Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


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Episode 274: How to Warn Future Humans of the Mess We’ve Made

This week we continue our Spring Forward season by discussing an essay by Matt Jones that first appeared in The New England Review and was then republished by The Lit Hub. The essay, titled How Can We Warn Future Humans of the Poison We Buried Underground?, is a kind of thought experiment brought on by an actual project, in which a team of thinkers was tasked with coming up with a way to communicate to future societies that we’d buried nuclear waste under a specific spot in the desert. The essay delves into various ways that futurists think of possible futures, and the inherent optimist in even imagining a future.

We also talk about what the future of food looked like to people in the middle part of the twentieth century, and atomic gardens, and Betty Crocker’s Recipe Card Library. You can read more on that last subject here, via the New York Times Magazine.

If you have suggestions for things we should check out this season, let us know! We’re not just interested in traditional science fiction, but any kind of writing that imagines a possible future (including those written long enough ago that their “futures” have already passed).

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to later. Or check us out in Apple podcasts, where you can subscribe (for free!) and catch up on older episodes. We’re also available on Spotify, Stitcher, or just about any other podcast app. If for some reason you can’t find us in your favorite app, please reach out and let us know!

If you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon, which helps us make a bit of money each month and keep the show going. For just $5 a month, you’ll get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we visit some of the weirder, goofier corners of the literary world. Recently, that’s involved reading a paranormal romance novel, the debut novel of Jersey Shore’s Snookie, and the novelization of the movie Battleship (yes, based on the popular board game).

Thanks for listening!

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Episode 273: The People’s Future of the United States, Part II

This week we continue our Spring Forward season with two short stories: one that imagines a future in which books have been outlawed, and people have to write stories on their bodies; and one in which a strongman leader puts the sun on trial. Both are from a new anthology, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, A People’s Future of the United States, which takes its inspiration from Howard Zinn’s famous work of populist history. LaValle and Adams put out a call for writing that imagined the future from the perspective of the oppressed, the put-upon, the discriminated-against, and the marginalized.

We also talk about the future of food, as imagined in the early part of the 20th century, and we taste test some new “around the world” M&M flavors.

If you have suggestions for things we should check out this season, let us know! We’re not just interested in traditional science fiction, but any kind of writing that imagines a possible future (including those written long enough ago that their “futures” have already passed).

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to later. Or check us out in Apple podcasts, where you can subscribe (for free!) and catch up on older episodes. We’re also available on Spotify, Stitcher, or just about any other podcast app. If for some reason you can’t find us in your favorite app, please reach out and let us know!

If you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon, which helps us make a bit of money each month and keep the show going. For just $5 a month, you’ll get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we visit some of the weirder, goofier corners of the literary world. Recently, that’s involved reading a paranormal romance novel, the debut novel of Jersey Shore’s Snookie, and the novelization of the movie Battleship (yes, based on the popular board game).

Thanks for listening!

Stream Episode 273:

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Episode 272: Spring Forward!

Hello, Book Fighters! It’s a new season, and that means it’s time for a new seasonal theme: Spring Forward! For the next several week, we’ll be reading future-looking stories, books, and essays, and talking about literary visions of the future throughout various times in history. First up, we’ve got two stories from a new anthology, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, A People’s Future of the United States. Taking their inspiration from Howard Zinn’s famous work of populist history, LaValle and Adams put out a call for writing that imagined the future from the perspective of the oppressed, the put-upon, the discriminated-against, and the marginalized. On this week’s show we discuss two stories from the anthology, one which imagines a United States on the cusp of making slavery legal again, and one in which women’s reproductive rights have been so curtailed that teenage girls sell condoms and IUDs on street corners.

If you have suggestions for things we should check out this season, let us know! We’re not just interested in traditional science fiction, but any kind of writing that imagines a possible future (including those written long enough ago that their “futures” have already passed).

As always, you can stream the show right here on our site, or download the mp3 file to listen to later. Or check us out in Apple podcasts, where you can subscribe (for free!) and catch up on older episodes. We’re also available on Spotify, Stitcher, or just about any other podcast app. If for some reason you can’t find us in your favorite app, please reach out and let us know!

If you like the show, please consider subscribing to our Patreon, which helps us make a bit of money each month and keep the show going. For just $5 a month, you’ll get access to a monthly bonus episode, Book Fight After Dark, in which we visit some of the weirder, goofier corners of the literary world. Recently, that’s involved reading a paranormal romance novel, the debut novel of Jersey Shore’s Snookie, and the novelization of the movie Battleship (yes, based on the popular board game).

Thanks for listening!

Stream Episode 272:

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Episode 59: Tatyana Tolstaya, The Slynx

A dystopian Russian novel that explores life after a mysterious “blast” has turned back history, leaving a barely-literate population toiling in mind-numbing jobs and trapping rodents for currency. We try to put the book into some context, talk about Tolstaya’s other work, and Tom mulls a new segment that involves him watching terrible daytime television.

Slynx

Talking points this week include: exclamation points, The View, Chernobyl, when history runs backwards, feminist icons, NBA basketball, rational decision-making, and totalitarian nightmares.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on the site, or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can catch up on our back catalog and subscribe (for free) so you never miss another installment. If you want to help support the show, please click on any of the Powell’s links around our site (including the book cover image above). Anything you buy from Powell’s will throw a little money back our way, at no extra cost to you. Also: We welcome feedback, so feel free to drop us a line, either by email at bookfightpod(at)gmail(dot)com, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site.

Thanks for listening!

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