SciFi Ideas Podcast Episode #0

The first episode of the SciFi Ideas podcast, in which Mark and David discuss several of the articles and stories posted during the Alien August event, the Blue Dwarf role-playing-game, and the difference between science fiction and fantasy.

Episode #0 is a trial run for what is set to become a regular monthly feature on SciFi Ideas. The episode is also available on our YouTube channel.

Show Notes

Ongoing Worlds:
Blue Dwarf:

The Yzaz:…
The Cooties of Io:…
The Planet Brokers by Dan Palacios:…
Inspiration Gallery:…

Music by Aligator Gumbo

  • Great first (or zeroth?) episode! I can’t wait for the next one.

    A clarification and a thought:

    I’m sorry I didn’t write it more clearly in the Yzaz article. What I meant by “toroidal region” is that the habitable region is ring-shaped. The landmasses themselves would be their usual odd shapes, and I imagine they’d be broken up by lakes and seas and the like. The habitable region is broader than just the twilight, due to the atmosphere moving heat.

    Basically, take this map of the southern hemisphere, centered on Antarctica. ( Pretend that the Antarctic Circle (the red dotted line) is the perpetual cyclone and the immediate region around it (likely uninhabitable by yzaz due to strong winds, electrical storms,etc.) Then the rest of the map, to the equator would be the rest of the habitable region, with the equator as Gan’s twilight zone. So, the region’s like a donut, with the eastern polar storm as a hole.

    On magic and fantasy:

    Just what magic entails may depend on the writer, story, or setting. I wouldn’t have specific recommendations, as I have only recently started getting into fantasy, but I’ve read some discussions and such related to magic systems and world building. Magic in fantasy works can have a logic to its workings, and even prevent characters from going “Let me just whip out my wand and make everything instantly better”. Have you heard of Larry Niven’s “The Magic Goes Away” and related stories? In it, magic (or rather magical energy, mana) is a non-renewable resource, with the story being an allegory for the 1970s oil crisis. It might be worth a look. 🙂

    I think some of the difference between science fiction and fantasy can be less a matter of “logic vs. lack of logic” but the kind of logic (fantasy magic tends to be more symbolic and dreamlike, whereas science-fictional technology, not so much), and the tone (a bit of a je ne sais quois) of the story. But, like I hinted at it, fantasy treatments of magic can vary (like science-fictional treatments of technology/science, for that matter) *shrug*

    It was good listening to you guys!

    • Thanks for the clarification! I thought you were quite clear, it’s just that Dave doesn’t know what a tidally locked planet is 😀
      I’ve a couple more questions for you:
      Would there be a cyclone on both the sunward side and the dark side?
      Would there be any water at all on the sunward side, or would liquid water be confined to the temperate donut region?

      Glad you liked episode #0. It was a little tangential since we’ve never done this before, but we hope to bring more focused discussion next time. We’re planning on releasing an episode once per month from now on.

  • Okay…

    Cyclones: I don’t think there’d be a cyclone on the dark side.

    Water on the sunward side (I think you mean the East Pole here)? Yup. It’d be falling out of the sky in the storm. The uninhabitability (for yzaz) of the storm region isn’t due to lack of water, but due to constant torrential rains, cyclone-force winds and electrical storms. That could make for an interesting ecology, but not a place habitable for yzaz.

    As for the sunward side as a whole, yes. The atmosphere’s substantial enough to move heat away from the sunward side so there can be liquid water.

    As to the night side, I think it’d be sort of like the arctic regions here (for now) with big ice sheets and such, except always dark. I think there would be liquid water there, due to warm water coming in from the sunward side and due to geothermal activity powered by the tidal forces Gan would experience from being so close to its sun.

  • Sort of. I imagined there being enough water that it’s not all arid around the eastern pole. (like the illustration seems to have) But otherwise, it’s similar.

    Mostly I had wanted to get away from what seemed to be the more typical portrayal of only the twilight zone being habitable, and had read that according to some, a planet with sufficient atmosphere could move heat around and make more of the sunward side habitable.

    I’m intrigued by this:

    “The ocean of an eyeball Earth will likely span a range of temperatures. “It’s probably pretty hot in the center of the eye and then gradually gets colder towards the edge of the ice crust,” Angerhausen said. Still, much remains uncertain — for instance, if the ocean transports heat well, the planet might warm enough all over to turn into a water world without ice, he suggested.”

    This could be interesting, science-fictionally speaking. It could be a good setting for a two-sophont planet, one mainly inhabiting the day side, the other inhabiting the night side. (Sure, it could be possible if the night side was an icy waste, but it’d be harder) It would also make astronomy a lot easier. (For my yzaz, I had them, in my mind, progress technologically more slowly partly due to this, as well as other factors)

    Thanks for the article…planets like these intrigue me because they’re very picturesque in my head. A different kind of or number of suns in the sky is a very evocative cue that You Are Not On Earth. And something about perpetual day (or perpetual night) is also evocative to me.