Working with your idols for fun and profit

Not too long ago, I sent an email to Escape Artists — makers of two of my favorite podcasts, Pseudopod and Escape Pod — and said I was supportive of some of the changes going on in their organization and wanted to help if I could. A while later, I received an email thanking me for my interest and offering me a production spot.

There is pay involved. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s something. But the real perk of this gig is getting to communicate with people whom I’ve been listening to avidly for three years or more now.

Our editor for example, Mur Lafferty, is the pioneer princess of the free podiobook, and someone you should check into. I’ve been listening to what she has written and recorded for two years, and what she puts out for free would fare well against anything mainstream writers are making millions for producing.

Ben Phillips is the editor of a sister broadcast and often a narrator on their shows. I’ve also admired his work for a long time.

Christiana Ellis narrated the show I’m producing this week. One quick Google of her name returns pages and pages of her online resume. She’s one of the most distinctive female voices online, hands-down.

And this episode’s story was written by Cat Rambo. Cat Rambo. She is to written sci-fi what Battlestar Galactica was to TV sci-fi. She’s like a renaissance in science fiction writing in that she truly gets that the best sci-fi is at it’s heart solid, quality drama built around solid, quality characters. She doesn’t write futuristic, sciency stuff and then try to jam a story into it, she writes great stories that happen to be sci-fi.

And these people are emailing and calling me now, and it’s all I can do to keep the hero worship to a minimum. It’s funny to me, because I’ve sat on the other side of that equation a lot and had to tell people I was just a regular guy, not someone worthy of such praise, but it doesn’t stop me from being giddy like a school girl to be working with these people.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Just suffice it to say I’m really happy to be on this project and I hope that if you are inclined to science fiction at all, you’ll check out Escape Pod and all the other free resources for audio stories and dramas available online because you’re missing out on something really cool if you don’t.


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