The SFFaudio Podcast #617 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Untamed by Max Brand

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #617 – The Untamed by Max Brand; read by Richard Kilmer. This is an unabridged reading of the novel (7 hour 21 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, Trish E. Matson, and Jonathan Juett

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.

All-Story Weekly - The Untamed by Max Brand

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The SFFaudio Podcast #597 – READALONG: Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #597 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Mary Jo Escano talk about Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, January 1952, October, March, February, hell ya, there’s no men on the planet, World Without Men by Charles Eric Maine, nice and trashy, a bit dated, that’s now it actually happens, Virgin Planet by Poul Anderson, Charles Eric Mayne, pruple heair and green eyes, yellow irises, purple lipstick, dyed breasts, pasties, a dead corpse on a dissecting table, lavender lipstick, sclera, garment, the best cover ever made, the world of 5,000 years from now, babies, mass deception, the struggle to recreate the male sex, the world of women, a truly unique novel, slanted for the intelligent adult reader, Nineteen-Eighty Four and Brave New World, a physical copy, serious thanks, the sound effects, weird pronunciations, Woka, Wocha, Basil Donovoan, Vulduma, captured the atmosphere, italicized, a ghost transmitting through your brain, now there is only death, the Sargasso of the Black Nebula, audacity, Garage Band, the Doctor Who adaptation, The Brain Of Morbius, a brain in a jar, Solon, the Sisterhood of Karn, cultist of immortality, Frankenstein, immortality juice, a dingy planet that’s a Sargasso of Space, alien ant-man, Kondo, an Igor type, Solon stole his hand, Universal Monster movies, taking our time, circle around the black hole, #SIFP, resist talking about it because its so important, Sargasso Of Lost Starships Rehidden by Poula Anderson, gender flipped text, Valduma is a man, Valdoomo,

Basille Donovan was drunk again.

She sat near the open door of the Golden Planet, boots on the table, chair tilted back, one arm resting on the broad shoulder of Wocha, who sprawled on the floor beside her, the other hand clutching a tankard of ale. The tunic was open above her stained gray shirt, the battered cap was askew on her close-cropped blond hair, and her insignia–the stars of a captain and the silver leaves of an earl on Ansa–were tarnished. There was a deepening flush over her pale gaunt cheeks, and her eyes smoldered with an old rage.

Looking out across the cobbled street, she could see one of the tall, half-timbered houses of Lanstead. It had somehow survived the space bombardment, though its neighbors were rubble, but the tile roof was clumsily patched and there was oiled paper across the broken plastic of the windows. An anachronism, looming over the great bulldozer which was clearing the wreckage next door. The workwomen there were mostly Ansans, big women in ragged clothes, but a well-dressed Terran was bossing the job. Donovan cursed wearily and lifted her tankard again.

it changes the story, it changes the story, but why?, there’s no feminine form of Earl, it brings to light preconceptions, Captain Helena, call me sir, workwomen, the point of it is to provoke you a little bit, it makes you think, an interesting literary technique, The Pirates Of Ersatz, a romance, who is betraying what, we’re going to raise children on your planet, his lips, his title, looking for approval from somebody, drunk in his cabin for weeks, I wanna have twelve kids with him on his holler planet, a product of his generation, swiping him to the left, Galactic Empire, Flandry, James Bond in space, he’s alt-right twitter user, drinking again today with my loyal slave, one of the least likeable Poul Anderson protagonists, written overnight?, there’s nothing to him, there’s levels to it, he’s not a hero, he’s a Han Solo figure, Star Warsy, the setup is straight out of Firefly, Alan Tudyk doesn’t like it, Takahashi, a product of his market, a male market, he’s the reader, Valduma can’t give him kids, the flavour of the month, she didn’t kill him the first time, infatuation, not a lasting relationship, one or both of them is going to die, the light side or the dark side, dug deep, he sides with the Empire, he’s a triple traitor, not a good person, the novel happens to him, he barely makes choices, why am I kissing her?, deeply mentally ill, a depressed guy with PTSD, psychological realism, she bites his lip, it’s kinky, it’s about power, power grooming, it’s hard to pay attention to what Basil Donovan is doing, because plot needs to happen, hypnotized, a new Amazing scan, a giant woman, a cowboy looking figure, A World He Never Made, Science Stories, April 1954, French Canadian voyageurs, a reversed image, a doll sized regular human, this is really what the 1950s are all about, now were friends with the Germans, the Japanese, coming back from our war, all the women are different, they’re wearing pants, they want divorces, I need to drink more, John Hamm with ads, Mad Men, they’re drinking all the time, WWII, sorta what we’re doing, on the losing Nazi side, American Civil War South, slaveholder, you’re on Team America against the Soviets, love that info-dump, story elements that make the story richer, a butt tonne, the Technic History series, rolling up and down through history, Will’s breathing, a real podcaster, a Blue Yeti without the boom, sonic disruption, the two covers, he looks like a cowboy, when you gender flip a story…, I think is physically embodied, women are becoming more powerful, my readers will buy this issue, stories are a way of understanding what’s going on, if you could only have one Astounding or Planet Stories, Planet Stories are fun, the psychology of the period, the spaceships are powered by atomics, the planets were bombarded, the spaceport was full of radiation, all the windows are blasted out, seeing Berlin after WWII, how is the occupation going to go, so clear to us looking at it, what our stories are about right now, the value of reading a trashy Planet Stories story, the science is not really the point, “She was the Lorelei of space”, a siren that lures their men to her death, a whole dark empire, the Black Nebula, the good an wholesome Empire of Earth or the Dark Empire of bitterness, No Truce With Kings, freedom, choice, we all have to work together, evidenced by the crew, all humans, all together, a pan-racial world, and Wocha’s really fun, the Woola, a dog that can drink beer, two H. Rider Haggard characters: Khoi-Khoi, Umslopogaas, a racial side-kick, unsavory, Solomon Kane, N’Longa, Tonto, the shownotes for She, Trish, Irish racism, not fully sentient, he’s reading children’s books, we love dogs, a giant monstrous child, mouthing the words, kinda simple, Captain America: The First Avenger, Dum Dum Dugan, The Howling Commandos, racialized characters, tokenism, its not mean, it’s inclusive, members of the community might not feel, DC comics too, Jonah Hex, Scalphunter, Power Man, Shang-Chi, Fu Manchu’s son, who’s making that decision, this person doesn’t like it, if it is a low culture thing, comic books or pulp magazines, coming from high culture, who shaped this story?, the readers, we don’t know all the things that go into it?, Helena riding Wocha into battle, that’s amazing!, space helmets, is this cover representative of one of these stories, a whole bunch of crashed spaceships, that’s Helena on the cover, why is she blonde on the cover?, that’s an amazing cover, the artist Alan Anderson used this pose, she’s black haired on the over covers, Wocha has an axe in his left hand, she’s on his horse, a horse dog talking companion character, looks like an ape, his ape face split, gorilla, he’d eat six times as much as a regular person, he’s isn’t a Nick Fury, WWII was segregated service, the most offensive thing is that he’s an earl, the class stuff, blood, the class stuff is racial, because he’s an earl, bigger than himself, the best right he can do because of who he is, he doesn’t really do anything, the viewpoint character, as soon as somebody kisses her she’s off her horse, this palooka, the title, she’s the captain of a starship, you’re mine now, the wish fulfillment of men coming back from WWII, worried about race when they should be worried about class, people are slightly different drives within us, producing babies out of our bodies, conquer the universe vs. play house (on the mud planet), please boss get us an engine for the town, a politics story, WWI, England and France are the bad guys, Austro Hungarian Empire (Jesse’s not a fan), ultimately the bad guy is Wilson, Germany not being a unified country until the 19th century, colonies vs. territories, the Philippines, Hawaii, the reason this story feels so rich and deep, drawing from the history of European colonialism, quite a bit about nebulas, a white dwarf, other galaxies, a Lovecraftian paragraph, the depths of space, its all meaningless, huddle around the fires and not think about it, the stew, it doesn’t feel like it is two hours, we appreciate that, The Queen Of Air And Darkness, space elves, regrets, the long-tailed greenies, Scotland, Shanghaied, blackmailed, we don’t need that part of the trip, Planet Stories (not Spaceship Stories), a sword and spear battle for technical science fictional reasons, sword and planet, they can control bullets, psychic energy, continuous field distribution, Asnarians, theorizing on their racial intelligence, how to run stuff, they’re a backwater because they’ve been fighting amongst themselves, decadence, his idea of women, they don’t have the patience, their crutch is so important to them, manipulating matter at a distance, psychokinetic, they’re really good at baseball, they got too big for their britches, kind of like Vikings, they Danegeld all their neighbours, diminishing elves, wreck my mud planet, you can be insular or you can expand your empire, grow or die, magic vs. technology, their power spoiled them, right here right now, why their planet is so desolate, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, why humans are so weird compared to other animals, Jesse disdains his animal, what makes humans different, curious monkeys, we’re the meta-animal, that animal has really big ears I bet I could make a tent out of that, mammals vs snakes, pass on the knowledge, they’re more like whales, they don’t have the hands, shelving and collecting and arranging, spaceships, engineers, Minecraft, computers inside of Minecraft, make a first person shooter style game inside of a game, it’s like LEGO, a sandbox, a survival simulator, somebody’s beautiful sentence, this is an interesting thought, why Wocha is the way he is, kinda like a kid himself, all of this stuff is in this story, what kinda science is it Jesse? super-science, the causal FTL, drink yourself, mother can I have his skull, a northern European version of the Sirens, they didn’t choose to be that way, nature just made Vulduma an immortal child, do you think she loved him?, she was using him, that’s her way of loving, that’s how she loves that mouse, you gotta love cats even though they are killers, our curse, the animal nature of humans, c’mon now act like a human, a capybara, they’re cursed, Valduma is doomed, their trapped, its biological, submits to the biological urge to kiss that scruffy dude, Basil’s trauma is out on the page, we don’t need to apply psychological realism to her, she didn’t want to be the leader of the Earth battalion, we don’t know how the empire appoints officers, Helena and Basil are both losers, supported in the text, did she say 12?, needing to be nursed, once the babies are baking, she is now the earl stay at home, very confusing, a Conan, A Witch Shall Be Born Once More by Roberta E. Howard, magic birth control, going around from town to town dropping kids, Conan’s not around when the baby’s cooked, she’s trying to miscarry, Conyn, she’s been nailed to the Tree of Woe, her mighty neck muscles, Conan’s covered in scars, unlike Kull, tough guys like Rambo, for men scars are like trophies, evidence of their manliness, the Lorelei is a dude, young Tarzan kidnaps a child, Tarzan Of The Black Boy, sharp cannibal teeth, when men fall head over heels, he’s acting alluring, Mal from Firefly, Errol Flynn, a Nazi in real life?, the lesser evil, in the real world it would be communism, Captain America fighting the Communists, one of the oldest superhero characters, photoshopped Bucky off the cover, socking Hitler in the jaw, before the United States are *in* the war, Stalin, Commie Smasher, beast-like hands, see Captain America defy the communist hordes, a belt and boots but no pants, John Romita, that’s hilarious, Cap was retcon.

Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson - from Planet Stories, January 1952

Sargasso Of Lost Starships illustrated by Allen Anderson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #595 – READALONG: Wasteland by W. Scott Poole

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #595 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons talk about the Blackstone Audio audiobook Wasteland: The Great War And The Origins Of Modern Horror by W. Scott Poole.

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!

Wasteland by W. Scott Poole

Der Orchideengarten

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The SFFaudio Podcast #591 – READALONG: The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #591 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and David Agranoff talk about The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

Talked about on today’s show:
three terribly scanned issues of Astounding, illustrations, a quick OCR, minor revisions, the introductory material, arguing with his critics and conceding a point, very Aristotelian, Damon Knight, a lot to eviscerate, a terrible book, one of those famous essays, David is forgiving, the good things that it inspired, why Marissa needed to be on this one, Philip K. Dick, Solar Lottery is basically World Of Null-A fanfic, Vulcan’s Hammer, the competent man porn, The Variable Man, The Golden Man, pre-verbal, all instinct, Vogt literally told Dick to write novels, the level of influence, plotting is terrible, Slan, van Vogt’s plotting philosophy: every 900 words plot twist, The Purge, The Hunger Games, Jesse will like this, no law in the opening, who is fit to live on Venus, putting it in communist terms, approaching full communism, full blown Null-A, general semantics, its not as stupid as it sounds, Bertrand Russel version, natural deductive logic, logical positivism, lefty peacenik thinks world’s problem can be solved by understanding sentences, two right wings of the same party, words have power, the word “cat”, pussy, feline, black cat, cursed, witch’s familiar, the power of synonyms, a feature of those things, be gaslit, fall into traps, Alfred Korzybski, mistaken silly ideas, the solution is silly, Olaf Stapledon and group minds, an idea we had to explore, a grift, L. Ron Hubbard’s grift, the aims that the people have behind these systems, not everybody operates on the same level, Robert A. Heinlein is believing this shit, Heinlein is very thoughtful, weird ways of living, to confined in the cultural mean of those around them, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, a future fans will be slans argument, Friday, Mr. Twocanes, join those supermen, Heinlein rejecting his own earlier embrace of general semantics, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, notice how it hasn’t taken over everything, Rosicrucians, go to church, he just kills dozens and dozens of people, how language effects your nervous system and decision making process, it knows what its trying to do, that ending, writing to the conclusion, why is this novel so bad, Astounding had a lot of shitty stories, its not that good, it has a status that is large, Dune, The Left Hand Of Darkness, Dune is a really good version of The World Of Null-A, basically yoga of the mind, shitty plot, the first time he’s killed, the equivalent of Star Trek: Picard, more and more churning, a Flash Gordon serial, John W. Campbell, supermen, Anthony Boucher, the corona virus pandemic, WWII, a letter from an SF author in Germany, V-2, rattling, rattle city, the guy is wrong about everything, moving through a liquid at a very high speed, a complete and crazy novel, A.E. van Vogt was Philip K. Dick’s idol, tanks getting piggy-back rides, the best defense, Knight rescinded his criticism, don’t judge it based on novel standards, an experimental novel, an action yarn, why he is, all these dudes really believed in the superman ideology, I don’t know it who I am, it barely has a plot, The Green Odyssey is a good book, an important book that is bad vs. an unimportant book that is good, influencing a slew of things, am I really married to the presidents’ daughter, she keep comings back, its like a dream, Jesse’s dream:

Dreamt I followed loud music, taking a shortcut home from my late night retail job, and found myself at a Carib Zombi takeout shak. Shamblers were everywhere, going in and out. I recognized one employee & ordered the SPECIAL. Another, a real freak, touched me, his corrupted flesh infecting mine. I told him to back off as where he touched me my flesh came away. He laughed and spoke a creole phrase under his fetid breath. I put on my own creole accent and gave him the counter response as he shambled away. More order came, and I took it to go. Spicy takeout.

most stuff shouldn’t be novels, cosmic jerrybuilder, this is what happens in the story, why all these plot twists don’t make any sense, unpuzzling is harder, what a convoluted mess it is, predicting the sequel, hilariously bad plotting, adding to the insanity, the ideas at the heart of it are really interesting, there are some things that have some value, the Promethean attitude about humanity, historicizing and contextualizing mental illness, go-sane, all who don’t practice are insane, structural problems, political problems, Michel Foucault, mental discipline, ulcers, Illness As Metaphor by Susan Sontag, repression causes cancer, HIV = excess and immorality, August 1945, SCIENCE TO COME, ulcers, if I pray for you you’ll get better, psycho-medical therapy, insulin shock therapy, what he does consistently, so common among science fiction writers, Robert J. Sawyer, all bullshit, the race is fairly indestructible but our present culture is finished, not a very Null-A thing to say, opened the realm of wonder, John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum, a fork, a Superman Returns, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Black Destroyer, Alien (1979), an amnesia, interesting as opposed to shitty, the shitiness supports its thesis, animals don’t time bind, why Picard is shitty, remember how he got over those things, he found his brother in his vineyard and had a good cry, what was the whole thing about the Star Trek universe, being petty about jobs, the subersion we have in Deep Space Nine, labour problems, the only thing that supports Picard being a good show, I think Picard has dementia, why its a Don Quixote style show, all of this shit only makes sense only if its a dementia show, all the stuff that would support, we have a history and a memory, why antisemitism was so strong in Germany, there’s no morality involved in a tiger eating a deer, the least Null-A thing about Null-A, how humans are different from animals, put your hand in the box, testing Paul’s humanity, animal cultural legacies, skills that they can pass along, social ecology, Murray Bookchin, we create communities, we are able to carry on ideas, monogamy, Commando (1985) should be thought of as garbage, being entertained, David highlighted the shit out of Null-A, the most intense evisceration, an attack on literary grounds, at war with dictatorships, The Weapon Shop, his plots do not bear examination, sentences, Philip K. Dick at his worst, Joseph Conrad, two thoughts: like Flash Gordon and therefore it is trash, investigate that, the zig-zaggyness, extreme dissociative events, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, what a book is is what you take it to be, Joe Cinnadella is so fucking interesting because he was an Italian and a Nazi and a truck driver, any reading when citing sources within the text is legit, the way we are like Rick Deckard, oh my fucking god, he’s seeing inside my head, regular junky astounding stuff, Will has terrible taste, this book is stupid and interesting, reviews with star ratings, Sophie Wenzel Ellis’ story, junky pulpy thrown together bits, Lovecraft doesn’t care about markets at all, so market oriented it was not meant to be read after it was published, distracted from his market goal, those dignified realism books that nobody likes, Clark Ashton Smith poetry, what Will likes about it is its a super-science story, read Solar Lottery next, defend Will’s taste, 4 Gosseyns out of 5, a weapon called the vibrator, ridiculous space opera, you have to consider when it was written, Martian Time-Slip, laying in bed reading Null-A, a valid thing to think about, back to mental illness, WWII veterans, a social context to sanity, shell shock, PTSD, war created mental illness, maybe it’s all in the context, The Myth Of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz, a funnier book, a jarring book, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, corporations corrupting governments, the senator from Coca-Cola, giant chickens, an amazingly interesting book, really funny, Gravy Planet, the military industrial complex is going to make so much money, very Robert Sheckley in comedy terms, societal problems, history is a series of fucking errors, here’s how you’re wrong, why Isaac Newton is interesting, Newton’s Cannon by J. Gregory Keyes, when we get telepathy, his 75-year old man self, they’re thinking the same thoughts, the exact same thought at the exact same time, solving the same problem, when you go into Heinlein, Grok fills a function that isn’t a word we already have, we all grok this book pretty well, water brother let me tell you this is not the best drink available, when he’s trying to convince himself to kill himself, Paul’s issues, the original Gosseyn was Jesus, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Alas, All Thinking! by Harry Bates, a historical document, what do you make of the quotes at the beginning of every chapter, chapter 18, “feast upon shadows”, pearls of wisdom, general semantics, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz vs. Isaac Newton, Dianetics is a fork, we randomize it, The Game-Players Of Titan as the stock market and predicting Wall Street as games and tricks, political anarchism, Ursula K. Le Guin, Norman Spinrad, gated community socialism, the Galt’s Gulch planet, The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, mutual aid, 600 years of games, Vulcan’s Hammer, just looking at the cover, hardcover (legit) vs. paperback (trash), Jesse only likes garbage, the good art and the bad art, commercially available, the smart people say that it’s good, direct to VHS movies from the 1990s, Noah’s Ark with Sodom and Gomorrah scene, Ed Wood, they don’t care they don’t know they don’t give a fuck, Above Suspicion (1995), A Slight Case Of Murder (1999) TV movie, aiming high with no skills, big swings, the economics of Star Trek: Picard, Quentin Tarantino, The Unteleported Man vs. Lies, Inc., this is a good attempt, it did what it wanted to do, be careful what you put into the world, future reprints, a catalyst and an exemplar, pulp science fiction, Robert E. Howard really holds up, surprisingly terrible, Clifford D. Simak, Isaac Asimov, he’s pre-Dick but without the natural gift, John the Baptist, Dick Christ, Mysterious Galaxies in San Diego, there’s a reason he doesn’t need to know about it, if you like out of date sci-fi, showing how general semantics and science fiction are tied together, H.L. Drake, why Heinlein is so interesting, he’s fundamentally right, there’s something to it and its really stupid, nothing’s new under the sun, practicing the art of reading science fiction for decades and decades, all the sound and fury all around us, as part of their identity vs. a fact about their history, being out of the loop by not practicing the art of reading science fiction, anti-bodies against surprised, forseen vs. predicted, plague, thousands of plague stories, Carriers (2009), how the United States is going to be in 9 months, the USG shit the bed, The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, were just gonna have to let a couple million people go, top 10s, The Naked Sun, The Sphinx by Edgar Allan Poe, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacApp, history is your proof against cycles, terrible dead ends, 277 years ago in where Vancouver is now, Philip K. Dick becomes more and more relevant and A.E. van Vogt becomes less and less relevant, thrash metal, PKD is covering Null-A, the opposite of academia, it is education for podcasters and podcast listeners, Donald A. Wollheim, Evan’s cat’s name is Rusty Cohle, also the Will book, Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn Of Flame, fired no job jobless, we wont need lawyers in our new Null-A society, be more like Saul Goodman.

William Frederick Timmins art for The World Of Null-A on the cover of Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, August 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, September 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

Astounding, October 1945

ACE - D-31 - The World Of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt

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The SFFaudio Podcast #579 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe 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.

The Spy In The Elevator by Donald E. Westlake

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Reading, Short And Deep #224 – The Last Baby by Ken W. Purdy

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #224

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Last Baby by Ken W. Purdy.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Last Baby was first published in Cosmopolitan, November 1953.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson