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03-27-09 : A 2009 Phone Interview with Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Phil Proctor : Nearly Engulfed

Here's a great reason to listen to the non-fiction radio, so long as it's interviews; you can find out some very wonderfully wild things about those who create the art that most entertains you. When I got Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Phil Proctor on the phone — that's three quarters of The Firesign Theatre — I finally got to go behind the mental curtain and find out how they created those ultimately memorable soundscapes that still haunt me.

I suppose I should be surprised at the influences they mentioned when I asked them what inspired them to create the densely layered textures that make up their work. One of the reasons I find their work fascinating is that it rewards multiple listenings. The work is incredibly detailed, and every time you hear it a new detail will stand out. And with that, new relationships between the bits you've already heard are altered. It's all very much like a reading experience.

I managed to get Ralph Spoilsport, Lt. Bradshaw and George Tirebiter on the phone in anticipation of a live show they’re doing at the Golden State Theater in Monterey, California on April 24 of this year. We'll have a lot more audio from the guys as time goes on, but in the interim, here's a link to my phone interview.

03-26-09 : SF in SF Panel Discussion with Terry Bisson, James Rollins and Frank M. Robinson : Thrillers!

Now it can be revealed, by the men who write them. The panel discussion with Terry Bisson, James Rollins and Frank M. Robinson gets quickly to the point and defines for the live and podcast audience just precisely what a "thriller" is. Is it ironic that it's kind of thrilling to hear this definition? I suppose I'll have to wait for the panel that defines "irony."

In the interim, the panel discussion with Rollins, Robinson and Bisson was in fact pretty damn thrilling, as the writers discussed not only how you define a thriller, but how you go about creating one. It's nice from writers who take their writing seriously, but not themselves. Rollins and Robinson were excellent foils; Robinson has been in the business damn near long enough to get some sort of hazily-defined "Grandmaster" award or designation, while Rollins is a comparative newcomer. But everyone was pretty damn, yes I'm going to say it — thrilling. Here's a link to the MP3 audio file. Knock yourself out, but try not to induce head-bonk amnesia.

03-25-09 : An Interview with James Rollins at SF in SF, March 14, 2009 : Fiction or Science Fiction

James Rollins is the kind of writer whose enthusiasm for his work is infectious. He's having so much fun writing his books that it seems obvious readers are going to have fun reading them. Especially if you, like me, enjoy a good monster. But what's really wonderful is that some kind person at Rollins' publisher decided that no matter what he wrote about, it wasn't going to be marketed as science fiction. Telepathic marsupials? No problem. I've got a mind-reading duck-billed platypus here, so I can understand their decision.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the platypus is pretty stupid, so the whole mind-reading deal is kind of a bust. Oh well! At least I can enjoy Rollins' thrillers, which run the gamut from edge-of-the-genre science fiction to technological thrillers. And I'd like to, because he's just a blast to talk to. When I spoke with him at SF in SF, he was so engaged in his work that I had to restrain myself from emptying the Borderlands Books tables. Presumably most of the readers are not within a few feet of every title written by James Rollins, which makes it much safer to download the linked audio file.

03-24-09 : An Interview with Frank M. Robinson at SF in SF, March 14, 2009 : From the Pulps the to Castro

I didn't mean to delay the start of the proceedings for SF in SF that night. All I was hoping to do was to score a quick interview before it started, thus allowing me to get him a bit earlier. And I did start the interview a full fifteen minutes early. But once I started talking to Frank Robinson, I realized I was getting into some pretty deep history — and deep emotional territory as well.

Robinson's a guy who can blithely talk about his apprenticeship in the pulps, hanging out as kid with Robert Bloch and scoring Frederick Pohl as his agent. But as we worked through his career, he turned up some surprises. He could also talk about parties with Hef at the Playboy Mansion, and his time as Harvey Milk's speechwriter. And that was when time sort of stopped for this interviewer. As I listened to Robinson's powerful, gravelly voice, I fell into the past. And I've left the interview raw, so listeners can as well, by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

03-23-09 : A 2009 Interview with Christopher Moore : More Fool Me

I came pretty close to leaving in the part of the interview where Wendy, from Capitola Book Café, stepped in to bring Christopher Moore his latte and scone. (Hey, that scone looked delicious, more bookstores should serve food!) That's because this was one of those interviews that seemed far too easy, far too much fun. But what else would you expect when you're interviewing Christopher Moore?

Moore himself thinks he does his best work when he stretches, and he clearly stretched for this book, though, to be fair, his stretching did include a month in London checking out locations and seeing 'Othello' at the Globe Theatre. But at this point, the guy is a(n) (un)serious Shakespeare scholar, having even read, as he points out, 'Coriolanus, which like, only seven people have read." Moore says a bunch of stuff, all of it funny, intelligent and perceptive. You can hear every word (except the coffee conversation) by following this link to the MP3 audio file of the interview.

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