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Hosted ByAnnalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders

Explore the meaning of science fiction, and how it's relevant to real-life science and society. Your hosts are Annalee Newitz, a science journalist who writes science fiction, and Charlie Jane Anders, a science fiction writer who is obsessed with science. Every two weeks, we take deep dives into science fiction books, movies, television, and comics that will expand your mind -- and maybe change your life


All Episodes

Episode 113: Let’s Get Sweetweird!

Recently Charlie Jane came up with a new term for stories she’s been enjoying: Sweetweird. What does this mean, and is it a subgenre or an aesthetic? And also, why do we enjoy inventing and debating new genre terms so much? Show notes:…

Episode 112: Plastic problems, with William Gibson

Plastic was once a symbol of our shiny future, and now it represents our trashed, polluted present. What’s the future of this fossil-fueled polymer? We talk about what makes plastic so scary — in science and fiction. And then we call up William…

Episode 111: Escape Into Musicals, with Laser

Musicals transport us to another world through song and dance — but how can we use their otherworldly power to tell stories about robots and monsters? To find out, we talk to playwrights MJ Kaufman and Reina Hardy. Plus Laser from the Doubleclicks…

Episode 110: The Future of Pizza! And Other Listener Questions

In this special episode, we answer questions from our wondrous Patreon supporters. We discuss how to write convincing non-human characters, where people will live in 10,000 years, and why Dungeons & Dragons has become so popular. Plus why we love…

Episode 109: Work Is Not Your Friend, with Alan Henry

People have been paid for labor for at least 5,000 years, but the modern ‘workplace’ is a pretty recent invention. We look at how science fiction  has dealt with the transformation of labor — plus we talk to Alan Henry, author of the new book…

Episode 108: How Science Fiction Sold Us the Automobile

Cars have made our lives better in many ways, but they also kill a lot of people and damage the environment. Science fiction has worked hard to help us fall in love with the automobile, to the point where we can’t imagine a future without it. Why do…

Episode 107: Academia, Dark and Light

Why has darkness descended upon the university? We talk about the dark academia aesthetic, from Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” to the show “Dear White People.” What defines this aesthetic, and how does it shed light on current traumas within the…

Encore Episode: The future of birth control

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark court case that made abortion legal in this country, our future is looking very different. In this encore episode, we talk about the future of reproductive rights — our hopes and…

Episode 106: Waking up from the Illusion of Change

Nothing is ever permanent in pop culture: people die and come back to life all the time, huge changes get retconned, and Spider-Man is always a young guy who’s just starting out. Why are we stuck with the “illusion of change,” and what happens when…

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