Episode 71: Live with Gary K. Wolfe and Ursula K. Le Guin!

This week saw the publication of Margaret Atwood’s new book of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, which discusses her thoughts on science fiction in some detail.  We invited Ursula K. Le Guin to join us on the podcast to discuss Atwood, science fiction and her new book.  As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast.

Note: As mentioned at the end of the podcast, this will be the last newly recorded episode until mid-November. The next three episodes will be interviews with Alastair Reynolds, Ian McDonald, and Kim Stanley Robinson recorded in Reno at WorldCon.



I’m barely awake on a rainy October Tuesday morning. My office is a chaotic mess and Tracey Thorn is singing about the mess of life while my temporary tinnitus plays along. There’s a suitcase on the floor, a pile of laundry for ironing in a basket and I’m drinking coffee to get my brain going for the recording of this morning’s podcast with Gary and our special guest.  We’re going to discuss Margaret Atwood’s new collection of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a book that provides a personal and not especially interesting view of science fiction. It’s not a bad book at all, but it felt like reading cotton wool. It left me feeling cloth-headed, and I’m not entirely sure why she wrote it, or why we’re interested in it. Perhaps the podcast will answer those questions.  If the recording works – we’re combining phone and Skype for the first time and the audio quality might be variable – it should be interesting.

And as the rain comes down I have to do all sorts of bits and pieces.  Work on the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is progressing well. The first twenty-four writers have been approached about their stories, and a remaining seven or so should be, either later today or tomorrow. I have had to omit Peter Straub’s wonderful “The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine”, from Conjunctions, which I’d hoped to include but wasn’t available for contractual reasons. You should read it, if you can. That means I should meet my goal of having chosen the stories, contacted everyone, and finalised the contents as much as possible before leaving for World Fantasy.  I’ll be able to manage a lot of the process while away, and then can assemble the manuscript on my return home in early November. Progress!

We’re also off to see Steely Dan tonight. They’re touring with Steve Winwood and, while the timing is awful, I’m looking forward to it.  The rest of the day is getting ready for that, trip prep and working! Busy. Or at least my mind is.