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Burned Like Books

The Incomparable’s Book Club reconvenes to discuss two books from the past about future dystopias: Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Is Bradbury just angry about reality TV? Does Orwell just want you to read his essay about language? Can we read these famous books without bringing along our preconceived notions of what they’re supposed to mean? At what temperature do Kindles burn? Don’t worry—in the end this entire episode is going down the Memory Hole.

Jason Snell with John McCoy, Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign and David J. Loehr


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Previous Episodes

Just Add Jesuits!

After 20 years, we revisit Mary Doria Russell’s first-contact classic “The Sparrow.” It’s a story about aliens, spirituality, and why God allows terrible things to happen to good people. And boy, do terrible things happen to people in this book. (Content advisory: One of those things is sexual assault of humans by aliens.)

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Shannon Sudderth and Erika Ensign


All the Best Words

It’s time for our annual survey of some of the best science fiction and fantasy novels of the year, as we read all seven of the nominees for the Nebula Award. If you’re looking for some new books to read, check out our discussion—we tread lightly on the spoilers.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Scott McNulty, Aleen Simms and Shaun Duke


I Like Complicated Books, Glenn

Our Book Club returns to read two recent, highly praised science fiction novels. From Kim Stanley Robinson comes “Aurora,” the story of a spaceship sent from Earth to a far-off star in a trip that will take generations. And from Ian McDonald comes “Luna: New Moon,” a sort of “Dallas” (or is it “The Godfather”?) set on and under the surface of the moon. Plus, what else are we reading?

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Aleen Simms, Erika Ensign and Glenn Fleishman


Laid a Lot of Foundations

We have seen tens of thousands of years into the future, and our best psychohistorians think the Galactic Empire will once again reign supreme… so long as there aren’t any surprise mutants or aliens. In this episode, we discuss Isaac Asimov’s classic “Foundation” trilogy. From the perspective of 2015, what still works, and what seems out of date? Plus: What else are we reading?

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign, Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


I Read It All

Our Book Club reconvenes to cover two books that are both sort of about the end of the world: Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Water Knife” and Neal Stephenson’s “Seveneves.” Regional apocalypses versus worldwide apocalypses! Plus, what else are we reading?

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Serenity Caldwell, Lisa Schmeiser and David J. Loehr


Space Bureaucracy

It’s time for our annual dive into the Hugo Awards, focused mostly on the five nominated novels, but also touching on short fiction, comics, films, and TV episodes, as well as this year’s big Hugo controversy.

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign and David J. Loehr


Tea, Sandwiches, and Mushrooms

Time for our annual review of the Nebula Award nominees for the best SF or Fantasy novel of the year, with podcasters from Skiffy and Fanty, SF Signal, and The Three Hoarsemen! We’ll cover (in a spoiler-light fashion) books about space stations, alien invasions, empires, mushrooms, and tea ceremonies. There’s even a deadly incident involving a Zeppelin!

Jason Snell with Fred Kiesche, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer and Scott McNulty


The Shmoop Index

This episode is all about assigned reading from our school days. Stuff we loved and, more importantly, stuff we hated. Does Jason hate all French literature, or just Emma Bovary? Whose teachers assigned Ursula LeGuin and Kurt Vonnegut? And will Charles Dickens tear our friendly group of podcasters apart? Be sure to do the reading—there might be a quiz tomorrow.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Andy Ihnatko and David J. Loehr


The Colour Blue

In honor of Sir Terry Pratchett, who died a week ago, four voracious Pratchett readers discuss what made Pratchett great, their favorite Pratchett works, and recommend places for newcomers to Terry Pratchett to get started.

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Eat Pray Love Die Survive

The end of the world is here, or in the near future, or in the far future, or maybe all three? Our Book Club reconvenes to talk about three somewhat apocalyptic novels: “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, “The Peripheral” by William Gibson, and “Slow Apocalypse” by John Varley.

Jason Snell with Lisa Schmeiser, David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley and Scott McNulty


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