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A Readers’ Advisory Podcast about becoming better library staff by reading every genre, whether we like them or not! Every month we read books from a new, randomly picked genre; then on the podcast we discuss our reading choices, experiences, opinions, appeal factors, and other related topics as friends and library workers.
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From the elusive transcendental logic of Mulholland Drive, to Showgirls’ sly satirical embrace of exploitation and excess, to the assumption in Southland Tales that its audience has already read the six-volume source material, some films are simply more “cruel” on their audiences than others. So, please, lie back and let The Cultists be your guides through the paralyzing and perplexing void of arthouse, experimental, avant-garde, "cult,” and otherwise just generally weird WTF cinema. Because ...
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When you're creating your world and bringing it into a story, how much do you let show? Guest John Hartness joins us to discuss balancing the off-page and on-page elements, and how that balance might shift based on what kind of a world you're working in and what sort of a story you're telling. How do you ensure that the worldbuilding serves a purpo…
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This episode we’re discussing our 2024 Reading Resolutions (and Rants)! We talk about how we’ve already failed our 2024 reading resolutions, audio books, short stories, reading long things, not being able to read long things, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podca…
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We've talked before about the difference between aesthetic-driven genres, like sci-fi and fantasy, and structure-driven genres, like mystery and romance. So what happens when you want to build a world just ripe for all your favorite romance tropes? How can your world create the obstacles to your characters getting their happy-ever-after? Guest Gwen…
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This episode we’re discussing the fiction genre of Romantic Comedies! We talk about the difference between “fun” and “funny,” crossover romance genres, cataloguing romance fiction, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Ferr…
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When you've put your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into building a world -- what happens when you then have to leave it behind? Most SFF authors will, at some point, close up their work in one world and start building a new one, but that comes with its own set of challenges! You know the old world so well; it's become comfy and familiar. The…
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When you're creating tomes of information about your world -- spreadsheets of demographics, maps at every level of geography, tomes of lore -- how do you keep tabs on it all? How much can you keep in your head, and how much has to be written down, codified, and carefully tracked? In this episode, we explore our tools of worldbuilding. We use all so…
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Why do we worldbuild the way that we worldbuild? The start of a new year seems like a great time to take a zoomed-out view of how we do this thing that we do. In this episode, we consider, contemplate, and cogitate on the major concepts that guide our worldbuilding. Why is it important to us? What parts of it are important for us, and help us find …
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All aboard! This episode we’re discussing the non-fiction genre of Transportation and Transit! We talk trains, buses, bicycles, spaceships, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Ferri | Meghan Whyte | Matthew Murray | Jam E…
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In this final episode of 2023, we have a momentous announcement! Rowenna Miller is stepping down as a full-time co-host of the podcast, because... well, life! It happens to us all sooner or later. But fear not! Rowenna will still be joining us from time to time, and she's still working with us on the Traveling Light anthology. And we're welcoming a…
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This episode we’re discussing our Favourite Reads of 2023! We talk about our favourite fiction and non-fiction books we read this year! Plus: Our favourite comics, video games, documentaries, podcasts, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast delivery system. In t…
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It's another listener Q&A episode! Many thanks to the folks who submitted their questions! In this episode, we tackle some things that can block and stymie your worldbuilding, how to approach research that's not really in your preferred milieu, and some details about how we interact with our guests. Also, learn what your hosts' favorite holiday pie…
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This episode we’re discussing the fiction genre of Suspense! We talk about crime, mysteries, horror, and even suspense! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Ferri | Meghan Whyte | Matthew Murray | Jam Edwards Things We Read (or trie…
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Worldbuilding is great! You get to make all the choices! On the other hand... you have to make all the choices. "Choose, don't presume" has long been our ethos on this podcast, but does choosing always mean making the weirdest possible choice? Does every choice have to Make A Statement? Does an "anything goes" approach to worldbuilding actually mak…
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What About Crowdfunded Comics? By Matthew Murray 🦇 and Mara L. Thacker Published in Comic Books, Special Collections, and the Academic Library edited by Brian Flota and Kate Morris Read the full book chapter. Notes Caitlin McGurk and Jenny E Robb, “Comics in Special Collections: Purposeful Collection Development for Promoting Inclusive History,” in…
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The Cultists are back! And in honor of The Resurrection, on this week’s annotated deep-dive, The Cutlists Present Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters (1984). A humble little film of grandiose origins (including a writer born into a family tree of generations of ghost hunters, a un-producable fever dream of a first draft, a 13 month time budget, and a die h…
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Everyone knows that writing is writing. And everyone knows that authors are super great at finding things to distract us from our writing. But under what circumstances is not-writing essential to writing? Guest Mur Lafferty joins us to explore the underpinnings of the writing process! From research and concept-noodling to moodboards, playlists, and…
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This episode we’re discussing the non-fiction genre of Crafts and Crafting! We talk about art vs craft, makerspaces vs crafting spaces, the challenges of trying new crafts, academic crafting, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episod…
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When the glorious hero calls for his allies to follow him into battle... why should they? And how can that hero convince them? In this extremely-niche-themed episode, guest Anna Smith Spark joins us to explore the interplay of language and leadership! In fiction, we love a great, rousing speech -- but how realistic is that stirring moment? (And do …
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A lot of work and thought can go into worldbuilding, but sometimes, you just have to go with what feels right. In this episode, guest Seanan McGuire joins us to explore how writers can make the most of their worldbuilding flow and lean into their personal resonance. How can writers develop worldbuilding instinct? Why does worldbuilding come easily …
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This episode we’re discussing the fiction genre of Horror! We talk about fear, control, Goosebumps, bad dogs, horror-comedy, creepypasta, the apocalypse, lizard romance, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode An…
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This one's for the folks who don't want to spend a few eons building their world before they can start their story. Author and game designer James L. Sutter joins us to share some quick-and-dirty methods for getting the worldbuilding going! In this episode, we explore the question of how much worldbuilding is necessary -- and when it's necessary. I…
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This episode it’s time for One Book One Podcast as we discuss the novel Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. We talk about spoilers, horse operas, spoilers, relationships, spoilers, queer coming-of-age stories, and spoilers. Plus: Spoilers! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google…
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Shiny swords, sharpshooting archers, magically-assisted martial arts: all these things are staples of fantasy literature. But how do you do fights right? Guest SL Huang joins us to discuss all the pointy bits! In this episode, we think not just about the technology and technicalities of fighting, but also how combat fits into (or goes against the g…
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This episode we’re talking about the format of Lyric Poetry! We talk about reading poetry out loud, translation, French Canadian dialects, and more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Ferri | Meghan Whyte | Matth…
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Hobbies and leisure activities aren't just neat ways to give your characters something to do in-between plot beats -- they can also communicate a lot to the reader about the world you're building! Developing hobbies and entertainment in a world also touches on what that culture thinks about work, income, community, and many other components of soci…
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This episode it’s time for our Summer 2023 Media Update! We talk about chairs, orangutans, weird music, and 17 novellas! Plus, lots more! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Ferri | Meghan Whyte | Matthew Murray |…
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Our discussion of integrating religion and faith into your fantastical world continues! In this episode, guest Aparna Verma joins us to examine the deep connections between religious belief and the choices your characters make. How do they negotiate their relationship with their faith and the stories that go along with it? What happens when, thanks…
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This episode we’re talking about the fiction genre of Pulp! We talk about aliens, Mounties, sleuths, and vigilantes as discuss what counts as pulp and what doesn’t! You can download the podcast directly, find it on Libsyn, or get it through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or your favourite podcast delivery system. In this episode Anna Fe…
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What role do myths play in culture and tradition? Often, mythology is, itself, a form of worldbuilding, a way that people use story to make sense of the world around them. So how do we incorporate all of that into our fictional worlds? Guest Ehigbor Okosun joins us to discuss! Myths and cultural stories can speak so much about the people they origi…
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No new episode this week, but we'll still be releasing two episodes this month! Vote in our 2023 Battle of the Books! Vote for which we should read! Meghan - Spear by Nicola Griffith Jam - Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey Matthew - Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History by Lea Ypi Anna - The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna L…
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What do your characters believe? Like, really truly deeply believe? Is it part of a codified religion? Is it a faith without much external structure? Do they trust entirely in science, or in magic, or in a code of ethics? In this episode, we explore the interplay of religion and point-of-view. The role that religion and faith play in your world can…
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This episode we’re giving our book pitches for our Battle of the Books 2023! Each of us has picked one title that we think we should all read and discuss and you get to vote for which one it is! Will we read Spear by Nicola Griffith, Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey, Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History by Lea Ypi, or The Mushroom …
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In our continuing exploration of aesthetic and its interplay with worldbuilding, we're thinking about one spectrum with labels that often get applied to fantasy novels: the darkness and the light. Guest M.J. Kuhn joins us to discuss the societal components and cultural standards that can make a world feel further toward one end or the other of that…
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