It's the future baby! 2020 arrives with a bang as we discuss Arkady Martine's Byzantine-flavored space opera political thriller, A Memory Called Empire (https://amzn.to/2RdH5Ct). The story follows a young woman from an independent mining station who must travel to the central world of the Empire which surrounds it and act as ambassador. This comes as a recommendation from several readers & friends of the podcast.

In this episode, we discuss several historical figures who served analogous roles to that of the main character. The first, Grigor Magistros, is the subject of an [academic article written by Martine under the name AnnaLinden Weller. We also talk about S. W. Laden La, Tisquantum, and Kang Younghill, and Gendün Chöphel. Not sure who these fascinating historical cultural emissaries were? Listen to find out!

Other works mentioned:

Byzantophilia in the Letters of Grigor Magistros? by AnnaLinden Weller (no longer paywalled thanks to the author!)

* East Goes West by Younghill Kang

A Man of the Frontier: SW Laden La by Nicholas & Deki Rhodes 

* 1491 by Charles Mann (where the Tisquantum story as we tell it comes from)

Grains of Gold: Tales of a Cosmopolitan Traveler by Gendün Chöphel

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

Happy New Year, Spectologists!

Late in 2019, Matt sat down with Chen Qiufan / Stanley Chan, the author of Waste Tide, to discuss the book, the process of translating & editing it for an American audience, the importance of prose in genre fiction, how science fiction & startup culture interact in China, some of his favorite upcoming authors, and much much more. 

The conversation took place in English, although the conversation took place while Stanley was calling from the Hong Kong airport between flights so the audio is a bit more rough than usual. However, the conversation they had should more than make up for that.

If you enjoy this interview, make sure to check out our episodes on Stanley's book (18.1 & 18.2), as well as our discussion of the mentioned Ning Ken essay on the Ultra Unreal. You can find many of Stanley's stories at Clarkesworld, and follow Clarkesworld generally for many other translated Chinese SF stories. 

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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.

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.

Welcome to a very special pre-read episode. This December, Matt, Adrian, and a series of guests are reading 3 separate works of "classic" SF and talking about them & what makes them a "classic". The works will be:

* Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (https://amzn.to/35WGICa

* Ice by Anna Kavan (https://amzn.to/33CEfes

* Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany (https://amzn.to/2RdBTAk

Each book (& author) has had an large influence on modern SF, and we'll talk about that in those respective episodes over the course of this month.

In this episode, we dive deep into our own history of reading SF, with an eye towards the golden age. How did we get into SF, which authors did we first find that spoke to us, how did we find new authors & books, and why was so-called "classic" SF such an outsized influence on two kids growing up in the 90s and 00s?

In addition, we have a discussion on the problematic nature of a lot of these books and authors. Is it still worth reading something you like knowing what we know now about the books & the people behind them? How might different people have different answers to that question? How do we, specifically, choose books to read for this podcast? It's a difficult but hopefully enlightening conversation. 

We'll be off the 2nd week of December, and then back the final 3 Tuesdays of the month with a separate episode on each of these books. 

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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.

Join us as we reflect on a few of the novels we've read for the podcast so far, and imagine what they might look like as on-screen adaptations. Matt & Adrian play executive producers, coming up with concepts for the adaptations & directors, writers, and actors who might work on them. 

Time stamps for each:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Matt): 2m33s

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Adrian): 13m05s

Player of Games (a Culture novel) by Iain M. Banks (Matt): 25m26s

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Adrian): 31m19s

This was a fun & somewhat silly episode, we hope you enjoy! If you have your own fancasting for these or any other books we've read, let us know by tweeting @spectologypod or emailing us at spectologypod@gmail.com, we'd love to hear them.  

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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.

In what ends up being a surprisingly introspective episode of Spectology, we introduce our new book: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (https://amzn.to/2O0rXHa). 

It is a very good book about life amongst the lower classes on board a generation ship. You and should buy it and read it. 

Much of this episode is spent questioning whether reading fiction can actually teach us things (where "us" = readers with privilege), or whether the emotions that fiction can induce are used as a stand-in for actually doing work. Answers are not found.

We also do book facts and talk about science fiction. We discuss different types of dystopian fiction & how genre tropes can be used or misused. But I'm not going to lie this one is weirdly pensive & self-reflective, even for us. 

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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.

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