News update! Just a small note before the list. I’m considering turning this little review into a super short podcast. Essentially I’d just go through each chosen story and say WHY I liked it or why I recommend it. Not sure what level of spoileriness I’d want to have…might just be “you’ll like it because it has elements of this and a solid ending” instead of a detailed discussion. Also, I might do a “enjoyed the least” pick for the month as well. I welcome all your feedback in the comments or any other way you know how to reach me!
It’s that time again (read: I’ve finally found a spare moment in March), here are my top picks, in no particular order, for podcasted audio fiction from February 2012. For those new to the list, I focus on new (or reprinted) short fiction in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres.
“Kulturkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky
Cast of Wonders Ep. 24
-I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of this story on Critters.org, an online writing group. This isn’t a normal podcast for me (it’s YA fiction), but I looked up the reading/performance of it because it’s a highly musically driven story. It’s a WONDERFUL little piece of experimental/alternate reality fiction with some satisfyingly clever elements. Also, it looks like Belilovsky changed the ending from the draft I read, as it’s much more satisfying at the end too.
“Jagannath” by Karin Tidbeck
The Drabblecast Ep. 234
-This was an interesting story because it takes a look at a microcosm and a lifecycle. I can’t say too much of this one for fear of spoilers, but it does a great job marrying a bizarre, squishy place with a completely connect-withable character. You’ll feel like you’re an infant again, naively exploring the world.
“Gravedigger of Konstan Spring” by Genevieve Valentine
Lightspeed Magazine Febuary Issue
-Normally I don’t listen to a lot of fiction labelled as Fantasy, but this one is more in-between than strictly fantasy or science fiction. If you enjoy Twilight Zone stories or even “Golden Age” pulps, this might do it for you. Set up a normal place, make ONE change, and see what happens.
“The Burning Servant” by Steven Saus
Pseudopod Ep. 269
-I don’t really know what to make of this story, which may be why it’s on here. Note, “The Burning Servant” was published on a horror podcast, but this story has more fantasy/story elements than the very few Lovecraftian style elements. It’s the story of an old black woman telling her yarn of a life in slavery in the Deep South…with a little demonology thrown in! Not sure what it is trying to “say,” if anything, but it’s not a boring story!
“Skin Deep” by Mary Rosneblum
StarShipSofa Ep. 225
-This last entry for February earned its place by making me, as a reader, really curious about the protagonist. He is a man with a deformity trying to live his life, but it takes a while for us to learn the how’s and why’s. Also, the interesting ending leaves us staring at him, wondering what he’ll decide to do!
Now these aren’t the ONLY good stories I heard this month – in fact February was a pretty consistently good month for stories, a couple interesting ones were on Clarkesworld – but these are the five that probably made me think the most. I feel like SOME of my choices this month might be a little on the safe side, but I’m still learning how to pick out a few from many.
Let me know below if YOU have any that escaped this list and deserve a mention!