Episode 83: Live with Gary K. Wolfe!

For the first regular podcast of 2012 Gary and I answer listener “Cam from Canada’s” questions about Gene Wolfe (or try to), foreshadow some stuff for future episodes, briefly discuss Hugo nominations opening, chat about John Crowley’s work and some other stuff. As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast!

4 thoughts on “Episode 83: Live with Gary K. Wolfe!”

  1. Jonathan: no need to be embarrassed by Wolfe. Dave Langford recommended Shadow the Torturer to me. I recall writing a review which basically said that it was a fascinating book but if Mr. Wolfe wanted to have a successful career he should make his books easier to understand. How Dave must have laughed. Hopefully I’m better than that now.

    Can I please add Cat Valente to this list of authors whose early work was exceptionally poetic and who has got better and better over the years?

    As to 1981, it is complicated. There is certainly an historical trend going on, but one of the things you need to remember about 1981 is the location. Denver Worldcons are notorious for low attendance rates because of the physical location. In 1981 that will have been an even bigger issue than it was in 2008 because flying was so much more expensive. Here are some attendance figures:

    1980 (Boston) – 5,850
    1981 (Denver) – 3,792
    1982 (Chicago) – 4,275
    1983 (Baltimore) – 6,400

    Out of those, incidentally, I’d say that Chicago was the anomaly. I would have expected it to be much bigger.

    But my point is that the lower the attendance at the convention the more likely it is that the results of the Hugos will be determined by a core group of regular attendees who have been going to Worldcon for years, rather than reflecting current tastes in fandom at large.

  2. Great episode as always. Very sorry to learn the Eclipse series will no longer be published through NightShade. Here’s hoping that a similar series can be launched through another press (sub press possibly?) which can continue collecting your original speculative fiction tastes which I for one have come to rely on. And also thank you for you talk of community – particularly in the last episode. You have motivated me attend two local conventions this year – BaltiCon and Darkover. And at Balticon I have committed to volunteering.

  3. Thanks to Gary & Jonathan for discussing the New Sun books – I really enjoyed it!
    I think I figured out somewhere in chapter 2 of the first book that I’d have to re-read this eventually to start getting the bigger picture, but the language was just so strong it kept carrying me through the more opaque sections – and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one!

    One thing I noticed was that Wolfe would often introduce a new scene or idea with a great deal of subtlety, and that I as the reader wouldn’t know exactly what Severian was going on about until maybe a few paragraphs or even a few pages later, when suddenly the whole thing would come into focus. Wolfe managed to do this to me over and over throughout the book and I was never able to pinpoint how or predict when this would happen, although I did learn to trust that he would hit me with these moments of clarity just when I’d start feeling like I was losing the thread – a wonderful, challenging read! I’ve already started collecting the volumes of the Long Sun and Short Sun, although I think I might need something a bit more like some zippy Stross or Doctorow to cleans the pallet a bit and give my brain some time to digest.

    Also very sad to hear the Eclipse series won’t be continuing – I’ve enjoyed each volume as they’ve come out, and at least to my taste, they’ve been getting better and better!
    I hope your Year’s Best series is still going strong, Jonathan?

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