I almost missed this one, since it came out on Christmas day as a special Christmas episode! I am very pleased to present my story “Her Path Lay Forward” in the PREMIER young adult, audio fiction magazine, Cast of Wonders.
My story is the second story in the episode, starting around minute 14 (although I don’t recommend you skip my friend Dave‘s story in the first half, of course!)
Here is the “story behind the story” for Her Path Lay Forward:
My children were looking at the scorecard of the excellent game Dixit, and they were debating about the character facing down the dragon in the picture.
I overheard their discussion: “I think it’s an old woman,” said my daughter. “No,” said my son, “it must be a boy. An old woman can’t fight a dragon.”
An old woman can too fight a dragon! In fact the more I thought about it, the more I thought an old woman was the PERFECT person to fight a dragon.
Specifically my grandmother Agnes is one of the strongest, most capable people I have ever met, and no matter how difficult a task she has been faced with in her life, she always does what needs done.
Hey look, a new story by me!
This story previously appeared in Analog, which is not freely available, so I am especially happy that it is now available for anybody who didn’t grab a physical copy at the time!
For those of you not familiar with StarShipSofa, here is my write up from way back in 2011:
This podcast can only be described as adorable. It is so clearly by the people, for the people and the host is such a nice guy, that you can’t help but love it. However, I would definitely not recommend this for everyone. It’s a lot more than just audio fiction. Although they do include at least one story in every episode, it’s more like one feature among many, instead of the main event. The very, very long episodes contain author interviews, genre news, genre history, upcoming book releases, etc. If you’re really into science fiction in general, then there is a lot to offer here.
On this particular episode it starts off with my story straight away, but I do highly recommend you stick around and listen to the fascinating “science news” segment.
Continuing on with the great “best of” audio podcast lists from Diabolical Plots, I’m now going to delve into the smaller, or less well known audio podcasts. As is often the case with things like this, these ones are definitely diamonds in the rough and deserve some coverage!
Drabble Cast bills itself as “strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners (such as yourself)”. Well, I must be strange, because I think this is my favorite of all of the podcasts (and I’m not even through the whole list yet)! I don’t know if it is because these stories are even shorter (the longest pieces are “flash fiction”, and there is also a “drabble” (a story of exactly 100 words) and “twit-fic” (a story of exactly 100 characters). I can usually finish an episode of each leg of my commute. You can check out some of my favorites, such as Teddy Bears and Tea Parties (NOT as nice as it sounds! Very creepy!), or the science-fictional Mongoose (part I, partII). Note that this podcast is very produced, almost more like a radio drama than a simple reading of a story. At first this was distracting to me, but after I got used to it, I kind of liked it.
This podcast can only be described as adorable. It is so clearly by the people, for the people and the host is such a nice guy, that you can’t help but love it. However, I would definitely not recommend this for everyone. It’s a lot more than just audio fiction. Although they do include at least one story in every episode, it’s more like one feature among many, instead of the main event. The very, very long episodes contain author interviews, genre news, genre history, upcoming book releases, etc. If you’re really into science fiction in general, then there is a lot to offer here. If you just want to hear some fiction, you’re probably better off with something else. But if you’re going to listen to any random episode, why not start off with the one containing the fantastic Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi (if this podcast has done nothing else for me, it has at least taught me how to pronounce Bacigalupi!)
Beneath Ceaseless Skies describes itself as “the best in literary adventure fantasy”. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant until I listened to some of the stories. It’s fantasy, but it’s sort of more unique fantasy. Again, we’re not talking about traditional sword and sorcery here. It’s more equivalent to high fantasy meets…strangeness or something. Sort of lyrical world building in a non-traditional setting. For example, check out Mamafield, a story from the point of view of a sentient plant, or Father’s Kill (what can I say, I’m just always a sucker for the dark ones!)
Maybe I’m running out of steam here, but I don’t have much to say about this one. The stories were good and I enjoyed all the ones I listened to. Definitely worth checking out.
I haven’t actually listened to any of these yet, so I can’t say much about it. But there was a best of list, so I will make it there eventually.
Anybody else have any good fiction podcasts? Anybody listen to any of these and have some comments to share? Which were your favorites? Let us know in the comments!
I spend a lot of time listening to audio fiction. I mostly download full length audio books from the library, but it later I discovered that there are a lot of sites and podcasts out there that do weekly episodes of short fiction.
I have always enjoyed short fiction, but it seems to work especially well in this format. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to listen to a novel, but I can do a piece of short fiction in a day or two, maximum. There are advantages to each length, but I really have been enjoying getting in the car and anticipating a totally new story. It provides great variety.
Most of these have been going for a long time, so there are hundreds of episodes out there. So, you can go browse these sites yourself, or you can do what I did: go off one of the “best of” lists out there on the Internet. I’ve been using the lists over at Diabolical Plots (Get it? Plots? Diabolical Plots?) to get a run-down of where to start. Now certainly my tastes aren’t exactly the same, and I’m sure I’m missing out on some great stories, and on the other hand I don’t always love the stories selected, but it gives me a pretty good flavor of what’s going on there.
When it comes to speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and/or horror) podcasts, there are three that sort of stand out from the rest as being especially well known and high quality, one for each genre. I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of these, so just pick the appropriate one for the genre you like (or pick all three if you can’t choose, like I did). Again, all of these feature really good short fiction, which can be downloaded totally free. What’s not to love?
My super, super condensed list of favorites include stories that vary from hilarious (Connie, Maybe, or The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake) to poignant and sad (Barnaby in Exile). Anybody who thinks science fiction can’t be moving should really check the last one out!
This one really runs the gamut of fantasy, from the more traditional fantasy (Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz Go to War Again) to other, very dark fantasy (The Mermaid’s Tea Party). Note that fantasy here doesn’t necessarily mean traditional sword and sorcery, but many other things in between (take Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz up there…very interesting and non-traditional).
Horror is a genre that I just can’t help but come back to. I love it! So I have a lot of personal favorites here: Hometown Horrible, The Evil-Eater, Suicide Notes, Written by an Alien Mind, The Button Bin, and Bottle Babies, to name a few. Particularly, you should stick with Hometown Horrible. It starts slow, but wow does it finish strong!
Stay tuned for tomorrow when I cover some of the smaller fiction podcasts!