Sunday, December 16, 2012


AboutSF is an information resource on science fiction from Kansas University. The AboutSF website carries materials aimed largely at teachers of science fiction, but much of it will also be of general interest.

Until recently, AboutSF produced a semi-regular podcast. Some of the episodes were based around readings of short stories or novel excerpts, but a number were derived from archive recordings of interviews with major figures in the history of modern SF, most of them conducted by John C. Tibbetts, conducted in the 1980s and 1990s.

Most of the Tibbetts interviews are relayed unedited. You hear Tibbetts counting down to the start of each segment; you hear the microphone being passed from one speaker to another; you hear the interviewee's telephone going off in mid-interview. A trivial element perhaps, but when the interview is a rarity such as L.Sprague de Camp and his wife Catherine Crook de Camp in conversation, it feels like stepping back in time.

Of interest to Bradburymedia readers will be the following:
  • Robert Bloch - the author of Psycho, and a friend of Ray Bradbury for many years, who talks about his early career as a protege of H.P.Lovecraft, and about the ups and downs of being so closely associated with a single work (Psycho) when one's body of work is actually vast and remarkably diverse
  • L.Sprague de Camp - author of Lest Darkness Fall and dozens of other novels of SF and fantasy, and also the author of "A Gun For Dinosaur", the other classic SF short story about going back in time and hunting tyrannosaurs. Mr and Mrs de Camp talk about their remarkable collaborative work of many decades.
  • Jack Williamson - golden age SF novelist who was also one of the first academics to study SF. Williamson knew Bradbury and was one of Bradbury's mentors in his early career.
Other interviewees include Poul Anderson and Kim Stanley Robinson.

Full details of these fascinating archive recordings can be found on the AboutSF podcast page, here.

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