Our Episodes

Alternate histories with Mary Robinette Kowal

Alternate history narratives – regardless of whether they have overt fantasy or sci-fi elements – are ultimately ‘what if’ narratives. This is the same basic principle underlying all speculative fiction, so it is no wonder they made such good bedfellows. Have you ever...

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...

Trinities with Jen Williams

From ancient mythology and religious texts to Star Trek and Harry Potter, trinities – or trios – have always been a common motif. Why is the power of three so potent and what tropes do we tend to see?  To help us delve into this subject, we have enlisted the help of...

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...

Women write Science Fiction – with Lisa Yaszek

I don't want the future to be female. I want it to be for everyone.Lisa Yaszek In a fascinating episode that covers everything from telepathic matriarchies to lesbian vampire fiction, academic Lisa Yaszek chats to us about the history of women writers in science...

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...

Writing as a career with Sarah Pinborough

There is more to mastering writing than sentences, plots, and character. Writers must also think about the genre they are writing in, the audience they are writing for, and what medium their final piece will be in. It's no wonder...