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Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland – The Garden of Forking Paths – Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Authors Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland on blurring the lines between science and magic. 


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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.

Today, for the first time, we welcome TWO guests to Think Again – writers Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland – and talk to them from New York to a Los Angeles hotel room over a horrible wi-fi connection. And it all works out beautifully. 

Nicole’s typically a writer of historical fiction including The Fool’s Tale and Iago, and Neil’s known for complex, speculative science fiction  including Seveneaves, Snow Crash, and many other novels. Together, they’ve written a new novel: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – a massive and massively entertaining epic involving magic, time travel,  quantum physics, secret government organizations, and an ancient banking family called the Fuggers — with all of the jokes that implies.

In this episode, we delve into Schroedinger’s Cat, why humans make such terrible decisions, and how linear a story has to be to be a story at all. 

Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

Salman Rushdie on video games and the future of storytelling, Robert Sapolsky on brain regions and impulse control

About Think Again – A Big Think Podcast: You’ve got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think’s interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.




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