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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: 2018
Jun 15, 2018

Eavesdrop on an Italian lunch with award-winning science fiction author A. M. Dellamonica as we discuss how a long list of random things she liked eventually grew into her first novel, the intricate magic system she created for her series, how her novel <em>Child of a Hidden Sea</em> taught her she was less of a plotter and more of a pantser than she'd thought, the doggerel she wrote when she was five years old (which you'll get to hear her recite), how discovering Suzy McKee Charnas at age 15 was incendiary, which run of comics made her a Marvel fan, what it was like attempting to live up to the pioneering vision of Joanna Russ while editing the anthology <em>Heiresses of Russ</em>, which YouTube series happens to be one of her favorite things in the world, the way John Crowley's teachings might have been misinterpreted by her class during the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop, the three mystery novels of hers you'll hopefully be reading in the future, and much more.

Jun 1, 2018

Nebula Award-winning writer Kelly Robson had a little lamb (and you can eavesdrop) as we discuss how the first Connie Willis story she read changed her brain, the way a provocative photo got her a gig as a wine reviewer at a top national magazine, what she learned from the initial Taos Toolbox writers workshop, why completing <em>Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach</em> was like giving birth to a watermelon, how reading a <em>Battlestar Galactica</em> tie-in novel helped teach her how to write, where she would head if time travel were real, why she's contemplating writing a "frivolous" trilogy (and what that really means), the reason the story of hers she most likes to reread is a professionally published James Bond fanfic, and much, much more.

May 22, 2018

It's time for a special lightning-round episode of Eating the Fantastic as 15 guests devour a dozen donuts while recounting their favorite Nebula Awards memories. Michael Swanwick explains how his love of Isaac Asimov impelled him to walk out on guest speaker Newt Gingrich, David D. Levine remembers catching the penultimate Space Shuttle launch, Daryl Gregory recalls the compliment which caused him to get yelled at by Harlan Ellison, Barry Goldblatt reveals what cabdrivers do when they find out he's an agent, Cat Rambo puts in a pitch for SFFWA membership, Fran Wilde confesses a moment of squee which was also a moment of ooops, Steven H. Silver shares how he caused Anne McCaffrey to receive a Pern threadfall, Annalee Flower Horne tells of the time John Hodgman stood up for her onstage during the awards banquet, and much, much more!

May 12, 2018

Chow down on chive dumplings with horror writer Mary SanGiovanni as we discuss H. P. Lovecraft's racism and sexuality (or lack thereof), how having grown up in New Jersey might have given her the toughness she needed to survive her early short story rejections, why she ended up writing horror instead of science fiction even though her father read her Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert when she was a kid, which novella she wrote that will never see the light of day, how watching <em>The Exorcist III</em> changed her life, why she's no longer afraid of vampires, the reason her motto if she founded a religious cult would be "doorways are meant to be opened," the first writer she met who treated her like an equal, the identity of "the George Carlin of Horror," and much, much more.

May 2, 2018

Share a pastrami sandwich with critically acclaimed horror writer/editor T. E. D. Klein as we discuss what he hated most about editing <em>The Twilight Zone</em> magazine, how he ended up scripting the screenplay for "the worst movie Dario Argento ever made," what eldritch action he took after buying a letter written by H. P. Lovecraft, which movie monster gave him the most nightmares, what he'll likely title his future autobiography, why he feels cheated by most horror movies, the secret origin of the T. E. D. Klein byline, his parents' friendship with (and the nickname they gave to) Stan Lee and his wife, what he learned (and what he didn't) when taught by Anthony Burgess, the bittersweet autograph he once obtained from John Updike, whether we're likely to see his long-awaited novel <em>Nighttown</em> any time soon, and much more.

Apr 18, 2018

Share spring rolls with Elizabeth Massie as we discuss why <em>Bionic Woman</em> Lindsay Wagner is the one to thank for her Stoker Award-winning first novel <em>Sineater</em>, how reading Robert Bloch's <em>Psycho</em> at a young age was like a knife to her heart, which episode of <em>Twilight Zone</em> scared the crap out of her, why you'll probably never get to read her <em>Millennium</em> and <em>Law & Order</em> novels, her nearly impossible task of writing one spooky book for each of the 50 states in the U.S, why <em>Kolchak: The Night Stalker</em> was her favorite franchise to play in, the great-great grandfather who cut off his own head with a homemade guillotine, which <em>Dark Shadows</em> secret was only revealed in her tie-in novel, and much more.

Apr 4, 2018

Polish off Portuguese in Providence with Victor LaValle as we discuss the lunch during which his editor and publisher helped make <em>The Changeling</em> a better book, the graphic novel which made him fall in love with the X-Men, which magazine sent him the best rejection letter he ever received, why reading Clive Barker's "Midnight Meat Train" for the first time was glorious, the differing reactions his readers have depending on whether they come from genre or literary backgrounds, the unusual way a short story collection became his first publication, why he was so uncertain of his critically acclaimed "The Ballad of Black Tom" that he almost published it online for free, the reason so many writers are suddenly reassessing H. P. Lovecraft, how his graphic novel <em>The Destroyer</em> came to be, and much more.

Mar 23, 2018

Chow down on calamari with Paul Di Filippo — author of more than 200 works of fiction — as we discuss why the first story he ever wrote was <em>Man from U.N.C.L.E.</em> fan fiction, the pact he made with a childhood friend which explains why he owns none of the Marvel Comics he read as a kid, what caused the editor who printed his debut story to make the bold claim it would be both his first <em>and</em> last published piece of fiction, how his life changed once he started following Ray Bradbury's rule of writing at least 1,000 words per day, why he's written so much alternate history and for which famous person he's had the most fun imagining a different life, why after a career in science fiction and fantasy he's begun a series of mystery novels, what happened to the never-published Batman story he sold DC Comics which we never got to see, and much more.

Mar 9, 2018

Polish off a Persian dinner with David Mack as we discuss the weird ways his life entwined with the famed comic book artist who shares his name, how worrying about the details of <em>Star Trek</em> canon helped him when it came time to unravel the secret history of WWII, how a near-death experience led to him working for the Syfy Channel, why it was so important for necromancers to pay a heavy price for the magic they choose to wield in his new novel <em>The Midnight Front</em>, how <em>not</em> making a pitch to a book editor resulted in him selling TV scripts to <em>Star Trek</em>, his unabashed love for the Beat author Richard Brautigan, the reason that after 27 <em>Trek</em> novels and a ton of other tie-in work he's chosen to publish his non-franchise breakout book <em>now</em>, and much more.

Feb 23, 2018

Gobble fried green tomatoes with Bram Stoker Award-winning writer/editor Thomas F. Monteleone as we discuss the tricks he teaches to transform writers at his famed Borderlands Bootcamp, the 200+ rejections he received before he finally made his first fiction sale, how Theodore Sturgeon helped him realize it was possible for him to become a writer, why he ended up as a horror icon after his big start in science fiction, which horror writers you'd want on your team when you're choosing sides for softball, the reason his live readings have become legendary, the way Peter Straub reacted when Tom put him on a list of most overrated writers, how a challenge from Damon Knight changed his life, and much more.

Feb 9, 2018

Scarf down Szechuan crispy beef with two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Norman Prentiss as we discuss the day he wowed the other kids on his school playground by reading them Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," the movies a Catholic Church newsletter's warnings made him want to see even more, the supernatural superhero comic that led to a lawsuit against Harlan Ellison, the upside and (surprising) downside of having won a $35,000 college writing prize, how the freebies he got at a Horrorfind convention goosed him to start writing fiction again, why he wrote the last part of his novel <em>Odd Adventures with Your Other Father</em> first, how he's been able to collaborate with other authors without killing them, what can be taught about writing and what can only be learned, why he ended up writing horror instead of science fiction, and much, much more.

Jan 26, 2018

Sink your teeth into Sicilian with Barry Goldblatt as we discuss why he ended up as an agent rather than an astronaut, the happy accident that led to him being taught by the legendary science fiction writer James Gunn, the time Lloyd Alexander caused him to burst into squee-filled tears, J. K. Rowling's first U.S. book signing and how she changed children's publishing forever, what everybody thinks they know about agents that's totally wrong, the sorts of things he's told authors to help take their work to the next level, why it sometimes makes sense for him to submit a less than perfect book, whether the YA market is doing a better job with diversity than adult fiction, what he's been looking for that he hasn't been getting, and much more.

Jan 12, 2018

Share flash-fried cauliflower with <em>Asimov's</em> editor Sheila Williams as we chat about her first day on the job more than a third of a century ago, meeting Isaac Asimov at an early <em>Star Trek</em> convention when she was only 16, which writer intimidated her the most when she first got into the business, what she learned from working with previous <em>Asimov's</em> editors Shawna McCarthy and Gardner Dozois, the most common problems she sees in the more than 7,000 stories that cross her desk each year, the identities of the only writers she's never rejected, what goes through her mind in that moment she reads a manuscript and arrives at "yes," and much more.

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