The SFFaudio Podcast #680 – READALONG: The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein

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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #680 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
published in a book, Heinlein almost always renewed his copyrights, no great interior art, boardrooms and offices, spacecrafts and diamonds, Pike’s Peak, Harriman pointing and winking, underground bunker wife, dissemble to his wife (again), the covers, Jesse is not a philatelist, numismatics, Paul’s not keeping up with philately, Brewster’s Millions (1985), Charade (1963), forever stamps, “here’s the extras from my collection, son”, Canada Post, Star Trek, Superman, Captain Canuck, Archibald Lampman, Lawrence Block, when not killing people, grandpas working on it, a moment of history that’s captured, the Apollo 11 launch, here at the blast-off, then you become a famous serial killer, acquires value, a first day cover is infinite cachet, mail fraud, legit fraud, shading the truth, 6+ button, Moka Cola, x-fuel, bribing judges left and right, philatelic stores are done through the mail, a license to print money, has government value, its almost you could pay your taxes in stamps, mostly selling intangibles, TV advertising rights, the actual physical object, it plays an important role, they also forget to put him in, meta-framing, there are no intentions its all Heinlein, Harriman is the stamps, an excuse for him to go to the Moon, he’s been defrauded, he knew what he was doing, Requiem by Robert A. Heinlein, The Man Who Sold The Moon is a prequel to Requiem, his heart is bad, a spit and gumball guy, barnstormers, he gets to the moon and dies on the Moon, maudlin and schmaltz, they bury him on the Moon, an oxygen bottle is his headstones, Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa, glad did I live and gladly dive, the hunter home from the hill, TIA (pre-heart attack), Job: A Comedy Of Justice, long pig, Farah Mendlesohn, Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Weird Al Yankovic, poingiant, The Green Hills Of Earth, sentimental vs. excessively sentimental, hear the voice of Robert A. Heinlein, what does his voice sound like?, Heinlein with Arthur C. Clarke commenting on Apollo 11, so excited, change the date of humanity, today is the year zero, a Moonbase, Mars, off to the solar system, it did not work out how he wanted, how Elon Musk would like Space X to be, a private space program (not subsidized by the government), why we’re doing this show, billionaires going to so called space, Musk doesn’t go up with his rockets, aptain Kirk in space, a fascinating footnote to history, “I don’t wish any harm to William Shatner”, clapping for celebrities, on the backs of poor people, the government’s involvement is nil, the regulation agency for the fuel and the stamps, the real reason we have space exploration (is military expenditure), commerce and bootstrapping and loans, Space X, their one and oly client (uther than Musk’s side-business) is the government, NASA being defunded, capitalism eating itself, me too companies, Blue Origin/Virgin, not even orbital, extended vomit comet stuff, checkboxing, things to do, a conga-line of people up to Mt. Everest, I went to space, save Maissa’s sensibilities, dickswining, putting Musk at the back of the guillotine line, we will coup whoever we want, he wants to do what he wants to do, Jeff Bezos and the Virgin Guy [Richard Branson], what’s different about the D.D. Harriman like figure of Elon Musk, his wild dreams, he put a car in space, the product that is Elon Musk, you get the product that is him, when you buy a Tesla you buy into a piece of musk, Chevrolet Volt, Teslas everywhere, these other kinds of cars are stupid, electric cars are cooler, D.D. Harriman is not an engineer, dirty tricks, fucks over his wife and partners, right up to mail fraud, the most prosecutable crime, you’re crossing the biggest baddest bitch in the room (the government), people standing around, 12 Angry Men-style, do it in black and white, don’t put out this manifesto in the world, Elon Musk reads this story, he is this story, I got my own emerald mine, PayPal, I’m gonna go to the fuckin’ Moon, that single-mindedness, who do I have to fuck to get this to happen, something deeply sick, a sociopath, who did they get to the American Moon program [Wernher von Braun], the Soviet space program, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan, Sergei Korolev, Comrade we’re doing Moon program, the sociopath that is the American government, certified denazified, SS tattoos, when NASA had his own rocket program, come look, we’re going to name this one Enterprise, Desilu Studios in the 1960s, Galaxy Quest (1999), you thought Idiocracy (2006) wasnt a true story, Red Plenty, Ascent by Jed Mercurio, a secret history of the Soviet Moon Program, Stalingrad, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, he’s got a camera, he dies on the Moon, that struggle, technical problems that need to be solved, Pike’s Peak is not ideal, Panama or Florida, he lives there, you should launch from near the equator, its not all about the engineering, the technical problems will not happen unless I get the sizzle, leveraging the government, people get inspired to do stuff, 1950/1949, seventy years for that vision to start to come true, a failure of Heinlein’s imagination, an ideology, space might become a frontier in the Cold War, he goes into the newspaper with a hammer and sickle on, that’s the media, the ideology is government is not the solution, purposely bypass, the only purpose of the government is the stamps, government is in the way, let me loose, Musk will not get to space without a contract to service the ISS, the Chinese Russian International space station, oh please private business, not a good Chinese accent, not good to do either accent, fail better, release all of your failures, greatness out of badness, Chris Hadfield, Marc Garneau, The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield, he sings/writes/takes picture, never a Mountie, F-16 fighter pilot, Heinlein’s future history, wildly wrong, seventy years later, Canada was created out of a railroad scheme, if we build this railroad, it makes more sense to be late, it makes more sense to be overbudget, government expenditure is the best way to make money always, Contact (1997), Carl Sagan was a bit naive, his big problem in that book was the religious figure, communication from aliens would languish for hundreds of years, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, leaving government out in an ideological way, squid-like vampire sucking, bribes most judges, why it has hate, powerful and therefore important, this manifesto turned into a movie, The Turner Diaries [by William Luther Pierce], Pallas by L. Neil Smith, corporations colonizing an asteroid, the government is evil bad an corrupt, that’s “freedom”, For All Mankind, Skylab was a sideshow, the alternative to GPS [is “GLONASS”], Russia has a very small GDP and yet they somehow seem to keep their rocket and GPS programs going, tax breaks for the 1%, we’re selling seats on this thing, selling seats on Russian launches, sell-outs, now NASA focuses on probes, what’s cape Canaveral, Maissa saw a Falcon Heavy launch, like a fireball going up into the sky, it was like a sword of the archangel Gabriel, Chris Hadfield’s Wikipedia entry, government propaganda, Canada has plastic money, you can wash your money in the sink, when the government is in control, tests, skills, loyal, I’m gonna hand pick my son, comparatively, I’m going and my brother, did the cowboy hat go up with him, I found these in the stratosphere, 10th birthday party, we’re going to make two corporations, put all the debts onto that company and keep all the assets in this company, to bilk the investors, defraud collectors, defrauds the boy scouts, always be honest, when it really counts fuck anybody, not bragging as much as stating facts, its a real sad thing, the naked horror, going to Mars, ginning up a war with the Martians, another song reference, not much of a Rocket Man, the Moon can control the Earth, Musk’s dream of Mars, Musk has made a big dent in the world, the guillotine party, give him some ice cream, somewhat mitigated badness, an earnest desire for extension, the Moses reference was telling and touching, dialing in the prophecy, Moses is denied the promised land, the Post Office was God, a very strange interpretation, it kinda fits, Butler, Missouri, religious fanaticism, a more sympathetic character, Musk is all me me me but he still hasn’t gone to space, a one way mission to Mars, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, a lot of dummies, depressive and pessimistic, not good in two ways, a lot of people think it is real, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is a troubling book, like Ayn Rand but more current, super-evil, people who are just better than you, a “Fans are Slans” style story, special people, this mass of black or white people who need to die, Hitler’s manifesto book, the argument that it makes is what makes it evil, what’s cool about the X-Men, Magneto and The League Of Evil Mutants, its a fantasy, if you have brain you need to sleep, they’re more elite than you, they studied harder than you, Justin Trudeau’s 1.2 million dollar trust fund, face-painting costume, gets to be prime minister when his dad dies, novels vs. novellas, Our Opinions Are Correct: “Heinlein is turgid”, this novel, you should just read Scalzi, women would be present, Harriman’s wife, couldn’t give Harriman a baby, lives in Colorado, just the Heinlein story, Heinlein’s infertility, Friday, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, ret-con, I’m not really sexist, standard Heinlein, very incestuous, rehabilitates Harriman’s story, she’s not important to this story, how important the Post Office, don’t go against the government interest, you can use the Soviets as a whipping tool to et the media, a military industrial complex vs. a space industrial complex, Ospreys and F-22s, “defense”, you can sell people on fear, the commies in Russia today, China wants to take Taiwan, the Alpha Centurians are stealing our precious bodily fluids, space fear, the Coca Cola corporation, Dr. Strangelove (1964), another novel, Firestar by Michael Flynn, female entrepreneur capitalist, Elon Musk but not as evil, Flynn’s views on education, a shooting star, the comet would be good at this point, a dinosaur apocalypse is needed, digitize it and get it up to the moon, NFTs, bitcoin is currency, pre-orders equal love, the character’s supposed to be sympathetic, space space space, fighting in the Balkans, quasi-libertarian is (mostly) evil, in the 90s Paul’s politics were not as enlightened as now, public schools vs. private schools, save a few, no offense, some offense, slap in the face no offense, we need to face facts, this has been a blueprint for people, echoes with what’s going on, what other books are lurking effecting people’s reality, some phenomenon happening on the earth, Asimovs and Heinleins, Bezos vs. Musk, I gotta focus on my plan, set up a Foundation somewhere, Paul Krugman thinks he’s Hari Seldon, I’m a psycho (historian), too good for Jesse, Sir there’s somebody waiting to see you, a historical setting, Overlord (2018), tell me a lie story, who has women in their space program?, the Soviets, part of their ideology is women ARE equal, team human, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series, the Mercury 13, what if we weren’t super sexist?, a country that has to turn less sexist, Luke Burrage’s SCIENCE FICTION BOOK REVIEW PODCAST review of The Calculating Stars, the Nazis didn’t want women fighting, making strudel and soldiers, not caring about certain facts about ballistics, how many stages the rockets needs to be, recycling the capsule from a previous rocket, designing the capsule for the lifting device, Musk’s plan, a fuel tank with a little spaceship on the end, get this, this story was written before the actual Moon program, whether the fuel will ignite from gamma rays, how can we not care about those details, Heinlein cared so much he kinda made it happen, John F. Kennedy was trying to direct the military industrial complex into an Olympics style competition, for all mankind, now there’s a Space Force, the instincts to restrain insanity have gone away, more and more in the Harriman situation, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the Law Of The Seas, the Americans never ratify, a Dutchman named Hugo Grotius, why don’t we just be tolerant?, no torturing people, that’s all gone now, public schools are terrible, Jesse a nihilist, human civilization, asteroid/meteor/comet, When Worlds Collide, Rogue Planet, not focusing on the ballistics?, Jesse prefers to read books that are out of print?, public domain, [is Jesse an obscurantist?], gotta winnow, Will’s initial Heinlein journey, a deathmarch?, stop doing that, he’s got the goods, The Star Beast, would D.D. Harriman sell N.F.T.s, what wouldn’t he do to get to the Moon?, he wouldn’t break his word to a person, personal loan, personal honor, down the slippery slope lying road, skirting that line, NFTs are a scam, Tulipmania, Odo and Quark, Jesse doesn’t Grok what its about, you should sell some SFFaudio listener NFT, Philip K. Dick drawings NFTs?, the motivation is the mistake, an artificial scarcity, not for hateful means, the Kingdom of Redonda, M.P. Shiel was crowned King of Rednoda as a boy, this rapist plagiarist, its a scam that has legs, pretty sure these are NFTs, Vincent Price as a lord of Redonda, basically NFTs could be anything, software license keys, why do we want that?, infinitely replicable, why do we want to make it scarce, Substack will integrate NFTs, a technology that we don’t have a use for, your password for your account, the jpegs are largely useless proof of concepts, etherium wallet, software should be free, digital clothing for their avatars, PUBG, a book takes paper, sewing, glue, and trucks, stupid and wrong and evil, Elon Musk needs lithium for his car batteries not because he likes couping people, the purity of the goal, Bezos’s pure goal is *ME*, the people climbing Everest, me shaking Obama’s hand, flying back to Kathmandu, helicopter rides for everybody, why Shatner going to space is a marker as a society, government control of how we spend and communicate, the jpg thing is ridiculous.

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A conversation between Wernher von Braun and Willy Ley

SFFaudio Online Audio

Archive.org has a wonderful 90 minute English language conversation between two famous German rocket scientists!

Check it out |MP3|

A historic conversation between German rocket scientists Wernher von Braun and Willy Ley. Highlights include the development of the German rocket programs during WWII, and the space program in the 1950’s. Recorded June 9th and 23rd, 1959, in New York City and Redstone Arsenal, Huntstville, Alabama.

Indeed hearing Wernher von Braun and Willy Ley talk is very cool.

Ley and von Braun talk about:
old school days in Germany, Hermann Oberth‘s influential book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (“By Rocket Into Interplanetary Space“), Fritz Lang movie Woman In The Moon, rocketry and rockets from the V-2 to the Saturn rocket family, geosynchronous satellites, the Mercury project, space stations, weather satellites, the Van Allen radiation belt, the role of humans in space, sending men around the Moon, the logistics of photographing and visiting Venus and Mars, space probes, a “semi-philosophical question about Man’s rights in space”, theological objections (and blessings), the compatibility between religion and science, Blaise Pascal, extraterrestrial life, vegetation on Mars, smart aliens, Arthur C. Clarke’s first law.

As you can see it is very historic!

Wernher von Braun (left) and Willy Ley (right)

I won’t say much more about the fascinating Wernher von Braun as I recently posted a biographical radio dramatization about him. But I will point out that Willy Ley is pretty damn amazing. Ley was an avid reader of Science Fiction, contributed science articles to Astounding Stories and Galaxy Magazine and was a member of the Trap Door Spiders – there is a wonderful Wikipedia entry about him to explore HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

My Destiny, The Stars: A 1969 South African radio drama about Wernher von Braun

SFFaudio Online Audio

In researching for another post, on an obscure Science Fiction radio drama called SF’68, I discovered a cool website about a South African radio station called “Springbok Radio” and one of its other programmes: The Challenge Of Space!

Here’spart of their description of The Challenge Of Space:

“Sponsored by Carling Black Label Beer, this series examined man’s early ventures into space. The space race of the 1950’s and 1960’s spawned this series, especially the Apollo missions to the moon in the late 1960’s. … recorded at the AFS Studios in Johannesburg… Many of the stories were dramatisations of true events and also included futuristic tales of space exploration of the future.”

Reading that, I was excited to hear the only extant episode, the second one broadcast, which is about Wernher von Braun!

After hearing the episode I am reminded of one of the few movies I’ve been waiting more than a decade to see, a 1960 biographical film about von Braun called I Aim At The Stars. I was convinced it sounded like a fun film when one comedian pointed out that it should have been subtitled “But Sometimes I Hit London.” Have a listen to My Destiny, The Stars.

Springbok Radio - The Challenge Of SpaceThe Challenge Of Space – My Destiny, The Stars
By June Dixon; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: Springbok Radio
Broadcast: May 26, 1969
Cast:
Donald Monat as Charles B. Ryan
Clive Parnell
George Korelin
Kerry Jordann
Hal Orlandini
Diane Wilson

After hearing this episode I am reminded of one of the few movies I’ve been waiting more than a decade to see, a 1960 biographical film about von Braun called I Aim At The Stars. I was convinced it sounded like a fun film when one satirist noted that I Aim At The Stars should be subtitled “But Sometimes I Hit London.”

Posted by Jesse Willis