Bex Jones

Researcher. Teacher. Crafter.

Podcast: A Future Forest

A Future Forest is an eco-feminist speculative podcast that explores stories of the future and ways of living with the planet. In each episode, our panel of hosts and special guests will guide us through classic and contemporary works in sci-fi and speculative writing and collectively explore how these stories can inspire, inform or challenge our ways of thinking about humanity, the natural world, and the meshwork in between.

A Future Forest is hosted by Bex Jones, Santiago Eslava-Bejarano, Nathan Lane, and Alejandro Ponce de León. Audio editing and production by Bex Jones.

Episodes 0 and 1 were made possible through the support of the UC Davis Humanities Institute. They are the result of the presenter's participation in the 2023 Podcasting the Humanities Institute, organized by the National Humanities Center in partnership with the Digital Humanities Center at San Diego State University.

A Future Forest: Meet your hosts

In this episode, our hosts discuss their first experiences with science fiction and speculative writing and the reasons behind their interest in this genre. They also discuss the power of science fiction in challenging dominant nature-cultural narratives, inspiring action, and encouraging readers to think critically about their encounters with the more-than-human world around us.

Show notes

A Future Forest: Star Trek: First Contact

In this first episode, our hosts explore the ecological themes and textures in the eighth Star Trek movie, 'First Contact' (1996). This movie explores the foundational themes that arise in the ST series, such as the meaning of being alive, the driving forces behind change, and the interweaving of social and ecological forces for future human flourishing. Tom Snyder joins as a guest to unpack two narrative moments in the movie: Data's relationship with the Borg Queen, and the environmental adaptations that suit and shield humanoids and Borg. The episode concludes by drawing lessons that can be learned from the movie to help create a world of abundant life, a future forest.

Show notes

A Future Forest: Gyo by Junji Ito

This second episode discusses Junji Ito's horror manga, 'Gyo,' which follows the story of a young couple encountering fish with legs in Okinawa, Japan. The fish carry a deadly virus that infects humans and spreads rapidly. Gyo includes themes of ecological disaster, warfare-derived technologies, and the consequences of neglecting our environment. The conversation delves into the role of horror in imagining potential and unexpected ecological futures, the cautionary tale of maintaining the health of the sea's ecosystems, and the intertwining of science and military efforts.

Show notes

A Future Forest: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

In this third episode, our hosts delve into Jeff VanderMeer's 2017 novel 'Borne'. Set in a post-apocalyptic city ruled by a giant, flying bear, the story follows Rachel, a scavenger who discovers a shape-shifting sentient creature named Borne. The discussion explores the entanglement of humanity, technology, and nature, the dynamics between humans and more-than-human entities, and the concept of 'monstrosity' in relation to ecological concerns. Additionally, our hosts examine the novel's portrayal of power, control, and the resilience of nature and humanity in the face of environmental collapse.

Show notes