Podcasts I love: Pseudopod

Here's something that you probably don't know about me: Ever since I was a kid listening to KROQ on my Walkman[1] I've wanted to have my own radio show. The idea of playing music for and talking to people across the airwaves remains a dream of mine, and it's why I occasionally do my own Radio Free Burrito podcasts.

I remember when Podcasting was just getting started, back in those 8-bit days when we all thought that our digital watches were a pretty neat idea. I remember feeling really excited about the opportunity to create my own radio show, and gleeful that I lived in the future where that sort of thing was possible.

I don't produce nearly as many podcasts as I want to, but I listen to a bunch, and every day this week I'm going to share one of my favorites with you.

Today's entry is something I love, that probably wouldn't be able to exist in any other medium at any other time: Pseudopod.

Pseudopod "brings you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere" and it's pretty damn awesome. Every week, they release a new short story, entirely for free. The stories hit way more often than they miss (and that's really just because of personal tastes; the readers are all fantastic and the writing is always very, very good) and they range from short, 10-minute distractions to 45-minute journeys to Places Man Was Not Meant To Go.

Some of the stories are very disturbing — this is horror, after all — but I have yet to hear one that's gory for gore's sake, or disturbing for the sake of being disturbing. Some of them, like Clockwork, aren't even scary; they're just cool.

One of my all-time favorites was released last August. It's considered flash, so it's just 8 minutes long, but not a single moment is wasted in a story called Scarecrow, that was unexpectedly powerful and moving. Now that I think of it, that was the story that convinced me to add a Pseudopod subscription to iTunes, so maybe it's a good place for you to start if you're curious.

As I said above, I don't think Pseudopod could exist at any other time, and it showcases something I love about Podcasting, blogging, and other forms of new media: while Pseudopod would have a very hard time drawing enough listeners in one geographic location to maintain a not-in-the-middle-of-the-night slot on old terrestrial radio (not because it's not good, but just because there aren't that many people who want to listen to this sort of thing in a major market like Los Angeles, I'd guess) there are certainly enough people scattered across the planet to make up a huge audience that can support them and make their efforts worthwhile.

Yes, it's pretty awesome to live in the future.

Next time: embiggen your brain in just a minute.

[1] Imagine an iPod that plays cassette tapes and radio stations cloaked in static and you'll have a pretty good idea of what it was, kids.

21 thoughts on “Podcasts I love: Pseudopod”

  1. Nice Podcast, I’ll have to check it out.
    I’ve just been introduced to “Coverville” as a podcast… Cover Songs by famous or up and comers, and I definitely recommend.

  2. I’d like to second the Coverville recommendation. Really good stuff hosted by a guy who’s knowledgeable (but not snobby) about the music. And the show is put together very well.

  3. [2] Cassette tapes: sequential magnetic storage medium lacking direct access to songs that existed previously on vinyl records and 8-track tapes, and was rediscovered when CDs were invented. Each one was approximately the size of an iPod (unlike Wil’s Walkman, which was closer to the size of a box of matches) and held anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours of content, depending on how fragile the actual magnetic tape spooled up inside was. Supposedly they were more convenient than records when used in mobile applications (cars, portable players) but you still had to flip them over halfway through. You know, like laserdiscs.
    Before the Adopt-a-Highway program caught on nationally, there were many non-pristine examples of said cassette tapes unwound along most major roads, flapping in the wind like urban seaweed.

  4. I’m not a fan of horror, so Pseudopod is not for me. However, their sister podcasts, Escapepod and Podcastle, generally have phenomenal science fiction and fantasy stories, respectively. I recommend you check those out if you’re a fan of either genre.

  5. Very nice.
    I wish I’d come up with, “Walkman …. about the size of a VHS tape, which was about the size of a DVD case, but four times as thick.”

  6. Was walking through Target this past weekend and saw they were selling walkmen. As in the emmer-effing *cassette* version. I stood there like an idiot with my mouth open and finally picked one up and kept turning it over like I had never seen it before. My God, it was like the 12 year old version of myself just came up and kicked me in the face.
    Also: <3 me some P&S podcasts: http://www.paulandstorm.com/podcast-2

  7. Pseudopod is quite awesome. I don’t get a chance to listen to it quite as much as I’d like to anymore.
    If you enjoy free podcast (serialized) audiobooks, Podiobooks.com has a wide range including horror, sci-fi and fantasy. For the horror fan, I would recommend 7th Son by J.C. Hutchins or Ancestor by Scott Sigler. Quality podcast books at the ideal price of …free!

  8. Does anyone have a spare outlet handy? Because here comes a MASSIVE PLUG!
    Made Of Fail, podcast for geeks: http://community.livejournal.com/made_of_fail_pc or http://feeds.feedburner.com/madeoffail
    We’re in our second year and just kicked it off with Episode 12, featuring Linkara from thatguywiththeglasses.com – you know, the guy who spazzes over bad comics? Yeah. Him. He’s awesome; go watch his videos.
    Oh wait, I was shilling ME.
    Other great episodes that the kids today seem to love are #3, where we talk about the Angry Video Game Nerd and regale you with odd chicken-related stories; and #10, where Cleolinda Jones joins us for all the WTF-ery of “Twilight.”
    We’ve also plugged Wil’s Geeks group on Propeller a few times, and we have a Why Wil Wheaton Is Awesome segment planned for this year. WHICH WOULD BE AWESOME IF WE COULD GET WIL ON FOR THAT EPISODE OHAI SEE WHAT I DID THAR :)
    We’ll love everyone that listens to us.
    Followed by cake.

  9. I just finished reading Blood Lite, a contemporary collection of short stories that was wonderfully witty and perfectly gruesome :) Check it out if you have time, it sounds as if you’d like it.

  10. Have you tried listening to The Leviathan Chronicles? It’s a pretty good SciFi podcast about some immortals. It has a very good story so far with many different organizations at hand. It’s a pretty good podcast so far.

  11. Wow, this is a great fix for my recently revived addiction to spooky stories (a mid-40s flashback to junior high). I’ve been streaming old radio shows, esp. CBS Radio Mystery Theater, on Live365, but you know, there were a lot of conventions that were dated in the 70s that sound even worse now.
    Then you bring me Pseudopod. Shivers mixed with bliss! Just listened to “Jihad over Innsmouth” – love it, love it, love it!!! Thanks for sharing your many interests with your readers, and praise jeebus & FSM for interwebs, podcasts & paypal!

  12. @wilw thanks for the psuedopod blog. Just downloaded a bunch. I love horror shorts! btw, I worked on ds9 for all 7 seasons in writers dept. I don’t remember if we ever did any of the same conventions in the mid to late 90’s, but maybe.
    (this is me cutting and pasting the above when I realized that @reply on twitter doesn’t work the way I thought)

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