I had a lot of housework to do today which meant I could catch up on a bunch of podcasts. I am totally addicted to the weekly chats between Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, and thanks to Finncon I had two episodes to listen to. Amongst the topics in this week’s episode the boys once again talk about the sadly missed Charles N. Brown, including the story of how he met my friend Karen Burnham.
Also in this week’s episode, Jonathan recommends another podcast: Galactic Suburbia. This one is much more like Geek Syndicate, in that it has a regular structure and planned topics. It features a regular cast of three Aussie ladies, so if you want to get your ear adjusted to the accent before Worldcon you should definitely check it out. Also there’s some interesting discussion.
The topic that caused Jonathan to mention Galactic Suburbia is that old chestnut of “what is science fiction”. Pattern Recognition (and the rest of what I tend to think of as the Hubertus Bigend trilogy) comes under the microscope once again, as does Karen Joy Fowler’s Shirley Jackson Award winning story, “The Pelican Bar”. Sometimes it is the atmosphere of a novel that renders it SFnal (for some readers), sometimes it can be a single sentence. And this reminded me of something else.
In the past week on Twitter one of my friends took Locus to task for reviewing David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet on the grounds that it clearly wasn’t SF. Having had the pleasure of listening to Mitchell talk about the book, I know that one of the characters in it is immortal, though you have to read carefully to notice that. What’s more Galley Cat has reported that the book is the first part of a planned trilogy on the subject of immortality that will get more SFnal as it goes on. I’m looking forward to that.
Back with podcasts, I’ve just finished listening to the latest episode of Geek Syndicate. The final segment of the episode sees Nuge and his guest co-presenter, Stacey, speculate on the subject of their dream convention. In stark contrast to the Finncon panel on a similar theme, they said nothing about who would attend, but focused instead on the guests and the panels they would like to see. Nuge’s con would take some staging as many of the guests and panelists are dead, but he has some great ideas. And I definitely want to see Stacey’s “Neil Gaiman interviews Douglas Adams” panel.