Dissecting Dragons
Episode 331: Every Act of Creation is an Act of Parody - Filk Music & Fandom in Speculative Fiction

Episode 331: Every Act of Creation is an Act of Parody - Filk Music & Fandom in Speculative Fiction

June 24, 2022

No, that is not a typo! If you're not familiar with the term 'filk' it refers to the multi-genre music produced by fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror. The dragons have said before that a mark of great art is that it inspires others, both amateur and professional, to create art of their own. This week, Jules and Madeleine take a look at the witty, acerbic, poignant and humorous fan music inspired by speculative fiction. Where does the boundary between filk and mainstream come in? Where did the term come from? And what is it about filk that draws us in? Find out in this fun, light hearted episode. 

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 330: Soaring Brooms & Leaping Sharks - Sport in Speculative Fiction

Episode 330: Soaring Brooms & Leaping Sharks - Sport in Speculative Fiction

June 17, 2022

The dragons have covered aspects of worldbuilding in previous episodes, but not much attention has ever been given to the aspect of sport in writing SFF. Not just by this podcast but in general, so this week Jules and Madeleine take a look at sport in speculative fiction. Sport is an important part of cultural history and national identity. It can form a major if indirect part of diplomacy between neighbouring countries or nations at odds. The added benefit in speculative fiction is that you are not bound by the mundane - you can have magical sports and spaceship races. So why don't more authors incorporate it? And who has done so and done it well? On the slab this week: The Hunger Games, The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Queen's Gambit, Fence (S.C, Pacat) and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 329: The Heart of the Carnival - Circuses Amusement Parks & Fair Grounds in Fiction

Episode 329: The Heart of the Carnival - Circuses Amusement Parks & Fair Grounds in Fiction

June 10, 2022

This week the dragons are delighted to welcome back special guest Hamish Steele to talk about his forthcoming Netflix series Dead End: Paranormal Park. Based on the DeadEndia graphic novels, the setting of the series makes Hamish the perfect person to join this week's discussion.

Carnivals, circuses and fair grounds are niche but popular settings for speculative fiction. As liminal spaces where the usual rules are suspended, they are ideal places to look at the world in a different way or challenge mundane boundaries. Their inherent whimsy, surreality and eeriness allow them to fit into multiple different genres - mystery, fantasy, horror, even science fiction. But where does this setting and the sense of suspension of rules originate? And what exactly is out fascination with them born of? Find out in this week's episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

Episode 328: Getting Your House in Order - 15 things writers shouldn’t do and 5 things they should

Episode 328: Getting Your House in Order - 15 things writers shouldn’t do and 5 things they should

June 3, 2022

As always, the dragons resist handing down prescriptive writing advice, however, when it comes to writing for publication and the process of publishing itself, there are definitely some dos and don'ts! This week Jules and Madeleine look at practical considerations when sending a book out into the world or when sitting down with a concept to write one. What is PLR? Are titles copyright protected? Should you be trying to write to market or chasing the latest big trend? All this and more in this week's episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 327: White as Snow, Red as Blood - Tracing the origins of Snow White

Episode 327: White as Snow, Red as Blood - Tracing the origins of Snow White

May 27, 2022

The second episode in the dragons 'fairy tales in focus' series looks at the origins of famous favourite, Snow White. The story appears in many European and Indonesian folktales, with the components - for example a jealous older woman, or a young, beautiful woman trapped in suspended animation - being far older. Following the subtle but powerful themes, Jules and Madeleine uncover a story that was never intended for children at all - at least not in its original incarnations. From Giambattista Basile's The Young Slave, to Joseph Jacobs Gold Tree and Silver Tree, the dragons trace a path through Snow White's possible historical origins and through the dark forests of the Brothers Grimm.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 326: The Buttery Goodness - What Makes a Story Grab it’s Audience (Part Two)

Episode 326: The Buttery Goodness - What Makes a Story Grab it’s Audience (Part Two)

May 20, 2022

Have you ever wondered what makes some books, films and TV series take off, while others (often arguably better produced/ written) just do ok? The dragons certainly have. And they might well have an answer. Or at least a large chunk of one. In the second part of this two part episode, Jules and Madeleine will be looking focusing themes and sub themes in bestselling fiction - and why they're just delicious for readers/ viewers when done well. On the slab this week: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight and many more. 

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 325: The Buttery Goodness - What Makes a Story Grab its Audience (Part One)

Episode 325: The Buttery Goodness - What Makes a Story Grab its Audience (Part One)

May 12, 2022

Have you ever wondered what makes some books, films and TV series take off, while others (often arguably better produced/ written) just do ok? The dragons certainly have. And they might well have an answer. Or at least a large chunk of one. In the first part of this two part episode, Jules and Madeleine will be looking what all best selling speculative fiction has in common, focusing this time on core wounds and character arcs - and why they're just delicious for readers/ viewers when done well. On the slab this week: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight and many more. 

Look out for Part two next week.

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 324: Dodging the Pulpit - Preachiness in Speculative Fiction and How to Avoid It

Episode 324: Dodging the Pulpit - Preachiness in Speculative Fiction and How to Avoid It

May 5, 2022

Most writers are driven to write when they strongly feel they have something to say or a story to tell. This is a good thing - readers can always tell when a writer is phoning it in. However, if you have strong opinions on various subjects and you're tackling them in your work, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that story is king and deliver your themes with more zeal than nuance. This week, the dragons look at books and films which have unfortunately strayed into preachiness as well as those who have handled their themes in a more balanced  manner, before delving into how to avoid preaching in your own work. On the slab this week: Imaginary Friend - Stephen Chbosky, The Stand - Stephen King, The Black Magician Trilogy - Trudi Canavan, Shadow and Bone and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 323: Judge Me Not By My Works - The Problem of Labelling Authors

Episode 323: Judge Me Not By My Works - The Problem of Labelling Authors

April 29, 2022

Giving something a label can be helpful. On a book, for example, it can tell you where to shelve it in a bookstore or which audience might most appreciate being shown it. However, labels are often limiting. Outside the convenience of genre in terms of shelving and marketing, labelling a book can have a number of knock on effects. This is especially the case when the label transfers from the book to the author. Compounding this issue, is the connected problem of authors being assumed to hold the same opinions as their antagonistic characters, or even being mistaken for their main characters. This week, the dragons take a look at why these opinions form and why they are almost always wrong. Are labels more helpful or harmful on balance? Can you ever really know an author by reading their books? Join Jules and Madeleine for an opinion piece episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 322: Girls Who Stray From the Path - Tracing the Journey of Little Red Riding Hood

Episode 322: Girls Who Stray From the Path - Tracing the Journey of Little Red Riding Hood

April 22, 2022

Jules and Madeleine are delighted to introduce a new 'series within a series' on Dissecting Dragons. Fairytales in focus will be a set of occasional podcast episodes that pop up during regularly scheduled programming, which take a single folk tale or fairy story and looks at the ways in which it has evolved and is still evolving.

 

This week, the dragons delve into the origins and iterations of Little Red Riding Hood. Just who is the bas guy in that fairy tale? (The answer might surprise you.) Where did the story originate and what are its enduring themes? How is the story shapeshifting to fit a modern audience? Find out in this week's deep dive. Under the scalpel this week: The Girl in Red - Christina Henry, Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin, Scarlet - Marissa Meyer and many more.

 

Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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