Posts Tagged ‘Rick’

PODCAST:

S4E12M – Hogfather (BBC miniseries)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we take our final curve around the Disc this holiday with former co-host, Richard Mehl a/ka/ Rick, and his wife, Discworld fan, Heather Mehl! 

Right out from under the flapping fins of the giant space faring sea turtle we were reminded by Rick just how problematic and conspiratorial he feels about BBC adaptations. Heather couldn’t disagree more and this episode got increasingly bonkers as it gained momentum coming to a conclusion as zany as its subject. Ryan rolled with the dips and dives holding steadfast and predictably milquetoast in his appreciation for visual works coming out of Britain.  

Despite any misgivings, there was a general consensus that even with, perhaps, a more limited budget and means, this miniseries managed to squeeze in a generous amount of the plethora of satirical detail typical to a Discworld book (Some even mentioned the possibility of repeat viewings for the future!). So, please, kindly enjoy this rip-roaring discussion that should at least bring as much eye-rolling and smirking as it did derision and malcontent.*

-Ryan

*Note: For podcast context, these episodes were recorded chronologically prior to the “Second Variety” and “Screamers” episodes Rick was on this season which were released before this one.

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (2006)” by Vadim Jean (Michelle Dockery)

Ryan: 4 Stars “…a lovingly crafted live-action adaptation of an excellent book, which takes the time to incorporate and translate all the nuances of Pratchett’s multi-faceted satire and philosophical humor into a visual medium…

Rick: -27 Stars “…I thought it was distorted, filtered, sanitized for the capitalist world, sort of paying tribute to the overlords, the producers, the BBC; and I can’t believe Terry Pratchett allowed this version of his story to be broadcast…

Heather: 4 Stars “…a surprising amount of detail for what they were trying to encompass in the movie…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

In this episode we talked about how the author was involved with the production of the miniseries. The screenplay credits him with having it “Mucked About By” him. In addition to that he made an on screen cameo with a character he named “Joshua Isme” who works for a store titled “Toys Is Me.”

The 45 minute documentary about the making of “Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather” entitled “The Whole Hog,” can be seen here”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfkM5Z1ncJ4. As part of promotional efforts for the release of this first live action adaption of a Discworld book the character of Death was enlisted to do a parody video which helped viewers get more familiar with the author’s fantasy world setting. These 13 videos were comprise the “Twelve Days of Hogswatch” which can be viewed at this playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1WfvgLecJE&list=PLs0Ii_i8714OCtpVhB3of-49EIm_Gcorq.

Lastly, the other podcast mentioned by Ryan was an episode of “The Sewers of Paris” with guest Scott Flashheart called “How to be Awesome (Ep. 133-Terry Pratchett)”: http://www.mattbaume.com/sewers-shownotes/2017/9/27/scott.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E12B – Hogfather (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we close out the year with a satirical and ponderous fantasy holiday classic! Joining me on this third time round the Disc is former co-host, Richard Mehl a/ka/ Rick, and his witty wife, Heather Mehl, who’s no stranger to this series herself! 

Ryan focused the discussion heavily on the central themes explored by the author concerning myths and beliefs and what they mean to humanity. Heather preferred a lighter more entertaining read of this many-layered work and enjoyed the sharp agency and proactive nature of the female protagonist. While Rick struggled with the protagonist’s motivations, he did enjoy poignant moments of reflection among the lower class members of society on the Disc.  

Overall, Heather, found this novel in keeping with the general high-standard she has experienced while reading other books in the series. Ryan and Rick agreed with their more limited knowledge of Discworld. Like others in the series, no prior read is necessary, and this one is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way into the famous Discworld books.*

-Ryan

*Note: For podcast context, these episodes were recorded chronologically prior to the “Second Variety” and “Screamers” episodes Rick was on this season which were released before this one.

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Hogfather (1996)” by Terry Pratchett

Ryan: 5 Stars “…Densely wrapped satire cleverly tucked in around a holiday plot loaf of good cheer, and baked with a robust premise which is both refreshingly poignant and wildly genius—it’s an important Hogswatch on the Disc this season—mind the bells—Glingleglingleglingle!!!…

Rick: 4 Stars “…like being on a wild and crazy sleigh ride through this sort of kaleidoscopic nether land of Discworld…

Heather: 5 Stars “…having read more than the both of you put together, of his books, I would say it was very typical…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

In this episode we discussed how the author was reluctant to have his Discworld books adapted for film because he wanted to retain control over the quality and also the merchandising rights. In 2006 Hogfather became the first live action adaptation followed by The Colour of Magic in 2008 and Going Postal in 2010 (both covered previously on this podcast in episodes S2E2 and S1E8 respectively). However, prior to all these there were two animated mini series released in 1997 for Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music preceded by a 1996 short entitled “Welcome to Discworld.” All three feature the voice talent of an actor frequently mentioned on this podcast in the role of Death: Christopher Lee.

Among things that the author did license were a nifty and collectible 3-D “Unseen University Cut-Out Book” in 2006 and “Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather The Illustrated Screenplay” in 2009. Even though he considered his fantasy world un-mapable he did eventually help create some with the Discworld Map” in 1995, “The Compleat Ankh-Morpork” city guide in 2014, and “The Compleat Discworld Atlas: Of General & Descriptive Geography Which Together With New Maps and Gazetteer Forms a Compleat Guide to Our World & All It Encompasses in 2015. As an aside, we’ve mentioned before that there are fan-created reading maps for readers to show various ways into the impressive catalog of stories which encompass this series. If you’re looking to explore, but don’t know where to start here is a an io9 article titled “How To Read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series, In One Handy Chart” by Risa Mira on that subject: https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-to-read-terry-pratchetts-discworld-series-in-one-h-1567312812 and an updated graphic here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld#/media/File:Discworld_Reading_Order_Guide_3.0_(cropped).jpg.

Pratchett himself enjoyed video games and licensed off parts of Discworld over the years for such use. The earliest iteration was a faithful adaptation of “The Colour of Magic” in 1986 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Colour_of_Magic_(video_game)) that came in the form of a text adventure computer game (Here’s a YouTube video walk-through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw54uOykjN4). In 2006 this work was adapted again for mobile play as an isometric action game (Here is a link for a short synopsis and screenshots for Moby games: https://www.mobygames.com/game/discworld-the-colour-of-magic and one for Pocketgammer: https://www.pocketgamer.com/articles/001084/discworld-the-colour-of-magic/).

A series of point-and-click adventure games followed with Eric Idle as Rincewind in the 1995 “Discworld (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_(video_game)) and in 1997 “Discworld II: Missing Presumed…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_II:_Missing_Presumed…!%3F). Another adventure game focused on a private investigator from the Disc was released in 1999 called “Discworld Noir” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_Noir).

That all said, the earliest of earliest Discworld games was a text based multi-user dungeon game designed by fans and released in 1991: Discworld MUD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_MUD). This game still exists and you can play it here on its official website: http://discworld.starturtle.net/lpc/. Also, in a random retro shout-out on the show Rick mentioned one of the very earliest text adventure games that existed, the cult classic, “Zork” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zork)!

For more info on Discworld games you can check out an FAQ at the L-Space Web (A Terry Pratchett/Discworld website): http://www.lspace.org/games/discworld/faq.html#part1.2. When interviewed somewhat recently the author’s daughter remarked about the possibility of some of the old games being re-released for retro enjoyment, but the prospects looked murky. Check out that article “The Original Discworld Games Are Stuck In Limbo” by Alex Walker for Kotaku here: https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/05/the-original-discworld-games-are-stuck-in-ip-limbo/.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During the episode we mentioned different documentaries that Pratchett was involved with at the end of his life concerning Alzheimer’s and assisted death. Those are as follows:

Lastly, we talked at length about Death’s speech to his adopted granddaughter Susan about the importance of myth and fantasy and believing in “the little lies” to be human, in order “to be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.” A clip of this speech from the television adaptation we will be reviewing in the next episode can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUt6sPXQQus.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E12P – Preview Episode (Hogfather)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Hogfather (1996)” by Terry Pratchett

“Who would want to harm Discworld’s most beloved icon? Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless—and oddly familiar—universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly, old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there’s something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins’ Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork’s rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld’s entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man’s vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death’s level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it. (from Goodreads.com)

*** * ***

“Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (2006)” by Vadim Jean (Michelle Dockery)

“From the mind of Terry Pratchett comes “Hogfather,” a fantastic miniseries set in a parallel universe. It’s the night before Hogswatch on Discworld, and the Hogfather has gone missing, in a plot by the evil Auditors to destroy human belief and make the planet their own. Death takes Hogfather’s place to deliver presents to all the children at the mid-winter festival.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E8M – Screamers (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we dissect this Peter Weller enticing Canadian-American production of a Philip K. Dick short story with a screenplay that originated from the writer of the first “Alien” movie. I am rejoined by former co-host Richard Mehl a/k/a Rick for another dueling duo of discussion as we fight our way through the miasma of psychological distrust, shock, action/adventure, and science fiction horror.

Ryan enjoyed the film, but expressed that some of the changes made lost the claustrophobic feel that heightened the suspense of uncertainty and distrust which were at the hallmark-heart of what he enjoyed about the short story. Rick liked the visual clarity the film brought to the narrative, but was more engaged with how much of the underlying elements were used elsewhere across the filmic landscape.

While Rick and Ryan were both impressed with the level of special effects employed during film, Rick felt that some of this effort was unnecessary or wasted. That said, nobody questioned the high-quality contribution made by the unflappable Peter Weller (Rick even deigned to delight us with a brief impression!). 

So, suit up for this shorter NDIOS journey and don’t forget your evil-robot-warding-tab while you join us on this mid 90’s exploration of robotic evolution and mind game trickery! 

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“Screamers (1995)” by Christian Duguay (Peter Weller) (movie)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…This lesser known b-movie effort falls just short of cult status tracking decently with its fun PKD source material, but there are enough choice bits for science fiction fans to enjoy…

Rick: 3 Stars “…a top Canadian production and not really a b-movie, but, yeah, it had some memorable moments in it and I think they really capitalized on some of the imagery from the story ‘Second Variety’…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Not mentioned during the episode, the website www.philipkdickfans.com has an article pulling together information about the originating short story (Second Variety) as well as quotes from the author himself concerning the story and his feelings about the original script written by Dan O’Bannon (who also wrote the script for the movie “Alien“). You can read this short article here: http://www.philipkdickfans.com/mirror/websites/pkdweb/short_stories/Second%20Variety.htm. Within this web article is a quote from PKD: “My grand theme — who is human and who only appears (masquerading) as human? — emerges most fully.” The author talks about the difficulties of exploring this theme and how he kept coming back to it. This quote is from the original magazine publication of the short story (Space Science Fiction, May 1953) and is also quoted in the appendix notes of one of the anthologies which this story appears (“Second Variety – Collected Stories Volume 2″).

There are a couple blog posts on SFF Audio by Jesse Willis concerning PKD’s work and the copyright status of some of his stories that mentions the two stories talked about in our book review episode (“Second Variety” and “Jon’s World”). These posts include scanned images purporting to be copyright renewal forms of PKD works. Check these out here: https://www.sffaudio.com/commentary-philip-k-dicks-public-domain-short-stories-novelettes-and-novellas/ and also https://www.sffaudio.com/philip-k-dick-copyright-renewal-and-registration-scans/.

Ryan mentioned a few podcasts that talked about this movie and even discussed its similarity to the 1990’s cult classic Kevin Bacon film “Tremors.” One such show is Venganza Media‘s “Now Playing Podcast” and that episode can be heard here: http://nowplayingpodcast.com/episode.htm?id=675. It’s sister show “Books & Nachos” covered the written work here: http://www.booksandnachos.com/episode.htm?id=48. Check them out, too!

A few other articles either mentioned on the show or worth reading that are about this topic are as follows: “Screamers Is the Most Underrated Philip K. Dick Adaptation Ever” by Cheryl Eddy for iO9; “From The Vault: Screamers (1995)” by Simon Fitzjohn for Movie Ramblings; and “Peter Weller on feminism, sequels, and more” by Will Harris for AV Film.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E8B – Second Variety (short story)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein the podcast returns to its origins and delves into another existential robot mystery by the great questioner of reality: Philip K. Dick. I am joined by former co-host Richard Mehl a/k/a Rick, and we make for a tight duo this go round as we grapple with one of the author’s lesser known short stories. 

Ryan found this early cold war era tale a fun read. He agreed with other reviewers who have indicated that it is demonstrative of themes which PKD would spend greater amounts of his time on and become more well known for during the later years of his career. It was a great window into that perspective of the author’s developing voice. Rick felt more blase about the whole affair having a “it’s just typical Dick” take on things. He was rather jaded wading through the morose morass this author tends to weave with his characters and the stuff that confounds them. 

Rick didn’t get a chance to read our bonus story (Jon’s World), but we did briefly discuss the plot of that tale and its relationship to our subject matter as it was set in the same universe.

Since we were discussing two shorter works this episode we were able to sort of go through each one blow by blow. It was a zoomed-in look worthy of all the curvy plot twists and spin outs which the author wrote into each of the narratives. Hope you enjoy our story breakdowns and revisiting of PKD, about whom there always seems to be something new to discover and consider.

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Second Variety (1953)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) + Bonus: “Jon’s World (1954)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) 

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…a post-apocalyptic cold war style tale early in this author’s career that contains entertaining edges and hints, emblematic of future efforts in plot ideation and explorations into uncertainties for which this author is known…

Rick: 2 Stars “…a paranoid experience in the final war between the United States and Russia where humanity lies on the brink and is about to pretty much extinct themselves with their own technology…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

During the episode we mentioned that the two short stories discussed were published in a science fiction magazine (Space Science Fiction, May 1953) and science fiction anthology (Time to Come, 1954). You can read more basic information about these publications by clicking their cover art (right and left images) or visiting the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (a community cataloging website): http://www.isfdb.org.

The other podcast referenced during our episode which reviewed the bonus story (Jon’s World) is called  “American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)” and their episode on that topic can be listened to here: https://hundredpages.podbean.com/?s=jon%27s+world or https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/american-writers-one-hundred-pages-at-a-time/id1207607233?mt=2&i=1000393771283. This story does not seem to be widely reviewed so it’s worth a listen if you want to know more about it.

If you want to read another review of our subject story (Second Variety) then check out this article by T.S. Miller concerning a different PKD anthology (The Adjustment Team: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2) which was written for science fiction magazine “Strange Horizons” and published on October 03, 2011: http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/the-adjustment-team-the-collected-stories-of-philip-k-dick-volume-2/.

The story “Second Variety” discussed on this episode can be read and listened to for FREE at these websites:

 

Philip K. Dick eventually moved away from short stories to focus more on novels, in part because of his frustrations with editors changing the stories without permission. One such occurrence, mentioned on the show, involved  a work titled “The King of the Elves,” which has been in film development off and on throughout the years: https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/King_of_the_Elves.

Lastly, the biography of Philip K. Dick that Ryan cited on the episode and which he has used in various other episodes where we covered works by this author is by Lawrence Sutin and called: “Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick.” This work can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Invasions-Life-Philip-Dick/dp/0786716231.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.