Hal Niedzviecki (BSS #47)


Author: Hal Niedzviecki

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Temporarily replaced, due to being incapable of being crass and making a generalization at the same time.

Subjects Discussed: The advantages of studying American culture from Canada, individualism vs. conformity, pop star aspirations, American Idol, karaoke, television, the economics of media, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Yeah, William T. Vollmann, the end of Western expansion, German billionaires, on one-upping explorers, the disadvantages of genius, media conformity vs. community, fundamentalists, homophobia, the BattleCry protests in San Francisco, the human ego, and retreating from society.


Categories: Ideas

BEA 2006 Part 4 (BSS #46)


Guests: Eric Reynolds, Mark Binelli, Matt Cheney, Jeremy Lassen, David Axe and George Scithers.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Revealing himself to be a closet poet.

Subjects Discussed: Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Popeye, Fascist Italy, eerie historical similarities, classic comedy teams, journalism vs. novel-writing, free lunches, on being frightened by Bat Segundo, zoot suits, how to crash parties, motivations behind 40 minute soliloquies, on being an embedded journalist, war fever, having a good time in Iraq, the origins of the second Weird Tales incarnation, H.P. Lovecraft, the current state of literary magazines, the influence of MFA workshops on speculative fiction, Strunk & White, on writing for money, and the benefits of writing groups.


Categories: Fiction

BEA 2006 Part 3 (BSS #45)


Guests: Paul Slovak, C. Max Magee, Carolyn Kellogg, Anne Moore & Dan Sinker, Lauren Landress, Terrie Akers, Camille March and Alan Davis.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Showing an unexpected grasp of history.

Subjects Discussed: How Slovak manages Bill Vollmann’s prodigious output, details on Vollmann’s Imperial and the upcoming A.M. Homes memoir, a report on “what Mr. Segundo did last night,” Joe Meno’s The Boy Detective Fails, speculation on the Akashic Noir volumes, self-realization, yoga philosophy, on worshipping a god named “Ralph,” putting the “Other” in Other Press, Michael Tolkin’s The Return of the Player, travel guides, Marshall McLuhan, and having fun over the age of 25.


Categories: Fiction

Derik Badman & Jordan Stump (BSS #44)


Authors: Derik Badman and Jordan Stump

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Gone, relieved not to be involved with Bolsheviks.

Subjects Discussed: French humor, Jacques Tati, how Stump translates, comic beats, auctorial tone and linguistics, the pros and cons of long sentences, the benefits of reading aloud, translating Verne vs. translating Touissaint, why translators get a bad rap, “Translator Awareness Month,” the influence of commercial interests on translated novels, forgotten French authors.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interviews were all conducted by telephone.]


Categories: Fiction

BEA 2006 Part 2 (BSS #43)


Guests: Chad Post, Dennis Loy Johnson, Laura Kellner, Judith Recke, Eleanor Herman, David Ulin, Cary Goldstein, and Eli Horowitz.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Resistant to party atmospheres, stumbling around for dubious wisdom.

Subjects Discussed: Reading the World, multiple badges and Chad Post’s doppelganger, a few unexpected reasons to be a bookseller, torture taxis, minor speculation upon the Starbuck’s DC monopoly, expensive books, Muhammad Ali’s GOAT, Andre Schiffrin’s secret connection with Silly Putty, information on the new Moleskine City Guides, followup on the planned Moleskine sale, the 200th anniversary of the first American dictionary, etymological controversy, sex and royalty, salacious historical ratios, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the Los Angeles Times Book Review and the wrath of Mark Sarvas, the FSG Classics tag, books in translation, Frederic Prokosch, l’auto-fiction, stubble and grit, and the palliative effect of Hulk masks.

[NOTE: There will be at least two more BEA podcasts.]


Categories: Fiction