Reading the End Bookcast, Ep. 86: How to Love Your Authors, Plus John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War

What time is it? SHOW TIME. It’s Wednesday, and I double-posted but not because I don’t love you; just because it’s really important to me to give Milky Collins his due. This week, we were honored to be joined by the wonderful Renay of Fangirl Happy Hour and Lady Business. We updated her on our progress with her SF Starter Pack, chatted about what we do when we find an author we truly adore, and discussed John Scalzi’s SF classic Old Man’s War.

You can listen using the embedded player below or download the file directly here to take with you on the go.

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Here are the time signatures, if you want to skip around:

1:45 – What we’re reading
8:47 – SEA OR SPACE
10:24 – What comes next when we fall in love with an author
29:55 – SF starter pack update
35:23 – Old Man’s War, John Scalzi
47:35 – Choose Your Own Adventure
54:58 – What We’re Reading Next Time!

Books and Links

One Piece, Eiichiro Oda
Here’s Renay’s One Piece readalong!
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, Ari Berman
A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers
Wilkie Collins, Andrew Lycett
and watching Black Sails, the greatest show of our time
Here’s the Rec Center’s primer on Black Sails!
The Kairos Mechanism, Kate Milford (author of The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands)
The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie
October Daye books, Seanan Maguire (the first one is Rosemary and Rue)
The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
the Company series, Kage Baker (the first one is In the Garden of Iden)
Here’s the Neil Gaiman post about visiting Alabama!
White Tears, Hari Kunzru
Gods without Men, Hari Kunzru
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, Benjamin Alire Saenz
Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Saenz
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
Affinity, Sarah Waters
Night Watch, Sarah Waters
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
Binti: Home, Nnedi Okorafor
Larklight, Philip Reeve
Star Crossed, Philip Reeve
Mars Evacuees, Sophia McDougall
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The People in the Trees, Hanya Yanagihara
Old Man’s War, John Scalzi

Should you wish to play Whiskey Jenny’s Choose Your Own Adventure game, you can do so here.

Get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads, as well as Ashley. Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Theme song by: Jessie Barbour

Justice for Kenny: A Links Round-Up

Okay, I don’t actually have a link about Kenny, my favorite contestant on this season of The Bachelorette, but I will tell you that there is some racist shit going down on this season, and it is not fun to watch, it’s upsetting. ABC is a tire fire. What else is new.

Roxane Gay’s series “World of Wakanda” was canceled — as usual, because Marvel calculates sales in the stupidest way possible and doesn’t give its new series and new authors the support they need and enough time to find their audience. Swapna Krishna discusses this nonsense.

I still haven’t watched Handmaid’s Tale and I don’t plan to because I can’t face it, but I can’t stop linking to Angelica Jade Bastien’s work so HERE: Have her close-read of the racial politics (and erasure of people of color) of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Joss Whedon’s proposed Wonder Woman script got released online and it is, uh, not great, Bob. Here is a Twitter thread for your enjoyment. Here is another one. What the ffffff.1

I don’t know if y’all know about my intense love of good celebrity profiles, but here’s a Vogue profile of Zendaya that made me DAMMIT sort of want to see new Spiderman.

This is a story about a raccoon.

Sonia Soraiya watched that Alex Jones interview so you don’t have to.

Tor.com’s free ebook for the month of June is John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which was on the list of SF recs I got from Renay! Get your copy today if you sign up for their newsletter!

Guess who has a new book out in October! It’s John Green! I am sure the book will be good, but I also don’t want to read all the Hot Takes about fanfiction by people who think John Green invented it.

Have a great weekend, friends. I’ll see you back here on Monday.

  1. Do I feel sorry for Joss Whedon for having his unedited work posted publicly and viciously picked over? Like, kind of? But also, he’s a crazy successful film person who talks constantly about being a feminist but whose feminism appears not to have evolved since the 90s even though lots of things have been written and said and done since then. So my answer is that I’d feel sorrier for him getting dragged over his portrayal of ladies if he’d portray ladies better.

Review: Lock In, John Scalzi

Every new year I intend to read more science fiction, and every year I don’t do it. (This year though! This year could be the year!) The type of science fiction that gets me every time is the near-future type: With these differences from our current situation, and advancing just a few years into the future, what adaptations would we have made? With these crucial additions or subtractions, what would being human look like?

Lock In is a book like this, though it’s also a murder mystery. Agent Chris Shane, FBI, is the scion of a wealthy activist family and a survivor of a flu that left a small percentage of its victims (including Chris) “locked in” to their bodies — fully aware of their surroundings, but unable to move or communicate. This is called Haden’s syndrome, and elaborate robotic bodies, controlled by the minds of the Haden’s sufferers, have been developed to permit the locked-in population to live something like a regular life.

Scalzi obviously has so many ideas about what this world (ours, but with robots) is like. He touches on issues of disability, identity politics, government funding, bodily integrity, and a ton of other things, some of which necessarily get short shrift. But you get the idea that you could pull pretty hard on any of the many threads without making the story unravel. If the characters aren’t particularly well-developed, the ideas are more than enough to carry the story along.

The author’s also doing something rather cool with the identity of the protagonist, which I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an author try before. The book doesn’t draw attention to it, which saves it from gimmickry, and it’s clear from the reviews that many readers made it through the whole book without noticing that they lack certain information about Chris Shane. If it hadn’t been mentioned to me before I started reading, I can’t swear that I’d have noticed myself. It won’t make the difference to whether you love the book or hate it. It is just interesting.

Either way — notice or don’t notice — Lock In remains a tightly plotted mystery with only one really serious coincidence and lots of very cool ideas about the world of Twenty Minutes into the Future. And it made me want to hunt down Redshirts.

Other readers, did you notice the thing? Did it make you feel weirdly fond of John Scalzi, or did you think it was a weird and pointless exercise like the time that guy wrote that whole book without the letter E? Or both?