The SFFaudio Podcast #624 – William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe – read by Bill Cissna for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (53 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Evan Lampe, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson.
Talked about on today’s show:
A tale, where it was first published, how Jesse knows, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, October 1839, The Gift For 1840, who cares?, Jesse cares, it should be quite clear, Edgar A. Poe, a book you buy as a Christmas Gift for 1839, make sense?, why does this matter, Jesse?, a lack of doing your homework, Poe knew where he was writing it for, answered in the very first sentence of the story, synonym for present, he is so genius, every sentence is important, the fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation, we know how this story ends, the 2nd or 3rd meaning of page, doubling things up so they have second meanings, one of his best stories, its tight, one of his longest stories, great line by line, vocab, turpitude, a master class in excellent vocabulary, no small task, one of the reasons Lovecraft loves Poe so much, they agree on the effect, digested at one sitting, movies are good and TV series suck, no Netflix and chill with Poe, the PDF, a student version, dumbing it down for kids, you’re not reading Poe, No Fear Shakespeare, side by side with a translation, they hide all the sex, super-prudish, it looses all the richness, the last full paragraph on the full page, a very specific H.P. Lovecraft story, Jesse had no idea, our domain, all the books, he kills himself, he sees himself in a mirror, The Outsider, the setting, the fretted gothic steeple, school/prison, rivets, broken glass, spikes, a mental asylum, a real place, the clergy principal, another doubling, the prison like rampart, thrice a week, two ushers, in a body, we were permitted, and twice during Sunday, with how deep a spirit, our remote pew, demurely benign, snuffy habiliments, oh gigantic paradox, for him or them, a ruler for hitting students, gender flipping stories, if you they/them flip this story, super autobiographical, January 19th, Poe’s birthday, he did go to those school, or vice versa, Cask Of Amontillado, essentially Rome, how many times get buried alive, The Tell-Tale Heart, creepily detailed, Poe is telling us he’s a bad person, a difficult person, his mysterious death, The Gold Bug, secret codes, inventing so much, obsessed with burying people, obsessed with beautiful dead women, a sense about a lot of anxiety about democracy, if you’re a failure in Europe, born a serf, mythology, the ideology of America, this equality levels the playing field, when he first meets this double, he’s lost his advantage, the heart of the anxiety of the white American male in the antebellum period, my namesake alone, submission to my will, the despotism of mastermind in boyhood, I secretly felt that I feared him, equality, superiority, fear of the mob, he thinks he’s better than everybody, the upcoming Civil War, he went to West Point, a famous incident, a swimming contest, he almost drowned, the incident in Eaton, critical of other writers, he knows he’s smarter than everybody else, the weird angle, his own spur to himself, maybe I shouldn’t be so mean, Tomahawk Poe was savage with his reviews, that voice seems to be the superego, restrain yourself, he outs himself, looking for a place that’s better, ultimately always he can’t escape himself, his gambling scheme, Caravaggio’s The Cardsharps, when the doppelganger comes out, moral decline, when confronted with equality he becomes a con-artist, The Black Cat, Eric S. Rabkin, I take full responsibility, it was someone else, I’m blameless, tweeted apologies, non-apology apologies, elicits throughout, misery alas, admonitions, he blames it on drink, advocating teetotalism, who’s lifting that bottle?, in vino veritas, something in you let loose, everybody’s a victim of their own brain, in killing himself he’s actually doing justice, he implies them, Spirits Of The Dead (1968), the debauchery and the cruelty, made more concrete, the other William Wilson is the superego, I think what I’m doing is wrong, party on, not to think about what your mom would think about this, untamed and untameable, his middle name is adopted, John Allan gave up on him, in wealth and then cut off, like a Philip K. Dick, Lovecraft will take every piece of paper in your house, that spark of I’ve really got something here, it doesn’t feel like a horror story, dread, HBO’s The Outsider (adapted from a Stephen King novel), Stephen King was influenced by this story, a monster that doubles as someone, police procedurals, air-tight alibi, The Dark Half, Four Past Midnight, Donald E. Westlake and Richard Stark being the same person, The Secret Window, a pretty good story, weird fiction takes a lot of study, Jesse called Will out for reading trash, nutritious, nutrition for trees, growing into being an Ent, hroom hroom, anxiety about equality, what’s the con he’s trying to do, the sin that send him irrevocably down, he thinks of himself as a noble, first and last name, William son of William, Guillaume turned into a last name, why thos British surnames are so weird, Lord Dunsany’s real name, a self-hating commoner, his parents were actors, who shot Lincoln?, not the way we think of actors today, it was like being a whore, a Roman emperor doesn’t act, he has this double reality for himself, he hates himself and he thinks he’s the best, had Poe survived which side of the Civil War would he have been on?, he would have chosen the wrong side, what’s missing from almost ever Poe story is black people (with the exception of The Gold Bug), Lovecraft is post-bellum, really Poe, he’s classist, I’m better than everybody else, he’s a race of two people who’s actually one person, a prison school, a reform school, Louis Malle, a good adaptation, the 1913 adaptation, Metzengerstein, Washington Irving praise, your little story, Poe would have been mad, making a living, the opening line of Moby-Dick, Call me Ishmael, Let me call myself William Wilson, Herman Melville read Poe, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket, he’s so weird, he wrote an essay on The Philosophy Of Furniture, a very intimidating story, it’s got got character (singular), a dark tragedy of horror, the final price, not a fun story to read on a happy day, as the storm is brewing, nothing’s happened yet, he’s describing how everything feels, Lovecraft’s getting horny hearing about the architecture, a palace of enchantment, which of its two stories, eighteen or twenty other scholars, eight or ten feet, always getting it wrong by two, what we did, the school children, he doesn’t have any friends, he’s telegraphing it the whole time, it isn’t like Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, what does it all mean? a confessional of a bifurcated mind, darker secrets, a real other William Wilson, shocked to see his own face, his mind, they never saw each other again, quoting Poe, the words were venom in my ear, doubly disgusted, twofold repetition, he comes on the same day, a common name, the same birthday, but no, Jesse is convinced, where Riker has a transportation accident, Tom Riker, Star Trek, Kirk broken into two, a play about identity, the relationship they have, in competition, Deep Space Nine, he is the William Wilson who is frustrated with the other Riker, being born a twin but worse, a moral failing is reflected, that shame goes on your whole family, identical twin crime, exactly compatible, a mental break, a series of mental breaks, a cascade, “Frame Of Mind”, a good episode, Paul and Evan didn’t do their homework, put this into context, something here about anxiety with democracy, the language of equality and democracy, he must be doing something better, in a moral sense, at this distant day, worldly wisdom, Americans are obsessed with self-help books, my actions are offensive to my ear, in an aristocratic society if I am a moral failure that’s hardwired into my social status, god’s plan, I’ll die a peasant, once you say “we’re equal”, highlighting the moral superiority, Melville’s Moby-Dick:
Now, as you well know, it is not seldom the case in this conventional world of ours–watery or otherwise; that when a person placed in command over his fellow-men finds one of them to be very significantly his superior in general pride of manhood, straightway against that man he conceives an unconquerable dislike and bitterness; and if he have a chance he will pull down and pulverize that subaltern’s tower, and make a little heap of dust of it.
the superior officer who finds his inferior must smash him, what can you do accept smash?, its not all internal, an anxiety for equality, outside of London, England, America is the doppelganger, people who tweet, unconscious, shameless, how dare you be more moral superior by having consistency and principle, Poe is a bad guy, acting improperly, he’s using his powers for evil, he can’t help himself, it’s like justice, rapist, powermonger, evil torturer, only his own repugnance can take him down, lording it over this stupid priest, a Reading, Short And Deep, its so important, you who know the nature of my soul, he’s on his deathbed confessing, gotten his cold revenge for some slight, this Montressor guy likes to drink, laying a lot of groundwork, paired up with The Yellow Wallpaper, simple compared?, fight Trish, have repentance, the legalistic version of it, relishing the telling of the story, giving you details, he’s a fucking psychopath, I’m such a bad person, they’re both bad because they’re the same guy, Lord Glendinning, I’m not going to tell you about it, sympathy not pity, he’s better than you, he’s making us feel all sorts of things and we’re kind of glad he’s dead, a quote at the beginning, the quote at the beginning,
What say of it? what say of CONSCIENCE grim,
That spectre in my path?
the echo at the end of The Outsider, after riding the night winds and such, moral horror, romance novels are horror, what makes horror, a whole different podcast, Lovecraftian vs cosmic horror, Poe wrote about all this, and so did King, Danse Macabre, horrify, terrify, gross-out, a good bad death, Jesse’s just not sensitive enough, Lovecraft takes you for a walk and points to a church steeple, a bunch of logos for car companies, you recognize all of these and you don’t recognize all of these, soaking in stuff we can’t recognize until its put into relief, a psychological story, The Octopus by Frank Norris, Evan is so sensitive, the way the railroad is described, the story gets really bad, prostitutes in San Fransisco, body horror, Poe fiddles with his stuff, remarkable, I am come from a race, a Poe website that tracks all the changes, manipulated, a low vocab version of this story, a way of helping students get their homework finished, it isn’t about the exposure to the actual text, those explicit gender flipped, if you non binary it it becomes unreadable, page vs. maid, Tamora Pierce, replacing words, not that this is a real issue, they/them makes it more difficult to understand things, don’t say police woman say police officer, does that matter?, chairman, chairwoman, Jesse going crazy, a subconscious insidious bias, that firewoman saved my life, what if that fire fighter is non-binary?, the clap emoji, HOW. DARE. YOU., HIRE. MORE. FEMALE. PRISON. GUARDS., that pig is a sow or a boar, this pig might be a bore, when we read Conan its obvious what it does, if you re-read Neuromancer with Case as female, its so dependent on language, the bigger part, the gender swap, the social position, 1820s, military schools for girls, ads for military schools in the 1920s, Taps (1981) is a very Edgar Allan Poe movie, Gus Fring, needs to be deconstructed, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Mr Saavik, its naval, Troi goes on the command track, Mr Troi, Mr Imzadi, Janeway insists on mam, hate watching Picard, the actor is reading lines that the writers wrote, its the same actor not the same guy, they didn’t carry the writers, West Wing speeches, The West Wing is a fantasy, Star Trek: The Next Generation is more realistic, how the economy works, Vash, the relic hunter, she shows up in Deep Space Nine, Q is kind of Lovecraftian in his interest in sex, he’s not sexual, tie a bow on this episode, how bad Poe was, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”, Lord Byron, the unwritten drama of Lord Byron by Washington Irving, you’re life would be tragic without it, verbally savage, Mimic, Damon Knight, Donald A. Wollheim, Jesse returns to the same topics to get followers?, a reputation for himself, ask questions that are designed to elicit responses, its morally questionable, Jesse’s like Kant, a category error, some people don’t eat meat, why liberals don’t Joe Rogan, he likes hunting and MMA, he’s rude, say things that would be upsetting to a large cross setting of people, rude vs. crude, intentionally provocative, their vegan cats are dying, politeness, Fear Factor, you gotta eat this worm (for the money), hearing Patrick Stewart talk today, when Guinan gives advice, when Whoopi Goldberg talks on The View, ship’s other counselor, so many mistakes, Gene Roddenberry conceiving the show, the blind guy is the pilot, no engineer, Wesley’s job, that’s the save it for the podcast section, everybody is having nightmares, another Betazoid in a coma, transmitting on the dream-frequency, a message through the dream, two eyes staring one moon orbiting, hydrogen, a real cool science fiction idea at its core, science fiction shows every week, Red Letter Media’s top ten, Yesterday’s Enterprise, remembered for 30 years, Tasha Yar’s sister, a failed state planet, Libya, rape gangs, if you wanna make a dark version of The Next Generation there are lots of corners, colonies all over the galaxy, Bebe Neuwirth, I have to have sex with an alien, not Trish’s favourite Poe story, the audio version, influences through time, before the superego, a conscience animate itself and fight the protagonist, The Student Of Prague (1913), his double comes stalking out of the mirror, the Dorothy L. Sayers short story The Image In The Mirror, The System Of Dr Tarr And Professor Fether, the “First Contact” episode, Riker is missing, if you want us to go away just say the word and we’ll never come back, why does this one president get to decide for the whole, Wakanda with low tech, hey would you like to join the U.N., from the watcher’s point of view, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy, already done my dear, Charlotte Perkins Stetson, Herland, Will is the new Tamahome, reality TV shows, an exploitative TV show, that show shouldn’t exist, TV is really bad, everything Netflix is putting out is so much dross, Cobra Kai, a fight from thirty years ago, the Al Bundy thing, still living in high school, Married With Children didn’t give a shit, Get A Life, Chris Elliott, Rastignac The Devil by Philip Jose Farmer, a philosophy of violence, elements of The Green Odyssey, Jesse’s dead friend, Frederik Pohl’s Tunnel Under The World, an amazing game, if you wanna do the show we’re gonna talk about it, GOG, Blade Runner (1997), King’s Quest, who turns out to be a replicant and such, Jesse expected to be bored, you shouldn’t hate The Iron Heel, a kissing book?, its so important book, important Poes, one and done, social movements, do other people get to choose, nobody chooses, it has to be doable, it has to be available as an audiobook, books suggest books, that Vril book, if you follow the traces it goes always go back, time to do a Robert E. Howard, what he does is very mysterious, a 21st century novel that’s worth reading!, what if I’m wrong?, is there any novel in the 21st century that’s really worth doing?, The Martian, getting the audio, Rage because its not available, what broke Stephen King?, Jesse is open to suggestions, N sounded really good, Night Shift, E.C. Comics, Gray Matter, Evan’s thing, Parkman, Oregon Trail, forty episodes, Evan’s enthusiasm carries, Richard K. Morgan’s Market Forces, the K is to distinguish him (a marketing gimmick), Shorn Associates, conflict investments, driving duels, the plot vs. the premise, super-neoliberalism, the stock market is the US government, back juntas, The Hudson’s Bay Company, exploitative of new lands at a different level of technology, Auto Duel, roadwarriors in London, almost like a satire, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cryoburn, space opera, The Curse Of Chalion, a working and professional writer, very honest, The Reader’s Chair, they have hands for feet, an evil corporation.
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