Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ITunes Annoyances

I listen to a lot of podcasts and I cannot figure out how to get them onto my ITunes without subscribing to them. Maybe it's because I still have a dumb phone and have to use my Mac to get podcasts from Itunes to my Shuffle. I don't know, but the upshot is that I have hundreds of podcasts sitting in my podcast folder, a lot of them from podcasts that I just wanted to sample. If anybody has a solution to this problem please let me know.

I tried out two Clarkesworld podcasts. This is not a review, by any means, but the two I listened to did not thrill me. I actually stopped listening to one story because of the reading. Kate Baker has a great voice and she is normally a good reader, but this one she really messed up. She was reading a story narrated by a Russian man and she did a Russian voice only when he was speaking, and also for the other Russians he talked to. First, I couldn't figure out who was who, and second he's talking all the time, because he is the narrator. Strange how a little thing like that can really ruin a story. This story was getting on my nerves anyway, though.

Clarkesworld is a full fledged web magazine, and a very slick one at that. For some reason I thought it had something to do with Arthur C. Clarke, he being a famous science fiction writer, but it is actually named after Neil Clarke, its publisher. I will listen to more episodes before passing judgement. If I would learn to read I might actually read some stories online.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SFSignal Podcast

SFSignal is a Speculative Fiction blog (hey, this is a speculative fiction blog!). SFSignal has a lot of contributors and a very active Twitter account with lots of good information. They also have a podcast obviously. It is a very informal podcast dedicated to speculative fiction in all forms, TV, movies, and books. They interview authors, have panel discussions, and take voice mails from listeners sometimes. Their interview style is very laid back, more like meeting in a bar with the author than a serious Q&A. It's a nice way to get to know an author though, because they get the author joking along with them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two Weeks Without Podcasts

I am anxious to review the Clarkesworld and SFSignal podcasts but I haven't listened to enough of them yet. Why, because for the past two weeks I have been hooked into the InkHeart audio book that a friend in Switzerland gave me. My German is finally good enough to understand it perfectly, Tintenherz is its German name. It is beautifully read in a pleasant deep voice. I can't find the narrator's name. The upshot is that I have not wanted to interrupt the story for podcasts.

There is only so much time in the day when I can listen. I listen walking to and from work, which comes out to about an hour a day, perfect for most podcasts. Unlike some, I absolutely cannot listen to stories and read or do any kind of computer work. I love doing garden work to podcasts. In fact, as I walk around my yard or on one of my many routes to work, I know exactly what I was listening to as I pass any particular place. It is uncanny and I wonder if other people have the same experience.

In a book called the Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, describes the Australian Aborigines tradition of singing while walking so that each place has special parts of a song, and that the song describes the route. The book really stuck with me, and now I kind of have Podcast lines. Of course newer podcasts can erase the old lines eventually, but particularly powerful stories stay with the place where I heard them.