This week we return to the Gershwin Room to discuss what weâ€™ve been reading lately, what weâ€™re anticipating, what do you when you encounter a story by an idol or a good friend which isnâ€™t quite up to standard, and what the state of political science fiction is, with both Orwellâ€™s 1984 and Sinclair Lewisâ€™s It Canâ€™t Happen Here returning to the U.S. bestseller lists for the first time in decades. We also discuss political action within the science fiction field towards the end of the podcast, and touch on Norman Spinrad’s new novel.
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode.
It’s a brand new day. A dark, scary depressing day, maybe, but a brand new one. With the 45th president of the United States of America sworn in, Gary and Jonathan turned their attention to more typical things in the first rambling chat of the year.
This week they start by chatting about recent trends in science fiction, most notably science fiction influenced by man-made climate change like Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 and Cat Sparks’ Lotus Blue, before talking at length about the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, nominating for the Hugo awards (with some nomination suggestions), and finishing up talking about the recently released ballot for the Philip K. Dick Award.
As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. And if you do, please consider mentioning it to a friend!
It’s awards season and the judges of the 2017 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, have released the first major ballot of the year. The nominated works for the 2017 Philip K. Dick Award for ‘distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year’ are:
First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 14, 2017 at Norwescon 40 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.
At midnight tonight Barrack Obama will end his term as the 44th President of the United States. He is, in my opinion, unquestionably the greatest president of my lifetime. I have no real memory of Lyndon Johnsonâ€™s presidency. I do recall Richard Nixonâ€™s fall from grace, which I consider the most damaging thing done to the office. Ford and Carter are a blur. Reagan was a cartoon nightmare, and then there was Bush 1, Bush 2, and Bubba Clinton with all of his flaws. Obama has been relentlessly intelligent, classy and, damn it, presidential. He is a wonderful orator, and seems smart and decent and all you could hope for in a world leader. Itâ€™s been incredible to be alive for his presidency.
But, when midnight strikes and we begin our march towards the dead of night, Donald J. Trump will assume office as the 45th president. For all that there are many, many things surrounding his presidency that are deeply concerning – even from here in Australia – itâ€™s probably fair to say the most stressful thing about it right now is the unknown. No one really knows what he will do, how we will attempt to do it, or what affect it will have. I confess that I am deeply pessimistic. I feel that he will leave the US and its allies fundamentally worse off than how he now finds it. I think people I care about, and many people Iâ€™ll never meet, will suffer as a result of his ascending to office, and that Australiaâ€™s economy will likely suffer too. We shall see. I earnestly hope Iâ€™m wrong.
In the meantime, strictly by coincidence, my own first act of the Trump Presidency will be to go to the Perth Arena on Sunday evening and watch Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live in concert for just the seventh time. Iâ€™m pretty excited about. How about you? What will you be doing?
Friday morning. Up at 4.30am and out for a 5km walk before breakfast and heading in to work. Construction on the nearby freeway continues to make the local neighbourhood foreign and noisier. No coffee with mum this morning, because she has to get ready for some tests, so instead coffee and bagel at Max while reading a new novella submission for Tor.com. Copyedits bounced on to one writer, while making plans for more edits and getting ready to send out invitations for a new book project.
With three Bruce Springsteen shows coming up this week (Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday), all with Stephen and one with him and Jessica, the week ahead looks full. Exciting even! It’s also Marianne and my eighteenth wedding anniversary on Tuesday, so we’ll be out for dinner that night. What else? A Fringe show tonight with M (Jewish-ish), and some other commitments ahead. May even spend some time with mum setting up her new phone.
With the week ahead away from the day job include editing and writer invites, holiday planning(!), and more. Busy times. Oh and I should be reading.