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Gordon
Van Gelder
09-04-09: F&SF 60 Years: The Interview Marathon, Part Three: Gordon Van Gelder, Ellen Klages, Gene Wolfe, Charles de Lint

And thus, we get to the nub of the matter. Gordon Van Gelder, the current editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, speaks to the 60-year legacy he did not just inherit — he bought the magazine. It was something of a revelation.

And not just Gordon Van Gelder, but Ellen Klages, one of those writers whose careers materialized in the pages of F&SF; Gene Wolfge, a legend in any evaluation of the written word and Charles de Lint, who provides the perspective of not just a fiction writer, but also as a critic for the magazine. This was a wonderful experience, and I send my thanks to all involved, particularly Tachyon Publications, Jacob and Rina Weisman, and again, to Jill Roberts. The final file can be fond at this link.



09-03-09: F&SF 60 Years: The Interview Marathon, Part Two: Jeffrey Ford, John Kessel and Delia Sherman

Setting up a series of interviews to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is easier said than done. In order to make this happen, in a single three-hour stretch, I was fortunate to have the help of Jill Roberts, of Tachyon Publications. Frankly, I was harried enough just trying to get through the three-hour stretch. Jill took care of all the details, the administrivia that is anything but trivial.

It's not easy to get together this sort of schedule set up. Eleven interviewees, spread across the nation make for a difficult maze. Time zones and daylight savings time start to seem pretty random once you get outside your own. My late morning is someone ele's late afternoon. But in the end, Jill did manage to get me set up with all the writers. And even if the questions are programmed, the responses certainly aren't. You can hear my interview with Jeffrey Ford, John Kessel and Delia Sherman by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



09-02-09: F&SF 60 Years: The Interview Marathon, Part One : Peter S. Beagle, Karen Joy Fowler, Michael Swanwick, and M. Rickert

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. This is something that not just noteworthy in the genre. I suspect this may be the longest running fiction magazine period — if not, it's damn close. In any event, it is certainly worth celebrating.

How do you celebrate 60 years of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. There's a book involved, but we'll get to that on Friday. Today, we're going to talk about my marathon interview schedule, wherein on a single day, I did eleven interviews? I'll have to count 'em as I podcast them. The format was simple; I called up a variety of writers who had been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction over the years, and asked them a small slate of questions. If it sounds easy, it isn't. I've got just about an hour and half of audio, so you can hook up with the first part here. This part includes interviews with Peter S. Beagle, Karen Joy Fowler, Michael Swanwick, and M. Rickert.



Sam Farr
09-01-09: A Conversation with Congressman Sam Farr, (D-Carmel, CA) :

The Health Care Customer's Bill of Rights


"I'm for the single payer."
        —Congressman Sam Farr

It's pretty amazing what you can do in this country, if you set your mind to it.You can take a 40-minute drive from your home, drop in on your Congressman (or Congresswoman), and have a chat about health care reform.

Of course, I was a lucky guy in this regard. My Congressman is Sam Farr, a veteran of the contentious California legislature who has been in the United States House of Representatives since 1993. He makes himself available to citizens, in the usual town hall meetings and in other situations as well. While I was waiting in his office, I overheard calls from his constituents, who asked about home loans, and one who visited getting some forms signed. These were not the hoi polloi. They were average folks like myself.

Before I sat down to talk with Farr, I went through the document on his website that his very helpful DC minder pointed out, a section by section analysis of the
America's Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200) (link to full 1,000-page document, surprisingly fast). Given all that I've heard about the bill, this document was a real eye-opener. It is indeed, pretty much in plain language and relatively comprehensible. And when you read through it, you'll find that it is not a plan for socialist revolution, but rather a series of regulations for an industry that is currently under-regulated and understandably wishes to stay that way.

Congressman Farr broke it all down with me in simple language that revealed this to be a Health Care Customer's Bill of Rights. That's it in a nutshell. Farr is a smart man who is doing the right thing as a member of Congress. You can hear just how smart he is by following this link to the MP3 audio file of our conversation.



08-31-09: A 2009 Interview With Lev Grossman

"... it was all about reading to me; it was about that moment when you're sitting in your room and you open a book and suddenly, you're not in your room anymore."
        — Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman is a tried and true reader. Not surprising, since he's the book reviewer for Time Magazine. But there are readers — and there are readers who take the act of reading seriously, deeply, immersively. Grossman is the latter, and he's a man who takes his fantasy literature seriously, seriously enough to write 'The Magicians,' a fantasy novel about fantasy literature; a ripping yarn with a meta-fictional backbeat. It's now a national bestseller. Congratulations!

Lev Grossman
I like a writer who takes his fantasy literature seriously, and Grossman had a lot to say about both the fantasy foreground and the metafictional backbeat when we talked in hotel room while he was here in San Francisco to promote the novel. If you get a chance to see him, do so. levgrossman.com He's an omnivorous reader who knows that the reading experience is much more powerful than is often presumed. He thinks about reading, and that made our conversation particularly rewarding.

Grossman also takes his fantasy fiction seriously, and we had a delightful conversation about C. S. Lewis and the Narnia books. And we also talked about his work for Time Magazine, where he managed to foist off George R. R. Martin and video games onto a corporate culture that approximated mainstream American culture circa 1972. I'll let Lev Grossman tell his own story, which you can hear by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



New to the Agony Column

07-11-14: Commentary : Roz Chast Asks 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' : NO

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast : "...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

07-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast : Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

06-30-14: Commentary : Alan Furst Passes 'Midnight in Europe : Wrong Side of War

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alan Furst : "...certain periods are echoic..."

06-29-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 169: Alan Furst : Midnight in Europe

06-27-14: Commentary : Sarah Lotz Counts 'The Three' : The Uses of Fear

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Sarah Lotz : "...people need answers..."

06-25-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 168: Sarah Lotz : The Three

06-21-14: Commentary : Steven Galloway Conjures 'The Confabulist' : Creating Harry Houdini

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Steven Galloway : "...so much has been written about Harry Houdini..."

06-18-14: Commentary : Raymond B. Russell Heralds 'The Dark Return of Time' : An Atmosphere of Crime

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Thomas Frank on Parlor Tricks : "Off With Their Heads!"

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 167: Steven Galloway : The Confabulist

06-16-14: Commentary : Geoff Dyer Has 'Another Great Day at Sea' : The Steel Beach Party

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Geoff Dyer : "..but it was as nothing compared to the noise of planes landing..."

06-15-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 166: Geoff Dyer : Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

06-09-14: Commentary : Colson Whitehead Does 'The Noble Hustle' : Incandescent Memories of the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Colson Whitehead : "...I won five dollars, and from then on..."

06-08-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 165: Colson Whitehead : The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Deaths

06-02-14: Commentary : Kaui Hart Hemmings Explores 'The Possibilities' : Framing Life

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kaui Hart Hemmings : "I burned that copy and started fresh."

05-31-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 164: Kaui Hart Hemmings : The Possibilities

05-26-14: Commentary : Kent A. Kiehl Heeds 'The Psychopath Whisperer' : Prison of the Mind

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kent A. Kiehl : "How do you measure the cost of those sixteen homicides?"

05-21-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 163: Kent A. Kiehl, PhD : The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience

05-19-14: Commentary : Justin Go Clocks 'The Steady Running of the Hour' : Time-Crossed Lovers and Wars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Justin Go : "... there was always something that had to happen ..."

05-15-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Grants 'Authority' : The Parallax Views

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer : "...the land people don't talk to the sky people don't talk to the water people..."

05-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 162: Justin Go : The Steady Running of the Hour

05-12-14: Commentary : Matt Taibbi Views 'The Divide' : Zero-Sum Economic Morality

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi : "... the biggest bank robbery in the history of the world ..."

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