The SFFaudio Podcast #130 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Jenny discuss Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley.
Talked about on today’s show:
uppity damn robots, hilarious characterization, soulless robots, Galaxy Magazine September 1956, Star Trek, Harry Mudd, Sears Roebuck catalogues, freeze dried vs. flash frozen, Kiln People by David Brin, The Twilight Zone episode “The Lonely“, robot wives, manufactured fingernails, center of gravity, “could she have been a robot?”, Gunga Sam the foreman robot, duenna is Portuguese for chaperone, Gunga Din, the Writing Excuses podcast with Lou Anders, HuffDuffer, John Scalzi, Casablanca, The Dark Knight, Edward Flaswell, “Sure pal. Sure.”, Frontier Bride, mail order bride, freeze dried preacher, programmed by “a human supremacist of the most rabid sort”, was Flaswell talked into feeling bad, what is the Human Man’s Burden?, is it all a marketing ploy?, The Mote In God’s Eye, the Gold Rush, why is the combustion god?, “Him strong him good, believe me brothers, it is even as I say.”, Rudyard Kipling poem’s The White Man’s Burden, the justification for empire, satire, the page 99 illustration, labeling people, ultra deluxe model bride, “oil glistened on their honest faces”, Tama can prove the robots are having sex, “in their carefree robot fashion”, a series of robots on the moon ordering from Sears Roebuck catalogues (15 F&SF covers by Mel Hunter), Charles van Doren, face-parts, “the robot frontier”, Asteroids in fiction (Wikipedia entry), TZ ep.: “Two“, Dumb Martian by John Wyndham, TZ ep.: “The Lateness Of The Hour“, android vs. gynoid, Firefly, Gunga Sam knows best, Sheila was down-selling herself, this is a feminist story?, Human Man’s Burden could be a cartoon, Kindles/Xboxes/Wiis/PS3s are sold as cheaply as possible because of the profit being in the media they play, iTouch vs. iPhone, free robots in our homes selling moon makers and solidovisions, nesting dolls, Human Man’s Burden probably isn’t public domain, Psycho by Robert Bloch, The Status Civilization, Seventh Victim, Mindswap, Warrior Race, The Space Merchants, Blackstone Audio, Charles Stross, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan.
ISFDB publication history for Human Man’s Burden HERE.
Posted by Jesse Willis
3 thoughts to “The SFFaudio Podcast #130 – READALONG: Human Man’s Burden by Robert Sheckley”
I think ‘white man’s burden’ used to be a popular catchphrase. I’m no poetry expert, so I must have heard it in old tv shows or movies, probably applied to women. I just saw Jack Nicholson say it in The Shining, the 2nd time he goes to the bar.
Human Man’s Burden (Premise)
Human Man’s Burden, written by Robert Sheckley, is a futuristic story with some humour. Edward Flaswell, the main character, lives alone so he feels pretty lonely. Flaswell has a foreman robot that helps him out with decisions and choices. One day, Flaswell found an advertisement that could let you order a bride, by mail. Flaswell talked about it with his foreman, Gunga-sam, and he ordered himself a Frontier Model Bride. A few weeks later Flaswell became all excited and anxious. He began to scan the skies to see if anything was coming for him. Finally, some robots landed in front of Flaswell and gave him a case. They shouted, “Your new bride sir!”, and left. Flaswell immediately opened it but it said that defrosting takes two hours. He waited impatiently and his bride came out. Her name was Sheila, and she didn’t even look like a Frontier Model bride. She said that she is an Ultra Deluxe Luxury Model Bride, which made Flaswell confused. Flaswell figured that there was a mix up, but he fell in love with Sheila. Flaswell has to find a way to make Sheila stay, or else she will leave Flaswell alone.
Human Man’s Burden (Vocab)
Plaintoid(n)- something like a planet
Freighter(n)- a large ship or plane that carries goods
Assortment(n)- a collection of different things or of different types of the same thing
Novice(n)- a person who is new and has little experience in a skill, job, or situation
Thorium(n)- a radioactive element
Unruly(adj)- difficult to control or manage
Moratorium(n)- a temporary stopping of an activity, especially by official agreement
Ingratiating(adj)- trying too hard to please
Disconsolate(adj)- very unhappy or disappointed
Demurely(adj)- a woman or a girl behaving in a way that does not attract attention to herself or her body
Stoic(n)- the fact of not complaining or showing what you are feeling when you are suffering
Intuition(n)- the ability to know something by using your feelings rather than considering the facts
Craggy(adj)- sticking out, rocky
Presumption(n)- something that is thought to be true or probable
Conviction(n)- the act of finding somebody guilty of a crime in a court of law
Vertiginous(adj)- causing a feeling of being too high
Humanoid(n)- a human like creature