Strangers in Strange Lands: Sci-Fi & The Jewish Experience


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Spooky season is upon us, and that means it’s time for The Vibe of the Tribe’s annual Halloween episode with author and occult and sci-fi expert Peter Bebergal! This year, we’ve left our usual haunted graveyards and golem attics to explore the horror themes, Jewish parallels and otherworldly allure of science fiction for Jewish writers and creators. Tune in to this discussion of how the sci-fi genre has been influenced by Jewish hopes and fears by writers and artists like Isaac Asimov and Jack Kirby. We examine the assimilationist Borg of “Star Trek,” the immigrant story of Superman (a true “stranger in a strange land”) and graphic novel Jewish representation in characters like Magneto and Wanda Maximoff (“WandaVision”). If you are also captivated by the horror of alternative histories, or are intrigued about aliens in Jewish scripture and wonder how you can practice Judaism in space, this episode is for you! In addition to being a four-time podcast guest (check out previous episodes below!), Bebergal is the author of “Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural,” “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll” and “Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood.” He’s also the editor of the anthology “Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons and Dragons.” This episode is dedicated to Ilan Ramon (z”l), the first Israeli astronaut and a Jewish pioneer who sought answers to questions we asked during this episode. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Ramon was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Further reading: ”6 Must-Read SFF Books by Jewish Authors From Around the World” by Carly Silver: “Wandering Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy & Science Fiction” edited by Jack Dann: “Jews in Space: On the Unsung History of Jewish Writers and the Birth of Science Fiction” by Lavie Tidhar: To reach out to us, email Produced by Miriam Anzovin and edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.

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