific entertainment. They’re modern boy’s own-style space adventures, a kind of unapologetically forthright solar space opera, and starring no less a figure than Britain’s most iconic test pilot turned space adventurer, Dan Dare. For those unfamiliar, Dan Dare is one of those lapping-over delights from the end of the British Empire days, an ever just so slightly alien import – like the Rupert Bear books, or Captain Britain, or even Judge Dredd – and as delightful as a tin full of Turkish delight!

It is hard for me to review audio drama the same way I review audiobooks. I listen to audio drama at night with my eyes closed just as I’m drifting off into Dreamland. This means if I want to review them, I must re-listen to the shows over and over in order to get all my facts straight (that I love to is a side benefit). I need to know exactly what’s in the show itself, and what I only dreamed was in the show. And in my nightly re-listening for two weeks, I must say that all three episodes are really terrific – professional – solid work – as good as you would want them to be. Even with three different writing teams for three episodes and the fact that the three shows are mapped to three storylines from the very inception of Dan Dare, there’s very little for me to complain about. If you pushed me, really pushed me for some hard critiques of the shows as a whole I could come up with a few pitiful ones. I’d say, maybe, that the actors for Digby and Dan have voices just a bit too similar to each other, that maybe the personality of Professor Peabody – going from a hard-ass corporate profiteer to a stalwart champion of the undertrodden is a bit quick. But I really cannot complain. I got two wonderful weeks of nightly entertainment from these three episodes; each combining some of the very best elements of some of my favourite adventures into three all new shows. I’m telling you, if you like stories like The Empire Strikes Back, or Metropolis, or DOOM, or Aliens you’ll certainly love these new Dan Dare adventures.

Now, twist my arm just a bit more and I’ll tell you a secret… oh yes, I loved the first and second episodes, but that third episode, with those wonderful sympathetic Mercurians… it is my favourite.

Some fun, fast facts comparing Dan Dare in 1950 and Dan Dare in 2017.
-In the original comic strip Digby was Dan’s batman (his gentleman’s gentleman), not so in 2017.
-In the 2017 audio drama, Dan Dare is a vlogger!
-In 2017, Dan Dare’s dad is in hospital, in what sounds like a coma, and he regularly visits him (as does Digby).
-Professor Peabody was a professor in 1950 and still is a professor in 2017.
-The 2017 Dan Dare is set in the 2040s, the 1950s Dan Dare was set in the 1990s.
-In the 1950 Dan Dare “Eagle” was the name of the magazine where Dan Dare appeared, in 2017 “Eagle” is the name of the corporation that built Dare’s spaceship.
-And, the 2017 Dan Dare uses the medium of audio drama (or radio drama) as part of the plot.

Here’s a video reviewing the history of Dan Dare:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Eagle V1 No1, April 14th, 1950

The SFFaudio Podcast #362 – READALONG: The Game-Players Of Titan by Philip K. Dick

March 28, 2016 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #362 – Jesse, Paul, and Marissa talk about The Game-Players Of Titan by Philip K. Dick.

Talked about on today’s show:
Ace Books F-251, December 12th, 1963, The Man In The High Castle, nominations, a worthy follow-up?, a high bar, somehow I ended up in a taxi with no memory of how I got there, whaaah?, bluff (the game), the landed class of a depopulated earth, Monopoly, Candlyland, Liar’s Dice, the game of Life, dice, cards, spins, their powers of imagination, just so ridiculous, Marissa really liked it, a short story by Dick, Jupiter, test the game on the kids, there’s something to this, the way we conceive of how Philip K. Dick wrote his novels, we know almost everything about H.P. Lovecraft, but Dick was a talker not a letter writer, one aspect of Dick’s life, the game aspect, sitting around playing Monopoly is an obsessive horrible experience, egomania, weirdly emphatic, very philosophical, if Monopoly was a real thing… (and it kind of is), it has very little to do with skill, lots of luck, Peter Garden had a rough night and got into an argument with his car, the car scenes, the cars are some of the most realized characters in the book, the elevator spills its guts, simulated personalities, doors and elevators and cars, the Rushmore effect, a kettle that reports on you, how the rushmore circuit got installed in everything, the Talky Toaster episode of Red Dwarf, AI circuits, Mork & Mindy, Pocatello, Idaho, Berkley, California, New Mexico, the plot, Earth has been subjugated by the Vugs, nuclear war, immortality, bindmen, the Titanians, that’s not the plot, the Earth-Titan War, sterilizing most of the earth, factions of Vugs, are the Vugs trying to live on Earth, living like humans, a lot of telepaths, The Pirates Of Penzance, Mr. Tagomi’s lin: “Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream”, the key for Dick to doing that cool thing, Pete Garden’s visit to Titan, they change the reality of what’s on Pete’s card, Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field, Joe Schilling, that little hint, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, a really cool cipher, please tell me if I’m human or not, psionics, telepathy, had Dick taken it even farther, Dick and his characters are on speed in this book, checklist of Dick themes, homeopapes, boobs, marital infidelity, the men are the major players, are they trading property and women?, the reason I have to get divorced…, having a baby is national news, somebody in Ontario had a baby, why is their syndicate called “pretty blue fox?”, NATO-style call codes, ham radio enthusiasts, PBF, two or three books back, robot brains on little carts (the Lazy Dogs), childish, Now Wait For Last Year, Dick is teaching his kids, children’s culture that we forget when we are adults, if I was to pop out a baby next year, distraction techniques, maybe as a social dating thing, another glimpse into Dick’s life, a playful book, character names, a couple named Angst, a guy named Calomine, Lucky Luckman, Mr. Gains, a cop named Hawthorne, sin (Nathaniel Hawthorne), the Vugs had initials, E.B. Black, E.G., a clue for us, a moderate vug, a very soft occupation, interpolation of the vugs into Earth’s society, the U.S. occupation of Japan after WWII, okay, I guess we’re playing the game, a way to encourage humans to keep breeding, the depopulated earth, that record store in New Mexico, a village sort of feel to the novel, in other novels, his core set (of characters), a haunted landscape, Peter Garden, Pete as a symbol for infidelity, importing a wife in for him, she bites the rabbit paper, a little more kosher, Garden, a story, a very short story by Dick called Out In The Garden, a wife and her duck, a duck in a suitcase, grocery shopping and getting her hair done, Sir Francis the drake, a poem by Yates, Leda And The Swan, Zeus turns into a swan and rapes a woman, a poem about sexual assault, Helen of Troy, a fantasy story about a woman who has had a relationship with her duck, a guy is cuckolded by a duck, Dick is always worried about his wife cheating on him, Sylvia, name puns, not even probable, Freya, the goddess of fertility, Carol, Pat McLean, an eight year old sought after by a 200 year old man, that crazy big bender, gotta go take all the drugs (like it is his job), the ending fake out with the drugs, getting precog abilities when taking meth, double blind (or double bluff?), a cold war metaphor, like poker with even more random elements, Solar Lottery, pairing books, different cultured futures, what is destiny and fate?, a completely legitimate way to go, instead of a meritocracy or a democracy, let’s just magnify this out a bit, well, that marriage didn’t work out, Eye In The Sky, a group in the same way, Inception, whose dream is it this time?, a clique of people you spend time with, it’s about Dick’s personal life, social dynamics, intruding on things, the outsider vs. the insider, Dick divorces his wife Sally but that’s okay because John likes her and…, Sally brings his new boyfriend in from the east coast, success, the pseudopodia robot cleaner, riper and ready for potential citizens, the non-bindmen, how did that happen?, now you can have all the property in California, the Jack Gaughan cover, what’s going on?, a stack of deeds, there’s not enough detail to reconstruct this game in reality, Jesse says “undercooked” a lot, the human squares, rolling is spinning (maybe), I hate Monoply (but I really do hate it), it fascinates us, a brilliant horrible strategy, controlling the housing supply, brilliant and evil, everything to do with Monopoly is horrible, the origin story of Monopoly (the Landlords Game), showing the evils of capitalism, trusts roll-in, he stole the game, her idea is thrown out and the rules she lays out in Monopoly actually occur, the ironies of Life, a horrible game, it happens within the family, you can see it coming, it’s crushing, what are the vugs playing for?, playing for a life on Earth, what Luckman’s doing, the vugs got so entranced with the game they created that they are subsumed by it, crass to gain power (instead of playing it for a lark), he’s trying to crush the kids, I don’t wanna play that game, Jesse’s housing costs are because of how others are playing the game of life, they’re playing the game wrong, live read books then later die (there’s no winning), a way to spend a rainy afternoon with your kids, the psionic talents, telekinesis, telepathy, precognition, Pat gets a bit of the precog’s point of view, the precogs could be wrong, finally methamphetamine does a good thing, all the layers of deception, it was kind of exciting and leavened with dollops of humour, Max the passive-aggressive car, driving Joe down the bumpy street, so many good scenes, a little bit of Ubik, it’s in our future, a lot of technology talking to characters, coming up soon, AG-Chemi from The Simulacra, like a parallel world, if you take the rules of any one Dick novel…, using JJ-180, I love Philip K. Dick’s mind, The Cosmic Puppets, Peter and Mary, he re-uses names, one could very easily, a Philip K. Dictionary, the checklist, he’s such a fnool, The War With The Fnools, the wonderful thing about a book like this, unofficial Harry Potter encyclopedias and concordances, unlike Lovecraft, S.T. Joshi, Robert M. Price, the Journal Of Philip K. Dick studies, how many of the stories use the name Pete or Peter, homeopapes and autofacs, the rabbit paper, there’s a story called Autofac, we’d buy the heck out of that book, do it as a blog put it together as a book.

The Game-Players Of Titan by Philip K. Dick

ACE Books - The Game Players Of Titan by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

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