The SFFaudio Podcast #499 – READALONG: The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick

November 12, 2018
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #499 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa Vu, and Evan Lampe talk about The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
the Paul-thing, Fantasy And Science Fiction, December 1954, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the 9-minute student film adaption, nothing redeeming, filmed in America, suburbia, backyards, kids playing, an invasion of the neighborhood, kids kill bugs, the bucket full of old magazines, the spider, casual violence towards bugs, a BB-gun, boys being boys when there’s no videogames, the internet, a real threat, playing outside, a curious age, he’s eight, eight or nine, Peretti is 11, the most artificial thing, the obsession with baseball, trivia about 1970s baseball teams, memorizing baseball stats, a deep dive, dinosaurs, the vibe, keeping his son, why is that added?, just to make it longer?, the garage, relationship problems, fixing things up, the threat of the shears “they’ll cut your hands right off”, magnified in your memory, haunted for months and years, kitchen space vs. garage space, brilliant opening, more screen time for Greg Kinnear (looking like Stephen King), a Stephen King story, Stranger Things, Goonies, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, David of the Dickheads podcast, contemporaneous, Cold War paranoia, Invaders From Mars (1986), Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, WWI memorabilia, a gas-mask from WWI, divorce, freaky, something very real, dreams, Indiana Jones, half a squid and half a jellyfish, a tentacle, something deep in the war, I ate your father, a patricidal story, the horror of seeing his father dead in that barrel, the music was too manipulative, the emotional powerhouse of the story, its best on the page, a very powerful story, the child’s point of view, the fears and anxieties of an eight year old, going on off the page, let’s kill the alien monsters that have taken over our parents, more from the monster’s point of view, coming to Earth, sympathy for The Father-Thing, technical issues, the perception of children, doubt from the narrative, knowledge bomb about the lifecycle of the alien replicants, shellac, warming it up, mom’s going to get replaced, that’s a horror, what’s this?, it’s the Charles-thing, you’re worried your wife is a robot, oh my god… I’m a robot!, you’re not who you think you are, a horror-motive,

It was almost ready. Another few days and it would reach maturity. It was still a larva, white and soft and pulpy. But the sun would dry and warm it. Harden its shell. Turn it dark and strong. It would emerge from its cocoon, and one day when his mother came by the garage… Behind the mother-thing were other pulpy white larvae, recently laid by the bug. Small. Just coming into existence. He could see where the father-thing had broken off; the place where it had grown. It had matured here. And in the garage, his father had met it.

Charles began to move numbly away, past the rotting boards, the filth and debris, the pulpy mushroom larvae. Weakly, he reached out to take hold of the fence — and scrambled back.

the opening, I don’t know which one to tell,

“He’s in the garage,” Charles said. “But he’s — talking to himself.”

“Talking to himself!” Mrs. Walton removed her bright plastic apron and hung it over the doorknob. “Ted? Why, he never talks to himself. Go tell him to come in here.” She poured boiling black coffee in the little blue-and-white china cups and began ladling out creamed corn. “What’s wrong with you? Go tell him!”

“I don’t know which of them to tell.” Charles blurted out desperately. “They both look alike.”

June Walton’s fingers lost their hold on the aluminum pan; for a moment the creamed corn slushed dangerously. “Young man –” she began angrily, but at that moment Ted Walton came striding into the kitchen, inhaling and sniffing and rubbing his hands together.

her matronly bosom fluttered with sudden alarm, she’s not a sex object, the boobs are very important to be mentioned, we never see the confronation between the father-thing and the father, the whole point of the story is perception,

“I got the shears sharpened like a razor. Oiled and sharpened. Better not touch them — they’ll cut your hand off.” He was a good-looking man in his early thirties; thick blond hair,

he was going to go cut that bamboo down, who are you?, I’m you, or at least I will be, a whole untold sequence that’s a horror, such good writing, acting weird, weird tumors, no ambiguity, the guy standing in the rain pumping gas, a dead body of a deer, darkening his eyes, is that just my perception?, the shit crawling under Greg Kinnear’s face, the whole idea of perception is gone when you just show it, Westworld, an interview with Evan Rachel Wood, more faithful with Philip K. Dick’s ideas, the man in black, a show on Westworld, faithful to PKD, what makes you human, the “internet out”, hashtag resist, one of the dumbest scenes ever, step off the ledge, too obvious, the teacher’s name was Mr. “Philip” Dick, my wife’s not my wife anymore, when you’re living with someone, Evan is suspicious of a “true self”, Men In Black (1997), wearing an Edgar-suit, Philip K. Dick fans, impostor syndrome, you’re all the imposters!, everyone else is a kind of impostor and your have to play along, a psychological issue where people literally think someone has been replaced, like deja-vu, capgras syndrome, the Truman syndrome, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, Mr. Jim Moon’s show on changelings, infanticide, a cuckoo egg situation, Jesse’s awesome theory on Philip K. Dick’s Beyond The Door, in tune with little details that most people completely pass over, “Charles hesitated. He was only eight years old, and the problem bothering him would have confounded Hillel.” Hillel is all about the Talmud, interpretation, wisdom, arguing on internet forums for thousands of years, Confucian commentary is kind of the same, Batman is a character, we know all these things about Batman, the story of Jesus is fanfiction from 2,000 years ago, we have to live with those stories, popularly known for two sayings, “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”, lamb stew, beef stew, there’s something off about him, you have to really pay attention, so missing, Star Trek: The Next Generation episode entitled “Conspiracy”, a very dark ending (never mentioned again), reading Herman Melville, the crew mentality, the higher ups, bifurcation in an institution, a BBC audio drama adaption of Moby-Dick, Starbuck says this is folly, Ahab says your boat will not be one of the ones we drop with us, Ishmael disappears out of the text, Stubbs, Ahab is Ahab, a merry romp and then they all go to their doom, the ethic of reciprocity, the Golden Rule, it is not cool to kill your dad, here’s a horrific story, what do you make of that?, maybe it’s a story like this…, not human, you would want your son to save himself, it informs us (if we see it), it doesn’t explicitly state anything, his dad acting strangely, It by Stephen King, the recent movie, aging up the kids, when kids lose their imagination, the role of imagination, sneezing powder, the younger kids look at the world differently, a mistake in that adaption, the Norman Conquest, we don’t need anything outside the neighborhood, the use of the bully, he’s a jerk but he’s on the team, a black friend (but only at school), Charles, Peretti, and Daniels (somebody who’s good at finding), that finding is a thing, they’re playing, we can drown it or burn it, a jar of formaldehyde, did this play go to far, the ending, we left some matches on the driveway, we better run the hose, lighting the house on father, trimming the hedges, the whole thing was covered with web, tent moth, the only solution, acting mean, talking to himself, which dad do I talk to, this is total imagination stuff, the fear of imagination, the horror of Dungeons & Dragons, the whole Mazes And Monsters insanity, The Dungeon Master by William Dear, there was no dispelling it, there was no alternative saying it was bullshit, a mass hysteria, the idiocracy of television and radio, it’s going to turn you into, Evan’s pastor dragged him aside, you can’t be a good Christian and play this stuff, stop using your imagination, the wild stuff in the Old Testament, a book of more and more appeal, using it as a referent, these are stories are meant to be questioned, Hansel And Gretel’s parents, genocide and child murder, unexplainable unless you do the Talmud, literalism, competition, fear of Harry Potter, “Jesus greater than Fortnite“, Minnesota, George W. Bush, these people are the Human-Things, about control, fear of losing control, from the kid’s point of view, a straight up horror story, everybody turns into Stephen King as they get older, the mom is minimized, the first one of the adaptations that doesn’t try some gender bending, if it was a daughter and not a son, girls being more sensitive, the Freudian aspect of this story, he wants to kill his father and marry his mom, he’s saving his mom, how you could retell the adaptation, a straight alien invasion, had they gone dark, multiple personalities, the kid’s just a psycho, thinking about It, Beverly’s father becoming vulgar and violent, true to life, crazy towards children, look the other way, a horrible thing, horrible monsters for parents, Evan’s podcast episode on The Father-Thing, a nice connection to Human Is, The Hanging Stranger, digging a new cellar, the whole world has changed, a human hanging from a lamppost, an allegory for lynching, community lynching, mob mentality, when the event happened, everybody has been replaced by an insect like creature, back from the TV repair store, insectoid, paranoia, fear of communism, my wife is not my wife, my kid is not my kid, the classic story of divorce, a distant figure, PKD’s own trauma being thought through in his stories, his father’s divorce from his mom, it could fuck a kid up, people react to things in their childhood later in their life, trying to avoid or repeating the mistakes from their childhood, dysfunctional, a veneer of everything’s normal, Chuck Cunningham has disappeared and nobody remembers it, off to another planet to get some psychotherapy, Martian Time-Slip, Manfred Steiner’s father, kids, fathers, one of the few SF writers who talk about children, Robert A. Heinlein, Tony And The Beetles, least loved, Themes In Science Fiction, a forty-six year old textbook, Jesse derailed himself, a story of post-colonialism, another Italian kid, Tancredi, alienated from his bug friend, the parents in Tony And The Beetles, the Betelgeusian, a robot dog, having an animal as a main character, working out something, moving to a new neighborhood, moving, can’t we just stay where we are?, your world uprooted, the arbitrary power of adults, we’re at war, having an Italian name, Project: Earth, aliens playing with human evolution, kids spying, the Earth is a construction, a science experiment, that house has got the weirdos in it, The Cookie Lady, weird urban fantasy, not a typical Dick story, multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, self-diagnosis, schizoid, an abusive grandfather, trauma in that family, a story of two fathers, attention deficit disorder diagnosis, Joe Rogan’s interview with Elon Musk, an engine of manic creativity, why Maya Angelous’ inauguration speech for Barack Obama, Barry Seal and the CIA, there are things that are more interesting, sometimes I’m mad at my mom or my dad, you’re so mean, a totally different personality, he never talked about his parents, how screwed up Lovecraft’s family, where that came from, genetics aside, a weird YouTube loop, recording different personalities, is this connected, “I’m a detective now”, I’m the kid with the goth haircut, I’m an emo now, how much of this is not biological but play?, I want a new me, a consistent Jesse, the old Jesse lied about everything, recreating yourself, you’re that person who did that, going home, this old character, The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Brooklyn 99, as you do, naw that aint me, satirizing the grandiosity of the rapper aesthetic, I’m too cool, reacting soft, its very hard to know what’s going on in people’s heads.

The Father-Thing by Philip K. Dick (a word cloud)

Posted by Jesse Willis

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