Tonight we discuss, as we do all too often, the beginning of the awards season, as well as the sometimes problematical Hugo category of Best Related Work, the question of authors who are so prolific that new readers may feel intimidated, and some of the parameters of who and who should not be covered in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series of books, of which Gary has recently assumed editorship.
Welcome to the first episode of The Coode Street Roundtable. The Roundtable is a new monthly podcast from Coode Street Productions where panelists James Bradley, Ian Mond, and Jonathan Strahan, joined by occasional special guests, discuss a new or recently released science fiction or fantasy novel.
Adam Roberts' The Thing Itself
“Adam Roberts turns his attention to answering the Fermi Paradox with a taut and claustrophobic tale that echoes John Carpenters' The Thing.Two men while away the days in an Antarctic research station. Tensions between them build as they argue over a love-letter one of them has received. One is practical and open. The other surly, superior and obsessed with reading one book - by the philosopher Kant.As a storm brews and they lose contact with the outside world they debate Kant, reality and the emptiness of the universe. The come to hate each other, and they learn that they are not alone.”
For our first podcast recorded in 2016, beginning our sixth year, we discuss the remarkable career of David G. Hartwell, the role of editors in shaping science fiction, the forthcoming Hugo Awards nominations and MidAmericon, the World Fantasy Convention, and the significance of science fiction of the the 1980s—both as it appeared then and as it appears to us now.
Continuing the series of podcasts we recorded in Saratoga Springs at the World Fantasy Convention, we sat down with distinguished fantasy writers Glen Cook and Steven Erikson, discussing the genesis of Cook's influential Black Company and Dread Empire series and other novels, and Erikson's hugely popular Malazan Book of the Fallen. In addition to their approaches to character and world-building, they offer insights into how Steve's background in archaeology influenced his work, and what it was like for Glen to live with Fritz Leiber many years ago.
Listenership for the Coode Street Podcast (www.coodestreetpodcast.com) grew for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, with a total of 48 full-length episodes and three mini-episodes produced, up from 42 full-length episodes in 2013 and 2014. The audience for the podcast increased by 52.1% over 2014, with a total of 133,501 downloads (episode plays) during the year. The average number of listeners for individual episodes increased by 33.1%, from 2,081 in 2014 to 2,781 in 2015. Interest in the podcast also increased, with feed hits growing by 44% to 1,148,322 across the year.
Guests appearing on the podcast during 2015 included Adam Roberts, Aliette de Bodard, Alisa Krasnostein, Bill Schafer, Cecelia Holland, Charlie Jane Anders, Cheryl Morgan, Chris Brown, Deborah Biancotti, Eileen Gunn, Elizabeth Hand, Gene Wolfe, Guy Gavriel Kay, Harlan Ellison, Ian McDonald, Ian Mond, James Bradley, James Morrow, Jim Minz, Joe Abercrombie, Joe Monti, John Clute, John Scalzi, Karin Tidbeck, Kelly Link, Ken Liu, Kim Stanley Robinson, KJ Parker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Linda Nagata, Liza Trombi, Margo Lanagan, Michael Swanwick, Nina Allan, Nisi Shawl, Pamela Sargent, Paolo Bacigalupi, Paul Kincaid, Samuel R Delany, Scott Westerfeld, Sean Williams, Sean Wright, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Suzy McKee Charnas, Tehani Wessely, William Gibson, and Zen Cho.
Highlights for the year included:
- Tor.com: We trialled syndicating the podcast with Tor.com. Episodes were published on the Sunday of each week on Coode Street, and then republished on Tor.com on Tuesdays. The trial ran from February to November, concluding with Episode 256. Listenership for the podcast via Tor.com is not included in the statistics in this summary. We would like to thank Tor.com and Irene Gallo for partnering with us during the year.
- K.J. Parker: We presented the first interview with World Fantasy Award winning writer K.J. Parker, revealing Parker as a pseudonym for British writer Tom Holt. The episode was published April 21, 2015.
- Women in science fiction: We spoke to Pamela Sargent, Suzy McKee Charnas, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Charlie Jane Anders, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Eleanor Arnason, and Linda Nagata as part of an ongoing series looking at the careers of women working in science fiction.
The most popular episodes of the year were:
- Episode 245: Ian McDonald and Luna (3,333)
- Episode 246: Aliette de Bodard and The House of Shattered Wings (2,756)
- Episode 230: K J Parker and the history of a writer (2,672)
- Episode 253: SF Lectures, The Martian and more (2,637)
- Episode 238: Kim Stanley Robinson and Aurora (2,634)
- Episode 242: Time runs out for the Hugos and more (2,619)
- Episode 207: Kameron Hurley (2,508)
- Episode 236: On books to look for... (with Liza Trombi) (2,398)
- Episode 250: Forthcoming books with Liza Trombi (2,388)
- Episode 231: Ian Mond, James Bradley and the 2015 Hugo Novel Shortlist (2,298)
The Coode Street Podcast is produced by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe and published by The Coode Street Press. The podcast will resume in January 2016.
One of the highlights of the 2015 World Fantasy Convention in November was when Gary and Jonathan got to sit down with Guest of Honor Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and io9 editor-in-chief Charlie Jane Anders to discuss their respective careers, their experiences working in science fiction and fantasy as women, and much more.