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Episodes

In Conversation: SF Movie Adaptations w/ Seth Heasley

1/14/2019
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Adrian & Matt are joined by Seth Heasley of the Hugos There & Take Me to Your Reader podcasts to talk about our favorite SF movie adaptations. We each take turns picking one of our favorites, then talk about it as a group. Which movies do we pick? What kinds of adaptations are our favorites? Which movies do we think are actually better than the book? You'll have to listen to find out. Make sure to check out Seth's podcasts. A good place to start is his & Adrian's conversation on The Left...

Duration:00:59:08

10.1: Ten Billion Days & 100 Billion Nights pre-read: Disaster communities & transmission of ideas between cultures.

1/7/2019
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Happy New Year! Matt & Adrian are back to talk about one of Matt's picks. Ten Billion Days & 100 Billion Nights by Ryu Mitsuse (https://amzn.to/2Vw3CM8) is a classic of Japanese science fiction which was just recently (2011) translated and published in English. It tells an epic story that begins at the beginning of the universe and ends at its end. This episode, Adrian & Matt discuss Japanese science fiction in various media, how Japanese & Anglo SF influenced each other, and how disasters...

Duration:01:20:32

9.2: Rupetta post-read: Academic pursuits & feminist fantasy.

12/23/2018
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Happy holidays to all you spectologists! In our final episode of 2018, Adrian & Charlotte complete their discussion of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award-winning novel Rupetta by NA Sulway (https://amzn.to/2SjgX8r). This wonderful, overlooked novel has us both ruminating about our time in university, trying to dig into the meaning of a mechanical heart, and discussing how the prose & the story reinforced each other. Please excuse the sniffles, Adrian was a bit sick & tried to edit them all out,...

Duration:01:45:19

9.1: Rupetta pre-read w/ Charlotte Geater: Folk tales & feminist histories.

12/4/2018
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This month, Adrian is joined by listener, poet, & publisher Charlotte Geater (@tambourine) to discuss Rupetta, by N.A. Sulway. Rupetta is an under-appreciated historical SF novel about a clockwork woman & the human women through history who act as her caretakers. It won the James Tiptree, Jr. award in 2013, and was recently re-published in ebook format. Charlotte & Adrian discuss the publishing history of the book, Sulway's other works, historiography, folk tales, and the metaphors by...

Duration:01:13:33

8.2: Children of Time post-read: Evolution, Language, Consciousness, and Empathy

11/26/2018
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We've read Children of Time (https://amzn.to/2QqYKII), and boy do we have a lot to say about it! This episode we discuss the structure of the book, whether novels need strong characters, how animal consciousness might differ from our own, and how to stock a ship designed to re-seed the human race on another planet. Adrian gets to jabber on about the Baldwin Effect & octopuses, and Matt makes some sharp points about the importance of empathy. Truly this podcast represents the future liberals...

Duration:01:56:00

8.1: The Children of Time pre-read: What is "Hard" Science Fiction?

11/12/2018
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This November we're reading Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Woo Adrians! This episode we discuss what the "science" in science fiction means. What other books portray science well? What does it mean to write a book about science? Should science fiction try to be "realistic"? In addition, we give you the book facts, and discuss a number of other works. Links are at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher: * Blindsight by Peter Watts * Ursula K. Le Guin * Foreigner...

Duration:00:56:24

Announcements: Adrian guest hosts a podcast + our November book

11/5/2018
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Two quick announcements today, since we weren't able to get our usual pre-read episode recorded in time. The first is that our November book will be Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is a book neither of us has read, but won the Clarke award and has themes that we're both interested in. Should be a good time. The second is that Adrian guest hosted on the Hugos There Podcast (https://hugospodcast.com) a few days ago to talk about Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. It...

Duration:00:03:27

7.2: The Ballad of Black Tom post-read: When is it appropriate to destroy the world?

10/23/2018
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Late but not never! Our post-read episode for Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom. We discuss the plot & many of the themes of the novel. Why do we think Black Tom such a better retelling of Lovecraft's story? What is psychological realism? Was an opportunity missed to include more immigrant characters? When are greivances such that ending the world is at least an understandable response? Resources mentioned in the podcast. Links on www.spectology.com: - The Ballad of Black Tom by...

Duration:01:43:11

In Conversation: Books, Ebooks, & Audio Books; or, How Aesthetics Drive Reading Choices

10/16/2018
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In this bonus episode we welcome Kevin Kelsey, author of the Heradas.com SF Blog & longtime listener, to discuss our reading habits. How does reading on paper differ from reading on an e-reader? Why does one of us prefer paper for non-fiction and ebooks for fiction? Who enjoys audio books the most? Which imprint has the best physical books? When is it OK to write in a book? And why does Adrian sound like a sad Cookie Monster impersonator? We discuss all of these and more in what was a...

Duration:00:54:25

7.1: The Ballad of Black Tom pre-read: Race & the History of Horror Fiction

10/2/2018
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For October, Matt & Adrian are dipping their toes into the world of Horror, reading Victor LaValle's novella The Ballad of Black Tom. The Ballad of Black Tom is a retelling of one of HP Lovecraft's most egregiously racist short stories, "The Horror at Red Hook", from the perspective of a black man living in Harlem who gets wrapped up in NYC's magical underworld. It won or was short listed for a number of top SF, Horror, and Fantasy awards due to its compelling characters, comfortable prose,...

Duration:01:02:51

6.2: Ninefox Gambit post-read w/ Ellie Bartels: Military Games in Science Fiction

9/25/2018
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At long last, our follow-up episode to Yoon Ha Lee's wonderful Ninefox Gambit has arrived! And Ellie is back to talk about her job & the book with us. Unlike most post-read episodes, we start off with a longer, non-spoiler discussion with Ellie about what she does & how the US Government uses startegy war games in both education & decision-making. It's a fascinating half hour conversation, and worth listening to even if you haven't read the book. Then of course we get into the meat of it!...

Duration:02:23:44

Things We Like: September 18

9/18/2018
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Welcome back friends, it's been a while! Adrian & Matt are back from our break, happy to bring you our hottest takes on what we've been enjoying recently. And next week we'll have our post-read Episode for Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, so you should read that & listen to our last episode if you haven't yet. This week we cover: - MeasuredPolitics.org, Adrian's Political Action Committee - Mike Boyd's YouTube channel, where he documents his process learning random skills - Bojack...

Duration:00:37:30

6.1: Ninefox Gambit pre-read w/ Ellie Bartels: Strategy War Games in Science Fiction

8/30/2018
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Late episode this week... but early episode this month! It's the Labor Day holiday weekend, so we wanted to post a longer episode to keep people company during all the BBQs and road trips. This month, the book we're reading is the Locus-award winning Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. We also have a wonderful guest. Ellie Bartels is a strategy & war game designer, and has long been book club pals with Adrian & Matt. In this episode we discuss military science fiction, how science fiction and...

Duration:01:16:07

5.2: Gnomon post-read with Max Gladstone

8/21/2018
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We're back with our post-read episode, discussing Nick Harkaway's challenging, interminable, and oh so enjoyable novel Gnomon. Spoilers all around. We also discuss postmodern fiction, writing people unlike you, and the power, both good and bad, of narrative in the modern world. It's a long episode, but it was a hugely fun one to record! Big thanks to Max for taking so much time this month to hang out and chat with us, make sure to check out his books & the Serial Box story...

Duration:02:35:35

In Conversation: Things We Like This Month

8/14/2018
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Adrian & Matt are together for a short episode going over some of their favorite books, movies, video games, and podcasts of recent. We each discuss three things that we're excited to share with each other and all of you! They are: - Making Obama, a podcast from WBEZ Chicago - Sorry to Bother You, a movie from Boots Riley (see it in theatres!) - Japanese Style Originator, available on Netflix - Chrono Trigger, available on Steam, iOS, Android, etc - The Invisible Valley by Su Wei,...

Duration:00:32:52

5.1: Pre-read for Gnomon, by Nick Harkaway, with guest Max Gladstone

8/7/2018
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We're back with the #content plants crave. Joining us this week is special guest Max Gladstone, SF & fantasy author extraordinaire. But he's not here to talk about his own work, the Craft Sequence, oh no. Max wanted to discuss the phenomenal, long, daunting, nuanced, and mysterious Gnomon, by estemed author in his own right Nick Harkaway. The discussion this week is spoiler-free, and acts as an introduction to the book and the ideas in it. We had a long and wide-ranging conversation with...

Duration:01:50:32

4.3: Matt's back for our Romie Futch wrap-up!

7/31/2018
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We got your hot takes right here, folks! Matt's back for a super-quick wrap-up of our series on The New & Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott. Matt reveals his favorite scenes from the book, we go down some rabbit holes talking about taxidermy and halloween costumes, and discuss about why growth as an adult is so difficult & important. We also mention the phrase "Soft Apocalypse" a bunch, which comes from the phenomenal book by that title by Will McIntosh. And manage to keep it under 30...

Duration:00:27:52

4.2: The New & Improved Romie Futch post-read w/ Britt O'Duffy

7/24/2018
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We're back for our post-read episode of The New and Improved Romie Futch. This time, our friend Brittney O'Duffy dropped by to give her thoughts on the novel. She and Adrian discuss education as a gateway between socio-economic class in America, the use of the male gaze in Romie Futch, marketing analytics & the surviellance state, recontextualize the "millenials are killing X" think-pieces, and much much more. Sadly, Matt couldn't be with us this time, but he and Adrian will have a short...

Duration:01:21:43

In Conversation: Matt & Adrian talk "Spoilers"

7/17/2018
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What is a spoiler? Why do we care about them? How do different people react to them? Do fan communities police spoilers too much? If a spoiler makes you like something more, is it really a spoiler? This week, Matt and Adrian talk about their own reading habits and how they think about "spoilers" both in their own reading, and when interacting with others. This episode is part of a new series we're calling "In Conversation", shorter episodes where we talk about one topic in the SFF world....

Duration:00:32:52

4.1: The New & Improved Romie Futch pre-read

7/10/2018
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July's book is The New and Improved Romie Futch, by Julia Elliott. Julia is an English and Women's & Gender Studies professor at the University of South Carolina, as well as an accalimed short story writer. Her first novel, Romie Futch follows the titular character, Roman, as he goes from schlubby taxidermist in rural South Carolina to a brain-enhansed schlubby taxidermist in rural South Carolina. In this spoiler-free, pre-read episode, Adrian & Matt give you the book facts, as well as...

Duration:01:07:29