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.


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. 


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.


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.


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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