Cover to Cover #275B: Commentary

Preston and ChildWelcome to more "Cover to Cover" for your week! And a full house shows up: Michael, Michael, Summer, Brian and Tim are on tap to field the first bit of feedback, listener submitted reviews, and discussion on a specific topic or two if the questions come in.

We are not breaking off a separate voicemail show... this double shot is something a little bit different. Show A will continue to be about writing, publishing, and interviews with authors, while Show B will focus on listener feedback, but also contain book reviews and commentary, plus other informative segments.

Feedback and Discussion: Snowcat loves the prologues in GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire series, and points out how necessary they are; Anna in WA on POD quality and how they may not hold up to library use; Dan from Des Moines asks about writers groups, and how published authors feel about them; Jason from We Are Not Cool thanks us for increasing his reading pile and his podcast subscriptions.

The Library: Michael, Summer, Michael and Brian talk about new additions to the Library: KOP by Warren Hammond; Starfist: Firestorm by David Sherman and Dan Cragg; The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (mmpb reissue); Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor; Slan by A. E. Van Vogt (tpb reprint classic); God's Demon by Wayne Barlow; In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan; Slan Hunter by A. E. Van Vogt and Kevin J. Anderson; The Space Opera Renaissance (trade issue) edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer; The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari; Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ravens of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson; The SFWA European Hall of Fame edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Promo: Variant Frequencies


  1. I still contend that prologues should be judged on a book-by-book basis.

  2. Hi M&M, Summer & Brian,

    Firstly, congratulations on your fifth year of The Dragon Page. You’ve certainly come a long way since your humble beginnings. After an absence of 3 years, I rediscovered your site about 3 months ago. I went through your shows achieve with eagerness and picked out 47 interviews with authors that I had heard of or had an interest in. I went all the way back to episode 166 (an interview with Ben Bova). I’ve been listening to every show since the interview you did with Tad Williams, and yes, I have a life but I do a lot of travelling for work and listen to you on my long commutes. After trawling through your back catalogue, I feel that I can provide some informed feedback about your show. I’ll stick to the positives.

    The first positive is the diversity of writers of varying experience and success that you have been able to get for your show. It’s great to hear about up and coming authors such as David Anthony Durham. I doubt I would have picked up his book unless I heard the interview that you did with him. Your ability to interview the top selling veterans of the craft such as George R.R. Martin, Peter F. Hamilton, Jeff Vandermeer and Robert Jordan to name a few, has been a real attraction to your site. This is important for me because being in Australia, we tend to have a refined… well, more specifically, a somewhat restricted selection when it comes to fantasy and science fiction. There are some exceptions but on the whole, if you walk into a suburban bookstore, the fantasy and science fiction section is typically on a thin shelf in a hidden corner at the back of the store. Ironically it has been the movie release of Lord of the Rings which has seen some of the major book sellers venture into providing a wider selection of fantasy and science fiction novels. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that unless a book is already selling well in the US and UK, then our stores won’t stock it.

    Fame and high praise doesn’t appear to guarantee export sales for authors either. For example, I was so impressed by your interview with Hugo award winner, Robert Charles Wilson, that I’ve been keeping an eye out for his book, Spin, ever since. No book stores I’ve been to stock it. I can always order it for myself online but I still think it’s a shame; I’d like to see a writer of his calibre break into the Australian market.

    Secondly, I like the idea that Michael Stackpole came up with about only providing positive reviews for excellent books. Although subjective, I think excellence in story telling should be praised wherever possible. Speaking of excellence, I think the series of interviews you guys did last year for the Hugo Awards were spectacular. I’d really like to see more of those. Even if it’s for different awards such as The Locus Awards, Nebula Awards, World Fantasy Awards etc. I know you have the Parsec Awards for Podcasts but I think you could also run your own awards for the “best novel of the year” in fantasy and science fiction. The listeners could nominate the best of the year and then select the winners.

    Thirdly, another of your highlights was your convention recording of Kevin J. Anderson and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, about writing tips. I know the sound quality left something to be desired but it was a fascinating insight into politics of getting published. On show 222, you conducted a Science Fiction and Fantasy Round table which was also excellent.

    In contrast, I was heart broken about the unfortunate death of Octavia Butler as I’d only just discovered her work after reading her award winning story ‘Bloodchild’. Hearing your interview in the context of her illness and impending death was truly tragic. My sympathies also go to you all about the loss of your friend Joe Murphy. It was clear that he had a unique perspective on the genre.

    I think the new format with the additions of Michael Stackpole, Summer Brooks and Brian Brown is a great improvement and Michael Stackpole’s experienced insights and analytical comments add a great depth to the show.

    Finally, I’d like to thank you guys for the amount of interviews you have done with Australian authors. Sara Douglas is a personal favourite of mine but you even surprised me with the fact that Garth Nix was one of our finest. I think the support you guys have shown to Aussie writers has been fantastic. It would be great if you could get interviews with other Australian writers such as Greg Egan (one of the best short fiction writers ever), Sean Williams, Glenda Larke, Jonathan Strahan (editor for The Locus Awards) and Jack Dann.

    Otherwise, I’d really like to hear interviews with Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Michael Swanwick, Lois McMaster Bujold, Ted Chiang, China Miéville, John Varley, Terry Goodkind, Dan Simmons, Phillip Pullman, Neal Stephenson, Lucius Sheppard, Ursula K. Le Guin, C.J. Cherryh,. Joanna Russ, John Kessel, Pat Murphy, Robert Silverberg and Raymond E. Feist (to name but a few).

    I understand that providing ‘show feedback’ can sometimes be a fruitless experience as you can’t please everyone but even as a non-writer, I’m interested in the new direction the show is taking. Keep up the great work.



  3. Adam: Greetings, fellow Aussie 🙂

    I sympathise with the lack of variety when it comes to SFF in most bookstores. You do tend to get the same six authors. If you live in or near one of the capitals you might find a specialist bookstore that sells loads of SFF - Pulp Fiction in Brisbane, Galaxy in Sydney. There was one in Melbourne but I can't remember if they're still open. Not only do they have a larger range, the staff also tend to read in the genre so they're really good for recommendations.


  4. hey aussie readers...can you please tell sara douglass to stop writing so fast...i will never catch up at this rate...i just found the troy game and the damn new series of crazy blood serperent magic with whatever manipulating the whole war...stop it, im only human!