In this podcast Scott Nicolay interviews Marc Laidlaw, author of White Spawn, and Alyssa Wong, author of ‘Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers’.
Interview with Marc Laidlaw
Marc Laidlaw, most recently published White Spawn (PS Publishing), but he’s been riding a long weird highway back to the late 70s. The conversation kicks off (0:00:50) by revisiting ‘400 Boys‘ (Omni, Nov. 1983) including direct and indirect influences from its DIY punk spirit to Popol Vuh (0:06:49), how it came close to being animated as part of a proposed Heavy Metal 3D movie, how it exemplifies Marc’s approach to writing that starts with building scaffolding and ends with blind trust, and oranges and plates of shrimp. Talk then turns to the importance of Omni magazine (0:14:46) both in launching Marc’s writing career and overall, allowing science fiction authors to reach broader audiences, Marc’s survival despite changing his voice radically from story to story (0:18:20), how writing computer games helped him learn to be “entertaining” and the fun of collaboration (0:23:59), caves and a reading recommendation from the late Michael Shea (0:32:45), as well as why everyone should be reading Shea, too. Next up, Marc discusses Neon Lotus (0:37:32), non-Western mythology in his works and his disdain for charlatanry and pseudoscience from Uri Geller to Erich von Däniken (0:39:39) and how tensions between skepticism and the unknown/’the magic element’ clash in The 37th Mandala (0:44:45), which he considers a horror novel and worries is dated as a “period piece,” but Scott believes is one of the best examples of the Weird in novel form. Some respect is then thrown to John Shirley (1:00:25), who might be the “only actual punk” who wrote cyberpunk before dialogue turns to White Spawn (1:05:30), keeping the reader ‘off-balance’ (1:14:29), the limits and occasional pros of theme anthologies, and when cosmic horror meets mainstream lit in works such as Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky (1:18:18). The interview closes with a reading from the first chapter of White Spawn (1:21:40), details on Marc’s upcoming reading at the KGB Bar in New York City, a look ahead (1:35:12) to what he is publishing next and working on now, and a fistful of reading recommendations (1:40:40) from Lavie Tidhar to Anna Tambour.
News From the Weird
(1:45:30) with Arkham Digest columnist/Strange Aeons fiction editor Justin ‘Steely J’ Steele: Special guest editor/publisher Farah Rose (1:46:57) talks about Mantid Magazine which is currently crowdfunding and accepting submissions for its second issue. In the news (1:52:50) recent book releases, news from Word Horde, Undertow Books, Dim Shores, the feast of collections coming out in 2016, Steely reviews (2:06:30) Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt (Shock Totem) and more.
Interview with Alyssa Wong
Alyssa Wong (2:18:55), fresh from her Nebula Award win for Best Short Story, “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” (Nightmare, Oct. 2015), talks about being the first Nebula Award nominee of Filipino descent and a historic year for the iconic SF awards for women writers (2:21:20), growing up with an interest in the macabre (2:23:30), digging into the roots of her award-winning story including problematic relationships with parents, children’s “warped sense of wonder,” and intense plotting (2:26:00), engaging Cormac MCarthy in a class setting and writing her first Weird Western/necromantic Cinderella story with ‘You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay’ (Uncanny Magazine) (2:32:00), learning to cook before writing and why “Hungry Daughters” is a great foodie story (2:40:00), experiencing friendliness and fun and ‘prom royalty’ at the Nebulas (2:45:00), struggling with strange powers and finding acceptance in relationships that continue beyond death in her stories such as “Scarecrow” (Black Static/Tor.com) (2:47:40), starting with the Weird, braiding live snakes together, and then going wild in stories that ‘bite you’ like ‘Santos de Sampaguitas’ (Strange Horizons) and ‘The Fisher Queen’ (F&SF) (her first Nebula nomination that confronts rape culture) (2:52:40), addressing her own experiences with racism and sexism in the spec-lit world (2:58:30), exploring her theater background and how it shapes her approach to prose including writing about “bodies” (3:02:00), writing the kinds of stories she likes to read especially ones that make readers cry and don’t follow rules as well as being inherently intersectional as a position of power (3:08:10), expressing her passion and the need for the Women/Queers/People of Color Destroy SF/F/H series from Lightspeed/Nightmare/Fantasy magazines (3:13:30), taking readers to Flavortown (3:22:46) The interview closes with details on Alyssa upcoming KGB Bar reading with Laird Barron on Sept. 21 (3:29:43), what’s next fiction-wise for her (3:32:58), a reading “taste” of “Hungry Daughters” (3:38:25), and her reading recommendations (3:46:30).
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Marc Laidlaw interview
Marc’s Recommended Authors
Alyssa Wong interview
Alyssa’s Recommended Authors
Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay
Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele
Associate Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin
Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker
Music: Michael Griffin