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Hello, fellow podcast lovers!

Wow, a whole lot of really excellent podcasts premiered recently and I cannot wait to talk about them with you!

Just a gentle reminder that as the podcast industry tumbles forward, keep making your art. Don't let the fear stop you, because in the end, that's what large corporations want. Stay grounded, do research on the changes in technology, and keep pushing for brighter and better futures for independent creators.

And to that end, I want to talk briefly about something near and dear to my heart: Temujin.

If you haven't heard me yelling about this somehow, this is a work produced by Asia-based young creatives about Genghis Khan, an adaptation of the Mongolian epic The Secret History of the Mongols. And they're up for a Webby award--they're in second place, extremely close to Trevor Noah. This isn't about whether the Webbys are bad or good, or even if awards are meaningful, because awards do still have meaning in creative industries whether we like it or not.

This is about what we can do to support independent, marginalized creatives in an industry that still refuses to take the risk and fund their own stories and perspectives. I don't do this very often, if ever, but I feel compelled to ask you that if you haven't yet, go give Temujin a vote.
The Webby Awards: Temujin. Support Asian storytelling on the world stage. "Uniquely surprising, rich with subtext, and holding deep, lived-in personal stakes." -Lauren Grace Thompson, The Vanishing Act. "You will feel the tension of a Night Guard's arrow aimed at your head." -Elena Fernández Collins, The Bello Collective, AV Club.  Vote and share Temujin: An Audio Drama at

cn.: pandemic

Hilariously, Faith McQuinn started writing Apollyon before 2020, so clearly she predicted the pandemic. Apollyon is a far-future science-fiction podcast, another step into a new genre for Observer Pictures (Boom, Margaritas & Donuts), on an Earth where the virus Apollyon decimated 75% of the world's population. The remaining countries are governed by the International Conglomerate of Research Scientists, and one of their researchers, Dr. Theo Ramsey, may have just discovered an effective vaccine. Apollyon is, yes, about pandemics, virology, and politics, but more than that and true to McQuinn's form, it's about relationships both familial and romantic, parenthood in a time of crises, and deeply emotional turmoil. The pilot episode is everything I could hope for from a story dealing with a pandemic, even if it was written before COVID-19: it is sensitive and blunt in turn, hopeful even in the face of death and infection, and exceedingly well-researched with two scientific consultants.

Unseen, "Now You See Me"
The latest special episode from Unseen, written by Jordan Cobb and performed by Lisette Alvarez, is the heart-wrenching and hopeful tale of a young teenage magician who decides to eschew everything mundane--her grades, her college applications, her friends--to get the training she knows she deserves as a sorcerer's apprentice. Verena Morisseau is determined and confident, or at least she likes to think so as she uses the veneer of confidence to fool herself into believing that her past as a fish out of water hasn't affected her. "Now You See Me" uses illusions and tricks as a way to talk about choosing your own destiny, about how belief in yourself can rise out of adversity, and yes: you do deserve to have what you need to make something of yourself, to be happy and fulfilled. Cobb and Alvarez are a dynamic duo here supported by the Long Story Short crew, bringing their enormous breadth of experience with emotional, dramatic monologues and depictions of what it means to do the work internally.

Role/Reroll starts their anthology with The Rook Agency, a Monster of the Week three-part series of short mysteries with the Rook family of supernatural private investigators. The Rook siblings are a disaster, entirely at odds with one another, and some or all harboring secrets from each other. The GM, Rahul, is masterful at setting creepy scenes and atmosphere (and at chanting terrifying nursery rhymes). The four players take some time to get settled in together, but in truth the pauses and the overlap and the stuttering feels exactly like four distant siblings who have not spent enough time together trying to work together. Their first mystery follows the supernatural entity killing guests at the local Victorian inn, guided only by anonymous clients, their patriarch, Gramps, and their varying levels of experience. As they get comfortable, the jokes start to fly as does the subtle but evocative character development: Salem the Hex shows her true colors as a complicated, emotional diva; Enfield the Gumshoe demonstrates his focus on his career and protecting his siblings; Roanoke the Crooked gets into all kinds of trouble with his brash actions and hard-learned self-preservation; and Amity the Mundane starts to lose his grip on keeping his pet ghost a secret. September would probably object to being called a pet ghost.

Save the World. Pay the Rent.  Geek by Night.  An original audio drama from Dueling Genre Production. 36 episodes available now, final 6 episodes coming summer 2021. by stories about fandom and friendship, and the perils of growing up, Geek by Night checks all of those boxes when a group of friends suddenly and mysteriously acquire superpowers.  The transition from your 20s into your 30s is not easy, especially for those making that transition during economic and global crises. Geek by Night gives grace and strength to those in that space, with hilarious and sensational superhero shenanigans.

You can now get ready for their final episodes.

If you want to see more reviews, interviews, and other articles from me, you can support me at my Patreon, or at my ko-fi account for a one-time donation! You can also sign-up to talk about advertising in the newsletter.
Patreon Ko-Fi
Interview with Lex Noteboom of The Deca Tapes on RDR
Remembering the letter for an anti-racist future in journalism
Space Ranger 421
Let me be frank: I love a good Mars survival story. I know it, and you probably do too depending on how long you've been reading this newsletter. Space Ranger 421, created by Jonathan James and produced by  Chad Ellis (Station Blue), a group of space explorers guided by a couple of scientists searching for their daughter respond to a distress signal on a Mars colony. There is little hope anywhere to find anyone remaining on the colony, but the group goes down anyway to come across a said-to-be-missing space ranger and government conspiracies. Graham Rowat, the voice of the space ranger who occasionally narrates, brings his deep, gravelly exhaustion to the forefront, pitch-perfect as an exhausted and burdened man surviving on Mars for too long. Ellis' production style has clearly been honed to a knifepoint since the first season of Station Blue, creating horrifying encounters in an otherwise-desolate place that echo with the exact shreds of irreality needed for an audience to create their own most terrifying monsters.

cn: vomiting, mind/body control

Though not actually the first of its kind movie-length podcast feature (Cerberus Rex and The Loathsome Lambton Worm both come to mind), Shipworm is evidence that the folks at Two-Up Productions continue to know their way around audio thrillers. Dr. Wallace Conway wakes up after drinking himself to sleep again with an untraceable earpiece implanted in his head with a woman at the other end of the line who tells him he's the most important man in the world--and then demands he do as she says, or his wife and child will suffer the consequences. Perfectly designed to be a tense ride on headphones thanks to the premise, Shipworm steps down on the gas pedal and pretends they don't know what a brake even is. Audiences follow Conway as the things he must do get wilder and darker, in the name of money more than science. The sound design choices in this story are particularly appropriate, drowning the audience in a deafening oceanic white noise whenever Wallace is loosing his grip or panicking, reflecting the hurricane that approaches.

The Ballad of Anne and Mary
Anny Bonny and Mary Read captured the imagination even when they were alive, fierce pirate queens who wore men's clothing and terrified the Caribbean--people speculated about them so much, it led to a lot of art depicting them fighting together. The Ballad of Anne and Mary starts after their capture and imprisonment, their deaths delayed by their pregnancies, with the very real Daniel Defoe and his interviews with them for the book he likely wrote under a penname, A General History of Pyrates. The people love what Read and Bonny have given them: scandal, lechery, fertile ground for new songs and art and gossip. In this musical, Defoe and his employer--a spineless privateer--require details from Anne and Mary in order to make the book authentic. And so, Daniel enters into a devil's bargain with Anne: pass and scribe messages between Anne and Mary in prison, and receive all the adventurous storytelling about their lives that he could possibly want. The Ballad of Anne and Mary is an incredible musical podcast; it deals deftly with action scenes and sword-fighting, has music numbers not out of place on the Broadway stage or from a Disney movie like Moana, and captivating characters with electric energy.
  • Podcast Review Day is a monthly reminder to write reviews AND share them on Twitter. On the 8th of every month, ease your podcast review guilt and help others discover new podcasts.

  • Indrisano Audio, LLC: Get help launching or improving your podcast with our consulting, composition, and editing services! You bring the Drama - we've got the Audio. Learn more at our website.

  • Protean City Comics: An actual-play podcast that follows young, superpowered teens as they discover the kinds of people, and heroes, the want to be. Learn more and subscribe.
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May your podcasts bring you joy,
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