show episodes
 
Amanda Jean and Austin Chant dive deep into what makes fiction work. Join them as they answer burning questions like: How do you sneak complex gender theory into the structure of a novel? What makes a truly great magic system? How do you humanize a fictional serial killer… and should you?
 
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show series
 
Content warnings: Anti-black racism, antisemitism, mentions of the Holocaust, mentions of slavery, domestic violence, references to sexual assault, murder, death, violence, mentions of stereotyped drug abuse, mentions of android body horror, fatphobia, transphobia, and generally just a lot of co-opting of real-life struggles in an allegory about an…
 
Content warnings: discussion of children stabbing things, shitty dudes, homophobia, anti-Native racism, and gender essentialism Summary: In this pantastic episode, Austin and Amanda disagree on the particulars of their drunken book buying and wander through the hundred-year legacy of Peter Pan's cultural mythos: everything from the gender politics …
 
Amanda Jean(-Luc Picard) talks about the myth of Kirk vs Picard and Star Trek's very impactful, if flawed, ethos. (Seriously, she will fight you about James T. Kirk.) She gets real tl;dr about how both captains were shaped by the eras they were written in, how Gene Roddenberry was more complex than his legacy suggests, and how positing Kirk as the …
 
Austin journeys through the annals of revisionist history with Monique Truong's The Book of Salt and Ron Hansen's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Amanda has a meltdown over a man named Bobert. This episode tackles big sexy metaphors, the future of real person fan fiction, and the great power (and great responsibility) of…
 
Amanda takes Austin and listeners to wurch (witch church) with a breakdown of the subverted fairytale elements and treatment of puberty as witchcraft within Margaret Mahy's The Changeover: a Supernatural Romance. She delves into why fourteen-year-old protagonist Laura Chant is a boss and why the love interest, Sorry Carslile, is her trauma son. The…
 
Austin takes Amanda on a whirlwind tour of Magictown and the weird, tropey, twisty worlds of Diana Wynne Jones to answer the following questions: What makes a good magic system? What makes fantasy feel real? And what do wizardry and the culinary arts have in common? (More than you’d think.) Content Warnings: Discussions of child neglect and thinly …
 
Austin accompanies Amanda as she revisits twenty years of fannish enthusiasm and exasperation to discuss the Hannibal Lecter tetralogy by Thomas Harris. Specifically, why are the first two in the series so good despite their pitfalls? Why is the prequel so underwhelming? Amanda talks the perils of showing the monster, writing from a genius' POV, ch…
 
In the first episode of The Red Pen, Austin drags Amanda straight into the radical gender theory of queer and feminist sci-fi/fantasy from 1960 to 2018. Topics of discussion include: Is a genderless society a utopia? What about a society in which everyone is free to choose their own gender—in theory? And what do the gender binary and the Cold War h…
 
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