Socratic Dialogues and the Nature of Excellence: Jo Walton’s The Just City

19 Mar just-city_375h

Plato’s Republic is a book that has been debated and studied since its composition nearly 2400 years ago. It delves into some of the deepest questions of society. How do we design a city, a world, a political entity to benefit the most people? How should people be ordered? What is Justice? What is the practical upshot of creating a society, a city, ordered on the lines of The Republic?

And what happens when the Goddess Pallas Athena decides that the thing to do in order to respond to Plato is to create a city based on The Republic, and populate it with people drawn through time and space, and several thousand children to be raised in the ways of the Republic, to carry the experiment truly forward? To create an experiment in a time and place where it cannot affect history but the pursuit of its excellence can be sought free of entanglements? Continue reading

260. Silvia Moreno-Garcia (a.k.a. The Music Wizard) — Signal to Noise (An Interview)

18 Mar

Music magic, sinking cities, and covens, oh my!  Silvia Moreno-Garcia joins Shaun and Julia to talk about her latest novel, Signal to Noise.  We discuss the novel’s obsession with music, Mexico City’s sinking problem, the “magical realism” label, and much more!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 260 — Download (MP3)Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Book Review: The Land Across by Gene Wolfe

16 Mar The Land Across by Gene Wolfe

Those even slightly familiar with Gene Wolfe’s prolific work may recognize its persistence in theme and style. Critics, colleagues, and readers in general praise his unique voice, which is often challenging to penetrate with its unconventionality, but usually end up making his stories hugely rewarding experiences. Despite the now conventional expectation of idiosyncrasy in Wolfe’s prose and plots, he somehow manages to keep stories inventively unpredictable and engrossing.

Recently released in trade paperback format by Tor Books, Wolfe’s 2013 novel, The Land Across, is typical Wolfe: a young, possibly unreliable narrator, evocative descriptions, shifting plots that play with expectations, sophisticated incorporation of the political and religious, and beneath it all a perpetual sense of foreboding. Continue reading

The Muse of Research: An Interview with Lev Mirov

16 Mar

The Muse of Research is a monthly column in which E. P. Beaumont interviews poets, medievalists, and speculative writers about their research.  This week, E.P. Beaumont talks to Lev Mirov.

———————————

E. P. Beaumont: Talk about your nonfictional obsessions! (could be academic training, stuff you like to read about, topics that pique your curiosity)

Lev Mirov: I’ve studied medieval Europe widely, and I have put a lot of time and energy into the history of western magic, folk Christianity, 12th century England, ritual studies, and the relationship between western religion and esotericism and indigenous cultures. In 2011, I wrote an undergraduate thesis on gender and military leadership in 12th c. England and France, and, in 2014, a master’s thesis about magical rituals as expressions of religious life in later medieval England.

I am also learning about the history and culture of Russia and questions of ethnicity and identity in Russia, ballet, New Orleans history and culture, gender and sexuality, psychology and the human mind, religions and spiritualities, the history of medicine, and food as culture.

I do 90% of the household cooking, and have found being gluten and egg intolerant amazing for introducing me to global cuisines and styles of cooking and eating outside the mainstream American paradigm. I am an adventurous gluten-free baker, and am always trying to capture interesting dishes as part of my culinary repertoire. Continue reading

259. Elizabeth Bear (a.k.a. The Sky Marshall) — Karen Memory (An Interview)

13 Mar

Sewing mecha, evil gloves, and the Old West, oh my!  Multi-award winning Elizabeth Bear joins us to talk about her latest novel, Karen Memory.  We discuss worldbuilding, writing about the characters history forgot, steampunk weirdness, and much more!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 259 — Download (MP3)

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Book Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus

12 Mar Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Supernatural clients, or supernatural opposition, or just looking for supernaturally powerful objects are the worst for Owl. There are supernatural entities hiding in the shadows of the world, and an archaeologist-turned-treasure-hunter who has crossed the dreaded IAA not only knows there are vampires and worse lurking around, she has no outside protection from them. Owl avoids supernatural entanglements in her treasure hunting and thievery whenever she can. She leaves that to her online roleplaying character to deal with. Of course, given that she is living on the run in a Winnebago, even that small pleasure is difficult for her to indulge in.

When a Dragon offers Owl a deal to get herself out of trouble with a French clan of vampires who are following her around the globe, desperate times call for desperate measures. Continue reading

The Disquieting Guest — On Leonard Nimoy and the Anti-Spock

10 Mar Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers-leonard-nimoy-17328074-544-414

Like almost everyone else, my first encounter with Leonard Nimoy was in his Spock role. But as I watched endless reruns of Star Trek in my elementary school years, I did not have much awareness of the actor behind the character. The names in the credit sequence meant little. They were less real than the characters themselves. I knew that Spock wasn’t real, of course, but imaginatively and emotionally he was. The real person behind the character barely registered in my consciousness. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,072 other followers

%d bloggers like this: