The SFFaudio Podcast #097 – READALONG: The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #097 – Scott and Jesse talk with Luke Burrage about about two short stories: The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges |ETEXT| and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick |ETEXT|. The audiobook edition of The Garden Of Forking Paths can be found in the Penguin Audio audiobook Jorge Luis Borges: Collected Fictions.

Talked about on today’s show:
The virtues of short stories, metafiction, Fair Game by Philip K. Dick, If magazine, Anthony Boucher, The Garden Of Forking Paths, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, espionage, fantasy, alternate history, WWI, “start the scene as close to the action as possible”, labyrinth, recursion, the Wikipedia entry on The Garden Of Forking Paths, choose your own adventure, parallel worlds, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Necronomicon, H.P. Lovecraft, “The Garden of Forking Paths is an incomplete, but not false, image of the universe as Ts’ui Pên conceived it.”, why doesn’t Luke review short stories on SFBRP?, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun, Labyrinths: Selected Stories And Other Writings by Jorge Louis Borges, A Solar Labyrinth by Gene Wolfe, “dense as in wonderfully deep”, Penguin Audio, Collected Fictions by Jorge Louis Borges, how are Fair Game and The Garden Of Forking Paths connected?, “how you read a story matters to your understanding of a story”, Professor Anthony Douglas, “An immense eye gazed into the room, studying him.”, The Twilight Zone, “The damn thing was looking at me. It was me it was studying.” Douglas’s voice rose hysterically. “How do you think I feel — scrutinized by an eye as big as a piano! My God, if I weren’t so well integrated, I’d be out of my mind!”, Colorado, “we are the face in the sky staring down at this paper”, physics, the observer effect, the wave function collapses, Schrödinger’s cat,

“What is Doug? About the best nuclear physicist in the world. Working on top-secret projects in nuclear fission. Advanced research. The Government is underwriting everything Bryant College is doing because Douglas is here.”


“They want him because of his ability. Because he knows things. Because of their size-relationship to this universe, they can subject our lives to as careful a scrutiny as we maintain in the biology labs of — well, of a culture of Sarcina Pulmonum. But that doesn’t mean they’re culturally advanced over us.”

“Of course!” Pete Berg exclaimed. “They want Doug for his knowledge. They want to pirate him off and make use of his mind for their own cultures.”

“Parasites!” Jean gasped. “They must have always depended on us. Don’t you see? Men in the past who have disappeared, spirited off by these creatures.” She shivered. “They probably regard us as some sort of testing ground, where techniques and knowledge are painfully developed — for their benefit.”

big brother, 1984, “money and sex and food”, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Fredric Brown, Space by James A. Michener, Apollo 18, payoff first – ironic twist next, Dick vs. Borges, is Dick cynical?, mountains and religion, the atmosphere is an ocean of air around the Earth, “Colorado is the shallows in the Earth.”, what does ample mean?, science fiction, “Ts’ui Pên was a brilliant novelist, but he was also a man of letters who doubtless did not consider himself a mere novelist.”, is Dick taking the piss?, high-minded Science Fiction, what is the significance of the title Fair Game?, this is not a podcast for people aren’t going to read the books, “I think Philip K. Dick bases all of his stories on his own life.”, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, Luke’s novels, is Luke as clever as PKD and Borges?

Looks like it was inspired by Fair Game by Philip K. Dick


Posted by Jesse Willis

3 thoughts to “The SFFaudio Podcast #097 – READALONG: The Garden Of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick”

  1. Fair Game As a Fishy Tale

    Philip K. Dick likes to write the stories that make us think. He usually does not give us the answer, but give us clues to find it. In “Fair Game”, we find out that Douglas is actually a creature that lives under the water. The giant face is the person who is fishing for him. In my opinion, the talk about Gods and Olympus in the story is just to distract us. Philip K. Dick wants to trick us. He thinks it would be interesting if we find out that there is actually a fisherman staring at Douglas and trying to fish him.
    When I read through the first half of the story, I could predict what would happen in the next few pages. I thought a scientist was studying Douglas, which in this case would be a very small organism. There is a vague hint that Philip K. Dick gives us, in the form of the gold lying on the side of the road. It does not connect with my theory. Again, Philip K. Dick is trying to trick us. The result that comes out at the end of the story is similar to our theory, but there is a twist at the end that is beyond my expectations. Douglas is a big fatty fish! The person who stares at him wants to eat him because of his big belly. A big irony that occurs in the story is Douglas thinks somebody is after him because his smart brain. He is the best nuclear physicist in the world. In fact, the person is looking at the size of his body.
    In the conclusion, Philip K. Dick uses metaphor for the whole story. It may sounds like Douglas is a person, but actually he is a fish. The funny part is he is being cooked at the end of the story.

  2. There are least a dozen parallels between the characters, settings and objects in “The Garden of Forking Paths,” by Jorge Luis Borges. The symmetries in this story are highly complicated. Four characters are introduced: Dr. Yu Tsun, Captain Richard Madden, Dr. Stephen Albert and Tsui Pen. Most of the parallels are found between Dr. Yu Tsun and Dr. Stephen Albert. Dr. Yu Tsun is the narrator of this story and also a spy working for Germany. In fact, he is a Chinese man. However, Dr. Stephen Albert is an Englishman studying Chinese. Another parallel is between Tsui Pen, an ancient writer, and Dr. Stephen Albert. They both dwell in a pavilion. Dr. Stephen Albert’s job is to translate Tsui Pen’s novel “The Garden of Forking Paths,” and navigate his labyrinth. Tsui Pen lived in a pavilion of “Limpid Solitude,” Albert lives in a pavilion in the center of peaceful “poplar grove.” Tsui Pen was murdered, after finishing his novel, but before, he had fully explored his labyrinth. And this too is also mirrored at the story’s end.

Leave a Reply