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Spider Robinson Speaks

Spider on the Web

Spider’s podcast is well in its second successful year of mixing audio science fiction, science fact, and other spoken-word shenanigans, with some of the best music you’ve never heard before.

• Every other podcast will specialize in short science fiction by authors like John Varley, Fred Pohl, Robert Heinlein, Davids Gerrold and Palmer, and Cory Doctorow, all read aloud by this year’s Earphones Award winner, Spider;

• Alternating podcasts will specialize in rare and astonishing sounds from around the world by the likes of Crosby & Nash, Darrell Scott, Amos Garrett, Todd Butler, John Boutté, Doug Cox, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and others including Spider himself.

Check out the latest installment of Spider On The Web, and then feel free to wander back through the nearly 100 hours of educated entertainment in the archives below.

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Mac Users: Download the SOTW OSX Dashboard widget, designed by Joseph Beam. Download .zip

Please send us your comments and let us know what you think:
spiderweb@shaw.ca

Like what you hear? Spider greatly appreciates your subscriptions and/or generous Paypal donations. Help prove Cory Doctorow is right: that netizens will voluntarily pay for good content.


11/15/13 - The Starvation Box
© 2013 Spider Robinson
Music: Colin MacDonald. Download MP3. Colin MacDonald


1/06/13 - Another Free Lunch
© 2013 Spider Robinson

Reading: Chapters 3 & 4, THE FREE LUNCH by Spider Robinson. Music: Tim Minchin, The Creber Family, Michelle Creber, Gina Sposto, Doug Cox, Marcus Eaton with James Raymond, Dori Rubbicco Leggé. Download MP3.


9/15/12 - A Free Lunch
© 2012 Spider Robinson

Reading: "The Littlest Dragon" by Seymour Hamilton; Chapters 1 & 2, THE FREE LUNCH by Spider Robinson. Music: Mose Scarlett; Folk Uke; John Boutté; Gale Mead; Scarlett, Washington & Whiteley. Download MP3.


5/01/12 - The Voyage South
© 2012 Spider Robinson

Reading: Prologue of Book I of the Astreya Trilogy, THE VOYAGE SOUTH, by Seymour Hamilton. Music: Kathleen Rubbicco, Strung, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ella Fitzgerald with the Ray Brown Quintet, Tony Dominelli, and Lord Buckley. Download MP3.


10/26/11 - It’s Time Now....
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Reading: "Chronic Offender." Music: The Lovin’ Spoonful, Spider singing Tim Minchin, Ann Earthling & The Planets, Nils Landgren & Michael Wollny, Joshua Penman and Akara, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Mose Scarlett. Download MP3.


8/11/11 - Life Goes On
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Music: Naming The Twins, Corbin Keep, Slide To Freedom, Crosby-Nash, Across The Borderline. Download MP3.


3/11/11 - Bianca's Hands
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Reading: "Bianca's Hands" and "Godbody" by Theodore Sturgeon. Music: McCarthy, Richards & Leggé; Colin MacDonald; Crosby & Nash. Download MP3.


2/06/11 - Live At Tottering-On-The-Brink
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Music: Dori Leggé, Claude Debussy, CPE Bach, Steve Reich, Tom Johnson, Colin MacDonald, Jacob ter Veldhuis. Download MP3.


1/07/11 - VPL Podshop #3 (of 3)
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Podshops created as Vancouver Public Library's Writer In Residence.
00:01 "Magic," by Greg Stephens
4:22 "Clearly," by Steve Robson
15: 30 "Legacy of Ariast," by Jeffrey Stephens
20:00 "The Pinch," by Melissa Tepperman

Download MP3.


1/01/11 - VPL Podshop #2 (of 3)
© 2011 Spider Robinson

Podshops created as Vancouver Public Library's Writer In Residence.
"Domestic Disturbance": :48
"The Raising": 8:52
"The Navigators": 22:40
"The Samhain Murders": 37:20

Download MP3.


12/25/10 - VPL Podshop #1 (of 3)
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Podshops created as Vancouver Public Library's Writer In Residence.
Kristi Charish's 'Transfections' begins @ 4:00.
Stephanie Cruz's 'Perihelion': 18:12.
Pat Dobie's 'The Liquid World': 33:21.
Michael Donoghue's 'Good Intentions':50:42.
Comments begin at 1:04:19, and follow above order.

Download MP3.


12/20/10 - Merry Crozmas & Son!
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Music: Local Anxiety, Bambi Kino, David Crosby and James Raymond (including multiple world premieres). Download MP3.


9/06/10 - Back on the Air
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Music: Shari Ulrich, Pauline Le Bel, Christie Grace, Tony Dominelli, Brian "Breeze" Cayolle, Colin MacDonald w/ Vancouver Saxophone Ensemble, Doug Cox w/ John Boutté & Salil Bhatt, Matt & Wendy Maxwell, Spider Robinson. Download MP3.


4/09/10 - Meditations on Mortality
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Music: Jeff Healey & accomplices; Jeanne Robinson & Dori Leggé; CPR. Download MP3.


3/20/10 - Satan's Children II
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Reading: Conclusion of "Satan's Children" by Spider Robinson. Music: Doug Cox w/ Salil Bhatt, Ramkumesh Kumar & John Boutté; James Taylor; Big Joe Williams w/ Lambert Hendricks & Ross and Count Basie And His Orchestra; Doug Cox w Amos Garrett & Ron Casat. Download MP3.


3/02/10 - Satan's Children
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Reading: Part 1 of "Satan's Children" by Spider Robinson. Music: Roy Schultz, Janis Ian, Graham Nash, Gale Mead. Download MP3.


2/05/10 - Music with a Wooden Leg
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Music: David Crosby, Steve Morse, Jonathan Edwards & Orphan, Cyril Pahinui, Oscar Peterson Trio, Lhasa de Sela, Kenny Barron with Trio Da Paz & Anne Drummond. Download MP3.
http://shop.ebay.com/dreamforjeanneauctions/m.html?_dmd=1&_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1
to bid on the complete set of Theodore Sturgeon hard covers.


1/08/10 - Pruzy's Pot
© 2010 Spider Robinson

Reading: "Pruzy's Pot," read by Theodore Sturgeon. Music: Tracey Cayolle, CPR, Doug Cox. Download MP3.


12/11/09 - Mess o' Music
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: George Harrison, Leslie Alexander, Jane Siberry, Amos Garrett, Geoff Muldaur, Jim Kweskin, Danielle Miraglia, Cliff Eberhardt, Lou Killen, Stacey Earle, Mark Stuart, Joyce Moreno. Download MP3.


11/15/09 - Inhumanly Readable
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Reading: Part 2 of "Human Readable" by Cory Doctorow. Music: Les Finnigan, Ellis Paul, WJ Plecha, Rhonda Rosalee, Jeff Pevar, Maria Joao. Download MP3.


11/6/09 - Human Readable
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Reading: Part 1 of "Human Readable" by Cory Doctorow. Music: Watermelon Slim and the Workers, Viktoria Tolstoy, Esbjorn Svensson Trio. Download MP3.


10/9/09 - Music from the Heart
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Mose Allison, Tony Dominelli, Pauline LeBel, Shari Ulrich, Barney Bentall & Tom Taylor, Matt Maxwell, Wendy Maxwell, Rob Bailey & Stan Gadziola, Gale Mead, Dori Leggé with Donn Leggé, Spider Robinson with Kathleen Rubbicco, Lisa Thiel, Colin MacDonald, David Crosby & Graham Nash. Download MP3.


9/12/09 - 16-year old Fogey
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Amos Garrett, Half Hearted Hero, Dori & Donn Legge. Carole King, Esperanza Spalding, Genya Ravan, Madeleine Peyroux, Carla Bley, The Dixie Dregs. Download MP3.


8/22/09 - Suicide Prevention Kit
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Readings: A SAUCER OF LONELINESS and SUICIDE by Theodore Sturgeon. Music: Livingston Taylor, Maria Muldaur with Amos Garrett, Les Paul Trio, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Leon Russell. Download MP3.


8/01/09 - Hot Music Tonight
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Tom Rush, Swamp Valley Ladybugs, Women’s Chain Gang, 1939, Tres Femmes, James Taylor & Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Bobby Gentry & Donovan, Jim Croce, Django Reinhardt playing electric guitar w Duke Ellington Orchestra, Nobutake Ito and the Swing Niglots of Tokyo, Celso Machado, Todd Butler, Todd Butler w Spider Robinson, Spider Robinson folkaoke tracks, Todd Butler & Doug Cox, Dori Leggé & Kathy Rubbico. Download MP3.


7/21/09 - Slow Sculpture
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Reading: SLOW SCULPTURE by Theodore Sturgeon. Music: Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, Richard Galliano & Gonzalo Rubalcaba, James Taylor & Bobby Gentry, Chet Atkins & Paul Yandell. Download MP3.


7/04/09 - Supersized Music
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Cass Elliot, Celso Machado, Seu Jorge, The Rutles, Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt, George Harrison, Chet Atkins, Colin MacDonald, Esbjorn Svensson, Lord Buckley, Dori Leggé. Download MP3.


6/08/09 - Starmind
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Reading: STARMIND by Spider Robinson. Music: Paul Pena, Doug Cox, Breeze Cayolle. Download MP3.


5/01/09 - Jazz Birds
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Molly Johnson, Elizabeth Shepherd, Roberta Gambarini, Luciana Souza, Esperanza Spalding, Ana Carolina, Seu Jorge, Maria Bethania, Sunny Crownover, David Crosby. Download MP3.


4/11/09 - Road to Recovery
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Reading: STARMIND by Spider Robinson. Music: Blues Train Band, Sunny And Her Joy Boys, Blossom Dearie with Marian McPartland, Dori Leggé, Edison Ripsborn. Download MP3.


2/21/09 - I Want Your Sax
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music: Mr. X , Victor Assis Brasil, Coleman Hawkins, Ernie Watts, Benny Carter, George Coleman, Sax Brothers (Joe Lovano/Johannes Enders/Gary Smulyan/Greg Osby), Sax Special (Peter Brötzmann/Evan Parker/Willem Brueker/John Tchicai/Steve Lacy), World Saxophone Quartet (James Carter/Hamiet Bluiett/Greg Osby/Oliver Lake), Johnny Hodges. Download MP3.


2/7/09 - Thirteen O’Clock
© 2009 Spider Robinson

EXTREME EXPLICIT WARNING. Readings: “The Truth About David Gerrold,” by Spider Robinson, and “Thirteen O’Clock,” by David Gerrold. Music: Spike Jones & His City Snickers [not a typo]; Vladimir Vysotsky; Watermelon Slim; Corbin Keep. Download MP3.


1/16/09 - Music by Family and Friends
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music by D. Warwick, Kathleen Rubbicco, Peter Armstrong, Tracey Cayolle, Brian "Breeze" Cayolle,Paul Pena, Chirgilchin, Oidupaa Vladimir Oiun, Seth Augustus. Download MP3.


1/04/09 - In Fading Suns And Dying Moons
© 2009 Spider Robinson

Music by Schaun Tozer, James Raymond, Dave Van Ronk. Readings of “In Fading Suns And Dying Moons” by John Varley, and of Chapter 1 of BAD NEWS by Donald E. Westlake. Download MP3.


12/19/08 - Christmas Card from an author in Vancouver
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Music by The Beatles, Jake Thackray, Redips Nosnibor, Colin MacDonald, Blossom Dearie, Hoagy Carmichael and Georgie Fame, Amos Garrett, Barrence Whitfield, Ray Charles, and Tom Waits. Download MP3.


12/5/08 - The Magnificent Conspiracy: A real-life holiday miracle
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Reading: "The Magnificent Conspiracy." Music by 3-Dog Night, Jeff Healey, Paul McCartney & Elvis Costello. Download MP3.


11/21/08 - All-Music Birthday Party
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Music by Spider, Chris Coon, Matt Maxwell, Mike & Monique Creber, Sligo Rags, Rubbicco Family, Gary Bartz & Kenny Barron, Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio, Jennifer Scott & Rene Worst, Treasa Levasseur, Colin MacDonald. Download MP3.


11/9/08 - The Persistence of Vision
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Reading: Hugo and Locus Award-winning novella "The Persistence of Vision" by John Varley. Music by John Boutté, Doug Cox, Jake Thackray, David Crosby. Download MP3.


10/18/08 - More Music You've Never Heard
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Music by Schaun Tozer, Egberto Gismonti, Alexandre Gismonti, Darrell Scott, Gale Mead with Amos Garrett, Phoebe Snow, Gerald Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Prasanna, and Matt Maxwell. Download MP3.


10/03/08 - Starseed
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Readings: Part 1 reading from STARSEED, part 2 from SOCIETY’S CHILD. Music by James Raymond, Johnny Winter, Gale Mead, Janis Ian, and Stanley Unwin. Download MP3.


9/05/08 - Stardance
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Readings: excerpt from “Stardance,” by S & J; “Options” by John Varley. Music: “Cottontail,” by Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra; “Sweet Marajuana Brown,” by Joe Thomas with the Barney Bigard Sextet and Art Tatum; “Muggles” by Louis Armstrong; “Pak Alit” by Colin MacDonald. Download MP3.


8/01/08 - Classic Frederick Pohl
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Readings: two classic Frederik Pohl stories, “Day Million” and “We Purchased People.” The latter requires at least 6 X’s in its warning, and maybe a Not For The Squeamish too. Music: opening and closing tracks “EGF Receptor 20 (671-998)” and “Human Phospholipase A2-11A,” by God, interpreted by Dr. William Campbell and Matthew Campbell; “Estate,” by Bruno Martino & Bruno Brighetti, English lyrics (“In Summer”) by Jon Hendricks, guitar and vocal by Spider Robinson; “Ground Speed,” by Bela Fleck, performed by Bela, Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas et. al. Download MP3.


7/19/08 - Musicfest 08 Discoveries
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Music: Musicfest 08 Discoveries Eneida Marta, Shane Koyczan, and Matt Andersen, plus Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie, and Spider live off the floor; talk: entering its second year SOTW reluctantly faces reality. Download MP3.


7/11/08 - How I Got My Dream Back
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Reading: "How I Got My Dream Back"; music: Doug Cox, Todd Butler, Salil Bhatt, John Boutté, Spider Robinson. Download MP3.


7/04/08 - The Guy With the Eyes
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Reading: "The Guy With The Eyes"; music: Duke Ellington Orchestra, CSNY. Download MP3.


6/21/08 - Orphans of Eden
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Readings: "Orphans Of Eden," "Local Champ"; music: Koerner, Ray & Glover. Download MP3.


6/21/08 - Soul Search
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Reading: "Soul Search" (complete); music: Esbjorn Svensson Trio, Charlie Haden Quartet West. Download MP3.


6/13/08 - Very Hard Choices 6
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING. Readings from VERY HARD CHOICES including a missing bit from SOTW-044; music by C&N, and CPR. Download MP3.


6/07/08 - Very Hard Choices 5
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING. Readings from VERY HARD CHOICES; music by CSN, CPR, and Sinatra. Download MP3.


5/30/08 - Very Hard Choices 4
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING. Readings from VERY HARD CHOICES; music by Steve Wiest Big Band, Carla Bley & The Lost Chords. Download MP3.


5/23/08 - Very Hard Choices 3
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING. Readings from VERY HARD CHOICES; music by Georgie Fame, F Zappa, Dave Van Ronk. Download MP3.


5/16/08 - Little Brother 2
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING. Fiction readings: Cory Doctorow's LITTLE BROTHER, my VERY HARD CHOICES; music by James Raymond. Download MP3.


5/09/08 - No Talking, Just Great Music
© 2008 Spider Robinson

All music this week: a eclectic selection from all directions. Sounds and sweet airs by Amiri Baraka with Air, Stan Getz & Kenny Barron, Graham Nash, Todd Butler, Michael Friedman, Breeze Cayolle, Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt with John Boutté, and Colin MacDonald. Download MP3.


5/03/08 - Little Brother
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Explicit Language Warning ; more music from Bowen Island; a reading from LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow. Download MP3.


4/25/08 - Music of 3 Islands
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING; an all-music podcast by 10 different artists; music: Tom Rush, Shael Wrinch, Shari Ulrich and more. Download MP3.


4/18/08 - Very Hard Choices 2
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING; reading from VERY HARD CHOICES; music: Dave Frishberg, Good Brothers, Todd Butler. Download MP3.


4/11/08 - Very Hard Choices
© 2008 Spider Robinson

XXX WARNING; reading from VERY HARD CHOICES; music: Leon Bibb, and Spider with Todd Butler. Download MP3.


4/04/08 - Very Bad Deaths 2
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT LANGUAGE WARNING. Readings from VERY BAD DEATHS; NEW music by Amos Garrett, Duke Robillard & New Guitar Summit. Download MP3.


3/28/08 - Remarkable Women
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Spider offers music by & prose about some remarkable women: Gale Mead, Carla Bley, Blossom Dearie, Dori Leggé, and the Bunny. XXX EXPLICIT WARNING! Adult language and outrageous sexual situations. Download MP3.


3/21/08 - No Science Fiction, Only Music
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Spider has so much good music backed up inside him, he's about to explode. Here are performances by Jeff Healey, Moe Scarlett, Jordin Kare, Seth Augustus, Chirgilchin, Dorrie Leger, Matt Richard, Les Finnigan, and David Qualey. Download MP3.


3/14/08 - Rocket Ship Galileo
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Spider reads the first chapter from Robert Heinlein's ROCKET SHIP GALILEO, excerpted from his Blackstone Audio recording. Download MP3.


3/08/08 - Callahan's Legacy
© 2008 Spider Robinson

EXPLICIT WARNING. Spider reads from CALLAHAN'S LEGACY, and bids farewell to the late great bluesman Jeff Healey. Download MP3.


3/01/08 - Not Fade Away/Orphans Of Eden
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Two complete short stories from USER FRIENDLY, plus caustic, mystic or acoustic music from Todd Butler, Janis Ian, Salil Bhatt & Doug Cox, and Rob Bowen & Stan Gadziola. Download MP3.


2/22/08 - Very Bad Deaths
© 2008 Spider Robinson

This week I read excerpts from VERY BAD DEATHS (whose sequel VERY HARD CHOICES comes out in June), and also bring you a selection of serious music by the Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra, semiserious filk music by Nate Bucklin, and gloriously goofy unreleased word music by Lord Buckley and friends. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


2/17/08 - Soul from Hamburg to Halifax and back
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Overdue props, shout-outs and thanks to new friends and old; music by Stefan Gwildis, Bill Stevenson & Tom Easley, and David Qualey; plus 3 readings from The Crazy Years, debating the sentience of a strange race called the Yoominz of Sol III... Download MP3.


2/08/08 - Blues Train Band
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Stop the presses, press all the stops, hold the phone, phone the hold and bring the poop to the poopdeck, by heck! Wake the kids and start kiddin' at the wake Jake, 'cause there's breakin' news about to break, news so good it's hard to take. I got news about blues for all of youse about which we will all enthuse. For the first time in its history, lentils and jadiemen, Spider on the Web #29 is going to bring you a world premiere of the brand new CD out of Massachusetts by New Bedford's notorious Blues Train Band. There is also a reading of Chapter 19 of VARIABLE STAR. Download MP3.


2/01/08 - Mindkiller
© 2008 Spider Robinson

In Spider on the Web #20 (Stories and Strings) I read you excerpts from all three of the novels represented in the LIFEHOUSE TRILOGY, the new hardcover omnibus just out from Baen Books. Because I was reading excerpts from all three books each one of them had to be very short and I ended up cutting at least one of them a lot shorter than I wanted to. I've decided to revisit it now: the short story "God is an Iron", which later became the second chapter of the novel MINDKILLER. Musical selections will be performed by Spider Robinson. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


1/25/08 - Time Pressure
© 2008 Spider Robinson

This week I'll read you an excerpt from my novel TIME PRESSURE, part of the LIFEHOUSE TRILOGY set in Nova Scotia at the end of the 60's. In this excerpt our misanthropic hippie-hermit-hero Sam has just witnessed the explosive arrival of a beautiful, naked time traveller named Rachel in the snowy woods, and brought her home to warm up. Musical selections will be performed by Andrew York, David Crosby, and Jonathan Edwards. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


1/18/08 - Lifehouse
© 2008 Spider Robinson

This week I'm going to read you a portion of one of the three novels contained in the LIFEHOUSE TRILOGY, available now in a single hardcover volume from Baen Books. Chapter One of the novel LIFEHOUSE, the conclusion of the trilogy which was my attempt to come up with a reason to be a good man that did not require a god with thunderbolts up his sleeve to enforce it -- what seems to me to be a rational man's substitute for religion. Musical selections will be performed by Colin MacDonald, David Crosby, James Raymond, and Graham Nash. WARNING! X-rated language! Download MP3.


1/11/08 - Book Reviews
© 2008 Spider Robinson

Welcome to SOTW #25 and the book reviews I promised of two SF novels by non-SF writers: Rafi Zabor's THE BEAR COMES HOME and Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD. Musical selections will be performed by the Charlie Haden Quartet, John Coltrane, Todd Butler, and Dory Previn. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


1/04/08 - Zero-G Party
© 2008 Spider Robinson

I'd really like to open this week with a live interview with my wife, the successful zero-gravity choreographer who has just come back from a trip to heaven at the end of the year 07. Sadly, she has begged off -- she's still in the middle of doing interviews for news media, dance media, science fiction media, and she's really beginning to hear herself answer the same questions over and over again. So I'm going to open right now with a little bit of time travel, back to the late 80's when Jeanne and I are having one of the very few disagreements that we ever had over the course of our collaboration on the STARDANCE TRILOGY. Musical selections will be performed by Johnny Winter and the Rubbico sisters. Download MP3.


12/28/07 - Preflight Reading from STARDANCE
© 2007 Spider Robinson

Because of one particular person's desire to rise up -- my wife Jeanne -- I'm packing to go to Las Vegas. For those of you who don't know, this weekend my best friend and wife is getting a golden opportunity to experience zero-gravity in a series of parabolic arcs abord a modified 727 thanks to the generosity of Dr. Peter Diamandis, creator of the historic Ansari X-Prize. This week I'm going to give a reading from the STARDANCE TRILOGY, the novels that Jeanne and I wrote about dance in zero-gravity. Musical selections will be performed by Crosby & Nash, and Janis Ian. Download MP3.


12/21/07 - More Great Music
© 2007 Spider Robinson

My holiday pledge to you is: NO FRIGGIN' CHRISTMAS MUSIC! That's right friends, this will be a carol-free zone for the duration of the holidays. Musical selections will be performed by Seth Augustus, Paul Pena, John Walker, Amos Garrett and Spider Robinson. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


12/14/07 - Scientific Orthodoxymoron
© 2007 Spider Robinson

So far these podcasts have careened from science fact to science fiction to science opinion, to silence-improving music. This week I'm going to try something new, and as dangerous as sweating dynamite: science dogma. We're going to discuss one of the newest and strangest mental diseases our species has yet developed: pursuing scientific facts with religious fervor. Musical selections will be performed by Jaymes Raymond, the New Orleans Jazz Ramblers, Crosby & Nash, Amos Garrett, and Todd Butler. WARNING! Explicit language! Download MP3.


12/07/07 - Stories and Strings
© 2007 Spider Robinson

This week we return to some of what I do best: science fiction. You'll hear excerpts from three novels that make up the omnibus edition of THE LIFEHOUSE TRILOGY, just released by Baen Books, reprinting MINDKILLER, TIME PRESSURE, and LIFEHOUSE. Musical selections will be performed by Doug Cox, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Amos Garrett, and Andrew York. Download MP3.


11/30/07 - The Crazy Years
© 2000-2007 Spider Robinson

This week we break new ground with used, but timeless, material. It's time for what I call speculative non-fiction: a science fiction writer's take on world events, a futurist's thoughts on the recent past. You'll hear readings of Crazy Years columns "Evil's Rootkiller", "School will be ending next month", "You Just Can't Kill for Jesus/Allah/Yahweh/Rama/Elvis...", and "Whatever." Musical selection will be performed by Colin MacDonald, Breeze Cayolle, and Spider Robinson. Download MP3.


11/23/07 - Awesome Music You May Not Know -- Yet
© 2007 Spider Robinson

I love reading you fiction, I love ranting about idiocy in the news, I love rhapsodizing about the frontier called the inner solar system, and we'll get to some of that, but I believe turning people on to great music is the most fun you can have with your pants on and one of the holiest chores there is. Download MP3.


11/16/07 - MELANCHOLY ELEPHANTS by Spider Robinson
© 1983 Spider Robinson

She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Sitting seemed to produce the usual serenity, put everything in perspective. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. She was mildly surprised, in fact, at just how calm she was, until she got out of the hotel elevator at the garage level and the mugger made his play. She killed him instead of disabling him. Which was obviously not a measured, balanced action--the official fuss and paperwork could make her late. Annoyed at herself, she stuffed the corpse under a shiny new Westinghouse roadable whose owner she knew to be in Luna, and continued on to her own car. This would have to be squared later, and it would cost. No help for it--she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquillity as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. Download MP3.


11/09/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 8
© 2006 Tor Books

The first thing I did when I woke next morning was to sit down at my desk and summon a list of Positions Available.

There were a lot more than I expected. It had apparently occurred to the expedition's planners that not only could nearly all the actual useful work of preparing to start this colony be safely put off until the last few years of the voyage... it probably would be anyway, humans being human. Therefore, it would be good to keep them all occupied doing some damn thing or other for the first eighteen or so years. Lots of helpful suggestions had been provided. The full list of jobs the Colonial Authority was willing to pay someone to do took well over three hours just to scroll down through at normal reading speed. Download MP3.


11/05/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #8: SPACE GENERATION

SPACE GENERATION
© 2007 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

The first thing “space generation” makes me think of is the quantum ramjet, a hypothetical star drive I chose as the motive force for the starship
Charles Sheffield in VARIABLE STAR, my new collaboration with Robert A. Heinlein. It would make use of quantum fluctuations in the energy of the cosmic vacuum to propel a ship up to relativistic speeds quickly, without burning any fuel. No such engine has been built yet—but the engineer who proposed it, David Froning, mentioned parenthetically that if a quantum ramjet were ever built, it might very well create new universes, every second it was in operation, as a side effect. It’s kind of hard to top that for space generation. Download MP3.


11/02/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 7
© 2006 Tor Books

Jinny phoned two days later, about eight hours before we left.

Theoretically she should not have been able to. I'd contributed my phone to the ship's recycler on arrival, and gotten a new one - under a false name, using nonexistent credit, and paying a premium for a super-unlisted code. That account would vanish like a bubble when the first bill went unpaid, of course. But by then I expected I would no longer need one. I only needed it now to say goodbye to a few friends and acquaintances, and to dispose of my few remaining assets on Ganymede. Download MP3.


10/29/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #7: SPACE SOCIETY

THE SKY IS ALIVE
© 2007 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

“Space Society” is an ambiguous topic, just as “Space Art” was. There’s more than one way to interpret it.

The easy way out would be to discuss some of the largest of the many organizations that exist to support the study of astronomy, cosmology, planetology and other space-related disciplines, or to encourage manned and/or unmanned spaceflight, or to promote orbital science, industry and/or tourism, or to call for demilitarization of space, or…
Download MP3.


10/26/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 6
© 2006 Tor Books

There were other candidates, of course, some of whom had been waiting years longer than I had, and a great many of them had more impressive skill sets or resources than I did, as well. But such decisions are rarely made fairly. What got me the berth - late starter, dead broke, and all - was a combination of three specific unfair advantages I had over my competitors. Download MP3.


10/22/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #6: SPACE LAW

SHOOTOUT AT THE O.S.T. CORRAL
© 2007 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

Ask Elliot Ness. The power of a law—its meaning—depends on who’s committed to enforcing it, and how far they’re prepared to go. In David Milch’s HBO series Deadwood, nobody seems prepared to enforce much of anything, and perhaps you’ve seen the dire consequences of such anarchy: the rights of prostitutes were not respected, men were sometimes cheated, wealth and power and information lay in the hands of a few, undertaking was handled by voracious swine, and foul language was heard in public. Nothing like the shining civilization of laws we enjoy today.
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10/19/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 5
© 2006 Tor Books

Like the fabulous Conrad compound, my apartment was mostly underground, and did not appear on any map. But there the similiarities ended.

For one thing, it was not located in the middle of a glacier somewhere, but smack in the midst of some of the most densely populated land in the U.S.N.A., the White Rock district of Greater Vancouver. For another, it was the polar opposite of opulent or luxurious, as comfortable as a coffin. Vancouver itself has a tradition of quasilegal "basement suites" dating back centuries to some World's Fair, or perhaps Olympics, but outlying suburbs like White Rock acquired theirs so recently that they're still illegal, hence unrecorded, hence unregulated, hence mostly shitholes. In sharp contrast to Conradville, it had only a single virtue to recommend it.

But right then, that virtue rated high in my scale of values: it was mine. Download MP3.


10/15/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #5: SPACE ART

THE BEST UMBRELLA YOU CAN GET
© 2007 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

It’s probably apocryphal—the best ones usually are—but one of my favorite quotations is what Mahatma Ghandi is supposed to have responded when asked what he thought of Western Civilization. They say he replied gently, “That would be very nice.”

A lot of people will give you some variant of that same response if you ask them about space art. “Great idea. Somebody should try that.” “What space art?” I draw blanks with the idea all the time at social gatherings. Nobody seems to realize there is any.
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10/12/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 4
© 2006 Tor Books

The room was not small, but smaller than I had expected, and further surprised me by being furnished more like a den or a study than an office. At the far end of the room was a conversational grouping of four chairs. Rennick was just reaching the leftmost of the two that faced away from me. The two facing toward me were already occupied. In each sat a man who appeared to be approximately Rennick's age. The fourth chair, its back to me, was obviously the hot seat. Download MP3.


10/08/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #4: MILITARIZATION OF SPACE

THEY SHOULDA MADE A PILE OF ‘EM...
© 2007 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

To my surprise, not even the wonderful Wizard Of Google can pin down exactly when the militarization of space became unstoppable. In the first place, China’s finally sussed out the secret to the Information Age: smother it with so much contradictory information nobody can say for sure just what you said, or when...much less why. And they’ve always known what to do about military information: lie.Download MP3.


10/05/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 3
© 2006 Tor Books

"Joel. It's time to wake up, dear."

Yes, that was definitely her hair I smelled.

I had heard Jinny say just those words, in much that low throaty tone of voice, at the start of more than one pleasant dream. It was a novel experience to hear them at the end of one. Now if only everything else would continue to unfold as it usually did in the dream...

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10/01/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #3: SPIRITUALITY OF SPACE

SPACE’S BEST KEPT SECRET
© 2006 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

The spiritual impulse can be a dangerous thing when it goes public. Ask anyone who was in New York five years ago, or anyone still alive in Baghdad today...It’s hard to talk about spirituality without talking about religion, and most of the world’s religions are, whether they admit it or not, mutually exclusive. That’s the only way I can explain the odd fact that spirituality is one of the least-known attractions of space travel. Download MP3.


9/28/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 2
© 2006 Tor Books

The engine did not explode. It didn't even sound any louder than usual. The Mounties somehow failed to notice us blazing across their radar, or to log any complaints about shattered windows; we crossed the province unmolested. For most of the trip we were above atmosphere, so high that the horizon showed a distinct curve-we pretty much had to be at that speed, I think-but if the Peace Forces satellites noticed us, they kept it to themselves. Nineteen minutes later, the car finished decelerating, came to a dead stop and went into hover mode, glowing softly from the heat of our passage and reentry into atmosphere. Download MP3.


9/24/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #2: SUSTAINING THE PLANET

SUSTAINING THE THRILL
© 2006 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

Sustaining the planet means widely different things to all of us—so let’s try and define
our aim. The phrase surely isn’t meant literally. Terra was sustaining herself just fine for millions
of years before the first oxygen-producing lifeforms infested her and wrecked her nice
methane ecosystem, dooming entire phyla to extinction. Mother Gaia’s not alarmed by
“global warming”: she’s survived vastly greater environmental changes more than once,
and will again.
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9/21/07 - VARIABLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson: Chapter 1
© 2006 Tor Books

I thought I wanted to get married in the worst way. Then that's pretty much what I was offered, so I ended up going trillions of kilometers out of my way instead. A great many trillions of kilometers, and quite a few years - which turns out to be much the greater distance. Download MP3.


9/16/07 - Thrillin’ at the MacMillan #1: SPACE TOURISM

LET’S START WASTING MONEY IN SPACE
© 2006 by Spider Robinson; all rights reserved

I’ve spent several decades rebutting silly complaints about “money wasted in space.” Dollars have been spent getting there—but every single buck stopped here, on the ground, in the pocket of some smart person. Furthermore, every dollar NASA spent earned thirteen dollars back. Look what it got them: a manned space program that barely exists and has little future. Download MP3.

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