After reminding listeners that the deadline for Hugo nominations is fast approaching on March 15 (and reminding them once again of the eligibility of this podcast for Best Fancast and of Jonathan for Best Editor, Short Form), we move on to the much-discussed, record-setting Brandon Sanderson Kickstarter, and the question of whether it really matters to anyone other than Sanderson and his readers. Acknowledging that Sanderson readers are fully likely to get exactly what they are expecting, this led us into a brief discussion of reader expectations, also the topic of a recent essay by Molly Templeton on Tor.com. While occasionally we come across a book with almost no prior knowledge or publicity, most books come with expectations based on the author’s previous work, or even the publisher’s reputation.
Some of the authors discussed here, and some that Jonathan and Gary are currently reading or expecting to read, include Guy Gavriel Kay, R.F. Kuang, Kelly Barnhill, Nghi Vo, John Crowley, and Karen Joy Fowler. At the end, we touch briefly upon the question of history in fiction, and the different strategies of using entirely fictional characters, almost entirely historical figures, or a mixture of both.