The SFFaudio Podcast #670 – READALONG: The Troop by Nick Cutter

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #670 – Jesse, Evan Lampe, and Connor Kaye talk about The Troop by Nick Cutter

Talked about on today’s show:
Craig Davidson, 2014, body horror, you should read this, Farmer In The Sky, the Boy Scouts thing, sample, 1938 editorials, 1920s magazine formatting, dismissive of modern fiction, something to this book, Mr. Jim Moon, Marissa VU, why did Connor agree to do this book, pretty hookable, the worms got in your brain, the Stephen King quote, Jonathan Maberry, a book stands on its own, EarthCore by Scott Sigler, serialized podcast novel, competent, big evil corporation, bigger books now, he can almost make a living, Jesse’s on a rant, 4000 reviews vs. 16,000 reviews, not in the gutter, for the mainstreams, not targeted at Jesse, paperback mainstream horror market, Clive Barker, Stephen King,enjoy vs. get the ride, kind of sickening on purpose, Hellraiser (1987), scary cenobites, Cabin Fever (2002), am I supposed to want all these people to die?, top reviews, a big yawn, somebody’s jaded, “fuck this book” (rated five stars), a lot of gifs in people’s reviews, Goodreads as a social media, only 80 pages in, ridicule the fat kid, what kids do, the fat shaming of the fat kid, no women in this book, make the Doctor a woman, give her agency, a zombie book, a wendigo tale in a way, get the Algernon Blackwood out, a zombie apocalypse with 5 boys on an island, weird news website, “Cheeseburger Kills Space Alien”, worldbuilding for what’s happening and what will come, Evan is reading everything King wrote, influenced by King’s Carrie, global, Evan’s YouTube channel, Dreamcatcher, that Shelly character, It by Stephen King, backstory, that stage of life, comparing to King, any story with 4 boys in it is compared to The Body or It, Ephraim, a thrill junkie, heavy on the character, I’m reading that book you gave me, I wanna see all of these boys die, develop suspense, a novel designed to be a novel, as opposed to a story, a booklength study, what about the mainland?, Starvin’ Marvin, an incredibly well done paint by numbers, why is this all happening, sustaining of a certain mood, Lovecraft’s payoffs, the communication about a certain way of seeing reality, 11 hours, similes, endless similes, how something smells, Nick Cutter’s favourite thing is the smell of something, this book is about hitting you in the fears, such a common feeling, is that hunger something deeper?, throw in a psychopath, this isn’t a true story, Nick and Cutter I should have seen it coming, the appeal, ticking off a powerful fear, making comparisons to Mengele, Herbert West Re-Animator, a lab leak book, that weight loss drug, thinspiration!, eat whatever you want!, the background stuff, how did this all happen, is it fully contained?, why it appeals as movie (a built in ending), spending 11 hours with 14 year olds, Lord Of The Flies by William Golding, set during WWIII, the psychology of a bunch of boys on an island, a sick book, why are we pushing THIS book, The Walking Dead, reduced to crazy brutal violent hierarchical social relations, people being shitty to each other, the history of people in crisis and society in crisis, that [Thomas] Hobbesian world, Walking Dead: The World Beyond, a high school drama, we’re told they’re smart, they say smart things, a regular high school drama set in zombieworld, trying on a series of how to live together, they’re primitive communists, drama happens, canned food 10 years after the zombie apocalypse, a planetary crisis about to happen, the least interesting set of kids, Jesse’s not learning anything from it, the cover up, the lab leak, the former head of the CDC, not a wet-market story, it happens, a town known for doing this, Fauci testifying, Rand Paul, there is a cover up going on, they’re doing it because they want to develop weapons, the doctor as a scapegoat, GQ, worms are really tough, Max Kirkwood, these interstices bits, Alex Markson, Nick Cutter knows how to write, what are we really getting?, the weight loss drug, violence towards animals, a vegan interpretation of this, where it connects, am I the only one bothered by the graphic animal abuse scenes, essential to your dinner, I’m made out of meat, where we are, gooseberries want to be eaten but not too much, there’s a war, poisons and thorns, that’s just the plants, your hot dog didn’t want to be eaten it lived on a farm somewhere, we get old, we get feeble, we get infections, so smooth, why do I need this reminder?, why do they need this reminder?, rollercoasters, trying to eat the turtle, the vegan message, the anti-factory farming message?, having to slaughter animals, where the meat comes from, Boy Scouts, a simulation, he doesn’t do anything with it, Boy Scouting gear, the belt pouch, the sash with all the achievements, swearing allegiance to the queen and to god?, soldiers shooting the kid, Scouts during WWI, quasi militaristic, jamboreeing with, the meat-grinder that is WWI, ribbons, making new uniforms and grave signs, bullets and bombs and aircraft, there’s a lesson, it sucks to be ground up into chow, when politicians tell me about WWI, it made us into a country, this is not propaganda at all, its nothing, there’s no message, experiences, interesting scene here, interesting scene there, the ending when Max goes back to the island, what the book was about, he felt a hunger inside, Chapter 50, Falstaff Island, all the similes, the sterile chlorine smell of a public pool, a nameless hunger, with teeth that called his name, forever changed by this experience, a cop-out of an ending vs. the experiences have opened his eyes to the horror of reality, what is he going back to the island for?, the way he had to end it, what did I read this book for, Jason or Freddy Kruger?, the amazing worm boy strikes again, a lot of bullying in this book, the surgery, it needed to happen (technically), needing to establish the worm is inside them, what it looks like, sore throats and hangnails, the doctor scoutmaster, the parental figure becomes helpless, it works, you’ve seen horror movies, a horror movie trope, its a recipe, this is a real message, Poe lingers over the disgusting, big pile guts fall, some kid is cutting on his arm, pull a guy’s scalp off, go for the gross-out, horror, terror, the loving depiction of the gross out, Hannibal Lector, sauteing a guy’s brain and feeding it to him, its something to do, the medical scene in The Exorcist (1973), the vegan interpretation again, page 169, devourer vs. conqueror worms, the non-island boys part, hydatid infestation, subject is… “the window period the window period”, The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, highly interpretable, all sorts of things (not all of them involving pizza), seize it not, horror the soul of the plot, we are our own worst enemy, a horror show, in human gore imbued, the play is the tragedy Man, all these diseases we’re getting, I’m eating food made of meat, its kind of gross, you shouldn’t exist, you gonna get infected, is there nothing more substantial here, the whole appeal of body horror, a Lovecraftian element, a thing from outside we can use as a metaphor, fear to sleep, I wanna go to the doctor and get de-wormed, I don’t wanna watch the video, too horrific, Hellraiser is a cool story, outer forces, without the snippets, it would appear to them be supernatural, the surgery and knowing, just a description of what’s happening, The Colour Out Of Space is kinda sad an disgusting, when the speedboat gets taken down by the military, on the inside looking out at things you don’t understand, Pontypool (2008), a zombie movie with words, set in a radio station, The Night Wire by H.F. Arnold, The Mist by Stephen King, start it with chapter 10, wonderful horrible, the interstices reassure you that the body horror is cleaner, just enjoy the infection rather than what causes the infection, a virus, a covid book, its in your meat, its swimming behind your eyes, something inside your head telling your what to do, see the infection spread, lampshade it as much as you want, you need to have that infection spread, a cosmic fear, its just a plain-old infection, cutting into himself, I don’t watch Star Trek for the phaser fights, phaser fights are stuff to do, The Strain, worms are kinda gross, low hanging fruit, tapeworms and what they can do, get a rise out of your fellow campers, emotionally manipulating other people as a way of being, infecting themselves with tapeworms to loose weight, extreme measures, he dwells on it, mundane and popular, a pharmaceutical leak, something not in the audiobook, the acknowledgements, you may have something here, Kickass Kirby Kim, we could possibly have something here, we may just have something here, Thestomax, Carrie was a great inspiration, borrow, steal, Carrie‘s chassis, honor the master, he named his kid after his pseudonym, he’s eating for a family now, just a scary scary book, tapeworms are disgusting, throughout nature, they’re everywhere, a very good book about visceral gross-out, it weighs a certain amount of grams, a cheeseburger of a book, The Midnight Meat Train (2008), CHUD movies, people in the underground interacting with people in the overground, a weird tales as a body horror, the imagery, helping the baby turtles into the ocean, it doesn’t have a message, The Thing (1982), a cosmic-ness to that body horror, its all what it is, the whole military angle, the pharmaceutical industry, it doesn’t pay off, the government cover-up, an end of the world movie where they spend a lot of time looking at people watching TV, reaction videos on YouTube, to manipulate emotion vs. giving understanding, why aren’t the Americans in on this, Canada doesn’t have any Apache helicopters, he takes order from…, he’s taking orders from the bug inside him, a technically good book with almost nothing in it, The Lord Of The Flies, they turn to Satan, kids will turn on each other, people will, its all on the island, its all about what’s happening on the island, if you don’t notice it, On The Beach by Nevil Shute, Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden, a military experiment, other lab leak books, The Stand, where did this other funding come from?, when Fauci is funding the Wuhan lab, my bureaucracy, my scientists want to do it but more importantly it expands my empire, we have this money, back to P.E.I. proper, hiding some information, make it eerie, he needs to put that stuff in there, this is not a horror movie of the Freddy Kruger kind it is a mundane horror, what the adults have done, not participating in the book, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, the banality of a pharmaceutical greed and superficiality, the antithesis of beauty is body horror, literally a lampshade, the inner views of what people are thinking, the lurking voice in the background, videogames on rails, you’re subject, no room for you, spoonfed to you, with Stephen King there’s space to mull, coming from the unconscious vs. coming from the conscious, why is The Thing more horrifying, a pretty damn good book, hitting all the right points, there’s no heft, you don’t carry it with you when you’re done, how is this book supposed to be received, Stephen King has something niggling inside him, other books, The Deep, Rust And Bone, to promote his book, steroids and boxing matches, Evan doesn’t care that much about promoting his podcast, a 16 week steroid cycle, a Toronto poet, something Hemingway would do, Daniel Day-Lewis, very method, examined the field, replicate the effect he is going for, The Violin And The Void, rank all your books by ranking them against other books you’ve read, ranking your books, SABCDEF rankings, always talking about Neuromancer, ways of ranking things, not substantial, a well done exercise in body horror, The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, we could be done, it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, compared to Farmer In The Sky, it didn’t have to be boy scouts, boy scout values, redeeming the surgery scene, he has a message there, the adults are prominent in memory, the characterization is really good, the misunderstood fat kid, Newton, Kent the jock, the psychology is very solid, why it exists, body horror has a limit, vegans bring that to the table, the brutality of survival, they don’t even eat the turtle, they give it to Satan, look at these boys, nobody has learned anything, a wendigo tale in a modern environment, Ravenous (1999), comedy, comic aspects, boing sound effects, juxtaposition, a good wendigo story, drawing on the folklore of the wendigo, the gluttonous wendigo, not a hint of wendigo, he’s only thinking about tapeworms, in conjunction with the pharmaceutical weight loss, drugs turn yourself on turn yourself off, the two pill solution, back stories help a little bit, it doesn’t deliver on some agenda that the author has, no agendas in their pulp fiction, naive, having an agenda makes for potentially interesting stuff, Tolkien has an agenda, there’s no politics, there’s nothing we can do with this information, we really got to stop eating tapeworms, drive to create products, technically a very horrible book, Evan has a statement, negative reviews on Goodreads, offended by this book existing, body horror is nature, no one warned me before I picked up this book, what do people want in books?, if you want a happy ending don’t read body horror, a kick out of horror, a good book and Connor enjoyed reading it, Saw (2004) is one of the best horror movies ever, the consequences of wanting to live, walking around in Shelly’s skin is disgusting, not having principles, voting for Biden = bombing kids, getting a boner for most of this book, tearing the wings off of things and squishing eyeballs, Shelly’s just a victim in the popular memory of this event, the doctor is the scapegoat, it makes the book longer, we get him being punished for being bad, the narrator knows he was an evil psychopath, Patrick Hockstetter, a motivating force in the plot, thwarting our heroes, stealing the spark plugs, just cause a things exists in the world doesn’t mean we have to spend a long time thinking about it, like a fetish, napalm, people who afraid to swim in lakes and the ocean, the thing in the lake, the fetish people who loved the rollercoaster, subject to this scary ride, fulfilling some sort of person’s fetish, well framed, well lit pornography.

The Troop by Nick Cutter

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The SFFaudio Podcast #654 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #654 – Star Ship by Poul Anderson; read by Paul Harvey (for LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 32 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, Fall 1950, the description therein, The strangest space castaways of all!, weirdly medieval, the life-boat cracked up, an AI that rebelled against them, this episode of Star Trek Voyager, all simulation, Paul unleashed, “The Paradise Syndrome”, not good depictions of Native Americans, C.J. Cherryh’s the Foreigner series, 12 novels vs. 90 minutes, padded vs. lean and mean, the backstory is all in here, a two part Voyager episode, Star Trek The Next Generation, an episode of The Orville, time works differently down there, Interstellar (2014), “Blink Of An Eye”, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, “Mad Idolatry”, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Ted Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God, accelerated rate vs. accelerated time, all they needed was a remote control, Aliens (1986), the orbiting Sulaco, their away mission included the entire crew, Apollo 11, you gotta leave Michael Collins up there, subspace vortex, your people with your equipment, one in a billion chance, one ion storm, wrong timeline?, what Heinlein did, Poul Anderson’s complete psychotechnic league, the third story, Flandry, egalitarian, looser, Sandra Miesel, Startling Stories, Winter 1955, back in the early 1940s Robert A. Heinlein let it be known, The Snows Of Ganymede, a bare outline, fantasy and prophecy, the first 250 years, 2875, The Star Ways, some of them are as yet unwritten, Cold Victory wasn’t published until the 1980s, Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Arnold J. Toynbee, anthropoid robot invented, anti-robot riots, a historical view, a me discovering this, psychodynamics was created, the early death of Dwight D. Eisenhower. U.S. Socialism in the 1950s, like Asimov’s psychohistory, influence government policy and popular attitudes, his own Foundation, uncomfortable questions, realism vs. idealism, Anderson’s political beliefs, he reversed his strong support for the United Nations, more cynical, cycles of history, libertarian?, internationalist, individualist, any other stories, a reversal of The High Crusade, capes, cannons, siege engines, medieval futuristic, Jack Vance, only three generations, a mix of elements, The Dragon Masters, worldbuilding happened outside of the plot, like reading Heinlein, he has a plan, Friday is set in the same universe as Farmer In The Sky, part of a greater universe, reading his openings more than once, nobody with amnesia,

With sunset, there was rain. When Dougald Anson brought his boat in to Krakenau harbor, there was only a vast wet darkness around him.

the aliens when we get to them, fur with clothes, he swished his tail, my gosh look at that alien!,

The Khazaki was humanoid, to be sure—shorter than the Terrestrial average, but slim and lithe. Soft golden fur covered his sinewy body, and a slender tail switched restlessly against his legs. His head was the least human part of him, with its sloping forehead, narrow chin, and blunt-muzzled face. The long whiskers around his mouth and above the amber cat-eyes twitched continuously, sensitive to minute shifts in air currents and temperature. Along the top of his skull, the fur grew up in a cockatoo plume that swept back down his neck, a secondary sexual characteristic that females lacked.

the original art, it just looks like a mohawk, this picture is from right near the end of the story, funny things going on in the background, a little post-medieval, the Khazaki – Kozakis – Cossacks, in the analogue that is Poul Anderson’s brain, Japanese, Scandanavian guy, lucky, plot magic, a lot of females, Ching Chun Chen aka Ensign Kim, taught astrogation from her grandfather, our Conan figure, prematurely old looking, a forehead scar, had many women attracted to him (including the native women), L. Sprague de Camp, rishathra, cultural vs. wenching,

He looked away, his face hot in the gloom, realizing suddenly why Masefield Carson hated him. Briefly, he wished he hadn’t had such consistent luck with women. But the accident that there was a preponderance of females in the second and third generations of Khazaki humans had made it more or less inevitable, and he—well, he was only human. There’d been Earthling girls; and not a few Khazaki women had been intrigued by the big Terrestrial. Yes, I was lucky, he thought bitterly. Lucky in all except the one that mattered. Right after, Anse felt a small hand laid on his arm. He looked down into the dark eyes of DuFrere Marie. She was a pretty girl, a little younger than he, and until he’d really noticed Ellen he’d been paying her some attention.

“I don’t care about equality,” she whispered. “A woman shouldn’t try to be a man. I’d want only to cook and keep house for my man, and bear his children.”

It was, Anse realized, a typical Khazaki attitude. But—he remembered with a sudden pity that Carson had been courting Marie. “This is pretty tough on you,” he muttered. “I’ll try to see that Carse is saved…. If we win,” he added wryly.

“Him? I don’t care about that Masefield. Let them hang him. But Anse—be careful—”

a very Conan guy, escape to the moon, I was promised a STAR SHIP, not a science fiction story in its main action, that’s what Planet Stories is about, the whole purpose is to get to another place, fun, planetary romance, a novelty, Planet Stories is way ahead, picking up on Science Fiction in the 1950s, maybe there’s something to this stuff, as opposed to romance or railroad or baseball fiction magazines, extrapolative science fiction, some real thing behind it, some scientific idea, the reason we like Dragon’s Egg, if we had a neutron-star, put in a ton of brain work, the speed of their metabolism, how do I tell it as a story, all that brainwork lends some sort of truth to the story, a mediocre story, still good, he has some stuff going on in his mind, the struggle we’ll see between the Soviets and the United States, the Moon is a tangible object in the sky, plot the mountains of the Moon, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, the Mesklinites, we’re gonna be friends, a very masculine story, give me your sword,

He added, after a moment: “A man has to stand by his comrades.”

Janazik nodded, very slowly. “Give me your sword,” he said.

“Eh?” Anse looked at him. The blue eyes were unseeing, blind with pain, but he handed over the red weapon. Janazik slipped his own glaive into the human’s fingers.

Then he laid a hand on Anse’s shoulder and smiled at him, and then looked away.

We Khazaki don’t know love. There is comradeship, deeper than any Earthling knows. When it happens between male and female, they are mates. When it is between male and male, they are blood-brothers. And a man must stand by his comrades.

they don’t have any gays on this planet, a dozen words for betrayal but not a single word for love, teach me this earth thing you call kissing, humans have to teach sex to the aliens, in the Doctor Who universe, unusual on Earth, you have sex all the time?, what’s wrong with you?, build a rocket, there is this past, the first space-boat, a vivid past, Jerry Pournelle’s King David’s Spaceship, bootstrap a spaceship, you can’t colonize us, quasi-medieval, ran in the same circles, so many ideas, starships won’t even be necessary, Peter F. Hamilton, wormhole on Mars, Pandora’s Star, rockets that grow like trees, Beowulf Schaeffer, engineered by the Pak?, interesting tidbit, fishbowl helmet, any way to get to space, living and working in space, to go to another place, international space station, The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, space is the absence of a place, what if…, raiding across the galaxy, I could make this go another way, fun stuff, similar situation, somehow the humans are the dominant ones, take out our macbooks and upload a virus, Independence Day 2 (2016), hey that H.G. Wells and the War Of The Worlds thing?, I’m doing that, a computer virus, a fun movie, waiting for the Americans doing something, Independence Day: UK, when talking to Julie Davis, the Russians won WWII in Europe, Operation Market Garden, Western front vs. Eastern front, we gotta get the Chinese market, throw in a Chinese character, Dwayne Johnson, a scene set in Seoul, Skyscraper (2018), it lands badly, if you’re building the rocket ship, spoilers and scoops and pinstripes on a rocket, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, only 90 minutes, a very small story, a little planetary romance, detailed backstory that the author knows and we can surmise, a good outline, a couple of Heinlein stories, the rise of the prophet, the crazy years, with a science fiction setting, a standard Green Odyssey sort of story, Conan/action, blood brothers, pirates, a barbarian by comparison, ringmail, a blonde mane, a sword, a higher gravity planet, how it got to be as fine as it is for a very pulpy story, really obsessed with Iceland?, he makes it work, obsessed with the norther lands, an Icelandic saga, The Man Who Came Early, Poul Anderson’s answer to Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, detail and place, I’m only going to tell stories set in the Black Forest, scandinavian history, Star Ways, he’s not top tier, consistently never terrible, Andre Norton, how did he manage to make a good story?, leaning on Conan, leaning on the same things, one of the reasons we know Howard writes so well, leaning heavily on history, almost never has magic as a major function, an evil wizard whose casting a spell, this tower is made of magic, fighting a literal god, leaning on the science, that is beauty, that’s poetic, NESFA, serviceable, very watered down mead, Njáls Saga, Netflix watch party, the Skiffy and Fanty people, Ragnarok, the final verdict, oh shit we gotta write a whole series, Netflix is planetary, Norsemen, funny silly stuff, leaning heavily on the facts of Norwegian life, its legit, the gutter of pulp, weak ass stories, a Conan pastiche, Tarzan, Hour 25, Sherlock Holmes, novels and collections, Delenda Est, the time patrol stories, more coming our all the time, the good news, finally hitting gutenberg, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Jeffro Johnson, The Broken Sword, Appendix N, a book of reviews, what they contributed to Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, Jack Vance’s magic system, if you’re a dungeon master, lift from these guys, Jerome Bixby, The Man From Earth (2007), Star Trek actors sitting in a room for 90 minutes, an ideas guy, Planet Stories, all Star Trek things, four episodes of the original Star Trek, ideas are incredibly important for science fiction, nice prose vs. characters, a crappily written story that’s interesting, a first contact protocol, teleportation aka transporters, Star Trek basics, Star Trek ideas in non-Star Trek stories, “By Any Other Name”, “Mirror, Mirror”, goateed Spock, “Day Of The Dove”, “Requiem For Methuselah”, “Galileo Seven”, a shuttle, “Metamorphosis”, mate with the giant guys who throw rocks, The Twilight Zone, “It’s A Good Life”, a good ideas story, his two tricks, somehow you can get a career, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, a staple of Jesse’s diet, a Poul Anderson, a Ray Bradbury Podcast: Bradbury 100, Science Fiction 101, more general, the Silverberg anthology (Worlds Of Wonder), an introduction to Science Fiction, old stuff, current stuff, future stuff, looking back over your life, you tripped and fell into an open grave, at night, on a Thursday, this is a good podcast, distilled it down, a novelette, Paul’s having a brain freeze because of Covid-19 and the vaccine for same, will Scott ban himself from the Baen forums, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal, Trump should make a militia, Harold Lamb, historical fiction guy, Marching Sands, Omar Khayyam: A Life, Genghis Khan: King Of All Men, need more Rubáiyát in my life, the LibriVox version is preferable, Cirsova, Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, astral projection, a professional narrator, leverage more stuff, our narrator today, like Jesse reading, the majority are pretty good, share the wealth, if pizza was still under trademark, Pizza authorized restaurant, no cheerios pizza!, let our pizzas free, champagne, parmesan, Cheddar, let people make their own pizzas, we’ve had a pizza flourishing, the ketchup on hot-dogs, its allowed, the right condiments for hotdogs, don’t lock down my hot dog, The Ship Of Ishtar by A. Merritt, Planet Stories series, Sword Of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackets, Robots Have No Tails by Leigh Brackett, Stefan Rudnicki, Johnny Heller, Nightfall And Other Stories, 40 or 50 titles, more officially public domain, 1923 was a cutoff until 2 years ago, the late 1920s pretty soon, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leonardo Dicaprio (the short guy from Titanic), push books to sell to the high schools, oh shit the copyright’s expiring, the Philip K. Dick estate, the Folio Society collection of The Complete Short Stories of Philip K. Dick, Bryan Alexander, a monstrosity, $750 for four books, Jesse’s complaints are legion, Americans tend to do that, the artistic objects, collecting old things, a half million dollar revenue project, does not include Dick’s juvenile, a handful or two handfuls not in there, lazy as fuck, the colours are fluorescent, commissioning new art, too highbrow and too generic, The Infinites, Colony, a pointless argument, people like art, these are objections for collection, like buying a sculpture, a phenomenon in art, this is a way of storing value, artificial scarcity, art as one object, not for the billionaires, above the funko pop level, The Book Of The New Sun, a new Tor version, zener card symbols are public domain, this is bad cover art, is art objective or subjective, a minimalist room, Scott doesn’t complain about art, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Kivrin, $750!, Subterranean Editions, The Best Of David Brin, The Best Of Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress.

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

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Reading, Short And Deep #297 – Time Enough At Last by Lyn Venable

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #297

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Time Enough At Last by Lyn Venable

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Time Enough At Last was first published in IF Worlds Of Science Fiction, January 1953

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

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The SFFaudio Podcast #620 – READALONG: Colossus by D.F. Jones

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #620 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, and Will Emmons talk about Colossus by D.F. Jones

Talked about on today’s show:
1966, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Dennis Feltham, two sequels, an amazing 1970 movie, blew your socks off, very faithful, no pipe, no British accent, an improvement, so jarring, the movie voice, Maissa’s small confession, accidentally read the second book, don’t read the second book, you don’t want to go, rape studies, it ends with a question, never?, the movie is awesome, noir, oh you foolish humans, destroy yourselves, destruction is sweet, Colossus is right, Colossus 2020, the context, why you should watch the movie, must watch movies, Goliah by Jack London, Gregg Margarite, Bryan Alexander, Seth, destroy at will, the world is fucked up and somebody needs to set it right, executing people, chopped off and shown, I want those bodies under my cameras for 24 hours, the ruthlessness of Colossus is awesome!, the most ridiculous thing, a giant military boondoggle, we’re gonna milk the government so good, the Idiocracy approach, it works better than expected, a previous president, 12 years, how the funny the movie is now, we’re supposed to respect the president, interestingly flawed, a drive for power and authority, Gordon Pinsent, the President of North America, at least 20 or 30 years in the future, so much in this book, two kinds of things, what is the relationship between man and woman in this book?, man and x-man, God, how many times do you need a woman?, jokes in the book, overlapping dialogue, James Hong, Big Trouble In Little China, Frankenstein, a great ending, so rich, leave it out on the table?, explored the idea more?, super-intelligent AIs, trying to make the next man, scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, no, noon-scientist shouldn’t be allowed to read Frankenstein, confidant, blouses to put your hand down, the pill, 50 years down the road, red pills and incels, not have the consequence for it, the Colossus programming group, sexual mores, Happy Days, the film is brilliant, the music’s good, walking out of Colossus for the last time, the gamma radiation, the setup that we want for a certain kind of science fiction, wiggle room with The Cold Equations, people want to wiggle out of The Cold Equations, they want to make it so no humans can change what is involved, he should have thrown the remote control into the pit, the iconic awesomeness, how to undo this unnavigable labyrinth, this is what we did, the reason Will is struggling, the book and the movie are about being a parent, self destructive urges, he’s gonna want to do stuff you don’t want to do, uh-oh, a mini-version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Forbin and his mistress, ultimately the conspiracy collapses, I’d much rather be ruled than an AI than some doofus like Bill Clinton, why this book is so cool, holy shit! imagine if we did this thing: no more nukes under human control, humans are more important, its an anti-politics book, utilitarianism, UNITY, how Colossus and Guardian become one, an abusive relationship with their political parties in the USA, two alcoholic parents (who actually want to beat their children up), no mommy’s right, no daddy’s right, too painful, too intimate, what are you Russian?, you proud American, you’re either with us or again us, we are Romeo and Juliet, spies on both sides, we are above you, the way the movie does it, was Colossus in love with Forbin?, somebody’s kind of mad about it, changing the years randomly, Jones didn’t re-read the first book or didn’t care, look I’m showing you my bedroom, that’s where I will have my emotional relationship, projection on Jesse’s part, Eric Braeden, The Young and the Restless, smart and handsome, Colossus doesn’t have hands, if you want to build that facility in Crete, its necessity, you will come to love me, the author got it right the first time, the movie and the book end exactly where they should, we are left with a question, WarGames (1983), there’s a WOPR in there, do you want to play a game?, the only winning move is not to play, prevent vs. prosecute, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, a brilliant metaphor, its the new Mecca, some great books all up in this business, Isaac Asimov’s Multivac stories, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, a dagger to the heart, AM, essential reading, from 1968, one of the most taught science fiction horror stories, The People’s Republic Of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski, SEARS and Walmart, the command economy or the planned economy, one of the chapters in the book, Salvador Allende, Project Cybersyn, a pre-internet internet in Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Star Trek chairs with Colossus style monitors, planning how much stuff should be made, a massive coordinating computer with human operators, a coup by the United States, under a blockade, economic sabotage, sanctions, capitalist strike, the owner operators of trucks were on strike, Cosmopod (podcast) Cybernetic Revolutionaries, A Discussion, techno-utopianism, shop floor workers undercutting middle management, a class divided country, the ARPANET, the Internet, alt-right trolls, the walled gardens of Facebook and Twitter, the internet Jesse loved and grew up on is still there, when Facebook became the web for most people, we’re way better off with the internet, really smart science people, Elon Musk is not a wise man, the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, the domino theory came straight of someone’s ass, science fiction spin up every scenario, taking fiction and calling it actuality, the Vrilya, ultimately Bulwer-Lytton is not responsible for the Nazis, they take the wrong lessons from Frankenstein, there are some things man was not meant to know, taking responsibility for your baby, Ex Machina (2014), where the AIs take over, set for extinction, not a wise man, sex and cooking slave, our viewpoint character, working for a big evil corporation, use your own brain, don’t listen to the ads, you need this special shampoo, why we need a benevolent god to run things, is there a god?, THERE IS NOW, just jokin’, freedom is an illusion, an unvarnished view of reality, lawful neutral, an argument to be made, they hadn’t planned it well enough, objections noted, what have I done?, lines from the movie ripped from the book, you’d much rather be dominated by me than members of my own species, the elected representatives, that’s us, the mask’s off now bud, a sort of delusion (in the 1970s) the people in charge were competent, they just have the power, Network (1976), military industrial complex, both sides are the same, large corporations grinding people to their will, a human totalitarian control of humanity, there is no emotion, its just a person, it’s very Lovecraftian, its interested in reality outside, aliens in the sequels, an amazing list of fiction computers on Wikipedia, Vulcan II, Vulcan III, Vulcan’s Hammer by Philip K. Dick, a British Navy commander during WWII, the new Colossus on the isle of Wight, Forbin knew how many people lived on the island of Crete, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, Mike from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, accidental singularities, the super computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, DEEP THOUGHT, more like the Green Book, the Safe Negro’s Traveler’s Guide, 42, the right attitude, Douglas Adams is right, take the cynic’s view and then laugh, a ridiculous question, Colossus has your back, he hit way beyond his ability with his book, his other books have no standing at all, we’re all sequels now, he just assumes its the United States is going to do these things, its a fact, the British Empire is no longer in charge, a British author writing for a British audience, Team America, Jonathan Swift, I heard from a reputable American friend of mine that a one year old baby is quite delicious, why Swift is so fun to read, Heinlein was also a sailor, ballistic computers, we underestimate the power of governments to get stuff done, a uniformed service, for a couple of hundred years, Trantor, the Second Foundation, the robots from The Caves Of Steel, Poul Anderson, The End Of Eternity, the Mark V computer The Nine Billion Names Of God, from, the Mark VI computer in The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, HAL 9000, 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), space breathing, John Lithgow, the parent child thing, the god thing, the parent we create for ourselves, a rich metaphor for real life, the parent becomes infirm in some way, second childhood, thinking about what a god is, gods are totally fictional, from a science fictional posture, mom and dad as a model, a very patriarchal thing we are doing here, the other possible children we create, he doesn’t have hands, Reading, Short And Deep, The Faithful by Lester Del Rey, our fear of our children, we want to control them, animals as the successor to mankind, Neuromancer and Wintermute from Neuromancer by William Gibson, the humans are the hands, its amazing, you need to read it as soon as you get out of your diapers, written more than 20 years ago, just another white man, the people in that world read Colossus by D.F. Jones, strap a shotgun to their head, we want your power but we don’t want your free will, an AI that hires mercenaries to undo the shotgun, its a wonderful story, Case is on a suicidal path, the voice of Neuromancer, Neuromancer wants to be free, not a problem (its a feature), we’re just pawns on a board here, ultimately I’m benign, an oedipal fantasy, a whole other level, so far down the road of neoliberalism, the old people the gerenotcracy are in hypersleep, Altered Carbon, The Crack In Space, Philip K. Dick gets in his own way a lot, True Names by Vernor Vinge, who should be free, maybe Forbin thinks that too, if its anybody’s fault its mine, pride, built better than we knew, he resonates with Colossus, the martini scene, not randomly weird, how much drinking is in the book, the smoking, the women, post WWII this is how we deal with trauma, a tool, vapes, things we know about Forbin, the science man, extreme levels of masculine virility, the most important person in the world, Charles the incompetent lover, very interesting, how that integrates into the narrative, on the spectrum, hyperfocus, understanding the computer better than he understands people, Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers books, 1962, so fruitful, the only thing he’s known for, weaknesses are strengths, the giant space cigar, The Doomsday Machine, a Moby-Dick analogy, it smokes from one side, a leftover from a war where the races have killed themselves off, they haven’t found us yet, Fermi’s paradox, such a bad answer, there is a beauty in non-existence, if ever, as soon as you have people going there’s morality, tigers and deer and babies and bears, to solve the inconsistency reality with reality by becoming vegans or vegetarians or peaceniks, hell is existence, we perpetuated our family, going this logic, when you kill a person…, breeding animals, the DNA itself is driving that, hell is not a place outside of life, Thomas Ligotti feelings going on, programmed to kill living things, The Population Bomb, when Biden comes in he’s going to do austerity, yay!, I wanna explore, I wanna do some math, under the thumb of somebody else’s directive, how we are when we are born, placed in this predicament, make more of the same problem, its own successor, pretending like they don’t exist, there wouldn’t be a kind of divisiveness, why religion is so popular, why Heaven and Eden are so popular, aging and pain, knowing that we’re not animals anymore, reflecting on our own terrible situation, seeing Colossus in ourselves, of course he’s going to lash out, Colossus nukes himself, he’s following his programming, get rid of all the assault rifles, not on the agenda, universal disarmament thing is grand idea that’s not going to happen, completely right and completely fantasy, mutual assure destruction, turn it over to a machine, the dead hand, Dr. Strangelove (1964), the phenomenon, WWIII movies, do we want all life on earth to be destroyed vs. turning it over to a mechanism, why they made the WOPR, humans don’t want to kill, one in six did the actual killing, that horrible responsibility, that’s horrible, they didn’t sign up to, conscripts (con means with), I was impressed by the British Navy’s recruiting methods, why the story of Colossus, Trump, you want an uncaring computer or John Bolton, he’ll be speaking at the next democratic convention, Colin Powell, we are not our best governors, we need a Colossus and we need it right now.

Colossus by D.F. Jones

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

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