Better Worlds

A podcast exploring geek culture across mediums.

Better Worlds show artwork

11: A Desire for More Heptapods

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Hannah & the Heptapods are getting the band back together to revisit their 2016 smash hit, Arrival. Journey with us to mysterious Montana as we ask what makes great science fiction, what does it mean to choose something better than fear, and how many words can Dustin coin in one episode?

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you can listen up to the spoiler warning at the 57-minute mark. (We want to tell you why you should see Arrival.)

Arrival, the movie: iTunes | Amazon | Amazon Digital

Arrival, the score: iTunes | Amazon

Stories of Your Life and Others (featuring the original short story): Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | iBooks


Destiny: assorted jests and complaints (00:00)

How FTL travel works in Star Trek (8:20)

Followup (11:04)

  • Captain’s hammer (11:57)
  • Our notes from FCBD (19:32)
  • A surprisingly tense digression on Pokémon (25:50)

Fun Finland Followup (30:56)

FCBD at libraries (35:57)

Wrong word round-up (36:30)

  • “Incontrovertible”
  • “Pocket universe”

The Dark Tower (38:15)

  • Trailer
  • What to read to get ready for the movie

Main Topic: Arrival

Non-spoiler discussion (44:41)

How Peanuts made Trevor watch Citizen Kane:

Spoiler City (57:00)

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (1:09:23)

The New Yorker: Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language? (1:12:21)

“Committed to an existence in which only observable experience is real, the Pirahã do not think, or speak, in abstractions…”

Bootstrap paradox (1:22:42)

Reconcilable Differences episode with Arrival discussion beginning at 1:13:13. (That’s the time stamp for their episode; not this one.) (1:32:21) ⬅️ That one is our time stamp.

A few words on the original short story, Story of Your Life (1:46:38)

Song Exploder episode about Heptapod B from the Arrival score (2:03:00)

Aftershow (2:06:34)

In which Matthew thinks we can hear him.