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Marooned! on Mars with Matt and Hilary

116 EpisodesProduced by Matt Hauske & Hilary StrangWebsite

a kim stanley robinson read-along podcast with regular forays into utopia. hosted by some friends who are into communism, science fiction and other stuff

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The Years of Rice and Salt 8: "War of the Asuras," War, Necropolitics, Hope, Repetition

Shout out to our great listeners, especially when they email us, and when they email us, their emails are always thoughtful and stimulating, and Hilary almost always responds to them and Matt almost always reads them but doesn’t respond to them because he is, in fact, shy, but also, more importantly, lazy, other than the whole “producing and editing the show” thing.

We kick this episode off with a convo about despair and hope, but the upshot is the gift of reading these novels in community with each other and our amazing listeners (you, the reader of this).

“War of the Asuras” is a phantasmagoric chapter about The Long War—basically, what if World War I—trench warfare, mustard gas, etc.—was fought in Asia instead of Europe, and what if it (almost) never ended? The depiction of the war collapses the distinction between the bardo and reality, between metaphor and realism, and exposes the insanity at the heart of modern warfare.

Matt and Hilary ponder over the nature of the space the characters find themselves in, and the nature of the spectacular suffering they live through, with no one left in the world to spectate, let alone judge.

We talk about the structures of repetition and revisiting between the books of the novel, and come at the question of the difference between the Mars Trilogy’s longevity treatments and this novel’s reincarnation from a slightly different angle.

Necropolitics, guns, superiority, the self, optimism vs. hope. We got a lot going on in this episode—the longest episode yet, for the shortest chapter of the novel! It do be like that sometimes, though.

Shout outs to Gravity's Rainbow, Going After Cacciato, and ZARDOZ.

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