Ian Mond is the co-host of the Hugo nominated podcast Writer and The Critic (with Kirstyn McDermott) and the very rude but sometimes informative podcast Shooting the Poo (with Dave Hoskin and Anthony Mitchell). Now that his two children sleep through the night he’s been able to carve out enough time to read stuff. Sometimes he will even blog about what he reads at his blog – The Hysterical Hamster.
1. Your podcast The Writer and the Critic was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fancast this year – congratulations! It’s continued to be popular here in Australia and obviously overseas as well; what do you think it is that makes it appealing to listeners? And why do you keep doing it?
At first it was the definitely the pointy stick. But now I think it’s the unflinching criticism. I don’t believe there are many – if any – genre podcasts out there that specifically provide in-depth criticism of genre books. And I think people enjoy it when both of us get passionate about a work. Not just the snark, but the genuine appreciation we have for good writing.
We still do it because we love it. Yeah, we’ve had to go bi-monthly, but even with everything going on in our lives Kirstyn and I have never discussed putting the podcast to bed. We definitely want to reach episode 50 and I’m sure we will go beyond that. For all the rubbish that’s published on a minute by minute basis, there’s great stuff out there that we can’t wait to pick apart.
2. Your other podcast is the, ah, delicately named Shooting the Poo. What’s the inspiration behind that podcast?
Dave, Mitch and I would often catch up and shoot the shit for hours on end. Arrogantly we always thought it was a great shame that no-one was recording these significant discussions. They were lost to the ages. And so we decided to podcast – knowing that civilisation would thank us.
The title is all my fault. No-one likes it. Seriously. Not a person. We only went with it because “Dave, Ian and Mitch speak shit for 90 minutes” sounded worse.
As with Writer and The Critic, in spite of two of the hosts becoming fathers very recently we intend to continue. Expect future podcasts to discuss issues ranging from erotic fiction to Spielberg Movies.
3. Do you see yourself still doing podcasts over the next, say, five years? Do you think The Writer and the Critic can maintain its appeal?
Five years… yes… I can see it… though I’m not sure Kirstyn would agree. If we keep to a bi monthly schedule that would be 30 episodes.
Because we’re not podcasting every week, and because we try and choose interesting and varied books, and because we’re always looking at ways of tweaking the podcast without ever changing the basic core elements of what the podcast is about, then yes I think we can remain appealing.
At the very least people seem to like to come and hear us rant and bitch at each other and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
It’s terrible to say but I haven’t loved any Australian work recently. I liked Rupetta by Nike Sulway, and reviewed it on my blog, but never engaged with the characters. Max Barry’s Lexicon is fun but as Kirstyn and I pointed out on W&C it’s also a flawed book. I did get a kick out of Twinmaker by Sean Williams. It’s about time someone blew off the dust on teleportation. But I’m not sure, given the amount of stuff I have banked up to read, that I’ll be reading the sequels.
Actually, yes there was something I loved. It was Kirstyn McDermott’s small collection for Twelve Planets Press, “Caution: Contains Small Parts”. I know Kirstyn is a close friend, etc, etc, etc. But seriously these four stories are astonishing and it’s a tragedy that Kirstyn isn’t a household name – or at the least someone who is being published across the world.
5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be reading in five years from now?
The only thing that’s changed is how I read. 85% of the books I’ve read this year have been electronic, not hard copy. This is major shift for me considering the thousands of hard copy books I own. But I find reading on phone or iPad to be easy and it’s resulted in me reading more.
I’m not interested in trawling through self published work. I’m happy to have gatekeepers – whether they be the big five publishers or small presses that care about the quality of the work – to determine the sort of fiction I read. The fact is, I’ll read about 80 novels this years. About 32,000 pages of fiction (yes, I keep track) and even with all that I’m not scratching the surface of the genuinely good stuff that’s published each year.
In five years I believe I’ll be doing the same thing. Reading on my tablet books that have been professionally edited and gone through some sort of quality assurance. Maybe that makes me a snob. Fine. And I’m willing to accept that there are outliers out there – self published books that are amazing. But for me, I’ll let others square that circle.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: