Gaiman Interview on NPR

NPR posted excerpts from an on-air interview with Neil Gaiman in “Gaiman’s New ‘Ocean’ Is No Kiddie Pool”, plus a link to the full podcast.

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.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Chicon 7 Still Going On?

Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin appeared on Peter Sagal’s NPR game show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me today.

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 Loses Sagal

Chicon 7’s Special Guest Peter Sagal has withdrawn from his Worldcon appearance due to conflicting professional commitments.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.”

The full press release follows the jump.

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Peter Sagal Added as Chicon 7 Special Guest

Peter Sagal, the host of National Public Radio’s irreverent weekly news quiz “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me”, will be a Special Guest at Chicon 7.
Sagal has

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.”)

The full press release follows the jump.

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Gaiman on “Wait, Wait” TV Special

Neil Gaiman will be a guest on the television debut of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. Its “2011 Year in Review” special airs December 23 at 8 p.m. on BBC America.  

Show mainstays, host Peter Sagal, official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell, and frequent panelists Paula Poundstone and Alonzo Bodden all join the fun, says The Hollywood Reporter.

NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! reaches 3.2 million listeners weekly, who will get to hear “2011 Year in Review” on NPR stations December 24 and 25.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Results of NPR Top 100 SF&F Survey

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien finished atop of NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey. Over 60,000 voters participated. Coming in second and third were Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

The three highest-ranking works by women were Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, #20, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, #22, and Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, #33.

Ray Bradbury had four books make the list, the most popular being Fahrenheit 451, #7. The leading Heinlein novel among his three on the list was Stranger in a Strange Land at #17.

And oh, yes, Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, #93, ran ahead of Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, #97. I’ll have to ask if Jo Walton is willing to go two falls out of three…

Something Else to Vote For

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.

[Thanks to Michael Walsh for the link.]

Wait, Wait Slash

Even the official “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” blog loves this fan fiction about an episode of the NPR quiz show set during a zombie apocalypse, titled “Wait Wait Don’t Eat Me!”

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?

STEVE: Brains?

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.

[Via James Hay.]