Episode 345: Liza Trombi, Locus, and the Year in Review

locus2018.jpgThis episode is our more-or-less annual discussion with Locus magazine’s editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi, with whom we chat about the Recommended Reading List which appears each February in the magazine’s Year In Review issue.  How is the list compiled, who contributes to it, and perhaps most important of all, what’s it for?  How does it differ from other “best of the year” lists? What does it tell us about the current state of the field, and where it’s going? We touch upon not only the major novels in SFF, but also about first novels, YA, collections, nonfiction, and the various categories of short fiction.  Plus, we corner Liza to talk a bit about her own favourites from the year.

You can buy a copy of the February issue of Locus, check out the Recommended Reading List, and vote in the Locus Awards.  Our thanks to Liza for making time to talk to us. As always we hope you enjoy the episode.

Coode Street for February 3rd

  • Episode 345: Liza Trombi, Locus, and the Year in Review
  • Episode 346: Neil Clarke and the State of Short Fiction in 2018
  • Episode 347: Charlie Jane Anders and The City in the Middle of the Night

Episode 344: Time, Cities and Moving to the Poles

And we’re back with our 344th episode, which one of us incorrectly thought was our 343rd because we counted 342 twice. Ugh. Apologies for the confusion! This week:

The rise and rise of the time travel story

Dr Who has been telling time travel stories for fifty years. Robert A. Heinlein made his name with a time travel story. Kids grow up watching Back to the Future. Time travel is a well-established theme and story device, and it seems to be enjoying prominence at the moment. Kelly Robson used it in Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach. Ian McDonald used it in Time Was. What makes time travel an attractive idea? Have we changed how we’re treating it as a trope in fiction?  

How urbanisation is impacting how we’re looking at the city in SF

7.5 billion people live on Earth, up from 1.5 billion in 1900. Likely to increase to 10 billion by 2050. Levels of urbanisation – people living in cities – are increasing, especially in Africa, China, and India. The largest cities in the world are in those places. How does this growing urbanisation appear in SFF? Has our vision of cities in SF changed from James Blish and Isaac Asimov when you now look at Paolo Bacigalupi and Sam Miller?

Why are looking to move to the Arctic?

Antarctica, Black Fish City, Austral, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Climate change is heating up the world and we’re heading to the poles.  Read Charlie Jane talking about climate change

Epilogue: You don’t need to read . . . The Drowned World, J G Ballard

Readers don’t need to read Ballard’s novel if you think it ’s an early climate change warning novel, because it isn’t. If you want to understand Ballard’s ideas about “inner space” or psychic spaces, it’s a pioneering work, but it’s in no way a serious precursor of “cli-fi.”

Episode 343: 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.

black.jpeg    exhal.jpeg   bidking.jpg   36510722.jpg

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.

Buy fiction and nonfiction from magazines and publishers you love in 2018

I’m trying to encourage people who can afford to (and I mean afford!) to consider buying their short fiction and nonfiction when and where they can. Every outlet needs your support.

To help with this I’m going to put together a list of subscription options. The list below is just a beginning. Please pop additions/corrections in the comments and I’ll update the list. This is just a first pass, but every one of these publications offers great stuff you’re likely to enjoy!