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Virtual reality, a suspicious death and a Coralville retirement home at the center of a new novel

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

A new novel explores the relationship between virtual and actual reality. And a new IPR podcast looks back at the audio treasures of yesteryear.

From their rooms in a facility in Coralville, elderly residents relive their favorite moments through a video game called "The World of Pondside." But things take a dangerous and mysterious turn when the game's creator winds up dead, leaving suspicion, confusion and frustration behind as the residents try to figure out what happened and how to get back into the world of their beloved game.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks to Mary Helen Stefaniak about her latest novel which takes its name from this high stakes video game.

Also this hour, we feature an excerpt from the first episode of a new podcast from IPR. From the Archives listens back to important radio artifacts from the IPR vault. Listen to President Herbert Hoover speaking on his last visit to the Hawkeye State.


  • Mary Helen Stefaniak, professor emerita of English and creative writing at Creighton University in Omaha
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa