(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. :)

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(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.

(Nineteen Neighty-Four pt2) Production Notes

I am indebted to Ginny for not only voicing Twilight Sparkle, but also for so fantastically singing those lines from Julia. And she is just a fantastic person all around! You may know her for her cosplay, or from previous parody videos. She is currently working on a project to recreate many of the Disney songs that were cut from the final versions of Disney’s animated movies. She stars in (and produces) videos bringing those songs to life – full costumes & the works. The first one is out now – Megara’s Ballad “I Can’t Believe My Heart” from Hercules. You should go check it out, either on the Geekiarcy Home Page, or directly at YouTube. The next one will be out in a couple weeks!

(Nineteen Neighty-Four pt1) Production Notes

I wanted to get a very raspy, post-apocalyptic dystopia voice for the narration of this episode. Fortunately I’ve had some prior experience in how to do that, but it required some help from friends. First, I gathered a lot of them in a confined space and we all talked loudly for many hours, in order to put a lot of prolonged stress on my vocal cords. While doing that I drank a fair bit of alcohol, to really dehydrate me and get that authentic “Water is a scarce resource” sound. And I even choked down a couple cigarettes, to really rough up the airways. Finally I went to bed and slept several hours, to let all the abuse settle in and develop into that hoarse, dying sound.

This was in no way a party. Not even a little bit. At all.

Yeah ok, I threw a party. But I timed it to coincide with the recording of this episode, cuz I knew the effect it has on my voice the next day. #ForTheArt.

:)

In other news, Phil and Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius are the NICEST PEOPLE EVER. Not only did they agree to record a few lines for some random con-goer’s podcast that they’d never heard of, BUT after he fucked up and had to come back a couple hours later begging them to do it again, they graciously did so!!! OMG SO HAPPY! And they were so cool about it all! Come Jan/Feb when all the updates are finalized and uploaded, their voices will be included!