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Radio Free Dystopia

A podcast about what we learn when facts and dystopian fiction start to look the same. Join dystopian novelist Toby Ball, journalist Meg Heckman and assorted guests as they 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.

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Episode 3: Going Rogue

Secret messages and subversive communication are nothing new, but when social media gets added to the mix things get interesting. Toby and Meg 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. They discuss the real-life rise of rogue and alt Twitter accounts, plus how Toby uses secret messages in his own novels. Also: The beginning of what's sure to be a long and ongoing conversation about The Handmaid's Tale and what happened when a marketing campaign for Amazon's Man in the High Castle went just a little sideways. #handmaidstale #resistanceradio #altgov P.S. Mark Luckie has a really cool new project underway. Check it out at souledoutcinema.com.


6 May 2017

Rank #1

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Episode 4: The Handmaid's Tale

Is Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale feminist? Hell yes! But it's also a story about patriarchy, misogyny and a society built around state-sanctioned rape. Toby and Meg get help exploring these themes and others from Dr. Robin Hackett, an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire. Robin's specialities include literary modernism, Virginia Woolf, feminist theory, queer theory and LGBTQ literature - so she's pretty much the perfect guest host. We also talk a little about the often-overlooked 1990 film adaptation and get additional insights via emails from listeners Mary, D'Anne, Cameron and Laurie. Also: Toby gets in a fight with his microphone, Meg runs through the first-ever Fact Check Edition of The News from Dystopia, and Robin recommends we all read Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin. #handmaidstale, #feminism, #dystopia


17 May 2017

Rank #2

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Episode 9: The end... for now, plus thoughts on Charlottesville

The season one finale was supposed to be about The Handmaid's Tale and some soon-to-be released dystopian movies, but Toby and Meg decided to talk about #Charlottesville instead. P.S. You'll notice that this episode is short. That's because we'd like you to spend some time listening to a few podcasts that will help you better understand structural racism in America. Meg talks about this a bit in the episode, but here are some links if you want to check them out right away: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bonus-pod-charlottesville/id1230148653?i=1000391013305&mt=2 https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/charlottesville-and-white-people/id1250180134?i=1000391051159&mt=2 https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/charlottesville-and-the-white-supremacists/id1188724250?i=1000391039597&mt=2 https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a-monumental-problem/id1188724250?i=1000391124573&mt=2


18 Aug 2017

Rank #3

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Episode 8: Young adult edition ... or why dystopian novels are so popular among teens and tweens

It's peak summer reading season, so Toby and Meg spent some time thinking about why books with dystopian themes appeal to young adults. They get help from YA author Susan Moger and Book Riot contributor Liberty Hardy. Also: Actual kids with great book suggestions, a look ahead to new dystopian titles coming this fall and a tangent about a little New Hampshire town with a (very) interesting history. #YA #reading #dystopia


14 Jul 2017

Rank #4

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Episode 7: This Perfect Day and our imperfect real-life relationship with technology

The relationship between human beings and technology is ripe with dystopian undercurrents - so ripe that Toby and Meg talked to two guests instead of the usual one. Together, they ponder parallels between modern technology and This Perfect Day, a 1970 technocratic dystopian novel by Ira Levin. Also: Wardrobe advice from Alexa, emerging issues in civil liberties and a whopper of a News from Dystopia segment. P.S. We're still looking for suggestions from you (or your kids) about dystopian novels that appeal to teens and tweens. Send us an email or voice memo at radiofreedystopia@gmail.com. #data #privacy #dystopia


30 Jun 2017

Rank #5