Cover to Cover #259: Patrick Rothfuss

Kingkiller ChroniclesMichael, Summer, Brian and Michael discuss tax season for writers and other independently sufficient workers, and talk a little bit more about the hornets nest that was shaken up by some of our previous political commentary and attempts at humor. There's more SF talk than politics talk, but there's no bashing, just examining the politics of current science and how that's reflected in possible futures, as might be seen in SF TV and literature.

Listener Feedback: What do you think about this topic? Also, what books changed your life, and what books are your A+ books? Keep letting us know what your personal essential books are!

Interview: Michael, Summer, Brian and Michael talk with Patrick Rothfuss, the hottest new fantasy author out there, and his debut novel, The Name of the Wind. Brian's book review reflects his appreciation of the story-telling style in this book, and has been anticipating this chat for quite some time.

Pat tells us all about how he did everything wrong and still churned out a wonderful story that knocked the socks off many genre and industry luminaries, about how to figure out how long a story really should be, and the experience of learning how to sign your name in a book over and over again. And the dangerous possibilities of not checking your backpack before you get on the airplane.

The Library: New to the studio this week we have Seraphs by Faith Hunter, The Quest for the Trilogy by Mel Odom, Dragonqueen by Jayel Gibson, Farseed by Pamela Sargent, Rollback by Robert Sawyer, Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg.

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

Link: Patrick Rothfuss Official Website
Promo: Podcasting and Beyond: The Dragon*Con Podcasting Track


  1. I agree that science fiction is inherently political. This was a point I tried to make in college when I was urging the English department to offer a course in speculative fiction--there were some papers I was hoping for the opportunity to write. It never happened (at least not while I was there) but it was worth a try. These kinds of discussions are always fun and fruitful for learning about the human condition. I will also agree that a great deal of sci fi is humanistic in origin--not all, but most--which means that a majority of your guests will probably be liberal in thinking. That said, I at least am not against discussions about politics in regard to specific author's visions of the future. I certainly hope that my comments for the last episode were not taken that way. Thank you for making a point of noting that it is personal views voiced in a disrespectful way that were objected to (at least by me). I don't mind a good book-related discussion in regard to politics now and then--I'd like it even better if both sides are treated with respect. I enjoyed the show. Thanks again!

  2. Not a problem! Now, we just have to have Mike and Michael work on their comedic timing...

  3. Roddy Reta says

    That was a fun interview. Rothfuss sounds like a great guy, a real down-to-earth person. I can't wait to read his book.

  4. I originally objected to the political comments made in episode 257 so it might surprise the many folks who misinterpreted my comments that I agree 100% with everything that was said in this episode relating to politics and Sci-Fi. There is nothing wrong with a good rousing discussion or argument about the political circumstances and environments in a good Sci-Fi story.

    What I originally objected to was not political discussions about Sci-Fi stories. I objected to blatent off topic bashing of the President and eventually all Republicans in general. That is not the kind of discussions I tune into this podcast to hear.

    I love political humor but Michael S's comment that the podcast would have to be edited because they were speaking too fast for the President to understand them was just a lame attempt at humor. Then when Mike M. suggested that all their Republican listeners would be wanting to have a conversation with Mike S. he replied "Are they capable of that?"

    Those comments are not political discussion of Sci-Fi. They are just mean spirited personal attacks and they are not what I listen to this podcast for. I listen to Scot Sigler to be insulted not Cover to Cover.

    Now if you want a great example of good political humor - Slice of Sci-Fi Voicemail show #105 the topic was "Is killing American Zombies unpatriotic?" (great question and discussion BTW) Eventually Mike M. counters an argument about whether zombies are still citizens by saying that the undead voted in the last election.

    Great line Mike, Since he didn't say whether he was talking about Republican or Democrat zombies, both sides could have a good laugh.

    So bring on the political, religious and economic Sci-Fi discussions. But leave the vitriol and snarkiness about real world people out of it. Many of your listeners will not find it funny and it has no place in an intelligent discussion about Sci-Fi books and writing.

  5. for a guy with this much buzz about his book...he seems unbelievably normal and even embarrassed at times about his experiences.

    its actually very endearing that he doesnt seem to be this type of writer that one sees touring his first successful book around to often: they begin to believe they are a little too godlike and important.

    btw: i read the book by faith hunter(the first one) and i really liked it...i would describe it as christian-scifi(its own world myth origins are a little bizarre and not easy to pin down) meets buffy style characters.

    personal essential sci-fi/fantasy books: Dune by Frank Herbert, Wild seed by Octavia Butler, The Forever War by Joe Halderman, The Two Towers by Tolkien, Childhood's End by arthur c clarke, Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.

    I think that sci has better standalone classics and fantasy has better series of books, in general...but it just may be that the publishing conventions at work.

  6. Raul - Pat was an interesting and very humble sort of guy. I'm sure we will be chatting with him in the future, as his schedule permits. He maintains a blog at

    I recommend checking it out since he updates it fairly often and he has engaging stories to tell about his travels.

  7. Let me just say that, while I agree with your points, you guys approached the political issue the wrong way. No one takes issue with the discussion of say, corporal punishment as it applies to "Starship Troopers". There's a huge gulf between that and "Republicans couldn't form a complete sentence". I'm a moderate, but even I can see that's terribly inflammatory.

    What people took issue with -- and rightly so -- wasn't political discussion of Sci-Fi themes, but the recent, off-base slams of some of your listener base. I think you guys can see this, which is why the somewhat obtuse way you approached it this time was puzzling. All Mike S. needed to say in this case was "sorry, it won't happen again." The listener base getting a long-winded lecture about how they should be understanding of these outbursts frankly doesn't help much.

    Don't let me bother you -- love the show, and I'll keep listening. You guys have made me laugh more times than I can count, and the interviews are fascinating. But I'm not helping if I don't call this one like I see it.

  8. Roddy Reta says

    I agree with Geech. The long-winded justifications that Stackpole made at the beginning of this show were a bore. But that's what the fast-forward button is for.

  9. I just want to say I agree with David's comments completely. I didn't send any negative feedback to the "political" episode, but it did rub me the wrong way. I completely agree that sci-fi can be political and that is completely legtimate. It is the tone of the comments that were made on the episode. The request was made for reasoned, polite discussion - I completely agree, and I'd say it applies to both the hosts and the audience.

  10. I was just listening to your podcast and heard your comment about "Lucy". Just wanted to set the record straight. The Lucy skeleton was far mroe than just a jaw and some pieces of skull. They also found ribs, bones in both of her arms, her pelvis, and some of her leg bones as well. The reason that Lucy was so important is because of the pelvis and limb bones. I studied under Owen Lovejoy who worked on the skeleton in the 70's when it was discovered. He was able to tell that Lucy walked upright becasue of her pelvis, femur, and even the patella. This is not something you could figure out from a jaw and some skull bones.

    You can see a picture of the bones that were found at this website:

    You can also read about her at:

    Thanks for the great podcast!

  11. Jen - You are correct and it was my bad for not being able to jump in correct Mike. *tosses away his physical Anthroplogy degree*

    See I just get swept away in the Tsunami that is our conversations. 🙂 Of course I also blame it all on Mike's lack of sleep!

    Thanks for listening and commenting!

  12. You're not supposed to write in first person? Maybe I read weird books, but first person seems common enough.

  13. tim callender says

    Ah, essential readings. And since you asked for books and not series, that might make it a bit harder. So here goes, in no particular order:

    Second Stage Lensman, E.E. "Doc" Smith
    Neuromancer, William Gibson
    Dune, Frank Herbert
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein
    The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich, Philip K. Dick
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
    Manifold:Time, Stephen Baxter

    That's my list for today, anyway. it could easily change next week. 🙂

  14. i picked this up shortly after your podcast - i had been eying it at the bookshop, but wasn't sure i wanted to invest. i'm so glad i did. this is a fantastic book and frankly, i am in desperate need of books that are this thick - they are the only thing that keep me busy more than a day or two. please interview more people like patrick!