Blog (Ex Urbe)

On my blog, Ex Urbe, I write essays about history, philosophy, mythology, science fiction and fantasy, movies, comics, food, and other topics.  I often discuss my research travel, especially my times in European cities including Florence and Rome.  I also post travel photography, focusing on historic sights and art.  Many of my essays are more casual examinations of topics I have been teaching or researching, ways of sharing my work in a lighter and more public setting than the classroom or academic books.

I have also just launched the Ex Urbe Ad Astra Podcast, jointly with my good friend and award-winning F&SF novelist Jo Walton. In it we interview fellow writers, historians, scientists, and other friends, discussing topics ranging from the craft of writing, to city planning and philosophy, to Martian geology, to gelato and other nifty topics. You can listen to it for free on Libsynon Apple Podcastson Spotify, and on YouTube, or support my Patreon to receive episodes in advance.

Recommended Ex Urbe Blog Entries:

I also regularly post historical photos & facts on twitter as Ada_Palmer tagged either #historypix or #SomethingBeautiful 

I also sometimes blog for Tor.com.  There I write about fiction, the craft of writing, mythology, history, literature, television, and manga & anime.

 

RSS The Latest Posts

  • Terra Ignota AMA Questions: Meatmakers and Kitchen Trees December 17, 2021
    Briefly: live right now is the Chicon Auction to raise money for this summer’s Chicago Worldcon, and they have some great Terra Ignota stuff including signed books and a special 2454 Antarctic Olympics Hoodie I made for Terra Ignota fun. You can bid online! Meanwhile, hello friends! Sharing some more fun discussions from my recent […]
  • Terra Ignota AMA Questions: Craft of Writing & Performer Casting December 10, 2021
    Hello, friends!  Sharing some more more favorite questions & answers from recent AMAs, including some about the craft of writing, and about the question of what it would be like casting Terra Ignota for film or TV. Q: Why Don’t You Describe the Flying Cars? So, we get a bit more detail in book 4 […]
  • Worldcon Schedule & Terra Ignota Calendar December 6, 2021
    No essay today, friends, but two announcements, of a fun project and sharing the spectacular list of panels I’m doing at Discon (Worldcon) in Washington DC in a few weeks! Worldcon is hybrid this year, so many of my panels will be available online! Fun project first: working with the brilliant crafts & design artist […]
  • Gender in Terra Ignota (Queership Repost) December 3, 2021
    This is an essay I was invited to write in 2017 for the delightful spec fic blog Queersship, which has since ceased to exist, but many people have asked me to re-post the essay, especially now as the series finale is coming out. For a more recent (though less expansive) discussion of similar issues see […]
  • Perhaps the Stars Essay Roundup plus AMA best-of: Religion & Utopia in Terra Ignota November 26, 2021
    Hello, friends!  Quick post today to say three things: I am (barring emergencies) going to Worldcon in DC this December! It looks like my recovery/therapy should be just enough to try it, my first venture out to an event since the onset of the new problems, but the doctors are encouraging! It will be wonderful […]
  • Medical Leave Reflections plus Empathy Sphere Essay October 8, 2021
    Good news first, I have a new essay out in Uncanny Magazine, “Expanding Our Empathy Sphere Using F&SF, a History,” where I talk about my term ’empathy sphere’ meaning the collection of beings we consider coequally a person with ourselves, something which historically has expanded over time, and which is useful in thinking about why […]
  • Barbie Career of the Year as a Window on Centrist Feminism August 13, 2021
    First, I’m excited to announce that you can now pre-order the first segment of the new cast recording audiobook of Terra Ignota that’s being done by Graphic Audio. I’m really excited about this new audio set, which is doing the whole series broken down into volumes so this first release is the first half of […]
  • 5 News Items: Podcast, Online Teaching, Gene Wolfe, Audiobooks, & Perhaps the Stars August 7, 2021
    Hello, friends – I have a proper essay underway, but short-term I have a five pieces of exciting news: My new podcast, An online history course I’ll be teaching this fall through U Chicago’s Graham school, which isn’t free but can be taken by anyone from anywhere. My Introductions to Gene Wolfe’s Book of the […]
  • Online talks: Apocalyptic Renaissance, Teaching Power in History, Inquisition, Rare Books May 13, 2021
    Hello, readers! The past few weeks have been very intense for me with the 2021 run of my Papal Election Simulation, but I wanted to post some links and announcements about a couple of free online talks, two recent and two upcoming.  One is today (May 13th) at 5:30 PM Central time on “The Apocalyptic […]
  • Who We Think Has the Power to Change the World? (transcript) April 16, 2021
    NOTE: An unfinished draft of this post was accidentally published for a little while on March 2nd-3rd, but it wasn’t actually ready yet then, but here’s the finished version: Hello, wonderful readers!  What I have to share today is not a polished essay, but the transcript, slightly cleaned up but mostly as given, of a […]