Episode 25: Peering into the deep future of humanity

The city of Xiosphant from  The City in the Middle of the Night , by Charlie Jane Anders. Illustration by  Valentina Filic.

The city of Xiosphant from The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders. Illustration by Valentina Filic.

A lot of science fiction takes place in the near future, somewhere in the next century or so. But what about the far future in 10,000 years, or a million? How do writers and creators imagine deep time and make it plausible? We discuss our favorites and some misfires. Then Charlie Jane talks about her new novel, The City in the Middle of the Night (out now!), which explores a human society thousands of years from now.

Citations, notes, etc.

Equilibrium, dir. Kurt Wimmer (featuring the Grammaton cleric)

The Hainish Cycle, by Ursula Le Guin (including her classic novels The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed)

The Patternmaster series, by Octavia Butler (featuring Mind of My Mind and Wild Seed, among others)

The Culture series, by Iain M. Banks (featuring Consider Phlebas and Excession)

Olaf Stapledon (author of Last and First Men and Star Maker)

The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

Pern series, by Anne McCaffrey

The Steel Remains, by Richard Morgan

The Broken Earth series, by N.K. Jemisin

D-war: Dragon Wars, dir. Shim Hyung-rae

The Dune series, by Frank Herbert

Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov

The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders

Tidally-locked planets

Claire Light (author of Slightly Behind and to the Left)

The woman with lapis lazuli in her teeth

The battle between LL Kool J and Kool Moe Dee

Annalee Newitz