Ahimsa Kerp joins us to discuss Fritz Leiber’s “The Knight and Knave of Swords”, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in Riverside, ooh naughty sexy times, sex-obsessed adventurers, the city of Lankhmar, transgressive swords and sorcery, aging characters in fantasy RPGs, moon priestesses, pushing luck mechanics, having identifiably unique cultures, mythic Greece, and much more!
Caroline Stevermer joins us to discuss E.R. Eddison’s “The Worm Ouroboros”, depictions of Elizabethan masculinity, characters that don’t have parents, archaic language, excerpts from Western European literature, understanding characters through their deeds, a woman’s virtue measured by her maidenhood, the passage of time in Tolkien’s work, the taming the savages trope, the changing landscape of contemporary academia, San Francisco in 1906, and much more!
Our Patron Book Club joins us to discuss N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season”, AD&D’s obsession with gem names, the tonal resonances between this book and Octavia E. Butler’s “Fledgling”, the missing moon, savior narratives, sci-fi slang traditions, a melonated future, meta vs in-text author motivations, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, using Numenera for the Broken Earth setting, being surrounded by superheroes, systemic abuse in youth institutions, and much more!
Tanya DePass joins us to discuss N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season”, Black people cosplaying as White characters, the formation of mountain ranges, effective plot twists, how a Black woman reading a Black woman author might have resonances other people may not, finding new meaning in a text by returning to a piece of fiction later in life, using complex morality in worldbuilding, characters together by necessity rather than being in an adventuring party, Green Ronin RPG systems, how game design is harder than many folks think, how people bring their biases to the games they run, TwitchCon Amsterdam, and much more!
Brian Cortijo joins us to discuss Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn”, how wars affect settings, irredeemably evil Drow and Orcs, splitting a wizard’s gizzard, the melancholy themes of the film and the books, heroics as showmanship, character agency and the consequence of choice, the abundance of printed material available about the Forgotten Realms, having a mythical creature in your adventuring party, games that are more “story forward”, game systems and their reliance on dependability, weeping spiders, and much more!
Tim Hutchings joins us to discuss Octavia E. Butler’s “Fledgling”, modern D&D-insired art, the effect of slavery on language, the book’s use of childhood sexuality, vampire fiction of the early 2000s, vampire society, old racist vampires, Thousand Year Old Vampire, power dynamics between vampires and their symbionts, explaining monster lore as a tool for world building, blueberry pies, being terrible at social media, and much more!
Ian McGarty joins us to discuss Peter Bebergal’s “Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons & Dragons”, games publishing, lifting magic items from fiction, the Swords Against Darkness anthologies, skeletal vampires, Tanith Lee’s wild fiction, Elric and Moonglum, the old school D&D thief class, wanting to die a warrior’s death, the Vivimancer class, necromancer PCs, crisp mountain air, and much more!
Matt King joins us to discuss Clark Ashton Smith’s “The End of the Story: The Collected Fantasies, Vol. 1”, Italian horror films, Nightshade Press, the Lin Carter anthologies, all the things CAS wants to have sex with, lamias, pulp magazines, cultivating a sense of dread, highways becoming footpaths, Gygax’s theoretical stance on CAS, Gary Con, and much more!
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!