Our war with the algorithm

“How does one fashion a book of resistance, a book of truth in an empire of falsehood, or a book of rectitude in an empire of vicious lies? How does one do this right in front of the enemy?

Not through the old-fashioned ways of writing while you’re in the bathroom, but how does one do that in a truly future technological state? Is it possible for freedom and independence to arise in new ways under new conditions? That is, will new tyrannies abolish these protests? Or will there be new responses by the spirit that we can’t anticipate?”

Philip K. Dick in interview, 1974

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The anti-human religion of Transhumanism

Transhumanism makes grand claims about the future of humankind, from genetic engineering and artificial wombs to immortality and uploading humanity to the cloud.

Lead by pseudo-scientific thinkers like Ray Kurzeil, Transhumanism has become a popular ideology among Silicon Valley tech leaders including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.

In recent years it has also become the focus of conspiracy theorists from Anti-Vaxxers to Qanon, who claim the ultimate goal of the “global elite” is to turn humans into post-humans.

The truth is that Transhumanism is a fantasy born in the pages of science fiction. While authors like Bruce Sterling and William Gibson warned against the terrors of Transhumanism, today’s Transhumanists see it as an inevitability, and have transformed the fantasy of Transhumanism into an anti-human religion.

00:00:00 The Torment Nexus
00:01:34 Welcome to the Science Fiction podcast
00:04:06 Beyond our ape brained meat-sacks – a profile of Elise Bohan
00:08:23 We are in a time between worlds & Transhuman conspiracy theories
00:13:14 Understanding Transhumanism as narrative, storytelling and modern mythos
00:19:15 ONE – Transhumanism is Utopian
00:24:06 TWO – Transhumanism assumes fundamental change
00:26:00 THREE – Transhumanism is a pseudo-science
00:29:34 FOUR – Transhumanism is a religious vision of transcendence
00:34:38 FIVE – Transhumanism is authoritarian
00:39:12 SIX – Transhumism wants to liberate us from our human bodies
00:44:38 SEVEN – Transhumanism is science fiction
00:48:04 EIGHT – Transhumanism believes technology is the force of progress
00:51:40 NINE – Transhumanism devalues the human
00:55:58 TEN – “We’re building God you know.”
01:06:53 ELEVEN – Transhumanism is a power structure
01:13:01 TWELVE – Transhumanism is dystopian
01:16:20 THIRTEEN – Transhumanism is anti-humanism

Beyond Our Ape Brained Meat Sacks – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/jun/04/beyond-our-ape-brained-meat-sacks-can-transhumanism-save-our-species

Jonathan Rowson on Zak Stein and our time between worlds – https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Rowson/status/1532318004071084034

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I want Netflix The Sandman to be great. But.

I want Netflix The Sandman to be great.

But.

Adaptations to screen of the work of Neil Gaiman have been tough to pull off.

The same is true of other British writers with similar ironic humour like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

Why is it so hard to capture the voice of these writers on screen?

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The Superman archetype and American Imperialism

When did Superman get so “Dark”?

He’s as American as apple pie, coca-cola and black-ops interventions in the politics of other sovereign nations.

Superman is the symbol of all that is best about the United States of America. An indefatigable powerhouse, an Apollonian sun deity, child of the gods but raised by mortal man, and the archetype of post-WW2 American self image.

But as America has re-learned its own history, so Superman has changed and mutated.

From shining demigod hero.

To dark underworld evil.

00:00 Superman gets a ride in a London cab

00:59 Have we had enough of Dark Superman?

03:50 Content Warning

05:30 Superman is a strange hero

07:55 Superman as Apollonian archetype

11:12 A brief history of Dark Superman

15:42 THE ARCHETYPAL BEING

26:39 Shadow & Ego of Carl Jung

31:54 A shadow-work exercise

39:33 Integrating the Shadow of the Superman

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Strange New Worlds is a simpler Star Trek

Not every story needs to be an HBO prestige format tv show. Episodic television went out of fashion for a while there. But now with Strange New World’s it’s back…big time. Sometimes simple is good.

00:00 Captain’s Log
00:46 It’s just not Star Trek
03:56 The evolution of televisual storytelling
06:29 The Episodic Structure
10:45 Structure vs Content
12:38 The Prestige Format
14:05 Stop blaming Wokeness for bad storytelling
15:32 Psychological Realism
18:59 Simple is good

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The slow-mo car crash of Amazon’s The Rings of Power

Gandalf announces a new plan to sell the One Ring to Jeff Bezos, and we see a more scathing side of Frodo.

00:00 Selling the One Ring
01:24 The slow-mo car crash of Amazon’s Rings of Power
04:25 New talent – Daniel Abraham, Robin Hobb, NK Jemisin
06:28 Statement of the Tolkien Society
09:48 Worldbuilding and the CEF
12:15 A word from the Wise
17:01 Our new tech giant entertainment overlords

Tolkien Society statement
https://www.tolkiensociety.org/blog/2022/05/i-met-the-team-behind-the-rings-of-power-they-love-tolkien/

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LitFic vs SciFi – the consilience position

Why does science fiction not get the respect it deserves…from literary fiction?

It’s the East coast vs West cost gangster rap rivalry but fiction writers (except without the drive-by shootings…that I know of?) An ancient feud between the Realists and the Fantasists.

But beneath the surface of the LitFic vs SciFi argument is a more serious issue, about the power of storytelling, and the duty of storytellers.

Are we just the people paid to cast shadows for your entertainment, or is it the storyteller’s job to lead you out of the cave?

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Doctor Strange and the Meaning of Magic

The MCU are making a pivot. From the super-science hero, powered by scientific discovery. To the super-magic hero, powered by the mysteries of magic. WandaVision and Loki were the build-up. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is the pivot point. It’s part of a culture wide obsession with magic, fantasy, escape…and power. A special episode of the Science Fiction podcast asks the question…

…what is the meaning of magic?

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The Northman : a map of the Unfathered man (with intro)

Batman. Luke Skywalker. Conan. Paul Atreides. And now The Northman. Just a few of the Unfathered men that dominate our storytelling. Why are we obsessed with the Unfathered man?

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The Northman : a map of the Unfathered man

Batman. Luke Skywalker. Conan. Paul Atreides. And now The Northman. Just a few of the Unfathered men that dominate our storytelling. Why are we obsessed with the Unfathered man?

00:00 Primal Roaring
00:18 Let’s do SYMBOLISM
01:48 Is The Northman any good?
02:50 The unfathered masculine
08:11 Robert Bly’s map of the mythic masculine
12:37 Amleth = Hamlet = Deconstruction
15:50 How to read a map of the psyche
17:42 ONE – The Innocent
18:18 TWO – The Absent Father
18:59 THREE – Initiation to the Ego
20:56 FOUR – The Wise Old Man
21:43 FIVE – Enter the Shadow
23:27 SIX – The Predator
24:23 SEVEN – The Goddess
24:49 EIGHT – The Trickster
26:18 NINE – The God King
26:55 TEN – The Id and the Superego
28:20 ELEVEN – Magical Swords
30:03 TWELVE – The Anima
31:55 THIRTEEN – The Mother
33:45 FOURTEEN – The Final Battle
35:20 Lessons of our Fathers

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Science Fiction Q&A

Questions from listeners of the Science Fiction podcast answered by Damien Walter.

00:00:00 Introduction
00:04:47 Will humans and machines eventually meld?
00:12:09 Where to go after reading everything by Iain M Banks
00:17:33 Three underrated, thought provoking science fiction novels?
00:25:36 Is Philip K Dick considered a good writer or more valued for his ideas?
00:27:16 What is William Gibson’s best novel?
00:35:36 Has an NFT ever sold for more than it was bought for?
00:39:21 What is your next story about and when is it coming out?
00:47:40 Why are most science fiction fans on Facebook communists?
00:53:52 How will scifi shape science in the future?
00:58:48 What is the most exceptional medium of science fiction?
01:04:37 Can a story exist without human beings in it?
01:08:33 What are some of science fiction’s constantly recurring flaws?
01:15:50 Has self-publishing contributed to the decline in the quality of science fiction?
01:22:08 What modern science fiction has the power of 1984 / Brave New World?
01:26:30 What do you think about YA scifi and gamelit?
01:30:58 What makes a story believable?

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