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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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 

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

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

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 137: This Year’s God - The Human Need for Archetypes

October 5, 2018

 Episode 137: This Year's God - The Human Need for Archetypes

 

Carl Jung identified twelve basic archetypes that humans both engage with and ressonate with on a personal level because they find parts of hemselves reflected there. In reality, we have been engaging with archetypes long before Jung ever put a name to the phenomenon and this is reflected in our cultures, in our heroic myths and legends, in our histories and leaderships and ruling classes, in our art and literature, in our religions, and, most especially today, in our celebrity culture. What is it about archetypes and the personification of archetypes in figures of power and influence that draws us to them? How does this feed into writing? Or into the 'heroes' we choose to worship today? This week, the dragons delve down the rabbit hole of the human unconscious and attempt to find out.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 136: Remus Werewolf McWerewolf Lupin - The Importance of Character Names in Speculative Fiction

September 28, 2018

Episode 136: Remus Werewolf McWerewolf Lupin - The Importance of Character Names in Speculative Fiction

 

Many authors can and do have a lot of fun with their characters' names when writing. But is there any purpose behind this other than amusement for the author? SFF writers Jules and Madeleine consider the question, delving into works by authors who have used character names (and other references) to obscurely or obviously signal secondary and tertiary layers of theme in their books. From the outlandish and clearly apparent characters of Roald Dahl to the tongue in cheek but clearly accessible references of J.K.Rowling, to the careful minature work of Jane Austen and the subtler effect of phonic devices found in modern sci-fi and fantasy, the dragons look at 'what's in a name?' 

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Ep 135: Grimalkin, Mogget and Mr Kindly - Cats in Speculative Fiction

September 14, 2018

Ep 135: Grimalkin, Mogget and Mr Kindly - Cats in Speculative Fiction

 

There is possibly no animal so ubiquitous both in fiction and in real life as the domestic cat. (The term domestic is used with a large pinch of salt!) Popular pets, affectionate companions, independent hunters and cunning predators, the common moggy has traded little of its wildness in exchange for a comfortable home and regular meals - and it still carries an aura of mystery. This week the dragons look at the cat in myth and legend, in their personal experiences and in how the creature slinks into fiction. On the slab this week: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Abhorsen by Garth Nix and Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat by Ursula Williams, and many more. Join us for a purr-fect episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

 

 

00:0000:00

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 134: Love Ladies Lost! Revisiting Arthurian Legend

September 7, 2018

Episode 134: Love Ladies Lost! Revisiting Arthurian Legend

 

In the past, the dragons have looked at the magical system in Arthurian myth and legend. This week Maddeleine and Jules revisit the topic with the aim of extricating the female characters, who over the centuries have been depowered and buried under layers of reinterpretation of the stories. Drawing on the Celtic and pre-Celtic cycles, Irish, Welsh, Bretton and Scottish myth, the romances of the Middle Ages and the more recent retellings of the 18t and 19th centuries, the dragons give you the women who often formed the back bone of the story. These women are not lily-maids personifying purity and courtly ideals, nor are they witches and whores bent on mischief. In the end, the female characters are flawed but interesing humans who influence the narrative every bit as much as their male counterparts. Join us for a dissection of Arthurian myth.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

00:0000:00