Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes
06-01-11: A 2011 Interview with Geoffrey Dunn


"There needs to be an explanation for that person."

—Geoffrey Dunn

Performing an interview live in the studio, while soliciting call-ins, is a very different environment from my usual style of conversation. For one thing, I have to operate a console and make sure that if we get phone calls, everyone is patched through and heard. But more importantly that console is between me and my guest so there can be a kind of barrier. But not if you've got a great guest with a great book and real questions to which you do not know the answers. It's tense though, you have to hit the ground running and never stop until you're through. Geoffrey Dunn made it easy.

Still, live radio is something of a sprint, since there are no chances to go back. But there was so much to cover in Dun's book that I knew we'd have to really skip lightly just to give readers a sense of what to expect. To be honest, I was hoping for some call-ins and I thought that Sarah Palin might be divisive enough to bring them in. Also, call-ins fill time. We did get some calls after the show and I['d like to thank those callers.

Dunn and I covered the basics of the book, from his look at Sarah Palin's birth and her teen years through the run for VP. We also talked quite a bit about how he wrote the book, and he told me that his model was Robert Penn Warren. That explains a lot of what you'll hear when you follow the link to the MP3 audio file.



05-31-11: Agony Column Live, June 4, 2011 Preview : Seeing the Future with Kim Stanley Robinson and Rudy Rucker


"It's a good place to set a science fiction novel."

—Rudy Rucker

Rudy Rucker told me that he manages to make it to Santa Cruz about once a month, and I suppose, given that there is a fairly active "KEEP SANTA CRUZ WEIRD" movement in town, with bumper stickers, and t-shirts, it's not surprising that he'd set a novel here. Rucker's not alone in his visits to Santa Cruz; Kim Stanley Robinson manages to make it here regularly as well. And as they are gracious gentlemen, they'll be joining me this coming Saturday June 4, at the Capitola Book Café at 6:30 PM, to talk about science fiction, writing, Santa Cruz and their latest novels.

I must say that I feel lucky to have two such super-stars willing to join me. Rudy Rucker is one of the creators or founders of the cyberpunk movement. I remember reading the paperback editions of the Wares novels shortly after my arrival here and my re-introduction to science fiction. I really had to wonder what else I'd been missing.

Kim Stanley Robinson entered my reading world before I fell off the wagon, as his Three Californias trilogy was set in Orange County. If, as William Gibson suggested, the future has arrived but it is not evenly distributed, then I'd have to say a bigger chunk of that future has been dumped into OC, for both good and ill. Not surprising then that Robinson picked up on that.

I've spoken with Rucker many times, both at SF and for an NPR report I did on the suit against the LHC, files to help prevent the end of the world. Stan has also contributed to my NPR work, in a piece I did on the discussion that was going in within the science fiction genre about what we now call "Global Climate Change."

This coming Saturday, we'll be talking about their new books; Rudy's is 'Jim and the Flims,' set in Santa Cruz and "the Flimsy," a netherworld next door that might be the afterlife, but in Rudy's hands is considerably stranger than the average afterlife. Stan's newest novel is 'Galileo's Dream,' a delightful comic look at Galileo and his life; both the one we know about, and the other one, that involved time travel. Readers who'd like a preview can follow this link to the MP3 audio file of our conversation.



05-30-11: A 2011 Interview with Eugene Linden

Click image for audio link.

"While I was there, there was a very dramatic meeting."

—Eugene Linden

You can imagine that Eugene Linden might be the guy to find himself amidst a "very dramatic meeting," simply because he is so even-keeled. As I sat down to talk to him at KUSP, the clouds scudded overhead in the skylight, changing the color of the light in the room. It was eerie, and the right kind of eerie for a conversation with Linden.

It was interesting to speak with this talented writer not just about the subject of the book, and his many intriguing journeys, but as well about the creation of such a book. It's one he has been working on for many years. This shows in the craft of the prose and the construction of the book. Linden has been writing for magazines for long enough to know the virtues of brevity.

We also talked about many of the specifics in the book. One expects places like Vietnam and Africa to show up in such a book. One does not expect Cuba, or his experiences with healers and shamans. It is one thing to be open to physical exploration of the frontier. But Linden also takes himself to psychological frontiers as well, and manages to write about everything with the eye of a scientific artist.

You can hear my conversation with Eugene Linden by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



New to the Agony Column

03-01-15: Commentary : William Ury on Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents : To the BATNA, Robin!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with William Ury : ...he proceeded to shout at me for approximately 30 minutes..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 198: William Ury : Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

02-22-15: Commentary : Jennifer Senior Experiences 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood' : Reading Fun for the Whole Fambly!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jennifer Senior : "...it becomes a source of enormous tension once a baby comes along..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 197: Jennifer Senior : All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

02-09-15: Commentary : Stewart O'Nan Looks 'West of Sunset' : Twilight of the Great

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Stewart O'Nan : "...we see him as a tragedian because is life is a tragedy..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 196: Stewart O'Nan : West of Sunset

02-04-15: Commentary : Armistead Maupin Maps 'The Days of Anna Madrigal' : Swiftly Flow the Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Armistead Maupin : "I could see what silliness was going on while it was happening..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 195: Armistead Maupin : The Days of Anna Madrigal

01-31-15: Commentary : Christine Carter's Path to 'The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work' : Neurohabits

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Christine Carter, Ph.D. : "...a real tipping point..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 194: Christine Carter, Ph.D. : The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work

01-23-15: Commentary : Jake Halpern Pushes 'Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld' : Non-Fiction 21st Century Noir

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jake Halpern : "...he goes to Las Vegas to this debt-buyers' convention..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 193: Jake Halpern : Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld

01-19-15: Commentary : David Shields and Caleb Powell Assert 'I Think You're Totally Wrong' : The Power to Bicker

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with David Shields and Caleb Powell : "I read no book reviews any more; the level of discussion is really pedestrian." David Shields "I'm just saying it's a conflict of interest!" Caleb Powell

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 192: David Shields and Caleb Powell : I Think You're Totally Wrong

01-17-15: Commentary : Charles Todd Expects 'A Fine Summer's Day' : We Interrupt This Program...

Commentary : Charles Todd Engages In 'A Test of Wills' : The Politics of Passion and Policing

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Charles and Caroline Todd : "...let them be themselves and sort it out..." Caroline Todd "...it's more on a personal level..." Charles Todd

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 191: Charles Todd : A Fine Summer's Day

01-13-15: Commentary : Rosalie Parker Unearths 'The Old Knowledge' : The New Old World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker : "I thought I'd write something for fun.." Ray Russell "..there was a side of me of that was interested in the strangeness..." Ros Parker

01-12-15: Commentary : Richard Ford 'Let Me Be Frank with You' : The Default Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Richard Ford : "...most of our politicians are morons..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 190: Richard Ford : Let Me Be Frank with You

01-06-15: Commentary : Bessel van der Kolk 'The Body Keeps the Score' : Human Trauma

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Bessel van der Kolk : "...being able to see what happens in the brain really helps us to understand certain things..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 189: Bessel van der Kolk : The Body Keeps the Score

Commentary & Podcast Archive

Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us