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 218: Jo Miles
Nibble garlic naan with Jo Miles as we discuss how what began as a short story blossomed into a trilogy, the way to juggle multiple points of view and keep them balanced, the science fictional precursors which helped them create their sentient ship, how to properly pace the arc of a burgeoning romance, the importance of making sure a redemption arc feels earned, the way their mandate for writing optimistic science fiction came to be, the differing ways we were each affected by the pandemic, how the Taos Toolbox workshop teaches writers to break down the beats of their stories (and why that terrifies me), plus much more.
Episode 217: Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
Munch MVP sandwiches with MVPs Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan as we discuss why The Coode Street Podcast is "the Cheers of podcasts," the foolish statement made during their first episode which meant there had to be more, the identity of the guest who was most resistant to appearing on their show, the reason the podcast made Paul Cornell want to run, the different interviewing techniques necessary when having conversations with the voluble vs. the reticent, the white whales whom they could never snare, how to make sure we're speaking to more than just our own generations, their advice for anyone who wants to launch a podcast of their own, the way to avoid getting canned responses out of guests, how their conversational methods have changed over 13 years, whether critiquing books or rejecting stories has ever affected relationships with a guest, and much more.
Episode 216: Izzy Wasserstein
Join Izzy Wasserstein for Kansas City BBQ as we discuss the way Sarah Pinsker sparked her lightbulb moment, why it's important for her to learn your chosen D&D character, which Star Trek: The Next Generation characters caused her to take her first stab at writing, the change she'd make in her life if she were independently wealthy, why we both miss those paper rejection slips from publishing's pre-electronic days, the disconnect between the way we feel about certain stories of ours and how readers respond, the most important gift she was given by the Clarion writing workshop, our perverse love for second-person present-tense stories, how surprised she was when she sold a story to Analog, and much more.
Episode 215: Pat Murphy
Join Pat Murphy for lunch at "the single best restaurant in the world" in Episode 215 of Eating the Fantastic as we discuss the part of Robert A. Heinlein's famed rules of writing with which she disagrees, why she felt the need to attend the Clarion writing workshop even after having made several sales to major pro markets, the occasional difficulties in decoding what an editor is truly trying to tell you, the importance of never giving up your day jobs, why she can't read Dylan Thomas when she's working on a novel, the differences between the infighting we've seen in the science fiction vs. literary fields, what we perceive as our personal writing flaws, a Clarion critiquing mystery I've been attempting to solve since 1979, the science fiction connection which launched her career at the Exploratorium, and much more.
Episode 214: Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Feast on crab fried rice with Nina Kiriki Hoffman as we discuss the way a ghost story which left her wanting more led to her taking her writing more seriously, her early reactions to reading Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin, how the Clarion workshop convinced her she could have a career as a writer, the way she wanted to grow up to be a combination of Ray Bradbury and Zenna Henderson, what she learned about characterization from Samuel R. Delany while at Clarion, the major difference she saw between the horror and science fiction communities during the early days of the Internet, how my perception of the arc her career was affected not by what she wrote but by what she sold, the lesson Ellen Datlow taught her which she passes on to her students, and much more.
Episode 213: Neil Clarke
Snack on spanakopita with Neil Clarke as we discuss how Clarkesworld was born (and what he wishes he'd known back when the magazine launched), the motivation behind his unrivaled response times, the irresponsible impact of AI on science fiction and what he's doing to help ameliorate it, how he proactively analyzes submission data to make sure he receives stories from diverse voices, the differing effect of the pandemic lockdown on first time vs. established authors, why it's hard for people to sell him a time travel story, his problems with Star Trek's transporter, the true meaning of rejections, why reading science fiction in translation is so important, Lester del Rey's prophetic warning about the provincialism of U.S. fandom, and 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.