July's book is The New and Improved Romie Futch, by Julia Elliott. Julia is an English and Women's & Gender Studies professor at the University of South Carolina, as well as an accalimed short story writer. Her first novel, Romie Futch follows the titular character, Roman, as he goes from schlubby taxidermist in rural South Carolina to a brain-enhansed schlubby taxidermist in rural South Carolina.
In this spoiler-free, pre-read episode, Adrian & Matt give you the book facts, as well as discussing rural life in modern America, how education acts as a gateway between social classes, and masculinity in science fiction. We also touch on the genre of "weird fiction" and discuss the different influences on Romie Futch, from Faulkner to Lovecraft to Le Guin.
Some of the books & articles we mention:
- Adrian's short article Six SF Books to Read in the Age of Trump, where he talks about Romie Futch in #5.
- NYT Review of Romie Futch
- Tin House Magazine ("Candy" has a story by Julia, and "Summer Reading" features the last story by Ursula K. Le Guin)
- William Faulkner (southern gothic)
- The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Three Moments of an Explosion, stories by China Miéville
- Ice by Anna Kavan
- The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
In addition, you should check out the last episode we recorded, the interview with Tobias Buckell. A lot of that discussion will be relevant towards Romie Futch—we talk about climate change, economics of rural places in American, and more.