War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells is one of the first and greatest science fiction novels of all time. The radio drama adaptation performed by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre is perhaps the most acclaimed and infamous broadcast of the medium. James begins by taking us through the time period surrounding “The Black War” that the British Empire waged in Tasmania and how that conflict inspired H.G. Wells to write about Martians that had similar invasion plans for England. Kyle (that’s right–Kyle Willoughby!) continues with a more light hearted segment about the beginnings of drama on radio, and the process of adapting the classic sci-fi novel into a radio program that may or may not have panicked millions. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the show, and why we’re pairing it with BBC Radio’s production of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This episode includes a promo for The Once and Future Nerd podcast.
Halloween is almost here! It’s time for Coraline. The film was directed by Henry Selick, and is based on a novella by Neil Gaiman. James begins by explaining that the story borrows from a long line of coming-of-age fairy tales. He then compares stories from the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Madam d’Aulnoy, and Gaiman’s primary inspiration — Victorian author Lucy Clifford. Next, Claire discusses the career of Henry Selick and why Neil Gaiman entrusted him with the movie rights. She also describes the hurdles that Laika Studios overcame to survive, and the difficulty they faced making something so technically and commercially challenging. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the film, and the Victorian connections between Coraline and Dracula. This episode features an ad from The Sartorial Geek podcast.
Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of the most influential books of horror ever written. It’s October, and right now, that’s what we’re about. Claire begins with an overview of vampire legends across the millennia. Next she focuses in on the real life conditions and circumstances that led to such widespread belief in the bloodsucking monsters. James takes a look at the life of the notoriously private and secretive author, Bram Stoker. He then considers the particular influences in contemporary literature and folklore that helped Stoker give birth to the character of Dracula. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the book and what’s so compelling about vampires. This episode features an ad from the Dear Murder Street podcast.
We’re following up our episode on Mobile Suit Gundam with another one of the most pivotal anime ever made– Neon Genesis Evangelion. Claire starts by exploring why giant robots are such a huge part of Japanese culture, including the powerful idea of the samurai. She then goes through the different genres that make up Neon Genesis Evangelion. James explains why it was unlike the other critically acclaimed anime that came before it. He also discusses creator Hideaki Anno’s career and psychological themes. Our host’s conclude with their thoughts on the inner lives of the characters, the show’s fan service and how the series is a response to its era.
When Mobile Suit Gundam came out in 1979 it changed Japanese pop culture and the perception of what Giant Robots could be. The team at DSRA couldn’t be more excited to delve into one of the most beloved animes. James starts off by going through all of the different genres that led to creator Yoshiyuki Tomino creating the first real robot mecha. Claire then talks about why Gundam is such a popular work and the themes that Tomino explored in the show. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on how the series holds up today, and how it pairs with our next episode on Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Die is a comic book created by writer, Kieron Gillen and artist, Stephanie Hans, about five adults in our world compelled to return to the horror of a fantasy world that they barely escaped in their youth. The series is published by Image Comics and was released to rave reviews in 2018. James uses this opportunity to tackle a set of questions about the role of fantasy that came up in our discussion of The NeverEnding Story: Why do people enter imaginary worlds? How does it change them? And why does this activity cause some to fear? He begins by discussing the paracosms (detailed imaginary worlds) created by children. Claire jumps in and describes Gillen’s collaboration with Stephanie Hans, the revelation that sparked the series, and how his fears, about the life lost in his youth to role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, shaped the characters and world of Die. Our hosts conclude by discussing the shared themes of The NeverEnding Story and Die, and how a love of imaginary worlds has shaped their own lives.