Episode 303: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

We discuss Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Content warning: themes of abuse, rape and infertility.

Show Notes

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Becky Annison, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Synopsis 2:00
  • Themes 13:50
    • Children of Men (PD James)
    • Apocalypse: scarcity
    • Dystopia: control of information
  • RPG bit 32:45
    • Rise and Fall
    • The Academics

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 302: Interview with Roz Morris

Interview with Roz Morris, author of Not Quite Lost, Lifeform Three and My Memories Of A Future Life

Show Notes

  • Introduction to Roz Morris 00:35
  • Literary inspiration 01:25
  • Genre 04:40
    • The Bridge by Iain Banks
    • Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    • Blindness by Jose Saramago (note: the film I was struggling to remember is Perfect Sense, starring Eva Green and Ewan McGregor and scored by Max Richter)
    • Night Work by Thomas Glavinic
    • Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark
    • The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
    • On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  • Worldbuilding 13:50
    • Where do you start?
    • The process
    • Other player input
    • Other starting points
    • Light of Other Days by Bob Shaw
  • Pony books 36:05
    • Authors: Mary Gervaise, Ruby Ferguson, Christine, Josephine and Diana Pullein-Thompson
    • Pony Action RPG
  • Self-publishing 50:20
    • Editing
    • Attitudes to self-publishing
    • Getting reviewed
    • Social media
  • Not Quite Lost 60:50

Music Credits

“Cylinder 9” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

“Pick Up A Convict On Alcatraz” from Stunt Island by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 301: Werewolves

We open our third season on Halloween with a look at werewolves.

Show Notes

Our analysis of the werewolf in book, film and television, plus roleplaying games.

Becky Annison, Elizabeth Lovegrove, Ralph Lovegrove

  • Introduction and scope 00:15
  • Books section (Becky) starts at 01:35
    • Kelly Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld)
    • Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson)
    • Gail Carriger
    • Tanya Huff
    • Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber)
    • Darker than you think by Jack Williamson
    • Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevey
    • Anita Blake novels by Laurel K. Hamilton
  • Film section (Ralph) at 11:10
    • Physical effects in The Howling, American Werewolf in London, Teen Wolf, A Company of Wolves, Fright Night
    • CGI in Twilight, Underworld
    • Sean Pertwee in Dog Soldiers
  • Television section (Liz) at 19:40
    • Teen Wolf
    • Bitten
    • Buffy
    • Grimm
    • True Blood
    • Hemlock Grove
  • Themes 32:15
    • Metaphors for sex
    • Social dominance
    • Exiles on the fringes
    • Mythic roles
    • The Village
  • RPGs 40:35
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse
    • The Werewolf party game
    • The Romance Trilogy by Emily Care Boss
    • You must break up with your werewolf boyfriend by Caitlin Belle
    • Fantasy treatments in D&D and RuneQuest
    • Chill (Mayfair Games)
    • Interviewing Becky about Bite Me! starts 50:25
    • Liz’s RPG idea (police procedural)
    • Ralph’s RPG idea (terrorize them)
  • Last words 69:30
    • Werewolf myth in the ascendant
    • Clive Barker’s Cabal

Pride and Prejudice with Derek and Stiles

Music Credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Special: Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

It’s one year since we released our first episode! We talk about the coming season 3, plus our son’s favourite book…

Show Notes

Liz and Ralph with some pre-Season 3 ramblings, plus Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Season 3 ideas 02:10 // Synopsis 07:50 // Themes 09:45 // Liz’s game 14:50 // Dread 18:05 // Ralph’s game 18:55 // Before the Storm 21:55

Music credits

“Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Summer Special: Beyond the Wall

In this seasonal special, Ralph interviews John Cocking and Peter Williams, authors of Beyond the Wall.

Show Notes

Ralph Lovegrove with John Cocking and Peter Williams of Flatland Games.

About Flatland Games 00:30 // Reading background 01:35 // Fantasy and D&D 04:40 // Swallows and Amazons 05:40 // Aiming for a roleplaying experience 07:05 // The lone wolf hero in fiction and RPGs 08:30 // The World of Darkness 10:45 // A shout out for Dragon Warriors 18:35 // How Beyond the Wall came to be 20:45 // What is the “D&D experience”? 24:30 // A four year-old’s perspective on system matching 25:55 // The lingua franca 29:30 // The playbooks and layers for other D&D 31:05 // BtW’s spells (and Ars Magica) 33:10 // Design — what came first? 36:25 // BtW and Appendix N 41:40 // Other fiction properties that should be RPGs 43:00 // Your favourite Eternal Champion (Ralph blathers a bit here…) 44:50 // Stormbringer RPG 48:30 // US-UK cross-cultural 49:20 // Flatland Games’ other offerings (Action Movie World, Wizard’s Museum Construction Kit) 52:20

Music credits

“Cylinder Eight“ and “Cylinder Nine” from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 217: Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

In our last episode of the season Ralph, Liz and Josh struggle to communicate over Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17.

Show Notes

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:45 // Jo Walton’s review 04:30 // Themes 05:10 // The Dead on tape 08:00 // Translation and Memory 12:40 // Hyperspace 14:25 // Non-binary life partners 15:45 // Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 24:00 // Sleeper agents 28:35 // Gaming by hypnosis 30:25 // Faceless invaders 34:15 // RPG bit — Josh 37:55 // Liz (Grunting, Dialect RPGs) 39:00 // Ralph 44:40 // Last bits 52:20

Book References

Since we mentioned several titles in this episode, here’s our mini bibliography.

The Babel-17 wiki page lists other works that were influenced by this book including Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life (made into the film Arrival).

Finally, here’s Jo Walton’s review of Babel-17.

Game Notes

Five Conversational Hypnosis Tools For MCs by Pete Kautz.

Grunting is a free RPG by Jen Spencer.

Dialect is a game about how language dies. It’s post-Kickstarter (but I guess you can pre-order it).

We mentioned Night Witches (yes, AGAIN).

Ralph has started his Dramasystem/OSR mashup anyway (yeah, DEAL WITH IT JOSH). It’s called StormHack. Mini SRD here.

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 216: Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Ralph, Liz and Josh give each other the side eye trying to work out which of the others are human… we read Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety.

Show Notes

Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis and comments start 00:30 // BSG 05:00 // The 100 13:25 // RPG bit starts with Liz 15:05 // Josh’s Game 16:50 // Ralph’s Game 19:50

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 215: Le Transperceneige, Snowpiercer

Ralph and Josh board Le Transperceneige a.k.a. the Snowpiercer.

Show Notes

Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, made into the film Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-Ho

Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove

Film Synopsis 00:45 // Graphic Novels 03:35 // Themes 08:05 // Oldboy 11:55 // The Hope by James Lovegrove 24:20 // The RPG bit (it’s Apocalpse World, innit) 26:00 // Wool by Hugh Howey 30:20 // Rise and Fall 37:00 // Last words 39:00 // Hollowpoint 39:25 // Actually these are the last words 39:30 // No, really, these are the last words 40:20 // The Bed Sitting Room and the London Underground (and Neverwhere) 40:30

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 214: Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

This episode Liz, Becky and Ralph hang around long after they should have moved on, chatting about Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee.

Show Notes

Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee

Elizabeth Lovegrove and Becky Annison with Ralph Lovegrove

Synopsis 00:30 // Comments 02:15 // Sabriel 19:15 // RPG bit starts 21:10 // Liz’s game 21:20 // (Ralph’s superhero WaRP) 23:00 // (Lights, Camera, Action!) 28:10 // Becky’s Game 34:40 // Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne 35:15 // The Mountain Witch 38:10 // Ralph’s Game 40:10 // Wraith 43:20 // (it takes two, baby) 46:35 // Did we like it? (plus other works: Elephantasm, Night’s Master, Don’t Bite The Sun) 47:50 // The Blake’s 7 connection 51:00

Music credits

“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie

“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Episode 213: Kiteworld by Keith Roberts

(see our previous episode)

Keith Roberts wrote nine groups of short stories, four of which are linked novellas. Kiteworld was published nearly 20 years after Pavane and bears more than a passing resemblance to the earlier collection, despite it’s post-apocalyptic setting.

Music credits

“Cylinder Four“ from Cylinders by Chris Zabriskie

chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive