Dissecting Dragons: Episode 147: Trading Capes - When Villains become Heroes

December 14, 2018

Episode 147: Trading Capes - When Villains become Heroes

 

Characters changing their allegiances is a staple of all types of fiction, especially those of the speculative stripe. A popular trope expressing this is when a character discovers that they are the villain and has some kind of moral epiphany, resulting in them changing sides in a conflict.  This week the dragons take a look at this very specific kind of redemption arc. Why is it such a satisfying trope? What insight does it give a reader or viewer into the character? And why is this type of protagonist much easier to engage with than a more typical 'chosen one' or 'hero'? On the slab this week; She-ra, The DC and Marvel universes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 146: The Hollywood Treatment - What the Movies Changed

December 7, 2018

Episode 146: The Hollywood Treatment - What the Movies Changed

No matter which side of the 'book was better/ movie was better' argument you fall down on, film adaptations of books are here to stay. In many ways this is a positive since it generates new interest in the original book and connects with a fresh group of potential fans who might not have discovered the book in any other way. There are other advantages too. And then there are the times when a film absolutely guts a good story because it changes too many aspects of the book. So what do some film adaptations work while others fail? Is it simply interfering with reader head canon or is there something more pernicious at work? This week the dragons examine the world of film adaptations using popular examples such as Twilight, The Lord of the Rings, Howl's Moving Castle and many more. 

 

Title Music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 145: Away with the Faeries - Girls versus Supernatural Queens

November 30, 2018

Episode 145: Away with the Faeries - Girls versus Supernatural Queens

The dragons have discussed faery abductions in folklore, song and fiction before, of course, but there is one theme that bears closer examination. Tam Lynn retellings are rife in speculative fiction often in cases where the authors haven't consciously drawn on the folk tale. The story of someone going either into the underworld or into Faerie traces its roots back through nine hundred years of folklore and back into Norse, Celtic and Greek myth. This week Jules and Madeleine look at why this is such an enduring story. On the slab this week - East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the Tale of Baldr the Beautiful, Orpheus and Eurydice, Tam Lynn and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragon: Episode 144: Private Eyes and Underworlds - Crime Meets Urban Fantasy

November 23, 2018

Episode 144: Private Eyes and Underworlds - Crime Meets Urban Fantasy

 

This week the dragons are delighted to welcome fellow author, Laura Laakso, to the show. Laura is the author of the recently released literary urban fantasy novel, Fallible Justice, which is the first in the Wilde Investigations series. Under discussion this week is the sub section of Urban Fantasy featuring a private investigator. What is it about these characters that captures reader imaginations? Is it characterisation, world building or plot that most draws the reader in? And why is mystery or crime mingled with urban fantasy such a potent mixture? Join Jules and Madeleine as they delve into the world of the PI, and hear all about Laura's awesome new series at the same time. Under the magnifying glass this week: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, October Daye by Seanan McGuire, Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch and, of course, Wilde Investigations by Laura Laakso.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 143: Making Sh!t Happen - Avoiding the Number One Writing Fail

November 16, 2018

Episode 143: Making Sh!t Happen - Avoiding the Number One Writing Fail

 

When is a book not a book? Does your book have enough plot? Or does it have too much plot? How much of your book's intricate back story do you need to share? This week the dragons unpack exactly how to avoid having a great concept for a book with amazing characters...where nothing happens. Join Jules and Madeleine for a fun episode aimed at their fellow writers and critical readers.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons Episode 142: Battlefield Earth - Intergalactic Invasions in Speculative Fiction

November 9, 2018

Episode 142: Battlefield Earth - Intergalactic Invasions in Speculative Fiction

Alien invasions - both those featuring a physical invasion via extraterrestrial travellers and the more insidious kind where society is taken over from within - loom large in sub genres of Science Fiction. How did these stories come to be in fashion in the first place? If Sci-fi reflects the time it was written in, what exactly do these stories tell us about the modern world? And what makes these stories so enduring? This week Jules and Madeleine delve into the subject in search of answers. On the slab this week - H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, Independence Day, Men in Black, The Host - Stephanie Meyer and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 141: Spirits of the Deep and Dark - A Dissecting Dragons Hallowe’en Special

November 2, 2018

Episode 141: Spirits of the Deep and Dark - A Dissecting Dragons Hallowe'en Special

 

The dragons once again break out the festive Samhain cheer, this time by looking at the phenomenon of Ghost Ships and the dead who met their end via water. The term 'ghost ship' can mean a few different things and there's something very creepy about both meanings. In addition, stories of the drowned dead feature especially vengeful spirits. Madeleine and Jules delve in to the subject, examining why 'sea ghosts' hit on many tropes of both Gothic literature and the classic ghost story. Why is it that the sea holds such sway over our imaginations? How have ghost ships managed to persist in modern media even when other ghost stories fell out of fashion. Tune into our Hallowe'en special to find out.

 

Title Music; Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 140: Parody, Farce and Exaggeration - Satire in Speculative Fiction

October 26, 2018

Episode 140: Parody, Farce and Exaggeration - Satire in Speculative Fiction

 

Comedy and humour have the power to change minds and allegiences where reason and facts sometimes fail. From slapstick to the heights of wit, everyone is able to engage with some form of humour. But what about when humour is shaped to deliberately highlight those things it mocks as being worthy of ridcule? What about when it's designed to puncture overinflated power bases and egos, or undesirable character traits? This week Madeleine and Jules look at satire and how it's used in speculative fiction, both as comedic device and as social commentary. On the slab this week - Terry Pratchett's Discworld Series, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and manu more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 139: That is Illogical - Murderous, Wacky and Wise-cracking AI in Speculative Fiction

October 19, 2018

Episode 139: That is Illogical - Murderous, Wacky and Wise-cracking AI in Speculative Fiction

 

One of the staples of sci-fi - especially space opera - is the long suffering android or robot character. Later sci-fi presents these characters as less than the loyal created retainers they appeared to be in early sci-fi and more resentful, scheming or wise-cracking sidekicks. This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at the changing face of AI in speculative fiction. Making the list this week - Westworld, The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and many more. 

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 138: Streetwalkers, Courtesans and Companions - The World’s Oldest Profession in Speculative Fiction

October 12, 2018

Episode 138: Streetwalkers, Courtesans and Companions - The World's Oldest Profession in Speculative Fiction

 

Many sci-fi and fantasy worlds have incorporated their version of the sex industry into their world building. From the highly sought and exquisite companion to the lowly street walker trying to scape enough credits together to get off world, prostitution is rife in SFF. So is this a good thing, reclaiming sex and sex positivity? Is it exploitative, perpetuating bad steriotypes and encoraging a mindset of permissiveness toward the ill treatment of sex workers? Or is it merely a snapshot of life and human nature, falling into neither the positive or negative? This week the dragons delve into the sometimes seedy world of the SFF sex industry. On the slab this week - Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Firefly, The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora pierce and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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