The Pub

The Pub Podcast

A podcast about all things narrative, discussing story in fiction, graphic novels, and video games, plus interviews with industry professionals.

All Episodes

In this episode, we talk about The Matrix, including the upcoming Resurrections release. Kayla puts on a leather trench coat and does a slow-motion drop kick off the studio wall, neutralizing several police officers. Jackie takes the red pill, just to see how far down the rabbit hole she can go. Trey walks through an entire crowd of people but completely misses the Woman in the Red Dress. And Dean realizes that, in fact, there is no spoon. Or fork. There are only sporks. Content 1:05: On the Original Matrix "I went in not wanting to like it, and I came out wanting more guns. Lots of guns." --Dean 9:51 The Appeal of the First Film "The whole movie is about living a lie and what it takes to live truly. A lot of people can relate to that." --Trey 15:10: The Trailer "My attention was immediately on Doogie Howser, M.D." --Trey 20:08: What We Hope to See in Resurrections Kayla: I hope they don't make a big point about how everyone uses a cell phone all the time. Just please don't. Jackie: Because old people are always on you about being on your phone? Kayla: Yep, exactly.

E

Nov 29

22 min 48 sec

Happy Thanksgiving! In this episode, we talk about Hannibal. Matthew follows a black feathered stag out of the studio and into the dangerous woods. Daniel constructs a corpse totem and then watches everyone take pictures of it. Kayla buys a sniper rifle, climbs a tree, and protects the entire cast. And Dean puts on a herringbone suit and serves Thanksgiving dinner. Content 1:15: General Thoughts "Hannibal is a dapper man." --Matthew 8:03: On Incivility "Eat the rude!" --Kayla 12:45: How Does Violence Tell the Story? "Hannibal sees the beauty in killing and gore, and food and its preparation are our bridge to that." --Matthew 15:30: How Does Food Tell the Story? "The food porn is related to the corpse art. It's a conflict between aesthetics and morality." --Daniel 21:30: The Love Story "Hannibal's prolonged stabbing of Will is somewhat sensual." --Matthew

E

Nov 25

31 min 26 sec

In this episode, we talk about Dune. Daniel cries, then bites down on his poison tooth in an attempt to assassinate the the entire cast. Matthew ponders the halluncinogenic qualities of various spices. Trey whispers ominously, narrating the inner thoughts of the cast. And Dean becomes a guild navigator and folds space. Content 1:25: A Non-Duner's Thoughts "I was able to sink into the sands of Dune and enjoy it completely"                                                                        --Matthew 3:03: The Current Film "I can't wait to see the navigators of the spacing guild: the flipper people." --Daniel 11:05: David Lynch's Dune Dean: "Apparently, David Lynch was offered both Dune and Return of the Jedi." Daniel: "Imagine Lynch doing Star Wars. Luke asks Master Yoda if Vader is his father, and Yoda answers by performing interpretive dance." 18:50: Dune, the Novel "The Lord of the Rings was easy compared to Dune. They were just walking and walking and walking. And then they find it and then they walk and the walk and they walk... --Trey  30:47: The Director's Cut  "We need to wait until pot is legal and then watch the six-hour director's cut." --Dean

E

Nov 22

32 min 9 sec

In this episode, we talk about silent protagonists and the way that they affect story in video games. Jon embodies GLaDOS and antagonizes the entire cast. Molly fulfills our contractual obligation by mentioning Fire Emblem at least once (and then at least once more). Dean buys Jon an egg timer. And Sarah remains completely silent for the entire show. Content 1:02: Their Affect on Story Dean: "So it's done well in some instances and poorly in others..." Jon: "Yeah, just like conversations with you, Dean." 2:30: CJ Miozzi on the Use of the Technique "I don't think there were technological limitations or budgetary constraints stopping anyone from adding a few more text boxes to games." --Jon 13:18: Silent Protagonists and Agency "I hate what's happening, but I am still playing it!" --Jon 20:41: Skyrim vs. The Last of Us "I think you're talking about apples and oranges, Dean." --Molly 25:53: Fallout 4 "Shauunnnnn!" --Molly

E

Nov 16

28 min 39 sec

In this episode, we talk about the global phenomenon that is Squid Game. Trey smokes a cigarette while sitting on a toilet that is overflowing with sewage. It is a moment of total peace. Molly sets up her four-meter Younghee doll and asks the cast if they want to play Red Light Green Light. Matthew licks a sugar cookie into the shape of a dodecahedron, just before the clock runs out. And Dean bites off Trey's ear in a boxing match and then explains that he did it to feed his kids. Content 1:39: General Thoughts. "Damn, it was brutal." --Molly 6:40: A Child's Game? "We don't care that you're selling organs. That's fine. Getting information about the next game? That deserves your death." --Dean 17:06: The Ending "The world just chews people up and spits them out." --Molly 17:06: The Ending "It's like a really morbid episode of Survivor or Big Brother, and that's why we love it." --Matthew

E

Nov 8

32 min 17 sec

In this episode, we share our book, movie, and game picks for Halloween. Sarah finds her long lost and beloved Freddy Kruger sweater and wears it to the show. Trey dresses up like Batman, just like he has done every day since the age of seven. And Dean just sits there looking like a completely boring suburban idiot. Content 2:45: Sarah's Picks "Jason, Michael Myers, all of them. They don't talk. They're boring. Freddy Kruger is gonna hit on your girlfriend, and I love it." --Sarah 10:10: Trey's Picks "Mike Myers not only killed the guy, but he went and got a step ladder and some duct tape, just in case someone opened the closet door, so the body would swing out." --Trey 17:38: Dean's Picks "My first college English teacher was diseased. He had warts from the tips of his fingers to his wrists, and I would watch him finger the pages of a book, thinking to myself, I am being scarred for life right now." --Dean

E

Oct 31

29 min 9 sec

In this episode, we talk about NaNoWriMo, 2021. Dean meets the woman of his dreams in a bookstore and lives happily ever after. Molly writes; she writes endlessly. Sarah grows frustrated, takes her humungous corkboard and leaves the show. And Yurick wins NaNoWriMo! Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel, Yurick Makinen, and Sarah Willis. Content 1:00: What is NaNoWriMo? "It's National NOVEL writing month, not November writing month. It just takes place in November." --Sarah 3:36: What are the prizes? "Your prize is you get to spend money." --Yurick 4:40: On Scrivener "I've got the attention span of a goldfish. It's not for me, man." --Sarah 11:29: On Writing Groups "They have a dangerous tendency to talk about writing, without actually doing any writing." --Yurick 13:20: NaNoWriCovid "You know, we were all stuck in our houses. Might as well write a novel!" --Molly 16:30: Spotify Writing Playlists Dean: "I listen to Kitaro" Sarah: "You listen to what, now?" Dean: "He's a Japanese man who looks like a samurai who can also play music." 21:36: Some Tips "Go in with a plan. And if not, get a cheer squad." --Molly

E

Oct 27

27 min 41 sec

In this episode, we talk about the popular Disney+ series, WandaVision. Dean wiggles his nose and magically finishes an entire turkey dinner, just in the to save the show. Trey grieves over the carbonite death of Han Solo, and Sarah brakes the universe. Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Trey Bourn and Sarah Willis. Content 0:22: What did we think of the show? "I loved it!" --Trey (who also loved grief, the Brady Bunch, and the way Dean delivered the outro of the show) 3:37: Waiting for New Episodes "I couldn't believe that such a beautiful line could come from a red android." --Sarah 10:00: WandaVision as Metafiction "I felt like I was doing the English teacher thing that my students think is crazy interpretation." --Dean 10:00: The Multiverse "We got to play the super fun game where we all try to guess who broke the universe." --Sarah (who broke the universe)

E

Oct 18

27 min 8 sec

In this episode, we talk about Avatar: The Last Airbender. Toph-Sarah Calls everyone "twinkle toes" and invents metal bending, costing her one perfectly good (now mangled) microphone. Katara-Sam delivers a sisterly sermon making us all want to be better people (or else!). Sokka-Dean initiates an epic haiku battle, only to have victory snatched away by a single syllable. And Zuko-Daniel gives the whole group and warm hug of redemption. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Morbach, Sam Alberth, and Sarah Willis.

E

Mar 23

31 min 15 sec

In this episode, we talk about the antihero in fiction and film. Sarah is entranced by Daniel Day Lewis in a deerskin, dancing around a fire. Molly realizes that life is filled with meaninglessness and decides that she wants something grander. Trey puts on his padowan cloak and tells the rest of the cast just how he feels about sand. And Dean graduates from Miyagi-do karate school, faces off against Johnny Lawrence, and is stunned when the crowd begins chanting for Johnny to "sweep the leg!"

E

Mar 8

34 min 8 sec

In this episode, we talk about the way art affects story in videogames. Molly grows a tail that is also a paintbrush. Sam transforms into a Sims character and starts speaking Simmish. Sarah ferries a hedgehog to the afterlife and weeps all the way there. And Dean changes his name to Face McShooty and realizes that crumpets are, in fact, krunk.

E

Mar 2

38 min 42 sec

Love Stories In this episode, we talk about our favorite love stories in honor of Valentine's Day. Trey becomes incredibly vulnerable and considers stealing Rick Grimes's cue cards, so he can confess his love to Keira Knightley. Molly reveals her secret life as a furry, then frolics at Disneyworld. Sarah realizes that the last unicorn is really Wolverine with an adamantium heart. And Dean puts on a rubber King Kong costume and reads very edgy passages from Heart of Darkness. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel, Trey Bourn, and Sarah Willis. Content 1:27: Trey's Pick: Normal People "King Kong is a love story between a woman and a monkey."                                --Dean 10:25: Molly's Pick: The Last Unicorn Dean: "We're not princes...or unicorns." Molly & Sarah: "Speak for yourself!" 19:46: Sarah's Pick: Six of Crows "At what point is the 'bad boy with the heart of gold' just an asshole?"                                         --Trey 22:43: Dean's Pick: Never Let Me Go "Beauty is the Beast, and love is a distraction."                                    --Molly

E

Feb 15

37 min 10 sec

The Death of the Author In this episode, we talk about the way an author's life and actions affect our choice to read and our ability to enjoy that author's work. Molly imagines a time before the internet, when Hemingway could wear dresses more privately. Sarah espouses a utilitarian moral relativism while pining for the Hogwarts videogame. Trey shamefully admits that he loves Chik-fil-A lemonade and chicken. And Dean imagines Jeffrey Dahmer writing a really good children's book.   Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel, Trey Bourn, and Sarah Willis. Content 0:29: Should we consider the life of the author? "We don't want perfect people. That's why Christian music is so shitty!" -Trey 6:41: Cancel Culture "With the internet, there's so much that we just can look away from."                              --Molly 12:05: Private Reading vs. Institutional Works                    Molly: "We all went to a liberal art college."                    Trey: "I didn't."                             Molly: "I'm sorry to head that." 20:24: The Effects on our Reading   Molly: "It's like Fight Club."   Dean: "With the new introduction, I don't think he understands his own work."          29:57: A Book Too Far! "What if Jeffrey Dahmer wrote a really good children's book?"                              --Dean

E

Feb 8

36 min 40 sec

Mental Health in Graphic Novels In this episode, we talk about the way graphic novels like I Kill Giants and Hyperbole and A Half deal with mental health issues. Molly sits on a pile of laundry and imagines Superman with ennui. Sarah stows away her grief and doesn't deal with her emotions. Instead, she plays Dungeons & Dragons. Daniel's ice cream falls off his cone, and his cat dies. Luckily, he is wearing his suit of impenetrable armor. And Dean uses his dog's trip to the vet as cover for his manly tears.  Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel, Daniel Morbach, and Sarah Willis. Content 0:32: I Kill Giants "The book is always better than the movie!"                                      --Molly 6:00: All the Feels Dean: "I did not cry." Sarah: "You LIE!" 13:51: The Title                   "I'll kill you. Boom, boom. Lie down."                                               --Daniel 18:00: Lessons   Molly: "You must sublimate your emotions in a healthy way and accept change."   Sarah: "That sounds like an adult thing to do, and I'm NOT for it." 19:15: Hyperbole and a Half Dean: "Let's talk about the fun of depression!" Daniel: "Okay, you go first." 23:43: All the memes!                  "Let's give them the whole nine yards."                                                       --Dean 27:56:  Understanding Comics                 "If it's a stick figure, I can relate. If it's Brad Pitt in the movie Troy, not so much."                                                       --Daniel

E

Feb 3

37 min 2 sec

In this episode, we talk about The Mandalorian. Trey visits a planet of wookies where he badmouths the ewoks of Endor. Sarah wins the I Called It Was Luke Award and then loses all her winnings during the terrible Canto Bight scene on Cantonica. And Dean practices phrenology on boy-Anakin, despite his ridiculously hard science fiction levels of midichlorians. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Trey Bourn. Content 0:47: Why Has Star Wars Gotten So Good Again? Trey: "They just said, let's make something cool!" Dean: "Wait, they went into the others ones saying, this is not going to be cool?" 15:29: Star Wars as Fantasy "It's basically Lord of the Rings in space."                                --Dean 19:25: Mandalorian, Season 3                   "Bo-Katan will always be Starbuck to me."                                                      --Trey 22:30: Enter Luke   "This was the Star Wars that I needed, that I didn't know that I needed."                                                      --Trey 28:22: Spinoffs. "Darth Maul came back. He had a robo-torso!"                              --Sarah 34:08: A Rose is a Rose is a Rose (Tico)                   "Unless you're a muppet, let's not have kids in Star Wars anymore."                                                      --Trey 19:25:  Least Favorite Movie (Yub Yub!)                   "Endor was supposed to be a planet of wookies!"                                                      --Trey

E

Jan 25

50 min 51 sec

In this episode, we talk about our favorite game narratives of 2020. Molly praises Olympus, Sarah unlocks a moose while riding a moose named Mousse. Sam tends to her dying garden. And Dean talks mushroom monster people. Cast: Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis, Sam Alberth, and Molly Krasel. Content 0:46 Molly's picks Hades "If you look away while playing Hades, you will die! But that's okay."             --Molly Cyberpunk 2077                    "I want a refund! My junk is clipping through my pants!"                                --Dean Stardew Valley                    "Is the parsnip related to the potato?"                                --Dean 11:06: Sarah's Picks Animal Crossing "I think I'm in a cult, but that's okay. I'm enjoying myself so far." --Sam Other Games Discussed: World of Warcraft |  22:07: Dean's Pick The Last of Us 2 "She can't play guitar anymore because someone ate her fingers for lunch!" --Dean

E

Jan 19

40 min 34 sec

Our Best Reads of 2020 In this episode, we talk about our best reads in 2020, Trey does his Randall Flagg impersonation, Dean tells us what he really thinks about the rain, and Sarah remembers the days before “the cable times.” Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Becker, Sarah Willis and Trey Bourn. Content 3:46: Oryx and Crake, Atwood Trey: “I don’t want to read The Stand. I’m living it!” Dean: “Wait, The Brat Pack was in The Stand?” 9:51: Tales of the City, Maupin “My mom is from the Age of Cable! –Sarah 19:25: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, McGonigal “When you have a six year old, doors are not a thing.” –Dean 24:49: All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire, Abrams | The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, Farley, et. al. Trey: “Love can provide the persistence and grit to get you through.” Dean: “We love you, Trey.” 29:58: Binti, Okorafor Recursion, Crouch. “You mean Back to the Future is totally bullshit? –Ant Man (special guest) 34:08: The Cruel Prince Trilogy, Holly Black “Oh, God. They’re gonna kill Chewy!” –Trey 19:25: Six of Crows, Bardugo “Dandelion was just a goober!” –Dean

E

Jan 11

42 min 56 sec

Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Tara Gilboy, Sam Alberth, and Sarah Willis. About Tara Gilboy Tara Gilboy is the author of Unwritten and its sequel Rewritten. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she specialized in writing for children and young adults. She teaches creative writing for San Diego Community College’s Continuing Education Program. She’s also worked as a writing mentor through the PEN Writers in Prisons program and served on the editorial board of PRISM International. She is the former fiction editor of Straylight Literary Magazine, and her work has appeared in Word Riot, the Beloit Fiction Journal, Cricket, and other publications. She lives in San Diego.

E

Jan 5

46 min 45 sec

Video Games: Pandemic Narratives In this episode, Dean hides in a tree with a blowgun and vaccine darts, Molly social distances in Fodlan, Daniel plots to spread corrupted blood throughout Azeroth, and Sarah slaps leeches on everyone. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Becker,  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content What we've been playing. "You gotta go with your comfort food." --Sarah Games Discussed: Animal Crossing | Fire Emblem: Three Houses | Persona 5 | Nioh 2 | Stardew Valley 5:50: The Numbers "As you can tell, I don't sports so good! --Molly Games Discussed: Borderlands | Cyberpunk 2077 | JackBox 10:42: The Virus. Zombie Games! "Whether you like it or not, you're going to survive!" --Daniel Games Discussed: Resident Evil | Last of Us 14:41: Other Pandemic Games. "You're armed with a pouch of leeches and a blowgun and it's your job to save the world." --Dean Games Discussed: World of Warcraft | Plague Inc. | DayZ | A Plague Tale | Pathologic 2 25:02: Games that Get It Right. Daniel: We need to make a bandoleer with cans of Lysol down the front. Dean: The Chewbacca of the pandemic

E

Jul 2020

31 min 20 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with graphic novelist Marjorie about her work on Monstress. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Marjorie Liu, Daniel Morbach, Sam Alberth, and Molly Krasel. About Marjorie Liu New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and she leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop. Ms. Liu is a highly celebrated comic book writer. Her extensive work with Marvel includes the Dark Wolverine series, NYX:  No Way Home, X-23, and Black Widow: The Name of the Rose. She received national media attention for Astonishing X-Men, which featured the gay wedding of X-Man Northstar and was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Ms. Liu also wrote the story for the animated film, Avengers Confidential:  Black Widow and Punisher, which was produced by Marvel, Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan) Inc., and Madhouse Inc.  She was also the writer of the Han Solo limited series, which debuted at #6 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and was nominated for an Eisner Award.

E

Jul 2020

50 min 47 sec

The Pridecast, Plus: LGBTQ+ Representations in Graphic Novels In the Pridecast, Plus episode, Dean crumps, Daniel heroically avoids bringing up Batman (but Dean does), Molly gets gushy about Monstress, and Sam plants a word, and then we all watch it grow. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Morbach,  Sam Alberth, and Molly Krasel. Content What not to Like. Daniel: Marvel is introducing a couple of new characters. Snowflake and Safespace. The Rest of the Cast: /collective groans Books Discussed: The New Warriors | Batwoman 12:00: What to Like.  Molly: I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but... Sam: I totally judge every graphic novel by its cover. Books Discussed: On a Sunbeam | Fun Home | Monstress | Skim | One Fine Summer | How Loathsome  12:20: What to Like about What You Like (Or Not). "Spoiler alert!" The demographic who think they are the target demographic, aren't." --Molly Content Discussed: Last of Us, Last of Us 2 (okay, not a comic, but still good) | Allegory of the Cave (yup, really)

E

Jun 2020

36 min 39 sec

In the pridecast episode, Dean tries to fake cool lingo (while Sarah covers for him with a British dictionary), Daniel laments and loves Persona, and Molly rues the reality of rainbow capitalism. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Becker,  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Which Games Get it Right? Dean: Tiny Tina is the one who thinks that crumpets are, in fact, crump. Sarah: Aww, you got so close, Dean. Games Discussed: Borderlands | Mass Effect __________________________________________________ 9:00: Sexuality and Choice vs. Retroactive Fan Pandering "I don't want to say JK Rowling this early in the podcast, but..." --Molly Games Discussed: Fire Emblem | Dragon Age | Mass Effect | Last of Us __________________________________________________ 12:20: You're Gay. Deal with It. "Women have been playing boy characters their whole lives. I thought Zero in Mega Man was a girl and I was so excited. He had long beautiful hair and everything!" --Sarah Games Discussed: Last of Us, Last of Us 2 | Dream Daddy | Night in the Woods __________________________________________________ 17:38: Games that Get It Wrong "It's kind of like the difference between Borderlands 2 and 3. They lost their way somehow." --Daniel Games Discussed: Persona 5 Royal

E

Jun 2020

30 min 51 sec

Video Games: Music and Story In this episode, We discuss music in video games, haunted dancing logs, and whether a hot dog is, in fact, a sandwich. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Song Favorites in Games? "Sarah, I think you have a thing for the moose!"                                                  --Dean Games Discussed: Splatoon | FFXIV | Sonic | Fire Emblem | World of Warcraft 10:33: Appropriation and Silence "That just comes from the 50s when everyone was afraid of being radiated!" --Molly Games Discussed: Borderlands | Bioshock Infinite | Five Nights at Freddy's | Last of Us 15:17: Turn Based Background Music "If I have to hear 'baby, baby, baby, baby" one more time, I will lose my mind!" --Molly Games Discussed: Persona 18:18: Full Soundtracks "Take this haunted log. I don't want it dancing in my house making its weird little noises." --Sarah Games Discussed: The Witcher 3 | Diablo 3 | Katamari Damacy | Animal Crossing To listen to the episode, click below, and if you want to listen on your phone, we're available on Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. You can also find more episodes of The Pub right here on Straylight, including more discussion of video games and story.

E

Jun 2020

25 min 44 sec

In this episode, Daniel educates us on all the Watchmen things, Molly brings the salt, and Jay and Dean guard against squid bullets! Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Jay McRoy, Molly Krasel and Daniel Morbach

E

Jun 2020

21 min 56 sec

Video Games: Endings and Story In this episode, Sarah contemplates her destiny, Molly takes a nap on the ground, and Dean realizes there is no hope for his body. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed What should a great ending accomplish? Sarah: "Satisfaction!" Dean: "Says the woman who has never saved Zelda!" Games: Okami, Undertale, TellTale's TWD, Soma 11:05: Terrible Endings Dean (in the "Carl" voice): "You Just didn't understand it!" Sarah: "I did. I did understand it. It was garbage!" Games: Final Fantasy X 12:11: Final Bosses "There are better places to take a nap than on the ground, you know." --Molly Games: Fire Emblem Awakening, Dark Souls, Diablo, Shadow of the Collosus, Monster Hunter, Neir Automota  17:46: Double Epic Fails "You don't tell me what my destiny is. You're a robot!" --Sarah Game: Fallout 3 20:24: Game Without End, Amen Game: Final Fantasy XIV

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Mar 2020

30 min 42 sec

Video Games: Openings and Story In this episode, we catch pokemon in the tall grass, find ourselves paralyzed in a hay cart with other Nordmen, and then beat the game by throwing refrigerators! Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed What should a good opening do? "It's just level 1!" --Sarah, on Super Mario Brothers "Those games are first-person. They make me barf." --Sarah, On Bioshock Infinite 3:15: The Best Openings Mass Effect 2 Dean: "...and then you hear the Joker's voice. Well, not THE Joker..." Sarah: "Yeah, that would be a different entirely!" 5:22: Games That Get In Their Own Way or Need Structure "You can't have a cut scene every two minutes in Pokemon. RIDICULOUS!" --Sarah, on Pokemon "The reason is to explore the world!" --Molly, on Minecraft 17:46: Worst Openings? Molly: "Skyrim!" Sarah: "Bold Stance!" Dean: "Admirable!" 21:56: Middle Ground Openings "Will my grade be curved at the end of this tutorial?'" --Dean, on Moonlighter "There's really no way to monkey wrench some story into play cards." --Sarah, on Magic: The Gathering

E

Dec 2019

30 min 29 sec

Deconstructing the Superhero In this episode, we deconstruct the superhero in comics, Molly discusses alien STD's, Daniel defends Batman's Sanity, and Dean comes up with a supervillainous plot to overthrow of the podcast! Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel and Daniel Morbach Defining the Superhero "HomeDepot presents, Superman!" --Molly 6:00: The Filth, Grant Morrison "Bold of you to assume Batman is mentally stable!" --Molly 16:00: The Boys, Garth Ennis (Author), Darick Robertson (Illustrator, Artist), Tony Avina (Artist) "The Boys are back in town!" --Dean 25:16: Empowered, Adam Warren "The genre is 'no-confidence dweeb'" --Daniel

E

Dec 2019

32 min 50 sec

Video Games: Character Creation and Story In this episode, we discuss video games, character creation, and story. Sarah talks about cow milk names (Yoohoo!), Molly strongly advocates for character hats, and Dean changes his name to Qwerf. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed Is Character Creation important? Dean: ". . . but the boy cow doesn't give the milk." Sarah: "Now you're getting it. Now your getting into my headspace!" 4:50: Does it impact the story?  "I guess it affects the end of the raid, when I am on top of the dead boss, in cow form, with the name Yoohoo. Dancing!" --Sarah 5:22: GTA and Saints Row "The question is, can you out-ridiculous the boombox gun that makes everyone twerk?" --Dean 8:06: Do you make yourself or someone else? "I could give May a hat or pants. I don't like her pants!" --Molly 14:21: Dragon Age: Character Selection and the Game World "I want to play that game where you can have robot phobia!." --Sarah 19:39: Character creation choices are never a bad thing. "In the cut scenes, you can play 'spot the custom protagonist.'" --Molly 25:49: One Last Thing "I've purchased my 6000 platinum horse, and I prace through the raid." --Dean

E

Nov 2019

30 min 28 sec

NaNoWriMo It's our NaNoWriMo podcast, on which we put Sarah on blast, Molly tells us about her saggy middle plot syndrome, and Dean settles down into the lotus position to prepare for NaNo. But are any of them wearing pants? Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with  Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed About NaNoWriMo "The 'No' doesn't stand for November? My life is a lie. I have to quit the podcast!" --Sarah Sarah: "It's twelve small notebook pages per day." Molly: "It sounds so achievable when you say it like that." NaNoWriMo believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page. 8:21: Preptober "The NaNoWriMo cup: It catches your tears and your Reddi-wip." --Molly Are you getting ready to write with us this November? Whether this is your first time tackling a novel or your fifteenth, our NaNo Prep 101 Workshop is here to help you get ready to reach that 50,000-word goal. 15:22: The Numbers! "I am not dissing my mother. She knows what she did!" --Sarah Check out our statistics for NaNoWriMo 2018! Our writers continue to write and achieve great things; in fact, more novelists reached 50,000 words than last year! Writers in our Young Writers Program also continued to crush it, with an overall win rate of over 40%. Read on for more information about this November’s numbers, leaders, and chart-toppers. 18:23: On Writing "I just bought a writing desk, like a crazy person." --Sarah Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work. “Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. 23:08: Camp NaNoWriMo "Camp NaNoWriMo happens in 'not November,' of that much I am sure." --Molly "I'm going to November the whole year, and you can't stop me!" --Sarah Camp NaNoWriMo is a writing event that happens in April and July. It's different from NaNoWriMo in November because you can work on any type of creative project, not just a novel. First drafts or revision, scripts or stories or poems or essays—all are welcome! Just set a goal and get writing.

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Nov 2019

28 min 27 sec

On our Young Readers Week episode, Molly admits to writing lots of vampire fan fiction (while we wear garlic necklaces and hold mirrors up to her), Ky pontificates on the Xanth novels, and Dean confesses to killing a man with a paper airplane, then hiding out in Mississippi. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Molly Krasel and Ky Richmond. Content Discussed Cirque Du Freak Series, Darren Shan Dean: "Did you identify with Darren Shan as an outcast?"  Molly: "Did you really have to ask that question? I already admitted to writing fan fiction!" Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling "You can't talk about anything related to childhood without talking about Harry Potter." --Molly The Giver, Louis Lowry "It's freedom of speech for a reason." --Ky Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan "It encompasses the UNIVERSE." --Ky Xanth Series, Piers Anthony "It was weird, zany, and I loved it!" --Ky Thieves' World, Robert Asprin "You can't go back, Dean!" --Molly The Destroyer, Warren Murphy "Back in Milwaukee, I killed a man with a paper airplane." --Dean Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger "You yoinked it?" --Ky

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Nov 2019

27 min 28 sec

Video Games and Story Join us for a podcast on video games and story, during which we hold a public World of Warcraft intervention for Sarah, Molly tells us just how much she likes Fire Emblem: Three Houses (hint: it's a lot more than a lot), and Dean admits to his Care Bear ways in Eve Online. Oh, and we talk a little bit about how story works in games, too. Cast: Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Sarah Willis and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed World of Warcraft, Blizzard "And I'm ridin' around on a giant bumblebee!" --Sarah The drums of war thunder once again… Return to a lost era of Azeroth and enjoy the timeless stories that defined this world at war. World of Warcraft Classic is a faithful recreation of the original World of Warcraft. Combat mechanics, original character models, and skill trees all contribute to a truly authentic experience. Doki Doki Literature Club, Team Salvato "It wants you to think it's a visual novel but, spoiler alert, it is so not!" --Molly Detroit: Become Human, Epic Games "It doesn't make you feel good about yourself in any capacity!" --Molly Until Dawn, Supermassive Games | The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan, Supermassive Games "I love the setup for these games. I can't play them because I am a big baby, but I love the setup." --Sarah Stardew Valley, ConcernedApe "You play it for the first time, and you are figuring everything out, and everything is helter skelter. And then you go back in, and that's when the sketch paper comes out." --Sarah EVE Online, CCP "You're just a Care Bear! You're not good enough to fight!" --Dean Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games "You know what else doesn't have microtransaction? Fire Emblem: Three Houses!" --Molly

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Nov 2019

30 min 18 sec

In honor of Halloween (again), we discuss horror comics, eating horse meat, other people, and touch on other deliciously terrifying topics. Daniel Morbach, resident graphic novel expert (okay, maybe not resident, since he calls in from Kansas City) and Ky Richmond resident (for real) art critic weigh in on the three titles we have picked. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Daniel Morbach and Ky Richmond. Content Discussed I Am Legend, Steve Niles (adaptation), Elman Brown (Illustrator) Richard Matheson's classic novel of fear and vampirism - the tale of the last human on an Earth overrun by the undead - returns to graphic novel format in a single volume collection of four long out-of-print books. Hungry Ghosts, Anthony Bourdain (author), Joel Rose (author), Alberto Ponticelli (illustrator), Irene Koh (illustrator), Paul Pope Illustrator On a dark, haunted night, a Russian Oligarch dares a circle of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles--where each storyteller tells a terrifying tale of ghosts, demons and unspeakable beings--and prays to survive the challenge. Inspired by the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, Hungry Ghosts reimagines the classic stories of yokai, yorei, and obake, all tainted with the common thread of food. Including stellar artists Sebastian Cabrol, Vanesa Del Rey, Francesco Francavilla, Irene Koh, Leo Manco, Alberto Ponticelli, Paul Pope, and Mateus Santolouco as well as amazing color by Jose Villarrubia, a drop-dead cover by Paul Pope. At the Mountains of Madness, I.N.J. Culbard (adapter), H.P. Lovecraft (author) H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. I.N.J. Culbard is an award-winning artist widely known for his graphic novel adaptations of the classics. He collaborated on a critically acclaimed Sherlock Holmes series with Ian Edginton and worked on The New Deadwardians for Vertigo, Dark Ages for Dark Horse, and Brass Sun for 2000AD. His first original graphic novel, Celeste, was nominated for the British Comic Award.

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Oct 2019

26 min 11 sec

Content In our Halloween episode, we discuss horror fiction, including but not limited to, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Caitlin Starling's The Luminous Dead, The Witcher series, and Toni Morrison's Beloved. We also discuss film, video games, art, and yes, drinking too much Jack Daniel's. All that in under thirty minutes! Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz, with Ky Richmond. Content Discussed Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Schwartz Are you brave enough for Scary Stories?Some boys and girls were at a party one night. There was a graveyard down the street, and they were talking about how scary it was. "Don't ever stand on a grave after dark," one of the boys said. "The person inside will grab you." "A grave doesn't scare me," said one of the girls. "I'll do it right now. . . ." Welcome to the macabre world of Scary Stories, where folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up the most alarming collection of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time. Here is a selection of extraordinarily chilling tales along with spine-tingling illustrations by renowned artist Brett Helquist. The Luminous Dead, Starling A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival. The Witcher, Sapkowski Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil, and not everything fair is good...and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth. The international hit that inspired the video game The Witcher. Beloved, Morrison Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but 18 years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement. The other material we discussed in the Halloween episode can be found on NPR's list of the Top 100 Horror Stories.

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Oct 2019

29 min 52 sec

Content: In this episode, guest Daniel Morbach discusses three biographical graphic novels while we listen intently and think about what anyone's single story can truly mean in the vastness of time and space. Either that or we talk about emojis and Nazis and a world without math. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Daniel Morbach, Ky Richmond, and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Fax from Sarajevo, by Joe Kubert Logicomix, by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou

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Oct 2019

32 min 16 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with poet and novelist Hala Alyan. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Kelsey Hoff and Destiny Crespo. About Hala Alyan Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Guernica and elsewhere. Her poetry collections have won the Arab American Book Award and the Crab Orchard Series. Her debut novel, Salt Houses, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017, and was the winner of the Arab American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her newest poetry collection, The Twenty-Ninth Year, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Find her online at her website or on Twitter @HalaNAlyan.

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Oct 2019

47 min 27 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with novelist about her debut novel, A Memory Called Empire.  Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Sam Stienke and Molly Krasel. About Arkady Martine Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Under both her names she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world. Arkady grew up in New York City and, after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in Santa Fe with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw.

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Oct 2019

55 min 56 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with voice actor Emily Woo Zeller about the rise in popularity of audiobooks, her experience in the industry, and her advice for those with an interest in the field. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Sam Stienke and Sarah Willis. About Emily Woo Zeller Emily Woo Zeller is an acclaimed narrator, having received Audie, Earphones, and SOVAS awards, as well as the distinction of being named one of Audiofile's "Best Voices" in 2018, 2015, and 2013. She is a dancer, singer, and stage actor, with years of character and commercial voiceover work. Emily won a Tristan award for her work as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and a Roselyn E. Schneider Prize for Creative Achievement from UC Berkeley. Just a few of her notable audiobook titles include The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Fire Road by Kim Phuc Phan Thi, The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, and Gulp by Mary Roach.

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Sep 2019

40 min 30 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with novelist R.F. Kuang about her first novel, and the role of myth, history, and religion in fiction. She also gives some great advice for beginning writers. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Sam Stienke and Alley Ryan. About R.F. Kuang Rebecca F. Kuang is the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominated author of The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic (Harper Voyager). She is currently pursuing an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. Her debut The Poppy War was listed by Time, Amazon, Goodreads, and the Guardian as one of the best books of 2018 and has won the Crawford Award and Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel.

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Sep 2019

37 min 42 sec

Content: In this episode, guest Daniel Morbach discusses three cyberpunk graphic novels from the 1980s while we throw down squares of cardboard and break dance. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Daniel Morbach, Sam Stienke, and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed: The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Author), Jean Giraud (Illustrator) The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore (Author), Ian Gibson (Author) Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune

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Jul 2019

45 min 4 sec

Content: In this episode, we offer our summer reading picks and discuss some disturbing library news. You can links to the books we discussed in the content notes below. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Alley Ryan and Molly Krasel. Content Discussed Alley's Picks Doing Oral History by Donald A. Ritchie & Managing Archives: Foundations, Principles and Practice by Caroline Williams Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters The Coming-Down Time by Joan Oppenheimer Zero Tolerance by Alexander Slavros (This one is something else. AltRight and neo nazis warning) Alley's Picks A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (for our interview!) Chasing Danger by Richard C White A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer Dean's Picks The Poppy War by RF Kuang Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (actually 4 novellas, not a trilogy!) Fall; or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace Augmented Human byHelen Papagiannis To listen to the episode, click below, and if you want to listen on your phone, we're available on Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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Jul 2019

52 min 41 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with novelist Vernor Vinge about his Zones of Thought series, Writing, Telepathy, and the Singularity. Heavy stuff! Cast Hosted by Adam Berg, with Dean Karpowicz  About Vernor Vinge Vernor Vinge was born on October 2nd of 1944 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Fascinated by science and particularly computers from an early age, he has a Ph.D. in computer science, and taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for thirty years. He is known in the sci-fi world as the author most closely associated with the idea of “technological singularity,” which is the event or sequence of events that will occur when technology surpasses human intelligence and society ceases to be recognizable to today’s humans.    Mr. Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including one for each of his last three novels, A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), and Children of the Sky (2011), as well as Rainbow’s End (2006). Other awards include the Prometheus Awards for Marooned in Realtime, and two Nebula nominations for A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky.    One of the things that he is best known for is his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction. Mr. Vinge currently resides in San Diego, California. To listen to the episode, click below, and if you want to listen on your phone, we're available on Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher.

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Jul 2019

43 min 29 sec

Content: In this episode, we talk with novelist Caitlin Starling about her first novel, writing speculative fiction & horror, spelunking, and delicious food cartridges (not!). She also gives some great advice for beginning writers. Cast Hosted by Dean Karpowicz with Samantha Alberth, Ryan Spence, Jacqueline Kenny, and Amanda Ledesma. About Caitlin Starling Caitlin Starling is a writer of horror-tinged speculative fiction of all flavors. Her first novel, The Luminous Dead, is out now from HarperVoyager. It tells the story of a caver on a foreign planet who finds herself trapped, with only her wits and the unreliable voice on her radio to help her back to the surface. Caitlin also works in narrative design for interactive theater and games, and has been paid to design body parts. She’s always on the lookout for new ways to inflict insomnia. Find more of her work at www.caitlinstarling.com and follow her on Twitter @see-starling. To listen to the episode, click below, and if you want to listen on your phone, we're available on Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. You can also find more episodes of The Pub right here on Straylight.

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Jul 2019

57 min 4 sec

In this episode, we interview Katie Williams, author of Tell the Machine Goodnight. Our discussion covers her novel, the process of writing it, and the role of technology in the book and our lives. Cast Hosted by Jacqueline Kenny, with Sam Alberth. Produced by Dean Karpowicz. Katie Williams is the author of the novel Tell the Machine Goodnight and the young adult novels Absent and The Space Between Trees. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Best American Fantasy, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. She teaches writing at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

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Jul 2019

55 min

In this week's episode of the Pub, we celebrate Pride Month by talking about some of our favorite LGBTQ books and characters. We also discuss the delay of Naomi Wolf's book, Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love. The delay occurred after Wolf's research was challenged during a BBC interview (around 21:00). And yes! We do talk about the stealthy storage of straws in socks. Hosted by Sam Alberth Guest Editor: Alley Ryan Produced by Dean Karpowicz To listen to the Pride Month episode, click below, and if you want to listen on your phone, we're available on Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. For the rest of our episodes on the site check out Straylightmag.com

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Jun 2019

57 min 31 sec

Cast: Dean Karpowicz, Kelsey Hoff, Madison Moore Producer: Carl Rollmann

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Jun 2019

56 min 13 sec

We talk about LARPing with Killer Goats! Then an interview with Deeplight LARP group. Host Alley Ryan Cast: Sam Stienke & Dean Karpowicz Produced by Carl Rollmann

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Jun 2019

51 min 52 sec

An interview with fantasy writer Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M. Our discussion covers her first novel, memory and identity, and her advice for beginning writers. Hosted by Alley Ryan Cast: Sam Stienke and Lilly Mayberry Produced by Dean Karpowicz

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Jun 2019

31 min 54 sec

Discussion with fantasy writer Terry Brooks about the Shanara series and its television adaptation. Host: Molly Krasel Cast: Emily Alfano and Dean Karpowicz Produced by Carl Rollmann

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Jun 2019

50 min 14 sec

And interview with Science Fiction and Fantasy author, Ken Liu. Hosted by Dean Karpowicz Featuring Heather Relken and Jacqueline Kenny Produced by Carl Rollmann

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Jun 2019

57 min 44 sec