Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Presence of God

Science fiction asks a lot of what-ifs. But what about when it asks: what if God were real? In this episode, we’ll explore a bunch of hard SF works that take religious very, very seriously. We’ll discuss Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God”, James Morrow’s “Towing Jehovah”, and more.

Meet Robert Duncan Milne

This episode of Novum makes the acquaintance of a fascinating author of science fiction: Robert Duncan Milne. Milne’s vivid tales of gothic science have largely been lost and forgotten in favor of the other big names of 19th century SF, such as Verne and Wells. Milne was popular in his day, but struggled to find his path and lived life cut short by tragedy. His stories reveal a unique genius, one that grasped the future opportunities and dangers of the nascent technology of his day. This week, we’ll explore Milne’s visions of future teleportation, surveillance, and drone warfare.

Anthropomorphism Lost

This episode of Novum examines the fear that our species will suddenly, at a moment’s notice, retrogress. Is it possible that our civilization is no more than a convincing facade? What if a barbarous, animal nature lies just below? In the wake of Donald Trump’s elections, this fear seems especially pronounced. We’ll examine a few examples of this idea from the classic SF novel “The Island of Doctor Moreau” to the 2016 movie Zootopia. Or is it Zootropolis? I really don’t know what to call this film.