Dissecting Dragons
Dissecting Dragons: Episode 215: The Book was Better than the Film, or When it Wasn’t - Adaptations, Revamps and Sequels

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 215: The Book was Better than the Film, or When it Wasn’t - Adaptations, Revamps and Sequels

March 27, 2020

Episode 215: The Book was Better than the Film, or When it Wasn't - Adaptations, Revamps and Sequels

 

What's better than a beloved book or film? The same book presented as a film or a series of sequels to a childhood favourite movie? Or maybe even a revamp or reboot of a classic? More of what you already love can only be a good thing, right? Well not always. In some cases not even most of the time. This week* the dragons are looking at books and films and TV series where an adaptation was better than the original; where the adaptation really wasn't better; and when the sequels or reboots surprise you by being better than the source material. Jules and Madeleine look at why a film is sometimes better than the book, and why some books just don't adapt well. On the slab this week - Beautiful Creatures, Star Trek in all its incarnations, The Witcher, Dr Sleep and many more.

(* Jules and Madeleine are well aware of the current pandemic and while they've decided to continue the podcast as entertainment and escapism, they do discuss it at the beginning of the podcast. If you would like to skip this, tune in at the 22min mark - it's a long episode!)

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 214: Something Sweet & Deadly - Easter Eggs and the Problems with Fan Service

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 214: Something Sweet & Deadly - Easter Eggs and the Problems with Fan Service

March 20, 2020

Episode 214: Something Sweet & Deadly - Easter Eggs and the Problems with Fan Service

 

The dragons are sorry to report that this episode does not contain chocolate of any kind. However they do tackle the other kind of 'Easter egg' - the ones that authors and film makers scatter through their work for fans; little rewards and extras for readers and viewers being fans. Jules and Madeleine are all for Easter eggs (both kinds!) but feel that giving readers what they want is a delicate balancing act. Sure, little rewards are fun and it's a foolish writer who pays zero attention to what their fans want. But can fan service actually be damaging to a book, a film, a franchise? If you try and please everyone, do you end up pleasing no one? (Including the vocal minority of fans demanding changes!) And when should you listen to criticism from your fans?  Under the microscope this week: The Rise of Skywalker, Star Trek Discovery, Deep Space Nine and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 213: That’s Just Not Literature - the Myths of Fantasy Writing

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 213: That’s Just Not Literature - the Myths of Fantasy Writing

March 13, 2020

Episode 213: That's Just Not Literature - the Myths of Fantasy Writing

 

The Dragons have looked at rivalries and snobberies between different genres in previous episodes - it's endemic and baked in to the creation of literature. But they've never fully tackled the 'mythology' that has specifically risen around writing fantasy. This week Jules and Madeleine delve into how these strange and often nonsensical pieces of 'wisdom' came about, and why they stalk the genre to the extent that some fantasy writers deny they write fantasy even now. Does fantasy engage with important themes? Does it have value beyond mere entertainment? Can it cause the reader to lose their ability to tell between reality and fantasy? The dragons tackle all this and more. On the slab this week - Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 212: I’m the Bad Guy (or am I?) - Morally Grey Characters in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 212: I’m the Bad Guy (or am I?) - Morally Grey Characters in Speculative Fiction

March 5, 2020

Episode 212: I'm the Bad Guy (or am I?) - Morally Grey Characters in Speculative Fiction

 

Somewhere between anti-heroes and antagonists, and heroes and protagonists, lies the morally ambiguous character. These guys are neither good nor bad, and they are motivated primarily by their own interests even if they ally with the MC. This week Jules and Madeleine delve into what exactly makes a 'morally grey' character. How are they used to drive a narrative? What makes their character arcs so satisfying? And why is it such a delicate balance? Under the microscope this week - The Witcher, Norse Mythology, Robin Hood and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 211: Write What You Know & Other Pearls of Wisdom - the Worst Publishing and Writing Advice

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 211: Write What You Know & Other Pearls of Wisdom - the Worst Publishing and Writing Advice

February 28, 2020

Episode 211: Write What You Know & Other Pearls of Wisdom - the Worst Publishing and Writing Advice

 

As if writing a book wasn't hard enough, writers are regularly peppered with advice - some well intentioned, some just ridiculous - about how to write, market and publish. Not all advice is tried and tested, nor will every piece of advice work for every writer. This week Jules and Madeleine look at some of their personal bugbears as well as a few classic old chestnuts, offering a perspective on just how much attention you should pay to writing wisdom.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic.

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