First up, novelist AL Kennedy (01:30) talks about the research she carried out for her new novel The Blue Book, which features a fake psychic as one of the new characters. To prepare for writing it, Kennedy sat through stage shows, visited mediums and sat for palm readers, and in the podcast she discusses their techniques and the reasons why people fall for them, which she also dissects in her column in the current issue.
Next, I talk about my piece on the questions surrounding "Islamophobia" and the right to criticise religion (10:50). Are we seeing a rise in anti-Muslim prejudice? Is it confined to extremists such as the English Defence League, or is it, as Baroness Warsi suggested earlier this year, acceptable around the dinner tables of middle England? How can those wishing to criticise Islam do so without demonising Muslims in general?
Finally, Caspar speaks to leading science writer John Gribbin about what we owe the Moon (16:40). It's a question John considers in the new issue of New Humanist in a piece adapted from his latest book The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth – is the Moon the reason we are here at all, and where does that leave the question of life existing elsewhere in the universe?
Original music © Andrea Rocca