Dissecting Dragons: Episode 131: Hobbit Holes, Burrows and Secret Lairs - the Concept of Home in Speculative Fiction

August 17, 2018

Episode 131: Hobbit Holes, Burrows and Secret Lairs - the Concept of Home in Speculative Fiction

 

Whether it's a tent in a corner of a field or a sprawling marble palace overlooking a lush valley, a home is a basic requirement for all creatures and therefore for all characters too. This week the dragons delve into what exactly home is both as a concept and as prevalent theme in fiction. Conversely what does homelessness mean both to individuals and huge groups of people? How does it affect how we are treated and how we think of ourselves? Join Jules and Madeleine to find out. Under the microscope this week - Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke, Louise Lawrence's Llandor trilogy and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 130: Masked Marauders - Double Lives and Secret Identities in Speculative Fiction

August 10, 2018

Episode 130: Masked Marauders - Double Lives and Secret Identities in Speculative Fiction

 

This week the dragons look at the enduring trope of the secret identity. Beloved by fans and writers of superhero stories, paranormal fiction and spy thrillers, the secret identity is almost a given for any mystery-adventure story. But what is it that makes the trpe so appealing? Jules and Madeleine examine how conflict is neatly created for the character forced or required to live a double life and lie to those they care about in order to protect them. On the slab this week Superman - and a plethora of other super heroes from both DC and Marvel universes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cult classic 80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms and many more. Join the dragons as they unmask the appeal of the double life in speculative fiction.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 129: Marrying in Haste - Young Love in YA Speculative Fiction

August 3, 2018

Episode 129: Marrying in Haste - Young Love in YA Speculative Fiction

 

One of the most common tropes in YA fiction, is that of a first real romance. Even non-contemporary YA fiction or SFF YA fiction tends to have a romantic sub-plot. But what exactly are those plot strands saying about who you should be as a young adult? What myths are they continuing? And is it at the expense of providing better understanding? This week the dragons delve straight into that most ubiquitous of YA tropes, comparing the fiction with the reality. (Fair warning, this is probably Jules and Madeleine's rantiest episode yet and they do overshoot the normal episode length by about half an hour...)

On the slab this week Twilight - Stephanie Meyer, A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas, The Continent - Keira Drake and many more.

 

Title music - Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

 

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 128: Neat Little Monsters - The Animal Companion in Speculative Fiction

July 27, 2018

Episode 128: Neat Little Monsters - The Animal Companion in Speculative Fiction

 

It's peculiarity especially of speculative fiction, that there are often supporting characters who are animals in varying degrees of anthropomorphism in narrative terms. Everything from Disney to epic fntasy to space opera makes use of these (often not speaking) characters. So why is that? What are the advantages of the animal companion and how do they help to support the min character's arc? Where does this need for interspecieces connection come from? This week the dragons delve in to this phenomenon. On the slab Disney animated feature films, Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, C.S. Lewis' Chronices of Narnia and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstacy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 127: Crime & Culpability - Should Characters get what they Really Deserve

July 20, 2018

Episode 127: Crime & Culpability - Should Characters get what they Really Deserve

Themes of crime, punishment, redemption and atonement are rife in speculative fiction, as is revenge. But are there some actions a character might perform that are actually unforgiveable? If characters don't get their comeuppence does that make the story less satisfying for the reader? An just where is the line between character wrong doing and being responsible as a writer for what you send out into the world? This week the dragons explore all of these issues and more. On the slab this week; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge - Lisa Jensen, The Harmatia Cycle, Unveiled and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 126: The Slow Death of Literature - What Readers Really Want

July 13, 2018

Episode 126: The Slow Death of Literature - What Readers Really Want

 

As avid readers and bibliophiles, Madeleine and Jules will pretty much tackle anything, no questions asked. As writers however, and especially as SFF writers, they all too often run aground against the literary merit debate. Said debate is that true literature which is worth reading should be hard, it should require effort to read and digest. Ultimately, literary fiction is more worthwhile than genre fiction. This week the dragons delve into the origins of this argument - where did literary fiction originate as a term? What is the genre divide? Who decides which is which? - as well as taking a look at the roots of the history of the novel and side trip through the disreputable origins of SFF, before confronting their own prejudices and snobberies over types of fiction. On the slab this week - The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell, The Book of Strange New Things - Michell Faber, The Night Circus - Erin Morgernstern, When the Moon was Ours - Anna-Marie McLemore and Sing Unburied Sing - Jesmyn Ward.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

 

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 125: From a Certain Point of View - Multiple POVs, Dual Timelines and Reader Sympathies in Speculative Fiction.

July 6, 2018

Episode 125: From a Certain Point of View - Multiple POVs, Dual Timelines and Reader Sympathies in Speculative Fiction

 

This week the dragons tackle the advantages of having more than one character viewpoint in a piece of speculative fiction, and how that can easily spiderweb outwards until the world you have created grows by itself. Looking at storytelling techniques to manipulate and guide reader sympathies, shifting the preference from one character to their antagonist, Jules and Madeleine look at some of their favourite examples. In addition, they also examine multiple timescales within a story and how, with skill, that also facilitates a richer story telling experience. On the slab this week Legion, Westworld, A Song of Ice and Fire, and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 124: Visitations and Forebodings - How Nightmares are used in Speculative Fiction

June 29, 2018

Episode 124: Visitations and Forebodings - How Nightmares are used in Speculative Fiction

 

Almost all of us have experienced the unpleasantness of bad dreams or nightmares at some point in our lives. While those experiences are uncomfortable at the time, nightmares do have their purpose, helping us to process stressful or conflicting input. As a literary device, however, nightmares are a great way of advancing the plot, creating tension, foreshadowing and playing mental games with the reader. This week the dragons look at how authors use nightmares in fiction and how they have used bad dreams in their own fiction. On the slab this week - the Unveiled Series, various works by Stephen King, Teen Wolf and many more. Join us for a shiversome episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 123: From the Deep - Mystery, Suspense and Sea Monsters in Historical Fantasy

June 22, 2018

Episode 123: From the Deep - Mystery, Suspense and Sea Monsters in Historical Fantasy

 

This week the dragons are delighted to welcome fellow fantasy writer, L.S. Johnson, who is the author of several books including the queer gothic romances, 'Harkworth Hall' and 'Leviathan'. Both the dragons and their guest take a look at what makes a mystery work from characterisation to suspense and tension. How do writers add aditional facets such as fantasy to mystery stories successfully? How do they know when to raise the stakes? Find out by joining us for this week's discussion. Under the microscope this time - Blackthorn and Grim by Juliet Marillier, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 122: Baby Doom - The Stork Visits in Speculative Fiction

June 15, 2018

Episode 122: Baby Doom - The Stork Visits in Speculative Fiction

 

A common plot device for female MCs, especially in fantasy, is for her to find herself pregant or, when a story arc is closed, make a happily ever after fixed and immutable by insisted the couple in question have children. The dragons have no issue with this per se but the problem is that many authors seem to through this in as shorthand or as a way of reviving a plot when they've got lost, and the characterisation often, if not always. suffers. This week Jules and Madeleine look at the strange case of the disappearing parent. On the slab this week - Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and many more.

00:0000:00