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Writing (female) characters

Jyn Erso in Rogue One

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | RSSWriting better female characters is covered in a lot of writing advice. Many of these pieces will preface their comments with sarcastic comments like ‘Women are people too, duh’. This sort of statement, I think, should make the topic a moot …

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Disposable characters

Redshirts ready to die

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | RSSRedshirts. No sooner are they introduced than they are killed. The tension rises, there are beads of sweat on Kirk’s brow… now the audience knows the peril is real. These stock, disposable characters exist in a story solely for the purpose …

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Revisiting The Dark Crystal

A Lucy and Charlotte Special! After the success of our Labyrinth episode, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and take another look at one of our favourite films: The Dark Crystal. If you haven’t seen this cult Henson classic, The Dark Crystal tells the story of Jen, the …

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Women’s jobs in fantasy

Rat Queens: The ultimate female questing party

While Charlotte and Megan geeked out about Star Trek (sparing poor Lucy who puts up with enough of that) when discussing women’s jobs in science fiction, in this episode, all three of us shine a light on female careers in fantasy. We have found that few women in fantasy novels have professions …

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Grimdark with Anna Smith Spark

The Court of Broken Knives

Sometimes the sheer number of sub-genres and niche areas within the SFF world can feel completely overwhelming. What do they all mean? Where does one thing become another? One of the most confusing – and most commonly talked about – sub-genres is Grimdark. Other than it being grim and dark, …

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Women’s jobs in science fiction

Women of Star Trek The Next Generation

With equality of pay and the drive to get more women in top executive jobs reaching the headlines in our current era, does the world of the future have women in the same roles they occupy now, or do they have them in traditionally male-dominated jobs? #SorryNotSorry for the ten …

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Toxic masculinity

USS Callister, Black Mirror

We started this podcast to highlight the issues around the representation of women in genre fiction. But women aren’t the only ones who suffer at the hands of harmful tropes, poor characterisation, and limiting traditional gender roles. In this episode, we discuss the men-folk. While they may tend to get …

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Idealised characters and Mary Sues

Superman: A major Marty Stu

We’ve all encountered them – characters who can do anything. They have physical and mental abilities beyond every other character in that world, perhaps even abilities that no one else in the world has in any capacity. They are so good-looking there are no words to properly capture their beauty. …

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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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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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