Dork on Dork Dialog with Jackie Kashian. I am interested in whatever dorky thing you want to talk about. Guests speak to their love of books, TV, Movies, Comic books, websites, food, wrestling, cars, action figures and bees. There is room for all in The Dork Forest. This is a safe space.
Music composed and performed by Mike Ruekberg (Sarah Cohen on intro)
Audio fixes by Patrick Brady
Website design by Vilmos
Dan Telfer is a Chicago comic and writer and total fan o’ science! That thing that historians loved so much and some modern folk have so many issues about. Dinosaursare just the tip of the iceberg here, folks. We taped early in the day and I’m just awake! Heh. This is a great dork on dork dialog. He’s great and you should see him live! Enjoy.
A fine set at Catch/edge of Princeton, and I loved the self-editing on the fly (the contrast between Jackie and an MC working being charming and a feature working being big and goofy...two flavors of Say, did you know there's a difference between men and women? And here's what it is...was marked). Very glad to see you f2f again. (It really is not for nothing that your work reminds me of what's good or what was good about Mort Sahl's.) And, Dan Telfer, thanks for the benisons (and the new middle name).
----When not sleeping or driving up I-295 this weekend, I've also been reading and checking a few DVR'd films...so I got to see again the Greta Garbo version of CAMILLE, which features Fritz Leiber, Jr (the writer cited here previously) in his most important, slight film role (he was a professional actor in his parents' Shakespearean company as his first paying gig, and followed them briefly to Hollywood), and was reading for the first time a 1984 interview with Robert Bloch, wherein he notes:
--interviewer Douglas Winter: Can you imagine being anything other than a writer?
--Bloch: Oh, yes. I would have loved very much to have been a burlesque comic [the primary means of making a living for stand-ups in the 1920s/30s, including the remains of vaudeville]. People think that that is a facetious remark, but it is quite serious. I was much interested in comedy and had done a lot of it in these skits [for high school and other audiences], and I had written a few gags for some of the radio comedians. But because of the Depression, the theatrical world was full of seasoned veteran burlesque comics who did five shows a day, seven days a week, for $30-35 per week--and there was no room for a novice.
five and a half years ago
Hly smokes Todd, you really came through! I'm on a squished delta flight to nj right now. I hope I do get to meet you. Patrick Brady is coming. I've never met him face to face either!
five and a half years ago
Holy SHIT! Todd Fucking Mason, everyone.
Yes, it was Night Watch. And I was thinking of Ralph Bakshi's Fire and Ice. And Daybreakers.
five and a half years ago
(continued from previous!)...I would contrast that with some work I have read, by Joyce Carol Oates, which might well stem in part from her childhood experience of almost being gang-raped by a gang of boys, and how that shaped her thinking...her stories thus also explore the implications and sometimes detail the attacks on her characters, not least, of course, the most famous short story of her early career, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" (a harrowing story with no explicit details at all--but a teen girl faced with the choice of going away to be almost certainly raped and murdered, or letting her family be attacked by the same malefactor). But I know Oates is an artist, and Larsson was a novice novelist as well as perhaps having more reformer's zeal than, probably, artistry in prose fiction (particularly when hastily translated). Though I think Oates has, somewhat under some critics' breath, been accused of wallowing, as well. Dealing with such charged matter is always difficult to do at all well, too easy to be clumsy or...unprocessed...about.
---Political correctness was originally an ironic means for political leftists to describe their more doctrinaire fellow-travelers' rigidity--you're going to eat at that restaurant? Don't you realize the owner is a Trotskyist? (Following this from a dyed in the wool Stalinist, the sound of a democratic socialist's eyes rolling.) And it was in that spirit that rude dopes of various stripes decided that anything they felt like saying or doing could only be protested by the PC crowd, as you note. (And isn't it odd that this episode of TDF drops at the same time as WTF with Bill Maher, who sought to do something worthwhile with the PI label?--among other relevant matters to your discussion here.)
--OK, I have much to do, but among the more innovative vampire fiction you'll find are the novels ANNO DRACULA and its sequels (though the first, THE BLOODY RED BARON, is the only disappointment in the series to me so far) by Kim Newman; SOME OF YOUR BLOOD by Theodore Sturgeon (the brilliant writer who was Anne Rice's most important teacher, as well as Ray Bradbury's largest early influence); THE BLACK CASTLE and its sequels by Les Daniels; I, VAMPIRE by (Ms.) Jody Scott; SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK by Nancy Collins (about as heavily imitated as Rice these days, but considerably better); and such short fiction as Robert Bloch's "The Yougoslaves" or Fritz Leiber's "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes"--Bloch and Leiber being the two young members of the corresponding group of friends around HP Lovecraft who picked up on his various innovations in exploring existential horror, and improved markedly on what HPL had achieved...in part by writing good prose. Hence all the grace notes referring to Bloch's fiction in Mignola's HELLBOY (and the Bloch introduction to the first HELLBOY collection) and Leiber's most recent retrospective SELECTED STORIES bearing an introduction by Neil Gaiman and an afterword by Michael Chabon about, in part, how much we all owe Leiber...and, yes, Bloch wrote PSYCHO and the STAR TREK script which introduced Chekhov...and, yes, Leiber invented the term "sword and sorcery" after having written some of the best fiction in that mode so far...
--may all your bodily functions on stage in Princeton be welcome ones, Jackie...hope to see you there.
five and a half years ago
Well, if namechecked, I guess I gotta put out (the nice-dinner model of dating broadened into other areas of life...)...but just because a man was a half-arsed student of planetary science (a triple major, no less, with polisci and English...working on that seven-year BS/BA plan, clearly), doesn't mean at this late date he remembers much about the history of meterology, the segment of plan/sci I spent the least time studying, though I did remember that our buddy Aristotle, he of the frogs spontaneously generating from spring mud (well, it looked that way at the time), wrote one of the pioneering treatises on the subject that has helped establish the field in the European and other Hellenic-influenced traditions. (The typically spotty but useful WIKIPEDIA article notes that the Indian UPANISHADS considerably predate Ari's METEROLOGICA with some serious weather analysis, but any agricultural society of any sophistication is going to start systematic study of the climate for obvious reasons, so too seafaring cultures, so, say, the Babylonians who were so good at developing calendars and 360 degree measures of circles that corresponded with the number of days, more or less, in a year, put their oar in (even as they would presumably at least occasionally trade data with folks from UPANISHADville and the Egyptians watching the ebb and flow of the Nile flooding, all of which would've played into the store of knowledge that Ari was able to draw from for his book). So even if folks thought that specific gods and vast beasties might've driven the process, they still were making pretty sophisticated measures and guesses of what the results were from an early date...with the post-Hellenic contributions of the Arab and European worlds (happily for humanity as a whole, religious persecution of scientific inquiry was muted in the one while strong in the other for much of the past millennium or so), and continuing work in south and east Asia proceeding apace, only to lead to peer-reviewed journals and fringe-science discussions akin to THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT in WIRED and HUFFINGTON POST blogs a mere cosmic eyeblink later (the notion of HUFFINGTON causing mass panic by itself seems pretty funny, but I can see a bubbling-under bit of paranoia coming out of that great fear of Betelguese, which is not necessarily best or most correctly pronounced "beetle juice"--something akin to "bettle-ghice" is at least as correct and somewhat closer to the German original. As for scientists of the Tycho Brahe era being largely nuts, well...consider, indeed, the odd compulsions of the scientific mindset combined with the kind of privilege and leisure necessary for the European folks, at very least, who flourished in "the Enlightenment" and slightly later to do their systematic work...meanwhile, the rather consistently good "Bad Astronomy" column associated with DISCOVER magazine has a nice boiling down of the Beteguese state of affairs (though the author takes for granted that we realize because the star is 600 light years away, we'd know that if it blew up "tonight" that it really did so 600 years ago)...
---Man, this whole episode had me wanting to join the conversation. I think the Russian apocalyptic fantasy film Telfer refers to early on might be NIGHTWATCH, but could easily be wrong...and it's probably worth noting that the source novel and even the film THE NEVERENDING STORY were German, though the film was shot in English with an Anglophone cast and DAS BOOT's Wolf Petersen directed and co-adapted the novel.
---Meanwhile, well, yes, there's all kinds of shabby to tolerable alternate history sf about Nazi victories, and much of the good stuff has been written by "outsiders" (or should I write "Auslanders")...people who don't specialize in sf, such as Robert Harris (FATHERLAND), Len Deighton (SS/GB), "Sarban" (THE SOUND OF HIS HORN...which has a not too dissimilar dreamlike frame to that of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE by its end, only without the Eastern mysticism/I Ching element Dick introduces), and at least one other which is slipping my mind at the moment (not the tv drama AN ENGLISHMAN'S CASTLE, written by Philip Mackie, which I hear is excellent...aside from the Dick, all these examples are, perhaps unsurprisingly, British, as are [Ms.] Hilary Bailey's "The Fall of Frenchy Steiner" and Keith Roberts's "Weihnachtsabend", two of the notable shorter works by "insider" sf people to deal with the concept (both, conveniently, collected with some other notable stories, such Algis Budrys's "Never Meet Again," and several originals, such as Dave Brin's "Thor Meets Captain America" in Gregory Benford and MH Greenberg's anthology _Hitler Victorious: 11 Stories of the German Victory in World War II_...it's indicative of how surprisingly little this theme has appealed to sf "insiders" (not a few of whom have been Jewish, so perhaps a Lot too close to home) that this 1986 antho had to commission half its contents. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?17138
---But, then, the more lurid appropriations of fantasticated ideas often do depend on the Nicholas Bakers of the world to exploit them, or the Anne Rices. (At least Baker is talented enough to know how to be effectively creepy; Rice not so much.) Your takes on the insertion (koff) of the sexual into the fantastic seem to overlook the degree to which fantasy and horror often deal with metaphors for sexuality and its repression, or to use those metaphors to help the writers and other artists cope with them, for themselves and for their audiences...MEN WHO HATE WOMEN (THE GIRL [sic] WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO in English only, not in any other language I'm aware of), which I haven't read, though I've seen the three Swedish films, supposedly arises in part from Larsson's dealing in fiction with a rape he witnessed as a teen, and did (or could do) nothing about at the time...I understand the translations of the books into English were not so good, but I gather, Jackie, that you definitely got the lipsmacking sense from the books, as well as the Vengeance Is Mine trope and all it implies...I would contrast that