Paul La Farge (1970-2023)

I am surprised and saddened to learn of the death of novelist Paul La Farge. He was the author, most recently, of The Night Ocean, which offers a fascinating fictional take on the real-life relationship between H.P. Lovecraft and his young fan and collaborator Robert H. Barlow.

Because of the Lovecraft connection, the Los Angeles Review of Books asked me to interview Paul when The Night Ocean was published in 2017. A month later, when he came to Seattle on book tour, we met up for coffee. In my all-too-brief interaction with him, he came across as a smart, thoughtful, and incredibly friendly guy. I was really looking forward to seeing what he’d write next.

You can read my interview with Paul here. And you should definitely check out The Night Ocean. As I write in the interview intro, it’s “one of those impossible-to-categorize books that seems to constitute its own genre.” My favorite kind, and a good legacy to leave behind.

Discussing J.C. on the Fear of God podcast, plus Seeking the Extraordinary with Michael Nathanson

My friends Reed Lackey and Nathan Rouse have been doing a John Carpenter retrospective on the Fear of God podcast, and they invited me on to discuss Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. We also talked a little about my forthcoming Lovecraft Country novel, The Destroyer of Worlds. Links are below:

Part 1: Intro, a few words about The Destroyer of Worlds, J.C.’s top ten films, Escape From New York, and The Thing.

Part 2: More about The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and rating the films on the FoG meter.

If you enjoy the podcast, you should know that Reed and Nathan now have a Patreon with bonus content, which you can subscribe to here.

Also: back in May, I recorded an interview with Michael Nathanson for the Seeking the Extraordinary podcast, in which we talked about my writing career and how it only took me thirty-five years to become an overnight success. Because The Destroyer of Worlds hadn’t been officially announced yet, I had to be coy on the “What’s next for you?” question, but it was a really fun conversation. You can listen to it here.

A visit to No Proscenium

No Proscenium founder Noah Nelson, who was our guest on episode 7 of the 88 Names podcast, invited me and my co-host Blake Collier to come hang out on his podcast last week. You can listen to the conversation here.

If you haven’t already, I’d also highly recommend checking out the rest of the No Pro website. It’s an incredibly useful resource for learning about immersive technology and art, and now that the pandemic lockdown is almost over (fingers crossed), I look forward to experiencing a lot more in-person immersive entertainment.

88 Names podcast: season 2 wrap-up

On this week’s special finale episode, Blake Collier and I close out the 88 Names podcast with a freewheeling conversation about virtual reality, what we learned from our guests on the ‘cast, and the very strange pandemic year we’ve all just lived through. Although this is the end of the road for this particular project, Blake and I will be teaming up again in a couple of weeks for an appearance on the No Proscenium podcast, hosted by Noah Nelson.

Big thanks once again to Blake, to our producer Darryl A. Armstrong of the Threaded Zebra Agency, to our host site, Rise Up Daily, to our sponsors, and to the many smart and creative people who agreed to talk to us. Take care, everybody!

88 Names podcast bonus interview: Keram Malicki-Sanchez

photo by Tim Layes

Today on the 88 Names podcast site, we have a written interview with actor, filmmaker, composer, and “VR evangelist” Keram Malicki-Sanchez. As the founder of the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference and the founder and executive producer of FIVARS, the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories, Keram knows a lot about recent and forthcoming developments in VR technology, and his answers to our questions cover a wide range of topics. You can check out the interview here.

88 Names season 2, episode 5: Drew Stone

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, we talk with Drew Stone, the founder of Locusium, a company that helps organize and facilitate events in virtual reality. Drew is also an old friend of the pod — last year, he helped set up my author appearance on AltspaceVR.

This will be our last regular podcast episode. Next week, I’ll be returning to AltspaceVR for another live reading and Q&A (details here). And the week after that, Blake Collier and I will be doing a special wrap-up episode where we talk about this very strange year we’ve just lived through.

We also have a couple of bonus written interviews that will be posting soon. Stay tuned!

Changed my Mind

This week I was a guest on the Changed my Mind podcast, hosted by Luke T. Harrington, the award-winning author of Ophelia, Alive: A Ghost Story and Murder Bears, Moonshine, and Mayhem.

As you might guess from the name, the podcast is devoted to interviews with people who’ve changed their minds about something important. In this episode, Luke and I talk about why I left the Lutheran church. I’ve discussed this publicly a few times before, most notably in a speech I gave at the 2010 Calvin College Festival of Faith & Writing, but for a lot of fans I suspect this will be new, and may give some additional insight into why and how I write the kinds of novels that I do.

If you enjoy my conversation with Luke, I’d highly recommend you check out his other podcast episodes. The “loss of faith” interviews — such as the ones with Ryssa Marshall, Yons, and Calvin Moore — tend to be particularly interesting. I also really enjoyed the Halloween episode with Christian Tiews, a Lutheran exorcist, which I did not know was a thing (though having discovered that it is, I am unsurprised to learn that Lutheran exorcists think their version of the rite is superior to the Roman Catholic version).

88 Names season 2, episode 4: Dr. Todd P. Chang

On this week’s episode of the 88 Names podcast, Blake and I talk with Dr. Todd P. Chang, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Chang has done extensive research into the use of VR and other immersive technologies in medical training, particularly as it relates to his specialty. This was a great discussion, and as I mention at one point, prepping for the interview led me down some fascinating internet rabbit holes.

On our next episode, we’ll be talking to Locusium founder Drew Stone.