Interview episodes

A magical education with Naomi Novik

There are some genre tropes that are ubiquitous in fantasy, from the ensemble quest to overthrowing a dark lord. Magical schools are yet another trope we have come to know and love. Whether you are a fan of early narratives like Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea or...

Into the Wood – with Emily Tesh

Humanity is intrinsically bound up with nature and the natural world. We are its creatures, we depend on it for survival, we fear it, love it, deify it...and we've become quite good at killing it. Ours is a complex relationship as old as the species. And people have...

Aberrant and broken magic with Melissa Caruso

Many of our favourite narratives feature outsiders. They might be alone by virtue of the burden of prophecy, come from the wrong side of the tracks, or simply don’t adhere to behaviour and interests their society expects of them, we see these tropes pop up all over...

Gender in Chivalric Romance

The Story of Silence is based on a 13th century French chivalric romance, distinguished by its prominent discussion of gender. Reimagined by Alex Myers, we found it to be a compelling exploration of transgender identity in an oppressively binary medieval society - and...

Mermaids with Beth Cartwright

Traditional stories of mermaids describe the creatures as beautiful maidens who sing sweetly as they lounge on rocks and comb their long, flowing hair… but like sirens, mermaids lure sailors to their death with their beauty and song. The less popular of the merfolk,...

Deconstructing the Chosen One – with Veronica Roth

We have long been obsessed with the chosen one. This ubiquitous archetype has spawned thousands of heroic narratives involving a prophecy and a great evil to be overcome. But in recent years, we’re seeing less and less of the standard trope, and more subversions,...

Horror and isolation with Melinda Salisbury

You know the drill, you are alone in the middle of a foggy field and there’s no one within miles… except the person following you. There’s no one coming to help you. Isolation is an ever-present theme in horror fiction, one that has become part of reality for many of...

Narration and ambiguity with Camilla Bruce

When we pick up a book, we know we’re going to be told a story. We trust the author or, in the case of first-person POV the narrator, to tell us the truth. We might be reading about vengeful ghosts or glorious dragons that take our imagination to the very limits of...

Finding the magic in magical realism – with Natasha Pulley

Speculative fiction has always been a genre that challenges traditional views and established ways of seeing. We regularly discuss how the worlds that genre authors create are arenas in which it’s possible to tackle social narratives away from conventional models. But...