Literature

Episode 16: Heroines, Witchers, Dragons and Heists – Beyond the Monomyth

In this episode, we finally dive into the massive fantasy genre. We explore the ideas in Gail Carriger’s book The Heroine’s Journey as an alternative story structure to the more well known hero’s journey, and how that works in different fiction formats

We also look at Farah Mendelson’s four different types of fantasy – portal quests, immersion, intrusion and liminal – and we also speculate on what the future of fantasy will be in the current dark times. Plus Nick declares that The Epic Is Dead. What do you think?

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Guest Host:

Dave Gove:

I’ve mentioned Tolkien’s ‘On Fairy Stories’, which for me is one of the great moments in thinking about the fantasy genre. For me, that monologue at the end of Hogfather where Death explains why Santa Claus is important, that is Pratchett’s ‘On Fairy Stories’.

Dave

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 5:12 – Foundations of Fantasy
  • 22:16 – The Heroine’s Journey
  • 1:00:14 – Diversity in Fantasy Narrative
  • 1:31:34 – Fantasy structures in roleplaying
  • 1:48:54 – The future of fantasy
  • 1:58:48 – Wrap up & Outro

References – note: Flip still has a broken arm, so links will be added in slowly.

Isis gets Osiris back but he has to go into the Underworld every night because he is missing his phallus. She only managed to find 12 of his 13 body parts and sew him back together and invents embalming along the way.

Philippa

What we have been reading:

  • Anon. Beowulf
  • Asimov, Isaac. Foundation
  • Berg, Alex P. Dagger and Steele series
  • Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre
  • Butcher, Jim. The Dresden Files
  • Blyton, Enid. The Magic Faraway Tree
  • Brooks, Terry. Shanara
  • Lord Byron. Don Juan
  • Campbell, Joseph. Mask of a thousand faces
  • Carriger, Gail. The Heroine’s Journey
  • Carrol, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland
  • Cavendish, Margaret. The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World
  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness
  • Cook, Glen. The Black Company
  • De Lint, Charles. Memory and Dream
  • De Lint, Charles. Some Place to be Flying
  • Eddings, David. The Belgariad.
  • Feist, Raymond E. Magician
  • Gaiman, Neil. ‘The problem of Susan’ (short story)
  • Herbert, Frank. Dune
  • Howard, Robert E. Conan of Cimmeria
  • Jackson, Steve and Ian Livingstone. Fighting Fantasy books
  • Jennings, Paul. Round the Twist
  • Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time series
  • Keyes, Gregory. Newton’s Cannon
  • Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Lewis, C.S. The Magician’s Nephew
  • Lewis, Matthew. The Monk
  • Lieber, Fritz. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
  • Lynch, Scott. The lies of Loche Lamora
  • Mandeville, Sir John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
  • Martin, George R.R.. A Song of Ice and Fire series
  • McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonriders of Pern
  • Mendlesohn, Farah. Rhetorics of Fantasy
  • Meyers, Stephanie. Twilight series
  • Moore, Alan. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • More, Thomas. Utopia
  • Morecock, Michael. Elric series
  • Paolini, Christopher. Eregon
  • Pratchett, Terry. Discworld series
  • Potter, Beatrix. Peter Rabbit
  • Radcliffe, Ann. The Mysteries of Uldolfo
  • Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Roth, Veronica. Divergence series
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter series
  • Sapkowski, Andrzej. The Witcher series
  • Shakespeare, William. The Tempest,
  • Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s dream
  • Tolkien, JRR. The Hobbit
  • Tolkien, JRR. Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien, JRR. On Fairy Stories
  • Walpole, Horace. Castle of Otranto
  • Webhe, Kurtis. Rat Queens
  • Wynne Jones, Diana. Howl’s Moving Castle

The passion play of Putin in Ukraine would fit perfectly in The Witcher… You couldn’t put Putin in Lord of the Rings because in the end of Lord of the Rings, Putin has to get killed on a mountain top with lava. That’s the only possible option. Is that going to happen? Probably not. Is whatever replaces Putin going to be better? Probably not? So we actually can’t have those stories any more. We can’t have nice things.

Nick

What we have been playing:

  • Balders Gate 2
  • Balder’s Gate 3
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Battletech
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • D&D 5th Edition
  • Middle Earth Role Playing
  • Piranha Games
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Rolemaster: Shadow World
  • Shadowrun
  • Spelljammer
  • The Witcher

What we have been watching:

  • Arcane
  • Ator the Invincible
  • The Black cauldron
  • Bright
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Carnival Row
  • Chariots of the Gods
  • Click
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Divergence
  • Dragonslayer
  • Dungeons and Dragons movie (2000)
  • Firefly
  • A Game of Thrones
  • Great Mysteries of the World
  • The Green Knight
  • Hawke the Slayer
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Isaki
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Mad Max
  • Monkey
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Serenity
  • Severance
  • Shanara
  • Star Trek
  • Starwars
  • Supergirl
  • Sword Art Online
  • Westworld
  • The Wheel of Time
  • The Witcher
  • Wonder Woman

Other resources:

Episode 15: Nukes, Supernovas, Meteors & Pandemics – Welcome to the Pre-Apocalypse!

In this episode, we examine the often-overlooked moments before an impending apocalypse, which have a special drama of their own. And we are here for that drama… do people come together in the face of impending doom, or do they crumble under the weight of inevitable disaster?

We look at different types of impending doom – natural disasters that can’t be averted, external agents such as aliens and robot overlords (you know we want to talk about Cylons and Reapers again!), and of course, looming man-made disasters that may or may not be averted. Nick is back with more Neon Genesis Evangelion (of course!), plus Flip has a WHOLE NEW WAY to examine Westworld!

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Maybe humans can only live in the space between themselves and the can. And if your only option is to keep kicking the can down the road, that’s what you do.

Nick

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2.03 – What is a pre-apocalypse?
  • 15:12 – Natural Disasters
  • 40:08 – Aliens & Robots
  • 52:05 – Man made disasters
  • 1:18:57 – Is there a moral message in pre-apocalypse stories?
  • 1:31:57 – Wrap up & Outro

I think that in order to be moral, you need to have a future. If everybody is going to die, morality has no meaning.

Nick

References – note: Flip still has a broken arm, so links will be added in slowly.

Books we discuss

Movies & TV shows we discuss

  • 2012 (This is Nick’s fault!)
  • Armageddon
  • Battlestar Galactica (new series)
  • Caprica
  • Deep Impact
  • District 9
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Hard Sun
  • Heroes
  • Independence Day
  • Knowing
  • Mad Max series
  • Mars Attacks
  • The Nineth Gate
  • On the Beach (film)
  • On the Beach (tv)
  • Signs
  • Snowpiercer
  • The Terminator Series
  • These Final Hours
  • Threads
  • Travelers
  • The Walking Dead
  • Westworld (movie)
  • Westworld (tv show)

Games we discuss

Other links:

Episode 14: Scandi Noir, Reality TV, Remakes & Pandemic Brain

Or: The Long Year Reviewed (Summer Edition)

In this episode, we contemplate what we are calling the ‘long year’ of the pandemic, and assess if we have reached the goals that we set in our first episode.

We also look at pet peeves in pop culture, literature of the pose, why lit fic and ‘the western canon’ suck, and what we are looking forward to discussing in future episodes.

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

To lever Foucault into this episode – where there is power there is always resistance, that’s the whole shtick.

Nick

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:50 – The Long Year in Review
  • 4:18 – Best of 2021
  • 25:12 – Pet peeve of pop culture in 2021
  • 126:30 – What we are looking forward to in 2022
  • 1:39:40 – Wrap up & Outro

Evil-Lyn goes full nihilist – she looks into the abyss, and the abyss looks back. And she says “There is nothing at the centre of the universe, there is just ME.”

Philippa

References – note: Flip has a broken arm, so links will be added in slowly.

Books we discuss

  • Carriger, Gail.  The Heroine’s Journey
  • el-Motar, Amal and Max Gladstone. This is how you lose the time war
  • Gladstone, Max. The Witch who came in from the cold
  • Jordan, Robert. Wheel of Time series
  • Martin, George RR – Game of thrones series
  • Rocha, Kit. Mercenary Librarians series
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter series
  • Roupenian, Kristen. Cat Person

Movies & TV shows we discuss

  • Blown Away
  • Bo Burnham’s Inside
  • Brigerton
  • Cowboy bebop anime
  • Cowboy Bebop Netflix show
  • Eva Rebuild
  • Evangelion
  • Friday the Thirteenth
  • Glow up
  • The Great British Bake Off
  • The Great Pottery Throwdown
  • Grave / Raw
  • Halloween
  • Kate
  • Katla
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight
  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
  • Metalwork Masters
  • Midnight Diner
  • Next in Fashion
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Police Academy
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Squid Game
  • Star Wars The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars The Last Jedi
  • Star Wars Solo
  • Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
  • Sweet Magnolias
  • Taskmaster
  • Teenage Bounty Hunters
  • Titan (movie)
  • Three Colours series
  • Trese
  • Virgin River
  • Way of the House Husband
  • Wonder Woman movie

Games we discuss

  • The Good Life
  • Knights of the Old Republic
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Observation
  • Xbox Game Pass

Other links:

Episode 13: Rockets, Billionaires & Space Cowboys

In this space-inspired episode of Pod Culture [Oz], we joined by special guest Marta Troicka as we discuss Nick’s claim that all modern space movies suck.

We look at three different types of space movies, spacecraft as a form of public transport, and space stories as frontierism.

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Guest Host:

Marta Troicka

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:09 – To Boldly Claim Space Movies Suck
  • 6:10 – Gravity as a Great Weight
  • 25:12 – Why set your movie in space?
  • 28:33 – Space Disasters
  • 35.13 – Space Aliens
  • 48:19 – Space was inside us all along
  • 1:20:42 – How do we make space interesting?
  • 1:39:40 – Wrap up & Outro

Space always has to be chin strokingly, muscularly serious…

Nick

References – note: Flip has a broken arm, so links will be added in slowly.

Books we discuss:

  • Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition
  • Creighton, Michael. Andromeda Strain
  • Graber, David. Utopia of Rules
  • Hodgkinson, Tom. How to be Idle
  • Le Guin, Ursula. The Word for World is Forest
  • Le Guin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Sims Bishop, Rudina. Windows and Mirrors
  • Turner, Frederick Jackson.
  • The Martian (novel)
  • Asif Sediki
  • White, Richard. The Frontier in American Memory

Movies & TV shows we discuss:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Abyss
  • Ad Astra
  • Another Life
  • Armageddon
  • Arrival
  • Ascension
  • The Astronaut’s Wife
  • Avatar
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Apollo 13
  • Apollo 18
  • Battlestar Galactica (new series)
  • Die Hard
  • Earth 2
  • Europa Report
  • The Expanse
  • Firefly
  • First Man
  • Gravity
  • Hidden Figures
  • High Life
  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Killjoys
  • The Last Starfighter
  • Life
  • The Martian
  • Mission to Mars
  • Nightflyers
  • Passengers
  • The Poseidon Adventure
  • Prometheus
  • The Right Stuff
  • Space Cowboys
  • Speed
  • Sputnik
  • Star Trek (Original Series)
  • Stowaway
  • Sunshine
  • Towering Inferno

Games we discuss:

  • Alternity
  • Aliens RPG
  • Deliver Us The Moon
  • Elite: Dangerous
  • Fallout New Vegas
  • Halo
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Knights of the Old Republic
  • Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords
  • Marathon
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Mega Traveller
  • Pathfinder
  • Observation
  • Spacemaster: Imperium
  • Space Opera
  • Star Citizen
  • Starfinder
  • Traveller

Other links:

Episode 11: Happily Ever After

In this fairy tale inspired episode of Pod Culture [Oz], we joined by romance novelist Renee Dahlia as we discuss how fairy tale tropes can be translated across into fiction.

We explore how fairy tale retellings are used in modern stories, which fairy tales are most popular, the connection between fairy tales and romance, and how marginalised authors can use them to leverage their stories for a wider audience.

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

“Just as there are more fairy tales than Cinderella, there is more diversity in romance. Using familiar fairy tale tropes acts as both a mirror and a window.”

Renee Dahlia, romance author

Guest Host:

Renee Dahlia – Author

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:40 – Why fairy tales?
  • 7:48 – What is a fairy tale?
  • 18:45 – Fairy tales and Romance
  • 41:07 – Fairy tales in other media
  • 59.08 – Accessibility of fairy tales
  • 1:18:58 – Wrap up
  • 1:24:01 – Outro

Books we discuss:

Movies & TV shows we discuss:

Games we discuss:

Musicals we discuss:

Other links:

Digital artwork using fairy tale
‘Women’s Stories’ artwork by Philippa/Synaesthezia Designs, quote from ‘Women’s Stories’ by Jane Yolen. Quote used with permission of the author.

Episode 10: Rampancy of the Artificial Mind Pt 2

“Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?”

In the second part of this long-promised Westworld-inspired episode of Pod Culture [Oz], we are once again joined by our friend Fred (previously seen in Episode 2: Omega Point, sensates and space cannibals) as we discuss how artificial intelligence tropes are used in fiction.

We explore the fascinating theory of the Bicameral Mind, explore Golems and Murderbots, what is Rampancy and the repercussions of it, and the differences between Humans and Artificial Intelligence – if you can’t tell the difference, does it even matter?

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

“The Bicameral Mind is completely untestable, and therefore it belongs completely in the same bucket as Teilhard’s Omega Point theories, and it’s AMAZING”

Dave

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:27 – The Bicameral Mind
  • 7:11 – What is Rampancy?
  • 11:01 – Golems and Murderbots
  • 21:47 – Repercussions of Rampancy
  • 37:17 – Humans vs AIs: If you can’t tell, does it even matter?
  • 45:28 – Wrap up and outro

Books we discuss

Movies & TV shows we discuss

Games we discuss

Other resources

Episode 9: Rampancy of the Artificial Mind Pt 1

“Bring yourself back online…”

It is finally here! In this long-promised Westworld-inspired episode of Pod Culture [Oz], we are once again joined by our friend Fred (previously seen in Episode 2: Omega Point, sensates and space cannibals) as we discuss how artificial intelligence tropes are used in fiction.

We discuss the difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence, the gendered nature of AI work in fiction, and the implications of when AIs outgrow their programming and the ways in which they grow rampant.

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:55 – Rampancy of the Artificial Mind
  • 11:48 – How AI is used in fiction
  • 40:07 – When AI goes rampant
  • 1:00:33 – Wrap up and outro

“When AIs start acting beyond their designated boundaries, they either start firing missiles or they start asserting personhood.”

~ Philippa

Books we discuss

Movies & TV shows we discuss

Games we discuss

Other resources

The MCU is terrible and you should demand better

Our co-host Nick has written an article for online journal Medium that is a companion piece to our two-part series on The Politics of Superheroes. Find out what he has to add to his podcast rant.

{Marvel] are the largest media empire the world has ever seen. That’s why they should do better, and why we should expect much more from them

Nick

Episode 8: The Politics of Superheroes Pt 2

In this episode of Pod Culture Oz we are once again joined by author and game designer Christian D. Read from Crow Land Publishing as we discuss the politics of superheroes (part 2).

We discuss a time when superheroes were playful, the concept of adult superhero stories with consequences, and explore if superheroes are an inherently fascist genre.

“America keeps telling itself the story of powerful individuals who can change the world and who will not be changed by it.”

Christian D. Read, author

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Guest Host:

Christian Read – Author & Game Designer

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:19 – When superheroes were playful (or: Thor and the Frogs)
  • 9:45 – Character, drama and consequences
  • 17:42 – The sad story of Watchmen prequels
  • 20.51 – Is this an inherently fascist genre?
  • 32:56 – Which countries get Superheroes?
  • 40:26 – The good stuff – recommendations
  • 50:45 – Outro

Books we discuss:

Movies & TV shows we discuss:

Games we discuss:

Other links:

Episode 7: The Politics of Superheroes Pt 1

In this episode of Pod Culture Oz we are joined by author and game designer Christian D. Read from Crowland Publishing as we discuss the politics of superheroes (part 1).

We discuss Alan Moore’s recent controversial interviews and criticism about the state of superhero movies, consider the concept of ‘privatising world peace’, and look at the point of R-rated superheroes.

“The current extended hero universes are one long, embarrassing response to 9-11.”

Christian D. Read, author

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Guest Host:

Christian Read – Author & Game Designer

Books we discuss

Superhero romances (a sample of titles)

Movies & TV shows we discuss

Games we discuss

Other links:

Special Thanks:

To all at the Wicked Wallflowers Coven, for their help with compiling the Superhero Romances list. You are all fantastic.