Sara Lynn Michener, Rajan Khanna, and Lisa Yaszek join us to discuss Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness.
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GGG#460: The Dispossessed Review | Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy - Science Fiction Writer Interviews, Movie Reviews, Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi Books and Writing
Anthony Ha, Matthew Kressel, and Lisa Yaszek join us to discuss Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic 1974 novel The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia.
Audrey Niffenegger discusses her bestselling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife with James Naughtie.
It’s a romantic story about a man - Henry - with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage to Clare.
The book opens when they meet in a Chicago library, and they both understand that he is a time traveller. But Clare knows much more than this about him as he has not yet been to the times and places where they have met before, and she remembers him from when she was just six years old.
He falls in love with her, as she has already with him, but his continuing unavoidable absences time travelling - and then returning with increasing knowledge of their future - makes things ever more difficult for Clare.
Audrey Niffenegger explains how she created a set of rules for the book, such as there would be no sex between the couple before Clare reaches 18; and how Henry’s disorder is genetic rather than magical, meaning that when he time travels he arrives naked and with no money or useful possessions.
She also talks about the morality of her tale - the consequences of Henry’s criminal behaviour, and how she dealt with a male character who effectively moulds the character of Clare as she grows up.
Recorded at BBC Broadcasting House in London, Bookclub with Audrey Niffenegger includes questions from the studio audience.
Michael Chabon talks about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay with James Naughtie and a group of readers.
The novel follows the story of the teenage Josef Kavalier, who makes a daring escape from the Germans in Prague in 1939, leaving his family behind. He travels across Europe and eventually arrives at his cousin Samuel Clayman’s house in Brooklyn. There the pair discover a shared love of the burgeoning comic book world of Superheroes - Joe Kavalier is the artist, and Sam Clay, as he becomes, is the writer.
Together they create a hero of their own, The Escapist, a Houdini-type figure who fights the Nazis, frees the enslaved and leads them home. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2001.
Margaret Atwood discusses her dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale with James Naughtie and a group of readers. This edition celebrates Bookclub’s 20th anniversary and includes contributions from former alumni of Bookclub such as Ali Smith, Eimear McBride and Evie Wyld; as well as the reading group made up of Radio 4 listeners.
Thirty three years ago, Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel about a futuristic America, which following a major ecological disaster, is ruled by a brutal, misogynistic Christian theocracy called Gilead. In 2017 The Handmaid’s Tale became a television series, going on to win eight Emmies. It followed the book closely, telling the tale of a society in which women are subjugated and not allowed to work or read, and valued only for their fecundity. The book has now found a new readership amongst a younger generation.
The Handmaids - most prominently a woman called Offred, the narrator of the novel, are the few fertile women, who are assigned to the homes of married male rulers, and compelled to endure rape at their hands in the name of procreation.
Margaret Atwood, who is one of the most celebrated novelists writing in English today, meets an invited audience of Radio 4 listeners, including sixth-formers and university students, to discuss the Handmaid’s Tale.
Richard Holmes talks about The Age of Wonder, his non-fiction account of the Romantic age, as scientific and artistic thinking began to diverge.
In the book he describes the scientific ferment that swept through Britain in the late-18th century and tells the stories of the celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight and the discovery of Uranus to Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration.
Holmes has also written biographies of the poets Coleridge and Shelley and he explains how The Romantics didn’t believe in the modern idea that the arts and sciences are two cultures dividing us. The chemist Humphrey Davy wrote poetry and was good friends with Coleridge and they inhaled nitrous oxide gas together as part of Davy’s experiments on its properties.
Presented by James Naughtie and including questions from an audience of readers.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, discusses his novel Never Let Me Go with James Naughtie and a group of invited readers.
In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story of Kathy, Tommy, Ruth and other school friends growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England.
Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go is her attempt to come to terms with her childhood and adolescence at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School as well as the fate that always awaited her and her friends outside in the wider world.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas explored in HG Wells’ novella, published in 1895, in which the Time Traveller moves forward to 802,701 AD. There he finds humanity has evolved into the Eloi and Morlocks, where the Eloi are small but leisured fruitarians and the Morlocks live below ground, carry out the work and have a different diet. Escaping the Morlocks, he travels millions of years into the future, where the environment no longer supports humanity.
How the telegraph and the lightbulb can teach us to think critically about future inventions | CBC Radio
In her new book, The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, materials scientist and author Ainissa Ramirez chronicles eight life-changing inventions, and the inventors behind them.
GGG#359: Ian McEwan | Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy - Science Fiction Writer Interviews, Movie Reviews, Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi Books and Writing
Ian McEwan joins us to discuss his new novel Machines Like Me.
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