Viewing posts by Daniel Harper

What is a Moral Person on Arrakis? (Dune)

This one has been a long time coming, I'm afraid, mostly because A) I took an extra week to get the book read, B) one recorded, I took my sweet-ass time getting the damn thing edited and C) this fucking election has taken basically all of my intellectual and creative energy over the last few weeks. Thankfully on the last, the election is now over, and all is back to something like normality, right?


Anyway, in this episode James is back and we're chatting Frank Herbert's Dune. I know there was some question about whether we'd be talking about the whole series or any of the ancillary material, but the original novel is more than enough I think for a single podcast episode. If James is up for returning to this universe in the future, we might do supplemental bits, but that's not on the agenda anytime soon. 

Go give it a listen, if you like. If nothing else, an extended chat about the Great Houses of the Landsraad and the difficulties of resource allocation should completely distract us from the shitshow that 2016 has become. Or, you know, not. 


Discussing Trumpism

I'm sorry I haven't been producing more content lately, either in written or podcast form. I've got a new Consider the Ray Gun about 95% done, discussing Dune with James Murphy, and the next Searching For Fuchal has been recorded, although I haven't even begun to edit yet. I've also got an upcoming Oi! Spaceman on The Space Museum, and it looks like 2017 is going to be the year I take a systematic look at Quentin Tarantino and other 90s-vintage indie filmmakers. 

Jack, Kit, and I had been planning to do a US election podcast for the last couple of weeks, and suffice it to say this is not the episode I was hoping to produce. This was recorded late Friday night, and I think all three of us consider this to be a bit of a rough conversation about the issues discussed here, rather than a nuanced and final opinion on them. We chat about whether Trump's presidency will be truly fascist (probably not), how opinion polling failed, the meaning of the safety pin, systemic issues with late-stage capitalism, and my experiences in dipping into the Fash the Nation podcast. It ...

Big Damn Shiny Heroes (The Reboot): Serenity

Shana has officially unceremoniously kicked me off of the Firefly podcast, mostly because listening to me kvetch about sci-fi westerns and the American Confederacy is way more fun for me than for her, but thankfully for all listeners she's replaced me with the wonderful Jessica from The Web of Queer, who will give the series the more sympathetic (or at least fannish) reading it (arguably) deserves. 

This episode introduces the podcast audience to Shana and Jessica's history with the series, then dives into a nice discussion of the kinds of themes surrounding gender we're going to be dealing with over the course of Firefly's run. Kaylee's love for strawberries, Inara's profession, and Captain Tightpants, er, tight pants are all subjects of discussion. Also, some spontaneous singing of the theme song?

This should be a monthly-ish addition to the Oi! Spaceman family, and don't worry, one of these days when I have the energy to write again I will come back to an examination of the Confederacy within the sci-fi Western in essay form. Maybe this will force me to watch the new Westworld series? 

Searching For Fuchal: Child Abuse and Authoritarianism (Better Than Life)

I guess it's time to fess up: I've been a bit remiss in posting content for the last few weeks. Life is hectic, work is stressful, and producing podcast content (let alone essays) is possibly a bit more time-consuming than it seems. 

That said, I'm trying to catch up this weekend, and if you're a fan of fairly dark discussions of the realities of authoritarian, abusive parenting told through a comedic lens then you're in luck, as Shana and I discuss Red Dwarf: Better Than Life on this week's Searching for Fuchal. It's a bit of a mess of an episode structurally, but gives us the best look to date at Rimmer's psychology, the way we as people process grief, and the sins of the fathers being visited upon the sons. Also: the way Yvonne McGruder plays into Rimmer's relationship patterns, some silliness involving the way the Cat uses utensils, and a non-ironic use of industrial alternative rock for the final song. (Sorry about that.) Obviously, this one has quite a bit of chat that may be disturbing for some listeners (including a reference to Fred Phelps' abuse of his ...

Consider the Ray Gun: John Christopher's The Tripods Trilogy

Consider the Ray Gun is back, and this time I'm joined by Kit Power, who has had an increasing presence on the EP podcasts as of late, having appeared on Pex Lives, a previous Oi! Spaceman, and the most recent Shabcast. We're discussing a book trilogy that meant a lot to him as a young man, John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy, which are comprised of The White Mountains, The City of Lead and Gold, and The Pool of Fire. There was also a BBC production in the eighties of the first two books, which I haven't seen but from which I stole the image you see to the right. Because that's how I roll here.

I had never heard of the trilogy before Kit recommended them, so I've included a brief synopsis of what you need to know at the beginning of the podcast episode. We have a wide-ranging conversation, covering not just structural details of the trilogy and the nature of the shithead protagonist Will, but also the meaning of religion in people's lives, the horrors of chattel slavery and the Haitian Revolution, and of course there's a brief Adric mention ...

Oi! Spaceman: Ghosts of Victorianism

Is "Victorianism" a word? I suppose it is now.

Apologies to all of you who were expecting a brilliant post from Phil this morning, but instead you get the latest episode of Oi! Spaceman, in which we return to the Seventh Doctor and Ace and chat about Ghost Light. Since I didn't trust myself with such an auspicious story, I invited Jack along for the discussion, and he and Shana had a wonderfully brilliant conversation that kind of went in circles from time to time. Steampunk comes up at least twice independently, as does more than the requisite quantity of Moffat-hate. 

Overall it's a fun conversation among friends about Victorian value systems, imperialism, Social Darwinism and eugenics, and racist portrayals. If that sounds a bit dark, know also we chat for some time about Ace/Gwendoline shipping, and queerness as a response to stultifying social restriction. Also, you know, the Great Chain of Being for anyone interested in that sort of thing.

Content Warning: Around thirty minutes in, the issue of rape comes up, partly in reference to the Doctor/Ace professor/student relationship, and partly in reference to 90s cyberpunk. (Yeah, it was an odd conversation ...

Consider the Ray Gun: Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Because apparently it's podcast week here at Eruditorum Press, and creating new podcast threads is more fun for me than watching Firefly again, today I'm going to introduce yet another new podcast as part of the Oi! Spaceman family. This one is called Consider the Ray Gun, and it's ostensibly going to be about reading old science fiction books, but since it's an Eruditorum Press thing it'll likely go wildly off topic in an episode or two. 

For the inaugural episode, I'm joined by Pex Lives' own James Murphy to chat about Stranger in a Strange Land, a book that I grew up with and meant a lot to my teenage years, but which James had never encountered. We chat about the counterculture, period sexism and racism, Hugh Hefner wannabees, Heinlein's political evolution, and whether American science fiction authors live more colorful lives than British fantasy authors. Among many other topics. It's a fun listen, I think, although of course I'm biased. 

Embracing Intersubjectivity


A young woman is featured at a freethought conference and speaks on communicating atheism through blogging, then later on sexism within the atheist community. She has her say, makes some points (namely, that just because other female skeptics don't recognize sexism within the skeptic community in their own lives and work, that said sexism might still exist), and afterwards basically goes on with her life. Later, she spends time at the bar in the hotel chatting and generally having a good time, and when at four in the morning she decides she needs some sleep, she finds herself alone in an elevator with a man who takes the opportunity to ask her to his hotel room for coffee.

(A word to the wise: an offer for coffee at four in the morning is rarely about a desire for caffeine.)

Later, the young woman records a vlog about her experiences at the conference, and as an aside relays this experience, ending with, "Guys, don't do that."

Hence Elevatorgate.

This is the story of how I became a feminist.

First, let's clear the air

"Feminist" is the kind of terms that comes loaded with huge amounts of baggage ...

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