The Sci-Fi Sigh Podcast

By Amber & Ben Wallin

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Join Amber and Ben for their weekly podcast about staying on the same page in their marriage and in the wonderful world of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Episode Date
So...We Met the Blacks | Episode 39

Directed by Deon Taylor, starring Mike Epps, and dragged by Amber and Ben Wallin, Meet the Blacks is a comedy/horror that uncovers what happens when no expense is spared on celebrity cameos. Watch the movie, grab a drink and listen to us recap this purge parody, ultra low-budget funny.

If you want to sit comfy...

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Jun 15, 2021
Reading and Riding through "The Underground Railroad" | Episode 38

We've reached the last stop of "The Underground Railroad." We took a trip with, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Colson Whitehead through a powerful story that prompted discussions of divine anxiety, American labor practices, and the commodification of black bodies. Join us as we close out this incredible story.


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Jun 08, 2021
Ending the Series through "The Underground Railroad" | Episode 37

Sometimes, " a useful delusion is better that a useless truth," and this alternate history got right to America's reality. This week we finished watching the second half of "The Underground Railroad" directed by Barry Jenkins. Join us for an emotional dialogue about respectability politics, PTSD and the creative spirit of Black Americans.

Vulture Article:

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Jun 01, 2021
Beginning our Journey through "The Underground Railroad" | Episode 36

Based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize winning book with the same title, The Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins explores America’s unresolved, tormented past. Watch episodes 1 through 5, and join us for a weighted conversation about the business of slavery, the ethics of suicide, and the precision Jenkins uses to tell Black stories.

CBD Sex Polish:

May 25, 2021
Unhappy Endings with Yasuke | Episode 35

We conclude the epic first season of LeSean Thomas’ Yasuke! We discuss the ever charming and wonderful musician, Thundercat, and we, eventually, analyze the final three episodes of season 1. Tune in to talk excessively long fight scenes, Magical Negro stereotypes, and the powerful potential of Yasuke’s future. 

May 18, 2021
Meeting Yasuke Halfway | Episode 34

Created by the brilliant LeSean Thomas and starring the soothing voice of Lakeith Stanfield, Yasuke is an alternate history of epic proportions. We discuss episodes 1 through 3 and the difference between alternate history and revisionist history. We go down the in and outs of missionaries and their respective...positions. And of course no conversation would be complete without a discussion of having too much power.  

May 11, 2021
To Trade or Not to Trade | Episode 33

We got a short story, with a long dialogue. We discuss “The Space Traders” by Civil Rights activist Derrick Bell. This small tale is more prescient now than its first publication in 1992. Tune in for a discussion of unhealthy patriotism, unwritten traditions and unfit congressmen in the sunken place.

Georgia Voting Law

Dark Matter ed. by Sheree Renee Thomas

Obama and Bell

Nisi Shawl’s Article

May 07, 2021
Livin' Just Enough for "The City We Became" | Episode 32

We enter the beautiful underworlds of cities, the bad-assery of Jemisin, and the discovery of gods among us while considering the only way Ben would go on a cruise. Join us as we discuss N.K. Jemisin’s most recent book “The City We Became.” Listen and share which of your city’s hidden gems feel like an alternate dimension.

Apr 30, 2021
It's Us Against "Them" | Episode 31

One man’s degradation porn is another man’s grieving process. We sat down to recap the controversial Amazon TV Series “Them,” directed by Little Marvin and produced by Lena Waite. Join our discussion of Black Slash horror, haunting violence, and the effortless ingenuity of Jordan Peele.


Apr 23, 2021
MIBoo!! International | Episode 30

This week we reviewed the 2019 film MIB: International with the dynamic duo of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. F. Gary Gray, director of such classics as “Set It Off” and “Friday,” came into reboot the franchise. We discuss immigration, controlling creators, and drinking Thor’s beer. 

Sources Referenced:

Apr 16, 2021
Baes In Futureland | Episode 29
This week we read Walter Mosley’s short story cycle Futureland. Find out what happens when an Edgar award-winning mystery author dips his toe into the waters of near-future Science Fiction. We discuss book clubs, toxic work environments, and anti-establishment millennials.
Apr 09, 2021
Another Round With Black Lightning | Episode 28

Jefferson Pierce is back with his whole family as backup. We have mad scientists galore, cell regeneration roadkill, poison knives, and godly health clinics. Not to mention a dash of white supremacy. Black Lightning does it all. Join us as we discuss Black Lightning season 2.

Season 2 Breakdown:

The Book of Consequences

The Book of Blood

The Book of Rebellion

The Book of Secrets

The Book of the Apocalypse

Apr 02, 2021
Meteor Mania | Episode 27

Before the wonder of Black Lightning, Black Panther, and Luke Cage, there was The Meteor Man. The Meteor Man can do it all--X-ray super vision, super strength, and of course, telepathy with dogs only. Robert Townsend’s camp of the superhero genre was years ahead of its time despite some significant set-backs. Power up and watch this cult classic with us

Circles & Ciphers: Chicago Police Torture- Jon Burge:

Mar 26, 2021
Breathing Fire With The Last Dragon | Episode 26

What do you get when you combine Michael Shultz’s direction with Berry Gordy’s bops? The 1985 smash hit “The Last Dragon.” Kick some ass with this fusion of 80’s NYC, Bruce Lee inspiration and anti-racism. Decades ahead of its time, this cult classic is a must see for every fantasy fan.

Harvard Research Study on Asian Students Article:

Mar 19, 2021
Down Home Nine Bar Blues | Episode 25

We read the short story cycle, Nine Bar Blues. Giant cicadas, Beale Street Blues, and a devil at the crossroads, what else could you want from Southern fiction? This ain’t no Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, this here is Sheree’s Memphis.

Other Sources:

Mixtape v. Album- Black Justin Bieber-

Mar 12, 2021
You Better Naught Cross Me Mate | Episode 24
If you loved Wakanda get ready for an Afro-centric world like no other. We watched Naughts and Crosses on Peacock TV-- written by Malorie Blackman and co-directed Koby Adom. This alternate-history story set the game in motion for a discussion of black power, black culture and black band-aids.
Mar 05, 2021
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantastic | Episode 23
We read "The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games" by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. The book was recently awarded a World Fantasy Award for 2020. Amber and Ben come to terms with imagination gaps, toxic twitter feeds, and “slash fiction.” For once Ben knows more about social media than Amber.
Feb 26, 2021
Where There's Thunder, There's Black Lightning | Episode 22

A mostly spoiler-free review of the first season of Black Lightning. Yeah, Black Lightning is fine, but it's Lala, Jill Scott aka Lady Eve, and Tobias Whale that carry this show. We discuss D&D alignment, creator controversy, and awkward family dinners.

Feb 19, 2021
That Author Is Poison | Episode 21
If I were you, I'd take precaution.... This week we read Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston. This book has everything—climate change, blood magic, spirit zombies, pirates, and queer love. We stan all 500 pages of this epic fantasy. We also discuss what makes epic fantasy “epic.”
Feb 12, 2021
His House or Her Horror? | Episode 20

Directed by Remi Weekes, His House follows the story of Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku), two asylum-seekers who've survived a tortuous journey across the Mediterranean from Sudan. We discuss assimilation, survivor’s guilt, and the horror of living in a dilapidated building.

  • To learn more about the Mediterranean passage of immigrants check out this article:
  • Roger Ebert Review:
Feb 05, 2021
An Otherworldly Interview with Author Nisi Shawl | Episode 19
This week Amber and Ben sat down with Author Nisi Shawl to talk about their most recent book "Talk Like A Man," and their editing work for the 2020 World Fantasy award winning collection "New Suns". Nisi Shawl’s essay "Crash Course in Science Fiction" has been a guide for this podcast, but Nisi has also won an Otherwise Award (formerly the Tiptree Award) for their short collection "Filter House" and has been a Nebula finalist and Otherwise Honoree for their novel "Everfair," an alternate history in which the Congo overthrows King Leopold II’s genocidal regime. Finally, Nisi is an educator and they co-wrote "Writing the Other: A Practice Approach," now the standard text on diverse character representation in the imaginative genres.
Jan 29, 2021
Overjoyed and Overwhelmed with "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" | Episode 18
Speculative or pretentious? Terence Nance's An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is a fusion of stop-motion, animation, and camera phone footage is a headache, and heartache of unrequited art-school love. A tedious arthouse film where humans can be either satellites or planets either mindlessly revolving or gropingly gravitating. Smoke some weed and bring your notebook for this glorious stench.
Jan 22, 2021
Fighting with a Riot Baby | Episode 17
This cocktail of X-Men superpowers, the prison industrial complex, hyper-militarization of police, and hundred of years of racism spotlighted with viral videos of today is an ambitious novella. The alternate history, just a little bit, to the left of our world takes on a lot, maybe too much. We discuss trauma porn, actual prison rodeos, god-like powers, and the future of incarceration in Tochi Onyebuchi's novella Riot Baby.
Jan 15, 2021
BRB, I'll "See You Yesterday" | Episode 16

Predestination or free-will? Stefon Bristol’s directorial debut, See You Yesterday, is a brilliant nod to time travel narratives while reflecting the horrors of our time. We talk kid-scientists, annoying high schoolers, fate, BLM and Spike Lee. Ya Dig?


  • The Venus Effect by Violet Allen
Jan 08, 2021
Deep Black Sea | Episode 15

We review the novella, The Deep, by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. Add it to the oeuvre of mermaid fiction, but unlike The Little Mermaid, the merfolk of this world don’t lose their voice. We discuss terror management theory, air guns, mermaid cunnilingus and not much more.

  • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin:
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin The Freedom of the Shifting Seas by Jaymee Goh Terror Management Theory and the COVID-19 Pandemic:,results%20from%20the%20uniquely%20human
Jan 01, 2021
Jingle Bells, Jangle Bells | Episode 14
We review the instant Christmas classic of this year--Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey directed by David E. Talbert. Turns out the best Christmas movies lead to discussion of ensoulment, A.I. euthanization, the fusion of magic and science, and lost opportunities. Also grab a Kleenex for an Afrobeats snowball fight with steampunk custom design. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Dec 25, 2020
It's Something About the Name Black Jesus | Episode 13
Prepare ye the way for Black Jesus! Straight Outta Compton, Black Jesus, created by the genius Aaron McGruder adds to the long list of Jesus fantasies. This Jesus brings a whole new take on our Lord and Savior. So kick back, light a joint, and watch this holy series.
Dec 18, 2020
Busting Cannons with Carmilla K | Episode 12
What do you get when you shake Mecha, Weird Western, and Afrofuturism? The gonzo fiction of Cannon Busters. We review the anime, Canon Busters, created by the Bronx-born and Japan-based Black creator LeSean Thomas. We don’t know anime, so we get some help from, long-time anime fan,Carmilla.
Dec 11, 2020
Let's Ring, Let's Shout (feat. Author P. Djeli Clark) | Episode 11

We are joined by the Locus and Nebula award winning author, P. Djeli Clark to discuss his new book Ring Shout. The New York Times describes the novella as “a fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph of the imagination.” Educator, historian and author, we drink and discuss this amazing novella.

Purchase the book here:

  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Volume 1) Book by Kwame Mbalia
  • Heritage by Countee Cullen
Dec 04, 2020
Welcome To Kati Kati, FYI You're Dead | Episode 10
What happens when you die? Kati Kati, the Kenyan film by Mbithi Masya, gives you the answer you probably don’t want. Joining the long list of afterlife stories like No Exit, The Good Place and The Lovely Bones, Kati Kati, meaning “in-between” in Swahili, is a fresh take on the purgatory story.
Nov 27, 2020
Who You Calling Sweetheart? | Episode 9

Vox Article:How would you survive on an island haunted by a killer aqua monster? How would you survive both lower demons with nipple piercings and the demonic, but sexy voice of Billy Zane? We have two Final Black Girls, Kiersey Clemons and Jada Pinkett Smith, teaching us about surviving monsters and demons. Join us as we discuss survival horror, real creature effects and the Final Girl trope in Sweetheart (2019) and Demon Knight (1995).

Nov 20, 2020
So Freshwater, So Clean (feat. Divya Balan) | Episode 8
Akwaeke Emezi had their novel debut two years ago and was shortlisted for the transphobic Women’s Prize. Akwaeke, in powerful protest, decided to renege their newest novel, The Death of Vivek Oji, from the award. Take that Adele. We celebrate this incredible author and their debut novel Freshwater, a story about gods, Igbo spirituality and blood sacrifice. We are joined by our neighbor, Divya. Because neighbors read together.
Nov 13, 2020
Binti Around the World and Ay Yi Yi | Episode 7

Sentient ships, nano-bots, and mathematical power come together in Nnedi Okorafor’s coming-of-age trilogy, Binti. Okorafor’s trilogy has been greenlit by Hulu and her debut novel, Who Fears Death will also be showing up on HBO. Okorafor is a powerhouse and we will be watching and reading her works aplenty in the near and distant future.

Where to buy the book:

Corrections: The Himba tribe are in the region of Namibia, not Nigeria.

Nov 06, 2020
A Black Box Full of Bad Hair | Episode 6
There is no better way to wrap October then with two new horror films. Join us as we discuss Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr.’s Black Box, and Justin Simien’s Bad Hair. Part I: Black Box Part II: Bad Hair Other References: Book-Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890s to Present
Oct 30, 2020
My Lovecraft Tis’ of Thee | Episode 5

Listen as Amber and Ben relive and revere all the incredible moments Season 1 of Lovecraft Country had to offer: Episode 1: Sundown Episode 2: Whitey’s on the Moon Episode 3: Holy Ghost Episode 4: A History of Violence Episode 5: Strange Case Episode 6: Meet Me in Daegu Episode 7: I Am Episode 8: Jig-a-Bobo Episode 9: Rewind 1921 Episode 10:Full Circle

Other References:

  • More on Lovecraft Episodes:
  • Bessie Stringfield’s:
  • Learn more about Queer Bronzeville:
  • The History of Topsy and Bopsy:
Oct 23, 2020
Hey Lovecraft, Meet LaValle | Episode 4

Victor LaValle inverted Lovecraft with his 2016 novella The Ballad of Black Tom. Tune in for an other-worldly discussion of the end times, cosmic horror and racial puberty as we explore this award-winning story.

Other Sources:

Oct 16, 2020
Back to Blacula and the Exploration of Horror Noire | Episode 3

Watch Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror directed by Xavier Neal-Burgin. Featuring actors Keith David, Tony Todd, and Rachel True, director Jordan Peele, and author Tananarive Due. The film is inspired by the astounding film critic Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman who wrote a history book on black horror called Horror Noire. Listen as Amber and Ben breakdown the six phases of Black representation in horror films:

  • Phase 1: Black People as Monsters
  • Phase 2: Black People as Slapstick Comedy Phase
  • 3: The Atomic Age Phase
  • 4: Blaxploitation and Hood Heroes Phase
  • 5: The Sacrificial and Magical Negro Phase
  • 6: Renaissance and Black Horror Also! Watch Blacula directed by William Craine starring William Marshall.

Other References: -Nnedi Okorafor article “Stephen King’s Super-Duper Magical Negroes” -Nightlight Podcast Interview with Tananarive Due -Women & Children First Presents: N.K. Jemisin's THE CITY WE BECAME By Orbit LIVE! -Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman

Oct 09, 2020
The Old Guard and the New G.O.A.T. | Episode 2
Gina Prince-Bythewood is a black director, and icon, who brought us Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, and, most notably, Love & Basketball. She is the first black woman to direct a major comic book film. We will be reviewing... no, celebrating Gina Prince-Bythewood's 2020 film The Old Guard.
Oct 02, 2020
Kindred v. Antebellum | Episode 1
Amber & Ben take a deep dive--reviewing Octavia Butler's 1979 classic book Kindred and 2020's film Antebellum starring Janelle Monae. Check out what we loved, loathed, and everything in between.
Sep 24, 2020
The Sci-Fi Sigh | Trailer
A podcast about Black Science Fiction and Fantasy hosted by Amber & Ben
Sep 23, 2020