You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Antique Shanghai Pop Music 1930-1949 Downloadable mp3 episodes chock full of wonderful music with delightful commentary from Ling. [more inside]
Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
Maybe you'd be interested in full, downloadable live concerts by Iggy Pop and David Bowie (1977), P. J. Harvey (1992), Neko Case (2006), or the Arcade Fire (2008)? The online, L.A.-based music publication Web in Front hosts a terrific collection of concert podcasts from rock bands and songsmiths of every era. From Talking Heads (1979) to Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. (1994); from dour troubadours like Lou Reed (1976) to dour troubadours like Nick Cave (1998), it's an inexhaustible trove. (Recent podcasts.)
StarshipSofa has podcasted all of the Nebula Best Short Story Nominees for 2008, following on from podcasting all but one of the 2008 BSFA short story nominees. Previous StarshipSofa.
The Folkways Collection is a downloadable, 24-part podcast series that "explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)."
Pitching Ziggy the Movie "Maybe the complaints department is part of the conspiracy to keep Ziggy down..."
GeeksOn "A show created by Geeks for Geeks, covering topics that Geeks like to talk about." This is one of my favorite podcasts out there, most topics they cover are talked about in a very smart manner with lots of philosophy and moral quandaries thrown in, and they have gone on to get some great interviews with various people in Geek culture including Christina Hendricks, who plays Saffron from Firefly, and its Producer, Lisa Lassek(Christina is the sister of one of the geeks), Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin, Forrest J Ackerman, Garrett Wang, and the man himself Joss Whedon! [more inside]
BODcasts "The Bodleian Library launches its first series of BODcasts with readings by celebrated poets including Seamus Heaney, Bernard O’Donoghue and Mick Imlah." MP3s of talks and readings given on an evening in celebration of the publication of the journal Archipelago. [Via]
"Bathed in fire, flood, love and turmoil And While London Burns is a compelling collision of thriller, opera and guided walk."
This American Life is now offering free podcasts. A while ago, someone noticed MP3s of This American Life episodes were sitting in a publicly accessible directory. People soon starting making podcasts. This American Life asked them to stop. Most of them did. Fans of the show were disappointed. Now the podcast is available directly from TAL for free.
The Orb, known as one of the principal architects of ambient house, have receded into relative obscurity since the popular heyday of the electronic music movement in the US. Despite changes in the lineup - the group now consists of a duo featuring founding member Dr (Duncan Robert) Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann. Paterson's DJ sets are the stuff of legend and I was pleased as punch that they've just put together a podcast (actually a 50.8mb .zip file containing an mp3) that's available through their minimal website.
Assistive Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering audio access to literary works for the blind. They have placed an extensive archive of downloadable magazine articles in mp3 format online, including selections from The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic and American Heritage.
Podbop. Completely stupid name. Not a bad idea. Enter your city, and it will come back with MP3 links and podcasts from bands soon to play in your town, in a "try before you buy tickets" kind of way. Works quite well for the US, other countries look like they need updating.