DNA Podcast 69 – Retro TV Recycle Bin with Jack Ward

In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with their friend Jack Ward to talk about the TV shows that might have died too soon (or not soon enough!). The trio leave no unfinished stone unturned as they delve into shows about science fiction, fantasy, comedy and cartoons that never made it past their freshman year. From Logan’s Run to Manimal, It’s Your Move to Madam’s Place, the three rummage through the recycle bin of TV history to see if there’s anything worth salvaging in there.

Note: Due to some technical difficulties, the audio quality on this episode is a bit dodgy. Our apologies.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed

The Incredible Hulk (TV Show)
Man in a Suitcase
Megas XLR
Sym-Bionic Titan
Gene L. Coon
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Battlestar Galactica Documentary YouTube
Kings (Tv Series)
Ian McShane
Cupid (1994)
Galactica 1980 (I thought we weren’t talking about this?)
Max Headroom
Matt Frewer
Dwight Schultz
The Lexx
Logan’s Run TV
Planet of the Apes TV
Space 1999
Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons
It’s Your Move
The Fantastic Journey 1977
The Sonic Society
The Starlost
Dark Skies
The First Wave
John Doe
I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
Alien Nation
Robert J. Sawyer
Space: Below and Behind
Peversions of Science
Babylon 5:Crusade
Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles
Earth 2
Time Tunnel
Land of the Giants
Far Out Space Nuts
The Phoenix
Chariots of the Gods
The Powers of Matthew Starr
Benji and the Alien Prince
Madame’s Place
The Duck Factory
The George Carlin Show
Space Academy
The Invaders
Under the Mountain
Star Maidens
Saphire and Steel
Salvage One
Cliffhangers: The Secret Empire
The Time Express
It’s About Time
Time Trax
Space Precinct
Crime Traveller
Mercy Point
Code Name:Eternity
The Last Train
Now and Again
Strange Luck
The Man From Atlantis
The Invisible Man
The Gemini Man
Ancient Warriors
NHK World
Ninja Truth NHK/YouTube
Spicy City
Cool World
Roswell Conspiracies
The Wonderful World of Disney
Swamp Fox
Stranger Things

DNA Podcast 068 – Super Sentai with Squall Charlson

In this episode…everybody say HAI! Because Rob and Don sit down with YouTuber and Tokusatsu fan Squall Charlson to discuss the history of Japan’s Super Sentai genre. Donning the colours of Red, Blue and Yellow, the three heroes discuss the genre’s origins, how it evolved over time, and the highlights of Super Sentai’s 43 year history! All this, and how Dynaman is the greatest thing ever, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed

List of Sentai Series
IT’S HENSHIN TIME! The History of Super Sentai & Power Rangers (a YouTube documentary on the history of Sentai and Power Rangers)
Squall’s YouTube Channel
Dynaman Comedy Dub Episodes
Kamen Rider
Metal Hero Shows
Himistu Sentai GoRanger
Joss Whedon
Japanese Spiderman
Battle Fever J
TNT Ultra 7
Squall’s Video on Reused Sentai Locations
Keita Amemiya
Gogo Five
Kamen Rider Kuuga
Kamen Rider Faiz
Failed Megazord (ToQger Mecha Boner!)
Lupinranger vs. Patoranger
Kamen Rider Dragon Knight
Kamen Rider Ryuki
Kamen Rider The First
Kamen Rider The Next

DNA Podcast 67 – Intelligence in Popular Culture

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down with Jack Ward to discuss portrayals of Intelligence in popular culture. The three delve into the hows and whys of the way smart people are portrayed the way they are in the media, the difference between wisdom and intelligence, and how it’s all linked with the ways the human brain works. All this, and why Daniel Kahneman is the most important person you’ve never heard of, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

The Great Gazoo
Mr. Myxlpltzk
Professor Jordan Peterson
Marcus Brody (Indiana Jones)
Geeks vs Nerds Podcast
Andy Griffith
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Reboot TV
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Rabbit Brain – Tortoise Brain (actually called “Hare Brain Tortoise Mind.“)
Sliders TV
The Dark Web
Doogie Howser MD
Death Note
Being There (Movie)
John Grisham
Lee Child
DNA Nerd Episode
Kramer vs. Kramer
Glengary Glen Ross
The S.P.I.N.E. of a Good Story (from Rob’s blog)
Epic Rap Battles: Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock
Invisible Ink by Brian MacDonald
Inciting Incident
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Stephen Hawking
Dirty Harry
Charles Bronson

DNA Podcast 66- A History of Mecha Anime Part Two – Real Robots

In this episode, Rob and Don continue exploring the world of mecha anime with a journey into the “Real Robot” subgenre. The pair discuss how the Real Robot genre split off from the Super Robot subgenre they covered in the last episode, and then recombined with Evangelion, to form a whole new kind of titanic monster machine, covering the subgenre’s past, present, and future. All this, and what a Man in a Suitcase Show is, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

List of Real Robot Anime
Boston Dynamics Robot Dog
Anime Ja Nai (Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam Opening)
Mobile Suit Gundam
Man in a Suitcase Show
Gundam Sousei
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Fang of the Sun Dougram
Message from Space
The Hakkenden
Armoured Trooper VOTOMS
Genesis Climber Mospeda
Aura Battler Dunbine
Round Vernian VIFAM
Victory Gundam
Victory Gundam End theme (Winner’s Forever)
Ninja Robot Tobikage Opening (Love Survivor)
Bubblegum Crisis
OVA – Original Video Animation
Megazone 23
Metal Skin Panic MADOX X-01
Mobile Police Patlabor
Mamoru Oshi
Gundam Wing
Code Geass
Girls and Panzer
Giguk – Mecha: The Rise & Fall of Giant Robots

DNA Podcast 65- A History of Mecha Anime Part One – Super Robots

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down to discuss the origins of Super Robot mecha anime. The pair discuss how it exploded onto Japanese TV in the 1970’s, how it changed and evolved over time, and it’s invasion of the minds of youth everywhere. All this, and the story of how the genre started because one man hated traffic jams, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

List of Mecha Anime
Professor Otaku’s A Visual History of Mecha
Go Nagai
IT! The Living Colossus
Mazinger Z
Ultra 7
Frankenstein Jr.
The Green Slime
Tsuburaya Productions
Ray Harryhausen
Getta Robo
Getta Robo G
Taekwon V
Brave Raideen
Goddam Gowapper V
Shogun Warriors
Force Five
Young Boy Chokes to Death on Battlestar Galactica Toy
Combattler V (or maybe the new one)
Rainbow Sentai Robin (B&W, ironically….)
Tranzor Z (When I was a kid this is what ALL super robot openings looked like.)
Discotek Media
Dinosaur War Eizenborg
Ichiro Mizuki
Danguard Ace
Zambot 3
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Voltes V
Mobile Suit Gundam
Armored Fleet Dairuggar 15
Sabre Rider and the Star Sherrifs
Guren Lagaan (…is that a Porg…?)
Brave Robot Series
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Mazinger Infinity
Mighty Orbots
Sym-Bionic Titan
Pacific Rim


Show delayed until May 4th

Hi all!

Due to life getting in the way, our next episode will be released on May 4th.

Sorry about the delay.


DNA Podcast 064 – Russian Science Fiction with Simon Vale

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down with Simon Vale of Magic Dome Books, a company which specializes in translating Russian science fiction into English. The trio discuss Russian geek culture, Russia’s fascination with litRPGs, and the nature of the Russian book markets. All this, and why the Strugatskie brothers are the greatest Science Fiction writers you’ve probably never heard of, is waiting for you in this episode of The Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Things Discussed

Magic Dome Books
Balder’s Gate
Stanislav Lem
Issac Asimov
The Lexx
The Witcher
Peter Watts (author)
Perry Rhodan


Simon’s Notes:

What first Russian S/F should someone who wants to check them out read?

There are some great authors, Strugatskie brothers for example:

Roadside Picnic – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1613743416

The Doomed City – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7SVFC4

Hard to be a God – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TONTAFK

This is Russian Sci-Fi classic. Unfortunately many of their books including some amazing stories aren’t translated or as in this case (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0026151200) are only available for a great deal of money.

Then there are modern authors:

Vasily Mahanenko (LitRPG)

The Way of the Shaman – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VQRW14E

Galactogon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012B9L0DI

Michael Atamanov  (LitRPG)

The Dark Herbalist – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9F1AM7

Perimeter Defense – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015JMSSJS

Dmitry Gluhovskiy (PostApocalypse)

Metro 2033 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003774XKG

Sergei Lukyanenko (Vampire Fantasy)

The Night Watch – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0031RSB5U

Pavel Kornev (steampunk)

The Sublime Electricity – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J1WY2U6

Zotov (ironical Sci-Fi, dystopia)

Moskau – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IWR5R32


  •        What distinguishes Russian Science Fiction/Fantasy from English Novels? Style? Audience? Attitude?

Speaking about Fantasy I think that there is no big difference. Russian Fantasy is having the same roots as every other Fantasy in the world – books by John Tolkien and Joanna Rowling, Dungeon & Dragons tabletop games and old computer games like Baldurs Gate or Eye of Beholder.

There is also some national material based Fantasy in Russia and it is relatively popular. Some authors do specialize on it.

It is much more complicated with Science Fiction. The way I see it is – in the end of XIXth century world Science Fiction was mostly positive. You know, human progress, improving medicine, magic of electricity. On that positive basis people once again tried to build the ideal modern society but ended up building two horrible dictatorships – Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. That’s why world Science Fiction of the second half of the 20th century is all about disappointment. Disappointment in progress which is not helping to solve every problem as it seemed before.

But since Russia was one of those ideal societies we couldn’t afford such a view. With censorship and all that. So when Polish author Stanislav Lem wrote about how we can’t communicate with any other alien forms because all we’re looking for in space is a mirror and when Isaac Azimov wrote about danger of artificial inteligence and when Heinlein wrote about hunger of the outgrown human population, all that time we kept writing about how great and kind people of the communistic future will be. It was a little naive but Soviet censorship just wouldn’t allow anything else to be published.

Maybe this is why PostApocalypse and cyberpunk genres are still popular in Russia. Dark Science Fiction, you know, to balance things up with our inheritance. Maybe this or else maybe because many Russian Science Fiction writers are former military people.

For a few years now Russians are reading YA Fantasy mostly. I see many young women writers coming up on stage with that genre.

  •        Where does most modern Russian S/F come from? (Websites? Print companies?)

I have to say that Russian publishing market had seen better days. In 90-s average number of copies for a fantasy novel easily could be 25-50 thousands of copies. Even more! Today it’s more like 5000 copies. I mean paper editions of course.

Our big problem is the market itself. We have one big publisher which is publishing like two-thirds of all books in Russia. Up until recently we had two. But they merged together and now we have one. It is very hard to work on that market first of all because Russia is very big. Most books are printed in western part of Russia. So when you need to deliver them to the east – it costs a fortune.

People do read digital books and here we’re across another big problem of the market – piracy. Still there are ways to make some money on this market, but it’s not very well developed. Many authors in Russia are having their own online shops.

  •        Is there a typical Russian Novel reader in English? What are they like?

Russian literature on English market is mostly represented with classics. Dostoevskiy, Chekhov, Tolstoy. So I guess typical Russian novel reader in English would be a person who studies foreign literature in university. Russian Fantasy and Sci-Fi are represented much worse. But we’re working on it! Since we’re publishing LitRPG, our readers are mainly gamers. At least many of them are. MMORPG games are the same everywhere – World of Warcraft or Eve Online. So readers are familiar with all the references inside books.

Unfortunately, books from Eastern Europe and Russia aren’t very popular in US in general. There is a splendid series from Polish author Andzhey Sapkovsky. The Witcher. Even if u didn’t read it, u probably know the computer game. And also as you might know – there is Netflix series coming up soon. In Russia it has a huge fandom!

The Witcher (book 1 – Classic Fantasy) – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0043M6712


  •        Is there a typical Russian hero? What are they like? How are they different from an American one?

In modern literature I think typical Russian hero is strong and silent. He’s a loner and he is irregularly shaved. But that’s modern Sci-Fi. There is a classic hero from Russian fairy tales. A fool. Brilliant idiot who gets lucky all the time. Some Sci-Fi author do borrow him for their books.





DNA Podcast 063 – A History of GI Joe with Tim Finn

In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with Tim Finn, author of the upcoming book GI Joe: A Real American Book, to discuss the history of GI Joe. The trio discuss Joe’s origins as the first Action Figure for boys, how the GI Joe comic helped reboot the franchise, and the GI Joe: A Real American Hero animated series. All that, and the real meaning of the name Hasbro, is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Tim’s Website 
GI Joe (Wikipedia Entry)
Hasbro Toys
Mister Potato Head (Oh, sweet Merciful Fates…!)
Don Levine
First GI Joe TV Ad
Larry Hama
Shogun Warriors
General Hawk
GI Joe Steel Brigade
Lady Jaye
Mysticons Toys
Ron Friedman
Sunbow Productions
Marvel Productions (animation)
Steve Gerber
Howard the Duck
Shipwreck (Character)
Buzz Dixon
Sergeant Slaughter
Slaughter’s Marauders
Kenner Toys
GI Joe Extreme
ROM:Space Knight

DNA Podcast 062 – Taiwanese Comics with Julia Chien

Magical Super Asia

In this episode, Don and Rob sit down with Taiwanese writer Julia Chien to discuss the past, present and future of Taiwanese comic books. Along the way, they talk about comic codes, what life for comics artists was like under military rule, and why many of Taiwan’s best and brightest artists are working in the Korean market. All this, and why the Taipei suburb of Beitou was once believed to be filled with witches and demons, are waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Julia’s article: Tales of Taiwan’s Comic Artists: Persecution, Isolation and Endless Talent
Min Nan
Korean Webcomic Layout (Manhua Nobelesse, which is still breaking it up, the actual comic would be one long strip)
Zhuangzi Speaks
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Image to Audio Converter
Julie Chien (味王, Wei Wang) Mixcloud Page
Books From Taiwan Comics Page

DNA Podcast 61 – What is Fantasy?

In this episode, Don and Rob take a look at the Fantasy genre and explore some of their favorite Fantasy RPGs. Along the way, they discuss Don’s five types of Fantasy, look at how RPGs have redefined what Fantasy is, and debate the difference between magic and theology. All this, and the great debate over whether Star Wars is fantasy or science fiction, are waiting for you to decide in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Closing Music:

Ode to Joy performed by Oliver Eckelt

Things Discussed:

Alternate World Fiction
Warhammer 40K
Conan the Barbarian
Dungeons and Dragons
The Monkey King
Apocalyptic RPG Episode
The Force
Abelard Snazz
Visionaries (toys)
MAGE: The Ascension RPG
MAGE (The Comic) by Matt Wagner
The World of Darkness
Warhammer RPG
Weapons of the Gods RPG
Exalted RPG
Auspicious Beginnings (Weapons of the Gods Intro Adventure)
Airship Pirates RPG
Abney Park (band)
Shadowrun RPG
Victoriana RPG
Runequest RPG
Mouseguard RPG
Bunnies and Burrows RPG
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Crushed D20 Supplement
So I’m a Spider! So What? (Light Novel)
No Game, No Life! (Light Novel)
No Game No Life in 7 Minutes (Video)
In Another World with My Cell Phone (Light Novel)
Dragon Quest RPG
One Piece
My Little Pony RPG