Everything Old is New Again

I was not alive during the heyday of radio, but I’ve heard the stories from my grandparents about how amazing they all thought it was. Back then families would sit around the radio and listen to news, sports, music, and audio dramas. Even though I did not experience theses things myself, I understand what an impact radio had on the populace. It was able to transport listeners to far and distant places – some real, others not. Television and the internet have taken away much of radio’s popularity these days, which I find somewhat sad. There are however a few brave souls who are revising something from the glory days of radio – the audio drama. These brave souls are the writers and voice actors who produce audio podcasts that get delivered directly to your audio playback device of choice.
There are thousands of audio podcast productions out there. Audio podcasts come in a few different flavors; enough to satisfy the vast majority of listeners out there. Some audio podcasts are straight reads of written stories. Others read their stories with sound effects added in for extra nuance. Lastly there are full cast productions that incorporate sound effects along with the various voice performers reading their lines. For someone like my-self who has a long commute and does not care for commercial radio, the audio podcast is a life saver. I like to hear a good story, and these podcast producers know how to tell a good story. I’ve been listening to audio podcast stories and productions for years, and I think you all should be too. Here are some of my favorite podcasts that I think you may enjoy as well. Please note I *do* have a thing for zombies.

Toothless by J.P. Moore (www.twitter.com/jpmoo) – Toothless follows the story of Martin, a Knight Templar who falls in battle only to rise again and serve the very evil he was trying to destroy. Set in 1180 France, we the listener are taken on a journey as Toothless marches across the vast wasteland that has become France in his efforts to retain his humanity at the same time he is tasked with saving it. Toothless is not your typical zombie story, mostly because the main character is sentient, and does have free will. These aspects make the story stand out in my mind. The author (J.P. Moore) does a straight read of Toothless. Moore has written and podcasted Toothless into 3 “books”, with the last episode of book 3 completing the story arc. I’m excited because new Toothless stories are set to be released Halloween 2010. Check out more of Toothless at the authors’ website http://www.jpmooreonline.com/

Enemy Lines by John Mierau (www.twitter.com/johnmierau) – Enemy Lines began its podcast run in July of 2010, and based on the story so far I think it’s going to be a while before it ends. Enemy Lines is set in the not too distant future of Earth, where the United States is lead by a lame duck president, large corporate interests rule the day in Washington, and extra terrestrial life does exist. The story woven by Mierau is fun to listen too. There are government spooks whose job it is to keep the secret of the aliens hidden, while others try to bring the alien existence out into the light for their own profit. For good measure (and excitement) the Enemy Lines story weaves in smaller side stories to fill in some of the details of the world and characters. If you like your science fiction with a dose of political intrigue, go check out Enemy Lines. While you’re at it, go to http://johnmierau.wordpress.com/ and check out the other stories there as well. I can also recommend Last Man Home and The List as other stories written by John Mierau that you should be checking out.

Beneath by Jeremy Robinson (www.twitter.com/jrobinsonauthor) – Beneath is the story of Jupiter’s 6th moon Europa, and what secrets may lay underneath the thick crust of ice covering its entire surface. After determining a meteorite from Europa is teaming with unidentified life, a crew of scientists’ heads out into deep space for Europa on the spacecraft Surveyor. Once on Europa, the scientists discover life on the surface of the planet, as well as below the thick ice covering the planet. Is this new life sentient? Is it peaceful, or will the greatest discovery know to man lead to bloodshed? Find out the answers to these questions and more by checking out the book at www.jeremyrobinsononline.com

Dead Mech by Jake Bible (www.twitter.com/jakebible) – Dead Mech does so many things right. Not only is it an exciting (and graphic) zombie apocalypse story, it’s also a kick ass sci-fi story stuffed to the rim with giant frak’n robots (with HUGE GUNS!!)! Ohh I love me some giant robot combat! Dead Mech is set in a time when the zombies rule the world, and man has created giant combat robots to maintain a foothold in the wasteland of the world. Another very interesting thing about Dead Mech is the way the story is told/laid out. Jake Bible has written and podcasted the worlds first drabble novel. A drabble is a piece of writing that is no more and no less than 100 words long. Because of the 100 word limit, the pacing of the story can be at times frantic, because the scenes change rather quickly. I often felt drained after listening because of the roller coaster ride the drabble format can create. If you like zombies and big robots, go to www.jakebible.com and check out the story.

Cybrosis by P.C. Haring (www.twitter.com/pcharing) – Cybrosis is a cyberpunk story written by P.C. Haring that follows the exploits of CNSCP cyborg Agent Ciris on her toughest mission to date. What starts out as a simple mission for the CNSCP ends in a failure that is just the tip of this futuristic story. Cybrosis reminds me somewhat of Akira with all of the government lies and cover-ups, as well as the themes of man vs. technology. Check out Cybrosis at the author’s website http://www.cybrosisnovel.com/

These podcasts are shining examples of what the audio podcast medium can do well. I’ve felt the emotion of the stories presented to me in ways I never could have imagined. While I do not look forward to my daily commute, these and other podcasts I listen to make my ride more bearable. I often find myself at home sitting in the car, just waiting for the episode to end. Where can you get these (and other) audio podcasts? First, I’d check out www.podiobooks.com. They have a gigantic catalogue of audio goodness to sift and filter through. You may also want to check out the podcast section in iTunes, but I find it easier to search for a specific book/author than discover new works through iTunes. The best thing about this list I’ve put together is only 1 (Enemy Lines) production is not complete. So if you check out a couple of these podcasts and like them, you can download the entire story right away and get listening.

I hope you enjoy the work these authors put into their podcasts as much as I do. Check them out, and let the authors (and me) know what you think of them.

Author: Brian Marshall

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