“But [Toby] went to tell the bees. She felt like an idiot doing it, but she’d promised. She remembered that it wasn’t enough just to think at them: you had to say the words out loud. Bees were the messengers between this world and the other worlds, Pilar had said. Between the living and the dead. They carried the Word made air.”Margaret Atwood, Year of the Flood
We decided to create a podcast centered on Atwood’s trilogy because the three of us were interested in different modes of storytelling that expand beyond the written word. We wanted to examine the types of narratives that develop alongside pen-to-paper stories. We wondered, does hearing a narrative (after reading it) alter how you engage with it? From this curiosity, Calling on the Bees was born.
The title of our podcast comes from Toby’s conversations with Eve 6, quoted above. We love the idea of our podcast being a missive for the bees, a calling for them to take our messages and ideas and expand them outwards into the universe; for them to return to us with responses of their own. When you tell the bees the events of your life, they become concrete and they matter. This podcast is a call to the bees, for answers, ideas, and validation.
In our five episode podcast, we discuss a variety of themes that deal with the speculative nature of The MaddAddam Trilogy. Our focuses vary, including eco-terrorism, feminist and queer ecologies, religion in the apocalypse, occupying and taking up space in the apocalypse, and the ethics and repercussions of crime and murder. Each episode focuses on separate topics, with three episodes focusing on one of the three books within the trilogy. We navigated these discussions through the lens of one central question: Who do you grant the privilege and title of humanity to?