Friday, December 3, 2010

Podcasts

I love the short fiction audio podcasts. I'm arriving more than fashionably late to this party, because, as a consequence of being both poor and credit-averse, I tend to fall well behind the gadget curve. But a good friend of mine lent me the iriverclix she no longer uses, and for a couple of months now at jobs where I'm encouraged not to speak to anyone or during long drives, I've been listening to some of the big ones. The ones I've listened all, or at least most of the way through are:

PodCastle.org (Fantasy). My friend John introduced me to Escape Pod, but I gravitated first to PodCastle, probably because the first story was by one of my all time favorite authors, Peter S. Beagle. If you're just sampling, I recommend from this the stories "Come Lady Death", "The Cambist and Lord Iron", "The Fiddler of Bayous Teche", "The Narcomancer", "The Behold of the Eye", "The Annals of Eilen-Ok", "Cup and Table", "The Run of the Firey Horse", and "Hell is the Absence of God". I do think its worth a straight listen all the way through. The fiction skews contemporary, and there's a fair chunk of not-straight-white-male stuff (which has apparently alienated some of the people who came in looking for Conan, just to give fair warning).

EscapePod.org (Science Fiction). The grandaddy of fiction podcasts, which spun off PodCastle and PsuedoPod and boasts about 270 individual episodes. Steve Eley hosts for most of those, and has a lot of really fabulous musings on genre and genre publishing. If you're just doing a quick scan through, I recommend "Exhalation", "Kin", "Joe Steel", "Will You Be an Astronaut?", "Nano Comes to Clifford Falls", "Eros, Philia, and Agape", "Skinhorse Goes to Mars", "On the Eyeball Floor", "Cinderella Suicide", and "The Clockwork Atom Bomb". There's really a lot more to recommend, but if you start at the beginning, please be patient with it. It's something that's really grown as a market in the five years it's been running. You can also sort for just Hugo nominees, which are almost always all on the show.

DrabbleCast.org (Flash). Drabblecast does both genre and non-genre, but it's emphasis is on short and weird. Not to downplay the stories, which are often awesome, but the best part of this podcast is the host, Norm Sherman, and his hilarious intros and outros including news about giant squid and mutant hogs, sketch comedy bits about news, purple prose rambles about his podcast becoming the oral history of generations of post-apocalyptic underground mutants, and more than all of these combined, his fabulous musical stylings. Some of the absolute choicest episodes include "Clown Eggs" (if you listen to nothing else in this whole entry, listen to Clown Eggs!),"The Worm Within", "Sleep Age Economy", "Jelly Park", "Annabelle's Alphabet", "Babel Probe", "Apologies All Around", and "Synesthesia"

In addition to being a fabulous way to pack my life full of clever fiction, these podcasts have also been a good way to learn about the markets. All three of these are primarily reprint markets, and most will make a note of where the story was first published, as well as almost always where the author has been previously published. It can help one get a feel for which markets are more likely to take which type of story (obviously not as good as actually reading the magazines, but if you're short on money or eye-time, this can be a way to help).

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