The Coode Street Podcast

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November 21, 2021  

Episode 567: Sheree Renée Thomas and science fiction

Welcome to episode 25 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary sit down with the very talented and extremely busy Sheree Renée Thomas to discuss her award-winning collection Nine Bar Blues, her first year editing the venerable Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the lasting impact of her Dark Matter anthologies, her forthcoming anthologies Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue (co-edited with Pan Morrigan and Troy L. Wiggins) and Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction (co-edited with Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Zelda Knight, her own experiences growing up as an SF and horror reader, and the new age of recognizing African and African diaspora SFF.  It’s a pretty lively conversation.

As always, our sincere thanks to Sheree Renée Thomas, and we hope you enjoy the episode.

 

Order now!

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November 8, 2021  

Episode 566: On life achievement, awards, and more

Welcome to episode 24 of Season 12 of the Coode Street Podcast. As the year draws to a close and winter comes to Chicago and summer to Perth, Gary and Jonathan sit down for an unexpected and unplanned conversation about life achievement awards and their meaningfulness, a brief foreshadowing of a discussion about interrogating the sociopolitical assumptions of a work of fiction, and more.

This time out there were a few technical issues in the final five minutes of the recording, but those have hopefully been addressed by editing. Two episodes remain in the season - a good time to be discussing the year in review and the best fiction of 2021 - before we go on hiatus, but for now we hope you enjoy the episode!

October 24, 2021  

Episode 565: On work published after the author‘s death

Welcome to episode 23 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week, after a brief and mostly irrelevant discussion of whether the proposition that Ray Bradbury as the quintessential October writer means anything at all outside North America, Jonathan and Gary actually try to focus on an important question: whether posthumous publications actually do anything to enhance an author’s reputation.

We make distinctions between works that the author clearly wanted to be published (like Philip K. Dick final four novels), works that the author clearly did not intend for publication (like some late Heinlein manuscripts), and works which the author may or may not have tried to publish during their lifetimes (such as a number of R.A. Lafferty manuscripts completed or continued by other hands, including novels by Walter M. Miller, Jr., Robert Jordan, and Terry Pratchett). We even touch upon whether the J. Michael Straczynski The Last Dangerous Visions is a useful idea decades after Harlan Ellison began the project. Do author's estates see posthumous publication as a means of keeping an author’s name alive, as a purely commercial proposition, or as a way of arguing for an author’s canonical status? Other authors touched upon include J.R.R. Tolkien, John M. Ford, Philip José Farmer, and even a few examples from mainstream fiction, such as John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, which won a Pulitzer Prize more than a decade after its author's death.

As always, we hope you enjoy the episode.

October 10, 2021  

Episode 564: Oghenechovwe Ekpeki and African Speculative Fiction

Welcome to episode 22 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. In this episode, Gary and Jonathan talk to Oghenechovwe Ekpeki, author of the Otherwise Award-winning and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, British SF Award, and Nebula Award-nominated novella "Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon", editor of The Year's Best African Speculative Fiction, and co-editor with Zelda K. Knight of the British Fantasy Award-winning anthology Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora

Oghenechovwe joins us from Lagos, Nigeria to discuss growing up reading speculative fiction in Nigeria, his hopes for The Year's Best African Speculative Fiction series, the challenges facing writers from Africa to get a chance to be a part of the international science fiction community, his upcoming anthology African Risen for Tordotcom (co-edited with Sheree Renee Thomas and Zelda K. Knight), and much more.

While there are, later in the podcast, a few moments where static affected our Skype connection, we hope you'll bear with the episode. As always, we'd like to thank Oghenechovwe for taking the time to talk to us, and hope that you enjoy the episode.

 

Available for order now:

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September 19, 2021  

Episode 563: A Ramble in the Wilderness

Welcome to episode 21 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast.Once again, it's just Jonathan and Gary, talking about the various roles anthologies have played in the history of science fiction and how that role may be different these days, the nominees and winners of the 2021 Ignyte Awards from FIYAHCON 2021, N.K. Jemisin being named as one of Time Magazine's top 100 most influential people, how SF has begun to shift its historical perspective in terms of colonialism and international literatures, new media adaptations of Asimov and Herbert, and, as always, how genre and other barriers are breaking down and how neither of us is quite keeping up with all the fascinating new fiction published every month, suggesting that maybe 2021 is turning out to be a pretty exciting year.

August 29, 2021  

Episode 562: Reading, reviewing, and an old question answered

Welcome to episode 20 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. It's just Jonathan and Gary again, eventually circling around an interesting question raised by Andrew Liptak in Transfer Orbit concerning the question of reading the right book at the right time, rather than being chained to the constant parade of new books and their publicity cycles.

Along the way we pause to note the recent passing of Erle Korshak, one of the last survivors of 1930s fandom; the value and hazards of re-reading old favorites from Gene Wolfe to Dune; the way to arrange stories in an anthology or collection; some newer books by Lavie Tidhar, Joe Abercrombie, and others; the importance of context in reviewing, and, inspired by Matt Bell's My Le Guin Year: Craft Lessons from a Master on Tor.com, how Ursula Le Guin got some things right long before anyone else did, with her own Tehanu. In other words, our usual laser-like focus on whatever comes up in the moment.

As always, we hope you enjoy the episode.

August 22, 2021  

Episode 561: Science fiction, influence, and more

Welcome to episode 19 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This time out, Jonathan and Gary return, sans guests or much of a plan. They do manage to touch upon a number of significant issues, such as the work of newly minted World Fantasy Life Achievement winner Howard Waldrop, whether Waldrop could be viewed as a regional author (a Texan in particular), and which other writers might be thought of a representing particular regional voices (R.A. Lafferty, Andy Duncan, Christopher Rowe,  Daryl Gregory?), and how regional voice may show up even in the work of hard SF writers like Gregory Benford. This leads into a more general discussion of influences. Are films based on Philip K. Dick now more influential than Dick’s novels themselves? How are innovative writers like Greg Egan (who just turned 60) and Ted Chiang seen as influential?

This leads, somehow, into a discussions of how writers like Dick, Lovecraft, Le Guin, Octavia Butler made it into the Library of America, and finally to the importance of international and regional anthologies such as Oghenchovwe Donald Ekpeki’s new Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction. As always, we also touch upon what we’re reading this week.

August 8, 2021  

Episode 560: Arkady Martine and Memories of Empire

A Desolation Called PeaceWelcome to episode 18 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This time out, Jonathan and Gary are joined by the wonderful Arkady Martine, author of the Hugo-winning A Memory Called Empire and its equally remarkable sequel A Desolation Called Peace. We touch upon how her research as an academic historian helped shape her fiction, the various meanings of empire (and the comparative virtues of SF and fantasy in dealing with such concepts), growing up with a houseful of SF classics from Asimov to Zelazny, and her own current work—including the possibility of more stories set in the Teixcalaanli universe and a likely venture into near-future SF.

As always, our thanks to Arkady for making the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!

August 1, 2021  

Episode 559: Partway through the pandemic, a ramble

Welcome to episode 17 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. For those very few of you who might be wondering what Jonathan and Gary ramble on about when they’re not recording or talking to guests, here's a taste—especially if you make it all the way to the last ten minutes or so, when we end up talking about our vaccination cards and possible travel plans.  

Before we get there, however, we touch upon the new Lavie Tidhar novel The Hood, which we’re both in the midst of reading and is due out in October. That leads to a broader discussion of Tidhar's work and an even broader discussion about how historical material is handled differently in fantasy from the way it is in SF, and whether the classic view of SF’s manifest destiny even holds up anymore, given the variety of voices and perspectives now available.

Some of the authors we touch upon are Arkady Martine, John Varley, C.J. Cherryh, Isaac Asimov (and the forthcoming Apple TV+ series derived from the Foundation series), Kelly Robson, John Varley, and a few others. A mixed bag, for sure.

July 25, 2021  

Episode 558: M. Rickert and The Shipbuilder of Bellfaerie

Shipbuilder.jpegWelcome to episode 16 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week, Jonathan and Gary chat with the marvellous M. Rickert, whose new novel The Shipbuilder of Bellfaerie is out next week from Undertow Publications.

We touch upon how the novel draws from traditions as varied as nautical legends, mysteries, and even Frankenstein, and on  the virtues and challenges of the novel as a form compared to novellas and short fiction, the importance of letting the reader use their own imaginations, whether or not M. Rickert fiction is horror fiction (depending, of course, on how horror is defined), whether a reader missing the point is really such a bad thing, and some earlier classic M. Rickert stories like “The Chambered Fruit,” “Bread and Bombs,” and “The Mothers of Voorhisville.”

As always, our thanks to Mary for making the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!

July 18, 2021  

Episode 557: All This and Dystopia Too

Welcome to episode 15 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast.

For the first time in more than two months, it’s just Jonathan and Gary again, talking about science fiction of the anthropocene, whether science fiction has shifted its “consensus future” away from the optimism of past eras, the notion that forms such as space opera have begun to look more like heroic fantasy than old-fashioned extrapolation, and the rapidly multiplying meanings of the term dystopia.

In an unusual departure from our usual literature-based rambles—we also touch on what we both think of recent MCU contributions like Loki, Black Widow, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—and what they may tell us about corporate storytelling, along with chatter about Miracle Workers and Jonathan's rewatch of The Lord of the Rings.

As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast.

July 2, 2021  

Episode 556: Lavie Tidhar and a World of Science Fiction

The Best of World SF: Volume 1

Welcome to episode 14 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by multiple award-winning author and editor Lavie Tidhar to discuss his brand new anthology, The Best of World SF: Vol 1, his years working to bring SF from around the world to North American and UK audiences, the value of reading widely and from different perspectives, and much more. Along the way we also touch on his forthcoming new novels The Escapement and The Hood, and much more.

 

As always, our thanks to Lavie for making time to talk to us and we hope you enjoy the episode. See you again soon!

June 26, 2021  

Episode 555: Catherynne M. Valente and Telling Tales

The Pas is RedWelcome to episode 13 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by the wonderful Catherynne M. Valente to talk about her new book The Past is Red, which continues the tale of Tetley Abednego, first introduced to readers in the Sturgeon Award-winning "The Future is Blue" from Jonathan’s anthology Drowned Worlds.

We discuss the origins of that story, of the Hugo-nominated Space Opera and its forthcoming sequel Space Oddity, the thriller Comfort Me With Apples (also forthcoming this October), and the importance of working with supportive editors and agents

As always, our thanks to Cat for taking the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!

June 21, 2021  

Episode 554: Zen Cho and Finding Black Water Sister

Black Water Sister by Zen ChoWelcome to episode 12 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by the remarkable Zen Cho, whose new novel Black Water Sister will be followed later this summer by an expanded version of her Crawford Award-winning collection Spirits Abroad from Small Beer Press.

We touch upon issues of Malaysian identity both in the new books and in her popular duology Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen, the stylistic and thematic challenges of writing for diverse audiences and writing humor in fantasy (with early influences including Terry Pratchett and P.G. Wodehouse), and the wonderfully inventive dragons in her short fiction, including the Hugo-winning ‘If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again."

As always, our thanks to Zen for making the time to talk to us. We hope you enjoy the episode!

June 5, 2021  

Episode 553: Daryl Gregory and The Album of Doctor Moreau

moreau2.jpegWelcome to episode 11 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by Daryl Gregory, whose new novella The Album of Dr. Moreau is an improbable but delightful mashup of H.G. Wells, boy bands, Las Vegas, and locked-room murder mysteries.

We discuss the challenges of attempting so much at novella length, the importance of managing tone, and, not least, the sheer fun of the whole undertaking. Along the way, we touch upon some of Daryl’s earlier novels, including The Devil’s Alphabet, Raising Stony Mayhall, We Are All Completely Fine, and Spoonbenders, as well his forthcoming novel Revelator, a gothic tale set in the Smoky Mountains. 

As always, our thanks to Daryl and we hope you enjoy the episode.

May 23, 2021  

Episode 552: Nghi Vo and The Chosen and the Beautiful

The Chosen and the BeatuifulWelcome to episode 10 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary have a delightful conversation with Nghi Vo, whose The Empress of Salt and Fortune won this year’s Crawford Award and is a Hugo finalist, and whose debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful, a fantastical revisioning of The Great Gatsby with a queer, Asian Jordan Baker as narrator, is out this week.

We discuss the value of fanfic, the virtues and vacancies of Fitzgerald’s classic novel, the question of whether any narrators are ever reliable, and how Nghi managed to convey the sense of a full epic fantasy in The Empress of Salt and Fortune and then shift to a very different narrative mode in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, the second novella in the “Singing Hills” cycle.  We also get a preview of the forthcoming novel Siren Queen, with its intriguing exploration—again in fantastic terms—of the early Hollywood film industry as experienced by an Asian actress.

As always, our thanks to our guest, Nghi, for her time. We hope all of you enjoy the episode.

May 8, 2021  

Episode 551: Sarah Pinsker and We Are Satellites

satellites.jpegWelcome to episode 9 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by Nebula and Philip K. Dick award-winning author and musician Sarah Pinsker, whose new novel We Are Satellites is out this week. We touch upon the actual science of brain implants which served as background research for the novel, her reasons for narrating the story from the points of view of four different family members, the issues of corporate responsibility for new technology, and the surprisingly lax government oversight of medical devices such as those featured in the novel. We also discuss the reception of her much-heralded and prescient novel from last year, Song for a New Day, the challenges of writing near-future SF, her own influences and early reading in the field, balancing a career in music with one in fiction, and some of the stories in her collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea.

As always, we'd like to thank Sarah for joining us and hope you enjoy the episode!

May 2, 2021  

Episode 550: P. Djèlí Clark and A Master of Djinn

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Welcome to episode 8 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This time out, Jonathan and Gary are joined by P. Djèlí Clark, whose novella Ring Shout has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards this year and whose first novel, A Master of Djinn, appears this month.

We touch upon themes of colonialism and racism, why he decided to set a steampunk novel in 1912 Cairo, his earlier short fiction, how his work as an academic historian informs his fiction, and what it was like, after a lifetime of reading, to discover a community that seemed to welcome his vision. Djèlí’s insights into everything from old Twilight Zone episodes to Birth of a Nation to Robert Jordan’s fantasies make for one of the more stimulating conversations we’ve had in some time.

As always, our thanks to Djèlí and we hope you enjoy the episode.

April 25, 2021  

Episode 549: Lockdown, science fiction, and more

Welcome to episode 7 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary return to form with a classic ramble through a jumble of topics ranging from the postponement of this year’s Swancon in Perth (and a bit of trivia about an American Swanncon from decades ago); the possible effects of the missing convention years on the SFF field; a brief foray into utopian/dystopian fiction; Charles de Lint, urban fantasy, and his new novel Juniper Wiles; our mutual admiration for Catherynne Valente's forthcoming The Past is Red; and bits about what we’ve been reading lately, including Nghi Vo's The Chosen and the Beautiful, fictions that focus on a single technology like Sarah Pinsker's We Are Satellites, alternate histories like P. Djèlí Clark's A Master of Djinn, set in Cairo, and why we’ve been overloaded on London steampunk (especially on TV), while other world cities seem to get short shrift in the whole steampunk/alternate history trend. Some of these authors, we promise, will get a chance to speak for themselves in future episodes.

This year has been tough for a lot of people. Swancon has suffered a lot of extra costs and GoH Claire Coleman is running a GoFundMe to help them out. You can donate here. Also, John Varley had major heart surgery earlier this year. They're running a GoFundMe to help him with expenses. You can donate here. Both campaigns are worthy of support.

As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. We'll see you again soon!

 

April 18, 2021  

Episode 548: Kelly Robson and Alias Space

Alias Space by Kelly Robson. Cover by Lauren Saint-Onge.Welcome to episode 6 of Season 12 of The Coode Street Podcast. This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by the delightful Nebula and Aurora winning author Kelly Robson, whose first collection Alias Space and Other Stories has just been published by Subterranean Press. Kelly discusses life during lockdown in Toronto, the joys of becoming a widely admired short fiction writer after starting out as a “late bloomer,” how SF and fantasy helped get through challenging times when younger, what she’s learned from writers such as Michael Bishop, James Tiptree, Jr., Howard Waldrop, and Connie Willis, the worldbuilding behind her novella Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach (and other stories set in that universe), and the fun she’s had exploring humorous fiction in new work that she's completing right now. And, of course, the wonderful stories that go to make up her new collection.

As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. We'll see you again soon!

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