Disseecting Dragons: Episode 76: From Aslan to Ananda - Religious Allegory in Speculative Fiction

July 21, 2017

Episode 76: From Aslan to Ananda - Religious Allegory in Speculative Fiction

 

The Bible contains a rich seam of inspiration for SFF writers, particularly the Old Testement. But unlike other pantheons and bodies of myth and legend, it is perhaps drawn on least. Why is this? And how can it be used to enrich speculative fiction, which seeks to address the same age old questions that appear in biblical writings? This week the dragons delve into the bible and the religious allegory it inspires sff books and films. On the slab this week Pixar's The Prince of Egypt, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Angle, and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 75: Labyrinth - Looking at the Mystery of Mazes

July 14, 2017

Episode 75: Labyrinth - Looking at the Mystery of Mazes

 

Lots of films and books use mazes - or Labyrinths - as narrative tools both to test a characters fortitude and as a paralel for a character's internal narrative arc. But just where did the idea of mazes come from? The dragons were surprised to find that it dates back far further in history than they thought, turning up some astonishing myths and folktales. On the slab this week Labyrinth (the classic Jim Henson film), Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, Marvel series Legion, Pan's Labyrinth and the Maze Runner. Join us in this 'Fortress of Turns' as we attempt to get to the bottom of this unusual archetype.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragon: Episode 74: The Sorting Hat and Other Trials - Finding your Tribe in Speculative Fiction

July 7, 2017

Episode 74: The Sorting Hat and Other Trials - Finding your Tribe in Speculative Fiction

 

Recently, the book world celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Aside from making at least one of the dragons feel really old (1997 was 20 yrs ago for frick's sake!) it got them thinking about the strange turn bramches of speculative fiction took in the wake of the successful franchise. Namely that of a tribal mentality amongst fans which extended beyond the fndom and into everyday life. SFF authors J.A.Ironside and M.E.Vaughan examine this phenomena looking at examples of 'tribes', factions and found family from books such as Harry Potter, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows and Tamora Pierce's Circle series. Join us for a fascinating look at how speculative fiction plugs into the deep seated human need for a place to belong.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 73: Sand and Sky - Desert Archetypes in Speculative Fiction

June 30, 2017

Episode 73: Sand and Sky - Desert Archetypes in Speculative Fiction

 

The typical golden sanded, meltingly hot and arid desert landscape is used in many forms of Speculative Fiction. Partly as short hand for a hard unforgiving environment, partly as way of displaying internal character journey. This week the Dragons take a look at how 'desert' is used and misused when scene setting in SFF. On the slab - Star Wars, Dune by Frank Herbert, Oasis - an adaptation of Michel Fabers 'The Book of Strange New Things' and many more. Join us in this little oasis of discussion.

 

Title Music 'Ecstasy' - Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 72: Maenads, Black Magic & Demon Drink - Addictions in Speculative Fiction

June 23, 2017

Episode 72: Maenads, Black Magic & Demon Drink - Addictions in Speculative Fiction

 

Speculative Fiction has long been a device for exploring uncomfortable or contentious issues. This week the dragons take a look at how physical and psychological addictions are portrayed in speculative fiction. What causes addiction in the first place? How is this addressed in SFF terms? Why is there a persistant myth that better access to creativity for writers can be acheived through recreational drugs?Join us for an illuminating discussion. On the Slab this week Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Valiant by Holly Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, On Writing by Stephen King and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 71: The Lazarus Effect - Back from the Dead (Again!)

June 16, 2017

Episode 71: The Lazarus Effect - Back from the Dead (Again!)

 

This week, the dragons look at a trope mostly peculiar to speculative fiction - that of killing a character off, and then bringing them back to life later in the book, the series or the show. Delving deeper into what exactly the value of character death is in spec fic, SFF authors M.E.Vaughan and J.A.Ironside tackle the hiccoughs and advantages of then ressurecting that character. On the slab this week Skuldugger Pleasant, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spernatural, Dr Who and many more. Join us for an episode that takes a tour through the myth of the risen god all the way to modern sci-fi.

 

Title music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 70: They Shall take up Serpents - Religious Cults in Speculative Fiction

June 9, 2017

Episode 70: They Shall take up Serpents - Religious Cults in Speculative Fiction

 

This week the dragons are pleased to welcome back fellow author, Amelia McKenzie, as they delve into the shadowy and often disturbing world of cults. What exactly is a cult? How do they opperate? And just how is this reflected in speculative fiction? (Hint; it actually comes up in Spec Fic far more than you'd expect!) Fiction usually represents the time it is produced in, so what does current fiction - especially current YA fantasy and sci-fi - say about the cult of self and of today's society?  On the slab this week; Samarai Jack, The Black Witch by Laurie Forest, The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid and The Last Battle by C.S.Lewis. 

 

Title music: 'Ecstasy' - Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Ep 69: When you say Nothing at all - Sparkling Dialogue in Speculative Fiction

June 2, 2017

Episode 69: When you say Nothing at all - Sparkling Dialogue in Speculative Fiction

 

Dialogue forms a vital part of any narrative, breathing life into chracters, giving them distinctive voices and furthering the advance of the plot in books, stage and screen. So how do you go about writing it? What should you be looking for? What makes good dialogue and wht are the definite no-nos? This week the dragons delve into the art of conversation, examining examples from Joss Whedon, Good Will Hunting and more.

 

Title Music - 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 68: Cautionary Tunes - The Fantasy & History behind Folksongs & Nursery Rhymes

May 26, 2017

Episode 68: Cautionary Tunes - The Fantasy & History behind Folksongs & Nursery Rhymes

 

Folksongs and Nursery Rhymes were doing speculative fiction before it even had a name, but what lies behind the seemingly banal and nice lyrics? This week SFF authors M.E.Vaughan and J.A.Ironside take a look at where folksongs and rhymes really come from. Examining a wide selection of both from Baa Baa Black Sheep to Doctor Foster, from Cam Ye O'er frae France to Scarborough Fair, you might be surprised at the historical, explicit and often political messages hiding in apparently innocent songs.

 

Title music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic

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Dissecting Dragons: Episode 67: That Ship has Sailed - Happy Endings, Fan Service & the Appropriate Finale

May 19, 2017

Episode 67: That Ship has Sailed - Happy Endings, Fan Service & the Appropriate Finale

 

The clue is in the title - this episode will include spoilers!

 

In a previous episode, the dragons examined what made the endings of books and films disappointing. This week they'll be taking a look at Happy Endings and discussing where they are and are not appropriate. In other words, does the ending pay off? Or did there need to be more bitterness to balance out all that saccharine stuff? On the slab this week A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, The Last Unicorn by Peter S, Beagle, The Oaken Throne by Robin Jarvis, The High Lord by Trudi Canavan, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and many more.

 

Title music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic

 

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