Links for my “Eating the Fantastic” interview

Yesterday, before the Trump Party tried to destroy our country, I had intended to put together and post this, but then I wound up staring at the television all day.

What I’d intended was to say that on Tuesday, I was finally able to listen to this entire two-hour conversation Scott Edelman and I had for his “Eating the Fantastic” podcast series (actually, 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 54 seconds). Other than the discomfort of listening to a recording of myself for two hours, it was a pretty good conversation, but I can’t imagine anyone else will want to sit through two hours of it. (You are, of course, very welcome to prove me wrong in this.)

And, as has become my wont when doing an interview like this, I’m offering a list of the people, books, and so forth that I mentioned with links for you to find out more about them.

The gingerbread cookie and fruit pie recipes I used are at the end of this file.

Central New Jersey Mensa’s Snowball Regional Gathering:

At Snowball, I gave a talk about Isaac Asimov, because it was his centennial. I don’t have a recording of that talk, but two months previous, I gave a very similar talk as Greater New York Mensa’s monthly speaker. That talk is available (in three parts) on YouTube. Here’s a link to the first part:

The Edge:


The Bastard by John Jakes:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:

The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern; the good-parts version by William Goldman:


The Daily Free Press:

Gray Rabbit Publications, LLC, and Fantastic Books:

Artemis Magazine:

Isaac Asimov’s autobiography:

Boston University:

Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine:

Analog Science Fiction and Fact:

Chanin Building:

“Fermat’s Legacy,” a short story I wrote:

“Living it is the Best Revenge,” a short story I wrote:

The Artemis Project / The Moon Society:


Fantastic Texas by Lou Antonelli:

The Presidential Book of Lists:

Ranking the First Ladies:

Ranking the Vice Presidents:

So You Want to Get Rich as a Writer:

Through Five Administrations:

The Complete Book of Presidential Inaugural Speeches:

“Shall Not Perish from the Earth,” a short story I wrote in the anthology Altered States of the Union:

My blog:




Gingerbread cookie recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (instead, I used 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/16 tsp nutmeg, 1/16 tsp cloves)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg

1. Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until well blended.

2. Beat together the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer starting on low and increasing speed until pale and fluffy, about three minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl down as needed. Beat in the molasses until combined, then the egg. Turn to low speed and beat in the flour mixture a little at a time until the mixture comes together, then increase speed and beat until all of the ingredients are well incorporated and you have a sticky dough. Divide the dough in half, flatten into two disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours and up to overnight.

3. Position two racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Keeping the other disk refrigerated, roll one disk to an 1/8-inch thickness on a well-floured surface, sprinkling flour on and under the dough as needed and sliding a spatula underneath every so often to prevent sticking. If the dough looks crackly or breaks apart, press it back together from the outside edge in. Cut cookies (original recipe called for a gingerbread man cookie cutter; I just used a round glass). Pull away the extra dough around each shape and use a small spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets about one inch apart. Gather together the scraps, leaving behind the excess flour, and knead them a few times to form a smooth dough again. Reroll them in the same way. Freeze the cookies to firm them, about 15 minutes.

4. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven racks, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and also turning them 180 degrees around halfway through baking, until they are slightly firm to the touch but not brown, about 12 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

5. Cool the cookies 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.



Crust Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
ice water

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and work it through with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it in with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. This recipe will make two pie crusts.

Roll out the dough on the floured surface into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Gently fold the circles of dough in half and then in half again so that you can lift it without tearing it, and unfold into a 9-inch pie pan.

3 pounds of apples and pears
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel and core apples and pears, then slice 1/4 inch thick. Toss apples and pears with raisins, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until evenly coated.

Put pie crust in bottom of pie plate. Fill with fruit mixture, cover with other pie crust. Crimp edges, then cut vents in top crust.

Bake at 450 degrees F on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees F and bake 40 minutes more. Cool two to three hours, then refrigerate. Pie tastes best the after overnight in the refrigerator.

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