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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

04-02-14: Commentary : David Rich Steps in as 'Middle Man' : Spy Novels for the 21st Century

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with David Rich : "...so much is known so quickly..."

04-01-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 155: David Rich : Middle Man

03-29-14: Commentary : Carol Cassella Mirrors 'Gemini' : Two Places at Once

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Carol Cassella : "... we could provide good care for everyone..."

03-26-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2005 Interview with Lucius Shepard : "It's an urban war in Iraq."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 154: Carol Cassella : Gemini

03-20-14: Commentary : Dave Barry Warns 'You Can Date Boys When You're Forty' : Five Star General Humor

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Dave Barry : "...you have the right to demand that they grope your genitals manually..."

03-19-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 153: Dave Barry : You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About

03-17-14: Commentary : Michael Marshall (Smith) Sees 'Bad Things' : Dark of the Heart

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Three Books With Alan Cheuse : Elizabeth Spencer, 'Starting Over: Stories'; James Magnuson, 'Famous Writers I Have Known'; Dasa Drndic 'Trieste'

03-11-14: Commentary : Ian Rankin Ordains 'Saints of the Shadow Bible' : Standing in the Shadow of the Past

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Ian Rankin : "...I knew that he would not want to leave the police force..."

03-10-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 152: Ian Rankin : Saints of the Shadow Bible

03-04-14: Commentary : Michio Kaku Foresees 'The Future of the Mind' : Form Follows Function

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Michio Kaku : "But I'm a physicist..."

03-02-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 151: Michio Kaku : The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind

02-25-14: Commentary : Annie Jacobsen Files 'Operation Paperclip' : History as Thrilling Literature

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Annie Jacobsen : "Hitler's top scientists became America's own."

02-23-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer, Part 2 : "...still clear distribution lines for books...."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 150: Annie Jacobsen : Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America

02-20-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Seeks 'Annihilation' : Creative Destruction

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer, Part 1 : "...obviously, something is subverting the landscape..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 149: Jeff VanderMeer : Annihilation

02-14-14: Commentary : Jenny Offill Engages 'Dept. of Speculation' :The Domestic Descent

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jenny Offill : "..where did the rest of me go?"

02-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 148: Jenny Offill : Dept. of Speculation

02-10-14: Commentary : Kelly Corrigan's 'Glitter and Glue' : Remembering Forward

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kelly Corrigan : "You just hope you get to have that whole second act with your children."

02-08-14: Commentary : My Life in the Bush of Books : Life as an Internet Failure Edition

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 147: : Glitter and Glue: A Memoir

02-06-14: Commentary : Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois Bake 'The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' : Cheese, Beer and a Crock Pot

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois : "I knew it wouldn't work."

02-03-14: Commentary : Jane Pauley Hears 'Your Life Calling' : Crossing an Economic Singularity

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jane Pauley : "..it suddenly hit me; I almost cried..."

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