I just finished H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, and it’s helped me realise why I dislike the use of narrative elements bound to a specific time period.

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Listen to it at Variant Frequencies.

I don’t know why, but I tend to dislike stories that play on ‘gimmicks’ or current events. I’m sure these will be fascinating to anthropologists in centuries to come. But if there’s something that doesn’t interest me right now, then chances are I’m not going to be interested by a story about it, either.

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Listen to it at Escape Pod.

This has to be one of the single most enjoyable science fiction stories I’ve read in a long time.

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Today, I was discussing a number of canonical works of British literature that me and a friend are going to be tested on tomorrow. We discussed The Turn of the Screw, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, Great Expectations, Alice in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, Lord Jim, Silas Marner, and Sherlock Holmes.

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Listen to it at Escape Pod.

When Steve Eley announced on this week’s Escape Pod that the story was YA science fiction, I got excited. I’m a big fan of YA fiction, and not just because it wasn’t that long ago when I was in the target demographic for that particular genre. I believe that children’s fiction and YA fiction contains some of the strongest messages you’ll find in literature. These genres aren’t afraid to tackle the most universal and difficult themes. Lewis Carroll’s Alice books are mostly about the question, ‘Who am I?’ Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is about the question, ‘What is right? What is wrong? What should I believe?’

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Read it at Wikisource.

Real literature! Yes, I do more than listen to speculative fiction podcasts.

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Listen to it at PodCastle.

I’m all about not judging a book or story by its genre. I believe that just about any genre is capable of producing gems of storytelling, as well as unmitigated dreck. When it comes to genre, I like to think of myself as an equal rights activist.

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I generally don’t buy that many horror novels. Sometimes I’ll pick something up, if it’s a name I recognise, or a title I know is a classic. The only writer who many connect with horror that I actively follow is Stephen King. (I’m one of the few people who actually prefers his newer stuff to the stuff he wrote pre-accident.)

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Listen to it at Escape Pod.

Sometimes, people get into discussions on what ‘science fiction’ really is, or what ‘horror’ really is. This is the problem with genres that aren’t studied as much as ‘real’ literature. I like the Escape Artists definition, which is that science fiction is whatever Steve Eley thinks is science fiction.

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Listen to it at PodCastle.

This is the kind of fantasy fiction I can really get into. Not only does it give fairies, elves, dwarves, and other high fantasy rubbish a wide berth (I might come to like those things one day, but right now they’re one of my biggest literary turn-offs), but it incorporates elements of very different genres. It’s modern, it flows wonderfully, it has really cool stuff.

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