Episode 479 - Big ideas in fiction

May 18, 2020

My original idea for this Quackcast was: “Genre fiction is the best place to explore ideas, straight fiction doesn't do it as well” What I meant was that diverting from straight reality in fiction makes it easier to conceptualise, simplify and explain complicated ideas to a general audience for a whole number of reasons. There was some disagreement between Tantz and I because I expressed myself poorly so she'd thought that I was saying it was much easier to write SciFi and fantasy (Genre fiction), and it was easier to write about big ideas, while straight fiction wasn't good for that- Which is fair enough! My initial statement is so badly worded that's a valid interpretation! Fortunately Banes and Pit were on hand to smooth things out and explain things properly. Pit mediated between us and Banes conceptualised my concept FAR, far better than I did! Unfortunately you don't get much of that disagreement on the Quackcast. You DO get a bit of it on the PATREON only video however ^_^

Topics and Show Notes

To get back to things though: Diverting from straight reality in fiction, whether that's into a full on genre style or just adding unrealistic elements, allows you to symbolically handle big ideas like death, mortality, racism, slavery, predestination, religion etc in a way where you can be very specific about what you want to say about those ideas, more so than in straight fiction because you have more control over the world you're presenting. That's not to say that all “genre” fiction tackles big ideas or is always good at doing it when it does, or that straight fiction doesn't tackle big ideas or does it badly when it tries to. “Genre” fiction also has the advantage of being able to separate its ideas from current realities of politics and culture which might get in the way of people being receptive to the ideas that it presents.

A Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), is a good example of this: The big idea presented in the book is that women's place in society, their rights and humanity, can so easily be wiped out overnight, the experience is dehumanising and horrible, and it can happen anywhere at any time. It uses a Scifi setting to do this, which makes the scenario seem very possible but also accessible to a mass audience. There have been numerous realistic and true stories written about the experience of women when Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, or when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan in the 90s, and yet none have had the reach or the general acceptance of A Handmaid's Tale.
The closest would be Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi), but in it's case it still employs diversions from reality in its style, and since it's specifically about Iran people are far less likely to apply those ideas more generally.

Early Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes were goldmines for “Big Ideas”! What're some of your fave “genre” fiction that tackles big idea better than other kinds of fiction?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Fated Feather: Come aboard me hearties! Cast off and sail away into the balmy tropical sunshine, as warm waters lap the hull, the bow wave glitters in the sunshine, the rigging creaks in the warm breeze, and seafoam floats by in our wake. Today is the time for adventure on the green seas.


Topics and shownotes

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Links

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Featured comic:
Tangkal English - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/may/12/featured-comic-tangkal-english/

Featured music:
Fated Feather - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Fated_Feather/, by Iagojester, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

Episode 478 - Pity da fool!

May 11, 2020

3 likes, 3 comments

Fools are an iconic character trope and I wanted to explore them. They're a lot more varied and interesting than is readily apparent. There's a LOT more too a fool than what something like TV tropes suggests, unless you get into the subtypes… And that's what we explored in this free-form discussion. I introduced the idea in the Patreon only video where Tantz, Banes, Pt and I try and get a handle on the idea for the first time, so that's a good behind the scenes insight into what goes on!

Episode 471 - Fantasy

Mar 23, 2020

2 likes, 0 comments

Today we're having a chat about fantasy fiction! Mainly books and the fantasy writing that inspired us and that we love! Faves like Tolkien, Fritz Leiber and Piers Anthony! Just to define, we're talking swords, elves, armour, dragons etc, in a “medieval” context, generally European. As a subset there's native, Arabian, Asian, Mayan etc, also high fantasy, low fantasy, sword and sorcery, historical fantasy and even mythology…. And then techno fantasy, contemporary fantasy, steampunk, fantasy cyberpunk and so on… but we mainly stick to the mainstream stuff and only just touch on the weird little variations for now.

Episode 455 - Religion in fiction

Dec 2, 2019

4 likes, 2 comments

We're talking about how religion is portrayed in fiction and a bit about WHY. This was a surprisingly fascinating topic. I came up with the idea while watching the old 2000s SciFi series Andromeda: one of the alien characters there is sort of a space Buddhist, and I felt like that was a pretty common thing in American TV Scifi, so I wondered about what other kinds of religious tropes exist in contemporary fiction, fantasy and other SciFi worlds.

Episode 418 - Many kinds of love

Mar 18, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

There are many kinds love. Love is a great thing to include in your story for all sorts of reasons: it's an easy way to develop characters, give a character something to strive for, it's universally relatable, You can use it for tension, all sorts of things! There are different kinds of relationships you can use as well, not just heterosexual or homosexual relationships and the common trope of showing the beginning of a relationship, you can show crushes, established relationships, platonic relationships, relationships collapsing and exes coming together. For this topic we were loosely inspired by Tantz and Emma's great newsposts about romance and platonic love. We chat about luuuurv and tricks like lurv triangles!

Episode 381 - site upgrades and messing with creators

Jul 2, 2018

4 likes, 4 comments

We talk about all the new upgrades that DD has just gotten: the new comment notification and reply features (a huge thank you to all who donated and helped out with that!!!), our new notification icons, getting HTTPS on the site, moving to the new ad system after the fall of Project wonderful, maybe starting a Patreon for DD, and Tantz's Sunday Twitter features. We also chat about Tantz's latest newspost and Mks Monster's thread that it was based on: basically the idea of forcing creators into boxes. The idea that women should create certain kinds of work and men should create others. Gunwallace gave us a lovely theme to Sky Commander. This is a very futuristic sounding track, at first glance it’s a little modern for the 1940s set comic but I like to think of it as the flight theme of the Sky Commander as he zooms through the clouds in his shiny metal Streamline Moderne gear, producing an expanding vapour trail behind him, crisp and white against the eggshell blue sky.

Episode 333 - Retcon the retcon

Jul 24, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

The thing with retcons is that the author tends to get an idea which makes them want to go back over their story and redo or tweak the whole thing again, that's what's happened here… well sort off. Banes had some more ideas on the subject that he wanted to share, so we dove into the whole thing again! We were helped by a Websnark article on the subject linked to us by Kam in a comment on the last retcon Quackcast. It's a useful guide, breaking down the different kinds of retcon into five types: Category One: Now Revealed! A Lost Tale of the Hero! Category Two: The Story You Thought You Knew! Category Three: The Real Story You Thought You Knew! Category Four: The Story You Thought You Knew Was Right, But Now There's Been A Change! Category Five: Meet the New Hero, Not The Same As The Old Hero Because That Never Happened! In this Quackcast we expand upon those concepts. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Lego Space - It’s Block time! The sound here brings to mind the techno-mechanistic world of Lego, and especially the bright and glittering transparent blocky world of SPACE lego, vectors, angles, and joins!

Episode 242 - Scary Monsters or Serial Creeps

Oct 26, 2015

5 likes, 0 comments

Continuing with our Halloween themed Quackcasts for the month of October, for Quackcast we decided to try and record a full length video of the event, with most of us dressed in hastily assembled costumes. The subject was about the different kinds of antagonist in horror films and which ones people like the best. We had many contributions from people! We even have a full length video of the entire Quackcast. It's not great because I'm STILL learning with this stuff but here it is, probably the only full length vid of a quackcast I will ever do: https://youtu.be/Q8ZSBFqgXiE Gunwallace has given us a smoky, groovy, late night rocking tune for the vampy comic Blood Bound!


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