Podcast Spotlight: Podcastle

In the last two podcast spotlights I featured Escape Pod, the first speculative fiction podcast, and Pseudopod, the first horror podcast. This installment is about Podcastle, the third brand of the Escape Artists brand with the other two. They cover the whole spectrum of fantasy stories from contemporary to epic, grimdark to comedy, literary to light, contemporary authors to classics (including three Conan the Barbarian stories so far). There’s something there for everybody, and plenty to recommend. Compared to the other Escape Artists podcasts, they are friendlier to longer stories–even featuring period “Giant” episodes of novelette length stories, and have also often feature Miniature episodes for flash fiction. They’ve also started doing some non-fiction features, including Podcastle Spotlights to highlight an exciting upcoming fantasy novel, and recently featured Kameron Hurley’s essay “We Have Always Fought” reprinted from Dribble of Ink that went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

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[Here's an addendum to the this week's Mind Meld that asked: Where would you take the T.A.R.D.I.S., coming from Rachel Swirksy]

Q: If you could take one trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., where would you go?

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Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of Rachel Swirsky’s upcoming collection How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future, coming later this year (September).

Here’s the synopsis:
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Edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond brings together leading fantasy writers such as Jane Yolen, Tad Williams and Seanan McGuire to create the ultimate anthology for Oz fans—and, really, any reader with an appetite for richly imagined worlds.

Here is the book’s description:

When L. Frank Baum introduced Dorothy and friends to the American public in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant, bestselling hit. Today the whimsical tale remains a cultural phenomenon that continues to spawn wildly popular books, movies, and musicals.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond brings together leading fantasy writers such as Jane Yolen, Tad Williams and Seanan McGuire to create the ultimate anthology for Oz fans—and, really, any reader with an appetite for richly imagined worlds.

Here is the book’s description:

When L. Frank Baum introduced Dorothy and friends to the American public in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant, bestselling hit. Today the whimsical tale remains a cultural phenomenon that continues to spawn wildly popular books, movies, and musicals.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: With American Independence Day near, the topic of Independence and Revolutions in Genre is what SF Signal is interested in. From The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to The Quiet War, political revolutions are a common theme and staple in genre fiction. What are your favorite stories and novels exploring the themes of revolution and Independence? How do those works explore that theme?

Here’s what they said…

Joshua Bilmes
Joshua Bilmesis the President of JABberwocky Literary Agency, and has been an agent for prominent sf/fantasy writers for almost 30 years, including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, “Jack Campbell,” Elizabeth Moon, Simon R. Green, Tanya Huff, and many more.

When I think of a great novel about a revolution I think immediately of Harry Harrison’s To the Stars trilogy, which I first read in an SF Book Club omnibus decades ago and which I’ve unhesitatingly recommended over the years to authors who want to write great action SF. Revolutions are a serious business, and they often don’t turn out as planned. We can see that today in looking at what’s happened in Egypt over the past year, as one example where the initial joy and excitement of overthrow gives way to the counterrevolution and the difficulties of switching from a revolutionary mindset to one where compromise might need to be made in taking actual power in society. But there is that joy. There are the people who have to plot a revolution and stay one step ahead of the established tyranny. There are the people who have to be the foot soldiers, perhaps risking all including their lives to fight for what they believe in. That’s what a certain kind of fiction is about, people striving against impossible odds to do what everyone says could never be done. And yes, when you do it, there is a moment of real joy and real elation and real happiness, however short that moment may be. Harrison’s To The Stars trilogy may be heavy on the romance of it all, it is a quick action sf read, but should we object in our fiction to getting to experience the romance of it all without having to worry about the reality, for a few passing hours at least?

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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 124): Interview with Author Rachel Swirsky

In episode 124 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with author Rachel Swirsky.
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MIND MELD: Current Politics In SF/F

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

2012 is an election year in the United States and you can bet we’ll be inundated with all things political. Our question is –

Q: How should SF writers respond to the politics of their time, if at all?

Here’s what they said…

Heather Massey
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author: Her latest sci-fi romance is Queenie’s Brigade from Red Sage Publishing. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.

For me, it’s very, very simple: I love a good wish-fulfillment fantasy. One of my favorites is the idea of a female President in a futuristic setting. Battlestar Galactica’s President Laura Roslin ranks right up there at number one.

The concept of a female President defies expectations, invites readers/viewers to question their assumptions about women, and serves up an empowering character.

It’s disheartening to think that in my lifetime, the only place I can experience a female President is in fiction. But I’m grateful that authors and filmmakers have dared to dream and have pushed those characters into the spotlight.
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The recently-announced 2009 Nebula Award ballot includes lots of great fiction from lots of great writers and only hints at all the great work being published. So we asked this year’s nominees this question:

Q: If your work couldn’t have been on the ballot this year, what work would you have liked in its place?

Here’s what they said…

[Note: Due to my poor interviewing skills, there were multiple revisions of this question ultimately intending to clarify that its intent was not to slight any of the fiction that was nominated, but rather, to name additional works that are also award-worthy. Along the way, I also left open the possibility that panelists could name work in any category. Any perceived lack of cohesion in this Mind Meld is thus entirely of my own making -- but I think you'll find plenty of great titles to seek out in addition to the one's on this year's Nebula ballot. So there.]

Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld is the author of five adult and ten young adult books, including the Risen Empire and Uglies series. His latest is Leviathan, the first of an illustrated steampunk trilogy.

I’d have liked to see Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a post-zombie-apocalypse novel.

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