Home / Dispatches from Pod-istan: Part 2

Dispatches from Pod-istan: Part 2

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“Umberto Eco”
“Nicole Krauss”
“Bret Easton Ellis”
“Identity” (Series of 10)

This is where the big guns of literature come out to bat. Or to talk. KCRW’S Bookworm is a major literary podcast show. It features serious, detailed discussions on literary matters, featuring big-name authors. One of their longest, most fascinating series was the recent 10-part series on Identity. Each episode of slightly less than 30 minutes focussed on one aspect of Identity. Hispanic identity, Asian identity, mixed-race identity, and similar aspects of the complex search for an unique ‘face’ in a world of rapidly blurring differences. Authors featured ranged from relative unknowns like Maxine Hong Kingston, Don Lee, Nina Marie Martinez, to heavy hitters like Camille Paglia, Alan Hollinghurst, Margaret Atwood, and the current Booker shortlisted John Banville…The discussions are always interesting, ‘provocative book-talk’ to quote their own tag line, and well worth the listening.


This one’s a bit more of an acquired taste. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, and at times, if I’m not in the mood, even I press ‘next’ on my iPod, or remote, to bypass the latest episode. But if you’re in the mood for some light, chatty, even whacky talk about Science Fiction, often without any definite point, then this pod show is reasonably good TP. If you’re not interested in SF, though, you’re not going to like it, so I’d only recommend it for true beanies.


Like Dr. Floyd above, but less irritating in tone and style, The Secrets is a series of under-15 minute episodes offering advice on various aspects of the writing craft. It’s a great series if you’re a wannabe writer, and especially if you’re a blogger. (Which, I’m starting to think, should now be accepted as a legit professional appelation. As in, ‘Hi, I’m Tim, the architect, so what do you do?’ ‘Oh, I’m a blogger.’) Anyway, despite it’s suggestive title, there are really no earth-shattering secrets revealed on this show. But it’s always informative and entertaining. And again, there’s usually a tidbit or two of special interest for writers (or editors, or publishers, or even just readers) of SFFH. In fact, one of their feature podcasts is a special focus on SF/Fantasy news.


This is one I’m constantly reminding myself to unsubscribe from soon. But somehow, I never get around to actually doing it, and so it remains on my Podcasts Playlist, and each week I go, ‘Hmm, should unsubscribe from this one…’ And so it goes. For those of you who aren’t hard-core Buffy/Angel/Firefly fans, well, Joss Whedon is best known as the writer-creator of the TV shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and the short-lived Firefly. He’s also a highly paid screenwriter for blockbuster movies as well. (Look up his IMDB page for more info if you’re interested.) This pod show is a series of weekly updates on what’s happening in Whedon’s world, including his upcoming shows, scripts in production, syndication of older shows, etc. I subscribed to find out if there was any truth to the rumour that he was going to start a spin-off show called Tales of The Watcher featuring characters from both his Buffy and Angel series. (Apparently not.) Or how close he was to the long-awaited Buffy movie starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Nowhere in sight.) Or whether it was true that his short-lived but highly popular SF show Firefly was being made into a big-screen movie. (Yes, but still unsure of whether production is underway or only ‘green-lighted’.) The trouble with the show is that it rambles on in such detail about such trivial things that only a hardcore Whedon fan would be interested. It’s definitely not for you if, like me, you’re just a fan of his shows and not into hero-worship. And worst of all, Whedon himself barely figures in the shows – this is almost entirely a fan enterprise. But if you’re a true Whedonite, or even just a Buffyite (Buffite?), then you may find this time-pass-worthy.

Well, that’s all I have in my Pod right now. But I’m sure to get bored of some of these soon and go trolling the Podosphere for new stuff. And when I find something worth blogging about, you’ll find it right here at Blogcritics.

Meanwhile, you’ve got plenty of good listening to check out, if you liked even a few of my recommendations. Just remember, file-sharing is caring! So if you hear of a show you like too, just plug it in the comments links below.

(Concluded…for now)

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