Archives: podcasts

Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age

Confabulation Engine is a podcast of Speculative Fiction conversations, with digressions. Book talk out of alignment with consensus reality. Featuring William Cunningham and Catherine Weiss.

We did a trial run on this concept about a year ago with this hour and a half meander through all of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books.

For our first official episode we enthuse our way through the baroque future described in Neal Stephenson’s girl power epic, “The Diamond Age”.

Noteable digressions include:

A Video of DNA splicing.


Solving three mysteries at the same time.

Turing Machines.

Genesis P-Orridge

We’ll be releasing these monthly for a while, we hope you enjoy them!

A Conversation of Ice and Fire

My friend Catherine and I are going to try starting a podcast. It’ll be about speculative fiction books, mostly. With digressions. This was our first trial run on it. We figured we’d share a bottle of wine so we had something to do with our hands, and you can kind of tell we drank it by the end of this, but surprisingly it stayed coherent throughout.

This is a pretty unstructured conversation and it goes all over the place, and is just covered in spoilers. We wanted to be able to talk freely about all of the books, and we do. If you haven’t read them and don’t want plot twists in the HBO show spoiled for you over the years to come, you’d probably better not listen to this one.

But there will be more, about other books. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and anything else we determine fits fiction that doesn’t feel obliged to adhere to closely to the consensus reality. We may build in more structure in future episodes, and try to keep the final thing around an hour. This one sprawled a bit over an hour and a half.

We indulge in a really long conversation about A Song of Ice and Fire and it’s HBO incarnation A Game of Thrones. Tangents related to the nature of Science Fiction, things without endings, childhood encounters with fantasy, Neal Stephenson, television writers as air show stunt pilots, the feminisim of flawed female characters, sympathy for many devils and some speculation about the end.

Featuring William Cunningham and Catherine Weiss

1 hour and 38 minutes

Starting the year listening to a new (to me) podcast:

Art Heroes Radio

It’s a podcast mostly about the business side of fine art from the artist’s perspective. Never having gone to art school I’ve never heard most of this before. If art school was anything like acting school, it probably wasn’t really taught there either.

I found the one on how to approach seeking gallery representation very interesting. You can download the MP3 by clicking on the title, or select it from the embedded player below.

How to get your art into galleries, a conversation with Clint Watson:

I have no idea how the discussion tracks to the actual struggle, but it sounds plausible enough.

The host’s voice and manner of speaking kind of grate on me, but that is par for the course with podcasts mostly. Their virtue is not in polish, but in low to the ground, in-depth niche reporting. This one has a healthy amount of that.

It’s the best business minded art podcast I’ve found, and I’ve been looking. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of good ones out there, so if anyone has any further recommendations, I’d love to get them.

And, as a tangent, if you have an iDevice of any kind, I cannot say enough good things about Downcast. It is the best. It is so much better than any other podcatcher that it’s not even worth going into detail why. In a sane universe these people would own the market for this service. I only wish they’d make an Android or a windows desktop version (or maybe a browser based version compatible with Chrome or Firefox). I would use it all the time. I’ve found myself preferentially listening to podcasts on the iPad at home even though my PC has much better speakers, simply because this app makes it thoughtlessly easy.

And that is my quota of unsolicited endorsements for the day.

Happy New Year everyone!