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Colonization of an alien world is hard, as these minute aliens discover in this somewhat horrific comic tale.

This is why sensible people try to do at least some information gathering before setting on another planet.

It reminded me a bit of "Pictures Don't Lie", except this didn't delay the big reveal about the alien colonists in the same way.

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (10 July 1903 – 11 March 1969) was an English science fiction writer who usually used the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John Beynon and Lucas Parkes. Many of his works were set in post-apocalyptic landscapes.
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Following the purchase of an artificially intelligent coffee maker with an eye for attractive appliances, all Canada and perhaps the world itself is threatened by an unending flood of coffee!

Basically this is a coffee-centric version of Star Trek's The Ultimate Computer. I question the design philosophy that put a high powered laser on the device, although we do get a rational explanation for that.

Not sure which John Palmer this is.
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Point Of Departure (Rachel Wyatt )

A woman about to head off on holiday is confronted by some personal history she had hoped was forever behind her.

Not especially fantastic and the main notable detail about this is a spoiler.

Rachel Wyatt (born 1929 in Bradford, England) is an English-Canadian dramatist.

Wyatt emigrated to Canada with her family in 1957. She has written scores of plays for the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Awarded the Order of Canada in 2002 and the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2003.

Once again, The Vanishing Point had a keen eye for authors.

Skin Roald Dahl)

This is a creepy little story about a grasping art dealer and an old man who happens to have a work of art by a now-dead artist tattooed on his back.

Roald Dahl (...) (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter.

Phase Three (Brad Burningham)

"Clydes", an increasing adept brand of robot, have been gradually displacing skilled workers. Phase Three involves firing everyone left from Phases One and Two and the workers know it. Aided by a visionary executive, some of them are willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to ensure the financial future of their families.

This felt very Golden Agey. It wouldn't have been out of place in an anthology from the 1940s.

Bradd Burningham grew up in Essex, Ontario, and has lived in Windsor, Cambridge, Toronto, Ottawa, London, Saskatoon, and Sackville (New Brunswick). He studied at the University of Toronto, the University of Windsor (B.A, M.A), and the University of Western Ontario (M.L.S.). He has worked in bookstores and as an editor, teacher, and librarian. He is a past President of the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick, and currently lives in Windsor, Ontario.

The Addict (George Ryga)

An addict whose doctor has helped her control her addiction by writing her prescriptions for a maintenance dose learns from the doctor that in an attempt to use her as a model for the treatment of other addicts, he has managed to get his ability to prescribe drugs temporarily suspended while also managing to publicly (as far as all the doctors in town are concerned) labelled as an addict. Without the trustworthy, controlled supply of drugs, her life soon spirals out of control.

I'm pretty sure using her records like that would now constitute a violation of Canada's Privacy Laws. He didn't even think to anonymize her?

George Ryga (27 Jul 1932 – 18 Nov 1987) was a Canadian playwright and novelist.
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The Lost Door

A commuter discovers that he has taken a very wrong turn, one into a world where his history, if he has a history here, is very different. He doesn't really deal with this very well but then he isn't given much of a chance to before he gets shot full of Thorazine.

Either the condition is contagious or there are a lot more cases like him than we appreciate.

A perfectly acceptable reworking of ideas seen in such stories as "For a Foggy Night" and "He Walked Around the Horses".

I think this is by Steven E. Petch but I cannot seem to find his bio online.
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The Cave

An autobiograhical tale in which a Canadian man learns that his long-estranged girl-friend is dead; this leads into a discussion of their history and an explanation for why she left.

William Dempsey Valgardson (born 7 May 1939) is a Canadian novelist, short story writer, and poet. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and raised in Gimli, Manitoba, he completed his BA at United College, BEd at the University of Manitoba, and his MFA at the University of Iowa. He was a long-time professor of writing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and a professor of English at Cottey College in Nevada, MO.
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How Love Came To Prof. Guildea

The rationalist Professor Guildea comes to believe that he is being stalked by some unseen admirer, an entity who offers Guildea that which he least desires: love!

An alternate interpretation is that Guildea can sense the condition that eventually fells him but not in a way that allows him to take appropriate steps (not that the medicine of 1900 would have helped him much.

Robert Hichens (Robert Smythe Hichens, 14 November 1864 – 20 July 1950) was an English journalist, novelist, music lyricist, short story writer, music critic and collaborated on successful plays. He is best remembered as a satirist of the "Naughty Nineties".
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The Silenian Test

Ignore the title in the url: some of these are mis-titled. Speaking of titles and hence to title drops, I'd be very surprised if one of the models the people behind Vanishing Point wasn't The Twilight Zone.

Harry Price, living a Cold War existence perpetually on the edge of extinction, leaps at the chance offered by passing aliens to win for the Earth peace and access to the billion stars of the alien civilization [1], if only he can pass one simple test. He believes he passed and in so doing learns just how much he will pay for world peace and access to the stars.

Personally, I think he failed.

I liked how little time it took for giant alien space craft to go from the scariest thing in the world to "yeah, yeah, but who won the game between the Leafs and the Bruins?" and how mundane miracles are when you actually have them.

I am not 100% sure the David Lewis Stein I found online is *this* David Lewis Stein.

1: This may seem like an odd thing to praise an SF story for but Stein seems to have some idea how big a galaxy is and how big an advanced civilization could be.
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The Golden Triangle

A bitter divorced man, trolling the red light district of his town, is surprised to find a woman who appears to be his ex-wife stripping. Later, he learns that she is also a prostitute. He sends his best friend, the same person who he suspects once slept with her, to find out if his impressions are true.

So, I guess at least he's not happy her cushy government job fell through? But he seems awfully invested in what she is up to, as though in some way she's still his wife and that relationship confers ownership. Anyway, I cannot see how a guy who seems to hold women in contempt like this guy does could possibly have a failed marriage.

I guess from their conversation their university didn't have strongly enforced rules about profs nailing pretty undergrads.

I think this is the right Lawrence Russell:

Lawrence Russell was born in 1941. He began teaching in the University of Victoria Dept. of Creative Writing in the mid-1960's. In addition to his teaching Russell has written numerous plays and novels. His plays have been produced in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa, and published in such periodicals as The Malahat Review and Canadian Fiction Magazine.
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The Quickening

I nearly gave up on this during the interminable cocktail party scene but I soldiered on for all of you. This turns out to be a play about two unlikable people whose relationship has serious problems; the woman takes steps to process her issues but not in a particularly constructive way because this is a Canadian radio drama.

Listening to old shows like this is often a trip to the past; in this case, I see the term "gay" had not quite won out over "homosexual", said hesitantly as though one expect a teacher to descend with a yard stick to punish the speaker for inappropriate vocabulary.

This was like concentrated essence of Canadian Radio Drama.

Judith Clare Thompson, OC (born September 20, 1954) is a Canadian playwright who lives in Toronto, Ontario. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail once declared that "...in this country, a playwright as good as Judith Thompson is a miracle." She has twice been awarded the Governor General's Award for drama, and is the recipient of many other awards including the Order of Canada.
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The Bailiff and the Women

An officious bureaucrat learns how much his services are appreciated. Inexplicably, his attempts to save the State money turn out to have negative consequences for his clients; more inexplicably even though he was just following orders, he is held to have some moral responsibility for his actions.

Meh. Not the ideas, the execution.

Another author I could not find out much about.
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Cage of Light

A stellar explorer is put on trial to determine if he committed the greatest taboo of his service, killing aliens; explorers are expected to kill themselves to avoid this if necessary. The life forms he was to contact are gone, and he cannot explain why. Neither can he explain why his suicide packet was used without killing him.

While he is innocent of the charges, he is nevertheless inspired to go to great lengths to compensate for a deficit in himself the botched First Contact drew his attention to.

Reminded a little of "The Persistence of Vision", although the setting was nothing like that. Would have been at home in X Minus One, I think.

I didn't discover much about Gray, except that he was also involved with Nightfall.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The next bunch will be rushed: tired and I keep somehow only being about to listen to 19 minutes of play on a 30 minute trip.

Death And The Compass

Lönnrot, a detective in the Sherlock Holmes mould, is called in to assist with a murder that would to many other eyes would merely be an attempted robbery gone wrong; Lönnrot believes there is more going on and indeed, his instinct brings him unerringly to a killer.

Hey, this Borges guy wasn't half bad.

Jorge Luis Borges
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The Rescue

An encounter between an autistic child and some cetaceans has an unexpectedly beneficial effect that is, as as far as I can tell, not being checked to see if the effect was specific to this boy or whether meeting cetaceans would transform other autistic children.

I could not find any information on the author and I wonder if I misheard their name.

(given how many its I realized were vague in the above, I may have to be eschewing the use of that work0
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With the help of co-worker Linda, David learns how to deal with the possessions and memories that are but a cage for him. His effort is more successful that he could have dreamed; he finds himself living in a wonderland of marvels.

One wonders how often Linda has helped people in this manner. At least twice, I think.

David Helwig (born April 5, 1938) is a Canadian poet, novelist and essayist.

On 23 January 2008, [Helwig] was named as Prince Edward Island's third Poet Laureate, [...] and on 1 July 2009 was named as a Member of the Order of Canada.[...]

You know, this series has some reasonably heavy hitters contributing to it.
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The Testing of Stanley Teagarden"

A woman, traveling a friend, makes friends with a psychometrician obsessed with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a personality test inspired by the apparently self-evident truth that a normal person is like Midwestern Norwegian-American Lutherans such as they were back 1930s. As it turns out, Stanley's ability to apply his preferred model to the real world may not be entirely perfect.

Tim Wynne-Jones, OC (born 12 August 1948) is an English–Canadian author of children's literature, including picture books and novels for children and young adults, novels for adults,[1] radio dramas, songs for the CBC/Jim Henson production Fraggle Rock,[2] as well as a children's musical and an opera libretto
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In The Groove

An academic and his son use the excuse of an ailing relative to share a road trip. Divorce and custody details have left the pair alienated but it seems like the connection can be rekindled with a little bit of effort.

Unfortunately, this effort seems to be foredoomed because while the father is happy to bond with his son when that means gassing on at length while his son listens, he completely ignores his son's discomfort when a mentally ill man insists on joining them for breakfast; the man's fantastic story is just too interesting to the dad for him to be distracted by the fact the son is seriously creeped out. This has consequences.

The dad is pretty clearly offering his kid a toke there at the beginning.

There's no reason to think the fantastic element in this is in any way factual but there is a certain level of tension in this story regardless. In any case, a much better fit for what I am looking for than Nightfall was.

Audrey Grace Thomas, OC (née Callahan, born 17 Nov 1935) is a Canadian novelist and short story writer who lives on Galiano Island, British Columbia.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
And now I dive into another huge archive, this time for another Canadian show, Vanishing Point. Vanishing Point ran from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Its broadcast history is apparently somewhat complicated.

I am pretty sure archive.org's archive is incomplete, because I'd seen references to a serial of Clarke's Childhood's End (and the details are sufficient for me to tell they have not confused it with the BBC version); there no trace of that in the file I downloaded.


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