Discussion episodes

Women’s jobs in science fiction

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...

Toxic masculinity

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...

Idealised characters and Mary Sues

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...

Describing women with 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...

Violence as climactic conflict

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...

The Bechdel-Wallace test

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...

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,...

Mythical females

Mermaids, Harpies, Valkyries, Succubae, Sirens, Banshees, Nymphs - We’ve been encountering the mythical female in literature and folklore for thousands of years. She appears in numerous religions, sometimes as saviour, sometimes as a harbinger of doom. She lures men...

In praise of YA with Frances Hardinge

Young adult fiction is called a genre, a bookshop category, and more. It is a way of grouping books together based, usually, on the age of the protagonist. But a young adult protagonist does not mean that a book will only appeal to a younger audience, nor should it....