We’re back with our second Birthdays Spectacular episode! Age went first, now it’s time for beauty! (Note: according to Kyle…) And there isn’t a more beautiful pick to be had in the year 1989 than the lauded science fiction novel “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons. Highly decorated when it was first released, “Hyperion” has largely since been forgotten outside of the hardcore Sci-Fi community. The story is a sort of Canterbury Tales in space and explores the dark pasts of six pilgrims on a dangerous journey. Kyle delves into the history of the “Frame Narrative” from which Hyperion takes its structure. Claire discusses Dan Simmons, the path he chose for himself as a writer, and why he is not a household name. The hosts wrap up with a discussion of their favorite Frame Narrative stories, and why they think Hyperion has been denied greater recognition over the years.
Jordan Ellis is the founder of The Sartorial Geek podcast, magazine and blog. She is also the owner and operator of Jordandené (jordandene.com), maker of handmade nerdy apparel and home goods. Claire White and Kyle Willoughby were excited to chat with someone involved in so many layers of nerd community. They discuss her first encounter with nerd culture, the best way to welcome newcomers, and what it’s like to see nerd fashion in high end retailers. Our hosts and Jordan conclude by discussing favorite fandoms past, present, and future.
We’ve entered the month June, and that means it’s time for Claire and Kyle’s “Birthday Spectactulars”! Frank Miller’s graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most influential works in the history of Batman and of comics. It also arrived in the world the same year Claire did! That makes it a perfect pick for her birthday special. Claire describes the enormous impact the book had on the industry and explains how the censorship that was plaguing comics set the stage for Miller’s work to be such a noticeable departure. Kyle continues with a look at how a young Miller came to be trusted with so much creative control over Batman, and what led him to use it the way he did. Our hosts conclude with a discussion of Batman’s enduring appeal, their favorite Batman villains, and their thoughts on the graphic novel.
Dread Nation is a new young adult novel by Justina Ireland that imagines what would have happened if zombies had risen immediately following the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Kyle takes a look at the history and use of zombies in American popular culture going back to their origins in the Haitian Sugar Plantations. Claire takes a look at Ireland’s writing career, twitter scandals in the YA community, and how Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inspired Justina to write about the undead. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book, its protagonist and the tricky beast that is Twitter.
Marsfall is a science fiction audio drama set in a future in which humans are attempting to create a new home on Martian soil. In this special creator focused episode, our hosts are excited to be joined by Sam Boase-Miller, Dan Lovley, and Erik Saras to discuss the development and production of the show. Our guests describe the variety of media that influenced them and explain how they hoped to both include and subvert beloved tropes of the genre. After discussing what it takes to actually engineer and produce a science fiction soundscape, our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the series.
In 2008 Marvel Studios released their first film, Iron Man. 10 years and 18 films later, in Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes of the MCU will face their most formidable villain yet, Thanos. This movie, which involved over 60 characters and took 19 movies to build up to, is the largest cross over event in the history of cinema. Claire delves into the definition and history of “crossovers”, discussing their roots in mythology, literature, and eventually the monster movies of the mid 20th century. Kyle takes a look at the path of the man who brought this ambitious idea of a shared cinematic universe together, Kevin Feige. The hosts wrap up with their thoughts on the film, and a reflection on their favorite MCU movies.