It's finally happening! We're diving fully into one of Matt's areas of expertise, Chinese Literature. This month we're reading Waste Tide (https://amzn.to/2N4K80g), the first novel by Chinese science fiction author Chen Qiufan (known as Stanley Chan in English), translated by Ken Liu. 

The book is new to both of us, so in addition to the usual bookfacts, this episode starts with a short introduction to the sociolinguistics of the Chinese language. From there we learn about the history of modern Chinese literature w/ a focus on how speculative fiction has been received over the last century, from the earliest Chinese translations of Jules Verne to the modern resurgence of SF & Fantasy movies coming out of China, and how that relates to other literary & political movements. 

Some of the works we discuss include:

* Invisible Planets, edited & translated by Ken Liu

* Chen Qiufan's stories at Clarkesworld (includes audio versions)

* Clarkesworld Podcast

* "Flower of Shazui" (set in the same world as Waste Tide

* The Paper Menagerie & Other Stories by Ken Liu

* The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

(Links in the shownotes at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher)

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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.

 

Hey folks! Short description bc it's already very late & I'm trying to get this out. I may update this later w/ more info, check spectology.com in the next day or two if you'd like more links to all the other books we mention. 

The book this month is The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin! It's a great book, potentially my favorite of hers. https://amzn.to/31DKqyr

Matt & I spend a very long time talking about worldbuilding, different ways of doing it, books we love that do it well, etc.. It's quite the pre-read. Also, we're having some technical difficulties due to travel, so the sound is listenable but not to our usual standards. We should be better next episode, & back to normal next month.

The connected short story I mentioned ("The Narcomancer") is available as a podcast here: http://podcastle.org/2010/01/05/podcastle-85-giant-episode-the-narcomancer/

NK Jemisin's worldbuilding presentation is available here: http://nkjemisin.com/2015/08/worldbuilding-101/

And finally, her patreon is: https://www.patreon.com/nkjemisin

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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 is the first in a new series of episodes we're calling "Critical Conversations", where we take a critical work & discuss it in-depth. 

This time, Matt & Adrian discuss the article "Critics: Endgame" by Soraya Roberts & published in Longreads (https://longreads.com/2019/05/03/critics-endgame/).

Roberts asks what the purpose of pop culture criticism is in 2019, when fascism is ascendant and global warming is killing the planet, particularly criticism that is itself fandom. It's a critical essay which is critical of criticism, which ends up being a vital way for us to being talking about what we do on the podcast. Is it all too meta? Maybe! But it's the kind of thing we love talking about, so maybe you'll enjoy hearing us talk about it (and if not, we'll have a new pre-read next week so stay tuned for that).

A few of the resources we mention in the episode: 

* "Stay in your lane" originator: https://twitter.com/prisonculture 

* Matt's current favorite critic: http://andrewbatson.com & his twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewbatson 

* Adrian's current favorite critic: https://uninterpretative.blogspot.com & their twitter: https://twitter.com/Benladen & their patreon: https://www.patreon.com/benladen/overview.

* Another critical work about art vs. criticism we touch on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kaTDKDaj2M & his twitter: https://twitter.com/ShadowTodd 

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.

[This episode comes with a content warning for discussions of depression, suicide, and drug overdose. It's all relevant to the works & part of a good-natured conversation, but we wanted to mention that up front.]

This is an ongoing series we do every few months, going over some of the pop culture stuff we've liked recently. Some of it is SF adjacent, some of it isn't, but it's all good and enjoyable!

As always, if the links below don't show up in your podcatcher, they're all in the show notes spectology.com. 

Matt's things:

- Yazmin Lacey, song playing in background is "90 Degrees" from the album "When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees", buy it its so good

- Haiku by Basho, 17th Century Japanese Poet: http://oaks.nvg.org/basho.html 

- The last one is hard to explain, you'll just have to listen for the story

 

Adrian's things:

- Neon Genesis Evangelion, an anime from the 90s that was recently re-released on Netflix

- "Gen Z Music": artists mentioned include Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, Lil Peep, & Wicca Phase Springs Eternal 

- Indian(-ish), a cookbook by Priya Krishna, shout out to the Saag Feta & Aloo Gobi recipes

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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.

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.

 

What goes around comes around on the wheel of karma, so this month Matt & Adrian talking about the new novel from past guest Max Gladstone, Empress of Forever (https://amzn.to/2Jl9X94)! 

We discuss a number of books, movies, TV shows, and RPGs in the general space opera subgenre. Here are some of the most relevant. If the links don't show up in your podcatcher, they will be available on the show notes at spectology.com. 

- Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone 
- This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max 
- Journey to the West 
- Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny 
- Ten Billion Days & 100 Billion Nights by Ryu Mitsuse (see our 10.1 & 10.2 episodes) 
- Iain M Banks (see our 1.1 & 1.2 episodes on his Use of Weapons
- Gnomon by Nick Harkaway (see our 5.1 & 5.2 episodes w/ Max as a guest) 
- The New Space Opera & TNSO2, ed. Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan
- Sufficiently Advanced (RPG) 
- Ghibli Fest 2019 (particularly Princess Mononoke) 
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (on Netflix) 

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We'd love to hear from you (tell us your definition of space opera!), 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.

Adrian & Matt are back on their own this month, reading & talking about the short story collection Exhalation, by Ted Chiang. A wonderful collection of short fiction, we've decided to do something a little bit different from the usual. 

With this episode we talk about the power of short-form fiction, why we love Chiang's work so much, and (starting at 43:25) ask each other a couple tough philosophical questions of the type Chiang's stories attempt to answer. 

Books & movies mentioned include (links help support Spectology, go to spectology.com if they're not showing up):

- Exhalation, by Ted Chiang 
- Stories of Your Life & Others, by Ted Chiang 
- Store of the Worlds, by Robert Sheckley 
- The Best Stories of JG Ballard 
- Her Smoke Rose up Forever, by James Tiptree, Jr
- Tobias Buckell's Patreon 
- Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, ed. NK Jemisin 
- The Best SF&F of the Year series, ed. Jonathan Strahan 
- Interview w/ Chiang at Powel's 
- Interview w/ Walter Mosley at Paris Review 

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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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