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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…
 
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 com…
 
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 Real…
 
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 to…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 whodunit…
 
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: T…
 
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 ga…
 
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 think…
 
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 Fi…
 
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 belon…
 
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, flow…
 
Our Patron Book Club joins us to discuss Ellen Kushner's "Swordspoint", typing up D&D character sheets on a typewriter, normalized gay content, the 80s crack epidemic, double- and triple-crosses, characters who think they're smarter than they are, playing a D&D game in the Riverside, gamifying Honor, staying true to social mechanism in the game, DC…
 
Angela Lemus-Mogrovejo joins us to discuss Ellen Kushner's "Swordspoint”, the indie tabletop roleplaying game scene, questioning why fantasy is wedded to the European medieval era, our patron polls, confusing characters with one another in political intrigue, relatable gay content, a shortage of female characters being given the spotlight, female c…
 
Cora Buhlert joins us to discuss C.L. Moore's "Jirel of Joiry”, used book store finds, kisses as stand-ins for sex, the appropriateness of using genre to explore our fear of sexual violence, cozy stories, writers being inspired by their peers, comparing and contrasting Conan and Jirel as characters, employing undead suckers, the influence of comics…
 
Megan Connell joins us to discuss G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare”, chocolate-covered raisin trees, satire we don't understand, club infiltration, anarchist elections and bylaws, issues of trust and emotional risk in therapeutic games, good versus evil, dehumanizing those who disagree with us, using XP to encourage better g…
 
Brendan LaSalle joins us to discuss Clive Barker's "Books of Blood, Volume 1", our listeners 100 years from now, ghosts taking over theaters, Barker's literary beginnings, relatable characters, "Mama, they fed me to the pig!", Kaiju as political commentary, Willpower saves, stories were everything goes wrong, giving monsters the 411, embodying delu…
 
Patrick Stuart joins us to discuss Mervyn Peake's "Titus Groan”, oral traditions, lush prose, taking pride in working as a servant, the sun as an old cake bun, Peake's popularity, Cormac McCarthy, Gormenghast as a demiplane, maintaining status quo as a party goal, the court of Melniboné, physical differences as "monstrous traits", going back in tim…
 
Sarah Doom joins us to discuss Michael Shea's "Nifft the Lean”, Vampire: The Masquerade, horror stories set in the Deep South, "big guava breasts", matching prose style to genre, which came first: humans or demons, the Pagan way of doing things, entitled brats, taking away character agency, drawing upon vocational experience for inspiration, playin…
 
Pete Petrusha joins us to discuss Charles R. Saunders's "Imaro”, developing management skills through game mastering, how map projections shrink Africa, flipping the script, Charles R. Saunders's legacy, acceptance through truth, depicting differing cultures without judgment, leveling up through campaigns, DCC RPG corruption, the mysterious world o…
 
Martian Kat joins us to discuss Edgar Rice Burroughs's "Land of Terror", Star Wars, reading something you wouldn't normally read on your own, effective uses of satire, bearded women, evolving perceptions of Black Americans in the 1940s, the global war on terror, one-shot adventures in comics, escaping captivity in RPGs, the Savage Worlds Adventure …
 
Alyssa Faden joins us to discuss Lord Dunsany's "Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley", the Tegel Manor map, ancient history as gaming inspiration, the Wheel of Time series, singing blades, Dunsany's poetic and relatable prose, the frying pan as a character, how to win a castle, river travelling, staying in character, Yoon Suin crab-men, desi…
 
Little Red Dot joins us to discuss Andre Norton's "Three Against the Witch World", Fate RPG, reading comics in the barber shop, Mars as Australia, Mercedes Lackey, the division between science fiction and fantasy, the gender spectrum, the gendered divisions of labor, Andre Norton's bravery, the love of war history, the D&D druid class, Kobold Press…
 
Cora Buhlert joins us to discuss Clark Ashton Smith's "Xiccarph", German science fiction, pulp magazines, morbid beauty, vampire flower women, Jirel of Joiry, the Dark Eye, foreshadowing, Gary Gygax's exclusion of Clark Ashton Smith from the Appendix N, Alphonse Mucha, doomed protagonists, the 2022 World Science Fiction Convention, and much more!…
 
Oliver Brackenbury joins us to discuss August Derleth's "The Mask of Cthulhu", the Lin Carter Conan stories, competing Appendix N Book Club listener complaints, writing in another author's IP, dem hillbillies who ain't talk too good, being a broke millennial while reading about haunted inheritances, the authorial voice, psychic residue, letting pla…
 
Angeline B. Adams joins us to discuss Fredric Brown's "What Mad Universe”, psychogeography, toxic fandom, fictionalizing the writer's process, near-future sci-fi, the Troubles conflict in Northern Ireland, the relationship between the text and the art, loose worldbuilding, environmental and knowledge hazards, having protagonists deal with a big sca…
 
Newton Nitro joins us to discuss Stanley G. Weinbaum's "The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum", Brazilian speculative fiction, Malazan Book of the Fallen, celebrations of the heterosexual white male, coming to acceptance with death, different cultural moral frameworks, the Virgin-Whore Complex, Brazilian miscegenation, dark humor, reskinning the Keep on …
 
Peter Bebergal joins us to discuss Michael Moorcock's "Elric of Melniboné", gaming stores, Gygax's love of pulp, meta-levels inside of dungeons, grimoires IRL, Elric's rotating sidekicks, the limits of idealism, the tragedy of addiction, Elric in art, the Eternal Champions, Elric as anime, and much more!…
 
Shauntelle Benjamin joins us to discuss Roger Zelazny's "The Hand of Oberon", TTRPG Twitch streaming, the protagonist's internal experience, similiar sounding names, casual incest, combat mechanics in literature, cybernetic limbs, life-draining highways, getting stabbed by uncles you've just met, interior monologues in gaming, and much more!…
 
Kienna Shaw joins us to discuss Philip José Farmer's "The Lavalite World", using present-day religious texts as mythology, literary info dumps, the petty egos of immortals, making moral choices when you your life is at stake, close third-person narration, the dangers of presenting racist characters without critique, Bluebeard's Bride, being a colla…
 
Ginny Loveday joins us to discuss Fletcher Pratt's "Invaders from Rigel", small books with even smaller fonts, colonialism, space travellers who don't understand combustibles, goofily over-capable heroes, interesting adversaries, home play vs organized play, overly replying on combat to handle challenges, separating the art from the artist, and muc…
 
Paige Leitman joins us to discuss Jack Vance's "The Killing Machine", Alexandre Dumas, sexism, interplanetary skin tones, examples of successful worldbuilding, D&D as a western, roleplaying vs rollplaying, planet-hopping revenge games, Star Wars, the OSR community, and much more!By Jeff Goad, Ngo Vinh-Hoi, and special guests
 
Jason Ray Carney joins us to discuss Fritz Leiber's "The Big Time", urban modernism, Lovecraft's fear of the other, period slang, the time travel genre, deeply traumatized protagonists, Leiber's understanding of language, being the Black Svengali to one's Trilby, unity of time and space, Conan vs Fafhrd, chronomancy, and much more!…
 
Nicole Emmelhainz-Carney joins us to discuss Robert E. Howard & L. Sprague de Camp's "Conan the Usurper", body horror, de Camp's heavy-handed editing, offensive physical descriptions of black characters, Lovecraft's contemporaries, the experience of talking about problematic elements in the fandom, Howard's creative process, audience analysis in pu…
 
Kira Magrann joins us to discuss Lin Carter's "The Immortal of World's End", LARPing as an awkward teenager, goth teenage years, blending sci-fi and fantasy, tonal shifts, strange metaphors, the cognitive dissonance of glorifying violence after seeing war firsthand, evolving cultural norms, positive inclusions of beasts and animals, sexualizing all…
 
Jason Vey joins us to discuss Fred Saberhagen's "The Black Mountains", owlbears, waiting for the fun evil parts, the Swords trilogy, cold war themes in a post-apocalyptic world, wizards with swords, the root of the lich, making magic unique, designing for 5e vs DCC RPG, mutations tables, and much more!…
 
Clio Yun-su Davis joins us to discuss Gardner F. Fox's "Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse", sexual violence, sword and sorcery LARP ideas, non-stop magical hijinx, video game boob physics, the journey in gaming, using the "rule of cool" with cultural sensitivity in mind, monsters that represent human populations, coincidences as plot devices, creativ…
 
Misha B joins us to discuss Jack Williamson's "The Humanoids”, relatable yet opposing idealogies, babies kept in cribs too long, the value of degenerates, the character arch of authors within their careers, morally ambiguous antagonists, superpowered humans overtaking the galaxy, setting ground rules at the table, characters with godlike abilities,…
 
Our Patron Book Club joins us to discuss Manly Wade Wellman's "Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds", classic Sherlock, the Professor Challenger stories, sycophantic women, the differing moral compasses of the characters, the lens of the Vietnam War, tearing down H.G. Wells, undefeatable villains, adding mechanical wings to random encounters, proto-…
 
Our Patron Book Club joins us to discuss H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror and Others”, setting construction, Lovecraftian punchlines, Robert Bloch, character development, ancient castles, inescapable monsters, the Whateleys, sudden developments of secret knowledge, characters built on people we know, and much more!…
 
Vicki Lalonde joins us to discuss Edgar Rice Burroughs's "Back to the Stone Age”, damsels in distress, messages of empathy, shedding the bonds of the civilized world, the power of friendship, Barsoom, slavery as a plot device, large megafauna, fighters with six-shooters, foreshadowing villains, and much more!…
 
Chris Wolf joins us to discuss A. Merritt's "The Ship of Ishtar", slaves in pulp fiction, magic hair-growing shrubs, film noir femme fatales, early wargaming, magic compasses, epic death as a story ender, the Mega Dumb Cast, playing on the Spaceship of Ishtar, and much more!By Jeff Goad, Ngo Vinh-Hoi, and special guests
 
Members of our Patron Book Club (Jeremy Harper, Christopher Murrie, and Adam Styers) join us to discuss Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Warrior", the Conan paperback publication history, Conan's rapey inner-dialogue, the "barbarism is the natural state of mankind" quote, the roles of priests in sword and sorcery, Red Sonya and Dark Agnes, the strengt…
 
Sharang Biswas joins us to discuss L. Sprague de Camp's "The Clocks of Iraz", Indian classics, wights, internal logic, stories within stories, female characters who entirely exist as sex objects, queer bashing, unified tonal through lines, pre-skill system play styles, diversity in medieval simulationism, magic as a source of law or chaos, how to s…
 
Jerry D. Grayson joins us to discuss Michael Moorcock's "The Vanishing Tower", discovering gaming as a kid, fantasy reading as a kid, comics, looking for representation, Elric as pulp, the grab-bag style of old-school gaming, morose scenery-chewing, the other Eternal Champions, Elric's childhood education, DMG relics, how you too can make hundreds …
 
Becky Annison joins us to discuss Roger Zelazny's "Sign of the Unicorn", female authors, murder-mysteries, audiobooks, characters with godlike powers, world-building, rooting games in a setting, one-on-one gaming, making allies out of enemies, using player imagination, gaming in the era of Critical Role, and much more!…
 
Brian Murphy joins us to discuss Andrew J. Offutt's "Swords Against Darkness", reading fantasy fiction as a kid, writing about swords and sorcery, second generation sword and sorcery authors, the understated prose of Poul Anderson, O. Henry's sword and sorcery, multiclass characters, the collected Ryre stories, elves and dwarves in swords and sorce…
 
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