Show Notes for Ep. 15 "An Interview with Farah Mendlesohn"

Join Mary Anne as she interviews Farah Mendlesohn about international science fiction and her latest book, The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein.

Recorded 2019 / Published 5 July 2021


  • 0:00: Introductions.
  • 0:59: Mendlesohn attests firsthand to just how powerful a gluten-free, dark chocolate cake can be.
  • 3:26: Mohanraj reflects on her own experiences as an immigrant and the tricky matter of dual citizenship.  What ultimately made Mohanraj get her citizenship.
  • 7:35: Americans consistently leave healthcare out of their science fiction.
  • 10:32: British authors that do well in the UK don’t necessarily do well in the US.
  • 12:24: Rhetorics of Fantasy. 
  • 17:52: The history of not speaking about religion at the dinner table in the UK. 
  • 18:43: Are there American writers who can be unflinching in writing politics?
  • 21:15: Collins’ choice for a familiar structure in The Hunger Games, and how she deviates from this in Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
  • 22:52: Until recently, importing American books was expensive. 
  • 26:50: Mendlesohn shares in a revelation she had about Narnia.
  • 27:23: Putting the ‘away’ in “a land far, far away.”
  • 29:44: Mendlesohn talks about her love of science fiction, something she inherited from her father.
  • 34:21: Writing about anti-racism, racistly.
  • 35:52: Where Mendlesohn thinks people misjudge Heinlein
  • 38:19: The magic of YouTube tutorials!
  • 39:52: Mendlesohn breaks down how historians read history books and articles.
  • 43:59: The pitfalls of “second-hand” fiction.
  • 45:47: The role of precision in writing.
  • 49:18: Class and accessibility to education; not all new writers get the same starting line.
  • 50:13: Mendlesohn and what the Prime Minister did right.
  • 53:57: “You don’t offer the box of chocolates.”
  • 54:28: Cultural capital
  • 55:19: Mohanraj circles us back to Heinlein.
  • 57:52: Heinlein’s generation and reliable print media.
  • 58:23: Mohanraj reflects on an interesting group of students she taught while in Salt Lake City.
  • 1:00:00: Conclusion

Authors and Works Mentioned

Alphabetically by author surname, or by title of work in cases where authorship isn’t simple.