Archive for the ‘recommended’ Category
For newcomers to this blog, here’s a list of science fiction podcasts I’ve been involved with over the years:
Find more science fiction podcasts over on Worlds Without End.
Here’s a cool podcast I’ve been listening to recently: WTF with Marc Maron.
Maron is a stand-up comedian who invites people over to the recording studio in his garage and conducts long interviews with them. Most of the guests are other comics, with a smattering of other folks in the arts & entertainment world. Maron is up front about his flaws, failures, insecurities, neuroses, and the all-consuming jealousy he feels toward his more successful peers, and he conducts frankly personal interviews that often deal with awkward topics such as “Why does everyone hate you so much?” Maron has been in stand-up for thirty years or so, and is friends and/or enemies with most of the folks he talks to. So far I’ve listened to interviews with Louis CK, Ira Glass, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Smith, and Bob Saget, all of which were interesting. The most riveting episodes so far have been the two in which Maron confronts Carlos Mencia over a range of grievances that his fellow comedians have against him.
So in response to my last post, my parents write, “So our challenge to you is to create a list of 20 books that a 14-year-old boy would want to read. Heck, make it 10!”
Ten? You insult me, sir. Here’s 24 off the top of my head. Not necessarily the best books or my favorites (though many of them are), but simply my first stab at a list of books that I think have the most chance of being picked up and read by a typical 14-year-old boy.
(And for an in-depth discussion of the issue of boys and reading, check out Episode 2 of my Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Green Futures of Tycho by William Sleator
Singularity by Williams Sleator
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Illusion by Paula Volsky
A Malady of Magicks by Craig Shaw Gardner
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
The Master of White Storm by Janny Wurts
The Running Man by Stephen King
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
The White Mountains by John Christopher
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Feel free to suggest additions.
This lecture is terrific: Myths and Realities About the Roman Gladiator by Garrett Fagan.
Here’s an interesting and enjoyable podcast I came across recently: The Tolkien Professor.
The host Corey Olsen is a professor at Washington College, where he teaches courses on Chaucer, courtly love, Arthurian literature, the Bible, Greco-Roman mythology, and a full-semester course on the works of Tolkien. He’s obviously a huge Tolkien fan, and his tone while discussing Tolkien’s work is never less than ebullient, and there’s none of the self-indulgent twaddle you might fear from a lit prof. Instead he adheres to Tolkien’s own critical approach, as laid down in Tolkien’s seminal essay “On Fairy-Stories,” and takes the story seriously as a story, focusing on analyzing the characters and pointing out details and connections you might never have noticed before. He’s started out discussing The Hobbit, and is currently about halfway through the book. Check it out.
Here’s a really good free podcast for screenwriters — the Creative Screenwriting Magazine Podcast. Each episode features a long (one hour or so) interview with a different writer (or team). I’ve listened to about twenty of these now, and they’ve all been good. The host Jeff Goldsmith really seems to know what he’s talking about, and he asks substantive questions about writing process, breaking in, making deals, film production, etc., and the writers respond with really interesting, insightful, and often very funny answers. Stop wasting your time watching shallow interviews with airhead movie stars on late night talk shows and listen to this instead.
I just saw that Daniel Abraham’s story “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” is now online. This was one of my favorite stories that I read in my contributor’s copy of Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2008 (see “Save Me Plz”). “The Cambist and Lord Iron” originally appeared in John Klima’s anthology Logorrhea, which invited contributors to submit stories inspired by winning spelling bee words. For me, one measure of a great story is that it motivates you to recount the entire plot to people who haven’t read it. I’ve retold “The Cambist and Lord Iron” to several lucky people, including my mom. But I hadn’t gotten very far into my telling when she said, “You’ve told me this story before.” I declared that I hadn’t. She insisted that I had. I insisted that I hadn’t. She said, “Well, I’ve definitely heard this story before.” She then realized that my dad had read the story and that he had already retold the whole thing to her. So that’s how good this story is. Check it out.
ETA: There’s a podcast version as well.
Here are two terrific art-related documentaries that are definitely worth checking out. (If you have Netflix, both are available as instant downloads.)
My Kid Could Paint That starts out as the heartwarming story of a normal, likeable family who discover one day that their four-year-old daughter can paint brilliant works of abstract expressionism that sell for tens of thousands of dollars, and the little girl soon attracts major media attention. But midway through the film, the story takes a plunge down the rabbit hole, when a 20/20 investigation suggests that the little girl isn’t doing the paintings by herself, and that her father is either directing her or retouching her work. The filmmaker, who has become close to the family, doesn’t know what to believe, and he gradually loses faith as his attempts to capture on film the little girl painting something exceptional prove fruitless. But in the end he’s still not sure, and man, neither am I. The owner of the gallery who first displayed the girl’s paintings talks about the frustration he feels as a photo-realist painter who spends months on a piece — deploying the most exacting technique — as he watches canvases that consist of nothing more than a few splashes of paint selling for millions of dollars, and his glee at being able to prove to the art world that even a four-year-old could do it. The question of whether this little girl is a scam or not is therefore set against the larger question of whether abstract expressionism itself is a scam.