12-09-10:Karen Joy Fowler Reads at SF in SF on October 16, 2010
Karen Joy Fowler is a singular talent, a writer, who like Kevin Brockmeier and Mat Johnson (both mentioned in today's commentary) is comfortable using the tropes of the fantastic in the service and environment of literary fiction. Her latest collection of short stories is 'What I Didn't See,' and listeners are in for a treat, as she decided to read one of the best of that collection to the audience at SF in SF.
Fowler is an engaging reader, and her performance of "Booth's Ghost" is a great example of why the short story form is brilliantly alive. Fowler's story enters through the door of history, but takes a quick left at the first ghost, which gives Fowler a great lens through which to view that history.
The pleasure of hearing an author read a story in their own voice is not to be underestimated. The cadence, the pauses, the accents and emphasis, all create a very different experience from read the story one's self. Moreover, at SF in SF — as opposed to a books-on-what's-this-word-tape-mean? — you have have an audience in attendance with you. It is analogous, almost to seeing a movie, but the advantage is that the writing is great and the since you are directing and doing the visuals in your mind, everything else is perfect.
12-08-10:Claude Lalumière Reads at SF in SF on October 16, 2010
"Big Sister Eye Loves to Watch" and "The Ethical Treatment of Meat"
Whatever you think, stop thinking it. Yes, Claude Lalumière is a vegan, and yes, it does inform the second story you will hear him read. But it is not what you expect. And it is a superb performance. Lalumière read two pieces at the October SF in SF. The first, and I hope that someone will correct me if I got the title wrong, is one of his "Lost Myths," and trust me, you don't want to be playing this one aloud at work, unless you're in the mood for a strong talking-to.
Yes, the first, very short reading by Claude Lalumière is indeed a real head-turner. Here's a link to the text and illustration over on his website Lost Myths. And I suppose in comparison that the second is something of slow-burn. But what a brilliant reading and what a brilliant story. This too is probably not for the delicate of sensibility, though it is played something like a sitcom. I won't spoil it one bit, except to say that you should plan on listening to it straight through; give yourself some 20 minutes.
12-07-10:A 2010 Phone Interview with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill
"...my brother-in-law, Lee, alerted me to the fact that David had been kidnapped.."
Don't hesitate. Check with your local bookstore and find out if David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill are going to be in town to talk about their book, 'A Rope and a Prayer.' If they are, make sure that you are there; and if not don't hesitate to pick up their book. If they're going to appear on some television show, tune in. They have an important story to tell. They are talking about history.
Not just their own history, though that is compelling enough. David Rohde was a New York Times journalist working in Afghanistan, and was looking for one last interview for his book on our adventure there. He managed to get time with a Taliban commander, but it was a trap. He, his driver and his translator were all kidnapped, and in the following weeks and months were spirited around Afghanistan and beyond.
Once his kidnappers contacted the New York Times, his wife of two months, Kristen Mulvihill, found herself being spirited around New York and DC as their families, the Times, the FBI and a large cast of helpers worked to get him free. The book tells their story in alternating chapters.
But, as I mentioned, it is not just their story. What emerges is a powerfully personal history of our adventures abroad — and I use the word "adventure" deliberately, so that it will not be confused or even remotely associated with "foreign policy." The latter implies a degree of philosophical, practical and ethical considerations that clearly have not been the deciding or even the motivating factors behind the actions that have us fighting two wars, both of which seem increasingly unwinnable.
12-06-10:A 2010 Interview with A 2010 Interview with Tim Powers
"It just struck me, pirates, mixed with Voodoo in the Caribbean; it seemed like that would be a rich field to play in..."
Tim Powers knows how to talk about his books. It's an art to do so, and Powers has that art down to a science, which certainly jives with his odd approach to fiction. I managed to get Powers on the phone and catch him in the mood to talk about a number of projects that have been recently completed, from
Powers has a wonderfully unique method for doing his research, which we have spoken about before, but this time around we delved into the time that his reading and research came after the choice of subject. Usually it comes before.
As we talked about his most recent new work, 'A Time to Cast Away Stones,' Powers told me about the story of Charnel House, which is almost like something out of one of his books. In fact, thinking back to that, it strikes me that there is one area that is ripe for Powers attention, one that would involve the alternate occupation of Joe Stefko, the publisher. He's a man with a fantastic dedication to the reader and the art of providing a grand, rich reading experience.
05-04-13: Commentary : Reasons Not to Leave the House, Reality Check : The Truth Hurts Edition: 'Down the Up Escalator' by Barbara Garson, 'The Wolf and the Watchman' by Scott C. Johnson,'The Book of Woe' by Gary Greenberg, 'Confessions of a Sociopath' by M. E. Thomas