Tag Archives: Podcastle

Sober-dialing my peeps, becaus Alyx Dellamonica knows what’s up.

Holy fuck. Girl, I don’t know you, but I wish I did.

In response to all the partisan insanity gripping the SFF world, here’s my addition to the conversation.

Mary Anne Mohanraj, you are the kindest badass on the planet. You are in the trenches calling out for justice and humor every day, and I admire you even more for sharing with us your family stories, your cooking, your garden, and your confrontation with motherfucking cancer.

Juliette Wade you brilliant woman you. I remember the day we met and thought you were some kind of untouchable pro — and in no time at all we’re sharing rack of lamb made by your fabulous husband. I love that you share knowledge on every level; from intersectional issues to rock-climbing adventures.

And on that fateful day I met Jon Del Arroz — oh my god! You are the absolute best, because we sit so squarely at opposite ends of the table and the discussions never harm our friendship. You’ve opened my eyes to so much about the way we talk about contentious issues. Plus, like, puns and drinking, and (oh my god, where are the frigging humor mags?). I honor and treasure you. I hope more people like us figure out how to do the same.

Griffin Barber, you too, man. There’s so much we’ve talked about that we can’t say publicly, because we understand how ideology can shape a conversation for ill. I am so grateful for your perspective, and your service, and your example to keep on keepin’ on even when the whole world blasts your kind.

One way to get to know someone fast is to take a road trip with them upon first meeting, right? Kevin Andrew Murphy, you are the shiniest goth I’ve ever met. I don’t think there’s any topic I could name that you don’t have knowledge of, from table settings and obscure poisons, to the literary context of cultural icons. If anyone has reminded me that you have to keep working, keep studying, and keep a healthy mix of curiosity and skepticism, it’s you.

Dave Thompson, for breaking it down, for believing in so many people, and providing a space for everyone to step up and tell the story behind the story.

David Gerrold, and Eric Flint — you guys are anchors in rocky seas. I love you both for holding our community to a higher standard of behavior, and making us laugh even while you scold us for behaving badly.

Lillian Csernica, Patricia H. MacEwen, Arley Sorg, Effie SeibergFrancesca Myman (a benevolent Lucrezia Borgia–I’ll always remember that description of you) and Vylar Kaftan — you connectors, you bridge-builders, you friend-makers. Thank god for you. Thank godlessness for you.

Who did I miss? Everyone, I’m sure; but this is just the beginning. We have more in common than we have in difference, so in deference to difference, I defer to you. High five. Read, digest, pass it on.

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Burying the Coin on Podcastle!

My short story, Burying the Coin, is now available as a podcast!

Steampunk is about costumes and intricacy, alternate histories, inventions and boundless exploration that characterized the Victorian era. The costumes lead to gatherings, gatherings to shops and music, and finally to conventions and a revival in literature. Learning to write for this subgenre has been a fascinating challenge. I’ve learned about airships, 19th and early 20th century artillery, and a bit about how modern empires rise and fall.

This last part, the cracking apart of empire, resonated with me much more than the gorgeous clothes and sumptuous feasts. As lovely as those aesthetics are, it begs the question: who made this?  What kind of world produced this, and at what cost? I’ve always been fascinated by the why of things, and what lies beneath the mask — how did a person come to be the way they are, and what are they hiding?

Enter Karelia Nayar.

If this story’s world could be said to have a swath of people similar to the variety found in southern India, Karelia would be one of them. The world Karelia lives in is a kind of earth after the fall and rebirth of humanity — a far future, rather than a recent past. This might preclude the story’s classification as steampunk, but I’ll leave that up to you guys. Racism and sexism pop up occasionally; but they are absolutely dwarfed by the classism which is the beating heart of empire. There are other problems as well, but we’ll save those for the novel. That said, keep an eye out for the First Family of the Skies. They’ll be back in a big way.

I spoke a little about Karelia here, and in an interview with Fiona Skye. I wanted to write a swashbuckling, womanizing captain, who was also a woman. When I asked Karelia (or Kar to her friends) why she was so carefree, she told me it was because she never wanted to feel anything ever again. That led to this short story, Burying the Coin, where we learn how Kar earned her own ship, who taught her to fight and sail, and the events that made her close her heart forever.

My infinite thanks to Dave Thompson of Podcastle, and Amanda Fitzwater whose voice brought this story to life.

This short story is available in Podcast form, which you can either stream online or download from iTunes. Head over to Podcastle.org to hear it and the work of many other brilliant and insightful authors.

 

“You can’t truly hate a man without loving him first, and there’s always a trace of that love left over.”
— Joe Abercrombie

 

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Excellent podcasts and other resources for Audio Books

I love podcasts. They’re fascinating, entertaining, inexpensive, and at an average length of 45 minutes, perfect for the daily commute. As a novelist, I find them immeasurably helpful as self-guided lessons on how to write short stories. The format is such that I can study, practice and be thoroughly entertained while I’m cooking, doing push-ups, or heading to a friend’s house.

Even within the scope of one subscription, you’ll hear a wide variety of styles and dozens of authors, so you can get a feel for craft as well as structure and pacing. It’s amazing how many laughs, tears, and terror these writers can fit into such a small space.

Once you feel confident enough to start earning ‘cred,’ write your own! Many of these podcasts are also open to submissions.

I listen to several of these regularly, and others have been recommended to me by colleagues outside my genre. I have linked their web-sites, and you can also find them in the iTunes store. Many of these are free, and if you can’t donate, please boost the signal.

Science Fiction & Fantasy
Podcastle : Fantasy, hosted by the wonderful and charming Dave Thompson
Escape Pod : Escape Artists’ science fiction branch, edited by Norm Sherman
Beneath Ceaseless Skies : other worlds and other times, SF&F, including Weird West and Steampunk. I’ve discovered new favorites here, including Seth J. Dickinson
Tor.com Story Podcast : Great science fiction & fantasy from one of the industry’s most well-known magazines

Horror
Pseudopod :  Horror, hosted by the hilarious and insightful Alasdair Stuart
Nick Gisburne’s YouTube Channel : Includes original poetry & prose, as well as readings of HP Lovecraft’s work. (His voice. I’m telling you. You won’t regret it.)

General Fiction
Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine:  General Genre, specializing in innovative stories and commentary. I have a friend who reads slush for these guys
The Classic Tales Podcast: Great reading of classic novels and short stories
The New Yorker Short Story Podcast : Great general fiction

Free Full-Length Audio Books
Podiobooks

Did I miss any? Leave a note in the comments.

**Addendum:  Thanks to Twitter, a few other resources have popped up!

Apex Magazine: Hugo-award nominated F/SF magazine’s podcast, edited by Sigrid Ellis

Synthetic Voices: A speculative fiction podcast featuring short F/SF stories, recommended by BCS staff

Writing Research: Crisis Intervention

I need to venture into a thorny subject for a moment.

One of the short stories I’m working on involves a hero who finds himself in trouble for doing the right thing. It’s in a high-fantasy setting. Most medieval-style stories feature beggars and extreme poverty; so I’ve been researching how social safety-nets, social work, and intervention function in order to integrate them into the setting.

Some key bits of world-building I’ll have to address include:

  • What are the social ills the organization seeks to address?
  • What is the motivation for creating the organization? (Religion was a big one in those days.)
  • How are members of the organization selected and trained?
  • Where does the funding come from?

Issues That Social Safety-Nets Address:

Precedent:

  • Charity in the Middle Ages: Discusses how ideology of charity became institutionalized, some known charitable organizations (Hospitallers of Saint John, Teutonic Order, Trinitarians, etc)  in the dark ages, and who benefited from these charities (the poor, sick, orphans, widows, prostitutes, etc.) The most fascinating tidbit was that these organizations were never centralized because the church couldn’t figure out how to fit them into the bureaucratic clergy. Priorities, guys…
  • Government Welfare Programs in Ancient Rome: Including corn reserves, food stamps, and subsidized education.

Fictional Examples:

  • Excision, by Scott H. Andrews: A fascinating fantasy tale where healers are the heroes, and disease the enemy.
  • Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy touches on child abuse. In an interview, Weeks mentioned that his wife had been working with abused children when he began writing the series.

Any resources I missed?  Have you read other fantasy stories with social safety-nets?    Share in the comments.

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