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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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Now displaying: 2019
May 14, 2019

Dare to eat donuts with a dozen horrific creators during the StokerCon Donut Spooktacular! Join us as Michael Bailey describes his novel inspired by a fire which turned his home to ashes in seven minutes, Geoffrey A. Landis shares about the Sherlock Holmes/Jack the Ripper horror story he published in the science fiction magazine <em>Analog</em>, Brian Keene explains why he chose last weekend to finally reappear at an HWA event, Wile E. Young tells why he thinks of the Road Runner whenever a story gets rejected, Anton Cancre reveals which guest that weekend earned most of his squee, Wesley Southard offers his schtick for selling books when stuck behind a dealers table at a con, Erik T. Johnson gives an unexpected (but perfectly logical) answer when asked about one of the perks of StokerCon, Patrick Freivald looks back on how his horror career began via a collaboration with his twin brother, Josh Malerman recounts how he replaced readings with full blown <em>Bird Box</em> interactive performances and the way an audience of 85-year-olds reacted, Asher Ellis shares how the Stonecoast MFA program made him a better writer, Kennikki Jones-Jones discusses her Final Frame award-winning short film <em>Knock Knock</em>, Eugene Johnson celebrates his Bram Stoker Award win that night for <em>It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life</em>, and much, much more!

May 3, 2019

Float away with Annalee Flower Horne as we discuss the incident at their first con which was a catalyst for wanting to become a writer, the way a glare from Mary Robinette Kowal caused them to submit (and then sell) their first short story, how the intricacies of game design can teach fiction writers to write better, why writers shouldn't complain when editors reject stories too quickly, the first story they wrote while angry (and what was learned from the experience), the cuss word they wish they'd thought of in time to get into their first published story, the novel-in-progress that's a feminist take on <em>The Demolished Man</em>, how codes of conduct can (and should) help make fandom better, and much more.

Apr 19, 2019

Enjoy an enchilada with Steve Stiles as we discuss what it was like to work at Marvel Comics in the mid-'70s, the ironic reason he no longer owns his Silver Age Marvels, the time he thought he'd gotten the gig to draw <em>Dr. Strange</em> (but really hadn't), what it was like being taught by the great Burne Hogarth at the School of Visual Arts, his first professional art sale (and why it ended up hanging on Hugh Hefner's wall), how his famed comic strip <em>The Adventures Of Professor Thintwhistle And His Incredible Aether Flier</em> was born, why he didn't like being art-directed by Marie Severin, which current comics he keeps up with, what Robert Silverberg said to him when he won his first Hugo Award after 14 tries and 49 years, the phrase he most wants carved onto his gravestone, and much more.

Apr 5, 2019

Bond over bing bread with Hugo-nominated author Malka Older as we discuss why democracy is a radical concept which scares people (and what marriage has to say about the dramatic potential of democracy), the pachinko parlor which helped give birth to her science fictional universe, how what was intended to be a standalone novel turned into a trilogy, her secrets (and role models) when it comes to writing action scenes, which of her characters moves more merchandise, how (and why) editor Carl Engle-Laird helped her add 20,000 words to her first novel, what she learned about herself from the collaborative Serialbox project, the one thing about her background I was embarrassed to admit I'd never realized, and much more.

Mar 20, 2019

Dig into dessert with Parvus Press publisher Colin Coyle as we discuss the reason we're glad we got to record the episode rather than spend the night in jail, how the tragic events of Charlottesville inspired him to hire Cat Rambo to assemble the <em>If This Goes On</em> anthology, why he switched over to the Kickstarter model for this book and what surprises he discovered during the process, the reason his company isn't publishing horror even though he'd like to, the surprising shared plot point slush pile writers used to indicate future American culture was failing, what an episode of <em>West Wing</em> taught him about launching Parvus Press, what he isn't seeing enough of in the slush pile, the acting role of which he's proudest from back in his theater days (hint: you've probably seen Danny DeVito do it), the advice he wishes he could have given himself when he started out as a publisher, and much more.

Mar 8, 2019

Binge on Brisket Benedict‎ with Michael J. Walsh as we discuss what it is about the annual World Fantasy Conventions that drew him to attend all 44 of them, how a generous teacher's gift of an Ace Double led to his first exposure to true science fiction, the big score which induced him to become a book dealer, the way Ted White was able to do so much with so little when he edited <em>Amazing Stories</em> in the '70s, what witnessing Anne McCaffrey and Isaac Asimov singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes made him realize about writers, what his time in fandom taught him which made him realize he could make it as a publisher, the time he was left speechless by Robert Heinlein offering him a drink, why it would have been wrong for a certain book he published to have won a Hugo, what con-goers most misunderstand about con runners, and much more.

Feb 22, 2019

Share spring rolls with Ruthanna Emrys, author of the H. P. Lovecraft-inspired <em>Innsmouth Legacy</em> series, as we discuss the ways in which her first exposure to Lovecraft was through pop culture references rather than the original texts, the reasons for the recent rise of Lovecraft recontextualisation, how tea with Jo Walton convinced her she was right to go ahead and write her first <em>Innsmouth Legacy</em> novel, why she ascribes to the tenets of the burgeoning Hopepunk movement, her love of writing <em>X-Men</em> fanfic and her hatred of gastropods, how she recovered from a college professor's unconstructive criticism, the time George Takei was nice to her at age 8 after she attended her first con in costume on the wrong day, and much more.

Feb 8, 2019

Pig out on pork belly tacos with Alan Smale as we discuss why an astrophysicist's chosen field of fiction is alternate history rather than hard science, how his fascination with archeology and ancient civilizations began, the reason he started off his novel-writing career with a trilogy rather than a standalone, the secrets to writing convincing battle sequences, the nuances of critiquing partial novels in a workshop setting, how his research into Roman and Native American history affected his trilogy, what steps he took to ensure he handled Native American cultures appropriately, that summer when at age 12 he read both <em>War and Peace</em> and <em>Lord of the Rings</em>, one of the strangest tales of a first short story sale I've ever heard, how and why he joined forces with Rick Wilber for their recent collaboration published in <em>Analog</em>, and much more.

Jan 25, 2019

Gobble goat cheese fritters with <em>Beneath Ceaseless Skies </em> publisher and editor Scott H. Andrews as we discuss the treatment he received as a writer which taught him what he wanted to do (and didn't want to do) as an editor, how his time as member of a band helped him come up with the name for his magazine, why science fiction's public perception as a literary genre is decades ahead of fantasy, what it takes for a submission to rise to the level of receiving a rewrite request, the time he made an editor cry (and why he was able to do it), how he felt being a student at the Odyssey Writing Workshop and then returning as a teacher, the phrase he tends to overuse in his personalized rejection letters (and the reason why it appears so often), the way magazine editing makes him like Arnold Schwarzenegger in <em>Conan the Barbarian</em>, why writers shouldn't worry about the ratio of submitted stories to purchased ones, the reason he'll probably never edit novels, what anyone considering starting a magazine of their own needs to know, and much more.

Jan 11, 2019

Eavesdrop on my Thai dinner with the immersive (and totally science fictional) theatrical troupe Submersive Productions as we discuss the ways everything from <em>Dragon Ball Z</em> to <em>Myst</em> to Terry Gilliam's <em>Brazil</em> stoked their love of the fantastic, how the funding came together for their first mesmeric show about the women in the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the dare that made their recent durational play grow to eight hours and the half-scripted/half-improvised way they were able to keep their performance going that long, how the actors found their voices by channeling Katherine Hepburn and Roberto Benigni, the multiple meanings of the most transcendent pie-eating scene I've ever witnessed in the theater, how they deal with introverted (as well as overly extroverted) audience members during immersive performances, the differences between improv comedy and improvisational theater, and much more.

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