Under a Pile of Books

Under a Pile of Books

By Calvin Park
About
A podcast for lovers of science fiction and fantasy books. Join host and reviewer Calvin Park for his thoughts on recent reads and releases. You'll also find interviews with authors, reviewers, and others involved in the fantasy community.
More places to listen
A podcast for lovers of science fiction and fantasy books. Join host and reviewer Calvin Park for his thoughts on recent reads and releases. You'll also find interviews with authors, reviewers, and others involved in the fantasy community.

More places to listen

Episode 40 - December 13 Weekly Pod
In this episode, Calvin celebrates his 100th read before diving into his two reads from the past week. The first (#99) is LIMBO by Thiago D'evecque and the second (#100) is LEGACY OF GHOSTS by Alicia Wanstall-Burke. Then it's on to what's on the docket for the upcoming week: CURSEBREAKER by Carol A. Park and THE LIGHT OF ALL THAT FALLS by James Islington. But there's also another of Calvin's most anticipated novels of the year dropping this week, THE HANGED MAN by K.D. Edwards. From there Calvin recs an episode of The Fantasy Inn Podcast and mentions an upcoming video game he's excited about (Dark Alliance). 
21:10
December 14, 2019
Episode 39 - Carol A. Park Interview
In this episode, Calvin sits down with Carol A. Park to talk about her Heretic Gods series. The two also touch on what makes fantasy so timeless as a genre, magic systems and gods, hope, and a whole host of other topics. 
30:36
December 10, 2019
Episode 38 - December 7 Weekly Pod
In this episode Calvin gives a surprise review of Frozen II before moving onto his week in review. He finished THE SHADOW KING, DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT, and OF SHADOW AND SEA over the last week. On deck is LIMBO by Thiago D'Evecque and LEGACY OF GHOSTS by Alicia Wanstall-Burke. From there it's on to some talk about two upcoming releases that Calvin is incredibly excited for: THE LIGHT OF ALL THAT FALLS by James Islington and CURSEBREAKER by Carol A. Park. Some talk about Stargate and the #WeWantStargate hashtag rounds out the episode before a couple house keeping items. 
24:16
December 8, 2019
Episode 37 - Darian Smith Interview
In this episode, Calvin interviews Darian Smith, author of KALANON'S RISING, a current SPFBO finalist. The two talk some specifics about Darian's process and books, his plans for his series moving forward, and some of what draws him to the fantasy genre. 
18:51
December 4, 2019
Episode 36 - December 1 Weekly Pod
In this episode, Calvin updates you on some recent reads (THE GILDED WOLVES, FATAL FRINGE, DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT) before talking about THE SHADOW KING and OF SHADOW AND SEA. Then it's on to talking about the Fantasy Inn's new discord server (you should totally check it out), and some plans for the podcast this December.
12:29
December 2, 2019
Episode 35 - Levi Jacobs Interview
In this episode, Calvin sits down with Levi Jacob, author of BEGGAR'S  REBELLION, a finalist in the current SPFBO. They talk about how he  became a writer, magic systems, violence in fantasy, and a whole host of  other topics.
25:48
November 27, 2019
Episode 34 - November 23 Weekly Pod
In this episode, Calvin catches you up on his reading from the last week, which included finishing PAUPER'S EMPIRE by Levi Jacobs and continuing DRAGONS OF AUTUMN TWILIGHT and starting THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi. After discussing those he moves into the books he has on deck, namely SHADOW'S HAND by Noelle Nichols and THE SHADOW KING by Alec Hutson (apparently there's a theme to his reading plans this week...). Then Calvin shares those books that are releasing this week and on his radar, before discussing The Dragon Prince season 3 and Hui Gregg's article on self-publishing and traditional publishing over on The Fantasy Inn. 
20:30
November 24, 2019
Episode 33 - SPECIAL EDITION: On Self-Published Fantasy
In this episode, Calvin has had enough. He waxes eloquent about self-published fantasy, traditionally published fantasy, how he thinks the genre is in a wonderful place right now, and how you shouldn't paint with too broad a brush. 
17:15
November 20, 2019
Episode 32 - November 16 Weekly Pod
In this episode Calvin looks at his last two weeks of reading, having missed getting the weekly pod recorded last week. He talks about FATE OF THE FALLEN by Kel Kade, DISPEL ILLUSION by Mark Lawrence, and Darkening Skies by eden Hudson. Then he mentions two books he's currently in the middle of PAUPER'S EMPIRE by Levi Jacobs and Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Once again he encourages listeners to give SPIT AND SONG by Travis Riddle a read as it releases this week, and then he talks about his first impressions of The Mandalorian. 
20:57
November 17, 2019
Episode 31 - Travis M. Riddle Interview
Calvin sits down with Travis Riddle author of the upcoming SPIT AND SONG  and the two talk about what inspired him to become a writer, how he  crafts his stories, the struggles of creative people, and non-human  characters in fantasy. By the end, Travis attempts to alienate as many  listeners as possible! This is one you don't want to miss.
35:02
November 14, 2019
Episode 30 - TS Chan from Novel Notions
In this episode, Calvin sits down with TS Chan from Novel Notions. The two have a wonderful discussion about how TS started reviewing, some of the why behind why she loves the Cradle series so much, the importance of social media for the book community, and diversity in fantasy. There's a lot that gets unpacked in this episode.
33:01
November 6, 2019
Episode 29 - November 2 Weekly Pod
Calvin starts this episode with some spoiler warnings for THE BURNING WHITE, then proceeds to give his reacts to that novel. Spoilers end by the 8:00 minute mark. After this, he moves on to some brief comments on his upcoming reads--FATE OF THE FALLEN and DISPEL ILLUSION--before talking about 5 (!) novels releasing this Tuesday that have been on his radar. From there it's diving into discussion about some items of interest from the new Witcher trailer to a blog post by Mark Lawrence about book pricing to the Dragons of Autumn Twilight Read-Along. There is no shortage of things to talk about in this episode, so don't miss it!
26:24
November 3, 2019
Episode 28 - Beth (Before We Go Blog) Interview
In this episode Calvin sits down with Beth from Before We Go Blog and the two have a conversation on a whole range of topics, from how Beth got started reviewing to what some of her favorite reads have been. There are plenty of recommendations to fill your TBR in this episode, and the two wrap up with a discussion about characters, and particularly female characters in Tolkien's work. 
33:17
October 30, 2019
Episode 27 - October 26 Weekly Pod
In this episode Calvin starts by squeeing about THE HANGED MAN by K.D. Edwards, one of his reads from the last week. He also mentions UNCANNY COLLATERAL, another of his recent completed reads, before talking about his impressions of the first quarter of THE BURNING WHITE by Brent Weeks. Then it's on to his reading plans for the next week. Outside of finishing The Burning White, those plans include FATE OF THE FALLEN by Kel Kade and DISPEL ILLUSION by Mark Lawrence, both ARCs. This episode isn't only about books, however, as Calvin also offers some of his thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker and why he thinks he hasn't been overly enthused with the post-RotJ movies. He reminds you to get ready for Jason Aycock's Dragons of Autumn Twilight Read-Along before some quick housekeeping items. 
23:48
October 27, 2019
Episode 26 - Dragons of Autumn Twilight Read-Along
In this episode, Jason from Off the TBR joins Calvin again. This time, the two talk about the upcoming Dragons of Autumn Twilight Read-Along that Jason is hosting. The read-along starts November 3, so go grab a copy of the book and join in!
22:46
October 23, 2019
Episode 25 - October 19 Weekly Pod
Calvin dives right in with his week in review on this pod, starting with THE HALF KILLED by Quenby Olson. It's a wonderful paranormal fantasy read set in Victorian England. From there he talks about the other book he finished this week (yes! he's back to actually reading and finishing books!), A SHATTERING OF GLASS by Deck Matthews. After trying to convince you once again to give Deck's novels a try, he goes over the two books he's planning to read in the upcoming week, THE HANGED MAN by K.D. Edwards and UNCANNY COLLATERAL by Brian McClellan. Then Calvin talks about one of his most anticipated releases of the year, THE BURNING WHITE by Brent Weeks. He finishes up the podcast by teasing two interview episodes that will be dropping over the next two weeks. 
18:07
October 20, 2019
Episode 24 - Dave Woolliscroft Interview
In this episode Calvin interviews Dave Woolliscroft, author of the Wildfire Cycle. Dave shares some about what inspired him to be a writer, and the two talk about self-publishing. They also dive into some discussion about how Dave crafts his novels and finish with a fantasy character dinner party. If you like episodes where Sir Terry Pratchett gets mentioned, this is the one for you!
27:01
October 16, 2019
Episode 23 October 12 Weekly Pod
Calvin runs through his reads from the past week, talks about some upcoming releases, and yaks about the importance of platonic male friendships.
14:00
October 13, 2019
Episode 22 - Magic Systems Roundtable Part Deux
Part two of a special two part episode! Calvin continues his conversation with Beth (Before We Go Blog), Lisa (Way Too Fantasy), and Jason (Off the TBR) talking about magic in fantasy. They continue to come up with some great thoughts and some great recommendations. 
24:35
October 9, 2019
Episode 21 - October 5 Weekly Pod
In this episode Calvin gives a shout-out to authors he has had the pleasure of interacting with before jumping into his week in review. Not a lot of reading has happened due to time constraints, but he thoroughly enjoyed THE TWO PRINCES, an audio drama produced by Gimlet media. After this you're treated to a glance at Calvin's TBR for October as he yaks about books he has on his TBR and frankly has no hope of getting to this month (he seriously needs to get organized). Next he mentions WARRIOR OF THE ALTAII, the new book by Robert Jordan being published this month. Then it's on to talk about Project Darkwater: Veil of Ruin and some housekeeping items. 
20:21
October 6, 2019
Episode 20 - Magic Systems Roundtable
A special two part episode! Calvin sits down with Beth (Before We Go Blog), Lisa (Way Too Fantasy), and Jason (Off the TBR) to talk about magic in fantasy. They manage to cover a lot of ground and recommend more books than have ever been recommended in a single episode on the podcast before now. In fact, they were so excited to talk fantasy and magic that we had to split the episode in two. Enjoy Part 1!
26:36
October 2, 2019
Episode 19 - September 28 Weekly Pod
This this weekly pod Calvin starts out by praising the single book he managed to finish this week, UNCROWNED by Will Wight. Then he talks a bit about another book he's in the middle of, THE THRONE OF THE FIVE WINDS. He also plans to start a new ARC soon, SPIT AND SONG by Travis Riddle. There's a quick detour here to talk about Calvin's need to reorganize his reading list for the final three months of the year, but then it's on to news from the fantasy world, including Brandon Sanderson talking about Robert Jordan's influence, Spiderman being back in the MCU, and a great podcast episode from The Fantasy Inn Podcast.  
22:30
September 28, 2019
Episode 18 - Wesley T. Allen Interview
In this episode Calvin interviews author Wesley T. Allen. They talk  about writing comedy, the importance of stories, how imagination plays  such an important role in culture, and manage to end up with a  discussion of Pratchett and Tolkien.
24:52
September 25, 2019
Episode 17 - September 21 Weekly Pod
In this week's episode, Calvin talks about his love for THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker. He also enjoyed THE FIRE EYE CHOSEN by Samuel Gately last week. His plans for the upcoming week include THE THRONE OF THE FIVE WINDS by S.C. Emmett and UNCROWNED by Will Wight. After sharing his plans for his next reads, Calvin begs you to go buy THE BONE SHIPS and STEEL CROW SAGA by Paul Krueger when they release this week. Then its on to some news from the SFF fold from the last week, notably updates from two upcoming TV series Calvin is interested in. A couple quick housekeeping items round out the episode. 
19:19
September 22, 2019
Episode 16 - Summer Wrap-up Pod
In this extra long episode, Calvin looks back over the books he read in summer 2019, gives each a quick review, and shares his rating for the book. There are too many books to list here, but if you're looking for possibilities to add to your own to-be-read list, this is the episode for you! 
44:58
September 18, 2019
Episode 15 - September 14 Weekly Pod
Calvin dives right into what he's been reading. Over the last week he completely BLACK POWDER WAR by Naomi Novik and he's currently in the midst of THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker (thank you to Netgalley and Orbit for the ARC). After talking about those he outlines his reading plans for the upcoming week which include THE FIRE EYE CHOSEN by Samuel Gately. A quick detour to talk about self-published fantasy month ends with some time of A HERO BORN--not self-published--but releasing this week. Then it's on to a blog post by Mark Lawrence on paying writers and Calvin's excitement for The Fantasy Inn's new podcast! This episode wraps up with Calvin's recommendation of The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.
20:30
September 15, 2019
Episode 14 - Josh Erikson Interview
Calvin sits down with Josh Erikson, author of the Ethereal Earth series,  to talk about his books Hero Forged and Fate Lashed, the craft of  writing, and influences on fantasy literature. The two of them also geek  out about Tolkien and his influence on the fantasy genre.
27:32
September 11, 2019
Episode 13 - September 7 Weekly Pod
This week Calvin's recent reads include STARSHIP BLACKBEARD by Michael Wallace and THE GIRL WITH NO FACE by M.H. Boroson. After sharing plenty of praise for Boroson's work, he outlines his plans for the next week including BLACK POWDER WAR by Naomi Novik and THE BONE SHIPS by RJ Barker. He also slips in a reference to a book he's currently beta reading and loving: CURSEBREAKER by Carol A. Park. THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow is also mentioned--one that Calvin hasn't read yet but has heard nothing but rave reviews for. After that it's on to some news in the SFF world, particularly another casting announcement for Amazon's Wheel of Time series and a release date for UNCROWNED by Will Wight. 
24:05
September 8, 2019
Episode 12 - Jon Auerbach Interview
Jon Auerbach, author of GUILD OF TOKENS, joins Calvin to talk about what inspired him to become an author, how he came up with the concept for his novel, some of the cool real-world history that's weaved into, and some of the challenges of being a self-published author. If you enjoy Asimov references and wonder about fitting real history into fictional works, this is the podcast for you! 
22:11
September 4, 2019
Episode 11 - August 31 Weekly Pod
This week Calvin dives right into his reads from the past week, giving the thumbs up to THE GUNS ABOVE by Robyn Bennis and STEEL CROW SAGA by Paul Krueger. He then comments on his current read STARSHIP BLACKBEARD by Michael Wallace before outlining the other books he hopes to read in the upcoming week. After that, you'll hear about some of the soon-to-be-released novels on Calvin's radar before he encourages you to take part in the r/fantasy September Goodreads Book of the Month, which happens to be VITA NOSTRA by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (translated by Julia Meitov Hersey). There's still more excitement, though, as UNCROWNED by Will Wight, will open for preorders on September 5th. Before closing with some housekeeping items, Calvin also shares his first impressions for Carnival Row (Amazon Prime) and Age of Resistance (Netflix).
21:05
September 1, 2019
Episode 10 - Petrik from Novel Notions
In this episode, Calvin sits down with Petrik from Novel Notions and a top Goodreads reviewer. They talk about why they love the fantasy genre,  geek out a little about THE SWORD OF KAIGEN, discuss what got Petrik into reviewing, and conclude with a brief conversation about the profound things the Fantasy genre does for us as people. You don't want  to miss this one!
28:22
August 29, 2019
Episode 9 - Jason from Off the TBR
In this episode, Jason Aycock from Off the TBR joins the pod. He and Calvin talk about how Jason got into blogging and reviewing, the great book community on Twitter, and some reads Jason has enjoyed--he even makes a recommendation that Calvin ends up being quick to follow up on. The conclude by talking about Self-Published Fantasy Month, something Jason did last year on his blog and is doing again. Find out more here.
24:54
August 27, 2019
Episode 8 - August 24 Weekly Pod
This week there is a ton of news to discuss, but before he dives into that Calvin answers a question he received on Twitter regarding why he generally dislikes present tense narrative. After that, he talks about his reads for the week: A HERO BORN by Jin Yong, AGE OF WAR by Michael J. Sullivan, and KALANON'S RISING by Darian Smith. Then it's brief mentions for his upcoming reads, THE GUNS ABOVE by Robyn Bennis and STELL CROW SAGE by Paul Krueger. After that, it's time to dive into the news of the week in the SFF realm, with Worldcon coming to DC in 2021, and Disney dropping a ton of enticing tidbits about new Marvel and Star Wars series, there is plenty to talk about--including the AGE OF DEATH kickstarter funding in record time. 
25:05
August 25, 2019
Episode 7 - Angela Boord Interview
In this episode, Angela Boord, the author of FORTUNE'S FOOL, joins Calvin. They discuss the way she writes her characters and crafts her stories, how she came up with the idea for different tenses to indicate different time periods, the way magic feels like a force of a nature in her book, as well as a couple other topics. If you've enjoyed FORTUNE'S FOOL, you'll love this podcast, and if you haven't read FORTUNE'S FOOL yet--then let this discussion convince you!
24:02
August 21, 2019
Episode 6 - August 18 Weekly Pod
This week Calvin jumps right in to talk about ARM OF THE SPHINX, which he completed last week. While it's the only book he managed to read last week, he enjoyed it a good deal. He then mentions AGE OF WAR and A HERO BORN, both of which he hopes to read in the upcoming week. That's not the end though, because there has been plenty to talk about over the last week in the world of fantasy. Not only is WorldCon happening in Dublin, but Amazon released more info on the Wheel of Time cast and Calvin can't help but to offer his comments. This pod wraps up with a discussion of Tad Williams' epic Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy.
19:54
August 18, 2019
Episode 5 - M.L. Wang Interview
M.L. Wang, author of THE SWORD OF KAIGEN and the Theonite series,  joins the pod to talk with Calvin about some of the inspiration for her world and works, how she crafted her magic system, and the amazing reception KAIGEN has received. This is a great interview and an episode you definitely don't want to miss!
25:46
August 14, 2019
Episode 4 - August 10 Weekly Pod
A bit of an abnormal week, Calvin only completed one book and started one other. Nevertheless, he jumps back a week in his reading to talk about THE RESURRECTIONIST OF CALIGO which he never mentioned in last week's pod. Then he geeks out about the amazing magic in BEGGAR'S REBELLION before mentioning his current read: ARM OF THE SPHINX. Upcoming releases on his radar include THE GREATWOOD PORTAL. After that, Calvin spends a couple minutes talking about how fantasy is spilling into the mainstream more and more, particularly with competing Netflix and Amazon shows releasing later this month: AGE OF RESISTANCE (Netflix) and CARNIVAL ROW (Amazon).
19:15
August 10, 2019
Episode 3 - Deck Matthews Interview
Deck Matthews, author of THE FIRST OF SHADOWS and DUST OF THE DARKNESS, visits the pod to talk with Calvin about some of his favorite authors and influences on his work, how he writes books that are so intensely fast-paced, and some of the challenges of writing characters with disabilities. You don't want to miss this one!
23:25
August 5, 2019
Episode 2 - August 3 Weekly Pod
This week Calvin jumps right in with his thoughts on his reads this week: JADE WAR, DUST OF THE DARKNESS, and BEGGAR'S REBELLION. Later on, he mentions some upcoming releases such as THE GOSSAMER MAGE and encourages listeners to consider joining The Fantasy Inn for their August Readathon themed around travel. There's also plenty of talk about Brandon Sanderson confirming that he is working with J. Michael Straczynski on a pilot for an original contemporary fantasy television series!
17:48
August 4, 2019
Episode 1 - Introduction and Weekly Pod #1
After some brief introductory words and hopes for the podcast, Calvin jumps into what he's been reading. Hear his thoughts on AGE OF SWORDS, THE GOSSAMER MAGE, and JADE WAR. Later on, he mentions some upcoming reads he's excited about before geeking out about some news out of SDCC, notably the Star Trek: Picard Trailer and Marvel's Phase 4 announcements. 
21:38
July 29, 2019
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