This week Gary and Jonathan are joined by a long time friend of the podcast, Ken Liu, to discuss his new short story collection The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, approaching the end of his epic silkpunk fantasy series The Dandelion Dynasty, and how having good stories is more important to a society than having good institutions. Along the way, we talk about history, life, evolving art, and much, more more.
The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is out now and The Veiled Throne is out early next year.
As always, we’d like to thank Ken for making time to join us and hope that you all enjoy the episode.Â See you in two weeks with more!
As usual on this weekâ€™s Coode Street, Jonathan and Gary discuss what theyâ€™ve been reading lately, with a particular focus on how apocalyptic fiction has evolved over the decades, and how writers like Kim Stanley Robinson have found ways of finding some sort of hope even in the face of what increasingly seems inevitable.
This being the start of awards season, they also spend some time discussing the finalists for the Nebula, Stoker, and Spectrum awards, as well as the new Ray Bradbury Prize from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.
Mostly, though, they focus on the Nebulas and the interesting question of whether Nebula nominees which had a lot of buzz years or decades ago still have an impact today. We stop short of guessing which of this yearâ€™s nominees will have readers in another decade or so.
Among current and forthcoming books, Gary sounds pretty enthusiastic about the new Liz Williams novel Comet Season and James Bradley’s forthcoming novel, Ghost Species.
In the second (or maybe third) episode in our new bi-weekly schedule, Jonathan and Gary eventually get around to the question of what books to recommend to someone new to science fiction and fantasy or someone whoâ€™s been away from the field for years or even decades.
The standard answer to this a generation agoâ€”Heinlein, Bradbury, Clarkeâ€”hardly provides an intro to modern SF, and while names like Le Guin and Butler still seem helpful, the question remains what current authors are good entry points. Along the way, we touch upon N.K. Jemisinâ€™s forthcoming The City We Became, which Octavia Butler novel might be the best to start with, Kim Stanley Robinsonâ€™s novels, including the recent reissue of his California trilogy along with Maureen McHughâ€™s China Mountain Zhang.
But first, Gary complains about the overused shorthand of describing a new novel in terms of other novels (â€œthink Novel X meets Novel Yâ€), and the habit of publicists and even reviewers of describing novels as â€œfor both literary and genre readers.
This week, after more or less inadvertently falling into a discussion of Simon Jimenezâ€™s new novelÂ The Vanished BirdsÂ (Del Rey) and whether it will successfully gain attention from both SF and mainstream literary readers, Jonathan and Gary mention a few other forthcoming books and eventually circle in on a discussion of fandomâ€”what it means to be a fan, different kinds of fandom, and questions of what happens when you stop being a fan of a particular series or author, what major works you may have missed or over-lookedÂ despiteÂ considering yourself a fan of the author, and why some fans drift away in the face of too much sameness, while others remain fansÂ becauseÂ of that sameness. Â Characteristically, we fail to adequately answer any of these questions, but at least we raise them.
We are officially moving from a weekly schedule to a two-weekly schedule, so look for the next episode on the weekend of Febuary 8th, wherever good podcasts are sold.
After last weekâ€™s episode where Jonathan and Gary discussed their favourite books from 2019, this time they talk about books they’re looking forward to in 2020 (a few of which, in fairness, theyâ€™ve already seen or in Jonathanâ€™s case even edited).
Itâ€™s a pretty varied list, and probably incomplete, so feel free to suggest more titles that we might not have known about. Overall, though, 2020 is starting off as a pretty promising year.
- Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
- William Gibson, Agency
- M. John Harrison,Â The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again
- N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became
- Hao Jingfang, Vagabonds
- Nancy Kress, Eleventh Gate and Sea Change
- Yoon Ha Lee, Phoenix Extravagant
- Ken Liu, The Veiled Throne
- Paul J. McCauley, War of the Maps
- Tamsin Muir, Harrow the Ninth
- Tochi Onyebuchi, Riot Baby
- K.M. Szpara, Docile
- Lavie Tidhar, By Force Alone
- Jo Walton, Or What You Will
- Gene Wolfe, Interlibrary Loan
- Alexander Irvine, Anthropocene Rag
- Greg Egan, Dispersion
- Jeffrey Ford, Out of Body
- The Best of Elizabeth Bear
- Ken Liu, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories
- The Best of Jeffrey Ford
- Jonathan Strahan (ed.), Made to Order: Robots and Revolution
- Jonathan Strahan (ed.), The Book of Dragons
- Agency, William Gibson (Viking)
- Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Deepa AnapparaÂ (Chatto & Windus)
- The City We Became, NK Jemisin (Orbit)
- Burn, Patrick Ness (Walker)
- Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell (Sceptre)
- Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
- By Force Alone, Lavie Tidhar (Head of Zeus/Tor)
- Vagabonds, Hao Jingfang (Saga)
- The Angel of the Crows, Katherine Addison (Tor)
- Unconquerable Sun, Kate Elliott (Orbit)
- The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
- Or What You Will, Jo Walton (Tor)
- The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin/Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins)
- Ghost Species, James Bradley (Penguin)
- Comet Weather, Liz Williams (Newcon)