Episode 4.02: Excession by Iain M. Banks

Rhi and Paul join Ralph to talk about Iain M. Banks’ Excession and The Culture. Post-scarcity, intelligent starships, body modification and first contact.

Show Notes

Excession (and other Culture novels) by Iain M. Banks

Rhiannon Lassiter, Paul Mitchener and Ralph Lovegrove

  • Overview of The Culture 00:50
  • Synopsis of Excession 05:40
  • Themes 12:05
    • Diverging human cultures
    • What do utopians do with their free time?
    • Benevolent interference in other civilisations
    • The edge of ascension
    • Contact and Special Circumstances
    • Sex positive
    • Transhumanism before it was famous
    • Death
  • Aside:The Player of Games 32:50
  • RPGs 38:30
    • Mindjammer by Sarah Newton
    • Flotsam (Josh Fox, based on Dream Askew by Avery Alder)
    • Microscope and Kingdom by Ben Robbins
    • Dramasystem by Robin D. Laws
  • First Contact scenarios 48:05
    • Event Horizon
    • Unto Leviathan by Richard Paul Russo
    • Eon by Greg Bear
    • 2001 and 2010
    • The Fifth Element

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 217: Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

In our last episode of the season Ralph, Liz and Josh struggle to communicate over Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17.

Show Notes

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:45 // Jo Walton’s review 04:30 // Themes 05:10 // The Dead on tape 08:00 // Translation and Memory 12:40 // Hyperspace 14:25 // Non-binary life partners 15:45 // Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 24:00 // Sleeper agents 28:35 // Gaming by hypnosis 30:25 // Faceless invaders 34:15 // RPG bit — Josh 37:55 // Liz (Grunting, Dialect RPGs) 39:00 // Ralph 44:40 // Last bits 52:20

Book References

Since we mentioned several titles in this episode, here’s our mini bibliography.

The Babel-17 wiki page lists other works that were influenced by this book including Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life (made into the film Arrival).

Finally, here’s Jo Walton’s review of Babel-17.

Game Notes

Five Conversational Hypnosis Tools For MCs by Pete Kautz.

Grunting is a free RPG by Jen Spencer.

Dialect is a game about how language dies. It’s post-Kickstarter (but I guess you can pre-order it).

We mentioned Night Witches (yes, AGAIN).

Ralph has started his Dramasystem/OSR mashup anyway (yeah, DEAL WITH IT JOSH). It’s called StormHack. Mini SRD here.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 01: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

In our first episode we talk about the utopian post-scarcity, post-gender space opera of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

Show Notes

Fictoplasm episode 1: Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie, part of the Imperial Radch Trilogy

Ralph Lovegrove, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Becky Annison

01:00 Synopsis // 05:00 Comments // 12:20 Start of the RPG bit // 12:30 Liz’s game idea // 19:00 Becky’s game idea // 24:30 Ralph’s game idea

Games

Mellan Himmel och Hav (Between Heaven and Sea) by Eliot Wieslander and Katarina Björk // Livsgald by Simon Svensson, Kajsa Seinegaard, Carl Nordblom and Jennie Nyberg // Dream Askew by Avery McDaldno // Microscope by Ben Robbins // Archipelago by Matthijs Holter // Lovecraftesque by Becky Annison and Josh Fox // Rise and Fall by Elizabeth Lovegrove is part of the Seven Wonders anthology.

Music

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie (chriszabriskie.com bandcamp free music archive)

“Content” from Music For Podcasts by Lee Rosevere (happy puppy records bandcamp free music archive)