Warp Drives #6: The Djinn Digression

In this week’s episode, TJ and Dave talk about seeing Radiotopia Live–we both loved Phoebe Judge’s performance in the Criminal podcast. Then, we review this week’s episode of American Gods (Head Full of Snow). We both liked the Anubis and djinn digressions, but the Shadow Moon story still felt a little slow.

We both read up to issue #6 of World of Wakanda, spinoff of the Black Panther series. The Dora Milaje kick ass, but we’re not sure why Black Panther needs bodyguards in the first place.

Dave shares his new audiobook narration gig, Some Demon by Mel Murphy, which is available on Audible. And TJ talks about how she learned how to edit using Scrivener.

Finally, the SciFi Dustup of the Day was the pronouncement of the Arthur C. Clarke Award shadow jury that the award is sliding too far into commercial writing. We wonder if commercial success or sophistication needs to be factored into awarding quality literature at all.

Warp Drives Episode 6: The Djinn Digression

Warp Drives #5: The Yondu Feels

If you don’t like spoilers, this episode is NOT for you. We’re going to be talking all about Guardians 2, American Gods, Secret Empire and probably also predicting the Super Bowl and day you’re gonna die.

We talk about how I’m is going to need a book hiatus in the middle of Leviathan Wakes because the book is just that long and that now is the time to catch up on your Hugo Award reading. If you want to vote for the Hugo Awards (and you should!) join the current Worldcon at the Supporting level. Dave listened to “The Dog Pit” by Jason Fischer and narrated by Barry Haworth on Pseudopod.

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, and we made an impromptu tour of four Seattle-area comic book shops:
Zanadu Comics, downtown Seattle
Phoenix Comics, Capitol Hill
Outsider Comics and Geek Boutique, Fremont
Comics Dungeon, Wallingford
And we got to meet comic writers G. Willow Wilson, Paul Morrissey, and Heather Nuhfer!

We also went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and had so many Yondu feels. We talk about flawed fathers, an overabundance of Groot, nuanced villains, and new ravagers who are actually old guardians.

Then we jump into this week’s episode of American Gods, The Secret of Spoons. We both loved Mr. Nancy, intentionally hiding information from readers/viewers, and how many secondary texts should be required to enjoy a television show.

And finally, in the SciFi Dustup of the Day, we go back to Secret Empire after having read issues 0, 1, and the Free Comic Book Day special. Warning: It’s gets a bit tense, because we DO NOT AGREE on Secret Empire. While not quite an epic TJ and Dave debate (like the Ray Liotta debacle of 1991-1999), we do get a little testy with each other.

Warp Drives Episode 5: The Yondu Feels

Warp Drives #4: Galactus, Licker of Worlds

In this episode of Warp Drives, Dave and I explain why the podcast currently features 100% less driving. Turns out there’s a reason why people don’t record podcasts in cars, and that’s because it sounds terrible. We’ll keep the name Warp Drives and maybe you’re the one driving.

We start off with a discussion of the film Sleight, which is in theaters now. It’s the story of a young man trying to support his younger sister using sleight of hand and drug dealing. Both of those worlds collide to create an awesome superhero movie. Enough with lab accidents and radioactive spiders–it’s time for a fresh take on the hero origin story.

We also talk about Seanan McGuire’s book, Every Heart a Doorway, which is a delightful-yet-difficult story set in a school for children who have returned from various fantasy lands. It’s a great tale that was short enough to leave us wanting more. Luckily, there’s a sequel/prequel coming out in June. You can preorder Down Among the Sticks and Bones now.

Dave talks about PodCastle’s recent Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam story Needle Mouth, narrated by Setsu Uzume (both of which, by the way, have fabulous names.) And I take the opportunity to plug my own PodCastle flash piece, How to Survive in Room 105.

Then, on the SF Dustup of the Day, we talk about Captain America’s Secret Empire Run and what retconning Captain America as a Hydra agent means in a year that’s shaping up to have way too many fascists in it already. Is it tone-deaf to yank away hope that arrives in the form of a Nazi-hating, Hydra-hunting hero who blushes at swears? Spoiler Alert: Yup. It is.

Warp Drives Episode 4: Galactus, Licker of Worlds

Reading: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway is the story of a school for children who have come back from magical worlds and who, in their right mind, is going to turn down a story about a school for kids who don’t fit in elsewhere? We all want to find that place where we can be accepted for who we are, instead of being forced to conform to some tyranny of the majority version of ourselves.

This book has so many intriguing bits, like sympathetic mad scientists reanimating the dead, nonsense worlds where children run on rainbows, and creepy underworlds where girls are rewarded for slowing the beating of their heart down to nearly nothing. There’s so much eye candy that it’s hard not to get swept up in the story.

At its core, this is a murder mystery, but the book is over before you know it. If I had any complaint at all, it’s that I would have loved to go deeper and have more glimpses of the lives these children led in their fantastic and horrific lands. And wouldn’t you know it, I’m going to get that chance, because the sequel, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, comes out in June.

Warp Drives Episode #3: Scalzipalooza

We made it to week three of Warp Drives! In this episode, Dave and I attend John Scalzi’s reading at the University Bookstore in Seattle and talk about the story of the night John met his wife. We also got a sneak preview of the sequel to his novel Lock In, but you’ll have to buy a ticket to John’s reading to get the scoop on that book.

We also talk about John’s newest novel, The Collapsing Empire. It’s an action-packed mix of traditional space opera and new scifi sensibilities. (Like, oh I don’t know, maybe women get to kick ass AND they get to be bisexual!)

Dave also tries to figure out why I dislike The Expanse on television when it contains literally every element I love in a scifi show (#1: space!). I also come clean about “The Butter Incident” so I can continue with the episode with a clear conscience.

Warp Drives Episode #3: Scalzipalooza

Warp Drives Episode #2: The Writing Pimp

On this week’s episode of Warp Drives, we talk about our favorite bits of Norwescon, Dave’s love of The Adventure Zone, and how impressed TJ was with the handling of disability and mental illness in Mishell Baker’s Borderline and Phantom Pains. We also talk about why three Guests of Honor withdrew from Odyssey Con this week and how women’s safety concerns aren’t taken seriously.

Warp Drives Episode #2: The Writing Pimp

What we’re talking about in this episode:


The Adventure Zone

Annie Bellet
Mishell Baker
Monica Valentinelli
K. Tempest BradfordOdysseyCon and Why Serial Harassers Are Safe In Our Community
Natalie LuhrsOdyssey Con Fucks Up But Good

Reading: Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders shot to the top of the bestseller lists. I wouldn’t say this is a fun book, but it is a thoughtful slog through grief and denial with a colorful cast of unforgettable characters.

Saunders’ unusual prose style is disorienting at first, but then makes complete sense as a style choice. Each character has a clearly unique voice. After a few chapters, it’s easy to tell who’s speaking, even without dialogue tags. The unique perspective of each character infused into their bit of the narrative was deftly done. And there’s so much history woven into the text that you’ll surely come away having learned a few things about Civil War-era life.

I really enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo and it turns out that Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman also liked the story enough to buy the film rights.