Reading, Short And Deep #357
Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss A Voyage To Sfanomoë by Clark Ashton Smith
Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.
A Voyage To Sfanomoë was first published in Weird Tales, August 1931
Talked about on today’s show:
Blue Book, 1951, Planets In Combat, the prose in this novel is “turgid”, here comes the trolling, swollen and distended and congested, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, short punchy sentences, larded up with excessive detail and flowery prose, Lovecraft, turgid vs. intricate, complex vs. complicated, like a clock or a little watch, tiny little things designed and built to have a precise effect, to appreciate the exact feeling, be accurate in your criticism, why are they using these slurs, you can’t just swap in Scazli, Annalee Newitz, Our Opinions Are Correct Episode 65: We’re Officially Done with Lovecraft and Campbell, Evan tricked Jesse, Will tricked Jesse, “I’ll allow it”, why we can dismiss John W. Campbell and H.P. Lovecraft, read Ayn Rand, an incredibly odd and limiting and damaging world view, replaced, or filtered through Scalzi, Olav’s beef with Ayn Rand, a 15 page didactic rant, the sun rises again, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, an article by Annalee Newitz reading a book review of a biography, a very interesting block quote, starting as a socialist and ending as a libertarian, Glory Road, I Will Fear No Evil, any redeeming features, was it turgid?, it can’t be turgid, they don’t want people to read Heinlein, maybe they’ll become libertarians?, Rand Paul vs. Ron Paul, in the American context, if you want to understand the United States, a preponderance of non-Americans, treaty six territory, how could you read a book like this and say it has nothing of value, a whack ideology, Neo-liberalism, Neo-conservativism, a kind of censorship ideology, you absolutely must read all the Heinlein, a certain amount of pushback on gatekeepering, talking to fans vs. writers, Paul lives in twitter writerland, nothing past 10 years ago (or 30 years ago), don’t do your homework, how far back do you “need” to read to sell today, safely skip, Heinlein TLDR, “just read Scalzi”, Old Man’s War, “Scazli is the new Heinlein”, marketing of people, X is the new Y, she/her pronouns should be they/them, an explainer in The New York Times right before Lovecraft Country started, trying to understand reality, this is not applied, people not doing their homework is what bothers Jesse, not a new thing, Scalzi wrote up giant piece, Poe is not a third rate writer, where’s the evidence that Lovecraft is sexist?, Lovecraft is not interesting on gender, The Thing On The Doorstep, Zealia Bishop, The Mound, humble and respectful, The Unnameable, Heinlein is incredibly progressive, The Pleasant Profession Of Robert A. Heinlein, The Number Of The Beast, SPRUNG, other womens’ parts, it’s a kissing book, appropriating, adjacent to the sexual revolution, Stranger In A Strange Land was very influential, ahead of the curve, students pushing for access to birth control, early wifeswapping, as a female human being Maissa didn’t want to read it, talking about breasts and nipples makes you a sexist, arguing with podcasters who are not listening to us, Farah Mendlesohn, where’s the audiobook?, The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, the fauns, the move overs, the gregarians, tiny pans, affectionate, addicted to hugs and nuzzlings, they have hands, they wanna eat your pies, they’re wonderful!, that’s from The Unnameable, a less rapey version of Pan, Little Fuzzy, the fauns of Venus, the fog-eaters of New London, dragons and fauns, a fantasy Europe, Paul is very lucky, a juvenile (novel), he becomes a man, he must act like a man, his grandmother gets younger, a child soldier, a lot of ambivalence, where Charlie Jane are coming from, goddamn it Heinlein why are you going on about this?, war and the army, Starship Troopers, is it fascist?, Paul Verhoven is arguing with Heinlein, how we should react to Heinlein, interesting relationships, modality of talking to other people and bureaucracy, this is a book about waiting around in the airport, seem nice, talkin’ to the cops, dealing with passport and immigration, displaced person, The Wizard Of Oz, the characters he meets and the lessons he learned, his home is space, the asteroid belt, citizen of the Solar System, Citizen Of The Galaxy, recycled elements, picks up stuff from his own life, Thorby, re-writing Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, Annapolis, Farmer In The Sky, Time Enough For Love, a lot of material out there, the comic book, two different audiobooks, the Full Cast Audio audiobook, abridgments, some fools add sound effect of a creaking door, a new kind of audiobook, Bruce Coville’s company, maybe 30 minutes shorter, you don’t need sound effects, the Blackstone Audio audiobook, the Chinese restaurant owner, the casting was different with the artist drawings, the only commercially available one, out of circulation, a super-shame, lost forever, have a friend like Jesse, The Boy’s Life version (low rez), appealing to Boy Scouts Of America, Evan was a Boy Scout, youth movements of the 20th century, feeding people into the military, the Chinese Boy Scouts, the Hitler Youth, militarism, Evan largely agrees with Jesse about war, what kind of war is this?, a revolution, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress from a point of view, libertarian, anti-colonialist aspect, a breakup of Empire story, a fantasy, the American Revolution, the settler colonists declaring independence, the support and consent of the fantasy natives, Heinlein is awash in something, rocked by national liberation movements, up to a certain point in the novel, Chinese, some of them are bad guys and some of them are good guys, fantasy national liberation movement, aristocratic dragons, libertarian dragons, we have to be careful about saying Heinlein is a libertarian, Heinlein is not Ayn Rand, entrenched in their way of life, enjoy their boomerness, more and more or less and less aware of people who are not you, being in the military is like being in a socialist state, struggling over and over again, the American Revolution, the way Canada came to be, a secret, getting in on the rest of Canada, we promise to send you a train, what else we gonna do?, a bargain and a deal, get swallowed up by the States, the U.S. Revolution as a coup d’eta, this flaw, yet another Civil War, he is aware of it, a foundation style people above this nationalism, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein went and visited the Soviet Union, pointing out gulags on a map, he’s not one thing, Ayn Rand’s objectivism is objectively wrong, Red Tory, the Red Tory manifesto, libertarianism with a conscience, conservative, free expression, free speech, being free, he might think the hippies reading his book uncouth but he won’t bash them for it, bookleggers, do we or don’t we, McCarthyism, this whole backstory behind this current war and revolution, the planet that was destroyed, hidden knowledge, yes but not really, all of Heinlein’s stuff is set in the same universe (Future History), the Antarctic revolution, even the terrible stuff, oh Jesse, way to goddamn long, Tunnel In The Sky, remember the least, teeth on edge, aged poorly, out of place, the early horseriding, L. Ron Hubbard, New Mexico landscapes, out of place, squaw, Indian buck:
[“We’ve got all day,” he cautioned Lazy, “so don’t get yourself in a lather. That’s a stiff climb ahead.” Don was riding alone because he had decked out Lazy in a magnificent Mexican saddle his parents had ordered sent to him for his birthday. It was a beautiful thing, as gaudy with silver as an Indian buck, but it was as out of place at the ranch school he attended as formal clothes at a branding—a point which his parents had not realized. Don was proud of it, but the other boys rode plain stock saddles; they kidded him unmercifully and had turned “Donald James Harvey” into “Don Jaime” when he first appeared with it.]
12 hours good job, the Venusian dragons, Sir Isaac Newton, sidekick aliens, the hero of his own story, Lummox, a forgettable book, quite far into the book, he’s in an airport or on an airplane, the Heinlein Society concordance, beuraucratic functionaries, strawmen, probably straight out of his own life, every ad in the first 20 pages (of a certain class for white people), military schools, prepschools, nature schools, school life away from his family, a happy reunion, central High School in Kansas City, he moved out west, politician, 1776 Independence Lane, a real thinker, so many opinions, not a hard SF book, what this new technology means, an infodump with gobbledygook words, as confused as I am, to get us that technology tyhat he needs to get us to other planets, constantly going into rebellion, so American, with an international view, a strawman villain, written for a teenage audience, I’m going to torture you, you’re going to walk out of here with no teeth, the Chinese bank, he’s in the middle, break the rules to help out a friend, deliberately obstructing, you’re right here it is, interaction with bureaucracy, Bureaucracy (InfoCom game), bureaucracy is important for Heinlein’s outlook, a reality, in that job, taking initiative, there are people who will follow the rules, there are other people, WWI fighter pilot, rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men, exceptions, an advocate, lost in the system, argument with government, libertarian Canadians, part of the maturation process, parents as authority, negotiated, crying in the checkout line, when do people become libertarians, highschool and college, freemen on the land, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders, a nice liberal guy like Scalzi, don’t deny that right to anybody, don’t say he’s turgid when he’s not, the motivation is so important, the reason they’re using it is because they’re saying you shouldn’t read it, paternalistic bluecheck elites, thank you for giving me permission not to read this homework, constantly rant at kids, that’s a strawman, you cant have a conversation with me, talking to my young friend Will (barely out of diapers), toastmasters at the con, if you don’t read Heinlein you’re not a real science fiction fan, sexism and hatred, push against that continuing pressure, people still say to Olav you need to read Heinlein or else, Heinlein explain to Farah Mendlesohn, lots of idiots on the internet, how much of it is trolling?, Will keeps saying Jesse’s a fan, Jesse runs a fanzine?, why is Heinlein important?, like saying H.G. Wells is important, if anything should be named after anything, Hugo Gernsback’s gonna get his due one day, adapting his work for the screen, Wells is basically forgotten, his stuff is amazing, The New Accelerator, a short story about methamphetamine, a hilarious very critical story of science and commercialism, H.G. Wells’ review of Metropolis, these turgid waters, a problem cohering, Jesse’s retort, this isn’t part of my identity, people fight over who is a fan, so intense for people, Robert Silverberg is just a cranky old man at this point, more heat than light, this conversation is turgid, parentage, until he signs up for the Venusian armed forces, the relationship romance stuff is very thin, there’s no kissing in this book, she kisses him, he could be a keeper, the tom tom girl, the wife who cooked the breakfast, a lack of female characters, the “I’m adult now” switch, adult decisions, initiated into adulthood, enlists by accident, the High Guard, the leeches, I have to stand up for what I believe in, I Will Fear No Evil, the decadent end of empire scene, New Chicago is mostly underground, when the “uncle” character, a huge tip, Heinlein is all the characters, he’s also Jubal Harshaw, the triumvirate we see most clearly in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, the loveable sidekick, every kind of love interest, these types, why Heinlein is so controversial, he’s really engaging with stuff, he’s very intellectual, an ambivalence and equivocation, citizenships, gung-ho, when he gets the ring back, an argument over a point of principle, principle is the foundation of how Heinlein deals with everything, rudeness as a high crime, he is fundamentally express his own life philosophy, a short interview with Alec Nevala-Lee, Heinlein didn’t contribute in the way he wanted to, capable of changing the future by doing the equivalent of science, the training of the people who were all going to do that, China’s push on science fiction is a push on STEM, the relationship between science and engineering, got interested in science, the theoretical part of putting together a nuclear bomb, when Heinlein tries to contribute WWI, he didn’t make the Wonder Weapons, writing is thinking, imperialistic, having our hero be a Filipino, he’s an American just like us, nobody says “Philippines was a colony of the United States” (and still is, kinda), he doesn’t give that ring back to his girlfriend, he takes back his ring, he’s off in the stars in his head right now, her father is shocked, if that’s sexism, all women secretly want you to give them rings and not take them back, why so many people give women rings, he knew what he was doing, a strange spiking of his own narrative, he’s an adult now, I’m a man, he totally implied he was going to go back and get her, he’s kind of a dummy, fogeater fogeater fogeater, he was in the fog the whole time, I’m a man now, father, I fulfilled my commitments, an assumed happy ending, that interstellar starship, you have to be married to do it, the “wither thou goest” type, the frontier that Philip K. Dick is always going with, Friday, Red Planet, Dread Of Heinleinism by Charles Stross, a pastiche of one of a very specific few books, the underlying question, the answer is yes, people are determined to forget the past, how quickly the Venerians create the new bureaucracy, laws and currency, all this didactism, how rebellion is done, cell systems, no philosophy, very psychological, taxation, Mike is the government, Mike is the George Washington character, Heinlein being international, a citizen of the system, Evan is not offended by that, Thomas Paine, all the Tories move north or to England or to the Caribbean, a massive apathy, the Black diaspora, Sierra Leone, a propagandist for the French Revolution, The Rights Of Man, anachronistic, Glenn Beck, why the left adores Paine, anti-British, Liberty in a bottom up way, he’s not the coup d’etat part of the revolution, his message is not compatible with the United States, Che Guevara, Donald E. Westlake’s first published story as an adult, Patrick Henry, Jesse told this story three times, god gave him liberty, died of McCarthyism, the Monore doctrine, liberty liberty liberty, all these lies people are telling themselves, secular saints, its very important it is to read Heinlein to understand the United States, highly influential, utterly forgettable in plot and detail, Americans misunderstanding the united states, what Canadian health care is, are there death panels?, Heinlein is a little glimpse outside of the borders (by analogy), Olav got passed over by the death panel this month, ignorance spawned on purpose, how did this happen, Russia has socialized medicine, being facetious on purpose, Olav is trolling!, its probably slightly less worse in Canada, that’s Jordan Peterson, Rachel Notley, a small country, Evan hasn’t read that much Heinlein, Starship Troopers, everyone is saying you shouldn’t, Double Star, communication 100 years ago was shouting out the window, Michio Kaku, nobody calls him on it, apparently its Jesse’s job, what’s the logic what gets you angry…, that Jimmy Dore video, deep fear someone somewhere is having a good time, that kayfabe thing, Donald Trump doesn’t trigger Jesse at all, people like to be lied to, you tell yourself a fiction, allowing you to not think, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World by Thomas M. Disch, “America is a nation of liars, and for that reason science fiction has a special claim to be our national literature, as the art form best adapted to telling the lies we like to hear and to pretend we believe”, what’s the USA immediately do when it finishes its revolutions, like Haiti did, why that coup d’etat line rings so true, their still called Governors, the Anglo-American legal system, protect property from the majority, a civil war about these issues, Scalzi’s blog post, one of the commenters wants to cancel Jefferson because he supported the French Revolution, except Haiti, biggest slaveholder around, a relatively egalitarian distribution of property, under his own ideology, a dream, the Homestead Act, co-opted by the railroads, the War of 1812, Henry Adams history is way to long for someone like Jesse (it is 2,000 pages), Hamiltonians, Wilson in this book?, what do we make of the Venerians?, the Little Fuzzies of this planet, Galileo, exchange students, Chinese and Korean students, a stripper name, Heinlein is uncancelled, John W. Campbell was a great writer, ?!.
Talked about on today’s show:
1897, why it made a little splash when it landed, alien invasion, society falling apart, The Walking Dead, invasion novels, The Battle Of Dorking, properties and adaptations and allusions and alliterations, Orson Welles, War Of The Worlds: The Series, isfdb.org,
An English astronomer, in company with an artilleryman, a country curate, and others, struggle to survive the invasion of earth by Martians in 1894. Thirty five million miles into space, a species of Martians sets eyes on planet earth. With their own planet doomed for destruction, the Martians prepare to invade. Their weapons are ready and their aim is ruthless. The war of the worlds is about to begin.
a look backwards, Orson Welles’ The War Of The Worlds radio drama, future events, unfolding in real-time, instantaneous travel from Mars, the 2005 movie adaptation, buried, ridiculous, cannon shots rather than rockets, Robert H. Goddard, fix the physics, a pretty damn amazing book, philosopher-writer, a certain speculative writer, a final structure not unlike Martian, the Pall-Mall Budget, Nov. 16, 1893, Punch, natural selection, a cardinal necessity, “teacher and agent of the brain”, The Man Of The Year Million by H.G. Wells, can you satirize a satire and then go on to make it serious?, Ape Man Space Man, 9 days later, nutritive fluid, early in his career, the most published author alive, the artilleryman, the revolution, a realization, the future, The Time Machine, Weena, the Eloi, the Morlocks, little details, a wife!, a romance rescue version, John Wyndham, what the world will be, sprouting many tripods, derivations and inspirations, his most influential story, how science fictiony it was, a novel with science in it, Larry Niven invasion of the Earth book, the ramifications, filling in the technology and physiology, The First Men In The Moon, how the machines work, The Crystal Egg, The New Review, May 1897, a Palantir, an Ansible
An antique dealer finds out that one of his items(the crystal egg) allows views from a high post into alien life scenes. Upon close inspection, small lifeforms and structures can be seen inside the egg. With the help from the protagonist it can be determined from clues that the egg is in fact a viewer, and that he is viewing scenes from Mars.
a teaser for the novel, League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, it feels still current, getting flying machines from the Martians, diggers, kits, autofacs, black dust, up close, fighting suits, Starship Troopers with aliens in exo-suits, Armor, The Forever War, an inversion, graceful machines, lumbering hulks, the brother sequence, stuck in a house being a mouse, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The World concept album, the 1953 movie, why we should care about these character, between me and my brother I know everything, it feels like what it’s like to have your country invaded, becoming a refugee for the space of the book, it’s not our military might, Independence Day (1996), taking the first person point of view, if Tom Cruise doesn’t see it we don’t see it, the Pearson’s serial illustrations, squids or octopi, he was writing about writing about it, the main character is H.G. Wells, his brother is H.G. Wells’, Horsley Common, Woking, characters from his own life, the curate, a savage attack on organized religion, dangerous, the curate is coming apart, God is not an insurance agent, Monty Python, the narrator calls on God and thanks God, science vs. formalized religion, how we think, strip-away, the illustrations, what the movie does, Henrique Alvim Corrêa’s illustrations, Tintin as a horror show, the arm reaching into the house, we will become rats, the art, interpretation, a new BBC TV adaptation, Roman legions, it’s about EMPIRE, why it is set in the USA in the 20th and 21st century, the criticism of EMPIRE, being brought low, Return Of The Jedi, striking at the head of the greatest Empire of the time, an island is defensible, the navy must be defeated, by 2005 the world market for films is much bigger, if they can do it we did it, undermines the whole satire, it looks terrible, force fields and weird energy weapons, the super-science!, the briefing sequence in the 1953 movie, green gasses, a new element that combines with argon, science-based, the heat beams, artillery, a first strike mentality, subtly mentioned, they’re going for Venus, so many subtitles, desiccated bipedal bodies from Mars, if only, not just insane, in a hole, starved, blind, deaf, guy with a sword, hot shit, a class story, fit for this new environment, an alternate ending, great illustrations, the artilleryman’s underground London world, the gulf between reality and dreams, walks, breaks, cards, the imagination, your job is to pick the right boots, taking over a fighting suit, the concentration camps, a huge alternate vision, Julianne, The Sleeper Awakes, a utopia, a dystopia, images of a future from a madman, empathize and appreciate and disdain, psychology, not a one note character, when calamity strikes, living underground, a whole hidden society, Ewoks aren’t the best example, a circle of resistance, not realistic, the biggest exodus of human kind, no resistance, Wells had a lot of women, they used to skedaddle off to work, for fear they’d get dismissed, fear of the backstreets, one little miserable skedaddle, exiling weaklings, the eugenics, survivalists/white supremacists, weak or silly, ought to die, “to live and taint the race”, “clean minded women”, “no rolling eyes”, on the team, racism?, class based, the most prolific author of his era, on his second wife, a draper’s assistant, the way writers look at things, how is it that people are so insecure, in their mousy little way, the tunnel is in the wrong spot, Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, class-oriented, the Chauffeur tribe, almost no people get names, Ms. Elphinstone and Mrs. Elphinstone, Tim Robbins is a combination of the curate and the artilleryman, PG-13 vapourized, the illustrations for Jeff Wayne’s musical version, the Earth covered in red weed, the fertilizer is human blood, the book is brutal, unworthy and uncharitable characters, the final image, the narrator (looking like H.G. Wells) haunted by corpses and the fighting machines, a war book, baskets of human bodies, the tentacle lights moving up and down, wholesale slaughter, the black outline, directly referencing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first book Paul read for SFFaudio, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, so racist and sexist, my thoughts had taken voice, the importance of sound, uula ulla, a mystery, a distress beacon, a death cry, an alarm, an average of 2.5 participants, Wells is a master craftsman, mean characters doing questionable things, writing what you see, retelling the story with sound, horrific, really scary, silence as a scary thing, the coulours and the dust, the crawling creeping nature of it all, what’s going on with the dog, The Spotted Dog, a dog-cart, a yelping dog, a lost retrieving dog, a howling dog, a good dog, man’s best friend doesn’t know what’s going on, a hoe-down, very American, a nurse’s uniform, weird reality, a Mexican character, disconnection, a horse, crows, a veneer over our reality, how things really are, peppered with dogs, paint by numbers writing, the unexplained, copying another novel, there for an unconscious purpose, stealing from a jewelry shop, a richness to deserted London, wives, his cousin, Heinlein’s redheads, too creepy, visually designed to create the disaster movie industry, showing this whole genre inspired by it, the ur text, the basis for other exploration, the taproot that everything references back to, Doctor Who, Planet Of Evil, Forbidden Planet and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, we men with our bicycles, guns and sticks and so forth, mere brains, appliances, the dominant feature: the wheel (is absent), we’ve made the world conform to the wheel, putting on suits, everything is suit for them, an umbrella is part of you, the fighting machines are holding their equipment, the machine is a suit of clothing, driving a car, I swerved, we become one with the car, all about brain, the philosophy of The Fast And The Furious, Pacific Rim, Daleks, all in favour of giant monster battles, tension and drama, learning to juggle, why there are no wheels on Mars, in the Amazon jungle, the Incas, salt flats, His Dark Materials, Jesse invented an alien bird, thinking through all, the necessary requirements, which is more efficient soaring or propellers, rotation, bicycles, nothing evolved from an air creature, a sea based system, propellers handier in the sea, squid, a bacteria with a propeller, greasing the alien bird’s wheel, 10 years in, The Time Machine, why did Jesse put it off so long?, head canon vs. head cannon, Cybermen, why is Doctor Who so good?, they’re stealing from the best!, aliens invading London, the danger and value of…, subversive, intelligent, the Tardis is taken away to engage with the world, never any sexual tension between the character and the companions, a “silly kid’s show”, Christopher Eccleston, Peter Capaldi, stealing from Lovecraft, the most brilliant science fiction show ever, Pyramids Of Mars, alien robots, Egyptian deities, Genesis Of The Daleks, not like Teletubbies, putting The Time Machine on the schedule?, re-reading, one and done, live with the consequences, Annihilation,
Posted by Jesse Willis
Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 2, 1: The Reign Of The Robots, 2: Operation Saturn, and 3: Prisoners Of Space
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: April 2017
Dan Dare: Where Space and Opera Meet To Sing
Is there evil in the universe? Yes. Are there tyrants who take great pleasure in enslaving the human race simply to gratify their unquenchable ego? Yes. Is there any hope for this small blue planet where none but the barest few have any idea of the dastardly dangers all around? Absolutely!
All is right with the twenty first century because Dan Dare and his cohorts, Professor Peabody and Digby are out roaming our solar system, vigilantly keeping villainy and tyranny at bay.
Having defeated the evil Mekon at the end of Season One, Volume One, Dan Dare and his crew are finally able to return home after using the transporter to rid themselves of an alien Armageddon virus.
The first problem that besets them at the beginning of Volume Two is a small issue with the return trip through the transporter that lands them ten years into the future. The bigger problem is that Earth has been enslaved by an army of ruthless robots in, The Reign Of The Robots.
A rollicking space faring adventure of daring do and evil don’t sails on through Operation Saturn and Prisoners Of Space.
Dan Dare is an audio drama of old where the good guy is good through and through, and nasty bigheaded megalomaniacs are rotten to their evil cores. But wait, there’s a back-story running in the undercurrent. This world isn’t quite as black and white as it seems.
A beautiful mix of nostalgia with references to coal-fed engines, and forward-ho, with a ship that can whisk the crew off to Saturn in minutes flat, Dan Dare is perfectly situated in the now. And that now is a science fiction gem with classic lines like, “Resist and you will die” and the quintessential, “Take me to your leader.”
The cast is wonderful throughout and the whole thing is brought to life with a thoroughly engaging, immersive soundscape designed by Wilfredo Acosta.
I was not familiar with the Dan Dare comics before listening to the series, but when I heard, “Colonel Dan Dare! But you were dead!” Followed by, “Only delayed,” I learned everything I needed to know.
Strap on your jet pack if you have. Adventure awaits.
THE REIGN OF THE ROBOTS
Dan Dare and his crew finally return to Earth. Landing in central London, they find the city deserted – or that’s how it seems at first. But soon Dare faces an army of ruthless machines, robots who have conquered the planet and placed the surviving humans in slave camps. The robots are too powerful and too numerous to be resisted, and their invasion is complete. With limited resources, Dare, Digby and Peabody face their greatest challenge yet – to liberate planet Earth. But the task becomes more desperate than ever when Dan discovers the alien force behind the robot invasion…
As work begins to rebuild planet Earth after the devastation of the robot invasion, Dare and his friends in Space Fleet remain vigilant, certain that it is only a matter of time before the Mekon launches a fresh attack. When the wreck of the Nautilus – an experimental ship lost over a decade before – appears in orbit of the moon, Dare, Digby and Peabody are sent to investigate. They find the ship and its crew were destroyed by advanced alien weapons. All clues lead them to Saturn’s moons. With Earth still vulnerable our heroes must journey to an unknown world – to discover who sent the Nautilus back, not realising that for once the source of their latest conflict comes from a lot closer to home. Not all would-be conquerors of planet Earth are alien…
PRISONERS OF SPACE
After a sequence of near non-stop adventures Dare, Digby and Peabody find themselves in a strange limbo of paranoid calm. Whilst there’s been no sign of the Mekon anywhere in the solar system, Dare is certain Earth hasn’t seen the last of the evil alien. Mysterious spaceship disappearances near Venus, an Academy student accidentally launching a prototype new spacecraft, and a floating prison cell in space… reveal themselves as all part of the Mekon’s latest plan to defeat his archenemy Dan Dare once and for all. The first season of Dan Dare concludes with daring space action, fearless heroics and the revelation of devastating secrets concerning Space Fleet…
Posted by Maissa Bessada
[Find out more about Dan Dare audio adventures, and see the rest of the terrific DAN DARE box-office-style posters, by Brian Williamson, over at the official site: DanDareAudio.com]
Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 1, 1: Voyage To Venus, 2: The Red Moon Mystery, and 3: Marooned On Mercury
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: January 2017
Three audio adventures based on the Eagle comic strip “Dan Dare” created by Rev. Marcus Morris, adapted and drawn by Frank Hampson.
Brilliant test pilot, Dan Dare, is chosen to fly the Anastasia – a new experimental
spacecraft – on its maiden voyage to Venus. This isn’t exploration – it is to make first
contact with a mysterious civilisation that has sent technological secrets as a goodwill
gesture. However, what Dan, Digby and Professor Peabody find on Venus isn’t
goodwill, but a terrifyingly intelligent, cold-hearted ruler, the Mekon. A creature
destined to become Dan Dare’s nemesis – and Earth’s greatest threat…
Unable to return to Earth, Dan Dare and the crew of the Anastasia head to the
desolate planet Mars, where Dan’s estranged Uncle Ivor is part of a research team
working on a top-secret archaeological dig; but when they find the base wrecked and
the scientists missing, Dare, Digby and Professor Peabody soon discover that the Red
Planet is not nearly as dead as everyone thought and that Ivor’s expedition has
woken an army of deadly insect-creatures that threaten to swarm and engulf the
Earth… Dare must stop the aliens, but can he really resort to genocide in order to
save the human race?
When a distress call summons the crew of the Anastasia to the burning wilderness of
Mercury, they are reunited with their old ally, Sondar. He tells them of the
beleaguered Mercurians who are held in thrall to a cruel new taskmaster – the
Mekon! The exiled Mekon is rallying his forces, plotting a desperate revenge against
his former homeworld of Venus and his hated enemy, Colonel Dan Dare!
It had been quite some time since I’d heard much about Dan Dare, at least twenty or more years until the classic comic character’s adventures were rebooted by ace author Garth Ennis in 2009 for Dynamite Comics. I was glad to hear that B7 Media, those folks responsible for the terrific Blake’s 7 adventures from a few years back have revived the man with the iconic name: Dan Dare.
Taking advantage of the audio drama format, these three new Big Finish Dan Dare adventures are truly terrific entertainment. They’re modern boy’s own-style space adventures, a kind of unapologetically forthright solar space opera, and starring no less a figure than Britain’s most iconic test pilot turned space adventurer, Dan Dare. For those unfamiliar, Dan Dare is one of those lapping-over delights from the end of the British Empire days, an ever just so slightly alien import – like the Rupert Bear books, or Captain Britain, or even Judge Dredd – and as delightful as a tin full of Turkish delight!
It is hard for me to review audio drama the same way I review audiobooks. I listen to audio drama at night with my eyes closed just as I’m drifting off into Dreamland. This means if I want to review them, I must re-listen to the shows over and over in order to get all my facts straight (that I love to is a side benefit). I need to know exactly what’s in the show itself, and what I only dreamed was in the show. And in my nightly re-listening for two weeks, I must say that all three episodes are really terrific – professional – solid work – as good as you would want them to be. Even with three different writing teams for three episodes and the fact that the three shows are mapped to three storylines from the very inception of Dan Dare, there’s very little for me to complain about. If you pushed me, really pushed me for some hard critiques of the shows as a whole I could come up with a few pitiful ones. I’d say, maybe, that the actors for Digby and Dan have voices just a bit too similar to each other, that maybe the personality of Professor Peabody – going from a hard-ass corporate profiteer to a stalwart champion of the undertrodden is a bit quick. But I really cannot complain. I got two wonderful weeks of nightly entertainment from these three episodes; each combining some of the very best elements of some of my favourite adventures into three all new shows. I’m telling you, if you like stories like The Empire Strikes Back, or Metropolis, or DOOM, or Aliens you’ll certainly love these new Dan Dare adventures.
Now, twist my arm just a bit more and I’ll tell you a secret… oh yes, I loved the first and second episodes, but that third episode, with those wonderful sympathetic Mercurians… it is my favourite.
Some fun, fast facts comparing Dan Dare in 1950 and Dan Dare in 2017.
-In the original comic strip Digby was Dan’s batman (his gentleman’s gentleman), not so in 2017.
-In the 2017 audio drama, Dan Dare is a vlogger!
-In 2017, Dan Dare’s dad is in hospital, in what sounds like a coma, and he regularly visits him (as does Digby).
-Professor Peabody was a professor in 1950 and still is a professor in 2017.
-The 2017 Dan Dare is set in the 2040s, the 1950s Dan Dare was set in the 1990s.
-In the 1950 Dan Dare “Eagle” was the name of the magazine where Dan Dare appeared, in 2017 “Eagle” is the name of the corporation that built Dare’s spaceship.
-And, the 2017 Dan Dare uses the medium of audio drama (or radio drama) as part of the plot.
Here’s a video reviewing the history of Dan Dare:
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
1952, 1953, 1951, the serialization, a futuristic old book, purple and green with the big eye, The Stars My Destination, weird corporations, quasi-computer intelligences, Marissa didn’t love it, dated elements, 1950s women, really funny, the deleted prologue (is very confusing), damn amazing, so much in so many pages, it doesn’t baby you, many ideas per page, keeping track, not great as an audiobook, page play that can’t be seen in the audiobook, the narration is great, playful with typography, SMS style talk, the Amazon reviews, @ symbols in the ebook, Jerry Chuch, he’s an Esper
2, a textual clue to his nature, (lap)², the audiobook store, an illiterate society, paperbooks are extinct, a post-literate society, when you start listening to audiobooks…, shame for not reading textual books, reading aloud as entertainment, future societies, better as a paperbook on your first read, font size changes, the reader does a lot of the work, an amazing narration, dissension has begun, image of a laughing horse, more than one text version, the original serialization in Galaxy, the finished draft is the paperbook, changes between the text, Monarch vs. Sacrament, “enhanced books”, the esper world, the best adaptation of of The Demolished Man is Babylon 5, terrible and yet essential, the Alfred Bester episodes of Babylon 5, The Lord Of The Rings in space, it’s Dune, the Psi-Corp, “demolition”, the character of Alfred Bester, a dark Powell, deliciously played by Walter Koenig, evil, powerful, charismatic, on Spaceland, The Hunger Games, an unreal world, Sinclair, rogue telepaths, what does it mean if psi-powers were real, the breeding program, marriage, mundanes and telepaths, the coming war, his girlfriend is in the freezer, D’Courtney was a latent telepath, Ben Reich’s half sister, throat cancer, a psychic-scream, Powell and Reich (also in The Stars My Destination), Ben Reich = good money, Powell = power, Dishonest Abe (Lincoln Powell), Jerry Church (corrupted by the money), when telepaths make love, soooo Freudian, New York, sooo dated, demolishing the daughter, a sexy-father figure (super creepy), room for progression, who is Ben Reich’s heir?, who is D’courtney’s heir?, Powell now has all the power and all the money, he’s the bad guy (if you squint), the reconstruction happens in Star Trek episode (to Uhura), Nomad, we misread the code too, an inverted detective story, how-done-it, how-to-catch-’em, a locked room mystery, adapting it to TV, a Philip K. Dick-style mindfuck, a hugh solipsist section, artificial personalities, false memories, no stars in the sky, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Remember Me, going back to the womb, back to the beginning, explosion, concussion, the man with no face, suddenly blood is on him, very Lady Macbeth, a premonition of his future, he’s afraid of himself, The Prisoner‘s final episode, panettone, just 175 pages, the Hugo award, creepy stuff, the gilded corpse, ReDemolished, an essay by Bester on how novels are written, the book is dedicated to H.L. Gold (editor of Galaxy magazine), Astounding, Amazing, John W. Campbell, Jr., Scientology, ESP stuff, DARPA, remote viewing, one of Jesse’s profs, premonitions, Slan by A.E. van Vogt, power fantasy, “fans are slans”, the Minority Report thingy, no sense of the poor, in the Babylon 5 universe…, resentment of PSI, super-powerful, Babylon 5 is pretty amazing, The Best Of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord, Julian May, tension, a caste system, psionic aliens, class struggles, Chooka Frood (the corrupt brothel-keeper), a role playing game character, ceramicly beautiful, a dream, a blind albino who plays gimpsters, “accident”, Duffy Wyg&,
Eight, sir; seven, sir;
Six, sir; five, sir;
Four, sir; three, sir;
Two, sir; one!
Tenser, said the Tensor.
Tenser, said the Tensor.
And dissension have begun.
Doctor Who, The Master, Jo’s rhyme, Mary Had A Little Lamb…, jingles, Bester wrote radio dramas, strange observations, everybody is in the business, if you are at a psychic party…, a throwaway line about the old deaf mutes…, blackmail, no man is an island, “make your enemies on purpose”, he’s an awful man, William Edgars from Babylon 5, Donald Trump, how he earned his money, that embrace, their hugging, we are not ignorant but we aren’t fully party to Ben’s plans, eating candy, there was no bullet, an apache duster, the cover of Galaxy, “humans are weird”, compact death, if we are paying very close attention we should be noticing all the details that aren’t there, the missing bullet hole, the closer you read it the better it pays you, a million more themes, we go to Venus we go to Mars, written today it would be a 600 page doorstop that wouldn’t do half the stuff, “I liked dishonest Abe”, “absolutely scary”, “let’s foreground that”, “I might marry you I’m not really sure about that”, “punch me around”, Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber, a parody of Mickey Spillane, The Man Who Japed, “he shot her in the groin”, there whole world is completely strange, New York, the future computer, typewriter hands and punch cards, glimpses into…, rushing towards demolition, Old Man Mose, “kittenish”, they’ve turned over parts of their society to…, horrible but compelling, damaged or mean or weird, the game of Sardine, Smee by A.M. Burrage, party games, who ends up alone?, everyone is together and naked, a bunch of adults playing naked hide-and-seek, parallels to the fake solipsistic world, “here’s how I did it”, the delusionary world, he finally had to face the man with no face, I couldn’t tell him the truth…, we were buying it the whole time!, skepticism, admissible evidence and objective proof, Powell looking at Ben, the mysterious parcel, it’s a present for you Ben, clumsy hands, we’re all of just nursemaids in this crazy world, Powell friend, “listen normals”, we see the truth that you cannot see, mind to mind and heart to heart, Powell was the villain the whole time, William Edgars virus, “solve the telepath problem once and for all”, something that Reich never does, a moment of self-awareness, he’s a monster but at least he feels bad about it, Garibaldi’s manipulation, revealing all on the train, Harlan Ellison, Powell is secretly evil, we’re distracted by Reich, Inception (2010), the horror lies, tragic despair, D’Courtney’s secret wish (he wanted to die), his son gave him what he wanted, on some level Ben Reich is a telepath, everything Powell says is a lie, the more you read it the better it is going to get, you need to go into analysis, unspool it, re-reading, one of the best audiobooks, Joe Dunlop, Isis Audiobooks, from 1989, still for sale as tapes, it totally worked with the story, a good sign of a good narration.
Posted by Jesse Willis