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Books podcast spotlight – Speculate!

Speculate! describes itself as “the speculative fiction podcast for readers, writers, and fans.” With 106 episodes as of this writing (June 10, 2014), co-hosts Gregory Wilson and Bradley P. Beaulieu have built a dedicated listenership. The Speculate! co-hosts are currently working to raise $3,000 via Kickstarter to continue interviewing many of the top speculative fiction writers working today. I encourage you to check out Speculate! if you’ve never listened to the podcast before, and yes, I strongly encourage you to help out their Kickstarter campaign – every single dollar counts even if you can only afford to kick in a couple of bucks.

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So who are Wilson and Beaulieu?

Gregory A. Wilson is currently an Associate Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City, where he teaches creative writing, fantasy and science fiction along with various other courses in literature. His first academic book was published by Clemson University Press in 2007; on the creative side, he has won an award for a national playwriting contest, and his first novel, a work of fantasy entitled The Third Sign, was published by Gale Cengage in 2009. He is a regular panelist at conferences across the country and is a member of Codex, the Writers’ Symposium, the Origins Library,Backspace, and several other author groups on and offline. He is currently in the process of submitting his third novel, Grayshade, to publishers, and has recent short stories out in anthologies like Time Traveled Tales, alongside authors like Mike Stackpole and Timothy Zahn, and the critically acclaimed When The Villain Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.  

Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of The Winds of Khalakovo, the first of three planned books in The Lays of Anuskayaseries, published by Night Shade Books. In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. His story, “In the Eyes of the Empress’s Cat,” was voted a Notable Story of 2006 in the Million Writers Award. Brad lives in Racine, WI with his wife and two children. He is a software engineer by day, wrangling code into something resembling usefulness. 

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For more information about the Speculate! podcast, here’s a Q&A with co-host Bradley Beaulieu:

1. Please describe Speculate for someone who hasn’t listened to the podcast before.

Speculate is a genre fiction podcast that highlights authors and books by providing interviews, reviews, and writing technique, but we do so in such a way that we “deep dive” into the books we choose. How do we do that? Well, our typical format is to group shows into “triptychs”, a set of three episodes in which we choose a book, read and review it in a reader response show, follow up with an interview episode, and complete the run with a show that digs into the writing technique used in the book. It’s a fun way for readers and fans and burgeoning writers to get something different out of the same book, but we’ve found that many people like listening to all three episodes, because they get something different out of each.

We also have one-off interviews with guests, who can be writers, artists, editors, and even fellow podcasters.

2. What prompted you to launch Speculate?

As writers do at conventions, Greg and I were sitting down to dinner at World Fantasy in 2009 and we got to chatting about what we’d read recently, and we stumbled upon Kij Johnson’s powerful short story, “Spar”, a story we’d both read but held differing points of view about it. It was a lively but fun discussion. Later, after the convention, Greg pinged me and asked if I’d be interested in teaming up with him to form the show. It didn’t take too long to decide to do just that. I was nervous, I’ll admit, as I hadn’t done anything like that in the past, but it seemed like a great opportunity to read some great fiction, to network with other authors, and to talk about the stuff we both love: science fiction and fantasy. I’m really glad Greg asked and that I decided to join him, as it’s been a really wonderful ride so far. We’re looking to a ton more episodes in the future.

3. You recently reached your 100th episode. How did reaching that milestone feel?

Triple digits was something we’d been looking forward to for a long while. It feels like a real accomplishment in the podcasting space, so I certainly felt rewarded, but also pleased, because Greg and I take pride in the product we put out, and we’re both very pleased with the material that’s come out in our 100 episodes. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have some things to learn. We did, and we still do, but that’s part of the fun, learning new things even while we’re sharing what we love.

4. Do you listen to other podcasts? What other podcasts do you listen to – book-related or otherwise? 

I don’t find time for a lot of them, but I do occasionally listen to the SFSignal podcastFunctional NerdsWriting Excuses, and now Rocket Talk over at Tor.com.

5. I know it’s tough to pick favorites, but what 3 episodes of Speculate would you recommend for someone who has never listened to the podcast before? 

This is always tough—narrowing down a list to just a few—but I think some good ones to get your feet wet would be:

  • Episode 6 – Our Kij Johnson interview as part of a triptych we did on her and her work. This one is interesting since, as I mentioned above, Greg and I started the show based on a discussion of Kij’s “Spar”.
  • Episode 70 – The interview with Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm as part of her triptych. Robin is a master craftsman, and it was frankly engrossing to talk to her about her two (quite different) writing selves.
  • Episode 66 and Episode 67, Parts 1 and 2 of our interview with Peter V. Brett and Myke Cole. Both Peter and Myke gave some fascinating and very personal answers to our questions in this show. Well worth the listen.

6. Is there a dream guest/author that you’d like to interview that you haven’t interviewed yet?

Three words: Neal. Freaking. Gaiman.

 

 

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