GGG#019: Immortality! Automata! Consciousness Transference! (Guest: Robin Wasserman)


Robin Wasserman, author of the young adult science fiction novel Skinned, joins us to discuss hacking Harvard, working in publishing, human identity, and writing about the future. Dave and John try to figure out how to upload their minds. 



0:00 Introduction by

0:38 Dave and John introduce the show

Interview: Robin Wasserman

02:51 Interview begins

03:04 Some of Robin’s favorite SFF when she was growing up

03:35 How Robin got into science fiction, and on being a closet fan

05:09 Robin talks about Skinned and importing consciousness into a machine

07:14 Accidental dystopia: world-building for Skinned

08:31 Robin’s novel Hacking Harvard: “A geek My Fair Lady.”

09:30 Her experience at Harvard and favorite classes, and the class that inspired Skinned

12:16 The Defecating Duck: some of the more interesting automata that Robin studied

13:23 Robin’s life working in publishing, and how it slowed down her panic as a writer

16:06 The transition from editor to writer

17:19 Crashed and Wired, the sequels to Skinned

19:13 On the state of YA science fiction

22:31 Interesting feedback from Robin’s readers

24:21 The Seven Deadly Sins series, soon to be a Lifetime movie

26:09 The humor in her work

27:52 Coming up from Robin: murder mystery/crypto-thriller The Book of Blood and Shadow

28:55 Interview ends

Dave and John think deep thoughts about transferring human consciousness

29:01 YA science fiction: Hunger Games; Uglies (John’s review of Uglies can be found here)

33:08 Mind uploading, both as a science fiction and fantasy trope

35:13 Transporters and the ‘continuity of consciousness’ problem

36:50 James Patrick Kelly’s “Think Like a Dinosaur”

37:22 In which we learn that this trope really bugs John, and why

39:51 Star Trek: Voyager and the transporter malfunction

42:22 The thought experiment of the mechanical brain

44:53 Dave proceeds to REALLY FREAK OUT PODTERN with scientific facts! (Good luck sleeping after this bit)

47:29 On the subject of souls

49:24 Regarding death and Heaven

51:12 Preserving great minds: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds; Kiln People by David Brin; the Cymechs of Dune

54:35 Gene Wolf’s Book of the New Sun

56:04 And now for something completely different: The Man With Two Brains; Freaky Friday; Vice Versa

58:34 Dave once again attempts to corrupt our youth with tales of computer vandalism, and apologizes to a former teacher

01:02:13 Show wrap-up

Bonus Links!

The New York Review of Science Fiction

The KGB Reading Series

Gothamlit Mailing List

SF in SF

Next week: Eli Kintisch, author of Hack the Planet

Thanks for listening!

John Joseph Adams ( is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientistís Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is currently the fiction editor of Lightspeed Magazine, which launches in June 2010.

David Barr Kirtley ( is a writer living in New York who has been called “one of the newest and freshest voices in sf.” His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and in anthologies such as The Living Dead, New Voices in Science Fiction, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition.

Show notes compiled by podtern Christie Yant. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



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