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On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, kick things off with a debate about cultural cringe, tall poppy syndrome, big girl pants and why all these elements may have contributed to a dearth of Australian content on this podcast of late. Things, they will be a changing. This episode of The Coode Street Podcast focusing on Australian Science Fiction is mentioned, as is Kirstyn's love of The Babadook, an Australian film about which she recently talked at length with Terry Frost on The Martian Drive-In Podcast.

The two novels up for dissection this episode are Hild by Nicola Griffith (12:30) and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (58:30).

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The reviews, blogs, podcasts and books mentioned during the discussion can be found via the following links:

If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:35:30 for final remarks.

For the next episode, Kirstyn has chosen The Bitterwood Bible by Angela Slatter while Ian is recommending How to be Both by Ali Smith. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

Listen Now:


On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, begin with a lengthy discussion about authors, reviewers, and fans in view of the rapidly changing dynamics of author/reader relationships and power structures in publishing. This was sparked off by an excellent and thoughtful essay, "Don't Attack Reviewers", written by Jonathan McCalmont and published on his Ruthless Culture blog. You should go off and read the entire essay. Seriously.

This two books up for critique this time are Dust Devil on a Quiet Street by Richard Bowes (beginning at 24:30) and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (1:03:10). During the discussion of the Fowler novel, this review by Dan Hartland is mentioned.

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If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, then it's safe to return at 1:38:50 for some brief final remarks.

The books that will be featured on the next episode are Hild by Nicola Griffith, chosen by Kirstyn, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which Ian has recommended. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

Listen Now:


On this episode of The Writer and the Critic, your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, begin by addressing listener feedback about high fantasy and narratives of power which followed on from the discussion at the end of the last episode recorded at Continuum 10. They would also like to draw your attention to some Links of Relevant Interest:

Ian then provides a brief but thoughtful (and spoiler-free) review of War Stories: Modern Military Science Fiction, a crowd-funded anthology edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, which he highly recommends.

The two books up for critique on this episode are We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad (beginning around 22:05) and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older (1:01:35).



The reviews and articles mentioned during the discussion can be found via the following links:

If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:53:05 for final remarks.

For the next episode, Kirstyn has chosen We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler while Ian is recommending Dust Devil on a Quiet Street by Richard Bowes. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

Listen Now:


This very special episode of The Writer and the Critic was recorded live at Continuum 10 -- the Melbourne speculative fiction and pop culture convention -- which this year doubled as the 53rd National Science Fiction Convention. In keeping with tradition, your hosts Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond have invited the convention's fabulous Guests of Honour, Jim C. Hines and Ambelin Kwaymullina, to come along and recommend a favourite book each for everyone to talk about.

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Minimum Safe Distance (photograph by Terry Frost)

After chatting with Ambelin and Jim about their current work, why they write the stories they do, matters of censorship and the problems which arise from writing within a culture which may or may not be your own, the discussion moves on to the novels at hand. Jim has picked The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (beginning around 22:15) while Ambelin has chosen The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (50:40).

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If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please listen in again from 1:15:15 mark for some energetic questions from the audience as well as final remarks.

Due to the new bimonthly schedule, the next episode of The Writer and the Critic will not air until August -- but it will be well worth the wait! Kirstyn and Ian have chosen to look at two recent speculative fiction anthologies which have sparked some discussion of late: We See a Different Frontier: A Postcolonial Speculative Fiction Anthology edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad, and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older.

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

Listen Now:


This month on The Writer and the Critic, your hosts Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond spend a few minutes chatting about their recent HUGO AWARD NOMINATION ... ahem ... and awards in general. Just a few minutes, we promise!

Instead of recommending books themselves this episode, Ian and Kirstyn have chosen to critique two novels which were honoured at the recent Aurealis Awards for excellence in Australian speculative fiction. The discussion begins with the winner of Best Science Fiction Novel, Lexicon by Max Barry (at 8:46 minutes), and continues with Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (49:30) which won Best Horror Novel and tied for Best Young Adult Novel.

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If you've skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at the 1:34:25 mark for some final remarks. (And a little bit of sad news.)

Next month, The Writer and the Critic will be recorded live at Continuum 10 -- the Melbourne speculative fiction and pop culture convention -- which this year is doubling as the 53rd National Science Fiction Convention. As has become traditional, their special guests for the podcast will be the convention's Guests of Honour, Jim C. Hines and Ambelin Kwaymullina, who will each be recommending a favourite book to talk about. Jim has picked The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu while Ambelin has chosen The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun! And if you'll be at Continuum X, we'd love to see you in the audience!

Listen Now:


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