07-14-12 UPDATE:Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 54: Christopher Hayes 'Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy'
Click image for audio link.
Here's the fifty-fourth episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.
My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.
Robert J. Sawyer is a master of proof and consequences. He can prove that something exists by sheer dint of his imagination and the prose power he brings to back it up. Then, he demonstrates the consequences, in terms of how the products of his imagination, carefully researched, impact the human characters he creates. The first impact is a toe-tapping plot that keeps you engaged as a reader pretty much until you finish the book.
His latest book is 'Triggers,' a near future SF thriller. I'll let him set it up as he does so well in his reading at SF in SF last month. But I will comment that he ventures into the sort of territory that could very well land him on the bestseller list, again. He's also one hell of a reader of his own work. I can imagine him in a Robert E. Howard moment, talking his way through the work in much the same manner as he reads it. This man is filled with the sort of enthusiasm with which he infects his readers.
Rachel Swirsky Reads "Death and the All-Night Donut Shop"
Rachel Swirsky bucks the trend, writing mostly short fiction in a world that wants mostly novels. You can find links to lots of her short fiction, both written and read aloud, at her website. That said, she is working on a novel, and I for one cannot wait to read the results.
She came very highly recommended by Rina Weisman and Terry Bisson of SF in SF, but to be honest, I was unprepared for just how great she was. Her reading of her short story "Death and the All-Night Donut Shop" was simply superb; the story is funny, involving and very imaginative. She reads her own work extremely well; I hiope that listeners will have the opportunity to really hear her inflections and voicing. This is the stuff of great audio fiction.
"...the dark hilarity of not feeling the way one is supposed to be feeling..."
— Glen Duncan
Glen Duncan has a great voice; so goo in fact that the couple who joined us in the elevator up to his hotel room remarked upon in their own impeccable British accent. But it's more than vocal talent that makes 'Talulla Rising' so good; it's his ability to nail a narrative voice.
Happily he has his own narrative with regards to writing his books, and an impressive understanding of his own process. You'd think that all the stuff he does so well in this book would be fund for him to write, but that it not the case. As we spoke, there was more than a bit of Jake Marlowe in his voice, that sort of weariness, in this case, more exasperation with his own self-perceived shortcomings, which certainly do not show up in the novel at hand.
This interview was conducted in his hotel room and once we got the gear set up, we had great sound and no interruptions. Duncan knew he had a big challenge in this novel, one set by Marlowe's voice. He had quite a few people tell him that they wanted Marlowe back. And while that's not out of the question in this sort of novel and universe, it's highly admirable that he eschewed the easy route. Duncan is one of those writers who is hard on himself, and it shows in the quality of what you end up reading. If you've read 'The Last Werewolf,' you can hear my interview with Glen Duncan by following this link to the MP3 audio file.
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