Our Episodes

Loneliness in science fiction with Aliya Whiteley

Space. The final frontier. An empty, endless expanse of nothing? Or teeming with life?But do we really need to look beyond the confines of our world to find loneliness? We are currently fighting a pandemic, and in its wake, a loneliness epidemic. Despite our constant...

Hollywood Monsters – with Mallory O’Meara

History is written by the winners. By men. Early editors of science fiction anthologies chose to exclude works by women, and in doing so, made many believe that women did not write science fiction in the genre's earliest years. This is just a single example and by no...

Magical inequality with Nicole Glover

In last year’s episode on magical realism, we talked about this genre’s ability to take a recognisable setting and tilt it a few degrees, creating something familiar and yet not quite what we’re used to. Alternate history can do this too – by revisiting a moment in...

Scrooge reimagined

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the staples of Christmas. As well as the original book, it’s possible to watch adaptations involving among others Bill Murray, Jim Carey, Patrick Stewart, and (mine and Megan’s favourite) Michael Caine. It has even been...

Language & Power – with Genevieve Cogman

We constantly discuss themes, stereotypes and assumptions in popular culture, but we don’t often stop to look more closely at the way those issues are expressed. I’m talking about language, and its ability to explore ideas in a highly nuanced way. Phrases like "bad...

Childhood Heroines

Or 'Extraneous Fangirling' as I subtitled this episode while editing it. And in truth there is a fair bit of fangirling, but there's also a lot of critical reflection to go with it. Because when we looked back at the books and shows we enjoyed as kids, we found some...

Reclaiming the vampire – with Vivian Shaw

Just in time for Halloween, we spoke to author Vivian Shaw about everyone's favourite "monster" - the vampire! Immortal vampires have occupied the human imagination for centuries. Whether you prefer the Twilight, Buffy or Bram Stoker type, don't expect them to turn to...

The invisibility of women with V.E. Schwab

Women have always played important roles throughout history, yet too often they are written out of official histories. We have touched on this before on our podcast, referencing essays like Kameron Hurley’s 'We Have Always Fought'.  This cultural pattern has...

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...