Words over the air

I have been getting into podcasts for… heh, I guess slightly over a year, now. I’d dipped into them before that, but around May of last year I just dove in. Mostly fiction, usually audioplay style rather than someone reading you prose. And, yeah, they often skew a bit dark. With that in mind, I figured I would offer up some recommendations of ones that I love.

Old Gods of Appalachia
This is like if Manly Wade Wellman’s stories about Silver John met Deadlands. On every axis – on writing, on voicework, on music, on pacing, on the balance between hinting and obfuscation – it is almost painfully good.
The Silt Verses
This is the opposite of folk horror in the way that The Wire is the opposite of police procedurals. It’s a modern setting a step sideways from real life, what with all the gods – Saint Electric, and the Emperor in Rags, and everything. Primarily revolves around two devotees of one of the banned gods, the Trawlerman. (I feel that I should emphasize that this is 100% horror, not urban fantasy. Trust me.)
Unwell
A sweet and cosy midWestern gothic, about a woman who moves back home to a small-town boarding house to take care of her mother while said mother recuperates from a broken leg. Amazing snappy dialogue, cheerfully creepy moments. (Best content warnings I have ever seen. Ever.)
The Wrong Station
Trumping the odds, this one is a someone-reading-prose pure-anthology podcast. If offers weird tales in a classic vein, albeit with a definite genre awareness; every time I have rolled my eyes at a story’s setup, I have been genuinely surprised and pleased at where it ended up. (I started around season 4 and have since jumped back to the beginning, and I think that was for the best – they’re good in the early seasons, but better in the later ones.)
The Left-Right Game
A single-season complete story, about someone playing the left-right game; basically, if you start driving and then turn left then right then left then right, always, never stopping, you get to a very strange place.
Uncanny County
Once described as “like the Twilight Zone without the morality play aspect”; funny, weird, pulpy. The stories all share a setting, and there are a couple of recurring characters, but you can dip in and out as you please.  This is distinctly on the fluffy end of dark fiction – it’s like if Tales from the Crypt occasionally had happy endings.
The Hyacinth Disaster
Another single-season complete story, about a crew of asteroid miners trying to find something valuable enough to ransom their friends. Leans into the setting, so you get a fair bit of static on some communications, but goddamn amazing. (Also, everyone I have recommended this to who has listened to it has cried.)
Palimpsest
Each season is a story; they don’t all belong in the same world, but they’re all set in the same house? It’s slow, dreamy, haunting – heck, the tagline is “Embrace what haunts you.” Each season skews to what I’d call a different subgenre, but I absolutely respect the trailer’s assertion that every story is a ghost story.

A tale of ashes and ink, spoken soft.

My technically-a-novella “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” is now available as episode 637 of PodCastle, so now you have the option of reading or listening to my tale of a dead body found in a rather odd library!

(This work initially appeared in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.)

As always, I very much hope you like it.

Words in the world

Cossmass Infinities has accepted another one of my stories! “The Draw of Empty Spaces” will be appearing in issue #3, coming out in September; in the meantime, you can check out their site here.

In addition, I am very pleased to say that PodCastle has accepted “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” as a reprint; that is the novelette which got a couple of favourable mentions in Locus when it initially appeared in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which I am extremely proud of.

(I’ve never had one of my pieces done as an audio version before, and am very curious to see how it goes! Writing the pronounciation guide was interesting; not difficult, exactly, since I knew what things were supposed to sound like, but an aspect that I hadn’t considered would be necessary.)

Progressing, by words

I am finding that I have been picking up a lot of podcasts lately. I’ve been somewhat interested in them for a while – I started listening to The Bright Sessions in late 2018, and progressed to The Magnus Archives – but lately I have just dived in. I’m listening to Unwell and Old Gods of Appalachia, I’m going to try Hitchhiker Horror and The Far Meridian, and the non-fiction This Podcast Will Kill You is weirdly relaxing. (There are a few other on my radar, but they’re not quite at the top of my to-listen pile. It is a growing pile.)

(I think it might be because I am not getting out a lot, so I am a bit restless, and they are easy to listen to while I am moving around the house. Plus they require a fairly constant minimal level of attention, which helps keep my mind from wandering. And unlike reading, they just pour into my ears and I don’t need to focus enough to read. Despite the fact that it helps to have something to hold my attention, I’ve been having trouble making myself focus lately, and these help.)

Aside from that, I have been deeply resenting the return of the snow (we were up to 20’C before it started snowing again!), and trying to make sure I keep moving. It mostly seems to be working, I suppose.

Regrouping.

I haven’t written anything–well, outside of online communications and work-related email, which I generally don’t count–in a day and a half, which is annoying because I was on a six-day streak before that.  I know why, and it’s understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

It will not happen today. There. I have said it, so now I have to make it true.

In other news… well, there is a nineteen-and-change year-old-cat sitting on my arms while I type, gently pulsing and purring and being old and delicate and imperious.  Doesn’t interfere with the typing, at least, although I do need to crane a bit to see over her to look at all of my screen. And I’ve just been reminded that vacation pay is issued upon request, which means that it’s been quietly accruing for the last few weeks.

Am finding that Night Vale Community Radio is actually very pleasant to listen to, being something between “background noise” and “actually requiring full attention”.  It’s funny in a highly bizarre way, and while I can think of a few descriptors, they are a bit obscure, so I will just go with the slug that “It’s as if Stephen King and Neil Gaiman created a SimCity and let it run on its own for forty years.”  The more I look at fiction, the more I find there’s a dearth of the unapologetically weird stuff.  (There’s some – and there is obviously going to be a bit of disagreement over what’s “unapologetically weird in the service of the story’s mood” and what’s “bad worldbuilding” – but it’s rare.  Suggestions welcome!)