The SFFaudio Podcast #774 – READALONG: Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction
The SFFaudio PodcastJesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Trish E. Matson, and Jonathan Weichsel talk about Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
unmuted, you’ve probably read my books, a wonderful novel from July 1964, Worlds Of If, very proud of himself, as a teenager, screenshotted, omigod, adding a new element to the story, explore this idea in the most horrible way, the Baen paperback, spoiler on the cover, the last page of the book is on the cover, what’s going on here, who wrote this, the title gives away the ending, what we now call preppers, a newspaper article, a freeholder, inspired by Heinlein, Heinlein’s changing the world, magazines about how to survive a zombie apocalypse, wanting the Walking Dead to be real, Freedom Is A Lonely Thing, what the book’s about, about being a slave, an oxymoron, if you hold something it is not free, held by your daughter/wife, mini biography of Alan E. Nourse, the dedicee, Friday was partially dedicated to the wife, both Navy men, who’s the main Heinlein in this book, former Seabee, decided to retire, 2,000 people under him, a helluva book, the scene where they’re outside and Ponce’s airplane shows up, Duke is going to live in a cave with his mother, some transition scenes, before and ponce and after ponce, three books, surviving a nuclear apocalypse, pioneering, life under Ponce, Karl K. Gallagher, is a pretelling of Starship Troopers, a partial retelling of Tunnel In The Sky, colonizing planets, he’s a YA character, The Door Into Summer, same thing happens, they steal a car, one of the cars is missing, Ponce’s world is also stuff we’ve seen in By His Bootstraps, the most extraordinary thing about this book is it’s set in 1964, there isn’t another novel where it doesn’t start in the future, such an interesting book, does an alternate history count?, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, a Heinlein break/cleanse, Glory Road, fixate on the costumes, such a distaste in your, the long pork, stick with chicken, Farah Mendlesohn’s book, her opinion, off the rails, cannibalistic, laughing so hard, tears streaming down cheeks, so weird, reread, the weakness of this book is the beginning half, skipped everything until the pregnancy reveals, character stuff, well done characters, not likeable, Jesse knows all their names, Barbara and Karen are interchangeable, we know Duke way too well, how real they are, Grace the alcoholic in denial, has her son castrated, I hate this book, if I was gonna stop, off the rails, you’re supposed to hate them, why am I reading this?, how do you fix this book?, change the POV from Hugh, straight out of Tunnel Of The Sky, as soon as Ponce shows up, tell it from Joe’s point of view, Joe talking to Hugh, Joe is sticking it to Hugh, Hugh is not a racist jerk, Karen, set in 1964, legacy racism, present day racism, we gotta stop this, there are still racists, that little joke was there to seed us for the final revelation, two different covers, redid the cover, that doesn’t solve the problem, there is no way to fix this book with another narrator’s point of view, what makes the book great, you wanna hate a racist, if you hate them so much, like Grace, insipid, we’re speculating, would she have cared?, a caricature, the fucking Karen, you fucking idiot Heinlein, he talks about taboo subjects, cannibalism, incest, horrible arguments, repopulate the planet, we don’t need to do incest, muddle through, dad I always found you handsome, what a horrible man, he was right to bring it up, a terrible movie, Noah (2014), pregnant because of Methuselah, Noah’s wife, we’ve increased out gene-pool, and the cat’s pregnant, and there’s a cow and a calf, he’s piling it up, decrease our displeasure, much more obviously as a Jonathan Swift, the grossness has an appeal, he’s an asshole, he made mistakes, authoritarian, sexist?, never chattered when her man wanted her to be quiet, he knows that he is wrong, he never does that, we think Duke is worse than Hugh, when Ponce shows up we shouldn’t have knuckled under, plot armour, or the book continued, muddle through and hopefully plot armour will save you, the first half of the book is a mirror to the second half of the book, as soon as the bombs go off you’re fired, we’re all going to be equal with no employer employee relationship, even Barbara and Karen, an equal prospect to Duke, strike a spark, everybody thinks Hugh’s sexy, my father figure, my best friend’s dad, throwing over his wife for a younger woman, acting irrationally, unreasonably, a history of alcoholism, solve their problems by drinking, decide the way they think it should be, rarely seen in literature, that was all she was, consumed by alcoholism, Hugh tells her story, shacked up with me, tarpaper roof, decadent and fussy, she was admirable at one point, turned to pot, saved all humanity, something Heinlein did himself, built a bombshelter, that’s not bad, female characters, why do women have to become fat and useless, nothing, zero, a Hugh and Ponce book, Kitty, Dr. Livingstone, cannibalism, incest, kittens, infuriating, in here twice, the other hidden theme, transgender stuff a couple of times, pleasant surprises, Doc thinks he is a boy cat, impressive actually, something in Ponce’s world, that idea, 1964 and farming, interesting, reconstruct the world with a few book, books are money, I kill you my son, the mirror universe of the future, including copyright, every kind of Heinlein theme you could want, it’s not capitalism, a funhouse mirror view of capitalism and the United States, an international planetary black supremacist, we should hate it, he’s created a funhouse mirror of American society in 1964 and hate it, wow it’s in the future, Joe is our reverse character, just his skincolour, every single character has an attitude that could be “I got mine”, his idea to get the cards, he’s a negro until he pulls a gun on you, it’s my cave, my machine gun, I know that this system is wrong, I’m in charge, enlightened Greek dictator of a city state, gonna send you back in time for fun, a parallel scene, stacking the deck 100%, to force the plot to accept the time travel bit, as a teenager, the castration reveal, shocked, we knew that it was coming, almost everybody has been tempered, thumbs taken off, what’s happening to all the sluts?, almost exclusively, some European shows up with a ship, you’re a slave now, slave bosses, I went to an island in the South Pacific, a blackbirding island, I stopped telling the story, slavery is wrong no matter what race does it for whatever reasons, we miss it, daddy I always wanted to have sex with you, I’m a sexpot, the little speech at the end, a bait and switch, have your balls cut off and serve me, the same bait and switch, structured very similarly, an annoying habit of making you infuriated, there’s so much to say, hated it less the second time through, a lot more nuanced, efforts at nuance, conflated Barbara and Karen, somewhat relieved, exploration of who should be on top, sacrificing your servants, runaways in the mountains, we are all free to walk our appointed paths, honestly convinced of his own benevolence, a cheap clincher, as a possibility, Christine Jorgensen was literally mentioned in one of the letters, any time travel story where one character is two character it’s incest, broaden our horizons, one character talking to himself all day, one of the letters, handwritten, an literary gabfest, let’s consider Edgar Allen Poe, Poe was the best writer to read or re-read, he could never be milked dry in one reading, the case of the Purloined Letter, when you consider the very subtle, how about Mark Twain next, a coded message to her, spelled correctly, if you can read this answer the same way period, he’s doing what he’s telling us what he’s doing, he’s telling us to read this book that way, consider the name of the cat, descendants of Africans, cannibalism is a planetary thing, around here any more much, serial killers, every Catholic is a cannibal, take in the divine, it’s a metaphor as well as an actual cultural practice, origins of capitalism, eating people’s lives up, different slave mentality works, as a manager of a factory, the same argument slave owners made to their slaves, in that light, it scares us more than it scares Heinlein, Heinlein is more afraid of Khrushchev actually unleashing hell, capital resources, in our timeline, it’s not a hearing aid, it bugs his wife, a very masterful book, he misjudged his audience, more sophisticated, we’re all teenagers when we read it, who’s there to root for, not a sporting event, trying to be satiryical, it’s not funny, a willing sex slave, that’s what all women become, stepping into the room and stepping on his dick, why do you do this to us, you need to have a reason to read, what outrageous thing will Heinlein say next is a reason to read, a tweet storm about Heinlein, memories of this book, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, a funhouse mirror in Ponce’s world, he’s trying to do something, he’s succeeded, we balk at the price and think the caller is an asshole, Karen’s sexing up her dad, I’m just like a black mammy, why did she do that?, she’s racist, the most Heinlein character, you try going through Alabama as a blackman, I gotta be modest here, but it’s not going to stop me, if we didn’t have this book we couldn’t hate Heinlein like we do, I’m the Karen now, an indictment of humanity, H.G. Wells, Griffin in The Invisible Man, the land lady, the bum, the indictment of the book, Prendick, Moreau, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, root for Henlein’s YA characters, Hugh is the least shitty character, Heinlein’s brinksmanship, no way to solve family problems, lifeboat rules, I have a gun to back it up, I read a book, books are valuable, you have to agree with me, you’re dead, bridge, so much bridge talk, contract bridge, games, Sixth Column, playing with a ruler, what is that chess move, what is that bridge move, such a stupid game, an old lady game, world champion bridge player, stay at home mom, will you teach me how to play bridge, my amazing game, a stratum of Americans, social function, aunts, progressive rummy, mahjong, by the book, not interesting to read about, so 1964, Omar Sharif, why is the guy from that movie, a second life, columns on bridge, it’s gone, a social activity, watch people stream, online games, people who play with their kids online, the time has passed, they don’t know what bridge is, the mirror of Hugh and his life, Anne and Alan E. Nourse, the kind of conversations that happen at the card table, hearts, why do you have a social game, sitting around and having a conversation, why do we have to have a book to talk about to have a conversation, it gives shape and excuse to it, it’s about marriage, as usual, one of the richest books, what is freedom, the American Revolution, his target is racism, slavery, American history, serious stumbling blocks by Heinlein being horribly Heinlein, almost certainly a parallel or an answer to Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, that scene is lifted, a poem: The Congo by Vachel Lindsay, why is it like this, The Golden Faced People, The Crisis, NAACP, a rich white man publishing a story in a black magazine, from a different period of time, equality anti-racist guy, pushing peoples buttons, The Golden-Faced People: A Story Of Chinese Conquest Of America, the trouble with the laundryman, it’s Lincoln’s birthday, 2805, the United States taken over by the Chinese, white people were the slaves until very recently, Lin-Koln, a backwoodsman who freed the slaves, a fun-house mirror of the United States in 1914, he sounds racist but is anti-racist, what’s so extraordinary about this book, semi-forgive, gritty and real, the incest problem, has happened around the world a lot, soccer teams crashed in the Andes, ritualistic, ancestors or enemies, probably not a healthy practice, kings of Hawaii, marrying their sisters, Cleopatra, Pharaohs, royal families of Europe, first cousin, for political purposes, for satirical purposes, sex objects, the drug aspect, religion is missing, two ways of reading this, also science fiction, what happiness is made out of, Seconal, alcohol, their drugs are better (because they’re insidious), calms people down, as a punishment, as a control, buck, slut, we become almost immune to it, wench, literally just means girl, the context, tavern wenches, in our world that’s how its used, a much longer book just set in that world, so interesting, the chosen women are so oppressed we never meet them, we meet the sluts, who would want to live with life, a breaking up of the atomic family, his first family is dead, the family atomic unit, he presents that world so thoroughly, how white women were thought of traditionally in the south, To Kill A Mockingbird, we’re in the household, walled up in the harem, the sluts’ quarters, who Ponce chooses, she’s working against her husband, he’s cuckolding Hugh, as a plot device, consider the nephew, they cry, sexist as hell society, a masculine controlled society, inheritance goes through the nephew, Mentok is quite a good character, interesting, a cabin in the woods, a vacation estate, run off my feet at all times, you will really how things are, so tantalizing, so different from ours, 2000 years pass, lights that turn on, social stuff, line marriage, so different and so good, middle manager, despises the slaves, resents the chosen, genetics racism thing, some blood in him, improve the stock, their own eugenics system, everybody knew there were men somewhere in the stars, set in the same universe, Time For The Stars, a checklist, twins, The Rolling Stones, how was Heinlein raised, his books not his biography, a private man for a public man, in New York at that time, Horace Gold’s poker game, the who’s who of science fiction, C.M. Kornbluth, Fredrick Pohl, a couples thing, another childless couple, food and drink, LBJ, a silver star, man’s magazine, congressperson in the reserves, American bomber tour, he didn’t do anything but survived and came back with a silver star, Duke is Lyndon B. Johnson, publicly Mr. Civil Rights, privately Mr. Racist, the situation was untenable, Lincoln’s story is similar, very liberal, very racist, he’s a momma’s boy, neglected by his father, under Grace’s influence, prejudiced, horny for dad, also racist, she thinks it’s cute, DSM, extremely un-PC, what causes homosexuality, absent father, domineering mother, opportunities with women, a closeted homosexual, in the abstract, just finished law school, he has his own apartment, living on his own, prove it, as distinctly as Trish, we agreed to live as friends, you’re not longer my son, your opinions are welcome, his wife is a Lush, take the alcohol out of her hands, 3rd we’re libertarians, coming from a history of alcoholism, very good, it’s incredible, his personal life, he aint gonna never stop talking about his cats, mom’s a total Grace, watch out for the scissors bub, hardcore, COVID is fake, my son Jeffrey gets all the vaccines, I need to believe that it’s true, what alcohol does to people, call a doctor, there’s no fucking doctors, in the intervening 20 years, did you think Karen was going to die?, structurally, this baby’s gonna die, forgot for a second, so easy, when Ponce tells Hugh, we went and dug up your daughter, I brought a priest, the Koran’s in there, we put every atom back, this is not a throwback society, way better tech than we do, flying cars, we could go to the moon anytime we want, kind of stuck, tame scientists, chosen scientists, dynamism there, translating, reading from Hugh’s point of view, ho we think he should feel, he has a different emotion than we thought he did, that same language from Sixth Column, formal language, very good writing, ranking this book low, roll you eyes and throw your phone across the room sort of scenes, Evan’s [Lampe’s] shows on Heinlein, leveling the shelter, not idea rich, fixed it with dynamite, similar scenes in Tunnel In The Sky, people can make mistakes, a pen for wild animals, commute to the beach, making and argument, the list of things in the bomb shelter, prepper porn, the list of books, he wanted to have ammonia and iodine, you might need to blow up bridges, Red Dawn (1984), John Milius, Nazi staybehinds during WWII, strike back at the oppressor, an uprising after the apocalypse, fight for America, a Red Dawn prep book, inspiration for white supremacists survivalists, teaching Nazis to fish, libertarians, also Indian, neither is good, but the arc of the book, not even a benevolent dictator, whether Heinlein intended it or not, “those people”, that’s not in this book, they’re just cannibals, sub-humans, it’s human nature that whoever’s at the top, plays into, so depressing, nobody will do the right thing, nobody needs to read this book that is not a student of genre history, we’re not wrapping up yet, the list of books, page 50, books were the immortal part of man, rape a defenseless friendly book, I want to bring it in, I’ve got a tommy gun I’m gonna make them read it, so annoying, still a good book, ugh cringey, up to a point, if the book closes up before that, the characters were thin, huge plot holes, not a good book for Maissa, Duke and Karen are entitled baby boomers, Kitten’s a millennial, gen x, what baby say about gen x, limited world view, and her racist jokes, the voice, Tom Weiner, cheerful sarcasm, sarcastic but serious, is Barbara the thinnest character in the book?, a lot of screentime, getting to the plot, getting to the ideas, she’s divorced, Hugh’s divorced too, that’s not fair, since you’re divorced, a Karen move, looking at things as an outsider, most loveable character is Dr. Livingstone, the twins are slobbery, Ponce is strong as a character, Jesse was apologizing for Hitler, that makes Ponce worse, Ponce is not a good person, he’s telling Barbara this, a super-strong argument about the master slave dynamic in the South, I barely tingle them, are you happy?, haven’t I been good to you, technowhips, a work of political angst, also angsty about WWIII, grotesque, trying to solve it, a radical shift, fifth gear to 1st gear, Karen’s death could have been avoided, sets up a Farnham’s Freehold in the end, silver coins, a 45 automatic, towels, knowledge and experience, two children, looting from the gas station, in their own bombshelter we presume, children to breed with their children, they go back to an alternate world, trying to fit it in with his giant chronology, back to the past, slave dystopia anyway, a more optimistic note, good point, Trish!, subtle, some version of him comes back to the original world, infinite world, Karen is always still alive, a very writerly thing, to make you read the book again, what did I miss the first time, time is a flat circle, 30 years later, the cannibalism is a shock the first time, seeded right when they get to that world, he didn’t write this by the seat of his pants, let me construct a massive thing, you’re going to hate some of it, maybe in this universe the chosen won’t rise up, sees the bald guy, I just saw the weirdest guy, how does someone get like that, racist against himself, the car being an automatic, what it implies is the time travel is happening in all different dimensions, why did she had a stickshift?, he could repopulate the earth with himself, don’t tell Heinlein, turning people into food, on the cover, butter and somedays bread, jerked Quisling by the neck, mostly satire, racist trope, Hitler was a vegetarian, Hitler liked dogs, I can have it both ways, the brinksmanship, he (failed to) raise(d) that kid, Karl Joseph, Carl Gustaf, leader of Norway, not a very good Norwegian accent, the Vichy, from 1942-1945, a little after chat, complimentary books, Regnum Congo, mentioned in The Picture In The House by H.P. Lovecraft, In The Barn by Piers Anthony, alternate world farmhand, humans raised as meat, sensory deprivation, thumbs again, makes them more docile, improves the flavour, tempered, slut vs. tempered, made stronger, fine tuned, calmer, a good word, Heinlein was a master craftsman, you’re supposed to, intentionally being obnoxious, made me so mad at him, he’s right to do it, he knows what he’s doing, breeding, slaves bloodlines, The Domination Of The Draka by S.M. Stirling, Steven Barnes’ Lion’s Blood, the black plague, colonized by Muslims instead of Europeans, Irish slave, Africans or whatever, friends in power imbalance, a really interesting book, concur with Trish, a sequel, Zulu Heart, well done, interesting fellow, co-written with Larry Niven, Seascape Tattoo, very impressed with this book, No., Why?, Heinlein!, god damn you!, why are you doing this?!, The Water-babies by Charles Kingsley, anti-science, anti-democracy, how democracy starts, pirate ships, all volunteer, if the leadership changes, the plank, put you off on an island, Paul is going to take issue, Paul is pretty sure, there’s a lot going on, the pirate codes, A High Wind Over Jamaica by Richard Hughes, Paul can leave, abandoning this, caught between two things, Paul is not fine, one of those rights thing, you can’t get your rights back, NYRB, The New York Review Of Books, audiobook, apostrophe s, a good pirate book, a gripping story, post-colonial Caribbean, supposed innocents, atypical setting, the truth of human nature, 1929, William Golding’s horrible book The Lord Of The Flies, Blue Lagoon, Victorian, isn’t as beautiful, disturbing, saw it on a shelf, thoughtful and thorough, tell you all about the book, proof against the standard spoiler wreck, differently distributed, The Strand bookstore, Houston, Huston Do You Read, male astronauts cast forward in time, there are no men anymore, Saturday in December, posed as a male author, such male writing, only a man could have written this, a practical joke, George Elliot, George Sand, Hugh Grant, Impromptu (1991), Emma Thompson, Judy Davis, a little too French and long winded, she’s kinda like Heinlein but meaner, Paul not Jvstin, democracy and pirates, Madagascar, Pirate Enlightenment by David Graeber, richer pirating grounds in the Indian Ocean, Tortuga, the Madagascar women, colonists and natives of the Caribbean, pirate kings, pirate queens, if you’re a captain on a pirate ship, Black Sails didn’t go to sea very much, sailors don’t like sailing, they need to sail, rich people with a yacht, fishermen don’t love the sea, pirates don’t have family, they have addiction, make merry, his share is higher, bosun, they have responsibilities, pirates had to do certain things, drink all fuckin day, a whole mini-version of the political state as the nation state, Caribbean pirates, white slaves in the British and French navies, Jesse’s joke: I was impressed by the British navy’s recruiting methods, your health is fucked, they liberate your ship, why would you attack a ship with no good stuff on it, white and black slave ship sailors, not-chattel slavery, hauling humans, swabbing out shit and vomit, sometimes they’ll sell the slaves, everyone has guns and knives, Heinlein’s paradise, relatively recent scholarship, The General History Of The Pyrates, The Many-Headed Hydra by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, the term that capitalists use to describe the slaves, you always have to be putting down the slaves down all the time, slave rebellion, history from below, Maroon communities, tri-racial isolates, Evan Lampe, when brought to shore, women were expected to run business, aliens with treasure, Against All Flags (1952), basically The Fast And The Furious (2001) but with ships or Point Break (1991), with the consent of the locals, lying claims, oral traditions and cultural practices, what parts of Africa weren’t colonized?, a pirate utopia, the history that’s coming out of there, a lot of sex for 50 – 60 years, biracial descendants, the European kings, this strange thing called democracy, those Americans in the colonies, a hidden history other than John Locke, Greece, a lot like Heinlein, a historian of the Atlantic, do another one, he’s read enough books, mostly fiction, Will and Ariel Durant, this attitude toward fiction: a character has to be likeable, damaging, some people read for comfort, Hugo books, sequel books, diminishing returns, in any series, characters are there to fulfill the job, no heroes, smiling dashing hero, Red Planet, a lot of people don’t have an identity, changing their genders, somebody gave you a name, you don’t know who you are, growing up, a lot of people never find that, most people don’t read at all, reading as an escape identity, other realities from a long time ago, not surprising but very common, it hurts literature, your characters have got to be likeable, choosing the right things to focus on, grossing out, war in Malaya, Seventh Dawn (1964), William Holden, a tropical version of Dr. Zhivago (1965), Malaysia’s failed war of independence, the British version of Vietnam, chopping people’s heads off and holding the heads of their enemies and smiling, British commandos, ghost writing gig, Catcher In The Rye, punish children.

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

If Worlds Of SF, July 1964 - list of books in the Farnham's Freehold bombshelter

Farnham's Freehold - IF Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Farnham's Freehold - IF - Worlds Of Science Fiction

Doug Potter art for Farnham's Freehold

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The SFFaudio Podcast #744 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Skull by Philip K. Dick


The SFFaudio Podcast #744 – The Skull by Philip K. Dick – read by Scott Miller for the Lost Sci-Fi Podcast. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (58 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Scott Miller

Talked about on today’s show:
The Lost Sci-Fi Podcast, Vintage Sci-Fi on YouTube, look up The Skull, 50 episodes, multiple short stories in one episode, super-short sci-fi stories, rave reviews, SFFaudio.com was broken, mostly not broken, the PDF Page, a long list of things you should record, great recommendations, sci-fi guru, just over 10 years ago, to get into it, a couple of good attempts, worthwhile, insulting by not praising, Jesse from the past, Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man, a religious revolutionary from 1960s, The Variable Man, this weird category, unsympathetic, a hunt, his most technically astounding like stories, more pure Philip K. Dick, Paycheck, boob action, a big sweaty hair guy, he’s not a hunter, he’s not a criminal, H.P. Lovecraft, Dunsany or Poe, his own feelings, trying to write an Astounding story, stories are better than novels (plot wise), a really awesome and interesting, themes and ideas wise, undercooked, fleshing this out, maybe he thought he nailed it, read the whole thing, from start to finish, fascinating, Karl Marx, bearded, communism!, fascinating, old enough to vaguely remember, commie madness, narrated, fell in love with it, Human Is, a lot different, kinda dark, kill somebody, a fascinating story every way you can possibly find, why is Conger’s first name Omar as opposed to John?, or James, John Connor, Jesus Christ, a Jesus story, oh man that story’s so good, guy goes back in a time machine looking for the historical Jesus, makes a stink about a shepherd who’s also a fisherman, nailed on a cross, Mary and Joseph, Jesus is intellectually disabled, he is the guy he goes looking for, really cool, trips over himself, the relgious aspect, the plot for The Terminator, trucks and explosion, James Cameron, Harlan Ellison, who he was ripping off, beat for beat and scene for scene, Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, Alien and Aliens, beats played against, why is The Skull the influence?, creating the guy he’s sent back by, the variation is God to Jesus vs. Jesus to Jesus, Paul didn’t see it, killing Mary to prevent Jesus, a thin read, Ellison’s Soldier, Demon With A Glass Hand, both are cited, Soldier (1998), to kill Jesus, the Roman Empire hires him to kill himself, this peace religion that’s screwing up, the savior of mankind, Cameron was wrong, general science fiction and a couple of stories by Harlan Ellison, part of the story of The Terminator, the time travel aspect, time vortex, back in time, Scott chose Paul’s side, Evan doesn’t care, they both exist, earlier than everybody else, pairs well with Prominent Author, religious ideas, earlier stories, naturalistic explanations, writing the Bible, dictating the bible from memory, really funny, the whole thing is for the joke, the context is this mundane, a commuter story, what Dick was trying to do, later Gnosticism, weird Valis nonsense, luddism, peace culture, where human progress comes from a lot on the frontier, stagnation, when the frontier dies, the bad guys, the empire, we’re in a cul de sac because of this religion, sympathy with the empire, fearful of stagnation, The Variable Man, Mr. Spaceship, Dr. Futurity, a weird death cult, based on violence vs. based on peace, restoring a culture of conflict, 200 years of peace is bad, they need to get rid of the dumb people, the survival of the fittest, a rejection of public life, apolitical people, a fascist idea, Conger’s reaction, you’re not a believe in this religion, fearful of some of its mysteries, those burning things on the wall, I don’t know, braziers, an unholy person, they’ve broken into this church and stolen Jesus’ bones, the ending, he’s the guy he’s waiting for, if I was this guy, I was confronted with my own skull, a comedy, the reason you keep a skull on your desk, there is no escaping death, thinking deeply, the religious teachings, why did Jesus act that way?, he’s got a piece of god in him, sacrificing himself, this fate, there’s peace in that, the evil AI plot, 1952, his fourth story, Roog, The Little Movement, Expendable, and Beyond Lies The Wub, a little alienating, stories about abortion, a technical achievement, the setup, the execution, the setting, the 1960/61, gives some lady a heart attack, science fiction explanation for resurrection, slem gun, a religious ecstasy, my lighter malfunctioned, swamp gas, the speech vs. what people remember from what he said, peace and non-violent action, the statement that gets remembered, those who killed will die, gallows humour, really ironic, Christ’s statements, if were were to read Jesus’ statements from a different point of view, unedited/unexpurgated, councils, tossed out, assuming a historical Jesus, the gospels, Omar Khayyam, Omar means long lived, Conger?, conquer?, too normal a name, Costa Rica, an exotic middle name, Jerome, a saint, raised Catholic, saints names, in hindsight, an animal, an eel, long lived eel, snakey shaped, an ouroboros or an infinity symbol, Karl Glogauer, a carpenter, the shining man, Joe, the communist element, interested in communism, he’s from Oregon, set in California, Colorado?, where the first church was founded, the jail where they kill him, arrested from being a communist, red scare, those reds, report anything strange or unusual, he’s not wearing a mask, he’s refusing a vaccination, how long?, the red scare is over in 1970, Nixon is going to China, movements, Black Panthers, the relationship is different, disentangling of the American left from Moscow, left movements, its gonna continue, reporting his fellow Californians he’s worried he’s a communist, the authorities and the people, waiting, a good fight, they had heard about the incident at the fountain, religious ecstasy, he’s gotta beard, police, closer and closer, one of the men tossed something at him, a rock, he smiled, don’t you have any bombs, throw a bomb, let em have it, toss a few a bombs, Colorado, 1960, burn him at the stake or we want change, the knife’s edge, kill the witch or embrace change, I have a gun he says, its a metaphor they think, my sword of truth, I bring not peace but an invisible sword, they want a leader, a subversive story, they’re interested in communism, he’s got a beard, a phenomenon, wearing beards is back in fashion, a mustache is strange, beards are in, beards are out, beards are back, beatnik beards, long pants will work for me, the only guy on TV with a mustache, copycats, clean shaven Space: 1999, the Klingons are, fashion has changed in the Federation, grapple with his religious beliefs, pioneering stuff, Behold The Man but better, more science fictional, Paul was convinced, monochromatic, The Age Of Faith by Will Durant, the furious number of sects, subdivisions, religions don’t remain unified, 200 years of Islam, get each other excommunicated, the first church, that’s not how religion works, Phil, he’s kind of like a Leigh Brackett hero, in prison for breaking the blockade, a trapper, grew up on Mars and the Mountains of the Moon, fur trapping stuff to Earth, this is not a well read man, defiant of Earth secular authority, resisting non-violently, mining that, in contrast to the people of 1960, anti their government, in favour of their government, their goading him, clever, the different social groups, 1961 and 1960s, underneath the surface, Small Town, Time Out Of Joint, paranoia, interested, why is she there?, why is this beautiful young woman at my door?, swami, a speech impediment, a future accent, not conforming, check his ID, First Blood (1982), a fantasy of we treated our veterans badly, what if there’s a reason people are acting this way, interesting and subtle, this joke element, anxiety about stagnation, hence the need for war, his ultimate answer, another solution, kill Sir Francis Drake, that weird collection of strange stories, author insert, when he grows a beard: I’m turning into Karl Marx, hitting on high school girls, the wife stuff, trial wife, his mistress, a product of that religion, how does that extract, Scott Danielson teaches new adherents, derived from the Bible, quite a stretch, he says a few words, very Heinleinian, Robert Silverberg, month wife, swapping wives, commodified, contractual, The Crack In Space, marriages around him, serial monogamy, four trial wives, the stuff about the universe, the newspaper, when he goes to the library, Cooper Creek, a flower in here, a set of symbols, flower, skull, an hourglass or an infinity symbol, the girl is supposed to be that, what the beef is about, the chocolate, older guy lusting after this young girl, comparatively lustless to his other stuff, teenage girls, the creeps, when you speak those words, he’s looking at her, the man looked him over critically, it was warm, the little kerosene heater, in her flowered dress, its a good room, Mrs. Appleton, another biblical thing, Chicago, the middle west, no foreigner, its part of the United States, he’s dumb, he’s ignorant, his words are profound, a riddle, an odd paradox, a funny joke, they laughed faintly nervously, they would puzzle over it, very neat, why Philip K. Dick is remembered, just really good, what happened to the skull he carried with him?, what happened to the slem gun, the time machine itself, something in his belt, the crystal cage, The Crystal Crypt, a pink beam style image, work it out, very biblical, per-ordained, he was the sacrificial lamb, exactly like Jesus, the major action of this is religious ecstasy for a second, car chases, false memories, at what point did you realize, pretty early, read so much science fiction, it is the obvious twist (now), Kyle Reese doesn’t know he’s the father of John Connor, but John Connor knows, sending his only dad, half way through the story, he didn’t notice the teeth?, he never studied the skull carefully before hand, Scott I’ve invented a time machine, go back and kill Hitler!, time travel stories are all over, repeat ideas, the original The Time Machine story, time travel paradoxes, Philip K. Dick is underrated, Valis this and Ubik that, Three Stigmata, Hugo or Nebula or whatever, other than Galactic Pot-Healer, everyone of his short stories is better than every novel, focused in on short sci-fi, outside of Isaac Asimov, the number one seller, Bradbury received more acclaim than Dick, people love Philip K. Dick, more comments and emails, only 130, commercially viable, its personal, Prominent Author, picture the guy near the end, with his shoulder thrust back, so proud of his work, what Dick does, I can see him in the church, a grotto, early Christian underground, catacombs, Beyond Lies The Wub, even if students don’t know what happened they still like it, consciousness transference, he’s eating himself, Jesus taking the eucharist, when the priest comes by eat the cracker and drink the grape juice, what does this mean?, Of Withered Apples, what a great story!, can I go play with my tree?, his brain was weird, pre-wired for weirdness, his earliest letters (to his mom), trying to get out of gym class, Mom, send my pills, CBD oil, sad to narrate, The Crawlers, it’s a hitter, it hits, take a break man, not something you want to hear, how dare you do this to me, The Pre-Persons, abortion trucks, Evan could handle it, Will, his girlfriend/wife wanted or got an abortion, get a bren gun and lay in wait at an abortion clinic,

Past the grove of cypress trees Walter — he had been playing king of the mountain — saw the white truck, and he knew it for what it was. He thought, That’s the abortion truck. Come to take some kid in for a postpartum down at the abortion place.

And he thought, Maybe my folks called it. For me.

He ran and hid among the blackberries, feeling the scratching of the thorns but thinking, It’s better than having the air sucked out of your lungs. That’s how they do it; they perform all the P.P.s on all the kids there at the same time. They have a big room for it. For the kids nobody wants.

Burrowing deeper into the blackberries, he listened to hear if the truck stopped; he heard its motor.

“I am invisible,” he said to himself, a line he had learned at the fifth-grade play of Midsummer Night’s Dream, a line Oberon, whom he had played, had said. And after that no one could see him. Maybe that was true now. Maybe the magic saying worked in real life; so he said it again to himself, “I am invisible.” But he knew he was not. He could still see his arms and legs and shoes, and he knew they — everyone, the abortion truck man especially, and his mom and dad — they could see him too. If they looked.

If it was him they were after this time.

He wished he was a king; he wished he had magic dust all over him and a shining crown that glistened, and ruled fairyland and had Puck to confide to. To ask for advice from, even. Advice even if he himself was a king and bickered with Titania, his wife.

I guess, he thought, saying something doesn’t make it true.

his parents, my god!, don’t do this to me!, Paul was at worldcon at the time, Joanna Russ, get Scott all depressed again, there’s nothing else like it in science fiction, That Only A Mother by Judith Merril, mutant babies, Richard Matheson, close to done, be depressed in future, The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff, Hugo worthy, lady business, compile suggestions, the podcasting group who host that spreadsheet, funny jokes, Paul, sexist, puerile, potentially eligible, Become A Teapot, Ex Urb Ad Astra, Hugo Girl, when is Scott going to get his nomination?, the problem is you have to be active in promoting yourself, put on three medals and parade down the street, The Story-Teller by Saki, look at those cows, that story sucks!, obedient and neat and never asked for ice cream after dinner, sent to a garden, this story is not good, a wolf shows up, there were no pigs in the garden that day, hiding in a bush, the wolf eats her, the finest story ever told, about being good and what makes a good story, genuine and interesting and scary rather than good for you, Robert A. Heinlein book club, Octothorpe, content warning for this episode: capitalism, content warning every episodes, falling out of boats, are you kidding me, The Octopus by Frank Norris, clean vs. explicit, the students spread rumors, listening for the swearing, all informers, feet on the desk, what happened to Conger, operating in a communist country, mad because in Calgary, Alberta, his main thing, WithoutPapersPizza, Trudeau is a communist, grade 10 stuff, this is really wild, worse than I thought it would be, California common core, really right wing stuff, if they are both, anti-communist, Stalin-Hitler pact, they’re going to do communism, the holodomor, terror famine in Ukraine, use over time, why is this suddenly so exciting, gotta distract, Nazis in Ukraine, the Gulag, all countries have prisons, world history standards, the Chinese Civil War, political and economic upheavals, its a revolution, reducing this history, the last famines, and never again, famines in British India, a comic book artist who quit DC, Superman with a protest sign, Babylon Bee, a big talker, parents from Libya, join my anti-socialist social club, truth, justice, and the American way, until they killed Gaddafi, this woke agenda, trying to jazz him up with no cape, interesting to somebody, the reason his dad was not welcome in Libya, highest standard of living in Africa, upset Cubans in Florida, health outcomes, if you look at GDP in the Mao era, development outcomes, built hospitals, universities, analyze the causes of the cold war, so blatant, still occupied by the United States, talk about a client state, when we do it it is not bad, whoever wrote this is not seeing a big thing right in front of him, appeasement bad, trying to avoid a war, the lesson we learned is he shouldn’t have done that, more like Churchill, hard to understand, so out of date, read a book, a school textbook from the 1970s, not Zhukov, leaving a lot of stuff out, the human cost of war, write essays?, show they learned through assessment, the Yalta pact, economic recoveries, biased in every aspect, the “free world”, within the context of this you could do a lot of fun stuff, bring us into space, you have to defeat the Nazis so you can Operation Paperclip them, very noisy here, different space, dog barking, economic policies, absence of free press, Stalin targeted them on purpose, liquidating the kulaks, cultural revolution, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada took some immigrants, my parents…, we’re getting their story, victims tell their story, being cut-off from his family, a country controlled by a domestic government, improving public education and health outcomes, against an entrenched state bureaucracy, the Shanghai Commune, Democracy vs. Communism, what do we call a society we’re in right now?, the concept of totalitarianism, the Axis of Evil, they don’t like freedom, authoritarian, you can’t protest, you have your bank account seized, you have to have something injected into your body, to make cash, capitalism is authoritarianism, all you need is a job to know that, triggers a meeting, make it better for the kids, nothing is going to change, unprofessional behavior, they don’t want Evan, resigned for spite, minimize your expenses, head of the social studies, administrative stuff, nod and smile, making their lives miserable, interesting debates, can’t we all get along I need this job, this is all real stuff, who cares?, what does it matter if the kids learn propaganda, that autism thing coming out, they don’t care about this stuff, the education business, we wanna have standards based assessment, it shouldn’t take as long as the second world war, The Shining is a good show, that first Heinlein juvenile, a lot of stories, Beyond This Horizon, a good long run, novellas, Universe, Common Sense, mostly a novel guy, like Philip Dick that way, Requiem, If This Goes On, sometimes its just a cigar, an insurance story, Let There be Light, patents something or doesn’t patent something, a black box, I don’t need to patent it, inaccessible to them, more like the cotton gin, a copyright guy, in the business, legally married, Fredrich Engles [worked in a factory owned by his father], he’s a human being, Karl Marx did speculation, pretty poor, fuck you do what I say, slave, being a hypocrite is a big deal, trying to live in a society, cheap labour to exploit, hold their visas over, to keep body and soul together, Thomas Jefferson.

The Skull by Philip K. Dick

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The SFFaudio Podcast #741 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens


The SFFaudio Podcast #741 – The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens – read by Christina Fu for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (6 hour 14 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Alex

Talked about on today’s show:
The Thrill Book, August 15 August 15 1919, Polaris Books, the opening illustration, found and enhanced, three persons, two men and a woman, described for the listen, suits and ties and coats and pants, grey dust presumably, a topless lady in a dress at the center of the web, about an hour into the book, Ulithia, she’s not wearing a badge, the warning voice of the land of illusion, she’s a weaver, she’s a spider woman, she’s a spinner and a snipper and a weaver, the Fates, the Mori or the Norns, a long and detailed plot summary, E.F. Bleiler, 1990, in it everyday, a story summary of every science fiction story, Science Fiction The Early Years, densely packed, a typewriter, like a wikipedia of ancient books, like reading goodreads, authentically focused on giving summarized thoughts and a plot description, tricky to summarize, taking it seriously,

Questions of reality in the form of science-fantasy,
shading into both true science-fiction and supernatural
fiction. * Philadelphia and an other-world.
* Drayton, a down and out, unjustly disbarred lawyer,
breaks into a house, intending to burglarize
it, and is caught by the occupant, a former close
friend (Trenmore). * Trenmore has no hard feelings
about the intended crime and is willing to help his
friend. After some general conversation he shows
Drayton a novelty he bought at an auction, a small
glass vial with a metal cap formed of three canine
heads. Labelled “Dust from the Rocks of Purgatory,”
the contents of the vial were supposedly collected
by Dante, while the container was Benvenuto Cellini’s
work. * The friends pry open the bottle, a dust
swirls out, and Trenmore disappears. While Drayton
is standing in shock, Trenmore’s sister Viola bursts
in, accuses Drayton of foul play, and also disappears.
Drayton, an honorable man, decides that he,
too, must die, and deliberately inhales the gray
dust. # He awakens in a strange land, curiouslylighted,
littered with ruins, along with Trenmore
and Viola. Judging from an inscription the land is
called Ulithia. It is peopled with fantastic beings,
perhaps supernatural, who urge them on their
way. * After passing through a moon-shaped door they
find themselves back in Philadelphia, but with a
difference. They are arrested almost immediately
for not wearing numbers, and when they resist, are
beaten unconscious. * Background: The new Philadelphia
is a separate nation encompassing the former
Pennsylvania. The year is 2118. The land is run by
Penn Service, which permits no knowledge of the outside
world. Technology is about the same as in our
world, but the political and social systems are very
different. The masses of the people, who have no
rights j are not allowed to have personal names, only
numbers. They are also forbidden to read books or
newspapers, and are completely under the authority
of Penn Service. * The administration consists of
two groups, a hereditary aristocracy called the Service
that controls the land, and executives called
Superlatives, who administrate. The Service is composed
of decadent, degenerate capitalists of the
most vicious sort, while the Superlatives are crooks
and flunkies. The Superlatives have titles: the
chief of police is Quickest; the high judge is Virtue;
the head of the lawyers’ guild is Cleverest;
while Loveliest is a figurehead woman ruler with
little real power. * The Numbers (the masses) are
allowed to conduct their businesses as they wish—
the monetary unit being a work unit— but Penn Service
can seize what it needs or desires. Protest or
rebelliousness on the part of the Numbers is treated
harshly, with the ultimate, often-used Pit of the
Past, a spike-lined pit containing a mechanical monster.
* The Numbers are also kept down by the state
religion, which venerates William Penn and focuses
on a red bell that hangs in the great Temple (our
City Hall). The official belief is that the land
will dissolve into nothing if the bell is rung.
Most of the officials consider this dogma to be only
a superstition useful for controlling the masses. *
To return to the story: When Drayton and Trenmore
regain consciousness, they are hauled before Mr.
Virtue, who offhandedly sentences the men to the Pit
and awards Viola to a fellow Servant. It looks like
death, but the earth people are saved by two other
Servants who want to use them for their own plots.
The Superlative Loveliest has developed a passion
for the Herculean Trenmore, while the scheming Cleverest
hopes to use Viola to overthrow Loveliest.
He also lusts for Viola’s beautiful body. * The
mechanism for fulfilling these plots is the Contests,
or the Civil Service Examinations, in which
contestants can challenge incumbents, the losers
being thrown into the Pit. Loveliest wants Trenmore
to challenge the current Strongest, and Cleverest
wants Viola to challenge Loveliest for her office.
The earth people decide to go along temporarily, but
intend to double cross the Servants. * The Contests,
which take place over the Pit, are supervised by Mr.
Justice Supreme, a vile and vicious old man. As the
comrades should have guessed, the tests are rigged
and proceed according to the wishes of Mr. Justice
Supreme and his nephew, Cleverest. * How the contests
might have ended is never told, for there are
disruptions. First, there is a small rebellion of
the Numbers, bloodily suppressed, then Drayton’s
escapade. He wandered off, entered the forbidden
library, and learned not only the prohibited secret
history of the land (which emerged out of crooked
contractors and gangsters), but its precarious existence.
The legend of the bell is true. A twentieth-
century scientist, who discovered how to destroy
matter by means of resonances, embodied the
resonance of the land in the bell, which is the old
Liberty Bell recast. Its vibrations can destroy
Philadelphia. * A melee follows. The comrades escape
for a time, but are trapped, facing certain
death, when Trenmore, desperate, strikes the great
bell. The land dissolves, and the comrades find
themselves back in their own Philadelphia. * As a
subplot, a fourth twentieth-century person was also
present in the other Philadelphia. This was Bertram
the burglar, who accidentally followed Drayton and
the Trenmores into the other-world. More adaptable
than the others, he survived unobtrusively until the
dissolution of the land. Indeed, he even started an
affair with a local young woman, Miss 23000, who
survived the dissolution and came to our Philadelphia
with Bertram. Unfortunately, she disappears
when she loses contact with the vial. * Explanations
are in order, and they are offered in plenitude
by Mr. Scarboro, a collector who desperately
wants the dust and is caught sneaking about the
house. According to Scarboro, the dust is not ancient,
but is the discovery of the great modern
scientist Andrew Power (whose name is familiar as
one of the founders of Penn Service). The universe
is filled with parallel worlds that interpermeate
and are separated by vibratory rate. Power’s chemical
changes one’s vibration, moving one to Ulithia,
which seems to be a necessary staging area and
common ground for such worlds. After Power left to
explore various parallel worlds, Scarboro carried on
his work; while he does not know how to make the
powder, he has worked out a controllable means of
returning, which Power does not have. * Scarboro
continues in somewhat contradictory expansions of
what he has just said. He turns the parallel worlds
into the whims of superbeings, and then claims that
the worlds do not really exist. He further attributes
the corrupt nature of Penn Service to the corruption
in the minds and hearts of the three explorers,
who projected their own flaws into the land. *
Highly imaginative work, one of the classics of early
pulp fantastic fiction. While the characterizations
are pulp simplistics, the cynical anti-authoritarian
note in the description of the culture of
Penn Service is refreshing. The final destruction
of reality or rationality is a fine anticipation of
the work of Philip K. Dick.

The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper, Vulcan’s Hammer?, Eye In The Sky, the Bevatron, paranoid communist world, a similar mechanism, one alternative world, not including the staging area, setup for sequels, like a role playing game, grey powder, The Strange, Monte Cook Games, more about those otherworlds, I wanna read that book, chases Power, there’s a book here, there’s a book under there, her premise is awesome, the premise is stronger than the center, the Dante dust from purgatory, it’s actually all mad science, I liked the ancient powder, she loves mad scientist, half-Japanese and half-German, get as many of the axis powers in, The Curious Experience Of Thomas Dunbar, the first superhero, bitten by a radioactive spider, superpowers, Samson, 40 years too early, comics hadn’t been invented yet, 2118, the cab looks like a 1918 cab, she explains it away, the same uniforms, the same sheets, not a simple time travel story, pulls the rug out from under us, metafictional, bought at the drug store, strange experience in another world, these no-readers playboying about time, explaining to Scott, this burglar and another burglar, that’s cool, totalitarian universe, she’s having a helluva lot of fun, how imaginative this lady is, anticipating Philip K. Dick, there’s no more timely science fiction story than E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, the system is falling apart, skype calls with people on the other side of the planet, damaged relationships, very very timely, Howard’s End, a mixing of genres, pre-the word science fiction or scientifiction, it’s not H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, not fantasy purely, scientific romance, she moved to Philadelphia, the husband was a treasure hunter who died on an expedition, to pay the bills, sick mother, whatever this is, a five year period, really really good at it, Sunfire, 1917-1920, a few novels, a good handful of short stories, it’s fun!, a fun book!, very peppy, a secret plot, the bell of doom!, powderland, you create the world out of your personality, right at the end, true but not in the book, none of their personalities seem to match, Miss 23000, I say she but she was nothing, the metafictional aspect, an excuse, our hero murdered an entire country of people, you destroyed an entire world, they’re on a train reading a pulp fiction magazine, after, The Goddess Of Atvatabar, more 1890s than 1920s, 1884, the year she was born, totalitarian and dystopian, Penn Service Philadelphia, not 1984 world, not Brave New World world, theater?, no more school!, abolishing all grades, dance halls and free movies!

“And they–the grafters–set themselves up as masters of the city under threat of its complete destruction. They called themselves the Servants of Penn. They curtailed the education of the people as needless and too expensive. When the people complained, they placated them by abolishing all grades above the primary and turning the schools into dance halls and free moving-picture theaters.”

you’ll end up a number, what almost makes it science fiction, a pulp style cover of Nineteen-Eighty Four, anti-sex league, I’m going to sex you, the signet giant edition, I wanna visit that dystopia, security guy BDSM, the trick to get you into this world, a movement afoot, the illusory universe we live in, less interested in prurient things, ban pornography, Everyone Is Beautiful And No One Is Horny by R.S. Benedict, enemies to friends, interior Pennsylvania place, great friend, you’re from Earth too!, villain of the week, villain light, I like kimchi you like kimchi, a petty thief, not even his house, everybody in the house except Martin, some subtle stuff, mirror mirror song, time’s a traitor but the web is real, liar/lyre,

“The web lies broad in the weaving room.

(Fly, little shuttle fly!)

The air is loud with the clashing loom.

(Fly, little shuttle fly!)”

There was a brief pause in the melody, then:

“Year on year have I woven here.

Green earth, white earth, and autumn sere;

Sitting singing where the earth-props mold;

Weave I, singing, where the world grows old.

Time’s a traitor, but the loom is leal–

Time’s a liar, but the web is real!

Hear my song and behold my web!

(Fly, little shuttle–!)”

Francis Stevens moving the typewriter carriage return, very focused on making it all consistent, the four people, Robert E. Howard’s favourite character: hulking irishman, a giant!, he’s the strongest, sent in superlatives, cleverest, the most beautiful, only 19, this criminal, two win the superlatives, aha!, ooh!, very pulpy, plot twist, weird scientific explanation, phantasmagoria, bookended, Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, that was unexpected, lacking colour, the three colours of the buttons, rolling up your D&D character, sorcerer, a D&D party, a setup for RPGs, storytelling like this, 40 years, rolling dice, telling stories, facing threats and being heroes, dealing with what you’ve been dropped into, collaborative storytelling, fantastical situations, literally a Shakespearean style comedy, marriage, shocked about it, interesting and early, Atvatabar was tedious in many spots, pacy, a day of listening at work, it didn’t flag, reseeing these characters, now you need to read the next book, cinematic universe, nickname was “Skidoo”, corny old fashioned, kale, a gat, he pulled a gat, gangsters wreck America, Buck Rogers, sleeping for 500 years, Killer Kane, a queer kind of totalitarianism, seeing it from a particular scale, badly then well treated, as Skidoo did, where she came from, found her at a whorehouse, introduced to her parents, at a dancehall, 1918 scolding has become their religion in 2118, Brave New World and Soma, kept ignorant, the forbidden library, Logan’s Run (1976), don’t trust anybody over 30, youre dosed with alcohol, pre-genes genetic engineering, making people deliberately dumb, our big handsome irishman, Trenmore, did he win the lottery?, homeless, a gold cigarette case, a pulpy version of The Time Machine, the Eloi and the Morlocks, effete cute, delicious elven people, descendants of coal shoveler and engineers, their food product, not objects of sexual desire, only into the future, a bunch of different futures, the dying earth, strange symbols adorn a garden world, the gatherers of the Eloi, make them clothes, bizarre, collars to cows, hobby horse, we have a class of people who are useless, the gentlemanly class, other people who know how things work, a hereditary class, the singing contest, new kid sounds great, condemned to the pit, making an argument about government corruption, the mob running the city, a fear of mobs and organized crime that has been lost culturally, over there, drug cartels, the gangs were going to take over the whole things, The Warriors (1979), and they have, not mafia, gangs have taken over politics, do crime on a large scale, CIA running drugs, geopolitical scale, movies exposing this to the public, the whole genre of pulp magazine, Scarface (1929), gangland movies, Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), more like [Richard Stark’s] Parker, taking scores, The Score (2001), biographical, The Godfather (1972), Black Mass (2015), he played it bald, Leonardo Di Caprio and Marky Mark, The Departed (2006), Pain And Gain (2013), Ed Harris, Tony Shaloub, muscles big and robbing, such a light touch, he’s been naughty, woodshed, masculine storytelling, A Princess Of Mars is light, male wish fulfillment, the pallyness, they liked each other so much, a woman’s imagination of men’s relationships, oh my dear boy!, a boy who likes a girl, a lesbian woman, had never been a teenage boy, probably true, similar in intensely different ways, the new PDF Page, how many exist, three possibly missing things (possibly 2, maybe 1), the description doesn’t match, 11 items total, The Labyrinth from All-Story, July-August 1918, Behind The Curtain, a cute little mummy story, Serapion, Argosy in 1920, Claimed, Friend Island, The Elf Trap, Unseen-Unfeared, that’s not enough, a magic dust to take us to her laboratory, when she got remarried?, gave up her daughter?, the biographical details on her are very bad, Gertrude Barrows Bennett, two pictures come up, people didn’t know that she wasn’t A. Merritt until the 1940s, okay at best, Dwellers In The Marriage, The Moon-Pool, The Ship Of Ishtar, LibriVox, poor and poorly sourced, dubious, discuss, an illustrator, invalid mother, 1917-1920, the kinda citation, moved to California, death certificate, the Social Security Administration, the woman who invented “dark fantasy”, Aztec temples, most of her stuff is much more like science fiction, a scientist who we never meet, materialize certain eastern ideas, a scientific process, Spider-Man is a super-science story, weirdly undercuts, not even set in the future, a weird hell, that’s what would happen to you, their descendants become numbered people in a weird corrupt society, The Last Ship, everybody’s dying, reestablishing the American government in Missouri?, the new White House, regional leadership, the backstory of this, dystopia/utopia, a secret group, who those people are, who are they?, special badges, this planet that doesn’t really exist, weird totalitarian differences, Sliders, everybody’s a cat planet, Soviet America planet, not knowing social norms, what science fiction does, the book as written, something like proto-science fiction, this future was Andrew Power’s fault, fuck all of you, the borders are closed, I’ve heard of him, changing all these different places, he made the dust, he’s the changer, if we read the next book in the series, diminishing returns, the ice cream store, so many options and flavours, with ideas, as a premise is exhausted, as the ideas are wrung out, the idea of series comes out, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes, the biggest series ever, Dracula II, stick around for more of the same, really creative, she’s drawing on her experience of moving to Philadelphia, not hard science, the social science is exploring social norms, a pulp package, missing people, here’s a woman, our loss, when the next one comes out, we’re going to have to treasure it, LibriVox, no requirement, Christina Fu, a really great title, Benvenuto Cellini, autobiography, his Perseus, Alexander Dumas, Rolex, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Lois McMaster Bujold, Ian Fleming, How To Steal A Million, Nick Carter’s stiletto, Killmaster novels, Randolph Carter, The Punisher, airport books, Executioner, Deathlands, gun polishing books, tough guy in dystopian, fucking off across the United States, Clive Cussler, Nelson DeMille, non-book people, oh I see you like books, really good, Jesse doesn’t know everything, Lion’s Game, good books by people you’ve never read, an airport novel, the main character is sarcastic, a thin read and thick book, this guy is really fun, enjoying reading it, Reacher, Lee Child, character driven fun plot stories thing, need to read other books, feel the need or market demand, a great sense of loss, a tragedy, The Elf-Trap was a long time ago, pre-pandemic, 553, a couple hundred episodes ago, November 2019, hang on Maissa!, a major book, out, a good book, revelations about reality, the skill of a fantasist, connecting with somebody from 100 years ago, what she’s trying to do, far enough away for time to pass, staying in hotels and other people’s houses, what an imagination!, fly away Friday, The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, The Skull by Philip K. Dick, most close for The Terminator, blackmailed into The Moon Maid, Shadows In Zamboula, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper, she loves a good libertarian, percentages of libertarians who are women, Ayn Rand is the only one, H. Beam Piper and his no-wife were libertarians, the Traveler RPG, bros pumping iron and robbin banks, the Swat Team are clearly post-9/11, space soldiers, The Last Ship, nautical stuff, little bit like Star Trek, 10,000 refugees, The Cosmic Computer, Excalibur, sword worlds, legendary swords, one day a starship rediscovered…, space vikings!, this boy book, a bit boy, scarred from The Cosmic Computer, good H. Beam Piper, more actiony, sit around creating economics, two-fisted, Poul Anderson, The Golden Slave, a sword and sandal book, sold!, hungry homeless pagan tribe, 1960, barbarian in chains with a lady on a divan with really nice hair, whipped by a lady, Esther Friesner, Chicks ‘n Chained Males, a chick in chain mail and a guy chained up, the puns got worse, I hear baby, players calling, a thundering novel of conquest and vengeance, a dude in a fur bikini chained up, the lady has some grapes, lines, Vancouver Island, wrecked the business, as new kids come…, that’s the hope, some people are not mask-obsessive anymore, masks recommended on BC Ferries, hairnet is fine, do something to society, wrecking the tutoring business (as an in person thing), online is not as good, share a drawing, share food, treating them like humans (to be feared), harbingers of doom and gloom, clearly likes it to commit to three cows, from chickens to cows, an old disabled retired lady, a picture of cows, 9 chickens, 3 cows, 4 dogs, farmhands?, milking, a spring thing, how long does a cow gestate, raising for beef, commune with the cows, Maissa and Will, Will must be in a depressed mode, handsome cows, funny looking, furrier, spottingness, hobby cows, what they think of themselves as, happy cows, there’s a Joe Rogan episode, a Spotify person, a cattle guy, regenerative farm, chemicals and hormones, beef for eating, learn a lot, wrestling or whatever, an apiary lady, sadly no apes, a bee lady, Erika Thompson, her heroes were Jane Goodall and the ape lady (Dian Fossey), pr, full time bees, a tiktok star, a bee problem, the bees have taken over, more suitable for everybody, practical stuff, bee stuff, what their society is like, bees are not like humans, that hive-mind things, the queens are the sex organs of the superbeing, how are queens made, is the queen in charge, the drones are all females, the males don’t do anything, really fascinating, interesting questions, interested in interesting things, talk about bees for 3 hours, Joe Rogan gets a lot of shit, how the smoke works, “drowsy”, the smoke prevents them from detecting alarm pheromones, a shield, interesting people talking about things they’re interested in talking about, book focused, some person who wrote a book, popular with guys, depending on the subject, fighting stuff, a commentator, working on Fear Factor, some farm somewhere, until they sort it out, fight to the death, individually bees have no intelligence, as a collective they act like a big organism, the sad life of a male bee, when your skin cell falls off, not important, give it royal jelly, a collective consciousness, neurotransmitters are outside their bodies, school fucks up, hanging out with the bee lady, school doesn’t teach the right things, sad story, interesting podcast, go for a walk with the bee lady, kitty litter, cream, fear of black coffee, after a good podcast, tea, absence makes the stomach go fonder, just enough, playing it close, cream on the regular, milk her cow, eggs, enjoy your walk.

ad for The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book, August 1, 1919

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book, August 15, 1919

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book, August 15, 1919

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens from The Thrill Book

POLARIS - The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens

POLARIS - The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens

The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens

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The SFFaudio Podcast #740 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Pursuit by Lester Del Rey


The SFFaudio Podcast #740 – Pursuit by Lester Del Rey – read by Dale Grothman for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (1 hour 59 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Tony DeSimone.

Talked about on today’s show:
Space Science Fiction, May 1952, he was the editor, his editorial, a new baby, growth and development, a personality of its own, the most appropriate name, themes, we like good science fiction, final frontier, space opera has long since been overdone, to meet every challenge to spread throughout the universe, always a bad sign, extension in all directions, indefinite indivisibility, occasional fantasy, still countless fine stories, our only taboo, a matter of taste, a better definition of maturity, suspenseful stimulating entertainment, suggestions and objections, a cooperative concern, a letters section, reviews of the best of the new books, special mention, occasional articles, future editorials, the art for Pursuit, that’s the Moon, our hero, an unusual situation, a product of this magazine, for no reason, the wonderful and thoughtful editorial, reprint mag, cover his bases, as a showcase, an okay job, a little editorial at the end of the story, Pursuit ends where the story is just beginning, unrelated to anything we know, dining room in the mountains, another planet, national boundaries, endless possibilities, if you can, not responsible for mental breakdowns, licensing this story idea, not super-unique, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, Larry Niven, stepping discs and teleportation booths, fascinating stories that explore that idea, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, much better than here, Living Space by Isaac Asimov, parallel earths, your own personal planet, alternate universes, pocket universes, transferring from office to home through an alternate dimension, different versions of Earth, he’s an ideas guy but not excellent at executing, fast paced, a lot of pursuing and chase, deliberately obfuscatory, pressure on the reader, all red herring, Philip K. Dick, his sense of reality, mentally ill, Total Recall, novelette length, man on the run, the least good Philip K. Dick stories, short and painful, acceptable, authors who could do this better, a fun game: anonymize a story, someone like Paul, its one of these five authors, a gameshow, reveal the author’s name, Shaun Duke, streaming on Twitch, guess the author, the sky above the port was too easy, an author who wrote a lot, not a realistic game, a Lester Del Rey-ism, the relationships, wild talents, George R.R. Martin’s Wildcards, Parable Of The Talents, a role playing game, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, the rules, a superhero RPG, Marvel super hero RPG, Villains and Vigilantes, rolling up characters, random powers, mutant powers, lack of powers, Captain America doesn’t have any super-powers, maximized human, plus shield, plus moral goodness, lift Mjollnir, turns into a super-hero story, a mindfuck movie, Vanilla Sky (2001), Abre Los Ojos (1997), easily adapted, make it weirder, less straightforward ending, Ideas, did he know where it was going?, it kind of makes it worse, a plot and a plan, why the Moon sequence is in there, a John W. Campbell idea, psi-powers, seeded well enough, the unconscious part, the poltergeists, fair-ish, his style is such, good done ready next, when he meets the girl, ok, what is she doing?, explained by horniness, a little uncomfortable to read, dated these days, definitely horny guys around, The Sky Is Falling, idea-based, Badge Of Infamy, ancient parlance, horndogs, kind of uncomfortable, lurched into the bedroom, a gurgling cry, cold sober, none of her act, you damned alien!, you filthy monster disguised as a girl!, you can’t pass one tests, the dust on his feet proved that, crying now, I’m human Will, oh I’m human!, then prove it!, more apologies than one, she had proven herself and virginally so, complete surrender, cursed himself for a fool, ran off to the FBI, they’d been smart picking a virgin for the job, simple, simplistic, I like this idea, he likes the right ideas, his writing is serviceable, The Boys, what would Superman really be like?, he’d be a monster, accidents happen, we all become Lex Luthor, the hate for superheroes, he exhausted the idea, a reality that is ridiculous and impossible, to simplify and cheapen plumbing, you can reorganize your cells after you bite your wrist, you can jaunt, a better revenge story, The Count Of Monte Cristo with teleportation, Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, the armed forces and the intelligence agencies, a three week Honeymoon to Hawaii, Mauna Kea is erupting, Paul is sensitive to sulfur, poi poi vulcanism, for other reasons, a planet walk, scale model of the solar system, a long walk, when measuring, Sweden, the lack of limits kills the idea in the end, its unconscious, The Golden Man, an X-Men style mutant, a mental midget incapable of even speech, incredibly impotent, suicidal, all instinctual, upgrade, anywhere in time and space, the end of storytelling, where Ted Chiang does good work, Understand, Vernor Vinge’s Bookworm, Run!, Flowers For Algernon, Lester Del Rey does it first, Helen O’Loy, The Faithful, H.G. Wells, David Brin the whole sundiver series, For I Am A Jealous People [is PUBLIC DOMAIN], self impressions, a good sign, SF stories about religion, as one reviewer recently pointed out, pulp magazines, who is standing out to Tony?, Thomas M. Disch, new wave, physically deformed guy uses time travel to get laid, sex with dinosaurs, All You Zombies, has sex with a lady named Eve, The End, a stage play adaptation by John Jakes, The Cold Equations, two people in a room and a voice on the radio, Strange Horizons, story ideas and cliches they would not accept, the main characters that are Adam and or Eve, anime, in the public consciousness has to have its analog, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, a great idea, nobody needs to write it again, sad, unique, novelette length?, a novel version, in the film industry, Saw (2004), short films are what you do when you can’t get funding for a feature, get funding for a feature by making a short, the whole premise is the end of Mad Max (1979), a tiny little rip off of one little scene, mining these old things, The Veldt is the holodeck, the same problems, what science fiction really is, if we have a technology what would that mean?, flat screen technology, the social consequences, what is the social consequence of , a certain band of science fiction, the good stuff for you, that’s the stuff that you want, what is the best really?, they really are objectively better, fixing typos, a missing page, what do we really mean, carrying a saddle through the whole story, no horses, no hats, space western, we can sweep too much, there are things that are better, its hard to judge, our sole aim, the best science fiction magazine, best to some group of readers, Strange Stories is not as good as Weird Tales, which is better Astounding or Amazing, Adams Family or The Munsters, an aesthetic, goofier, they’re all goths, Frankenstein monster, werewolf, grandpa is a vampire, Marilyn is normal, not adopted?, a fun idea, The Graveyard Book, a kid adopted by a jungle, Tarzan, extracted what little juice, very little juice, the way that he told the story, tighter plotting, a Hitchcock movie, a lot of running around, the payoff is kinda straight forward, what’s going on?, our complaint about the last Michael Crichton, Grave Descend, Drug Of Choice, Easy Go, fun all the way through, a nice ending, satisfying, minimal ideas, too big?, not enough restrictions, boundaries and constraints or restrictions, Julian May’s The Many Colored Land, explode things, too much, time travel, what can’t he do?, a better thinker, we need you to fix this story, Ted Chiang, the coolest things, where he saw himself earlier, Robert A. Heinlein, the car, the old fashioned running boards, the least substantial Lester Del Rey so far, the most interesting ideas, Badge Of Infamy, when Jesse shownotes it in six months, Mars, ex-wife, The Last Ship, network channels, TNT, the Navy funds the whole thing, based on a novel, A Town Called Alice, On The Beach, global pandemic, 2014-2019, masks, the remainders of the federal government, its like Soylent Green, getting rid off the useless people, gain of function, fear of nuclear war, a 20th century fear, the second in command is the Jayne from Firefly, right wing nut lens, Adam Baldwin, Chuck, gun crazy, typecast in his beliefs and his life, gone the way of Kevin Sorbo, mouths cover up by mugs, dub in dialogue later, semi-passable stuff, something you don’t seem much in plays, silent film, change people’s lips, de-aged Indiana Jones, 80 year old action hero, weak sauce, Raiders Of The Lost Ark is a terrific movie, had Indiana Jones nothing, he didn’t need to be in the movie, we wouldn’t have had the truck chase, Temple Of Doom, played comedicly, that was ok, Jaws (1975), The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, highly educational, especially obvious, getting scolded all the time, hang our with artists all day, very different, accompanying documentaries, the weird things happening in the early 20th century, our troubling amnesia, I’ve got amnesia amnesia, self inflicted amnesia, Momento (2000), the Mark Twain episode, Jesse would love this, different Christian denominations, Paul is a map guy please and thank you, a pilgrimage book, axis mundi, foundational, catholicon, special rooms for everybody, protestants be like, dish on the Disch, The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, PUBG later, assault a crime lord, escort mission, rescue mission, based on Jack Vance’s Tschai novel, players muddying things.

Pursuit by Lester Del Rey art by ORBAN

Pursuit by Lester Del Rey art by ORBAN

Pursuit by Lester Del Rey art by ORBAN

Pursuit by Lester Del Rey art by ORBAN

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #379 – The Unseen Blushers by Alfred Bester

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #379

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Unseen Blushers by Alfred Bester

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Unseen Blushers was first published in Astonishing Stories, June 1942.

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Exile Of The Eons by Arthur C. Clarke – read by Tommy Patrick Ryan

SFFaudio Online Audio

Exile Of The Eons by Arthur C. Clarke

|PDF|

Exile Of The Eons was first published in Super Science Stories, March 1950, and later published under an alternate title, Nemesis.

Exile Of The Eons is a story of deep time, of ego in the face of same, of utopias and their evil twin, dystopia, or maybe the utopia is the evil one? All this Clarke seems to say by not saying. A dying earth story, set in an almost unimaginably a distant future, it is also the story of today, and of the past, of those great men who in the fighting against mortality are doomed to fade away, their crimes vague, their lives unimportant.

Arthur C. Clarke was struck by the writings of Olaf Stapledon, who, more often than almost anyone else, wrote not stories with narratives, but histories of whole civilizations. This appealed to Clarke, and in stories like this you can hear not only the echoes of the *great men* who sought to change the face of the world, but also the attitude of Stapledon, who is mostly forgotten, but who’s works still echo here and there in such writings as Exile Of The Eons.

Exile Of The Eons by Arthur C. Clarke

Exile Of The Eons by Arthur C. Clarke
read by Tommy Patrick Ryan
|MP3| – 37 minutes 29 seconds [UNABRIDGED]

Posted by Jesse Willis