Having just finished a deadline assignment yesterday, I was especially sympathetic to Gaiman’s comment about journalism. As he told NPR’s Scott Simon:
“I was never a very good journalist, but I loved being a journalist, and I loved it because it taught me two really, really important things about writing. It taught me compression: If I was interviewing somebody, and I talked to them, and I’d wind up with 3,000 words, 4,000 words, and I’d need to get that down, I learned how to compress what they’d said while still keeping speech patterns, which became incredibly important later when I was writing comics. And even more important than that, I learned about deadlines.
“I do remember once, getting a phone call one evening from an editor, saying, ‘Your book review, it’s due in tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘No no no no no, it’s due in on Tuesday.’ And they said, ‘Yes, today is Monday.’ And I hadn’t written it, and I looked around the room and I couldn’t see the book. And I said, ‘What happens if I don’t get it in?’ And they said, ‘Well, then we’d have a blank page, and we’d have to run a little photograph of you, with your address and your telephone number that anybody could call up if they wanted to find out what that book was like.’ And that concentrated the mind wonderfully.”
We’ve invited Martin to take a quiz called Game of Trombones. Three questions about things that rhyme with thrones.
The show is produced in Chicago, where not long ago Sagal was helping Mo Ryan interview Martin at a Chicon 7 program item. Did I go home too early? Maybe the convention hasn’t ended! (Dave McCarty’s nightmare…)
Chicon 7’s Special Guest Peter Sagal has withdrawn from his Worldcon appearance due to conflicting professional commitments.
Peter Sagal is the host of National Public Radio’s weekly news quiz “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.”
Sagal will be filming a documentary overseas while Chicon 7 takes place. He apologized, saying “I’m heartbroken I won’t be able to attend my first Worldcon since 1980. As it happens, I’ll be in Reykjavik, or some other place less interesting than Chicago. I wish everybody all the best.”
Sagal made his debut on “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me” as a panelist in 1998 before becoming host of the show, which is broadcast from Chicago.
He has often identified himself on the radio as a science fiction fan. He attended Noreascon 3 (1989) and met his literary heroes, including Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl.
His other Chicagocentric credentials include recording the narration for a self-guided walking tour of the city’s famous Field Museum of Natural History (which my sister-in-law used to call “the stuffed animal museum.”)
NPR has winnowed thousands of suggestions for the best SF and fantasy ever written and posted a list of finalists for everyone to vote on. Participants get to vote for their top 10 favorites.
The balance of old classics and popular recent works is appropriate to one of these summertime radio countdowns, the kind where The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” ends up losing to the Number One Hit of three weeks ago. Will N. K. Jemison’s Inheritance Trilogy similarly run ahead of The Lensman Series and The Martian Chronicles?
There are lots of entries by other women, too — Lois McMaster Bujold, Ellen Kushner, Ursula K. LeGuin, Joanna Russ, Sheri S. Tepper, and Connie Willis to begin with. Margaret Atwood has books on the list because it’s the readers, not the writers, getting the final say about what is genre fiction. Surprisingly, J.K. Rowling is not a finalist — if that is explained someplace, I didn’t see it, although in the comments several people said the reason is that all YA books were excluded.
As for me, I’ll be happily clicking on Simak’s Way Station, Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, The Vorkosigan Saga, Doomsday Book and other favorites from a lifetime reading sf.
NPR had help from an expert panel of John Clute, Farah Mendelsohn and Gary K. Wolfe. Going by the not-exactly-infallible litmus test of whether everything I want to vote for is on the list I’d say they did a fine job.
CARL: “I am tired of these m-f’ing zombies in my m-f’ing White House!”
PETER: That was a slightly edited version of a quote from which world leader, in response to the zombie threat?
PETER: No, I’m sorry, it was Vice-President Joe Biden, who went, and we quote the vice-president again, “all Samuel L. Jackson on their asses.” President Obama, meanwhile, defended the West Wing with a functioning lightsaber that the Pentagon had apparently built for him in secret.