Podcasts

Ep 174: The Effluent Engine by N.K. Jemisin

Discussion Notes: The Effluent Engine

This week’s story: The Effluent Engine by N.K. Jemisin

Next week’s story: The Wreck at Goat’s Head by Alexandra Manglis

Rated: Clean

This week we welcome Carina Saxon to the podcast to discuss “The Effluent Engine” by N. K. Jemisin

Carina is a content writer. She formerly a Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington, where she taught “The Effluent Engine” to over 100 undergraduate students. She holds a Master in Victorian Literature from Indiana University.

Carina joined Gerald, Andy and Anais to discuss N.K. Jemisin’s novella-length steampunk, historical fiction, spy thriller. Beneath the flashy and entertaining plot there are nuanced themes pertaining to racism, sexism, and freedom.

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Ep 173: Enid & Floyd & the Moon by Jeanne Shoemaker

Discussion Notes: Enid & Floyd & the Moon

This week’s story: Enid & Floyd & the Moon by Jeanne Shoemaker

Next week’s story: The Effluent Engine by N.K. Jemisin

Rated: Clean

This week we welcome Caitlin Hamilton Summie to the podcast to discuss a story she recommends: “Enid & Floyd & the Moon” by Jeanne Shoemaker.

Author Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Author Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Caitlin is the author of the short story collection To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts. The book won the the Phillip J McMath Postpublication award from the University of Central Arkansas, and won Silver in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for Short Stories. Caitlin earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, and Long Story, Short. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003. Find her online at Caitlinhamiltonsummie.com and on Twitter @csummie

Caitlin joined Gerald and Anais to discuss a charming story about an elderly couple that is still very much in love. Their life is beset by tragedy and poverty, but the two aging lovebirds stay focused on each other. The story stirred a little fear in Gerald who could perhaps identify a little bit with the characters.

Andy could not join us for this recording this week, but he recorded a two minute riff of his opinion, which is appended at the end of the episode. He also visits us in the Youtube Live comment section during recording to josh us, as is his way. 

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Ep 172: Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor

Discussion Notes: Good Country People

This week’s story: Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor

Next week’s story: Enid & Floyd & the Moon by Jeanne Shoemaker

Rated: Explicit Language

“Good Country People” centers around a mother and daughter, and their neighbors who are also their farm staff. The characters fall into categories with two very opposing world views. Those world views are tested by a traveling Bible salesman who presents two facades that challenge their sense of order and self.

Anais loved the near-perfect short story and tries her best to raise Gerald and Andy’s enthusiasm. Andy is tickled by the word play in the characters names, and Gerald wishes there was more meat in the plot, despite the fact he enjoyed the writing quite a bit.

We’re also back from our unplanned two month hiatus! We produce this show on our own, and the show’s schedule is very reliant on Anais’s. Want to help us stay on schedule? Share the podcast widely with your friends and family, and support us on Patreon

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Ep 171: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Discussion Notes: Sole Solution

This week’s story: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Next week’s story: Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Sole Solution” by Eric Frank Russell, which was submitted by a listener named Mark who also watched the live recording and participated in the discussion through YouTube. Gerald and Andy weren’t as won over by the story. In Andy’s case, he preferred similar stories that followed and explored the same themes and philosophies in more nuanced plots. 

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Ep 170: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Discussion Notes: Mr Salary

This week’s story: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Next week’s story: Sole Solution by Eric Frank Russell

Rated: Explicit

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Mr Salary” by Sally Rooney, who has been described as the first great writer of the millennial generation. All three hosts loved Rooney’s style, though Andy had a personal bone to pick! Gerald raised an interesting question about whether or not the author’s politics and worldview are embedded in a text that is ostensibly not political (in so much as anything can be apolitical). Anais does her best to find political meaning.

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Ep 169: Girls, at Play by Celeste Ng

Discussion Notes: Girls, at Play

This week’s story: Girls, At Play by Celeste Ng

Next week’s story: Mr Salary by Sally Rooney

Rated: Explicit

Beth Mayer, author of We Will Tell You Otherwise

This week we welcomed short story author Beth Mayer onto the show to discuss one of her favorite short stories, “Girls, at Play” by Celeste Ng.

Beth Mayer’s short story collection We Will Tell You Otherwise won the 2017 Hudson Prize with Black Lawrence Press and is a Midwest Connections Pick for August. Her fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Sun Magazine, and The Midway Review. She was a fiction finalist for The Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize (2016), her work recognized among “Other Distinguished Stories” by Best American Mystery Stories (2010), and her stories anthologized in both American Fiction (New Rivers) and New Stories from the Midwest (Ohio University). Mayer was a Loft Mentor Series Winner in Fiction (2015-16) and holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. She currently teaches English at Century College in Minnesota, where she lives with her family and impossibly faithful dog. Visit her online at https://bethmayer.com/

Twitter: @bethjmayer
Facebook: @bethmayerauthor

Beth joined Andy and Anais to discuss Celeste Ng’s brutally honest short story about girlhood, innocence, violence, and sex. The conversation often dwells on the difficult subject of consent and adolescence. Despite the difficult topic, all three hosts appreciated the story deeply for what it did so well and analyze Ng’s mastery of the craft. 

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Ep 168: Javi by Han Ong

Discussion Notes: Javi

This week’s story: Javi by Han Ong

Next week’s story: Girls, At Play by Celeste Ng

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “Javi” by Han Ong, which was featured in The New Yorker on June 3rd, 2019. The meditative story follows a 14 year old migrant boy, Javi, who works for an 82 year old abstract painter in New Mexico who is loosely based on the painted Agnes Martin. Gerald and Andy struggle with the plot-less character portrait, though Gerald appreciates the beautiful prose. Anais defends the story as more of a literary game for literary intellectuals. All three hosts dissect the final act of the story which dwells on the current state of immigration in the United States.

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Ep 167: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Discussion Notes: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

This week’s story: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Next week’s story: Javi by Han Ong

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize “Granma’s Porch” by Alexia Tolas. It’s the story of Helena, a Bahamanian teenager on the island of Long Island who falls in love with a new boy who moves into town and contends with sexual desire in the midst of a very particular cultural context. This was Andy’s favorite story in recent weeks. It reminded Anais of Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn which we discussed on the Literary Roadhouse Bookclub episode 19. Gerald and Anais wrestle with questions of consent in teenage love affairs.

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Ep 166: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Discussion Notes: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

This week’s story: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Next week’s story: Granma’s Porch by Alexia Tolas

Rated: Clean

At the request of a listener, Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “The Red Tower” by Thomas Ligotti. Andy, who was looking forward to reading a Ligotti short story, was disappointed, but Anais was thrilled. In part she was thrilled because she found what she believed to be an obvious metaphor wherein The Red Tower is a representation of the human mind. Her confidence is rocked when no one else – not even other reviewers on the internet – share her view. Gerald learns what creepypasta is.

Andy’s recommendation: Read “The Stairs and the Doorway” by unxmaal on Reddit.

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Looking for more to read?

Click here for a full list of all short stories discussed on the podcast.

The Escape | John L’Heureux | Literary Roadhouse Ep 165

Discussion Notes: The Escape

This week’s story: The Escape by John L’Heureux

Next week’s story: The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti

Rated: Clean

Andy, Gerald, and Anais discuss “The Escape” by John L’Heureux. “The Escape” is the brilliantly told story of Eddie Prior, a pragmatic family man who faces Parkinson’s in late life and grapples with the disease alongside a newfound appreciation for painting which, as the disease progresses, becomes increasingly not pragmatic. All three hosts absolutely loved the story’s sheer genius, though Anais for some reason struggled to leave her analytical brain to embrace the reader brain. Andy in particular enjoyed the story because the author is a former Jesuit priest, which Andy argues on the show is the coolest kind of priest.

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Psst: Full list of short stories discussed on the podcast >>