(CS 2) Production Notes

We’re only two episodes in, but it’s possible you’ve already noticed far fewer sound effects and music in Crystal Society, compared to my previous projects. I want to say there are artistic reasons for this, but alas, I cannot. It’s purely practical.

At my last job, I didn’t work the full day. I had to be in the office for roughly eight hours, but for a decent handful of hours every week I didn’t have work to do. So I’d spend some of that time on planning SFX and music, and/or searching out appropriate FX/music. And I’d also take long lunches, during which time I’d work on the podcast episodes. A typical 25 minute episode is 6-8 hours of work. For complex things, it could be longer.

Now I have a new job, which I haven’t work-optimized yet, and which requires more of my brain and time. On top of that, I have far more non-work projects nowadays, including The Bayesian Conspiracy podcast, and trying to make an honest attempt at professional-level writing. On top of a growing social life and home responsibilities, I just don’t have the time do produce episodes as richly as I used to. :(

This is mainly a vanity thing. I liked adding in the music and SFX, it was fun, and it made the project more personal to me. But while they do make the listening experience slightly better (I hope), they are frills and extras. The core story is the true value of the podcast, and that is not lost. I wish I had the time for the frills. But there’s only so many hours in life, and we all have to choose our priorities, and ultimately the frills just aren’t as important as writing a novel or renovating my home.

I do have a few, though. Anything that’s really simple to throw in, for one. And the functional ones that are needed in order to translate the work into audio. Like page-flips to denote section breaks. Or the background hum (reminiscent of a space station, I hope) whenever the AIs are speaking internally to each other. In the text this is conveyed by using [brackets] around their text, rather than “quotes”. I realized immediately that I needed something similar in the audio to give some clue that there is no speaking with the outside world happening, only internal dialogs. I hope it’s enough?

I’m really surprised that more audio fiction hasn’t switched to doing something like this yet. Visual cues in a manuscript, like indentation or changed font, really do need some sort of equivalent audio cue. Come on publishers, it’s not that hard.

SFX: Warp Core, Flashback,

Intro/Outro – I Wanna Be Adored, by The Stone Roses

(CS 1) Production Notes

Well, that hiatus went far longer than expected! I’ve had a lot of changes in my life in the last year that kept pushing this project further and further out. Most recently I bought a new-to-me townhome, which has eaten up much of my life in renovations, before catching on fire last week. Fortunately the fire was stopped before it reached my unit, but it still has put back moving in by several weeks, in addition to dealing with insurance and getting utilities turned back on and just everything.

And yet, I had announced a month ago that Crystal Society is launching first week of April, and dammit, it’s the first week of April, so here we are! :)

I am ridiculously excited to be doing Crystal Society, and wish to thank Max Harms again for giving me permission to podcast it. It’s a great story, and I’ve gone over the reasons why I love it in my review of the book, so I won’t repeat myself too much (if you’re interested, the review is linked). But in addition to my unabashed love of Face, I think this is a great exploration of an almost-human mind and helps to bring people to an intuitive understanding of just how difficult (and important) the AI alignment problem is. Even if we could make something that thinks like a human, encoding human values is *hard*.

I learned another frustrating lesson about language while editing this episode. I said “vista” like “vee-stah.” Literally everyone else in the whole world pronounces it “vih-stah.” And having just me saying “veestah” while everyone else says “vihsta” is really distracting and aesthetically unpleasant. I had to go back and re-record every single instance of my saying “Vista” in episodes 1 & 2 and splice in the retake, which is a giant pain. >< I hope the edits aren’t too noticeable.

Really wish someone would’ve corrected my pronunciation at some point in the last 30-odd years. :/ But on the other hand, aside from a few months in the late 90s, I don’t think I use the word “vista” more than once a year.

SFX: Warp Core, Flashback,

Intro/Outro – I Wanna Be Adored, by The Stone Roses


An End To Suffering

Purchase “Red Legacy and Other Stories” (or leave a review) here!

Original Text

Author’s Notes (some spoilers)

Credits (in order of appearance):
Lucius – Drake Walker
Scientist – Venesssa

SFX: Push bar, swing, janitor bots, footsteps, maglev, maglev door, urinating, AC hum, captive bolt pistol A + B, action movie

Intro/Outro – Madness, by Muse
The Casting Out of Adam – Sail, by AWOLNation
War For Hell – Ghost Love Score, by Nightwish
The Parables of Ken Thompson – Sound of Silence, Disturbed cover, karaoke version
Return to God – Komm susser Tod, by Arianne, Sagisu, Anno, & Wyzgowski

Red Legacy

At Any Cost

Purchase “Red Legacy and Other Stories” here!

Original Text

Credits (in order of appearance):
Alexia – Ella Barrett
Ivan – Steven Zuber
MI6 Agent – Brian Jones
Uri Pushkin – Mike Ellis
Technician – Drewy Nucci
Guards – Peter Sartucci & Quincy Allen
Natasha – Cedra

Music & FX found here and here