The SFFaudio Podcast #669 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Scott Danielson, and Trish E. Matson talk about The Seascape Tattoo by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
Talked about on today’s show:
The Magic Goes Away, more Barnes than Niven?, collaborations, Burning Mountain, The Moon Bowl by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, the bowlverse is unapproved, the book title, that’s a good title!, some adventure on the high seas, maritime book, Scott was not fond, a homage or a throwback to old sword and sorcery, not a lot there, Scott soft take, Niven has never grown past 12 years old, Paul was sadly underwhelmed, distasteful politics, a chore to get through, a lack of…, neat ideas, explorations of the consequences, the decline and fall of the magic empire, except for the stealing from the future, undercooked, Trish: it felt “like competent fan fiction”, all these tensions, a hacky ending for everyone, noir is the opposite of fan fiction, kill Captain Kirk in the first scene and say he’s dead forever, not expecting that much, the last or the most recent in a long series, doesn’t have the magic of the earlier books, the opening dedication: To my copious array of cousins, Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard, hey cousins, we all inherited a fortune, Niven’s contribution, not Niven heavy, Street Lethal, Lion’s Blood, Zulu Heart, alternate history, the black plague, slaves from Europe to Africa, interesting ideas, smooth competently written vs. Greg Bear, Donald Westlake or Lawrence Block, good plotting good characterization, everybody has a negative take except for…, second or third order implication, “this fantasy is not hard enough!”, up to the point they arrive in Shrike, other than stuff happening, the Scott rule was co-opted from Jesse, what Jesse has done to Scott, A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, Scott has successfully pointed at something, a stuff happening book, there’s a lot of them, sub-series, a fix-up, The Burning City, 1969 – 1980, The Golden Road, chronologically closest to our own time, human sacrifice, necromancy, Atlantis sank, pockets of manna, just the setting, oh the sea!, manna in the ocean, more interesting than some random fantasy, treat magic as a science, phlogiston theory, bad science theories, is it rocks or is it space?, is it in material or position?, Roger Zelazny, meteorite bombardment, the magic sword is a meteoric iron sword, what about the ocean?, the water cycle, continental shelves and island, what makes a book good, participate in the book, some writers are bad at telling stories, thus he crossed the room, let the imagination get going, participating in the world, maybe that…, more of a stuff happens book, The Seascape Tattoo 2, revisiting a familiar idea, relatively short, the character jokes, all the cringey elements, the Larry Nivenisms, things that will get you canceled, Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, 12 year old Niven vs. Neutron Star Niven, what is there was a way for us to trust each other wink wink, Niven on the phone: hey what if…, the princess tries to rescue herself, a Barnes thing, Ever After (1998), Paul signed up for the wrong book, a little bit Niven like: when the barmaid has a pivot waist, flexible women, pliable women, nipples didn’t go sprung, the relationship between Aros and his pseudo-mom and pseudo-dad, Eros vs. Aros, so decisively, did they chop it off?, somebody had to die, back to the kingdom, find the woman, abrupt?, a pretty bad Andre Norton novel Star Hunter, a kid gets kidnapped and brainwashed, the fake heir, an old trope, waaaay better, too rushed, the relationship between the wizard and Aros, cozy in the end, the end of Dagon (2001), it fits his arc, the sea-peoples, the end of Star Wars (1977) everybody gets a medal, Chewie: hey where’s my medal?, the robots just get a nice polish, Jade, she’s not his mom?, he has a story, he’s Azteca, his tattoos and his scars, who am i without my scars?, who are you without your trauma?, the horror of dementia, in practicing for his role, he becomes his role, those connections are potential real vs. the fake grift, bicycles, cannon, pistol, characterization, a Larry Niven fantasy world potentials are much greater, the Lord Of The Rings series just set in Middle Earth, the estate is not the caretaker, these are the rules, this is the premise, caves, tanks, a good plot idea, pretty interesting, oh, this is that!, Aros is the Conan figure, The Scarlet Citadel and Hour Of The Dragon, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber, a conman team, the wizard trainee, that’s cute, as analogs, some Robert E. Howard names in here: the bad lady/man wizard, Belit, through Conan’s eyes, a river that has bad stuff coming out of it, the mer-folk, the octopeople, an octopus showing a face on its body, effluent from a factory, coal tar, a deliberate plan or just an externality from capitalism, the poisoned river, poison sounds bad, the boxing match sailor, Dorgan the first mate, the nephew of the captain, kinda dumb, that’s a Dennis Dorgan, presented with possibilities, fun?, the Red Nun the Red Priestess in A Game Of Thrones?, a nun costume, nuns are just Halloween costumes, a Rolodex full of nuns, binders full of nuns, not a complete waste of time, its about philosophy, King Kull, almost no action, how do I exist?, is this solipsism, there are forces in the world that want you to obey, what happens at the end of every Conan episode, the anomaly, he goes into a wizard house and there’s a monkey in there, monkeys shouldn’t get too uppity, its anti-Dungeons & Dragons, Age Of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, it’s the things, new armor, new mount, set dressing, the exercise of philosophy, how to be, analyzing books, a hero’s arc, find a home, Conan is completely unreal, trying to live like Conan is impossible, even Grizzly Adams had a bear, you must live in some sort of community, Conan would never be a tax-collector, thief, reiver, tax-collector?, referencing The Burning City, tax-farming, the traditional way of tax collection, corruption that’s out in public, if this is our Conan figure, he’s against civilization, top down telling people how to be, how the Conan stories work, Conan fan fiction about King Conan, The Hour Of The Dragon, the Eisenhower/JFK figure, FDR, a less dead Julius Caesar or JFK, How To Become A Tyrant, a Zenda situation, possibilities were amazing, a found family story, the hint was enough, when Aros feels this, Kasha, quite interesting, the battle sequences with the grubs, the politics of the city were interesting, the kids on the street, a puppet king, continuing to play dumb, pivoting hips, every character has something going, Jesse was kinda impress, a fantasy with a plot, entertaining’s not enough, engaging, an appetizer vs. a full meal, this all works on its own, all new characters, a nice balance, Not Long Before the End, a magic user and a swordsman team up, if you’re going to do a TV show do this book, graphic and cinematic, Magic Goes Away as an art film, steampunk show, they have the technology, if you’re going to steal go right to the source, a Turner And Hooch tv series, a different way of telling stories, ok as a novel, much better (as a potential) with the same material, to call it entertaining is an insult, paddleball, its a thing people do, grokking a great book, returning to the status quo, what TV fundamentally understands, Blindspot, how you get to season 7 of Prison Break, NCIS, CSI, we’re solving mysteries with tech, Locard’s principle, Tom Hanks and a dog, you can fail upward very easily in Hollywood, spending time in Larry Niven’s playground, the Road of Kings, we did Dream Park and found it wanting, pre-holodeck, Westworld (1973).
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