SF Crossing the Gulf: Episode 17

Episode 17 is up on SF Signal. Go forth and click!

Episode 17: ‘Single Bit Error’ by Ken Liu and Distances by Vandana Singh

Karen and I are actually in the same room for this podcast! If I sound a bit stilted, it’s because I was suffering from jaw inflammation and pain (wisdom tooth issues) and had to be very careful opening my mouth. Let my caution not be seen as a lack of enthusiasm for these works. I was especially blown away by Distances, so thank you so much Karen for introducing me to that book.

 

Summer Vacation: Albuquerque and Houston

This post will not be long. It’s hardly even a summary … more of a précis … but I’m not going to give you every detail of my trip, because I am selfish and secretive with my sweetest memories.

My main reason for visiting Albuquerque was the chance to meet Dvorah Simon face to face after years of virtual interaction. If you’ve read my second book, you know Dvorah. She wrote the poem that the Faerie Queen recites to Dllenahkh and Delarua, and she’s also on the dedication page. In addition to being a poet, she’s a full-time psychologist and part-time muse, an excellent hostess and a great friend. She has exquisite taste in art, music and food, and as she took me to her favourite haunts I was amazed to discover that Albuquerque is very much a city of artists and artisans. Such artistry does indeed include food, and food includes chocolate! I was confronted with massive amounts of really really good chocolate!

Albuquerque felt like blessed earth, and I hope to return there very soon.

Houston was fabulous. Karen Burnham is pretty much one of my favourite people ever, and her family (husband, toddler-son and dog) is lovely. She took me to her workplace. She works at NASA. NASA! I tried to play it cool, but by the end when I’d finished the tour and seen the films and touched the moon rock and all, I was moved beyond all possibility of playing it cool. There may have been tears.

I also had a highly enjoyable meetup with Gretchen (who is also on the dedication page of The Best of All Possible Worlds), visited Galveston, found even more chocolate, and met John DeNardo of SF Signal (the site that hosts SF Crossing the Gulf and does other amazing things, like win Hugos). John is cool! He’s down-to-earth and funny and makes you feel like you’ve known him for a long time.

None of this is in precise order. Don’t expect pictures. I did snap a few with my phone, but in general I find that the pressure to document and verify gets in the way of enjoyment. I don’t want the writer brain on when I’m having fun. I don’t want a camera between my eyes and the view.

I left Houston happy and tired and ready to crash, and fortunately I had scheduled a break in Asheville, NC for that very purpose. More on that in my next post!

SF Crossing the Gulf, Episode 16a

We discussed the short fiction of Cordwainer Smith in our latest episode of SF Crossing the Gulf, and there was so much to say that we had to break it into two parts. So here is part a:

Episode 16a: The Rediscovery of Man, by Cordwainer Smith

We cover two short stories, ‘Scanners Live in Vain’ and ‘The Lady Who Sailed the Soul’. It was a very enjoyable discussion. Smith’s short fiction has lots of complexity and really lends itself to both literary and genre analysis. This is another example of an author whose work has aged well.

 

 

SF Crossing the Gulf, Episode 15

A new episode of SF Crossing the Gulf is now available at SF Signal:

Episode 15: Flatland by Edwin Abbott, and ‘The Shadow Postulates’ by Yoon Ha Lee

Not only is Flatland one of my favourite books, but it is the oldest book we have discussed on this podcast (publication year 1884). When we compare and contrast it to the social sci-fi and math-fi of Yoon Ha Lee, a brilliant contemporary writer, you will see that it has aged extremely well and deserves to be called a classic of the genre and of literature in general.

These works discuss perception, worldview, paradigms and scientific discovery – in effect how scientists and their work are influenced by culture and personal bias. Fascinating stuff. I highly recommend this podcast if you have an interest in the history and philosophy of science.

 

 

 

 

SF Crossing the Gulf, Episode 14

SF Signal has posted the newest episode of SF Crossing the Gulf. In it, Karen and I discuss the exciting math-fi novel Napier’s Bones by Derryl Murphy:

Episode 14: Napier’s Bones, by Derryl Murphy

This book provides a very creative take on a system of … magic? Applied maths? You be the judge. The worldbuilding is rich and the plot jam-packed with action, so much so that I unusually demand a sequel … and a sequel is forthcoming!