The SFFaudio Podcast #781 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The History Of Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan by Ibn Tufail

The SFFaudio Podcast #781 – The History Of Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan by Ibn Tufail, read by Evan Lampe. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the book (2 hours, 57 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Terence Blake.

Talked about on today’s show:
Terry the loner, a conversion, Terénce is better than Terence, the necessary existent, why are we listening to old dead Europeans?, it’s Tarzan, Stranger In A Strange Land, enriched it with sex, implied sex, conceives the possibility of sex being a distraction, might be converting to Islam, raised Lutheran, if Evan were to convert: Islam or Calvinism, neo-platonic symbolic interpretation of Islam, Avicenna, John Vervaeke, Awakening From The Meaning Crisis, alternative titles, human reason, the History Of Hayy Ibn Yadhan, is this a story of humanity story?, yes, a history of philosophy story, a scientific interpretation of a history of humanity on earth story, there was a pool of very muddy water, it had fermented a lot, it so came to pass, a receptacle, the crappy story of how earth got life, full sized human baby, cute and fun and silly and gets us where we need to be, a bad novel, a fun thing for what it is, forgotten about Roman novels, for dramatic events, more like a Philip K. Dick novel than Edgar Rice Burroughs, raised Christian, the aesthetics, he would definitely have dug it, this book doesn’t wrestle with evil very much, what is good, evil as blindness, on the ethical side, his moral code, through his system, life the universe everything, necessary existent, are your podcast listeners familiar with Avicenna?, ethics are rooted in communities, morals vs. ethics, ethics is for jobs, Deleuze’s definitions based on Spinoza, the application, universal constants, not in a hurry, puppy drowning in the river, get that puppy, dog catcher, commitment or relationship, I can help you cheat at school but I can’t help you cheat at learning, make your prison stay better, good ethics vs. good morals, you shouldn’t lie except…, find a way to be tricky and deceptive, on the same page, new friend, many points in the 115 chapters, this is all impossible, 28 years old, now he’s going to learning language, that burning bush over there, get past that, those things are in Tarzan, a primer (how to read book), he’s also a child, lots of impossible things happen, improbable things, either way the creation myth works, nurses her son, puts him in an ark, God take care of my son, beach, a roe nearby, the baby ain’t changing her own diapers, lick up their shit, how everything works in this, figuring out what the stars are, this is not a fiction story, a fiction way of making your students be introduced to all of these concepts, mostly right, wrong in the details, from the physical to the spiritual, wanting to live in a videogame, deny their body, focus on the mind of god, mortification and starvation, getting closer to that perfect union through understanding god with mirrors, largely concerned with science, the philosophy of religion, let’s form a society, just like the scholastic in Latin Europe, Thomas Aquinas, justify this through Aristotle, Plotinus, a doctor, scholarship, what makes it a golden age, parallels with what is happening, a condensed text, an autodidact, packaged like we think of as a novel, two creation myths, let’s just examine the facts of how the sun works, how heat works, all tricks to get you into the science, natural philosophy is what we would call science, talking about the food, the morality of the food that you put into your body, animals and eggs, vegetables, stand on fruit, fruit is the most interesting kind of food to talk about philosophically, fruitarians, not kill a plant, roots and bark, fresh vegetables, weird cases, fruit or vegetable, pumpkin, strawberries, parafruit, acting like a fruit, doing what the plant wants, how drugs work, obliquely referencing quinine, Jesuit bark, developing our relationship with plants, we had this discussion, eating fake meat, if it tastes like meat, super-interesting, modern Muslim and Jewish orthodox people, philosophically disposed, religious ideas people just accept, if you think it through, a consequentialist, being offended by a dildo, something is fake, dildos do offend people, glossed over, daily ablutions, the philosophy of washing up, plants rubbed into his private areas, he took them where they were abundant, more from the roe’s point of view, god killed her fawn, there’s no predators on this island, this ecosystem is fucked, two and a half hours, do your own Hayy Ibn Yadhan fan fiction, he spent a year thinking about his relationship to scented plants, why it is good to keep your bum clean, the Robinson Crusoe connection, eating of that guy’s food, not a food that he should eat (because it is too good), generally right, vaping scented vapes, a chemical that helps them regulate their mind and mood, drugs to excess, to escape the pain of capitalism or whatever, don’t enjoy things too much, sleep cycle, sleep hygiene, having this character learn about reality, the ecosystem, this other, philosophy of religion, all up their own asses, not on observation of the universe, inner knowledge, rationalist and empiricist, why is she not moving, she will move again, he loves his mom, after a certain point you can’t fix the plumbing, a traumatic theme, more of a medical explanation for why people die, going into the soul, better explained using brain chemicals, all reductionist, fastidious about what he eats, pleasure therefore not really necessary, drunk on the spinning, the Sufi stage, exercise, that’s still the body, you have to go in circles like the heavenly bodies, still material or sensory or corporeal, runs around his house, runs around the island, not far enough, whirling dervishing, little kids do it naturally, special dresses that fly up, his solution is go in the cave, get in the tantric pose, starve yourself, hare shirt, whip yourself, high on your own supply, mushrooms, peyote, Joe Rogan talking to aliens, the gateway to the aliens, just replace God with aliens, looking for meaning, satisfied with the educational steps, high enough state, we won’t have to worry about meaning anymore as we will be in communion with god, look at that lumpy rug, a history of mistakes, bring it together, better understanding, meaning has to be derived from experience on the earth, this is how we’ve been doing it, how early and how right, lot a Greek stuff in here, Peter Adamson on The History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, it’s never gonna end, other traditions, China next, third most translated from Arabic, the Koran, The Arabian Nights, it has a bit of a story to it, fish out of water books, utopias, which is why we like science fiction, what are the rules, Stranger In A Strange Land, subject to Heinlein’s philosophy, The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft, surrounded by books, assumes he is like the characters in the books, candles, he can’t go into the forest, out of Plato’s cave, spiders and bats and silent rats, a familiar path, to heaven, did some horrible thing come into the house behind me, male or female, a memory of a better place, visions of heaven and being close to god, built into humans, a better place available to us, where the power of saying there is a God out there, how we’re different from the other animals because we have this faculty, a spirit that they don’t have, important unto themselves but not like us, why it is a story, scientist and proto-scientists, 1160 AD, thousand year old book, a meta-fiction story, the two origins, both are true, Moses and Adam, the bible has both stories, silly, incompatible but presented, it’s wrong but a good way to get access to an idea that is helpful, a stage of development, the princess puts her baby in an ark, the book is more intelligent than us, a few extracts from the introductions by modern editors, old science, when it seems really impossible it’s supposed to shock you into an allegorical reading, take away the veil, this story with the light, neo-Platonist, the light, divine light, materialist explanation with the clay is not enough, the light comes first to make the human, the end is not full enlightenment, worldly life, the next step, The Ten Ox-Herding Pictures, the enlightened one, the oneness of God, the story of the Buddha, nobody reads the bible as a scientific text, references to the Koran, a book about the history of why we can know things about the real world, engaging with the creator of the world, transcending the world to appreciate the creator of the world, sometimes he’s starving himself to get to enlightenment, don’t eat meat/cows, what the proper things to eat are, non-fable, things that are not fables, a mist in the center, empiricism, I study facts, steam, the soul coming out?, animal spirits, a white mist that explains that why it was alive, part of the heart is clogged, more than one chamber, one is empty one is full, heart attack, blood clotting, the whole point of that, he looks at the body, there are no holes in it, nobody poked a hole in my mom, if there’s something broken inside of her, what surgeons do, go in there and fix it, transcendence to she is a mechanical creature, but still good, not my job to eat all of these things, not completely separate, why does he covers up his genitals?, furrier genitals, they’ve got a tail, he duplicates that, he’s into imitation, he’s smelling good, he’s radiating light, dressed in a sophisticated way, he looks amazing, he’s not fat, only eating what he needs to, part of his movement, bodily objects in the heavens, get out and take a walk, Tai chi is based on circles or spirals, the best movement is spirals within spirals within spirals, doesn’t hurt the joints, low or no impact, he wants to be with God, he’s not allowed to kill himself, he has to be good to his body, he has to be good to the environment for God’s sake, he’s not going to uproot anything, when he sees a plant that’s too dry he gives it water, he’s healing the creation, a flash of Greta Thunberg, gotta save the world, but for what purpose?, minimize the corporeal element, the incorporeal element in him, too… be one with it?, where the author intends to be, the ultimate goal is that unity with God in the city, those two characters introduced at the end, a cave, an island, an introvert and an extrovert, a Sufi mystic approach, a duty to that community, those ethics are established, you’ve finished the book, as a young person, take what you’ve learned into society, in doing so your spreading the religion/knowledge, the way Jesse finds meaning, share it with everybody, most people don’t read, a nice poem in an old magazine, job well done Jesse, the others don’t like it, they’ll never get to it, be good, be nice, and protect your business, the writer is all three, too literal minded, follow your inclination then, be one with God and do what you will, born on an island and stay on an island, going into the cave and meditating until you die, you’ve gotta go into the city, you live in a dumpster, you laugh at the politicians as you eat your onions, that’s Diogenes, hang out with dogs, need to be close to services to dig through dumpster, masturbating in public, modelling himself on Socrates, Diogenes is mystical? tell me more, I’ll go live on Instagram, very backwards, selfish, lame, it might be immoral, he’s the one who could stay in the cave ethically, the problem with the libertarian point of view, Trish’s voice, not that way Trish, not more female voices in this sausage fest, a natural instinct, a goat that suckles a kitten with no mom, lonely, not of its own species, morality and instincts are related, go away or soothe, built in, for females they suckle children, they lick them clean, one day my child will take over my business, as a male we don’t have that instinct as much, categorization, taking things apart, the instinct to be a mechanic is more male, nurture and take care, cut and dried, people disagree are fuckin nuts, if this princess had had a daughter it wouldn’t go into a cave, lady sitting in a cave, meditating all day, early Christian church mothers, once they’re indoctrinated, female brains, blind people brains, different skills, definite dispositions, this book doesn’t go there because it’s just one dude, trying to go there, there are female religious fanatics, flagellate yourself, deny the body, a more male phenomenon, I gotta go, the baby needs to have milk, once your kids are grown, grandkids, supervision, the occasional story, wipe dirt off wipe dirt in, because we live in a gendered society, societies are gendered, we could abolish gender, males and females then, the progeny has to be raised up, done by groups of people, the suckling is only done by the female, more weaving, men weave too, hunting in the forest, once they get out of a certain stage they’re into a city, lenses, glasses, burning glasses, related to the tech you can get from the city, mirrors, do your science stuff, in order to have cities, bringing supplies to the lens-grinders, a guy who doesn’t have a lot of needs, when that guy comes to the island they’re having sex, funny, very high spirtiual status, have sex without even noticing, a baby appears on a puddle on the beach, a sealion comes by and nurses this pup, god is busy strangling it’s pup, married Apollo, Pythia, these are animals pretending they’re not animals, if there was a woman on the island, whatever the Koran said about marriage and family, he gets ultimately to Islam, multiple wives, a controversial position, the Jews not so much, one at a time with the Romans, making connections between tribes, Mohammad’s wives, the favourite wife, alliance style marriages, having lots of children, to build up, nation states and empires, go to Tahiti, if the food is easy and the weather’s nice, recruits for moving rocks, war with a neighboring island over rock resources, when he goes to the city, cities could be sacked, these are things that are not touched upon, nobody can critique my stuff, you need some guy to tell you to take the slide cover off, researching something that doesn’t exist, the car is out a gasoline, basic baby things that we need to learn, that’s not how real science really works, what are you doing?, ohhh!, solves huge problems, an argument for rationalism that I could flick away, trying to learn from experience, the community of science, it tends to go to the cave, learn this stuff on your own, an experience that’s very rare, a high on drugs style experience, non-transferable but felt real, fiction helps you learn things that are real, use a fiction example, you’re dad’s dead, I would feel terrible, j/k, if they can give their own fictional explanation, how you acquire that meaning, not just the engine, read this book then go talk about it with a bunch of other people, it can’t live without us talking about it, it’s missing something, one of Evan’s specialties is the history of the worker movement, a whole history, The Ignorant Schoolmaster by Jacques Rancière, master-pupil model, social power relations, science is collective, any kind of work outside of the most primitive is , underdog educated by the topdog, if I teach something we are now equal, educational establishments, I’ve been teaching him like he’s inferior, in mathematics, G.H. Hardy, strange letters from an Indian [Srinivasa Ramanujan], at this level in mathematics, workers education is social, you don’t have to go through official channels, I get that point, learning from other people, a defect of the book, he thinks in terms of heaviness, what do you think will happen?, heaviness is not the same as gravitation, it must be shorter, a proof on a page, the proof blew Terence’s mind at 11, a part of an infinite set is the same size as the original, math is a real problem, live in a cave with a slide-rule, Cantor’s diagonal proof, other kinds of knowledge, geology is not solvable in a cave in a human lifetime, figuring out the rock cycle, water’s states, impressively frozen on the equator, water gets bigger when it freezes, less dense in its frozen state, the Greeks, doing all inferences, takes that step into being the caretaker of the island and the animals on it, what the , he says to the deer he can make sounds of but can’t answer them back, this is not how it works, Rene Descartes, I have an idea of god in my mind, gymnastics, people can be wrong, people can be confronted, internal experiences, going in the wrong direction, reform a city, Plato to step in, that’s probably wrong Mr. Plato, retreat to the cave, get closer to God, Aristotle’s physics, look at how happy he is, why would the laughter cease?, would never have been able to write the book, language came letter, writing in parables then in metafiction, why Ibn Tufail has gone a step further, a book that encourages more books, heirachy in educations, becomes a guru, he’s the master, he has his followers, that’s bad, that’s the wrong attitude, inherently hierarchical, being older makes you more wise (not always), [Mikhail] Bakunin’s dentist, two people on a beach, the older one, giving my game away, knows how the oars work, pulls up a chain, a little cage, a crab or a lobster, Jesse’s not a lobsterman, eventually that shorter one will know how to do this job, where to put these traps, one of them is a young person, transfers the knowledge on, outside of school systems, flint tip arrows, one can’t do the lobster trapping anymore, more like a chain of responsibilities, explaining stuff, learn a lot, students aren’t always great teachers, if circumstances are such, so wonderful, learning so much, given the system we’re in, servers to pay for, a really nice book, they’ll learn even more in discussion, hear somebody talk about a book, talk with somebody else, how the genuine learning is genuinely happening, documentary, a room with a bunch of nurses wearing masks, swaddling babies, a table with forty or fifty babies, those babies have no names, piles of baby, raising children, this is my baby I love it, when your breast milk is working again, widgets, you’re in this class and I will mark you, they tell you about a book they read, I’m too old for that genre of book, that’s fun, the social aspect as well, recommend not just one book, not just ten, explanation, discussions, Evan’s blog on Philip K. Dick, built on a foundation got from society, a tabula rasa from birth, he’s not sharing, throw in other people, society makes something out of that, already enmeshed in social relations, factually wrong, allegorically interesting, podcast or write a blog, intellectual evolution, born on an island, possibly a puddle on a beach, get away from the ego, learn on their own, Evan’s blog is:, what book is his best, juvenalia, buddy, posthumous, Olaf Stapledon, also science fiction that is not a novel, Sirius, a novel, the banner is a big slum, Mars, kipple, everywhere humans go, trashy and garbage, super-socially active in his community, trashing the school board, make political change, writing congratulations to Richard Nixon, what an autodidact there, that’s when he gets nutty, stops engaging in society, big mistake you’re not meant to make, at the height of illumination you think you are God, something about avoiding the mistake, fell into the mistake however you define it, even along the way, the occasional place he would revert back, do something fun with it, we don’t need to be bipolar, the crazy ones, he believes everything, just great ideas, born on drugs, sparking all over the place all the time, his reputation, the drugs are to stay up late and write a novel, LSD, his fleshy hariry sweaty world around him, he wrote a lot about drugs, Heinlein’s sex-life, a guru for some aspect of the sexual revolution, weird cult, The Church Of All Worlds, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, annoyed, Ayn Rand, The Harrad Experiment by Robert Rimmer, nothing can possibly go wrong, sexual anxiety is learned, educate he current generation, a wonderful book about this, Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History by David Allyn, Thermidor, vs. humidor, a month, effecting the social movements, drugs are cool, weird shit happens, chew that Chew-Z, druggie reputation, Heinlein is more deserving of his reputation, a pretty sex-free book, we need that sequel, Jesse and Connor, an immoral book, the guy’s a fuckin asshole, you’re my slave now, a Pierce Brosnan adaptation, they have to do things to make the characters not monstrous, Friday judo flips him, you look like me, I don’t understand words, food, cultivate this relationship, friendship is sealed, a non-hierarchical relationship, I’m doing a mini-colonialism and you can to, thank god for all your providence from god, then you get slaves to increase your yields, a go out and do this kid book, there’s a cave in the book, a general mistake, a way of retreating from horror in the world, born into a world of pain, so I can get closer to God, the stories are often quite attractive, if you’re really hardcore about this you’ll go live in a monastery, thank you for recording it, good discussion, Mating Center please, Frank Belknap Long, some other sex books, more Orrie Hitt, Orrie Hitt country, audiobooks, the beautiful and the frustrated fought to go to the…, eugenics society, social role, a frightening view of life and forbidden love, breeders, set aside to breed, horn people that can’t breed wanna fuck, a new rubric, Water Is For Washing, the original scan, one of his shortest stories ever, slavery for a while, Harriet Beecher Stowe, three of her books, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, two volumes, serialized in a newspaper, her whole reputation today lies on this one book, until next week, Terence is a pirate too, LibGen, studying up for the next podcast, writing, three episodes, the essays, say something nice about it, youtubing on the philosophy of mathematics, the poetical philosophical history of mathematics, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, symbolic logic, Bertrand Russell, some Greek guys, a comic about Oppenheimer, 3 hours is a lot, Terence sat through Oppenheimer (2023), the history of blowing people up?, something really baby about it, just look at the trailer and read the script, Dunkirk (2017) or Tenent (2020), no sound problems, people used to being coddled, Bane character, some special sounds, clear and distinct, a clear and distinct voice of god, a Goddard movie, attached to the dialogue, a secret advantage, follow better, subtitles allow you to read movies, just the words that are being said by a person, turning somebody’s podcast into text, simultaneously, double participation, you can see the artistry or inartistry, preparation, it’s a spoiler is what you’re saying, spoilers is the search light in the bucket theory, Popper’s famous essay, Karl Popper, I love deep buckets, Christopher Nolan, movie makers reputations as directors anymore, one of the last operating, Momento (2000), small scale, you could talk about the ending, the premise is awesome, the conclusion or beginning naturally follows, Insomnia, The Prestige, based on Christopher Priest’s novel, The Dark Knight (2008), Inception, it doesn’t have a fatal flaw like The Matrix (1999), sequels, one special cut of the sequels, cut out all the zion scenes, Interstellar (2014), idea wise it is slow, Contact (1997), pretty normal except for the last part with the voyager, the both have Matthew McConaughey, the religious nut, is it meaty?, movies aren’t as generally deep as good books, very well done for the gimmick that it is, look and see if there’s something I should download, more utube, Red Letter Media, Best Of The Worst, one of the characters from the Star Trek cartoon, he plays Hughie on The Boys, he’s in Oppenheimer (2023) as well, whatever those guys are, slipping him a script to give to Nolan, teach me to read, Jesse’s level of jokes, a nice little joke here and there, that format has never existed before, a kind of media that has never existed in any other format, One Minute Critic, a review of it in 60 seconds, over the course of 40 minutes or an hour and half, wonderful, right, when they invented plays, own TV channel, talk about whatever I wanted to, but now it’s real, the format and the server space, plop into the hands for virtually zero cost, when podcast started, you don’t need video, a slow motion big wrong stamp, to enhance the joke, Russell Brand, a little more flexible in the definition now, it’s something else, a very weird podcast, plan for a career in watching old VHS tapes, a career in reading old books, that they do this as a job is incredible, are you serious right now?, a big enough casual enough less time intensive, turned off books, longer blogposts into several chapters of a book, if you’re not in the system, if you don’t play the game, he’s terrible at marketing, a university professor contacted Terence about a blogpost about François Laruelle, in fact you will be paid nothing, things that need to be changed, can you do some more work for my book?, as if Terence was an idiot, normal procedure, academics write books and publish for free their articles so they can put it on their CV, you don’t need to sell these books, don’t bug me, I won’t re-write, I’m busy, online magazines, even if they’re not getting paid, makework projects, pre-existing contact or relation, to make them happy, keep money out of the system, lousy translation, improve it for them for free, they just forget Terence afterwards, busy trying to find their own meaning, when the web is inaccessible, you might stumble over an old book in a bin, whatever the version of scanning is in the future, a list of stories, a reprint of a 1959 short lived magazine, two Silverbergs under pseudonyms, two, Laurence Janifer, Demons Of Cthulhu, $23 shipping, I don’t need money just don’t get new things, occasionally replace a tire, be born rich, putting stuff online, find people who have a copy of that, what Terence just did for Evan there, that’s the great thing about working in a community, a little piece of advice, drag and drop and it’s done, get out of your fucking cave, three books just received, The Weird Tales Boys by Stephen Jones, relations between Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith, Robert Silverberg’s Monster And Things, The Thing Behind Hell’s Door, these are public domain, don’t ask is my policy, published in May 2023, the shipping, peripheral material, Asimov’s introductions, Worlds Of Wonder by Robert Silverberg, Science Fiction 101, Sheckley and Bester, you got it exactly, thank you so much, explaining a book, reading a book is more work, pay close attention to grok it properly, it’s the bucket and the searchlight again, an interesting light, college instructor, flying off to Germany, The New York Review of Books, a Stanislaw Lem collection, prefaces to unwritten books, Sartor Resartus, “Imagine dedicating much time and effort to a parody! (And a quick perusal indicates it’s quite well done, not a slipshod (albeit very droll) Devil’s Dictionary.)” a book about books, LibriVox, it will come, one on yotube as well, AI is fuckin horrible, it’s an AI, getting really good, they don’t know how to read sentences, even a flawed human, garbage truck makes a noise, a real guy reading a real book makes a huge difference, a readalong, sometimes they coincided for fragments of sentences, an extra dimension, quite good, 1.3 speed, it became a short story, incredibly dense, 900 years ago, when it’s that far back, whole decades and systems and fashions have gone by, Avicenna was contemporaneous?, when the king was sick, a trap, 1037, 1105, they were overlapping, court physician, the king died, his creed avicennaism, creed instead of religion, a formalized set of belief, you say these words Terry, ok, then you do it, your ethical responsibility, you took on this creed, the Nicene Creed, this guy who was mad at Jesse in Australia, Sci-Phi, evangelical christian, worldview, a cynic?, sounds bad, fairly skeptical, the Iraq War, dropping bombs on people, just war theory, this is not just, what about WWII, on forums, critiquing his podcasts, Battlestar Galactica, trying to be evangelical online, the movie version, it just doesn’t have the depth, Next (2007), The Golden Man, three levels in a story, Blade Runner (1982) is quite deep, they’re children, the movie goes pretty deep because it doesn’t have a definitive, a very watchable 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), fall asleep, we see the unicorn being placed, the world falling apart around them, they reinforce each other, the Denis Villeneuve one, the horrible setup for a sequel, three or four sequels, garbage, boiling his food, heavy kipple, the hitman showing up, the kids working in the garbage factor, the opening scene is quite solid, the robot and his robot girlfriend with no body, when he though maybe he was the one, stupid in itself, filled my barf bag, imperfect and flawed, the bad parts about The Matrix (1999), there is no spoon, fuck off with your spoon, we need to recruit you because it’s the right thing to do, space Jesus, a purpose for action, Come And See (1985), Belorusan boys, a mascot, witnesses horror, a line from the bible, Revelation 6:1-17, all shall be revealed to you, The Poor Miller’s Boy And The Cat, Bros. Grimm, Old Woman In The Wood, a good one, a good episode too, The Cat’s Advice by Jesse, for those still listening, seething, the cat is touching the knee, Puss In Boots, the curious feline, there are many options for a young strong thing, the moral at the end, problematic, what used to be called twitter, too involved, the entity that was formerly called Prince, it was temporary, you need to be active, don’t just react, be ready, worthy of a repost, what a stupid change, dangerous like slot machines, Hippocampus Press, a Clark Ashton Smith novel, a symbolic thing, put some money into a podcast you like, being a patron, a very small server, only for the Canadian stuff, these known billionaires, they hide it, he’s the dumbest of the rich people, he’s the trolliest, Peter Thiel, the lawsuit that broke Gawker, Hulk Hogan against Gawker, a sex tape or something, they’re gonna find out through this proxy, the rest of the billionaires, Bill Gates, MSNBC, positive press, very responsible for the COVID thing, Windows is getting so bad, on Ubuntu all the time, a very robust ecosystem for freeware on Windows, games were bad for Mac, same with phones, Apple is very locked down and pure evil, you can’t stop it, Android is locked down, Linux phones, a Linux basement in it, if you wanna fuck the system, Neuromancer, a very good book, Case, in order to do his hacking, know who the big enemy is and be very similar with their systems, you have to flow down the river, the river is taking everything, maybe capitalism is inevitable, it’s what I’m drowning in, a terrible extended metaphor, needs work, Anti-Oedipus by Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, make their obsessions sound interesting, a river composed of rivers, taking us horrible places, some countries are on the same train or river, not in the same position on the river, the federal government of Canada is completely corrupted, deputy Prime Minister of Canada is the grandchild of a Ukranian Nazi, this country has been invaded, a standing ovation to a WWII veteran, fought bravely against the Russians, he was in the SS, fight the communists for the Nazis, magic wand waved, they surrendered, Ukranian Nazi moved to Canada, seen holding a Bandera flag, SS monuments in Canada, guys we might be making mistakes here, I can’t believe what a monster I was, a willful blindness, the corruption is such that…, the provincial government is much better (but not perfect everywhere), homeless everywhere, neoliberalism hasn’t fully taken over, except for North Korea, China, Burma, Venezuela, Cuba, let’s privatize everything and give everything to the billionaires, the Macron government, gonna survive?, nothing bad is happening to them, the arguments are wrong, sorry we’re just doing it, King Charles has come over, nobody much has protested, mass with the Pope in Marseilles, that was not his role, the new education minister, the Abaya is not to be worn, we’re a secular state, a personal trip, me and my buddy the pope, touching the king, against protocol, they’re in the same class, president is not the king of France, banging on the walls of Vatican city, this boat is very leaky, what’s the alternatives, this particular party is a Nazi party because it is threatening the establishment, Macron centrists, the major left wing party, Nazi again, whitewashed, they hardly say it, Réunion island, not a part of France you get to see much, Lahania, Maui, Réunion is more than twice as far, not quite a million people who live there?, how do the people of France think about Réunion?, what the general ideas are, isolated part of the world, Mauritius, islands in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar, never colonized, the remotest parts of the Earth, a comedy action movie, put your feelers out, a sports trainer, girlfriend is a dentist, they couldn’t earn enough, housing is cheap, imports expensive and not a lot of work, did pretty good, worried, prepared for a month, covers a lot but not very deep, university, several paragraphs from each chapter, this feels like that, don’t forget we’re very religious, working things out for himself, everything that is said is taking sides, stoicism, the different currents and schools, each and every thing, siding with Avicenna, combining Aristotle and Plato’s Timaeus, most of it is inarguable, today it’s all finished, it’s important, it gets us to the next thing, interesting discoveries along the way, Breakthroughs In Science by Isaac Asimov, more influence on the sequels, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, and the angels, a book of essays, as if the writer was Robinson Crusoe, typical Hebrew scholars, what you care about books we never knew, doing their own stuff, nice to spend some time in that period of time, the golden age, get old books, read em, write your own, what makes a golden age, doing basic science, philosophy, and art, why don’t we do that again, not everybody is participating, the gentleman scholar vs. the university scholar, our income, mostly cover basic needs, freedom to a podcast every weekend or so, where did it all go, four hours.

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

art for The Cat's Advice by Jesse

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Reading, Short And Deep #412 – The Everglade Ghost by Benjamin Harrison

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #412

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Everglade Ghost by Benjamin Harrison

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Everglade Ghost was first published in Short Stories, April 1899

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The SFFaudio Podcast #721 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The SFFaudio Podcast #721 – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – read by Mark F. Smith for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (11 hours 14 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse and Connor Kaye

Talked about on today’s show:
The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself., April 1719, the first English novel?, this particular style, it’s its own thread for reality, comic book adaptations, the 1997 Pierce Brosnan adaptation, kids versions, why its so popular, popular with adults and kids, it’s fantasy, a certain cozy and comfortable feeling, vicariously satisfying, This Old House, a whole television genre, buy houses and fix them up, cooking shows, making fun of some things or earnest?, some combination of both?, things they tend to leave out is how fucking evil and racist everything is, shocking, he’s a slave, then he is freed, then he enslaves other people, profits he’s making and gifting are slave profits, you got all your money in McDonnell Douglas, how christian you are, part of the appeal of this book, he builds a fort, the ultra-competent man in the Heinlein novels, largely paranoid and insane, gunports, a stockade wall, then another stockade, then another then another, the cannibals, the cave, the bottleneck, a legitimate fear, not really a legitimate fear, cannibalism in the Americas, of the catholic variety, I’m hungry for man-meat, people went a little chewy, cannibalism is a metaphor for slavery, 90 minutes, changed to a Scotsman, Pierce Brosnan wants to play the bagpipes?, not needed for the story, the actor playing Friday, that nice point in the late 1990s, sets, no CGI, lower budget, a comfy film to watch, a forever published book, still not a draw, a curiosity, so old, 100% sure it was public domain, most people don’t know how public domain works, if you’re in any doubt… Robinson Crusoe, it always sells, Maissa Bessada and Alex from Pulpcovers, The Martian by Andy Weir is essentially this book, shipwrecked on a planet all by himself, eventually rescued by space pirates, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, a character dressed in goatskins talking about providence, an Easter egg, nautical adventure books, islands named after Robinson Crusoe, the fame of the book, Alexander Selkirk’s island, a pretty great story as well, this fantasy novel vs. the reality of Selkirk, a picture of Crusoe at Alexander Selkirk’s birthplace, conflated into the same guy, Chile, double bang for the buck, fiction and history, remote weird islands, craters named after science fiction writers, the Moon, Mars, the same is true, French South Antarctic Islands, Jules Verne names, a Jules Verne island, the pen sure is mighty, transforming geography in the mental space, Tarzana, California, Edgar Rice Burroughs, mixing of fiction with reality, shipwrecked, sea-sick, marooned, cut out a piece of the world, make a name and a man of himself, a dog and 17 cats he’s murdering, horrible farming practices, the woman is a man, god gave him providence, a tiny version of that, puts his master’s foot on his head, a story going woke, getting his just rewards, Robinson Crusoe is such a horrible human being, he’s the hero, the mindset of the time, there were servants and there were masters, how it is, some people are superior, Frodo and Sam in The Lord Of The Rings, Sam likes being a servant, he’s dedicated to his master, the Gaffer, teaching him how to read, just a kind action, Upstairs, Downstairs, the same kinds of problems, disciplined by the head butler, make people know their place, she’s LARPing what she wants to have her life be, being half French, trying to be better than you are, an honorable servant to a good master, pregnant and out of work, sex out of wedlock, don’t talk about the baby I left there, you eat this lie and put it inside you, learn their Christianity, my master is a good master he only beats the lazy slaves, Australian society, working class people, don’t go to university, turning your back on us, a bizarre mindset, isn’t he a good guy?, he lies to Friday, a good movie and a bad movie, an unfaithful adaptation, we as adult human beings in 2022, friends and co-equals, master and slave, the master is kind to the slave, my name is Master, I lied to you, can’t we live on this island together, what the book gives us, a fantasy of the New World, escaping middle class life, July 29th, 2022, John Scalzi did a tweet: behold my fearful power, culture war nonsense, not even kidding, the white males are the lowest difficulty setting, a very John Scalzi-ism, lowest difficulty setting is about capitalism, the colour of the bandaid, crayons, if you have enough starting capital, what does he have in terms of capital, two fowling rifles, a brace of pistols, a cutlass, so much powder, a lot of tools, a dog, cats, bag of seed for fowl, providence and God, rice and corn and wheat, investment capital, this is a story about capitalism, using your, it’s attacking Jesse personally, a fantasy element to the capitalism, keep growing it and growing it, the ship’s captain, advice, tradeable goods, two gold shillings, silver, hides it in his cave, like a moral lesson about capitalism, like Monopoly, how to do great in capitalism, pro-firearms, Walter Matthau and Robin Williams, survivalism is now preppers, your go back, acronyms, bug-out bags, all fantasy, zombie shows, unironically making weapons to kill zombies, the instinct to like this book, a secret base, cups, a knife, some magazines, traps!, for when the zombies happen, nuclear war, make work, incredibly satisfying, prep harder, prevailing winds, its endless, a fantasy of their real life, accumulating capital, I did the work, Jack, handing out dispensations, he’s the hidden governor of the island, he’s playing god, he was born to it, a crazyman covered in goatskins, organizing fighting forces, legitimate lies, no pants, bristling with weapons, a paranoid madman, killing sprees, what makes them evil?, they exist, right in front of us they’re eating men, Captain Cook, put your head under my foot, they showed him for a while, lessons in the book, how you should act, written when he was 60, conduct literature, pamphlets on how to act, a crazy life, the cherry on top, Crusoe and his father, going against his father’s wishes, if he had just listened to his father, the happiest place in the world is where you are, struggle like the working class, dissatisfaction of the upper class, bad stuff’s going to happen, listening to your parents, religious conversion themes, raving religion, his only book, so thankful to his lord, investment properties, two surrogate sons, the British lord, the other he sends to sea, tops up the younger son, his conclusion is both, the sequel, the further adventures, and a second sequel, back to the island, India, in the Brazil, whose side I’m on, they’re going to do some slaving, the pirates are the badguys, in real life the pirates are anti-slavery, pirates are literally the good guys, they probably fart on you, team human, team liberty, everybody gets a share and their shares are equal, dispense justice, insight from this special book, obedient to god, obedient to me, tongue in cheek, done unconsciously, there’s no evidence, Voltaire, terrible adventures and learns nothing, life can be hilarious, made to suffer by God, a garden of Eden story, he brings capital, the cosmic joke aspect, when Eve shows up she’s a dude, you’re my slave and I can’t make babies with you, Swiss Family Robinson, a Canadian TV show filmed in Ontario and Jamaica, dangerous animals, cheetah stock footage, they build a treehouse, every episode they have adventures, more family friendly, Christians, action adventure for the whole family, a creepazoid story about a madman, whole sequence with a bear, Friday fights a bear, tempting the wolves, a true narrative, a conduct book, how to build up your capital, being born an Englishman, if you picture it in your mind it’s superfuckedup, fortress, his parrot, killing the cats, obsessively counting his stock of sultanas, so unrealistic, after 28 years he comes across some Spaniards, if he could even talk, sign language, speaking Latin, a complete freakazoid, its like he’s mentally ill, raving capitalism, what kind of art does he create?, his journal, no poetry, in line with Crusoe’s nature, everything is practical, constantly building, he builds a canoe, then another, invaders!, how much time he spent building this thing, for what purpose, for didactic purpose, this is how you attract employees, a manual for how to not waste your capital, the culture war is lets focus on the race, these people are inferior because they’re cannibals because they’re not Christians, bears in Brazil?, Columbia or Venezuela, take this horrible story of a guy who couldn’t get along with anybody, William Dampier, scientist/explorer, piratical daring do, avocado barbecue and chopsticks, breadfruit, first to eat flamingo and manatee, less of an insane monster Selkirk, a privateer, the ship is about to sink, a stubborn bullheaded guy, did Dafoe meet Selkirk?, the cats, tropical islands covered in rats, invasive species, a plague of rats, keep the rats down, goats, his clothes rotted away, 4 years vs. 28 years, he could barely speak, trouble forming sentences, what it does to your, solitary confinement, devastating, regained his speech, fairly okay mentally, never as happy as when he was solitary, a minor celebrity, recreate his lifestyle, institutionalized (without an institution), he’s a Heinleinian character, indomitable, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, the horse people, Planet Of The Apes, so elegant and refined, the very noble horses, they Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos, taking care of horses all day, an attack on general humanity, a response to Selkirk’s situation, books in dialogue with each other, shipwrecked many times, increasingly improbably places (including Japan), 1726, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, what’s actually happening in this book, a story that everybody knows, a family that’s shipwrecked, the resultant product of that environment, a famous pulp hero, Tarzan!, shipwrecked off the coast of africa, ape mom, ape family, king of the jungle, talk with the animals, The Jungle Book inspired Tarzan, a guy from Europe who becomes the master of the forest and jungle and is super-racist, a competency family, an accumulation of personal capital vs. actual capital, investment in the new world vs. how to be a fantasy man’s man, animal friends, Tantor the elephant, instead of having a physical capital, a knife is all he needs, just a loincloth, a beautiful Eden like place, super-literate, just from reading his ABC primer books, in the minds of people in the times when Tarzan was being written?, Swiss Family Robinson with a kid, superman, more fantastical, bound to capitalism, Christian values, family values in a Christian context, Tarzan is religion free, being a superior being, wrestling with apes, super-muscles, the term that people hate, the phrase “noble savage”, this evil phrase, the noble part, they live like nobility, they don’t have horrible work hours, they have lots of free time, post-scarcity, doing art, totem poles, artistic endeavors, dance is not held in record as well, post scarcity in terms of food, building up capital, trading parties, very post scarcity, the leadership is these guys are old, they want to give us advice, not a top down system, move the lodge, how to deal with other people over there, slaving was done to do exogamy, not to accumulate human capital, build up stuff to give it away, a famous case of a European at Nootka on Vancouver Island, on the other end of South America, he gets the seasons right, a narrative you can imagine being a didactic popular book, they bookend the 1997 movie, you’ve got to write up Dafoe’s story, I must write this up, what does that opening do?, A Princess Of Mars, the movie adaptation, Edgar Rice Burroughs is the nephew, the effect of that frame, modern filmmaking theory, unnecessary, the fight for the sweetheart is not in the book, some reason to want to go back, Castaway is Tom Hanks as Robinson Crusoe, his Friday is a volleyball, product placement, Wilson basketball, FedEx, he makes art (puts a face on the ball), that framing device, the front of the book, pirates with a y, an advertisement at the end, not a true story, a true tale, when we’re watching the movie, a film camera looking at a guy reading a book, the conflation, to remind us this is a not a real story, maybe that’s the point, Daniel Dafoe is just a photocopier, slightly bizarre, a good editor would have chopped it out, a fan of Dafoe, essential to the film, kill their darlings, there’s no logic to it, good and stupid, an overturning of expectations, it kind of fixes the book, why are you doing that book, to make money?, play, who wouldn’t want to be Robinson Crusoe, be scared of cannibals, less racist and less Christian, random passages from the Bible, a religious ecstasy, changing names, Crusoe’s name and Dafoe’s name, a German Brit, Eurotrash headed to South America, dispense justice, very redeeming, the Prodigal Son, hat in hand [but hat full of jewels], the ending of The Odyssey, killing people, he sees his dog, he sees his slave, treated well by his wife, a bad slave, killing spree, about colonialism, a very interesting artifact, a product of the mindset, [manifest destiny], all of this stuff was made for us, we are the stewards and also the owners, a slave rebellion in South America, the right to do whatever the fuck you want, a president who ran on war with Britain, “54-40 or fight”, the Columbia River, the Oregon Territory, the Hudson’s Bay Company, Columbia (a Goddess walking to the west with settlers behind her), we will take this last, we will make it manifest, from Ontario to British Columbia, most Canadians live near the border, wrapped up in these phrases, what made Canada look as it does, Canada is defined by the existence of the United States, eastern states are natural borders, British colonists, nominal British control, no treaties, a slave rebellion in Guyana, sugar or rubber plantations, the seigniorial system, overseas timeshares, group buy a piece of land, managers, the enforcement of their will, people are highly encouraged to invest income in the stock market, causing externalities without knowing about it, a slaveholder who doesn’t know it, AOC’s phone, “nice slave phone”, superannuation funds, fossil fuel, giving money to secure their future, you don’t want to know, you just want the money, a slippage between what people want and what actually happens, I like chocolate, employing slaves, make the prices lower, the slave beaters, bad business practices, this is justified, working as a prison guard, most of them didn’t have a trial, rich people don’t have this problem, slave labour, they were jerks because they were criminals, a slave becomes a slaver, the reports I’m getting…, charity money, educate the natives, god says charity is good, did he hate being a slave?, Pocket Classics, Meanwhile I began to think deeply, who am I?, who made the world?, 1823 slave revolt, “Bachelor’s Adventure”, “Success”, get rich quick schemes, absentee European owners profiting from slavery, the Demerara rebellion of 1823, 2 days, poor treatment, a widespread mistaken belief, Jack Gladstone, their church group, John Smith, the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, every property holder has equal access to the water (for shipping), we’re all working together, imported from another continent, it is all about human capital, people who’ve had it hard or easy, without the crayons, equipment and tools, not your skin colour, the natives are ugly, a prejudice that little kids have, actors who are objectively acting, there is no fact of the matter, when we get to know people, more handsome or more pretty, a face generated by a brain, getting hung up on the skin colour, the justification for how you became a slave, his job at the beginning of the book, these people were legitimately enslaved, this is not a stolen good, I did work to get it, a rationalization to the self, the enslaving processed happened but it wasn’t done by me, he’s not even thinking about it, a natural thing that happens, I am master, you are slave, a way to divide the working class (the poors), Apple and Raytheon, a technique to divide the working class: talk about race, they’re lacking capital, I could just take the bus, cheaper to take your own car, the time investment, a lot more time, time is money, times is capital, there are people who are racists, what keeps you from becoming a bookwriter, no time to do any art, hone your craft, a lot of leisure time, that noble savage thing again, extracting value in a different way, farming the sea, good returns on their fisheries, the externalities like we’ve done, shipping across the planet, kiwi fruit from Australia, nitrogen from Europe, a product of the unthinking capitalism, Scalzi’s point, American-centric, based on how things are in America, completely relative, different ethnic groups, exploiting one another, we’re feeling our way into this, May 15th, 2012, how life works for them, privileged, a very Scalzi sentence, your average straight white men, all the times slavery has happened in the world, one group of people marketing another group of people, North Africa, race is a modern thing, in the old days people didn’t think skin colour caused slavery, the temperature of the place that were raised, Egypt is warmer than Macedonia, growing to be lazy Egyptians, Varingian guard: lazy like these Byzantines, take prizes, to bring prizes home to sell at market to get rich, this one can teach my children, acquiring and bringing capital in, music and theater, get decadent, the obsession today is a technique to divide those without capital, their third yachts, uninsightful to itself but explains how we got here, reading something from 300 year hundred years ago, spending so much time in it, strange to us, squeecore is about reinforcing the elites, its okay to be the goblin emperor because goblins, gender neutral emperor or empress, transgenders for emperors, how about pirate ships?, why not that?, reading this book is a valuable experience, how did we get to the point we are, society now, hereditary nobility, wealth is hereditary, more hereditary in the past?, works his way up, at least equal to his father, a brothers, a landlubber, romanticism, go out and make my fortune, the story of the British Empire, go off to Canada or Australia or India, white privileged there, the taking of one’s own fortune from the empire, the silver had gone, he had to rub it to make it silver again, capital not being used, from middle class to upper middle class, not being profligate, don’t be the Prodigal Son, choose your marriage wisely, measure your money, insurance, providence providence providence, the luck of God, how come I’m the only one to survive?, almost nothing happens, because deus ex machina, Crusoe never reflects too much on slavery, talking about God on the island, charity, he delivered himself, the opportunities came, more than competent to meet the situation, the fortification aspect, his stockade is a prison for some mutineers, the book works better in the beginning than in the end, setting up the sequel, not the core of the fantasy, Space Family Robinson, competency porn, we can science the shit out of this, listening to disco, disco becomes his god, part of the capital he keeps on his shipwreck, comes to see the beauty of disco, really tapping into the core idea of what we like, the difficulty of being castaway, living outside of and within society, the fortitude, Dafoe: a human triumph story, Swift: a human foibles story, horses are the only thing of value, the nobility of the horse, people claiming to do science, putting energy from the sun into cucumbers and extracting sunlight from the cucumber, ridiculous experiments, floating above and dropping their shit on people beneath them, a hilarious guy, women: don’t fart in front of your man, don’t romanticize marriage so much, a very thoughtful reasonable thing, you both have work to do, marriage is work, how to make Irish babies for dinner: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, a reputable friend in America, its going to make everybody rich, are you serious?, yes, I’m serious, trying to convince you of its rightness, Lone Star Planet, everybody from Texas, Texas sized planet, supercattle and superbourbon, inspired by an H.L. Mencken essay from the 1920s, Prussia’s special court for government officials, the punishments were worse the higher up the chain you are, murdering politicians is legal, a law of taxes, a slap on the wrist, a very Texas book, so American, The Malevolent Job Holder, pull his nose, cut off his ears, how vastly more attentive he would be, how polite and suave, vain fellows, brilliantly remembered, a dozen such episodes, the jails bulged with his critics, a cauliflower ear, a black eye, a scar over his bald head, political appointees, specifically for politicians, this will keep government small, the libertarian Prometheus award, a magazine column, growing corruption in government, how primitive societies made fun of people who wanted to lead, armed society is a polite society, the Uvalde case [the Robb Elementary School shooting], arresting the parents, an instinct to not cede the authority of violence to incompetent job-holders, they might get fired and get a job in a neighbouring town, who is going to arrest them?, power imbalanced, the sequels, a hefty book, to capitalize on his success (ironic), one of the secrets, reading very old books, capital from Jesse’s grandparents, comics, leftover capital, all really good books, an infinite number of public domain books (not really), sits on a shelf for thirty years, the capital is available, sitting around in a house that Jesse had access to, people listening, I’d like to read Treasure Island, usually older than Tarzan, Moby Dick, Poe, decades of accumulated wisdom, whatever book that came out this week that somebody got a Hugo award for, maybe it’s going to be a classic for the ages, thousands of fiction books every year, not too many, read old books you’re more likely to get a profit from it, accumulated a lot of brain capital, human development, edifying, make yourself greater, instruct or improve someone, moral or religious knowledge, uplift, to improve someone’s mind, we are edified by great books, a rip-roaring book, they start copying and making fun of him, 300 years later people still doing it, 300 years later, 4,000 years from now, direct brain stream, 2 robots arguing on other planets, still be able to make fun of ourselves and Robinson Crusoe, he’s such and asshole, I’m glad we met him, why is he the hero of this story?, more books that are lifts from Robinson Crusoe, nautical themed, lists of books, Jesse feels proud of himself.

Robinson Crusoe - illustrated by Walter Paget (1891)

Robinson Crusoe - illustrated by Walter Paget (1891)

Robinson Crusoe - illustrated by N.C. Wyeth (1920)


Pocket Classics - Robinson Crusoe

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


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)

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

The WEIRD FICTION roots of TRUE DETECTIVE, season 2, Frank’s story

SFFaudio Commentary

True Detective

Frank Semyon, the criminal businessman from season 2 of True Detective, has a fantastic character arc.

And, like season 1 of True Detective, season 2 is also connected to a weird fiction story by Ambrose Bierce.

For season 1 it was An Inhabitant Of Carcosa (read my post on it HERE).

In season 2 it was An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (we’ve done a podcast about this one).

So, do you remember the story that Frank (played by Vince Vaughn) tells his wife, Jordan, at the beginning of season 2’s second episode?

Here’s the scene:

Frank and Jordan are lying next to each other in bed.

FRANK: How’d a water stain get there?

Camera cuts up to two brown stains on the ceiling above Frank.

FRANK: It rained maybe twice this last year. It’s like everything’s papier-mache.

JORDAN: Stop thinking.

FRANK: I don’t like being on a ledge.

FRANK: My old man back in Chicago, when I was a kid… (laughs) he used to lock me in the basement when he’d go on a bender. Usually last the night. Let me out the next day. Thought he was keeping me safe, I guess. This one time, I was six – he puts me down there. I wake up and it’s locked. It had happened before. Anyways, so I guess he ended up arrested, I guess.

JORDAN: God, baby.

FRANK: Well, by the second morning I was out of food. The third day the light bulb burnt out. Pitch black in there. That’s when the rats started coming out. I dozed off and I felt a thing nibbling my finger. I woke up, it was, you know, chewing my finger.

JORDAN: What did you do?

FRANK: I grabbed it in the dark with my hands, I started smashing. And I just kept smashing it until it was nothing but goo in my hands. Two more days I was in there. In the dark. ‘Til my dad comes home.

JORDAN: Sometimes I wonder how many things you have like that. That I don’t know about.

FRANK: Ever since, I wondered: what if he never comes home? What if I’m still in that basement in the dark? What if I died there? That’s what that reminds me of.


FRANK: The water stain. Something’s trying to tell me that it’s all papier-mache. Something’s telling me to wake up, like… like I’m not real. Like I’m only dreaming.

True Detective - Season 2, Episode2

Then in the final episode of season 2, episode 8, in his last scene, Frank hears Jordan’s voice, then sees her standing there, in that white dress – the one he had her promise she would wear – and him, standing before her, wearing a white shirt soaked in blood (like the “red rose” he had promised her that he would wear).

And the lines:


JORDAN: Hey there handsome.

FRANK: You made it! You okay?

JORDAN: Did. Fine. I’m safe.

FRANK: I’m coming, hold up.

JORDAN: Whats a guy like you doing in a place like this?

FRANK: [WALKING EASIER NOW] Just making my way baby. I told ya, Id make it.

FRANK: You did. You made it. You can rest now.

FRANK: No rest. Never stop moving.

JORDAN: Babe, oh babe – you stopped moving way back there.

True Detective - Season 2, Episode 8

Earlier in episode eight, do you remember where Frank said he’d meet Jordan?

Yeah. And though we never see them meet there Frank was very specific, saying they’d meet in a park called “Obelisco” in “Barquisimeto” (Venezuela).

Here’s what “Obelisco” in Barquisimeto looks like:

Obelisco de Barquisimeto

Frank’s story is the story of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo – on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis