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Culture & Religion

Jason Heller: The Spiders From Mars

Do not succumb to “funklessness”. Join us as we nerd out to a staggering degree on utopian afrofuturism, David Bowie, and the sci-fi-inflected music of the ‘70s. With Jason Heller, Hugo-award winning author of Strange Stars.

The other day I was at a kid’s birthday party and a fellow dad was joking that “When we were kids, it was all ‘bang-bang-bang!’ and now it’s all ‘pew-pew-pew!'”He was talking about video games and lasers as opposed to, I’m guessing, cowboys? Actually, as I remember childhood, it was all “wowm…wowm!” The sound of lightsabers. I was 5 years old when Star Wars: A New Hope came out, and like everyone who grew up back then, I had sci-fi seeping into my very pores. Alien civilizations. Cyborg killers. The dark, unfeeling menace of advanced technology…


Because there can never be too many Jasons, my guest today is the Hugo-award winning writer Jason Heller. He’s here to tell the eerie and fascinating tale of how sci-fi seeped into the pores of popular music in the 1970s, and how, along with psychedelic drugs and electronic instruments, it produced and was transformed by David Bowie and others into something rich and strange. Something that changed the face of music and pop culture forever. His new book is Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci Fi Exploded.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

Reza Aslan on how religious believers describe god

Dambisa Moyo on 3 ways to make American politicians better

About Think Again – A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

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