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Systems of Communication

4thstreetfantasy's podcast

Release Date: 07/11/2020

Many plots could be solved by better communication, but communication solutions are often not as simple as yelling at the protagonist to actually use their cell phone to call their friend the expert for immediate assistance. Access to communication systems varies greatly, whether that’s the presence of the literal infrastructure for a cellular network or the social structures that enable people to use them: the ability to read and write has been an indicator of privilege and, sometimes, magic. Less tangible but no less powerful, social structures also include the accepted norms that determine how it is “appropriate” to communicate and what the consequences are for transgression. We also have to consider the ability to manipulate the communication system: just because information is conveyed doesn’t mean it is understood, nor does it mean it’s true.

Our frameworks for communication filter into almost every aspect of human experience, from how we share information to how we form social bonds to how we interact with and understand our world at all. How is fantasy uniquely suited to play with the limitations and possibilities of communication systems?

4th Street At a Distance panel podcast 3 of 4

Recorded: June 9, 2020

Moderator: Django Wexler

Panelists: John Appel, Benjamin C. Kinney, Arkady Martine, Sherwood Smith