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Friday Conversation | Ep 103: What is Slipstream w/ Susana Imaginário, Jose's Amazing Worlds & Paromita

February 08, 2024 Steve Season 2 Episode 103
Page Chewing
Friday Conversation | Ep 103: What is Slipstream w/ Susana Imaginário, Jose's Amazing Worlds & Paromita
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 Embark on a journey through the twisting corridors of slipstream fiction with your hosts and our special guest, Susana Imaginário.  As a seasoned mythological slipstream aficionado and author, Susanna guides us through this enthralling genre where fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction coalesce. Together with Paramita's voracious appetite for literary fiction and Jose's boundless enthusiasm for fantastical worlds, we dissect the elements that make slipstream a genre that both perplexes and captivates. We address the challenges of literary classifications, and the implications of genre-blending on authors' marketing efforts and readers' discovery processes.

Our conversation steers us into the labyrinthine narratives of "Cloud Atlas" and the ergodic wonders of "House of Leaves," discussing their power to reshape the conventional storytelling experience. Such intricate structures spur a debate on their potential to inspire or alienate readers. The diverse reactions to these works raise the question of whether complexity enhances or detracts from a story's ability to forge a deep connection with its audience. The dialogue then shifts to the rich tapestry of magical realism, paying homage to Gabriel García Márquez's masterpieces and considering the cultural and historical threads that bind us to these universally human tales.

As we conclude, we muse over the possibility that the quintessential work of slipstream literature is still unwritten, maybe even by someone tuning in today. Our exchange includes must-read recommendations, inviting listeners to transcend their reading boundaries and join the exploration of the weird, wonderful, and whimsically complex realm of slipstream and magical realism. Tune in to this episode for an intellectual adventure through genre boundaries, narrative intrigue, and the enchanting dance of the real with the fantastic.

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Speaker 1:

Hello friends and happy Friday. Welcome back to the Friday conversation, episode 103. Since we've passed 100, it's easier for me to keep track of episode numbers now Much easier, but anyway. So we're here today to discuss a few topics, one of them being slipstream. And what is slipstream? We'll find out. I'll find out, because I don't know anything about slipstream. So, susanna, will you start us off with an introduction please?

Speaker 2:

Hello, my name is Susanna Imaginario and I write a slipstream, or mythological slipstream. It's slightly different and I run a YouTube channel called End of the Wheel.

Speaker 3:

I'm Paramita. I read a variety of books. Currently, my focus is mainly on literary fiction and classics, and I'm excited to find out more about slipstream and talk a little bit about what I've read by looking up on Google.

Speaker 1:

And Jose.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I'm Jose. I run the Jose's Amazing Worlds channel where I do book reviews, and recently I have cracking conversations with authors. And just to qualify Paramita's introduction, she doesn't read books, she reads all books.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I think the question is into what books has she read? It's what books hasn't she read?

Speaker 4:

Go on Paramita.

Speaker 3:

I don't know what to say. I have not read a lot of the books that show up on slipstream lists. That's the starting point, not yet?

Speaker 2:

Not yet, true, not yet, but you already completed your Goodreads challenge and everything I mean. Come on, why bother setting a challenge anyway?

Speaker 3:

I don't know. If it asks me to do something, I just do it.

Speaker 1:

That's not the best idea, but okay, read a thousand books this year, okay.

Speaker 4:

Sure, she's got no self-control, does she?

Speaker 3:

Well, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Maybe she does because she does get through a ton of books and that requires a bit of self-control, or is it the opposite? I don't know, but anyway, just keep talking about her.

Speaker 4:

I see she wasn't here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, we do that all the time. Now she's here to switch behavior. Only good stuff, though. Only good stuff. So I guess we should start with what is slipstream.

Speaker 2:

Right. So according to the internet because I didn't know this until way after I started writing so it's a very it's a relative new term. I think it was only coined in 1989 as a genre, so it doesn't even have its own Amazon category. It was one of the things that I learned before publishing that no agent would sign me when I was writing in the genre that doesn't even have its own Amazon category. So that was really motivating for me and it's very niche. Yes, and it's kind of.

Speaker 2:

It's defined as a mix between fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction and yet I think to qualify it has to have those three elements. But it's more than just a combination of those genres it's. It's often described as a fiction of strangeness and it's supposed to evoke a sense of weirdness in the reader, not quite as the same way that weird fiction does. It's more. It's more like an intellectual workout with an emotional payoff, if that makes sense, you know, a direct path to human emotion, rather than just together with the relative, with the narrative, I think, parameter. In one of the forum posts you'd describe it beautifully, that as something as a magic realism for anglophones, which I was laughing. So it's, it makes sense in a very strange way, because magic realism is so ingrained in the culture and the Latin language as well. So when you try to translate that into English, I think what you get is it's slipstream. I will try to explain this better later on. I have notes.

Speaker 2:

It's not very good ones, so yeah, so it is supposed to make the reader feel weird, to make the reader think about what is reading and has an emotional payoff. So it's it's. It's the sort of narrative that only actually pays off upon reread. You're supposed to be confused the first time, to have that feeling of what the fuck throughout, and then you only understand when you get to the end or when you read it again. Does that help?

Speaker 1:

It's a pretty good story.

Speaker 2:

Like humor is.

Speaker 3:

No, no, please go ahead. I can chime in later.

Speaker 2:

Okay, some of the key features is humor, or they usually appear like very dark humor, satire wordplay and there's a lot that it's inferred rather than described directly. It's kind of like in magic realism, where you try to describe the most banal things in like in the mystical ways and then the more metaphysical stuff very realistically. Steve Swim does that, but it's more subdued, so it's a bit more between the lines. You have to read the narrative as a whole. Okay, it's, it's complicated, it's not for everyone, I understand.

Speaker 3:

So one thing that I was like, I've been grappling with this definition in my mind and I did not like what I found on the internet and did not like as in it was difficult for me to say that other than just write it down and reproduce it verbatim. But one thing that I've been doing sort of is one of my friends on discord and I. We are reading this collection of stories by an Argentinian author, very famous author, george Louis Borges, and we are doing one story a day and this topic of the Friday conversation came up and it was at the back of my mind and then suddenly, while we were discussing the story, he, he, my friend, used this phrase. He said it's interesting but uncomfortable, and to me this is sort of in this sort of encapsulates the feeling of reading a slipstream word, and I genuinely say that in a very broad sense, because that also means that because interesting and uncomfortable are both such personal experiences, they are reader specific that slipstream almost automatically invites the reader in into a collaborative effort with the creator of the work. And again, I'm using work very generally it can be a film, it can be a song, it can be art, it can be literature, though today, I think we will restrict ourselves to literature.

Speaker 3:

The other thing that I mean I was I was trying to coin, you know, like a they say, do a one line elevator pitch I think it is literature of disorientation. Fundamentally we want fundamentally this is counter intuitive because, at least me personally I, I love murder mysteries and one of the key features of murder mysteries why people use murder mysteries in the same line as cozy is because it gives you the answer. Why murder mysteries are cozy? Because on one side, on one end, we have something as horrifying as a murder occurring in a novel and on the other side, people say that it's extremely cozy.

Speaker 3:

I want a cozy murder mystery. What does that mean? It's not actually because it gives you answers that in a way that life just doesn't and for and I love that, I mean I love that mystery is my all time favorite of clip stream is the entire opposite. The definition is, I said, as I said, it's disorientation. It does not give you answers. It gives you questions and possible answers, but even that it's like, hey, like reader, if you want to go your own way with this, you go, the answers come.

Speaker 2:

I have a note about that. So it gives you answers, it makes you think about it, it forces you to think, the answers come in hindsight, which is the most useless form of insight, if that makes sense. So it's the sort of story that ideally, you'll be thinking about it for years to come and eventually remember bits here and there that you then can use. And you're right, it is supposed to involve the reader. I designed my books purposely almost as puzzles. You really have to put the pieces together. If you don't, you get a nice hopefully a nice entertaining story. That it's a little bit vague and out there, but you know it's all right. But when you put the pieces together, that's where you hopefully go like, wow, I need to think about this for a while.

Speaker 3:

I also wanted to say one thing which, like, helped me think about this a bit, just in terms of visualizing, is the term slipstream itself. So, without even going into etymology, just phonetically slipstream. It has this element of elusiveness in it. No, it's almost something that you are trying to grasp. Someone is trying to grasp something tangible and it is eluding you. And that is not for want of effort or not anything that you are doing wrong, nor that the creator is doing anything wrong. It is just that element of elusiveness is ingrained in the work itself. It is a feature of the work and, as Susanna already said, it's designed to make you think and there is no limit on how much you can think or how long you can think for it and indeed you can choose to reject it outright. You can choose to reject this collaboration and say this invitation to collaborate with the creator of the work and say I don't want to think, which I have done with works of slipstream but when it does, when it clicks, as I said, it's a very personal thing. So what I like as a good example of slipstream literature will be different to what Susanna says to, will be different to what Steve says, will be different to what Jose says and will be different to for all the listeners. We will find some commonalities but it is very, very personal. So I mean that's quite interesting to me in in of itself. But also to go into the etymology, if you think of slipstream it's, I mean, there's this element of fluidity, it's almost something that if you, if you think about something flowing, it is not something that one can grasp tangibly without realizing on some extent that I have to let this go and it's thought of. I won't call it surrender, but I would say there is an acceptance required at some level, however superficially, that I'm not going to know everything, and that's okay. If one can sort of approach any, any slipstream work like this, it might lead to a more rewarding experience, even on the first read.

Speaker 3:

Otherwise, in my experience, the most natural reaction is frustration, like tell me what you want to tell me. But the author, usually, if they are in control of the narrative and if they are in control of what they are doing, it is not that they don't know what they want to say, it is that they don't want to tell you right away. They have, for example, they have an idea, a thought experiment, a what if? And the answer to that what if? Yes, they have a particular theory, but they don't want that to be the only theory. That's not the reason why they are putting out this work. Part of it is wanting the reader to come up with their own thought and maybe even reject the theory when they share their views at the end. The other thing I think slipstream literature is immensely. It lends itself to discussion, to collaborative discussion.

Speaker 3:

And I think we had one on the forum, in fact it was the House Taken Over by the short story by Julio Cortagar. So he, I would say his stories, a lot of his stories, he's more fabulous than what Borges does, but I would say he would qualify at least some of his work would qualify as a slipstream literature. But I mean again, I'm you know these are all labels and I'm keen to hear what others think.

Speaker 2:

So slipstream outside literature is defined I have it here as an assisting force, drawing something along behind something else. So another definition Google is my friend a current of air or water driven back by a revolving propeller or a jet engine. So it's, but I do prefer the assisting force regarded as drawing something along behind something else. So there's always a meaning there, there's a story and there's what there's the story that's behind the text and if to read it properly you need to be able to abstract, to read between the lights, to listen to the words as much as interpret their meaning. That's why anyone who tries to read slipstream literally will not get it. Just if they can't abstract, they will not be able to get it, and I noticed this with terrible consequences. You'll be like a colorblind person trying to fully appreciate a rainbow. You will never understand. You mentioned house taken over. So that's where I would not qualify.

Speaker 2:

At the slipstream, I see it's magic realism, because that is the difference between the two in my opinion. Magic realism focused on fiction, just just fiction, maybe a little bit of fantasy. It usually doesn't have the sci fi elements or if it does, if it has sci fi elements, doesn't have fantasy elements. And to be slipstream, has to have the whole tree and a setting that it's usually in itself a little bit out there, a little bit of a sort of a dreamscape, nothing that it's grounded in reality to begin with. Or at least part of the book has to happen somewhere else.

Speaker 3:

Good kids, when we I mean like now it's such a I mean it's a fairly broad label. So I'm trying to think of and I mean I would request Jose and Steve to please join in, because I mean you read a lot of different books Are there any books which make you feel disoriented when you first get into them and then it sort of all comes together? Are there books where you feel disoriented and it doesn't come together and you still like the experience? I mean just sort of trying to get a feel of how we I mean, we may not know what it's, whether it's slipstream or not that is coming maybe later, because I don't know certainly what I'm reading is slipstream or not but are there books which invoke that feeling of disorientation for you in a positive way?

Speaker 1:

Jose go ahead.

Speaker 4:

Oh God, I think this is. This sounds like a lot of effort and mental gymnastics. And yes, I think you know Susana has mentioned that you're gonna have fantasy, sci-fi and general weirdness and not knowing where you are and the emotional pay of an effort, and for some reason, we've ended up talking about magic realism. That, to me, has got nothing to do with it, because magic realism, the way I understand that, has got no sci-fi, no fantasy. It really the two completely different things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's why the difference. It has fantasies sometimes little bit.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, I think, from what I've read and I'm, you know, I haven't read as much as many people here, but magic realism I straight away go to, and we were talking before going live 100 years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and that has got zero fantasy. That has got zero sci-fi. It's just not that thing. So, in terms of so, I don't think I've read anything slipstream other than Susana's works. And then, in answer to Paramita's question, yes, I've read, not books but short stories. That had made me wonder. I think Carver's short stories and Chekhov's short stories have got that sort of you know a niece, what's going on, and you know we discussed Cortazar's house taken over, but they're not a slipstream either. They don't have those elements that Susana has mentioned.

Speaker 4:

I think, from what I've read in the little preparation for the episode today, slipstream is kind of something that you know 1989, it's just too far out there and Carver wasn't sci-fi, whatever. You know, it's way out there and it's like nothing I don't know, seems like a catch hold term for things that don't fit into the existing categories. Yeah, yeah, exactly yeah, and I think there's very little of that, unless you want to retroactively rebrand things as a slipstream, but yeah, I've read stories that have made me uneasy, not because they were horrible, but because of you know thematically what they were trying to do. You're wondering what's going on and, yeah, you don't get an answer and you are left feeling a little bit still in the dark as to what's actually happening. But then you're a slipstream as per the definition that Susana has presented today.

Speaker 2:

It is true, it's been used a lot like that when it doesn't fit in fantasy or science fiction or science fantasy, and it has then literary elements to it. And then, when people don't know where to put it, it's not horror, it's not romance, it's not anything, it just goes into slipstream. And so then, fair enough, there's very few people writing, or claiming to write, slipstream. I myself, in a normal conversation, I would say fantasy, because fantasy, to me it covers everything that it's fantastical. It's just easier than try to explain.

Speaker 1:

From the little bit of searching I've done as a few minutes before we're live, the term slipstream sounds like it was coined in 1989, but it sounds like it's been a thing for a long time.

Speaker 1:

When I hit the definition it sounds a lot like weird fiction, but it sounds a little bit more grounded and not as weird as weird fiction, but more of a speculative fiction For me. The first thing that came to my mind is the older science fiction, the kind of vague older science fiction that I remember reading when I was younger, from the 60s or 70s. I start to wonder are so many sub genres a good or bad thing? I guess it's good for a reader who knows what they're getting into, because if you write slipstream and somebody reads it literally, they won't get it because they'll read it literally. It does set a reader up or it lets the author mark it to the right audience some people who are fans of it.

Speaker 1:

But I wonder how many sub genres or too many sub genres? Does that make it harder, as a writer and a reader, to find what you're looking for? Whether you're a reader looking for a book? Does it narrow things down too far? Again, the definitions are different for everyone, so it doesn't make it harder for you to market your books to the right audience, and does it make it easier for a reader to find the book that they're looking for?

Speaker 2:

By putting the label on it definitely helps the reader the reader who is looking for Sleeve String to find it. It's helpful for the author. It's just you're going to have to market as fantasy or mythology I mean, that's what I do Usually people who love mythology they will enjoy the book because they already have, they like fantasy, they like mythology. Then they already have that ability to abstract, otherwise they wouldn't like mythology because mythology is way out there. I think it's the original Sleeve String, especially Greek mythology. Until it becomes more popular, I think it's the way to go. But as a reader I would love to have a category and just go and search directly whenever I wanted to have a little bit of a workout, just read something that read. A puzzle that's kind of how I define it sometimes when I'm writing is just a puzzle fit. I'm always looking for that sort of books and I found a few, very, very few. They exist, but they are usually marketed as inter-fantasy or science fiction.

Speaker 1:

Sounds like a lot of boxes to check off. It sounds like there's a lot to make it something qualified. But again I guess it's a. The definitions changes. But it sounds like a lot of boxes to check for it to be slipstream.

Speaker 3:

One book. That, first of all, to answer your questions, steve, know it didn't really help me because when I started looking for slipstream, I was like huh, but this is literary fiction, but this is science fiction, but this is fantasy, like I did not get. It did not help me. Additionally, like the titles that I identified which showed up on slipstream lists, like just from Google, I did not do any very deep type but they I mean I've read the ones that I've read before, I've read in a different context and it didn't help me very additionally to know that they are, that they qualify under this.

Speaker 3:

And if you give any search automated search, that is, I mean, algorithm forget good reads. But even if you'll give something like Reddit or one of those you know, literature map or things like that, if you give them three slipstream books, it will not give you a fourth one which you want to read. It will. It will go by author or by the genre, as Susanna and you, like you know fantasy, or if it's sci-fi, then sci-fi, like it will go by that instead of real understanding that these three have this in common, and show you another one from the fourth list, at least in my experience For me personally. It was not helpful when I searched, but I was going to say. One book which shows up on all the slipstream lists that I have seen on the internet is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and I did not like this book at all. I mean, it was, it was the movies. Oh my God, can you, can you? Can we say that as book work?

Speaker 2:

Yes, and I stand by it, it is. It is my favorite movie of all time and I'll get I will rant about it in a bit. Yeah, parumita, friendship is over.

Speaker 3:

I mean I'm happy to rant about the book, but I don't want to. I mean I didn't get it. Like, I'll be honest, it's exactly what Susanna said in the in the picture. I don't know whether I read it literally, but somebody told me after I said I didn't get it. Somebody told me, parumita, here's the structure. There's a particular structure to the book. And they told me the structure. I was like, okay, now they've told me the answers, so now I get, I should go big. And I still didn't get it. I was like, why? Why? I mean I guess yes, because it's fun, it's fun, it's exhilarating.

Speaker 2:

Made me want to cry.

Speaker 3:

See, this is, this is I, like this is hey, maybe we can add this as a feature to slipstream the future. It's incredibly polarizing Like somebody is going to say I love it so much and somebody is going to be like it made me want to cry. Oh well, this is a sample size of two. But I mean, has anybody else seen the cloud? At least film, or at the book?

Speaker 1:

Okay so so that's no, I haven't seen the. I haven't read the book, but I did watch the movie and I thought it was. I liked it a lot. I wondered why it was. Why it failed at the box up is the way it did.

Speaker 3:

You liked it a lot. Oh dear, I'm losing to one.

Speaker 1:

Well, I don't know if I'd say I liked it a lot. It's been a while, but.

Speaker 3:

I remember.

Speaker 1:

I remember liking it. I don't know if I liked it a lot, but I remember liking it. I remember wondering, like I said, what? Because a lot of I think this Tom Hanks and Halle Berry and a bunch of people in that film Great cast.

Speaker 1:

But it it did strike me as something that most people wouldn't like, just because of the it did. It was a different type of storytelling, I guess you could say so I I got why it wasn't as popular because of the way the story unfolded and kind of jumps different places and it's kind of confusing. But I remember liking it.

Speaker 3:

So Steve does. Do you remember? I mean I'm purposely not asking Susanna, because I mean she knows, but do you remember if the story went like how do I say this? Like does it go one, two, three, four, five, five, four, three, two, one, so five plot lines and then Kind of yeah, the book the stories are just divided in two, which makes it very easy.

Speaker 2:

The movie it's better because they are all mixed dates. Yeah, they are connected. They mixed it up. Yeah, they even mixed the actors made it play different roles. It's, it's beautiful, beautiful. It's a masterpiece. The book is simple in comparison.

Speaker 3:

And imagine I did not get the book. What will happen to me if I try to watch the movie?

Speaker 2:

But you see the thing about the book and it's reflected in the movie as well it's not just because the stories are divided, but because they are written in different genres within the same book. We just want thread connecting them. That's, that's the literary aspect. And then you did that make sense, jose? You watched, you read the book, or watched the movie? What are your thoughts? You're muted. You're still muted, sorry.

Speaker 4:

Sorry, sorry, sorry. No, I I read the book and I enjoyed it. It was, I really enjoyed the sort of peeling the onion type thing and that sort of wondering where this is all going and not necessarily getting the answers to it, which kind of fits in to your definition. So I found interesting the narrative structure. I found, you know, each story in itself was interesting, but then, you know, you sort of fall in deeper and deeper. I think I just wonder how much is a attention grabbing exercise? Look what I can do and if it's a little bit gimmicky.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I bet this, I bet this so much.

Speaker 4:

If you're there first. Like Clara Atlas, I enjoy it. Wooden, you know the one that everyone raves about that I didn't get House of Leaves. Is that also Sleepstream? Because I didn't get that at all.

Speaker 3:

I've seen that. On Leaves yes.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, everyone's read that book at some point and some people love it. I did not. I didn't hate it, I just didn't get the.

Speaker 3:

I gave up after 10. I gave up after 10% of the book, so I'm not doing this. Life is too short.

Speaker 4:

The next person that you can write another book like House of Leaves, because the next person that does it you're going to go. Oh, they're copying. You know, is it? I can remember the surname sounds Polish, but the offer and the next person that tries to do something like cloud Allah says I go, they are copying. So I don't know what's the next thing. A book that opens up like a map type thing? I don't know, you have to get creative with the narrative structure. Another no, if you fall into the gimmicky bit or not. Another book that maybe some of you haven't read is called as, or also called JJ, abrams, jj.

Speaker 4:

Abrams, the Shippo thesis. When you go a story in the book and then kind of handwritten on the margins, you've got another story. So you got the story within the story and the book itself has got like a little napkin that falls off with annotations there and and then it'll go a little bit meta because there's puzzles within the story that you try. So it works on three levels the story that you read, the story of two students that communicate by writing on the margins of the page, and then it can engage you as a reader by trying to solve the puzzles that you encounter in the book. But again, no one can do that. Again it's done. So I enjoy them, don't get me wrong, except for House of Leaves, I enjoy the other two, but but it's done, the gimmick is done. How do you move on from there?

Speaker 3:

I don't know, but I never heard of that book, but I and I wanted it.

Speaker 2:

I need it right now. It looks beautiful, okay.

Speaker 3:

One thing that I wanted to say, which is sort of related, which Jose pointed out right now House of Leaves and S are both examples of something called Argodic literature, which do unicorns read has made a video about, and that basically means that you actually physically interacting with the text of the novel is part of the reading experience.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

House of Leaves. It's very obvious. And the difference with slip frames, which is not there in Argodic literature, is it has to be text only. So what is there in House of Leaves? The formatting, you know, the some parts are small, some parts. If you have the color remastered version, then some parts are different color. Same thing with this, as Jose said. You know you have things in the margins, the notes, the handwritten notes, and they're writing things to each other. All these things Cloud Atlas is not. Cloud Atlas is text only. Whatever has to be achieved has to be achieved only through words. It can be non linear, narrative, it can be all those things, but it has to be achieved only through words. The physicality of the act of reading is not a part of the experience, necessarily of slipstream, it's psychological. I think.

Speaker 3:

That's probably why House of Leaves and S would I mean. Of course you can count them. I mean it's a very broad umbrella term, as Jose said. It could also be just like as and even Susanna said that you know, it was maybe just that 1989, hey, we don't know how to label this. Let's just put this in slipstream, but it's like the much one line thing is that you can read cloud of cloud Atlas as an ebook. You probably shouldn't with House of Leaves and S. I don't think any book exists for S or House of Leaves, at least as far as I know, and you definitely can't do them on audio. Cloud Atlas. I think an audiobook exists.

Speaker 3:

I think it exists as an ebook. I didn't get cloud Atlas. I still don't get it. Oh sorry, let me find. But let me find the second title which is on this erstwhile list, because I think this might be fun. It's also one which was made into a movie. It's Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. Has anyone seen the film or the?

Speaker 2:

book. That is weird fiction.

Speaker 3:

It is weird fiction. I always thought it was weird fiction, but now it shows up on slipstream. I mean, well, these are internet curated lists, so it is what it is. If it is slipstream, I love it. I mean, this is my kind of slipstream Because Annihilation is in one of my top three. I thought it was science fiction and then, okay, we are fiction, but it's in my top three science fiction books of all time. It's brilliant, according to me. Now I'm waiting to hear from someone who hated the movie or heard the book.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm reading the book now. I'm halfway through.

Speaker 3:

Please tell me you like it, Steve.

Speaker 1:

I love it and the movie was okay.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I mean the purple bookworm who is on the forum will be very happy because this is like her favorite science fiction trilogy and she has thoughts about the movie.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

But just to give just. There is no audiobook or ebook for S or House of Leaves thankfully, yeah, yeah. And. S is on is half off right now on Amazon.

Speaker 2:

But get the not on Amazon, okay.

Speaker 4:

Don't get the paperback.

Speaker 1:

There's only a hardcover available.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's pricey, but I've had it to my to my wishlist. I can't buy it right now, I'm broke, but I've had it for all sorts.

Speaker 1:

I love House of Leaves. I know it's one of those like love or hate things, but yes it's, it's it's.

Speaker 1:

It's weird because you read it and if you go by because we usually, I think most of us go by how many pages that are read today. But you can spend an hour and a half reading in red and read like 10 pages in the book because you're jumping back and forth to the appendices and to footnotes and articles and you jump everywhere. So it's a whole different. It really throws you off from your normal, the way you normally absorb literature. But it is enough for everyone.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, do you think? I mean I would like to try it once, but I think somebody would have to tell me follow me, that stop getting in. You know I want story and just go with what the author is doing, like I would need somebody to buddy read or something with me. But I wanted to ask, steve, do you think that the author knew what he was doing or was it more like you know? This just came to me like was it inspiration or was it calculated Like for you when you read the book it had to be.

Speaker 1:

It had to be planned because there's so many different things. There's like coded letters and there's hidden messages and there's the way the story is all intertwined between the two, the two different timelines and all the footnotes and the, the appendices and the articles and the, the descriptions. I mean it's the amount of time and work that went into that is. It must have taken him years to do it. It's really amazing. I mean it's not for everyone Now. I mean I know some people just won't like it. That's fine. But if you can, if you can give it a try, like I'll. Yeah, I wanted to read it again. It just happened. I had a chance, but it's one of my. It's just, it's an experience for sure.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, your nearly empty TBR means we can start tomorrow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Jose, I wanted to ask you the same question. When you read as, did you feel like it was planned or was it more like, if we go by the very familiar architect versus gardener approach? Was it very, very architect or was there bits of? Were there bits of gardener in it?

Speaker 4:

No, I think these things have to be very carefully planned. There's no chance that something like S or House of Leaves are not planned. You know you're gonna, you're gonna pull. Or maybe you can write in parts like something like S. You could write the main narrative and then add on later at different places the second narrative. But the whole thing is planned, it's got to be. Yeah, it's just too complicated a job to not be carefully thought out.

Speaker 3:

Nice.

Speaker 1:

So is House of Leaves Strip sub stream.

Speaker 3:

It's not on my internet curated list, which is clearly the definitive answer to everything.

Speaker 3:

No, it's a whole different thing, yeah, with the Siberiad, which is one I've not read, so I don't know anything about it. But Tannis Law Lem, I can believe because like his other books. I've read two of his books. One is Solaris, which is truly alien. I mean, it is alien species done as they ought to be written, if I want to quote a very well known and possibly beloved author of ours. So that's one book. And then the other book which I read was so weird it was, it was something straight out of Kafka. One of my friends recommended it and I was like what the hell is this? It's called Memoise, found in a bathtub. The Stanislaw Lem goes very weird, and you know that literature of disorientation aspect is certainly there. But I haven't read the Siberiad. Ah, what else is there?

Speaker 3:

Yes, borges has shown up. I knew it. Now I left another story. So Borges is one of these authors who's? He's a part of what do I say Literature, he's a part of our cultural consciousness. But I also think that one thing where he sort of he wrote a short form, so he wrote short stories and he wrote essays and stuff, so he didn't have, he didn't write any novels.

Speaker 3:

And this was actually something, because for me, when I read Borges, when I read his stories, that is the closest I get to feeling what I said interesting but uncomfortable, like where are you going with this? I don't get it. But it's a short story, so that discomfort doesn't last long enough for me to get completely alienated. One thing is I was wondering is how difficult is it to maintain? But and I mean now we can bring in magical realism or we can bring in weird fiction as well how difficult is it to maintain that sense of interest while not alienating the reader? In a short story versus a novella versus a novel? Borges is a short story and there I think he's really the mask, I mean immaculate. But a slipstream novel I mean the one I found cloud Atlas was just so is it hard to sustain? Like I'm talking about readers like me, maybe, like tell me what's going on? Do you think the attention thing is a, it might be a factor?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely If your mind is not geared, if you don't like what you're reading like. For example, when we talk about slipstream, well, back, jenny, words recommended light by John Harrison, which I've never heard of. So I went and got the book and, yeah, definitely Slipstream, and but it I didn't like it because for me me it's just me is about the teams that I liked in a slipstream novel, let's put it this way, it's anything that it's related to the soul or being human, the mind, free will, creation, all those metaphysical stuff. And he was just. It was just the one thing we used to focus on sexual frustration and perversion. I'm going to say it because that and it started very well and well, in a sense, I was feeling like it was almost like this sense of a version to the book, but I was invested in the story because it had all those elements. It was those super out there and trying to figure it out. The puzzles came together, but it's it very quickly, that intense emotion of a moment. This is really weird and really icky and just. This character is just awful. It just wore me down because it was the same thing. Every character had that issue, that drive behind them. It wasn't about finding the meaning of anything. It was just solving their own repressed sexualities.

Speaker 2:

And so, even though the prose was great, you know, it carried the story through. Just to scale it, just story wise, it broke through. I mean, it broke down. I'm sorry there were bits in story there that I couldn't figure it out. Maybe I'm just stupid, but I had the impression that they were just there to shock or in this idea. Great, I'm putting it here because it's all crazy anyway, doesn't need to fix, to kind of fit together, and it's maybe will be. I think it's a trilogy, so maybe we explain in later books, I don't know. So yeah, just because it's my thing doesn't mean I'm gonna like everybody in it. And that one Failed because it was just the one note constantly and it needs to be a bit more varied.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean very interesting, because I liked light Very, very. I really liked how I know it's so weird because I should be theoretically creeped and I was. I was like what the hell are you doing? Chills. But His ideas were Good. I mean, they were very good. I would say they are very good.

Speaker 3:

I mean, one of the key things and key things which he did which I liked a lot is showing us cat, which is this it's a fantasy of quantum mechanics. Because he's like so you have a cat and it's in a box and until you open the box you don't know whether it's alive or dead. So how can a Microscopic object being be simultaneously alive or dead? And it's a fallacy because quantum mechanics applies to microscopic objects. So obviously when you go to a macroscopic level, just apply it directly, it breaks down, it. Quantum mechanics doesn't break down, the applicability breaks down. So that's the fallacy. And he actually went right in with this trope head-on. I mean it is turning this cat experiment in action In a far future setting. And I was, I was very, very enamored by that. But the next two books there was none of that. You read them. Yeah, yes, no, what swing and empty space to answer Susanna? No, I didn't get any answer. Creepy things got creepier, so I just was creeped out. I like the name of the series, though. Okay, it's a very, very cool Conceptually and I think this I agree with Jose a lot where he said how much of it is the author pulling off this intellectual gimmick because it's cool and it's fun In order to appeal to a leadership?

Speaker 3:

I mean storytelling in general. Whenever we are doing any form of storytelling, whether it's oral or written, it assumes that somebody is listening, so it's not a solitary act. Of course the author did this as an intellectual experiment and kept it in my private journal. Then it's their business, it's none of us. But the moment it's put out in a form of a book, I think it assumes that readers will want to read it and Hopefully get something out of it. So there, yeah, I am not too sure how far this Pure intellectual experiment. What can we do with words? How far that can go without, as Susanna mentioned, teaming related to something which a reader can connect to?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for me that case was I didn't connect to the characters. Oh, yeah, me neither. It was just that one cool idea.

Speaker 3:

I was like oh nice, you did this other than that, yeah, despicable characters.

Speaker 3:

If anybody connects to them and we're like, okay, okay, girl, um, what was I gonna say? I wanted to ask a bit about the two cousins of slipstream. We one is Magical realism, which is going to come in at some point, and I was wondering if maybe Jose could tell us a bit about how he Got introduced, or tell us just a little bit about magical realism, because, I'll be honest, I still don't know magical realism is properly and how it differs from fantasy.

Speaker 4:

Me. You're expecting me to be able to. I Don't know. I mean, I Fell into Gabriel Garcia Marquez because at school one of his shorter books was required reading one year, but it was one of his journalistic books. It was the tale of of Of a seaman that you know falls off a boat and he gets he's, he stays at sea for like a Colombian seaman in the 80s, and he falls at sea and eventually he gets rescued. And then you got the American sort of Retall, his story Unpublished, the book can remember what it called in English, but anyway.

Speaker 4:

So then, obviously from there I heard about hundred years of solitude. My grandmother bought it for me and then I, I read that, but I was quite young. I got a little bit lost and then From my career, with loving the time of the color, which I loved, but you've already said it's not quite magic realism. So I Don't know. I Not so much anymore these days.

Speaker 4:

But you know, up until 10 years ago my, my reading palette was a lot wider than it is now and for us I don't know how to say about, for us in, you know, spanish speaking people, all the South American and Spanish classics are Sort of require reading, part of the culture. You know Borges Cortazar, you know the Spanish classics from the 17th century. I've read them all and then, and Just as our amago, I've read a couple of his books as well. So it's just, you know, for me it's part of my culture. Possibly, you know, for Steve or I don't know, paramedic is using to read everything back, maybe For British or North American culture. You know the Spanish language. Classics are not so well.

Speaker 3:

Non, I mean the English translation, I mean Marcus, is very, very beloved here. I live. In both the local book tours there is one shelf full of Marquez titles. So it's, I think, despite the differences in the specifics of history, there are so many things which are relatable. For example, in my mother's Mother tongue, bengali, family sagas are a huge thing and there are magic, there are what we would call magical realism elements in them very strongly, particularly when we are going to descriptions of nature or particularly when some Cataclysmic event is about to happen. It's a very, very. It's used in a different way, so I would not call it magical realism, but yes, it has that familiarity and so naturally I think we gravitate towards this literature, this, this rich body of literature, and it strikes home, which is why there's this continued Love for Marquez, at least where I live.

Speaker 4:

Right, what about you? Yeah, I know there's, there's whole shelves or sections dedicated.

Speaker 1:

But it's there, they're appreciated. I think they're. There's some, I don't think they're Certain. Certain circles they are, but I think, most sadly, I think most most readers Are reading, like you know, romance or cozy, you know the easily digestible stuff. Sadly, those are the wrong with romance.

Speaker 3:

Love in the time of cholera has has elements of, we can say, very, very. I don't know whether I would call it romance, but it's it's about. It's definitely about what it is in the title. It's about love and it's about different manifestations. It's a very, very powerful book like that. So it's, all those elements are there. I don't think I would call it cozy, but there are some very beautiful things in love in the time of cholera. But I guess it's like I Didn't know this until somebody who knew told me it's also All these historical things woven in.

Speaker 3:

So it's not just the story itself but it's all these other things that are there in the background, sort of mapped out in a very which which holds meaning to reader. But I didn't get that because I didn't know. Maybe if I, if I looked it up, I would have Appreciated it better. But somebody told me later on and they told me the same thing with 100 years of solitude. I like huh, this is it. At some points it gets a bit disorienting in the story 100 years of solitude. But then one of my friends who has read the book and knew the history told me about what was being done the Colombian, you know this Microcosm of what the nation is is encapsulated, or parts of the history of the nation in encapsulated in one book With a family saga. It was beautiful. And that opening line, my god.

Speaker 4:

Two things, so one on the magic realism. So, paolo Correia, would it be Magical realism? The alchemist.

Speaker 3:

I Really like that book but I don't know whether it is cons I mean. The problem is that I don't know, because the literati looked down upon that book and magical realism is very much dominated by the literati. So my literati, I just mean literary fiction people.

Speaker 3:

They would be like other alchemist is because it was a popular bestseller and I like, ah, this is just a self-help book and so blah, blah, blah. I really liked alchemist both times I read it. I will admit that this is many, many years ago. I also like many of his other book I read. I mean, paula color was very, very popular at one time. We had multiple office book. I mean one called devil and miss. Prim or devil, yeah yeah that was another book I really liked.

Speaker 3:

There was one with the mountain, with the mountain, something like this. Quite a few titles. I Qualified definitely.

Speaker 4:

I'm just gonna drop something and then quickly move the conversation on so you don't make me explain the situation. But I did end up once Discussing the alchemist with a hookah in Amsterdam, but anyway, so we are sort of one. Almost one hour into the chat Can we come up like with a I was in the writing my list of books and stuff whenever we have chats so like Can we come up with like five Sleepstream books that like for someone interested, or delve deeper in? I mean obviously apart from Susana's books. So we've talked about cloud, alas. Did we reckon house of leaves that we can that in as well?

Speaker 3:

Probably not Like yeah like by M John Harrison. Yes, Okay. I would say Borges, yes, no, probably not. I would say with Borges actually.

Speaker 4:

Where is the fantasy and the sci-fi?

Speaker 3:

I mean, like that's the thing for my definition I those don't have to be. And If you think about the thought experiment like, yes, if you say fantasy, secondary world, yes, no, it's not there. But if you think of fantasy as, again, imagination, what could be thought experiments, then library of Babel is Possibly fantasy. It could be. Garden of walking forking path has elements of sci-fi, because the Definition of the parking path includes multiple timelines, parallel universes, those sort of things. So it's sort of baked in, but he never goes very explicit on it in the way that we would identify it.

Speaker 4:

Would be my thing, but I'm. So we've only got two books then.

Speaker 3:

So well, I'm going to read other titles. One I will definitely say yes is ice by Anna Kavan. It is a brilliant book. It's a very creepy book, but I mean it's a. Well, it's not creepy, it's disorienting. It's this Not time, not you know. Setting is not mentioned, but it's post apocalyptic. Everything has gone to hell nuclear waste, coal, winter, blah, blah. And this person is pursuing this girl. And is it fever dream? What is real, what is not, nobody knows. Is it science fiction? Is a dystopian? It's. It's a with bizarre book and, yes, I think ice by Anna Kavan is like a book with, even if you ignore this let's dream label, just a science fiction. It's very, very good.

Speaker 3:

Add it to my list and also it's published by penguin classics, which has penguin in it. So we know that. That's how we know it's good.

Speaker 2:

So I was kind of prepared for a question like this and, after struggling to Find, you know, apart from loud Atlas lights annihilation I was like I was like I was like I was like I was like Loud Atlas lights annihilation. I will include annihilation on it because it has elements and it has more elements than the books that I picked, to be fair. So I picked a few books that have, I would call it, almost like sleepstream light. They have sleepstream elements into it, even though they are mainly in their fantasy or science fiction. But I can see some of the elements there and and uh, paramita, you're gonna, I don't know, maybe you will agree, I don't know, but you're gonna hate my first suggestion, I know. So one of them is Iperian, which is mainly science fiction, but because it is several stories in different genres, with the come team throughout and they have, you know, all the. I think it's one of my favorite books of all time. Again, just sorry, paramita, and it's what?

Speaker 2:

it is so. It has the literary elements, the science fiction elements and the fantasy elements, and so it is in the way. It requires a little bit of work to understand what's going on and it's awesome when you get to the end and you figure it out. So you're gonna scream Because you hate it, Tuba.

Speaker 3:

No, I finished crying and I really like two of the stories out of the sevens. I really like the scholar's tale and the poet's tale.

Speaker 2:

So yes, so, yeah, there's always something to like anyway. The other one I don't know if you read, but I can imagine. So it's the reality dysfunction by Peter Heff Hamilton. Again, it's space opera, science fiction, but it has elements of sleepstream. It just it doesn't cross the literary thick, let's put it this way, but a lot of what's going on there, it gets really weird. I mean, even ghosts have ghosts. I have to read it again because it's just immense.

Speaker 2:

I wouldn't classify it as sleepstream but it does require a little bit of attention and work to read it. It's nothing else because it's so long and so so out there, yeah. So for those who like science fiction, I would recommend that In the realms of magic realism I would recommend Baltasar and Limunda. It kind of ticks all the boxes, but it's kind of a hybrid between magic realism and sleepstream, because it still it has a bit of the fantastical elements, but it's still very grounded in a, I want to say, structure but the mindset of magic realism, which I think you didn't like that one either. So it's going great.

Speaker 3:

I really liked the beginning, and then I lost my way. I really liked the first 20% and the opening is just. I was really clicking with the humor and then I don't again. I wondered whether this is where I'm missing context, whether that's historical or maybe something else, because I didn't look anything up when I read it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's very good. The mindset I found it harder. I read it. I got it in English and started reading it and I found it much harder to read in English. I really need to read it with the Portuguese mindset, if that makes sense, to make sense of the book it's. So yeah, it's not easy, I guess, to recommend. Yeah, you should read it with the Portuguese mindset. So those were my three recommendations.

Speaker 4:

I want to go back to something Paramita asked before. So what books have you, Steve and Susanna, have you read that has made you feel uneasy or uncomfortable or like not knowing quite what's going on?

Speaker 1:

Melozen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it made me feel, yeah, just.

Speaker 4:

For different reasons. For different reasons, not because of what we discussed today.

Speaker 3:

For me, anything a recent read is anything by Kafka. I read the Castle by Kafka and I have no idea what was going. I read the trial, which is easier in the sense it's a take on bureaucracy and it can be read as such. But his complete stories, and then the castles, some of his complete stories were just I was like what. And then I mean this is the. I don't know what the answer to this is, but does there have to be a point or can it just be weird and for me it just cannot? I mean, I'm not the reader for that, like, if it's just weird without some theming and if I'm not getting the theming which is much more likely I feel so uneasy that I don't know what to do. I get frustrated. The Kafka is my answer, actually, but I'm interested to hear what Susanna and Steve come up. Malazan, I was like that even at the end of book 10, steve, it's not my proudest moment.

Speaker 1:

You're not alone. Oh, I'm looking through my list. Now Go ahead, susanna.

Speaker 2:

Well, not many, I have to say, like properly weird, to come to mind one recently. I wouldn't say you know bad weird, but it made me want to understand it better. I really enjoyed it. In a way, it was the Tiger Tiger or the stars, my destination that we read for the sci-fi masterworks yeah, it's, it's, but it was more in the sense that I knew that I really should hate that character and and I should hate every single one. And I didn't. But there was one bit that I was, I was very uncomfortable reading. Just if this is going to continue this way, I'm going to stop because my, my brain just can't deal with. And another book that has nothing to do with slipstream, but it made me feel it had that sense of weirdness throughout, even though it's not classified as weird fiction at all. I don't, I don't know how it is classified. It was Equinox.

Speaker 2:

I can't remember the name of the author, but I think that there was the closest I felt even though I don't think it's a horror book either but it was the closest I felt to a book that had an atmosphere, for lack of a better description, but it still didn't answer the question. I will need to go through the list, find books that make me feel weird. The reality dysfunction made me feel very weird, mostly because I had no idea what was going on for most of the time. Steve.

Speaker 1:

Look at the list. A couple of them. That would the only good Indians be. I don't know. There's fantasy or stuff.

Speaker 3:

I read that recently.

Speaker 1:

Steve.

Speaker 3:

I didn't get it. What was that I?

Speaker 1:

don't know, that's fine bringing it up. Another one, which is a graphic novel, is Nameless, I don't know, by Grant Morrison. I'm not sure if anyone's read that. I think that would probably fit the bill for slipstream.

Speaker 4:

Grant Morrison. You're gonna get, you're gonna get weirdness with Grant Morrison. That's what he does.

Speaker 1:

A book that I despised, as things have gotten worse since we last spoke. That made maybe, I don't know, maybe just because I hated it so much. Let's see what else I was looking through. Another one that stuck out to me was or was it sorry? This is riveting podcast material the Haybale by Priscilla Bettis. It's a novelette, it's only 42 pages long, but it's a powerful story. But it's not quite sure I understood it and I'm not quite. It's one of those ones where you you wonder if it's left vague, just so you can kind of draw your own conclusions and what it all, what it all meant and is that, is that slipstream.

Speaker 2:

I've never heard of it.

Speaker 3:

I still don't know what slipstream is, so I'll say sure.

Speaker 1:

Another one negative space, which is excellent.

Speaker 2:

It's pretty much anything you don't like, except light.

Speaker 3:

But I mean I like Boris, I read that only good Indians. I mean this is a bit of that, since Steve mentioned it and I really wanted to like it. The beginning was so good and then I totally I don't even want to say, because my friend who recommended me this was scandalized by what I said. I was bored. And they were like how can you be bored? Like that is the worst thing. You say you hated it. That is different. But I was like, no, I don't hate it at all. I was just they were like you did not get it. I guess I did not get it, but I heard that there was some very good theming in there. So I mean, stephen Graham Jones is an author in general who I think is one to look out for him, and another author who is on my radar, but his books are very hard to find, is Michael Sisko.

Speaker 3:

So he, he, he writes these books. I think it's weird fiction. It's not slipstream but it is related. So he's got Divinity Student and he's got this book called Animal Money and it's just it's bizarre, bizarre, bizarre out there stuff. Steve was like I'm going to schedule a read-along right now. I totally feel like you would like it I don't know about. Well, I'm not sure about Susanna and Jose. So much Divinity Student you might like, but Animal Money. I started it and I was like I can't do this. It's 800 pages and I was like I can't do it. Yeah, michael.

Speaker 1:

Sisko is very I don't mean to pause this on a bad he's a very nice person, he's very intelligent and, yeah, and his wife is a very, very skilled writer as well.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I just found a book which made me so uncomfortable I I don't know what to say. This is honestly a book I would say anybody please don't read it, I beg you okay and the book actually showed up on a slipstream list, science fiction author Christopher Priest. He made up, he made a list of 10 slipstream books and this was on it. It's Crash by JG Ballard. It is one of the most revolting things I have read in my life. Why, why?

Speaker 2:

yeah. I would it? It misses the, the other elements. Yeah, you can't just make, and there was this, it's, it's. It's more than just make you feel strange. You know, and anyone can feel strange about the book. For example, I just the three body problem. I was anxious throughout, you know, and I thought it was very strange as well. I hope the TV series or movie, whatever they're doing, it's gonna enlighten me, because I haven't had the courage to reread it and but I wouldn't classify that slipstream.

Speaker 3:

You know, strange is just not enough confused, I think the word confused yeah, it seems like a lot of people have their own interpretation of that essay in 1989 with where the movement was coined I mean sorry, where the term was coined and then it's like different authors have sort of taken it in different ways, which is kind of what has happened to weird fiction as well. Yeah, I guess it's hard to think, but I mean I would take it as hey, if you like mind-bending stuff, here are some interesting titles to read and maybe we'll look them up and we find something interesting yeah yeah, I got nothing other than Kafka, which freaked me out recently.

Speaker 2:

I was never able to get into it. Then again, I haven't tried in English and it's just in Portuguese. In my teens it was all the hype and I just I couldn't, just what the hell?

Speaker 3:

is this? I just, I just realized this based on what Susanna said about Balthazar and Limunda. Who is it? How well does 100 years of solitude or love in the time of cholera translate into English for you? Have you? Have you read any of the novels in English and then seen whether things are lost?

Speaker 2:

I've read the go ahead.

Speaker 4:

You probably know they might only have one book no, no, no, I was gonna say why I personally wouldn't read them in English, because you know I'll read them in the vernacular. It's the same way that all my, all my fantasy I read in English. Because why would I read that translation? It's only when I get to. The more exotic language is that I don't know what translation works best. I don't know from Japanese to English or Japanese to Spanish. I think it's pretty much dependent on whether you go somewhere decent there. But no, I mean, and the thing I don't know, if this gets it, probably it does get lost in translation.

Speaker 4:

Latin American, spanish and Spanish from Spain. We use the same words but sometimes we speak a different language. Like there are sentences in 100 years of solitude that I don't know what they mean, because you know you change certain nouns in a sentence and I don't know that they're going to eat corn by the lake, because it could be anything else. Like I did not understand the words they were using. So some, some grammatical constructions and some words make a big difference. So it's not an easy read for me, even though it's in Spanish. Some authors less issues than others. But yeah, that's about it. Really, I guess I'm not going to match it to the conversation at this point.

Speaker 1:

I do have a question for you, jose. I think you asked this when we talked to Josh Erickson earlier that you came up about. So magic realism is burning the lines between fantasy and reality refers to literature with magical or supernatural phenomena based in an otherwise real world and mundane setting. So what's the difference between magic realism and urban fantasy?

Speaker 2:

the mindset.

Speaker 4:

I would say, for me, magic, for me, magic, realism is not magic in the way we understand wizards and spells and you know, rituals, cantrips, whatever magic realism is like. It's a real world, real life setting, but the events and the happenings are so unlikely that it's almost magic like again. You know, we go back to loving the time of the cholera, which we can discuss with this, or it's not. But the fact that you've got this couple, whose love was frowned upon by society, you know, and he remains faithful to her throughout all his lives, albeit from the waist up, and they finally get together like in their old age, and they finally allow their love to happen, is that sort of, you know, very sort of fairly whimsical, sort of romantic, sort of feel good thing about it. Sorry, he.

Speaker 2:

Okay, a little aside, we'll go back to magic realism in a bit. That how, how is that romantic? How is anything romantic in love in the time of cholera? This is a guy who wants to have his skate and eat it. Under the pre-test of this love. It goes around and he sleeps with a thousand women at least he keeps. He keeps a notebook for crying out loud, he keeps you know record.

Speaker 4:

And no, that's not love, I'm sorry, no well, I'm too busy laughing I, I hear you and I agree with you and maybe speaks about my personality. But when I was reading the book I was kind of thinking like, oh, I wish I had a life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not, not a life of no, no, no, no not a life of a thousand women that gets tiring.

Speaker 4:

I mean about you know eventually finding like your true love that you will remember that high school crush, you know that first crash that we had on someone, right steve, and can you imagine that in your old age? You know you had your life, you had your wife, your family, your kids. You know your wife passes away, whatever, and in your old age you rekindle that love, that first love that you had when you were 13, 14 or whatever. It's that kind of sort of magical thing about it that is quite endearing, or I found quite endearing. Obviously we can discuss the morality of the character, but, um, this and it's making what you can, you know when you're really pointing out as particularly creepy, I know, very morally or very ethically high, high brow, it makes it palatable and it makes it endearing. I don't know, that's what I enjoyed about it. Yeah, again, maybe says something about my personality. I don't know.

Speaker 2:

No, you're not the only one, I just I, I, I can't, I, I don't get it. I think that that's not love at all. Uh, and I don't think there's a lot of um, magic realism elements in it, to be fair, compared with like a hundred years of solitude yeah, you're right, it's it's like one element.

Speaker 3:

It I think there's like a spectra at one point, so but it's it's. It's very, very light, 100, which is why I think 100 years of solitude is used as the the founding the text. I would say 100 years of solitude and then midnight's children and then the famished road from three different cultures are so 100 years of solitude, it's.

Speaker 2:

It's interesting because the first time I read it I was like 14, 15 years old and I read it in portuguese both times and I not knowing what I was reading, pretty much I I read it quite literally, so it didn't make sense. So my my first read of the book, I wasn't in the mindset or know if it was a translation or whatever, but I I read stuff very literally and I saw, wow, this is, this doesn't make any sense. It's awful, this ending, what the hell is going on? And then, later on, in my 20s, I had nothing else to do. It was in the dark period of my life and I had not, didn't have a lot of possessions, and those were the, the few books left, and I read it again, having read a lot.

Speaker 2:

Um, since then I already started writing and everything. So it just clicked. What was going on? How, all the metaphors, all the allegories, all the ends, suddenly that ending. Wow, just, I was floored. It was one of those books that I just closed it and I stood it, just looked at the ceiling for about an hour, just trying to process it all. So there's that. The mindset, I think, is as important as the translation.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I tried and failed twice. I mean I do like it, not to punish it, I did finish it. But magical realism is like is a strong word.

Speaker 2:

It's very. You almost want to kill yourself afterwards. It's the most depressing book ever. It's suddenly because I read it in a very low point in my life and actually after reading it I was like, okay, it could be worse, it could be much worse. It's a nice perspective.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes that works. Sometimes that works.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think having the realism and the magic together just doesn't work for me. It just feels off. Is it fair to say that magic realism is most used in YA?

Speaker 2:

No, that's urban fantasy. Magical realism you need to be mature to understand all those allegories. I think I can't imagine a YA magic realism book. That would be scary.

Speaker 4:

I think the altimist is YA, magic realism and some of the stuff that, koya, you wrote.

Speaker 2:

Insulteric self-hack.

Speaker 3:

I mean, yes, it is suitable, for I read it as a young adult, which is very true. It's a very good book. I still don't get the hate for it, but okay, I guess it's too easy.

Speaker 4:

I think it's a nice entry book for young teenagers to read something a bit more so.

Speaker 3:

I guess I'm stuck at entry level, because any time I try to level up it's like no Midnight's Children is the one with, because there I actually know the history. But oh my God, the circles rush. D makes us run through. In the first 100 pages I gave up. I could not even finish it.

Speaker 1:

Oh my God this is a but people who, I'm sorry, go ahead.

Speaker 3:

No, I was going to say people who have read it, who have read Midnight's Children, say that it is and loved it, have said say that it's one of the most phenomenal books, if not the phenomenal book, that they have read in their lives. Kind of it occupies that position, the way 100 years of solitude does for many people. Many, many readers globally, globally, not just Spanish readers.

Speaker 1:

There's a list of YA magical realism books and I'm surprised to see this here. On the list is the Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

Speaker 3:

Is it magical realism? I mean, magical realism is very I mean, it depends on how you want to define it but yes, in the sense of. But I think magical realism has a connection with history in terms of bringing in historical background to the slightly out there elements, and there's a sense of I don't know how to put this, but if you read a magical realism novel you know that it's magical realism. For me, the Ocean at the End of the Lane is very much fantasy. Yes, you can read. I can't think of a reason why I would call it magical realism. I'm not sure I mean, this is after my Latin American reading project. I would have put, I would have said yes to this that magical realism and fantasy. Why is the term? But now I feel it has a historical connection with the development of literature in Latin America and the boom. So I would hesitate to call Ocean magical realism now. But this is me being nitpicky maybe. I think it's wise to hear others' opinions as well.

Speaker 2:

What about? So we are talking about English and Spanish and Portuguese and all that. Is there any books in India that explore these themes or that play with the narrative in this way? That we don't know about, because yeah.

Speaker 4:

Would life of Pi and Q&A be magical realism?

Speaker 3:

Life of Pi. Sure, it's a very weird book. I really like the book. Yes, why not?

Speaker 4:

And.

Speaker 3:

Q&A Again. If you want to be very, very pedantic about it and if you want to reserve the term magical realism for that phenomenon in Latin American literature which has then gone global, then no, but otherwise yes. In the definition that Steve read out, yes.

Speaker 4:

I would say that Q&A is magical realism. For those unaware, q&a is the book that was turned into the movie Slumdog Millionaire, so the original title of the book was Q&A and it's that kids from a destitute background that, through his different experiences in life, is capable of beating the Indian version of who wants to be Amir Anir, and it's that sort of impossibility of odds that makes her almost magical, maybe.

Speaker 3:

Interesting Steve is shaking. I was not connecting what Q&A is.

Speaker 4:

Is the original title of the book.

Speaker 3:

It is not a very well-liked novel here.

Speaker 4:

Is it not?

Speaker 3:

Go on? No, not at all. Why not? What happens?

Speaker 4:

when I didn't drop the novel.

Speaker 3:

I haven't even read it. I'm not going to say anything about it, but it is not well-liked in the sense I have never seen it on bookshelves, on local bookshelves here. I just looked it up. My guess is it is a depiction of India, because I just looked up the author. He was a foreign secretary, which means that most of his postings would have been in other nations. It might be a depiction. It might be that thing that when non-residents Indians write Indian novels they just sometimes feel a bit off. I have read novels like that which and of course they write in English language Many of them are resident in America. Something is just very, very off and it doesn't work. But again, I have not read the book so I don't know. Maybe it's very good.

Speaker 4:

But I haven't been discussed, talked. Sounds like good old prejudice there, in the same way as when Hollywood tries to depict the spaying in the movie, so something like that.

Speaker 3:

But I was not a very big fan of the movie. The childhood parts were very good. But when they grew up I think the childhood parts were excellent. The early questions were excellent, but then it became a bit cliche. Honestly, what was the fantastical element for the? I mean in the book?

Speaker 4:

I'm asking no, no, there's no fantastical.

Speaker 3:

OK.

Speaker 4:

Well, I suppose the fantastical element would be this chain of events in his life that led him to be able to know. He just related every question to something that he had lived in his life, which it's almost magic, and we were worried what would happen in the talk about.

Speaker 1:

Well, to be honest, we've completely digressed into magical realism from the first 20 minutes of a sleepstream.

Speaker 4:

But we knew that was going to happen. Yeah, that was inevitable. The Seven Moons of Mali Almeida is a great book.

Speaker 2:

It's the only book which has magical realism as one of the most beautiful books in the world, and it's a book that's very very interesting and it's a book that's very, very interesting and it has magical realism.

Speaker 3:

As one of the labels that I loved Read it. It won the 2022 Booker.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the thing about sleepstream is that it is so niche it's, and I don't think it actually maybe hasn't defined itself yet properly. It still is trying to find its way. I mean, for me it needs to have those fantastical elements, a little bit of sci-fi, the metaphysical aspects, lots of allegories and humor and just a lot of introspection and a good puzzle. A good puzzle to solve.

Speaker 4:

It just clicked on me and I haven't read it, but I suspect and it's on my TBR at some point, maybe in the next few years the comic book the Incal by Jodorowsky. That's got to be sleepstream.

Speaker 3:

The what.

Speaker 4:

Sorry, the Incal, which is the comic that kind of influenced the fifth element movie.

Speaker 2:

Oh well, comics, I don't know. But OK, you read a little bit of Oblié right and you DNF'd and that's fine Because as you told me you were in this sci-fi environment, right, what you thought? It was kind of yeah, yes, and then you encountered a dwarf and the whole world collapsed.

Speaker 4:

It was too much going on for me. My mind couldn't cope with everything. It was everything. You threw the kitchen sink at me. I didn't know if I was reading fantasy, mythology, gods, sci-fi. There was too many things going on and, like I said at the very beginning, it was mental gymnastics. I couldn't handle everything that was happening there. Sorry, I never wanted to have these conversations to celebrate. I knew I'd follow you guys.

Speaker 2:

It was too much for me. You were a perfect example. I was laughing when I got your email and then there was a dwarf and it's like, yeah, that's perfectly fine, just was too much. I was laughing. I said OK, so you say that is not my audience, but it helps me understand. I always said I said this parameter as well, even if you don't, even if you stop, just tell me where you stopped. And that helps me figure it out.

Speaker 4:

I think I'll kind of work things around, but maybe I've got the books I tend to not engage with and I hardly ever do. It's where I get thrown straight into the action without getting a bit of a background on who the characters are and what motivates them and why they do the things they do.

Speaker 4:

And I think your book did that. We had these two siblings straight off away. They went and these people joined them and then everything else that you put around them and I just I couldn't cope. I found it really, really difficult Understanding the world. I didn't know where I was. I think sometimes when we jump into a fantasy book you sort of you don't know the world, but it's familiar medieval European fantasy setting. Ok, I sort of know where I am. Or if you do this world, you eventually get there, and if you do, I don't know. Whatever. You call it sci-fi, star Wars, space opera, you sort of know, but with yours I didn't know. It was nothing like nothing I've read before.

Speaker 2:

But that was exactly what I was going for, so I was very happy with your feedback.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, if your aim and I don't put it past you was to make me feel another successful side, I did.

Speaker 2:

No, not at all. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

And then there was a dwarf, but you made it through a wheel of time.

Speaker 4:

Let's not go there, let's not bring it up every week.

Speaker 3:

Come on, come on. Let's give it a break.

Speaker 4:

No, but check out the inkle. It's on my TBR and I think it would be a good.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I found it. I mean, I found the book. It looks interesting.

Speaker 4:

It looks pretty slim streaming to me. No, I don't just make the connection out.

Speaker 2:

I was trying to see if there was a version that was not in comic form so I could read it.

Speaker 4:

No, no no, no, the inkle is so that's yeah, yeah, that's sad. For me it's in the vein of the heavy metal magazine from the 80s in France. It's that kind of real exploration of the comic as a medium. And you've got the script is by Jodorowsky and the artist Amazing by Mobius.

Speaker 3:

What a lovely name. I mean, that's the first thing which I was like Mobius and I was like Mobius strip, so nice, but by John Hewrod Mobius it's his pseudonym, but it's a very nice pseudonym.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, the funny thing about John Hewrod is that he did like classic Western comics and he signed those under his real name and all the sci-fi, weird stuff he did under the Mobius pen name.

Speaker 3:

That is very, very nice. I mean, there are a few images here on this book and this thing I'm thinking is weird. I don't know whether it's slipstream, but it's definitely weird, humanoid Interesting.

Speaker 2:

I'm here thinking of a little slogan for my marketing efforts. It's not finished yet, but if all I ask from my readers is that they put just a little bit, just a fraction of the effort they put into the ciphering melezan, if they put into my work, that's all I ask and it's a fraction of the pages. I need to work that into some sort of marketing slogan, not a song for idiots, pardon me yeah.

Speaker 1:

Melezan for dummies. You can do it.

Speaker 2:

If you can't read melezan, you can read timelessness. Come on. Maybe, that's going to be my slogan.

Speaker 1:

Be a good blurb.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, probably get sued.

Speaker 3:

I guess if you mention melezan, I mean it will catch people's attention. Except weird people like me will be like what mele run in the other direction and it gets compared to that series. Now I just put it on my anti TVR. I can't do it anymore.

Speaker 1:

Everything is compared to that.

Speaker 2:

I will need to read it first to be sure that it would fit. But it's just the efforts that people put into trying to decipher every little thing, just a little bit of that effort in my books. That are just a cert of the pages long. You'll be fine, you'll have a lot of fun.

Speaker 1:

The time always flies whenever we do these. We were talking before about what are we going to talk about, and we had all these other ideas to fill the time, and here we are, almost two hours later, and we didn't go off topic too much. I thought we did pretty good.

Speaker 4:

So final question for it.

Speaker 2:

Sorry for taking over.

Speaker 4:

Sorry for taking over, but is everyone wiser? Is everyone a bit more crude on after this conversation than at the beginning?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I have three books three new books on my TVR, so that's always good.

Speaker 3:

I always got some book right yeah, so it's good. And I mean I thought we could end on a very nice hopeful note which Susanna said, because she said that slipstream is almost a term which needs to define itself. And we mentioned two books a lot, one by Jose and one with, I think, all of you who have read this House of Lees. And when Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote 100 Years of Solitude, he didn't write it saying, hey, I'm going to invent magical realism.

Speaker 3:

He wrote it and then there was academic discourse built around it and people were inspired that this could be possible in the novel. And I mean he transformed the face of literature, not just Latin American literature. When Marc Danieliske published House of Leeds it was part breaking, and whether it was a gimmick or whether it was something truly transcendental is up to the reader, but it was new and it changed what could be done with literature. So I also feel like we can end on a hopeful note that we don't know who is out there, and maybe even the person is there on this panel. We don't know, but there might be someone out there writing the definitive work of slipstream literature somewhere and maybe when it is fully out there and when it gains readership and appreciation, then discourse around slipstream will become easier, as it is for magical realism or ergodic literature like House of Leeds. I found the conversation inspirational in that sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I like that idea, if you're out there listening getting touched, and then a hopeful note.

Speaker 1:

But how often do we end on a hopeful note? Though that's weird, that's true. Yeah, that's good.

Speaker 2:

After last week the emotional payoff after the mental exercise.

Speaker 4:

Aye, there you go. That's all it's about, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I learned a lot. I didn't know really a whole lot about slipstream before and I feel like I understand it a little bit more now.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I never clocked that House of Leeds, not House of Leeds, god damn it. Claude Atlas was that, but then God the gender is so white because Claude Atlas and Susanna's works are nothing alike, so True.

Speaker 2:

Structure-wise and team-wise, yeah. And pros-wise, yeah, no, nothing alike. Do not compare me to David Mitchell, no no, but like I mean you know setting structure everything it's. That's the mythology aspect of it, because I had to add an extra layer, and then, just you know, make it mythological, just because.

Speaker 1:

It's a very broad net.

Speaker 3:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you so much, Claude.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, do you feel enlightened? We'll say Do I feel enlightened?

Speaker 4:

Do you feel like you learn something?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but I always feel like I make a fool of myself in these conversations.

Speaker 4:

Maybe I'm the one who's the one, who's the one, who's the one, who's the one who gives you the surprise. So I I'm thinking now I shouldn't have joined, I shouldn't just listen to the podcast, and you know. So I will say to my students so it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid and to open your mouth and confirm expectations. But yeah, no, no, definitely, definitely. This are always edifying, but I don't know if I would like to have Steve. You've got long reach If we could get someone from an academic background to get. So I suppose I'm looking for free lectures on literature or something like that. I don't know, but you know what I mean. Yeah, something else. Yeah, I suppose isn't Leila some sort of scholar or something?

Speaker 1:

Professor, yeah, she's yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm sure we can figure something out.

Speaker 4:

I think that would be nice. Literature journey is 101 in two hours. Oh, do you ever need it to know?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that would be, awesome. I'm reading the OG literature novel. So if I mean, you know so if I finish it then I can like deliver a five minute talk on and help everyone fall asleep. I fully am. I volunteer to do that.

Speaker 1:

Nice, that's a. That's probably we're gonna hold you to that then. Yeah, you got yourself in trouble now, but so, yeah, it's fine, it was a good deal, it was a good one. Yeah, it's a lot of fun. So until next time. Susanna, where can people find you and your work?

Speaker 2:

I can be found on X and at the end of the weird on YouTube. On X I'm on as a chronodendron, but if you Google me you'll find me and my books can be found anywhere. The series is named Timelessness. First book is Weird Gods. You can't miss it, and I have a new standalone novel coming up next March called Oblié.

Speaker 1:

Available for preorder now.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

And part of it, the work, and people find you and argue with you about literature.

Speaker 3:

So I'm available on the Patreon forum, which are hosted by Steve, who is also the host of this podcast, and I'm there quite regularly.

Speaker 1:

Every once in a while, and of course, here are people find you.

Speaker 4:

Mostly my YouTube channel because it's amazing worlds and also, in the page, twincom firms.

Speaker 1:

Nice, I can also be found. There is the best place to find me. So come and say hello and lecture us on literature, if you're brave enough, please. Yes, so everyone have a great weekend. We'll talk soon.

Understanding the Concept of Slipstream
Defining Slipstream and Its Genre Boundaries
Exploring Slipstream Genre and Its Challenges
Exploring Slipstream and Unconventional Literature
Discussion on Slipstream and Magical Realism
Exploring Magical Realism in Literature
Discussion on Weird and Mind-Bending Books
Translating Magic Realism and Discussing Literature
Magical Realism in Various Genres
Exploring Slipstream Literature and Hopeful Endings