Podcasts I like or don't like

For any and all info or discussion of podcasts and podcasting. Also community related miscellanea.
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Mr. Tweedy
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:54 pm

That Mike Bennett is a flippin' genius! I did not enjoy every Hall of Mirrors story, but the superlative excellence of the production of each of them can't be denied. His writing is witty, his reading is immensely expressive and he has a talent for making hilarious jokes out of absolutely anything. "Hall of Mirrors" is the only podcast I've heard that I think has better production than Drabblecast–and that's a big compliment to Drabblecast! Listening to Bennett frankly describe the contents of his refrigerator is entertaining (literally).

My favorite Hall of Mirror's story was The Grave. it was simultaneously so horrible and so absurd that my face hurt from trying to laugh and grimace at the same time. It was the only one of the stories that I would have found memorable on its own merits, apart from Bennett's superb production and delivery.

So yeah, Mike Bennett: A name that will catch my attention henceforth.


I just finished listening to Brave Men Run. It was pretty disappointing. It didn't suck... Rather, the problem was that it didn't really do anything. It's a cliché story about a high-school cliques combined with a cliché thriller combined with a cliché story about the emergence of a race of superhumans. Typical teen soap opera + typical comic book = Brave Men Run. Combining the clichés of disparate genres into one story doesn't do anything to make them feel more fresh, and there isn't a single thing in the whole plot that I didn't see coming from a mile away. No surprises, no twists, everything by the numbers. The Hot Chick will fall in love with the Geeky Boy. The Evil Scientist will try to capture the young superhumans to experiment on them. The Missing Father will show up on cue to save his Estranged Son. Then it ends and you wonder what the point really was... At least I did.

Aside from the lack of anything fresh, I was really put off by the weird mix of "young adult" and "mature" elements. The overall plot and the style of the narration are just what you'd expect from one of those "coming of age" novels that they made you read in junior high. Complex ideas are vaguely described in simplistic terms. We follow around a group of teenagers with teenage worries, doing cliché teenager stuff, talking in teenage jargon. The plot centers around young people discovering themselves. In other words, 80% of the content sounds like it was written for 12-year-olds.

And then the other 20% has a guy getting his intestines ripped out, minors fondling each other and lots and lots of the word "fuck." That seems bizarre and disjointed in the context of the other 80% of the story. Who is the target audience here?

There were some heavier themes in the background that could have been pretty interesting, but they were never really developed. The whole idea of "The Sovereign Era" was very interesting, but it formed only the vaguest backdrop to the much less interesting story.

Anyway, my review.
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Post by bolddeceiver » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:31 am

Oh, some others.

Selected Shorts is one of my favorite radio lit programs since long before podcasting, but they just recently got on the bandwagon, which is nice because I'm not always around when it airs.

On Podiobooks.com, I'm in love with Nathan Lowell's Golden Age novels. Great space SF, and about civillian spacers, which is rare (and if everyone's going to be in space, there have to be folks worth paying attention beyond explorers, soldiers, and criminals). Has the feel of old nautical novels. Even if the main character is annoyingly perfect in everything he does.

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podcastle

Post by Kevin Anderson » Wed May 07, 2008 5:41 pm

Anyone have an opinion on podcastle?

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Mr. Tweedy
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed May 07, 2008 5:51 pm

I don't like it so far. I haven't gotten to the most recent 3 episodes yet (5, 6 and a short), and I don't plan to at any particular time.

I think my various reasons for not liking it can be summed up concisely: It seems to take itself way too seriously.
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Post by Kevin Anderson » Wed May 07, 2008 5:58 pm

I've only listened to the flash pieces as of yet, but yeah, you summed up my opinion thus far. Way serious. Not much levity. But very well written works. I'll keep listening and hope it lightens up a bit.

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Mr. Tweedy
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed May 07, 2008 6:19 pm

Hey, wait, I just noticed that episode 6 is a Benjamin Rosenbaum story. I will definitely make time to listen to that.
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Post by cammoblammo » Wed May 07, 2008 9:53 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote: I think my various reasons for not liking it can be summed up concisely: It seems to take itself way too seriously.
I agree. I get the feeling Rachel and co are just trying too hard. It's almost like they're cowed by the success of Escape Pod and are scared of not fitting in with the rest of the family. I hope they'll get into their own groove soon. Having said that, I've really enjoyed the stories that I've listened to so far. It's just the dressing I'm not sure about.

Funnily enough, I've been a little less happy with Escape Pod of late --- I can't put my finger on it, but it seems a little less personal since Steve made the change from 'EP is this thing I love to do' to 'Call me president of Escape Artists, Inc.' It might just be me, but I don't look forward to it anywhere as much as I did six months ago.

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PODCASTLE

Post by Kevin Anderson » Fri May 09, 2008 3:42 am

Anyone have a recommendation on some of the longer episodes of podcastle - I've only listened to the flash. I'm still on dial up so it takes over an hour to download an episode, so I hate wasting download time on stuff that, well is not worth waiting an hour for.
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Post by normsherman » Fri May 09, 2008 4:36 am

I haven't listened to podcastle aside from first episode. I'm kinda at my saturation point with leisure time/podcast listening. It's high in the queue though.

I wanted to recomend The Red Hurricane over at Well Told Tales though. I was just blown away by this story. I've been going through the early stuff over there and most of it is very solid and enjoyable. Red Hurricane is one of those unforgettable stories that stays with you though- IMO- vague, post apocalyptic, beautiful writing, tragic conflict, badass...
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Post by cammoblammo » Fri May 09, 2008 12:04 pm

I have a few different things in my weekly line up. Most of my podcasts are radio shows from Australia's public broadcaster, the ABC. There's a list of the casts they have available at http://www.abc.net.au/services/podcasting/programs.htm

They're a pretty comprehensive broadcaster, so the list is fairly impressive. My favourites are:

The Ark
A historical look at items and events of religious significance in Australia. I can take or leave this one. The range of subjects it looks at is rather quirky, and almost definitely of no interest to anyone outside of Australia.

Law Report
A look at more interesting legal cases and subjects around Australia. More interesting than I expected.

Ockham's Razor
The presenter of this show also presents the Science Show (below). However, every week features a monologue by an expert about... something. The ideas are sometimes good and sometimes bad --- but they're always stimulating.

Philosopher's Zone
My major was in philosophy. This is a simple discussion of current ideas in philosophy, but with the layperson in mind. It can be good, and it can be boring. Whatever floats your boat.

Rear Vision
A look at the historical contexts to current affairs. Every week looks at a particular event or problem in the world, and pulls apart the history of how and why it got that way. Not a bad show.

The Religion Report
A look at current affairs in the world of religion. It focuses predominantly on Australian Christianity, but certainly not exclusively. Far more interesting than I thought it would be.

The Science Show

A magazine style look at what's going on in the world of science.

When I'm not listening to Escape Pod, Pseudopod, Podcastle, Drabblecast or the ABC, I might listen to StarShipSofa. This cast has two different shows every week. One is a fairly standard reading of a SciFi story. The other one is a look at the history, work, life and so on of a SciFi writer.

The readings and choices of stories are great --- easily comparable to Escape Pod. The thing that drives me batty are the introductions. I'm not kidding, one I listened to a while ago had the presenter talking for at least fifteen minutes about why he had to get rid of one of his dogs. And there's no hint of organisation --- we just get a stream of consciousness ramble until it's time for the story.

The only problem is the guy seems so nice, I didn't actually care the first few times.

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Post by ian_mackereth » Sat May 10, 2008 4:57 pm

I get a fair few from "Aunty" ABC (Aussie) as well, and a few from the BEEB. The Friday Night Comedy there is great, alternating between The Now Show and The News Quiz.

Around The Net and Hot For Words are my guilty pleasures...

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Re: PODCASTLE

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Tue May 20, 2008 4:18 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:Anyone have a recommendation on some of the longer episodes of podcastle - I've only listened to the flash. I'm still on dial up so it takes over an hour to download an episode, so I hate wasting download time on stuff that, well is not worth waiting an hour for.
Just finished #5 "The Ant King of California." Ben Rosenbaum: I've dug every story of his I've heard. There have only been 3, but those 3 ranged from "good" to "totally rocks." This story didn't really make any sense, but it was so wacky and fun that asking it to make sense is kind of missing the point. I think it might be the first time I've laughed out loud at a short story podcast that wasn't the Drabblecast. Pardon another reference to Super Mario Galaxy, but it reminded me of Super Mario Galaxy: Don't ask why the fat Italian is racing a shark through the sky on a turtle shell. Just smile and enjoy.

Download, but skip to 4:00 to avoid the annoying chatter at the start.
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Re: PODCASTLE

Post by Kevin Anderson » Tue May 20, 2008 8:01 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:Download, but skip to 4:00 to avoid the annoying chatter at the start.
Yeah, what is up with that. Even on the flash peices the intros are almost as long as the story. Pseudopod and escapepod hold off on the comments until the end - I hope podcastle switches to that modle in the furure.
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Re: PODCASTLE

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Tue May 20, 2008 10:38 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Download, but skip to 4:00 to avoid the annoying chatter at the start.
Yeah, what is up with that. Even on the flash peices the intros are almost as long as the story. Pseudopod and escapepod hold off on the comments until the end - I hope podcastle switches to that modle in the furure.
:D Episode 5.5 starts out with an enlightening monologue about how the Christian view of the universe contrasts with the Native American view of the universe. It's always funny when atheists explain Christianity to me. "Christians believe this." "Oh, really? How interesting." I've been introduced to a couple of really odd ideas that way.
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Post by Kevin Anderson » Tue May 20, 2008 10:51 pm

That was the Pahwahke story right, What I remember about that into, other than how long it was - was that her compare and contrast of both mythologies really didn't add to my understanding or enjoyment of the story. And it felt a bit preachy. I could have really done without the lecture. - In any case, it really belonged at the end.
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Re: PODCASTLE

Post by Goldenrat » Wed May 21, 2008 4:52 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote:
Kevin Anderson wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Download, but skip to 4:00 to avoid the annoying chatter at the start.
Yeah, what is up with that. Even on the flash peices the intros are almost as long as the story. Pseudopod and escapepod hold off on the comments until the end - I hope podcastle switches to that modle in the furure.
:D Episode 5.5 starts out with an enlightening monologue about how the Christian view of the universe contrasts with the Native American view of the universe. It's always funny when atheists explain Christianity to me. "Christians believe this." "Oh, really? How interesting." I've been introduced to a couple of really odd ideas that way.
And did you hear the intro to PC 8 The Osteomancer's Son??!! Great story but the set up went on forever. I found the 5.5 intro irritating also.

I hear you on the atheists trying to explain Christianity - I'm on the other side of the fence and my Christian relatives try to use the bible to show me how wrong I am about human origins, etc. :roll:

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed May 21, 2008 5:22 am

Ha ha! Well, pointing to the Bible to prove things to someone who doesn't believe in the Bible probably isn't going to be very effective, eh?

I don't mean people trying to prove me wrong using methods or sources I don't believe in. I mean people stating to me what they think my religion is about or what they think I believe, and it's stuff I don't believe and maybe never even heard of. I've had that happen... well, enough times that I'd need both my hands to count. Hey, how about I explain my beliefs to you instead of vice versa?

Anyway, rather an aside.
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Post by strawman » Sat May 24, 2008 6:41 pm

Just ran across Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast. It's kind of lengthy, but he really gets into his interesting perspective on different aspects of history, such as how the history of the world has been affected by leaders being drunk or drugged at critical moments.
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Post by Kevin Anderson » Tue May 27, 2008 6:45 pm

http://pseudopod.org/2008/05/23/pseudop ... ment-24090

I really enjoyed this pseudopod episode by author Eugie Foster. It's a furry ghost story with tiny feet.
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Post by aalangley6 » Tue May 27, 2008 10:59 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:http://pseudopod.org/2008/05/23/pseudop ... ment-24090

I really enjoyed this pseudopod episode by author Eugie Foster. It's a furry ghost story with tiny feet.
That was a good one.

I listen to a lot of podiobooks and among my favorites reside J.C. Hutchins' 7th son trilogy and Scott Sigler's Ancestor and Earthcore.
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