In this somewhat delayed episode we discuss Book Three of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, "Ocean Continents," in which a Chinese fleet accidentally discovers Yingzhou, which we know as the Americas. Admiral Kheim, the fleet's doctor I-Chin, and a Miwok girl called Butterfly find each other and escape a pretty sticky situation with the Incan executioner god!
Hilary and Matt discuss the differences between discovery and encounter, estrangement and the real, knowledge and superstition, structure and contingency, control and luck, and the phenomenon of abundance without surplus. Alas, they don't talk enough about the elements and the chapter's deep symbolism of earth, wind, fire, and water--but it's there!
Moral relativism aside, we can all agree: Human sacrifice is bad, whether that’s to an Incan executioner god or the market.
Recommendations: Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, Inferno by Dante
We may have to take next week off, but will certainly be back after that!
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