Chronscast Episode 4 – Swords & Deviltry!

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’s with us to take a dive 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 strangehold 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.

S1 E9 – Lud In The Mist with Juliet E. McKenna Chronscast

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
  1. S1 E9 – Lud In The Mist with Juliet E. McKenna
  2. S1 E8 – Inish Carraig with Naomi Foyle
  3. S1 E7 – Mythago Wood with John Jarrold
  4. S1 E6 – House Of Leaves with Ed Wilson
  5. S1 E5 – WATCHMEN with Tade Thompson

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. I’ve read his latest work, and I believe it to be one of those rare things; a sequel that surpasses the original. To my eye it was more nuanced and sophisticated in its drawing of the characters. But perhaps that’s to be expected as the character of Cory moves from his childlike state in the first book to something approaching adulthood in the second. Best of all was the underlying message that for of our flaws, humanity is worth saving, and worth believing in. And I can’t think of a finer sentiment than that.

That rare thing: a superior sequel

Elsewhere Stephen tells us about some of the writing processes, the experience of having two literary agents, and the difficulties of publishing in the 21st century. We also discuss the issue of “Hard” SF against “Soft” SF, and current trends around this question.

Stephen Cox, author of Our Child Of Two Worlds

Elsewhere The Judge gives a fascinating talk about using the idea of defamation in writing fiction and worldbuilding. We hear Put The LeftRight Foot In Front Of The Other, Surely?, Stuart Orford’s winning entry from the March 75-word Chrons writing challenge, and there are strange reports of sorcery and dragons in Conneaghy, which for reasons unknown require us to fix them. Such is the life of the modern podcaster.

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.

Published by Dan Jones

I'm a science fiction writer and podcaster. My debut novel Man O’War was published in 2018 by Snowbooks, and I’ve had a few short stories published here and there. I also host Chronscast, the official podcast of SFF Chronicles, the world's largest science-fiction and fantasy community. Away from writing I work for the UK Space Agency on a programme of space robotics for advanced satellite and planetary exploration technologies. All of which comes in rather handy when coming up with new ideas for science fiction stories.

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