Bat Segundo, but not Night Train FM
June 26, 2006 11:30 PM   Subscribe

The Bat Segundo Show is a (mostly) weekly podcast featuring interviews with current writers. There are almost 50 installments now online, but the show began appropriately enough with a 37-minute interview with British novelist David Mitchell, who created the original Bat Segundo character in his first book, Ghostwritten.
posted by Alexandros (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
From the Mitchell interview:

"I view fiction as a semi-autonomous enclave in society. It's a place where ideas can jam with impunity, and it's a place where the imagination can manifest itself without being accused of childishness, or without being ridiculed as sort of being the opposite of Progress, with a capital P, and purpose, with a capital P. It's nonetheless, sort of the enclave of society that makes life tolerable, and in its way the creativity actually shapes the rest of society.


I'm not saying...writers are fantastically important people...but I'm saying the importance of fiction can't be overstated."

For me it was great to hear one of my favorite authors talk honestly about his work, and I was impressed with how humble he is. There's lots of other good stuff on the site, including interviews with Dave Barry and Tom Tomorrow.
posted by Alexandros at 11:35 PM on June 26, 2006

Thanks, Alexandros! Very cool. Have you read the new one?
posted by shoepal at 12:26 AM on June 27, 2006

I have never forgiven that guy for killing that cat in "Ghostwritten." Every time I see one of his books in the store or a friend recommends it, I say, "That motherfucker killed a cat." Isn't there some literary golden rule they teach you in Iowa about not killing cats or small children?
posted by neustile at 5:55 AM on June 27, 2006

As the guy behind the show, thanks very much for the link. Incidentally, I interviewed Mitchell again and there's a new two-part interview coming soon.
posted by ed at 6:06 AM on June 27, 2006

Nice work ed!
posted by asok at 6:22 AM on June 27, 2006

Like the waxpoetics for books! Interesting interviews conducted by people who actually give a fuck about the subject matter.

Appreciation helped by the fact I am re-reading Cloud Atlas again (following reading the AS Byatt review) and therefore had a borrowed copy of the British hardback to inspect during the interview. Will be moving on to Black Swan Green after rereading Stephenson's Diamond Age and maybe finishing 'On a winter's night a traveller...' after reading this.
posted by asok at 7:46 AM on June 27, 2006

I check out your site regularly, ed -- keep up the good work.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:46 AM on June 27, 2006

Whoah, the man behind the Bat Segundo Show is a MeFite. I should have done a URL search, but I still would have posted the link anyway. Thanks for the interviews, ed, and please don't hold out on us too long with the second Mitchell interview. (I had been wondering if you were going to do a follow up.)

Now I wouldn't be surprised if there were Timothy Cavendishes and Louisa Reys lurking on MeFi.

shoepal -- Yeah, how about you? I have to admit I wasn't thrilled when I heard about the premise of BSG, but as soon as I got into it I loved it.

neustile, I remember a nasty bowling scene from number9dream and a live doll getting thrown off a bridge in Cloud Atlas, but the cat thing? I don't remember at all. Do you remember which chapter in Ghostwritten?
posted by Alexandros at 8:47 AM on June 27, 2006

I haven't gotten into podcasts yet, so this may very well serve as my introduction because it looks so very superawesome.

Thanks for this!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:59 AM on June 27, 2006

Now I wouldn't be surprised if there were Timothy Cavendishes and Louisa Reys lurking on MeFi.

No Sonmis? or Zach'rys? : >
posted by amberglow at 9:18 AM on June 27, 2006

If you're into literary podcasts, I also recommend Pinky's Paperhaus and Moby Lives Radio. I once assembled a master literary podcast list in November, but there have been many more that have popped up since.

Also, John Updike was interviewed for Show #50. And believe me, you won't want to miss this one.
posted by ed at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2006

From the interview (paraphrased): "How come these noises mean things? How can this rather narrow band of sounds made with our tongue and teeth and lips come to represent quite abstract thoughts?"

I've often wondered the same thing. I used to just make syllable-esque sounds when talking to myself as a kid and invent whole "languages" that I was sure had to mean SOMETHING since all non-English languages spoken around me (mostly German, some French) seemed to sound just like random gibberish.

One of the girls in my class (I teach four year olds) does the same thing and I think it's because she's also solely an English speaker but immersed in other languages quite a lot of the time (her parents and neighbors speak a sort of Creole French).

Still though, it's amazing that some random sounds mean something and others don't.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:32 AM on June 27, 2006

Alexandros: in the chapter set in Russia with the art thieves, the leading lady's cat gets it. Badly.
posted by neustile at 9:38 AM on June 27, 2006

hi ed!
posted by shoepal at 10:56 AM on June 27, 2006

Where aboots is the podcast feed for me to plug into my iPodder?
posted by eurasian at 11:29 AM on June 27, 2006

I loved the Jennifer Weiner interview -- while I'm not drawn to chicklit, she was so smart and funny that it made me want to read her books. Ed always gets a great interview.
posted by paperhaus at 11:40 AM on June 27, 2006

posted by ed at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2006

ed: Eeegggscellent, ty!
posted by eurasian at 12:17 PM on June 27, 2006

ed, is there an easy way to segment the podcasts? (downloading an hour's worth is a lot at once)
posted by amberglow at 3:00 PM on June 28, 2006

amberglow: As an alternative, there's a stream option underneath the graphics and summary for each show. Click on the play button and you should be able to hear it in stream format.
posted by ed at 4:14 PM on June 28, 2006


Have you had any trouble getting the authors to come talk? You have an in with the publishers or something?
posted by amberglow at 5:16 PM on June 28, 2006

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