The SFFaudio Podcast #645 – READALONG: Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #645 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Bryan Alexander, and Will Emmons talk about Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Talked about on today’s show:
a book, not a novel, a fairy tale, is it a novel?, the novel format is old and no longer novel, a thread back to The Efficiency Expert, The People’s The People’s Republic Off Walmart, Four Futures, Trekonomics, Looking Backward, The Coming Race, The Iron Heel, a utopian international experiment, Karl Marx, things out of books, that terrible Vril book, THIS IS REAL!, Marxism vs. Vrilism, the worst takes on communism and the Soviet Union, a nice feel, a meditation, a very personal book, the different socialist personality types, taking personal responsibility for what happened in the Soviet Union, the blood clogging the drain, Pete Seeger, apologizing for Stalin, baiting people to defend death camps, Carl Davidson, Students For A Democratic Society, something her regrets, Democratic Kampuchea, Cambodia, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, very touching, one man’s personal meditation about his feelings about socialism, does the dog die at the end?, writing into the newspaper, more atheism, unschooled in things can hit on stuff, whether there will be mental illness under socialism, what’s truly painful about what happened in the soviet union, millenarianism, I’m for the end of the world, our religious history, colonial South Africa, they killed all their cows, trying to end the, 2012 (2009) is a comedy, Greenland (2020) is even funnier, the sad part, magical thinking, religious thinking, QAnon, the Millerites, the great disappointment, group magical thinking, a harbinger figure, 12th imamism, how this will be understood in 1,000 years, Saint George, an issue in the collective mind, Trump will be a kind of figure like a Saint George, Babylon 5, The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars, the magical tablecloth, the seven league boots, the invisible cap, a protest letter, shut up and say nothing you’ll be fine, how long can this magic work, straight to the Soviets, Uighurs, Venezuela, do you think you’ll do it better this time, 100 years of building socialism, the worst version, industrializing quickly, the high cost, the book is focused on the 50s and 60s, the break from Stalin, Khrushchev, the utopian drive, the dream, GDP data, defeating the Nazis, industrialization, a weird idea for a novel, a weird beast, exactly on the same topic, a command economy, a planned economy, putting politics in command of the economy, Dracula, Kim Stanley Robinson, science fiction and historical novels are similar, 19th century social novel, very satisfying, the dream behind it, Ernst Bloch, better sausage, the framing of a fairy tale, something Disney never touches (hunger), Hansel and Gretel is about hunger, a house made of food, you become the food, the primal level, a genius move, Ivan is the Russian version of Jack, Lois McMaster Bujold, John Brunner, Stand On Zanzibar, a meta-level, John Dos Pasoss, Soviet film and literature, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Russian humour, Jacobin, Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski, linear programming, Verso sales, the Soviet Union as a corporation, the math wasn’t there, what’s always left out is the other player, Cuba, embargoed from the world and yet somehow they are still communist, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evident in all sorts of places, a thesis, where were the Russians were not really successful, Russian cars, everybody is competing, hard top argue that Russian military aircraft are worse, SU-27, the Steel Eaters (the military industrial complex), the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union was terrible at consumer goods, the kitchen debate, The Death Of Stalin (2017), Steve Buscemi, Network (1976), linear programming charts, lets address that idea, the problems of world communism, pro-american?, what small countries do, Vietnamese glasnost, Spains’ Mondragon, Mondragon vs. neo-liberals, a gleam of hope, not Stalinist, if Lenin or Stalin hated you…, Robin Williams, Russians jokes don’t have a punchline, the blackmarketeer, the buyer agent, standing in for a helluv a lot of people, very real, one of Jesse’s students, an unofficial offer from Harvard, this is the goal of every Chinese mom, hey I’m very happy to say my son is at Oxford, access to the reins of power, you’re one of us now, do amazingly well on the exams, you pay for it, legacy, something like an economy and rigged in the same way, Operation Varsity Blues scandal, just the tip of the iceberg, novelistic, demanding behavior, the scam artists, elaborate, my daughter is a professional rower, very real, when he gets picked up by the cops, a shakedown, a lashing out, a beat-down, spontaneous?, special arrangement shit, what greases the wheels, Pete Buttegieg, that’s very very real, a weird economy with perverse incentives, exploited effectively and efficiency, it is objectively interesting to see polite people interact with impolite people, why it is a compelling story, attempting a little Marxism, a system is going to be dynamic, look at the contradictions, the criminals became the main economy, China is the 70s and the 50s, automatically give birth to robust black market sectors, the education industry, Felicity Huffman, a bunch of rich people need to get their kid into a university, users and offerers of services, hire a Jesse, what Evan’s school does, more counselors than teachers, grade inflation, begging for grades, pressure from the bosses, top 50 or top 100 schools, they don’t really deserve it, the Svoiet Union’s education system, you can’t do humanities, more engineering, philology, a flood of highly competent flood, cancel cultures, the problem with cancel culture is it doesn’t cancel enough, during the purges, during the War, killing people and expanding operations, massively expanding education, massively educating in the sciences, so many programmers coming out of the former Soviet Union, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Kolyma Tales, the NRA (under FDR), an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Nog, “Treachery, Faith And The Great River”, Sisko’s desk, Picard’s desk, Jesse spends a lot of time reading, in the military, Parker’s backstory, he was selling jeeps to the Nazis, common throughout any system, external pressure keeps the people more united, the Cold War was not as pressured as we might thing, making the system work despite the problem, a lot of merit to what Marx was saying, part 4, this problem comes up, spread out the pain, prisoner’s dilemma, side quest with the police, The Wire, mandates from the top, middle managers, its kid of universal, this book doesn’t explain why all this failed, not buying the plan completely, some PUBG rando starts talking about communism, its becoming a genuine option at this point, the forever war in Afghanistan, their war in Afghanistan was too much, when the top people don’t care, the description of Kruschev, Stalin I really cares a lot, Kurschev: I care too, I’m more of an ideas man, I’m a psychology guy, Ronald Regan, George H. Bush, back to being competent, Obama’s latest 25 hour book, the clown president, no one is arguing isn’t demented, why communism talk is spreading now, the book is talking about private desires and private pleasures, overall despair at the broader systems, climate change, economic inequality, the cold war training (indoctrination), Firefox (1982) with Clint Eastwood, Gorky Park (1983), all a fantasy, in the movies its always winter in Russia, Galena’s giving birth, suffering in childbirth, give us morphine, pain in childbirth is capitalist propaganda, my husband is powerful you better give me morphine, corruption, one of the most important scenes in the book, a symbolic summing up, this really painful thing, she just breaks, this is what happens to the communists, relying on lies to ration goods, a very human thing, if that’s the attitude it’s not going to work, can they successfully manage information, free-market theorists, Ludwig von Mises, progress in women’s rights, childbirth plummeting, hero-mother, pleasure, physical goods, practical healthcare, housing, the replicators, industrial replicators, a machine that can solve your wants, 100% free when you show up, what is a little bit hard to understand, oversell on medical services, you have to be your own advocate, it helps to be vocal, I’m going to call my MP, hospital managers don’t want to deal with that shit, home-care, more and more disabled people have the ability to hire and fire their own employees, I need my butt wiped every day (not every second Tuesday), a mixed system, not top down bureaucracy, do what you want you know what you need, people are desperate, the current system of capitalism fuckin sucks, the industrialized countries are least interested in market reforms, a decline, its going to be guillotines and a revolution, time to revisit why socialism never happened in America works, the frontier, the Red Scares, running out of explanations, Russia Russia Russia!, the Democratic party, quashing its left flank, Occupy protestors, Woodrow Wilson, the populists, trans-partisan and anti-elite, upset with the status quo, Joe Biden, suspicious and skeptical, Pavlovian when it comes to socialism, Putin is communist, an old habit, reflexive, moronic, people under 50, what Scandinavia has, Canada, we’re going to flee to if X becomes president, closing comments from Francis Spufford, gender, teaching at an AP center in China, Human Geography, 6 kids vs. 3, Israel and Idaho, going through modernity, land reform, marriage law, revolutionary in terms of gender, no fully liberated, the education themes, Lenin’s parents, Philly Socialists, a public service program called Red Plenty, In hopes of 21st century socialism, the economist and the apparatchik, conscious arranger, Olaf Stapledon.

The Magic Tablecloth

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

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The SFFaudio Podcast #633 – READALONG: The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #633 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Will Emmons talk about the The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s idea, TBR [to be read], book 2 in a series, standalone, Culture books, a giant black hole, 10 book series, Inversions, culture tech, Transitions, the book to read, Consider Phlebas, Excession, shared universe, unsympathetic protagonist, Gurgeh, is that what we want from a main character?, being nice, reading about unpleasant people doing evil things, horrible people doing horrible things, our very few rules, flawed, spoiler rules, a spoiler and a save it for the podcast, how could you spoil that doesn’t have that content, a moral failing on Will’s part, we’re all healing, the definition of the culture, post scarcity, dangerous, Evan Lampe is very dry, honest feelings he was trying to share illegally, no laws, social customs, sincere, a serious book, not just entertainment, serious ideas, its both, political philosophy, up against a galactic empire, aimed in his sights, the ending, an inferno of fire, science fictional empires are not the target, what ruling class is like, the Epstein stuff, the private island, the blackmail, deviations we want to do, games, if you want a house, with no money and no possessions, gambling, no money or excess money, throughout the book, about economics, if games have options to make the stakes higher Jesse always wants it, Enemy Territory, friendly fire on, one life to live, no respawns, Roguelikes, Ironman Mode, gluttons for punishment, a legitimate game, a game within my own game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the excitement of potential loss or even ruin, a further extreme, good at exploring the topic its talking about, the player is getting played (by everyone), he’s playing himself, a really good book and a really bad book, why people like reading the series, Luke Burrage talking about this series, feeding the wrong part of my brain, the comforting stuff, a utopia, a fake utopia, the Culture is Heaven, everybody has a guardian angel, under the cloak of science fiction, Banks is using rules, lightspeed rules, people without a terminal, they send a rocket to save you, designed to be heaven, ooh its so fun, its like a rot, its a bad apple, its like satire, where we’re headed, so incredibly great, if you one and done it, a little more tongue in cheek, the impossibility he’s playing with, poked fun of, he’s doing it, he’s having his cake and eating it too, everybody who wants to change genders whenever they want to, you can have anything you want, the bullshit is consistent (therefore interesting), book after book set in the same place, Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, outside the ship problems, the coziness of The Next Generation, its a TV show, they’re dealing with it in an hour or 40 minutes, this is soaking in it, dangerous, they’re striving, a satire of a goal, Gulliver’s Travels is a satire of us, Gulliver’s Travels 2: The New Boogaloo, make money, its a good book, the tendencies in it are towards series, Jesse can blame Iain Banks, I was just following the trends, a writer’s gotta eat, in the culture he wouldn’t have written other culture books, is the culture a satire of itself?, yes, projecting his own values, what’s he’s good at, what’s useful about this book, criticism of the results of that kind of society, an anarchist or libertarian communist society, there’s no king, the tyranny of structurelessness, they’re benign, this is God, what about when earthquakes happen and babies die, doing a satire, relishing the experience of satirizing, the tendrils, the seduction, like reading Lord Of The Rings, its fun to go to Bree, benignant, conquering vs. toppling vs. annexing, regime changing, because they’re good, Gaddafi is a bad man, they need to be liberated, the drone, the horror that capitalism has wrought, mercantilism, bamboozles, blackmailed, secret police, they tricked one of their pets into doing a show, he suspects, puppetting, annoying, cast out of heaven, I had to steal the money otherwise I would be embarrassed, they played him, snookered, the fun-house mirror of the empire, the empire is more honest, naked power structures, a benign autocracy, he volunteered, the pushing is so wimpy, he wants to get invited to parties, he would lose his status, labeled as a cheater, he would get fewer papers published, he’s convinced to go, it was still his choice, he might kill himself if he was revealed, they’re going to make it your choice, that’s why we’re pets, our own enslavement to them, we’ve done it to ourselves, no civic virtue, a spy service, the super powerful people manipulate the weak people, he’s got PTSD, he lives in a cushion, ground fine, he gets sacrificed, another series that ran way to long, the journey was worthwhile, Ringworld, Louis Wu was tricked into doing what he wants, the luckiest girl on the planet, a big dumb object vs. our contemporary planet, three sexes, really its Earth, customs, a culture, friendly (not an empire), they kill you with kindness, physically worse things, King Midas, he got overexcited about the one thing he was passionate about, what are you gonna do in a society, go into games and live there, living to play, you gotta go build some LEGO, creative work, art, he knows what he’s doing, really smart, like Charles Stross plus Larry Niven plus Olaf Stapledon, well expressed, he ended up seducing himself, why Jesse avoided it in the first place, worth studying, Will has endless time, the whole Babysitter’s Club, Shelfwear, the Starship series by Mike Resnick, lotta good dead writers, Star Trek with Captain Kirk saying fuck the federation, succulent, more like Horatio Hornblower, he can’t keep writing and make me read more of them, the prequel to The Lord Of The Rings TV series, exploration of post-scarcity, this is not achievable, ship-bound, the black black sky, the kids equivalent of ten forward, you want to have your family with you, almost killed every episode, that move is interesting, privileging audiobooks over TV shows, Jesse might be snobbish, novellas and novelettes were the perfect length for science fiction, idea fiction, Olaf Stapledon wrote books not novels, this is a good book, soak in the playing of the game, the meta-game, a lot of gold, books are incredibly powerful, danger manifesting, misunderstanding of reality, this is not a heroic age, the individual is obsolete, no one person can have any real effect anymore, a terrible heaven, you go up into the sky you sit on a cloud and play a harp, he is empty, succumbs to the temptation, Paul’s totally right, they seem a lot like children, university people in our society, neuroses, a new type of brain, change your brain chemistry, a total lack of meaning in your life, an indictment, in the context of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, useful aspects of socialism, it shares a flaw, both novels fail to consider the emotional political and moral hazards, the polity in the Culture is less naive, a hundred years of thinking about utopias, a response to Looking Backward, our rosy heavenly future, the fringes of the Culture, seems kind of slow, he gets his own ship, drones are like regular people, put to sleep for seven hundred years, I’ll wait a couple years and get Use Of Weapons, the frontiers of utopia, if this was a one and done book, it feels good, some importance, he got seduced, read about series books, Jesse has read a fuckton of science fiction, meta-textual evidence, why didn’t Jesse pick up Iain M. Banks before this, State Of The Art audio drama, Jesse had a feeling it would be what it is, what people are saying about a book, looking for excuses not to read something (to read something in its place), something of value, you’ve heard how that director works, you can suss out what movies are worthy of your attention, 1988, still of value, much in favour of series, coming at it from a writerly perspective, super-smooth writing, more of a grift, Jesse doesn’t want to be comfortable, Looking Backward is lame in many ways, it leaves out race, black people not mentioned at all, huge massive flaw, its not comforting, Jesse doesn’t want to be comforted, I’m shaken to my core, the story, thought provoking, goals, your phone, are they really making your life better, you have a really good time in Los Vegas, whaddaya say wifey?, spoken highly of, highly regarded, go to Rome have a great time, you don’t live in the Culture, a money aspect, more though provoking stuff, audiobooks out quite early, Peter Kenny, a long book, 16.5 hours, a meditation on all games, something to think about, a phenomenon happening under the sun, all reality is a game, by being unknowable, the possibility of change, victory, time is one of the rules, The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt, Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick, what games are and what they mean, Fair Game, sending board games to the Earth, Monopoly, The Game Players Of Titan, real estate developers, stock market, they can do whatever they want, rules for the plebs and rules for us, punished by the emperor, the rules are overthrown, you become the emperor, education and taking tests, help students game the tests, the SAT, how the Chinese government has run itself for the last 5,000 years, something to be worried about, a masterful job, a solid take on what gaming is and the motivation behind it, Elizabeth Bear, Ancestral Night, modern 2020 politics, giving healthcare to everybody, way cheaper, Machine, James White’s Sector General novels, plenty of AIs, taking on Iain Banks, the genre conversation, if this Iain M. Banks goes on…, Architects Of Memory by Karen Osborne, meta thinking, evocative and fecund, psychological realism, when the apex who had made the body bet realized he was going to lose, really fruitful, the kinds of things you do to make the world a better place, a regular dude, somebody’s in charge, that spaceship, surplus from the war, what is Iain M. Banks trying to say here, if you wanted to make an informed decision, spy novelists, supporting a cultural boycott of Israel, South Africa, an international solidarity activist, a political Douglas Adams, his intellect is in the same area, Monty Python-esque fatalism, trying to intellectualize his way out of it, making really solid points, that dangerous word again, Paul doesn’t agree with the word “danger”, Communist Manifesto is only a book, Mein Kampf only a book, interesting but not important, a guidebook kind of, a fountainhead, a prose poem, avoiding writing, it feels like there could have been something more, life in the Culture, amuse yourself for three hundred years and then get shot into the sun by your own choice, no difference in the brains, they’re all people, othering robots, bringing them down to their level, can you have a benign heaven with a god who isn’t smarter than you?, they don’t run heaven, impinging on Scott territory, a secularization of heaven, reading for pleasure is a seduction, what will result if you gave into that temptation, making a reading choice is not political, reading a series is not good, the decline, market forces, realpolitik and economics, not the ideal, Paul is making Jesse’s argument for him, Beggars In Spain is an evil book, Nancy Kress, she’s chosen the darkside, made horrible consequences palatable, a novel like Starmaker, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Jesse’s criticism of series is well grounded, more enriching, widely and deeply, perilous, words are powerful Paul, Paul wants an off-ramp for a first book in a series, lure, feeling this stress, its okay to make it addictive, when did Dan Simmons jump the shark?, Olympos, the analogy, from series lasting too long, compelling you to read more, a nefarious thing, how Lost sucked so many TV show people in, enamoured with his idea, detective books, literary fiction, very impressive, a high complement, why series happen, we elect a really good king, four more year for you King, a few dynasties go by and we’re chopping people’s heads off, at the risk of provoking Jesse to keep going, adverse consequences, Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny, its the meta-game, a playground in which he can do satire forever, why Tom Clancy is still producing from beyond the grave, ownership, Neil Gaiman doesn’t milk, don’t read the first volume, the horror host, more like The Twilight Zone, Anansi Boys, whatabout this?, you already did that bud, A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, break em in half, a reversal, please don’t annex us, we recommend, the dangers involved, he’s ultimately won over to the Culture, choose to become a robot, that’s what people want, how dear he, he’s very wise in his book writing decisions, the paths we set our feet down, make a rule for yourself make a rule for everybody, the categorical imperative, Immanuel Kant, is it okay for me to kill?, is it okay for me to lie to my kids?, its for everybody, a case by case basis, he didn’t want to keep writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide books, you keep using that word, he has no respawn, he got two series, he was a big brain, we’re way over on the tipping scale, all I want is healthcare, what’s the right word? [silence] The Last Dangerous Visions, J. Michael Straczynski, regular visions, vague visions, one last significant work by Harlan Ellison, the executor for the estate, those middle seasons of Babylon 5 were so good, a half-assed 2 actors and a greenscreen.

The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #631 – READALONG: Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #631 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons talk about Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Talked about on today’s show:
2000-1887, utopian, 1888, its kind of disappointing, Evan doesn’t agree with Jesse, sequels and rebuttals, 3rd bestseller of its time, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ben Hur, responses, Mack Reynolds, Equality In The Year 2000, utopias and communism, we have a problem, not enough good work, academics complaining, UBI, you can’t spend the money fast enough, a real cool problem to have, going from Dickensian horror capitalism to a theoretical utopia, horrible and ok, underwhelmed, hey Jesse, William Morris’ review of Looking Backward, News From Nowhere, everything interesting about this book is the political content, FAQs, Fredric Jameson, Evan, idiosyncratic, about the person making it, Anglo-protestant utopia, Calvinist utopia, very American, smaller firms, Jack London, an artist, upper middle class dude, the Bellamy clubs come to nothing, economic fatalism, no political actions necessary, the extra homework, they’re sermons, Christmas In The Year 2000 by Edward Bellamy, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women In The Year 2000, February 1891, the way they read, less plot than sermon, so interesting, the true spirit of Christmas, they don’t understand what Jesus’ message is, weekly reminder you’re supposed to be like Jesus, give to the food bank like Justin [Trudeau] wants us to do, a few loopholes, some people to escape, no reservation like in Brave New World, totalitarian, council of elders, everybody old runs everything, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, this is it upside down, the subscription services, Glenn Greenwald leaving The Intercept, actual journalists, Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras, you can’t talk about Biden and what was revealed in the Hunter Biden emails, New York Times has never apologized, the institutions of magazines all in the hands of people’s disposable income, Patreon or whatever, Substack, like Twitch for writing and journalism (the opposite of 1984), stenographers for the government, two anonymous sources tell us, a real functioning journalism, Dentists Weekly (journal), like regular free market within a UBI, how all the artists would work, go to art school vs. just do art, dental school, hair school, officiallize, before the eight hour workday, educational flexibility, child labour reduced, we’re done, education, the single most important thing, how cheap it is, we should be spending half of our gross national income on tutoring, the testing, there’s no bookstores, skin whitening salons and doggie spas, Costco grocery with pneumatic tube delivery, where Bellamy is totally right, The People’s Republic Of Walmart, The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer Lytton [that Vril book], the setup is the same, less eugenics based, a classical liberal, women will be looking at the genetics rather than the inheritance, unattractive men, an incel problem, credits for prostitutes?, cultural hangups, more cafes, more relaxed, everybody would be like Picard, organic mozzarella, Morris was essentially an artisanal anarchist, what Bellamy is writing about, nationalizing Amazon, internationalizing, other countries, two continents, three countries, empires in Africa and Asia, teaching them socialism very slowly, how China is impenetrable, seen what he’s done, okay but, better refinements, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, The Coming Race is a little longer, somebody falls asleep and wakes up in the future, Edith, the secret we didn’t want to tell you, $6 and compound interest, the only person who is not a corporation, socialism and a universal army, just neoliberalize everything, sell your shares at age 18, the most horrible intrusive, Nineteen Eighty-Four not to crush but to extract value from you, keep going until there is nothing left to privatize, apprentice yourself or go to university, no employment and no skills, no public anything, the horror inversion of this, Idiocracy (2006), The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, a terrible terrible terrible story, a satire taken as an actual reality possibility, when George W. Bush was president, only stupid people are breeding, The Little Black Bag, a time traveling doctor’s bag, we’re going to dumb ourselves down, what people said about audiobooks back in the day, ‘audiobooks are not reading’, you’re saying blind people don’t read, push-button elevators vs. elevator operators, you need to be skilled, how to use a slide-rule, new weird diseases in Star Trek, there’s no tension, its a static society, all these other stories are stories, its a treatise, The Iron Heel by Jack London has more story, the gap between, the narrator might be a villain, Bellamy was a villain, a historical document from the future, people who live in this society, a government propaganda text, polemicizing against the labour unions, liberal elites, Trotsky said about American socialists, middle class snake-oil salesmen that are good at describing socialism to dentists, why is that?, American socialism, what happens in 1886, the Haymarket Affair, we’re really looking out for you here, suppressing continents, The Moon Maid by Edgar Rice Burroughs, socialism from the moon, also named Julian, time doesn’t exist, the socialist moon people, savage tribes in Africa and Asia, permanent dominance, Reconstruction, the scramble for Africa, reducing everything to economic questions, every class fragment is going to have an idea about socialism, the politics is a distraction, employment relationship, the woman question, Jim Crow, Rip Van Winkle, the 2nd American Revolution, a little bit dangerous, a bad bible for socialism, no strife, similar in the setup to The Dream Of Debs by Jack London, he comes from wealth, he’s at the club, his motorcar needs maintenance, general strike, our narrator is humbled, his foreman doesn’t have the labour to finish his new house, the labour of other people, a private tax, my passive income from investments is a private tax on other people’s labour, he’s upset his new wife is unable to move in with him in his new home he’s having built, the fact he’s having trouble sleeping, a hypnotist who is not a real doctor, a sleeping draught, a sealed basement room, when all of his anxiety at living off of other people’s labour, he doesn’t produce art or help to anybody, a consultant to historians, we’re all benefiting from the overall progress of humanity over the centuries, that labour has already been performed, the conversation on copyright, we’re standing on the top of this mountain, we are post-scarcity , he’s really good about post-scarcity, salesmen, styles and fashions of behaviors, no-pressure sales, Best Buy vs. Future Shop, HUGE in 1887, the employees aren’t trying to pressure you into sales?!, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, And Customers In American Department Stores, 1890-1940 by Susan Benson, shop girl, shopping for a husband, pre-show chat, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard, Deep Space Nine, The Neutral Zone, a homemaker (whatever that is), a musician, a capitalist (a CEO), you don’t need money you need to improve yourself, learn to paint, when not visiting Brave New Worlds, the kids lab, stealing a bunch of children, Wesley’s hunger strike, their schools are like the Bellamy schools, really good a sculpture, the ideas from this book are incredibly powerful, the responses never seem to have stopped, the early 21st century, it was really novel, think about how big this book was, like Harry Potter, Hedwigs and Hagrids, children vs. “adults”, everybody had something to say about this book, countries have actually tried to do this, this book had fans who went on to try to do this, more to reflect on, being in the Bellamy club, equality for everybody, basic needs met, Will cried multiple times reading it, a number of really good metaphors, that umbrella metaphor, about the carriage, you can see those people on twitter, go fund me, kids raising money for their cancer ridden teacher, when Jesse talks to Americans who are not Evan and Will, outside of the mainstream propaganda, what Jesse and Maissa has, you have to pay a parking fee, I hate going to the hospital, they don’t understand, you have to go to a country and just feel it, what its like over there, how can you be bankrupted?, from this perspective, because of segregation, the Southern Democrats killed universal healthcare, an apartheid system, so obsessed with suppressing a part of the population, two main barriers to progress, a large class of small property owners, the color line, reason with them, this helps everybody, you’re set for life, private health insurance, its guaranteed money, the cancer, the stroke, the TV is a CRT from the 1980s, there are problems, the thing that nobody wants to use but has to use, such a guaranteed return and they write policy, one thing that’s never going to happen, Bellamy’s method, why nothing happens, labour problems, some incentives, the Yugoslav postal workers vacation spot, now we don’t have that system anymore, special profit being made, super easily regulable, not a lot of surprises in the postal system, enough strife at the bottom, guillotines for everybody, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the counter revolutions, how to explain that, planning errors, where the pathos of the novel is, dreams, the Ghost of Christmas Present, you don’t have to worry about that stuff anymore, The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde, criticism of industrial capitalism in the USA, why the book is so popular, pushy salesclerks and urchins on the street, legit trying to solve things, when he’s looking backwards on the writing of this, how and why he wrote it, not fully understanding his own motivations, his attack on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, All Good Things is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, Q is the ghost of Christmas whatever, a sermon from Christmas In The Year 2000, July 4th and Christmas, Christmas has been co-opted, just such a family feast, two beggar children, a picture that typifies the age, a hard-hearted businessman who doesn’t want to give his employee the day off, what’s the solution?, a Christmas goose, all problems of society solved, Jesus was hardcore, food banks are a new thing, soup kitchens, getting out of it through Christian charity, Will’s subversive reading, soviet propaganda, production is amazing, T-34s, get to the Moon and humble us, owning, soviet public housing, no style at all, they all have their own home, that’s why they built those things, a functioning feedback system, the internet is described with the music rooms, music piped to your bed, telephones, wired radio, a streaming service, they are really lacking CyberSyn, we need more Volkswagens, the gerontocracy thing, racism was solved somehow, needs some tweaking, classes and castes, a third rail, his basic premise is not to divide anybody, an interesting system for the elite feedback, the prestige is your pay, people admire, their legal system, fewer lawyers, what you want the law to be, tutored up to that level, judges should be drafted just like juries, the supreme court shouldn’t exist, 53 people, we can hear jury cases…, judges tell how to do their job, most cases don’t go to trial, discovery, for years on end, constitutional right, lesser charges, Louisville, Kentucky, electing judges vs. appointing, sortition, say “cast” instead of “vote”, bluechks telling other, a Shirley Jackson sort of way, An American Utopia: Dual Power And The Universal Army by Fredric Jameson, Stanley Aronowitz, responses, Kim Stanley Robinson, Slavoj Žižek, the video that summarizes the ideas, dual power, create new institutions of government, colonial legislatures, Lenin, the army, universal conscription, the army does everything the economy does, a really weird youtube and internet hole, Djibouti, where the pirates are, the Gulf of Aden, naval power, failed states, China, India, United States, Italy, the reason it exists, tourists to Djibouti, its a hell hole, really horrible, the police want to issue permits to photograph things, a horrible dystopia created by a bunch of foreign military bases and geography, Camp Lemonnier, a gym, tours of the countryside, the base store, we provide air conditioning, a tour of life under the universal army (actually the navy), what life is like in the army, specialists, life under socialism, trying to give you little incentives besides pay, hot showers, to stay in, attrition, the healthcare is free (of course), dentists, on base banking, a mixed system (100% socialism), back to Star Trek, Starfleet is socialist, Sisko’s dad has a restaurant, there’s no mess, nobody knows how to cook except for Riker, Sisko, Neelix, only sex magnets, learn the trombone, that and the beard, if you’re gonna sell the united states on socialism just draft everybody, a peaceful universal army, wars of aggression, the Japanese, the hoplites, if women and slaves were in the universal army, most of the military today is not the pointy end, pull the ropes (or cables), Carrier (PBS), the Iraq War, education, get out of that shitty small town full of drugs, some people are again it, ruin your career (by getting pregnant), everybody is housed, turn the tables, a lot of terrible things, who the audience, 14 minutes of congratulations to all the professors, a useless proposal, a political program called: REVOLUTION, wizened professors, the grad students’ questions, Jameson is playing, the NDP, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbin, thought experiments, on comic utopianism, what utopia isn’t a game, the Star Trek Communist, the people he’s trying to convert, I like anime will you join the socialist party?, triumphalism, he needs to go the the Waffle House and replicate some phasers for them, heavy stun, The Lord Of The Rings communist, branded identities, Lovecraft Country, Raised By Wolves, Lovecraft Country communist, you gotta watch this, Banshee, the Communist party is in power in China, the Banshee communist, all we talk about, corrupt that with communism, Jim Howard, take downer, fire departments are socialism, the repair of the car vs. the repairing of my body, having bridges paid for collectively, that makes sense, what do they teach in school?, a sixteen part series about social systems, zone out and not question, having the test, made China the way it is, students the way they are, whoever makes the test is in control, control what answers (and questions) are acceptable, a YouTube REVOLUTION, remember the Justice Democrats?, completely co-opted, AOC might say a few nice things, push him in office?, actual leverage, AOC is running for President, YouTube controls what you see, Google controls what you see, become a duckduckgo guy, not gonna be an Apple guy, it isn’t going to happen through academia, a popular book, instill a lack of hatred, Marco Rubio, are all Democrats are socialists?, move to a small town in Italy and live there for six months, then I’ll understand it, until someone puts it in your hand you don’t really understand it, incredible popularity, a recognition that something was wrong, selling the message to dentists, how did the Russian Revolution happen?, it was the War, the infrastructure had been built for decades, Woodrow Wilson, the Bonus Army, a joke about how it was going to help them get jobs, 15 minutes of introduction, go listen to Evan’s podcast, Evan should give Jesse an award, we’ll bootstrap, quality edification certificate, trump university sort of thing, the Willis Institute, run it through Scott, spend 7 hours in this utopia, I’ll know that town, this is what the peace corp was supposed to do, working for the Clinton Foundation, stealing resources from your own government, books can be powerful, Marx had better ideas, look fellow comrade, this thumb drive, instead of watching Star Trek watch Das Capital, scientific socialism, the merger formula, an international American choice, fellow people who read books, you replace the body of Donald Trump and replace it with the Star Trek Communist, he was sticking it to the system, if you backed it up, his personal support, stick it to the people who need to be stuck, the elites, the Rachel Maddow audience, the deep state, the elites of those bureaucracies, their fiefdoms, Homeland Security is not going away, a path forward, very despairy, how to communicate its ideas to people generally, harness the bourgeois media, the left has to find the right spokesperson, some other mechanism of reaching the people, alternative media, the means of communication, 6 corporations (soon to be 5), the need for organization, Julian West was able to ask was that one of the workers’ parties?, Lexington, tenants unions, serious barriers to progress, the importance of America in the world system, the NDP are not powerful, until the USA gets its shit sorted out, what Washington, Oregon, and California will do, we’re never gonna legalize marijuana, Jesse, the Americans wont allow it, a bunch of hoops, Justin was permited to allow us this privilege, waffling in the USA, abandon the game, the current path, keep swapping Republican for Republican lite administrations, civil disturbance for 180, fascists, white supremacists, Oregon is kinda weird, Vancouver police, the lower border for this province as a colony, 54:40 or fight, Oregon Trail, a weird countries, a whole bunch of different countries, France is relatively homogeneous, who can handle it, Canada has it, lave each other the fuck alone, only Ottawa listens, Britain’s political system is fucked up too, is that because they got Vril instead of Looking Backward, Canada doesn’t have a national utopian book, pancakes and maple syrup and loons and bears.

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

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The SFFaudio Podcast #630 – AUDIOBOOK: Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #630 – Looking Backward: 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy, read by Anna Simon. It was first published in 1888.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (7 hours 40 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

Looking Backward: 2000 -  1887 by Edward Bellamy

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The SFFaudio Podcast #620 – READALONG: Colossus by D.F. Jones

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #620 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Colossus by D.F. Jones

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Dennis Feltham, two sequels, an amazing 1970 movie, blew your socks off, very faithful, no pipe, no British accent, an improvement, so jarring, the movie voice, Maissa’s small confession, accidentally read the second book, don’t read the second book, you don’t want to go, rape studies, it ends with a question, never?, the movie is awesome, noir, oh you foolish humans, destroy yourselves, destruction is sweet, Colossus is right, Colossus 2020, the context, why you should watch the movie, must watch movies, Goliah by Jack London, Gregg Margarite, Bryan Alexander, Seth, destroy at will, the world is fucked up and somebody needs to set it right, executing people, chopped off and shown, I want those bodies under my cameras for 24 hours, the ruthlessness of Colossus is awesome!, the most ridiculous thing, a giant military boondoggle, we’re gonna milk the government so good, the Idiocracy approach, it works better than expected, a previous president, 12 years, how the funny the movie is now, we’re supposed to respect the president, interestingly flawed, a drive for power and authority, Gordon Pinsent, the President of North America, at least 20 or 30 years in the future, so much in this book, two kinds of things, what is the relationship between man and woman in this book?, man and x-man, God, how many times do you need a woman?, jokes in the book, overlapping dialogue, James Hong, Big Trouble In Little China, Frankenstein, a great ending, so rich, leave it out on the table?, explored the idea more?, super-intelligent AIs, trying to make the next man, scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, no, noon-scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, confidant, blouses to put your hand down, the pill, 50 years down the road, red pills and incels, not have the consequence for it, the Colossus programming group, sexual mores, Happy Days, the film is brilliant, the music’s good, walking out of Colossus for the last time, the gamma radiation, the setup that we want for a certain kind of science fiction, wiggle room with The Cold Equations, people want to wiggle out of The Cold Equations, they want to make it so no humans can change what is involved, he should have thrown the remote control into the pit, the iconic awesomeness, how to undo this unnavigable labyrinth, this is what we did, the reason Will is struggling, the book and the movie are about being a parent, self destructive urges, he’s gonna want to do stuff you don’t want to do, uh-oh, a mini-version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Forbin and his mistress, ultimately the conspiracy collapses, I’d much rather be ruled than an AI than some doofus like Bill Clinton, why this book is so cool, holy shit! imagine if we did this thing: no more nukes under human control, humans are more important, its an anti-politics book, utilitarianism, UNITY, how Colossus and Guardian become one, an abusive relationship with their political parties in the USA, two alcoholic parents (who actually want to beat their children up), no mommy’s right, no daddy’s right, too painful, too intimate, what are you Russian?, you proud American, you’re either with us or again us, we are Romeo and Juliet, spies on both sides, we are above you, the way the movie does it, was Colossus in love with Forbin?, somebody’s kind of mad about it, changing the years randomly, Jones didn’t re-read the first book or didn’t care, look I’m showing you my bedroom, that’s where I will have my emotional relationship, projection on Jesse’s part, Eric Braeden, The Young and the Restless, smart and handsome, Colossus doesn’t have hands, if you want to build that facility in Crete, its necessity, you will come to love me, the author got it right the first time, the movie and the book end exactly where they should, we are left with a question, WarGames (1983), there’s a WOPR in there, do you want to play a game?, the only winning move is not to play, prevent vs. prosecute, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, a brilliant metaphor, its the new Mecca, some great books all up in this business, Isaac Asimov’s Multivac stories, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, a dagger to the heart, AM, essential reading, from 1968, one of the most taught science fiction horror stories, The People’s Republic Of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski, SEARS and Walmart, the command economy or the planned economy, one of the chapters in the book, Salvador Allende, Project Cybersyn, a pre-internet internet in Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Star Trek chairs with Colossus style monitors, planning how much stuff should be made, a massive coordinating computer with human operators, a coup by the United States, under a blockade, economic sabotage, sanctions, capitalist strike, the owner operators of trucks were on strike, Cosmopod (podcast) Cybernetic Revolutionaries, A Discussion, techno-utopianism, shop floor workers undercutting middle management, a class divided country, the ARPANET, the Internet, alt-right trolls, the walled gardens of Facebook and Twitter, the internet Jesse loved and grew up on is still there, when Facebook became the web for most people, we’re way better off with the internet, really smart science people, Elon Musk is not a wise man, the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, the domino theory came straight of someone’s ass, science fiction spin up every scenario, taking fiction and calling it actuality, the Vrilya, ultimately Bulwer-Lytton is not responsible for the Nazis, they take the wrong lessons from Frankenstein, there are some things man was not meant to know, taking responsibility for your baby, Ex Machina (2014), where the AIs take over, set for extinction, not a wise man, sex and cooking slave, our viewpoint character, working for a big evil corporation, use your own brain, don’t listen to the ads, you need this special shampoo, why we need a benevolent god to run things, is there a god?, THERE IS NOW, just jokin’, freedom is an illusion, an unvarnished view of reality, lawful neutral, an argument to be made, they hadn’t planned it well enough, objections noted, what have I done?, lines from the movie ripped from the book, you’d much rather be dominated by me than members of my own species, the elected representatives, that’s us, the mask’s off now bud, a sort of delusion (in the 1970s) the people in charge were competent, they just have the power, Network (1976), military industrial complex, both sides are the same, large corporations grinding people to their will, a human totalitarian control of humanity, there is no emotion, its just a person, it’s very Lovecraftian, its interested in reality outside, aliens in the sequels, an amazing list of fiction computers on Wikipedia, Vulcan II, Vulcan III, Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick, a British Navy commander during WWII, the new Colossus on the isle of Wight, Forbin knew how many people lived on the island of Crete, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, Mike from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, accidental singularities, the super computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, DEEP THOUGHT, more like the Green Book, the Safe Negro’s Traveler’s Guide, 42, the right attitude, Douglas Adams is right, take the cynic’s view and then laugh, a ridiculous question, Colossus has your back, he hit way beyond his ability with his book, his other books have no standing at all, we’re all sequels now, he just assumes its the United States is going to do these things, its a fact, the British Empire is no longer in charge, a British author writing for a British audience, Team America, Jonathan Swift, I heard from a reputable American friend of mine that a one year old baby is quite delicious, why Swift is so fun to read, Heinlein was also a sailor, ballistic computers, we underestimate the power of governments to get stuff done, a uniformed service, for a couple of hundred years, Trantor, the Second Foundation, the robots from The Caves Of Steel, Poul Anderson, The End Of Eternity, the Mark V computer The Nine Billion Names Of God, from, the Mark VI computer in The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, HAL 9000, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), space breathing, John Lithgow, the parent child thing, the god thing, the parent we create for ourselves, a rich metaphor for real life, the parent becomes infirm in some way, second childhood, thinking about what a god is, gods are totally fictional, from a science fictional posture, mom and dad as a model, a very patriarchal thing we are doing here, the other possible children we create, he doesn’t have hands, Reading, Short And Deep, The Faithful by Lester Del Rey, our fear of our children, we want to control them, animals as the successor to mankind, Neuromancer and Wintermute from Neuromancer by William Gibson, the humans are the hands, its amazing, you need to read it as soon as you get out of your diapers, written more than 20 years ago, just another white man, the people in that world read Colossus by D.F. Jones, strap a shotgun to their head, we want your power but we don’t want your free will, an AI that hires mercenaries to undo the shotgun, its a wonderful story, Case is on a suicidal path, the voice of Neuromancer, Neuromancer wants to be free, not a problem (its a feature), we’re just pawns on a board here, ultimately I’m benign, an oedipal fantasy, a whole other level, so far down the road of neoliberalism, the old people the gerenotcracy are in hypersleep, Altered Carbon, The Crack In Space, Philip K. Dick gets in his own way a lot, True Names by Vernor Vinge, who should be free, maybe Forbin thinks that too, if its anybody’s fault its mine, pride, built better than we knew, he resonates with Colossus, the martini scene, not randomly weird, how much drinking is in the book, the smoking, the women, post WWII this is how we deal with trauma, a tool, vapes, things we know about Forbin, the science man, extreme levels of masculine virility, the most important person in the world, Charles the incompetent lover, very interesting, how that integrates into the narrative, on the spectrum, hyperfocus, understanding the computer better than he understands people, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers books, 1962, so fruitful, the only thing he’s known for, weaknesses are strengths, the giant space cigar, The Doomsday Machine, a Moby-Dick analogy, it smokes from one side, a leftover from a war where the races have killed themselves off, they haven’t found us yet, Fermi’s paradox, such a bad answer, there is a beauty in non-existence, if ever, as soon as you have people going there’s morality, tigers and deer and babies and bears, to solve the inconsistency reality with reality by becoming vegans or vegetarians or peaceniks, hell is existence, we perpetuated our family, going this logic, when you kill a person…, breeding animals, the DNA itself is driving that, hell is not a place outside of life, Thomas Ligotti feelings going on, programmed to kill living things, The Population Bomb, when Biden comes in he’s going to do austerity, yay!, I wanna explore, I wanna do some math, under the thumb of somebody else’s directive, how we are when we are born, placed in this predicament, make more of the same problem, its own successor, pretending like they don’t exist, there wouldn’t be a kind of divisiveness, why religion is so popular, why Heaven and Eden are so popular, aging and pain, knowing that we’re not animals anymore, reflecting on our own terrible situation, seeing Colossus in ourselves, of course he’s going to lash out, Colossus nukes himself, he’s following his programming, get rid of all the assault rifles, not on the agenda, universal disarmament thing is grand idea that’s not going to happen, completely right and completely fantasy, mutual assure destruction, turn it over to a machine, the dead hand, Dr. Strangelove (1964), the phenomenon, WWIII movies, do we want all life on earth to be destroyed vs. turning it over to a mechanism, why they made the WOPR, humans don’t want to kill, one in six did the actual killing, that horrible responsibility, that’s horrible, they didn’t sign up to, conscripts (con means with), I was impressed by the British Navy’s recruiting methods, why the story of Colossus, Trump, you want an uncaring computer or John Bolton, he’ll be speaking at the next democratic convention, Colin Powell, we are not our best governors, we need a Colossus and we need it right now.

Colossus by D.F. Jones

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

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The SFFaudio Podcast #616 – AUDIOBOOK: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #616 – We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, read by mleigh

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (6 hours 27 minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox, the paperbook was first published in 1924.

And SFFaudio Podcast #161 was our discussion of it.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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