08: Children of Earth and Sky – A History of Eastern Europe (with a quarter turn to the fantastical)
Do you prefer your history with a dash of fantasy? Kyle and Claire certainly do. The setting for Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest book, Children of Earth and Sky, resembles Europe after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Claire outlines the book’s key historical conflicts, including a notorious city of Croatian pirates and their long fight with the Ottoman Empire. Kyle describes how Kay went from being an intern for Christopher Tolkien to a member of the Order of Canada. To top off the show, they discuss the book’s handling of sex, suspense, and an intriguing time in history.
Sometimes the question “what if…?” leads to dark and compelling places. What if the Axis powers had won World War II and now ruled the United States? Amazon’s hit show, The Man in the High Castle, based on the Philip K. Dick novella, dares to explore an answer. Claire and Kyle discuss Western civilization’s long love of alternate histories, and the journey of producing and marketing a story about victorious Nazis. They close with their thoughts on the show, the book, and how the late Philip K. Dick deserves a standing ovation.
Kyle and Claire dive into the Netflix Original Series, Daredevil. Claire takes us on a tour of the comics and discusses the many friends, enemies, and lovers that have made Matt Murdock the man he is today. It isn’t easy being Daredevil’s friend—or his enemy. Kyle covers the planning and production of the show, including the negotiations that brought the television rights back to Marvel. He also gushes over some of the best fight choreography in the business. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on a violent show made lovingly by comic book fans for comic book fans.
With the release of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Kyle and Claire investigate the influences that led to the best selling first book in the series. It is almost literally a “tale as old as time”. Kyle relates the story of the 18th century book, Beauty and the Beast and the more popular adaptation that soon followed. Claire traces the arrival and impact of Young Adult Literature from the 1960s until today. They wrap up with their thoughts on A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the marvel of its 4000 year-old heritage.
In the wake of the film, X-Men: Apocalypse, Kyle and Claire get into the origins of the X-Men and the rivalry between Marvel and Fox Studios. Kyle breaks down the creation of the X-Men comics in the 1960s and 70s, and explains how the Civil Rights Movement influences their stories to this day. In addition to the juicy gossip of Marvel versus Fox, Claire examines the contributions of director Bryan Singer — “The Godfather of Superhero Movies”. They end the show with a discussion of the film itself, and how the talented Michael Fassbender can’t keep them from missing Ian McKellen.
With the release of its likely final installment, Claire and Kyle take a look at the Uncharted videogame series. It’s hard to see the main character, Drake, without thinking of Indiana Jones. Claire delves into the cartoon strips, B – movies, and adventure films that birthed one of America’s greatest fictional heroes. Along the way she traces the transformation of the archaeologist/treasure hunter over time–he didn’t always get the girl. Next, Kyle discusses the beginning of Naughty Dog Studios and the transition they made from 3D platform adventures with a bandicoot, to cinematic action/adventure games. They finish with their fond memories of Naughty Dog games, what the studio has achieved with Uncharted, and a few thoughts on how homage to classic films can go too far.