Episode 2: Funny Math

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.

Episode 1.1: Welcome to the Resistance


Toby, Meg and guest host Clark Knowles discuss themes of resistance in three very different dystopian novels and explore how fictional narratives are helping real-life protestors define their cause.


THE FICTION: Toby reread George Orwell’s 1984. Pick up a copy at your favorite local bookstore or, if you prefer, on Amazon… where it seems to be back in stock. Clark told us about The Fifth Season, a Hugo-winning novel by N. K. Jemisin. Meg talked about A Wrinkle In Time, a classic young adult novel that’s about to become a movie.

IRL: Pretty much every major news organization is covering protests, boycotts and other acts of resistance. We’re fond of this project by The Guardian.  Meg mentioned supporters of President Trump who viewed their votes as acts of resistance. Here’s a project from The Washington Post about that. We also talked a lot about Standing Rock. Here’s a quick primer on the events leading up to the protests there, plus this column on how journalists could have covered the story better. And here are some of the amazing photos we mentioned. Finally: A Q&A with Jemisin about the backlash her work received from the alt-right.

Photo credits: (L) Alisdare Hickson via Flickr; (R) Sage Ross via Wikimedia. Both images used under Creative Commons 2.0.

Winston Smith had a diary. We have a podcast… and it’s dropping soon.

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 AudioBoomiTunes 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