Audio is Our Future

I’d like to gamble that when clever people were kicking around ideas about how the internet would revolutise society, no one predicted the revival of the oral tradition. I know if anyone had told me I’d be using my super powerful computer to listen to stories much the same as my ancesteros told around the campfire, I’d have scratched my head and said ‘What?!’.

Perhaps because I’ve been lucky enough to have had a couple of great audio productions of my stories, Cthul-You for BBC Radio and Circe’s over at the Drabblecast, I’ve been converted to the potential of audio. Especialy for short fiction, which I think is just at the start of a great renaissance driven by audio.

I think the big abscence from this years Hugo and Nebula ballots is Steve Eley over at Escape Pod. If theres an editor who has brought more new readers into the genre in recent years I’d like to know about them. I’ve found more great stories on Escape Pod than any other venue, including the major magazines, and discoevered some of my favourite writers including Mike Resnick, Tim Pratt and Greg Van Eekhout. And although I’m biased I think Norm Sherman at the Drabblecast is such a top narrator, and his podcasts have such great production that he is quickly coming up behind Escape Pod.

Theres something about a well read story that beats more sophisticated forms of adaptation like video. Maybe because it isn’t an adaptation. You are getting the real story, and if the reading captures the voice of the text then it can be both a very intimate and a very powerful way to engage writer and reader. Its also convenient. Audio fits into our ever more hectic modern lifestyles. You can listen to a story on a commute, in the shower, at night in bed. You can also share it with other people – just like sitting round the campfire again, audio takes stories back to be a communal experience when we want them to be.

The spur for this post today was listening to Graves by Joe Haldeman on the Star Ship Sofa podcast. Give it a listen, it really is an amazing (and pretty creepy) story.

Anyone elese have any audio recommendations? I’m always looking for more good stories.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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