The Defenders

Delta-vee presents classic Old Time Radio productions and modern audio dramas, today’s episode: “The Defenders”. The works of Philip K. Dick repeatedly treat themes revolving around our perception of reality and personal identity. Protagonists in Dick’s work were often regular people rather than action heroes and did not need to be human at all; the qualities that defined humanity for Dick included traditional virtues such as honesty, kindness, and the ability to act rationally. Dick’s heroes often engaged in extensive rational analysis of their world, often concluding that the world around them could not be objectively real but a product of their own perception and interaction choices. Dick displayed an overarching fear and hatred of war, both as a political and social instrument, believing it to be an expression of the immaturity of human culture. Jungian psychology played a large part in Dick’s thinking, shaping his stories around themes of the collective unconscious of humanity, the behavior of individuals in groups, and the intrinsic nature of personhood. Film adaptations of Dick’s work include “Minority Report”, “Total Recall”, and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”; Dick’s work has been pervasively influential in the science fiction genre as a whole. “The Defenders” presents a world where a war started by humanity is prosecuted by machines, precursing both Keith Laumer’s “Bolo” stories and James Cameron’s “Terminator” franchise, and treats Dick’s three themes in a very succinct and expressive way. “The Defenders” was first published in the January, 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. This episode of X Minus One first aired on May 22, 1956. And now, our feature presentation….

Sam, This Is You

Delta-vee presents classic Old Time Radio productions and modern audio dramas, today’s episode: “Sam, This Is You”. Murray Leinster wrote more than 1500 short stories and novels during an extremely prolific writing career under a variety of pseudonyms, the “Leinster” persona being the most famous of them. His writing career began well before World War I when he wrote for a wide variety of genre fiction magazines, including westerns, mysteries, and romance, but it wasn’t until pulp science fiction started to become widely accepted in the 50s and 60s that he published routinely under his real name, William Fitzgerald Jenkins. Leinster accumulated many “sci-fi firsts” to his credit, including genre conventions such as parallel universe stories and the universal translator. Leinster’s most famous story is unquestionably “A Logic Named Joe”, where he predicts not only personal computers associated with everyday tasks, but the existence of a pervasive network of interconnected information systems. The “Sideways Award for Alternate History” was created in 1995 to recognize outstanding parallel universe stories, and takes its name from Leinster’s story “Sideways In Time”. Leinster’s story “Sam, This Is You” dabbles in time travel without dipping into the complex arguments of causality and predetermination that accompany this kind of exercise in the modern and post-modern storytelling era. Instead, Leinster lets events play out in a continually unfolding drama that assumes history will play out more or less the same way regardless of outside meddling; that era’s optimistic outlook stands in sharp contrast to contemporary attitudes of mistrust and fear that now form the prevalent reaction to personal insecurity. “Sam, This Is You” first saw print in the May 1955 issue of Galaxy magazine; this episode of X Minus One first aired on October 31, 1956. And now, our feature presentation ….

Time and Time Again

Delta-vee presents classic Old-Time Radio productions and modern audio dramas, today’s episode: “Time and Time Again”. Henry Beam Piper never lived to see the great impression his contributions to science fiction would make on future generations of writers. Like Robert Jordan before him, Piper took his own life after a lengthy depression. Piper’s works tended to revolve around themes of social conflict and cultural misunderstanding, usually underscored with the trappings of space opera. He wrote many of his stories in an interconnected universal timeline, in the same way as his better known contemporaries Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Although the Terro-Human and Paratime sereis feature prominently in Piper’s outstanding bibliography, his Terro-Human novel “Little Fuzzy” is inarguably his most well known and influential work, detailing the conflict between human industrialists and the aboriginal inhabitants of a planet with singular natural resources. “Time and Time Again” is notable for being Piper’s first published work, appearing in 1947 in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction. Piper was a self-educated man who believed in the stark competence and self-reliance of the individual, a theme that repeats itself in the heroic characterization of his protagonists. This episode of X Minus 1 first aired on January 11, 1956. And now, our feature presentation….

The Most Dangerous Game

Delta-vee presents classic Old-Time Radio productions and modern audio dramas, today’s episode: “The Most Dangerous Game”. Richard Connell’s famous short story, also published as “The Hounds of Zaroff”, describes the experiences of a big game hunter who is shipwrecked on an island. The master of the island is another big game hunter who has decided to hunt the most dangerous game of all – man. First published in the January 19, 1924 issue of Collier’s Weekly, this story has served as an inspiration and spiritual predecessor for countless other media interpretations, including modern bestsellers such as “The Hunger Games” and even been referenced in the popular Disney-Pixar film “Up”. Big game hunting and travelogues of safari adventures were popular during the 1920s and 30s, leading to a spate of fiction on the subject alongside many “real life” adventures. Connell’s story makes no attempts to justify or rationalize the activities of the antagonist General Zaroff, nor does the protagonist Rainsford waste any time attempting to debate the morality of Zaroff’s actions or mitigate the steps he takes in his own defense. In this way, the story parallels the jungle adventures that it emulates, where the only law is survival of the fittest and morality is a function of tooth and claw rather than reason or spirit. The story was adapted three times for radio under the incomparable baritone of Orson Welles; the first film adaptation by RKO pictures has been the only one to share the title of the story. This episode of Escape first aired on October 1, 1947 and is the only one to feature Welles in the role of Rainsford instead of Zaroff. And now our featured presentation….

The Simon Vector Enigma

Author Phil Elmore joins me in the reaction chamber to discuss the new novel from The League Entertainment, “Simon Vector”. We talk a bit about building the universe of Simon Vector and delve into a sneak peek at the background of this sci-fi space prison action novel. Elmore gives us a glance behind the curtain at what it’s like to develop a transmedia property and what it means to The League. We also discuss other project that Elmore has going on both with The League Entertainment and on his own. A mention is made of the megatrain anthology The Spirit of St. Louis, Elmore’s latest Mack Bolan adventures “Radical Edge” and “Final Judgement”. Since the interview, I’ve read through “Radical Edge”, and this is one of my favorite Phil Elmore adventures to date. Of course, no interview with Phil Elmore would be complete without a mention of the world’s manliest action hero, Duke Manfist. Since this is the season of the doomsday apocalypse, we close with some practical prepping advice from Elmore on personal survival and a pointer at some prepping resources readily available.

Megatrain Boarding Call

I’m in the reaction chamber with Phil Elmore, action-adventure author and editor of the upcoming anthology Spirit of St. Louis, a collection of flash fiction revolving around a post-apocalyptic future where incredible roaming megatrains have taken the place of cities. The setting visuals are described as “art-deco steampunk”, and each 1000 word flash fiction entry will be illustrated by a tarot card style painting by John “Johnny Atomic” Jackson. Elmore has issued a general call for entries into this particular project and the planned series that it preludes.

Just as a bonus, we also kick around some other projects going on at League Entertainment, including Duke Manfist: the Justifier, and Phil’s upcoming project “Augments”. We share our thoughts on some of the problems and unique joys of being an anthology editor, and the vital role of imagery and artwork in selling a written work.

Critical Press Media has also issued a call for manuscripts for two new Benefit Projects to be compiled over the summer: “Miracles”, and “Forerunner”. More information about both of those can be found on the submissions page of the Critical Press Media site.

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Asgardian Box Office

Curtis and I gather round the coffee table to kick around Thor. Not harshly, mind, but we do feel that it needs to be kicked a bit. I really wanted to like this movie in the same way that I like Iron Man or the Incredible Hulk. Unfortunately, the result was somewhat lackluster – with a story that just didn’t live up to the potential of its characters. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of good stuff going on in this movie, and we found it to be an acceptable offering, if not a particularly outstanding one.

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