Been listening to episodes of SFF AUDIO, a Science Fiction Feed Podcast that covers all things scifi, from scifi readings to interviews to reviews and much more. Today I caught two episodes that share a common theme… Opium.
The first story is a great reading of WHO’S THERE by Fitz James O’Brien, brought to us by the host of another great short story podcast HYPNOBOBS, Jim Moon.
The second is the H.P. Lovecraft story, THE CRAWLING CHAOS excellently read by Wayne June, (Episode #138)
Far less interesting is the dissection of the latter story, that succeeds it on that particular episode, led by two pedantic hosts.
While it’s nice to hear both Jim Moon and Wayne June as guest commentators on that particular discussion, they are both performers with great voices, the aforementioned hosts, whose names escape me, aren’t that melodious, and while they don’t have to be, I do find their over-analysis of the Lovecraft short story grating rather than enlightening.
But that’s more than likely just me, as I tend to think like many creators that the two most meaningless, tiresome things you can ask of a creative person is “what does it mean” (Beksinski the painter particularly hated this question) and “where do you get your ideas from” (Harlan Ellison among others has had very little love for this question, from those for whom no explanation is enough).
While I am by no means a Lovecraft fan, I do acknowledge him, in his better moments, as a visionary, influenced by others such as the aforementioned Fitz James OBrien, and as such there is an ineffable quality in his work, the nature of the mystery, that to each reader is a bit unique. And to try too hard to decipher or lock down that mystery, to try to cross every ‘t’, and dot every ‘i’, which is what I took away from the post discussion, is to risk cataloging it with their heads, while missing it with their hearts.
It’s that pedantic nature to the dissection, which I find appropriate to accounting or taxes but… inappropriate and indeed anathema to the experience of art.
Perhaps proof that knowledge is not understanding.
That’s my take on it, your mileage may vary.
So great reading, but, my take, avoid the discussion afterwards.
Otherwise both episodes make for great listening.
Listen to episodes here!