The Coode Street Podcast

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

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Episodes

Sunday Aug 01, 2021

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.

Sunday Jul 25, 2021

Welcome 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!

Sunday Jul 18, 2021

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.

Friday Jul 02, 2021

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!

Saturday Jun 26, 2021

Welcome 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!

Monday Jun 21, 2021

Welcome 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!

Saturday Jun 05, 2021

Welcome 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.

Sunday May 23, 2021

Welcome 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.

Saturday May 08, 2021

Welcome 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!

Sunday May 02, 2021

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.

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