Episode 51: The Great Eastern with Howard A. Rodman

Happy 51st episode, How Do You Like it So Far? fans!  We’ve got a great one in store for you for our last podcast of the season!  (We know, but we’ll be back before you know it).  This week we welcome Howard A. Rodman, Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, screenwriter, novelist, labor organizer and author of The Great Eastern.  In his new book, Rodman pits two of the greatest anti-heroes of 19th century literature, Captain Nemo and Captain Ahab, against each other in a thrilling and inventive story.  Through his astounding novel, Rodman draws inspiration from classic literature of the 19th century from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to create a work of fiction that speaks to today’s culture.  Rodman talks about his earlier influences in literature and films and how those early references informed his imagination and shaped his penchant for story-telling.  He discusses his process in creating The Great Eastern.  Rodman talks about how we deal with the problematic elements of the pulp and literary traditions of the period — for example, H.P. Lovecraft  and his controversial viewpoints.  Looking for some good book recommendations for this holiday season?  Take a look at our episode notes for books Rodman and Henry discuss.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Rodman’s book The Great Eastern

Jules Verne:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 
The Mysterious Island

Herman Melville:
Moby Dick

Isambard Kingdom Brunel – English Civil Engineer

Mad Magazine
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Movies Discussed in this Podcast:
Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Ray Harryhausen’s The Mysterious Island
Henry Levin’s Journey to the Center of the Earth
John Huston’s Moby Dick with Gregory Peck

Other Authors and Works Mentioned in the Episode:
Mary Shelley’s Frankensteinfeminism
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne seeded idea of Moby Dick
Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations
Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities
Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Don DeLillo’s The Names
Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden
Sax Rohmer’s The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
William Hope Hodgeson’s The House on the Borderland
Viet Nguyen’s The Sympathizer
Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Patti Smith – Mere Martian Orphan


Kirk Douglas – “I Swear By My Tattoo”

Wyn Kelley – Melville Scholar

H.P. Lovecraft  
problematic viewpoints

John Campbell award


Bowling Green State University removed Lillian Gish’s name from a theater building for appearing in Birth of a Nation

Topple and Gather – Fallen Monument Park, Moscow

USC School of Cinematic Arts students protest John Wayne statue

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley
Overview of Moby Dick

Songs of the South – comic creator Jeremy Love, Bayou

Sailors from around the world

Some Core readings on 19th century Fiction:
How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain 
Worlds Enough: The Invention of Realism in the Victorian Novel
As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

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