Pseudopod keeps churning out horror audio, including a sad, beautiful flash piece called "Rite of Atonement", and a powerful, carefully wrought war Gothic, "Western Front." The latter is thought to be pervasive, but is actually rare, and rarer still done well.
Yesterday I listened to a fine radio horror tale from the great Lights Out. "Revolt of the Worms" lurked in my mp3 player as I headed outside in the late afternoon. The sun crept down through the trees as I carried and stacked a new delivery of wood, darkness increasing with each armful of freshly-hewn pine. Nobody was around - no neighbors are visible from anywhere on our land, and both family and visitors were on the road. The chickens and goats had settled down in their sleeping places, the cats were quietly resting, and even the dog had turned down her manic intensity.
"Revolt" has a simple plot, a classic mad scientist tale of invention, monstrosity, and retribution. But what makes it work so well is partly the hypnotic, repetitive dialogue, and especially the terrific sound. It's saved up for the end, grand, unsettling worm noises. Vast worms working through earth, snuggling under a house, and pressing blind faces on glass... perfect to listen to, as the sun faded beneath the mountain's edge, and shadows filled gaps between each difficult-to-discern object.
"At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland," said Donna Garde, superintendent of the park about 45 miles east of Dallas. "Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs." (emphasis added)
Ah, never underestimate the power of sound.
(be sure to click for this full power of this awesome photo)
Can podcasting step in to save an audio show, when its radio producers fail to broadcast it? The Canadian Broadcasting Service (CBC) recently produced The Adventures of Apocalypse AI, a series of very short audio vignettes written by J. Michael Straczynski, the creator behind the innovative Babylon-5 tv series (1994-1998). However, the CBC has decided not to nationally broadcast the program. Regional affiliates might pick it up.
This sounds like a job for podcasting, which, like the rest of Web 2.0, has an energetic instinct to publish things in order to make them accessible (note: has higher ed totally dropped the ball on this score?). However, the CBC still owns the rights.
SFFAudio recommends a campaign to get this story out on the, ah, earwaves. Will the CBC agree to it? Or will the show be buried for some time? I'm reminded of what happened to Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and hope that initial silencing can be avoided.
"Phantom High School" is a delightful satire and story, another installment of Kasper Hauser's This American Life parody. The idea of a fake high school should appeal to alternate reality game (ARG) enthusiasts, especially given the sustained nature of the prank. Consider it a descendant of the ARG antecedents.
One of the delights in listening to podcasts is finding archival materials republished in this new medium. Contrary to those who think digital media is all about the present day, digital networks have unleashed an archival publishing impulse in enough people to define a very different set of media.
Today's case in point: the Radio Nostalgia Network has been podcasting classic science fiction and horror. I just listened to a fine dramatization of Ray Bradbury's brilliant "Zero Hour." It was aired on WMUK, for a series called Future Tense. There was at least one other version. Just listen and enjoy. Preferably late at night, alone, or with very charming children.