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Why Do People Love UFOs So Much?

Science fiction author F. Brett Cox has explored the UFO phenomenon in short stories such as “It Came From the Sky” and “The Sexual Component of Alien Abduction,” which appear in his recent book The End of All Our Exploring. But as much as he loves UFO stories, he’s a firm skeptic when it comes to the idea of alien visitors. “If you’re talking about ‘UFOs’ as ‘unidentified flying objects,’ if you ask, ‘Are there UFOs?’ then sure there are,”...

‘Love, Death & Robots’ Is Growing Up

Netflix recently released Season 2 of Love, Death & Robots, an anthology show that adapts short stories into animated films. Science fiction author Zach Chapman thinks the new season is a big improvement over Season 1, with fewer episodes that feel silly or underdeveloped. “I do think that these stories are way more consistent,” Chapman says in Episode 469 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I wouldn’t say that there’s an episode that I didn’t like in this...

Maybe Future Generations Will Be Just Fine

Cass R. Sunstein is one of America’s foremost legal scholars; he is also a big fan of science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Sunstein thinks that science fiction can be a useful tool to inoculate people against status quo bias—our tendency to resist anything new and unfamiliar. “If you love science fiction, you find it fun, and maybe a good little chill goes down your spine, when you think of things that hadn’t been dreamt...

The World Needs a ‘Chronicles of Amber’ TV Show

Roger Zelazny burst onto the science fiction scene in the 1960s with a series of ground-breaking stories that combined a pulp sensibility with allusive, pyrotechnic prose. One of his many admirers is writer F. Brett Cox, who just published a book about the author. “It’s kind of hard to overstate the impact that his work has on the people who really love it,” Cox says in Episode 467 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “In my own fiction,...

Making Video Games Is Not a Dream Job

Working at a video game company might seem like the perfect job, but Bloomberg News reporter Jason Schreier says the reality is far from ideal. “It is not really an industry that treats people well,” Schreier says in Episode 466 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It’s not an industry that is stable or well-paid. It’s also an industry that has tons and tons of supply and not a lot of demand. So it’s not the most ideal...

Sci-Fi About Overpopulation Was Way Off

In his new book One Billion Americans, political reporter Matthew Yglesias paints an optimistic picture of a future in which America has revitalized itself by tripling its population. He argues that a bigger, younger America would be more competitive on the world stage and more capable of tackling economic and environmental challenges. “I think that Americans should believe in ourselves,” Yglesias says in Episode 465 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “We should believe in our country and...

‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ Is a Sci-Fi Classic

Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness is about a planet where the genetically-engineered inhabitants randomly become male or female for a few days each month. Science fiction professor Lisa Yaszek says that the book is one of the genre’s most important explorations of gender. “This stuff was all in the air, so I think that Le Guin is definitely thinking about it at the right time,” Yaszek says in Episode 464 of the Geek’s Guide...

‘Avenue 5’ Is Funny but Needs More Variety

The HBO series Avenue 5 is a sci-fi comedy about a cruise ship that gets knocked off course on its way to Saturn. Humor writer Tom Gerencer was impressed by the show’s witty dialogue. “There were some extremely funny lines in Avenue 5 that I couldn’t help laughing out loud on,” Gerencer says in Episode 463 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “My hat is off to the great comedic minds behind the scripts.” Podcast https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/https://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/geeksguide463final.mp3 RSS iTunes Download Avenue 5 is the...

Turns Out, Spock Is Kinda Bad at Logic

Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, is not impressed with the hyper-rational Vulcans on Star Trek. “Spock is held up as this exemplar of logic and reason and rationality, but he’s set up, in my opinion, as almost a weak caricature—a straw man—of reason and rationality, because he keeps making all these dumb mistakes,” Galef says in Episode 462 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “That’s the show’s...

What Sci-Fi Can Teach You About Running a Business

Entrepreneur James Altucher, host of the James Altucher Show podcast, is a lifelong science fiction fan. Some of his favorites include Star Wars, The Edge of Tomorrow, and Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. “It really sets you free, when anything goes,” Altucher says in Episode 461 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “When there’s time travel, when there’s teleportation, when there’s galactic empires with mystical powers. When there’s a universe where there’s a planet where it’s perfect order, and...