I’ve been going to science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic book conventions since I was 15, and I’ve found that while the con which takes place within the walls of a hotel or convention center is always fun, the con away from the con—which takes place when I wander off-site with friends for a meal—can often be more fun. In fact, my love of tracking down good food while traveling the world attending conventions has apparently become so well known that one blogger even dubbed me "science fiction’s Anthony Bourdain."
So I've decided to replicate in podcast form one of my favorite parts of any convention—good conversation with good friends over good food.
During each episode, I’ll share a meal with someone whose opinions I think you’ll want to hear, and we’ll talk about science fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, comics, movies, fandom … whatever happens to come to mind. (There’ll also be food talk, of course.)
Please note—this will not be a pristine studio-recorded podcast, but one which will always occur in a restaurant setting, meaning that mixed in with our conversation will be the sounds of eating and drinking and reviewing of menus and slurping and background chatter and the servers popping in … in other words, it’ll be as messy as life. And I hope you'll find it as entertaining, too.
Episode 212: Alex Shvartsman
Polish off a Peruvian lunch with Alex Shvartsman as we discuss how intimations of mortality got him to start writing fiction, what he learned as a pro player of Magic: the Gathering which affected his storytelling, why he set aside his initial urge to write novels in favor of short stories, which U.S. science fiction writers are more famous in Russia than their home country, the reason his success as a writer and editor of humor came as a surprise, why he feels it's important to read cover letters, the secret to writing successful flash fiction, his "lighthouse" method of plotting, and much more.
Episode 211: Mike Gold
Binge BBQ with the legendary Mike Gold as we discuss the way his hiring at DC Comics was all Neal Adams' fault, how the guerrilla marketing he learned from Abbie Hoffman helped him quadruple direct market sales, the Steve Ditko Creeper cover which sent a not-so-secret message to publisher Carmine Infantino, why editor Murray Boltinoff compared Marvel Comics to the Beatles (and not in a good way), which staffer was "the most disgusting human being I'd ever met in my life," how First Comics was born, his secret weapon for getting creators to deliver their work on time, our differing contemporaneous exposure to Fantastic Four #1 (and how his related to Merrick Garland), the way an off-hand comment led to a classic John Byrne comic, how the comic book field is like a donut shop, and much more.
Episode 210: Michael Marano
Chat and chew over fried calamari with the award-winning writer Michael Marano as we discuss how his love of science fiction storytelling led him to explore wrestling and roller derby, the lessons we each learned from our early rejections, his preference for old school Dungeons & Dragons, how his crush on Linda Blair affected his first celebrity interview, whether writers ever really retire regardless of what they claim, what his career as a film critic taught him about the possible arc of his fiction writing career, and much, much more.
Episode 209: Lauren Beukes
Dine on oxtail stew with Lauren Beukes as we discuss why the genre community is like a giant amoeba, how her choice of D&D character is in perfect sync with the way she writes, the reason she only recently realized she has ADHD (and why her new novel Bridge is definitely an ADHD book), why AI can never replace writers, the ways in which the protagonist of her new novel is different from all her other protagonists, the importance of authenticity readers, why acquiring editors at publishing companies are like restaurant critics, the importance of art in helping us find our way through the darkness, the reason you shouldn't be so hard on your younger self, how she uses the Tarot to get unstuck, and much, much more.
Episode 208: Capclave Donut Carnival
Relive Capclaves past and present during the lightning-round Capclave Donut Carnival, where you'll hear R. Z. Held and me bond over rejection, David Hacker explain his love of listening to writers read, Michael Dirda recall why Orson Scott Card once kneeled before him on an elevator, James Morrow share his fascination with Charles Darwin, how Katy Lewis found her husband through Dungeons and Dragons, Michael Walsh's favorite moment as a con chair (which involved Howard Waldrop, Gardner Dozois, and George R. R. Martin), Bill Lawhorn clarify the creation of the bronze dodo, Sarah Pinsker reveal how and why her first science fiction convention was Capclave, Adeena Mignogna explain why space is cool but space travel gets really hot, Mike Zipzer's memories of Terry Pratchett's surprise visit, Sarah Mitchell's arranging of a secret con wedding, Sunny Moraine opine on how the world's response to COVID-19 changes our ideas of what would happen in a real-world zombie apocalypse, John Pomeranz chat about how the infamous Disclave Great Flood transformed him into a hotel liaison — and much more!
Episode 207: Hildy Silverman
Join Hildy Silverman for a Georgian feast as we discuss the kindergarten incident which taught her all she ever wanted to do was write, how to keep writing when the whole world is telling you to stop, what she learned early on from such literary lions as Sue Miller and Jayne Anne Phillips, the lunch that changed her life, why she loves writing for themed anthologies (and how to do it right), what made her decide to take over as editor and publisher of Space and Time magazine, how to beat the odds of the slush pile, the ways being an editor helped her become a better writer, how she's managed to collaborate without killing her writing partner, and so much more.
Excellent interview with the always fantastic Al Milgrom! He’s done it all! And he even wrestled me into submission! One of my favorite creators to work with!
I love Scott’s interviews with old-timey comics creators. He was very much a part of that scene, beginning when he was a teenager in the 1970’s. He went to comic cons before they became overly commercialized. He worked in the Marvel Bullpen when all the legends were there… Stan, Roy, etc. And he has a lot of stories.
More importantly, he is interested in the stories that his old colleagues have to tell. Scott doesn’t work in comics anymore, but his affection for the subject matter and the inner workings of the comics industry shines through.
Sharing a meal with a writer, artist or editor is an ingenious way to dispense with the formalities and apprehension that an interviewee might otherwise have. The interviews are lengthy enough — from soup to coffee and dessert— that it seems like both Scott and his interviewee forget the whole thing is being recorded. It’s really a lot of fun to eavesdrop.
I highly recommend his podcasts!
Dive into the science fiction and fantasy community
Great conversations with people throughout the SF/F field. Scott is a fun host.