Hear That? #15: Gregory & Lee

Welcome back for another quick review of some fine stories and storytelling. I hope these posts encourage you to take the time to delve into the wonderful world of audio fiction on the net.

First, CLARKESWORLD MAGAZINE brings us “The Battle of Candle Arc” by Yoon Ha Lee, narrated by Kate Baker. A confession. I dearly love Ms. Lee’s stories; they make my imagination’s mouth water, as it were, and this offering is no exception. Ms. Lee is a Korean-American wordsmith with a love of mathematics, computer gaming, and caffeine free Dr. Pepper. You can find her work in places such as CLARKESWORLD, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Tor.com, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012, ed. Rich Horton, and many more. Kate Baker is the Hugo-award winning Podcast Director for CLARKESWORLD Magazine, and frequent voice artist for other podcasts. She lives in northern Connecticut with her three children.

“The Battle of Candle Arc” is the story of General Shuos Jedao’s victory over a heretical planetary force, the workings of science as supported by the metaphysics of an official calendar, and a wonderful study of one man’s hopes to change the world one victory at a time. Hardly a cut and dry science fiction story (CLARKESWORLD stories rarely are), Ms. Lee uses the backdrop of tactics and intrigue to delve into matters of hierarchies, honor, loyalty, war, and technology. It took perhaps 2 minutes to get into the story, most likely because I listened while driving, but once the distractions cleared I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Next we have a story of a different sort, PODCASTLE #230, “Unpossible” by Daryl Gregory, narrated by Peter Wood. Mr. Gregory lives in Pennsylvania, writes “programming code in the morning, prose in the afternoons, and comics at night” (from his blog), has written three novels, and numerous short stories. Not only is Peter Wood the sound director for PODCASTLE, he is also an accomplished photographer and dabbler in theater and sound.

“Unpossible” is the story of a man hoping to go back again, back to the days of childhood adventure where anything and everything is possible. With his wife and child gone, he feels there is nothing left for him, so he takes to the attic to find his old bicycle. After making a few changes, he sets off on a journey that does not lead where he expects to go. This is a poetic, gentle story, one for the child in all of us. Old friends from books and television reappear, and along with them the realization that you can’t go back…but you can move forward. The outro essay after the story. Both is also worth your time and attention.

That’s it for another HEAR THAT?. As always, if you like the stories please stop by the forums and let them know. Even better, make a donation! Good fiction is often free for the ears, but the authors are still paid for their work. And when you’re finished there, drop by and let me know what you thought. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, keep your ears open!

Crossposted from Sandra M. Odell’s blog.

Hear That? #9: Walters & Russo (Sandra M. Odell)

(Cross posted from WRITE OR GNORW)

Hi there, and welcome back to HEAR THAT?, a quick review of some of the great audio fiction on the web. This time around we have offerings from Cast of Wonders and PodCastle.

First we have a deliciously creepy tale, Cast of Wonders #41, Jake Walter’s “The Living Earth”. One thing I’ve noticed about YA is that it’s difficult to find good horror, not dark fantasy or dystopian fiction, but solid, creepy, horror that offers up shivers of fearful delight. Jake Walters recently returned from a three year tour in Romania as a member of the Peace Corps. With this story, he delivers on all counts, providing a YA tale that explores the first hints of a growing sexual awareness bound together with a healthy dose of the creeps. Graeme Dunlop’s narration brings life and an edgy realism to the story. Well done!

Patricia Russo offers her take on one possible future with Podcastle #210, “Sittin’ Round The Stewpot”, the story of a young man’s coming of age, the generation gap, and the nature of dogs. With this story, Ms. Russo explores issues of gender, age, culture, and hope, spinning the tale of a young man struggling to understand what he saw on the other side of the river even as he fights against the confines of village life. The story is narrated by Cian Mac Mahon, a talented voice actor who’s Irish accent lends a misty reality to the story and the hopes yet to come.

As always, I urge you to take a few minutes and indulge your ears in some great audio fiction. The writer’s write, and the narrators narrate, so the stories can be enjoyed. Drop me a line and let me know what you think, and stop by the podcast forums to share your thoughts on the work. And if you can, stop by the donate button to show your support for all the great fiction.

Until next time, keep your ears open!