Pluralistic: 1900s futurism (07 Mar 2024)

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Pluralistic: Naomi Alderman's 'The Future' (07 November 2023)

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Against the great forces of history

What Ada Palmer’s University of Chicago Papal election LARP can teach us about our own future.

“Cesare Borgia oath of Fealty,” from the 2019 Papal election LARP. Photo by Ada Palmer. Used with permission.

Ada Palmer is a wonder. Not only is she a tenured University of Chicago historian who specializes in the forbidden information of Florence during the Inquisitions (witchcraft, homosexuality, heresy and other fascinating subjects); she’s also a composer, librettist and performer whose album-length retelling of Norse mythos is, astoundingly, exceeded by her song about space travel (if this doesn’t make you well up, I don’t want to know you).

And to top it all off, she’s a brilliant science fiction writer, whose inaugural series, Terra Ignota, has just concluded with its fourth and final volume, Perhaps the Stars.

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