“Erratica”: a conversation with Jim & Lionel

“Erratica”: a conversation with Jim & Lionel


About this episode

Jim opens with a thread sent regarding the previous episode on Frankenstein. They incongruously launch into a debate about artificial sweeteners. We get back on track discussing the Transcendentalist movement and what came after, as written about in The Metaphysical Club. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. is one of the main characters. Lionel asserts that he is  the father of legal positivism, but that was  Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.Lionel mentions another character, Charles Sanders Peirce (aka Chauncy), who handled a disputed will in a large whaling industry family with the case of a forged signature.

Lionel mentions that he re-read The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling. He found it to be “rollicking good fun.”

Jim snatches the conversation back and reads the weekly “Erratica,” a list of errors from the previous episode.

Jim mentions that he re-watched Kung Fu Hustle, and Defending Your Life, with his kids with high marks for both. He mentions that he is currently reading Volume 2 of P.G. Wodehouse’s The Blandings Collection, on audio book, read by Stephen Fry, and enjoying it very much.

Lionel says he bought three books recently and says he struck out on all three. One was Soulless by Gail Carriger, which he described as romance mixed with Anne Rice. He also tried to read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. This falls into the impossible Manhattan lifestyle series of entertainments and money porn.

We resolve to discuss Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandell and Dracula by Bram Stoker. Lionel and Jim return to the after effects of Piranesi by Suzanna Clarke. Lionel feels like the world in that book stays with him the way the game Myst did.

We talk about the vampire genre and its grip on the public and then talk about what makes zombie movies appealing. Jim brings up The Walking Dead, which Lionel hasn't seen. We also touch lightly on Dawn of the Dead by George A. Romero. Jim wonders if zombie movies started with Omega Man. We wonder if the precursor to the empty world trope is Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. Lionel wonders about the effect of Nuclear War, AIDs, and dementia. Jim mentions The Day of The Triffids as a possible analog, but it doesn't match.

Jim describes his recent trip and walk along the Farmington Canal, where he sent a photo of a plaque to Lionel to read, tying into our discussion of the Erie Canal. His father in law is working on a bike trail that will run the length of the Farmington Canal through Bristol.

Lionel says he tried to watch the live action version of Avatar the Last Airbender and was not alone in hating it. Jim mentions that his daughters are currently enjoying Gilmore Girls. They talk about what it's like for kids to watch shows that are so much older than them and how changes in the way we enjoy entertainment has changed our watching habits. Lionel says his life was changed by Monty Python. Jim wonders where all the family sit-coms have gone and we bumble to a close.