Dissecting Dragons

Dissecting Dragons Logo 4

Welcoming lovers of fantasy, scifi, horror, and all the channels inbetween, authors J.A. Ironside and M.E. Vaughan are proud to present Dissecting Dragons, the new podcast dedicated to discussing and dissecting speculative fiction for writers and readers, by writers and readers.

Releasing episodes weakly on Podbean & Itunes, Ironside and Vaughan will be exploring a number of different subjects, with the occasional weekly guest-star, and discussing the latest in both best selling and lesser known books and films.

Their goal: to dissect and examine all aspects of speculative fiction, from the nuts and bolts of writing it, to its (occasionally) obscure origins.

Get links or listen to the episode on the Dissecting Dragons facebook, or podbean account, or download straight from itunes!

Episodes in BOLD feature a guest star!


  1. Rags to Rebel Leaders – The Re-emergence of the Fairy Tale
  2. Tainted Love – of Triangles, Love Potions and the Happily Ever After
  3. Deus Ex Machina – it was all a Dream: when Writers let you down
  4. Witches, Brooms and Spells: Enchanting and Entrapping Children in Fiction
  5. Sci-Fi Westerns, Fantasy and Space Opera – Humankind’s conquest of Space
  6. Merlin, Mordred and Morgana – Magic in Arthurian Legend
  7. Tatooine to Tudor England – The trappings of Historical and Speculative World Building
  8. Bugbears of Battle – Inciting Violence in Speculative Fiction
  9. From West to East – Translating Speculative Fiction into Anime and Manga
  10. Fight like a Girl – ‘Strong’ Female Characters in Speculative Fiction
  11. Teams, Trios and Fellowships – the importance of Friendship in Speculative Fiction
  12. The Gender Bend – Does the Gender make the Story?
  13. Man-Eating Monster to Flower-Toting Belle – the transition of Fairies in the Victorian Era
  14. Main Mission – Gaming Narrative, the Future of Storytelling
  15. Moustache Twirling 101 – the Mechanics of writing a Villain
  16. Rattling Bones and Poltergeists – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Ghost stories
  17. Magnus Bane to Jack Harkness – LGBTQA+ Representation and Diversity in Speculative Fiction
  18. Oh not another Zombie Movie – the Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Living Dead
  19. Was that REALLY necessary? – the overuse of Sexual Violence in Speculative Media
  20. Clash of the Titans – Superheroes vs Superheroes
  21. Down with the Empire – exploring political themes in YA Speculative Fiction
  22. Once More Around the Sun – Celebrating Terrible Birthdays in Speculative Fiction
  23. Genius Loci – Writing Real World Places in Speculative Fiction
  24. Cognoggins and Clockwork – What makes good Steampunk?
  25. Death and All His Friends – Themes of Death, Dying and Grief in Speculative Fiction
  26. A Touch of Faust – Changing Goals on your Protagonist and when this works
  27. Harnessing Demons – How Writers use their own faults and insecurities in Writing 
  28. Gobblefunk and Glyphs – creating words in Children’s Fantasy
  29. The Frankenstein Complex – why is ‘Fan Fiction’ such a dirty word?
  30. Bucky Barnes to the Winter Soldier – the Evolution of the Side-kick
  31. The Devil in the Details – Lucifer in Modern Speculative Fiction
  32. Escape to the Country – of Editing and Writing Weekends
  33. Not so Charming – Male Stereotypes in Speculative Fiction
  34. The Unveiled Series Reborn – Books, Judgement, Heaven & Hell, and PTSD
  35. Three Goblins Walk into a Bar – Writing Humour in Speculative Fiction and How to Avoid the Accidental Funny
  36. Horcruxs and Heartbreak – of Books, Souls and Killing your Darlings
  37. Breaking Out the F-jars – Our Favourite Swears in Speculative Fiction
  38. Monsters and Men – Gothic Classics and the Origin of Horror – A Hallowe’en Special
  39. Saints, Souls and Samhain – the Celtic Day of the Dead
  40. Strange, Horrible and Who – the Egotism of Genius
  41. Balancing the Real and the Fantastical – Writing Relatable Epic Fantasy
  42. Let us make Men – From Golems to Androids
  43. Standalones to Series – the pros and cons of One-offs and the Neverending Series
  44. Writing Sex Scenes – it’s not as Hard as You Think
  45. Time and Tide and the Rose-tinted Glasses – Our Fascination with the Past
  46. Winter Festivals – Traditions and Stories in the Dark
  47. 2016 – The Best Bits
  48. Mermaids, Selkies and Sirens – Legends of the Sea
  49. Barghests, Bogey Beasts and Black Shuck – Black Dogs of the British Isles
  50. Dreamscapes and Nightmares – Writing the Unconscious
  51. Happily Ever After – The Evolution of the Disney Princess
  52. Dragons, Wyverns and Wyrms – Happy Anniversary
  53. The Wizard of Oz to Wicked – Adaptations and Reimaginings in Speculative Fiction
  54. Forest Giants to Snow Queens – the Frozen Heart of Speculative Fiction
  55. Break ’em to Make ’em – the Heroes who Rise from the Ashes
  56. Symbiosis – Why we need Writing Buddies
  57. Defying Gravity – the Incredible Unlikeliness of Musical Theatre
  58. One Ring to Rule them All – Magical Artifacts that made the Hero
  59. Room 101 – the Concept of Dystopian Hell
  60. Comic Can’t – Conventions, Talks and Launches
  61. Lords of Misrule – Tricksters, Con-artists and Grifters in Speculative Fiction
  62. Occult Detectives – Urban Fantasy and Mystery
  63. Mentors, Wizards and Wise Women – Portrayals of the Elderly in Speculative Fiction
  64. Rogues, Renegades and Robin Hood – Our Favourite Outlaws in Speculative Fiction
  65. The Strange Case of Professor Lupin – the Subversive Power of Speculative Fiction
  66. Strange Familiarity – the Uncanny in Speculative Fiction
  67. The Ship has Sailed – Happy Endings, Fan Service & the Appropriate Finale
  68. Cautionary Tunes – The Fantasy & History behind Folksongs & Nursery Rhymes 
  69. When you say Nothing at all – Sparkling Dialogue in Speculative Fiction
  70. They Shall take up Serpents – Religious Cults in Speculative Fiction
  71. The Lazarus Effect – Black from the Dead (Again!)
  72. Maenads, Black Magic & Demon Drink – Addictions in Speculative Fiction
  73. Sand and Sky – Desert Archetypes in Speculative Fiction
  74. The Sorting Hat and Other Trails – Finding your Tribe in Speculative Fiction
  75. Labyrinth – Looking at the Mystery of Mazes
  76. From Aslan to Ananda – Religious Allegory in Speculative Fiction
  77. Man out of Time – Displaces Protagonists in Speculative Fiction
  78. Portents, Symbols & Future Knowledge – Precognition & Foreshadowing in Speculative Fiction
  79. Ouija Boards, Possessed Boards & Bloody Mary – the Fascination with Supernatural Games
  80. Pivot Points – Historical Moments that Changed Everything
  81. War! What is it good for…in Storytelling?
  82. Incubi, Vampires and Fallen Angels – the Demon Lover in Speculative Fiction
  83. Spellbinding Songs, Enchanting Tunes & the Magic of Music in Fiction
  84. More Tainted Love – the Romantic Subplot in Speculative Fiction
  85. Witches, Bitches and Shrews – The Wise Woman Archetype in Speculative Fiction
  86. Leches, Perverts and Peepin’ Toms – Attitudes to Sexual Depravity in Speculative Fiction
  87. Losing the Plot – Revamping, Recycling and Reusing your Writing
  88. Heavenly Hosts and Fallen Fiends – the Angelic Being in Speculative Fiction
  89. A Night at the Overlook Hotel – Haunted Houses in Speculative Fiction (and their real life counterparts)
  90. Yay or Neigh – Horses, Pegasus and Kelpies in Speculative Fiction
  91. Evil Twins and Partners in Crime – Siblings in Speculative Fiction and Real Life
  92. Blood Drinkers and Psychic Thieves – the Vampire in Speculative Fiction
  93. Damnation, Retribution and Reception – Hell Planes and Purgatory in Speculative Fiction
  94. Inner Space – Altered Realities in Speculative Fiction
  95. The Horse’s Point of View – Gender of Politics in Speculative Fiction
  96. Fanfiction Revisited – Cassie Clare, 50 Shades and the Next Big Seller
  97. Cheese and Crackers – Our Favourite Bad Christmas Films
  98. In Review 2017 – the Good, the Bad and the Weird
  99. Long Live the Resistance – The Problems of Magical Revolution in Speculative Fiction
  100. So You Want to be a Writer? Celebrating 100 Episodes of Dissecting Dragons
  101. Back on the Broom – More Enchanting Children’s Fiction with James Nicol
  102. Squibs and Mundanes – Disability Representation in Speculative Fiction
  103. Best Served Cold – Revenge Arcs in Speculative Fiction
  104. Bones, Boyd and Cottle – The Physician Archetype in Speculative Fiction
  105. The Book Hangover – Fictional Worlds that won’t Let you Go – Anniversary Episode!
  106. Kali-ma, Inanna & Anath – The Creator-Destroyer in Myth and Speculative Fiction
  107. The Balance of Power – Sexism and Sexual Harassment in the Publishing Industry
  108. It Must be the Weather – How Nature Reflects Art in Speculative Fiction
  109. Into the East – Fantasy Settings Tolkien Never Used
  110. Saying What You Really Mean – The Importance of Theme is Speculative Fiction
  111. Larger than Life – The Fictional World of Giants
  112.  Spies, Traitors & Turncoats – Informants in Speculative Fiction
  113. Decoy Ducks & Red Herrings – Sayings, Urban Legends and Aphorisms
  114. Queer Eye for the Straight Story – Reading Speculative Fiction through a Queer Filter
  115. Clothes Make the Man – Cross-dressing in Speculative Fiction
  116. Cliches are Cliche for a Reason – Why Tropes aren’t bad, but Some Tropes need to Die
  117. Dinosaurs and Mega Cryptids – Man-made Monsters in Speculative Fiction
  118. You Fancy Me Mad – Renfield, Lear & Ophelia: Madness in Speculative Fiction
  119. Love Conquers All – Power Couples who destroyed the Story
  120. Bards, Troubadours and Skalds – The Musician Archetype in Speculative Fiction
  121. If We Were Villains – What Shakespeare has to say to a Modern Audience
  122. Baby Doom – The Stork Visits in Speculative Fiction
  123. From the Deep – Mystery, Suspense and Sea Monsters in Historical Fantasy
  124. Visitations and Forebodings – How Nightmares are used in Speculative Fiction
  125. From a Certain Point of View – Multiple POVs, Dual Timelines and Reader Sympathies in Speculative Fiction.
  126. The Slow Death of Literature – What Readers Really Want
  127. Crime & Culpability – Should Characters get what they Really Deserve
  128. Neat Little Monsters – The Animal Companion in Speculative Fiction
  129. Marrying in Haste – Young Love in YA Speculative Fiction
  130. Masked Marauders – Double Lives and Secret Identities in Speculative Fiction
  131. Hobbit Holes, Burrows and Secret Lairs – the Concept of Home in Speculative Fiction
  132. Stranger than Fiction – the Weird and Wonderful World of Writing
  133. Every Hero Needs a Sam – The Unlikely Best Friend in Speculative Fiction
  134. Love Ladies Lost! Revisiting Arthurian Legend
  135. Grimalkin, Mogget and Mr Kindly – Cats in Speculative Fiction
  136. Remus Werewolf McWerewolf Lupin – The Importance of Character Names in Speculative Fiction
  137. This Year’s God – The Human Need for Archetypes
  138. Streetwalkers, Courtesans and Companions – The World’s Oldest Profession in Speculative Fiction
  139. That is Illogical – Murderous, Wacky and Wise-cracking AI in Speculative Fiction
  140. Parody, Farce and Exaggeration – Satire in Speculative Fiction
  141. Spirits of the Deep and Dark – A Dissecting Dragons Hallowe’en Special
  142. Battlefield Earth – Intergalactic Invasions in Speculative Fiction
  143. Making Sh!t Happen – Avoiding the Number One Writing Fail
  144. Private Eyes and Underworlds – Crime Meets Urban Fantasy
  145. Away with the Faeries – Girls versus Supernatural Queens
  146. The Hollywood Treatment – What the Movies Changed
  147. Trading Capes – When Villains become Heroes
  148. The Holly and the Ivy – The Root of the Carol
  149. 2018 – The Good, the Bad and the Utterly Bizarre
  150. The Twilight Zone – When Fandoms are Attacked in Speculative Fiction
  151. Reading Like a Writer – How Critical Reading Informs the Writing Process


Dissecting Dragons was the brain child of speculative authors J.A. Ironside and M.E. Vaughan, who decided one day to combine their love of fiction, and their experience as both writers and readers into a podcast, specifically looking at Fantasy, Scifi and all the odd bits and bobs that go between.

M.E. Vaughan:

Author of the best-selling fantasy The Sons of Thestian, Madeleine is a graduate from the University of Winchester. Director of Winchester’s Folk & World Music Choir, Madeleine is a keen composer and musician, and lectures in Creative Writing. Her interest in faeries was incited by her mother who, one day, unwittingly implored Madeleine to ‘write a nice story for a change, with faeries or something’.  This request birthed the first draft of The Sons of Thestian, and the subsequent start of Madeleine’s writing career. In the dedication of her book, Madeleine apologises to her mother for only being able to fufil half of her request. Faeries, as it turns out, are pretty damn horrible.

Follow Madeleine at:
Author Websitewww.madeleinevaughan.com
Book Website: www.harmatiacycle.com
Tumblr: www.mevaughan.tumblr.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/M_E_Vaughan

J.A. Ironside:

Jules Anne Ironside grew up in a house full of books in rural Dorset. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosey and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say that she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through around three books a week. Jules writes across various genres and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

As a keen martial artist, Jules has studied several disciplines but is most accomplished in Goju Ryu karate which she has studied and taught for almost twenty years. Her favourite things include books (obviously), slippers, cheese and surreal conversations.

She now lives in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Follow Jules at:
Author Websitewww.jaironside.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DystopianIronside
Tumblr: jaironside.tumblr.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/J_AnneIronside