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”…

show #270: deepfake with sarah darer littman

manipulated facial images – moving images most of them – synced to realistic audio and shared widely everywhere on social media: promise or peril? well if it is van gogh style art generated by a machine or elon musk looking like nicholas cage … … or arnold turning stallone in “terminator” … … it may…

show #269: ken liu is back and we go deep

ken liu is back in the house but this time we dive much deeper into his work since he did not have to share the stage with any one else [other than a sculpture made by silas merlin]. enjoy a deep dive into the stories of “the hidden girl”, discussions around serious writer’s block and…

show 268: daniel kraus and the living dead

daniel kraus has dedicated his life to enjoying and studying the work of george a. romero from a very early age and shortly after romero passed away in 2017 kraus got the gig of a lifetime: romero’s widow suzanne asked him to finish the draft of a novel about the living dead. a brand-new story,…

show 267: fantasy literature = books vs tv?

the provocative dualistic title of today’s show is chosen to maximize roi [return on investment] on internet searches of course. but fear not: within the one hour + discussion there is much more wisdom from fran wilde, rj barker and tad williams on the role and impact, the craft and joy of reading and writing…

show 266: cosmic horror with premee mohamed

writer premee mohamed is our guest today. her novel “beneath the rising” follows two young protagonists who travel from canada to tunisia and iraq in search of magic to combat unspeakable horrors from another dimension that try to crawl back into power to dominate our planet and no: this book is not a transcript of…

show #265: mcauley & brown on dystopia [aka the present]

yes indeed: a meeting of great minds met at the sl book club last wednesday: prolific author of many books and stories paul mcauley and [relative!!!] newcomer christopher brown shared the stage and we talked about clifi, clint & coping with present day reality [see what i did there?] enjoy a conversation and a reading…

show #264: australia reads

a wonderful panel of australian writers mingled with readers at the second life book club last wednesday or possibly thursday [depending on where you are in the physical realm]. enjoy a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation about the local scene in oz, ya narratives incorporating neurodiversity, cli-fi, dystopia and philosophy in the garden, within martial arts…

show #263: peter watts is fully conscious !

sci-fi author peter watts aka squidnapper in sl was guest on the book club and we went full on intellectual on the show [finally!]: what is life, what is consciousness. what is a chinese room? the quality of the discourse on today’s show is evidenced by flying saucers and ray guns as documented by audience…

show #262: matt ruff naming names

matt ruff was guest on the sl book club before and since he is also a veteran of the short-lived #draxtorreads series in sansar [is that thing still around?], i had to come up with yet another show title … sigh … how do these writers do it? maybe they come up with alt titles? despite…

show #261: writers of color

the most global book club yet from sl17b: guests with diverse ethnic origin from syria, the uk, north america and india, discussing what the term “writers of color” means for their specific experience as a writer. enjoy: more to devour below: the original live-stream the horror noire documentary drax mentioned: samit basu [“chosen spirits”] and…