It’s time for the next entry in my Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.
I have decided to expand the scope of the project to also cover fancasts, because the fancast category could also use a boost. And besides, the borders between fanzine and fancast are porous anyway.
So today, I’m pleased to feature the Androids and Assets podcast, which discusses the politics and economy of science fiction.
Therefore, I’m happy to welcome Stephen and Marshall of Androids and Assets to my blog today:
Tell us about your podcast or channel.
Androids and Assets is a podcast about the political economy of speculative fiction. It is a crazed experiment, and is a truly unique attempt to engage Fandoms in fierce political discourse. We mostly look at fantasy and science fiction and examine the choices in the background of the story. What do they use for money? What sort of government is in place? Is this modern capitalism simply moved to a fictional world? Is that an intentional choice to critique capitalism or is it an unquestioned acceptance of our current system?
Basically if a work is about the future and makes any comment on the social relationships of people to wealth, power and each other we want to engage with it.
We process creative works through a lot of different lenses. So maybe we are making a historical analogy, talking about Foucault or we are doing cost analysis of a spaceship. We take wild liberties with the show’s broad conceptual mandate. We are also very lucky to often have guests to come on and talk about their works. We interrogate them about what they were thinking and what they were trying to tell the audience through their work. It has been wonderful to engage with so many great creators who are so willing to engage with our questions about quantitative easing and post holes.
We are also doing a complete watch through and discussion of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in what might be described as a separate show. Every other episode we release is called Emissaries of Profits and we talk about Star Trek and DS9 and grapple with what the show tells us about the Federation and what people were thinking about in the nineties.
Who are the people behind your podcast or channel?
If the show is a crazed experiment we are happy to be the mad social scientists. Stephen is an orthodox Marxist He’s interested in history, philosophy and psychology. Marshall is a heterodox Marxist, our resident economist and an insightful amateur historian in his own right.
Above all else we are good friends with a passion for SFF and a hatred of market centric capital, that sees wealth as an end in itself. We see wealth as a tool for improving people’s lives and that it needs to be shared through a scientific and democratic form of governance. The institution of property cannot be inviolable in a just society
Why did you decide to start your podcast or channel?
Because we’re two white dudes in the 21st century.
A little more seriously, we talk about these things all the time and thought other people might also want rage against unrestrained capital through the Cypher of SFF.
What format do you use for your podcast or channel and why did you choose this format?
We always have a thesis trying to link a fiction work to a real world phenomenon. Sometimes the pursuit of that thesis takes us to strange places. Our podcast is formatted as a conversation. It is pretty free flowing and lightly (sometimes more and sometimes less) edited. Even when we have a guest it is less an interview and more a discussion about the work.
If you like deep dives into minutia and rapid fire hot takes on SFF franchises you may like this show.
The fan categories at the Hugos were there at the very beginning, but they are also the categories which consistently gets the lowest number of votes and nominations. So why do you think fanzines, fancasts and other fan projects are important?
Media is best shared with others. It is more fun to discuss and critique things we love (or don’t) with others. We’ve had our opinions on books and movies changed after a good chat. Fan projects help shape opinion and help people find new things to enjoy or new ways to enjoy things they already love.
Inevitably fan communities will attain a totalizing hybrid holographic/drug fueled mass consciousness until then… we need this.
In the past twenty years, fanzines have increasingly moved online and fancasts have sprung up. What do you think the future of fan media looks like?
Predictions about the future are incredibly difficult. I’m certain that as media evolves, fans will be right there alongside it. But, we are confident in the inevitability of a totalizing hybrid holographic/drug fueled mass consciousness
The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?
We are happy to share the media discourse with our good friends at the Hugo Book Club Blog, The Hugo Girl! Podcast, Spectology and Escape Pod. They are all worth checking out and worthy of awards.
Where can people find you?
We are also reachable through most major occult rituals.
Thank you, Stephen and Marshall, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Androids and Assets, cause it’s a great podcast.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.