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04-24-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Three Books With Alan Cheuse : Three Thillers

This week on "Three Books With Alan Cheuse," we have the upshot of a random comment I made before we talked last time. I'd mentioned that I was thrilled that he'd liked the Lincoln Child novel, 'Terminal Freeze', and told him I thought he might like 'Fragment' by Warren Fahy.

The next thing I know, he's told me that he read it on a plane, and then goes on to suggest two more novels worth your valuable time and money. In addition to 'Fragment', we talked about
'Marine One' by James Huston (St. Martin's Press ; May12, 2009 ; $24.95) and 'The Genesis Secret' by Tom Knox (Viking / Penguin ; April 30, 2009 ; $26.95). You can hear our conversation about three thrillers that worth the time you will spend turning the pages as fast as possible by following the link to this MP3 audio file.


04-23-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Peter Beagle Reads at SF in SF : "Oakland Dragon Blues"

Last Saturday's SF in SF was featured in BoingBoing, and heavily attended. It was a full house with just enough overflow so that everybody could be seated in the super-comfy happiness of the Variety Children's Charity Theater. There, we were blessed — and over the course of the next few podcasts, you'll hear the evidence — with superb performances by Terry Bisson, the moderator, and Peter Beagle and Dick Lupoff, the guests.

Peter Beagle is a brilliant writer and stylist who has been published since he was nineteen and over the last fifty years, he's written some of the cornerstone works of fantasy and helped invent what is now called Young Adult fantasy. His reading was every bit as magical as his career, with a story titled "Oakland Dragon Blues" that is hilarious, thought-provoking and touching. It had better end up on the receiving end of some awards, but now you have the chance to hear it before it is published by following this link to the MP3 audio file podcast.



04-22-09: Catching Up with Jeremy Lassen : Why We Love the End of the World

We just can't get enough apocalypses. If it were up the speculative fiction writers in this world, we'd have blown up about thirty solar systems' worth of planets — and this in the last decade. And that's part of what accounts for the upswing in speculative fiction of all stripes while the rest of the literary world explores the Big Swirly. It must be sort of galling for the Captains of Litrachur to see Zombies invade Jane Austen (hell, it's galling for me), to see super-smart, goofy Christopher Moore dance on the grave of grumblin' King Lear and turn out a book that is by any measure (for measure) a superb comedic work of literary art. As you might expect, Jeremy Lassen and I had something to say on the subject.

I gave Jeremy of Night Shade Books to ask him about a recent article in Publisher's Weekly where he got to air his views early and often. . From there, the conversation turned out swimmingly as we talked about the forthcoming novel by Paolo Bacigalupi, a novel he might not have been able to afford had the old line of New York publishing not been decimated by recent layoff and consolidations. You can hear my conversation with Jeremy by following this MP3 audio link.



From left: "Silent" Joe Di Lellio, Troy Snyder,
Mark Crain, Dick Gabler
04-21-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Brew Your Own Beer with the Zymurgeeks

I went to scavenge, but I ended up drinking beer. Showing up on the wrong day for an interview proves to be a problem only if you show up late. If you show up a full day early, as I did recently, you night be lucky enough to meet Santa Cruz's own Zymurgeeks, a bunch of home-beer brewers who came to the Capitola Book Café with many samples of their latest creation. I had a blast talking to "Silent" Joe Di Lellio, Troy Snyder, Mark Crain, Dick Gabler, Dave Bossie and Mark Taylor.

So, zymurgy is the chemistry of fermentation, thus — Zymurgeeks. I talked to the Zymurgeeks and sampled some incredible brews; a honey-ginger mead and a smoked beer. It turns out that home-brewing your own beer is not that expensive and not that hard. Moreover, there's an art that you can learn, one that's analogous to cooking. You can indeed just make do with the materials to hand if that's what's required. To hear about beer, follow this link to an MP3 audio file of my interview with the Zymurgeeks.



04-20-09 : A 2009 Interview with Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson : "We can't rely upon the non-scavengers to tell us how to behave, we have to tell ourselves how to behave"

She's wearing a Versace jacket she pulled from a dumpster. He's wearing a blindingly colorful lime-green shirt covered with bright billiard balls that he found in a garbage can. They're thrifty enough to show up early, and willing to share a mic. Also, apparently, they have a bit of telepathy going on.

You can hear their undercurrent of communication in the way they pick up on one another's leads, an easy back-and-forth that suggests an utter familiarity. I originally thought that I'd only be speaking to Anneli, but happily Kristan was able to join us. The office I scavenge as a studio at Capitola Book Café is barely big enough for one guest, which actually made it easier in some ways, to have the two of them share a microphone. These are writers who are clearly working on the tenet of "Write what you know." But happily, they're not evangelists, just the sort of ultra-knowledgeable guides you want to show around a practice that is smart and fun. Do note that, by their definition, you're scavenging when you upload this totally-free MP3 audio file of our interview; that makes me a "scavengee."


New to the Agony Column

08-08-14: Commentary : Alastair Reynolds 'Blue Remembered Earth' : Diffident Utopia

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alastair Reynolds : "...the first book was going to contain about a hundred years of implicit future history..."

07-11-14: Commentary : Roz Chast Asks 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' : NO

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast : "...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

07-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast : Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

06-30-14: Commentary : Alan Furst Passes 'Midnight in Europe : Wrong Side of War

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alan Furst : "...certain periods are echoic..."

06-29-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 169: Alan Furst : Midnight in Europe

06-27-14: Commentary : Sarah Lotz Counts 'The Three' : The Uses of Fear

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Sarah Lotz : "...people need answers..."

06-25-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 168: Sarah Lotz : The Three

06-21-14: Commentary : Steven Galloway Conjures 'The Confabulist' : Creating Harry Houdini

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Steven Galloway : "...so much has been written about Harry Houdini..."

06-18-14: Commentary : Raymond B. Russell Heralds 'The Dark Return of Time' : An Atmosphere of Crime

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Thomas Frank on Parlor Tricks : "Off With Their Heads!"

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 167: Steven Galloway : The Confabulist

06-16-14: Commentary : Geoff Dyer Has 'Another Great Day at Sea' : The Steel Beach Party

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Geoff Dyer : "..but it was as nothing compared to the noise of planes landing..."

06-15-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 166: Geoff Dyer : Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

06-09-14: Commentary : Colson Whitehead Does 'The Noble Hustle' : Incandescent Memories of the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Colson Whitehead : "...I won five dollars, and from then on..."

06-08-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 165: Colson Whitehead : The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Deaths

06-02-14: Commentary : Kaui Hart Hemmings Explores 'The Possibilities' : Framing Life

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kaui Hart Hemmings : "I burned that copy and started fresh."

05-31-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 164: Kaui Hart Hemmings : The Possibilities

05-26-14: Commentary : Kent A. Kiehl Heeds 'The Psychopath Whisperer' : Prison of the Mind

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kent A. Kiehl : "How do you measure the cost of those sixteen homicides?"

05-21-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 163: Kent A. Kiehl, PhD : The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience

05-19-14: Commentary : Justin Go Clocks 'The Steady Running of the Hour' : Time-Crossed Lovers and Wars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Justin Go : "... there was always something that had to happen ..."

05-15-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Grants 'Authority' : The Parallax Views

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer : "...the land people don't talk to the sky people don't talk to the water people..."

05-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 162: Justin Go : The Steady Running of the Hour

05-12-14: Commentary : Matt Taibbi Views 'The Divide' : Zero-Sum Economic Morality

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi : "... the biggest bank robbery in the history of the world ..."

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