The Incomparable

316: Just Add Jesuits!

 

  come see the Cassidy and comfortable and [TS]

  many other podcasts at the now hear this [TS]

  festival in anaheim california October [TS]

  28 through 30th do now here is this best [TS]

  dot-com [TS]

  the in time purple known 316 September [TS]

  2016 welcome back everybody to be [TS]

  uncomfortable i'm your host Jason [TS]

  stellar here for another edition of our [TS]

  book club we're gonna be talking about i [TS]

  would say a classic book or at least a [TS]

  book that is not a current release it is [TS]

  a book from 1996 which means we are [TS]

  celebrating its 20th anniversary which [TS]

  kind of hard to believe the book that I [TS]

  really love when i read the first time [TS]

  and i re-read it for this podcast it's [TS]

  the sparrow a science fiction novel [TS]

  don't let anybody tell you otherwise a [TS]

  science fiction novel by Mary Doria [TS]

  wrestle joining me to talk about the [TS]

  sparrow are the following Erica and sign [TS]

  hello hello and shannon sudderth hello [TS]

  laughing keys and mr. book club himself [TS]

  hi guess who's coming multi hello [TS]

  so the sparrow some of us have read it [TS]

  before I believe Shannon and scott and i [TS]

  have read it before but that Erica it [TS]

  was new to you is that right i had never [TS]

  even heard of it [TS]

  well for you so in that new why did you [TS]

  agree to be on this podcast that's the [TS]

  thing i want to know i don't know and i [TS]

  saw i saw your your erica has been [TS]

  tweeting and posting our slack about the [TS]

  experience of reading this book to which [TS]

  i guess i would say thank you for [TS]

  showing up and for reading to the end [TS]

  mmm i got all the way through all the [TS]

  way through got to the end that America [TS]

  if you if you abide by the if you have [TS]

  nothing nice to say say nothing at all [TS]

  you're going to be very quiet very musky [TS]

  sure i'm not gonna be that quiet reading [TS]

  it again I realize all the reasons why i [TS]

  love this book and I also realized and I [TS]

  got to look out for all in detail all [TS]

  the things that i have a problem with [TS]

  about this book and that was good it was [TS]

  it was enjoyable to revisit it after i [TS]

  don't think i read in 1996 but I [TS]

  probably read it not too long after a [TS]

  year or two after so it's been almost 20 [TS]

  years since i read this book the sparrow [TS]

  is the first novel by Mary Doria wrestle [TS]

  she has written many books since she is [TS]

  not really a science fiction writer [TS]

  although her first two books for science [TS]

  fiction [TS]

  she's written a whole bunch of other [TS]

  stuff in a bunch of different different [TS]

  genres she definitely has a focus on [TS]

  she's got a lot of Catholicism happening [TS]

  and and [TS]

  a lot of her novels this book is about a [TS]

  first-contact situation [TS]

  it basically is the SETI program that [TS]

  they are Arecibo radio Observatory in [TS]

  Puerto Rico picks up radio broadcasts [TS]

  very much if you see the movie contact [TS]

  you get the idea what's going on here [TS]

  and then what happens next is that the [TS]

  Jesuits basically by an asteroid on the [TS]

  cheap and fly it to this tile for [TS]

  Centauri where they have picked up these [TS]

  signals in order to make a first contact [TS]

  with the aliens there and they arrive [TS]

  before anyone else and our main [TS]

  characters are the members of that crew [TS]

  the story is told in two different time [TS]

  lines in 2020 or thereabouts-- 2015 to [TS]

  2020 when they are headed out they [TS]

  discovered the signal and they're headed [TS]

  out to Alpha Centauri and in 2060 in the [TS]

  aftermath of the mission when the sole [TS]

  survivor of the mission and we don't [TS]

  really know quite what that means when [TS]

  this starts the the kind of disgraced [TS]

  sole survivor has returned to Earth and [TS]

  as being interrogated by the leader of [TS]

  the Jesuits about this terrible mission [TS]

  that has happened that has almost ruined [TS]

  the society of jesus and and so it's a [TS]

  very interesting premise for a novel and [TS]

  their yes there are a lot of aliens and [TS]

  stuff in it too which is why despite the [TS]

  fact that some people said well it's not [TS]

  really science fiction at the time she [TS]

  was going to be 17 [TS]

  yeah because literary aspirations [TS]

  science fiction doesn't grapple with [TS]

  large issues of faith and and society [TS]

  and thinks he actually it does it is [TS]

  science fiction and it's got aliens in [TS]

  it to prove it [TS]

  so that's that's the sparrow it is it is [TS]

  at its core story about about Emilio [TS]

  sandoz a Jesuit priest who is the only [TS]

  survivor and how he got on this mission [TS]

  to go to this of this planet and meet [TS]

  these aliens and what happened and what [TS]

  happened when he got back home [TS]

  so that's a yes that's the sparrow it's [TS]

  got a lot of interesting issues about [TS]

  about faith about society about how we [TS]

  interpret them the meaning of life about [TS]

  other other people and other beings and [TS]

  there's a whole lot here [TS]

  so I don't know maybe we should start [TS]

  with some initial impressions about this [TS]

  book i'm gonna i'm gonna hold off in [TS]

  America because she just read it and i'm [TS]

  going to start with sort of like how [TS]

  this book lived in your memory and and [TS]

  your experience of rereading it so [TS]

  Shannon how about you and you you read [TS]

  this a while ago and then reread it for [TS]

  this podcast is that right [TS]

  that is right i went through a period in [TS]

  the early audis of trying to make myself [TS]

  read more science fiction and less [TS]

  fantasy because i'm @hardwick fantasy [TS]

  girl but we were I was the literary [TS]

  chair for a local khan and our guest was [TS]

  vernor vinge Eve and I had never read [TS]

  anything by him so I made myself read [TS]

  one of his more recent books before [TS]

  meeting him and working with him on the [TS]

  con and i decided i really need to fix [TS]

  this and kept going and looking for [TS]

  various things and the sparrow happened [TS]

  to be one of them i'm not sure but now i [TS]

  don't remember exactly what it was [TS]

  whether it was word of mouth from [TS]

  friends or just seeing it on a shelf [TS]

  something of that maybe say you know I [TS]

  wonder what this is like [TS]

  but in that period of reading syfy this [TS]

  is honestly only one of two pieces the [TS]

  other one being the red mars trilogy by [TS]

  Kim Stanley Robinson that I remember [TS]

  reading and at the time truly being [TS]

  blown away by on because it had this [TS]

  combination of explaining the science in [TS]

  a way that 1i could understand but to [TS]

  did not feel spelled out or dumped down [TS]

  and number two as you said dealing with [TS]

  these huge philosophical spiritual [TS]

  forces of nature you know all these [TS]

  different things anthropological things [TS]

  dealing with them in intricate ways [TS]

  without pulling punches and three the [TS]

  thing that struck me most of all was the [TS]

  characters this this band of people that [TS]

  were pulled together to uh to go on this [TS]

  trip just totally grabbed me their [TS]

  interactions their dialogue of Russell I [TS]

  think has a at least in this book a [TS]

  really strong [TS]

  sense of character and is able to bring [TS]

  them out and make them live off the page [TS]

  in a way I wasn't seeing another science [TS]

  fiction books which is of course why [TS]

  some people choose to call it not [TS]

  science fiction but as you said it [TS]

  totally is [TS]

  it's classic science fiction i think i [TS]

  think the interviewing 20 years famous [TS]

  library and Nancy Pearl has I don't know [TS]

  if she's officially recant your [TS]

  statement about the sparrow but she has [TS]

  come out as a proponent of science [TS]

  fiction it seems like she's backed off [TS]

  on her original review of the Spirit [TS]

  which is that it was too good to be [TS]

  science fiction which is shameful but [TS]

  that was 20 years ago and people can [TS]

  grow and change Scott what's your memory [TS]

  of the sparrow and and when did you read [TS]

  it and what do you think at the time [TS]

  well i believe i read it when it first [TS]

  came out and it hit me for a number of [TS]

  reasons AI think it's just a fantastic [TS]

  book but i also was raised Roman [TS]

  Catholic so it had that layer and i also [TS]

  went to a Jesuit High School so I was [TS]

  very familiar with the society of jesus [TS]

  and Jesuits in general and in fact it is [TS]

  the Jets who I have to thank for making [TS]

  me an atheist because whatever that is [TS]

  something something everyone is they [TS]

  teach you critical thinking and [TS]

  throughout my four years of high school [TS]

  and when i first went to high school I [TS]

  was pretty sure I was going to become a [TS]

  priest and by the time I left high [TS]

  school I was pretty sure that there was [TS]

  no God so all right [TS]

  it was my legs Jesuits Thank You Jesuits [TS]

  it was because of the Jesuits they [TS]

  taught me critical thinking and I was [TS]

  telling this story to one of my [TS]

  co-workers the other day and she said [TS]

  well the gesture was actually might not [TS]

  be so upset about that because they [TS]

  would be happy that you at least applied [TS]

  critical thinking through the process [TS]

  and i said well i think they still can't [TS]

  believe in god that's kind of one of [TS]

  their central today out soho even happy [TS]

  maybe someone has been going to the [TS]

  alcohol but so the stars align in this [TS]

  book because a it the biggest thing is [TS]

  dealing with his faith right and how [TS]

  your you how you deal with it how you [TS]

  you know there are many priests in this [TS]

  book and they all have different ways of [TS]

  expressing their faith [TS]

  and I enjoy that many of them you know [TS]

  you always hear the story of how you [TS]

  know God speaks to you and then you take [TS]

  up a vocation and certainly that happens [TS]

  but the characters in this book was [TS]

  basically say well i'm not insane i [TS]

  don't hear voices i am just not this the [TS]

  way I express my faith is through my [TS]

  actions and that's how I you know honor [TS]

  god I've never actually talked to God [TS]

  but you know with the main character [TS]

  goes through a journey where he kind of [TS]

  you know he believes in god please never [TS]

  had a bad experience with God and then [TS]

  he kind of he thinks he does right and [TS]

  it sends him off to this and then of [TS]

  course the end it may not turn out so [TS]

  well for him but yeah that that's one of [TS]

  the challenges that Santos basis is he [TS]

  he feels finally that he's had his [TS]

  moment of understanding of what His [TS]

  purposes and what God wants him to do [TS]

  and terrible things happen after that's [TS]

  a boot the thing i didn't remember i [TS]

  remember one central terrible thing that [TS]

  happens to him or to actually but I [TS]

  didn't remember all of the terrible [TS]

  things that happen through so as i was [TS]

  reading it as like this gracious me a [TS]

  lot of bad things happened to this man [TS]

  and everyone who goes to the planet [TS]

  uh-huh and it just also reinforce the [TS]

  idea in that I like novels in which the [TS]

  main character suffer literally which [TS]

  which I don't tend to like I said you [TS]

  know my my memory of the book was that [TS]

  you know that it was powerful that it [TS]

  was you know I i grabbed onto it because [TS]

  it was science science fiction yes you [TS]

  know but I could hold up a [TS]

  science-fiction book to all my friends [TS]

  and say this is worth reading arm but [TS]

  you like Scott I did had general [TS]

  generalities of things that had happened [TS]

  I had I'd somewhat forgotten the dual [TS]

  timelines structure that it was there [TS]

  all the way through and not just like at [TS]

  the beginning and towards the end and it [TS]

  took me a while to get back into reading [TS]

  this because as things started [TS]

  developing I'm just like oh yeah I [TS]

  remember [TS]

  oh no oh man [TS]

  but it when they hit to the point that [TS]

  you described where um where a jimmy [TS]

  Quinn discovers the music that there is [TS]

  an actual comprehensible message in what [TS]

  he thought was just some random blip [TS]

  from SETI and things start getting [TS]

  together of the people started all the [TS]

  different characters start interacting [TS]

  they start you know what essentially [TS]

  it's like you know yeah let's let's all [TS]

  be in a band together to build a [TS]

  spaceship there is a bit goofy how they [TS]

  do it but the enthusiasm that got me [TS]

  back into it which made remembering some [TS]

  of the things that happen along the way [TS]

  even harder and I'd forgotten just how [TS]

  powerful those last scenes are when the [TS]

  final revelations happen [TS]

  let's go to Erica erica your newbie you [TS]

  read this is the first time I don't [TS]

  think you know what you're getting into [TS]

  before we go into some specifics here i [TS]

  would like to hear your overview of your [TS]

  of your experience with this book [TS]

  well I did going completely cold i offer [TS]

  it's so rare that I get to go into a [TS]

  movie or a book or anything without [TS]

  knowing anything about it so I'm always [TS]

  excited when that happens I can just go [TS]

  into something completely cold and i [TS]

  think this is one of those times where [TS]

  complete it just backfired because had I [TS]

  known what this book was about going in [TS]

  i would have realized that this is a [TS]

  book that is like in capital letters not [TS]

  for Erica ah for yeah I have a you know [TS]

  up maybe I'm like the opposite of Scott [TS]

  here my my personal relationship with [TS]

  the with church stuff is is is [TS]

  complicated in such a way that it very [TS]

  much turns me off anytime that it isn't [TS]

  it in in a book [TS]

  so while I will when I will agree with [TS]

  with all of the non emotional reactions [TS]

  you guys had to this book it is very [TS]

  well written it is very well crafted [TS]

  this is a good book capital g capital be [TS]

  good book but it is just so not the kind [TS]

  of thing that I enjoy that I i don't [TS]

  know why i kept pushing through it with [TS]

  this infinite this had been an episode 4 [TS]

  of like award reading or or even when [TS]

  we're we're doing two or three books or [TS]

  something like that I probably would [TS]

  have just stopped reading and [TS]

  and not finished it and that now that i [TS]

  have gotten all the way to the end of [TS]

  the book I i think that that would have [TS]

  been better huh [TS]

  for me I can't argue with any of the [TS]

  stuff that you guys have have said about [TS]

  its its quality it just yes it is it is [TS]

  very philosophical and that is so not my [TS]

  kind of another kind of thing [TS]

  yeah and I think that's one of the keys [TS]

  in that it delves into all these issues [TS]

  of spirituality and you know like you [TS]

  Erica I'm not got you an agnostic the [TS]

  fairest thing to say as far as my [TS]

  spirituality but this particular book at [TS]

  least not once do i as the reader feel [TS]

  like I'm being preached at and I think [TS]

  that is a marvelous marvelous thing that [TS]

  Russell manages to do to make this book [TS]

  a huge search thru spirituality how [TS]

  people arrive at their spirituality what [TS]

  happens when their spirituality seems to [TS]

  fail them and yet I as a reader not once [TS]

  felt like I was being told you should [TS]

  believe anything [TS]

  yes I i should point out that that is [TS]

  absolutely not you know that that's not [TS]

  my complaint I i agree with that she did [TS]

  a wonderful job of sort of walking that [TS]

  line of I mean you guys mentioned her [TS]

  characters and and you're right these [TS]

  are very well realized characters they [TS]

  all have inner lives two to one degree [TS]

  or another so I felt like I knew who [TS]

  these people were so the the examination [TS]

  of the spirituality is very much carried [TS]

  out from the perspective of each one of [TS]

  these characters and I did not feel like [TS]

  there was a view that I was supposed to [TS]

  be associating with more than any of the [TS]

  rest so that was that was a very nice [TS]

  thing it didn't make any more [TS]

  comfortable for me reading it but at [TS]

  least I didn't feel like I was being [TS]

  preached to you know one of things then [TS]

  forgive me for this guy because i'm [TS]

  going to hear a little bit away from [TS]

  Star Trek here but as we have to host of [TS]

  the audio guide about 15 hear that one [TS]

  of the things always appreciate about [TS]

  the TV show Babylon 5 was similarly the [TS]

  fact that it took religion seriously and [TS]

  that was a show written by an atheist [TS]

  but the fact was that he felt like you [TS]

  know what [TS]

  in the future in a few hundred years [TS]

  we're gonna suddenly not have religion [TS]

  that's been with us for thousands of [TS]

  years probably going to be important to [TS]

  humanity for a very very long time if [TS]

  not forever [TS]

  the existence of humanity so [TS]

  I mention that because as somebody who [TS]

  is not a believer in pretty much [TS]

  anything that's me i love seeing [TS]

  portrayals of people struggling with [TS]

  their faith and wondering about the [TS]

  nature of God and in a science fictional [TS]

  can't context I i think it's great [TS]

  because i do think this is one of these [TS]

  fundamental things about being a human [TS]

  being and that's one of the reasons that [TS]

  i actually really like this book is even [TS]

  as and not a particularly religious [TS]

  person I recognize the importance of [TS]

  spirituality in a search for meaning in [TS]

  people and and these characters are all [TS]

  experiencing it and they're all [TS]

  experiencing it from different areas [TS]

  which is fascinating to me the fact that [TS]

  you've got our main character is a [TS]

  priest who basically has never kind of [TS]

  never believed in god and feels really [TS]

  bad about that which is fascinating to [TS]

  me and and the idea that he has this [TS]

  moment of clarity and feels that he [TS]

  finally has his meeting and then things [TS]

  go horribly wrong on this planet I mean [TS]

  that the the the the title of the book [TS]

  the sparrow is very specifically from a [TS]

  passage in the Bible about how even when [TS]

  a single sparrow falls dead God is aware [TS]

  of it that the idea here that bad things [TS]

  happen in the world to and God is aware [TS]

  of that too well that I guess Amelia [TS]

  sent this is the sparrow kind of e a [TS]

  terrible things happen to him [TS]

  I so so I I that aspect of it is [TS]

  fascinating to be also i am a sucker for [TS]

  first contact stories and this has that [TS]

  it isn't you know like we said with the [TS]

  station eleven episode the you know [TS]

  still bear with me on this one Scott [TS]

  station level was a book that a lot of [TS]

  people didn't like because on our book [TS]

  club because it is not very good at [TS]

  science fiction showing an apocalypse [TS]

  here i would say the sparrow similarly [TS]

  if you're somebody good is going to get [TS]

  caught up in the science of this you [TS]

  know there's a lot of hand waving that [TS]

  goes on about how they get to another to [TS]

  another solar system right like that [TS]

  they don't describe oh we invented a [TS]

  drive that will take us there at half [TS]

  speed of light or where they just kinda [TS]

  she can you wave your hands and it's [TS]

  fine that's not her strong suit no it's [TS]

  not the Anthropology side [TS]

  anthropologie side is her strong suit [TS]

  and that shines through you have to [TS]

  squint at the science you have to end [TS]

  and for me it's okay because because the [TS]

  culture when it was she when they get to [TS]

  the planet red-hot it is it is so [TS]

  interesting that it's fine and it's also [TS]

  I my point is like with a station eleven [TS]

  you know it [TS]

  the details aren't the point here it's [TS]

  actually more kind of like the end [TS]

  result this is allegorical for the [TS]

  presence of the Jesuits in the new world [TS]

  essentially this is what would be a new [TS]

  new world for the Jesuits to have to [TS]

  have a first contact with and so it's a [TS]

  it's an alien planet instead and that's [TS]

  what she's really trying to do here in [TS]

  fact i'm kind of impressed that she [TS]

  tries as hard as she does to make a kind [TS]

  of hold together in terms of the science [TS]

  right because she could have completely [TS]

  just punted and been like and then they [TS]

  were on the other planet and instead she [TS]

  tries to go through recibo and getting [TS]

  the signals and all of that in the end [TS]

  its and it's very exciting and I I [TS]

  appreciate that because in the end [TS]

  yes is it kind of ridiculous that six [TS]

  people who were all together in Puerto [TS]

  Rico when the signal was made are part [TS]

  of a nine person or a person crew that [TS]

  is the first prefers people to go to an [TS]

  alien planet where where where alien [TS]

  life has been discovered for the first [TS]

  time before any governments or Space [TS]

  Agency's seems kind of ridiculous to me [TS]

  but you know what that's the story she [TS]

  wants to tell and we kind of go with it [TS]

  and I I mean I didn't it is ridiculous [TS]

  but i did also kind of buy into it a [TS]

  little bit because the the church [TS]

  doesn't have this you know the rules and [TS]

  regulations that i would imagine the [TS]

  government would have to follow so they [TS]

  can sounds like okay let's buy an [TS]

  asteroid and let's go and that's what [TS]

  they do and you know he convinces them [TS]

  that we we should do this we have you [TS]

  know priceless artwork that we can sell [TS]

  on the download and get us a suite [TS]

  asteroid and we can go off and you know [TS]

  we happen to have the people we need to [TS]

  make this a reality add a couple more [TS]

  priests and add a couple priest instant [TS]

  to just add Jesuits [TS]

  yep the spirituality aspect of it is is [TS]

  the biggest thing that turned me off [TS]

  about it but I think even if somehow [TS]

  this book were able to exist without [TS]

  that which certainly I long as possible [TS]

  but even if I had I still don't think [TS]

  that it would have been something that [TS]

  truly appealed to me because unlike [TS]

  scott once again I am NOT a person who [TS]

  really digs it when the the main [TS]

  characters in books suffer a lot like I [TS]

  don't mind some of it because you know [TS]

  sometimes you need that for a good story [TS]

  but I mean there's there's so few hours [TS]

  in the day that I get to read that I [TS]

  tend to like my escapism to be a little [TS]

  bit more escapee and and have something [TS]

  a little little bit lighter to to deal [TS]

  with and also the man to sort of [TS]

  back-and-forth flipping is is a thing [TS]

  that sometimes i like and sometimes I [TS]

  don't in this case it you find out at [TS]

  the very very very beginning that [TS]

  everything goes horribly wrong and it's [TS]

  just it's a journey of discovery to find [TS]

  out how things went wrong so that just [TS]

  had me kind of you know the clenched [TS]

  heart all the way through like what is [TS]

  going to happen I know something is [TS]

  going to be awful and I like i would i [TS]

  would rather know hit the outset that [TS]

  it's gonna end very badly then have it [TS]

  seemed like everything's gonna be fine [TS]

  and then it ends terribly so I guess [TS]

  this is this is a little bit better than [TS]

  that but but still i just spent the [TS]

  whole thing with a feeling of great [TS]

  dread yeah I was kind of surprised that [TS]

  i managed to sort of lose that dread [TS]

  somewhat once the the 2019 once the [TS]

  current day quote unquote a timeline [TS]

  started kicking together I was kind of [TS]

  surprised that I think the characters [TS]

  you know we're strong enough and having [TS]

  so much fun with each other that it that [TS]

  drew me back in on just like it did the [TS]

  first time I mean you know that i've [TS]

  read when i read this book the first [TS]

  time like you said it tells you right at [TS]

  the beginning things really went [TS]

  downhill and yet the first time around i [TS]

  managed to forget a lot of that until [TS]

  the last third of the book when it [TS]

  started really going downhill and [TS]

  gathering speed on and it almost [TS]

  happened to me again [TS]

  Yesi whereas i was just i felt like it [TS]

  was such work reading this book that I [TS]

  got toward the end and you know that [TS]

  some things that have [TS]

  and some things hadn't happened yet and [TS]

  i was just finding myself going ok I've [TS]

  actually you know I've learned to maybe [TS]

  not like so much but at least appreciate [TS]

  some of these characters because they [TS]

  were very well written but I literally [TS]

  found myself thinking oh my god just die [TS]

  already look like regular people like I [TS]

  like you but I know something Bad's [TS]

  gonna happen to you so can we please [TS]

  just get it over with [TS]

  just and I did I think the structure to [TS]

  your point Erica makes it all the more [TS]

  worse because you know at the beginning [TS]

  that you first meet sandoz and he's a [TS]

  broken character and then you flipped [TS]

  back to the past and he's like this [TS]

  bubbly guy that everybody likes it he's [TS]

  making jokes is helping everybody at you [TS]

  just like oh now i'm just gonna watch [TS]

  this person basically have the worst [TS]

  several years of his life and then come [TS]

  back and continue to downward trend so [TS]

  it's not not gonna be a great pleasure [TS]

  ride this episode of the incomparable is [TS]

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  to that that mattress though that [TS]

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  that would be crazy [TS]

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  Casper for sponsoring the incomparable [TS]

  so I'm gonna free everybody here I mean [TS]

  you shouldn't be listening if you have [TS]

  read the book but if you have are still [TS]

  listening we're gonna fire off a cry [TS]

  sort of a friendly spoiler horn right [TS]

  there just to make it clear before we go [TS]

  even deeper down in to the sparrow and [TS]

  if you like what you've heard from me [TS]

  and Shannon and Scott maybe you should [TS]

  read it and if you like what you heard [TS]

  America don't really hear [TS]

  it's beautiful music I feel like some of [TS]

  these episodes the spoiler horn is [TS]

  implied for the whole thing because why [TS]

  but yes I feel like we haven't like dug [TS]

  down into some of the worst of it which [TS]

  I'm gonna do right now because I mean [TS]

  when we talk about the two time frames [TS]

  right um i think it's interesting that [TS]

  that you could argue that this is trying [TS]

  to cushion the blow a little bit but of [TS]

  course i think also it's the structure [TS]

  is that she kind of wants the descent [TS]

  into darkness and the kind of like an [TS]

  ascent into finding a reason to live [TS]

  happen in parallel I mean I think that's [TS]

  what she's trying to do here it does [TS]

  give you the descent from the beginning [TS]

  when you're watching all these people [TS]

  who are very excited about this [TS]

  first-contact situation and going to [TS]

  this planet [TS]

  you already know that something horrible [TS]

  is going to happen and so that color's [TS]

  your judgment of it which it's it's an [TS]

  interesting choice I gotta say from the [TS]

  perspective of 20 years later one of the [TS]

  things about this book that did not [TS]

  impress me at all is one of the conceits [TS]

  here is that sandoz is returned by this [TS]

  second the second mission 2 rakaat he is [TS]

  he is found in a dungeon [TS]

  this is what happens he's found in a [TS]

  dungeon as the sex slave of an alien and [TS]

  they in all of his other and he and he [TS]

  seen killing an alien as they find him [TS]

  and then they put him on his asteroid [TS]

  ship and send it back to earth and radio [TS]

  back so it reaches them much before the [TS]

  the ship does that about this terrible [TS]

  you know state that they found him in [TS]

  and from the perspective of 2016 reading [TS]

  this I could not buy for a moment that [TS]

  the discovery of him [TS]

  everybody refers to him in the in the [TS]

  present timeline when he's this [TS]

  disgraced and disfigured because he said [TS]

  this horrible operation down his hands [TS]

  by these aliens as a prostitute and they [TS]

  everybody just assumes like okay first [TS]

  off let's let's break this down [TS]

  first off that he was a prostitute when [TS]

  they find him in a sex dungeon being a [TS]

  you know for for these aliens literally [TS]

  naked and bloody yeah nobody thinks one [TS]

  nobody thinks that perhaps another [TS]

  possibility was that he [TS]

  was forced into this and to when they [TS]

  call him a prostitute they assume it [TS]

  means that he was a willing and joyous [TS]

  prostitute which is also i think not [TS]

  something that you should assume and so [TS]

  it in reading this it this time I was [TS]

  like I i didn't i didn't buy that whole [TS]

  part of it makes everybody on earth [TS]

  essentially in the end in a later time [TS]

  frame seemed kinda like a dummy that [TS]

  because she wants this revelatory moment [TS]

  when he says no i wasn't doing that [TS]

  because I enjoyed being raped by aliens [TS]

  it was raped and and they're like what [TS]

  it was rape I had no idea it's like yeah [TS]

  you should've picked that up like when [TS]

  they radioed it back you should have [TS]

  figured that out [TS]

  mmm yes yeah that was that was my other [TS]

  big problem which I didn't know if we [TS]

  were in spoiler horn territory so I [TS]

  couldn't say that made me actually angry [TS]

  at this book because it's just I mean [TS]

  really the where we start out is in the [TS]

  the 2060 sort of present day and the [TS]

  whole framework of this book is based on [TS]

  the slow kind of on unveiling of what [TS]

  this character has gone through and and [TS]

  why he's he's so shamed and and and this [TS]

  is it I mean it just it nerf the rest of [TS]

  the Baltimore me to a really large [TS]

  degree [TS]

  yeah and I didn't feel that way 20 years [TS]

  ago but I I'm more aware of stuff like [TS]

  that now where I and and knowing what [TS]

  happens in the book and now i'm judging [TS]

  it on the reread based on what I already [TS]

  know what's going to happen i thought [TS]

  it's completely impossible to me that [TS]

  nobody would think that at any point I [TS]

  mean yeah I grant that there was a radio [TS]

  report from some people who had a skewed [TS]

  view of it and then he's silent because [TS]

  he's just kind of like coming back and [TS]

  he's completely comatose essentially and [TS]

  he won't talk to people so they don't [TS]

  know his part that nobody in the 20 [TS]

  intervening years has not considered as [TS]

  a serious possibility that he is the [TS]

  victim of a horrible crime and yet i [TS]

  think because Russell wants us to have [TS]

  that revelatory moment and I was [TS]

  thinking as I was reading like you know [TS]

  the way to tell this story is probably [TS]

  to have him just be found in prison and [TS]

  have them not understand [TS]

  just how awful his conditions were and [TS]

  then at the end of the book him having [TS]

  realized no actually they kept me [TS]

  frizzled those last 10 months that i was [TS]

  on that planet as a sex slave and raped [TS]

  me repeatedly and have everybody be [TS]

  horrified when he admits that this is [TS]

  part this terrible thing that happened [TS]

  to him but instead everybody knows and [TS]

  they assume it's his fault and there and [TS]

  they're blaming the victim because he [TS]

  was wearing [TS]

  he was wearing a jeweled collar don't [TS]

  you know I'm part of it is that um I [TS]

  think in this is a Russell doing some [TS]

  criticism possibly of how quick human [TS]

  how quick it is in human nature is to [TS]

  look for the scapegoat we don't get a [TS]

  huge amount of detail but the fact that [TS]

  the the Jesuits you know since this was [TS]

  a private enterprise essentially just [TS]

  sort of you know snuck you know their [TS]

  team often into the asteroid before the [TS]

  United Nations or anybody else was even [TS]

  aware that somebody was actually going [TS]

  to try that the arm try to contact this [TS]

  planet a lot of people it was public [TS]

  that the contact has been made but um [TS]

  but no nobody official no government [TS]

  tried to do anything about it as quickly [TS]

  as the Jesuits did on and then for it to [TS]

  go so completely pear-shaped and buried [TS]

  all the transmissions right so it is [TS]

  nobody knows that's been a media [TS]

  blackout the scandal as a result when [TS]

  the UN committee when the UN [TS]

  representatives are as part of the [TS]

  second group get there you know they yes [TS]

  they jump to the wrong conclusion [TS]

  extremely stupidly arm but they are also [TS]

  looking at the entire rest of the crew [TS]

  is dead and the planet that they came to [TS]

  visit which apparently when they arrived [TS]

  was in this nice peaceful planet and [TS]

  everything's hunky-dory is now going [TS]

  through a civil war you know then that [TS]

  and the UN is either looking they're all [TS]

  looking for somebody to blame at the [TS]

  moment [TS]

  sandoz is the only one to blame so [TS]

  they've got this tunnel vision and jump [TS]

  and like jumping to conclusions i agree [TS]

  if this book was written today I don't [TS]

  think Russell would have had every [TS]

  single character more or less believing [TS]

  the original story somebody would have [TS]

  question [TS]

  didn't but this was 1996 and gender [TS]

  issues and so forth have advanced since [TS]

  then also and in the books defense guess [TS]

  I didn't say that i do think that it [TS]

  took so long for him in first time for [TS]

  him to travel back and the only [TS]

  information that they had you know why [TS]

  wouldn't they trust the word of these un [TS]

  advisor people because they probably [TS]

  didn't give super great details about [TS]

  the fact that he was naked and dirty and [TS]

  bloody and you know it [TS]

  non-responsive physically after they [TS]

  after they release him [TS]

  yeah the first thing they saw him do [TS]

  when they go into that cell of the alien [TS]

  girl who as a very young child [TS]

  sandoz had managed to make first contact [TS]

  whether his talent is linguistics and [TS]

  he's able to soak in and create and [TS]

  figure out languages very quickly on so [TS]

  the idea that this was a an alien that [TS]

  knew who he was and it sounded like that [TS]

  they were supposed to be at least [TS]

  friendly but sandoz attacks the second [TS]

  the seller's opened we learn that he [TS]

  sort of psych himself up into I'm going [TS]

  to end this one way or the other I'm [TS]

  getting out or I'm dying and it's just [TS]

  horrible bad luck that the first person [TS]

  through the door is this young alien [TS]

  girl and the first thing those you when [TS]

  people see is him run into her smack or [TS]

  so hard into the wall that she breaks [TS]

  her skull or her ribcage and kills her [TS]

  rights and so is that so the the thing [TS]

  is that these guys have basically grown [TS]

  up live most of their lives knowing they [TS]

  think what the deal is with this guy so [TS]

  I mean it's it is a pretty ingrained [TS]

  idea of what had happened to him so I [TS]

  mean I still don't completely by it but [TS]

  at least at least you know if they they [TS]

  had an awful long time to have believed [TS]

  this thing so that that meeting this [TS]

  weird guy is probably not going to [TS]

  completely jar that out of their minds [TS]

  yeah I yeah I just feel like from the [TS]

  perspective of 20 years later I'm like [TS]

  oh it's it could have been tweaked a [TS]

  little bit and been much more kind of [TS]

  believable to me then that it actually [TS]

  is [TS]

  let's say I mean we should let's talk [TS]

  about the food [TS]

  there's so much here I the characters [TS]

  are really interesting we we we meet we [TS]

  meet another another Jesuit who is we we [TS]

  find out right before he dies it's very [TS]

  much a i'm going to download all my [TS]

  final information before I die [TS]

  who is his mentor that he's actually a [TS]

  gay priests and because and I think what [TS]

  honestly one of the reasons that the the [TS]

  rape is part of the story of Santos is [TS]

  because she wants to us to think about [TS]

  and we we do for the whole book think [TS]

  about thousands of celibacy here because [TS]

  of course and O's falls in love and [TS]

  basically pushes the woman who falls in [TS]

  love with away because he has you know [TS]

  he he's now kind of high on his final [TS]

  hit you know it's sudden contact with [TS]

  what he believes is his destiny guided [TS]

  by god I'm so that that's part of the [TS]

  theme there but that's an interesting [TS]

  character he's a Texan we've got the the [TS]

  uh it's a Jewish artificial artificial [TS]

  intelligence experts who makes her [TS]

  living she's a vulture she makes her [TS]

  living basically scripting people's [TS]

  brains like into computer code so that [TS]

  they can be a little jobs can be [TS]

  eliminated but he falls in love with her [TS]

  and I thought it was interesting that [TS]

  the her character is a oh well not owned [TS]

  but yeah surfing right for most of the [TS]

  book in this guy who pays deals and [TS]

  basically pietrzyk people futures right [TS]

  he pays for he identifies a talented [TS]

  poor children and put them through [TS]

  school and you know identifies their [TS]

  their talent and then they basically [TS]

  have to work off all of the money he's [TS]

  invested in them so they contract them [TS]

  out and she is one of those people and I [TS]

  just thought that was something that did [TS]

  not seem that far-fetched to actually [TS]

  happening now today his which made me [TS]

  depressed [TS]

  yeah that was a bit so the whole Sophia [TS]

  mendez story is like a little like other [TS]

  science-fiction novel that she could [TS]

  have written because that that that the [TS]

  idea there also you know she's [TS]

  extrapolating 20 years ahead in her [TS]

  future there is a [TS]

  it's actually not too far off of what is [TS]

  happened in Syria happens in this book [TS]

  in turkey where there are right up there [TS]

  terrorists and a war a civil war and you [TS]

  end up with she's basically her parents [TS]

  are killed and she is she is sold off [TS]

  into prostitution first and then becomes [TS]

  an indentured slave and a highly [TS]

  educated professional at that point but [TS]

  she still got the fact that she wears [TS]

  this like bracelet that is her symbol of [TS]

  being owned until she can pay off her [TS]

  debt and it's a it's a whole interesting [TS]

  idea that is kind of just tossed off as [TS]

  a a side aspect of this plot but another [TS]

  thing to felt like a whole very [TS]

  interesting science fictional premise [TS]

  what about the UH I mean that if anybody [TS]

  have any other characters that they want [TS]

  to talk about and we can we get we get [TS]

  Jimmy Quinn who is your stock uh he's [TS]

  just a big science nerd who discovers [TS]

  aliens you know as you do you dig [TS]

  literally like I'm feet 7 yeah he's the [TS]

  777 and a half foot er um I like all the [TS]

  aliens think so clearly he's your mother [TS]

  and you should be carrying our house [TS]

  install yeah i'll come back to that [TS]

  later but yeah the fact that they're [TS]

  judging each other's races the humans [TS]

  and the the Runa is the first group of [TS]

  aliens they meet on this planet and [TS]

  they're judging gender by size and they [TS]

  figure out much later just how scrambled [TS]

  everything has gotten that apparently [TS]

  you know Emilio's studies in the [TS]

  language he made the same assumptions as [TS]

  far as which gender is being declined [TS]

  with which noun and finding out that yes [TS]

  they all assume that big seven-foot-tall [TS]

  Jimmy was the mom because he was the [TS]

  biggest you know if it had been just [TS]

  just sighs that was the gender thing i [TS]

  would have I would have found it amusing [TS]

  and interesting but no this is another [TS]

  this is another sign that this book was [TS]

  written 20 years ago because it was and [TS]

  the anthropologist also makes note of [TS]

  the fact that it wasn't just the size [TS]

  but it was also the moral duties that [TS]

  very happened and you know who is taking [TS]

  care of the children and and being sort [TS]

  of more maternal [TS]

  that sort of thing and I when he was [TS]

  going out of business in the bigger [TS]

  world yeah that's true but it's not flip [TS]

  with rona isn't that wasn't that the [TS]

  point there is everybody's making gender [TS]

  gender assumptions and it's the opposite [TS]

  right but she was she was just saying [TS]

  that that humans still have a certain [TS]

  gender assumptions which is the thing [TS]

  that was problematic for me at this at [TS]

  this point it's 2020 now milan i did i [TS]

  did laugh at the point where the book is [TS]

  taking place in what is now our present [TS]

  day and that was although although she [TS]

  didn't get tablets right shit these [TS]

  people are using tablets a lot like all [TS]

  right that's pretty good [TS]

  yep it's pretty good job and Jimmy [TS]

  Jimmy's a home computer gets hacked into [TS]

  by some teenagers that students write [TS]

  something about that right yeah they're [TS]

  so there's some some paper at one point [TS]

  that I was like nope that's probably not [TS]

  right but I thought you did okay with [TS]

  that as far as characters i love the [TS]

  Edwardses oh yeah I love the it's this [TS]

  it's a couple that you know you would [TS]

  not automatically assume to be the type [TS]

  of people to go on this mission they are [TS]

  in their sixties they essentially have [TS]

  retired and are doing volunteer / [TS]

  mission work in Puerto Rico that they're [TS]

  a hoot and a half [TS]

  just the way the conversations between [TS]

  them the way that they quit back and [TS]

  forth and with their friends is [TS]

  delightful but the that these are not [TS]

  your standard um hero's journey go off [TS]

  and quest type two kinds of people which [TS]

  i think is great i think yeah that was [TS]

  one of the things I like to the best i [TS]

  think and the most because you get to [TS]

  see a lot of her inner life as compared [TS]

  with George most of his inner life is is [TS]

  shown through and over but i just-i I [TS]

  liked her as a character i liked the way [TS]

  that she reacted to other people and to [TS]

  think she was thinking and I just you're [TS]

  right that the hoot and a half thing I [TS]

  wanted them to be my friends I want to [TS]

  go i wanted to go to their house and how [TS]

  many of them are these girls parties [TS]

  because she just [TS]

  yeah she sounded like the greatest host [TS]

  in the world yeah it's a fun you know [TS]

  these characters meet sandoz earlier on [TS]

  and then he basically says you should [TS]

  come to Puerto Rico and they're like [TS]

  yeah let's do it and they're there are a [TS]

  lot of fun and this is that's one of the [TS]

  things about this that [TS]

  about this like let's let's buy an [TS]

  asteroid not tell anybody that I kind of [TS]

  like is that you know when else are you [TS]

  going to see a story about a bunch of [TS]

  friends deciding that they're gonna be [TS]

  the ones to send a spaceship for a first [TS]

  contact with aliens it's like that is [TS]

  not gonna happen right and yet that is [TS]

  the purpose of this tour including the [TS]

  retired husband and wife who are the [TS]

  last people that you would normally [TS]

  expect to see in a first-contact space [TS]

  mission but they go and of course which [TS]

  is where you really need you really need [TS]

  the God aspect of it there because that [TS]

  does actually make it work without [TS]

  feeling hand-wavy because you can just [TS]

  be like okay you know [TS]

  Yeah right right although the what's [TS]

  interesting about the the couple is that [TS]

  the the wife who's the doctor is um is a [TS]

  basically completely lapsed Catholic and [TS]

  although she may potentially change your [TS]

  tune when they get to the alien planet [TS]

  you know she's she's among a lot of [TS]

  people who are believers she is not one [TS]

  and it's a very interesting kind of kind [TS]

  of combination that they have their it's [TS]

  a good yeah those are really good [TS]

  characters the dialogue is really good [TS]

  with those characters I felt like a lot [TS]

  of these characters really jump off the [TS]

  page not only sandoz but the the couple [TS]

  and Sophia mendez and the the Texan [TS]

  priests to who is a mentor [TS]

  these are all characters that this is [TS]

  one of those books where i can actually [TS]

  like I i start to cast people and staged [TS]

  scenes and higher their voices talking [TS]

  because the characters are so strong and [TS]

  and memorable I let's talk about aliens [TS]

  how about that no okay Scott you can [TS]

  stick limes so we get direct we get 2 [TS]

  rakaat day they take a hollowed-out [TS]

  remaining asteroid and they threw [TS]

  magical undescribed of engine AI program [TS]

  is slightly physics you can accelerate [TS]

  and how they do that we don't know and [TS]

  then they decelerate and then they get 2 [TS]

  rakaat and you know it it's fine and and [TS]

  they meet it and i really like i said [TS]

  i'm a sucker for first contact up i [TS]

  really like first off they land kinda [TS]

  like far away from everything and [TS]

  they're just sort of like basking in the [TS]

  you know in the in being off [TS]

  the asteroid 41 and in this new [TS]

  ecosystem of all alien stuff that they [TS]

  don't know anything about and they have [TS]

  to like eat little bit of food to see if [TS]

  the current it's poisonous or not which [TS]

  I kind of enjoyed all of that and and [TS]

  they do all of that and somebody dies [TS]

  actually which land they don't know why [TS]

  which I also really kind of like that [TS]

  this is when you're getting to the [TS]

  Jesuits coming to the new world right [TS]

  which is there are far from home that [TS]

  their that they're not going to just [TS]

  subsist on their rations they are trying [TS]

  to figure this out some of the people [TS]

  aren't going to make it and and there's [TS]

  not gonna be a clear reason why and then [TS]

  they finally meet the the aliens on this [TS]

  planet or at least they think of the [TS]

  aliens on this planet which are the Runa [TS]

  I'm and they and they have this question [TS]

  of like they get some stuff confused but [TS]

  because Santos is there because he's a [TS]

  brilliant translator and they they spend [TS]

  some time trying to figure out who these [TS]

  people are and and and how their culture [TS]

  works and I loved all of this stuff and [TS]

  it goes i was i was happy I was afraid [TS]

  that this was going to go on for like [TS]

  one chapter and then be done and and my [TS]

  memory of it is so warm that I wanted to [TS]

  go on longer and in the book actually [TS]

  goes on a very long time that they're [TS]

  that this whole portion is but i really [TS]

  enjoyed the whole first contact with [TS]

  value with Runa I'd read that as well [TS]

  but i do think there's they they spend [TS]

  like a year in this little village and [TS]

  they never liked feet ask about the city [TS]

  and try to get more information I found [TS]

  an odd but i did--like i enjoyed reading [TS]

  about it but I was like if i was there i [TS]

  might you know go check out the city or [TS]

  something I don't know it seems very [TS]

  tempting but maybe they're so [TS]

  overwhelmed with the the novelty like [TS]

  everything is new on this alien planet [TS]

  obviously they're writing scholarly [TS]

  papers about the you know they're taking [TS]

  it slow [TS]

  yeah i think part of it is being [TS]

  cautious and I'd I'm under the [TS]

  impression that at least among [TS]

  themselves some of the characters are [TS]

  saying you know we really need to you [TS]

  know try and you know try and find the [TS]

  people who are the singers because the [TS]

  whole reason they've come to this planet [TS]

  is the music that the city picked up and [TS]

  this particular population they don't [TS]

  music no they don't do it but i can see [TS]

  i think maybe it does stretch on a [TS]

  little bit farther than it could that [TS]

  might need to but [TS]

  there's always seems to be something [TS]

  else to do something else to take care [TS]

  of before trying to go on to the next [TS]

  thing ya i have I'm of two minds about [TS]

  this because on the one hand like I mean [TS]

  it from a logical perspective it does [TS]

  make sense to to sort of take your time [TS]

  and do it methodically accept these are [TS]

  people that immediately decided to jump [TS]

  in an asteroid and go to another planet [TS]

  so I don't feel like that that argument [TS]

  that great with impulse control that [TS]

  argument doesn't quite work however on [TS]

  the other side the reason that they were [TS]

  able to jump into an asteroid so quickly [TS]

  is because they're Jesuits and it was [TS]

  God's plan you know that this everything [TS]

  seemed to and they didn't talk in detail [TS]

  about all of the stuff that had to [TS]

  miraculously happen in order for it to [TS]

  fall into place but you know from and [TS]

  musing musings that they make it very [TS]

  clear that that everything sort of came [TS]

  together perfectly at the last minute in [TS]

  a way that did seem like it was [TS]

  miraculous so it made it very easy for [TS]

  the the higher-ups in the in the Jesuits [TS]

  to to say yes you know this is this is [TS]

  meant to be and I believe that there [TS]

  were a couple of nods to that in that [TS]

  like you know Jimmy really did want to [TS]

  get out there and go in the city but for [TS]

  one reason or another it seems like they [TS]

  should stay there [TS]

  you know the whole God's plan again [TS]

  amelia was leaning that way right and [TS]

  also um Russell does take care the the [TS]

  first member of the crew to die of what [TS]

  appears to be natural causes they try [TS]

  you know that and the doctor tries to do [TS]

  an autopsy and with essentially field [TS]

  conditions and can't figure it out [TS]

  that was the music expert right so like [TS]

  the biggest driving force in the party [TS]

  is removed very early on [TS]

  yep yeah the other thing that's [TS]

  brilliant that's like I said this is up [TS]

  it makes it so clear that Russell [TS]

  strength is anthropology because she [TS]

  throws in the gender mix-up at the [TS]

  beginning and you know it it turns out [TS]

  to be fairly harmless they just have to [TS]

  reassess what they had assumed and [TS]

  rework some of their papers but you know [TS]

  to make such a monumental [TS]

  misunderstanding of of the gender of [TS]

  these peak of the of the Runa arm and [TS]

  then take something as simple as [TS]

  you know we really need to grow our own [TS]

  food you know we yes we can eat a lot of [TS]

  the stuff on this planet but you know it [TS]

  would help if we had our own and you [TS]

  know just something simple as a plant a [TS]

  garden in this village and and start [TS]

  eating the stuff there [TS]

  turns out to have catastrophic effects [TS]

  on the biosphere because we learn that [TS]

  there's a second alien race that [TS]

  essentially you have a predator and prey [TS]

  situation that has evolved into this [TS]

  entire set of the job [TS]

  the Jaffa Jaffa yeah this is what I want [TS]

  when I tell you have the Jon a one of [TS]

  the things that's interesting here is is [TS]

  yes Shannon this day the innocence of we [TS]

  need to grow a garden is the thing that [TS]

  essentially destroys this planet at [TS]

  least as it was before they got there [TS]

  which is is a an amazing kind of moment [TS]

  where it unravels gradually and they [TS]

  realize what's going on [TS]

  so you mentioned that we should say it [TS]

  so there it turns out that this is a [TS]

  planet with two races and the reason [TS]

  that the Runa seem kind of dasol is that [TS]

  they have evolved from prey animals and [TS]

  there's another species that has [TS]

  involved evolved as their predators and [TS]

  they look similar because that was the [TS]

  hunting method used by the historical [TS]

  predators but the Janata have three [TS]

  claws instead of sort of five very [TS]

  dexterous fingers and when we meet one [TS]

  of them and it almost kills sandoz when [TS]

  we do we discovered that this planet is [TS]

  far more complicated than they have [TS]

  really anticipated and i like i like [TS]

  when they're like with the with the Runa [TS]

  because I feel like yeah they're they're [TS]

  they're so overwhelmed with meeting [TS]

  these people that they would they want [TS]

  to kind of take it slow and i think i [TS]

  can buy that but at that moment when [TS]

  they meet the jaw nada is that [TS]

  revelatory moments like oh this is much [TS]

  more alien than we really expected and [TS]

  we finally we'll go to the city with [TS]

  them [TS]

  it turns out that again Russell used the [TS]

  the traditional kind of predator prey [TS]

  population balance which is something [TS]

  that's like three or four [TS]

  scent of the population of this planet [TS]

  is the jhana ahh because that's [TS]

  generally the percentage of the ratio [TS]

  between predators and prey and and when [TS]

  you put it when you layer that on [TS]

  sentient creatures and this was a moment [TS]

  that I really liked you realize that [TS]

  what you've constructed is a ruling [TS]

  class a very small ruling class and a [TS]

  very large essentially slave or surf [TS]

  class and that's actually the culture of [TS]

  ricotta and and not just a slave class [TS]

  but they're still pray they still needs [TS]

  to us its candidate to us it feels like [TS]

  cannibalism because you've got to [TS]

  sentient you know races and one of them [TS]

  is eating the other but yeah we finally [TS]

  learned that that's one of the reasons [TS]

  that the population control is so rigid [TS]

  the rihanna the Runa are not allowed to [TS]

  breed are unless they earn it by [TS]

  gathering uh apparently perfume scent is [TS]

  massively a massive part of this culture [TS]

  and uh the Runa gather of the flowers [TS]

  and the plants needed to create these [TS]

  perfumes and create these sense and if [TS]

  they do a good enough job [TS]

  hey they get the right to have a [TS]

  generation kids that are better on bread [TS]

  with butter chosen by John auto because [TS]

  they're all the breeding them like [TS]

  humans would breed dogs [TS]

  yes yes exactly Jonna auto themselves [TS]

  are also under population control [TS]

  because they can't have too many of them [TS]

  because they need to keep the balance of [TS]

  the prey and the predator and so when [TS]

  when she introduces a super pirate right [TS]

  he's a third yeah he's the third so we [TS]

  meet him before he meets the humans and [TS]

  so we get we find out he's a third he [TS]

  can't have he can start his own family [TS]

  he really wants to he's really good at [TS]

  you know finding trends and you know [TS]

  cashing in on it so it's supremely [TS]

  wealthy but he's cool finder he has a [TS]

  cool he is it a friend spotter [TS]

  super-wealthy is very successful but he [TS]

  doesn't get any respect and he really [TS]

  wants to start his own family and the [TS]

  only way you can do that is if you get [TS]

  one [TS]

  what's the the dead head guys name [TS]

  registrar I think oh yeah the rest are [TS]

  yeah that's the title [TS]

  yeah you have to you don't impress him [TS]

  or do something worthy of being able to [TS]

  found your own family and so we know [TS]

  that's his motive and so when he meets [TS]

  the humans we know a boy this is not [TS]

  going to turn out well but they don't [TS]

  know that obviously and spoiler alert it [TS]

  doesn't know me he does he uses them for [TS]

  his own he takes his time yeah yeah [TS]

  that's right he uses he uses them but it [TS]

  in the beginning using them is not a [TS]

  particularly terrible but there comes a [TS]

  moment where he basically has to sell [TS]

  them out and does and without you know a [TS]

  moment's hesitation without any [TS]

  compulsion yeah because he's like [TS]

  whatever [TS]

  yeah I got what I wanted to get whatever [TS]

  I mean at that point she had been told [TS]

  he had made it would what seems like an [TS]

  actual emotional connection with a and [TS]

  but she dies much earlier on and by the [TS]

  time that soup re-release actually sells [TS]

  them out the only person left at that [TS]

  point is Emilio whom he didn't really [TS]

  care for to start with so I don't feel [TS]

  like I don't feel like he's necessarily [TS]

  you know it's throwing over some [TS]

  convictions that he had because the fan [TS]

  would have still been alive it might [TS]

  have been a different story true it's [TS]

  true [TS]

  well in fact support you could argue is [TS]

  is a be the thing that the NOC but he's [TS]

  got a with the other Janata is that he's [TS]

  so much he gets along so well with the [TS]

  Runa and if you think if you think about [TS]

  that any human context right [TS]

  he is a member of a ruling class whose [TS]

  greatest skill is dealing with the [TS]

  subjugated class and that is not good [TS]

  right even if it makes him a good [TS]

  businessman it means he is going to [TS]

  never be able to access high society [TS]

  because of that because he's his is all [TS]

  of his skills are in dealing with the [TS]

  lower class of of people in this case [TS]

  the Runa and so when he meets and and [TS]

  really really kind of bonds with her i [TS]

  believe that bond because I feel like [TS]

  that's what he's good at is meeting with [TS]

  other kinds of people he's kind of like [TS]

  the anthropologist of the jama oughtta [TS]

  but the problem is the only way he's [TS]

  gonna be able to further his line is to [TS]

  be appointed as the head of a new family [TS]

  which means he's got his success thing [TS]

  in the background and and you know and [TS]

  eyes [TS]

  off screen which I have a problem with [TS]

  and and in the end he just goes another [TS]

  direction but I think that's a really [TS]

  interesting character because although [TS]

  he portrays them at the end I think I i [TS]

  like that character because he's kinda [TS]

  portrayed as being an outcast from the [TS]

  jaw nada he's more like us than the rest [TS]

  of them are which i think is one of the [TS]

  problems with them under estimating the [TS]

  Janata as as a people is that the party [TS]

  and the wrong model for what they are [TS]

  because he's the weird he's a weirdo [TS]

  definitely is a weird he's gone native [TS]

  essentially with the with Runa and it [TS]

  and now with the humans and you know do [TS]

  not think that the rest of the people [TS]

  are like him because they are really not [TS]

  like him [TS]

  yes they're their encounters with the [TS]

  rest of Janata aren't the the free-range [TS]

  Jonathan ahead with City Jedi are not so [TS]

  good no right no we are either because [TS]

  they're the roving bands who are still [TS]

  sort of just acting as predators [TS]

  I feel like I was like their loan motors [TS]

  and they just go in and poach and sadly [TS]

  they poach some humans they do so let me [TS]

  let me so one of my remember 20 years [TS]

  ago ish when I read this book that I did [TS]

  it my biggest complaint about it is that [TS]

  i felt like and i'm going to describe it [TS]

  the way that I described it back then [TS]

  which is I felt like at some point she [TS]

  realized she needed to finish the book [TS]

  and what who and what was a meandering [TS]

  leisurely walk through dialogue and and [TS]

  aggressions and descriptions rapidly [TS]

  becomes a plot output to get to the end [TS]

  yeah i buy it so this time this time i [TS]

  watched for it and the fact is every [TS]

  chapter alternates between the two [TS]

  timelines until the last two chapters [TS]

  and last two chapters are both in the [TS]

  present-day the later timeline and they [TS]

  describe everything that happened on the [TS]

  planet in very short terms at a any [TS]

  completely different style than the rest [TS]

  of the book and it still frustrates me I [TS]

  was wondering if I would be proven wrong [TS]

  and rereading it and instead I was going [TS]

  to vindicate its like I do feel driven [TS]

  right I do feel like she ran out of time [TS]

  or ran out [TS]

  the of energy and she wanted to finish [TS]

  but I also i don't know whether this is [TS]

  true or not but I also feel like maybe [TS]

  she was a little cowardly about her [TS]

  killing her characters because we don't [TS]

  see and DW get killed on screen and we [TS]

  don't see the massacre that is the final [TS]

  destruction of this mission to the whole [TS]

  thing that they've been leading up to [TS]

  where everything goes wrong it's this [TS]

  incredibly dramatic thing and it is told [TS]

  in this perfunctory flashback fashion [TS]

  where we never really get to see it at [TS]

  anything like the level of everything [TS]

  else we've seen up to that point and its [TS]

  really frustrating it's made a little [TS]

  more frustrating by the fact that in the [TS]

  sequel to this book which i also read 20 [TS]

  or 15 15 years ago and was disappointing [TS]

  i have to say it turns out that perhaps [TS]

  one of the reasons that she did this is [TS]

  because she was cheating and she wanted [TS]

  to lie about exactly who died in that [TS]

  massacre which is also frustrating but [TS]

  anyway right [TS]

  my point is my point is though that you [TS]

  can't it seems to me as as a reader and [TS]

  maybe even as an editor you can't be [TS]

  going like 20 miles an hour taking in [TS]

  all the sights and then when you get to [TS]

  the key point in the book [TS]

  floor it and that's what happens at the [TS]

  end of this book i agree because I was [TS]

  I've been my school is starting again so [TS]

  you know I've been busy and rushed and [TS]

  trying to read as best I could and here [TS]

  i was i still have like 60 pages of the [TS]

  book left to go at nine o'clock this [TS]

  evening and we started recording at [TS]

  ten-thirty my time and I'm thinking like [TS]

  I don't know that i'll finish but i'm [TS]

  going to try um yeah i was able to get [TS]

  through 60 pages in like 45 minutes [TS]

  because it is so much [TS]

  boom boom boom report report report yeah [TS]

  yeah it's not it's not your imagination [TS]

  i can i can come up with the reason i [TS]

  don't know if it's a good reason or not [TS]

  but i'll try to explain it so i think it [TS]

  could mirror one could argue sandoz [TS]

  journey at the beginning of the book is [TS]

  reticent he does want to talk about [TS]

  anything he's thinking about remembering [TS]

  the good times on the planet right and [TS]

  then as we're getting through there's [TS]

  that revelatory moments where they [TS]

  figure out [TS]

  you were in a prostitute you were being [TS]

  gang-raped and he you know he admits it [TS]

  and it wasn't his fault he finally kind [TS]

  of says you know [TS]

  ok wasn't my fault it wasn't anything I [TS]

  could do I was raped and then you cut [TS]

  there's that there's a pivotal moment [TS]

  for him and he suddenly just starts [TS]

  talking about what happens and reveals [TS]

  all these details and that's the last 60 [TS]

  pages of the book now I don't know if [TS]

  that's a good reason but that if i had [TS]

  to write a paper explain the structure [TS]

  of the book that sure what I would write [TS]

  about [TS]

  yes i think is not that bad headcanon [TS]

  Scott but yeah there's a lot of great [TS]

  stuff in that that village i [TS]

  particularly like where they start [TS]

  farming because they need to to you know [TS]

  grow their own food and the arena [TS]

  obviously pay attention although you [TS]

  know that this point we don't think that [TS]

  the ruins are all that right but it just [TS]

  turns out that they are they are as [TS]

  bright as the regular people they just [TS]

  have you know that they're aliens so [TS]

  they do things differently and then they [TS]

  notice that the farming and so they're [TS]

  like gee why do we keep trudging so far [TS]

  away to get our food when we can grow [TS]

  some food here [TS]

  some food here [TS]

  and they start doing it and then of [TS]

  course that least horrible things i [TS]

  should point out horrible beatings and [TS]

  civil war and what they have done is [TS]

  also this incredible to put in Star Trek [TS]

  terms violation of the prime directive [TS]

  where the presence it turns out all as [TS]

  careful as they sort of were being they [TS]

  ruin this society because they the the [TS]

  room and begin to plant gardens and then [TS]

  they have an overpopulation and that [TS]

  means the general artist and out squads [TS]

  to kill them and there's a moment where [TS]

  one of the human says there are more of [TS]

  of of us than there are of you and [TS]

  that's like oh no because the entire [TS]

  power power structure is based on the [TS]

  fact that these predators I have to have [TS]

  put the fear in the prey [TS]

  yeah and and the room to start chanting [TS]

  that writes when the gentleman's this [TS]

  squad is there and the gentle kind of [TS]

  freaked out it just said ok we're going [TS]

  to kill you all [TS]

  there's the first massacre yeah yeah [TS]

  starts the Civil which its powerful [TS]

  right because it is that moment of like [TS]

  this is actually being held in balance [TS]

  by this consensual hallucination that [TS]

  the predators and prey who have evolved [TS]

  together in the society has evolved [TS]

  together are in these roles and these [TS]

  people from another planet come in and [TS]

  say hey you realize there's way more of [TS]

  you than them you could take them and [TS]

  it's like home [TS]

  well yeah okay that's it forget it like [TS]

  they totally screw up this society and I [TS]

  really appreciated that there could have [TS]

  been more of that too I feel like if she [TS]

  had taken those last two chapters and [TS]

  just let them go at the pace of the rest [TS]

  of the book it would have been a perfect [TS]

  book for my taste but instead it's sort [TS]

  of like somebody was given to the [TS]

  wrap-up sign maybe her agent maybe her [TS]

  publisher was like you need to turn in [TS]

  the manuscript right and I don't know [TS]

  it's it's it's dramatic but I love a lot [TS]

  about this book i was happy to read it [TS]

  the characters are indelible the the the [TS]

  the alien culture is interesting the yes [TS]

  the how they get there in the fact that [TS]

  it's eight people in an asteroid from [TS]

  the society of jesus that make first [TS]

  contact this kind of kind of ludicrous [TS]

  and in one way but it's the story she [TS]

  wants to tell because she wants to get [TS]

  a Jesuit mission out to a new world [TS]

  having a a experience meeting people [TS]

  that they've never met before and that's [TS]

  the purpose of the book so that's what [TS]

  she does and there's so many somebody [TS]

  moments in this book that works so well [TS]

  but the problem is that they work so [TS]

  well because they are gut-wrenching yes [TS]

  and I the one that sticks out to be is [TS]

  so after the slaughter the Janata patrol [TS]

  cakes sandoz and the other another [TS]

  priest Robicheaux that the survivors [TS]

  yes that they're the two survivors [TS]

  they're gonna take it back to the city [TS]

  but before they do that they are going [TS]

  to talk them through the the ruin of [TS]

  villages that they're gonna go kill [TS]

  people in because of the gardens that [TS]

  they have planted and it turns out [TS]

  that's on the road they eat the babies [TS]

  of the Runa and they offer the food to [TS]

  the two humans and the the one priest [TS]

  refuses to eat it and he dies and centos [TS]

  it does eat it because he wants to live [TS]

  and let you know in the the 26 t-storm [TS]

  one of the characters asks and what was [TS]

  there something that you ate that mark [TS]

  didn't that maybe that explains his [TS]

  death and you don't know the [TS]

  significance of that line until you read [TS]

  the flashback and you're like oh man [TS]

  yep this book well I mean Shannon [TS]

  America know that I am I am drawn to [TS]

  those uh those darker episodes of [TS]

  Babylon 5 on their podcast there that is [TS]

  part of the appeal of this book to me is [TS]

  that it it does it go so horribly wrong [TS]

  and you feel for these characters and [TS]

  although i don't enjoy how wrong is [TS]

  going to sound like I'm looking on it [TS]

  with glee [TS]

  I appreciate the fact that that story [TS]

  has made me feel so horrible for these [TS]

  characters that I like about this [TS]

  terrible situation that they're put in [TS]

  and it's just it's so yeah it's so [TS]

  amazing that that's part of look at [TS]

  sandoz this is all about his kind of the [TS]

  life of his soul and the disposition of [TS]

  his soul and he thinks that he is a [TS]

  failure as a priest and then he finally [TS]

  finds his calling and then the whole [TS]

  thing goes so horribly wrong that in the [TS]

  end you know all of these terrible [TS]

  things happen to him that and and that's [TS]

  the culmination of the story [TS]

  really is that you're left with this [TS]

  question of force and O's can you [TS]

  forgive himself [TS]

  can anybody forgive him and the [TS]

  overarching question which is can he [TS]

  believe in God anymore after being being [TS]

  shown the possibility and then having [TS]

  all of it taken away and i do mean all [TS]

  because a yeah they're reading this the [TS]

  second time around it it it hit me again [TS]

  just help had just Russell's pretty much [TS]

  just taking the knife and just turning [TS]

  it like a corkscrew because you've got [TS]

  um you know that you've got the the [TS]

  issue of sandoz essentially being sold [TS]

  into this up into this into this leaders [TS]

  brothel as you know as an attraction as [TS]

  you know an unusual exotic uh a partner [TS]

  for people to rape you've got the fact [TS]

  that he misunderstands what sapori asks [TS]

  of him he safari actually asks him but [TS]

  you know I want to take you into my [TS]

  house I want to make you my dependent [TS]

  and uses a word that sandoz does not [TS]

  parse the pieces of until later and that [TS]

  leads to the mutilation of their [TS]

  missions where basically yet try to like [TS]

  cut out between the bones of hand so [TS]

  he's got it [TS]

  the two priests have these like claws [TS]

  and as you said because the other priest [TS]

  has been refusing to eat the the Runa [TS]

  corpses them he dies but you know of the [TS]

  operation but sandoz lives through that [TS]

  and then he finally gets to a one point [TS]

  where he thinks he's finally met the [TS]

  singer the person who has been producing [TS]

  this music and it's like okay it's what [TS]

  brought me all of this is worth all this [TS]

  one thinks the guy's a prophet he thinks [TS]

  you know that he's been you know [TS]

  praising god and he finds out know the [TS]

  guys music is basically about orgasms [TS]

  and pornography and it's like how much [TS]

  worse can you make his rape and his rape [TS]

  victims of which sandoz is now one I [TS]

  mean that that is how horrible this [TS]

  thing gets is but the sender's they find [TS]

  this beautiful music from across the [TS]

  universe and they go to find it and in [TS]

  the end Santos finds the beautiful [TS]

  singer and he is a race [TS]

  fist who rapes him and the songs turn [TS]

  out to be about the rapes that he does [TS]

  it is as horrible [TS]

  I mean it's horrible like that is it is [TS]

  so horrible it is so good and then it's [TS]

  comical there's there are many chapters [TS]

  were ascending was talking about you [TS]

  know his vow of chastity and if it's [TS]

  worth it and it's tricky to introduce ya [TS]

  decide who makes a very conscious effort [TS]

  at decision know it that oath is sacred [TS]

  to me and i cannot even though i am [TS]

  stranded on this planet and there's a [TS]

  woman who loves me and I love her and he [TS]

  and Sophia clearly love that each other [TS]

  yeah yeah I'm not going to do it and [TS]

  then you know it just makes it all worse [TS]

  yeah and the the fact that it's a very [TS]

  end you know he's he's really left with [TS]

  a choice which we don't get to see him [TS]

  make but Santos has to decide okay so [TS]

  was this really all you know is there no [TS]

  God and this was all my fault all these [TS]

  horrible things happen just because i [TS]

  made this mistake and set it all in [TS]

  motion or is there really a god and it's [TS]

  actually God's fault that all of this [TS]

  LOL awful stuff happened to me and I [TS]

  wanted and yeah like so so what what [TS]

  what too horrible things to have to [TS]

  choose between sick you do really come [TS]

  to an understanding of of why he is so [TS]

  messed up all the way through the book [TS]

  but yeah I was halfway through he's [TS]

  having the same kind of discussion with [TS]

  an who is throwing that exact question [TS]

  in his face you know if you know all [TS]

  these you know why is it why do we thank [TS]

  god for the good things and then blame [TS]

  ourselves to blame the doctor or blame [TS]

  you know driver whoever has a rant about [TS]

  that whole thing that she and little [TS]

  basically says yes and 0 says you know [TS]

  what if you want to blame God go for it [TS]

  you know at least believing in God again [TS]

  but yeah go for it if that's what you [TS]

  need do it and you know rest we get to [TS]

  the end of the book and he's facing that [TS]

  same choice only now there's nobody [TS]

  because he's surrounded by other Jesuit [TS]

  priests who are trying to get to the [TS]

  bottom of this [TS]

  there is no one around there who has the [TS]

  guts to tell him if that's what you need [TS]

  to go for it i do think in terms of [TS]

  thinking about 20 years later and [TS]

  reading at twenty years later the one of [TS]

  the things that this book does i think [TS]

  quite well is portray a person who is [TS]

  suffering from a horrendous case of post [TS]

  traumatic stress disorder that Santos is [TS]

  a broken destroyed man in the in the [TS]

  2060 timeframe and over the course of [TS]

  the book you see them the people the [TS]

  Jesuits trying to find a way anyway that [TS]

  some of them want to get information out [TS]

  of them and some of them just want to [TS]

  help him like move along and progress [TS]

  because he's clearly utterly destroyed [TS]

  he is a destroyed person and over the [TS]

  course of the book he does get better [TS]

  and it is slow and painful and he has a [TS]

  lot of stuff to work through [TS]

  and I really this time through i really [TS]

  appreciated that part of it that I think [TS]

  I didn't twenty years ago about how he [TS]

  has to come to terms with this awful [TS]

  thing that happened to him and he he [TS]

  he's sick and bed he throws up he has to [TS]

  take PS horrible headaches all of this [TS]

  stuff and I thought that was really well [TS]

  handled about his progression and how [TS]

  for the longest time he doesn't say [TS]

  anything about the braces they've [TS]

  created to help his hands that the fact [TS]

  that they hurt because he feels like he [TS]

  deserves that she deserves [TS]

  we'll finally one of the other priests [TS]

  realize you know look we can do better [TS]

  than that an amazing moment where he [TS]

  finally finally complains about how [TS]

  painful they are they realize how [TS]

  painful they are and they immediately [TS]

  sent for somebody and like within six [TS]

  months he has brand new ones that are [TS]

  much better and then don't cause him [TS]

  pain and that are more functional but [TS]

  for for a long time he doesn't talk [TS]

  about it because he figures like yeah it [TS]

  hurts a fine i deserve it [TS]

  yeah I guess life is pain yeah one thing [TS]

  that I will say on that side of things [TS]

  that did not work for me was we had all [TS]

  these characters in you know in the [TS]

  asteroid known rakaat who are very full [TS]

  of life and and I just I had trouble [TS]

  telling the priest apart i would I was [TS]

  forgetting a bunch of gray men in [TS]

  priestly outfits in italy in 2060 right [TS]

  yeah there's a guy isn't bad priest and [TS]

  the priest from Cleveland and yeah I [TS]

  maybe because it's the second time [TS]

  around I i had a little easier time with [TS]

  that certainly with the one who was [TS]

  antagonistic almost the entire way [TS]

  through the book versus the one or two [TS]

  that you know are brought because either [TS]

  they are skilled in psychology or [TS]

  caring to try and get back to help [TS]

  because you know they bring in one [TS]

  priest that became a priest because he [TS]

  knew amelia was a child and Emilio as a [TS]

  priest was a role model for this guy and [TS]

  then there's of course the the one who [TS]

  was apparently married a stockbroker and [TS]

  then you know he has a car crash the [TS]

  wife dies and he decides to become a [TS]

  priest and he took he's been like cannot [TS]

  keep track of like that brother Edward [TS]

  and yeah and we're just like [TS]

  interchangeable for me i can see damage [TS]

  characterization brother Edward now [TS]

  you're right they're sort of sober uh [TS]

  figures who are kind of battling with [TS]

  their own politics about this and I i'm [TS]

  not sure we needed mean they have a a [TS]

  Inquisitor kind of figure who is the the [TS]

  the guy who's the the ketamine priest [TS]

  who doesn't believe him and that was not [TS]

  that was like my least part of the whole [TS]

  thing was the the the guy who's like it [TS]

  doesn't believe anything and it goes [TS]

  back to the fact that I think it's [TS]

  ridiculous that they just assumed [TS]

  terrible behavior on centos is pardoned [TS]

  and had no even consideration that there [TS]

  were other stories to tell here but i [TS]

  agree a hundred percent that the the [TS]

  vibrancy of ricotta and that and and the [TS]

  whole mission there is really contrasts [TS]

  with this kind of emptiness maybe you [TS]

  know some of that is because because [TS]

  Santos is so broken but you're right [TS]

  those characters are not particularly [TS]

  notable I like the time-dilation thing I [TS]

  mean that is one of the science things [TS]

  that she used to great effect the fact [TS]

  that although Santos only only you know [TS]

  is a way for a couple of years in terms [TS]

  of his time [TS]

  yeah 40 years passes 22 get there in 20 [TS]

  back because they're there they're [TS]

  traveling at half the speed of light [TS]

  essentially for the voyage agent I I [TS]

  thought that was good use of actual [TS]

  science and made the plot made the fact [TS]

  that he's coming back to a world he [TS]

  never somebody points out at one point [TS]

  very late in the book you've never asked [TS]

  what happened in the time that you work [TS]

  on and he says something like you know [TS]

  I've seen too much [TS]

  I don't care anymore her just like [TS]

  amazing but it's a good use of that site [TS]

  second rope and and the one thing we [TS]

  didn't mention as they send him like the [TS]

  UN people find them and they send them [TS]

  back by himself on ya like that [TS]

  definitely should not read through [TS]

  it's just like I think can anything [TS]

  worse happen [TS]

  he's gone through a whole this thing and [TS]

  now he has to spend months and months [TS]

  and months alone with his hands like [TS]

  infected and nearly dying on the way [TS]

  yeah to get back to an inquisition [TS]

  basically yeah people are very angry [TS]

  with him and a world that thinks he's an [TS]

  awful awful person and I like the moment [TS]

  where you know they've been sending all [TS]

  these scholarly papers to our thoughts [TS]

  heartbreakingly at at least you've [TS]

  publicly you know my work is living [TS]

  through my published scholarly papers [TS]

  and they're like what we didn't publish [TS]

  the decomposed that's not terrible like [TS]

  they learn they learned everything about [TS]

  these alien languages and they sent back [TS]

  all these papers that's what they spent [TS]

  their you're doing is writing up all [TS]

  these things not just the languages i [TS]

  mean they were sending back stuff on [TS]

  everything they were experts in yeah and [TS]

  if they buried the the Jesuits buried [TS]

  the whole thing it's just it's it yeah [TS]

  so heartbreaking [TS]

  oh well this is this is a this is a a [TS]

  first-contact experience that went [TS]

  really really wrong and yeah interesting [TS]

  story to tell [TS]

  interesting story but memorable enough [TS]

  that that I've been talking about it for [TS]

  the last 20 years and I know that when I [TS]

  mentioned it to other people who've read [TS]

  it they're like oh yeah right including [TS]

  Shannon and Scott's oh yeah and we [TS]

  should be so enthusiastically we've [TS]

  hoodwinked Erica in 20 my batting [TS]

  average for these book club episodes [TS]

  pretty low sorry sorry about that [TS]

  this one yeah yeah I i I'd like to tell [TS]

  you I i would have warned you off if I [TS]

  thought you wouldn't like this one but I [TS]

  i don't think i would have done that [TS]

  because I I think so highly of it so I'm [TS]

  sorry didn't mean had read eight any [TS]

  description of it whatsoever would have [TS]

  known if known you noticed it was simply [TS]

  that i went in cold and then just stuck [TS]

  with it [TS]

  yeah and i was explaining this book to [TS]

  maressa because i was like i told her oh [TS]

  you should read this is a really great [TS]

  book but i had read in 20 years and then [TS]

  I reread it and then I thought maybe [TS]

  risa it shouldn't read it [TS]

  exploiting the plots of her she's like [TS]

  that sounds like a book only you would [TS]

  like Scott and you know many people like [TS]

  this book but through maybe not you and [TS]

  Eric many people admire this book i mean [TS]

  i would say yeah i would say in my case [TS]

  having read through the second time I [TS]

  admire this book i love some of the [TS]

  characters i love a lot of it but it is [TS]

  a powerful read this for good or ill its [TS]

  power them migrate it won many awards [TS]

  when it was released yes and I i think [TS]

  it's very I think it's very well done [TS]

  although again I feel like the contrast [TS]

  between the whole book in the last two [TS]

  chapters is striking was like oh okay [TS]

  we're not doing that anymore but the [TS]

  stuff that the detail is is kind of [TS]

  amazing and the characters in the [TS]

  dialogue and it's all and she does some [TS]

  pretty good prognostication a few parts [TS]

  in terms of what life is going to be [TS]

  like just about to say that you have [TS]

  2016 in this book is not too far off [TS]

  not so bad in theory a television [TS]

  adaptation is coming from a sec that's [TS]

  what they say although that would that [TS]

  was a that was a 2014 announcement so it [TS]

  may be in turn around just like the Brad [TS]

  Pitt optioning of it in 2006 although i [TS]

  think it would make much more sense as a [TS]

  leg we say about so many books that we [TS]

  read much more sense as a a TV limited [TS]

  series where you could get you need the [TS]

  length you need you need that length to [TS]

  tell this this kind of story because it [TS]

  means to build up so that the downfall [TS]

  is even more horrifying [TS]

  yeah well said yeah maybe that's right [TS]

  the basic structure of the story so you [TS]

  know it's a tragedy tragedy for sure i [TS]

  mean this is this is a guy spends his [TS]

  entire life looking for evidence of God [TS]

  and God finally starts to show it to him [TS]

  and goes yonk never liked you much [TS]

  that's right that's well that's you know [TS]

  in terms of the Bible right there are [TS]

  those there are their stories not to [TS]

  take it back to job but you know stories [TS]

  of people who was like well part of the [TS]

  test is maybe it's terrible for you and [TS]

  you still have to believe in me and [TS]

  that's just how that's the definition of [TS]

  faith right you keep believing even [TS]

  though it is difficult and that's the [TS]

  other amazing thing about this book for [TS]

  me is that you know there'd whatever [TS]

  your opinions of religion are like [TS]

  Jesuits in history actually did this [TS]

  kind of thing they did lessons on a boat [TS]

  and they cross the ocean they didn't [TS]

  know where they were going just to see [TS]

  what was out there and to hopefully you [TS]

  know turns people into followers of [TS]

  Christ but mostly enlist for the change [TS]

  what's the expanding knowledge was also [TS]

  a big part of it and that's you know [TS]

  crazy to me and a lot of them yet [TS]

  a lot of them would would end up dying [TS]

  horribly and not return as they would [TS]

  die or or having much like in this book [TS]

  horrible things happen to them and yet [TS]

  they they go back they recuperate and [TS]

  then they go back to the same places [TS]

  where these horrible things have [TS]

  happened to them [TS]

  yeah guess what horrible things happen [TS]

  to the mechanic yep yep [TS]

  yeah yeah absolutely it's a yeah it's [TS]

  it's a thought-provoking book it's one [TS]

  that I that I really appreciate I I my I [TS]

  think you could also something we didn't [TS]

  even talk on too much as if you believe [TS]

  this as these as these Jesuits do that [TS]

  there knowing God by visiting God's [TS]

  other children that's another horror of [TS]

  this book right the fact that this is a [TS]

  on this world this small group of [TS]

  creatures is preying upon this larger [TS]

  group of creatures it in a way that is [TS]

  fundamentally you would say a evil set [TS]

  up an evil organization here and so that [TS]

  I that kind of calls into question like [TS]

  it's not just why do bad things happen [TS]

  to the humans on this world but it's [TS]

  like why is this world awful to in a [TS]

  different way than ours so now there's [TS]

  so much here if you like to be doing if [TS]

  you want to be sad and depressed and see [TS]

  horrible things happen anyway [TS]

  check it out its parent told in a [TS]

  beautiful way and it is it is i think [TS]

  everybody now who has listened to this [TS]

  is a very good idea if they should read [TS]

  it or not I think Erica you should [TS]

  listen to this podcast before you read [TS]

  this book and find your TARDIS if only [TS]

  will set it back in time before we go [TS]

  I'm going to very quickly ask if there's [TS]

  anything else that you've read recently [TS]

  that you would like to mention to our [TS]

  listeners because that's a fun thing [TS]

  that we do Scott anything that you have [TS]

  read recently that's been very [TS]

  interesting too [TS]

  yes i have a spin spending some time [TS]

  reading some historical fiction which i [TS]

  will skip over but there are two scifi [TS]

  books that I've read as of late that I [TS]

  enjoyed one is called dark matter by [TS]

  Blake croch he wrote some TV series that [TS]

  i never watched wayward Pines i think [TS]

  yes [TS]

  yeah I or he wrote the books that it but [TS]

  based on whatever this book dark matter [TS]

  is about this physicist who basically [TS]

  figures out a way of traveling through [TS]

  the multiverse and unintended [TS]

  consequences happen it's interesting i [TS]

  read it in two days [TS]

  it's a an easy read and it is once you [TS]

  figure out oh it's a multiverse thing [TS]

  you think you know how it's going to end [TS]

  but it doesn't end the way you think it [TS]

  does which is always good and another [TS]

  kind of more sci-fi in space book that I [TS]

  read was dark run by Mike Brooks which [TS]

  is the first in a series which I didn't [TS]

  know when i started reading that was [TS]

  always annoying but it's fun another fun [TS]

  quick syfy read that i enjoyed and [TS]

  before you start reading it you should [TS]

  realize it's the first in a series at [TS]

  some darkness there you got dark dark I [TS]

  don't like alphabetically by title [TS]

  yeah I i'm just going through all the [TS]

  dark books now Erica something i'm under [TS]

  anything you're reading that you want to [TS]

  mention uh well i did recently read a [TS]

  book called damaged goods which was [TS]

  Russell T Davis's first foray into the [TS]

  world of dr. Kalam which I wasn't a huge [TS]

  fan of it if you're interested in that [TS]

  one very did an episode on that i'll say [TS]

  I liked it better than the sparrow are [TS]

  ok [TS]

  huh I also more for fun and actual [TS]

  recommendation i finally got around to [TS]

  reading the fourth and final book of the [TS]

  magic ex libris series by jesse hines [TS]

  called revisionary and it was aight i [TS]

  put it off because they did not want hit [TS]

  series to be done and i knew when i [TS]

  finish this last book which was the last [TS]

  book that I wasn't gonna have anymore [TS]

  but i finally got around to doing it and [TS]

  I i think that he he wrapped it up [TS]

  nicely somewhere in one of the books [TS]

  before this the world comes to the [TS]

  realization that there is actually magic [TS]

  up there and I think that he does a nice [TS]

  job of thinking through the possible [TS]

  ramifications of what would happen if if [TS]

  that were the case and you had magic on [TS]

  one side and technology and the other [TS]

  side and then you know the horribleness [TS]

  of people in politicians and all that [TS]

  kind of stuff and and the books overall [TS]

  kind of light and fun but he sort of [TS]

  doesn't pull punches with with what [TS]

  would happen if it's like that it goes [TS]

  to some dark places as well but still [TS]

  still manages to be escaping enough for [TS]

  me to do quite like it and and last I [TS]

  have been proofreading the next issue of [TS]

  uncanny magazine issue 12 there's one [TS]

  short story in there called not a [TS]

  miracle but a Marvel by tim pratt which [TS]

  I just loved it was a i want to say it [TS]

  was a twist on like a classic sort of [TS]

  fairytale fable sort of a thing but it [TS]

  was maybe a modern slant on it and I'm a [TS]

  sucker for those sorts of things so [TS]

  that'll that'll be out soon ish i'm not [TS]

  sure exactly when in relation to win [TS]

  this podcast drops Shannon anything you [TS]

  would like to mention well um I this is [TS]

  more in support of a foot then the [TS]

  incomparable but I've been plowing [TS]

  through carry Greenwoods friday Fisher [TS]

  mysteries this summer the basically take [TS]

  your detective she's a woman she's a [TS]

  flapper in Australia in the twenties and [TS]

  they have been a delight [TS]

  i'm looking forward to when we get [TS]

  around to talking about but that on a [TS]

  foot both her the novels and also [TS]

  started watching the the australian TV [TS]

  show based on them but that's been the [TS]

  majority of my reading this summer i am [TS]

  about to start [TS]

  NK jemisin with the fifth season because [TS]

  everyone's talking about the obelisk [TS]

  eight and i want to read that too [TS]

  so those are on my list alright that's a [TS]

  another book about flappers from [TS]

  Australia solving crimes whatever [TS]

  there's so many of those anyway uh [TS]

  listen whatever i read lately i read a [TS]

  couple of really fun [TS]

  non-fiction books that I want to mention [TS]

  one is by tom standage who's a writer [TS]

  an editor of The Economist formerly [TS]

  Glenn's editor at The Economist actually [TS]

  some cleansing their I a history of the [TS]

  world in six glasses which is a great [TS]

  book about it's a gloss on his the [TS]

  growth of human civilization through six [TS]

  different drinks and it's like beer and [TS]

  wine and spirits and coca-cola and [TS]

  coffee and tea and it's uh it's great [TS]

  and i also enjoyed mark for size book [TS]

  which was recommended to me by doing [TS]

  more in the entomological on which is [TS]

  just a silly series of their kind of [TS]

  like newspaper columns about ridiculous [TS]

  words in the English language and where [TS]

  they came from [TS]

  I loved it and I really enjoyed stiletto [TS]

  the sequel to the brook by Daniel [TS]

  O'Malley sounds good as the rock [TS]

  yes but it's good fun sequel problems [TS]

  this its private I missed I i missed the [TS]

  world of the rock i wish there was a new [TS]

  record book every year and not every [TS]

  five years or whatever but it was really [TS]

  a lot of fun and I'm glad that it's out [TS]

  now because it was a lot of fun i agree [TS]

  and uh let's see the yeah i'm looking [TS]

  forward to reading the obelisk eight but [TS]

  i haven't read it yet so I can't say and [TS]

  i'm rereading the dark tower for future [TS]

  incomparable podcast so i read that the [TS]

  gunslinger and the drawing of the three [TS]

  in the last couple of weeks to refresh [TS]

  my memory on the nose because i read [TS]

  those many years ago [TS]

  you'll have to catch up on those we have [TS]

  yeah we have reached the end thank you [TS]

  to my guests for being here and and [TS]

  traveling with me in a hollowed-out [TS]

  asteroid to visit I i hope the aliens [TS]

  are nice air can sign thank you four get [TS]

  doing the reading and not bailing out [TS]

  hey I i feel like i have have persevere [TS]

  yes that's the thing that I did the [TS]

  Jesuits would approve the book and [TS]

  another thank you [TS]

  always a pleasure and Scott McNulty [TS]

  thank you very much thank you Jason and [TS]

  thanks everybody out there for listening [TS]

  to this edition of the comfortable [TS]

  helpful [TS]

  hope we didn't test your faith a little [TS]

  too much huh [TS]

  and we will see [TS]

  [Music] [TS]