Dissecting Dragons
Episode 241 - Vampires, Incubae and Goblin Kings - The Daemon Lover in Myth and Speculative Fiction

Episode 241 - Vampires, Incubae and Goblin Kings - The Daemon Lover in Myth and Speculative Fiction

September 25, 2020

The dark and supernatural seducer of myth and folklore tells us a lot about a culture's tendencies and viewpoint when it comes to sex, marriage and forming a society. It also explains at least partially how that group of people view and treat women. Almost every culture in every time period has or has had a 'daemon lover' myth but the moral behind these stories varies greatly. Today, it can be found reflected in the huge body of paranormal romance. In the 1920s, if found its reflection first in films such as the 1922 'Nosferatu' and then followed the progress of the film industry - the daemon lover becoming more suave, sophisticated and appealing with each incarnation. Before the daemon lover ever touched the silver screen, he (and it almost always is a 'he') starred in literature and, in particular, in the gothic novel. This week Jules and Madeleine dig into the archetype - why is the presence of such a character so prevalent? Why has his image gone through so many permutations? And what exactly does his presence in speculative fiction say about our mindset today? 

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 240: Paging Dr Love - What the Romance Genre can Teach Us about Writing

Episode 240: Paging Dr Love - What the Romance Genre can Teach Us about Writing

September 18, 2020

Ordinarily, the dragons would not be delving into the romance genre except as a nod to sub plots in SFF. While romance does share speculative elements - and there are whole sub genres dedicated to romantic fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi romance etc - it's not normally Jules and Madeleine's cup of tea. However, the dragons also maintain that you can learn important writing lessons from pretty much any genre and romance has more to teach us than most. If you're looking to improve target audience engagement, timing, structure, character engagement or a wealth of other techniques, this episode is for you. On the slab this week - Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones' Diary, Pride and Prejudice, Molly Harper's Half Moon Hollow series and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 239: Unpopular Opinion Time (part 2) - The Dragon’s Hot Takes on Speculative Issues

Episode 239: Unpopular Opinion Time (part 2) - The Dragon’s Hot Takes on Speculative Issues

September 11, 2020

The bookish, film and TV, and fan based communities are thriving - full of passionate individuals who are not afraid to speak their minds. The dragons appreciate this as they tend to do the same. On the other hand, no fandom of bookish community agrees on everything in totality. There needs to be room for many different opinions and, more importantly, mature disagreement. So this week, Jules and Madeleine bring you part one of a two part special, looking at SFF and speculative issues where the dragons don't agree with the masses - or occasionally, with each other. Changing Lara Croft did the opposite of what the designers intended? Tick box diversity is bad for representation? There are no passe tropes? Join us for lively discussions on these and more.

Episode 238: Unpopular Opinion Time (part 1) - The Dragons’ Hot Takes on Speculative Issues

Episode 238: Unpopular Opinion Time (part 1) - The Dragons’ Hot Takes on Speculative Issues

September 4, 2020

The bookish, film and TV, and fan based communities are thriving - full of passionate individuals who are not afraid to speak their minds. The dragons appreciate this as they tend to do the same. On the other hand, no fandom of bookish community agrees on everything in totality. There needs to be room for many different opinions and, more importantly, mature disagreement. So this week, Jules and Madeleine bring you part one of a two part special, looking at SFF and speculative issues where the dragons don't agree with the masses - or occasionally, with each other. Nuance is important in storytelling? Is hate-reading useful? Not every character needs a 'fated mate'? Join us for lively discussions on these and more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 237: Sowing Prejudice - Accuracy and Research in Writing

Episode 237: Sowing Prejudice - Accuracy and Research in Writing

August 28, 2020

We all love those amusing memes which say things like 'I'm a writer - I tell lies for a living' but as fun as those oversimplifications are, writers also have a duty to do due diligence and report accurately. This is especially true when the writer is portraying events or experiences different from their own where misinformation is already rife and their misreporting may do harm. If you're thinking 'but the dragons both write speculative fiction, what do you mean about accuracy?' - don't worry; this week Jules and Madeleine look at the problems around careless representation of sensitive issues, research and why it's actually fun, and how accuracy should play a part in whatever you right, regardless of genre.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic 

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 236: News from the Word Mines - What No-one tells Newbies about Writing and Publishing

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 236: News from the Word Mines - What No-one tells Newbies about Writing and Publishing

August 21, 2020

This week the dragons take a look at the often deceptive world of publishing, together with what kind of marketing an author will be expected to do and how to go about it. Gathered in this podcast are the main bits of advice Jules and Madeleine wish they'd had at their fingertips when they started this writing malarkey. What does 'bestseller' really mean and how do you become one? How can you make your book attractive to potential buyers? How do you build a platform and where do you find your audience? All this and more in this week's episode.  

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 235: The Alchemy of Forever - Immortality in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 235: The Alchemy of Forever - Immortality in Speculative Fiction

August 14, 2020

The concept of eternal life is not a new trope in Speculative Fiction. Everything from the earliest oral tradition to the myths of the classical world to today's modern SFF engages with the idea. But what drives stories of this type and what causes us to flip the script and look at the disadvantages? This week, the dragons look at these questions and many others as they examine how the tropes of immortality and eternal life are treated in speculative fiction. Under the microscope this week - vampires, The Old Guard, Full Metal Alchemist and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 234: The Power Behind the Throne - the Hidden Voices of Political Change in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 234: The Power Behind the Throne - the Hidden Voices of Political Change in Speculative Fiction

August 7, 2020

The dragons are delighted to welcome special guest, Somaiya Daud to this week's episode. Somaiya is the author of the 2018 hit YA sci-fi Mirage and the recently released follow up, Court of Lions. Her books look closely at those who effect change via political means but are often left out of the political narrative, which makes her the perfect guest for this week's topic. Politics and revolution are bread and butter tropes for SFF, both adult and YA, but often marginalised voices are left out, despite usually being part of the main driving force for change. This week Jules and Madeleine look at why this is and what is so alluring about a political thread in fantasy and science fiction. 

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 233: Hidden Cities & Forgotten Kingdoms - Lost Worlds in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 233: Hidden Cities & Forgotten Kingdoms - Lost Worlds in Speculative Fiction

July 31, 2020

A popular component of an adventure story is the discovery of a hidden or lost civilisation. Atlantis, Muir, Lyonesse and many other mythological cities and countries are rich fodder for writers of speculative fiction. This week the dragons delve into the possible explanations behind the myths and look at interesting gaps in historical record which might have given rise to stories of lost cities and continents, before taking a stroll through SFF which has used this source as inspiration. On the slab this week - Atlantis, Dinotopia and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Episode 232: Murder Most Foul - Killing with Purpose in Speculative Fiction

Episode 232: Murder Most Foul - Killing with Purpose in Speculative Fiction

July 24, 2020
Murder (in fiction) is not just a staple of crime and thriller novels. Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror all often make use of a judicious killing too. So why exactly is murder a useful tool for driving a plot or adding complications? What are the dos and don'ts of adding murder to a story? This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at how this most serious of crimes is used most effectively in speculative fiction.  
 
Title Music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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