Secret messages and subversive communication are nothing new, but when social media gets added to the mix things become – as Toby would say – interesting.
In this episode, we get help understanding this phenomenon from Mark S. Luckie, the former head of media for Reddit and, before that, manager of journalism and media for Twitter. We discuss the real-life rise of rogue and alt Twitter accounts, plus how Toby uses secret messages in his own novels. We also kick off what’s sure to be a long conversation about The Handmaid’s Tale and talk about what happened when a marketing campaign for Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle went just a little sideways.
THE FICTION: In addition to Toby’s first book, The Vaults, we talked about The Handmaid’s Tale (spoiler: subversive communication turns out to be a pretty big thing in the book), The Man in the High Castle (both Philip K. Dick’s novel and Amazon’s adaptation), the Black Panther reboot and The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard.
IRL: Here’s more on the legal battle between Twitter and the federal government over @ALT_uscis. Also: This story from The New York Times with some great quotes from Twitter’s court papers and how Amazon’s clever #resistanceradio marketing campaign was misunderstood.
P.S. Mark S. Luckie has a really cool (and decidedly non-dystopian) new project underway. It’s called SouledOut Cinema, and you should check it out here.
Can two plus two ever equal five? Math professor Mike Nothnagel helps Toby and Meg run the numbers and discuss why alternative facts are great for fiction and horrible for democracy.
THE FICTION: We started our conversation with Orwell’s 1984, then talked about other books, movies and TV shows that use competing realities as plot devices. On our list: The Parallax View, The X-Files, The Prisoner (original and reboot), The City & The City and this episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
IRL: We talk about the rise of alternative facts, especially Pizzagate. Also: fake news is everywhere, gang. Here’s a great primer on how to spot to it. And Mike talked about this study involving voters from different political parties and photos of President Trump’s inauguration crowds.
George Orwell’s 1984 is so popular even Amazon ran out of copies. There’s a new TV series based on The Handmaid’s Tale. Oprah is starring in a movie version of A Wrinkle in Time.
Dystopian fiction is HOT, and this is the podcast where we figure out why by exploring parallels between current events and dystopian fiction. Join us as we talk about authoritarianism, free speech, environmental decay and what it means to commit acts of resistance. Also: Power, privilege, freedom and – perhaps most importantly of all – hope.
Sound interesting? Find us on AudioBoom, iTunes and Google Play. We’ll keep you company while you’re building a backyard fallout shelter … or just driving to work, trying to make sense of it all.
Radio Free Dystopia is a production of Partners In Crime Media.