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.

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The Rings Of Saturn – Chapter 2

Last week Emmanuel, a failed artist, began a series of epistolary correspondence to a woman from a previous life in London. His letters related his abandonment of London for Madrid, where he planned to drink himself to death. His plans were stalled when he ran into his artistic hero, Edourado del Bosques, in Room 67 of the Museo Del Prado. Bosques, his hands rendered incapable by old age, asks Emmanuel to be his amanuensis. And to his disbelief, Emmanuel has a reason to go on living.


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Literature Long Read: Utter Dismemberment in House Of Leaves

There is a very strange and small subgenre of literature that is so esoteric and self-reflexive that conventional attempts at categorisation seem to be powerless to define it. The Norwegian academic Espen Aarseth, in attempting to define the outer limits of literary potential made possible by advances in electronic media, noted such texts as ergodic literature; texts which required a non-trivial amount of effort to complete and/or penetrate. That’s not necessarily anything new. Moby Dick requires a reasonable amount of investment from the reader; ditto War And Peace, or Ulysses, or the poetry of Ezra Pound, and much more. But in essence these texts are still mostly bound by the conventions of the printed word; you read the words in the order you find them, and piece together the narrative in a linear fashion. Ergodic (meaning “the path of work”) literature requires more overt efforts on the part of the reader. One book has acted as the poster child for this strange new genre for over twenty years now; Mark Danielewski’s House Of Leaves.

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The Rings Of Saturn – Chapter 1

After publishing two novellas last year I’ve been encouraged to serialise another here on the blog. This novella was concocted after one of my visits to Madrid, one of my favourite places. I’ve visited Madrid around a dozen times, and I almost always get the hankering to visit the magnificent Museo Del Prado, especially as its “free entry after 6pm” caters for the after-work crowd. I’ve always been fascinated, repulsed and drawn to Francisco Goya’s Saturn, one of the master works from his black period.

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Creativity in orderliness

Continuing my thoughts on the nature of the creative personality from last week, I’ve been considering how creativity can stem from orderliness. I believe it’s worth diving into these topics, because it’s well accepted that we are creatures of narrative. We all respond to the power of narratives and storylines when they are well told and they reflect something that approaches the truth of the world as we perceive and/or experience it. And that acceptance of the power narrative seems to cut across personalities. I know scientists and engineers who believe they have no need for written fiction, but they still love films and movies. They have to get their spiritual kicks from somewhere, I suppose.

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Chronscast Season 1 Episode 3 – An American Werewolf In London!

The latest episode of Chronscast is live! For this episode Chris and I were 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.

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Creative Creatives

Creativity seems to be a fairly easy thing to define on the face of it. Those of us who are active in the pursuit of the creative arts will quite happily describe ourselves as creative, and the more po-faced of us will even deploy the word as a noun: we’re creatives, dahling.

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Literature Long Read: You Better Watch Yourself

In the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill 2 the titular character Bill, played by David Carradine, delivers a withering critique of Superman, saying that Clark Kent – a clumsy, skittish, slightly nerdy and shy figure – is Superman’s critique on the human race; that that personality is what’s needed to fit in. It’s a flawed critique, because it comes from a mindset that presumes that social hierarchies can only be formed through the application – and therefore the acquisition – of brute force and power. Superman is a God, and could easily subjugate the human race, goes the theory. But perhaps that critique is to be expected from a film that has the depth of a 90s beat ‘em up game (albeit a stylish one, admittedly) – Uma Thurman’s Bride goes through the levels, dispatching ever-more dangerous opponents and bad guys until she faces the Big Boss, who can only be defeated using a particular special move. It misses the psychological truth of Superman, and yet it simultaneously makes a very good point. Superman is popular precisely because he doesn’t subjugate the human race, despite his apparent ability to do so. And Bill’s right – his Clark Kent persona prevents him from doing so. What happens if you spend too much time in the costume? What are the psychological dangers of never taking it off? That’s what Watchmen is about.

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Chronscast Goes Live!

At long last Chronscast goes live today, with episodes 0 and 1 released!

Episode 0 serves as an hors d’oeuvre to the main podcast, telling listeners what we’re about and introducing Chris and myself. We also talk about our rationale for starting Chronscast, and how it links back to SFF Chronicles, and what listeners can expect.

For episode 1, Chris and I were joined on 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. And he stopped by here in December to promote it.

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.

If you’re into it, please make sure you like, share and subscribe – and where possible please leave a review with your podcast provider as this will help massively with promotion and visibility.

To listen to Chronscast, check your podcast provider, or use the links below. We are hosted by Anchor by Spotify, but we are also listed at the places below.

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