One of the most fascinating things about the Internet is that it has become a vast compendium of knowledge for just about everything imaginable. For writers it is both a magical device and a curse. On the one hand a writer can find anything he or she needs (of course, when I say writer I mean anyone who thinks of themselves as a writer), but on the other hand it can become a distraction. While Google is certainly the most accurate and valuable search engine ever created, it isn’t perfect and sometimes it can take a while to find things.
And then, sometimes the Internet is a distraction that makes you happy. In come podcasts, one of the most interesting Internet creations I’ve come across aside from the slue of random flash games that seem to have absolutely no point other than to draw your attention for hours upon hours. There are a lot of podcasts out there, and like the Internet there are probably podcasts for just about everything. I listen to a lot of writing podcasts, or podcasts dealing with science fiction and fantasy as literary genres. Why? Because sometimes the best way to learn anything of value is to listen to someone who actually knows what the heck he or she is talking about. So, the following are podcasts I listen to, whether regularly or irregularly, that have been of use to me for just about anything to do with writing (some of the podcasts mentioned might not be in my links section on the right-hand sidebar yet):
- Adventures in Scifi Publishing (Shaun Farrel and Sam Wynns)This is the podcast that introduced me to the entire field (often called podiosphere). This is one of the most fascinating and useful podcasts not only because it is directed towards my fields of interest (it does address fantasy too, by the way), but also because every episode has an author interview or some other feature. The interviews are top-notch and thoroughly engaging. They have a little commentary and discussion, author interviews, and, as an added bonus, Tobias S. Buckell does a regular feature called “Ask a Writer”, which should be self-explanatory.
They are currently in their second season after a brief break.
- The Secrets Podcast (Michael A. Stackpole)
I think this podcast is officially on hiatus, however you should certainly look through the huge archives and start listening. Stackpole is an author of many books, including several novels for the Star Wars universe and works of his own creation (referring to world creation of course). He knows what he’s talking about and his writing advice is in-depth and truly helpful. While Stackpole is primarily a science fiction and fantasy author, his advice could easily apply to any other form of fiction.
- Balticon Podcasts (Paul Fischer)
The official podcast of Balticon, a science fiction/fantasy convention in Baltimore, MD. I just started listening to this one and I am already enjoying it greatly. So far I’ve listened to two interviews with authors and both have been fascinating. I love hearing authors talk about their work and how they write. You can learn a great deal that way. I don’t have too much to say about this other than what has already been said, but it is good so far!
- The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy (Tee Morris)
I think this one is on hiatus as well. Last I checked Mr. Morris was in the process of writing three books, all of which had deadlines very close to one another. The Survival Guide is sort of a guide for fantasy, for podcasting, for writing, and everything between. I’ve learned a great deal from this podcast not only because Mr. Morris is a writer, but because he has a lot of insight into the field from a different perspective: he’s a small press writer. His books have been published with Dragon Moon Press, who I have done reviews for, and so his perspective on things is not the same as those who are with the larger presses. Download the archive of podcasts and give them a good listen!
- Jay Lake’s Podcasts
Jay Lake is a relatively new author in the field, but his name has exploded. His interviews are really rather interesting and if you follow the link you’ll find several panel discussions and interviews that he has done. I just finished listening to most of them and they are all quite good. He’s a joy to listen to and he is obviously very passionate about his writing, and has a lot to say about the subject.
- The Agony Column (Rick Kleffel)
Interviews, interviews, and more interviews. Kleffel has such a huge archive of great interviews. I’ve been listening since I discovered Adventures in Scifi Publishing and Kleffel certainly knows what he is doing. Huge authors are in his list of mp3s!
- Tor and Forge Books Podcast
Tor is a major publisher of science fiction and fantasy. Their podcast is generally interviews or panel discussions with authors and the majority of them are rather good and valuable. John Scalzi has been on there a few times and it is worth a listen.
I plan to do more posts on podcasts later as I listen to more of them and become better acquainted with the field. Still, the ones above are a good start and really useful. Check them out!