Cover to Cover #336A: Lawrence Watt-Evans

The Turtle MovesBrian Richardson from What the Cast? joins Mike and Mike today, and he's preparing Mitt Zombie's concession speech for the 2008 presidential campaign.

They also discuss the passing of Michael Crichton, and his contributions to both television and fiction, and the curious happenstance of why certain novels with science fiction elements are not marketed as science fiction, and not listed in the science fiction sections of bookstores. This leads to a discussion about why many people believe they have to be highly educated in order to read and enjoy science fiction stories.

Why does the perception that the "average" person has a disdain for the "intellectual" (a societal extension of the high school brain-vs-jock conflict) plague society still? Why are some stories not considered science fiction when their topics are obviously so? This leads to a quick argument about why CSI isn't considered scifi, so try to contain your comments!

Interview: This week, Mike, Summer and Mike talk with Lawrence Watt-Evans about The Turtle Moves!: Discworld's Story Unauthorized, an "unauthorized" compendium of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, from BenBella Books.

The Turtle Moves! is an extensive reader's guide for the Discworld universe, containing a bibliography of novels and short stories and detailed synopses of them, essays about the use of magic and physics in Discworld, commentary on the characters, creatures and humor in the series, and more. Lawrence tells us about how this project came about, his fascination with the Discworld series, and the extensive research that went into putting this compendium together.

Discussion: Another round of changes to "Cover to Cover" is coming up... more diversity of segments, and a teeny bit more structure in those segments, and a call for more listener provided content.

Check out the new Dragon Page "C" show, streamed live into Second Life, on Fridays at 4pm Pacific Time... you never know who might show up!

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

Link: Lawrence Watt-Evans: The Misenchanted Page

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  1. Probably not the right place for this but if I called it in, it probably wouldn't be on the show in time 🙂

    If anyone's interested in donating to a good cause and having the chance to win some very cool SF prizes, head over to Patrick Rothfuss' blog -

    I think he was interviewed on DP a little while back for his book, the Name of the Wind. He's got signed copies of that, including galleys, maps, etc in the pot for anyone to win. I think he's also putting in things from other authors (hadn't been announced who or what last time I looked). He's matching everyone's donations, which is up to about $13,000 🙂 Check it out. I think it's open until December 11.

    (This is probably better on the forums but I don't have an account - if someone wants to re-post, please do!)

  2. i think its partly for another reason as well.

    People cannot wrap their heads around the fact that the books can be more then they expect. Tim powers would blow the mind of any readers of 'thriller' novels...but would they give him a chance if they discovered which section he came from? I doubt it.

    It is a still considered a disdainful ghetto to the 'adult' sections by many readers. but look at the superstars of those other sections and their ties to scifi/fantasy. Kurt V. always tore himself away from the label out of a attitude that it wouldnt be taken seriously, but really he wrote scifi. Even still living and modern authors like Salman Rushdie basically write fantasy novels under the 'acceptable' cover of magical realism.

    Sometimes though, and with certain hard Scifi writers, i certainly dont feel im 'getting' parts of the story because my education is only average in the area they are expounding in.

  3. Choosing a book to read is a serious business, even if you don't spend a penny and borrow the book from a public library or read it for free online, it still takes a lot of time.

    This is why the first impression that a book makes with its cover and blurb are so important, and the category/genre that it is perceived to be in play a large part in this initial impression.

    The real measure of a book though is in its content, which usually defies simplistic categorization, and is as full of colour, detail and a depth that must be lacking in that initial perception, in much the same way as an author's bio and photo have little to do with his or her vast life experience.

    The fact is, though, that we as a species love to label things, even if those labels are shallow and hold little meaning.