Interview 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...

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...

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...

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...