The Sci-Fi Christian Podcast

October 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

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Sci-Fi ChristianThe Sci-Fi Christian is a podcast (and site) about books, comics, movies and TV shows (with a heavier emphasis on the latter two). As you might surmise the hosts, Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono, are both Christians. As such they talk about the intersection between their beliefs and the media they consume. The premise, as laid out in the first episode |MP3|, is that they’ll be asking questions like ‘Was Jesus a Zombie?’ and ‘What does God think about teleportation? (Is it suicide?).’

Here’s the official description:

“We see The Sci-Fi Christian, in all its iterations, as being about the collision between faith and nerdom. We believe that good genre fiction is about more than just entertainment. We seek to engage with the themes and philosophies behind our favorite stories, wrestling with the big ideas within speculative fiction. We’re unabashedly nerdy and unabashedly Christian. Even if your faith background differs from ours, we look forward to interacting with you at The Sci-Fi Christian!

If you’re a theist you may like this. But even from an outsider’s perspective there is a lot to like in this show. The hosts don’t have identical tastes in the properties that they enjoy (which makes for a sparkier conversation). Also good is that they’re genuinely and equally enthusiastic about the subjects they discuss.

I myself am less enthused. This is not because I am not a Christian. As with every show that I’ve heard that uses the “Sci-Fi” shibboleth in its title there is a certain lightness to The Sci-Fi Christian Podcast that turns me off. Perhaps the best identifier of such a podcasts is a pervasive usage of the words “spoiler” and “spoiler alert.”

I will happily go to the grave never having to hear the phrase “spoiler alert” or listen to someone discuss whether something was (or wasn’t) “a spoiler.” To my mind the whole “spoiler” meme is one that, if it has value at all, should be only acted upon and never discussed.

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC Q: Interview with Margaret Atwood

October 22, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio One - Q: The PodcastHost Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio One’s Q has an astounding new interview with Margaret Atwood. Atwood’s latest book, In Other Worlds: SF And The Human Imagination, can be found in the “Literary Criticism” section of your local paperbook store.

Gomeshi talked to Atwood about the realistic novel, comics, Weird Tales and the “sluttish” reputation of SF.

In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood

One point in the interview left me confused and asking questions. Atwood claimed that “Conan the Barbarian is the literary descendant of Walt Whitman … and Henry James”.

I am floored.

What the fuck is she talking about?

Seriously, did she misspeak?

Did she mean to say that Robert E. Howard himself was their literary descendant?

Surely she didn’t mean the the character. Either way I don’t get it.

Or maybe she meant the stories themselves were somehow in the tradition of Walt Whitman and Henry James??? How could that be?

No matter how I look at it I don’t see how either Walt Whitman or Henry James ties into Howard. It just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me.

Does anybody know what the hell Atwood meant by that?

Seriously, I do not get it.

Will I have to buy her book to understand this thesis?

Have a listen |MP3|.

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. CBC, please release Apocalypse Al. You can call it “scientific romance” or something else, just release it.

Commentary: Audio Drama (radio drama) is for “bloodthirsty children”

October 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Cartoon from Man Junior, November 1949 (cartoonist uncredited)

[Thanks to many anonymous friends on internet]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals – Brilliance Audio + COMICS

October 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

The Rise Of Endymion by Dan Simmons
Day By Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
The Unincorporated War by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin
Swords And Deviltry by Fritz Leiber
Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser adapted by Howard Chaykin
The Outfit adapted by Darwyn Cooke
Sense And Sensibility adapted by Nancy Butler

Posted by Jesse Willis

Scientific American – 60-Second Science – Moon Not Made of Cheese

October 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Scientific American  - 60-Second ScienceEvery once in a while I have an surreal conversation. The conversation usually begins when a person says something I misunderstand. They claim something and then proceed to tell me about it. I assume that the person in question’s claim is a claim about the universe (I assume that because that’s the place I’m trying to understand). When the surreality begins is when it turns out that they are actually talking about is a part of the world – I guess that’s their perception of it.

The other day I had one when a friend of mine suggested I read a book called Fringe-ology. He described it as “a good book.”

Was he right? Is Fringe-ology a good book? The title sounded frighteningly unfruitful to me.

The question I then asked myself was: “Must I read it to form my own judgement?”

It was highly rated on (five stars and twenty five reviews). Did that fact make it “a good book?”

The book’s subtitle, How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t, didn’t make me want to read it either. Science, as I understand it, isn’t about “explaining away” anything (unless you are speaking metaphorically, which the practice of science certainly doesn’t embrace). And the “unexplainable” is a term that shows some seriously misguided thinking about reality (based on my reading of science history). Perhaps that was just marketing though.

Upon closer examination there is something else that makes me question Fringe-ology being a “good book” – there is a bent spoon on the book’s cover.

That is not a good sign.

To try to convince me to read Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t my friend said this:

“[the author Steven Volk is a] Hard-nosed news reporter who looks honestly at this stuff. And find he can’t disprove much of it.”

I suggested that no matter how hard one’s proboscis, the act of setting out to disprove something wasn’t science.

My friend then went on to talk about the reams of sworn eyewitness testimony to the existence of UFOs. And that they would be admissible as evidence in a court of law.

I then suggested that “reality is not determined by a judicial process.”

It was at about this point that I twigged to some sort of incommensurability in our communications. I was talking about the world, as discovered by the practice of science, and my friend was talking about some other way of seeing the world (that I think is demonstrably false – but perhaps enjoyable or something).

In the end I may have to accept my friend’s judgement about my character. He said I was a “closed” person. He may be right. I will not read horoscopes, I will not accept sworn eyewitness testimony for paranormal claims, and I don’t expect to be reading Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t any time soon – at least not without some more compelling reasons than I’ve been given.

There’s another way to put all of the above.

My friend was talking about institutional facts and I was talking about brute facts. He thinks the inexplicable exists, whereas I suggest that a book about the inexplicable is going to be zero pages long.

Which brings me to this extraordinarily boring (but presumably useful to my friend) story from Scientific American’s 60-Second Science podcast: “Moon Not Made of Cheese” – which takes a very pragmatic approach to debunking shitty ideas.


Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Six NEW Philip K. Dick Audiobooks

October 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Brilliance Audio has released five new Philip K. Dick audiobooks, none ever audiobooked before, all novels, all available now!

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Divine Invasion by Philip K. DickThe Divine Invasion
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Dick Hill
8 CDs – Approx. 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814497
God is not dead: he has merely been exiled to an extraterrestrial planet. And it is on this planet that God meets Herb Asher and persuades him to help retake Earth from the demonic Belial. Featuring virtual reality, parallel worlds, and interstellar travel, The Divine Invasion blends philosophy and adventure in a way few authors can achieve. As the middle novel of Dick’s VALIS trilogy, The Divine Invasion plays a pivotal role in answering the questions raised by the first novel, expanding that world while exploring just how much anyone can really know — even God himself.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Lies, Inc. by Philip K. DickLies, Inc.
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Luke Daniels
6 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814381
When catastrophic overpopulation threatens Earth, one company offers to teleport citizens to Whale’s Mouth, an allegedly pristine new home for happy and industrious émigrés. But there is one problem: the teleportation machine works in only one direction. When Rachmael ben Applebaum discovers that some of the footage of happy settlers may have been faked, he sets out on an eighteen-year journey to see if anyone wants to come back. Lies, Inc. is one of Philip K. Dick’s final novels, which he expanded from his novella The Unteleported Man shortly before his death. In its examination of totalitarianism, reality, and hallucination, it encompasses everything that Dick’s fans love about his oeuvre.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Now Wait For Last Year by Philip K. DickNow Wait For Last Year
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Luke Daniels
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814428
Earth is trapped in the crossfire of an unwinnable war between two alien civilizations. Its leader is perpetually on the verge of death. And on top of that, a new drug has just entered circulation — a drug that haphazardly sends its users traveling through time. In an attempt to escape his doomed marriage, Dr. Eric Sweetscent becomes caught up in all of it. But he has questions: Is Earth on the right side of the war? Is he supposed to heal Earth’s leader or keep him sick? And can he change the harrowing future that the drug has shown him?

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Simulacra by Philip K. DickThe Simulacra
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Dick Hill
7 CDs – Approx. 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814541
On a ravaged Earth, fate and circumstances bring together a disparate group of characters, including a fascist with dreams of a coup, a composer who plays his instrument with his mind, a First Lady who calls all the shots, and the world’s last practicing therapist. And they all must contend with an underclass that is beginning to ask a few too many questions, aided by a man called Loony Luke and his very persuasive pet alien. In classic Philip K. Dick fashion, The Simulacra combines time travel, psychotherapy, telekinesis, androids, and Neanderthal-like mutants to create a rousing, mind-bending story where there are conspiracies within conspiracies and nothing is ever what it seems.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer by Philip K. DickThe Transmigration of Timothy Archer
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Joyce Bean
7 CDs – Approx. 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: October 18, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814558
The final book in Philip K. Dick’s VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer brings the author’s search for the identity and nature of God to a close. The novel follows Bishop Timothy Archer as he travels to Israel, ostensibly to examine ancient scrolls bearing the words of Christ. But more importantly, this leads him to examine the decisions he made during his life and how they may have contributed to the suicides of his mistress and son. This introspective book is one of Dick’s most philosophical and literary, delving into the mysteries of religion and of faith itself. As one of Dick’s final works, it also provides unique insight into the mind of a genius, whose work was still in the process of maturing at the time of his death.

Each of the above is currently available through too.They’ve also got Dick’s non-fiction/memoir that’s been called “The Exegesis.” This comes as a kind of a surprise, even though we knew the paperbook was coming, this thing is massive, even edited, and may make for some very strange road trips. Here it is:

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Exegesis Of Philip K. Dick edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan LethemThe Exegesis Of Philip K. Dick
Edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem; Read by Fred Stella
36 CDs – 44 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: November 7, 2011
ISBN: 9781455814626
Based on thousands of pages of typed and handwritten notes, journal entries, letters, and story sketches, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick is the magnificent and imaginative final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception, the malleability of space and time, and the relationship between the human and the divine. Edited and introduced by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, this is the definitive presentation of Dick’s brilliant, and epic, work. In the Exegesis, Dick documents his eight-year attempt to fathom what he called “2-3-74,” a postmodern visionary experience of the entire universe “transformed into information.” In entries that sometimes ran to hundreds of pages, in a freewheeling voice that ranges through personal confession, esoteric scholarship, dream accounts, and fictional fugues, Dick tried to write his way into the heart of a cosmic mystery that tested his powers of imagination and invention to the limit. This volume, the culmination of many years of transcription and archival research, has been annotated by the editors and by a unique group of writers and scholars chosen to offer a range of views into one of the most improbable and mind-altering manuscripts ever brought to light.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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