The SFFaudio Podcast #597 – READALONG: Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #597 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Maissa Bessada, Will Emmons, and Mary Jo Escano talk about Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, January 1952, October, March, February, hell ya, there’s no men on the planet, World Without Men by Charles Eric Maine, nice and trashy, a bit dated, that’s now it actually happens, Virgin Planet by Poul Anderson, Charles Eric Mayne, pruple heair and green eyes, yellow irises, purple lipstick, dyed breasts, pasties, a dead corpse on a dissecting table, lavender lipstick, sclera, garment, the best cover ever made, the world of 5,000 years from now, babies, mass deception, the struggle to recreate the male sex, the world of women, a truly unique novel, slanted for the intelligent adult reader, Nineteen-Eighty Four and Brave New World, a physical copy, serious thanks, the sound effects, weird pronunciations, Woka, Wocha, Basil Donovoan, Vulduma, captured the atmosphere, italicized, a ghost transmitting through your brain, now there is only death, the Sargasso of the Black Nebula, audacity, Garage Band, the Doctor Who adaptation, The Brain Of Morbius, a brain in a jar, Solon, the Sisterhood of Karn, cultist of immortality, Frankenstein, immortality juice, a dingy planet that’s a Sargasso of Space, alien ant-man, Kondo, an Igor type, Solon stole his hand, Universal Monster movies, taking our time, circle around the black hole, #SIFP, resist talking about it because its so important, Sargasso Of Lost Starships Rehidden by Poula Anderson, gender flipped text, Valduma is a man, Valdoomo,

Basille Donovan was drunk again.

She sat near the open door of the Golden Planet, boots on the table, chair tilted back, one arm resting on the broad shoulder of Wocha, who sprawled on the floor beside her, the other hand clutching a tankard of ale. The tunic was open above her stained gray shirt, the battered cap was askew on her close-cropped blond hair, and her insignia–the stars of a captain and the silver leaves of an earl on Ansa–were tarnished. There was a deepening flush over her pale gaunt cheeks, and her eyes smoldered with an old rage.

Looking out across the cobbled street, she could see one of the tall, half-timbered houses of Lanstead. It had somehow survived the space bombardment, though its neighbors were rubble, but the tile roof was clumsily patched and there was oiled paper across the broken plastic of the windows. An anachronism, looming over the great bulldozer which was clearing the wreckage next door. The workwomen there were mostly Ansans, big women in ragged clothes, but a well-dressed Terran was bossing the job. Donovan cursed wearily and lifted her tankard again.

it changes the story, it changes the story, but why?, there’s no feminine form of Earl, it brings to light preconceptions, Captain Helena, call me sir, workwomen, the point of it is to provoke you a little bit, it makes you think, an interesting literary technique, The Pirates Of Ersatz, a romance, who is betraying what, we’re going to raise children on your planet, his lips, his title, looking for approval from somebody, drunk in his cabin for weeks, I wanna have twelve kids with him on his holler planet, a product of his generation, swiping him to the left, Galactic Empire, Flandry, James Bond in space, he’s alt-right twitter user, drinking again today with my loyal slave, one of the least likeable Poul Anderson protagonists, written overnight?, there’s nothing to him, there’s levels to it, he’s not a hero, he’s a Han Solo figure, Star Warsy, the setup is straight out of Firefly, Alan Tudyk doesn’t like it, Takahashi, a product of his market, a male market, he’s the reader, Valduma can’t give him kids, the flavour of the month, she didn’t kill him the first time, infatuation, not a lasting relationship, one or both of them is going to die, the light side or the dark side, dug deep, he sides with the Empire, he’s a triple traitor, not a good person, the novel happens to him, he barely makes choices, why am I kissing her?, deeply mentally ill, a depressed guy with PTSD, psychological realism, she bites his lip, it’s kinky, it’s about power, power grooming, it’s hard to pay attention to what Basil Donovan is doing, because plot needs to happen, hypnotized, a new Amazing scan, a giant woman, a cowboy looking figure, A World He Never Made, Science Stories, April 1954, French Canadian voyageurs, a reversed image, a doll sized regular human, this is really what the 1950s are all about, now were friends with the Germans, the Japanese, coming back from our war, all the women are different, they’re wearing pants, they want divorces, I need to drink more, John Hamm with ads, Mad Men, they’re drinking all the time, WWII, sorta what we’re doing, on the losing Nazi side, American Civil War South, slaveholder, you’re on Team America against the Soviets, love that info-dump, story elements that make the story richer, a butt tonne, the Technic History series, rolling up and down through history, Will’s breathing, a real podcaster, a Blue Yeti without the boom, sonic disruption, the two covers, he looks like a cowboy, when you gender flip a story…, I think is physically embodied, women are becoming more powerful, my readers will buy this issue, stories are a way of understanding what’s going on, if you could only have one Astounding or Planet Stories, Planet Stories are fun, the psychology of the period, the spaceships are powered by atomics, the planets were bombarded, the spaceport was full of radiation, all the windows are blasted out, seeing Berlin after WWII, how is the occupation going to go, so clear to us looking at it, what our stories are about right now, the value of reading a trashy Planet Stories story, the science is not really the point, “She was the Lorelei of space”, a siren that lures their men to her death, a whole dark empire, the Black Nebula, the good an wholesome Empire of Earth or the Dark Empire of bitterness, No Truce With Kings, freedom, choice, we all have to work together, evidenced by the crew, all humans, all together, a pan-racial world, and Wocha’s really fun, the Woola, a dog that can drink beer, two H. Rider Haggard characters: Khoi-Khoi, Umslopogaas, a racial side-kick, unsavory, Solomon Kane, N’Longa, Tonto, the shownotes for She, Trish, Irish racism, not fully sentient, he’s reading children’s books, we love dogs, a giant monstrous child, mouthing the words, kinda simple, Captain America: The First Avenger, Dum Dum Dugan, The Howling Commandos, racialized characters, tokenism, its not mean, it’s inclusive, members of the community might not feel, DC comics too, Jonah Hex, Scalphunter, Power Man, Shang-Chi, Fu Manchu’s son, who’s making that decision, this person doesn’t like it, if it is a low culture thing, comic books or pulp magazines, coming from high culture, who shaped this story?, the readers, we don’t know all the things that go into it?, Helena riding Wocha into battle, that’s amazing!, space helmets, is this cover representative of one of these stories, a whole bunch of crashed spaceships, that’s Helena on the cover, why is she blonde on the cover?, that’s an amazing cover, the artist Alan Anderson used this pose, she’s black haired on the over covers, Wocha has an axe in his left hand, she’s on his horse, a horse dog talking companion character, looks like an ape, his ape face split, gorilla, he’d eat six times as much as a regular person, he’s isn’t a Nick Fury, WWII was segregated service, the most offensive thing is that he’s an earl, the class stuff, blood, the class stuff is racial, because he’s an earl, bigger than himself, the best right he can do because of who he is, he doesn’t really do anything, the viewpoint character, as soon as somebody kisses her she’s off her horse, this palooka, the title, she’s the captain of a starship, you’re mine now, the wish fulfillment of men coming back from WWII, worried about race when they should be worried about class, people are slightly different drives within us, producing babies out of our bodies, conquer the universe vs. play house (on the mud planet), please boss get us an engine for the town, a politics story, WWI, England and France are the bad guys, Austro Hungarian Empire (Jesse’s not a fan), ultimately the bad guy is Wilson, Germany not being a unified country until the 19th century, colonies vs. territories, the Philippines, Hawaii, the reason this story feels so rich and deep, drawing from the history of European colonialism, quite a bit about nebulas, a white dwarf, other galaxies, a Lovecraftian paragraph, the depths of space, its all meaningless, huddle around the fires and not think about it, the stew, it doesn’t feel like it is two hours, we appreciate that, The Queen Of Air And Darkness, space elves, regrets, the long-tailed greenies, Scotland, Shanghaied, blackmailed, we don’t need that part of the trip, Planet Stories (not Spaceship Stories), a sword and spear battle for technical science fictional reasons, sword and planet, they can control bullets, psychic energy, continuous field distribution, Asnarians, theorizing on their racial intelligence, how to run stuff, they’re a backwater because they’ve been fighting amongst themselves, decadence, his idea of women, they don’t have the patience, their crutch is so important to them, manipulating matter at a distance, psychokinetic, they’re really good at baseball, they got too big for their britches, kind of like Vikings, they Danegeld all their neighbours, diminishing elves, wreck my mud planet, you can be insular or you can expand your empire, grow or die, magic vs. technology, their power spoiled them, right here right now, why their planet is so desolate, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, why humans are so weird compared to other animals, Jesse disdains his animal, what makes humans different, curious monkeys, we’re the meta-animal, that animal has really big ears I bet I could make a tent out of that, mammals vs snakes, pass on the knowledge, they’re more like whales, they don’t have the hands, shelving and collecting and arranging, spaceships, engineers, Minecraft, computers inside of Minecraft, make a first person shooter style game inside of a game, it’s like LEGO, a sandbox, a survival simulator, somebody’s beautiful sentence, this is an interesting thought, why Wocha is the way he is, kinda like a kid himself, all of this stuff is in this story, what kinda science is it Jesse? super-science, the causal FTL, drink yourself, mother can I have his skull, a northern European version of the Sirens, they didn’t choose to be that way, nature just made Vulduma an immortal child, do you think she loved him?, she was using him, that’s her way of loving, that’s how she loves that mouse, you gotta love cats even though they are killers, our curse, the animal nature of humans, c’mon now act like a human, a capybara, they’re cursed, Valduma is doomed, their trapped, its biological, submits to the biological urge to kiss that scruffy dude, Basil’s trauma is out on the page, we don’t need to apply psychological realism to her, she didn’t want to be the leader of the Earth battalion, we don’t know how the empire appoints officers, Helena and Basil are both losers, supported in the text, did she say 12?, needing to be nursed, once the babies are baking, she is now the earl stay at home, very confusing, a Conan, A Witch Shall Be Born Once More by Roberta E. Howard, magic birth control, going around from town to town dropping kids, Conan’s not around when the baby’s cooked, she’s trying to miscarry, Conyn, she’s been nailed to the Tree of Woe, her mighty neck muscles, Conan’s covered in scars, unlike Kull, tough guys like Rambo, for men scars are like trophies, evidence of their manliness, the Lorelei is a dude, young Tarzan kidnaps a child, Tarzan Of The Black Boy, sharp cannibal teeth, when men fall head over heels, he’s acting alluring, Mal from Firefly, Errol Flynn, a Nazi in real life?, the lesser evil, in the real world it would be communism, Captain America fighting the Communists, one of the oldest superhero characters, photoshopped Bucky off the cover, socking Hitler in the jaw, before the United States are *in* the war, Stalin, Commie Smasher, beast-like hands, see Captain America defy the communist hordes, a belt and boots but no pants, John Romita, that’s hilarious, Cap was retcon.

Sargasso Of Lost Starships by Poul Anderson - from Planet Stories, January 1952

Sargasso Of Lost Starships illustrated by Allen Anderson

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