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Author Topic: StarShipSofa  (Read 16216 times)

mummifiedstalin

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on: April 11, 2007, 10:49:37 PM
I wanted to suggest one of my favorite sf podcasts. It's really just two Brits who sit around and talk about an author for an hour, but both of them are *incredibly* well-read and *incredibly* insightful. They also do lots of "historical" sci fi stuff (if Clark Ashton Smith and Henry Kuttner and stuff from the new wave counts as "historical").

http://www.starshipsofa.com/

It's excellent, especially for interesting discussions about an author's work over an entire career, how their personal life affected their work, and for some recommendations of books/stories you may have missed.

Craig



Simon Painter

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Reply #1 on: April 21, 2007, 12:31:46 AM
Bookmarked!  Thanks, that sounds great

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Brian Reilly

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Reply #2 on: August 24, 2007, 03:38:48 PM
I listened to their podcast about Charlie Stross, and man was I disappointed. Basically, they read out his Wikipedia entry, and the content of some interviews they found on the web. And that was more or less it.

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Jagash

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Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 11:18:36 AM
It should be noted that they are now coming out with 1-2 hour long audio narrations with a mix of fact articles, flash fiction, poetry and a longer fiction piece.  Worth a listen in my mind, even if the author-specific episodes (which haven't gone on for months at this point) are not your cup of tea.

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Boggled Coriander

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Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 02:43:41 PM
What I've heard of SSS's long format has been absolutely excellent.  But I usually give StarShipSofa a pass, simply because the episodes are too darn long!  My mp3 player's interface (it isn't an iPod) makes it a pain in the ass to do anything with an audio file but listen to it straight through.  Fast-forwarding is made to be as annoying as it possibly could be. 

So I'm going to wait on StarShipSofa until they either start offering each segment in a separate file, or I upgrade my gadget to something with a better interface.  And by then I'll have a nice long backlog to work through...

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


oddpod

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Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 06:13:06 PM
 you are listerning to some OLD SSS thair , if any one else tryd them back in the old days and dident like try it agane now . the SSS aural delites show it in my personal top 3 whith escape pod and sigler

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Boggled Coriander

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Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 02:19:41 AM
Just to clarify my problem with SSS: Episode 102 is 2 hours 43 minutes long.  That's a deal-breaker for me, until SSS starts offering the option to download segments separately.  (Or I buy an mp3 player that doesn't make fast-forwarding an annoying comedy of errors.)

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


oddpod

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Reply #7 on: October 10, 2009, 07:03:43 PM
get a creative zen player, thay dont cost lots and have nice frendly interface, i looooove mine :-)

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Sandikal

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Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 05:28:53 PM
My iPod just picks up where I left off when I can't listen all the way through.  I really think iPods are the way to go for this kind of thing.



Boggled Coriander

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Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009, 06:34:22 AM
My iPod just picks up where I left off when I can't listen all the way through.  I really think iPods are the way to go for this kind of thing.

My player does too, but only if I don't listen to anything else in the meantime.

For the record, I've got a Transcend T.sonic 320.  It's not a bad little device; the things it can do are just frustratingly limited.  When it comes time to replace it, I'll be looking into either an iPod or Creative ZEN model.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Boggled Coriander

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Reply #10 on: October 30, 2010, 07:03:41 AM
Threadomancy time!

I have upgraded my hardware.  I am now the owner of an iPod Touch.

I've downloaded the last half dozen episodes of SSS and put them on my iPod, and my listening experience has dramatically improved.  Fast-forwarding and rewinding is a snap.  I can pause a podcast and listen to something else, and when I return the podcast picks up right where I left off. 

And most importantly, I can read the show notes right off the screen.  For SSS they're a table of contents, so if a segment doesn't interest me skipping over it is easy.  That is incredibly useful for a podcast where most episodes exceed 2 hours, and the story I'm eager to hear might start at the 1 hr 40 min mark.

SSS has got uniformly high-quality fiction and production values.  I'm a convert now.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Listener

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Reply #11 on: November 06, 2010, 03:53:26 PM
Yeah, I find the Sofa to be WAY too long. I often listen to the fact articles on high-speed, and the interviews as well (the ones that don't sound like telephone interviews, because those are too hard to listen to at high-speed). However, I still find myself backlogging a bit because the stories tend to be longer than the EA casts (the recent James Morrow one was over an hour, I believe), and while I certainly enjoyed it, it takes too damn long.

I find it very difficult to shuttle across the iTouch interface (I have an iPhone, and it's the same thing). I much preferred my old iPod's wheel shuffling. Or, y'know, maybe an enhancement to the iPod app that allows you to listen at more than 2x (like how most DVRs offer 3-5 speeds of shuttling, and my VCR upstairs offers something like eight).

Of course, I also like the Sofa because I narrated a serial for them and no one has said anything horrible about me in the forums yet... :)

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Sandikal

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Reply #12 on: November 06, 2010, 06:40:49 PM
I find it very difficult to shuttle across the iTouch interface (I have an iPhone, and it's the same thing). I much preferred my old iPod's wheel shuffling. Or, y'know, maybe an enhancement to the iPod app that allows you to listen at more than 2x (like how most DVRs offer 3-5 speeds of shuttling, and my VCR upstairs offers something like eight).


I'm really glad my iPod Nano needed replacing back in April.  The new Nano that came out shortly after I got my 5th generation is tiny and has a touchscreen like the iPod Touch.  My fat stubby fingers will never be able to use it correctly.  Whatever will I do when my current Nano needs replacing?  I guess I'll have to go for the Touch.



Talia

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Reply #13 on: November 07, 2010, 02:25:34 AM
I often find the fact articles to be the highlights of SSF, particularly the Genre History and science segments, both dependably entertaining. :)

Though the length of the podcast is an ever-present problem. Last weeks was over three hours. :/



Boggled Coriander

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Reply #14 on: November 07, 2010, 04:07:24 AM
SSS is best thought of as several podcasts in one, end to end in one long file. Whether that's practical largely depends on your mp3 player interface.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


kibitzer

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Reply #15 on: November 15, 2010, 01:57:37 AM
SSS is best thought of as several podcasts in one, end to end in one long file. Whether that's practical largely depends on your mp3 player interface.

...and also how much time you're willing to spend with one episode. I've given up on SSS, it's just way too long for me.


Unblinking

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Reply #16 on: November 15, 2010, 08:03:11 PM
Speaking of StarShipSofa, I expect to be writing a "Best of StarShipSofa" list as soon as I finish the last couple dozen episodes.  I'll also be commenting on what I like and don't like about the show.  Among the dislikes:  definitely too long--I tried loading up SSS's episodes all in one guy, and my half-empty iPod just didn't have enough space--and no wonder, when episodes are a minimum of an hour long, many shooting close to 3 hours!



Talia

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Reply #17 on: November 15, 2010, 08:31:51 PM
Yeah, last week's (I think, maybe week before) was over 3 hours :p

But then, they do present themselves as "podcast magazine" not just a fiction-cast.. its not really designed to fit the same niche as the EA 'pod casts.



goatkeeper

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Reply #18 on: November 15, 2010, 11:11:23 PM

But then, they do present themselves as "podcast magazine" not just a fiction-cast.. its not really designed to fit the same niche as the EA 'pod casts.

They do call themselves an "Audio Science Fiction Magazine" but all that terminology seems to be getting more and more ambiguous in the digital age.  Especially with online pro and semi-pro magazines giving away their content for free under CC licenses and such.
For example, it seemed like there was a good bit of controversy from the print and traditional fanzine formats when SSS won the Hugo for "Best Fanzine." I remember people claimed SSS was more like a pro sci-fi mag that called itself a "Fanzine" so it didn't have to pay authors, artists and contributors (because fanzines typically don't.)  I definitely don't think that's the case but I do agree that it doesn't really feel like a "fanzine" either, at least the ones I'm accustomed to.  And I guess the fact that they're not even calling themselves an "Audio Science Fiction Fanzine" goes to show that the lines are getting blurry and there are a lot more different formats being tried than there are categories already existing.




Talia

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Reply #19 on: November 16, 2010, 03:28:17 AM

But then, they do present themselves as "podcast magazine" not just a fiction-cast.. its not really designed to fit the same niche as the EA 'pod casts.

They do call themselves an "Audio Science Fiction Magazine" but all that terminology seems to be getting more and more ambiguous in the digital age.  Especially with online pro and semi-pro magazines giving away their content for free under CC licenses and such.
For example, it seemed like there was a good bit of controversy from the print and traditional fanzine formats when SSS won the Hugo for "Best Fanzine." I remember people claimed SSS was more like a pro sci-fi mag that called itself a "Fanzine" so it didn't have to pay authors, artists and contributors (because fanzines typically don't.)  I definitely don't think that's the case but I do agree that it doesn't really feel like a "fanzine" either, at least the ones I'm accustomed to.  And I guess the fact that they're not even calling themselves an "Audio Science Fiction Fanzine" goes to show that the lines are getting blurry and there are a lot more different formats being tried than there are categories already existing.



well, that's true. My point was mainly they are NOT just a fiction podcast (which is not to malign fiction podcasts, I love em dearly. Purely for classification purposes), they're something else. What that DEFINITION of "something else" is is up for grabs. I do think there's a division between what the EA 'casts do and what SSS does, though. SSS is much more segmented and has non-fiction elements. Setting it apart by calling it a magazine seems reasonable enough to me.

RE: Fanzines - here's my perspective - If our definitions of what a "fanzine" is, or any other media classification we held, were to stay the same always, could we ever accurately say we're celebrating the sci-fi genre? :P That's the thing I don't get about the SSS "controversy." To my mind, the leap to podcast goes hand in hand with the genre.

Looking up the definition of fanzine -

"A fanzine (portmanteau of fan and magazine or -zine) is a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest. ..."

"A magazine, normally produced by amateurs, intended for people who share a common interest"

both of these seem quite applicable to SSS. Moreso, they in no way seem restricted to print. In fact, it seems like going to a non-print format, provided you could garner the requisite audience, would be the most cost-effective way of doing it (maybe. I don't actually know that for certain). I guess I'm just arguing that what everyone thinks of as a "fanzine" is changing, and that's how it should be.




goatkeeper

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Reply #20 on: November 16, 2010, 05:06:56 AM
Oh yah, I mean, I totally agree with you that SSS and EA are different animals.  At the same time though, Escapepod is beginning to look a lot more like a 'magazine' as opposed to 'fiction podcast' with the addition of cool new content like book and movie reviews, blog additions etc.  

I think the delineation between 'fanzine' and 'pro/semi-pro magazine' isn't a print vs. online format or content/layout distinction.  Nor is it an amateur vs. professional thing either, because the net and digital technologies are blurring that line too. It's a fan (read: for fun, fueled by love) vs. professional (read:  paying market, fueled by dollars) distinction.  
Unless I'm mistaken, EP generates enough income to pay authors at a rate that puts it in what most would consider a pro market category.
SSS does not pay it's authors, and thus is considered a 'fanzine' or 'nonprofessional.'
Despite the fact that they have a lot of similarities-- both generate income through donation models, they might run stories by the same authors, heck maybe even the same story. The fundamental difference is that EA will pay that author for the story and SSS will ask for it pro bono.

Doesn't matter if we call 'em magazines, anthologies or just podcasts, I think the only reason SSS was able to compete in the 'fanzine' category as opposed to semipro was because it runs solely off of contributors love of the scifi genre (fans.)  Obviously, the EA team does what they do for the love of the genre as well, but when you pay folks for stuff it changes things.  Would be awesome to see EP take the Hugo for semipro mag one day though huh?

« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 05:12:19 AM by goatkeeper »



Boggled Coriander

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Reply #21 on: November 16, 2010, 11:09:36 AM
SSS is best thought of as several podcasts in one, end to end in one long file. Whether that's practical largely depends on your mp3 player interface.

...and also how much time you're willing to spend with one episode. I've given up on SSS, it's just way too long for me.

I must admit I'm a bit puzzled why SSS doesn't have the option to download the various segments of its episodes as separate files.  Sure, some segments/contributors would then get less exposure because listeners would find it easy to skip them, but that's what I'm doing anyway on my mp3 player.  What incredibly obvious fact about podcasts am I missing here?

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


Talia

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Reply #22 on: November 16, 2010, 01:14:04 PM
SSS does have a "special" feed that's a bit more segmented - I think you had to have a more current IPod or other mp3 device to be able to take advantage of it I think. I believe it makes it easier to skip from segment to segment (I don't know for certain, I've never used it).



kibitzer

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Reply #23 on: November 17, 2010, 01:35:29 AM
Would be awesome to see EP take the Hugo for semipro mag one day though huh?

That it would!!


kibitzer

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Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 01:38:28 AM
What I can't figure out is... where the frig these folks get the time to DO these 'casts? Tony has a full-time job -- how does he get such a packed item out all the time? Or that Norm Sherman bloke with his Drabblecast? I know it's a team effort but the 'casts feature a lot of primary input from these guys.