Flying in the face of both good judgment and common sense, Jonathan and Gary return once again to the question of canons in science fiction and fantasy—a discussion which has widely re-emerged in recent weeks as a result of controversies over the Hugo Awards presentation at ConZealand. Are canons lists of books that people actually need to read, or are they ways of defining and celebrating your own reading communities? Are they useful at all? Are publishing programs such as the Gollancz Masterworks or the Tor Essentials trying to impose a particular idea of canon, or simply to make certain works widely available for those who might be interested? Are there multiple canons for multiple interest groups, or does each reader form their own canon? Would it even be possible to start thinking about works published since 2000 in terms of this discussion? As usual, we have strong opinions without really deciding anything much.
Well, without really planning it, we had a bit of a hiatus. It seems like recording over a hundred episodes in a row left us – or at least Jonathan – with the need for a little break, but we’re back! We think.
With the Virtual ConZealand not quite over, Gary and Jonathan sit down to talk awards, congratulate the award-winners, talk about inclusiveness and the need for a fresher take on the genre, thank the ConZealand team and shout out to coming conventions, and more. Oh, and thank the World Fantasy Awards for a very unexpected nomination! Thank you!
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode. We should be back soon with more!
Well, it’s time to head back to the socially distanced Gershwin Rooms in the geographically distanced Coode Street Motels Six for Gary and Jonathan to spend an hour or so talking about science fiction and the world. Today conversation starts with a continuation of the idea that this is a Golden Age of science fiction, what characteristics might make up that age, whether you can identify great works of 21st Century SF, new work by M. John Harrison,Hugo voting opening online, and much more.
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode!
Left once again to their own devices, Jonathan and Gary turn to the question of what was science fictionâ€™s real golden ageâ€”not in terms of overall literary history or the old clichÃ© that â€œthe golden age of science fiction is twelve,â€ but rather what seemed like a golden age in terms of reading habits: when you fell in love with SF, how the genre continued to be rewarding during that time, and what was especially important about it. For Jonathan, that looked more like the 1980s, while for Gary it was basically the 1950s. Both agreed, however, that the current era might itself be seen as a golden age, for many reasons.
Jonathan and Gary are back with a socially-distanced full-hour podcast. Since last time, Jonathan actually went and read the reviews for the podcast on the iTunes Podcast app where one listener described the Coode Street as being occasionally enlightening, saying when:
“the two hosts are left to their own devices (which is most of the time) they testily chew over a handful of pet topics, usually debating who should win each year’s awards and then whether or not awards mean anything”.
and rated the podcast Three stars.
Perfectly fair. Today’s episode was recorded during the Nebula Awards presentation and days after the announcement of the Locus Awards shortlists. Both feature briefly, but our main topic was not awards. Rather we turned to more fundamental questions involving reasons to be optimistic about science fiction, the role of entertainment in reading SFF, what each of us values most in what we read, and, almost accidentally, some brief previews of exciting novels coming up later this year.
Hopefully the sound on today’s episode is a bit better, the testiness is toned down, and you all enjoy!