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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S4 E15 - Splinter in the Sky




Outro s4 E15- Clues

Hello and welcome back to episode 15 of season 4 of after the apocalypse – A pandemic survival story.

Hope everyone is doing well. 

Couple things to share this week. 

Just to let you know I’m human, I did have a bit of a writers’ block – power outage for this episode.  I think it was a combination of having back to back travel weeks, being in the deepest dark cold of winter and maybe fighting something. 

Maybe I had the plague.  I was super unmotivated and sleeping a lot.

But, the muses returned, just in the ‘nick of time’ and I got it done.  Thank you to y editors and my voice talent Robert for being so understanding and committed to this project.

By the way ‘the nick of time’ is a very old saying.  It means, ‘at the last possible moment’ or ‘just in time’.  The first cited use in the OED is in a 1610 sermon.  Most etymologists, people who study words, not entomologists, which are people who study insects…most believe it is related to the habit of carving notches to track time in medieval times. 

I have committed to getting the rest of the season laid out and written – so we will soon be at the end of the 4th book! 

That is amazing. 

And this highlights the disjointed temporal flux that is podcasting.  We’ve been producing this for 4 years and some of you just listened through the whole thing in a week – and are now sorely disappointed to have to wait.  Welcome to time-travel!

I have a couple new pieces of content to share this week that I have been consuming.

First is a series by Scott Sigler called ‘The Galactic Football League”.  The first season and part of the second is available as a podcast.  I listened through it and it’s very good. 

Scott is such a prolific writer and producer and audio recorder – you can find several of his works on line.  He’s got multiple podcast series available.  I also recently listened to the first two books of “The Infected” trilogy. 

Everything he does is very high quality.  Take a look.  Something to binge through while your waiting on me to create something. 

Next up – I read a book. 

It was called “The Splinter in the Sky” by Kemi Ashing-Giwa published in 2023.

I heard one of this author’s short stories on one of the science fiction podcasts that I listen to and when I heard her Biography I was interested in learning more about her and her writing. 

It occurred to me that I spend a lot of my reading time in the past, and that I should read something from this century, preferably from a emerging author and preferably from someone outside my demographic. 

Maybe get outside my comfort zone?

Kemi Ashing-Giwa fits all of these requirements.  She’s a PhD student at Stanford, with an undergrad from Harvard.  She’s a young, female, person of color – and her novel was very good hard sci-fi, with a slight Game of Thrones vibe for a first novel. 

The plot has a character from an outside province being brought to the empire’s core at first as a hostage, but then to help solve a murderous conspiracy.  I liked how she channeled her own experiences through this character to talk about cultural appropriation, colonialism and bigotry. 

The novel, as other reviews have noted, was a bit derivative, disjointed and less-than-nuanced in its messaging – and it hit some slow spots – but I picked it up specifically to hear a new voice and I think she is going to be a brilliant SciFi author as she matures in her art.

As I have said before, what I like about SciFi as a genre (amusingly I almost wrote ‘gender’ just then) as a genre is its ability to be a safe place to consider very real cultural artifices.  I had several moments in the book where I thought, ‘wait a minute, she’s talking about me!’

I bought this book online from a used bookstore and, amusingly received a pre-publication, advanced readers edition, complete with the ‘not for resale’ warning. 

It’s an easy read and I recommend it.

And with that my friends I will take you towards the exit.  Please support the show in any way you can – the links are in the show notes.  It’s tax season here in the US and with that I get to see just how bad of a business proposition an audio fiction podcast is!

Thanks to Jane for the coffees she bought me last week!

Links are in the show notes and on my website.

That’s 787 carefully chosen words.

Count them well and Keep Surviving.

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