This week we’re joined by the fabulous Nnedi Okorafor, whose Akata Warrior (sequel to Akata Witch) will be published next week, and whose Binti: The Night Masquerade (concluding her award-winning Binti trilogy of novellas) is due in January. We discuss not only these books, but the ongoing excitement about the possible TV adaptation of Who Fears Death?, the forthcoming novel Remote Control, the growing awareness of African and Naijamerican SF and fantasy, her work in comics and graphic novels, her Star Wars short story, and the problems of juggling academic work with writing. Nnedi is one of the busiest writers in the field these days, and her insights, as always, are fascinating.
This week, we are joined by distinguished critics Niall Harrison, late of Strange Horizons, and Liz Bourke, whose latest collection of reviews and essays is Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Aqueduct), to discuss the debut novels of 2017 that we’re all excited or curious about. Here are some of the titles that come up in the discussion:
- Annalee Newitz, Autonomous
- Theodora Goss, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
- Karin Tidbeck, Amatka
- Robyn Bennis, The Guns Above
- Lara Elena Donnelly, Amberlough
- Ruthanna Emrys, Winter Tide
- Cat Sparks, Lotus Blue
- Nicky Drayden, The Prey of Gods
- Marek Sindelka, Aberrant
- Prayaag Akbar, Leila
- Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts
- Megan Hunter, The End We Start From
- Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
- Christopher Brown, Tropic of Kansas
- Sam Miller, The Art of Starving
- N.J. Campbell, Found Audio
There’s a long list of debuts with links to reviews and ordering here.
Here are specific recommendations and shout-outs from Liz and Niall:
- The Guns Above, Robyn Bennis (Tor)
- Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
- The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (HarperVoyager)
- Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com)
- The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
- Lotus Blue, Cat Sparks (Talos)
- Strange Practice, Vivian Shaw (Orbit US)
- Gods & Monsters: Food of the Gods, Cassandra Khaw (Rebellion/Abaddon US)
- The Tiger’s Daughter, K Arsenault Rivera (Tor)
- Barbary Station, R. E. Stearns (Saga)
- Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor)
Books that I have read and recommend:
- Leila by Prayaag Akbar (Simon & Schuster India)
- Spaceman of Bohemia, Jaroslav Kalfar (Sceptre)
- Aberrant, Marek Šindelka (Twisted Spoon Press)
- Amatka, Karin Tidbeck (Vintage)
Books that I am particularly keen to read that other people did not
mention (i.e. excluding Goss, Newitz, Brown):
- An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books)
- American War, Omar Al Akkad (Picador)
- An Excess Male, Maggie Shen King (Harper Voyager)
A first fantastic novel rather than first novel, but excellent:
- Exit West, Mohsin Hamid (Penguin)
Not a novel at all, but a notable debut:
- Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)
As always, our thanks to Liz and Niall.
Annalee joined Gary and Jonathan in Helsinki, Finland where they were all attending WorldCon 75, to discuss Autonomous, science fiction, and the power of being able to tell stories about how science influences the world.
As always, Gary and Jonathan would like to thank Annalee for joining us and hope you enjoy the podcast.
After a long and mostly unplanned hiatus, we’re back! We travelled to Helsinki, Finland to attend WorldCon75, and then spent time travelling and not thinking about podcasting very much at all. Still, all holidays must come to an end, and so we headed back up to the Gershwin Room one more time to discuss WorldCon, the Hugo Awards, and the merits of developing a list of books for a Fantasy 101 type course (inspired by a question from Theodora Goss).
As you can imagine, we talk, we disagree, there’s rambling and Coode St is pretty much as it always is. We hope you enjoy the episode. See you next week!
And now for something special! During the recent WorldCon, held in Helsinki, Finland, Gary and Jonathan took to the stage to talk to WorldCon guest of honor Walter Jon Williams and Campbell Award nominee Kelly Robson to discuss Walter’s career and his new novel, Quillifer.
During recording we were fortunate enough to be able to give away copies of Quillifer to lucky convention attendees thanks to the generosity of Saga Press. We were a little limited by time (panels lasted exactly 45 minutes in Helsinki) but the conversation flowed and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Our special thanks to Walter Jon, to Kelly, and to the tech team at WorldCon 75 for making this possible.