The SFFaudio Podcast #401 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Celephaïs by H.P. Lovecraft

December 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #401 – Celephaïs by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Gordon Gould. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (16 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it (by Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Wayne June.)

Talked about on today’s show:
The Rainbow, May 1922, Marvel Tales, 1934, Weird Tales, Jun-July 1939, “A Posthumous Weird Fantasy”, a story about H.P. Lovecraft’s life,

Kuranes was not modern, and did not think like others who wrote. Whilst they strove to strip from life its embroidered robes of myth and to show in naked ugliness the foul thing that is reality, Kuranes sought for beauty alone. When truth and experience failed to reveal it, he sought it in fancy and illusion, and found it on his very doorstep, amid the nebulous memories of childhood tales and dreams.

so Lovecraft, reality ain’t pretty, always in fantasy, consciousness and objective reality, Jason Thompson comic book adaption, detail and attention, London, Yeasto and Beefo, Thomas Shap, gleefuly smashing a cat, opiates, a hashish man, the anonymity of Kuranes’ dream visage (in Jason Thompson’s rendering), Understanding Comics, wearied and wizened, a board game, an amazing adaptation, the page 8 sequence, the valley of Ooth Nargai, where form does not exist, a violet coloured gas, compass and protractor, manga style, hot air balloons, toward distant regions where the sea meets the sky, the domes are the same shape as the balloons, The Thing On The Doorstep, a script of imagery, going deep into the story, spending weeks in just 19 minutes, Fungi From Yuggoth, Dreamland-like,

XVII. A Memory

There were great steppes, and rocky table-lands
Stretching half-limitless in starlit night,
With alien campfires shedding feeble light
On beasts with tinkling bells, in shaggy bands.
Far to the south the plain sloped low and wide
To a dark zigzag line of wall that lay
Like a huge python of some primal day
Which endless time had chilled and petrified.

I shivered oddly in the cold, thin air,
And wondered where I was and how I came,
When a cloaked form against a campfire’s glare
Rose and approached, and called me by my name.
Staring at that dead face beneath the hood,
I ceased to hope—because I understood.

The Gardens of Yinand from Celephais:

One night he went flying over dark mountains where there were faint, lone campfires at great distances apart, and strange, shaggy herds with tinkling bells on the leaders; and in the wildest part of this hilly country, so remote that few men could ever have seen it, he found a hideously ancient wall or causeway of stone zigzagging along the ridges and valleys; too gigantic ever to have risen by human hands, and of such a length that neither end of it could be seen. Beyond that wall…

it’s a dream but it is also real, Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a teetotaler, far more fascinating is the man himself, at points in his life, his dreams live on, eighty years later, immortality, he’s alive for a lot more people than he was when he was alive, horrifying vs. a slow sad tragedy, reflecting H.P. Lovecraft’s life, uncompromising, attitudes towards money, lies and untruths, up-selling, The Diary Of Alonzo Typer, William Lumley, a Thomas Shap character himself, the pathetic people who tell lies about their own life experience in order to make life more tolerable, the last paragraph, played mockingly, Trevor Towers, the purchased atmosphere of extinct nobility, offensive brewers, The Great Gatsby, that resentment, so tragic, so awesome, the two images of Trevor Towers, thinness of reality, and the neighbouring regions of dream, his eye, the naked ugly reality, he’s killed himself, you’re out king!, The Coronation Of Mr. Thomas Shap by Lord Dunsany, tongue in cheek, ironic, to persuade customers, a more compromised Lovecraft, a dignity of nobility, your everyday fella, particularity imaginative, a fable, don’t let it effect your work, living on the skeleton of his ancestry (or he’s a writer), tweeting dreams, the writer’s life,

XXVIII. Expectancy

I cannot tell why some things hold for me
A sense of unplumbed marvels to befall,
Or of a rift in the horizon’s wall
Opening to worlds where only gods can be.
There is a breathless, vague expectancy,
As of vast ancient pomps I half recall,
Or wild adventures, uncorporeal,
Ecstasy-fraught, and as a day-dream free.

It is in sunsets and strange city spires,
Old villages and woods and misty downs,
South winds, the sea, low hills, and lighted towns,
Old gardens, half-heard songs, and the moon’s fires.
But though its lure alone makes life worth living,
None gains or guesses what it hints at giving.

there’s that wall again, the wall as representative of the line between life and death, Ex Oblivione, they’re all dream-quests, “rift”, how the words associate with one another, all the abysses that Lovecraft talks about, The Strange High House In The Mist, a god having lunch, being thrown off the Earth, and yet…, a gate, a void, astral projection, the only way to the dream world (and space), super resonant, that’s great!, the wall over which the imagining and expectancy of what could be, that alone makes life worth living, embracing the fact you’re going to be extinct, that depth is unplumbed, a “problematic depth”, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, wanting to be an astronomer, going on night walks, it’s isolating, he’s walking alone here, the “rift”,

Faith had urged him on, over the precipice and into the gulf, where he had floated down, down, down; past dark, shapeless, undreamed dreams, faintly glowing spheres that may have been partly dreamed dreams, and laughing winged things that seemed to mock the dreamers of all the worlds. Then a rift seemed to open in the darkness before him, and he saw the city of the valley, glistening radiantly far, far below, with a background of sea and sky, and a snow-capped mountain near the shore.

skip down

But three nights afterward Kuranes came again to Celephaïs. As before, he dreamed first of the village that was asleep or dead, and of the abyss down which one must float silently; then the rift appeared again, and he beheld the glittering minarets of the city, and saw the graceful galleys riding at anchor in the blue harbour, and watched the gingko trees of Mount Aran swaying in the sea-breeze.

and

XXIX. Nostalgia

Once every year, in autumn’s wistful glow,
The birds fly out over an ocean waste,
Calling and chattering in a joyous haste
To reach some land their inner memories know.
Great terraced gardens where bright blossoms blow,
And lines of mangoes luscious to the taste,
And temple-groves with branches interlaced
Over cool paths—all these their vague dreams shew.

They search the sea for marks of their old shore—
For the tall city, white and turreted—
But only empty waters stretch ahead,
So that at last they turn away once more.
Yet sunken deep where alien polyps throng,
The old towers miss their lost, remembered song.

a sunken city, the city waits for them too, I don’t like it when people give me presents, faking it, for a minute or two, in that moment, Wayne always appreciates more cash, The City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe, Lo! Death has reared himself a throne, J.R.R. Tolkien, no Usher-ness, Little Princess Mee, Shap = Shaper (dream) or shop, profound, where the sea meets the sky, “Faith had urged him on, over the precipice and into the gulf, where he had floated down, down, down”, and “Endlessly down the horsemen floated, their chargers pawing the aether as if galloping over golden sands; and then the luminous vapours spread apart to reveal a greater brightness, the brightness of the city Celephaïs, and the sea-coast beyond, and the snowy peak overlooking the sea, and the gaily painted galleys that sail out of the harbour toward distant regions where the sea meets the sky.”, a dream written down, keep reading the same story over and over again, Paul’s map (or depiction) of Celephais, Campaign Cartographer, inspired to art, the abandoned village is Innsmouth, a river running through it, a completely inverted vision, ancient atavism vs. beauty and a new golden age, steering into The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, Carter once knew Kuranes in waking life, Carter knows me, the more muscular adventurer, all around the Dreamlands, the infection of dream travel, Kuranes’ last name is Trevor, a hit of this hookah, back to reality, back to childhood, The Dream-Quest Of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, exiled to reality, better off in the real world, the reverse, Wayne June’s audiobooks for Thomas Shap and Celephaïs, a dream fiction collection, have them all together, at your terrible job, retire to the sea-coast and go for a sleep walk, read it on your own.

Celephais - illustration from Marvel Tales, May 1934

Celephais illustrated by Alva Rogers from The Acolyte, Issue 10, Spring 1945

Celephais adapted by Jason Thompson

Celephais by H.P. Lovecraft - illustration by Jesse

Celephais map by Paul Weimer

Celephais by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #400 – READALONG: The Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick

December 19, 2016 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #400 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
Dangerous Visions, Harlan Ellison, early crystallized, fantasy, science fiction, a great story, which perspective, Roll Them Bones by Fritz Leiber, a weird gnostic sort of thing, religious and gnostic themes, a scary herald, comforting, the one last comfort, first impressions, kind of amazing, so Philip K. Dick, almost Lovecraftian cosmic horror, politics, some of the best parts of his novels, Mr Lovecraft himself, amazing things to say, 1968, under LSD, written on LSD?, the Philip K. Dick fans website, Latin and Aramaic, a grain of salt and a tab of acid, what a good writer PKD is, the cigar keeps going out, how shocking, this is a retelling of 1984, 1984 meets the Doors Of Perception, Big Brother is God, the dystopia he’s living in, watching TV as a part of the job, reverse cultural imperialism, the ancient art of American steer roping, Julia (from 1984), Tanya, secret societies, being roped into a conspiracy against the part, agitprop, a great cynicism, astoundingly interesting, LSD in the water, anti-psychotic snuff, seeing behind the illusion, one of twelve possible realities, 1984 is not our world, modern politics, customized ads and emails, propaganda, you don’t taste it anymore, the desert of the real, stolen from The Matrix, a terrifying reality, have sex and drugs until you die (the moral of the story), there are things worse than I, what could be worse, very Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, topless and bottomless, glowing boobs, a mutant, low on affect, as horrific as anything in H.P. Lovecraft, powerful imagery, a genius all over the map, neo-Platonism, I am everything, I created the party, I created the anti-party, relativism, no objective reality,

It was terrible; it blasted him with its awareness. As it moved it drained the life from each person in turn; it ate the people who had assembled, passed on, ate again, ate more with an endless appetite. It hated; he felt its hate. It loathed; he felt its loathing for everyone present — in fact he shared its loathing. All at once he and everyone else in the big villa were each a twisted slug, and over the fallen slug carcasses the creature savored, lingered, but all the time coming directly toward him — or was that an illusion? If this is a hallucination, Chien thought, it is the worst I have ever had; if it is not, then it is evil reality; it’s an evil thing that kills and injures. He saw the trail of stepped-on, mashed men and women remnants behind it; he saw them trying to reassemble, to operate their crippled bodies; he heard them attempting speech.

what would be seeing?, it’s metaphor, a return to chaos, like meeting a celebrity and falling under their sway, interesting political, reading Hillary [Clinton] emails, seeing behind the curtain, plans and strategies, when on the drug of reality (instead of the public face of it), seeing everything for what it is, Netflix, London Has Fallen, Channel Zero, ruined for generic Hollywood movies, giving speeches while smashing an enemy in the face, since Independence Day, people watching the movie with us, the proxy for the audience, “we authorized it through the G8”, writing is solving problems, the whole of the movie depends on a tiny little linchpin, it’s all about economics, cartoonish, ISIS and the Saudis and the Clintons, destabilize your enemies and reinforce your allies, some people think that Hillary is the more sane response, behind closed doors speech, a public face and a private face, very pragmatic, she dissembles, since the days of the Roman senate, the veils are lifted, fear has infected them, he has revealed the fakeness all around them, he’s so fake he’s genuine, the clanker, the gulper, the climbing tube, the bird, politics and truth-telling, Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, diving into the greatest depression of your existence, consciousness is an accident of evolution, the atheist existential point, in order to survive emotionally, I want to it to go back the way it was, a gelatinous thing with a million eyes,

And then it ceased talking to him; it disjoined itself. But he still saw it; he felt its manifold presence. It was a globe which hung in the room, with fifty thousand eyes, a million eyes — billions: an eye for each living thing as it waited for each thing to fall, and then stepped on the living thing as it lay in a broken state. Because of this it had created the things, and he knew; he understood. What had seemed in the Arabic poem to be death was not death but God; or rather God was death, it was one force, one hunter, one cannibal thing, and it missed again and again but, having all eternity, it could afford to miss. Both poems, he realized; the Dryden one too. The crumbling; that is our world and you are doing it. Warping it to come out that way; bending us.

the window!, THE WINDOW!, don’t fall on my account,

“Don’t fall on my account,” it said. He could not see it because it had moved behind him. But the piece of it on his shoulder — it had begun to look like a human hand. And then it laughed.

“What’s funny?” he demanded, as he teetered on the railing, held back by its pseudo-hand.

“You’re doing my task for me,” it said. “You aren’t waiting; don’t have time to wait? I’ll select you out from among the others; you don’t need to speed the process up.”

shaking hands with Hillary Clinton, politics can distract us from reality, politics as a filter, seeing the world through a different filter, relativism, that’s why Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary tried to redefine what the drug was doing to you, psychedelic, philosophy, natural experiments, giving a blind person sight and having them recognize what they’d previously recognized with their hands, our minds don’t just take in and process information, drugs break the filters of projection, when you see someone smiling and giving you a message on TV, Barack Obama is a master of this, the TPP, the Dakota Access Pipeline, Bill Maher, The Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, RomneyCare is ObamaCare, the Democrats stole the money and positions from the Republicans, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Hillary workers on TV, exploitation plan, George Carlin and the big club, he’s a socialist of course he’s naive, he met a wood-chipper, who will be to blame?, who will be responsible?, arguing about nothing related to any of the issues that anyone cares about, the absolute benefactor, a Caucasian from New Zealand, it’s icky and you don’t want to deal with it,

“Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unselfconscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.”

the argument goes: lalalalalalal, block it out, we’re not just meat-sacks, Doctor Strange, the terror of the multiverse, atheist = asshole, shining a light on an uncomfortable truth, but we’re happy, I could have steak again, chemtrails are something to worry about, the Kardashians, reality and ignoring things, The Congress (2013), an animated reality, they want the delusion, there are multiple deserts, retreat to the Cambrian, getting mopped up with a towel,

That evening in his small but well-appointed condominium apartment he read over the other of the two examination papers, this one by a Marion Culper, and discovered that it, too, dealt with poetry. Obviously this was speciously a poetry class, and he felt ill. It had always run against his grain, the use of poetry — of any art — for social purposes. Anyhow, comfortable in his special spine-straightening, simulated-leather easy chair, he lit a Cuesta Rey Number One English Market immense corona cigar and began to read.

The writer of the paper, Miss Culper, had selected as her text a portion of a poem of John Dryden, the seventeenth-century English poet, final lines from the well-known “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day.”

. . . So when the last and dreadful hour
rumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

Well, that’s a hell of a thing, Chien thought to himself bitingly. Dryden, we’re supposed to believe, anticipated the fall of capitalism? That’s what he meant by the “crumbling pageant”? Christ. He leaned over to take hold of his cigar and found that it had gone out. Groping in his pockets for his Japanese-made lighter, he half rose to his feet.

then a page break,

At a quarter to three in the morning, as he sat sleepless in the living room of his conapt, smoking one Cuesta Rey Astoria after another, a knock sounded at the door.

When he opened it he found himself facing Tanya Lee in her trenchcoat, her face pinched with cold. Her eyes blazed, questioningly.

“Don’t look at me like that,” he said roughly. His cigar had gone out; he relit it. “I’ve been looked at enough,” he said.

“You saw it,” she said.

He nodded.

She seated herself on the arm of the couch and after a time she said, “Want to tell me about it?”

“Go as far from here as possible,” he said. “Go a long way.” And then he remembered: no way was long enough. He remembered reading that too.

the attempts at distraction failing, the title, the legless war veteran, a full novel’s worth of ideas bubbling,

“We can’t win,” he said. “You can’t win; I don’t mean me. I’m not in this; I just wanted to do my job at the Ministry and forget it. Forget the whole damned thing.”

“Is it non-terrestrial?”

“Yes.” He nodded.

“Is it hostile to us?”

“Yes,” he said. “No. Both. Mostly hostile.”

when he’s on the ledge, his shoulder has begun to bleed, a stigmata, the anti-god that rules the universe, Prince Of Darkness, the god of The Sims player, we’re evil, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, Philip K. Dick gave the manuscript copy of this story to Ray Nelson, Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the greatest movies ever filmed, They Live! now has added relevance, is it hostile to us?, it’s not one thing, Nietzsche: “God is dead”, Philip K. Dick: “no, They live.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #396 – READALONG: The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

November 21, 2016 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The Thing On The Doorstep

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #396 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, and Wayne June talk about The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft

Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, January 1937, the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre adaptation, the movie, all thingy, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, racism, the sexism isn’t sexism, I’m not fully human, I need a man’s brain, partially intentional?, a mishmash of transmigrations, the opinion of Ephraim as expressed through Asenath, congress with certain supernatural horrors (Deep Ones), hybrid, what Edward hears, Man can be capitalized, at what point in the story does Asenath speak for herself?, man vs. woman, poison, the prequel, when she leaves Innsmouth?, trapped in the corpse of her own father, amazing resonances, 0% sexist, sympathy, being locked up in the Crowninshield House, down the 6,000 steps, in a Darkest Dungeon in Maine, mindblasted by shoggoths, on and on and on,

It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer.

a horrible “survival”, gills and spawning, Ephraim is desperate for immortality because he’s fully human, aging while your descendants get to live forever, not the immortal we’re looking for, this technology, burn the Necronomicon, gender swapping, finding a body on craigslist, social networking and social media, Bodybook, Strange Aeons: The Thing On The Doorstep (2005), the Providence adaptation, honeymoon in Innsmouth, especially creepy, a rival to her father, he’s having sex with the father-in-law, a thought you never want to have, a character focused story, reacting badly, body-hopping through time, a story of Daniel’s insanity, the framing story, Julie Hoverson’s adaptation, Dan is so far from the events, below the surface, other filmed adaptations, with budget vision and understanding, Guillermo del Toro, the 3 and 2 knock, glub glub glub bubble bubble, the scariest use of glub glub ever, Daniel is a skeptic, a recurring motif: “tirelessly mediocre”, he doesn’t have hypnotic ability (susceptibility), Ephraim needs a weak willed person with a lot of brains, get a taxi, strong willed, he’s gone through some shit, the survival continues, rationalizing the magic, it’s all math, Charlie Stross’ Laundry books, A Colder War, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, Dreams In The Witch House, science of magic, quantum stuff, Lovecraft at bottom is a Science Fiction writer, candlestick, the Rider-Waite tarot deck, a cult leader in New York, The Order Of The Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, the infinity symbol above “the Magician” and “Strength”, the cups the swords the wands and the pentacles, the esoteric order in reality, The Dunwich Horror, Robert M. Price, an ouroboros belt, biblical names, Ephraim and Asenath, a circle, is this an earlier survival (from a biblical era?), The Shadow Out Of Time by H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick has his themes, reality replaced with post-it notes, parallels in Lovecraft, The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft, in a dream Jervas Dudley finds the key, just so natural, beginning and ending in a sanitarium, the great race of Yith, born in the wrong time, a 17th century gentleman, what’s wrong with sleeping in a graveyard, Lego model of THE TOMB, an affinity for the tomb, now is the time we discuss the Providence adaption, a 12 issue series, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, Avatar Press, racism, sexism, and hidden sexuality, physically turning the pages is traumatic, reading that third paragraph, incredibly difficult to read, the subtext becomes text (and graphic), the more you think about it the more horrifying it gets, Edwards’ weird experiences, that lost time, Robert Black, the final panel, she’s standing on the doorstep, the rape scene, he sees himself entering town, another callback, the call from woodland Maine, the local Marshall, a pivotal scene, communing with the shoggoths, wordlessly insisting he’s going to drive the rest of the way, power over the weather, uncanny predictions, Lovecraft the wannabe architect, another kind of horror, the hidden, the crushed in skull of Asenath is the beginning of the story, out of all of the horrible teenage experiences waking up in a decomposed body is a cool idea, there’s a lot more too it than that, the seeds are all there, it is deep, An Exchange Of Souls by Barry Pain, H.B. Drake’s The Remedy, The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, great minds think alike, a devotee of subterranean magic, a hypnotist with the power to transfer her consciousness, out of body experience, Trinidad, a psychic vampire story, bank robbery, a phial of acid, the Asenath analogue, without the final transference, a popular trope at that time, spritualism and seances, mesmerism, animal magnetism, The Facts In The Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, he totally glub glubbed, Cool Air, ammonia baths, staying alive for love, he’s been dead for years, if you read a lot of Lovecraft you’ll love Providence, she’s raping her own body with the body of a gay man, so inverted through a mirror, the father is a monster, a lot of trans people would be really happy with Ephraim’s tech, suffering, “monsters in human form”, one of the monsters: lich, an evil wizard that uses magic to keep alive, classic high level undead D&D monsters, ancient Scottish for corpse, soul magic, Gary Gygax, Clark Ashton Smith, a phylactery, Edward says to Dan, an object brought back from the underground Maine shoggoth pit, John Dee, the magical objects, opening gateways with quantum physics, this story has it all, a keystone has it all, fetishes?, if this was a bayou story, we dig it, would a great high budget version, Lovecraft is word magic, the definitive adaptation, amazing to hear the voice invoke pages from the Necronomicon, a minimalist palate, brings the images to life, that’s why Lovecraft doesn’t work as well on film, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Thing (1982), Lovecraft thought of himself as a failure because he thought he couldn’t live up to the dreams his stories describe, Lovecraft never wavered from the idea that the only thing interesting is interesting things, who cares about that Henry James sitting room drama when you can pick up a gun and shoot your freind in the head six-times through, it cannot be described, alien sounding vocabulary, don’t think of elephants, so genius, the name of the house that Asenath house, the Derby mansion, a real family in a fake town, she bought the crownishield to shield her crown, on the way back from Maine, they switch,

I do not recall just what my own part of the conversation was, for the baffling alienage of my seatmate filled all my consciousness.

an emotional response,

There was talk of an investigation, but this was dispelled one day when Asenath appeared in the streets and chatted in a sprightly way with a large number of acquaintances

dusting a turning the furnace on once a week, he will need a place to go, on those days, this guy is genius, what makes the spell so great, that’s insane, polished, so many meanings, it’s like he’s occupied by a 17th century genius.

PROVIDENCE, issue 6, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

Asenath waits - from PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

PROVIDENCE by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows

The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft - illustrated by Jesse

THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP

H.P. Lovecraft's The Thing On The Doorstep

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #395 – READALONG: The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

November 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #395 – Jesse and Wayne June talk about The Slithering Shadow (aka Xuthal Of The Dusk) by Robert E. Howard

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne’s first exposure to Robert E. Howard, “repetitious and childish, a self-vitiating brew of pseudo-science”, stage illusions and , repetition, “Oh, Conan!, Robert would have wanted it that way, REH is having some fun with a genre he normally doesn’t play in, Red Nails, Conan is dismissive of the city’s population, degeneration, drug addled drug attics in dopey hazes, lasers, radium light bulbs, manufacturing food from the primal elements, Valeria vs harem slave Natala, devious, controlling, self-interested, a lot of depth behind the shallowness in this story, Conan is really grumpy from page one, gigantic mirth: she’s only human, curmudgeon Conan, poisoning the well, don’t grab my sword arm, slap on the ass, a grumpy sexist, Howard’s doing something really really funny, The Slithering Shadow is a gothic horror, silliness, women written like cartoon characters, not reminding you of your mortality, not about the uselessness of existence, clunky elements, a haunted castle, kicking and screaming, bad casting, trap doors, up to the hilt, sitting on another divan, sooo gothic horror novel, hidden passageways, trapdoors, convoluted coincidence, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait, very recently and hurriedly abandoned, still food on the table, candles that have just been blown out, one spot of blood, The Monk, a giant helmet, a giant dome at the center of the city, one giant palace, all the trappings of a haunted mansion, switching gears, describing Thog, jumping right into H.P. Lovecraft, men of action, biting the Lovecraftian horror, what Cimmerians are like, passive aggressive Conan, in all of Howards writings about Conan, a blood feud, a lack of reproduction, an H.G. Wells trick, why the drug element is so heavy, the golden wine (a healing potion), Howard’s doctor father was very familiar with heroin addiction, Fort McMurray, “morons”, barbarians vs. the civilized, Thalis’ experience, the Fred Van Lente adaptation for Dark Horse Comics, initiated into the cult of Derketa, not my first rodeo, a gang-bang, better to kill Natala, Thalis’ life story is a horror show hidden behind a few words, that’s the cover of Weird Tales, who is this story intended for?, racy, sex, before Natala knifed Thalis, I don’t like getting stabbed, taught to be hard and cruel, Thalis’ chance at revenge, a Stygian Queen, growing up with doped out morons, a gruesome comeuppance, Thog doesn’t just eat you he rapes you first, digested for a thousand years, tentacles, the face of Thog, a non-euclidean face, a 40 year Texas feud, Thog at the center bottom of the city, a big black amorphous mass, Thog is the mad lady in the attic, a stoic attitude towards destiny and fate, from the likes of Thog, Thog is the oil, the cause for the addiction and for the city, unseen until it gushes all over you, fundamentally Howard is not completely wrong about civilization, trigger warnings and sexism, the limitations on what a woman can be in Xuthal (get a real man), moral judgements, his own code of ethics, stealing a slave, Natala’s safety is bound up with his morality, a kind of a rescue, the rebel Prince Almuric, a great river flowing into the desert, dead with forty arrows, canteen full of water, a rich and decadent place, black lotus, cursed, the desert will be kinder, a rebel prince of Stygia, Thalis was like a Natala, she’s the heavy (other than Thog), whip up some anger, Thalis is a Natala without a Conan, this “civilized” society, one of the worst Conan stories by one of the best writers of pulp fiction is still a pretty good story, super-hero-ish, Howard was smart at marketing, Margaret Brundage, lesbian scenes on the cover, gratuitous nudity, temptation, Queen Of The Black Coast, Belit, a pirate queen, first mate (literally), Belit runs that story, a noir awesome ending, the coincidence, “I guess I could do a gothic – Conan won’t like this”, having fun with it, all those tropes, the comics adaptations, done in Stygian, when Conan talks in word balloons, a rough-hewn word balloon (a Cimmerian accent?), you don’t want to do Arnold, a pulpy breezy, showing the Xuthalians hooked up to IVs, smoking your black lotus, the den of an opium smoker, chasing the dragon, enough backstory to make it interesting, an opium inundated culture, yellow skinned, China in decline, the Hermit Kingdom, decadence collapsing, a yellow peril story, San Fransisco, Chinatown, Lovecraftian elements, The Hour Of The Dragon, start with a random story, outliers, Beyond The Black River, Queen Of The Black Coast, an epicness, forty issues of awesome adventure, the tie between pulp adventure and comics, comics are the legacy of the pulps, The Shadow, Doc Savage is a pulp superhero with a super-team, in the 1970s, Conan The Barbarian, the Roy Thomas adaptation from Savage Sword of Conan #20, 1977, essentially nudity, heads being lopped off, no blood and no death, Curtis Publications, kick-ass stories, amazing pulp adventure, a 60 page comic adaptation, “freely adapting”, Conan finds a lost valley – Iskander’s kingdom, crocodile men and bird men, walking zombies, all sorts of things need to have their heads lopped off, Marvel was the dark side vs. DC, sel-doubt and existential anxierty of the heros, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Ernie Chan, the amazing Filipino artists drawing busty ladies and big armed barbarians, Warren Comics, Heavy Metal, Richard Corben, so much richness in the non-superhero comics, Pepe Moreno, Rebel (1984), Mad Max meets Escape From New York with Nazis, a hot rod gang with a heart of gold, victory by blowing up the World Trade Center, power in visualizing, the “steely thews” of Conan, eldritch vs. thews, cat-like, jaguar, pantherish, the battle scenes really flowed, Howard highly influenced by Lovecraft, The Black Stone, an elegance of colour, colour in every particle of sand, the opposite of Lovecraft, with Lovecraft the horrible thing makes its appearance and you faint, Howard wades in on it, Lovecraft would never do that, one can’t battle gods and get away with a whole skin, psychic damage vs. physical damage, Howard is a complement to Lovecraft, physicality, fighting against the inevitability, there’s life there, bleak and grey vs. blood flying everywhere, Robert E. Howard was a lot lustier, “a superfluity of naughtiness”, tongue in cheek, “spicy”, Railroad Man’s Magazine, Air Stories, Zeppelin Stories, True Detective, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Adventure, Twilight is nothing new, sexist so sexist, racist so racist, women readers asking for more nudity and spicy, reading it with one hand, women liked and wrote for Weird Tales, Dorothy Quick, Mark Twain, Maude Ludington Cain, yeah it’s sexist, keep behind me girl, “Why is he calling her a girl?”, “Oh, he’s sexist.”, visualizing what is said, what if someone saw us?, there’s blood on the stones, Conan at his stupidest, a crimson mist descended over his eyes, don’t let the blind bull-headed grumpiness be a guide for what he’s like, there’s a great character there.

Weird Tales - The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

Weird Tales - The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

The Savage Sword Of Conan issue 20 - THE SLITHERING SHADOW

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The Slithering Shadow illustrated by Benito Gallego

The Slithering Shadow by Robert E. Howard

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #394 – narrator Wayne June

November 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #394 –Jesse talks with the great Wayne June, the narrator of Darkest Dungeon and several H.P. Lovecraft audiobooks. Wayne grew up reading science fiction and has both a love and appreciation for H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

Talked about on today’s show:
he has to be Wayne June, Darkest Dungeon, made in Vancouver, really hard, Chris Bourassa, Tyler Sigman, the script, Stuart Chatwood, PowerupAudio.com, Twitch streaming, stress and post traumatic stress disorder, Dismas, snap out of it, “a mighty blow”, what are you recording?, out of context, YouTube commentary, STURDY SHOVELS!, single player, Wizardry on the Apple II, comics, the sequels to games get better, a community of gamers, a Twitch streamer’s sound-pack, Red Hook Studios, 500 personalized notifications, taking it out of context, worlds of their own, laughing our butts off, a DOTA announcer pack?, professional gaming, millions of dollars in prizes, a groundswell of support for Wayne June, Jesse was a fan of Wayne June fan from the beginning, Jesse made Wayne June the man he is today, a lovecraftian theme, pronouncing all the words, “squamous”ˈskwāməs/, Wayne June grew up on Lovecraft, a lifetime of Lovecraft, it’s better to be non-existent, weltanschauung, you have to feel what the author wants you to feel, Donald Sutherland, great performance advice: don’t lie, live the script, people are going to feel it, Ex Oblivione:

So, happier than I had ever dared hoped to be, I dissolved again into that native infinity of crystal oblivion from which the daemon Life had called me for one brief and desolate hour.

Lovecraft doesn’t give a shit about what other people think of his writing, he’s fully committed, guilty, he’s his own genre, enveloped in a syrup of hopelessness, necessary flourishes, the undisputed master, Edgar Allan Poe, I’m that guy, carrying books of poems around, The Dunwich Horror, the Vermont landscape, ravines of problematic depth?, that’s giving me a problem, subjective vs. objective, here’s the quality of what he thinks it should be judged as, a subjective outline, Lovecraft often has the revelation first achieved through sound, The Thing On The Doorstep, the sound coming before the visualization, Lovecraft is meant to be read aloud, a book of spells, feelings of fear and nausea or dread, The Raven, you can taste a lot of Poe in Lovecraft’s stuff, From Beyond, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, ingesting a story, alliteration and consonance and assonance, so crafted with sound,

And once I walked through a golden valley that led to shadowy groves and ruins, and ended in a mighty wall green with antique vines, and pierced by a little gate of bronze.

Dreamland, there’s even ghouls in there, Ex Oblivione very succinctly outlines Lovecraft’s whole gloomy view of the universe, rewarding re-reading,

Once when the wind was soft and scented I heard the south calling, and sailed endlessly and languorously under strange stars.
Once when the gentle rain fell I glided in a barge down a sunless stream under the earth till I reached another world of purple twilight, iridescent arbours, and undying roses.

The Dreamquest Of Unknown Kadath, too wise to have ever have been born in the waking world, illimitable space, the realm of the forms, he enters into it joyously, incredibly comforting, yeah right!, awww damn, coffee, Thomas Ligotti, consciousness as an accident of evolution (and not a happy accident), Douglas Adams, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, tooth and claw, awareness and self awareness, glooming-up a good gloomy book, Chinatown, its good to hear truth, other people are struggling, taking existential dread and experiencing it fully, putting it into a compartment, naming all the guts, fear can be managed, take it in doses, wrestling with fictional takes on real existential dreads, give it names, True Detective, temperament, there’s nothing truer than great fiction, From Beyond, the unseen world, things flopping through us, a monster story, life as tedium vs scientific revelation, The Hounds Of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long, to the beginning of creation, when you invent the microscope, germ theory, telescopes, Galileo, ultraviolet, microbes, confronting how small we are, the endless boundless vistas of space, best expressed,

I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break down the barriers. I am not joking. Within twenty-four hours that machine near the table will generate waves acting on unrecognised sense-organs that exist in us as atrophied or rudimentary vestiges. Those waves will open up to us many vistas unknown to man, and several unknown to anything we consider organic life. We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation.

not just horror, science fiction as well, Lovecraft is the H.G. Wells of weird fiction, the project to get Wayne June to record every H.P. Lovecraft story, packaged in the Necronomicon, slow treading, at the bottom of this ravine of problematic depth,The Call Of Cthulhu, Frankenstein, bringing our own prejudices, whose argument is this?, The Dunwich Horror is a family tragedy, coming from a dimension where aesthetics are different, Jesus and Mary, he has to break into the library to read a book, biased and racist, Wilbur wanted to learn skillz, transparent attic brother, he wanted to help his disabled brother, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, a family reunion, living forever under the sea, fishy eyes, he gets his sealegs, aquatic family values, The Tomb, Jervas Dudley likes walks in the woods, the ancestors, reverting to type, atavism, an “evil” ancestor, coming to terms with what’s in your family tree, goth or emo, who’s he hurting?, such a libertarian, let the living lie with the dead, the ending of Annabelle Lee, sleeping with a corpse, a beautiful beautiful poem about a disgusting activity, he could probably find better ways to spend his time, discernment, eating mushrooms, when we get together for pizza, Wayne June owes Jesse a pizza.


Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax (from AD&D’s original Dungeon Masters Guide)

December 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide by Gary GygaxGary Gygax, co-creator of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons added, on page 224 of the 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide, a list of “Inspirational And Educational Reading.”

Long out of print, but still incredibly relevant, this list of inspirations for the phenomenon that is Dungeons & Dragons, and role-playing games in general, deserves to be better known. There is a Wikipedia entry for the “sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons”, but there’s nothing like looking at the real thing.

So, here it is in it’s entirety, following it you will find hypertext links to the Wikipedia entries for the specifically mentioned novels and collections (when available).

Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading by Gary Gygax

Appendix N lists the following authors and works:

Poul AndersonTHREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
John BellairsTHE FACE IN THE FROST
Leigh Brackett
Fredric Brown
Edgar Rice Burroughs – “Pellucidar” Series; Mars Series; Venus Series
Lin Carter – “World’s End” Series
L. Sprague de CampLEST DARKNESS FALL; FALLIBLE FIEND; et al.
[L. Sprague] de Camp & [Fletcher] Pratt. “Harold Shea” Series; CARNELIAN CUBE
August Derleth
Lord Dunsany
P. J. [Philip Jose] Farmer – “The World of the Tiers” Series; et al.
Gardner [F.] Fox – “Kothar” Series; “Kyrik” Series; et al.
R.E. [Robert E.] Howard – “Conan” Series
Sterling LanierHIERO’S JOURNEY
Fritz Leiber – “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” Series; et al.
H.P. Lovecraft
A. MerrittCREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; [The] MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al.
Michael MoorcockSTORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; “Hawkmoon” Series (esp. the first three books)
Andre Norton
Andrew J. Offutt – editor SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Fletcher PrattBLUE STAR; et al.
Fred SaberhagenCHANGELING EARTH; et al.
Margaret St. ClairTHE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
J.R.R. TolkienTHE HOBBIT; “Ring Trilogy” [aka The Lord Of The Rings]
Jack VanceTHE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al.
Stanley [G.] Weinbaum
Manly Wade Wellman
Jack Williamson
Roger ZelaznyJACK OF SHADOWS; “Amber” Series; et al.

Now with regards to the audio availability of the works and authors on this list I have composed the following set of notes:

Too few of the novels and collections specifically mentioned above are or ever have been audiobooks. But, there are several that have: the two Jack Vance books, the Tolkien books, of course, and Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword is available from Downpour.com (narrated by Bronson Pinchot). Unfortunately very few of the remaining bolded titles are in the public domain. One of the interesting exceptions is The Moon Pool by A. Merritt, which is available from LibriVox and narrated by veteran narrator Mark Douglas Nelson.

Of the series, those are the ones mentioned in quotes, I recommend Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first Pellucidar novel, At the Earth’s Core which is available from narrator David Stifel’s site – we also have a podcast discussion of that book HERE. And we did a show on A Princess Of Mars, which is the first audiobook in what Gygax calls the “Mars series.” The audiobook is HERE and the podcast is HERE.

Andre Norton’s work is actually well represented on LibriVox.org, have a look HERE.

Several of Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd & Gray Mouser” collections were produced by Audible, HERE. But several of the stories are also public domain and are available on our PDF Page, for turning into audiobooks or podcasts!

Roger Zelazny’s first Amber series book was once available with Roger Zelazny’s narration, today Audible.com has the original ten book series as narrated by Allesandro Juliani.

As for H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Lord Dunsany, we have done several audiobooks of their stories for The SFFaudio Podcast, available on Podcast Page, so that’s a good place to start.

Further recommendations would have me point you towards the excellent small press audiobook publisher Audio Realms, which has the majority of the great Wayne June’s readings of H.P. Lovecraft. They also have two volumes of Robert E. Howard’s “Weird Works.” Even more Robert E. Howard is available from Tantor Media.

I should also point out that most of the authors listed in Appendix N are now represented somewhere on our PDF Page, a page made up of U.S. public domain stories, poems, plays, novels, essays and comics. Please make some audiobooks, audio dramas, or podcasts from them! We will all be all the richer for it.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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