The SFFaudio Podcast #094 – READALONG: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #094 – Jesse talks with Julie Davis and Gregg Margarite about Audible.com’s audiobook of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (as narrated by David Hyde Pierce)

Talked about on today’s show:
MindSwap by Robert Sheckley (SFFaudio Podcast #076), Laputa, Lilliput, acting like a Fox News commentator, the new movie version of Gulliver’s Travels, scatological humor, Spark Notes on Gulliver’s Travels, the history of censoring Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver’s Travels illustrations, essays about farts, high-heels and the low heels (are Tories and Whigs) vs. the big endians and the small endians (are protestants and Catholics), the definition of satire is that the story is so clever you don’t recognize it, comparing Mark Twain to Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain’s new/old autobiography, Grover Gardner, is there a biography of Jonathan Swift?, Jonathan Swift was a cleric?, too many atheist ministers in the Anglican church, The United Kingdom is a theocracy, A Modest Proposal, Swiftian sermons, Ireland, Queen Anne, Audible.com’s edition of Gulliver’s Travels, Jorge Luis Borges, he lies in all possible directions at once, difficulties with pronunciation, how long until the release of The Zombies Of Blefuscu?, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Brobdingnag (land of the giants), Gulliver in Lilliput is every little boy’s fantasy (Gulliver is like Godzilla), is there a uniting theme to each section?, “your massive manliness”, an inventory of contents of Gulliver’s pockets, Gulliver’s pocket-watch is his god, the most immediate way to go to prison is to act as if the time is not what the consensual hallucination that is Standard Time isn’t, time, the humor doesn’t translate well to video, the Ted Danson Gulliver’s Travels miniseries, The Scarlet Letter, Ten Things I Hate About You, The Taming Of The Shrew, Easy A, a visual/literary double entendre, a well shot bon mot, John Cassavetes, The Tempest, Hellen Mirren as Prospero, Ian McKellen’s Richard III, Forbidden Planet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brick, Westerns, Firefly, remix culture = culture, Dante’s Inferno, Sergio Leone, virtuous pagans, Laputa (is Ireland), floating islands (and flying islands), Isaac Asimov’s annotated Gulliver’s Travels, science, the vaccine-autism link debacle, the proper procedures for science (ask questions don’t), marble pillows, “people are people are people”, Balnibarbi, Bangsian Fantasy, Luggnagg, Pushing Daisies, Torchwood, John Irving’s The World According To Garp (and the Robin Williams movie version), the unfortunately immortal Struldbrugs, the Struldbruggian mark reminds us of Logan’s Run, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, Houyhnhnms, Edo Japan, Fumi-e, making fun of the travelogue, Stockholm syndrome, wearing yahoo skins, Gulliver is a cipher, existentialism, the waiter lives in bad faith, “don’t put down SparkNotes”, the romantics, who are the yahoos really?, “what you’re actually supposed to do in life”, “our faculties are fit like a horse’s are for running…”, “since we’re talking about finding the meaning of life…”, “and now the religious fanatic part starts to come out…”, pushing atheism on other people by denying their gods (like Zeus), Jehovah’s Witnesses, evangelical atheism is an oxymoron, ‘you can’t reason somebody out of something they weren’t reasoned into’, a misogynist’s club, the problem with polytheism, “people reading the astrology section of the newspaper are going to get us all killed”, rating the classics, dissecting a snowflake with a sledgehammer, books that teach you how to be seditious are extremely valuable, Dante Alhegeri’s Inferno, cognitive dissonance, why South Park is so important (it’s seditious), The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Simpsons, “critical thinking” means it is really important that you think, Craftlit, The Turn Of The Screw, Earth Abides, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell |READ OUR REVIEW|, the Epic Of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, Julie is appreciative of the Socratic SFFaudio style, A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast, Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke, the meaning of catholic is universal, orthodox Catholic vs. unorthodox Catholic (cafeteria Catholic vs. conservative Catholic), an open source view of God (via mgfarrelly in a Boing Boing comment), Taylor Kent’s “if you don’t know Jesus you’re screwed” outro, Scientology, was the virgin Mary a surrogate mother?, Gregg expects to be in purgatory, The Book Of Eli, The Road, Mad Max, “the thing that is not” (lies), utopia, “words are the root of all problems as in we don’t match them to reality very well”, The Invention Of Lying, Ricky Gervais, Earth Abides, In Brouge, “that was the most moral extreme violence I’ve ever seen”, Belgium.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

P.A. Staynes' illustration of Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

The Servants Drive A Herd Of Yahoos Into The Field

Posted by Jesse Willis

AudiobookSync.com: 18 FREE Audiobooks (2 per week over the summer)

SFFaudio Online Audio

OverDrive Media Console

Here’s a promotion that, if you’ve got a Mac or Windows machine, and are in the mood to jump through a couple of hoops, you’re sure to appreciate. And, you can start at it right now.

Starting today there are two FREE MP3 audiobooks available, per week, throughout the summer. This comes courtesy of a new website called AudiobookSync.com.

To get the audiobooks you must download the “Overdrive Media Console.” Then you’ll have to give your name and an email address. It’s a bit of a muddle on the site itself, but after clicking around for five minutes or so I think I’ve got the process completely streamlined in my notes below.

First, if you don’t have it already, you’ll need to download the OverDrive Media Console
MAC |HERE|
Windows |HERE|

After it is installed you’ll need to go to the…

First Download page |HERE| to fill in your details

and then, after that’s started, go to the…

Second Download page |HERE| and repeat the process.

Be sure to take careful note where the files are set to download to. Mine defaulted to a folder called:

\My Media\MP3 Audiobooks\”

There’s also a promise of more audiobooks, week by week, throughout the month of July. And at least some of them are definitely worth getting!

Here’s the complete release schedule:

Hachette Audio - Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson TANTOR MEDIA - Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyAvailable July 1 – July 7
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson [ABRIDGED]
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [UNABRIDGED]

Available July 8 – July 14
Over the End Line by Alfred C. Martino
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Available July 15 – July 21
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Available July 22 – July 28
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Available July 29 – August 4
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Available August 5 – August 11
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Available August 12 – August 18
Beastly by Alex Flinn
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Available August 19 – August 25
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Available August 26 – September 1
Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #064 – READALONG: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #064 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis and Luke Burrage about The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester!

Talked about on today’s show:
Forgotten Classics, Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains, The Invisible Man, Robert Sheckley’s The Status Civilization, exploding volcanoes, Gulliver Foyle, jaunting as teleporting, BAMF, The Uncanny X-Men, Jumper by Steven Gould, Charles Fort Jaunte (is a reference to Charles Fort), Fortean Times, The Tyger by William Blake,Tā moko (Maori facial tattoo), religion, swearing, tabernac, future swearing, Louis Wu in Larry Niven’s Ringworld, the frivolity of the wealthy, satire, sailing as conspicuous consumption, telepathy, Paul Williams, The Stars My Destination as a “pyrotechnic novel”, the power of the narrative imagery, the audiobook (a Library of Congress Book for the Blind version), the heirs of Alfred Bester are fighting over the rights, transformation, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, “Most scientific!”, Alfred Bester’s years writing comics, WWII, the Wikipedia entry for The Stars My Destination, synesthesia, the long forgotten histories of synesthesia, Of Time, And Gully Foyle by Neil Gaiman, cyberpunk, a hard-boiled Philip K. Dick novel, passive schlubs, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Pyrenees, the induction scene in William Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, a shotgun approach to transformation, The Stars My Destination as meta book, Peter F. Hamilton, the renaissance man, Classics Illustrated #3 The Count Of Monte Cristo, Fourmyle of Ceres, PyrE, (the inspiration for Pyr Books?), Napoleon Bonaparte, thought turning into action, our overcrowded future, Second Life, Surrogates, only in a cyberpunk future, retroactive foreshadowing, the 1991 BBC Radio Drama version of Alfred Bester’s Tiger Tiger, the old language, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Pyrene, cyborgs, wired nerves, bullet time, you can’t spoil a book like this.

The Stars My Destination (Mediascene No. 36) 1979

The Revenge Of The Cosmonaut by Alfred Bester

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Audio and RadioArchive.cc: The Taming Of The Shrew and Science Fiction

SFFaudio Online Audio

The "Induction" scene in The Taming of the Shrew

If I asked you to think about “Shakespeare and Science Fiction” you’d probably go with Forbidden Planet (a spacey version of The Tempest). If you’re more TV inclined you’d probably go with Star Trek, maybe even name the episode entitled “The Conscience of the King” outright. That’s the one that features a near perfect inversion of the traveling actors sequence in Hamlet (as well as part of the production of the play itself).

And yeah, Shakespeare himself may appear as a character in Science Fiction stories. Isaac Asimov’s The Immortal Bard is perhaps my favourite example of that. But no actual Science Fiction can be found in any play by William Shakespeare. Right?

Shakespeare’s plays have many fantastic elements (ghosts, magic, witches, prophecy), but those are all Fantasy tropes, not SF. Not one the the plays of William Shakespeare could possibly qualify as Science Fiction outright. Right?

But then, I was thinking about the very Philip K. Dickness of the opening sequence of Shakespeare’s farcical romp called The Taming Of The Shrew. It’s called “The Induction” and features a character named Christopher Sly, a drunkard, who while unconscious, is abducted from the street where he lays and is taken into a mischievous Lord’s home. There, he’s put to bed, and when awakened, is told by the household’s servants that he’s been “asleep” for fifteen years, that he is the lord of the manor, and that he has a beautiful young wife! All the household’s servants are in on the jape and obey his every command. The Lord who arranged this practical joke says,

Persuade him that he hath been lunatic;
And when he says he is, say that he dreams,
For he is nothing but a mighty lord.
This do and do it kindly, gentle sirs:
It will be pastime passing excellent,
If it be husbanded with modesty.

Only then, once the ridiculous question of identity is hatched does The Taming of the Shrew begin (performed by a troupe of traveling actors who visit Christopher Sly’s manor). We’ve talked about Fictional Fictional Characters, on the SFFaudio Podcast before, this is a case of a fictional fictional play. The actors in the play are playing actors in a play.

“Christopher Sly’s presence as a spectator in Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew makes the entire drama of wife-taming into a mere science fiction spectacle of household order.” -From the introduction to Poor Women in Shakespeare by Fiona McNeill

I’m betting that’s as close as The Taming Of The Shrew gets to Science Fiction.

This is all apropos of some recent reading of the play proper and a visit to RadioArchive.cc where you’ll be able to find a terrific sounding 1988, BBC Radio 3 dramatization that faithfully adapts the play to audio.

BBC Radio - The Taming Of The Shrew by William ShakespeareThe Taming of the Shrew
By William Shakespeare; Adapted by Jeremy Mortimer; Performed by a full cast
CD or MP3 (via TORRENT) – Approx. 2 Hours [RADIO PLAY]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 3 / BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: 1988 / 2005
Publisher: BBC Audio
Published: 1999
ISBN: 056355391X
This hearty comedy has always been a favourite with audiences. Three suitors pursue Bianca Minola, but her father won’t let her marry until her older sister, Katherine, is married. Kate is wilful, loud, volatile and above all, shrewish. Her suitor Petruchio is stern, jolly, and somewhat odd. A match made in heaven?
Cast:
Bob Peck, Cheryl Campbell, Moira Leslie, Robert Glenister, Stephen Tompkinson, Douglas Hodge, Christopher Fairbank, Michael Deacon, Anthony Jackson, Willam Simons, John Badley, and Paul Copley
Crew:
Directed by Jeremy Mortimer
Music composed by Mia Soteriou

The Induction scene in The Taming of the Shrew

Posted by Jesse Willis

ABC Radio National: Watch by Stephen Dedman

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National, Australia’s public radio broadcaster will be airing (but sadly not podcasting) a story from the paperbook Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 2 collection (2006). It airs at 08:30 in the SUNDAY STORY slot.

Watch
By Stephen Dedman; Read by Matthew O’Sullivan
1 Broadcast – [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: ABC Radio National
Broadcast: February 1st 2009
A modern retelling of King Lear with a supernatural twist.

Posted by Jesse Willis