a podcast about science fiction & fantasy

Episode Archive

Archive for all episodes

Episode 43: Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin

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The incredible Ursula K. Le Guin passed away early in 2018, and in this podcast we set out to untangle just what it was that she did. Did she change science fiction? What will her legacy be?

Episodes 41 & 42: The First Imaginary Awards (2017)

Listen to Part 1 on SoundCloud | iTunes | YouTube | Spotify | Stitcher.

Listen to Part 2 on SoundCloud | iTunes | YouTube | Spotify | Stitcher.

We sure did have some opinions about the SFF released in 2017, and now we can share those opinions with you! More than we usually do, that is, because we’re giving out Imaginary Awards (pun intended) to all of our faves.

Episode 40: The Weird

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Let’s talk the unknown and unknowable! Weird fiction has quite a pedigree at this point, and we consider a long history including H.P. Lovecraft (and Lovecraftian work generally), China Mieville, Jeff VanderMeer, Kameron Hurley, Karin Tidbeck, and plenty more.


Episode 39: The Planets (Part 3 of the Celestial Bodies Series)

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How do we present planets in science fiction as a landscape and a function? Here, we tackle all of those heavenly bodies (moons included!) beyond the Moon and Mars. There are a lot. We get to as many as we can!


Episode 38: On Mars (Part 2 of the Celestial Bodies Series)

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What's the deal with Mars? How is setting a book or a colony on the Red Planet different from setting it elsewhere in our solar system? We get into the nitty gritty of Percival Lowell, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Expanse, Mariner 1, Mark Watney's potatoes, and much, much more.


Episode 37: The Moon (Part 1 of the Celestial Bodies Series)

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The Moon, our Moon, has a long history in SFF. While we can’t connect every work that’s ever featured the Moon, we hope we get pretty close here!


Episode 36: Problematic Favorites

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Problematic, you say? Well, just consider how sometimes fandoms can become … a bit much. Or how Orson Scott Card turned out to be a vile homophobe. Or how some works have aged really poorly (poor Sheri Tepper…). We cover a lot of ground here, including some ways in which to discuss (or not discuss) contentious works of SFF with contentious people.


Episode 35: Libraries and Librarians

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What reader doesn’t love libraries? From Matilda’s origin story to Batman to the multitudes included in TNG’s Data, from Buffy to Lirael to Discworld, we talk about ‘em all!


Episode 34: The Fourth of the Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (Imaginary Science)

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We lost the third beauty to a hard drive crash, but here’s the fourth in all its imaginary loveliness! What role does the "science" in "science fiction" actually MEAN? What sciences count? When do all of our definitions start breaking down into one giant soup of goo? You be the judge!

Episode 33: War! What is it good for?

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Nah, but really, we want to know! Many SFF creators seem to argue that war is inevitable, or an inherent human need or dominion. Do we need it? On a human level? Or on a fictional level? Does writing war into SFF allow us to do things we simply couldn’t do otherwise?

Episode 32: Spiders

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We attempt to burn down the podcast. It’s the only way to be sure.

Nah, but what’s our obsession with spiders? We tackle everything from Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Ruin (sentient Earth spiders!) to spiderlike aliens to Arachnophia to legends and myths of spiders from cultures around the world. It’s a wild ride.

Episode 31: Spaceman of Bohemia, with special guest Parke Cooper

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We may not know Jaroslav Kalfar, author of Spaceman of Bohemia, personally ... but we DO know someone who knows him! Spend a delightful hour with us as we chat about existential angst and spider-aliens with a taste for Nutella.


Episode 30: On Monsters

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Are we gonna flirt with the monster or is it going to eat us? That seems to be the everlasting question in SFF, as we tackle monstrous archetypes and some of our favorite queerings of the same.


Episode 29: The Hunt (Finding SFF in the Wild)

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This one’s all about bookstores. There are a few stores dedicated specifically to SFF in the US and abroad, and while we’ve been to a few of them, they’re not as widespread as you might like. If you want to leave the house to find a book, what are you to do?


Episode 28: Social Science Fiction

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Science fiction is based in and plays around with science. What happens when that science is psychology, or anthropology, or geography, or political science? We have a lot of fun answering those questions with some of our favorite works and ideas.

Episode 27: Divisive Opinions

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Kend likes Prometheus a lot. Okay? But we talk a lot more about just that, since it seems like there’s plenty that you’re supposed to like and dislike in SFF.

Episode 26: Queering SFF

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It’s complicated. And we say that as queer writers and readers ourselves!

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Episode 25: Hard Science Fiction

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It’s supposed to be the best sort out there, but what is it? Does the hardness in science fiction represent the quality of the science, or is it more a way to say “this book is better than that one”?


Episode 24: Artificial Intelligence

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I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t allow you to listen to that.


Episode 23: Novellas

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Just a few years ago, you’d have had a job if you wanted to find a novella in print outside of a special edition of an established journal. Now, thanks in large part to Tor, SFF novellas are launching careers, establishing new universes, showcasing entire series, and more. Check ‘em out!


Episode 22: Remembering Octavia Butler

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You’d have quite a task if you tried to find a prior episode in which we didn’t talk about Octavia Butler at least once. Here, we finally gathered our shit and gave this titan her own episode. Read forever!

Episode 21: Season 1 of The Expanse

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While the first season was a bit mixed, it’s fun to think about where it all started: hardboiled space noir!

Episode 20: Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X trilogy

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Like the previous episode, we dedicate ourselves this time to digging into one of our favorite series by one of our favorite authors.


Episode 19: N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy

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Our first N.K. Jemisin episode is all about her award-winning and very personal trilogy.


Episode 18: Burn, Baby, Burn (Dystopias)

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Dystopias are an evergreen stable of young adult (YA) literature, but they’ve been a linchpin of social commentaries since the dawn of the novel, all the way back during the Restoration period of English history. We have a lot of opinions and we have many facts, too.


Episode 17: Systems of Magic

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How does magic work? Nearly every fantasy universe has its own explanation (or lack thereof), so we take a look at some of those that satisfy our need to know. Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicles, and the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender get some particular love.


Episode 16: The Outbreak Narrative, with special guest Scott Selisker

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What is it that so captures our imagination when it comes to fast-spreading disease and contagion? In this episode, we consider everything from zombies to the aptly named Contagion. We also have help from Scott Selisker, author of Human Programming: Brainwashing, Automatons, and American Unfreedom, as we discuss Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative by Priscilla Wald.

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Episode 15: Creature Features

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Fantastical animals are so hot right now, no? Here we take a look at the glut of creature features making the CGI rounds, though we focus upon two from 2016: The Jungle Book and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


Episode 14: Pilots That Failed to Hook Us

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Maybe they led to a successful season or two, or more. Maybe they never made it past their first episode. Maybe other folks loved them. But for whatever reason, these pilots never drew us in. Is there something that’s common to all of them?


Episode 13: Rogue One

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So, what’s all the hype about these Star Wars spinoffs, eh? Let’s have a listen. (A warning, if you expect us not to like it: Kend really likes it.)


Episode 12: The Second of the Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (The Novum)

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This one’s important, as we spend a lot of time in future episodes talking about the novum, or the central new concept, in various works of SFF. Check it out!


Episode 11: Mother of Eden

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A great episode to pair with Episode 9, since this is the second book in Chris Beckett’s Eden trilogy.


Episode 10: Starship Troopers

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Book club, but with a twist. Heinlein’s book is quite different from the irreverent and saucily satirical 90s film, so we have a good time talking about both. If you really love the book, this is probably not the episode for you.


Episode 9: Dark Eden

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Book club returns! Chris Beckett’s a British author whose work we weren’t familiar with prior to this one, and we use it to talk about everything from rogue planets (on which this is set) to the inevitability of patriarchy (which is … complicated).


Episode 8: Arrival

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Listen to us talk about one of our favorite movies from 2016 and beyond! This episode pairs well with Episode 6, since we talk about what the creators did to adapt Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” so successfully. This is a good episode, and Amy Adams deserved more awards and nominations.


Episode 7: Politics in SFF

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Here’s a neat glimpse of The Imaginaries to come! In this episode, we tackle some of the state and government systems in SFF, but we also consider what ideas and intentions are at the hearts of those systems and why authors chose to use them to represent future or alternate worlds.


Episode 6: What makes SFF cinematic?

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What does it take to make a work of SFF that was originally a novel, a story, a comic, or a TV show into a successful movie? Well, the obvious answer is “a lot of money,” but in this episode we think about why some works make better adaptations than others, and what works that are pretty damn cinematic have been completely overlooked.


Episode 5: The First of the Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (Fictive Neology)

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The Beauties were one of our longest-running series. Essentially, we went through each of the reasons that science fiction critic Istvan Csicery-Ronay gives re: why science fiction is beautiful in unique ways in his book The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction.


Episode 4: Luna: New Moon

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Early on, we tended to focus on a single work and connect it to other works — but we were also very much a book club. This is when our audio becomes listenable, though.


Episode 3: A Wrinkle in Time

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This is the first episode in which we’re recognizable as The Imaginaries you know and love. The audio still isn’t great, though.


Episode 2: Shutter and Star Trek

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Yeah, somehow we tackled another classic sci-fi series along with a very queer comic series. We were not great about editing in the beginning. The audio? Still terrible.


Episode 1: The Alien Franchise

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Our first topic ever was this classic. Kend insists on saying Alien Cubed a bunch. The audio is still terrible.


Episode 0: Meet the Imaginaries

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Awful audio, but here it is: your chance to hear the first episode we ever recorded.