This week’s episode ranges from a discussion about the growing importance of novellas and their advantages both for readers and writers, the difficult question of which story you might pick to introduce a new reader to a favourite author, the importance of distinctive voices in both short fictions and novels, the upcoming 87th birthday of the great Gene Wolfe, and James Cameron’s new TV documentary on SF, which features appearance from several SF writers and critics, including Gary.
Then Jonathan springs on Gary the question of what his favourite book is, so Gary tossed it right back to Jonathan. We both came up with answers that date back to our respective childhoods. In addition to Gene Wolfe, some of the authors mentioned include R.A. Lafferty, Ted Chiang, Margo Lanagan, Kelly Link, Robert A. Heinlein, T.H. White, Sam J. Miller, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula Le Guin, Andy Duncan, Howard Waldrop, Catherynne Valente, Jeffrey Ford, Lavie Tidhar, John Varley, James Patrick Kelly, Alec Nevala-Lee, and Joseph Heller. In other words, another ramble.
This week, the always bustling Coode Street Motel battles technical difficulties, sound dropouts, and other gremlins of the Skypesphere to welcome Sam J. Miller, whose Blackfish City is just out, and whose young adult novel The Art of Starving received great notices last year.
We discuss balancing his day job as a community organizer with his fiction, the genesis of his new novel in a couple of earlier short stories, the writers who made him want to become one, the arbitrary nature of classifying stories as SF, horror, fantasy, YA, etc., and even the choice of pronouns in describing particular characters.
As always, our thanks to Sam and we hope you enjoy the episode.
Gary was looking through the books that seem to tumble endlessly through his front door for review and came across a new edition of David R. Bunch’s classic story collection, Moderan, which is set to be re-released by New York Review Books this coming August with an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
It led to a conversation about to whether there’s an art to re-reading books, how you should go about republishing classic books, and much more. We also snuck in an apology or two at the very end of the episode. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode. See you next week (in all of our lo-fi glory).
This week, Jonathan and Gary discuss the parameters of climate-influenced SF, the usefulness or not of the term ‘cli-fi’ (with increasing numbers of SF works set all or partly in the Arctic or Antarctic) and, inevitably, the beginning of the awards season, with the Aurealis and Ditmar awards, the BSFA awards, and the nominees announced this past weekend for the 2018 Hugos. Who is being celebrated on the ballot, and which works were we surprised to see omitted?
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode!
Gary is back from the International Conference on the Fantastic in Orlando, where he chatted quite a bit with guests of honour John Kessel and Nike Sulway while managing to not attend some very interesting talks and panels. We touch upon the problems of identifying an SF audience in today’s fluid environment, and the feeling of some older writers that their books may be no longer part of the overall discussion. But is there an overall discussion anymore? Has the SF readership atomized into so many different readerships, some more vertical than horizontal, that even when senior writers are still being read widely, it’s difficult to find out who those readers are. Have we gotten to the point of “everyone their own canon,” where only a handful of books each year make it into the general discussion of where SF is headed?