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.

Buh-buh-buh-bonus! 

Matt & Adrian return for another "things we like", where we talk about things we like outside of the books we're reading on the pod. Links are below, listen to the ep. to hear more about each one! If the links don't show up, they'll be on spectology.com.

 

Adrian's things:

- Otherworld Adventure LARP

- Gemini Man in 120fps (here's a podcast about it)

- Schitt's Creek (on Netflix)

 

Matt's things:

- This War of Mine (on Steam)

- RAQIA (song "Library of Babel" is playing in the episode)

- Quanta Magazine (https://www.quantamagazine.org)

 

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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.

Sorry for the late episode this week! Real-life travel has made editing & publishing more difficult than expected. The episode's editing might be a bit rough around the edges for that as well.

However, we have a really fun episode discussing Colson Whitehead's novel Zone One, a litfic novel about a man clearing zombies out of Manhattan after the apocalypse. We discuss the history of zombie movies & books, lightly touch on the problematic cultural history of zombies (which you can hear more about in our episodes with Mendez Hodes), and spend a lot of time discussing what makes a B movie. 

It was a really fun episode to record, and we hope you enjoy it, outtakes and all.

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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.

For today's episode, Matt & Adrian read an essay about Chinese Science Fiction by Chinese SF author Ning Ken, and talk about it. The essay, published as "Modern China is So Crazy It Needs a New Literary Genre" on LitHub (https://lithub.com/modern-china-is-so-crazy-it-needs-a-new-literary-genre/), outlines a subgenre of SF that (supposedly) doesn't exist in English, and discusses why it's so important in China.

We take the conversation far afield pretty quickly, asking what makes a genre, whether Ultra Unreal works exist in English, how relevant these works actually are in Chinese SF, and who ultimately gets to define genre. Adrian rants a little about one particular author who annoys him online when he talks about genre, and Matt has very reasoned and smart things to say about whether it's even a good idea to argue about genre in the first place.

As always, the essay is an interesting one, and we hope you'll read it in addition to listening to us argue about it. In addition, here are some other related works to the conversation:

- Follow-up essay by Josh Feola & Michael Pettis
- "Folding Beijing" by Hao Jingfang
- Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan (see also the 18.x episodes of this podcast)
- The New & Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott (see also our 4.x episodes)
- Sorry to Bother You, dir. Boots Riley
- "Welcome to the Future Nauseous" by Venkatesh Rao

As always, links at spectology.com if they don't show up in your podcatcher.

We'll be back next week (Oct 1st) for our Waste Tide post-read, then October 8th we'll have the post-read for our horror-themed October novel.

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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.

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 

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