162 episodes

Bestselling and award-winning science fiction authors talk about their new books and much more in candid conversations with host Rob Wolf.
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New Books in Science Fiction Marshall Poe

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 44 Ratings

Bestselling and award-winning science fiction authors talk about their new books and much more in candid conversations with host Rob Wolf.
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/science-fiction

    Matthew C. Kruger, "What The Living Know: A Novel of Suicide and Philosophy" (Nfb Publishing, 2020)

    Matthew C. Kruger, "What The Living Know: A Novel of Suicide and Philosophy" (Nfb Publishing, 2020)

    Now that science has granted eternal life and youth to all, the world is a place of endless opportunity to live out one's dreams and fulfill one's desires. With death unnecessary, it becomes optional and suicide is celebrated when chosen. However the main character, 10,000 year old Warren, has fought off the urge to die but begins to contemplate making this choice for himself. Matthew C. Kruger's book What The Living Know: A Novel of Suicide and Philosophy (Nfb Publishing, 2020) tackles questions such as: How many times can you send someone on their way and not start to feel as if it might be your time to go? How much life will you live before you come to say "that's enough for me"? Or, through it all, will your love for life always endure?
    Our conversation discusses the importance of, not just having a philosophy, but having a lived and embodied philosophy: one that's procedural and takes into account the messiness and hardships of each and every day. While the book is a hard read mentally -- and perhaps spiritually -- it comes to the beautiful and paradoxical conclusion that there might not be a point to living but there's no point in dying either, that life is worth living, and that you should let yourself be moved and transformed through struggle. Not easy, certainly, but worthwhile.
    Sarah Kearns (@annotated_sci) reads about scholarship, the sciences, and philosophy, and is likely over-caffeinated.
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    • 45 min
    Dan Hanks, "Swashbucklers" (Angry Robot, 2021)

    Dan Hanks, "Swashbucklers" (Angry Robot, 2021)

    Most people believe that when they grow up, they need to “put away childish things”—a wise strategy for holding a job, paying the rent and raising a family. But what if you need to fight a malevolent pirate who threatens to destroy the universe? In that case, a toy War Wizard blaster might come in handy.
    In British author Dan Hanks’s second novel, Swashbucklers (Angry Robot, 2021), the four lead characters arm themselves with War Wizards and other toys retrofitted to inflict maximum damage as they try to stop an evil that threatens their town and the world.
    “The idea originally was to do a Ghostbusters thing, but then it became about ‘How would the Ghostbusters do their jobs as parents?’” Hanks says. “How would the Ghostbusters have dealt with fighting ghosts while also trying to find babysitters and go to nativity plays and things like that? What if the Goonies had all grown up and they had their own kids?”
    The story addresses the power and limits of nostalgia while remaining firmly rooted in the contemporary world, juxtaposing the surrealness of events like Brexit and the pandemic with the absurdity of a giant inflatable Santa Claus stomping on shoppers in the heart of Manchester.
    The heroes hail from a town based on Hanks’ home. “I used my local bookstore, the local café that is a big favorite of mine. I got everyone's permission before I threw them into the book,” Hanks says. “It's such a beautiful part of the world, and I kind of wanted to just trash it a bit with some supernatural crap. And I did.”
    Hanks lives in England’s Peak District. He is the author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire. He also writes screenplays and comics.
    Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.
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    • 37 min
    Hua Li, "Chinese Science Fiction During the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw" (U Toronto Press, 2021)

    Hua Li, "Chinese Science Fiction During the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw" (U Toronto Press, 2021)

    The late 1970s to the mid-1980s, a period commonly referred to as the post-Mao cultural thaw, was a key transitional phase in the evolution of Chinese science fiction. This period served as a bridge between science-popularization science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s and New Wave Chinese science fiction from the 1990s into the twenty-first century. Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw (University of Toronto Press, 2021) surveys the field of Chinese science fiction and its multimedia practice, analysing and assessing science fiction works by well-known writers such as Ye Yonglie, Zheng Wenguang, Tong Enzheng, and Xiao Jianheng, as well as the often-overlooked tech–science fiction writers of the post-Mao thaw.
    Exploring the socio-political and cultural dynamics of science-related Chinese literature during this period, Hua Li combines close readings of original Chinese literary texts with literary analysis informed by scholarship on science fiction as a genre, Chinese literary history, and media studies. Li argues that this science fiction of the post-Mao thaw began its rise as a type of government-backed literature, yet it often stirred up controversy and received pushback as a contentious and boundary-breaking genre. Topically structured and interdisciplinary in scope, Chinese Science Fiction during the Post-Mao Cultural Thaw will appeal to both scholars and fans of science fiction.
    Hua Li is an associate professor at Montana State University.
    Clara Iwasaki is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies department at the University of Alberta.
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    • 54 min
    Patricia A. Jackson, "Forging a Nightmare" (Angry Robot, 2021)

    Patricia A. Jackson, "Forging a Nightmare" (Angry Robot, 2021)

    Patricia A. Jackson’s debut novel Forging a Nightmare immerses the reader in a world of menace-—fallen angels and demigods whose history of alliances and resentments stretch to the beginning of time. Jackson puts a fresh spin on biblical characters like Gabriel and Lucifer by turning them into FBI agents, a parish priest, a homeless preacher and other seemingly ordinary folks who pursue ancient vendettas in modern day New York City.
    On the surface, the story is about a series of grisly murders. But underneath, it is about much more: a son grappling with his father's abandonment, the persecution of “the other” and the revelation that maybe Hell isn't the unremittingly evil place we thought it was.
    The hero is Michael Childs, a Black FBI agent who competes in jousts (at the opening of the book, he shows up at the scene of a grisly murder clad in medieval armor) and who (unbeknownst to him) descends from divinity. His sidekick is Anaba Raines, a Black former Marine and the eponymous Nightmare, whose transformation into a fierce and hellish horse makes her a formidable foe to angels seeking to do Michael harm.
    Like Childs, Jackson is an experienced equestrian. “I think every character is an extension of the author, and I am Michael Childs,” Jackson says. “I would go to horse shows and I would be in my boots and my breaches and my show jacket, and I would go to the mall or I would go to the bank, or I would go to the jewelry store dressed in my duds, sometimes with odor of horse upon me. And people would just kind of look around. And it wasn’t just because you were dressed in horse gear. You are a Black girl dressed in horse gear, and they had never seen that before.”
    Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.
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    • 37 min
    Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, "2034: A Novel of the Next World War" (Penguin, 2021)

    Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, "2034: A Novel of the Next World War" (Penguin, 2021)

    The next world war is 13 years away—that is, if you live in the world envisioned by Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War (Penguin, 2021).
    When writing about the intersection of combat and diplomacy, the co-authors draw from experience. Ackerman has worked in the White House and served five tours of duty as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. Stavridis, a retired United States Navy admiral, served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and, after leaving the Navy, as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
    2034 plays out a what-if scenario, starting with an incident between the Chinese and U.S. that escalates into a major conflict. “You could certainly say right now, vis-a-vis the United States’ relationship with China, that if we’re not in a Cold War, we are at least in sort of the foothills of a Cold War,” Ackerman says.
    Told through the eyes of multiple main characters from five nations, the escalating conflict begins to seem inevitable as deceit, posturing, and a game of chicken made it harder and harder for the countries’ leaders to back down. Ackerman feels that a conflict between the U.S. and China in real life is possible but not inevitable.
    “It's a cautionary tale. There's still time to take the exit ramp,” he says.
    Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.
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    • 36 min
    Phil M. Cohen, "Nick Bones Underground" (Koehler Books, 2019)

    Phil M. Cohen, "Nick Bones Underground" (Koehler Books, 2019)

    Shmulie Shimmer is the inventor of LERBS, the most popular designer drug ever to be created. Turns out that it leaves people brain dead, and Shmulie should be in prison, but his business partner took the rap. Now Shmulie’s father hasn’t heard from him in over a year and half. He approaches Shmulie’s high school friend, Professor Nick Friedman, aka Nick Bones, private detective. Nick’s beautiful daughter was a victim of Lerbs, and Nick never wants to see the guy again, but Shmulie’s father has cancer and only a few months to live, so NIck takes the case. It’s a future in which the world no longer works the way it did, and sharp-witted, colorful characters roam above and below ground in what is an unrecognizable New York City. Now, Nick needs the help of his AI computer to make his way in the Velvet Underground, previously known as part of the subway system. Phil M. Cohen's Nick Bones Underground (Koehler Books, 2019) is a mystery, a wild ride through the future, a science-fiction nightmare, and an exploration of religion and humanity.
    Phil M. Cohen is a rabbi who has been engaged in Jewish storytelling for a very long time. In addition to a B.A from Dickinson College and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Phil holds a Ph.D. in Jewish thought from Brandeis University and an MFA from Spalding University in Louisville. From his rabbinic education, he learned how to create and interpret stories. From his doctoral experience, he learned how to grapple with philosophical questions. In earning an MFA, he learned how to write fiction. From his work as a rabbi, he gained deep insight into the Jewish and broader world. And from realms unknown and a bit scary, Rabbi Doctor Cohen discovered his creative imagination.
    G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (GPGottlieb.com).
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    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

malfoxley ,

Great show!

Marshall, host of the podcast, highlights all aspects of new reads and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

7dogs7 ,

My favorite book podcast!

As witness to my love of this new book, science fiction/ fantasy podcast, of which I am a new listener, I have bought 5 books, put one previously purchased book on the top of my TBR stack and I have completed only 8 episodes starting back in 2011! The interviewers are knowledgeable, informed and well-read in the genre and ask questions that really engage the author. Great insights to the featured books and I enjoy hearing the authors talk about their craft and their excitement about this genre. Thank you! Keep this great work going!

Arconna ,

Fantastic Interview Show

This show's approach to interviews with authors about their influences and craft is fantastic. The interviews really dig into the work, the author's approach, the world of science fiction, etc. That makes for a show that feels more like a Lipton-style craft and life conversation than a simple PR-centered conversations. Those are the interviews I tune back into because I actually feel like I've learned something new and interesting.

So if you love SF literature and you really want to hear authors discuss their work in depth, this show fits the bill!

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