Apr 5 2010 5:45am

GGG#014: Fairies! Unicorns! Action Figures! (Guest: Holly Black)

Holly Black, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, joins us to talk about the Spiderwick movie, graphic novels, and D&D. Dave and John blame evil internet fairies for any number of things, possibly including the loss of their childhood action figure collections.



0:00 Introduction by

0:38 Dave and John introduce the show

Interview: Holly Black

03:22 Interview begins

03:40 Books that made Holly want to be a writer and early influences

05:32 Growing up believing in fairies turns out to be terrifying

08:34 On meeting her collaborator, artist Tony DiTerlizzi, winner of the Caldecott Award

07:29 Holly Black rolls 20s, baby!

10:00 Regarding the movie adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles

12:15 Can we look forward to any more Spiderwick?

12:51 Holly’s upcoming graphic novels

16:06 How Holly came to the idea behind her new series The Curse Workers, the first book of which is White Cat

19:38 Holly’s short story collection The Poison Eaters

21:45 A question from Geek’s Guide friend and listener Charles A. Tan: Will Holly set any future stories in the Philippines?

22:14 Holly’s new anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns and her foray into editing

26:01 About the Borderlands series and Holly’s work on the latest anthology

30:04 The upcoming Alpha workshop, and the workshop experience

28:22 Holly’s take on urban fantasy

32:12 End of interview

Dave and John talk about dolls action figures, and why you should put peanut butter on your keyboard

32:11 The things that inspire obsessive learning

35:46 Dolls vs. Action Figures and how it relates to SF writers who claim they don’t write SF

36:44 Dave confesses to his Artisanal Action Figure history

38:21 Imagination as social currency

39:44 The joy of toys

42:09 Moms of the world, take note: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Back away from your kid’s comic collection NOW

45:46 Hey Listeners: what’s the deal with getting the rights to using action figures in stop-motion animation?

45:35 What John has in common with George R.R. Martin, and how role playing influences creativity

51:22 The peculiar phenomenon that is merchandising based on fiction

52:02 John’s recent trip to Medieval Times and what it clearly lacked

53:21 The writer’s need for a hobby

54:32 What do you do while listening to audiobooks?

56:15 No show would be complete with mentioning Robert Asprin

59:39 The Car Key Fairy, and putting peanut butter on your keyboard

01:01:57 The Comic Geek Speak podcast (it's Episode 527 you’re looking for) and the Bowling Green degree in Popular Culture

01:03:55 Show wrap-up

Note: John was not able to photograph his miniatures properly. If he ever figures out how to take pictures of them in focus, he promises to post them.

Next week: Dan Carlin, host of the Hardcore History podcast

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 Scientistís 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.

kathleen duey
1. kathleen duey
Great interview. Holly is always interesting, always honest and lovely person. Thanks!
kathleen duey
3. KurtRoedeger
Dr. Adams and Dr. Kirtley,

Would you consider your books as essential study material in gaining a PhD in Geekology?

David Barr Kirtley
4. davidbarrkirtley
I would consider our books as essential study material in gaining a PhD in anything.
kathleen duey
5. setdavidfree
king's quest reminds me of experiencing the move from text based computer games, to games where you had to type out movements and actions, eventually to using the mouse. If King's Quest were still going today, I imagine it'd be on a tablet of some kind using touchscreen control.
kathleen duey
6. ExFerens
I've listened to all of your shows so far. I often find that both the hosts and the guests say things about their creative process or their sci-fi/fantasy past that resonate with me.

I enjoyed the interview. Not only am I excited to check out Holly Black's new book, but she sounds like someone who would fit right in around my old gaming table.

I don't play much any more, but the King's Quest comments made sense to me. I can't claim that I played more than a few of them, but I did find myself supplementing my Dungeons and Dragons experience with fantasy and folklore (and the Monstrous Compendium) so I could be on top of my day-care game.
Joshua Evans
7. JoshuaEvans
Getting caught up on my episdoes...

I had a ton of GI Joes when I was a kid, which I'm pretty sure my mom pitched. I was quite happy to find she still had some of my legos, so I've gotten some of those back for my kids. Yes. For my kids.

I had the same experience going to get my son (he's 4 now) a Wolverine action figure. $10!?! for a spindly guy whose only accessories are his two claws? Really? Nice though to have an excuse to go buy toys I want though. He has way more Star Wars guys than I ever did.

I never played King's Quest. The one I played was called Hero's Quest, I think. Yeah, that was it. That game was awesome. Renamed to Quest for Glory later.
David Barr Kirtley
8. davidbarrkirtley
Hero's Quest is a fantastic game. I love the adventure game/RPG combo, and the game featured strong writing as well as a terrifically screwball sense of humor. I spent a LONG time getting all my stats up to 100 (the max) so my character would be ready for the sequel. Quest for Glory 2 is also an amazing game, though a bit too frustrating for my taste. Unfortunately Quest for Glory 3 & 4 are just okay. 3 has a cool African setting, but the game is pretty short and there's just not that much to do. 4 (Eastern Europe meets H. P. Lovecraft) had some cool stuff, and was genuinely creepy, but the version I had was so buggy and unfinished as to be basically unplayable. I never played 5. If you want to relive Quest for Glory, I strongly recommend a series of videos on YouTube by LateBlt, who plays through the games and provides a running commentary track of deadpan observations.
Joshua Evans
9. JoshuaEvans
haha, awesome! Glad someone else remembers that game. I only ever played the first one, but I loved it. I'll have to check out his youtube vidoes, thanks for the tip!
kathleen duey
10. BD Merz
you guys were talking about kings quest, several of which i enjoyed greatly but i also remember a great number of shareware games that were around at the same time. one was Space Quest a sf version of kings quest that was hilarious. i remember being amused by it when i was a kid but i bet i would catch more references as an adult.

also on the topic of games, i was suprised that John didnt have much to say about the original two Fallout games. fallout was the first game that i played where you had some sense of freedom, where your actions determine your path and karma and you can choose what path you take and it requires your interest and poking around to uncover all of the missions. even more they were humorously stuffed with references to sf and fantasy.

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