20 Best Scientific Writing Podcasts of 2021

3 years ago

Are you wanting to learn more about scientific writing ? Well you’ve come to the right place. This is a curated list of the best scientific writing podcasts of 2021.

We have selected these podcasts for a variety of reasons, but they are all well worth a listen. We tried to select a variety of podcasts across the spectrum from hosts with a wide breadth of experience.

We are always keen to hear your feedback, if we have missed a podcast, tweet us @MagazineWelp and we will check it out!

Best Scientific Writing Podcasts 2021

With thanks to ListenNotes, Crunchbase, SemRush and Ahrefs for providing the data to create and rank these podcasts.

Making Sense with Sam Harris

  • Publisher: Sam Harris
  • Total Episodes: 258

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere. Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

The HurleyWrite.com Podcast

  • Publisher: Pam Hurley, PHD
  • Total Episodes: 34

Hurley Write, Inc. develops and teaches customized onsite and online writing courses: “Exceptional Technical Writing,” “Better Business Writing,” “Effective Writing for Engineers,” “Writing Fundamentals,” “Scientific Writing,” and “Writing the Scientific Manuscript.” We also write and edit technical and scientific documents and grants.

Science Talk

  • Publisher: Scientific American
  • Total Episodes: 532

Science Talk is a weekly science audio show covering the latest in the world of science and technology. Join Steve Mirsky each week as he explores cutting-edge breakthroughs and controversial issues with leading scientists and journalists. He is also an articles editor and columnist at Scientific American magazine. His column, "Antigravity," is one of science writing’s great humor venues. Also check our daily podcast from Scientific American : "60-Second Science." To view all of our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast

The Positive Psychology Podcast – Bringing the Science of Happiness to your Earbuds with Kristen Truempy

  • Publisher: Kristen Truempy
  • Total Episodes: 133

The science of the good life, huh? Sorry this is not about booze, sex and rock n’roll (or whatever is en vogue right now). In fact we talk about a lot of things that tree huggers would love: appreciation of beauty, gratitude, positive emotions, relationships and well, love. However we, that is positive psychologists and positive psychology practitioners buried ourselves in books, set out to experiment and then write it all up in a writing style that is about as exciting to read as watching an avocado turn brown. And that’s the problem: if you are not an academic you probably want a little bit more excitement, than pages and pages of densely written journals can provide. Even if you are an academic, who has time to read all the interesting stuff out there anyways? So in an effort to save your eyes taking on a comically rectangular shape the positive psychology podcast brings the science of the good life to your earbuds. It’s not all treehugger style though; sometimes we might get quite serious, for example when exploring things like post-traumatic growth or positive parenting. Subscribe if you want to benefit from the scientific insights into happiness and meaning while you are on the go. Let me know where you are while you are listening to this. If you like it review it, because that’s the only way other people can find it too.

Research Matters Podcast

  • Publisher: Jason Luoma, Ph.D.
  • Total Episodes: 19

In the Research Matters Podcast, I interview leading scientific researchers in psychology and other social sciences in an effort to understand what they do that makes them productive. This podcast is intended to help graduate students, professors, and scientists learn actionable strategies that can help them in their own research endeavors. I strive to help draw out the tips, tricks, habits, and routines of extraordinarily productive researchers. In these interviews, we cover topics like: How to develop a programmatic line of research How to build a team of amazing collaborators Getting things done Writing productively Grant writing strategies Creating an effective research lab Applying design thinking to research How to develop great research ideas When to turn your research into a book Managing grad students Maintain a balance with other aspects of life, such as health, fun, and family How to choose which projects to invest in How to be efficient And much more…

Written In The Stars ✨

  • Publisher: Sara Vanessa da Silva
  • Total Episodes: 3

Written In The Stars ✨ is a podcast about science fiction, philosophy, mathematics, self growth, space fiction, writing and more with Sara Vanessa da Silva. Sara is a meteorologist and an author, aspiring speaker and philosopher. Disclaimer: this podcast is not meant in any way, shape or form to be informative, media and / or news related. It’s also not a scientific podcast or about science. Thank you for your understanding.

The Bioinformatics and Beyond Podcast

  • Publisher: Leo Elworth
  • Total Episodes: 37

Hear from the leading experts in bioinformatics and other closely related fields. Topics discussed include computational biology, biotechnology, computer science, genetics, synthetic biology, math, statistics, and more. You can also find discussions on topics related to the scientific career field. For example, exploring career path options in science, or highlighting important skill sets such as writing and public speaking.

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 12

One dark and stormy night, a stranger arrives in West Sussex at a village inn. He is heavily clad in an overcoat and his face is wrapped in bandages. He takes a room at the inn, but refuses to socialize with anyone. He stays cooped up in his room all day and night, working with strange chemicals and apparatus. Suddenly, strange events begin to happen in the village. Mysterious burglaries and fires break out, culminating in a destructive rampage across the peaceful countryside. The stranger is the keeper of a terrible secret… The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (to give the book its full title) by HG Wells was published in 1897. Written in novella form, this bizarre science fiction tale was first published in Pearson’s Weekly as a serial and later compiled into a single book. Based on scientific theories of optics and physics, this story instantly caught the imagination of readers and has been regularly adapted to film, television and radio since it first made its appearance more than a hundred years ago. Herbert George Wells’ writing career owes itself to an accident suffered in childhood. As an eight year old boy, he was once confined to bed with a broken leg. His father, a professional cricketer and failed businessman, regularly brought him books from the local library so that he could pass the time. His father’s financial troubles compelled his mother to go to work as a lady’s maid in a local mansion, while the children were put to work as apprentices with various local tradesmen. For Wells, this was one of the most unhappy, yet also the most profitable times in his life. The mansion where his mother worked had an enormous library where the child continued to read and educate himself. At eighteen, he went to work as a teacher in a residential school. His career flourished after that, and he won a scholarship to work under the great biologist, Thomas Huxley in London. He began writing science fiction stories in 1895 with the publication of The Time Machine, where he proposed the concept of selective time travel. Several other extremely popular Sci-Fi novels and short stories followed, interspersed with romantic stories, novels, ghost stories, film scripts, articles, satirical novels, historical and political treatises and non-fiction papers. Wells was an extremely prolific writer and continues to inspire generations of writers even today. The Invisible Man is a book that evokes great interest among readers of all ages and is an important landmark in the history of Sci-Fi writing.

Wayfarer’s Guide to Worldbuilding

  • Publisher: Mythos & Ink
  • Total Episodes: 19

The Wayfarer’s Guide to Worldbuilding is a tool to help writers, DMs, and creatives build unique, scientific, and magical worlds. Each episode explores one facet of worldbuilding and gives practical advice on writing these elements. Hosted by the Mythos and Ink staff—Kyle Rudge (Marketing Director), Allison Alexander (Editorial Director), and Emma Skrumeda (Publicist)—the podcast explores strong examples of worldbuilding from science fiction and fantasy books, TV shows, and movies and offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of publishing.

Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 9

The foundations of modern skepticism and objective thinking are thought to be rooted in the philosophy of Rene Descartes, the French mathematician, philosopher and writer. This great sixteenth century thinker also gave us theories on mind-body dualism and the concept of ethics as the highest form of science. He is considered the Father of Modern Western Philosophy. His theories also led to the emancipation of humanity from the doctrine that the Church is the sole authority over Man and led to a more autonomous idea of the human condition. He also wrote extensively on subjects as diverse as music, the search for truth, geometry, discourse as a method of scientific investigation, philosophy, biology and psychology. He had a profound impact on the age he lived in and also on future generations. He was a teacher and counselor to several heads of state in Europe and guided them in their political and ethical actions. His most famous maxim, “I think, therefore I am” became the guiding principle of modern Western thought. Meditations on First Philosophy was first published in 1641. The original Latin title also had the subtitle: In Which the Existence of God and the Immortality of the Soul are Demonstrated. The treatise was translated into French in 1647. The work essentially consists of six separate meditations. In each one, Descartes abandons all belief in things that are not absolutely certain and then tries to replace these beliefs with those that are more certain. The book is designed as a series of meditations that took place over six days in his life, and in each one, he talks about “yesterday’s meditation.” It is important to remember that Rene Descartes was writing at a time of great scientific discoveries which were in conflict with the Church. Galileo’s fate was dreaded by all pioneering philosophers. Descartes’ Meditations follows a new yet cautious approach which would not be in direct confrontation with the powerful Catholic Church. In Meditations, Descartes seeks to go beyond Aristotle’s philosophy which dominated Western thinking till then. Here, the Greek philosopher posited that all knowledge comes via the senses, hence the outside world is but a mirror image of our inner thoughts. In the First Meditation, Descartes provides bizarre examples of our thoughts and questions whether we can assume that reality in any way resembles these. This forms the root of his skepticism and his ideas on the mind/body divide, the existence of God and human perception. Meditations on First Philosophy follows the tradition of St Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. For the modern reader, it is a thought-provoking and interesting read.

The Wildlife Of Your Home

  • Publisher: Lindsay Patterson & Marshall Escamilla x Himalaya Media Inc.
  • Total Episodes: 1

Come on an interactive audio adventure to become an indoor wildlife investigator, and discover the wildlife of your home! The Wildlife of Your Home Podcourse is a 10 episode series for kids age 6 – 10, from the creators of Tumble Science Podcast for Kids. You’ll learn about ecosystems, by discovering the unknown creatures you wake up with every day. As you listen, you’ll be writing, observing, and getting on your hands and knees to explore. Best of all, you’ll be doing real science. We’ll show you how to share what you find with a worldwide scientific effort to study indoor ecosystems. You might even discover a new species! Hosted by Marshall Escamilla, with ecologist and science writer Rob Dunn. Available on available on Himalaya Learning, a new feature on the Himalaya podcast app

A Journey to the Interior of the Earth by Jules Verne

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 41

A historical manuscript penned by a medieval Norse poet. A mysterious code. Three intrepid explorers. A subterranean world filled with prehistoric creatures and proto-humans. These are some of the brilliant ideas that are superbly blended in A Journey to the Interior of the Earth by Jules Verne. Jules Verne, the French writer who created several works of science fiction, adventure stories and very popular novels, wrote A Journey to the Interior of the Earth in 1864. Some of his other books explore different aspects of geography, space and time travel. Known as the “Father of Science Fiction” Verne’s books have retained their freshness and appeal though many of the ideas propounded in them have been proved erroneous as a result of modern discoveries and explorations. Though Verne wrote popular fiction, few readers would know that he based his writing on solid research and scientific principles. A Journey to the Interior of the Earth drew inspiration from the works of a Victorian geologist, Sir Charles Lyell, who wrote extensively on the origins of the human race from a geological perspective. The book was originally translated into English by Rev. F A Malleson in 1877. Since then several English translations have been made, with the title being sometimes changed to A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Other publishers have had the book completely rewritten, with additions, omissions and changes of name. In this original version of the novel, Professor Otto Lidenbrock is a German mineralogist who lives in Hamburg. He rushes home one afternoon, elated by his purchase of an ancient manuscript from an antique shop. His nephew, Axel who lives with him is less than enthusiastic when he hears that the book is written in Runic script and is an Icelandic saga concerning the old Norse kings. A dirty piece of parchment falls out of the bundle of pages and it appears to be written in code. This grabs Axel’s interest and the two spend days trying to crack the cipher. When they finally do, they discover that it has been written by an alchemist who claims that he has traveled to the interiors of the earth via a volcanic tube. Excited beyond measure, the professor drags his reluctant nephew to Iceland, where a local hunter joins them in a truly fantastic voyage.

Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 16

Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was first published in 1913. It was the third book in an eleven part series known as the Barsoom Chronicles which relate to a sequence of exciting adventure tales set on the fictional planet of Barsoom. In the Barsoom series, Mars, assumed to be older than Earth, is a dying planet. “Barsoom” is the native word for Mars in the Martian language. The stories first appeared in serialized form in various magazines like All-Story, Argosy, Amazing Stories and The Blue Book. They were later compiled into book form and were hugely popular in their day. Edgar Rice Burroughs, known more famously as the creator of the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan, was an extremely prolific American writer who churned out potboilers by the hundreds. His work covered several genres including science fiction, adventure tales, historical sagas and Westerns. Though literary critics carped at what they called “pulp fiction” Burroughs’ influence on generations of young people in search of excitement and adventure is undeniable. He influenced “more serious” writers to explore the world of Sci-Fi writing. Burroughs was also extremely media savvy and far ahead of his time about marketing his work. Tarzan was converted into a bestselling comic strip, film rights were sold, Tarzan theme parks and merchandise were planned. The Barsoom series is based on the expedition of Earthmen to Mars by a mysterious method of transportation that involves astral projection. John Carter an American Civil War veteran travels to Mars, engages in fierce battles for supremacy with various denizens of the Red Planet and falls in love with and marries one of its lovely inhabitants. In Warlord of Mars, the hero, John Carter’s mission is to rescue his wife Princess Dejah Thoris who has been imprisoned by the evil Goddess Issus. Carter explores deeper and further into the planet’s far flung regions and discovers all manner of fantastic creatures who he has to vanquish to gain the title of Warlord of Mars. In the Barsoom series, Burroughs has created an entire fictional universe, complete with history, geography, politics, religion and people with their own set of values. He based much of his work on the scientific information available at the time and used it to create these fantasy worlds. For Sci-Fi fans, Warlord of Mars is indeed a gripping and entertaining read.

The Big Idea

  • Publisher: RTHK.HK
  • Total Episodes: 170

Our presenters Douglas Kerr, Vanessa Collingridge and guests explore the history, meaning and significance of ideas in contemporary society. ********************************************************************************* The whole series of the Big idea is available in our podcast station   Podcast: Weekly update and available after its broadcast.  ********************************************************************************* Douglas Kerr Douglas Kerr is Professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches courses in literature and rhetoric. He has lived in Hong Kong since 1979. He was born and brought up in Scotland, but went to Cambridge University in 1969 to read Modern Languages and English, and then moved on to the University of Warwick, where he studied English and French literary responses to the First World War, leaving with a PhD in Comparative Literature. During this time, a penurious year working in the French National Library in Paris gave him a taste for living some distance from home. He satisfied this taste by moving to Hong Kong, and has been here ever since. A continuing scholarly interest in the literature of the Great War eventually produced a book on the English war poet Wilfred Owen, and this was published by Oxford University Press in 1993. This was followed by George Orwell, published by Northcote House in their Writers and their Work series. Living first in colonial and then in postcolonial Hong Kong, it is no surprise that he became deeply interested in the way Asia (or the East, or the Orient) was experienced by foreigners, and this became the subject of his next book, Eastern Figures: Orient and Empire in British Writing, published by Hong Kong University Press in 2008. Like many others, Douglas had first encountered the Sherlock Holmes stories as a child, but it was a lot later that he began working on their author, Arthur Conan Doyle. Though he is best known for his detective fiction, Conan Doyle was a prolific writer in all sorts of genres and subjects, and an important figure in the cultural history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Douglas's book Conan Doyle: Writing, Profession and Practice, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2013, is a “cultural biography” of Conan Doyle and a study of all his writing. Douglas is a regular book reviewer for the South China Morning Post, and was on the Board of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival for five years; he still acts as an Advisor to the Festival. Though Hong Kong is a small place and he has been a resident here for more than thirty years, like other professors he still has a tendency to get lost. Vanessa Collingridge Vanessa graduated from Oxford University in 1990 with a first class honours degree in Geography and started working in television, quickly moving into the field of science, environment and history which remain her passion both on and off screen. Since then, she has been a regular face on all the major UK TV channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), along with Discovery and The Learning Channel (USA) and The History Channel (worldwide). In Spring 2007, she took over the chair of the long-running weekly series Making History, the flagship history series for BBC Radio 4. Her 4x1hr documentary series, Captain Cook – Obsession and Discovery (2007-8) based on her best-selling book, has now won five major international awards including a Canadian “Gemini” (“Oscar”) for Best History Programme, Australia’s prestigious National Culture Award and the Sydney Morning Herald Readers’ Award for Best History Programme. The series has so far been screened in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, North & South America, North Africa and most of Europe. A former columnist for the Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman and BBC History magazine, she writes a monthly column for BBC Who Do You Think You Are magazine along with features for the national newspapers, particularly the Daily Mail, Scotsman and Sunday Herald. A reviewer for The Literary Review, her own books include Captain Cook (2002), Boudica (2005) and The Story of Australia (2008) plus multiple chapters for Thames & Hudson’s Seventy Greatest Journeys in History and The Greatest Explorers in History (2010). Vanessa is currently researching her PhD on the history of cartography of the Great Southern Continent (Antarctica), based at Glasgow University and Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. She lectures on science, history, geography, presentation skills and the media across the UK, including at Cambridge, Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities, the RGS and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. She is a Fellow of the RGS and RSGS and co-founder & host of Glasgow’s Café Scientifique to stimulate debate between the scientific community and the general public. She is a regular speaker at Book Festivals including Edinburgh International Book Festival, Cheltenham and Christchurch (New Zealand). She is director of her own production company, Monster Media Productions, which makes radio and television programmes for broadcast and corporate clients; the company also provides a range of training for media and presentation skills. She moved to Hong Kong in November 2010 with her husband and four young sons from where she continues to write and broadcast, and research her PhD.

The Perils of Publishing

  • Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
  • Total Episodes: 7

The Society for Neuroscience introduces its inaugural podcast, The Perils of Publishing. This series is a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to publish a scientific study. Follow two authors’ experiences in developing a study idea, conducting the experiment, organizing the data, writing the manuscript, selecting a journal, receiving reviews, and handling media attention post-publishing. Along the way, you’ll hear about the publication process from editors at Cell Press, Neuron, and JNeurosci. They talk about what they look for when evaluating studies, what happens when reviewers don’t agree, and how to deal with negative reviews, and other useful advice. For more learning and discussion, visit Neuronline.SfN.org, SfN’s home for scientific training and professional development.

Curiosities of the Sky by Garrett P. Serviss

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 15

Is there intelligent life on Mars? Why are there starless gaps in the Milky Way? What creates the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights? These and more are the interesting questions that are asked and sought to be answered in the 1909 book, Curiosities of the Sky by Garrett P. Serviss. Garrett Putnam Serviss was an American astronomer and popular sci-fi writer. He believed that science should be understood and enjoyed by everyone, not just by scientists. Though he was trained as a lawyer, he went to work as a newspaper reporter with The New York Sun in 1867. Here he discovered that he had an innate talent for explaining and describing scientific matter in a way that made it accessible to the ordinary public. Andrew Carnegie was struck by the talent of the young reporter and invited him to deliver a series of lectures on different subjects like cosmology, geology, astronomy and other such topics. Carnegie funded a country wide lecture tour and supplied Serviss with magic lantern slides and material to supplement his talks and make them more interesting. After the two year long lecture tour, Serviss decided to dedicate his life to the cause of popularizing science. He wrote more than fifteen books on different aspects of science. However, astronomy remained his favorite subject and he devoted eight books to this topic. Science fiction writing and short stories were also his forte. Curiosities of the Sky went on to become an extremely popular astronomy classic. It has been constantly revised and updated over the years as new discoveries are made and our knowledge of the universe expands. What makes the book so delightful is the engaging, poetic style and its wonderful eye for descriptive details. He also speculates about life on Mars and the Moon and the possible benefits of engaging with life forms on other planets and stars. Serviss’ preface to the book itself makes interesting reading. What the author has attempted to do in Curiosities of the Sky is to convey the mystery and celestial beauty of the universe in a way in which readers understand not just the insignificance of the tiny planet we inhabit, but he also seeks to stimulate interest and curiosity about everything around us. He ends with the frank confession that we really know very little about astronomy, but the theories and knowledge that we do have should spur us to explore further.

Just So Stories (version 4) by KIPLING, Rudyard

  • Publisher: LibriVox
  • Total Episodes: 13

The Just So Stories for Little Children are among Kipling’s best known and loved works. This recording aims to be the first complete audio book of this title with nothing left out.The Nobel prize-winning author’s enjoyment in playing with the sounds and meanings of words is very evident throughout, and adds to adults’ enjoyment of these stories for children. This playfulness is also dramatically present in the plotting. For both reasons these stories been loved by generations of children and adults alike. Because the writing plays with sound and meaning the Just So Stories are best enjoyed when read aloud.As we all are, Kipling was a child of his time and social setting, so for example in “How the Leopard Got his Spots” he uses what one recent reviewer called “the N word” to refer to the Ethiopian. Each listener will need to examine critically both Kipling’s attitudes and their own.This recording of the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling includes Kipling’s descriptions of the pictures he drew for the book. These pictures can be found in a PDF file to accompany each chapter. As well as the twelve stories most often published under this title (from the first British edition) it also includes “The Tabu Tale” a thirteenth story (included in the first US edition). The last story Kipling wrote “Ham and the Porcupine” is also a just so story, but has not usually been collected with the others, and perhaps lacks their verve and wordplay. The Kipling Society publishes an excellent freely available online edition with a good set of notes on the text.The stories are fanciful, and not intended to offer historical, scientific or religious accounts of the way things became. They are simply and exquisitely stories to enjoy.So please enjoy them in this reading. (Introduction by Tim Bulkeley)

The Aliens by Murray Leinster

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 4

This story starts with space ships scouring the universe in an interplanetary game of tag. The humans know there are “Aliens” out there. But so do the Aliens. As each tries desperately to make the phenomenal discovery, they secretly hope that the other will not turn out to be the enemy. Humans call them “Plumies” because of the feathery plumes they inscribe on silicon-bronze tablets and cairns they have left behind on their intergalactic travels over the last thousand years. The search goes on, till one day somewhere in outer space, a Plumie ship collides with the one manned by humans. The Aliens by Murray Leinster was first published in 1959, in what many consider to be the Golden Age of Sci-Fi. Leinster, whose real name was William Fitzgerald Jenkins, was a prolific writer who began writing when he was barely out of his teens. He wrote more than 1,500 stories, TV and film screenplays and radio scripts. His writing career took off in tandem with the huge popularity enjoyed by “pulp” fiction magazines. Initially, he wrote a variety of stories, ranging from detective fiction, romance, Westerns and adventure tales. However, when the pulps began to specialize in certain genres of writing, Leinster found his niche in Sci-Fi. He was, unlike many of the pulp writers of the day, also a talented craftsman. Most of his work is based on solid scientific principles and is extraordinarily prescient and predictive of events and devices that were to appear over the next half a century. In First Contact, he describes a “universal translator” while in another story, A Logic Named Joe, he portrays what we know as the Internet, smart-homes, communications, entertainment and data access through a system of “tanks” (servers) Murray Leinster wielded an exceptional influence over many other science fiction writers. Isaac Asimov was deeply indebted to him for ideas like a parallel universe and the shifting of time. Twenty five years after his death, his heirs sued Paramount Pictures for their movie title Star Trek: First Contact. They argued that the title First Contact was an infringement of the copyright they held on one of Leinster’s famous stories called First Contact published in 1945. The Aliens combines excitement, adventure, lots of Sci-Fi, a touch of romance and is extremely readable even today. It is also unique in that unlike many Sci-Fi stories of the day, it doesn’t assume that any alien that encounters a human being in outer space is necessarily evil, running counter to the contemporary fear and xenophobia that gripped the United States at the time. A great weekend read!

The Against Capitalist Education Podcast

  • Publisher: Nadim Bakhshov
  • Total Episodes: 10

This podcast pursues paths marked out by the book ‘Against Capitalist Education’, published by Zero Books. The podcast explores themes of a spiritual science, art, mathematics, economics, politics and society. Depending on the guest the topics may roam more freely than the book. There is no explicit theoretical orientation, no philosophical affiliation or religious perspective that dominates. Here are some quotes from the book which help set the context of discussion: – Schooling indoctrinates youngsters into the world without challenging it, without imagining alternatives. It is a claustrophobic, cramped place to be in, and with every new initiative getting further mired in different dead-ends. And teachers are, of course, nobodies. Their social status is lower than bankers. In the news you hear people arguing how important bankers are for our social, political and economic well-being, how banking bonuses are necessary to keep the best. But you can pay teachers a pittance and they’ll be as good as anyone else – because anyone can teach. Meanwhile, in the real world, our education fails to be a civilising force. – We constantly break up the human into a logical side and a poetic side. What we don’t want are thinkers who can also use their imagination. Or imaginative people who really think. Now they would be a problem. They would see what the rest of us don’t. For them, the imagination is not an escape. It’s a view into the inward depth of our lives and the world – when it operates properly. Thanks largely to the entertainment industry the imagination has become dysfunctional – obsessed with shadows and echoes of reality and unable to separate its own activities from the world around it. – If we don’t do it because we fear failure, nothing will change. We will stay in the same state, go round the same circles, forever repeating the same mistakes and watch as our lives are crushed under the force of capitalism. Is that what we want? Do we not want to try? Do we not want a different power, a power to change, a power to transform this fragmented world? – The wasteland is growing. There’s no doubt about that. And the system is being corrupted from within. People just don’t see it. We need to shine a light into the heart of things. But to do that we need a light powerful enough to show the corruption for what it is. An alternative generates a different light. That’s what we need. That’s the first step. – In the modern world of the career academic it’s all articles, papers and specialised research. It has no poetry. It’s more like a pale echo of modern scientific writing. And now they’ve turned philosophy into a private club. Only for professionals. Nadim Bakhshov Creator of Shovian Art

Tom Swift and the Visitor From Planet X by Victor Appleton

  • Publisher: Loyal Books
  • Total Episodes: 20

If you haven’t come across the 200-book series about Tom Swift Jr, this book would be an interesting one to start with. The series is aimed at the young adult readership, probably male, and the young adolescent hero, Tom Swift Jr is the son of Tom Swift Sr. The books portray the perennially 18-year-old Tom, a tall and angular youngster, possessed of a very high intelligence and presence of mind. Regular characters include his parents, younger sister Sandy, best buddy Bud Barclay, his regular date Phyllis Newton, and the comic roly-poly Chow Winkler. This star cast features in almost all the novels. Tom Swift and The Visitor from Planet X is an exciting sci-fi tale, in which the inventive and scientifically inclined Tom and friends have set up Swift Enterprises, a vast four-mile facility where inventions are conceived and built. They have established contact with intelligent beings on a distant planet and make preparations to welcome the first visitor from there. However, they’re unexpectedly drawn into a deadly internecine battle between diabolical forces on the distant planet which aim to sabotage the visit and destroy Earth. Tom’s quick thinking and inventiveness come to the fore as he develops a devastating weapon to counter the evil forces. This exciting tale certainly keeps you interested and engaged. The Tom Swift series is the product of a writing syndicate called the Stratemeyer Syndicate which published a range of packaged children’s literature in the 1950s. Other series include the famous Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, all of which were penned by a host of writers employed by this syndicate. In fact the syndicate employed three PhDs in science and technology to ensure scientific authenticity. The series is still running and the last set was published between 2006-7.

David Friedland

Bit of a gear addict.

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