Fantasy Book Swap podcast

Links and reading

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Lo, a trailer!

Episode 1

Hello! Welcome to Fantasy Book Club’s first episode, in which SFF conrunner, creative writing tutor and pandemic warrior Helena McCallum and Ali discuss childhood comfort reading, accessing books from libraries and jumble sales, Collins children’s classics, punishment of unruly bodies in children’s literature and the education of wizards. Enjoy!

With thanks to Helena McCallum (@adela_terrell).

Music- Bliss by Jack Sadler-Johnson, with many thanks

Production support by Steve Vapour Trails (@SteveVapourTra1)

Episode 2

This episode, my guest is Phil Dyson, Chair of Reclamation 2022, British SFF convention held over Easter weekend.

Thanks to @phildyson, Steve Vapour Trails (@SteveVapourTra1) for production support and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss.

Episode 3- Alison Scott chooses Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr and I swap it with Tamarind and the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan (@jasinbath)

As always, thanks to Steve Vapour Trails and Jack Sadler-Johnson. Catch Steve’s latest radio show here.

Episode 4-

CONTENT WARNING- this episode discusses racism and orientalism in the context of children’s comics.

Look and Learn Book of The Trigan Empire 1973- Some Trigan Empire books have been republished by Rebellion Publishers, owners of 2000AD

Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Michael Moreci and Stephen Gilpin. We know that there is a film; we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to watch it.

The names of the characters in Die Hard are of course John McClane and Hans Gruber.

Peric’s daughter is called Salvia

Ming the MercilessZorth of Loka

Radio Lewes

Steve’s Vapour Trails website

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevevapourtra1

Episode 5

Unfortunately, we had technical difficulties recording this episode, so it is slightly shorter than usual.

Quick correction: Nesbit’s relationship doesn’t seem to have been poly. It has been described as an open relationship, but her husband Hubert Bland’s affairs don’t seem to have been with her consent.

  1. Nesbit Five Children and It. My edition is the Puffin Classics one published in 2008, with the foreword by Quentin Blake, but really poor-quality reproductions of illustrations.

Hilary McKay The Time of Green Magic MacMillan’s Children’s Books.

Daisy May Johnson’s wonderful book How To Be Brave

Daisy’s blog, with links to her other social media

Episode 6

Hobberdy Dick song by Rod Anderson

The Wee Free Men (from Steeleye Span’s Wintersmith album)

Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Group

History of the Puffin Club

Link to K. M. Briggs’ papers and correspondence at University of Leeds

Terry Pratchett’s books for younger readers

We also talked about The Little Grey Men by ‘BB’. More information here: 

Tony Keen’s course on London and the Fantastic (individual session on 22nd September)

Fran has read The Death of Grass by John Christopher as a result of discussion on Tony’s course

Episode 7 I got confused with numbering here.

Content warning for non-explicit discussion of sexual violence and mental health crises including sectioning.

Recorded live at FantasyCon, so there is background noise of 3D humans, including some sound bleed of the panel in the room next door. Let’s call it atmosphere!

Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave– it is in fact a quintet, not a trilogy

James Clammer’s Why I Went Back

I got Steve and Jimmy’s friendship origin story wrong- Steve was friends at university with some of Jimmy’s friends, but they actually met in Brighton. My story is better, though.

Find Tiffani here

Big thanks to Edward James and Jeremy Carter for audio support! Please check out Cast of Wonders, Katherine Inskipp and Jeremy’s YA fiction podcast.

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production support and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss. Your Letters of Comment are always welcome at Fantasybookswap@alisonrbaker

Episode 8

Antonia Forests’s The Cricket Term

Daisy May Johnson’s How To Be Brave

Fantasy Book Swap episode with Daisy

The Dickens novel that we couldn’t remember was Dombey and Son, where an annoying child does indeed die

The Worst Witch– Mildred unmasking the evil witches

Eva Ibbotson’s booksThe Journey to the River Sea is set in the Amazon rainforest

Many of Angela Brazil’s books are on Project Gutenberg

Nicola and Rowan discuss Dorothy L Sayers’s Murder Must Advertise. A cricket match is a climax, foreshadowing the climactic cricket match in The Cricket Term

Nesbit’s Bastables books

The Chalet School book where to the best of my memory, buried treasure is found

Join us at Reclamation2022!

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Thanks to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance. Please check out his radio show! Also to Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track, Bliss.

Episode 9 “Not your average hawk”: Tampra Pierce’s Tortall universe

Guest: my colleague Ruth Hunt. Find out more about Ruth and her research here

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

The Tortall universe in chronological order– though new readers would be best off starting with Alanna: The First Adventure

Tamora Pierce’s thinking about gender identity and sexuality has changed over time

An interview with Tamora Pierce on Beyond the Trope podcast

Ruth Hunt the Wild Mage’s wildlife photos here

Thanks to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance. Please check out his radio show! Also to Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track, Bliss.

”More funny than Thomas Hardy”: John Coxon, Rebecca‘s World and Flora & Ulysses

November 11, 2021

Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation 
As John states, there is an Audible audiobook of Rebecca’s World, read by Paul Darrow, who was indeed Avon from Blakes 7.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate di Camillo. There is a Disney film based on the book; see the trailer here
The Tale of Despereaux trailer on YouTube

John mentions Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz

Ali mentions The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars and You’re A Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton

Octothorpe British SFF fandom podcast with Liz Batty, John and Alison Scott

John’s website, including links to his fan writing, is
Reclamation 2022, the 72nd EasterCon

It’s the 50th Novacon this weekend coming (12th-14th November)

MERCH! From Stow Shirts  

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss.

Ep 11: Farah Mendlesohn, Fattypuffs and Thinifers and Lightfall

November 26, 2021

Follow Farah on Twitter. Farah is also a co-chair for the Eastercon 2024 bid

Farah co-authored Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction with Michael Levy, and is the author of The Intergalactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children’s and Teens’ Science Fiction

Farah recommends The Tea Dragon Society

Farah’s choice: Fattypuffs and Thinifers by Andre Maurois

Ali’s choice: Lightfall by Tim Probert

Please tell me your favourite Winter reads! Record a short voice note and email

Thanks to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track, Bliss.

Ep 12: Anne is not the Sansa Stark of the Famous Five- Fiona Moore on Edward Eager‘s Knight‘s Castle and Stephanie Burgis‘s The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart

December 14, 2021

You can find Fiona on Twitter, and her blog here, where you can find links to her fiction and other work. You can buy Fiona’s book on Doctor Who: The Robots of Death here. Fiona’s tiny buildings can be found on Instagram and Beau Paddington’s wardrobe on Twitter.

Fiona’s choice was Edward Eager’s Knight’s Castlewhich easily available in secondhand editions. However, N. M. Bodecker’s illustrations are hard to beat, so try to find an edition including them. My favourite is here.  Fiona mentions the Christmas song Silver Bells, and we discuss the 1952 film Ivanhoe, with Elizabeth Taylor playing Rebecca. See the trailer here. The E. Nesbit book The Magic City is out of print, but you can read it free via Project Gutenberg.

Ali’s choice was Stephanie Burgis’s The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart. This book has to be read under a blanket, drinking hot chocolate. This recipe for vegan hot chocolate with chili looks perfect. Stephanie’s most recent book, The Raven Heirwill be my Christmas holiday read this year.

Fiona also mentioned Audrey NIffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry as an example of an unreliable first-person narrator.

What is your favourite seasonal read? Record a voice message with your name, the title of your favourite book to read at this time of year, and email to Include your postal address if you would like a Fantasy Book Swap badge.

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss.

Wolves are not the most dangerous creatures in this forest: Stephanie Shields, The Dark is Rising and Breadcrumbs

December 21, 2021

Stef’s choice: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.

Ali’s choice: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.

See one of Erin McGuire’s illustrations for Breadcrumbs here

You can find Stef on Twitter and Instagram, and buy her books here

The next episode will be the last for a bit; I’m taking a break in January and will be back in early February.

Do you use Storygraph to log your reading? Follow me there, and see what is coming up on the podcast!

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss.

Episode 15: Crushing on Chrestomanci

January 27, 2022

Alice’s choice: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

Ali’s choice: Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans

You can find Alice on Twitter, read her on Book Riot and read her webcomics here

The most obvious example of an Agatha Christie novel with an unreliable narrator is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Alice mentions Robin Steven’s wonderful Murder Most Unladylike books, which I can’t recommend enough.

Do you use Storygraph to log your reading? Follow me there, and see what is coming up on the podcast!

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his track Bliss.

Please do rate and review the podcast on the platform you use! It helps other people find the podcast, and it satisfies my vanity!

Spooky Old Houses and Ghostly Mouses

February 13, 2022

This episode has a very special guest… my dad, Michael Baker, who was 84 yesterday. You can see him wearing his favourite hat here. This photo was taken last May, on my sister Kate’s belated 50th birthday. It was absolutely freezing!

Our choices were:

John Masefield’s The Midnight Folk

Chris Riddell’s Ghost Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

During the podcast I mention John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever. You can read it here. I just found this poem, The Ship and Her Makers,  which seems closer to his prose, somehow.

The sketch Chris Riddell gave me is here and look at the shiny!

My dad is a published author! His book, The Mountain and the Summer Stars, was published the year I was born. Dad continued to write stories for my sisters and me, and Father Christmas left us some brilliant letters thanking us for the mince pies, sherry and glass of whisky that we left out for him.

Fantasy Book Swap is Hugo eligible! If you’re a member or supporting member of Chicon 8, this year’s WorldCon, and you enjoy the podcast, please do consider a nomination for the long list.

Of Wolves and Birds with Damien Hine

February 23, 2022

Damien’s choice: Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Ali’s choice: Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

Jasbinder Bilan wrote about the inspiration she got from a trip to India here

You can find Damien Hine on Twitter here and Facebook. The audiobook of  Out of Atlas can be bought here. Damien will be at the British SFF convention, EasterCon. You can buy membership here, but do it soon as prices will be rising at the end of the month.

Fantasy Book Swap is Hugo-eligible! If you’re a member of Discon 3 or Chicon 8 you can add the podcast to the longlist. Help more people read fantastic British children’s fantasy fiction!

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour-Trails for production assistance, and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track Bliss.

Ep 18: Going Underground Joan Aiken’s Is and Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass

March 6, 2022

Aisha’s book: Is by Joan Aiken

Ali’s book: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

You can find out about all of Joan Aiken’s books here and follow her daughter, Lizza on Twitter.

Aisha mentions The Harp of Fishbones, The Kingdom under the Sea and A Necklace of Raindrops with Jan Pienkowski’s illustrations, such as these ones

You can hear LeVar Burton reading ‘Furry Night’ from The People in the Castle here

Frances Hardinge’s websiteFacebook fan page and Twitter

Ali’s editions here and Aisha’s

Dr Aishwarya Subramanian’s staff profile on Strange Horizons. You can follow her on Twitter.

Strange Horizons Critical Friends podcast with Aisha, Maureen Kinkaid Speller and Dan Hartland discussing Science Fiction criticism.

The news from Ukraine is terrible. If you’re looking for a bookish charity to support, you might like to try PEN International, which supports authors. Those in Ukraine critical of Russian politics will be in particular need.

Ep 19: Fairytale retellings and socialist fantasy with Ali Williams

Please note that there is mention of transphobia in this episode.

Warning: there is mild swearing and a lot of cackling. 

Ali Williams’s book: Beauty by Robin McKinley

Ali Baker’s book: Magyk by Angie Sage

Robin McKinley’s website here

Angie Sage’s website here

This is Laurie Pink, Angie Sage’s child, who is an artist:    

Ali Williams’s website: where you can find links to her lectures, Romancing the Discourse, her editing and writing. You can find the booklist for her paranormal romance lecture here.

You can follow Ali on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @claficionado

Ali’s paranormal romance novel, Forged in Flames, is published later this year. You can see the gorgeous cover here

Thanks to Ali for being an emergency stand-in guest!

Ep 20 Deploy Emergency Podcast

A very short emergency podcast due to life, the pandemic and the general state of things that have disrupted my recording schedule. How rude.

This episode is inspired by Octothorpe’s episode 54, Embrace the Sweat, where in discussion about Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education Alison suggested that it was the first book to challenge the classism of the Harry Potter series. I disagree!

You can find out more about Jonathan Stroud here. I think he’s a fantastic author. The first of the Bartimaeus books is The Amulet of Samarkand We meet Kitty Jones and the Resistance in The Golem’s Eye and the final novel of the original trilogy is Ptolemy’s Gate.

The next scheduled recording is live on Easter Monday at EasterCon, Reclamation 2022, with Tasha Suri as guest. We will be discussing Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure and Philip Reeve’s Utterly Dark and the Face of the DeepPlease come along if you’re there, and send questions via @fantasyswap or