Episode 342: Grand Masters and other Awards…

Every episode starts with a blank slate, even when perhaps it should not. This week we start with the recent announcement that William Gibson has been named as this year’s Damon Knight Grand Master by SFWA, which is well-deserved. Gibson’s most famous novel, Neuromancer, won the Philip K. Dick Award back in 1985 (along with a slew of other awards). 

This, in turn, takes us to the just-announced nominees for the 2019 Philip K. Dick Award:

  • Time Was, Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Body Library, Jeff Noon (Angry Robot)
  • 84K, Claire North (Orbit)
  • Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories, Abbey Mei Otis (Small Beer Press)
  • Theory of Bastards, Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions)
  • Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories, Vandana Singh (Small Beer Press)

and this leads into a discussion of the history of the award and of the evolving role of original paperbacks in science fiction. We then venture on to the hoary old question of whether our field has too many awards, and what actually constitutes progress or excellence in a field with so many familiar themes and ideas.  

We’re not sure where we ended up but did manage to mention some exciting books that we’re reading right now.

Episode 342: The Books of 2019

At the beginning of the new year, Jonathan and Gary compare lists of books they’re looking forward to in the new year, beginning with some novels appearing within the next few weeks (Charlie Jane Anders’s The City in the Middle of the Night, Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Alastair Reynolds’s Shadow Captain), and venturing further into the year with debut novels, sophomore novels sequels, fantasy, SF, collections, anthologies, and whatever else comes to mind, including some of our own forthcoming efforts.

We cover a lot of titles, but no doubt missed some and probably gave too little attention to others.  We’d be glad to hear about what we might have missed.

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Here’s a partial list of some of the books mentioned during the episode:

ALASTAIR REYNOLDS • Shadow Captain • Orion/Gollancz, Jan 2019 (eb, hc)
ALIETTE DE BODARD • The House of Sundering Flames • Orion/Gollancz, Jul 2019 (eb, tp)
ALIX E. HARROW • The Ten Thousand Doors of January •
AMAL EL-MOHTAR & MAX GLADSTONE • This Is How You Lose the Time War • Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Jul 2019 (hc, eb)
ANN LECKIE • The Raven Tower • Orbit US, Feb 2019 (hc, eb)
ANNALEE NEWITZ • The Future of Another Timeline • Tor, Sep 2019 (hc, eb)
ARKADY MARTINE • A Memory Called Empire • Tor, Mar 2019 (hc, eb)
CHARLIE JANE ANDERS • The City in the Middle of the Night • Titan, Feb 2019 (tp)
CHEN QUIFAN • Waste Tide • Tor, Apr 2019 (hc, eb)
DAVE HUTCHINSON • Return of the Exploding Man • Rebellion/Solaris US, Sep 2019 (tp, eb)
ELIZABETH BEAR • Ancestral Night • Orion/Gollancz, Mar 2019 (tp)
FONDA LEE • Jade War • Orbit US, Jul 2019 (hc, eb)
G. WILLOW WILSON • The Bird King • Grove Atlantic/Grove, Mar 2019 (hc, eb)
GUY GAVRIEL KAY • A Brightness Long Ago • Penguin Random House/Berkley, May 2019 (hc, eb)
JO WALTON • Lent • Tor, May 2019 (f, hc, eb)
KAMERON HURLEY • Meet Me in the Future • Tachyon Publications, Jul 2019 (c, tp, eb)
KAREN LORD • Unravelling • DAW, Jun 2019 (hc, eb)
MAHVESH MURAD, ED. • The Outcast Hours (with Jared Shurin) • Rebellion/Solaris, Feb 2019 (tp)
MARLON JAMES • Black Leopard, Red Wolf • Penguin Random House/Riverhead, Feb 2019 (hc, eb)
N.K. JEMISIN • The City We Became • Little, Brown UK/Orbit, Sep 2019 (hc)
NEAL STEPHENSON • Fall, Or Dodge in Hell • HarperCollins/Morrow, Jun 2019 (hc, eb)
NINA ALLAN • The Silver Wind • Titan US, Sep 2019 (tp)
RIVERS SOLOMON • The Deep • Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Jun 2019 (hc, eb)
SAM J. MILLER • Destroy All Monsters
SARAH GAILEY • Magic for Liars • Tor, Jun 2019 (hc, eb)
SARAH PINSKER • A Song for a New Day • Ace, Sep 2019 (tp, eb)
SARAH PINSKER • Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea • Small Beer Press, Mar 2019 (c, tp, eb)
SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA • Gods of Jade and Shadow • Del Rey, Aug 2019 (hc, eb)
T. KINGFISHER • The Twisted Ones • Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Sep 2019 (h, tp, hc, eb)
TADE THOMPSON • The Rosewater Insurrection • Orbit US, Mar 2019 (tp, eb)
TAMSYN MUIR • GIDEON THE NINTH • Tor, Oct 2019 (hc, eb)
THEODORA GOSS • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl • Simon & Schuster/Saga Press, Sep 2019 (hc, eb)
VICTOR LAVALLE & JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS, EDS. • A People’s Future of the United States • Penguin Random House/One World, Feb 2019 (oa, tp, eb)
WILLIAM GIBSON • Agency • Penguin Random House/Berkley, Apr 2019 (hc, eb)
YOON HA LEE • Dragon Pearl • Disney/Hyperion, Jan 2019 (ya, hc, eb)
YOON HA LEE • Hexarchate Stories • Rebellion/Solaris, Jun 2019 (c, tp)
ZEN CHO • The True Queen • Ace, Mar 2019 (tp, eb)

Picture of books

As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast and that you consider pre-ordering any of the books listed above, or any that you’re looking forward to.

Episode 341: 2018 Year in Review

The Coode Street Book of the Year

After another long hiatus, Jonathan and Gary return with a ramble saying farewell to 2018 (actually recorded when it was still 2018 in Chicago and already 2019 in Perth).

This time we look back on some of our favourite novels, novellas, collections, anthologies, and nonfiction from the past year, agreeing enthusiastically about Sam J. Miller’s Blackfish City, Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Gardner Dozois’s The Book of Magic, Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (diverting into a side discussion of whether “golden ages” actually mean anything), and several other books and stories which one or both of us liked. We also name Blackfish City as our official Coode Street Book of Year!

Did we draw any insightful conclusions about the overall health of the field last year, or what the field seems to be becoming? Of course not, but we have our opinions, and we had some fun. And who knows? We should be back sooner than you’d think.