The Years of Rice and Salt 3: "Ocean Continents," the Real World, and Abundance Without Surplus


Manage episode 265295543 series 2418654
By Matt Hauske & Hilary Strang, Matt Hauske, and Hilary Strang. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this somewhat delayed episode we discuss Book Three of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, "Ocean Continents," in which a Chinese fleet accidentally discovers Yingzhou, which we know as the Americas. Admiral Kheim, the fleet's doctor I-Chin, and a Miwok girl called Butterfly find each other and escape a pretty sticky situation with the Incan executioner god!

Hilary and Matt discuss the differences between discovery and encounter, estrangement and the real, knowledge and superstition, structure and contingency, control and luck, and the phenomenon of abundance without surplus. Alas, they don't talk enough about the elements and the chapter's deep symbolism of earth, wind, fire, and water--but it's there!

Moral relativism aside, we can all agree: Human sacrifice is bad, whether that’s to an Incan executioner god or the market.

Recommendations: Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, Inferno by Dante

We may have to take next week off, but will certainly be back after that!

Thanks for listening!

Email us at

Follow us on Twitter @podcastonmars

Leave us a voicemail on the app

Rate and review us on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts!

Music by Spirit of Space

--- Send in a voice message:

70 episodes