Episode 651: Vajra Chandrasekera and The Saint of Bright Doors

saint.jpegThis episode is a wide-ranging discussion with two important guests: the brilliant Vajra Chandrasekera, whose amazing first novel The Saint of Bright Doors is currently nominated for both Hugo and Nebula Awards, and whose even more adventurous Rakesfall will be published in June, and our old friend, the excellent critic, reviewer and fellow podcaster (The Writer and the Critic) Ian Mond.

We touch upon some of the sources of Vajra’s fiction, the notion of science fantasy, and how his novels incorporate a wide variety of styles and themes, from almost documentary realism about the brutality of colonialism—especially in his native Sri Lanka—to mythic tales and far-future SF. It’s a pretty lively chat!

Note: We experienced some technical difficulties towards the end of the recording so it does end somewhat abruptly.  We do hope you enjoy the recording and we’ll come back to some of the topics soon in another podcast.

Episode 650: Tobi Ogundiran and the Guardian of the Gods

in_the_shadow_of_the_fall.jpegGary and Jonathan are joined by Tobi Ogundiran, whose novella In the Shadow of the Fall is the first of the “Guardian of the Gods,” and whose first story collection Jackal, Jackal, was published to considerable acclaim last year.

Winner of the Ignyte and nominee for the BSFA, and Shirley Jackson awards, Tobi discusses growing up in Nigeria reading what SFF he could come across, the importance of discovering FIYAH as a place for his fiction, the relationship between Western and African storytelling traditions, managing viewpoints and voices, and his own plans for the future.

As always, our thanks to Tobi for making time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Episode 649: Nghi Vo and The Brides of High Hill

bridesofhighhill.jpegThis week, we’re joined by the wonderful Nghi Vo, whose The Brides of High Hill is out this week. It’s the fifth of her ongoing “Singing Hills” sequence of novellas about the peripatetic Cleric Chih and their sharp-tongued companion hoopoe, Almost Brilliant.

We discuss how Nghi has made use of different storytelling modes throughout the series, her novels The Chosen and the Beautiful and Siren Queen, a forthcoming novella (again alluding to the world of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and a very intriguing novel due in the fall, The City in Glass, which involves doing very interesting things with libraries. There are also, as usual, some totally irrelevant digressions involving everything from writing blurbs to The Clan of the Cave Bear.

Episode 648: Genre, marketing, and more

This week Jonathan and Gary start out with something resembling a topic: the proliferation of subgenres, movements, and marketing categories in SF and fantasy: from the evolution of space opera in SF to the rise of epic fantasy (and Ballantine’s earlier term “adult fantasy”), as well as consciously developed movements such as the New Wave, cyberpunk, or Africanfuturism and new market categories such as “romantasy”.

After a wide-ranging discussion of the various ways of slicing up genres, we spend some time musing about the hot market for collectible, special, limited, and subscriber editions from publishers such as the Folio Society or Subterranean Press.

Episode 647: Oh no, not us again…

cropped-cropped-hugo_sm.jpgOnce again with no guest to give us focus, Jonathan and Gary return to rambling mode, spurred on by the observation that voting for the 2024 Hugo Awards is now open.

This leads to our ongoing discussion of what the Hugo Awards do and do not represent, why voting for your favorite works is important even if you haven’t read all the nominees, what makes a genuine SFF classic, and how the Hugo procedures and categories differ from those of the World Fantasy Awards—which are also accepting nominations from members of the 2022, 2023, and 2024 conventions.

We suggest you take a look at Jo Walton’s An Informal History of the Hugos if you’re interested in a history of the Hugos, and point out that nominations for the 2024 World Fantasy Awards are now open too.

…unavoidable stuff from jonathan strahan…