M.T. Anderson's home in small-town Vermont is rumored to be haunted and he relishes the ghost stories told about it. His (real) Zoom background is something out of a Jane Austen novel! Despite his analog lifestyle and lack of belief in the paranormal, he spends a lot of his time dreaming up sci-fi and fantasy adventures. Aside from just being fun, he considers the genre to hold a unique power in removing our own preconceived ideas and giving us fresh eyes to rethink our values and society.
You may know M.T. best from his “Octavian Nothing” duology, “Feed,” or “Landscape With Invisible Hand,” (now being made into a movie with Tiffany Haddish!). I remember reading “Feed,” and thinking, ‘well that’s twisted,’ but now I realize M.T. was somehow seeing into the future of our lives with social media. He has a knack for predicting what’s to come.
This was the type of interview in which I kept jotting down M.T.’s quotes. As he does so deftly with his writing, M.T. gave me new perspectives to consider at every point in our conversation. Also, the man has a handlebar mustache and a deep love for his dog, so I’ll be honest, he had me at hello.
In this episode, M.T. takes us on his own journey as a writer of historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, and he talks about the growing relevance of these genres’ ability to offer societal critiques and representation in the increasingly hostile censorship movements. He also tells us about his latest middle grade book in which he uses a new perspective to learn about the world (his dog’s).
For his reading challenge, Hometown Lore, M.T. challenges readers to find the magic, and weird stories, hidden in their hometowns (as he loves to do wherever he is). I invite you to check it out, and for Beanstack clients, use the challenge on your site!
This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Iuyana Miller, the media specialist at Young Middle School in Atlanta. Along with being the 2022 Media Specialist of the Year for Atlanta Public Schools, she was also referred to as the “book fairy” by her elementary students. Iyuana shares a story of how she ventured beyond her comfort zone to meet her middle school kids where they are and engage with them more than she ever imagined.
Listen to the full episode, “The Depth of the Universe: M.T. Anderson on the Sneaky Relevance of Sci-fi and Fantasy ,” on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it.
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