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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 66: Portal Fantasies Are So Gay

In a portal fantasy, your protagonist goes through a magical door, down a rabbit hole, or into a wardrobe … and comes out in an enchanted world. We talk to Na’amen Tilahun, author of The Wrath & Athenaeum trilogy, about portal fantasy tropes and…

Episode 65: We’re Officially Done with Lovecraft and Campbell

H.P. Lovecraft and John W. Campbell were writers and editors who ruled science fiction in the mid-twentieth century. Their names graced some of the genre’s biggest awards. They ran influential magazines. And they were also racist, authoritarian…

Episode 64: How Science Is Redefining the Penis

The penis isn’t what you think it is.  We talk to Emily Willingham, author of Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis, about what the incredible diversity of reproductive organs among non-human animals can teach us about our own junk. It…

What is Indigenous Futurism?

Stories about indigenous people in the Americas often focus on the past, as if there aren’t hundreds of indigenous communities alive today. We talk to author Rebecca Roanhorse and journalist Julian Brave NoiseCat about the movement to explore the…

Episode 62: Help! I’m in love with my starship!

You can’t really be a starship captain without falling in deep romantic, and possibly sexual romances with your ship. From Star Trek to A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, starship computers take on personalities and even humanoid bodies. Why do we…

Episode 61: The Reality of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been a mainstay of science fiction for a hundred years, but now it’s finally a real technology. How does real VR change the stories we tell? Plus we talk to Fivestar, a porn director who’s been working on virtual reality porn, to…

Episode 60: Why stories need good dialogue

When two characters have an intense conversation, it deepens a story the way nothing else can. Dialogue is key to worldbuilding, and in this episode we talk to illustrious TV writer and showrunner Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman, Lost, The Dark…

Episode 59: The Limits of Escapism

We love escapism, and being able to escape into imaginary worlds is a super important survival strategy in the midst of oppression, pandemics, state-sponsored violence. But what if a story is escapist for some people, but not for others? And how dark…

Episode 58: The nerd vs. jock fight was always a lie

We’re sick of the nerds vs. jocks trope in pop culture. In this episode we unpack how that trope came to be, and how to get beyond high school PE trauma. We talk about science fiction that fetishizes workout routines (Arrow’s salmon ladder!?), and…

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