The Big Book of Science Fiction is a massive anthology of the genre’s best works over the last hundred years put together by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White select stories by H.G. Wells, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Joanna Sinisalo to examine the threads that connect them over a century. Kyle discusses the influence of Mary Shelly and other great founders of science fiction. Claire describes the Vandermeer’s process and their guiding principles for distilling millions of words of fiction. Claire and Kyle conclude the episode with thoughts on the anthology, when science fiction is at its best, and their increasing excitement for the genre.
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic tale of samurai and magic that takes stop motion animation to new heights. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White like all of these things. Claire gives some background on the Japanese creation myth and the impacts of Shinto and Buddhism. Kyle describes the painstaking craft of Laika Studios and how their process has evolved with technology. Our hosts conclude by discussing the film’s limited casting of Japanese actors, its ability to handle mature themes, and the surprise delight of going to see it.(See show notes)
No Man’s Sky is one of the most ambitious and anticipated videogames of 2016. In the wake of its massive launch and the hyperbolic reactions of its player base, Kyle Willoughby and Claire White seek to put it all into perspective. Kyle notes the many Science Fiction influences credited by the director, Sean Murray, and then offers his own take on the books, film, and art that have most shaped the game. Claire describes a development and reception so intense, that death threats were received. To cap it off, Kyle and Claire discuss their own feelings playing the game and what this means for the future of indie developers.(See show notes)
Kyle Willoughby and Claire White are here to talk about the superhero with all the powers of both squirrel and girl! Marvel’s comic series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a surprise bestseller about a superhero that’s got two buckteeth, prefers talking to fighting, and once secretly lived in The Avenger’s attic. Claire relates Doreen Green’s humble woodland beginnings and satirical adventures. Kyle discusses the creative goals of Ryan North and Erica Henderson and how they managed to make a comic for people who don’t usually read them. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on what makes Squirrel Girl so refreshing.(See show notes)
Suicide Squad is the latest film in the DC Extended Universe. Claire and Kyle break down the previous incarnations of the squad in comics and detail the incredible amount of second-guessing that went into producing the film. Along the way they compare the process of the Marvel movie machine with DC’s. They finish with a discussion of their experience watching the film, how Warner Brothers has misread its critics, and what may have been left on the cutting room floor.(See show notes)
The sci-fi adventure, Stranger Things, is a new Netflix Original Series and it’s a huge hit. Our hosts unravel the source of the show’s nostalgia and how the vision of the Duffer brothers found a match with Netflix’s ambition. Kyle seeks to define “spielbergian” and traces the trope of kids-on-bikes back to the classic 60s literature of Ray Bradbury and Madeleine L’Engle. Claire describes the making of this 8-episode TV show that feels like a film, and how original content like this fits into Netflix’s plan for the future. They conclude by discussing the show’s truthful portrayal of friendship, its masterful use of nostalgia, and why a scaredy-cat like Claire is glad that she watched.