The SFFaudio Podcast #580 – Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum; read by Gregg Margarite. This is an unabridged reading of the story (42 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Will Emmons
Talked about on today’s show:
Wonder Stories, June 1935, 1939, 1949, the only text you should be reading is the original, dead guy friend of mine, Gregg Margarite, trim ankles, the board of trade, to make real a dream, what you hate is conquered, compressed for space, Startling Stories publication, the Scientifiction Hall Of Fame, busts of Poe, Wells, Doyle and Verne, stand the test of time, this is the “subscribe and hit the little bell” of the era, we are those people they’re talking about, an incredibly important story, Weinbaum would have been a much bigger name, from Louisville, Kentucky, Will’s a baby, A Martian Odyssey, so pioneering, here’s what an alien would look like, wrinkles on his head, again and again, super-cartoonish, an early cyberpunk story, philosophical questions, all about that, he does it all without computers, he’s inventing virtual reality, bio tech, his explanation, Marissa, 1990 VR, computer games, this is a computer game, blowing heat cool and scent on your face, the idea of getting yourself into the matrix, just the tip of the iceberg, he’s doing a bunch of impossible things, no body suit, its all in your head, its all scripted, Call Of Duty single player on rails, Fallout, nobody, wanderer, gender neutral, in Mass Effect your last name is always Shepherd, does Galatea have a history, does she have volition, she’s just an NPC, he put all that shit in here in 1935, you cooperated, self-hypnosis, Paul felt it, buying into the illusion, Paul did it to himself, eXistenZ (1999), Inception (2010), the laws of their land, programming rules, yo, just on the tip of her lips, she’s all ROM she has no RAM, prefigures emotionally unhealthy attachments, Kreiger’s Waifu on Archer, 29 or 30 year old bachelor, sexy ankles, drunk in Central Park, he falls in love with this NPC, the intellectual frameworks, they’re just like us just a little more racist, the actress is a real person, she’s an undergraduate, I can make my real life this game, grokked it as well then?, she makes a plan to leave the land (like her mom) by dying, an NPC character to refuse her programming, in dying she may be able to escape, paracosma is “the world beyond”, our world is the fallen world, the shadow realm, bullshit laws, shitty jobs, no big deal, he’s got other liquids, did she exist before he went into the matrix?, how the whole story started, our gnome/elf, a deliberate word choice, wearing the camera on his head like a google car, filming VR sex, short guys, dejected, it doesn’t scale, (and IRL VR doesn’t scale), the positive, the electrolysis, why VR isn’t as popular in our world, Burke, Professor Ludwig, Mad King Ludwig, Weinbaum’s very erudite, Greek roots, sat down in a chair, the girlfriend experience, a dating sim, romantic training, filming at his campus near Chicago, saying things not in his own voice, maybe the program that he’s running has a memory, the backstory about the mother, she broke the law, the previous guy, my destiny is to have a female baby girl also called Galatea, things we can’t talk about, its not just a story about cool VR, The Elf Trap by Francis Stevens, a science fiction way of getting into the fantasy realm, a nymph, a dryad, givem a break, super-rich full, secondard world stuff, its SCIENCE FICTION, Planet Stories, tech consequences, gravity, how mass works, social relations, rocketships, an alien worm come to earth, becoming interstellar, space opera (vs horse opera), Edgar Rice Burroughs’ barsoom, genuine science fiction, if you don’t read this, a Hugo Gernsback magazine, GENUINE SF, almost in a way H.G. Wells doesn’t do, previewing things that are possible, thinking about computer programming without computers, thinking out of the box, what alien minds could be like, human psychology in relation to a conceivable, Plato’s cave, truly speculative, a utopia, totally not a utopia, what sells in games, Strange Brigade, co-op The Mummy, first person shooter, the opposite of the a first person shooter, sword fighting games, boxing games, violence based games, The Long Dark, making coffee and chopping wood, the reason I can’t sell this, the program is wrong, really interesting things about sexuality, gender selection and gene mixing, a clone of her mom, no disease, no need for genetic diversity, more impervious to diseases, you don’t need social cohesion with an infinite number of valleys, WWI sim, the wrong program, an echo of Eden, to leave means you can’t return, the perfect place, a fantasy, it represents a pre-state, even plants are in competition, representing the womb, the womb’s a nice place, are there any animals, bird-song but no birds, she doesn’t know any of those, the whole universe of that world doesn’t have them, it doesn’t obey the rules of our reality, ultimately underneath everything, to avoid the problems of clones, Paul’s head cannon, he’s romancing his own niece, for show, he you wanna meet my niece?, in the Glorantha role playing universe…, she’s looking for someone to pollinate her, Will doesn’t know what ‘too far’ is, a sign of the current moment, none of the plants are plants, club-mosses, another world, a dangling thread, the fictional universe within the story, immersive experiences, Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, the other men, relating on the level of taste, radio that send taste to your hands, the radio-bliss, very bad, communists, don’t do it, everyone wanted to get in on the radio-bliss, is there a difference between the fictional universe and the real life?, this actress who played this character I fell in love in, this magic liquid, I’m going to move to New Zealand and marry Lucy Lawless, a whole other level, willing suspension disbelief, not our words, passively accepting the words, his words are not in his voice, how did he film himself?, a whole other level, the silver weaver, he’s both, wow, Lucon the grey weaver, philometrios the measure of my love, a lot of water in this story, he let himself grow old, Robert Nozick’s experience or the pleasure machine, ethical hedonism, pleasure is the good, value theorists, classical utilitarians, hedonism is defeated, would we prefer the machine to real life?, an overriding reason, philosophy is very behind science fiction these days, a philosophy generator, the movie adaptation of this story we read, the 1980s classic: Mannequin (1987), the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor doesn’t like girls, he idealizes a woman, a statue comes to life, two other stories, The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe, a reversal of this story, The Painter of Dead Women by Edna Worthley Underwood, a serial killer, that same attitude, some deranged sex maniac, he ignores her to death, statuesque women, a perennial theme (The Smart Set, January 1910), engaging with obsessing over the beauty of women, that really old deep story, Robert W. Chambers, how did the artist do that, a still photograph into a digital painting, copying and creating and transferring ideas, how the liquid positive works, photographic techniques, motion pictures, talkies, it’s like that, what about this story?, every drop has the whole story, every drop of the guava juice that I’m drinking tastes like guava juice, her milky white skin, the milky colour of the liquid in the goggles, he really did know what he was doing, he wasn’t looking for what the market was saying, an idea man, we were hurt by his death, a tragedy, Campbell’s influence, so much fucking telepathy, the same bunk, they didn’t know it at the time, they didn’t think what they were talking about was bunk, race science, Charles Murray’s IQ theory, eugenics mania, race is as bad a concept as we’ve had in science, phlogiston, nobody ever gets upset somebody used to be a phlogiston theorist, ether theory, plate tectonics, the expanding universe, nobody cancels them, not knowing how oxygen works, the consequence are not the same, the white man’s burden, self-justifying, Russiagate stuff, if you buy into it at all, all we can do is try to deprogram you, you’re choosing to be fooled, they’re not communists, “adversaries”, massive consequences to mistaken beliefs, the heat death of the universe is so far away, Tau Zero by Poul Anderson, Paul got the gist, flavour text, trim ankle flavour, a comic adaption, Graphic Classics, Marvel adaptation, a 70s Curtis magazine, Jack Vance, Lester Del Rey, L. Sprague de Camp, Kim Stanley Robinson, time to research into his other stuff, Dawn Of Flame, The New Adam, his isfdb.org, mars, alien, telepathy, alien ecology, space pirates, silicon life, tidal locking, doppelganger, fatalism, passivity, mutation, collective consciousness, intelligent plants, more time spent reading A Martian Odyssey, a separate thread, classic twitter, modern stuff and old stuff, W. Scott Poole, the name change of Matheson, this bothered me, but not a lot, the show doesn’t have the horror tone, Potter-world feel, Netflix is for kids, Russian Doll, a woman caught in a time loop, all Jesse’s students under 20, Locke & Key, kids are more resilient to fictionalized violence and horror than what adults think they’re able to handle, adults triggers, Jesse warped and weird, horror is for simulating trauma, we didn’t talk about spoilers don’t spoil.
Posted by Jesse Willis