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Chronscast

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Welcome to Chronscast! We are the official podcast of SFF Chronicles, the world's largest science-fiction and fantasy community.

Each episode your hosts Dan Jones and Christopher Bean will take a deep dive into some classic science-fiction, fantasy, and horror books with a special guest.

We'll also discuss the challenges of writing and publishing SFF, and our guests' experiences. Episodes will feature specialist advice on writing and publishing, feature the winners of the monthly writing challenges on SFF Chronicles, as well as comedy skits.
13 Episodes
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We see in 2023 with Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey, the hosts of the Strange Studies of Strange Stories podcast covering genre fiction. As well podcasting, they are quite the polymath duo; Chad is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and musician, and Chris is a writer of books for tabletop RPGs and co-host of other podcasts such as Rachel Watches Star Trek. Chad and Chris's bread and butter is H.P Lovecraft - they cut their teeth on HP Podcraft, a podcast dedicated to the master of cosmic horror - and they join us today to talk about a movie that has Lovecraftian DNA running through it - John Carpenter's The Thing, the 1982 science-fiction horror masterpiece. We'll talk about the evolution of the film, from At the Mountains Of Madness to Who Goes There?; we'll cover fears of the unknown, a post-Covid reading of the film, and ponder upon alternative versions of the film starring Ernie Hudson and Christopher Walken (which almost happened!). We also chat about the various projects Chad and Chris have on the go, including Chad's 2022 movie The Time Capsule, his music with Pitch Black Manor, and Chris's unexpected podcasting adventures with his wife Rachel. Elsewhere The Judge concludes her series of talks on plagiarism, we hear Mosaix's winning entry from December's 75-word writing challenge, and Elon Musk tells Mars Radio FM how his acquisition of Twitter is paving the way for his journey to the Red Planet. Links The Strange Studies Of Strange Stories Podcast Chad's band Pitch Black Manor Chad's movie The Colossus, adapted from Clark Ashton Smith's short story, can be viewed for free (!!) on Youtube. For more info on Chad's 2022 sci-fi romance movie The Time Capsule visit https://thetimecapsulemovie.com/ Chris's other podcast, Rachel Watches Star Trek, is available on all good podcast platforms, and there are more details here. Index [0:00:00 - 0:41:07] - Interview Part 1 [0:41:08 - 0:43:26] - Skit 1 [0:43:27 - 0:59:25] - The Judge's Corner [0:59:26 - 1:00:41] - 75-word challenge [1:00:42 - 1:03:37] - Skit 2 [1:03:38 - 1:31:24] - Interview Part 2 [1:32:25 - Close] - Credits
As the nights draw in and we approach the midwinter, what better way to celebrate the season than dipping into that most macabre of festive traditions, the Christmas ghost story? While we're all familiar with Dickens's A Christmas Carol, more modern traditions include the BBC's A Ghost Story For Christmas, adaptations of typically M.R James stories, and which themselves are continuations of ancient storytelling customs that stretches back several centuries, when midwinter and the winter solstice, rather than Hallowe'en, was the time of year where the veil between the lands of the living and the dead was at its thinnest. Adding to that tradition is our guest Alison Littlewood, the author of Mistletoe, a festive Gothic ghost story that follows in those traditions of tales that see the past interfering with the present, seeking reconciliation and peace. We discuss the idea of the revivification of the bleak midwinter landscape, folk horror and how Christmas builds upon more ancient customs, rites. We talk about short stories, and where the market lies for them in 2022 and 2023, the necessity of failure, and how writers can keep their heads up even when through those long bleak winters of grafting which yield little fruit. Elsewhere The Judge updates us all on matters relating to plagiarism (don't do it, kids), and November's winner of the 75-word challenge, our very own Brian Sexton, with his reimagining of the Moon Landings. Last but not least, reports of paranormal activity emanating from the planet Earth catch the attention of the Martian Space Force Ghosthunting Division, and lead to some confusion as to the true meaning of Christmas. Merry Christmas, and thanks to everyone who tuned in to listen throughout this year. See you in 2023! Links and further reading Mistletoe Oh Whistle, And I'll Come To You My Lad (youtube) Ralan - the place to visit for finding short story markets Index [0:00:00 - 35:36] - Alison Littlewood interview part 1 [35:37 - 38:07] - Skit 1 [38:09 - 53:23] - The Judge's Corner [53:29 - 55:48] - Skit 2 [55:54 - 58:18] - Writing Challenge Winner [58:20 - 1:33:13] - Alison Littlewood Interview Part 2 [1:33:14 - 1:35:15] - Credits and close Next Month  Next month we'll be joined by Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey, hosts of the H.P Podcraft and Strange Studies podcasts, to talk about the 1982 cult science-fiction horror masterpiece, John Carpenter's The Thing.
This month we're talking about one of the all-time classics of science-fiction literature, and arguably the book that demonstrated science-fiction could be literature: Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand Of Darkness, a million-selling Hugo and Nebula winner. We talk about the book's enduring legacy, its approach to worldbuilding, character, and loose(ish) plot, and how the book plays with ideas of light, darkness, a balance of the two, and ultimately, love. We also dig into the book's sexual politics, the extent to which the book is feminist with respect to its portrayals of sex and gender, and the controversies that greeted the book from some surprising sources.  Joining us to talk about Le Guin’s book is the author Emily Inkpen. Emily was born in South London and raised on the South Coast of England, but moved to Glasgow for her university years and now lives in Berkshire. She juggles copywriting for Marmalade Game Studio with writing novels, short stories and audio drama, and is the Social Media Officer for the BSFA. Elsewhere The Judge talks about monarchies in our writing, particularly pertinent given the recent succession in the UK. We have the winner of the Chrons October 75-word writing challenge, and peace talks at the 43rd Andromeda conference sadly collapse when the discussion turns to the erotic properties of golden eagles. Naturally. Join us in December for a talk about Christmas ghost stories with the author Alison Littlewood! Index [00:00 - ] Emily Inkpen Interview Pt 1 Voicemail 1 The Judge's Corner Writing Challenge Voicemail 2 Emily Inkpen Interview Pt 2
This month we're joined by the author fantasy author Juliet E. McKenna, creator of several epic series including The Tales of Einarinn, The Aldabreshin Compass sequence, The Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution, and The Hadrumal Crisis trilogy. Juliet talks to us about one of the very first examples of what we might term "modern fantasy" - Hope Mirrlees' 192 novel Lud In The Mist. Juliet and I talk about where Lud sits in the canon of fantasy - we compare it to Tolkien, for example, and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books, as well as other modernist literature from the post-WW1 years of the 1920s.  There is talk about borders, the liminal spaces between spaces, and the reconciliation of our own prejudices and biases, as well as of silly names and Mirrlees's "interesting" approach to worldbuilding. Juliet talks to us about her own writing experiences, with particular reference to English folklore, myth, and the countryside, which is prevalent throughout her work and none more so than her current Green Man cycle of novels and her forthcoming Arthurian novel The Cleaving. We also discuss fantasy emerging from other cultures and parts of the world, and how writers should approach the writing and representation of other cultures.  Elsewhere, The Judge takes a break from her advisory talks and gives her own opinion and analysis of Lud In The Mist, which places the idea of laws, frameworks, and legal structures at the heart of the novel. We have two writing challenge winners in Doug Van Aarten and Jo Zebedee. Lastly, to coincide with the 40th anniversary release of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Captain Kirk is having trouble getting hold of the Division 4 football results, and lays the blame squarely on a certain green-blooded, pointy-eared crew member.  Next Month In October we'll be joined by the author Steven Hall to discuss his smash hit debut novel The Raw Shark Texts.  Index [00:00 - 43:53] Juliet E McKenna interview Part 1 [43:53 - 45:17] Voicemail 1 [45:17 - 1:01:13] The Judge's Corner [1:01:13 - 1:02:24] Voicemail 2 [1:02:24 - 1:05:47] Writing Challenge Winners [1:05:7 - 1:07:09] Voicemail 3 [1:07:09 - 1:48:55] Juliet E McKenna interview part 2 [1:48:55 - 1:51:01] Credits and close
This month we're joined by the award-winning British-Canadian author, poet and essayist Naomi Foyle, to talk about Inish Carraig, the alien-invasion-cum-prison break thriller by our very own @Jo Zebedee. Among the topics we cover is the quintessential "Norn Irishness" of the book, conveyed without ever lapsing into cliché, but yet acknowledging the unique history and culture of the place in a subtle and different manner. We also talk about the physiology of alien species, robots, the gothic setting, and the different identities and representations the book plays with. Elsewhere we also discuss the possibilities and processes that enable writers to access Arts Council funding (England only) to further their writing careers. Specifically we talk about adapting one's own work for other media; Naomi recently adapted her own Gaia Chronicles quartet of SF novels into a multimedia stage show, Astra, featuring cutting-edge puppetry, acting, music, and technical effects, and she discusses the mammoth effort this has entailed. @The Judge corners us with another fascinating talk, this time about privacy. Her Honour also relates her winning entry from the July 75-word challenge, The Eternal Scapegoat, and (we think) Sally Rooney is having trouble with the accuracy - and the characters - of her latest, er, science fiction epic. Next Month In September's episode we'll be talking to fantasy author Juliet E. McKenna about Hope Mirrlees's 1926 prototypical fantasy novel, Lud-In-The-Mist. Index [0:00:00 - 55:30] Naomi Foyle Interview Part 1 [55:30 - 56:42] Voicemail 1 [56:43 - 1:12:33] The Judge's Corner [1:12:38 - 1:13:45] Voicemail 2 [1:13:45 - 1:14:53] Writing Challenge Winner [1:14:54 - 1:15:35] Voicemail 3 [1:15:37 - 2:00:44] Naomi Foyle Interview Part 2 [2:00:45 - 2:02:49] Credits and Close
We're joined by one of the kings of UK science-fiction and fantasy, the literary agent John Jarrold, to talk about Rob Holdstock's majestic 1984 novel Mythago Wood, winner of the World Fantasy Award. Over a career spanning almost fifty years John has become one of the leading lights and champions for British genre fiction, and a household name within that community. In the publishing industry he has run three SFF imprints: Legend at Random House; Earthlight at Simon & Schuster, and Orbit books, where one of his authors was none other than Rob Holdstock. These days he runs the John Jarrold Literary Agency, with and continues to be a hugely influential and popular figure in the industry and SFF community. We talk about the peculiar Englishness of Mythago Wood, with respect to its post-war setting, which informs the damaged male characters at the heart of the book and how this in turn has an impact on the representation of the female characters present. We also touch upon the cycle of myth and history, the myth of the hostile brothers, and Holdstock's wonderful writing style.  John brings his enormous experience to bear as we talk at length about the publishing industry and how it has changed over the last fifty years. He is armed with great anecdotes, and the list of people he's worked with over the years read like a Who's Who of international SFF. Elsewhere Damaris Browne dishes up some salacious details on how to handle the issue of privacy, and how to approach using real-life people in your stories (spoiler alert: very, very carefully). Christine Wheelwright reads Weeping Willows, her winning 75-word entry from June's writing challenge, and the trees in Slish Wood are not - I repeat not - of interest to the CIA. Join us next month when our guest will be the novelist, poet and essayist Naomi Foyle, who'll be talking with us about Jo Zebedee's alien invasion-cum-prison break thriller Inish Carraig. Further Reading There'll Always Be An England in Mythago Wood Index [0:00:00 - 49:15] John Jarrold Interview Part 1 [49:16 - 50:24] Voicemail 1 [50:25 - 1:05:10] The Judge's Corner [1:05:16 - 1:06:14] Voicemail 2 [1:06:15 - 1:07:20] Writing Challenge Winner [1:07:21 - 1:08:36] Voicemail 3 [1:08:37 - 2:02:12] John Jarrold Interview Part 2 [2:02:13 - 2:04:18] Credits and Close
This episode we finally open that door of the Chronscast household we'd not dared to open before and plunge into the abyssal labyrinth that is Mark Danielewski's maddeningly epic debut novel, House Of Leaves. A book that defies conventional categorisation, it's been described as a horror, a literary piece, a puzzle, and even a love story. We're joined on this subterranean literary odyssey by renowned literary agent Ed Wilson. Ed is the director of the Johnson & Alcock literary agency, representing a vibrant and developing list of fiction and non-fiction, from new and debut writers to established, bestselling and award-winning authors. With Ed we gleefully dip down the House Of Leaves rabbithole, discussing ergodic literature, innovation in writing, the perils of overanalysing texts, and the Manic Street Preachers. We also chat about the submissions process and navigating the slush pile, and the options open to authors and agents. Elsewhere, The Judge gives a sumptuous talk on the use of clothing in worldbuilding, and the effects that clothing can have on society, and our writing. We'll hear the winning entries to May's 75-word challenge, and April's 300-word challenge, written by Oliver Helm and Victoria Silverwolf respectively, and we get an unexpected phone call from an ex-President of the United States, whose home extension has gotten out of hand and seems to lead to the belt of Orion. Join us next month when we'll be joined by literary agent John Jarrold to talk about Rob Holdstock's winner of the 1984 World Fantasy Award, Mythago Wood. Index [00:00 - 52:54] Ed Wilson Interview Part 1 [52:54 - 54:07] Voicemail 1 [54:08 - 1:08:28] The Judge's Corner [1:08:28 - 1:09:10] Voicemail 2 [1:09:11 - 1:12:31] Writing Challenge Winners [1:12:32 - 1:13:43] Voicemail 3 [1:13:44 - 2:07:31] Ed Wilson Interview Part 2 [2:07:32 - 2:09:36] - Credits
On this episode of Chronscast we're joined by award-winning SF author Tade Thompson to talk about WATCHMEN, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's comic-book masterpiece that skewers the superhero genre using its own architecture. Tade is the author of numerous novels, including the critically acclaimed sci-fi novel Rosewater, the first in his award winning WORMWOOD TRILOGY, Making Wolf, and most recently Far From the Heaven, and the Molly Southbourne series. He has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Nommo Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle award, and the Julia Verlange award, and been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award, and the Shirley Jackson Prize. We talk about how WATCHMEN reflects contemporary 1980s existential anxieties around the Cold War nuclear annihilation, and how it skewers the absurd braggadocio of the superhero genre. We dig down into the weeds of the book, picking apart the characters, their differing pathologies, and whether salvation lies in a masked figure. We ask how the genre can innovate from here, and why WATCHMEN endures. We also touch on the free spiritedness of Manga, writing fractured timelines as seen in Rosewater, and how the creation of narratives builds a psychological bridge between art and clinical practice. The Judge gives us the second part of her talk on defamation, reminding us the usually the only winners of such altercations are the lawyers - so watch out! Elsewhere we hear Starship, Christine Wheelwright's excellent winning entry to the April 75-word writing challenge, and Superman has an axe to grind with Pine Marten Man... or is he just jealous? Further Reading You Better Watch Yourself Superfolk The Kryptonite Kid Quack This Way Where Are You Now, Batman? Join SFF Chronicles for free Join us next time when we'll be joined by Ed Wilson, literary agent and director of the Johnson & Alcock literary agency. Ed will walk with us through the labyrinth that is Mark Danielewski's mad millennial monster story House Of Leaves. Index [00:00:00] Tade Thompson Interview Part 1 [1:04:03] Voicemail 1 [1:05:10] The Judge's Corner [1:18:03] Voicemail 2 [1:19:00] Writing Challenge Winner [1:21:02] Voicemail 3 [1:22:00] Tade Thompson Interview Part 2
Today we're joined by Stephen Cox, the author of the science-fiction drama Our Child Of The Stars, and the newly-published sequel, Our Child Of Two Worlds, both published by Jo Fletcher Books. Stephen dives with us into Fritz Leiber's swords-and-sorcery classic, Swords And Deviltry, which introduces two of fantasy's greatest heroes, the barbarian Fafhrd, and the sly swordsman Gray Mouser. We talk about the origin stories of the two heroes, and the psychodramas contained therein, paying attention to how the young protagonists must each escape the very different types of parental stranglehold to make their own way in the world; the female characters of the world of Nehwon; and Leiber's huge, pervasive influence upon the fantasy genre in all its guises, from fiction to D&D to computer gaming.  We also take an in-depth look at Stephen's latest novel, Our Child Of Two Worlds, which continues the story of the charming but lost alien child Cory, and introduces an existential threat to humanity from the outer reaches of the cosmos. Stephen tells us about some of his writing processes, the experience of having two literary agents, and the difficulties of publishing in the 21st century. We also discuss the question of "Hard" SF versus "Soft" SF, and how this is affecting current trends in the genre. Elsewhere The Judge provides fascinating historical (and futuristic) information on how writers might use the issue of defamation for their worldbuilding. We hear Stuart Orford's winning entry from the March 75-word writing challenge, and strange reports of dragons and sorcerers abound in Kinnegad, near the bus stop. Join us in May when our guest will be the multiple award-winning author Tade Thompson, who will be waxing lyrical about Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's comic book maxiseries masterpiece, WATCHMEN. Index [00:00] Stephen Cox Interview Part 1 [38:57] Voicemail 1 [39:41] The Judge's Corner [54:55] Voicemail 2 [55:54] Writing Challenge Winner [56:55] Voicemail 3 [58:05] Stephen Cox Interview Part 2 Links Stephen Cox's website and blog Join Chrons for free
For this episode we're joined by Richard Sheppard, host of The Constant Reader Podcast, which takes a deep dive into all things Stephen King, from his numerous novels to the equally numerous movie and TV adaptations of his work. Richard talks with us about John Landis's seminal 1981 film An American Werewolf in London, a horror comedy that is funny and scary in equal measure, and remains the high watermark for werewolf movies everywhere, and especially so for a curious period in the early 1980s when werewolf fever seems to have had America in its lycanthropic claw. We talk werewolves in general, taking in themes of duality, Jewishness, sexuality, the Beauty and the Beast myth, and of course, the literally transformative advances made in movie make-up and special effects technology in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We also take the time to talk about The Constant Reader Podcast, about podcasting more generally, and the possibilities of making your voice heard using non-conventional means. Elsewhere, The Judge delivers her verdict on defamation, we'll hear Third Player, our very own Christopher's winning entry from the January 300-word challenge, and A Better Yesterday, Reiver33's winning entry from the February 75-word challenge, and a regular evening down in Slish Wood takes a turn for the worse when a full Moon appears from behind the clouds... Further Reading and Links The Constant Reader Podcast Join SFF Chronicles for free Index [00:00] Richard Sheppard Interview Part 1  [47:20] Voicemail 1 [48:23] The Judge's Corner [1:02:24] Voicemail 2 [1:03:08] Writing Challenge Winners [1:06:18] Voicemail 3 [1:07:08] Richard Sheppard Interview Part 2 Join us next month when we talk to author Stephen Cox about swords and sorcery in Fritz Leiber's genre classic Swords And Deviltry, featuring two of fantasy's greatest heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and Stephen's latest novel Our Child Of Two Worlds.
We're joined on this episode by Jo Zebedee, author of several novels, including the Abendau space opera trilogy, the dystopian Inish Carraig and the Irish fantasy Waters And The Wild. Jo talks to us about Klara And The Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro's 2020 novel about a sickly young girl who purchases a robotic "Artificial Friend" called Klara. Klara sets about trying to heal her human owner by using some very strange logic. Jo talks with us about how the book, despite being told from a robot's POV, shows us how to live the most human of lives. We also touch on themes of science vs engineering, the human heart, and whether the book is really the dystopian fiction that it's marketed as. Jo also talks with us about her new novel The Wildest Hunt, published by Inspired Quill, and about her own body of work. We touch on male and female lead characters, the strong Northern Irish element running through her books, and the difficulties of writing as a career, and what we can do to mitigate that. We'll also stop by at The Judge's Corner to take a bite into the meaty topic of Food and the Law, we'll hear a reading of Little Match(maker) Girl, Peter V's winning entry from the January 75-word writing challenge, and get critical new information about the Jupiterian invasion of Slish Wood. Further Reading Service With A Smile in Klara And The Sun Jo Zebedee's Website Join SFF Chronicles for free The End Of All Things by Juliana Spink Mills - Kraxon Magazine's story of the year for 2021 Index [00:00 - 43:21] Jo Zebedee Interview Part 1 [43:22 - 44:20] Voicemail #1 [44:20 - 57:16] The Judge's Corner [57:22 - 58:13] Voicemail #2 [58:13 - 59:42] Writing Challenge Winners [59:47 - 1:00:43] Voicemail #3 [1:00:47 - 1:38:44] Jo Zebedee Interview Part 2 And join us next month, when we'll be discussing the classic horror-comedy film An American Werewolf In London with the writer and podcaster Richard Sheppard.
We were joined on this episode by Stephen Palmer, author of several genre novels including Memory Seed, Tommy Catkins, The Girl With Two Souls, and many more. His latest novel, Monique Orphan, was published in November 2021 by Infinite Press. Stephen spoke with us about Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. We discussed the novel's call to action on the part of the protagonist, its rich and complex themes, whether it really succeeds in laying down its atheist credentials, and how Pullman drew the narrative out of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.  Stephen talks about his own long career, including his latest novel Monique Orphan, the importance for writers of having something to say, and the equal but infuriating importance of luck to a career in writing. We also stop by at The Judge's Corner to learn about copyright, hear the winning entry from December's 75-word writing challenge, by Cat's Cradle, and listen to some odd voicemails received by the Chronscast inbox. Links The Abyssal Awakening Of Mankind in Northern Lights and Paradise Lost Philip Pullman's Introduction to Paradise Lost Stephen Palmer's official website Join SFF Chronicles for free Index [00:00 - 59:10] Stephen Palmer interview Part 1 [59:15 - 59:44] Voicemail #1 [59:45 - 1:17:45] The Judge's Corner [1:17:46 - 1:18:12] Voicemail #2 [1:18:13 - 1:19:51] Writing Challenge Winner [1:19:52 - 1:20:24] Voicemail #3 [1:20:28 - 1:49:05] Stephen Palmer interview Part 2
Dan Jones and Chris Bean introduce Chronscast, the official podcast of SFF Chronicles, the world's largest science fiction & fantasy (and horror!) community, with over 20,000 members and growing. In episode 0, we give an overview of season 1, outlining what people can expect from Chronscast, why we're doing it, and how it links back to SFF Chronicles. As SFF Chronicles (or "Chrons" as we call it) has a large writing community embedded in it, we'll be taking a look at some of the great genre books (and the occasional film) from the perspective of writers, trying to figure out why something works (or doesn't), and what we can learn from it.  Each episode we'll have a special guest who'll help us through the text of that month, and who will also talk to us about their own work and journey. Our guests will include authors, teachers, publishers, literary agents, and other podcasters. Further Reading Read Dan's blogs, short fiction, and essays at danjonesbooks.club  Read Chris's blogs and flash fiction at beanwriting.com And join the world's largest SFF community for free at sffchronicles.com
Comments (1)

Douglas Van Aartsen

This podcast is a wonder of a deep dive into great SF and Fantasy books. Recommended for serious readers

Nov 8th
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