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?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Neil Gaiman – And Then It Gets Darker – Think Again - a Big Think Podcast #139

The myths of an inhospitable land. Imposter Syndrome. That feeling when one of your characters unexpectedly murders another. Literary mage Neil Gaiman on the dark arts of fiction and everyday life.

Think Again Podcasts

Adult life, with all its schedules and responsibilities, can turn into a kind of library of locked boxes. The ones we open every day sit on a shelf at eye level, their keys clipped to a carabiner at our waist: Set the alarm. Pack a gym bag. Pick up milk for the kids.


But on the lower shelves and in the dusty back rooms there's an ominous jumble of odd-shaped containers. They hold the stories that don't fit so neatly into the skin we've decided to live in. Maybe we've misplaced the keys, or maybe we've deliberately lost them.

My guest today keeps all the keys close at hand. In his stories and graphic novels worlds collide and, as the fairy Ariel puts it in Shakespeare's Tempest, they “suffer a sea change, into something rich and strange". The walls of reality are permeable, and dangerous magic is always seeping through.

Neil Gaiman is the author of the Sandman graphic novels, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods, and many other wonderful things. His latest is a marvelous retelling of Norse Mythology, with most of the nasty bits left in.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:

Barbara Oakley on learning speeds and styles

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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.

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.


Come talk to us
on Twitter: @bigthinkagain


Related Articles

Gary Shteyngart: reality catches up to dystopian fiction

Our modern-day Kafka on his new novel Lake Success and the dark comedy that in 2018 pretty much writes itself

Technology & Innovation
  • riding the Greyhounds of hell, from New York to El Paso
  • the alternate reality of hedge fund traders
Keep reading Show less

Manoush Zomorodi on how blockchain might save journalism. Maybe.

Why would two intelligent women running a hugely successful podcast at one of the most respected studios in the audio world quit to risk everything on a technology almost nobody understands?

Think Again Podcasts
  • Fake news, real risk, and the messy rise of blockchain media.
  • Why people police other people's voices
  • And much, much more.
Keep reading Show less

As fact and fiction blur, America’s finally ready for Polish author Olga Tokarczuk

Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft on maps that lead nowhere, plasticized anatomies, and humor across national borders.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Our fragmented times demand a new kind of novel.
  • Here, Olga talks humor across the world...
  • ... and maps that lead us nowhere.
Keep reading Show less

Connect with us

How to listen

You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:

Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher RSS feed