Author Topic: EP041: Ambient Sleaze  (Read 5603 times)


  • Hipparch
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    • Journey Into... podcast
on: October 13, 2009, 02:59:33 PM
EP041: Ambient Sleaze

By Jeffrey R. DeRego.
Read by Mur Lafferty.

“Good god, who’d do something like that?” Sarah rummaged through her purse for a handkerchief but couldn’t seem to focus on the task. Her mind was consumed with images of Tony’s perforated body.

“Well, I’ve seen the Tony Autumn Show, so we’ve got an APB out on everyone with a sense of moral decency and every freak, transvestite, midget wrestler, incestuous dad, jilted lover…”

Rated R. Contains profanity, some physical violence, and violence against dignity.

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  • Palmer
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Reply #1 on: December 07, 2020, 10:44:47 PM
This isn't one of my absolute favourites out of the first 100 episodes, but I did enjoy it and I've put it on my short list as I slowly work towards a completely subjective all-time-best list of EscapePod episodes. (Which I might just complete by the end of 2021  ::) )


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Reply #2 on: December 19, 2020, 07:20:01 PM
Good luck with the best of project! Please do share your final list in the forums, and happy listening!


  • Matross
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Reply #3 on: January 03, 2021, 06:51:49 PM
Please do share your final list in the forums

Absolutely. I find "Best of" lists very handy.  I like sci-fi, but I have a hard time finding good stories. Yeah, I know that's a bit of a contradiction. It just seems like for every "Man Who Lost the Sea" I read, there are 200 stories that I don't really care for.


  • Palmer
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Reply #4 on: January 21, 2021, 10:15:35 PM
Please do share your final list in the forums

Absolutely. I find "Best of" lists very handy.  I like sci-fi, but I have a hard time finding good stories. Yeah, I know that's a bit of a contradiction. It just seems like for every "Man Who Lost the Sea" I read, there are 200 stories that I don't really care for.

Thanks for the welcome. I'm working on my shortlist of stories between episodes 180 and 280 today.
I've also been reviewing old radio anthology shows - I have a 'best of' Dimension X up on my blog now, and am half-way through composing a 'best of' for X-Minus One as well. You seem to have more knowledge of science fiction than I, would you (or any other reader here) have any further radio science fiction recommendations for when I'm taking a break from EscapePod?


  • Matross
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Reply #5 on: January 22, 2021, 02:42:14 PM
I have terrible taste so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

Mindwebs: This was a show produced by a guy named Michael Hanson for a radio station in Wisconsin back in the late 70s and early 80s. He simply reads sci-fi stories with some additional background music. He has a good voice, and the stories are a nice mix of classics and more obscure fare. Hanson recently returned to record a few more episodes before his recent death. These are slowly being released on the Internet Archive.

A few of my favorites:
049  Light Of Other Days
177  Rust
109  The Man Who Lost The Sea (The Escape Pod version is brilliant)
094  But As A Soldier For His Country
006  Kaleidoscope (I'd recommend listening to the dramatization by Suspense from (07.12.55) first)
037  The Star
069  The Last Question
115  The Fog Horn
034  My Object All Sublime
178  Warning Signs

Suspense: A classic and very long running Old Time Radio program that usually specialized in crime stories but occasionally branched out into other genres. "Kaleidoscope" (07.12.55) is a brilliant ensemble piece. They also did a nice adaptation of  "Donovan's Brain" (05.18.44).

The Truth: This is a modern podcast. The episode "The Dark End of the Mall" is one that I really liked.


These were produced by NPR and were hosted by Harlan Ellison. I should have loved this series, but I really didn't care for it. It seemed that almost every episode was done in a tongue-in-cheek manner and it rubbed me the wrong way.

NPR Sci-Fi Radio Theater: Dramatizations of several well-known sci-fi stories. Nothing spectacular. Phillip K. Dick's "Imposter" would probably be my favorite of the lot.   The only episode I haven't heard is "Close Encounters with the Deity." It's usually mislabled. If you run across it please let me know.

NPR did produce a couple of interesting adaptations of "A Canticle for Liebowitz" and "Star Wars" back in the day. Not exactly the definitive versions, but interesting.

Mercury Theatre on the Air:  The War of the Worlds (10.30.38). It's a classic for a reason. Orson Welles' brilliance on the radio can never be overstated. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society does a fun homage to this combining it with Lovecraft's "Dagon" that I'd also recommend.

Seeing Ear Theater: This show was a mix of genres, but they did some sci-fi stuff. Good production values, but I'm not a big fan. It's a show that always seemed to zig when it should have zagged. They would have an episode with good actors, but with a bad story, followed by a good story with bad actors. Stories that should have been serious were turned into comedies. Stories that were supposed to be comedies just weren't funny. I'm not going to totally dismiss everthing they did; if you see a story that you like in their catalog it's probably worth a listen. Neil Gaiman's fantasy story "Snow Glass Apples" was probably their most successful adaptation, imo. I also have a soft spot for "The Moon Moth" but it's very silly. The only episode I haven't heard is "Lay Your Hands On Me." If you run across it please let me know.

Lights Out: Old fashioned horror whow. They're hokey and dated but I still find "Revolt of the Worms" and  "Oxychloride X" fun.  They both have some sci-fi elements. "A Knock at the Door" and "Mungahra" are better episodes but they are strictly horror.

X Minus One: You are already familiar with this show, of course. FWIW my my favorite episode is Lulungomeena.  I also really like The Cave of Night, Tunnel Under the World, and Hostess.

Dimension X: "With Folded Hands" and "The Castaways" are both great. I also like "The Embassy" and "Mars Is Heaven."  In fact, I think this is my favorite adaptation of "Mars is Heaven."

The Mysterious Traveler: This is a very old radio program, and unfortunately most of the episodes are missing. It was a mix of genre's and they occasionally did a sci-fi story. The one I'd recommend is episode number253 "S.O.S."  It doesn't really seem like sci-fi, but,'ll see.

BBC: They've produced a lot of sci-fi stuff over the decades, of course. Being an American I haven't had access to a lot of it. I enjoyed their adaptation of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" as part of their Dangerous Visions series. It's a little like the novella and a little like Bladerunner and different enough to be it's own thing. If you like Ray Bradbury the BBC has adapted a number of his stories as standalones and as part of a show called Bradbury 13.

CBS Radio Workshop: Check out the first episode "Brave New World" from (01.27.56).

Other shows: Future Tense, 2000+, Exploring Tomorrow, Tales From the Otherside, and the South African program Sci-Fi '68 are also possibilities. I've never listened to enough episodes of any of them to form an opinion. My initial impressions weren't very positive though.

Edit: There just isn't that much really great radio sci-fi, imo. Hell, there isn't that much really great sci-fi period. If you run across anything good, feel free to pass it along.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 02:49:16 PM by Marlboro »


  • Palmer
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Reply #6 on: January 23, 2021, 12:33:49 AM
Oh gosh, this is just wonderful. Thank you very much for creating such an extensive list of suggestions and thoughts!

I've been listening on and off to (mostly American) classic/old time radio for about a decade and a half, so many of those older shows you mention are at least vaguely familiar but some I haven't listened to for a long time, and I never really worked through them systematically, something I'm trying to remedy.

I agree Kaleidoscope and Donovan's Brain are a lot of fun.
"Revolt of the Worms" sounds like something I should remember.  All the X-Minus One episodes you name are currently sitting on my short-list. 'Tunnel Under the Earth (or World, I'm not sure which is the official title)' was, I believe, one of the first radio drama episodes I ever heard, and helped to hook me into the hobby.

Although, I did listen to The Mercury Theater's War of the Worlds for the first time this past Hallowe'en and am ashamed to say I fell asleep. I don't know, I usually quite enjoy Orson Welles too, but for some reason this, one of his most famous performances of all time, clearly didn't do much for me.
The BBC has some many shows available for download it is truly overwhelming to visit their websites and direction there is most welcome.

And all these other shows you've recommended to try out! Most completely new to me! This is fantastic!

I don't have very much to add at all. I suppose I could mention Welcome to Night Vale, although in my opinion it's gotten quite tired, and there's Claybourne, an aborted-before-conclusion serialized comedy-soap-opera-thriller-science-fiction-horror radio drama from New Zealand which was originally broadcast in the 1990s. Are either of these 'good' science-fiction? I don't know, they're just the only sci-fi audioshows I can think of that haven't been mentioned yet!

Thanks again! I will absolutely be referring back to your suggestions.