Podcast Selections: It’s Story Time

Podcasts have become the source of most of the storytelling I experience. The high quality of readings and the stories being read are too good to keep quiet about, so I’m beginning a series of entries on podcasts with the best in science fiction, horror, fantasy and mainstream fiction that I have been lucky enough to find.

Tony C. Smith has created a superb audio science fiction magazine with StarshipSofa’s weekly Aural Delights podcast. The Sofa collects poetry, flash fiction, fact articles and short fiction by a wide range of the most important people in the science fiction field: writers and guests have included Elizabeth Bear, Spider Robinson, Cory Doctorow, Tad Williams, Larry Santoro, Jeremiah Tolbert, Gustavo Bondoni, Michael Bishop, Amy H Sturgis, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, Charles Stross, and Ted Kosmatka.

A host of SF writers have offered to let the StarShipSofa narrate their works. Writers who have already donated their work include Ian Watson, Pat Cadigan, Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, Joan D Vinge, Norman Spinrad, Ian MacDonald, J D Nordley, Bruce Sterling, Gweneth Jones, Alastair Reynolds, Jerry Pournelle, Landon Jones, John Varley, Pat Murphy, John Kessel, Laurel Winter, Jeff Vandermeer, Kevin J Anderson, Bradley Denton and Matthew Hughes.

Tony C Smith host of the StarShipSofa podcast explains that all the authors kindly donated their work to be narrated for free as long as there was no money to be made. Tony Smith says, “I wanted to start getting great stories out there for free and thought the best way to do that was to contact the writers directly. All have been happy to donate works to the StarShipSofa as long as we make no money from this venture. That is exactly what we are doing.” ~PR

“It’s story time,” precedes the featured story of each episode of Escape Pod, and for good reason; the podcast has high production values and the people behind it obviously take pride in great storytelling. Escape Pod doesn’t shy away from challenging science fiction and its creators’ dedication has made it one of the great podcasts of any kind. Be sure not to miss the Union Dues series that is frequently featured on Escape Pod.

Escape Pod is the premier science fiction podcast magazine. Every week we bring you short stories from some of today’s best science fiction [writers], in convenient audio format for your computer or MP3 player.

We pay our authors, but we will always be 100% free. […]

Escape Pod is produced and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Esteemed “science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger” Cory Doctorow reads from his stories each week on his podcast. Archives include a complete reading of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town and his recent ‘casts have featured a new short story, “Epoch”. Cory’s science fiction is strange, rooted in concern for our present world and is some of the best being created anywhere.

My podcast is a regular feed in which I read from one of my stories for a few minutes at least once a week, from whatever friend’s house, airport, hotel, conference, treaty negotiation or what-have-you that I’m currently at. You can get the Podcast through iTunes.

Spider on the Web
Spider Robinson just might have the biggest heart, warmest voice and best stories of all science fiction writers. He definitely has one of the best podcasts being made. Spider reads his own fiction and essays, sprinkles in exciting music and shares some of the best short fiction written by others on SotW every other week. His reading of John Varley’s “The Persistence of Vision” is a beautiful example of the quality every episode holds.

Spider’s podcast is well in its second successful year of mixing audio science fiction, science fact, and other spoken-word shenanigans, with some of the best music you’ve never heard before.

Every other podcast will specialize in short science fiction by authors like John Varley, Fred Pohl, Robert Heinlein, Davids Gerrold and Palmer, and Cory Doctorow, all read aloud by this year’s Earphones Award winner, Spider;

Check out the latest installment of Spider On The Web, and then feel free to wander back through the nearly 100 hours of educated entertainment in the archives below.

Norm Sherman is a strange host who presents “strange stories by strange authors to strange listeners, such as yourself”. The Drabblecast has unleashed countless weird stories onto the internet and we’re all better off because of the hilarious, bizarre and just plain wonderful speculative fiction that have been narrated through this ‘cast.

Short fiction that is often humerous, often bizarre, always fun. Sci-fi, fantasy, wierd, disturbing- narrated by Norm Sherman ~Podfeed

The Clarkesworld podcast delivers a short story each month from the pages of Clarkesworld Magazine, one of the best science fiction ‘zines being produced. The stories featured in the podcast come from some of the best science fiction writers.

Clarkesworld is a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. Each issue contains at least two pieces of original fiction from new and established authors. Our fiction is also collected by issue in signed chapbooks and annually in our print anthology, Realms.

Podcastle presents stories from a wide range of the fantasy field: it’s a mix of high fantasy, dark fantasy, mythic realism, urban fantasy and other aspects of the genre. Rachel Swirsky‘s editorial discernment ensures great quality month after month. One of my favourite episodes is Will McIntosh’s “One Paper Airplane Graffito Love Note“, a story that is reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work.

PodCastle is the world’s first fantasy audio magazine. Each week we bring you short stories across the spectrum of fantasy from leading authors and new discoveries. Like our sister podcasts, Escape Pod and Pseudopod, PodCastle is entirely free to listen and share.

Pseudopod plays in the horrific end of fiction. There is plenty to disturb and startle in these stories, but if horror is something you can stomach, then this podcast pays off with stories from some of the best in the field.

You’ve found the world’s premier horror fiction podcast. Pseudopod brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere.

WARNING: This is a podcast of horror fiction. The stories presented here are intended to disturb you. They are likely to contain death, graphic violence, explicit sex (including sexual violence), hate crimes, blasphemy, or other themes and images that hook deep into your psyche. We do not provide ratings or content warnings for specific stories. We assume by your listening that you wish to be disturbed for your entertainment. If there are any themes that you cannot deal with in fiction, that are too strongly personal to you, please do not listen.

Pseudopod is for mature audiences only. Hardly any story on Pseudopod is suitable for children. We mean this very seriously.

The Vinyl Cafe features slice-of-life fiction that captures Canadiana and the humour and sweetness of our peculiarities, missteps and kind gestures. The host, Stuart McLean, brings a warm sincerity to his readings and makes each episode a joy to experience; following the lives of Dave and his family has become an institution though the radio show, live performances, books and, of course, this podcast.

More than 700,000 people listen to The Vinyl Cafe every weekend on CBC Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio and on a growing number of Public Radio stations in the United States. The program is also broadcast on an occasional basis on the BBC. The show is written and hosted by Stuart McLean and features stories, essays and music (both live and recorded).

The Vinyl Cafe stories are about Dave, owner of the second hand record store, and they are collected in books and on CD. The stories also feature Dave’s wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and assorted friends and neighbours.

The motto of Dave’s store – and of the radio show – is “We May Not Be Big, But We’re Small”.

I love a good fiction podcast, so if you have any suggestions for me, please leave a comment. I’ll be sure to share anything I fall in love with in future entries and through my lifestream.

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