Wednesday 13 January 2010

Castmonger #2: Pseudopod

Earlier in the month, The Speculative Scotsman was proud to publish the first installment of Castmonger, a semi-regular podcast review series with a particular focus on aural excellence in the genres of fiction this site means to represent. The Castmonger's debut recommendation was for readers to point their podcatchers of choice towards the Story Podcast, a weekly selection of short audio fiction from the vaults of that prolific sci-fi and fantasy publisher.

In the interests of balance, Castmonger - now in its record-breaking second outing - hopes to quell your hunger for that third echelon of speculative entertainment: horror, in convenient downloadable form. Let me introduce you to Pseudopod.

For more than three years, since it spun-off from sister series Escape Pod like the stray tentacles of some Lovecraftian nightmare, Pseudopod has made available short audio fiction for no cost at all - excepting, of course, your immortal soul, but surely that goes without saying. Host Alasdair Stuart introduces each twisted tale, which have run the gamut lately from post-apocalyptic terror to authentic South African intrigue.

A few favourites from recent weeks include Stephen Gaskell's answer to an impossible mathematical riddle that could change the world for better or worse in Napier's Bones,
and The Primakov by R. J. Hobbs, which chronicles the traumatic attempts of one seafaring ship to rescue the survivors of a stranded fishing vessel. All is not, however, as it seems.

Is it ever?

The names might not be as big as the likes of Tor can offer, but the stories Pseudopod presents are certainly up to snuff, and moreover, they're read well. As master of ceremonies Alasdair Stuart advises, "Stay awake, stay aware and perhaps stay alive, because I have a story to tell, and I promise you, it's true."

Each episode lasts for around half an hour, making this weekly injection of terror and unease the perfect podcast to accompany you on your daily commute - that is, presuming you don't mind some strange looks from your fellow day-traders.

Before I call a halt to this sophomore installment of Castmonger, it's also worth mentioning that Pseudopod, not to mention Escape Artists' other efforts - Podcastle, for fantasy fiction, and the aforementioned Escape Pod - is an entirely community-supported production. If you like what you hear, and you will if you enjoy a good horror story, you can opt to "feed the pod" on a monthly basis or just once, as you please. Archive discs of the best of previous episodes are also available.


Click here for more information on Pseudopod, or submit to the Castmonger's willful recommendation by subscribing to the podcast discussed in this post via the following links:

... For regular RSS readers:
... iTunes users go here: itpc://

If you'd like to submit your podcast or a personal favourite to be considered for a future installment of Castmonger, simply leave a link and a brief description in the comments section.

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