Slurp matzoh ball soup with Will Eisner Award-winning writer/editor Mark Evanier as we discuss the lesson he learned watching Stan Lee write one of his famous Bullpen Bulletins pages, how his first sale to <em>Laugh-In</em> magazine led him to believe he could make it as a professional writer, the lunch at which Jack Kirby swore him to secrecy about quitting Marvel, the inker Kirby would have chosen if he was allowed to choose only one (and why it wouldn't be Vince Colletta), his stupefied reaction when Sergio Aragonés placed the original art for the first issue of <em>MAD</em> in his hands (and how Mark later stupefied Jerry Lewis), whether he can imagine a world in which Stan Lee and Jack Kirby could have ironed out their differences, and much, much more.
Join comics legend Gerry Conway for lunch in L.A. to learn how the comics business has always been dying and what keeps saving it, why if he were in charge he'd shut down Marvel Comics for six months, what it's like (and how it's different) being both the youngest and oldest writer ever to script Spider-Man, the novel mistake he made during his summer at the Clarion Writers Workshop, why he's lived a life in comics rather than science fiction, what caused Harlan Ellison to write an offensive letter to his mother, the one bad experience he ever had being edited in comics (it had to do with the Justice League), the convoluted way <em>Superman vs. Spider-Man</em> resulted in him writing for TV's <em>Father Dowling Mysteries</em>, how exasperation caused him to quit his role as Marvel's Editor-in-Chief (while I was out of the Bullpen on my honeymoon), how he'd have been treated if he'd killed off Gwen Stacy in today's social media world, and much, much more.
Hash it out with award-winning writer Kathe Koja as we discuss her love of immersive theater (and dissect her previous night's performance at StokerCon), why her groundbreaking debut novel <em>The Cipher</em> will always be <em>The Funhole</em> in her heart, what caused her to move into the YA world after her dark adult novels and why it's harder to write for a younger audience, how she accidentally wrote her <em>Under the Poppy</em> trilogy, the allure of writing historical novels, how being in the presence of Kate Wilhelm at Clarion changed her life, what she got out of her many collaborations with Barry Malzberg and others, plus much, much more.
Bite into what <em>USA Today</em> dubbed the best burger in Michigan with award-winning horror writer John R. Little as we discuss how seeing his sister's portable typewriter for the first time changed his life forever, the way he launched his career by following in Stephen King's men's magazine footsteps, why he's so fascinated by time and how he manages to come up with new ways of writing about that concept, which writer's career he wanted when he grew up and how buying a copy of <em>Carrie</em> changed that, the reason a science major has ended up mostly writing horror, the most important thing he learned from a night school's creative writing course, which of his new novel's controversial aspects concerned him the most during creation, and much more.
Crunch into a crab cake sandwich with award-winning horror writer Kaaron Warren as we discuss how her recent <em>Rebecca</em> reread totally changed her sympathies for its characters, the disturbing real-life crime related to the first time she ever saw <em>The Shining</em>, the catalyst that gave birth to her award-winning novel <em>Tide of Stone</em>, how she came up with new angles for tackling stories about such classic characters as Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein, the way flea market bric-a-brac has led to some of her best ideas, the only correct method for preparing fairy bread, her go-to karaoke song, and much, much more.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have hot antipasto with Andy Duncan as we celebrate the publication of his new collection <em>An Agent of Utopia</em> and discuss why it took a quarter of a century to bring the book's lead story from title idea to completion, how he was influenced by the research regimen of the great Frederik Pohl, the way a short story is like an exploded toolshed, why he deliberately wrote a deal with the devil story after hearing he shouldn't write deal with the devil stories, the embarrassing marketing blurb he can't stop telling people about in bars, what caused a last-minute change to the title of one of the collection's new stories, how he feels about going viral after his recent J. R. R. Tolkien comments, what he learned about himself from completing this project and what it means for the future of his writing, what it is about his most reprinted story which made it so, and much more.
Slurp down Thai Beef Noodle Soup with Stephen Kozeniewski as we discuss how it took nearly 500 submissions before his first novel was finally accepted, why he has no interest in writing sequels, his advice for winning a Turkey Award for the worst possible opening to the worst possible science fiction or fantasy novel, why his output is split between horror and science fiction (but not mysteries), the reason Brian Keene was who he wanted to be when he grew up, why almost any story would be more interesting with zombies, when you should follow and when you should break the accepted rules of writing, where he falls on the fast vs. slow zombies debate, and much more.
Join Jo Walton for a seafood lunch as we discuss how Harlan Ellison's fandom-slamming essay "Xenogenesis" caused her to miss three conventions she would otherwise have attended, why Robert Silverberg's <em>Dying Inside</em> is really a book about menopause, the reason she wishes George Eliot had written science fiction, the ways in which during her younger days she was trying to write like Poul Anderson, her technique for getting unstuck when she's lost in the middle of writing a novel, why she loathes the plotter vs. pantser dichotomy, how she developed her superstition that printing out manuscripts is bad luck, the complicated legacy of the John W. Campbell Award (which she won in 2002), how she managed to write her upcoming 116,000-word novel <em>Lent</em> in only 42 days, and much, much more.
Savor a steak dinner with comics legend Paul Levitz as we discuss why even though in a 1973 fanzine he wrote he had "no desire to make a career for myself in this industry" he's spent his life there, how wild it was the suits let kids like us run the show in the '70s, the time Marv Wolfman offered him a job over at Marvel (and why he turned it down), what he learned from editor Joe Orlando about how to get the best work out of creative people, the bizarre reason Gerry Conway's first DC Comics script took several years to get published, how he made the Legion of Super-Heroes his own, which bad writerly habits Denny O'Neil knocked out of him, the first thing you should ask an artist when you start working with them, why team books (of which he wrote so many) are easier to write, our shared love for "Mirthful" Marie Severin, how glad we are there was no such thing as social media when we got started in comics, why Roger Zelazny is his favorite science fiction writer, and much, much more.
Taste tiramisu with Vina Jie-Min Prasad as we discuss why she didn't start writing any fiction until the release of J.J. Abrams' <em>Star Trek</em> reboot, the reason food has such a prominent place in her fiction, why she might never have become a writer if the Internet hadn't existed, the lessons she took away from her fan fiction days, what she meant when she wrote in her bio that she’s "working against the world-machine,” why her multi-nominated story "A Series of Steaks" was her first submission to a speculative fiction magazine, her fascination with professional wrestling and wrestling fandom, why her story "Pistol Grip" needed a warning for sexual content but not violence (and what Pat Cadigan called her after reading that story during the Clarion workshop), the reason she likes working in the present tense, and much more.
Chow down on fish and chips with the award-winning Steve Rasnic Tem as we discuss the importance of writing until you get to page eight, what he did the day after Harlan Ellison died, why even though he was a fearful kid he turned to horror, the thing which if I'd known about his marriage might have caused problems with my own, how crushed we both were when comics went up to 12 cents from a dime, why his all-time favorite short story is Franz Kafka's "A Country Doctor," the way joining Ed Bryant's writing workshop taught him to become a writer, how math destroyed his intended science career, why he made an early pivot from science fiction to creating horror, the reason it took him 48 years to take <em>Ubo</em> from initial idea to finished novel, how TV shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" had an effect on the way he writes action scenes, why beginning writers should consciously read 1,000 short stories (and what they should do once they're done), and much more.
Eat empanadas with Rebecca Roanhorse as we discuss the spark without which her award-winning short story would never have been written, the differing reactions her tale garnered from inside and outside of the Native American community, the compelling reason she chose to write it in the second person, what she learned as a lawyer that helped in writing her first novel, how she upped her game when she decided to be a writer for real, why she fell out of the reading habit and how a Laurel K. Hamilton novel drew her back in, what it was like to hear Levar Burton read her award-winning story, and much more.
Nibble naan with K. Tempest Bradford as we discuss how her Egyptian Afro-retro-futurism idea grew from a short story into a series of novels, the way she used crowdfunding to complete the research she needed, why her discovery of my <em>Science Fiction Age</em> magazine means I bear the responsibility for all she's done since, how an online writing community gave her the confidence to be a writer, the advice from Samuel R. Delany she embraces the most, why she set aside her goal of becoming an opera singer and decided to become a writer instead, the reason there are so many female monsters in Greek mythology, how she blew up the Internet with her "Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year" challenge, her extremely strong opinions about Steven Moffat's version of <em>Doctor Who</em>, and much more.
Binge on sushi with award-winning author Pat Cadigan as we discuss what it was like being Robert A. Heinlein's liaison at the 1976 Kansas City Worldcon, why John Brunner hated her when they first met and what she did to eventually win him over, her secret childhood life as a member of The Beatles, what she and Isaac Asimov had in common when it came to convincing parents to accept science fiction, her original plan to grow up and script <em>Legion of Super-Heroes</em> comics, what she learned about writing from her 10 years at Hallmark Cards, how editor Shawna McCarthy helped birth her first novel, what effect being dubbed the Queen of Cyberpunk had on her career, who's Thelma and who's Louise in her Thelma and Louise relationship with editor Ellen Datlow, our joint friendships with Gardner Dozois, how she came up with her stories in the <em>Wild Cards</em> universe, and much more.
Share a steak dinner with legendary comics creator Don McGregor as we discuss how meeting Jim Steranko led to him selling his first comics story, why when he was 13 years old he wanted to be Efrem Zimbalist Jr., what he learned from <em>Naked City</em> creator Stirling Silliphant, how his first meeting with future <em>Black Panther</em> artist Billy Graham could have been disastrous, why the comics he wrote in the '70s wouldn't have been able to exist two years later, the reasons Archie Goodwin was such a great editor, how he convinced Stan Lee to allow the first interracial kiss in mainstream comics, what life lessons he took from Westerns in general and Hopalong Cassidy in particular, why he almost stopped writing <em>Lady Rawhide</em>, and much more.