Episode 161: On the toxicity of literary canon

After a long sequence of discussions with wonderful guests, it’s just Gary and Jonathan alone in the Waldorf Room once more. This week, after a brief chat about the forthcoming World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, their attention turns to how literary canons are formed, the potential toxicity of the canon forming concept and other matters. No books were sold in the making of this podcast.

As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. Next week we’ll be back with special guest Rachel Swirsky.

2 thoughts on “Episode 161: On the toxicity of literary canon”

  1. On a slightly unrelated topic. What is the name of the app you referred to that creates links to music preferences? Is it Discovr or something else?

    Now I have that out the way … A reading list can have value in providing a reading list to a new reader who wants to bring themselves up to speed in the field. Whether or not this should be set in stone – as books that must be read as part of a canon I have mixed feelings. The danger is that it ossifies the field it by limiting development and evolution by constantly looking backwards.

  2. Quick note–Jonathan, you kept referring to canonical SF writers as some version of “white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant males”.

    I imagine that Campbell’s “Murderer’s Row” of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt, and L. Sprague de Camp would all be considered white* males, but none of them was Anglo-Saxon and at least 2 of them would have deeply resented being called Protestant. Even Ray Bradbury was half-Swedish. Of the biggest names in Golden Age SF, only Arthur C. Clarke was of purely British descent.

    *Asimov, as a Russian Jewish immigrant, would definitely have met a lot of people who didn’t consider him “white” at the time.

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