Dissecting Dragons
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

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 200: The F-word Revisited - Faeries in Urban Fantasy

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 200: The F-word Revisited - Faeries in Urban Fantasy

December 13, 2019

Episode 200: The F-word Revisited - Faeries in Urban Fantasy

 

Yes. The Moment has come. In concession to the dragons 200th episode, Jules is allowing Madeleine to talk about faeries again. This time, instead of focusing on the folklore, the dragons are looking at how faeries are used in urban fantasy; how that vast body of lore adapts so easily to a modern fantasy setting. From Red Caps to Tuatha de Dannan, faeries are ubiquitous in urban fantasy and the dragons have theories as to why. Under the microscope this week - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Weirdstone of Brizengamon by Alan Garner, The Folk of the Air by Holly Black, and many more. Join us for an otherworldly celebration of our 200th episode.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 199: Troubled, Dead or MIA - Parent-child Relationships in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 199: Troubled, Dead or MIA - Parent-child Relationships in Speculative Fiction

December 6, 2019

Episode 199: Troubled, Dead or MIA - Parent-child Relationships in Speculative Fiction

 

There's no denying that parent characters suffer at the hands of authors, particularly if we're talking about MC's parents in SFF. Aside from the obvious reason (ie if a character is young enough for parental presence to impact on whether they fulfil their narrative destiny) there's really no reason for the casual removal of parents from a story. This week the dragons look at how and why parent characters are removed and why this can have a negative impact on the story. Weeding through the usual parent tropes, Jules and Madeleine discuss how the same stories can be told differently. On the slab this week; Game of Thrones, Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 198: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey - Time Travel in Speculative Fiction

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 198: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey - Time Travel in Speculative Fiction

November 29, 2019

Episode 198: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey - Time Travel in Speculative Fiction

 

Time travel has been a staple of science fiction and slip stream since early in the genre's genesis. Whether it forms the basis of the story (Back to the Future) or an entertaining aside within a long running series (Star Trek), time travel is immensely popular. Perhaps this is due to our desire to be able to control the factors in our lives which are outside our control. Or maybe it's because most of us feel we chose wrongly on at least one occasion and would secretly like to go back and choose differently. However the time travel trope is one which can become overripe in a hurry, especially as adhering a story to realistic mathematical and quantum models whilst still remaining easily understandable to the lay person. This week the dragons take a look a popular scientific models and how they are used in speculative fiction. Under the microscope this week: Avengers End Game, Star Trek, Impossible Times and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 197: The Trouble with the Victorians - How a Single Era Influenced Our Opinions

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 197: The Trouble with the Victorians - How a Single Era Influenced Our Opinions

November 22, 2019

Episode 197: The Trouble with the Victorians - How a Single Era Influenced Our Opinions

The Victorian era is a goldmine for the writer of historical fiction or for writers of SFF who wish to draw inspiration from history. The records are largely complete and it's long enough ago for the 'past to be a foreign country' but recent enough that it doesn't automatically alienate a reader. However, the Victorians have a lot to answer for in terms of influencing our opinions of art, law, literature, history and simply how we interact with each other today. While we have been drawing inspiration from the Victorians, the Victorians have been telling us a very specific story - one in which fact and fiction have been carefully blended to suit a particular narrative. This week, Jules and Madeleine take a look where this becomes a problem, especially for a writer. On the slab this week - Gail Carriger's Souless, Kara Jorgenson's Ingenious Mechanical Devices and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 196: Tale as Old as Time - Why Fairytales Endure

Dissecting Dragons: Episode 196: Tale as Old as Time - Why Fairytales Endure

November 15, 2019

Episode 196: Tale as Old as Time - Why Fairy Tales Endure

 

Many writers draw on the huge body of myths, legends, lore and fairy tales when working on their own speculative fiction - the dragons have done so themselves. Fairy tales in particular are told, retold, reimagined, reinvented and rebooted. So what is it about fairy tales that makes them so eminently reusable? Why is it that some retellings soar, seeming to touch some hidden need within readers, while others flop completely? Jules and Madeleine have a theory. Going back to the origins of the fairy tale, they look at why these stories endure taking examples such as Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, and looking at various permutations; Naomi Novak - Spinning Silver, Beast - a Tale of Love and Revenge - Lisa Jensen, Deep and Darkest Red - Anna Marie McLemore and many others.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic