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I love stories (I'm a writer, part of the job), audio fiction in particular.  While I appreciate radio dramas and podcast plays, I have a particular fondness for audio productions of written work.  There is a certain comfort in hearing "Once upon a time..." and "He said" and "She gripped the fighter's" that never fails to capture my imagination.  Podcasts are shorter than audio books (another love of mine), and are the perfect bite-sized chunk of fiction to fill an afternoon of errands or housework, or the stillness of bedtime.

Fast forward to July 2011 and my stroke, mild as some strokes go, yet afterwards I had difficulty processing visual information and learned to rely on my hearing to help process and enjoy the written word.  Podcasts were vital to my recovery, and I carry that love to this day.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorite speculative fiction podcasts with you in the hopes of capturing your own imagination.

So, in no particular order. . .

"Storm Comes A' Callin'", The Drabblecast #131

Written by Jeremiah Tolbert, read by Norm Sherman and Cheyenne Wright, this is the story of an old man entertaining a storm one night along the Mississippi.  The story is dark, rich, and tense, a near perfect blend of narrative voice, character, and setting.  Norm and Cheyenne bring this story to life with their readings.  (A Confession:  I love me some Norm Sherman narration.)


"The Worm that Gnaws", Pseudopod #155

Written by Orrin Grey, read by Ian Stuart, here is a traditional monster story that is pure creepy fun, one of the good kinds of scares that leaves you shivering and smiling at the same time.  Much to their horror, two grave robbers make a grisly discovery in a London graveyard.  Ian's reading captures the spirit of the story and carries the listener along to a gruesome, terrifying end.


"The Things", Clarkesworld #40

Written by Peter Watts, read by Kate Baker, here is the story of John Carpenter's "The Thing" told from the alien(s) point of view.  Watts masterfully maintains a complex and varied narrative structure, and Kat's voice lends itself well to the story.  Kate is one of few women who can read male characters without sacrificing story flow.  Her readings have kept me company through many a boring chore, and I appreciate her talent more with every narrative.  Clarkesworld consistently publishes some of the best speculative fiction from around the world and this story is no exception.


"Seasons Set In Skin", Beneath Ceaseless Skies #156

Written by Caroline M. Yoachim, read by Tina Clonnolly, this is a beautifully crafted story set in an alternate Japan where humans protect themselves with tattoos in their war against the faeries.  Here is a tale of grief, honor, hope, and the final horror of war, and Tina's reading fills the spaces between the words with even more poetry.


"The Battle of Candle Arc", Clarkesworld #73

Written by Yoon Ha Lee, read by Kate Baker, this is the story of war and one general's determination to see it through to the end.  Yoon Ha Lee has not written anything I did not enjoy.  Strong narrative voice and an exquisite detail are brought to life by Kate's masterful narration.


"Not By Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass", LIGHTSPEED #69

Written by Jeremiah Tolbert, read by Stefan Rudnicki, here is a thought provoking fantasy story about the desire to be swept away to a magical world and what happens next.  The prose is solid and engaging, and Stefan's reading really brings it to life.  He is also one of the rare male narrators who can voie female characters without skipping a beat.


"The Dictionary's Apprentice", Cast of Wonders #83

Written by Your's Truly (that's me!), read by Graeme Dunlop, this is a story of a young boy's love for books and the world who wants to watch them burn.  I am biased towards towards the story, but love Graeme's spot on narration and the life he breathes into each character.


There you have it, a selection of some of my favorite podcasts.  If you'd like to learn more about great speculative fiction podcasts, I regularly post recommendations on Twitter as @WriterOdell.  Until then, keep your ears open!

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