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.