10 thoughts on “Episode 96: Live with Gary K. Wolfe!”

  1. When Priest started going ad hominem in his piece, he lost my respect for what he was saying. He didn’t have to do that. He shouldn’t have done that. You *can* go too far, IMO.

  2. I’d like to suggest a discussible (if not necessarily testable) hypothesis: fantasy dominates cureent S&SF publishing because fantasy has grown/expanded/evolved in ways that science fiction has not.

    (You were opining, as you often do, that there’s little “new” in science fiction. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you interrogate fantasy on those terms.)

    You were suggesting that several announced sf titles by established writers would tend to suggest that 2012 might be a stronger year than 2011, and I found myself thinking that they’d really have to overachieve to beat out what I think are the two strongest novels of the year so far, both arguably fantasy, both by women authors: Caitlin Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl and Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts. And here’s the thing: they’re both fantasies, but they have absolutely nothing in common, except that they do what they set out to do nearly perfectly. Off hand, I can’t think of two sf titles that are that dissimilar.

    (Range of Ghosts is epic fantasy and the first volume in a trilogy. I know you don’t usually read such things, but I’ll eat my hat if Gary doesn’t have to read it in his Tiptree juror role. When I finished it, I realized that it did everything I’d ever wanted a fat epic fantasy to do, and it had done it in 330 pages.)

    Back to the hypothesis. Ursula LeGuin, who continues to be recognized for her science fiction works, has spent much of her career writing fantasy, and writing about writing fantasy. She’d be a great guest for such a topic.

    You might consider inviting Elizabeth Bear, as well. She won the Locus Award for best debut for an sf trilogy (Hammered/Scardown/Worldwired), but she’s written at least as much fantasy as sf in recent years.

    You may conclude that there’s nothing better in the world than venturesome sf, and we’re all drowning in a sea of decadent, devolved secondary world fantasy (with a side of urban fight-on-the-rooftops-and-kiss-in-the-shadows), but it would be nice to hear the argument.

    Anyway, that’s my vote for what to do on or around the 100th conversation. Cheers.

  3. Thanks for your well-considered comments on Christopher Priest’s Clarke Award essay.

    I like the idea of meta awards quite a bit. A “bridesmaid” award for the best book that made one or more shortlists but won nothing, and an “overlooked” award for a book that didn’t make any shortlist but should have. If you want to debut the award for your 100th episode you might want to talk about awards handed out in 2011 for 2010 books.

    As for future guest suggestions: How about Gene Wolfe? He’s not too far from Chicago, is he? And Andrea Hairston, recent winner of the Tiptree Award?

  4. And Sam Weller. He’s in Chicago too, and he knows a thing or two about Gene Wolfe, and even more about Ray Bradbury.

  5. Even if Chris Priest wanted to be a Clarke judge, which I think is unlikely, it wouldn’t be for 2013 – the BSFA certainly knows who its judges will be, and I suspect the other juror-providing organisations also have their choices line up. Indeed, since the judges serve two year terms, and changes are staggered, the 2013 jury will include two or three of the people Priest has judged incompetent, and for whose resignation he has called.

  6. Hi John, Gary,

    Y’all were asking which post-1970s genre books could be considered canonical, which are still taught in classrooms, and which are still read generally.

    What about Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game?

    I think it’s still often taught in classrooms and read broadly, although I don’t know whether English Dept. classrooms are among them.

    For example, I had a professor who would assign it in his intro to international relations course as an illustration of realism and idealism in international politics.

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