Ray Nayler has been widely hailed as one of the up-and-coming masters of speculative fiction. He has published over fifty stories in preeminent magazines across the realms of science fiction and fantasy, and he is also an established poet, mystery and crime thriller novelist, and comic book author. Not to mention his daily life as a husband, father (of both humans and cats), and as a multi-lingual foreign service officer in Kosovo. His work in Kosovo builds on nearly two decades of service in countries like Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam.
I first encountered Ray through his short story, "Fire in the Bone," published in Clarkesworld Magazine in January of 2019. It is both a beautiful, suspenseful story and a stark examination of the ways in which imperial culture, colonialism, and slavery brutally injure the humanity of both the oppressed and the oppressors. The story knocked me out of my chair. Watch out for that cutting twist at the end, or it might just do the same for you ;)
What you'll hear today is a wonderful conversation exploring culture, humanity, and identity. We unpack how to move from binary thinking to triadic thinking, and what becomes possible when we approach who we are, what we are, and how we are with more nuance, depth, and creativity.
Listening to Ray is a study in mutability; what it is to change the world and be changed by it in equal measure. I hope that, after hearing this, you'll spend time with his remarkable writings. He's remarkably creative and talented, and just an incredibly smart and thoughtful human being.
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EPISODE #29 NOTES
“Fire in the Bone” by Ray Nayler
Strange Sight by KT Tunstall
In the Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
"Outside of Omaha" by Ray Nayler