AISFP 287 – Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Janet and Chris Morris join us to discuss how to write in the ancient world, among many other topics.


Baen_Eric Flints Islands This episode is brought to you by Islands, an audio drama based on a novella from Eric Flint, adapted by Tony Daniels, and published by Baen books.

A four-part, full cast audio play adaptation of “Islands,” a novella by Eric Flint set within the world of the Belisarius alternate history series created by Eric Flint and David Drake.(Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.)

Epic adventure, the horrors and glory of war, and the dawning of authentic love combine in this drama based on a classic novella of the Belisarius series.

751 A.D. The being from the future known as Aide has brought technology to Byzantine Rome in an attempt to oppose another nefarious A.I. from the same future. This is a Roman Empire with the telegraph, muzzle-loading rifles, and steam-powered ships. In the midst of this transformed world: Calopodius Saronites, seventeen-years-old, and a Constantinople aristocrat who has gone to the front with General Belisarius to seek glory. And Anna Saronites, also seventeen, Calopodius’s wife by arranged marriage who seeks a life for herself outside the strictures of Constantinople society. As Anna journeys into the horror of war’s rear area hospitals and uprooted lives, she finds uses for her talents of which she never dreamed, even as her husband Calopodius remakes his life on the front after he is blinded by a terrible wound.

Topics Discussed:

  • Mythology and ancient philosophy;
  • Capturing the voices of the ancient world;
  • How fiction of the ancient world differs from today’s fiction;
  • The deconstruction of the novel;
  • Pre-Socratic thinkers;
  • Albert Einstein;
  • The denigration of the heroic myth;
  • Their BLOG
  • To learn more about Janet Morris, please view her Wikipedia page!

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  1. I think I can safely say that this has been one of my favourite episodes. Ever. Full stop. Tremendously interesting guests with so many fascinating things to say – on history, mythology and value of literature and so much more. As a listener to Melvyn Bragg’s BBC Radio broadcast, In Our Time (Moses, I highly recommend this – it covers philosophy, science and historically important figures, some of whom were discussed her).

    I’m guessing their self-confessed curmudgeonly views about genre more broadly will go down in some quarters like the proverbial lead balloon. Though I very much appreciated what your guests had to say, I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with straightforward stories without the more nurturing layered stuff. For myself, Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolstoy and countless classics as well as great modern literature having had a significant impact on me, but I also really love good, straightfoward genre writing, if it has a good tale to tell – a mixed diet, let’s say.

    As for the show’s length, it was perfect. It gave more space to explore the topics. That’s an hour long walk with the dogs plus a bit of tidying up around the house.

    Thanks for a great episode, Moses – you did a terrific job of the interview.

  2. robert hegwood says

    This was brillant. A gem of an episode. Instructive, thoughtful, wise, and spot on in its cultural and literary critique. Masterclass.

  3. Shaun Farrell says

    It was a fantastic listen. Great job, Moses!

  4. Aaron Vlek says

    Not only a fascinating listen, but inspiring! Thank you!

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