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Syndication

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I am Clay Dugger, The Podcast Cowboy, and I want to welcome you to the fifth episode of Watching the Skies:From “Who Goes There?” to “The Thing”.

This five episode mini-series will explore “Who Goes There?”, the wonderful story by John W. Campbell, Jr., and all the great entertainment that it has spawned.

In this episode, I am joined by my new friend, author Peter Watts. He and I discuss his short story, Hugo Award nominated “The Things”.

Peter is the author of 5 novels and various short stories and collections. He is also a Marine Mammal Biologist.

The podcast I have with my wife, “This and That with Him and Her (and sometimes It)”, can be found on the Chronic Rift Network. Go to http://chronicrift.com.

You can find my audio adaptation of “Who Goes There?” at http://mustbenicestudios.podomatic.com.

Comment on the episode here or write john@chronicrift.com. Take a moment to rate the episode by using our star system at the bottom of this entry.

 



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Peter Watts is generally a lot more optimistic than you might expect, considering.

He has spent much of his adult life trying to decide whether to be a writer or a scientist, ending up as a marginal hybrid of both. He's won a handful of awards in fields as diverse as marine mammal science, video documentary, and science fiction. These accolades have not gone to his head since they never involved a lot of cash.

He spent ten years getting a bunch of degrees in the ecophysiology of marine mammals (how's that for unbridled optimism), and another ten trying make a living on those qualifications without becoming a whore for special-interest groups. This proved somewhat tougher that it looked; throughout the nineties he was paid by the animal welfare movement to defend marine mammals; by the US fishing industry to sell them out; and by the Canadian government to ignore them. He eventually decided that since he was fictionalising science anyway, he might as well add some characters and plot and try selling to a wider market than the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

His success has been, shall we say, mixed. His first novel, Starfish, netted a "Notable Book of the Year" nod from the New York Times, an honorable mention for John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and rejections from both German and Russian publishing houses on the grounds that it was "too dark". (Being considered too dark for the Russians remains one of Watts's proudest accomplishments, although he remains puzzled by the translation of his book into Italian.) This also marked the beginning of a diffuse cult following of angst-ridden blogging teenaged girls who identified with Starfish's central character.

Starfish was universally praised for its evocation of the deep-sea environment; the applause for its rendering of the surface world was somewhat more muted. The sequel, Maelstrom (2001, Tor), takes place almost entirely on land: it therefore avoids the elements that readers most loved about the first book, replacing them with a sprawling entropic dystopia in which Sylvia Plath might have felt at home, if Sylvia Plath had had a graduate degree in evolutionary biology. The critical response was generally as positive as it was for Starfish, which may come as a surprize to those who've noted a virtual absence of laudatory quotes on the paperback edition (someone fucked up in Production); both books received starred reviews from Booklist, and Maelstrom may mark the first time that the NY Times used the terms "exhilarating" and "deeply paranoid" to describe the same novel. Maelstrom's release did, however, mark the end of a diffuse cult following of angst-ridden blogging teenage girls who identified with Starfish's central character.

Behemoth, the concluding volume of what had inadvertently become the "Rifters Trilogy", was released by Tor Books in two volumes for industrial-policy reasons that Watts understands even though he still thinks they suck the one-eyed purple trouser eel. Even bisected, and notwithstanding a certain inevitable sense of been-there-done-that, Behemoth garnered a fair bit of critical praise (another NYT rave, starred review from Publisher's Weekly— just check out the damn blurbs page), although more squeamish reviewers grumbled that Watts had gone too far with this whole sexual sadism thing. Commercially, it tanked.

Watts' latest book, Blindsight (Tor 2006) might be best described as a literary first-contact novel exploring the nature and evolutionary significance of consciousness, with space vampires. Astonishingly, and against all expectations, it did not tank. In fact it survived rejection from half a dozen publishers, a miniscule initial print run, zero preorders from one of the continent's largest book retail chains, an absence of relevant blurbs on an otherwise questionable cover design, and a suicidal Hail-Mary act of desperation in which its author gave the whole thing away for free online under a Creative Commons license. As of this writing Blindsight is in its fourth hardcover printing, is being translated into several languages (including— at long last— German and Russian), and made the final ballot for the Hugo, John W. Campbell, Sunburst, Locus, and Aurora awards, winning exactly zero of them.

A collection of Watts's short fiction is available in obscure magazines and anthologies or bundled together into a thick pamphlet called Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes, from Edge/Tesseract Books.

Direct download: wts-5-the-things1.mp3
Category:Watching the Skies -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT
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Anthony C. Ferrante, the man at the eye of the SHARKNADO storm (like a doll’s eye), joins us for a whirlwind G2V EXCLUSIVE interview that looks at the SHARKNADO phenomenon, the making of the first movie and the sequel SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE (debuting on the Syfy channel July 30!), the musical contributions to the franchise from the band Quint, and his career as film maker and storyteller. Embrace the ‘Nado with The G2V Guys in this episode, hear some of the music from the new film, and watch out – there’s a storm coming!

Music from Quint – Courtesy of Anthony C. Ferrante

Acknowledgement to SyFy and ABC for use of brief clips. No infringement intended.As always, we welcome all feedback at contact@g2vpodcast.com or on our Facebook page!

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SHOW LINKS:

Sharknado 2: The Second One (Official Trailer)

(The Ballad of) Sharknado – Quint (Music Video)

Sharknado (Amazon)


Direct download: G2VS2E22071014.mp3
Category:G2V Podcast -- posted at: 6:37am EDT
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