September 14, 2018 11:39 am

Tonight, Investigate The Power of Storytelling with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Salman Rushdie.

Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night, and it was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen, and it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and a screaming comes across the sky. We all know how our favorite stories begin, and this week on StarTalk Radio, we investigate the power behind those stories and the science, impact, and future of humanity’s first great technology.

Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with world-renowned author Salman Rushdie, author of Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, and many other classic novels, to discuss Salman’s influential work and his process of creating stories. In-studio, Neil is joined by comic co-host Eugene Mirman and literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall to help deconstruct the art of storytelling. Is it art? Is it science? Or is it both?

Brandon Royal’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Salman Rushdie in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s office at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural history.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Salman Rushdie. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.

You’ll hear about Salman’s journey of becoming a storyteller and how it easily could have gone another way. We discuss the similarities between scientists and artists and the search for the truth. Salman also takes us on a crash course through magical realism and how he builds the worlds of his novels by altering the laws of physics with precision. Neil ponders if storytellers should be required to take science classes during schooling, and we explore the limits of a reader’s suspension of disbelief.

Jonathan tells us the importance of storytelling throughout human history, why stories are the oldest form of virtual reality, and if the current state of virtual reality will have any impact on our love for reading books to escape to different worlds. We also discuss the spiritual side of storytelling and storytelling in the context of religion.

Natalie Phillips, literary neuroscientist, stops by help us understand what’s going in inside our brains when we transport ourselves to different worlds through story. Salman gives his thoughts on the current state of the world and his outlook on rationalism. All that, plus we answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about imagination, augmented reality, and lying.

Lastly, for those wondering, I have not fully read Gravity’s Rainbow, but I’m sure trying.

Please join us tomorrow night for The Power of Storytelling, with Salman Rushdie at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen

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