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.

E13 – John Carpenter's The Thing with Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey Chronscast

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 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
  1. E13 – John Carpenter's The Thing with Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey
  2. E12 – Ghost Stories For Christmas with Alison Littlewood
  3. E11 – The Left Hand Of Darkness with Emily Inkpen
  4. E9 – Lud In The Mist with Juliet E. McKenna
  5. E8 – Inish Carraig with Naomi Foyle

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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