The ATOMIC BARK! RADIO SHOW airs weekly on 104.4FM on the radio dial in London, whilst simultaneously streamed live on the internet, via www.resonancefm.com , with podcasts being added soon afterwards on this page, below.
The current series airs every Wednesday, 9 to 10pm (BST) and every week at the same time, thereafter. Click on the ‘Radio Series’ box above for more info.
All of the previous shows are now available to hear, below :
Please leave some comments if you enjoy listening to any of these shows.
The shows are currently not in chronological order. Most of the shows were transmitted, and recorded, ‘as live’ and have not been edited at all, in post-production. Mistakes may be edited out at a later date, but in the meantime please excuse any accidental verbal or factual mistakes. All of the shows originally had a short Atomic Bark! theme tune introduction, and some had a few minutes worth of partly relevant audio clips at the start, but a few do not include these at the moment – however, this does not affect the later discussion in any way. Almost all of the shows are around 1 hour long.
Radio Show Archive created by Steve Ash. Plus Ben Slotover : Blunt Productions : www.bluntproductions.com
Programme text and links by James DC
PREVIOUS SHOWS :
Cyberpunk Synergies of Sensational Science Fiction
Hosted by James DC, with authors John Shirley and Pat Cadigan (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 21/11/12)
Hair-Raising Homage to Radio Horror Shows
Hosted by James DC, with writer Jasper Bark (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 16/8/12)
James DC is joined by writer Jasper Bark to talk about what is fondly known as Old Time Radio horror shows of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, with accompanying audio clips. From Inner Sanctum to Lights Out, Witches Tale and many more, the inter-war period was a boom-time for suspense, mystery, but especially horror radio shows, many of which were based on classic short stories by horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft, to name but a few. We will unpick the corpse of these chillingly radical radio shows, which often contained potent socio-political commentary beneath the surface scares, alongside blood-curdling audio clips, as timely examples of the brilliance of these seminal shows.
More info :
Ghostly Goings-on and Galvanised Ghouls
James DC is joined by artist Sarah Sparks, curator of the multimedia event GHost IV, and Fortean philosopher, Steve Ash, to talk about the history of ghosts, poltergeists and various spooks, down the centuries, in both fiction and recorded cases of supposed hauntings. From the earliest stories from Greek mythology, through to the medieval concept of ghosts, to the Victorian obsession with poltergeists and Spiritualism, right up to the present day, with Electronic Voice Phenomena and ‘digital’ ghosts, we analyse the credibility of many hauntings, and try to ascertain if there really is such a thing as ‘ghosts’. We also discuss some of the famous ghost stories, by the likes of M.R. James and classic films, like Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963).
Semantics of the Cinematic Superhero’s
Hosted by James DC, with author/academic Richard Reynolds (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 31/10/12)
James DC is joined by writer and academic Richard Reynolds to dissect the modern phenomenon of superhero cinema. From the early, 1944 Republic cinema serial of Captain America, to the famous Batman TV series of the 1960’s, the Superman films of the late 70’s, right up to the noughties reboot of the Batman movie franchise and the recent Green Lantern and Watchmen films, we look at the various cinematic adaptations of comic book superhero’s. What can this increasingly mainstream film genre say about our current socio-political concerns, and the human condition, as a whole? Can superhero movies deal with serious, weighty issues, through metaphor and symbolism, or are they just popular, fun entertainment – or perhaps a combination of the two? We ask these questions, and more.
More info :
Hosted by James DC, with psychology lecturer Dr. David Luke and writer Gary Lachman (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 23/8/12)
James DC is joined by lecturer in psychology Dr. David Luke and writer of esoterica Gary Lachman, to discuss the history of hallucinogens and their impact on the mind, counter-culture and ethnic tribal customs. David has travelled far and wide to observe the ancient traditions of drug-taking amongst the indigenous tribes of South America and will relate some of his research and stories. Gary witnessed much of the drugs culture of New York in the early 1970’s when he was a co-founding member of Blondie, and looks at mind-altering substances through the prism of his latest book, Turn Off Your Mind : The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius.
David B’s Distinctly Delectable Delineations
Hosted by James DC, with comic-book creator David B (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 30/8/12)
Tonight, James DC interviews the renowned French comic book writer/artist David B (‘Beauchard’), whose use of metaphysical symbolism and deep black lines, redolent of woodcuts, are just some of his many talents. David talk about his early forays into comics and his co-founding of L’Association, one of the pre-eminent Franco-Belgian publishers of ‘New Wave’ comics in the 1990’s and afterwards, as well as touching upon other comic book artists he admires, such as Joe Matt. The main focus of the interview delves into two of his most recent books – Black Paths – which explicates the story behind the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio and the bizarre independent state of Fiume just after WW1 – and Best of Enemies : A History of US and Middle East Relations, 1783-1953 – co-created with Jean-Pierre Filiu, being the first of a 3-part series illustrating the troubled history between the two states. The interview was recorded at the BD & Comics Passion Festival at the Institut Francais in London, earlier this year.
Pistolero Punk Rock and Anne Pigalle
Hosted by James DC, with musician Glen Matlock and performer/artist Anne Pigalle (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 5/9/12)
Significant Sci-Phi Suppositions
Hosted by James DC, with philosophers/writers Mark Rowlands and Steve Ash (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 2/8/12)
James DC is joined, via telephone, by famed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami, Mark Rowlands, and philosopher and writer Steve Ash, to talk about Mark’s book The Philosopher at the End of the Universe. In this fascinating and enjoyable book, Mark proposes a new philosophical concept, ‘Sci-Phi’, in which all of the major philosophical ideas and arguments throughout history are explored via some of the most iconic and thought-provoking Science Fiction films of recent times. Learn about the Mind/Body problem through The Terminator, Epistemology and Existence through The Matrix and Determinism/Free Will through Minority Report.
Far Out Facts of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
Hosted by James DC, with publisher Tony Bennet and cartoonist Mark Stafford (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 9/8/12)
James DC is joined by Knockabout Comics publisher Tony Bennett and cartoonist Mark Stafford, to talk about the legendary comic strip The Furry Freak Brothers, and its creator Gilbert Shelton, which helped to usher in the Underground Comix revolution in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Tony will talk about his involvement in the UK Underground Comix scene, along with insightful commentary on the HM Customs busts of his comics in the 80’s and issues of censorship and creative freedom, plus the huge influence Underground Comix had on the counterculture of the time. Mark is a Gilbert Shelton aficionado and will add his thoughts on the creative process behind such iconic strips, as well as much else.
Poe’s Phantasmagorical Perversions
Hosted by James DC, with writers Howard Aggregate and John Riley (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 12/5/11)
The haunted genius of Edgar Allan Poe is the subject of this show. Poe’s radically weird and frightful visions, his melancholic, strange life and his wonderful pageant of tortured, demented characters, are unlike anything else. We will analyse his tragic life and ascertain why he is so important in the history of horror. Plus an analysis of the (mainly Roger Corman) film adaptations of his work.
Bunuel’s Beautiful Badinage
Hosted by James DC, with Bunuel expert/writer Simon Elmer and author Lee Hill (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 2/6/11)
The film director who brought us the exquisite dream-like imagery and surreal investigations into the subconscious in such masterpieces as the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Belle de Jour, Un Chien Andalou and The Exterminating Angel, is under the spotlight tonight. Luis Bunuel is an undoubted genius of cinema, and we will explore his oeuvre and his life, hoping to decrypt the bizarre symbolism and random connections of his other-wordly maps of the id.
Kaleidoscopic Cult of Kafka
Hosted by James DC, with guests writers/journalists John Riley and Lee Hill (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 28/4/11)
A delve into the dark, bizarre recesses of the life and work of Franz Kafka. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century, his unique literary output, with its themes of alienation, paranoia, obsessiveness, persecution and existential ennui, only make him seem more of an enigma. From his troubled, early life as an insurance clerk, to his failed relationships, through to his weird, out-of-this-world fiction, exemplified by the sublime The Trial and Metamorphosis, we will scrutinise the extraordinary phenomenon of Franz Kafka.
Soviet Sci-Fi Revolutions
Hosted by James DC, with journalist/academic John Riley and Kosmos BFI curator Rhidian Davis (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 30/6/11)
Tonight we explore the wide array of Russian, and Eastern European/Soviet Bloc science fiction and fantasy, over the last 100 years, and more, in relation to the Kosmos Sci-Fi film season, currently at the BFI. What do Russian, Czech and Polish sci-fi authors like the Strugatsky Brothers, Karel Capek and Stanislav Lem, have in common with their European and American counterparts? And conversely, what do they specifically bring to the multitude of ideas within the sci-fi arena, and how did the Soviet political ideology and censorship, effect these works? As well as looking at the fiction, we will also focus on some of the amazing Russian and Eastern European SF films, like Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, and Stalker, as well as the cult films ‘Cosmic Voyage’, ‘Icarus XB1’ and ‘Planet of Storms’, amongst many others, which are also included in the BFI Kosmos season.
Unearthly UFO’s Uncovered
Hosted by James DC, with UFO expert, philosopher and writer Steve Ash (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 9/6/11)
Tonight we explore the many aspects of UFO history, mythology and speculation, in science, and popular culture, including sci-fi films and fiction, amongst much else. Are UFO’s ‘real’, or if not, then what exactly are they? ET’s? Paranormal activity? Hoaxes? Secret military hardware? Psychological aberrations? Weather distortions? Mutlidimensional appearances? We will debate these multifarious ideas and look at mankinds enduring fascination with UFO’s.
Stop Motion Animation Spectacular
Hosted by James DC, with academic and writer John Riley (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 21/7/11)
On today’s show we will take an overview of the fabulous Eastern European stop frame animations that have graced screens since the beginning of the last century. From Poland; the seminal, early insect/animal puppet animations of Vladislav Starevitch, and the later Gothic nightmares of Walerian Borowczyk, to Hungary and George Pal’s ‘Puppetoons’, to the spiritual home of stop frame animation; Czechoslovakia, with Jiri Trnka and his protoge’s Jan Svankmajer and Jiri Barta to name but a few. As well as exploring the various film-making techniques used, and the Soviet Bloc’s regime of interfering political cencorship, we will analyse the often bizarre symbolism and dreamlike imagery of these incredible, other-wordly films.
Science Fiction Soundscapes
Hosted by James DC, with sound artist Martin A Smith and music supervisor Julian Simon (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 12/7/11)
Tonight we explore the wonderful and bizarre sonic landscapes of science fiction soundtracks, inbetween tracks from many of the examples we will talk about. Starting with the first truly ‘modernist’ pioneers, like Bernard Herrmann, and his theramin-based scores for classic films like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1952), through to the funky 60’s music of films like Barbarella (1968) and Ennio Morricone’s Diabolik (1968), to the more obscure and avant-garde soundtracks of Eduard Artemyev’s Solaris (1972) and Gil Melle’s The Andromeda Strain (1971). We will then bring the discussion up to date with more recent soundtracks by the likes of Daft Punk for Tron Legacy and Hanz Zimmer for Inception (both 2010), whilst analysing the wider social and cultural context of all of these iconic soundtracks.
Tonight we take a look at the avant garde and experimental films produced by the revolutionary Arts Theatre Guild of Japan, and others, from the 1960’s to the late 80’s, in conjunction with ‘Shinjuku Diaries : Films from The Arts Theatre Guild Japan’ film season running throughout August at the BFI Southbank in London. Fom the early ‘Japanese New Wave’ films of masters like Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura, to counter-cultural masterpieces like Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), which was one of the first Japanese films to openly deal with transexualism and the Japanese gay scene. Plus the surreal, threatening other-worlds of the sci-fi infused films of Hiroshi Teshigahara, with classics like Pitfall (1962), Woman in the Dunes (1964) and The Face of Another (1966), amongst many others. James DC will be talking with ‘Shinjuku Diaries…’ co-curators Julian Ross and Go Hirasawa.
Scala Fanatics and Underground Addicts
Hosted by James DC, with cult film experts Ben Hell, Mark Stafford and Justin Harries (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 11/8/11)
To coincide with the fabulous, London-based film festival Scala Forever, tonight we take a timely reminder of just how great the golden age of repertory cinema in the UK used to be, focusing especially on the heyday of the legendary hub of underground, cult, independent and arthouse cinema, The Scala, in Kings Cross, London, until it’s ill fated closure in 1993. As well as discussing the problems of seeing ‘alternative’ films at the cinema, in the current age of the multiplex blockbuster, we will remember our own fond memories of frequenting the Scala, as well as the assortment of amazing cult films that were shown there, and at other subversive ‘flea-pits’, in London, and the UK, in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Conspiracy Theory Catastrophe
Hosted by writer/broadcaster Howard Aggregate, with journalist/broadcaster James DC and writer/philosopher Steve Ash (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 10/5/11)
An historical overview of the most bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theories. From the supposed cover-up of aliens and UFO’s at Area 51 by the U.S. military, the Templars/Illuminati/Masons sinister global machinations, the proposition that the moon is meant to be made entirely of wood, the various 9/11 concepts, to the grand-daddy of them all, JFK and the grassy knoll, ad infinatum, we will take a serious, but also witty look at the paranoid nerds worst nightmare!
Out of This World
Hosted by writer/broadcaster Howard Aggregate (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 19/5/11)
Occasional Atomic Bark! co-presenter Howard Aggregate presents an interview with one of the co-curators of the fabulous exhibition at the British Library, Out of this World : Science Fiction but not as you know it, which ran from May to September, 2011. The programme is supplemented by some audio interviews with Brian Aldiss, Isaac Asimov and Doris Lessing, taken from the British Library archive.
Special Effects Seance
Hosted by James DC, with film-maker Ben Slotover and clothes designer Birgit Deadly Glamour (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 23/6/11)
Tonight we explore the history and science behind the special effects industry in cinema, focusing especially on their use in science fiction, fantasy and horror films. How has the predominance of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) effected the old style ‘analogue’ visual effects, of previous years, and is CGI necessarily better? How do special effects add to, or detract, from the plot, narrative, themes and aesthetics of a given film and is their overabundance in modern cinema a problem for good storytelling? We will discuss these issues and more, and look at the most iconic special effects sequences, in movie classics such as 2001, A Space Odyssey, The Thing, Jason and the Argonauts, The Matrix, plus directors like George Melies and Douglas Trumbull, to name but a few.
Cognitive Catastrophes and Infinite Illusions
Hosted by James DC, with author Simon Ings and Polish literature expert Adrian Nairda (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 18/8/11)
To coincide with the 80th anniversary of his birth, and an upcoming celebration at the British Library, today we take a tour of Polish writer Stanislaw Lem and his wonderful science fiction. From the more well known classics like Solaris (1961), The Cyberiad (1965) and The Star Diaries (1954-1971) to some of his lesser known works like The Invincible (1964) and Imaginary Magnitude (1973) we will discuss the abiding themes and ideas of Lem’s work. Lem took a radical approach to the idea of ‘First Contact’ with aliens, as well as combining countless other scientific and philosophical investigations into his often satirical stories of outer space exploration and future technologies, the foremost of which was a fascination with artificial intelligence and how it relates to human consciousness. We will also take a wider appreciation of Polish and Russian science fiction, as well as the film adaptations of Lem’s work, including Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972)
Krazy Kips and Slumberland Shenanigans
Hosted by James DC, with sequential strips academic Roger Sabin and comic book expert Guy Lawley (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 25/8/11)
Tonight we explore the era of early 20th century comic strips, and focus especially on two of the most influential and legendary newspaper strips of all time, both proto-Surrealist and essentially fantastic. Little Nemo in Slumberland, by Winsor McCay, ran from 1905 and delineated the adventures of a little boy whose night time dreams broke boundaries of narrative fiction and drew upon potent subconscious imagery, all drawn with consummate draughtsmanship and beautiful rendering. Krazy Kat was one of the most successful strips ever, running every day for 31 years, from 1913 onwards. In another bizarre, ever-shifting dream-like world, the love triangle relationship between Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse, and Offissa Pupp delivers wry humour, strange adventures and emotional nuance, all couched within part-Joycean gobbledygook. We will place these seminal strips within their historical context and analyse their abiding themes and subtexts, as well as their creators impulses and drives.
Time Travel Terminus
Hosted by James DC, with journalist Hemanth Kissoon, writer/philosopher Steve Ash and writer John Blamey (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 10/3/11)
A timely tour of one of the conceptual staples of science fiction: time travel. Beginning with the ancient, mythological stories, we will then stop off at the first modern, highly developed interpretation of this fascinating subject – HG Wells The Time Machine (1895). Thereafter, we will cruise on past some of the most iconic films, literature and television, referencing classics like Robert A Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1958) and Robert Silverberg’s Up The Line (1968) as well as investigating the real science behind this most perplexing and paradoxical conundrum. (please note: This will NOT be a total ‘Doctor Who-fest’. It will be a lot more wide-ranging than that!).
Magnificent Monuments of Metropolis
Hosted by James DC, with journalist Hemanth Kissoon, sound artist Paul Hines and German film expert Birgit Deadly Glamour (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 3/3/11)
In regard to the recently restored release of Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction film ‘Metropolis’, we take a refreshed, critical look at this classic of silent cinema, analyse the incredible special effects and other radical film-making techniques Lang employed, and compare it to his other sci-fi infused films like Frau Im Mond (1929) and the later films it influenced, such as Blade Runner (1982). How did such an epic undertaking come about, why has it stood the test of time, and what have the re-instated scenes added to the overall story? Plus we contextualise Metropolis in relation to other, less well-known, silent science fiction and fantasy films like Aelita : Queen of Mars (1924) and Alraune (1928).
Ballardian Mind Bomb
Hosted by James DC, with artist John Churchill, journalist Chris Hall and academic Howard Aggregate (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 8/9/10)
On tonight’s inaugural programme we will focus on the genius that is JG Ballard. From his early SF genre framed short stories in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, to his ‘ecological disaster’ novels like The Crystal World (1966), through to his more experimental and surrealistic mode, as with the ‘suburban decay’ series including Crash (1973) and High Rise (1975), right up to his later works in the ‘bourgeois enclave’ strand, like Millennium People (2003). We will analyse his fictions overriding themes of psychopathology, sexual obsession and random violence, uncover connections between his life-experiences and his work, and detail the writing strategies he used for producing some of the most inspired and unique other-worlds ever created.
William Tells it Like it is
Hosted by James DC, with multi-media artist James Hollands, writer/performer/musician Richard Strange and writer Robin Tomens (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 17/3/11)
Who was the phenomenon known as William S. Burroughs, and why was he so important to the various psycho-social ideas and philosophies of the 20th century? The man who (re)introduced the ‘Cut-Up’ technique to the literary world, accidentally shot his wife dead while playing a game of ‘William Tell’, and kick-started the multi-form, experimental, hallucinogenic Uber-Beat cult, was also inspired by, and borrowed, the techniques of pulp science fiction for his own work, of which The Naked Lunch (1959), The Soft Machine (1961) and Nova Express (1964) are some of the most famous. In the best traditions of a drug addled, down at heel, multi-dimensional private dick we ask – Burroughs: How, what, where and why?
Comedic Contortions of Time and Space
Hosted by film-maker Ben Slotover, with journalist/broadcaster James DC (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 28/7/11)
Comedy science fiction is today’s subject. From hugely influential masters of wit and wisdom like Robert Sheckley, and Douglas Adams, with his various versions of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, to Alan Moore’s early comic strip Dr & Quinch, we will discuss the intersection of sci-fi ideas with comedy scenario’s, and how they can enhance each other to produce an odd, entertaining hybrid. Focusing especially on the classic film and TV versions of this mini-genre, like Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973), John Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974), Galaxy Quest (1999), Futurama and Red Dwarf, we will surf the cosmic highways of this fascinating, potent subject.
Dicktaphone Diversions Demystified
Hosted by James DC, with journalist Chris Hall, film-maker Ben Slotover and multi-media artist John Harrigan (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 6/10/10)
A delve into the disorientating diaspora of the brilliant science fiction writer Philip K Dicks drug-addled mind, and his reality-bending philosophical ruminations, along with criticism of the (mostly bad) cinema adaptations, and the cultural fall-out of Dick as ‘Superstar Pop Icon’. Why is Dick nowadays revered as a literary genius, when he was generally seen as just another pulp SF hack writer 40-odd years ago? As well as exploring P.K.D.’s life and work, in which he dealt with themes and subjects such as simulacra, artificial intelligence, psychosis, drugs, visionary experiences, transcendentalism, paranoia and the nature of reality, we will cover all of his major works, from the early short stories of the 1950’s, up to seminal novels such as The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Ubik (1969) Flow My Tears the Policeman Said (1974) and of course, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) which was the basis for the seminal film Blade Runner (please note: this show originally had about 5 minutes worth of audio clips at the start – an excerpt from an interview with PKD, etc – but because of technical difficulties we weren’t able to include these at the moment, although hopefully, we will be able to later).
Hosted by James DC, with writer Lee Hill, film-maker Ben Slotover and journalist Hemanth Kissoon (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 15/9/10)
An investigation into the science fiction and horror films of Stanley Kubrick; Dr.Strangelove…(1964), 2001, A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980), as well as his body of work overall. We will analyse and discuss the legacy Kubrick left to the history of science fiction, with 2001…arguably the best Sci-Fi film ever made. How did he accomplish such incredible effects, for the time, and what was the sublime symbolism in all of these films telling us about man’s future, as well as the human condition and its capacity for war and violence? We will also talk about Kubrick’s huge influence on contemporary ‘fantastic’ cinema and film directors like Christopher Nolan and David Fincher.
Kurt’s Crazy Condition
Hosted by James DC, with academic Howard Aggregate and film-maker Ben Slotover (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 17/2/11)
An analysis and appreciation of the superb writer Kurt Vonnegut, who used science fiction themes and templates in most of his novels, even though he later disavowed this debt to the genre. From his first novel, the dystopian Player Piano, in 1952, right through to all of his seminal works; The Sirens of Titan (1959), Cats Cradle (1963) and Slaughterhouse 5 (1969) being his most famous, we will discuss Vonnegut’s preoccupation with time, memory, morality and humanity’s pathological side, all wrapped inside his cynical and witty stories of strange worlds, neurotic characters, and fantastic circumstance. Plus a look at the few film adaptations of his work.
Slippery Surrealist Signposts
Hosted by James DC, with artist John Churchill and academic Simon Elmer (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 24/2/11)
An overview of – arguably – the most important art movement of the 20th century. Has Surrealism’s seeming assimilation into mainstream popular culture weakened its original impetus and potency, and can the philosophical tenets of Surrealism still provoke – staying authentic and relevant, in light of this? What can the original, radical ideals espoused by Andre Breton and his colleagues say to us now? Plus a look at the various interstices between Surrealism and art movements like Dada and Symbolism, and Surrealism’s effect on ‘fantastic’ fiction and culture.
Lovecrafts Leering Legions
Hosted by James DC, with academic Howard Aggregate, writer/philosopher Steve Ash, and film-maker Duncan Reekie (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 24/3/11)
A descent into the haunted and ethereal terrors of the Cthulhu mythos and its strange creator HP Lovecraft – one of the foremost 20th century writers of weird, fantastic horror. We will delve into the unique cosmic horror of Lovecraft’s major works like Dagon (1917), The Call of Cthulhu (1926), The Dunwhich Horror (1928) and At the Mountains of Madness (1931) as well as some of the film adaptations of his work, such as Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator. Plus a look at Lovecraft’s contemporaries like William Hope Hodgson, Clarke Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard and other ‘pulp’ writers of the Supernatural Gothic and Weird Horror.
Hard Versus Soft
Hosted by James DC, with academic Howard Aggregate and film-maker Ben Slotover (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 31/3/11)
An analysis of the two so-called types of science fiction literature – ‘Hard’ and ‘Soft’. Hard is preoccupied with, and determined by, hard science and technological developments, as evidenced by writers like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, and Soft is closer to the psychological/sociological concepts of ‘Inner Space’, exemplified by writers like JG Ballard and Thomas M Disch. What are the literary origins of these two mini-genres, how do their – sometimes interconnecting – themes and preoccupations differ, and which form of science fiction is more pertinent to our contemporary concerns?
Hosted by James DC, with academic Howard Aggregate and film-maker Ben Slotover
Dystopian Distortians and Unnerving Utopias
Hosted by James DC, with academic Howard Aggregate and film-maker Ben Slotover (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 7/4/11)
As we edge possibly closer towards our own worldwide environmental disaster, an exploration of the two opposing forms of future possible worlds – the Utopia and the Dystopia. Which is closer to the truth, and how have the historical precedents of these concepts, like Thomas Moore’s Utopia (1516) and John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) influenced the actual construction of governments, cities and civilisations over the centuries? What are the interstices between real totalitarian governments and such seemingly prescient, classic fictions such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1931) and George Orwell’s 1984 (1947)?
Pulp Art Panopticon
Hosted by James DC, with Forbidden Planet co-founder Mike Lake and artist Mark Stafford (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 14/4/11)
An appreciative exploration of the Golden Age of pulp magazine science fiction and fantasy art and illustration, focusing on the classic illustrators like Frank R. Paul, Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok, Richard Powers, Bruce Pennington, Chris Foss and many others. These wonderful artists regularly graced the covers of such legendary magazines like Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction and Weird Tales, as well as numerous SF paperbacks. Why are these talented, revolutionary draughtsmen, who vastly influenced popular culture and art, not considered ‘serious’ or ‘real’ artists, in comparison to their lauded ‘fine art’ contemporaries?
Zombie Apocalypse Zeitgeist
Hosted by James DC, with film-maker Ben Slotover, artist Mark Stafford and academic Amy Cutler (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 21/4/11)
A critical dissection of the world-wide phenomenon of zombies – has it passed its sell-by date? From the beginnings of the zombie mythology in Haitian Vodou religion, the stories of revenant’s and ghouls in early literature and pulp magazines, the few zombie films of the 1940′s and 1950′s, through to the high-water mark of groundbreaking George A Romero films like Night of the Living Dead (1968), then right up to date with the mass infiltration of zombies into mainstream popular culture, with computer games, comics, kiddies lunch boxes, and The Walking Dead TV series. Why are we so fascinated by these fictional tortured corpses, and how does the zombie metaphor comment upon the human condition, and wider philosophical ideas?
Hosted by James DC, with comic book author Pat Mills, and 2000 AD artist James Mackay (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 13/10/10).
James DC talks to legendary comic book author/editor Pat Mills and artist James Mackay about our cultural fascination with dinosaurs, ever since their ‘official’ discovery around 200 years ago, in relation to his and James immanent return to dinosaurs in the 2000 AD comic strip Flesh! We will talk about how he was one of the first comic book authors to meld science fiction ideas with the dinosaur world in 1977, and why he and James are re-visiting this series. What is it about these ancient creatures that has fuelled such myriad reflections in all forms of art, over so many years, what are the latest dinosaur discoveries in paleontology, and how can the dinosaur era be used inventively within science fiction scenario’s?
Hosted by James DC, with journalist Hemanth Kissoon, academic/broadcaster Matt Jacobsen, film-maker Ben Slotover and academic Howard Aggregate (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 29/9/10)
An enquiry into the various aspects of robot, android, cyborg, humanoid and artificial intelligence concepts throughout the history of science fiction literature, cinema and science and technology itself, from Karel Capek’s seminal play Rossum’s Universal Robots (1920) which introduced the term into popular culture, to the preponderance of robot characters in 1950’s cinema, as with Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) up to later iconic cyborg characters like The Terminator (1984). How do these constructs play with the concept of what it means to be human, and where is the encroaching development of robotics and A.I. science, in the real world, taking us in the future?
Mutant Monster Maelstrom
Hosted by James DC, with cult film expert Ben Hell, film-maker Peter Thomas and writer Benjamin Rowlinson (originally broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM on 22/9/10)
A wry and witty look at the multiplicity of monsters, aliens and creatures – or B.E.M.’s (Bug Eyed Monsters) – which have rampaged across the screens of big budget Hollywood films, but also more obscure B-movies since the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, the trash-exploitation cinema of the 70′s and 80′s, and to a lesser extent, the 90’s and Noughtie’s. Why have these iconic, but in retrospect, often hilarious creatures captured our affections and had such a psychological hold on our subconscious? As well as examining the deeper meaning to these beastly archetypes, we will discuss the bone fide classics of the genre, for instance King Kong (1933), Godzilla (1954), Q – The Winged Serpent (1980) and the more up to date incarnations of these lovable monstrosities (note : due to technical difficulties, the first few minutes of this show are missing some audio tracks from films etc, relevant to the subject matter – we hope to rectify this at a later date)