The SFFaudio Podcast #648 – The Mad King by Edgar Rice Burroughs; read by Delmar H. Dolbier. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (9 hours 16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, and Alex.
Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in All-Story, 1914 and 1915, reasons for confusion, the first half of this book is The Mad King, the second half is Barney Of Beatrice, follow ups, The Eternal Lover, some Tarzan action, Barney’s sister, the reincarnation of a cave man, who is this person, a spark, literary universe, paired the spares, paired with an unfrozen caveman, least favourite ERB, comparisons to The Prisoner Of Zenda, A Princess Of Mars, The Mucker, Robert E. Howard’s The Black Stone, H.P. Lovecraft, a stupid bet, honor, Barney has principles, Paul!, a no shaving contest, a true hero, never compromise, keeping in bearded and mustached, part of the genre, it tells you everything about Burroughs and Barney Custer, by reputation, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, whoa its Tarzan, before him stretched, the adjoining roof, clambering to the heights, he’s just swinging, Barney Custer invented parkour, the way the doubling was handled, the dependence on random chance, easily fixed with five minutes of work, his father was a soldier of fortune, a little background, car crashes, his car lands on the king, a eugenicist, princess genes, Colonel Custer, Custer was loser, fought against unbeatable odds, the rep he had, character flaws built right in, Barney is more prudent, The Efficiency Expert, the Austrian firing squad, the Serbian resistance, random luck, language, the shopkeeper spoke really good German, a German state, why this book isn’t as great as it should be, Rupert Of Hentzau, a guy going to an Eastern European country from England, a Germanic state, past Austria, he goes home, every year after, a rose kissed by his princess girlfriend, the best bad guy from the first book, a rogue, he’ll happily betray you and laugh about it, the first half of this book is the complete novel of Anthony Hope’s ZENDA and the second half maps to the second book RUPERT OF HENTZAU, the honorable thing to do, a scandal, one of his ancestors stole away a princess, cousins of the princess, the flaw in the first book is the sequel, going back and fixing the kingdom again, he leaves Lutha, that’s why this book is not as good as it should be, pathetic corrupt Europeans going to war, vs. the Americans know what to do, handwaved in the first, this king is bad from the start, a weak coward, a two-hander, the timing, March 21, 1914, serialized over three issues in 1915, WWI, Serbia, an analogy for World War I, the Black Hand, retconned, the location of Lutha comes in the second half of this book, 1-12 and 1-13, sneaks into a war torn country, the first half is set in at least 1913 the second half is set in August 1914, Anthony Hope’s novel is a fantasy, a portal fantasy, the Emperor of Austria/Hungary, not fully unified, two books in one book, from a fantasy into a John Buchan story (like The Thirty Nine Steps), the meld is ok, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Genovia, the novel is dated after a couple of years, Bulgaria, right at the heart of WWI, Casablanca (1942), Lichtenstein, Andorra, European principalities, the White Raja Of Sarawak, Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel, adopting foreigners as their kings, pistols, horses, and an automobile and an airplane, and artillery, does Zenda have two F-16s? does Lutha have Migs?, “He Conquered A Dyak Army And Turned All Borneo Into His Private Kingdom”, Pacific castaways, little kings, Omoo by Herman Melville, Typee, The Man Who Would Be King, trophy dwarves and trophy whites, Amazing!, a second son of a British lord, family bastards, kinda legit, so many layers of mirrors, falling asleep in a field, at the very core, its a guy who comes from the peerage vs. son of a farmer, a princesses husband, everybody is on the same level (theoretically), how beautiful the women were, his car and his guns, a princess equivalent of his mom, he reverses the story, he’s ruling as Barney, a legit claim, ultimately he’s a king, blood, right, [marriage], decorum, deed, spanking the Austrian army, we know, his princess is his legitimation, fun and interesting, a funny situation, an American repudiating a system of equality, the King’s Word Is Law, pretty horrible, Burroughs isn’t focused on that, American virtues, pluck and attitude, the fantasy coming an reasserting, always acting honorably, avoids lying, the king wills this, the blood of the royals runs through my veins, the way Burroughs wrote this, I’m not sure which guy is doing what, Barney being merciful (by not killing him) is actually cowardice, the play of which guy are we actually looking at, they look identical but the King is a little pudgier, they look identical in the second book, they look similar in the first book, except when he smile sneers, Dave (1993), the princess is Sigourney Weaver, he runs an employment agency, Jesse’s not an American, American gyms, Americans practiced circumcision, are Evan and Alex and Paul circumcised?, William Kellogg, less common, lets talk about your penis some more, a Germanic king of eastern Europe, The Return Of Martin Guerre, my foreskin got shot off, mapping moles on the kings back, Natalie Zemon Davis, Human Is by Philip K. Dick, also a Deep Space Nine episode (the Pah-wraiths), Keiko comes back bad, we need the bad angels, a person looking exactly like another person, first cousins, little bit legit, the book can still work as a whole novel, the weld is not perfect, why the book isn’t as good as it should be, Robin Hood in the mountains, instantly bandits, war leader, sneaking into the country, belt full of guns, for reasons, so many sneaking ins, the spy that looks like the girl’s boyfriend, Stephan, a double, she sold him out, he’s cuddling her, frees the prisoners, randomly survived being shot, the Serbian spy, a ragtag militia, the writers’ room on this one was out to lunch, I’m just going to die, funny comedy, they’re gaslighting each other but they don’t want to be, you’re mad, our hero Barney, stealing a car, scenes that don’t go anywhere, the first half is one issue, the second half is three issues (so all cliffhangers), the coincidences are artificial, iron things out, funny and cute vs. Lord Of The Rings, chess pieces moving around, from Sword And Sorcery to High Epic Fantasy, two teams, the evil team, a Mexican standoff, the six vs. the ten, the princess shuttling between them, inkeepers and inkeepers daughters, a cozy Doctor Who episode, Star Trek, expands out, sentence by sentence writer, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, more American exceptionalism, the boss vs. the king, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, a failure, falling asleep vs. being hit on the head, falls asleep surrounded by corpses, a satire or a parody, earnest and honorable, participates in whatever’s going on, what makes him awesome, able to ride a horse, good with a sword, bringing democracy to Lutha, bringing democracy to Barsoom, The Pursuit Of The Pankera by Robert A. Heinlein, tourism, exploitation, a very strange sequence in a very strange book, Blackadder Series 3, Rowan Atkinson, American TV Shows One Episode Of A Time is Evan’s other podcast, George III, WWI, descending in status, a descent, Duel And Duality, who gets to be king, ridiculous, upheaval and murder, Alexander the Great’s generals, second sons of farmers, every tenth child goes off to the church, Crusader Kings, crusader monks, clerical work, clerk and clark, the plotting of the book, does the first half work on its own, tracks the guy half-way around the world, randomly, a small continent.
Talked about on today’s show:
how to pronounce his name (mack-in is fine), a short story, The Whirlwind, 1890, The Great God Pan and The Inmost Light, a confusing horror story, the Jeffrey Epstein of the 1890s, not what Juett thought it was about, fantasy, a science fiction horror, a capital S on Science, a mad scientist, a metaphor, a symbol, more Alan Moore than Hellboy, pretty timely, the abuse of underage girls, people getting suicided, not getting prosecuted, a conspiracy, a direct response to Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson pulls his punches, he tramples a boy, a mystery, the secret of the story (Jekyll and Hyde were the same person), it’s a science fiction story!, the way this book is structured, the structure Dracula uses, Bram Stoker, down and up through time, a fixup, its disconnected, a more ethical and pleasant book, evil island, revenge, Prince Andrew, surprising it was written when it was written, a shocking book to read, Mr Jim episode 7, 2015, Aleister Crowley, our perceptions of what the Victorians were really like is broken, sex and drugs, Oscar Wilde, getting on the private plane with Clinton and going to that sex island, suicided in prison, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, research ability, type “Pan” into google, the drawings were not allowed to see in the book, the horror that totally effects Lovecraft, From Beyond, The Dunwich Horror, fucking with stuff inside your skull, Dr Raymond, cutting the corpus callosum, very minor brain surgery, the pineal gland, The Tomb, the panisci and the nymphs, Wasteland by W. Scott Poole, The Bowmen, kind of like Alex Jones except as an author, pizzagate, Hillary Clinton, New York, a game of telephone, focused on the wrong things, he wrote a fiction piece, republishing, changing the details, Q Anon and 4 Chan, WWI, having snow on your boots = he’s a Russian, in responses to the bowmen, Russian troops being landed in Scotland and on their way to London now, cultural legacies of weird wacky conspiracy theories, rumours, ill repute, a reputable public face, an association we think is a problem, what is now the first chapter, what is the third chapter, written in a single evening, it opens and it closes, an unsatisfactory resolution, no longer a being like we want her to be, the girl belongs to the witness, the witness is there to witness, the consent problem, problematic, “even if the worst happened”, “her life is mine”, he’s evil, Going Aquatic Apeshit, Capital is the narrator of the book, The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh, Francis Bacon, The Horror At Red Hook, of this length and of this quality, The Undying Thing by Barry Pain, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, a werewolf story, a cursed lineage story, this veil beyond, these yellow books, a critical biography of Arthur Machen: Arthur Machen, Weaver Of Fantasy by William Francis Gekle, so elliptically, a Welsh childhood, London, a story that took bottom up support, the people want this to be true, an anecdote from WWI, the ghosts of the Agincourt bowmen, god is on our side, witnesses, within six months its out of his hands, transferred into WWII, one of his shittiest stories, a fantasia, childhood and reminiscence, The Lost Club, club society, gentleman’s clubs, the Hellfire Club, The Cosy Room, the fear of being hung, Out Of The Earth, Arthur’s castle, the war has turned the country evil, a reality behind the veil, folk beliefs, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret Murray, witches were real, peasant people cast magic, heterodox beliefs, occult traditions, networked, The Call Of Cthulhu, The Festival, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dunwich Horror, networks of vernacular knowledge is the real tentacle running through H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, the horseshoe on the door, embracing whatever folklore’s out there, the Bros. Grimm, Aarne-Thompson index, so many of the characters suffer from faceblindness, three is a magic number, these are lessons, knowledge being imparted, stories full of dwarves, Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves, Aladdin is only in the European version of 1,001 Nights, The Tinder-box by Hans Christian Anderson, behavior test, how to act and how to be, Hansel And Gretel, the step-mother is the witch, illiterates educating their children, sex clubs, capitalism unrestrained, a powerful woman at his side, a very intellectual guy, a kind of play and a kind of reality (he knows is fake), The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, the meaning of the word “turgid”, swollen, congested, distended, it’s a slur, Lovecraft is complicated, striving for a common reality, a literary technique, a feature not a bug, a misunderstanding, byzantine, this cosmic dimension, class, sexuality, gender, look how divided the city is, why you need to be spoiled on it, the Victorians can’t go there, Escher, the veil runs through the entire story, there’s one story, Jesse is a supergenius and everybody needs to know, The Tree, its a murder mystery, The Unnameable, Cotton Mather, just got raped by Pan, two artists, the narrator learns of the two artists from a beekeeper, why does this story suck so much, a secret story inside, the bees know, the interpretation (his friend’s art is better than his), he hid it so well you don’t even know its there, nature knows, you have to know how to interpret it, every time we’re going to get a revelation the words are whispered, never another good night in your life, From Beyond, a metaphor and a symbol, the symbolists, The Hound, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Robert W. Chambers, The Yellow Sign, The King In Yellow, the Yellow 90s, I love this suggestion, it matches our perception, a symbol behind the veil, Pan is not like the other gods, Stephen Fry’s Mythos, the word panic, The Origins Of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner, a war between them in the mythology, sky gods vs. earth gods, The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle, when the surgery is about to be done, Clark, green velvet chair, whatever gas, another way of reading it is the brain surgery is on Clark, see reality for what it is, reality distortion, another Austin, Miss Penclosa, sulfuric acid, this powerful woman in London society, dispelling the idea of this being an attack on new womens’ power, a product of male predation, there’s a lot to think about, in a more subtle way, a social critique like that of The Time Machine, born victimized, Morlocks aren’t the bad guys, becoming monstrous, Weena and the Eloi, there’s no judgement, satirizing vs. critiquing, the old Doctor Who, playing up to Juett, Man-Thing, The Devil In The Dark, The Horta vs. The Horla, can’t they all get along?, if this goes on…, why we should all read science fiction, the consequences of unchecked untruth is, not really fantasy at all, its science fiction, misunderstanding who this god is, the truth of the reality is horrible, Thomas Ligotti, sympathy, lifting the veil on the society, vote for Biden everything will be okay, put on the They Live sunglasses, the reverse of the removing of the veil, Faith Of Our Fathers by Philip K. Dick, imagine how much people would read it if it was public domain…, visit sickmyduck.narod.ru, stop listening to this podcast, one last connection, disgusting (a book published in the last 30 years), heedlessly, Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, those materials were destroyed, the monstrous woman has to be destroyed, paternal figure takes advantage of someone under their care, three stories, it has to percolate up on its own, bottom up pressure, you need to spoil it for me, all these guys are jerks, young women get revenge on bad fathers, Captain Nemo is the secret hero, a bad dad, like Goliah or Colossus, Raʼs al Ghul type character, Poison Ivy, anti-imperialism, an internationalist, Canadian lumberjacks, a brown dude wearin a turbin yelling at people torpedoin ships, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne, Robur The Conqueror, that book’s a series, In Search For The Castaways, The Mysterious Island, the end of Nemo’s career, a sikh, N by Stephen King, one of the greatest horror stories ever written in the English language, Revival by Stephen King, devotes his whole life to studying electricity, do the Frankenstein thing, Sleepwalkers, Flatliners (1990), Stand By Me, a report on the afterlife, similar in feel, Angel Heart (1987), fear of miscegenation, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a modern setting, race relations, Crossroads (1986), Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs, Jesse wants to be edified, not merely enjoy things, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), no Pan in it at all, is this a kissing book?, you just don’t want to know where the kiss is being kissed, not a good touch, Robert A. Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil, afraid of what he might say, no one else needs to read Heinlein because I read him, before we become beasts.
Talked about on today’s show:
a serial in All-Story, 1919, WWI, Canadian Army 1915-16, 1917 $150,000, the US Army in 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the state of the magazine industry, four sequels, when Juett was a little kid, a perfect vacation novel, a poncho and a dog, maybe a werewolf, western werewolf novel was a romance, a member of the fey, the Wild Hunt, Connor Kaye, all in reference to The Geat God Pan by Arthur Machen, whistling superpower, animal control, where all the panisci come from, super-rapey, Whistling Dan is zero rapey, a horse named Satan, Black Bart as a pet goat, preternaturally good with his hands and a gun, SFFadjacent, maybe when Dan’s in a coma his spirit is in the dog, under the current, trickles it along, underpainting, following the geese, very mythic, orthogonal migration, snatched from migration, a Clint Eastwood movie with a romance, Italian Spanish American production, Spaghetti Western, the uncanny stuff, his muscles were bigger like those of a caveman, like a mule, bones are bigger, quasi-supernatural, how old is he?, around 10 or 8, a young boy, tame him, lock him in with his daughter, risky, this thing that can’t be tamed, the daughter has a calming effect on all the characters in the novel, Max Brand has a whole bunch of ideas about how women and men interact, ‘women in general are hell, women in particular are heaven’, Buck’s mother, she’s the MacGuffin, he tasted his own blood, where is this supposed to be located, the Black Hills?, Dakota Territory?, high desert, Westworld, putting our something people really wanted to have, Steam-Man Of The Prairies, neo-Westerns, the premium entertainment, overseas fans, THE American literature, Henry James, Quigley Down Under (1990), Paul didn’t understand Westerns, The New Yorker, Paul’s better now, a question about the Western, who read the western?, the working class, Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels And Working Class Culture by Michael Denning, think about the reader, unreachable life, living in Kentucky, Kentucky heritage, Jesse and Frank James, Kit Carson’s farm, Boonesborough, pioneer people, The Crossing, Carradines, two reasons, Germans in the mountains, Karl May, a German immigrant to the West makes friends with a native Indian and travel the land like Kung-Fu, The Lone Ranger, persistently popular, Stephen King, Edgar Rice Burrough’s tomb, Karl May’s tomb, influence on the Nazis, noble savage, German interest in Indians, hiking in the nature of the West, Leavenworth, Washington (state), the Mountie, Argosy and All-Story, pulp hero, western outlaws in Canada, a northern west, the Klondike, Death Hunt (1981), Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, Louis Riel, the Northwest Rebellion, super-religious, less exciting a hero, people should be treated nicely, mental illness, a massive shitshow, the Black Hills and the Dakotas, Deadwood, like the Kurds, Jesse psyched himself out, disenfranchised like the Metis, including Canada in America, our attitude as settler colonists, Allan Quatermain, colonial literature, this strange other place for the guys on the bus going to their factory job, Andrew Jackson, Farmer In The Sky, transplanting sci-fi stories to western motifs, Han Solo’s low slung holster, Wagon Train to the stars (Star Trek), Firefly/Serenity, race never comes up, good guys are white guys, The Efficiency Expert, the lynching that their planning, he’s a criminal and they’re fed up, transplanting this story to Mars, Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick, steer rustlers and bank robbers, the strangest creature under the sun, an unoccupied mars, no dying race there, these Bleekmen, Australian aborigines, a Dreamtime sort of culture, long riders in the Pampas, on the other side of the planet, the Mongols, South Africa, sheep in Australia, a samurai story, Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, a settler colony, colonial literature, wholly artificial, a confection that could appeal to regular romantics, all the set dressing of a western we think of, a lot of talkin’, colonialism without genocide, no Civil War, the first ever gunfight (duels), innocence of our protagonist, he becomes a fighter, is this how naive you really are?, a natural creature, pulled out of nature, the werewolf chapter, was he a wolf who was turned into a man?, he doesn’t understand human emotion, the story of Dexter, traumatized, gave him a code to build his psychopathy around, he’s got a sister, blood daughter, the two actors hooked up, you were raised together, he’s like your brother he’s not your brother, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, super-ego advice on screen, James Remar, he’s OP, you really rolled up this character, he’s definitely a fake, he’s not human, a DEX of 20, WIS level 4, Once Upon A Time In The West, A Fistful Of Dynamite, The Good The Bad And The Ugly, Luke Short, Louis L’Amour, Celtic origins, Zane Grey, the Asimov and the Heinlein and the Clarke, overlapping, he fought in WWI twice and died in Italy in WWII, William Hope Hodgson, artillery officer killed in WWI, a massive output in 15 years, their background stories, eerie similar deaths, The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Chief Dan George, he plays the Indian, a southern outlaw bandit who used to be a confederate, a little something extra, High Plains Drifter (1973), a ghost, ‘he was a ghost the whole time’, this weird false reality created by books just like this, where Whistling Dan lives, its a mythic plane, a hyper reality, the Harry Potter world of the West, a supervillain matched by a superhero, arcs of hyperbole, largely the appeal, the same disposibility and the same addiction, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel “Natty” Bumppo, pre-western, proto-western, there’s no state, there’s no capitalism, the Wild West was a colonial enterprise, kind of ridiculous, what do the readers get out of this?, Michael Mann movie The Last of the Mohicans (1992), those cattle are going to market somewhere, what year is it set?, before the Civil War?, the perpetual old-west, what Westworld is all about, a re-creation of a steady state fantasy West, the saloon gets knocked down/burned down, he feared its influence, the whole revenge thing, at the end when he takes the disc out of his pocket, one of the coins, what is he whispering, waiting for that other coin to drop, an ideological deus ex-machina, Marshals can do no wrong in Portland, what congress is, every time there is some sort of problem they add a new bureaucracy, a massive list of acronyms, Marshals Service, the reason Canada has its shape, all in reaction to what the United States is going to do, 54-40 or Fight, North-West Territory, squad of troops, the state police for the country, government bounty hunters, trail outlaws, he’s on a case, he’s supposed to bring in Jim Silent, in the middle, a little corrupt, Wyatt Earp, outlaw/good guy, the colour of the badge, Justified, based on the Elmore Leonard story Fire In The Hole, the Lexington Court House, filmed in L.A., The Dukes Of Hazzard, a modern western, The A-Team, mini-14, G.I. Joe shooting down Cobra airplanes, ultra-fake violence, Bo and Luke Duke were moonshiners?, bows and arrows because they were on probation?, what replaced the pulp magazines, a continuous stream, Ward Shelly’s The History Of Science Fiction poster, the imagination of what the printers are selling to the easterners, go west young man, Karl May never came here, the trick-shot, the four coins, the Sheriff’s department at Midway, three bottles, the crazy figures, Joe Arpaio, you’re going to go out back and shoot bottles, Jesse’s time-stop dream power, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, you can’t stop time in a multi-player game, story based vs. massively multiplayer, western themes in Fallout, a fantasy sub-genre not recognized as such, Buck Daniels, tamed him, where was he?, his other wild things, Pan induces panic, his presence, what did that?, Buck is the villain in the second novel, why you dont read the second book in the series, The Call Of The Wild by Jack London, its almost like racism, house dogs and yard dogs, he’s not a lapdog, he’s not a hunting dog, he’s a favourite of the judge, a journey of self-discovery, I don’t need masters, I need to be wolf, a dog-wolf story, White Fang as a reversal of The Call Of The Wild, influenced, typically Star Wars writing, ohhh the turn, the wild geese, symbolically joining them again, assembling a menagerie, the horse, the birds, the wolf-dog, that whole idea of Kung-Fu, mixing a dying genre with a very hip genre, well see the Chinese knew kung-fu, right back to the comics, Shag-shi, Fu Manchu, Iron Fist, exoticizing, where everybody makes you have face tattoos, putting a lei around your neck isn’t stolen valour, oooh a real Indian to play an Indian, like Tonto, they thought that was awesome, they loved wrestling, that *IS* awesome, who is being exploited, that’s a great character, that’s a great role, Sandra Locke and Clint Eastwood and Chief Dan George, where’s the harm, dressing up in costumes is cool, its the bad fucking that’s bad, bulldozing land, when politicians are seen wearing headdresses, trying to curry sympathy, we’ll treat you like family, politician are bad actors, eradicated from the landscape, what makes it so fantastic, there are no Apache, no Blackfoot, cultural motifs, cultural ammunition for empire, not as innocuous as Jesse thinks, more fantastic that Philip K. Dick’s Martian Time Slip, more fantastic that A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, movies based on this book, Tom Mix, Paint Your Wagon (1969), a native character would disrupt what is going on, Dan and his animals, Dan’s animals are happy slaves, a psychic beat-down, a sought after horse, I want the dog, the pieces of Dan, they want to colonize Dan, who is The Untamed?, all of Eastwood’s characters, Yojimbo or The Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa movies, 1950, five years after WWII, they go back in time, there is not Japanese Empire, western tech in a medieval kingdom, Toshiro Mifune, perfectly adapts to a western, A Fistful Of Dollars (1964), Yojimbo (1961), a border war, where’s the trauma coming from to make this western fantasy?, friendless nameless, changes things up and leaves town, the period staying in town, this neighbourhood needs cleaning up, killing all those Indians in the west, fairy tales, not based on a real person, the fantasy to cover up genocide or covering up what the West actually was, megacorporations, cow punchers replaced by ranchers, a couple of decades, your grandfather or great-grandfather, our perspective of WWII, Inglourious Basterds (2009), a fairy tale about WWII, the Sundance Kid, bank robberies happened, train robbery, Jonah Hex is real and still wandering the west, not a future Hex, bad ideas, Conan the Barbarian with a laser sword, Jesse’s not having it, 70s and 60s western comics, a lotta superhero comics, straight up westerns coming out of Marvel and DC, the Rawhide Kid, a Wolverine berserker rage, in trouble in his own head, a Stan Lee character, western characters, cops are there, cops are a hindrance to the action, the comic code authority, turning super-heroes into the big thing they were, superheros as propaganda for law and order, Billy The Kid, Spider Man is an outlaw, Captain America, cops took over TV, lawyer shows, so many cop shows, all of these cops are good, the 87th Precinct novels, murders, con men, New York turned upside down, NCIS shows, Law & Order shows, NYPD Blue, Cop Rock, the solution to all problems is more cops, private detective stories and shows, breaking the rules, the cops themselves become the ruler breakers, Dirty Harry, NYPD Blue normalized torture, a standard thing, the bosses knew, 24, bad cops, 24 was theoretically about foreign policy, small scale, we built him until he confesses, The Shield, Homicide: Life On The Streets, based on a book, based on a reality, Will should be stepping up here, the powers of the state are such they’ll get you, you don’t need to beat anybody, people don’t want to be pressured, false confessions, where’s Will in all this?, circle it back to the book we just read, the stateless west, free men doing their thing, a few women, wifes or prostitutes, crooked sheriff, bring the state to be with them, Tex, when he throws down the tin star, an agent of civilization, a stateless place, what we know about civilization, so trusting, the marshals are different, the dignified congressional types, the passing of the marshals’ badge, deputization and posses, you take the lynch mob and they become a posse, power conferred, all the beatings, all the murders were in the name of the law, indemnified, deep down, the core idea, fantasies of what future we can make, what past we can recreate, fantasizing about a time that didn’t exist, what was actually going on, the people will not be restrained, why sequels never help, The Night Horsemen, Dan Berry’s Daughter, cowgirls are fun too, a tragedy, about loss, in the shadow of a famous western hero, regional hero, tall tale people, Wild Bill Hickok, Daniel Boone, a famous figure, Jonah Hex didn’t actually exist, Jesse James, his mother’s hotel, the blood of this dude is still on that floor, any class going on in this story?, no race, no class, basically wholly about the romance of this dude, the way people fawn on him being interesting, one’s a whistler and one’s silent, neither of them are talking, descriptive passages, slightly back to our SFF theme, astronaut Dan Berry discovered it was impossible to whistle while on a moonwalk, the language in this book, poetic scene setting, clear and plain, poetic without being florid, Richard Kilmer (the narrator), unadorned, his Dr. Kildare books, mythologies about the west, Robert E. Howard’s letters to H.P. Lovecraft, violence in its cultural context, when a mob broke into the jail, what was the difference between a hanging and a shooting, this person must die under the law, poisoning vs. shooting, the difference was treachery, they push so hard for Assad and gas, dropping bombs on people vs. gassing people, your boy was killed right and proper, poison gas vs. electric chair, its not the proper forms!, completely unthinking, Raytheon has been deputized by the government, Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, a western vs. a story that takes place in the West, a lone man doing something, cooperative action, The Big Valley, The Ponderosa, Lorne Greene, everything’s going to be fine, momless three boys, The Wild Wild West, the Desilu production, secret service, Deadwood with George Hearst, the Hearst magazines, a fantasy genre, a really strange subgenre, the romance of the setting vs. the romance of the setup, they were loosed in the void of the mountain desert, the power which struck, Three In One?, Baby Is Three by Theordore Sturgeon, fantastique, Riders On The Purple Sage by Zane Grey, a hooded man, modern weird westerns, Saladin Ahmed, Rebecca Roanhorse, Riders Of The Purple Wage by Philip Jose Farmer, pastiche of Ulysses, UBI, a dense novella, Silver On The Road by Laura Anne Gilman, Algis Budrys, the Dark Tower novels, Maine, Dead Man’s Hand edited by John Joseph, more and more less and less, an exercise in self-indulgence, Bone Tomahawk, Hell Or High Water (2016), The Sixth Gun, their truck is their horse, neo-western, a life under horrible capitalism western, no more talk about the book.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Great War And The Origins Of Modern Horror, hate notes!, starting prep on new Wastelands, this dude on the internet, Ghost, that was a shit book?, come on the podcast and tell me, a 2 star review by Ancient History: Not Quite Wastepaper, a good vacation read, Arthur Machen, a weird crit, Godzilla with tentacles, conclusions vs. omissions, a random collection of sentences, a reference to a Lovecraft poem, citation needed, a starting point for casual pulp history, pop horror studies, drop your class, wont come on the podcast, doesn’t listen to podcasts, most undergraduate essays are terrible, not a primary source, good for what it is, not the book I wanted, a book that doesn’t exist, cultural historian, making a puzzle by picking 1,000 pieces of a million pieces, rank it with stars, rating vs. review, the lowest review on goodreads or Amazon, looking at negative criticism, highly accurate, captured what this book is about, the title is unclear, a word is missing, this is a book about movies, Vladimir Putin in this book?, election interference, absolutely delusional, doing it throughout the book, where’s the E.C. Comics?, this isn’t about the origins of modern in general (films), he’s really not touching on literature, its all about these movies, why is Machen in here so much?, no films related to Arthur Machen, does that make it a bad book, you have to know what you’re getting, mistakes, assassinated not executed, Evan knows history, the horror of the trenches, his thesis is good, high-school world history, the Balfour Declaration, the Russo-Japanese war, ensconced in film and literature of this period, who is this audience for this book?, or Marissa for example, something interesting, 700 good pieces, why is Vladimir in here, World War Z, Annabelle (2014), you have to talk about Max Brooks, he shoehorns thing into it, the Great War never really ended, U.S. Army bases, military nerds, the whole reaction against horror, the Frankfurt School, German movies and German filmmakers, very broad, Ringu (1998), Wiemar Germany, Der Orchideengarten, Jesse doesn’t speak German, that horror and weird sensibility, consistent with Poole’s thesis, human psychology, lot of people, worthy of inclusion, as much about art, Pablo Picasso, photography, Scott Poole’s interests, there’s nothing wrong with that, it isn’t a survey, a modest pop history of horror, In Flanders Fields, propaganda in Canada, November 11th in Canada, The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason, buying poppies, it’s fucking sick, yo, I honor the veterans by knowing what happened, you’re not conforming, a social faux-pas,
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
the last stanza is fucking evil, the poppy, Mr Jim Moon’s podcast, the dreaming and desensitizing flower, the juice of the poppy, why are we doing this?, putting your body in a meat-grinder to make some rich guy richer, why the United States is still in Iraq, so evil, shell shock, how it translates into art and fiction, College of Charleston, Never Surrender: Confederate Memory and Conservatism In The South Carolina Upcountry, a book his students would dig, in a conservative state, to know his students, he’s very grounded, an interesting fact, At The Mountains Of Madness by W. Scott Poole, listener and student Mike Nowak, a really good introduction to the subjects, Media Studies, fan writing, Will is not a horror guy, a bold thesis, horror as we know it is a reaction to WWI and the Western Front, Frankenstein (1931), weird horror, body parts sewn together is not in the novel, study the body, no stitching or gluing, what extracts, the Dracula connection, its all subconscious, the waxen bodies, the mirror, Monsters Of The Market: Zombies, Vampires And Global Capitalism by David McNally, a revolving door, The Body Snatchers, “We Are The Dead”, George Orwell, used to mollify and distract, the horror, how the Hell did Canada get into this stupid thing?, conscription, how did Mackenzie King deal with conscription in Quebec?, Lovecraft insane love of a homeland they’ve never visited, other people’s business, seeing Justin [Trudeau], pretending to be sad, don’t talk, observing silence, blue helmets, the Gallipoli campaign, noble sacrifice (fucking disaster), the right attitude, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Neville Chamberlain, peace in our time, prevent another fucking meatgrinder, he has not fully learned his lesson, all in favour of empire, offense vs. defense, a slog of death, how much ink has been spilled, Chamberlain and Stalin, who is to blame for WWII?: Woodrow Wilson, who held the knife?: Hitler, Who put him on the path?: Wilson, Russia-gate, Ukraine-Gate, that brainworm shit is what caused Hitler is to have an audience, what’s to explain this?, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, make everything chemically, how your government’s fucked up, pride, we’re better than them, we rule the waves, we rule the world, what these few guys at the top, we gotta blame things domestically, all that raping in Belgium, my son died because some people got raped, let’s extract value from those people, all the people starving in Germany after the war, Iran and Cuba sanctions, dual monetary system, Cuba’s so fucked up, to punish Cuba, the same kind of evil pride, the Soviet Union:
Dulce Et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
too honest, hiding the truth, there’s a real sense that the horror we see after WWI and WWII is a way of mass dealing with the wars, kids reading E.C. Comics, faces rotting off, radiation fears, zombies and rotting bodies, Tales From The Crypt, the same reaction, a mass collective horror, our kids are going to be turned into juvenile delinquents, the Comics Code Authority, no blood aloud, no corrupt police officials, don’t show the undead, can’t use the word weird, they way they got out of that in the 1970s, Curtis Publications, Robert E. Howard, an exception for literature, Dracula, Frankenstein, a guy on staff named Marv Wolfman, that’s just his name, Werewolf By Night, The Thing, It, Swamp Thing, The Heap, the censorship, a face dripping off, nuclear war, controlling the population and feeding them bullshit, The Epoch Times, Falun Gong, super creepy, propaganda against China, Scientology for Chinese, a hate-on for the Chinese state, actual propaganda delivered to my mailbox, removed hashtags, #BidenDropOut, understanding how history works, is your only defense against being railroaded it another war, its a soporific and analgesic, sit their silently waiting, think about what you owe them, why is my brother Johnny mangled like that?, Goebbels censoring films, a worry, motifs and themes that can repurposed by the alt-right, Steve Bannon, Lovecraft’s current popularity, the alt-right don’t read the pulps, labeling people, a Nick Carter pulp:
In @monstersamerica’ book, IN THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, H.P. Lovecraft called himself “Carter” aftr Nick Carter in his LARP-like adventures
a dangerous kid, Nick Carter Weekly, Frank Belknap Long’s cat was named Felis, the surficial level, The Call Of Cthulhu, a giant death’s head with wings, Steve Bannon is a thought leader in that he’s read some books, Trump has not read a book in his whole life, cultural Marxism, the place that it comes from is there is massive distress and the response from the elites is not to deal with it but to spin, Lovecraft’s politics are stupid (loving England), owning the idiots, owning the elites than nothing, memes are easy and fun, the social distress, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right by Angela Nagle, immigration controls, embrace xenophobia, bracketing concerns, solve it in this very narrow way, one third of Americans didn’t pay their rent on April 1st, 2020, what’s going to happen?, this is massive distress, the perfect time for understanding how things happen, a great meme, distracted boyfriend meme, “sweet ass”, Tine, Quaran, Guillo, worried about hairproducts, podcasters have never done a podcast, rent strikes, world war, civil war, back to the blame game, you had a working class revolution in Germany, a 1918 class war, ordered away from the front, eat this shitless shit sandwich, propagandized, blamed and squeezed, stuff happens, the left is in power and unable to deliver anything, she’s a leftist, are you being nice to people?, the Social Democratic party (of Germany), the socialist couldn’t deliver, forty or fifty years of Neoliberalism, after Biden loses, it mirrors the current moment, The People’s Republic Of Walmart: How the World’s Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski, you can’t win if you’re willing to capitulates to ridiculous talking points, Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in modern history, in what sense?, a terrible candidate, guys in the street angry, why people who are upset are going to buy into this shit, at least they have passion, the Russian Revolution happened because of this shit, the street movements, political institutions developing independently, the populists, movement culture, another failed movement, agricultural cooperatives, communes in Iowa, the wreckage of their failed attempts, the rage needs to be organized, the USA by 2021, Trump’s lack of action, what North Dakota is doing vs. what California is doing, New York, the cusp of something, peachy-keen, you don’t get Trump after Obama if Obama did so well, we don’t have a single royal family to execute the heads of, what Evan likes about Lenin, Will’s Lenin’s birthday tweet, one weird trick, if we just talk about x…, fooling them into letting us win, they suffered for those beliefs, writing in England, important cultural differences between different types of people in the Russian Empire, a jailhouse of nations, this peasant movement, what are we gonna do over the next couple of decades, modern WWII Russian movies, informed by Hollywood computer graphics,
PANFILOV’S 28 MEN (2016) is a Russian WWII movie about 28 legendary men from the 316th Rifle Division in the Battle Of Moscow funded by crowdsourcing, Russia, Kazakhstan, and a WWII computer game (WAR THUNDER) “Trump’s my guy” Instead of starting with action the movie starts with scene setting. It nods towards the “legendary” status of the story it is telling, has the officers layout a plan, soldiers tell each other tall tales & semi-mytholgocal stories while they dig foxholes and build dummy howitzers Not a shot is fired for the first half hour of the film. It’s all dialogue, character building. This is a film that COULD NOT HAVE BEEN made in HOLLYWOOD. As to the story being a TRUE story…
Russia’s Culture Minister:
“It is my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish […], it is a sacred legend which it’s simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags.”
the movie knows that it’s kind of bullshit, how the propaganda spread, the story is known to be false, it doesn’t matter because it’s important, Russian WWII movies are not anti-German, the Great Patriotic War, Quentin Tarantino, Spaghetti Western WWII movies, he’s more about the movie than he is about the propagandist history, be distant from the propaganda, this is emblematic, its their honoring that tradition like Robin Hood, more true than reality, Enemy At The Gates, War Of The Rats, Ron Perlman, that game you played is Russian, the reason most people are 100% with trump is because he’s a thumb in the eye to the elites, he’s owning the libs, he’s got them bamboozled, he’s gonna be indicted!, fantasy is a persistent human genre of thought, Poole’s footnote, clever footnotes, footnote 13, male academics cite themselves more than their female colleagues, my fellow academics, a knowing understanding, a good teacher, interested in his subject, writing a textbook, there’s more studying to be done, how E.C. Comics was shut down, The Orchidgarden, 1919-1921, the covers on Instagram, this horrible giant orchid growing out of a greenhouse, a snail, bilateral symmetry, elves, holding a human skull, a lady looks in the mirror, full of rich imagery of distorted bodies, mythological horrors, Germany’s rich with this, the books that are available, where are the North African films on WWII?, where are the Chinese films on WWII?, the Russian movies are made in a modern capitalist culture, political officers, there are issues, we’re defending the motherland, Russians aren’t the boogeyman, the invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, promised not expand NATO, that’s our access to the Black Sea!, c’mon man!
The SFFaudio Podcast #587 – The Dream Of Debs by Jack London; read by KevinS for LibriVox. This is an unabridged reading of the story (47 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons
Talked about on today’s show:
The International Socialist Review, January – February 1909, The Strength Of The Strong, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, Mask vs. Masque, its both, The King In Yellow, jumps in the fireplace, the hunting story, Robert W. Chambers, cars breaking down, punctures, drivers, The Sketch 1910/1911, Lord Dunsany, made of tires, ads for cars, wheels and wings, touring cars, cars as a toy of the rich, what’s missing, why does the story play out the way it does, refrigeration technology, widescale refrigeration, ice deliveries, this particular general strike, not much talk about toilet paper, paper towels, pinecones, store shortages, Manhattan Clam Chowder, canned food, how achievable is a general strike, when Bernie loses the election and our revolution turns into a party, what had to happen for the ILW to accomplish a general strike, the story is silly, IWW, the Knights Of Labor, industrial unionism, a mythological quality for people in the labour movement, the 1880s railway strike, Indiana, they don’t teach this stuff in school, what was uncanny about this story, the majority of working age people had knowledge they were gonna strike, if it was happening today, organizations on Craigslist, there have been revolutions, the Arab Spring, governments are incompetent, our hero gets his information from a particular newspaper, in the offing, Vancouver 1918 general strike, the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike lasted six weeks, anti-conscription, why the fuck was the United States in WWI?, 2nd Lt. Mike Vendetti, the Vietnam War, makes you feel stuff, Jack London supported it, we’re very complex strange creatures, an economic explanation, insuring loans get paid, rationing until the mid-1950s in the UK, the last day of sugar rationing August 1953, what a difference a couple of years makes, our colony in Hawaii, how unrealistic is this story, a week?, if we suddenly had a general strike today, eat those six-months old pickles, dogs and cats, from the POV of a very wealthy man, a feudal lord, that last line, something needs to be done, ridiculously orderly, the army only killed a few people, the telegraph lines, an apocalypse in a comic book, the state is totally unable to respond, if the industrial unions accomplished some of their goals, 1930s strikes, why schools don’t talk about labour history, a functional history showing how thing change, how to change stuff, we cant rely on the newspapers owned by rich people, we have to have our own means of communicating, the people that own everything, how factory jobs became family sustaining jobs, the miners were striking, an actual history of the future, set just a couple of years ahead (at most), utopian writing, aspirational, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, one of the things that socialism is a story about how to make things better, how it could work, emphasizing the lawfulness, doing only a few illegal things, unprecedented!, immoral!, a fair game, he’s a dilettante journalist, he’s a blue check twitter, Anderson Cooper, a Vanderbilt, Journalism school, the billionaires who are his friends and relations, they don’t listen at the club, and that was the end of the general strike, worse than a war, Harrison is still my chauffeur, the tyranny of organized labor, neighbours houses burned to the ground, they haven’t overturned capitalism here, an inversion of another line, something must be done is the starting point, the tyranny of the plutocrats, immigrant labour, imprisonment, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the New Democratic Party, Canada has a different culture than the USA (mostly to do with the relationship to government), Steve Cox hospital bill, Tommy Douglas, Keifer Sutherland, if you want to change to happen, why not any blue will do, eventually the guillotines will come out, a seminal strike 2 years after the Russian Revolution, this deal sucks, how do you scare the shit out of the government, the violence we see, forced to kiss the union jack, 30,000 workers on strike, stop all traffic, why we have that difference, Canada was not born with a different healthcare system, returning soldiers, the idea that soldiers love war, doofus men and boys, wargames, fight the Germans for reasons that did not make any sense, the title of this story, Winnipeg, Eugene V. Debs, Frankenstein’s subtitle, the anti-trust law made unions illegal, they’re using the laws designed to help them against them, that taught Debs a lesson, Victor Berger, I really like reading books so…, Karl Marx, a traveling evangelist for Marxism, evangelical Christianity, socialism, human beings are sacred, everybody has to come together, expropriate the parasites, overthrow the government and replace it with another kind of government, speaking out against WWI, this is all about securing the loans, I belong to the world, it’s disgusting, the Dixie Chicks, they’re heroes, Bill Maher, weird war rah rah madness, a hope for change, TV news clown, people wanted hope and change, they got 6 new wars, more neoliberalism, we know our country isn’t great, you don’t have to be a lunatic to see the appeal, people living under bridges, unless something weird happens with the red death: guaranteed Biden will lose, a return to normalcy is MAGA for white liberals, both are imaginary, Will has questions, the jingoism stuff, Jack London is one of the biggest American writer, the richest writer in the United States, he had the estate he was writing about, not since Mark Twain, this huge figure, a broke labourer, he started as a homeless guy, he was the poorest of the poor, a sincere socialist, a left a center and a right, how lazy the Italians who worked for him are, he had a crazy work ethic, drink you under the table, ride all day, laying bricks, boxing the shit out of people, a proletarian Lord Dunsany, gentleman’s club, what does it mean now?, the audience for this story, playful, The Iron Heel by Jack London, a future history, a very Jack London of Debs, August 2019, News From Nowhere by William Morris, Will Emmons: Boy Genius, a response to Bellamy, everyone lives the lifestyle of an artist, the arts and crafts guy, inspiring those who need inspiration, The Commonweal: The Official Journal Of The Socialist League, you control the means of publication, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the 8 hour day, ratchet down from there, everybody has three jobs now, Paul conveniently flees the country whenever we do a socialist book, the tyranny of human endurance, a 19th century sermon, religious non-conformists, seeing people oppressed for religious beliefs, Prairie Giant, current British Columbia government, the Canadian Labour (UK) party, parties change, the way Cornell West talks and thinks, he saw what Barack Obama did, those snake emojis, they believe she’s a snake (not a lizard person), he was stabbed in the back (in a certain sense), Nancy Pelosi has an endless supply of $600 silk scarves, the AUMF, a plan designed to fail, people can’t judge people, like the butler, Elizabeth Warren is an enemy not an ally, a narrow stratum of petite bourgeoisie, bourgeoisie the capitalist class (the owners of property), small in French, profit margins are lower, the most evil people in the world, squeeze super-exploited people, a position of class, the grocery store and warehouse workers, the proletariat (people who own nothing), debt peonage, the people who are told stay home (but can’t), wage slavery is a beyond the pale as a term, is this really like a choice?, communism, scientific socialism, once a certain number of people it becomes much easier for everyone to stop working, distancing yourself, the way Canada’s fucked up psychology works, until you get better we can’t get better, provinces have more authority than states do, a federal government, provincial responsibilities, equalization payments, provincial change, GST, Value Added Tax, the everyday feel, Social Credit, a Heinlein novel that deals with it, distance Paul, general strikes in antiquity, the secessio plebis, H.G. Wells’ Outline Of History, the plebeians invented strikes, Jesse is very proud of this fact, how the patricians and the plebeians had this relationship, the citizen’s assembly, a mean use, obey the laws you don’t know, 450 B.C., the laws of Rome were written, where that tribune of the plebs came from is because of a general strike, a religious exit from the city, ex-soldiers being treated like nothing, an untouchable representative, whoevers wrote it, when the South lost the war, W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction In America, some great saga, an inciting incident, Lincoln sort of freed the slaves, its not about race, race was a way of dividing people, divide and conquer, indentured servitude vs. slavery, to prevent making common cause, how these changes actually happened was not examined, we saw that it evolved, the teacher didn’t know how these evolutions came, the clarifying questions, slave revolts, patricians are plutocrats, why Julius Caesar was stabbed, I am your advocate, he is betraying his class, all his high school buddies stabbed Julius Caesar, maybe he’s just someone from the upper class, an inflated self-image, private soldiers, Sandline, Blackwater, Erik Prince, Dashiell Hammett, Ludlow, Colorado massacre, become a detective, the phenomenon of these people, gun thugs, a funny piece of history, the Pinkertons, were very concerned about the plebeians, subject to the law, the slum-dwellers, bread lines, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the outer party, that turn on stage, by not supporting her claim…, he doesn’t say a bad word about anybody, democratic socialists (rose twitter), cross class coalition, people in the streets, Bernie Sanders, Paul is a good person, Paul is in a position of Winston Smith, ready for rebellion, the ultimate betrayal, define betrayal, she didn’t endorse him, she didn’t drop out, you said to me a woman couldn’t be president, a naked political move, the anti-Christ, an aggressive political move, unprincipled, a non-aggression pact with everybody, a revelation of character, Bernie has no killer instinct, everybody is savable, you need to unilaterally disarm, using his personality defect, Joe Biden is responsible, the Iraq War, I wanna prostitute himself, is he gonna kill fewer people, a venal incompetence, a little afield, numbers of wars started, Trump has killed fewer people than Obama, a bad person and immoral, go for funny, Ronald Reagan, a comedy of the worst and last kind, if you looked at her policies, somebody needs to push this party to the left, the bedrock inherent conservationism, how many more homeless people will have to be out on the street?, old folks, crying wolf too much, social dangers, energizing the far right, Hillary Clinton ran to the right of Trump, militia people coming of the woodwork, an uptick in terrorism, the deep state is not gonna do anything about it, functional Nazis in US police department, I will work with anybody to get something done, scientifically that’s not true, guillotine 2020 is my compromise candidate, start with a strong position, the New Deal, the Depression was an existential threat, FDR was not conservatism, who owns the TV stations, who owns the newspapers, back to the slumdwellers, checking all Jesse’s privileged boxes, how science fiction relates to reality, Survivors, The Scarlet Plague, how to survive the plague that is upon us, Carriers (2009), so well organized, non-unionized workers and the unemployed, the lumpen proletariat (the criminal element), the reserve army of labour, structural unemployment, scabs, more oppressed, the first stratum organized, what he needs to win, amazing, the plebeians are aligned with the patricians against the slaves, guaranteed work, the mobility you see for Roman society for slaves vs. American society for slaves, capitalist slavery, a new nationality, the descendants, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Benjamin Disraeli, this story isn’t about race at all, very radical for the time, there’s no gender in this story either, German opposition to WWI, fake scientific notions about the races related to each other, H.P. Lovecraft wasn’t uniquely racist, the multinational character of the US working class, if Will is a child then Jesse and Paul are old men, the 19teens, as learned people, the second Red Scare was very successful, the turn, Uncle Joe Stalin, when you see US and Soviet soldiers embracing, some real united shit, the first Red Scare, massive state repression, vigilante violence, when the socialist disappear off the map, mayor of Burlington, Vermont, the farmer labour movement, the libertarian strain, a constitutionally different personality, going in the religious direction, official racism, genocidal settler nations, getting the slumdwellers in, the Communist Party was huge, organize the homeless, organize the sharecroppers, the geography of the United States, the ability to just move, extra lumpen, and Canada is a safety valve for the United States, poor and terrible, they beat up some rich people, its not discussed, a dream tweet:
Dreamt a lost sequence of 3 novels by Jack London. Each built-up an idea then the wiped the slate clean, the last ending in a scene in which the horrified protagonist–trapped in a maze built of bookshelves fights an infection by ultimately setting the labyrinth & himself alight
whips, there’s a shotgun shell incident, a lot less gun oriented, so crazily armed, a positive dream, you don’t want a massacre, Anderson Cooper reminds them, ways of looking at history, why people like watching hockey, Jesse doesn’t love Canada, a hard to understand phenomenon, every time the Canucks win a hockey tournament, the Stanley Cup riots, mass psychology, a way of understanding psychology enmass, reading the riot act, who is involved in sports riots, regular sports riots, college kids with parents who make more than $100,000 a year.
The SFFaudio Podcast #579 – The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake; read by Winston Tharp (for LibriVox.org). This is an unabridged reading of the short story (38 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Maissa Bessada
Talked about on today’s show:
Galaxy, October 1961, a very good issue, Cordwainer Smith, Frederik Pohl, Fritz Leiber, Frank Herbert, Robert Bloch, Jack Sharkey, Willy Ley, a lot of engineering and planning, I love Westlake’s writing so much, reach out and kiss you, the first paragraph, that put the roof on the city, Eric S. Rabkin, “transformed language”, transforming an idiom for a science fiction setting, the opposite of Poe or Lovecraft, ornate, dense, oblique, frothy, characterization, perfect voice for it, he was dangerously insane, including my date with my girl, a post-apocalyptic dystopia that ends on a very sour note (for the reader), a nice trick he pulled, he gets over it very easily, cleavage girls, contract marriages, no-p (no progeny), p and not p, natural deductive and axiomatic logic, math for sentences and paragraphs, useless and yet…, an underlying current that’s rather deep, Philip K. Dick, The Penultimate Truth, The Defenders, leadies vs. ore-sleds, a retelling of the myth of the cave from Plato’s Republic, a metaphor for having conversations with people, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the mentality of the people, The Ax by Donald Westlake, a very funny sad scary book, very political, it wouldn’t have felt political at the time, artifacts, the massive trope or overpopulation, arcology, a condo, the projects, the justification for why would be reading a crime novel, he quit science fiction, Xero (magazine), very true of most science fiction writers, Joe Haldeman cant make a living at it, a sad reality of the industry, solid ideas, from a very different angle, Wool by Hugh Howey, mainstream science fiction with this wonderful aspect, Robert Sheckley, he’s poking fun at everything all along the way, delights in enjoying how ridiculous life is, makes kids enjoy science fiction, a great infodump on page 183, it flows just beautiful, a nation 200 hundred stories high, occasional spies, external dangerous lurking at the back of our minds, the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war, irony and humour, treated to such flowy goodness, the whole story’s greatness, you could make this as a student film, three or four actors, so good, an efficeny of science fiction, a real shame he quit science fiction, Doctor Killybilly, William = strength and protector, why did they do this?, our judo flipping instructor, where the outside is unknown and secretly not bad, Logan’s Run, the Fallout games, High-Rise by J.G. Ballard, The Luckiest Man In Denv by C.M. Kornbluth, why are the Russian oligarchs so much work than the Bloomberg oligarchs, can it be explained, circular, imaginary enemies, WWI (the ignoble nobleman’s war), The Westlake Review blog, WWII (the racial non-racial war), WWIII (the ungentlemanly gentleman’s war), tactical nuclear weapons, MacArthur, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, good strategy, your focus narrows, situational awareness, tunnel vision, engaged with a twitter thread, this happens to countries (not just people), they found his car, the army men, kind of incompetent, aiming the elevator at the army, starve-em-out, Edmund Rice, the right focus, his apartment is falling apart, the window doesn’t work, his single egg, rationing, chicory coffee, he cant imagine a different life, at the bottom of the apartment building, slag, it dumping of their ore car slag, piling up, if this goes on they will be buried, Idiocracy (2006), Javelin missiles sent to Ukraine, attacking Trump from the right (instead of the left), making more nukes?, if we have WWIII it will be stupid, howitzer line of sight nukes, they did it on purpose, somebody is lying, West End Games’ RPG Paranoia, it’s cool to think about, page 193, terror, horror, dizziness, do you see that green?, the power of suggestion, agoraphobia, The Caves Of Steel, his girlfriend, so obsessively worried about punctuality, PTSD, ore-sleds are just like people?, they have so little, they focus on the tiniest things, get Jesse hiking more, kidnap victims, Stockholm Syndrome for a whole nation, he’s like Canada, the sky isn’t falling, he’s a humanitarian, a dangerous criminal, an illegal immigrant, he puts us in the situation right with the guy, page 179, that horrible egg, gaspingly transparent window, its better to look inward, a whimsical approach, a romantic approach, I can’t live without you at the moment, will you be provisionally mine?, I’m going to be needing a wife for at least a year or two, I moved like a whirlwind, that was wrestling, that was judo, that was karate, he just killed the guy who was trying to help him, Paul plugs a book: Mazes Of Power by Juliette Wade, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, three extra zeros, advertising for coffins, a prospector wanders out of the New Mexican desert, humans are complete asses, under the roof, she refused at length and descriptively, any number of girls, I was a hero, they even gave me a medal, not licensed for progeny, this is our reality, living in bubbles, elaborate defenses, that’s what this is really good at, what’s going in the sixties, what its for, its about the psychology of our own human silliness, delightfully frothy, that first giant step, man got a hotfoot, he ran back with the tale between his legs, Neil Armstrong, images of flame, page 189, you’ve crawled into your caves, a well appointed cave, Outside, the same thing, always the same stupidity, the long slow painful creep of progress, a lot longer than it took to go right back into the cave again, how long people had without useful technologies, the cave is a metaphor for your set of beliefs, cut out the information coming from the outside, he wants to eat the fake news, he’s blocking people on twitter, you’re cancelled, cancer culture, once you start blocking…, he thinks what he hears in the building, what the army tells them, radiation proof cars, why should we?, don’t you ever wanna look at that guy’s voting record?, cutting off, dis-empowering yourself, you’re walking into the slaughterhouse, don’t listen to him, feels like there’s very little here, just another science fiction story, substantial power, if it were novel length, that experience, The Defenders is the same story from another point of view, City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings, eggs, don’t shill for Instant Pot until they sponsor the podcast, the free range ones, orange yolks, you can taste the difference, a sad thought, that’s your allotment, the staircase, using the staircase is a transgressive act, do you need a stairway in a mausoleum, by 2000 everybody lived in projects, his grandparents?, three generations?, distorted stories, the history lesson, the old folks home, genetically unsuitable, what makes him unsuitable?, do you want to breed smarter people, suggested by the story but not in the story, we see two of them, the number of actors you need: two guys and a lady who comes in on skype, a tight dystopia, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, co-opted, Westlake was a Manhattanite, New York as a horizontal arcology, the El or the subway, you can walk three blocks, rush hour, you have ruined my life, the spy is a little more reliable, bad for you, a monster behind that dumpster, the big Donald Westlake hits, The Risk Profession, LibriVox, space insurance, the two sides of Westlake, oh man, situational jokeyness, the Dortmunder books, The Hook, Memory, Charles Ardai, Christa Faust’s Money Shot, like Kill Bill, Hard Case Crime, at least sixty novels, Anarchaos, a very slim volume, so many good books, Somebody Owes Me Money, a crime syndicate, wherever he takes you on a journey, still fun, he still makes it work somehow, so funny with his characterization, Greg Bear is the opposite of Donald Westlake, we build the whole thing, you don’t leave him for a second, the way Shakespeare was gifted, a massive loss for Science Fiction, Smoke, endlessly silly ideas beautifully demonstrated, how many movies are made out of Westlake’s stuff, foreign homages, 41 credits as a writer, The Hot Rock, The Grifters, Payback, Jimmy The Kid, Diff’rent Strokes, A Slight Case Of Murder, James Cromwell as the detective, Cops And Robbers, Point Blank, Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson, he’s king of like Stephen King, Stephen King loves Westlake, Richard Bachman is named after Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Magnum, P.I., a crisp clear writer, Lawrence Block, fifteen years of great reading.