I tend to be a bit fickle with in my fanboy sensibilities. I go for a depth of qualitity rather than breadth of quantity when enjoying my genre fiction, in whatever form. While I am always open to something new, I do hang on to my old favorites and often look for ways to enjoy them in new formats.
In recent years, my television/movie watching and book reading time is at an absolute premieum. Being rediscent to give up my sci-fi, I’ve found some great audio material to fill up hours spent in the work car or commuting. No doubt, you’ve heard of some of these titles, but hopefully you will find something here that will reintroduce you to some old favorites and maybe some new ones as well.
National Public Radio Star Wars Radio Series
This incredible audio production of the Original Star Wars Trilogy captures all of the fun, adventure, and drama of the films while greatly expanding the story. At nearly 13 hours of total running time, there are a number of additional scenes that develope the character arcs of all the central figures in the story, and introduce a number of new characters as well. The additional material gives the setting a feeling of depth and weight to ground all the high adventure. All three productions were made with the full cooperation of George Lucas, who allowed the use of original score and sound effects. Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams all reprise their film roles and the additional cast members are great.
Brian Daley, who also wrote the three Han Solo spin-off novels, penned the scripts for all three adaptations. Sadly he died shortly after the recording sessions for Return of the Jedi were completed.
Firefly: Old Wounds
Out of Nova Scotia is a fantastic little podcast called “The Sonic Society” which is a weekly showcase for all kinds of groovy audio drama goodness being produced all over the world.
In addition to featuring the works of lots of folk, the Society Crew also broadcast some of their own creations. While their milieu is original material, Firefly: Old Wounds is a tribute piece to Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking sci-fi western drama/comedy. The story, delineated in six 30 minute episodes, takes place between the end of the Firefly series and before the events of the film Serenity. The incredible writing, voice acting, and production value elevate this piece way above fanfic.
At 14 episodes and 1 feature film, I always wish that there was more really good Firefly content. It was a great joy to find something like Old Wounds, which by any reckoning is great story telling.
The Sonic Society
The same dedication and professionalism that made Old Wounds so great can be found in everything the Sonic Society produces or features. Regardless of the flavor of story you dig, it can be found at the Society: space opera, pulp, hard boiled detective, zombie, romance, and a partridge in a pear tree. The witty banter between Jack Ward and Shannon Hilchie, the brains behind this fantastic podcast, is sure to make you laugh out loud on the commute to and from work.
Check out sonicsociety for more info.
Wormwood: A Serialized Mystery
Wormwood is a spooky, complex mystery that is as scary as it is funny. This full cast audio drama is currently in it’s third and final season of production. Co-creators and executive producers David Accampo and Jeremy Rogers describe Wormwood best: “Wormwood is designed to appeal to the fans of True Blood, Twin Peaks, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as the works of writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Edgar Allan Poe.” (quote from the show’s website)
Wormwood is a professional grade production. Accampo and Rogers head up an incredible writing staff, with varied backgrounds and talents, that come together to create a fantastic world and story. The ensemble nature of the story allows the writers to explore their narrative from a multitude of angles. Currently in it’s third and final season, each season of the show has a distinct feel – the creators are not afraid to take their creation in a new direction. The cast is incredible – I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite – and all are given a chance to shine.
Co-created by Kc Wayland and Shane Salk, “We’re Alive” is a compelling story of a small group of survivors holed up in an apartment building somewhere in Los Angeles, California trying to stay alive after the zombie apocalypse. Inside of this fantastical setting, is an ensemble of interestingly flawed people doing their best in an impossible situation.
Three of the main characters are the last surviving members of a U.S. Army unit and are the core of the story. While these characters fill in the well known archetypes in war stories (inexperienced officer, veteran NCO, and rebellious enlisted man), Wayland and Salk give each character their own arcs and quirks to make them much more than stereotypes. Surrounding the three soldiers are a group of men and women who must chose to either rebuild a new society or try to resurrect one that has died before their eyes. Themes like leadership, social responsibility, and human politics are as exciting and dangerous as the zombies hunting the human survivors. Again, top notch production value is the norm – Wayland has amassed an impressive body of work as a film maker and animator prior to this effort.
thezombiepodcast.com will give you the lowdown on “We’re Alive.”
While we’d like to spend more time in front of the big screen, or curled up on the couch with our favorite books and comics, it just isn’t possible for most of us. As my brother says, “Being a grown up really gets in the way of hanging out.” If you’re stuck on the train commuting to work or school, or spend hours in your own ride or at your desk doing all the things grown ups do to pay the rent and buy food, audio fiction is a great way to remain plugged into the geek world.
Enjoy and remember to listen a reasonable volume.