Dan and Morgan discuss our dirty, dirty future in space.

Listen to “Ep. 2: Grime” wherever you get your podcasts.

Recommended Reading:

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


Jumping spider that they took the space:


[music fades out. talk fades in]

Morgan: —we know that gene, like the lizard gene, you can just regrow like the tip of your finger. But if you pass a certain point. It doesn’t grow back.

Dan: Right.

M: So if we can find that and do it and like go further and further down the finger in the hand, and then all the way to here if we wanted to. But you know, the planet’s burning.

D: I have a feeling it’s sort of a Gattaca situation—

M: What’s that?

D: —that you’re going for. What’s that? 

M: Yeah. What’s a Gattaca situation?

D: You don’t know what Gattaca is?!

[silent pause]

D: Morgan.

M: What’s—

D: I wanted you on this show to talk about sci fi.

M: [laughs] What’s a Gattica?

D: If you’re not aware of look it up on your phone! Gattaca, which is made out of you’ll notice only letters that are part of the DNA sequence: G A T T A. Gattaca.

M: 1997 American dystopian science fiction film.

D: uh huh. Still holds up. You should check it out. This is, you said you weren’t great at watching sci fi, I believe you.

M: It stars Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Lauren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal and Alan Arkin. Why have I never seen this?

D: See the sexpot cast? Woof. Alan Arkin

M: Is it X rated? 

D: Maybe.

M: That’s how you get me to watch.

D: It has a six fingered pianist featured.

M: Interesting.

D: Intentionally so, that’s the reason I mention it, because the only the perfect, genetically perfect people who have been fixed—

M: Yeah?

D: —are the ones that get all the opportunities.

M: Right. 

D: And there’s pieces of music that can only be played by someone who has six fingers on each hand. You don’t get to go to space if you’re not perfect physical specimen.

M: Hmm. 

D: So Ethan Hawke plays someone who has not been modified whose parents didn’t do it to him, but he has to hide that fact. And he goes to extreme lengths to do so like like scrubbing all of his skin cells off every day. So they can’t figure out that it’s him because they go, they have like suckers that go round and like, pick up the dirt and like, analyze it to see if someone who’s not, who has not been correctly modified is is floating around.

M: Ehhheeww.

D: Right? Scary because it’s like—

M: ‘Valids’ versus ‘Invalids.’

D: —yeah, we can do that now we’re there.

M: I mean, calling them invalids— 

D: Yeah, yeah. You should check it out.

M: —it’s remarkably…

D: I can’t believe you hadn’t… You didn’t even know what it was, though. 

M: No.

D: Now I understand you don’t watch a lot of sci fi, you’re a reader or some nonsense, so I’m not, I don’t know. But really, you hadn’t even heard about it? 

M: [laughs] No.

D: We were in high school.

M: Was it the same year The Cell came out because I—

D: Uhhhh…

M: —was really in that movie.

D: Close, close. When did The Cell come out? 

M: It had to be about ’99, 2000. 2000…, Hey, Siri?

D: If you’re just tuning in, this is The Expansing, a fan podcast about the television show The Expanse, the two sci-fi fans—I thought two sci-fi—apparently one sci-fi fan. Who—

M: You’re all alone in this.

D: Who, uh, fell in love with the show, uh not very long ago, and we want to talk about it. So, Morgan. 

M: Yes, Dan, hi. What did we want to talk about today?

D: The future is disgusting. 

D: ‘Sorry to interrupt listeners, but on the day we recorded this episode, we did have a few problems with our recording equipment, which means that we lost the first few minutes of this particular conversation. In case you didn’t look at the title of the episode before you press play, we are talking about how gross and grimy and disgusting things are in various sci fi universes, in particular The Expanse.’

M: Yeah, medieval hygiene, you know, make hygiene medieval again. Yeah, I think we’re honestly barely above that, truly. So to think that in the future, we’re going to be any better like humans are disgusting.

D: Well, yeah. We’re just this oily meatsacks.

M: We’re just these greasy, dirty monkeys. For sure.

D: But that’s part of what’s interesting. Watching the show, the level of grime that’s on a lot of stuff feels like it’s, it’s something to do with whatever the goal is of the show, because it’s in the book, it’s a little bit more vague about that. It’s a little bit more like, Oh, there’s this open boulevards that clearly used to be nice and they’ve fallen into disrepair, that sort of thing. But in the show, it’s like hanging gardens of just garbage and strips of cloth hitting you in the face and dripping all over you.

M: I’m so much more likely to believe that. That’s what the world looks like now. [laughs]

D: Yeah, but I pull, the perspective I’m coming from is more like the stuff has, is in space. And there’s at least now I realize we’re in the infancy of that. If you get anything dirty in space, in a spaceship, that needs to function perfectly to keep you alive, that’s a huge problem.

M: Yeah, but—

D: Instruments getting clogged, anything like that where it’s like, you can’t just fix this by airing it out, you can’t just like vacuum.

M: Yeah, but it’s already a problem. Like on the International Space Station. Currently, going to the bathroom is an impossible task. It’s a chore where they literally have toilets set like suction to your butt. 

D: Mm-Hmm. 

M: Because things can’t flush clearly any liquid, any food, any bead of sweat that comes off of your forehead floats freely until it lands on a surface. And then it just stays there.

D: Right.

M: Until someone goes and cleans it, which might not happen for a very long time because you’re occupied with trying to keep the machine functioning. So that’s already an issue, which is like to me, the most disgusting thing about life in Zero-G is that every surface would be sticky and wet.

D: Well, I think that, I bet that there is a discontinuity between the the elites and the have nots that’s maybe not discussed that much in the show. That could be like a little bit of an imaginary thing for us to talk about, because if you think like the show goes into a lot of there’s a lot of automatic systems—or the books, I should I should say—that will like clean surfaces, you know, vacuum the air very effectively. However, the Rocinante is a military vessel, it’s really nice, top of the line, when it comes out, right, or when they get into it. And these rockhopper types like especially like a bead of sweat drips off of something when you’re in Zero-G. Yes, it’s going to go and stay wherever. But then you’re doing High-G maneuvers. Sometimes you’re turning, you’re moving that ship around, and that’s not only going to stay in that spot, but it’s going to get all over everything—

M: Yeah! Yeah.

D: —else, too. Yeah, and you probably don’t have your space Roomba

M: Exactly.

D: —like the Martian military can pay for. So if you don’t have the money to keep your ship pristine, it’s just going to turn into an oil sack.

M: Soup! It’s going to look like the inside of a pot of soup, just like gross organic waste clinging to every surface. Yeah, I think that’s way more accurate. I think the ribbons of garbage hanging from the rafters is probably very close to reality.

D: Well, the problem I have with that one, I think, is because that’s supposed to be a place that has a functioning system and environment and government. You go over to this corridor, sure, that’s a different place. But we are in fact sharing the same air system. We are sharing the same pipes, we’re sharing the same reclamation systems.

M: But if we go in, blocks in one direction, we’re going to hit a side of town that’s still in my… It’s still in the city of Orlando. But it has no upkeep because the property value was too low for the city to give a shit.

D: Admittedly, But—

M: It’s already a…

D: that’s talking about an enclosed space station, though.

M: We live in an enclosed space station, that’s what the Earth is!

D: I know! But it’s on such a scale that it’s, it’s different.

M: I don’t I don’t think that that’s going to change. I don’t think people are going to care more about cleanliness of your thoroughfares just because.

D: I think it’s easier. Here at least it’s easier to ignore it because…

M:You can always go somewhere else.

D: And the environment does something for that and you don’t have to see it. But if you’re…

M: Also like, just your clothing becoming absolutely filthy. I think is another issue. Like, that’s another huge barrier to life and spaces. You know, you’re still going to sweat and you’re still going to have like body odor soaking into every fiber of your jumpsuit that you’re also sleeping in and—

D: We need a crossover. There should be ‘stillsuits’ I think, in The Expanse universe.

M: There should be what?

D: Stillsuits.

M: What’s a, what’s a stillsuit?

D: My God. This too? Two in a row! Dune?

M: Oh, I—I never read Dune.

D: You never read Dune? Oh man.

M: It’s a little too… dragon, dragons for me. Like?

D: But you don’t know. How do you know?

M: Because I sat through the entire [1984] cinematic experience.

D: Oh, well…

M: I did my due diligence.

D: It is a cinematic experience.

M: Yeah, I don’t know what else to call it, but that. I’ve done my diligence. I’ve watched the…

D: The book is better in many ways.

M: In every sense, the book is usually better.

D: And the [1984] movie is so weirdly off the mark.

M: Yeah.

D: That it’s like it’s almost a different story in many ways.

M: Yeah, it’s kind of like one of my favorites, Starship Troopers [adapted, loosely, in 1997].

D: It’s so Lynchian, only… Odd.

M: Yeah.

D: That it just doesn’t work? But I’ll watch it every time I see it’s on. Like, I’m not going. I tell people it’s not a good movie, don’t. [Morgan laughs] If you haven’t seen it, you don’t need to see it. It’s bad. It’s it’s not good. But I’ll watch it every single time. 

M: Sure. 

D: I watched it at exactly the right moment in my life, I think, when I was a kid.

M: I think, it’s yeah…

D: It just stuck and I have to see it.

M: It’s the kind of thing where there’s like ten people on Earth where it just hits them the right way. And they’re diehard Dune fans. [Dan snickers] And then the rest of us are just, struggling.

D: Well, we’ll see what happens in the next few months [days]. 

M: Yeah.

D: There’s going to be a new crop, cropping up, but the books are also weirdly dated. Some of the language, and it doesn’t have a great relationship with women, [Morgan laughs] I don’t think. But….

M: Oh, great. Well, neither did some of my favorite authors.

D: The story is still really cool.

M: If you turn the modern lens back on some of my favorite science fiction… yeah.

D: Talk about grime, though the still suit. Sorry, I don’t want to just totally go off tangent  like that.

M: So is it like a spacesuit and it does everything for you? Like squeegees your whole body?

D: Yeah, yeah. Well, because they’re in the desert and they have to get every scrap of moisture, is like life saving.

M: Right.

D: You cannot lose because it’s like the biggest desert on Earth, but the whole planet basically, right? 

M: Yeah.

D: That’s the idea to survive, though, you have to have every bit of moisture because there isn’t any. And so all your sweat, everything goes into the suit. It’s got a bunch of pockets. And as you move it, the movement does the filtering and everything goes in the suit. And then you have a nose thing. So when you breathe out, you’re supposed to breathe through your nose to make sure the moisture from your lungs goes into the suit and then you have a little, 

M: little CamelBak. 

D: Yeah, your little go shit CamelBak. [weird sucking noise]

M: Oh my god. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. [laughs]

D: They probably would need that.

M: Yeah. Anything short of that. But again, this is like, this is the question of does more bureaucracy serve more people better? Um, who’s paying for that? Who’s sending minors to an asteroid belt?

D: Well not Mao-Kwikowski [Mercantile], apparently they’re cutting every corner, I think.

M: Yeah, in a suit like that, like now we’re just going to send a bunch of like poor immigrants and criminals to go do the mining and not really care if they’re saturated in their own sweat salt.

D: The other thing that’s interesting is in The Expanse, the vehicles themselves, it’s also sort of a thing where only the very, very wealthy have a ship that even has paint on it that even they care at all about the aesthetic of that, which is like the exterior grime situation. So we were talking about the idea of people making pottery in the past and not being about, ‘I’m going to put a design on this so I can sell it.’ It’s nice because it’s an object that I use that I want to be beautiful. It’s important to me that it’s beautiful to look at, right? And it’s interesting that in The Expanse, they’ve taken this. And that’s another way that the rich in that story, in that universe are coming out ahead in a fundamentally human way, which is so unfair that they’re the only ones that can bother to worry about what their ship looks like—

M: Yeah. 

D: that no one else can afford to worry about that.

M: Or their clothing.

D; It’s so unbelievably difficult to do. Just the expense is outrageous. So it’s like all these people who have their own spaceships and such have no control over what they look like are not able to edit that aspect of their personhood. Like, it’s important to a lot of people that the thing they own is theirs in some way. And it’s—

M: Well, it’s kind of like how the Belters—

D: You can’t do that in this universe if you’re poor.

M: Yeah, the Belters are the only ones that have tattoos. 

D: Yeah.

M: Because they all wear the same dark denim jumpsuit and live in the same, like low light environment. So what do they have left to express themselves? But body modifications? I think it’s kind of what goes hand-in-hand with cyberpunk and steampunk is is that idea that like if you’re lower class, if you have less access to things to enrich your surroundings, then you enrich your own body.

D: I mean, people get tattoos for all kinds of reasons, but it could also be that the shape or outline of a design on your skin, if you in a situation where someone’s looking at you, and you’re grimy all the time—

M: And it’s dark!

D: all we got like grease and dirt on you, and it’s it’s a little bit darker. Being able to see that shape that becomes the thing that they look at and see when they see you, they don’t see the grime and the grease they see, Oh, that’s that tattoo on their face that I know.

M: Yeah. Yeah. Body modification is always seems to go hand in hand with that like, cyberpunk view of the future. Because what’s left, I mean, if you can’t beautify your space, if you can’t, if you live in a city and you’re stacked on top of each other in little cubicles, that’s the last thing that you have is your your body. I think it was a Stranger in a Strange Land where people get really weird with the body mods like die their whole skin blue. And I remember reading about that when I was younger and like, Oh, that’s cool. I think I’d do that. And then people started tattooing their eyeballs. It was like, never mind.

D: No, I’m pretty sure no one would do something so crazy. In terms of the appearance of the universe that these different sources are in, like Star Trek or those Starship Troopers or The Expanse or Alien. How much do you think the amount of filth, I think in in a film or franchise like Aliens, obviously that’s a very intentional choice. But how often do you think? Let’s say the lack of grime and grit on things is really intentional choice versus just an oversight of practicalities of TV production.

M: Yeah, with something like Star Trek, that’s hard to say because I was also very much a part of the aesthetic at the time was just like a whole lot of like color and shape and everything being very clean and spartan.

D: Doors have no panels or anything, just one flat surface.

M: Yeah, smooth, just shapes and color. But I think for that world, that makes perfect sense that everything would be clean and pristine and you would have surfaces that naturally repel moisture. I think that’s all very possible. You know, like the Hydra, what is it? Hydrophobic ketchup bottles—

D: Mmhmm.

M: —where like this scotch spray that you can put on that totally repels moisture. That’s that’s here now. Like we could do that. The question is like, would we even give a shit, right? Because we’re not doing it in the space station, we’re not doing it for those guys.

D: That’s true.

M: They were basically just like ‘Go for as long as you can tolerate it and then come back to Earth immediately.’ [Dan laughs] And it’s not like we’re not getting good reports about what life is like there. So would we even bother to do that kind of stuff? I think maybe in the military side of things? Yes. If you’re talking about like a luxury space yacht, yes. But…

D: I do wonder, though, because if I was, let’s say I was a rock hopper captain in the universe of The Expanse. It’s made very clear that a lot of times what you’re doing is waiting—

M: Yeah.

D: —because the distances are so vast that even with the good technology and a good engine, lots of fuel, it’s still going to take a long time to get to where you’re going like weeks, months even. So, a lot of it is like an especially when they’re saving fuel, so they’re quote unquote on the float, right?

M: Mm-Hmm.

D: You’re still going so you can save a huge amount of fuel if you’re willing to wait and willing to put your body through that. But also, if I was one of those people, I’m kind of a little bit compulsive about cleaning my environment. I feel like some of them at least would be like, I have months of time to kill. And there it is portrayed that way. 

M: Yeah…

D: Like, we are doing nothing but sitting around for months or weeks because it takes so long. And you don’t see that in the show so much because as a show.

M: Obviously. That would be the worst show ever. Canceled after one episode.

D: But, I can imagine some people’s ships being like, pristine—

M: Yeah.

D: —right after, especially when they just arrive somewhere. After a long trip.

M: Well, consider any ship. Consider a submarine.

D: Mm-Hmm.

M: It’s probably the closest analog. That’s all they do is is clean and check for air leaks and monitor gauges and sensors because anything, any one thing goes wrong. It’s a cascade of catastrophe and then everybody gets crushed, right?

D: Right. It is a little bit higher stakes for a submarine crew.

M: Right? 

D: Because even in even in space now, it’s like you could punch a hole in the skin of the ship. A big one. And you’re not going to be dead instantly.

M: Yeah. 

D: It’s going to take a few seconds, at least.

M: Yeah. And, you know—

D: But a submarine. At depth, if you get a pinprick. [snaps fingers] That’s it. 

M: Yeah, you know how to find leaks on a submarine like air leaks, pressure release? You walk down the wall with a broomstick and you, you swipe the broomstick along a wall in front of you until something cuts it in half ,and that’s where your, your air leak is because there’s so much pressure. Yeah. So I think that’s the closest thing. And they, they do, they clean and they check gauges and they monitor shit and try not to go crazy because they’re all stacked on top of each other. Talk about sexism. They only recently started allowing women on submarines because of the sheer amount of toilet paper we use—

D: Hmm.

M: —compared to men. So, yeah, grime, if they’re regulating how many squares of toilet paper you get in a day, yeah, that’s just one more level of, like, human filth and bacteria. I heard all kinds of stories about life on a submarine, recycling water that you boil food in. 

D: Yeah. 

M: You know, recycling like leftovers from lunch. Go do, go into dinner. You know, that’s, that’s the reality. Like, it’s so easy to imagine a future where we solve these problems, but these are problems that don’t get solved with technology. You can’t solve the need for a toilet. The need for like, a way to clean yourself.

D: You have to sweat, no matter what.

M: You have to sweat. 

D: So.

M: Yeah, what do you think would be the worst universe—maybe it’s The Expanse—to be someone whose job it is to clean things or maintain?

M: To be a janitor?

D: Yeah, just, or someone who’s just it is just to do those sorts of jobs. 

M: Well. Talking about television movies?

D: Yeah.

M: I don’t, I don’t think there’s a universe where that’s a good job.

D: I don’t know that there is anyone in Star Trek who does that. 

M: No.

D: Because, you don’t get the impression that those surfaces even need to be cleaned.

M: Yeah. You never see somebody pushing a broom or like with a white cotton glove.

D: No one’s vacuuming on the Enterprise.

M: Yeah, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s ever a good job, and I think it’s always going to be a job. This is a these are problems that just don’t get solved. We’re always going to be battling, you know, like these basic laws of physics. We’re never going to travel beyond the speed of light. Just have to get used to that. We’re always going to be these disgusting grease balls.

D: And we’re also seeing, even on the Earth in The Expanse, that that just piles of people on the —

M: Yeah, in rags. Yeah, living in the street in filth. If that’s the problem that you can’t solve under our literal best conditions, the conditions we were, we evolved to survive in and we still have this problem of like filth and just…

D: It would be interesting to see. And maybe it’s addressed in something in that I’m, I haven’t read yet, but it’ll be interesting to see the perspective of someone who’s living on Earth in poverty conditions in The Expanse, who has to deal with being outside a lot and how it’s probably even warmer than it is now—

M: Yeah.

D: —so it’s going to be really unpleasant a lot of the time.

M: Lots of extra UV Rays.

D: Very humid. Whereas if you grew up in Mars, you know, they think of the Earthlings as—

M: Takers.

D: —takers on, you know, the useless eaters.

[both laugh]

M: Yeah.

D: Yeah. But Martians got to grow up in a in temperature controlled environments their whole life. Like—

M: Right? With perfect humidity.

D: You don’t know what it’s like, to just be miserably disgustingly hot outside. And—

M: Yeah.

D: —in an environment you can’t get away from.

M: And have cataracts from the rays, [Dan laughs] you know, because we don’t have an ozone anymore.

D: Like, I wonder if the in terms of comfort that a lot of people on Earth actually have it much worse than the people who resent them living in space?

M: I mean, I think your comfort level is relative. Like, we’re talking about being covered in like, grime. Yeah, if that’s just normal, then you don’t. You’re not aware of it

D: True. 

M: Humans used to be completely filthy, used to be our hair is designed to trap mud and bacteria and pheromones and sweat and like insects, and we were just covered in this shit all the time and also shit. We are also used to be covered in shit and we were fine because that was normal for us. And it wasn’t until we started to get really prissy about hygiene [Dan laughs] that that suddenly became like kind of gross. And then, I mean, how long have we even had toothbrushes? 

D: Mmhmm. 

M: So it’s all relative, like, to a Martian who lives in a perfectly controlled environment and never experiences seasons or humidity. Or a sunburn?

D: Well, they might.

M: If those domes aren’t don’t have UV protection, then I don’t want to go. Count me out. I’m not going to Mars. Nobody asked me if I wanted to go, but I’m saying it now.

D: But yeah, it would be probably really, really, really hard to go to Earth and walk outside.

M: Yeah.

D: If you’d have grown up in that environment, just be like, ‘Oh God, what’s happening to my skin?’

M: And then also like the crushing weight, of gravity.

D: Well, yeah, yeah, [snickers] whatever.

M: But you can’t you can’t expect like life in space to be any better.

D: There could have been a few more moments where you saw kind of in-between zone. It seemed like everything was either this perfect pristine government facility type of situation—

M: Yeah.

D: —or like everything’s falling apart and sort of shambles. It’d be nice to see more of the… I guess we get a little bit of it when when they go to the colony on the planet.

M: Yeah, like a middle class.

D: Yeah, because they’re there— 

M: It’s like where’s the middle class?

D: —and then they have like their pods and things that are living in. It’s not it’s not disgusting yet or anything. And and they’re outside and it’s a nice environment, at first. 

M: Yeah. 

D: And that might be a little bit closer to like, what is a regular person just walking around like Ganymede Station? What’s their life like? And you don’t see that much of the station before it gets destroyed.

M: Mmhmm.

D: And so we don’t get to see that very much in the show. There’s a little bit more variety, I think, in the books, and that might be what kind of drives me is, I don’t want it all to be like that all the time because nothing’s like that. We’ve always had that spectrum of like, the best thing in the world is pretty nice and clean and it’s all everything in between.

M: Yeah, I think we’re playing like a percentages game here, though. It’s like we’re we’re kind of, we’re sliding a little bit more towards this massive divide between people that can afford luxury living, which at this at this point is already becoming like clean water and air—

D: Yeah.

M: —interior spaces and climate control, and that gulf is just getting wider and wider. So, yeah, I don’t see a way that we have a future.

D: Why do you need clean water? Just drink soda.

M: That is true. It’s so full of chemicals. No way it’ll ever give you deadly diarrhea.

M: Yeah, I just think that’s, that’s—

D: God. And you know, we’ve seen I don’t want to just jump in on the end here, but we’ve seen there’s a couple of sex scenes. 

M: Yeah. 

D: And you can’t help but think.

M: That’s all I think about.

D: Oh God. 

M: That’s literally all I think about.

D: It’s everywhere. Oh, no.

M: Yeah.

D: And especially if you’re living on a ship with a bunch of other people and you know that some of them are having relations and getting sick, or, you know, things are happening and you walk around and touch something and it’s kind of oily.

M: Yeah and—

D: And you don’t know why. Or what it is…

M: All your sex sweat and—

D: Is this a person’s leavings?

M: Yeah!

D: Is tthis lubricant from the ship or from something else? [Morgan laughs]

M: I will tell you, when I was in high school in my hometown, there was a bar that it was, it was an all ages bar so famous among the youth. It was a really small space with a low ceiling and there was no ventilation so you could go at 16, you could go and see live rock show, which is great, but it would rain inside because all of the condensation—

D: Right, right. Yeah.

M: —from your sweat and your breath would condense in the rafters and then drip down on your head.

D: So gross. I mean, it’s—

M: Yeah.

D: —distilled water, but.

M: Full of bacteria. 

D: That’s gross.

M: Yeah. Then it’s collecting everything that’s in the air. And yeah, so that was that was, just a few short years ago when I was a teenager in 1990-2000, whatever, I’m not going to say. Yeah, there’s no reason for me to believe that it’s that’s going to improve at all. If we’re cutting corners to get to space faster and mined for resources faster, sanitation for sure is going to go. Keep people just healthy enough that they don’t die of diarrhea.

D: And maybe we’ll get another couple of classes of antibiotics where they can just say—

M: Yeah.

D: —well, we don’t need to be clean because we’ll just give you this. It’s fine.

M: Exactly.

D: This is much easier.

M: Yeah, we’re not going to prevent you from getting pinkeye. We’ve just come up with a better way to treat it. [Dan laughs] It’s all I think about is just people being covered in filth and then they’re humping, and then you’re just walking around and everyone else’s sex cloud because it’s, that’s it. That’s what you breathe in every day.

D: God. The rest of the crew would have been so mad at Naomi and Holden for just like just getting down 

Together: and fucking in the airlock. 

D: It’s just like. Oh, we can’t help it, just blah blah. And it’s like, Oh my God—

M: It’s everywhere! [laughs]

D: —is this what I think it? Oh God, you son of…

M: Yeah.

D: Get in here, you’re cleaning this.

M: Yeah, like you said one Zero-G maneuver with some twists and some turns, and it would be a fine slime that would cover every surface. [Dan laughs] Yeah.

D: It’s just like the scene with the, the the tools whipping past, jut jizz.

M: Yeah, but giant globs of cum. Yeah. Yeah. Great.


M: I’ve read some short stories that kind of touch on this concept of, you know, having a replicator or like a self-sustaining recycling system for waste, and it’s not impossible, like they talk about, I guess, the Belter’s go to a recycling system where they’re like fed back to mushrooms?

D: Oh yeah, yeah. yeah. If someone dies, you can put their body. Yeah, it’s like a food recycler.

M: Yeah, which is so much more practical.

D: Which is, what we should be doing anyway.

M: I think we should be doing it right now.

D: We should be able to do it right now. Like being—

M: Soylent Green is not a horror movie to me. 

D: There should be three checkboxes. It should be organ donor, fertilizer…

M: Or I don’t care about the children. Yeah. [laughs] Or like, I’m an asshole. I don’t care about the future.

D: I don’t know. I don’t know that, I don’t know that I feel like you should have rights to that. I mean, this is pretty extreme, but…

M: Let’s do it. Let’s get radical.

D: I don’t feel like you should really have a whole lot of rights about what happens to your body for more than like two or three weeks after you’re dead.

M: I think that’s fair.

D: Maybe, maybe like a year like we could bury you. But after that, like…

M: Like the Greeks do.

D: Do something with your body.

M: Lease a grave for a year.

D: [Be]cause. There’s chemicals in there we could use for stuff.

M: Stuff. 

D: We’re just throwing it away. If you’re in space, where are you going to do jettison it?

M: Yeah. You’re like 150 pounds of amino acids like, how dare you? How dare you take that to your grave? Yeah, I mean, so the idea of—

D: We need your bone marrow!

M: [laughs] Yes. We need that calcium for other people’s children. Yeah. The idea of like recycling human waste, food waste, turning it back into food and water, that’s, there’s no how is we’re going to do that? That’s the only way to do it. And I think people are so squeamish about that stuff, especially when it comes to eating people. And like, I’m not really convinced that we shouldn’t eat people in general.

D: We should probably avoid brains.

M: I don’t, why? it’s just bad.

D: Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease.

M: Oh, ok. [both laugh] I mean, yeah, I don’t think there’s a moral reason we shouldn’t eat people. I think it’s just we’re extremely squeamish about it. And if we want to get to the future at all, we got to start eating each other.

D: We should eat insects.

M: Yeah. The things that are everywhere, that would be brilliant. That’s a brilliant solution. If, like Madagascar cockroaches—

D: I thought of it just now.

M: You thought of it just now? Just, you’re the first person ever.

D: That’s mine.

M: I can’t believe you came up with that on your own. Like, what inspired you to think of eating insects of all things?

D: I went to college. Yeah.

M: Yeah. If you could get Madagascar cockroaches that they’re like as big as a small cat, right? Already. If they can survive in space, why not? Why not take them and eat the shit out of them?

D: Now, I know you’re not—

M: Pigs settled the West.

D: I know you’re not going to be happy about this. I know you don’t like spiders. However, one of the coolest things—

M: There’s nothing cool about it.


D: —that has happened in space, in my opinion, is that there’s a jumping spider that they took the space and it, they can’t jump in space properly because it’s just spin around and it’s like. So it figured out that it could move really slowly and walk places instead of jumping, right? So it changed its entire behavior pattern and figured out how to move in space.

M: And did it go into the airlock? [laughs]

D: They brought him back, her. I don’t know. I forget. And that spider relearned how to walk on Earth and went back to its old pattern. Figured it out. That’s pretty cool.

M: I guess. That would be a dead spider if, if, it was on my spaceship.

D: A very, very tiny bit of neurons that figured out how to do that without knowing, without any context, of what was happening to it. 

M: [laughs] Can you imagine? Ewwww, No preparation, just all of a sudden. Yeah. [tiny voice] What’s happening?

D: Morgan says: ‘That’s what you get for being alive!’

M: Spelling out with its little web: ‘Help. Which way is up?’

D: Uhhh. Fantasy wrestling match ups?

M: Oh, shit. Up, across the entirety of The Expanse?

D: You’re more of a wrestling person now, because of your entanglements than I am. I’m I’m aware of wrestling. I know how it works, I’ve heard the big names, but I don’t watch. So I’m like, I’m not going to be able to give you a good perspective on who is going to be the best heel or any of that stuff. 

M: Well…

D: But I can definitely say who I’d like to see beat the Christ out of each other.

M: Yeah. Well, wrestling is a psychological game, first and foremost. [Dan laughs] Um, So. [laughs] Yeah, across the whole series, I would like to see, I would like to see Camina Drummer and Naomi as a tag team. OK. For sure.

D: They would be pretty good.

M: Like Belters.

D: But, you also have to consider what, where will the wrestling match be? Because that matters.

M: Uh, In the airlock they fuck in.

D: Sure.

M: Higher stakes.

D: But what Gs? 

M: Zero. Negative.

D: Zero? Should they all? Are we are we assuming Zero-G for these—

M: Of course. 

D: —battles.

M: Yeah, we’re not going to have space wrestling and then have gravity too.

D: I’m just saying that could alter it throughout the fight without warning.

M: Oh, that would be dangerous.

D: Yeah. 

M: You’re like, yes, death match.

D: Oh, I’m sorry. Do you need wrestling to be safe? Is that what you need?

M: Yes. Yeah, I would like to see Camina and, and Naomi as a tag team.

D: I want to see Chrisjen fight a Belter. 

M: Yeah?

D: Mostly because she’s like an old lady, right? She grew up on Earth and lives there and hates going to space and doesn’t go to space, which means her old lady bones and muscles are a lot more than they’re going to be expecting.

M: Yeah, and she’s a stone cold bitch.

D: She is a monster.

M: Yeah.

D: And will just kill you, I think if she needs to. She does get in a couple of high stakes situations where she seems like she panics a little bit. But I think if she had prep time.

M: For sure. Get her into some wrestling classes.

D: Really interesting outfit.

M: Yeah, I just, I imagine like layers and layers like loose, sari layers that get progressively ripped off to reveal a skimpier leotard underneath.

D: But maybe maybe her sari type outfits and mixed a little bit more of a Doctor Strange kind of vibe going on just like a little bit just more dramatic, you know, bigger, longer flowing.

M: Lots of hair extensions.

D: But yeah, I would just like to see her hit somebody really hard and them just be like, completely surprised because they didn’t think, Oh, it’s this Earther lady. She’s so much stronger than me, I think. You think she and Amos would fight? Or that they should be coupled?

M: I hope they get married. [Dan laughs] I love. Yes, I would. Yeah, maybe they start fighting and then they just kiss.

D: I mean, she’s available now.

M: Yeah, as of wherever we left off. Yeah, I don’t know how, how would Zero-G wrestling work. You would have you wouldn’t have any force.

D: It would have to be a cube or something.

M: It would be all. Yeah, it would be all grappling.

D: And pushing off the walls.

M: Yeah, yeah. And then James Holden’s naked man buns somehow make an appearance because—

D: there’s a lot of dude buns. 

M: —we can’t go a season without some man buns.

D: There have been a few.

M: Yeah. Lots of dude butts.

D: I wonder about Fred Johnson as a—

M: Oh, that’s a good one.

D: —force in the ring.

M: Ok so…

D: Military training, stout.

M: Chrisjen v Fred is a good man match up, right?

D: Because Fred’s been living in space for a while. It’s probably not as strong as it used to be. No, he’s from Earth, so he’s got the the basic anatomy and musculature that’s going to be stronger anyway. But he’s been on Tycho Station for years and years, getting—

M: So—

D: —less and less dense.

M: Chrisjen’s amazing. She’s a feminist icon. My favorite character in the whole series. Yeah, I love the arc that she takes with Bobbie Draper, like taking her under her wing because it is smart politically to—

D: What if…

M: —bring a Martian into the fold?

D: What if you had a turn, though built into a wrestling plotline—

M: Or you…

D: —where she took her under her wing and then double cross?

M: Well, obviously, but Bobbie enters as a heel, right? And then something’s going to happen where she defends Chrisjen and she’s got a turn turn good guy, babyface.

D: I think Fred’s move is he psyches you out by making you think that he’s turned a leaf and or that he’s hurt himself. And then he’s like, You fool and turns around and takes you down something like that where he’s like, playing on your sympathy.

M: Yeah, Fred is a weirdly honorable character, so I don’t really see him doing anything that the ref can’t, can’t see. I don’t see him as a cheater.

D: Mmhmm. 

M: You know, I think he’d get you outside of the ring and do some shit for like because he’s noble.

D: Yeah. No, I see that one.

M: Just like this is personal. This isn’t this isn’t an in the ring move.

D: He just allows you to to win by cheating. Yeah. And he sees you and he’s like, I see you. And then like, two days later…

M: He’s going to find you backstage. [both laugh] Oh, yeah, yeah, we could. 

D: Uh-Huh. 

M: But you were, honestly, with the whole series and every character arc. Nobody’s ever fucking wrong about anything, ever. So I don’t I don’t really believe any of these people as good guys or bad guys, like they’re all just right, all the time. So these are characters that can do no wrong. Like when? When has any of them, when have any of them made a bad choice? I’m serious. So how do you have a classic wrestling setup where you have a good guy, bad guy, babyface, heel?

D: I mean, I would argue that—

M: There’s no room for like…

D: —there’s been not a lot of bad choices in the sense of like you made this decision in that specifically was bad for the whole thing. But there are definitely been choices that when in the moment they were made, it was like, What the fuck are you doing? That’s the wrong choice.

M: But then everything’s fine.

D: Yes, yes, but they don’t know that. [laughs]

M: But how is that fair to have like characters that are just infallible?

D: Well, also—

M: I’m just saying they don’t make for good wrestlers.

D: We haven’t finished the whole thing. [Morgan laughs] We still got another season to see what goes down.

M: Yeah, there’s always room.

D: I mean, what about Marcos. As a wrestler?

M: You mean obvious bad guy Marcos Inaros?

D: Yeah, I mean, of course he’s the bad guy. 

M: Yeah.

D: But what’s, it’s not that… he’s kind of scrawny.

M: Like that has ever mattered.

D: I’m just saying I don’t know how it works nowadays with the wrestling maneuvers, like if you have people who are obviously physically not going to be able to take this other person down, will they win fights?

M: Well, so I grew up watching wrestling and we’re going to get on a whole other topic. I grew up watching wrestling, so I came into it in the ‘90s, which was right at the beginning of WWE Attitude Era, where you had really big characters, and it was also like kind of the beginning of the Divas, which was bullshit. So you’d have like the Diva matches. 

D: I do remember the Divas.

M: You remember that? Yeah, you remember that.

D: Not great.

M:Probably one of the darkest moments in all of pop culture. History. [laughs]

D: There’s so many things to choose from, but…

M: That is like top of the list. Yeah. And then I kind of fell off. I remember a little bit of like the early 2000s, but I started watching wrestling again. And typically, when I’m out of town on a Friday night, I tuck in. I watch a little WWE, little little ANW… or AEW…So now, it’s like everyone acknowledges that it’s kind of smoke and mirrors.

D: Mm-Hmm.

M: Which has sucked all of the joy out of wrestling because everyone goes out and does these like just flipping moves? And it’s like, it doesn’t matter if your punches don’t connect because, well, everybody knows it’s not really a real punch, like so everyone’s just sloppy. And then as a consequence, everybody gets hurt all the time. So like the last wrestling match, I watched the guy, busts his face open, and he’s not supposed to. It’s not supposed to be that much blood, but he, like, basically caught someone’s heel when he wasn’t supposed to, split his face open and blood just gushing down his forehead. Not planned, so that’s not good. You don’t want people to actually get hurt when they’re wrestling. You don’t want them sitting out for ten weeks or from a broken collarbone. So you’re supposed to do things in a way that’s, you know, safe but still looks good and makes sense for the story. So somebody like Marcos Inaros, obvious bad guy comes in as a heel stays a heel never has redemption arc. I guess that’s the only way that guy goes, and that’s literally what happens in the show.

D: I think Marcos actually kills a guy in the ring on purpose.

M: Oh yeah. That’s, that’s [both laugh] He kills a guy in his free time!

D: He came with a gun just on purpose. Just no, I’m just going to murder someone.

M: He wrestles all night, goes home and kills a guy just for fun. Yeah. So from like a storytelling aspect, you know, in wrestling, you have to have characters that evolve and change and grow and like, you know, you have grudges that get resolved in the ring. That’s the whole point is you have to believe that these two guys hate each other enough, that they want to have a match and then crazy stuff happens in between them that, then in the next match. Right? So that’s the whole drama of it. And in a show like The Expanse, there’s a lot of drama. There’s a lot of interpersonal things happening, but nobody really fucks up in a big way other than the obvious bad guys like Errinwright, who is pretty much you, you accept that he’s a bad guy from the beginning because he’s always trying to go to war, even when he has his little chance to turn, redeem himself a little bit in the eyes of Earth when he realizes he’s in a corner. He still chooses the dirty way out. 

D: Yeah. Errinwright’s an interesting character because he’s the… we can get into him more in a different episode, but he’s not in the books very much. Yeah. And so a lot of that was a surprise when it was going to happen with him.

M: Oh, OK.

D: So I was actually really full blown like I was assuming… In retrospect, obviously, they did it on purpose and it was I took the bait. But it was like, Oh, he’s going to kill it. 

M: Yeah.

D: So yeah, he’s going to kill us. And then… Oh, cool.

M: Yeah, because a true like narcissist will always like, you know, go for self-preservation first and foremost. Yeah, Marcos, obvious bad guy. Even Jules Mao, I guess he’s supposed to come across as a nice fatherly type, in a way, they show him being like soft towards his own children—

D: Yeah.

M: —sort of. But he says, pretty directly. The first time you meet him, it was worth sacrificing my daughter. Yeah, like, obvious bad guys. So you don’t have room for redemption because the people that are main characters that are, you know, leading us into, leading the story are always making the right decisions under every circumstance.

D: I think Miller might be the…

M: Miller’s my favorite—

D: Miller…

M: —because he’s the only one who’s human. 

D: What do you think his wrestling situation is?

M: Oh, That’s tough. Uh. I think Miller comes in as a heel and then he turns Babyface, and then he just like, stays in the zone, that’s right, in the middle where he’s kind of a good guy, kind of a bad guy, and everybody loves him. That’s the only way for it to go.

D: It’s just because of Thomas Jane. Punisher. [He] did a whole thing.

M: That’s Punisher?

D: He played—

M: I’m totally out of the loop.

D: Yeah, he was Punisher. And no, not the, the new one. But he was…

M: Do you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of Blade Runner

D: Oh, his character? Miller?

M: —how Harrison Ford’s character is constantly getting his ass kicked and like making bad decisions and not getting things right—

D: Yeah.

M: —and just like confused and just like always out of his element. And I like that. I like that because Miller is not. He doesn’t always have it right. In fact, he doesn’t know anything. 

D: Yeah.

M: He just knows how to be a cop.

D: We’ll have to talk about Miller specifically a lot in some future episodes, because there’s some really interesting stuff in the book—

M: Oh yeah? 

D: —that Miller goes through. That’s different and a lot more esoteric. 

M: Yeah.

D: A lot more cerebral in terms of thinking about is the nature of consciousness. What’s the nature of…

M: Yeah, I have some questions about that. For sure.

D: Yeah, yeah. There’s some pretty cool stuff.

M: Especially when it comes to like interacting with the protomolecule.

D: We’ll devote an entire episode, probably to his his arc in that sense. But the first Punisher movie was uh, Dolph Lundgren.

M: OK. [laughs]

D: It’s not good. It’s amazing. It’s not good. A lot of fun now, and then Thomas Jane was the one like in the early 2000’s. That was him, his first like big kind of at least I’m aware of his kind of first breakout thing was was that one off Punisher movie early to mid 2000’s?

M: I had no idea.

D: It was him. 

M: Yeah.

D: But a similar kind of thing, you know, coming in like the Punisher when you first meet him. If you don’t know his backstory, that is a bad guy. He is a bad guy.

M: Yeah. Yeah. I think I’ve watched I’ve watched the whole series three times all the way through at this point, and Miller is the one character where I keep finding new things that I like about him.

D: Yeah, it’s cool.

M: It like becomes the most relatable character, which is probably why they brought him back because he was a little he was one that I didn’t really want to say goodbye to.

D: Well, there’s there’s plenty to that in the book. [makes rough rewinding tape noises] I Remember all the talk about Miller more later.

M: OK. [giggles]

D: What about Morgan’s book corner?

M: Oh!

D: What do you think is the good reading background for some of the grimy subjects.

M: For this one? I would say, like maybe some Arthur C. Clarke, maybe like Earth Light, which deals a little bit more with what leaving the Earth is going to be like. You know, I can’t think of anything that directly deals with how absolutely disgusting life in space is going to be. I think people tend to want to gloss over that. Maybe Stranger in a Strange Land would be a good one. It’s about life on Mars, and Heinnlein actually has a crater on Mars named after him. It, which, I showed you earlier. So if we’re going to talk about Mars at all and colonizing, then I think we have to acknowledge maybe Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.

D: I feel like, you have to pick one, though.

M: I have to pick one?!

D: For this week.

M: For this week? We’re talking about leaving Earth?

D: Grime.

M: National Geographic. I recommend National Geographic.

[both laugh]

M: I think that’s a very pressing if we’re talking about leaving the Earth because I’d like to get there. I’d like for us all to live long enough for that. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. 

D: Cool cool.

M: Yeah. And as always, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

D: Just every single one.

M: Yeah.

D: Don’t forget about…

M: Don’t forget to read that.

D: Where can people find you, Morgan, online for buying things and yelling at you about how wrong you are?

M: Oh, well, I’m always open for that. DM me on Instagram. @LuxNovaStudio. It’s my art page and I love, I love abuse. Throw it at me. 

D: I mean, you are the Boob Lady.

M: I’m the Boob Lady. Yeah, you’ll see lots of boobs on my art page, but you can also hurl insults my way. If you disagree.

D: Then you can find your way to us somewhere on the internet. We have a Patreon or some other thing, but…

M: Whatever you want to do Daddy’o.

D: you can just put money in in an envelope—

M: Oh yes!

D: —and hurl it into the sky with my name on it and…

M: And wherever the wind will take it. [Dan laughs]

D: See if you can get it all the way out of the gravity well.

M: Yeah, you’ll figure out a way to get money.

D: I really do that, and it’s pretty dorky. OK, bye.

M: Bye.

M: I like the part where I said we should eat people.

[music outro]