Discussion episodes

Islands in speculative fiction: Live from WorldCon

Much of W. B. Yeats’ poetry is inspired by the rich mythological fabric of Ireland. This is the land of the Sidhe, the banshee, the merrow. But the island itself has a character, an identity, in the geographical, historical and metaphysical sense. So, in homage to our...

Alien at 40: The making of a feminist icon

In 1979, one of the most seminal sci-fi films ever made was shown for the first time on the big screen. Ridley Scott’s Alien is a dark, disturbing and downright terrifying addition to the Hollywood Hall of Fame. 2019 marks 40 years since Alien was born (or possibly...

The importance of diversity in children’s books

Today's episode was inspired by an article that appeared on The Guardian with the headline 'Picture book bias worsens as female characters stay silent.' The piece was based on research into books published in the last year, showing that most picture books 'present a...

The problem with the chosen one

In our last episode, we had author Aliette de Bodard on to discuss the absence of mothers in speculative fiction. One explanation put forward was the focus of chosen one narratives – these stories rely on the protagonist achieving something great, against all odds,...

Representations of motherhood with Aliette de Bodard

We were inspired to speak to Aliette about representations of motherhood in speculative fiction after reading her excellent essay 'On Motherhood and Erasure'. There's no denying that mothers are demonstrably absent from most speculative fiction. Whether they died...

The enduring legacy of Shirley Jackson – with Catriona Ward

With a new film adaptation of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House, and the upcoming 60th anniversary of the publication of The Haunting of Hill House, we thought it was high time we turned our attention to the wonderful Shirley...

The Princess Bride

Here at Breaking the Glass Slipper, we love the 1987 film The Princess Bride. I mean, who doesn't? It is endlessly quotable, tongue-in-cheek, and full of great characters. Unfortunately, only a couple of those characters are female and the way they're...

Sex! Pregnancy! Birth! Representations of reproduction

In this episode, we discuss all things reproduction. That's right: sex, pregnancy, birth – the whole shebang around creating new life and what it means to a woman's position, as represented in genre fiction. We (supposedly) have a biological drive to propagate our...

Choose your own Bandersnatch

While we were all winding down from Christmas, Charlie Brooker and the Black Mirror gang were getting ready to mess with our minds yet again. December 28th saw the release of the one-off interactive Netflix special 'Bandersnatch' to mixed reviews. But no one can deny...