Episode 6: A propaganda primer

downloadPropaganda is a key ingredient in dystopian narratives. It’s also present in many aspects of real life. To learn more, Toby and Meg talk to award-winning filmmaker and author Paul Fischer. His book – A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power – is a fascinating look at how the North Korean regime builds and rebuilds its own version of reality.

We also discuss other types of propaganda and how emerging technology is changing the way propagandists practice their craft.

P.S. We’re planning a show about young adult dystopian fiction, and we’d love to hear from you (or, even better, your kids.) What are some great kid-friendly dystopian books? Why are dystopian stories so popular among teens and tweens? Send us an email or voice memo at radiofreedystopia@gmail.com or leave a comment under this post.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Episode 5: Is good journalism the anti-dystopia?

If you want to avoid dystopia, you’re going to need plenty of independent journalists. Why else would so many great works of dystopian fiction make a point of describing how the press has been muzzled, marginalized or eradicated?

To learn more, Meg and Toby talk to Clay Wirestone, the news editor at the Topeka Capital-Journal in Topeka, Kansas and a writer whose work has appeared in Mental Floss and many other places. We discuss the importance of independent watchdog journalism and run through the many recent threats to press freedoms in the U.S.

Also: Clay explains¬†why, sometimes, facts just aren’t enough. Toby talks about why he used a reporter as a character in his novels. Meg recommends It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis … and tells listeners about a Radio Free Dystopia drinking game that’s apparently becoming a thing.