The Writer and the Critic: Episode 60

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!

On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, discuss the two chosen novels pretty much concurrently. Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor and Rosewater by Tade Thompson are both alien invasion novel set in Nigeria and the conversation around them begins at 3:20. Please note, due to some technical difficulties there were a couple of audio dropouts mid-discussion … Kirstyn and Ian blame the aliens!

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If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:13:45 for some brief final remarks, including a recommendation to check out SavidgeReads on YouTube. Simon Savidge is smart, funny and delightfully bookish! Next month, the two books up for discussion will be:

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 21

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:

Recorded back before Continuum 8 in June but still fresh as the proverbial daisy, this episode of The Writer and the Critic sees your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, joined by editor and fellow podcaster Jonathan Strahan. The trio try not to ramble too much about a variety of topics, from off-the-cuff commentary and its resultant fallout, to gender and science fiction, to the role of gatekeepers, to some possibly self-indulgent behind the scenes snippets from the world of podcasting. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Galactic Suburbia, Last Short Story and, of course, the Notes from Coode Street podcast are all mentioned.

At around the 28:40 point, Kirstyn then manages to herd them onwards to the novel Galveston by Sean Stewart, which Jonathan recommended for all of them to read. Galveston was a joint winner (along with Declare by Tim Powers) in 2001  of  the World Fantasy Award, a year in which Jonathan served on the relevant awards jury. That’s how much he loves this book.

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They then move on to the official novels for the podcast, Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (beginning at 54:55) and The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan (around the 1:22:00 mark). Ian confesses to having watched the marvellous trailer for The Drowning Girl around thirty times while reading the book and thinks you should watch it at least once or twice! In a tangential discussion about semi-autobiographical fiction, the title of the pertinent Catherynne M. Valente story that Kirstyn fails to remember is “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time”.

Akata Witch and The Drowning Girl

Listeners might also like to check out the recent Notes from Coode Street episode in which Caitlín R. Kiernan is interviewed and talks about The Drowning Girl, as well as previous Writer and Critic episodes in which Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor and The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan were featured. Don’t forget to tune back in to this episode at 2:13:45 for some very brief closing remarks!

Next month will bring another pre-record from June, with very special joined-at-the-brain guests Angela Slatter and Lisa L. Hannett. As with their previous double-barrelled guest podcast with Alison Goodman and Kelly Link, Ian and Kirstyn decline to nominate books of their own to talk about and instead will focus on the two recommendations from their guests: Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore and Galore by Michael Crummey. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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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 Tor.com.

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.

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