The Coode Street Podcast

Discussion and digression on science fiction and fantasy with Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan.

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5 hours ago

In this episode, Jonathan and Gary have a long overdue extended discussion with the wonderful Ursula Vernon (aka T. Kingfisher), whose excellent horror novel A House With Good Bones appeared in late March, and whose thoroughly original imagining of the Sleeping Beauty story Thornhedge, is forthcoming in August.
We also touch upon some of her best-known works like Nettle and Bone and A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, what she read while growing up, her career from webcomic artist to children’s author to fantasy and horror novelist, the role of humour in horror, and why even stories involving murder priests, child abductions, and gruesomely reanimated corpses are actually sweet romances.
As always, we would like to thank Ursula for making the time to talk to us, and we hope you enjoy the episode.

Saturday May 20, 2023

Returning after a brief hiatus, Coode Street welcomes the wonderful multiple award-winning Sarah Pinsker, whose new collection Lost Places has just been published by Small Beer Press, and includes the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning “Where Oaken Hearts do Gather.”
We touch upon her career as both story writer and novelist, the relationship of her music performances to her fiction, the balance between teaching and writing, the challenges for new authors entering the field, and of course the stories in her new book.

Sunday Apr 23, 2023

This week, Jonathan and Gary talk with Kelly Link, whose new collection White Cat, Black Dog is already showing up on bestseller lists. It's her first themed collection, with each of the seven stories linked to a particular fairy tale.
We also touch upon several writers whose work has been important to Kelly, including Joanna Russ, Peter Straub, M.R, James, Fritz Leiber, Nicola Griffith, and Shirley Jackson, and even chat a bit about being an author who’s also a publisher (with Small Beer Press) and bookseller (with Book Moon), both co-owned and managed with Gavin J. Grant.
We also discuss a few other things, including her highly anticipated forthcoming novel, The Book of Love.

Monday Apr 10, 2023

It’s awards season again (or maybe still), so Jonathan and Gary take a moment to remind everyone of the deadlines for nominating candidates for Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula Awards, and to discuss briefly a proposal to add a one-time category of “Best Fantasy Novel” to the Hugos at the 2024 Glasgow Worldcon.
They also chat a bit about the Best Related Work Hugo, and whether or not certain categories might be eliminated. First, however, they touch upon whether the central concerns of mainstream SF were laid down in the interwar era, as Paul Kincaid argues in a new essay. And then Niall Harrison's new collection, All These Worlds: Reviews and Essays.  Finally, we touch upon the question of how important opening paragraphs and titles are when it comes to drawing a reader into a work of fiction.

Monday Mar 06, 2023

This week Jonathan and Gary are joined by World Fantasy and Newbery Award winner Kelly Barnhill, whose When Women Were Dragons was one of last year’s outstanding fantasy novels. We talk about her just-published The Crane Husband, which powerfully combines aspects of the classic fairy tale, science fiction, horror, and coming-of-age tale. We touch upon mixing genres, writing while raising a family, making up disposable fairytales, how stories involve both the forebrain and the hindbrain, and reading Terry Pratchett.

Sunday Feb 19, 2023

We are always casting around for inspiration. After getting ChatGPT to provide a new introduction for the podcast, Gary and Jonathan kick off a discussion about the health of the short fiction field, the scope and variety of short story collections due to be published in 2023, and share some (okay, many) thoughts on the history of short fiction collections in the science fiction field.  
As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast. We'll see you again in two weeks.

Sunday Feb 05, 2023

This week, in our more-or-less annual discussion of the Locus Recommended Reading List, we are delighted to be joined by Locus Editor-in-Chief Liza Groen Trombi.
We talk about the purpose of the list, how it has changed over the years, how books or stories get on the list, and a few thorny questions about how to decide whether a novel is SF or fantasy if it contains substantial elements of both. In addition to mentioning some of our own favourite works of the year, we touch upon the importance of the First Novels list, which might be a harbinger of what’s to come, and how story collections and YA novels have grown in importance over the years.
As always, our thanks to Liza and we hope you enjoy the episode.

Sunday Jan 22, 2023

It's not been that long since they last discussed it, but this week Jonathan and Gary return to the question of space opera, new space opera, and what contemporary SF authors might make of the concept.
Is space opera the core narrative of SF, as Jonathan suggests, or only one of them? What are its essential characteristics? Has the greater diversity of SF over the last decade changed its basic form? It seems that when the term was first coined, it clearly referred to pulp adventure tales that we popular in the 1930s. But later versions have questioned the assumptions of those old chestnuts, redefining the form for each generation.
How, for example, do current writers like Arkady Martine, Charlie Jane Anders, and Emily Tesh make use of the form? We definitely don’t settle any of these questions, but we’ll probably keep trying.

Sunday Jan 08, 2023

To kick off 2023, Jonathan and Gary share their lists of the books that they’re looking forward to reading in 2023.
They mention a lot of forthcoming titles, ranging books from old masters like Peter S. Beagle, Howard Waldrop, Joanna Russ, Gene Wolfe, and Connie Willis to newer writers like Samit Basu, Vajra Chandrasekera, Alix E. Harrow, Emily Tesh, and Premee Mohamed, as well as essential collections from Kelly Link, E. Lily Yu, Joanna Russ, K.J. Parker, Sarah Pinsker, and others.
The team also cheerfully acknowledge that the year will undoubtedly present us with some complete surprises and that we will be reading fantastic work from authors we haven’t even heard of yet. The field seems as lively and promising as ever!
Pre-order links
Books mentioned in the podcast include:
Blade of Dream, Daniel Abraham
Conquest, Nina Allan
The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport, Samit Basu
The Saint of Bright Doors, Vajra Chandrasekera
Furious Heaven, Kate Elliott
The Landing, Mary Gentle
Menewood, Nicola Griffith
Starling House, Alix E. Harrow
The Water Outlaws, S.L. Huang
Thornhedge, T. Kingfisher
The Deep Sky, Yume Kitasei
Translation State, Ann Leckie
White Cat, Black Dog, Kelly Link (collection)
The Blue Beautiful World, Karen Lord
Hopeland, Ian McDonald
No One Will Come Back For Us and Other Stories, Premee Mohamed (collection)
The Sinister Booksellers of Bath, Garth Nix
Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic, Tobi Ogundiran (collection)
Under My Skin, K.J. Parker (collection)
He Who Drowned the World, Shelley Parker-Chan
Lost Places, Sarah Pinsker (collection)
Machine Vendetta, Alastair Reynolds
The Navigating Fox, Christopher Rowe
Joanna Russ: Novels and Stories, Joanna Russ (collection)
Him, Geoff Ryman
New Suns 2, Nishi Shawl ed.
Ghost Engine, Charles Stross
Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon, Wole Talabi
Some Desperate Glory, Emily Tesh
System Collapse, Martha Wells
The Road to Roswell, Connie Willis
The Wolfe at the Door, Gene Wolfe (collection)
Jewel Box, E. Lily Yu (collection)

Saturday Dec 24, 2022

There's Christmas and then there's Krampus. Here at Coode Street, there's nothing quite like a little bit more, and as a very special holiday bonus Gary sat down with the wonderful M. Rickert to talk about what she'd been reading, what she'd recommend, and her fabulous Krampus tale, Lucky Girl, one of our favourites and perfect for a cold, winter's night.
As always, our thanks to Mary and hope you enjoy the episode.

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