Category Archives: Podcasts

Episode 562: Reading, reviewing, and an old question answered

Welcome to episode 20 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. It’s just Jonathan and Gary again, eventually circling around an interesting question raised by Andrew Liptak in Transfer Orbit concerning the question of reading the right book at the right time, rather than being chained to the constant parade of new books and their publicity cycles.

Along the way we pause to note the recent passing of Erle Korshak, one of the last survivors of 1930s fandom; the value and hazards of re-reading old favorites from Gene Wolfe to Dune; the way to arrange stories in an anthology or collection; some newer books by Lavie Tidhar, Joe Abercrombie, and others; the importance of context in reviewing, and, inspired by Matt Bell’s My Le Guin Year: Craft Lessons from a Master on Tor.com, how Ursula Le Guin got some things right long before anyone else did, with her own Tehanu. In other words, our usual laser-like focus on whatever comes up in the moment.

As always, we hope you enjoy the episode.

Episode 561: Science fiction, influence, and more

Welcome to episode 19 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This time out, Jonathan and Gary return, sans guests or much of a plan. They do manage to touch upon a number of significant issues, such as the work of newly minted World Fantasy Life Achievement winner Howard Waldrop, whether Waldrop could be viewed as a regional author (a Texan in particular), and which other writers might be thought of a representing particular regional voices (R.A. Lafferty, Andy Duncan, Christopher Rowe,  Daryl Gregory?), and how regional voice may show up even in the work of hard SF writers like Gregory Benford. This leads into a more general discussion of influences. Are films based on Philip K. Dick now more influential than Dick’s novels themselves? How are innovative writers like Greg Egan (who just turned 60) and Ted Chiang seen as influential?

This leads, somehow, into a discussions of how writers like Dick, Lovecraft, Le Guin, Octavia Butler made it into the Library of America, and finally to the importance of international and regional anthologies such as Oghenchovwe Donald Ekpeki’s new Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction. As always, we also touch upon what we’re reading this week.

Episode 560: Arkady Martine and Memories of Empire

A Desolation Called PeaceWelcome to episode 18 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This time out, Jonathan and Gary are joined by the wonderful Arkady Martine, author of the Hugo-winning A Memory Called Empire and its equally remarkable sequel A Desolation Called Peace. We touch upon how her research as an academic historian helped shape her fiction, the various meanings of empire (and the comparative virtues of SF and fantasy in dealing with such concepts), growing up with a houseful of SF classics from Asimov to Zelazny, and her own current work—including the possibility of more stories set in the Teixcalaanli universe and a likely venture into near-future SF.

As always, our thanks to Arkady for making the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Episode 559: Partway through the pandemic, a ramble

Welcome to episode 17 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. For those very few of you who might be wondering what Jonathan and Gary ramble on about when they’re not recording or talking to guests, here’s a taste—especially if you make it all the way to the last ten minutes or so, when we end up talking about our vaccination cards and possible travel plans.  

Before we get there, however, we touch upon the new Lavie Tidhar novel The Hood, which we’re both in the midst of reading and is due out in October. That leads to a broader discussion of Tidhar’s work and an even broader discussion about how historical material is handled differently in fantasy from the way it is in SF, and whether the classic view of SF’s manifest destiny even holds up anymore, given the variety of voices and perspectives now available.

Some of the authors we touch upon are Arkady Martine, John Varley, C.J. Cherryh, Isaac Asimov (and the forthcoming Apple TV+ series derived from the Foundation series), Kelly Robson, John Varley, and a few others. A mixed bag, for sure.

Episode 558: M. Rickert and The Shipbuilder of Bellfaerie

Shipbuilder.jpegWelcome to episode 16 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week, Jonathan and Gary chat with the marvellous M. Rickert, whose new novel The Shipbuilder of Bellfaerie is out next week from Undertow Publications.

We touch upon how the novel draws from traditions as varied as nautical legends, mysteries, and even Frankenstein, and on  the virtues and challenges of the novel as a form compared to novellas and short fiction, the importance of letting the reader use their own imaginations, whether or not M. Rickert fiction is horror fiction (depending, of course, on how horror is defined), whether a reader missing the point is really such a bad thing, and some earlier classic M. Rickert stories like “The Chambered Fruit,” “Bread and Bombs,” and “The Mothers of Voorhisville.”

As always, our thanks to Mary for taking the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!