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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

10-19-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 179: William T. Vollmann : Last Stories and Other Stories

10-16-14: Commentary : Alix Christie Hires 'Gutenberg's Apprentice' : Fifteenth Century Start-Ups

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alix Christie : "This was the world's first tech start-up."

10-15-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 178: Alix Christie : Gutenberg's Apprentice

10-13-14: Commentary : Maureen Corrigan 'So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures' : The Power of Re-Reading

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Maureen Corrigan : "On his death in 1940, there were remaindered copies..."

10-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 177: Maureen Corrigan : So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

10-03-14: Commentary : Lawrence Wright ' Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David' : Suspension of Belief

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Lawrence Wright : "...peace is possible..."

10-01-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 176: Lawrence Wright : Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

09-30-14: Commentary : Rebecca Alexander Will 'Not Fade Away' : A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Rebecca Alexander : " your hands are, and their arms are, engaged in this poetic dance..."

09-28-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 175: Rebecca Alexander : Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found

09-23-14: Commentary : Lauren Beukes Builds 'Broken Monsters' : Dream Reapers

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Live Interview with Lauren Beukes : "...fiction allows you to step into someone's head..."

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