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07-03-09: One Book With Alan Cheuse : Writing the Textbook

There's money to be made writing textbooks. But it's not easy money by any means. This week on Three Books With Alan Cheuse, we're talking about one, that is, 'Literature: Craft & Voice, Volume 1: Fiction,' and about the process of writing a textbook.

You can afford to cut back to one book with Alan Cheuse when that book is a 700-page version of, as he describes it, "an issue of Harper's Magazine." Ever want to know how you go about getting into this lucrative business? I think dedication of the sort that one very rarely finds outside of religious orders is called for. Cheuse confided in me that he spent five and half years working on the three books he and I will be talking about, one at a time — and that was a very short timeline! You can hear us chat about the planning and events that went into that timeline by following the link to this MP3 audio file.



07-02-09: SF in SF Panel from June 20, 2009 — Pat Murphy, Lisa Goldstein, and Michaela Roessner Hosted by Rick Kleffel : Transformative Literature

I was fortunate enough to be asked to host the most recent meeting at SF in SF, and found myself sitting at the head of the class with Pat Murphy, Lisa Goldstein and Michaela Roessner, talking about their writing, all of which, it seemed to me, attempted to "transform" the world we know into something more interesting.

After all, all of the stories start out in what looks pretty much like our world and in our times. And yet, though subtle and unsubtle introductions of elements of the fantastic, this vision of our world is transformed — into something considerably more interesting to read. We had a great time talking about how each of them managed this, and got some keen looks into the crafting of the individual pieces, which offer a wide variety of approaches. You can write the folks at SF in SF if you like what you hear in the discussion from the link to the MP3 audio file.



07-01-09: Agony Column Podcast New Report : Michaela Roessner Interviewed at SF in SF on June 20, 2009


"...the hassidic carp, and the Kenyan tuna with the Koran on its scales are actually documented, whether they're real or not, they're news stories ... you can look them up online..."
        — Michaela Roessner

Michaela Roessner's story, "The Fishes Speak," was for me a perfect summary of what I love about SF in SF. Here's a story that's slated for PS Publishing's wonderful 'PostScripts' anthology, but that to my mind could just as easily have found publication in McSweeney's, The New Yorker, or any other mainstream literary magazine. The boundaries of genre have fallen aside.

From the get-go, "The Fishes Speak" is an unusual story, and I really wanted to talk to Roessner about her choice of the second person. Moreover, as you hear the story, you can tell that she did a boatload of research, and when I asked her about this she gave me an answer I've heard from many a writer; "I'm a research junkie." You can hear our conversation by following the link to this MP3 audio file.



  Rick kleffel and Pat Murphy
06-30-09: Agony Column Podcast New Report : Pat Murphy Interviewed at SF in SF on June 20, 2009

"It is not just what is on the page that determines whether it is a science fiction story or not"
        — Pat Murphy

Before I pressed "record," Pat Murphy wondered what we were going to talk about. After all, I'd interviewed her quite recently — a year ago! Well, a lot can happen in a year, especially when Klutz books keeps you busy and your newest novel proves to be a success.

One of my favorite aspects of SF in SF is the joy of my on-the-spot interviews. It’s not just the writer who is on the spot; it's me as well, since I try to key my questions off the readings. Murphy's story was a poignant tale of taking care of one's aging parents with a lovely sense-of-wonder spin. She works in the lowest keys, keeping readers grounded while she mines the fantastic right out from under their feet. You can hear us discuss her story and her techniques by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



  China Miéville
06-29-09: A 2009 Interview with China Miéville

"I don’t think crime is a realist
genre at all"

        — China Miéville

I believe that I said in one of the article I wrote about 'The City & The City' that for this book, you're best advised to go in cold. That said, there's been so much talk about the book, I suspect that many readers already have a pretty good grasp of what the deal is, and probably won’t be upset by haring China talk about what he intended in detail. I really like talking to China, who is sort of a contrarian in all matters literary. Yes, we talked about his latest book, but we also talked about his many projects in the mix as well. There are a lot of them, and readers will want to hear the man himself explain them in his oh-so-mellifluous voice. Here's the link to the MP3 audio file for you to do so.

New to the Agony Column

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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