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
The Dead Authors Podcast: Legendary time-traveling writer H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) welcomes literary giants to The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles for a lively discussion in front of a live audience. Unscripted, barely researched, all fun! [more inside]
"Book TV's After Words features the author of a recently published hardback non-fiction book interviewed by a guest host with some knowledge, background, or connection to the subject matter of the book." There's also a podcast version (link goes to XML feed), for those who'd rather listen. Many more non-fiction author interviews can be found at Booknotes (transcripts and streaming video). If your tastes run to interviews with authors of fiction, check out the BBC's Modern Writers archive. (BookTV (but not specifically After Words) previously, Booknotes (but before the series ended) previously.)
The Written World is a five part radio series put together by Melyvn Bragg as part of the In Our Time BBC radio project. The programmes look at the history of written word, and how it has shaped our intellectual history. Each episode is available as a podcast and has an accompanying page (1 2 3 4 5) with images and links for further exploration. Also: The books that shaped history (narrated slideshow); the British Library page. [more inside]
Due to a rewording of the rules Science Fiction podcast StarShipSofa (previously, previously, previously) could be eligible for a Hugo award. Meanwhile the current episode features The Gambler (text version here), a story by Paolo Bacigalupi - best known as the author of The Windup Girl, one of TIME Magazine's ten books of the year ("Not just science fiction, mind, but fiction, generally") and almost certainly a favorite for the Hugo's best novel category.
To The Best Of Our Knowledge is one of the most wide-ranging and literate public radio shows in the US, a two-hour "radio salon" featuring leisurely exploration of weekly themes like No Smoking, Identity Crisis, Weekend, and The Mind, Music, and Math. Host Jim Fleming approaches these big ideas through the works of authors - journalists of all stripes, memoirists, poets, fiction writers, essayists. Five years' worth of shows are available on audio archives; you can also search the impressive list of authors by name, or subscribe to the podcast. [more inside]
More and more authors are turning to podcasting to find their audiences after being rejected by traditional book publishers, it seems. Interested in hearing some of their stories for free (or if you're feeling generous, a suggested donation of $9.99)? Check out PodioBooks, where there's a tonne of free literature just waiting to be downloaded to your iPod.
The popularity of podcasting has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. Evan Williams, co-founder and former CEO of Pyra Labs, the makers of Blogger, is a co-founder of Odeo, a resource for podcast listeners and podcasters. More info here. Odeo is just one of many podcast directories; personally, my favorite is Podcast Pickle. Another great resource for audio content is PodioBooks.com, founded by Evo Terra. PodioBooks are serialized audio books which are made available in podcast format, many read by their authors. [more inside]