Two Chairs Talking

Two ex-chairmen of the World SF Convention talk about books, movies, science fiction fandom, and much else.

Perry and David wind up their discussion of the best books they read in 2020 and roll on to talking about their best movies and television seen during the year.

  • David's Top 10 books of 2020 (04:51)

    1. Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman
    2. Normal People by Sally Rooney
    3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    4. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
    5. Truth by Peter Temple
    6. The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
    7. How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang
    8. Solaris by Stanisław Lem
    9. The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison
    10. A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
  • Perry's Top 10 books of 2020 (06:04)
    1. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
    2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
    3. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
    4. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jnr
    5. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan
    6. A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr
    7. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
    8. Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
    9. Tango Briefing by Adam Hall
    10. The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John
  • David's Top films of 2020 (04:18)
    1. Brazil
    2. 12 Monkeys
    3. Solaris (dir. Tarkovsky)
    4. Yesterday
    5. Time Bandits
  • Perry's Top films of 2020 (06:33)
    1. Stalker
    2. The Old Guard
    3. Yesterday
    4. Sometimes Always Never
    5. Brazil
  • David's Top TV of 2020 (06:08)
    1. Tales from the Loop (Mini-series)
    2. Upright (Mini-series)
    3. His Dark Materials (Season 1)
    4. The Expanse (Season 4)
    5. For All Mankind (Season 1)
  • Perry's Top TV of 2020 (27:32)
    • Food (03:00)

      1. Food Safari Fire
      2. Rick Stein’s Secret France
      3. Chef’s Table : BBQ
    • Crime (07:39)
      1. Criminal : UK S01 and S02
      2. Trapped S01 and S02
      3. The Alienist S01
      4. Des
      5. Giri/Haji
    • Horror (01:15)
      • The Outsider
    • Science Fiction (03:35)
      1. The Expanse S04
      2. The Umbrella Academy S02
      3. For All Mankind S01
      4. The Umbrella Academy S01
    • Other (04:55)
      • The Queen’s Gambit
      • The Test
      • Freeman
    • Best 5 of the Year (05:51)
      1. The Queen’s Gambit
      2. The Expanse S04
      3. Criminal : UK S01 and S02
      4. The Test
      5. Trapped S01 and S02
  • Wind-up (02:08)

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Photo: public domain

David and Perry look back at the books they read during 2020 and pick their favourites in a variety of categories.

  • David's reading during 2020 (03:59)
  • Perry's reading during 2020 (08:58)
  • David's Best SF read for the first time (04:19)
  • Perry's Best SF read for the first time (06:31)
  • David's Best SF read again (02:15)
  • Perry's Best SF read again (03:25)
  • David's Best Fantasy (03:04)
  • Perry's Best Fantasy (04:09)
  • David's Best Alternate History (02:27)
  • Perry's Best Crime (05:46)
  • David's Best Crime (04:39)
  • Perry's Best Literary (06:25)
  • David's Best Literary (09:08)
  • Perry's Best Single Author Collections (05:20)
  • David's Best Historical Fiction (02:26)
  • Perry's Best Novellas (08:10)
  • David's Best Children's Literature (02:57)
  • Perry's Best Nonfiction (04:05)
  • David's Best Nonfiction (02:55)
  • Windup (01:34)

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Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

Perry and David discuss the fine art of tsundoku and then fire up the Hugo Time Machine yet again to return to the year of 1965, when Fritz Leiber's "The Wanderer" won Best Novel Hugo.

  • Tsundoku (01:42)
  • Hugo Time Machine~1965 (01:01:38)
    • The Whole Man by John Brunner (07:26)
    • Davy by Edgar Pangborn (08:47)
    • The Planet Buyer by Cordwainer Smith (11:57)
    • The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber (07:40)
    • Other possible nominees (02:52)
    • Short Fiction (00:58)
    • Little Dog Gone by Robert F. Young (05:04)
    • Always a Cop by Rick Raphael (04:59)
    • Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson (05:47)
    • Other possible nominees (03:54)
  • Taking a break (02:09)
  • Wind-up (01:04)

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David and Perry return to their love of crime, and discuss both newly released titles in the genre and some old classics.

  • The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (10:08)
  • The Survivors by Jane Harper (08:40)
  • A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre (08:28)
  • The Searcher by Tana French (15:05)
  • Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith (04:39)
  • Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (05:38)
  • Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic (01:55)
  • Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (02:16)
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (07:23)
  • Windup (02:57)

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Perry and David discuss their recent reading, ranging over a wide range of genres.

  • Coronavirus state of play (02:53)
  • Internet Archive looking for donations (01:43)
  • World Fantasy Awards (02:04)
    • Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender (00:57)
    • Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (00:23)
    • Read After Burning by Maria Dahvana Headley (00:33)
  • Crime Writers Association Awards (03:02)
    • Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (02:38)
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (18:00)
    • Interview with Susanna Clarke in The Guardian (00:13)
    • Interview with Susanna Clarke in the Hindustani Times (02:24)
  • Heatwave in Berlin by Dymphna Cusack (06:38)
  • The Silence by Susan Allott (08:36)
  • A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinkster (07:36)
  • The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall (04:22)
  • Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James (06:11)
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang (07:25)
  • Wind-up (01:36)

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David and Perry visit the Eastern Block and discuss novels by Stanisław Lem and the Strugatsky brothers, and the films based on two of their books.

  • Ebooks or paper books? (05:02)
  • Going East (00:30)
  • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (20:00)
  • Solaris (movie) directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (12:20)
  • Solaris (movie) directed by Steven Soderberg (14:15)
  • Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (11:48)
  • Stalker (movie) directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (26:11)
  • Windup (00:43)

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Image: still from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. Used here for purposes of review, fair use copyright exemption.

Perry and David have fun talking about BIG objects in science fiction, from flying cities to spheres totally enclosing stars.

  • Megastructures (06:36)
  • Cities in Flight by James Blish (06:05)
  • Feersum Endjinn by Ian M. Banks (04:32)
  • Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke (00:39)
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (00:23)
  • The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield (03:28)
  • Eon by Greg Bear (06:14)
  • Marrow by Robert Reed (09:17)
  • Pellucidar Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs (07:10)
  • Dyson Spheres (01:50)
  • Tabby Boyajian's Star (01:14)
  • Star Classifications (01:36)
  • Orbitsville by Bob Shaw (05:47)
  • Other big objects in SF (10:19)
    • Riverworld Series by Phillip Jose Farmer (02:15)
    • Bowl of Heaven by Larry Niven & Greg Benford (01:32)
    • Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner (02:11)
    • Culture Series by Ian M. Banks (04:10)
  • Windup (01:21)

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David and Perry discuss the centenary of the coining of the word ‘robot’, the winner of the 2020 Arthur C. Clarke Award, and take the Hugo Time Machine whizzing back to the year 1964.

  • R. U. R. by Karel Čapek (03:44)
  • Arthur C. Clarke Award (03:09)
    • The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (02:28)
  • Hugo Time Machine~1964 (01:17:03)
    • Glory Road by Robert Heinlein (02:59)
    • Witch World by Andre Norton (06:35)
    • Dune World by Frank Herbert (11:25)
    • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (08:09)
    • Way Station by Clifford Simak (12:11)
    • Voting results - Novels 1964 (02:06)
    • Other possible novel nominees for 1964 (01:17)
    • 1964 Short Fiction (00:24)
    • Code Three by Rick Raphael (03:43)
    • Savage Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs (04:40)
    • A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny (07:49)
    • No Truce With Kings by Poul Anderson (05:26)
    • Voting results - Short Fiction 1964 (01:28)
    • Other possible short fiction nominees 1964 (01:43)
    • Internet Archive, SF Database, etc. (02:29)
    • Other Hugo Awards in 1964 (02:23)
  • Wind-up (01:08)

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Photo of toy robot by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Perry and David talk about novels which blur the boundaries between genres: literary novels with strong elements of fantasy or science fiction. We can call them "genre adjacent" fiction.

  • Children of Men by P. D. James (00:23)
  • Never Let Me Go & The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (00:52)
  • Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan (04:34)
  • A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer (08:28)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (07:36)
  • The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay (08:27)
  • The Second Cure by Margaret Morgan (00:57)
  • Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson (10:19)
  • The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott (08:43)
  • What the Wind Brings by Matthew Hughes (12:43)
  • Interview with Matthew Hughes (21:09)
    • What the Wind Brings (11:29)
    • Vance Space novel (07:58)
    • A God in Chains (01:12)
  • Windup (01:44)

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David and Perry farewell John Bangsund, a stalwart of the Australian science fiction community; and look at three movies directed by Terry Gilliam: Time Bandits, Brazil and 12 Monkeys.

  • Vale John Bangsund (09:12)
  • Terry Gilliam (41:07)
    • Time Bandits (11:26)
    • Brazil (14:36)
    • 12 Monkeys (09:26)
    • La Jetée (04:24)
  • Windup/Next Episode (02:00)

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Image: Jonathan Pryce in the movie Brazil. Photo reproduced here for purposes of review (fair use copyright exemption).

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