The SFFaudio Podcast #485 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Undying Thing by Barry Pain

August 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #485 –The Undying Thing by Barry Pain; read by Dan Grozinski (dg73). This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (59 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
is Paul kinda glum?, staying up to late with a flask of whiskey and a revolver in his pocket worrying about the sins of his ancestors, so appropriate, WEREWOLVES!, being an evil genius, a method to Jesse’s madness, fortuitous, drifting off, how Barry Pain writes, an AMAZING story, he more Maissa listens to it the more questions she has, the monster never shows up on screen, checking the audio against the text, cut-off?, this story provokes questions, so many hints, so rich, nothing to say on Sunday, sleepless nights, unpacking it, the rhythm and the structure, implied, asked but not answered, more nuanced, elliptical digressions, diagraming this story, this would make an amazing movie!, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, filmed in black and white with sepia flashbacks, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes, which is the more famous story, they came out exactly the same month!, the way the stories unfold, one has no detective, on has Mr Marsh, points in contact, barnoets get the title “sir”, ancestral baddie, murders happening in the community, the friend that comes to the house, a wolf or a hound that haunts the family, the tavern rumor mongers, astounding!, Pain’s not copying Doyle and Doyle’s not copying Pain, seeds of evil, spoiling this 1901 story, a trained creature, an heir to the estate, an evil dalliance, a bastard son, enacting the plot of The Undying Thing, avatar, very Lovecraftian, Lovecraft liked this story, Brotherhood Of The Wolf (2001), the first Sir Edric Vanderquests’ evil plan, Supernatural Horror In Literature,

“Ugh! I really half-believe I ought to mention this in my article.”

reading a little a bit for the readers, hands of white fire, burglar?, why does he think it has come for him?, our companion buddy reads the confession and then burns it but he doesn’t tell his Sir Edric, electric lighting, why does he think that?, go back to your room, the night he spent by himself, there’s somebody in the dining room, what is it?, its there!, go BACK!, who are you…what are you?, he’s talking to IT, you wouldn’t say “who are you?” to a dog, we don’t actually see the baby, trying to find anybodys criticism, Sir Edric wanted another boy, is it a boy?, was it a boy?, how to get rid of the baby, covering the mouth, and nose, no snout, somewhat human-shaped, BANG!, perfectly empty, he went through the window, he knew that Sir Edric would be found there, how did he know that, the final paragraph, a great flash of lightning, the plantation had collapsed, this time he had fainted away, what’s going on?, Jesse has a theory, sentence by sentence, very very Gothic, really good use of weather, the whole of the trees fling their heads upwards, the collapse of the tunnel system, heads vs. crowns, so we can see it, the leaves staying still with the ground subsiding, an amazing piece of writing, a deafening crash, listening to it as an audiobook, being specially attuned (like Wayne June) and timing every word, The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, a metaphor or symbol for the family itself, collapsing into a tarn, the penultimate sentence, earlier collapses, this time he had fainted away, did he die?, he died with a petrified look on his face, the viewpoint character is gone, The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford, a family curse, corpses moved around the tomb, a giant smiling skull, a smile only they can pull off, the Willis family “ookel face”, a really unusual look, a family curse, that smile is going to come again, a hideous grin of terror, an alternate reading of the ending, he says its there, why did he call his friend?, hands of white fire, a tap at his door, he had dressed, a curious subdued voice, how did the Undying Thing get in?, is it a ghost?, it had a body, its not a question, why does sir edric think that?, Sir Edric is the Undying Thing, he is the inheritor of the curse, he doesn’t know that he is, he’s about to transform, what happened to the first woman?, she saw the previous incarnation, it’s dead and not dead, keeping this THING alive, Maissa’s theory, pledging to God, be thou with eve, he’s bargaining with God on Eve’s behalf, he goes back on his word, some sort of spirit, purgatory, Morella, well read in the German philosophers, kind of like a mom, she’s basically a witch or something, like Alia in Frank Herbert’s Dune, the family tomb, she’s my daughter and my husband, such an open story, page 135, on the following morning, weregild!, roaming the countryside at night, why were they not welcomed, they found her corpse, what is she doing there at night?, her body was found there at noon the following day, if there’s a werewolf there should be someone torn apart, she died in a “fit”, Maissa’s right, trying to prove something?, “he goes out with a rug, a flask of whiskey and a revolver”, The Red Room by H.G. Wells, definitely not a cow, a stray cow, no cow, too much for a cow, too whimsical, I was awakened by a cry, swishing through the bracken, half-awake, he persuaded himself to go to sleep again, a subterranean spring, some slight subsidence, legend says, Hal’s planting, why he thinks its the Undying Thing, only haunts the planting, a charge of dynamite, criticizing the story, running on familiar tracks, a well beaten path, feeling the resonances, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, the tragedy of that small goddess, the curse of the land, to dynamite the tower and the trees, kill the sacred birds, “colonial fiction”, set in England?, thinking along the same thoughts, a genetic understanding of a family curse, because he was a Jew, does he believe the legend?, he knows its real underneath, he’s cursed, the opposite of The Hound Of The Baskerville, the end of the (family) line, blowing up Hal’s Planting brings the end, look through these papers for me, a doctor who doesn’t practice, interested in science and out of the way science, Guerdon, Geurdon and Bird, positive inheritances, Ray, “season”, in season, mating time, introduced to society, it was assumed, is he trying to save him, her “mourning” room, she’s a ray of sunshine, built with such ingrained malice and vexatious, he is the heir to the curse, both dead and alive, are they all Edrics?, the wolf attack, but then in rereading…, I can’t say why, a group of wolves, one of these wolves must have escaped, question mark end of chapter, more of Maissa’s theory, Jesse’s theory, intending wolves to serve as (hunting) dogs, he chased down a woman with his dogs, destroy these beasts, he loved his second wife even more than he hated his first, she was not bitten, why did they frighten her so, indicative lines, when it was too late, was it nine months afterwards?, she died in childbirth, that old woman is the nurse, attacked by the wolves as in raped by the wolves, werewolf-baby, I have superpowers because my mother was spooked by a goose while she was pregnant with me, some thing, this is such a good story, why is it called undying not undead, reading Plato on the immortality of the soul, snow at the approach of heat, a philosophical argument for the existence of life after death, killed and not killed, raised and not raised in the caves, eternal in the curse of the family, is the THING dead?, the obstetrician, the appendage to the letter, the devil’s wolves seem to hunt me in my sleep nightly, the ghost of the wolves, darker ink, initials R.D., it is not dead, I do not think it will ever die, the curse is real, in light of The Wolf Leader, light and fluffy vs. dreaded and cursed, a deal with the devil, Jesse is worried about podcast listeners not being as impressed as they should be, it would make a fabulous movie or a wonderful comic book, everybody should read this story if they’re at all interest in wolf tails (or wolf tales), Mansteath (man’s death), sounds British, even English, the Midlands?, Hal’s planting (Hell’s planting?), the orchard, Jesse’s Roof Bear drawings, Cellar Feller, That Only A Mother by Judith Merrill, Born Of Man Of Woman by Richard Matheson, the powerful revelation, looking monstrous, in Roof Bear world everybody’s sort of friendly, in the real world, an orchard outside of the hill, Pan lives in the orchard, exploring your unconscious or your genetic memory, it’s always night in Roof Bear world, a kind of truth no science can tell you, science is wonderful, this is art, it could come back and haunt you, the power in this story, a kind of truth that is completely fictional, the latest incarnation of Edric, walking sunshine, in his final hours he’s trying to save his friend, what are you who are you?, is he looking in a mirror, what’s it eating, we need Mr Jim Moon and Marissa’s thoughts, getting attacked by coyotes, and Paul by blackflies, Mr Jim Moon getting in a punch up with a kangaroo,

Stories In The Dark by Barry Pain

The Undying Thing And Others by Barry Pain

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #313 – READALONG: The Lord Of The Rings (Book 2 of 6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

April 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #313 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa continue their journey through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien with a discussion of Book II “The Ring Goes South” (aka the second half of The Fellowship Of The Ring).

Talked about on today’s show:
Many meetings; Elrond’s powerpoint at the council; Bilbo’s demands for lunch (after missing his first and second breakfasts); the science fiction info dump; Council of Elrond’s unfeasibility in today’s publishing world; council is a series of chained short stories; a whole bunch of new characters; the rhythm and pacing of Tolkien’s storytelling; the protracted timespan of the novel; crotchety Bilbo; Caradhras and the “jaw-cracker” Dwarven tongue; Sam as the mediating character; Bill the Pony; dreams and The Wizard of Oz; the inevitability of Frodo’s quest; the dreams of Boromir and Faramir; Boromir has something to prove; Boromir’s complex relationship with Aragorn; the one walkers set against the nine riders; Boromir is Gondor-centric and doesn’t see the big picture; nuclear weapons as a modern analogy for the ring, Mordor = Nazi Germany, Gondor = Russia, Canada = The Shire; Canada’s refusal of nuclear power; the importance of choices in the story; Saruman of Many Colors; “he who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom”; subverting readers’ expectations; “I will take the ring, though I do not know the way”; the ring and addiction; Galadriel’s long battle with temptation; Caradhras again, the anthropomorphic mountain; The Mirror of Galadriel and the choice to look; Teleport = teleportation + pornography; Tolkien’s letters, and Galadriel is not the Virgin Mary; Galadriel’s soul gaze–Boromir’s response: “this is bullshit!”; Frodo’s relationship with Galadriel as fellow ring bearers; more dubious analogies: Gandalf (or Isildur) as Eisenhower; the raw deal the Stewards get in Minas Tirith; Sam’s always excluded from the meetings; Rivendell and Lothlórien’s competing bed and breakfasts; Galadriel’s gifts; The Lord of the Rings as modernized Viking sagas; Babylon 5 is Lord of the Rings in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!; Jesse has seen everything; the Moria dungeon crawl; the Lovecraftian tentacle monster; how did Gollum enter Moria; Dungeons and Dragons vs. the Tolkien estate; wolves; the reappearance of “chance”; Frodo’s perilous sturgeon Amon Hen; repeated references to star- and moonlight; the strange nature of Elf magic; a digression about bears, bees, honey, and wolves; the Elven cloaks vs. Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak; the nature of the other rings; race conflicts in Middle Earth and the fairness of blindfolds; the film’s vulgarization of dwarves; the poetry of Middle Earth; the complexities of a multilingual world; “nom de traveling”; black swans on the Great River; Jesse is a “philosophically-trained Elvish dude”; white swans and symbolic logic; not many big predators in Middle Earth; Romantic ideas of nature; vegetarians and vegans in Middle Earth; the slippery slope of vegetarian logic; orcs in Lord of the Rings vs. goblins in The Hobbit; George MacDonald’s Goblin Princess; the etiology of the orcs; Sauron’s exploits in Númenor (read: Atlantis or Ultima Thule) before the ring; Robert E. Howard’s Conan is an Atlantean; multiple readings; what are the rest of the dwarves up to?; bosses and minibuses in Moria; Legolas, Gimli, and intercultural stress in Middle Earth; looking forward to The Two Towers; Maissa is still on board as a first-time reader.

ACE Books - The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Battle Of The Chamber Of Mazarbul - illustration by Angus McBride
RECORDED BOOKS - The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by Seth

Review of An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer

March 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

An Unwelcome Quest by Scott MeyerAn Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0, Book 3)
By Scott Meyer; Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 10 February 2015
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 46 minutes

Themes: / hacker / time travel / fantasy / humor / wolves / wenches / wastelands /

Publisher summary:

Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they’ve been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds can only dream of having. But even in their wildest fantasies, they never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic and all-around evil behavior.

Who knew that the vengeful Todd would escape, then conjure a computer game packed with wolves, wenches, wastelands, and assorted harrowing hazards – and trap his hapless former friends inside it? Stripped of their magic powers, the would-be wizards must brave terrifying dangers, technical glitches, and one another’s company if they want to see Medieval England – and their favorite sci-fi movies on VHS – ever again. Can our heroes survive this magical mystery torture? Or will it only lead them and their pointy hats into more peril?

Review:

Executive Summary: This series is a lot of fun, and this book might be the best yet. I really hope we’ll get a 4th book.

Audio book: What more can I say about Luke Daniels? I said he’d be good at reading the phone book, and he obliged me. I bet he’d even do a good job of the Begats. He brings this book to life. It may as well be a radio play. Do yourselves a favor and do this book in audio.

Full Review
I sort of fell into this series by accident last year. It’s not going to be winning any awards or anything, but if you want a fun and light series, look no further.

I thought that while the second book addressed my complaints about the lack of women from the first book, the plot and the humor were weaker. This book seems the most polished yet. While probably not as funny as the first book, it’s definitely the best written. The characters are more developed, the plot is tighter, and in general I was always excited to to start listening again.

If you’ve ever played buggy video games, or written buggy code, I think you’ll especially find a lot to like here. I like how some of the supporting characters from Off to Be the Wizard that mostly took a backseat in Spell or High Water were not only more heavily featured, but really had a chance to shine. I especially enjoyed Tyler’s running commentary throughout the book.

That said, my favorite character continues to be Phillip. Especially when he’s talking to Jimmy. And Jimmy of course is as great as ever.

If you liked the first two books, definitely give this one a try. And if you haven’t given this series a try yet, you really should. It’s a lot of fun, and I really hope we’ll get more of them.

Review by Rob Zak.

The SFFaudio Podcast #283 – READALONG: Watchers by Dean Koontz

September 22, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #283 – Jesse, Seth, and Steen discuss Watchers by Dean Koontz

Talked about on today’s show:
1987, Amazon and Goodreads reviews, what the fuck’s going on, super-clear = refreshing, mainstream, science fiction elements, a mainstream thriller with sufficently science fiction trappings, the bad guy, action and science fiction, supermarket fiction, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, flirting with the fantastic, Koontz could go deep if he wanted to, excitement and involvement, an intelligent dog, a human serial killer and the good guy is always super good, a lonely lady who needs fixing, no need for a job, Garrison, the vet, money ex machina, wish fulfillment, sniffing the books, writing instinctual, “I like books”, readers are readers, is Koontz wealth (?) an accident, the same book over and over again with different sentences, dogs, odd without a dog, back to dogs, the fictional golden retriever, service dogs, Trixie Koontz, dog POV, Travis and Nora, if I could only communicate…, five stars with more than 1,000 reviews, cat lovers, sappy wish fulfillment, clunky dialogue, Seth’s retired guide dog, emotional scenes, Einstein, emotional beats hitting home, the Outsider, slow pitch Science Fiction, the NSA, research as depth of feeling, why the eyes, the Mickey Mouse telephone, a direct philosophical descendant of Frankenstein, we must treat our creations with justice and mercy, the disfigured (?) monster, extreme violence is a turn-off, dogs as wild animals that we tamed, a glacial Frankensteinian process, dogs as infantilized wolves, a dog’s nature is to be cowardly, breeding for violence (?), no savagery gene, baboons, bonobos, the creepy cable-guy stalker, delusions of immortality (?), money, surreality, The Call Of The Wild reference, survivalists, true love with a threat, preppers, Home Alone, what do Europeans think of gun culture?, fully automatic uzi kits, the baking of the cookies, the Dean Koontz genre, Phantoms, the town of Snowfield is deserted, a sink-full of jewels, creepy with wish fulfillment, and fun, multiple bad guys (monster and otherwise), The Mysteries Of Udolpho, let’s look at the parallel structure…, snake killing, some (more) cookies, pity, the underlying strength of the book, did the Outsider think that it killed Einstein?, Dean Koontz likes: cookies, mercy, and guns, Koontz’s hair transplant, political things, the soliloquy on technology, computer hacking (prior to the web), a preoccupation with Central/South America, Lebanon, Delta Force, quasi-domestic operations, The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft, the crappy 1988 movie of Watchers, the horror/1980s-gore aspect, Koontz and King adaptations, completely forgettable single word titles, Koontz’ preferred title would have been “Guardian”, Philip K. Dick’s first story Roog, offering urn, the education of Einstein (paralleling the education of Frankenstein’s monster), Agatha Christie, it makes you happy, 2 Jesses, “a book you will never forget!”, a candy book, The Giver, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, taking experiences from their own life, Ray Bradbury never had an experience that he didn’t turn into a fix-up novel, turn your brain off, smooth flowing fun, the complainers, the style of dialogue, a straw man of the dialogue, why is the Outsider after Einstein?, a “thing that should not be”, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, page turning machines, stewing in resentment, the Outsider has no bride and hasn’t read Paradise Lost, a shared love of Mickey Mouse, the yin and yang of humanity, the NSA agent’s role is like that of Detective Fix in Around The World In Eighty Days, the level of characterization, Dean Koontz is by himself on his own little island.

Watchers (1988)

An Astronomers Theory illustration by Virgil Finlay

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #280 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Völsungasaga

September 1, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #280 – Völsungasaga translated by Eiríkr Magnússon and William Morris; read by Corpang (of LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the saga (4 hours) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Seth, and Mr Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
anonymous, 1000 AD, Beowulf, Germanic myth collection, Volsung Dynasty, quick character changes, irrational logic, biblical similarities, Sigurd, echoes of myths, family relationships in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Tales of Dragons, a hodgepodge of influences, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, dramatic events, wolves, half-historical and half-saga storytelling, origin from Homeric Myths, odes, cyclical time, less Christian influences than other written sagas, a source or influences on stories and also influenced by earlier sagas, Vikings on History Channel, moral lessons to be awesome, unconsciousness of glorious kings with immoral actions, The Old Testament, hierarchy of power, jealousy of wealth and power, Medieval Japan, neighbor relationships, attitudes toward prophesy and fate, stoicism and acceptance, Odin Mythology, simple naming of characters, absence of fear of death, reincarnation, female equality, werewolves, Roman Mythology, frequent raiding, laws protecting wolves, wolves as outlaws, Caligula, power creates rules, Christian epics with Christian rule system, power of sacrifice, irrational idea of original sin, The New Testament subverting the idea of superiority, master morality and the slave morality, a lot of similarity to Beowulf, a source for education and entertainment, reason for being dramatic, 13th century literature, history in a very vague and incorrect way, more atrocity earlier in the saga, parallel between fantasy and real life, Story of Attila, transmission of knowledge, Haida Gwaii’s similarity to Vikings, We are really here for the gold!, names of dwarfs, broken names, obsession of money creates craziness, atrocity and craziness as history, story created before medieval nobility, morality as generosity, guest morality, Richard Wagner, being near Vikings is dangerous, endurance of pain as superior, no laughs and mild jokes in Volsunga saga, disrespect is bad, burial traditions create conflict, William Morris, the absence of slaves in Tolkien Fiction, free society.

The Worm Fafnir illustrated by Lancelot Speed

Sigmunds Schwert illustration by Johannes Gehrts

Ramsund Carving

Posted by Jesse Willis