The Writer and the Critic: Episode 28

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!

What a difference a month makes! Since the last episode, your host Ian Mond and his lovely wife, Jules, have brought a little baby girl into the world. Welcome, Sophie Zara! As revealed at the beginning of this episode, Ian seems in be in two minds as to whether or not that news is in fact overshadowed by The Writer and the Critic winning their second Ditmar Award at Conflux in April! Ian sang a made-up song. Kirstyn McDermott pulled producer-rank and refused to include it in the podcast. Pander to the Mond, she does not. But here’s a picture of the shiny (the award, not the daughter):

2013 Ditmar Award

The books up for discussion this month are Feed by M.T. Anderson (beginning around 11:40),  as recommended by Kirstyn, and Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce (48:30) which Ian chose.  Reviews of the Joyce novel by Charlie Jane Anderson at io9 and Ben Godby at Strange Horizons are both mentioned. The usual spoilers abound — including analysis of the endings — so listener be very much aware.

Feed and Some Kind of Fairy Tale

If you have skipped ahead, please come back around the 1:25:45 mark for some final remarks and announcements.

Next month, The Writer and the Critic will again be recording in front of a live audience as part of Continuum 9, Melbourne’s annual speculative fiction and pop culture convention, and Ian and Kirstyn are delighted to announce that NK Jemisin, will be a special guest on the podcast. For her recommendations, Nora has chosen A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin and the graphic novel Saga (Volume 1 only) by Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun — and if you’ll be in Melbourne on 8th June, please come along and be a part of our live audience.

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 10

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

Here are the show notes:

The winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards will be announced on 20 August, so this month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, are looking at the books which have been nominated for Best Novel. Two of the nominees have already been featured books on this podcast: Feed by Mira Grant was discussed in Episode 2 and Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis in Episode 7. While you will need to go back and listen to those episodes for detailed reviews, Kirstyn and Ian do take the opportunity to finally read and respond to listener feedback from Cat Sparks in regards to Blackout/All Clear. The difference between a primary and a retrospective reading experience is examined and the duo muse on why Connie Willis is too often the subject of unfair personal attacks. The name of the beautifully horrific Willis short story that Kirstyn couldn’t remember is “All My Darling Daughters”.

Hugo Award Nominations 2011

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold is also a Hugo nominee, but Ian and Kirstyn have decided not to read this book themselves, as it’s part of the Vorkosigan saga with which they have not been keeping up. Tut. Tut. Tut. However,  Tehani Wessely of Fablecroft Publishing, one of their wonderful listeners, has provided a passionate and spoiler-free summary of why she believes Cryoburn should take home the gong. Thanks, Tehani!

Ian and Kirstyn then move onto an in depth discussion of the remaining two nominated titles: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin and The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. Further information about the fascinating legend of Mellified Men, as featured in McDonald’s novel, can be found here. If you wish to skip ahead avoid the many, many spoilers — including the endings of both books! — discussion of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms begins at 26:30 while The Dervish House starts around 53:30.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Dervish House

But listen in again at the 1:21:10 mark for some final remarks about the Hugo Awards and which book(s) should win — and also for a shock! horror! confession from Ian! Seriously, you will be aghast.

Finally, the Department of Cross-Podcastination is pleased to announce that Kirstyn and Ian were recently interviewed at length by Julia Rios from the Outer Alliance podcast. Julia adopted the format of The Writer and the Critic, 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). The Outer Alliance episode should be up on the site by the end of August, so catch up on your reading and add the podcast to your feed.

Next episode, The Writer and the Critic returns to its roots, with a discussion of just two recommended books. Ian has picked the recently published Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor while Kirstyn has chosen a beloved classic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

The Writer and the Critic: Episode 2

The second 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:

At the start of this episode of The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond spend a little time addressing some listener feedback from last month concerning social media and book recommendations. They have picked a book recommended by a listener to be read and reviewed in February but they’re not telling you which one because, as Ian says, there aren’t enough surprises in the world anymore.

The Writer and the Critic is a proud contributor to the global surprise quotient.

Then follows a very lengthy discussion about The Book Thief (one of the novels from the previous podcast) which was sparked off by a passionate and thought-provoking review of the same from Catherynne M. Valente. Free-from digressions may or may not be included. Conclusions may or may not be drawn. Ian and Kirstyn vow not to mention this particular book again for quite some time.

This month’s official books up for review are Feed by Mira Grant (recommended by Ian) and The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (chosen by Kirstyn).