In addition to phasing out of the Duck of Minerva, I’ve also been slowing down my activities at New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The channel has a new host, Michael Zummo, who has taken over most responsibilities. Still, I’m not entirely done. I have a new interview up with Ben Hatke. Hatke is the author and illustrator of the very successful all-ages graphic novels, Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.
There’s a story behind the interview. Once every few weeks I take my daughter to Big Planet Comics. One afternoon we made an impulsive trip there only to be greeted by an employee. Lyra sidestepped him and made a beeline for the kids’ section. I noted that there was another girl sprawled on the floor reading comics, which isn’t a very common sight.
“Are you here for the signing?” the employee asked.
“Ben Hatke. He wrote Zita the Spacegirl.”
“We didn’t know about it. Hey Lyra! The guy who write Zita the Spacegirl is here.”
Ben was sitting at a long table drawing with a girl of about Lyra’s age. It took Lyra a few minutes to work up enough courage to approach him. But she did. Continue reading
Well, sort of. I’ve been getting a surprising number of emails asking for new podcasts. This semester was a killer, and no one else on the team wants to spearhead the effort. I hope to do some more before all hades breaks loose next academic year.
But for now, I should note that my series over at New Books in Science Fiction & Fantasy has reemerged from its own hiatus — and with a cross-over podcast! In it, I interview USC’s Patrick James about his and Abigail E. Ruane‘s book, The International Relations of Middle-Earth: Learning from the Lord of the Rings.
I completely forgot to flog this at the Duck. I’m sure that disappointed, oh, about zero people. Nonetheless, I persevere. From the write up:
I first learned about Felix Gilman‘s work from the influential academic blog Crooked Timber. I proceeded to read Thunderer, Gears of the City, and Half-Made World and found myself impressed by Gilman’s distinctive settings, themes, and voice. It should surprise no one, in my view, that Thunderer received a nomination for the 2009 Locus Award for Best First Novel and that it also garnered Gilman a nomination for the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award in both 2009 and 2010.
If you haven’t read his novels, they are designed to appeal to social scientists of the sort that form the core of the Duck’s readership. Continue reading
I already mentioned that this podcast was coming, but now it is out. From my summary at New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy:
When I agreed to host New Books and Science Fiction and Fantasy there were a number of authors I hoped to interview, including Michael Gordin. This might come as a surprise to listeners, because Michael is neither a science-fiction nor a fantasy author. He is, rather, a prominent historian of science at Princeton University. But his work intersects with the subject-matter of this podcast in a number of ways. Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War asked us to consider what might have been had Tokyo refused to surrender and the US had continued to drop atomic bombs on Japan. Mike will soon start co-teaching a class on invented languages which includes a unit on Klingon. And the main subject of this interview, The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe (University of Chicago Press, 2012), touches on both the history of science fiction, key themes within the genre, and where much of its source material comes from. Indeed, while this channel will continue to focus on new books within the SF and Fantasy genres, it will also interview scholars and practitioners whose expertise illuminates and enhances our understanding of those genres.
My second NBinSFF podcast is live.
“D.B. Jackson” is David B. Coe’s pen name for his new historical-fantasy series, The Thieftaker Chronicles. Thieftaker (Tor Books, 2012) centers on Ethan Kaille, a private detective and conjurer, as he investigates a murder in colonial Boston. David, who received a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University before embarking on a career as a novelist, weaves in plenty of period details and historical personages into an alternate Boston where conjuration is real, albeit suppressed by the authorities. David maintains a page of resources for those interested in his well-researched setting. He also is a co-founder of, and co-writer for, a blogdedicated to assisting aspiring speculative-fiction and fantasy authors with all aspects of the craft.
You can read the rest the rest and listen to the podcast at the New Books Network.
When I asked for suggestions for interview subjects for the NBinSFF podcast, Alastair Reynolds was high on the list (albeit mostly over email channels). Well, he agreed, and I’m scheduled to interview him tomorrow. The focus is Blue Remembered Earth. If anyone has suggestions for questions or themes, let me know. Also, this seems as good a time as any to ask for more suggestions for interview subjects.
A few additional items:
- Interesting thing I’ve learned so far: the PR people at Tor? Aggressive. Very aggressive. Many of the other major SF&F publishing houses? Not so much.
- The “New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy” has a very lonely Facebook page. You should go “like” it.
- Because I believe in saturation linking, I should note that the podcast on The Night Sessions includes discussion of themes close to many of our readers’ hearts, including religion and secularism, terrorism, and whether or not we should be optimistic about the future.
- Comments at NBN are moderated. Very slowly.
The New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy channel of the New Books Network launched today. In its inaugural podcast, I interview Ken MacLeod about The Night Sessions. From my summary:
As I hope comes through in the interview, I found The Night Sessions (Pyr, 2012) both fun to read and intellectually stimulating. It centers on DI Adam Ferguson as he investigates the murder of a priest in a near-future Edinburgh. Following the “Faith Wars” of the early twenty-first century the world has experienced a “Second Enlightenment” and aggressive secularism enjoys intellectual and political hegemony. But not every soul, whether organic or mechanical, is happy with this state of affairs….
This was my first interview, and I have to admit that I’m pretty rough (in fact, I’m still pretty early on the learning curve even now). Ken is terrific, though, and makes up for my foibles.
So, in an act of shameless self-promotion, I ask that our readers not only listen to the podcast, but tweet it, google+ it, like it on Facebook, and so forth. Ken is the first of a terrific series of guests. The only way to do justice to authors is to promote it heavily. For that, I need your help.