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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