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Episode 134 of Speculate!–Ken Liu Novel Review (The Grace of Kings)

Welcome to Episode 134 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of multiple Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning author Ken Liu, focusing on his debut novel, The Grace of Kings.  Ken’s reputation speaks for itself, and as we discuss in this show, it’s easy to see in his character creation and worldbuilding how he’s earned that reputation…to say nothing of his grasp of Chinese history and politics (and airships!) which are so often in evidence in the book.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview the author himself (a conversation we’re really looking forward to) about the process of writing The Grace of Kings.  And if you haven’t already, please check out our Patreon and consider becoming a patron so we can continue to bring you analysis of the best authors, editors and artists in speculative fiction.  Thanks for supporting us here and via our Patreon page, and thanks as always for listening to and spreading the word about the show!

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Episode 130 of Speculate!–China Mieville Novel Review (The City and the City)

Welcome to Episode 130 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we tackle China Mieville‘s The City and the City with Tor.com‘s commissioning editor and Rocket Talk‘s co-host Justin Landon, looking at what makes the 2010 Hugo winner such a compelling read.  We consider the role of space, spaces, and the ways we intentionally and unintentionally breach them, the nature of political agency and intention, and what makes a speculative fiction work truly speculative…and what The City and the City does in all of these areas.  If you like what you hear, make sure to support our Patreon so you can get access to our writing technique show next week, when we’ll discuss some of the specific ways Mieville produces the effects he does in his novel.  Thanks for supporting us here and via our Patreon page, and thanks as always for listening to and spreading the word about the show!

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Episode 124 of Speculate! — Kameron Hurley Novel Review (The Mirror Empire)

Welcome to Episode 124 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Kameron Hurley, focusing on the first novel from the Worldbreaker Saga, The Mirror Empire.  We had a chance to see this book in an earlier form when we were all at Wellspring Workshop a couple of years ago, and we were pretty impressed by it then–and as we discuss during this show, Kameron’s trademark worldbuilding excellence is in full display here, along with her willingness to challenge established tropes in a way that is both brave and in service to the story rather than forced and shoehorned into the narrative.  (We’re also big fans of political intrigue, interesting characters and insect/plant magic–all of which The Mirror Empire has in spades.)  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll talk to the author herself about the book and her process of seeing it safely through to publication with Angry Robot Books.  And if you haven’t already, please check out our Patreon (now over $110 a month) and consider becoming a patron–doing so will both get you extra content every month with the Good, Bad and Ugly segments and the writing technique shows, and will also help get us to levels where we can provide even more awesome content.  Thanks again to everyone who’s helped out so far, and thanks as always for listening to and spreading the word about the show!

During the show, we mentioned the Indie Fantasy Bundle that Brad’s critically acclaimed epic fantasy novel, The Winds of Khalakovo, is a part of. Please head over to Story Bundle for more information on the books and how to buy!

Additional Note: Nominations for the 2015 Hugo Awards are now open, and Speculate is eligible to be nominated in the Best Fancast category.  If you’re a voting member of either last year’s, this year’s or next year’s Worldcon, you’re eligible to make Hugo nominations, and we’d be honored (and grateful) if you would nominate us for Best Fancast.  Please go here for more details, spread the word, and thanks so much as always for your support!

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Episode 119 of Speculate!–Lev Grossman Novel Review (The Magicians)

Welcome to Episode 119 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Lev Grossman, focusing on his breakout novel The Magicians, the book which began the bestselling trilogy of the same name.  The Magicians is an unabashedly New York book, looking at the more realistic and darker side of magic and those who would practice it, and during the course of our response we talk about its strong flavor, the influences which inform it, the distinctive way in which magic is portrayed and other such topics.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll talk to the author himself about the process of writing this book. And if you haven’t already, please check out our Patreon, now starting to really climb and get us to levels which will let us provide you even more and cooler content; for a small pledge you can support the show and get even more content from it, and we appreciate everyone who has become a patron so far. Until next time, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word!

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Episode 113 of Speculate! — Ann Leckie Novel Review (Ancillary Justice)

Welcome to Episode 113 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Ann Leckie, focusing on her debut novel Ancillary Justice–the first novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula and Clarke awards in a single year.  Ancillary Justice plays with conventions of gender, points of view and mediations on empire, and during the course of our response we talk about the power of a great concept, excellent worldbuilding and engaging character development.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll talk to the author herself about the process of writing this book.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

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Episode 105 of Speculate! — Holly Black Novel Review (The Coldest Girl In Coldtown)

Welcome to Episode 105 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Holly Black, the bestselling author of fantasies like The Spiderwick Chronicles and numerous other books in middle grade, young adult and adult markets, focusing on her newest novel The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.  A love letter to the vampire books Holly read and loved when she was young, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a surprising combination of old and new, and we talk about lost generations and new hopes during the course of our response.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview Holly about this book and other aspects of her career.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

Additional Note: Our Kickstarter is entering crunch time, and with a little over a week to go we want to both thank those who have supported us so far and encourage those who haven’t yet had the chance to please do so–we still need everyone’s help to make our goal.  Please check out, support and spread the word about the Kickstarter–and thanks so much as always!

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Episode 98 of Speculate! — Garth Nix and Sean Williams Novel Review (Troubletwisters)

Welcome to Episode 98 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Garth Nix and Sean Williams, two of the most famous speculative fiction authors in Australia and both veterans of the middle grade and young adult markets, focusing on their book Troubletwisters–the first book in an SFF series with the same name.  Featuring an unusual combination of elements from authors like P.L. Travers and Stephen King, the novel gives us a chance to look not just at what makes a book work for its readers but also who its readers really are…and whether that’s changed over the years, especially in the middle grade market.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview Garth and Sean about both this book and the series as a whole.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

Additional Note:  Nominations for the 2014 Hugo Awards are only open for another ten days, and Speculate is eligible to be nominated in the Best Fancast category.  If you’re a voting member of either last year’s, this year’s or next year’s Worldcon, you’re eligible to make Hugo nominations, and we’d be honored if you would nominate us for Best Fancast.  Please go here for more details, spread the word, and thanks so much as always for your support!

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Episode 86 of Speculate!–Scott Lynch Novel Review (The Lies of Locke Lamora)

Welcome to Episode 86 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Scott Lynch, focusing on his hit series The Gentleman Bastard Sequence and more specifically his breakout debut novel The Lies of Locke Lamora.  A fascinating fusion of Ocean’s Eleven, the worlds of Fritz Leiber and Robert Asprin and many others, this book created quite a splash when it was first published in 2006–and as the third book in the series, The Republic of Thieves, has just come out, we thought it would be a good chance to look back at what started it all.  Suffice to say we now understand what all the fuss was about!  If you enjoy the conversation, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview Scott about both this book and the series as a whole.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

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Episode 80 of Speculate! — Lauren Beukes Novel Review (The Shining Girls)

Welcome to Episode 80 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Lauren Beukes, focusing on her recent novel generating a tremendous amount of buzz in and outside the genre: The Shining Girls.  A combination crime novel / mystery / time traveling tale, this book uses gritty realism and compelling characters to generate both tension and dread–and as we discuss during the episode, this is a hard book to put down once you’ve picked it up.  If you enjoy the talk, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview Lauren herself.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

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Episode 74 of Speculate! — Tim Powers Novel Review (Hide Me Among The Graves)

Welcome to Episode 74 of Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.  In this episode we begin a new triptych of shows on the work of Tim Powers, focusing in particular on his most recent novel Hide Me Among The Graves–a “vampire ghost story” set in Victorian England starring poets, artists, prostitutes, and even a veterinarian.  What’s not to love?  As we touch on during our discussion, this is a book which rewards careful reading and knowledge of the genre, and between that and the historical research for which Tim is famous there’s a whole lot to chew on.  If you enjoy the discussion, don’t forget to check back next week when we’ll interview the author of this fantastic mix of real and supernatural himself.  Until then, thanks as always for listening, and please continue to spread the word about the show!

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