(104a) Production Notes

He’s OK, or at least, as OK as one can be considering the circumstances. It turns out my mother had been a bit hyperbolic in her distress, he didn’t lose his whole finger, only up to the first knuckle. Safety Third!

And if you haven’t backed up in a while, do so soon. I try to do so every six months, and I was just a little past that line. I figured I’d wait a few more weeks until I heard what corrections are needed on the updated prior episodes, fix them, then backup everything at once. That was a terrible idea. I’m ridiculously happy that I’d already uploaded everything, and that I keep my writing in the Cloud. Right now everything is a pain in the ass, but at least I still have an ass at all! (metaphorically)

Also, you guys are great. I received six submissions for the two Hufflepuff parts in this episode. I already  have people sending me samples for Oliver’s lines, months in advance, and I haven’t even updated the available roles file yet! I’m feeling overwhelmed in a good way, thank you all! :)

(Red Legacy, pt 2) Production Notes

People who’ve read Red Legacy as originally published may notice a minor change in the audio version. Specifically, the line “You think because you gave birth to her” has been changed to “You think because you pushed her out of your cunt.” When I originally wrote the story that was the wording I used. I spent some time worrying about the word. I know how vulgar and emotionally-loaded it is. But Marya is resorting to violence, and she’s using the most verbally violent words she can at this point. Alternatives felt flat, or silly, or weirdly sexual, and I didn’t want that; I wanted angry and vicious. There are some amazing stories out there, fairly recent works by Swirsky and Johnson, that use the word, so I thought it would be OK. But of course I am nowhere near the caliber of Swirsky or Johnson. And those stories of theirs that used the word were not published in Asimov’s. I was politely informed that Asimov’s has a policy of never printing that particular word, and strongly avoiding other less-vulgar but nonetheless still vulgar terms for female anatomy.

Obviously there was no way I was turning down an opportunity to be published in freakin’ Asimov’s over a single word, so I cut it out. But I don’t have that restriction in my podcast, so it’s back in for the audio version. :)

The list of updated HPMoR episodes is as follows:






























































(Red Legacy, pt 1) Production Notes

It occurred to me that I am the proud possessor of the audio rights to a story that’s appeared in Asimov’s SF, and that I have a podcast, and the next step was obvious. :) I’ve already posted twice about the story (although the second link contains spoilers for part two!! Be ye warned!), but there was one thing I learned that I forgot to include in the TIL post, so I’ll say it here instead:

I’ve lived my life in a world where childhood leukemia isn’t a death sentence. It still sucks hugely, please don’t think I’m saying it’s not a big deal, it’s awful. But all the common forms have very good survivability rates nowadays (nearly 90%!). So I thought I would have my work cut out for me to find a fast-acting and hard-to-cure terminal disease that strikes in childhood, when I started writing this. I was very wrong. As recently as a handful of decades ago (certainly in the time period Red Legacy is set in) leukemia killed the shit out of kids. :( It was almost invariably fatal, and could kill in a matter of months or even weeks. I didn’t realize what a scourge this was, and I’m glad we’ve become so good at fighting it now. Fuck cancer, and huzzah for science.

BTW, no-hassle tweets re my fiction writings, if you’re interested.

(103) Production Notes

I knew this would probably happen eventually, and now it has… the podcast project has altered how I read HPMoR. It’s much harder to get wrapped up in a chapter than it used to be. Before, I was in the world by sentence 2. Now I keep thinking “How am I going to phrase this? How will this sound? What sound effect should I insert here? Who all will I need to contact to do the voices? How long before they can get the recordings back to me?” It’s made it a little less enjoyable to read. I got past it eventually and finally lost myself in the story again (yay!), but it took me more than halfway through the chapter to do it.

On balance, I’m glad I started the podcast when I did. It’s led to a lot of other great things in my life, and I’m now 103 chapters closer to finishing it than I would have been if I’d waited until it was fully published to start. But there’s a tiny bit of regret mixed in, that now there’s this process working in my head, distracting me, putting a touch of distance between myself and this awesome fic. Can’t have everything, I guess. :)

But daaaaaaaaaaaamn am I excited to see the final arc!!!!!  So… hard… to… wait!!

(Essays 4) Production Notes

The audio medium has it’s advantages, but there are quite a few disadvantages as well. There are quite a few good posts (or “essays”) of Eliezer’s that I doubt I’ll ever podcast, because they contain illustrations or graphs which can’t be translated into audio. Even the ones that are translatable lose something. People who haven’t seen one in it’s original format probably don’t realize that they are often heavily inter-linked, to remind a reader of points made earlier. For example, this line from Fake Explanations contains a separate link for each word: “And as we all know by this point (I do hope)” It has led me on many a groovy multi-hour wikiwalk.

In unrelated news, I recently toured a local sports stadium as part of a corporate event. We got to see the press room, with fancy audio equipment! I posed with one of the microphones, putting on a “serious broadcaster” face. There’s nothing like photo-bombing coworkers to remind you not to put on airs. :)


(Words of Love) Production Notes

I first read this story a looooong time ago. I don’t even recall how long ago, but it’s entirely possible it was near the date of original publication. It stuck with me. It was one of the first stories I read that eschewed good-vs-evil in favor of “almost no one is evil, almost everything is broken.” I figured if the story had enough lasting power that I still occasionally thought of it, I could certainly podcast it here, and the incredibly generous Mark Rudolph was ok with me doing so. If you want to check out his other work, he has another story and a poem at Strange Horizons as well.

I’m kinda surprised I was able to find “Words of Love” actually. Not until recently have I started to retain the names of stories, novels, and authors. I grew up with a library card, and thus my reading materials were impermanent. They always disappeared when I was done. I didn’t have many friends as a child, so I didn’t have anyone to discuss the stories with and so no reason to be able to identify them with short labels such as Title or Author. If a related topic ever came up in conversation I’d simply describe a story’s plot or premise. I never realized what a disservice this was to the author, and never changed that habit. It wasn’t until I joined a book club a few years ago that I actually started to pay attention to such things as “Title” or “Author” and now I wish I’d been doing it all along.

Finding “Words of Love” was a process that came and went in fits and starts over a number of years, with much Googling and brain-wracking. I’m still surprised it happened. From vague memories of a plot and a world, to a direct link to the original publication is quite a feat, and one I haven’t been able to replicate often. The internet rocks.