Thursday, 12 March 2009

Genre Audio Dramas and Audiobooks

As a fan of many science fiction and fantasy tales, whether they be movies, TV, books or occasionally comics, it is always great to find a new way to feed my SciFi addiction.

Now, when I say “a new way”, what I suppose I mean is when I find a new source of quality entertainment.

I have listened to audiobooks on and off for many years, I find them great for commuting, as well as being very useful to put on in the background when I am figure sculpting or indeed painting some wargames figures.

Over the past 4 years I have moved from audiobooks to primarily listening to podcasts, of which the diversity is amazing and the fact that they are available as free downloads also makes them attractive.

Some of the podcasts have more or less been a new format for receiving audiobooks (Scott Sigler’s Earthcore was the first I listened to) and many of these can be found at


In my searching for new sources of podcast fiction I stumbled across Darker Projects and also BrokenSea Audio (there are several others, but these are the main two I listen to). Both produce genre audio plays based on well know SciFi franchises. Darker Projects producing Star Trek, Space 1999 and Batman shows, BokenSea doing Battlestar Galactica, Dr Who and Logan’s Run amongst others.

Under copyright laws, it  seems that the franchise owners don’t mind these productions going ahead as long as they don’t attempt to make any money! Although after saying that, BrokenSea has just had to pull a series they were producing based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan, as the copyright holders (CPI) objected. This was a diffificult and complex issue as the REH stories are in the public domain now, but as BrokenSea are purely amateur they could not afford to contest CPI’s request to remove the production from their website.

Anyway, to get back on track. As well as producing fan based shows like Dr Who, both Darker Projects and BrokenSea have also been creating some original shows of their own. Darker Projects shows that I have really enjoyed include The Byron Chronicles and Tales from the Museum. The Byron Chronicles seems to fall somewhere between Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Constantine. Tales from the Museum mixes pulpy adventure with a little of The X Files. I also enjoyed a 6 part series called Autumn which took an unusual look at a zombie tale!

BrokenSea have on their part produced Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter and Maudelayne. Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter is a fantastic show that is pure pulp and a must listen on my part! Maudelayne is also excellent combining a 1920’s Oxford University setting with supernatural goings on from various mythologies and with a dose of humour thrown in for good measure.

Note: Ok, now I must own up and say that this is not exactly an unbiased review of (some of) these shows! As a podcaster myself I thought it would help my voice development if I tried out for some parts in a few of these audio dramas. As such I have had occasional small roles in several shows including a recurring role in Maudelayne (as the College President George Gordon), several appearances in Dr Who (including a recent show where I was the villain and actually got the better of the Doctor). I will also have a fairly important role in a forthcoming episode of the Byron Chronicles (which I recorded sometime ago, but has not been released yet).

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Monday, 2 March 2009

The Death of Grass

Just a quick note to say that BBC Radio 4 is running a 5 part dramatisation of The Death of Grass, which is the book that the film No Blade of Grass is based on!
I mentioned No Blade of Grass a while back (Survivors review) and I have just watched an old VHS copy of the movie, that I will be reviewing shortly. So I am really pleased to be able to hear this adaption that starts tonight!
BBC Radio 4 10:45 (The Woman’s Hour Drama) and repeated at 19:45!
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