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Alienating the Audience Profile

Alienating the Audience

English, TV & Video, 1 season, 153 episodes, 6 days, 12 hours, 6 minutes
About
Andrew Heaton and an army of nerds plunge deep, deep into films, books, and TV shows to ask: what's science fiction really about? What is The Twilight Zone really exploring? What are the underlying themes of Star Trek? What is the worldview of Star Wars? Also sometimes Heaton performs comedy on other planets.
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The Zen of Robots

Season Finale! In which we talk about how to use sci-fi robots for helpful psychological thought experiments. Support the show! www.patreon.com/alienating ATA Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe8FbFXeniKqq4gJNITdQNtbBy4MvUEnZH2m66JteJIJXY-zw/viewform?usp=sf_link  
1/4/202432 minutes, 19 seconds
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Much Ado About Garak

Star Trek Deep Space Nine's Elim Garak is a simple, unassuming character. But also a spymaster. Why is he so beguiling, and what's his character arc? Andrew Young joins to discuss.
12/4/20231 hour, 1 minute, 15 seconds
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Doublethinking George Orwell's 1984

Is 1984 prophetic, or merely a terrifying dystopia? What makes this haunting book so engaging on a literary level? Josh Jennings returns to discuss.
11/16/20231 hour, 36 minutes, 40 seconds
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Why Picard's Last Season Is So Much Better Than The Others

Star Trek: Picard recently wrapped up its third and final season--and the first season Heaton or his guests have enjoyed of it. Scottish sci-fi twins Dickie and Stone rejoin to discuss Star Trek: Picard, and what made its ultimate season likeable.
11/9/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 11 seconds
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Super-Intelligent Spiders And A Sleeper Ship: Children of Time

Adrian Tchaikovsky's "Children of Time" tackles multi-generational sleeper ships, uplifiting species, AI, the nature of intelligence, teleforming and more. Richard Amiro rejoins to discuss.
11/2/202348 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Corporate Dystopia of Jennifer Government

In this satirical novel by Max Barry, the United States is a corporate wasteland with ruthless businesses and toothless rump state unable to restrain them. John Krikorian of Trekprofiles joins to discuss.  Book at: www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi  
10/27/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 7 seconds
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There Are Infinite You's in the Multiverse

How does the multiverse shake out in science fiction? What are the tropes, and what are the implications? Scottish scifi twins Dickie and Stone Lynch join to discuss.
10/19/202346 minutes, 17 seconds
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Escaping the Truman Show

In “The Truman Show,” Jim Carey’s character is the unwitting star of a global reality television show–until he decides to escape. Director Henrique Cuoto joins to talk about the iconic film, and the evils of false reality. Henrique’s dog: www.helpchicano.com Support the show! Mightyheaton.com/alienating Interstellar Vagabonding Clips, with Nick Sperdute: www.mightyheaton.com/vagabonding
10/12/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 15 seconds
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Snowcrash Created the Metaverse

Neil Stephenson's "Snowcrash" looked at the embryonic Internet and projected a future of VR and avatar onto it. And a world in which nation states had been eclipsed by successor states of corporate "franchulates."  Is "Snowcrash" a corporate dystopia, a libertarian utopia, or merely prophetic? Brian Brushwood joins to discuss.
10/3/202350 minutes, 10 seconds
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Shrinkage!

In this episode we talk about all the times people get tiny in science fiction, from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" to "The Fantastic Voyage" to Jonathan Swift.
9/26/202349 minutes, 15 seconds
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Meeting Celebrities at Sci-Fi Conventions

Comedian John Robertson is a regular performer, panelist, and celebrity at science fiction conventions. He joins to discuss the community element of conventions, how celebrities should comport themselves, and how fans can best interact with them.
9/20/202359 minutes, 49 seconds
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Soylent Green is People!

Charlton Heston stars in "Soylent Green," a film about the terror of overpopulation, urban ennui, and ultimately cannibalism. Based on the novel "Make Room! Make Room!" by Harry Harrison.   Scottish scifi twins Stone and Dickie Lynch join to discuss.   SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating
9/12/202357 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Hilarious Fantasy of Terry Pratchett

At its height, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series accounted for fully 2% of all book sales in the United Kingdom. Over the course of his life he wrote 59 books, achieved knighthood, and created a beloved and hilarious franchise.   What was Pratchett's worldview, and what motivated him to crack jokes about Death and wizards?   Guest Marc Burrows wrote the first authorized biography of Pratchett, and just wrapped up a show about him at the Edinburgh Fringe.   REFERENCED BOOKS AT: www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi   SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating 
9/5/202347 minutes, 38 seconds
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Strange New Worlds is the Star Trek We Deserve!

Captain Pike commanded the USS Enterprise prior to Kirk, and the prequel series featuring him, Mr. Spock, Nurse Chapel, and their contemporaries goes back to the roots of Star Trek: exploring weird planets with weird things... but with just the right amount of fun.   Scottish sci-fi twins Dickie and Stone Lynch return to discuss.
8/29/202349 minutes, 30 seconds
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Trapped In John Malkovich

In Charlie Kaufman's weirdest film (and that's saying something) John Cusack discovers a portal that delivers you into John Malkovich's head for a few minutes... so he charges admission.   Henrique Couto and Matt Sienkiewicz join to discuss
8/22/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 28 seconds
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Reproduction in the Final Frontier

Vulcans, humans, Klingons, Romulans--everybody in the Star Trek universe can easily interbreed! Stone and Dickie Lynch rejoin the show to discuss reproduction in the final frontier 
8/15/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 13 seconds
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Intergalactic Politics in "The Expanse"

The Expanse explores the political and military tension between decadent Earth, militant Mars, and the Belters stuck in between.   War correspondent Kristaps Andrejsons joins to discuss
8/8/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 39 seconds
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Nixon Selling Pizza on the Moon

What if JFK survived the assassination attempt, and instead of Vietnam, America invested in a moon base? Bill Oakley is a former writer and showrunner on The Simpsons, and award-winning comedy writer, and the author of “Space: 1969” an Audible Original.   He joins, along with Brian Brushwood, to discuss his retro-scifi comedy, and the nature of humor writing.   BOOK AT: www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi Support the show! www.patreon.com/alienating
8/1/20231 hour, 1 minute, 6 seconds
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Characters can selectively wipe memories in Charlie Kaufman's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," but in doing so they lose part of themselves.   Chloe Effron and Nick Sperdute join to discuss this trippy... romcom?   SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating
7/25/20231 hour, 35 seconds
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If You Leave the Holodeck On Too Long...

Are holograms on Star Trek NPC's, sentient, or in some hellish state of limerence in between? Star Trek aficionados Dickie and Stone Lynch return to discuss
7/18/20231 hour, 32 minutes
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Peacemaker is the Ultimate Loserhero

James Gunn’s “Peacemaker” chronicles a toxic meathead character as he comes to terms with his past, his racist father, and an alien takeover of the planet. He is neither a hero nor antihero.   He’s something new, and hilarious: a “loserhero”   Nick Sperdute and Justin Robert Young join to discuss.  
7/11/202352 minutes, 44 seconds
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Send in the Clones

How do clones manifest in science fiction? When are they evil, good, or a portent of science gone too far?   Scottish scifi twins Dickie and Stone rejoin to discuss.   SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating
7/6/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Ineffable Planet of Sentient Goo

"Solaris" by Stanislaw Lem follows a crew of scientists trying to understand an utterly alien intelligence--a planet covered by an ocean of (apparently?) conscious goop. How can we communicate with something truly, truly foreign to our evolution and understanding? How can we even confirm it's "intelligent"?   John Krikorian returns to discuss.
6/20/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 5 seconds
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Rick And Morty is Hilarious Nihilism

"Rick and Morty" is the funniest science fiction to grace the world sense "Futurama"--if not the best comedy in general. What is it about, and what distinguishes it from other, lesser comedies? Jeff Maurer joins to discuss.  (Note: this episode was recorded before the fall of Justin Roiland)
6/13/202347 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Fifth Element Is Teenage Scifi

"The Fifth Element" starring Bruce Willis and Mila Jovovich is a cult classic. But... does it hold up? Did it ever?   To answer that question, we turn to Scottish scifi twins Dickie and Stone Lynch.
6/8/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 15 seconds
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Irritating Vulcans in "Enterprise"

"Enterprise" is the prequel of Star Trek, exploring the foundation of the Federation of Planets, and the bump, suspicious period when Vulcans and humans get to know one another. Scottish science fiction twins Dickie & Stone Lynch return to discuss.
5/31/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 20 seconds
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Lady Terror in "Don't Worry, Darling"

There's a subgenre of science fiction we might call "femme fear," exemplified by writers like Margaret Atwood.  Olivia Wilde's "Don't Worry Darling" is the latest example. And while it was mostly panned by critics, Heaton enjoyed it.  Ashland Viscosi joins to discuss. SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating
5/18/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 22 seconds
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Jesuits in Space!

In "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell, life is discovered on an alien planet, and the first humans to arrive are... Jesuits. The book explores the terrifying consequences of missionaries on a new world, who are there for good reasons--with good intentions--but don't know what they've got themselves into. Richard Amiro joins to discuss.   SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.patreon.com/alienating   BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
5/12/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Sith are Emo Fascists

The Sith are the dark lords of Star Wars. But what do they want? Are they logically consistent antagonists, with clear rationales for their goals and methods, or just mustache-twirling villains with no depth?   Stephen Kent and Mike TV join to discuss
5/4/202359 minutes, 45 seconds
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“They Live” is fear of Reagonomics

John Carpenter’s “They Live” is a cult classic about seeing through societal mirage to glimpse the strings of the puppet masters. It’s also a specific and intentional “primal scream” against Reagonomics. Ron Hayden joins to discuss.
4/13/202358 minutes, 18 seconds
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If Sociopaths Had Super Powers: The Boys

In "The Boys" super heroes superficially fight crime, but are really corporate pawns and predators, ranging from ladder-climbing reality show scumbags to full-blown Nietzschean demigods. What happens when super powers are not always entrusted in the super moral? Andrew Young joins to discuss.
4/11/202345 minutes
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But What if We Swapped Brains?

Brain swaps are a beloved sci-fi trope, but how feasible are they? Dr. John-Paul Kolsun is a brain doctor, and host of "The Neurosurgery Podcast"  He joins to discuss the feasibility of brain transplants.
4/5/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 33 seconds
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Only You Can Save JFK - Stephen King's "11/22/63"

In Stephen King's finest work, protagonist Jake Epping discovers a time portal which allows him to go back to the late 50s and then stick around long enough to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy. . . But should he interfere with the timeline, however good his intentions?  Josh Jennings and Tim Silfies join to discuss
3/28/20231 hour, 36 minutes, 29 seconds
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How Time Travel Works in "Interstellar"

Jay Mutzafi rejoins the show to discuss the many elements of "Interstellar," from gravity to parenting to gut feelings.   Jay's notes on the various forms of time travel here: https://jaymutzafi.com/time-travel-movies-tv-shows/
3/20/20231 hour, 37 minutes, 40 seconds
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Every Single Star Trek Android, in Erratic, Sloppy Order

Dickie and Stone Lynch rejoin the show to discuss the entire panoply of androids in Star Trek, from Ruk, to Lore, to Automated Personnel Unit 3947. With special attention paid to "Requiem for Methuselah." Warning: slightly raunchy episode
3/16/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 35 seconds
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Dark Side of "Moon"

The film "Moon," starring Sam Rockwell, follows the lonely exploits of a solo worker on a moon base, and the unfolding mystery and terror of what his life actually entails.  Scottish scifi twins Stone and Dickie Lynch join to discuss SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.mightyheaton.com/ata
3/6/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 7 seconds
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Why the Jedi Order Failed

What ultimately brought down the Jedi Order, and was it actually worth saving? Kevin Delano and Mike TV join to discuss SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.mightyheaton.com/ata
2/27/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 23 seconds
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Maoists and Space Aliens

“The Three Body Problem”, by Chinese author Liu Cixin, explores Maoism, how mankind reacts to imminent alien invasion, and asks the big question: is humanity worth saving? Andrea Jones-Rooy jones to discuss. Support the show! www.mightyheaton.com/ata Books mentioned on the show at: www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi  
2/20/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Mirror Universe in Star Trek

From Kirk and Spock through Deep Space Nine, the world of Star Trek has a shadowy alternate universe where mankind is alternately evil or oppressed. Andrew Young joins to discuss. SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.mightyheaton.com/ata
2/13/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
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“Her” is the Ultimate Breakup Film

Spike Jonze’s “Her”, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, follows the story of a lonely man who falls in love with a sentient operating system. The film explores AI and romance in the not-too-distant-future, isolation and alienation, and the emotional resolution of relationships ending. Henrique Couto joins to discuss. SUPPORT THE SHOW! www.mightyheaton.com/ata
2/6/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 40 seconds
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Dilbert Meets Orwell in "Severance"

In "Severance" employees of the Lumen corporation undergo a surgery which separates their mind into two distinct personalities--one who works inside the company, and one on the outside oblivious to it.  Brian Brushwood and Andrew Young join to discuss.
1/31/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 28 seconds
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Only Watch "Flash Gordon" on Acid

Dickie and Stone join to discuss the overwhelming camp and pulp of "Flash Gordon," a big costume budget and excellent soundtrack which also sorta has a plot.
1/23/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 51 seconds
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Hollywood Sermonizing vs. Good Storytelling

When does science fiction get "too political"? What separates a film with a strong point of view from stale publum or Woke pulpitry? Josh Jennings joins to discuss how political messaging can derail or suffocate scifi. 
1/19/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 28 seconds
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Andor Loves Public Choice Theory

Andor is one of the best Star Wars properties ever devised; a television program explicitly for adults! Beyond excellent storytelling, Andor highlights the problems which bedevil any organization: pettiness, career aspirations, incompetency, and zealotry. David Bizarro and Brian Brushwood join to discuss.
1/9/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 31 seconds
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Moriarty on a Starship

James Moriarty is the best villain in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Or is he a villain at all? In "Elementary, My Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle" the holographic character gains sentience--and wants freedom.  Josh Jennings and Andrew Young rejoin the show to discuss the character. 
4/14/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 11 seconds
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"The Prisoner" is Deliciously Campy

Patrick McGoohan's 1967 series "The Prisoner" is an avante-garde science fiction series about a secret agent abducted by nefarious forces and subject to psychological torment in an atavistic village.  Jim Swift and Ron Hayden join to discuss the deeper meaning of the series.
3/24/20221 hour, 5 seconds
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How to Write Kickass Science Fiction

Josh Jennings temporarily hosts the show in order to interview Andrew Heaton about what all goes into writing science fiction, a la his new book, "Inappropriately Human: 21 Short Stories."  Get your copy at:  https://www.amazon.com/Inappropriately-Human-21-Short-Stories/dp/B09S3WYDSJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=5UO16ZY0DADV&keywords=andrew+heaton+inappropriately+human&qid=1646195709&sprefix=men%27s+modal+shirt%2Caps%2C148&sr=8-1
3/3/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 59 seconds
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"The Whistler"

From "Inappropriately Human: 21 Short Stories" by Andrew Heaton. Now available as an audio book! Get your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Inappropriately-Human-21-Short-Stories/dp/B09S3WYDSJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=5UO16ZY0DADV&keywords=andrew+heaton+inappropriately+human&qid=1646195709&sprefix=men%27s+modal+shirt%2Caps%2C148&sr=8-1
3/2/202246 minutes, 4 seconds
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Of Goblins and Autism

In "Vivarium," starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, a young couple find themselves trapped in some kind of suburban pocket universe. Their captors leave an alien infant on with the instructions "Raise the child and you will be released."  Josh Jennings joins to discuss the various concepts the film plays with, including: autism, millennial adulting terror, fey folk, and suburban ennui. Find this film and others discussed on the show at www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
2/24/20221 hour, 33 minutes, 29 seconds
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Scottish Starfleet Draft Picks

Stone and Dickie Lynch return to play Starfleet Draft Picks--which captains and officers do you recruit to build your own starship and crew?
2/17/20221 hour, 27 minutes, 51 seconds
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Animatronic Humans of the Apocalypse

Please enjoy "Simulucrum," one of the stories from my new book, "Inappropriately Human: 21 Short Stories"! Get a copy at:  www.mightyheaton.com/books 
1/28/202254 minutes, 20 seconds
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"The Singularity Comes For Home Office Equipment"

Enjoy this scifi piece from my new book "Inappropriately Human: 21 Short Stories." Like it? Trust me to provide some solid scifi content? Then check it out! Go to:  www.mightyheaton.com/books Or look for "Inappropriately Human" or "Andrew Heaton" on Amazon.  Thanks!
1/12/202210 minutes, 35 seconds
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Franchise Fatigue

When does a science fiction go on too long, add too many new characters and odd plots, or just exhaust it's fans in general?  Scottish scifi enthusiasts Stone and Dickie Lynch return to discuss
12/9/202156 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Forever War

Joe Haldeman's novel "The Forever War" is great science fiction in and of itself, involving aliens, time dilation, and how conflicts stretch out for centuries thanks to relativity. It's also a great exploration of the nature and hopelessness of war, a la Vietnam. Tom Merritt joins to discuss Get the book at: https://mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
12/2/202155 minutes, 28 seconds
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Humanity is Underrated: the Deathworld Series

Earth is a Class 12 Deathworld--we just didn't know it! To the rest of the universe it is violent and uninhabitable, and our amazing species grew up on this badass planet, and thought it was perfectly normal. Such is the premise of the Deathworld series. Michael "Macca" Cameron joins to discuss Deathworld, anthropology, and whether religion is an accident or intrinsic to the human condition. Source text: "Humans Don't Make Good Pets" https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/comments/2ftcpy/text_the_kevin_jenkins_experience_chapter_1_part_i/
11/18/202144 minutes, 38 seconds
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Keeping up with the Cardassians

Cardassians include some of Star Trek's best characters and plot, from Elim Garak (the best character ever) to Dukat (single greatest villain) to Orwellian illusions and Holocaust analogies.  Scottish scifi aficionados Dickie and Stone Lynch return to discuss the Cardassian oeuvre.
11/4/20211 hour, 9 minutes, 14 seconds
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Waterworld is an Aquatic Western

"Waterworld" depicts a post-flood dystopia of psychos on jet skis and Kevin Costner with gills.  John DeVore, celebrated writer for "Humungus" joins to discuss its deeper meaning, and how it's ultimately a Western--only wetter.
10/21/202143 minutes, 46 seconds
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What Makes a Terrible Sidekick

What qualities define a sidekick? What makes a good one or a cringey one? Tom Brennan and Jeremiah Johnson join to discuss. 
10/11/202147 minutes, 18 seconds
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Plot Holes!

What's the difference between a gaping plot hole, vs mere shoddy writing or poor character decisions? Scottish science fiction enthusiasts Stone and Dickie Lynch join the show to discuss.
9/22/202159 minutes, 16 seconds
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It's Time to Watch Babylon 5

Babylon 5 has a magnificent plot arch, solid writing, and vibrant characters. If it weren't for the low budget and 90s CGI, it would have been massive cultural sensation--bigger than Game of Thrones!  John Krikorian and Cameron Riddles join to explain the sheer majesty of Babylon 5
9/9/20211 hour, 1 minute, 36 seconds
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Children of Men

What happens to society when everyone on Earth goes sterile, and there's no future generation to hand things off to or better the world for? Andrew Young and Josh Jennings join to discuss the film "Children of Men". 
8/26/202152 minutes, 48 seconds
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We Are Legion, We Are Bob

Dennis Taylor's "Bobiverse" comedically follows the exploits of an engineer whose mind is uploaded into a self-replicating probe, which becomes its own civilization of Bobs.  Tom Merritt joins to discuss the implications of immortality, and when reproduction means copying yourself indefinitely. 
8/12/20211 hour, 1 minute, 3 seconds
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The Giant Universe of Doctor Who

Justin Robert Young comes on to discuss "Doctor Who," arguably the most successful science fiction program (along with Star Trek) in history, and the most popular scifi program in Britain.
7/29/202152 minutes, 2 seconds
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Jordan Morris on Satire in a Dome

Jordan Morris is the author of "Bubble" and the co-host of "Jordan, Jesse Go!" on Maximum Fun. He joins the show to discuss culture and economic satire... in space.
7/27/202132 minutes, 49 seconds
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Los Angeles is Hideous

I have a new book out! Los Angeles is Hideous: Poems About An Ugly City. Arguably the funniest book ever written about the horribleness which is LA. Here are two quick readings from what is about to become your new favorite coffee table book. You can find "Los Angeles is Hideous: Poems About An Ugly City" at www.LAisUgly.com
7/13/20216 minutes, 49 seconds
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False Memories in Science Fiction

In a world where you can download memories directly into your brain, how can you determine what's reality and what's artifice?  Jay Mutzafi returns to discuss implanted memories in science fiction, from "Total Recall" to "Rick and Morty." 
7/8/202159 minutes, 59 seconds
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Logan's Run is Afraid of Baby Boomers

"Logan's Run" (1976) explores a society where everyone dies aged 30. In the most campy, over-the-top 70s scifi romp imaginable, it explores fear of ageing, fear of death, fear of infantalization... and fear of Baby Boomers.
6/24/20211 hour, 30 seconds
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M. R. Carey on Hopeful Dystopias

M. R. Carey is the author of "The Girl with All the Gifts" (previously discussed on this program) as well as the Koli Trilogy. He joins the show, along with Ashland Viscosi, to talk about his approach to science fiction.  To see Carey's books and more, go to www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
6/10/202147 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Bioethics of “Gattaca”

“Gattaca” (1997) explores a dystopian future where inequality is staggering--and genetic. Andrew Mayne joins the show to discuss the implications of genetic engineering and to what extent it should be avoided morally or prohibited legally.
5/27/20211 hour, 1 minute, 14 seconds
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Andy Weir on "Project Hail Mary"

Andy Weir, author of "The Martian," joins the program to talk about science fiction, technology, and his new book "Project Hail Mary"  You can find his book, as well as others discussed on the program, by going to mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
5/13/202149 minutes, 4 seconds
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Jedi Warriors and Islamic Mysticism

Dr. H. A. Hellyer gained international attention (and flak) when he compared Jedi monks to Sufi Islamic warriors in an article for CNN. He joins the show to discuss parallels between the Force and Islamic mysticism, why Star Wars is a cross-cultural touchstone, and the interaction between science fiction and Islam. Dr. H. A. Hellyer is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in DC, as well as a senior associate fellow at at the Royal United Services Institute in London.  
4/29/20211 hour, 29 minutes, 10 seconds
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Kurt Vonnegut Hated War

The science fiction of Kurt Vonnegut was permeated by ethics and politics, not the least of which included socialism, opposition to war, secularism, and being nice to people in general. Royce Sharp joins to discuss.
4/12/20211 hour, 11 minutes, 19 seconds
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Galaxy Quest is the Greatest Sci-fi Comedy, Ever

“Galaxy Quest” is the greatest parody of Star Trek imaginable… without technically being Star Trek. Nick Sperdute and Erin Macdonald join the show to discuss what makes the show so memorable--and hilarious. Links to the film and the referenced documentary at www.mightyheaton.com/goodscifi
4/1/202142 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Time-Backwards Robot Monster

"Hyperion" by Dan Simmons projects Chaucer's Canterbury Tales onto a distant scifi future. Katherine Mangu-Ward joins to discuss the multiple characters who make their away on a deadly pilgrimage to meet the Shrike—a robot monster who moves backwards in time, and what it all means for humanity, mortality, and literature
3/18/202149 minutes, 8 seconds
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Darth Vader is a 19th Century Supervillain

Michael Weiss, editor-at-large at The Daily Beast, joins the show to discuss Darth Vader: why he’s such a compelling malefactor, the deep inner conflict and tumult which motivates him, and the mythological figures the dark lord of the Sith represents.
3/4/202150 minutes, 51 seconds
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Watchmen Part 2: The Greenwood Massacre

"Watchmen" kicks off with the Tulsa Race Massacre, which defines the central theme of the rest of the series: race. Hannibal Johnson is the author of “Black Wall Street 100–An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma,” as well as the host of "Black Wall Street Remembered."  He joins Heaton to discuss the Greenwood Massacre, racial animus, and reparations.
2/25/202151 minutes, 52 seconds
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Watchmen's Fake Psychic Squid Attack

Brian Brushwood joins the show to discuss "Watchmen," the televised sequel to the film and book, "The Watchmen." Topics include: underlying tensions in the show, is Dr. Manhattan a stupid character, and was Ozymandias right?  This is Part One of a two-part episode; episode two will go deep on the Tulsa Race Massacre which kicks off the series, and its unresolved racial tensions.
2/18/202157 minutes, 43 seconds
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Are We Living in “Demolition Man”?

"Demolition Man" is a cult classic, wherein Sylvester Stallone gets thawed out in the near future to stop Wesley Snipes from destroying Los Angeles. Society is bifurcated into infantilized virginal technocrats up top, and rat-eating, free-thinking punks beneath. Economist Steve Horwitz joins to discuss.
2/11/202155 minutes, 19 seconds
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If An Insane Asylum Was an Entire Planet

In "Clans of the Alphane Moon" by Philip K. Dick, a planet is colonized as an insane asylum, then abandoned, so that its inmates develop their own society and cultures. Tom Merritt, host of "Sword and Laser" joins to answer: what happens when pathologies become the basis of civilization, rather than its aberrations? You can check out "Clans of the Alphane Moon" as well as the other books and films discussed on the show by going to Mightyheaton.com/goodscifi 
2/4/202148 minutes, 39 seconds
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Mad Max Has the Best Barbarians

"Mad Max: Fury Road" is the height of post-apocalyptic wasteland glam--everyone is really getting into skulls, cars, and neo-Viking lore. Not to mention it may be the greatest feminist film in science fiction.  Scott Johnson of Frogpants Studios joins to discuss!
1/28/202145 minutes, 43 seconds
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Why "The Mandalorian" Works

Why is "The Mandalorian" so popular with Star Wars fans, yet the latest films are so divisive? Where does it veer from the traditional beats and themes of Star Wars, and where does it embrace that unique George Lucas flavor? Jack Helmuth and Nick Sperdute join to unpack everyone's favorite bounty hunter.
1/7/202159 minutes, 47 seconds
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Deadly Sex Objects in The Stepford Wives

“The Stepford Wives” (1975) is a satirical horror film about spunky urban wives getting replaced by their husbands with submissive, ornamental robots. Chris and Cristi Moody come on to talk about the unease captured by the movie in a time of gender roles tumult, 1950s conformity, Second Wave Feminism, and parallels to “Get Out.”
12/31/202051 minutes, 4 seconds
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Vagabonding: Two Santas for Life Day

Nick and Heaton visit Kashyyyk to work as mall santas for Life Day on the Wooki homeworld. "Silent Night" care of "How it Should have Ended" on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd79mpzBnJ4
12/28/202012 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Villainess from "Ex Machina"

Is the robot in "Ex Machina" a self-aware entity or just a stack of cold, complex algorithms which appear such? If we knew super intelligent A.I. could curse cancer (but also wanted to kill us) would we even attempt to build it? Ashland Viscosi and Jay Mutzafi rejoin to discuss. Topics covered: the Turing Test, "The Chinese Room" thought experiment, and "Mary in the Black and White Room."
12/17/20201 hour, 2 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Future of Humanity Involves Gene Upgrades and Cyborgs

Lord Martin Rees is a cosmologist, mathematician, and the Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom. When he's not busy running the Centre for The Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, he's authoring books on science and astrophysics. He joins the show to discuss his latest work, "On the Future: Prospects for Humanity." Click here to see this and other books featured on the podcast!
12/3/202058 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Alternate History Where Nazis Won

We beat Hitler. Whew! But what if we hadn't? What if the Nazi regime had prevailed? Science fiction repeatedly approaches the topic, either to guess geopolitics or just to gawk at the horror of it. On today's episode Andrew Young and Josh Jennings join Heaton to talk about "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick, "Fatherland" by Robert Harris, and "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth.
11/19/20201 hour, 28 minutes, 21 seconds
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Vagabonding: The Voyage Home (for Ska)

Confronted by an alien probe which can only speak the language of an extinct species, Nick and Heaton must journey back in time to save Earth.
11/17/202022 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Last Policeman

If an asteroid were poised to wipe out all life on Earth, would you still go to work? In Ben Winters' novel, a detective investigates a homicide in the pre-apocalypse, while many of his colleagues think it's pointless. Tim Sandefur returns to discuss "The Last Policeman," existentialism, and finding purpose in life against our inevitable mortality.
11/12/202050 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Philosophy of "The Matrix"

The Matrix is actually quite a lot deeper than simulation theory and some cool fight scenes with black trench coats. The Wachowski sisters put a modern, techy spin on Plato's Allegory of the Cave, with ample helpings of Descartes, Hilary Putnam's "Vat in a Brain" and Robert Nozick's "Experience Machine." Andrew Young and Nick Sperdute join Heaton to discuss.
11/5/20201 hour, 9 minutes, 59 seconds
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"The Road" is the Ultimate Dystopia

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is simultaneously the most beautiful and hideous post-apocalyptic prose ever written. It follows a father and his son as they make their way through hellish wasteland, witnessing the horror of civilization's last wheeze en route. Josh Jennings joins to discuss.
10/22/20201 hour, 34 minutes, 17 seconds
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A Million Steve Jobs and the Future of AI

Robin Hanson is an economist and the author of "The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth." He joins the show to discuss his theory that in the future the most intelligence and productive people in society will be uploaded to computers and indefinitely duplicated, to supercharge the economy.
10/15/202038 minutes, 15 seconds
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Gays in Starfleet

How does Star Trek handle gay characters, and what's the balance between representation and tokenism? Andrew Young rejoins the show to discuss homosexuality in the Star Trek universe. (And get into a bunch of digressions involving John Stossel's Emmy, and Cambodia.)
10/8/20201 hour, 8 minutes, 29 seconds
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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

What would happen if you were reincarnated. . . to the exact same life you just lived? What would happen when you were reborn to the exact same life fifteen times in a row? Ashland Viscosi and Nick Sperdute rejoin for another book club episode about "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" by Claire North. 
10/1/20201 hour, 44 seconds
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The Black Hole - Movie Club

"The Black Hole" is Disney's 1979 answer to Star Wars--which didn't work out quite as well. It's a fun romp, involving telepaths, snarky robots, and a spacey Captain Nero. Although it has... some issues. Nick Sperdute and Andrew Young join to discuss on ATA's first inaugural Movie Club!
9/17/202049 minutes, 48 seconds
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Assemble Your Own Star Trek Series

If you could put together a new series, drawing on characters from across the Star Trek franchise, what would you make? Paul Mattingly and Nick Sperdute join Heaton for a round of Starfleet Draft Picks.
9/10/20201 hour, 6 minutes, 52 seconds
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Vagabonding: The Lizard Man of Staten Island

Nick and Heaton must journey to the mysterious "Staten Island" as part of their quest, where they encounter a degenerate lizard man.  Cast: Paul Mattingly as the Lizard Man, Andrew Heaton, and Nick Sperdute
9/7/202021 minutes, 49 seconds
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Philip K. Dick Is About Broken People (And Robots)

Comedian Will Hines joins to discuss the themes and work of Philip K. Dick, the genius (and unstable) mind behind films like "Minority Report" and "Bladerunner," plus a slew of books and short stories. 
9/3/20201 hour, 4 minutes, 44 seconds
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Vagabonding: Return to the Fembot Homeworld

Nick and Heaton must journey to the Replicant Homeworld in hopes of tracking down their Netflix password. Cast: Nick Sperdute, Andrew Heaton, and Kourtni Beebe as Fuschia Robotski
8/28/202017 minutes, 16 seconds
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How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

First, Jennings and Heaton compare their plans to beat the undead in their respective cities of Los Angeles and Wichita. Then, author Daniel Kraus comes on to discuss his new book "The Living Dead," which he co-authored with the late George Romero.  Kraus interview at 1:03
8/27/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 50 seconds
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Vagabonding: The Return of Nick

It turns out, rumors of Nick's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Cast: Andrew Heaton, Nick Sperdute, and Jared Berman as Joeblobe
8/13/202010 minutes, 17 seconds
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How They Made Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mary Jo Pehl wrote and acted in MST3K, a comedy show which dug up old (terrible) sci fi flicks and then pelted jokes at it. Over the course of its run, MST3K pioneered a new comedic medium, and rose from a local access program, to a Comedy Central hit, to cult classic. Mary Jo joins Heaton to discuss how they put the show together, and the deeper side of the comedy that went into it.
8/11/20201 hour, 5 minutes, 58 seconds
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Vagabonding: The Wrath of Nick (Comedy)

Nick selflessly enters a deadly chamber in order to save the other inhabitants of the apartment from radiation.  Cast: Andrew Heaton, Nick Sperdute, Jared Berman as Joeblobe, Kevin Delano as AJ-19
8/7/202013 minutes, 37 seconds
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Vagabonding: Nick and Heaton meet the Spacehead god (Comedy)

Nick and Heaton travel through an inter-dimensional portal they found, and emerge on a planet strikingly similar to the one from Star Trek: The Final Frontier Cast: Andrew Heaton, Nick Sperdute, and Andrew Young as the Spacehead god
8/7/202015 minutes, 11 seconds
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Vagabonding: Nick and Heaton go to Narnia

When Nick and Heaton discovered an inter-dimensional doorway in the back of their refrigerator, they're able to step through and visit the winter world of Narnia. And meet one of its talking animal inhabitants.  Cast: Andrew Heaton, Nick Sperdute, and Nick Polowy as Mr. Beaver
8/7/202017 minutes, 23 seconds
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Vagabonding: Heaton Gets Totally Recalled (Comedy)

Heaton realizes he's actually been living inside of a virtual reality program, and must confront his actual reality. Cast: Andrew Heaton and Nick Sperdute
8/7/20207 minutes, 47 seconds
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Vagabonding: Hot Detroit! (Comedy)

Stuck in lockdown and bored, Heaton and Nick download into a virtual Sim City universe to manage an entire city. Cast: Andrew Heaton, Nick Sperdute, and Andrew Young as Mayor Sinclair St. Lewis
8/7/202018 minutes, 25 seconds
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Philosophy in the Delta Quadrant – Star Trek: Voyager

Who had the best character arcs in Star Trek: Voyager, and what were the hardest ethical conundrums the Delta Quadrant lobbed at Captain Janeway? How does her command style compare to Kirk or Picard? Dr. Erin Macdonald and Andrew Young join Heaton to discuss the deeper side of everyone's favorite intrepid-class vessel.
8/6/20201 hour, 31 seconds
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Why We Love Supervillains

If supervillains are so evil, why are they so captivating? Which crime lord would you serve under if you had to pick one? Former Marvel editor Tom Brennan and comic book aficionados Jeremiah Johnson and Nick Sperdute join Heaton to discuss the underlying mystique and purpose of supervillains. This file corrects for an audio issue in a previous upload. 
7/31/20201 hour, 3 minutes, 16 seconds
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Vagabonding: Murder Accusations (Comedy Sketch)

The comedy sketches with Nick and Heaton at the end of the show will be their own segment from now on: "Interstellar Vagabonding: With Nick & Heaton."  In this episode, a detective shows up at the apartment to investigate Nick's untimely death.  And he thinks it was murder!
7/29/202020 minutes, 22 seconds
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Let's Fight About "The Undiscovered Country"

If "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" is about the end of the Cold War, what's it's position on the Soviet Union? Tim Sandefur challenges Heaton on the underlying morality of the movie and whether or not it's a commie apologism, leading to a long-form discussion about its merits and underlying purpose.
7/23/20201 hour, 4 minutes, 52 seconds
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Religion's Two Treatments in Science Fiction

Science fiction has a more complex analysis of religion than either "good" or "bad." Yonatan Huber and Josh Jennings join Heaton to discuss how scifi authors tackle it, and how the nature of religious critique has changed between centuries. 
7/16/20201 hour, 12 minutes, 13 seconds
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V'ger, Sybok, and Whales! Star Trek's Least-Appreciated Films

Today we mount a defense of Star Trek's most underrated films! Tim Sandefur rejoins the program, along with Aeon Skoble, to discuss the franchise's least-appreciated flicks: "The Motion Picture", "The Voyage Home", and "The Final Frontier."  Afterwards Nick Sperdute, Andrew Young, and Heaton go on another intergalactic comedy adventure.
7/9/202051 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Mythology of Star Wars

The foundational elements of Star Wars are deeply mythological, influenced by Joseph Campbell's book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." Professor Ryan Slesinger joins the show to explain the Hero's Journey, archetypes, and the deepest elements of the whole saga.
7/2/20201 hour, 34 minutes, 55 seconds
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Should We Be Worried About the Lack of Aliens?

Fermi's Paradox brings up a troubling issue: if even a small fraction of stars have planets with intelligent life, much of it should be more advanced than us--so why have aliens never come by to say hello? Do civilizations all blow themselves up? Are we next?  Josh Jennings joins Heaton to suss out the paradox, and go over possible explanations of alien absence.
6/25/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 10 seconds
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Star Trek Conspiracy Theories include "The Transporter is a Murder Box"

Picard never left the Nexus. We caught the wrong Khan. Star Trek fandom is full of theories casting doubt on characters and plots as we know them. Brilliant or ridiculous, fan theories at least make us look at the franchise in a different light. John Krikorian of the Trek Profiles podcast and comedian Nick Sperdute join Heaton to discuss.
6/18/20201 hour, 27 minutes, 33 seconds
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We Can Freeze You: How Cryonics Works

From "Futurama" to "Demolition Man," cryonically suspending bodies for future reanimation by tomorrow's scientists is a mainstay of science fiction. Dennis Kowalksi, President of the Cryonics Institute, joins the show to go past the tropes and explain the mechanics, science, and hopes of cryonic freezing.
6/10/20201 hour, 24 minutes, 16 seconds
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Battlestar Galactica & The War On Terror

Battlestar Galactica kicked off just three years after the 9/11 attacks, and tackles everything from theocratic warfare to stem cell research and waterboarding. Comedian Andrew Young joins Heaton to discuss the series, it's relentless tension and fear of being compromised by undetected enemies, and how absolutely badass Saul Tigh is. 
6/4/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 16 seconds
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Is Life Worth Living in a Perfect Utopia?

John Varley's novel "Steel Beach" portrays a future brimming with attractive immortals living in amusement parks on the Moon--yet the main character contemplates suicide. Absent strife, can humans find purpose? Tim Sandefur joins Heaton to discuss John Varley, utopianism, and man's search for meaning. 
5/21/20201 hour, 4 minutes, 38 seconds
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Turns Out, We're All Probably Martians

Robert Zubrin is the head of the Mars Society and author of "The Case for Mars." He joins Heaton along with special guest co-host Andrew Mayne to discuss how to get to the Red Planet using existing technology, and the implications of finding life once we're there.
5/14/20201 hour, 44 minutes, 1 second
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How to Build a Giant Robot

Today we speak with physicist Stephen Granade about robots! How to build giant arm-swingin' robots, how we can automate them, and where we stand on Mind Machine Interface technology in case we want to pilot said robots ourselves. 
5/7/202058 minutes, 5 seconds
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Twenty Years After the Zombie Apocalypse

"The Girl With All the Gifts" is a brilliant spin on otherwise stale zombie tropes. Nick Sperdute and Ashland Viscosi join the program for a spoiler-free discussion about the novel. Plus a refresher on Greek mythology, how John Locke and Thomas Hobbes pertain to Armageddon, and the time Heaton met Meatloaf. 
4/30/20201 hour, 1 minute, 56 seconds
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Deep Space Nine is About Outsiders

Deep Space Nine masterfully tackled complex plot lines, moral ambiguity, and deep themes over its arc. Tom Merritt, host of the Sword & Laser podcast and scifi novelist, joins Heaton to suss out the deeper meaning of Star Trek's finest series.
4/23/20201 hour, 4 minutes, 4 seconds
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Buddhism, Optimism, and Black Mirror

"Black Mirror," a dark television series about the grim potential of technology, explores issues from social media to immortality. Comedian Myq Kaplan joins the show to look at the otherwise bleak satire through the dual lenses of optimism and Buddhism.
4/16/20201 hour, 8 minutes, 57 seconds
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Marry Bop Kill: Star Trek (Live Show)

Nick Sperdute and Josh Jennings join Heaton for a rousing game of "First Officer, Holodeck Buddy, Red Shirt" using Star Trek characters from across the franchise. 
4/12/20201 hour, 24 minutes, 49 seconds
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How to Make Money on Mars

We'll probably get to Mars a lot sooner if people think they can make a buck off of it. Andrew Mayne, author of the book "How to Make Money on Mars" joins the show to discuss what feasible, if not lucrative, private Mars missions might look like. 
4/9/202055 minutes, 3 seconds
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Pitch Us On Stargate!

AJ West and science consultant Mika McKinnon ("Stargate Atlantis" and "Stargate Universe") join the program to pitch Stargate as bingable show, and suss out its themes and triumphs.
4/2/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 33 seconds
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Starfleet Draft Picks (Live Show)

In a special just-for-kicks live episode, Star Trek consultants Dr. Erin Macdonald and Dr. Mohamed Noor return to the show to play Starfleet Draft Picks: If you could staff a new vessel with characters from any Star Trek series, who would you select?
3/27/202058 minutes, 35 seconds
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Nano Robots Aren't Trying to Kill You

Andrew Maynard is a scientist, professor, and expert in nanotechnology. He joins the show to answer: how likely is it that microscopic robots will go awry and turn the world into gray goo? What cool inventions are on the horizon? And finally, what are the good and bad portrayals of nanotechnology in science fiction?
3/26/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 40 seconds
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The First Modern Zombie Novel

"The Day of the Triffids," by John Wyndham, arguably kicked off the modern zombie genre, in which protagonists flee shambling cannibals in an urban wasteland. Josh Jennings joins Heaton to review the book, and ask: what is so fascinating about zombies on a primal level?
3/19/20201 hour, 20 minutes, 17 seconds
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Hugh Howey on Making an Entertaining Apocalypse

Hugh Howey is the author of "Wool," the New York Times bestselling thriller set in a massive post-apocalyptic bunker. He joins the show to talk about his book, the nature of existential threats, and why optimists are the ultimate heretics. 
3/12/20201 hour, 56 seconds
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Understand Every Scifi Hero through Dungeons & Dragons

Why is Darth Vader "Lawful Evil" or Ramsay Bolton "Chaotic Evil"? Captains Kirk and Picard are both good, but only one of them is "Neutral." The D&D Alignment System comprehensively explains the moral temperaments of any scifi character you can lob at it! New York comedians (and long-time D&D veterans) Chris Scott and Nick Sperdute join to explain.
2/27/20201 hour, 22 minutes, 41 seconds
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If We Met Aliens Could We Even Communicate?

What would first contact with an alien civilization look like? Could we handle it? If we could, would it even be possible to communicate with a vastly different (or superior) intelligence? Peter Boghossian, Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University, joins to  geek out about aliens and science fiction. 
2/20/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 11 seconds
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Who To Kill or Not Kill if You've Got a Time Machine

Brian Dunning, host of the Skeptoid Podcast, joins Heaton to talk about all things time travel--the best films, TV shows and books, plus how to get around pesky time travel paradoxes, if we should try to go back and kill Hitler, and the most interesting period of history to return to as a tourist.
2/11/20201 hour, 19 minutes, 5 seconds
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How Midichlorians and Harry Potter’s Wizard Genes Work

Dr. Eric Spana (Duke University biology professor and delightful nerd) joins Heaton to discuss how genetics works in various scifi and fantasy realms: from recessive wizarding genes in Harry Potter, to the midichlorians of Star Wars, to super power mutations in the world of X-Men. 
2/5/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 19 seconds
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Stop What You're Doing and Watch "Picard"

The long-awaited "Picard" series is out now, starring Patrick Stewart and following the exploits of Jean-Luc Picard two decades after we last saw him in "Nemesis." Nicholas Sperdute comes on to analyze the pilot, predict where the plot will take us, and generally enjoy the relief that it looks like it will be a great franchise. 
1/30/202052 minutes, 40 seconds
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How to Build a Colony Ship

If we had to send a spaceship to start a colony on another planet, how many humans would we need to get the party started? How do you avoid inbreeding, and what's a stable amount of people to maintain purpose on a multi-generational mission? Rob Raffety joins to discuss, looping in everything from "The Twilight Zone" to "Wool" and "Children of Time."
1/22/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Meaning of Spock

Mr. Spock is the most captivating character in Star Trek lore, and the embodiment of logic in popular culture. John Champion, host of "Mission Log" Star Trek podcast, joins Heaton for a deep dive into the character and meaning of Spock. 
1/15/202048 minutes, 56 seconds
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When Darwin Meets Star Trek

Dr. Mohamed Noor is the author of "Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds," and is the head of Biology at Duke University. He joins the show to talk about the origins of life, and why aliens could probably never mate in real life despite knocking boots in Star Trek.
1/8/20201 hour, 7 minutes, 11 seconds
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Let's Argue About "The Rise of Skywalker"

Alright, it's been a month--let's discuss "The Rise of Skywalker"! Is it the franchise-busting wompa scat critics panned it as, or just a situation of haters gonna hate? Nick Sperdute joins to analyze the film. 
1/2/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 1 second
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Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

The central premise to The Matrix is that we're actually living in a computer simulation, as well as think piece episodes from Star Trek, Black Mirror, and even Rick & Morty. Jay Mutzafi, host of "The Last Turtle" philosophy podcast joins Heaton to talk about Simulation Theory, and it's scifi application.
12/18/20191 hour, 58 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Tarkin Doctrine and Imperial Apologists

How would Emperor Palpatine's Press Secretary describe the Galactic Empire? How would Grand Moff Tarkin spin the destruction of Alderaan? Jonathan Last of "The Bulwark" joins Heaton to describe why he believes the Empire was a good thing--an imperfect system, but on balance the best one for peace and order in the galaxy.
12/12/20191 hour, 14 minutes, 41 seconds
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Robert Heinlein: Individualism and Free Love on the Moon!

Robert Heinlein, author of "Stranger in a Strange Land," "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," "Starship Troopers," and dozens of other novels, is at the tippy top of science fiction's pantheon of writers. Andrew Mayne joins the show to discuss Heinlein and the themes which pervaded his corpus: competency, rugged individualism, and free love.  Want to chat about the episode with other nerds? Check out Heaton's Heathens on Discord.
12/5/20191 hour, 17 minutes, 53 seconds
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Reptoid Aliens Shouldn't Have Nipples

Dr. Erin Macdonald is an astrophysicist and science fiction consultant who advises major Hollywood productions on what they're screwing up in scripts. She joins Heaton to discuss the physics pitfalls science fiction constantly blunders into, from artificial gravity to the proliferation of cleavage in species that don't have mammalian glands. Plus: the difference between warp bubbles in Star Trek, the FTL drive in Battlestar Gallactica, and the hyperspace of Star Wars. 
11/26/20191 hour, 15 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Ethics of Holodeck Sex Romps and AI in Star Trek

What's Star Trek's take on Artificial Intelligence, and how do Aristotle's virtue ethics govern Data? Also if the holodeck can summon AI's, and they are indeed sentient, is it ethical to sleep with them? John Krikorian of "Trek Profiles" and Alexandra August of "The Disco Trek" come on for an awesome chat about AI in the Star Trek universe.
11/20/20191 hour, 26 minutes, 59 seconds
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Isaac Asimov's Robots are Smarter than Whales

What do we learn about humanity when gazing through the optical sensors of a robot? Did Isaac Asimov write a novel where the end of humanity begins on a planet full of Libertarians? Ryan McGary joins for a full-throttle Isaac Asimov discussion, from whale intuition to transhumanism to Elon Musk. 
11/19/20191 hour, 12 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Twilight Zone's Nostalgic Cold War Bunker

Tim Sandefur joins Heaton on the podcast's kickoff episode to dissect The Twilight Zone, and how Rod Serling's fascination with nostalgia, the Cold War, collectivism, and totalitarianism made the most iconic scifi/horror show in American history.
11/18/20191 hour, 7 minutes, 56 seconds
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P1 What Bladerunner Is Actually About

Ben Domenech joins Heaton to discuss "Bladerunner," "Bladerunner: 2049" and the book which inspired both, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip K. Dick. 
11/15/201947 minutes, 32 seconds
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P2 The Economics of "Dune"

Spice is a metaphor for oil. Arrakis is the Middle East. Ben Brockshmidt joins Heaton to discuss all things dune--the economic, political, and historical influences which shaped Frank Herbert's scifi universe.
11/15/20191 hour, 2 minutes, 58 seconds
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P3 Cold War Kirk vs. Picard the Moral Relativist

Tim Sandefur joins Heaton to discuss the philosophical differences between Star Trek TOS and Star Trek The Next Generation. Gene Rodenberry and his contemporaries lived through World War II and the Cold War, and believed in clear right and wrongs. Whereas the TNG of the 1980s belies a more relativistic worldview. 
11/15/201951 minutes, 45 seconds
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P4 The Politics of Star Wars

Stephen Kent is the host of "Beltway Banthas" and joins Heaton to discuss the politics of Star Wars.
11/15/201948 minutes, 41 seconds
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P5 Varys is the best Game of Thrones character

Grant Carlisle joins to discuss the power dynamics and political themes underlying Game of Thrones.
11/15/201943 minutes, 34 seconds
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P6 Regarding Batman's Political Affiliation

Is Batman a Libertarian (wealthy, gizmos, works outside the law) or something else? Which superheroes would be Democrats? Any Republicans afoot? Comedian and Marvel aficionado Megan Sass joins Heaton to discuss.
11/15/201936 minutes, 43 seconds
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P7 Star Trek vs. The Orville

Former Congressman Dan Maffei joins Heaton to discuss: Is the "The Orville" more Star Trek than Star Trek, or just a knockoff? 
11/15/201942 minutes, 9 seconds