The SFFaudio Podcast #734 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard


The SFFaudio Podcast #734– The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard – read by Connor Kaye. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novella (3 hours 30 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Trish E. Matson, Connor Kaye, Alex, and Cora Buhlert.

Talked about on today’s show:
with changes, Fantasy, February 1953, Gutenberg Australia, some art, is that supposed to be Conan, always cleanshaven, he has a knife so he would have shaved, buck naked, a great costume, Conan has a hat!, Conan cosplays, a blue jacket with silver buttons, a lacquered hat, researching hats, 100 years out of date, a pirate hat, the Del Rey edition, Gregory Manchess, Irene Gallo, the comic adaptation, an adaptation of the L. Sprague de Camp, he never gets the hat, inferior version, more authentic and more Robert E. Howard, pirate sword, broadsword, Villains Of All Nations by Marcus Rediker, piracy in the golden age, Howard doesn’t care about piracy as much as storytelling, how terrible De Camp is when he puts his hands on Conan, respectful of the lady’s title, not within his character, he’s not a classist, protective not deferential, Gary Gianni, the pirate sword, full pirate, his hat is a girl named Tina, tricorn hat, not recognizable, not normally naked with a loincloth, armour, Conan doesn’t have its own look, fur diaper, barechested, entering dynamically into the argument, the manor house is the ship wreckage, not a cutlass, par for the course, a hundred years earlier sword in Conanland, well worth getting, original typescripts, great illustrations, introductory essays, the title, Treasure Of Tranicos, the appeal, which is the more Howard Conan title?, not evocative, Swords Of The Red Brotherhood, slowly over the course of a week, who the Black Stranger was, think of how many times some stranger shows up, also refers to Conan, three pirates, the busiest beach in Pictland, so full of coincidences, what? who’s this?, built this castle, there’s a black stranger on the beach, a whipping scene, some Pict’s head comes flying out of nowhere, black hair, black skin, Thoth Amon, gladly excised, a drinking party where everybody’s frozen, he’s having fun, he’s pulling a Rings Of Power, is this hobbit Sauron?, left as an exercise for the reader, he is the author insert, his clothes are described awesomely, stepping out of the shadows, Conan, who else?, Blackbeard, famous pirates stepping out of history, that’s the gimmick is going for, all after the treasure, the misunderstanding of what Howard is doing, I can fix it, a very abrupt ending, the comic’s ending, a bag of jewels, that’s when men of civilized lands want, the speech, I’m gonna go be a pirate again, the demon has been destroyed, finance a revolution, his Conan chronology, the story doesn’t need this, Howard didn’t care about the myth arc, it weakens the story, strengthens its position in the myth arc, de Camp is good if he does his own thing, he cannot impersonate Howard’s writing, his rewrite detracts from the story, a weird twist in Conan’s story, Beyond The Black River, he feels ready, maybe somebody needs to go fix this, maybe a year, runs through the Pict wilderness, off we go, carefree younger bloodthirsty pirate Conan, why he thought that, didn’t fit his character, a line of paperbacks he wants to push, numbers on the spine, collect them all, a way for him to make money, it’s better now I improved it, Jesse the Cimmerian, the Black Vulmea version, you might get sued, perfectly legal, the name change, Verezano, what August Derleth did to H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, all the stories are separate, the milieu, loosely connected, Jules de Grandin, a reference back to an earlier, “complete in this issue”, the promise, a Varney the Vampire, I hate waiting that week, anthology series vs. the appeal of series, sold out that week, massive problems finding copies of Weird Tales in Cross Plains, loose series, what happened so far, they’re the thing that keeps your reading, 3.5 hours, a substantial chunk of Weird Tales, Famous Fantastic Mysteries [or Fantastic Novels], too long, Red Nails was split, the whipping scene, Howard specialists, Bobby Derie, how absolutely terrified, an urbane cultured individual, a descent into madness, not very weird, supernatural elements, a historical story, a straight pirate story, unsold Kull stories, relistening to prepare, where Conan really enters the story (at the 2 hour point), The Cromcast, Rusty Burke, their pre-chat is at the beginning, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in real-life pirates never buried their treasure, their whole deal, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were wrong about pirates, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968), they live a brief life, they want some earthly pleasure, a very unrealistic portrayal of pirates of the golden age, Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser, they wenched, it they drank it, the ISIS flag, found family vs. war against the world, anti-slavery, becoming a free man, they’re going to want to have me as a captain, a captain is elected, democracy and everybody having their share, they need me for navigation, Conan is not a class guy, he’s a race guy, in Queen Of The Black Coast, we get it wrong, she rules the seas, worshiped of the goddess, Valeria is another pirate, like Mary Read, a classic ancient roman dictator, The Isle Of Pirate’s Doom, quartermaster, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Master Of The Ballantrae: A Winter’s Tale, playing a game like in The Slithering Shadow, a gothic novel, supernatural seeming events, a giant slug monster, frog-monster, black heart, A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare, a coming together, sack of gold very small, woman on the arm, Tina is the hardest to explain story character, a prophetic gift, uncanny, what’s going on the beach, she sees, more plot device than character, a whipping scene, child characters, he liked children (not that way), Solomon Kane, The Moon Of Skulls, a kid he knew?, a Nathaniel Hawthorne sort of story, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a story set in a witch worried land, in the wilderness, the conception of a daughter out of wedlock, the scarlet A, why is that?, just a way to pad out the book, he’s read a book, what can I do with this, about men, our Duke runaway, civil war, no matter who wins the house and the land is saved, a lord who has runaway from his land to escape a demon, manifested, two demons, the collapse, Thoth is the black man, he sent the demon, in the comic book adaptation, a silver candelabra at the demon, in the original it is a silver bench weighing 100 pounds, what makes this a weird story is two things, the frozen men, the poisonous air, playing a role as in Nathaniel Hawthorne, the idea that people think there are supernatural elements, demons in the woods, Arabian Nights, folktales, the Mary Celeste, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, eerie circumstances, Beyond The Black River, just a great story, tacked on, otherwise Farnsworth Wright, sold into slavery, a juju man?, African voodoo priest, the central character, the game he’s playing, who is the central character, the count’s story, after he’s hung himself, the demon made him do it, tear him apart, if this was The House Of The Seven Gables, a a mouthful of blood, a curse on the family, something you internalize, externalize the demon, a slug/frog monster in the basement, an amazing scene, it might all of been in his head, kicking him into the fireplace, a superstition barbarian, knew the Picts pretty well, the shape of a man but the shadow was not that of a man, very against the Picts, he would kill us but he wouldn’t leave another white man to die amongst the Picts, the mythology and lore, in a cage in an toucan or eagle tribe villages, listening carefully, they’re neighbours, ancient rivalry, the Hyborian lands are basically Texas, in league with the Picts, you don’t understand , a feud older than the world, you know your enemy, traded from one to the other, tangling with each other, the Atlantean, geography is very important, Aquilonia is France, Nemedia is Germany, Zingara is Spain, Shem is Israel, Stygia is Egypt, do you have a map of the Hyborian lands, every issue of every Conan comic, a little splash of blood, just fucking terrible, Koth is south of this place, Bossonian Marches, and Poitain, a giant forest, a temperate rainforest, David J. West, bring to me your grey squirrel knowledge, a jungle off of France, it’s all Texas, get drunk and have sex with women, New Orleans, Tulane University, Cimmeria, Dark Valley, lots of trees so depressing, you bring your depression with you, buckskin, Hawkeye, Natty Bumbo, The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, the difference between Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, jokes written for an individual, not meant for publication for everyone, same stories same ideas, Robert E. Howard is like a sponge, his ideas, he’s doing somebody else’s work, Thunder River, a very Texas names, toponyms, character names, he doesn’t care, how much time did he spend on that map, exactly straight lines, why does the German border with France look the way it does?, it used to be the ocean, it helps dictate so much, one of the first nation states, the ancient inhabitants of Scotland, his overall attitude is exactly the same as the timeline, is the story good?, indistinctness, a really nice fantasy story, the maps in books is a newish invention, it’s Tolkien, the timeline, that timeline, The Phoenix On The Sword, don’t read them in order, Conan Of The Isles, a finite amount of time, so many adventures that happened, there can always be more, it’s mythical rather than historical, Conan is an old guy in a tavern telling stories about his life, I was king of Aquilonia once, listening to old frontierspeople, P. Schuyler Miller’s Probable Outline Of Conan’s Career, savage sword is in this, very broad strokes, and then an age of man passed, story notes, Almuric, a massive infodump, four or five pages of explaining, the decamp rewrite, connects us to the next story and the next book, extrapolation, in the fur diaper every single time, slightly different breeks, he’s hard on his clothes, The God In The Bowl, just stepped out of the cradle, climbs up a tower and kills an elephant and buys a drink and a hat, Afghulistan, silk, knee-breeches, a gay pride parade, made up by Frank Frazetta, he was really good at it, Margaret Brundage’s Conan looks malnourished, default D&D barbarian, we forget how little people read Howard, a long stretch where he wasn’t a thing, Frazetta, De Camp, and Lin Carter, the comics, a little Gnome Press, Lancer and Ace, the comics define that image, as opposed to the text, how excited Savage Sword Of Conan readers, the Conan movie is coming, he’s got a broadsword, a fur diaper, his super-hero costume, the S on his shirt, the underwear, and a cape, cowl with ears, serial, something we never see in American television, Doctor Who, film serials, The Lone Ranger, 52 episodes a season, they never connect, Batman (the Adam West TV show), two-parter, 77 Sunset Strip, Babylon 5‘s serialized arc, Twin Peaks was a weird fiction soap opera, a soap opera, hyper-reality, sexual molestation, deep horror, heavy for today, a father molests his daughter, L.A. Law, a crime drama, final exam, eating crisps, back to the story, the things that make this story work, how stories should be, people think that they can fix it, let me tell you how to open a story, before chapter one, the log walls of the manor walls he had built, his hard earned security, where the darkness seemed thicker than elsewhere, limp with damp sweat, a bluish glow, even in his swoon, what does that add to the story?, Conan fans, oh, it’s a conan story, having Conan in it, Beyond The Black River, Wolves Beyond The Border, Valeria, The People Of The Black Circle, posthumous collaborations with Robert E. Howard, August Derleth’s career, a tension between the audience, a fan petition to reshoot the ending of a movie, what we want from Conan or Robert E. Howard stories, all the arguing and infighting, two different pirates, some kind of code, what is a truce?, I have a ship, how are we going to resolve this, the cabbage, wolf, and sheep, other people reacting to Conan, I don’t want you on my ship, you will to turn my ship against me, preconceptions, the Schwarzenegger movies, three terrible people, fascinating characters, Black Colossus, weird intrigue, Yasmina, doesn’t want to fight a bunch of wizards, letting go of your preconceptions, different than in other stories, more raw and less sympathetic, willing to take advantage of other people, is the character always like this?, The Hour Of The Dragon, written after, similar personalities, really cynical, not very sympathetic, you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, not sad about it, even the women and children massacred at the end, the young man and the dog, not even a likeable dog, a terrible dog, collect some Pict heads for the dog, the character we’re getting, younger, more selfish, the oldest Conan, among the first written, Zenobia the slave, a noblewoman, he needs to flee, go without me I’ll just slow you down, I’m gonna come back, I’m going to remember it, this honour, another adventure, that sense of responsibility, come back for them, the ladies of his court are being debauched by Nemedians, being King pushed him, The Phoenix On The Sword, this weird dream, I don’t care about all this king stuff, absolutely furious, horrible stuff happening, why the barons are not taking responsibility for it, did his personality stand out?, Queen Of The Black Coast Conan, he’s in pirate mode, they’re all in the game, the wildcard, who else am I supposed to root for?, sweep the board, Knives Out (2019) Robert E. Howard style, he never tries to take advantage of them, not very honourable, Pool Of The Black One, he’s done it before, washes up on a pirate ships, take over pirate ships, he’s first mate, Iron Shadows In The Moon, slave mutiny, go back to your villages, myth busted, Connor’s thesis, women and children without names, fairly innocent people, they’re all foolish because they followed this mad count, why it’s his story, that’s how we shouldn’t read it, the Jeremy Brett adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, they opened almost every episode NOT with Sherlock Holmes, consultation, when Conan Doyle gets tired of Sherlock Holmes stories, weirder, where Watson is almost the only character, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, 221 Baker St., we see some weird things happen, that preview is saying “this is the important part”, what makes series popular, The Twilight Zone, an amazing afterlife, as the reboots have shown, a serialized mystery murder series that sustained, an Alan Moore style iconic character, a professional entertainment show, we don’t criticise the author on stage, editing it for television, good writing, where Conan is reintroduced, two other pirates have shown up on the beach, being Weird Tales readers,

A man strode out from the hangings that masked a chamber door, and advanced toward the table without haste or hesitation. Instantly he dominated the group, and all felt the situation subtly charged with a new, dynamic atmosphere.

The stranger was as tall as either of the freebooters, and more powerfully built than either, yet for all his size he moved with pantherish suppleness in his high, flaring-topped boots. His thighs were cased in close-fitting breeches of white silk, his wide-skirted sky-blue coat open to reveal an open-necked white silken shirt beneath, and the scarlet sash that girdled his waist. There were silver acorn-shaped buttons on the coat, and it was adorned with gilt-worked cuffs and pocket-flaps, and a satin collar. A lacquered hat completed a costume obsolete by nearly a hundred years. A heavy cutlass hung at the wearer’s hip.

‘Conan!’ ejaculated both freebooters together, and Valenso and Galbro caught their breath at that name.

‘Who else?’ The giant strode up to the table, laughing sardonically at their amazement.

Conan The Salaryman, the favourite pronoun for Conan, the thrillpoint, those amazing reveal scenes, that word “stranger” comes up 18 times, “The Coming Of The Black Man”, a pretty good story, the best of the unsold stories, The Vale Of Lost Women is better, Conan fights a god, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Niord, Amra, The God In The Bowl, he’s playing games with literature, it’s time to do a detective story, Conan does Agatha Christie, an investigator, this mysterious murder case, a locked room murder, Mary Roberts Reinhart, the snake did it, The Speckled Band, Rogues In The House, Edgar Allan Poe’s Rue Morgue story, the monkey did it, sardonic, having fun making his own version of somebody else’s story, L. Sprague De Camp in fighting against the story, read the stories individually on their own, the order they are written, Man Eaters Of Zamboula, the best story of all of them, Red Nails, ambitious, it’s got a dinosaur, it’s got lasers, the laser wands are hard to beat, decadent, doing black lotus all day, a practice run for Red Nails, one big thing that shocked Jesse, railing against, pirate ship lay at anchor (full sails), always put gunports, we get this line, saw them drawing barrels of wine, if I had a hundred men, there goes a rocket from the red hand, they have rockets!, part of the argument that had been made, redone as Conan, part of the argument, the video comments, [Karl Edward] Wagner, magic or alchemy, even if they had black powder, a very modern term, feels kind of jarring, weird glowing gems, radium, radiation sickness, one city that developed way to fast, his version of The Time Machine, Morlocks and Eloi, evolution is real, shaking me to my core, a rocket from the red hand, Black Colossus, a practical pirate ship, a rocket store, Rocket Outlet, rockets imply Gandalf, the rocket passes with the sound of an express train, a football, Tolkien, a clock on his mantle, evokes westerns, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, the Picts are Indians, moccasins and tomahawks, Normandy or Brittany, toucans are not a European bird, grey squirrels are not a European squirrel, The Brain Eaters by Frank Belknap Long, the Mi-go, Robert Bloch, The Were-snake, a famous piece of art from Weird Tales, Clark Ashton Smith, The Isle Of Pirates Doom, a Poseidonis story, A Voyage To Sfanamoe, super-scientists the only island of Atlantis that has yet to sink, naturally, blind and deaf mute slaves, they fly off to Venus, they map Earth before they live, old men with five foot beards, evil twins, Dr Seuss like animals, one of them sprouts a flower from his hand, die painlessly, the whole story, they die horribly, The Forbidden Forest, becomes enflowered, monster flowers, the evil garden, organs turned into plants, he’s gone, a new Robert E. Howard story, wow this is amazing, Conan By Tweet, The Country Of The Knife, El Borak, Complete Stories Magazine, August 1936, every chapter has a title, a Jane Austen and Cinderella ripoff, super-classist, Keeping The Castle by Patrice Kindl, a YA, 2012, very well done, hate the stepsisters, some over the shoulder stuff, a feature not a bug sort of thing, Disney princesses, his character doesn’t matter very much, her unique goodness, the prince is faceblind, matrimony choices, she’s short, a weird feature if it is a feature.

THE BLACK STRANGER facsimile typescript

The Black Stranger - art by Orban

The Black Stranger - art by Orban

The Black Stranger - art by Gary Gianni

The Black Stranger - art by Gary Gianni

The Black Stranger - art by Manuel Perez Clemente

The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard

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Reading, Short And Deep #379 – The Unseen Blushers by Alfred Bester

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #379

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Unseen Blushers by Alfred Bester

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Unseen Blushers was first published in Astonishing Stories, June 1942.

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The SFFaudio Podcast #730 – READALONG: Easy Go by Michael Crichton

Jesse, Paul Weimer, Cora Buhlert, and David J. West talk about Easy Go by Michael Crichton

Talked about on today’s show:
1968, The Last Tomb, a pretty terrific book, what’s the title mean?, dreams of fame and fortune, is that what the book’s really about though?, pre-Indiana Jones, a heist story, Topkapi (1962), stealing archaeological treasures for private hands, they’re not good people, the girl’s with you, Nicos killing children is find, Lisa, how expensive are you, ten million dollars, you know you’re doing the wrong thing here, the ending, a better title, a funner title, a soft ending, a sudden ending, is something wrong with my copy?, he finishes the book, an okay ending, put em all in prison, getting oput of prison is going to be the sequel, mushy, semi-justified by the text, the clever Egyptian archaeology department, a step ahead, hadn’t left the scarab there, they had their mark from the beginning, stupid foreigners, the Romans, the Greeks, the Assyrians, treasure hunters, remarkably diverse, Mission: Impossible, a hard novel, a noir, surprises, switching main characters, Barnaby, suddenly Pierce, Lord Grover, Lisa’s dad for real?, bio-father, purposely leaving it vague, he couldn’t legally do it, the narrator is really good, Christopher Lane, the cover art, the original paperback, pulpy cover, kissing dancing holding pistols, a reuse cover, Hard Case Crime had a second imprint called Gabriel Hunt, Charles Ardai character, a Mack Bolan, Remo Williams style pulp hero, Hunt For Adventure, Indiana Jones style, reused the same art, Glen Orbik, a revolver, a mummy, use the gun on the snakes, Luxor, a generic that works, down to the last 10 minutes of the book, it fits, it matches the mood, evokes Egypt, Binary, only on the cover to sell the book, his accents are good, his characters are distinct, later Crichton, his formula, Timeline, Pirate Latitudes, a real-life ending, he didn’t want to kill people, shoulda ended in a noir, the best solution, an Oceans Eleven vibe, published 3rd, his first written novel, $1500, a stressed out medical student, L.A. Times, 1974, The Terminal Man, took him a week, he went to egypt, loved it, and was reading paperbacks on the plane, I can do this, a very old youtube video, hired by Munsey’s, starts typing, where’d you learn to right, a real pulp writer, some people just really got it, they read pulp, they can write pulp, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Spear And Fang is ok, Terry Pratchett, an amazing writing career, characterization is very solid, dropping information about Egypt, each location, the price of things, the other locations, Amsterdam, diamond dealer, dull and tomblike, he absolutely captures the atmosphere, he has been there, you have to learn how to watch black and white movies, silent movies are a lot harder than black and white movies, pictures of black and white monkeys, making Casablanca in colour, some things need black and white, Edgar Wallace, we have to learn these things, the goodreads reviews, pulpy fun, new favourite book, its like they don’t know how to read this kind of book, a paperback, for the late 60s and the mid 1970s, racy fun, nice and thin, what an airport novel is today, opposite of horribly long and badly written, not meant to be remembered, give me another John Lange, you’ve been reading all these John Lange books, a professional sale, this is solid, a little bit unpredictable, the treasure, shines in the reflectivity of the characters, thinking about Egypt, doing more than is required, this is the real tomb [holds up skull], the one you can never leave, *yawn implausible romance two stars*, a first, better than some of his later books, later bloated, Binary is taut, not as filmic as it could have been, breezier and easier, how can people read so badly, unfamiliar with the form, he’s seen it before, of course you’ve seen it before!, didn’t you really enjoy reading it?, really enjoyable, Paul plays role playing games, Fate Of Cthulhu, stop Nyarlathotep, Infocom games, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Infidel, find the pyramid, survive it’s traps and treasures, command prompt words, get flashlight batteries, put flashlight batteries in flashlight, turn flashlight on, you see a room, boxes full of goodies, pocket fluff and no tea, the microscopic space fleet, playing a real a-hole, terrible to his crew, a real western imperialistic jerk, the last trap gets you, a Kobayashi Maru, for narrative, pray for forgiveness, terrible takes, disaster pron, Kelly, banaly racist and sexist, enjoyable enough but nothing special, a stock character, a great role, every actor wants to be him, he wears that mask so well, Roger Moore as Lord Grover, a playboyish guy, the handsome Hollywood lead, Barnaby, a great character actor, Steve Buscemi, a slight role, Niccos, even he doesn’t end up dead, Italian western, did you not notice his backstory, an Egyptian whore a Greek story, how he opens a door, sleeping on the dock, he still has a hubcap, reading Richard Stark, I can do this, interest, each character has just enough characterization, Sylvia, why she’s acting that way, masterful characterization, a natural success, a great way to solve a story, back to square one, experience points is stupid, Conan should start every adventure the way he ends it, deus ex machina, aliens ex machina, the celebrated archaeologist, a very steep diminishing returns, most people who have eyes and ears, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, released with extra materials on DVD, the treasure is the experience, he goes to Europe and hangs out with famous artists doing cubism, intrigue in 1917 Russia, North Africa, the Belgian Congo, 1906 – 1922, a tourist visit, but an amazing one, not good people in a lot of cases, T.E. Lawrence, Baghdad to Berlin trainline, Lawrence of Arabia killed my great grandfather, all the stuff in the background, the Aswan dam, the Russian wives in the marketplace, all that detail, not even Cold War, moving the temples, building giant dams, a post-war thing, Drowned Hopes by Donald E. Westlake, cutting edge at the time, not quite in the zeitgeist, this guy knows Egypt, the United Arab Republic, a book of the late 60s, Sadat, hedging his bets, Nasser, seeing all these negative reviews, didn’y you seen this part?, looking a the hieroglyphics, that exposition, bought it all, he dreamed this up, read it diagonally, apocryphal, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, an acrostic, babble in the middle, the bragging vizier, my king I’ve served you well, when Egypt was at its eye, Egyptologists disagree, what triggered Jesse, the breasts of every female, cigarettes, facts are in quotes, slowmo novel, dude you’re not the target audience, a thing you do, decadent Englishman, smokes pot and has girls around him, the facts are placed not littered, it’s really well done, Amsterdam, terrorist attacks, done many times, I too became lost, torture porn, the beating of the young boy, some had breasts, you’re not actually supposed to remember the hero, Peirce is the least interesting character, he’s the plot, they recognize each other from Korea, they’re equals, they’re both captains, an officer’s club, we never actually get to see the split, in the middle of a Richard Stark novel, Paul disagrees completely, Grover’s in it for the fun, pay the ransom myself, which characters are untrustworthy, Pierce is the most trustworthy character, he doesn’t even know why he’s doing it, Pierce doesn’t know why he exists, he’s the blank canvas, Barnaby is conflicted, don’t touch this, it belongs in a museum, tenure, a better job, they’re all adjuncts, Conway, we trust him implicitly, jokey and fun, great introduction, he saves the girl with the gun, smuggled diamonds out of South Africa, Jim Brown, Steve James, blacksploitation movies, Niccos in the most untrustworthy character, willing to kill, he sells out the group, even Iskander, a meaty role, subtle and sneaky and pretend to be dumb, malapropisms, you are beautiful today, which guy is going to be the problem, take the easy route, get into a fight he doesn’t need to take, a problem with Lord Grover’s girls, blabbing to the wrong person, an outside problem, something we couldn’t have foreseen, a nice hard ending, Infocom’s hints, InvisiClues, not fair for pirates, no forums online, in a magazine, Gore Vidal’s Thieves Fall Out, maybe that’s the issue for me, not mention slaves and cotton plantations, Agatha Christie, Norman Mailer, Conway holding the skull, a lecture or a joke, Egyptologists go look at this scarab, they’re weirdos, not obsessed with death, certain rich people, The Land Of The Pharaohs (1955) with Joan Collins, a memorable scene, The Persuaders, City On The Edge Of Forever, Star Trek, an impregnable tomb, speaking English, if they had done Prey (2022) in the original Comanche, have us read subtitles, inaccessibility, learning to read, learning to watch movies, learning to play computer games, Dead Man Down (2013), get revenge, he’s a barbarian, he’s a robot, my parents are German immigrants that’s why my name is Matrix, the dregs of what we used to have, Steven Seagal, they’re great, the cheap Michael Dudikoff, making the grave goods, the piled up grave goods, gold daisies, creating that culture for this period, updating it, mention the Muslim Brotherhood, we’re not good at coming up with stuff like that, on a European tour, Paris, Greece, Capri, a brief scene set in Greece, the city is coming ever closer, the Colossi of Memnon, a big Robert E. Howard fan, if this was Stygia, a place Robert E. Howard never went to, a girl swimming naked in a pond, I hope this novel is about…, communist propaganda, I’ve never been to Iowa, he reads stuff from history, sets in real experiences, everything is based on Texas, Mexico and New Mexico, setting a story in a real place I’ve never been to, Howard stories set in the crusader states, the pre-middle ages, a crusader castle, 1950s in a place you’ve never been is harder than ancient Egypt, new world parrots in Europe, you don’t have anacondas in Egypt, 1870s Cairo, one guy who called me out, a ton of research, a tonne of research, what would Christmas decorations look like?, what would it smell like?, a picture from the 1930s, google street view, real estate signs, we’ve got the directions wrong, it’s in this cleft, wasted a couple of chapters digging, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest wasn’t in the the Teutoburg Forest, Roman fortresses, modern cities, forgiving young people, they haven’t had life experience, airplanes had cigarette ashtrays on their handles, you could still smell it, make the seats smaller, KLM city hoppers, L.A. Noire, you’re an L.A. homicide detective, reconstructed huge swaths of 1950 [1947] Los Angeles, it sounds like that car does, rare cars, you can stop anywhere in the city and look at a street-corner, a research team of 5,000 programmers, makes Wiltshire Boulevard accurate, we don’t have that for most things, we’re disabled, Des Moines, Alan Moore’s Providence, New York, as a coherent whole it doesn’t make a lot of sense, a weak thesis, Robert Black is Lovecraft’s psychology, the drawings, 1919 New York, owls with glowing eyes, that nearby park, a picture of what reality was like, the architecture is correct, Cool Air, Jacen Burrows, a photograph as a drawing, accurate to the image being described, come to the thing with the right expectations, how to appreciate what your seeing, an apology for modern art, appreciating 1960s paperback novels, a really good book, greatness to come in this guy, eight total, thank Cora, Michael Crichton movies, the Binary TV movie, Hard Case Crime, almost always entertaining, the Stephen King ones, reprints, modern stuff is hit or miss, extra fun reading an old book, almost 5 decades, still reading it and giving it low ratings, skew young and female, check the copyright date, why are they not mentioning bombs?, reading older books, good YA books, problem books, Karl May, read it in a day, a short novel, Odds On, Scratch One, A Case Of Need, The Venom Business, Zero Cool, Dealing, Drug Of Choice, Grave Descend, Binary, to prevent an arms shipment, targeted assassination, sounds like a Donald Westlake novel, rob the Reina, a technothriller, it will have lots of breasts, read about breasts, artifact smuggling, an expert handler in venomous snakes, is he the killer’s real target, meh 4 stars, a Bondesque romp with off-puttingly sexist undertones, diver, the strange thing is the breasts, cigarette stains, pick a regular goodreads reviewer from the modern era, sending them back to 1971s, review of 1971: it’s gross they’re were cigarettes everywhere, when IMDB was a new thing, writing reviews is fun, semi-professionally can be hurtful, a review challenge, another thing to check off, let’s read more John Lange, star ratings are hurtful, Nerds Of A Feather, weird blinking gifs, November 27, Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, Richard Bachman is not a shitlib but Steven King is, what would John Lange’s nickname be?, John Norman’s real name is John Lange, two of my favourite writers, a different feel, excited about a 1975 book, dinosaur hunters in the old west, Dragon Teeth, bone hunters, helping a student write an essay about Weird Tales, Hugh Rankin, some of the covers, Doak is Hugh Rankin’s middle name, the art style is quite different, interior Conans are Hugh Rankin, Frank Belknap Long, the style is different, pastiche, comic strips, spent time gazing, The Dunwich Horror, Virgil Finlay did a ton of covers for Weird Tales, painted covers, vignettes?, snake woman, The Were-snake, a thing for hangings, Margaret Brundage, naked woman, only 3 of her 67 covers don’t have women, Farnsworth Wright, The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick, does Iowa have ditches?, a nice slim volume, the beauty of a rural setting, a Korean War vet?, maybe it is 1947, the sheriff doesn’t want to get involved (secretly a communist), lean into it, The Cannonball Run, Dean Martin is a commie, his middle name is Kill A Commie, a little bit of a throwback, A Matter Of Life And Death (1946), David Niven, how to watch it, make it an amazing experience, the cultural nuance, an expectation, movie watching ability, The Mark Of Zorro (1920), when its not an action sequence, Nosferatu (1922), Buster Keatons and Charlie Chaplins, unleash Metropolis (1927), in the theater with live music, dragging a friend along, taught to watch Shakespeare and opera, we teach it wrong, a guided experience, get used to the style, think about it like food, you don’t give the baby kimchi, french fries, children’s menus, some kids wont eat certain colours, film aficionado, missing a whole experience of art, a current film, no steadycams, a forgettable Fassbender movie, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Grey Man (2022), a Russo bros movie, a spy version of a Marvel movie, feel better, forgettably watchable, a new up and comer, Knives Out (2019), was Marilyn Monroe tiny?, how tall is Ryan Gosling?, the propaganda, platform shoes, height shame, Linda Hunt, Silverado (1985) is a really good movie, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum is the badguy, she’s amazing, NCIS Los Angeles, Gargoyles (1972) TV movie, Silence Of The Lambs, Man On Fire (1987), go in with no expectations, form CIA agent hired to bodyguard a girl in Italy, a movie that has heart, charismatic in his own weird way, why is this happening?, local Comicon, Keith Coogan, Adventures In Babysitting (1987), holding on to the rights, explaining Marvel and DC comics, The Unknown Soldier, its the trademarks, Obama giving Spiderman or Punisher a congressional medal of honor, Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four, we never got to see it, not that bad, that was a really good movie, it holds up, Chris Columbus, a sitcom?, Weird Science is so well put together, Robert Downey, Jr., they nailed the ending, a gym full of girls, the final scene, cut back to the gym, Lisa standing, pan up, you little monsters, Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein, Einstein’s brain, they do it again, a totally stupid and really good, mid or low budgets, a renaissance period, they hold up, 1975-1987 is the period, Predator but not The Last Action Hero (1993), Collateral Damage is a massive decline, The Sixth Day (2000), True Lies is up, quality of films, Raw Deal (1986), Terminator 2 (1991) is technically better but The Terminator (1984) is a better movie, James Cameron, Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Titanic is a good movie for other people, too long, Raise The Titanic (1980), Avatar is a good movie, The Abyss (1989), oddly forgotten, Ridley Scott, Black Rain (1989), Rising Sun (1993), Wesley Snipes’ best movie, Blade (1998), Major League (1989), Drop Zone (1994), Point Break (1991), Muder At 1600 (1997) Elizabeth Hurley as a terrorist, Clint Eastwood, Absolute Power (1997), lacking depth of back catalogue, we’re going to watch Predator (1987), children, key moments in Jesse’s life, the novelization of Predator, the novelization of Gremlins (1984), Carl Weathers, bro greeting, Dakota Beavers, Shane Black, The Predator (2018) is a really terrible film, the Golan-Globus Theater podcast, Dino De Laurentiis, Rollerball (1975), evil coprorations have taken over the planet, James Cann killing people and throwing balls in holes, no individual achievement, Norman Jewison, Fiddler On The Roof (1971), based on Billy Budd?, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), In The Heat Of The Night (1967), 2015, ipods, audiobooks, The Iliad, a late adopter, 2013, podcasts are the thing now, youtubes podcasts, audio with science fiction and fantasy, the books we had gone through, the back catalogue, 9 hours long, an Arthur Machen semi-autobiographical novel, trying to make money, when it comes time you want to read The Dispossessed, guaranteed, make me take it down, not mentioned in the show, get to get some really narrow topics, run as long as people are willing to go without peeing, three hours is a good length, some good books, insights, Our Opinions Are Correct, makes Jesse read books, The Bus-Conductor by E.F. Benson, two Souvenir by Philip K. Dick episodes, there’s a door there’s a cat, felt honoured, Tippy Taps, a Murder She Wrote episode, Simon & Simon, and Magnum, PI, Nudist Camp by Orrie Hitt, The Black Stranger by Robert E. Howard, a non-fiction about traveling around Europe, A Night In Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, cassettes, a hefty book, Twain is so good, Scott Danielson is hard to get, excited about The Heads Of Cerberus by Francis Stevens, 1904, super-science, half Japanese and half German, she invented the superhero, Man-God, Gladiator by Philip Wylie, newspaper woman in the future, an old sailoress tells a tall tale at the teashop, Friend Island, one of those inferior creatures, she and the island got along really well, just elect a woman, The Elf-Trap, a gyspy village in the forest, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, so pioneering, The Thrill Book, a precursor to Weird Tales, Sunfire, precedes the Weird Tales crew, a vivid imagination, standard racist tropes, some people can’t handle breasts, occasional racism, a funny meme on Tolkien and smoking, promoting smoking, eating mushrooms, a little kid thing, unable to adapt to the horrible mushrooms, we’re willing to live with it, the texture, they’re made of fungus, William Hope Hodgson, that creepy factor, really well told, good at creeping, punched Houdini, volunteered for WWI and got killed, so eager to get killed in the war, trench warfare, superiors don’t care, why go into Iraq or Afghanistan, Germany’s got to be repressed, ran away at 14 to be a doughboy, child soldiers, restrained themselves, unable to be restrained now, WWIII with Russia, American volunteers being paid by NATO, wagging the dog, 60 Minutes, talking over him, the emperor has no clothes, defending having mental faculties, Reagan goes away, so beyond the pale, horrifying to think about, the buck stops here thing, it stops in some vague place that you don’t have access to, Obama is busy making his money, Biden with a blindman on his elbow, it’s shocking, setting aside all past sins, humiliating, juice him up, his notes, George Bush, not a defensible guy, semi-competent, this guy used to know stuff, can’t finish a sentence, can’t remember the name of an actor, not the best and the brightest, when Rand Paul sounds like the sanest man, coming across like a genius, the lamest dystopia, the UK, Boris Johnson, okay he memorized a poem in Greek, Governor of California, the quality of the politicians has gone down so much, people don’t like Putin, he has his shit together, Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland, Jacinda Ardern, you odnt need the They Live glasses anymore, The Shadow Kingdom, clearly evidence of serpent people, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, compared to what?, there is no recession, all the homeless people everywhere, a lot of people on twitter, the arts community, the more liberal minded people, overly conservative, lean liberal, what’s true?, what’s for real?, you have to pick your team and stick with it no matter what, a way to line your own pockets, money laundering, the model in books is broken, indy stuff, a Baen anthology, trad pub, a book with Tantor Audio, 9 hours, a 30 hour Brandon Sanderson book, bundle, a western series, Tantor used to have their own store, Downpour.com, Blackstone publisher, audiobook empire, 40 different markets, Audible has been squeezing, any extra is gravy, the step down, traditional publishing, quick reads, Louis Lamour length, market distortion based on the subscription model, inflation on an infinitely replicable post scarcity object, Audible accounts without Audible subscriptions, the stumbling block, Lois McMaster Bujold, The Reader’s Chair, The Curse Of Chalion, eyes get worse, audiobooks were a fringe, the dominant form of book consumption, FanX, is it on audio, a tangible shift, its better, a nice fire, a dog at my feet, coffee in hand, beautiful woods outside, coding or photoshopping, on the ferry, most of Jesse’s students don’t know where they are, most kids have no sense of geography, where are we?, if they lose google maps, when we have autodrive cars, people wont know where they live, we’re offloading a lot of our processing to objects in our hands or our backpacks, its a himars, we’re doing that to ourselves, can’t identify Europe on a map, total fuckin weirdo, Dungeons & Dragons, Stranger Things, are the parents cursing them out?, are they allowed to play Dungeons & Dragons?, Commodore 64, Vic 20, we exhausted ourselves on this books, keep most of everything, Nudist Camp, mid-century erotica, a book every two weeks, fueled by ice coffee and cigarettes, paperback originals, somebody scanned, three strange women, Hot Cargo, The Peeper, Abnormal Norma, Man’s Nurse, The Sex Pros, Campus Tramp, depraved practices, normal love?, Evan Lampe’s narration of Mr. Adam by Pat Frank, 1947, 9 months later, all the men on planet earth have been sterilized, lead mine, a hot commodity, a comedy a premise, a light comedy, he loves his wife, a war footing, can black women get pregnant from this white man?, two Mongolians, a mine shaft gap, a delightful book, a great premise, sell you individual, The Brethren by H. Rider Haggard, a personal crusade, a bunch of nights, The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, her uncle is Saladin, they both marry her, they’re not polyandrists, very Robert E. Howard, the thews and the colours, inspired by a visit, a terrific book, Eric Brighteyes, the character is so dumb, a lurid cover, the greater bulk is from the 1970s, jazzed enough, standing on concrete for three days, Rider, British Columbia, Sir Walter Scott’s house, a railway point.

Easy Go by John Lange

Signet - Easy Go by John Lange

The Last Tomb by Michael Crichton

The Last Tomb by Michael Crichton

HARD CASE CRIME- Easy Go by Michael Crichton

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #375 – Everything And Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges

Reading, Short And Deep

Reading, Short And Deep #375

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Everything And Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Everything And Nothing was first published in Spanish in Versión, Autumn 1958.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #727 – READALONG: Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein

Jesse, Frederick Gero Heimbach, and Karl K. Gallagher talk about Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein

Talked about on today’s show:
former space cadet, such a fine upstanding proto-officer, the episode of Star Trek The Next Generation that is an adaptation, also an adaptation, Coming Of Age, taking some starfleet entrance exams, a fake holodeck emergency, make a hard decision, Troi wanted to have command privileges, Geordi needs to die of radiation poisoning, Star Trek: The Next Generation is to Space Cadet as Starship Troopers is to Aliens, did Wesley get whipped?, Sgt. Zim is almost in this, the space marines, a precursor to Starship Troopers, the attitudes towards the marines, leaning into something heavily early then changes its mind, everyone is an officer, O’Brien gets demoted, Chief Warrant or Chief Petty, everybody being officers is pretty weird for regular military, the Space Patrol is NATO?, the list of five people, the numbers are pretty amazing, better numbers than CNN, author of The Devil’s Dictum and Ronald Reagan’s Brilliant Bullet, that’s by H. Beam Piper, sidetracking, jokes on twitter: Heinlein was 41 when this book was published and John Scalzi is 53 and still hasn’t replaced this book, Scalzi’s background, midshipman or ensign Heinlein, marines are cool, you’d never cut it with the marines, they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, Hugo winning podcasts have had such claims, the more mature distillation?, YA vs. adult audience?, going for the same audience, intended as a YA, the editor threw a fit, we’re divorced now, Starship Troopers is about being the person who protects your tribe, 100 hunter gatherers, put you body between the body and the danger, between beloved home and war’s desolation, impartial service trying to keep the peace (not NATO), blow up your own home town, relax, the captain will confine you to quarters, the darkest moment in the book, theoretical, “Space Cadet is a sequel to Solution Unsatisfactory“, dictator over the world, an elite patrol to enforce peace, the best title Campbell hung on Heinlein, four names mentioned at every roll call, the origin of that tradition, founded as a military coup but we’re better than that now, abolish global democracy, what people are claiming, national democracies, politically naive?, William O. Douglas, educated and reasonable people who think just like me, a panel of experts vs. corrupt bozos elected to congress, an adult actually believed that, what’s missing in the analysis, who pick the people who pick the people who get to be in the Space Patrol, the Federation, peacekeepers, solving problems, exploring, their job is be peaceful and officers and correct, they’re not elected to their jobs, approved by the authors above them for promotion, we can’t ask questions like that, they’re not democratic, a cadre of elite warriors, samurai 18th, 19th, and early 20th century Japan, the crusading orders, nobody in Space Patrol gets laid, a YA book from 1948, nearly naked, nudity, he loves his nudity, monks with nukes, deus volt, they’re defining the overton window, stay inside the box, very revolutionary, oh shit is this a rah rah military book?, mom and dad and sibling, they’d never nuke us, just to make the others feel better, Matt Dodson, we would nuke you, post-national, 2075, the North American Union, Sikhs in the Space Patrol, Asians, Africans, a South American, South Americans, Texans are barely American, a mistake to break away from Mexico and a mistake to join the Union, the plot, they go to Venus, Luke Burrage’s review of S, a Rene Girard hater?, mimetic desire?, everybody is a woman on Venus, Heinlein is very interested in transgender stuff, constantly, “All You Zombies”, I Will Fear No Evil, polyamory, and incest, a theme that he’s been telling me, he was really serious about it, manners are incredibly important, they study all these planets, kidnaps somebody he shouldn’t have, being polite, managing manners, he shocks them to our core, he really does really care a lot about manners, one of the Lazarus Long lines, manners are the oil, degenerated, she kills somebody for bad manners in Friday, cannibalism incest is fine as long as you’re polite about it, politeness demands, his boss is his mother, very noisy, a pronoun argument, call her she because she’s a person, the earliest argument about what pronoun to call people other than Shakespearean cross-dressing disguise, what Heinlein would be like on twitter, would his pronouns be in his bio and if they were what would they be?, trying to be polite, Mark Finn has pronouns in his bio, stand in solidarity with other people, the long grey beard saves everyone the trouble, not a justification in the book, we’re seeing that all in English, why pick she?, venerian males are never seen by humans, egg layers?, what were they eating, ovulations, insect paste?, mashed locusts or cockroaches, some byproduct of reproduction, the Mexican jumping bean, Uncle Bodie was the most interesting character, yeah Karl Gallagher, Thomas SFF180 saying Matt and the crew of Space Cadet are so old fashioned, they’re using slide-rules, they have cellphones, the SLS launch, Shaun Duke, how little science fiction authors, Bill Christensen’s Technovelgy, 185 ideas of inventions from the works of Robert A. Heinlein, the Torchship trilogy, doesn’t need batteries, it cannot become self aware, a strong advantage to the slide-rule, a solar powered calculator, one of the headmasters, do the calculation in your head, running math drills, Apollo astronauts, they probably had slide rules, all the math got done on Earth, why do you need a knife when you have a jedi stick?, presumably jedi sticks run out of batteries, atomic calculator, bring a slipstick with you, that kind of thinking is so fucking stupid, what science fiction is, we should be surprised if there’s anything, very easy to criticize on that level, what this book is about, we developed a fucking nuke now what are we going to do, a one world government, this is what it looks like in the best scenario, living in luxury by extorting nations, send more spacebabes the celibacy is getting very tiresome, Star Trek technobabble, Geordi or Data, how they got into this plothole, a bunch of sounds that come out of their mouths, where the plot of Top Gun Maverick is, Iran had a deal with the USA and a president canceled that, trench run, very simple, the countries that have nukes don’t have to be dictated to, go to war with China or Russia because they have nukes, a proxy war, a proxy war in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden, a big game, a decentralized network or popular movement, he has a real idea behind it, anybody who misbehaves gets nuked, special highly trained negotiated, complaining about Heinlein’s major sin: he thinks hypo-learning is a real thing, that is the tech that sucks, hypnolearning, socialism’s bodycount, team-antisocialism’s bodycount, Earth is a super dystopia, Starman Jones has the best sliderules, the Scribners juveniles, Farmer In The Sky, a Ganymedian boy, Earth is so shit, one room apartment, not enough food, his most valued possession is his belt pouch, Star Beast is rural, what little we see of Earth here, minus the occasional craters like Denver, who did Denver, unexplained details is a smart move, that phone conversation, that tweet thread, whether he was lying to his dad or not, the reason Matt and all his buddies pass is because he’s just so gosh darn honest, looked stubborn, a Heinleinianism, they don’t have call display, how’s your leg, Matt dodges the question, all sorts of interesting, relationship between being honest and manners, that was delicious, mid-century masculinity, ow, I need some me time, a standard expected of men, rural traditions, farmer stoicism, not showing weakness, drill sergeants beat out the complaining not-fair attitude, why Heinlein put the question in, “Heinlein was a…” an endless list of ists, racists, misogynist, fascist, ableist, sexist, pederast, incestuist?, what about the …ians, libertarian, he’s anti-racist, Sixth Column, he worked it from an outline Campbell, he had re-slant it, after removing a bunch of racism, actively anti-racist, is there a parallel female service?, winnowing, hyper-selective for certain traits, other than those traits, precisely missing the point, take down the big figure to move up, ten years ago Heinlein, don’t read anything after 1980?, clicks by being obnoxious, that’s twitter, go full Fred conservative, an all male service, having females in the service undermines the formation of an exclusive military culture, Tunnel In The Sky, the Amazons, mid-thirties, make somebody dinner and become a tradwife, tradhusbands, most of human existence, sex and occasional other things, half-raising of children, women gravitate to some jobs, Scandinavian countries, more capital per individual, sexual preference, men and women are very similar, I’m good enough I’m strong enough and I can work a slipstick as well as any man, woman-hater, a concession to the very juvenile set, bad at predicting, dealing with the consequence when countries plural, 1948, it’s amazing, steer ships around the solar system, making serious attempts to really think through, he’s totally a hard science fiction writer, the gyros, he’s keeping up with the Willy Ley illustrations, the phrase has come to mean the opposite to what Heinlein was going for, spacey, you have to be ahead of the game, Rocket Ship Galileo, Nazis on the Moon, even going to the Moon, international commerce with rockets, ex-mail rockets, an intercontinental missile is easier than getting to orbit, double the delta v to get to orbit (vs. getting another continent), 10 times the structural performance, great power competition, motives to get to orbit, the Concorde, sonic boom, really fast travel has problems, Heinlein did expect that, supersonic trains, people would just live with it, cows going deaf, invent better glass, the reverence for the four crewmen who are always present and always , such a sentimental guy, on the level of literature, one of Fred’s favourites juveniles, the favourite scene in the book is not in the book, Astarte, the corpses, they were ghosts, ghostology, permission to land we have honoured dead, shut up and get off this channel, repeat, Fred has lived that scene, instantly legendary, you didn’t even right that!, write the fanfic, that’s the best scene in the book, connect some dots that were missing, remember the beaver people, so they weren’t bring them home, very Christian imagery, bringing Karl back to his cadet to active duty days, weather satellites, a space guy, telling satellites what to do, sitting in a silo, turning a key to launch an ICBM, contemplating space patrol responsibilities, do I turn the key?, how the US does nuclear missiles, a scene in WarGames (1983), it takes two, dozens of meters under the Earth each with a loaded pistol, we have our system set up, the elected politicians make the decision, those countries don’t do nearly as well, the logic of it hasn’t changed, the recent or current presidents, having the military make the decision, we don’t take our orders from people on the ground, you as an officer will ultimately take whatever orders you’re giving, excepting illegal orders, when you’re in a silo, browsing the internet, Q is telling me what’s really going on, the Starship Troopers defend your tribe thing, don’t do that or we’ll nuke Moscow, NATO has to step in, making the cringe face, a helluva noise, a very different situation, NATO is supposed to defend NATO countries, if you go the other way, have Russia join NATO, Russia asked to join NATO and was declined, one influential person into vetoing it, do you understand how to funnel the money into your friends pockets, you can’t have an enemy if you’re on the same team, now we have to go fight in Afghanistan, this one patrol for the solar system, they inspect whatever they like, the ultimate force, Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear, to do terrorism, the Moon is also good at throwing rocks, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, a rock throwing contest with a guy at the bottom of a well, Between Planets, dragons, three legged and ball shaped martians, the destroyed planet, Red Planet, Stranger In A Strange Land, destroyed the 5th planet, they nuked themselves, ignite the nukes, it can not happen, don’t worry mom, it can’t fall on you, a different continuity, compatible, make the safety interlocks disappeared, other authors, prior to Heinlein, the asteroid belt being a planet, sedimentary rock, a simple plot, training, more training, interrupted cruise, cruise home, go to Venus, divide the crew in half, the distress call, the sub-crew, one lt. and three cadets, what Heinlein really wants: three boy scouts, Nothing Ever Happens On The Moon, in Expanded Universe, the only tree on Ganymede [Farmer In The Sky], a boy scouts book, Boys’ Life, a continuity, naval academy experience, the idealized, Karl believes in nation states the way he believes in trees, that’s what the chipmunks want you to believe, the classic Plato line, who will guard the guardians, we’ll muddle through with good virtue and boy scout honour, he gives the wrong salute, standardized testing, he was the squad leader because his name came first on the list, he goes for officer, it is forced upon him, it’s my duty to these apes, I am officer material, sidetracked as usual, the four ghosts, Rodger Young, a 1946 song, as an analogy he fits the same story as these heroes, Heinlein being ableist, is your leg okay after the operation you had where you were born a cripple?,the National Guard, blind and deaf, pacific atolls, inspiring Heinlein, the marine tradition, the pride in the individual heroicism, Fred’s dream: the confabulating of the scene, what Heinlein’s inducing in Fred, how they can be good silvermen, these traditions, he dramatizes, over a century, would have become corrupt, they’re ghosts, this corp has traditions, that mystical spiritual ghostly, into their bodies, all that crap that happens in the middle, boring vs. relaxing, looking at it from a writer’s point of view, legendary status, doesn’t matter he’s in a coma, rises from the coma to respond with the name of one of the four heroes, leapfrog in status, once they land and the word, the inevitable cellphones come out, seeing the video now on twitter, in keeping with tradition of the corps, these heroes coming back!, the post mission interview, there’s nothing to say because they did an okay job, that insight is very good, the actual crusades, a lot of people on a lot of missions, a lot of crusaders books, H. Rider Haggard’s The Brethren, She And Allan, he would have been huge, a personal crusade to the holy land to get back their cousin who is the niece of Saladin, assassins, two terrific female characters, two brothers who go on a crusader like mission, another half-Christian half-Muslim lady, in keeping with the Christian tradition, a moral heathen, generous with his victories, magnanimous in battle, one of Heinlein’s greatest sins is he strawmans characters, his villains are whiny entitled lazy incompetent, as a cadet, can’t we just break the rules, decides to go work for his dad, coincidence, lampshaded, he’s the one who’s responsible, je soif, the frogs, let’s give him from water, Heinlein is very good at plotting, meandering, always asking for showing what the main character’s goal is, get better at the job so he can stay in the patrol, he wants to grow up, we don’t know what we want , Heinlein can guide us, reading as an adult, Fred loved it as a 12 year old, dismissing Heinlein, I never need to read them again, I wouldn’t recommend him to people even though I read all of his stuff, how the corruption begins, Space Cadet is not a tightly plotted book, here’s what your world government looks like?, do you really want to have it?, he’s not saying this is not a good plan, if he’s secretly saying, utopias or dystopias, here’s a scenario people are asking for, exploring it, you can’t really say Heinlein did a bad job, almost objectively true, what is the book for?, it works really well for kids 12 and above, kids who have never seen a rocket that went to space, appreciating in good stories, thoughtful reminders, not leaving things hanging, when Matt goes back and does the job of his cadet supervisors, you’re getting your hunger back, new academy kids coming in, not so many people get to pass through, people retire in their 30s, mostly they’re not fit, what not fit means is they’re dishonest, they’re overly attached to their tribe as opposed to the truth, character, Rodger Young was short and disabled, rewarded with death, a song and book naming a space ship after him, the right thing to do, what makes you a good patrolman, a model for stability, what’s the point of military or civilian service, Heinlein is a utopian, people who’ve actually seen combat or put in service, made fun of in the Verhoven movie, service guarantees participation in the ruling councils, citizenship vs. the vote, graduate children into adulthood by means of testing, a very utopian and interesting idea, overwhelmed by people saying he’s a fascist, all these retirees, do they have an outsized influence?, he thinks that he benefited from it, a lifer was someone who got in at 20 years, you don’t need that many admirals, the patrol breaks your ability to be a part of your parochial group, had to by my own belt buckle?, Jesse is a Zelazny character, very different from a lot of people, this guy hates me, this guy doesn’t understand me, an asshole on twitter, abrasive on the podcast, sometimes other people have ideas that are cool, why Heinlein has people retire out, the Starfleet Academy training program, retirement in Star Trek, how to change society, you need more training, I notice you like spending times naked in the growery, the essences, the officer was a monk he didn’t care, some of the monks stay in the service and don’t ever get married, when you have a military service that is conscription, in for three terms, training for humanity, we can be done, this very solid book, majority of the population going through federal service, a distilled fraction, a very good point, sometimes he’s a socialist sometimes he’s a libertarian, winged, marjory taylor green, Assange should be gotten out of prison, Rand Paul is right about a helluva lot of stuff, one axis, one of the less interesting axes, people are stuck, what modes can we get out of, he was ahead of the game with his anti-racism, its an ideology of anti-ideology, this is the way you talk about the subject, these are the words you should never say, if you are a very shallow thinker, what is the correct word, black as the ace of spades, the word spade is not an insult, the kind of thing that someone would quote tweet, learn to appreciate by reading a fucking book from more than ten years ago, worked up about words that were in common usage, family text channel, is wetback a slur?, a paper on immigration in the 1950s, Operation Wetback, the teacher freaks the fuck out, privileged of visiting the uncle who keeps you apprised, are guineas Italians?, continent by continent, three guineas in Africa, there’s a guinea in Asia, its a coin, the observed behavior, racism is still around, it’s not a science, ignorance, thoughtlessness, pseudoscience, people who just don’t like those people, when you’re uncomfortable, Fred’s shy, when Jesse can talk for five.

Darrell K. Sweet - Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein

NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY - Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein

FULL CAST AUDIO - Space Cadet COVER art

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The SFFaudio Podcast #720 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey


The SFFaudio Podcast #720 – The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey – read by Karen Savage. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (3 hours 13 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Tony de Simone.

Talked about on today’s show:
LibriVox, Karen Savage, she’s good, she’s got good taste, how to pronounce phlogiston, doer vs. dour, any book with phlogiston in it is going to be a good book, a good reading, a good narrator, a pretty good book, this weird book, resonanted, get your feels out and examine how you feels about this book, better in the vein, good is what I’m hearing, world beating vs. world saving, if you want to spoil, sky saving, entertaining, relatively short, van Vogt, old fashioned, universe shattering, the planet was about to come apart, pretty weird, Philip Jose Farmer, more sexually driven, normal for him, time had passed on Earth, animal tribes, the early to mid-60s, 1963, Beyond Fantasy, Galaxy Magazine, MAGABOOK double from Galaxy Press, 1973 publication, No More Stars, Beyond Fantasy, July 1954, 18,327 words vs. 34,493 words, an interesting fact, not all Lester del Rey, Charles Satterfield was Frederik Pohl and Lester del Rey, Pohl diluted, comparing the texts, re-ordering if not new scenes, a frequent collaborator, it doesn’t scream Frederik Pohl, cats and gardens and tomatoes, the opening of No More Stars, northern Saskatchewan, all he knew was that he was, the man with the knife, the masked man, Death to Dave Hansen!, avenging Moses, strangled them where they stood, the when of his reawakening, astrological mumbo jumbo, by the power of the True Name, sucking at him, aware of being alive, one of the dead, there should be no quickening of breath within him, noxious odor of sulfur, a good sign!, only a true being can sneeze, the salamander worked, high frequency radiation, the pre-psyche, a tamed succubus, who killed Foxy Loxy?, boomp in the night, delirious, bull-pusher, bull-dosser, the language wasn’t englais, Canadian French, no word for bull-dozer, the same setup but longer, different people in the room, an expansion, the format, there’s no audiobook of No More Stars, Jesse has to do everybody’s homework, re-read Life Of Pi again, they teach it wrong, character arcs, rising action, getting you excited about orreries, what is phlogiston?, that which what we would call oxygen if we didn’t know what oxygen was, you know of elements in your world?, we have all four here, when trying to expand your elements, metals, how do we get from phlogiston to oxygen, bell jars, air is full of this liquid called phlogiston, dephlogisticated air, from the alchemical days, vocabulary based history, a hard fantasy book, not a portal fantasy, taken from another world, not through a door, a portal fantasy without the portal, his body doesn’t go through a door, materials are drawn from another universe, a mandrake root man vs. made out of human stuff, a certified wife, some many rich things, caring about virginity, they don’t have birth control, our world in the future?, Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, Michael Moorcock, The Magic Goes Away (The Magic Will Come), Matthew Hughes, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of the New Sun, hoqw to get rid of him afterward, The Marching Morons, the C.M. Kornbluth on Frederik Pohl, Idiocracy (2006), you need to fix reality, this is not a complaint, it’s not a comedy, unintentionally imply eugenics, we are in that situation, it’s not genetics, laziness and background, I don’t know any of my friends phone numbers, we won’t even know where we live, take us home, take us to work, reciting all of Homer, all of Beowulf, carrying around the paperback, they had more time, we’ve never had more time, playing computer game, people playing computer games all day long, a peasant or a slave, modern slaves do not have a lot of extra spare time, a lot of holy days, the magic society in this book, they became so dependent on their magic, a very thought provoking book, postulating, Rumplestiltskin, etc., the folk tales that were magical to us when we were young, hinting at science fiction, no ultimate scientific explanation for what was going on, the last couple lines, overexplaining can be a problem, very different axioms, I can do magic here, sympathetic magic, a rigorous sort of world?, how rigorous is our understanding of our reality?, the subatomic and the macrocosmic, there was a big bang, the origin of their universe, how their universe works, we have this nice theory of gravity, what makes the sky literally fall, why do they have to have the orrery model, they don’t need gravity, why?, falling through the holes, falling in all directions?, flat earthers views, if you have a flat earth, the movement of the heavenly bodies, some weird explanation for it, the dome, examining a world in a hard SF way, assumptions we have in background, subsquently influenced, Giants Of Eternity by Manly Bannister, a planetary disaster requiring unique services, what the Martians from The War Of The Worlds do, Marie Curie, Sir Isaac Newton, using some means, you’re our task force, Einstein, Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, Thomas Alva Edison, like the Avengers of Science, bring back to life and put them to work, competence fantasy, brilliant geniuses from history, he can speak Canadian French, they got the wrong guy, touched on a couple of times, his uncle with the same name, your average science fiction reader, destined to do it, the prophecy works out, he has control of the universe in his pocket, he’s literally god, stop the movement of the sun in the sky, dawn in reverse, you can trust him, Solution Unsatisfactory, trust Colossus, under Colossus’ benign dictatorship, a scary sequel, your original Rumplestiltskin, get somebody else from earth, a specialist in folk tales, what type of being?, a wizard drags him into another dimension, I’d rather stay here, L. Sprague de Camp-ish, Joe Johnson, normal sounding names, fun pulpy style, a very short story, Remarkable Story Of Chicken Little, Hen Pen, a gentleman’s garden, how do you know it, Duck Luck, Goose Loose, Turkey Lurkey, how can I help knowing it?, Fox Lox, make haste, bit off her head, cut of her head, same by her, eat her all up, all this from the foolish fright of chicken little, 1840, the more graphic version, the santized version, the repeated lines: how do you know it?, why we have to know about phlogiston theory, authority says so, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, still eating, all the imagery is GOD, it’s God’s garden, Farmer McGregor looks like god, when constructing your world, base assumptions, we’re like that, characters in the universe, I can do no wrong, we make mistakes, very unsatisfying for most people, you can’t bring your old assumptions with you, real ideas, a fun interesting read, The Enchanted Bunny by David Drake, The Velveteen Rabbit, a Lovecraftian werewolf novel, 5500 kelvin, photography is one of Paul’s hobbies, the science of Dianetics, general semantics, about conjuration, the borderlands of philohophy and natural philosophy, understand reality better, mnake true statements, natural deductive logic, you idiots, you think that’s going to work?, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, conflating the actors with the character, Burt Reynolds punches the guy and gets in the car and drive off, Burt Reynolds, sometimes it works the other way, a Batman movie, Burt Reynolds as Batman, he does have a car thing, Smokey And The Bandit (1977), The Good Place, a slightly less good, I’m watching a Ryan Reynolds movie, does it ruin the movie experience?, no, true names tell us something more, and we have more control, it works for cops, exposed as the Gribsnobler, my podcast powers have depleted, Satoshi Nakamura is an AI from the future, legal heat, pronoun shaming AIs from the future, two different AIs from the future?, only under a legal authority, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot (1974), a pair of highwaymen, Clint Eastwood and the Dude from the Dude movie, he likes Jeff Daniels vs. Jeff Bridges, Lloyd and Harry, one of the bad prequel/sequels, there’s lot of good prequels, The Thing is a prequel to The Thing, Rogue One is fine, padded and flabby, don’t bother, The Temple Of Doom, neurodivergence, heavy on the action, hold my focus, the end of any Marvel movie, punchy, use the jewel, Ant-Man, I’m melting, why we don’t need a sequel, how diverting it was, everything is connected, we need more, you don’t need more ice cream, characters, Dave Hansen, the avatar for the reader, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, H.L. Gold, a fantasy fiction magazine, the science fiction market was hot, Galaxy was a massive hit, the literary, a pure fantasy magazine, it kinda flopped, Science Fiction Age, a glossy slick, Realms Of Fantasy, an ebb and flow in interests in interests, a fantasy story with a hard SF premise, hard fantasy, most fantasy stories, the scale is smaller, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, a horror story, Heat (1986), genre, character, length, something they had to read in school, TV series, the average person doesn’t read books, look at the books available, other podcasters, short stories are very unpopular, we don’t know, things do change, technology, YouTube, streamers, technology explaining, how VCRs vs. Laserdiscs, renting movies, flow of technology, why radio was popular, the decline of radio, the decline of television, into their homes, forces of technology changing human behaviors, nothing ever completely dies (it becomes unpopular), Time Out Of Joint by Philip K. Dick, haircutting salons, cars still come with [FM] radios, revealing of our true character, our true interest, our true nature, to literally destroy the world, we don’t need the sequel because we have the implication, really good on ideas, bad on polish, he’s framer, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, as famous as short stories can be Helen O’Loy, robots and people, Weird Science (1985), fixated on Robert Downey, Jr., overcoming social awkwardness, the older brother Chet (Bill Paxton), Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), playing Battleship with Death, The Seventh Seal, good jokes, even though it has literary precurors, Frankenstein movies, references to movies, Kelly LeBrock, Go Ahead Make Your Day?, the movie audience is unaware, the famous novel by Mary Shelley?, because his head has a crack in it?, how way leads on to way, Shakespeare, understanding humanity, the rising action, the train fight, Black Panther, Shang Chi has a train fight, a certain type of fight, Speed (1994), an elevator fight, a bus fight, a train fight, this character represents sadness, Badge Of Infamy, Slums of Mars, powerful union lobbies, the medical lobby, a pandemic, Daniel Feldman, pariah, more topical, topical vs. epistemological, trust the machinery, the flare bloomed, unbuckling herself, emergency bottles of oxygen, book it now, Midsommar (2019), Stefan Rudnicki, the man who discovered your greatest science: Dianetics, tongue in cheek, set in a fantasy world where all that stuff works, Dianetics only works in a fantasy world, plausible deniability, people didn’t have their feelings hurt that easily back then, more of an immediacy, people are very breakable now, they were much tougher, feed back for the original Star Trek and The Next Generation, same kind of complaints, the new Star Trek sucks, we can’t be friends anymore now, a crossover episode, ridiculous, juvenile, a thing to do, Mariner, the main character, BoJack Horseman, Mr. Peanutbutter, Judy Lynne del Rey was a dwarf, editor for Ballantine, Del Rey Books, her wikipedia entry, best editor nomination, paperback book collection, the biggest publisher in Jesse’s collection, Best Of books, Book Of books, DAW books, the 1970s and 1980s, the popularity of science fiction and fantasy, ACE books is the 1960s 1970s, keeping books in print, New English Library, the British version of Del Rey Books, gatekeepers vs. promoters, reprints, bringing back older fantasy titles, the way publishers influence writers, Otto Penzler, Mysterious Books, Donald E. Westlake, Comfort Station, the disaster movie, a parody, Viking Press, fuck these guys, Otto Penzler gets me, he had to publish with everybody, Seanan McGuire, the big two?, bad for authors, an effect on readers, the Audible Exclusives, sell straight to Audible, self-produced audiobooks, important to recognize, because of the format, ten years goes buy, a bulk up, ’54 – ’63 – ’73, the market isn’t healthy, LibriVox published it, coming out in ’23, seven months from now.

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

No More Stars - BEYOND, July 1954

MAGABOOK - The Sky Is Falling AND Badge Of Infamy by Lester del Rey

The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey - 1973 Ace Double cover art

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