The SFFaudio Podcast #557 – READALONG: Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

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The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #557 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Julie Davis talk about Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, sequels, 500 short stories, The House Party At Smoky Island, Weird Tales, Canada, the show is always being made, a running joke, the only thing we know how to produce, Little House On The Prairie, so much drama!, every time she learns to do something…, relatively violence free, emotional scarred, deep consequences, carrot, all this baggage, just that carpet bag, her imagination, her red hair, horrible manners, how’d you like…, Anne’s temper, a similar setup, Marilla tells her own stories, she’s nothing otherwise, the new Netflix adaptation, Anne With An E, CBC, within 5 minutes…, PTSD, Anne being beaten by the previous family, you could read it that way, the take in 2019, each reiteration brings something different (something present within the society too it), in the next generation she’ll be a mentally ill child, her character vs her upbringing, Julie was being too modern, cruel self-revelation, 1935, along with Clark Ashton Smith and Seabury Quinn, a quaint little ghost story, riding on her coattails, famous in her lifetime, Charles Dickens level famous, documentaries, tourists to Prince Edward Island, made beautiful, the romance of Anne, her describing and renaming, the reason the Japanese want to go there, the Germans want to come to British Columbia and Alberta for the mountains, still a legacy of tourists from 100 years ago, the level of impact, how can Jesse ignore it?, there’s no SF in this but there’s plenty of F, The Blue Castle, my chest is hurting, heart problems, you can tell it was written by the same person, take that everybody, banned for featuring an unwed mother, undressing religious hypocrisy, sold out in Poland, countries grabbing on, unusual circumstances, flouting all the conventions, being taught to live within the conventions, worth a read, Muskoka, why is this such a popular book, it’s charming, why has it lived so long?, a first girl power book, Katniss’ predecessor, the ridgepole, outside of her time for what a girl might or could do, a girl book, Jesse’s cousin, seeing oneself in the book, what is it that happens in the story, we are introduced to the place, she’s from Nova Scotia, suff to look at -> all dialogue, Anne talking continuously, vs. Olaf Stapledon, is she a pioneer, or the opposite of a pioneer, what we’re seeing in Anne is L.M. Montgomery, the main character is a writer and an imagine-er, you don’t have to have red hair to like Anne, celebrating imagination and the plucky spirit, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, she’s counter revolutionary, she’s entering an institutionalized world, not the frontier epoch, a sadder story, educate the imagination out, oh my god, is this for real, “imagin” continuous until the last few chapters, 177 times, she is creating the entire description of reality, the cherry tree, wouldn’t it be romantic to sleep in the cherry tree, Matthew has even less imagination than Marilla, we are the viewpoint characters, unrestricted and uncontrolled, all within the context of NOT rebelling, she’s the opposite of a rebel or a revolutionary or a pioneer, the book is pioneering, she grows up to be the school teacher, she grows up to be a church goer, she could have, she aint for women’s liberation, a girl ought to take the religion of her mother and the politics of her father, she hasn’t gotten in to trouble for so long, she might become the school teacher who inspired them, clearly she’s going to marry Gilbert someday, in family, community, and friends, in getting older, imagination of a child vs. institutionalization, the moment Evan felt saddest is when Anne stopped doing the story club, the testing is more important, Evan teaches in China, whatever imagination they’ve ever had the institution has beat out of them, collectively we’ve lost a lot, Evan gets all the conformists, Jesse gets all the rejects, the Canadian school system vs. the Chinese school system, Chinese kids taking Mandarin in Canadian schools, that’s what happens to everybody, robotics with LEGO, LEGO Logo for Apple IIe, there’s something changed within me, insanely imaginative, the more rigorous you are in having to meet expectation, recite and regurgitate and pass the test, giving up and muddling through, the opposite of the frontier, the Philip K. Dick stories, new grounds to start a new life in, he goes into the space and he goes into the future, how many natives are mentioned in this story?, zero, rural farming, a setting for this girl and the imagination, she really was that girl in every sense, whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry, later writings and love life, Montogmery wrote extensively about her infatuations, per-obsessing, this is a girl thing, now that you’ve stepped on my trap i’m going to spring it, Conan the Barbarian is the male equivalent of Anne Of Green Gables, the poetry of Robert E. Howard is incredibly beautiful, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, dogs don’t have thumbs, the new children of men, story idea vs. terrible writing, Hungor Beowulf The Forty-First, a monkey named Ptolemy, this ambiguous and strange character, trying to write stories for Conan, a new Anne Of Green Gables cover with Anne with blonde hair, in the 1970s they gave Conan had a mustache and people were not having it, in July of 2019 they used the word “ass” twice, a word Howard would never have used, mighty thews, Conan is “The Cimmerian”, we never meet another Cimmerian, a stranger from outside dropped into plots, he’s the variable man, he’s thing that makes the thing happen as it does, Anne is conforming to the society, Conan comes into a society and fucks it up, how many times did people say this girl is special, Jesse is comparing the wrong things, she’s Tom Sawyer but she’s not Huck Finn, Tom’s going to end up a lawyer, for boys the going out and adventuring things and breaking things and being badass, Anne’s always doing it within that community, Anne doesn’t sail off into the western sunset, The Storytelling Animal, story is what defines us as human beings, we think in stories, the teacher was determined that there were no gender differences, and its not universal, not every girl is an Anne, she wanted to divorce and be a good life, interestingly documented, I can’t believe I’m married to this doofus who wont read books, depressed for different reasons, the Rape of Belgium, the images put into her head, go to fight the evil that is the Germans, the meat-grinder that is WWI, he’s not reading the newspaper, she raises the Russian flag over the house, she’s blind to the fact that this is propaganda, her imagination, tempering down her imagination, a restriction, Marilla’s so soft, when she loses the broach, showing Marilla’s internal conversation, here are the conventions, how do I deal with this, we thought Rachel Lynd was a monster (at first), a woman who’s a bit mouthy (but a good person), helping change the people around her, this is how we live, this is not a fantasy novel its about a girl with a fantastic imagination, Pippi Longstocking, help Diana cultivate her imagination, Marilla and Matthew have their imagination expanded, maybe we could keep her, rein it in or let it go, the haunted wood quote:

“Nobody,” confessed Anne. “Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted. All the places around here are so–so–commonplace. We just got this up for our own amusement. We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it’s so gloomy. Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things. There’s a white lady walks along the brook just about this time of the night and wrings her hands and utters wailing cries. She appears when there is to be a death in the family. And the ghost of a little murdered child haunts the corner up by Idlewild; it creeps up behind you and lays its cold fingers on your hand–so. Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it. And there’s a headless man stalks up and down the path and skeletons glower at you between the boughs. Oh, Marilla, I wouldn’t go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything. I’d be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me.”

“Did ever anyone hear the like!” ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb amazement. “Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your own imagination?”

“Not believe exactly,” faltered Anne. “At least, I don’t believe it in daylight. But after dark, Marilla, it’s different. That is when ghosts walk.”

Stephen King, It, the reason kids are attracted to this monster is because they have imagination, if Stephen King was your dad, adults are afraid of the mortgage and kids are afraid of the vampire and the werewolf, Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, in this house there are many keys, the Head Key, a key of imagination a key of memory, the explanation, a gothic house with many gables, expanding battery issues, only the kids can see that the keys are there, as soon as you age out you forget that all these events happened, Welcome To Lovecraft, Joe Hill gets what his father was trying to say, getting to the imagination, we don’t know why Conan left Cimmeria, huge mistake, just wrong, you’ve misunderstood, she cuts off all her hair and she buys a blond wig, she romanticizes her hair, deeply in touch with the desires and interests with girls, dresses and sleeves didn’t and don’t interest Maissa, it has more than just typical person, she’s an absolute character, what happened to Marilla, they’re brother and sister?, why didn’t they have any children, they’re barren, siblings?!, it wouldn’t change very much, why are this brother and sister living together alone, set in the 1870s, settled in the 1840?, Montgomery was raised in P.E.I. by her grandparents, she came from away, there isn’t a lot of sexy time with Matthew and Marilla, courting never came to Matthew, Marilla did what Anne did: spurn a boy and never forgive him, great characters, Diana’s there and we get some sense of her, the boy living in Anne’s house gets almost no attention, why is the boy not important, they must have an outhouse (because its not romantic), there are just some things we don’t talk about, choosing what to focus on, the pies that tasted bad, the pigtails incident, the dresses with the poofy shoulders, all sorts of stuff happening that she doesn’t focus on, finding the way for how Anne ended up there, the blame is so diffused, the right age, the book takes place over about five years, it feels right, a perfect novel, there’s not a note off, read all the Dragonlance novels, all the Green Knowe novels, all the Nancy Drews, all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew is like Anne Shirley, she goes to somebody’s house and makes sandwiches, investigate, her dad gave her a car, very conformy, her friend George, more like ambrosia, Jesse’s grandmother, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Pilgrim’s Progress, Heather at CraftLit podcast, what do you do for your family or her community, the storytelling element, the prayer, yours truly, Anne Shirley, we feel the rightness of that, experience nature as “the flash” while walking in nature, her own innate religion, the fairies, the dryad bubble, she doesn’t know what a dryad is, a natural spirit searcher, Psalm 19, the heavens are telling the glory of God, without saying a word they cry out who made them, the various ways you can experience this, she’s a churchgoing woman but she gets a lot of headaches, she has the opposite of PTSD, if trends continue, Cordelia Montmorency, Anne of Shirley is her deadname, she HAS beautiful auburn locks, so many freckles, don’t remind me of what I actually have, “hey! you’re bald!”, please call me Cordelia, you don’t get any guff if you’re a Steve or a Gary, I’m making myself over, there is a restraint on the kind of fantasy that’s available to you, she makes a huge mistake without having any kind of check on it, she has children because that’s what girls do, her imagination gives her ideas about what is or what could be, the original Lucy was a crazy girl with this vivid imagination, being who she was, maybe Marilla is a much wiser person, she should be so thankful, when I have a child I’m naming her Genevieve, I’m naming my son Solomon Kane, Julianne, that’s low class, Maissa changed her name, do something about this, Maissa went through school as Lisa, Jagmeet Singh’s book, his parents were immigrants from the Punjab (India), Jimmy, the sense you should conform, making interest out of whatever it is that’s different, Anne is proactive, Anne doesn’t take guff, she’s defensive, she has trauma in her past, there’s no formal adoption, go to the orphanage and get a slave, the literal orphan was L.M. Montgomery, she’s an outsider and also not, red headed not even stepchild, a very strange kind of family, she’s a commodity at first, girls raised to taking care of children, there’s still no consent involved, under that same system, we’re going to keep you, fear of abandonment, is Little Orphan Annie a satire, Daddy Warbucks, an Evan comic strip, inspired by the formula Ann orphan stories, Ann is a plain name, raven haired locks, confident and capable when outside of the school room, I misjudged you, the different psychologies of men and women and dolls and spaceships, dolls and spaceships, lets play houses, lets play, boys like to chase girls and girls like to be chased, gothic romance covers, a house or a castle with a high window with, women with great hair running away from castles, this legacy, women leaving the home and becoming another family, baked into culture and genes, tapping into something, one of the things they take at school is physical culture, tied with eugenics, the revival of the Olympics, a movement afoot, there’s this legacy, culture response to what came before, corsets, if there’s no other reason to read it it is a cultural artifact, preserves and apple blossoms and influenza, not a realistic orphan, unwanted babies, her orphaning is dignified, the romance of this story, a Dickensian story, the two previous families, being raised by hand, why Anne would have been so grateful, there’s something about this [that’s] The Wizard Of Oz, best of all was coming home, there’s no place like home, the teacher laughs at all the wrong times,

“I wrote it last Monday evening. It’s called ‘The Jealous Rival; or In Death Not Divided.’ I read it to Marilla and she said it was stuff and nonsense. Then I read it to Matthew and he said it was fine. That is the kind of critic I like. It’s a sad, sweet story. I just cried like a child while I was writing it. It’s about two beautiful maidens called Cordelia Montmorency and Geraldine Seymour who lived in the same village and were devotedly attached to each other. Cordelia was a regal brunette with a coronet of midnight hair and duskly flashing eyes. Geraldine was a queenly blonde with hair like spun gold and velvety purple eyes.”
“I never saw anybody with purple eyes,” said Diana dubiously.
“Neither did I. I just imagined them. I wanted something out of the common. Geraldine had an alabaster brow too. I’ve found out what an alabaster brow is. That is one of the advantages of being thirteen. You know so much more than you did when you were only twelve.”

I’m keeping my thoughts for myself now, the biography of H.P. Lovecraft show, he had a detective agency and a fort, letting you imagination lie fallow for a while, she won the award, you can’t only do one thing, not just the writing, my fallow time, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations In Crisis by Jared Diamond, parallels between nations and individuals, let your brain figure it out, worrying, should you worry over it, you just fixed your own doorhandle, you’ve got through this crisis before, are there any better parents than Marilla and Matthew?, her job is to raise her and his job is to appreciate her, chocolate sweeties, parsimonious, when Anne’s learning to bake, that penny pinchingness, there was three dresses, there are legitimate economic concerns that are baked into this story, taking on a girl is an extravagance, if this was a pure fantasy, girl power!, why has she got that sword?, crossbows are simple, its all a certain kind of unreal fantasy, they did live there and there was this, going to New Zealand to see Middle Earth, they needed to rebuild it, the uncle pulled down the house because too many visitors were coming to see it, the C.L. Moore Jirel of Jory stories, The Black God’s Kiss, she uses a kiss to kill him, a lady’s weapon, Henry Kuttner, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Napoleonic war with Dragons, Charles Ardai, the dragon demands a virgin, Mark Twain’s friendship with Dorothy Quick, Agatha Christie, there’s a whole other world of writing that has nothing to do with J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Adams, a daddy-daughter relationship, he’s a sympathetic character, the dad is the doting father and the mom is the strict one, a huge commitment, aloof mom, that’s a different book, do you think Anne is the idealized Lucy?, she really had no where to go, isn’t Huckleberry Finn a fantasy novel?, the novel is great, it’s just not revolutionary, is it a fantasy novel?, there’s a limit to its “girl power” aspect, the opposite of a radical novel, she was the standout character in the town, he’s got to have his own story in real life, where are his parents?, go to the Yukon and find gold, he IS Jack London for all we know, a good book.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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