36 Comments
Dec 5, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

I like the sound of 4321 by Auster. What an amazing idea. He's so good 😊

The concept of the Block Universe is interesting. I have always had trouble getting my head around the theory that time is not linear but it would be a wonderful thing if true. At 49 minutes I was just thinking how comforting this idea is when you made that very point. It mitigates the grief of bereavement and old age, the idea that those who are no longer with us and one's own youth still exist.

Your affection for cafes as fertile ground for your work has me convinced. Personally I don't work so well with distractions unless I am completely absorbed in my thoughts, but I wish I could: I love the idea of inspiration coming directly from your environment.

I have so enjoyed today's topic. Thank you. Just going to watch the videos 😃

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Love the way you push the ideas further in the comments, Jules! I’m so fascinated by time. Going to continue exploring ideas in this area.

I think you would love 4321. It’s also just a good story besides the parallel universes, but this adds to be point and effect of the story/ies. Thanks for listening 🩵

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

Your podcasts are always so stimulating Kate, and packed with interesting recommendations. Thanks for making them!

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Thank you for being such a devoted listener, Jules!

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Thanks for the winter reading list Kathleen!

One note on your link for "Fiction on parallel universes" seems to be two URL's smushed together and doesn't resolve to either.

And also quite surprised that neither mentioned the excellent works of Charlie Stross. On parallel worlds, his "Merchant Princes" series is some top notch world building. Also highly recommend the alchemy books by Ian Tregillis which take steam punk to another level.

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Oh thanks for letting me know. Will have to sort out this evening.

And thanks for adding to the text list for all of us. I’ll definitely check those out. Appreciated!

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I’m totally going to use “quarkizen” in a sentence today.

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Great! I’m aiming to be referenced in the OED 😂

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Poignant and stimulating as always, Kathleen! I loved "A Wrinkle in Time" as a teen. It's such a mind-bending collection, even today. Speaking of physics, if anyone is looking for visual inspiration, well, Nolan movies explore physics in refreshing ways. Remedy games are all about bending our understanding oh physics, especially Quantum Break (which is also a movie after you finish each chapter), Control, and Alan Wake. I haven't read any fiction with cafes as setting, but I would love to. I made memorable memories in beloved cafes. Just observing people is delightful and inspiring too. Do you have a favorite coffee shop?

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Dec 6, 2023·edited Dec 6, 2023Author

Absolutely Christopher Nolan 🙌 - great call. I often use Inception as an example for mise-en-abyme -- there are a couple of scenes where he creates this visually. Memento and time, of course. I still haven't seen Oppenheimer! All his stuff is so good and yes, I can see how it would work well here.

Keep educating me on games! This is great. I'll be adding all your recs to my overview of related reading.

I do love this place La Palette in Paris and write something about it in June. But I love it for the atmosphere in the morning and the haunting of past writers and artists. The coffee is meh. :) In Basel, my favorite is Spoon because of the wooden beams and the old street it's on. Do you?

Thank you for the wonderful comments, Nadia!

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I always look forward to his next work. He never ceases to surprise. Oppenheimer is very good. It's different than his other works, since it's a biopic. It's slower but still impactful and passes fairly fast. I'd say, give us 2 more hours of Oppenheimer! lol I couldn't find a site to La Palette, but the photos look cool. I'd love to read about your experience with the cafe. Spoon makes me think of maman. It's kind of woodsy, rustic, atmospheric. They make the best matcha latte, just the perfect amount of froth, milk, and sugar. Other places it's too sweet or too bitter. Their food is always good too. I used to go to another coffee shop a lot called Wildflour Bakery Cafe, which was a full gluten-free establishment, and it made my life easier not to worry about getting an allergic reaction. Lots of yummy stuff there, coffee sucked like with your other cafe lol. I miss it, had lots of memories there, but it closed down during the pandemic.

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You are making me feel like a lot of cafe exploration! I’m in London a few days...will check some out. Here’s a link to my cafe article --

Oh wait I’ll pop back on have to search on the app

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Yay! I'll read asap. Enjoy your time ;-).

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I am very interested in Quantum physics! I need to give this a proper listen over the weekend. Great list of resources again, looking forward to digging deeper.

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Would love to hear your ideas or reading recs about quantum physics. Not surprised based on your writing. Thanks very much, Alexander!

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There's a lot. I went down a massive rabbit hole, researching for Spherean, all aspects of how QP will influence us (speculatively speaking) and the world around us.

Here's one of the early articles: https://futurism.com/neoscope/quantum-physics-mutate-human-dna

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Of course it was a rabbit hole :)

Alice in Wonderland!

Heading over to your latest now.

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😅 Some of those academic papers went a little over my head, not gonna lie, but.... fascinating!

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I enjoy being a little confused most of the time 😂

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Oh, I love it, get’s the ole noggin goin

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I am totally behind on your wonderful podcasts Kate! Busy organising for next year. But rest assured I am saving them and looking forward to listening.

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Thanks, Simon! Never a rush. I guess I see these more as a set one can come back to. As such, I've let some breathing room around the holidays for a few weeks before coming back to the last couple in this particular series.

I've also go a lot going on at the moment, so apologies if I am less responsive on your Stack or on Notes. Good to see you here!

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

'The Arrow of Time' by Roger Highfield and Peter Coveney is a fabulous guide to quantum theory, relativity and dynamic (chaotic) systems for the general reader. It helped teach me how it's as much human consciousness as this universe's physical laws which determines how time flows and the consequences we then derive from such assumptions.

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This sounds great! Thanks a lot, Johnathan. I'm also compiling recs from the comments for a post in January, so I'll add this for everyone. Thanks for listening.

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

Sounds good. Just as feedback on the episode: I love how you create a bridge between Snow's 'two cultures'. The metaphors you selected are mostly apt, but perhaps when discussing branching parallel universes, reference to quantum theory would have helped distinguish them from purely fictional ones. Finally, I've refined use of the word 'tesseract' in my WIP to include a more reflective aspect - thanks for inspiring this!

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All great feedback. Thank you. Happy you found some value in the tesseract!

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

OK, so brilliant. Again. (Of course!) This topic resonates with me a lot. I've read pretty much all of Murakami's oeuvre and eagerly await his new novel. I love how he plays with time in Kafka, as well some kind of parallel reality in 1Q84.

I haven't read Auster, but that book sounds quite remarkable. Another one onto the list. I've also never tackled Joyce's Finnegan's Wake (I was just watching a YouTube video yesterday morning that was discussing it as part of a "difficult" books list). Had no idea that was the origin of "quark".

I really should take notes whilst listening, because there was a load of stuff I was going to mention, but have no forgotten, so I'm just going to write random things now:

RE: time travel ... a favourite topic. Maybe some of that will find its way into some of my fiction ...

There's a fair few moments in Dune that deal with time and our perception of it, both future and past and present.

I think my mind has expanded around consciousness ever since I started meditating. I guess that's a normal thing to happen.

Cafes. I LOVE writing in cafes. It's my optimal environment. There are so many here to pick from. I want to be cosy and I want there to be some people and a sense of light hubbub, but not too much. Good coffee, obviously, though I would like to experiment with a whisky or wine in a cafe for writing some time, or maybe just taking myself to a cosy bar (I've done that with a book before, but not to write). (Reading in cafes is also a big thing for me. Whenever Jo is working at the weekend then I'll often take the time to sit and read in a favourite cafe.)

I really enjoyed Before the Coffee Gets Cold, but haven't read the sequels.

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Thanks for all these great ideas / comments! I'm going to answer your backwards. It seems like the right thing here.

I also haven't read the sequels. We both should! On the list...I find myself back in London this week (and feeling very out of touch with Substack for that reason, as a side note), but with the possibility of a bookshop stop...oh dear.

Very cool thoughts on cafes and no doubt you have great picks over there. Claudia Befu and Alexander and I are all trying out gluhwein for the purpose of writing. I'm not sure it's working in my case, but plain old wine occasionally does the trick! I think it's a different kind of writing for me, though, than the caffeinated variety.

Consciousness is such a great topic -- thanks for sharing that podcast way back. Opened my mind.

I have to read Dune! I am going to peak at all the discussion you all have to get myself nicely oriented before I start.

I think Joyce and Auster have a lot to do with Murakami. People who like one seem to like all three. Finnegan's Wake is another I want to go back to in entirety because I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff in it.

Thanks as always! You really expand what I'm thinking about here. 🤗

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

Hope London's great. How long you there for?

Gluhwein writing research ... colour me interested 😄

Yeah I'd say wait to read our thoughts on Dune first. My re-read has, so far, been quite interesting. (Advanced spoiler: the story is great and interesting, the worldbuilding excellent, but I find Frank's prose to be rather dull, exposition-laden and uninspired. I think my tastes have changed a lot over the years.)

Well, I'm at 1/3 for that list with Murakami, so I'm confident I'll enjoy the others. I might grab some samples on my Kindle to start with. I've got Solenoid to finish (Dune has slowed that read down), plus Wolf Hall to commence with Simon in Jan. I want to read Books 2 and 3 of Remebrance of Earth's Past because now the mind-bending Three Body Problem is about to hit Netflix in January, plus I really want to get back to Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series. Argghh, not enough time. Why do I have this thing called "work" that needs doing?

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Ohhhhh that’s interesting about Dune. So much reading to get to! Yes, expand time please. Also keen to get into Solenoid.

I’m not sure about gluhwein in 33C but we shall report our findings 🕵️‍♀️

I’m here a few more days! Surprise work-related trip and extending it a little.

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Such a great discussion, love this blend of fiction with history and ideas. Especially enjoyed the history of cafes that you worked in to the episode. An audio feast!

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Thanks so much, Jane! Appreciate your listenership. (Is that a word?) 💙

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

Physics! I wasn't expecting an episode on physics. Love this. I'm not a physicist, but I'm fascinated by many of the sciences and have read and listened to a reasonable amount of popular science books/podcasts on physics.

I'm partway, but just dropping this comment in for now. I read Before the Coffee... several years ago, so looking forward to being reminded of that story.

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I wasn't expecting one either but then the alliteration was just too good 🤣

Seriously, though, I've always been somewhat of a 'citizen scientist' what with my research chemist father, still consulting at 81. I'm happy to hear of any holes in my theories as well!

Something about these incredible Japanese books, right? Popping over to your other comment now.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Dr. Kathleen Waller

Hehe.

81 and still a research chemist?! 🤯 I have a great image of your father in my head now.

Yes, Japanese books have such an allure.

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