Noora Rose joins us to discuss Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Tombs of Atuan”, game masters as game designers, non-white people writing fantasy and sci-fi, the trauma of forced identities, sex and intimacy, Le Guin’s masterful character development, reclaiming identities, creating barriers with purple prose, cast-and-forget spellcasting, fantasy whodunits, the rising costs of paper, and much more!
Karlo Yeager Rodríguez joins us to discuss Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Vampire LARPing, the 1818 vs 1831 texts, Victor Frankenstein as a narrator, Mary Shelley’s commentary on the fate of Native Americans, Frankenstein’s monster as a metaphor for queer angst, Victor Frankenstein as Lucifer falling from grace, the Bride of Frankenstein, Wraith: The Oblivion, the claim of Frankenstein as the first work of science fiction, and much more!
Pete Johannsen joins us to discuss Tim Powers’s “Declare”, using amber beads as tokens, books found on your doorstep, the language and pace of spy novels, the djinn as fallen angels, power as a human motivator, Rube Goldberg occultism, the U.S. vs the Soviet Union, Torg RPG, djinn as ancient vampires, exploring Christian mythology in fiction and gaming, and much more!
Menion (AKA Rob) joins us to discuss Michael Moorcock’s “The Jewel in the Skull”, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the influence of Burroughs on Moorcock, the initial emptiness and passivity of Hawkmoon, character motivation, mixing scifi and fantasy, characters being swept up in the current of world events, old-school versus new-school ways of thinking about gaming, what we lose when gaming online, runes as cosmic forces in RuneQuest, the gaming scene in Japan, and much more!
Lucas Zellars joins us to discuss William Hope Hodgson’s “The House on the Borderland”, natural history as a science, out of body experiences, b-movie monsters, horse pistols, geological time, unreliability injected into the fiction, cosmic pigs, Super Mario Bros., and D&D as Capitalism: The Game or Colonialism: The Game, and much more!
Jason Lutes joins us to discuss Glen Cook’s “The Black Company”, Dungeon World, Ursula K. Le Guin, conquistador helmets, swords-for-hire, what makes a villain, grim dark’s celebration of the darkest sides of the human experience, wizards as marketing and PR agents, eating tacos, fantasy metropolises, random words as proper nouns, and much more!
Rev. Dak Ultimak joins us to discuss Fred Saberhagen’s “Changeling Earth”, the DCC RPG zine scene, reclaiming H.P. Lovecraft, tanks and UFOs in fantasy fiction, the paperback culture of the 1970s, transcending humanity, cosmic horror, evil characters getting their comeuppance, the Luke Skywalker-type protagonist, genre crossing, throwing out the Firearms issue of Crawl, and much more!
Ellen Kushner joins us to discuss Ursula K. Le Guin’s “A Wizard of Earthsea”, Choose Your Own Adventure books, the explosion of Tolkien’s popularity, the feminist revision of Earthsea, wizarding schools, designing magic system limitations, Larry Niven’s science brain, the teenage search for identity, wizards of color, normalizing protagonists belonging to marginalized populations, the Jewish inspirations on Riverside, and much more!
Moss Bosch joins us to discuss Gene Wolfe’s “The Shadow of the Torturer”, socially intimate games, tasty and tender world building, reading a book without realizing it is the first in a series, ridiculous ways to introduce new PCs, reading a book written for multiple audiences, cities the size of a nation, Blades in the Dark, stolen sex dolls, flowers as awkward and incredibly dangerous weapons, obvious foreshadowing, TikTok, and much more!