Monthly Archives: August 2021

Ep072 Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior is a ghost story of loss. Published in 2017, Jones explores how the event of a death of a father cascades into a young adult story of finding a way through life. Isaac and Reid strongly recommend this story.

Discussed this Episode

  • Displaying and showing loss and being alone.
    • Having people, but not really having to show aloneness. Junior has a family, but there is a caveat to each possible connection. Mother is only there during crisis moments. Brother is a younger brother with a mental disability. The ghost is friendly, but maybe not.
    • Showing potential that has been taken to emphasize loss: give the character a redemption arc that is never fulfilled. Junior’s father is given an entire future of becoming a celebrated dancer, despite not showing an interest. The act of dancing becomes Junior’s eventual goal, and there is a connection to the father as Junior pursues dancing. The loss is underlined every time Junior brings up the life that his father could have had.
  • The POV of Junior provides the characteristic of youth and allows for an unreliable narrator.
    • The reader and the narrator are on the same page. Junior does not hide information from the reader, instead the story of discovery is felt and taken at the same pace with Junior.
    • Junior’s youth conveys the question of “is this magic real?” Is the ghost real? What killed the dogs? What supernatural elements coincide with real world events?
    • Junior is still a kid and doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t have all of the information.
  • Given the length
  • One to one substitution of Mapping the Interior and The Turn of the Screw in school curriculum.


Ep071 The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

An expansion of the Arthurian Mythos, The Buried Giant follows an elderly couple as they begin to remember a past they had forgotten. Kazuo Ishiguro, a winner of the Booker Award, and author of such works as The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, explores a world of a forgetting mist a world of swords and sorcery.

Episode Discussion

  • Focus on the journey, not the destination. The main couple seek the village where their son traveled to and lived; but, along the way each interaction is another story from side characters.
    • The characters that are met simply exist to tell their stories, but each story for the most part is an independent story.
    • Distance from the action. Character stories are buried within other character stories, and in order to get to the plot point.
  • Full Circle. The story has one story which comes back around, and that is the story of the boatman. The boatman can only take one person at a time, unless there is great love, at which point there can be two taken at a time.
    • The book can be framed as a short story with a novel in the middle of it.

Ep070 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

What does the mass production of biology look like, and what are its consequences? These are the questions proposed in the 1931 book by Aldous Huxley: Brave New World.

Episode Discusion:

  • What were our first introductions to Dystopian Fiction? (The Giver, 1984, Harrison Bergeron – by Kurt Vonnegut)
  • A broad overview of classical dystopian fiction (Brave New World, We, 1984, Handmaid’s Tale, The Water Knife, IQ85) vs more modern Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy (Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Red Rising, Trail of Lightning).
  • Literary Perspective of Brave New World – How does a novel use story-telling elements to make a philosophical point.
    • What is the theme?
      • Reid Interpretation: What does the mass production of biology look like and result in? — In service of stability.
      • Isaac Interpretation: What would it look like if leadership of society could exhibit control down to the level of thoughts?
    • Theme Conveyed: Contrast of Characters
      • Each character lays on a spectrum of complete love and adherence to the society to the opposite and complete dissidence with the society. In how these characters interact the reader is able to contrast the different location of each of these characters on this spectrum. Bernard feels apart from this world and seeks something more, but compared to Hemholtz, Bernard is more self-centered. John cannot stand the society where his mother when allowed to return cannot imagine leaving it again.
    • Theme Conveyed: Villain Monologue
      • Mustufa Mond at the climax of the story provides the monologue of why the society must exist as it does.
      • A Platonic Dialogue where we care about the characters: John – and his disgust at the world; Hemholtz – and his desire to seek something more.
  • Philosophical Perspective of Brave New World
    • An argument for portions of this book being true today.
    • What are the “societal” pressures currently placed on people?

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