We’re getting to the end of an extraordinary year and it’s almost time to shutter the podcast before a well-earned holiday break.
But, before Gary and Jonathan close the door on the Gershwin Room for the last time for 2020, a special gift guide episode. There were no notes, no plans, no lists – just some off-the-cuff gift suggestions for the holidays. We hope you’ll consider your local independent businesses when choosing gifts for the holidays. They’re a vital part of our communities.
While this isn’t the last time you’ll hear from Coode Street in 2020, we would like to thank you all for listening and wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.
Jonathan and Gary continue their irregular 2020 schedule with a conversation with Charles Coleman Finlay, who for more than five years has carried on the grand tradition of editing The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Sheree Renée Thomas, who picks up the mantle as new editor beginning with the March/April 2021 issue. We talk about the magazine’s distinguished history, the challenges of maintaining an iconic magazine in a radically changing short fiction field, and their own experiences as SF readers, writers, and editors.
After spending a few minutes chatting about what it’s like to live in a relatively safe but relatively sealed-off environment—something Jonathan can experience in Western Australia, but something SFF has occasionally touched upon—your intrepid hosts venture into the questions raised by Time magazine’s much-discussed list of “The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time,” with occasional reference to similar past lists in Michael Moorcock’s Fantasy: The 100 Best Books and Locus magazine’s All-Time Best Fantasy poll.
We discuss what’s useful about such lists, what’s silly about them, and who are they really for? Who do they include and who do they exclude, and are they really ever anything much more than something to chat about with friends? As usual, we arrive at some definitively non-definitive answers.
Jonathan and Gary are back with their usual laser-like focus on a single important topic–or maybe not. Starting at the recent release of the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune, which has many of us looking back at Frank Herbert’s classic novel, they touch upon re-reading old favourites, books that are genuinely sui generis and whether they have a lasting influence, other books that caused us to rethink the possibilities of SFF, “classics” or classic ideas that really don’t hold up that well, and of course what they’ve been reading lately and might be thinking about for the Locus recommended reading list, which we’ll both need to start working on in next month.
Coode Street has a long history of talking to Kim Stanley Robinson about the world and his work, starting back in 2011, continuing in our 200th episode in London, and on the publication of 2312, Aurora, and New York 2140, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to him now.
In what is easily the longest episode of Coode Street for this strange pandemic year, Gary, Jonathan, and Stan discuss his brand new novel, The Ministry for the Future, the value and purpose of science fiction, Stan’s important working relationship with editor Tim Holman, experimenting with form, what comes next, and more.
As always, we’d like to thank Stan for making the time to talk to us and hope you enjoy the episode.