For our final book in our "classics" series, we read Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, a novel by Samuel R. Delany (https://amzn.to/2tTUHL5). This episode we're joined by Bee Gabriel (@benladen on twitter & patreon.com/benladen), an old friend of the podcast & one of Adrian's favorite cultural critics. 

This novel was an absolute joy to read & to talk about. Our discussion ranges the gamut, and our recording session went an hour over schedule because we all had so much we wanted to talk about! How gendered language affects the way we look at the world & self-identify. The ethics of eating meat. The ethics of cross-class romantic relationships. How fucking good a writer Delany is. And what is exactly a Cultural Fugue? 

Some links to things mentioned (as always, links at spectology.com if they don't show up in you podcatcher): 

* Bee's patreon cooking & cultural criticism blog 

* Bee's public blog, Uninterpretative 

* The Playdate pop-up gaming event 

* Bee's music & yearly compilations 

* Kids These Days by Malcolm Harris (briefly referred to as "Malcolm's book") 

* Gay New York by George Chauncey 

 

Thanks so much to everyone who has been involved with Spectology for another great year! We'll be back in 2020 with more books, guests, interviews, bonus episodes, etc.. We've had a great time & hope everyone else has too.

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

 

A doozy of a book, and one where we start off the episode not agreeing on how we liked it! Charlotte Geater (@tambourine on twitter and creator of wonderful bot-based poetry) joins us again after her Rupetta episodes last December to discuss the 1960s underground classic, Ice by Anna Kavan (https://amzn.to/2PRGTth). We discuss death, addiction, patriarchy, experimental fiction, and whether there are any easy allegories in this novel (answer: no). Adrian comes to terms with not having enjoyed reading the novel—but being glad he read it. 

This is a very brutal book, and if you're going to read it you might want to check out our content warnings at the 12m27s mark. 

Charlotte recommended a number of stories, books, and novels to go along with Ice. Links to them all are collected below. Go to Spectology.com if the links don't show up on your podcatcher.

* Excerpt of Sofia Samatar's novella, Fallow

* Descriptions of Jane Gaskell's unfortunately out of print novels

* Ann Quin's recently republished first novel, Berg

* "The Debutant", a story by Leonora Carrington

* Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry by BS Johnson

* Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Kingdoms of Elfin

* Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

* The Weird Tales podcast reads Lord Dunsany

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

 

Seth Heasley of the Hugos There podcast (https://hugospodcast.com) joins us to discuss Arthur C. Clarke's 1950s classic, Childhood's End (https://amzn.to/2srqLWa).

This is a short book about big ideas, asking what would happen if aliens came to Earth and instituted a generations-long paternalistic program to get us ready for our next stage of evolution. 

We discuss the book's major influence on science fiction, from Vinge, Niven, & Stephenson, to anime like Akira, to The Three-Body Problem. We dig deep into the books politics around colonialism. And we ask what it would be like to live through a society that has everything it could want, but knows that it's no longer in charge of its own destiny.

Here's a short list of other things we discussed on the episode. Links at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher.

* Jo Walton on Childhood's End 

* Adrian on Hugos There discussing The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 

* All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace 

* Tobias Buckell's story The Very Last Curator of What Little Remains of the Western World (patreon pay wall)

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

[A note: the content warnings at the beginning also apply to the episode as a whole. We talk about a lot of it in depth in a way that might be uncomfortable for some listeners. This episode is probably even less appropriate for younger children than normal due to that.]

We're back having read An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (https://amzn.to/2OMpWie), and here to talk about it in depth! 

We have a pretty far-ranging conversation about the ideas in the book, from how to be a friend and ally, to when violent revolution is necessary, to discussing the large social structures of the ship & the real world. We don't disagree about much, but we manage to argue a lot anyway! And towards the end we get to answering some of the existential questions we asked of ourselves in the post-read.

Stick around for the end to hear about what we're doing in December & early 2020 as well.

Other works mentioned:

* Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes 
* Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (episodes
* Semiosis by Sue Burke (episodes
* Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (episodes
* Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (episodes
* Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead 

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

Coming at you in person, Matt & Adrian sat down in the same room to record an episode about Colson Whitehead's post-apocalyptic literary novel, Zone One (https://amzn.to/2MR1hZT).

We loved this book, and had in particular have a lot to say about its relationship to other apocalyptic literary fiction, the ways the novel discusses, analogizes, and interacts with depression & PTSD, and New York City in literature and reality.

Other works mentioned:

* Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead 
* White Noise by Don DeLillo 
* Cosmopolis, dir. by David Cronenberg 
* 10:04 by Ben Lerner 
* California by Edan Lepucki 
* Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson 
* Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 
* The New & Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott 

(Links in the shownotes at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher. All amazon links are affiliates.)

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

We're back for our post-read discussion of Waste Tide by Stanley Chan / Chen Qiufan! (https://amzn.to/2njvSFr)

We had mixed but ultimately positive feelings about this book. It's been a great experience to read and talk about—rarely does a book present such a breadth of topics for us to cover. Matt read it in Chinese while Adrian read it in English, so we discuss the mechanics of the translation in depth, as well as how even small changes can have large effects on the over-all tone of the book. 

However, it've also a book that deals with very dark subject matters, and handles some of those elements better than others. Heed our content warnings on this one. We discuss the problematic elements explored by the book in depth. 

Some related works & links (if the links don't show up, they will be available in the show notes at spectology.com )

Non-fiction books about living in China:

* The Corpse Walker by Liao Yiwu (https://amzn.to/2o7yBSl)

* Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang (https://amzn.to/2msDvci)

* China Candid, edited by Sang Ye (https://amzn.to/2myPgy4)

Three links about Guiyu, the real-life inspiration behind Silicon Isle. 

https://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/campaigns/toxics/problems/e-waste/guiyu/

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2112226/chinas-most-notorious-e-waste-dumping-ground-now-cleaner-poorer

https://www.revealnews.org/article/looks-are-deceiving-in-chinese-town-that-was-us-e-waste-dumping-site/

Notice the date published & publisher for each of the above when reading, these are not without agenda. 

Yaz Minsky on Cyberpunk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ8S1CV3JwA  

Hedy Lamarr: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr 

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As always, we'd love to hear from you! Chat with us on twitter at @spectologypod, send us an email at spectologypod@gmail.com, or submit 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.

We've finished The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin (https://amzn.to/2L9Wdh0), and have a lot to say about it as usual! 

The book forced us to ask a lot of hard questions about the moral weight of actions of all of the main characters. We spend some time in a discussion on sympathetic villains and the importance of passing judgement on actions even while being sympathetic to motivations. We also discuss our own history with dreams, lucid dreaming, waking dreaming, and meditation. 

Also the moon!

Related & discussed links (available at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher):

* Waking Life by Richard Linklater

* The Dreamblood Duology by NK Jemisin (both books in 1)

* The Red Book by Carl Jung

* Tinariwen, desert folk/blues music from Northern Africa

* The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger

* Perplexities of Consciousness by Eric Schwitzgebel ("do you dream in color" studies)

* Mike Boyd (learning channel on youtube)

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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.

 

Through journeys and struggles, with the power of friendship, we did it! We recorded another episode, this time talking about Max Gladstone's latest solo novel, Empress of Forever (https://amzn.to/2ykpSOU). 

We both really enjoyed this book, and were really happy to get to read a novel by a previous guest. We start the episode off with Matt explaining the ways in which the book is & is not a science fictional adaptation of the Chinese epic novel Journey to the West, and then spend a lot of time discussing redemption and forgiveness and how those two things work in this novel, and how they should work in an ideal world. Also, Orn! This was a fun book to read & fun episode to record (even if Adrian was a little loopy & feverish), so we hope you enjoy it.

Some of the works mentioned in the episode (links at spectology.com if they don't show up here):

* Monkey: Folk Novel of China trans. by Arthur Whaley (Matt's recommended translation of Journey to the West) 
* Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny 
* Contact by Carl Sagan 
* Our previous episodes on Ten Billion Days & 100 Billion Nights, Semiosis, Brown Girl in the Ring, Ninefox Gambit, Binti, & "The 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.

Welcome to our final episode on Ted Chiang's newest short story collection, Exhalation (https://amzn.to/2X5A0JW). Matt & Adrian start by going through all of the stories in this collection, then go really in-depth on a few specifically, just like we did with Exhalation in our last episode (https://www.spectology.com/e/152-exhalation-post-read-re-reading-stories-philosophy-of-mind-the-heat-death-of-the-universe/). 

 

First 30 minutes: Intro, 2-3 minutes on each story, listing our favorites

29m 10s: "The Lifecycle of Software Objects": Mental & legal frameworks for how to relate to AI

1h 01m 14s: "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom": Character development & moral thought experiments

1h 17m 02s: "Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling": How technology changes our cognition & identity

1h 29m 04s: "The Merchant & the Alchemist's Gate": Discussing the medieval Islamic setting

1h 37m 19s: "Omphalos": Short stories as jokes, young Earth creationism

1h 42m 53s: Discussing the structure, endings, & morals of these stories

1h 48m 43s: Wrap-up & outro

 

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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.

This week's minisode is an in-depth discussion of ONLY the title story from Ted Chiang's new collection, Exhalation (https://amzn.to/2RlWfVY). The story "Exhalation" is available for free online at Lightspeed magazine (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/exhalation/), so we thought we'd start with this to whet everyone's appetite, and give new readers a chance to read something by Chiang to decide whether you want to pick up the full book. 

We dig apart Matt's experience of re-reading this story (something he rarely does), discuss the meaty themes the story presents, and offer a few other stories about the process of science. It's a fun short episode, and we hope you enjoy it & stick around for next week's full dissection of all the other stories in the collection. 

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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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