Dissecting Dragons
Dissecting Dragons: Episode 210: Toss a Coin to Your Fantasy Author - When Epic Fantasy Hits the Screen

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 210: Toss a Coin to Your Fantasy Author - When Epic Fantasy Hits the Screen

February 21, 2020

Episode 210: Toss a Coin to Your Fantasy Author - When Epic Fantasy Hits the Screen

 

Thanks to the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, television has broken bounds into what was previously considered more niche markets. There's more variation on the default narrative; more diverse representation (although still not enough yet); and more and better quality genre shows. So in this 'golden age' of television, what happens when it's proven that there is an audience for long running fantasy and science fiction? Not just outlier shows, but a hungry audience that will try everything within that genre. At present, huge numbers of fantasy stories are being optioned for possible future production. This week, Jules and Madeleine take a look at heavy hitter Game of Thrones and compare it to immensely popular newcomer, The Witcher. What did the shows get right? Where could future epic fantasy improve? And what would we like to see made next?

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 209: Bring On the Heartbreak - When Romantic Subplots go Wrong in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 209: Bring On the Heartbreak - When Romantic Subplots go Wrong in Speculative Fiction

February 14, 2020

Episode 209: Bring On the Heartbreak - When Romantic Subplots go Wrong in Speculative Fiction

 

It's the feast day of Lupercalia (or St Valentine's Day if you prefer), and the dragons thought the time was ripe to talk about heartbreak, break ups and couples who just can't get together in speculative fiction. You are welcome! On a more edifying note, break ups and the scuppering of a romantic subplot in fantasy and scifi can be a great way to through up obstacles in a main plot or even nudge it in a new direction. This week the dragons take a look at what works and what doesn't when you're writing heartbreak. Under the microscope this week A Court of Thorns and Roses by S J Maas, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pearce and many more. Delay your romantic dinner plans and join us for an epic discussion of break up tropes and challenges.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 208: Welcome to the Multiverse - Alternate Realities, Evil Twins and Unmade Choices in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 208: Welcome to the Multiverse - Alternate Realities, Evil Twins and Unmade Choices in Speculative Fiction

February 7, 2020

Episode 208: Welcome to the Multiverse - Alternate Realities, Evil Twins and Unmade Choices in Speculative Fiction

 

Please note: Due to a technical hiccough, if you downloaded this episode before 10.00am GMT, 7th February 2020, then you will not have the correct file. Please re-download for the full Dissecting Dragons experience and in the meantime we tender our apologies. Our tech monkey will do penance laps of a vat of lukewarm custard.

 

Physics, Fringe Science and thought experiments have always provided rich fodder for Science Fiction writers and one of the most beloved tropes of the genre is an encounter with the multiverse. Any superhero mythology that goes on long enough is almost certain to have a few multiverse episodes. But what is the multiverse? How does it differ in terms of both physics and religion? And what are the benefits to using it in speculative fiction? Join the dragons as they delve into the trope. On the slab this week; Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs the Junior Superpatriots, the MCU, Star Trek and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 207: Nervous Timid Goth Boys vs Manic Pixie Dream Girls - How a Single Trope can Shift Narrative Preference

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 207: Nervous Timid Goth Boys vs Manic Pixie Dream Girls - How a Single Trope can Shift Narrative Preference

January 31, 2020

Episode 207: Nervous Timid Goth Boys vs Manic Pixie Dream Girls - How a Single Trope can Shift Narrative Preference

Different tropes are designed to appeal to different readers and viewers, and, as the dragons have said on many occasions, there is nothing inherently wrong with tropes. Why not give your audience more of what it wants? However there are tropes that are packaged in such a way as to close the narrative of a story to perspectives other than the default, and do so under the guise of providing a strong female lead or co-lead. These tropes can be damaging and need some re-engineering. This week, Jules and Madeleine take a look at one of the most infamous character tropes - the Manic Pixie Dream Girl - and it's possible antithesis - the Nervous Timid Goth Boy. On the slab this episode - Scott Pilgrim, Weird Science, The Belgariad by David Eddings and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 206: Devilish Dogs and Last Unicorns - Traumatic Moments in Children’s Animated Feature Films

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 206: Devilish Dogs and Last Unicorns - Traumatic Moments in Children’s Animated Feature Films

January 24, 2020

Episode 206: Devilish Dogs and Last Unicorns - Traumatic Moments in Children's Animated Feature Films

 

You know that film? That one film you saw as a child? Or maybe it was more than one. Maybe it was half a dozen of so, but however many it was, those films contained scenes that scarred your story receptors. Perhaps it was the first time you were introduced to death or grieving through what you (and probably you parents and teachers) thought was a perfectly child appropriate film. Or maybe it shook your childish understanding that the world was a place that was supposed to make sense. Either way, you saw this film young and while it fascinated you and held you enthralled, it also hit you on some deep level that was happily sleeping away, waiting for adulthood. And the kicker is that often those films and even those traumatic scenes became some of your favourites because part of growing up is learning to face negative emotions. This episode sees the dragons delve into some of their own traumatic children's film moments. On the projector this week - Watership Down, The Neverending Story and pretty much anything by Don Bluth.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 205: Guardians of Knowledge - Magical Libraries in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 205: Guardians of Knowledge - Magical Libraries in Speculative Fiction

January 17, 2020

Episode 205: Guardians of Knowledge - Magical Libraries in Speculative Fiction

 

Libraries have come a long way since the days when they were almost entirely concerned with subscription users borrowing books, although that is still often the perception. In real life, libraries are places of nostalgia, even wonder. In speculative fiction the 'jack of all trades' approach of modern libraries is usually taken to new extremes. This week the dragons delve into the subject of libraries in speculative fiction - what do they represent? How are they iterated by different authors? What is the parallel between libraries and magical systems? Join Jules and Madeleine as they explore the darker, more whimsical side of knowledge keeping. On the shelf this week - Lirael by Garth Nix, The Flight of Dragons, Avatar the Last Airbender and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 204: Good Hearted Rogues to Xenomorphs - the Dragons’ Formative Films

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 204: Good Hearted Rogues to Xenomorphs - the Dragons’ Formative Films

January 10, 2020

Episode 204: Good Hearted Rogues to Xenomorphs - the Dragons' Formative Films

 

Inspiration can come from he strangest and most distant of places. Sometimes you can be writing a book and it's only looking back much later, perhaps even after the book is published, that you see things that influenced you as a writer. Many of these sources of inspiration and theme are encountered during our early years - childhood and teens. To test this theory, this week the dragons put forward a list of their formative films; not necessarily favourite movies, but films which have influenced their storytelling and writing nevertheless. On the slab this week  Hook, Alien, Robin Hood, Labyrinth and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 203: For the Dead Travel Fast - Monster Hunters in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 203: For the Dead Travel Fast - Monster Hunters in Speculative Fiction

January 3, 2020

Episode 203: For the Dead Travel Fast - Monster Hunters in Speculative Fiction

 

From bookish academic to musclebound action hero, the monster hunter has become one of SFF's most beloved tropes. The dragons have a particular soft spot for monster hunters in fiction and this week they take a look at the origins of those who hunt the hunter, following the trail through later, more athletic incarnations and finally to their favourite iteration; the unlikely monster hunter. On the slab this week - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Incryptids by Seanan McGuire, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 202: 2019 - Marvels and Oddities

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 202: 2019 - Marvels and Oddities

December 27, 2019

Episode 202: 2019 - Marvels and Oddities

 

Most of us will agree that 2019 has been a mixed bag. The dragons prefer to look on the bright side despite the political fiasco currently imploding around the UK. This time, as they look at the year in review, Jules and Madeleine are reframing their perspective on events. Looking at the best and most challenging aspects of the year in their traditional yearly recap, the dragons examine what's been happening in writing and speculative fiction for the last year. On the slab this year the MCU, authors behaving badly, completed trilogies and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 201: It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Our Favourite Festive Scenes

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 201: It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Our Favourite Festive Scenes

December 20, 2019

Episode 201: It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Our Favourite Festive Scenes

 

This year, the dragons have decided to take a break from origins and traditions, focusing instead on the anatomy of a scene. Taking specific scenes from both festive and non-festive films, Jules and Madeleine break down how directors, writers and actors evoke a true winter holiday spirit. This is a light hearted episode which nevertheless has plenty of writing tips tucked inside. In the stocking this year - The Muppets Christmas Carol (obviously), The Holiday, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, While You Were Sleeping and many more. Join us for an episode full of festive cheer.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic