Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes
07-03-09: One Book With Alan Cheuse : Writing the Textbook

There's money to be made writing textbooks. But it's not easy money by any means. This week on Three Books With Alan Cheuse, we're talking about one, that is, 'Literature: Craft & Voice, Volume 1: Fiction,' and about the process of writing a textbook.

You can afford to cut back to one book with Alan Cheuse when that book is a 700-page version of, as he describes it, "an issue of Harper's Magazine." Ever want to know how you go about getting into this lucrative business? I think dedication of the sort that one very rarely finds outside of religious orders is called for. Cheuse confided in me that he spent five and half years working on the three books he and I will be talking about, one at a time — and that was a very short timeline! You can hear us chat about the planning and events that went into that timeline by following the link to this MP3 audio file.



07-02-09: SF in SF Panel from June 20, 2009 — Pat Murphy, Lisa Goldstein, and Michaela Roessner Hosted by Rick Kleffel : Transformative Literature

I was fortunate enough to be asked to host the most recent meeting at SF in SF, and found myself sitting at the head of the class with Pat Murphy, Lisa Goldstein and Michaela Roessner, talking about their writing, all of which, it seemed to me, attempted to "transform" the world we know into something more interesting.

After all, all of the stories start out in what looks pretty much like our world and in our times. And yet, though subtle and unsubtle introductions of elements of the fantastic, this vision of our world is transformed — into something considerably more interesting to read. We had a great time talking about how each of them managed this, and got some keen looks into the crafting of the individual pieces, which offer a wide variety of approaches. You can write the folks at SF in SF if you like what you hear in the discussion from the link to the MP3 audio file.



07-01-09: Agony Column Podcast New Report : Michaela Roessner Interviewed at SF in SF on June 20, 2009


"...the hassidic carp, and the Kenyan tuna with the Koran on its scales are actually documented, whether they're real or not, they're news stories ... you can look them up online..."
        — Michaela Roessner

Michaela Roessner's story, "The Fishes Speak," was for me a perfect summary of what I love about SF in SF. Here's a story that's slated for PS Publishing's wonderful 'PostScripts' anthology, but that to my mind could just as easily have found publication in McSweeney's, The New Yorker, or any other mainstream literary magazine. The boundaries of genre have fallen aside.

From the get-go, "The Fishes Speak" is an unusual story, and I really wanted to talk to Roessner about her choice of the second person. Moreover, as you hear the story, you can tell that she did a boatload of research, and when I asked her about this she gave me an answer I've heard from many a writer; "I'm a research junkie." You can hear our conversation by following the link to this MP3 audio file.



  Rick kleffel and Pat Murphy
06-30-09: Agony Column Podcast New Report : Pat Murphy Interviewed at SF in SF on June 20, 2009

"It is not just what is on the page that determines whether it is a science fiction story or not"
        — Pat Murphy

Before I pressed "record," Pat Murphy wondered what we were going to talk about. After all, I'd interviewed her quite recently — a year ago! Well, a lot can happen in a year, especially when Klutz books keeps you busy and your newest novel proves to be a success.

One of my favorite aspects of SF in SF is the joy of my on-the-spot interviews. It’s not just the writer who is on the spot; it's me as well, since I try to key my questions off the readings. Murphy's story was a poignant tale of taking care of one's aging parents with a lovely sense-of-wonder spin. She works in the lowest keys, keeping readers grounded while she mines the fantastic right out from under their feet. You can hear us discuss her story and her techniques by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



  China Miéville
06-29-09: A 2009 Interview with China Miéville

"I don’t think crime is a realist
genre at all"

        — China Miéville

I believe that I said in one of the article I wrote about 'The City & The City' that for this book, you're best advised to go in cold. That said, there's been so much talk about the book, I suspect that many readers already have a pretty good grasp of what the deal is, and probably won’t be upset by haring China talk about what he intended in detail. I really like talking to China, who is sort of a contrarian in all matters literary. Yes, we talked about his latest book, but we also talked about his many projects in the mix as well. There are a lot of them, and readers will want to hear the man himself explain them in his oh-so-mellifluous voice. Here's the link to the MP3 audio file for you to do so.

New to the Agony Column

10-19-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 179: William T. Vollmann : Last Stories and Other Stories

10-16-14: Commentary : Alix Christie Hires 'Gutenberg's Apprentice' : Fifteenth Century Start-Ups

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alix Christie : "This was the world's first tech start-up."

10-15-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 178: Alix Christie : Gutenberg's Apprentice

10-13-14: Commentary : Maureen Corrigan 'So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures' : The Power of Re-Reading

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Maureen Corrigan : "On his death in 1940, there were remaindered copies..."

10-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 177: Maureen Corrigan : So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

10-03-14: Commentary : Lawrence Wright ' Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David' : Suspension of Belief

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Lawrence Wright : "...peace is possible..."

10-01-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 176: Lawrence Wright : Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

09-30-14: Commentary : Rebecca Alexander Will 'Not Fade Away' : A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Rebecca Alexander : "...like your hands are, and their arms are, engaged in this poetic dance..."

09-28-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 175: Rebecca Alexander : Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found

09-23-14: Commentary : Lauren Beukes Builds 'Broken Monsters' : Dream Reapers

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Live Interview with Lauren Beukes : "...fiction allows you to step into someone's head..."

Commentary & Podcast Archive

Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us