In the ’Cosm Podcast S1 Ep4: From A (as in seeking asylum) to Zee with Su J. Sokol

You can listen to this episode by clicking the embedded Spotify widget, or you can stream the podcast from  Anchor.fmApple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsRadio Public, and Google Podcasts. You can also watch it (with CC) on my YouTube Channel! (Click the bell on my YouTube channel to be notified when new episodes are published!)

(Please scroll down to read the transcript for this episode.)

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing and giving a positive rating!


ID: Zoom snapshot of Canadian author Su J. Sokol (on the left, smiling. Su is a white woman with long grey hair, braided on the side. Xe is sitting in a green room and there's a stringed instrument hanging on the wall and Cait Gordon on the right, against a spacey backdrop with the In the ’Cosm logo.


Hi and welcome to In the ‘Cosm. I’m your host, Canadian speculative fiction author, Cait Gordon. I’ve started this podcast, so I can chat with authors and other creatives I simply fan girl over. I hope you enjoy diving into my microcosm and feel inspired to seek out the works of these amazing humans.

Cait Gordon: Hi, I’m Cait Gordon, and today is such a big deal for me because I have with me the wonderfully talented Su J. Sokol. Su is a social rights activist and a writer of speculative, liminal and interstitial fiction. Originally from Brooklyn, Su now makes Montréal xyr home. Xyr short fiction has appeared or is upcoming in The Future Fire, Spark: A Creative Anthology, TFFX 10th Anniversary Anthology, Glittership: an LGBTQ Science Fiction and Fantasy PodcastGlittership: Year One anthologyAfter the Orange: Ruin and Recovery, and Amazing Stories.

Su’s debut novel, Cycling to Asylum, was longlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and has been optioned for a feature-length film. Xyr second novel, Run J Run, was published by Renaissance Press, and Su’s third novel, entitled Zee, has just been released in both French and English by Mouton Noir Acadie.

Welcome, Su!

Su J. Sokol: Sue. Thank you, Cait. Thank you so much for inviting me. This is so exciting!

Cait Gordon: It is so exciting! It’s so exciting for me. I was just—as I was putting this together, I was remembering when I first saw you, I was with Talia at CanCon 2016. And you were on a writing critique panel, and everything you said, we were like, “That person’s cool. That person’s cool. We like that person.” And it’s just it’s just amazing how you could just see someone and have stars in your eyes. And then just through the magic of the publishing world, you become colleagues and friends. And I’m just so happy to have you here today.

Su J. Sokol: Had I know you were thinking those thoughts, we could have become  friends even sooner.

Cait Gordon: [Laughs] I better get my thoughts out there because you know, I am rather a shy and demure type of person. Um, so here’s the thing. You’re working on Zee, no you’ve just released Zee. And that’s your new novel. And I’d like to know more about it because I haven’t yet explored it, but I’m excited to. Could you please share with us about Zee?

Su J. Sokol: Sure. So Zee is a story about a kid who could read the thoughts and feel the emotions of other people. And that sounds pretty cool. And like somebody that would come in handy. But in fact, it’s also something that’s not so great at times. And so the book is largely about the challenges of being such a person, because especially for a child growing up, who’s trying to find their own path, it’s really hard to be burdened with everyone else’s expectations and thoughts and ideas. And it makes it very confusing when you’re trying to figure out who you are, because you want to please everyone and you’re confused. And, and so this is a big challenge for Zee. So, it’s about kind of like the power and limits of empathy. And at the same time, it’s a story about Zee’s family, the four adults who make up her family or who come to understand that they’re family because it takes you know, a bunch of events before that happens, too. So it’s also about the four adults in Zee’s life. This is actually—it’s being marketed as a young adult novel—

Cait Gordon: Okay.

Su J. Sokol: —although I didn’t originally write it that way. But, um, and I’m curious to know what people think about that. I know that, you know, adults have read it and liked it. And I know some kids too, but it’s interesting to me because I don’t really… I think of it as both adult and young adult, but it’s cool to be able to be… you know, also writing for, for young adults as well.

Cait Gordon: And, so the idea of hyper-empathy really appeals to me as an autistic person. You know, a lot of times we’re under the actual real-life trope of not having empathy, but many of us are hyper-empathetic. I want to know what inspired you to choose that theme for your protagonist?

Su J. Sokol: Hmm, I guess there are two things. One has to do with my daughter. So, when my daughter was small, I really did believe that she could read minds. I just I really believed that and I thought, “Well, that would be interesting for a story.” But personally, I also I have a little bit of an issue like Zee has. I mean, I don’t really read minds, I don’t think, but I sometimes I feel myself to be hyper-aware of what other people are thinking. And it makes me… it causes me some pain. Actually, it’s hard to deal with sometimes. I’m always thinking, Oh, that person, they were just upset by what I said, what do I do? You know, gets me tied in knots, and you know, I might be wrong about these things. And sometimes I’m right, but I just don’t realize that it doesn’t matter as much as I think it does. So, I wanted to explore that a little bit, both as someone who experiences something like that. I think sometimes I just, you know, you know how science fiction just takes the thing and just runs away in crazy directions with it, in unusual directions. So that’s what I was trying to do.

Cait Gordon: Well, I mean, I just, I just, now I’m, like, 3000 times more curious to read it. Because yeah, it’s true. Like, particularly if you’re a compassionate person, right? Um, you know, kind of outward thinking, you can be sensitive to what other people think and to take that to the level that you’re taking it to in this book… and to be a young person, the person is young as well. With all the things that growing up means, I could really see how that would be a challenge.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, I mean, whether, you know, most kids just want to please the adults and their peers. Like that’s, especially once you hit adolescence, it’s all about that. And it’s just can be excruciating, you know? And so yeah, I just wanted to explore that, explore that a bit. Yeah.

Cait Gordon: And it’s in English and in French—that’s kind of awesome.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, it’s funny. The, the publisher is a Francophone, you know, French-language publisher, Acadian publisher in New Brunswick. It’s a long story, how it found its way there, but they were looking for kind of edgy, young adult writing. And, and then they, they really liked it, but they’re like, “Well, we need it to be in French.” So they hired a translator, and they translated it. And that was that in itself was a really, really interesting experience. Because I do speak French, I mean, not perfect, perfect. You know, I didn’t really come to learn French, well, or at all kind of, I knew a little bit of French growing up, but not until I emigrated. And then I went to the françaisation classes and tried to learn French and, and so it was interesting for me to read my words in French and see how you would do, you know, how we could do the same thing in there. Sometimes, you have to really come about it from a different angle in French than you would in English.

Cait Gordon: Right. With the idioms and stuff like that, right? Yeah, expressions?

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, different cultural reference points are different. You know, there’s a whole thing we had to figure out good, you know, non-binary pronouns in French. And it’s much more challenging, French, because there’s so many opportunities to genderize language in French that you don’t have an English. All that was super interesting. It was great working with this talented translator, and then, you know, seeing what we could make out of it. Even the title Zee is challenging for Canadians, because, you know, I’m from New York, as you said, and Z is the last letter of the alphabet when you’re an American, but it isn’t here. It’s Zed. So you’ve kind of—yeah, it’s, it’s interesting, but…

Cait Gordon: I’m so glad you said that [laughs], because I almost made the joke that your book is Zee in the US and Zed in Canada [laughs again]. So yeah, it’s true. It’s— I don’t even know how, you know, I should know why it’s zed. But I actually just don’t so, whatever [laughs].

Su J. Sokol: Why is it zee? I mean, I don’t know, either. I think it’s related to French, I mean, European, you know, French and English influenced them each other a lot in Europe. And but then, you know, the US did a bunch of things differently. Some of them, some of the language differences between Canadian English and US English has to do with it being more influenced by, you know, by England and also by French.

Cait Gordon: Mhm, mhm. So, you know, when was the official release of Zee? When was that? That was 2020?

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, I guess it was… Um, no, I don’t know, November or December that at the very end of the year, um basically.

Cait Gordon: Right. So what’s it like to release a novel during a global pandemic? I mean, you know, we’re so used to going to, you know, readings and cons and different things like—-what, like how did you navigate that?

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, I was really worried about that, I have to be honest. My first two books I really, my launches were such special moments, you know, surrounded by friends and family and supporters. And, and I didn’t know how was I going to do a launch. I’ve done readings on Zoom. And it’s just like, to me, it was like talking into a void.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Su J. Sokol: It’s really, really hard. I tried things like well, what if we do gallery, and I can look at everyone’s faces, but they’re so little [Cait laughs] I can’t see their expressions, and I was I was, you know, I was upset. I didn’t know what I was going to do about it. So I kept on thinking about, you know, how we drink wine and eat snacks with the launch. And so I came up with an idea. I’m very fortunate because I live in a house in with a porch, a covered porch, which is not that usual in Montreal.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Su J. Sokol: And I had this idea that I could make mulled wine, it was gonna be like, cold out, of course, we’re in Montreal, vegan chocolate chip muffins. And what I would do is I would invite people who, who felt comfortable to come to my porch, I would give them a glass of mulled wine and a muffin, and I would sign books for them. And I would have people come one by one, and we’d wear masks, and we’d be outside, and it would be COVID-safe. And then I could sort of replicate a little bit at least that human, you know, face-to-face thing. And, and it worked out pretty well. Um, some people arrived at the same time as other people and were there just waiting in the garden, whatever. [Laughs]

Cait Gordon: Oh wow.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah.

Cait Gordon: That’s a pretty creative way to handle it, really. 

Su J. Sokol: It was, yeah, it was it was great. It was really nice. And I actually finally had some mulled wine myself that night. I did—that was the day of the English launch. I did the French launch on a Thursday. And then I did the English launch on a Sunday. So, all day Sunday, I had people coming. But I was also thinking about my friends who couldn’t or wouldn’t, didn’t feel like comfortable to come. And I knew they wanted the book and wanted a signed book. And I wanted them to have it. So, I came up with this other idea, which was that I took a list of people in that situation. And my partner and I biked all over Montreal Saturday, delivering books. And some people were in actual quarantine. So, we did these contactless deliveries of the book and e-payments. And so, you know, it made it feel… I’ve always had bicycles part of my lunches ever since Cycling to Asylum.

Cait Gordon: Very cool.

Su J. Sokol: I was really happy to be able to have bicycling involved. And then the launch itself was very creative. So my publisher, they were great. They found this like this kind of queer Acadian drag queen comedienne, to animate the event. And they were so sparkly [Cait laughs], I was dazzled. And we had, you know, we had readings, and we had Q and A’s and we had audience participation and book giveaways. And so it just made the event much more warm. And there was an advantage. I had two launches, one in French, one in English. But there was an advantage to having the Zoom launch, which because usually I have a launch in Montreal and a launch in New York, and then hopefully also one in Toronto and Ottawa. But I could have everybody at the same launch this way. And I actually had people from France, and Germany, who had to stay up really late. I had a few of them. And it just was like, wow, I couldn’t have done that.

Cait Gordon: Yeah, yeah, the reach is fantastic when you also have virtual. You know, it’s making like, I mean, I’m an extrovert, I love being with people. But I’m half-thinking that even when we come at the other end of this pandemic, virtual and in-person launches are not a bad thing. Because with the virtual, you can reach a wider audience, like you say, if some people feel like staying up or whatnot, or you schedule it a certain way, you could have people from Europe and other places as well.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah. And actually, the first time I’d ever seen anything like that was with you. When we had [the launch] at Glad Day and virtually. And I was like, “Wow, this is great,” you know.

Cait Gordon: That was fantastic and Glad Day Bookshop is always going to have a warm place in my heart because of that accessibility that they offered me. But I do know what you mean, though, because that was—I had never done anything like that before. And it was before I even knew what really Zoom was much about. I had done a few things with Talia, but never like this. And I couldn’t even hear people laugh, and I’m trying to read things that are funny. And I’m going please let them [laughs] I hope they’re laughing! But I think you know, if we designed this as a whole in the publishing industry, we can continue the virtual component as well. I think it would be really good for a lot of people.

Su J. Sokol: It’s true, but we will have to find a solution to that problem. Because it really is a problem when you try to read, and you’re not getting the laughs, and you’re not getting the reaction. I saw comedian, like the comedy show where like, none of the laugh track, nothing’s there. And it just feels all the jokes feel like they’re falling dead [Cait laughs]. So the other act where the person had their partner in the room and joking with their partner the whole time. And that made all the difference just to have one person in the room laughing was really great.

Cait Gordon: Yeah. And that’s something I think, you know, I feel like I, you know, as a person who likes accessibility and accommodation, I got to figure that out. [Laughs] I’ll make that mission as well. I’ll let you know if I learned anything and let me know if you learn anything as well. Okay, um, that’s amazing. Those are great ideas. And I’m going to listen to this again to make sure that I’m writing this down. I want to go talk a little bit about some of your other works. The last book that I read from you was Run J Run, and I even wrote in my notes that I could have done a whole hour podcast on Run J Run. To me, it’s exquisitely written, it explores mental illness and trauma and PTSD in a way that I feel is non-harmful in terms of tropes. I also love that the support system is a polyamorous relationship. And I just wanted to know, was it important to you to write that story? You know, you know, defying those kinds of harmful tropes and, you know, representing mental illness in a way that people who have mental illness can relate to, and also showing, you know, polyamory without all those tropes and cliches. Were those two themes important to you to demonstrate in your work?

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, hm, well, I mean, definitely, they’re important. But the way I come to decide to write a story is a character makes themselves known to me [laughter]. You know, and then I want to learn more about them. And they tell me things that I do research and things, then they tell me things that happened to them. And then I start learning about the people and their life. And that’s how I came to write this story. But then once writing it, like, when I realized I had to deal with these issues, because the person who came to me happened to have a serious mental illness and happened to be in a polyamorous relationship, I knew I would have to write about those things in a way that was, you know, that was good. That wasn’t tropes. And that wasn’t misinformation. And that was sensitive. So like, that was very important to me once, once the story made itself aware to me write. Instead of like, “Oh, I’m gonna write a polyamorous love story with a person who has mental—” It wasn’t like that.

Cait Gordon: Yeah.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah. So yeah, it was it was very important. I mean, in writing about for instance—so the character who is the person in the story with the biggest mental health problem, who is arguably the main character, although not the narrator—you could go back and forth, and who’s the real main character of that story—but the first thing I wanted to just be really clear about is this sort of idea that someone’s mental illness defines them, like they are their mental illness. And so I thought it was really important to try to show that Zak is a person who’s extremely interesting and complex and attractive and flawed. And some of these things have to do with his mental illness. And some of these things don’t. I mean, he’s just [Cait says, “Right,” at the same time]. Like, he would do these things that were very unusual, like he was, he’s a very unusual person and does unusual things. And some of the unusual things he does, I mean, they don’t have anything to do with his mental health. He’s just an unusual person. And that’s just how it is. And, you know, there’s, there’s a moment in the story where we’re J is talking to his psychiatrists. And it’s like, you know, if there were this pill that Zak could take that would make him like everybody else, that would make him quote, unquote, normal, I wouldn’t even want him to take it, not that he would take it. I just want him not to be suffering, I just want him not to be in pain. Like, that’s what I want, not that he changed to somebody else, you know, so that was an important thing for me to write about mental illness in that way. And, you know, and I also, you know, this is, you know, also Zak is from a marginalized community, so, and there are a lot of bad things that have happened to him. But I didn’t want this toxic trope of someone who’s marginalized, whose story ends in tragedy.

Cait Gordon: Yes.

Su J. Sokol: But usually have ended in tragedy. And I’m sorry if this is a little bit of a spoiler, but I wouldn’t write a story like that. I couldn’t, I couldn’t break my own heart [laughs].

Cait Gordon: Exactly!

Su J. Sokol: And so at the same time, though, you have to avoid the trope of “and then we figured out what was the big trauma and then they were okay, forever, and everything was fine.” And yeah, no, no, no, no [laughter]. It doesn’t work that way. You know, and I made it very clear, even in trying to offer like a happily-ever-afterish story that that doesn’t mean Zak is cured.

Cait Gordon: Yes.

Su J. Sokol: You know, or anything like that, you know, just that… Yeah. So those were the things that I was really trying to avoid, you know, in writing about mental illness. Um, with the polyamory… I mean, I guess the biggest misconception when people think about polyamory that I’m familiar with is this idea of a dude with all these wives.

Cait Gordon: [Laughs] Right.

Su J. Sokol: And so, I definitely wasn’t, you know, so you know, I created the—I write about a certain type of polyamory in the story, and there’s so many types.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Su J. Sokol: This is like a stable triad, that’s MMF—male, male, female. And so that’s going to avoid the dude with a lot of wives [laughs].

Cait Gordon: That will do it right there [laughs].

Su J. Sokol: Yeah. Um, but I also wanted it to be really clear that for the female character, Annie, that this isn’t something she’s been forced into like, well, that she’s just going along with, but that it was something that in fact, she’s really pretty much behind it. But aside from that, how much emotional benefit she gets out of this, and she’s the one who explains it to my main character who’s a bit, you know, hesitant. Because the other thing about polyamory is a lot of people thinking, think of it as just promiscuity, or as you know, doesn’t want to commit, which is so the opposite of the story that I wrote. And, but it’s hard for J, because he’s an extremely loyal person, and he doesn’t necessarily—he has ways of thinking sometimes that he kind of break out of, and he had to learn that, you know, being in this relationship doesn’t mean that you’re not loyal, or that you’re not committing. And, and it could be healthy and ethical, and the best kind of, in fact, at some point of the story, he says something like, every child should have at least three parents.

Cait Gordon: Right, exactly! I mean, I love the way it was done. There’s so much about that book that I love. But you know, all the things that you said that you were working hard to make sure you didn’t misrepresent, in my opinion, you get like, you know, when the teacher used to put a big smiley face on your paper? [Laughs] Like you did it so well. Um, and I, I like the, I like the thing that you said about, you know, you wanted to avoid this taking a pill, you know, you say that J says, you know that he wouldn’t even want Zak to take a pill that would make him like everybody else. Again, that resonates with me. I’m someone who manages mental illness, but I’m also autistic. And my autism is what you see, like my humour, my quirkiness, all the little things that make up Cait, that’s my autism. It’s how my brain is configured.

Su J. Sokol: It’s your awesomeness!

Cait Gordon: My awesome “autimness”— but I, but I deal with depression, and I don’t like it. So [laughs] you know, depression is something that I tried to, you know, I have I have help for, I go to therapy, and I’m, if it gets in my way and prevents me from thriving, well, we have to deal with that. But so I kind of like that kind of duality of you know, there’s a personality and their own personal neurodivergence, and then there’s mental illness. So you want to always help people with the stuff that’s harming them. And if something’s not harming them, and that’s just them being them, you just let them be, you know, so I love that.

Cait Gordon: Yeah. And I could have easily also created like, his psychiatrist as being someone who’s like a bad psychiatrist. But she, she wasn’t, she was highly intelligent and empathic and competent. And yet she made mistakes. And, and, but what was critical is her willingness to listen to her patient and to his loved ones. And to change her idea about “Okay, maybe this other thing is going on and, and think outside the box.” That’s what was that’s what made her so great as a psychiatrist.

Cait Gordon: Oh, no, it’s—the book is so good. I just, yeah. I think I’m gonna read it again [laughter]. But the first book that I did buy from you was Cycling to Asylum. And I remember I said something to you, and you said, so many people said to you, like, “Are you a prophet?” [Laughs] The way that you wrote Cycling to Asylum and you wrote it before kind of… the way things are today? That you must have thought that was funny that you were talking about, you know, you writing character now who reads minds in such… half of us were wondering if you could predict the future. Would you like to talk about Cycling to Asylum for a little bit?

Su J. Sokol: Sure. I mean, so Cycling to Asylum, for people who don’t know the story, is about a couple of activists living in a near future kind of dystopian United States, who find that they need to flee, that their lives are in danger, and take their kids and… but the way they flee is kind of unusual because they bike across the border, posing as tourists. And then they make a claim for refugee status in Montréal in Québec. Um, and so, yeah, there’s, people have said a lot of things about the book predicting things, like for instance, there’s a lot in the book that has to do with police violence, and it came out right before Ferguson.

Cait Gordon: Right.

Su J. Sokol: Yeah, but it was, you know, but it was something that was, you know, continuously comes to different boiling points, you know, Black Lives Matter, different waves of that, and, and it’s unfortunately, a problem we haven’t solved yet.

Cait Gordon: Yeah.

Su J. Sokol: And it’s something that, like, I thought about a lot, you know, in my activism, and so it was something I was gonna put into the story, because it existed. And, you know, I think it’s no secret to people who read and write speculative fiction that most—many authors are actually writing about the present when they when they seem to be writing about the future. And that’s what I was doing. Um, so a lot of the things I knew I couldn’t get away—there were a lot of very dystopian things about the United States that actually like existed and still exist. And I didn’t think I could write a story that was just contemporary fiction, where activists come to Canada and get ref—you know, try to get refugee status, there’s no one would believe it, right? People think, “Oh, you know what? It’s a democracy. Everything’s great.” You know, but I live there, and I know better. And, and so I said, “Well, I’ll just make it science fiction to avoid the argument.” [Laughs] You know, so but like, people, but it’s true that people like… just a couple of years after my book, so I came up with the idea in 2008, but I wasn’t able to find space in my life to write it until 2011, 2012. And then it was published in 2014. But then, you know, soon after that, people were sneaking across the border into Canada. And, you know, that’s not the first time people have snuck into into Canada, you know, from the United States. There’s a long history of that, and different events happening. But yeah, and then, but the only thing I always tell people I’ll take credit for is like, maybe a year or less than a year after Cycling was published, Montréal declared itself a sanctuary city, which is something I had in the book [laughs].

Cait Gordon: Right!

Su J. Sokol: Like, it’s a sanctuary city. So I’m like, “Okay, I’ll take that.” But sadly, the truth is, that Montréal is not a sanctuary, or it’s not a sanctuary city. And, and we have a way long way to go to become one. And so I just hope will point seeds, you know, to, to work more on that issue, but you know, yeah, so, so that’s Cycling. And I’m actually, I hope I could say this, but I’m working on a sequel—

Cait Gordon: Oh!

Su J. Sokol: That takes place three years after Cycling ends. And, you know, I mean, you mentioned I’m from New York. So, you know, our decision to come here was politically motivated. So it is related, you know, we weren’t asylum seekers but, but now I’m writing this sequel with the eyes of someone who’s lived here for a while now, and a little bit more clear eyed. And so again, I’m writing about contemporary problems, both in our country and in the United States and abroad, and about the people who were trying to, to fight those problems and make the world a more just place. But I’m just futurizing it, using cool technologies and made-up countries. And, and that kind of thing.

Cait Gordon: That’s very cool. With—I mean, I can’t believe it, I say this every podcast as I can’t believe it; we’re starting to run out of time. And because I get so involved, and I just want to hear everybody talk all day long… but just thinking about, you know, Cycling to Asylum and such, you describe yourself as a social activist, can you just quickly tell us, you know, like, do you feel like your writing is also part of that? And do you do other things related to social activism?

Su J. Sokol: Yes, I mean, yes to both. So in New York, I was, a, like a legal services lawyer, a lawyer for tenants and tenant organizations, and housing organizations and fighting for, you know, decent, affordable housing for people as a basic, you know, right. And I do similar work here in in Montreal, I work for a community organization. And we also write for, you know, work for the rights of people to have a decent income, access to healthcare, so on and so forth. We work with a lot of immigrants or refugees, but we work with everybody. And so I feel like the work that I do is advocacy and activism. And then I’m also just an activist in my life, you know, involved in a lot of different causes and against a lot of isms and phobias.

Cait Gordon: Right, right.

Su J. Sokol: And I do see my writing as a form of activism, too, because I’m trying to write about the things that I see in my ideas of what would be a better world and what we need to get rid of, and I tried to, you know, present it in that context. And in fact, when Cycling came out, a lot of the events I had, I tried to combine with some sort of social justice issue like, like, rights of immigrants or cycling environmentalism, and like that.

Cait Gordon: Well, it’s amazing. Just keep writing, keep doing everything that you do. It’s time for my final question, because this is my favorite one because I get to learn new things about people. What is a fun fact about yourself? [Laughs]

Su J. Sokol: Fun fact about myself, okay. Um, I don’t know if it’s fun or not. But let me let me say this. So people who are familiar with my work probably get that I like sports. I enjoy cycling and know a lot about baseball and basketball and play both things, but I guess probably maybe don’t realize that I’m also into music. So, a fun fact about me is that as a kid, I played piano, cello and string bass—

Cait Gordon: That’s awesome!

Su J. Sokol: And I was in many choirs and in fact, I was in a children’s choir that performed at Carnegie Hall. I have no idea Canadian Canadians know what Carnegie Hall is?

Cait Gordon: Yes, we do!

Su J. Sokol: I made it to Carnegie Hall—practice, practice, practice! Okay. Anyway. So yeah, maybe that’s a fun fact. Because it’s less, maybe it’s less obvious from my persona and my writing that that is a big thing in my life, too, or has been for since I was little. Well, that’s fantastic.

Cait Gordon: You know what I play electric bass guitar so you can get your string bass. I’ll play electric bass and we’ll do some kind of Spinal Tap with, like, too much bass in it.

Su J. Sokol: Ooo, that sounds like fun.

Cait Gordon: That’s great!

Su J. Sokol: Let’s do that.

Cait Gordon: Um, I have to say goodbye to you, and I don’t want to, but I do. Thank you so much for coming on my little podcast. I really appreciate having you here.

Su J. Sokol: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. This was so much fun.

Cait Gordon: Folks. You can learn more about Su J. Sokol’s books and how to connect with Su by visiting xyr website That’s S-U-J-S-O-K-O-L dot com. Transcripts for In the ’Cosm are available at That’s C-A-I-T gordon dot com. Thanks for joining us. Take care and stay safe.

(Transcribed by Edited for clarity by Cait Gordon.)

ID: Greyscale headshot of Cait Gordon, closeup, wearing a black shirt

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who wants everyone to be wise and think of others as we battle COVID-19!

Cait is also the author of humorous space opera novels Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers, and she is the co-editor of the Prix Aurora Award nominated anthology Nothing Without Us. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. Her latest new adventure is hosting the In the ’Cosm podcast, which is really an excuse to gush over authors she admires.

One thought on “In the ’Cosm Podcast S1 Ep4: From A (as in seeking asylum) to Zee with Su J. Sokol

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.