Tales from the Trunk


Episode 35: Sam J. Miller - Blue Matter

This time around, I'm joined by multi-award-nominated-and-winning author Sam J. Miller (@sentencebender)! Sam reads from his trunked novel, Blue Matter, which leads us into a great conversation about YA, the ways that genre books are in conversation with each other, and why we're ultimately glad that our journeys as creators have been the shapes they are.


Things we mention in this episode:

The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller

Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller

The Blade Between, by Sam J. Miller

Michael Pollan 

Ted Chiang 

The Clarion Workshop 

Octavia Butler 

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

John Bellairs 

Joan Aiken 

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss

Mutual assured destruction 

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss

RuPaul's Drag Race 


Be the Serpent, Episode 91 

Beowulf, translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

Iambic pentameter 

"The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe

Hudson, NY 

This Is How You Lose The Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar Max and Gladstone

Mexican Gothic, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

Notes from the Burning Age, by Claire North

The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey

Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

The Unbroken, by C. L. Clark

The Death of Jane Lawrence and The Luminous Dead, by Caitlin Starling

Boys, Beasts & Men, by Sam J. Miller

Sam's website and insta 


Join us again next month, when I'll be talking to R. J. Theodore and Ivy Noelle Weir!


2021 Awards Eligibility

Yeah buddy! It's awards season once again! And just like we have every year since the show started, we've got a roundup of eligible works from past guests!

This episode's full transcript, with links, is below.


Hello, and welcome to Tales from the Trunk: nominating the stories (and other things) that did make it. I’m Hilary B. Bisenieks.

Listeners, it’s that time of year again, where we’re all looking back—maybe frantically—on what we did last year and what we consumed as awards nominations open up. To help with that, I’ve once again reached out to all of my past guests to see if there’s anything they’d like me to mention on this show. The full transcript of this show will also be in the show notes, so don’t worry if things go by fast.

To start off, I know I’ve tweeted about it, but I want to thank every single one of you who nominated this show for Best Fancast last year. I’m still in a bit of shock that this show made it to the Hugo award long list. This year, Tales from the Trunk is eligible for Best Fancast for the Hugos and, until January 21st, r/Fantasy’s Stabby Award for Best Audio Original - Nonfiction. It would be a huge honor to get your nominating vote for either award.

John Appel, who joined us on book tour last summer, is eligible for both Best Novel and Best Debut Novel in the science fiction category, where applicable, for Assassin’s Orbit.

Nino Cipri is eligible in the Best Novella category for Defekt, the sequel-ish follow up to 2020’s Finna.

R. K. Duncan, who joined us way back in our very first season, has five eligible short stories, which you can find in his awards eligibility post, linked in the show notes. Of those, “Her Black Coal Heart a Diamond in My Hand” is dearest to his heart.

Sarah Gailey, one of this show’s staunchest and most long-time supporters, has The Echo Wife, eligible for Best Novel, and their limited series, Eat the Rich, eligible for Best Graphic Story and other comics categories.

Sarah Hollowell (you didn’t think you’d get one of these Sarahs without the other, did you?) is eligible for Best Novel, Best Young Adult, and Best Debut Novel for A Dark and Starless Forest!

Tyler Hayes (Tyler, please forgive me for putting you slightly out-of-order) has the story “The Devil You Don’t” eligible for Best Short Story.

Jordan Kurella has both a story and an essay eligible this year! Their story, “Personal Histories Surrounding La Rive Gauche, Paris: 1995-2015” carries content warnings for mentions of suicide and psychological abuse, and is eligible for Best Short Story. Their essay “Un/Reliable: Reflections in The Drowning Girl,” which carries content warnings for discussion of mental illness and suicide, is eligible for Best Related Work.

L. D. Lewis, who joined us this past spring, is eligible in a bevy of categories! Her stories “From Witch to Queen and God” and “Dizzy in the Weeds” are both eligible for Best Short Story. FIYAHCON 2021, like the 2020 version, is eligible for Best Related Work, meanwhile, and the Hugo Award-winning FIYAH Literary Magazine is eligible for Best Semiprozine.

Sarah Loch has a number of stories and essays eligible, all of which you can find in her eligibility post. Of those, she’d like to particularly highlight “How Dungeons & Dragons Helped Me Escape a Cult” for Best Related Work.

Jennifer Mace, the English One, is eligible for Best Fancast for Be The Serpent—and I should mention that this is their final year of eligibility—along with Freya Marske, the Australian one, and Alex Rowland, the American One. Additionally, Macey’s poem, “letters from the ides” is eligible wherever speculative poetry awards are given, and her poem-story, “Birds Are Trying to Reinvent Your Heart,” which is eligible for Best Short Story.

Speaking of the Australian One, Freya Marske, who joined us in the traditional serpent month, October, is eligible for Best Novel and Best Debut for A Marvellous Light.

Preeme Mohamed, who joined us again this summer, has had quite the year as far as novellas go! These Lifeless Things, And What Can We Offer You Tonight, and The Annual Migration of Clouds are all eligible for Best Novella. Additionally, A Broken Darkness is eligible for Best Novel. You can find a link to her full eligibility post in the show notes.

C. L. Polk has an eligible story, “The Music of Siphorophenes,” and a novel, Soulstar, and, in a first for guests of this show, their Kingston Cycle, consisting of Witchmark, Stormsong, and Soulstar, is eligible for the Best Series Hugo.

dave ring has a trio of eligible works this year: The Hidden Ones is eligible for Best Novella, “Top Ten Demons to Kill Before The World Ends” is eligible for Best Short Story, and Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness is eligible for Best Anthology!

Elsa Sjunneson is eligible for Best Fan Writer for her editorial column at Uncanny Magazine, where she’s just finished her tenure as nonfiction editor (Uncanny is eligible for Best Semiprozine). Additionally, “Ocean’s 6” is eligible for Best Short Story, and Being Seen is eligible for Best Related Work!

R. J. Theodore has two stories eligible for Best Short Story, “A Ship With No Parrot” and “The Coven of TAOS-9.” Additionally, Underway is eligible for Best Novella, and Self-Publishing Formatting Guidelines is eligible for Best Related Work. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that We Make Books, which Rekka hosts with Kaelyn Considine, is eligible for Best Fancast!

Rem Wigmore, who joined us for an impromptu Oceana Month is eligible for Best Novel with Foxhunt.

Fran Wilde, who joined us way way back at the start of 2021, would like to highlight “Unseelie Brothers, ltd.” which is eligible for Best Novelette. You can find other things she wrote and read last year on her blog, linked in the show notes.

Finally, last, but most certainly not least (and who would have thought that we’d have so many W-names?), John Wiswell would love for you to read and consider his novelette “That Story Isn’t The Story.” His other eligible works can be found on his site, linked in the show notes.

2021 was absolutely a wild year, but I hope that this episode helps jog your memory of some of your favorite things, or maybe even introduces you to a brand new favorite that you missed the first time around. I’m deeply grateful for your consideration of this show or any of the works mentioned on this episode, as are all the amazing, talented creators behind those works.

As mentioned at the top of the episode, links to all of the works mentioned, along with any eligibility posts, whether specifically called out or not, will be in the show notes.

Thank you so much for listening, and thank you to all of the amazing creators who have been a part of this show over the past three seasons!

Tales from the Trunk is mixed and produced in beautiful Oakland, California.

Our theme music is “Paper Wings,” by Ryan Boyd.

You can support the show on patreon at patreon dot com slash trunkcast. All patrons of the show now get a sticker and logo button, along with show outtakes and other content that can't be found anywhere else.

You can find the show on Twitter at trunkcast, and I tweet at hbbisenieks.

If you like the show, consider taking a moment to rate and review us on your preferred podcast platform.

And remember: don't self-reject.


Shelter in Place 22: Jennie Goloboy - Obviously, Aliens

This time around, my guest is author and agent Jennie Goloboy (@JennieGoloboy), whose Obviously, Aliens released in November 2021 from Queen of Swords Press! After hearing the opening chapter of the book, we get into what made it and what didn't in the final draft, along with some great talk about the craft of humor writing and some excellent recommendations! 



Things we mention in this episode:


Queen of Swords Press 

Foxhunt, by Rem Wigmore 

Doge (meme)

Terry Roy 



Peter Thiel 

Monty Python's Life of Brian 

Men in Black 

The War of 1812 

P. G. Wodehouse 


Denver International Airport (DEN) 

Ted Lasso 

The Murderbot Diaries, (Wikipedia) by Martha Wells

2021 Hugo Award results 

Soldier (1998)


The Imperial Radch trilogy, by Ann Leckie

The Last Watch, by J. S. Dewes

Jennie's website 

The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, by A. J. Fitzwater

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App