Monthly Archives: September 2021

Ep074 – Dreadnought by April Daniels

Dreadnought by April Daniels

A modern superhero story. Dreadnought features Danny, our protagonist who gets the superhero mantel thrust upon her. But with the mantel came a body change. Danny physically become a woman, her ideal body. The story of Dreadnought follows Danny as she deals with the good and bad of not only having to take up the role of the most powerful superhero in the world but also coming out as a trans woman.

Discussed this Episode

  • The A and B plots
    • The A plot is a typical superhero mystery story. Who killed Dreadnought? How do we find the killer? In the A plot we explore why Danny wants to be a hero, how Danny seeks to be and do good.
    • The B plot is different from the typical superhero story. Typical superhero origin stories follow a character wanting to return to normalcy, but the mantel gives Danny her ideal body. Danny does not want to go back. The B plot follows Danny’s transition and her family’s reaction to her becoming a woman.
  • Danny’s very real story
    • How do you tell a real story? Use honesty. Within the B plot Danny is not accepted at home, but there are contradictions within this non-acceptance. For example Danny has a good scene with her mother when they go bra shopping, and suddenly the mother could be a supportive figure.
    • The B story is a retelling of many coming out stories. From initial hinting from Danny to the final confrontation where the parents say the all too real “how could you make this decision about us.” These are lines taken from real life.
    • Those who have gone through a coming out story will find validation in this book. Those who have not gone through a coming out story will experience first hand the frustrations, sadnesses, and triumphs of fighting to be yourself


Leave it to the Prose

We are leave it to the prose, a book discussion podcast where we break down the critical aspects of a work of fiction from a reader and writer perspective.

Ep073 – All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Martha Wells is an accomplished author, active since 1993. All Systems Red is the first work in the Murderbot series, a series that follows Murderbot as they are the security unit on a seemingly harmless planet. Of course the planet is not as harmless as it was reported to be, and as such a mystery unfolds as the scientist come into conflict with another dangerous faction on the planet. All Systems Red won the Hugo and Nebula Award for Best Novella.

Discussed This Episode

  • What makes an award-winning work? – How Murderbot Shines.
    • All Systems Red contains a fine story, but the character of Murderbot shines through. Murderbot is an incredibly awkward security (killing-machine) robot, which stands in stark contrast to the assumption of what the reader would assume to be a murder-machine.
    • Murderbot is shown in various social situations where expectations of the scientists and Murderbot are on very different views. For example, the scientists believe that Murderbot would be more comfortable not wearing their helmet, but in fact Murderbot would prefer to wear their helmet. We see a growth in character as Murderbot slowly becomes more comfortable with the scientists. Especially in the beginning we get shown moments of Murderbot saying or acting in the wrong way, and feel the social cringe of how Murderbot would just want to go back to their cube and disappear.
    • The awkward feelings of Murderbot are often conveyed through extended monologues in Murderbot’s narrative of over analyzing the situation. We feel Murderbot’s extended train of thought, following the anxiety of the social interactions.
  • The growth of Murderbot
    • Through the reactions Murderbot has to the environment around them, we see Murderbot change their behavior; but Murderbot’s growth is shown through reactions and not necessarily like the traditional arc where Murderbot is the active decision choice.
    • Reactions of Murderbot transitions from “I am here for this contract” to “I don’t want to be beholden to a contract.”
    • The model of Agency/Capability/Likability change: Agency changes from Murderbot having no agency to more agency.

Also Mentioned in this Episode

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