Episode 641: Kelly Link and the love of books

bookoflove.jpegFor our second episode of 2024, we’re joined by the inimitable Kelly Link, whose  forthcoming first novel The Book of Love is already receiving stellar advance reviews (including one from Gary in Locus). Kelly explains how the novel evolved, it connections to various genres from romance to supernatural horror, the importance of valuable encouragement from friends such as Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, the challenges of shifting from short fiction to a long novel, managing multiple narrative viewpoints, and maintaining the balance between the interiority of the characters and the large-scale history and spectacle of the fantasy elements. She also updates us a bit on Small Beer Press and her own plans for future work.

As always, our thanks to Kelly. We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Episode 640: A new year begins. Shenanigans ensue?

And just like that, our end-of-year hiatus is done and the Coode Street Podcast is back! Gary and Jonathan return from their annual break and kick off a brand new season with discussions of recent news events in science fiction, how our thoughts about books and ideas change over time, 50th anniversaries of famous books, the delightfully happy news that Gary got married(!!!), and the sad news about the passing of several friends of the podcast, including Howard Waldrop, Terry Bisson, and Rick Bowes.

As it always is at the start of a new year, it’s great to be back. We’re filled with optimism for the year ahead and plan to get at least our scheduled 26 episodes out this year, as well as some special episodes, and to travel to Scotland for the 2024 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow.

For now, though, we hope you enjoy the new episode!

Birthdays are weird

For as long as I can remember,  my birthdays have been weird, a little fraught, a little difficult. I do not really enjoy them. Maybe it’s because I was born in a leap year, or maybe I’m difficult, or maybe I don’t get why everyone wants to make a fuss. Maybe it feels a bit like a test I’m going to fail. Who knows?  But something usually goes wrong, someone or someones usually go away upset, and the whole thing feels stressful.

Even when I have a good birthday — and I’ve had good ones — they are complicated. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like to celebrate the things I do or make a big point of things that put me at the centre, but birthdays sort of make me uncomfortable.

So, it’s my 60th birthday tomorrow and there was a possibility of there being a huge fuss, which I was concerned about. Mostly it made me think about how everyone else would feel, how they would react, the chance for people to be hurt or offended. And so, a year ago, for the first time I took a little control.

I booked a place for lunch — a brewpub we like that isn’t special, but we’ve been to a bunch and is fine and not too expensive — and have mostly discouraged gifts (I honestly don’t want much at this age).  Keep it low profile. Don’t make a big fuss. Don’t spend a lot of money on the whole affair. Make it something we can get through without too much drama. And that’s what I’m hoping for tomorrow — not too much drama.  If I get through the day with that it’ll be ok.



Carrie and Juliet, or a New Year’s Eve for 2023

Was up early, had some breakfast, and then did some novella editing. Afte that, well, Sunday, New Year’s Eve, was a little stormy.  The family was due to go to see the musical &Juliet, tickets having been acquired as part of Marianne’s birthday this year.

For some reason, the eldest took it into her head not to be part of this, so after a lot of disagreement she remained at home. This meant that three of us  headed off to the show, while one stayed home (though ultimately had lunch and spent time with her grandma).

We got to Crown about 11.30am, had a very unspectacular lunch at The Merrywell (like so many places now, overpriced and mediocre), before taking our seats. The show – a jukebox musical that posits Will Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway arguing over the ending of Romeo & Juliet – was amusing fun with a bit of bite to it. Probably the weakest musical we saw all year (after Kimberley Akimbo, Hamilton, Hadestown, Merrily  We Roll Along, which we saw in New York), but still fun.

Then home via nan’s, where we had an unexpected dinner of Christmas ham, lovely salads etc, and got to say Happy New Year.  We got home around 6pm and some idiot who shall remain unnamed left the sprinklers on all night, which will no doubt  show up on the water bill. After that, a quiet evening, an annual rewatch of Carrie Pilby, and then the annual exchange of lists, and bed.

A good day, all in all. The following morning was a little more difficult. I started with a Zoom call with Liza about this year’s Locus Recommended Reading list, which is almost complete, and then a few hours editing that novella, before a very pleasant lunch with Marianne at Leederville’s The Servo (a rare outing for just the two of us), before heading home.  Tomorrow is my 60th birthday, which I feel little enthusiasm for, and then after that, the return to work.