Since 2015 I’ve run a podcast named The Uncaring Universe, focused on interviews with exciting voices in sci-fi and fantasy, the craft of writing and world-building.

(I’m in the process of re-hosting most of the episodes after leaving Soundcloud)

Guests have included RPG writing titan Chris Avellone, Seth Dickinson, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and many more inspiring storytellers.

From 2016-2019, Uncaring Universe was sponsored by Tor UK, the sci-fi/fantasy/horror imprint of PanMacmillan.

Brooke Maggs • Narrative Design From Non-verbal Indies to AAA

Brooke is a narrative designer and writer from Australia.

She has worked on award-winning games titles such as The Gardens Between, Paperbark and Florence. Currently, she has just finishwed working on Control, by Remedy Entertainment.

Brooke received the MCV Pacific XBOX Women in Games Creative Impact award for her work in the game industry.

This episode is a deep dive into narrative design workflow and heuristics, as Brooke explores her journey from speculative fiction writer to critically acclaimed non-verbal storyteller to big budget, AAA narrative designer.

Check out Brooke’s website: brookemaggs.com

Arkady Martine • The Machinery & Poetry of Empire

Arkady is the author of ‘A Memory Called Empire’. ‘Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.’

We discuss:
• How to create/write truly believable alien cities/societies
• The importance of catchy linguistics
• The machineries of empire – real and imagined.

Follow your host, Danny on Goodreads:

Follow Arkady on twitter: @ArkadyMartine
And Danny: @madquills

Greg Kasavin • The Drive For New Worlds

For this episode, I’m joined by Greg Kasavin – the lead writer and creative director at Supergiant Games – creators of the hugely influential Bastion, Transistor and most recently Pyre. Greg also spent a decade at Gamespot, during which time he became Editor-in-Chief, before leaving to work for EA on two command and conquer titles.

I’m a huge personal fan of Greg’s work, especially the world building of Transistor and Pyre, and I was thrilled to hear him talk so openly about his process, the difference between writing and narrative design, how he and Supergiant decide what kind of game to make next – and the fact Bastion was nearly a gardening game.

Enjoy the show – and no, I couldn’t get him to tell me what kind of game they’re making next.

Follow Greg on twitter: @kasavin

Susan Dennard • Transparency & Ecological World building

Susan is the author of the Witchlands series: Truthwitch, Windwitch, Sightwitch and the forthcoming Bloodwitch. They’re rollicking fantasy paeans to the power of friendship and family set among a backdrop of treaties ending, empires warring and lots of awesome magic.

We discuss:
• How Susan’s scientific/ecological background informs her process and world building
• The importance of showing your work and transparency
• How the awesome magic system was invented and refined (Barleywitches!?)
• Much more

Check out Susan’s site and sign up to her absolutely fantastic newsletter on the craft of writing: susandennard.com

Follow your host, Danny on Goodreads:

Follow Susan on twitter: @stdennard