The SFFaudio Podcast #638 – READALONG: Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #638 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons and Trish E. Matson talk about Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre

Talked about on today’s show:
1978, kicking around for years and years, The Entropy Effect, the first Star Trek novel, Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand, a report with science fiction fandom, Will’s choice, The Moon And The Sun, Louis XIV, Jesuit scientist, sea-monsters, consciousness about the world, politics, first contact, a little person, a magnum opus, 1998, a capstone, the Hugo for best novel, Nebula and Locus awards, Heinlein dedicated Friday to Vonda McIntyre, polyamory, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marge Piercy, Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, a tender and compassionate adventure story, swashbuckling, saddle buckling, acrobat skill, diplomat skill, real life swashbuckling, the personal rather than the institutional, dedicating a book to other people, my agent and my wife, turning institutional into personal, this is not a Heinlein book, why Heinlein thought something about it, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, the first in a trilogy, there’s a lot in this book, three different stories, little vistas, technologies used on this world, biology as a technology, very Dune, birth control, just slide it in, weaving world-building elements, the door dilated, second wave feminism, bears rereading, destroying so we can rebuild, an Earth empire planet, comparative text looking, the names of the snakes, October 1973, 1978, the ending, tons of changes, a lot dropped, stuff added, the last sentence, healers heal quickly, February and March would have come out in late 77 and the start of 78, a polish, a lot of plot threads that don’t go anywhere, we think she’s going to the city and then go to the stars, an Ursula K. Le Guin novel: City Of Illusions, The City And The Stars, rocket jockey finds love in space, subverted expectations, amazingly clever for a first novel, female protagonists in leadership positions, being in control of your own biology, what is he talking…, literally 100 years out of date, very Dune like, sex-education, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, biofeedback, evolving and changing and growing, outside of the center city, fighting for power, Jesse’s death, not dated at all, more social SF than hard SF, snake medicine good for somethings not so good for other things, making slaves, lies as a form of control, a 1973 person, in a religion that is telling you what to not do and what to do, people who are reading books, if you’re in the science fiction readership, an inoculation against the future, abstinence through yoga, will that change society? 100%, so immune to disease, breeding her horse, its a mule, where the novel doesn’t work as well, unfulfilled notes, what that material is made of, relationship material, a fix-up, a new view into the that world and a new problem to solve, The Lone Ranger, Kung Fu, a western, The Mandalorian, not with a flamethrower, education and information, Paul’s D&D tweet, the setting of a D&D game, she’s a druid, that time she bit someone, the crazy, the crazies, what we’re supposed to think about, Jesse is honour bound not to talk about the book (lest Jesse be a hypocrite), psychedelic, a drug book, heroin users, a medical problem, a dreamsnake breeder, a drug dealer, scenes with this character, the third part with the dome, alien plants, did the otherworlders come and leave the snakes?, left for us to excavate, going to visit her teachers, she’s lost her journal, its going to go well, how the dreamsnakes reproduce, to drop it there, why these things exist in the story, her real name, she’s snake, bestowed upon you, like the title doctor, call me nurse, the Doctor, Doctor Who, The Master, two kinds of degrees, the Bachelor, the Rani, other time lords, a special figure, living up to that title, a badge of honour, the War Doctor, training be damned, on a sentence by sentence level her prose is quite poetic, why isn’t this a classic?, she’s doing a recipe for school, for a Clarion West class, very powerful, setting things up, laying things down, this future, that not paying off is where it has gone wrong, the Kung Fu aspect, with her actions, she does a lot of telling along with the showing, every gun doesn’t have to be a chekov’s gun, a sandbox vs. a railroad, all the more rich, why you shouldn’t turn your D&D campaign into a novel, Jesse’s birthday present to Will:

The Birthday Present by Jesse

Once upon a time there was a gentle black bear who always wore the disguise of a human when going shopping.
He was a sly bear, so instead of just wearing a mask made of a human face, he also had gloves made from the skin of human hands.
Because it was his mother’s birthday he was determined to buy her a nice gift, in this case a bone china teapot.
As he approached the city gate the bear in human guise was asked by the city guard if he was “just a bear wearing a human face and human hands as gloves.”
Instead of denying it, the bear smote his challenger, his powerful claws making short work of the sentry.
In the third gift store he went into the disguised bear found a delightful bone china teapot with pink flowers and intertwining green ivy decorating its sides and lid and the bear knew it would make his mother sow happy.
Asking if the proprietor took human corpses as currency, the bear proffered the guard’s corpse, and after a moment’s calculation of the taxes, the shop owner consented, knowing there was plenty of bone in the corpse for the making of new teapots, and skin for the making of masks and gloves.

The End

making the story better, symmetrical, solving all of a story’s problems, a mini-Clarion, two stories set in the same city, adding the depth of richness, whatever you lay down pays off, out of the tunnels in Fallout 3, each individual stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, novels are a marketing campaign to move paper, novelettes are better, the whole market for audible.com, longer books not better books, pushing novels over short stories, 50s and 60s and 70s, trilogies, I need these stories to be individual rather than be collective, healers heal quickly, don’t think of it as a novel, Alan Kaster’s INFINIVOX audiobooks, fiction podcasts, Escape Pod, Podcastle, Uncanny Magazine, Clarkesworld, new fiction, another Heinlein, more about snakes, the dream part, hearing about it over these decades, something Scott said, second wave feminism, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, totally changed the fabric of society, what makes this book good, Trekonomics, what makes Star Trek good, its the ideology, a beautiful child with deep sexual shame, what makes this book good, how people could relate to each other, whether science fiction should be didactic, stigma, how you can relate to other people, the post-apocalyptic setting, step-out side the system, what science fiction can do, fear, a powerful story, deep truth, escape from pain, forget myself, fantastic things, this is what made it really good, the ideology, all of the baggage of society we live in, Gödel, Escher, Bach, imagining differently being, life outside of capitalism, the divine right of kings, different ways of living, examine our assumptions, you cannot protect someone completely without enslaving them, puts it into action, giving advice, Hippocratic oaths, ethics, a great negotiator, a great character, as a TV show, Raised By Wolves, character based, what makes Deep Space Nine such a great show, a darker prophetic aspect, outside of time, all the more powerful on screen, the way other people react to her, the new shirt, her feelings about the shirt, a very talented writer, Superluminal, disparate elements, reacting to assumptions being challenged, legalistic, a fun read, started from a short story, right after Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the very serious Mr. Spock, this is just her western, the genre she’s writing in, responding to the stranger, Conan stories, the effect is rather different with the Conan stories, a female inversion of the Conan stories, a wizard who has a pet monkey, Rogues In The House, scalpeling and herbs and a couple of snakes and the sticking around, the handsomest youth in town, thrown a lady over his shoulder and running off into another adventure, Melissa continues on, part of her being a woman, making a family vs. fleeing a family, just not marketable, center city, communication with the outside universe, an oppressive thing, the center as a first world nation, the strange weirdo people, whatever skills they brought, the one thing you don’t really feel, The Wizard Of Oz, poppies and heroin, ultimately it would be a lie, underwhelming, so locked up, not because you’re powerful but because you’re weak, when people are in bounty the instinct is to share it, Jesse hates feel good stories, fruit trees, a four fruit tree, what it is to go down and pick berries, a tree shoving apples in your face, you fucked it up, the food bank, the food bank is a new thing, the element of the church, the corporate thing, that’s a different show, how the health care system is terrible, wandering doctors, why don’t you move into town, healers retire to communities, she’s got the arthritis, word of mouth, she came to help that child, messengers, caravans, ships in the ocean would call out the news to each other, a pro-vaccine book, Arvin, we change viewpoints, arrested for assault, oh this is plot, action rather than dialogue, more dialogue please, a sidelight on the mayor, to figure out the truth, the slavery stuff, things changing over time, half-life calculations, radioactivity, Babylon 5, “The Deconstruction Of Falling Stars”, A Canticle For Leibowitz, what we assume, maybe they can heal her there, maybe the can’t, they’re liars, he says he’s going to heal us, the mirror of center in this dreamsnake cult, pain-relief, sound like real life, enslaved to a product that’s illegal, the externality, excommunicate them, damaged by whatever community they’re in, Melissa is hiding all sorts of things, the stable manager, the lies are consistent, something to the rumours, not face value, the reasons are forgotten, whatever led to the apocalypse doesn’t matter, we’ve got to learn to cooperate, families of three now instead of two, we need to work together, how the chores are going to be distributed, gathering the firewood, cleaning the horses, Scott may have heard of families, a family isn’t a democracy, an anarchy, age and experience, make demands, too harsh, fleeing the society of the family, fleeing on their own happy, Melissa wants to do all the chores, seeing the value in herself, self-respect, a nice journey, good messaging, the war was long over almost forgotten it had destroyed everyone, those domes, Larry Niven Ringworld material (scrith), The Ringworld Engineers, none of them cooperated, dwindled away, the engines off the Ringworld, it would pay off to read that terrible book, progressively worse, worthwhile?, seemed inexplicable, we like that too, adventuring, subversion, the god gambit, Speaker To Animals, if Will was in the adventure party he’d be Kizinti, he feels contempt for the fucking plant eaters, Bechdel Test, two aliens talking to each other, Garak and Quark, you solids, Odo, actors under, Nessus, comedy gold, Ringworld should be done as a comedy, Louis Wu is the straight man, the three person partnership, Jesse and Meredith and Alice, non-binary, they’re all female, Anna Fields, the cassette flipping information, you buy a license from Audible.com, buy from Blackstone and Downpour you do own it, Ringworld on Earth with a lot less rocket stuff, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre AUDIOBOOK

Of Mist And Grass And Sand by Vonda N. McIntyre

Of Mist And Grass And Sand by Vonda N. McIntyre

Of Mist And Grass And Sand by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Serpent's Death by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Serpent's Death by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Serpent's Death by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Broken Dome by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Broken Dome by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Broken Dome by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Broken Dome by Vonda N. McIntyre

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The SFFaudio Podcast #267 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #267 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Follow this link for a list of our latest arrivals. Note that not all books listed are discussed in the podcast.

Talked about on today’s show: Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson, “minotaurpunk”; the Thirty Years War; 1634 by David Weber and Eric Flint; The New Food by Stephen Leacock; LEGOs!; “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”; we love narrator Jonathan Davis; Runcible spoon and vorpel sword; intentionality of names in Philip K. Dick’s work; place names in Sussex and Middle Earth; class structure from Plato to Huxley; Beyond Lies the Wub, Philip K. Dick’s first published short story; Screamers film based on Dick’s Second Variety; Jenny would like to be a rutabaga; American Gods and rereading books; The Status Civilization and Mindswap by Robert Sheckley; Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy; Metro 2033 became a video game; Aristotelian unity of time, place, and action in post-apocalyptic genre; non-Western tropes take us off the beaten path; The Queen of Air and Darkness by T.H. White; tattoos make urban fantasy; prevalence of science fiction and fantasy in YA; the rule of three in fiction and humor; books about books; Sex Criminals comic by Matt Fraction; the Comics Squee podcast discussed it; the singular strengths of the comics medium; The Prestige; mirroring in fiction; The Prisoner of Zenda; Lovecraft writing Houdini; Pinkerton and Blackwater; Second Hand by Rajan Khanna featured in Lightspeed podcast; Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World; Robert Bloch’s Hellbound Train; Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country; space operas are repurposed westerns; westerns don’t feature enough women; Star Trek; westerns on Mars; The Audiobookaneers blog might drive us out of business; Jenny looks to the future of bleakness and paranoia; Best of all Possible Worlds by Karen Lord; Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross, reviewed by Jesse.

Sex Criminals Volume One

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #200 – READALONG: Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #200 – Jesse, Mirko, and Gary Lovisi discuss the Science Fiction novel Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi.

Talked about on today’s show:
the great description, Audible.com, it’s a prison novel, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel, it’s a book collector’s novel, Philip K. Dick, a reality dysfunction, The Man In The High Castle, 1984 by George Orwell, “retconning“, Stalin, airbrushing history, a new Science Fiction idea!, Amazon’s Kindle, Mark Twain, “The Department Of Control”, J. Edgar Hoover, Simon is the most evil character ever, oddball individualists, a straw man gulag, one way of keeping the population in control is to send troublemakers away, another is to give them someone to hate, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, the Attica Prison riot (1971), Arabella Rashid, entertainment media, when you can’t tell what the truth is anymore it’s very easy to control people, maybe it’s an allegory for our times, Paperback Parade, SF writers were wrong about what our times are like, Mars, crime novels, Science Fiction as a metaphor, people are scared of reading, “I like good writing”, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, getting the word out about Mars Needs Books!, Gargoyle Nights, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance, horror, fantasy, nice and short, short books pack a punch (and don’t waste your time), Stephen King, Patrick O’Brian, ideas, paperback novels from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, customers want thick books, Winter In Maine by Gerard Donovan, were looking at a different readership today, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, there’s nothing that doesn’t add to the story, “Lawrence Block is scary good”, Donald E. Westlake, Robert Bloch, Eight Million Ways To Die, A Pair Of Recycled Jeans by Lawrence Block, Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), Charles Ardai (was on SFFaudio Podcast #090), book-collectors, Murder Of A Bookman by Gary Lovisi (is also on Audible.com), collectable glassware, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, cool dialogue, Driving Hell’s Highway by Gary Lovisi (also on Audible.com), That Hell-bound Train by Robert Bloch, noir, Violence Is The Only Solution by Gary Lovisi (paperback), hard-boiled, revenge, betrayal, personality disorder, Sherlock Holmes, westerns, “if there’s one truth in the universe that I know it’s that Germans love westerns”, which frontier are you talking about?, The Wild Bunch, a western with tommyguns, Akira Kurosawa, Outland (is High Noon in space), Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, hard-boiled, violence, the Martian national anthem, Prometheus Award, libertarian motifs, world-building, GryphonBooks.com, Hurricane Sandy, Wildside Press, POD Books, eBooks, fire and water, that paperback is still in readable condition in 150 years?, fanzines, Jack Vance, The Dying Earth, Robert Silverberg, Dell Mapbacks, paperbacks were disposable, used bookstores, sex books.

Audible - Mars Needs Books! by Gary Livosi

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Hollywood Fantasies: Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Hollywood FantasiesHollywood Fantasies – Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town
By Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Ed Gorman, John Jakes, David Morrell, Michael Reaves, David Schow, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg and Henry Slesar; Read by Susan Anspach, David Birney, Harlan Ellison, Jamie Farr, Laini Kazan, Steve Kmetko, Harley Jane Kozak, Favid Madden and John Rubinstein
4 cassettes – Approx 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dove Audio
Published: 1997 – hardcopy out of print (available for download at Audible)
ISBN: 0787109460
Themes: Fantasy / Hollywood / Movies / Television / Westerns / Witchcraft / Virtual Reality / Magic /

Learn the truth behind the mask of Hollywood in these ten bizarre tales of dreams and dream weavers, movies and movie-makers, by some of the most respected fantasy writers of our time.

This disappointing collection has a few redeeming tales, but few must-listen gems. The majority of the stories feel like filler – many feature tacked on twist endings that are less than stellar. Apparently Harlan Ellison’s reading of his own story, “Laugh Track,” has been modified in the performance – with the addition of a few lines here and there – if anybody’s gonna mess with a story it best be the author. The cover art is utilitarian but colorful, packaging for this audiobook is however very poor, most examples of these 4 cassette plastic cases with cardboard covers have become unbound as the glue holding the two together was not up to its task. Another minor annoyance, the mislabeling of cassette 4, Ed Gorman’s story “Gunslinger” is said to run through all of side 7 and onto 8, when it is the reverse. “Dead Image” starts on side 7 and runs through all of side 8.

Stories Included:

“The Never-Ending Western Movie” by Robert Sheckley
Jamie Farr’s gruff cowboy voice successfully narrates this 1976 short story, which posits an alternate world in which the old-fashioned movie serial westerns and reality television have merged. This is hard enough on the actors, who now have to do their own stunts, but when the prop guns fire real bullets acting scared isn’t too tough.

“One For The Horrors” by David Schow
A run-down movie theater shows prints of lost movie masterpieces like The Man Who Would Be King starring Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable? The only thing that could top that is what’s playing tomorrow night! This one really is fantasy! Strictly for film connoisseurs – it held my interest but could have exited the stage a little more interestingly. Author David Schow must have done some fascinatingly fun research for this one. Reader Steve Kmetko works some magic of his own in the theater of the ear.

“The Man Who Wanted To Be In The Movies” by John Jakes
George wants to be in movies, so he visits his local licensed witch to cast a spell that’ll do the job. Harley Jane Kozak, the narrator, is fine – but the story itself is absolutely pointless and uninteresting.

“Laugh Track” by Harlan Ellison
Have you ever wondered where the laugh tracks from television sitcoms come from? Meet Wally Modisett, the Phantom Sweetener. Originally appearing in “Weird Tales” Magazine in 1984, this overly lengthy tale is almost made up for in part by Ellison’s enthusiastic performance, told in first person.

“Reality Unlimited’ by Robert Silverberg
Virtual Reality movies. Neat idea, but that’s all it is, the idea is there but the story is M.I.A.. When this tale was written in 1957 it might have had some point to it, today it’s barely a curiosity. A disappointing story by the usually reliable Silverberg. But on the other hand Susan Anspach reading of it was fine.

“The Movie People” by Robert Bloch
Movie extras have been in Hollywood films since the silent era, but just because they have no lines doesn’t mean we can’t read between them. Adequate and with a modicum of originality this tale would have benefited from a few more drafts before publication – it wanted to be a better story. John Rubenstein takes his time with the telling – a laconic voice that doesn’t detract from the story.

“Werewind” by Michael Reaves
A serial killer and a lonely howling wind may be connected. The only question is how. Marginally listenable, Michael Reaves’ story isn’t predictable, but neither is it comprehensible. It feels like a refugee from a Danielle Steele novelization of A Nightmare on Elm Street – and that doesn’t make any sense to me either! David Madden’s reading is far better than this short deserves.

“The Movie Makers” by Henry Slesar
Henry Slesar’s ode to 1950’s science fiction b-movies succeeds – in disappointing the same way those bad movies do – minus the cheesy special visual effect. The twist ending is also predictable. Lainie Kazan’s serviceable reading is adequate to the story’s requirements – though consider the predominant male characterization a female narrator is a questionable choice.

“Gunslinger” by Ed Gorman
In the early Twentieth century cowboys were heading away from the range and towards Hollywood, where they’d take on roles in the burgeoning western film frenzy. One man however is has a score to settle with one of these cowboys turned film actors, and its gonna be real bullets that’ll fly. “Gunslinger is illogically placed in this collection – it is not fantasy. It is set in Hollywood, but isn’t particularly fanciful. David Birney doesn’t have much to do here, but neither does he fail to achieve what’s required – to tell the story.

“Dead Image” by David Morrell
A thinly veiled tale about movie rebel James Dean, that asks the question: If Dean had a second chance at life would he do things any different? This very interesting tale depends upon a listener’s knowledge of James Dean’s life and death – also neat was the appearance of a Dennis Hopper type. Morrell’s tale isn’t likely to be turned into a film itself, but it’s full of neat ruminations on destiny and fame. Jamie Farr’s deep voice makes a second, and very welcome, appearance in this collection. He’s becoming one of my favorite celebrity narrators.

Posted by Jesse Willis