September 18, 2018

Things We Like: September 18

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 Horseman, a show about a depressed actor / horse on Netflix
- The Cheese & the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg
- America City by Chris Beckett
- Jack Ryan, a TV show on Amazon

We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter at @spectologypod, sending us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submitting the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at spectology.com or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

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

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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 fantasy interact with each other, education game design, math, gender politics in the miliary & science fiction, and inter-departmental bureaucratic conflict. It is a really fun episode, and we have to leave some of the best parts for the spoiler discussion in a few weeks. 

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Some of the works we mention & discuss include:

- The Ancillary Series by Anne Lieckie 
- Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey 
- CJ Cherryh 
Shards of Honor and Barrayar (collectively refered to as Cordelia's Honor) by Lois McMaster Bujold 
- Honor Harrington by David Weber et al. 
- Blindsight by Peter Watts
- Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolf
- Unavoidably, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card 
- And last but not least, "Instruments of Destruction", the short Star Wars fanfiction about project managing the Death Star 

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We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter at @spectologypod, sending us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submitting the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at spectology.com or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

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

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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 Bookburners.

We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter at @spectologypod, sending us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submitting the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at spectology.com or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

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

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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, trans. Austin Woerner, Small Beer Press

- The Reading the End Bookcast, a podcast from the demographically similar Jennys

 

As always, we post these links and more at our twitter account, @spectologypod. We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter or sending us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at spectology.com or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

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

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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 Max about Nick Harkaway's literary background (his father is also a famous author), which other books of his we've read, and other books in the SF genre that are similar to Gnomon in some way. On the thematic side, we spoke about experimental & postmodern fiction, the surveillance state and it's effect on our lives, what calling something "social construct" actually means, what the leading cause of death in America is, how our phones act as magic items, and what it means to read a videogame. 

In a few weeks, we'll have our "post-read" conversation, which will feature heavy spoilers as we discuss the book in-depth. Pick up the book (amzn.to/2MszFb4) and read it with us!

Some works that we mentioned in the podcast (our website, spectology.com, has the links if they don't show up in your podcatcher):

- Malka Older's Infomacracy 
- Samuel Delany's Dhalgren
- David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress 
- Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
- The Play Report of a D&D campaign Adrian ran
- The interview with Harkaway Adrian references
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
- Our previous episode with Tobias Buckell
- The Power Broker by Robert Caro 
- David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest 
- Not mentioned, but Adrian meant to: The Broken Earth by NK Jemisin

As always, we post these links and more at our twitter account, @spectologypod. We'd love to hear from you, either by chatting with us on twitter, sending us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submitting the episode to r/printSF on reddit. We'll reply, and shout you out in the next podcast when we talk about your comment.

And if you like the episode, subscribe at spectology.com or whever you listen to podcasts, and share it with your friends!

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

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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 minutes!

Next week we'll be back with another long episode, discussing Nick Harkaway's Gnomon with fantasy author Max Gladstone!

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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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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 wrap-up episode next week. 

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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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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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