Episode 581: Kate Heartfield and The Embroidered Book

embroidered.jpegThis week, Jonathan and Gary are delighted to chat with Kate Heartfield, whose thoroughly engrossing historical fantasy The Embroidered Book, already a bestseller in the UK and Canada, has just been published in the United States.

We talk about the research that went into her fascinating tale of the sisters Antoine and Charlotte, who grew up to become Marie Antoinette and Queen Charlotte of Naples, and of how magical books of spells secretly helped shape the history of 18th century Europe. We touch upon her earlier Aurora-winning Armed in Her Fashion, the various ways of incorporating fantasy into history, the question of whether historical fiction might be received differently in different cultures and markets, and some hints about her current work in progress.

It’s a pretty lively discussion, and we think a lot of fun. As always, our thanks to Kate for making time to talk to us, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

Episode 580: Christopher Rowe and the Instrumentality of Influence

These Prisoning Hills

This week, Jonathan and Gary are joined by the brilliant Christopher Rowe, whose novella These Prisoning Hills appears next week from Tordotcom, revisiting the wonderful and bizarre world first introduced in his earlier stories “The Voluntary State” and “The Border State.”

We cover quite a bit of territory, ranging from Christopher’s own influences, what it means to be associated with a particular region (such as Kentucky and Tennessee in Christopher’s case), the nature of influence in SF, and Christopher’s own discovery of the work of Cordwainer Smith, whose stories he’s been assiduously collecting in their original magazine appearances.

As usual, we would like to thank Christopher for taking the time to talk to us, and we hope you enjoy the podcast.

Ugh! This week…

I thought I would get something useful done – at least get some reading done – but this week has been a bleurgh. After my previous Covid post I had a few pretty unpleasant moments, but everything now is similar to a mild-ish case of the flu.

I still am yet to decide about voting. I may call today. Who knows?

Update: The Book of Witches

I have now completed reviewing submissions for The Book of Witches. There were some wonderful stories sent to me, and after a lot of thought and angst, I was able to winnow them down to a final list of three.

I’ve written to the writers of those stories and am waiting to finalise agreements with them.  I’m not sure when we’ll announce what those stories were, but I’m very happy to have them in the book.

I have also received a number of queries from writers about the status of their stories, mostly because of updates published here saying I was running behind. Although it was not my initial plan to do so, I’ve now written to almost everyone updating them on the status of their stories.


And then I got COVID

I really didn’t seriously think I was going to get COVID anytime soon. Most of the people around me weren’t getting it, and it felt a bit distant. Then the youngest came up with a positive test last week. She went off to hide in her room, and we started being super careful about masking and such.

And then on Saturday I began to feel a bit unwell. Not terribly unwell, but a bit. I took a test. The result was negative. I went about my business, while masking everywhere I went.  That night I woke up coughing and took another test. Weird ambivalent result. Took two more over the next hour — clearly negative.

The next morning I had errands to run so I took another RAT. Negative.  The weird test result bothered me, though, so even though I’d had three negative test results in a row, off I went to get a PCR test. I then went home to self-quarantine until I got the results. Got the results on Monday — positive. I think technically the 7am Saturday test was positive, looking back at the photo (luckily I was isolating and masking),  so I’m just trying to work out when I’ll get out of quarantine – seven days from Saturday or Sunday. The main issue is voting. Need to get out and vote and play my part in kicking the current government to the curb.

PS: On day four of my COVID, so far the symptoms have been fairly mild. Fingers crossed that holds up, and that Marianne doesn’t get it too.

…unavoidable stuff from jonathan strahan…