Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


The Pregnant Man



This week’s episode of Novum deals with an unusual consequence of the feminist utopia: male isolationism and the post-gendered, pregnant man. We’ll consider what the future holds for the two-sex binary. Science fiction posits both the possibility that the divide will be abolished, and the possibility that it will become an impassable chasm. During this episode of the program, we’ll be discussing pregnant ‘men’ in fiction and reality, from Ursula Le Guin to the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Junior.”


When the Sleeper Awakes



This week’s episode of Novum is all about the sleeper. From Sleeping Beauty to Woody Allen, we find that plenty of characters have simply slept through centuries, to find themselves, unwittingly, in the distant future. Today, stories about time travel, sans time machine. And what will happen when at last the sleeper awakes?


The Invasion of Earth



Earth has been invaded countless times by aliens in film and literature for over 100 years. Often, our technology is useless against our attackers… and our finest cities are left in ruins! Why is this genre so compelling to us? I think works about invasion can carry an unexpected deeper meaning…

This is the first episode of NOVUM, a podcast exploring the importance and impact of science fiction.