This week’s show takes us to the Portland Book Festival — a whirlwind of writers, books and bibliophiles. We met some amazing writers, but we couldn’t talk to them all! So, former State of Wonder producer Aaron Scott lent us a helping hand, making conversation with three fascinating authors pondering different aspects of life on earth.
Angela Garbes “Like a Mother” — 1:16
When journalist Angela Garbes was getting ready to become a mom, she found herself immersed in the fascinating and strange things the human body does to reproduce. An article for Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger about the science of breast milk went viral, paving the way for a deeper dive into the science of maternity, entitled, “Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy.” Garbes’ whip-smart writing about breast feeding, placentas and the microbes that protect babies shows some of the broader implications of pregnancy science. As she puts it, “If we valued the placenta and studied it, we might actually improve all human health. So, pregnant people will save the world!”
Elizabeth Rush On Coastal Towns in Crisis — 20:53
Science writer Elizabeth Rush was on assignment in Bangladesh when she stumbled into a story about a coastal community imperiled by rising sea levels. But, with so many places here in the U.S. facing similar threats, she didn’t have to go far to take her research further. “Listening to people talk about their flooding experience,” Rush said, “fundamentally transformed me.” From southern Louisiana to Staten Island to the Native American community of Isle de Jean Charles, Rush visited eight spots for her book, “Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore,” where generations of tradition and inter-dependency have been upended by local climate change.
Daniel H. Wilson Gets Short With Us — 37:42
We are huge fans of Daniel H. Wilson’s ambitious, sprawling sci-fi classics, “Robopocalypse,” and “Robogenesis.” His new collection of short stories, “Guardian Angels and Other Monsters,” is every bit as imaginative and well-detailed as his novels — a feast of small-plate parables about humans’ endless appetite for technology, and similarly bottomless capacity to re-interpret our relationship to the built world. From the alcoholic’s unlikely friendship with a robot, to the first child born via teleportation, to a physicist dad trying to navigate a global crisis, Wilson’s gift for finding the emotional through-line holds true.