April 14, 2017
Episode 62: Occult Detectives - Urban Fantasy and Mystery
This week the dragons go undercover to examine the urban fantasy genre and its special relationship with mystery and detectives. From Wizard PIs to rogue demon hunters, vampires adjusting to modern living to wise-cracking humans trying to outrun the supernatural, urban fantasy has it all. What makes urban fantasy so compelling? More popular even than its cousins epic and high fantasy. On the slab this week Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, Supernatural and many more. Stay tuned for sneak previews of J.A.Ironside's and M.E.Vaughan's future projects.
Specal shout out to Occult Detective Quarterly , a great ezine of urban fantasy featuring the kind of characters discussed in this episode.
Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic
April 7, 2017
Episode 61: Lords of Misrule - Tricksters, Con-artists and Grifters in
Another April Fool's day has come and gone, and the dragons are feeling pretty confident that no one got one over on them (that they know about) this year. Delving into the origins of 'the Feast of Fools' and looking at traditions here in the the West, SFF authors examine why the 'trickster' character is so beloved in all forms of speculative fiction. From Nordic to Welsh myth, from Poisson d'Avril to Running the Gowk, this episode is a celebration of silliness and laughter, and an examination of the question: do we make fools of ourselves by holding onto our own dearly cherished vanities and follies? Or does that just make it really easy for a trickster to fool us?
Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic
March 31, 2017
Episode 60: Comic Can't - Conventions. Talks and Launches
This week the dragons draw on their own experiences, including their recent appearance at Winchester Comicon, and talk about conventions and book launches. From convention ettiquette and author event disasters to running a successful launch and things to look out for if you do a school visit or book signing, SFF authors J.A.Ironside and M.E.Vaughan take a light hearted look at the peaks and plateaus of appearing in public as an author.
Title Music: Ecstasy-Smiling Cynic
March 24, 2017
Episode 59: Room 101 - the Concept of Dystopian Hell
This week the dragons tackle the many kinds of dystopian fiction from the zombie apocalypse to false utopias. What is it that appeals - or repells - in dystopian fiction? Why do we want to end the world and create new societies - many of which are distinctly not an improvement on our own - in fiction? Drawing on classics such as Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World and running the gammit through Logan's Run, Battle Royale, The Chrysalids, Divergent and the hunger games, intrepid SFF authors J.A.Ironside and M.E.Vaughan attempt to grapple with these questions as well as examine what would be in their own Room 101.
Title music: 'Ecstacy' by Smiling Cynic
March 17, 2017
Episode 58: One Ring to Rule them All - Magical Artefacts that made the Hero
From the sword Excaliber to the One Ring which comes to Frodo Baggins, magical artefacts are often pitched into a story to throw the Hero of their current course and set them on there journey. This week the dragons will be looking at how this is done, when it works and when it doesn't. From Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to Terry Goodkinds Sword of Truth, SFF authors M.E.Vaughan and J.A.Ironside will be examining the use of magical devices in the hero's journey.
Title Music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic.
March 10, 2017
Episode 57: Defying Gravity - the Incredible Unlikeliness of Musical Theatre
The dragons have touched on musicals in passing in previous episodes but musical theatre tackles story in such a unique way that they thought the subject deserved a dedicated episode. (Plus they are both really big musical fans so bending the spec fic rule made total sense.) This week SFF authors J.A.Ironside and M.E.Vaughan will be looking at just how narrative structure differs between musicals and other kinds of narrative, what makes a musical work - or not, and where does our enduring love of adding music to some pretty gritty themes come from? On the slab this week the musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as Wicked, The Book of Mormon and a breif whistle stop tour through opera.
Title Music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic
March 3, 2017
Episode 56: Symbiosis - Why we need Writing Buddies
As writers, one of the most important relationships you'll form is with your writing buddy. But just how do you go about getting one? And what exactly is a writing buddy? SSF authors J.A.Ironside and M.E.Vaughan discuss what makes an ideal reader, how a writing buddy differs and what the different functions of alpha readers, beta readers, editors etc are. Drawing on their own experience, the dragons pack this episode with tips for finding your own set of writing buddies and becoming an effective writing buddy yourself.
Title music - Ecstacy by Smiling Cynic
February 24, 2017
Episode 55: Break 'em to Make 'em - the Herose who Rise from the Ashes
This week the dragons examine the darkest part of the heroes journey - the point where suffering has reached a fever pitch and it appears as if nothing will ever go right again. The point where the character has been tortured by the writer to the point where you know as a reader that they will never be quite the same person you started rooting for when you began the book. Does adversity build character? Do you only truly meet and know a character when they are in extremis? Join us to find out. On the slab this week - Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter and of course, M.E.Vaughan herself as Jules quizzes her about her shocking treatment of her charcaters in book two of The Harmatia Cycle. (Sneak peeks at 'Blood of the Delphi included!)
February 17, 2017
Episode 54: Frost Giants to Snow Queens - the Frozen Heart of Speculative Fiction
Extremes of cold, ice and snow all form the backdrop to many myths, legends and fairy tales. So much so that even in modern speculative fiction the archetype seems to have crept in. So what is it about ice and cold? What do they often unconsiciously represent in a narrative or in a character? This week SFF authors M.E.Vaughan and J.A.Ironside venture into the frozen north of the imagination to find out. Preserved in the permafrost awaiting dissection - classic fairy tales like Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Snow White, as well as depictions in myth ad legend such as the norse 'Fimblewinter', and modern interpretations in 'The Thing' and Fortitude'. Join us for a chilly trip into the human subconcious.
Title Music: 'Ecstasy' by Smiling Cynic
February 10, 2017
Episode 53: The Wizard of Oz to Wicked - Adaptations and Reimaginings in Speculative Fiction
The dragons are delighted to welcome Hamish Steele back to the show this week, to talk about adapting and readapting speculative fiction for different media and audiences. Hamish is a freelance animation director and illustrator, who is currently working on several projects - annoyingly hush-hush - as well as the co-host of new podcast 'Box not Included'. His graphic novel 'Pantheon' - about the humourous mythology of the Egyptian gods - is due for release soon. This week's episode focuses on what makes an adaptation or a reboot work? What's the difference? Why do some just not work? In the petri dish this week The Wizard of Oz (and many of it's adaptations), Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, Phantom of the Opera, War of the Worlds, Howl's Moving Castle and many more
Title Music - Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic