Furyborn, book one of The Empirium Trilogy, is the latest YA fantasy novel from Claire Legrand. It is a tale of elemental magic, a prophecy of two queens, and two young women who live a thousand years apart. Claire and Kyle are happy to dive in after hearing it recommended so strongly by the Unassigned Reading podcast. Kyle begins by discussing the western origins of fantasy literature and how the genre’s stories became so male dominated, before telling his own tale of two mighty queens: Ireland’s Grace O’Malley and England’s Elizabeth I. Claire then talks about Legrand’s inspiration for writing the story, her motivation for writing “unlikable” female heroes, and what Legrand hopes people take away from her book. Kyle and Claire conclude with their thoughts on the book, who would like it, and what about it makes it so YA.
Here’s a look back at an episode from last summer, and one of our favorite books…
A fun bit of DSRA trivia: The birthdays of Claire White and Kyle Willoughby are only 5 days apart! We’ve decided to celebrate this special time by taking a break from current nerdy topics and enjoying some all-time favorites. Claire’s pick is Treasure Island, the pirate adventure tale by Robert Louis Stevens. She begins the episode by unraveling how pirates became so beloved in our popular culture and the role that Steven’s novel played in this. Kyle jumps in with a look at the life of author and what inspired him to write this oft-adapted classic. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on not only the book, but also the 1996 film adaptation, Muppet Treasure Island.Show Notes
The Terror is a new series from AMC which gives a supernatural twist to the story of the doomed Arctic explorers on the Franklin expedition of 1845. Claire explains what the Northwest Passage is and why it was so sought after by the British Empire. Kyle discuses the novel by Dan Simmons which the show is based on and how show runners Dave Kajganich and Soo Hugh managed to recreate the Arctic. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the show, survival horror and some tips for watching.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the collectible card game, Magic: the Gathering. Everyone here at DSRA plays MtG and we were all excited to “research” with a Dominaria Booster Draft tournament. We were also delighted to partner with The Nifty Nerd and drink some great planeswalker themed cocktails while we played. Kyle begins the episode with a look at the origin of card games and the use of them in storytelling. Claire then talks about the creation of MtG by Richard Garfield at Wizards of the Coast and explains why it was so crucial for the company at the time. Our hosts conclude with how they were introduced to Magic, how the spells you cast reflect your personality, and their experience playing in the tournament.
Check out our companion piece at The Nifty Nerd!
It’s been 14 years since the first Incredibles gave us Pixar’s family centered take on the superhero genre. Director Brad Bird is back at the helm for the sequel and the characters pick up right where they left off. Claire takes this opportunity to talk about the development of the nuclear family in western culture, and the promotion of it during the cold war. Kyle describes how a young boy from Montana lucked out by meeting a giant from Disney’s golden age. He also considers and counters the idea that Bird’s films support a Randian philosophy. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the movie, the ideas behind it, and how the character’s powers reflect who they are.
We’re back with our second Birthdays Spectacular episode! Age went first, now it’s time for beauty! (Note: according to Kyle…) And there isn’t a more beautiful pick to be had in the year 1989 than the lauded science fiction novel “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons. Highly decorated when it was first released, “Hyperion” has largely since been forgotten outside of the hardcore Sci-Fi community. The story is a sort of Canterbury Tales in space and explores the dark pasts of six pilgrims on a dangerous journey. Kyle delves into the history of the “Frame Narrative” from which Hyperion takes its structure. Claire discusses Dan Simmons, the path he chose for himself as a writer, and why he is not a household name. The hosts wrap up with a discussion of their favorite Frame Narrative stories, and why they think Hyperion has been denied greater recognition over the years.