Author: Fran Wilde

Magic Wants to Be Fed: Cooking the Books with Robin Hobb

This summer, I met Robin Hobb at Loncon3. We were both on a great food politics panel and she is as lovely and charming in person as you can imagine. When I asked her later if she’d join Cooking the Books for an interview, I knew my chances were slim, given that she’s hard at work on the new book – but she said yes. Everyone wins!

Robin is the bestselling author of short stories, books, and fantasy series including the Farseer trilogy, The Liveship Traders trilogy, and The Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Knowing that Robin has many loyal fans, I offered the lovely folks at reddit/fantasy a chance to join me in interviewing her. What follows are her fantastic answers to the questions we put together — please join me in welcoming Robin Hobb to the November Cooking the Books!

CTB: From the start of the Farseer Trilogy, Fitz’s status changes seem marked by where he eats (or is left to await food) – was this something you plotted out or something that happened naturally? Fitz’s observation ‘that food served in the kitchen was warmer than that served in the hall’ is quite wonderful – was that a reflection on the burdens of status?


On Reading In Public

photo by Sam J. Miller

NYRSF reading, 2013. Photo by Sam J. Miller

Imagine yourself in a room filled with chairs, all pointed right at you. There’s a table with a sweating pitcher of water and an empty plastic cup, a box of leftover cookie crumbs, and, if you’re lucky, a table-tent with your name on it.

Welcome to your reading – one of many, you hope. What are you going to do now? (more…)

It’s Hard to Fish from an Airship: Cooking the Books with Rajan Khanna

A year ago, Rajan Khanna and I read together at a New York Review of Science Fiction reading, curated by Amy Goldshlager.

Rajan read from Falling Sky, and the passage I heard was amazing. Earlier this month, Rajan joined Cooking the Books for a podcast answering all sorts of questions about post-apocalyptic cuisine.

To hear Rajan yourself, hurry to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC, where he’ll be reading on Thursday, November 6 from 2:30-3pm, or head to the December KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading in Manhattan, where he and author Steven Gould will join forces for an evening of … fantastic fiction.

You can read an excerpt from Falling Sky at

Or, should you desire, you can hear him talk about Falling Sky right now, on the latest installment of the Cooking the Books podcast. (more…)

How to Cook a Shimmer: Cooking the Books with E. Catherine Tobler

This month, Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome guest cook E. Catherine Tobler. A Sturgeon Award finalist and a cupcake connoisseur, Tobler has Senior Editor at Shimmer Magazine.  Elise asked if we would like to know how a Shimmer is made, and we, of course, said yes.  (previous Cooking the Books collaborations with SF/F magazines include A. C. Wise presenting How To Brew a Bugzine.)

Shimmer Badgers hard at work.

Shimmer Badgers hard at work.

It is a well known fact that Shimmer cannot be found in the wild and does not grow on trees. Shimmer is only brought to fruition through a careful nurturing and monitoring process, which involves practices we are revealing here for the first time. Just as last year we bravely exposed the horrors of slush-reading badgers, we are now opening the door upon Shimmer’s very own badgers, and how they cook Shimmer.

(Please note that all badgers are supervised and wear hair nets while in the Shimmer kitchens. Their paws are washed in fresh spring waters after their hourly romps in the clover meadows. They are never unsupervised while stoking the Shimmer Ovens of Industry. Except that one time, which this article is not exploring.) (more…)

See you at Capclave!

My Capclave schedule – give me a shout if you’re going!

Friday 4:30 pm: If I Ran the Studio (Salon A)
Panelists: Jim Freund (M), Max Gladstone, Jon Skovron, Genevieve Valentine, Fran Wilde
What books and stories would you adapt to film? Live action or animated? Why do film studios insist on optioning novels when short form fiction is really the ideal length for being adapted to film?

Friday 7:30 pm: Reading (Frederick) - Fran Wilde

Saturday 2:00 pm: Smart Women Foolish Television (Bethesda) ***
Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff, Sherin Nicole (M), Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde
We all have those shows we watch and love and maybe love to pick on because they are our guilty pleasures. We revel in their cliches and inconsistent writing and leaps of logic. Or in their bizarre yet internally consistent alternate realities (even if they’re supposed to be based in the real world). Ahistorical historical shows and why we love their anachronisms.

(No Sunday programming because of prior commitment.)

AHEM. A small admission.


Calming down.

Totally Calm.

A Cooking the Books Appetizer – E. Catherine Tobler’s Watermark

Occasionally the Cooking the Books staff (that is, for the moment, me, myself, and I) discovers an tidbit from something you might like. Such is the case with the following appetizer – a food related excerpt from one of October’s Cooking the Books guest hosts, E. Catherine Tobler.

Coming Sept. 22, 2014 from Masque Books

Coming Sept. 22, 2014 from Masque Books

E. Catherine Tobler is the senior editor of Shimmer Magazine and author of works including Rings of Anubis (Masque Books, 2014), and an ever growing ring of stories that collects beneath the Jackson’s Circus tent.

Her latest novel, Watermark, will be released by Masque Books on September 22, but you can read a specially selected, food-related excerpt here, right now. When you’re through, head on over to E. Catherine Tobler’s website, where she’s hosting a giveaway for Watermark through Saturday, October 4.

Meantime, enjoy, and keep an eye out for more October Cooking the Books! (more…)

My Baltimore Book Festival Schedule

A quick post to say I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival next weekend, September 26-28! The show’s moved to Rash Field, so come say hi and visit the SFWA table.  Here’s the full schedule of SFWA events.

Here’s where you can find me:

Friday 2:00-3:00 Writing about social justice in science fiction and fantasy.
Join our panel to talk about science fiction that revolves around issues of social justice here on Earth–and elsewhere. From Ursula Le Guin’s tour de force novel The Dispossessed to the works of MacArthur Fellow Octavia Butler through a plethora of other writers, science fiction and fantasy authors have never shied away from stories that tackled issues of social justice. Talk with our panelists about their favorite examples and yours. Panelists: Anne K. Gray, Alma Katsu, Sunny Moraine, Alex Shvartsman, Fran Wilde

Saturday 5:30 -7:00 Reception and Meet & Greet with authors, music, and food
Join the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at our reception, autographing session, and Meet and Greet with our program participants at the Baltimore Book Festival.

with: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeanne Adams, Jill Archer, Catherine Asaro, Jack Clemons, Brenda Clough, Scott Edelman, Charles Gannon, Ronald Garner, Em Garner, Herb Gilliland, Anne K Gray, Elektra Hammond, Justina Ireland, Jim Johnson, Alma Katsu, Cheryl Klam, L. Jagi Lamplighter, John Maclay, Marrisa Meyer, Sunny Moraine, Christine Norris, Ellen Oh, Sarah Pinsker, Caroline Richmond, Don Sakers, Karen Sandler, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Rori Shay, Alex Shvartsman, Dawnyell Snyder, Bud Sparhawk, John Tilden, Mike Underwood, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde, Ilene Wong, Karlo Yeager

Sunday 12:00-1:00 Science in Science Fiction: Fun and Imagination.
Our panel of scientists will talk about exciting ideas in science. How do you extrapolate known science into the “What if?” that excites readers about our genre? Talk with our experts about some of the coolest ideas out there and how they can be used in fiction. Panelists: Jack Clemons, Bud Sparhawk, Fran Wilde, Catherine Asaro

The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

If trapped aboard an airship, with only a tin of cinnamon, a pinch of yeast, and a bag of somewhat questionable flour, our heroine, author Beth Cato would unquestionably come up with delicious baked goods in time to destroy her enemies. We are certain of that.

Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome Beth on the day her book, The Clockwork Dagger, debuts!

(You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at

Beth joins us to talk about the research that went into the book, especially regarding food, politics, transport, medicine, and gremlins.

Thanks to Beth, you can score the very ARC written by Beth that was then gently read by us in preparation for this interview. This ARC is experienced, in good condition, and comes with your very own Cooking the Books Con Ribbon as a bookmark. (Yep, we’re making you read to the end for the entry terms. We were not born yesterday.)

So! Grab your goggles and your traveling-case, adventurers! And bring a good appetite, because Beth’s shared her recipe for maple fudge, as well as the story behind that fudge’s connection with The Clockwork Dagger.

Everyone armed with their weapon of choice? (more…)

Loncon3 Wrap-up and Picspam

Kaffeeklatsch Achieved! Feat. Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, [capclave], JW Alden, Mel X, Frances KR, and more! (some offscreen)

Kaffeeklatsch Achieved! Feat. Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, Judy Newton, JW Alden, Pauline Wooley, Frances KR, Felicia, and more! (some offscreen!)

We’ve been home for almost a week and the planet’s still kind of spinning. I’m going to press on and try to capture a bit of Loncon3, filling in with shiny photos when I can’t find the words.

Loncon3 Panels – Everything was packed! I mean rooms filled with people, people standing, people of all ages, people asking questions and coming up to talk after. It was so packed, we had to resort to parkour to get Scott Lynch to his very small, very remote reading room. This was very exciting. I’m still convinced that some of the convention rooms (especially those on the third floor, back hallway) moved around like staircases at Hogwarts. The Excel Center is a strange place — more on that later.  (more…)