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Two hundred years after the fall of the Terran Empire, humans find themselves the subject race, Stagnating on their own world unable to evolve either technologically or otherwise. It is into this oppressive world, that the most unlikely of men are thrust into the roles of heros. An audio theater dramatization of the novel by Christopher Patrick Lydon. DarkerProjects.com - Audio Theater in a Darker Shade
 
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The humbling of India, the torment of India, is full of messages for the rest of us. Beware the second wave of the pandemic: that’s the one that has turned India’s boastful first round into a hellish reprise. India the pharmaceutical giant, and exporter of vaccines, claimed last winter to have “saved humanity” from COVID. Come spring, India is sudd…
 
Where is Armenia, the place, the idea? Where then? Where now? And how come the delight on top of the darkness in saying “I am Armenian”? Armenians were a tiny, ancient Indo-European people, between East and West, the first Christian nation, when Turkey wiped most of them off the map in 1915. It was the twentieth century’s grotesque model of mass sl…
 
Recovery and renewal arrived on a flood tide that lifted all kinds of production—culture above all. This was the era that gave the world a new look: tail fins on new cars, Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, new sounds like Kind of Blue and John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. New films like Nicholas Ray’s Rebel without a Cause, and Susan Sontag’s “Notes …
 
Bidenomics is different, we are beginning to notice. Just keeping score in the trillions of dollars takes some getting used to. But some key rules have changed, too. Modern Monetary Theory holds that even massive borrowing at very low interest rates is almost free. The debt will be rolled over anyway, not paid back. So why not Go Big in Building Ba…
 
Philip Roth, the late novelist, may hold the record for “most ways to tell his own story,” in fiction and fact; in his psychiatric farce around a boy’s solo sex in Portnoy’s Complaint, then a tender meditation on the making of an artist in The Ghost Writer, plus barely veiled memoirs of two miserable marriages, then epic fiction in American Pastora…
 
You must remember this, the song says. In fact, it’s hard to forget at Oscar time every April, that Casablanca, the Best Picture of 1942, was an all-time pinnacle of black-and-white Hollywood. To this day, it’s the whole world’s favorite American movie, for so many odd reasons — like the love triangle that ends unhappily, with Humphrey Bogart walki…
 
The public schools that are reopening this spring are not the same ones that shut down in the COVID cloud a year ago. “Learning in person” is back, yes, in the close company of teachers and other kids. But remote screen teaching, virtual education that ZOOMed in COVID time may be more entrenched than ever. Perhaps never again will you know an Ameri…
 
This show originally aired on September 17, 2020. Richard Wagner, man and musician, was the embodiment of excess—too much of a good thing if you loved him, something worse if you didn’t. Those weren’t just operas he was writing, but total works of art: multi-media folklore festivals, orgies of mind-bending sound, frenzied and addictive. It took him…
 
The CRISPR challenge is back—first to grasp, then how to apply the biggest scientific breakthrough of our century so far. You remember CRISPR: nature’s own repair kit, guarding your genetic code, cell by cell, tuning up your DNA. Biologists had learned before CRISPR how to read the coded map of genes that make you a one-of-a-kind human being. What …
 
We labeled it the Plague Year even before we began living it. The news last March came with medieval and bubonic overtones of catastrophe. A virus bearing down on the whole planet’s human population is still a shock and surprise, no matter that it had been forecast. One year in, it lives up to its grim billing. Two and a half million deaths worldwi…
 
This show first aired July 30, 2015. The astonishment about Billie Holiday in her 100th birthday summer is how differently we hear her. Back in the day — in her music, in her autobiography — Lady Day was the full catalog of suffering in a 20th-century underground: abandonment and child prostitution on the way to drink, drug addiction, and death at …
 
The invitation this hour, or maybe the dream, is to learn how to write short stories with the poignancy and power of the old Russian Masters, and how to become better versions of ourselves in the process. Anton Chekhov is our model writer; the modern American master George Saunders is our model reader and teacher, condensing his famous course for a…
 
This show first aired on February 13, 2020. The life of Malcolm X is the classic hero’s journey, in a setting we almost know: a story of anointment, dedication, fate, faith, family, incredible risk and reversals. There was spontaneous poetry in it, enough sin to make salvation real, and redemption before an early, ugly death – all of it brilliantly…
 
Casino capitalism is the polite old phrase for the rigged game of high finance. Shark tank frenzy is a better fit for the action on Wall Street this winter. You notice in the GameStop trading war that the mighty sharks and the vampire squid are billed in the big press as the good guys, the last hope of order in the rising chaos. But you also learn …
 
Amanda Gorman did more than steal the show, more than capture Joe Biden’s inaugural moment. She may have opened a new road in poetry as well as politics with her ode to “a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.” For showing what public poetry could do there was never a day quite like it, and nobody quite like the “skinny Black girl descend…
 
Thomas Jefferson said: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” That is eighteenth-century American language for an intuition that never quite dies – the idea that people and nations are accountable sooner or later, that politics is not just “who gets what,” but a moral drama of right and wrong, rewards and punishments often hidd…
 
The omens are powerful and clear for the American future—that is, for a reputedly sane and stable multi-racial democracy. It’s just that the two auguries of January 6 cut both ways and collide head on. First was the news that Georgia in a close vote had just elected two Democrats who will tip the balance of the US Senate: a black preacher, in the A…
 
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