Author Topic: Other podcasts? (Was Re: EP352: Food for Thought)  (Read 11740 times)

Andy C

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on: July 13, 2012, 09:30:58 PM
I'm definintely having a bit of a 'reality gap' with Escape Pod. I look at my posts and I seem to say the same thing most times. So I come back to what I like about scifi and I end up thinking I'm maybe in the wrong class here, because I like:

 - a bit of space opera (my best definition of the genre I enjoy) it may be old school but I like: human get's in spaceship and goes somewhere, and some interesting stuff happens between credible characters in a credible universe.
 - a story in the old sense of a beginning , middle, end - something like a story arc
 - an exploration of some science fiction concepts to do with space and time and matter - enough to enhance the story it doens't have to be a geekfest.
 
I want to listen to a story that encapsulates these elements, and I just find they aren't especially prevalent on EP. So I'm not saying they aren't presented ever, and I am not saying the stuff that is presented is 'bad'. In fact I am specifically not talking about the quality of story at all. It's about personal preference, and personal taste I think; and this last story kind of drove it home for me. I want to explore these issues but what I subjectively perceive is:talking cows getting shot at. It may well be good but it aint me.

So these stories are different to what I personally want to hear that I can't make those judgements. But if anyone knows where I can find a podcast that provides these sorts of stories please let me know.




« Last Edit: July 13, 2012, 09:34:02 PM by Andy C »



SF.Fangirl

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Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 11:41:44 PM
Andy C, you are not alone.  Although I was amused by this very silly story,  I find myself increasingly disappointed by escape pod's story choice.  I have spent a lot of time complaining about the lack complete plot (beginning, middle, end) and feel repetitive.  I can tell the stories are not all bad, but they don;t fit my tastes in sci fi a lot of time.  Unfortunately I have no answer to question.  I find Lightspeed Magazine and Clarke's World audio stoires more hit and miss for me than Escape Pod even though unlike Escape Pod I don't listen to everything they put out.



Devoted135

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Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 12:31:18 AM
Hmm, I listen to a lot of podcasts, but none of mine seem to qualify for your specifications 1 and 3 on anything like a consistent basis. 2 is subjective of course. :)

In general, I haven't run across much by way of space opera or real "hard" sci-fi in the short story podcast markets, though as you say it does crop up every so often.



Cattfish

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Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 03:18:08 AM
Andy C, you are not alone.  Although I was amused by this very silly story,  I find myself increasingly disappointed by escape pod's story choice.  I have spent a lot of time complaining about the lack complete plot (beginning, middle, end) and feel repetitive.  I can tell the stories are not all bad, but they don;t fit my tastes in sci fi a lot of time.  Unfortunately I have no answer to question.  I find Lightspeed Magazine and Clarke's World audio stoires more hit and miss for me than Escape Pod even though unlike Escape Pod I don't listen to everything they put out.

As to that, I have to say that lately Clarkesworld has been getting into more of the trippy stream-of-consciousness stuff more than Escape Pod, which went through that phase around the time I joined which was the Water Man story. 



El Barto

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Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 01:41:16 PM
Andy and others -- what you are looking for is Starship Sofa.  (http://www.starshipsofa.com/)   They run far more classic type stories and they are my most reliable source for the types of stories you find in Analog's and Asimov's.   

The good news is they have tons of back episodes to explore.

The bad news is they have essentially given up on their "enhanced feed" with chapter marks between parts of the show and their show is much longer and includes all sorts of other essays and features and interviews and random blathering that I often want to skip and find it hard to do on an iPod that doesn't have a "skip 30 seconds ahead" button.

But overall, they are great.



Mav.Weirdo

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Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 02:24:47 PM
I think you are hitting a format length issue. Part of the problem (in my opinion) is that "space opera" does not lend itself to "short story" length.

For example, one of the most recent pieces of space opera I have read is Sauerkraut Station by Ferrett Steinmetz, which is a Novelette of about 17300 words. Escape Pod tries to target their episodes at 20 to 45 minutes long. If they did Sauerkraut Station it would be over an hour just for the story, not including intro, outro, or feedback.

Over at Podiobooks.com there are some space opera serial podcasts such as Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell (http://www.podiobooks.com/title/quarter-share) or Tumbler by Brand Gambin (http://www.podiobooks.com/title/tumbler).



Anarkey

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Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 05:54:37 PM
I think you are hitting a format length issue. Part of the problem (in my opinion) is that "space opera" does not lend itself to "short story" length.

For example, one of the most recent pieces of space opera I have read is Sauerkraut Station by Ferrett Steinmetz, which is a Novelette of about 17300 words. Escape Pod tries to target their episodes at 20 to 45 minutes long. If they did Sauerkraut Station it would be over an hour just for the story, not including intro, outro, or feedback.


I am so glad you said this! Because while not a podcast, if you are looking for space opera, Giganotosaurus (edited by PC's slusher extraordinare, Ann Leckie) is definitely one candidate.  Ann actively seeks out space opera for her publication.  You can definitely find it there, and she published Sauerkraut Station.  Fair warning, the magazine does not publish solely science fiction, but I think the code is pretty easy to figure out (i.e. every other month is usually science fiction).

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Andy C

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Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 09:08:44 PM
Thanks to all of you who have answered this thread. A few thoughts:

 - what I didn't want to do was criticise EP. I think a lot of this is personal taste but I have to say that the talking cows was prettly much the epitomie of not my taste

 - I don't think it's a format/lenghth issues, I guess we are talking about stories of length 5k to 8k. I can't believe we can't tell a decent 'space opera' story within those parameters - I have written a couple that come in around that length - which is not sayign that mine are necessarily brilliant but it's surely possible.

 - It seems curious to me that a lot of the novels that seems to sell well in the genre are more classic tales of human  (or sentient being) exploration and conflict, I am think of Alistair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Peter Hamilton, Neal Asher..

I will chekc out the starship sofa thing, I think I tried them a couple of times and there as a lot of 'chat' which is okay if it's done really well.

I think there must be a gap in the podcast market for classic SF!

 



eytanz

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Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 09:21:10 PM
- I don't think it's a format/lenghth issues, I guess we are talking about stories of length 5k to 8k. I can't believe we can't tell a decent 'space opera' story within those parameters - I have written a couple that come in around that length - which is not sayign that mine are necessarily brilliant but it's surely possible.

Well, the average EP story is less than 5K. As a slush reader, I can definitely tell you that the primary reason EP isn't publishing more 'space opera' stories is that only very few are submitted, and most of those are not of publishable quality. Of course, it could be possible that the good 'space opera' writers aren't submitting to EP, but there's definitely no clear attempt to discourage them.

Quote
It seems curious to me that a lot of the novels that seems to sell well in the genre are more classic tales of human  (or sentient being) exploration and conflict, I am think of Alistair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Peter Hamilton, Neal Asher..

True, but the type of stories these authors write really need the space of a novel, or novel series, to be told properly. Peter F. Hamilton is a good example, as he writes very epic tales of exploration and conflict in his novels, but he also writes short stories - I own two of his collections, and I think they're great - but those are almost all either mystery stories or character development pieces, not stories of exploration.



El Barto

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Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 09:27:38 PM

I will check out the starship sofa thing, I think I tried them a couple of times and there as a lot of 'chat' which is okay if it's done well.


Starship Sofa has great stories - just what you are looking for.  But you have to fast forward through the chat and other stuff to get to the "main fiction" as they call it.

I recommend you start with their "enhanced feed" back issues because those have digital chapter marks and it is easy to clickclick to the main fiction.

Good luck and please report what else you find and like, if anything!



matweller

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Reply #10 on: July 16, 2012, 01:40:30 PM
You might search "Podcast Audio Dramas" and "Sci Fi Podiobooks" too.

For audio dramas, I'm involved in a miniseries to be done by producer Bill Hollweg* at BrokenSea audio called 2109: Black Sun Rising that's due out in the next six months or so. They've got a Jake Sampson series that's something of a pulf sci-fi revival. They've also got a Planet of the Apes fanfic series that is brilliant and has received applause from the original creators of the movies. Hidden Frontier will be releasing a monthly Star Trek fanfic production at any moment now called Star Trek Equinox. Pendant audio has various original sci-fi series. And don't miss Christof Laputka's Leviathan series. It's so brilliantly produced it hurts. Finally, I've already bragged about the Must Be Nice Studios remake of Who Goes There? a.k.a. The Thing, so I won't push it more here. http://mustbenicestudios.podomatic.com/entry/2012-06-24T23_00_00-07_00  ;)

For Podiobooks, just go to podiobooks.com and try everything for free, toss a donation to the ones you like afterwards. I recommend starting with Nathan Lowell's Quarter Share and working your way through that series, and then I can recommend you a ton of other stuff, or you can nudge EvoTerra and see what he recommends, or you can just seek out the fun like I do.

There is so much AWESOME audio out there for free!

The others are right, it's not that the kinds of stories you seek can't be told in short form, it's just that they usually aren't. Plus, consider that it's true of any genre -- of any media, really -- that consciously or unconsciously authors' subjects and choice of subgenres tend to move in waves. Over the last two years, we've had a number of stories that contained homosexual issues to varying degrees. It's not that EP made it part of the mission to spray us all in Liberal urine (though you may think so from the reactions even the lightest mentions get), it's that it's an issue very much in the public mind at the moment and it has filtered into our art and a higher percentage of usable submissions have had those mentions recently. I don't mention this to incite political debate, it's all really just to say that things move in waves and cycles, and the subgenre you fancy will quite likely return to vogue in the future.


*NOTE: Bill Hollweg is a HUGE fan of old time radio [OTR] dramas. If you want, I can refer you to him and he will send you with links to more Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, and other great pulp and classic stuff you've never heard of than there are hours in a lifetime to listen to.



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Reply #11 on: July 16, 2012, 02:11:52 PM
I don't know of any podcasts that are dedicated to space opera, but I have listened to plenty that cover space opera.  My favorite, although it is kind of a cosmic horror kind of space opera, is "Mongoose" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear that ran on the Drabblecast:
Part 1:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/03/drabblecast-170-mongoose-part-i-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear-drabble-the-monkeys-by-chris-munroe/
Part 2:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/10/drabblecast-171-mongoose-part-ii-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear/

Another of my favorites is "That Leviathan, Which Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone, which has run on StarShipSofa:
http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2011/06/21/starshipsofa-no-194-eric-james-stone/

I can't say that I'd really recommend SSS in general.  Mostly because they self-promote to a nauseating degree, and I didn't really care for most of their nonfiction that took up vast tracts of space on my iPod.  When he started talking about a series of articles promoting plagiarism is where I gave up entirely (I believe he decided to stop those but the damage was already done, for me).



DKT

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Reply #12 on: July 16, 2012, 05:13:39 PM
I don't know of any podcasts that are dedicated to space opera, but I have listened to plenty that cover space opera.  My favorite, although it is kind of a cosmic horror kind of space opera, is "Mongoose" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear that ran on the Drabblecast:
Part 1:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/03/drabblecast-170-mongoose-part-i-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear-drabble-the-monkeys-by-chris-munroe/
Part 2:
http://www.drabblecast.org/2010/07/10/drabblecast-171-mongoose-part-ii-by-sarah-monette-and-elizabeth-bear/


Just wanted to second Unblinking's rec of Mongoose. It's awesome weird space opera, and really done. Boojum, another story set in the same universe, also done at Drabblecast, is pretty solid too.


Andy C

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Reply #13 on: July 16, 2012, 06:59:55 PM
Hi all

Thanks to all of you, both to those who have pitched in with "I feel as you do" and also to those of you who have given me a CORNUCOPIA of ideas and options to explore.

Andy



SF.Fangirl

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Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 01:28:29 AM
I'd agree with that assessment too.  I do often think that due to time constraints EP has to put out very short stories, and the prevents anything requiring too much world-building becuase the author cannot fit that and a full-fledged plot (beginning, middle, end) into such a short time.


I think you are hitting a format length issue. Part of the problem (in my opinion) is that "space opera" does not lend itself to "short story" length.

For example, one of the most recent pieces of space opera I have read is Sauerkraut Station by Ferrett Steinmetz, which is a Novelette of about 17300 words. Escape Pod tries to target their episodes at 20 to 45 minutes long. If they did Sauerkraut Station it would be over an hour just for the story, not including intro, outro, or feedback.

Over at Podiobooks.com there are some space opera serial podcasts such as Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell (http://www.podiobooks.com/title/quarter-share) or Tumbler by Brand Gambin (http://www.podiobooks.com/title/tumbler).




Unblinking

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Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 06:29:02 PM
I'd agree with that assessment too.  I do often think that due to time constraints EP has to put out very short stories, and the prevents anything requiring too much world-building becuase the author cannot fit that and a full-fledged plot (beginning, middle, end) into such a short time.

I think that's certainly a contributing factor.  Really excellent space opera requires a fair amount of worldbuilding.  No problem for novel length works, but in a short story it gets hard to fit the worldbuilding in with everything else without some handwavy "it's kind of like Star Wars" kind of explanations.

Also, I'm just not sure space opera is that "in style" right now.  I've heard plenty of people speak of "space opera" as being a subgenre they're not really interested in because it doesn't meet some ideal in their mind of how modern SF should be.  I don't really care what particular flavor my SF is, but more about its quality, so I'm quite happy to read space opera, myself.  :)



Andy C

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Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 07:38:58 PM

Also, I'm just not sure space opera is that "in style" right now. 

Yep, I'm sensing that too. the way fashions go Space Opera is going to be 'in' again at some point in the future. I suspect some of the current trends are genuine taste - a desire for people to explore alternatives within the genre, but some of it also may be SF trying to be a "grown up" genre, trying to prove itself. SF feels like an adolescent in the house where the parents are "literary fiction".

Well, I don't care - bring on the space ship, the aliens, the story arc and lets boldly go.. ;)



Listener

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Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 08:31:41 PM
I have 10,000 words written of a new space opera novel in the vein of Star Trek, with a few other genre influences thrown in. It's somewhere on the list of "stuff I'd like to re-outline and finish writing at some point", but it might be a while.

In my initial outline of the story, I realized that space opera is kind of a bitch to write. You have to keep so many plates spinning at the same time while also getting the plot to move coherently that, in the end, it's much easier to write a smaller story with only a bit of sci-fi, or something so outlandish that you don't have to worry about worldbuilding because WHO CARES THIS IS SOME CRAZY SHEEZNAZZ RIGHT HERE!!!

I'll make sure to let you know if I ever manage to write and sell my space opera novel, which I can't even tell you the title of because the title literally gives away the big plot twist.

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Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 09:56:04 PM
I'm a big fan of James S.A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes which is about as kick-ass space opera as you can get. If you're looking for something longer, I highly recommend checking it out. In addition to be being pretty commercially successful, it was nominated for a Hugo award. While space opera may not be the It thing now, I don't think it's going anywhere soon. (Second book in the series is already out! It'll be a reward for finishing all my recording deadlines, along with going to see a few movies!)



I'll make sure to let you know if I ever manage to write and sell my space opera novel, which I can't even tell you the title of because the title literally gives away the big plot twist.

PleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEve!




Devoted135

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Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 03:07:17 PM
I'll make sure to let you know if I ever manage to write and sell my space opera novel, which I can't even tell you the title of because the title literally gives away the big plot twist.

PleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEve!

Haha, I was going to say perhaps you need a different title then? Or is this just the working title?



Listener

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Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 03:10:40 PM
I'll make sure to let you know if I ever manage to write and sell my space opera novel, which I can't even tell you the title of because the title literally gives away the big plot twist.

PleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEvePleaseDontsayAdamandEve!

Haha, I was going to say perhaps you need a different title then? Or is this just the working title?

I promise you it's not Adam And Eve. And yeah, it's a working title for now, but I guarantee it will get eyeballs looking at the shelves if I end up going with it.

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Andy C

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Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 04:56:10 PM

Another of my favorites is "That Leviathan, Which Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone, which has run on StarShipSofa:
http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2011/06/21/starshipsofa-no-194-eric-james-stone/


I listened to this, it was excellent....




Scatcatpdx

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Reply #22 on: July 20, 2012, 11:55:05 PM
I think there more to the issue that just time and a lack of  available Space opera. I like a good Science Fiction yarn and a complete story . But I am finding less on Escape pod but worst on Clark's world. I wonder that issue (or how  I perceive it) is how is  Mundane Science fiction  and perhaps something akin to Modernism  (as in Art and Classical Music) has infected Science Fiction. I hear more on Clark's World. Half the time I cannot  call it a story, just  narrating written expression of something.



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Reply #23 on: July 21, 2012, 12:58:59 AM
I have a severe problem with using 'infected' to describe how modernism has impact genre fiction. Culture is a constantly movable feast, something which is defined subconsciously by the environment in which it's created and consciously by the influences on the artist doing the creating. To describe that as 'Infecting' is a little like saying Van Gogh was infected with the artistic choices he made, or Mozart caught a nasty case of chamber music. It's an inherently negative term, one which implies the art being discussed is lessened by those influences instead of being defined and shaped by it. Also, frankly, in a communications medium where negative responses are far too often the norm, it's not a word I feel has any place. Your mileage may vary.

Regarding your point about the decrease in space opera, I suspect it's down to twothings. The first is that, as has already been said, space opera tends towards the long and all three pods are based around one story, one episode. Anything much above the lengths we already look at and you're not only looking at the possibility of having to start introducing multi-part stories (Which instantly means we no longer have each episode as a jumping on point) and also opens up massive logistical issues about narrators and, I would imagine, payment. Any of the editorial staff can probably tell you better, but from where I'm standing that looks like a format change so massive it would effectively mean starting up a new podcast, or at the very least accepting that the existing feed would be dominated by such material.

Secondly, I accept the point that not much space opera in our word lengths is being produced for the exact same reason, because it's time consuming to write, it's difficult to sell and the sort of massive Peter F Hamilton-style plots that are a common factor are far easier to control and explore as full length books. There's a good chunk of books of that type on Audible and available as audiobooks but I'm afraid I can't point you to any podcast feeds off the top of my head. I'm sure someone else will be along shortly to point out some good examples.



Andy C

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Reply #24 on: July 22, 2012, 08:14:23 AM
Regarding your point about the decrease in space opera, I suspect it's down to twothings. The first is that, space opera tends towards the long....

Secondly, I accept the point that not much space opera in our word lengths is being produced for the exact same reason, because it's time consuming to write,...

I accept the second point made here, that's a decision for authors to make, but the first point I see this as a challenge to those who want to write decent short story scifi. I do not think it is beyond the wit of good authors to write a decent space opera SF story of 3k to 6k words, or thereabouts. I think writers should step up to this challenge without asking EP to change the guidelines of what they accept. So I have, what I hope will be a really cracking story that I've nearly finished, but it's coming in at 12.5k words so I wont be sending it to EP, neither would I expect them to consider it, however good it was.

This might seem to reinforce point one above - but there in is the challenge. I've written another Space Opera story that's actually on Kindle, coming in at just around 6k words which could qualify. If I can do so can others.

So where do we go? Maybe this is just an issue for 1% of listeners, the other 99% are quite happy with the post modern 'slice of life' stuff curerntly served. If this is the case then the EP team should probably ignore the issue. If however this reflect a lot of people's opinions then maybe EP could give the listens a prod and say 'Okay then you guys who've had a bit of a moan, send in some Space Opera if you think you can do it', and I don't think EP should chage the submission guidelines at all for this.

Come on Space Opera authors let's show them what we can do!