The Black Abbot Of Puthuum by Clark Ashton Smith
read by Tommy Patrick Ryan
|MP3| – 54 minutes 17 seconds [UNABRIDGED]
first published in WEIRD TALES, March 1936 |PDF|
Posted by Jesse Willis
The Black Abbot Of Puthuum by Clark Ashton Smith
read by Tommy Patrick Ryan
|MP3| – 54 minutes 17 seconds [UNABRIDGED]
first published in WEIRD TALES, March 1936 |PDF|
Posted by Jesse Willis
The SFFaudio Podcast #708 – The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood; read by Amy Gramour
This unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 59 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Bryan Alexander
Talked about on today’s show:
The Lost Valley and Other Stories, isfdb.org, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1944, great Matt Fox illustrations, canoes, portage, chasin the wendigo, northern minnesota, portedge vs. port-ahhj, defago, a french canadian accent, when you get your canoe out of the lake and walk overland carrying it, Lewis In Clark, they’re northwest passage moment, how non-wendigo-like this wendigo is, The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, the answer is no, is this story weird or is it eerie?, eerier than it is weird?, that fascination, the pull into the horror, a weird feature, easy to conflate the two, an eerie scene, a weird movie, unusual and strange, eerie is on its own orbit, absence vs. presence, seeing it from near Defago’s pov, witnessing with their nose and ears, super-cool, page 61, a failure of absence or a failure of presence, somebody’s talking but your can’t hear them, the absence of the voice, nested story, five guys, off by himself or with a wendigo, the mystery is what is actually happening to him, Easter sunday, the wendigo is Jesus with his feet of fire, tracks becoming like each other, the transformation stuff, so curious, The Willows, a lot more racist, the characters or the author, onto the author, casually thrown in there, the real mythological wendigo, ideas about how the land is empty, places where no one has ever been, natives all up in these areas, untouched by man, pre-Columbus, controlled burns, managed, untrammeled wilderness, this part of Austria that is completely untouched (since the Roman era), building it up vs. ignorance, hyper-maximialized, wendigo psychosis (phenomena), explanations for what happens when one goes wendigos, the Weird Studies podcast, out of Ontario, an incident in 2008, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Edmonton, in the right area, a carnival barker, “Vince” Weiguang Li, creepy pastas, decapitated and displayed a severed head, consuming some flesh, he plead non compos mentis, an article writer was worried that he may have caused it by speaking the word wendigo, magical thinking, people react, yellow blue flag in bio vs. going to Ukraine to join the fight, Stephen King banned one of his own books (because it was tied to school shootings), this is what I’ve been thinking about, the guy was crazy, technical difficulties, the people who lived in this area, an explanation for strange behavior, he went bersark, in times of abundance, the skinwalker, Ravenous (1999), plenitude vs. starvation, the climate change community, a sick society, suddenly your head’s being cut-off, triggered by real information, fight for the good guys, if you had just written that story, have your book in their locker (or at home), guilt and fear, mythological vs. rational, what stars did I change to change reality, an interesting take what the difference is, a lot more like a visit to fairyland, taken away by the fairies, transformed into a changeling, Connor MacLoud was my kinsman, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the hill is made of the corpses of many many, relish sweet and bitter dew, an essentially cool idea, uninterested, the feet of fire is not in the canon (of the mythology), frostbitten and worn away feet, Algernon Blackwood came to Canada, engaging with the landscape, a ghost story, A Haunted Island, a ghost in the bed, that which has happened or will happen, Accessory Before The Fact, native spirituality or native legend, equally evocative descriptions, listening forest, walking around in the forest, spooky fallen trees, a boat on the lake, being in the woods, is it authentic to any native experience?, a colonialist work, the height of Britain’s imperial power, away from the populace near the U.S. border, Blackwood was fascinated with nature, Arthur Machen, the dramatic power, successive isolation, more and more depopulated, more and more alienated, gorgeous terms, a little more unsettling, the Johnny Cash song, Bryan knows it’s connected, great sentences, the party round the blazing fire, recent moose discovering itself, word turns, musin up the fac, a sulky silence, Punk was washing up the dishes, the stars were brilliant in a sky quite wintry, the silence of the vast listening forest stole forward and enveloped them, no-one troubled to stir it, stealthy ice, a wonderful set of sentences, why Lovecraft likes this, about mood, complex moods vs. complex ideas, companionable silences, structural relationship, being offended, little nothing for the outer story, who’s this narrator, the least communicative character, smart character, the wind comes and stirs up that fire, Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s dark and stormy night, the weather is affecting the people, the landscape turns these people into the things they become, caught up in a spell, an inversion of fake realism, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, the climax, please come down, stage setting, stage directions, irrational laugh of horror, distinctly audible, circle of light, stumbling motion, motionless and dumb, withered, violent action, hewn of stone, stricken children, The Blair Witch Project, crunching the frozen snow, measured and pitiless approach, cursed, bends reality, appearances and postcards, distortion of Defago’s body, at length the darkness, terribly conceived, a figure, zone of uncertain light, spasmodic motion of a thing moved by wires, it was a man, a skein of horror, three pairs of eyes shone through it, robots and things, do you think it’s the wendigo?, his feet, something horrible with his feet, something dark and oddly massed where moccasined feet, covered it with a blanket, yanked away, not a normal french name, a bundle of sticks, fire, they replace your baby with something that isn’t your baby, corn dollies, True Detective, stick dollies, Downs syndrome, magical requirements of the spell, a mockery of the man who was taken away, visiting via him, back to the real guy, telepresence, its a puppet, stop motion animation, slightly more jaggy, Simpson watching close behind him, the impression of a mask, black and diabloical, revealed in utter nakedness, biologically inhabited, totally erased, possession, becoming wendigo, trying to start a fire, eaten away from the inside, a matchstick lit from the bottom, gravity, as a phenomenon, literal fire or frostbite, what is the wendigo doing across the landscape, people love to draw the wendigo, an outline, a vague figure, Roof Bear, picking up Coffee Cat, the opposite of warmth, dropping frost, what does the wendigo eat, it eats moss, moose, the moose is hunting them, the spirit of winter, the spirit of the land, uninhabited because of how harsh it is, the moose finds them, why it has horns, human scale, antlers, Cernunnos, the deer/elk god of Celtic mythology, the hunt, a hunting expedition
When Did I Go? by Jesse:
My hike through the subarctic foothills that summer suddenly turned sinister when the bridge I had meant to cross was suddenly washed out by a late spring flood.
I’d begun my trek west through northern Alberta and into its border in the North-West Territories in late May, back when my skin was sallow, and my hair short.
Now, in late June, my hair was in my eyes as I thought I should return to that last homely shack I’d seen, the one with the collapsed verandah, just thirteen kilometers back.
My feet felt hot as I turned on the trail where the three lonely larches had turned a lovely and sickly green, that shack held nothing, nothing but a history, a history of this lonely landscape, as it was perfectly placed to shelter me and my needs.
And as I approached the sagging shanty I noticed again that broken sign on the trail’s bed, flipped it over, saw a new growth of lichen had obscured a few of the obscene words scrawled upon its pitted surface.
As I read the words aloud to myself and the wind under those familiar twilight stars I began my hysterical laughter: “Yukon run, butt chew can’t hide from the THING inside” it read.
And as I threw the sign to my feet and crawled under that broken and redolent verandah into what was once my home, I smiled, cracked open my preserves, and began feasting on the salted man-meat I’d made on my last trip through.
stealing a little, the unconscious, explaining why people do things is hard, explicit, we have a theory, this is the wendigo, how do we know?, feeling hysterical, went out for a pee, the outer narration is very unsympathetic, he’s cheating, the landscape, somebody’s mouse, a companion sentence, the personification of inanimate things, the landscape is doing something for our experience, scent and smell, what he smells like, the wendigo smells acrid, like lion, musky, lions don’t eat moss, like a living animal, off by 7, food and fire, inwardness, “something he called a wendigo”, mental excitement, that extraordinary odour, pungent, 50 Island Water, a foolish avowal, the preposterous language, an exact miniature likeness, a wholly incredible distance, the fiery tinge in the snow, hesitant on the one and sure on the other, I’m in my right mind now, steam?, char?, burnt off, stumps, do we even see?, lying and concealing, the effect upon the reader, H.P. Lovecraft, its surrogate, you see it by its scent, its effect in the ground, tracks leading through a field, up into the sky, on the treetops, Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire, a religious and sexual vision, covers, down down down I went, mythic ring, not quite as awesome as The Willows, Mr Jim Moon, “the ghost man”, the British love their ghost stories, a Christmas tradition, M.R. James, Henry James, a nested narrative, people going away from civilization into the wild, into a Canadian canoe, birch bark canoe, so light, so lovely, make one?, a skin of birch, chopping, marking the trees, so I can find my way back, Hansel and Gretel, blazing the trees, a nice pun, it’s going to hear me, structured, 5 to 2 to 1, 1 to 2 to 5, like the Apollo missions, that style of a story, Operation Black Buck, the Falkland Island War, the fuel planes refueling each other, such a massive distance, this expedition into the wilderness, an telescoping antenna, what was in contact, as it collapses back down, that story structure, how did he manage to do it just this well, an extraordinarily good story, an oblique angle, public domain stories, what responsibility in republishing a public domain story, the PDF Page, Wayne June read a story by Lovecraft, Mr. Niggerman vs. Mr. Blackman, The Rats In The Walls, Jesse’s responsibility, directly offended, present reality as it is as it was, fix history by taking out the icky bits, a terrific story, people’s fixations change, some words are taboo, those words have been replaced, earliest publications whenever possible, taking out illustrations, see the original context, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, there’s a joke in the first line that tells you, The Gift, “In the present volume”, taking out information or lying, the racist character or the racist author, replacing Nigger Jim with Robot Jim, not everybody starts in a position of complete knowledge, this particular story, the n-word popping up, the turd in the punchbowl, thrown in here randomly (seemingly),
He watched the men a moment longer before diving into the stuffy tent where Simpson already slept soundly. Hank, he saw, was swearing like a mad African in a New York nigger saloon; but it was the swearing of “affection.” The ridiculous oaths flew freely now that the cause of their obstruction was asleep. Presently he put his arm almost tenderly upon his comrade’s shoulder, and they moved off together into the shadows where their tent stood faintly glimmering.
the progressive era was the most racist point in American history, meet up in Burlington, struck by the senses, key plot points, the conclusion ends on sense, “He knew what it all meant. Défago had ‘seen the Wendigo.'”, is sound the only trustworthy sense in the story, this is a cube, put in my hand, a scent can be mysterious, pulp mill towns, Thunder Bay, if you live there you don’t notice it, smell is literally invisible, desensitized to it, no need to present this to the brain, hearing a sentence, sight is something we question, smell is less reliable than hearing, sight is more reliable than hearing and scent, putting it in your hand is the most reliable, manuscript found in a bottle, we’re physically holding it, what we’re left with, reversing the human experience, sight and sound, because we don’t have the embedded, me our your lying eyes, we might have a verbal agreement, might hold up in court, send me a fax with your signature on it, makes it real, hearsay, I had a whiff that he was a serial killer, undergrad English majors to lawyers, Nunavut territory hunt, Paul comes back with an armful of fish, the senses are crucial, the unreality of this story, by eating the liver of a polar bear, ecological literary criticism, vegan diet, killing and living on animals, death by starvation, that dependence, “He realized his own utter helplessness. Only Défago, as a symbol of a distant civilization where man was master, stood between him and a pitiless death by exhaustion and starvation.”, the wood, there to eat, an emblem of community’s starvation or too much food, getting the right amount of food to live on, insatiable greed hungry excess, gluttony greed and excess, Blackwood out hunting and canoeing, a leftover from the coureur de bois era, Punk is a crazy name, Tonto, Vivian, a UK name, a boy named Sue, back to Johnny Cash, turnabout is fairplay, poor Marissa, Jesse, Paul, and Bryan, how bad Vermont internet was, what is our duty?, in podcasting terms, in fifty years what are people going to want to have from this podcast?, to understand us better, the latest Dan Carlin podcast interview, Hardcore History Addendum, when a war is happening today, Ukraine, how will people fifty years from now understand us better, Edgar Allan Poe, in the year 18__, be as faithful and understanding as you can, the long tail of the audience, the tail is much longer than that first week, 70 years late would be fine, a perishable age, all your DMs are going to be destroyed, all the ephemeral messages, text chats, podcast resilient, what happened to all the blogs?, the revised manuscript for his new book, possible extinction of the human race, a great conversation, cell phone as a hotspot, a good trick, why does Vermont internet suck so much, for profit telcos, repeated screwups, terrain, lots and lots of woods, small mountains, the wendigo interfering with our podcasts, a bad internet weather day, Elon Musk satellite internet, moving into the forest, pre-Starlink satellite internet, Starlink sent to Ukraine, 2g speed with Russian forces, Crimea, re-annexation, support for Assad in Syria, implausible, Strawberry Spring, Everything’s Eventual, a Spingheeled Jack story, an eerie phenomenon, peak up, the basketball game experiment, if you could only have one author on a desert island, Lawrence Block, re-read and find new things, Gene Wolfe, Cavalier, you can buy Hugo awards on ebay, No-Man’s Land, Uluru, it belongs in a museum!, heist story in which plucky band of wokesters steals all the stuff from the British museum and give them back, cynical Cirsova guy, ladies need eyebrows, the Elgin marbles, Greece is in such, privileging nation states, totem poles in England, trophies, the obelisk, the duly elected government, Aswan Dam, future us’ problem, claims lose power over time, shipping stuff back, without context, “here are the Elgin marbles, ha!”, a thorny problem, when Greece takes Big Ben, the Mexicans who now run England (with Russian accents), Jesse’s mom is moving, Vancouver Island is for retired people, YouTube photographers, videos, Amanda and Gavin, YouTubers tubing together, Nova Scotia is cheaper, seeing icebergs, an Israeli 7.62, Shaun Duke.
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The SFFaudio Podcast #683 – The Mystery Of Sylmare by Hugh Irish – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 4 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Connor Kaye
Talked about on today’s show:
Weird Tales, July 1927, Connor’s YouTube channel, commentary, essay writing, trying to convince us to go into a war, a Halloween writing contest, writing short stories and novels is a grifter’s game, supply exceeds demand, start writing poetry, long fantasy series possible value, talking about two unrelated horror stories, Run by Noemi Arduini, Inevitable Outcome by Adam Podoxin, a komdo dragon, hair on her arms and legs, braids, a cycle of werewolfery, well written sentence by sentence, more like a scene from a film, this is the end scene or the last paragraph of a story, whoever is tutoring this kid, how books are structured, some kid is being chased, two characters?, totally a story, sets up a problem, closed off, there’s only one character, a circle, a judgement by the author, clunky, not a wholly original idea, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, what your goal in writing is very important, well done language, pleasant to read, scary, which one is scarier, catharsis, what the story is doing, start watching a horror movie, teenagers at the lake, why bring this up?, polished but longer than it needs to be, why doesn’t it have more attention?, competent, some of the writing is clunky, a good premise, it resolves, a huge impression?, you are also somehow threatened, operating on an intellectual level, why isn’t it a classic of weird fiction?, the HPLHS’ Voluminous podcast, always be listening, Lovecraft is a great ideas man, Farnsworth Wright, Chicago, “closest to my notion of a weird tale”, a good story, mood, intertextuality, punching up the characters, college friends, selling farm equipment in Saskatchewan, that’s the story, moves on with his life, the most interesting events are distanced by at least three levels, the internal narrator’s now wife, US > THIS NARRATOR > S.T. CHAPMAN > PROFESSOR MORSE, taking turns reading, why the wife is so Lovecraftian traumatized, Cool Air, Pickman’s Model, the best way of having this story told, you can’t allude to it with her in the room, she has PTSD from reading, the knowledge that this place exists, what it says about our place on earth, super-awesome, vegetation having a secret consciousness is really fascinating and creep and scary, there’s some truth in it, a cosmicism poem, all over this story, geology, the size of the universe, and evolution, how we got here, upper-class elite twits, Cuba, Florida, cars and boats, no kids, the biological component is really important, vegetable life, The Shadow Out Of Time, the Migo are fungi, very immediate, the caterpillar, half-way between a plant and an animal, a Lovecraftian character, the Indians thought about this place, not a real place, Syl and Mare, forest and water, huddle near a bunch of lamps, the husband gets water, they start smoking, the word “drug” means “plant”, venom, synthetic production, caffeine from coal tar, urea from pee, the petrochemical process, all jittery, caffeine is related to urea, what is caffeine for?, caffeine is an insecticide, tropical areas, Guatemala, where the spicy stuff comes from, animals and plants in a war all the time, we are the masters of the Earth, tell it as a garden of Eden story from the tree’s point of view, align yourself with the snake, get some good sunlight, they’re there to feed you, mysterious things happening, the rise of Veganism, we don’t like our relationship to factory farming, the horror of slaughter as a moral good (a natural process), we think of it as a moral evil, you can’t make your cat become a vegan, trees communicate with each other, chemicals, cut grass, something is eating us, flatten yourself, a survival mechanism, apples today, the cultivar, tree glue, an innovation we have done as humans, the whole idea behind fruit, whose doing the manipulation, symbiosis, exploiting the apple tree, we have done something, at the core of this story we don’t actually see what happens, fully pined up, becomes entranced, his lighter, lights the island on fire, the monster vs. “the thing”, what its doing to the people, shot themselves, ensorcelled, a chemical attack, the tree doesn’t say anything, trying to fertilize the ground with the corpses of these people, the origin of this effect, a happenstance that produced a particular effect, not a part of a survival strategy, real world parallels, an instance in history, the Dyatlov Pass incident, the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass, geography creating ultra low frequency sounds, unlucky hikers, a natural process seeming to exert a supernatural force, infrasound, like an evil presence, Dreams In The Witch House, advanced mathematics, what percentage of the story is fully nested, page 96, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, do listeners feel it the same way?, get to the action faster, put skulls everywhere, a protection spell, what makes it a sacred grove, if you go in there bad things happen, six incidents, we could see the bodies of the youth and the girl lying in the bottom of the boat, naval reserve uniform, they went to the island to have sex, heavily wooded, lying down on the needles, a pine tree monster with flailing arms, all funked out, the Indians knew about it, the families were for it, consummating the act, why nobody talks about it, an over-reading on the motivation?, menacing, the classic backstory, the finding of the old book, an odd volume of the colonial period, a haunted island, the red men, the heart of the story, the mood part of the story, lessening the impact, long for a story of this material, a crummy setup, men of leisure who go to country clubs, Estelle telling the story, too far from the action, after dinner we went into the library, framing devices, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, the core of what we’re seeing, Lovecraft would have done it even better, a strangely sharp pinnacle of rock, this singular formation, a distinctly weird and eerie aspect, a great loneliness depressed me, a sense of guidance, the transition, maybe the tree is doing this to him, a toilsome passage, emitting a chemical sense, the mystery, a small circular rift, a precipice, the weird gloom, a thick mist in colour and opaqueness, the renting, similar abrasions, the evil genius of this baleful deft spot, two slight indentations, somebody brought back the tips of the fir boughs, a little bag full of some pine needles, life superimposed on death, ever growing ever dying, layering and layering of rock, fossils built on top of fossils, the earth is a living thing, a fungus growing on layer upon layer of death, a non-biological phenomenon?, really fun stuff, the self-made murmur in the silence of a cavern, the sound of the sea from some freak of acoustics, a resonance chamber, the soft mill-like murmur, the gloom of the wood, man’s earliest lullaby, the druid’s oak, fetish wold, sylvan shrine of the South Sea savages, duseute avenues of the soul, obsolete, a much older kinship, life’s dim beginnings, this vengeful death trap, ruing, an ancient covenant, parallel consciousness, it is a sure thing, plants retain the sex character, direct fixation of carbon (man), fix nutrients, catalepsy and kindred states, insectivorous plants, the whole island is a Venus fly trap, creating sugars, primitive on and off sentience, sterile soil, idle aeons, mobility’s parallel, mentality, their grey and terrible web, this is awesome, an otherwise slow story, island of the coast of Romania (Snake Island), Jason And The Argonauts, WWII, yeast, alcohol, where wine and beer came from, [almost] no animal based alcohols, “magical wine”, too pure a form, chop each other down (instead of trees), a taboo, the third one of the west coast of norther Florida, he’s really got something here, fantastic, gold, the foreshadowing is good (but too long), you got some Rus, Dionysus’ island, make an exact timeline, pick the exact time to start the story, Jesse’s never been to the Black Sea, whoever Hugh Irish may be, a visitor to this place, caught up in the wrong part of the story?, a little bit off, not enough personal family trauma?, the farther you go back in time the harder it is to get the details right, and space, with jets and nuclear powered submarines, get lost in the storytelling, WWII has Nazis, but that’s distracting from the point, a biological phenomena, dangerous and valuable, if it is the trees…, why haven’t these trees taken over North America, resonance of sound, struggling towards consciousness, evolution as a series of flukes (that stick), he burns it down, South Africa/Rhodesia, little bit racist, a parallel story without the supernatural goddess element, conquer the Earth Day Of The Triffids style, a moral horror story, crazy interesting, an ashy island, rather than one particular tree, killing the last (or first) dinosaur, human beings are too smart and they have fire, how Evan Lampe would read this, this chemical funk, psychic rays?, a typewriter or a pen, his writing gets kind of lazy, a very Lovecraftian ending, Dagon, overcome by these feelings, succumb to this knowledge, Lovecraft explainers, the opening of Supernatural Horror And Literature vs. The Call Of Cthulhu, crushing realization, we must remain unconscious of the whole, a placid island of ignorance, our level of grasp of the size and age of the universe, a bad case of the glooms, a bargain with the plants, the faith is broken, don’t eat of the tree of knowledge, you’re doing our stuff, upper class elites, they’re like fail sons, Hunter Biden, growing up in an elite household, directionless, just facts, the Naval reserve, get credibility, doing drugs instead, his parents are in the position to inveigle that, a level of failing upwards, psychological problems of elites children, fail sons and daughters, not engaging with the meaning, not sentient enough, people not being excised about the right things, God’s dead? I guess I’m transgender now, sudden realization, Nitchze, God’s dead and we killed him!, a comet is coming to hit the earth and did you see that new Netflix special?, a plant-human covenant, what the horror should be, rewriting The Mystery Of Sylmare, before I’m lost, human skulls, dying for centuries, the same effect as cosmic horror, shifting a human being’s consciousness, I am me being myself, more of a plant consciousness, phermones, vegetize, a story called Philip K. Dick called Piper In The Woods, Jason Thompson is a plant monster guy, a collective of evil trees, Algernon Blackwood style, mad scientists, alien plants, making them like plants in that they don’t move anymore, becoming plants vs. going mad, understanding of the cosmos or infinity is too much for the human mind, it consumes their normal human consciousness, sanity blasted, you as the reader beware, pockets of this may still exist in danger, end with the outer narrator with a fireaxe, email or a tweet, Of Withered Apples by Philip K. Dick, taxes at the dinner table, inferable reasons, appendicitis, she at the seeds, a fable or something, Out In The Garden by Philip K. Dick, Zeus impregnated a story in the suburbs in the 1950s, weird paranoia, nailing a real truth, where life came from, In The Case Of Bradner, The Smart Set, Lord Dunsany, the opening paragraphs, written by the same guy, a mortal coward in storms, under the potato bin, it taught our progenitors, cunning and mind, fear: greatest friend that man ever had, same kind of personality, same kind of wavelength, Este Chapman is a writer, a fiction writer?, deadlines, a couple of columns in Collier’s from 1913, E.F. Bleiler, Hugh Rankin, short story, Florida, a segment of the vegetable world, burning oil, overwritten and two many frames, the layering and layering, the layering down of stories, the professor is the most interesting character in it, the red men on the far end, a style that’s not popular today, Arthur Conan Doyle, Tony Walker and the CLASSIC GHOST STORIES PODCAST, immediate, immediate and simple, Lovecraft doesn’t care, The Lurking Fear and Herbert West: Re-Animator, the focus on the market, fucking up readership, trying to influence reality, high ideals for writing, making a true work of art, Obama, the Unabomber, or Frank Herbert, who is the moral superior?,
Which would you prefer
Having written short story, or _haha_ a novel, and have had it read by 1000 people
or have had 1000 people listen to your words for the time it would have taken to read your story or _haha_ novel?
preferring readers, trying to make the scales even, teasing out the number, a mug’s game, a lie wannabe writers tell themselves, it’s about identity, a bit cynical, to have a book on the shelf, I wrote this one, an element of vanity, willing to make compromises to get it, readers vs. listeners, old episodes get listened to, millions of downloads, we don’t respect the medium we respect the medium of books or TV shows, angry at Joe Rogan, jealousy, get their dignity back, most people don’t read, who are you deluding?, how many J.K. Rowlings are there?, a winnowing over time, H.G. Wells, The World Set Free, The Food Of The Gods, what makes something wonderful, what makes something important, b films, The Spirits Of The Dead (1968), William Wilson, Don’t Bet The Devil Your Head, it deserves more status than it has, the best time ever to be a person digging into the past, never been easier, search engines are fucking wizardry, like the flakes in this story, you have to write H.P. Lovecraft, libraries sprining up all over, Carnegie libraries, read the book Dune, Dune‘s not a film its a book, The Canal by Everil Worrell, for a film, In The Earth (2021), folk horror, The Stone Tape (1972) BBC TV movie, The Blair Witch Project (1999), be in the mind of the narrator or the character, voice over, the idea driving vs. just writing, forgiving non-action, this is why these woods have that effect, Laird Barron, keep punching up, the core defined concept, Lovecraft is all about mood (caused by the idea), what if my ancestors were fishmen?, if I was Arthur Jermyn, my grandmother was a gorilla?, best news ever!, humour as a reaction to an idea, how to make your sentences look and smell nice, reduce the stories characters by one, make the title a key, making people want to read, reading for different reasons, reading for fiction, reading for intellectual engagement, confusing the actor for the character, Nicholas Cage is compelling on screen, Steve Buscemi chooses better movies, The Color Out Of Space (2019), Pig (2021), who wrote it?, David Mamet movies vs. James Bond movies, movies with x actor, whether the author did the work or not, those are Poe stories, story is important, does budget matter that much?, Hey! Stop Stabbing Me (2003), movies with subtitles, training up, enjoying Soviet movies, Akira Kurosawa movies, what school should be about, The Woman Of The Dunes (1964), how much money do you need?, the bare minimum and a little bit more, Hex (2019), The Interlopers by Saki, Connor gave some wisdom, easy to be too negative, when analyzing, if you’re lying to yourself, be more demanding.
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The SFFaudio Podcast #677 – Jesse and Connor Kaye talk about The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher
Talked about on today’s show:
Capitalist Realism, Connor’s suggestion, Watcher By The Threshold by John Buchan, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood is both weird and eerie, column of souls, an intrusion from outside, an otter or a man, an absence as opposed to a presence, what is vs. what isn’t there, a sense of agency, a force, an important distinction, building a concept on top, involving agency, Connor’s essay on folk horror, a disconnection between us, it meant something to somebody but it doesn’t mean that to us, disconnection through time, Stonehenge, folk horror is an eerie genre not a weird genre, a very interesting book, a David Lynch movie, Twin Peaks, seen most of the movies, heard none of the music, this book presented itself, the new chapter, that’s eerie, following a similar path (and seeing his life path ending), a despairing: Is There Any Alternative?, Blue Velvet (1986), is this weird or ear-y?, a sock on the side of a road, clothing or shoes, Spike Jonze’s How They Get There (1997), something curious vs. something eerie, sounds vs. manifestations, interchangeable, synonyms, Ghost Stories, Strange Stories, there’s something the name, Analog vs. Astounding, weird seems more common than eerie, a misunderstanding, weird interactions in your daily life, unusual and eerie are not really synonyms, its hard to create the sense of eeriness, shocking is easier, he wrote it after he’s dead, radical narrative modes, transcendental shock, de-centering the human subject, denaturalizing, Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975), Brian Eno, The Fall, Under The Skin (2013), better without the explanation, eeriness, its weird as well, Annihilation (2018), I’m watching this Russian movie with bad translation, the Andrei Tarkovsky movies, like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) with a foreign language, Siberia, make so coffee?, no just sit there, Dwayne Johnson, in a garbage mood (when you’re sick), when you’re ready and you’ve trained yourself, unusual if not weird, have the right expectations, what the hell is this?, Scarlett Johansson may be an alien, understand what you’re seeing, appreciate the atmosphere, concretize, Nigel Kneale Quatermass And The Pit (1967), the colour adaptation, a subway tunnel they find an unexploded bomb and apemen scientist, weirdness with science fiction, dispelling the eeriness, Quatermass and a lady, breathing heavily and staring off, the importance of the human spirit, ending with a purge, an unconscious memory (programming), ape men with weird heads is unusual, government pressure to reopen the station, Professor Quatermass, your civilian rocket program is a military program, Colonel Breen, a German propaganda weapon, meta-evidence, the area had been haunted for centuries, eerie phenomena explainable by what’s buried beneath Hobb’s End, aliens from Mars, we are their descendants, psychic stuff, we can infer it was science based, what the Martians were doing on their planet and what we were doing to ourselves, a program of exploration, othering the enemy, a political movie, very Doctor Who-like, stuff is happening and we might get a quasi-explanation for it, why Data disappeared, offering a meta-question, a connection in Mark Fisher’s brain, transcendental shock, we might need to despair, capitalism eats it up, seeing Mark Fisher’s stuff everywhere, AOC’s TAX THE RICH dress, a masked servant, once you see it it is hard to unsee it, commodifying the resistance to commodifying, the “Squad”, we need to create a “ruckus”, an unannounced event with staffers, Nancy Pelosi, a fake protest (a protest with permission from you boss), “mamma bear”, the appearance of change, those evil Republicans, performance rather than action, vote for the Speaker of the House (“force the vote”), the Canadian Federal Election 2021, they’ve always had a plan and that plan is to say they have a plan, different reasons for being for the pipeline, we wanna work on it, we don’t want to talk about it, the corruption isn’t unknown, the other team is more corrupt so we can’t do anything about it, apathy, stupor, I hate the people you hate, there are a lot of people in this country worthy of hate and you know who you are, Margaret Thatcher’s pro-market slogan “There Is No Alternative”, engaged with modern philosopher’s, Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Derrida, organic, the sentiment, the vibe of the thing, a tough book to read during lockdown working from home, music points, rebellion was commodified in music, Rage Against The Machine, a product sold for money, made ingenuine even if made from a genuine place, if Mao Zedong suddenly got popular, Che t-shirts, Lovecraft, a tweet from the Snickers account about student debt, Nihilist Arby’s tweets, nothing matters, eat Arby’s, Moonpie twitter, unemployed English grads, a billionaire in Scotland got it all locked up, smart people forced to sell shit, temporarily embarrassed millionaires, an elite class, a useless piece of paper in exchange, bone spurs, the sensitivity, AOC’s team, just a way to boost your brand, Snickers can’t sympathize, there’s no escape, you haven’t hung yourself yet, The Parallax View (1974), go live in the woods, drop out, a dirt floor, a quad bike, how to escape running Snickers twitter account, not in the marriage market, women tend to like to have linoleum floors, no need for a Roomba, lucking through life, parents don’t understand, the commodification of education, artificial barriers, to communicate difficult truths requires the right mindset, they need to be eat and be warm, shooting a film, wilderness in the UK, looking at the landscape, the Romantic poets, they experienced things, a nice short book, some connection between the sensitivity of certain people, he’s really sensitive to stuff, H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick are connected in a way that is not obvious, Time Out Of Joint, Lovecraft stories are generally weird (not eerie), poverty in the country, Australia is vast, an enclave surrounded by thousands of kilometers of no people, compared to England, depopulated vs. unpopulated, left behind, I can just live here, you have to build up capital, the story of us all, Connor’s cohort moved away, capital demands that you move, a mobile society, you have to move, deep connections, is choice real?, its not that Quatermass wants to kill all the people around him its just that’s what humans do, memory transmissions or activation, are those the ones we must kill?, everybody is on team lynch, The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, capital is an eerie concept conjured from nothing and it directs everything (its the invisible hand), shadowy, the way it influences people is eerie, The Red Riding trilogy, who kills him?, the opening scene, the Space Needle, Seattle, a parade, a politician on a float, glad-handing, assassination, an assassin for the assassin, JFK’s assassination, Oswald and Ruby, I’m a patsy, lots and lots of evidence that the official story is bullshit, forty minutes into the movie, Hobbs And Shaw (2019) is garbage, there is no other responsible party he can turn to, deceiving the cops, its almost like this movie is about science, papers on Ivermectin’s use for treatment of covid, we have to do our own investigations, subject to the capitalist forces all around us, the tenuous connections as seen in the film, what it is a good movie (it allows participation by the viewer), when he deceives his handler, a snipe hunt to Hawaii, the guy who was driving the politician, what makes it weird or eerie is it is an unusual even that is difficult to replicate, meat robots with computers in our heads, a strong (non obvious connection), vaccines and the eeriness of capital, motivated by gaining capital, corporations are free floating motivation, ally yourself with a corporate team, a strong impulse, countries outside of the system like Cuba is making vaccines too, selling off our infrastructure and talent, one of the weirdest things: health Canada name changes for vaccines, a banding exercise, Washington Redskins, if you a person with principles you will do badly under capitalism, capitalism needs flexibility from its workers, a class of people who live on rent from other people, and a class of people who live on rent from investment, bitcoin mining, if you are willing to compromise your principles capitalism is for you, left behind or forgotten, make this a hypothetical, a continual drive to do more with less, people are lining up to be exploited, Ernst & Young, exploited, behind the scenes, everyone wants to be the person noticed, coercive, you’re not a company man, more overtime, how that effects the modern family, one of the national, the Liberal federal government (in Canada) and the NDP provincial government, early cheaper childcare, we have institutions for that, what the fuck went wrong?, is there a bottom to this?, the French revolution, the food problem vs. the housing problem, students in his classroom, a kid was wearing headphones in class, a confabulated story, the real answer is the thesis of his book, i can’t even hear it, I am that guy and I know those kids, Jesse is a weird guy, bone conduction headphones, do two podcasts a week, an excuse to hide what Jesse’s really afraid of, students can’t read sentences because they’re boring, I’m not allowed to play computer games, girls have it easier for school, give him a sword and throw him into a war, built into us as creatures, programmed into us, wealthy kids or adopted by wealthy people, exposure to the classics of literature, there are people who buy books, most people don’t read at all, the way people interact with words, words as symbols, word pictures, resistant to hashtags, the value of hashtags is irony, hashtags are a great way to punctuate a joke, using hashtags unironically is scary, more difficulty focusing, in his own writing, Weird Al Yankovic, intellectual stimulation, radio from the 1970s, we have instant access to whatever kind of streaming we want, you can do images on twitter, what’s the appeal of Instagram, twitter threads, removing capitals or adding punctuation or the clap emoji, taking in words through their eyes, bad spelling on youtube comments, why should they be ashamed?, twitter doesn’t need an edit button, gaslit all the time?, everything goes down the memory hole, the PDF Page was down for three weeks, being lied to about what the reality was, OCR, people change things over the years, this was that, an anthology of stories from different authors, the skeleton of the thing rather than the thing itself, the editorial introduction can sometimes tell you how to read, reality is slippery enough as it is, no one has time to read these classic works of literature, books written to be book length, filler and examples, the school industry, audible audiobooks, fetishizing reading, H.P. Podcraft is essentially a story summary podcast, Jesse doesn’t summarize stories, talking about The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, Oryx And Crake, the argument Jesse makes to himself, an independent senator is shot, some other guy is shot, what kind of movie is it?, a crazy movie, these guys were indicted, it connects up, enter the contest, a core idea, the eerie events that happen with the film are all agented but not explained, innocuous events leading to innocuous events leading to unusual events, inferring there’s a bomb on the plane, this is the scientific process, your life my depend on a hypothesis, once we put our ideas out there that’s science, a consensus as to what was an wasn’t a good movie, a relatively new magazine, classic stories, technical objection, classic fiction from 2020?, we have some reprints too, the word “classic” is to bootstrap more sales, truth had value at one point, lying is something we think is bad because it interferes with our understanding with reality, what makes it true is that it has been tested and tested and tested over time, realism, what’s really happening?, what lie are we telling ourselves?, deep down you know it is a falsehood, sometimes it is genuine merit, some people have an ability to be productive, nepotism, how hard you seem to be working, Paul’s job, what happens, giving someone a promotion can create another problem, teachers grading themselves, outsourcing the job, whose the best shot in the unit?, teaching essay writing to grade 3 kids, eight year olds can’t write essays, judging essays, the factory Maoist element, what matters is they’re always making some improvement, make the writing fun for you, hauntology, Mr Jim Moon could be a BBC all by himself, defining people’s view of the present, 2022 is haunted by the past image of 2022, Back To The Future (1985), where’s my flying car?, we’re gonna be on Mars, optimism crumbling to pessimism, Jesse lived in a pirate town, the reason Star Wars (1977) looks the way it does is the WWII imagery, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, we’re haunted by the endless Star Wars, the VHS tapes and constant broadcasts on HBO damaged us, The Tempest by Willy Shakes, a live performance, professional actors, 400 years of performances are gone and snuffed out, we can watch Ant Man (2015) over and over and over again, the new technology, capitalism’s virus is infecting us the way it wasn’t before, where’s the Jesse?, a treatment for immortality that requires you to delete your personality, Elidor by Alan Garner, Among Others by Jo Walton, media engagement, oral and visual cultures lecturer, drawing connections and creating a larger picture, a whitish name, math and chemistry tutoring, trained to study, a phone shapes a kid, playing games all night or watching streams, computer or video games are better than reading, sleep hygiene, it has only become more relevant, the repetition of culture, What Is Hauntology? by Mark Fisher, the way neoliberalism tends to reproduce rather than promote novelty, having real estate in somebody’s head is capital, how many TV shows exist now? 540 scripted English language TV shows, primetime, 3 hours a night for scripted TV, how is it that we’ve come to be able to support a larger number of scripted TV shows?, we’ve colonized people’s brains, there’s more people, with streaming you can have more than would fit on a channel, ABC 1 and 2, reruns in primetime, the original Star Trek, 700 Star Trek episodes, Netflix might be running a scam, there’s no independent auditing, a tulip inflation thing, now there’s all these shows and I can’t trust the reviews, IMBD is not trustworthy, what is valuable now is honesty about what’s worth your time, we’ve reversed our interaction with reality, blogs don’t exist anymore, blogging has turned into videos, how he became famous, a revise feature on Twitter, google street view through archiving, the difficulty of the world we live in now, how Connor got into early podcasts, new releases/recent arrivals, be the thing you want to see in the world, off the cuff thinking, chunks of words, people read that way, construct information just from hashtags, a symbol that conveys a bunch of information, at the beginning of the web, a spinning gif, engaging through apps, the difference between apps and programs, Jesse doesn’t ask for feedback, a serious storm, if you ask for things you get it, soliciting comments, when things go wrong, what people like about the podcast, stuff where we go off topic, a weird catchup at the start of podcasts, ideas in science fiction, through characters (people who wrote those books), Isaac Asimov is more like an encyclopedia, Philip K. Dick will definitely hit on my wife, there’s no such real thing as going off topic, why Joe Rogan is popular, leading to interested places, the after show and the pre-show as extra material, Reading, Short And Deep is popular but has fewer downloads, older people enjoy the shorter format show, a little breathing room, everything is relevant even tangentially, its important to not overthink what people don’t tell you about, issue both praise and criticism, you can trust me and I can trust me, comics reviews, goddamn this art is so good, Providence by Jacen Burrows and Alan Moore, a deep passion in two directions, we should call out the crappy things, this show will be out in seven months, when shownoting later, wait six months and see how you feel, when 9/11, a cathode ray tube, “this is not going to go well”, they’re not going to do this right, see how politicians voted, what they said back then, keeping a consistency of character over a long period of time is the opposite of gaslighting, at what point in a movie do you say this is fucked I’m out of here?, if they don’t care why do I care?, a new world parrot in Europe in 1300, a set dresser or somebody didn’t care, the only reason they do things is: squeeze more money (out of this product in your head), things are becoming more generic, 5 Spider-Man reboots, way more weird movies, an independent weird fiction movie The Endless (2017), shitty capitalist jobs, Heaven’s Gate cult, Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, time relations, he’s really saying something, a shopping list, its our job to find the three things and say this is what you want, I am satisfied with the work, click a like button or rate out of five, iTunes reviews, the ratings are all gamed, fake followers, movies have incredible interest in doing this, Netflix’s rating system, a mini-scandal, manipulating you to trey to engage more, an existential movie disguised as a political thriller, The Stone Tape (1972), the reveal at the end, the way they portrayed the entity within the stones, Nigel Kneale has got the goods, real science fiction, an unlikable character but more real as a human being, Quatermass (1979), a millenarian end of the world, difficult concepts, they’re actually about the same thing, information within unalive objects, things that are dead, nothing is alive, somethings that are dead are temporarily alive, things that are locked inside, skulls, relics from five million years ago, there’s nothing alive there, in this race to compete, L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, trauma in our own lives, go clear, wouldn’t this be interesting?, why are we doing that? for reasons., there is no alternative, both of them start from a supernatural perspective, what mark Fisher is doing too, on the periphery of reality, I wasn’t doing this ironically, you don’t know what you’re doing, if you are a person who stood by principle you couldn’t have got in that position (or if you do what happens?), the company exists, who or what is running the company, somebody could do this, A Clockwork Orange (1971), that’s not a lie that’s a metaphor, people are subscribed to the Snickers account, the central argument of capitalist realism, is there any alternative?, a comedy thesis that could be true, the public square, gravity [monopoly], you’re a part of the system, Aaron Swartz, Unauthorized Bread by Cory Doctorow, Case from Neuromancer, creative commons, RSS, out from behind a paywall, blogs were killed, youtube, twitter, blogs, podcasts are the only thing that is left that is independent, Spotify, Audible has a podcast reader, the iPod and the ability to look for podcast submitted to iTunes, claim your podcast, just break the connection between the independent people, before Facebook there was MySpace, sharecropper, they killed this kid, Julian Assange, rentseeking, Jstor, he contributed so much to modern internet technology, not playing by the rules, not a billionaire and so he’s dead, writing about places you’ve never been, you don’t know how they go through a doorway, where does he plug in his iPhone, modern fantasy novels are Dungeons & Dragons, worldbuilding, when electricity came into being, how can you possibly teach me anything if the basic things you’re telling me are already wrong, does A Game Of Thrones have Earth’s Moon, a lot of nudity to distract us, a picture of Scott with George R.R. Martin, a floppy disk camera, the entourage of women, the con suite party, The Mystery Of Sylmare by Hugh Irish, Irish hue would be green, The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame, a fable with humans being the animals, a whisper version of The Wind In The Willows on Librivox, just a sex thing, proof listening, Wayne June, reading Edgar Allan Poe is way easier, a cosmicism poem for Reading, Short And Deep, one of the bests little sections, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, free as in speech or free as in beer?, gratis vs. libre, a good name for a political party: The Guillotine Party, all the billionaires get the chop but they all get ice cream, Elon Musk is last in line, we start from a position of guillotining everybody, when we get somebody up on the debate stage, the A.I. Party, we’ve tried the humans in charge and it isn’t working out, don’t let the Dems and the Repubs set the parameters for the debate, we kinda need a hardass, when Trump got kicked off twitter but was still president, these are all cops.
Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!
The SFFaudio Podcast #671 – The Watcher At The Threshold by John Buchan – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (55 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Connor Kaye
Talked about on today’s show:
Harper’s, December 1900, distraight is a word, distraight is distracted, hearth, fucking deep!, the reference level, operating on a different continent, an earlier period, Supernatural Horror In Literature, August Derleth, The Lurker at the Threshold, the first half, Evan’s bike, prepared for the subtext, folk horror as a genre, the earliest examples of folk horror, a weird tales with hints of folk horror, so good, its hard, nothing happens in this story, coffee and dinner, a restaurant in a small town nearby, an email or something, better than a lot of Lovecraft stories, kinda banal on the service, a friend going around the bend, that moment on that ride together, the evening in the library, Roman history, Roman law, just a few paragraphs, all this happens in the very very end of the story, scenes we can read out, way deeper, hallucinating a little bit, clearer simpler movie, The Grove Of Ashtaroth, no girl, set in Africa (probably Rhodesia), Roman/Scottish folk horror, Semitic folk horror, dynamite and shotgun everything, a descent into a cave, Ash Tree Press, another of Buchan’s weird tales No Man’s Land, take the best scenes in making a comic, a dog cart and a lady at the door, don’t look at that sculpture over there, the narrator is a bit odd, the narrator is a lawyer on vacation, he’s come from Norway, a storycap, in love with his cousin, our narrator is not interested in the story (as much as his cousin), he’s kinda dumb but good at dropping all the hints, the opening, 189_, why is he hiding the year from us, a “true story”, the footnote also makes it a “true story”, lustful after a cousin, I can take her away from here and we can be together (and dump this guy), a familial duty, a former love, she was better off to marry him, he was in love with her, there to service her needs (not his), there’s some sort of underlying thing going on, where he got this from, underdeveloped for a modern audience, not a rip-roaring, The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, this mid-Atlantic region, Buchan has read Poe, a great setup, what kind of disease does this guy have?, a venereal disease, no successful treatment for the Maupassant disease, The Horla etc., syphilis, a disease of the heart, his left side, always talking about woodcocks, a hillclimb?, billiards, our narrator is dumb, a “sun-worshipper”, the moor is indistinct, he’s not a weird fiction fan, Ladlaw, his disastrous trip to Norway for the hunting, never explained, grumpy the whole time, the case is not going well, eager to get back, too weird for me, I can’t solve it, way to uncomfortable, compared with the fresh highland glen all was chilly and dull and dead, a very bad temper, other John Buchan works, the Clan Roydens, you know the house., who is he talking to?, on the moors, walks and hunts and fishes, pleasant people in the house, a fortnight in Norway, overly dramatic, he just likes shooting, when we finally get to the letter, a PS and another PS, my affectionate cousin, laidlow, Bob is terribly ill and I’m crazy, it is not doctor’s business, he’s dying, she has the same infection, a whole other level to his researches playing a role, shotgunning a goddess, 100% supernatural vs. a supernatural story (a possession story) and venereal disease, Barry Pain, laurels, death figure and life figure, Madam Blavatsky and the Theosophists, a symbolist painting, talking about his left side, kinda dumb, its the devil, in the universe of the story, Justinian making a deal with the devil, Laidlaw, Sybil, Theodora, hip deep in Theosophy, Falun Gong, congregationalist church with theosophy on the side, why this story is so weird, technical things, why is Lovecraft so racist, not everybody was into Theosophy, not ancient Biblical stuff, very specifically about Justinian, law school for a minute, he doesn’t read that much, I’m not going to tell you the story as he said it, set it down exactly as it is said, our narrator than the audience, John Buchan is laying it down so heavy, page 802, three fools alone in the dank upland, gobbling his food and getting scared at his napkin, a mad tea party with a vengeance, the doormouse and the hatter, Alice In Wonderland, Theodora -> a doormouse -> a watcher by the threshold, watching her husband at the threshold of death, very atmospheric and moody, gruesome and spooky, they don’t have any ducks for me to shoot, The Tomb, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, details about ancient defensive structures, a Yithian taking him over?, a reincarnation?, a past life exposed by this illness?, what he’s been doing, it used to be full of books about badminton, neat and scholarly (I hated it), horses and shooting, how much time doing Lovecraftian research, the secret history of Justinian, all real books, roll against Library Science, made a deal with the devil, The Thing On The Doorstep, The Shadow Out Of Time, the relationship between Scotland and Justinian, the Roman Inheritance: Christianity and Law, Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni, confronted by every aspirant, really lame spirituality, it covers everything, Justinian and Theodora are both saints, how they’re really rotten, an evil whore actress, an egoist, how much labour is involved in keeping the estate up, the town is full of poor people, a groom, the employee, they want to go on vacation, a class criticism, the narrator is unaware of class, Robert -> Robin, his sinister side, more bookish, Justinian’s bust, the spirit of Justinian was inside the bust?, the footnote, sleeping trouble, Delacroix Byzantium, the intertextual, The Horla theory, the disease that shall not be named, infected with Justinian’s disease, right up to but not including Scotland, The Rats In The Walls, 18th century England and Rome, John Buchan was an imperialist, WWI, The Thirty Nine Steps, on the path of being responsible for the extinction of a goddess, friends at school, some sort of fascinating connection, “going to seed”, they come into their flower and then go to seed, seedy = disreputable, why Poe and Lovecraft are so different, there are bigger issues than girls, the role of Justinian, he’s a Lovecraftian character, the most basic interpretation, the same spirit or demon, he recognized his own symptoms, Secret History by Procopius, this is an echo of that, textual verification, an amorphous shadow, the divide between the spiritual world and the modern reality, something’s attached to him through that divide, sundown syndrome, you lawyers, sounds like Lovecraft talking, this Mannan, the real landscape, the red earth and the red rock and the red streams of the hills, a new gospel, it would kill materialism, the poets who have deified nature, the profundity, the shaggy somber eyed forefather, wise wise, a queer land nowadays, inscrutable, an important part of this story, reading it literally, the Howard Lovecraft debate about civilization, law tames it, the Mad Hatter, the basic laws of the Enlightenment, 1900, fin de siecle, the yellow nineties, at a precipice, a gilded age, hints of Nietzsche, law can save us, getting that empire back, why is the land red red red, what’s missing is all the people, the Picts, what we think they were like, druids vs. the national spirit of Germany, Tacitus, Buchan’s a Scot who’s part of Empire, servants of Empire, this Empire shit is really bad, keeps the books on rich people’s investments, Montrose by John Buchan, the Jacobites are mentioned, a billiards game sort of story, I would show you the back of simple nature, the groom, I must have speed or go mad, til the ghoulish elder world, a solitary lit window, the red desert?, we’re having trouble picking it all up, putting all the work in, not filmable, a comedic narrator character, I’m a simple guy, I just like shooting things, how’s he gonna help?, the house literally cracks apart and collapses into the surrounding tarn, a metaphor for venereal disease, where are the kids in this family?, the house of MORE, the end of the cycle of empire, we’ve reached our peak, its all downhill from there, Buchan is very much like Ladlaw, photos of Buchan as Governor General in Canada, all the native tribes, Indians, Innu, and Inuit, when the royals come to Canada, you’re a part of the tribe now, a plains Indian headdress, the royal estate, the natives have a closer relationship to Britain than Canada does, Lord Beaverbrook, neo-Jacobites, the Stuart heirs, the divine right of kings, the Scottish kings, political conservatism, send him to Australia, in a way that the Welsh aren’t, engineers of Empire are Scottish, Airstrip One etc., either Scottish independence or a Jacobite restoration, more Buchan, The Green Wildebeest, No Man’s Land by John Buchan, way out into the moors of Scotland, Picts, Worms Of The Earth by Robert E. Howard, brutal but also wise, action packed!, less deep?, he got a writing career in addition, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a potboiler, parallel to this house of More, page 805, the actress harlot devotee, shapeless thing at his side, he dumb, the man in the chair before me, grim earnest, nonsense or no, devilish fancy, two inappropriate laughs, you doofus, he’s a real jerk, horribly anxious, giggling to himself, so insensitive, camped out outside the library, its the devil, oh, you’re serious, always dismissing, wry senses no jokes, clever wordplay, we see it as funny because of our distance, mooching, his ecosystem, Clan Roydens, his Lovecraftian universe, being a Scottish Lord, filing off the serial numbers, a very realistic story, for money, endless vacation time, non-productive lords, a slight realization, all built on labour and the deaths of people who lived here, the official histories are followed by the secret histories, a small incident among upper class twits, a hypocrite but he admits it, subversive in the sense that these upper class people are fucked, Will Emmons says science fiction comes in lots of different flavours but fantasy is for elitists, an Irish Lord and an Oxford don, diplomat, soldier, and writer, he’s solid, Ambrose Bierce is so subversive of his own text, all irony all the time, he’s having fun, William Gibson is always talking about what things are made of, an ironic overlay, adventurey overlay, stymied at all opportunities, a weird thing to do to your story, what the hell is this, so different and boring (comparatively), Supernatural Horror In Literature, his weirdest story, the atmosphere is great, The Weird And The Eerie by Mark Fisher, what is weird?, what is eerie?, the moor is eerie, this vast empty thing, the situation with Ladlaw was weird, leave it and never resolve, you should know what these things are, no resolution, publishers probably hate that, available as an audiobook, tackling many different films and TV shows and books, Prester John by John Buchan.
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The SFFaudio Podcast #660 – Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville; read by Bob Neufeld
This unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 53 minutes) is followed by a discussion of it.
Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Marissa VU, and Will Emmmons
Talked about on today’s show:
A Story Of Wall Street, Putnam’s Monthly, November and December 1853, college and high school, fucking great, so funny, very humorous, no joke, Seinfeld style, sad and existential, struggles with depression, is Bartleby depressed?, what was Melville trying to say, different ways of reading, a moment of silence for all the poor kids in school, 4 minute explainers on youtube, hard to classify, a weird tale like you would get in Weird Tales, cadaverous, Fitz-James O’Brien, Franz Kafka, kafkaesque, William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe, its a piece of science fiction, Bartleby is an android, Star Trek’s Data, radioactive suitcase, the ghost story angle, the most important way of reading it, its all about the lawyer, the other clerks, Ginger Nut, John Jacob Astor, I prefer not to pay, other people are inscrutable, master of chancery, work ethic, real estate law, Turkey is drunk by noon, Nippers, low wages, allowed to listen to music, ginger cakes, useless in the afternoons, Nippers is a criminal, capitalism, before the clock took over, working on Saturday, time and motion studies, a copyist pretending to be an attorney, the Roman patron system, seedy coats, great language, McTeague by Frank Norris, practicing dentistry without a license, The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville, a lot to glean, I am a rather elderly man, writing for an audience, other biographies, the law copyists, physical xerox machines, monk work, reading aloud, take student texts with punctuation, perfection in sentences, a creative work vs. copying from one document to another, divers histories, other law copyists, an irreparable loss to literature, the original sources aka him, the second part of the serialization of the story, this kind of artifact, serialized over two months, Bartleby’s previous career, most lawyers want to be writers, imprimus, the easiest way of life is the best, unambitious lawyers, a snug retreat, a snug business among rich men’s bonds, keeping track of rich people’s money, an eminently safe man, a nice pun, the late John Jacob Astor, all the negatives, prudence, method, not unemployed in my profession, a rounded and orbicular sound to into it, rings like unto bullion, complimenting himself, John Jacob Astor the first, how old this story is, the story is set way earlier, an interesting pacific connection, trans-continental, 1848, Astoria, the incensed landlord, a metaphor for the United States, fugitive visits, Bartleby like an Indian who refuses to leave to go to the reservation, named after an act of enclosure, walls, the dead letter office metaphor, Touched By An Angel, a Christian show, the science fiction equivalent is Quantum Leap, The A-Team, solving problems with guns, the Hallmark Channel, Christian niceness, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Dear John I miss you, items, your job is to open up the letter, any objects in the mail, a ring or money or tires is then auctioned off, unrequited letters, instead of reading and deleting letters you copy letters, reading the contents, contracts between billionaires, what debt is owned to whom, reading Bartleby as a dead letter, he has no place to go, there is no dead letter office for humans, taken to the prison, the grub man, he’s a person not a letter, the focus on Bartleby as the main character is not as interesting, he’s the one with the problem: Bartleby, he’s a weird employer because he cares about his employees a lot, fighting the system, stalkers, roses and letter, not leaving someone alone and being outside their place, playing with social norms, interest becomes stalker, no women in this story, Ginger Nut as a woman, Bartleby (2001), a zombie apocalypse done through sound, Pontypool (2008), Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess, when you hear certain words on the television, earworms, things are going to change, a bit of visual or auditory information can change the world, what makes it existential, he’ll just stand there, won’t do anything, embarrassment, amazingly passive, as a strategy of work resistance, Office Space (1999), most employers, The Last Article by Harry Turtledove, he tolerates him vs. he escapes, rather move himself than move Bartleby, prefer, the way his hands are, behind the screen, so handy to me, I had in hand, my right hand sideways, nervously extended, in this very attitude did I sit, imagine my surprise, rallying my stunned faculties, prefer not to?, are you moonstruck?, Žižek, backwards grammar, ending with a preposition, plaster of paris Cicero, this is very strange, had his face been any different he would have fired him, what do you think about what this guy’s doing?, our narrator is allowing this to happen, ah Bartleby, ah humanity!, Bartleby is in such a horrible position, this is our situation, the main character wants to be fired, this guy’s got spunk!, I’m going to need you to go ahead and…, upper management hears you’re an up and comer, the other authority figures in the story, King Of The Hill, Dale Gribble likes firing people, maybe Evan understands American history, the institutions aren’t there, SWAT the employees, dump the vagrants, when the cops hung up on Jesse, wrote a stern email to the chief constable, the busybody was just making trouble, a local crime gang, not SWATing people as much, the normal response is to give up, if you invent the post office, some items are undeliverables, setting up policies, an Indian with no band, mentally ill but not causing a disturbance, just not going home, he has no home, you can’t do that with people, what makes our unnamed lawyer protagonist so strange is that he cares about Bartleby, we put ourselves into capitalism, feeling spicy at work, ginger is a hot spice, he whom it would relieve, charity, pallid hopelessness, continually handling these dead letters, the finger it was meant for moulders in the grave, hope for those who died un-hoping, these letters speed to death, hopelessness and misfortune, one of Melville’s kids killed himself with a gun at home, Melville worked at the customs house, what we know of Melville’s going to sea, he needs to get to sea because the land is not for him, Typee, malingering or mutiny or deserting, Evan’s YouTube video: Herman Melville Wants You To Quit Your Job, Mardi, failing to find paradise, screw all this, Whitejacket, Redburn, Moby-Dick, bored from his normal life, disappearing from the novel, just there to tell the story, what are you doing here, sitting on the banister, the cause of great tribulation, a clerkship in a drygoods store, too much confinement, a bartender’s business, Nippers is always adjusting his work table, Joe Piscopo, no standing desk like Rumsfeld, trying time trying to entertain, I like to be stationary (stationery), I am bound to quit the premises myself, not wholly indulged before, go home with his boss, like a force of nature, he’s like a letter that’s a human, he can’t say where he needs to go, Melville’s first attempt to write a short story, I prefer not to, the driving thesis of Paul’s professor, here we are, when Paul was young and callow, confronted by reality, I know I’m talented I know I have the goods, some time goes by people catch up to what he’s doing, why his story is being taught in school, appreciating it at as piece of art, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, I Have Placed My Sickness Upon You by Karin Tidbeck, Frritt-Flacc aka The Ordeal Of Doctor Trifulgas aka Dr Trifulgas by Jules Verne, volcanic France, what the fuck is this?, there’s a document involved, it means something, The Lost Room by Fitz-James O’Brien, about our mental condition, metaness, what does Wall Street have to do with it?, balancing out his other employees, its wrong to read it from its wrong, it must happen daily, he’s his own doctor and he’s having a heart-attack, have we exhausted Bartleby?, religious stuff, the lawyer is a messed up guy, this uncanny guy, he stopped working because his eyesight was bad, this earworm of I prefer not to, they’re making fun of him, they’re making fun of the lawyer, they’re bullying him, the drunk is funny, their solidarity is with their boss, false solidarity, the boss’ neuroses, in the Tombs, I know who you are, I know what this place is, Bartleby gets it, the antagonist, not a good place, the military angle, he’s been drafted into the army, we’d like you to go shoot that man, he’s seen the Lovecraftian document, the horror behind the veil, being like a cadaver, weird trick, Ginger Nut, Bartleby only eats ginger nut and cheese, he’s called to go get them, Coffee Boy, why is Turkey called Turkey?, dies of starvation, Nippers is the eating of food, the religious aspect, moral suasion, act like a Christian, charity, governed by paternalism, as resistance strategy, the reform era, 1830s-1840s, the Second Great Awakening, reforming American sins, perfecting American society, the anti-flogging campaign, vagrancy, part of the that culture, are your eyes recovered?, in word will you do anything at all?, behind a blind, the tragedy of the unfortunate Adams the unfortunate Colt, his fatal act, had that altercation taken place in the public street, doubtless of dusty haggard of appearance, a murder, A kills C, Bartleby (B), I grappled him and threw him, recalling the divine inter-junction, ye love one another, a great safeguard to its possessor, a murder for charity’s sake, drowning my exasperated feelings, benevolently construing his conduct, he has seen hard times and ought to be indulged, charity is the answer, if I focus on charity I won’t kill him, a servant to John Jacob Astor, Upstairs, Downstairs , Highclere Castle, servants and rich people in a period setting, Downton Abbey, know her place, they need to know their place, but there’s dignity in working for good people above us, in doing our jobs well we become elevated, you know its fucking evil, she’s lying to herself, ground up by the music hall industry, wenching, seeing the household from both POVs, the head butler, a lot like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we are meant to be outraged by it, I feel unplaced in the world, I feel unmoored, Bartleby is moored, the judgement of history, Edgar Allan Poe’s life, “no, no, no, guys, I’m great”, we don’t have infinite time, made to punish children, a deflection, another form of property ownership, northern firms involved in slavery, what this person’s business is, he’s not an abolitionist, when the suing comes, they’re not copying out literature or love poetry, their literal job is photocopier, why he likes copying at first, gaining information, read back what you’ve already written, as a re-reader, checking someone else’s work, One Hour Photo (2002), a kind of stalker, so late in the lifecycle of the film camera, taking your work to seriously, too solitary in your work, what were you thinking when the lawyer finds the door locked, I’m not ready yet, what was he doing in there?, in public records, pretending he’s a music producer, this is an impropriety on his part, is our lawyer married?, I’m bringing a strange Bartleby home, the first moment of aggression, he’s not aggressive at all, he’s very ethereal, maybe he’s playing VR or something, Bliss (2021), Paul got baited and switched, Owen Wilson as Bartleby, Crispin Glover, David Paymer, Glen Headley, Maury Chaykin, there’s no audience for this really good movie, made for schools, some menace there, Dickensian, Dickens isn’t philosophical enough for this, the names, the sense of humour, very much like a weird tale, the uncanny, The Paradise Of Bachelors And the Tartarus Of Maids, pale women in a paper factory, put together a new issue of Weird Tales just out of Herman Melville stories.
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