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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Join us for our in-depth discussion of Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks. Content warning for violence, torture, and spoilers. 

Come for the rousing discussion on the place of violencein utopia, stay for the long-winded arguments over whether free will exists and how to define AI. How does Use of Weapons stack up to the rest of the Culture books? How do we feel about tech moguls obsession with the Culture? Listen to find out. 

Follow us at @spectologypod on twitter, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com. 

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

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This week, we're responding to questions and comments from our listeners, and talking about some of the things we found most enjoyable this month. 

Learn how frequently we plan to update, our plans for future books, what albums we're listening to, and who our favorite Fab 5 member is. 

We also take the time to appologize for a mistake we made in our Use of Weapons pre-read. 

If you'd like your comments to be included in future shows, follow us at @spectologypod on twitter, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com. 

As always, many thanks to Dubby J and Noah Bradley for doing our music and art.

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This month we're reading Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks.

In our innagural pre-read episode, we discuss the Space Opera and Mil SciFi subgenres, Iain M. Banks' socialism, how his Culture novels work, and our relationship to his work.

This is our first episode! There are a few sound issues, which we have already worked out for future eps.

Follow us at @spectologypod on twitter, or email us at spectologypod@gmail.com. 

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

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Welcome to our podcast!

Each month, Adrian and Matt will pick a science fiction book and read it. Learn about our history with SF, why we're doing our podcast, and what our plans are in this introduction episode.

As always, music is by Dubby J, and art by Noah Bradley

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