The Cambridge Geek

The Dragoning

Okay, this is an interesting one. The Dragoning is a disease of sorts, which causes women to turn into dragons. Not randomly, or on any form of timer, but specifically in response to anger. Think of it like She-Hulk, but scalier.

Thus far, it's only really present in a single city, coloquially "Dragon City", to which our silent protagonist is visiting. The story is all told in second person, as if the listener was the main character. For the length of an episode, we are Brent, a chap who was really just curious about DC and spending a few episodes exploring it and getting talked at by taxi drivers, doormen and fellow barhoppers.

We go on sightseeing tours to the TGI Friday where three women dragoned out at once, tearing in to pieces. We see the men only bar, intended to be a safe space. And then there's the apology room, which you'll learn all about if you listen.

Because this world is no longer our world.

You see, if you start with our world, with its base level of sexism, and give women the ability to turn into a dragon and eat people when they're annoyed, you do a bit of a 180 on gender politics.

Catcalling? That's a dragoning.

Mansplaining? That's a dragoning.

Complaining about dragoning? That's a... well you get the idea.

The podcast therefore imagines a shift, such that women have to walk their men home so that they're safe, there's men only taxi firms, and rape support centres become "I nearly got eaten" centres. Men get quieter, less likely to strike out, and generally more afraid.

It's walking an interesting line between satire and speculative fiction. A lot of, indeed almost all of the new male fears in this world are women's fears in our world. (Can you go home with this girl? What if she's a dragon? How do you get away if it goes bad?)

At the same time, dragons feed on fear, so there's now a slight push for men to be afraid all the time, because if the dragon gets fed, it doesn't come out. It's a subservience button in some ways, meaning that you get a sneaky reversal of the old "I like a girl with spunk". That one took a bit of reasoning through post-listen, but the cleverness of a setup that allows dragons to go "I like you not being afraid" while still getting the thrill of making them afraid cut through.

And also there seem to be dragon slayers, which is sneaking into a more thriller-like plot.

All of which is to say, go listen to it. It's a thinker.

Score 5

Tagged: Audio fiction Drama Cast Dramatised Urban fantasy Serial