The Writer and the Critic: Episode 11

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

Here are the show notes:

This month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, briefly discuss the results of the 2011 Hugo Awards — Ian was right! — as well as the heartening increase in diversity of the nominated works in response to some listener feedback. Buoyed by his success in predicting that Connie Willis would take home the Hugo for best novel, Ian makes another silly startling prediction about the future of books and awards. Mention is also made of Jo Walton’s excellent retrospective series in which she revisits the results of past Hugo Awards over at

They then turn their attention to this episode’s featured books, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. Kirstyn mentions this thoughtful essay about Jackson and her work by Joyce Carol Oates. This lengthy review of the Okorafor novel by Paul Di Filippo is taken to task for being just a little bit patronising and somewhat missing of the point. The rather harrowing Washington Post article that inspired Okorafor can be found here. For those wishing to avoid spoilers and skip ahead, discussion of We Have Always Lived in the Castle begins at 14:30, while Who Fears Death starts around 52:50.

Ian and Kirstyn would like to warn listeners that Who Fears Death deals explicitly with rape, female genital mutilation and sexual violence. Their review of the novel in this episode naturally involves frank discussion of those same subjects.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Who Fears Death

Some very brief final remarks can be found at 01:29:30.

Oh, and look, the episode of the Outer Alliance podcast is now live! OA host Julia Rios invited Ian and Kirstyn along to have a Writer and the Critic style discussion, with the recommended texts being Horn and Bleed by Peter M. Ball (chosen by Ian), “Nightship” by Kim Westwood (chosen by Kirstyn) and “The Behold of the Eye” by Hal Duncan (chosen by Julia). They talked for over three billion hours. Thankfully, Julia managed to edit the conversation down into a very succinct podcast of around two hours. She is a genius!

Next episode will focus on two short story collections: Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett (chosen by Kirstyn) and Everyone’s Just So So Special by Robert Shearman (Ian’s recommendation). As both of these collections are fairly new releases, Ian and Kirstyn intend to go light on the spoilerage, but still encourage you to grab yourself copies of these fine volumes and read ahead.