The SFFaudio Podcast #530 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #530 – The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the story (29 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
Harper’s Monthly, September 1902, the illustration Maurice Gryffonhagen, 1900, rejected by The Strand, too morbid, maybe morbid, am elaborate explanation to make it a naturalistic story, out of character for W.W. Jacobs, comic tales about sailors and boating, messing about on the water, a spooky tale, the characterization of the family, perfect, warm, a fool (in a nice way), joking around, blame is neutralized, Mrs White is meta, something out of the Arabian Knights, antimacassar, a lace doily, hair oil, smoking jackets, fezs to prevent hair stink, to keep your clothes from becoming smoky, other smells, no six showers a day, that dark turn, small sketches, we feel it when the tragedy happens, Lakesnam Villa vs. Laburnum Villa, The Lady Of The Barge, a tree, ornamental, friendly, poisonous seeds, a golden chain tree vs. a snake, chances vs. changes, Otto Penzler’s Big Book Of Ghost Stories, 203 separate publications, 5th grade reading, ingrained in the culture, everybody knows that idea, be careful what you wish for, The Toll House, Herbert White, Mr. White, the company name: Maw and Meggins, the Sergeant Major Morris, a jerk, how dare you, wish for death in the end, take money for it too, he threw it in the fire, they always turn bad, conflated, The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Twilight Zone, “and so it came to me”, their humourous attitude vs. his seriousness, they’re us, a dreamer, just to look around, 21 years of it, totally clicking, the number three, three times seven, the three family members, three different men, all the wishes get used, no natural sequel, all its wishes used up, many adaptations, most of the adaptations are pretty terrible, The Simpsons adaptation, the dried turkey sandwich, squirming like a lakesnam, very visual, rule out all the logical terrible consequences, “alive and whole”, The CBC Nightfall audio drama, Chris Wiggins, a friend of Vandredei, cursed objects, Friday The Thirteenth: The Series, a doll that kills people at night, classic!, a teacup with strangling ivy, a pair of faith healer’s white gloves, super-creepy, disconnected from the movie series, there was a plan for a cursed hockey mask, late at night, a spell put on it by a very holy man, the moral of the story, fate ruled people’s lives, get to the wishes, nothing comes of nothing (King Lear), LucretiusOn The Nature Of Things, the clutches of a dread, he doesn’t want to be that kind of guy, “just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps”, reading his actions, a great bit of gossip, the other reading, get him lubricated, his three listener leaned forward, his host fills it for him, in vino veritas, rubicund, they met in a bar, he doesn’t stay the night, does he have an arm?, how you could do sequels to this, his glass topped against his strong teeth, a bad dude, he’s careless, I don’t know, a first time reader of this story: “Give it to me.”, stories where wishes are granted, deals with the devil, how you word what you want, classic fairy tales, Grimms Bros, the magic (talking) fish, stuff you lot, one gloss, embroider, half finished, The Mouse, The Bird, And The Sausage (is probably about polyamory), Hansel And Gretel, an even older one, Charles Perrault, a woodcutter or a fisherman, if you spare me I’ll grant you three wishes, I wish I had a sausage, you wasted a wish, Interstate 60 (2002), a half-leprechaun, negative wishes, the 1948 film adaptation, The Monkees’ Paw, Tales From The Crypt (1972), Wish You Were Here, Robin Hood, back from the dead, eternal pain, the HBO Tales From The Crypt adaptation, kinda fun, The Alfred Hitchcock Presents adaptation from the 10th season, Lee Majors as Herbert, races in Haiti, all just foreign, witch doctoress, frills and elements, the dynamics, the husband starts it off, the wife and the son encourage it playfully, “wish to be an emperor, father”, he never will!, ill-gotten gains, a little monster on the sideboard, something simian looking back from the fire, there’s no blame, the last bit out loud, such a great job reading it, thank goodness, ask for him whole, go away, other glosses, almost perfect for what it does, maw = ma, meggins = beggins, an insurance company, three sections, how adaptations could work, the 2013 adaptation, in name only, built into the story, reverse order, the sergeants story, got close, it rewards you but not in the way you wanted, he will never share, some interaction, the fakir, the paw as India’s revenge on England, the face he put on, enforce government will, as a revenge story, wishes for immortality, be happy that we’re mortal, voodoo, A Podcast For The Curious, M.R. James, industrialization, coincidence or not, when Julie was not a Christian, when a coincidence happens and it was meant for you to understand (you know it), I’m going to be talking to Julie, discover it for themselves, a solid believer in whatever it is, evaluate for yourself, they get it, we get it, it means nothing, the story means what it means because of the framing, a long time ago Jesse had another website (Aural Noir), merged together, hidden away, Jesse knows all the movies about grifters, James Coburn in Harry In Your Pocket (1973), Jesse’s D&D class was always thief barbarian or barbarian thief, this is a scam, a naturalistic way of explaining this story, having sold the paw, Nigerian prince scams, a crate full of Monkey’s Paws, a scam that works this way, bet on tonight’s horserace “Laburnam to win in the first race”, Bet on “Lakesnam to win”, for today’s results…, this was a scam that was actually employed, a known scam, framing it from inside your house, adaptable as a play (none of the scenes are set outside the house), a new silk hat, it means something, we’re not liable, inside the family circle, “what about the knocking on the door, Jesse?”, we never actually see the zombie here, what the author intended to tell us is contained in his text, the psychology going on, chess to while away the evening, living vicariously, I’m a mysterious stranger, reverse psychology, literally the way con-men work, [Jesse describes the opening scam in The Sting (1973)], a dark and stormy night outside, stories of this kind, a very self aware story, stories are valuable, a confection, massive power over us, this need not be a horror story, a different genre, a Star Trek: Discovery episode with Harry Mudd, an now forgotten genre: the club story, the Jorkens stories by Lord Dunsany, Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales Of The White Hart, Asimov’s The Black Widowers, the Binscombe Tales by John A. Whitbourn, “The Monkey’s Spa”, Japanese snow monkeys (cursed to be comfortable), If I Had Three Wishes, it never works out, a comfortable lesson, the father says he’s happy, the guilt is so evenly spread, the meta-chess move, a metaphor for the story, why she’s so desperate, Jordan Peele, comedy and horror turn on the same thing, hilarious or horrific, E.F. Benson, Ripping Yarns, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, “The Curse Of The Claw”, looking through old magazines, The Haunted Tomb by C.H. Shanan, Assoc. M. Inst. C.E., that tomb was haunted, you’re the detective, a ghost story or a Scooby Doo story, stories of the uncanny (we find out some truth about reality we were not privy to prior), everybody knows about magic (it’s just rare), things seem to be magical (the Gothic tradition), Weiland by Charles Brockden Brown, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, a knife raised over his girlfriend, Scooby Doo is Gothic!, Old man Willard!, the new Scooby Doo is opposite, they’re detectives, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles, a boundary hedge, salt tax, Lagaan (2001), exotic stuff, just a slip of a lad, a rubicund visage, a wondrous horrible story, a masterful story, a joy to read, could have been written yesterday, where the hell I am, damn near one take, 30 or 40 doilies, very easy for kids to read, answers to homework, 5th grade, 10 years old, Poe, what the heck is a tarn?, I found a tarn, he breath inaudible, good writing, a callback, mother and father, American Gothic.

The Monkey's Paw - Illustration from The Lady Of The Barge

Easton Press' illustration for The Monkey's Paw

LISTENING LIBRARY - The Monkey's Paw And Other Classic Tales Of Terror

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow

SFFaudio Review

Flesh Circus by Lilith SaintcrowFlesh Circus (Jill Kismet #4)
By Lilith Saintcrow; Performed by Joyce Bean
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 7 discs; 9 hours

Themes: / circus / urban fantasy / voodoo / zombies / magic /

Publisher summary:

When circus performers start dying grotesquely, Jill Kismet has to find out why, or the entire city will become a carnival of horror. She also has to play the resident hellbreed power against the Cirque to keep them in line, and find out why ordinary people are needing exorcisms. And then there’s the murdered voodoo practitioners, and the zombies. Jill Kismet is about to find out that some games are played for keeps.

The descriptions in Flesh Circus were memorable and fun, and touched on all the senses. Characterizations really told a lot about each individual and gave information about both them and the narrator. She was really snarky, selling toughness without overdoing it. There was some repetition in the action scenes, with guns and bones popping frequently. The author employs a liberal use of adverbs, and the plot relies heavily on elements that must have been established in earlier books. I could still follow along, though. The magical details were the best part.

Joyce Bean as narrator was great. She had a husky, slightly rough voice with an understated delivery that let the words really shine. Her characterization of side characters was great, making it easy to keep track of who was speaking.

Posted by Sarah R.

The SFFaudio Podcast #236 – AUDIOBOOK READALONG: The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #236 – The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard, read by Paul Boehmer (courtesy of Tantor Media’s The Savage Tales Of Solomon Kane). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (60 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and Bryan Alexander

Talked about on today’s show:
Second-to-last Solomon Kane story chronologically, “Red Shadows” and “Wings of the Night” close contenders for Solomon Kane stories, the latter featuring harpies from Jason and the Argonauts, history of Solomon’s staff explained in other stories, fetishes (not THAT kind!), juju stick, magical weapons, Wandering Star edition illustrated by Gary Gianni, comic book adaptations, vampire-slaying, story uncharacteristically well-plotted including foreshadowing, “plains and hills full of lions” oh my!, lion sleeping habits, “Africa is full of never-explained mysteries” excuses plot holes, prefigures Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld movies, one of few stories to depict ‘nation of vampires’, Kiss of the Vampire (film), Transylvania, homeopathic symbolism, sex sells, ‘Howardian damsel in distress’, voodoo, feminization of the jungle, homoerotic undertones, Howard biography Blood and Thunder by Mark Finn, post-Colonial critique, vampires in fiction oscillate between sexualized and homicidal, Stephen King slams Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight vampires, Nosferatu (relatively unknown at the time of this story’s writing) introduced the idea that sunlight kills vampires, the Devil as source of Kane’s lustful urges, “Howard doesn’t do metaphors very well”, vampire-zombie continuum, Howard as great visual writer, animal characteristics ascribed to Kull and Conan but not Kane, snake imagery (related to serpent in Garden of Eden?), Slave Coast, vultures, nature of the soul, “Rogues in the House” (written in one sitting while Howard had a headache), the dangers of over-interpreting Howard, Howard’s subconscious, early 20th-century magazines preoccupied with race, Cosmpolitan (it was once a literary magazine), race hierarchy, Solomon Kane less racist than Howard himself, racial hierarchy, Berbers, Solomon Kane’s conflicted personality, the New Model Army, Howard’s characters are solitary, Puritans, Kane has a death wish, Kane’s celibacy, significance of Solomon Kane’s name, Ben Jonson satirizes Puritan names (in Bartholomew Fayre), so does Terry Pratchett (in Lords and Ladies, Mormonism, concept of congregation of all believers, English Civil War and its sects, Grendel in Beowulf as descendant of Cain, Sandman comics, Kane is “always on the road”, Matthew Hopkins witchfinder general, wood imagery, we learn what a palaver is, The Dark Tower series, temptation, inquisition, H. P. Lovecraft, cohesion of Howard’s works, history of the English language, George Harrison’s coyright infringement, parallel evolution in fiction, Clark Ashton Smith, Charles Baudelaire, genocide, the importance of a shared reader-author premise, shared cultural values, Hitler, The King in Yellow, Woodrow Wilson was a racist, zombies vs. animals.

The Hills Of The Dead - Illustration by Greg Staples

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead

Solomon Kane's Fetish Staff

Solomon Kane in Africa

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard

The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard - illustration by Hugh Rankin from Weird Tales, August 1930

ad for The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard from WEIRD TALES, July 1930

ad for The Hills Of The Dead by Robert E. Howard from WEIRD TALES, July 1930

The Hills Of The Dead - illustrated by Gary Gianni

Posted by Seth Wilson

The SFFaudio Podcast #205 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #205 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s show:
Oz Reimagined, Orson Scott Card, John Joseph Adams, Marissa Vu, The Mad Scientist’s Guide To World Domination, Daniel H. Wilson, Alan Dean Foster, Seanan McGuire, Scott loves lists!!, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, the cruel god, about Science Fiction, mad scientists, steampunk, urban fantasy, superheroes, supervillians, Lex Luthor, Infinivox, Steampunk Specs, Cherie Preist, Cat Rambo, Margaret Ronald, Sean McMullen, do stage actors make the best narrators?, themed anthologies, Extinction Point (Book 1) by Paul Anthony Jones, Emily Beresford, Chuck Wendig, Mockingbird, Blackbird, post-apocalyptic novels, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Six Heirs (The Secret of Ji) by Pierre Grimbert, “Les editions Mnemos”, Bolinda Audio, the distorting effect of podcasts, are audiobooks taking over reading?, Luke Burrage, busy lifestyles, Gone Girl, Beautiful Ruins, archaeologist werewolf vampire oracles, “being a librarian is awesome”, is being a paramedic fun? Or is it full of paperwork?, Bones, forensic anthropology, Kathy Reichs, sorry no time traveling, high fantasy (aka epic fantasy), The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, The Worm Ouroboros, Neil Gaiman, the Neverwhere BBC audio drama, the TV show, the audiobook, Neverwhere as an allegory of homelessness, urban fantasy, Neil Gaiman can do no wrong, “I accept that”, Harry Potter is not high fantasy, Tolkienesque, George R.R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, Deadhouse Gates (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson, Malazan is hot on GoodReads, Terpkristin, Mongoliad Book 3, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Copper Moo, comic crossovers, The Beast of Calatrava (A Foreworld SideQuest, Mongoliad) by Mark Teppo, Area 51: The Truth by Bob Mayer, Casey, Zero Dark Thirty, torturefest, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Among Others by Jo Walton, Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds #1) by Emma Newman, Cornish accents please, Jumper by Steven Gould, Jumper vs. Looper, Reflex by Steven Gould, The Stars My Destination, teleportation, Impulse by Steven Gould, snowboarding, Sarah vs. Bryce, Angelopolis (Angelology #2) by Danielle Trussoni, Penguin Audio, Fabergé eggs, The Da Vinci Code, nightmare car trips, nightmare cruises, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, stolkholm syndrome, Seth Grahame-Smith, zombies, Redemption Alley (Jill Kismet Series) by Lilith Saintcrow, The Free Lunch by Spider Robinson, Spider Robinson is the humane hippie Heinleinian, theme park fantasy, the Callahan’s series, fascistic junky pro-war movies are ameliorated by reading Robinson, Heinlein and the sexual revolution, Michael Flynn, Falling Stars (Firestar Saga #4) by Michael Flynn, Footfall, the Russian meteor, what would have happened if it had happened over Ohio, instead of Siberia, Dan Carlin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, suspension of habeas corpus, an external vs an autoimmune threat, Farside by Ben Bova, Stefan Rudnicki, soap opera or space opera?, archaic characters, vintage SF, Jack Williamson, Omni magazine, Aftermath (Supernova Alpha Series #1) by Charles Sheffield, Black Feathers (The Black Dawn #1) by Joseph D’Lacey, Simon Vance, futuristic fantasy?, apocalyptic fantasy?, History Vikings, Jenny is 1/4 viking, Steen Hansen, the quasi historical saga dude, The Tudors, The Borgias, The Thrall’s Tale by Judith Lindbergh, Ireland, Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer, “real science fiction”, technothriller, Red Mars Blues, Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter, Connie Willis, steampunk, Tim Powers, The Age Atomic (sequel to Empire State) by Adam Christopher, Phil Gigante, Seven Wonders, superhero noir, intricately beautiful, The Stainless Steel Rat, Phil Gigante is the new narrator of Galactic Pot-Healer, Julie Davis, Robert Sheckley, suicidal characters, a comedic version of Neuromancer with the Wintermute role being played by Cthulhu, Tor, Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., A Natural History Of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan, Naomi Novik, Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper, The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi, Finland, Tam books vs. Jenny books, The Hermetic Millennia by John C. Wright, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, 500 Essential Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide by Gina McKinnon, 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss, Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson, Dreamscape Media, Toronto, conjoined twins, Brown Girl In The Ring, Midnight Robber, mojo vs. voodoo, Karen Lord, Cat Valente style fantasy, The White Woman On The Green Bicycle, Inherit The Stars by James P. Hogan, “a shimmering arpeggio”, Downpour’s new pricing is $12.99 per month, DRM FREE audiobooks are awesome, Identity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer, LibriVox, Gutenberg.org, Robert E. Howard’s Conan, The Devil In Iron by Robert E. Howard, The Hour Of The Dragon by Robert E. Howard, Mark Nelson, Bill Hollweg, what would a Robert J. Sawyer Conan story look like?

A Natural History Of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers

SFFaudio Review

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - On Stranger Tides by Tim PowersOn Stranger Tides
By Tim Powers; Read by Bronson Pinchot
10 CDs – Approx. 11.7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: August 2010
ISBN: 9781441754981
Themes: / Fantasy / Pirates / Magic / Caribbean / Voodoo / Zombies /

On Stranger Tides follows the exploits of John “Jack Shandy” Chandagnac, who travels to the new world after the death of his puppeteer father to confront his uncle, who has apparently made off with the family fortune. During the voyage, he befriends Beth Hurwood and her father Benjamin Hurwood, an Oxford professor. Before they arrive at their destination, their ship is waylaid by Blackbeard (via Davies) and his band of pirates. With the help of the professor and his assistant, the captain is killed and Chandagnac is pressed into piracy and sorcery as Blackbeard searches for the Fountain of Lost Youth (and other nefarious goals). Chandagnac, newly dubbed “Jack Shandy,” must stop the evil plot and save Beth Hurwood.

I was all set to buy the audiobook, when I found an iPhone app for half as much.  The app has some problems though.  The sleep function only works when you disable locking on the phone.  So if you fall asleep, you might get screen-burn.  Also, frequently the app would lose its place in the current chapter, and if I didn’t write down my place in Simplenote app, I would have had to start the chapter over.  Otherwise it was a bargain.

I have some reservations with this book as an audiobook.  Bronson Pinchot is very dramatic in his reading of the dense text, but if you’re in your car or walking in public with some ambient noise, some of the whispering (Blackbeard), mumbling, and toothless (Skank) characters may be hard to hear.  Plus, the plot is so Byzantine, if you miss some important piece of information, you may not know what is going on later on, and get bored.  And watch out because some of the characters have multiple names, like Blackbeard may also be called Thatch or Hunzie Conzo (?), and others.  Hurwood and Shandy’s uncle assume different identities as well.  Even ships like the Vociferous Carmichael may change their identities.  This link may help (possible spoilers).  (Help me, Wikipedia, with a better plot summary.)  By the way, this is how you spell ‘Bocor’ (“Hatian witchdoctor”).  You’ll want to google it .  I’m still not sure what a ‘loa’ is.  Plus you have to watch out for scenes that only take place in fantasy, or within characters’ minds.  I found much more enjoyment when I listened to the book in a quiet room and actually took notes.  But it took a little more effort than I want from a novel.  The characters didn’t seem to have much depth to me, except maybe the evil zophtig Leo Friend.  So the plot is the highlight, and there are some good scenes toward the end, some memorable death and puppetry.

Also, listening to Tim Powers’ 2010 interview (scroll down) on the Agony Column helped me appreciate the book more.  He talks about this book around the 8 minute mark.  His method is to research and find ’20 cool true things’ and string them together into a novel.  (Yes, Blackbeard was real.)  If only the book had a nice appendix.

Remember, never eat a chicken with writing on the beak.

posted by Tamahome