1) High fantasy. 2) War games. 3) Statistical modeling. 4) Collaborative storytelling. 5) ??? 6) D&D! A truly improbable confluence of subcultures ended up producing Dungeons & Dragons, and hence modern role-playing games.
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses Jon Peterson’s recent cultural history of wargaming and Dungeons & Dragons, Playing at the World.
Enough has been given to morality; now comes the turn of Taste. No murders were committed during the recording of this podcast on Thomas de Quincey’s weird sense of humor.
The Sometime Seminar discusses the work of nineteeth-century essayist Thomas de Quincey, focusing especially on “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.”
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses the cultural significance of the independently produced computer game Dwarf Fortress. Tangentially discussed are other simulation games and “god games” such as Civilization, the arguments for games as works of art, and the relation between narrative and gaming.
Is any sufficiently advanced genius indistinguishable from incompetence? How many living burials can a story contain before it just gets…weird? And just what is a weird tale, anyway?
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses Poe’s only long work, the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, the questions of genre it raises, and whether it’s reasonable to call Poe the father of various forms of “weird” fiction.
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses J.M. Coetzee’s newest fiction, The Childhood of Jesus.
Roger also subsequently reviewed the book for the LARB.
Supplemental links (mostly subsequent to the recording of this episode, since our discussion preceded the book’s US publication): an excellent review from Joyce Carol Oates in the NYT and other useful ones from Benjamin Markovits in The Observer, Michael Duffy in The Millions
This week we return to the planet of the long poems, with a discussion of the middle books of William Wordsworth’s Prelude (the 1805 text of course, sheesh). Now with intro music!
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses Wordsworth’s Prelude, especially books 5, 6, and 7, and focusing on the version of 1805.
You got semiotics in my space opera! You got space opera in my semiotics! lightbulb
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses China Miéville’s 2011 science-fiction novel Embassytown, a space opera informed by Walter Benjamin and the philosophy of language.
Who will do it? Words will do it. Or if by it you mean discuss the first seven books of Louis Zukofsky’s mind-blowing long poem ‘A’ and its place in the story of Modernism, then The Sometime Seminar will do it.
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses the first seven books of Louis Zukofsky’s modernist long poem “A”.
Looking for something to listen to while you wait for that darn gatekeeper to grant you entry into the law already?
This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello, a collection of stories or “lessons” about a novelist of the same name and her peripatetic lectures and debates.