Just a quick note and link to a story that I read for PodCastle.
It’s called The Wizard’s Apprentice, it’s written by Delia Sherman and read by moi. To tell you the truth, I’m not happy with the recording quality and production of it and was planning on re-recording it after the semester ended, but I guess I’m going to hold off on that since the author liked the reading and I should see if other people have issues. It may be that I’m just being hypercritical . . . well, actually no, it could be better and I definitely have had cleaner sounding podcasts in the past. So, we’ll see. I won’t do anything for about a month anyway.
You can hear it here.
While not strictly new, I wanted to remind those few, those foolhardy, those brave readers who pass some of their time with me on this blog that I am currently the audio producer for PodCastle. If you like fantasy fiction, or just listening to good storytelling in general, you should check it out (along with its sister podcasts EscapePod for science fiction and PseudoPod for horror). My favorite PodCastle stories that I’ve worked on include:
- Biographical Notes to a “Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-planes” by Benjamin Rosenbaum
- Another End of the Empire
In other podcasting news, I am the current host and producer for Perishable Theatre Presents, which is the official podcast of my old office manager gig, Perishable Theatre. For those interested in theatre and the performing arts, I hope to make this podcast a compelling and interesting journey that offers a glimpse into what it means to be a small theatre making new and experimental theatre and performance. Episodes will include interviews, radio plays, storytelling, behind-the-scenes recordings, panel discussions, and anything else in the wide array of programming that will be suitable for an audio production. The first episode is up and available on iTunes as well, and the second episode, the first part of an interview with the founder of Perishable, David Eliet, will be posted on May 4th. If you like what we are doing, please leave a comment on podcast site or a customer review in iTunes.
And speaking of Perishable Theatre, at this season’s final Blood from a Turnip on May 21, I will be performing, along with Artistic Director Vanessa Gilbert, my song cycle recounting the (fictional) origin story behind this late-night puppet salon. The show will start at 10 pm and costs $5. If you want a taste of what this might be like, you can check out a few very rough demos that I’ve posted here.
I hope can check out some of my work and would love for you to let me know what you think of it. While many people say they are open to critical feedback but don’t really want it, I assure you, if there is something that you think will help me be a better podcast producer or host, or songwriter, I very much want to hear your thoughts.
Of course, if you just want to tell me I’m awesome, I’ll probably be ok with that as well.
If you love books, there are certain stories about books that will catch your heart, steal your breath, and make your head spin a bit as you hold back (or not) tears of joy.
If you love books and love stories about books, then I recommend you take some time in the next couple of days and head over to Escape Pod and listen to Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan. If you would rather read it, you can do so at the author’s website. Heck, no need to make a choice between the two, you can do both. But I have to say that Steve Eley’s reading of the story, his obvious love of story and creation, and the fact that Sloans’s story has a deep and profound meaning for Eley, brings an extra bit of frisson to the tale.
If you enjoy the story, share it with someone else because the only way stories really live is if we continually help them find new life inside new minds.
To Robin Sloan for writing this story and to EscapePod for running it, I’d simply like to say:
Between 1947 and 1959, the future was written about, discussed and analysed with such confidence that it became a tangible presence. This is a story of weird science, strange events and even stranger beliefs, set in an age when the possibilities for human development seemed almost limitless. (Link)
I first discovered Ken Hollings’ Welcome to Mars on Boing Boing and can’t recommend this show enough to anyone who is curious about the intersections of science, popular culture, science fiction, and the nooks and crannies of American history from 1947 – 1959. From government agencies setting up brothels in San Francisco to test various combinations of psychedelic drugs, to UFOs, to the creation of suburbia, Hollings takes you on a ride through the kind of history that you won’t find in textbooks or in a Ken Burns documentary. Subtitled “On the Fantasy of Science in the American Half-century,” the series begins with an examination of Levittown, the very first of the modern suburbs and weaves a narrative that is both compelling and somewhat disturbing. Hollings’ narrative is also underscored by the electronic music of Simon James; music that alternates between haunting and jarring. On first listen, the music may seem extraneous, intrusive, or just plain annoying. In part, because Hollings’ story is so damn intriguing that whenever the music pulls focus, you think to yourself “get back to the real part of the podcast, I want to hear what’s next.” On second listen, however, the music and sounds of Simon James, these odd and jangling, ethereal and robotic sounds become a part of the narrative. James provides a non-verbal commentary that weaves together the various fantasies of science and culture that Hollings reveals.
This show tapped into my personal reservoir of interest in UFOs, science fiction and science fact. From fantasies of government conspiracy to conspiracies of government fantasy to the desperate desire for alien actuality, I have—since childhood and my reading about Betty and Barney Frank, the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle—been intrigued and excited by questions of the paranormal, cryptozoology, and the possibilities of aliens among us. What sets Hollings’ discussion apart from the typical kooky claims, is that he approaches these subjects as a web of cultural and socio-political inferences. For Hollings, the question isn’t “do UFOs exist?” but rather “what does it mean for a culture to believe, disbelieve, and variously represent the existence of UFOs?” As an erstwhile academic influenced by performance studies and feminism, I believe that the connections between government policies, movies, television, architecture, music, and popular representations of science are tremendously important in the attempt to understand ourselves. Hollings offers a snapshot of culture that reveals a number of aspects of the American consciousness that, on the surface of things, may seems trivial, but are, in fact, the very warp and woof of our national identity.
Welcome to Mars is a twelve part series, with each show about thirty minutes in length. If you are anything like me, you’ll probably devour the series in only two or three sittings as you fall down a rabbit hole and find yourself in a strange world that is our own but that is refracted and off-kilter. Like how, when you put your finger underwater, your vision doesn’t quite match up with your physicality. A world of interconnections that rebuild your perceptions about American history and our cultural relationship to science fiction and science fact.
There is indeed a new episode of Letters to Lost Friends.
There’s a new episode of my podcast posted. I’m up to episode 6 of Letters to Lost Friends. If you haven’t listened to any of the shows, please do! If you have, thanks!
And I do need submissions for both the “letters to lost friends” and the “friend of the day” segments, so if you’ve been mulling over whether to send something, mull no more! Send them to submit (at) letterstolostfriends (dot) com. You’ll feel all special and tingly inside when you do.
So I’ve been remiss in writing here in part because I’m starting a new project called “Letters to Lost Friends.” This is going to be my first podcast and I’m hoping to get the first, introductory episode out by Thursday and follow that with a weekly release schedule. I promise I’ll not forsake my Liminal site, however!
Here’s the opening theme song for the podcast: