Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas explored in HG Wells’ novella, published in 1895, in which the Time Traveller moves forward to 802,701 AD. There he finds humanity has evolved into the Eloi and Morlocks, where the Eloi are small but leisured fruitarians and the Morlocks live below ground, carry out the work and have a different diet. Escaping the Morlocks, he travels millions of years into the future, where the environment no longer supports humanity.
Tagged with “literature” (17)
In this episode John and Elizabeth sit down with Brandeis string theorist Albion Lawrence to discuss cooperation versus solitary study across disciplines. They sink their teeth into the question, “Why do scientists seem to do collaboration and teamwork better than other kinds of scholars and academics?” The conversation ranges from the merits of collective biography…
Reporter Andrew Leland has always loved to read. An early love of books in childhood eventually led to a job in publishing with McSweeney’s, where Andrew edited essays and interviews, laid out articles, and was trained to take as much care with the look and feel of the words as he did with the expression of the ideas in the text. But as much as Andrew loves print, he has a condition that will eventually change his relationship to it pretty radically. He’s going blind. And this fact has made him deeply curious about how blind people experience literature.
This episode of Backlisted was recorded at the Port Eliot Festival. Andy and John are joined by writer and critic, Suzi Feay, TV and radio critic for the Financial Times and Billy Bragg, singer, songwriter and activist and author of The Progressive Patriot and Roots, Radicals & Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World. The book they are discussing is The Lion & the Unicorn: Socialism & the English Genius, first published as a pamphlet by Secker & Warburg in 1941. The podcast ends with a spontaneous singing of Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ – ‘England’s real national anthem’ - led by Billy Bragg.
Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.
Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.
Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood
“Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin
“All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood
Science fiction and fantasy have gone from the sidelines to the mainstream. We bring you a live conversation between two of the field’s living legends, George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire,” adapted for television as Game of Thrones, the Wild Card series) and Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140, the Mars trilogy), discussing their careers, the history of fantastic literature, and how it shapes our imagination. They came to the Clarke Center in support of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (clarion.ucsd.edu), the premiere training and proving ground for emerging writers, which the Clarke Center organizes each summer with the Clarion Foundation.
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Sci-fi and fantasy stories "can short-circuit our assumptions about the world around us," says author Ann Leckie.
The final Book Talk podcast of 2012 features a timely discussion of J.R.R Tolkien’s worldwide bestselling favourite The Hobbit, coinciding with the release of the first in Peter Jackson’s series of big-budget film adaptations of the novel.
Paul Gallagher is joined by Edd McCracken of Book Riot, Hollyrood High School librarian Rachel McCabe and two high school pupils, Juliette and Michael, to get into a wide-ranging discussion of the fantasy classic. With each of their Hobbit experiences being different - some having read it many times since childhood, some just reading it for the first time for this podcast - their reactions offer a great cross-section of opinions!
This special edition of Book Talk features three interviews recorded on location at Edinburgh International Book Festival last month.
Kate Summerscale, author of the phenomenally successful The Suspicions of Mr Whicher discusses the results of her success and her new book, another fascinating piece of historical non-fiction, Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace.
Angelmaker author Nick Harkaway talks about how being the son of John Le Carre meant being raised in ‘a house full of stories’, as well as going into detail about his own fiction writing.
Lastly, debut novelist Natasha Soobramanien explains her fascination with islands and describes how years of life experience shaped her novel Genie and Paul.
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