So, I have discovered podcasts. This does not, I am aware, do much for my reputation as a global trend-setter. Actually, for the longest time I didn’t even know what a podcast was. Coming from a Larping background I just assumed it was the thrown weapon equivalent of a pod shot.
This development came from three directions at once, like atoms combining in a badly-researched children’s science cartoon. I had been meaning to go and listen to all of Tea and Jeopardy ever since I was on it (of which see below) and, likewise, I was tapped to do a guest spot on another genre podcast (of which ditto), but mostly because when my iPhone updated it suddenly had a podcast icon that let me download podcasts. Before this, I was quite literally standing there, aware that podcasts existed and that people were enjoying them, holding a sophisticated communications device/player in my hand, and crying out to the universe “How? Damn you, How?”. Because I’m somewhat sub-Batman when it comes to gadgeteering skills.
But now I am a grand convert of The Podcast, mostly because I abruptly clicked that I could listen to them during my commute (1) or just meandering on my way. Also, I made my first Hugos, and of course there was a podcasty category in it. And my life, there are a lot of good genre podcasts out there. Some are serious discussion shows and some are interview shows and some are very funny, and also do discussions or interviews. And some are just funny. I feel like Steve Rogers, seriously I do. I know everyone and their dog has been podcasting, or whatever the word is (2) since the dawn of the portable device age, and here I am running around being madly enthusiastic as though I’ve just discovered how to turn lead into gold (3).
So: the plug – As well as doing that spot on Tea and Jeopardy, I was recently tapped by the guys at Dissecting Worlds, the Geek Syndicate podcast. This is one of the discussion podcasts – they’re in their 9th season, and each season tackles a particular aspect of the written world and gives it a thorough going over. Previous seasons have looked at topics such as religion or alternate history, for example, and this current one is on espionage. They kicked off with Bond in a program that is enthusiastic about the popularity and tropes of Bond without remotely shying away from the very, very unpleasant aspects of Bond’s written and cinematic character. And for a second instalment they look at espionage and politics in the world of Shadows of the Apt, with me along for the ride. It was great fun to record, and please do hop over and give it a listen. Or download it on your iPodermophone, like gramps here.
There really are a lot of genre podcasts, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. A few I’ve tried that I can recommend are: SFSignal (literary discussion with author guests and Hugo awards), Verity (seriously in depth Dr Who discussion), Galactic Suburbia (genre issues, books & films discussion from the Antipodes) and Skiffy and Fanty (discussion and interview cast). As someone who grew up with radio comedy, though, I will profess a particular fondness for those that make me laugh, though. I know I’ve been on it, and I know the creators very well, and therefore I’m hardly a disinterested reviewer, but I cannot recommend Tea and Jeopardy highly enough. Every episode leaves me with the sense that I’ve really got to know that instalment’s guest, and listening to the show made me feel a part of this mythical geek community that people talk about – but that so often turns into fog when you try and put any weight on it.
I’ve also – having been a longtime fan of their website and reviews – become a strong convert of the Shut Up And Sit Down podcast. I am not actually a great buyerof boardgames, being more a parasitical consumer of other people’s, but Paul and Quinns and the rest are just really fun, pleasant people to spend ear-time with (4).
And of course there’s Night Vale. Because, seriously, the whole geek world was raving about that, and I was as one who was blind. But now I have cast the scales from my eyes, and seen the lights! The lights in the sky that were always there, but everyone pretends not to see…
(1) Yep, still with the day job.
(2) Podcastrating? Maybe not.
(3) For more on that topic, check out the History of Alchemy podcast. Because podcasts are achieving a Rule 34-like quality. If you can think of it, someone’s done a podcast.
(4) Is that a thing? Now it’s a thing.