December 2006

Adventures in Podcasting
A Singularities Article by Shaun Farrell


As I am becoming more and more entrenched in the world of podcasting it seemed time for me to put together a “Shaun Recommends” list of SFFH related podcasts. This list is far from definitive and will certain change over time. There are hundreds of podcasts out there related to science fiction which I have yet to sample. But for now the list below contains some of the podcasts I most enjoy.

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What is a podcast, you say? If that term is unfamiliar to you, and since an introduction to the medium is the subject of another article, I recommend that you search the term “podcast” through Google or Wikipedia. Suffice to say that podcasts are downloadable audio files similar in structure to radio programs. Nearly all are free, each show focuses on a specific subject, and you have the option to subscribe to the podcast feed, allowing new episodes of your favorite shows to automatically download onto your computer. Listen whenever, wherever you want! Pretty cool, huh?

Podcasts exist for nearly every subject known to man (or woman), so here is my list of SFFH shows that I think you might enjoy. After all, if you’re visiting Far Sector, you’re probably into this stuff.

Slice of Scifi —Mike, Evo, Summer, and the gang explore the cutting edge of SFFH films and television. Listen to these guys and you’ll never miss a SF show, film, or DVD of note ever again. They also have fabulous guests. Currently they are featuring stars from the hit show Battlestar Galactica, and they’ve promised stars from NBC’s Heroes after that. Check them out for 60 minutes of weekly geekness.

Escapepod—This is the best podcast I have found that features weekly short stories. They get all the big authors, kids: Kevin J. Anderson, Harry Turtledove, Tobias Buckell (wow, this is starting to sounds like my SQ column!), Mike Resnick and many more. Have a listen, and if you become a fan, please contribute from time to time. Escapepod needs our support to keep getting such talented authors, and Editor Steve Eley has certainly earned it.

The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy—Sergeant Tee Morris is currently on shore leave, so now is a great time to catch up on Season One of this podcast. Tee, author of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana, focuses his show on how to market your book once you get the contract. After all, with over 100,000 books published a year, why should anyone buy yours? But don’t think that you need to be a published author to enjoy this show. I don’t have a contract (yet), but I’ve learned a great deal through Tee’s interviews and meditations.

Starshipsofa—I just discovered this podcast, and I’ve been having some fun with it. Each episode Ciaran and Tony delve deep into the life of a prominent science fiction author, usually one who has passed. The show is informal, relaxed, and . . . well, kind of like two guys chatting while they sit on a sofa! But make no mistake about it, these boys do their research, and their preparation shows. An extra bonus for American listeners: Ciaran and Tony have accents! Yeah!

Battlestar Galactica—Every week Ronald D. Moore provides a podcast of commentary for the new episode of Battlestar Galactica. I listen on Saturday after watching the show on Friday night, and this is a great way to enhance your BSG experience. You’ll learn about character backstory, plot changes, and be behind the scenes. This is as close as most of us will get to truly understanding how a SF show comes together and why producers do what they do. Great stuff here, and enjoy the scotch.

The Secrets—Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole releases this cast in conjunction with his Secrets newsletter. Full of great information about the nuts and bolts of writing, I’m afraid this show might be podfading. I spoke with Michael at the World Fantasy Convention, and he is incredibly busy these days. But he certainly seemed enthusiastic about podcasting, so I expect new episodes to start appearing next year. But that’s just a feeling on my part. We didn’t discuss the particulars of his show. For now, there are over 20 episodes to listen to. Plenty food for thought. I’ve listened to each show multiple times.

7th Son—This trilogy of podcast novels by J.C. Hutchins is a must listen for fans of audio fiction. Follow the story of seven men who learn they are all identical clones from the same source: John Alpha. Worst than that, they must find and stop Alpha from a sinister plot that goes deeper than they can possibly imagine. J.C. put a lot of love into these novels, and the production quality of the podcast is better than most audio books I have purchased. Content is adult oriented. You can also subscribe through www.podiobooks.com.

That’s it for now. Plenty of podcasts to listen to during your holiday travels. All are available for free through iTunes, or visit the individual sites to copy and paste the RSS feeds into your podcatcher of choice. And if you still don’t know what podcasting is—learn! You won’t regret it.

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Copyright © 2006 by Shaun Farrell. All Rights Reserved.