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Describing women with Gwen C. Katz

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C Katz

YA author Gwen C. Katz came across a forum thread about men’s ability to write female characters. There was the usual toxicity there – brushing off any criticism as more ‘SJW bullshit’. She wanted to speak out, but she had no idea her comments would strike such a chord. Her …

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Jeanne Cavelos on teaching genre writing

writers can never be normal people

Every few years I see articles pop up in my news feed debating the merits of creative writing courses. Can you teach writing, they ask. Writing is a skill just like any other – you might not be able to imbue someone with a sense of imagination, but you can …

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Where are the tampons? with Tiffani Angus

tampons in apocalyptic fiction

In this episode, Charlotte and Lucy talk to writer and lecturer Tiffani Angus. They discussed the estrangement of women’s bodies in apocalyptic fiction and the trends Tiffani discovered in her research on the subject. While there is a lot of genre fiction written about the apocalypse, many would fail a …

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Violence as climactic conflict

Starship Troopers

All stories require conflict of some kind… but does it always need to be violent conflict? There is certainly a trend in fantasy, science fiction, and horror to find narratives driving towards a massive violent conclusion. These have become set-pieces, the very things that sell Blockbuster films to audiences. We …

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The Bechdel-Wallace test

Bechdel: Dykes to watch out for

Back in 1985, Alison Bechdel had the characters of her cartoon strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, jokingly make a gender equality ‘test’ for films. 33 years later, the Bechdel (or Bechdel-Wallace, to give credit to her friend Liz Wallace for the idea) test is still used to determine whether a …

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Christian mythology in fantasy with Jeannette Ng

The spark was just an old book and a bored undergrad. - Jeannette Ng

Charlotte takes the lead in this episode, where we chat to Jeannette Ng about her use of Christian mythology in her debut novel, Under the Pendulum Sun. From using relatively unknown elements of Christianity to developing alternate patriarchies to highlight the impermanence of our own, Jeannette is as interesting as she is …

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2017 in review and anticipation for 2018

Are you ready for your to-read and to-watch lists to explode? Charlotte, Lucy, and I discuss our favourite genre pieces of 2017 and what we’re most looking forward to in 2018. We lament terrible accents and characters that have no agency, celebrate all the books, films, and TV we loved, …

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Interview with RJ Barker

Age of Assassins

Regular listeners will already be familiar with the fabulous RJ Barker who joined us live at Nine Worlds to discuss realistic characters. This week, Charlotte interviews RJ about writing female characters, his favourite genres, and writing characters with disabilities. RJ’s stellar debut, Age of Assassins, combines elements of traditional fantasy with …

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Subverting social norms with Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Most science fiction and fantasy focus on humans – or at least societal structures that are recognisable from within cultures on Earth. Given that genre fiction is meant to be one of unlimited imagination, why do we find it so difficult to imagine societies where hierarchies aren’t defined by gender, …

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