Interview episodes

Making the ordinary monstrous with Catriona Ward

Why do we need monsters in our fiction? Why do we want to be frightened? When they pick up a book, do readers enter into a pact with a writer, as Catriona Ward describes: a pact that says I share your fear, let's face it together? We asked Catriona about the nature of...

Communities with Caroline Hardaker and Gabriela Houston

When you look, communities are everywhere. They can be the people where you live, the people who share the same interest as you, the people you volunteer with. They can be as small as a household or as big as a city. Communities, societies, political and religious...

Exploring Ragnarok – with H.M. Long & Genevieve Gornichec

Spirituality exists in every work of fiction in some form or other, but most often manifests as divinity. Gods and goddesses never seem to go out of fashion. Why do authors turn to a god or pantheon of gods to articulate this spiritual urge? And out of all the...

Parenthood with Julia Fine

Being a parent is not glamorous. It’s hard work and it often goes unappreciated – in life and in fiction.  When we do see parents represented in our fiction, we tend to see a very limited kind of representation. Rarely are parents the centre of the story – the...

Matriarchies – with Aliette de Bodard

The world as we know it has historically been ruled by men. But when it comes to fiction, writers can choose what power structures they create and how they are depicted. Despite the free rein this allows authors, most simply replicate the patriarchy. When...

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...

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...