This week’s episode ranges from a discussion about the growing importance of novellas and their advantages both for readers and writers, the difficult question of which story you might pick to introduce a new reader to a favourite author, the importance of distinctive voices in both short fictions and novels, the upcoming 87th birthday of the great Gene Wolfe, and James Cameron’s new TV documentary on SF, which features appearance from several SF writers and critics, including Gary.
Then Jonathan springs on Gary the question of what his favourite book is, so Gary tossed it right back to Jonathan. We both came up with answers that date back to our respective childhoods. In addition to Gene Wolfe, some of the authors mentioned include R.A. Lafferty, Ted Chiang, Margo Lanagan, Kelly Link, Robert A. Heinlein, T.H. White, Sam J. Miller, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula Le Guin, Andy Duncan, Howard Waldrop, Catherynne Valente, Jeffrey Ford, Lavie Tidhar, John Varley, James Patrick Kelly, Alec Nevala-Lee, and Joseph Heller. In other words, another ramble.
This week, the always bustling Coode Street Motel battles technical difficulties, sound dropouts, and other gremlins of the Skypesphere to welcome Sam J. Miller, whose Blackfish City is just out, and whose young adult novel The Art of Starving received great notices last year.
We discuss balancing his day job as a community organizer with his fiction, the genesis of his new novel in a couple of earlier short stories, the writers who made him want to become one, the arbitrary nature of classifying stories as SF, horror, fantasy, YA, etc., and even the choice of pronouns in describing particular characters.
As always, our thanks to Sam and we hope you enjoy the episode.
Gary was looking through the books that seem to tumble endlessly through his front door for review and came across a new edition of David R. Bunch’s classic story collection, Moderan, which is set to be re-released by New York Review Books this coming August with an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
It led to a conversation about to whether there’s an art to re-reading books, how you should go about republishing classic books, and much more. We also snuck in an apology or two at the very end of the episode. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode. See you next week (in all of our lo-fi glory).
I’m taking a moment. I’m terrible at taking a moment, but I’m trying. About an hour ago there was a knock at the door. It was a courier with a box, a carton of books. This one contained my contributor’s copies of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 12, which is just out from Solaris Books. It contains 29 stories, all published in 2017, that I think represent the very best in science fiction and fantasy at the moment.
I edited my first year’s best annual in 1996 and have been doing at least one a year since 2003. I love doing it and I love reading other editors books too. These are often hard times for books so, if there’s any chance at all this might be your jam, then please consider ordering a copy. While I’m working on the next book in the series, volume 13, your support will help make sure there is a volume 14.
My thanks on this book to cover artist Adam Tredowski and my editors Jonathan Oliver and David Moore.
Oh! And this is my 47th anthology and 75th book editing project overall. I’m signed up for a few more. It’s a joy and a privilege to do.
This week, Jonathan and Gary discuss the parameters of climate-influenced SF, the usefulness or not of the term ‘cli-fi’ (with increasing numbers of SF works set all or partly in the Arctic or Antarctic) and, inevitably, the beginning of the awards season, with the Aurealis and Ditmar awards, the BSFA awards, and the nominees announced this past weekend for the 2018 Hugos. Who is being celebrated on the ballot, and which works were we surprised to see omitted?
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode!