Interview episodes

Families in horror with Priya Sharma

The best horror takes place when we are at our most vulnerable. In our house. Under our bed. The best monsters are those that we trust because they have the greatest capacity for betrayal. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that families feature so strongly in horror...

Curses and consent – with Heather Walter

Fairy tales are both timeless and personal. We see their themes and motifs repeated in stories spanning centuries.But while the characters and scenarios might be familiar, the morals change over time. The story’s message may differ depending on who is telling that...

Rights, retellings and the Ramayana – with Vaishnavi Patel

When Madeline Miller published Circe, it heralded the start of a new wave of feminist retellings, in which writers revisited well-known classics in order to tell the stories of those excluded from the dominant narrative. Now the popularity of mythological retellings...

“Do not take me for granite” – with Amal El-Mohtar

Ursula K Le Guin is the very definition of a legend. So many of us found our way to speculative fiction through her works, while others only realised later that the tropes we so loved – considered cliched now – were fresh and new when Le Guin brought them to life....

Deconstructing Cinderella – with JJA Harwood

The tale of Cinderella - or the Cat Cinderella, or Aschenputtel - is a story that is found in many cultures throughout the world. The extraneous elements may change - sometimes there's a ball, sometimes not, there can be murder, a nut tree, a fairy godmother or the...

Unmapping fantasy with A. K. Larkwood

It's high fantasy. You know the drill: personalities are defined by race. Elves are pointy-eared snobs who are unbearably pretty, orcs are barely sentient lap dogs, dwarves love gold and mining... And this is how it's been, for the most part, since Middle Earth. ...

Slavic narratives with Gabriela Houston

If you have been listening to our podcast for some time now, you will be well aware of our fascination with fairytales and how they continue to shape modern speculative fiction. But when we talk about fairytales, we are often thinking of a very narrow subset – those...

Women, history & power – with Kate Heartfield

For our first episode of 2022, we are going back to the 18th century, to look at the women who wielded power and the means they used to gain it. What challenges did they face? Are they remembered more or less favourably than their male contemporaries? And if, say,...

Beyond the Mafia – with Fonda Lee

Fantasy – and indeed most fiction – often involves bitter rivalries. Fights over a kingdom or territory, long-standing feuds where people no longer even remember why it began… Such opposing forces are also a key ingredient in organised crime narratives, though they...