In Which I Am Reluctant
So. I have long been resistant to the aural tradition, because I honestly find it difficult to follow audio-only things. I am such a visual person that I have fits if my brother wants help with his math homework, because he reads the questions aloud to me and won’t let me look at the paper. (CANNOT. HANDLE.)
I tried audiobooks once (I think it was a “try one free” deal) and…didn’t work. I couldn’t follow the story at all, kept getting lost, was super frustrated the whole time.
In Which I Am Reluctantly Converted
I’ve been working at a nonprofit this summer, and a lot of the people there listen to music while they work. So I started listening to music while I worked. And I enjoyed that.
Then the girl next to me started talking about all the podcasts she was listening to.
Here’s the thing: I try to be a good aspiring writer – I follow all the authors and agents on Twitter (and see some interesting stuff that way), subscribe to the Publisher’s Marketplace newsletter, try to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. But there are only so many hours in the day.
I can listen to them on the train, while walking places, while working. I can hear interesting interviews with authors, chats about current industry buzz, cool pieces of audio fiction. And they’re episodic and short (ish), so I don’t get too lost without a visual component.
7 Podcasts I’m Listening To (in no particular order)
In this Hugo-wining podcast, Patrick Hester interviews various SFF authors, publishers, industry professionals, etc. Episodes run around an hour, and it’s nice to hear the authors talk a little bit at length about their work and their interests. They also have a nice website with blog posts in addition to the podcast.
Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowall, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor talk about writing! This season (their 10th) is basically a writer’s workshop. This podcast is more craft-focused than the others I’ve been listening to. It’s also super short and sweet — 15 minutes — so it’s perfect for the train.
Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, Cat Valente, Paul Cornell, and Lynne M. Thomas (with the special guests) “squee” about all things SFnal. They talk books, movies, comics…plus some roundtable discussions on award season, work/life balance, etc. Episodes average about an hour in length, and have been a great source of recommendations! Also a previous Hugo winner.
NB: The most recent episode is from January, so while there’s been no official announcement of termination this one might be winding down.
This is the podcast that everyone gushes about. So far, I’m not sold – I’m about 4 episodes in and interested, but not in love yet. This one is fiction, in the style of a radio broadcast from the strange town of Nightvale. It’s odd, and interesting, and I’ll go a little longer before I give up. Episodes are short, around 20 minutes.
(Also, apparently there’s a WTNV novel coming soon. So I might check that out.)
Delightful little interview podcast, with a side of…roleplay? Emma Newman (and her seriously adorable English accent) interviews authors with a side of tea and a “cheeky bit of cake”. In addition to the interview, authors inevitably encounter some sort of peril that they must get out of (e.g., karaoke demons). Meanwhile, butler Latimer serves tea and the chickens…sing.
I found this podcast because Emma Newman was a guest on SF Squeecast, actually. It’s really nicely done. And this year was nominated for a Hugo!
This year’s Hugo winner! Three lovely Australian ladies bring you SF news, books, and assorted industry-related chat, Every so often they have a “spoilerific” episode where they discuss one particular SF thing (most recently Jupiter Ascending; the life and work of James Tiptree Jr.).
These run long – 1-2 hours – but Alisa, Alex and Tansy are great fun to listen to, and their commentary is very insightful. The most recent episode on Tiptree was fascinating.
I’M IN LOVE. This “new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio” is a truly delightful piece of audio fiction. The podcast is finished, but there’s a huge backlog of episodes so I’ll be okay for a while. It’s published as a series of ~20 minute segments.
My personal favorite segment is “Beyond Belief”, in which Park Avenue socialites and mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle solve supernatural mysteries, with frequent detours for a drink. (“Who cares what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” “Unless evil’s carrying the martini tray, darling.”) Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins are hysterical. Paget in particular, because she does the whole thing with a ridiculous Transatlantic accent.
“Sparks Nevada: Marshall on Mars” is another great segment, with some excellent worldbuilding and plenty of humor (“What are hands for, if not for takin’ the law into them?”). I’m starting to get attached to Sparks, Croach, Professor Genius, the space-crazy preacher, and the Red Plains Rider. Plus, the theme song is super catchy.
There are any number of other segments (Captain Laserbeam, Colonel TickTock, Moonshine Holler, Jefferson Reid Ace American, Amelia Earhart Fearless Flier, Tales from the Black Lagoon…), so there’s likely to be something for everyone.
Any good podcasts out there that I’m missing? They don’t have to be book-related. Share in the comments!