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. Sometimes we'll have a guest, and sometimes it'll just be us. 

We always love hearing from listeners, but for these In Conversation episodes we're particularly keen to start a conversation! So please let us know what you think. Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the topic.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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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 discussing rural life in modern America, how education acts as a gateway between social classes, and masculinity in science fiction. We also touch on the genre of "weird fiction" and discuss the different influences on Romie Futch, from Faulkner to Lovecraft to Le Guin.

Some of the books & articles we mention:

- Adrian's short article Six SF Books to Read in the Age of Trump, where he talks about Romie Futch in #5.
- NYT Review of Romie Futch
- Tin House Magazine ("Candy" has a story by Julia, and "Summer Reading" features the last story by Ursula K. Le Guin)
- William Faulkner (southern gothic)
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Three Moments of an Explosion, stories by China Miéville
Ice by Anna Kavan
- The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

In addition, you should check out the last episode we recorded, the interview with Tobias Buckell. A lot of that discussion will be relevant towards Romie Futch—we talk about climate change, economics of rural places in American, and more. 

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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Do we have a great episode for you today oh boy! 

As a coda to our series on Binti and Afrofuturism, we invited Caribbean SF author Tobias Buckell to teach us about science fiction from the islands. Tobias has a patreon at patreon.com/tobiasbuckell, which you should check out if you enjoy this episode, and find him on twitter at @tobiasbuckell.

We mention a lot of books, stories and more in this episode. Links are below or at our website, spectology.com, if they don't show up in your podcatcher.

Three Stories Tobias had us read before the discussion:
- Toy Planes by Tobias S. Buckell
- The Glass Bottle Trick by Nalo Hopkinson
Redemption in Indigo (excerpt) by Karen Lord

Two other stories of Tobias' that we discuss:
Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance
Shoggoths in Traffic

Two reviews of his work that explain Tobias' caribbean themes well:
- Space Rastas by Lisa Allen-Agostini (review of Raggamuffin)
- The Shock of the New Normal by Nisi Shawl (review of Hurricane Fever)

Other Caribbean authors & books:
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
- The Black God's Drums (pre-order) by P. Djèlí Clark
- Karen Lord, including the anthology New Worlds, Old Ways
Brandon O'Brien's twitter and short stories
- Lex Talionis by RAS Garcia
- Nalo Hopkinson
- Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter
Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus
- And also check out CaribbeanSF.com for more of Tobias' recommendations.

Finally, some non-fiction works that have influenced Tobias' work:
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
- US Navy Climate Change Roadmap
- Women in Grenadian History, 1783-1983 by Nicole Laurine Phillip (as presented at the USVI Lit Fest)

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Finally, we announced our next book: The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Eliott. Stay tuned for our pre-read discussion on that next week.

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art. And a big thanks again to Tobias for chatting with us, make sure to hit up his Patreon for original SF stories each month. 

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Woo! Here it is, the final episode in our Binit mini-series. We get to wrap it up with a book neither of us have read before, and bring it full circle talking about Afrofuturism, university, technology, and what "herratige" really means. 

Links to buy the Binti novella's and support the pod are:

Binti
Binti: Home
Binti: The Night Masquerade

Next week we're taking a break, but will have a short announcement of our next book! Then we'll be right back into it with the pre- and post-reads, as well as a few mini episodes, this time with guests!

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book. In particular, check out our twitter this month, where we've been posting a lot of great Afrofuturist art, music, and other resources. 

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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We read and discuss the second installment in the Binti trilogy. In this book, Binti: Home, Binti comes back to Earth to go on a Himba woman's pilgrimage, and has to deal with a family who doesn't understand her decisions and a homeland that is hostile to her new friend, the Meduse Okwu. 

We continue our discussions of different ways to relate to the idea of technology, whether rural life is necessarily "primitive" and whether that's a useful word in any context, and how Binti's journey is relatable to both of us. We're also doing a bit of an experiment with our structure, walking through the book's entire plot. Let us know if you like it!

We also mention this review of Binti: Home at NPR by Amal El-Mohtar.

Links to buy the Binti novella's and support the pod are:

Binti
Binti: Home
Binti: The Night Masquerade

We'll be back on June 26th to discuss the last Binti novella!

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book. In particular, check out our twitter this month, where we'll be posting a lot of great Afrofuturist art, music, and other resources. 

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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June 12, 2018

3.2: Binti post-read

Welcome to our first post-read episode this month, for the first novella in the Binti Trilogy: "Binti".

In this episode, Adrian connects his childhood growing up in rural Alaska to Binti's background, Matt talks about why he loves the moral landscape of the novella, we discuss the essence of technology, and we both answer whether we'd rather be Meduse or a shrimp-ship. 

Content warning for some discussion of the violence in the book, as well as spoilers for only the first Binti novella.

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book. In particular, check out our twitter this month, where we'll be posting a lot of great Afrofuturist art, music, and other resources. 

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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A new month, a new book! Or in this case, series of books. The Binti Trilogy is a set of short novellas by Nnedi Okorafor. Together they are about the same size as a novel (and about the cost). They tell the story of a young woman in Western Africa who gets an invitation to the best university in the galaxy, and leaves everything she knows to attend. However, these aren't your typical chosen one or fish out of water school stories, and they take a lot of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

We loved the first two novellas when we read them, and so we're excited to get to re-read and finish the whole trilogy, especially after the diappointment of our last book! In this spoiler-free episode, Adrian and Matt discuss the musical and literary roots of Afrofuturism, Adrian's experience going from a rural town to a major university, and why we love these books so much. 

Instead of doing one post-read episode this month, we're going to be doing a shorter post-read episode week for a successive novella. The novellas and our schedule are:

- Binti (June 12)
- Binti: Home (June 19)
- Binti: The Night Masquerade (June 26)

And some of the other works we mention include:

- Afrofuturism by Ytasha L. Womack (highly recommended intro)
- Sun Ra & His Archestra
- A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
- Harnessed the Storm by Drexciya
- ATLiens by OutKast
- Blazing Arrow by Blackalicious
- Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe (album / movie)
- Bloodchild and Lillith's Brood by Octavia Butler
- Dhalgren and Nova by Sam Delany
- The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin
- Black Panther by Ryan Coogler (soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar)

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book. In particular, check out our twitter this month, where we'll be posting a lot of great Afrofuturist art, music, and other resources. 

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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A short episode to tide you over this week! We discuss Arther C. Clarke's The Star (pdf), comparing and constrating it to The Sparrow. Full spoilers for both the story (it's only 4 pages, you should read it!) and The Sparrow.

This is a relatively clean episode that's mostly about how and why people lose their faith and whether science fiction generally does a good job at handling this question.

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In addition, we realized that our links to related works aren't showing up in all podcatchers. Here are the links from the last episode, if you're looking for more recommendations that (we think) are better than The Sparrow

Monolingual Fieldwork by Daniel Everett (a linguist learns Hmong)
Do Elephants Have Souls? by Caitrin Keiper for the New Atlantis
Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods by Elle Hunt
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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Now that everyone's had time to read it, it's time to talk about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell in detail. Did we like the book? Were the characters compelling? Did the end work for us? Was it an effective alegorical exploration of the Columbian contact with the Americas? And why are the answers to all these questions "no"?

This book featured a lot of graphic imagery, so be aware we have in-depth discussions of rape, torture, and isolation in this episode. 

If you'd like to skip the discussion of the plot and jump right to our deeper discussion of the themes, then jump from about 15:05 to 52:40. We wanted folks who haven't read the book recently, or don't intend to read it, to be able to understand the plot and enjoy the rest of the episode, but not everyone will want a recounting of the novel they just read.

During the course of the novel we mentioned a few articles, videos, and books, including:

Next week we'll be discussing Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Star" (pdf) in the context of The Sparrow to compare and contrast them. 

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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We're excited to announce that in May, we're reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell!

In this spoiler free, pre-read episode, Adrian and Matt discuss religion in science fiction. How do different books handle religion in the future? Does science fiction have an antagonistic relationship with religion? What are some of our favorite works of SF that feature religion? There's a diversion into Adrian's fundamentalist upbringing and his path to agnosticism. And what does a prog rock album based on future Jesuits sound like?

Some of the books we talk about this episode are:

And make sure to check out The Sparrow album by the prog rock band Metaphor for your reading soundtrack.

As always, we'd love to hear from you! Tweet us at @spectologypod, submit the episode at r/printSF, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com with your thoughts about the book.

Many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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