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11-02-11: SF in SF Panel Discussion with Lisa Goldstein, Nick Mamatas and Terry Bisson on June 11, 2011

"People got tired of all that realism."

—Lisa Goldstein

...And given the current state of reality, who wouldn't get tired of all that realism? Lisa Goldstein should know, having written 'The Uncertain Places,' a pitch perfect look at the import of unreality in our lives. Sit her down with Terry Bisson and Nick Mamatas, there's going to be some smart talk about why we read and what to read. Which is why we listen!

It's important to step back and think about the link between listening and reading. In a sense they're different sides of the same coin. The immediacy of listening has a power to get right to your heart, like music. Reading gets to you and stays there, forever, because your mind has to do the language conversion work.

The value of discussions like this, with standouts like Bisson, Goldstein and Mamatas, is that you get to hear the insight of writers. It's sort of a best-of-both worlds; entertaining to listen to, immediate, and yet it informs your reading with that immediacy. You can immediately followt his link to the MP3 audio file.

11-01-11 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 16: Michael Reynier, Five Degrees of Latitude

Here's the sixteenth episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The sixteenth episode is a look at Michael Reynier and his new book, 'Five Degrees of Latitude.'

Ray Russell and Michael Reynier have informed me that this book is now available from The Death StardotStar as an E-book ($4.99!), and in hardcover. For five bucks, this is an outstanding buy, and at $45, the listed price, this is an outstanding deal. Run, don't walk to pick this up.

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Episode 16: Time to Read: Michael Reynier, 'Five Degrees of Latitude.'

10-31-11: 2011 Interview with Colson Whitehead

Click image for audio link.

"In the Apocalypse, somebody's gonna have to do the grunt work..."

—Colson Whitehead

I've been looking forward to 'Zone One' as long as I've been reading Colson Whitehead's work. From the moment I read 'The Intuitionist,' I knew the man had a science fiction novel in him. I actually told him so, and requested it.

He remembered that request when we got together to talk at KQED. In his previous novel, 'Sag Harbor,' we met the fictional version of Whitehead. This time around, the real version told me all about his childhood spent indoors, reading Fangoria and playing D&D. With 'Zone One,' we finally get to meet the grownup version who writes SF and it is definitely worth the wait.

Whitehead and I talked about his childhood, and he had some great parents; they took him to see Dawn of the Dead when it was an X-Rated gorefest that was making reviewers lament the coming end of civilization. And if you happen to be from Marvel or DC and reading this, or better still listening to the linked MP3 audio file, then make sure you catch the part where he says that he'd like to write Spiderman or X-Men. One can only wonder what sort of world would have to exist in order for that to happen. If it involves an Apocalypse, bring it on.

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