show #320: brothers in blood with amer anwar

amer anwar is guest on the book club today. his debut novel “brothers in blood” tells the story best friends zaq and jags who get sucked into a violent conspiracy in their south asian immigrant neighborhood of southall [a suburb in the west of london]. very cool fast-paced and excellently plotted “escapist” thriller fare, which…

show #319: angela meyer & laura jean mckay

Two authors this week: one writing about a narcissistic man from the future, hijacking the mind of a woman from the 1860s [and they both can’t handle it …] & the other author depicting a world where humans can communicate with animals [and by and large humanity can’t handle it!]. enjoy a fabulous conversation [which…

show #318: a few pints at skyward inn

aliya whiteley has written a wonderfully strange novel about human/alien relationships, centered around a pub and a mysterious drink called “jarrowbrew” that facilitates becoming one with our past and our future, maybe – if you drink enough of the stuff – it is even able to collapse geographies? ….. incredible how aliya was able to…

show #317: literary horror with alan baxter

finally a horror writer on the show today [well we had daniel kraus last year but this is 2021 after all]: alan baxter, coming to us from australia. what a craftsman, what an inspiration. since i spent my youth with conan and horror, i abandoned the genre for a while to catch up with thomas…

show #316: boy, everywhere!

today on the show am dassu with a wonderful book for upper middle grades: “boy, everywhere” tells the story of syrian teenager sami, who flees damascus in search for a peaceful place, where no bombs threaten him and his family, a place where his 5-year old sister may get well after experiencing major trauma. the…

show #315: analog/virtual

lavanya laksminarayan has written a stunning debut: “analog/virtual” depicts apex city, built on the ruins of bangalore, a city state, tightly controlled with zones for virtuals [the affluent with access to everything] and the analog [the poor, scraping by on the leftovers of tech and everything else]. the book/world has overtones of kafka and vonnegut,…

show #314: alex and awais walk into a bookstore …

two very different authors on the show today, from different parts of the world which is reflected in their works: good friends a.a.chaudhuri and awais khan are presenting their work today. one novel a deep exploration of the classist society of pakistan and the other an investigation into the depraved world of a serial killer,…

show #313: dominion: african speculative fiction rules!

finally a talk about speculative fiction coming from africa and the african diaspora all over the world. oghenechovwe donald ekpeki and zelda knight are talking “dominion” which is their anthology of fantastic stories (and one poem too!), we dive into the dominance and conflation of african-american writing plus a look into the indie publishing business….

show #312: the lucky galah

just a quick post today, highlighting a normal length show about an extraordinary book by tracy sorensen. “the lucky galah” depicts australian life in the 60s, narrated by a galah [yes that is this pink grey cockatoo bird, plentiful on the island!] who is capable of tuning into human frequencies … in more ways than…

show #311: from moxy to afterland

lauren beukes was our guest today to discuss her latest novel “afterland” [careful: it has a pandemic in it and almost all men are dead from that fictional virus!] lauren is no stranger to virtual worlds [she arguably merged the cuteness of animal crossing with the ruthless narcissism of some visitors to a second life…

show #310: nights when nothing happened

simon han‘s exceptional debut “nights when nothing happened” about a chinese family coming to the the american suburb of plano, texas was the topic of discussion on the book club this week. alienation, fear, roles and expectations of parents and children within the family unit, assimilating and retaining the self, whatever that is: a tight…

show #309: roseanne a. brown on magic & representation

roseanne a. brown‘s debut novel “a song of wraith and ruin” is a wonderfully rich fantasy novel, a celebration of storytelling as means to preserve cultural memory. written for young folks, but thoroughly enjoyed by at least one adult [me!], it combines bits of west-african folklore tradition with a nod to sprawling epics like “lord…

show #308: nietzsche and lars go to an asda in norwich …

what utter horror: we spent this week’s book club inside a classroom with a “no exit” sign on the only door, surrounded by cardboard cut-out suburban houses with happy people [also made of primwood!], big chain stores [asda anyone?], all watched over by the übermensch on the roof & a stoner metal band in the…

show #307: wayne santos makes cyberpunk magic [again!]

wanye santos‘ debut novel “the chimera code” is a powerful and unique contribution to the cyberpunk genre which gained steam – in the literary world – with william gibson’s “neuromancer”. on the second life book club we [or ruby rather!] built a set that pays homage to the the master william and welcomes the disciple…

show #306: jonathan lethem enters yet another world!

jonathan lethem in the house, again, as yellow duck [as we find out the reason is hidden in plain sight of his story “forever, said the duck” from “the wall of the sky, the wall of the eye”]. we discuss “they live”, the great 80s movie by marxist scholar john carpenter, we find out about…

show #305: wendy, darling & the dark side of peter pan

a.c. wise has written a sequel of sorts to j.m. barrie’s “peter pan” and it dives deep into the darker side of, well: child’s play i guess? miss wise was kind enough to be as patient as a corgi [her avatar of choice] with us childish second lifers, vying for her attention and of course…

show #304: nino cipri and the ikea from hell

nino cipri is an author with a sprawling imagination: their short story collection “homesick” is bursting with nutty premises and colorful worlds but “finna” and the brandnew sequel “defekt” take it up a notch by presenting litenvärld aka your neighborhood ikea from hell, where the multiverse is real, sucking up customers while the occasional mean-spirited…

show #303: sam j. miller on the power of stories & activism

sam j. miller writes magical fiction, situated firmly in the “real” world of gentrified cities, exploitation of labor, depicting the immoral dominance of capital, hell bent on extracting value no matter what and shining a light on the plight of the poor, addicted and struggling in his hometown of hudson, ny, as well as in…

show #302: a strange chicken named rg penner talks labour?

rg penner is a debut author who wrote tons of fantastical short stories, a few wacky and deep novels, edited the big echo criticial science fiction blog of stories and interviews. how come? well he was and is william squirrell but for today’s show he is a chicken and “strange labour” is on the menu:…

show #301: jolts in a s***storm san soleil w. f.sdrigotti

fernando sdrigotti is our guest today. chris marker fan, hater of progressive rock [allegedly!!!], lover of minor literatur[s] and master of synthesizing complex thoughts in short stories that just 100% nail the experience we all share, not only since social media started to dominate everything: a sense of being in and out of place and…

show #300: a clockwork doll to imagine a better world

our guest today is elsa isaacs with expressed permission from one nika thought-werk to answer questions about this amazing adventurer, a porcelain doll containing an intricate clockwork inside of her, abandonded by her maker, accompanied by a sheep called “postage”, out there, exploring a world of danger and wonder alike … what a treat to…

show #299: simon the bot goes to hollywood!

simon stephenson was the very first author who contacted us at the sl book club and i was not aware of his work, shame on me. “set my heart to five” is such a wonderful and original take on the well-known “robot seeks feelings” genre … well actually: i don’t think there is such a…

show #298: talking the tainted with cauvery madhavan

cauvery madhavan‘s book “the tainted” is a story of tragic love set against the struggle for independence in ireland as well as india in the early 20th century. it skips a bunch of decades and a generation or two and resumes in the 1980s to conclude in the most heart-wrenching way drax could envision. and…

show #297: writing as a second lifer

a panel of 4 published authors that are also active second life residents: jessika jenvieve, lori alden holuta, first time novelist ana valladares rubi also known as ruby geek in our circles and of course r. jacques aka gospeedraser. that is what is on the menu today: a talk about world building, marketing, craft, inspiration,…

show #296: the parliament crew rocks the house

the indie publisher the parliament house press bills itself via their website as a place where authors are helped to produce “brilliantly bizzare” stories and i have to agree after devouring 3 books from their vast catalogue. i had no idea what they were about, what style, genre, subject matter. and it felt incredibly good,…

show #295: eliot peper ponders the big questions

eliot peper came to “town” [or the club?] to discuss his analog trilogy [bandwidth, borderless and breach]. in a bit over 60 minutes we of course could only scratch the surface of the intersection of big ideas in fiction and imagining them being applied to the “real world”. enjoy the conversation with this profilic and…

show #294: courttia newland enters the ark

courttia newland appeared on my radar via twitter recommendation and i could not believe that his ouevre [books, tv work, plays] had escaped me prior? maybe it was good to start with the super ambitious “a river called time” and then work backwards because sprawling, unapologetically non-compliant to genre expectations, epic, time/identiy/history challenging narrative is…

show #293: sharanya manivannan

a poet, a novelist, a short story writer, an author of so many wonderful words and sentences and paragraphs that become coherent in their chosen form, including children’s books and a newspaper column that unearths wisdom even in somewhat pedestrian topics such as road closures. sharanya manivannan is on the show today and her language…

show #292: julie novakova on robots, transhumanism & loving pan tau

today on the show czech writer julie novakova, prolific crafter of short stories, novels in her native language, translations from czech into english of amazing talent from her home country, mother, scientist, advocate of educational outreach and most importantly = a connossieur of pan tau. not sure who mr. tau is? want to learn more…

show #291: heidi james tells of mothers …

today on the show: heidi james. and yes: i discovered her via twitter. as much as i despise algorithmically driven “social” media, i have to say it works in the sense of “you have ordered from influx press before, you may like bluemoose books & specifically heidi because her fictional mothers are quite evil!” so…

show #290: samit basu is the duck of anti-dystopia

samit basu is on the show today. he has a thing for ducks although he really does not know why but at least he knows how to write awesome speculative fiction that is relevant to the current moment in indian society, comic books and bollywood movie scripts …. enjoy: and now read and educate yourself…

show #289: planetbreaking lovecraft beats with nick et al

prolific writer and editor nick mamatas is on the show today. we have readings, performed by otherworldly entities, we discuss craft and process and we devise a plan how to deal with “problematic” authors … ok, racist authors and one in particular whose work has changed popular culture forever. nick has just released an anthology…

show #288: happy bookish 2021

it was the last book club in 2020 and the community came together to say farewell to a tough one all the while celebrating the wonderful art of the written word. enjoy the conversation featuring some community voices and “vip” guests who dropped in plus a look at the amazing gallery of floating books built…

show #287: anna vaught is saving the famished …

anna vaught is a writer, poet, educator and mental health activist. her prose is exquisite and her “saving lucia” [to mr. drax anyway] is an ode to imagination. locked up and forgotten in a mental asylum in the 1950s, a group of women embark around lady violet gibson [who tried to kill italian fascist leader…

show #286: the magnificent jeffrey ford is here

jeffrey ford has won tons of awards and his work has been translated into over 20 languages. jeffrey teaches, questions his own talent, is funny as heck and his stories are just boiling over with good prose and imagination. draxtor is appaled that this man is not a household name in germany so the agenda…

show #285: social media, women, the internet and all the [ar]rest

joanne mcneil – author of “lurking” – suggested this panel and it was a wonderful one: claire l. evans with a history of women who worked on the foundation of the internet and continue to shape it , a deep critique of the attention economy by jenny odell and a delicious satire of dystopian tropes…

show #284: when all is said …

anne griffin‘s “when all is said” is a powerful meditation on the nature of the beauty and pain of human existence: a 84-year old irish man who came to riches from his poor farming background reflects on opportunities missed, mistakes made, relationships cherished and lost and all the obsessive grudges that he now realizes drove…

show #283: dipping toes into south asian spec fic & loving it!

today two writers from south asia, also friends and colleagues as well as warriors in the battle for acceptance by the indian/sri lankan publishing world for the great talent that they are plus for respect of the genre they choose to “dabble” in: yudhanja wijeratne and indrapramit das write fascinating speculative fiction, scifi, fantastical sprawling…

show #282: patricia murphy on ireland in rl & our imagination

patricia murphy writes about the history of ireland [her books are published in the “hands on history” series by poolbeg] and she does not shy away from “exposing” her young readers to the violent past of their country. the long and ongoing struggle for irish independence is told through diaries of teenagers who are in…

show #281: jules rivera ruins graphic novels [not!]

we learned a lot about jules rivera this last book club [and we also learned what a neckbeard is btw!] …. … however the most important information shared was that she does not want to be called an artist because at parties that opens a can of worms. her preferred label is sequential illustrator is…

show #280: the charmed life of … molly flatt …

molly flatt is in the house, author, journalist, editor at the bookseller, she brought an umbrella, a spectacularly ambitious, genre-defying and quite magical debut novel and a lot of opinions on publishing, creativity and everything else. even a short crash of second life did not stop the conversation so prepare for plenty food for thought…

show #279: wow to live safely in … charles yu’s head?

i discovered a new writer and he is not that new but i am very slow and my to-read stack still contains tons of mandatory german classics my late mother has forced on me, way back during my teen years … [wish i had a time machine to mark those as read] ok the last…

show #278: attack surface: a reckoning …

author and activist cory doctorow is back with a grand new book and he is also back in second life! as some audience members during the book club stream observed: his account aka rez day is from 2005 …. … however he got a make over, courtesy of book club staff. but that is not…

show #277: a centaur & a mermaid walk into a book club …

a wonderful show [and i know i say this every week!] with two non-humanoid creatures at the second life book club: katharine duckett as centaur and chana porter as mermaid. both women are [debut novelists and] great writers. they are also involved with the octavia project which utilizes the imaginative forces of science fiction to…

show #276: joe haldeman is back ! ! !

it is living legend, grandmaster of scifi, prolific – yet retired – teacher, painter, writer joe haldeman and he is back in virtual world reality [you recall he was in sansar before don’t you?] & we dive deep into all aspects of his creative life! enjoy the conversation: more to read and look at below…

show #275: margi preus talks village of scoundrels

margi preus is guest on the show today. the taping with her from wednesday’s second life book club covers many aspects of her work for young adults but specifically the current novel “village of scoundrels” set in nazi-occupied europe and could not be more timely! enjoy: and now for more context: the original live stream…

show #274: will wiles & the search for authenticity

will wiles is in the house. his books, starting with his debut “care of wooden floors” in 2012, deal with – among many other themes – our longing for authenticity in a world of increasing homogenous conformity. will’s stories reveal the the horror of everyday tasks like caring for someone else’s cats or trying to…

show #273: talking clifi with cat sparks & james bradley

two australian authors on the show today: cat sparks and james bradley, both dealing in their fiction with the climate crises [yes, the one that should have us most definitely a bit more concerned than most mainstream media reporting suggests, especially in regards to humans accelerating it and the impact it has on our as…

show #272: settling the stars with fred nadis

fred nadis is a journalist and author who set out to settle the score [in book form] on how the stars were envisioned to be settled back in the late 19th century and contextualize for us the efforts of future space colonization so we can all finally settle down. now: do i get props for…

show #271: larry niven in [glorious] conversation

what a day: guest on the book club was larry niven, inventor of “ringworld” and as of quite recently a similar world based on a dyson sphere: “glorious”, co-written with gregory benford came out in june this year and concludes the “bowl of heaven” trilogy. are you in for a motie avatar who rejects “soft”…