Episode 114: Live with Gary K. Wolfe!

This week Gary and I have a quick sixty-six minute chat about Fourth Generation SF, some of my anthologies, WorldCon, the SF Awards Database, and so on. As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast!

One thought on “Episode 114: Live with Gary K. Wolfe!”

  1. I’m not caught up with the podcasts yet, but I’m listening from both ends, which means I just listened to the podcast with Barry Malzberg (very interesting) and then jumped to this latest. I like the term Gary coined — trap door stories — and The Pelican Bar is a perfect example. He also touched briefly on how different people interpret books as science fiction or not, and how some of his students will go out of their way to find rational or psychological meanings for something in a book while a science fiction reader will just take it as straight science fiction. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but that’s what I think he meant. It brought to mind an experience I had taking a science fiction class in college. One of the books we read was The Lathe of Heaven, and my instructor was insistent that the “effective” dreaming was all in the main characters’ mind, basically saying that he was an unreliable narrator — he was seeing an psychiatrist after all — and reality never really changed. I’d always taken the story literally, and was quite disappointed in the teacher’s interpretation but wondered if I’d been too naive a reader and missed some clues that would tell me it was all in the character’s mind, but now I’m inclined to think I was just approaching it as a science fiction reader and there was nothing wrong with taking it at face value. Anyway, I’d be interested in Gary’s take on it. It’s more than 25 years since I read the book, and I don’t remember it very clearly but I have no immediate plans to reread it at the moment..

    Also, I was interested in Malzberg’s assertion that some of the finest science fiction ever was written in the mid-40s to mid-50s (I think that’s the period he said), and that the short fiction was far superior to the novels. Can you name perhaps 5-10 quintessential science fiction stories of that period, and is there an anthology available where they can be found in one place? Yes, of course I realize I can ask Jonathan this later, but I’m thinking of it now so feel free to answer on the podcast.

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