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06-08-11: Andrea Hairston Reads from 'Redwood and Wildfire' Accompanied by Pan Morigan at SF in SF on May 7, 2011

Words, Music, Magic

Andrea Hairston and Pan Morrigan changed the world Saturday, May 7. They brought real magic to SF in SF. And of course, they challenged the sound crew (of one), that guy who is barely fit to set up a microphone. That night I found I was setting up for something rather different than usual. It was more than a reading — we were talking about a performance.

Usually, SF in SF is pretty straightforward. I show up and set up mics, speakers, recording, PA. I'm a roadie, who does a couple of spot interviews. But when Andrea Hairston showed up with musician Pan Morigan, I was in for a challenge in terms of getting the audio right — and a treat as a member of the audience.

On the audio side, well, there's a reason to lug around the same stuff for years. Andrea and Pan indicated they'd be reading / performing standing up, and fortunately, I was able to set up the mics in a manner that made it possible to capture not just the voices, but the ambience of their performance. It was really remarkable, and if they took that on the road, or got a slot on the late-night TV shows, they'd be topping the bestseller charts. There's no doubt about that.

On the audience side, well, I was completely blown away. This was instant-buy territory. And when I podcast the interview, you'll note that the three of us talked for nearly half an hour, until Rina came over and practically dragged them away so the second part of the show could start. Since all those late night guys are deprived, here is your chance to hear enough audio to make you go directly to your favorite online independent bookseller, or your local bookstore to order 'Redwood and Wildfire.' Just follow this link to the MP3 audio file.

06-07-11: Howard V. Hendrix Reads at SF in SF on May 7, 2011

" is in the sense that imagination is dreaming with a purpose..."

—Howard V. Hendrix

Is the quote from his fiction, his poetry or his criticism? With a guy like Howard V. Hendrix, that's a pretty good question because his work is sort of a continuum. Not that his poems are in the narrative style, or that his criticism and fiction are written in self-consciously poetic prose. No, it's that the same world view infuses all of his work, and Hendrix speaks from and to the imagination.

SF in SF gets lots of interesting guests, and while we have had poets before, this was the first time that I'd seen Hendrix read poetry. His poems were short, smart and often fun, though not "jokey." Hendrix is a man of many talents, and he brought them all out for us to see.

Hendrix's most recent book, co-edited with George Slusser, was 'Visions of Mars: Essays on the Red Planet in Fiction and Science,' which, he explained came out of a conference on Mars. It includes essays on the facts and fictions that surround Mars, and from his reading of the Introduction, I thought it sounded really quite interesting. Facts about facts and facts about fiction, what a great mix.

Happily, Hendrix is also working on a new novel, and he read from that as well. In one reading, those at SF in SF managed to hear poetry, criticism and fiction, which is one very good reason to make it out to see these events. You can at least hear Hendrix's reading from the event by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

06-06-11: A 2011 Interview with Daniel H. Wilson

Click for audio link.

"I had a great time being able to explore all those different viewpoints."

—Daniel H. Wilson

I've been talking with Daniel H. Wilson so long, that when I ran a search on my heard drive for files with his name, I came up with a RealAudio file-type. Here's a link to my MP3 of that interview, from 2005; and here you'll find a link to my interview with him in 2007, about his book 'Where's My Jetpack?' All this time he's been edging towards this novel, and when I got to actually read it, I was thrilled not just by the reading experience — which was pretty thrilling — but also by the fact that he has so perfect managed to achieve what he set out to do.

Wilson is pretty good about achieving his goals. He told me in our interview that he started the novel by writing his favorite scenes of robot-on-human combat, over the years, and then eventually, began working on this book. When he had a hundred or so pages, he turned them over to his people at Random House, and somehow these pages ended up over at Dreamworks, where he ended up in a race to finish the book so they could write the movie.

Of course, what Wilson told me explains quite succinctly why this book is so successful: he wrote this book for himself. This is something I've heard before from many writers, who just write the sort of books that they want to read. Generally speaking, that's a pretty good formula, if there is one, for a good book to read.

Wilson and I talked as much as possible on mic, and more off, about what the upcoming movie, and his next novel. For my money, Wilson hit this one out of the park, and he did it not with great scenes of mayhem, but great prose and characters. You can hear his simulacrum talk about his writing by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

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