Words To That Effect:
Stories of the Fiction that Shapes Popular Culture
Words To That Effect was launched in 2017 and is written, produced, and recorded in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a show about the intriguing places where fiction, history, science, and popular culture intersect. Basically, the podcast answers questions you may not have thought actually needed answering:
- Why did the creator of the rational, scientific Sherlock Holmes fervently believe in ghosts and fairies?
- Why do aliens always land in New York and never in rural Ireland?
- What is transhumanism and can we use technology to live forever?
- Why are there so many zombies in popular culture?
- Why did Victorians go to parties to unwrap Egyptian mummies?
If these are the types of questions you now desperately need to know the answers to, excellent! Click on episodes and start listening right now.
What type of podcast is it?
Words To That Effect is a research-based, storytelling podcast which wanders through the fields of fiction, popular culture, science, and history, drawing on the knowledge of a diverse cast of experts. Topics are wide-ranging, but every episode is grounded in the same dedication to telling an engaging story about a less well-known aspect of history or culture.
There is a bit of a bias towards the late 19th and early 20th century, simply because I just find this such a fascinating time. But the contemporary is by no means excluded.
It is an Irish podcast, and so there are episodes based around Irish literature and culture. Overall, though, subject matter is drawn from the U.S., Britain, and farther afield.
Finally, while the “Great Works of Literature” are not outlawed, there’s a strong focus on popular genre fiction – science fiction, fantasy, adventure fiction, detective fiction, horror, and more. Because, well, popular literature tells us far more about ourselves and our culture than we often fully acknowledge. And why wouldn’t you want to read great genre fiction?
Words To That Effect is a part of the Headstuff Podcast Network, a collective of great Irish podcasts. Check it out at headstuff.org
When and where can I listen?
Episodes are released every two weeks, so check back regularly for new episodes or, better yet, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you normally listen to your podcasts (listening options here), and you’ll never miss out. Episodes are “evergreen” (i.e. they are all timeless masterpieces) so you can listen to them in any order you like.
Sound good? Have a listen and let me know what you think in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter, or by email. You can listen to all the episodes here on the website, but to follow the show and stay up to date with the latest episodes, then subscribe.
Finally, for news, updates, and extras you can sign up to the newsletter.
I am a writer, researcher, teacher, and podcaster based in Dublin, Ireland. My background is in English literature – I did a Masters in Popular Literature and then a PhD in Trinity College Dublin. I love academic researching and writing, and it’s something I continue to do (The Science and Fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs is my recently released book – check it out here!). However, I have always felt that so much of what I have learned in an academic context must be of interest to a wider audience. I have researched a lot of stuff over the years: pulp fiction, Victorian ghost stories, dinosaurs, life on Mars, cave men, talking apes, telepathy, evolutionary theory, detective stories… and so much more. Surely there’s an audience for that in a literary podcast?!
The other half of my career has been teaching – both English literature in Trinity and English as a foreign language. I have worked in two great schools in Dublin and teaching English is something I have loved since I first started doing it over a decade ago. The ability to speak clearly and explain complex ideas to students is actually great training for podcasting too so I guess my two parallel careers have merged into one in this literary podcast.
So, that’s my story and the origins of Words To That Effect.
Have a listen and enjoy the show,