The Incomparable

32: The Story of Ted Chiang and Others


  the impound horrible comcast number 32 [TS]

  welcome back to be uncomfortable podcast [TS]

  i am doing smell your host i am joined [TS]

  today by our usual book club rogues [TS]

  gallery if you ignore the last book club [TS]

  podcast which I wasn't on and in fact [TS]

  only listened to yesterday but let's [TS]

  ignore that because i had more in on it [TS]

  and therefore it doesn't count [TS]

  so our usual our usual book club rogues [TS]

  gallery Glenn Fleischman joins us hello [TS]

  Glenn hi thanks for having me thanks for [TS]

  reading the book as always [TS]

  Scott McNulty also quite literally [TS]

  gentleman who has read the book [TS]

  yes yes you have read the book I concur [TS]

  alright thank you for confirming and [TS]

  joining us yet another person who is [TS]

  capable of reading things and speaking [TS]

  about them you wouldn't think this would [TS]

  be rare with our group and yet [TS]

  thank you too Lisa Schmeisser who joins [TS]

  us again today I learned how to read for [TS]

  this podcast that's right reading will [TS]

  get you far and you know why because [TS]

  reading is fundamental [TS]

  take a look at it in a book a Reading [TS]

  Rainbow mhm so our subject today on the [TS]

  book club is actually short stories and [TS]

  in particular we're going to look at a [TS]

  short story collection along with some [TS]

  loose assorted short stories by AI [TS]

  believe seattle-based author is that [TS]

  right Glenn that is my understanding i [TS]

  know people who know him a guy named ted [TS]

  chang who doesn't ted chang doesn't have [TS]

  a massive output of writing he seems to [TS]

  be a slow writer a methodical writer but [TS]

  he released just a few years ago a short [TS]

  story collection called stories of your [TS]

  life and others and it was recommended [TS]

  to be by Greg NOS our good friend and [TS]

  member of the podcast you decided not to [TS]

  show up tonight even though he [TS]

  recommended the book to me [TS]

  thanks Greg but teaching has been has [TS]

  been critically acclaimed he's won the [TS]

  award has been nominated for lots of [TS]

  awards in the hole in the science [TS]

  fiction writing community and he's a [TS]

  good writer so I thought we would we [TS]

  would talk a little bit about these [TS]

  books if you haven't [TS]

  error that the short stories if you [TS]

  haven't read them I I doubt we're gonna [TS]

  get some deep down into the spoilers but [TS]

  if so will fire off the spoiler horn but [TS]

  with so many short stories it's really [TS]

  not about the big magic nations of plot [TS]

  like it is with novels it's a lot about [TS]

  just a sort of taking that that journey [TS]

  and and and getting a little nugget of [TS]

  the story so so anyway Ted Chang I think [TS]

  we've all read some or all of the stuff [TS]

  that he's written not sure how to [TS]

  approach this guy i don't really want to [TS]

  go down a bulleted list of of every [TS]

  single short story he's written although [TS]

  we could maybe start by talking about a [TS]

  particular story that you found [TS]

  interesting in some way and I'm gonna [TS]

  throw to glen because he's in seattle [TS]

  he's got the home court advantage [TS]

  we should talk we can talk about themes [TS]

  after we talked about stories i think [TS]

  it's a lot of things run through this [TS]

  but I think story of my story of your [TS]

  life is to me it's one of the best [TS]

  pieces that story in this collection is [TS]

  one of the best pieces of writing that [TS]

  I've read ever have to say because it he [TS]

  does something that I have the same [TS]

  feeling when i read certain you know [TS]

  terrifically cerebral science-fiction [TS]

  authors like I'm looking I'm looking [TS]

  across the room at the massive anthem [TS]

  which has its own bookshelf for instance [TS]

  the extensions and FM i think it's i [TS]

  think it takes up a quarter of the space [TS]

  of my living room to hold it and and [TS]

  when i read an mi felt like oh it was [TS]

  painful to read initially because he was [TS]

  rewriting my brain as i wrote as i read [TS]

  it and i felt too much smaller extent [TS]

  story of your life requires that you as [TS]

  you read it you are a dealing with the [TS]

  different tenses that the first person [TS]

  author whose up the professor is [TS]

  professor of linguistics opposes maybe [TS]

  that the best way to describe her and [TS]

  she she's talking about the future as [TS]

  the present and the past sort of as the [TS]

  past and it's confusing where she's at [TS]

  and she seems to be talking to an infant [TS]

  and as a story involves she's moving [TS]

  backwards and forwards through time and [TS]

  you think always this one of these time [TS]

  travel stories you get precognitive [TS]

  powers and what it turns out to be is so [TS]

  like most mundane and remarkable at the [TS]

  same time that it's I find it kind of [TS]

  mind-blowing like I've never read a [TS]

  concept in science fiction [TS]

  that's so beautifully encompass the [TS]

  notions of free will and predestination [TS]

  and all that stuff while also being a [TS]

  good story and being good sci-fi and it [TS]

  really moving me one of the things [TS]

  that's it i think this is a classic ted [TS]

  chang characteristic is that your [TS]

  narrator is not to be trusted but it's [TS]

  not an unreliable narrator in the sense [TS]

  of like everything she says is a lie but [TS]

  more like you really have to read it [TS]

  carefully because she's telling you [TS]

  things that seem to be absolute facts [TS]

  and then anybody in the story like wait [TS]

  a minute and i think i've read some of [TS]

  these stories three or four maybe this [TS]

  one probably five times as many more I [TS]

  over the years and on multiple readings [TS]

  are like she she refuses to knowledge [TS]

  how she's changed reality how she's [TS]

  changed from future you know she's [TS]

  saying it's impossible and that's part [TS]

  of the malleability of of Chinese [TS]

  writing is that he is really fascinated [TS]

  with the notion of how much is under our [TS]

  own control how much to outside forces [TS]

  whether it's God or aliens or God aliens [TS]

  you know God kings and King gods are in [TS]

  charge of us are robots human beings and [TS]

  their power is derived from strange [TS]

  motive force like all these things but [TS]

  what is actually allowing us to make [TS]

  decisions what we think is along this [TS]

  make decisions and how do we ascend [TS]

  beyond that and so this is I think this [TS]

  is like the perfect gem of a story both [TS]

  on a larger scale inside all the [TS]

  collections to it's funny that you [TS]

  mentioned the idea that this is a [TS]

  hacking your brain a little bit like [TS]

  like you you said about an mi believe on [TS]

  a previous podcast as well [TS]

  not because that he's got me that's [TS]

  actually the that's actually the point [TS]

  of the story as well is that the the [TS]

  main characters brain is hacked by her [TS]

  understanding of this language which as [TS]

  an old com major I I throw it back to [TS]

  the sapir-whorf hypothesis that the way [TS]

  your language describes the world [TS]

  becomes the way you view the world and [TS]

  it's taken to this kind of wacky sci fi [TS]

  xtreme here where you've got an alien [TS]

  race that doesn't essentially doesn't [TS]

  believe in linear time there's this [TS]

  whole concept that you know the universe [TS]

  there is free will and yet the [TS]

  same time every event in the time [TS]

  history of the universe before you know [TS]

  past and future it is happening [TS]

  simultaneously and is sort of part of a [TS]

  crystal or something like that and so [TS]

  their concept of past present future [TS]

  doesn't really exist and so as she [TS]

  learns their language this is which has [TS]

  got some crazy name it's like every race [TS]

  her perception yeah it changes her [TS]

  actual perception of time so that by the [TS]

  time you get to the end and she's [TS]

  learned heptapod be she good and she can [TS]

  no longer perceive time when she can she [TS]

  can perceive time in both ways because [TS]

  she's learning this language but it is [TS]

  that it's kind of Wow [TS]

  far out man but it's it's in some ways [TS]

  it's just what a good short story should [TS]

  do right which is change your way of [TS]

  thinking in some way except on this [TS]

  crazy you know sci-fi scale with the [TS]

  personal touch of her talking to her [TS]

  child also throw in so there's a lot of [TS]

  stuff in the blender the thing i noticed [TS]

  when i was reading through the the [TS]

  stories is I came to think of three [TS]

  stories as sort of an interrelated [TS]

  triptik on understand which is about a [TS]

  guy who undergoes an experimental [TS]

  treatment and becomes massively [TS]

  intelligence it's what it's like flowers [TS]

  for algernon yeah to the 10th power [TS]

  yep you know only without the only [TS]

  without the hideous regression but I saw [TS]

  understand story of your life and 72 [TS]

  letters as complementary works and the [TS]

  reason I saw them Leslie is because in [TS]

  every single one of them the power of [TS]

  language to shape reality and to shape [TS]

  perception is a pivotal part of the [TS]

  story and what it reminded me of was the [TS]

  plot point in snow crash where well you [TS]

  know when when it turns out that there [TS]

  is the generative grammar at the union [TS]

  Steffensen bars very heavily from noam [TS]

  chomsky early on linguistic theories [TS]

  that you know there's a generative [TS]

  generative grammar that is used to [TS]

  describe reality as we know if you can [TS]

  hack the grammar you can have human [TS]

  behavior and i found that those ideas [TS]

  were very subtly interwoven especially [TS]

  through understand where the whole point [TS]

  of the story is that the protagonist is [TS]

  taken down by somebody who's grasp the [TS]

  rules of the grammar faster than he has [TS]

  and in story of your life the [TS]

  protagonist at the center of it learns a [TS]

  whole new grammar thanks to pod be and [TS]

  that radically altered her perception of [TS]

  space and time and then in 72 letters it [TS]

  was the ability to assign a specific [TS]

  etymology to a phenomena that is going [TS]

  to change the way an entire species [TS]

  reproduces and is going to fundamentally [TS]

  alter human society couple generations [TS]

  down the line and I found it fascinating [TS]

  that he kept returning to this theme of [TS]

  you know once you can decode the grammar [TS]

  you can take you can decode reality or [TS]

  once you alter a language you can alter [TS]

  the outcome of reality it seems very [TS]

  very much reflective of his day job [TS]

  which is as a technical writer who [TS]

  documents code you know it it deals with [TS]

  closed systems and the idea that once [TS]

  you decode once once you've been [TS]

  mystified the system and set down the [TS]

  boundaries and what the outcomes are [TS]

  going to be in order to change the [TS]

  outcome all you have to do is is is [TS]

  understand manipulate the parameters i [TS]

  want to read a very short passage to [TS]

  take a lead from Jason style is [TS]

  carefully marked stuff in previous [TS]

  podcast to read on this this requires a [TS]

  spoiler or I think it does get away with [TS]

  more of the story of your life away but [TS]

  it says them it's a I don't have the [TS]

  page 107 in a some addition here [TS]

  uh-huh and it's the this the first [TS]

  person narrator narrator is talking [TS]

  about how about a was the spoken [TS]

  language and have to plot B is this [TS]

  written language that they've been [TS]

  working at it like a simultaneous [TS]

  writing where you write the whole [TS]

  concept all at once but you seem to need [TS]

  to know the entire outcome to write the [TS]

  idea Graham that the sort of resident [TS]

  rub presentation of the idea such as [TS]

  before I learn how to think and heptapod [TS]

  be my memories crew like a column of [TS]

  cigarette ash laid down by the [TS]

  infinitesimal sliver of combustion that [TS]

  was my consciousness marking the [TS]

  sequential present after I learned at [TS]

  the top heptapod be new memories fell [TS]

  into place like gigantic blocks each one [TS]

  measuring years in duration and though [TS]

  they didn't arrive in order or land [TS]

  continuously they soon composed a period [TS]

  of five decades is the period period [TS]

  during which i don't have to hide be [TS]

  well enough to thinking it starting [TS]

  during my interviews with flapper and [TS]

  raspberry the two aliens and ending with [TS]

  my deaf [TS]

  and for me that encapsulates the stories [TS]

  just terrifying thing where she is [TS]

  gaining not only the perception of the [TS]

  future but the perception of how she [TS]

  perceives the future as well it's it's a [TS]

  beautiful passages and it's also one of [TS]

  the things I've noticed his linguistic [TS]

  seems to be something that several sites [TS]

  by authors tend to return to over and [TS]

  over again for example r us at all [TS]

  familiar with from suzette elgin Hayden [TS]

  don't know what naughty that's not us [TS]

  not even Scott you stop the band Lisa [TS]

  she wrote a trilogy although the third [TS]

  book as is the case in many trilogies [TS]

  the book was many many years after the [TS]

  first two and goes off in the whole [TS]

  wacky we're direction but the premise of [TS]

  her first two books is that alien races [TS]

  have made contact with humans and as a [TS]

  result linguists have managed to [TS]

  consolidate most of the political [TS]

  economic power [TS]

  I like that imagine academics must love [TS]

  those books [TS]

  well in there i think one of the reasons [TS]

  she's not widely known is because it's [TS]

  also set in a dystopian future where [TS]

  women have been reduced to legal channel [TS]

  and so what the books talk about is the [TS]

  way women create a subversive language [TS]

  of their own to foment social rebellion [TS]

  and it actually fails but aside from [TS]

  that down or outcome what's really [TS]

  fascinating is how interwoven through [TS]

  the books um is the contention that the [TS]

  more aware you become of how language is [TS]

  put together the more where you become [TS]

  of how your perceptions of the world are [TS]

  assembled and that by altering one or [TS]

  altering the other you know you can [TS]

  change the way you think and that [TS]

  changes the way you communicate or you [TS]

  can change the way you communicate and [TS]

  that in turn will influence your [TS]

  perceptions and create a feedback loop [TS]

  that alters the outcomes of what you [TS]

  want to do i think not surprising the [TS]

  writers would get into this stuff given [TS]

  them the entire idea of writing [TS]

  something is to put words in a sequence [TS]

  that causes an audience to have a [TS]

  reaction and behave in a certain way or [TS]

  think in a certain way that is what a [TS]

  writer does so you know but you but you [TS]

  know the way Chang does it as he puts it [TS]

  in this kind of amazing a very well [TS]

  executed [TS]

  I was going to say sci-fi trapping [TS]

  although a lot of his stuff is is is [TS]

  weirder than that even I mean I [TS]

  understand is a very almost cyberpunk [TS]

  kind of story about this guy who [TS]

  infiltrates the computer networks and [TS]

  because he's super intelligent and he [TS]

  finds he's got a counterpart in a [TS]

  essentially have this little motion [TS]

  high-speed simultaneously dual-band [TS]

  story of your life has wacky aliens who [TS]

  appear and our are like big octopus [TS]

  aliens but he's got some other other [TS]

  stories that are in a very different [TS]

  tower of Babylon and a story that's not [TS]

  in his collection the merchant at the [TS]

  alchemist gate are both stories that [TS]

  have a middle eastern flavor and our are [TS]

  clearly sort of sci-fi or fantasy in one [TS]

  way and yet in and they don't have that [TS]

  flavor at all there that it's an [TS]

  entirely different much more exotic you [TS]

  know not your usual setting for a for a [TS]

  sci-fi story so we kind of goes all over [TS]

  the place [TS]

  yeah and i will say that the tower of [TS]

  Babylon was my least favorite story and [TS]

  it is the first one in the compilation [TS]

  so I thought folks this is not going [TS]

  well you know I you warned me about that [TS]

  and I went back some like life all the [TS]

  stories were great and then went back [TS]

  was like oh yeah that one's a little you [TS]

  know tedious [TS]

  yeah well I mean yeah it's a guy [TS]

  ascending the tower and it goes on it [TS]

  does go on to build and then at the end [TS]

  there kind of is this where it went [TS]

  oh you know it kind of reminded me of [TS]

  some of James Morrow's work are you guys [TS]

  familiar jamesemorrow know it's only [TS]

  dream only but only got daughter where [TS]

  somebody raises the the immaculately [TS]

  conceived daughter of god on telling [TS]

  Jehovah Jehovah more jobs body falls to [TS]

  earth manage a close [TS]

  he's one of my favorite authors he did a [TS]

  collection of short stories Bible [TS]

  stories for adults where he also has a [TS]

  Tower of Babel story a better one [TS]

  oh yeah oh yeah except James burrows a [TS]

  lot angrier than Ted chanc so it's you [TS]

  can't really read him when you're [TS]

  feeling bad about yourself for Humanity [TS]

  because you'll end up just you know Oh [TS]

  what is the what is the meaning of it [TS]

  all but he's worth reading if you're not [TS]

  if you're in a calm emotionally level [TS]

  black towing job is as a good one [TS]

  because they you know he got dies and [TS]

  remind his corpse floating in the ocean [TS]

  just amuses me so so Lisa to you have am [TS]

  is your is your sort of pick for the [TS]

  story that you found most interesting is [TS]

  that is that understand or is it the [TS]

  trip ticket or do you have something [TS]

  else [TS]

  the triptych i thought was fascinating [TS]

  automatic perspective and I thought that [TS]

  perhaps tells you a lot about ideas that [TS]

  that the author is perpetually chewing [TS]

  over my favorite story out of all of [TS]

  them and i'm not sure this wasn't the [TS]

  collections exhalation right I think [TS]

  that's not in the collection yeah i [TS]

  really enjoyed exhalation a lot of the [TS]

  process of this this piece that an [TS]

  anatomist from its particular species [TS]

  like the robots with the iron lungs is [TS]

  that you under yeah who undertakes to [TS]

  detect his own brain and and discovers [TS]

  that their unit that the universe is in [TS]

  fact shrinking it was a chase and thank [TS]

  you for sucking all the beauty that's [TS]

  general practice with what is good god [TS]

  is so I I got to say that was the [TS]

  nominee there's a hugo and how many last [TS]

  year and I and I got to the list and I i [TS]

  got to that one like no Chet chang and I [TS]

  red nose like wow this is a story about [TS]

  some sentient robots who are who have [TS]

  evolved from an iron lung machine [TS]

  yeah okay and they use gold and they use [TS]

  gold to conduct their thoughts and he [TS]

  figures that a relationship and then [TS]

  says okay by the way we're all doomed [TS]

  so i'm writing this down because [TS]

  eventually our universe is going to wind [TS]

  down but maybe somebody who's a [TS]

  different species will find us and it [TS]

  was the combination of the investigative [TS]

  spirit in the story and the tragedy of [TS]

  an entire species dying due to the law [TS]

  of physics and the hopefulness of [TS]

  discovery and I thought wow this is [TS]

  pretty much encapsulated so what one [TS]

  would hope would be the best of any [TS]

  sentient species so i really liked the [TS]

  story i think i think it has a lot in [TS]

  common with his most recent work the [TS]

  lifestyle goals lifecycle of software [TS]

  objects in that and going back to him [TS]

  being a tech writer it is about that [TS]

  process and and you know there is that [TS]

  something technical about some of the [TS]

  stuff that [TS]

  he writes especially those two stories [TS]

  where it's about investigating and [TS]

  learning you know whether it's [TS]

  developing software or being this [TS]

  sentiment among machine that learns [TS]

  about the universe [TS]

  I'm sorry that I sucked everything out i [TS]

  didn't i didn't really I didn't really [TS]

  like that story it was i was in it and i [TS]

  think i was actually so excited it was [TS]

  by ted chang and I read it and I was [TS]

  that kind of a letdown but I thought it [TS]

  was very creative i I think that it was [TS]

  a little bit mind-blowing in the sense [TS]

  that it is about this really weird alien [TS]

  what you know creature who is still [TS]

  striving to understand the universe [TS]

  around it but would you agree that one [TS]

  of the Ted changs I think great [TS]

  characteristic is that it's clear he's [TS]

  always exploring an incredible creep [TS]

  conceit and sometimes it's like a sketch [TS]

  like you look at an artist working it's [TS]

  like that's the pencil they didn't fill [TS]

  it in but it's still sort of interesting [TS]

  and are in writers don't usually have [TS]

  their writers notebooks get published or [TS]

  they talk about their ideas and I feel [TS]

  sometimes like ted chang for [TS]

  understanding works as we started out [TS]

  very deliberately so this is the body of [TS]

  his work and you know you're pissed i'm [TS]

  sort of guy like I wish I'd novels from [TS]

  this fellow and I don't think he works [TS]

  that way but I think some of these [TS]

  stories like that it's like this is a [TS]

  fascinating idea sketched out briefly [TS]

  and a in a well-written fashion but it's [TS]

  not a story you know it's an idea [TS]

  it's a conceit and all of the stories [TS]

  had a great conceit at the center and i [TS]

  think that you know how that's a common [TS]

  complaint with sci-fi authors in general [TS]

  right that their ideas are better than [TS]

  their writing [TS]

  no I didn't we say that you get you end [TS]

  up with one good idea and you read if [TS]

  you're lucky and you put a novel around [TS]

  it because that like the first podcast i [TS]

  think it's true i'm still waiting for my [TS]

  good idea but I think that changs hit he [TS]

  is such a good writer and his ideas are [TS]

  so unique that I think that like you [TS]

  said I think it's a shame that he hasn't [TS]

  written a novel sure how would we care [TS]

  about them i think the lifecycle of [TS]

  software objects which is a very long [TS]

  work actually shit makes me wonder what [TS]

  the tip the the theoretical ted chang [TS]

  novel would would be like because I [TS]

  think lifecycle of software objects is [TS]

  not one of his better works it's one of [TS]

  his longer works but I I'm not sure I i [TS]

  actually prefer it to some of the time [TS]

  3i it feels like a very thin idea spread [TS]

  out it's like a Saturday Live sketch [TS]

  turned into a movie it's a little bit [TS]

  loud last night at the roxbury thought I [TS]

  was being heart [TS]

  yeah night at the Roxbury 00 and you [TS]

  thought meet with the iron lung machine [TS]

  was hard but I had to try to top you are [TS]

  some authors who are much better with [TS]

  their ideas because they're in this tiny [TS]

  little bubble and you know just enough [TS]

  about it to get you sinking into the old [TS]

  what if and and it lets you explore the [TS]

  idea but there's not so much detail [TS]

  where you can pay attention to whether [TS]

  this this world is built out of plywood [TS]

  or wow this item is another profound [TS]

  isn't supposed to be what we have a [TS]

  great pitching stories this world is [TS]

  built out of plywood no matter what my [TS]

  classic example of that is Nancy crisis [TS]

  beggars in spain which is a really good [TS]

  marbella um you know it's basically what [TS]

  happens if you create a class of people [TS]

  who'd ever need to sleep and its [TS]

  antennae and it's a fantastic short [TS]

  story and velour novella but when she [TS]

  stretched out to a novel and then again [TS]

  made a trilogy you lost the original [TS]

  cool idea which is how fundamentally [TS]

  altered someone's character when they [TS]

  don't have that downtime when they don't [TS]

  dream when they're constantly 24-7 you [TS]

  lose that really cool idea and it turned [TS]

  instead into this really weird this [TS]

  mishmash of bioengineering and class [TS]

  warfare and and americans are dumb and [TS]

  consume too much and I would have rather [TS]

  that she had just stopped with the short [TS]

  story you know Greg bears great novella [TS]

  blood music got turned and he turned it [TS]

  into a novel and exactly the same thing [TS]

  happened he added some some sort of [TS]

  dubious action scenes and he starts [TS]

  earlier in the story and does a lot of [TS]

  expansion of of stuff that you know that [TS]

  the short story or or novella novelera [TS]

  you know whatever the smaller work is [TS]

  pared back to the things that are [TS]

  required to tell the story and and you [TS]

  know it may not necessarily be that way [TS]

  if you start with a novel but if you [TS]

  start with a short story and expanded [TS]

  you can you can sort of see that that [TS]

  it's really the stuff that would have [TS]

  thrown out right at the stuff that [TS]

  wasn't essential and suddenly it's the [TS]

  padding and it's kind of disappointing [TS]

  or you don't like the direction it goes [TS]

  in for example David Mary second one of [TS]

  my favorite short story authors for [TS]

  science fiction and one of the most [TS]

  poignant short [TS]

  oh and he's been one of the most [TS]

  poignant science fiction short stories [TS]

  of a red titled we were out of our minds [TS]

  with joy and i love that story if it has [TS]

  stuck with me ever since I read it back [TS]

  in 1995 i will occasionally read it and [TS]

  still get choked up over it it is the [TS]

  first chapter of his 2005 novel counting [TS]

  heads and you know I ran out paid for [TS]

  the hardcover which i never do read the [TS]

  book and ended up just bitterly [TS]

  disappointed because he took well he [TS]

  took the short story it was of course [TS]

  the first chapter of the book and don't [TS]

  get me wrong i think he did some very [TS]

  creative things in the book and I admire [TS]

  that he had the courage to take his [TS]

  characters and pushed in different [TS]

  directions but it they weren't the [TS]

  directions and the ideas that I had sort [TS]

  of taken away from the short story they [TS]

  were his vision and as a result its I [TS]

  sort of had a bad taste in my mouth [TS]

  because you know you finish the short [TS]

  story and you've had this little shared [TS]

  experience and you've got your little [TS]

  bubble of perception about how you've [TS]

  digested the story and the author sure [TS]

  has their bubble of perception but you [TS]

  have this nifty Levin diagram that [TS]

  overlaps whereas with a novel that every [TS]

  of overlap becomes much much smaller [TS]

  relative to the size of the work so [TS]

  there's a much more room for [TS]

  disappointment on the readers part that [TS]

  is interesting is I have I read that [TS]

  book [TS]

  oh maybe two years ago and i really [TS]

  liked it and I had no idea it was a [TS]

  short story but he had written any kind [TS]

  of short story [TS]

  oh yeah he's got a collection that came [TS]

  out like 2007 but we're out of our minds [TS]

  of joy think it first appeared in [TS]

  mirrored shades [TS]

  um I remember reading an idiot eat it [TS]

  might have been in the year's best [TS]

  science fiction anthology but i do I [TS]

  definitely remember reading I can't [TS]

  remember which anthology i read in the [TS]

  first so Scott you had no idea that no I [TS]

  had and I thought the the novel was [TS]

  great so clearly i'm glad i didn't read [TS]

  the short story because they looked [TS]

  disappointed [TS]

  no I like the novel on one level but it [TS]

  was terribly disappointing and another [TS]

  level that makes sense well because [TS]

  because you know you're seeing you're [TS]

  aware of the things that are not [TS]

  necessary for the what you felt was the [TS]

  main thrust of the you know the story [TS]

  lifecycle software objects i mean i [TS]

  think you can argue that one of the [TS]

  reasons that it might be a little bit [TS]

  disappointing i'm not sure if everybody [TS]

  I mean Glen and I seem to think that way [TS]

  is is that there's a little bit of [TS]

  misdirection because i think because the [TS]

  sci-fi trope that's on display there is [TS]

  this whole idea of art [TS]

  official intelligences and you know do [TS]

  that we've seen I mean they're Star Trek [TS]

  episodes about this right is it alive [TS]

  and doesn't have rights and all of these [TS]

  things and in the end I sort of felt [TS]

  like what I was actually reading and I [TS]

  actually like the story better if I [TS]

  think of it this way is it's about it is [TS]

  literally about the abandonment of [TS]

  software and not about people at all [TS]

  it's about the fact that technology and [TS]

  software you know even things that are [TS]

  incredibly well loved and popular [TS]

  inevitably there is the there is the end [TS]

  of the life cycle [TS]

  yeah where they where where nobody uses [TS]

  Microsoft Word 5.1 anymore right [TS]

  everybody this is my problem with them [TS]

  toys story to the one problem i had with [TS]

  that movie [TS]

  this will sound like i'm talking like I [TS]

  just woke up in the middle of the [TS]

  conversation LOL when looking back was [TS]

  no was the what's the connection is [TS]

  jesse idea yet you have a bit where [TS]

  she's thrown into a box and abandoned on [TS]

  the side of the road was this horrible [TS]

  like I watched and I was filled with [TS]

  this this horrible void filled universal [TS]

  dread that was because it was like you [TS]

  know there's already this huge conceit [TS]

  that the toys are only sort of alive [TS]

  when they're around kids or when they're [TS]

  not around kids but they sort of [TS]

  experience their lives only through this [TS]

  mediation of children and then it's like [TS]

  goodbyes pulling out the window you're [TS]

  not important anymore and it sounds like [TS]

  toy story 3 I haven't seen it yet [TS]

  starts with a little bit of that same [TS]

  fear oh it actually goes through [TS]

  throughout honestly fifties and there's [TS]

  something about that like where where [TS]

  you're the kind of empathy you have with [TS]

  I mean I think life cycle of software [TS]

  objects i don't mean to compare tonight [TS]

  the rocks breaks it's not horrible [TS]

  anymore like it has that sense of being [TS]

  stretched way too thin to transparency [TS]

  but he has that idea of like there's [TS]

  this incredible loyalty between the that [TS]

  designers and Donna and and the thing [TS]

  that she makes because the thing that [TS]

  she makes becomes real as real as [TS]

  anything else so i think that i think [TS]

  you're right that it actually is trying [TS]

  to represent that feeling of a banding [TS]

  stuff that still may be used for what [TS]

  you think it's things like you know hey [TS]

  here's this ipod that I i used in the [TS]

  delivery room when we had you know when [TS]

  we had one of our kids you know and [TS]

  there's this level of sentimentality [TS]

  over or it's like oh yeah i used to use [TS]

  that computer i use that program you [TS]

  know I think it [TS]

  technology a2 and not just sort of [TS]

  inanimate objects like like a stuffed [TS]

  animals you know you have this sort of [TS]

  the this life cycle and and by [TS]

  personifying and these artificial [TS]

  intelligence creations that makes an [TS]

  interesting sight again it with the [TS]

  interesting sci-fi wrapper around [TS]

  something else is trying to say but in [TS]

  the end I thought it was actually like [TS]

  me the the most this is another one of [TS]

  those where I'm liking it more now that [TS]

  i think about it then when I was [TS]

  actually reading it it's it's it's in [TS]

  some ways the most artful way to [TS]

  describe this sort of natural process [TS]

  that things things move on and although [TS]

  they seem important eventually we we all [TS]

  just abandoned them and it's not that [TS]

  they'd it's not the story of everything [TS]

  dies because that's different this is [TS]

  eventually everything that we make is [TS]

  abandoned and and you may get you know [TS]

  you may be on the end of the bell curve [TS]

  with it like those people who have the [TS]

  the Apple to convention every year and [TS]

  the human convention every year but [TS]

  HyperCard forever yeah but in the end [TS]

  but you know just like the ai's in the [TS]

  life cycle of software objects and even [TS]

  the greatest supporters of of this [TS]

  technology and as it becomes outmoded [TS]

  and it's not compatible with new [TS]

  hardware and all these things that the [TS]

  computer users no happen you know it [TS]

  they just you know they fade away and [TS]

  and in this case it's poignant because [TS]

  they're sort of these sentient creatures [TS]

  who basically get put in a box and it's [TS]

  not like they died as much as they just [TS]

  ceased to move forward and that's the [TS]

  end this was the most negatively [TS]

  sentimental story I thought and that's [TS]

  saying a lot given that the collection [TS]

  also features of a parent group grieving [TS]

  the death of a child [TS]

  uh-huh regretting the idea i thought [TS]

  there was something I thought that I [TS]

  thought there was some elements of pesos [TS]

  in that were perhaps not necessary and I [TS]

  understand they may be there to amplify [TS]

  his point because changa said well I [TS]

  wrote this book this story to point out [TS]

  i don't think a is going to work until [TS]

  people value that value it enough to [TS]

  pour in a lot of time and effort and [TS]

  love into what they're doing man and i [TS]

  think it's an admirable point but when [TS]

  you make the delay is incredibly cute [TS]

  and you give them a pigeon grammar [TS]

  because all they're just learning how to [TS]

  speak and you know it looks like wacky [TS]

  lovable cartoon characters but yeah and [TS]

  at the end and they have an adorable and [TS]

  they have adorable little avatar that [TS]

  are specially printed before them [TS]

  another day another would've worn by the [TS]

  way which is not great I think he's [TS]

  really putting a lot of that they're put [TS]

  in porn event yeah right resolution [TS]

  enough to express I want to be [TS]

  independent but I'm still really cute [TS]

  and really dependent so and there's just [TS]

  a lot of buttons being pushed there at [TS]

  that I thought way not to mention the [TS]

  romantic subplot what you felt was just [TS]

  you know again we service all very [TS]

  you're not content on consummated or [TS]

  even fulfilling and all but you know [TS]

  it's the old like why do people like [TS]

  ladybugs and hate cockroaches because [TS]

  okay yeah or disrepute well so cute [TS]

  cockroaches what's wrong with you well [TS]

  this story also points out what I like [TS]

  to think of as the animal problem in [TS]

  science fiction [TS]

  um which is that a lot of authors tend [TS]

  to assume know in the future things will [TS]

  be extinct in the future animals will [TS]

  not be up something people even think [TS]

  about anymore i can remember the first [TS]

  time I read count 0 by william gibson [TS]

  there was a throwaway line about horses [TS]

  going extinct that just threw me for a [TS]

  loop because I I was like can you [TS]

  imagine a world without horses and yet [TS]

  that was supposed to do in the future [TS]

  courses they're extinct and in you know [TS]

  this chanc story on ax is a zoo keeper [TS]

  who is obviously rendered obsolete [TS]

  either because the user closing down or [TS]

  animals r dot have died or whatever and [TS]

  I just keep wondering why there can't be [TS]

  good science fiction where there are [TS]

  entities other than humans and [TS]

  artificial intelligence [TS]

  why do we have to kill other species [TS]

  Williams heptapods will occasionally [TS]

  you'll get to occasional get dolphins [TS]

  for example like how it turns out the [TS]

  aliens have been talking with the [TS]

  dolphins the whole time left [TS]

  David Bradley is David wrote a whole [TS]

  series of we should all about that [TS]

  sometimes I love those [TS]

  I did too in high school my god yes in [TS]

  high school now I feel really amateur [TS]

  right yeah i just discovered them and I [TS]

  i love i love the alien love scenes in [TS]

  the seventeen-year-old girl reading [TS]

  about lifting dolphins all my god [TS]

  gorillas don't forget the ground was [TS]

  it's like all right into [TS]

  dragons are gonna rip we're all going to [TS]

  regress and talk about their future [TS]

  popular because clearly i think mr. [TS]

  McNulty is not be consultants favorite [TS]

  story at however i was going to ask [TS]

  I'm sorry what ah that is true so i have [TS]

  to that I like what's expected of us [TS]

  which is probably the shortest shorts [TS]

  underneath those in the was it in the [TS]

  collection [TS]

  no it's only extended part of its not [TS]

  the so the one that is a good story it [TS]

  basically you know it's about they [TS]

  create this to someone crazy device that [TS]

  all you do is push a button and it [TS]

  lights up a light but the twist is that [TS]

  the light lights up right before you [TS]

  push the button and that leads people [TS]

  down the road they realized that they [TS]

  don't have free will and beautiful [TS]

  society crumbles and people kill each [TS]

  other and it's wonderful [TS]

  they fall into catatonia exactly and [TS]

  something like a page and a half long so [TS]

  they're say there's a a story in the [TS]

  year's best scientific every year I by [TS]

  the gardener on a precipice because this [TS]

  is it desired is I don't know but it's [TS]

  one of those it's could be friendship [TS]

  could be americanized but the year's [TS]

  best science fiction anthology which is [TS]

  great read it's worth you know I i [TS]

  highly recommend it sits at you know you [TS]

  get 30 short stories that you can take a [TS]

  whole year to read them if you want and [TS]

  just partial amount and there's some [TS]

  really mind-blowing stuff in there but [TS]

  there's a story in there and i can't i [TS]

  can't think of the name of it now but [TS]

  basically it's premise is very similar [TS]

  which is the that uh that there are [TS]

  studies that suggest which is true that [TS]

  when they monitor somebody and they're [TS]

  going to make a decision like to reach [TS]

  out and press a button that they there [TS]

  the moment where they decided to press [TS]

  the button and reach out and press it [TS]

  they're already moving to press it and [TS]

  the idea is that that our consciousness [TS]

  is not actually the decider of what [TS]

  happens but more like the record keeper [TS]

  of the decision so and what they what [TS]

  they say in the short story is that is [TS]

  that we're like the the Queen in the [TS]

  castle and all of her servants come and [TS]

  report to her about what's going on but [TS]

  I you know but the servants do all the [TS]

  work so we you know we're not in charge [TS]

  were just the the the like the minutes [TS]

  of the meeting executive function and [TS]

  and in short story what happens is [TS]

  there's this drug that makes you forget [TS]

  that gets you high that kids take and if [TS]

  you overdose on it it basically wipes [TS]

  out your you're the queen of the castle [TS]

  and so then a new person comes in and [TS]

  they have all your memory all the [TS]

  memories of this other character but [TS]

  it's not the same person but very [TS]

  similar in in like 15 times the length [TS]

  Scott of the story that same idea that [TS]

  that you know is it free will is it not [TS]

  are you really the person who's making [TS]

  any of the decisions or you or you just [TS]

  the the the receipt right and I my [TS]

  favorite part of the the story is at the [TS]

  end so basically it's a letter basically [TS]

  that sent from the future to the past [TS]

  right [TS]

  warning people about this and at the end [TS]

  you know he said you don't have free [TS]

  will so why am I telling you this [TS]

  and the last line is something like [TS]

  because I have to because he has no free [TS]

  will so he has to send this letter [TS]

  because it is predestined and there's [TS]

  that he can't do anything about well you [TS]

  know what this reminds me of is that [TS]

  it's an isaac asimov story forgotten [TS]

  it's a classic story where this guy is a [TS]

  history professor studying like he's [TS]

  trying he spent his whole career trying [TS]

  to dispute the fact that Carthaginians [TS]

  eight babies or something when they went [TS]

  to war or something like that and he [TS]

  finds there's some kind of institute [TS]

  that's that uses from like time viewing [TS]

  and they can look at events in the far [TS]

  past and but they keep blaming it on [TS]

  time for him that his pursuits 22 [TS]

  trivial and so he meets a physicist at a [TS]

  party this young guy and guys like well [TS]

  you know if someone can do it this is a [TS]

  this video is the argument the argument [TS]

  that if you know someone can do [TS]

  something if you don't know how then you [TS]

  go and figure out how to do it because [TS]

  someone else has and which has been [TS]

  repeated throughout the history of [TS]

  software hardware development sometimes [TS]

  for someone thinks someone else is done [TS]

  and they haven't they make the [TS]

  breakthrough so in this story this [TS]

  business is like well I should be that [TS]

  hard because they've already done it so [TS]

  they figure out he figures out a way he [TS]

  and the scientists [TS]

  the researcher managed to create a [TS]

  machine less than view but the trick is [TS]

  it doesn't feel the distant past he's [TS]

  back like one-second anywhere in the [TS]

  world so they get burst in at the last [TS]

  minute I like the time police you know [TS]

  time place the time you are police were [TS]

  like oh my god you know what you've done [TS]

  you spread this knowledge now we all [TS]

  live in a glass bubble always no one's [TS]

  actions will ever be unnoticed again [TS]

  because everyone can have one of these [TS]

  things and then you know the twist was [TS]

  they only talked about things happening [TS]

  in the far past the people wouldn't [TS]

  think about turning the time you're back [TS]

  one second you've destroyed us all [TS]

  oh so what's your other pics my other [TS]

  favorite as hell is the absence of God [TS]

  really want you can get through that 1i [TS]

  I like a I was raised Roman Catholic so [TS]

  I like things with religion goes hardly [TS]

  haha that's why we're gonna get through [TS]

  another former Catholic somebody got it [TS]

  that's the one where the guy's wife is [TS]

  like killed me by the heavenly [TS]

  visitation [TS]

  yeah like an angel appears and then [TS]

  there's collateral damage she gets [TS]

  killed [TS]

  yeah so finally in the in the the [TS]

  setting of the story angels appear on a [TS]

  semi-regular basis and they you know [TS]

  bring tidings from God and they also [TS]

  happen to cause earthquakes and all [TS]

  kinds of things and people died and i [TS]

  think their act of god they're not sure [TS]

  Bob exactly which is I think of anybody [TS]

  throw a part of the whole story and at [TS]

  the end and so people died and then i [TS]

  guess during when you want an angel is [TS]

  around and someone dies you can see [TS]

  where their soul goes so they know if [TS]

  someone is going to heaven or hell and [TS]

  it's very depressing story if you get [TS]

  all the way to the end but yeah I i [TS]

  enjoyed it [TS]

  we'll see that's anxious because you are [TS]

  black heart because they have like an 18 [TS]

  and there's a character who was born so [TS]

  it there's another part of the story [TS]

  where people go to where they think an [TS]

  angel is going to appear because when an [TS]

  angel appears the light of God proceeds [TS]

  it and when light of God hits people it [TS]

  can cure them of disease or it can [TS]

  unfortunately change their DNA [TS]

  so that bad things happen and there's a [TS]

  character in the story who was born [TS]

  without legs and so she refuses to go [TS]

  after an angel because she wants to she [TS]

  wants people to accept their limitations [TS]

  and be happy with who they are living [TS]

  their life trying to come across a [TS]

  random event that will make their life [TS]

  better and then through a series of [TS]

  events she happens to be in an area [TS]

  where an angel appears and she gets her [TS]

  legs back and everyone's like oh now [TS]

  you're you know you're it kind of ruins [TS]

  your whole character and then later on [TS]

  she's an angel again and her she becomes [TS]

  blind but not only blind she becomes a [TS]

  creature who never had site so i thought [TS]

  that she lost her eyes but she never was [TS]

  she never had site uh-huh that's what [TS]

  that's a really weird story is right [TS]

  here stupid but I like weird stories [TS]

  good for you it's nothing like that I'm [TS]

  he reminds us of the short stories that [TS]

  he's written in this collection we were [TS]

  talking earlier about other kinds of [TS]

  short story collections and things like [TS]

  that again and again azimoff reference i [TS]

  think i read too much as them off of the [TS]

  child and my I was tainted [TS]

  I don't anything everything this is the [TS]

  future is all about psychohistory if not [TS]

  go history think of zero at wawa serious [TS]

  about Susan Calvin for president but the [TS]

  thing I was thinking about was his he [TS]

  had a short short collections but he [TS]

  cannot which were super short stories [TS]

  like a page and sometimes less and I [TS]

  love their sort of a regressive tendency [TS]

  is that you know there's sort of this is [TS]

  the reason short stories involve was [TS]

  that there were magazines too pretty [TS]

  short stories that they weren't there [TS]

  were the one amazing and all these great [TS]

  science fiction magazines for thriving [TS]

  in the thirties through the early [TS]

  sixties or seventies that the they were [TS]

  place people to write a certain length [TS]

  that so much they could afford to pay [TS]

  and people can better write that link [TS]

  that ring novel length and you know that [TS]

  being able to sell massive numbers of [TS]

  science fiction novels this great [TS]

  tradition of short stories [TS]

  and in science fiction but i love the [TS]

  fact that like people also write these [TS]

  crazy short things that are like you [TS]

  know and then the regressive parties [TS]

  like between twitter and i think was it [TS]

  wired magazine had a five-word fiction [TS]

  contest that which was great and it was [TS]

  one of them was about the future i have [TS]

  to go look it up with something about [TS]

  like time of us even five words told the [TS]

  whole story that time wraps around and [TS]

  it was like the best of the best one is [TS]

  is a four for sale [TS]

  baby shoes unused that doesn't take up [TS]

  on the anyway which is great which is [TS]

  for sale baby she's never worn [TS]

  yeah that's it that's it so that's all [TS]

  you need right six words explore 548 was [TS]

  a man of few words to yeah but I like [TS]

  that thing that you can have many [TS]

  honorary higher because we like short [TS]

  stories required short stories require a [TS]

  lot of inference like a novel you can [TS]

  stretch out and reckon you can learn the [TS]

  landscape and the language and have your [TS]

  brain rewired but a short story you have [TS]

  to have sort of one central concept you [TS]

  have to have to concede or some concedes [TS]

  you have to tell it and we fill in the [TS]

  rest you know that's I think what least [TS]

  it was talking about like when you take [TS]

  the short story two novel link all the [TS]

  stuff we filled in becomes explicit and [TS]

  you know becomes over and becomes less [TS]

  interesting so I love these super short [TS]

  swear it's like in like 200 words have [TS]

  told this entire universe see when i was [TS]

  in high school and college all I wrote [TS]

  short stories and when i first tried to [TS]

  write a novel it was fascinating because [TS]

  I I got to see it from the other [TS]

  direction when the short story you do [TS]

  want to be concentrated here's my idea [TS]

  I need to get from point A to point B [TS]

  i'm going to do all the pieces that will [TS]

  get me from point A to point B and i'm [TS]

  done where is it a novel it's like well [TS]

  okay I sort of know where I'm going [TS]

  there a whole lot of characters i'm [TS]

  going to detail all the all the steps [TS]

  and I was surprised how easily i went [TS]

  the longest story i had ever written was [TS]

  about 10,000 words or nine thousand [TS]

  words and you know and in 30 days i [TS]

  wrote 50,000 and the the novel ended up [TS]

  being a hundred and fifty thousand words [TS]

  so you know but I think that's the [TS]

  difference is if you go into it knowing [TS]

  you're writing that length your approach [TS]

  is very different and that's maybe where [TS]

  the expansions fall apart is that you [TS]

  know you're taking a short story premise [TS]

  and just kind of inflating it instead of [TS]

  saying no no this isn't that this is a [TS]

  whole different kind of thing [TS]

  uh-huh + 10 + 140 quatloos on the [TS]

  newcomer but he has the ideas for me [TS]

  really I mean he is you know he's he's [TS]

  clearly when you talk to other [TS]

  science-fiction writers and readers [TS]

  that's like Chang is the science fiction [TS]

  writers writer like he's the guy they [TS]

  all like oh its head sank because he [TS]

  writes so beautifully because he has [TS]

  every story writes is a different story [TS]

  even if there's some of the concept we [TS]

  talking common he doesn't seem to reuse [TS]

  central conceit even if there's any of [TS]

  the themes are big but the conceits are [TS]

  different so they're always like you [TS]

  read about people but it's like all back [TS]

  I like that kind of found an interview [TS]

  with him where he said he was asked if [TS]

  he has a novel in many said i don't know [TS]

  if i get an idea for one sure but I I [TS]

  don't ever expect to make a living being [TS]

  a writer so I'm happy to just sort of [TS]

  crank out a short story every now and [TS]

  then which is interesting he doesn't [TS]

  have any aspirations even though he's [TS]

  this you know really praised writer he's [TS]

  like yeah you know I'm not gonna I'm not [TS]

  gonna do that may just be that he knows [TS]

  that the volume that is required is not [TS]

  something he can do i don't know well [TS]

  some of some of us are Stephen King and [TS]

  some of us are touch and sometimes [TS]

  wonder if the if there is an inherent [TS]

  tension between telling a good story and [TS]

  exploring the limits of an idea within a [TS]

  storytelling context because for example [TS]

  i will argue with Harold Bloom even that [TS]

  Stephen King is a fantastic story [TS]

  terrible a short story on both in short [TS]

  story and even novelistic form and I [TS]

  think one of the reasons he is because [TS]

  he doesn't necessarily necessarily [TS]

  tackle big ideas he just strings [TS]

  together event event event event event [TS]

  so it in such a way where you want to [TS]

  find out what happens next [TS]

  whereas when you're exploring an idea [TS]

  it's a different well and here we go [TS]

  back to the beginning of the podcast is [TS]

  a different framework of perception [TS]

  because what you're trying to do is [TS]

  you're begging [TS]

  up against the sides of the idea and [TS]

  what about this oh there that happens [TS]

  but what about that oh that's how that [TS]

  carries out and you're taking the idea [TS]

  to its logical conclusion but that's not [TS]

  necessarily the same thing as crafting a [TS]

  linear narrative that is riveting that [TS]

  makes people want to find out what the [TS]

  next step is Harold Bloom up by the way [TS]

  also failed to show up for the podcast [TS]

  tonight so well he forgot his microphone [TS]

  just under sail [TS]

  I think he also failed Jim Scott were [TS]

  you gonna say something [TS]

  uh yes I was speaking you know thinking [TS]

  about novels as commerce i can imagine [TS]

  you know there's a lot of work to make a [TS]

  threat level after I've ever written but [TS]

  i can't imagine it is [TS]

  yeah easy but I didn't do it [TS]

  attention as we you know establish takes [TS]

  a long time to write so he would have to [TS]

  put a lot of effort into it and frankly [TS]

  i'm sure it would be a lovely novel but [TS]

  I don't think it would sell all that [TS]

  well just because it's not i don't you [TS]

  get the sense he's almost like a [TS]

  musician's musician right exactly what I [TS]

  don't think this is not gonna be a harry [TS]

  potter right so why don't we go here we [TS]

  go again once again you have the [TS]

  exploration of ideas versus the ability [TS]

  to craft a compelling narrative right [TS]

  it's drama that's what i'm going to wear [TS]

  section of it fun [TS]

  this actually reminds me a bit of the [TS]

  assume all of you already seen the Funny [TS]

  or Die Harry Met Sally sequel [TS]

  yes yes yes so they're actually reminds [TS]

  me like the ted chang around to be a [TS]

  little that it's like you know he could [TS]

  take these incredibly like beautiful sad [TS]

  subtle ideas and turn into a novel and [TS]

  then if you just have that one idea like [TS]

  the Empire's he could make a million [TS]

  like all I guess that won't work well it [TS]

  so i want to mention my to ted chang [TS]

  stories because we don't ask you I i I'm [TS]

  just sitting right over here Jason that [TS]

  social your favorite what are your [TS]

  favorite oh it doesn't matter now you've [TS]

  destroyed everything you ruin every [TS]

  muscle is not a more adult i'm going to [TS]

  go in my room probably pick bad ones [TS]

  anyway [TS]

  exactly actually what's funny as i am [TS]

  going to mention two stories that that [TS]

  none of you mentioned I was waiting for [TS]

  the inevitable somebody to mention these [TS]

  stories and nobody did one of them i [TS]

  mentioned earlier which is the merchant [TS]

  and the alchemist gate which I really [TS]

  like it's [TS]

  it's about a guy who goes into a shop in [TS]

  Baghdad and a man is there who has this [TS]

  arch and the arch will take you 20 years [TS]

  into the future and and theoretically it [TS]

  will take you 20 years into the past but [TS]

  only after it's been operational for 20 [TS]

  years [TS]

  logically but he came his son runs a [TS]

  shop in Cairo that also has an arch and [TS]

  that's been in operation for a while so [TS]

  you can go forward or backward in time [TS]

  and then the main character ends up well [TS]

  first there are amusing scenes where he [TS]

  sticks his arm through it and waves it [TS]

  doesn't come out the other side and all [TS]

  of that and they look through and they [TS]

  see who's on the other side it's like [TS]

  the guy but he's all 20 years older but [TS]

  he ends up his wife died 20 years before [TS]

  and a horrible accident and so he goes [TS]

  to Cairo and goes back through to 20 [TS]

  years in the past and then comes back to [TS]

  Baghdad and you know it is on one level [TS]

  it is just sort of how many different [TS]

  explorations can we have the idea of you [TS]

  know you can go forward or backward in [TS]

  time 20 years but the the way that it's [TS]

  done in this almost Arabian Nights sort [TS]

  of style and there are these these [TS]

  legendary tales that the man who runs [TS]

  the shop tells about different [TS]

  characters and the whole you know sort [TS]

  of horrible tragic things that happen to [TS]

  them when they went through into the [TS]

  past or the future just you know and i [TS]

  really i really like it it's actually [TS]

  not like a lot of his other stories and [TS]

  that it is this kind of fantastical you [TS]

  know a kind of amusing also somewhat [TS]

  tragic but also some parts of it are [TS]

  kind of funny and anyway I like it a lot [TS]

  I think I that stuck with me I I in fact [TS]

  i'd look back and realize that that was [TS]

  a ted chang story because I hadn't [TS]

  realized that but so I love that story I [TS]

  don't know if you guys read that but i [TS]

  love that story i read i just went today [TS]

  for the first time and I I thought it [TS]

  was it was a beautifully self-contained [TS]

  it's his take on arabian nights and yeah [TS]

  i really i really enjoyed that part of [TS]

  it with a time portal my only problem is [TS]

  why would the main character after he [TS]

  talks to the the shopkeeper any of the [TS]

  shopkeeper tells these stories where it [TS]

  didn't work out the way anyone thought [TS]

  it would [TS]

  and yet he still goes through and you [TS]

  know it's not going to work out the way [TS]

  he thinks is going to but then I saw you [TS]

  light went on and he had to push the [TS]

  button exactly is going to say but [TS]

  then this is this theme that touching [TS]

  explorers and that you don't really have [TS]

  free will and everything is predestined [TS]

  so no matter what you do it doesn't [TS]

  matter because it's going to happen [TS]

  anyway hope is the engine that pushes [TS]

  you forward but it has no impact on what [TS]

  happens when that everything ends [TS]

  tragically assistant his worldview the [TS]

  ted chang worldview so the other story [TS]

  that I really like is liking what you [TS]

  see a documentary Rosalia which is which [TS]

  is about the concept that they're there [TS]

  is this procedure that can be done where [TS]

  they put this little helmet on you and [TS]

  it basically it flips a switch in your [TS]

  brain and you can no longer you can no [TS]

  longer detect whether somebody is [TS]

  attractive or unattractive it's shallow [TS]

  helped em I suppose if we want to catch [TS]

  generally brother's involved along with [TS]

  the night at the roxbury sure but i'm [TS]

  going to raise the tone of his condition [TS]

  i really thank you and now you used to [TS]

  give us crazy words that are only in the [TS]

  dictionary and now you bring up movies [TS]

  like I've suffered brain damage and [TS]

  obviously they put on the little helmet [TS]

  this is like this is like the worst-case [TS]

  scenario when you read that Chang [TS]

  stories instead of an alternate your [TS]

  brain for the better with expanded [TS]

  consciousness and nonlinear time [TS]

  difference even to an aficionado of SNL [TS]

  movies it's so off so like what like [TS]

  what you see and it's on a college [TS]

  campus and there's some sort of politics [TS]

  about about this that there's just some [TS]

  of the students who went to schools I [TS]

  think of private schools where where [TS]

  this procedure was mandatory and the [TS]

  ideas imagine going to high school and [TS]

  having nobody be able to tell the pretty [TS]

  people from the average looking people [TS]

  from the ugly people that they're just [TS]

  all people and you have to judge them on [TS]

  their personality which is interesting [TS]

  you know in and of itself that is taken [TS]

  to this other level which is that at [TS]

  this college campus they are talking [TS]

  about making it mandatory or not and [TS]

  some of the kids who are coming from [TS]

  these private schools are debating [TS]

  whether they should have it turned off [TS]

  or not and there's the whole issue of [TS]

  this pace of asymmetry right where we're [TS]

  like this apparently with one of the [TS]

  main characters in it [TS]

  she's beautiful her boyfriend was in [TS]

  high school is unattractive but she [TS]

  loved him and didn't realize he was [TS]

  unattractive and she but she doesn't [TS]

  she's now sort of thrown in with the [TS]

  sharks because there are people there [TS]

  who are talking to her not because of [TS]

  her personality but because she's [TS]

  beautiful and she doesn't even realize [TS]

  she's beautiful and I just I thought [TS]

  that was a really fascinating [TS]

  exploration of that again that core idea [TS]

  which is what if there was this [TS]

  technology available to make what we [TS]

  would think would be like a perfect [TS]

  thing which is to eliminate judging [TS]

  people by their looks and then take it [TS]

  to the extreme of well it would really [TS]

  be that simple and they would actually [TS]

  be kind of a mess and there are lots of [TS]

  ramifications which is something science [TS]

  fiction does really well and I i really [TS]

  enjoyed that about it was interesting as [TS]

  its told in this documentary fashion and [TS]

  I was actually thinking that might make [TS]

  that might have actually made a good [TS]

  novel in the sense that you could have [TS]

  really expanded the world [TS]

  I suppose it wouldn't have been had the [TS]

  impact because it would have probably [TS]

  been more like I try to picture a nice [TS]

  sort of imagine it being like a Robert J [TS]

  Sawyer kind of novel there's another [TS]

  kind of you know overly expanded and [TS]

  more young adults and I'm not sure [TS]

  whether you know it would have worked [TS]

  but I could see it because you could [TS]

  talk about the you know the kids in high [TS]

  school and their relationship and then [TS]

  talk about them coming to college and [TS]

  and it's not told him that way it's [TS]

  holding this kind of quick cut soundbite [TS]

  documentary style of these little bits [TS]

  of clips later against each other [TS]

  the neat part of it too is that I'm one [TS]

  movie part is that he's got it's one of [TS]

  his more you more interesting narrative [TS]

  devices stories that uses but you have [TS]

  not just the issue of some of that [TS]

  technology to remove people's ability to [TS]

  you know see what they see how people [TS]

  really look for or against perceived [TS]

  beauty right that's the thing is yeah [TS]

  its preceding beauty comes with a great [TS]

  word what is the word is callie callie's [TS]

  what they call it read like Ali agnosia [TS]

  which i think is exactly well I think [TS]

  it's an actual thing that that there [TS]

  they can be you have a stroke or or [TS]

  something like that where where it just [TS]

  turns off this thing in your brain and [TS]

  then you can tell it's like the oliver [TS]

  sacks kind of thing but there's an [TS]

  actual story just like this that people [TS]

  have people have a prospect nausea which [TS]

  the inability to recognize faces right [TS]

  so you can see features but you can't [TS]

  just be all over South the man who [TS]

  mistook his wife for a hat and you was [TS]

  part of that part of that thing that's [TS]

  very interesting once once you know [TS]

  about prosopagnosia [TS]

  discover that some he thinks that five [TS]

  to ten percent of the population in the [TS]

  US has some form of it and once you read [TS]

  about prospect nosy it's like reading a [TS]

  touching story suddenly got metal ask [TS]

  the people you know who have it by how [TS]

  they behave towards you before you talk [TS]

  to them and after you start a [TS]

  conversation however that said if that [TS]

  said one of the things that's that's [TS]

  fascinating stories at the bit [TS]

  underlying so we're talking about one [TS]

  thing this cali going to turn on and off [TS]

  so that you can proceed whether other [TS]

  people are beautiful or not or what they [TS]

  look like I guess if you've received [TS]

  some perception of their attractiveness [TS]

  I then at some point store you find out [TS]

  that this this consortium that's trying [TS]

  to advertise trying to lobby against the [TS]

  college and in cali has developed this [TS]

  new even more horrible technology that [TS]

  allows them to directly influence people [TS]

  through like my Croatoan so they [TS]

  probably right add at the college that [TS]

  leaves everyone voting against turning [TS]

  kalyan as a mandatory thing and then [TS]

  it's discovered that the the advertising [TS]

  firm is just horrible new thing that [TS]

  never needs to get total ban against [TS]

  because it will allow you know every [TS]

  dictator in the world to absolutely rule [TS]

  all the people in it [TS]

  yeah because it bypasses your rational [TS]

  brain goes straight to the stuff that [TS]

  you're hardwired to recognize attractive [TS]

  or influenza 00 so like the route all [TS]

  the the root language that we speak in [TS]

  our brains strange yeah strange attach a [TS]

  story all that the thing I was gonna say [TS]

  by the way is so there is a real there's [TS]

  a story of one of our sexes of [TS]

  nonfiction bits about a woman who has [TS]

  problems with magnolia and chief [TS]

  she's a beautiful woman has no idea she [TS]

  is now a model i believe and she falls [TS]

  in love the guy she was in love with [TS]

  this origin is a clown because feature [TS]

  so he is this feature so malleable and [TS]

  broadly he's apparently a really goofy [TS]

  looking guy who cares I'm like is [TS]

  awesome but why is that awesome you [TS]

  start to examine the reasons for it all [TS]

  becomes extremely convoluted perhaps [TS]

  it's because I look like a clown i'm [TS]

  wearing a red button nose right now as [TS]

  we speak [TS]

  Crossing your body shoes whenever the [TS]

  other that's right maybe we all say you [TS]

  know it's all unfair you should judge [TS]

  what's on the inside man [TS]

  neta and that story it's like well the [TS]

  grade but it kind of doesn't you know [TS]

  it's not so simple and if you do that [TS]

  then there is the flip side which is [TS]

  they that that woman gives a speech and [TS]

  everybody's like hey [TS]

  she's right we should do what she says [TS]

  and it turns out that they're they're [TS]

  all being influenced the other way so [TS]

  but before we wrap up I wanted to give [TS]

  everybody a chance if they if there's [TS]

  something out there that they that's a [TS]

  short story not by ted chang that they [TS]

  want to to mention a favorite or a [TS]

  favorite author who does short stories [TS]

  or potpourri really now it's now's the [TS]

  chance [TS]

  anybody have anything i'm going to [TS]

  recommend David are you sec um it that [TS]

  because everybody should read we were [TS]

  out of our minds with joy and he does [TS]

  have a short story collection on I would [TS]

  also recommend reading James Morrow's [TS]

  Bible stories for adults but again read [TS]

  it when you're not in a bad mood and on [TS]

  final guys that is that because it's [TS]

  going to put you in a bad mood or [TS]

  rebellious oh yeah okay yes um [TS]

  there-there was married when you're [TS]

  headed toward a bad mood now they're [TS]

  fantastic stories I mean he has a [TS]

  beautiful story about a couple that [TS]

  inadvertently gives birth to a planet [TS]

  and it is one of it is one of the [TS]

  sweetest stories i have ever read about [TS]

  what makes a family and what people do [TS]

  for their children and and what it means [TS]

  to have to let the child go and you know [TS]

  it's I'd like to before I had children [TS]

  and now that I have a daughter and I [TS]

  reread the story it was a big lump in [TS]

  the throat moment so but again there are [TS]

  some remarkably better stories in there [TS]

  so you kind of have to watch what you're [TS]

  doing um and I'm going to also put in a [TS]

  plug for an old-school story collection [TS]

  that I I like to read whenever I'm [TS]

  feeling perversely in the mood for [TS]

  pickup which is a william gibson's [TS]

  collection burning chrome hmm good stuff [TS]

  in there there are there are a lot of [TS]

  good stories in there i especially like [TS]

  the one about and event against if it [TS]

  sounds depressing but it's not really i [TS]

  especially like the one about the people [TS]

  who have to bring back who have to bring [TS]

  back the astronauts who were picked up [TS]

  and abducted by aliens on rapid olga and [TS]

  her Stoga olga and her seashell but yeah [TS]

  I would if you're looking for sci-fi [TS]

  horror story collections start with [TS]

  those [TS]

  alright that's a fascinating story i [TS]

  forgot i dread that reached I forget [TS]

  that skips in yeah yeah no it'sit's [TS]

  there they're very much a product of the [TS]

  eighties when you take a look at oh it's [TS]

  Soviet technology and and the perception [TS]

  of [TS]

  of how things are going to shake out and [TS]

  of course the Japanese are going to run [TS]

  the world but at the same time a lot of [TS]

  the ideas that he follows from point A [TS]

  to point B i find very timeless and [TS]

  interesting to look at [TS]

  so then what about you I was gonna [TS]

  recommend something any more broadly [TS]

  which is the James Tiptree awards the [TS]

  it's a website tiptree dot RG and as [TS]

  I've probably spoke about incest least [TS]

  one of my favorite favorite authors and [TS]

  eventually will organize enough of us [TS]

  with some agenda to read tipsy and talk [TS]

  about her work has her work and the the [TS]

  awards are given two stories and novels [TS]

  that represents something of her which [TS]

  is not just like gender bending but [TS]

  things that bring up and twist subvert [TS]

  explore issues of of the nature of [TS]

  gender and so they're not all in there [TS]

  what's great is the ones they pick that [TS]

  up i think three anthologies and they [TS]

  also give awards have used to have [TS]

  winners each year they produced looks [TS]

  like three anthologies and some other [TS]

  stuff that comes out and that stories [TS]

  are just sometimes excerpts from novels [TS]

  sometimes stories and their marvelous [TS]

  stuff that it's it's not pedagogical [TS]

  it's not like in the world where [TS]

  everyone has three genders and why it's [TS]

  all really subtle interesting things [TS]

  there's one that I remember in [TS]

  particular been trying to figure out the [TS]

  name of it that some of these funny [TS]

  things I it's um I believe it's by a [TS]

  government next fold [TS]

  it's a story called looking through lace [TS]

  and when you read this story you think [TS]

  that it'sit's again about linguistics [TS]

  about linguists going to other planets [TS]

  and the roof nest of all is the name and [TS]

  it's um what's great about the story is [TS]

  this woman lands this planet there's [TS]

  this old cranky linguist has been there [TS]

  for a long time sort of mastered it but [TS]

  like the research university back home [TS]

  is like all his work so she goes out [TS]

  there you find she finds out he's [TS]

  entirely entirely supported the research [TS]

  not just by being a man but by entirely [TS]

  putting it through the filter of his own [TS]

  gender bias and it's a beautiful story [TS]

  and you're reading along certain like Oh [TS]

  over the whole thing just flipped over [TS]

  in my head [TS]

  and now it all becomes clear like a [TS]

  language becomes clear the culture this [TS]

  guy's bigotry and there's a great little [TS]

  kicker at the analyst literally else [TS]

  kicker is a spoiler and for it so i [TS]

  recommend those collections at all all [TS]

  available libraries from the last year's [TS]

  know that in the Miles Vorkosigan books [TS]

  there is a third ginger which is [TS]

  actually handled very interestingly the [TS]

  the kind of in interim gender character [TS]

  so it's out there and what ursula leguin [TS]

  left hand of darkness is all about [TS]

  left hand of darkness is all about [TS]

  a strange kind of gender mixings and [TS]

  merging Scott you have some short story [TS]

  thoughts for us i don't really read [TS]

  short stories all that much i am more of [TS]

  a I like to read novels but i do stovl [TS]

  matinee I have an attention span [TS]

  it's true I like introduction span is [TS]

  far too like the the offer to land all [TS]

  out for me so don't have to think that's [TS]

  the fake right [TS]

  can you wanted all spelled out for me [TS]

  I'm a single man at length with time on [TS]

  my hands [TS]

  yeah i will mention a short story that i [TS]

  mentioned in a previous podcast that did [TS]

  in fact have an effect on me and then it [TS]

  turned into a novel which wasn't very [TS]

  good [TS]

  I i think as when I was a nightfall [TS]

  no I went through and as warehouse phase [TS]

  where i read i want to read everything [TS]

  you wrote that you wrote something like [TS]

  forty thousand books but sometimes right [TS]

  right with one hand a manuscript while [TS]

  typing a manuscript with the other takes [TS]

  you there's nothing you could [TS]

  here's the thing you can say about being [TS]

  a dedicated as laughs reader is i have [TS]

  read as much as any man is true so I [TS]

  read all the foundation stuff and the [TS]

  whatever the robot detective stories and [TS]

  nightfall without read both the short [TS]

  story which was fantastic and then the [TS]

  the novel that he did with opportunity [TS]

  silverberg which was less fantastic but [TS]

  the basic idea is it's not a planet that [TS]

  that is has three sons so it's never [TS]

  really night except for one time every [TS]

  thousand years or something like that [TS]

  and so the the as you might tell by the [TS]

  title it is set the night that like the [TS]

  right before this night falls and and [TS]

  society just freaks up to check it out [TS]

  it's the Stars my god the stars [TS]

  exactly they're pretty alright here's my [TS]

  eye i have a bunch so I'm gonna go [TS]

  really quick one is a short story that I [TS]

  loved so much when I read it in analog [TS]

  magazine like [TS]

  twenty years ago that i still have that [TS]

  issue of analog magazine called [TS]

  hindsight by Eric Iverson but that I [TS]

  believe that's actually like harry [TS]

  turtledove over or something it's a it's [TS]

  a pseudonym but it's a great short story [TS]

  yeah in that the the premises that time [TS]

  travel has been intended and people have [TS]

  come back in time to the fifties to the [TS]

  highlight of of science fiction short [TS]

  story writing and the end the time [TS]

  travelers are all science fiction [TS]

  writers so that there's a woman who is [TS]

  writing actually you like this [TS]

  Glenn she's writing as a man because she [TS]

  can't write as a woman and she's riding [TS]

  the short stories and nobody's heard of [TS]

  her and one science fiction writer of [TS]

  the time the and actually two of them [TS]

  they track her down and the thing that I [TS]

  love about it is actually that there's [TS]

  something really pure of a scene of [TS]

  somebody from at the time the present [TS]

  day trying to explain bits of of history [TS]

  and culture from our present-day to [TS]

  somebody in the past i love that it's [TS]

  that same idea of like how would I [TS]

  explain a freeway to george washington [TS]

  right [TS]

  how would I explain an airplane to [TS]

  Abraham Lincoln they don't have to be [TS]

  President but I think about the [TS]

  president's I don't know what there's a [TS]

  great time the dancing bug cartoon in [TS]

  which the a very lazy character goes [TS]

  back in time not his recent spate of [TS]

  those and try and says Thomas Jefferson [TS]

  I'm from the future has proved it says [TS]

  behold this bottle of carbonated liquid [TS]

  that is seal the retains its carbonation [TS]

  like I believe us its ok so in hindsight [TS]

  that the to the real killer moments are [TS]

  he she pops out of a VHS tape this is [TS]

  how long ago this was written [TS]

  it's about time travel but VHS VHS tape [TS]

  of star wars in and they don't know what [TS]

  it is but as they used to destroy [TS]

  describes what she's doing you realize [TS]

  it's a it's a tape player and she [TS]

  presses play and Star Wars comes on and [TS]

  their first thought is oh my god it's in [TS]

  color and every second and the second [TS]

  thought is is that Alec Guinness which I [TS]

  don't mind [TS]

  I love and then and then when they're [TS]

  talking and she reveals because they're [TS]

  all kind of offended that she's she's [TS]

  not actually coming up with clever idea [TS]

  she's stealing ideas from her past and [TS]

  that's their future and and she says [TS]

  well that's not entirely true [TS]

  some of them are mind yeah they're like [TS]

  yeah you know that Ted offensive story [TS]

  and the Watergate story we knew those [TS]

  could be true actually [TS]

  anyway so I love that story it's just [TS]

  this little short story but I love it's [TS]

  just pushes all the right buttons for me [TS]

  about like time travel and showing [TS]

  historical figures things from our time [TS]

  and how cool that would be i want to [TS]

  mention uh which already did the [TS]

  gardener does noise does well whatever [TS]

  it is your best science fiction [TS]

  anthology is highly recommended comes [TS]

  out of every July lots of great stuff [TS]

  and that's where I've read a lot of a [TS]

  short story writers we talked about [TS]

  hearing it in that anthology it's really [TS]

  well done hee-hee-hee preface it with [TS]

  this kind of ridiculous and boring of [TS]

  summation of the year where he like [TS]

  lists everything that was ever released [TS]

  in any medium in sci-fi which is just [TS]

  skip it but I i really love the stories [TS]

  and then last because I cannot believe [TS]

  this person's name we have talked for an [TS]

  hour about sci-fi short stories and they [TS]

  haven't mentioned this person's name [TS]

  Harlan Ellison for God's sake [TS]

  whoo-hoo Harlan is a new channels AFC me [TS]

  ask you this incredibly nice because [TS]

  Oeneus I don't buy my one of my junior [TS]

  high [TS]

  english teachers who was a sci-fi not in [TS]

  a renaissance fair person she told us [TS]

  the story about in this isn't the 80,000 [TS]

  your eye or late seventies release in [TS]

  that she really is anyway she said in [TS]

  the seventies like Harlan Ellison was [TS]

  divided to eugene oregon where I grew up [TS]

  and he was staying with his family and [TS]

  he was so profoundly foul but the [TS]

  parents couldn't have met their dinner [TS]

  tables she had him over to dinner [TS]

  because he couldn't sit at a table with [TS]

  chairs they say life is nasty brutish [TS]

  insured and so is Harlan Ellison but [TS]

  that all said that guy that guy can [TS]

  write and that guy can make sure it's [TS]

  the right and some of the most amazing [TS]

  and affecting stories it's not only the [TS]

  famous older stuff like repent Harlequin [TS]

  said the tick-tock man [TS]

  or just to drift off the aisles of [TS]

  language yeah you know the deathbed [TS]

  stories but i really love the shattered [TS]

  a collection including saturday and [TS]

  paladin lost our which were made into [TS]

  new twilight zone episodes that were [TS]

  actually pretty good but uh his book I [TS]

  think it's angry candy which is one of [TS]

  his recent one of it one of his more [TS]

  sort of latter day collections some some [TS]

  amazing stuff including a story called [TS]

  the function of dream sleep that will [TS]

  just rip your heart out and another [TS]

  story that when both of my kids pass [TS]

  through the age of five [TS]

  my wife and I spent an entire year [TS]

  talking about which is a story called [TS]

  Jeff ds5 which is about the kids that [TS]

  never ages [TS]

  Jeff ds5 he's always five seriously you [TS]

  know if you haven't read the short [TS]

  stories of Harlan Ellison for pete's [TS]

  sake just you know find find one find [TS]

  one of the collections and and buy it [TS]

  and I'm telling you you won't be [TS]

  disappointed because not only is he an [TS]

  amazing stylist but some of the ideas [TS]

  and some of those surgeries are so crazy [TS]

  and it's all kind of magic realism it's [TS]

  it you know II but it's it's amazing [TS]

  stuff so he is he's not a best short [TS]

  story writer i have ever read now you [TS]

  know also that this is not a [TS]

  little-known fact this is a well-known [TS]

  fact I will state in case of our [TS]

  listeners underwear is that Harlan [TS]

  Ellison does not revive so all the [TS]

  stories were written extensively in a [TS]

  single draught and never revised yeah [TS]

  I'm not sure I so he could believe that [TS]

  but claimed he claims a lot of things [TS]

  that he wants but but but he has his [TS]

  famous only have written for having [TS]

  written he used to do this thing where [TS]

  he would write short stories in windows [TS]

  of bookstores [TS]

  yeah and that he would write them and [TS]

  then that would be it and I do believe [TS]

  that but those aren't his best stories [TS]

  which is why i don't believe that he [TS]

  doesn't revise them but and he's he's [TS]

  getting up there and and he's he wrote [TS]

  something last year that basically said [TS]

  I'm gonna die soon and I'm not quite [TS]

  sure whether that's true or whether he's [TS]

  just you know what got a complex about [TS]

  it but you know he he's got enough stuff [TS]

  in print now I think all of his stuff is [TS]

  back in print in fact now I bought it [TS]

  all when it was all in used bookstores [TS]

  and of course now it's all back in print [TS]

  but lot of great collections angry candy [TS]

  shattered a desperate stories lots of [TS]

  good stuff out there and if you want to [TS]

  see more of Harlan Ellison the man can [TS]

  check out Harlan Ellison dreams with [TS]

  sharp teeth which is a documentary [TS]

  oh my god him available on the character [TS]

  is a character there's also there's also [TS]

  a website run by other people i think [TS]

  this was designed not just designed in [TS]

  1996 what I think designed in a previous [TS]

  epic like before the wedding yesterday [TS]

  designed it thinking the web might work [TS]

  this way [TS]

  yes it's bizarre alice in wonderland you [TS]

  mean yes it's very straight and she sold [TS]

  his desk and get oh yeah it's it's a [TS]

  it's he said he's a issues i actually i [TS]

  actually bought the the city on the edge [TS]

  of forever the star trek episode that he [TS]

  wrote i bought the book it's the the his [TS]

  original screenplay which is which you [TS]

  can see why they changed it just like [TS]

  there's a drug dealers on the enterprise [TS]

  that is why huh [TS]

  but but he's got a whole story about [TS]

  getting screwed by the man it in having [TS]

  his story changed and the funny thing [TS]

  about it is that in the process of of [TS]

  writing this special edition with all [TS]

  these these comments he discovered the [TS]

  Dorothy Fontana who was one of the [TS]

  script of just four star trek and a good [TS]

  friend of Harlan's for all this time [TS]

  she's the one who rewrote his episode go [TS]

  ahead and he he's almost all most [TS]

  fortified not possible to actually be [TS]

  mortified if you're Harlan else but [TS]

  almost mortified that the person that [TS]

  he's been saying I don't know who would [TS]

  hack destroyed my episode is this person [TS]

  who was his friend for the you know for [TS]

  the past 20 years and she basically says [TS]

  well of course I didn't tell you it was [TS]

  me you know but so anyway it is possible [TS]

  that by booking his name is possible he [TS]

  will listen you were looking for this [TS]

  podcast and call us up angrily which [TS]

  will be able to us know again [TS]

  well can I wanted to actually mention [TS]

  another at a different editor who's [TS]

  collections of short stories are worth [TS]

  reading who I'd forgotten about until [TS]

  you guys are talking a few minutes ago [TS]

  ok song with the past mike resnick be [TS]

  alright with mike resnick back in the [TS]

  eighties and nineties pulled together a [TS]

  bunch of different collections called [TS]

  alternate outlaws alternate heroes or [TS]

  alternate tyrants my favorite that [TS]

  collections actually alternate Kennedy's [TS]

  and as you can imagine all of these [TS]

  collections are centered around [TS]

  historical syfy we're basically someone [TS]

  says what if X happens instead of Y and [TS]

  then takes its logical conclusion such [TS]

  as what if mother Theresa became a [TS]

  gun-wielding bank bank robber on the [TS]

  awesome the alternate Kennedy's is my [TS]

  favorite collection just because you [TS]

  know it [TS]

  most of the stories take place in a [TS]

  fairly recent American epic so if you're [TS]

  moderately familiar with American [TS]

  history you can enjoy the riffing such [TS]

  as when the Kennedys become a beatles [TS]

  s-band oh yeah and and you figure out [TS]

  which one is which one is the John which [TS]

  one is the gorge and so on and so forth [TS]

  but residents also funny a second he [TS]

  does write his own stories he alternates [TS]

  between really funny things and his [TS]

  fictitious Karen yoga series which is [TS]

  based very heavily on the key you [TS]

  culture of Africa but as an editor he's [TS]

  quite gifted because he has a very very [TS]

  deft hand between heavy big idea [TS]

  typewriters and writers were really just [TS]

  going to walk a long way for a punchline [TS]

  and if you like any alternate history at [TS]

  all [TS]

  he's a good bed if you want to read [TS]

  science fiction that again vacillates [TS]

  between small ideas and big ideas you [TS]

  know he's a good bet if you want to read [TS]

  alternate history about Teddy Roosevelt [TS]

  he writes a lot of that to you know I [TS]

  right and i think mike resnick doesn't [TS]

  get mentioned enough and he's good at [TS]

  what he does [TS]

  so you have to throw out one more one [TS]

  more Damon night because in opposition [TS]

  Harlan Ellison tonight was a lovely man [TS]

  and great everybody and terrific [TS]

  short-story writer and he's the one [TS]

  behind to serve man which often and [TS]

  twilight zone episode and became [TS]

  simpsons parodies and has been run so [TS]

  many times you there are so many [TS]

  versions of to serve man but he is [TS]

  responsible for that mean that story [TS]

  greater story writer with he also tried [TS]

  to advance you know get cutting-edge [TS]

  like what the seventies into the [TS]

  eighties about what science fiction was [TS]

  by editing tons of anthologies of really [TS]

  sometimes very difficult to read stuff [TS]

  as well and just to bug Jason I wanted [TS]

  to our school with [TS]

  I i went to high school with his service [TS]

  of course because I know everybody or [TS]

  something that everybody could sub but [TS]

  you didn't night Kate wilhelmy his wife [TS]

  and Verve Angela Eugene Oregon with [TS]

  power and i'll offer new venture going [TS]

  to podcast and we will that's one of my [TS]

  favorite books is the is the marooned in [TS]

  real-time across peace war that little [TS]

  bobble oh yeah I love that I love that [TS]

  stuff [TS]

  no the wolf creatures in the end and on [TS]

  and i'll toss out one last one which is [TS]

  new legends which is a great bear [TS]

  actually was the co-editor of and and [TS]

  most notably because it's got a story by [TS]

  Greg bear called Wang's carpets in it [TS]

  which is one of the most mind-blowing [TS]

  stories i have ever read and the scary [TS]

  thing about it's basically like a world [TS]

  where this is matt of like algae that [TS]

  floats on the surface of the above a [TS]

  notion and it turns out that encoded in [TS]

  the fluctuations of the vibrations of [TS]

  the algae is an entire world [TS]

  it's like holographic and and it's funny [TS]

  because this is actually physicists [TS]

  think this might actually be the way our [TS]

  universe works is that we're all kind of [TS]

  wiggling things on a hologram [TS]

  two-dimensional thingy I I I are not a [TS]

  physicist but i did not descend from LG [TS]

  but it's far it's no no you are encoded [TS]

  your encoded in a holographic virtual [TS]

  reality in cold outside alg it's okay [TS]

  it's just one of the stories were like [TS]

  whoa where is this and a new legends is [TS]

  all about that it's like crazy sort of [TS]

  based on the cutting edge of of science [TS]

  and you have 10 years ago now but anyway [TS]

  so there's a lot read that we have a lot [TS]

  here and there's a lot more to read and [TS]

  i hope if we've done nothing else we've [TS]

  we've encouraged everybody out there to [TS]

  to read some short stories whether they [TS]

  are stories by ted chang or others not [TS]

  see what i did there I see I say reading [TS]

  a novel them and/or don't and listen to [TS]

  Scott that that's your other way that [TS]

  you could go that way [TS]

  I'm sure our next book club edition will [TS]

  will be based on a novel although we [TS]

  don't actually have anything to announce [TS]

  about what it will be so check the [TS]

  Twitter go follow the incomparable on [TS]

  Twitter and will tell you they're all [TS]

  right so thank you this was great and I [TS]

  really appreciate all [TS]

  the contributions I I you know short [TS]

  stories are not they don't get a lot of [TS]

  love but I felt a lot of love on this [TS]

  podcast which is which is good so I'd [TS]

  like to thank my guests [TS]

  Scott McNulty thank you for staying up [TS]

  with us I'll keep it brief but I thought [TS]

  you liked novels many levels of how many [TS]

  ways sitting them go and Fleischmann [TS]

  thank you for bringing us down with your [TS]

  you know terrible Farrelly Brothers and [TS]

  and Saturday Night Live references you [TS]

  lowbrow guy you gotta mix it up can [TS]

  always be the Ivy League and and Lisa [TS]

  Schmeisser thank you for actually [TS]

  letting some class and dignity of the [TS]

  proceedings for once I like how it's for [TS]

  once I suppose the rest of times on the [TS]

  rest of the Bulgarian no no no it's just [TS]

  not gonna have to the ER usually the [TS]

  book club and you actually class up the [TS]

  joint [TS]

  well thank you lie i hope i can join us [TS]

  again soon for different so until next [TS]

  time this is jason snow you're hosting [TS]

  comfortable thanks for listing i hope [TS]

  you read some of the things we tell you [TS]

  we'll see you next time [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  although if you're if you're um if your [TS]

  car is crushed by Thor's hammer [TS]

  it's not covered because that's an act [TS]

  of god [TS]