GGG#002: Dystopias! Global Warming! Thailand! (Guest: Paolo Bacigalupi)


Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the critically-acclaimed The Windup Girl (which was named one of Time Magazine‘s top ten novels of the year) joins us this week to talk about global warming, the horrors of travel, the current state of literature for boys, and his own forthcoming YA novel, Ship Breaker. John and Dave discuss their own experiences with literature when they were growing up, and how they became science fiction fans.



0:00 Introduction by

00:38 Dave and John introduce the show

Dave and John discuss this week’s guest, Paolo Bacigalupi

01:00 About Paolo and his work

Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi

06:35 Interview with Paolo Bacigalupi

0Paolo Bacigalupi6:55 How Paolo became a science fiction fan, beginning with Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy

08:09 Becoming a science fiction writer, and the advice William Gibson gave him on breaking in

09:17 The pitfalls of instant success, and emerging from a slump

11:05 Developing his writing skills

13:23 Other books and authors that influenced his writing, From Hemingway to Cormac McCarthy.

15:24 About The Windup Girl

17:38 Researching The Windup Girl: why Thailand, and how the SARS epidemic influenced the development of the story

21:26 Paolo on travel: “Almost all of my travel experiences are horrifying.”

22:49 On global warming, geo-engineering, and what we can do

25:54 Will Paolo’s YA novel Ship Breaker be the “sweetness and light” story that reviewers predicted he would never write? “What I thought was an upbeat adventure story other people seem to find fairly devastating anyway.”

27:11 Bringing up the next generation and reasons to write for young adults

28:28 Science fiction as a predictive medium and a vehicle for inspiring progress and change

29:54 Finding gateways to reading for boys, and which medium is filling the role of “boys’ narrative” today

33:08 Paolo gives advice to John about editing the new online magazine Lightspeed

35:20 Paolo talks about what’s out, and what’s next: Pump Six and Other Stories, The Windup Girl trade paperback release, release of Ship Breaker in May of 2010, the sequel, and the secret project he won’t tell us about (but if we’re lucky maybe he’ll return to the show to tell us soon?)

Dave and John on science fiction at home and in schools

36:17 Dave and John talk about their families’ reading choices and how they influenced them as science fiction readers.

38:19 Dave talks about science fiction as a social adhesive among fans, and how collections get passed down

40:21 Further discussion of boys’ literature and the guys’ experiences of reading science fiction and fantasy in school

44:11 The storytelling lesson of Narnia’s lamp post

46:16 An example of passion for fantasy literature changing a person’s life

47:53 Literature in schools, the present and future of education, and the role the internet may play

52:32 The importance of supporting a passion for genre literature in kids

54:22 John and Dave give their recommendations for kids: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld; the works of Tamora Pierce, Holly Black, and Timothy Zahn; Robert Asprin’s Myth Series; William Sleator’s Interstellar Pig, The Green Futures of Tycho, and Singularity

Other works mentioned in this podcast

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Empire of the Sun, by J. G. Ballard
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
The White Mountains by John Christopher
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Short Story: “The Fun They Had” by Isaac Asimov

Thanks for listening!

John Joseph Adams ( is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is currently the fiction editor of Lightspeed Magazine, which launches in June 2010.

David Barr Kirtley ( is a writer living in New York who has been called “one of the newest and freshest voices in sf.” His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and in anthologies such as The Living Dead, New Voices in Science Fiction, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition.

Show notes compiled by podtern Christie Yant. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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