A monthly podcast related to the Antipodean Speculative Fiction website, which features stories (mostly flash fiction of approximately 500 words but occasionally something longer), speculative fiction news (mostly Australian) and reviews of various books and movies (as well as a healthy dose of mainly electronica music).
I like this podcast a lot – and not only because AntiSF has published some of my short stories. It has a wide variety of stories (with the usual mix of quality you’d expect from a high volume publisher) and gives exposure to a variety of authors that you wouldn’t otherwise get to read. The editor and presenter Ion “Nuke” Newcombe obviously loves the genre and publishes around 10 stories each month, all of which get read out in each podcast (often by the authors themselves).
As well as narrating my own stories, I also narrate the occasional story for other authors. Nuke has been very generous in letting me play in the AntiSF sandpit.
(One of my favourite parts of the podcast is the sign off music, which is usually a digitised version of music by the Victor Herbert Orchestra taken off wax cylinders recorded in the early 1900s. Fantastic stuff!).
(Sadly, the Victor Herbert Orchestra seem to have moved on in the latest podcasts)
Another podcast of a radio show, this one from America and hosted by Paul Cole. Mainly talking about science news (in particular focused on space exploration), but also some audio stories. Paul’s voice takes a little getting used to (it took me an episode or two to tune my ears into the thick American accent), but it is interesting to get a bit of science news thrown in with the speculative fiction.
The Beam Me Up podcast has featured some of my flash fiction.
Presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, with the occasional guest. Each podcast usually contains speculative fiction news and general discussion about the field, with both an Australian (Jonathan) and US (Gary) perspective. I’d probably describe the format as long discussions which don’t seem to be following a run sheet too closely and are all the more informative because of it. Both presenters are very knowledgable about the history of the field and often put interesting context around modern trends that I don’t hear elsewhere.
They often note that they are rambling, but I always find it an interesting meander.
Interviews with speculative fiction authors. The interviewers (usually Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alisa Krasnostein or Sean Wright) are mostly the same as the Galactic Surburbia podcast discussed above, with the exception of Sean who is a close friend of the Galactic Suburbia family. I like hearing from published authors, so I recommend this one. The podcasts tend to focus more on the author’s work, themes behind it etc (as compared to the Sydney Writer’s Centre that focuses more on the process of writing).
It is probably fair to say that the early interviews are designed to showcase authors that have been published by Twelfth Planet Press, so there tends to be some focus on their Twelfth Planet publications. That doesn’t make the content less interesting though and later interviews have ranged further afield.
A fantastic mix of Australian speculative fiction news and opinion. The range of perspectives is good – for instance often looking at things from an editorial, authoring and/or publishing viewpoint. The presenters (Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein) are intelligent and coherent. As is often the case with clever people the opinions are strong and put forth with an enviable lack of uncertainty, which makes for entertaining listening.
Draws attention to the decidedly male bias in a lot of speculative fiction coverage (ironic in a genre that prides itself on having a broad capacity to explore issues of the human condition including subjects such as equality). Has introduced me to a wider range of authors which has been excellent. Highly recommended.
Another Australian speculative fiction podcast, this time discussing the writing world primarily from the publishing perspective. Presented by Alisa Krasnostein (she must have a high tolerance for talking – this is the third podcast of hers I’m following!) and Jonathan Strahan. There have only been a few episodes recorded so far, but I’ve found them interesting and informative – the second episode in particular has a fascinating discussion about the rise of Amazon to dominate all aspects of the book publishing and selling market.
A mostly American based podcast with a lot of speculative fiction professionals talking about things they love in the field. This is an unapologetically positive podcast. The regular contributors include Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas (moderator) and Catherynne M. Valente. They also have quite a few guests on.
It is a very North America/UK centric podcast, but I enjoy listening to people who seem generally happy with life in the SF community (a lot of the other podcasts I listen to are a lot more “hard hitting”, but can get a bit depressing at times).
Also they don’t just focus on the latest trends, but often talk about older books and movies that have been very influential for them. I also find that refreshing.
Podcast about things “generally geek” by Ian (from The Writer and the Critic below), Mitch and Dave (with producer Kirstyn McDermott sometimes interjecting). This is a very entertaining monthly podcast, where the three hosts pick a topic (usual from geek popular culture) and talk about it from all angles. They have covered at various times films, books, comics, particular authors, movie franchises and more – the list is endless. Well not endless. Long. Or potentially long. You get the picture.
In some ways this format could be hit and miss if you happen not to be interested in whatever the monthly topic is. However I’ve found that even if it is something you don’t think will hold your attention, the STP hosts manage to convey their enthusiasm for the subject at hand. In fact I have come to like the “deep dive” into a narrow topic, you get a meaningful and more comprehensive discussion.
Besides all that, it is laugh out loud funny. This is not a podcast that takes itself very seriously, which usually means it makes its way to the top of my listening pile when I can’t quite bring myself to listen to more serious podcasts.
As outlined on the organisations page, these podcasts interview authors about the writing process. I started off focusing on just those authors with a speculative fiction focus, but I’ve found listening to different genre authors to be very useful as well.
This was a monthly podcast with short stories by Australian speculative fiction authors reading stories they had written. Unfortunately it ended in May 2011 after 30 episodes. Edited by Keith Stevenson (whose seems to be a very active participant in the Australian speculative fiction scene), there are some great stories in here.
The first story in the series (The Devil in Mr Pussy by Paul Haines) really drew me in, and I credit it with reviving my interest in the broader speculative fiction genre and starting me on the path into writing.
I also particularly liked “Smoking, Waiting for the Dawn” by Jason Nahrung (podcast number 8).
Mostly video rather than audio podcasts (so be careful of your download limits!) although there is a “download the audio ones only” option (but you miss out on some of the good ones that way). A very wide range of topics, generally related to literature but not always about writers and writing. I pick and choose a little from this one (for instance there are excellent discussions by John Birmingham 22/7/2010 and Michael Connelly 8/7/2011).
This is one of my favourite podcasts, partly because the presenters (Ian Mond - the critic – and Kirstyn McDermott - the writer) are around my age and seem to have some similar sensibilities (similar sensibilities, but not necessarily the same tastes in actual reading material which makes things more interesting). The banter is very light hearted and I’ve had a few laugh out loud moments (a bit embarrassing when you are walking along the street on the way to work). It is long (usually between one and a half and two hours) but only comes out monthly, so is very manageable.
This podcast is aware of the kind of gender/culture issues that are discussed on things like Galactic Suburbia (another excellent podcast – see above) without being as consumed by them, which leads to a balance that I quite like.
The format of the podcast is appealing. The presenters each recommend a book to the other (and if there is a guest, the guest also recommends one), and after going through news and other idle gossip they review each of the novels, discuss themes and basically seem to have a good time. The books are usually speculative fiction, although sometimes they look at books that aren’t necessarily genre but have a “genre feel” (still not sure about that concept but I’m willing to let it slide – yes, the podcast is that good!).
They are based out of Melbourne, Australia so the podcast has an Australian flavour, but it will be of interest if you don’t happen to live down under.
They spoil the books they read, so if they are looking at a novel that you still want to read it might be worth checking the show notes (example here) where they kindly give time cues for the various stages of the podcast (i.e. you can see at what time they start and finish talking about a particular book).
To paraphrase, significantly alter and then horribly butcher the words of Douglas Adams – the podcast is usually interesting, often informative and outstanding for the times when it is both.
Very short (15 – 20 minutes) podcasts focused on the process of writing presented by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells. Very American in style and content. I like listening to people talk about the process of writing and this is OK from that perspective. They pack in a surprising amount considering the short format and there are usually a couple of good tips somewhere in there. It is a sponsored podcast, and the references to the sponsor get a little grating over time but it isn’t too bad. Given it is so easily digestible this is one I would recommend.
The most recent episodes of this podcast focus on reviewing and critiquing first chapters that unpublished authors send in (The Slush Pile Workshop). It is interesting to hear the feedback on work, I find it helpful as a relatively new writer.
Other podcasts that are on my list to try but I haven’t listened to yet include:
- The Pangalactic Interwebs - doesn’t seem to be active anymore, last episode was nearly a year ago. I’ll keep it on the watch list to see if it revives.
- Last Short Story podcast – new podcast from the Last Short Story website, dedicated to reviewing short fiction. At time of writing Ian Mond and Jonathan Strahan are running a “pre-season”. I’ll save my thoughts until they have a couple of episodes under their belt.
- The Martian Drive In Podcast – newish podcast by Terry Frost, focusing on in depth discussion of a couple of sci-fi movies each week that are a bit off the beaten track. I’m listening through the back catalogue now.