Jeff Bryant & Sidney Thompson (BSS #74)

Sidney Thompson is most recently the author of Sideshow.


Guests: Jeff Bryant and Sidney Thompson

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Locked away by a Pittsburgh podcaster.

Subjects Discussed: Faulkner vs. R.E.M., Southern fiction, how music influences fiction, observing unusual behavior, Thompson’s musical background, family as a starting point, taboos, the happy medium between shock value and playing it safe, stereotypes, believability, escaping into fiction, misfits and loners, connecting with despicable characters, morality in fiction, racial assumptions at the Atlantic Monthly, presenting racial conflict in fiction, and thoughts on the Southern fiction/blue-state fiction divide.

(A co-production of the LBC, Pinky’s Paperhaus, and The Bat Segundo Show.)


Thompson: I’m certainly striving for realism all the way. Even in the most fantastic situations, I absolutely want the reader to believe that these events can happen, have probably happened somewhere before, and that’s truly my only goal. It is part of my worldview to have an ironic slant. Having a father who’s highly educated, who knows the difference between right and wrong, and wants to take his son with him next door as part of his classical education to witness the murder of a neighbor. And I do believe that that can truly happen. And there is irony intended for that to remind those who are educated that education, literature, those things, are not the only answers in terms of making us good people. Sometimes I think we pat ourselves too much on the back for being readers.

Categories: Fiction

Joe Eszterhas (BSS #73)

Joe Eszterhas is most recently the author of The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood.


Author: Joe Eszterhas

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Groping for borrowed salacious content.

Subjects Discussed: Ambrose Bierce, the screenwriter as god, exclamation points, Robert McKee, the “twisted little man” inside Eszterhas, cynics in Hollywood, William Goldman, the reasons for writing Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, on pinpointing commercial hits, bringing wives to studio meetings, greed, stealing props from films, the ethics of Hollywood business, fighting studio executives, crotch shots, Paul Verhoeven, blaming Bush for everything, responding to Joe Queenan’s review, bedding stars, Charlie Simpson’s Apocaylpse, Bill Clinton, studio movies vs. independent movies, Children of Glory, and writing novels.


Eszterhas: In terms of agents, lying and cheating on your behalf to bump the price up in an auction or in some situation like that. Well, that’s what agents do. If an agent really cares about you, you know I quote my old agent of many years, Guy McElwaine, as saying, “There’s no heart as black as the black heart of an agent.” Well, if an agent really cares about you, he will do anything and everything to help you. And the sign of a true commitment, I think, on an agent’s part to you is whether he is, in fact, willing to lie and cheat and do whatever he can to get you a better price and get you a better deal.

Categories: Film

Nora Ephron (BSS #72)

Nora Ephron is most recently the author of I Feel Bad About My Neck.


Author: Nora Ephron

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Terse, but combative towards golden boys.

Subjects Discussed: The side effects of eating cake, book tour provisos, Marie Antoinette, superthin models, anatomical parts as literary inspiration, ageism, hair dye, Botox, responding to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, declarative sentences, David Markson, the relationship between exposing truth and drawing an audience, New Journalism, the newspaper environment in the 1970s, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, exclamation points, Jonathan Yardley’s reconsideration of Crazy Salad, the real Ephron vs. the written Ephron, the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally…, dessert spoons, on not sleeping with JFK, Ephron as blogger, and using popular songs in movies.


Correspondent: You’re uncertain of whether you feel fine or not?

Ephron: Well, no, it’s just that I’ve just had a lot of cake. So I’m probably about to go into a diabetic coma. But other than that, I’m good.

Correspondent: Okay. Do you often feel this way with cake?

Ephron: I don’t have as much cake as I just had. I just had a lot of cake. As part of my book tour. Someone took me to a lot of bakeries and I ate everything in them.

Correspondent: Well, so this was a proviso for going on a book tour. Eating a lot of cake.

Ephron: It’s not a bad one, do you think? I think life should be filled with a lot of cake.

Categories: Film, People

Bouchercon 2006 (BSS #71)

Our Correspondent conducted several odd interviews at Bouchercon 2006.


Guests: Lee Goldberg, Robert S. Levinson, Alexandra Sokoloff, Sarah Weinman, Jon Jordan, Jennifer Jordan, Jim Winter, Russel McLean, Sandi Loper-Herzog, Steve Stillwell, and Duane Swierczynski.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Attemptnig to seek a spiritual path.

Subjects Discussed: The Goldberg brothers, story limits and novelists, pi, Marie Callender’s, Tod Goldberg’s toe, the Beatles, CrimeSpree Magazine, man boobs, rude noir, Charlie Huston’s penchant for f-bombs, David Simon, beer vs. press, the British Embassy, passing around hotel room numbers, book bribes, Crime Scene Scotland, gray-haired ladies hooked on drugs, attending multiple Bouchercons, and the narrative inspiration of hair color.

Categories: Fiction

T.C. Boyle II (BSS #70)

TC Boyle is most recently the author of Talk Talk>


Author: T.C. Boyle

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Dubious of state lottery programs.

Subjects Discussed: Multiple genders, Lawrence Durrell, on whether Talk Talk is a thriller, Anthony Burgess’ The Right to an Answer, Graham Greene, identity theft, Milton, paranoia, jail, Cassie Chadwick, biometrics, capitalist society, why Talk Talk is set in a contemporary setting, cell phones, strangers in New York, on T.C. Boyle’s site being hacked, private conversations vs. public conversations, responding to critics, manipulative movie trailers, Amazon, harsh critics, the pitfalls of tennis, the competitive nature of writing, on reaching audiences, Boyle film adaptations, commercialism, Boyle’s two existences, showing vs. telling, tattoos on women, fun in writing, egrets, the original appendix to Talk Talk, the 1980s band Talk Talk, and ASL.

Categories: Fiction

Annalee Newitz (BSS #69)

Annalee Newitz is the author of Pretend We’re Dead>


Author: Annalee Newitz

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Looking for an unwholesome bargain.

Subjects Discussed: Capitalist monsters, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, brain movies, Birth of a Nation, the fear of white power being lost, class warfare, Sawny Beane, the individual impulses of serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer, the labor tools of killing, the Unabomber, serial killer and terrorist nomenclature, freeway snipers, Fight Club, avuncular hackers, V for Vendetta, narratives involving women who gorge, The Man With Two Brains, Darren Aronofsky, Pi, the labor principles of freelancing, a lengthy argument on H.P. Lovecraft, and the inevitability of decay.

Categories: Ideas

Tommy Chong (BSS 68)


Author: Tommy Chong

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Recovering from a medical mishap.

Subjects Discussed: Examining Title 21, Section 863, whether Clinton was in power in the 1980s, salsa dancing, the requirements for being an FBI special agent, plea bargaining, prison life, bodyguards, the Bush family, the advantages of celebrity status vs. a common offender being incarcerated, Michael Milken, humility, trying to remember prisoner numbers, respect for victims of disaster, looking at objects differently after prison, Cheech Marin, Up in Smoke, Chong as director, the benefits of pot, Chong as lyricist, Pipe Dreams: The Musical, Eric Idle, conflict between Cheech and Chong, Cheech’s art collection, Terence Malick, Lou Adler, Born in East L.A., Radiohead, and groups vs. individual artists.


Categories: Film, People