Stephen Spielberg’s latest adventure movie is here and it’s based on the best selling, wildly successful, first novel of Ernest Cline. Kyle Willoughby is joined by DSRA’s producer and guest host, James Fouhey, to discuss virtual reality and the process behind turning a reference-rich science fiction novel into a producible film. James begins with virtual reality’s conceptual and practical origins and connects it to the latest surge in hardware for the home. Kyle then describes how Cline went from being a dissatisfied screenwriter to an author with a book being made into a Spielberg movie. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the film and the novel.
The new film directed by Ava DuVernay is based on the classic novel, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It is the first book in The Time Quintet, and has been mentioned on the podcast by Claire and Kyle several times before. The novel not only had an impact on our hosts, but the entire fantasy and science fiction genre. Kyle begins by giving a layman’s version of the far out math behind the film and book’s mentally-willed space travel. Claire describes the life of Madeleine L’Engle and the pieces that fell into place for DuVernay to become the film’s director. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the film, and the story of how each of their mothers first discovered the book.
Annihilation is writer/director Alex Garland’s film adaptation of the acclaimed science fiction novel by Jeff VanderMeer. Claire White and Kyle Willoughby have been looking forward to the movie since they saw the first teaser trailer last year. Claire starts off by exploring the history of aliens in pop culture. From the Ancient Greeks to Arrival she discusses how the fears and beliefs of the time affect the shape and motives of fictional extraterrestrials. Kyle talks about what inspired VanderMeer to write the book and takes a look at the varied career of the director, Alex Garland. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the movie, how faithful adaptations should be to the source material, and why they want it to succeed.
Marvel has released its first black superhero movie, and the DSRA team cannot wait to talk about a film they’ve been anticipating for more than a year. Kyle Willoughby takes a much-deserved vacation while James Fouhey and Claire White discuss the themes and production of Black Panther. James delves into Afrofuturism — the themes of the genre and what its creators are working towards. Claire talks about Marvel’s process of bringing the superhero to life and how director Ryan Coogler went from college football player to blockbuster director in less than 10 years. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the film, their initial worries that it wouldn’t succeed, and why it’s for everyone.
Kyle Willoughby and Claire White have finally finished season four of the Netflix Original Series, Black Mirror, so it’s time to discuss television’s most provocative science fiction. Kyle begins by positing that at its heart, Black Mirror is not simply an anthology of cautionary tales, but rather a modern fairy tale that replaces magic with science. Claire discusses show runner, Charlie Brooker’s life and career before the show, and describes how his “addiction” to game shows eventually led him to create a modern day Twilight Zone. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the series, its emotional effect, and it’s surprising accessibility.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is the 2017 Hugo Award Winner for best Novella. Kyle Willoughby and Claire White are happy to take another recommendation from the Hugo’s and plunge into the first book of the Wayward Children series. Claire begins by exploring the genre of “portal fantasy” and describes both its ancient origins as well the many modern works that have followed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Kyle takes a look at the prolific career of the author, Seanan McGuire, and explains the process by which great works of fantasy and science fiction win Hugos. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book, the appeal of portal fantasy, and the worlds they wish to escape too.