Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL...

Earlier in the year I was concentrating on audiobooks during the daily commute and the regular trips out to visit the parental units. Lately I've been downloading podcasts and listening to them. Here's a round-up of what has been making the rotation through the iPod.

The Agony Column: The Mother and Father of All Literary Podcasts. A bit hard to navigate the archives (big list here, roughly the last year's worth here, last several months worth here). The earliest shows, alas, are in RealAudio format only, then there is a switch to both RealAudio and MP3, then a switch again to MP3 only. Dozens upon dozens of interviews ranging from David Weber to Charles Stross to William Gibson to John Shirley to Kim Stanley Robinson to a bunch of people who don't write genre. Which is a good thing and a bad thing...bad because I keep saying, hey, that sounds interesting...maybe I should give it a try (and then the wallet cringes). Rick Kleffel is an amazing guy and an amazing hosts; unlike some podcasters he actually has read the books of the people he interviews and asks some great questions. He also knows when to stay out of the way and let the guest speak. Good stuff here.

Babylon Podcast: A fanboy, a geek girl and a actor-turned-producer get together on a regular basis and talk about one of the best things to hit science fiction televison (still). 178 episodes so far, running from interviews with cast and crew to behind the scenes to deep looks ("deep geeking") about specific episodes and themes in the show. Unless you've watched the show, you probably won't be interested, but there is a lot of good stuff here.

Fringeworthy: A podcast about a pretty obscure roleplaying game (but one of my favorites). Start with the bonus episode if you are not familiar with the game. The podcast goes beyond game mechanics and talks about things that can be applied to any game or even to writing in general.

Writing Excuses: Hosted by Howard Tayler (author and illustrator of the popular Schlock Mercenary webcomic), Brandon Sanderson (author of numerous fantasy novels, author of the recently published first volume of the concluding trilogy of Robert Jordan's big massive fantasy epic) and Dan Wells (horror novelist, starts the podcast run unpublished). Three guys with wildly different writing experiences, both from what they do (Tayler publishes he stuff on the internet, gives it away for free...but manages to support himself; Sanderson writes young adult and adult fantasy, both his own and from the works of others; Wells has worked as a corporate writer and is now an "overnight" success after years of work). "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart" is the theme to the show, fifteen minutes dealing with a particular technique or method, what to do or not to do, examples from movies and other authors and the occasional special guest. I don't know if I'll ever write anything "for real", but this show has given me plenty to think about.

More podcasts to come, as I cycle through the downloads...

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