Mar 10 2016

Podcasts Part I – Audio Theater and Radio Drama

A few months ago, I discovered podcasts. Or not discover them, per se, as I’ve been aware of them and they’ve been around for ages now. So maybe I should say, several months ago, I decided to give listening to podcasts a try and they’ve consumed my life. My usual music time in the car has been taken up with listening to podcasts, and I’ve also started listening to them when I go on runs.

I don’t know why I didn’t start listening to them before. Podcasts are amazing — or at least the ones I’ve discovered are, and I know there are a ton more amazing podcasts that I could be listening to.

Since the list of channels that I’ve been listening to is rather long, I’m splitting them up into three separate posts. Part II will be fiction and poetry podcasts, and Part II will cover film and filmmaking podcasts.

First up is radio drama or audio theatre, which I think both describe the same thing and I’m assuming apply here, in regards to narrative podcasts in which a story unfolds over multiple episodes.

I’m itching for more radio drama style podcasts, so please send recommendations!

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Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale podcast“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. But, because of distance, not for millions of years.” — Night Vale Proverb

Welcome to Night Vale is a serial podcast about a community radio show, reporting on the quaint and creepy desert town of Night Vale. The voice of Night Vale is Cecil Balwin, who reports on local news and community events, like giant glow clouds raining down the bodies of dead animals or the goings on of the Sheriff’s Secret Police or strange underworlds appearing under bowling alleys.

So, I started listening, and because I’m a completionist on these kinds of things, I started at the beginning and have been working my way forward. Since there are over 80 episodes and since I can only listen to one or two a day without devolving into madness, it’s taking me a rather long time to catch up. But that’s okay, because starting at the beginning has allowed me to see how the town and all of its characters have grown and survived or survived but damaged or not survived, as the case may be.

Night Vale was the rabbit hole that spun me off into discovering more and more podcasts. It’s fantastic.

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The Message

The Message podcastThe Message is a sci-fi narrative that follows “the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 episodes we get an inside ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.”

Only eight episodes long, The Message is a great bite-size introduction to this kind of audio theatre and podcasts in general, presenting an unsettling sci-fi storyline with great voice acting and sound effects. Just talking about it makes me want to go back and listen to it again. It’s that good.

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Alice Isn’t Dead

PrintAlice Isn’t Dead follows the story of an unnamed narrator, searching for her wife, whom she believes to be dead, while working as a truck driver. Joseph Fink, one of the creators ofWelcome to Night Vale, told Wired, that the story would have the same humor mixed with creepiness as Night Vale — a sure win for me.

This one is so new that I’ve only listened to the teaser. But based on that and the fact that it’s from the creators of Welcome to Night Vale, I have high hopes that Alice Isn’t Dead is going to be fantastic.

Updated to Add: Having listened to the first episode, I can say that Alice Isn’t Dead is creepy in a decidedly different way from Night Vale., where strange and creepy happen but are generally mitigated by the light, humorous tone. Alice Isn’t Dead has humor, however, it seems to be a little darker.

Narrated by truck driver, Nicole, the narration is punctuated by scratchy hiss of the truck’s CB radio cutting in and out. The effect is unsettling as some of the storyline comes through in non-chronological order. The horror of events described are more personal and frightening, leaving a lingering sense of threat. All of this is to say, I freaking like it and can’t wait to hear more.


Mar 7 2016

Rain and mud and beautiful things

The rain, rain, rain came down, down, down this weekend. But that didn’t stop my family and I from heading out to Loch Lomond and taking a short hike. It was a grey, chilly day by a beautiful lake, tromping through slightly muddy trails and watching my niece and nephew jump in puddles.

My favorite part was when my niece put her finger to her lips and said, “Shh. We have to be very quiet. Because of the water.”

Loch Lomond1

Loch Lomond2

And because, apparently, I have all the time in the world (haha), I’ve signed myself for the March Around the World movie watching challenge, in which I am meant to watch 30 movies from 30 countries. So far, I’ve watched: Monsoon Wedding (India), Suspiria (Italy), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Australia), Ida (Poland), Blue is the Warmest Color (France), and Heavenly Creatures (New Zealand).

What I’m Reading

Turns out the missing page within Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton (that I mentioned last week) turned out to be not missing but transposed. Apparently, page 19 comes after page 22 in my edition.

Other than the little page weirdness, Tooth and Claw is turning out to be a good read. It kind of reminds me of something like Charles Dickens, but with dragons instead of people. An interesting aspect of the society is that it’s perfectly normal for dragons to eat other dragons, either as an inheritance from family member that have died or to cull the weak, whom they don’t feel are worthy of surviving. I’m curious to see how this family of dragons strive to make their way in society and try to build a wealth for themselves, although I suspect at least one of them is going to fall into tragedy.

What I’m Writing

Due in part to the immense amounts of movie watching and, in part, to my inability to focus on any one project at a time, I didn’t manage to complete anything last week. Being indecisive about which short story to work on is a sure way to fail to finish any short stories. Although, I did manage to jot down a few scenes and notes in the hopes that I might actually finish something this week.

Goal for the Week:

  • Finish one story and/or one poem draft.
  • Submit something.

Linky Goodness

SFF in Conversation: Talking Novels with Haralambi Markov, Sunil Patel, and S.L. Huang

Why is Elizabeth I, the most powerful woman in our history, always depicted as a grotesque?

Benjamin Crouse comments on the friend-zone and how it diminishes the value of friendships as a whole.


Mar 4 2016

Good things at Zoetic Press

I adore Zoetic Press, which produces two fantastic lit journals Nonbinary Review and Unbound Octavio among a number of other wonderful things. Within the Litho Reader app for iPhone and iPad, they wrap amazing pieces of poetry and fiction in gorgeous covers.

Recently, Zoetic Press released their first two full length books on the Litho Reader app — Erin Elizabeth Smith’s The Fear of Being Found and Christopher E. Grillo’s The Six-Fold Radial Symmetry of Snow — both of which look fantastic.

Zoetic Press has also been migrating all of the back issues of Nonbinary Review online to make them accessible to the whole wide world of readers. Although I recommend downloading the Litho Reader app to get the full experience of each issue, This means that Issue #4 Bullfinch’s Mythology is now up online, which includes my poem, “Eve and Pandora.”

I recommend reading the entire Bullfinch Mythology issue, because it is brimming with amazing work. And not just that, but all of the available issues because they are all full of wonderful things.

 


Mar 3 2016

New-to-me movies watched in February 2016

1. Jupiter Ascending (2015)

By all accounts this is a ridiculous movie, but it’s delightfully so. The movie just oozes with scifi geekery, from boots that allow you to fly to human-animal clones to a planet comprised of bureaucratic aliens. The costuming and sets are visually gorgeous with rich detail.

My major complaint is the heroine, Jupiter, spends most of the movie falling off of buildings and being caught by the hero. She’s literally whipped around from place to place without much agency of her own, which doesn’t make me much interested in her as a character.

Nevertheless, this was fun.

2. Deadpool (2016)

Amazeballs. This movie manages to be a superhero movie that breaks the rules of superhero movies. It’s incredibly violent, with tons of blood splatter and severed limbs and other cringeworthy moments, and it has more fourth-wall-breaking humor and asides than a wrecking ball. Plus, it brings in two awesome X-Men characters, who have not been seen (much) before. So much win.

deadpool

 

 


Mar 1 2016

Books finished in January and February 2016

1. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
2. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
3. Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
4. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
5. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
6. Ringworld by Larry Niven
7. Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

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