The SFFaudio Podcast #572 – READALONG: The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #572 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talked about on today’s show:
the photographer, serialized in Argosy All-Story Weekly, magazines merge, 1 novel in one month (instead of 4 months), the decline in magazines, comics once a month, a Marvel superheroes, larger story, republication in 1966, Tarzan and Barsoom books, Pennsylvania, he was delighted, not normal for ERB, detective stories, a crime genre, underworld elements, Booth Tarkington stories, The Little Rascals, he was superhot, The Magnificent Ambersons, non-genre, selling Marissa on The Girl From Hollywood, the women in this novel, an impolite epithet, he’s pretty spiffy, The Mucker, starts in Chicago, the South Pacific, New York, cannibal samurai, degenerate cannibals, technically still cannibal samurai, the border between the unreal and the real, set in real places, ERB used to work at Sears, the mail order catalogue, the Horatio Alger myth, disinherits himself, the myth of the American dream, Torrence is fundamentally moral, moving his way up, a criticism, hilarious, wonderful, hubris, shining the boots of some manager who will give him a job, god give me the confidence of a mediocre white man, its basically Yale, graduated last in his class, if you flip it on his end, Ulysses S. Grant, where did Burroughs graduate, a criticism of formal education, the tie back to The Mucker, class stratification, the elites and those living on the edge (criminals), the Lizard, the Jewish family that thinks he works for the FBI, a government agency, selling his clothing, the lizard has stolen them, what happened to his clothes?, burglarized the place, someone else, never resolved, very neat, two different timelines, over the course of a month, written in 10 days, a full on novel, James M. Cain novels, a five hour read, 1919, 1921, structure available to us, Jesse was still tricked, meeting the girl and the girlfriend over and over again, Burroughs tricked Jesse, expectation subverted, little Eva, Elizabeth Compton, James and Elizabeth, the hooker with a heart of gold, when the (Spanish) flu happens to Jimmy, being poisoned by the Bince, the cultural legacy of that, shit, “that’s actually a thing”, pretty sophisticated, expectations, a bad actor, more than you would expect it to be, social commentary, a straight adventure novel, Eva or Edith, he’s got class and you are not for him, I earn my money (unlike you), period details, the IWW, scientific management, the milk truck drivers go on strike, he was a good hosier salesman, he’s extraordinarily athletic, a good person, the most interesting character in the book, The Lizard is fun, too good, Fineheimers, a guy more responsible for pulp fiction in the 20th century, why wouldn’t there be a movie adaptation of this?, they go to the movies, Young Indiana Jones, a waiter at an Italian restaurant, Chicago is the center of the excitement, a pitch about Chicago, the best book Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago And The Great West by William Cronon, The Octopus, Range Romances, sending cows by train to Chicago, even Weird Tales was headquartered in Chicago, the center of the American labour movement, quintessentially American, Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Second City (comedy), The Great Migration, Route 66, an ignored aspect, Bronzeville (Chicago), his kid was watching, how young our hero is, such a clean writer, fantastic imagination, no investigation into meaning, Jesse’s thesis, The SFFaudio Podcast, a non-genre book, non-genre is bad, explaining this book, an Edgar Rice Burroughs romance, he’s a dude, Netflix, Virgin River, handsome bar dude, how Burroughs does romance, a male romance, make himself worthy of a girl and his father, the theme underneath, how do we know who we wanna spend a lot of time with (have a kid with), the Hooker with a heart of gold, in hospital for venereal disease?, the daughter of the industrialist, a standup lady, her intended is not (and she doesn’t see it), and that’s a flaw, a relationship by default, an endless series of meet cutes, a Xmas romance movie, collapse Elizabeth and Harriet together, a female romance, making her way in the world today (Cheers), Mary Tyler Moore, Minneapolis, a new life in a new city, a choice of three dudes, a criminal, a rich socialite, and somebody else, slumming for the thrill, not for the Jazz, a unique place, all classes of society, “a social goulash”, excursions into the underworld, the happening place, a club, everything’s happening there, cover, a dude looking into a car, who are these people?, a slouch hat, a flapper, that’s actually The Lizard, like John Carter in fancy clothes, Frank Frazetta, Bince attempt to get Jimmy croaked, embezzlement, gambling criminals, how do you know you can trust a guy with your business (or your empire), if this was a medieval story, what capitalism is, allowing empires to be built up, Crusader Kings II, analogies to be made, what is this about?, why does it resonate with us?, he himself with inherit wealth, business connections, application to a management program, how did you choose this?, sorta standard stuff, not normally the way we think of it, turned into a kind of immigrant, all this time his son’s on trial for murder and almost dies of the flu, not the romantic couple you expect, only in retrospect, if it was a film, slightly out of focus, rack focus, filmic techniques, a skillful enough writer, a whole narrative voice, who’s telling this story?, the context of this boxing match, you gave up an opportunity to show a fight, he’s playing a game with us, the letter from his father, another kick in the pants, arrogant hubris, Martin Eden by Jack London, he wasn’t writing about himself enough?, Burroughs is a hit straight off, Under The Moons Of Mars, very impressed, fun, how do you know what a person’s character is?, when he goes in for job interviews, what experience do you have?, where did you get educated?, if you can program they don’t care that you got a computer science degree, an interview after the test, practical testing, being an employer and being an employee, someone who will help you with your business, he kinda was an efficiency expert, that safe-cracking stuff, it felt like flavour, plot relevant, all Jesse’s predictions didn’t happen, the accountants job, the number of coincidence that happen are unbelievable, the different between what it says on paper vs. your ancestry vs. your actions, lemme listen to your podcast, in a romantic relationship, a person you won’t hate for the rest of your life, blinded by chemicals in your bloodstream that make you insane, character is very hard to assess, Jimmy IS a standup guy, she’s not a good judge of character, the way she treats people, give my chauffeur your name, Harriet says please stick around, subtle details, what a better person Harriet is, a malaise, why people who read novels are more emotionally intelligent, trying to be telepathic is very dangerous to say, a review of the first episode of The Witcher: a luxurious and very long cut-scene, your own visceral reaction, very talented and a very subtle book for eternal questions, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, ultimately they’re good people, these are practical capitalism problems (feudalism problems), how pretty are they?, pretty people you don’t want to spend any time with, Michael J. Fox in The Secret Of My Success (1987), Bright Lights Big City (1988), editing old movies together, talking about efficiency, the milkman’s strike, intuition and skill, scientific management, the popular version, memorized stuff, breaking up work into distinct components is to dis-empower the knowledge of workers, the management’s brains are under the workman’s cap, the reason a factor works at all, Blue Monday (and Saints Monday), under the manager’s hat, what efficiency was about, disempower workers and unions, “let people go”, the word efficient, how to play chess, out of patent, horrible for the working class, Flowers For Algernon, the principal isn’t the smartest man in a school, he ends up happily ever after the manager of Sears?, a professional boxer, football, or baseball player?, his class, you wanna hang out with Wade Boggs or Yogi Berra?, this amateur aspect of the Olympics, there are no jockeys in the Olympics, its for the elites, its a pastime, other jobs during the off-season, spring training, an efficient job with this book, a very efficent podcast, two podcasts a week (and not wholly incompetent), PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds hours (2000+ hours), when they do the PUBG movie…, squeezed into a smaller and smaller era, a survival game where everybody’s a predator, some dystopian TV show, the running Man plot, Battle Royale, popularity over time, trends that you’re out of touch with, nothing can kill League Of Legends, your own participation, here’s an idea whose time has come, Data Is Beautiful.

The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs - illustration by John Rush

The Efficiency Expert - illustration by Frank Frazetta

Posted by Jesse Willis

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