Over his nearly four-decade career as a novelist, Neal Stephenson has built complex visions of future worlds that, looking back at them now, feel eerily prescient. He writes about the possible ways unchecked globalization, pollution, and technological capitalism could transform our planet. Along the way, he’s introduced readers to concepts like cryptocurrency, virtual reality, and the metaverse. In his new novel, Termination Shock, Stevenson brings readers into a near future when an eccentric billionaire puts forward a radical plan for slowing climate change by blasting sulphur into the Earth’s atmosphere. Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Maybe.
WIRED senior correspondent Adam Rogers spoke with Neal Stephenson at the annual RE:WIRED conference earlier this month. This week, we’ll listen to the audio from that interview, and we’ll hear from Adam about what it was like to profile Stephenson—and examine his fiction’s role in shaping policy and fostering action—for the November issue of WIRED magazine.
Mike recommends “The Veggie” newsletter from The New York Times.
Adam Rogers can be found on Twitter @jetjocko. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Neal Stephenson is @nealstephenson. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.
How to Listen
You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:
If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.
More Great WIRED Stories