Words To That Effect

Words To That Effect

Words To That Effect: Stories of the Fiction that Shapes Popular Culture. WTTE is a narrative storytelling show, hosted and produced by Conor Reid, that explores the intriguing places where fiction, history, science, and popular culture intersect and inspire. From the Victorian past to utopian futures, dinosaurs to detectives, zombies to mummies, how does literature shape our understanding of popular culture? Find out more at https://wttepodcast.com. WTTE is a part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. Support the show and get bonus episodes and more by joining HeadStuff+ (https://headstuffpodcasts.com/show/words-to-that-effect) .

Episodes

July 1, 2022 4 mins
Unfortunately there aren't going to be any new episodes for a little while but have a listen to this short update letting you know what's going on at WTTE and where things are heading next.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Dungeons & Dragons plays a huge part in fiction and popular culture more generally, but it is often overlooked or misunderstood. In this episode I gather together an experienced Dungeon Master and some complete novices (including myself) to play D&D for the first time. Joining me to explore this new world is academic, and life-time D&D fan, Professor Curt Carbonell, who has recently published a book on the subject.  WTTE is part o...
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April 30, 2022 32 mins
From medieval ballads to the poetry of John Keats, stage productions to children’s songs, novels to comic books, silent movies to glorious technicolour, Disney classics to Kevin Costner blockbusters to Mel Brooks parodies to gritty reimaginings and lots, lots more, Robin Hood is certainly one of the most recognisable characters in all of western popular culture. Joining me to explore the legendary outlaw is Prof Valerie Johnson, f...
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March 31, 2022 27 mins
What does the word "Gothic" mean to you? Gothic cathedrals and castles? Gothic fiction? Teenage goths dressed in black? Horror and the supernatural? This episode explores the origins of the gothic and one man's lasting influence on this most important of genres. Joining me as my gothic guide is Prof Dale Townshend, Professor of Gothic Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University. WTTE is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Networ...
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 A Word To That Effect is a new series of bonus mini-episodes about a single word or phrase with a distinctly literary origin. This week: serendipity. WTTE is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. You can support the show and get bonus content and more by becoming a member of HeadStuff+. Go to HeadStuffPodcasts.com For full transcripts, links, references, and more the home of the podcast is wttepodcast.com Learn more about your...
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A Word To That Effect is a new series of bonus mini-episodes about a single word or phrase with a distinctly literary origin. This week: cliffhanger! WTTE is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. You can support the show and get bonus content and more by becoming a member of HeadStuff+. Go to HeadStuffPodcasts.com For full transcripts, links, references, and more the home of the podcast is wttepodcast.com Learn more about your ...
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February 22, 2022 33 mins
Sensation fiction was a hugely popular genre in the 1860s. The novels were sensationally popular, but they also caused a sensation, with their plots of bigamy and murder, forgery and blackmail. In so many ways the influence of sensation fiction can still be felt today. WTTE is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. You can support the show and get bonus content and more by becoming a member of HeadStuff+. Go to HeadStuffPodcasts.c...
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February 8, 2022 28 mins
Knights in shining armour, damsels in distress, castles, chivalry and courtly love, heroic quests, dragons. King Arthur, Camelot, Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail. Think of King Arthur and the medieval romance and a huge number of images and tropes and cliches spring to mind. Where does all this come from? WTTE is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network. You can support the show and get bonus content ...
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January 25, 2022 31 mins
Dragons have been around for a very long time.  They are one of the very few mythological creatures that have become absolutely central to popular culture; everyone knows what a dragon is. There are other important and well-known mythological creatures, but none are as ubiquitous as dragons, which can be found in Europe and the Americas, in classical and Biblical traditions, in ancient Indian tales and across Asian mythology.  ...
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January 18, 2022 3 mins
Words To That Effect is back! Find out what's coming up on Season 6, launching on Jan 25th Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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July 21, 2021 30 mins
There is a complex and fascinating relationship between humans and the ocean, how people and cultures across the world know and understand the sea, whether through myths and legends, through trade or fishing, exploration or entertainment.  This episode explores one particular aspect of all this - our relationship with the undersea, what lies beneath the surface of the oceans.  It is the 4th place in a loose miniseries of literar...
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June 11, 2021 65 mins
How do we use fiction in food? What does a character's choice of food reveal about them? Do you simply have to go and make a dish when it's described beautifully in a book? On this very special episode, a collaboration with the wonderful Spice Bags podcast, we discuss everything from 17th century Spanish literature to contemporary American horror, Italian detective novels to Japanese magical realism. Grab yourself a glass of Amaro...
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April 30, 2021 24 mins
The forest is a place we have very mixed feelings about. Forests can be calm and peaceful, full of ancient and natural beauty.   Until they’re not.  The forest, in so many ways, is a place we fear. They are dark and dense and overgrown, all too easy to get lost in. They hold secrets and mysteries, and creatures we’d rather not meet alone, far from home.  And if the monsters of the forest don’t get us, then the forest itself ...
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March 31, 2021 30 mins
How do we imagine and portray the desert? And what does it say about us and our relationship to each other and, crucially, to the planet we live on? In this, the second in a loosely connected series on places in fiction and popular culture, I chat to Dr Aidan Tynan about deserts in fiction and philosophy, from Mad Max to Burning Man, Nietzsche to Baudrillard,  Cormac McCarthy to China Miéville. Learn more about your ad choices. Vi...
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March 9, 2021 24 mins
 In 1905 in Paris, the publisher Pierre Laffite had an idea. His new journal Je Sais Tout had just launched and he was looking for an author who could do for his magazine, what Arthur Conan Doyle’s phenomenally popular Sherlock Holmes had done for The Strand magazine, in London. He turned to the writer Maurice Leblanc and one of the most memorable and successful characters in French popular fiction was born: the gentleman thief Ars...
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January 28, 2021 35 mins
Robots as high-tech labour-saving devices, and as usurpers of human jobs. Robots as distinctly Other and as dangerously indistinguishable from humans. Robots as a means of questioning what it is to be human, and highlighting the ethics behind the creation of artificial life.  To help me explore all of this I chatted to a roboticist who also writes about literature, and a literature professor who has worked and published extensiv...
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January 20, 2021 4 mins
A quick update episode on the new HeadStuff membership platform, HeadStuff+ Have a listen to find out more about what's on it and how you can join (although the joining bit is very straightforward - just click here).  I'm really excited to be a part of this and I hope if you are a regular listener and would like to support the show, and the network it is a part of, you'll consider becoming a member. Plus you get a load of extra s...
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December 22, 2020 28 mins
 The continent of Antarctica was only discovered two centuries ago, even if it had long been theorized. It's a place shrouded in mystery with no human history and no permanent residents. It’s a land of superlatives: the coldest, the windiest, the driest continent.  It is a grand scientific experiment, a habitat for animals, with spectacular icescapes luring tourists and scientists alike. And it’s somewhere that exists in the popul...
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December 8, 2020 27 mins
In one sense alternate history is a very specific kind of story - sometimes seen as a subgenre of science fiction, more often as a genre onto itself. But in a broader sense alternate history is something we are all interested in. We all think about what might have happened differently in our live and in the wider world, we all feel relief and regret.  What if? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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November 24, 2020 24 mins
In a way it’s maybe strange that the western is such a prominent genre. It's seemingly connected to a very specific time and place: the mid-to-late 19th century American west. And yet we are all so familiar with the many tropes of the western: cowboys and Indians, shootouts and saloons, cattle rustlers and sheriffs, tumbleweed and canyons?  The western has a particular hold on the popular imagination, partly for reasons of histo...
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