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Eating the Fantastic

I’ve been going to science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic book conventions since I was 15, and I’ve found that while the con which takes place within the walls of a hotel or convention center is always fun, the con away from the con—which takes place when I wander off-site with friends for a meal—can often be more fun. In fact, my love of tracking down good food while traveling the world attending conventions has apparently become so well known that one blogger even dubbed me “science fiction’s Anthony Bourdain.” So after toying for quite awhile with the idea of attempting to replicate in podcast form one of my favorite parts of any convention—good conversation with good friends over good food—it’s finally happening. During each episode, I’ll share a meal with someone whose opinions I think you’ll want to hear, and we’ll talk about science fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, comics, movies, fandom … whatever happens to come to mind. (There’ll also be food talk, of course.) Please note—this will not be a pristine studio-recorded podcast, but one which will always occur in a restaurant setting, meaning that mixed in with our conversation will be the sounds of eating and drinking and reviewing of menus and slurping and background chatter and the servers popping in … in other words, it’ll be as messy as life. And hopefully as entertaining, too. And now … please pull up a chair to the table and get ready to dig in.
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Eating the Fantastic
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Now displaying: 2017
Jul 21, 2017

Down drunken noodles with George R. R. Martin as we discuss why he was annoyed Marvel Comics printed his letters but DC never did, the reason Gardner Dozois was responsible for his first science fiction short story sale, how the rock 'n' roll novel <em>Armageddon Rag</em> got him a job on the rebooted <em>Twilight Zone</em>, what he learned from the arc of Stephen R. Donaldson's career, how losing the John W. Campbell Memorial Award got him his first editing gig, why he almost became a realtor, the time Harlan Ellison convinced him to apply to be the editor of <em>Analog</em>, and more. PLUS: Hear a snippet from an interview I did back in 1993 in which he makes an amusing admission about "a fantasy novel I've been working on off and on for awhile."

Jul 7, 2017

Chow down on chicken and waffles with five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Nancy Holder as we discuss her somewhat secret origin as a romance novelist, why her first horror convention made her burst into tears, how she got off on the wrong foot with acclaimed editor Charles L. Grant, what caused her Edgar Allan Poe obsession to begin, why she was a fan of DC Comics instead of Marvel as a kid, what Ed Bryant might have meant when he called her “the first splatterpunk to chew with her mouth closed,” and more.

Jun 23, 2017

Crack open fortune cookies with award-winning horror legend Dennis Etchison as we discuss how Philip K. Dick staged scenes as he wrote his stories, Ray Bradbury's baffling advice which helped Etchison make his first fiction sale, whether he'd still have become a writer had he not been an only child, why most writing workshops don't work, how he came to write his best-selling <em>Halloween</em> novel for John Carpenter in six weeks, the speech he <em>really</em> wanted to give when he received his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, and more.

Jun 9, 2017

Share a grilled snook to die for with award-winning author Elizabeth Hand as we discuss why she probably won't take LSD on her deathbed, what made her a fan of Marvel rather than DC when she was a kid, her unusual fee for writing term papers back in college, the true meaning of <em>Man's Search for Meaning</em>, the unfortunate occupational hazard of book reviewing, who was the best science fiction writer of all time (and why), plus more.

May 29, 2017

Listen as 13 guests begin Balticon’s second half-century with a dozen Diablo Donuts and reminisce about the time George R. R. Martin pretended to beat one of them to death with a cane, how a live birth almost ended up as part of the science programming, why it's so wonderful to be able to make a <em>Star Trek</em> joke and have people <em>get</em> it, Allen Steele's wonderful depiction of the 1939 Worldcon in his novel <em> Arkwright </em>,  Marty Gear’s indispensable  rule for self-care during convention-going, plus more.  Guests include K. M. Szpara, Dave Slusher, Karen Osborne, plus 10 more.

May 26, 2017

Gobble glass noodles with William F. Nolan as we discuss how Ray Bradbury helped him sell his first short story in 1954, the way a slush pile sale to <em>Playboy</em> convinced him to abandon a successful career as a commercial artist, why his <em>Twilight Zone</em> episode was never filmed, the difference between the real truth and Charles Beaumont's "greater truth," why he only acted in only one movie (and got punched by William Shatner), how Stan Freberg pranked diners aboard the Queen Mary and made them think the ship was sinking, which novel he thinks is his best (and it's not <em>Logan's Run</em>), and more.

May 17, 2017

Dine with Cynthia Felice at the Watergate Hotel as we discuss how Frank Herbert's <em>Dune</em> made her say, "Hey, I can do that," the virtues of owning a motel while being a writer, the marriage advice Kate Wilhelm gave her at Clarion, what Thomas M. Disch told her that fixed one of her short stories, why we all loved the late, great Ed Bryant, the extraordinary lengths David Hartwell went to as he edited her second novel, how her collaborations with Connie Willis began, and more.

May 5, 2017

Nibble soup dumplings with Brenda Clough as we discuss how Superman started off her science fiction life, whether she's a steeplechase horse or a Kentucky derby horse, the time Harlan Ellison phoned to tell her she wrote like an angel, how surrendering to the concept of "false endings" helped her become a better writer, why she'd never want to be one of her own characters, which Anne McCaffrey book she threw in the trash, why she decided to knit a life-sized giant squid, and more.

Apr 25, 2017

Listen in to my lunch with K. M. Szpara and learn about his formative years writing Hanson and Harry Potter fanfic, which darlings he had to kill to complete his first novel, why rewrites are like giving a floofy poodle a haircut, what he didn't know about short stories when he began to write them, the many ways conventions are like big sleepovers, the reason he was able to eat one of George R. R. Martin's dragon eggs, and more.

Apr 14, 2017

Dig into BBQ with best-selling horror writer Brian Keene as we discuss why the ending to <em>The Rising</em> isn't as bewildering as some seem to think it is, whether new horror writers should try to replicate his career path, the shady way Brian amassed the largest comics collection in the sixth grade, how Marvel Comics creator Steve Gerber is responsible for him becoming a writer, if he's a Scully who changed into a Mulder as he got older or if he's been a Mulder all along, and more.

Apr 3, 2017
We discussed the best writing advice they've heard, how being named the most promising author of 2013 messed with their mind, their favorite Ray Bradbury story (which is one of their all-time favorite stories period), why they write <em>Walking Dead</em> fan fiction, the contradictions of writing a breakout book, how they decided their trilogies were meant to be trilogies,  and more. (They refused, however, to tell me for whom the bell actually tolls or why birds suddenly appear every time you’re near.) Plus&#8212;I reveal how Tim Burton prevented me from eating a perfect sticky toffee pudding!
Mar 21, 2017

Binge on pork buns with Rosemary Claire Smith as we discuss why she can't seem to stop writing about dinosaurs, how her years as a lawyer helped her become a better writer, what caused an angry audience member to confront her after one of her readings, whether she'd be willing to risk Ray Bradbury's butterfly effect by traveling back in time, if there are editorial differences between <em>Analog</em> editors Stanley Schmidt and Trevor Quachri, and much more.

Mar 12, 2017

Time travel back to a 1995 mall food court lunch as future Eating the Fantastic host Scott Edelman talks about his first job at Marvel Comics, how he broke into writing for <em>Tales from the Darkside</em>, and the beginnings of <em>Science Fiction Age</em> magazine, while Adam-Troy Castro reveals how he created the first story in the first issue of that magazine, as well as how a cab ride he feared he wouldn't survive turned into one of his most memorable works of fiction.

Mar 3, 2017

Grab dinner in Greenwich Village with World Fantasy Award-winning writer Richard Bowes as we discuss his early career as a designer of board games for clients such as the <em>National Lampoon</em>, why "going to conventions sober is beyond me," the political transformation of <em>Li'l Abner</em> creator Al Capp, why everyone during the old folk scene days loathed Bob Dylan, what attracts him about writing mosaic novels, and more.

Feb 17, 2017

Sit down for deli with Barry N. Malzberg as we discuss why being able to sell his first drafts was so important at the beginning of his writing career, how his debut short story collection came to be published under the pseudonym K. M. O'Donnell, what it was like to edit both <em>Amazing</em> and <em>Fantastic</em> magazines during the late '60s, the identity of his greatest discovery during his years at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, what's up with the long-promised movie version of <em>Beyond Apollo</em>, how Harry Harrison could have (but didn't) shut down the filming of <em>Soylent Green</em>, and more.

Feb 3, 2017

Chow down on Kansas City-style BBQ with Craig Engler as we discuss what life's like when you're a professional game player for Nintendo, how running the Syfy Channel's digital side led to him getting a shot at writing TV movies such as <em>Zombie Apocalypse</em>, why he wrote <em>Weight Hacking</em>, his geek guide to losing weight and getting fit, plus much more, including behind-the-scenes secrets on the past, present, and future of his hit zombie TV show <em> Z Nation</em>.

Jan 20, 2017

Share potato pancakes with award-winning editor Ellen Datlow as we discuss why reading slush is relaxing, which editors she wanted to emulate when she began editing, how she winnows down her favorite stories for her Year's Best anthologies, the complexities of navigating friendships when making editorial decisions, how Ed Bryant challenged her to become a better editor, and much more.

Jan 6, 2017

Sit down to an Uzbek dinner with James Morrow as we discuss his first novel (written when he was only seven years old!), why he feels more connected to the fiction of Arthur C. Clarke than that of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, his many paths not taken, including that of filmmaker, the ethical conundrum which occurred after Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. autographed a book "for Jim Morrow, who writes just like me," how Charles Darwin "confiscated our passports," and much more.

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