Bask in Basque beef stew with Xia Jia as we discuss how reading science fiction gave her the courage to take risks; what it means when she says she writes not hard SF, nor soft SF, nor slipstream, nor cyberpunk, but “porridge sci-fi;” why Ray Bradbury matters so much to her; the challenges of writing in Chinese, writing in English, and translating from one language to the other; our mutual love for Italo Calvino's <em>If on a Winter's Night a Traveler</em>; how <em>The Three-Body Problem</em> changed the perceptions of science fiction in China, why she has faith she'll eventually get to Mars, and more.
Eavesdrop on breakfast with Chen Quifan as we discuss why his favorite character from all of science fiction is Mr. Spock, what kept him going during the seven years between the sales of his first and second stories, the reasons H. G. Wells is a genius, why he believes science fiction is the greatest realism, the differences in reading protocols between Chinese and non-Chinese readers, why he hopes his own upcoming science fiction movie will defy his prediction there'll be many bad SF movies to come in Chinese cinema, and more.
Ruminate over reindeer with the award-winning Johanna Sinisalo as we discuss what she learned in advertising that helped her be a better writer, how Moomins helped set her on the path to becoming a creator, why she held off attempting a novel until she had dozens of short stories published, the reason the Donald Duck comics of Carl Barks were some of her greatest inspirations, the circuitous way being an actor eventually led to her writing the science fiction film <em>Iron Sky</em>, and more.
Join award-winning science fiction writer John Kessel for a seafood feast as we discuss why he suddenly has two novels coming out within a year two decades after his last one, how attending the 1969 St. Louis Worldcon changed his life, the ways in which his objections to "The Cold Equations" and Ender's Game are at their heart the same, his early days attempting to emulate Thomas M. Disch, the time-travel short story he couldn't whip into shape for Damon Knight, which author broke his 26-year Nebula Awards record for the longest gap between wins, the secret behind the success of his many collaborations with James Patrick Kelly, and more.
Eavesdrop on Hugo and Nebula Award-winning writer James Patrick Kelly as we discuss the reason he needed to attend the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop <em>twice</em>—and why the rules were then changed so no one could ever do it again, the suggestion Kate Wilhelm made that saved one of his short stories, why his reaction to comics as a kid was "Marvel, yes, DC, feh," how the science fiction field survived the Cyberpunk/Humanist wars of the ‘80s, why he takes an expansive view of fanfic, how Cory Doctorow inspired him to enter the world of podcasting early, what allows him and frequent collaborator John Kessel to work together so well, his advice for how writing 10 endings to a story in progress will help writers find the <em>right</em> ending, and more.
Brunch on Eggs Benedict with A. Merc Rustad as we discuss some terrible writing advice which messed with their head and the way they got over it, how the <em>Redwall</em> series by Brian Jacques turned them from a reader into a writer, why some fan fiction doesn't get labeled fan fiction while other fan fiction does, the reason the animated television series <em>Beast Wars: Transformers</em> was such a major influence both professionally and personally, why they almost destroyed their Nebula-nominated story “This Is Not a Wardrobe Door," the secrets to assembling a short story collection, and more.
Share shawarma with Brooke Bolander as we discuss how she ended up as a writer rather than a paleontologist, why the videogame <em>Ecco the Dolphin</em> terrified her but taught her to love science fiction, her early days writing fan fiction, how anger over the electrocution of Topsy the elephant and the deaths of the "radium girls" inspired her newest novella, why she avoids rereading her own writing, what broke the writers block that had gripped her for several years, and more.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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>.
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.
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.