Imagine that you are cold. Imagine that you have been cold for years,Â that the marrow in your bones has chilled and the very core of your body has almost come to a standstill. Â Then imagine that, surrounded by snow and ice, you climb a hilltop and, after years, the sun rises. A flare of light on the horizon, then a haze of retreating shadows before it hits you and you begin to warm. Your blood flows faster, your skin flushes with the heat, and you begin to move, slowly at first, then faster and faster. Â The barriers between feeling and thought disappear as you become lost in the balm that the distant sun brings to you on that hillside, as winter falls away and spring begins.
That’s what a Springsteen show is like, what a truly great rock show is like. Somewhere between “Is there anybody alive out there?” and “The E Street Band loves you” comes a point where, if you are open to it, you become lost in the music, thought almost disappears and feeling dominates. You move your body because you couldn’t do anything else. You sing along with the anthems because they are your anthems, their stories are your stories. And with the people around you, you rise and transcend the moment of sitting in a concert hall surrounded by strangers on a warm February evening and become one with them and one with the music. And you heal and can face tomorrow with renewed spirit, with renewed energy, with the belief that it will be better because today was better.
Somewhere between “Badlands” and “Tenth Avenue Freezeout” that is the gift of theÂ heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, Viagra-taking, love-making â€“ Le-gen-dary E â€“ Street â€“ Band!” Â I’m grateful for it.
As snow and ice freeze the North American heartlands, long-time friend of the podcast Kij Johnson agreed to travel across a frozen Kansas City to find a place where she could Skype in to the Waldorf Room to join Gary and Jonathan in discussion.
This time Gary threw out a question to kick start the discussion: which science fiction writer is most likely to win the Booker Prize, and which one is most likely to top the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists? It proved a good start to a thoughtful discussion that wandered far and wide, although weâ€™d contend not much rambling happened this week.
As always, weâ€™d like to thank Kij for joining us, and hope you enjoy the podcast. Next week Jonathan travels to Melbourne, so who knows what will happen there!
Tomorrow night Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band take to the Perth Arena stage for the first time. It’s part of my middle-age crisis gift to myself. Four shows. Two in Perth. Two in Melbourne. Â With my hearing have been a crisis issue for me for the past month or more I’m looking forward to something that will salve the soul a little.
This doesn’t mean I’m not working. The ‘best of the year’ is in the safe hands of Jonathan Oliver. Reach for InfinityÂ must be with him before I head to Melbourne, then home to do more. Busy, busy times. Looking forward to seeing some dear people in Melbourne too.
Every February US science fiction and fantasy industry trade journalÂ LocusÂ publishes an annual ‘Year in Review” issue that includes overviews, summaries, reports and an eagerly awaited ‘Recommended Reading List’.
With the February issue safely complete and either already in eager digital reader’s inboxes or winging its way to them in print courtesy of international postal services, and with theÂ 2013 Recommended Reading ListÂ available to read on the Locus website, editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi joins Gary and Jonathan on the podcast to discuss the year in review issue, the Recommended Reading List, and what it means to try to produce an annual summary of SF/F in 2014.
As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. See you next week!