I blogged a while back about getting massively into podcasts, which remains a definite thing whenever I am going from place to place and not able to bury my nose in a bo0k. I am currently awaiting new episodes Tea and Jeopardy, Geek Syndicate, Rachel and Myles X-plain the X-men, Shut Up And Sit Down, Galactic Suburbia, the Starburst Bookworm Podcast and SF Signal as well. I do want to flag up one that has become a particular favourite of mine for at least partially narcissistic reasons, and that is Dissecting Worlds, part of the Geek Syndicate family.
My main intro to this came when the hosts, Matt and Kehaar, tapped me on the shoulder to talk about espionage in the Shadows of the Apt universe, which was kind of flattering to say the least. From there, I went way back to the beginning, and have just finished a mammoth listen-through of the entire series (1). Dissecting Worlds is a social science/genre podcast, taking up topics and then exploring how various books, films etc. have dealt with them. Matt and Kehaar and their various guests manage to give what could be a rather dry idea a very lively treatment, mostly because of the very short periods they can go without insulting each other, and the show is extremely listenable-to. They manage to both do a broad brush approach that ropes in a large number of different sources, and at the same time get right down to the fine detail when needed. All in all, the result is highly educational and entertaining backgrounding in any of the topics they turn their surgical gaze on. And yes, I am kind of pleased that Shadows of the Apt gets an airing in a number of their ‘casts, but I’m not plugging them just for quid pro quo. I’ve genuinely burned through their entire back cataloque, so that should be an indication of the sincerity of my thumbs up.
For the record, DW is organised into series, each with a broad topic, and then each podcast (around 6 mostly) dealing with a particular slant or setting, with a final cast to summarise. If you’re interest in taking a look, here is the lowdown on what they’ve covered to date:
Series 1: Empires
Klingons, Dune, Star Wars (including Kehaar’s determined bid for why blowing up Alderaan was Responsible Governance on the part of Palpatine), Babylon 5, 1984, Corporate Empires (Wayland-Yutani etc.)
Series 2: Law and Order
Judge Dredd, Ankh-Morpork, Philip K Dick, Superheroes, Harry Potter, Mass Effect
Series 3: Military
UNIT, Temeraire, Battlestar Galactica (the new one), Rogue Trooper, Space Above and Beyond, Lord of the Rings
Series 4: Gender and Sexuality
Superheroes, Zardoz (and dystopias in general), Fantasy, Vampires, Star Wars & Trek, Other horror (non vampire)
Series 5: Leadership
King Arthur, Star Trek, Captain America, Aslan, Buffy, Doctor Who
Series 6: Alternate Histories
Years of Rice and Salt, Nazis!, Romans, American Civil War, Secret histories, Steampunk
Series 6a: Sports special
Around the London Olypmics, I think, they produced 4 genre sports specials focused on: genre sports, sports comics (in which there was a plea for Paul Cornell to reinvent the cricket comic genre!), human hunting and games (starting with Banks’ Player of)
Series 7: Rebels and Revolutions
Star Wars and Blake’s Seven (a fascinating contrast), Robin Hood, Red Dawn, 2000AD, X-men, Bas-Lag/New Crobuzon
Series 8: Religion
The Devil, Small Gods, RPGs, God Emperors (Dune, Warhammer etc.), Alien Gods, Monkey! (and depictions of eastern religion in general)
Series 9: Espionage
Bond, Shadows of the Apt (yay!), Horror, Superheroes and pulp (SHIELD, UNCLE etc.), Star Trek… (still ongoing).
(1) Because when I find a podcast I like enough, that’s what I do. I am that kind of obsessive nerd.