The SFFaudio Podcast #461 – READALONG: The Impossible Planet by Philip K. Dick


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #461 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Evan Lampe talk about The Impossible Planet by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Imagination, October 1953, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, not that bad?, a lot to like, hate the ending, The Hood Maker, ambiguous clever or something, the story doesn’t need that, a tale of ecology, a fake tourist experience, they don’t know what they’re doing, what are you doing here?, long lost Earth, myth and legend, Isaac Asimov’s galactic empire, two kilo pos, love story, grandmother, grandfather?, incest issues, skinny dipping, more confusing, is it really happening?, a shared delusion?, a fairy realm?, deluding the same thing, she brought along some clothes, it’s Earth in the story, the twist in the tail, Planet Of The Apes, Richard, the coin, titillate our curiosity, the meaning of the coin, it could be Earth in the TV adaptation (but there’s no evidence for it), hook shaped rocks, the robant (robot) is lying, motivations, bad writing, we don’t get the ending, tell us what it means Jesse, struck, she’s the same old woman who appears in a handful of Dick stories, the old woman in The Cookie Lady, a personality, a sexuality, Captive Market, Douglas or Doug in a story is Philip K. Dick, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy, writing women, why is she an old woman and not an old man?, gender swap, he buries her in the sea, some birds flying around, E. Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one”, a subtle environmental message, a symbol out of where we came from (the sea), it doesn’t look like Earth, I didn’t want it to be like that, all the money being made on genetic ancestry, big business, kinda bougey, white privilege, she’s rich, or is she using her last resources?, this is not what I want, Lovecraft is obsessed with ancestry, you better not look to much, a historical argument, genocide and slavery, no idyllic past, historical memory, North Carolina, some very weird things, the forgetting of the Earth, despoiled, garbage floating in that ocean, Strange Eden, ancient astronauts, Circe, develop the planet, humans are terrible, when you go picnicing, when Mother Earth returns to die, supposed to have a resonant feeling, the robant as a culmination of the industrial society, big red eyes (I’m angry?), Fondly Fahrenheit, almost beautiful, he went along with the scheme, the acting is good, the scripting isn’t very good, an extra character (the girlfriend), science fictional trappings that don’t resonate, it only makes sense if they’re delusional, no time travel explanations, he doesn’t really love his girlfriend, he’s from the periphery of the empire, the captain, whatever weird porn, fake sex, fake tourist sites, make the rubes happy, the girlfriend wants to go to the “city” too, the rat race of the corporate ladder, maybe the old lady is his true love, it is weird that he has these old women characters, formulaic vs. instinctual, what her body is like, how beautiful she is (really), sexualize a 340 year old lady, the money is double, the names are the same, old women can be beautiful, she’s going back, give this woman some dignity, the guys are kind of the assholes, not about the dignity of her death, a suicide pact, a suicide mission, the service worker angle, you waitress pretends to like you, the rubes, fakeness, they’re lying the whole time, this is Earth, it’s not Earth, oh, it’s Earth!, a lie that turns out to be the truth, genuineness, genuine emotion, genuine reality, the industrialization, the robant is more loyal than the humans, Norton, beautiful and dark, they sink into it together, muddle motivations, its only there to scold Andrews, the American experience, we need punishment, they’re channeling Americans, there’s no punishment at the end for the two liars, we don’t need punishment, it is not about punishment, why she’s a woman makes sense if her robant is her loyal servant, to deliver her for that scene, the original title was supposed to be Legend, a quest like the one for the Holy Grail, from thirty years ago, The Twilight Zone (1985/6), Voices In The Earth, ghosts, grass and flowers, repopulating the Earth, a Wall-E style rebirth, an elegy not a renewal, nature doesn’t give a fuck, there are no ghosts, the slug that crawls over that rock from a temple from 1,000 years ago doesn’t care, what makes something true, not a justified true belief, the skeletal moonlight, the recycling bin, we’re outside of the story, she’s representative of nature, leaves and branches, a voice like rustling leaves, a faded leaf carried on the wind, the Earth is cracked congealed baked degenerate, crusted with salt and waste, line by line, evocative and beautiful, Earth is green, what do we make of her being deaf?, different deafness, sensitive to the hearing community, hearing loss vs. complete hearing loss, the second to last page, Andrews, senile and deaf, easier to justify tricking her, disability, if she’s representative of Nature, Nature doesn’t speak to us, they can say things right in front of her, spitting on Mother Nature, it works somehow, a small idea, The Commuter, Prominent Author, wonderful technology, a joke, devastating the Earth so badly we won’t even know it is Earth, Planet For Transients, Survey Team, post-humans, leaving their mother, the seeds for a new form of life, a human civilization on Mars, this is what our species does, die and face our sins, that should have been the story, I go to the hair salon, their stylized white hair, upping the pink nebula, weird bouffant hair, regular mousy black, vs. Louis XIV hair, are we supposed to be disgusted by the tourists, class warfare, fulfilling her wishes, fell flat, she can hear the bird, Andrews is interpreting it correctly (just low on oxygen), toxins and radiation, fantasy is comforting, maybe Jesse dreamed the comfort, how harsh reality is, the comfort of a woman’s body, late late late winter and spring romance, that’s all the tourist experience is, Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, the intersection of old empires, the Roman Empire, Syria, Bible stories, the British, French, and American empires, poverty, managed and regulated, Hunting The Deceitful Turkey, hunting, Mother Nature is tricky and deceitful and full of irony, betrayed by her own bone, he’s a bad shot, if you interpret it right, he’s a vegetarian, too sensitive, reading Twain, Mark Twain deflecting with humour, Dick meditates in the spaces of the characters, the other characters are only there to deliver the scenes, how horribly we treat people, selling the dream, and sometimes they do get it, accidental moment of grace, research, hallucination, give her a fake memory of visiting Earth, that open question, the death chamber scene in Soylent Green, Edward G. Robinson (Sol), removing the ambiguity, the signature of this whole series, taking the lesson of Inception (2010) to heart too much, liquid realities, thematically grounded vs. fuzzy, The Commuter is an amazing and subtle short story, I can see it, he can’t see it.

The Impossible Planet by Philip K. Dick

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #090 – An Express Of The Future by Michel Verne


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #090

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss An Express Of The Future by Michel Verne

An Express Of The Future was published in English in The Strand Magazine, December 1895.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Protecting Project Pulp: Prominent Author by Philip K. Dick

SFFaudio Online Audio

Prominent Author is a great example on the joke theory of short stories. Look to the meaning of character names, listen for the clever turns of phrase (‘he wasn’t just a cog in the machine anymore’) then add in the fun bit of stuff happening with the wife and wife’s girlfriend back at home – Philip K. Dick knew his stuff.

Nick Camm’s accent doesn’t quite fit the story, but his narrative abilities sure do. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s pretty clear to me that Protecting Project Pulp hits more home runs than any other podcast in the District Of Wonders network!

Paul Orban illustration from Prominent Author by Philip K. Dick

Protecting Project PulpProtecting Project Pulp No. 67 – Prominent Author
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Nick Camm
1 |MP3| – Approx. 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Protecting Project Pulp
Podcast: November 4, 2013
“It was the dawn of a golden age of transportation. Terran Development was ready to market a fourth dimension ‘vehicle’ which afforded almost instantaneous travel. For instance Henry Ellis commuted 160 miles to work in five steps and a few seconds. Then, one morning, he met some people on the way…” First published in If: Worlds Of Science Fiction, May 1954.

And, here is a |PDF| made from this story’s first publication.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

SFFaudio Review

Hyperion by Dan SimmonsSFFaudio EssentialHyperion
By Dan Simmons; Read by Various
19 CDs – 21 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781423381402
Themes: / Science Fiction / Artificial Intelligence / Aliens / Religion / Starships / Simulations / Transportation /

Seven people, all headed to the planet Hyperion to visit the Shrike, find themselves on the same ship. Regular pilgrimages are made to the Shrike, but these seven have been granted a visit to the Shrike together. To find out why this is, they all agree to tell each other their personal stories of what brought them. The result is a Canterbury Tales in space. A priest, a soldier, a poet, a scholar, a detective, and a consul each tell their story; all separate, all intensely personal, all very different, yet all involving the Shrike in some way.

The book is set in the distant future, and the ideas are plenty. There’s farcasting, where doorways are created to other worlds. One character has a house where every room is on a different world. Costs a fortune, but it can be done. There are artificial intelligences, starships, and sims. Against this backdrop is the Shrike, an alien creature that lives in the Time Tombs, and the seven on a pilgrimage who land in a city on the planet Hyperion, then make their way to see the Shrike over land. “Pilgrimage” is definitely the right word here, because the whole book has a mythic-religious quality. Each person is dealing with very difficult stuff, and what each person hopes to gain from the Shrike when they finally get to see it is nothing short of intervention of a higher power.

Audible Frontiers did a wonderful job with this audiobook. It used to be available only through Audible, but now Brilliance Audio is offering a hardcopy version on CD, which is how I listened. Each story is told by a different character, and each one uses a different narrator. The narrators were all excellent, so this is a perfect presentation of this book.

All seven of the stories are fascinating, well-written stories. There isn’t a weak one on the bunch. This is a top-shelf science fiction novel, up there with the greatest books of the genre.

Highly recommended, without question an SFFaudio Essential! The single caveat is that you must plan to read the next book in the Hyperion Cantos, (called The Fall of Hyperion), because the story doesn’t end with the end of this book. The Fall of Hyperion is also available from Audible (digital) and Brilliance Audio (CD), as are the two books that complete the series, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. This is the only one I’ve read, but I expect I’ll be reading them all.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson